I am The Messenger by Markus Zusak| Book review

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“Why can’t the world hear? I ask myself. Within a few moments I ask it many times. Because it doesn’t care, I finally answer, and I know I’m right. It’s like I’ve been chosen. But chosen for what? I ask.”

Hello everyone! Hope you’re having a chilled out evening. So today’s post is about the story of I am the messenger by Markus Zusak. He’s also well known for his other book, The Book Thief that turned into a movie. And let me tell you, that book is a roller coaster of emotions. If you haven’t read it, then I don’t know what you’re doing with your life! Just kidding though. But seriously, how can you miss out on reading a marvelous story that will probably shatter your heart into little pieces? Because I know I wouldn’t. Anyways, I am going to stop babbling, or I’ll embarrass myself. So back to our review.

Who’s Ed Kennedy?

Who’s the one who chose Ed to be The Messenger?

Why has he been chosen to be The Messenger?

Ed Kennedy is a nineteen year old cynical guy who works as a cab driver for a cab company. He lives in a cheap shack that he rented with his only housemate, The door man. And that’s his stinky dog who smells horribly gross. Ed is helplessly in love with his best friend Audrey who cares about him too much to even consider dating him. He’s got another two close friends, Marv, and Ritchie. Ed is one of those people whose personality is a mix of contradictions. Each trait contradicts the other one. “You’ll understand what I’m talking about at the end of this review.”  He is lousy/careless about his future. He didn’t even think of going to college or showed an interest about his education. The only thing he’s good at is playing cards a couple nights a week. The days were passing by pretty much the same, until one day, Ed stops a bank robbery and its robber. The police station called Ed to come to testify and tell them exactly what happened and how he stopped the robber. Everyone was complementing Ed about what he did, and he felt awesome about it. Ed got more famous and his face was all over the newspapers. But something unusual happened after that. One day, Ed thought of checking his post, and found a playing card with three different addresses and clues written on it. There was also a letter that explained to him what he should do, and if he didn’t obey the instructions and did what he’s told to do, his life will be at stake. Ed was bewildered at first, but then he chose to do what the letter said exactly.

The sender of those cards is someone Ed doesn’t know. He started asking his friends, even Audrey, but they all denied it. The Messenger’s mission goes like this, each card has a couple of addresses and places written on it that he has to go to. Once he goes to several places and do his job as he’s told, he receives another new card in the post with a new addresses.

Ed has been chosen to be the messenger for several facts based on his uneventful life. He is pessimistic about his choices, and himself. If something is out of his reach, he won’t bother to try and get it. Wallowing in self pity and comparing himself to other people’s lives and jobs is what he does best. He underestimates his abilities and the things he could do and achieve way too much. Despite all of his negative personality, he’s really affectionate and protective of the people he cares about. He’s willing to help them no matter what. He puts other people’s needs over him, and he doesn’t even realize it until the end of his journey. However, Deep inside, he believes that he wasn’t meant to do great things in life, and to leave an unforgettable mark on this world when he dies. But being the messenger has proven to him that he’s not what he thinks of himself at all. He goes around each night, delivering the messages, fixing people’s lives, protecting them from whatever/whoever is harming them, and preferring helping people he doesn’t know over sleep and comfort. For the first time, he follows his instinct to do what’s necessary. And as much as he hates it, his journey as the messenger brings joy to some people and sometimes inflicts pain on them to open their eyes and realize the wider picture.

Markus Zusak uses English like nobody does. His words are magically touching and so powerful that makes you feel like you’re drowning so deep in a pool of endless emotions. His writing style is so poetic and full of passion. To be frank, I picked up this book without reading any reviews. I didn’t have any idea what is it about. At first, the plot was going slow and the characters were dull and hard to like. But further on, Ed’s journey got more intense and complicated and the characters became more interesting. He was living his ordinary life thinking he’s immune to change, while in fact he willingly surrendered to his negative mindset that was poisoned by so many toxic thoughts without a fight. But once he got out of his comfort zone, and went great lengths to help others, he started wanting to make more out of his life. At the end of the book, he became fully aware that he’s not the messenger, he’s the message. And he is capable of doing more than he thought he could.

I think that the main message of this book to all of us is to never underestimate any act of kindness, even the smallest one. Because sometimes, all we want is just to be listened to when life gets overwhelming. So taking a little bit of your time, easing others’ sorrows and pain, being there for them to never let them feel alone, and protecting them is the biggest genuine form of sacrifice any human being could offer. Last but not least, never settle for less if you truly believe that you could be a better version of yourself.

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Everyday by David Levithan| Book review

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Before I go on and talk about the book I want to remind you all of something because I don’t want you to get majorly confused. The gender of the narrator is unspecified. We don’t know whether it’s a girl or a boy. So the narrator, which is the main character is called “A”, and I’m going to refer to it as “He” in my review of this book.

“I am a drifter, and as lonely as that can be, it is also remarkably freeing. I will never define myself in terms of anyone else. I will never feel the pressure of peers or the burden of parental expectation. I can view everyone as pieces of a whole, and focus on the whole, not the pieces. I have learned to observe, far better than most people observe. I am not blinded by the past or motivated by the future. I focus on the present because that is where I am destined to live.”

Can you imagine pretending to be a whole different person every day?

Can you live with the burden of hiding a heavy secret your entire life?

Could it be possible to fall in love with someone who has a new physical appearance every single day?

“A” wakes up every day in a different body, different gender, different town, and in a different life. The gender and the race of the main character “A” is unknown and always changing. The only constant thing is his age, which is sixteen.

“A” inhabits a different body each day, but he never inhabits a person’s body twice. When “A” wakes up in the morning, he has to figure out who he is, so he has the ability to access the memories of the person he’s inhabiting, whether it’s a girl or a boy, but not their emotions.” A” never gets so attached, too noticed, or interferes with their life course, or mess up their relationships or plans. “A” doesn’t have a slight idea about why his body has to shift from one person to another, or what the main purpose of having an inexplicable way of living. He has to be careful to not let the other people around him notice any change, otherwise he would compromise himself. He doesn’t have control over his life, or gets to decide or even make choices or take chances. “A” is an undefined creature. A floating soul without a body. Eventually, he surrenders to the facts, stops searching for an explanation, and learns to be at peace with himself.

Until one day, “A” wakes up in the body of a boy called Justin. When “A” meets Justin’s girlfriend Rhiannon, he feels an instant love spark from the first sight. From this moment his life takes a drastic transformation.  Justin is cold hearted, impetuous, and selfishly rude. He doesn’t appreciate Rhiannon or even respect her enough, even though she’s the one who always stick to his side and makes up excuses for his cruel behavior. “A” is used to inhabiting bodies since he was as little as he could remember. But he has never experienced this feeling. Beating the odds, Sometimes you, just click with a person immediately, It’s like You’re both destined to get to know each other, even if it’s uncertain how long it will last. Belonging. That’s what “A” has been feeling since he met Rhiannon. He craves to belong to her, have  endless conversations with her, and comfort her when she’s sad or need someone to talk to. The feeling to belong to someone has become overwhelming to “A”. Now there’s a reason to wake up every morning, there’s something to look forward to. As the story goes on, “A” feels a strong connection to Rhiannon. However,  “A” has to overcome many obstacles along the process of making the relationship work out between them both. He has to prove himself to Rhiannon, if he really believes he’s worthy of her.

This is the first book I read by David Levithan and definitely won’t be the last. What I admire about the book is that it contains many visual/emotional images. I can imagine the scene when I’m reading it without even trying to. David Levithan is a brilliant writer. He has his own way with expressing words that pull all of your deepest emotions. The vividness of his writing style makes you live the story through his captivating and gripping description of the tiniest details. I also like that we get to take a glimpse of each life and body “A” is inhabiting. Since the main character is a teenager, the book explores some common themes nowadays, that relate to most teens like drug abuse, obesity, and mental illness. The fact that “A” wakes up as someone else everyday is disheartening, because all those memories and yesterdays don’t belong to him. “A” is only meant to live in the present moment, so it’s really crucial for him to think of the future, or even consider it. Even though “A” has no body, hair, or facial features as a main character, he has a huge influence. I felt the presence of “A” throughout the events in the story, which is fascinating to a featureless character.

To be honest, I had some issues with this book. I expected it to be more creepy and mysterious, like a more thriller novel. The whole concept of this book is pretty intriguing. But, in the middle, I was disappointed, because it turned out into a love story, and the writer didn’t focus on the main character. Instead, he focused on the lives “A” is inhabiting. For me, I would’ve liked to know more about “A’s” life from a psychological/scientific perspective, and what goes through his mind. Also, I don’t really see what’s so special about Rhiannon. I didn’t buy the whole love story! I guess I wasn’t born with a romantic gene lol! She’s like any other random person, and I didn’t understand why is “A” obsessed with her. I wish the writer convinced us more about her uniqueness that caught “A’s” attention. Despite the cliffhanger ending that made me so confused and mad, it’s an emotional and thought provoking story that will literally make you curiously ask yourself questions about so many things. To sum up my whole review, if you want a fast paced novel that will blow your mind, you should read this book immediately.

“If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s this: We all want everything to be okay. We don’t even wish so much for fantastic or marvelous or outstanding. We will happily settle for okay, because most of the time, okay is enough.”

10 simple ways to feel relaxed on stressful days

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We all have one of those days where we feel stressed out, anxious, upset, or worried about something. Whether it’s related to school, relationships,  personal issues, or even life in general. It doesn’t matter how big or small the thing we’re worried about is, because we all react to it differently. But whenever we feel stressed, It’s important to step back, take some time and recharge ourselves to feel more relaxed and less stressed. So here’s a ten simple ways to help you calm down on stressful days.

1- Stop thinking about things you can’t control

It’s easy to spend too much energy overthinking about things beyond our control, especially when we are stressed. Or if something didn’t go our way, we start to panic and feel annoyed about the things we should’ve done. Above all that, if we really think about it for a second, we would realize that thinking about things, or situations we cannot control is a waste of our time, and thoughts. Instead, we could take this negative energy and invest it in something else we like to do. Whether it’s painting, drawing, or even baking. It will distract your mind and help you to forget about it.

“Stop overthinking. Whatever happens, happens.”

2- Drink something warm

There’s something so soothing and therapeutic about drinking tea, coffee, or hot chocolate. It feels like your brain is being magically massaged. I find it necessary to have a cup of tea whenever I feel overwhelmed and stressed out about anything. It calms my nerves down, and it clears my mind.

“Where there’s tea, there’s always hope.”

3- Take a walk

Staying in the same place for so long can stress you out. Like when you sit on your laptop for many hours, you feel like your body is sore, your eyes hurt from staring at the screen, and then you feel too stressed to be bothered with anything. So take a 30 minute walk outside your home. And focus on what surrounds you, rather than focusing on yourself. Feel the air as you walk, breathe deeply, listen to the trees or birds. You’ll feel peacefully zoned out.

4- Turn off all your electronic devices

We live in a time where electronic devices are a huge part of our life. There’s a constant need to check out our phone every five minutes. We feel like we’re obligated to post a picture here, tweet about what’s happening there, or comment on anything we read. It’s ridiculously unbelievable how many hours we waste on our phone. It’s mind draining and time consuming. I know this might sound impossible, but turning off   all your devices can make a huge difference, even for a few hours. It will affect your mood in a positive way. You’ll feel free and chillaxed, and you’ll have a less throbbing headache from typing and staring the phone all day.

5- Lit up your favorite candle

Who doesn’t like candles? Because if you do, I don’t trust you! Choosing a specific scent that you like is a big deal. Everyone knows that a lavender candle reduces stress and makes you calm. For me, I like sweet scents like cherries, cinnamon, vanilla. When you lit up a candle and the scent fills up the atmosphere, it really shifts your mood instantly. Even when I read sometimes, the scent gives me the feeling of tranquility.

Each scent of candle affects you differently. Let’s find out how:

Vanilla: Sweet smells are known to be therapeutic. A vanilla scents comforts you, warms you, and makes you feel less worried.

Lavender: Soothes your nerves and helps your anxiety, and makes you stress free.

Cinnamon: reduces tiredness and weariness, and makes you aware of your surroundings.

Jasmine: Relaxes your nerves deeply.

Rose: Relaxes your nerves emotionally, it also helps with depression.

Lilac: Helps you remember memories from the past. It also has a positive effect on improving memory.

6- Treat yourself

Having a quality time with yourself every once in a while is a must. Socializing can be physically exhausting and mentally/emotionally draining. Being surrounded by people pretty much half of your day is nerve tiring. Whenever you feel overwhelmed by the amount of stress you’re going through, treat yourself. Go to a coffee shop, sit by the window and observe people while you’re drinking your delicious coffee. I just personally find it relaxing and interesting. Watch a movie alone. Have dinner in a new restaurant. Go to the bookstore and browse the books, just the thought of doing this makes me feel so calm. Buy yourself something you’ve always wanted. Buy candles. Chocolate is a therapy for the soul, it’s an essential thing to buy. Also, dark chocolate is beneficial for the body and it increases your mood. So treating yourself is so necessary when you’re feeling stressed out.

“Date yourself. Take yourself out to eat. Don’t share your popcorn at the movies with anyone. Stroll around an art museum alone. Fall in love with canvases. Fall in love with yourself.”

7- Read a book

What’s better than reading a book and escaping reality? To be able to transport to a completely different time, drift into another world, live so many lives, get to know different characters, and to forget about your own worries for a while is such a priceless feeling. Reading comforts the soul and ease the mind. And let’s be real, fictional people are the best kind of people. It doesn’t matter what type of book you’re reading, as long as you like it. To be honest, rereading my favorite book is what I do whenever I feel blue, or stressed out. It’s like catching up with an old friend. It feels familiar and safe.

“Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.”

8- Dance your stress away

Zumba is my favorite type of dancing. It makes you feel so alive and full of energy, and it exhausts you in a fun way. Dancing your stress away gets your mind off things quickly and it makes your blood racing. Even though I literally can’t walk properly from dancing too much Zumba sometimes, i still feel so positively energetic after which is great.

“When in doubt, dance it out.”

9- Clean your room

Messy rooms are the most distracting thing on earth. Let’s be honest, I deserve an award for having the messiest room ever. I’m the kind of person who hides things under the bed or stuffs everything inside my wardrobe which is the worst cleaning method, because I’m making it extra messy by doing that. But nowadays, I clean my room regularly and when it’s super clean, I feel like I have my life 100% under control. It’s so nice sitting in a tidy room, where everything in its exact place, and without random things lying on the floor. Having a messy room is so annoying. When you’re reading or writing, you keep being distracted by the mess around you, which leads to more stress. But when your room is clean, you feel 100% focused on what you’re doing.

10- Write your thoughts in a journal

Have you ever lashed out or yelled for no reason? Have you felt blue and sad out of a sudden? Bottling up emotions, anger, or fear inside is a destructive habit yet we tend to do it. You might think ignoring what you feel is for the best, but it’s not. The more you neglect what you feel, the more it grows inside until you feel like you want to burst out. If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t like to share or complain to someone about what they’re feeling, that’s ok. But if you won’t talk about it, then write about it. So writing your thoughts, fears, or ideas in a journal is like going to a therapist without having to pay anything. So you’re the winner here! I’m not a big fan of writing every single day in my journal. I usually write when I’m disappointed, confused, or when I have an exciting day that’s worth writing about. Or sometimes I write whatever comes to my mind. Also, writing helps me be aware of my emotions and process them once at a time. I have two journals. The first one is for writing my  thoughts, or plans. The second one is smaller in size, because I write in it different quotes that I like from Tumblr, books, or movies, so whenever I feel down I go through it and read all the quotes, which is surprisingly weird it changes my mood. We are humans, we are blessed with the ability to feel everything around us, so why suppress it? Why don’t we take advantage of it?

“Anyone can write at least one masterpiece. You only have to describe the things around yourself.”

I hope you like the ways I wrote about. Of course, there are plenty of ways to feel relaxed, but those are the ones I always do when I feel stressed out. I Hope you have a wonderful day full of achievements. See you in another post.