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Friday, October 10, 2014

Friday Finds: A Book About Travel and Living Abroad (France)

http://shouldbereading.wordpress.com/

FRIDAY FINDS showcases the books you ‘found’ and added to your To Be Read (TBR) list… whether you found them online, or in a bookstore, or in the library — wherever! (they aren’t necessarily books you purchased).

In this week's Friday Finds, I am very happy to have found this book, A House in the Sunflowers: Living the Dream in the South of France, by Ruth Silvestre at the Popular bookshop in Queensbay Mall, Penang. While I have no intention of buying a house and moving to France, I am definitely relating my reading of this book with the fulfilling of my dreams of living in Italy. I have fallen in love with this country two years ago, have since learned its language and will continue to improve myself, and that love is growing stronger by the day. Do check out my post about Why I Love Italy... Having traveled and lived mostly in Rome for a month last year, and then this year for three months in the south of Italy, I am very convinced that Italy is where I want to be. So back to this book about France, yes, I'm reading it for the sake of—please read the book synopsis below!

In the late 1970s in the south-west of France, Ruth Silvestre and her family found Bel-Air de Gr├Ęzelongue, a house that had been deserted and uninhabited for ten years. They fell in love with it.

A House in the Sunflowers tells of their love affair with the house; from the ups and downs of buying and renovating it, to the challenge of becoming part of the local French community. Sprinkled with mouth-watering descriptions of gastronomic feasts in the glorious sunshine, and fascinating insights into the history and customs of this stunning area, this charming, funny and romantic book is an absolute must for everyone who wants to fulfil their dreams of living abroad.

And did I mention that I bought this book at a HUGE discount for RM6.90 (the original price is RM78.90)?!?!

Have you read A House in the Sunflowers? What are your thoughts?

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Thursday, October 09, 2014

The Start of My Journey with Spanish

I have started my Spanish self-study this week and I’m having fun. Loads of it. My main mode of study is through Babbel.com just because I can listen to how the language sounds like and its interactivity.

A snapshot of the lesson I'm currently following on Babbel.com


So, what happens now to Italian? I will—of course—continue reading, listening and practicing la bella lingua. What I’m currently doing is daily revision of Italian (reading a well-loved grammar book with pages starting to fall off...) while commuting to and from work. I also listen to the same audiobook every night before I go to sleep. I find that repetition really helps further my understanding and each listen seems to provide greater understanding. I’m also obsessed with reading the dictionary.

Spanish is apparently 85% similar to Italian and that makes me a happy girl!

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Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Sassi di Matera

Come with me to the ancient town of Sassi di Matera (the stones of Matera) in the region of Basilicata, in southern Italy. The town lies in a small canyon, which has been eroded in the course of years by a small stream, the Gravina.

I'm glad to have visited Matera where two of the famous biblical period motion pictures were filmed (the ones I have watched): Pier Paolo Pasolini's The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964) and Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ (2004).


The Italian flag blown wide open by the wind



Lovers in the distance...




The Gravina


The almost night at Matera

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Monday, October 06, 2014

Mailbox Monday

Exactly one month later,  Acorn, the Yoko Ono book I bought through BookDepository.com has arrived (see my Friday Finds post on 5 September).

SKY PIECE II
Look at a star in the sky
not as something unreachable
but as a planet you would visit one day.

I love the voice of Yoko in this book. Short, whimsical, poetical. Short proses that tug the strings of your heart; play with your brain. I love this book.

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Saturday, October 04, 2014

Awesome Book Haul from BookXCess

It's been a while since I last visited BookXcess in Petaling Jaya. I suddenly had the desire to go to the bookstore and because I am currently self-studying Spanish, I decided to email them to check if a particular title that I was looking for (Teach Yourself Business Spanish) was still available. It was. They reserved the title for me.

Total damage: RM85.20. Further discount of 5% on top of the already very-low price.

I was very impressed with their efficiency and the in-store service was great too. The staff was courteous and helpful. The staff at customer service counter was great. The cashier was great. That's a lot of "great" in this post. Did I mention I also saved hundreds of Ringgits for three AWESOME books? Here are the books I bought:
  1. Collins Dictionary: Italian
  2. Vatican
  3. Teach Yourself Business Spanish
My recommendation is if you have a particular author or title that you're looking for, do write to them at contact@bookxcessonline.com to enquire. For titles available in-store but you're living outside of Klang Valley, they also do deliveries. If online shopping is your thing, BookXcess has an online bookstore at http://www.bookxcessonline.com/. Happy shopping!

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Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Book Review: MONTREAL, by Debra Schoenberger

Montreal is a nice book to have in your personal library as part of your street photography collection.

There is a good mix of black and white, and color photographs. Very little text to be found in the book except about the author (which you will also see at the bottom of this post), but plenty of images showcasing her work in Montreal, Quebec, Canada between 2010 and 2014.

You will be able to spot a trend in the groups of images found in Montreal: folks traveling in the train, people sleeping, reflections, children playing. I would not say I have loved every single image in the book but most of them in this 64-pager are good.

When I see an image or a photo, the first question that often pops up in my head is does it stick? I always look out for the "wow at first sight" and then dig deeper into the image. This book, in my opinion, is worth a look—or read—if you enjoy "reading" into pictures. I know I do. Here are some that I have enjoyed from the book, just so you get a feel of what to expect.


I like how the arrow is pointing at this guy who is playing with his device. The horizontal lines of the wall and door added a nice touch of details too.

Great composition with the play of reflection in this black and white.

I see a lot of graffiti in Italy during my recent trip and seeing a similar image here brought back sweet memories of my travel. The color is strong here and I love all the shapes seen in this image.

Here's a nice play with shadow-on-the-move. I also like how the image draws your eyes to the far end and makes you wonder what lies beyond. Is the train coming?...

All photographs in this post are copyrighted by Debra Schoenberger.


BOOK SYNOPSIS
Street photographer, Debra Schoenberger aka "girl with camera" captures the more unusual side of Montreal in her foot travels around the city. The images portrayed in the book are from 2010 to 2014.

View more photos from her world travels on her profile page at Your Shot National Geographic.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
My dad always carried a camera under the seat of his car and was constantly taking pictures. I think that his example, together with pouring over National Geographic magazines as a child fueled my curiosity for the world around me. Although I worked in the field of photography for over 20 years, it wasn't until very recently in 2010 that I bought myself a secondhand professional camera and started experimenting with street photography. I shot over 50,000 images that first year and gradually began to improve.

Photographers I admire are Vivian Maier, Robert Frank, Steve McCurry and Edward Steichen to name but a few amongst the many incredibly talented people over the last century. Street photography is my true passion. Having a slightly off-kilter sense of humour helps keep me looking for the unusual."


CONNECT WITH DEBRA
Website: http://www.pixmephotography.wordpress.com/
Twitter: @pixmephotograph
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/debra.schoenberger


WHERE TO BUY THE BOOK
Amazon | Blurb | iTunes

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Sunday, September 07, 2014

INSURGENT by Veronica Roth (Kindle Edition)

One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful.

Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

I finished DIVERGENT yesterday and immediately continued with INSURGENT. The second book of the dystopian Divergent series was great and just like the first book, it was hard to put down. I devoured it over the weekend. I'm glad the book picks up exactly where Divergent ended and the author wastes no time in moving the plot into full swing. Lots of action, more blood bath, and more hard choices. I'm going to jump straight into the third book ALLEGIANT! Updated: I'm not too sure I'd continue reading the third book after reading all the negative reviews about it. It may seem that it's best I let the wonderful impressions from the first two books stay with me than to have the third book "kill" the good stuff. I'll ponder and decide later if I want to risk it.

Have you read the Divergent series? What are your thoughts?

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Saturday, September 06, 2014

DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth (Kindle Edition)

One choice can transform you. Beatrice Prior's society is divided into five factions—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). Beatrice must choose between staying with her Abnegation family and transferring factions. Her choice will shock her community and herself. But the newly christened Tris also has a secret, one she's determined to keep hidden, because in this world, what makes you different makes you dangerous.

It's been a while since I last read a novel within two days and DIVERGENT was hard to put down. I like the vulnerable yet strong Beatrice (Tris) and the intriguing Four of Dauntless. The plot is exciting and in the face of circumstances surrounding the protagonists, the choices one has to make is challenging (and terrible), and you can't help but be torn or conflicted by them. I totally breezed through the book and will definitely continue reading the series in Insurgent and Allegiant.

I'm looking forward to watching the movie on Netflix when I'm back from my vacation in Italy.

Have you read Divergent? What are your thoughts?

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Friday, September 05, 2014

Friday Finds: Yoko Ono (Again!)

http://shouldbereading.wordpress.com/

FRIDAY FINDS showcases the books you ‘found’ and added to your To Be Read (TBR) list… whether you found them online, or in a bookstore, or in the library — wherever! (they aren’t necessarily books you purchased).

In this week's Friday Finds, I extended my search to another Yoko Ono book and having contemplated about buying it for almost a week, I bought...  Acorn from BookDepository.com for $13.47. Do check out my last week's post too.

“It’s nearly 50 years ago that my book of conceptual instructions Grapefruit was first published. In these pages I’m picking up where I left off. After each day of sharing the instructions you should feel free to question, discuss, and/or report what your mind tells you. I’m just planting the seeds. Have fun.” —Yoko Ono

Legendary avant-garde icon Yoko Ono has inspired generations of artists and performers. In Acorn, she offers enchanting and thought-provoking exercises that open our eyes—and all of our senses—to more creative and mindful ways of relating to ourselves, each other, and the planet we cohabit. Throughout this beautifully designed book are 100 black-and-white line drawings by Yoko. Like this legendary woman herself, the book is wildly original, stimulating, and hard to label: Call it purposeful play, call it brain poetry, call it guided motivation, call it Zen-like incantations, call it whatever you want. But read it. Acorn may change the way you experience the world.

Have you read Acorn? What are your thoughts?

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Monday, September 01, 2014

Mailbox Monday

Last week, I went to Taranto in Italy, and found a Mondadori bookshop. I just knew I had to enter the libreria! So I went in, sniffed around and took in the books' scent in all their glory.

I'll be doing a Wordless Wednesday post on this bookshop very soon, so please stay tuned!

Here are the two books I bought. They're both in the Italian language. (Loved the Colpa delle stelle paper bag!)



Total damage: €11.80

  1. 1001 Cose da vedere a Roma, di Sabrina Ramacci
  2. 1001 Cose da vedere in Italia, di Giuseppe Ortolano
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