101 Books in 2020

Every single year I set myself a goal: Read 100 Books

Well let me tell you something last year went so badly! I’ve never actually completed the challenge. Not by a long shot. But last year? Last year was brutal! Who knew that opening a bookshop would lead to LESS reading! Gosh.. Last year made me feel unqualified for the very job that I created for my damn self.

The thing is though: I NEED to read. I’m happier when I’m reading. I’m healthier when I’m happy. So I need to read.

This year I thought maybe I can trick fate into allowing me to complete my goal by changing the goal.

So now we’re doing 101 books this year. Actually doing it. Seriously. Please.

We’re only one down though so I’m already behind…

Drowning in The Starless Sea – A Book Review

Book: The Starless Sea

Author: Erin Morgenstern

My Rating: 5

Have I made a grave error? Was I so lost in the romantic idea of starting off the New Year with this book that I have waited for for years that I did not once stop to consider the consequences of doing such a thing? The Starless Sea  is over now. It’s gone. And here I am alone again…

I read The Night Circus in February of 2012. I remember because I was in the middle of planning a secret wedding and I had a concussion. You’re not supposed to read when you have a concussion. But how are you supposed to not read when you have The Night Circus on your nightstand?

And here I am. Eight years later. Finally having devoured a book I have waited for since I closed its predecessor and now I am oh so weary…

This is the first book I’ve read in 2020, and I have very little doubt that it is not also the best book I will read in 2020. Should I have done that? Should I have consumed it so quickly? And at the beginning? Should I have waited?

No. Of course not. One should never wait…

Erin Morgenstern… I so worried that perhaps The Starless Sea would not deliver. How could it? When its sibling was such a roaring beauty that surely nothing could hope to compare.

And yet here she is. Breathtaking. Exquisite. Everything and more.

Now and then I find in my hands a tale that floods me with pure relief. How can I not be grateful that the author who birthed this story did not keep it to herself?

Thank you, Erin, for sharing. I am in love once more.

Starting With the Magical

I spent the 31st and the 1st in a state of indulgent self care. My self care? Pretty much spending as much time as possible curled up on my bed with either a book that I’ve been dying to read or, if I’m really exhausted, a series that I’ve been wanting to watch. I prefer to have book energy, though lately energy has been in short supply. Luckily a bit of rest meant that book energy was plenty!

That’s the nice thing about the holidays though, isn’t it? The permission to crash without the burden of responsibility looming over your head. Of course, when you work for yourself, as I do, the responsibility does tend to remain. But, I tried to take some time and just be over the festive season, and I accomplished that. And I accomplished it in my absolute favourite place: home.

Of course, no vacation is complete without an element of magic to it. Of course, the season is supposed to bring that with it. The magic of Christmas, and all that. Not really my kind of magic, I have to admit, although I will also admit that once the pressure is off and Christmas Eve/Day come around I do manage to kind of feel the magic anyway.

But no. My kind of magic is different. Of course my absolute favourite magic is the magic of new places. That otherworldly feeling you get when you step off of a plane into a foreign space, camera and excitement in hand. That’s the magic that feeds my soul.

It’s also the least attainable…

So this year’s magic of course comes in the form of my most reliable form of magic: a book.

Erin Morgenstern FINALLY published a new book and I used her glorious writing to end off the old year and start off the new. So far I am entranced and floaty about it. I imagined I might barrel through this one but find myself rather taking it in slowly.

Of course, other magics exist too. Good food. Desserts. Cheese.

I’ve been indulging in those too.

I’m not really ready for reality yet…

New Year, Who Dis?

I may have mentioned every year for the past forever that New Year is my favourite time of year. The only time I ever remember not being happy about the new year was in 2009, when I entered January as a single mom with a shattered heart. I needn’t have worried. I met the second love of my life in 2009 – Noah being the first – and he’s still here. 2009 turned out pretty great.

This year is a bit hazy, I will admit. I don’t have a long list of resolutions. There are only two things on my list, really, but there is something that has been on my mind for pretty much the whole of last year and it remains a looming question today.

I have been wondering if I should give up blogging.

Blogging. Still such a stupid word. I’ve never been able to get on board with it. Blogging. It sounds so ridiculous. Perhaps it makes me question if this thing I (sometimes) do is ridiculous.

But here’s the thing: If I look over the last eleven years, it is the bravery of those who have spoken their truths that has contributed most to the growth within myself that I am most proud of. Those who write and blog and speak and shout the things that plague their minds are such powerful teachers. It is why reading has always been such a source of inspiration and profound comfort to me. Because every now and then there will be something that makes you stop for a moment and go me too! And this counts for so much.

And so if I can speak openly, and honestly, no matter how hard it may be sometimes, and have it resonate with just one person who might be in need of solace, then surely I have a duty to do so?

The last three years have been the hardest I have ever endured. But also the most life-affirming.

Maybe it’s time that I be brave enough to tell you why.

Rage Reading Rosie *book review*

WARNING: This review contains a few spoilers but they are kind of irrelevant since this is one of those books where the storyline is kind of bland and you’re mostly reading for the dialogue and interaction between characters. If that makes sense. Other people interpret books this way too, right…? Shit now I’m doubting myself…

Anyway… There are casually mentioned spoilers here…

Book: The Rosie Project and The Rosie Effect

Author: Graeme Simsion

My Rating: 3

I’ve barely read a thing all year and I’m going to go ahead and put a tiny bit of the blame on these two books. Is that fair? No. Not at all. But it’s still kind of true… (more…)

This Little Light of Mine

It’s back to school day today and I miss the littlest one. He’s only over there. As little as a ten minute walk away. A two minute drive, or less depending on how many goats I need to dodge on the way there. I know I’m supposed to be celebrating the return to school. And I certainly understand the notion. But I kind of like having him here. While I imagine that all the poor teachers who have had to listen to my list of seven hundred rules to deal with my kid must think he’s very high maintenance, to me he’s really low maintenance. And he’s kind of easy to sit next to and work which is nice. He did a lot of sitting next to me while reading this holiday, but I feel like we didn’t get in enough of that. Silly rabbit. And now I’m worried that he might be cold. I’ve had to make peace with him being away from me for long-ish periods of time since the beginning. You have to when you’re sharing parental duties with someone who is no longer your partner. So perhaps I’m just being ridiculous today. But as nuts as all the Captain Underpants stories were driving me last week, this week I’m kind of missing the laughter and the exclamations of “Look here, Mom! This guy’s name is Poop. E. Pants!” No one is telling me about anything today. Funny how I always think I want the quiet right up until the moment I get it…

Hello, Anxiety…

Anxiety and I have been very close friends since…well…probably birth. She doesn’t just pop in on special occasions she pretty much holds my hand and blows in my ears all day, every day. She’s kind of in whirlwind mode at the moment though and I’ve been giving myself a hard time about it, until last night when I suddenly had a sort of epiphany.

Could anyone else handle the inside of my head?

Here’s the thing. This week has kind of sucked for various reasons. Mostly I’m questioning my capabilities as a mother. As usual I feel like I’m fucking up on that front but it’s a little more magnified than usual at the moment. Like holy shit please rewind ten years and make different choices kind of magnified. And then I went and did something potentially stupid: I signed myself up for a market appearance this weekend.

How awesome does a pop-up bookshop sound? Pretty damn freaking awesome, right?! (more…)

A fine for what now?

I was scrolling through Facebook the other day when I came across this post by Business Insider that was basically saying that barking dogs could start costing South Africans up to R20 000 in fines. And honestly? I haven’t stopped thinking about the absurdity of it all for days.

Can you imagine? Dear Ms Larter your dog is barking. We know it’s a dog and dogs bark but if you don’t stop it you’re going to have to pay 20K or spend two years in jail.

Sure…

Here’s the thing though: How the hell? (more…)

Six Months Later

I had elaborate plans to actually start writing today. It seemed fitting. It’s a Monday. There are six months left of the year. And I told myself that once I had settled here I would write. No more homeschooling, after all.

Not this writing, I mean. This slightly more fun and kind of play-play writing, considering it serves little purpose other than to vent. To giggle a bit. Perhaps to save a memory or two. No. It was supposed to be book writing. And here we are and it’s after lunch time and I haven’t done the writing. The writing that was supposed to be done before 10. I’m starving but my husband has promised to whip up a spaghetti (thank God for husbands who cook) so at least I will be fed but I’m still just sitting here and wondering how the hell half the year has gone by and I still haven’t written a thing towards that stupid “dream” of getting a second and third and forth and fiftieth book written.

Hmmm… It’s possible that I need not only a permanently employed housekeeper, but a life keeper. Wouldn’t that be nice? A life keeper…

That sounds like a story waiting to happen.

If only Nadine was writing. (more…)

A Habit of Writing

I’ve been quiet again. I’ve fallen out of the habit of writing I suppose. It’s not that I’ve had a lack of things to say, it’s more like a writing melancholy exists and I might be afraid to indulge it. It doesn’t matter. Write I should. Because the habit of writing is important.

I started this blog at the end of 2008. Newly single and fresh out of the career I had been cultivating for almost two years. I found solace in the idea of a blog, despite finding the word “blog” to be irksome. How can anyone take “blog” seriously? You can’t. It’s too stupid a word.

But there I was, ready to write again after two years of neglect. And I wanted to re-create the habit. Because the habit counts far more than bouts of inspiration do. It takes nothing for me to sit down and write a whole bunch of words with zero inspiration. I don’t have to be amped to write. The problem is that without the “amp” it feels pointless to sit down and do it, even though it isn’t pointless. Feelings are stupid. They lie a lot.

And so here I am again. Ready to write. Ready to re-cultivate the habit. Because writing was one of the reasons I moved here. The freedom to write a bit more. Although granted I didn’t take into account the busyness of this place. The busyness that consists of fetching and taking kids to school and sport. That part keeps tripping me up. Distracting me. Eating away at my time because it takes so long for me to snap out of one mode and into another.

We’re cultivating though.