ARC Review: The Takedown


thetakedownThe Takedown by Corrie Wang

Note: advanced copy received from publisher through NetGalley. (I don’t think that influences my review, but it’s fair to know.)

Summary

Kyla Cheng is a straight A senior at a fancy school in NYC. She’s one of four popular girls, her applications to the Ivy League schools are nearly ready, the hottest boy at school is her very close “just friend,” and her biggest problem is that her mom doesn’t seem to like her much now. Until a much bigger problem: a viral video of her having sex with a teacher. The video is fake, but Kyla has trouble convincing people of that. The only solution is to find the original file and delete. But Kyla’s hater is completely anonymous.

Initial Thoughts

Continue reading

Tired Legs, Unrealistic Expectations


Let’s talk about this video.

Key points: relatively fit non-runner trains with a coach for 10 weeks and then runs a 3:30 marathon (five minutes faster than her Boston Qualifying time.)

First, major kudos to Michelle. She should be incredibly proud of the training she put in and what she achieved. It’s huge and nothing I’m about to write should demean that.

But let’s talk about what this means for other people. Because while this was a personal journey for Michelle, it’s also a Buzzfeed video, which means millions of people will likely see it. Continue reading

Lyse Links: AI, Political Correctness, and GIFs


Readers, I think about you a lot. When I have time to write and publish these collections of stories, I sort through myriad links that I have saved during my weekly reading. When I finish a good article, I think, “I need to share that with the people who read my blog!” The longer I’ve written these compilations, the more I find myself making connections and trying to offer different points of view on topics I’ve previously posted about.

But something’s missing. Because you know what I love best about reading these stories? Talking about them. And right now this feels like a bit of a one-sided conversation. So if you enjoy this post or read any of the articles, could you drop down to the comments and leave me a line about it? I’d really love to know which articles you enjoy, what you want to see more of, and what you could do without. I’d even enjoy some disagreement. Let’s turn this into a conversation.

Now, the articles!

Let’s start fun: The NBA’s Secret Addiction. This is the kind of journalism that makes me want to be a journalist. Just read it. You’ll be glad you did. Continue reading

Layering Experiences to Achieve Peak Happiness


“What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.”

–Gretchen Rubin

I agree with most of Gretchen Rubin’s happiness and habits advice, but not this particular concept. Maybe that’s just because I’m bad at doing things every day. As a hard-core Rebel, I find routines and daily responsibilities stifling and unhappy-making. But I enjoy certain amounts of consistency and routine in my life. Obviously, routine and novelty conflict, so I’ve spent some time thinking through the right balance. Here’s the framework that works for me.

But first, a caveat: Gretchen’s advice works very well for certain types of habits. Something relatively mundane, like flossing, you can likely add into your daily routine with relatively little psychological backlash. My issue is more with lifestyle changes meant to create more happiness.

Layered Experiences

At the base of Gretchen’s advice is the idea that you need certain actions to become automatic in order to form a habit. That’s true, and it’s good advice (especially in an area like exercise), but we can extract a major benefit without having to do the same things every day. For me, the benefit of repeating certain actions comes in the layering of the experience, not the streak of daily accomplishment.

What is layering experience?

For me (and perhaps you? perhaps everyone?), Continue reading

Top Ten Tuesday: Authors I Can’t Believe I Met at SEYA Fest


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

SEYAThe Southeastern Young Adult Book Festival has become one of my favorite festivals in just two years. The event is super well-run and the authors have been amazing. Even with 2-3 days of events, they have been (almost) unfailingly friendly, funny, and and really inspiring. I’ve enjoyed meeting all of them, but here are a few stand-outs!

Maggie StiefvaterIMG_0101

There are not words for how cool Maggie Stiefvater is. She has rockstar style, writes swoon-worthy words, creates haunting music, raises a farm, and fixes/drives/decorates growlly cars. I was in complete shock about getting to meet her at the inaugural SEYA Fest. (I almost cried. But I didn’t. I did fangirl a lot.) She was hilarious and insightful and amazing.

Lauren Oliver

I read Before I Fall in high school, long before it became a huge movie, so meeting Lauren Oliver was a very cool feeling. She intro’d Replica at a panel and I just Continue reading

Tired Legs, Peaceful Mind (part 2)


(ICYMI: Tired Legs, Peaceful Mind (part 1))

My Run Affecting My Mind

I’ll be honest, this part is a little harder to nail down, but I’ve noticed a few general changes.

Full Range of Emotions

For me, a balance of variety and stability in life is vital to functioning well. Too much variety and I’m out of sorts. Too much stability and I become Continue reading

Tired Legs, Peaceful Mind


(ICYMI: The introduction to my running journey: Tired Legs, Happy Heart.)

My 10k training program* has dramatically improved my fitness already, but I’m starting to notice mental benefits too. Elite athletes care a lot about the mental aspects of their sports, but the rest of us focus more on the physical gains we can make. My mind comes into the running game in 2 ways:

  1. my mind affecting my run
  2. my running affecting my mind in the rest of life

I was going to address both in this post, but this is already 1000 words long and I decided that you’re very nice to read my posts and I shouldn’t push my luck. So today we’ll just hit Part 1: My Mind Affecting My Run. Part 2 coming later this week.

*very informal, loosely based on a free program available from Hal Higdon.

My Mind Affecting My Run

All sports are mental, certainly, but running has some unique challenges. For one, it’s not a team sport and your practice times aren’t scheduled (unless you work with a partner). So you have to motivate yourself to run, no help from your team. Then, there are no external Continue reading