5 Reasons to Read “The Ghost in the Shell” (Even if You’ve Never Read it!)

5 Reasons to Read “The Ghost in the Shell” (Even if You’ve Never Read it!)

Recently, I had the pleasure of contacting Vertical about my services as a freelance copywriter. The marketing director came back with a different idea. Of course, I was interested in the idea but I’ll get to the idea in a second.

His idea, once he saw on my website that I review books, is to review a book they published. I had one book in mind to read since I haven’t read anything in the series before. I’m sure you’ve heard about the movie recently with Scarlett Johansson called “The Ghost in the Shell”.

You’ve seen the backlash attached to the film since Johansson is American and the story was created by the Japanese. I won’t discuss the white-washing of films today, though, but discuss my thoughts on a book in the series.

Choosing a copy of “The Ghost in the Shell” with five original short stories that are not part of the original storyline was easy for me. I’ll be going over my thoughts on the novel and my overall perception of it for you. Let’s take a look, shall we?

The Ghost in the Shell Book Review

“The futuristic technology is fascinating.”

In the novel series, human beings essentially have two brains coinciding in their heads. They have a cyberbrain and a “ghost” brain. The “ghost” brain is the brain that you and I have right now. The cyberbrain serves as a sort of computer.

Prosthesis technology is also advanced beyond our current capabilities. A person’s entire body can be prosthetically built if that is what is needed. In the last short story, Olympian athletes use specialized full-body prosthetics to compete.

The people in the novels can also switch bodies to keep themselves alive. That is part of why they use full-body prosthetics. If they get into their eighties or nineties, they can switch into a full-body prosthetic to prolong their life.

To me, that kind of technology is fascinating. I’ve always been interested in what the human race is capable of in terms of the tech we use on a normal basis. Since this novel’s universe is based in the 2030s, who knows what we could be using then?

“To think…the novel is set only 15 years from now!”

This part is what really peaked my interest in the series. In one of the short stories, it lists the year as 2030 and another year as 2034. These dates are less than 15 years away from us. If they already have the tech that they do, what are WE going to have when we get to 2030 and 2034?

That got me thinking about that question as well. How are we going to evolve as a human race in the time this gives us? What animals are going to be fully extinct and which ones are going to be close to extinction?

Here comes the silly question as well for you to think about. How easy will it be for the technology we have in 2030 to take over the world? How easy will it be for the technology we have then to turn us into zombies and kill each other off?

The question might be a silly one to you but it’s one to think about, for sure. What if we get so far with the advancement of technology that it turns against us? People are already saying this and we’re laughing in their faces, aren’t we?

“It kept me interested from the first page I read.”

I’ll admit to seeing the advertisements for the American film based on this series. That is what peaked my interest when I first saw this book listed. It took me not even two seconds to pick out this book to review. There was no hesitation whatsoever from me and no one at Vertical was surprised either.

I started to read the book as soon as it came in the mail and was pleasantly surprised to find out how good the book started out. You could say it started off with a figurative bang, so to speak. It kept me wanting to read it further from the very first page.

Not many books can do that but “The Ghost in the Shell” managed to do it very easily. I’m a voracious reader who used to get in trouble for reading during class. I read it in about a day and a half, which is a record even for me.

“I’d never heard of the Springer Rage Syndrome so that peaked my interest.”

For those of you who don’t know what this is, Springer Rage Syndrome is when a springer spaniel goes on a murderous rampage. When the rampage is over, the dog does not remember what had happened or what it may have done.

In the Ghost in the Shell universe, this syndrome can be used as a virus in the cyberbrain. You can infect people with it to act out violence or murder upon other people. Afterwards, the infected person will be in a zombie-like state and not remember a thing of what happened.

This peaked my interest because I’ve never heard of it. I’m not even sure if it’s a real disease among the breed of dog. All I know is, I don’t want to be infected with it. I don’t want to be used as a zombie and this would be a great virus to use during a zombie apocalypse.

“The only con I see is that the first short story’s language was hard to read.”

The only thing I didn’t like about the novel was the language in “Shadow.net” by Toh EnJoe. The language was a bit confusing at times, which I believe may be due to the translation. This language made the story hard to follow at times.

For me, it brought back memories of reading books in English class, such as “The Scarlet Letter” or “A Tale of Two Cities”. I was hard-pressed to follow along the plot because the language was beyond my capability to understand.

That doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy the story, though. It was a great short story to start on for the novel and one I thoroughly enjoyed from start to finish. I couldn’t wait to read the next story and I was accustomed to the language used by that point.

In Conclusion

All in all, it was a fantastic book. I don’t often read short stories but these short stories were worth it. It was not a long read at all and it fascinated me from “day one”. I’d say it took me about a day and a half to read it.

I highly suggest you read this novel but have a solid grasp of the main storyline of The Ghost in the Shell beforehand. Otherwise, you’ll be lost within its pages quite quickly. The technology used in the stories is quite advanced and we haven’t reached that level as of 2017.

I want to thank Vertical for the chance to review this novel. It was my pleasure to do so and I hope to review more books for you guys in the future. You are great to work with and I’ll be suggesting you to all of my readers who have an interest in Japanese literature.

5 Ways My Thoughts Make Me Feel Not Normal

5 Ways My Thoughts Make Me Feel Not Normal

I realized in 2015 that I was not normal. It took me years to figure this fact out – I haven’t been normal for years. I have what is known as generalized anxiety disorder, which means everything makes me nervous or anxious.

I didn’t think twice about the things that frightened me the most, believing them to be normal. It turns out that they weren’t normal for people at all. I wasn’t normal for years and had no idea about it until 2015. I was in shock when this fact fell into my lap not too long ago.

My father’s death in late 2015 shocked me into getting treatment. His death made me realize that I’m not feeling normal emotions. I needed to be checked out and monitored to make sure I don’t do anything reckless.

That’s why I wanted to go over five things I deal with that aren’t normal. I realized these fears weren’t normal over several years. If you have any of them, don’t feel nervous about sharing that with me in the comments below or in an email!

“I’d be scared to leave the house.”

I could barely leave the house without some sort of fear that something would happen to me. I didn’t even realize that wasn’t normal until I started therapy in 2015. I didn’t realize other people didn’t have that fear.

It was worse for me when I was leaving the house to go somewhere where I wouldn’t know anyone. I can’t stand going to functions without having someone I know to talk to while I’m there. I start to shake at the thought and still do that with therapy.

People don’t understand this fear and like to attach a stigma to it. It’s like it’s a disease they can catch on a whim. I’ve never understood that thought process and hope to never understand it. I have a mental illness that makes me fear leaving the house and that’s the end of the story, you know?

“I’d be nervous around people I don’t know.”

If I don’t know you, there is a huge chance that I won’t talk to you for a while. It takes a lot of nerve for me to walk up to someone in order to speak to them. I don’t like introducing myself to other people I don’t know yet because I’m so shy these days.

I’ve always been super shy but because of my anxiety disorder, it’s so much worse than a quote-on-quote “normal person’s” shyness. I hate the thought of embarrassing myself so I end up making a fool out of myself in the end.

I don’t always think through what I say to the full extent either. I am prone to blurting out what I’m thinking without putting any thought into how it might sound. I’ve gotten into trouble with so many people because of that problem. It’s a nervous habit and nothing more.

“I stutter when I’m speaking in front of a group.”

I think this goes pretty much without saying. I don’t have to go in-depth with this one, do I? I get so nervous that I start stuttering like a mad-woman. I am shaking “like a leaf” and can’t stop the shaking for quite some time.

This is why I hated public speaking as a young adult. I had to take a public speaking class to get my college degree. Let’s just say I hated every moment of that damn class too, okay? I felt almost normal by the end of the semester but I think the entire class could see me shaking earlier on in the class.

Even though I took a public speaking course in college, I still shake and stutter when I speak in public groups. I hate the thought of speaking in front of people and that will never change for me. I know most people don’t like public speaking but my hatred may not be normal.

“I was terrified of touching my violin.”

I’ve been playing the violin off and on since about 2003. Because of my anxiety disorder, I’ve always been terrified of touching it. I would play softly and not make much of an impact. I was so scared of messing up that I’d mess up.

I was too focused on perfection, even at a young age, that I sucked at something I loved. At the end of the day, I loved playing the violin but I put it away in 2009 after I graduated high school. My college didn’t have a music program so I was out of luck in that category.

I took up the violin again in August 2017 after starting medication for my anxiety disorder. My violin teacher made me realize that something in me was NOT normal. She told me how impressed she was that I had improved so quickly.

I knew then that I wasn’t normal when she told me in September 2017 that she had considered telling me to put my violin up for good. She now says otherwise since she claims that I sound so much better by comparison.

“I was terrified of driving any sort of vehicle.”

This is a problem that still troubles me from time to time when I’m on the interstate. If I’m driving to an unknown destination, I get nervous then as well. I don’t like not knowing where I’m going or how long it’ll take to get there.

I’ve always been one to plan everything down to the second. I freak out if I can’t do that so that’s the reason I’m so early to some appointments in my life. Nine times out of ten, I didn’t know where the place was and wanted enough time to get there in case I got lost.

I’ve gotten better about driving over the past 9 years of doing so. But don’t get me wrong – rainy days make me want to stay home unless the trip is short. That part of me will never change and I don’t mind that one bit.

In Conclusion

I realized I wasn’t normal over a period of years. It didn’t happen overnight and it won’t happen overnight for anyone else either. If you don’t feel normal, then realize you aren’t alone in your journey. There are others out there who feel the same way.

Don’t be afraid to get treatment for whatever it is that’s going on in your life. If you’re depressed or anxious like me, don’t be afraid to go out for treatment. The worst that could happen is that it doesn’t work out for you.

Don’t let the fear of the unknown stop you, my friend. I do want to hear about your experience, though. If you don’t feel quite “right”, how would you explain it to a doctor? Put your answer in the comments section below!

4 Ways Death Impacts People with Anxiety Disorders

4 Ways Death Impacts People with Anxiety Disorders

In honor of my aunt’s impending death, I wanted to share a blog post that is a little more personal than normal. This blog post is about how death impacts people with anxiety disorders.
 
To give you guys some background, my aunt has quite a few medical issues. I won’t get into detail on those but she ended up with double pneumonia and a urinary tract infection.
 
This caused her immune system into overdrive and sent her organs into failure mode. She is in full-on lung failure now and is on oxygen until she passes away.
 
She isn’t on life-support from what I can tell but it looks like they’re close to putting her on it. People may not realize how this looks to someone with an anxiety disorder.
 
Seeing someone die has quite the negative impact on someone with high levels of anxiety. Let’s take a look at the impact death has on people with anxiety disorders.
“Fear of Their Own Death”
As someone with anxiety, death doesn’t have a hard time sinking its teeth into you. You do think about it from time to time on harder days. You don’t think about it when it comes to a family member.
 
Sometimes you have to watch someone close to you die a slow, painful death. That is hard for you and it leaves a permanent mark on your psyche.
 
You begin to wonder how you are going to die in the end. It makes you shudder to think about the many ways it could happen. Death impacts people with anxiety disorders in a horrible way.
 
At the end of the day, you don’t know how you’re going to die and that is what worries you. Your anxiety shoots through the figurative roof as the many scenarios play out in your head.
 
You can’t help the thoughts of death as your loved one lies in their hospital bed, dying themselves. You can’t help the fear as it wracks your own mind and begins the trek towards depression.
 
“Worsening Levels of Depression”
 
You may have thought this person was all but immortal. The person proved you wrong and it hurts you more than you realized it would.
 
You can’t help feeling sad but there’s a difference between sadness and depression. What you feel now is depression and you want to curl up in your bed all day.
 
You don’t want to do anything but have time for grieving for someone you’ve loved your entire life. They’ve been there through everything and now they’re gone.
 
Death impacts people with anxiety disorders worse because we have depression too. At least…a lot of us do, anyway. We don’t want to do anything but wallow in our grief in private.
 
We don’t want anyone else to see us fall into a mode of depression since we know how hard it is to see. We know what it looks like to have depression because we have our own experience with it.
 
“Out of Touch with Reality”
 
Have you ever had that feeling that you were watching something from the outside, looking in? Have you had this feeling while being a part of whatever it is you’re watching?
 
For me, this is the third time this is happening. It is a surreal time for the entire family since my father passed away right after Christmas in 2015.
 
The circumstances were much the same, though I don’t have the pain now that I did with my father. I don’t know my aunt very well but it still feels quite surreal at times when I saw her in the bed.
 
Death impacts people with anxiety disorders in a different way. We also have the ability to worry about other things as well. I can still remember everything I worried about during my father’s funeral.
 
There are some things we don’t forget as anxious people and this feeling is one of them for me. Death impacts us anxious minds in this way to protect us from hysteria.
 
“Not Knowing How to Put Their Thoughts into Words”
 
I always thought I was this great writer growing up. I always had words to say but I never knew how to say them. I suppose that is one of the reasons I was so quiet for all these years.
 
There is not a simple way to put into words how this imminent death is going to impact us. We are already anxious about so many things in our lives.
 
Each person grieves in a different way and silent grief is quite common for people affected by death. Anxious people, like me, are bound to fret over the death and will do it in silence.
 
The fact is, I don’t know how to put my thoughts into words about my aunt’s death. I’ve known her all my life and it’s going to be an odd thing to not have her at the house during national holidays.
 

In Conclusion

 
Death impacts people with anxiety disorders very hard. It’s like a punch in the gut or something to that effect. It comes out of the blue and we aren’t prepared for it.
 
As people with anxiety, we prepare for a lot of things. Sometimes, though, death isn’t one of those things. We have to deal with the curve-balls as they come and ride the figurative ocean wave.
 
How do you deal with grief over a loved one? How does the death impact you? I want to know in the comments if you feel comfortable sharing!
My 5 Reasons for Changing to the Literary Niche

My 5 Reasons for Changing to the Literary Niche

Changing to the literary niche was not a decision I made very lightly at all. I knew I had to pick a niche I enjoyed writing about and enjoyed helping people with.
 
That’s why I chose the literary niche out of all the other niches I could have picked. Changing to the literary niche was the best decision I ever made. I haven’t looked back since either.
 
Changing niches is not a decision a freelance writer should take lightly. You have many factors to think about when choosing a niche to write about.
 
Let me share a few of my reasons for changing to the literary niche so you can understand why I chose it. You’ll be able to see what you have to do when picking a new niche.
changing to the literary niche
 
“I love to read.”
 
I’ve always loved to read ever since I was a young child. I’d prefer to read than go to a social event. I shudder to think of not having a book on my person at all times.
 
I get bored after a short period of time and have to have something to do because of that. This is why having a book is always a good idea for me. I prefer fantasy or sci-fi novels to anything else.
 
Well…unless it’s a James Patterson novel. I’ve read quite a few of his books as well over the years. When I read, I fluctuate between the young adult section and the adult section of the library.
 
I used to buy my books from the local Books-A-Million store but that got expensive after a short time. At any time, I can have anywhere from seven to ten books checked out at one time.
 
“I’ve read hundreds of books over the last 20 years.”
I don’t remember when I first started to read but it’s been in my blood for longer than I can remember. My mother loves to read, as does my paternal aunt.
 
I don’t remember not loving to read and it’s been a huge part of my life for so long. I’ve read hundreds, if not thousands, of books over the last two decades.
 
I got my first public library card in 1998 when I was at the ripe age of 8 years old. I can still remember what that library card looked like too, believe it or not.
 
I used that library card so much over the years that it split in two in a literal sense. I wasn’t laughing at the time and I don’t laugh about it almost 20 years later. It’ll never get to the point of being funny.
 
“I almost live in the library.”
 
I’m not proud of this fact but it’s true all the same. I do almost live in the library. When they changed things around a few years ago, it didn’t take long for me to get used to the new layout.
 
I am on a text messaging basis with the young adult librarian and she always texts me when new books come in. She knows that this news will interest me enough to venture over to the place.
 
It may be across town from where I live but that doesn’t stop me from taking a trip to the library. I love taking a look at the new books, no matter what day of the week it may be.
 
Several of the circulation people at the library know me by first name as well. They check out the books I choose and it makes them laugh when I tell them I have something on hold to pick up.
 
I almost always have something on hold that is available for pick-up, which is why I’m at the library so much. It excites me to think that I have something else to add to my immediate reading list.
 
“I have experience volunteering at my local library.”
 
I’ve gone as far as volunteering at my local library. I never thought I would be doing that but it didn’t occur to me that I shouldn’t do it. I wanted to be a part of things and this is how I was going to do that.
 
I can’t remember exactly what it was I was volunteering for but there was a young adult activity that day. I wasn’t old enough to take part in the activity but I still helped to prepare the room for it.
 
It made me smile to think that I helped put up the streamers around the room. That’s not to mention the help I did setting up the tables for the high school students.
 
If I’m not mistaken, it was some sort of DIY jewelry event. You know, like you’d take part in with your girl scout troop. It wasn’t something that interested me but I still had fun volunteering.
 
I was also invited to be a part of the young adult council who picked which books the librarian ordered. For me, this was a HUGE deal and I couldn’t have been more excited.
 
No one had ever picked me for anything like this before so this was new territory for me. I couldn’t say no to my friend, could I? No, I thought not!
 
“Writing in this industry excites me.”
 
I’ve written about anything from mental health to workers’ comp and this is what interests me the most. I love to read and I want the opportunity to help the reading community.
 
I want to help introduce patrons to new books they can read. I want these customers to enjoy the books they buy. Even if you rent the books from a library, I still want you to enjoy them.
 
The opportunity to help the literary community in this way is exciting to me in a way nothing else can excite me. I didn’t realize how much love I had for it until I made the change in my business.
 
Writing book reviews or writing about books that are coming out soon brings a smile to my face. I can’t help it, nor do I want to stop the smile.
 
The biggest thing I’ve come to realize is that I have to enjoy what I’m writing. If I don’t enjoy it, then my business will become a chore and I don’t want that. What freelancer would want that?
 
In Conclusion
 
Changing to the literary niche was the best decision I ever made. I have experience in the niche, I love what I do, and I love to write about what I do.
 
Being able to change my niche to something I love is not an easy task, though. You have to think about profitability among other things.
 
Make sure you pick a niche that excites you, one you have experience in, or one that you could get experience in. I know that’s what I did and I haven’t regretted it.
 
Have you ever changed to the literary niche before? I want to “hear” about more about it so tell me in the comments below!
5 Questions about the Literary Niche for New Freelance Writers

5 Questions about the Literary Niche for New Freelance Writers

I’ve been a blogger for 2 years now and freelance copywriter for about a year now. When I switched niches, I had questions about the literary niche that I couldn’t answer.
 
I set out to answer these questions for both you and me. I wanted to make sure this switch of niches wasn’t going to be daunting to either one of us.
 
My love for reading and writing isn’t going to get me by when it comes to finding clients, after all. That can’t be the only things I need to survive and pay the bills.
 
My questions about the literary niche may be pressing so I wanted to set about answering them. They are questions we all fear at some point or another. Answering them can put our minds at ease as well.
 
Let’s get started answering these questions. I want to delve deep into the world of the literary industry for your sake as well as my own.
questions about the literary niche
 
“Is the niche profitable?”
 
What am I going to find when I enter the industry as a new freelance writer? This question is often exacerbated by anxiety disorder. My anxiety likes to warp this kind of question until it keeps me up at night, sweating bullets.
 
I often wonder, when I enter a new niche, if the prospects value the kind of work that freelancers like me delve into. Have they worked with a freelance writer before? What was their experience like with that previous freelancers if so?
 
I want each client to enjoy working with me but I refuse to force the prospect into working with me. If they are not comfortable with the idea, then I will not push it.
 
How many clients will I get if I cold e-mail people in this new industry? This is a question that also keeps me awake at night with anxiety attacks. I know it will take time to get an answer but I still wonder in the back of my mind.
 
“How am I going to pay my bills?”
 
I’m sure this is a fear a lot of freelancers have these days. The marketplace can be quite competitive at times, especially in certain niches. It made me nervous at first since I was afraid that I would contact someone who already had a freelance writer.
 
This concern made me wonder how I was going to pay my bills if this kept happening to me. See…this is what anxiety does to your mind. It warps your mind until your mind doesn’t know what to think anymore.
 
What I’ve noticed about this niche is that there isn’t as much competition as there is in the B2B marketing niche. That makes my anxiety lessen to an extent as I work to make a decent living as a freelance literary copywriter.
 
This fear will always be in the back of my mind because of my anxiety disorder. I will always be working hard to make sure I can pay my bills each month. All freelancers do this on a weekly basis.
 
“How long is it going to take before clients come to me?”
 
This question makes me smile now as I wonder about an answer to it. I do take this question seriously, though, as I wonder what the best course of action is to take. I want to make sure dream clients find me but I wonder how I can make that happen.
 
My plan of action is going to be work on SEO (search engine optimization) and social media marketing. I will make sure that I am present on each social media platform prospects are active on the most.
 
Social media campaigns are difficult when you are a freelance writer. It is even harder for someone who may not know what they are doing. The best thing you can do is to research your options when it comes to social media platforms.
 
Having the right plan of attack can ensure success when it comes to getting on your dream clients’ radar. The platforms you use to reach your ideal client are different, as it depends on your industry of choice.
 
“Is my love for reading going to be enough?”
 
My anxiety tells me that the answer to this question will always be negative. My love of reading is not something you would want to hear as a prospective client. You’d want to hear more about my experience in the industry.
 
For that, I can’t blame you in the least. That’s what I’d want to hear if I were in your shoes at any point. If I hear a virtual assistant, I might be in your place at some point in the future.
 
Having a love of reading helps with the goal I have of gaining clients but you wouldn’t want to hear about that alone. You would also want to hear about my volunteer experience at my local public library. You know, something like that.
 
I’ve been friends with the young adult (YA) librarian at my local public library for years now. I’ve known her for as long as I can remember and have introduced her to new authors.
 
I’ve introduced hundreds of books to the YA section because of my close friendship. I am glad to see other young adults like me enjoying the books I have introduced to the librarian.
 
“What if I end up with more clients than I can handle?”
 
This is a question freelancers have upon getting clients when they’re starting out. It is a question I often worry about, though I’ve never had this “problem” myself.
 
If this “problem” occurs to you, there are several things you can do to reduce your stress levels. The first thing you can do is find another freelancer to outsource the project to. Another thing you can do is have a wait list for prospects to sign up for.
 
There is also something else you can do to reduce your stress. It may not be something you want to do but it may have to happen anyway. You may end up having to tell the person you cannot help them.
 
The best thing you can do in this situation is to give them the information of another freelancer. This freelancer would need to be able to do the project in question as well as the prospect believes you can.
 
If you do not know anyone who can help them, you can tell them that you are not available until a certain time. If they do not want to wait, you can point them to a certain website like UpWork or Freelancer.
 
“In Conclusion”
 
According to Forbes, freelancers make up 35 percent of the workforce in the United States. That is a total of 55 million people, in case you’re wondering.
 
That’s a lot of people, right? We are a part of that 35% of the workforce and we can make freelancing work with the right plan of attack.
 
Remember all that time you’ve spent worrying about paying the bills? Use that time to create a powerful blog post or write a cold pitch to a new prospect.
 
Be productive with the time you have as a freelancer, whether you’re doing it full-time or part-time. Don’t let this career be a dream alone!
 
Do you have any other questions you’d like answered? Leave them in the comments below so I can answer them for you!