I’m changing how I do things for a while

Hi pals

I’ve been talking about feeling uninspired for a while and even when I have ideas for posts, I find the motivation to actually create them isn’t there. I’ve been writing more for my WIP and the inspiration and motivation to do that is slim and far between, I don’t want to be trying to force myself to write for my blog and burn out on it and sabotage the progress I’m making on my WIP. So generally the plan is every two weeks will be a post on the blog rather than weekly for a while. I may not even do that depending on how I’m feeling. But the monotonous repetitive cycle that is my existence at the moment makes it hard to write for my blog when all I want to do is complain!

I’ve also been working on other side projects which has taken up time and energy. I’ve had two self tapes/auditions for small films I wanted to try and go for as the pandemic did get in my way. I started dipping my toes in the acting world again in late 2019. If you’d like to see some videos on my experience doing self tapes and auditions as a disabled and neurodiverse person, let me know! Sub to the channel and leave a comment on this video.

I’ve also had to focus more on my health again. I was meant to taper down 1mg of steroids every month but when we tried to go from 9 to 8 first time, I became very unwell within three days and had to go back up to 9 and it took me a while to feel better again. So we changed it to every two months we would try to taper 1mg and it’s that time again. Trying to make this easier on myself, I’ve been doing 8mg one day 9mg the next and onwards to try and make the transition a bit easier and less shocking to my body. I ended up changing it to 8.5mg for a few days (I’ve had to use my pill cutter for this) and I’m doing OKAY ISH and will go down another half in a few days to test the waters. I’ve also been more relaxed on my diet/how I’m eating to make sure I am not stressing my body further with food expectations or eating less than maintenance (my nutrition coach always reminded me that being in a calorie deficit will add stress onto your body, so I’m making sure I’m not in a deficit to not add extra stress on my body whilst trying to taper as that is stressful enough trust me) so I’m just trying to enjoy food, eat more nutrient dense foods like fruit (and veg when I can, I just like fruit a lot more lol) and eating foods I enjoy. Food has always been connected to emotions for me so eating the way I like for a week or so will also help reduce emotional stress. I’m planning on doing an updated What I Eat In A Day: 1 Year Pescatarian video so leave a comment on this video if you’d like to see that and hear about how I’ve been finding the change in my lifestyle.

I’m trying to remember to take my supplements more regularly as well!! Urgh, I’m so bad at remembering to take anything after my morning meds, I’ve been forgetting my evening pills as well and taking them later. I’ve also been taking more pain reduction precautions, using certain creams that are supposed to help (like biofreeze and CBD products) and taking an extra painkiller at night. I’m trying to keep up some weighted exercise as it helps reduce pain for me as well. I did film a few clips over my weekend which I’ll upload soon that will talk about a lot of this stuff and show you what kinds of weighted arm exercises I do etc.

My sleep has been out of whack since the time change (sound silly I know but I’ve read Neurodivergent people do struggle more with this so it makes sense) plus the steroid tapering, I’m pretty tired. I struggle to get to sleep before midnight coz it would have been 11pm before the hour change. Waking up at my usual 8:30 (sometimes 7:30 coz of the hour change) but struggling to stay awake, so some days I sleep an extra hour. I’ve had a few afternoon naps this week as well which is very unlike me. But as I’ve said, I’m doing what I can to just listen to what my body needs, it needs more rest/sleep at the moment and that’s fine.

Some of my upcoming videos planned are 1 year on Adalimumab (Amgevita) injections (check out the linked video for 6 month update), Gossip Girl reading vlog part 2 (the other half of the series, check out part one here), I’m going to continue watching Dawson’s Creek and vlogging each season, I’ve heard there’s a possible reboot coming so more reason to carry on! I’m working on a Manga Reading Marathon video still, the scans that diagnosed my TAK is also one some people were interested in as I mentioned a few in my pre-diagnosis video last year and a range of scans they do use in my TAK 101 post, I also want to do some book themed videos as I’ve been reading a lot of books by Black authors I wanted to make a video to recommend them and a video about the poetry books I have read as I’ve also been reading a lot of poetry through NetGalley. Leave a comment on this post if you’d like to see me make these videos! I also have a lot of books by Asian authors I want to get to reading, I’d love to make a recommendation video on those books too.

I did get my previous benefits back recently so I have got some financial support back again (still, if you know PIP, it’s pennies) so I would really appreciate people checking out my Kofi, leave a tip or buy some of my art. I have 15 art pieces up for sale, plus a selection of handmade cards. Please check out my links throughout this post and to my social media accounts, leave some likes and share some posts, it helps a lot! I post on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook. I am starting to stream on Twitch again but whenever I link it here it error codes out so search artiecarden. Don’t forget to check out my affiliate link with the BookShop for any books you are interested in buying, it helps me out a lot! If there’s something you’re specifically looking for that isn’t on my lists yet, let me know in a comment what you are looking for and I’ll see if the Bookshop have it and link you.

I post pretty regularly everywhere, I just feel like I need to change how I do things for a while.

~ Artie

They/them

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Books I Predict Will Be Mediocre

Hey pals,

I’ve talked about the books I’m excited to read on my TBR, I’ve talked about the books I find intimidating, so here are the books I don’t think I’m gonna care about that much. You might think, “hey why are you still planning on reading them if you don’t think you’ll be that bothered?” Well, just in case I actually end up really enjoying any of them. I liked some of them once already, so I’m hopeful they will at least be entertaining. My unread bookshelf is busting with books, and here are some of those books.

Check out my Bookshop lists when you’re looking to buy a book! It supports me and indie bookshops.

Moxie: Even though it seems like a book that would be my vibe, I feel like it might be somewhat ‘feminism 101’, which I think would be appropriate for the intended audience but maybe not something I would enjoy as much. When I read books, I do take into consideration who the audience is when reviewing or giving my opinions. So, even if I do decide it wasn’t for me, I will let you know if I think it is suitable for the audience and could provide good content for them.

Maze Runner: I’m actually so sure I won’t be that bothered by this series, that I sold off the two later books of the series. A booktuber I just started getting into put this in a really good way but I’m going to butcher it by trying to explain now, but when it comes to dystopian book series I really enjoy book 1 where all the world is being set up and enjoy the rest of the books less. I enjoyed the first film, but the second one was pretty tragic, though I think the book would be better I think it is pretty telling of what the plot will be like. So, I want to read book one, mainly to experience this writer and this series in a new way, but I don’t have much hope for the later books.

Potion Diaries: This is a book I’ve put off reading and moved about between my TBR shelves and my Unhaul pile. I like the sound of the plot and the character, but I know it is going to be very straight even though there is a perfect sapphic plotline right there.

Marilyn Monroe biog: I think both Biographies of Marilyn I own are written by men, so they might be mainstream factual but they probably won’t wholly encompass the emotion of living life as Marilyn as they are less able to put themselves in her position. I also tend to enjoy the Celebrity History when it’s discussed in more of an open “we don’t know what actually happened, but here are some theories and the evidence to back them up”.

Kurt Cobain biog: Whilst I will say, same as above, I also feel like Kurt’s regularity of wearing dresses will probably never be mentioned and never discussed further like why he chose to wear dresses and make-up: was it a possible gender exploration? or more of just general rebellion as he is the frontman of one of the biggest alternative/grunge bands the world knows? I dunno, and the book probably won’t think about it.

The Body Book Cameron Diaz: It’s probably gonna be boring, I won’t lie. It’s about food and macros and other nutrition shit. Which is something I want to continue developing my understanding of, but it’s not exactly fun reading. She might make it interesting, who knows but I doubt it.

Nausea: I picked this up, not having a clue who Sautre was. Now I’ve heard his name a few times and a vague idea of what his work is like. Probably pretentious and whiney. I want to give reading this book a go, but this is what I’m expecting.

Virginia Woolf book: Besides knowing she was a racist, I dunno if her work is going to be my vibe in general. I’m not a classics book reader really at all. I feel like she is considered a classic writer. Just gonna have to give it a go.

Jacqueline Wilson books: As I can confirm after reading Girls In Love, I feel like I’m going to be semi-underwhelmed by the other books I have by her. The only good thing she had going for her stories was that she often depicted a range of family dynamics and gave kids in the less mainstream family situation something to see themselves in. But, they are all still straight and white and cis and I don’t remember any disabled family members or main characters so… this is why I think I’ll be underwhelmed.

Kisses by an angel: A lot of the YA supernatural romances for women I’ve gone back to always leave a sour taste in my mouth, whether it’s because of very outdated views (which, yes, somehow still sneak into the plots of SUPERNATURAL books) or the main characters have way less charm than I remember. I’m not sure I liked this one much as it was back in 2010.

There were more on this list, but I didn’t really know what to say for them all. So, I guess you’ll just have to wait and see if I talk about any of them. I have decided I want to do semi regular reading Wrap up videos this year, just to keep more detailed up to date log of what I read in 2021 and then at the end of the year do more themed videos like my favourite books or the worst books, etc. Don’t forget to follow my channel for videos on books, I recently put out a video of Book Recs with Bi Main Characters, and also a Gender Discussion triggered by OHSHC during my Manga Reading challenge.

Please check out my Ko-fi and consider donating or sharing it out. I’ve been struggling with money since my benefits were stopped and I really want to save up to get a medical assessment done to finally get a diagnosis I’ve been thinking about for the better part of 2020. Also my Facebook for art you can buy from me. Or my Depop for secondhand items. Check out my Bookshop lists if you’re looking to buy a book as you will support me and indie bookshops when you buy that way! This list are books I am really excited to get to reading in case you want some help!

Leave a like and a comment, I’ll see you next week for Rare Diseases day!

~ Artie

They/them

54 Books I Haven’t Read in 10 Years

Hey pals,

This is a very specific blog post list, but it’s something I wanted to share and discuss! I did mention these books in my All The Books I Own and Still Haven’t Read video. But I didn’t go into a lot of detail, because the video had roughly 150 books mentioned. I did recently go through the book series I want to try to complete this year, if that’s more your thing. So, I shall go into them more now. I’m going to try to give a summary based on my memory alone, I think it would be interesting to come back to this post after reading them again and see how much I remembered and if I was correct.

YA/Kid Lit

Contemporary : I did a video reading a mixture of Contemporary YA I have never read before, but also some re-reads. Feel free to go check out that video, I do mention the Georgia Nicolson series in it and why I am less excited to re-read that right now.

Georgia Nicolson Series: Georgia is a knobbly-kneed, big chested teenager with a lot of sass and goes to an all girls school. All the boys find her funny, all the girls find her funny. But none of the boys she’s interested in are interested in her (sort of).

Withering Tights, The Taming of the Tights, A Midsummer Tights Dream: Georgia’s cousin, who I think is a lanky theatre gal with long black hair, goes… to Yorkshire? Somewhere up in England, where the Moores are. It’s a modern day Wuthering Heights (which I have never read, she just names a bunch of people after the characters and compares things to the book, I don’t know) Doing a performing arts course away from home, again with a bunch of girls, it’s like there are no co-ed schools in this universe… I don’t think the series ever got an end as the author died. I think this series is a “read one more time, unhaul” kind of thing.

Midnight: Mmm lets see, another girl with long dark hair, gothic vibe, but kid version. I think she’s called Violet. Something about fairies? Errr yeah I really don’t know.

Diamond Girls: Honestly no idea. I think it’s a family of a lot of sisters and a young kind of unstable mum. The girls have to take care of each other.

Clean Break: Parents break up, I think the mum moves her and the kid(s?) away and the kids wonder why their dad doesn’t call/care… something like this?

Supernatural

Kissed by an Angel: This is a fat book like 400 pages or more. I don’t know how they filled so many pages. The main character moves to a new town after her boyfriend died in a car crash which she was also in so she is depressed, doesn’t feel like she deserves to be happy again let alone fall in love. Her dead boyfriend is an angel just chillin’ hanging out and following her around. She low key starts falling in love with a new boy and dead boy is like ‘nah fam you’re gonna die so we can be together forever’ he changes his mind and lets he live and fall for new boy the end.

Generation Dead/Kiss of Life: There’s a virus that only affects teenagers, where they died and become undead. Only the ones that die become undead, to clarify. I did start this reread end of 2020 but put it down and didn’t get back to it. Basically main character Phoebe, goth chick with long black hair falls for a zombie jock, her best friend Adam who is also a jock is also in love with her and has a shitty home life. Their group also had a friend that became a zombie who they don’t talk to anymore. It’s kind of a story of learning to accept zombie people and a vague commentary on the PC culture with language. I find it’s very relevant to the disabled community in the ways that zombie bodies act and look different in a selection of ways (this can be read as Neuro Diversity, Mental Illness, Physical Disabilities, etc.) and the adaptations made for them but also the language used, like I don’t think they can say zombie I think it’s like the living impaired or someshit which sounds SO SIMILAR to handi-capped and differently-abled and special needs, etc. SO I definitely want to re-read this series to be able to use this as a comparative between real life as a disabled person and what’s written in this book.

Lord Loss: I’m not actually sure I read this book the whole way through in the first place so I don’t really remember much but I do remember it being very creepy and people disappearing and gore. I think it is a short book and part of a series but I just want to check it out to finally decide if I think it’s a good series or not?

Vampyr Legion: I think this is a ‘I’ve been sucked into a video game and can’t leave until I complete it’ book, like the Jumanji film remake but with Vampires and maybe Werewolves? Anything else? Couldn’t tell you but I remember being able to read it as a stand alone even though it is the second in a series.

haruhi fujioka OHSHC
Haruhi from OHSHC

Manga

I will be doing a manga marathon video if you want to be updated on what I think of these. I did also read a series last year, Chibi Vampire, you can check that video out first to see if that is something you’d want to watch again.

Ouran High-School Host Club 1-6: A Poor student Haruhi gains a scholarship to a very expensive private school, accidentally smashes a ridiculously expensive vase and is instantly recruited into the Host Club (low-key kinda a pimp club where the boys of the school romance the girls…) Haruhi is actually a girl. But now leads life a a boy at school and kinda likes it! Also I’m pretty sure several of the host club boys fall in love with her. Tamaki is always trying to make her wear femme clothes which always bothered me, but otherwise I liked him quite a lot.

Arata: The Legend 1: I don’t remember reading this but I remember reading the plot. A Princess? Doesn’t want to be a princess and somehow swaps places with a boy who looks exactly like her and has the same name.

Blue Exorcist 1-5: Rin? I think is the main character or is the twin of the main character. Main character! Is the son of satan? I guess… or a demon… their ‘father’ is Father something, a pastor who is also an exorcist. Main character joins exorcist school which he didn’t know about for his whole life because he is part demon and I don’t know they were trying to let him lead a normal life. His twin has already mastered and become an exorcist and a teacher. There’s a very clear hetero girl love interest for the main character but BUT it is manga and there is always homosexual tension. Either the pink haired dude, or the angry one he fights with a lot. Considering I owned the DVD I don’t remember a lot.

Mega Tokyo 1-5: This is a manga made by a non-native of Japan. I think it is a couple of white guys (Americans?) who moved to Tokyo and live there and have adventures. I don’t know if they actually live in Japan or if that was just the comic but the characters are based off the creator and his friends. It’s pretty straight so I think it’ll be another read again and sell/donate.

Full Metal Alchemist 1-15: Ed and his brother Al try to bring their mum back to life after their dad is a dick and pisses off. Al becomes soul in large tin suit and Ed will forever wear gloves. They have adventures to learn Alchemy, what they did wrong, to find and defeat their dad??? And try to get Al his or a body to return to. Probably one of the few times I have a straight ship I actually really Like Ed and Winny? I dunno, I said I was doing this without refreshing my memory and that’s what I’m doing. But there is a guy later on who creates homosexual tensions with Ed but I don’t know how old either of them are or if it is appropriate.

Non-Fic

Hungry by Crystal Renn: this book I mentioned in my Non-Fic Recs video too, I talk about it there so I’ll save myself the embarrassment from trying to remember what I said.

If you’re curious about what books I wouldn’t read, then check out this video My Anti-TBR. I’m thinking of bringing back my Read With Me live streams but to my Twitch, let me know if you think I should and give me a follow I’m halfway to 50 follows! I do have a lot of book related content planned still, as Lockdown in the UK doesn’t appear to be ending and even if it did I don’t know if I would feel safe doing things outside. I have a couple non-bookish things I want to try and create but it’s mainly books over here right now! Follow the blog! Follow my Twitter and Instagram. I have some blackout poetry art available for sale on my Facebook so please check it out and get in contact if you want to buy!

~ Artie

they/them

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Why I Buy Books Second Hand (#SecondHandSeptember)

buying books second hand post

Hey Pals,

As it is secondhand September, I wanted to use this as a chance to discuss my recent reading TBR piles and book hauls, which mostly (if not entirely) include nothing but white cis straight writers who are relatively mainstream, or at least were when the books were originally published. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ve had a slowly growing collection of books that are made up of mainly secondhand books I’ve picked up whilst charity shopping or browsing Amazon with a gift certificate. Shopping in real life, it’s near impossible picking up anything classed as diverse, I think the closest I could have gotten was when Love, Simon came out I started seeing the books in charity shops.

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There can be an issue of consumerism within the book community and I am not the first person to talk about this at all! There are a couple of livestreams I’ve saved that I plan on watching but haven’t had the chance yet. But haul posts on instagram, bookblogs and booktube are pretty popular and bring in an audience, possibly of people who can’t afford to spend this much money on books. I have also seen friends on twitter mention about the price difference between Europe/U.S to places in Asia, where new titles take longer to be delivered but also cost a lot more to buy brand new. I see a lot of books in the UK tend to be anywhere from £7-£20 depending on if it’s hardback, includes images, etc. which is a lot to me, as someone who does not have a regular income, but this is even higher in other locations around the world, which lends to people buying ebook versions instead (but I’ve also seen some new ebooks also cost a lot, like close to the cost of a physical book which I find weird and would like to learn more about…).

The struggle with second hand shopping is that you are limited to what’s currently available either in the store on online. It can be hard to have a list of books you are looking for when second hand shopping, because they aren’t often readily available. I shop for books in a variety of ways, I used to use Amazon but I am trying to venture away from doing this (as you know) besides that, I often browse charity shop bookshelves if I’m out, and have started browsing the possibilities of Facebook marketplace/groups and have grabbed a few cheap or free books that way too. I think it’s probably easier to search for specific books through apps like depop, as a lot of people do sell their old books there and some indie bookshops have set up pages, but other than that, it can be hard to find what you are looking for quickly and easily.

I decided to speak to a few people about their book buying habits and why they mainly buy second hand, curious to see if other people have similar experiences and reasons as myself. I spoke to a few people who all had a range of book buying needs and wants: mystical fiction, thriller/crime, historical fiction, YA fantasy, course textbooks, poetry, essays, LGBT+ writing.

Overall, it was agreed that buying second hand can be difficult when you have specific tastes that maybe don’t fit the donors who give their books away, especially shopping in store. Nicole said, “I do find that a lot of used book stores do have an older selection and not too many new works to choose from. I currently live on Long Island and it’s difficult to get thrifted books in person so I buy online, but I spend a decent amount of time in NYC where access to used books is a little easier.” I definitely found shopping second hand was easier when I lived in Greater London, so I think there’s a correlation between shopping in cities vs. more suburban or rural areas and the kinds of items that are donated. I would assume more diverse books and more textbooks in areas near universities. Many students often have to quickly dispose of large sums of items before moving home or to their next residence, so donating to local charity shops is likely the easiest way to do this. Plus, the richer the area the more likely you’ll find some expensive finds for cheap.

Jae said, “I can usually find a lot of books in [the] genres that I read except for my lesbian fiction, but John Grisham and Michael Crichton are two old man writers so I can easily find them and their books. And sometimes you just have to wait around for the right book to come in.” Obviously you can get lucky by finding rare and diverse books on occasion but it helps if you actually enjoy reading the genres that come in the most. I find nonfiction is pretty common in most charity shops in the UK and nearly all of my nonfiction books were bought second hand.

Sarah said, “I mostly end up buying them online. Trying to buy second-hand in my area is more like occasionally finding a good novel amongst twenty-thousand copies of Danielle Steele and Nora Roberts. They are definitely not diverse in person very often. There’s one booth of a flea market I used to love going to because they had copies of some of my favorite series, but then those sold out and now the booth is the same as the rest. I bought the majority of my books for school second hand. Thrift Books (website) was my savior. I could spend so much less on books each semester because of it. It’s hard to find textbooks on there, but sometimes you can get lucky with them as well. I also would always check Ebay and the used portion of Amazon before buying any of them. I think I only ever bought one book brand new, and it had come out just months prior and was used in all my classes. I still use it in my current classes.” I don’t know if this is a thing in the UK or if I just completely missed it due to not really needing textbooks, but it seems like buying second hand books and textbooks is a lot easier to do in the U.S? I personally don’t know of many places you can shop online for books second hand. Something I’d not really thought about until writing this, and I have realised Oxfam do actually sell books online as well as having dedicated charity shops for books. I used to buy all my books through Amazon’s second hand options when I was in university because it was fast, cheap and convenient. I wish I had thought about it and knew what I know now about the company… but I don’t know of anything quite like Thrift Books. If there’s a UK version, please let me know.

One similarity among everyone I spoke to about enjoying buying second hand was the life in the books. The idea that people had read the book before and sometimes finding handwritten notes. Nicole explained it as “I like the idea of a used book because I like knowing someone had it before me and I envision what that person’s story is. Like a story of a story.” Jae said something similar, “I also really enjoy that a lot of people have put their mark on a book and I like the story that tells too. Why did they dogmark this page? Or look here’s a note in this book. I live for that shit.” Sarah actually said they are someone who makes notes, “I’m someone who writes notes in the margins and dog-ears the pages, and I’m less willing to do those things that are natural for me in new books. Plus, buying them used means I might be buying from another note-taker, and those are always wonderful to get to see where we agree and disagree. I also really love buying books that were once library books. Ones that have received so much love in their lifetimes that they deserve to have a little bit of rest without being loved any less. I will go out of my way and spend a bit more on a copy once used in a library if it’s available.”

It seems like buying books second hand is more than just a budgeting issue and actually involves a lot of emotions to the books and the pasts attached to them. I recently opened a book I’ve had for a while, Another Bullshit Night In Suck City, and found a note written in the front that seemed to be from one partner to another and even though I may not enjoy the book (it’s too early to say) I atleast got to see this short sweet message written on the first page. I also enjoy passing on a book to someone I know as a gift and think they might enjoy or learn something from. Like my travelling book by James Baldwin, or From Baghdad With Love. The idea that the book will continue to be read even after I’m done with it is why I enjoy physical books, but I’m more likely to do this with second hand books than brand new.

Being able to buy new and diverse books is a privilege not everyone can afford. It can be hard to strike a balance between indulging in your hobby of reading in a sustainable and affordable way vs. a more diverse way that supports under-represented writers and their stories. Neither is better or worse for any reason, it’s not all black or white, good or bad. It just sucks we can’t have it all really, but a mix is healthy! Check out my birthday book haul for 80% second hand books.

In our world, consumerism is a huge problem generally, not just within the book community. I’ve been trying to really narrow down the items I own, especially books, which is why my reading has been less diverse than I want. I have so many books sitting and collecting dust, I want to at least try reading them and if they aren’t for me, then pass them on to someone else in some way. I see people feel a pressure to be up to date with the newest releases and always being ahead of the industry with reviews, but when books come out, they’re out forever. Are we never going to read an old book again, unless they are classics? Of course we are, and we should! So if you are someone who feels a pressure to buy new books all the time, try reading the books you already have first… I know many of us are guilty of this.

Thank you to the people who chatted with me! Check them out in their socials.

Jae (she/they), Sarah (they/them), and Nicole (she/her)

Read your books, kids!

~ Artie

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