Books | 2019

I set out on a personal challenge to read 12 books in 2019, and gosh does it feel good to know that I did it. With 2019 being the centenary of the vote for women in England I got really interested in reading feminist literature, I started out softly with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s short, but really good book We Should All Be Feminists and have progressed from there. You might also notice a lot of Harry Potter on the list. I am one of those rare people that didn’t read the series when it came out, unlike my brother who swallowed them up whole as soon as they were out. Don’t get me wrong I think I’ve read the first one four times over and the second two and a half times… I just never got any further. However, with the challenge in mind, and newfound interest in understanding all the references to Harry Potter – thanks in part to a good friend having been on the Quidditch team at uni – I set about to rectify the situation. I enjoyed reading them, read the first two while travelling in Japan, though I must admit I got less and less interested in them as they progressed. The storylines just weren’t really my cup of tea… But to each her own.

Books read in 2019:

  1. Museum: Behind the Scenes at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Danny Danziger
  2. Becoming, Michelle Obama
  3. We Should All Be Feminists, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  4. Women & Power, Mary Beard
  5. Educated, Tara Westover
  6. Zen: The Art of Simple Living, Shunmyo Masuno
  7. The History of Bees, Maja Lunde
  8. Harry Potter The Philosopher’s Stone, J.K. Rowling
  9. Harry Potter, The Chamber of Secrets, J.K. Rowling
  10. Harry Potter, The Prisoner of Azkaban, J.K. Rowling
  11. Harry Potter, The Goblet of Fire, J.K. Rowling
  12. Harry Potter, The Order of the Phoenix, J.K. Rowling
  13. Harry Potter, The Half-Blood Prince, J.K. Rowling

Thoughts | Blogging and life

I’ve begun this sentence a hundred times over, but for some reason sitting down to give the blog the old college try just hasn’t been in the cards for me. I started this project on a whim when I was starting my masters program and we were encouraged to blog about our experience and things that interested us to get into the flow of writing. That never happened. To be honest the last year has been really tough: the masters was challenging, I lost my dear grandpa halfway through, I moved twice (to and from England either end of my masters), I’ve been dealing with a lot of mental and physical challenges as a result of all the stress and have found it really challenging to find a job.. Oh and let’s not forget the most recent headache – COVID 19… but I’ll get back to that later.

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So that happened…

Life with dyslexia while studying for a masters and moving around at the same time sure isn’t easy. At the beginning of the year I had all these plans for this blog, but I’ve had to come to terms with that a lot of them probably won’t be happening – at least not until I hand in my dissertation at the end of June. Living with dyslexia while trying to complete a masters program is proving very taxing on my mental health at the moment. I have to do a lot of reading for my literature review, and even though I know that my difficulties in getting it done right are down to my dyslexia it is causing me a lot of frustration. Don’t get me wrong, I love how dyslexia has given me tools to see and do a lot of other things really well, but at times the pressures of needing to conform to norms outside of my abilities just gets to me. I wish I could be graded on how well I hang an artwork or some other practical thing where I don’t have to fight with my brain to get it done, but where I could instead collaborate with the knowledge it holds. Anyway, all this to say that with all this happening I’ve felt zero energy to do any blogging, or rather zero energy to complete the blog posts I’ve been working on. I have 3 lined up that need varying degrees of editing, two about books I’ve read and one about a talk I went to. I’ve also finished reading another book that I need to write a blog post about. I’ve also travelled a bit over the last few weeks, so I’d love to share some pictures from the places I’ve visited. Let’s see what happens.

Featured image by Cameron Casey on Pexels.com

Books | Museum: Behind the Scenes at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

The entrance hall of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City.

So I read my first book, and it is not even the end of January yet. If you read my last post you will know that I am on a quest to reconnect with reading. I happened upon the book quite by accident as I was perusing our university library for resources to use for an assignment I was working on, so I grabbed it and ended up reading it cover-to-cover.

“Keith is a tall, athletic-looking man, with the firmest handshake you would ever want to avoid”

p. 46 – Writing about Keith Christiansen, Jayne Wrightsman Curator, European Paintings
Continue reading “Books | Museum: Behind the Scenes at the Metropolitan Museum of Art”

Books | Dyslexia

I am dyslexic. Not in the ‘letters jump around on the page’-kind of way, but in the ‘my reading speed is extremely slow and I have great trouble forming a coherent argument as my thoughts get jumbled very easily’-kind of way. I did not get diagnosed until I was in my first year of university, despite being tested in my final year of college – turns out it takes a more holistic approach to be diagnosed when you have developed coping mechanisms for undiagnosed dyslexia. But why am I telling you all this? Well, I am finally ready – seven years after being diagnosed – to figure out what my life can look like living with dyslexia. For too long I have treated it as a crutch. This blog is part of that process for me. I want to create a place where I can hold my self accountable to exploring my identity – dyslexia and all. A place where I can document my growths, struggles, frustrations and great experiences alike.

In the past 10 years I have read maybe only a handful of books – I have had very little drive to read and great frustration when a book took longer than a week to complete – often resulting it being put away unread. Granted part of the reason was that I was in university where the reading burden was large and looming, especially with my type of dyslexia… but also I was unaware of the consequences of allowing years of frustration with my reading speed dictate my relationship with books. In recent years I have taken a great interest in the principles of Cognitive Behavioural Theory (CBT), in particular the emphasis it puts on the importance of thought processes. Thanks to this method I have come to lots of realisations about my life, and managed to reassess a wealth of situations that previously stomped me, but more importantly it is currently helping me change my relation to reading. I am on a quest to change my relationship with books. So far for 2019 I have read a whole book and am well underway with the second. Might this be the year where I read at least twelve books before December 31st?

Featured photograph by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com