An Ode to London

Today, for  the first time in my life, I went on a tour of London. This may seem normal to some of you, but I happen to live IN London, a stones throw away from the very centre of the city. Sure I’ve seen most parts of London, travelled all over – but as a Londoner that is more of a means to an end. I travel through the depths of London because I have somewhere to get to, but I never truly take it in.

Today that changed. We had to visit Waterstones on Gower Street, which whilst being the largest academic bookshop in Europe, has also just become my favourite place on Earth. 4 storeys of pure book bliss. (I stuck to my guns though – I didn’t buy myself a single book!)

As it is Sunday and there’s thankfully no ridiculous congestion charge, and parking is free in most places thanks to the beauty of yellow lines, we took the car, and decided to deviate a bit, to get a nice view of the London we so frequently avoid.

Here is my day in some particularly bad quality pictures from an iPhone in a moving vehicle:

Big Ben

Big Ben

Admirality Arch

Admirality Arch

The fountain in Trafalgar Square and the christmas tree given to England by the Norwegians annually

The fountain in Trafalgar Square and the christmas tree given to England by the Norwegians annually

Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey

Westminster Cathedral hidden away in Victoria

Westminster Cathedral hidden away in Victoria

The Mi5 building - my place of employment!

The Mi5 building – my place of employment!

The National Portrait Gallery

The National Portrait Gallery

Horseguards Parade

Horseguards Parade

 

I was unable to take any pictures inside Waterstones as I was afraid they would throw me out and not let me look at the books anymore. This is a risk I am unwilling to take.

For those of you who live in London, or any other big city, how often do you observe your city for the beauty that it actually has, the architecture and the heritage?

 

All The Many Mediums

I woke this morning to find a message on my iPhone that the 12 days of Christmas app had released its 4th free app this year. Today it is a book, and I suddenly remembered the existence of iBooks, which I had completely forgotten about and which has gone unused for as long as I have owned an iPhone.

iBooks

Nonetheless, I downloaded Rachel’s Holiday by Marian Keyes – because it was free. This is a book I normally would not look at twice – not that I am at all judging anyone for it, just that it’s not normally my thing. And then, as I entered the iBookstore and saw that there were other books available for free, I went on a downloading spree – as I did when I first got my kindle.

I love my Kindle, and I love my iPhone, but I just can’t help but feel more attached to a story when I am able to reach up, pull the book from the shelf and feel the pages between my fingers. I miss the days when reading was traditional like that. The technology does make it easier to read on the go, and I appreciate that and do find it helpful in day to day life/work/travelling, etc., but there is nothing better than curling up on a winters day with a book, a real book, made from paper and ink and nothing more.

Top Ten Books To Look Forward To

All around the blogosphere, there are people writing their top ten, whatever it may be – top ten films of 2012, top ten books of 2012, top ten moments, etc. My top ten is only slightly different in that it is my top ten books that I am looking forward to reading in 2013. These are not new releases, I’m not one to look out for new books, as they come, I see them, I read them. The anticipation of newly released artefacts (that includes films) evades me.

Anyway, the books I am looking forward to reading are:

Hope: A Tragedy by Shalom Auslander

There but for the by Ali Smith

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

These first three are books I have received over this festive season, and which fit in well with my usual likings.

The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz

I am bound to get rather critical of this book, as I am a notsocloseted Sherlock Holmes fan, however, I am more than intrigued to see if Mr Horowitz can in any way match the literary wisdom of Mr Conan Doyle

Bleak House by Charles Dickens

Because is has been on my shelf for the longest period of time, and because the subject appeals to me, and because it is such a huge book, I vow to start AND finish this by the end of 2013

Ham on Rye by Charles Bukowski

Recommended by a friend to buy as a gift for my mother, once looking at the colourful cover and the lovely typeface used for the title (aesthetics ARE important!) I decided to buy myself a copy too.

The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie

Simply because it was at one point so infamous and I want to see what all the buzz was about.

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

1984 by George Orwell

Catcher in the Rye 22 by JD Salinger

Because I really should have read these books all the way through whilst I was in school, but rebelling against the educational system and not bothering to do my homework most of the time, I neglected to finish any of these fine novels.

i-never-finish-what-i-star

So, what books are you looking forward to this coming year?

The 2012 Chill

At this stand still after Christmas and before the New Year, before life goes back to it’s normal pace, kids return to school and adults reluctantly return to work, I spend my time at home, eating yummy comfort food, reading books and listening to chill out music. This, people, is what I would term paradise.

 

So my top 3 chill out recommendations for this year are:

Rebelution. These guys make amazing music, the kind you can but on repeat, listen to a thousand times and never get bored. I’ve been listening to Rebelution for the past few years, and am in desperate hope that they will, at some point, land on the windy shores of the UK and gift us with their music live.

My top Rebelution track this year is Honeypot

 

 

 

The Decemberists. If you watch How I Met Your Mother, I can guarantee you have probably already heard a great variety of their music. They were discovered by myself and other half after Shazam-ing one of their songs on HIMYM.

My top The Decemberists track this year is January Hymn

 

 

 

Don Carlos. This guy is classic reggae, chilled out and relaxed. It’s hard to find a song of his that isn’t good. My other half was lucky enough to see him live, which, as I have heard constantly since, was the best experience of live music EVER!

My top Don Carlos track this year is Time

Another 2013 Challenge

This challenge is for me personally, but I would like it to inspire you readers to do the same:

When reading this year, power through! At the moment I am reading Aldous Huxley’s Crome Yellow, and all though so far it is interesting, the prose and the language can at times make for a difficult read, and I have so far been tempted on no less than 10 occasions in the last day alone to put it down and pick up one of my shiny new books with pretty covers and easy reading. But, my challenge for 2013, and starting today, is to power on through with every book I pick up.

Doing this will hopefully prevent the number of books on my shelf with bookmarks sticking out of them halfway through (which may have been there for the past year or two) from increasing anymore.

This could easily lead to a tedious year in which I find myself not enjoying half of the stuff I read, but it could just as easily lead to a year of gaining wisdom and knowledge which I may have otherwise neglected to the dark realms of the unread.

If you’re thinking of doing the same, just do it! Just for the pure satisfaction of knowing you have the necessary willpower to.

 

On another note, I’m glad to say that we are all alive. The Mayans really were a lazy bunch when it came to calendar writing. Or, maybe it was some kind of joke? ‘Just stop writing the date…THERE, December 21st 2012, that ought to f*** people up a bit’.

The Christmas Exchange Begins

Today I received my first Christmas gifts, on my last day of work for the year. They are two books that I have been continuously glancing at on Amazon for the last few weeks. I am extremely glad that I did not purchase them! Thank you to a lovely co worker and friend for the very thoughtful gift.

I will definitely be reviewing the books in the near future! They are:

The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstein

The Book Thief, Markus Zusak

Picture 032

I don’t know why this picture won’t rotate. I can only apologise for the stupidity of my computer.

 

Also, whilst out Christmas shopping today I saw reindeer! Real reindeer! Santa was there too but I didn’t manage to get a picture of him.

Picture 030

I will be off for a few days while I frantically wrap gifts, buy more for those I have forgotten and start the cooking! So happy holidays, and seasons greetings to you all!

Culture Reviews 2013 Challenge

So I considered doing something really worthwhile and meaningful. Then I realised that I’m way too lazy for something like that. Things I am also too lazy to do which no doubt would seriously improve this blog are:

Look out for and read newly released books: I read books when they have been out for a while. This is for the following reasons; they are generally cheaper, they can all be bought from Amazon which requires absolutely no effort or travel

Go to the cinema to see new films: this may happen a few times a year, but is generally second to waiting for them to be released onto DVD so I can get a clear streaming online. Reasons include; again the whole going outside thing, extortionate cinema prices and a reluctance to get dressed.

Challenges

Literary –

So, my personal book challenge for 2013 is to (wait for it) not buy any books! (Until I have completed the unread books on my shelf)

My main challenge is to read all the so far unread books on my piled up book shelves and whatever new books are added from my Christmas wishlist. After which I can reward myself by buying more books.

I will then document said books by letting you poor folks know whether I enjoyed them or not. Here is my book collection as it stands at the moment:

photo (2)

Film –

I am also aiming to have a regular update where I review the best films. I’m thinking groups of 5 will not be too strenuous, and maybe once a month. I’ll start on the 1st of Jan with my 5 best winter warmer films, the ones that get you all warm and lovey inside. I sincerely do hope you are excited.

%d bloggers like this: