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Discovering Magic

It’s been a while since I read a cutesy manga. It’s been too long if I’m honest, but I think this was the best one to get me started again. Mamotte! Lollipop by Michiyo Kikuta was way cuter than it had any right to be. It’s a mixture of shoujo, magic, romance, and friendship that was just really cohesive and came together nicely. A high schooler named Nina accidentally gets involved with a magic contest from another world, and hijinks ensue. One thing I did love was that there was a well-written love triangle. In lots of media, it can become super obvious who the protagonist will get with because one of their options is trash. In this story, although I did prefer one of the boys over the other, I would have been happy no matter who she would have ended up with. They both were fully fleshed out and intriguing. If you like the cutesy stuff as well, I would definitely suggest reading this. There’s also a squeal that I need to get into as well. I just hope it’s a fair sequel worth reading.

Framed for a Life

In continuing with my love of a good murder mystery, I decided that my next book would be with someone who has innocent but was framed for a murder he didn’t do. Was it cliché? Yes. Did I think everyone was stupid? Of course. Did I love it none the less? Kinda. 15 Seconds by Andrew Gross.

Imagine the typical story: someone is framed for a murder he didn’t do, so he goes on the run while trying to clear his name. Insert that one person who totally should have been a detective but isn’t because life happened, and she’s the only one who believes him. If this was only to the book, I wouldn’t be recommending it. What I found interesting was the killer. Understanding why and how was the most significant thing. Trying to understand his process and how he was connected to things that were going on kept me reading. That’s what I found to be the best part of the book. If that’s what also interests you about these types of novels, I think you’ll enjoy it as well.

Murder of a Lifetime

I love a good murder mystery and watching the good guys win. Even though I love this, it’s usually in the fictional sense, and no one in the making of the murder was hurt. This type, I dipped my toe into more real-life crime with In Cold Blood by Truman Capote.

This classic tells the story of the real-life murder of the Clutter Family in Small Town, Kansas. The story switches from the point of view of different townspeople, the investigation team, and the duo responsible. It’s was intriguing how the story all worked together. You read it as if you’re there in the moment of the events and interact with the twists and turns as they happened. I could hardly put the book down. If you are thinking of reading this book, be forewarned that there is offensive language toward African Americans sprinkled throughout and sexual advances on minors. If these offend and/or trigger you, I would suggest not reading.

Major to Houston

I’m not a massive fan of memoirs. In fact, I would say that I actively avoid them. Unless it is a first-person account of a social issue that I am interested in, narrators of memoirs sound larger than life, and I cannot connect to them. Ironically, An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth by Colonel Chris Hadfield is one of the most down to earth books I have ever read.

Hadfield just has a great way of telling his story and being able to connect with him. He does such a great job of showing that he is just an everyday guy with the same problems as others; he only had a really cool ability to have gone to space. It was also a perfect look at what happens inside NASA and other space organizations, a lot more down to earth than what is often portrayed in books and movies. Even though society may tout him as an extraordinary being, he’s just a person and had to continuously work hard to get to where he was. There need to be more memoirs like this, and I wish I could find them this easily. I just want to hear about Clark Kent instead of Superman.

Bored Out of My Mind: Check

Have you ever read a book that was highly recommended, and you just hated it from beginning to end? Well, that’s what happened to me when I read The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande.

This book came highly recommended by a productivity podcaster I listen to. I am listening to the backlog, but I’ve been enjoying it. I have also read a couple of the other books said podcaster suggested, so I thought I would give it a try. To be honest with you, I was bored out of my mind. The book could have been 100 pages shorter. I was literally this dude’s journey to discovering how to use a checklist that works. I thought I would get tips and tricks out how to make my protocol better. In a way, it did give me that, but in others… Well, let’s say I got a really boring story that I did not remotely care about in the slightest in return.

In conclusion, make a short checklist to the point, specific, and made up of things that you may end up forgetting. There: I just saved you a couple of hours. Do something more interesting with that time that I did. I wish I could get it back.

Only What’s Needed

As I’ve started undergoing my graduate school journey, I’ve been trying to decide if I should and how to keep up with the multitude of projects that I take part in on top of everything that school has. As part of that journey, I’ve been reading books on how to be productive and how to get the best done and living with less, now that I’m paying for everything. On the books I’ve read was Essentialism: The Discipline Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown.

I usually dislike self-help books with a burning passion. For whatever reason, the voice comes across as if the author is way above the “little people.” I did not feel that way at all. McKeown was done to earth with his writing style and put things in a simple and digestible way. I also like that the way he would suggest actions who be feasible and an easily functioning way. While this book didn’t tell me how to keep up with all of the projects that I want to to do, it did teach me how to say no to the things I really really don’t want to do. I still say i won with this book.

Remember the Lost Soul Pt 2

Second book of the series in the bag, and I don’t really know what to think. Honestly, the title of this book tells you all you need to know about the story line it’s going to take. The Return is about the return of our protagonist to the world of the living. For whatever reason, this didn’t really feel like a portion of the main story, but more along the lines of an OVA, something the that bridges to stories together. To be honest, not a lot happened. There was a lot of talking and not a lot of doing. At the current moment, without having seen anything about the last book, I’m not sure this book is necessary to read. It was convoluted with no real focus. There was a religious aspect that was used in a way that I felt was problematic it a way that I cannot exactly describe. You would have to read it to understand honestly. For now, you can go without reading this book, if it is necessary to understand the last book in the trilogy, I’ll let you know.

Getting that A… in the middle of a Pandemic

This semester of school has been a trial for me. I graduated December of last year before everything got shut down, so I was a true novice when school started. My solution to my problem… read a books instead of asking someone for tips to get through this time. The book I read was Teach Yourself Hot to Learn: Strategies You Can Use to Ace Any Course at Any Level by Saundra Yancy McGuire.

If anything, this book reminded and refreshed me of my my study skills that I forgot the semester I was away from school. A lot of the strategies I was “of course I should be doing that. Now that I read it it’s so obvious.” As we are in the area where tests and midterms are starting to show, up I would definitely suggest reading this book, even if you think you study habits are up to the task. This gives you a way to refine your habits and learn something new about learning. It can’t hurt. I need all the help I can get passing these questions.

Power of Sleep

I want to think that the one known secret about getting stuff done in your life, is to not get anything done for a while. And by that, I mean sleep. Now that I’m in graduate school, I’ve become pretty obsessed with reading books that might help me in the long run. One such book I was suggested was Why We Sleep: Unlocking to Power of Sleep and Dreams by Matthew Walker.

I’ll be honest with you guys, but sleeping wasn’t really on my radar when it came to being productive in grad school. If anything, undergrad taught me that I really don’t need sleep during the week and that I could catch up during the weekend. I have a terrible time going to sleep when I really want to and just lie there and think about all of the stupid decisions I have ever made in my life. If anything, I would say that this book made me anxious about trying to sleep. Based on the research, I would say that it is horrifying, not sleeping, even though I get lots done when I’m sleep deprived. I’m trying to acquire habits that will help me sleep better. So far, I have to report, I have no clue how that’s working out for me. I’m a night-owl, so I feel that I’m fighting myself on this front, but I will continue trying. If anyone has more tips on trying to go to sleep, I am of open ears. Getting proper sleep is one of my next goals in life.

Know the Mind in 20 Minutes

In a continuation of my feat in watching every documentary and documentary series ever, I watched The Mind, Explained. It is a spin-off of Explained, but this one focuses exclusively on the brain, dealing with topics such as dreams and anxiety. I will say that I felt completely attacked by the episode on anxiety in the fact that is exactly how I feel when I’m overcome by anxiety. Once I got over being attacked, it felt completely validating as I had a hard time explaining how I felt in the midst of a panic attack with others.

The episodes we’re interesting and very informative. I don’t know the most about psychology or neuroscience, so I cannot comment the validity of what was being told, outside of the anxiety one. I would definitely check this out if you are interested in these topics. I just hope that there is another season in the works.

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