Category Archives: Books

Books, books and more books

There is one thing that makes me get through the days at work: my colleagues! I am grateful to be able to meet and befriend such amazing people.

Not only do they keep me grounded, keep my sanity in check, but they surprise me in ways I couldn’t even imagine.

After a long day at work, with just one break for a quick phone call (also work related), I felt like crawling under a rock. It was one of those days, where nothing made sense and things went from bad to worse, with no chance of improvement.

And yet, in an instant the world became a better place. 

I still can’t believe that someone took it upon themselves to remember what my favorite book is, and also the fact that I do not own a copy of it. That same someone, decided I should own a copy!

I am now the proud owner of the Romanian version of Stardust, by Neil Gaiman! It is still in its wrapping, since I can’t bring myself to open it yet. Like all good things that happen in my life, I want to enjoy the moment. So, for a lil while it will stay in its wrapping.

Oh, and that’s not all. That same someone, decided I should own a copy of one of their favorite authors. So, I am also the proud owner of a copy of The Last Orc by Silvana de Mari.

I can honestly say it made my day brighter in an instant (even if it was almost midnight when I left from work). 

I also can’t wait for this Sunday to come around. It will be the night shift get together. We all decided to go and see Logan at the cinema, before starting our shift. Good things are yet to come, I just need to be patient.

Book swap

One of the things that I have accomplished at work, and which made me real proud, was the book swap. 

It might not be related to the actual work that goes around there, but having hobbies and being able to share them with others is fulfilling. And it all started with the “Red Queen” book, by Victoria Aveyard.

I am pretty certain that my book has been circulated to at least 6 people, all of them now owning a copy of their own. Not only that, but I do believe that they own all 3 books, plus the two short stories (Queen Song and Steel Scars).

Even to this day, I haven’t received my book back. I am not sure who has it, nor do I wish to have it back. I am just happy it was the book that started it all.

Of course, I have a few books in my bookshelves that are not my own. I am trying my best to read them, but I think I will go for the Kindle version and just return them to their rightful owners. After all, in a month my contract will come to an end. I only wish to keep in touch with a handful of people. The others.. well, it will be hard to remove them from my mind. I just hope they will soon become just bad memories.

There are a few people I intend on keeping up with the book swap. I just love the books they recommend. They’ve enlarged my horizon a couple of times, and I can only be grateful for that.

I only plan on making good memories from now on. 

For the first time in ages, we actually got the chance to make plans. They might not be the biggest and boldest plans, but being able to say “Yes, we will come” to a wedding or to a christening invitation is something. To be able to say for sure that we will be spending Easter together, and that we can go out during the weekends with friends feels like out of this world.

We even got the chance to go out in the park and just waste an hour or two. Pluto proved to us how long it has been since he was out in the park. After a couple of ball runs, he was exhausted.

 

When being able to do regular things seems like an achievement, you know for sure that things were not right at all. Hopefully, things will only get better this week and I will get that call confirming my hopes for the last two weeks. *fingers crossed*

2017 Must Read Books

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream” – C.S. Lewis
~~~~~~
I don’t like to make plans when books are concerned. I like to have the choice of picking whatever I want, whenever I want.
Yet, there are a few books I keep for those moments when everything in the universe is perfect. Believe it or not, those moments do come, even if once in a blue moon.

A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron

A Dog's Purpose
This is the remarkable story of one endearing dog’s search for his purpose over the course of several lives. More than just another charming dog story, this touches on the universal quest for an answer to life’s most basic question: Why are we here?

This one is a pretty obvious choice for someone like me. Most likely, I will be reading it in bed with Marlanu’ and Pluto sleeping beside me.

A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley
A long way home
I’ve been thinking about this day for twenty-five years. Growing up half a world away, with a new name and a new family, wondering whether I would ever see my mother and brothers and sister again. And now here I am, standing at a door near the corner of a run-down building in a poor district of a small, dusty town in central India – the place I grew up – and no-one lives there.

Another book that got itself a movie. I don’t know what to expect from this one. I really hope it isn’t a “feel good” book as Slumdog Millionaire.

A Passage to India by E.M. Forster
A passage to India
When Adela Quested and her elderly companion Mrs Moore arrive in the Indian town of Chandrapore, they quickly feel trapped by its insular and prejudiced ‘Anglo-Indian’ community. Determined to escape the parochial English enclave and explore the ‘real India’, they seek the guidance of the charming and mercurial Dr Aziz, a cultivated Indian Muslim.”

I am a big fan of slow paced novels.

A Bride’s Story series by Kaoru Mori
A Brides story
Acclaimed creator Kaoru Mori (Emma, Shirley) brings the nineteenth-century Silk Road to lavish life, chronicling the story of Amir Halgal, a young woman from a nomadic tribe betrothed to a twelve-year-old boy eight years her junior. Coping with cultural differences, blossoming feelings for her new husband, and expectations from both her adoptive and birth families, Amir strives to find her role as she settles into a new life and a new home in a society quick to define that role for her.

This is a manga or a graphic novel (as many like to call them). The author is one of my favorite just for bringing to life the “Emma” series.

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
Me before you
Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has barely been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex–Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident.

What is life without a bit of romance?

Poirot and Me by David Suchet, Geoffrey Wansell
Poirot and Me
Through his television performance in ITV’s Agatha Christie’s Poirot, David Suchet has become inextricably linked with the ‘little Belgian’, a man whom he has grown to love dearly through an intimate relationship lasting more than twenty years.

One of the few books that I own (not as a ebook or audio book).

An Autobiography by Agatha Christie, Robert Herrick
An Autobiography
Fans of Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple and readers of John Curran’s fascinating biographies Agatha Christie’s Secret Notebooks and Murder in the Making will be spellbound by the compelling, authoritative account of one of the world’s most influential and fascinating novelists, told in her own words and inimitable style.

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
North and South
When her father leaves the Church in a crisis of conscience, Margaret Hale is uprooted from her comfortable home in Hampshire to move with her family to the north of England. Initially repulsed by the ugliness of her new surroundings in the industrial town of Milton, Margaret becomes aware of the poverty and suffering of the local mill workers and develops a passionate sense of social justice.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Little Women
Following the lives of four sisters on a journey out of adolescence, Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women explores the difficulties associated with gender roles in a Post-Civil War America.

My reading list is pretty big. I am sure that if I read about 50 books per year, it will take me a lifetime to read at least half of my list.

A Dog’s Purpose

I can’t believe I’m setting up reminders for movies that will be released in 2017. Yet, this is what I am doing. “A Dog’s Purpose” is the first one on the list.

Yes, we love dogs a lot. We even went out with other friends dog owners to see “The Secret Life of Pets” when it came out.

I don’t mind that the movies comes out in January. In fact, it gives me plenty of time to read the novels before we see the movie. “A Dog’s Purpose” is based on the novel with the same name, written by W. Bruce Cameron. There is also a sequel named “A Dog’s Journey” written by the same author.

A Dog's Purposea dog's journey

I realized I love books that have pets in them. I loved “Chez Stinky” by Susan C. Daffron and I am looking for her other books from the An Alpine Grove Romantic Comedy series. They are a bit hard to find, I must admit that. Buying them from abroad is not an option. So, most likely I will go for the electronic format or audio book version.

These are feel good stories, and maybe that’s why I get excited when something like this gets released.

I actually realized that most of the movies that do come out now are based on novels or comic books. In a way that is a good thing, but from experience that is not always the case. The movies turn out to be a real disaster and leave a bitter taste.

Then there are those few that break the rule, for example those movies that are as good or even better than the books (like it happened with “Stardust” or “The Princess Bride”).

The trailer for “A Dog’s Purpose” looks really nice, so I’m hoping the movie will be as lovely as possible. *fingers crossed*

Inspector Morse series

I’ve finished the entire series from Inspector Morse. I couldn’t be more happy, yet I am broken over it. I felt in love with two characters and their relationship, and it broke me to tears when it came to an end.

Inspector Morse books

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I’ve promised myself that I will try new things. I know that sounds cliche, but it’s nothing wrong in making a small promise to yourself. After all, new things could mean anything. In my case, “new things” is a general term I use for small but meaningful projects. One of those projects is my reading challenge.

Ever since I’ve joined Goodreads, I’ve set up a yearly reading challenge. Each year, I failed this said challenge. In my case, the challenge itself it’s not for completion but to keep track of what I’ve read each year. So far, detective books have been the number one genre in my lists. I’ve read a lot of books by Agatha Christie and Georges Simenon.

I love those two authors to bits. I love their stories even more!

Yet, there were times when I just couldn’t bring myself to read anything that was written by them. But I wanted to read something. That’s when I realized, even in reading I stay in my comfort zone.

This is where the new things term comes in. I want to read new books from authors I’ve never heard of. This is how I came upon reading all the 13 books of Inspector Morse. Technically, the series was not that new to me. I’ve seen the TV show a year ago, and it’s still a detective series.

Inspector Morse TV detective series with John Thaw and Kevin Whately

Yet, Detective Chief Inspector Endeavour Morse couldn’t be more different from Hercule Poirot. In fact, it was not Morse that I loved most from the books. It was his friendship with Lewis, his sergeant. When Lewis hatted Morse, I hatted Morse. When Lewis had problems understanding the moods of Morse, I hatted Morse. When Lewis cried for Morse, I cried for Lewis.

While Morse was the calculated brain of the series, making everything interesting and keeping you on your toes, it was Lewis who kept things real. I loved Lewis for being human. I loved how things evolved between them.

Colin Dexter was brilliant writing the Inspector Morse series.

It took me a month to get over the fact that I finished all the books. It took me even longer than that to be able to enjoy reading anything else. I guess, leaving your comfort zone isn’t such a bad thing. Hopefully, I will start reading other genres and fall in love with other characters, as I did with Morse and Lewis.

Inspector Morse just got in my top 5 series.

Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time

“Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.” ― Marthe Troly-Curtin

I can honestly say that I’ve wasted my time. Most of it was wasted on sleep, yet most of the times I wake up more tired than when I go to bed. Other times, I just waste it running around in circles and not getting much done (concerning the household chores).

I’m not the most productive person at the moment.

Yet, I feel that these past few weeks the time spent with loved ones and friends was not wasted. Some good memories came out of it, and of course some good photos as well (even if most of them are with our pets).

Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.

Aren’t they beautiful?! Our babies have grown up and they are just adorable when they play and hang out together. Not only that, but it feels like they’ve created a friendship between them like the ones we had when we were children. Something that cannot be replaced.

Pluto and MayaTime you enjoy wasting is not wasted time Pluto with his ballMaya taking a nap

I’ve also managed to read a book in one sitting. It was a book from the Maigret series by Georges Simenon: “Maigret And The Idle Burglar“. I’ve actually missed reading and I’ve had a great opportunity this weekend when we babysat Maya (her owner was our of town at a wedding).

Maigret And The Idle Burglar

I loved it because it was one of those slow paced books, even if it was rather short. But then again, a book doesn’t have to be long to be interesting. And, it was really relaxing reading it while Pluto and Maya were sleeping next to me.

Pluto and MayaPluto and Maya sleeping

Of course, now I’ve started a new one called “Maigret’s Failure” by the same author. I’ve realized reading is a good way to go to sleep, especially since I find it hard to sleep during the day (I’m still on the night shift).

 So, my time has been wasted but I enjoyed wasting it. It was a nice break from the fast pace I’ve been having ever since I started work again

The Chronicles of Narnia

This year I’ve set the biggest reading challenge so far: 100 books. Am I showing off? Well if I finish it, I might. But, I actually want to see if I can do it. I really want to do it. So, I’ve started with on of the series that I’ve been trying to read for the last couple of years (but never got to it): The Chronicles of Narnia.

On the Internet, there are many views in which order the books should be read. Now, I’ve just followed the list on the back of the books I have. So, I’ve read them in the following order:

– The Magician’s Nephew
– The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
– The Horse and his boy
– Price Caspian
– The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
– The Silver Chair
– The Last Battle

The Chronicles of Narnia: Magician's Nephew The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the WardrobeThe Chronicles of Narnia: Horse and His BoyPrince Caspian Voyage of the Dawn TreaderSilver ChairLast Battle

It makes a lot more sense to read them in this order, since they have a certain continuity, rather than read then in the order they were published.

I did enjoy each and every book of this series, but my favorite by far was “The Horse and His Boy“. I liked Shasta and Aravis more than Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy. Shasta and Aravis felt more like real children than the main 4 siblings. I actually remembered trying to read this book (The Horse and His Boy) when I was in school. It brought back some obscure memories of my younger version, hiding in my room trying to read and understand what I was reading, at the same time.

Yes, this usually happens to people that read books that are not in their native language. Still, I am glad I’ve come a long way since those times and that I was able to enjoy books. I am glad that school has not taken this joy from me.

It is a beautiful series to enjoy, especially during winter time. It’s a nice series to read in the evening, before going to bed.

It’s very enjoyable, and it gives one some nice dreams.

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Alas, our 3 year old tradition is over. We’ve just been to the cinema and saw the last part of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.

The Hobbit The Battle of the Five Armies

I believe it was my first time crying in the cinema. I was really heartbroken because I finished the book long ago and the movies were all that I had left.

It was splendid. Everything about the movie was beautiful and it just rocked my socks. I actually wished for the story to not end. I even wished for the movie to alter the ending of the book, so 3 of the main characters (and my favorite ones) would not die. But they did keep the ending.

I guess, I can’t complain. I still have The Lord of the Rings books to read (and the movies to watch). Yet somehow I doubt I will find another Fili and Kili in literature.

tumblr_nhavf7eWr51sckf0to2_500

Yes, I have a crush on two fictional characters. I guess that happens a lot these days. I am also sure I am not the only one, since there is a huge fanbase out there as heartbroken as myself.

The Battle of the Five Armies Fili and Kili

All we can do now, is find new movies that will keep us glued to the screen. 2015 is looking pretty promising in terms of movies. That means we will have plenty of opportunities to go out and enjoy ourselves. And 2015 is not that far away; 2 more days left.

I am anxious on how things will turn out in the new year *fingers crossed*. We shall see…

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.

the-long-walk-coverThe_Maze_Runner_cover

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.