Monday, April 21, 2014

Reading Journal: 14–20 April, 2014

A Worthy Weird ‘Winter’s Tale’

Since the book I am currently reading is long, I will be writing both weeks about it and make a worthy review at the end for my goodreads account. As always, this is a journal / book talk, not a review, so "Spoiler Alert".

18371031What I've been reading:

You probably already know how I got to this "old" book if you read my last journal entry. If you haven't, go there first.

I read a lot on how the book is like a weird dizzying confusing ride. A lot on "what the hell is the wall of cloud?" and "I don't get it!" But I also read some reviews from those who got through the twist and confusion and managed to be greatly rewarded. I am pushing myself to be part of the last group. Though it has been easier than I expected.

What I think so far:

First I was in love with how in love and how well matched Peter Lake and Beverly Penn were... Are... Don't know. I'm on the part where they are both supposedly dead after figuring out the time frame. With much struggle. But the story is about bringing back the dead, right? That's what I've read... So I consider the, still alive for now. I know the romance in this book is very flash, except for the last couple.

At first I thought it was weird how sexually free was the writing, yet elegant and tasteful. Confusing me as to whether Peter was a 12 year old boy or a teenager... Turned out he was a 12 year old boy having sex with pick pocketing lesbian girls. Yea... But I pushed through that weirdness and he finally grows up and finally meets Beverly, who's love for the stars wins over my own. In the end Peter Lake, after losing everything, search for his answers, and to know about the child he saw die when he was a child himself. What this got us was a long speech on poverty and children... Makes me wonder what relevance this scene had on the story, or the author wanted to use it as an excuse for a statement, or he just wanted to fill up space with spiced- words smartness, or he just wanted to show off his skills. Either way, it was once hell of a speech.

"The city is burning and under siege. And we are in a war in which everyone is killed and no one is remembered."


After Peter lake disappears in a weird cloud, I am send forward in time with Victoria and Hardesty (ugly weird name). Then I realize they are like two generations after Peter Lake. And now I am lost with what year we are in. But trying to stay on it. The characters meet in New York. Another flash… but oh well. Victoria comes form the town behind the wall. A mysterious place with mysterious people with pure souls. Although I still somehow think is some sort of time portal. At some point they talk about bridges and the press wonder why the architect mentions San Francisco, because supposedly, they are no bridges in San Francisco... Back then. He reply with simply "my mistake". While late on we see Hardesty comes from San Francisco.

Hardesty comes from the wealthiest Italian in San Francisco but leaves his fortune to his brother to follow his father's lessons and build himself like he did, from ground up and become a deserving man of his fortune. This, to the misfortune of those under his brother's hands now. But I kind of smile at this part, I loved the idea, which send Hardesty into an adventure of his own. It made me realize, that is true freedom. No attachments, nothing, but the pursuit of a perfectly just city. I liked it when Hardesty explained why he had to choose from his father's inheritance and what his father intended with it, and yet how nobody really understood why.

The other two characters where lovelier.

As for how all these characters connect to the past Peter Lake who was lost in the clouds... supposedly they all end up working somehow for Harry Penn, who had no importance whatsoever in the beginning of the story. And for those whiners out there, there are NOT that many characters. I've seen more characters in the Games of Thrones & Dune books. Also, they story does makes sense if you pick up on clues. But yes, unlike most YA and contemporary fiction, it requires a lot of focus to follow. But oh it is so worth it.

1384342_10151958465736533_5941394007168156254_nAs for what I'll be reading, surely you know, I must continue my journey through the strange wall of clouds and the stranger New York and cities by lakes. After that, I am debating between "If I Stay" or   "Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore". The latest I have, the other I will need to buy if I am to read it. But it sounds a lot like "The Lovely Bones", one of my favorite books ever. Hence I want to read it before I see the movie.

"Remember, what we are trying to do in this life is to shatter time and bring back the dead. Rise, Virginia. Rise and see the whole world."

Current Progress:

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Reading Journal: Week 7 to 13 of April, 2014

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WARNING: May contain spoilers.

What I read:
Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

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So I continued my journey through The Lunar Chroniclers by Marissa Meyer. Again, easy book to read. Scarlet is in search of her Grandmother with the help of Wolf and on the way her life is linked with Cinder. The grandmother is taken by a mysterious gang to interrogate her about a big secret. Dun dun dun duuun. This is the spinoff of Red Riding Hood. With Scarlet’s red hoodie, red curls and red name. Wolf is werewolf after all who is both shy, sweet and a ferocious beast. A street fighter with a secret…

Read: April 6 – 12, 2014
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What I thought about it:

After reading the first installment. This one was no better, but nor worse. We barely saw scenes on Kai. But those scenes were very predictable. Basically I found the whole book predictable. So I tried not to mind and see it as a movie. I have to admit I cringed at the flash romance between Scarlet and Wolf. I mean… less than a day… seriously? It’s normal to have all male leads in every YA with their square chins and bright eyes. But to fall in love so fast… I guess Meyer wanted to state a point here , “I write whatever the hell I want.” As I know there use to be a time in fairytales that this was the way it was. So she had to include it somehow. I just didn't like it.

I was sad that Cinder’s scenes were very limited compared to Scarlet, almost becoming a secondary character. But understandable, the book is called Scarlet after all. As for Scarlet’s character, I preferred Cinder. Cinder is flawed which makes her more believable. Scarlet was too much of the sacrifice type. Cinder is a dumb stubborn kickass on training. While Scarlet was the typical, beautiful young girl who can kick ass. I also enjoyed Throne’s humor twist amongst the drama. Well played, it was much needed. I am curious about the future characters of the book. I began reading this book on my e-reader until I couldn't take it and went to buy a hard copy. Now I need to go in a week to buy Crest. I was honestly thinking somewhere in my head that Crest was Cinder’s daughter. Don’t ask why. But seen how slow events are moving, I don’t think so anymore. I try to evade big reviews until I am at least half way in the book.

Crest is Rapunzel. And to think this was a trilogy, uh uh. The 4th book is already announced called Winter for 2015. Which I am pretty sure is with Snow White. Curious about that one now. I want to keep reading them regardless of some annoyances since I am a fairytale sucker. But I bought a massive book to read before Crest. An adult fairytale. See bellow.

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What I am going to read this week:

I was browsing through movies and began watching this one. Though fascinating, there was something missing, so I stopped. And then while searching for the book Scarlet, I saw this. I hate movie covers instead of the original ones, but this would have to do. I had to have this book and read all massive 748 pages. Seriously, the book begins on page one and ends on page 748. No author notes or anything. That’s how long it is. I saw either 5 stars or 1 star reviews. Nothing in between. So it makes me wonder where I will fall in. It’s about love (though the flash type) and reincarnation, and a miracle from someone to someone. One gift. This book will probably take me more than a week, if not two weeks to read. Go me! It’s supposed to be a fairytale written for adults. It’s an old book just brought back from the dead. (Get it?) I already began the first 50 pages. Easy read but pointlessly not to the point. Still nice. Is like stories within stories. And I am sorry but I share my love for light and color with the villain, so far my favorite villain in any book. So now I keep reading.

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Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin

One winter night, Peter Lake – master mechanic and second-storey man – attempts to rob a fortress-like mansion on the Upper West Side. Though he thinks it is empty, the daughter of the house is home. Thus begins the affair between a middle-aged Irish burglar and Beverly Penn, a young girl dying of consumption. It is a love so powerful that Peter Lake, a simple and uneducated man, will be driven to stop time and bring back the dead.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

What Always Makes Me Feel Better

AKA: The story of the “you are never grumpy” remark.

We all have our days where nothing seems to go our way. And there are those days when all goes right but your energy is fully gone at the end of the night. My manager once said, “I never see you grumpy”. I laughed. Truth is I do have my moments. But when you live your teenage years in a chaotic place, you learn to look for those nice things which will make you smile. And you are able to smile despite the fact that your house is falling on you. You end up rebelling against the expectancy of joining of the war. You don’t cave in; you don’t join them in misery. But choose to try to make things better for everyone by staying happy. Whether it is so they don’t have to worry about you or you don’t have to worry about them, it’s just a matter of perspective.

There are only a handful of things which make me grumpy. And most of those things are on a selfish survival level. Hunger, sleepiness (the type where my legs jump if cold and my eyes are the heaviest thing in the world), hitting and hurting people as a sport (why?) and migraines. When I am grumpy I seldom show it. If you know me, you know. I transform from the loud non-stop talkative girl to the quiet wallflower with the shy smile who wants the world to leave her the eff alone (unless it is hunger, then buy me a burger.)

People should always find a solution for what makes them feel bad. My stomach basically sets me a timer on grumpiness. Either I cool it off or I suffer the consequences. I guess that is another important reason for me to try to control my negative feelings. I like food you know. In my case there are a couple of things which always work and maybe you can try.

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  1. Happy cheesy music with happy lyrics and happy tempo. (Aka: AQUA and the sort)
  2. Singing out loud until my throat hurts. (Usually when I am feeling lonely and depressed).
  3. Cooking. (Though I wonder what kind of energy goes into my meal when I cook with negative feelings.)
  4. Cookies dip in milk. Especially when losing all games to my boyfriend. (I have a whole philosophy behind it.)
  5. Writing my soul out until my hand bleeds or the page breaks.
  6. Reading a book under the sun on a bench in a green area. (A very limited option in this country.)
  7. Browsing books for two hours in a bookstore or library -from history to fiction to cooking books to astronomy and YA-. (This is my therapy gents; hence living close to a bookstore or library it’s a matter of importance.)
  8. After a long week of hard work and finally days off in sight, a big cold Pear Magners Cider. (Just because.) better41214

People would add “talking about how you are feeling with others,” but as I pointed out already, usually I just want to be left alone. Bug and die. So in the end is not that I am never grumpy. I just manage most of the time to deal with such emotions, except when I am hungry or sleepy. If so, feed me or let me sleep; not much else to do there. My trick is not to feed the already negative feeling with more negative acting, which will just add up more negative feelings to the soup (guilt, regret, selfishness, pity, etc.)

And those are the things that always make me feel better. Nerveless to say, I told my manager, “if you see me quiet, then I am most certainly grumpy.” I’ll write later about my ‘cookies and milk’ philosophy.  

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What always makes you feel better?

Monday, April 07, 2014

Reading journal Week March 31 – April 6, 2014

What I read:

The 5th Wave

by Rick Yancey
The book itself was kind of weird when it came to setting up the plot. I didn’t expect the multiple points of views, but I enjoyed them a lot. It was quite refreshing for a YA novel and the usual kick-ass heroin. (Still waiting for a non-kick-ass heroin novel.)

“Maybe the last human being on Earth won't die of starvation or exposure or as a meal of wild animals.

Maybe the last one to die will be killed by the last one alive.”

I will start with Cassie, your typical female lead of any YA. I am having problems changing the faces of these girls as they all turn out to be pretty much the same lately. She is your typical socially awkward girl who has to learn to be though and ends up being a badass who survives anything and falls in love with the strange dark and mysterious kid on the block. That pretty much defines it.

What I thought about it:
If this was the reason I wanted to read this novel, I wouldn’t have finished it. In all honesty I preferred the Silencer and Sammy. Both on the end sides of the line. The guilty and the innocent. But the characters were not the reason I read. Nor the aliens, although when they reveal what kind of aliens they are (to most people discontent) I got VERY into it. Finally my type of aliens. Not the Hollywood type. But before finding out what kind of aliens they were and how they got to Earth, before this entire heartbreaking Silencer story. I began to read because the way the book was written was dam good. And that is the word, and I am sorry. But it was that good. It took me 8 hours to read, but it was because for most of the book I would have to go back and re-read and take each of the words in. And re-read again because they were just beautiful.
I read on the tram, on the train and on the station most of it. And I loved it and I can’t wait for the next book. Sure, the characters are cliché, yes, very much. And I should have given it 4/5 stars because of this. But I rated it 5. Why? Because I loved it. Because unlike other YA books, I am looking forward to the next book and reading Sammy again. And figure out what happened to Silencer. He did make a promise after all. And he did learn with Cassie promises are something that matter now in the brink of humanity’s extinction.

“Because promises matter.

They matter now more than ever.”

So I hope, I hope. I mean, considering the kind of alien they are, I’m pretty sure there must be a way. As long as that was don’t include a sad computer with his consciousness. That would just suck. Mr. Yancey broke my heart with the Silencer. He better make up for it.
I actually cried with this scene:

“I am a shark, Cassie," he says slowly, drawing the words out, as if he might be speaking to me for the last time. Looking into my eyes with tears in his, as if he's seeing me for the last time. "A shark who dreamed he was a man.”

What I am going to read this week:

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

I enjoyed Cinder and I am looking forward to this book. Though I guess I am reading it a bit faster than I intended. Mainly because I don’t want to think about clichés. But this story now goes with Red Riding Hood story and how she meets Cinderella’s story. The story begins with Scarlet’s grandmother missing. And I know some romance is involved with the ‘wolf’ whoever/whatever that is. I did read around in some reviews that it is better than the first book. But in all honesty I do not trust YA reader’s reviews anymore. I have the feeling most are amongst the “ahhhh kiss him!” lines. Or “Yes! You are a badass heroin! I like you!” Yea. You get the point. I like reading different things, different characters and story lines. So we will see how much I enjoy this one. I liked Cinder’s “I-don’t-care” selfish attitude even if later she becomes the “I need to save society” type.




Friday, April 04, 2014

About a Job I Love

pickoreanannaI didn't´t imagine I would ever be working for real in this kind of job. I am an ambassador at CitizenM Hotel in Rotterdam. I remember desperately looking for a different job where my body wouldn't´t hurt so much. I cried long nights begging and long days applying on anything I could find. I decided to focus on staying in hotels since, even though my work was hard to do, I enjoyed all the international people. It was the kind of world I imagined once. And I could use English.

I wanted to study tourism when I was a little kid. Mainly because I thought it was fascinating to learn new languages and talk to people all over the world. And the best job for that, was to work in a hotel. But fear of people and numbers kept me away from that dream. One day I got a response from CitizenM about their ambassador position (which I knew nothing about of course). I replied with a  weird message like “sure, no idea what it is, but I’ll be there and see what happens”. To which I got a response back with ‘…’ (we all know what … means). But they wanted me to be honest so I was.

That day I had a birthday party and I would have to assist on my own after the recruitment day. I got on the train, jumped out to help an old lady leaving all my belongings in the train (fortunately managed to get in in time). Lesson learned. But I like to think of it as a sign. I could do this. I was not afraid of people anymore. Of helping them. Of jumping in (or out in this case). I could do this. I could do it.

I was first in around 10 girls, of which 2 are now colleagues of mine. We waited outside to be on time. Afraid we would miss the place and be late. The place was in total construction. We did some exercises. Talk a lot. Talk. Talk. And talk some more. With everyone. Not your typical interview. Funny how well my conversational memory helped me here as I got asked questions on our second interview about who and what and where. Much to test my listening and attention capacities I suppose. How much I cared for strangers and what they tell me. I passed it all. I was in the party when I got invited for the second round. So the subject of the night was the job and the hotel and why was it so different.

pickoreananna2And after a couple of weeks from the second interview, when I least expected it, on the last day, at night, I got a phone call and words that were engraved in me forever. This was it. I found my place in this strange land. I was surprised on who got picked. I wondered what made us so special. And I realized it wasn’t our skills nor our individual personalities (which are 180 degrees different). What made us special is how we click together, as if we were raised together. How we instantly cared for each other in the most honest and humanly way possible you can imagine. In that first day we were family. I believe this is the company’s magic touch, and how they do it is beyond my comprehension. Though I do plan on understanding it in the future.

And then a happy chapter begun. A stable promising job where I can grow. With colleagues that are more than just the people I work with. A beautiful place to meet beautiful people form all over the world. With boats decorating the living rooms, just like I wanted. Amazing coffee every day. Sunshine, boats and quirkiness and colors everywhere. These pictures were taken just yesterday after a nice conversation with two Korean girls. These kind of pictures are the kind of reward I was looking for, more than just money, more than just a stable place. I wanted to be able to smile like this in a job and make others smile. My first and only wish when I was a child, “I just want to make people smile,” and that included the idea of becoming a clown somewhere along the way.

Now life moves forward and I am happier than ever before. I wake up happy and looking forward to the new day and seeing my hotel. Wondering what kind of people I will meet today. I wake up to my love being happy also, because we are, because slowly but surely we move forward. After so many struggles, we are moving forward and living today with happiness.