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Reading Goals for 2017

2016 has been a great reading year for me, mainly because I got the chance to finish up my Goodreads challenge. For this year, I was planning to read 20 books in 2016, and this time, I actually finished the reading challenge. I am happy about finishing the challenge, however, when I looked back at my reading progress, and at the kinds of books I’ve read in 2016, I realized that I have only read books from the YA contemporary romance genre. Luckily, I tried to diversify the genres, and I read some YA novels, most of which I haven’t finished.

I have enjoyed reading contemporary novels this year, but I 

decided that for 2017, I am going to read books from genres I haven’t read from before. I would like to delve into the following genres:-

  1. Thriller genre
  2. Non-fiction genre
  3. Adult Romance
  4. YA fantasy/ High Fantasy
  5. Science Fiction
  6. History/ Historical Fiction
  7. Horror.

The Books I  have read in 2016:

My Bookish Resolutions for 2017

  • Read 10 thrillers 
  • Read 5 Sci-fi novels
  • Read 5 historical novels 
  • Read 5 YA fantasy novels / or 5 Middle Grade Novels.
  • Read 5 LGBTQA+ novels
  • Read 5 Romance Novels
  • Read 5 overhyped books
  • Read 5 Graphic novels
  • Read 5 True crime novels

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A Rant About Technology

Gary Turk – Look Up

 

Are we digital dummies ? Unfortunately we are. We are so preoccupied with technology that the idea of not having technology in our lives terrifies us. When you think of it, it really wouldn’t harm you to “unplug” for once. Unplugging is when you purposefully stop using your technological devices for a given amount of time, be it 2 hours, 10 hours, 24 hours, or if you want to take it to an extreme level, A WHOLE WEEK ! Scary, right ? No technology for a whole week, being away from technology for a week could mean that you won’t know what Amy said about Chrissy on Twitter. You will not know whether someone you used to go to school with got married or not. How will you know your crush’s relationship status if you’re not connected?  How will you keep up with all the celebrity drama.  At the end of the day, you have to ask yourself, is it really important for me to know all of this stuff ? will it really benefit me in my life, or the afterlife (if you believe in one) ?

Unfortunately, we reached a point where we are enslaved by technology. We go to a party not to socialise, but to dig our faces in our phone screens until the party comes to an end. We use our phones to avoid people that we don’t want to talk to in the street, or in the university, or in the coffee shop. We go out to have a family dinner at a very fancy restaurant, and the first thing we do is fish for our phones, and start browsing or texting. In the past, what was the first thing you say when you first arrive at your friend’s house ? “Hey, how are you”. Nowadays, what’s the first thing you say when you get to your friend’s house ? “Hey, ummm, what’s the Wi-fi password?” We are living in the virtual world, and we’ve neglected the real world. Our phones, Televisions, and Laptops are like portals to a different reality, a reality that is so far from our “real” reality.

From a personal experience, I can tell you what has technology done to me. I am a gamer, a blogger, and an artist, so there are times when I have to resort to using my laptop, or gaming console for long hours of the day. I enjoy using technology a lot, but it has affected my social skills as well as my social life. I used to be great at making friends, I even used to have the courage to talk to people I didn’t know very much, but ever since I got attached to the internet, I stopped making friends in real life. I felt like the friends i’ve made online, who are mainly male gamers and otaku were all the friends I needed. It was also due technology that my relationship with my family got massively disturbed. Since I always spend time in my room, either watching anime, playing video games, or watching Youtube videos, the time I get to spend with my family became very limited. I have reached a point where my family thinks that I don’t exist, because I am always in my room doing something on the internet. Unfortunately, technology has also affected my physical, and mental health. Long hours of video games, and internet use (I’m talking the whole day, that is if I don’t have errands to run, or uni to attend) equals no sleep, or a bad sleeping pattern, and a bad sleeping pattern equals bad health. Due to the long hours of video games and internet use, I began to suffer from sleep deprivation, and according to what I read, not sleeping well could affect your brain process, and it could disturb your neurotransmitters as well. I also have gained a lot of weight due to my excessive use of the internet. It is all connected after all, my excessive use of the internet lead to a disturbance in my sleeping pattern, and my disturbed sleeping pattern lead to me having bad health. And let’s not forget about how my social skills got disturbed. I have been suffering a lot, and I would like to stop using technology for a while, but I know that this is impossible, since we live in a world where your tasks cannot be achieved without the use of technology. Today I have learned the term “unplugging”, and I really liked the idea of it.

In the Intro to IT class, we were introduced to the concept of “unplugging”, and as I explained previously, unplugging is when you refrain from using technology for a given amount of time. I was fascinated by the idea, because I wanted to experiment how would this make me feel at the end of the day. We had to spend 2 hours without technology, but I decided to give myself 24 hours without technology, and the results were very good. I started my day by taking a walk at the neighbourhood park, and this made me inhale some fresh air instead of the artificial air that is blown from the air conditioner. By lunch time, I came back home and I helped my mother with some chores. Usually, this is something that I don’t always have the time to do, but since I was unplugging today, I had the chance to bond with my mother while doing a bunch of housework and cooking. After lunch, I went to my room, and I read 1984 by “George Orwell”, which is an interesting dystopian book that tells the story of a man who is living in a world where EVERYTHING is monitored. I haven’t finished reading it yet, but I am intrigued by the concepts that were presented in the book After that, I took a nap, and for the first time I had to wake up without an alarm, which was difficult. It made me wonder how did people wake up before the invention of the Alarm. After that, I grabbed my sketchbook, and I completed my drawing, and then I drew an outline for another drawing. At the end of the day, I hung around at the kitchen with my family, and we laughed together (and at each other). After dinner, we sat outside in the mildly cold air. Since I was the only one unplugging, I felt sad to see that while we were sitting together, my sister and my mother were both checking their iPads, and I was the only one who was trying to hold up the conversation. For once, I was put in the place of most of my friends who always ramble about how I always use my phone whenever I go out with them. I now found out how disturbing it is to talk to someone while they’re busy fidgeting with their phones. By the end of the night, I just grabbed George Orwell’s 1984 novel, and I continued reading. I managed to spend 24 hours with my family without being bombarded by technology, and this made me realise that there are so many things I am taking for granted, and quality time with my family is one of them.

So, after ranting and babbling about technology and unplugging, it is safe to conclude that what we need to do more often is to unplug for once. We  should try to spend a day without using technology. Maybe that will make us realise the amount of things that we are missing. Instead of using your phone to avoid someone in the hallway, why don’t you just simply smile and say hi to them ? Instead of going to your friend’s house only so you’d end up being on your phone all the time, why don’t you toss the phone out of the window, and ask your friend to go out for lunch or something? Instead of being on your phone all the time while your family members are talking around the dinner table, why don’t you just sit down and listen to what they have to say ? Talk, engage, communicate ! I really don’t know how to end this rant, so before I could finally end this, I just have one last question, do you really know how the real world looks like ? or are you more used to the virtual world? Have you even tried to imagine how the world looks like from outside your phone screen ?

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He’ll Never Know: A Love Rant

He doesn’t know that I love him, he doesn’t even know that I exist, I was there by his side a couple of times, but he never knew that the girl that was in his presence was deeply in love with him. I don’t know much about him, other than his name, and his passion towards art and creativity. It was his sense of creativity that drew me closer to him, it was his sense of creativity that made me wish if I personally knew him. Sometimes I wonder, is it him that I am in love with, or is it his sense of creativity ? How can you be in love with someone you’ve never even spoken to in real life ? Is it possible to be madly in love with a stranger like that ? He taught me something valuable, he taught me to see the beauty in the ordinary, he taught me to see beauty in things that other people might describe as “ordinary“. I think it’s true when they say “artists learn from other artists”. My perspective in art became similar to his perspective, I started imitating his style, because I wanted my art to speak his soul. Nowadays it feels like I am only making art in order to impress him, or in order to send him a message through my artwork. The good thing about it is that unlike other people, he understands most of the hidden messages in my art. I love him, I love his sense of creativity, I love how deep and intellectual he is, but the sad part about this is that he’ll never know about me, he’ll never know about the girl who goes to the same restaurant every now and then in order to see him, he’ll never know about the girl who makes up a deep conversation about life with him inside her head, he’ll never know about the girl who wishes for him to notice her.

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Book Review: A Dying Colonialism

Patriots on Fire

Professor Pierre Chaulet passed away last Friday. He was one of those French men and women who sided with the FLN during the Algerian war. I do usually take my time before writing about a recent event and this is why I am not going to write about this valuable Algerian man. The reader can browse the internet (Algerian news websites and blogs) to find some good tributes.

Instead, I will write a few words on Frantz Fanon‘s book “A dying colonialism“. Note that I didn’t write about the author last year for the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of this death. Some good articles have been written last year and the reader could easily find them on-line.

Frantz Fanon was another Frenchman who defended the Algerian cause and sided with the FLN. And it was Pierre Chaulet who introduced him to the revolutionary party in 1955…

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Why didn’t I tell him?

That’s beautiful, ❤ I love it !

Sophie And Alie

He was my perilous shelter,

On a cold April night,

He was my cursed blessing,

During a chaotic nightmare,

He was my poisonous remedy,

After a disastrous hurricane.

Why do I find comfort in him?

He was my brightest star,

A constellation I dubbed my favorite.

He was my favorite book,

One I’d never get tired of reading.

He was my entirety,

A soul that completed me.

Why didn’t I tell him?

Because I will never be his shelter, blessing, and remedy.

I will never be his brightest star, his favorite book, his entirety.

Love,

Sophie.

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What’s more important, technology, or our hands ?

BoQcover_final_small_300px-230x300

Recently, I paid a visit to the bookstore located in my university, and as I searched the shelves for a new book to read, I stumbled upon this tiny book, “The book of questions”. I went through the pages, and I saw that each page contained a specific question that you could ask yourself, your friends, or your family members. This book can be used as a game, however, I am using it as a “writing prompt”. The first question says “technology has become a part of us. Would you rather lose the use of all motorised vehicles, all telecommunication devices, or one of your hands ?

I believe that’s hard to answer at this moment. We have grown so accustomed to using technology that we never thought about what it would feel like to live without them. Technology has helped us, and it also brought us troubles. Personally speaking, I believe that it is better to live without technology. Just like how our parents and grandparents lived without it, we too can live without it. I had a teacher in uni who told me that she doesn’t have a television at her house, she doesn’t like to use her laptop, and she is not fond of using a mobile phone for something other than making important calls. We asked her, “but what do you do for fun ?”, she said “I read a book”. I believe it is easy to live without technology, because I myself have gone through a 3 month technology detox. I eliminated all use of technological devices. For 3 months, I did not used my BlackBerry, I did not use my PC, and I also stopped watching TV. Instead, I shifted all my attention to my studies. The purpose of the experiment was to see what was the root of my low grades problem, was I naturally unintelligent, or was there an external factor that was affecting my school grades? In my senior year in high-school, I had low grades, I always struggled with my grades, however, when I stopped the use of technology, my grades started to go higher than they used to be. My performance in school wasn’t the only thing that changed drastically. I got less headaches, less neck/back pains, the pain I felt in my eyes due to the light from my phone was reduced, and I also felt that I was a “happier” person, because for once in my life, I was feeling “free”. Free from what ? you ask….Free from the chains of technology.

Can we really live without technology ? I guess the answer would be “Yes”. Life without technology was hard but simple in some kind of way. Before technology, people visited each other, before technology, the whole family sat in the living room together, they knew what was going on in the house. Before technology, parties were for socialising, it was not for sitting on your phone all day, texting, and taking selfies with others. Before technology, children played OUTSIDE. If I had the chance to build a time traveling machine, I would go back in time to when there was no technology whatsoever. (Yes, I will use technology to go back in time to when there was no technology)

xoxo