Spring TBR + Journaling + The Art Institute

Hey, everyone! There are a few different things I’d like to talk about today, so I thought I’d combine it all into one life-y update post about reading and writing and art. Enjoy!


This week’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt from The Broke and the Bookish is “ten books on your spring TBR,” soooo… that is VERY IMPORTANT to me and I had to link up with them, OBVIOUSLY. Here are ten books I’m super excited to read in the next few months!

desolationthe raven kingthe hidden oracle1. Desolation by Derek Landy

Demon Road was one of my favorite books from last year, so I can’t wait to read the sequel! I trust Derek Landy enough that I’m going to go ahead and order this book without even having read it first. I rarely do that but his writing really is THAT GOOD.

2. The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

I’M SO SAD THAT THIS IS THE LAST BOOK IN THE SERIES. I have really high expectations for it, too, because I gave the previous three books five-star ratings, which I hardly ever do… I have faith that The Raven King will be just as mind-blowing as the others.

3. The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan


4. Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo

We read an excerpt from this in my Travel Writing class and then I decided to read the whole thing! It’s about the residents of a Mumbai slum that borders a very wealthy sector of the city and their struggles to survive among the two extremes.

symptoms of being humanalias volume 4

5. Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin

There’s an unfortunate lack of YA novels with genderfluid protagonists (or just genderfluid characters at all, really), so I’m super excited to read this new release!

6. Alias, Vol. 4: The Secret Origins of Jessica Jones by Brian Michael Bendis

For some reason I decided that I had to read the comics before watching the show, so… yeah. I requested it from the library aaaages ago but whoever currently has it is taking forever to read it. I’m really excited for this volume because it introduces the Purple Man – TBH, I probably would’ve given up on reading the comics before watching the show if it weren’t for the fact that he’s in this one and plays a major role on the show.

7. Dubliners by James Joyce

I always thought this was a book, not a collection of short stories, until we read two of them in my Intro to the Short Story class! I’ve decided to give it a try in order to better prepare myself for the Irish lit course I’ll end up taking if I’m accepted to study abroad in Dublin this summer.

8. Are You My Mother? by Alison Bechdel

I remembered that Bechdel is speaking at my school in April which reminded me that I meant to read this book since I read her earlier graphic novel/autobiography, Fun Home, last fall and absolutely adored it!


9. All You Desire by Kirsten Miller

I read the first book in this duology, The Eternal Ones, back in 2014 and really enjoyed it… I meant to read the sequel but I never got around to it! Now I really want to know how this series ends, though.

10. Huntress by Malinda Lo

I’ve been procrastinating reading this book for too long now… almost two years?! This is the only full-length Malinda Lo book I haven’t read – after that, I’ll have only a handful of short stories left, at least until the publication of her next novel – so I didn’t want to gobble all her books up at once and then have nothing new to read. But I’m really curious about this book!


Today my mom and I went to the Art Institute of Chicago! It’s my most favorite museum ever, so I was super excited to go and we ended up having a great day. There was an exhibit of Van Gogh’s bedroom paintings, which was AWESOME, and then we just wandered around looking at other stuff, most of which we’d seen before on all our other trips there – we don’t live that far away from the city – but which was still enjoyable.

Basically I walked around saying “same” to all the paintings and drawings and sculptures that reminded me of myself – which is to say, most of them – and it was wonderful. ALSO I BOUGHT SOME POSTCARDS WHICH WILL BE HEADED YOUR WAY SHORTLY.


journaling - pile of notebooksI started journaling recently and I’m LOVING it so far so I decided to tell you all about what I’ve been working on! I have a ridiculous number of notebooks because I hoard them like dragons hoard gold… seriously, they take up an entire drawer of my desk and then some! I kept taking more and more of them out of my desk and I couldn’t believe how many I have! The picture above shows just the ones I dumped on my bed – that’s not even all of them, because I thought I’d found them all but then I discovered three or four more later. Oops.

So I decided to try keeping an art journal! I’ve never had success with a diary because I always forget to write in it, and I rarely do any lengthy writing (essays, short stories, novels, et cetera) by hand because I prefer the computer for that sort of thing, so my collection of notebooks has grown bigger and bigger over the years because I LOVE STATIONERY but I don’t really use it. Well, I felt bad about not using it, so a few days ago I chose one of my notebooks and have been doing little combinations of art/writing projects in it!

I’ll post a photo of some of my completed pages in a while – I plan to write a whole post about this eventually, but I’m only five pages in. I’ve had a lot of fun painting and doodling in it, and I’ve pasted things inside, and written whatever comes to mind.

(…I began with the Oscar Wilde quote, “I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train” because A) it seemed apt and B) OSCAR WILDE IS THE GREATEST.)

Anyway, I’m really enjoying myself so far, and would love to know if anyone else keeps an art journal! Do you have any fun ideas or favorite art journal tutorials/blogs/Pinterest boards?! I NEED SOME RECOMMENDATIONS.



What’s new with you? Have you read anything awesome lately or been working on something cool? What’s on your spring TBR? OH AND HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT ART JOURNALS? Have you ever kept one before? How did it go?!

About nevillegirl

Elizabeth. University of Iowa class of 2019. Triple majoring in English & Creative Writing, Journalism, and Gender, Women's, & Sexuality Studies. Twenty-one-year-old daydreamer, introvert, voracious reader, aspiring writer, and lesbian. Passionate about feminism, mental health, comic books, and cats.
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21 Responses to Spring TBR + Journaling + The Art Institute

  1. I think Huntress is my favourite one of Malinda Lo’s books, I hope you like it! I still have the sequel to Adaption to read, but I cant wait for her new one 😀

    • nevillegirl says:

      Ooh, Inheritance?! I loved that series… the ending was so unique! It’s now the only ending I accept for love triangles. *is vague so as to avoid spoilers* I wanna read her novella, Natural Selection, too, because it’s from Amber’s POV. 😀

      Yayyyyy I’m glad you enjoyed Huntress! I absolutely ADORED Ash and am sad that it’s not more popular, especially in the YA LGBTQ+ genre. WE NEED MORE QUEER FANTASY. And we really need more positive stories with happy endings for queer women… so, yeah. Excited to check out Huntress!

      • Oh I’m even more excited to read it now! I read Natural Selection, it was so great as well. I feel like I’m pretty biased and automatically love books with a queer female MC, but oh well haha
        Huntress is set in the same universe as Ash, you have to re-read Ash once you’ve finished Huntress because there’s little continuity details with the folklore/worldbuilding that I love! I don’t like the ending of Huntress as much as I did Ash, but I adored the worldbuilding and atmosphere, also the relationship is the best.
        And yep, I totally agree with you. I was very active in The 100 fandom, not sure if you have seen the drama that went down there, but it’s made me even more desperate for happy queer stories of different genres 😦

    • nevillegirl says:

      Yay, I’m glad to hear that Natural Selection was good! 🙂

      SAAAAME. Books with queer female protagonists pretty much always get 4 or 5 stars from me, and I rarely hand out such high ratings…

      Yeah, that’s why I’m excited to read Huntress – I want to spend more time in the world from Ash!

      I have not watched The 100… I was going to, but then THE THING happened and I changed my mind. It’s actually the subject of my next post – I’m going to talk about the trope of dead lesbian characters and how I refuse to waste my time on books/shows/movies with that trope anymore.

      • Ok well I think you’re going to love Huntress!
        Last weekend I wrote a five page rant about THE THING that happened in the 100, why it was so stupid/offensive/lazy and why I’m no longer watching the show. I dont know whether I’ll ever post it but it helped get a lot of anger out lol. I can’t wait to read your post! Let me know if you have any questions specifically about the show/characters/staff/fandom, I was super invested/involved in the fandom. It’s just such a shame, because the character and the relationship were so damn good. 😦 One good thing is that it generated a lot of media attention, TV writers might think twice before they do it again.

    • nevillegirl says:

      Thanks, I will if I need to! I’m not sure if I will need to, though, because I know most of the details and my post is more about the overarching trope of this in fiction. Like… SO MANY people have recommended Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Supernatural to me, but I just don’t even want to get involved with those shows because I can’t deal with MORE DEAD LESBIANS. Basically my post is about how there may not be a ton of positive stories about queer women, but there are SOME, and I’ll just stick with those – I want to fill my thoughts with happy endings and not more dead or heartbroken lesbians, you know?

    • nevillegirl says:

      UGHGHGHGHGHGH sooo apparently they killed off 1/2 of a lesbian couple on The Walking Dead last night? I stg, my post is practically writing itself. I HATE THIS.

      • yeeeaaaaah, glad i dont watch that show. AND from what I’ve seen, in the comics the show is baed off, a straight white male character dies instead. they literally killed a lesbian to save a straight male. what a -shocking- death. *slams head onto desk and doesnt move for 3 weeks*

  2. Miriam Joy says:

    I don’t keep an art journal as such, but I do have a notebook in which I sometimes draw, or doodle. It’s got a couple of poems in it, and a picture of an owl that I drew, and I pressed some leaves between the pages. But then I started using it as a scrapbook for the articles I wrote for student papers in Cambridge, so that fell by the wayside. I keep a diary-style journal though, and have done since September 2013. I have a row of filled notebooks, all identical, on the shelf next to my desk. They’ve stopped making that type, so my current volume is a new brand. Change! Eek!

    I’m hoping to get a review copy of Desolation from NetGalley, like I did Demon Road. I didn’t realise the new Riordan book was coming out so soon — I’ll have to keep an eye out for that, although I can’t really afford to buy it right now (more to do with shelf space than money — maybe I’ll be able to get a Kindle edition). And of course I’ve pre-ordered The Raven King. I reorganised my shelves today and left a space specifically for it. What else could I do after more than six years loving Maggie Stiefvater’s books? 😉

    • nevillegirl says:

      Ehehe, I’ve tried to keep a diary-style journal SO MANY TIMES before, and it never worked… but I like working on little art projects here and there, so I’m looking forward to working on my art journal some more. 🙂

      I’m planning to buy the boxed set edition of the Raven Cycle someday soon!

      • Miriam Joy says:

        It never worked for me until this current run either, so I can sympathise.

        Nice. I like my UK paperbacks, so I don’t think I’d ever buy a different edition — plus I have the signed bookplates in two of them & TRK. But hopefully I can get them signed properly next time Maggie comes to London. She hasn’t been since April 2013 or something horribly long ago like that.

    • nevillegirl says:

      Are there many differences between the US and UK TRC covers? I mean, other than Blue Lily, Lily Blue. Maybe I just haven’t been paying attention…

      • Miriam Joy says:

        No, they’re mostly the same with a few colour differences, e.g. BLLB being blue and pink rather than green (I’m not sure why? But it is). The spines are different, though — none of the solid block colour I’ve seen on US hardbacks, the pictures just carry in. And they didn’t come out in hardback here, they went straight into paperback. Which I like because then they fit on my shelves better.

    • nevillegirl says:

      *googles for pictures* Ahh, yes, I see what you mean.

  3. Pingback: Quarterly Rewind, Winter 2016 – Writing, Art Journaling, & Music | Musings From Neville's Navel

  4. YAY to the Raven King and Desolation. I’m very excited for them. 🙂 And I loved Huntress! I still have Inheritance to read from Malinda Lo’s books, though — none of the bookshops near me seem to stock it, sadly. Ooh, I saw a theatre production of Behind the Beautiful Forevers about a year ago! It was really excellent. *hums* I don’t read much non-fiction, but maybe I should try…
    I’d love to keep an art journal! I always see such beautiful photos of them. But I feel like I’d be terrible and always forget. I need to add it to the list of ‘things I’m going to do at some point’ and actually try to remember it.

    • nevillegirl says:

      Oh, I had no idea it was made into a theater production! O_O

      Haha, I suck at drawing (and arty things in general…) but since I’ve always found working on art projects to be very soothing, I decided to go ahead and try anyway. I’ve been meaning to do so for years…

  5. YES TO 2 & 3 SO MUCH. I keep hearing people giving R^2 crap for just writing more mythology books? but it’s like, well. If that’s what he wants to do then so be it! Also, he’s just a nice writer, honestly.
    I don’t think any of us are emotionally prepared for TRK. *shudders*
    I’ve been (loosely) keeping a diary for…wow, at least four-ish months now, I guess? Huh. I keep trying to participate in hawwaetc.com’s Journal prompts for creative journalling, but I keep forgetting. -_-

    • nevillegirl says:

      Exactly! And unlike some people *cough* J.K. Rowling *cough* Rick Riordan seems able to write books of consistent quality each and every time, so I really don’t mind that he’s starting yet another series…

      *nods seriously* I need to go lie down for approximately 1000000 years and then wrap myself in a soft blanket in order to prepare for TRK.

      That’s actually how I remembered that I meant to start art journaling! 😀 I saw her posts and I thought they would be fun to try… thanks for reminding me of that!

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