Hello world. It’s me.
I’ve decided to pop on for a bit and have some fun with this very stale blog. Except I don’t really know what to talk about and all the post ideas I’m thinking of are not enticing me at all.
So! What we shall do is indulge in a bit of rambling. I have no agenda, no structure, no idea how this post is going to end up, which hopefully means that it might turn out to be something rather interesting.
Or it’s just going to be me stringing a lot of meaningless sentences together.
I don’t know. But let’s see, shall we?
I think I should first start off by asking you all how you’re doing.
How are you? How’s life? It’s been a really long time since I’ve had a conversation with anyone from the blogosphere so I’m very out of touch with everything at the moment. But I really would like to know how you’re doing with the current absolutely spectacular state of affairs and just in general how 2022 has been treating you.
I guess I’ll go first in answering my question. 2022 has been kind of a mundane year really. I don’t remember what the first two weeks of the year were like, but once Uni started, I just fell into this routine of going to Uni nearly everyday, studying when I got back home, failing tests, stressing about them, and then rinsing and repeating the following week.
At first, it was somewhat fun (not the failing tests part). Ok, maybe not fun, but it was different and I liked that. But then tests started being a nightmare and it’s not so fun anymore. I’m already quite done with this semester and ready for it to be over, but alas we’re only halfway through.
The entire reason why I’m sitting down to write this post though is because it’s finally spring break!
Though I have homework that’s due right after spring break ends, and I should probably be studying for the slew of tests coming as well, but I’m letting that be Future Me’s problem.
Future Me will probably seriously regret and hate Current Me, but again, that sounds very much like it’s totally not my problem.
And even though it’s spring break and I’m writing all this down, I still don’t really feel any different about my blog in general. I don’t have a burning desire to write about anything, even though I have some ideas for posts. They just seem too…boring.
And completely uninspiring.
Which is how I’ve felt all year, and is also why I haven’t bothered to do anything creative much besides the one review I did last month, and the anticipated reads series that was sadly short lived. I might continue that anticipated reads series actually, because there’s so many good books coming out this year that I’m so excited to read. And it’s easy content to produce; very short, very to the point, so I think I can mange to do a couple more of those.
Speaking of which, my relationship with books at the moment is much like my relationship with my blog: completely dry and uninspired. I have like five books to read right now (one of which is Queen of the Tiles which you know I was absolutely dying to read back in January) but it feels like such a chore to actually open a book, read it, and finish it.
I’ve started both I Must Betray You and Red Queen (which I actually borrowed in Spanish; more on that later), and they’re not bad, they have the potential to be super interesting, but the thought that there are so many chapters to go (and in Red Queen‘s case, a number of books to go) before I will reach the resolution just makes me so tired.
It feels like so much work you know?
If I forced myself to start reading and keep going until the plot is really underway and there’s a lot of suspense/angst that finally enthralls me, I’ll have no problem whatsoever finishing the book. And I know that, I know I just need to finally reach that chapter where I’m really invested in the book that I can’t not read it because I just have to know how it ends.
It’s just so hard to convince myself to get there.
As a result, my reading has been very slowed down this year, I don’t think I’ve even read 10 books yet…yup, Goodreads has confirmed: I’ve only read 6. Good luck getting that 90-but-secretly-it’s-100 books goal Rukky!
And even out of those six, I didn’t actually read two of them.
I listened to audiobooks.
Guys, I was so desperate to actually be “reading” something, I was willing to try out an audiobook again. If you don’t know, I tried an audiobook once back in like 2018? Yeah, winter of 2018, or early 2019, and I didn’t like it at. all. I was so bored, it was so dry, I couldn’t care less, and I didn’t feel like I was really following the story all that well. So, I’ve avoided audiobooks like the plague since then, and I frankly never thought I would listen to one again.
But I did.
And my experience with it was so great that I listened to another audiobook a few weeks later. And now I actually like audiobooks and I’ve found myself looking to see if I can get the audiobook version instead of an ebook every time I want to borrow something.
What caused the drastic change you ask?
I think what I love about it the most is that I don’t actually have to do much work to “read” the story. I can do other things at the same time, like secretly people-watch on the train, or make some dinner, do the dishes, even just lay down in bed and do nothing, but at the same time, I’m actually getting some “reading” done.
I also think that I was lucky in that the two books that I listened to, I Killed Zoe Spanos by Kit Frick and The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides (full reviews potentially coming soon; links lead to my informal GR reviews), were really interesting and having an auditory idea of what the dialogue/characters sounded like made me enjoy the stories even more.
There’s this thing I do when I read, where I imagine everything happening as a movie in my head. However, when I’m reading an ebook, I have to imagine what the character’s sound like based on the description given, while an audiobook does all that work for me. With The Silent Patient, I really loved the audiobook of it even though I didn’t totally love the characters/story because the way the narrators (Louise Brealey and Jack Hawkins) told the story was so fascinating.
Brealey and Hawkins both covered all the voices for the different characters. But there was something about how they delivered the story where it felt like each character got their own unique narrator, even though it was the same person switching between them.
There were also parts that had a big sense of urgency, and I never realized until I was listening to it how reading the scene and having it read to you can make all the difference in the world.
Of course when you’re reading it, and it’s a very anxious “oh no what’s going to happen next!” kind of scene, you will read it with a sense of urgency and you might even be rushing through it and not reading it exactly word for word because there’s just so much tension and you need to know what’s happening next.
But listening to it? That’s a different matter. There was this part where the character thought someone was breaking in, and the narrator did a really amazing job with the way that she read it in a rushed voice so there was this underlying sense of panic and horror that conveyed the tension of the scene more than reading it ever would have. at least for me
So yeah. That pretty much sold me on audiobooks, and I really would like to listen to more of them. The sad part though is that the books I currently have to read
but can’t bring myself to don’t have available audiobooks at the moment which is really a shame.
I was even trying to see if there were Spanish audiobooks because that would probably be a lot easier for me to understand and get myself to listen to, compared to reading a Spanish book.
I’ve tried to read in Spanish twice before. I tried it with the first book in The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. I can’t remember what the book itself is called, maybe it’s just The Lunar Chronicles?
*quick interruption for a google search*
Ah right, Cinder is the first book. So I tried to read Cinder in Spanish, and I also borrowed the English version of it so I could use it to help me understand the Spanish. But it was tedious; I kept overthinking all the tenses, I was trying to translate it into perfect English, and it made it too annoying, so I never finished the book.
In English or Spanish.
And then late last year, I borrowed Wildcard by Marie Lu in Spanish because I’d just finished Warcross and I saw that Wildcard had a Spanish version. Maybe that was going to be my chance to finally successfully read in Spanish!
I failed. I finished the first chapter, couldn’t really understand much of what was going on, read the English version, saw how off I was with what I thought was going on, and I just gave up.
Both the English and the Spanish.
It’s almost like trying to read something in Spanish ruins the chance of me even reading it in English.
I mean, I still haven’t read the sequel of Warcross yet, even though I was incredibly blindsided when I found out that the book wasn’t a standalone (I hadn’t known when I read it that it was a duology, so that ending was sooooo frustrating because I had been anxiously waiting for it to be wrapped up and it just wasn’t).
However, it’s March 2022, and I am determined to finish at least one book in another language this year. I’ve already borrowed Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard in Spanish, title translated to La Reina Roja, and I’m so far 2% in, and I think I’m getting what’s going on…somewhat. So there’s hope!
I’m trying to go about this differently from my previous two attempts, so I haven’t borrowed the English version of the book just so I don’t have that urge to be checking my mental translation against what it actually is supposed to be. And I’m also trying to just keep reading even if I don’t understand one thing (or a couple things) and kind of use other things that are said/done to work it out.
Much like if I was reading in English and there’s one word that I don’t know the dictionary definition of. I don’t whip out a dictionary to figure out the exact meaning, I simply use ✨ context clues ✨, so I’m going to try that with Spanish too.
I really wish there was a Spanish audiobook though. If anyone knows where I can find Spanish audiobooks of YA or Adult fiction that is contemporary/fantasy/mystery, so long as the book wasn’t published in the 1900s or something, I would be most grateful to get that information.
And since we’re already talking about languages, maybe I should talk about my whole language learning journey.
As you all know by now i hope, I love languages and culture so much. I love learning about them, reading about them, watching things set in different cultures, etc, and that has set me on a path of attempting to learn every language that tickles my fancy.
Which means that in my lifespan, I’ve attempted to learn Arabic, Spanish, Mandarin, German, Italian, French, Korean, and even Japanese and Hindi once upon a time.
I’m already conversational in Spanish and Arabic, so I don’t actively work on learning them much anymore, at least not Spanish. Which is part of the reason why I’m trying to read in Spanish, just so I can practice it and not forget it.
And of course, I speak English so that’s there. And out of all those languages I listed, the only ones that I seriously would like to reach a basic, conversational level with are Mandarin and maybe German.
I started learning German and French because of historical fiction set during the World Wars. Since they usually take place in either France or Germany, I found both languages very fascinating and started learning them on Duolingo because I wanted to be able to recognize French/German phrases in books.
Only French thing I remember recognizing and being proud of knowing is “Je suis désolé” so that’s kind of meh.
And I don’t really like French now that I’ve started learning it. It never interested me in school, hence why I took Spanish instead, and doing it on my own now, it’s just too complicated for my very simple self. I don’t think I’ll reach a point where I’ll be able to understand spoken French because it’s just absurd to me how so many things sound exactly the same, but are spelled different and mean completely different things. And I can not for the life of me pronounce French accurately which is a huge pet peeve of mine, so I shall probably never seriously pursue it as a language to speak.
German on the other hand, is very much similar to English, in the words at least, so it’s easy to pick up vocabulary. I haven’t gotten that far with German in Duolingo, but it’s easy enough and I could actually see myself reaching a conversational level in it if I really tried.
Italian is also a language I started several years ago when I was just learning Spanish, and the two languages are really similar, so it’s easy to learn it since I already know Spanish. I kind of do it when I’m bored of Spanish and want something different, but at the same time, I want something that’s relatively similar to Spanish.
If you’ve noticed, I do a lot of random things because I’m just bored.
I’d gotten very far into the Italian course when I first did it several years ago, but then I stopped and I forgot everything, so I’m kind of just starting over at the moment. But it’s fun, I like learning it so it’ll probably be more of a language that I’m just learning for the fun of it.
And then we have Mandarin, Korean, Japanese, and Hindi.
I started off with Mandarin because I wanted to learn a language with a completely different writing system from English. German, Italian, French, Spanish, they all share the basic English alphabet with a couple extra letters specific to each of them, so it was easy to associate words in those languages with something similar in English which is how I was learning them.
But with Mandarin, it’s absolutely different (ignoring pinyin) and I wanted to challenge myself and sort of learn a language one hundred percent from scratch.
What I came to realize though is that pinyin is an absolute lifesaver, and it’s hard to memorize characters when I don’t have some sort of English alphabet that I can connect the character to. And of course, it takes a lot of repetition to memorize what the character looks like and subsequently connect it to its pinyin or English definition, but I think having pinyin really helped me with the learning process.
I can now proudly count in Mandarin, say hello, my name, my occupation, and other kind of basic stuff like that. My pronunciation would probably make a Mandarin native speaker cry though, so that’s a bummer. However, I really am motivated to continue learning Mandarin and hopefully be able to at least read and write it even if I don’t ever pronounce it.
if you’re wondering when on earth I will ever need to use Mandarin, I’m wondering the same thing too, but like I said: I start a bunch of things for no “good” reason, more for the fun of learning it, or because I find the culture behind it intriguing, so that’s that.
Korean, Japanese and Hindi were my attempts to see if there were any other character-based languages that I wanted to try and learn besides Mandarin. For a minute, I thought I would do Korean and really focus on that, and it did seem like it would be easier since Korean does have an alphabet with characters that have an English equivalent that you can then put together to make words. Therefore it’s much easier to transliterate words to English and have an idea of how to pronounce them.
However, it was still difficult for me. I was trying to memorize it based off the sound, not the transliteration, and because of that, I wasn’t actually focusing on what the characters or words looked like, but more what they sounded like, so I wasn’t really learning much.
So for now, I’ve put Korean on the side. And then, Japanese: I just didn’t like the Hiragana system which is how Duolingo teaches it, so that was very short-lived. And then there’s Hindi. Hindi letters are actually not super duper complicated, like they follow a pattern. But Duolingo was trying to teach all of the letters at once at the very start and because I was new to it, I was still trying to memorize the pattern, but it wasn’t working, and Duolingo is stingy with it’s heart system, so making too many mistakes cost me a lot, and I just got frustrated and quit.
Terrible, I know, but I honestly wasn’t dying to do Hindi anyway. I would have much rather learned Urdu, but Duolingo doesn’t offer that.
By the way, this is not a Duolingo sponsorship post in my dreams, it’s just the app that I use whenever I’m starting off with a language. So far, in all my research of language learning apps, it seems to offer the most free content to work with.
And I’ve been using the app for a really long time, so it’s kind of sad to see that a lot of the great perks that I enjoyed once upon a time (like unlimited hearts!) have now become exclusive to paying members. But, I can still learn and get stories for free, which is more than I’ve seen with other apps, so I’m really glad that that’s still available.
Also, for Mandarin, I downloaded an app called Hello Chinese which is a similar concept to Duolingo, except it’s specific to Chinese, and you can actually practice drawing characters which I absolutely love!! It helps with learning the new vocab if you learn how to correctly write the characters as well. And frankly, I just feel awesome when I write in Chinese so I use every excuse I can to do so. Even though I have absolutely zero idea how to use a Chinese keyboard.
But you know, learn one thing at a time.
says the girl semi-seriously learning 3 languages at the same time
So yeah. That’s the whole story behind me learning multiple languages. It’s funny how I naturally digressed from talking about what the year has been like, to the books I’ve been trying to read, to my new found obsession with audiobooks, to finally my language journey. It sounds like rambling done Right so great job Rukky.
I think I’ll let the rambling end here though, since I have now crossed 3000 words, and it’s probably best that I don’t make my first “talkative/creative” post in several months be overwhelmingly long. Or maybe I should make it as long as possible. Do you like talkative rambly posts? Let me know in the comments below.
I’m not really going to set any expectations for what will happen moving forward. For all we know, I’ll disappear again until it’s time to post May’s LTB topics, so who knows. There were some LTB topics these past few Fridays that I really would have loved to write about but didn’t have the time to post them. So maybe I will see if I still want to write about them. I don’t know, we’ll see.
Some questions for you:
- How are you? How has your year been?
- Any recommendations on how I can get the inspiration to read again? Do you enjoy/listen to audiobooks? Have you ever listened to an audiobook in a different language?
- What’s your language learning journey been like? How many languages do you know/speak? Have you ever read a book in a language besides your primary one? What apps do you like to use to learn?
- Did you like this style of rambly post? Would you like to see more random digressions in the future?
Talk to me in the comments below!