Summing It Up: November 2017

Sigh, I am 24 days late with this post but I suppose it’s a good thing that I’m finally getting around to it than never at all. (I’ve not mentioned this before but I’ve made this silly promise to myself since I’ve started this blog in 2015 that I would always at least post once a month; and so far, I’ve been good with that vow.) But it still feels kind of moot to post this now when I’ll be sharing my December wrap up in a few days, but I hope that you all don’t mind anyway! >.<

Unfortunately, like my sparse blogging I hit an all time low with my reading last month in November. I didn’t read a single book-not even a manga. (Well aside from my four chapters of ReLife, an ongoing webtoon that is posted weekly.) Subsequently, due to this slumpy reading period, I’ve felt a lack of motivation or inspiration to log onto WordPress and blog. (I didn’t even have a chance to draft a Yallfest post like I promised. I’m sorry!)

To be honest… for the past few months… I have truly struggled and debated with deciding what I plan to do with this blog anymore. I feel like blogging isn’t quite the same for me as it used to be. The community has changed a lot from when I started. A lot of the friends that I befriended at the beginning are on hiatuses or no longer blogging at all. Although I would love to meet new bloggers I feel like my enthusiasm to blog hop has waned a ton. There’s also the problem that I haven’t even been reading all that much, too… I have started to read more again this month in December while I’ve been on winter break (especially after reading The Cruel Prince, which is brilliant by the way), but, I don’t know if this is enough for me to continue.

Anyway, I’m not sure what will become of Xingsings for now. But I do want to make a decision by the first of 2018 about whether I’m going to continue to blog or say goodbye permanently, at least on this platform. At the moment, I’m leaning towards continuing because I feel like I’ve invested so much into this blog over the years (even though it may seem like I haven’t lately); just thinking about saying goodbye is so hard.

Either way, whatever I decide to do in 2018, thank you guys for all the love and support you’ve shown me throughout the years. The friendships I’ve made on here have been irreplaceable and for that I am so, so thankful.

– November Blog Posts –

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Yallfest 2016

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Some of you may already know this (through my Instagram or from me just chatting with you recently) but I visited Charleston, SC for a bookish event on November 12th! My feet and arms are actually still a little sore from Saturday (lol) but the trip was so worthwhile because I got to meet many wonderful authors and hang out with the coolest bookworms.

This was my second year attending Yallfest, the biggest YA book festival and event in the southeast US. I want to say the level of excitement was about the same as last year, and the turnout of people attending and participating were a lot higher, which was to be expected since this event only grows each year.

Since I had already gone in 2015, I had the routine down to a tee this year. Driving and parking was so much easier. (Though I’ve been to Charleston many times before I had never driven there myself. So it was a bit of a struggle with the congested streets to find a parking garage last year.)

I also learned my lesson and didn’t bring a book bag. I do think it’s an absolute must that attendees bring something to carry their books in, such as a backpack, tote, or even suitcase (don’t worry people actually bring wagons of books to this event-it’s pretty intense). However, if you plan to drive there like I did and find a parking space near the venue, you can easily go to your car to exchange and get books throughout the day. But I must say this only works well if you can coordinate these mini runs. Personally, I really liked this technique because it really saved my back. I would only carry about five books at a time, which wasn’t any trouble at all, and after each signing I tried to use my time efficiently so that I could make a trip to the car to exchange it for another set of books for the next signings. I did this about twice in the day. Like I said, it may not be practical for some, but this method gave me a much better experience because I was more comfortable as I was walking around.

Oh! Plus, throughout the day it’s very unlikely for you to not get free totes along the way to signings and panels. So you’ll end up with more bags than books by the end of the day anyway. (I literally had a huge book bag and 5 totes to lug around last year hence the body aches the following days.)

Also, this year was much more meaningful with signings for me. Because I took a long hiatus from reading during high school and the beginning of college, I wasn’t up to date with new authors that wrote YA fiction. It wasn’t until I started blogging early 2015 did I come to learn about these authors (such as Rainbow Rowell, Leigh Bardugo, Sarah J. Maas, etc). So the author line up from last year had a lot of familiar names but only a handful were ones that I had read books by them. And since I wanted to see as many authors as I could, all the while trying to avoid picking those that I read their books pre-2010, I decided on authors of books I’d already owned (regardless if I read their books yet) to get signed. (Man, what a wordy sentence. I hope I made my point…) I was somewhat greedy, and didn’t want to waste the opportunity of getting to meet those authors even if I hadn’t read their books. (Honestly, it was only three authors that I did this: Alexandra Bracken, Renée Ahdieh, and Victoria Aveyard. This proved to be a smart move since both Bracken and Aveyard became “wristband authors” this year where only a limited number of readers could get the chance to meet them if they had a wristband.) I was still able to make great conversation, but because this year I only chose to meet authors where I’ve read nearly all their published work (and quite recently)… I was able to have much more meaningful, memorable conversations.

Anyway, I don’t want this post to be just text… so like last year’s Yallfest blog post, I will continue to recount my fun day in pictures and captions from here on. Hope you guys enjoy!

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To begin my day off right, I met one of my all time favorite authors (and absolute favorite YA contemporary author), Sarah Dessen. She said she loved my name, guys. T_T And that she liked it so much she was close to naming her daughter Summer. (Dessen’s husband insisted on a different name though so their daughter’s name is Sasha.) Also, she was the only author where I wrote an actual letter to. I made it the day before because I knew I probably wasn’t going to be able to adequately express how much I love her books in the short time I got with her. (And the other author also signing in the background is Adam Gidwitz.)

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Yallfest 2015

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I’m scheduling a post today because, my gosh, I haven’t published anything on here in nearly two weeks. There were several reasons behind this unprecedented hiatus.

Some of you may already know this if I commented on your blogs, I’ve been in an awful reading slump (and thus a blogging slump) since mid-October. I’ve started a bunch of fantastic, brilliantly compelling books (A Little Life, A Monster Calls, Wolf By Wolf to name a few)… but I just haven’t been in the mood to… read.  And I think the best way to deal with this is to just not read for a while. However, I want to thank every one of you that gave me great suggestions for remedying the slump-from light contemporaries to short stories.

Another reason why I think I’ll take it easy with the reading is that I won’t be blogging that much in the next few weeks anyway. Fall classes are coming to a close and finals are about to begin the start of December. My focus really needs to be on my studies especially since this is the year I applied to professional school and they’ll be monitoring my every academic move (lol, that was awkwardly worded, sorry heh) until the end of the spring semester, and I have to admit that blogging (and blog hopping) does take a considerable chunk of my time-even though I do enjoy it! However, I do have one exciting news to share with you guys in terms with my status with admissions to pharmacy school-I got an interview! By the time this post has published, I’ve already have had it, but regardless of it going well or not, I’m just so relieved and happy I was competitive enough as an applicant for them to want to meet me in person. Fingers crossed, that everything will go well from here on out.

Yet another great thing that has happened to me recently is… I went to Yallfest! Those of you that follow me on Instagram and Twitter probably knew I went. But yeah. It was such a wonderful experience, being my first book signing event. I ended up meeting authors I never thought I’d ever get to meet, befriending fellow bookworms while waiting in the signing lines, and just having a blast. The only regrets I had were not getting to see panels. I wanted to attend the Keynote collab between Richelle Mead, one of my all-time favorite authors, and R.L. Stine so bad, but I wasn’t able to buy a ticket in time before they sold out. And every free panel conflicted with a signing that I couldn’t give up. However, I’m happy to be able to say “maybe next year.” That’s right! I’m already thinking about going to Yallfest 2016 because it was just that fun this year. 😉

And before I end this post with a few pictures I took at Yallfest 2015 (omg, I was so derp-y in the pictures; don’t mind me, OTL), I just wanted to say thank you to everyone that comments/likes, just silently reads, or does whatever to support Xingsings even when I’m not active in the blogosphere. I know that a lot of my blog traffic comes from my usual blog hopping sprees, but it really does mean a lot when I still see people actively reading this blog even when I’m not present. Like I’ve mentioned before, I really do read every comment and eventually reply to them.

Anyhow, I hope everyone has a lovely and safe week!

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This was a very special year for Yallfest because it was the fifth year since the event began and the 20th anniversary of Blue Bicycle Books, the independent bookstore that sponsors and teams up with Yallfest annually.

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