Category Archives: Community/Weekly Events

Thursday (Without) Tea: A Room With a View

I still love the idea of Thursday Tea, so I have been thinking that if I cannot get an actual bookish post written, I might just settle for an update of sorts through this format. Until I arrived back home from work today and realised that there is one problem: The water boiler I use for tea has been moved to the new house already, and here, in this apartment with only the bare essentials (and all the books in boxes) left, I cannot drink any tea anymore!

So instead, I give you: a thursday without tea.

Fortunately, I have been reading in between packing and preparing for a paper presentation (Seriously, WHY did I figure it was a good idea to attempt to write a paper for a conference in between pregnancy and moving, even if the conference theme is perfect?!)

These past few days, I have been reading A Room with a View by E.M. Forster. Another one of those classics that has lingered on my shelves for years and years and years. I never knew quite what to expect of it, but then I read the back cover while packing and decided that I simply must give it a go.

And it is turning out to be rather lovely! The writing is wonderful. The plot might seem predictable, but it is executed very nicely. And I love the themed critique of the power of what imagery of women can do to curtail women from being individuals and instead constantly aiming to live up to an image that society imposes. I also like how it shows that this imagery harms both women ánd men, because both struggle to look beyond it to the person behind the facade that is expected at every turn. The image of the room, used in discourse between Lucy and Cecil as a metaphor for this kind of relationship and between Lucy and George for what might be found beyond societal expectations: it’s simple, but it really spoke to me.

Conclusion: I am enjoying my time with this book very much. Even if I have to read it with plain water instead of tea.

Sunday Salon: Packing & Changes

Tomorrow we will receive the keys to our new home. This is the first time Bas and I will actually move to a place together, as I had been living in the apartment where we have lived the last seven years a few years before he moved in.

These last few weeks have been marked by slowly packing up as much of our stuff as possible, to make the move a little easier. The new house still needs to be painted and partially needs a new floor. We need to have moved out of our apartment before the 1st of July. Since we have never painted a full house, we have no clue how long this will all take, but hopefully it won’t be too stressful.

Since I am pregnant I am not allowed near paint the whole day. I am also unable to help much with manual labour. So my job? I will probably take care of food for the people who are painting. And I’ll be working during the week as I try to complete an insane number of deadlines before pregnancy leave at the beginning of August.

Getting there.. one box at a time.

Getting there.. one box at a time.

Meanwhile, I am packing up my books. Slowly but surely. I suspected that people might be overreacting when they told me that come June, I might not be able to lift much. But they were right. It has been rather disappointing to notice that after packing two boxes of books, I need to sit down and rest because my abdominal muscles are already painful. And this is just taking books from shelves and putting them in boxes, mind. Bas carries them to the larger pile later on.

I knew I had many books but it has been a surprise to see how many boxes are needed to actually pack them up. I am down to the last bookshelf, that is, if I don’t count the review copies still hiding in another closet. Packing books has made me long for a time when I will have read all the unread books and might actually buy books I want to read at that very moment (give me a couple of years!)

I have purged quite a lot of books from my shelves (around 150), but it has been rather problematic to think of a way to get rid of them. Charity shops in the neighbourhood don’t really accept books at all anymore, and since I read in English and most read in Dutch they’re unlikely to accept my books. (There’s still one at a 5 km bike ride that I might try – but try getting there with 150 books). Selling them has proven incredibly difficult, even if I offer them for 20 cents a piece (and I don’t want to say “for free” on a general site as they then pop up in advertisements of resellers for ridiculous prices – this has happened before). And I just cannot cannot cannot fathom the thought of throwing them in the trash.

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The move is both scary and exciting. As much as I complained about this apartment in the last couple of years, I am sure I will be sad and a little nostalgic when the time comes to leave it. I have been walking around the neighbourhood lately (restless legs means I simply have to walk sometimes or I cannot sleep), and even though I wouldn’t want my child to grow up here, there are still some places of beauty around. I will still be visiting this city every week as I go in for work, I will be seeing my friends that still live here, but it won’t be the same I’m sure.

And then there is the new town, the new neighbourhood, new people to get used to in the new house. It always takes me some time to settle in – more than it does for others, I guess. I cannot wait for the feeling of “being home” to arrive sooner rather than later. It scares me at times. But then I remember the space we’ll have compared to now. The garden. The nearness of actual nature and not miles and miles of flat grasslands outside the city. The idea of building a home there together with Bas. And with the little one.

100happydays

As I navigate these changing circumstances, I thought it might be nice to keep a photo log. I have seen the #100happydays challenge around at the facebook of a colleague, and lately quite a few bloggers have started as well. I do not quite see myself remembering to take a picture each day, but I really really want to try. Pictures will be posted on my instagram.

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I hope you do not mind these rather more personal updates. I think they might become more regular from now on.

Have a happy Sunday everyone!

Happy News!

Hello! It has been a while, hasn’t it? Hopefully this post will explain some of the reasons for my disappearance.

So, last week I was in Vienna for a conference..

P1270352

Elephant at the Natural History Museum!

In front of Schönbrunn

In front of Schönbrunn

However, as might be apparent from the pictures (though some still insist they cannot see a thing – which makes me wonder how on earth they explain some of the changes in my appearance), this is not the happy news I want to share with you. Rather, it is the following:

I am currently 23 weeks pregnant and we are expecting a baby boy.

On top of this, we also bought a house about an hour away from where we currently live. (Yes, an actual house with more than one bedroom and a garden!) We will receive the key at the beginning of June, so we have been busy packing (or rather, preparing for it) next to being “busy” being pregnant.

We couldn’t be happier with these changes.

Of course it has been rather a change in how much time I was able to make for blogging (or reading). I know I have been silent about my pregnancy for rather long. Even though part of us wanted to shout it from the rooftops, we have also enjoyed keeping it somewhat private and then it was difficult to find the right time to tell. But hey, now you know :-)

Perhaps this means I can finally get into the flow of posting once a week or so, since these past months I have felt that whatever I wrote would not be what I actually wanted to write about.

This weekend.. I managed to read!

I finally finished a book this weekend..

Moominvalley in November

Moominvalley in November by Tove Jansson

I thought it was my first book of February, but apparently I had finished reading Indigo’s Star at the beginning of this month. So perhaps my reading slump is not as bad as I imagined it? It has nothing to do with the books I am reading, btw, but everything to do with lots of other things taking over my life at the moment.

However, I am hoping that this will actually foreshadow a return to reading and blogging :-)

More soon..

It is January & thus it is Long-Awaited Reads Month

Due to some personal circumstances (which appear to be completely okay right now) I have not been very present in the blogging world. So, first things first: I wish you all a wonderful and very happy 2014! 

Being absent also meant that I never got to post about the beginning of Long-Awaited Reads Month. An event that is well under way, it already being the 11th of January.

LAR Button Final

As I wrote in an earlier post, the rules for this event are simply:

  1. Read books you’ve been excited to read for a long time but never seem to get to in January. You can do this exclusively for the whole month (my approach), you can do it for just one week, or you can simply try to get to one or two of these books in January. Your level of commitment is entirely up to you!
  2. If you’re taking part, you can come back to one of the posts about Long-Awaited Reads Month on the blogs of Ana or me and leave us a link to a LAR-related review; you’ll then be entered in a giveaway for a book you’ve always wanted to read that is up to $15/€11/£10 on BookDepository (open worldwide).
  3. If you want to talk about the event on Twitter, the hashtag is#LARMonth.
  4. Have fun!

Personally, I have not had a lot of time to read this month. However, I did finish Eva Ibbotson’s The Secret of Platform 13, and am currently in the middle of John Green’s Looking for Alaska and Frances Hardinge’s Fly By Night.

Have you read or started reading anything for Long-Awaited Reads Month yet? Are you enjoying it?