Tag Archives: books

Year of Yes – Review

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At first, I really did not like this book and thought it is going to be a very long 7 hours listening to Shonda’s tangy, irritating voice (by now you get I listened to the audiobook, right?) and her ramble on about her family and kids, but then we hit her Dartmouth Commencement speech and I’m like hang on, this chick has got a point:

“Dreams are lovely. But they are just dreams. Fleeting, ephemeral, pretty. But dreams do not come true just because you dream them. It’s hard work that makes things happen. It’s hard work that creates change”

And that is where I actually really started to listen, just over 1 hour into the book. Yes, we hit some more (a lot more) children related stories, and I’m all like, I don’t care about children, I don’t want children, this is boring, and some parts really are boring. But then we get the other parts. The parts that resonate within me and I think to myself, my god Joan, Shonda is talking to you. The part about her weight loss; getting so fat that you have to get seatbelt extenders on an airplane is a mortal fear of mine! And even though I have never heard of the term “Veal Practice” It is something I am totally familiar with, I do it all the time!

Making avatars of people and then not knowing where your friend went, when you finally, really see the real person behind your made-up friend, yeah, done that. Until listening to this book I did not understand that it was me; I needed to have that type of friend at a certain time in my life, so I had attributed certain characteristics to that avatar person to create her into the friend I needed, and truly loved at that time.

I only read this book because everyone else seems to have read it, and I need to know what I am missing out on when it comes to popular books. Plus Grey’s Anatomy Seasons 1 to 5 is my absolute favourite TV Show ever (and then it got a bit sucky, to be honest) So while I am sure this book is not a self-help book, it has certainly, in parts, shone a giant spot light on the crappy parts of my life and yeah, I am not Shonda, I do not have her achievements and I am not the creator of some amazing TV Shows, but I share a bunch of her problems, and perhaps I can do with a year of yes myself, or perhaps a couple of months of maybes to start off with.

2015 in a flash

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So we are coming to the end of yet another year, and it seems that time are just speeding up with every day that passes. I have just finished setting up my christmas tree, and was thinking of the year that is basically over and the year that is yet to come.

Glancing back over 2015, it was overall quite a good year for me. Sure, I had some crappy spots;  I got seriously sick with the flu for the first time in years and I basically lost my best friend, yet besides that, I have had a good year.

  • I managed to go to Cape Town on holiday for a whole week, my first holiday in ages and we had wonderful weather and mostly it was a good week
  • I attended 2 weddings. Not that weddings are actually something I enjoy going to, but I suppose the happiness of others can also count towards the good times for 2015, and there were no funerals this year. It’s all about balance
  • I made an amazing new best friend and she moved into the same place where I am staying, so yay for friends in close proximity
  • I have been very social this year with a lot of impromptu braais and drinking sessions in the lapa. I even ended up at a strip club at 4am one morning (don’t ask)
  • I got an extra bonus at work, although it was for the consultant who logged the most calls, every cent was much needed and quickly spent, sadly
  • I saw Sweeny Todd at Pieter Toerien’s Theatre, and I swear it was one of the best productions ever. Even after all this time, it still stays with me. I also saw Little Shop of Horrors and went to Madame Zingara twice. So, a good year for shows, all in all
  • I am way behind on my reading goals for this year, only managing 58 of the 75 books I wanted to read, but if you take all the socialising into consideration, that is not bad all at. And there is always next year
  • I have finally found a way to get most of my furniture in my house organised in such a way that I have more space and do not feel so crowded anymore
  • My Le Creuset collection is coming along nicely, next year I will look at saving up and getting some of the larger and more expensive pieces

In a nutshell, these are the things that came to mind today, I am sure there are many other things I have forgotten for the moment, but the important thing is that I am in a much happier space now than I was last year this time, and that is all that counts in the end.

A moviecation

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Over the last couple of days I have watched a bunch of movies to fill the gap in my moviecation. I’ve bought this lovely book last year, (picked mainly because of the beautiful photo of Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly on the back cover) to help me catch up on the great movies I have not seen yet (Plus, I really do not need any encouragement to buy a new book).

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This list of unseen movies is surprisingly long, but a whole bunch of my favourite movies also feature in this book, so I am slowly trying to make my way through all the movies in it. This also means rewatching all the movies I’ve seen before and paying attention to the synopsis of what made this movie great according to the critics who compiled this book. 

Towards the end of last year, I had for the first time in my life watched a Star Wars movie, Episode IV (as that is the one movie of the Star Wars series that made it into the book). It was really good and I actually liked it a lot more than I thought I would. The special effects, although dated, was still very acceptable to me and the movie still worked, even after all the years since its first release. 

So, naturally, that meant that I would have to watch the rest of the movies in the series as well. I really liked the older episodes, IV, V and VI, but did not like the new ones as much, even though it did a really good job of filling in the back end of the story. To me, it just missed something that the old movies have, even though I cannot put my finger on it. I think a lot of it also has to do with the fact that I really dislike Anakin Skywalker, which I suppose you are meant to do as he does become the despised Dark Lord after all. The fact that Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan is totally delicious, (When is Ewan and that voice and accent of his not completely fabulous?) got me through all the movies. 

Is it just me or are the sounds made by Chewbacca and the rest of the Wookiees really sad? Makes me think of unhappy or sick puppies 😦  

Next up on my to watch list is the Back to the Future, Terminator and Harry Potter movie series

My obsession

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I am definitely obsessed with books and reading. Even though I have more unread books on my shelf and my Kindle than I can read in 5 years, I cannot stop buying more books or adding books to my endless To-Be-Read-Lists. This year I at least decided to face my problem and unlike the last 3 years, I did not vow to stop buying more books. That is a very good thing, as I ended up buying 14 books last week at the Exclusive Books Eastgate, closing down sale. Even though I do not even have the space on my bookshelves to add the new books, but I did get a decent collection.

On top of the 101 Books to Read Before You Die list I have been working through the last couple of years, I have also decided to do the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge this year and these are the books I chose for the categories:

A book written by someone when they were under the age of 25
Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen
A book written by someone when they were over the age of 65
Inside, Outside, Herman Wouk
A collection of short stories (either by one person or an anthology by many people)
The Collected Stories, Eudora Welty
A book published by an indie press
The Last Horror Novel in the History of the World, Brian Allen Carr
A book by or about someone that identifies as LGBTQ
Brokeback Mountain, Annie Proulx
A book by a person whose gender is different from your own
The Scarlett Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne
A book that takes place in Asia
A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth
A book by an author from Africa
Agaat, Marlene van Niekerk
A book that is by or about someone from an indigenous culture (Native Americans, Aboriginals, etc.)
Princess, Jean Sasson
A microhistory
Stiff, Mary Roach
A YA novel
The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky
A sci-fi novel
The Martian, Andy Weir
A romance novel
Possession, AS Byatt
A National Book Award, Man Booker Prize or Pulitzer Prize winner from the last decade
The Goldfinch, Donna Tart
A book that is a retelling of a classic story (fairytale, Shakespearian play, classic novel, etc.)
Before Midnight, Cameron Dokey
An audiobook
A Tale of 2 Cities, Charles Dickens
A collection of poetry
Prelude to Bruise, Saeed Jone
A book that someone else has recommended to you
The Unbearable likeness of Being, Milan Kundera
A book that was originally published in another language
The House of the Spirits, Isabel Allende
A graphic novel, a graphic memoir or a collection of comics of any kind (Hi, have you met Panels?)
Still need to decided as I do not usually read graphic novels
A book that you would consider a guilty pleasure (Read, and then realize that good entertainment is nothing to feel guilty over)
The Brightest Star in the Sky, Marian Keys
A book published before 1850
Vanity Fairm, William Makepeace Thackeray
A book published this year
Still to decide but there is 11 months of the year to wait for a new book
A self-improvement book (can be traditionally or non-traditionally considered “self-improvement”)
This is How, Augusten Burroughs

*I have already ticked off 3 books on the Read Harder Challenge, so things are off to a great start

On top of that I have also decided to do the Popsugar 2015 Reading Challenge, but have not specified all the books in the categories as I thought I can leave that open to complete as I pick up books during the course of the year. Unlike the Read Harder Challenge, I have decided that for the Popsugar Challenge books can overlap categories, otherwise I will just have way too many books that I can possibly read in 1 year.

So between all these challenges, I am sure to reach my reading goal of at least 75 books for 2015

This is my happy place

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My favourite book: The Count of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas
My favourite author: Sir Terry Pratchett
My favourite genre: Crime

My happy place and my obsession and my passion. I love reading and have an ever growing reading list, that will never be completed even if I lived 2 lives. I also have a serious problem and cannot stop buying more books and cannot pass a bookshop without going in and buying something.

The beginning of the year I started out with 68 unread books on my shelve and while I have read 39 of them so far, I still have 60 unread books on my shelve! And I’m not even mentioning my Kindle here!

I have read my whole life and was read to before I was even born and I am happy to say that passion for the written word has never died. I will read just about any genre, you never know when you will discover a great adventure, so I do not believe in excluding anything, even though I have my favourite genre, author and book and they are all from different spectrums of the reading rainbow.

I also want no participation in the whole book vs e-reader debate (I am a fan of both and love them for very different reasons) and as long as people are still reading, I couldn’t care less which medium they choose.