My Zero Waste Blog

In July 2017, I decided to go zero waste – to try my best, anyway.

Along with this decision, I created a blog documenting my transition process, my difficulties and my achievements.

If you’d like to see how zero waste works for me, follow the link below:

https://zerowasting.wordpress.com/

And if you’re interested in zero waste as well, come and say hello, give me your own tips, don’t be shy! I’m just beginning and I need all the help I can get!

Carina

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BookRiot | Published Articles

As I mentioned in this post, I wrote two articles which were accepted for publication on BookRiot.

Better news, yet: I’m becoming a regular contributor for the site! So, alongside the usual contents on this site, get ready to hear from me regarding BookRiot and the articles I get to publish there. I’ll be sure to share them with you.

I’ve been gathering ideas to tackle in the following posts, but if there’s anything book-related that you’d like me to talk about, feel free to send your pitches on the comments, I’m always open for discussion and reflection!

For now, here are the links to the articles that have been published already, I hope you enjoy them.

Why libraries matter – http://bookriot.com/2017/07/13/why-libraries-matter/

The case for re-reading audio – http://bookriot.com/2017/07/12/case-rereading-audio/

Carina.

 

 

 

Good News And Bad News

So, I’ve got bad news and good news.

The bad news is that the job at the bookstore Van Piere, in Eindhoven, that I talked about in this post, is a no.

I sent my curriculum, as well as an application letter, and I received a very polite response this week, informing me that, as they received a lot of applications, they wouldn’t be able to interview everyone and I was excluded from the interview phase. It’s like The Voice, and I am not going through to the TV shows. Oh, well, c’est la vie and all that…

Because…

The good news is that my application to write to BookRiot has been accepted! 😀

I don’t now if you have heard of the site – here’s a link – but I’ve been following it closely for a while now, especially on Facebook. It’s a site about everything book-related, it’s funny and quirky, and when I saw they were recruiting writers I figured I had nothing to lose. I actually sent my two application texts very close to the date I sent my job application to the bookshop. I’m glad at least one of those worked out in the end.

Of course, the BookRiot thing isn’t a permanent contribution, at least not yet; first I’ll get two texts published as a trial run and, if they get enough visibility, there’s a chance I can contribute to the site on a regular basis.

Apart from this great news, this week was pretty crazy – as in, I should have gotten more sleep than I did – and the heat is slowly killing me. Don’t get me wrong, I love Summer, but when you live pretty much on the rooftop, heat can – and will – be a problem. I got a new fan, that I assembled myself (there were three pieces too many at the end, which are not mentioned in the instructions manual at all and I can’t figure out where they fit, but the fan works nevertheless, so I guess we’re good), and I’ve been eating way too many ice lollies.

Tomorrow I’m heading off to Dusseldorf, in Germany (I swear I live in Belgium, but we’re so close to everything), with a couple of friends to do some shopping, some eating and some walking around.

Carina.

 

My Summer Reading | 2017

This year’s big vacation – I always take two weeks off during the Summer to visit my family in Portugal – was a little earlier in the year than usual, and I brought along a very ambitious reading list. Eight books turned out to be the final mark, and here they are, along with the reviews.

The Handmaid's TaleThe Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Scary how a book that was published in 1985 has a story and writing so fitting for today’s world.
This is written beautifully, with an intriguing and powerful story.

A Man Called OveA Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a delicious tale regarding a grumpy-old-man who finds himself being forced by his neighbours and a set of “misfortune” (in his point of view) to become a not-so-grumpy old man. The writing is engaging and the story and its characters very well crafted. Couldn’t recommend it more.

The Princess Saves Herself in this OneThe Princess Saves Herself in this One by Amanda Lovelace

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was alright. A few of the poems were nice, although when comparing it to Milk and Honey (and how can you not when the style is so similar) I must say this is not half as good. I was definitely expecting more, especially in regards to the title.

Grief is the Thing with FeathersGrief is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was expecting to like this book more than I did. I understood the poetry in the father and sons’ chapters, but the representation of Grief itself – in the shape of a Crow – was too confusing.

The Reader on the 6.27The Reader on the 6.27 by Jean-Paul Didierlaurent

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was expecting more reading on trains than it has – going by the title – but altogether, this was a cute story who didn’t dwell too much on the romance regarding the main character, focusing mostly on the importance of kindness and the love of reading.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely FineEleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In the real world, I wouldn’t like the protagonist. Then again, in the real world, I could only know as far as my eyes could see and my ears could hear. In the book, we get to actually know the character and, even if we think she is a bit uptight, we get to understand her reasons. I loved this story, although I could tell its twists way too early in the book; well-written and interesting.

The Sun Is Also a StarThe Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ve been reading a few YA book and I’ve been really enjoying them. I decided to read The Sun Is Also A Star after reading the other romance by the author, Everything Everything. I must say that I liked the other one better, but this was also a brilliantly told tale of young love and predicaments. There were a few clichés, but aren’t teen relationships usually filled with them? It takes us on a little trip inside two different cultures as well, so I’m looking forward treadingad more of the author.

Love Letters to the DeadLove Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I liked the book, despite the recklessness of the main character. The premise of a girl wh is grieving writing to dead people while trying to rediscover herself after the death of her older sister is interesting and well-delivered, and I actually got to know a few facts about those dead stars within the story as an extra.

Where'd You Go, BernadetteWhere’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The premise of this story – Bernardette going missing – is actually the last bit of the whole book and, really, the least interesting aspect of it. Of course I was curious to know how and where did Bernardette go, but the life of a rich neighbourhood in Seattle and the quirks of its inhabitants, their dramas and little-dirsty-wars was actually much more interesting and funny than all the rest.
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I didn’t actually read the whole of The Handmaids’ Tale while on vacation, I had already started it before I left to Portugal.

On this list is also missing A Sociedade Dos Sonhadores Involuntários (roughly translated to The Involuntary Dreamers’ Society) by my favourite author, José Eduardo Agualusa, because I my review is written in Portuguese, but I can assure you it is a wonderful book.

How about you, have you read any of these books? What’s your take on them?

Carina

Update On Life #2

I just noticed that my last blog post was in… January! Five months flew by on gilded wings without a single word written on here. That’s not to say I haven’t been writing; my Portuguese blog seems to take the most of my attention but, returned from this year’s vacations in Portugal, I figured I’d give this one un update too.

I was in Portugal for two weeks, with a very limited internet connection, so I had plenty of time to catch up on my reading: I took twenty-six books with me, on my Kindle, and I ended up reading eight of those twenty-six. In two weeks, I’d say it’s not a bad mark. Now, back to work, I’ve been trying to get back to my routine as well, spend time with friends and just try to take it easy as well.

I’ve applied for a job at a bookshop. It’s been my favourite place in Eindhoven forever, a bookshop with a little café inside; it’s cosy and quiet and just wonderful. Honestly, it would be the perfect job for me, despite the fact that my Dutch isn’t yet perfect. I still struggle with some very specific vocabulary, but I believe this type of job would be perfect to help me out with that as well. I sent my resume and a solicitation letter, so keep your fingers crossed for me! Maybe after five years living in Belgium – Eindhoven is in The Netherlands, I know, but I live in Belgium, about 40km away from town – I’ll finally get my dream job. I’ll finally get to say, clear and proud: Oh, me? I work in a bookshop. You should come around sometime, it’s a really great place! Dreaming is still free of tax on my book.

I’ve finished my Goodreads challenge for the year. Between books and audiobooks, I managed to get thirty books read in less than half a year. Now I’m up 46 books, and while at first, it was a tie between audiobooks and printed books, that Summer reading put printed books on top. And to think that last year I struggled to get 24 done. I’m not really reading for the challenge, I’ve just come across some great books, but the challenge certainly keeps you focused, and it’s fun to try and excel yourself at this.

Speaking of audiobooks, I’m now listening to a non-fiction book regarding placebos and next on I’ve got a book with writing tips to listen to, which seems quite fitting.

In any case, I’ll try to keep you all up to date on my shenanigans and if you’d like to check some book reviews, in case you’re looking for what to read next, feel free to take a look at my Goodreads page, to the right side of the blog.

Oh, and by the way, I’m making a pallet bed to replace my old bed! I’ll post a DIY tutorial here as soon as I finish it! So far, it’s looking good!

Have a good weekend!

Carina.

My Lover, Audiobooks

I had promised a post every Friday. Actually, I had promised a podcast, but this week seems to have flashed before my eyes and since I have a dinner tomorrow here at home, I decided to postpone the blogcast another week. Or, who knows, maybe it will be only for a few days.

Still, it’s Friday (can we blame the lack of podcast on the 13th, instead of my laziness and lack of planning?), so a post it is. Today I’m bringing you the audiobooks I’ve been listening to.

I have a lot of time to listen to podcasts because, as my work is mostly physical – I’m a cleaning lady, not a sexy dancer, in case you were wondering – I can pretty much get away with working whilst listening to things. I used to have trouble focusing on listening to anything other than music but, with podcasts and radio series, I got used to it and taking the step from those to audiobooks was easy.

Now, there’s a part of me who can’t help but feeling that audiobooks are cheating: I’m not actually reading. Then again, I’m being told a story so I did read that book. In theory. Audiobooks are so fun, though, that I’m leaving the guilt aside and I’m enjoying every bit of them.

Biographies, specifically, are a treat. You’re being told someone else’s life story by the author! The tone they set when they were writing is passed on to you, because they are reading it. It’s fantastic.

So far, these are the biographies I’ve listened to:

Anna Kendrick, Scrappy Little Notebook. It’s quirky, funny, and has just the right ammount of crazy. I first saw Anna on Twilight, I loved her on Pitch Perfect and to discover that she was a child actor, getting to know all of her struggles, the adaptation to living in L.A., and they way she has dealt with relationships and the hollywood bizz is really priceless.

Amy Schummer, The Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo. My view of Amy Schumer was a bit ambivalent. I found her funny but I also thought that her humour could sometimes be a bit dry and that she crossed a few boundaries she shouldn’t. After her book I’ve learnt about someone who is just trying to be herself and love herself, who has embraced her flaws and, mostly, someone who knew what she wanted and fought hard to get it. She is hardworking, has no trouble talking about money, has a lot of nerve, and was honest and kind enough to share dramatic life stories, to set an example, to help people. I’m still willing to admit that there are a few things in Schumer’s humour that may bother me, but the book was really funny and, albeit her saying it is not a self-help book, I’d fiercely disagree.

Amy Poehler, Yes Please. It’s almost impossible for me to think of Poehler without envisioning Tina Fey as well. I know they’re not fake twins, but I have this feeling that they complete each other, – at least humour wise – two sides of the same coin, and when I think of one I think of the other. This to say that I have Fey’s biography to listen to next. Eheh. On to Poehler’s book, though: one thing that I have noticed in the biographies I’ve read and listened to, which she points out in the biography as well, is that, as an audience, we have a twisted perception about the timing od fame. Most actors that we suddenly realise are there, have been there for a long time. Years and years of work. They haven’t been in the spotlight, but they’ve been going through nasty jobs whilst building a carreer. This was the case with Amy Poehler. She fell in love with improv at a very young age and then, in and after college, she built up a carreer on improv and comedy. Her book has a lot more to offer than just her life story, though. There are lessons about forgiveness, about relationships, and motherhood, that will make us cry, that will make us feel closer to Amy. We’ll also laugh, a lot. It wouldn’t be Amy Poehler otherwise.

I’m curently listening to Mara Wilson’s Where Am I Now, and I started reading The Gift Of Fear, a book Amy Poehler recommended in her own biography. The Song Of Achilles, that I finished this week, was absolutely amazing.

I ordered three books this month, as per usual, but I’m still waiting for them on the mail. I’ll update it on instagram as soon as they arrive.

As an ending note to this post, I’d like to confide that it is possible to fall in love with two kinds of books at the same time. Audiobooks and printed books both have my heart. And, literally and metaphorically, they both speak to me.

Carina.

Blogcast #4 | Cabin Pressure

Hello!

I’ts Friday again and I’d like first to apologise for the lack of blogcast last week, but it’s been a bit hectic with the holidays, so I thought I’d start again this week.

I’m going to make a few blog posts regarding books and audiobooks in the next couple of days, because I’ve been listening to some great audiobooks. I finished Anna Kendrick’s biography, Scrappy Little Nobody, I listened to Matilda read by Kate Winslet – which is fantastic – and I’m currently listening to The Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo, by Amy Schumer. I still haven’t posted about the three books I bought in December, because there’s still one in the mail on its way to me, but as soon as it arrives I’ll post a picture on the blog and on instagram.

The book I am currently reading is The Song Of Achilles. I’ve finished My Lady Jane, which is an hilarious book, on the last day of Decmber and I managed, therefore, to complete my Goodreads challenge of 24 books in 2016. It wasn’t exactly a fantastic amount of books read, I know, but I like to set plausible goals. I started late last year so I’m aiming for 30 books in 2017, but secretly – well, not so secretly anymore – hoping that I’ll break that mark. But if I do thirty I’ll be happy.  We’ll see. I’ll keep you posted about that as well.

Now, on to this week’s blogcast! I bring you Cabin Pressure!

TRJ Blogcast #4 (Youtube)

TRJ Blogcast #4 (Soundcloud)

Carina.

It’s Christmas!

Hello, hello!

Another Christmas under the tree! Mine is going to be spent at friends’ house, then I’ll call my family back in Portugal and… there’s presents!

Yesterday I made a Wooden Overcoats inspired song, and I thought I’d share it with you since I talked about the podcast series before, on my blogcast, here.

Eric Chapman Always Saves The Day (Youtube)

Eric Chapman Always Saves The Day (Soundcloud)

I hope you enjoy it and… Merry Christmas!

Carina.

Blogcast #3 | John Finnemore’s Souvenir Programme

After last week’s introduction to radio shows on the blogcast, when I spoke about Wooden Overcoats, it’s time to start talking about John Finnemore.

First, and because series six is coming to BBC Radio 4 next week, I bring you John Finnemore’s Souvenir Programme.

Here, have a listen, and I hope you enjoy it!

TRJ Blogcast #3 (Youtube)

TRJ Blogcast #3 (Soundloud)

You can join me on twitter on the 27th to listen to series 6, here.

Carina.

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Here are the links to all of John Finnemore’s Souvenir Programme social media:

Writer/Actor

John Finnemore: twitter*blog

Actors

Carrie Quinlan: twitter*site

Lawry Lewin: twitter*site

Margaret Cabourn-Smith: twitter*site

Simon Kane: twitter*blog

Producer

Ed Morrish: twitter*site

Blogcast #2 | Wooden Overcoats

Radio is one of those things which accompany us throughout life. One of my first memories as a child is of a raspy-voiced Bryan Adams singing Everything I do I do it for you blaring from our old radio back at home. None of my parents was a music geek because none of them was weird about enjoying music, although my mother was a huge Júlio Iglesias fan and my father did have a collection of vinyls and a record player that became an entertainment to me, until the day I broke it and was no longer able to listen to Stevie Wonder calling just to say I love you.

It wasn’t until I moved to Belgium, though, that I actually realised the worth of a good radio station. I’m not trying to lecture Belgian radio stations on how to run themselves – yes I am – but they do suck. You get news every half an hour (seriously, news don’t change that often, specially when the main subjects are the weather and fries), and getting trafic news every twenty minutes is a bit of an overreaction; then there’s some advertising in between, some prattle between the hosts, and only then, if you’re lucky – mostly, you aren’t – good music. Are Portuguese radio stations better than this? Yes, they are, though we lack the diversity of British radio stations – which is the whole point of this article, so I may as well get to it.

Before moving to Belgium I had no regular internet access – talk to my parents about it – so when I got here and suddenly had a whole world of wideweb, it was heaven. I started to realise the possibilities of surfing on the internet (do they even use this expression nowadays?), although mostly I understood procrastination on a deep level. Still, I ended up on tumblr; I was a fan of BBC Sherlock even before that – I didn’t have internet access back home but I DID own a TV, thanks for asking (I do not own one now, though) – and for a Sherlock fan, tumblr is a bit like a place for cult meetings. People who actually like the same thing as you and are willing to discuss it??? In the same weird way as you??? Sign me up! So I did.

The beauty of the internet – and its biggest flaw sometimes – is that it is very often a spiral of information. Who hasn’t researched Finding Nemo on wikipedia, ending up knowing more about conspiracy theories than about Nemo itself? It was a simmilar situation that got me into radio shows.

The name John Finnemore appeared on my dash because Benedict Cumberbatch (a.k.a. Sherlock) was on one of the shows he wrote for radio. I was curious, so I checked that Cabin Pressure show out. A happy accident. In the end, I couldn’t really care less if Cumberbatch was or not on the show: everything Finnemore wrote was too good on its own. Not only Cabin Pressure, either, but EVERYTHING. From then on I started looking for more things to listen to: comedy and audio drama, podcasts, even audiobooks.

So, this is an article about radio shows. I never knew that a bunch of people being dramatic on radio could be so entertaining, yet now I get as excited for a new promising radio show as I get for a new book (plus, Sherlock only airs every two years and I need to while away the time in between).

This said – well, written – in this second blogcast I begin a series of episodes about my favourite radio dramas/comedies and about podcasts, in more detail. I hope you enjoy it.

You can listen to it on these links:

TRJ Blogcast #2 (Youtube)

TRJ Blogcast #2 (Soundcloud)

Carina.


Now look here are the links to all of Wooden Overcoats’ social media!

Official Site 

Twitter

Instagram

Tumblr

Writer 

David K. Barnes: site * twitter

Producers/Directors 

Andy Goddard: twitter

John Wakefield: site*twitter

Actors

Beth Eyre: twitter*site*instagram

Ciara Baxendale: site*twitter*instagram

Felix Trench: site*twitter*instagram

Tom Crowley: site*twitter*instagram*tumblr