Last But Not Least: Day Nineteen

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It’s the Highlands. They make you think there might just be a monster lurking somewhere. They make you think all sorts of things beyond reason. The names of the towns we pass sound like magic spells. It’s wonderful.

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Last But Not Least: Day Fifteen

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I’m wearing a T-shirt that says Buy Me Some Peanuts And Crackerjacks. We’re walking along the moat and we find the ruins of a cathedral. I think I like ruined cathedrals much better because you can actually see the sky, and maybe god sits up there in the clouds or maybe he doesn’t, but the sky is so big and vast and full of wonder that it makes me feel tiny and giddy with joy to be alive. We’re dancing tot he music on the street. We find a bookshop. We have lunch in the backyard of a tiny café. Our laughter is still ringing in my ears. I finally buy my own peanuts. And ice cream. I’m sure heaven is paced with ice cream.

(Quote: J.R.R. Tolkien)

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)

Meet: Anna

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Anna in three words: Reliable, Funny, Thoughtful
Anna’s dream dinner party guests: The Queen, Matt Bellamy, J.K. Rowling
Anna’s favourite post: 10 Years of Lovely Letters
Anna reads: Top with Cinnamon

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Hello lovey-dovey folks! ’tis I, Noemi, and I am so excited to introduce you to one of my favourite bloggers, Anna! Some of you already met her when we were doing Blogmas together; so of course I could not resist and asked her for an interview. She did a really good job, as you’ll see, so pop over to her Blog and say hi.

Anna and I met in High School seven years ago where we were friendly but not friends. We had, however, the same two best friends, and they decided to leave us in the gutter and go on exchange. You can see where this is going, right? Around that time I had just discovered my love for James Blunt and when I found out he was doing a concert in Switzerland I wanted to go so bad! Alas, my best friend was busy partying in the US – BUT ANNA WASN’T! She agreed to go, and I in turn wound up going to a Hurts concert with her. Actually, she’s dragged me to at least three – but thus, our friendship was born. Heart warming, isn’t it?

Anna’s blog is called Tiny Trinket and it launched in 2014. It contains the bits and bobs of everyday life, thoughts and inspirations that haunt every twenty-year old, cat loving journalism student. She loves writing without having any reason to do so; and when you study something as fancy as JOURNALISM AND ORGANISATIONAL COMMUNICATION you are probably given LOADS of reasons to write, and I bet they’re not all as entertaining as observations of people at the gym or tellings of easter adventures at chocolate factories! On her little internet niche Anna is free to ramble, and she loves it!

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Anna, apart from writing beautifully, is an amazing baker. In fact, I’ve already hired her to make the cake at my wedding (who needs a husband when there’s cake, right?). Back in High School we only had two classes together, and I remember those wednesday mornings in history, when she’d present me golden cupcakes and raspberry slices. She really made me love history classes! In the future Anna would love to post more recipes, and when she does I’ll volunteer to be the test eater and review them!

If Anna had the entire world’s attention for just one minute she would tell people to stop fighting over economic interests or religion. Afterwards she’d blush to a tomato sort of red because the entire world is watching her, and then she’d blush even more because she’s blushing, and then… well, you get the picture! Anna is all for the world being a brighter place, which is why she would love for Harry Potter to come to life. He fights for a good cause, doesn’t he! (although The Independent did call him a «whiny sprog whose main achievement is not dying» … lol… what?)

Every summer Anna goes somewhere new with the friends she met when doing equestrian vaulting (that’s right, she can do friggin’ stunts while being on a horse!). Some of her favourite memories derive from these travels; for example that one time in Prague when they came out of a club at five in the morning and it was raining so hard they had to take off their shoes, and they ran through the Old Town back to the hostel, laughing all the way. Another time the girls were backpacking in Ireland and had an AMAZING meal in Letterfrack. Anna just remembers being so, so hungry after an entire day of cycling, and that pasta tasted, in John Green’s words, «like God Himself cooked heaven into a series of five dishes»!

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Anna’s just this really sweet person, wrapped up in smiles and bubbliness and all things pretty. She is the personification of a tiny trinket! And she can throw around smart expressions like no one – I asked her what her favourite word was, and it’s «Endoplasmic Reticulum». Try and bring that up in a conversation!

I love Anna and I love her blog, and you, too, should go give her some L-O-V-E! (and now I’ve got One Direction stuck in my head – «well if it was me/I wooouuuld!»)

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Lots of love from the roots of my heart!
xxx

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 Twelve

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My goal has been to write at least one sentence a day, and so far I have always written more than just the one, but I keep thinking that maybe one sentence might have said it all; yet, if I let this sentence stand alone, it is not going to help me remember Cambridge very well. When did my diary become a place of endless rambling? I’ve got Inga for that. Not to self: this is the reason you don’t travel alone!

Three days ago I was being poetic, today my brain is vomitting all over the place.

It’s really pretty here (wow, what a precise description!), and I had a Nutella/Marshmallow crêpe, and the guy selling it to me flirted a little bit which, in turn, made me feel pretty. And every person I see on the street might be part of the Brainy Elite. They must have the sort of brains who can keep their shit together.

I should probably talk to Inga now and stop rambling to myself. #SOCIALISE

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.

Last But Not Least: Day Ten

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The best part about today, I think, was the sun. To be looking up and having to close my eyes because all the light is blinding me. To sit at Cardiff Harbour and eating pizza and seeing the sea glitter like a million little crystals stretchin out into the horizon. To catch a glimpse of the Tardis in the distance as if ready for take-off.

Cardfiff felt like going back in time just a bit. The castle and the streets and the language, and it all was bathed in golden sunlight and our giggles. And I wrapped the story up so that time could not hurt it and so that rain would never chase the sun from that day.

(Quote: Steven Moffat)

An Evening with Aleksandar Hemon

On wednesday I was lucky enough to attend a reading with Aleksandar Hemon. Literally, the only reason I went was because one of my professors at uni fangirled all over the place the other day, and naturally I had to see this phenomenon of a writer!

fangirlAleksandar Hemon is a Bosnian-born American fiction writer (as Wikipedia puts it). His stories are largely influenced by Slavic literature and treat the issue of Bosnian immigrants in the United States. He pretty much got stuck in ‘Murrica when he was there holidaying and suddenly a war burst out in his home country. But he‘s still there now, some twenty years later, publishing what sound like incredible stories.

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Despite his native language being Bosnian he writes in English, and he writes a lot! When a member of the audience asked him how he deals with writer‘s block, he replied, «I don‘t get writer‘s block. I have a condition that I call writer‘s diarrhea!» He is currently working on three books simultaneously, while it‘s been taking me six months so far to hand in a 10-page thesis paper! I mean, WHAT?! He‘s so cool that he didn‘t even tell his agent he was writing a book called The Making Of Zombie Wars. Have you ever seen that book in a store? Well, it‘s pretty friggin‘ huge! And he kept it secret until it was finished and he could ask his agent, «So, when would you like something new?» And apparently she went, «Umm… how ‘bout June?» And he said, «Well, how ‘bout right now?» And he presented to her a brandnew manuscript. Look, all I‘m saying is that if an agent asked me to write a book until bloody June, no matter where we stand in the year, I‘d probably go, «Yeah, but you do mean June 2047, right?!» Right. And this is why I‘m not a bestselling author.

e8e6a3b40fa04ee32c1bc0d100bc1995As you can probably guess from all this, and if you don‘t already know Aleksandar Hemon, he has published quite a number of books and short stories and essays, and what have you. On wednesday he read a bit from his latest book, the cheekily written The Making Of Zombie Wars which sounded okayish, and then went on to read from his memoire, The Book of my Lives. And boy, was that a hit. It was beautiful, it was funny, it was smart – and then my fangirling professor went on to say this really nice thing about opening up a new book from Aleksandar Hemon: «It‘s like doing the Ice Bucket Challenge!» And, you know, I believed him. This man can make you feel so much, simply by rearranging 26 letters over and over again. Plus, the other thing my professor said made the books even more intriguing: «You must not read Aleksandar‘s stories to feel better, that‘s not what they are for. But his stories, they do not accept the world we live in as the most acceptable one. They offer us an alternative. Not an escape, but an alternative. And in my opinion, in this world we‘re living in, this is the best literature has to offer us.»

I can‘t wait to get my hands on one of his books. As always I‘m going to let you in on my oh-so sophisticated thoughts on the matter, but for now I just want to leave you a quote from The Book of my Lives which I thought was absolutely beautiful and deserved a mention here:

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Last But Not Least: Day Nine

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There was this angel, trying to climb up a ladder all the way to the top of the cathedral. I watched it for a while and I started to wonder why it wouldn‘t use its wings. It had wings, but they hung uselessly from the angel‘s back. Were they broken? Or worse – were they fake?

It was an endearing sight, rather than a pitiful one. Climbing, climbing, one step at the time. Maybe wings work like a parachute. Maybe the angel has to make its way to the top on its own. Maybe it has to know exhaustion and pain before it can unfold the wings and soar. Maybe every good deed is hard work and then flying high on hope.

I wonder if that little angel is still there, still climbing. 

(Quote: Jane Austen)