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yellowstone / grand tetons

I've been tethered to the midwest for my whole life. I've longed to break free and travel, but have always felt stuck. The farthest west I had been was Kansas (which is still considered the midwest apparently). The concepts of deserts, mountains, and dry heat were foreign and unbelievable to me.

So when I got the chance to tag along on a trip to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons, I didn't know what to expect, but I was excited!

instagram chooses my TBR | mini reviews

There are so many different bookish communities and resources with the advent of the internet and it's a beautiful thing. I could make a whole other post about my thoughts on how the internet has enhanced and changed the way we read because it's so interesting to me.

There are several downsides to social media, which have been talked about extensively by so many people so we're not getting into that today, however, I think one good thing that has come from my own personal social media experience is it has made made me grow a lot as a reader.

Due to my never ending search for books to read, social media has become my main source of book recommendations. And that's not something I'm ashamed of. Sometimes it's hard for me to understand how people used to find books to read before there was social media.

I spend a good amount of my time in the Bookstagram corner of Instagram. I have discovered Bookstagram is an especially great place to find new books I've never heard of before. As you scroll through the explore page, it's so easy to add about a hundred books to your TBR without even realizing it.

Because of my obsession with Instagram and books, I decided to do a fun experiment. I took the first six books that came up on my explore page, and inspired by BooksandLala (one of the most creative booktubers), I read all of them. I went into them all completely blind to see how trustworthy the bookstagram community really is with its recommendations.

little things | summer 2018

Summer is usually my least favorite season. It's humid and boring and long. I get too ambitious for everything I want to do during the summer, and as I get nothing accomplished, the time wastes away, and I get discouraged and am ready for school to start up again. However, this summer I have found more of an appreciation for this time of year.

My sophomore year of college was rough, and I have found the time off much needed and refreshing. While the season is still definitely not my favorite, this summer has been somewhat of a turning point in my life. I've really had to get out of my comfort zone and re-evaluate my goals. I might write a blog post all about it at some point once I've organized my thoughts on everything that's going on. It's a lot and it's been challenging, but it's also something that I know I will be thankful for in the future.

But other than all the deep personal reflecting, this summer has been unnaturally busy. Though I'm sure there's more I could've done with my time, I was very active and accomplished a lot.

the books to read before you die | recommendations

Recommending books to people is an art. People ask me for reading recommendations all the time and it has become something I take very seriously. Almost a little too seriously.

It's not as simple as just sending them my own personal favorite books, expecting them to love them. It takes time and patience and purposeful thought to figure the perfect read (or three) to recommend. I always want people to walk away with a new all-time favorite that they'll think about forever when I give them something to read.

That's why I find those generic "top books you should read before you die" lists to be skeptical. They're usually all the same, regurgitating the same selective books stolen from a high school English class's required reading. They always have scholarly and literary significance, and are usually mostly always classics.

While those type of books have their own importance and should definitely be read, I believe there are very few books in the world that everyone should read before they die.

Books that really add something to the world that should be read regardless of where you are personally in your own life. I also believe that a book doesn't have to be a well known classic to be impactful for everyone. There is more than literary significance that makes a book one that everyone should read. I personally think that themes, characters, and even overall enjoyment are just as important.