(Pre-corona times) wine trip | Bi-Weekly Update

Hey, this post was created a couple weeks ago actually, and I somehow never posted it. So I’m going to create a newer one, with all this corona stuff really impacting my life as it does many right now, but enjoy this light-hearted one hahha. Also my france/germany trip was before outbreaks happened in the area.

New book posts:

Other books I’ve been reading:

  • The stranger by Albert Camus (currently reading)
  • On earth we’re briefly gorgeous by Ocean Vuong (currently reading)
  • Night sky with exit wounds by Ocean Vuong
  • Felicity by Mary Oliver
  • Soft science by Franny Choi
  • Ordinary beast by Nicole Sealey
  • Corazón by Yesika Salgado
  • When We Collided by Emery Lord

Added to TBR:

  • Loveless by Alice Oseman (ace! character! and fantastic author)
  • Red, white & royal blue by Casey McQuinston (gay royal romance)
  • Akata witch by Nnedi Okorafor (YA fantasy)
  • Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi (magical realism & mental illness; fractured sense of self, set in Nigeria)
  • How to make a wish by Ashley Herring Blake (YA f/f romance)
  • Crier’s war by Nina Varela (queer fantasy; i’m promised f/f romance, bisexual and lesbians and enemies to lover trope)
  • Come to the rocks by Christin Haws (mermaids with f/f romance)
  • Storm in a teacup by Helen Czerski (science! physics! this could be very good or very bad)
  • Tesoro by Yesika Salgado (poetry)

Three things on my mind:

  • I’m still doing this physics first year of university thing, funny enough. Is it crazy that I thought I would fail before now? It’s not going great overall, but I really like the physics and uni and friends part. One reason it’s not going great overall; I’ve been sick. A bit of a physical illness. But mostly, looking back, my productivity has been greatly damaged by mental illness as well, leading to general inconsistency. Ah yes, I was also diagnosed with a mental illness this week. Which I didn’t think would happen? But it made sense and oh well, it’s going to take some time to get used to having a label on my troubles.

  • I was in France!! And Germany!! Drinking wine!! With this physics & maths wine club I’m in. I became a real wine enthusiast on one (1) trip, and two wine tastings. I also might’ve smiled too wide at the table when the last and most fancy wine expert basically GURGLED his wine, like in parodies. AND MY BOYFRIEND, GERMAN-SPEAKING, HAD TO TRANSLATE THIS GUY SAYING IN A STERN VOICE “THIS MIGHT SEEM STRANGE, AS THE YOUNG WOMAN IS LAUGHING, BUT IT HELPS TO -” (insert expand surface and tastebuds and all that explanation). I was too many glasses of wine in and too entertained to be embarassed, but it was embarassing. And beautiful – the whole trip. The most embarassing moment, for who I’m not sure, happened while we were all learning about making wine, from someone who had more humor. My best friend said what I itched to say, but decided not to; “oh we make wine too”, pointing to the leader of the group. And he had to swifly try, and fail, to explain is that our university wine club’s wine is not made from grapes picked carefully and hundreds of year’s of expertise; but y taking basically grape juice, adding yeast and trying to get a high alcohol percentage. I smiled the whole rest of the tour, while the wine expert repeatedly turned to our leader and spoke to him like he knew the process, waiting for the moment we were alone and my best friend to get yelled at. It was all I hoped for. Lesson learned; don’t expect a bunch of physics & math students to take the social cue in any situation.

  • So the trick to read more books again is to take a flight to France/Germany (it was the border, so we were both places), as well as be just sick in general and forced to relax aka read.

A Woman in the Polar Night by Christiane Ritter | Book Review

A new book on the list of all-time favourites.

Genre: nonfiction, memoir, travel to the Arctic

Pages: 224

Synopsis

In 1934, the painter Christiane Ritter leaves her comfortable life in Austria and travels to the remote Arctic island of Spitsbergen, to spend a year there with her husband. She thinks it will be a relaxing trip, a chance to “read thick books in the remote quiet and, not least, sleep to my heart’s content”, but when Christiane arrives she is shocked to realize that they are to live in a tiny ramshackle hut on the shores of a lonely fjord, hundreds of miles from the nearest settlement, battling the elements every day, just to survive.

At first, Christiane is horrified by the freezing cold, the bleak landscape the lack of equipment and supplies… But as time passes, after encounters with bears and seals, long treks over the ice and months on end of perpetual night, she finds herself falling in love with the Arctic’s harsh, otherworldly beauty, gaining a great sense of inner peace and a new appreciation for the sanctity of life.

This rediscovered classic memoir tells the incredible tale of a woman defying society’s expectations to find freedom and peace in the adventure of a lifetime. 

My thoughts

Four out of five stars

Rating out of five: five stars

Reading this book was an experience, one that made me actually want to take a trip further north than Norway, to experience the Arctic for myself. Which sounds both dumb and unrealistic, but truly read this book if you want to understand why.

This book is special because of many reasons. It’s a memoir from 1934 by a german woman, the painter Christiane Ritter. Her husband has already fallen in love with the Arctic, and she decided to uproot her comfortable and rich life and see what it’s all about herself. He warns her about how isolated it really is, but it’s almost as if he’s forgotten the big change from normal city life already, becoming used to having to fend for himself, to have no one to turn to when the hut gets covered in snow, and travelling great distances to search for a better stove to cook on.

It’s obvious that it’s written in another time from Christiane Ritter’s position in life, but the emotion she conveys through very sparce wording was really breathtaking. I know enough about the cold emptiness of certain landscapes that I felt I could recognize it, and the feelings the vastness brings after you get over its overwhelming fear of isolation.

Everyone should give this book a chance, it won’t be for everyone’s taste, but it earns its place among my favourite books of all time because of its uniqueness. Why did I feel like this contains lessons in writing as well. I really wanted to add some quotes, but I left the beautiful book filled with markings at home by the university, and as its closed for now, this will have to do.

My feelings reading this book: fear on Christiane’s behalf, then impressed & mindblown. I really loved the third person with them most of the time, the Norwegian, who Christiane talks about the strange customs of. He represented my norwegian heart too well.

Authors on Social Media | Top Ten Tuesday

I follow around 270 people on twitter; mostly authors, science people, book blogs, some celebrities and not to forget the amazing animal videos accounts.

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl to bring bookish friends together. A new topic is posted each week.

Reviews are linked (as always)!

Maggie Stiefvater is the queen of everything in life

  • Author of The raven cycle, Call down the hawk, The scorpio races and just generally see the life through a magical lense and a love for her car
  • Recently deleted her tumblr and I understand but am still in mourning. By recently it was july.

Alice Oseman

Jonny Sun

Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Vlogbrothers even before authors; Hank & John Green

I’m following the Green brothers on all social media, so I’m not even going to link anything. I’m currently listening to Hank Green’s podcast “Delete This” with his wife Katherine literally about how he uses twitter. They’ve been on social media long enough to reflect on how they share their thoughts as creators across different types of media.

Maureen Johnson

It took a while from reading Maureen Johnson’s books as a teen to connecting her to the same person as the Maureen that was friends with Hank & John Green and occassionally joined in on videos. She’s been here a while, she knows her stuff and is really interesting.

Hope Jahren

She’s the author of one of my all-time favourite books, Lab Girl! It’s part memoir even as a science book and her twitter really continues those small insights into her daily life and thoughts. I wouldn’t have known so quickly about her new release, coming in march; The Story of More: How We Got to Climate Change and Where to Go from Here without her having a twitter presence and promoting it. She also lives in the same country as me, Norway, and really gets the culture:

Neil Gaiman

  • Author of Norse mythology, Coraline, American gods, The graveyard book, etc etc.
  • Twitter
  • The best parts of Neil Gaiman on twitter is what Amanda Palmer posts.

As a honorable mention, I’m going to just throw out there that I really dislike how Jay Kristoff uses social media in particular. For someone who easily block people and don’t want to be annoyed at stupid things aka don’t usually catch up on book twitter drama, he’s a good example of an author that just needs to think more about what the fuck he’s doing on social media. Have some impulse control.

Circe by Madeline Miller | Book Review

Genre: Fantasy – greek mythology

Pages: 344

Synopsis

In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe has neither the look nor the voice of divinity, and is scorned and rejected by her kin. Increasingly isolated, she turns to mortals for companionship, leading her to discover a power forbidden to the gods: witchcraft.

When love drives Circe to cast a dark spell, wrathful Zeus banishes her to the remote island of Aiaia. There she learns to harness her occult craft, drawing strength from nature. But she will not always be alone; many are destined to pass through Circe’s place of exile, entwining their fates with hers. The messenger god, Hermes. The craftsman, Daedalus. A ship bearing a golden fleece. And wily Odysseus, on his epic voyage home.

There is danger for a solitary woman in this world, and Circe’s independence draws the wrath of men and gods alike. To protect what she holds dear, Circe must decide whether she belongs with the deities she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.

My thoughts

Rating out of five: four stars

I love me some stories of greek gods & godesses, especially when they’re as flawed and vengeful as can be. And our main character Circe certainly has her flaws as well, to the point where her insecurities becomes a huge part of her choices even after hundreds of years of getting to know oneself. It started to get a bit boring halfways through. And then Circe shifts and it all gets more badass and filled with action and again grief, without sacrificing the flowing descriptive writing, focusing on details and swiftly taking you through decades. I loved how she gets these pieces of information of the “human” history happening out in the world through Hermes to her exile on the island, and also how their interactions change.

There was a line of female empowerment going through this book, a sign of greek mythology stories done well. How Circe sees what has become of her sisters, how they’ve gathered their influence and power. Not to mention her way of feeling powerful constantly shifting through the book, as the decades pass and she grows into herself.

What I reflected on most reading this book was how Circe meets this constant choice of following the rules, of staying within her boundraries, or to stand up and fight for herself and others. And it’s not one choice, but many. The clearest picture of this is how she creates this life for herself on the island and then goes back and forth about if she likes it, if she prefers this exile; sometimes lonely, sometimes with more action (through pirates and other need-a-lesson semi-exiled girls) than she would’ve liked.

My island lay around me. My herbs, my house, my animals. And so it would go, I thought, on and on, forever the same. 

It’s a more complex story than I though walking into it and certainly one I will pick up again to reread the multifaceted person Circe is throughout it.

I thought once that gods are the opposite of death, but I see now they are more dead than anything, for they are unchanging, and can hold nothing in their hands.