#WeekendCoffeeShare: If We Were Having Coffee… On October 29

Hello my lovely booklovers,

how are you? Welcome to the Weekend Coffee Share, a blog hop by the lovely Diana over at Part Time Monster. Every weekend we get together for virtual coffees and a little casual chat. How has this past week been for you?

If we were having coffee today, I’d talk about Instagram. Do you know I’m on there and you can follow me at TheLiteratiGirl? (Please do 🙂 ). Anyway, I’m trying to up my “Bookstagram” game a bit, and try to accessorise a little with relevant props and backdrops, but I keep wondering where people not only get all the props from (including those vinyl figurines which are prohibitively expensive to get your hands on where I live), but also how many books they seemingly carry around randomly just for photo ops. I myself always carry one book I’m reading with me, but I wouldn’t take my entire Harry Potter collection to the park. Anyway, I’ve added a shiny new section to this blog, called Bookstagram and it’s got my Instagram pictures on it. Check it out.

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you that I have been watching reruns of Castle lately. I love that the lead character is an author and he does face author problems from time to time. Spinning a story, getting stuck on details, having writer’s block. His screensaver is even set to the words “You. Should. Be. Writing.” Been there, mate. With NaNoWriMo only 3 more sleeps away, I’ve picked up a few plot bunnies along the way and a newfound resolution to utilise my notebook and reporter’s pad more, seeing as I carry them with me everywhere. Another thing I love about the show is that a ghostwriter actually wrote the books attributed to Richard Castle. I just received my copy of High Heat, a hardcover First Edition, which was only published on October 25.

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you that despite all the plot-fluffies I collected so far, I will not be attempting to write a novel for NaNo this time around. I’ll be writing book reviews for this blog. I’ve read so many books this year (and I have been very slow and remiss in updating Goodreads) and took notes, but didn’t actually write that many yet. While 50.000 words of books reviews may be ambitious, I’ll try to get 2 per day done so that I’ll at least have my 60 Books Challenge covered. Once the reviews are done I’ll try to develop some of my plot ideas further. To that end, I have got new decorations by thedreamygiraffe on the way to hang over my desk:

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you that designing a calendar is harder than you’d think. Last year and early this year, I sold Midori Regular Size calendars through my Etsy store LifeInNotes. Over the course of the year, I have personally switched to favour the Field Notes size. I spent days designing the pages, making sure everything is in the right order to be printed double-sided so I can bind them by saddle-stitching the papers together. Only to find out that my printer is playing up and not printing the small numbers and words crisply enough. I’ve tried everything but I don’t think the printer aligns properly and every fix I’ve tried has so far failed. Then I thought about getting them professionally printed and cut (because I’m terrible when it comes to cutting straight edges with a box cutter) but the providers I have found who’d even print in Field Notes size charge through the roof. I’m not expecting a massive print run and I’m not handing them out as publicity gimmicks, so I don’t need hundreds, I only need around 40. At most, I’d say. So now I’m trying to find a font that prints properly in the required size so I can still print from home. It’s complicated. But if you know any printing and book binding service that offers booklets/brochures/mags in 9cm x 14cm size and low print runs, please let me know!!

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you that I have set myself a challenge to learn a few more writing and reading related skills. I want to take a refresher course in speed / touch typing. My problem is that since my course in the UK, I’ve mainly worked on German QWERTZ keyboards on which especially the special characters, punctuation and Umlaute are on different keys which makes me look down to find the right one and misspell whenever I try to touch type. I’ll also be looking more into speed reading. I’m not too bad, I’d say, but I can’t quite quiet that inner narrator enough.

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you that I’ve been snooping around Instagram some more, and found a Bookish Scavenger Hunt for November. I’ll definitely be joining – I need to rearrange my shelves anyway – and this sounds like fun. Are you up for it?

Book Scavenger

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you that I’ll be seeing a performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream tomorrow. It’s by a local theatre workshop for mentally disabled actors, and my friend is the organiser of the whole shindig. Last year they performed Mother Hulda and it was one of the most hilarious performances I’ve ever seen. I’m really looking forward to the show tomorrow.

So, as you can see, I’ll have loads going on in the coming weeks and months. Next to all of that, I’ll try to find a new job, go to the gym regularly, do my yoga, write more, and generally keep as busy as I can. I even signed up for more free online lessons on Coursera and the Shaw Academy. All this hype of activity serves a purpose: keep my Seasonal Affective Disorder at bay. I’ve been suffering from SAD for a few years now and the clocks go back tonight, at least in Europe. In the past, the changing of the clock was like a switch at which dark moods and thoughts return and my energy gets zapped. This year was worse, because we didn’t get any proper summer weather until late May and even then just occasionally, making it a very gloomy year for me. But I know I have to keep busy and engage my mind in creative things to focus on positive energy, so what better way than to keep creative, educate myself more and focus on a healthy lifestyle?

And if all else fails, there are always Firefly gag reels to watch. Like this one which has never failed to instantly cheer me up:

Anyway, I’ve been rambling. Check out the other Weekend Coffee Sharers, I’m sure they’d love to see you and catch up with you.

Thank you for having coffee with me. Same time, next week?

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#WeekendCoffeeShare: If We Were Having Coffee… On October 22

Hello my lovely booklovers,

how are you? Welcome to the Weekend Coffee Share, a blog hop by the lovely Diana over at Part Time Monster. Every weekend we get together for virtual coffees and a little casual chat. How has this past week been for you?

I am so sorry I have been incommunicado for two weekends, but there’s been a lot going on. Come on in, though, I’ll make us a cuppa and you’re welcome to stay for some homemade spicy pumpkin soup later on while we catch up.

First off, if we were having coffee today, I’d tell you that my best friend Nils got married on October 7. I’ve known Nils for about 18 years give or take, and so there was no chance I’d miss him tying the knot! Let me just say that I never wear dresses. So if I agree to buy and wear a fancy dress for you, our friendship’s solid. Seriously. You’re family. Nils is one of those few people. He even asked me to do most of their wedding photography, which is not only flattering but also scary. Normally, I take photos of landscapes, wildlife or landmarks, I seldom venture into people photography, let alone posed photos like wedding pictures! But he and his bride loved the photos (phew!).

My weeks have been filled with mad dashes across town to chauffeur my dad and gran to various doctor’s appointments and the like. Including getting parked in once so badly (no fault of mine, the guy in the spot next to mine was a douche and parked waaaaayyyy too close to my driver’s side door) I had to climb across from the passenger seat in front of a class of school kids who’d just arrived at the local museum. It probably wasn’t a pretty sight and didn’t do my already bad back any good, but at least I got dad in the car and home after an operation.

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you that the reason I didn’t update last week was because I was in England. My bestie Ronni had invited me to come over so I could finally meet her baby daughter. And the little munchkin is a cutie. We spent the weekend in Warrington where I only had limited mobile access. Ronni and I got a girlie day in, during which we went to the movies while daddy looked after the baby, and then had a little book-and-DVD shopping trip and a coffee. And I managed to find some Harry Potter swag  in the form of a Hogwarts and Gryffindor notebooks and a Gryffindor Quidditch Captain pin along the way, so happy me! I’ve missed the UK so much! I hadn’t been back in over a year. It felt more like home than home does. And it’s been amazing catching up with Ronni. We try and see each other at least twice a year, so she’ll come visit me in Germany and I’ll visit her in England. The last time we saw each other was in February when she visited me in Germany while pregnant (it was pretty much the last week she was allowed to fly), so even though we Skype and WhatsApp, we had a lot to catch up on in person.

Let's pretend The Three Broomsticks does Pumpkin Spice Frappuccinos now, shall we? ©Literati Girl

Let’s pretend The Three Broomsticks does Pumpkin Spice Frappuccinos now, shall we? And no, that’s not how I spell my name… ©Literati Girl

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you that I finished reading Nathan Besser’s Man In The Corner so quickly on my flight over to Manchester, I actually bought 6 more books. While I liked Man In The Corner, because it’s a noir psychological thriller, what peeved me was that the two German sentences in the book were incorrect. They may have been minor mistakes, but it shouldn’t have taken long to double-check them.

German sentences in Man In The Corner. The top one should read "Ich wurde zum Geschlechtsverkehr..." (instead of "in Geschlechtsverkehr"), while the bottom one should be "Jugendliche unter achtzehn." Capitalisation is very important in German. ©Literati Girl

German sentences in Man In The Corner. The top one should read “Ich wurde zum Geschlechtsverkehr…” (instead of “in Geschlechtsverkehr”), while the bottom one should be “Jugendliche unter achtzehn.” Capitalisation is very important in German. ©Literati Girl

I am currently reading The Watchmaker Of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley. The other books I bought are: The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman, The Book of Dead Days by Marcus Sedgwick, Perfect by Rachel Joyce, Joss Whedon’s screenplay of Much Ado About Nothing, and John Updike’s The Witches of Eastwick – I think the last one is down to the Halloween Spirit. In the next few days I’ll have to take all my books off my shelves, and rearrange them as my shelves are currently an overflowing mess. But hey, that’ll give me an opportunity to sort them all and update my Home Library List of books I own.

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you I have just come home from a two-day seminar on refugees and the European refugee and migrant policies. I helped organise the event (you may have seen the flyers I designed for it) and it was a success. We talked until 9.30pm last night and started back up at 8.30am this morning – I’m beat. It was, however, my first post-degree event promoting cross-cultural communication, so that’s something to add to the CV.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I’ll be holding a talk in February on cultural differences between Germany and the UK, and British culture. I will also be hosting a two-day writer’s workshop next October in preparation of NaNoWriMo (that’s National Novel Writing Month if you don’t already know – it’s a challenge to write the first draft of a novel of 50.000 words between November 1 and November 30). I will be doing NaNoWriMo this year for the third time (I’ve done a total of 2 NaNo’s and 5 Camp NaNoWriMo’s so far) but I won’t be writing a novel this time. For now, it’s all about catching up on reviews for this blog as my thesis has been my focus until September. I already have novel ideas lined up for the next Camp NaNoWriMo in April, though. And I may also (finally) learn how to play the guitar if the Naturfreunde Solingen-Theegarten can get the guitar teacher organised. I think they’re just running low on people who could accompany groups singing around a campfire.

If we were having coffee today, I’d ask what you have been reading lately, and whether you are a writer at all. Are you participating in NaNoWriMo?

Anyway, that’s it from me. After a stressful week and a looooong day I had yesterday and today my brain’s gone mush and I can’t think of anything else to tell you right now. The offer for soup still stands (we’ve been getting temperatures of around 5°C, so autumn is definitely here) but alternatively you may pop by the other Weekend Coffee Sharers.

Thank you for having coffee with me today. Same time, next week?

Top Ten Tuesday: Top 10 Characters I’d Name A Child After

Top Ten Tuesday is the brainchild of The Broke & the Bookish. Every Tuesday, we compile a list of our literary Top 10, and then add it to the blog hop.

This week is all about our Top 10 Characters I’d Name A Child After.

1.) Éowyn from Lord of the Rings
Not only is Éowyn one of my favourite fictional names, she is also such a badass! While she’s loyal, nurturing, compassionate and of royal blood, she’s also a fierce warrior who can fight just like any man.

2.) Sherlock from Sherlock Holmes
I really love the name Sherlock. Sherlock, in any of his incarnations, is a brilliant man. Let’s forget the drug problem (which, btw, was still legal in the original stories). And yes, he can be a twat, but he’s also loyal to the few people who are closer to him than family (John Watson, Mrs. Hudson).

3.) Guinevere from King Arthur / Merlin
I much prefer the old-fashioned spelling to the modern Jennifer. It’s been a while since I read any of the many stories which feature Guinevere (and I prefer her as Merlin’s friend and generally more than “just” Lancelot’s affair), but I like the name and the endless possibilities for nicknames.

4.) Samwise from Lord of the Rings
Let’s face it, Sam is the real hero of the story. And, coincidently, the only hobbit with a name you can actually call a child after. I think Samwise is a nice alternative to Samuel or Samson, and a little less-obviously LotR than Frodo, Bilbo, Meriadoc or Peregrin.

5.) River from Doctor Who
OK, not a literary character as such (although there are Doctor Who novels, so I say it counts!), but River is hell in high heels, self-confident, smart, and River also happens to be one of my favourite names.

6.) Sawyer from Tom Sawyer
Technically, Sawyer is a surname, but I think it works nicely as a boy’s given name as well. I’ve always liked Tom Sawyer’s imagination, how mischievous he can be, and his insights into human nature.

7.) Beatrice from Much Ado About Nothing
Beatrice doesn’t need a man, which is why I like her so much. She’s quite sassy and independent, and a strong woman at a time when that was not yet encouraged. Also, her name can be changed around to Beatrix (and all the nicknames it comes with) as well as one of my favourite names Tabea (even though strictly speaking that’s a diminutive of Tabitha).

8.) Hunter from Wicca (aka Sweep)
I like Hunter as a boy’s name, never really understood how it’s considered unisex. Hunter in the Wicca series of books is a loyal character, protecting his own, forcefully if needed. But he’s also loving and nurturing when it comes to his loved ones.

9.) Hermione from Harry Potter
Now, Hermione had to be on the list, didn’t she? Not only did her name regain popularity, she’s also a great role model. Modest, loyal, incredibly smart, compassionate, fierce, and inventive, she’s not a princess but a warrior. I also admire her attitude towards hard work and study. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to learn and be good at it!

10.) Malcolm from Firefly
Again, not strictly speaking a literary character, but there was a novel and comics, so again, I say it counts. Even though he’s technically one of the bad guys, I like how loyal he is to his crew, they’re his family. He gives respect where it is due, commands it easily, he’s a man of his word and doesn’t subscribe to traditional gender roles. Mal is strong in character and mind, would rather die than give up his crew, and even under torture he managed to stop others from breaking and giving up. That’s one awesome role model.

 

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Top 10 Banned Books

Top Ten Tuesday is the brainchild of The Broke & the Bookish. Every Tuesday, we compile a list of our literary Top 10, and then add it to the blog hop.

This week is all about our Top 10 Banned Books (technically, it’s Favourite Villains, but as last week was Banned Books Week, I decided to deviate a little).

All the books below are on the official “Frequently Challenged YA” List by the American Library Association.

#WeekendCoffeeShare: If We Were Having Coffee… On October 1

Hello my lovely booklovers,

how are you? Welcome to the Weekend Coffee Share, a blog hop by the lovely Diana over at Part Time Monster. Every weekend we get together for virtual coffees and a little casual chat. How has this past week been for you?

If we were having coffee today, we’d sit in my living room and have cake. It’s my mum’s birthday, and she always makes way too much cake, so I’m sure there’ll be plenty leftover.

It’s gone cold here again. Last week was still summer-y, now it’s decidedly autumn. We’d sit inside and unfortunately we’d have to listen to the world’s worst trumpeter practising next door. Seriously. I wish he’d invest in some soundproofing.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that this week has been quite stressful as I have had to play taxi and get my dad and gran to doctor’s appointments. That also involved two very early mornings for me and a lot of afternoons spent sitting in the car because they couldn’t tell me how long the appointments were for. On the plus side, I’ve managed to read a few chapters of Man in the Corner by Nathan Besser.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that our lovely fellow Weekend Coffee Sharer Corina did a Tarot reading for me. Technically, she already did one last week, online, as she is trying to get back into it before she offers her services. And what the cards told her was spot on! Bearing in mind, we only know each other through our blogs, and I couldn’t shuffle the cards myself (and unfortunately I also missed out on the in-person reading and reveal of the cards, my favourite part) – most of it was spot-on or so relatable that I  know what it was referring to. To be sure, I asked her whether she could do a clarifying spread and she did a five card yes/no spread and a pendulum reading for me – again revealing the issues I’m facing and giving valuable advice. I’ll definitely share the link with you when her business is up and running because she’s awesome, talented and offers very insightful advice, and if you believe that the cards can help guide your way you should definitely check her out!

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you that next to taxi-service and work I spent quite a bit of time writing for this blog. I know it doesn’t look like much yet as most of it was prepping posts and scheduling future ones, but it’s getting there. So don’t be surprised if you see my blog pop up more often in your newsfeed, I’m playing catch-up with all the reviews I didn’t have time for when I wrote my thesis.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that my way to relax these past few evenings has been watching reruns of Firefly, and Dr Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. Yes it’s cheesy (that’s the whole point) but it’s short (each Act is 13 minutes) and hilarious and exactly the right thing when you need a good laugh.

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you that this is it for this week. Check out the other Weekend Coffee Sharers and say hello.

Thank you for having coffee with me. Same time, next week?