Inspired Fridays #6: Bread Box Charging Station

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This weekly meme is hosted by Inkk Reviews.You can read more about it here.

BREAD BOX CHARGING STATION

I don’t know about you, but I have a major problem with chargers. I don’t know how I do it, but I always manage to lose them, break them, and even twist the cables in such a way that the task of untwisting them can drive just about anyone completely insane. You can imagine how I felt when I saw this little charging station that could spare me so much trouble. *(and now I’ll break my rule and bring my tumbler self to this reading corner, because sometimes you can only accurately express emotion with gifs)*

  

Praise to the people who invented this! I’m definitely going to try to make one, or get one if I can’t find a way to handmade it myself. Instructions for this DIY project can be found here. (via Apartment Therapy)

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What about Poetry?

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Heavy Words. Photography by Maria Sardari.

So, the other day I was talking with someone about our favourite readings and what kind of books we like to read. We talked about fantasy, chick-lit and crime novels, the classics… and then out of nowhere: “What about poetry? Do you read any?”. We just stared at each other and I found myself saying “Yeah, I do!…but rarely. It’s not that I don’t like it, it’s just that…”. Well, this got me thinking about poetry and “my relationship” with it.

(*Oh no… why is she talking about this subject, above all things!? it’s death boring!!!* Just bear it with me for a moment, will you? It might end up being something interesting.)

I first met poetry when I was about 12 years old. Before that, I remember being incredibly naïve and think that poetry was a bunch of songs written in The Lusiads to praise our people’s adventures during The Discoveries, a way to record and remember our history. Then school told me that, nop!, there’s actually some more people writing it. My teachers introduced me to Fernando Pessoa, Florbela Espanca, Jorge de Sena and several other great national poets that you probably never heard of and many international poets. To be honest, I didn’t care about any of them, mostly because I couldn’t understand them or relate to what they wrote. My teachers saw my lack of interest, but they kept insisting that poems were far greater and much more interesting than the last Harry Potter book. Come on… you’re saying this to a teenage nerdy/geeky girl! Nothing is more interesting than Harry Potter and The Princess Diaries to her (aka little 12 to 14 years old me).

So, I grew up ignoring poetry, knowing people who avoid it like the plague and hearing everybody say that poetry is dead, or about to die… People seem to be incapable to decide if it’s dead, just about to die or about to reborn (like a phoenix! who reborn from the ashes!). And life passed quietly by, while me and poetry were on “not talking” terms. Until college, where I was forced to meet it again and actually engage in conversation for more than 5 minutes. Oh…to hear it being praised for transforming the most ordinary things in golden rainbows and glittery palaces, that it could elevate the lowest mortal and show him/her the meaning of life and the universe beyond… (poetry bored me to the point of making me scream, so it’s normal I didn’t want to talk with it). So, there I was, sitting in a classroom full of people getting ready to enter in a brain collective coma, when out of the blue the professor says the unthinkable: People, lose your sad faces. Poetry is not a goddess we have to worship, neither a complicated mathematical equation of words and verses we need to crack during the next couple of hours. Poetry is a form of writing in which the length of the line is decided by the author, not by the printer. It is not the affirmation of what is the Truth, it is a way we use to express our truths and make them more real. 

That got me interested. What he showed us later made me review what I had learned about poetry. We met Sharon Olds, a favourite of mine, who wrote about being a feminist and women rights, and several other cool people who spoke their minds in verse because they thought it cooler than just writing plain prose. And I actually liked it. I even wrote some scribbles myself, at the time.

Nowadays, despite rarely reading poetry, I enjoy it. Why don’t I read more poetry? Because no one talks about it and, unless I go digging to find some new and interesting stuff to read, I have no information whatsoever on the subject. Of course, this refers to contemporary poetry; there’s plenty information of poetry classics, but we can’t forever read the same things, can we?

So, this lead me to think that poetry has trouble making friends for 3 main reasons:

  • Classroom Boredom: The way school talks about poetry doesn’t help its case. Obligatory readings should be revised. There’s no way an early adolescent kid will be interested in the classic poets, much less like it if you are obligating him/her to read it over and over. We need to find new teaching methods. I’m not saying we shouldn’t teach poetry at schools. I’m saying that we should try to do it in a more interesting way, with a selection of poems that would be more appealing to nowadays kids. Otherwise we’ll be growing people afraid of poetry, we’ll continue to push people away from it. Stop doing it teachers, please. Make it fun instead of boring.
  • Pride and Prejudice: No, it’s not Mr. Darcy’s fault. It’s people’s general mentality saying that poetry is too proud about itself, siting in a high pedestal, waiting for us to bow down and worship its greatness. That’s untrue, and it’s a consequence of the Classroom Boredom time we have to endure during our teenage years.
  • “It’s dead, haven’t you heard?”: Once in a while we have a bunch of articles spreading the rumor of its dead and that’s never a good thing. Why they focus on saying poetry is dead instead of promoting contemporary poets, is something I’ll never understand. What we need is to know more about the new poets. We should be hearing about the poets of our days, who write about stuff we are concerned now.

Poetry isn’t about an absolute truth with elaborate or fancy logical arguments. In fact, I think it is about something that is real to us, made more truthful by writing it on paper. In the end, poetry can be about anything we want to. It can be fun or sad, it can leave you breathless. It can be powerful, or just silly. You can find yourself in it, or lose yourself in it. It matters everything and nothing. It doesn’t have to follow strict grammatical rules, be hard to follow or relate to. It doesn’t have to be embroidered in gold. It comes in different genres! Now that I mentioned it, we probably have sci fi and steampunk poetry and no one even bothers to spread the word about it.

Anyway, this is why I avoid discussion posts. When I start talking I have trouble stopping. If you kept reading until now, thank you! I love your dedication and I’m sending you lots of virtual hugs. As a treat, I suggest you to read a great poem by Patricia Lockwood called Rape Joke (click here to read it, it’s published online for free). It just blew my mind off when I read it.  Also, check out Taylor Mali’s poem What Teachers Make adapted to comics by ZenPencils (click here to read it). It’s a really good example of how we can make things interesting and fun!

Now, I’ve said enough already. Let me know what you think about poetry! Do you read it? Do you fear it? Do you hate it? Do you think my perception on this matter is wrong? How was your first experience with poetry? I do admit that being from a non-English speaking country with its own school system might have a huge influence in my perception and experience with poetry. Still, share your thoughts and experiences with me and, if you read Lockwood’s poem, let me know if you liked it or not. 😉

If you want to know what other topics people are discussing in the book blog world, do check out Oh Chrys! blog for weekly updated lists.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books With Middle Age Settings

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly bookish list meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. To know more about it and participate, click here.

This is one of my favourite bookish memes in the book blog world, so I decided to join in and contribute with my lists. This week’s topic was Top Ten Books With X Setting. I am a huge fan of fantasy and alternative history books, specially those written in a real or fictional Middle Age period of time (5th to 15th century). Usually, these books come in series, so my list will be more about book series with this setting.

Top Ten Books (actually 4 book series) With Middle Age Settings
(click on the images and links to find the books on Goodreads)

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Kushiel’s Dart was one of my favourite readings last year. This series is amazing in every way, but let’s just focus on the setting. The book follows the story of Phèdre, a courtesan in a medieval historical fantasy/alternate society of Terre d’Ange, which is a fictional/alternate version of France. In this universe, the people of Terre d’Ange are descendants of the angel Elua, who was born when the blood of Yeshua ben Yosef, the son of the one God (aka Jesus), mingled with the tears of the Magdelene and carried in the womb of Mother Earth. The book has an amazing new religious/political/sociological/political setting intrinsically connected to the alternate European world the author created. For this fact alone these books deserve all your attention, but the characters are so amazingly layered and the plot so twisted and delicious that, really, you should give it a try if you love epic fantasy with a dark flavour.

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My all time favourite series. The books are mainly set in the forest of Sevenwaters, in an ancient version of Ireland, and explore Celtic mythology and folklore wonderfully. The story will also carry you to the Otherworld (the world of the Little Folk), the shores of Britain and Alba (that I think it’s nowadays Scotland). It was with these books that I first fell in love with Ireland.

Untitled-3Who doesn’t know Tolkien’s Middle Earth? This one needs no explanations or introductory note. We all know it and most of us love it. (come on… Rivendale?? I would buy a one way ticket there and never come back if it truly existed!)

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Another one everybody knows about. Westeros is one of the best settings I’ve ever come across with. Though I wouldn’t want to live there (the risk of being accused of traison and murdered is too high!), I would love to visit Winterfell, Riverrun and Highgarden.

So, these are my Top Book Settings. Do you share some of them? Which are yours?

Literature & Fashion #2: The Raven

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Monday is Literature & Fashion (L&F) day! These L&F is based on The Raven, by Edgar Allan Poe. I am a huge fan of Poe’s tales and short-stories, The Tale-Tale Heart and The Pit and the Pendulum being among my favourites. I have never read his poetry, though I intend to do it in the near future. Have you ever read anything from Edgar Allan Poe? What are your thoughts?

I am IN LOVE with the Wing Scarf and the Oxford Shoes. I want them so badly!!! Also, the Halloween Couture dress is a wonderful fashion art piece. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this week showcase! Next Monday we’ll have more. 😉

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1. Halloween Couture by McQueen AW09 collection 2. Oxford Shoes by Dogo 3. Women Scarf by Shovava 4. T-shirts by The Pyramid Collection 5. Tote Bag by Dress Wicked 6. Necklace by Poppenkraal

P.S.: This meme probably isn’t something new, so I ask you to let me know if you’re already doing a meme this theme. We could link each other’s posts and have more fun! For instance, I know of a tumblr blogger who does awesome outfits’ collages based on characters from books and movies. Check it out! And, by all means, feel free to join me doing your own collage if you never tried it before. 🙂

In my mailbox #4

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In My Mailbox is a meme originally created by The Story Siren.

These are the new arrivals to my shelves. They’re used books bought in Oxfam and Women’s Aid Society. I’ve been curious about Libba Bray’s books for a while now. People always tell me good things about the trilogy and I had A Great and Terrible Beauty in my list for some time, but was always avoiding it. It’s funny when sometimes we have books in our wishlists that we want to read and, when the time comes, we just pretend they are not there and move on to the next. So, this week I just took the chance and brought The Diviners home with me. I hope I did well and won’t get disappointed.

The Paris Wife was also on my wishlist and I think I’ll like it very much. The other book with the incredibly long title… Well, I still don’t know how it managed to come home with me. I have never heard of it before and I’m still not sure of what’s the story really about. I do know that it is a teen’s fantasy book about a girl who circumnavigated fairyland in a ship of her own making, (quite obvious, isn’t it?).Probably is a teen fantasy novel. I guess it must have been the title… *I have a weakness for long titles starting with “The girl…”*

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The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, by Catherynne M. Valente

The Paris Wife, by Paula McLain

The Diviners, by Libba Bray

Inspired Fridays #5: Floral Crowns

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This weekly meme is hosted by Inkk Reviews.You can read more about it here.

FLORAL CROWNS

This week I am inspired by floral crowns (or hair garlands). Everywhere I look I see this beautiful, romantic accessory and I just love it. LOVE IT! It reminds me of princesses and fairies, of romance in the Spring. Now, to be honest, you got to have a lot of confidence to wear one of these outside, specially when you’re not a bride or a bridesmaid in a wedding.

However, I have seen several girls wearing floral crowns in the street to complete they’re summer outfits, enjoying the sun and the light breeze, and it looks really nice! I’m thinking on crafting one for me while we still have the chance to enjoy a few more sunny days. If you also love this hair accessory, you should try and craft one yourself! Here is a quick & easy how-to tutorial.

Literature & Fashion #1: The Little Prince

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One thing about me is that I love outfit collages. I am one of those people who likes to see outfits based on characters from movies (e.g.: Avengers, Disney…I am that geek). You know what I mean, right? I also love outfits based on books, but it is a bit more difficult to find collages with fashion pieces based on literature. So, I thought that it would be nice to do a weekly feature following this idea. My goal is to showcase a few wearable items inspired in one particular book in a regular basis.

I’m sure this probably isn’t something new, so I ask you to let me know if you’re already doing a meme this theme. We could link each other’s posts and have more fun! For instance, I know of a tumblr blogger who does awesome outfits’ collages based on characters from books and movies. Check it out! And, by all means, feel free to join me doing your own collage if you never tried it before. 🙂

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1. Shoes by Sanem Sevgen 2. T-shirt by La Boutique du Petit Prince 3. Haute Couture by Jean-Charles de Castelbajac 4. Clutch by psBesitos 5. Watch by La Boutique du Petit Prince 6. Necklace by BelladeJour 7. Ring by DIVINEsweetness

These Fashion & Literature (F&L) is based on The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. I am particularly excited about the snow globe ring and that adorable clutch!!

Review: Before I Go To Sleep, by S. J. Watson

Title: Before I Go To Sleep
Author: S. J. Watson
Published by Black Swan, 2011

How I discovered this book:  I saw this book on a charity shop and it called to me. You know when a book just calls to you? Well, that’s what happened. Plus, cross(stitch)yourheart told me this book was really worth it, specially if you don’t figure out the ending. So, here we are. 🙂

Review: I rarely read crime and thriller novels. I really like the genre in a TV series or movies, although I try to avoid it in books. Why? Because they usually fail to keep me interested until the end. Despite this fact, I do like to read a crime novel once in a while and I’m very happy with my experience reading Before I Go To Sleep. This book is a page turner! I was really missing a thriller that would keep me hooked until the very last page.

The book reads as the journal of Christine, our main character. She wakes up every day not knowing what happened in the past decades of her life. Sometimes she wakes up thinking she is a child, other days she wakes up thinking she is a young woman in her twenties. The truth is that Christine is a middle-aged woman who loses her memory every time she goes to sleep. She lives with Ben, the man she learns every morning that is her husband.

One day Christine is approached by a doctor that says he might have a way to help her fight her illness. They decide to meet in secret, since Ben doesn’t believe in a cure for his wife, not after so many failed treatments and therapies. Despite of that, Christine decides to try again and start writing a journal in secret, as part of her treatment. It is her journal that we read, and by it we discover with Christine that things my not be what they look like at first sight. In fact, she might be in danger.

The fact that we are living each day almost as if we’re inside Christine’s body just adds to the adrenaline rush. Like her, we don’t know what happened before. We discover everything with her!There’s no other perspective of the facts. You see and feel everything through the eyes of an amnesic. Because of this narrative construction, you are automatically dragged to the turmoil that is Chrissy’s mind, trying to put the pieces of her shattered life together. Watson really did a wonderful job describing our main character inner turmoil, her suspicions, her vulnerability, her distress with everything that’s happening to her. Christine feels completely lost and helpless. There are times when she even wants to give up on life and I must say that I think Watson wrote all these feelings and thoughts really well, specially considering that he his a man writing a story that puts you inside the head of a woman, who is really completely lost and lives every day intensely for the first time. I think that what I’m trying to say is that he managed to write a book that goes beyond the thriller story line, giving us a profound insight of what is like to be an amnesic and how such a person would experience daily life when it comes to grief, the lost of a son, sex, married life, professional success, etc.

Now, I have to tell you that, despite being unable to put the book down, I didn’t really bought this amnesia symptoms. Your memory is erased when you go to sleep and once in a while you can remember bits and bits of stuff that happened before? I’m sorry, but I don’t buy it. Sounds a lot more like trauma and repressed memories than some physical disability in the brain. Probably Watson did this on purpose, to get us suspicious that there was more in the picture. Still, most of the time I was one step ahead of Christine and the big mystery wasn’t a big surprise. Actually, while I was reading I came up with several theories for what was happening to Christine. I changed my mind often about which theory was most likely to be right, but I did get it all before the end. Yes, I changed my mind later, because Christine’s thoughts influenced me to do so, but the end wasn’t a complete shock. Still, I liked the thrill of the journey enough to be ok with it.

One more thing. While I was reading this book I caught myself thinking “Now, this would be a good movie”. I just visited the author’s website and this book will indeed be adapted to the screen! Apparently, Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth will play Christine and Ben. I think they suit the characters well. Now I’m excited for the movie!

Overall: A really addictive book! Very intense and profound when it comes to the main character’s journey of discovering of her own history and taking back the reins of her life. Although the ending might be a little predictable, it is still an enjoyable book to read. I definitely recommend it!

*Thank you cross(stitch)yourheart!! I did enjoy it!*

4-5-stars

Quotes worth mentioning: 

 “What are we, if not an accumulation of our memories?” 

“Thoughts race, as if, in a mind devoid of memory, each idea has too much space to grow and move, to collide with others in a shower of sparks before spinning off into its own distance.” 

“This is dying everyday. Over and over.” 

The “So many books, so little time” quote + Monthly TBR: August

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When you buy many books eventually you realise that you don’t have time to read them all. That’s life. Pure and simple. Unfortunately, we have not yet been genetically enhanced to process information like computers and most mortals still have to get out of their reading nooks and go to work, or any other tasks related to duties and responsibilities in the real world.

A couple of months ago I looked at the immense amount of books I have accumulated since the beginning of the year and I started to freak out. I have no idea where I will find the time to read all the books I have in my “waiting-on-the-shelf” list, aka TBR pile, and all the books from my wishlist that I just keep buying. *In case you don’t know, I’m a slow reader and a fast buyer.*

At this pace, I’ll still have half of these books to read after my retirement! When someone judges me for buying more books that I can handle, I always say that buying too many books is never illogical behavior. In fact, it is an investment on cultural activities to do after retirement. Can you imagine? You are that old lady in the neighborhood with tons of books. You’re hosting the weekly book club and introducing your granddaughter to the classics, the medieval fantasy epics and the steamy heroes you’ve read on your favourite chick-lit novels. Seeing her fall in love with Mr. Darcy and fangirl over the Bridgertons, (historical romance is one of my secret guilty pleasures, particularly Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton series, one day I’ll tell you all about it). Nevertheless, people with self-control still have a point. I bought those books because I really wanted to read them. Still want to! *I’m also one of those readers that plans every purchase very carefully and thinks a trillion times before deciding to go for that particular book. With exceptional bookaholic relapses, when I just bring home a bunch of random bookish acquaintances I’ve made in the next door charity shop* But in this pace I’ll never do it.

Luckily, I’m not alone in this. In discussing this realisation with my book geek friends we all decided to make some efforts to read more books and set up a monthly goal. Therefore, I now have a minimum goal of reading at least 5 books each month since July. I know that it might sound like it’s a ridiculously small amount of books to be proud of, but that was my “best score” all year! I’m all fireworks right now! I see hope for me and for the books waiting in my shelf for a turn.

So, I’ll also start sharing with you guys a pic of the books I’m reading each month and I urge you to give me suggestions, share opinions in case you’ve read the books already, whatever you feel like. I know this is not a new thing in the book blog world. If I’m not mistaken, Booksessed started a meme like this some time ago, so you should check out her blog for guidance. The point of this huge post is…well, there isn’t really a point here. I’m just ranting and sharing with you my concerns about my enormous TBR pile and my annoyingly slo

w reading pace. When the wise man says that there’s “so many books, so little time” he just nailed it. That’s a universal too that every passionate reader knows deep in his/her heart.

Anyway, enough talking. Thank you for enduring it bravely! Here are my August TBR books 🙂 I’ve already finished Before I Go To Sleep, by S. J. Watson and I’ll post the review during the weekend. The others you can see in the photo in the beginning of this post and learn more about them at Goodreads:

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The Woman in Black, by Susan Hill

Archangel’s Consort, by Nalini Singh (public library)

The Gathering Dark (aka Shadow and Bone), by Leigh Bardugo (public library)

Before I Fall, by Lauren Oliver (public library)

The Eyre Affair, by Jasper Fforde

The Metamorphosis, by Franz Kafka (in portuguese)