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Conversations: Commenting Back - Should it Be Compulsory?

Welcome one, welcome all, to another edition of Conversations! This month, our topics will be focused on blogging habits. 
This week, let's discuss:
Do you always comment back? Should commenting back be a must? 

Firstly, let's define what commenting back means. I know when I first started blogging, that term really confused me. I initially thought it just meant replying back to comments on your blog. But then as time wore on, I realised that "commenting back" meant visiting said commenter's blog and commenting on one of their posts. 
So that's the definition we'll go with today - commenting back refers to visiting a commenter's blog and commenting back on their post

I personally try to always comment back. After I reply to someone's comment on my blog, I head on over to their blog, through their user or their link they've provided, and find an interesting post to leave a comment. This isn't always feasible for me though - sometimes I take unexpected hiatuses (like I am now) because life creeps up. I try to go back afterwards and comment back - so I do a delayed comment back, if that makes sense. 
Sometimes, people comment on older posts of mine, which have been up for a month or so. Whilst I really appreciate that, and Disqus does send me an email notifying me that someone has commented, I usually leave it for later...until later becomes never. >_< 

Still, I make sure to try to always reply to peoples' comments on my blog at the very least - for me, that's just common courtesy. If people take the time out of their lives to care what you think - shouldn't you take the time to reply to them? Replying to these comments is always easier than making your own comment - at the very least, replying back shows that you are grateful for their presence here. 

Should commenting back be compulsory? I don't know. Personally, I used to think it should be compulsory - after all, we are in this community to make friends, to find other like-minded people. And it does get tiring, leaving so many comments on other peoples' blogs, hoping to make a connection with them, but to be faced with them never trying to connect with your words. I get that people have busy lives, but it's important to reach out, and connect with your readers if you have a blog. 
But at the same time, I remember hearing someone say in the blogosphere that they didn't comment back, because they didn't want to force a comment, and be fake. I think that philosophy is pretty interesting, and I agree with it to some extent. I agree that you shouldn't have to force yourself to comment back - if you can't find anything interesting to talk about, don't comment! Don't write a comment like "Wow, so interesting, thanks for sharing!". It's pretty fake, and it shows that you don't really care about making connections. But at the same time, we are all book lovers - there should be something on everyones' blogs that we can relate to, or empathise with. 

In the end, I don't think that commenting back should be compulsory. But at the very least, I believe that bloggers should reply to comments on their own blogs - I know I used to follow a bunch of blogs that didn't reply back to comments on their own blogs, and it was really disheartening because I never felt like I mattered to these blogs, it never felt like they wanted to make friendships. It seemed like all they cared about was stats, getting ARCs, and gaining followers. 

If you know me, that's not the kind of person I like.

Well, that post took a very personal detour. What do you all think about commenting back? Should it be compulsory? Let me know in the comments below, or in the linky here!

Keep reading and loving books!

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Conversations: Why Reading Multiple Books Is My Jam

Welcome to another week of Conversations! 
This week, the topic is...
Do you prefer to read a single book at a time, or multiple books at a time? Why? 

I am not ashamed of it - I like reading multiple books at one time! 

A huge problem I have when I read is actually starting the book. Particularly for fantasy and science-fiction books, there's usually quite a lot of world building involved. I'm a lazy reader, and I generally like to skim over information dumps - so when one book gets to be too much for me, I skip it. I move onto another book, and when I feel like returning back to Book #1, I return back. But of course, I can't forget about Book #2! So I concurrently read them. 
And then, I want to read Book #3 - someone has just recommended it strongly to me, and that synopsis is gold! So of course, I pile on Book #3, and chug it down as well. 
The sequel of a wonderful book has JUST come out - I NEED to know how that cliffhanger in the first book was resolved - let's add on Book #4!
By now, I'm thinking, "I think I've got enough books - let me start properly reading them!" BUT NO, LIFE DOES NOT WORK LIKE THAT. 
School throws compulsory reading my way. 
"Hey Gerri, we're studying The Picture of Dorian Gray this semester for English" 
And I add Book#5 to my list. 
Let's not forget that ARC that you signed up for three months ago! You need to read and review it by the end of this week! #oops. Book #6 is on the pile!
...the number of books, and the reasons why go on and on. I think at one point, I was reading eight books at one time?

I'm not going to lie - reading multiple books at the same time does have its drawbacks, as you can clearly see. 
Getting inundated with all the books isn't always fun, because I feel overwhelmed. I also tend to forget a bunch of information about each book, as it all blends together. Sometimes, I forget what page I'm on as well, because I don't use bookmarks - I rely on my memory. 

But reading multiple books at the same time also has its benefits. If I didn't read multiple books at one time, I would be so bored of that one book I'm reading. It spices up my reading life! It's also pretty convenient - I never leave the house without a book, and if I'm too close to finishing a book, I can decide not to bring it - I can bring another book that I've yet to get to the middle of (we must always be prepared for boring situations). Finally, there's also review writing...I tend to finish all my books around the same time, so I also have to write all my reviews at the same time! I like doing all my reviews at the same time, because I get to focus my whole attention on doing those reviews, open up all those tabs for just one occasion. Makes it so much easier, and more time-effective for me! 

What kind of a reader are you - a one book at a time, or multiple book at a time reader? Why? Let me know in the comments below, or else link up with the linky! ^_^

Keep reading and loving books!

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#DisabilityDiaries2017 - My Experience With Mental Illness - A Response to Highly Illogical Behaviour by John Corey Whaley

I recently read Highly Illogical Behaviour, by John Corey Whaley, and I absolutely loved it. If I could trace the first instance when I was hooked, it would have to be when Lisa mentioned that she had to write an essay on her experience with mental illness for a scholarship for a university. 

In high school, mental illness was such a big part of my life. I wasn't diagnosed with a mental illness - no, some of my closest friends were. If I was ever given this topic - "My experience with mental illness" for an essay topic, I honestly have no idea how I'd keep to any word limit, because there's so much I can write on this topic. 

My Experience with Mental Illness 
By Geraldine Lee
As a child, I never knew what mental illness was. Depression was another word for being sad. Anxiety was another term for being worried. Being bipolar was being crazy. My small, inexperienced mind. 
Since then, I've learned a lot. 
In high school, I made friends with many people from all different backgrounds. From vibrant people who loved Harry Potter like I did, to quiet people who liked to spend their days in the library studying like I did, I found my people.

In particular, I found two of my best friends - let's call them Daisy and David. 
Daisy and I became steadfast friends when we were paired up for a Physics assignment - we found that we loved watching so many similar TV shows, like Castle, Bones, The Mentalist and Once Upon A Time. David, I fell in love with. 
Before I knew it, I was staying up late, just to talk to both of them. We had our own group chat going, we would post memes, joke around, and just have fun. 

However, that didn't last long. 
David told me he had depression. By that time, we were dating and it was crushing, seeing the boy I loved crumble, not knowing who he was anymore. Knowing that he was going through this and I couldn't make it better. 
Daisy confided that she had anxiety, and that the psychologist she was seeing might diagnose were with a bipolar disorder. It was painful to hear how uncertain she was, how worried she was, and not know how to help her. 
It was painful, to see my friendships fall apart, because I didn't know how to help them. 

I've learned three things from my experience with anxiety and depression. Firstly, mental illness should never be romanticised. Secondly, that more people need to know what mental illnesses are. Thirdly, more people need to know how to help others with mental illness.  

Here's the thing about mental illness - you can't see them. With a lot of illnesses, they manifest themselves physically, whether it be with a runny nose, red eyes, unusual bruises - with mental illness, that's not always the case. 

So when people tell me that mental illness isn't real, or that it's just in people's heads, I know that's not true. Mental illness is just as real as any other illness - and it's critical that we all play a role in treating it, whether it be through doing more research about it, treating it, or just plain old being a good friend.


If you, or you think anyone you know is suffering from a mental illness, please speak up. You don't have to tell me here in the comments - just speak up, see someone, talk to someone about it. Mental illness can be so debilitating. 
I've got a few links attached below - I hope they'll come in handy. 


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