Random moments of the past few days

I love my phone! It allows me to take snaps of little things that make my days (and life in general) much better. So, in no particular order:

My current read: Maigret by Georges Simenon:

Maigret

Our pet turtle who doesn’t get that much attention (not like Marlanu’ anyway):

Pet Turtle

The whoopie pie maker that I received from work for Customer Service Week:

Gift from work

And a sunset at work, plus my first tilt shift photo done on Instagram:

SunsetTilt Shift Instagram

I might not live a life full of adventures like in movies, but its not bad for a normal person.

1984 – George Orwell

I recently finished reading “1984″ by George Orwell. This is one of those books that sticks to you for a while.

1984

I’m usually a cheery person. There are always things that make my day. But this book just took all my energy away. I didn’t want to speak with anyone, I didn’t feel like going to work or even get out of the house.

I don’t always read books that affect me so much, but when I do they are usually books with a happy ending. This book wasn’t even sad, it was depressing.

So, I actually looked up “life changing books”, yes, 1984 is a life changing book. And this is what I found:

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Looking for Alaska by John Green
The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Life of Pi by Yann Martel
The Help by Kathryn McCarthy
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
Animal Farm by George Orwell
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

Yup, more books! I almost finished my 50 books challenge for 2013, so I am thinking I should switch from easy books to something more stimulating. Meaning, I was thinking of taking a break from detective books and read something else.

But I think I will go with Eat, Pray and Love of The Help at the moment since I really need a boost of happy energy.

A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian

Everyone who saw me read this book asked me what came over me? I mean, how could I read a book about tractors?

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Well, I would lie if I would say this book has nothing to do with tractors. It does in a very strange way. You see, the character that begins all the madness is an engineer, an 80 years old engineer. His name is Nikolai. He’s old, half bonkers and bent on rescuing poor Valentina and her genius son from the hard life they live in Ukraine.

And so begins his old age adventure. You see, Valentina is anything but a nice lady, she is bent on doing anything to stay in UK and provide her son a good life, after all he is a genius. So, after much deliberation she marries Nikolai and moves in his house. But Nikolai’s two daughters are not so sure about this reunion. They come in the rescue of their father who is too blinded by Valentina’s big boobs love.

In between chapters we learn a little bit about the history of the Ukrainian tractors and of the black periods in the history of Ukraine itself.

You can’t actually hate any of the characters in the book but nor can you love them. They are all humans, with flaws and good parts as well. The best part of this book is that everything ends well for everybody. The two sisters make amends, Nikolai ends up in an elderly home (but where he can keep his independence and practice yoga butt naked), Valentina, her not so genius son and her baby daughter (not Nikolai’s daughter) go back to Ukraine to her former husband.

It took me around two days to read this book. It was refreshing from my British novels. And, true to one of my resolutions I started reading the books I have in my own bookcase. This way, I won’t hear anyone blame me for hoarding books but not reading them.

Books and tulips

Did I ever mention that I managed to make some good friends at work?

If not, well I did. I actually found nice people, and not only that but I can actually call them friends.

*Happy dance*

And when my birthday came, I actually got a nice surprise.

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It was nicely wrapped and heavy and I didn’t want to open it. You see, I don’t usually get presents (besides the ones from Johnny, who’s nice like that). So, I really felt like a small kid for Christmas. I really like surprises, especially nice ones.

After a few moments I decided to open it and voila: Edgar Allan Poe stories (English version).

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Life is really nice at the moment, no matter how broke I am.

Speaking of being broke, I still managed to buy a book. I know I’m an idiot, but it was there, starring me in the face. I know that I cannot afford to buy the Harry Potter books, because 1) they are expensive, 2) they take up lots of space and 3) I already have/read the audio books. But I bought it, I bought a J.K. Rowling book.

Yup I bought “The Casual Vacancy” (Romanian version).

J.K Rowling

I am very happy with my two new books. But, I don’t want to start them right now. I’m waiting for that special moment and to finish the books that I am currently reading (about 5 of them).

Besides the two new books, I also managed to take a few more photo’s with my new camera. I’m starting to get used to it, even if not all the pictures turn out decent.

But, tulips are always a nice photography subject.

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Especially for close ups (macro photography).

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Hopefully, this year it will be a good year regarding my photography.

A Walk to Remember

After reading so many books with Hercule Poirot my brain demanded a change. It requested something completely different, meaning anything but a detective book.

So, after much deliberation I picked “A Walk to Remember” by Nicholas Sparks.

A Walk To Remember

I knew I was picking a romance but I was hoping that it will be a romance with an uplifting ending that would cheer me up and make my day.

Boy, was I wrong!

This book was anything but cheerful. It was slow paced, nostalgic (for the good ol’ days of childhood), captivating and heartbreaking.

The funny part is that when I was reading this book I was actually thinking of those summer days of my childhood when I was always out with my best friends, doing stupid things.

It might seem weird, but those were probably the only times that I actually believed in true love. Maybe I believed in it because when I was young, we didn’t had that idea of self worth, we didn’t care much of how we looked and how people saw us. So, daydreaming about prince charming didn’t seem that far fetched, even to a tomboy like myself.

Fast forward to high school and the bubble burst. See, real life is a bitch, especially for awkward teenagers.

In “A Walk to Remember“, Jamie (the female protagonist) is shown as a plain girl, that always brings her Bible with her and only thinks about how she can help others. She is shown as someone with a beautiful heart and mind, but with a plain exterior. She is seen as a weird girl by her peers and only the adults actually appreciate her and her hard work.

By the second half of the book she goes from the plain religious girl to the beautiful misunderstood girl who is hit by a horrible fate, she has leukemia and she will die by the end of her senior year.

Landon Carter (the male protagonist) is the cool, rich kid that hangs around all the cool crowds. He goes from disliking being in Jamie’s presence to being infatuated by her, by her beauty. He notices her when her breasts start growing, he is relieved when Jamie starts wearing her hair down rather than in an uptight bun.

This was something that annoyed me. Couldn’t Landon just love the plain Jamie? Why did she have to transform from the ugly duckling to the beautiful swan? I’m not saying that Landon is a bad guy, he actually did a lot of good things to help Jamie, even before she told him about her condition. But still, why? Can’t ugly ducklings have their true love?

The way I see things in life is that people don’t actually grow out of their skin, nor do they transform over night (even with plastic surgery). Usually ugly ducklings stay as ugly ducklings.

If someone likes/loves you, they don’t see you differently. They don’t see you as the most beautiful, fairest of them all. No. They see you as you are, with defects and all, but they like/love/care for that person that you are, ugly duckling or not. And that’s why I think real life beats fiction.

I liked the book, I did. It was beautiful! But it didn’t fit with my idea of a good love story.