Announcing the Soshelf Distancing Club, Take 2

Time flies. I can’t believe half of the month is already over and I’m in my third or fourth week of uni already. Days seem to blur together and if you woke me in the middle of the night, I’d 1) hit you because you’re evil and 2) definitely not know what day of the week it is. There’s an exception though.

Claire @clairefy and I started off this project a little while ago because we wanted to create something inspiring during social distancing (click here if you want to find out how we found each other) and now, almost 2 months later, we have officially wrapped up our first round of our book club! (Stay tuned to read my blog post of all my impressions of this book club.)

I still can’t believe we did it. It’s honestly one of the best things that has happened to me during quarantine. We’re a jolly group of girls from all over the world that randomly met in the book bloggersphere. We love reading, talking book gossip and just sharing what‘s on our minds and it’s easily become one of my weekly highlights!

Anyways, to get to the point of this blog post, this is the official announcement that our book club is opening sign-ups again. If you feel like meeting a group of awesome girls, here’s your chance! We normally meet every weekend on Zoom for an hour and I’m not lying if I say that it’s the best way to kick off a weekend.

If you’re interested, fill in the form below and we will get back to you asap. Form closes next weekend (24 May)! For more information on our book club, read our previous announcement here and just in case, here are the key facts:

  • Who? Anyone who feels like discussing books
  • What? We came up with the idea for this book club to create a vibrant group of girls with love for books
  • When and where? At this point, we have mostly met every Saturday on Zoom to socialise during social distancing and to discuss the chapters we’ve agreed to read
  • You can participate even if you’re still in your PJs

Btw, we haven’t picked a book for our next round yet but the genre will be YA fantasy (see the options in the sign-up form). We can’t wait to hear back from you!

If you can’t view the sign-up form on my page, click here: https://forms.gle/FmyxVte3y24GdyFAA

An Update on Coronavirus Life

Hi guys!

These past few days have been lovely! Spring has finally arrived in Germany and the weather outside is absolutely beautiful. Yesterday I saw the first bee in our garden (I have a childhood trauma from bees and wasps), and I think it’s also the season for ladybug mating because I see so many ladybugs these days!

Here is a little update on my current state. On Wednesday, I was finally tested on corona and the results came in…

POSITIVE

Such a surprise! Before that, my brother was tested positive too, just like my mum, so it wasn’t much of a shocker at all. I finally decided it was about time to really get tested (if you didn’t read my previous post: The local health authorities didn’t want to test me and the rest of my family because we weren’t showing any symptoms on the grounds of “no medical indication”, which I highly doubt…) because uni starts in less than 2 weeks and I really had to know if I could “go back” by then (also I wanted to know if I could tell my children one day I was corona positive and that it was so bad and everything).

Anyways, the day I was tested (Tuesday), I was without symptoms, but I think I might’ve developed some? The thing is, I never know if it’s coronavirus or just my pollen allergy. Take my headache for example, which I had the day after my test results came in: I still don’t know if it was from corona/sitting outside in the sun for too long/my pollen allergy/watching too much TV. My sinuses are constantly swollen because of my pollen allergy which would explain why I got a headache in the first place because there’s such a huge pressure in my face area. It could also explain why I’m also slowly losing my senses of taste and smell because my nose is constantly stuffed-up. For example, I wasn’t able to taste/smell ginger today which my dad added into our meals. It’s so weird! Apparently, the coronavirus is able to affect the taste buds which is really fascinating. I asked my brother (who has definitely developed these symptoms) how he felt about it and he said, “I feel great about it! Now I never have to worry about opening the windows to air my room!” I love his way of thinking.

This was a super short summary of how I’ve been feeling lately. I’m currently reading War and Peace (when I picked up the book 4 weeks ago, I was joking that I only read it because I was hoping that by the time I finished it, this whole madness might be over but turns out the joke was on me) and I’m loving this book so much. It connects to my soul in a way I didn’t expect, even though I was never a big classics reader and I don’t find it necessarily easy to connect with them either. Also I started reading Serpent and Dove (so far I think this book is totally overhyped) as well as Yes No Maybe So (funny story: I totally forgot I received an arc of the book last year (I’m so sorry Balzer+Bray) and I actually had to have it resent to me from my uni flat. Yeah I suck).

I hope your week has been treating you well!

I Have Coronavirus (Very Possibly).

Hi lovelies,

Yes, you read it correctly. There’s no way to sweet-talk out of it — I’m a possibly corona virus-positive person. I know, we are all possibly corona positive, but I know for a fact I was very likely infected.

I’m a very hygiene-conscious person. My hands look like old parchment because the regenerating skills of my skin cells can’t keep up with the amount of soap and hand sanitizer I use all the time (I’m a medical student so there’s that). I stick with the general rules: Don’t go out, wash your hands, don’t touch your face. At the time I (possibly) contracted coronavirus, I wasn’t working and I didn’t leave the house except the garden (not even for grocery shopping).

My downfall was the weekend. You see, my mum is a nurse, and she knows how badly medical staff is needed right now (and she loves her work). She was on sick leave the weeks before (she had the flu, just like most people around that time who paid a visit to the doctor in case you’re wondering), and once she felt fit enough to work again, she immediately returned to work. Hospitals are hopelessly understaffed right now. She did all her shifts and even took up additional ones because someone has to take care of the sick.
On Wednesday morning, she received news that one of the consultants she was closely working with had contracted corona. That means she might’ve run around with coronavirus in her body for 5 days (she had returned to work on Saturday, hence 5 days already; and no, she didn’t go to other places except the hospital and our home). She wasn’t the only person from the medical staff being infected though, there were at least 2 other people in her ward that had contracted the virus too.
Us at home on the other hand, we were in constant contact with her before we even knew she had corona. We always have dinner together, we do the laundry together, yadda-yadda-yadda, and most importantly, we talk. A lot. So when her test results came in positive a day later, we knew we were probably all positive too. According to the official guidelines in Germany, people who were in physical contact with verifiably corona positive people, are required to take a corona test. I fit right into the category, right? That’s what I thought too…. until my mum called the health authorities and they told her that as long as we’re not showing any symptoms, it wouldn’t be “necessary” to take a corona test. If you ask me, this is a completely economically-based decision. Obviously I have very mixed feelings. Period.

Quarantine, but at least with a view

In a nutshell: I probably have coronavirus, but I will also probably never know for sure because health authorities/the German government/a greater power are (basically) denying average citizens like me to take a test immediately if there are “no indications”. I know it’s even worse in other countries, but it’s also frustrating if you know it could be handled better.
My whole family is now in self-quarantine at home (even my mother who showed symptoms such as coughing, fever and pain in the limbs, isn’t staying at the hospital), and as long as we’re not showing any symptoms, that’s the place we will spend the next two weeks at.
We are good. We’re okay and I would even say we’re in a pretty privileged position because we have a big garden to hang out in and good friends who show kindness in these times and do the grocery shopping for us. But it’s frustrating to see there are decisions that are taken away from us for reasons out of or control.

Stay safe, people. Normally I’d finish this off by saying “Hug your loved ones tightly” but just take care, folks.

How the Soshelf Distancing Club Came Rolling Around.

A few weeks ago, social distancing started. My introverted side couldn’t have felt more excited because not going out suddenly became legit, and I didn’t have to come up with excuses of why I preferred staying at home over going out with friends. It was so cool. I started reading again (I never stopped fyi but I didn’t feel guilty about neglecting stuff for uni anymore either.) The German government announced that the new semester would be postponed for two weeks to 20 April. Yay!!!

What I didn’t expect however was that my social side would have this sudden feelings of a person who unexpectantly wins the lottery — an overwhelming fortune that you don’t know how to deal with. I got bored. I read more books (I’m currently reading War and Peace with hopes that by the time I finish, this madness may be over (I’m currently on page 400/1500)). I signed in on twitter after a year of ignoring it. And I tweeted the following:

Please mind the fact that I’ve never been in an online book club. I only wrote it so it wouldn’t be too awkward to say ‘I WANT TO START AN ONLINE BOOK CLUB’. Basically I lied.

Can you see it? I catfished people into thinking I had some experience in doing online book clubs. I don’t. I’ve never even been part of any type of book club, except for one or two readalongs online, which I found to be super stressful to keep up with though — you usually follow a certain thread and hope that someone hasn’t written down your exact thoughts yet OR the thought of writing everything down you want to say scares you so much, you don’t bother writing anything at all. So, I only wanted people to see my tweet so they could invite me to their book clubs hehe. In-person book clubs, if possible. I basically lied to self-invite myself to book clubs. And suddenly, this happened:

Claire @clairefies replied and said she was excited about this idea too! I wasn’t sure what to do with this new piece of information. Could she possibly love the idea of doing live online book club meetings too? As in doing book discussions on Zoom? Would she be willing to team up with me to do a book club? So I nervously DM’ed her and her answer was…YES. Yes, she was feeling my vibes, my vision, my longing to get super bookish in times of corona, yes! Flash forward almost a week later and…

The Soshelf Distancing Book Club was born! And it was even more exciting to see that people around the world were keen on this project too because we had people sign up from places I have never even heard of! Also I don’t know if you noticed but we purposefully named our book club “Soshelf Distancing” because it’s a pun on “Social Distancing”….Yes?

We will have our first meeting on Zoom next Sunday. I won’t know a single person except for Claire (whom I basically only just met too, but we immediately hit it off!) but I’m so happy nonetheless. Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed will be the first pick of our book club (it was so funny when we were brainstorming on which books to put up for voting because oftentimes we only knew the cover but not the title) and I’m stoked about the idea that we might create a small vibrant community where everyone can share his bookish thoughts. It was quite the struggle to even find a right time to set up a first meeting because we all live in such different time zones! But it’s a thing and I can’t wait to see this project rolling.

Thank you so much for reading my post! Have you ever participated in some sort of book club? How did you like it?

I Have a Book Club and You Are Invited to Join!

In a nutshell: Claire @clairefies and I teamed up to found an online book club called the “Soshelf Distancing Book Club” and you are more than welcome to join!!! YES, it’s a real book club where we’ll chat about books during social distancing, and it’s possible to do it without leaving the house!

Here are the key facts:

  • Who? Anyone who feels like discussing books can participate!
  • What? We came up with the idea for this book club to create a vibrant group of readers where everyone can speak his bookish mind and get geeky
  • When and where? We will probably meet every 3 days over Zoom to discuss the chapters we’ve agreed to read
  • No worries, most of the people you’ll meet haven’t met before either
  • You can participate even if you’re still in your PJs
  • Here is the sign-up form (ETA: I’ve added the sign-up form below)

The sign-up form will be open until Saturday, March 28, and we will announce the winner title (which you’ll pick) on Twitter (@clairefies and @bookrapt) right after that. Everything you need to know will be in the sign-up form. We can’t wait to see you!

Leaving the Book Blogging World For Good?

The other day I startled awake and I realised…we’re in our second week of social distancing. I haven’t been on my blog in an entire year. I wasn’t feeling very much like book blogging after years of trying to really do it, being only ‘semi-successful’ and never really finding my own voice. I was trying to find ways to engage with fellow book bloggers and authors but it never felt complete. You get what I mean? I felt like I was posting stuff that everybody was doing anyway — reviews, small opinion pieces (basically repeating other people’s opinions etc). I imagine that for an average blog reader, visiting all the book blogs must be like going to an all-you-can-eat restaurant — the thought of it is really exciting, but after your third visit to one of those restaurants you realise that although they all have different names, most all-you-can-eat restaurant offer a very similar taste in their food.

Then, I also started thinking. How do I even define ‘success’ in the book blogging world? Is it the number of followers? Is it the number of reviews? Is it coming up with creative ideas for new posts? Is it the number of review copies you receive from the publishers? I know, this idea is super shallow. And the answer is always ‘it’s a mix of everything’. But it also hurts a little bit to think that you pour so much time into a post and it receives…exactly zero attention. Okay, that was a bad example. Maybe 3 or 4 people will care enough to read your post, but that’s it. I feel like in nowaday’s world, we want everything to be quick. Quick likes, quick shares, quick articles. If you even bothered to read that far, I thank you very much. Anyways.

Life of a blogger: Your quirks

Life of a Blogger

Life Of A Blogger is hosted by the fabulous Jessi from Novel Heartbeat where we let people know more about our lives outside of blogging so they can get to know us better!

So this week’s topic is all about quirks you have. Truth is, I can’t honestly think of any extreme quirks in my life. I do, however, have TONS of “minor” quirks which I’m gonna reveal exclusively to you. Here we go!

1. The wannabe singer
When I feel extremely cheerful, I’ve got that tendency to make a song out of random word snippets from any kind of conversation. I don’t even have to be a participant in it. Just give me a word — there’s always a song that matches it. This, however, doesn’t mean I can sing in public or even among friends. Wait, of course I can, but with a very awkward voice. Which leads me to another quirk:

2. Lillie turns into Kermit the Frog
When I feel embarrassed to say something, I always try to pretend to be very funny or sarcastic (I fail in both things, trust me). However, I always get that weird and awkward voice in such situations which has a strong resemblance with that of a Kermit the Frog. So if you ever saw me singing in front of a crowd, don’t be surprised there’s no frog around since it’s actually me. Btw, I love singing 80s/90s song with that voice. I mean, how can you sing Earth Song by Michael Jackson with a serious voice?!

FreakOutKermit

That’s how I usually freak out when singing Michael Jackson songs.

3. The soliloquizer
I hate to be under pressure or totally stressed out because I’ve got a weird habit to handle such situations: I soliloquize. And this pretty much happens all the time during exams. Ask my math teacher. Oh, and I usually drift into Chinese somehow. Which, on the other hand, pretty much confuses other people around me.

4. Weird sleeping habits
I’m a somniloquist which means I can talk up to two hours to myself (with some interruptions in between) during sleep. Actually, I can even respond to your sentences if you tried to talk (back) to me during that somniloquy stage.

5. Weird urges
I often have the urge to check out if a random number is divisible by 3.

6. My personal apocalypse
I can’t leave the house without a pack of tissues. No tissues = my doomsday

7. Wannabe smartass Lillie
I usually quote things incorrectly or in a weird context. 

20140724-005138-3098711.jpg

(My quotes are far more disastrous)

And now, last but not at least (okay, it’s not really a quirk-quirk, but still):
I’ve got that double-chocolate cappuccino addictionI need to have my double-chocolate cappuccino every morning. A day without a double-chocolate cappuccino = a grumpy and sourpuss me.

So these are some of my weird habits. What quirks do you have? Let me know in the comments or send me the links to your own post!