Sunday, May 18, 2014

Day 311: Still Time to Think about Books

I am with the boy, in a hotel pub on the main square of Fort William, Scotland, wasting time while summer scorches the whole of the UK except this little North Western corner, drinking tea—and Bloody Marys—and thinking about books. Tomorrow we start walking again. You can read it about it over here at my other blog, Le Jog: Bifurcating Britain Land's End to John O'Groats on foot with(out) a beaver. In the meantime ...

I long planned to join in with Megan at Semi-Charmed Kind of Life on her Summer Book Challenge. It has quirky categories. I like quirky categories. Normally I would sit here for hours and work out which books they will be, but this time I am going to let things develop more organically. Here are the categories, and I'll let you know the books as I read them. (Lucky you.)

5 points: Freebie! Read any book that is at least 200 pages long. A Rogue By Any Other Name; Sarah MacLean.

10 points: Read a book that was written before you were born. The Man in the High Castle; Phillip K Dick.

10 points: Finish reading a book you couldn't finish the first time around. (You must have at least 150 pages left in the book to use it for this category.) There has only really ever been one book that I put back down and didn't pick up again: I dread going back, but looks like I will have to. It is Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's August 1914. Yay. Love gigantic war fiction epics. These points may go wanting.

10 points: Read a book from the children’s section of the library or bookstore. The Name of this Book is Secret: Psuedonymous Bosch.

15 points: Read a book that is on The New York Times' Best Sellers List when you begin reading it.

15 points: Read a historical fiction book that does not take place in Europe.

15 points: Read a book another blogger has already read for the challenge. (Yes, you will have to wait until the first check-in to choose this book! So no one will be able to finish this challenge in only one month; sorry!)

20 points: Read a book with “son(s),” “daughter(s)” or “child(ren)” in the title. No other words will count—including kids, offspring, etc.—so please don’t ask. :) Ooh, perfect opportunity to get out the Salman and do a little magical realism in Midnight's Children.

20 points: Read a book that was/will be adapted to film in 2014. Gone Girl; Gillian Flynn.

25 points: Read a book written by a blogger. (Submitted by Jessica of The Tangerine.)

25 points: Read a biography, autobiography or memoir.

30 points: Read a pair of books with antonyms in the titles. The Hanging Valley; Peter Robinson and Highland Surrender; Tracy Brogan. Valley and Highland. Get it? Too much of a stretch?

List_Addict               Irene

What I didn't plan was to find one more little challenge that looks like fun. It's The Morning News Tournament of Books (ToB) shortlist. I have just discovered this 'thing'. Every March, The Morning News selects around sixteen of the best books published the previous year and randomly sets them in the ring, two by two, to fight it out. A more succinct explanation can be found here. For us mere mortals in the reading world, we can follow along the battles (too late now, come back next March), or, like I am going to do, we can read the books. Any excuse to read more books. Here is the list:

At Night We Walk In Circles by Daniel Alarcón

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

The Tuner of Silences by Mia Couto

The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert

How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia by Mohsim Hamid

The Dinner by Herman Koch

The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri

Long Division by Kiese Laymon

The Good Lord Bird by James McBride

Hill William by Scott McClanahan

The Son by Philipp Meyer

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

The People in the Trees by Hamya Yanagihara

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

Woke up Lonely by Fiona Maazel

That is it though! No more book challenges for this year. It's a grand total of four: the one above, the one below, the Eclectic Book Challenge 2014 and the Around the World in Twelve Books Challenge. And of course, Goodreads over there in the sidebar. No more. And I'm thinking cross-contamination may happen. Better get something read now!


The Outfit
Clearing the Closet: It’s time to go batwing top I like, but never wear.
Top: Op-shopped
Skirt: Op-shopped
Belt: Op-shopped
Necklace: Retail
Shoes: Poetic Licence via Irregular Choice 'Whiplash'


Photographer de Jour: Moi


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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Day 310: Books or Bricks, Words or Windows?

The Australian government (yeah, I am embarrassed about them too), in their infinite wisdom, are proposing that we will need to wait until we are seventy in order to retire. It is their hope, I am sure, that we will: (a) make enough money to be self-supporting for the rest of our short retirement years to avoid asking them for any, or, (b) die conveniently soon before, or soon after, so we can't ask them for any money and they can take a chunk of ours in 'being dead' tax. But if that is to be the case, I think it may be time to look at a career path. Previously I thought I had left the run too late, but now I have extra time to play with, and play I must. I have two ideas.

List_Addict               Irene

I could either get my PhD (here she goes again, clapping on about the damn PhD, the audience murmurs), or I can completely change track and study architecture. When I was at high school there was this book in the careers councillor's office that went through all the careers in the world, alphabetically, telling you what you did, what you needed, what you studied. I never really got beyond the 'a' section (I'm systematic that way). I always thought I had found all the vocations I needed to think about in 'artist', 'archeologist' and 'architect'. I can't say what happened, what changed. Maybe I am just a commitment-phobe. Maybe I just lost track. But the other day, while watching Grand Designs (you all do, admit it!) I suddenly blurted out that long held desire to be an architect. And really, it's probably not as silly an idea as it seems. I think I would have more fun being a PhD-ed literature professor, leather-patched elbowed and tying together theory and pop culture in the most ridiculous ways that I can. I love it beyond words, but the prospects are much slimmer—I would effectively have to wait for a professor to fall dead from his perch in order to race several hundred other interested parties to his stand, office and post-name letters. As an architect I would have fewer opportunities for flights-of-fancy thought (but probably not none), but more opportunities to actually get a job (even if I am old). Commitment is still fighting its way into my brain with placards and objections, but ... Let's just say there is a small crowd shouting out some slogans for the opposition. What do you think? Is it ever too late to make such a radical change? Or should I happily go to my grave telling police where to go.

Now, truth be known, these photos are from a stockpile I made before leaving. I'm currently on holidays, walking through the UK and forgetting all about fashion (I wore socks and sandals to breakfast if that gives you any indication of how much I have forgotten). If you'd like to see what I'm up to please pop over to my other blog for a visit. Enjoy!


The Outfit
Clearing the Closet: It’s time to go tan coloured corduroy jacket
Dress: Op-shopped and chopped
Jacket: Target (a million years ago)
Earrings: Lovisa
Shoes: Op-shopped


Photographer de Jour: Moi


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Friday, May 2, 2014

Day 340: Brown and Out

I have been a little brown and out lately. This not-writing every day is killing me. But there is a good excuse for it all. I have been sewing Brownie uniforms (read: hiking outfits). Every available minute. Because, as of now, I am on holiday. Not the kind of holiday I have had in the past on this blog. A holiday where it is impossible to plan enough outfits to take with me, and kit Irene up with before I go. On this holiday I carry everything I am going to wear for the next five and a half weeks on my back. Variety is not an option. It means I will be over here less, and over here more. I will be blogging about my holiday on my other blog:

LeJog: Birfurcating Britain Land's End to John O'Groats on foot with a beaver

List_Addict               Irene

Except, I forgot Wesley, the Beaver, at home!

I'll also, memory willing, be posting a 'What I was doing at ten a.m.' photo on Instagram each day. Follow me over there in the column, or pop over with this link.

If you're missing me, please come on over and see what I am up to. I promise you boring clothes, amazing scenery, tales of adventure and the occasional sheep.



The Outfit
Top: Op-shopped
Dress: Op-shopped
Necklace: Retail
Shoes: Op-shoppped


Photographer de Jour: Moi


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