Challenges

Thoughts on… a Month of Photographing My Life

I meant to write about this months ago but then life got in the way so now it’s the perfect post to take up a day of blogmas!

In September I decided to take a photo every day of the month of things in my life and share it on my Instagram. It was an interesting experience to say the least and I learnt some things about myself and my life.

When I started this self-inflicted challenge, I did think about maybe trying to taking and sharing a photo each day for the whole of 2019. Soon I realised that my life isn’t interesting enough for that and I struggled to take a somewhat interesting photo every day for just 30 days. I work 9-5 every week day so most of my photos during the week were of what I saw on my walk to or from work, or when I wandered around town on my lunch break. Then on the weekends I didn’t always do anything interesting, or even leave my flat sometimes to be honest! I’m a big fan of the lazy weekend.

Having to take and share a photo of something each day did make me a bit more aware of my surroundings. I took a photo of a clock tower I hadn’t noticed before even though I’d walked past it like a hundred times. I also paid more attention to the flowers and wildlife I’d normally walk straight past leading to some cute and pretty pictures if I do say so myself.

I think my photography skills did improve a bit through this experience. I begun to get better at framing things and I did use filters and edit photos on Instagram but I think I started to learn how to bring out the best in a photo through editing instead of turning it into something completely fake.

Maybe next year I’ll do a month of photography again, or maybe just the odd week now and then. It was a fun and interesting experience, but as I say my everyday life isn’t that exciting so it was a bit difficult at times.

    

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Tis The Seasonathon TBR

Tis The Seasonathon is a week-long holiday themed readathon that takes place from midnight on Monday 3 December to 11:59pm on Sunday 9 November, whatever your time zone. The hosts of this readathon are Bookables, A Court of Crowns and Quills, Super Space Chick, Between Chapters and Chelseadolling Reads.

I’m using this readathon to get me back in the reading zone. Last month I read three books, which isn’t as many as I’ve usually read a month, so I want to get more reading done over the next week and finish my 2018 reading on a high. To be honest my TBR is isn’t that festive but I have chosen some books that go with some of the optional challenges below.

1. Read a book with red or green on the cover.
2. Read a book while listening to holiday music.
3. Read a warm & fuzzy book
4. Read a short book (200-250 pages)
5. Read a holiday themed book
Extra/Bonus Challenge: Read the Buddy Read, Snow in Love.

Uprooted by Naomi Novak
Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi
A Fortune Foretold by Agneta Pleijel
The Fox was Ever the Hunter by Herta Müller

Uprooted is going to be my main focus of this readathon. It’s been in my possession for years now, plus I need to read a book with a title beginning with the letter U to complete the A-Z Reading Challenge.

Uprooted, Frankenstein in Baghdad and The Fox was Ever the Hunter all complete the first challenge as they have either red or green on the cover (I don’t have the dust jacket of Uprooted to hand at the minut). A Fortune Foretold and The Fox was Ever the Hunter are both under 250 pages long so they class as a short book. Not sure which book I’ll read while listening to festive music but I’m sure I can cross off that challenge too.

So that’s my TBR for the Tis The Seasonathon! Wish me luck! We all know that readathon’s can be hit or miss for me, but I do really want to read these books so hopefully that’ll help. There’s a Twitter and an Instagram for the readathon and you can use the hashtag #tistheseasonathon to follow all the action.

Are you taking part in the Tis The Seasonathon? Or any other end-of-the-year readathons? I think it can sometimes feel like a mad rush at the end of the year so we can hit our reading goals but I hope everyone’s still having fun with their reading and remember – goals aren’t that big a deal.

Just going to take this moment to give you all a heads up – I’m planning to challenge myself with blogmas this month! So that’ll be a blog post a day on the run up to Christmas, there’s going to be the usual film and book reviews but there’s going to be a whole host of other stuff too. I think I have ideas for all 25 days, but if you want to suggest anything to me, feel free!

Sci-Fi Month is here!

IMAGE CREDIT: PHOTO by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash. QUOTE from The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

November is Sci-Fi Month. I’ve seen talk about Sci-Fi Month on the twittersphere in previous years, but I’ve never been prepared enough to take part – this year is different though! Hosted by Dear Geek Place and imyril Sci-Fi Month is for celebrating all things sci-fi. That’s books, comics, films, TV shows – anything! It’s an excuse to catch up on the sci-fi things you’ve been meaning to get around to watching/reading and it’s a chance to meet fellow sci-fi fans.

There’s no requirements or goals to take part in Sci-Fi Month which I really like as sometimes too much pressure from challenges can put me off taking part. See imyril’s blog for more information on Sci-Fi Month and follow @SciFiMonth on Twitter and use the hashtag #RRSciFiMonth to take part in all the chats.

I had a look at my physical TBR, and I don’t actually have many sci-fi books on there. In fact, I just have four, Brilliance by Marcus Sakey, Dune by Frank Herbert, Area 51 by Bob Meyer, and The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers.

My two main bookish aims will be to read The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet (funnily enough a recent #NinjaBookSwap gift from Dear Geek Place) and Dune. There’s going to be a readalong of The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet during Sci-Fi Month which is always a helpful incentive – more info on the readalong is here. I have a physical copy of Dune but as that’s huge and intimidating, I used one of my Audible credits to purchase the audiobook. It’s a long audiobook at 21 hours but I should be able to listen to and complete it during the month on my walk to and from work every day (generally I can listen to at least an hour of an audiobook each working day).

When it comes to films, I’m going to make watching sci-fi films a priority in November. I really like science-fiction films, I like how they can be futuristic or bleak, can be action-packed or more thoughtful. There are so many subgenres of science-fiction which means there’s so many different stories to tell.

I’ve had a look through my watchlists on both Netflix and Amazon Prime and here’s just some of the sci-fi film I’d saved: The Discovery, Next Gen, The Beyond, Mute, Hardcore Henry, Arq, The Zero Theorem, Gattaca, Approaching the Unknown, The Colony, Psychokinesis, Stasis, Advantageous, Beyond, and Guardians. (Yes, there’s a film called Beyond and a different film called The Beyond – one’s on Netflix and the other’s on Prime and I’m intrigued)

Some of these have been on my watch list for ages so I’m not entirely sure what first drew me to them but that’ll make watching them even more fun.

If you fancy checking out the sci-fi books and films I’ve reviewed before on my blog click here.

Let me know if you are going to take part in Sci-Fi Month, I think it’s going to be a cool experience and I love it when events like this give me the push to finally read or watch something I’ve been meaning to read or watch for ages. Also, let me know what some of your favourite sci-fi books and films are, I’m always looking for recommendations.

Women in Translation Readathon TBR

If you didn’t know, August is Women In Translation month, celebrating women writers from across the world who have been translated from their original language. Now I was planning to read more books by women this month in general, but then I heard about the Women In Translation Readathon which is being hosted by Matthew Sciarappa, Kendra Winchester and Insert Literary Pun Here on YouTube, and it gave me an extra bit of motivation.

The readathon is the last week of August and starts midnight wherever the world you are at midnight on Saturday 25th August and finishes 11:59pm on Friday 31st August. I am going to be on holiday at the start of this readathon (I’m going to Bucharest with friends for a long weekend) so I’m not sure how much reading I’ll be doing then but I’ll definitely try and fit a book or two in my hand luggage-sized suitcase.

With this readathon there are some prompts that you can try and make your books fit into if you wish and they are as follows:

1. Read something that is not a novel
2. Read a book about childhood
3. Read a book with red on the cover
4. Read a text translated from a language that you haven’t read a text translated from before

Then there’s two bonus prompts:
1. Read a book that was translated posthumously
2. Read a text written by a Nobel Laureate

And a double bonus prompt is:
Read texts that were also translated by women translators

I’ve picked out three books for this readathon, they’re the only unread books from women in translation I have to be honest, and if I read all of them during the readathon, I’ll complete four out of the seven challenges.

Negative Space by Luljeta Lleshanaku, translated by Ani Gjika.
Thirty Days by Annelies Verbeke, translated by Liz Waters.
La Bastarda by Trifonia Melibea Obono, translated by Lawrence Schimel.

Negative Space and Thirty Days are translated from Albanian and Dutch, two languages I haven’t read from before. Negative Space also fits the “read something that is not a novel” as it’s a poetry collection and Thirty Days has some red on the cover (you cant’t really see it in the picture but the text is red). Negative Space and Thirty Days are translated by women translators too.

Are you going to take part in the Women in Translation readathon? Or are you reading more books translated from women in general this month? I’d love to hear of any recommendations you might have.

My #ReadtheWorldathon TBR

It’s 1st July on Sunday and that’s when the #ReadtheWorldathon starts. The Read the Worldathon in a month-long readathon that I’m co-hosting with A Novel Haul and Ninja Book Box. The aim of this readathon is to read books from a variety of different countries and there’s a bingo card you can “travel across” to make things more fun. For more info and an explanation of all the squares, see my announcement post here.

Now onto my TBR. I’ve planned my route across the bingo card, as you can see I have two possible routes, one taking 7 squares and one taking 5 so if I’m running out of time in the month I’ve got some options. I’ve also said what other squares a book can be used for in case anyone might have it and be unsure of where best to use it for themselves.

Celebrate WOC
Smaller and Smaller Circles by F.H. Batacan – Philippines
I have the ebook of this. I stumbled across it when browsing books on my kindle and it’s a highly praised detective story. I’m really looking forward to this one.
Other squares it can be used for: Genre, Asia, Firsts

Caribbean
Augustown by Kei Miller – Jamaica
Set in 1982 on the precipice of something major happening, a boy is distracted by Ma Taffy asking him, “Kaia, I ever tell you bout the flying preacherman?” I bought this book second-hand in London at the beginning of the year I know next to nothing about it.
Other squares it can be used for: Historical

Middle East
I have two choices for this square.
De Niro’s Game by Rawi Hage – Lebanon
This is an audiobook I have borrowed from my library. It’s about two long-time friends who grew up together in war-torn Beirut.
Other squares it can be used for: Firsts

The Nimrod Flip-Out by Etgar Keret – Israel
A collection of short stories that was a recent purchase and the only thing I know about these short stories, is apparently they can be a bit weird and satirical.
Other squares it can be used for: Short Stories

Non-Fic
Summer is my Favourite Season: A Memoir of Childhood and War in Kosovo by Ilir Berisha – Kosovo
A memoir from footballer Ilir Berisha. I’ll admit he’s not a footballer I know of, but I think it’ll be an interesting insight of what it’s like growing up in Kosovo – a country that’s not recognised as its own independent state by some countries.
Other squares it can be used for: Firsts, Europe, Political Controversy

Americas
Never Stop Walking: A Memoir of Finding Home Across the World by Christina Rickardsson – Brazil
Another book I’ve got on my kindle. This sounds like a potential sad autobiography as Christina Rickardsson was born in Brazil but at the age of seven she was taken to an orphanage and then to a village in the north of Sweden.
Other squares it can be used for: Celebrate WOC, Firsts, Non-Fic, In Translation

In Translation
Another square where I’ve got some choice.
Letters from Burma by Aung San Suu Kyi – Myanmar
Aung San Suu Kyi is a politician in Myanmar and this collection of letter from her are about how she sees her country and its people – both the good and the bad.
Other squares it can be used for: Political Controversy, Non-Fic, Celebrate WOC

Thirty Days by Annelies Verbeke – Belgium
Thirty Days is about a musician who moves to the countryside to be with his girlfriend, and how they and a local doctor start to Afghans and Syrians at a refugee camp – something the locals do not like.
Other squares it can be used for: Europe

Africa
And my final square offers me some choice too – I’m all about the choice when it comes to TBR’s for readathons!
The Last Gift by Abdulrazak Gurnah – Tanzania
Another audiobook from my local library. This is about a man who’s kept his past a secret but when he gets ill, he starts to share how he came from Africa and made a life for himself in the UK.
Other squares it can be used for: ?

Secret Son by Laila Lalami – Morocco
I think this book is about the relationship between a son and his mother and how it becomes strained when his absent father renters his life.
Other squares it can be used for: Celebrate WOC

That’s my TBR for the next month! I hope to manage to make my way across the bingo card and if I do manage to read all these books, I do have some other books I could read for random squares on the card.

Do let me know if you’re planning to take part in the #ReadtheWorldathon – I would love to see your TBR’s! I’d also like to know some of your favourite international books or authors too. There’s so many books out there from so many countries, there’s just not enough time to get them all.

Around the World Readathon Announcement

I’m very excited to share with you all a readathon I am co-hosting next month. As some of you may be aware, I’m attempting to read a book from every country in the world by the time I’m 30 and I’m not doing too badly. At 4 months shy of my 27th birthday I have read books from 48 different countries and have about 150 to go (the exact number of countries in the world can be debated) but to give me an extra push this summer there is the Around the World Readathon which is taking place for the whole of July.

This readathon was the brainchild of A Novel Haul and I’m very happy to be co-hosting with her and NinjaBookBox. Make sure you check out their blogs and follow them on Twitter (@anovelhaul and @ninjabookbox) and Instagram (@anovelhaulreads and @ninjabookbox).

To make this readathon interesting we have a bingo card. The basic idea is to get a bingo by reading a book per square that fits each theme. As this readathon is all about travelling, once you pick a starting square, you can “travel” in which ever direction you like across the board – you can move horizontal, vertical, diagonal and a mixture of all three. As long as you start on a square on one side on the board and finish on the other side, it doesn’t matter how you get there.

Rules

  • Books you read for this readathon should be by people from a different country to your own, not just set in a different country to your own
  • Exceptions apply to the Staycation square (see below) and also to the Diaspora, Celebrate WOC and Indigenous squares. Feel free to read a book by someone in the same country as you for those if they otherwise fit the theme of those squares.
  • Most importantly: be courteous when discussing books from other countries. Remember that writers of colour do not exist to educate and the phrase ‘this book didn’t teach me enough about the culture’ is often used to invalidate their work. Think about the story rather than just using the book as a learning experience.

What the Squares Mean

Geographical squares: (Asia, Polynesia, Europe, Australasia, Caribbean, Middle East, Americas, Africa) Read a book by someone from a country in that area.

Staycation: Read a book by someone from your own country, whether that’s the country you’re living in or if the author has the same nationality as you.

Short Stories: Read a short story collection from another country. They don’t all have to be from the same country or same author in the collection.

Globetrotter: Read a book that was written/is set the furthest away from where you are now.

Historical: This could be non-fiction or the historical fiction genre, you choose!

Genre: Pick up some genre fiction! Fancy some Scandinavian crime? Nigerian sci-fi? Indian romance?

Non-fic: Find out something new about a country! Memoirs, travel diary, biography – anything you like!

Firsts: This is one you can interpret however you like. The authors first novel published? Their first translated novel? A book from the first country you visited? First time you’ve heard of an author?

Childhood Vacation: A book from a country you visited, or learnt about, as a child.

Political Controversy: A book by an author that has been controversial in their country. The Hamid Ismailov’s and Aung San Suu Kyi’s of the book world.

Small Population: A square for those smaller countries that might be overlooked. You define what ‘small’ is, but think Malta, Montenegro, Monaco. Here’s a list of the 25 least populated countries in the world if you need a little help.

Dream Visit: A book from a country you’d love to visit.

Short Hop: A book from a next door country, one that’s not far away from your own.

Traditional Style: Magical realism, spoken word, haikus… anything traditional!

In Translation: I think this one is self-explanatory.

Indigenous, Celebrate WOC and Diaspora: These squares were added because indigenous writers and WOC are grossly undervalued in publishing and diaspora perspectives are also often ignored. There is nothing to stop you choosing writers of colour, indigenous writers or diaspora writers for every square, A Novel Haul just felt they needed proper representation on the board!

I will be sharing some recommendations for the various categories soon, as will my fellow co-hosts, and I’m putting together my TBR at the minute once that’s finalised I’ll be sharing that too. Do let us know if you’re thinking about joining in the Around the World readathon by either commenting below or using the hashtag #readtheworldathon on social media. Would be great to have as many people as possible reading internationally in July!

A to Z in April Blogging Challenge 2018 Masterpost

Another April has gone by and that’s another A-Z in April challenge completed. This year, my theme was my favourite songs – I featured a lot of different artists from different genres and decades, and here they are if you missed any.

Sign Up Post
A – Acadia by Marianas Trench
B – Before It’s Too Late by The Goo Goo Dolls
C – Can’t Hold Us Down by Christina Aguilera ft. Lil’ Kim
D – Dancing Queen by ABBA
E – Everywhere by Michelle Branch
F – Fast Car by Tracy Chapman
G – Gimme Shelter by The Rolling Stones
H – Hold On! I’m Comin’ by Sam & Dave
I – Independent Woman Pt. 1 by Destiny’s Child
J – Jack Sparrow by The Lonely Island ft. Michael Bolton
K – Kings and Queens by Thirty Seconds to Mars
L – Let’s Get Ready to Rhumble by Ant & Dec
M – Mr. Brightside by The Killers
N – No Man’s Land by Rupert Gregson-Williams
O – The Other Side from The Greatest Showman
P – Praying by Kesha
Q – Qué Caro Es el Tiempo by El Canto del Loco
R – Revolution by The Veronicas
S – See You Again by Wiz Khalifa ft. Charlie Puth
T – Take a Hint from Victorious
U – Under Pressure by Queen and David Bowie
V – Val Kilmer by Bowling for Soup
W – Wakka Wakka (This Time for Africa) by Shakira ft. Freshlyground
X – X-Training by Henry Jackman
Y – You are Unstoppable by Conchita Wurst
Z – Zero to Hero from Hercules
Reflections Post