Last But Not Least: Day Thirteen

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Everything is a little out of place here. The shops, the advertisements, the tourists, me. The streets probably haven’t changed since the middle ages, and it startles me to think that some things still remain after everything that has happened. You would think the world should have gone up in smoke by now, but there are ancient buildings that some architect came up with eight hundred years ago, and no one has ever dared touch them. I don’t think we are quite capable of not caring about art and beauty, and maybe that’s why we can never be fully destroyed. Because there will always be that one street that stays, unnoticed maybe, but filled to the brim with memories and heart.

(Quote: Maggie Stiefvater)

Sexy Books: The White Goddess by Simon Gough

Just read: The White Goddess: An Encounter by Simon Gough

 Just to be clear, when I say «Just read» I really mean that I read this book over a period of seven months. Does this tell you enough?

I bought it at Blackwell’s in Oxford last summer, and if you don’t know Blackwell’s, it’s a gigantic book store and they had the BRILLIANT idea of offering their customers blind dates with books. They wrap the books up and write a little something about them on the paper, and you choose one that sounds appealing to you. That way you don’t judge the books by its cover. They also don’t give you the blurb but really just tell you why it is awesome. So I put total faith in the booksellers and ended up with Simon Goughs memoir.

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«When 10-year-old Simon Gough went to Majorca in 1953 he thought he had landed in paradise. Far from the misery of his English boarding school and his parent’s divorce, he fell in love – with the tiny village of Deya, with his wild cousin Juan and most of all with his beloved ”Grand-Uncle” Robert Graves.

When he returned in 1960, paradise had been overrun by beatniks and marijuana – and Simon liked it all the more. But soon he fell for the enchanting Margot Callas, Robert Graves’ muse. He found himself entangled in a web of lies and deceit and playing a game whose rules he didn’t understand. The repercussions would haunt him for the rest of his life.

The White Goddess: An Encounter is a mesmerising tale of sex, lies and divided loyalties. Set between the magic of a bohemian Majorca and the horror of Franco’s Madrid, it is a haunting evocation of a lost time and place, dominated by the extraordinary power of Robert Graves, one of the 20th century’s greatest writers.»

There were some very intriguing things about this book. First of all, it’s really a memoir but it is written in the style of a novel. It’s very captivating at first and fort he first 162 pages it’s impossible to put down. That is because the first part of the book (162 pages) describes Simon’s childhood when he visited his uncle in Majorca. It all feels very surreal and insane and beautiful. It takes you right to Spain and makes you crave the ocean and paella and crazy relatives. (and I don’t even like paella all that much. But after reading this I can’t stop thinking about it!)

The only thing wrong with the book is that the author didn’t finish the book there. Oh no, seven years later he’s back, an angst ridden teenager, filled to the brim with hormones and uncontrollable lust. AND OF COURSE HE FALLS IN LOVE! Oh, and not just with any girl, nope! His heart’s desire is his grand-uncle’s twenty-four year old lover! Feel disgusted yet?

As you can probably guess, Margot (the girl’s name) and Simon have a somewhat complicated relationship. They each start living in Madrid and they hang out from time to time, and whenever they don’t he turns into Bella Swan. You know, Spain was under dictatorship at the time, you’d think there were more things to worry about. Nah, Simon only cares about why Margot will not comply to his clinginess.

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It just got way too much for me and I had to pick up something else to read. I mean, seriously, at one point he rips a corpse’s head off and gives it to Margot as a symbol of his undying love for her. What… WHY?! Is this a guy thing? – Boys, never ever under any circumstances give me a human head! I’ll go out with you for chocolates, I swear!
Why I kept reading I’ll never know.

This incident aside, the most disturbing part for me, was the end. See, now I’m torn between bringing on the spoilers and letting people find out for themselves. I’ll cut it short: Margot runs off, Simon gets in a fight with his uncle, the end. ALL THAT DRAMA AND HE DOESN’T EVEN GET THE GIRL! Damn it, Simon!

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I have been holding all that in for quite some time, believe me! On the plus side, there are some characters that made it worth my time. For instance, Beryl, Simon’s aunt. She’s just so down to earth and sweet and kind, and geez, that woman is patient! She doesn’t mind the least that her husband is having an affair with this young bimbo. He calls Margot his «Muse» and she totally goes along with it. And then there’s also Stella, some girl who spends her holidays in Majorca, and she said what I kept thinking the entire time: «It’s better than moping around like a love-sick idiot,» she retorted. «You’re quite a pair, you and Robert, both pining after the same woman – sorry –goddess–!» Oooh, burnn!

Well, I think Simon should have gone after Stella. The two or three times she appeared she seemed very cool and grounded, and, man, I wish there was a book about her instead!

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I need to stop now because I could rant on forever and ever, and then I’d miss my lecture, and then I would not know enough about the exciting world of Slavic philology.

Have a good rest of the week everybody!
Lots of love from the roots of my heart,
xxx

The header image has nothing to do with the book. I just like Sangria (and it’s Spanish, that counts, right?)

Last But Not Least: Day Eleven

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I never knew I liked cider. Until today.
It’s only cider, but it puts my life upside down. Well, maybe not exactly upside down. Maybe it just shook the ground I built my life on a little bit. Like a tiny, drunk earthquake. What if cider is not the only thing I thought tasted awful but actually turns out tob e rather delicious? Didn’t I have the same epiphany with ginger ale in Matamata two summers ago? What about all the books I promised myself never to read? It scares me that some day in boredom I might pick up a copy of Shades of Grey and like it!

It’s really weird to love something I swore to hate. It makes me want to raise my glass to changes of the heart, to second impressions and to my mind doing its best not to be set on one opinion. Cheers to the earthquakes that make me think.

«Snowy Linen Land»

Apparently, what people are most likely to do when it snows is not going outside to build a snowman, but post «snow» on Facebook and take Snapchat pictures through their living room windows – or, you know, blog about it!

Winter is my favourite season and it‘s true, I mostly enjoy it from the inside. I love being all snuggled up in a blanket and working away with a mug of tea. I can‘t work when the sun is out, I always have to draw the blinds. But then snow is something else. I still get giddy when the first snow falls, even if that happens way after Christmas. I feel like snow is a valid excuse for the cold wheather, because cold with no snow, that‘s just eh. At least with the snow there it looks pretty.

I still don‘t massively celebrate the white scenery, but having a dog I‘m out in the woods almost every day anyway, and this week has been simply stunning. And because I have the world‘s cutest dog I decided to share some moments with you.

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On wednesday night I went ice skating with Samantha for the first time this year. It‘s funny how you can just go round and round in circles for hours and not notice that it doesn‘t get you anywhere. We discussed all the books collecting dust on our shelves and we talked about working in bookshops and how it‘s the best job in the world and yet the routine gets too much sometimes. And we talked boys and castles and poems.
It was a pretty night.

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Lots of love from the roots of my heart!
xxx

Blog another… 2016!

Hellooo!

Happy New Year Everybody!

I hope everyone has started well into 2016 and you‘re not feeling too rotten today! I spent last night at my friend Tashina‘s house. It was so lovely; seeing as her boyfriend is currently in the States and I‘m actually in the country for once, it was just the two of us. We made pizza and then cuddled together for a movie. Of course, for me there is no such event without a cake and I had tried the vegan chocolate cake recipe from the Primrose Bakery recipe book – it was marvellous, I can tell you!
Tashina‘s family has the tradition of doing Molybdomancy on New Year‘s Eve, a technique of divination using molten metal. We melted a spoonful of lead over a candle, then poured it into a bowl of cold water. The resulting shape can either be directly interpreted as an omen for the future, or, as we did, be rotated in a candlelight to create shadows, whose shapes we then interpreted. The interpretations are very vague, however. Apparently I need to be more careful not to trip – which is a good enough piece of advice, but being as clumsy as I am, it‘s not a very unique one!

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We ended up being in a bit of a hurry towards midnight when we were supposed to meet another friend in the city centre. When am I ever not in a hurry on a holiday, huh? In the end, we were stood right on the bridge that leads into town when Midnight happened. It was perfect. We popped our prosecco and put on our party popper hats and watched the fireworks all around us.

I think the new year can‘t be half bad if the first face you look at is that of someone you love. We just stood there and took it all in, and everybody passing by shouted their new year‘s blessings, and we were a little tipsy when we finally got a move on, but the new year already felt good.

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We met up with our friend way past midnight and stepped inside some club and whipped in the rhythm of bad music for the better part of an hour before we decided to go home. I always love January 1st. I have a sore throat and a runny nose and every movement hurts, but I just put on my onesie and rewatch old episodes of The Vicar of Dibley with my cat. Actually, now I‘m debating whether or not it‘s acceptable for me to watch The Empire Strikes Back again (I‘m going through one horrid Star Wars phase at the moment, bear with me!)..

Tonight I‘ll be having dinner with Anna who you may have met (in a sense) when I was doing Blogmas. She has a wonderful blog which you‘ll find on www.tinytrinket.wordpress.com and was my blogging cooperator last month. I‘m gulping down cup after cup of tea, so I‘m fit for tonight – after all, Sherlock is airing, and we‘re both crazy excited (as in, I‘m crazy and Anna‘s excited).

The new year is going to be good, and I wish you all good luck and much love for every day to come!

Lots of love from the roots of my heart!
xxx