Book Review: Zenn Diagram


zenndiagram.jpgZenn Diagram
Wendy Brant
YA Contemporary (+touch of magic)

Review copy obtained via NetGalley.

Plot Summary

Being a math genius is not exactly a ticket to popularity for seventeen-year-old Eva. Even worse, whenever she touches another person or their belongings, she gets glimpses of their emotions, secrets and insecurities, making her keep her distance from everyone. So when Eva realizes she can touch Zenn, a handsome and soulful artist, without getting visions–only sparks–she finds herself drawing closer to him.

Continue reading

Mid-Year Goals Update (2017)


I made a pretty big deal out of resolutions/goals at the beginning of the year, so I figure it’s time to talk about how they’re going. First off, you should know that this isn’t a post to make you feel guilty! The beautiful thing about my yearly goals philosophy is that you can start or restart any time. For more on that, check out the original post.

I’m not going to talk about all of my goals (because that goes against the program), but here are a few.

Write a book

I’m 20k words into the novel I started last NaNoWriMo (which I clearly did not finish) and I’ve made good planning progress on ideas that have been teasing me for about a year. My writing progress has not been as consistent as I would like, but I *am* making progress, which is the important part.

Double blog views

I’m planning to dive deeper into blog stats in a separate post, but at 1500 views so far this year, I’m 150 views ahead of last year’s total views. So I should be on track to double, assuming I don’t fall off the map later this year.

Exercise 3x/week

At a total of 95 workouts so far this year, I’m currently averaging 3.3 workouts per week. I’m also casually interested in hitting 217 for the year, but I would need to increase my frequency to hit that goal. I’ve definitely been less consistent with exercising than I would like, but I am proud of myself for hitting a generally consistent 3 per week.

Run sub-:25 5k

Maybe I’ve already checked this one off? In March, I managed to run a sub-24 5k on the treadmill. Which is, technically, the goal. But I’d also like to run that speed on a road/trail, so I’m keeping that version of the goal through the end of the year. I expect that it may be a few months before that one is fully checked off. Between an injury delay and extreme heat, my running is pretty slow right now.

Reading Goals

I have yearly reading goals, but I update those monthly here. If you’re interested, check out my June Reading Recap for the latest!

Conclusion

I’m happy with my goals progress! My goals for the year have helped me focus on areas of my life that I really enjoy, but sometimes don’t prioritize.

How are your goals going? Have you checked anything off yet? Do you need to set new goals or refocus on some?

Lyse Links: Con men, curses, and cavemen


Buckle up. Today’s line-up is a RIDE.
Toronto’s Classiest Con Man — Con men (and women) manipulate social norms to their benefit. It’s good to know how they work, because there’s always a chance you’ll be on the receiving end of a con.
There’s No Money in Internet Culture — some websites present a unique problem. They’re extremely popular, but they don’t make money. Can they survive?
Are you a self-interrupter? — I definitely am, but I’m trying to break myself. Also, I’m not fully convinced that self-interruption is *always* bad.
Curse of the second-born is real — I’m a third child and while I do think we’re more likely to get in trouble, we have some redeeming qualities. Like, um….crippling depression, infinite procrastination, perpetual existential crises?
Professor Caveman — This professor gets paid to teach university students about primal skills. I’m not against that, but I do think this quote is telling:
“She grounds me in the realities of modern life,” Schindler says. “If there is a glitch with my computer, I break down. I mean I literally mentally cannot handle it. Christina saves me.”
If you have to choose between functioning in “caveman” times or now, pick the times you actually live in.
My Year at GitHub — There’s a lot going on in this essay that I won’t begin to address. But the author’s descriptions of feedback on her communication stuck with me. As a woman who has been repeatedly reprimanded for too forceful or seemingly rude communication, I understand the author’s confusion and dismay. Here’s my plea to managers: understand that your employees/coworkers will have different communications styles. That doesn’t necessarily mean something’s wrong with them. Please make genuine attempts to facilitate communication. Communication DOES NOT mean confining everyone to the same communication style. People can be taught to interpret someone’s style as easily as that person can be taught to change style.
Crusade to Save Children Lands Hacker in Prison — should hackers be punished when their work results in good? I’m not an expert on the laws discussed in this article, but I’m very uncomfortable with the idea of sanctioning hacking. That’s extremely close to vigilante justice.
Designer’s Guide to Selecting Colors — this includes really helpful tips and resources for color-picking. It’s always good to know a little more about design.
So this one time at a journalism conference — this article is primarily about insulation and representation in journalism. The writer, a female journalist, is married to a man who drives garbage trucks for a living. As the professional writer married to a college dropout construction worker/factory manager, I’m keenly aware of class issues that transcend money.
The Importance of Wasting Time — Maybe your circles don’t idolize productivity as much as mine, but I wish I could make everyone read this. I’m trying to work more intentional “wasted time” into my life.
Leave a thought about one article in the comments. Thanks for sharing your weekend with me.

YA Authors by Myers-Briggs Type


If you clicked on this post, you probably know what Myers-Briggs/MBTI is. But just in case: Myers-Briggs is a “personality inventory” that defines 16 personalities, described through 4 dichotomies. More at the Myers & Briggs Foundation. Free test at 16 personalities.

Now, I will be blunt. The usefulness/scientificality of MBTI is hotly disputed. I have no interest in arguing that. The MBTI has been immensely helpful to me personally in both understanding myself and others. So I will continue to champion it.

If you’re a little obsessed with MBTI, you find typing other people to be FASCINATING. So I started researching the MBTI types of authors. Continue reading

Mini-Reviews: Female-centric Fantasy


Going through old pages of a journal, I found some review notes from 6 months ago. They were good books and I hate to lose a review, so here you go! 3 female-centric fantasies. Enjoy.

This Savage Song by V.E. Schwab

Honestly, I struggle to review Schwab’s books. I just like them so much! This Savage Song was my second Schwab read, and I savored it over Christmas vacation in sunny Florida, which was very much a contrast to the dark setting of the book. Here are my (nearly) unvarnished notes:

  • beautiful
  • each word crafted and carefully chosen
  • characters that both shine & bleed
  • a world that builds effortlessly through the chapters
    • feels at once both brand-new and almost familiar
  • variety of characters & emotions
  • introspection/theme/meaning with subtlety

…..I can’t offer a lot of expansion on what six-months-ago Lyse was thinking, except that she really liked the book! Also, she strong-armed her husband into reading it and he carried it around the house and read in every spare minute until he finished it.

Skylark by Meagan Spooner

Skylark is the first of a trilogy that I began on audiobook and have not yet finished. 😦 Not the trilogy’s fault–I just stopped listening to audiobooks when I didn’t have to commute anymore. (This one is maybe technically dystopian, not fantasy.) So! Old notes:

  • Love the monster/human story
  • information is legitimately limited & MC grows to full(er) understanding naturally
  • interesting world that requires more exploration
  • lacks some early nuance
    • I struggled for interest/understanding through the first several chapters. The world took a long time to build for me.
  • I thought the author’s opinions/agenda were a bit heavy, but that may not be fair.
  • I have questions about the MC’s parents, but maybe they were answered in future books? Not sure.
  • I read most of the first book while I was walking local parks, and it made a great accompaniment to nature.

The Girl Who Swallowed the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

I didn’t know much about this book when I read it, but the cover was fun and I think The Book Wars recommended it. It was quite different, but I enjoyed it. Notes!

  • The darkness of Grimm’s with the whimsy of Lewis Carroll or Tolkien
  • timeless universal themes (even dark ones) made palatable for MG and younger
  • fairy-tale tropes re-imagined & rewoven
  • information doled out slowly
  • love of stories (fairy tales, mothers telling legends, etc.)
  • joyful, but not happily-ever-after

Conclusion

There you have it! Old review notes that I should have written up months ago. Are these useful for you at all? Have you read these? Let me know in the comments!