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Saturday, February 17, 2018

My 2017 Read List



It seems that each year I push writing this post further and further down. This year it was not for a lack of time. This year I delayed this post because I was in denial.

I was in denial about having read so few books. I was in denial about not meeting my reading goal for the year. I set one goal for myself all year, and that's usually 'cause I don't like failing so I set goals I think I can actually achieve.

Last year my goal was to read 30 books. My 2016 goal was to read 25 books and I accomplished that. So I figured a good progressive goal would be to up it by 5. It didn't work out so well. I didn't even make it to 25 books!

Oh, the shame!

I can make excuses till morning come. Oh, I was so really busy last year ( I really was!). I just didn't have the time. When I was free I'd be so tired I'd just spend that free time eating, watching series and sleeping. I had a really long trip which consumed much of my time. It is all true. But none of these are good enough an excuse for only reading 24 books.

Don't get me wrong, I am not saying that reading 24 books is not an accomplishment. I believe reading anything at all is an accomplishment. The issue here is that I set myself a goal and let myself down by not completing it.

But, I am back on the book train. And I am more than determined to make good on my promises to myself this year. So I am reading away. Trying my best at least. But making sure I still have fun. We have to remember that reading is fun. So don't force yourself to read anything you do not enjoy (unless it is for school - sorry guys) and you are not obliged to read unless you feel like reading. It must be a pleasurable experience. Remember that.

So happy reading guys. And here's to a happier 2018 read list post... *cheers*

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

I went to the library

I went to the library the other day. Now this shouldn't be something worth telling, of course, because don't I always go to be library...

However, I had decided that I was going to abstain from the library this year. Due to my ever growing pile of books that I've yet to read at home. I thought I should maybe try tackling these and dedicating my time to them before borrowing yet more books. And once I was at least a decent way through a chunk of these then I could go to the library.

A small portion of my to be read books


And so I started. I'd managed to buy a handful of books on holiday and so I'd begun with these. I read about two books. And hit a slump. I couldn't find anything I wanted to read. I started at least three different books and just could not get into them. My brain just couldn't get excited for it. And I battled. I really really wanted to be reading and absorbing stories. But nothing was catching my attention. And I was dying. 

So I finally decided that that was it. This torture was enough. I will go to the library. And so I "rewarded" myself with a trip to the library. I told myself that I'd just get one book. Just to help me along. Let's not get carried away. Get one outsider to help me along with my reading. Yeaaaah, as can be assumed, that didn't quite go as planned. I came out with five books. 🙈

And I am so excited about all five of these books!
My library books 

My theory is, when buying books I'm a bit fussier and play it a bit safe. Sticking to authors and titles I know and have heard of. Story types I know I like. And so I end up with a ton of similar stuff in my collection at home. However, when I borrow books, my money is not at risk of being wasted here, so I'm more likely to just borrow any old thing that catches my eye. And sometimes these end up being the most exciting reads! 

So to everyone out there who's got a huge to be read pile at home but still buys more books and goes out borrowing more - don't let anyone make you feel guilty! Also it's your life so you should do what you want. 

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Am I not allowed a just me moment


We live in such a "me, me, me" society. People are all so full of themselves. All they can see is them. Nothing beyond. I do admit that I am also quite self absorbed, I'm not above it. Human beings have just become such overly self absorbed creatures. That they may be surprised to find out that not everything revolves around them.

Sometimes people go through things that are just about them. They are just having a rough time generally. And they need to detach or have a getaway or just retreat from everything and everyone and just be. This is about the individual! And one should be able to just do so. Without explanation to anyone. You need to do you.

But, the self absorbed creatures that humans are, must make it all about themselves. "Oh, did I do something to offend you? Did I do something wrong? If I did I'm so sorry." Well, sorry, but my life is bigger than just you. And my life consists of numerous things beyond one individual. So, why now give me a further problem. I'm going through my own things, but now you inflict your insecurities on me and play victim and I now have to take on this problem along with everything else. This is part of what is so wrong with the world. However, if you're so quickly to jump to conclusions, it makes me think you have something to feel guilty about. You won't feel the need to apologise if something has not being eating away at your conscience. So go ahead and repent, but don't make your problem mine. 

Because I needed time to myself to make myself whole again in order to just get through life, but now I have to placate you. Every other single day is about everyone else. Helping their problems. Being there for them. Can they not just give you the one or two days for you! So while focusing on you, yet again, what happens to me... 

We as humans need to take a step back. And think. We need to stop being so imposing and self absorbed. And stop with playing the victim all the time. Think about it. Don't play the victim if you are not. Most of the time, the victims go by in silence and it's the ones crying wolf holding the biggest guns.

Simply though, try to be more mindful. Think. Don't make your problem everyone else's. Not everything is about you. Sometimes you just need to let people be.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Your now is not your forever

Image courtesy of The Artidote
I feel like I've been in a rut. For a while. A deep rut. Life didn't turn out the way I expected it would.  I was so naive. I felt like I was so full of potential and would amount to so much in life. But, that didn't happen. No one warned me.

My degree took longer than I planned to complete. I didn't get to complete the degree I started. And I didn't even get to do the subjects I'd wanted to. No one warned me.

I didn't get my dream job immediately after university. I didn't get my dream job for months after university. I didn't get any job for months after university. No one warned me.

I took up a part time temp job as a receptionist. It was meant to last three months. I'm now there for five years. It was just meant to help fill the time till something more substantial came along. Nothing substantial came along. No one warned me.

That first year after completing my studies, I applied for a myriad of jobs across the board. Nothing came of it. I kept applying. Every day. Slowly, it became too much. The constant rejection became too much. So I stopped applying. Why waste the time... Why go through that stress and turmoil... For nothing... No one warned me.

So now I sit at the same job for five years. I have two degrees to my name, and I'm a receptionist/secretary. Day in, day out, its the same. Never moving forward. Never gaining. Never changing. Basically doing nothing with my life.

People think I don't see the looks in their eyes, the words that go unspoken, the meaning behind the, "why don't you try teaching?"or the, "I know so and so, I'll give them your number or give you theirs...". They think I don't notice. They think I don't know.

It gets to me. Really gets to me. I try to overlook it and continue on as happy as I can. But, sometimes its just too much to bare. Knowing that I'm going nowhere. But then I saw this quote on The Artidote. The Artidote is sometimes the only thing that manages to pull me through a day. Reading a quote that so perfectly sums up how I feel and what I'm going through. Makes me feel like I am not alone. Someone else gets it. And, just because you've been stuck for so long, doesn't mean that you always will be. The time will come for change. And there's a reason for everything. (I hope).


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Reading is a personal affair

I used to be so self conscious about reading. How I read, what I read, how fast or slow I read...

I also just couldn't read enough. If I was hard pressed for content I would read literally anything with words that I could get my hands on as long as I was reading. During school exams I'd be banned from reading because I was caught one too many times with a novel hidden inside a notebook, pretending to study. So I would get friends to sneak me books at school and dig through old storage boxes and find old books, some even belonging to my granddad and read those covertly. I would go for days on end without sleep, caught up in a story.

But then I grew up. Real life (as well as age) hit me along with its responsibilities. I found that I could no longer get through a day decently enough with next to no sleep. If I was caught asleep at my desk in school I'd just get a scolding, caught asleep at my desk at work could get me fired. More than that, going through a school day half dead is doable, but trying to get work done when you can barely look alive is more difficult. Especially now with the needing more sleep thing.

So I realised that my reading had to adapt. Basically, I no longer had as much time, and energy, as I used to. I absolutely love books and love to read and in order to maintain this love I had to change. These are the things I've come to realise with age and wisdom:

  1.  I don't HAVE to finish a book just because I started it. I used to be so finicky about completing books. I'd start reading a book because the title/synopsis sounded interesting or the cover looked cool (yes, I do judge books by their covers) only to find out it was actually quite boring. But I had this misguided sense of pride in having to finish every book I started. And so I would spend days just trying to get through a paragraph of a book that did nothing for me but put me to sleep. Now that I'm older and have much less time I've realised that I don't have the time to waste reading books that do absolutely nothing for me but give me grey hairs. And I realised that I was the only one judging me for not completing it. Even if others do judge me, so what, I'm reading for me and no one else. So if a book is just utterly boring and I am finding no joy in it whatsoever I no longer force myself to suffer through it. I just close it and move on to the next book.
  2. It doesn't matter what you read. I used to be so ashamed by the fact that I read (and enjoyed) popular fiction and books intended for age groups so much younger than me. I would shy away from book conversations because I felt I wasn't worthy. Because I didn't love Shakespeare and have never read a single DH Lawrence book in my life. Now I know that I'm not the only one. There are many others who, like me, enjoy children's fantasy novels and those who have never read a classic. At the end of the day what you read doesn't matter (except to snobs). What does matter is that you do read and that you enjoy what you read. 
  3. Following on from point 2, just because I enjoy pop fiction doesn't mean I can't also enjoy classic literature.  And I do love my classics, not all of them, but some. One of my favourite books is Middlemarch. However, I usually shy away from saying so because I don't understand the deeper symbolism of the novel. To me I enjoy it on a purely base level, at face value. I'm not good at reading between the lines of stories and I never know whether when someone kills their cat they're actually killing their oppressive mother or if a child denies their parents authority they're actually making a stand against colonialism. I'm extremely dense when it comes to symbolism and interpretation. And this has always made me feel like a complete idiot and like I couldn't truly call myself a book lover because I didn't really get it. I even spent time trying to find underlying meanings in books and it just made reading unpleasant for me. Now, I just don't care. I just read and respond with whatever comes naturally to me. I'm not trying to write a doctorate on any of these books. I just want an escape from reality in the pleasure of a story. 
  4. You do not have to fit into any box. You're allowed to have a vast area of interest. Just because you enjoy horror novels it doesn't mean you can't enjoy a good love story also. As I mentioned earlier, I will personally read almost anything. Don't limit yourself because society told you you need to fall within a specific norm. 
  5. Being a slow reader is okay. It's not a race or a competition. Though, it is kind of a race against time if, like me, you want to read all the books in the world. But essentially, it's okay to be a slow reader. I am an exceptionally slow reader. I'm so slow I feel like I should add a couple more l's to exceptionally just to emphasize how slow. I used to be so embarrassed about this. I still am a little, but now I own it. I even use it as an encouragement to get other people to read - I'm such a slow reader, I don't think anyone reads as slow as I do, so, if even I can read a book, then so can you. Rather a slow reader than a non reader. You read at whatever pace you're comfortable with as long as you enjoy it.
  6. Numbers don't count. This is a tough one for me. And I'm still trying to convince myself of it. It's really hard because as I mentioned above, I really do want to read all the books (well the ones that appeal to me) in the world. And seeing as I'm a mere mortal, the clock is sort of ticking on that. So the more books I read the better. But, reading is essentially about the pleasure. Yes, its about knowledge too. But if you don't enjoy it how much knowledge are you really going to gain from it now... So, for most, it doesn't matter if you only read one book a year, what counts is that you read a book and you enjoy it. I tend to feel really bad about reading so few books when so many people I know get through five times as many as I do. But, again, we have to take into consideration; time, what we're reading, how fast we read and what not. But most importantly, we have to remember that we're reading for ourselves. So if you read one book and you were happy, who cares how many books anyone else read. 
When it comes to reading, like with pretty much everything else in life, the key is to not compare yourself. You read what you want to, when you want to, how you want to and at your own pace. So long as you're reading and happy. Don't let someone else be the measure of your reading life. 

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Christine and The Queens - Christine (Clip Officiel)

Christine and the Queens - Tilted (Official Video)



I first came across Christine and the Queens on an episode of The Graham Norton Show. Christine and the Queens performed this song and I was absolutely mind blown. I immediately went onto YouTube to find the song and watched it on repeat for days. The voice of Heloise Letissier is simply angelic and entrancing and the dancing added to this is absolutely out of this world.

This is the English translation of the song. The original is in French and is even more beautiful.

P.S. I owe many thanks to The Graham Norton Show for having introduced me to many amazing artists, apart from Christine and the Queens.