TBR Mailbox: Making Reading Fun To The Next Level

A weird combination of happiness and frustration stirs in our chest whenever it is time to choose what to read next. Should I pick up that book that has been collecting dust on my bookshelf? But the last book of that trilogy you’ve been obsessing just came out. This kind of situation always make us readers thankful for the invention of the TBR Jar. For those of you who don’t know what a TBR Jar is, TBR means To-Be-Read. It is a jar with random challenges (such as “Book with male protagonist,” “Book set in another planet”) to help you pick the next book you want to read. My first TBR Jar was just a white mug, so TBR Jars like these make me explode in jealousy: 

CollageImageSo then 2 days ago, I realized it was time for a new TBR Jar. However, I want to reach the next level. I just don’t want it to be a jar, I want it to have personality like the books I own. And so Voila! The TBR Mailbox is born. 

CollageImageLike most TBR Jars (In my case mailbox), everything is handmade. My inspiration for the design is base on the following:

spring-daisy-flowers_121946505 The Spring Season

Anna and The French Kiss

Anna And The French Kiss by Miss Stephanie Perkins 

& Last but not the least

Emmy And Oliver

Emmy & Oliver by Miss Robin Benway 

What makes the TBR Mailbox different from a regular TBR Jar? Well, I am glad you are curious. A regular TBR Jar gives you a direct to the point what you should read next, but the TBR Mailbox gives you a challenge to the next level. Since it is a mailbox, I put envelopes instead of roll-up papers, and I divided these envelopes into 3 categories (And yes, the envelopes are also handmade).

IMG_0305Yellow envelopes are for MG books (Middle Graders)

IMG_0307The pink ones are for YA (Young Adult)

IMG_0308The Plain one is for adult fiction

As you can see, there are certain genres written on each envelope, and I will explain later why. Let me just tell you what I will put inside these envelopes.

IMG_0303Inside the envelopes are these cute fusion of Anna and The French Kiss and Emmy & Oliver cards. When you open the envelopes, you’ll see random challenges like: 

IMG_0306(book set in the future) 

So I shuffled all these cards and put them randomly in different envelopes. Now I will put them inside my TBR Mailbox all facing down so I have no idea what color they are.

IMG_0313

What I will do is I will pick up a random envelope inside. If I pick up a yellow envelope with the contemporary genre written on it, and inside a card says, “book with male protagonist,” it means I need to pick an MG contemporary book with a male protagonist from my bookshelf. I know it can be tricky sometimes, but books are like that, they can be divergent– they belong in many categories. Isn’t that the fun part? If you notice that there is no genre inside my Adult Fiction Envelope, it is because I chose not to put any since the population on Adult Fiction on my bookshelf is just about 3% I think, so I don’t have that many choices. There is also no card inside, but hey at least I still give them a space in my TBR Mailbox, right? 

So guys, what do you think about my TBR Mailbox? Isn’t too much or is it cute, fun, or challenging? 

PS: Again, I cannot tell you where I bought it because everything is handmade. 

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Rainbow Reads: Why Do We Need To Read LGBT Books in YA?

Book Lovers’ favorite season is here. Summer. 

There is nothing to do but enjoy the heat under the shade of your favorite tree with a sundae on your left hand and a book on the other one. Once you open that first page, the impossible becomes possible. That’s how powerful books are. Most young readers are big fans of the YA genre, and I salute YA for proving that YA is not just about sleepovers, crushes, and prom. Topics such as domestic violence, bullying, sex, and other deep issues are tackled in YA books. Many argue that bringing out such topics leads to misbehavior of the young generation, but what YA books actually does is the complete opposite; it actually helps the young generation to be better thinkers. 

BooksChangedYourWorld-100

Homophobia is still present today. It is like a disease that can spread faster than the speed of light. The younger you are, the chances of you catching this disease is bigger. But, luckily, there is a strong, powerful vaccinations available now. And they are available at book stores and libraries.

LGBT characters used to be like aliens in books– we didn’t know whether they really existed or not. Now, most books are aiming the spotlight at them:

LGBTQ_Infographic_EpicReads_Small1 

Some YA books still focus on LGBT themes, and that is wonderful. It gives pure attention to what really is needed, but lately, another giant step has been made by the YA genre– LGBT characters are just characters and nothing else. What kind of impact does this move create? It paints a picture of what a beautiful world looks like. In Winger by Sir Andrew Smith, a gay rugby player is just a gay rugby player– the character’s sexuality is not a big deal. Don’t you think it is wonderful world where if someone tells you he/she is gay, you are as bored as someone telling you he/she likes the color green?  

It is still wonderful and magnificent to focus on LGBT themes on YA books, because we are still in a society that being LGBT is not okay. With Sir Bill Konigsberg’s Out of The Pocket and Miss Nancy Garden’s Annie On My Mind, LGBT youth will have the strength to see that they are stronger than what the society tells them about who they should be.

I believe that the more LGBT books we read, the closer we are to show the world that sometimes religion and homophobia are just excuses to show hate.

“The rest of the world is black and white, but we are in screaming colors”

— Taylor Swift