And just like that, we're halfway through the year! Blink 182* is a real thing but lately, 182 sometimes feels like 365 too.

June wasn't a great month for me due to a few reasons. I didn't do everything that I wanted to and I felt a little lost, reaching for romance books again and again. Although I don't have any "big things" to catch you up on, I do have a bunch of small things to share and document in this blog that's becoming a lowkey record of my life.

Grab a drink or snack and settle into your couch. Let's get started ☕️

*in case you don't know, it's a saying that means that 182 days (half a year) pass in a blink

words on books

After reading only 6 books in May because I was spending most of my time on Anna Karenina, I was starved for more books and stories. I read 17 books in June. 6 were paperbacks and 11 were ebooks. Shockingly, 7 of them were rereads.

Although I usually reread around a couple of books every month, I rarely reread so many. The fact that I reached for comfort reads often shows what a bummer of a month I had.

I hauled many new books, though! I have a few books that I've been wanting to unhaul for ages so I finally did. I went to the bookstore on two consecutive days to unhaul books and buy new ones with the credit. I hauled 5 new books. Currently, my shelf has 13 unread books that I'm excited to get to.

My shelf contains a total of around 50 books only—I did not get bitten by the book hoarding bug—and the number of unread books usually stays around 8 including any borrowed ones. But since I unhauled a lot and had space, I filled it up with new books haha.

I love seeing my shelf filled with more possibilities now. Sometimes, I just stare at my shelf, struggling to decide what to read next, haha. If my reading lately has been any indication, I'll be reading the books randomly depending on my mood.

Here are some quick thoughts on the new books that I read in June:

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy was the first book that I finished in June. It took me about a month to read and it was lovely. There were a couple of things that I didn't like about it but I loved almost everything else. I love how we get to know the characters. I love that it's a slice-of-life story. And I'm glad that I could conquer a 960-page book without much struggle, haha. A full review of this is coming soon!

The Door-to-Door Bookstore by Carsten Henn. I wanted a light-hearted, cozy book after Anna Karenina so I picked this up. Unfortunately, it was not light-hearted. It's pretty sad at times but overall is so heartwarming and renews hope in humanity. The characters were so lovely, especially the little girl. It reminded me just a tad bit of A Man Called Ove.

Just For The Summer by Abby Jimenez. I absolutely loved Yours Truly so I had high expectations of this book, and I ended up really liking it. The characters meet due to an AITA Reddit post which immediately makes it a fun romance. It had a few emotionally heavy parts but was super fun otherwise. I liked how the main guy created surveys and e-invites before every date. I liked the family bonding the most. I've read the last 2 chapters at least 5 times because I find it so nice.

Cleopatra and Frankenstein by Coco Mellors. The cover is super pretty but I HATED the story. 3 words are enough to describe it—alcohol, drugs, and sex. Every character in the book is an addict, none of them live good lives, and everything is a mess for no reason. It had no substance! I vented my frustration by adding reading commentary in the last half. This review sums up why the book is so bad. This will probably be my worst read of the year.

Not So Truly Yours by Julia Wolf. I loved the previous book in the series P.S. You're Intolerable and looked forward to this one. Out of all the male leads, Miles in this book was my favourite. There is no way that I could've disliked the man with the golden retriever energy who goes above and beyond to help the people around him but doesn't think they would do the same for him. It was great to watch him fall in love and find his family. The previous book's romance is still my favourite but this was something a little different and nice.

My friend was unhauling a bunch of books and didn't want to buy much with the credit because she already had a ton of books, so she asked if I wanted anything. I asked for either Days at the Morisaki Bookshop or What You're Looking For is In The Library. She had enough credit to get me both so I finally read these two super popular books.

Days at the Morisaki Bookshop by Satoshi Yagisawa. I like how books about bookstores are trendy now. This book was quick-paced and had a lot in 169 pages. It was a breezy read that I finished in one afternoon. It would make a good vacation read. It's not something that I would cherish for a long time, though.

What You Are Looking For is in the Library by Michiko Aoyama. This was SO GOOD. I loved the writing, the characters, the setting, and especially the different messages shown. Reading it was comforting and motivating. I'll be posting a full review on this soon.

I Want to Die But I Want to Eat Tteokbokki by Baek Sehee. I bought this in June with the bookstore credit from my unhauls. It's popular and I kind of expected it to love it a lot. Unfortunately, it was pretty meh for me. While the author's writing is nice, the format of the book didn't work for me. It randomly shifted between audio transcripts and the author's thoughts. The thoughts are always short and random. A couple of things were a bit triggering for me because of my past experiences but otherwise, I was underwhelmed and I didn't like it. I can see why it would be comforting for some people but it wasn't for me at this stage of my life. The main thing that stood out was finally seeing someone talk about struggling due to their eczema and how it makes them vulnerable—I related to it so hard.

The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco. After hearing so much about it, I finally started reading the series. Almost the entirety of book 1 is a setup for the rest of the story. It's all about introducing the characters, the world, the magic system and magical beings. We see the main character learning about her abilities and growing into a powerful Dark Asha. The alternating chapters between present and past with different POVs and styles was really annoying for half the book but I finally got used to it.

The Heart Forger by Rin Chupeco. Did I say I got used to the shifting POVs and timelines? It gave me a headache in this book. The stories in both timelines picked up and they were interesting but the constant and quick switch between the timelines didn't allow me to enjoy either to the fullest.

In July, I'll be continuing The Bone Witch series. I've been seeing a lot of people praising Ali Hazelwood's books lately so I may read a few of her romance books as well. The only book I read was The Love Hypothesis which was okay. With the hype continuing years after her first book, I'm hoping the newer books show improvement.

I'm also considering starting War & Peace. Maybe. I want to join in on the A Year of War & Peace readathon hosted on the stuffcelinereads Discord channel. Although, I might want a longer break before picking up another huge classic. I also don't think I have the patience to catch up with everyone else and slowly read one or two chapters a day for the rest of the year, haha. We'll see. I want to read it by the end of the year, though.

words on the blog

Early into the month, I got this wonderful comment from Kimberli (AKA freddikb) that made my day: "I absolutely adore your posts. In the era of fast-paced and everything vlog, I enjoy taking the moments to sit with coffee and read, actually read, your posts. They inspire me in so many ways."

That stayed with me throughout the month and provided me with motivation whenever I was grasping for it. The thing is, they accurately grasped why I blog and write the way I do. This world is constantly looking for ways to be more productive, do more in less time, and consume more all the time. That's exhausting. I don't want to create content that furthers that agenda.

I want to create content that is friendly and comforting to read. I want you to feel like we're sitting on a couch and chatting. I purposefully don't start my posts with "hi", "how are you", etc. because I want it to be like we're picking up an unfinished conversation.

I stubbornly refuse to make my posts shorter and stop being so "wordy". I refuse to pick and choose my content based on what's more valuable or what will help you do better in your life—there are already so many people doing that. There is worth in going your own way. There is worth in being slow, compassionate, and friendly.

Some days, it feels like I'm working against the tide. Creating content for Instagram is a tad easier simply because more people are spending time there. It's easier to feel like you're doing good there because more people are on that platform ready to engage with good content.

But there's this charm, this depth, in blogging that I don't see anywhere else. Even though I'm working against the tide, it's worth it. And comments like Kimberli's that make me feel seen and make me feel like my effort here is worth it are all the more special.

I'm going off on a tangent but it made me feel so appreciated, like this tiny corner of the internet is worth it, and I wanted to share that feeling. The motivation from it helped me make more small changes in future blog posts which I've been considering.

illustration of a workspace at home showing a desk with a monitor, keyboard, mouse on a mousepad, and a glass and spectacles. the wall behind the monitor has two paintings.

For a while a few years back, I was obsessed with making this blog like a "website." I was inspired by websites run by companies or multiple contributors and tried to make my blog like that. It wasn't a bad decision as such—I enjoyed it for a while and anything enjoyable is good—but it took this site in a slightly different direction.

As I was starting over when I went self-hosted, I took the opportunity to "rebrand." The aesthetic choices were good and I was happy with the content changes at that time. I decided that I wouldn't write "personal" posts and that I wouldn't do tags or any "random" posts. I made an announcement post called The BETTER Wordy Habitat, made my old site private, and rolled on with it.

I focused more on SEO because it was a fun challenge for me to figure out. I focused on making each of my posts easier to read and better formatted. I proofread each post twice and even asked my best friend to proofread them. I was trying to make this blog like a website.

Lately, I'm questioning it a little. I know that it comes with growing and changing priorities but that doesn't make it any less nostalgic or disappointing. I don't care about SEO anymore because I figured out the algorithm at the time and it got boring. I am slowly changing my content back to what it was as well.

I don't know how many of you were around before my self-hosted days. I posted thrice every week* and wrote about anything and everything that came to mind. I shared readathon updates and my poetry. I wrote "blogs" similar to vlogs where I updated it like a diary at different times of the day. I wrote a series of "If We Were Having Tea..." posts where I would write a stream of my thoughts with no structuring or proofreading (the original chat-on-the-couch vibe).

I pursued whatever seemed interesting. I interviewed bloggers in a series called Blogletters (and I made it quite interesting if I can say so myself). I made posts with my best songs of each month. I wrote a post called "2 Truths and 1 Lie" where you had to guess the lies in a series of sets (similar to the games that Naemi posts) which was SO FUN—I even made all my real-life friends guess and it was hilarious. My friends said that the post gave them trust issues because they didn't know that I could lie so well 😂

I mentioned in my May wrap-up that I started reading a few of my old posts randomly. Well, I kinda continued that. I open my old blog sometimes and just scroll. The posts are actually so fun and I miss writing and recording my life that way. I love looking back on those memories and seeing what my mind occupied with. It also reminds me of the small things like what my friends and I used to do during the pandemic to stay connected.**

* I cannot even imagine posting that often now.

** I used to arrange tea time video calls where we'd get together around 5 pm and chat and play games online. I sent email invites and tried to make it a fun thing.

illustration of 5 books kept standing next to each other and a cup on the right

Because of how impersonal I kept this blog in the last few years, I don't have more memories recorded. I mourn that so I want to do it more now. This is why, lately, these wrap-ups are becoming mini-rambles even if the topic doesn't really make sense to have 1k words dedicated to it. I know that I tend to overthink things but I don't mind sharing these silly worries here because it's my space, you know? I shouldn't add guard rails for myself.

My book reviews are going to become a bit more personal as well. You will start noticing this in my next review (of Anna Karenina). Instead of trying to be completely objective, I want to record my experience and the memories that are tied to the book as well.

If you think about it, so many things factor into reading. You come across books in a myriad of ways and they can affect when you read it or why you stuck with it through the first half. I want to record and share the tangential memories tied to my books. I want to share if a friend gave me the book and why they thought that I would like it. I want to talk about whether I read the book only at night and why. Because, in the future, those memories also matter—and may matter more.

I did not mean to write any of the above, lol. I meant to write a couple of paragraphs on the comment and completely went on a tangent. I hope you enjoyed it 😂

Basically, it was a long-winded way of sharing that I'm going to treat this as a blog again. I'm not too sure whether I'll go back to making posts like 2-truths-and-1-lie but we'll see.

Until then, do catch up on my recent posts if you haven't:

  • My review of I Hope This Doesn't Find You is finally up! I procrastinated a lot but I eventually sat down and wrote it because it deserves a full review.
  • I was hoping to write a good review of Feel-Good Productivity but it's actually a negative one. I did not enjoy the book and it will be easily lost in the sea of similar self-help books.
  • After months of drafting bits of it in my head and spending a week furiously writing it, I can proudly share my first very random, personal, and rambly post — A Year With An Apple Watch. I loved writing it and I'm super happy with it. It is also 7k words which I did not expect but hey, that's what happens when I don't curb my thoughts.

I'm already working on another "A Year...." post because a bunch of things hit the 1-year mark recently. I have one in progress which I will probably slowly toil on for a month and it might end up longer than the Apple Watch post. There's a third one that I will start after I'm done with the second.

But before that, I'll be sharing my 2024 Mid-Year Notes soon! I always love writing them (check out my older ones here). This year's will be a little sparse in events but I'll probably make up for it by going off in tangents like above. Hopefully, it will be live in a couple of weeks.

Lots of fun blog posts to write and not enough time to write them all soon. I'm glad that I'm excited, though. It's been long since I felt this level of excitement.

Meanwhile, here are a couple of older posts that I'm still proud of which you should read if you haven't yet:

content consumed

I didn't consume as much content in June, probably because I spent most of my time reading. However, I did take time out to read blogs when I was bored or commuting. I watched videos when I ate breakfast as usual.

Blog Posts

As I don't have social media on my phone and have been clicking on my Feedly app more lately, I'm noticing that I don't have enough blog posts to read. I'm going through new posts too quickly when I'm reading during my commute or tea time.

A couple of weeks back, I cleaned up the inactive blogs from my following list and realized why I seem to run through new posts so fast. Dozens of the blogs I followed have gone inactive. Some blogs have been inactive for YEARS. I didn't even realize that some of them had stopped posting which was sad and I hope the bloggers are doing great.

It also means that I need new blogs to follow. So, share your favourite blogs with me in the comments!

Videos

  • I liked Marques Brownlee's video on AI the product vs AI the feature. If you're a programmer, you'll understand what I mean when I say that it's like using ChatGPT vs Github Copilot. Can I copy over my code to ChatGPT and ask it to do something and copy it back over? Yes. But I would rather have Github Copilot integrated into my editor, giving me suggestions and making my code better in two clicks. I would rather it easily write test cases for me because it knows my code without me doing anything extra. It autocompletes what I'm typing based on context too. AI as a feature is the future and I hope we see more progress in that direction rather than having more isolated AI tools.
  • Sarah Pan's first podcast on the opportunity cost of your 20s was interesting too. Although I never thought about it specifically before, I do sometimes think about how my life is this way because I picked one thing over another before and how my choices today will also have a big impact in the future. This line was so interesting, "the earlier you experience something new, the more mental currency it has and the more valuable it is later in life." It got me into a thought rabbit hole so I brought it up for discussion in the Blog & Chill Discord channel and we had a good chat about it. I wish the video went into the topic with more depth, though.

Speaking of, if you're a blogger, do join us on the Blog & Chill Discord channel! We have events every month to catch up, discuss anything, or do some activities together.

TV Shows

  • Bridgerton season 3 part 2 was released and I binged it on the same day. I didn't like part 1 much and expected that this would be a disappointing season. However, the second half pulled through and made it great. I loved the last episode. The bit about gossip being information reminded me of Nia's newsletter on the topic which I spoke about in May's wrap-up too and I liked that the show addressed it.
illustration of an open laptop, japanese boba tea, and a small plant

words on my 2024 goals

My reading goal is going splendidly because I read so much in June, significantly bumping up the number to 72/100 books. The progress would be much less if I didn't count rereads but since I'm reading the entire book, I might as well count it. At the rate I'm going, I will probably finish 100 books in another 2-3 months.

My blogging goal is complete! I started the year at a blogging high after over a year and managed to keep it up. I published 25 blog posts before half the year passed. The current count (including this post) is 28. *pats self on the back* The point of the goal was to get me back to blogging regularly and it worked well, haha. I'm looking forward to posting more exciting stuff 😌

I've been cooking much more as well. Although my goal is technically to learn specific dishes, the aim is to cook more and enjoy the process. I haven't been making my favourite dishes, I have been learning more in the kitchen, which is good. There are a few obstacles that I've identified so far which make me not want to cook, I'll have to think about it more to fix them.

I spent some time reflecting on and updating my goals as well. I'll talk about it in my Mid-Year Notes post.

words on life & other stuff

June wasn't a great month for me. I fell sick twice in two consecutive weeks and my mom fell ill the week after that. The weather changes have brought about nasty seasonal bugs and everyone is falling sick. It's like a bug roulette at the office.

Because of that, I didn't exercise much in the month. Playing and running make my days better so not having that put a damper on my days too.

The saddest part was that I didn't go on my planned trip at the end of the month. It's been over six months since my last vacation and I really needed time away. My colleagues planned a short weekend trip and I was looking forward to getting away from daily life, even if it was for only a couple of days.

Unfortunately, my mom fell sick the week before the trip and she was not in a good condition. High fever, cold, throat infection, headaches, body pain—she had all of it. I became very worried because it's been long since she's been in such a condition.

She hadn't recovered by the time the trip dates arrived and I decided to not go. I didn't want to leave her alone for two days. I wouldn't have enjoyed the trip properly if I had gone anyway because I'd have been worried about her the entire time.

It was the right decision but I was quite disappointed on the day of the trip. The trip was small enough that it isn't something that I'll really miss out on. I was mourning my couple of days of break, mostly. I'll have to take a vacation soon. I don't know where or with whom but I want to go somewhere and just chill for a few days without travelling during the days.

A colleague and I were talking about why I was backing out from the trip and we got to the topic of how our parents are growing old. They're not at the age where we can just go wherever and whenever without worrying about them anymore. I am keenly aware of my mom's age and condition now. It feels like I've reached another stage of adulthood.

Since I didn't go on the trip (where I was going to stay in a beautiful bungalow built by Charles Dickens & family having a beautiful view and which my colleagues said was very cool), I made up for it a bit by going out on both days of the weekend. I met a couple of my friends as well.

illustration depicting reading at a bakery cafe with an open book, a cup of coffee, and a cinnamon roll

The brightest spot of my month was the day I met my reader friends. We try to meet at least once every month and we always have such a good time. We couldn't meet in May which was a huge bummer so spending a day with them in June was like a balm to my stressful days.

I splurged on a Page Anchor in June which made me a bit happier. I've been wanting a Page Anchor for a very long time—I love how they look on all the Instagram posts—but didn't buy it because of the price. I can afford it now but it is still quite expensive for a tiny thing. The dollar-to-rupee ratio makes the price even more bloated.

But one day, I finally caved and bought it. I wanted to treat myself and I honestly just really wanted it. I want something to hold my books open as I copy quotes on a blog post or have coffee while reading. And I think that looking at it will make me happy. So I bought it.

However, I won't be getting it until December. The shipping price was way too much and was the main reason I didn't buy it before. Now, a friend of mine stays in the US and agreed to bring it when she comes to India at the end of the year. So I bought the item and sent it to her place. I just have to wait for 6 more months now 🙂

While we were chatting on Blog & Chill Discord channel, Clo brought up astrocartography which I had not heard of before. I signed up on a website and saw my lines too. It was interesting but didn't feel accurate. It reminded me of MBTI so I retook the MBTI test and got INFJ.

I've been taking the test every few years whenever I remember it and have been consistently getting alternate results. I first took the MBTI test in 10th grade and got INTJ. A few years later—in 12th grade or first two years of college—I got INFJ. Then, in 2021, I got INTJ. And now, I got INFJ again.

Whatever result I get matches my personality at the time. Since INTJ and INFJ differ only by one thing, it makes sense that I keep volleying between the two. Funnily, this time, my Thinking vs Feeling % is on the border with 49% vs 51%. I am INFJ by just 2%. A different answer to any question might have made me INTJ.

I was super interested in it in my 2nd year of high school and read about all the types. I made all my friends take the test too. My interest in it has waned after that and now it's a small silly thing that I think about rarely. My personality determines the classification and not the other way around so I don't think about it much. In a few years, I'll take the test again to see if I get INTJ lol.

In July, I'm hoping for a break. I want a vacation. I want time off. Another group of colleagues are planning a trip with a lot of sightseeing which will probably make me more tired but I'll still go. I want to get away from this city and my daily life for a bit.

Here's to hoping for a more joyful and less stressful month 🥂

chat with me!

How was your June? What books did you read and what did you watch? What's your MBTI type and has it changed over the years? Tell me in the comments!

photo of Sumedha

Sumedha spends her days reading books, bingeing Kdramas, drawing illustrations, and blogging while listening to Lo-Fi music. Read more ➔

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23 comments

  • Riza @ Pages and Coffee Cups says:

    I just gotten back to reading backposts in my feed and I'm glad I came across this. Tbh, I also felt like maintaining a blog is an uphill battle in this time of 'fast micro content'. A lot of the bloggers I follow before as well kind of shifted to newsletters now. But I still find myself hesitant to let go of my blog. Tbh, I am just maintaining it now for myself which I think is a healthy balance for me. Love your content Sumedha! And thank you for always commenting and visiting my blog. Means a lot! 🙂

    Reply ➔