Lazy Summer Days

Back when I just started reading and was still living in Bangladesh, I would get so excited about whichever new book (usually a Goosebumps one) I bought from the ‘library.’ I would cosy up on the sofa or on our king sized bed and read all day long.

While buying books will always be something I love, I haven’t felt that joy and excitement I used to feel for quite some time now. Perhaps it’s because now it’s much easier for me to get my hands on books I want. Or maybe because I have more things to keep me busy with. We didn’t have internet connection till twenty eleven and my free time was (when simplified) divided between TV, computer and books.

Anywho, I got a few books after my exams in May and haven’t gotten around to finishing any of them. I am this close to finishing The Universe In Your Hand by Christophe Galfard and I actually like the book, so I am not even sure what’s holding me back. For the most part, I read it while travelling and refuse to pick it up now at home.

I was a quarter way through Do No Harm by Henry Marsh. As much as I enjoyed it, I had to pause it in June for some reasons and proceeded to reading a poem or two from The Essential Rumi. I haven’t read from it for a while now.

The Universe In Your Hand is a book about cosmology for regular folks interested in cosmology and the origin of our universe. I happen to be one of them. If I was ever any good at maths, I would probably be studying physics and specialising in astronomy. My sister thinks I am being ‘educational’ when I read these stuff but honestly, I just really enjoy learning about these things. To each our own.

I have also been listening to podcasts when I am out and about. (Piece of advice though, take off your headphones while attempting to cross the road. Learn from my mistakes!) Castbox app probably existed for a while now but I am obsessed with it. Instead of listening to music which makes me feel low, I just listen to interesting podcasts that almost make me forget that I am in the Underground. (Subway for Americans)

A notable few podcast ‘channels’ that I enjoy listening to are The Life Scientific, Writing Excuses, History Extra, TED talks, The Guardian UK: Politics Weekly, Social Triggers and Pod Save The World every now and again.

The Life Scientific is actually a BBC Radio 4 programme where Professor Jim Al-Khalili interviews leading scientists about their lives, struggles and achievements and as a scientist on the way, (hopefully!) I just find listening to these interviews very inspiring and interesting.

Writing Excuses is run by a few authors including Brandon Sanderson, and they interview other authors to discuss their writing techniques and advice. I really like listening to these discussions and I honestly believe aspiring writers can really benefit from it.

I can’t afford to go abroad for holiday at the moment, so I have been out and about around London a lot. Mostly with my sister though after getting annoyed (for no particular reason) and losing touch with the handful of people that I used to know. I know, I am a horrible person. But my sister’s cool company to be around. We have been eating out, shopping, popping into a few festivals and leaving like five minutes later and watching movies. By shopping, I mean necessary shopping. Mostly.

We watched Wonder Woman, Despicable me 3, Spiderman: Homecoming and Annabelle: Creation so far before she left for University. One of my friends from college and I are going to go watch It on Wednesday for which I am excited because we haven’t seen each other in a while and we both like horror movies.

For someone who is no longer a teen, I watch a hell lot of cartoons. I just cannot help it! I also binge on regular series but cartoons hold a special place in my heart. Ironically, I never liked anime enough to get into it. As you can tell by now, my life isn’t that interesting. God forbid, someone I know reads my blog!

I binged on Star vs The Forces of Evil, Loud House, Harvey Beaks, Milo Murphy’s Law, and Over The Garden Wall this summer. I am now watching Daria! A little late but my God that girl embodies my spirit!

As for the series, I finished watching Reign because my best friend also got into it. Really loved Suits along with Jane The Virgin and Riverdale. I was pleasantly surprised with Riverdale because I tried watching it before but didn’t like it back then.

I also opened a pinterest account and if anyone reading this actually enjoys the content I post, ya might want to check my account out. I found a few recipes that I might actually be able to make. My skin has broken out a lot thanks to my unhealthy eating habits at home but since my second year of University is about to begin in a few days, I hope to change that.

I have my priorities straight now and chances are I am going to remain busy with work, assignments, projects, etc. so I am actually looking forward to going back. I also feel like I have matured as a person and developed more confidence in myself now compared to a year before. Here’s hoping, this year I won’t be miserable!

You know what I deserve a medal for? Joining the gym and actually using it regularly. Seriously, I did.


To Read A Poem

There will be times in everyone’s life when they will be told to settle for something less than what they want and deserve. There’ll be many good books that will go unread because of the decision to just settle for anything. There’ll be many good movies which will remain unwatched. Many nights laying awake wondering, why on earth did I waste my time on that rubbish.

It isn’t possible for me to prevent that from happening to you. My gold could be your rubbish, although I hope it isn’t. I’ve always wanted to recommend some really extraordinary things that I have enjoyed very much and think about quite a lot.

Poetry can be daunting and the idea of reading it can sound exhausting. But you know, like many things in life, you gotta give it a chance or several to find out. I remember absolutely hating the poetry content of my GCSE English syllabus. Fast forward two or three years, I found The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe.

Now, it is probably something most people know of and read at some point in their academic life. Of course, it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. However, if a dark, melancholic storytelling with a haunting atmosphere engages your mind and quiets down the chaos in it, it could be yours to love as well.

I am not going to say that I am a poetry genius. Simply because I am not even close. I have been into poetry rather recently and the book I am reading now is a basic one: 100 Best Loved Poems edited by Philip Smith. It has old poems and I don’t understand a significant portion of them. But I do understand some of them, and when I do, it feels like a revelation.

I have always been interested in the universal truth of our existence which is of course, death. I imagine, so does a lot of other people. In the book I mentioned, there’s quite a bit of poetry about death which more or less resonates with my interests. It’s not completely plagued with it, there are happy ones too. Poems about adventure, love and lessons.

So, is poetry worth the time?
Well, I don’t know. I can only speak for myself. Maybe, trying it out isn’t such a bad idea.

Beautiful language, rhythm, stories with atmosphere that ignite something warm and happy or melancholic but resonating – things I adore in a poem. Although, The Raven will always be timeless and the poem that I fell in love with.

My philosophy on reviewing books.

When I review a book, I like to keep in mind that a human wrote the book. It sounds obvious but I have read many reviews where the author is criticised inhumanly.

Disclaimer: I am another hobbyist blogger, which means I don’t get paid to review books or blog. All opinions are my own.

Everybody knows that reviews are biased according to the reader’s preferences. When I am criticising a book based on its plot, I am not talking about the author. Neither do I think my review matters. It’s not complicated to understand that everyone has very different tastes and opinions, so what I find distasteful isn’t necessarily the same for another.

Uprooted by Naomi Novik is a very popular science fiction standalone novel. While I did enjoy many aspects of the plot, I can’t say it was perfect. I thought Sarkan’s dialogues were repetitive and the portrayal of Agnieszka as immensely flawed was almost forced. Kasiya’s individuality declined with every page. (Spoiler alert) The relationship between Sarkan and Agnieszka felt unnecessary beyond words. It seemed like it was simply there to appeal to romance readers.

But it was very close to being the winner of BEST YOUNG ADULT FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION category in goodreads for 2015. That must mean I am of the minority with a somewhat ‘negative’ opinion. My point of sharing these thoughts aren’t to say that the author is awful. She isn’t. The book was written well, although it was quite clear that Ms. Novik fell in love with the word rivulet. Which I completely understand, sometimes when I fall in love with a word, I irritate the shi* out of my sister by repeating it continuously.

Reviews are like passing down information through a lineage of readers to help them make decisions. One will come across positive reviews and negative reviews and eventually a decision of their own. It also arises from a desire to share our thoughts and opinions. Why does this desire arise?  That I can’t answer.

When I am criticising the way a book is written, it is not to say that I am better at writing or the author is incompetent. Usually, it is the Editor’s job to ensure that the book is flawless. At least, in terms of spelling and grammar.

Looking for Alaska by John Green is a book with over seven hundred thousand reviews in goodreads. A majority of which is five stars. I disliked it. Alaska seemed flat, though she was a ‘smart feminist.’ But that’s not why I disliked the book. I was really looking forward to reading the book. Mostly because I loved the cover of it. I know, don’t judge a book by its cover. But this was almost three years ago.

I found that the writing both bored and irked me. It seemed trying too hard/lacking in flow. I liked the philosophical discussions it had but it just didn’t appeal to me. This is not me saying he is an awful writer. On the contrary, a majority of people did love it. I share my disappointment to inform another reader of the flip side of the reviews.

Reviews are important because they help to spread the word. Although, one shouldn’t take a review personally. Usually, my book reviews are positive. When I appreciate something, I want to share that piece of treasure with my fellow readers who might stumble across my blog. When it is disappointing, I also want to inform my fellow readers before they come to a decision.

It is the art of being a human who reads, you see. Not to be taken at heart.