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Books and Reading Life Stuff

I Did a Jane Austen Thing

Ask yourselves this: what’s the one thing that can get an introverted book nerd to leave the house in coronatimes?

If your answer was A Jane Austen Thing, you would be correct.

It’s been a long time since I did a coronavirus-related post, and that’s partly because for the past few months, things in Croatia seemed to be going okay. Sure, our case numbers were rising, there were quite a few outbreaks in nightclubs and bars and officials hurriedly appearing in the media blaming young people for being… well, young people, but for the most part we were enjoying the summer, travelling, seeing friends. Apart from the fact that we had to don masks whenever we entered a shop, life seemed to have more or less gone back to normal.

Categories
Books and Reading Forgotten Classics Reviews

Welcome to the Sci-Fi Machine: The Machine Stops (1928), by E.M. Forster

There’s a lot of people out there who are doubtful about sci-fi. Isn’t it all weirdly phallic spaceships flying about and aliens shooting at each other using an assortment of weapons that look like someone took the contents of a kitchen drawer and went bananas with a can of spray paint and some furniture polish, they wonder? And, yes, there is that. But kitchen utensils notwithstanding, I’ve always been an unabashed lover of the genre. So it was a source of endless delight to me to discover that one of my favourite early 20th-century writers had written a short story set in a dystopian world run by something known only as the Machine.

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Classics Club Challenge Reading Challenges Reviews

A Heterogenous Superfluity of Trisyllabic Utterances: The Portrait of a Lady (1881), by Henry James

Ladies and gentlemen, pray mind the spoilers!

Oh my poor, poor Classics Club list. I made it in 2014 and infused it with all the optimism of my more youthful days. I was convinced I would read 100 classics (including such hefty tomes as War and Peace and Ulysses – ah the vanity of youth) in four years. Five years on and I’ve made it about 10% of the way through that list. So I’m guessing I’ll be done with it sometime around my sixtieth birthday. Hooray for me!

This book was #61 on that list, and since I somehow associated the month of March with E.M. Forster books about Italy (I read Where Angels Fear to Tread and A Room With a View in some long-ago March and since then the association has been fixed in my brain), I thought I’d read another classic that features Italy heavily. Well, last March I managed to make it about five chapters into The Portrait of a Lady before giving up. This year I was determined to make it all the way through.

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Life Stuff

Further Adventures in Social Distancing

Well, I’ve done it again. Disappeared for a long stretch after making several rallying attempts at something like regular posting. Although I think I should be commended for the fact that it’s only been two months and not two years. Go me!

So, yes. Thank you all for continuing to read and like the posts on this blog, and I promise I will get better at replying to them (full disclosure: I probably won’t get better at it).

I hope you’ve all been keeping safe and healthy, and that the situation in your part of the world is improving from day to day, as it certainly seems to be here in Croatia. In fact, so much time has passed since I last posted that almost all the restrictions have been lifted here. Life appears (for better or worse) to be getting back to normal. So, somewhat illogically, I am now finally finding time to write a new post for this blog.

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Life Stuff

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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Life Stuff

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.