All posts filed under: this & that

camp’s over…

  Phew, have I been busy this month! I mean, it’s not as if I did not expect to be busy this April, even a bit, erm, well, somewhat busier than usual. After all, I did register for #CampNaNoWriMo and set myself a target of 25,000 of the frequently elusive little buggers we trade in. I thought it would be a perfectly attainable goal while still attending to all my other usual daily grind, and still keep up with reading and reviewing — and, most important of all, sleeping. In my bid to came to my decision more or less scientifically, I had looked at last November, earnestly, quizzically: it’s true that I had very little sleep, and that did next to nothing else, but I had managed to come up with over the required 50,000 words… So, can you follow my reasoning? Halve the goal, and the time you save will allow you to do half  of the everything-else you would otherwise neglect… plus sleep, and if you sleep then work will be, will come easier, be it with words …

~ so, cue in a brand new year; but do we really have to…?

And even more to the point: if this year is all as brand new as it’s supposed to be, why is it that it’s feeling already so old and déjà vu? Maybe it is our fault. All those things we keep relegating to the background, hoping perhaps that by systematically ignoring them we will consign them to some hole in history out of which they will not be able to climb to come and pester our days. But it does not work like that, and they do seem to have this way of coming back to haunt us. Or, at the very least, to inevitably colour everything around us, to cast a shadow of their own onto what we wanted to preserve, pristine and untouched: our brand new year, our yearly welcomed chance at renovation, at new beginnings. Thus with this new year. It has been so bandied about — 2018. That year. You know, the year. 2018. The year when it will all change out of recognition. The year when life as we have known it so far …

And so it is…

  And so it is that I’m going live again. My writer has just ticked the little circle thing on the reading settings, and hey, presto! here I am for all to see. In the time that I was away — well, not away away, really, I’ve been here all the time it’s just that I was under wraps — my writer eventually gave me a most comprehensive makeover: I’ve got a new theme, new menus, new widgets (a-hem, there’s one widget malfunctioning and still a few that are missing, but the cats say the writer is only human and time is definitely money), a new a review policy, a Rules of Hauissh (whatever one of those is), a new bio page… and a tagline! I’ve got a new tagline!!! Yiiipee! Without one, I must confess that I felt like I was going to the races without a hat! Or to a ball without crystal slippers! Or… well, let’s not get too carried away, you surely get my drift. The writer says that it’s a …

hello again! we’re back.

Hello, and welcome to Nina’s scribbles, my brand new, erm… brand newly refurbished blog home. It’s got new clothes, a new hairdo… everything. It was a complete, very thorough makeover. How do you think it’s looking? It’s still very much work-in-progress, of course, as no doubt you, my patient reader, have already been able to establish. Some of the bones and braces of the thing are still missing, though in the process of being forged. But please don’t despair: it’ll soon be whole and navigable — or as nearly as possible. And over time, too, all those posts that it used to house will be returned here, with feature images tailored to fit. In the meantime, my infamous TBR (to-be-read) pile is slowly progressing towards a deeply satisfying, though immeasurably smaller, HBR (as in, has been read) pile, which might be my second favourite state for books, at least as far as this blog is concerned (the top being, of course, HBRR, i.e., has been read and reviewed). However, and as far as the aforementioned reviews go, there …

best intentions, and things gang aft agley

A week ago I decided to set myself the task of redesigning this blog. It was something that had been in the cards anyway, as I was never completely happy with how the slider was working with the featured posts in the current theme. It simply did not seem to come out right, no matter how much I loved it — and no matter how much I tried. Which I did. I tried all the tricks I know (they aren’t all that many, needless to say, but still), and it always came down to the same two answers: I could, of course, choose different photos for the slider; but I thought it important, for instance, for the reviews to be accompanied by the book cover photos as featured pics… Thus things had slowly come to a bit of a standstill. If using a different featured picture was out of the question, then the only other answer was, of course, to adopt a different theme. But after all the work I had to sort this one …

Oh, the frogs we have to kiss… or do we?

Mr Light came home the other evening to the sight and sound of his wife triumphantly punching the air above her shoulders, while repeatedly muttering a very unladylike crescendo of yes… yes… yes… Pretty much taken aback by such an uncharacteristic display, he couldn’t help reflecting that it was nonetheless a performance after the fashion of a certain mutt of Dick Dastardly fame, and almost indistinguishable from that famous canine’s Wicked Laughter N° 3. So, what could she possibly be celebrating in such a fashion? § Or maybe the question should be, rather, what there is not to celebrate. After all, it is never one’s wish to appear ungracious, and a modicum of humility can always be said as de bon ton. As things are, Mr Light supposes his wife can indeed count herself lucky. While definitely a newbie to this book reviewing lark, she arguably already has a lot to be thankful for. Books have sustained her through a very difficult period of her life, one whose end does not seem in sight. And they both are …

A Short Intermission

With emphasis on the short. I promise. But, you see, needs must. My writer assures me that is so. The fact is, I’ve been for an M.O.T., and it seems I’ve been found severely lacking — mostly, in the looks department, though the word ‘functionality’ has been mentioned at some point about something or the other. Surely it can’t have been about me…? Nevertheless. All things considered, it appears I’m now due for one fantastic makeover (or so my writer has promised me).g I’m told it’ll begin with a brand new magazine-style — yippee! new glad rags! — with a bold top menu and a slider for a number of highlighted posts, as well as well-defined display areas with side menus. But that may not be all. My writer has confided in me that a brand new, Miss-Clever-Clogs tagline, something this theme has sadly been lacking in, may also be in the works. It might depend on a thing or two, but it’s not out of the question — and, to tell you honestly, I have missed having a …

Doctor Who, Sydney Newman, and his autobiography.

Not being in Britain in the 1960s, I cannot say I knew much about it from back then — at least not first hand. But I was here in the 1980s, and then again in the 90s, and the Noughties, and the Tweenies… and then I did get it, first hand and avidly. So much so that I became one of those diehard fans who absolutely needed to hit the sofa at the right time or there’d be no end of hell to pay… What am I talking about? I’m talking about Doctor Who, of course, and his astonishing T.A.R.D.I.S.. What else? Ah, of course, the stories. The stories were something else. Everything about Doctor Who was something else. That is what I came to know. When I was here in the 1980s, an English friend told me that to really appreciate Doctor Who you needed perhaps to be able to tap into what makes ‘englishness’. I’m mentioning this only because I do have to confess that, used to imagining my sci-fi inside my head, …

when wishes do come true

For the last 12 months that I have had a secret wish. It all started when Amazon suggested two books that it deemed would be a good match for my reading tastes. After checking both out, I was very pleasantly surprised that, for once, Amazon seemed to have got it right. I bought the two books. Upon close inspection, they seemed to be very much my thing, so I sort of by-passed all the other poor books I already had awaiting for their turn to be appreciated, and gingerly added those two to the top of the pile. As if, maybe, none of the others would notice. These two books were Paul Pen’s The Light of the Fireflies, and Laline Paull’s The Bees. I had never heard of either author, truth be told, but then again I have to confess that until three years ago I had never heard of most of the authors making good literature today, so busy and one-track minded I had been with my professional subject area. It was no problem, …

method in my TBR madness… maybe

I received a Goodreads email notification today that made me stop and look twice. It came from someone with a name I did not immediately recognise, and mentioned a certain TV Celebrity Couple’s reading group. I hovered the cursor over it and read carefully. Once. Twice. Did I know anyone with that handle? Maybe. I would not pretend to know the names of all my social contacts. And then there was the TVCC thing. Mystery. OK, I thought to myself. Let’s see what this is. An invitation to join the reading club. Mmm. Well… Structured social interaction. Er… Heck. As a matter of fact, that might be exactly what I need right now. Why do I automatically interpose a battalion of questions…? Of reasons? Excuses? Why wouldn’t I join a reading group, and actually participate, instead of all that always-in-the-background, almost voyeuristic thing I end up doing because I do not have the — whatever it is I don’t have to actually engage with a group? Of course, it didn’t help all my usual excuses …

‘Always Expect The Unexpected’

In the midst of all the upheaval in my life lately, I’ve been thinking of my Nan Marquinhas and my Great-Aunt Alice, and their seemingly incongruous ways, more often than usual. They were a steadying presence in my early childhood, and as I grew up I found them always full of a philosophy of life that felt natural and intuitive, but which often seemed to jar with the world around us. At least, they seemed to jar with the world as I was being allowed to perceive and learn in the city, where everything was new, glittering, fast — and passing me by. Life was changing in the village too, and though there I was far less sheltered than in the city, things somehow seemed more linear, and Great-Aunt’s and Nan’s pronunciations didn’t seen so out of place somehow. Maybe it’s just that city life appeared so glamorous and safe, so new and benign… I wonder how I could be so drawn to the unknown: was it because it was the world my parents inhabited? “Always …

reading the memoir in 2017 (part 1)

This spring and summer seem to be a good time for readers of adult nonfiction, with a good few of those releases belonging to the sub-genres of memoir and biography and coming out right in time for us to enjoy the great outdoors and the lovely, warm weather that we can but hope will follow. Undaunted as I still am on my learning journey throughout the genre, I intend to read a fair number of memoirs this year. The question now is, of course, which ones and where to start. Isn’t it always? So how about I start with a beckoning towards old loves? Because, when all is said and done, aren’t loves of old the most enduring ones? § Women’s memoirs Jess Phillips, Everywoman: One Woman’s Truth About Speaking the Truth It should come as no surprise then, at least to those who know me well or have been following me on social networks for any amount of time, that the first memoir I hope to be reading this year is a book a) by a woman, b) a woman who …