And then everything changed

Mittwoch, 31. Mai 2017

#Readmyowndamnbooks Challenge 2017 - End of May Update

You might remember that this year I'm participating in the Read My Own Damn Books Challenge. Last time I posted about it, I owned 38 unread books. That was in February. I have read five of those books so far, but I also collected 14 more books I have yet to read. I know, this is a lot. But hey, there was a book festival in my town with a huge book fleemarket all over town and I went a bit nuts. But it's so worth it.

Books I've Read

Bob Dylan - Chronicals: This book is not on the picture because I already gave it to my Mum so she can read it. But I did finish it and it was fine. It was tough at times but it was still interesting and well written. I like Bob Dylan's writing, not only in his songs but also his autobiography. For a true fan of his this book would be paradise because he explains how some of his many many songs were created, but as I don't really know his work that well, sometimes I got a bit bored.

Adalbert Stifter - Rock Chrystal: Wow, I almost forgot that I also read this book because I had to read it for school anyway. My boyfriend wanted me to read it for years because he thinks my writing can use more descriptions of landscapes like Stifter does them. But the descriptions of landscape where the hardest parts in this book during which I was so bored. The main plot of two kids getting lost was cute though and the end almost made me cry.

John Green - Looking for Alaska: I know, this is a very very unpopular opinion but I hated this book. I had my issues with John Green in the past. His books were actually one of my 10 Things I Hate That Everyone Else Loves back in 2015. Which is a shame as I adore him and his brother Hank and all the amazing things they do on You Tube, as well as their podcast and their community. I think those two are fantastic! But John Green's literature? Not so much.

Then I read "Paper Towns" and I actually like it. A lot. It was very well constructed and written, the characters were well created and it was exciting and honest and heartwarming - everything a youth novel is supposed to be. So I thought: Why not give another of his books a chance?

I chose "Looking for Alaska" and it reminded me of all the things I hate about John Green. Which is truly just one thing: untimely and totally unnessecary dramatic plot twists which turn a book into a depressing piece of work. Don't get me wrong. I still think that he is a very talented author. In fact I enjoyed the first half of "Looking for Alaska" very much. It was smart and funny and sweet. It was fun. But then the plot twist happened and it felt so out of place and random that I just couldn't stand it. I think he's wasting his obvious talent on plotlines like this. But a lot of people love his literature and that's fine. It's just not my thing.

Val Williams - Photography. Understanding 80 masterpieces: This book collects 80 famous photographs and explains shortly how they were constructed and what makes them stand out. As I am interested in photography I found this book very inspiring and interesting.

John Cleland - Fanny Hill: So, this book is the reason I haven't ticked of more books of my list because it took me almost two months to read it. For such a tiny book that's a lot. Many times I wanted to quit (which I have no problem in doing, I actually quit "Looking for Alaska") but I was interested in where the story is going, so I kept reading even if it was really tough at times.

"Fanny Hill" is the (probably fake) memoir of a prostitute. It's from the 18th century which means that it's written in an old English which was difficult to read at times. On the other hand it describes sexual scenes extremely explicitely. This combination is kind of intruiging even if the old language won't allow any erotic feelings. There are several things in this book which makes me think that a story like this could never ever be published today. But I appreciate how honest it is.

Books I Bought

Marguerite Duras - Hiroshima Mon Amour: To be honest, I have no idea what this is about. But it is a screenplay which I enjoy reading for simple pleasure as well as improving my own screenwriting. It was only 2€ so I thought, why not give it a try?

Marian Keyes - Sushi for Beginners: I saw this book at the fleemarket and all I read on the back was that she's an editor at a women's magazine. As this is one of my dream jobs, this was enough reason to buy it.

Philipp Schmidt - Schattengewächse. Auftakt: I'm pretty sure that this is only available in German. It's the first book of a dystopia book series about how mega companies are controlling the world and apparently some people living in the underground have magical powers. I actually went to a reading of the author. I had some issues with a couple of minor things in his writing but the concept is interesting, so my friend and I bought the book together. Also it was published by a little publishing house in my city which consists of some dudes in my age who are super nice and aparently founded this publishing house solely for this author.

Peter Kurth - Isadora: This is a gigentic biography of Isadora Duncan, the dancer. I was always fascinated by her, so when I saw this book for 1€ in a bookstore in London, I took it as a sign.

Joanna Rakoff - My Salinger Year: I also bought this in London. I think I heard some good things about it though I don't remember what and where. But I like Salinger and on the back it said it's like Lena Dunham for the literature scene, so this sounds good enough.

Kiera Cass - Selection: I can't tell you how often I thought about reading this book and then decided otherwise because I'm not really into literature where a love story is in the center. But the girl who sold it at the fleemarket talked so highly of it that I decided to give it a chance. It's YA dystopia.

Janne Teller - Nothing: I had this book in my hand several times at book stores but never bought it because it was too expensive. Now I found it for 1€. I'm not sure what it's about. I think its Youth Literature and got good reviews.

Alexandra Fontzen, Axel Stähler - Das Gelobte Land: This is a Non Fiction book about Israel. I have been strangely fascinated with Israel lately, so when my friend found this book at the fleemarket I immediately bought it because I want to know more about the history of Israel.

Inka's History: Bought this during my amazing vacation to Peru to learn more about the Inkas. I already started reading it and it's fascinating.

Books I Got As A Gift

Plato - Collected Edition. Part 1: I'm sorry but this should actually be under this section, because I didn't buy it but found it in a box with free books in front of my college. I have already read some works of Plato, so I thought it can't be bad to read some more.

Syd Field - Screenplay: One of my plans for the next years is to learn screenwriting. I already did a class at my university and it was really cool but to be honest all I've learned was how incredibly hard screenwriting is. So I'm in need for some addtional training. My friend found this book somewhere on the street and gave it to me. Well, if this isn't a sign that I'm destined to write the next Oscar winning screenplay, I don't know what is. ;)

Marc Elsberg - Zero: This is a book by a German author which my Mum gave me. I don't really know what to expect but the last book my Mum gave me was "The Circle" by Dave Eggers which was mind-blowing, and not only does that prove that my Mum has an awesome taste in literature (which i obviously inherited from her) but she said it's like "The Circle" just even freakier. I'm looking forward to this read.

Ravi Zacharias, Norman Geisler - Wer schuf den Schöpfer?: The title of this book means "Who created the creator?" and I found it on the street on my way to the reading of Philipp Schmidt, who's book I listed above. Lately I have studied religion rather intensely, both for school as well as out of personal interested. This book talks about critical questions concerning religions which is perfectly in my spectrum of interest.

What I'm Reading Right Now

Holly Smale - Geek Girl. Forever Geek: This is the finale book in the Geek Girl series about a nerdy girl turned model which I also bought in a second hand book store in London. I've read the first two books of the series and then skipped about five, but I don't think it matters. I started reading it a couple of days ago and it's so funny and light and fun and such a great relaxation compared to the stuff I have to read for school.

--- From these books I want to read soon: Geek Girl, Zero, Inka's History, Selection, Schattengwächse, Sushi for Beginners ---

--- From the other books I still have I want to read soon: The lost honor of Katherina Blum, Ich hab die Unschuld kotzen sehen, Die Nacht der Masken, Die Zeit vor der Zeit, Inside WikiLeaks ---

So now I'm owning 47 books.

Mittwoch, 24. Mai 2017

Let go of the stuff that weighs you down

And with this I mean your literal stuff. Your belongings. Having too many things just weighs you down, it chains you to a place and makes you less flexible. You should also get rid of your emotional baggage but start with your actual baggage and you will be suprised by what an emotional effect it will have.

My main task for May (besides the obvious: surviving and not messing up too badlly) has been to get rid of stuff. I helped my Mum clearing out her basement and sold stuff on Ebay. I sold my old clothes on a fleemarket and the Internet and I donated and gave away the rest. I threw away so many old letters, birthday cards, study material, scribbles, articles I tore from magazines, and so much more. I had fun going through all these memories and indulging in the nostalgia of easier times (which were tough in their own way obviously - we just tend to idealize the good old times even if they weren't so good). But I had even more fun throwing those memorias away. I will always have my actual memories- Yes, I will forget stuff but that's just my brain's way of telling me that this stuff doesn't matter anymore.

For me there's nothing more freeing than getting rid of stuff. I always wanted to have rather few things than many. The main reason is that owning little makes it that much easier to pack up and move. I live in a rented apartment where all the furniture and other stuff down to the cutlery belongs to my landlord. It makes me breath easier. Sure, some day I might invest in sturdy furniture and pretty dishes but I'm only 25 and I love the feeling of being able to leave within a couple of days to wherever life drags me to.

Also having lots of stuff around me gives me a feeling of heaviness. It's messy and crowded. I can still make my place look messy without a lot of stuff but it's much easier to do this if you own a lot.

Lastly, in the end I aks myself: What does all this stuff even mean? Nothing. Sure I like cute clothes and fascinating books but only the ones which I am actually using regurarily. That's enough. Because if you think about it, things don't mean anything. They don't feed you and they surely don't make you happy. What matters are the people you love and the activities you're passionate about. Which is why I rather spend my money on experiences than on things. And I'm glad to see that this seems to be a trend. Minimalism is in. People start to understand that belongings won't make you happy. Which shows me that we're not living in such a horrible time after all.

Tumbler Photo

(PS: I know that I started a blog post with "And" - and I'm totally fine with it.)

Dienstag, 9. Mai 2017

Stop being a grumpy asshole and have a good laugh #4

On some days we somehow lack the motivation to do anything. On these occasions it always cheers me up to look at funny memes and pictures, especially if they're about my favorite fandoms. So here are some of them - the Harry Potter edition. There will be a lot of Marauders joke because come on, everyone knows they're the best thing about Harry Potter, right?

(You can find the Game of Thrones edition here.)