A Blogpost about Nothing… And Everything

Dear Reader

I am addressing you in the singular because I don’t doubt for a second that my readership has dwindled down to the single digits, if not less, due to my absenteeism.

Adulthood means being unable to read like a child, and I’ve accepted this now, even though I resisted for a few years longer than my peers. Reading has become a delicious luxury for stolen moments.

Besides, I’ve noted that the amount I read always drops when I undergo any life-changes. And I’ve just gone through a humongous one. I got married, I moved out of home, and I got a new dog. Making googly-eyes at my dog, in fact, takes up most of my free time. One cannot read and kiss a dog’s nose at the same time, believe me.

Notwithstanding, I am hesitant to drop this blog. I bought this domain years ago to encourage myself to keep at it; both writing and this blog, and I will regret it for the rest of my life if I stop altogether.

If a read less, I write less on this blog, since it is about reading, after all. And so I have been consorting with another long bout of delightful writer’s block. Maybe one can just call it lack of motivation. And the longer I don’t write, the more pressure there is.

For what it’s worth, I am convinced that the next piece of amazing stationery I buy will entirely kill my sloth and make me into the next Margaret Atwood. In that spirit, my house is filled with scores of pens and countless empty and half-empty notebooks. Most recently, to end my long and tragic bout of writer’s block, I decided that I must have a dozen yellow legal notepads, which Amazon was selling wholesale. I used to be more economical and buy my legal notepads singly from Staples, but since Staples retail store is no longer a thing in Bangalore, I was forced to rely on Amazon. I had the legal notepads delivered to office and opened them gleefully, and one of my co-workers saw them told me it’s a waste of money. I was deeply offended! No price is too high when I’m endeavouring to become the next Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie! Plus, yellow legal pads are a one-way street to becoming brilliant and organised. Hmph.

I forgot them in my backpack yesterday and pulled them out this morning at home just before I left to office. My husband saw them. I was hoping he wouldn’t say “How much did they cost?” or “Why on earth do you need 12?”. At best, I was hoping for an indulgent smile and shake of the head. But as soon as he saw them, his pretty brown eyes lit up and with all the excitement of a small child asking for gulab jamun, he said “Can I have one?”

I was a bit confused. I said “Sure. Why do you need one?” He said “I love new notebooks.” I could only hug him and say “Me too.”

These small moments that one may or may not remember, these are the moments that make up one’s lifeblood, fill one’s heart and soul with joy, and provide reaffirmation that the massive step of marriage at the young age of 25 was not a mistake.

Reader, I’ve already married him. But I fall in love with him every day. And I can only thank god for my luck and for legal notepads and  keep writing about the nothings that make up everything.

Are you in love? With a person, an animal, a vocation, a thing? Tell me all about it in the comments. 

Hoot

Sin

 

 

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Death and Resurrection (Maybe)

So many of my favourite blogs have died out. There are still blogs that I visit, filled with hope, even though there hasn’t been any activity on there in years.

I have had several blog handles of my own wdie out because of my inaction. Some, I have killed myself with a vengeance. Ugh, teenage. -shudder-

I swore that wouldn’t happen with this blog. This blog is my baby and I’ve actually written on here for longer than any of my previous ones combined. I even bought the domain in the hopes that the action of spending money will motivate me to keep at it. And yet, and yet, the inevitable seems to have happened. Death. Dormancy. And before I even had the chance of becoming one of those bloggers that readers root for.

Life happened. Life shat all over my poor happy place.

I won’t apologise for being useless, because the only person losing out is me.

Here’s to a better future for my blog and my writing in general.

Cheers

Hoot

–Owlish

Starting New Projects While Old Ones Die. Of Loneliness and Heartbreak

Ah, don’t t you just love it when blog titles promise cheery content?

 

A friend of mine and I have started recording vlogs and sending them to each other. (Private ones that aren’t really on the interwebz so don’t look.) I have always wanted a vlog but have been shy and also terrified of its implications for my job, etc. so this is kind of a great compromise. I’m so excited for it! Maybe once we start to suck less (Okay. I don’t know if she sucks; I definitely suck. She’ll send me her first vlog tomorrow. But I definitely do suck. ) and think of a good name for our vlog,  we’ll even go public!

However (There always is a however, isn’t there?) I feel a bit like I’m cheating on my blog with a vlog. Is this normal? Things that are talked about cannot necessarily be blogged about because just the act of speaking and motioning makes the topic at hand more interesting than if it were blogged about. So vlogging (in the sense of just recording and poorly-editing/not-at-all-editing a video) is easier than blogging.

Plus, once I start my new job, I’ll have limited free time, so if I have time for just one, which should I choose? I am of course accountable to my friend so I’d choose the vlog. Will my poor long-suffering blog then die out completely? How do I do this sensibly, guys? Any thoughts? I want to do both things.

On that note, I have a new job! I start on July 3rd. Stay tuned to hear about the scary misadventures of small Sindhu in large, scary law firm job!

It’s weird; I am making very few blogposts these days, and of those, a lot more of them are think-y random thought posts and very few are about books. ☹ I’m actually reading very few books and the books I read haven’t felt blog-worthy somehow. That doesn’t mean they’re bad books or anything, just that I don’t have any thing to say about them that would contribute to the discussion on them.

I don’t know why I feel like I owe an explanation about this because of all my friends, exactly one friend actually reads my blog and *he* said he likes the think-y life type posts more because he doesn’t read. As for my other followers, I don’t really know what you like, so may be let me know in the comments?

Should I diversify my blog and talk about all manner of rubbish? I feel like I could blog a lot more often then. It’s something to think about. What do you guys think?

Please comment. I really like comments.

Hoot.

SinRaowl.

 

 

The Big Book Box | Review

In case anyone is wondering, I was paid no money to write this review. Or to post the photos that I’ll shortly be posting on Instagram. (Face it, nobody *pays* a book nerd with 100 followers on her blog to review their stuff.)

Now that that’s out of the way, hello all!

As everyone knows, I’m an avid follower of Booktube and I frequently suffer from a very serious affliction called “Owl-crate-envy” when I watch my favourite Youtubers unbox their fancy owl crates,. I’m certain I’m not alone in this. Right? Feel free to chime in indignantly in the comments, fellow-bookworms!

Weelllllll…. book lovers of India, I’m here to tell you that we have something of an equivalent in India! YES! Big shoutout to my friend Varsha who linked me to them! They’re called The Big Book Box . They have fun variants of their monthly boxes for people with different budgets as well as limited edition boxes. I ordered the Cappuccino box for myself, which is the biggest regular box, and decided to go only with a one month subscription because…well…money.

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Ooooooh wazzindis?

I’m going to tell you the negative things about the Big Book Box in this part of the post that shall come to be known for all eternity as the “pre-gushing”.

So, firstly, my box was very, very late. Their website says that they ship boxes ordered in the previous month in the first week of the month in question. I planned accordingly to have the box sent to my house, rather than my office, because I was home for the first two weeks this month. I figured it should definitely come by the 2nd week at least. BUT the box came today, the 23rd. So, I had to tell the irritated delivery guy who called me while I was at office, to give it to my elderly neighbour while my dog barked his head off that a rando is loitering outside his territory conversing with his human. Inconvenience all round. I’m chill with receiving the box anytime but I like to know with reasonable certainty.  So… that was an issue.  Maybe it was just a one-time thing. I’m unsure. 🙂

Secondly, one of the books that I was sent is a sequel. And I haven’t read the first book. I’m a bookworm with a serious book-buying problem. Why are you sending me three books, in addition to the three books I bought this weekend, and then making me buy a seventh book this month by making me buy the first part?*

Well, that was that with the complaints. Now, on to the loot!

This is how the box looks: ^_^

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As you can see, it’s a bright happy sky-blue, full of promises, like a clear summer day when you’re a kid.

It only gets better as you open it. The theme for the May Box is Women of Substance, which is fabulous on so many levels.

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The back of this card has a sweet letter from the management of the Big Book Box.

The box is a great collection of books, bookish merch, pretty goodies and FOOD.

They’d thoughtfully included a box of nachos and salsa so that I may munch as I read. That’s how I know for sure that the people who run The Big Book Box are true-blue bookworms.

They also sent a mason jar, which is something I’ve always wanted but which was a bit extravagant for me to buy for myself.  It will be put to good use during this sweltering tropical summer. 🙂 The best part is that it comes with a reusable hard plastic straw.

They sent a little scented candle, which the letter said is lavender-scented, which is one of my favourite fragrances. That’s a happy coincidence.

They also sent a cute floral coaster, which is a bit sad since I just bought uber-cool Batman coasters this weekend. It is pretty though, and probably more work appropriate that the Batman ones.

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One incredibly clever thing they’ve sent is a little sack of painted pebbles which can be used to play tic-tac-toe.

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So you lay this flat…

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…and then you tic-tac-toe!!!

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They sent bookish themed pins which took me back to a simpler time when my college bags were cloth and covered in pins. Let me tell you, guys, my pins were a conversation starter! Now I carry fancy leather handbags which truly stifle my original style, which is geek chic.

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That’s how they look!

They’re female-themed in addition to book themed (Well, except the first one below, which is universal :p) and I think y’all deserve a close-up of each of them.

They’ve sent a simple but charming Deathly-Hallows-themed dream-catcher which is a delightful addition to my happy wall.

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It dances in the breeze. 🙂

They’ve sent a Frida Kahlo bookmark. 😀

They also sent these information cards on inspirational women, along with lovely cartoons of them that I can’t stop staring at. Here’s a visual treat for you as well:

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And now we come to the item that I think will make more people eat their hearts out than anything else on here:

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THIS HARRY POTTER NOTEBOOK…

…Where the pages look like this:

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THOSE SYMPTOMS YOU’RE SUFFERING FROM? THAT’S CALLED A CUTENESS OVERDOSE.

And nowwww, the books! 😀

They sent the June issue of a magazine called Barefoot Sunshine, which is a name which makes me smile. It’s going to be my reward for finishing this post. If I like it, I may subscribe to it. They have a subscription option right on their website. I miss receiving magazines in the mail. 🙂

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The Cappuccino box has three actual books in it:

One is a paperback called Perfect by Cecelia Ahern. It’s the sequel to Flawed. That they’ve sent me a sequel upsets me, but the book itself seems interesting. So yay.

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They also sent a tiny hardback called Raymie Nightingale by Kate Dicamillo, which is giving off Jackie Wilson-esque vibes, which makes me happy.

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And now we come to the pièce de résistance, the book that has me the most excited, the book that I intend to read to my future children, the book that i am convinced will pass, well-loved and battered, through generations in my family is the best book that I could have ever hoped to see in my box:

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YAAAAAAAS

I will read one story from it each night, as suggested by the brilliant people at the The Big Book Box.

I definitely recommend that you buy this box at least once in your life. Indulge. Treat yourself. Why would you deprive your dad of the joy of coming home to you kneeling  by your teapoy fishing through packaging in a box while grinning like a maniac? Why would you miss the opportunity of having him chuckle that you look like a kid again as you rip bubble wrap off of your new mason jar? Get it, guys. Because it’s worth it.

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Go ahead and check them out. 🙂

Tell me in the comments if you guys have tried out the Big Book Box before, or if my review made you want to. :p Tell me if you’ve read any of the books here before, and what you thought of them. And mostly tell me which of my loot made you the most jealous! Let me know in the comments, guys!

Hoot.

–Sin

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*Purchase numbers indicated here are approximate and merely indicative and cannot be taken to include Kindle purchases

Sin

May 13, 2017

Here’s the thing, guys. I’m reading Norse Mythology right now and I have a couple of non-fiction books I want to read after including The Big Short. So I thought I’d make the rest of May a non-fiction fortnight. But. BUT. IS a book about mythology truly non-fiction?! Or is it fiction? Help me figure it out. Please! I NEEDS TO KNOW. If I can’t figure it out, the rest of May will have to be called “Fortnight”. 

Give May a makeover, guys! Give me your opinion in the comments! 

Hoot

–Sin

Weird and Wonderful: My First Audiobook Experience

What do you get when you cross a socially awkward book blogger with a book-worshipping tech geek? Brilliant ideas, that’s what! (What, you thought I was going to make a joke? Pfft.)

My friend Tanya and I were discussing the deteriorating quality of life, you know, as one does; and we decided that our lives would be much improved if they included more reading. And we also felt like they’d be further improved if they included more reading together.

Tanya thought that we should read an audiobook together. I, of course, was hesitant. I’m a purist. If your eyes aren’t bloodshot and you aren’t hugging a book (Or Kindle: I’m not that much of a purist) and rocking in silent agony, are you really, truly reading?

Tanya finally bribed me with something that she knew can never fail to work on me:  Beautiful British voices. She told me we could listen to any one of the Harry Potter books of my choice and she reminded me that Stephen Fry, the most delightful actor/writer/multi-talented human being alive, reads them out.  I was sold. I’d get to listen to Stephen Fry be J.K. Rowling!

I chose Goblet of Fire, which is my favourite Harry Potter book for several, well thought-out, highly boring reasons that I won’t get into and we were ready to dive in! Sort of.

We had to figure out the when’s, where’s and how’s. The how’s were particularly bamboozling. We ended up Skyping with each other and staring at each other’s faces the entire time as we listened to the audio book. Tanya even had headphones over her earphones so she could hear me and her audio book at the same time.

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Honestly, for me, Stephen Fry’s voice overshadows the book a bit. I think that’s likely because I’ve read the book several hundred times before. He does excellent voices for each of the characters and he truly makes the book come alive. I spent a lot of time going into ecstacies over the way he says “broomstick” instead of focussing on the book.

On the other hand, Stephen Fry’s voice several lines from the book into fresh emphasis, lines that I’d forgotten about because I was so absorbed in the plot. It reminded me that J.K.’s not just a fabulous storyteller, she’s also a brilliant writer.

We’re still reading the book, part of it alone and parts of it over Skype again. The Skype bit was awkward but it was worth it to see Tanya smile and look worried at all the right parts and to have someone to snort-laugh with at all the hilarious bits.

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This is the first time in a while that I’ve read (listened to?) Harry Potter. I think it might even be the first time I’ve read it as an adult. This time around, my heart ached worse than ever for Harry and for small orphan children suffering everywhere. Reading children’s books as an adult is always a bittersweet experience, isn’t it?

Maybe I’ll do more posts about this reread of Harry Potter if I have more things to say. However, I’ll admit this much: this experience definitely has made me more open-minded towards audiobooks. I didn’t think anything could make Harry Potter better but Stephen Fry’s exquisite voice has.

Does anyone else read audiobooks? Has anyone else read the Harry Potter ones? Does anyone else want to cuddle with Stephen Fry’s voice? Let me know in the comments!

Hoot.

–Sin

 

 

Book Review | Dear Mr. Henshaw

I was sitting in court yesterday, and knew I was in for a long wait, so I decided to buy a book on the Kindle app. You know, as one does.

I went through my entire “to be read” list on Goodreads to pick a book that was reasonably priced and that I didn’t already own in physical form. Finally, I decided upon Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary, which is a children’s book. I, of course, adore children’s books..

I heard about this book in the movie, Stuck in Love, which is one of my all-time favourite movies. (My friend Tanvi is smirking proudly somewhere and saying “See? I give good movie recommendations!” Yes, you do, Thud. That’s one of the many reasons I love you.) That movie is full of aspiring authors and authors, and I figured, if they like this book, it must have done something right.

I was right.

This book hit a lot of the right buttons for me. It’s about a thoughtful little boy called Leigh Botts who wants to be an author. He writes letters to his favourite author, Mr. Henshaw, who writes back hilariously. His favourite book by the author is called Ways to Amuse a Dog. He writes 4 or 5 letters to Mr. Henshaw over a few years about the book and talks about doing various book reports and other projects for school on that book. And then this happens:

Dear Mr. Henshaw,

I got your letter and did what you said. I read a different book by you. I read Moose on Toast.

When I read that line, I almost exploded with laughter in court. I had to pause and breathe deeply to compose myself.

Mr. Henshaw encourages Leigh to write a diary, which he does, “because his mom still won’t get the TV repaired.” He starts off his journal entries by writing “Dear Mr. Pretend Henshaw” which made my heart explode with love.

The entire book is either in the form of letters or journal entries, which is, as everyone knows, my favourite style of book. I found out recently that such books are called epistolary books. So yes. I love epistolary novels and chapter books.

This book had a great librarian in it, and it made me think of how librarians were my superheroes when I was a child. I remember going to my school librarian and saying “Ma’am, my exams are over. Please give me a fat book to read.”. I need to buy fewer books and go to the library more again. I need to donate some of my books to a library.  This book made me realise that librarians are superheroes, not just for me, but for book-loving children everywhere.

I adored how real this story was. It talks about the struggles of divorce, poverty, lost love and the deep, great injustice of struggling to survive as a child in an adults’ world. It talks about being invisible and lonely. And it talks about these things from the perspective of a quiet, clever and funny child.

Oh, and Leigh Botts loves dogs. There is a dog called Bandit in this book. That’s always a good thing. Dogs really tie a book together.
I thought that the ending was a bit abrupt and that the ends tied together a bit too tidily, which is why this book wasn’t a perfect five stars for me. But I did adore it.

Guys, you know you’re growing old when you read a good children’s book and you can’t wait to read it to your future children. But yeah. This is one of the books that I can’t wait to read to my children. It really affirmed my belief that children’s books that have to be, well, childish. I would recommend this book to everyone of all ages.

Have you read this book? Did you like it? What are some of your favourite children’s books? What are some of your favourite books from your childhood? Have you read any other books by Beverly Cleary? What did you think? Let me know in the comments! 

Hoot.

Sin