Thursday, 30 July 2015

Cleaning Off Shelves

I've come to a dilemma in my life. It's time I addressed the issue and since I've been delaying things, it's really got quite out of hand.

My bookshelves are a mess.

When I moved to London I vowed to take with me, the books that I haven't read yet, to fill my shelves with endless reading material and finally check some of those titles off of my TBR list. since moving in, I've met with the other bookworms in the house, introducing me to new authors, lending me books from the house library and their own shelves. My birthday also threw up a slew of new books, plus London second hand bargains are a weakness...

So what has actually ended up happening is that I have more books than I can fit on my shelves AND I still havent read many of the ones I moved with. They are starting to feel familiar in their own way, making my room feel homey, I run my eyes over the same titles again and again, with the comforting feeling that I have no idea what each title means.

I have resolved to take all of the read books away to my parental storage unit (and inevitably return with some more that I haven't read). I do occasionally have book purges, but without a really good way of disposing of them in bulk the fated few collect dust in a box, away from the shiny and unread potential of the others.

The only trouble I really have is that I like to hold onto my books for a little while after I've read them, even if I know I won't read them again, I like to keep them around. While unread books hold that special, secret quality to them, books that you've already devoured are part of your life story now. Oh yes, I read that on my 24th birthday, and this one I read on the tube, and I think I took that one on holiday, yes, here's the sand between the pages. There's a nostalgia to books that makes them hard to let go of.

There is one way I DO like to clean off my shelves, either by passing a book on to a friend, or passing it on using Books on the Underground... which is a whole other blog.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Books Before Marriage

I acknowledge that this is a ridiculous premise, but there are a few books that I think the person that I will eventually end up with should read. Partly to understand me better, but also to see how I might deal with situations through those stories...

I know people have films that they share with their partners that explain and reveal how your other half grew up, so maybe it's not that bizarre to share your books as well. This is my list of books that I think need to be read before you shack up with this book worm. 

Pride and Prejudice
I grew up on this story. I don't care if you just want to watch the film, because in truth I only read the book this year! But I did grow up loving these characters and buried in their lives. I'm sure that as you read/watch the story you'll find some keys to unlocking my character. Also why you should buy a big white shirt.

Blackberry Wine
For the words. Where ever I spend most of my time, I always pack my copy of blackberry wine. It's beautiful and it always inspires me to write and to read. You will see it on my shelves right now. Read this to figure out why I'm so obsessed with books, and gardening.

Ready Player One
If you are going to understand the tiny apprentice geek that lives in my soul, please please please read Ready Player One and help me achieve the next level of geekiness.

Laura Ingles Wilder Series
Get to grips with the inner simple farm girl in me that reading these stories fostered. I absolutely love the picturesque little family life in these books. Maybe just read one...I definitely think that my idyllic vision of my future family is hugely influenced by this series. Also, recipes for popcorn balls...

American Psycho
There's a little psycho in all of us. Right? I loved this book because it was shocking and weird. I think I can be shocking and weird sometimes. There are quotes in this that I think are absolutely necessary to navigate society with: "I want to fit in." Also: "I'm thinking Dorcia. Wear something fabulous."

My Salinger Year
For an understanding of the bizzare world of publishing that I desperately want to be a part of. Read about the miserable internships, the terrible pay, the procedural nightmares and the books that make it all worth it.

I'm sure there are more but at these are the books that explain me right now at 24. Read them. I await the diamonds.

NB: No immediate plans to marry anyone. Everyone relax.

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Being Undervalued

This sums up what I experienced in the last two weeks of my previous job. I have worked under some pretty mad conditions. 

I was rarely paid on time, I had no office (worked from home full time, which basically means a 70 hour week), I was doing 3 people's work on my own, I became self employed and demanded my gross salary because they were illegally not paying my tax in the UK, but beyond everything my CEO had zero interest in my input AND had no idea what I was doing. 

After I handed in my notice, an announcement of a big partnership with another publisher was announced on social media and got picked up by lots of industry websites. My CEO sent me a link to one asking if I had anything to do with this project. Yup. That's me, like I told you it would be. Good to know you weren't listening for the past two months.

I told him and the rest of the team that there was a big partnership coming up. He either wasn't listening OR just didn't understand the value of the work I was doing. So it really surprised me. I have done as much as I could to prepare for the first stage of the partnership but there is a lot left to be done. And unfortunately my replacement only had one week in hand over because, guess who, is pretty disorganised and hadn't hired her yet. 

The partnership was also the only income that the company would generate outside of investments. Just before my senior manager left the company she suggested that I might get a bonus for the contributions that my hard work had made to the company. Then because she foresaw the bizzare plans, pulled out. That was the moment that I stepped up the job applications.

Those last two weeks were the most frustrating days of all. I truly gave zero fucks and why should I? 

Being undervalued for your work is not worth it. Especially if you are working hard OR working REALLY REALLY well. Anyway. New job. New start. I am prepared to start all over again for the privilege of a desk, office banter, procedure, a commute, annual leave and sick pay. 

*drops mike*

Friday, 10 July 2015

June Reviews - Revisiting Turkey

The Architech's Apprentice
Elif Shafak
Penguin 4/11/14
Birthday haul

This story was a delight to read. I loved all of the descriptions of the palaces and some of the familiar places that still survive today. The story was apparently inspired by a miscellaneous painting of a white elephant in Istanbul.
The story follows the elephant tamer as a young man seeing Istanbul for the first time to his life in the palace menagerie, a secret and close relationship with the princess and of course his apprenticeship with the sultan's chief architect. There was just the right amount of information on all of the interesting subjects that Shafak wanted to address.
I feel like I learned a little bit about the nuances of architecture, about mosques, Islam, Old Istanbul and a good deal about elephants and their care.
It was a beautiful and fascinating book, definitely one to pass on to other Istanbul lovers.

Birds Without Wings
 Louis De Bernieres
Penguin 4/7/15
Birthday haul

After the first time I read this book, I'm sure that I thought I didn't need to read it again. I was a little young to appreciate how great it is. I think as a younger reader I tried to rush through much of the story because I wasn't able to wrap my brain around the full picture of this narrative from different times and different view points.
Again another book based in Turkey, there was a nostalgia that I had reading this book for the village life. I love the picture that's painted because it feels so accurate. As my family might be leaving Turkey in the next 5 years, the situation is making me very appreciative of the life that I have lived there. I would love to read more books set in and about Turkey and Istanbul because it keeps me in touch with the place I grew up.
It's a gorgeously written book and had a big impact on me this time around.