Books

Will I finish my reading challenge?

I knew that this year I won’t have much time for books. I set a reachable goal of 20 books for 2014, and I’m currently halfway there.Now, I don’t actually care if I finish the reading challenge or not. It’s just something to keep me focused on reading itself.

Another thing is that I tried reading different genres this year. In the past I’ve read mostly detective books (which are and always will be my favorite genre). This year I’ve tried romantic & comedy books, young adult and even horror (yet I still haven’t finished Carrie by Stephen King). And it seems that I’ve got stuck again on a particular type of genre: dystopian-or-post-apocalyptic fiction.

Last year it was The Hunger Games books, this year it’s The Long Walk by Richard Bachman (aka Stephen King) and The Maze Runner trilogy by James Dashner.

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Even if both books are similar (kids in trouble in a very troublesome future), they do leave different impressions (in my case feelings). After reading The Long Walk I felt empty. I couldn’t touch another book for a couple of days. And even then I felt I was robbed of  an ending. A different ending, anything that would’ve made things better. ATTENTION SPOILER: I didn’t  want McVries to die. I wanted something, anything to save him.

Yet, with The Maze Runner it’s different. I just finished the first part and I didn’t felt much. I just started The Scorch Trials without even blinking. I guess I was (and still am) curious of what happens next. Besides curiosity there isn’t much. The Maze Runner is very similar to The Hunger Games in my opinion. But it doesn’t have the depth of The Long Walk.

I won’t make my mind yet regarding this trilogy. After all, I still have 2 books to read and things might change.

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:

Sunset

Tilt 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.