Category Archives: Books

January: the good

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So January is gone and we can no longer wish people happy new year.

Here is the summary of the good bits of my year so far:

* I read two books: Gone Girl and The Shock of the Fall. spoiler alert, don’t read the below if you are planning to read these books.

The first one was a very easy read, despite being a very weird plot. Everybody knows about Gone Girl, right? It’s a good book, well written and it’s hard to stop reading it (although I only read opinions of girls who read it – I wonder what men think about it: “a book about an idiot who
lets a crazy bitch control his life; so unrealistic and dumb”). But the end made me think it was written for a film (or a TV series), leaving it open for a sequence. Are there people as crazy as Amy in real life? I’m sure there are, loads, even worse, but what are the odds she will find the perfect match and lead a life together to the point of having a sick life and have a family (kids and all) like “normal” people would do? It makes me wonder if those kids that shoot random people at schools and malls are children of the Amys & Nicks of this world. I need to watch the film now. Or do I?
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The second one took me by surprise. I am used to reading books with lots of action going on: crimes, love stories, betrayal, jealousy, mystery, etc. The Shock of the Fall is nothing like that – it’s the story of a boy who lost his brother when they were both quite young and he felt guilty about his death and went a bit… crazy. But in a very ordinary way. Unlike Gone Girl, it’s a history that can happen to any of us, and in fact it does. It was very slow in the beginning and quite hard to be motivated and carry on reading, but I don’t like leaving a book unfinished and I’m glad I went all the way through with it. It made me think about several things: how parents deal with their children – protecting the “special” child, being hard on the “normal” one (we don’t need to go that far: how many people resent their parents for favouring a sibling?), dealing with the loss of someone close, a life changing event (the death of a brother and feeling guilty about it) triggering a dormant condition (the narrator is schizophrenic – was he schizophrenic from birth or was it something that developed because of his personal tragedy? I no nothing about schizophrenia). The ending was a bit… too optimistic for my liking. I mean, for 10 years he had been struggling with the death of his brother, he was ready to jump off a cliff to join him and after just a couple of hours chatting to an old acquaintance he had a “click” and understood what had to be done to give this chapter of his life a “closure” and bury his brother for good in his mind? Maybe it is all possible and it just take a simple gesture or something a stranger tells us to click and change our lives for good, but because I’ve never been through something like this, I’m a bit cynical about it all?
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* The girls moved to their bedrooms for good. Laura used to sleep with us, Beatrice used to come to our bed in the middle of the night (or sometimes sleep with us the whole night). Not only they are sharing the bedroom but also sharing the bed! It’s mean, I know, but since they are used to sharing the bed with us, I thought it would be easier if they were close to each other.

How is it going? Good. It’s no
miracle, no walk in the park, but it’s no tragedy either. Normally Mr. C and I put them to sleep together – he tells a story (or reads a book or both), I breastfeed Beatrice, we turn the lights off and leave the room when they sleep. Beatrice always takes longer; Laura is off within 5 minutes; Beatrice can take 30 minutes on a good day. Some days are better than others – today (31st jan), they both were sleeping by 8pm after putting them in bed after 7.30pm. So pretty easy. Some days they will sleep at 9pm, sometimes 10pm. A couple of nights ago, Beatrice only settled at midnight! In our bed! But she clearly wasn’t feeling well. So I think this is life with kids: usually is ok once you get into a routine, but you will have a couple of hiccups on the way and these are the ones we tend to remember.

It’s worth mentioning that several nights (most of them) they will both show up in our bedroom – Laura usually taking Bea by her hand – in the middle of the night (after 2am). I usually take them both back to their bed and stay with them until the fall asleep. The last couple of nights I was so exhausted that I left them in our bed. It’s ok, I suppose, if it’s not the norm.

* I organised my bedroom and the kitchen and have been maintaining some order. Every night (90% of the time since the kitchen was tidied up) I wash the dished, dry them, put them away, clean the sink and the counter, put stuff in the cupboard. Not always I have the energy to put the rubbish out (too cold). I’m quite pleased with myself. Mind you: there is still a bit of a mess around and they are not “magazine worthy” rooms, but I’m more than ok with that for now.

* I’ve started a routine of putting cream every day: once on my body, after I have my shower (I’m not one of those who have showers in the morning; and I’m definitely not one of those who have two showers a day), before bedtime and twice on the face: mornings and evenings. My face has never been that pampered in its entire life in the UK. I haven’t bought any new or special product, I had a few that were sitting on the counter for ages and I’m just getting rid of them before I can actually look for specific ones. I’m not going to lie and say that I feel 5 years younger, yadda yadda, but my skin doesn’t feel like the autumn leaves anymore. I will admit: it’s such a boring routine, as boring as it gets; but a much needed one.

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I think these are the main achievements of January. I would have loved to have a longer list but I’m past this stage of trying to fit an elephant in a Beetle (the car; the metaphor makes sense in my head) and trying to accomplish too much. It only leads to frustration. So for February, I will try to carry on with the ones above and maybe add a couple of items to the list.

(to be continued)

Removing cobwebs

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I don’t read much. I used to, but it was something like this: a whole year without reading a book and then I would start one and then read 10 in a row, then stop again. I love reading, but it’s quite hard for me to focus on a story. After having kids I don’t think i even tried to read a book.

Well, I did. One. I started after my mum left the book with us in London (expecting hubby, an impulse book buyer, to read it). I decided to give it a go and it took me some good 8 months to finish it. The book is good, it was catchy, but life just gives me other priorities (damn you, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and WordPress).

The book thief is the book and I finished it yesterday, 4th if February.

(the book, eaten a few times by Beatrice)20x 
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My mum have a few books lying around the house and I have a few that I’m planning to read/have a look. Two of them are the new grammar rules of the Portuguese language. I was already living in the UK when the grammar changed and I completely blanked it. I love grammar and I love being able to write things correctly (at least in Portuguese) but I wasn’t using it enough to justify putting it at the top of my priority list (damn you Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, Instagram). So, hopefully, I will be able to, at least, have a look at any major changes to our grammar.

I also found the book below lost in a pile of other stuff. Not sure what to expect from it, but since I want to read only books in Portuguese while I’m here, this will be the next in line (starting as of tomorrow as it’s late and after this post I’m going to sleep).

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I also need to go back to the habit of reading with/for Laura. She used to ask us to read her stories (she still asks us to tell her stories, which we make up on the spot), but lately she has been too busy with her stuff (damn you Facebook, Twitter, TV). I found two book that I want to read with her. The first one I got from a raffle on a website and it’s about cooking with kids. I haven’t read it yet, so I can’t tell much. The second one was illustrated by my brother, when he was 19 years old. Coming back home always brings memories and treasures…

What about you? What books are you reading now? Any recommendations (only in English and Portuguese, unfortunately; I’m not good in any other languages, unless we are talking about books for kids in Spanish)?
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