Sweet Snapshot Sunday #4

One post ago I mentioned that I was going to be moving. At the time, I didn’t really believe it. Even though I was packing and having such a difficult time deciding which books I should take with me, it still hadn’t sunk it that in a few days time I was going to find myself in an entirely different country. For some reason this made me very depressed, and I was susceptible to random bouts of crying.

Thankfully, that’s behind me now. I guess I should give a bit more information… I’ve moved to Dubai, UAE. Some of you might remember that I’ve spent the first 19 years of my life there before eventually going to Lebanon. This country is more of a home to me than my actual home country. It’s where I grew up, it’s where I feel comfortable, it’s where I feel free to be myself. It’s changed a bit in the few years I was away, it grew and developed… but I still see in it the home I once left behind.

But I’m happy now. I’m starting my independent life. I take the metro to work every day, I have morning walks by the edge of the lake on my way to the office, I’m taking charge of my work, I’m hunting for an apartment, I’m getting all my paperwork in order… and I’m also of course discovering all the new dessert spots in town. ;)

Triple Chocolate Cake

Triple Chocolate Cake

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A Bibliophile’s Packing Dilemma

I’m moving on Friday, to a whole new job, a whole new city, a whole new country in fact. I’m excited and terrified at the same time. This is a whole new level of independence and responsibility that I’ve never had before, and knowing me, I will either screw up badly or do brilliantly. There’s no middle ground.

One of the things I’m really looking forward to is having my own place and furnishing it the way I like (priorities, amirite?). I’ve started looking at apartment listings and furniture catalogues already. I have visions of myself strolling through IKEA, seeing my perfect living room/bed room and saying, “This is it. This is so me.” I am also on the lookout for the perfect bookshelf… which brings us to the title of this post.

HOW THE HELL DO I CHOOSE WHICH BOOKS TO TAKE?

*clears throat*

Books, I’ve discovered, are very heavy indeed. 10 paperbacks and 5 hardbacks together weight 6.7 kg (14.7) pounds. I’m only allowed 40 kg for my flight, of which 10 kg have already been taken up by the weight of my bags themselves. Speaking of bags, I had absolutely no idea they could cost so much; I was so shocked! Anyway. I have about 400 books on my shelves, out of which there are 65 books I haven’t read it (give or take). My first solution?

Read All the Books

I thought I was making good progress. I was reading one book per day. But with a sinking feeling, I realised that if I were to read all my books before leaving, I would need to go through at least 6 per day. Impossible. Distraught, I started thinking of other tactics. Continue reading

You lost me at the ending.

I always read books to the end, regardless of how much I dislike them or feel bored by them. I have two reasons for this: a) Leaving a book unfinished makes me uncomfortable. It will always remain at the back of mind, reminding me of my incompetence, telling me that I’ve failed; and b) I always give the book a chance to redeem itself with a fabulous ending. Yes, that doesn’t work all the time, and true, it might not make me love the book, but it will probably matter when it comes to rating.

Endings always determine how much I love the book.  Or how much I hate it. I feel that some authors put so much emphasis on the plot and character development – which is not a bad thing on its own – and end up writing the ending as an afterthought, using it as a way to simply wrap things up without really making sure that it is up to par with the rest of the book or trying to make it as satisfactory as possible. Incidentally, it was not a book that had me thinking about this today, but rather a movie, “Lucy” to be exact. The movie was very interesting and gripping all throughout, but the ending… I was seriously underwhelmed. Instead of leaving the theatre feeling happy, my mind buzzing with what I’d watched, I felt quite disappointed, and my mind quickly shelved it under “Seen, Not Worth it”.

That’s not to say that I haven’t read books with such kind of endings. There were endings that I completely fell in love with like Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.

I know, Marshall, I really do.

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Let’s talk about books. Please.

You probably think my request is weird. If I wanted to talk about books, why not hit up Goodreads, some other online community, or maybe even one of the many book blogs out there? That is true of course; the Internet has made it so much easier to discuss almost any book under the sun, no matter how obscure. Yet… it does not replace the feeling of gushing over (or even bashing) a book in person.

This is so unbelievably true.  (Source: Fiction and Flowers)

This is so unbelievably true.
(Source: Fiction and Flowers)

You know what I’m talking about. You and someone else find out you’re reading/you’ve read the same book, and excitement ensues. I don’t care if that other person is a stranger, you will be itching to bound over and talk to them if you find them buried in a book you’ve already read. You will be eager to know what they think of it. You will feel happy if they share your feelings, good or bad, and you most definitely will feel sad if they disagree, yet it will be accompanied with a thrill. Thinking maybe you can show them the book from a different perspective, you will want to try to change their mind. And even if silence falls between the two of you, you (or them) will find a way to puncture it again with an afterthought regarding the book. And you’re probably nodding along to everything I’ve said in this paragraph. Continue reading

Sweet Snapshot Sunday #2

I was planning on making this thing a regular occurring on this blog, but I’ve been too busy to blog lately! Work has been hectic – but productive – and I’m catching up on books and shows that I’ve been wanting to indulge in. This weekend I got my first guilt-free breather in a long time, and what better way to celebrate than with some dessert?

Carre Chocolate

Carre Chocolate

Plaisir Sucree

Plaisir Sucree

Columbian Chocolate and Salter Caramel Macarons

Colombian Chocolate and Salted Caramel Macarons

The above treats are all courtesy of Ladurée. The Carre Chocolat and the Plaisir Sucree were indulgent layers of sweet, savory chocolate mousse, cake and the soft macaron meringue base, though the difference between the two is that the first is made with dark chocolate, and the second has crusty praline. Absolutely delightful. I swooned with every bite. The macarons are quite amazing too; of all the Ladurée macarons I’ve tried, salted caramel and Colombian chocolate are definitely my favourite; the flavours are so intense!

I also treated myself to some clothes, and… as always, I couldn’t resist the temptation of buying a new book, so I got The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin. Has anyone read it? It looks so interesting!

How’s your weekend going? What are you currently reading? Have you tried Ladurée before? :D

How to Choose Your Next Read.

It’s finally come to the point where I have more than 200 books in my possession that I’ve got to read – 60 physical books and around 15o eBooks. It is extremely daunting, and I often spend time gazing at my overflowing shelves or scrolling through the long list on my reader and wondering how the heck will I find the time to read them all, especially if I want to find time to write and work. Of course it would help if I would stop buying more books, but I have no self-control whatsoever. I’ve shared some pictures of my shelves a while back, but here’s how they look now:

I have no more room. As beautiful as all these books look, I'm also terrified by them. Did I mention that they're right above my bed?

I have no more room. As beautiful as all these books look, I’m also terrified by them. Did I mention that they’re right above my bed?

With so many books comes a great dilemma, the greatest dilemma of them all – which book should I read next? If you’ve come here hoping I would answer that question for you, you might end up being disappointed, because I’m at a loss myself. I mean, I’ve tried a couple of ideas… Continue reading

My Vacation in Pictures

Going for nearly three years without a proper vacation can do terrible things to someone’s mental health, especially if that particular someone is a workaholic. So during the month of April, I went away on vacation… which would explain my long absence from the blogosphere. It was something I desperately needed, at a time when I was dealing with a lot of personal issues and work was starting to take its toll on me.

I went to UAE for 20 days during which I stayed with one of my best friends. We had a blast I swear. It was so much fun, so amazing, that it was difficult to imagine anything else. When I woke up in my own room after I came back, it took me a moment to register that I was not in my friend’s place anymore, especially since I’d come to consider it home more than anywhere else. Still though, I had a really good time.  Continue reading