Top Ten Signs You’re a Book Lover

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

So it’s been a while since I’ve done a Top Ten Tuesday list, but this week the topic is definitely one that tends to occupy the minds of us bookish types – how can you recognise a book lover? Well, here’s my humble attempt at a field guide to your garden-variety bookworm (helluo librorum vulgaris).

Top Ten Signs You’re a Book Lover

1. You regularly have dreams about characters from books that are more vivid than the dreams you have about your friends and family.

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More Adventures in Social Distancing

So March has drawn to a close, and for some of us that means we’ve been social distancing for the better part of a month. I hope you’re all safe and well, and that you’re finding new ways to entertain and amuse yourselves. For me, this weekend marks my second full week at home.

Since my last post, in addition to the coronavirus situation, Zagreb was struck by a pretty serious earthquake. This was last Sunday, and I’m happy to report that my friends and family are safe and well, and that nobody sustained any major damage to their homes. Needless to say, it’s been a pretty strange experience and people are still recovering from the shock and the damage, all while continuing to follow the guidelines on social distancing. Everyone is lending a hand and looking out for friends and neighbours, which is just amazing to see. This isn’t the first time Zagreb’s been struck by an earthquake this size, so I know that we’ll rebuild and recover.

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Adventures in Social Distancing

adventures-social-distancing

So unless you’ve been living under a rock in the middle of the Amazon, or have just emerged from a two-month spirit retreat in the middle of the desert and are currently dealing with an onslaught of information and some serious sunburn, you’ll already know all there is to know about the new coronavirus. And you’ll know that a significant portion of the world is currently under strict measures that include quarantines, curfews, and social distancing.

There’s lots of great (and less great) resources out there for dealing with this tough time, and I’m certainly no expert. So I’m not going to give suggestions as to the best way to deal with self-isolation and social distancing, especially because things here in Croatia are (thankfully, for the moment) not at a critical point. I’m basically just looking to share how I’ve been dealing with the new restrictions that have been placed on us, if nothing else because writing about it gives me a chance to reflect on how well I’ve actually been handling being at home for whole days at a time. Continue reading

A Brilliant Book Where Nothing Much Happens: Hester (1883), by Margaret Oliphant

hester-oliphant“I do declare, these spoilers are simply shocking!”

The essence of this review is basically that I loved Hester and I’m not even sure if there’s really anything more to add.

That’s partly because I can’t quite put my finger on why I liked this book in the first place. One of my least-favourite topics in the world plays a large role in this book: banking and finance. For me, this is about as interesting a topic as a book about the finer points of Watching Paint Dry.

But something about Hester grabbed me right from the very beginning. Set in a small town where the Vernon family own a prosperous and seemingly stable town bank, it begins with a crisis that could see the bank collapse and the family lose all their wealth and status in one fell swoop, because the head of the family is a bad businessman. But along comes his cousin Catherine Vernon and despite suffering from a rather terminal case of Being Female, nevertheless manages to save the bank using her own money. She goes on to raise the bank back up and rule the entire Vernon clan with an iron fist. Continue reading

The Great Reading Slump of 2018/2019

So here’s a sobering thought: in the year 2018, I read a grand total of 15 books.

Yes, you read that right. 15 books. It’s a number so astonishingly low you would be forgiven for thinking that I in fact died in February of the previous year, and have spent the remaining time haunting the library and bewailing the fact that when I try to pick up a book now it just passes right through me, which incidentally is the feeling I get whenever I try to muster the enthusiasm to finally read Ulysses. Continue reading

The Real Neat Blog Award

Computer

It’s December, and you know what that means – Sara’s going to turn up out of the blue with a long-overdue blog post!

As you know from my recent (and by ‘recent’ I of course mean ‘from-two-months-ago’; doesn’t everybody?) Versatile Blogger post, I am terrible when it comes to blog awards. And although it’s a bit late and I really don’t deserve it for leaving this so late, I wanted to respond to the little squid’s nomination for the Real Neat Blog Award. Thank you, and I’m sorry it took me three bazillion years to respond (actual count of the time that has elapsed since the nomination).

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The Versatile Blogger Award

Versatile Blogger Award

Okay, I’m the worst when it comes to these things. Carolyn very kindly nominated me for the Versatile Blogger award two years ago (yep, two years ago). I think it’s fair to say I’m stretching the definition of ‘versatility’ to the limit by applying it to the presupposed time limit that usually applies to these things.

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Bring on the Killer Robots: It’s Alive! Artificial Intelligence from the Logic Piano to Killer Robots (2017) by Toby Walsh

Its AliveAlthough I’m sure there’s a lot of people who are fascinated by the many nuances of the field of Artificial Intelligence – the myriad applications of this new technology, the ethical issues, the many ways in which AI has already begun infiltrating our lives in subtle ways – I think I’m not wrong when I say that most people will pick up this book with one simple question on their minds: viz., what is the likelihood that we will be wiped out by evil killer robots within the next ten to fifty years; and, if we are, will they at least be sexy killer robots à la Battlestar Galactica, or will they be more like Arnie in Terminator (i.e., terrifying)?

This book does discuss the possibility of killer robots, of course. Its conclusions on the topic will not leave the technologically paranoid quaking in their boots, but the more sensitive reader may nevertheless finish this book with a slight sense of diffuse dread, because Walsh makes clear that even though robots probably won’t want to kill us out of hatred or spite (yay), they might do it… well, accidentally (erm… yikes?). Continue reading

Top Ten Most Memorable Fathers in Literature

The last time I tackled a Top Ten Tuesday topic, it was ‘Most Memorable Mothers in Literature‘. So this week I’m looking at the most memorable fathers in literature: the good, the bad, and the ugly. (This was technically supposed to be last week’s TTT topic. My bad.) Continue reading

The Classics Book Tag (AKA Oh My God I Can’t Believe I Still Haven’t Read All These Books Please Don’t Judge Me)

Garden chair

Jillian tagged me for the Classics Book Tag – thanks, Jillian! So, let’s get on with it. Also, please enjoy this completely unrelated but extremely pretty stock photo I’ve included, mostly because I’ve pretty much tapped out Unsplash’s supply of book-related stock images.

1. An over-hyped classic you really didn’t like?

Le Mort d’Arthur. It’s basically 400+ pages of dudes in chain main slicing one another’s bodily appendages off as if they were made of butter. Pass. Continue reading