Hello my lovely booklovers,
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 know I have been avoiding you all last week and I apologise for that. I’ve had a lot on my mind and not much time to myself, let alone time to write. It’s all been a bit much, really.
Yesterday we would have met up in Düsseldorf with a friend of mine. We would have gone into the Old Town, had a lovely lunch at a Creole restaurant (which is pretty uncommon over here), and then strolled through the rain to bookstores and ended up at a café to while the afternoon away.
Today was slightly more hectic, I’m afraid. Brunch with the family, and then emptying out the basement. You see, my dad is moving house soon, and we’ve got 30+ years of accumulated stuff to either pack or get rid of.
If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you that this move is a colossal effort. Dad’s only moving two doors down (into the house I live in, in fact), but we need to empty the flat and 3 cellars. Yes, three. He didn’t really give us any heads up that movers will move the first lot of stuff next Thursday – which is the busiest day of the month at work!! – and he currently can’t walk properly or lift much, so mum, my sister and I have been going through wardrobes and cupboards and sorting stuff out. So far, we’ve donated 10+ bags of clothes, towels, and plush toys to charity for the refugee houses in town. We’ve thrown away boxes and boxes and probably dozens of bags worth of broken things, outdated things, school work and knick-knack nobody will ever need again.
But that’s not all. I’m actually keeping part of my childhood room furniture. It’s still in tact, it doesn’t look dated, and I’m in need of a proper wardrobe and a desk I can actually work on. So I will need to clear out my own bedroom, move the shelves I currently use as a makeshift wardrobe, and sort out my own cellar too. The one I’m currently using is filled with stuff belonging to my dad and sister, plus a few of my own boxes. I finally got my own cellar today, so we’ve put up a shelf and cleared out all those empty boxes of gadgets we no longer own and all the stuff my sister won’t keep. We’ve filled a whole garage with rubbish we’ll need to take to the tip when it’s open next week. That leaves me with moving my stuff across to my new cellar and making space in my flat to rearrange the furniture. It’s a mess. On the plus side, I’m going through my parents’ home library as dad won’t be taking many of his books with him. Unfortunately the ones I’m most interested in – mainly by Grisham, Le Carré, Clancy, Hailey and a few assorted others – are the ones dad wants to keep. I did find a few that I’ve been able to add to my own home library, though, especially more Agatha Christie, Dürrenmatt, and a collection of world literature.
If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you that I feel like a failure. I said in a previous Weekend Coffee Share that I would be applying to PhD programmes. Well… deadline for research proposal submission was Feb 1 and I didn’t get mine done in time. Mainly due to the moving and sorting stuff out business. I’ve been way too stressed to research properly, wasn’t given the peace and quiet I need to work on this. But I’m also proud. When I realised I wouldn’t make the deadline, I stopped worrying. I actually took a step back and said “I’m taking a break from this” instead of stressing to the last minute. I didn’t want to hand in anything that rushed, and I wouldn’t have been able to save the proposal in those last 3 hours. So I decided to stop there for the moment, and once the move is dealt with, I’ll go back to researching properly, take my time formulating the question better, find more literature, and contact students and alumni of the programme(s) I want to do and talk to faculty. There’s no point handing in something this important if it’s half-arsed. I’d rather do it properly, even if it means waiting a year for my chance, than hand in something I’m not happy with right on deadline. I’m still disappointed, though. I’m not usually a quitter, so this feels like I let myself down, though I know that the stress around me, in combination with bad episodes of my SAD, has made it hard for me to function properly this winter. Who knows, though, maybe I’ll have published my thesis by the time the deadline comes around again – my professor keeps urging me to find a respected and peer-reviewed journal to publish in.
If we were having coffee today, I’d talk more about books. Just yesterday, I received 4 signed books all the way from BookPeople in Austin, Texas. Moonglow by Michael Chabon, The Girls by Emma Cline, Swing Time by Zadie Smith and The Bear And The Nightingale by Katherine Arden. The latter is even made out to me! BookPeople has rapidly become my favourite bookstore, even though international shipping isn’t cheap. They host dozens of author events, readings and signings per month, and even if you’re too far away to attend, if you order the book before the event and let them know you’d like it signed, they’ll get it signed for you no extra charge. You can even ask for personalisations, though those are at the author’s discretion (Katherine Arden was happy to personalise, Zadie Smith wasn’t but that’s fine!). The events are usually close to the release dates of the books, so chances are you might even get a Signed First Edition! And they’ll keep a few signed copies in stock, so as long as it’s listed as a signed book on the website and you ask for a signed copy, you’ll get one! Moonglow and The Bear and the Nightingale are both signed firsts! I’ve already ordered for an event in March, because I don’t want to get to the end of the month and discover my money doesn’t quite stretch that far anymore. Because on March 1, they’ll be hosting V.E. Schwab, the author of the Shades of Magic series. I’m currently reading it and can’t wait for book 3, A Conjuring of Light. I knew I’d order it from them and ask for a personalised signature. So I emailed the shop, asking if it was at all possible to get all three books in the series signed if there’s time, and they checked and said that V.E. Schwab would be happy to sign all three. so yeah. Sometime in March I’ll have a complete signed set of the Shades of Magic series on its way to me! I love it. Books make me happy. And with signed books, I’ve finally found something really worth collecting.
Oh, my reviews are forthcoming. Once the big move is underway and I don’t need to sort boxes anymore I’ll resume the reviews. I’ve read a few really good books lately and I can’t wait to share them with you!
Anyway, I think this is enough to be getting on with. There’s more to tell you, as usual, but it’s getting late and I’ve got a busy schedule for the rest of the night and tomorrow.
Check out the other Weekend Coffee Sharers. I’m sure they’d love to see you too!
Thank you for having coffee with me. Same time, next week?