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Interesting Activity August 23, 2009

Filed under: Books,Misa — Misa @ 6:02 am

I’ve been doing a kind of self-help, long-term exercise for artist’s aimed at refreshing creativity. Yes, I know how silly this sounds. I do not usually get involved in these type of self-help exercises because I am a bit cynical, but this particular one is actually producing some results.

Anyway, most of the program will not be of interest to my readers, but perhaps my favourite part of the program will be. The program requires that every morning you hand-write three pages in a notebook or journal. The pages can be stream of consciousness and can be about anything. They can be positive, negative or just rambling, it does not matter. The most important part is not stressing over punctuation, spelling and other grammatical conventions – you just write how and what you want. The second most important part is that neither you nor anyone else is to read your pages until after you have finished the program. Even once you have finished only you may read your pages otherwise you will subconsciously or consciously worry about what someone else will think. It’s sounds a little cheesy, but I’ve found that doing this every morning really makes me a less anxious person. I can write down any minor worries and after I write them it’s like they are gone. I do not entirely understand, but it works for me.

I suppose a blog could act as these pages, but only if it were totally private. The fact that no one will read my notebook is really freeing.

Just thought I’d share. 🙂


Books, Books, Books! August 11, 2009

Filed under: Books,Misa — Misa @ 5:27 am

The BBC believes most people will have only read 6 of the 100 books here.

How do your reading habits stack up?

1) Look at the list and put an ‘x’ after those you have read.
2) Add a ‘+’ to the ones you LOVE.
3) Star (*) those you plan on reading.
4) Tally your total at the bottom.

Here’s the list:

1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen X
2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien X
3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte X+
4 Harry Potter series – JK Rowling X
5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee X
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte X
8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell X
9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman X
10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens X
11 Little Women – Louisa M Alcott X
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy X
13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller X
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare X* (about half)
15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien X
17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger X+
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger X
20 Middlemarch – George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell X
22 The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald X+
23 Bleak House – Charles Dickens X
24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy X
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams X+
26 Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky X
28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck X
29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll X
30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame X
31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy X
32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens X
33 Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis X
34 Emma – Jane Austen X
35 Persuasion – Jane Austen X
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – CS Lewis X
37 The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini X
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden X+
40 Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne X
41 Animal Farm – George Orwell X+
42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown X
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez X
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving X+
45 The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery X+
47 Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood X
49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding X
50 Atonement – Ian McEwan *
51 Life of Pi – Yann Martel *
52 Dune – Frank Herbert X++++++++
53 Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen X
55 A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens X
58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley X+
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez X
61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck X
62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov X+
63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas X
66 On The Road – Jack Kerouac X
67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy X
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding X
69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens X
72 Dracula – Bram Stoker X
73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett X
74 Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson X+
75 Ulysses – James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath X
77 Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal – Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession – AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens X+
82 Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple – Alice Walker X
84 The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro *
85 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web – EB White X
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad X
92 The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery X+
93 The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
94 Watership Down – Richard Adams X
95 A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas X
98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare X
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl X
100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo X


At least I think I counted correctly. 🙂


Rain, Rain, Rain July 30, 2009

Filed under: Books,England — Misa @ 2:09 am

It seems like it has been raining non-stop for the past week. Fortunately, I really enjoy the rain especially if it is an absolute downpour. I might feel differently if I had to go out in the rain to go to work, especially since I don’t have a car here.

For now, it’s nice to just sit on the sofa with a blanket and some really bad television or a really good book. In an effort to become more attuned to British culture and history I’ve taken to reading local history books and fiction by British authors. Books that take place in England even if they are not written by British authors are also good. Some of my favourite authors have been Terry Prachett and Douglas Adams who both write light science fiction, Bill Bryson who writes observational and historical comedy books and Ken Follett who wrote World Without End and The Pillars or Earth respectively. Of course I have also re-read all of the Paddington Bear series just because I think he is super cute! Obviously, Harry Potter is another English author and setting. The only book I have on my list for Texas is Texas, by James A. Michner. Does anyone know of any other Texas books?

The rain is also helping my terrace herb garden so I have loads of tasty fresh herbs. Few things are as easy to make as homemade pesto and it is delicious! As an added bonus you can also freeze your homemade pesto and it still tastes just as good as when it’s perfectly fresh. Mmmm, mmmmm, mmmmmm!!!


The One Hundred July 17, 2009

Filed under: Books — Misa @ 8:10 am

The One Hundred

By Nina Garcia

I have never really considered myself a trend follower in terms of fashion, but rather someone who prefers to dress in a more classic style. Part of this is that I don’t generally like most trends, but the other part is that I am extremely picky about how a garment fits. If it doesn’t fit, I am not interested unless there is something I can do to make it fit – i.e. hemming pants or taking in a jacket. This tends to irritate the people who shop with me. An additional side-effect of being picky is that I will spend more money on a piece of clothing if it fits well because I will wear it for a very, very, very long time.

This book by Nina Garcia resonated with me because she is 1) petite like I am 2) inclined to dress classically and 3)values quality over the label. It also helps that she always looks impeccable on Project Runway. The premise is that the book details one hundred items that every woman should own and range from clothing items to cosmetics and even to electronics. The best part of this book is that she tells you where it is worth spending the money and where you can save your pennies. She also highlights a luxury brand for a given item (Repetto ballet flats) and a reasonable brand (Gap ballet flats).

Overall a very cool book that I would glady recommend as a reference or just something fun to read.