Character development in Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life

*SPOILER ALERT: don’t read if you haven’t seen all 4 episodes of the revival*

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I think we can all agree that Gilmore Girls, rather than answering a multitude of questions that have been brewing for the last nine years, actually leaves us with even more unanswered questions than before we started watching the revival. But regardless of intricate plot details and discrepancies between this revival and the season that should not be named, the most irregular aspect of this revival for me was character development. Or in the case of some people, the lack thereof.

The one that struck me most was Rory. What has she actually done with her life since we left her nine years ago? Her future seemed promising. She was going to trail the Obama presidential campaign, which we all assumed would lead to the wonderful career as a journalist that she’d always dreamed of. And of course she would have that career, because she’s Rory Gilmore. Right?

But rather than finding Rory in the midst of probably the most exciting time in her life career-wise, we find her pretty much drifting aimlessly, with nothing more than the one New Yorker piece and a few odds and ends to show for her accomplishments over the last decade.

Continue reading “Character development in Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life”

Book Haul (17)

Since I haven’t done one of these in ages this is going to be quite a big haul. I still continue to try and limit the amount of books that I buy, but sometimes I just really can’t resist (and sometimes you gotta treat yourself, right?)

So here’s what I’ve bought in recent months:

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Quite a pile, I know. And they’re all very different types of book as well. Sometimes I see book blogs that are very centred around certain types of genres, but I’m not the type of person to read only a certain genre almost exclusively. I am interested in a wide variety of topics, which is reflected in the books that I buy.

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These three I got at a charity shop about two months ago, and all together cost me about €4 (total bargain!)

The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde
I’ve been meaning to read this one for years now, and I feel kind of bad about the fact that I still haven’t read it. But the fact that I’ve now got a copy means I’m 1 step closer to actually reading it. It’s a start.

Innocent Traitor – Alison Weir
This book centres around Lady Jane Grey and her 8 day reign. Weir is famous for her historical non-fiction, but has also written a few amazing historical novels. I’ve read three so far and they were all great, so I’m pretty excited about this one.

The Glass Palace – Amitav Ghosh
I’ve heard a lot of good things about this book, yet I’ve never read anything by Ghosh before. I mainly picked it up because it got good reviews and because I could get it so cheaply. Will definitely report back one I’ve read it.

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I bought these two books when I was in New York City at the end of April. I got both of them at The Strand.

Someday, Someday Maybe – Lauren Graham
Okay, so I’m a huge Gilmore Girls fan, and I’ve recently rewatched all 7 seasons. Not only that, but I’m eagerly awaiting the revival that will air later this year on Netflix. And I’m not ashamed to say that my love for Gilmore Girls was my main reason for buying this book. I pretty much finished it on the plane flying back from NYC, and I LOVED IT. Lauren Graham is such a funny lady, which is definitely reflected in the books. Review to follow, so I won’t say too much about it now. But it’s great!

Things Fall Apart – Chinua Achebe
As you can read in my review of Half of a Yellow Sun, I was shocked when I realised how little I knew about the Nigerian-Biafran War. Things Fall Apart is one of the many texts that Ngozi Adichie used for her research, and of course Achebe is a household name when it comes to African literature. So when I came across this book at The Strand, especially since I was in the middle of Half of a Yellow Sun, I just had to get it.

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And last but not least, these two books.

Through the Language Glass – Guy Deutscher
I’ve been meaning to get this book for ages. It’s a much disputed concept within the field of linguistics about whether the language you speak influences the way you perceive the world around you. As someone who speaks several languages I am inclined to say that it has a definite influence on the way you view the world, but that’s just me. There are many linguists who would not agree with me on this. So yeah, I am really excited to read this one!

Memoirs of an Early Arab Feminist: the life and activism of Anbara Salam Khalidi – Anbara Salam Khalidi
Combine the Middle East and feminism and you’re pretty much guaranteed to pique my interest. I had never heard of her until I happened to stumble upon this title whilst browsing Goodreads. I read some of her backstory and immediately decided to order a copy. I got it in the post a few days ago, and this will definitely be the next book that I’m going to read!

So that’s my book haul for now, and it’ll certainly keep me busy for a while😀

Have you bought any new books recently?

I’m back!

Which you may have noticed already, considering the fact that I posted a book review recently. I never intended to stop blogging, and certainly not for an entire year, but it just sort of happened.

At the end of May last year I started a new job, and it’s the first time in my life that I’ve had a full time job. It definitely was an adjustment period for me, and I guess I ended up in this kind of reading slump. I often just didn’t have the energy to pick up a book and finish it, much less to blog about it.

But now I finally feel like I’m getting back into the swing of things, and I really want to commit time again to reading all the books that I have on my tbr pile and share my thoughts with you all.

I certainly don’t intend to take another year long break, and I’m super excited to get back into blogging at least semi-regularly. Who’s with me?😀

Review: Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

576650Title: Half of a Yellow Sun
Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Published: January 1st, 2007
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Pages: 448
ISBN: 0007200285

Review
Once in a while you come across a book that will stay with you for a long time after you’ve finished it. Half of a Yellow Sun is one of those books. Even though its subject material is heavy and complex, it drew me in and wouldn’t let me go.

I started reading it on a long train ride from Lyon to Brussels. By the time I’d arrived in Brussels I was well beyond 200 pages into the book. The next day, on our flight to New York, I read another big chunk of it. I finally finished it a week later on our flight back. It’s very intense reading material and I must admit that I’ve had a few bad dreams because of it, but I just had to finish it.

What makes this book so good is a combination of a fascinating, though at times gruelling piece of history that’s not often written about, but above all it’s Adichie’s beautiful writing style. From page 1 it just grabs you and keeps you wanting more.

Apart from telling a family’s story, it also tells the story of a tragic and short lived nation, that barely had the chance to ever really begin. Biafra is a word that, for most people, will always be connected to the notion of famine and conjures images of emaciated children with swollen bellies. But most people don’t know the story behind these images, are not aware of the conflicts that preceded and ultimately led to that situation.

Even though I love history and would consider myself to be reasonably well read, in this instance I, too, belonged to this majority that didn’t really have a clue about the tragic history of Nigeria and Biafra in that early post-colonial period. This is why I feel this book is so important, not just as a work of fiction, but as a way of making a reasonably unknown period of history accessible to a large number of people.

It has made me interested in a country that I had previously known very little about, and I am sure that I will be reading more about Nigeria sometime in the future.

I would definitely recommend this book to everyone.

My rating: heartheartheartheartheart

 

On My Bookshelf (12)

In this feature I showcase books that remain on my shelf, unread and impatiently waiting to be picked up.

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It’s been a while since I did one of these, but unfortunately the number of unread books on my bookshelf hasn’t really gone down. This isn’t because I haven’t been reading but because, in spite of all my best efforts, I keep buying new books! The book I’m showcasing you this time is one that, like so many, has been taking up shelf space for quite some time now, and gives me a sense of guilt ever time I glance at it in passing. I’ve heard so many great things about it, which is why I don’t really understand why I keep putting off reading this book. It’s Possession by A.S. Byatt. I’ve not read any of her work yet but like I said, I’ve heard a lot of great things about her writing so it should be good!

Synopsis
“Literary critics make natural detectives,” says Maud Bailey, heroine of a mystery where the clues lurk in university libraries, old letters, and dusty journals. Together with Roland Michell, a fellow academic and accidental sleuth, Maud discovers a love affair between the two Victorian writers the pair has dedicated their lives to studying: Randolph Ash, a literary great long assumed to be a devoted and faithful husband, and Christabel La Motte, a lesser-known “fairy poetess” and chaste spinster. At first, Roland and Maud’s discovery threatens only to alter the direction of their research, but as they unearth the truth about the long-forgotten romance, their involvement becomes increasingly urgent and personal. Desperately concealing their purpose from competing researchers, they embark on a journey that pulls each of them from solitude and loneliness, challenges the most basic assumptions they hold about themselves, and uncovers their unique entitlement to the secret of Ash and La Motte’s passion.(Goodreads)

Book Haul (16)

So lately I’ve been trying to stop myself from buying too many books, and instead focus on the books I already own. I’ve been doing pretty well if I may say so myself and I went for months without buying any new books. But when I went to the Netherlands a few weeks ago to visit family and friends I have to admit I caved and ended up buying two new books. In my defence though, one’s a second hand book and the other one a Dutch book which would’ve been difficult to get hold of otherwise, so I feel that, in this instance, it was okay to buy new books.

The first book I bought is The Man Who Listens to Horses by Monty Roberts, the real-life horse whisperer. I’ve admired him for years for the way he treats horses and the remarkable way he’s managed to learn the ‘language of horses’. I’m reading it at the moment and it’s so inspiring. I would love to buy a young horse sometime in the near future, and when I do I will definitely be using his method to train my horse.

I bought this at the second-hand book market in the centre of Amsterdam, and I only paid €4 for it so it was a great bargain!

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The second book I bought is Papegaai Vloog over de IJssel by Kader Abdolah. It’s his latest book and hasn’t been translated into English yet, so unfortunately I can’t give you the English title. A few months back I wrote a review for one of his other books, The King, which you can find here. I’m really looking forward to reading this new one, because so far I’ve loved everything he’s written and I’m hoping this one will be just as enjoyable to read.

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I’m really going to try to make myself read both these books before I even think about buying any new ones, so the next book haul might not be for a while yet (but who knows?).

Have you bought any exciting new titles recently?

A New Addition

So I’ve been away from this blog for a few weeks, and for several reasons. The first reason is that I’ve been away visiting family and friends which was really nice. I spent a few days in Amsterdam staying with best friend M and meeting up with some other friends whom I hadn’t seen in ages and I had such a good time.

And the second (and most exciting!) reason is that we got a new puppy a week ago! We lost our dear dog a year ago, on 4 April, and we were all heartbroken. For months we didn’t feel like we would be able to love another dog the way we loved him, but we finally came to the realisation that life’s pretty empty without a pet and that’s when we started looking for a new pup. We finally picked him up on Sunday, 22 March, so he’s been with us for just over a week. He’s a little Jack Russell, nearly 11 weeks old now, and he’s called Kalle (a Scandinavian name). We’re in love❤

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Top Ten Tuesday (24)

It’s Tuesday again, which means it’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday! This meme is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, and if you run a book blog and want to participate, go check it out!

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This week’s theme is ‘Top Ten Books On My Spring TBR List‘. I’ve got great plans reading-wise for this spring, so I’m excited to share this list with you all.

  • A Dance with Dragons Part 2: After the Feast – George R.R. Martin
  • The Map of Love – Ahdaf Soueif
  • The Yacoubian Building – Alaa Al-Aswany
  • Palace Walk – Naguib Mahfouz
  • The Kalahari Typing School For Men – Alexander McCall Smith

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  • A Dangerous Inheritance – Alison Weir
  • The Museum of Innocence – Orhan Pamuk
  • Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency – Douglas Adams
  • I Am Malala – Malala Yousafzai
  • Papegaai Vloog Over de IJssel – Kader Abdolah

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Do you make reading plans/lists for any particular time period?

Top Ten Tuesday (23)

Hi guys, so it’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday. I really love this meme because it’s so diverse and it really forces you to think about your favourite reads, literary tropes, and many other things. This meme is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, and if you run a book blog and want to participate, go check it out!

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This week’s topic is Top Ten Books You Would Classify As ALL TIME FAVOURITE BOOKS from the past 3 years. I think this is a great one because I love reflecting and looking back on the wonderful books I’ve read in the past. Since we’re only a few months into 2015 I’ve chosen books that I read in the period from 2012-2014.

2012

  • Ken Follett – The Pillars of the Earth
  • Elif Shafak – The Bastard of Istanbul
  • George R.R. Martin – A Game of Thrones
  • Dawn French – A Tiny Bit Marvellous

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2013

  • Carlos Ruiz Zafón – The Shadow of the Wind
  • Khaled Hosseini – And The Mountains Echoed
  • Elizabeth Chadwick – The Summer Queen

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2014

  • Kader Abdolah – The King
  • Ruby Wax – Sane New World: Taming the Mind
  • Alexander McCall Smith – 44 Scotland Street

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I could’ve picked a few more books from the past few years, but since I had to limit myself to just 10 I had to think about this carefully. If you take part in this TTT list, leave me a comment so I can check our your picks!🙂

Foodporn Friday (1)

I’ve been meaning to blog about food for a while now because I absolutely love cooking and baking, but somehow it was never the right moment. Or, in some cases, I simply forgot to take pictures of whatever it was I created, and a post without pictures is a sad excuse for a blog post really.

But a few days ago I made one of my favourite recipes, so I just had to share it here. It’s a basic recipe for a lemon drizzle cake, but this time I slightly changed it by topping it with a lemon buttercream frosting and it turned out great!

It’s a gluten free cake, because my family and I are gluten intolerant, and if you use a butter substitute it can easily be made dairy free as well.

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That looks a bit of alright, doesn’t it?

So, without further ado, the recipe for my lemon cake with lemon buttercream icing.

For the cake
55 grams butter, softened
150 grams sugar
2 eggs
the zest of 2 lemons
juice of 1 lemon
250 grams rice flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon salt
180 ml milk

For the frosting
60 grams butter
250 grams icing sugar
1 tablespoon milk
15 ml lemon juice

Some lemon zest for decoration

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 180C.

Cream together the butter and sugar. I like to use an electric whisk to do this. Then add the eggs one by one and mix well. Mix in the lemon zest and juice and mix well again. After that add the dry ingredients and the milk. Whisk everything until it’s well combined, stopping every now and then to scrape the edges of the bowl. Continue to mix until you get a smooth, homogenous cake batter.

Grease a round baking tin and dust with a bit of rice flour. Pour the batter into the cake tin and spread it out evenly.

Bake in the centre of the pre-heated oven for around 25-30 minutes, but keep your eye on it. The cake’s done when a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Leave to cool on a wire rack, and don’t frost before the cake has completely cooled! This’ll take maybe an hour.

To make the frosting
 Cut the softened butter into cubes and place in a large mixing bowl. Sift in the icing sugar to avoid lumps. Add your milk and lemon juice and mix well with an electric whisk until it has a smooth and quite thick consistency. If it looks too runny, add a bit more icing sugar. You don’t want your frosting to drip off the cake.

So, once your cake has had plenty of time to cool, add the frosting and spread it out evenly over the cake. Decorate with a bit more lemon zest to make it look pretty🙂

This cake is best eaten on the day, but will definitely keep for a few days if stored in an airtight container and kept somewhere cool.

Do you love baking? Share your favourite recipe below if you like. And if you decide to bake this cake please send me pictures, because I’d love to see your baking creations!