Saturday, 26 August 2017

August Notes: Books and Lifestyle

Happy weekend! Sometimes your adulthood fails you and you come back home from grocery shopping with a package of pretty macarons and not that much else. Luxury lies in small details and for me colorful sweet macarons are this weekend's one detail. I started this day with a walk to the forest. Today it is Finnish Nature day and there are celebrations and happenings all over Finland. I had planned to participate one but had to cancel because of shoulder ache (still recovering from my quilting marathon :P). Well, one weekend will go with lower pace. I have several BBC Proms concerts waiting, excellent books and small DIY projects. 

Today I also made a huge discovery. Life without garlic and cumin is not life at all. I have been making experiments with my diet to find out what is it that does not suit me. Seems dairy and wheat are two things for me to avoid. I have also been cooking with less spices and garlic. As a result I had a total lack of inspiration what comes planning dishes and eating in general. I have always loved eating, it is one of my dearest hobbies, laugh. So it was unusual that I had what would I eat problems. Today I almost emptied my spice cabinet when cooking. I also put garlic with heavy hand. I prepared shakshuka inspired pulled oats and felt instantly the power of good taste! Eyes opened and feeling great I had to go and google the health benefits of garlic and the spices I used. I found out that the spices are proven to have many health benefits. For example this article lists health benefits of cumin. Maybe it is that you crave what you need? Because spices taste wonderful we are meant to eat them? What about macarons then, I craved for those too.. This theory surely needs further investigation, maybe in a form of second package of macarons.

This is the third post where I share with you what I have read lately. This series is still looking for it's form. I like to combine reading list with general thoughts I have had lately. In last two posts I have also written about my BuJo. In my plans monthly Notes post could include all these. I pondered long before stepping into writing about books. I thought that it might be too much. But then, I like to read and this is a lifestyle blog. I also enjoy reading other people's reading lists so why wouldn't I share mine. Those interested can check it, others can skip. Simple as that. Reading more has been one of my goals since May (2017). Writing about reading motivates to read more because I want to be able to post reading list every month. Otherwise I might be just reading about reading and collecting enormous list of must reads. You get this problem? When one book recommendation leads you to other and you end up with about 100 must reads. 

In the picture you can see two beautiful old books, that I have not read. Bronte's Jane Eyre and Steinbeck's Cannery Row. I have bought Jane Eyre years ago and tried to finish it many times. Steinbeck was a found from thrift store's free to take box some weeks ago. I will read both one day. Especially I feel embarrassed about the Jane Eyre, I should have read it. If you have't read it we should form a reading circle because that way I would get the needed pressure to finish it.

If Jane Eyre has been left unfinished same thing has happened to a few number of books. Around Easter I had Kerouac's On the Road and Woolf's Orlando from the library. I already had read 100 pages or so from the Kerouac but never finished. I knew that both are excellent books so I decided to keep them on my must read list and come back later. This month I read both. As for other reads falling to the classics category I have a Simone de Beauvoir project going. No matter how challenging it will be I am determined to read de Beauvoir's The Second Sex this year. Now I am in the halfway as I finished the first part. Trying to constantly become a more enlightened person I continued with the company of feminist literature and read Roxane Gay's Bad Feminist that has been translated into Finnish this year. Two Finnish books are also on my list this month because I have shamefully neglected great Finnish authors. To my knowledge Marja-Liisa Vartio's and Heidi Köngäs' books have not been translated to other languages (correct me if this is false) but for those who can read in Finnish I recommend their work. 

Jack Kerouac: On the Road (1957)

This beat classic is not one of the easiest books to read but as soon as got into the rhythm it carried away. The reading experience is like being on a hectic road trip through the late forties US.  It describes the rough bohemian life of the beat generation and criticizes capitalist way of life. I liked the philosophical side and thoughts about life. 

Virginia Woolf: Orlando (1928)

Ever since I read Woolf's Room of One's Own (1929) I have had all her works on my must read list. Like with ROO I used post-its between pages when reading because I wanted to remember all intelligent thoughts. Orlando is so timeless read it could have been written this year. The story of Orlando goes from the Elizabethan time to 1928. There are wonderful notions about the essence of time and how such abstract thing can be measured. In the middle of the story Orlando changes sex from man to woman which gives Woolf a chance to discuss the different roles men and women are forced to have in society.

Simone de Beauvoir: The Second Sex Part 1. (1949)

This summer it was time to take this massive work from the bookshelf and read it. Part one was over 400 pages and the next part is over 600 pages. It is a classic that has come in front of me many times when reading other works. I was positively surprised about the writing style. Even though this is a serious work I got to laugh often because de Beauvoir really knows how to place her words. Or maybe I just have a very weird sense of humor, who knows. 

Roxane Gay: Bad Feminist (2014, Finnish translation 2017)

This was quick read that I finished on a bus trip to southern Finland. Roxane Gay views popular culture phenomenons from Girls to Django with critical eye. Gay also reveals personal experiences and evaluates her own consumption of culture and attitudes.

Marja-Liisa Vartio: Kaikki naiset näkevät unia (1960)

Mrs. Pyy is a housewife that sees her life pass through her. She wants to be something else than just an ordinary housewife. She goes for course to paint porcelain, supports artists and decorates her home with her best taste. She is suffocated by the atmosphere where neighbors and dinner party guests grade one's life choices, appearances and surroundings. Even though written in 1960 this novel gets the feelings of a woman who is looking for more than the life is offering to her. Theme that is still current.

Heidi Köngäs: Hertta (2015)

Hertta Kuusinen is a historical person who lived 1904-1974. She was a communist politician who worked as MP from 1945 to 1972 (more info in Finnish here). Heidi Köngäs' novel is about the relationship between Hertta and other communist party politician Yrjö Leino. It opens the time's political environment before and during the second world war when communism was seen as a threat. Because of her political connections and opinions Hertta spends several years imprisonment. Through the difficult years her love for Leino and dream of communism carries her.  

Have you been reading lately? What is on your list of must reads?


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