Bookish

2019 Wishlist & Slow Reading Experiment

slow reading

Happy New Year!

I’ve recently read many wonderful posts written on goals for 2019 – in particular, Umut’s confession really resonated with me. I started thinking about my own plans. I have been reflecting on what I learned during 2018 what I want to take away from it:

I’ve noticed that setting a concrete challenging reading goal for 2018 produced a few interesting outcomes:

  1. I read more – much more than I would normally read – I haven’t met my 100 books goal, but wasn’t that far away from it.
  2. Reading became a chore and I had to abandon my goal to preserve my sanity and to enjoy reading for what I want it to be – something I cherish but also something that I don’t want to do all the time.

I started this blog with the intention to write on a regular basis as well as to talk about books. That indeed was a success. I wrote a lot more in 2018 than I did in previous years. It was hard at times, but it also brought me a lot of joy. And as a lovely byproduct, I happened to discover this supportive and amazing community. I am so grateful for your love my friends, I feel so lucky to be part of it.

There have been many ups and downs in 2018 and I am so appreciative for my loved ones, that were there for me. To celebrate the great times together and to lend me their strong shoulders when I needed them to cry on them during those tough times.


Let’s look ahead.

I like to choose a theme for the upcoming year. I like to write it in my journal and use it as a beacon in the dark, whenever I feel like I’m losing my way. I’m currently toying with following words as contenders for 2019:

Notice / Listen / Tune In

I want to listen more this year and be more attentive in general – I’m striving to notice rather than to react. I want to give my full focus to others when they speak – no interruptions, no offer of an immediate advice. I also want to tune in inwards to hear my own voice – in order to observe my habits and my thinking… I’m leaning towards Notice so far but that may still change.

Based on my summary above, do you have any other suggestions please? I’m reaching out to all those creative souls out there.

I’ll be grateful for any other suggestions please. 🙂 Thanks! 


In terms of my goals for this year:

Big Goal:

Get certified as a Life Coach. I am starting Masters in Coaching later on this month. This will take a lot of my spare time as I still have a 40+ hours a week full-time job. I’ve gone through my compulsory reading list (nearly fainted a few times after I fully grasped its length 😉 ) and started cracking on with a few of those mandatory reads. They are super interesting! 🙂

Bookish / Creative:

Read fewer books and enjoy slow reading experience. This may go against many reading goals but I honestly want to read less this year. 😉 I started experimenting with it with my last book, The Winter of the Witch and it made me so happy.

I’ll be writing a separate discussion post about it as there’s a lot to talk about. Stay tuned for that one. 🙂

Read some of the books I already own but haven’t read yet. Perhaps many of you can relate to the process of buying books, looking at them lovingly, being excited about reading them…. and then forgetting all about them. I have many eBooks. I don’t even know what I own and haven’t read.

I’ve been compiling a spreadsheet (my inner organiser is loving it) of all books I own. My plan is to choose my reading material from this list on a regular basis. I won’t constrict myself entirely to it but will start reducing it.

Space Fleet adventure – my dear friend Alexandra invited me to take a part in her Fleet Space Adventure. I have a character that I’ll be writing about – her name is Ada Novák. I have learned so much about this creative writing process already – thank you Alexandra for all of your help, you are such a wonderful friend and I am so grateful I have met you.

Please come over to say hello – either to read along or to take part and to join our expanding crew. Ada may even coach you if you let her… 😉

Carry on writing blog posts but post less frequently – I’m currently thinking once a week or once every two weeks. Again, this may change but having a less of an internal pressure to ‘create content’ will help me focus on studying.

It will also hopefully enable me to enjoy blogging for what I want it to be – a hobby that will connect me with others and that will honour my value of creativity as well as my love for books.

Mental Health:

Less time online, more face to face interactions. Sadly, this will mean less blog hoping but I’ve noticed tremendous health benefits when I switched off my phone and went out for meals or walks with others or on my own. I’m currently setting up boundaries – I’m thinking no online time on weekends as well as some evenings. This may still change but that’s where I may be heading…

Fitness:

Running challenges – I’ve signed up for several 10-12km long trail races, one of them includes 600m elevation – I may have got carried away a bit with that one but hey, let’s embrace it… somehow …. 😉 Strangely, I started enjoying running during 2018 – miracles do happen my friends! Running longer distances still doesn’t come naturally to me (I’m an ex-sprinter, anything longer than 400m is looooong….). It is hard sometimes, especially on those cold and dark mornings. But it makes me happy afterwards – all those endorphins, that sense of achievement, that joy of watching sunrises and smiling at other runners I get to meet on trails… it all totally outweighs the initial discomfort I think.

Fun climbing challenge – my boyfriend and I created a friendly (a total lie he he!) climbing couple competition for 2019. I may even start climbing more often as I’m totally going to win this one. 😉


Over to you now:

  • Do you use a theme for the upcoming year?
  • Where’s your focus going to go this year?

Fancy sharing it with you? As always, I love hearing from you. 💗💗💗

Nonfiction November

NONFICTION NOVEMBER: Week 3 – In Search of Growth

Nonfiction NovemberWelcome to another post in the Nonfiction November series. For those of you new to this, Nonfiction November is hosted by Katie at Doing Dewey, Rennie at What’s Nonfiction?, Julie at Julz Reads, Kim at Sophisticated Dorkiness, and Sarah at Sarah’s Book Shelves.

If you haven’t read my previous post in the series yet, you can find Week 1 – My Year in Nonfiction post here – and Week 2 – Fiction with Nonfiction Book Pairing here.

Today’s topic is Be The Expert/Ask the Expert/Become the Expert and is hosted by Kim at Sophisticated Dorkiness

There are three ways to join in this week – we can either share 3 or more books on a single topic that we have read and can recommend (be the expert), we can put the call out for good nonfiction on a specific topic that we have been dying to read (ask the expert), or we can create your own list of books on a topic that we’d like to read (become the expert).

I’ve decided to roll up my sleeves and look at the topic, that is, as a life coach, very close to my heart. I feel I have read a lot of books on this topics but I’d like to read more books as well. So I’m mixing Be the Expert with the Ask the Expert categories.

Today, I would like to talk about Growth and why I firmly believe in the “it’s not about the goal but rather about the journey” concept.


I feel we live in times, when we talk a lot about achievements. Don’t take me wrong – I don’t want to dismiss them or downplay them. Achievements start bothering me when the outcome becomes the only thing ‘that matters’. When all that discomfort, courage and grind that lies behind them gets overlooked. When the primary focus is on the result, rather than its process.

I firmly believe that behind any self-development is a strong desire to grow.

But when we talk about growth, I guess the important part is how we approach it. In other words:

  1. do we want to grow become we believe we are not good enough and are hoping that if we grow, we may become someone else and will feel better
  2. or do we want to grow because we want to be uncomfortable and enjoy the process, rather than its outcome.

Those two different categories indicate from which place we approach growth, the first one is coming from a fear mindset – i.e. I need to change, I’m afraid they don’t like who I am, I am not good enough, have not enough, do enough…

The second category comes from an abundance mindset. We believe we have enough and are enough but also feel that we can still go after our dreams, face our fears, be uncertain / vulnerable, let people in – in other words, we are happy to be uncomfortable and face all emotions that come with it.

Deciding how to approach growth is critical. I always tell myself: “I will grow because I want to, not because I feel I need to.” This simple sentence can shift my own mentality profoundly.

My favourite question to ask myself is: “who am I becoming in this process“? Let’s think about it. It’s a very direct question that prompts us to look for growth and how it shapes us.

I also agree with Tony Robbins, who once said: “All growth starts at the end of your comfort zone.” Without discomfort, there is no growth. And without growth, there is no story to tell. At least that’s what I believe in.😊

Which books would I recommend on this subject? I’m glad you asked!

Brené BrownDaring Greatly , Rising Strong, Braving the Wilderness

“…sometimes when we are beating ourselves up, we need to stop and say to that harassing voice inside, “Man, I’m doing the very best I can right now.” ” ~  Brené Brown

Tim Ferriss: Tools of Titans

“The world is changed by your example, not by your opinion.” ~ Tim Ferriss

Martha N. Beck: Finding Your Own North Star: Claiming the Life You Were Meant to Live

“Fear is the raw material from which courage is manufactured.” ~ Martha N. Beck

Byron Katie: Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life

“A thought is harmless unless we believe it. It’s not our thoughts, but our attachment to our thoughts, that causes suffering. Attaching to a thought means believing that it’s true, without inquiring. A belief is a thought that we’ve been attaching to, often for years.” ~Byron Katie

Elizabeth Gilbert: Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

“You can measure your worth by your dedication to your path, not by your successes or failures.” ~ Elizabeth Gilbert

Susan David: Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life 

“Emotions are data, they are not directives” ~  Susan David

Rob Bell: How to Be Here

“It’s important to embrace several truths about yourself and those around you, beginning with this one: who you AREN’T isn’t interesting.” ~ Rob Bell


That’s just a few of my favourite books. There are many more but also, there are even more I am yet to read! So many books, so little time! 😊

Now over to you.

Fancy sharing some of your favourite books about growth and self-development with me?

As always, I would love to know!

 

 

 

 

Nonfiction November

NONFICTION NOVEMBER: Week 2 – Nonfiction Book Pairing

Welcome to another post in the Nonfiction November series. For those of you new to this, Nonfiction November is hosted by Katie at Doing Dewey, Rennie at What’s Nonfiction?, Julie at Julz Reads, Kim at Sophisticated Dorkiness, and Sarah at Sarah’s Book Shelves.

If you haven’t read my previous post in the series yet, you can find it here.

Today’s topic is fiction/nonfiction book pairings and is hosted at Sarah’s Book Shelves blog.

For my nonfiction picks, I decided to stick to memoirs and mythology as these particular nonfiction genres tend to relate to fiction really well, are full of wonderful stories. They can be a great introduction to nonfiction for those, who are reluctant to read this genre.

Let’s take a look at my picks:

1. Stories about Survival

“We don’t even know how strong we are until we are forced to bring that hidden strength forward. In times of tragedy, of war, of necessity, people do amazing things. The human capacity for survival and renewal is awesome.” ~ Isabel Allende

Kristin Hannah’s Great Alone is quite a well-known fiction (my review here). It is a beautiful haunting coming-of-age story, which takes us to hostile Alaska during the 70’s. It’s a story about survival – not just the environmental one, but the domestic one as well.

If you have enjoyed it or think you could enjoy it, then I highly recommend The Educated by Tara Westhover (my review here). It’s a powerful memoir, which covers coming-of-age story, features survival and openly talks about mental health issues, whilst drawing us in and keeping us engaged via a compelling story-telling.

2. Stories about Self-Discovery

“The longest journey is the journey inward.” ~ Dag Hannarskjold

I’m sure some of you heard of Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed. Some of you may have seen its movie version featuring Reese Witherspoon. Wild is a memoir that deals with loss but also is a journey of discovering one’s identity. It takes us to the challenging Pacific Crest Trail, where Strayed not only started her trail, but also her journey inward.

I would pair Wild with Katherine Center’s Happiness for Beginners. Center‘s story pulled me in as the main character’s search for meaning as well as her discovering of who she was and what she stood for, really appealed to me. Plus the setting was in the mountain wilderness of Wyoming, something I found highly alluring.

3. Stories about Mythical Creatures

My last pairing is hopefully appropriate for the upcoming time of year. I am a winter person and can not tell you how excited I am about this approaching season. Winter’s coming my friends!

“Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.” ~ Albert Einstein

If you enjoy J.R.R Tolkien‘s stories, especially The Lord of the Rings, I really recommend Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology (my review here).

Gaiman‘s retelling of Norse myths takes us to the land of Frost Giants, lets us be crossed with the manipulate and always speculating Locki, and delivers not only the seasonal frost but also the beautiful land of fjords and northern lights.

Tolkien was highly influenced by these myths. For example Gandalf was Tolkien‘s version of Odin, he even referred to him as an “Odinic wanderer“. Tolkien‘s references to elves, Middle Earth, Balrog and much more are all his tributes to those powerfully raw and dark myths.

Both of these books are highly atmospheric reads and could be great companions in the upcoming festive period.


Now over to you.

What would be your nonfiction with fiction pairing?

Non Fiction

My Year in Non Fiction

I found out recently via Kristin’s post that there is such a thing as Non Fiction November, which is being hosted by Kim at Sophisticated Dorkiness, Julie at JulzReads, Sarah at Sarah’s Book Shelves, Katie at Doing Dewey, and Rennie at What’s Nonfiction.

As I love reading nonfiction , I’ve decided to take part in this celebration.i heart nonfictionWeek 1 – My Year in Nonfiction – hosted by Kim @ Sophisticated Dorkiness

In this post, I would like to look back at my year of nonfiction and reflect on the following questions:

  • What was your favorite nonfiction read of the year?

My picks are two books as both of them really touched me and left me with many thoughts that lingered for months after I finished reading those:

Educated by Tara Westover (my review here) for its testament of how we can choose not to be defined by our past and circumstances.

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah (review is currently being written) for Noah’s witty and extremely well articulated essays set in post-Apartheid South Africa, which cover feminism, racism and much more.

  • Do you have a particular topic you’ve been attracted to more this year?

This year, I have been drawn towards topics of feminism and racism. I really enjoyed reading We Should All Be Feminist by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (review here) and want to learn more about it in the upcoming months.

As a life coach in training, I have also been attracted towards topics that explore what makes us tick. I thoroughly enjoyed Jon Ronson’s So You Have Been Publicly Shamed (review here) and currently loving Brené Brown’s Dare to Lead as well as Seth Godin’s Linchpin.

  • What nonfiction book have you recommended the most?

Daring greatlyBrené Brown’ Daring Greatly because:

  • it’s not a boring factual book
  • it’s full of real stories of struggle
  • it gives me hope
  • it teaches me how to be brave
  • and because it shows me that I am not alone.

This book really speaks to my heart. Every time I hear Theodore Roosevelt’s quote below, which goes hand in hand with the book, I have tears in my eyes:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; . . . who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” —Theodore Roosevelt

  • What are you hoping to get out of participating in Nonfiction November?

I am hoping to discover more nonfiction as well as to connect with alike minded blogging community and to perhaps inspire some of my readers to give nonfiction a go.

There is still a common misconception out there that nonfiction is dry and… boring.

There are many nonfiction books that are full of stories of epic battles that feature both heroes and anti-heroes and I am hoping that by writing about them may pique some of your interest… yes, I do have a cunning plan!


What about you? Do you enjoy nonfiction?

If so, what nonfiction book have you recommended the most? 

About Me

Unique Blogger

unique-blogger-award

My effort to catch up on ‘let’s meet the person behind the blog‘ continues. 🙂 As mentioned many times before, I do appreciate all of those lovely fellow bloggers for their shout outs. I do get distracted quite easily, but my inner organiser took over the other day, created a spreadsheet (colour coded of course) and thinks it’s on the top of it. Let’s see what happens, eh? 😉

Today’s questions are from Kiersten from Unce Upon a Spine. Kiersten has two beautiful pets – a super cute white dog fluffball and a lovely tabby cat. She is also a fellow Neil Gaiman’s fan and writes thoughtful reviews. Her doggie Beaker was a bit poorly recently but is better. Please stop by and show them both some love.  ❤️


Kiersten asked me following questions:

  • What’s the strangest book you’ve ever read? (Be specific. What made it strange?)

Alices Adventures in Wonderland

Ha ha, it entirely depends what we deem as strange. To me, strange = unique, unusual, interesting, something different and surprising. So I’ll go with that definition and choose Alice in Wonderland as it is one of my favourite books.

“I’m afraid I can’t explain myself, sir. Because I am not myself, you see?” 

I absolutely adore Lewis Carroll‘s non-sensical world and his playfulness with language. I also applaud him for his riddles:

“Why is a raven like a writing desk?” 

That non-sensical aspect of this book is something that is both magical and unique. There is a lot of humour in it as well the ability to laugh at ourselves, which is something I always appreciate.

“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
“You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.” 

Which ties-in nicely with the second question:

  • Which character from Alice in Wonderland best describes you?

alice

I think Alice is probably the one I relate with the most. Mind you all those strange and wonderfully weird characters describe me pretty accurately at times as well. 😉

Why Alice? ‘Curiouser and curiouser‘ is my nickname. I am relentlessly curious and it does get me into trouble a lot. Alice is also someone who goes against norms. She doesn’t do things because she is supposed to. And that is something I strongly agree with. 😉 I love her quote of “the only way to achieve the impossible is to believe it is possible“. As a life-coach in training, I believe our thoughts are creating our reality. I also share with her love for imagination, creativity and all those crazy and wild adventures. 🙂

  • If you could resurrect any dead book character, who would it be?

GoT book

Ok, I don’t want to accidentally give away any spoilers. If you haven’t read George R.R Martin’s Songs of Ice and Fire and / or have not seen Game of Thrones, please stop reading here.

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I still haven’t forgiven Martin for killing off one of my favourite characters. He has quite a gift of ruthlessly dispatching characters I seem to enjoy reading about but this one was just NO!

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If I could bring this character back, it would be Eddard (Ned) Stark. Because he is good, he has strong morals and he cares for his children and his wife very deeply. He is also, one of my favourite father figures and I talked about him a bit more here.

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That was fun! Thanks again Kiersten for thinking of me. ❤️

Now I am to ask three questions in return and tag / nominate some of you.

I always love getting to know fellow bloggers a bit more but at the same time, I don’t want to become annoying by tagging people too often. So please, no pressure, disregard if that’s something you don’t fancy or don’t have time for.

I nominate:

Nicole | Cam |Amalia | Kaleena | Catherine

And everyone else who fancy giving it a go! 🙂

My questions are:

  1. What character’s flaw irritates you? (Be specific. What irritates you about it?) 🙂
  2. If magic was real, what spell would you try to learn first? And of course, why? 🙂
  3. What would be the best thing you could reasonably expect to find in a cave? Seriously, I want to know! 😀

Over to you!

Fancy letting me know what would be the best thing you could reasonably expect to find in a cave? 😉

Fiction

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

eleanor

Today was meant to be my next Chitter-Chatter day. Today, I wanted to talk about books’ re-ratings.

Then I read Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine and changed my mind. I must tell you about this book. I just have to get it out of my system before I forget… 🙂

I started reading it on Monday’s night this week and had it not been for that pesky thing called work, I would have read it till early hours of Tuesday morning.

I told you Educated was my book of 2018. Well, I’m not sure if it still holds. I really, really fell in love with Eleanor, who is completely fine by the way, thanks for asking.


I’ll start with a warning.

This book deals with some tough issues such as loneliness, social isolation, child abuse, shame as well as death. I will include trigger warnings at the end of my post but if you are sensitive to any of these, please proceed with care, it is a sad book.

Meet Eleanor Oliphant (Ms.). Our main protagonist. She is of course, as the title suggests, completely fine.

Or is she?

“If someone asks you how you are, you are meant to say FINE. You are not meant to say that you cried yourself to sleep last night because you hadn’t spoken to another person for two consecutive days. FINE is what you say.” 

Eleanor is someone, you just cannot help falling in love with. She has no social skills, doesn’t understand emotions or relationships and likes to say it as it is. Whilst thinking she is doing everyone a favour of course.

She is a breath of fresh air. She doesn’t want to purposely hurt anyone but can not keep her mouth shut at times. She can be judgemental and even arrogant at times but as the story starts unfolding, we start glimpses of where that thinking is coming from. And she is willing to grow. Something I find fundamental when deciding whether to like a character or not. Her highly articulate and brilliantly descriptive thoughts made me laugh out loud so many times. This book strikes a lovely balance in bittersweetness. There are many extremely sad parts but there is also this warm undercurrent of human goodness.

“There are days when I feel so lightly connected to the earth that the threads that tether me to the planet are gossamer thin, spun sugar. A strong gust of wind could dislodge me completely, and I’d lift off and blow away, like one of those seeds in a dandelion clock. The threads tighten slightly from Monday to Friday.” 

Eleanor likes her routine, which is an admin work from 9 to 5, combined with a meal-deal lunch and a crossword puzzle. She also enjoys a few bottles of vodka on weekends, which help her with her sleeping habits. Then there are those regular Wednesdays’ calls with Mummy… but Mummy is someone we don’t like to talk about a lot. And then there’s the man of her dreams. She finally found him. He doesn’t know it yet but it’s only a matter of time…

Eleanor is an extremely intelligent person. She likes order and logic. Here’s an example of what she thought of some of those warning signs we like to put onto everything these days. This is her first McDonalds’ coffee experience:

“There was nothing to tempt me from the choice of desserts, so I opted instead for a coffee, which was bitter and lukewarm. Naturally, I had been about to pour it all over myself but, just in time, had read the warning printed on the paper cup, alerting me to the fact that hot liquids can cause injury. A lucky escape, Eleanor! I said to myself, laughing quietly. I began to suspect that Mr. McDonald was a very foolish man indeed, although, judging from the undiminished queue, a wealthy one.”

There is something raw and vulnerable about Eleanor. She never belonged anywhere. She had a challenging upbringing and also happens to suffer with acute shame, which makes her shy away from a human interaction. She is lonely and withdrawn. There is also that numbing part thanks to those bottles of vodka. I talked about numbing in this post. When we numb difficult emotions, we also numb those lovely emotions such as happiness and joy. They don’t stand a chance. And you can feel that in this book. You definitely can.

I loved everything about Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine. Its witty writing, consistent pacing and all those wonderful characters. Eleanor is the main protagonist but there are many supporting personalities that I enjoyed reading about as well. They are really what this book is all about. They are vivid, charming and you just want to know a little bit more of them and have to keep on reading.

Trigger warnings: child abuse, emotional and physical abuse, sexual assault, self-harm, suicide, depression and addiction. As said, it is not a light-hearted fun book, please take care if you are sensitive to these. ❤️

Recommended? Yes! Yes! Yes! Especially if you enjoy character driven books. It’s an utterly mesmerising book that will make you laugh whilst having tears in your eyes.


Over to you:

  • Have you read this book? If so, what did you think?
  • If you haven’t read this book, what do you think? Fancy reading it?
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.

Chitter-chatter

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

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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. 😊

Monthly Wrap Up

May Wrap up

Welcome to June! We are nearly half way through 2018… the variable speed of time seriously puzzles me sometimes… some years go by slower than other.. 2018 is somehow flying by… 😉

So what happened in May?

Glad you asked. 😊 May was the month when I decided to become a gardener. I apologise to those lovely plants, but I honestly am doing my best and do try looking after them. My mission is not to kill them even though it seems that way sometimes..

As we are all friends here, I must tell you I am starting to be somehow sceptical about the well-being of my lavender plants. They were blooming when I bought them in April… now they are this woody / shrubby thing. I keep on telling myself they are going through a cycle – but in all honesty, I have absolutely no clue what’s going on there. I have researched gardening YouTube videos, read many articles and know a difference now between dead heading (the danger of reading too many fantasy novels is that words like dead heading tend to trigger vivid imagines in my head… oh dear), light shearing and hard cut back..

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Here are those poor lavenders. Do you think they make it? Those two in blue pots are English lavenders and they are the ones I’m worried about. The white pots ones are French lavenders and they seem to be doing ok-ish I think..

May was also the month when I was really worried about our dog. 😦 We found a lump on his paw and it was growing. He did have it removed and fortunately, his results came back with good news of the lump being caused by viral papilloma. Something apparently quite common amongst young dogs. I was so relieved and happy when the vet called to give us those news. Not knowing what was going to happen felt so helpless. And I found it extremely hard to talk about it. But I did discuss it with James, who was equally worried, and it helped. It is still something I probably want to learn from though.

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Anyhow, apart from me getting some soil on my hands, spending time with the dog and climbing outside, I have also discovered audio books.

Everyone: ‘Vera, audiobooks are awesome, you should try them out.’

Me: ‘Hmmmm, I’m not sure…’

Me in May: ‘Audiobooks are awesome, why hasn’t anyone told me about that…’ 😉

I loved listening to We Should All Be Feminists and Norse Mythology. Both narrated by their authors. Adiche’s voice is something I could listen to for hours. So soothing and beautiful. And I found Gaiman to be an excellent narrator as well. His voice would change with each character and I was imagining Thor’s booming voice and Loki’s sly one.

Do you have any good recommendation on audiobooks you enjoyed please? Was there a particular one that stood out for you? If so, fancy sharing it with me please? Thanks!

Let’s talk lists, shall we? Here’s my May’s reading list:

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – my review here

A thought provoking essay that is extremely digestible as it is told via stories. There is no judgement or hate attached to it. Just an open mind and a vision for better future. Shout out to Kristin for her interesting review that piqued my interest.

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman – my review here

I absolutely adored this collection. Gaiman’s sharp writing makes those myths extremely modern. They are fast paced and full of action and there is also a lot of humour involved! Shout out to Holly for her wonderful review.

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik – review to arrive on Monday, 4th June

Teaser: Frost covered wings of cruel winter bring mysterious riders to Lithuanian villages. They travel to the human world via their winter road; steal people’s gold and kill whoever / whatever gets in their way. They are called Staryk and people fear and hate them equally. Three females may be able to stop them. Will they succeed?

My Sweet Friend by H.A. Leuschel – mini review to follow next week together with the one below

This novella drew me instantly in via some interesting psychological manipulation. Two females, a game of cat and mouse =  an exciting summer read.

Thanks Norrie for the recommendation!

Homes around the World by Anita Martinez Beijer – mini review to follow next week together with the one above

A beautiful collection of photos accompanied with stories behind those visuals. I am interested in carefully chosen home décor and enjoy knowing the Why behind.

I have purposely not included rating for these.

I am considering omitting my coffee style rating from reviews as I am finding it hard to sometimes compare fiction, non fiction and there are so many nuances between 4 stars, 4 ½ starts etc… in other words, it’s starting to stress me out. 🙂 I know there are bloggers out there who don’t give ratings. I will keep this topic for my next discussion post as I am curious to hear your thoughts. Stay tuned! 😊

My plans for June are following:


Non-bookish:

  • If possible, try to revive those lavenders (please wish me luck!)
  • Create a vase feature in front of our house to make it look welcoming (research ‘hardy plants’!!!)
  • Get our dog myself into running (so far we have done three runs and all I have to say: mixed results…)
  • Do Whole30

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I have been feeling under the weather recently with hay fever being the worst I have had in a very long time. I am currently figuring out my allergies and am doing elimination food experiment in June called Whole30. I have eliminated common trigger food groups and will start slowly re-introducing them back to my meals in July / August. The premise is to find out if I have any sensitivities to these and if so, eliminate them to decrease my body’s inflammation. Which will then hopefully make me cope better with other allergies. Well that’s the theory anyway, I am happy to test it though to see what happens. 🙂

Would you be interested in hearing about Whole 30 weekly recaps? Would someone benefit from that?

Bookish:

  • Listen to another audiobook
  • Finish Emotional Agility by Susan David (nearly there!)
  • Be whimsical about fantasy / thrillers / memoirs / whatever else I may fancy reading that month
  • Reflect about my ARC behaviour… I think I have a problem… 😉

That’s it for now. Now over to you.


What did really stand out for you in May?

It doesn’t have to be bookish, just something you really enjoyed. 😊

And have you tried elimination diet before? And if so, did it work? (please say yes!!!) 😊