The Girl from the Coast – Pramoedya Ananta Toer

4 Feb

Girl-from-the-coast
I am writing this on my smart phone (yippee for technology!) which turns out to be quite awkward, so I apologise if this post is not as well edited as usual! I arrived in Ubud, Bali on Tuesday and will be in South East Asia for the next two months. I will try to keep the blog updated, but it may only be short posts.

The Girl from the Coast is set on Java, (on the island next door) and written by celebrated Indonesian writer Pramoedya Ananta Toer.

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Eat Pray Love – Elizabeth Gilbert

29 Jan

Eat Pray LoveAfter being extremely unimpressed with the film, I avoided reading Eat Pray Love for a number of years (even though friends recommended it). However, researching for my upcoming trip to Indonesia, I kept coming across it in book and travel blogs. Bearing in mind that I started reading with negative feelings, I actually got more out of Eat Pray Love than I had expected.

This memoir leads us along Elizabeth Gilbert’s journey to ‘find herself’ after a traumatic marriage break-up. She heads to Rome to explore the idea of indulgence, India to find enlightenment and Bali to learn to love again. Or something like that. Continue reading

Shakespeare and Sons (Fine Bagels) – Berlin

21 Jan

My Christmas day 2015 was spent getting lost in Berlin. My friend and I walked for a good few hours through the centre of Berlin and out to the neighbourhood of Friedrichshain, which we had heard was the ‘cool area’. We were just starting to feel tired and in need of a pit-stop when what should we find around the next corner? A sign displaying the heavenly words, ‘WOW! Fine BOOKS…’ 

Fine Books Fine Bagels

I can confirm that we did indeed see some very ‘fine books’!

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Top 5 Bookish Highlights from 2015

3 Jan

Fireworks

Happy New Year everyone!

May 2016 be filled with plot twists, superb writing and great bookish conversation! But first, a quick look back at last year.

I may not have been all that active on the blog in 2015, but behind the scenes I’ve read some brilliant books and had some lovely bookish experiences. Here are just a few…

Finally reading Anne Tyler

I’ve been meaning to read her for a long time but it was hearing The Accidental Tourist discussed on BBC Radio 4’s A Good Read that finally did it. I have also read A Patchwork Planet and plan to read every last one of her books, of which there are many. Any suggestions for my next choice are welcome!

Accidental Tourist

Attending my first spoken word event

The Forge in Camden hosts a great spoken word night on the last Tuesday of the month. With a relaxed atmosphere and some humour interspersed between the more serious poetry, Outspoken is perfect for newbies like me. There was also some fantastic music and the venue has a tasty menu, so you can really make an evening of it!

Outspoken

Finding a great bookshop near my work

I work minutes away from Skoob Books, so I have had many a lunchtime browse. And I get to walk through a small park, which happens to be a perfect reading spot in the summer. Located at the Brunswick Centre in Bloomsbury, it’s also conveniently placed if you have some time to kill whilst waiting for a train at King’s Cross or St. Pancras.

skoob

Seeing Esther Freud at the ArchWay with Words Festival

After falling head over heels for Hideous Kinky in the summer, I was delighted to learn that Esther Freud would be at the annual ArchWay with Words festival in north London. She was brilliant and I was also impressed with the festival itself. I definitely plan to get involved this year too!

Signed Mr Mac

Becoming a Neapolitan Novels addict

Elena Ferrante was the name on everyone’s lips last year, and not just because of her anonymity. I’m three books into the Neapolitan quartet and so far every page has been a joy. It’s set in one of my favourite cities and centres around one of the most interesting friendships in literature. It’s definitely one to get your teeth into.

Elena Ferrante

What memorable books did you read in 2015? And do you have any memorable bookish experiences to share?

Top 5 Bookish Gifts

9 Dec

‘Tis the season to… stress out about Christmas shopping, well if you’re anything like me anyway. Not to fear though, there are plenty of bookish gifts out there! Read on for some inspiration…

magazine-christmas-tree

Photo Credit: Want to make your own literary Christmas tree? Take a look at this blog for instructions!

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Adventures Ahead – Book Recommendations Needed!

4 Dec

I’ve booked flights and topped up my vaccinations, so I guess it’s official – I’m escaping my London life for a couple of months at the beginning of 2016. Although I don’t have any concrete plans, I’ll be arriving in Bali and hope to explore the rest of Indonesia. Then I’ll probably hop over to Vietnam for a week or two – but who knows where my feet will take me!

Thanks to Tereza at Miss Travel Fairy for letting me use this photo taken at one of the Gili Islands in Indonesia. Check out her Instagram for amazing pictures and travel inspiration!

Thanks to Tereza at Miss Travel Fairy for letting me use this photo taken at one of the Gili Islands. Check out her Instagram for amazing pictures and travel inspiration!

I still have a couple of months until I leave, but I’ve already started a vague packing list in my mind. And what’s more important than deciding on an appropriate book or two?

So readers, this is where you come in! Please comment below with recommendations for books to get me in the mood for my trip. Any books set in Indonesia or Vietnam, or books that might teach me a bit about the culture and history before I go. Also, feel free to recommend places to visit too!

Under the Skin – Michel Faber

2 Dec

UnderTheSkinI doubt I could have entered into Michel Faber’s world with a better book. I started at the very beginning (and what a début!) with Under the Skin. It really was like entering a different world. It’s the type of book that you have to put down at intervals, to have a stunned couple of recovery breaths.

Isserley, the unusual anti-heroine/ heroine, is introduced in the first paragraph as a driver sizing up hitch-hikers. She’s “looking for big muscles: a hunk on legs. Puny, scrawny specimens were no use to her”. Continue reading

Thoughts from a Festival – ArchWay with Words 2015

15 Oct

North London treated me well last weekend; sunny weather, great food, good company and the annual ArchWay with Words festival! I missed it last time, so was delighted to see it make an appearance again for its third year. Started by local Stephanie Smith, who also set up the weekly Archway market, it’s a wonderful celebration of creative talent with a cracking line-up.

Here are the two events that I couldn’t choose between, and so booked both. Well, at only £5 per ticket, why not?

ArchWay With Words Continue reading

We Should All Be Feminists – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

27 Sep

We Should All Be FeministsWe Should All Be Feminists is a modified version of Adichie’s 2012 TEDx talk fit into a small, slim book. Like the straight talking title suggests, this is a clear, simple exploration of feminism.

Everyone seems to be talking about feminism at the moment. So many women (and men) are doing their bit to change attitudes. I can’t log on to Twitter or turn on the radio without hearing yet another debate about feminist issues. And that’s great – young girls and boys should be brought up to think and talk about this, but all these discussions can often be overwhelming. Should I be a Hot Feminist like Polly Vernon? Do I want to be told How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran? Well Adichie’s essay is the perfect starting point and in my opinion should be read by everyone. Continue reading

What I think of Audible (plus mini reviews of The Complete Sherlock Holmes and Meet David Sedaris)

19 Sep

Like many others, I was enticed into joining Audible by the promise of a three month half price membership, no strings attached. There are a number of ‘membership plans’ that you can choose between:

  • 1 book monthly membership – £7.99 for 1 credit per month
  • 2 book monthly membership – £14.99 for 2 credits per month
  • 12 book annual membership – £69.99 per year and 12 credits all in one go
  • 24 book annual membership – £109.99 per year and 24 credits all in one go

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