WiP Still?

Apologies for my absence of late, especially after the cliffhanger announcement of being bitten by a horse.  To wrap that up succinctly, at the Changing of the guard, we had a photo with a horse that bit my left arm but luckily I was fully layered up and survived with the ability to still not be able to juggle in tact.

In other news, after nearly ten years of this blog, I am having a bit of a wobble, and not certain if I wish to carry on or not.  It does, on one hand, give me the odd opportunity, a chance to chat with wonderful people like yourselves, and is also something I am quite proud of.  Yet with the time it takes to write posts, the diminishing returns of late, and the loss of friends who just stopping blogging, it seems like a bit of a luxury.

Stopping seems like a waste but I am wondering what my aim is now.  I started the blog to chat with people about books, I wanted it to be a platform to get me further into the world of books, but aside from a few false starts that hasn’t really happened.  Any advise would be most welcome.

Baum’s Books

Sorting through the boxes from last year’s house move, I came across all the books that had been sent to me over the past years (more than I care to remember – the years not the books).  All had of course been caring and lovingly stored and finding them has brought back some great memories.

With a misty-eyed gaze into the past I recalled many memories associated with long ago blog posts, bloggers, and life events.  Of all those books, the ones my eyes looked for straight away were those of Mr Stephen Baum, AKA Bumba, who is still blogging today, and one of the few original readers of this blog, left after the almost ten years of my writing.

Bumba was the first author who ever approached me with the offer of a free book (Up in the Bronx) in exchange for an honest review.  Having skim read my original review – not wanting to read deeply in case I cringed so hard I couldn’t type this – I will leave it up to any interested reader to pass verdict on its vintage, or lack thereof.  All three reviews can be found in the relevant author page. Continue reading “Baum’s Books”

The Joy of Books

Books alone teach us to judge of truth and good in the abstract: without a knowledge of things at a distance from us, we judge like savages or animals from our senses and appetites alone; but by the aid of books and of an intercourse with the world of ideas, we are purified, raised, ennobled from savages into intellectual and rational beings. – William Hazlitt

Renaissance Books

Wandering around the websites of various publishers, I was delighted and a little surprised to find one of my reviews was featured on the website of Renaissance Books, hereRenaissance Books are academic publishers offering a new, robust and independent platform for peer-reviewed scholarship on Asia Pacific, in particular East Asian Studies – principally in the Humanities and Social Sciences

From the website:

Renaissance Books was established in 1996 to promote gifted, aspiring authors and books of general interest. Later, its focus moved to East-West themes relating to people, culture and way of life.

In 2015, the imprint was re-launched in order to concentrate on scholarly reference in the Humanities and Social Sciences, publishing especially in the field of East Asian Studies, notably Japan and Korea, as well as Central Asian Studies. To this end, we have launched a new peer-reviewed Renaissance Books Asia Pacific Series drawing on recognized authorities from within the region and beyond, offering a platform for comparative and interdisciplinary works on historical and cultural themes as well as those relating to contemporary issues, especially in Politics & Economics, Conflict Resolution, Globalization, NGOs, Security, Human Rights and Media Studies.

As someone interested in learning, especially in light of the proximity to the subject area in my adopted home of the Philippines (where I look forward to being later in the year again), it is a publisher that deserves a lot more attention for the body of work that they are putting out.

Márquez Covered

On the particular day I took this photo – as with most days in Britain – it was bleak outside, overcast, an intense cutting wind blowing as background noise.  I needed something to brighten up the day and an idea for a post as well to keep the blog ticking over.

Casting about the house I came across these colourful beauties and it took me down memory lane, remembering the jaunts in Márquez’s creations, his flair for the dramatic, and the stifling days in which so many of those memories take place.  Although whether it was the days in the book or in real life is sometimes hard to separate.

For those yet to discover the wonderful Gabriel García Márquez, I can only encourage you with some old reviews found elsewhere on this site, and with a wholehearted shove to that particular shelf in your local bookshop.  You won’t be disappointed wherever you start. Continue reading “Márquez Covered”

Windy in These Parts

On Christmas Eve a thud resounded out in the hallway and an expected package arrived at an unexpected time of the morning.  As an early Christmas present you can’t beat a book, and one by blog favourite Nils-Johan is always a joy to receive.

An unanticipated addition to the Wind series of children’s books, I look forward to indulging in this one, as I’ve loved every other book in the collection and have been enchanted by the qualities and themes of each story.

Whichever way the wind may blow this year, one constant is that the reading will continue across many genres, and with a return to the Philippines on the cards, a sun tan will also be a predictable outcome.  I hope your year will be a good one.

Life Goals

This time of year makes me feel old, first my birthday, two days ago means I gain a year, then the new year happens, and another year goes by (or so I am told) so I double in age. In order to get a head start on things I will have a stab – but most likely fail – at, I decided to make some resolutions now to complete by the end of 2020.

In no particular order:

  • Become passably fluent in Tagalog as its high time I was, even though I am a poor language learner.
  • Have two articles minimum published somewhere, whether that be something to do with books, or to do with football.
  • At least have a working draft of the novel finished, or start with a completely new and workable idea.
  • Volunteer somewhere, probably somewhere bookish, a library or bookshop.
  • Visit a new country. Japan, Vietnam, and India top my list now, but we are always open to suggestions. Also do some more hikes too.
  • Do something else that involves books that I don’t do now, what that would be yet, I have no idea. Any suggestions?
  • Keep up with the blogging, being more focused and writing/editing posts quicker. Visit my fellow bloggers more regularly too.
  • Master some new cookery dishes, especially Filipino food but anything new will be good. This means trying more food which makes me even happier.
  • Delve deeply into culture, so aside from travel, watch more documentaries, read different authors, discover new music, different voices, and generally be more involved.
  • Be better at keeping in touch with people, which means finding time, and there are certainly things I can cut out to free some time up.
  • Make time to read every day, at least an hour, and a regular time would help too.