Top Ten Tuesday: Top 10 Bookish Holiday Gift Guide

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 Bookish Holiday Gift Guide.

1.) Book Rest Lamp

2.) Book Page Art

3.) Personalised Ex Libris Embosser

4.) Personal Library Kit

5.) Library Card Socks

6.) Bookish iPhone Dock

7.) Literary Listography

8.) Where The Wild Things Are Pouch

9.) Night Owl Book Club pin

10.) A Book Club Subscription

 

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#WeekendCoffeeShare: If We Were Having Coffee… On November 27

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 tell you that I’ve had a week of ups and downs. It started with getting my diploma on Monday, making it my official Graduation Day!! I did a happy dance all morning, even got a few gifts from friends. My parents’ reaction to me graduating? A handshake from my mum – with a sideboard between us – and my dad just nodded and didn’t even ask to see the diploma.

Now, I didn’t expect much. I know better than that. But given that a card and a bunch of flowers are the bare minimum of congratulatory gifts in my family, I expected at least that, and maybe a hug instead of a handshake. I don’t know about your families, but in mine, we used to celebrate achievements with family dinner out. We didn’t celebrate Monday. Not even a glass of wine or bubbly together. I spent my graduation day sitting by myself on my couch and getting drunk on 3/4 of a bottle of red wine and an empty stomach because errands had me running rugged all day.

It’s been almost a week and not once have I been given the feeling that they’re proud, although my mum has since awkwardly offered to get me a new watch as a grad gift. And it hurts. After 29 years I should know better and I should be used to never being good enough because no matter what I did I never was good enough for them, but on my graduation day, it hurt a lot. Still does, to be honest. And I’m so tired of always doing my best and never being good enough for my own family.

I graduated summa cum laude and on the Dean’s List, with a GPA of 3.97 (curse that 1 B+ I got on my very first assignment). I’ve never been a straight-A student until now, but because of that my parents think that my degree can’t have been a proper one or hard to complete, despite me working my arse off for my grades. In Germany, the highest grade you can have is 1,0 and my GPA works out at 1,0. I literally couldn’t have done any better than that. Somehow they think that studying by distance learning is not as worthy as going to a brick-and-mortar university, although it requires a lot more discipline and the ability to teach yourself. Next to my studies, I worked every day, I looked after family members and, if you’ve been following this blog you’ll know, I also struggle with mental health issues and by now my SAD has kicked in properly as well. There were times I doubted I’d ever finish the course. It’s taken all I had to get the grades I got and not lose my mind in the process and I am damn proud of that – I currently hold the highest academic degree anyone in this family ever got – at least until my sister gets her Master’s degree. So far, my parents haven’t told anyone I graduated; in fact, they’ve been talking about how my sister is writing her own Master’s thesis now.

And I am sorry for this coffee rant, but my parents’ reaction has really sent me into a negative spiral with echoes of the ever popular “you’re not good enough”, “when are you getting a real job”, “What can you do with that degree (note: Cross-Cultural Communication!) anyway,” and throwing in the evergreen “you should really lose weight” with the implied “nobody will ever love you like that” for good measure. And they wonder why I value books and the escape into fictional worlds so much…

There were several times this week when I got so upset I had to leave because I could feel myself tearing up. Not that they noticed. At one point I was shaking I was so angry. Mental health problems are not real problems to them, so they don’t understand how anyone could think them insensitive. These are people who fire employees with mental health diagnoses, because they’re “not easily fixed” and because, unlike a broken leg, “you can’t really see if they’re pretending or not” and so could milk them for the salary on sick leave without doing any work. And I sit there, thinking “your own daughter has these issues, and you’d know that if you’d listen. Is this how you’d treat me”?

So yeah. Absolute high followed by one of the biggest blows I’ve ever received this week. I’d love to talk to you about the Gilmore Girls revival and my arts and crafts I did to celebrate it, but I’m afraid I’m not in the mood. We’d drink our coffee out of my self-decorated Stars Hollow mugs, though.

My Stars Hollow DIY mugs. They both have both designs on the, just the other way round. ©theliteratigirl

My Stars Hollow DIY mugs. They both have both designs on the, just the other way round. ©theliteratigirl

And if we were having coffee, I’d talk a bit about Firefly and the fact that 2016 has claimed yet another favourite of mine: actor Ron Glass, who played Shepherd Book on the show. I hope you found serenity, Shepherd! Don’t go far!

Anyway, I’m sure you’ve had enough of this rant and I don’t blame you. Thank you for listening, though. The other Weekend Coffee Sharers are probably a bit more cheerful this week, so check them out!

Thank you for having coffee with me today on the First Advent. Same time, next week?

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Top 10 Authors I’d Love To Celebrate Thanksgiving With

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 Authors I’d Love To Celebrate Thanksgiving With.

1.) Bill Bryson. He’s the reason I studied Travel Journalism, and I’d love to hear his many stories first-hand.

2.) Neil Gaiman. I love how he can take something we take for granted – like graveyards or the London Underground – and turn it into something extraordinary!

3.) Stephen Fry. If ever there was a conversationalist versed in any possible topic, it has to be Stephen Fry. I think he’d be an amazing dinner guest.

4.) Tim Winton. An author I discovered for myself this year. From his books, he sounds like a very down-to-earth Australian surfer dude and I’d like to know more!

5.) Melissa Lucashenko. Another author I read for the first time this year for my thesis. I’d love to talk to her about what home and Aboriginal heritage mean to her.

6.) J.K. Rowling. Oh come on, I think she’s a given!

7.) Mark Gatiss. Not only could we talk Sherlock and Doctor Who and all other sorts of nerdy things, we could also talk about bisexual Edwardian spies. Plus, Mark’s hilarious.

8.) Benjamin Alire Sáenz. As he’s a professor of literature, I am sure we’d have quite a few things to talk about.

9.) R. R. Virdi. Ronnie and I are in the same Facebook group and interact sometimes. From what I can tell, he’s always happy to meet fellow Wrimos and I’d love to meet him.

10.) Kathy Reichs. I find her work, literary and real-life, fascinating. Not all of it might be conversation for the dinner table, but it’d be interesting nonetheless!

Graduation Day Edition

The day is finally here, guys! Today is my Graduation Day!!!

This morning my diploma and transcript finally arrived and it feels so surreal to hold it in my hands. I’ve been doing a happy dance all morning, though opening a DHL letter at work is a bit less glamorous than attending an actual cap and gown graduation ceremony.

I knew last week that I’d graduate summa cum laude, but I found out today I also made the Dean’s List with a final GPA of 3.97.

Now, Germany doesn’t use the GPA system, so that number does not mean anything here, but converting it to the German system (where 1.0 is the very best grade and 6.0 is the worst, with 4.0  a fail) it works out at 1.09!

That’s right. It’s a very narrow margin, but I made it with a 1.0!!! I didn’t even have grades like these in primary school!

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Since I handed in my thesis in September, a few friends, neighbours, relatives and colleagues have given me small graduation gifts with instructions to only open them when I had my diploma. So today I did.

Next to 2 bottles of my favourite red wine (Gallo Summer Red), I got copies of Dr Seuss’ Oh, the places you’ll go, Tim Winton’s Eyrie, and Dirt Music, a collection of Australian Short Stories and a guide to Australian Language and Culture, a personal library kit, a Raydori in London Red, a kangaroo necklace pendant, a copy of the DVD The Graduate, a sticky calendar and write-on planner/mouse pad, Literary Listography, Australian map puzzle as fridge magnets, tea tree oil, Australian tea and the obligatory Graduate rubber duck.

I love them! And this also finally explain a couple of weird questions I have been asked. I also love the “Quintessentially Australian” items one of my friends got me including the tea and tea tree oil.

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I still can’t believe that this regular Monday at work is actually my Graduation Day. Because my mother can’t be trusted with a camera to take a decent picture to mark the occasion, I’m reduced to a Graduation Selfie. Ah well.

Now that that’s done, I’ll be cracking open one of those bottles of wine. Tonight I fully intend to celebrate my result. I worked my butt off for those grades. Tomorrow I’ll once again be looking for a new job and possible PhD programmes. But for now, I’m enjoying being a graduate.

 

Cin cin!

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#WeekendCoffeeShare: If We Were Having Coffee… On November 19

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?

Well, technically, for me it’s been two weeks. I’m really sorry I missed last week’s Coffee Share, so I’ll start there, shall I?

First of all, if we were having coffee today, I’d offer you a glass of wine or bubbly instead of coffee to celebrate with me. My diploma will get here on Monday (eeek!!), but I have confirmation from Horizons University that I have graduated summa cum laude from my Master of Arts Cross-Cultural Communication degree! I guess it still doesn’tfeel real without the actual diploma in my hand, but I am so relieved all the hard work of the past two years has paid off!

If we were having coffee today, I’d confess that I couldn’t find the right words last week to describe my feelings about the US election, and I don’t even live there. As a German, I am keenly aware of how my country’s past gets thrown in our faces at the slightest mention of anything political. Which is why I find it so incomprehensible that the US elected someone who not only spewed the same sort of right-wing rhetoric, but has spent his entire campaign promoting racism, sexual assault, misogyny, xenophobia, religious persecution, violation of rights and pretty much everything else that is wrong with society under the sun. Basically, when all of Germany says “Listen, we elected someone with those ideas and ideals in the 1930s and we all know what happened after that, so don’t repeat our mistake” … you should probably listen. And I am glad that most of my friends not only voted for someone else, but are actively involved in peaceful protests and resistance because they, like me, believe in decency, freedom and equal rights, and that the global society simply cannot allow for 70 years of social and civil progress to be undone. I’m not saying that every Trump supporter is a racist, because that’s the sort of generalising these people would use to justify their ideas that every muslim is a terrorist, every Mexican immigrant is a criminal or (my personal favourite that makes the rounds every now and then) every German is a Nazi. That’s definitely not the case and it is highly offensive to judge an entire culture by the actions of a few deluded individuals.  But those who do not actively distance themsleves from all the issues I mentioned above, for example by speaking up for others, defending them or standing with them in solidarity when it really matters, are fair game in my eyes.

I also appreciated the flood of Joe Biden memes and all the  Firefly references that flooded my Facebook wall after the election:

browncoats

Nathan Fillion as Captain Malcolm Reynolds in Firefly. ©Fox

And I want you to know I’m right there with you. I’ve studied cross-cultural communication for a few years now, but only in 2016 with Brexit, the continuing refugee crisis, Standing Rock, and now this election, has it become clear to me just how much calm, non-violent, mutually respectful cross-cultural communication is needed in this world, and I hope that I can do my part to contribute to it. After all, Browncoats have to stick together.

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you that my Bookstagram is coming along, although I fell a few days behind. It is harder than I expected to take photos of books based on a certain theme and including relevant props.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I did my back in again last Sunday. Not sure how, I came home from the cinema and could barely move. By now it’s not as bad anymore, but this week was agony. I tried all week to clean and tidy my flat, because technically I was expecting company today and tomorrow in the form of my cousin Fabian, but he is sick, so he couldn’t join us for coffee. It’s taken me longer than I thought to get the flat in order, partly because I could barely move or bend, but also partly because once I started to tidy my bookshelves I couldn’t stop and rearranged my entire living room. As you do. Add to that, that I received 18 books this week (12 classic Penguin books and 6 vintage James Bons books) that I somehow had to fit in as well.

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell oyu that I am excited about The Broke & Bookish’s Secret Santa. Have you joined up? They run a global Secret Santa, and you can choose your level of participation (from 1 book and a candy bar, 1-2 books and goodies to 2+ books and goodies) and I chose the last one. I got my Secret Santa this week and I am so excited. We all had to fill a pretty detailed questionnaire about books on our wishlists, favourite authors, hobbies and other interests etc. My Secret Santa will get 3 books (2 of which are slightly used but they specified that is not a problem for them), a homemade Field Notes sized calendar (which I use myself but won’t be selling this year), a homemade A5 indexed Book Inventory booklet and a reading tracker/review, as well as a tub of homemade Christmas cookies (“Berliner Brot”). I hope they like those goodies – would you be okay with homemade things if you expect goodies? I used to sell them through my Etsy shop, but I do not have time for that this year as I do everything from page design to binding myself and that’s more work than it looks like. My printer is also malfunctioning, so I can’t print them out properly – I’ll be printing these gifts off somewhere else but I couldn’t do that for bulk orders. Here’s what the calendar looks like:

Insides of my homemade FN calendars: Yearly Overview (+ 2018 in the back), Circle Month per page (trying a new layout for visual planning) and a week on 2 pages layout with colour-coded month and a space for notes. ©theliteratigirl / Cornelia Kaufmann

Insides of my homemade FN calendars: Yearly Overview (+ 2018 in the back), Circle Month per page (trying a new layout for visual planning) and a week on 2 pages layout with colour-coded month and a space for notes. ©theliteratigirl / Cornelia Kaufmann

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you that all things considered, this week was a pretty geeky one for me. Not only did I receive so many books, I also placed orders for a few small items relating to my fandoms. If my cousin hadn’t been sick today, we’d have spent the day buying more books and watching our favourite shows – possibly Doctor Who or Firefly. As it is, I am having a Firefly marathon by myself and you’re more than welcome to join me.

Anyway, that’s enough from me for this week I think. Check out the other Weekend Coffee Sharers as well, I’m sure they’d love to see you!

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

#WeekendCoffeeShare: If We Were Having Coffee… On November 6

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 tell you that I am just back from celebrating my grandma’s 91st birthday with the family. Most of our relatives came by, some from the north of Germany, some from another region and it was nice to catch up with my second cousins as usually only my great aunts and uncles came to visit.

If we were having coffee today, I’d be telling you about my bookstagram. I’m doing three separate bookish challenges on Instagram this month – #BookishScavengerHunt16, #FallIntoReads and #NovBookstagram and let me tell you, it’s harder than it looks to take pictures of books. First of all, it’s a challenge just to find books that fit the descriptions. But once you’ve found the books, you have to find a place to photograph them, find props, make sure the light is ok, find different backgrounds and so on, so that there is variety to the pictures. How am I doing so far?

While prepping one picture with a stack of old books, I flipped through the oldest of the lot, Soll und Haben by Gustav Freytag, which had been given as a birthday gift to Mr Ewald Stöpfgeshoff on 21 September 1926. It’s still in Old German Typeface. I found a ripped envelope that had been used as a bookmark -. and the address on the envelope is MY ADDRESS! If we were having coffee today in person, that’s the address you’d find yourself at right now. 90 years ago, a man living in my house (not my flat as this was an office back then, but there are only 3 floors above me), received a book as a birthday gift, and now, 90 years (almost to the day) later, this book is back home! How cool is that??

You guys... That's my address!!! After 90 years this book has found its way home!!! It's Soll und Haben by Gustav Freytag. I found it in grandma's attic and because it's all still in Old German Typeface I decided to keep it safe. Flipped through it and found the envelope and birthday wishes to Mr Ewald Stöpfgeshoff from his brother Otto, 21 September 1926. #oldbooks #familytreasure #coincidence #Bookstagram #pieceofhistory ©theliteratigirl

©theliteratigirl

Anyway, that’s it from me today. Not much to tell this week. Check out the other Weekend Coffee Sharers and what they’ve been up to!

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