The Autumn People.....

 
 photo cred: cici ford

photo cred: cici ford

 
 
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Last autumn I had every intention of doing a blog post expressing my love for the fall season, but I didn’t get content quickly enough and when I looked up it was winter. This time I will not miss the chance to share with you all the things I love about autumn. There is something about the color of the leaves, the rainy & gloomy days and the thought of pumpkin spice and crispy apples that makes me feel warm, cozy and full of joy.

 
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When I was a little girl my mom and I walked about six blocks every morning, hand in hand, to the bus stop. One autumn morning she told me to look up at God’s presence. On the corner, one block, before we reached the bus stop there was a HUGE tree and on this day I looked up and every single leaf was the brightest orange. We even stopped walking just to look up at it and in all of my childhood innocence and wonder, I fell in love with autumn. What this season holds for me is the memory of my mother and I and that’s why I love it so much.


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I asked my bookstagram friends to ask me some questions about the season but also to share their own thoughts. Here are a few of them.

Q: “Do you have any dishes you love making in autumn?” @falling4romance

A: This was my first year actually baking something successfully LOL. I am not much of a baker or really domesticated for that matter, but some of my favorites are vegetable stew, pumpkin and banana bread, cinnamon rolls, apple pancakes and butternut squash soup.

Q: “I tend to change my reads choices according to the season currently I am at do you season!?” @whatibook

A: I am typically a mood reader, but autumn is definitely a great time to think about certain stories to get cozy with. I’m intending to reread The Night Circus and The Secret History every autumn as a tradition.

Q: “What inspires you most during autumn?” @bookspectacle

A: Omg there are so many things, but the changing & falling of the leaves, the rainy days with a touch of gloom. I find I am my most creative in autumn.

Q: “[What is your] favorite kind of coffee/tea to drink in autumn?” @spunkyreads

A: I love pumpkin spice and charcoal lattes, chai and tumeric tea, hot chocolate, caramel coffee and cinnamon apple cider.

Thoughts:

“Sweaters. pretty leaves, and all the hot drinks.” @_wolfandmoon

“Hi, I’m from Indonesia. We don’t have autumn, but I always love to see autumn in other countries through social media.” @alvinaeunice


 
 Photo cred: cici ford

Photo cred: cici ford

 

I have been so inspired by everyone baking yummy autumn treats. TRUTH: I have just never been very good at baking even if I followed the directions down to the last teaspoon and maybe I psyched myself out because ladies and gentlemen we finally have success. I baked these muffins from scratch and they tasted amazing. I just played around with this recipe and added pumpkin butter on my own. I also swapped out the dairy ingredients for vegan, but I am so proud at how they turned out!!

 
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Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease six muffin cups or line with paper muffin liners.

  1. Stir together 1 1/2 cup flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt, baking powder and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Mix in oil, egg and milk. Fold in apples. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling to the top of the cup.

  2. In a small bowl, stir together 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, butter and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Mix together with fork and sprinkle over unbaked muffins.

  3. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.

 
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There were two things I got to check off my autumnal bucket list this year. I got to see The 25 year anniversary of The Nightmare before Christmas with a live orchestra. It was beyond magical and I finally went to a pumpkin patch with my family. We ate apple cider donuts, had hot chocolate, got on a big slide which was a lot scarier than I thought LOL and of course snagged a few pumpkins. You can watch my little adventure on my IGTV on Instagram . The air was cool and there was an apple pie and cinnamon scent everywhere we turned. It was honestly one of the best days!


 
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There is nothing better on an autumn day {especially if it’s raining} than curling up with a good book and something warm to drink or listening to music.

Here are a few of my favorite chill autumn tunes for you to download to your spotify & reads for you to add to your tbr for the season.


I hope this post made you feel super cozy and happy. I’m going to be doing a mini autumn look-book in the next post - just some of my favorite pieces so stay tuned. I’ll leave you with a few of my favorite autumn quotes & thank you so much for reading this and for taking a few minutes out of your day to spend time on my blog. Sending you all the love and happy autumn vibes!!

 
 

Dear Book Snobs,

 
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Of course addressing these sorts of topics are always met with apprehension. Especially the fact that we have entered into this place within the digital divide where every single thing is a trigger. LITERALLY EVERYTHING, so I jotted down all of my thoughts and emotions about all of the negative comments I have been seeing about bookstagram and reconfigured them to nix any frustration that may spill over and turn THIS into a negative blog post that will end up being counter productive. 

"Photos of Murakami and Toni Morrison with props? Why?"

"People buy books for pretty covers? LOL"

"Bookstagrammers are sheep."

"I don't understand photographing books."

"They aren't reading the books they're posting."

"Who color codes their bookshelves?"

"Bookstagram is all about aesthetics."

"What adult reads YA books?"

"I don't consider myself a bookstagrammer because I read REAL books."

If your're thinking I created these sentiments to make a point, I didn't. They're real unfortunately. For the past few months I have seen every one of these questions and comments said and asked about the bookstagram community and each time I saw one, I wrote it down knowing that this blog post would go live someday. 

The first thought that people have when you address these things is "well it must be about you, or you're gulity, if you're responding to it." However, I fully disagree. I did not take ANY of these things personally, but as an active member of the reading community I felt I wanted to contribute some food for thought. The undertone of these opinions come off as if there is some "literary hierarchy" WHEN THERE IS NOT. I don't understand how any of these things are connected to the amount of reading someone is or isn't doing. I also wonder how this is gauged through the digital portal that is a phone screen. Unless you live with someone there is no way for you to know whether they are reading or not. This is all based on a bunch of assumptions without fact.

 
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Bookstagram is a powerful community. I receive DMs and emails from people that say, "I read____*insert book*_____because of you." I am sure I am not the only one who receives these messages, but that means something to me as a person who has been reading nearly her entire life. It doesn't matter if I snapped a photo of a book in my hand with no bells and whistles or if I went full flatlay; coffee, candle, the works. It's not as if someone is serving you a full course meal on a garbage can lid. It's just presentation. Judging someone's reading life simply because they choose to make their photos "eye catching" is a bit foolish. We're not posting for Time magazine or National Geographic here. It's mostly a bunch of regular everyday people with regular everyday lives using Instagram to share their bookish passions. REMINDER: Instagram is a PHOTO SHARING APP as in VISUALS. Let's not forget that. Remind me again why Audre Lorde, Faulkner and Murakami cannot be laid next to props. Explain to me the logic in this. If they are placed with these things does that mean I didn't read them? How is all of it determined?

Mentioning those particular authors is also the perfect segue to my next point. So let's, for example, say you only read Sylvia Plath, Joan Didion, {I HOPE TO READ WORK FROM BOTH OF THEM BY THE WAY}, and other authors in these "sort of" categories. Where are you ranked versus someone that only reads YA? Or if you only read classics? *scratches chin* Are you the "better reader”? If you answered yes to this, then congratulations you're a book snob and if that is a self proclaimed title you are proud of, by all means, do you!!!!!!!!! The problem is you don't need to use this title to bury other readers in the dirt who aren't reading what YOU'RE reading. It's not okay for me or anyone to assume you are a pretentious human because of your reading selections so grant others the same non judgmental attitude. Take the high road as my mom says.   

 
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Why is there such a double standard and a huge hypocrisy? You are allowed to read ONLY certain types of books that you consider "real reading", but that doesn't work the other way around when it includes YA, High Fantasy or Dystopian or the like. I, myself am not a huge YA reader, but if I see a story that intrigues me, I will pick it up and read it. YA or not. I think the most disappointing aspect of this entire situation is that reading is supposed to bring people together but instead bookstagram is divided into these groups and subgroups where one's nose is turned up towards the other. For clarity, there is NOTHING wrong with just following people that read the books you're reading or that you have an interest in. Booksta is vast so there's no need to trash others from YOUR corner of it. REFLECTION: Have you ever considered IG's demographic? This does NOT apply to all, but if we're being an open book ;-), how many thirteen, fourteen and fifteen year-old's do you think are reading  Faulkner, Joan Didion, Toni Morrison, Nobakov, African Literature, Essays or Dostoyevsky? Some but not a whole lot.

Instead of bashing a whole community of people who find simple joys in having fun, {because that's what it's supposed to be anyway} coffee shops, autumn and taking photos of the books they love or want to read as much as you do, why not say, "Hey, I notice there is a lack of these kinds of authors & stories so I am starting this project and I'd love for you to be a part of it." Take your misplaced frustration, change your tone and turn it into something positive because...

NO ONE WILL LISTEN TO YOUR POINT OF VIEW PAST YOUR INSULTS.

The other question I have for you is this. Are people not allowed to discuss their lifestyle and other interests outside of reading? Also how many books do you finish at one time? I ask  because thinking that EVERY. SINGLE. CAPTION. should be a book review is also not very logical. Where are these rules coming from? People work. Have families and friends. Write. Thrift shop. Bujo lol. Dine out. Travel. Sketch. Paint. So basically the idea is that people shouldn't post unless it's about a book. Bookstagram will always be bookstagram even when people are talking about life, but my mom DID NOT name me "bookstagrammer" or any other person's mom that is a member of the community LOL.

You are a human who loves to read. Not a reader who happens to be human. This means there are other things to be shared, but because someone posts "too many" consecutive photos NOT highlighting a book review in every caption, they couldn't possibly be reading. It is absolutely possible for things to happen in one's life and it not be posted to social media. If you think that it's impossible even in the scope of reading,  than I would definitely consider taking a break. If bookstagram is made up of a bunch of sheep then there's a seat saved for you as well. If you are truly an intellect based solely on what you're reading than I would think you are intelligent and open enough to know that often times people use reading to decompress, for self care, to escape, to relax and that doesn't always include Instagram.

Recently I went on an unplanned hiatus from Instagram. I went three weeks without posting and in that three weeks I finished 6 books. I haven't posted about them yet, added them as 'read' on Goodreads. They are posted nowhere, but if I talk about autumn and coffee in the mean time, I'm not reading. Allow that sink in. There is no rule saying that people HAVE to post them to prove to others that they are reading. I can assure you it's madness and I think that's the basis of this new found book snob culture. If you're not posting the books you're reading then you're just not. IG is a receipt I suppose. 

Someone who reads only YA is still a reader.

Someone who reads only classics is a reader.

Someone who reads only African Literature is a reader.

Someone who has a theme is a reader.

Someone that obsesses over Autumn is a reader. 

Someone that DOES NOT want to read Crime & Punishment is a reader.

Someone that posts NO BOOKS AT ALL is a reader.

Someone who doesn't post to social media IS a reader.


You choose what you like. Let others do the same. It's an app designed to share whatever. I would also like to encourage you to seek other platforms if one does not suit your taste; Goodreads, Twitter, Online book clubs that read specific genres and authors. You should not be feeling any level of frustration over something so irrelevant. Channel some of that angst towards social issues not who color codes their bookshelf & who you THINK isn't reading because of it and if they are a "bookstagrammer" then they SHOULD be posting books 24 hours a day, you know, according to you. NOTE: You should also be fairly unbothered by people you DON'T follow anyway. Focus and cultivate bookish relationships where you see fit. Inspire others to read different genres, post a How-To to your blog, or whatever platform you use, about writing academic reviews. If you’re a book god, use your power for good. Create something for teens to get them to read Bronte or War & Peace or James Baldwin. When I saw a lack of classics by people of color, I added that to my highlights. It’s a project I am still revamping. “I didn’t say, “Omg bookstagram is just racist because no one is reading classics by poc.” I saw a lack of something and a need and am trying to fill that in a positive way. Contribute positively or be silent. And yes the things I tackled here maybe "YOUR opinion" but know your opinion is toxic. 

I'm obsessed with Autumn & coffeeshops. I can be incredibly goofy and aloof but I've also read every single one of Donna Tartt's, Octavia Butler's, James Bladwin and Toni Morrison's books. Reading Murakami now and going through my African Literature collection slowly. I may post about that. I may not. 

{{{{{{Don't put people in boxes that you don't want to be put in yourself.}}}}}

 
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