062/2024 – February Book Recap

Book fiction was a bit of a disappointment for me in February. I sent some of the books I read already on to be re-sold, because I know I won’t want to read them again, so there is no proper photo this time. 

Screeshot of the last four books I've finished
Excerpt from my Storygraph

The “Dale Detective” audiobook series is the “lull me to sleep” one and I’m on the third or so round through all of them, so they will appear on my Storygraph stats page. 

I had started another book earlier in the month – Lucky Girl – but I just didn’t feel in the right mood, so it went back to the shelf after a few chapters to be read at another time. Maybe. 

Other than that I clearly have been on a Bryony Gordon spree this month. Her new one was out mid- / late February and of course I read that as well. But only finished it today, so it’s going to be in my March recap.  

The Roughest Draft (Emily Wibberley, Austin Siegemund-Broka, 2022)

DNF after about halfway of the story. To me it just dragged on and on. The two main characters were too boring and whiney for me to care about them in any way. I also had a hard time keeping track of the different points of view and past/present timeline, even though it always was clearly stated. I just didn’t care

Read this as part of the Storygraph Onboarding Challenge.

The Perfect Marriage (Jeneva Rose, 2020)
I rushed through the last third or more of this book, because I thought it dragged on and on. What mostly turned me off and bored me was the style of writing to be honest. It’s written in alternating first person narrative. They didn’t seem so different, both just rather unemotional and flat. Short sentences and a lot of I did this and then I did that. Also they kept having the same thoughts over and over and going in circles and while I agree that that’s human nature, it doesn’t make good literature to me.

The plot was interesting enough at first, because there were enough of possible suspects, but that all started to muddle a bit after a while. A lot of the police and law procedures also felt highly unprofessional to me, which also turned me off.

I admit the ending came as a surprise, which adds another 0.25 to the rating. I just also found it too far-fetched and unrealistic.

All in all clearly not my kind of book.

Forever Hold Your Peace (Liz Fenton, Lisa Steinke, 2023)
This book proved a disappointment for me. One of the characters was a bit of a creep in my eyes (and NO, even a long lost love doesn’t make that ok). Their child had no spine and in generell I thought all of them just whined a lot. The emotional side of it all felt too cheesy and the plot too much of a cliche. Sorry, that was just not my cup of tea.

The Book of Beginnings (Sally Page, 2023)
This was a nice story about friendship in all it’s forms and about finding oneself and starting over. I sort of liked it, thought it was rather slow in parts. For some reason I sadly couldn’t really get overly interested in these characters.

No Such Thing As Normal: What My Mental Illness Has Taught Me About Mental Wellness (Bryony Gordon, 2021)
Another great book from Bryony. I’ve been working on my own mental health issues for a while now, so I’ve known about many of the techniques / advice in this book. But it definitely helped as a reminder.

Mad Girl (Bryony Gordon, 2016)
This was difficult to read at times, because Bryony was and still is so open about all her mental health issues: the OCD, the depression and what it all did to her. Although I think it might be even more painful to read in the follow-up book “Glorious Rock Bottom”- I’m glad and grateful that she shares her story though because it made me feel less like a freak with all the mental health issues and weird thoughts and ups and downs I had in my life so far. Every once in a while I had wished she’d dial down the colloquial, self-deprecating humour, but I guess that’s just her way of telling her story.

Glorious Rock Bottom (Bryony Gordon 2020)
I’m in awe of Bryony Gordon and how openly she speaks about her addiction and mental health issues. Always have been, always will be, so this is not an objective review. She’s kind of a role model for me in so many ways. In this one she not only delves into how the addiction made her behave appallingly, but also how she used the alcohol and drugs to quiet all the other stuff going on in her mind. OCD, anxiety and all the other crap human minds can torment themselves with. And that’s something I could very much relate to. Ignoring / masking the real issues and emotions by other mindless/useless behaviour. Reading this book definitely made me want to work on my own issues / battle my own demons a bit more.

060/2024 – Expand On Click

I’ve been using WordPress as a blogging software since April 2008. At least according to my archives. Self-hosted since… I don’t know, a few years after. I’m sure I’ve also been using this WordPress theme for a long, long time. As much as I like the simplicity of it, I always was a bit bummed out that I never figured out how to include photos larger than the column space of the blog. Or that I never found an easy way to just make it possible for them to be enlarged on click if anyone wants to.

Earlier this week, when I wanted to share some of my London photos I was fiddling around again with gallery plugin and such until I finally noticed this switch button in the publishing backend. (No idea if that’s the right terminology).

Mysterious settings…

It’s not turned on for the picture above. But it is switched on for the one below and all the others in this post, which is why, when you hover over it, a small white quadrant symbol appears in the upper right corner of the photo and the cursor icon changes to a zoom icon.

Wow, right! Why did it take me so many years to figure that one out?

Not much more to talk about at the moment. Work’s been busy. I’m oscillating between feeling accomplished and overwhelmed by it all. Which sometimes leads to insomnia, because my mind just won’t shut up. Which then leads to me being grumpy and knackered. One more day and then it’s finally the weekend. Again.

The world outside is still a mess and I miss my small flashes of joy.

So, for your joy, maybe, here are a few more photos from London. Remember to click on them 🙂

One of the many things I like about roaming London streets are the surprise views you can get at every corner. Literally a corner in this case…

Musical theatre. Black cab. Red bus. Red phone box. 10/10 for typical London.

And I’m quite happy with this last photo especially as I hadn’t refreshed my limited knowledge of night photography before the trip. I remembered some basics, which helped obviously.

056/2024 – A “Pick and Mix” Kind of Post

My time in school – back in the day – was rather normal, I’d say. I wasn’t one of the cool kids, but I had friends and in general got along with most of the other students. I was good in school without any real problems. Ups and downs in some classes, depending on the subject and teachers, I guess. I also was well liked by most of the teachers.

There was one moment though in year 12 which led to me crying in the schoolyard over something a teacher had said/done to me. I was 18 years old at that time. An adult in sense of the law, but still a child in so many ways. On the inside at least I was still an insecure, self-doubting little girl then and for so much longer, but I digress. For reasons unknown then and to this day Miss H. in social sciences class that day deviated from the regular curriculum and started a weird speech about imitating and why it is wrong to imitate other people and that kind of thing. At some point she then turned to me and in front of the whole class accused me of having imitated her to make fun of her in the schoolyard. I was absolutely shocked to hear that, because I hadn’t done that. I don’t remember how the rest of the class went. I was in shock. I vaguely remember that I went to her afterwards and apologized (WTF?) if anything I did gave that impression and stated once again that I hadn’t intentionally or unintentionally made fun of her. It’s a fuzzy memory. I do remember crying when I told my friends about it during the break. And when I told my mum about it at home. My mum was no help, I’m sad to say.

Why am I sharing this now? In the slow, snail-like process of clearing out cupboards and rooms in the family home I came across my tests from back in school. Year 7 – 12.

A stack of exercise books and folders from school
The accumlated knowledge of my school years

Miss H. had been my German teacher in year 7 and 8, so I saw her remarks and my grades written in her handwriting at each test. And I caught myself getting anxious just seeing that and being reminded of her as a teacher. I also only got mediocre grades in her class, unlike the years after with a different German teacher. I don’t know why that was, but seeing the combination of mediocre grades and Miss H.’s remarks and the whole backstory from years later made me feel quite agitated on a visceral level for a while. It also made my imposter-syndrome raise it’s ugly head again, because how could a student with these kind of grades go on to get a degree from uni and get a job and do that job for years now?

I’m glad that I could put all these anxious emotions and bodily sensations caused by them into perspective quickly. Three cheers for therapy! Again! I then actually found it quite fascinating to experience first hand how mind and body obviously store emotional memories over decades!

I haven’t looked at my tests after year 10 yet. I hope there isn’t more to cause a bout of anxiety.

The remaining two days at work after my London trip went more or less fine. Busy with meetings and workshops and talking through tasks for next week when my supervisor will be out for a few days. My imposter-syndrome made itself known every once in a while, but it wasn’t too bad, I think. I still a bit too often fear that I’m not doing my job as well as I could, but I’m not hearing any complaints yet so it might just be in my head. It most probably is and I’ll just have to deal with that.

When I wasn’t clearing out cupboards in the family home I mostly took it easy this weekend to recharge after the exhausting trip to London. A trip like this is always fun, but travelling for hours (tube, train, car) is exhausting! Period! And as I had to be back at work the day after I hadn’t had the chance to fully recharge before. So I slept a lot this weekend and mostly did easy and relaxing stuff. Transferring my London photos from the SD card to my computer. In the process I found out that it might just have been the SD card in my good camera acting up and not the camera itself. Fingers crossed. I thought about sharing a few more photos from London, but that will have to wait until I’m in the right headspace to edit some of them a bit more. I also did lots and lots of reading:

Apropos reading: in London I tried and mostly often succeeded to grab for my book and not my phone when I had time to kill. I need to establish that as a routine here at home more often as well.

collage of three pictures of me reading my book. While waiting for the bus, while eating at Pret, at the theatre before the show starts
Book instead of phone

The bad news in this regard is, that the fiction I’ve been reading this month definitely was / is a bit disappointing so far. The first one I read, I didn’t like all that much. I put away the next one after a few chapters, because I just couldn’t get into it. The one after that was kind of nice. The fourth one – the one featured in the pics above – got on my nerves so much after about half the story, that I just had to give up on it after I had come back from London. The one I picked after and which I’m still reading now has a similar “getting on my nerves vibe”, but I don’t want to DNF two books in a row, so I’m plodding on.

Photo of Netflix infos on "One Day"
Netflix ad for One Day

Whenever I put on my background distraction – “Gilmore Girls” – Netflix advertises the “One Day” mini series to me. I saw a few appreciative tweets about it, which made me have closer look (i.e. I googled it). It’s based on a book. “I could just read the book then” was my first impulse and I KNOW that’s not what Netflix wants me to do. But I can’t help it. In most cases I’d probably pick the book over a TV / movie version of a story. So I just ordered this one from a used bookstore, because I don’t have any impulse control when it comes to books. Among other things…