How I deal with Depression

When I’m in a bad place (emotionally speaking) I always turn to things which comfort me. This summer, I could not turn to comfort food, since I am trying to keep track of my calories. I did turn to my one and only, however I really did not want to be too clingy – the poor guy needs his space after single-handedly taking care of all the house chores, etc for the past two and a half-months, so I had to lay off in that sense. And that, of course, left ‘comfort-books‘!

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Some books are a guilty pleasure. As the years roll by, I read them again and again at studious intervals, associating certain books or book series to certain mind-sets. Now, don’t laugh at me, but I actually have a book which I like to read each year when the first big storm hits after an arid summer. The book in question is ‘I Capture the Castle’ by Dodie Smith. There is also a series of books I read when I’m feeling particularly witty or frolicksome (mainly Neil Gaiman), and books I just love to read at Christmas-time, because, you know, they put me in the mood. Whenever I am about to travel on holiday, I also try to find books with a story based in that particular country, and I always manage it! I really had a field day when I went to Venice (why do books set in Venice always seem to be erotic romances?), and of course, the UK is easy. And so on.

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Since this summer was a terrible one for me, as I had to spend most of it in bed and in pain due to health issues, I obviously gravitated towards those books which comforted me. The 10-book part series I read, is the one which first introduced me to epic fantasy books, and the one which made me fall in love with that style of writing when I was 13 years old. I am speaking about David Edding’s Belgariad (first five books) and Mallorean (another 5 books).

635922775449353047712033543_The Belgariad Series

Recently I discovered that these book series are considered to be YA. They were actually written in the 1980s, a time when the term and concept of YA novels wasn’t thought of yet. So even though some readers may consider them to be YA, I do not, as they are certainly not as vapid, mediocre or predictable as YA books usually are (yup, you got me, I hate YA books in general, though there are exceptions).

The plot is basically a bildunsgroman, that is, a coming of age story. We see Garion, a naive boy living on a farm, realize that the world, and the people around him are, and were never, what he believed them to be. The world is complicated, mysterious and wonderful, and Garion finds that he himself is a very special person, destined to change the course of the known world forever. I am not going to go into any more details as I do not want to give any spoilers. Suffice it to say that I really love the cast of characters presented by Eddings. Their repetitive banter may irritate one after a while – still I read all the 10 books in around 3 weeks (remember I’m house-bound here), so one must take that into account. The books are not as lengthy as the tomes I am used to, and the old Maltese Pound price tags attached to the covers make me even more nostalgic, remembering how happy I was about buying these first books out of my own pocket money. Books which, for the first time, no one had chosen for me because they were ‘what children read’, but which I had chosen for myself, deviating from the norm. 

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If you haven’t read the Belgarion and the Mallorean, I strongly suggest you do. They are not as popular or well-known as book series like Robert Jordan’s ‘Wheel of Time’ or George R. R. Martin’s ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ (Game of Thrones), but they are still worth a read. Then again, I’m biased, hehe…

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Goodreads Challenge – NAILED!

One of my favorite websites, Goodreads, organises a ‘Challenge’ at the beginning of the year. Basically it asks all readers to set a number of the books to read by the end of the year, in order for one to keep track of his/her reading acumen.

Unfortunately, gone are the days when I had the time and opportunity to read at least 7 books a week (thick dreamy ones not thin ‘young adult babble’ ones). Now I have a demanding full-time job, house chores, a live-in boyfriend and many many errands. HOWEVER I did try to set a reading challenge anyways, at least to see how far I had fallen from my previous pinnacle.

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So, my target was to read at least 50 books (almost one book per week – terrible I know). The catch is this – I was not to record any books RE-READ!! Some books, I fully feel, are like good old friends – one misses them at times, and ends up re-reading, re-living and re-meeting all one’s friends at least once every couple of years. Taking into account how many good books I’ve read in my life, it’s obvious that I do a lot of re-reading. A LOT. So, the target of 50 books for 2015 actually meant 50 NEW books and it also meant that I was conscious that I would actually be reading many more books than this.

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Well guess what? I reached the 50-bookmark yesterday, during the second week of October. Considering that one must keep in mind the many life-changing and time-consuming things that happened this year – some examples; moving in with bf, buying a house, renovating said house, chasing after plasterers, painters, etc, moving for the second time this year into said new house, and going abroad twice) AND also re-reading tons of old friends, I am really proud of myself. I have fallen from my Tower of Incredibly Insurmountable readership BUT I have not fallen off the grid. There is still hope.

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And for those who ask, NO I did not stretch myself to the max trying to reach this goal. I did it naturally and effortlessly. I simply read when I wanted to (which is all the time), when I had the chance, and wasn’t sleeping/eating/consorting with people.

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What I am going to do next is note how many new books I will have read by 31 December 2015 in total, and then set a new target for 2016. Resolving to make time for old friends like Gaiman and Pratchett, Rothfuss and GRRM, but also to read new stuff from new authors, whenever I can 😀

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Game of Thrones – WHY I ALREADY HATE SEASON 5!

FINALLY Game of Thrones Season 5 is premiering on HBO next Sunday!

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I cannot believe it’s finally here! The wait seemed interminable, and its continuation so far away! But it’s finally arrived, which just goes to show how time really flies sometimes. It’s actually frightening if one thinks about it.

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Anyways, as many of George R. R. Martin’s interviews affirmed, not only will this season portray things which happened in the last two books published, it will also go forwards in that some things which have not yet come to pass in the books, but which fall in line with the scope of the story, will appear on screen.

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I am really not happy about this. I understand that trying to fit an epic like GOT onto the screen is no easy thing, however George should have thought things through, especially since he is very much involved in the making of the T.V series itself (which is why, in my opinion, it is one of only a handful of Epic Fantasy novels transposed to film, which has not gone to the dogs). The fact that he continues to postpone the publishing of the next book, ‘The Winds of Winter’ is just a publicity stunt. He wanted the series to catch up with the novels, problem is – now the T.V series has not only caught up, but is surpassing the novels themselves!

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As a reader + watcher of GOT, I much prefer to get new information from the books first, and not from the T.V series!!

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Anyways, I’ve been reading the last two books as a preview of season 5. Am in the middle of the last one now and should be finished by Sunday. Tonight I will also be watching the last 2 episodes of Season 4 again.

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WINTER IS COMING!

(actually Summer is… but what do I know? ;p)

March Recap – A Month of re-reading and remembering

And here we are again, at the end of yet another month. This has been a hectic and life-changing one… cannot write why yet here, although most of my friends do know ;-p

Anyways, there is always time for reading of course. Nothing changes that. And this month’s reading list has reflected some things which took place in March, and will be taking place in April, as well.

1. Heir to the Shadows – Anne Bishop – The Black Jewels Trilogy 2

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I tried. I really did. Just as I tried to read this series some years ago, and had to just stop in the middle. The plot has so much potential, but the characters are so darn cardboard, two-dimensional and plain BORING as to make one want to scream. The men are all so good looking, hot and dangerous… even though they never actually do something bad, we hear so much again and again about them being evil. Same goes with the ‘Queens’ who are supposed to have so much power, yet the only thing they seem to be able to think about is sex. The main character is a teenage queen who has suffered and been raped at the hands of bad men, whom, in an ‘I spit on your grave’ kind of rage she hounds down and punishes. On the other hand everyone loves her and fears her because she’s so beautiful and powerful… yet again, she does nothing.. ugh BORING BORING BORING

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2. The Name of the Wind – Patrick Rothfuss

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After being mired in Bishop, I just had to read something AWESOME, and this is why I decided to re-read Rothfuss. Yes, another book I had already read before, so what? Rothfuss simply enchants me, his plot-lines, his characters, his style of writing, are all simply amazingly detailed and cunningly wrought. Now THIS is a real writer!

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3. The Wise Man’s Fear – Patrick Rothfuss

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A continuation of ‘The Name of the Wind’, in this second installment, the main character, now a young man, still tries to come to terms with his studies, while navigating the cruel and manipulative society he is in. Mired in plots and hidden agendas, he does his best to pursue his thirst for knowledge about the Chandrian, who had killed his parents, while at the same time being that endearing, infuriating rogue we all know and love.

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4. Good Omens – Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

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In March, Terry Pratchett, one of the greatest contemporary writers of our times, died. I really cried, knowing that his talent was gone forever and that I would never meet him, yet I also rejoiced in his works. I simply had to re-read Good Omens, and laugh, snigger, and gasp, whenever Terry and Neil did. Now THIS is one book about religion which really hits the spot lofl. Parody and satire a-la-carte.

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5.The Girl who Loved Tom Gordon – Stephen King

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King did a really good writing workshop and exercise with this one. A girl is lost in the woods. Days pass. She struggles to survive. In the end, she is found. Basically nothing else happens. And everything. You must read it to understand. This rite of passage makes ‘Survivor’ looks like a kindergarden child’s drawing. And I say it again, notwithstanding his popularity and ‘mainstream’ image, Stephen King is a writer to be reckoned with!

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6. A Feast for Crows – George R. R. Martin – Game of Thrones Book 4

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And finally, since in a couple of weeks, the Game of Thrones series will be continuing on HBO, and as the writer revealed, there will be many new surprises even for readers, I decided to re-read the last two GOT novels in order to refresh my mind and hunger for it once again. WHEN IS THE BLOODY 6TH BOOK COMING OUT??

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