i kinda read 5 self-help books in 5 days so you don’t have to

I think this was the first big experiment in not using Goodreads and being pressured to finish one book at a time.

I bought a bunch of books based on podcasts I listened to, human recommendations, and vague interests when I was 16 — so back in 2013.

A lot of them ended up being about career-oriented self-help. I had no clue what I was going to do, I just knew that I probably wasn’t going to college and I had no idea how people survived in the world. I was also thoroughly depressed.

I used to think that books held secrets. I couldn’t afford to buy the self-help books that everyone said were life changing (that Parachute one? 4-Hour Work Week? Others???), so I used to read every summary and listen to every interview with the authors. I still thought they held secrets. If only I could get my hands on them…

I read every book that someone bought for me almost immediately. I thought I owed it to them. I also was able to start buying my own once I turned 16, and then that archive started to build up a little bit.

Some were life-changing. How could I not believe books had secrets?

It turns out, most were not.

I’m nearing the end of my time in LA, sitting in my childhood bedroom, with the books I left behind staring at me. I’d never opened most of these.

I decided that in the last week I was here, I would read the 6 directly self-help books still on my shelf.

Let’s dicuss.

Book #1: Mastery by Robert Greene

This is the longest of the books, clocking in at ~320 pages. Who knew self-help books were so freaking short?

I expected it to be pretentious and irritating.

It was.

But it was also kind of fun. There’s a lot of fun, historical stories told in a really engaging way.

In particular, I really liked the parts about social politicking in order to get ahead. I legitimately found that useful and relevant.

But god, it starts with a find your calling thing, and it’s 2020, and we all know that’s really dumb.

Book #2: The Education of Millionaires by Michael Ellsberg

I hated this. I dropped it.

It’s repetitive as hell. The advice is antiquated. All of the testimonials are from like… bloggers and Peter Thiel. This is some scam artist Dale Stephens Uncollege type of nonsense. I can’t believe I used to be into this stuff.

I used to believe.

Anyway, don’t read it. It’s very bad. It’s so 2011.

Blogging is dead, All the old bloggers are dead. There’s no future in a one-man media brand business anymore, Michael.

Book #3: The Happiness of Pursuit by Chris Guillebeau

I liked this one. I just had an issue with it — it kind of starts with the fundamental conceit that you’re unsatisfied with your life.

I guess, doesn’t all self-help start with the fundamental conceit that you’re unhappy with your life?

I’m pretty happy with my life. I definitely don’t want to go through the effort of a quest.

But, nice writing. I liked reading about Chris’ travelogues. He seems like a likable dude. I’m just not his audience.

Book #4: Choose Yourself by James Altucher

I’ve always hated James Altucher.

I think he’s a scam artist.

Read this author bio:

James Altucher is a successful entrepreneur, chess master, investor, and writer. He has started and run more than 20 companies, and sold several of those businesses for large exits. He has also run venture capital funds, hedge funds, angel funds, and currently sits on the boards of several companies. His writing has appeared in most major national media outlets (Wall Street Journal, ABC, Financial Times, Tech Crunch, Forbes, CNBC, etc). His blog has attracted more than 10 million readers since its launch in 2010. This is his 11th book.

This reads like the summary on my resume, begging the recruiter to hire me. How can one person run MULTIPLE venture capital AND hedge AND angel funds before turning 50?

I invested my dad’s money once — HEDGE FUND LEADER.

James has a very traditional self-help style, very self-focused. While Chris seems like a likable guy, James is that Louis CK, Marc Maron style of “relatable because I am also self-centered and hate myself.” James keeps telling us how he’s made all this money, but he also keeps telling us how he lost it all. I don’t get it.

I was willing to give it a shot when first he said — only do things you like, write down 10 ideas a day, go for walks every hour. I’m like yeah, yeah, this is generic, but it’s always worth another slap in the face to hear this information.

It’s riddled with typos and clearly no real publisher did this. Who is Lioncrest Publishing? It’s not a real publishing firm. I just looked it up. It’s Tucker Max’s publishing firm. My goodness, I hate the person who recommended this to me. I hope they suffer.

Then, here’s this gem:

In 1992 I wanted to move into a homeless shelter because I thought girls who were homeless would be more likely to go out with me. I had this fantasy version of what a homeless shelter would be like. We’d sneak around to each other’s rooms as if they were dorm rooms. It would be romantic. Lots of giggling. And crack smoking. Heck, I’d try it. For love.

At least 1000 people read this, and related to it, and thought there was nothing wrong with this statement.

All I have to say is — What the fuck?

Excuse me?

A 45 year-old grown man wants to exploit women at a homeless shelter? And it’s supposed to be relatable?

I’ll say it here — I’ve never wanted to be in a homeless shelter. I guess that’s a brave stance in 2013 when this piece of shit was published. But hey, I’ll go on record.

That was pretty much it for me, but I saw that in the next chapter he actually started giving the real advice. It was… oh god, so… so generically bad.

It’s just, quit your job! It sucks! Start a business! Exploit your employees! Go vacation in Greece! The man doesn’t care about you!

There’s no real concrete direction for doing so, it’s in the same vein as so much of this stuff.

Yknow, let’s talk about how I got into stuff like this in the first place…

I was a deeply disabled teenager who pretty much knew she could never go to college. I needed to figure out a way to sustain myself. I never wanted to be rich. I just wanted to figure out how to survive.

Of course, I got led down this path of entrepreneurship and stuff. It was all like this — it made me into a libertarian who truly believed the 401k is a scam and if you just keep making scrappy business ideas, you’ll make it.

You know who had a lot of business ideas when they were that age? Teenage drug dealers. Do you know what happened to all those drug dealers? They’re salespeople now.

Entrepreneurship for the sake of entrepreneurship sickens me. I hate that in my desperation, I was led into that. It took so much distance to unbrainwash myself from that.

God, my life is so much better now than it was then.

Anyway, I hated this book. No one should read it. Tucker Max is shit for making this. Ryan Holiday is shit for marketing this. James Altucher is shit for writing this. They make money off of gullible teenagers like me who were told, “This book changed my life,” and bought into James’ bullshit financial claims without really understanding how finances work.

Stop exploiting teenagers and telling them to not go to college. It’s never women of color who are saying this. It’s always white men who did go to college.

Go to college.

I don’t regret not going, but every time I have to look for a job, you know it looms at me because literally everyone who looks and talks like me went to UC Berkeley.

Anyway, let’s move on. This book made me mad and every time a book makes me mad, it really makes me question humanity and if I want to even listen to humans anymore.

Book #5: Linchpin by Seth Godin

Okay, this one was good. It’s more high-level than anything else.

Seth is a really likable writer and what he says makes sense. It’s kind of more of a manifesto than a self-help book.

I’m still unclear exactly about what I’m supposed to do. I’m supposed to not just clock into my job, but be brave and make choices that help people.

Maybe I’m too young for this, but I’ve always known that this exact sentiment is what my resume is trying to prove?

“Hire me, I’m creative and productive and I’ll bring millions into your business. I’m a change-maker!”

Maybe this just wasn’t the case when Seth was writing this.

Anyway, read none of these.

There was a 6th book, Bold by Peter Diamandis and someone else. I got bored. I don’t want to read it. Like all self-help books, the takeaway is the title and the sub-title:

Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth, and Impact the World

I get it, the only way to really get anywhere is to have a dream that’s so astronomically out of reach that even if you miss, you’ll still have gotten so far. I get it. Solve the problems of the world. Cure cancer. If you fail, you’ll have gotten closer to curing cancer.

I don’t like self-help. I’m glad I never have to look at these books again.

comics

I’ve been trying to get into comics for a decade now. I’ve read the entirety of Scott Pilgrim and Persepolis. I generally find comics to be difficult to read, the left to right structure is hard for my eyes. People have recommended me comics, but the medium is hard to understand and I have no idea how to step into serialized things like superhero comics, despite …kind of wanting to?

Then, I found this video:

This is amazing. It addressed all my concerns, gave me a ton of recommendations based on things I already like, and reminded me to check out my library during this time of crisis.

Turns out, Hoopla has a TON of comic books. There’s no wait, but there is a limited borrowing time. It has a panel-by-panel reader and great search capabilities.

I picked up two Batman comics and Saga. I really want to read the Bone comics since that’s what I saw the most when I was a kid, and I like the art style. But, sadly Hoopla doesn’t have it. I might pick it up on comiXology since it’s $20. We’ll see.

I’ll report back on if I ever really get into comics enough to have a subscription like magazines.

gallagher girls

I finished the Gallagher Girls series this past weekend.

I read the books in a bit of a fever — #1 was a nostalgia trip of a really cool book that was extremely short. #2-4 were fun and sucked me into their worlds. #5-6 were… a slog.

Let’s go through them 1 by 1.

  1. The first book is really not that good, but it establishes a plotline that would basically never be repeated again. It was interesting to see Cammie’s relation to her spy life in relation to her personal life. That is kind of there in Book #2 and then is dropped completely. Josh basically disappears and Cammie and Zach are together for the rest of the series. It’s kind of boring, it kind of makes this book feel really disconnected. Nostalgia also makes this the best book in the series.
  2. I love the premise of #2. We’re introduced to Guy #2, Zach, and a rival spy school. It’s not explored very well, and there’s a lot of unanswered questions at the end of the book. But it’s good fun, so whatever.
  3. This gets intense very fast, but I’m still on board. Preston is great, taking it outside of the context of school and ramping up the world is really cool. I liked the backdrop of the presidential election and the fleeting appearances of Zach. Pretty good. This was also the last book I read when I was a kid.
  4. The intensity increases here. I liked it, still? I liked the talk of her dad. I really wanted him to be heading up the syndicate, but I guess the evil parent is already covered by Zach. Still fun. This is the last book where any concept of school is even relevant. Cammie and pals basically don’t even do Senior Year.
  5. Ugh. I hated this one. It makes sense from an overarching story perspective to have Cammie lose her memory. But, god, it was boring, and writing a brainwashed amnesiac well is very hard. Suddenly, it’s all murder and emo and blah. Hated it.
  6. This was a fitting conclusion to the series, but still intense. I think I just didn’t enjoy the ramping intensity of the series — which is also an issue I had with the Harry Potter series.

That’s basically it. I had a lot more to say at the beginning of the series than the end. This happened. I didn’t love it as much as I wanted to. The first book is still a treat, though. The rest? Meh.

favorite song of 2020

It’s been 3 months since this song came out. It’s still going super strong for me as the most loopable song of this year. Every time it comes on, I want to listen to it again. I don’t think anything else this year is going to be able to beat a 3-month streak, especially with covid19-related delays to some really awesome films with potentially awesome soundtacks.

We’re not even halfway through the year, but Arijit Singh continues to make a begrudging number of my favorite songs of all time. I did a count on my all-time playlist, and he is the most frequent male singer on there.

I also really love the visuals of this song’s set design, even if I’m not a huge fan of the choreography. I’m surprised this song wasn’t a bigger deal. I think it’s because the movie flopped.

immortalize me at my peak

It’s been over a month since I’ve involuntarily left Twitter. I don’t think I have enough thoughts about this for a full-blown newsletter, but I did want to say some stuff about how my internet life has been since its demise. It was such a huge part of my life, as silly as that sounds, so it’s important to talk about what’s changed.

I made sure to document the last remnants of how my profile looked before being suspended. We ended at 5500 followers and a vaguely depressing first line discouraging people to follow me: “this is an astrology account now.”

I hated Twitter.

I’ve always hated social media. I don’t really do too well at the more pictorial based ones, but the social media websites that revolve around words… hoo boy. I say it’s a curse, others say it’s a blessing, but I know that if I put in a modicum of effort in any growing text-based medium, I can get a following.

Then, followers beget followers, I hate myself, I despise every single thing I’ve ever publicly said, then I delete it in a rage. This is the first time I haven’t rage-deleted my profile, although rage led to the deletion of my profile. This cycle has been going on for a decade now.

So, it’s been over a month since I was suspended. How has it been?

It’s been simultaneously the worst and the best timing imaginable. I feel sick when I think about how much negativity I exposed myself to on Twitter. There was not enough positivity to make up for it. It weighed on my soul to log into that app and be involved in that community every day. I can only imagine how heightened that anxiety would be during covid19 and shelter-in-place orders.

I’m doing great with shelter-in-place. I’m calm, I’m hanging out with friends in video games, I’m reading a lot. My internet distraction is writing 2000 word stream-of-consciousness essays here and binging celebrity gossip on YouTube. It’s private, there’s no disgust at people finding my rage to be funny, there’s no one misunderstanding who I am. This stream-of-consciousness with unlimited character counts and no readers is exactly who I am. Hello stalkers, meet Radhika — a rambling, film-obsessed, vegan girl.

So, mental wise, hobby wise, output wise, I’m doing the best I ever have. I don’t regret Twitter. We were in an abusive relationship, but I really needed it when I moved to the Bay Area. It served its purpose to me, at great personal cost.

There’s some lingering doubts in my head, though. In my announcement of Twitter closing my account, I said that unless something went catastrophically wrong, I wouldn’t ever plan to publicly job search again.

Well… Something has gone catastrophically wrong, and my job, just like everyone else’s in the country, is no longer guaranteed. It’d be great to have 5500 potential referrals instead of the 900 who are subscribed to my newsletter. The worst part about the newsletter is that I expect those numbers will shrink. Newsletters as a marketing medium aren’t really known for massive growth. I just hope that I have the sort of career that I’d expect your average UC Berkeley (my fake alumnus) CS grad to have. They don’t need Twitter. I hope I don’t, either.

It’s a worrying time to lose it. I don’t think I would’ve been okay last year without Twitter. I just hope the same isn’t said for this year. I want to believe that my in-person network, LinkedIn, and resume will stand on their own. I have 2 years of experience now, dammit, that has to mean something! (It won’t until I’m 3 years in, I think.)

If my job survives this pandemic, I know I’ll never need Twitter again. If.

So, let’s talk about the two things that came out of Twitter: my newsletter and this blog.

Isn’t it interesting how it all went back to long-form, barely edited writing? It always does.

The newsletter was the best idea I’ve ever had. It initially came out of a need to vent, but it grew into my real voice. People who followed me for a long time knew that Twitter was mostly a joke to me, and that my real thoughts about the industry came out in my newsletter. Some of the topics I’ve covered are the discrimination I faced, burnout and fear of a caste system in tech, an extremely detailed deep dive of my last job search, and real thoughts on how to actually get ahead.

I think it’s the most valuable non-technical content being made by someone early in their career. A lot of folks seem to agree.

I hope that it’ll be a valuable networking gateway for me. I’m not so sure it will, though. For now, it’s at least a gateway to a voice. So much of my writing has come out of frustration, and I really need that once every few months. It’s extremely low commitment (~5 hours a month) and I think it’s been extremely useful to people.

Secondly, this blog. I think it’s interesting how both of these writing avenues came out of feeling suffocated.

People have been telling me to start a personal blog like this for years as an outlet for all my myriad thoughts about media. I’ve often felt a desire to do so, but I always wanted to do so as a life wiki. I even tried this idea when I was 16.

Basically, I’m trying to create a personal database, and I want to put my whole life into it, without it becoming my life. I want to look back in one year, five years, even fifty years, and find an amazing plethora of writings that shows my own progress, growth, and change. This was all inspired by this quote:

“What sort of writing could you create if you worked on it (be it ever so rarely) for the next 60 years? What could you do if you started now?” —Gwern

I want to start with this as early as I can. I’m nearly 17. I can record my experiences at my first job, my first time outside of my house and city, and my first time being truly lost. I’m very excited about the possibilities for this, and I hope you join me and see how this goes.

This is going to be long-term, even if the format, the design, the host, or even the world changes. I have the website backed up in 3 different places, just in case. Rmorabia.com is coming with me, wherever I go.

On the Website Redesign, May 23rd, 2014

The personal side of this became too much too fast. It turns out, as someone who has no social media (Twitter was professional!), I find the process of sharing my personal life online extremely difficult. How do you figure out what’s important while it’s happening? How do you have time to write down what’s important while it’s happening? What if you don’t want to remember the important things?

I started this website because I was feeling way too much pressure from Goodreads and Twitter. Goodreads felt like the “currently reading” list was following me wherever I went. My private Twitter started to feel like I was just using it to talk about really random stuff just to talk about something that wasn’t what was going on in my timeline on my main. I needed an outlet.

I wanted a blog.

I really just wanted a tumblr. I wanted a place to talk about whatever I wanted, mostly media, in a shorter-form way, that I could also do on mobile.

I remember logging into tumblr every day when I was 13, eager to consume the new content, but also eager to write 300-character updates about my personal life that 2-5 friends would comment on or ask me about. That 1-2 year span on tumblr was the most beautiful social media experience I have ever had.

Tumblr is …dead, so long-live WordPress’ mobile experience. I paid $48 for 4 years of very shady hosting, and here we are. I’m committed.

I decided to not put any stringent pressure on myself to have any deadlines or content restrictions. I can publish anything that I would’ve wanted to share on Twitter. Thoughts on Inception, a movie I finally finished for the first time 10 years after it came out. My favorite song right now! Something I’m thinking about!

Most of my posts have been written on my phone. Now that I’m working from home, there’s more of an instinct to write long pieces like this. I’m sure this will stop soon.

I’m really enjoying just tracking the things at this pace. I no longer use Goodreads. The only tracking site I still use is Letterboxd because I’ve never felt much pressure from it anyway. I still want to watch movies and note that I’ve seen these movies. I don’t necessarily have much to say about a lot of the movies I watch.

I’ve been having a good time on the internet, far away from all social media. I hope I don’t have to put myself in harm’s way just to make it in the tech industry again.

kal ho naa ho (2003)

I don’t love this movie. I think it’s likable, the plot line kinda made me cry when I was a kid, but the depiction of Indian Americans has always made me feel empty and I don’t find the ending to be as emotional as something like Veer-Zaara (2004).

On the other hand, I think this is the Shah Rukh Khan movie I grew up with. Every Indian American has one. Not a movie that they saw a lot when they were young, but a movie that follows you through your life and you experience differently every time.

The first time I watched this movie, I was 6 and my mom took me to the theater with a friend she had recently met. I don’t think there were any subtitles and I didn’t understand Hindi, so I did whatever I could to make my mother’s life hell during that 3 hour runtime. It’s a wonder she liked it — I guess when you’re a parent, you have to tolerate your child constantly interrupting a movie.

I rewatched it a year or two later with subtitles and liked it. I think I cried at the ending, but I don’t think I truly loved it more than any other film of that era. However, the fact that I took the film so differently from the ages of 6 to 7 or 8 was an interesting treatise on my own rapidly developing maturity. We rewatched films a lot, but they were films we owned. We tended to own more comedic films, or if I had owned Kal Ho Na Ho, I probably would’ve only watched the more comedic parts and then turned it off before the end. Rewatching a serious film from start to finish twice in such a short span of time was interesting.

The third time I saw Kal Ho Naa Ho was in my early teens. I think it may have been 2012 or 2013. Netflix streaming had burst onto the scene and I think we were generally disappointed with the amount of Indian content on the platform, so I decided to one day rewatch Kal Ho Naa Ho. I was suspicious that I’d still like it and found it to be a total cheesefest.

I thought that would always be my final opinion on the movie — I had matured way past the cheese of the early 00s and liked my gritty American Beauty (1999) or my witty Band Baaja Baarat (2010). I yawned my way through the end and didn’t think of it much after.

It re-emerged on Netflix a few days ago, in a totally different world and a totally different era of my life. I decided to watch it because I’d been thinking about it a bit more now that I’ve been in my parents’ home for a month. And, well, things changed.

I still don’t love it. I found the first half of the movie to be charming. I no longer had that empty feeling that I felt when I was a kid. I think the biggest change in my relation to this movie is that I’ve grown to understand why an adult like my mom in 2003 would like this movie. I can’t put this into words too well, but I’ve grown to understand the cinematic sensibilities of the era. It’s a mix of Anand (1971) (find me one person over 50 who doesn’t say this movie is amazing) and new-school cinematography and storytelling like Dil Chahta Hai (2001). It’s an objectively good film… if you understand the zeitgeist and cultural sensitivities of that era in film.

I thought it was really depressing that Naina’s only friend was someone she met at night school and she ends up pity marrying this only friend. I thought being family friends with your neighbors was also pretty depressing, too.

Now, I don’t think it’s as depressing… I kind of envy it since I don’t have any particularly physically present friends. I can’t imagine having the kind of friendship where you meet almost every weekday, by choice. That’s sweet. But, there’s other things I noticed.

They cry constantly. The mixing of a raised-if-not-born Naina and a raised-if-not-born Rohit with a straight-from-India Aman as if there’s no friction between them is pretty weird. Sweetu seems more clearly raised-if-not-born than all of them. Why does Rohit have Kantaben in his apartment in Manhattan? Where does she live? Is she a slave?

I think the most important question of this movie is why does no one even give Naina a chance to get over Aman? Everyone looks at this 23 year old and is like “Oh, well, her one true love is married. She knew him for a few months. She needs to be forced into love again.” I know the premise of the movie centers around Aman and his limited time, but dude… a rebound marriage when you find out that your one true love is married is the premise of a comedic disaster.

I love the racial comedy in this movie. I love Indian racial comedy in general. I just love it more when I, a Gujarati, am mentioned. Satish Shah and Ketki Dave are hilarious, and I think their comedic genius could only ever truly be represented by Gujarati actors. Every single scene with Rohit and his parents is without a doubt the funniest part of the movie.

I need to take a moment to talk about the perfection of the GUJJU song in general. This is iconic, I mention it constantly. I am convinced that if I am ever able to officiate a sangeet, I will get every Gujarati uncle & aunty I can to sing and dance to this song.

Other than that, Lajo calling Kuwari Kudi to get Naina a Punjabi munda is hilarious. Rohit’s parents calling him a GCGC — Good Catch of the Guju Community, I love it. His first born will be named either Jignesh or Jigisha so the pet name is going to be Jiggy… sounds exactly like every Guju I know.

I generally prefer the NRI politics of Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995), but I can’t deny this is the only significant NRI movie that’s in the US (movies about American terrorism aren’t NRI movies). It’s also the only significant NRI movie that has Gujaratis and inter-intra-racial marriage. Maybe it’s a little too close to home…

This movie is an interesting contrast to the films centered around the UK — and maybe a contrast between US and UK NRI culture in itself, because it feels far less conservative than any UK-centered NRI films. In DDLJ, Simran is arranged to marry a guy in India she’s never met, and the central conflict of the film can be said to revolve around her dad reconciling the fact that he’s not as traditional as his nostalgia held onto. In Namastey London (2007), Jaspreet is literally tricked into marrying an Indian guy to stabilize her “wildness” and the only way out is to beg her friend for help. Both movies involve Punjabis marrying Punjabis, although Namastey London brings up the interesting point of Indo-Pakistani friendships between NRIs.

There’s so many example of progressivism in this film. Naina’s already mixed race, or at least of a mixed religion, with her mom being Christian and her dad being Sikh. She doesn’t see a difference between different kinds of Indians, and although her Dadi wants her to marry a Punjabi boy, she’s indifferent. Her mom, already having a mixed marriage herself, doesn’t care at all.

Rohit also doesn’t seem to see a difference between Gujarati girls and other kinds of girls. One of the most interesting scenes in the film is the first time Rohit meets his dad. He’s been talking to Kantaben and she tells him that his son is in a gay relationship. He’s a little taken aback, but he eventually says “I wanted a bahu. Instead, I got a jamaai.” He’s a bit taken aback and disappointed, but he’s not as disappointed as you would expect. They chose not to include a comedic scene with his parents where they walk in on him and Aman and ask what the hell is going on. He’s just kind of chill about it, because it’s America, and whatever.

Rohit, Naina, and their parents also have a pretty accurate response to arranged marriages. Naina isn’t opposed to arranged marriage, she’s just opposed to marriage in general. Rohit isn’t opposed to arranged marriage (and he even gets arranged engaged), he’s just in love with Naina. Dadi and Rohit’s parents are just trying to set them up to speed up the process of meeting someone, and everyone is totally thrilled at Rohit and Naina’s engagement. No one really bats an eye at this interracialness. This isn’t 2 States (2014). How could it be? This is America. We’re all just Indians here. Plenty of NRIs even go as far as “We’re all just South Asians here.”

I guess this is a roundabout way of saying that I think Rohit is the most interesting character in the film. He’s rich, moderately good looking, silly, and a little dumb. He’s dated both non-Indian and Indian girls casually. I don’t think we ever really get to hear his politics on his own marriage. Would he ever marry a non-Indian girl? We know he doesn’t differentiate between Indians, and even dated a divorcee. But, would he have married her? I want to be in Rohit’s weirdly progressive rich Gujarati family. Who is he?

The racial differences pale in comparison to the actual family issues in this movie, including class differences. I find that to be pretty accurate.

I think in the end, the almost forced marriage Naina has is just super unappealing to me. She gets bullied into this marriage by her dying love, and Rohit knows he’ll never live up to the memory of what Naina and Aman could’ve been. In the future, they seem to have gotten past it, but I don’t believe it.

The love story is the weakest quotient in this movie. The true ship is Aman and Rohit. But, the family dynamics are interesting enough and the comedy is super memorable.

I don’t have any grand ending here. I can’t believe Kareena Kapoor turned down this role. Would she be married to Saif Ali Khan still if she took this role? Would Taimur Ali Khan, international treasure, ever be born if Preity Zinta wasn’t Naina? I guess we’ll never know.

i’d tell you i love you, but then i’d have to kill you

This series is a fascinating bit of personal history for me. My sister had read the series long before I had, and actually owned the first few books. I was just reaching that tenuous age of “pre-teen” where children’s books are a little too childish, and Young Adult books were a little too adult.

I wanted to read about roaring adventure and first romances, but a little less Twilight. One day, I think I found this book on my sister’s shelf and thought it was an annoying girly book about high school, but then it was about spies.

We all know how I feel about spies.

I really liked this series, but I found it a little disjointed and hard to keep up with. I don’t think I ever finished it. I have some really vivid memories of it, though. I’m the exact opposite of a visual thinker, but I distinctly remember a visual image of Cammie in a sweatshirt meeting wavy-haired Josh for the first time. I saw the carnival, I saw the sweatshirt, and I remember it being so real in my head.

There was one other instant of that in these books, when Cammie is on a train and meets Zach on a train while on a mission. I remember that was so sexy, the tension was on high.

I think these left such an impression on me because they were the first books… ever… where I felt invested in the romance. I read Twilight shortly after, but I was more invested in the world than the exciting thrill of the romance.

So, I finally reread it because it’s absurdly short. It’s shorter than any children’s books I’ve been reading thus far, (For reference, the second book in this series is about half the length of the third book in the Vampire Academy series, which I’m also going through right now.) I finished it in one day by mixing between the ebook and the audiobook, although I did have to stay up late to do so.

It really is a page turner, and it’s been a while since I read a book that genuinely made me just flip & flip & flip without thinking about it. You know how you get into this state with reading where you start to forget you’re reading each individual word and it starts to just surround you? “Getting lost in the book?” That happened to me while I was reading this book, and that’s a really tall order for someone who struggles to read like me.

At the same time, don’t get me wrong, it’s really bad. I’m not an idiot for not getting it when I was a kid, the length meant that there are major parts of the books that just skip. The world really isn’t very fleshed out. The characters are flat. It’s just objectively not a very good book.

But, I’m invested in figuring out which boy she gets with in the end since I never finished the series. There’s other plot points I care about… I guess… but mostly which boy she chooses. According to Goodreads, the last book came out in 2013 — when I was 16, so I definitely wasn’t reading the same books I was reading when I was 10.

I’ll talk more about my thoughts on the two boys when I write my post about the second book since we technically don’t even know Zach exists yet here.

I love me some easy breezy reads. No shame, no guilty pleasures. I’m reading whatever I want.

frostbite

I’ve been half-heartedly reading the Vampire Academy series for ~2 years now. I like it… sort of. It’s a bit odd. The world is interesting, though, and I’m attracted to the best friendship between Rose & Lissa.

I apparently already finished Frostbite, which I found out when I skimmed the entire book again. Oh well.

Let’s see, some thoughts:

  • I don’t like Rose and Dimitri together. I think it’s inappropriate and not romantic at all. Maybe this is just the adult in me.
  • I love Adrian. I love that someone finally knows about Rose and Dimitri’s relationship and finds it as inappropriate as I do. I want this love triangle to ramp up.
  • Lissa feels more and more like a side character.
  • I’m excited to see the pettiness of high school drama / the beef with Mia turning a new leaf.
  • Christian is a great complement to Rose.
  • I’m …hmm about Mason leaving. I never really cared for him, but I did really expect him and Mia to date.
  • I still find Rose to be an extremely likable and relatable protagonist compared to a goody-goody like Lissa. Rose is a badass and hot and smart and she knows all of that. I’m here for confident, but complicated protagonists.

I’m going to be starting Shadow Kiss almost immediately, but I think I prefer the series via audiobook. Most Young Adult novels are better in audio. It almost feels like a movie you’re listening to, while reading the book just feels like some of the details are missing.

you’re so secretly extroverted. your extrovert got all fucking screwed up from trauma but you need people all the time

meghan, march 20th, 2020

Keep thinking about this because it’s so true and I hate that it’s so true.

percy jackson: the sea of monsters

I’ve been rereading the Percy Jackson series as an easy, breezy adventure story. It’s not very good, but it’s paced quickly and the world is vaguely interesting.

I’m going to finish the series to see where it ends up. I remember the series quite well from when I was a kid, but I’ve forgotten a lot about tertiary characters like Nico. I’ve forgotten a lot about the politics of the world.

It’s good escapism.