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Can anyone help?

Basic RGBA year went by in a blink of an eye and I am facing the same dilemma as last year – to keep this blog or not to keep this blog. On the plus side, I still read plenty of books and I like writing the reviews. On the other side, I don’t have much time to do it. I guess I can just pull my finger out, get bit more organized and get back on the horse again, but natural laziness is currently in a driving seat.

Were you in a similar situation? What did you do?

Renny x

Originally posted on affectiveliving:

It’s 4 a.m.  I’ve struggled for the last hour to go to sleep.  But, I can’t.  Yet again, I am tossing and turning, unable to shut down my brain.  Why?  Because I am stressed about my students.  Really stressed.  I’m so stressed that I can only think to write down what I really want to say — the real truth I’ve been needing to say — and vow to myself that I will let my students hear what I really think tomorrow.

This is what students really need to hear:

First, you need to know right now that I care about you. In fact, I care about you more than you may care about yourself.  And I care not just about your grades or your test scores, but about you as a person. And, because I care, I need to be honest with you. Do I have permission to be…

View original 765 more words

life_happensWhat can I say? I thought I had everything planned and figured out (over a year ago!). And surprise, surprise, life threw me a curve ball and kept me so busy that I only just about had time to get on with it and read some books (now and again). I just didn’t have the time and the energy to sit down and write. And after a while you start thinking that maybe you have nothing new to say to the world and that everything was reviewed million times over and there is no fresh angle to look at things. And life goes on, keeps you busy, then the thought about your blog is pushed in the back of your head and only occasionally a guilty thought crosses your mind that you really, I mean REALLY, should update your blog. I don’t know how many of you have been in these shoes before, but let me assure you, the longer you leave it, the harder it gets to jump back on the truck!

I am not one for making New Year’s resolutions. And clearly, as I have nothing better to do at 3.30am (apart from going to work tomorrow, erm, today), I thought I would check my blog. One thing lead to another and from checking the blog, I went to delete all the spam and to actually write a new post ;)

So, this year, I am not promising anything, but I am hoping to make more contributions to the blog, to read more books (Kindle, and my bank account!, knows that I went crazy to buy loads of them during the Amazon big discounts) and hopefully some of you will come along and say hi.

And so I wish Happy New Year to everyone! May it be a very happy and successful one, with plenty of love and friends and memorable heart warming moments.

Happy reading everyone!

Renny xxx

2014-happy-new-year

Finally…

I know, it has been a while! My plan was to make few posts over the summer but Olympics kind of took over my life and spun it out of control. Once those and Paralympics finished, my job got really busy and now I am trying to find a more fulfilling job and new place where to live. So the only thing I managed to do is to keep on reading, although not as much as I wanted, but better something than nothing, hey? Now I will try to put everything back on track, starting with this blog ;)

At the moment I can only promise one post per week as I am still searching for a nice place I can call home. And the new job search? Well, that is kind of ongoing project…

Anyways, I will be back soon with some updates and reviews.

Happy reading!

Renny xxx

I think it is all nice and dandy to explore and read new books, to map the uncharted territories of books soon to be published, but ultimately there comes a time when you want to submerge yourself into a trusted classic that many generations read before you.

So I started to search and kind of evaluate the ‘best novels lists’ and as you can imagine, there is plenty of them out there.  The one limitation I found in most of them was that the books were very Anglo-American centered. Where are all those great Russian, French or Spanish novels? What about South America or Asia? I just wanted more wide-spread choices and so I kept searching.

In the end I realized that no matter what I do, one list isn’t going to get the job done. And I ended up with accumulation of top five ones :D as I feel that each of them brings something different to the table.

Now that I shortlisted my lists, I ended up with a burning question – How do I tackle this? The obvious two solutions have both advantages and serious limitations.

1) I merge them in one list – on the plus side, this removes any duplicates; on the minus side, it kind of destroys the soul of the lists and turns them into one slightly big pot full of books without any taste or texture.

2) I leave the lists as they are – on the plus side, I can pick any list, scroll through it and pick what I fancy; on the minus side – I will need to tick off all the duplicates on the rest of the lists once the book is finished.

I have thought about this for past few weeks and was trying to figure out what to do and decided for the second option. I still don’t think I found the right solution but this is as neat solution as it gets.

So here are my top five:

  1. The Top 100 Books of All Time (Guardian)
  2. 100 Best Novels – The Board’s List (Modern Library)
  3. 100 Best Novels – The Reader’s List (Modern Library)
  4. Raddcliffe’s Rival 100 Best Novels List (Modern Library)
  5. 110 Best Books: The Perfect Library (Telegraph)

Now, there is no time limit to this, it is just something to dip into when I feel like it.

Do you follow a list? And if so, which one and why?

The June Round Up

I so wanted to post this post at the beginning of the month but things got slightly out of hand, so here we go…

After the May fiasco, I can proudly present you the list of the books I read in June. I know that the aim was to finish the books I already started reading in previous months, but I also had other commitments so I split it half and half. :)

The List:

  1. The Slap: A Novel by Christos Tsiolkas
  2. Westsiders by Tom Finn
  3. The Spider King’s Daughter by Chibundu Onuzo
  4. Before I go to Sleep by J S Watson

The first two books are the ‘finish-ups’, Onuzo’s book was for fun and Watson’s book was for my book club. I also started my reading for the Coursera course that is starting later this month so I shall write update about this one as well so watch this space. :D

Also in terms of my 2012 challenge – I am ten books behind! But fear not, I still have plenty of holiday ahead so I shall aim to play catch-up. ;) How was your reading month?

Happy reading everyone!

Renny

When my friend read this book last year she was literally glued to it. I don’t know how about you, but for me, this is the best recommendation for a book, especially when you know that you two have very similar taste in books. So as you can imagine, I was very keen to put this book on my  (ever-expanding) ‘to be read’ pile.  I read one or two of Grisham’s books years ago and I was really glad that this one appeared on my book club list. Well, truth to be told, I helped it to appear… Yep, killing two birds with one stone ;)

So what do I think about the book? Apart from few minor criticisms, I thought that the book was very good, thrilling, fast paced and gripping. I don’t know whether Grisham’s seasoned readers would agree with me as I am not in a position to judge whether this book is better/average/below average than his other books. But as I said before, I don’t read Grisham that often and maybe that is why I totally enjoyed the book.

Without giving you any spoilers here, I would like to say, that all parts of the book have their merits and I didn’t expect to invest as many emotions into reading the book as I did (and I was ready to invest quite a few :)). I think it is fair to say that the book will leave you with more questions than it gives answers and leaves you thinking about the story long after you finish the book. For me, the description of the Texan death penalty system and it’s ins and outs was eye-opening. I know that the book is fiction, but I can easily see how something similar can happen in real life.

Little snippet from the book:

“… but as he watched the preliminaries unfold, he was struck by the coldness, the ruthless efficiency, the sanitized neatness of it.  It was similar to killing an old dog, a lame horse, or a laboratory rat. Who, exactly, gives us the right to kill? If killing is wrong, then why are we allowed to kill? As X* stared at Y*, he knew the image would never go away. And he knew that he would never be the same.”

(* I deliberately left out the names as not to give you any spoilers.)

Now the criticisms. Well, for once, I just thought that all the characters were too neatly cut – good guys on one side, bad guys on the other. Everything seemed black and white (literally) not only in the characteristics of the people involved in the story, but also the society was clearly divided by colour. I think that this also had impact on the fact that for me the characters felt bit two-dimensional. We are given a bit of background information about some of the characters, but we could have been given a little bit more. That still didn’t stop me to ponder what would I do and how would I feel if I was in the shoes of each of the mums, the priest and the defence lawyer.

So, if you fancy a decent read that would challenge your perceptions and opinions then go ahead, you will enjoy this one!

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