About Me, Bookish

How I Choose My Books Tag

The wonderful and kind Kelly from Another Book in The Wall tagged for the how I choose my books tag! Kelly has an amazing blog – not only does she write thoughtful reviews, but she also creates many thought provoking discussion posts as well as features inspiring book quotes. If you don’t know her blog, please go over to say Hi. I sincerely hope you will enjoy is as much as I do. Thanks Kelly for thinking of me. 

My attempt to catch up on all those lovely tags and awards continues. Let’s have a look how I choose my books, shall we? 🙂


  1. Find a Book on Your Shelves or E-Reader With a Blue Cover | What Made You Want to Pick Up This Book?

the witch of portobello

The Witch of Portobello by Paulo Coelho

I love Coelho’s The Alchemist and because of that, I read a few of his other books as well. This one spoke to me via its blurb “How do we find the courage to always be true to ourselves—even if we are unsure of whom we are?” I thought to myself: ‘that’s an interesting question, I wonder how it will get answered’ and gave this book a chance. 😊

  1. Think of a Book You Didn’t Expect To Enjoy, But Did | Why Did You Read It in the First Place?

heartless

Heartless by Marissa Meyer (my review)

I am a big Alice in Wonderland fan. That was the reason behind choosing this book. I started reading it thinking ‘I sincerely hope that Lewis Carroll’s non-sensical world will not get ruined’… I had many arrogant and cynical assumptions at the back of my mind and they were proven completely wrong. I absolutely adored this book.

  1. Stand In Front Of Your Bookshelf With Your Eyes Closed And Pick a Book At Random | How Did You Discover This Book

Underland

Underland by Chanda Hahn

I read everything Chanda Hahn has written… I enjoy her re-tellings and especially loved her An Unfortunate Fairy Tale series.

When I found out Chanda wrote a book featuring Greek myths, well, it was a no-brainer for me to pick it up… and it did not disappoint by the way, I recommend this book.

  1. Pick a Book That Someone Personally Recommended To You | What Did You Think Of It?

what alice forgot

Norrie recommended me a while back What Alice Forgot from Liane Moriarty (my review). I loved this book because of its characters as well as the concept of ‘time travel thanks to amnesia’… and because of Norrie’s recommendation, I discovered another great author. 😊 With Big Little Lies (my review) being one of my favourite books of 2018 so far.

  1. Pick A Book You Discovered Through Booktube/Book Blogs

educated

Educated by Tara Westover (my review)

I picked this book up after I read this Umut’s review. It is still my book of 2018… despite being massively impressed with Circe

  1. Find A Book On Your Shelves With A One Word Title | What Drew You To This Book?

Outliers

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

Oh, Gladwell and his impressive writing. No unnecessary words, everything well-thought-out and to the point. I adore his thought provoking books.

I was drawn to this book both because of its author as well as its description: “Gladwell asks the question: what makes high-achievers different? His answer is that we pay too much attention to what successful people are like, and too little attention to where they are from: that is, their culture, their family, their generation, and the idiosyncratic experiences of their upbringing.

  1. What Book Did You Discover Through a Film/TV Adaptation?

The Lighting Thief

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

I read Percy Jackson’s adventures a while back, shortly after I watched Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief movie. I really wish I read those as a child, I enjoyed them as an adult but I know I would have loved them even more as a kid. 😊

  1. Think of Your All Time Favourite Book(s) | When Did You Read Them and Why Did You Pick Them Up In The First Place?

My All Time Favourite book is The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

little princeI was given this book by my dad and we read it together for the first time when I was a child. Dad would always pause and let me think about what we just read. We would analyse it together and he would ask for my opinions page after page. 🙂 I read it again a few times as a teenager after that. My sister and I share the same love for this book. We used to talk about its quotes for hours in our local tea room, which is built in our Gothic’s town’s old town walls.

tearoomPhoto of that lovely tearoom

I still remember those discussions and cherish them very dearly.

I read it again many times as an adult and every time I read this bittersweet book, I discover something new in it.  It’s full of possibilities, dreams and love. 😊

Some of my favourite quotes from this book are:

  • “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye”.
  • “What makes the desert beautiful,’ said the little prince, ‘is that somewhere it hides a well…” 
  • “Well, I must endure the presence of a few caterpillars if I wish to become acquainted with the butterflies.” 
  • “You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed.” 

 


If you haven’t done this tag and are reading this post, I am tagging you. 🙂 

Tag, you are It! 🙂

Now over to you:

  • Have you read some of the books I mentioned? 
  • What Book Did You Discover Through a Film/TV Adaptation?
Bookish

I Spy with My Little Eye… something that starts with…

The Incredible Spy Norrie @ Reading Under the Blankie invited me to take part in this fun challenge. I’m always up for a challenge. So what is this particular one about?

The challenge: Find a book that contains (either on the cover or in the title) an example for each category. You must have a separate book for all 20, get as creative as you want and do it within five minutes!!

Side note: I will use my GoodReads’ list of books, which I have read or want to read, displayed a grid to help me with this challenge. Let’s see how quickly it goes…


FOOD

fairest

I enjoy fairy tale re-tellings and the Fairest from An Unfortunate Fairy Tale Series was a highly enjoyable read. I recommend the series if you love fairy tales. 🙂 Fairest by Chanda Hahn

TRANSPORTATION

Small Spaces cover

I can not wait to get my hands on this book. Small Spaces by Katherine Arden is a highly anticipated book.

WEAPON

norse mythology

Well I’m sticking with this one as Thor used his hammer as a weapon. 🙂 Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman (my review).

ANIMAL

the horse whisperer

The Horse Whisperer by Nicholas Evans. Absolutely loved this book when it was released (the movie was ok but it’s the book that stole my heart).

NUMBER

13

Thirteen by Kelley Armstrong – I read her entire Otherword series as well as a few other of her books. Witches, werewolves, necromancers, and mafia.. what else to say. 🙂

SOMETHING YOU READ

talon

Talon by Julie Kagawa. Kagawa is such an amazing author and I still want to read some of her books as I haven’t read all of them yet. I love dragons and this book cover is just…. 

BODY OF WATER

Life of Pi

I bought this audiobook recently and can not wait to start listening to it (hopefully sometime this week). Life of Pi by Yann Martel

PRODUCT OF FIRE

the winter of the witch

Another of Katherine Arden‘s highly anticipated releases. I can not wait to read The Winter of the Witch. I really, really can not wait. Can I somehow get a copy please… ehm, like right now please??? Let’s appreciate how beautiful this cover is so I can talk about it for a tiny bit longer… 😀

ROYALTY

red queen

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard I read it, it was ok. Moving on…

ARCHITECTURE

kin

Kin by Snorri Kristjansson – a book about highly dysfunctional family dynamics plus a few murders now and again happening within this ‘lovely’ family. Quite a surprising fun read (my review).

CLOTHING ITEM

the three musketeers

I absolutely adored this book whilst growing up. Alexandre Dumas and The Three Musketeers.

FAMILY MEMBER

Iron Daughter

Another of Kagawa’s books that I really enjoyed reading. This one is about The Iron Fey. Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa.

Side note: if you enjoyed The Cruel Prince by Holly Black, I highly recommend this series as well. 🙂

TIME OF DAY

Mort

My favourite Pratchett’s book. I know it’s not ‘quite’ the time of day but I just had to sneak it in here… Mort by Terry Pratchett

MUSIC

1000perfectnotes

The emotional contemporary novel A Thousand Perfect Notes by C.G. Drews (my review)

PARANORMAL BEING

hobbit

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. The paranormal being in this case is the dragon, Smaug, not Bilbo – because Bilbo is a legit hobbit, just saying…

OCCUPATION

alchemist

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. This book helps me dream every time I read it… 

SEASON

wintersmith

Another of Pratchett’s wonderful creations. This is especially enjoyable on a cold frosty winter day. Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett

COLOUR

the colour of magic

Norrie – you did extremely well with King, I was very impressed. 🙂 I was tempted to play along with Pratchett but did not dare… he he. Still, I had to use his third book here… purely because it is a pretty awesome book and because I’ll be re-reading it soon with this lovely bunch. Join us if you fancy joining a Terry Pratchett Read-a-thon!! 🙂

The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett

CELESTIAL BODY

little prince

Because that’s my favourite book of all time. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery I particularly love this quote of his:It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.

SOMETHING THAT GROWS

wildwood dancing

This book… I completely lost sense of time whilst reading it. Its writing is truly magical. It’s a wonderful story of five sisters that discover a portal to a mysterious forest (just to double check, something is growing there in the background, right?) If you like Arden’s writing, I have a feeling you may enjoy this beautiful book as well. Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier


What wants to play along?

Cynic On Wings  | Book Beach Bunny | Kathy @ Pages Below the Vaulted Sky | Leslie @ Books Are The New Black| Alex @ Alex Reads and Blogs | Ivy @ Ivy’s Library Card | Ashley @ Ashley in Wonderland | Justine @ Milkz’ Bookshelf

Fancy giving it a go? And also everyone else who feels like it. It’s a lot of fun, promise!

I did not beat the 5 minute time though… I guess ‘indecision’ is my middle name, he he. It was a lot of fun, thanks Norrie for thinking of me. 🙂


Now over to you:

What book cover would you choose for CELESTIAL BODY? Fancy sharing it with me? 🙂 Thanks.

About Me

Mystery Blogger Award

mystery blogger award

Before I start talking about this award, I would like to thank every one of you who have tagged / nominated me in your posts. ❤️

Whenever I see that someone has thought of me, I feel so mushy inside – full of gratefulness for all those sweet bloggers and this supportive community. I honestly appreciate you thinking of me! ❤️ I have a table of these and will write these tags… but the reality is me, right after the dramatic teary-eye moment, getting distracted and completely forgetting about those tags. So note to myself: ‘try not to get distracted too often‘… 🙂

The lovely Justine @ Milkz’ Bookshelf nominated me in the Mystery Blogger Award.

Justine has an amazing blog that I enjoy reading. She also crochets incredible amigurumi. Her creations are so cute and I am sincerely hoping to see more of those on your blog Justine! 🙂 Thanks for the nomination. ❤️


RULES:

  1. Put the award logo on your blog.
  2. Thank whoever nominated you and include a link to their blog.
  3. Mention the creator of the award and provide a link to their blog as well. (Maggie @okoto enigmas blog)
  4. Tell your readers three things about yourself.
  5. Nominate 10-20 people.
  6. Notify your nominees.
  7. Ask your nominees any five questions of your choice, specifying one weird/funny question.
  8. Share a link to your best post(s)

Let’s do this, here are three things about me:

I get scared very easily. Fear is something I am learning to embrace. I’m a climber who is scared of heights, a beginner horse rider who is scared of horses. I am also scared whenever I think I may not be able to control a certain situation. As a ‘recovering perfectionist’, I am learning how to let go. And it’s hard sometimes but I’m trying nevertheless. 🙂

Daydreaming is my favourite activity, especially when combined with staring into nothingness. Our ‘productivity’ obsessed era likes to tell us to maximise our time, plan our days to be more productive and all that jazz. Well, my idea of productivity is to stare into my midnight blue wall whilst creating lost worlds, hearing animals talking and thinking about equations I want to solve (I’m a mathematician for living).

I’m an introvert that really enjoys being alone. There, I said it. 🙂 I love my boyfriend, family, friends, colleagues and people in general. But… I get fully recharged when I’m lost in nature on a long walk whilst listening to bird songs or silence.


Here are my answers to Justine’s 5 questions:

1. How did you get into book blogging?
I enjoy writing. And I love talking about books. After getting over my fear of letting other people see me and my work, I have decided to start blogging to meet some alike-minded peeps and to honour those two hobbies of mine.

2. What genre of music do you listen to the most?
I enjoy indie rock, blues rock, folk, rock, occasional country and, as long as it doesn’t give me a headache, anything else really…. 🙂 Some of my favourite artists are Arctic Monkeys, Jake Bugg, Ben Howard, Ed Sheeran, George Ezra (loving his new album to bits at the moment), AC/DC, Fleetwood Mac, Mumford & Sons, Muse, Eddie Vedder (his Into the Wild album is something I could listen to for days), Paolo Nutini, Hozier… and it the list goes on and on and on… 🙂

3. If you could never read a book genre again what would it be?
Romance. Sorry but not sorry.

4. What’s your favourite scent?
I love smells nature gives us – that vibrant smell of freshly cut grass, electric smell of earth just after it rained, that sulphury smell of wild sea that crushes underneath me whilst climbing sea cliffs, or that pine smell I get whenever I get lost in a forest. I also love anything lavender scented. It calms me down. I am still gutted I killed those ‘impossible to kill’ lavenders of mine… 😦

5.  What came first, the chicken or the egg?
Ha! I guess as a scientist, I do agree with Darwinian principle that claims that  species evolve over time. In other words that chickens’ ancestors were not chickens. 🐓 🥚 😉


I nominate all of those wonderful bloggers below:

Cynic On Wings | Norrie @ Reading Under The Blankie | Kelly @ Another Book in the Wall | Inge @ The Belgian Reviewer | Holly @ Nut Free Nerd | Book Beach Bunny | Kathy @ Pages Below the Vaulted Sky | Evelina @ Avalinah’s Books  | Lily @ Sprinkles of Dreams | Angelica @ The Book Cover Girl | Melanie @ Mel To The Any | Allie @ Girl With A Good Book And Her Dog | The orang-utan librarian | Kristin @ Kristin Kraves Books| Leslie @ Books Are The New Black

And everyone else, who would like to take a part. Please consider yourself nominated as well!

If you decide to take part, can you please link back your answers to this post so I can see them? Thank you! :)❤️

My questions to my nominees:

  1. What would your ideal day look like?
  2. What’s on your bucket list this year?
  3. If you could master one new skill, what would it be?
  4. Who’s your biggest hero?
  5. If you were an animal instead, which one would it be?

Alrighy.

If I am to follow all those rules (something I am rather notoriously bad at), I should also include links to my best posts. It is a tough one, as ‘best’ is quite a subjective word, so I’ll stick with those posts below that have received the most traffic so far. 🙂


Over to you guys:

  • What’s your favourite smell?
  • If you could never read a book genre again what would it be?

Fancy sharing those with me? 🙂 Thanks. 🙂

Chitter-chatter

Chitter-Chatter: Book Ratings – to be, or not to be: that is the question!

CaféLatte (1)

Welcome to the ‘Chitter-Chatter‘ series. I’m so glad you are here.  

In case you have missed previous posts in this series, we are still talking about:

In today’s post, I would like us to talk about book ratings.

Or rather for them to be, or not to be: that is the question. 😊

I have been recently wondering how comparable these ratings are across different genres as well as how granular they really are. I mean if I incline towards 4 stars, but it’s not quite there, but then 3 ½ stars seem a bit low… I know, I am overthinking it.

How do you rate a coffee table book vs. a fantasy book? One will show you lovely images and could make your living space more enjoyable whereas the other one may get your heart pumping and could get you emotionally invested. Is it fair to rate the first lower than the latter because of perhaps a lack of emotional investment? I guess if you, as a book blogger, tend to stick to one genre, maybe this question becomes redundant. But I like to read a lot of non-fiction as well as fiction. And I’m starting to wonder if my non-fiction ratings are directly comparable to my fiction ratings…

What also bugs me the most is when my heart is in a conflict with my brain. That’s where I have not idea how to rate.

I’ll give you an example:

I finished reading The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah. I was fully emotionally invested, I cried a lot and my heart loved it. I gave it 5 stars on GoodReads straight after I finished it. Then I started thinking about it. And my dear brain told me: ‘ehm, the ending was rushed, it was a bit of a soap opera really, there were quite a few clichés… let’s give it 3 or 3 ½ if we are generous, shall we’? My heart is refusing to listen and wants to firmly stick to the 5-star rating.

So which rating shall I give it? Shall I average them? Or listen to my brain?

Ultimately all reviews are our opinions and are therefore subjective. I think describing our reasons for liking a certain book and then pointing out where it personally fell a bit short of us, seems quite fair to me.

We are reading Art. Is it fair to rate the work of art?

I honestly don’t know the answer to it yet.

But I am starting to incline towards writing a review which will leave a reader with my thoughts rather that with thoughts + a number.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t use ratings by the way, I’m just thinking out loud and trying to work out what would work the best for me.

If you enjoy giving your books ratings, please don’t feel judged. That’s not my intention at all.  


Let’s talk!

As I’m trying to figure it all out, I  will be very grateful for any of your advice.

I am especially keen to work out if:

  1. you listen to your heart
  2. you listen to your brain
  3. you listen to both of them

If your answer is 3), how do you then reflect that in your overall rating please?

I appreciate all your comments, they always make my day. 😊

Chitter-chatter

Chitter-Chatter: Why Do We Blog? Values 101

why do we blog

As some of you know, I’ve created a ‘Chitter-Chatter‘ series where we can talk about book related topics.

If you have missed previous posts, we are still talking about:


In today’s Chitter-Chatter series, I would like to chat about why we find blogging enjoyable. I will explore the topic of personal values to help us understand.

A lot of coaching starts with exploring our values. Coaches believe that it is important to know them as they represent our core beliefs. They are our base and define who we are.

It is important to keep in mind that there are no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ values.  For example, if family is a strong value of mine and my friend’s value is career, I may think of some of her choices as strange as they may go against my own value. This is when we can potentially get into conflict with others as our values may be clashing.

Knowing our values is also helpful in terms of being able to understand why we feel certain way. Susan David in her book Emotional Agility talks about emotions, that we sometimes perceive as ‘negative’, as actually being valuable to us. Those emotions can give us useful insights about what’s important in our lives and what our values are.

For example, let’s say someone cuts me off in traffic and I get angry. Rather than beating myself up for reacting that way, I can just pause and tell myself: “of course, I’m angry, respect is a value of mine and I feel it’s just been breached by that ‘disrespectful’ behaviour”. Side note: it’s not a fact that the behaviour was disrespectful, it was my opinion, but it helped me understand why I felt the way I did. The next step would be then to examine why I saw that behaviour as disrespectful and if I would like to change my opinion or if I’m happy with keeping it as it is. There is nothing wrong with keeping it as it is by the way. We are all entitled to have opinions!

I believe we all deep down know our values, but we haven’t named them yet, so they may still be a bit unclear to us.

I find helpful asking myself questions such as ‘what do I love doing’, ‘when do I feel content’ or ‘what makes me angry’ and so on. And when I notice my emotions, I can dig deeper to find what values are possibly behind them.

How does that relate to blogging?

We have different reasons why we blog, mostly because our values are not identical.

For example, if my value is creativity, I will blog regardless if I have followers, likes, comments etc. Because the act of writing honours that value of creativity. However, if my value is recognition, my motives will be different and I will find promotion of my work important.

We normally have many values and how we perceive them can sometimes present an internal value conflict.

For example, if both creativity and recognition are my values, they may cause me an inner tension as creativity wants me to spend time creating and recognition wants me to spend time promoting my work. They may argue over my time. When I recognise I have these values, I can divide my time so they both get my attention and I feel aligned with them. I could say I’ll spend x amount of time this week writing and y amount of time promoting my work. Or I could also change the way I look at promoting my blog in general. If I know I love being creative, I can see marketing as a creative process and acknowledge that I am honouring both of these values at once. It’s important to notice and name our values as that may help us shift our perspective.

The reasons I enjoy blogging is that it honour these values of mine:

  • Creativity – it’s fundamental that I create. If I don’t write, I must take photos, garden, draw, read (it’s considered creative due to imagination we use whilst reading), sing, bake, cook, dance… I just need to make stuff. If I don’t, I get super grumpy.
  • Connection / Love / Generosity – I group these together as I see them as one. I want to connect. I love people and blogging has enabled me to meet some wonderful peeps. I guess I could be writing posts just for the sake of my creativity but without that connection, it would feel less satisfying.

For me, connection doesn’t necessary relate to my blog. I am happy to visit others’ blogs and connect that way. Via doing so, I am sort of removing an external condition that people must read my blog for me to connect with them. Please don’t feel you have to visit my blog if I ever comment at yours. I am honestly commenting because I love your post!

But equally, please don’t feel that I don’t appreciate if you do comment on my blog. It means a lot to me and I am thankful for all those sweet and kind people who have commented so far. I appreciate every one of you. 

  • Authenticity– it’s extremely important to me to stay true to myself and to my values. I am not everybody’s cup of tea and that’s absolutely fine. Dita Von Teese once famously said: “you can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches”. 😉 I want to write my opinions. And I am more than happy to have them challenged… but I won’t be writing reviews to please people nor will I read genre I have zero interest in to attract traffic.
  • Curiosity – I swear that one gets me more often into trouble that it actually serves me! My favourite word is why and I was one of those nightmare kids who would always ask questions and would never get satisfied with the ‘that’s the way it is’ answer. My poor parents had to constantly answer questions of: ‘why is the grass green’, ‘why is this man angry’, ‘why does this person need two seats’.. I wasn’t a mean child, I wanted to understand. And because I’m curious, I love analysing books. I want to get to know characters and understand their motives. When writing critical reviews, my curiosity is blissfully happy.
  • Growth – It sort of goes hand in hand with curiosity. I don’t feel I need to change but I still crave growing and evolving. If a book has a character that doesn’t grow, I lose interest. There is nothing wrong with not wanting to grow by the way, it’s just something that is personally important to me.

I also feel that I’m growing when I read positive reviews of books I personally didn’t enjoy reading that much.

Curiosity wants to know why these opinions are different, generosity enables me to keep an open mind and growth gets satisfied when I understand those different opinions. 🙂

These are not the only values of mine, but I find them fundamental when I’m blogging. When I’m honouring them, I am content and happy to carry on.  I am still figuring my values, please don’t feel bad if you don’t know yours yet. It is a process which doesn’t happen overnight.

If you know your values, your list may be very different to mine – and that’s ok! I appreciate how different we all are – it makes this world such an interesting place to live in.

Just before I wrap up, I want to tell you a story. A few years ago, I had an Instagram and Twitter accounts that related to rock climbing. I love taking photos and initially really enjoyed honouring this creative outlet of mine. My followers’ numbers grew, and I was getting more and more likes. And I’m not going to lie to you: it felt initially great. But then it somehow stopped feeling good and I started seeing it more as a chore. I thought long and hard about why my perspective shifted. I think my problem was that I wasn’t taking photos for me but rather for my audience. That started going against my value of authenticity. I also started neglecting connections as I was not fully present with others whilst thinking about what photo to take during my time with them. And it didn’t feel good. Once I started understanding my values, I also started understanding why I felt the way I did.

I’m sharing my experience not to preach my values. I’m sharing it as an example to demonstrate how knowing our values can help us understand ourselves better.

I believe that we feel good not because what our values are, but rather because we are aware of them and are aligned with them.


It’s time to chat.

  • Do you understand your values? (I’m still working mine out so don’t feel bad if you don’t, you are not alone!)
  • If you do, what values of yours relate to your blogging?

Please let me know in the comments below, I am dying to know… (that curiosity again…!)

PS. I am not judging anybody who has different values, please keep that in mind if you feel a bit scared or intimidated! 

Chitter-chatter

Chitter-Chatter: Reading Challenges and the Art of Failing

 

 

Reading Challenge

As some of you know, I’ve created a ‘Chitter-Chatter‘ series where we can talk about book related topics and which I started with a TBR list discussion. If you haven’t read it, you can check it out here.

I’ve decided to talk about Reading Challenges as that’s something that has been on my mind a lot lately as well.


Early in January this year, I set my first reading challenge. I wanted to be pushed and to read a lot. I pledged 100 books in the GoodReads 2018 challenge. The main reason being that I somehow miscalculated the amount of weeks in a year. 😳 Side note: I have a Maths degree…

After I was reminded that 100 books is not 3-4 books a month…. I freaked out a little as reading a new book every three days or so seemed impossible. And I sort of felt I was signing up for a failure. Then I decided to tackle it head on and read and read.

I was on track until early March when my reading pace slowed down. April was even a slower month reading-wise and GoodReads now cheerily reminds me I am quite behind.

I thought for a second of changing those 100 books to something more ‘doable’… like halving them.. I reasoned with ‘nobody knows, nobody notices’. That thought of avoiding a potential reading failure brought me a sense of relief. Interesting, isn’t it?

And then I though: “hang on a second. Someone will know. I will know.” And I may use that in future against myself. I could be very crafty when needed.

So I took a deep breath and accepted that I am quite likely to fail. I may get close, I may not or I may even successfully complete it. What is the worst that will happen? Well, I won’t meet my own expectations, that’s all.

What’s interesting about us not meeting our expectations is usually what we make it mean. It’s the stories we spin, especially if we make them about us, not our efforts.

Have you ever beaten yourself up after a certain “failure“? Have you talked to yourself harshly and has it demotivated you? Have you played it safe for a bit afterwards? Been there, done that.. many times.

I just read an interesting article that we should aspire to fail daily. So we become “good at it” and are willing to grow even more as we are willing to get involved in uncertain, uncontrollable scenarios. I love control. As a “recovering perfectionist” I’m learning how to let go. And it’s sometimes tough as this particular challenge reminded me. I guess I can now appreciate the effort vs the outcome. And that’s progress. Even though it sometimes doesn’t feel like it.

Do you have a reading challenge that is going breezily? How would you feel about doubling it?

You may say: come on, I won’t complete it then.

My answer? That’s exactly the point.

You don’t of course have to, especially if you are already being challenged with your current reading challenge as it is. I’m also not suggesting it so I am feeling better about my own challenge. It’s just a suggestion – what’s more interesting is to perhaps observe what thought popped in your head when I made that suggestion. That’s where the work usually starts..

I want us all to be comfortable with failing. I want to cheer each and every one of us when certain expectations of ours are not met. Let’s dare greatly and pick each other up when we fall.

Whatever you decide to do, I do wish you well in your challenge and sincerely hope you are having a very enjoyable reading year. 📚 💕


Chitter-Chatter Time

What do you think about Reading Challenges?

  • Do you have one?
  • If you do: how is it going?

And how do you feel about failing / not meeting your expectations about reading challenges or any other aspirations of yours?

Let me know in the comments below.

Bookish

T5W – Favourite Fandom Items

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam@Thoughts on Tomes over on Goodreads.

In this week’s topic, let’s talk about Favourite Fandom Items.  “Whether it’s something you own or something you are lusting after, what are some of your favourite fandom items / merchandise / memorabilia? Your picks don’t all have to be from the same fandom.”


I’ll start with a long caveat. Please bear with me. 😊

I don’t own many things. I feel more things I own, more they start owning me. I ruthlessly go through my possessions on a regular basis constantly questioning if they add value to my life and if the answer is no, finding a new home for them.

I call myself a minimalist; that word may evoke in others imagines of empty walls and rooms with no furniture – that’s not me at all.

I could describe my approach as a mindful consumerism. I ask myself if I need things before I buy them. And if the answer is no, I ask myself if by owning them, I would gain any value out of them. I don’t just buy things I need though; I also buy things that my artistic self loves and that bring me joy.

I am not judging anyone who has a different approach or preferences to mine.

We are all different; there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way here. Whatever brings you joy is perfectly fine. No comparing or judging at all. Please don’t take any of this as a lecturing post. I have many anxieties and this approach seems to keep them at bay.

With this full disclosure over, let’s dive in to my favourite items:

1)    Dr. Brené Brown’s books

brene browns books

I have mentioned Dr. Brené Brown name quite a few times already on my blog.

I don’t own many physical copies of books, with most printed books James and I own being either climbing guides, hiking guides or non-fiction books.

I own physical copies of all Brown’s books. I love re-reading them and use them whenever I need a little pick me up. I love Brown’s work, admire her story telling ability and genuinely want to support her message as much as I can.

2)    The Daring Way™ certification

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This one goes hand in hand with my previous point.

I am ‘lusting’ after The Daring Way™ certification.

It is an empirically based training and certification program based on the research of Dr. Brené Brown. I am currently going through Life Coach certification and working toward the day when I’ll be able to certify via The Daring Way™ programme as well. As you can clearly see: I deeply believe in Dr. Brené Brown’s work!. 🙂

3)    Lynn Hill and my signed copy of her autobiography Climbing Free

If you haven’t see Valley Uprising on Netflix, I highly recommend it. It’s about history of Yosemite Valley’s climbing scene and how it has evolved through years. You don’t have to be a climber to appreciate the story and all those stunning visuals, at least I hope. 🙂

One of my favourite female climbers featured in that movie is Lynn Hill aka Lynnie. She is an extraordinary climber that defined what was possible by being the first climber ever to free climb in 1993 The Nose, a famous route on El Capitan in Yosemite Valley.

And this is what she said about it:

“Trying to free climb The Nose just happened to be the perfect goal for me and I liked the fact this climb was in Yosemite because I remember going there and just seeing the valley and it was just mind blowing how beautiful it was. I couldn’t imagine a more beautiful place anywhere in the world. For me The Nose was much bigger than me, it wasn’t about me, it wasn’t about my ego, my gratification it was actually something that I wanted to do.

I felt like I had a chance and that if I could do that it would be a really big statement to people to think about.

You don’t have to be a man to do something that’s ‘out there’ as a first ascent.

Obviously people tried to do that route and they failed on it and so if a lot of good climbers have come and tried to do it and failed and a woman comes and does it first it’s really meaningful. That was my underlying motivation.”

~Andy McCue “Interview: Lynn Hill”. www.climber.co.uk. 19 April 2013

I went to the Women in Climbing Symposium last November where Lynn Hill was the main speaker. I cherish the memory of hearing her talk about her adventures, meeting her in person and having her sign my copy of her book.

4)    Adam Ondra and his signed poster

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This poster currently hangs in our garage opposite our little training climbing wall. Adam Ondra is a fellow Czech climber and he is considered by some possibly the best climber in the world at the moment.

I have watched his climbing movies and enjoyed witnessing his, not only physically challenging, but also mentally gruelling climbing projects. He challenges what is possible and how far our bodies can go.

Hearing him talk in London in 2014 for Urbanrock, at the Westway Climbing Centre was such a brilliant experience. He came across as extremely modest given his levels of achievement. Having him sign his poster for us was the cherry on the cake.


In order to grow, we have to be ready to continuously fail. If we are not failing, our goals are not big enough.

Brown in her Rising Strong writes about how to pick ourselves up after each of those failures.

You can say Brown gives me tools so I can be brave to continuously fail whilst Hill and Ondra inspire me via showing me what’s possible if you are courageous enough to Dare Greatly (yup, another reference to Brown! 😉 ).


5)    The Lord of the Rings extended edition DVDs directed by Peter Jackson

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I love these DVDs. They are not just a movie adaptation. There is something epic about them. I almost felt like a received a permission to openly obsess about LOTR once they got aired as all of sudden everyone knew what those books were all about.

I still re-watch them from time to time and enjoy getting lost in the magical world J.R.R. Tolkien created for us and Peter Jackson visually brought to our homes.


There you have it. Now over to you friends.

What are your favourite items you either own or are lusting after? Fancy sharing some of them with me?

And if you have done yours in the post, please let me know. I can’t wait to see others’ treasures and their lists. Mostly because I am nosy curious! 🙂