Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Literary Lists // My September To Be Read

Ahh September! Is it me or does September hold the promise of fresh starts, new projects and a crisp changing season? Oh, and all of that gorgeous 'back to school' stationary up for grabs!!

For me, this shiny new month calls for handwritten letters to my dears, beginning exciting projects of the handmade persuasion and wrapping up in a couple extra layers whilst diving into a great book!

Which leads me nicely into the nature of this here post. I don't usually set myself a monthly 'to be read' as I am very much a creature of mood, especially when it comes to selecting my next novel, but I decided September will be the month to give it a go:

Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
ISBN13: 9780356500157

Not every gift is a blessing. Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don't like her. She jokes that she won't bite. But they don't laugh. Melanie is a very special girl.

If that doesn't pull you in, I really don't know what will!! A little odd of me to include this in my 'to be read' considering I just finished it, but by now it is the 9th September and it was on my list, so...

Publisher: Alma Books Ltd
ISBN13: 9781847493781

One of Stevenson's most famous and enduring popular works, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde describes the mysterious relationship between a respectable and affable doctor and his brutal associate. Set in the grimy streets of Victorian London, this tale of murder, split personalty and obscure science, with its chilling final revelation, became an instant horror classic when it was first published in 1886 and has enthralled and terrified generations of readers ever since.

I am currently reading this delicious slice of gothic horror and have already fallen in love with this gritty historical setting and can't wait to delve deeper into its mysterious and dark world.

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher: Scholastic
ISBN13: 9781407134611

Okay, this is a book I have chosen purely on recommendation from rave reviews over in the booktube community. It seems an incredibly popular book, which unnerves me a little to say the least, but seems a relatively short and snappy novel, so as curiosity often gets the better of me I intend to find out what all the fuss is about. That being said, I absolutely hate the description on the back of the book and therefore have chosen not to include it here. From what I gather, this story consists of magic, surreal settings, mystery, quest and adventure and naturally a healthy dose of young love (hmmm). Let's find out, shall we!

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Publisher: Random House USA Inc
ISBN13: 9780307887443

In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenager Wade Watts really feels alive is when he's jacked into the virtual utopia known as the Oasis. Wade's devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world's digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator's obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. But when Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself best by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade is going to survive, he'll have to win and confront the real world he has always been so desperate to escape.

The last book on my list for this month, added in to shake up the pile of books and in hopes of creating a varied taste to round up September.

Yes Please by Amy Poehler - perfect for multi-tasking and frigging hilarious to boot!

De Boze Heks is Weer Bezig by Hanna Kraan - my latest Dutch children's book is going down a treat.

Knowing me, this could all change, but hey ho, so is life! What books have risen to the top of your pile for this month? Have you read any of the books on my list? Would love to know your thoughts!

Friday, 4 September 2015

Settle Down // How to feel more at home in a new town

Moving house is such a huge task, exciting of course but also a touch nerve wracking; getting all your things packed/ unpacked and organised, choosing and arranging furniture, decorating, cleaning and DIY ing, not to mention some what expensive. Now combine all of this with moving into unknown territory, a village or town you've never even visited, knowing not a blinking soul... Fun times, am I right?

Well, there are some wonderfully helpful ways to focus on the amazing new change in the bright positive light it deserves, whilst getting to know your new stomping ground and eventually settling in to your new home and town. I have found, over the last couple of months, that these tricks are really allowing me to enjoy the process without that old familiar worry taking up too much of my time!

Get on your bike and ride! Seriously, the best way to explore your neighbourhood is to head on out. Whether you are lucky enough to be in a bicycle safe area or take the road on foot, discovering all of those hidden treasures will build your confidence and familiarity with your new place. Weather depending, we go on evening strolls around the corn fields and hop on our bikes to the next village over, just to get an idea of the lay of the land and have found many more gorgeous spots than we would have been able, in the car!

Nest build. Making a house into a home takes time and patience but doesn't necessarily have to cost the earth. Simple things such as rearranging a book shelf or organising your wardrobe can be super therapeutic, clearing out old crap and making room for the items you love can help to bring your living space together. I found that treating myself to some flowers or a new scented candle, it's all in the details, gave our apartment that much needed cosy feeling and I am finally starting to see things settle.

Community service. Getting to know your neighbours is a long lost etiquette in some dwellings, but I have made it my mission to strike up conversations with everybody I can, even if it's just a friendly passing by the post box! You genuinely never know what interesting people you live near and could spark a friendship simply by introducing yourself. I have found this especially helpful for my language skills. Just by pushing myself to speak Dutch with my next doorsies has boosted my confidence ten fold!

Friends + pizza = good times! Pizza night with pals is a treat worthy of any occasion, I mean pizza! But when moving to a brand shiny new area, it is essential to keep contact with family and friends and to have that piece of home right there amongst all the new. Inviting people over, cooking for them or heck, why not test out the take aways (important, no?), and making some new memories and good vibes could be just the ticket for settling in. Did I mention pizza?

Urban Legend. Another thing I have been enjoying, since the move, is learning about my new area's history. Looking into it's origins, the stories handed down generations, facts and formations of the land, and of course, noting all of the village festivities celebrating these curious historical events! Heading to your local library could present you with all manner of local folk lore, googling original maps could show you how the land has transformed over time and even speaking with the local know it all (or bar man!) could result in brilliant tales and some insider info!

Hidden gems! This ties in with exploring on foot and researching your area, but seeking out the nearby attractions is essential for anyone hoping to really truly get to know their area. We spend so much time looking over the fence, planning expensive trips to far off lands, when many of us forget to check the doorstep for all manner of wonders. On my list is visiting all the local towns by bicycle, the cities by train and the national park on foot. I hope to hunt down the museums and art galleries, the fabric and yarn shops, the best spots in the city for a little retail therapy and a coffee and discover a new favourite book shop... Exciting times.

Now, not to sound too mumsy, but there are, of course, some more rather pressing matters to research before you go gallivanting, such as checking out your local public transport routes, see what your nearest shops have to offer, keep in contact with family and mates (skype works wonders for those further afield) and sourcing essentials for your hobbies (cinema, haberdashery, vintage shop).

Just remember, it's a working progress! This is my daily mantra, one step at a time!