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{Summary} Cultural Buffet Challenge – Week One

First of all, I’d like to say thanks to Synthesist Chronicles and The Lupine Librarian for their recommendations. 🙂

Notes
This week has been quite exciting: after months of studying and revising, I can sit in the shade with a big bottle of water and a croissant and read for as long as I want. I can take as much time as I like to read the same paragraph or poem several times and I can get as carried away with making notes as I like without being crippled by guilt for not sticking to my daily schedule.

The only downside is that my mind’s whirling with so many concepts and ideas that every time I sit down to write a review, I only manage up to type a hundred words or so before my eyes stray back to a book or a film or my Polish vocabulary book.

So, I’ll start putting reviews up for the asterisked books in the next few days.

If you’d like me to review a particular book or film on the list, just ask. 🙂

Books Read This Week
1) The Prince – Machiavelli *
2) The Age of Innocence – Wharton *
3) The Spectacular Group Suicide – Paasilinna *
4) Sonietchka – Ulitskaya
5) Broadmoor Revealed: Victorian Crime and the Lunatic Asylum – Stevens
6) The Character of Rain – Nothomb *
7) The Gourmand – Barbery *
8) Travels Around Kazakhstan: After the fall of the Soviet Union – Deonna *
9) The Spellman Files – Lutz
10) Water for Elephants – Gruen
11) Italian Shoes – Mankell (re-read)

Films/ Series Seen
1) Dark Shadows
2) Things to Do Before You’re 30
3) The Bridge (series)
4) Medieval Lives (series) *

And I’ve completed the first CD of the Michel Thomas Polish course, so all in all, it’s been a rather good week. 🙂

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Dutch Literature Month… and how I’m turning into George Bush Jr

I feel as though I’m about to do a metaphorical GWB Jr.: biting into the massive (still metaphorical) pretzel of my dreams, knowing that I might forget how to chew and pass out on the floor… What is this ‘pretzel’? Another couple of reading challenges. XD

The first and most interesting of the two is Dutch Literature Month as hosted by iris on books. My only exposure to Dutch literature is Within Temptation’s song lyrics and a really cool poem by P.A. Génestet, which goes something like:

Oh land of filth and fog, of vile rain chill and stinging,
A sodden fetid plot of vapours dank and damp,
A vast expanse of mire and blocked roads clogged and clinging,
Brimful of gamps and gout, of toothache and of cramp!

Oh dreary mushy swamp, oh farmyard of galoshes,
With marsh frogs, dredgers, cobblers, mud gods overrun,
With every shape and size of duck that therein sploshes,
Receive this autumn dirge from your besnotted son!

To mud your claggy climate makes my blood set slowly;
Song, hunger, joy and peace are all withheld from me.
Pull your galoshes on, ancestral ground most holy,
You – not at my request – once wrested from the sea.

Anyway, I aim to read 2 or 3 titles for this challenge and am open to suggestions. So if anyone’s read a book by a Dutch author that they particularly enjoyed (or didn’t) then I’m happy to hear about it. 🙂

(As yet un-named) Second Challenge

This challenge is my self-imposed ‘pretzel-swallowing’ one. Between the 23rd May and the 2nd July, I have three aims. Firstly, to read thirty books, secondly, to watch either 30 films or ten television series. Thirdly, I hope to complete the Michel Thomas basic Polish course in preparation for going to Poland and meeting the other half’s family. I’m doing this to make up for all the time I spent reading academic articles and grammar books instead of fiction and non-university related stuff. I’m also going to try to read three of those books in Spanish (I read really slowly in Spanish).

Fortunately, Aix has some really beautiful places to sit and read in and none of them are more than a thirty-minute walk from my doorstep. (So I can listen to the Polish course for short bursts without getting to tense). This also means I’ll get a fair amount of fresh air every day and the chance to read whatever I feel like. Am I crazy? Quite possibly, but this is almost certainly going to be the last summer when I’ll be able to call myself a student. So this summer I’m going to do all of the cool, fun, crazy things I did during the summer holidays when I was little. There will probably be other, equally insane challenges for July to September. Again, ideas are welcome, so if anyone wants to do a read-along or ‘genre-fest’, then I’m totally up for it. 🙂
Enough about me.

What’s everyone else up to over the summer?

 

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