Wednesday Wisdom from City of Girls

Jul 8, 2020

It is cold and dreadful where we are today. Perfect time to reflect and wallow in a bit of wisdom. What better wisdom than that we get from books. Not necessarily the text book types either. The good old novel has proven to be some of the best sources of wisdom since the dawn of the printing press. 

One my latest Sunday Post, I've posted the following message: we should all just learn to let the little things that make big holes in our relationship nets, go. Have patience with each other, count every hour and remember every day is present. Open it and use it wisely. Somewhere I've hit a nerve or two, I've received so many responses on that passage. I couldn't help to be reminded about a couple of quotes from City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert

We are still on our travels and unlike my dearest kitten who believes she is the cleverest creation in forever, I would have loved to believe that I am wise beyond words, but alas. I just manage to say things in not such a beautiful way as some authors can do. Elizabeth Gilbert can say what I am trying to say, magnificently. I hope you enjoy these and may you stop for a second and just reflect on some of these. I think they are rather appropriate to our current events. 

The world truly is always changing and we do tend to find ourselves in similar situations as those who came before us. Sometimes it's just the dates, decades and centuries that differ. Human behavior and how we react to our given circumstances, remain a constant. 

"Life is both fleeting and dangerous, and there is no point in denying yourself pleasure, or being anything other than what you are."

“The world ain't straight. You grow up thinking things are a certain way. You think there are rules. You think there's a way that things have to be. You try to live straight. But the world doesn't care about your rules, or what you believe. The world ain't straight, Vivian. Never will be. Our rules, they don't mean a thing. The world just happens to you sometimes, is what I think. And people just gotta keep moving through it, best they can.”

"The world just happens to you sometimes, is what I think. And people just gotta keep moving through it, best they can.”

“In my experience, this is the hardest lesson of them all. After a certain age, we are all walking around this world in bodies made of secrets and shame and sorrow and old, unhealed injuries. Our hearts grow sore and misshapen around all this pain - yet somehow, still, we carry on.”

“Let us not become so cautious that we forget to live.”

“The field of honor is a painful field...(It) is not a place where children can play. Children don't have any honor, you see, and they aren't expected to, because it's too difficult for them. It's too painful. But to become an adult, one must step into the field of honor. Everything will be expected of you now. You will need to be vigilant in your principles. Sacrifices will be demanded. You will be judged. If you make mistakes, you must account for them. There will be instances when you must cast aside your impulses and take a higher stance than another person - a person without honor - might take. Such an instance may hurt, but that's why honor is a painful field.”


Have your read City of Girls? Did I miss any quotes that stood out for you? Please share them with me!

Hope you will have a wonderful Wednesday and may you wallow in wisdom the rest of the week.


Lots of love, 

Mareli 







Top Ten Tuesday 10 Authors I've read the most books by

Jul 7, 2020

It's Tuesday and time for our favorite weekly feature - TTT! Today's prompt appear to be very easy: Top Ten Authors I've read the most books by. And it would have been VERY easy, if only Goodreads didn't remove that thingy that you could click on and browse your shelf to see which authors you've read the most My whole post depended on that little thingy. And I couldn't find it. It took me hours to figure out that it's actually completely gone, void, permanently removed, disappeared into the black hole of inactive pages and links. 

Am I the only one who only realised now that the thingy on Goodreads are inactive? 

Luckily, the Good Lord above blessed us all with the best possible computer thingy ever invented. To quote Mr Poirot: "the little grey cells". Some things we can actually still do without the aid of technology. Like thinking ("an admirable exercise, my friend. Continue with it" - Poirot), and reminiscing on all those wonderful books we've read already. Of course all those books have been written by certain Somebodies. And we tend to refer back to those Somebodies, for various reasons. Here's my Top Ten Favorite Somebodies and a few pictures of my favorite books by those mentioned Somebodies. I do not have any specific ranking order here, so alphabetically will do. 

  1. Agatha Christie My summer holidays was spend with my aunt until the age of about 40 (yes, in human years, not cat years) and there were always an Agatha Christie on her nightstand. It was a simple rule of nature or something that they started spilling over to my nightstand as well. Favorite book: The mirror cracked from side to side
  2. Alice Hoffman I've never read a book by this author that I didn't absolutely loved. She is such a diverse author and she plays with words better than most musical conductors. Favorite book: The Dovekeepers  
  3. Deon Meyer My ultimate go-to South African author. I have read all his novels and Bennie Griesel is one of my favorite detectives. My favorite Deon Meyer is a stand alone. You might find it a very interesting read in our current world environment Fever
  4. Irma Joubert My favorite history teacher. And I love history. If you want to know more about South African history, do try to get your hands on her books. Way more insightful than any history text and her characters are so real and relatable. My favorite book: The girl from the train
  5. Jodi Picoult I actually have a serious love/hate relationship with this author. Either I love her books more than my heart can handle, or I hate it in such a manner as I want to throw it across the room. But I will still pick up a Jodi Picoult without any doubt. My favorite book by her has helped me through a very tough time in my life and I will treasure it always: Leaving Time
  6. Jojo Moyes Who doesn't love her? All her books are so unique and the ultimate stories to simply forget about your own problems and worry about someone else's. Because we do care about her characters. Favorite book: The one plus one
  7. Liane Moriarty  I've heard that she also one of those love/hate authors. I have a friend or two who also classify her books as yea or nay. For me, it's always been a yea. Favorite book: Truly, Madly, Guilty
  8. Mary Higgins Clark  The ultimate go-to author. You really don't know what to read? Just go for one of her novels. It only takes a couple of hours to complete and then you normally know exactly what you want to read next. For some or other strange reason, I always have one or two or her books that I haven't read yet (or can't remember, but what the heck) lying around. I guess it has something to do with my sister who is the biggest Mary Higgins Clark fan in forever. I tend to buy them for her when they are on special. Favorite book: The cradle will fall
  9. Neil Gaiman Once again - who doesn't love him? Listening to his audio recordings are better than a day at the spa. I have actually never read a physical book by this author. One of my fist audio books were The Graveyard book and I thoroughly believe that is the best way to enjoy his books. Favorite book: The Graveyard Book
  10. Stephen King I was a very late bloomer to this author. I've read The Stand in my early thirties and never looked back. Yes, it's strange and a bit weird every now and then, but gosh, it's page turning! Favorite book: 11/22/63




And there you have it! My Top Ten Authors I've read the most books by. Would love to know who your Top Ten are and if we have a cross-match. Remember to share your link to Jana at That Artsy Girl!

Enjoy the rest of your week!

Mareli 










The Sunday Post #3

Jul 5, 2020

Greetings Humans! Trust you are all well on this lovely Sunday afternoon. Or rather, it is lovely where my mommy is and rather cold and dreadful where I am. Please don't let the cutesy photo of me travelling with them, fool you for one second. That is an old photo when I was still invited on car journeys...They abandoned me... They left me and all the other siblings all alone and went on a road trip where they preferred to spend time with our ancestors and the other beings who are wild at heart. 

Greetings fellow bloggers! I think this is where "Mommy" needs to take over a bit. Please do not phone the SPCA or any other anti animal cruelty organization. Elza and her siblings have not been abandoned. They are perfectly fine and taken care of by their very own live-in caretaker/nanny/friend. My husband had some work engagements and seeing that flights are still grounded in South Africa, we had to drive halfway across the country. Hence the reason for being absent on the blogosphere. Internet is very bad where we are and data ridiculously expensive. We did manage to get to the Kruger Park yesterday and that was a lovely outing at least. (I do believe these are the animals she believes are wild at heart.) But I'll give the "pen" back to Elza now. 

Anyway - I still feel rather abandoned and I a convinced that I will be bestowed with lovely prezzies and delicious food when Mommy and Daddy return. What exactly they've been up to, I am not all that sure. But this is what Mommy has been up to the past two weeks:

Adding to the litter  

We still don't have Book Club and Mommy's backlog is rather a large log. You can make one heck of a bonfire with that one. So no new books acquired. I haven't registered for Netgalley yet and think I will still give it a couple of months or so.

On the couch

I know that part of the road trip was so that Mommy can take a bit of a break as well. Online teaching is apparently a nightmare. I don't really notice it, I love having Mommy at home all the time and lying on her lap, on the keyboard, wagging my tail in front of the camera... I really don't know what's so difficult. But I was informed that she still didn't really take a break at all and her reading schedule is thus also a bit of a disaster. She does have the following on the nightstand, in her handbag and on audible where ever she goes: 

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke (audible - they listen to this while driving around. Even Daddy listens! I so wish I could also listen to this magical story)
Corali deur Chanette Paul  (This is an Afrikaans book. Absolutely stunning. The third one in a trilogy about 3 women who move to this little coastal town called Vywerbaai. Everything revolves around the legend of a mermaid, but not really like little Ariel (another princess like me) and it's just wonderful how they can all relate to what happened to her. I promise to tell you more about these books at a later stage)

Not much television over the past 2 weeks. But the one movie that lingers: 


Scratching the blog pole 

The internet is soooooo sloooooowwww where we are. I hardly get through my workday, never mind getting a chance to do a blog post. I've only managed 4 over the past 2 weeks. 

1.Top Ten Tuesday (10 books set in South Africa)  
2.Wednesday Wisdom (I want to try this as a weekly feature, let's see how it goes this week! I've shared some lovely quotes from The Shadow of the Wind)
3. Book Review on King Solomon's Mines (redo, will try to import a couple from the previous blog this week as well.
4. The battle of Midway (midyear reading challenge update)

I do want to give a shout out to Greg over at Book Haven for his lovely post on why cats and dragons are way more alike than you can ever imagine. I've been trying to blow fire and telling my Mommy that I am basically a dragon for such a long time. Thanks for clearing that up Greg! Please click on the image of me blowing fire to take you to that wonderful revelation. 

You are welcome to click on the images below, they will take you to the original post.

 

 


Let it go

I miss my Mommy terribly and I know that she misses me too. But I am grateful and ever so thankful that I know they are still healthy and safe. The Covid 19 numbers in South Africa, have sky rocketed over the past week and we should all just learn to let the little things that make big holes in our relationship nets, go. Have patience with each other, count every hour and remember every day is present. Open it and use it wisely.

Hope you will all have a wonderful week and remember to link up with Kimberly at Caffeinated Book Reviewer  and with Deb over at The Sunday Salon  to also share your past week. 

Lots of love,

Elza 



The battle of Midway (halfway through a reading challenge)

Jul 2, 2020

Oh the joys of a reading challenge! Let's be honest - who of us, roaming the blogosphere, do not have a yearly reading challenge? Or one or two. Or three or four. If you have a Goodreads account (again, who of us don't), you basically automatically have an annual reading challenge. Just about every blogger on this lovely planet display their Goodreads challenge somewhere on the blog. It looks lovely! And of course, it means you are serious about this reading business. (I haven't posted mine on the new blog yet.... But I am still very serious about the reading business)

I haven't actually done a reading challenge, except for the Goodreads one, in about three years. So when I decided to get serious about this serious business of reading, this year again, I've decided to do the age-old, ever trust worthy - Alphabet challenge. The one with the 27 letters in. A challenge has to be challenging. 27 Books are also not going to cut it for me, so I've decided to do 27 titles and 27 authors.

Seeing that today, 02 July 2020, is the midway mark of 2020 (just hang on guys, we are half-way through!), I've decided to update my reading challenge and see how far I've come. According to the infamous Goodreads challenge, I am 61% done with 33 books down the line. But do they all count towards the Alphabet challenge? Alas... Here's my Alphabet challenge, midway through the battle:

F
    -
G -
    -
    -
J

    - 
O -
    -
Q -
    -
S -
    -

T -
    - 
    -
    -
X -
    -
Y
    -
Z -
    -
&

Not too bad for halfway through the year! I think. But I am stuck with a few letters here. Any suggestions of what might fit the puzzle?

How's your reading challenge going for the year? 

Lots of love,

Mareli 






   

King Solomon's Mines by H. Rider Haggard

Jun 26, 2020

Audio book listened to between May 20 - May 26, 2016 (Listened to a few chapters again 25 June 2020)

 Librivox recording by John Nicholson (I still vote for Sean Connery to do this reading)

My rating:  

Goodreads:  H. Rider Haggard's King Solomon's Mines has entertained generations of readers since its first publication in 1885. Following a mysterious map of dubious reliability, a small group of men trek into southern Africa in search of a lost friend-and a lost treasure, the fabled mines of King Solomon. Led by the English adventurer and fortune hunter Allan Quartermain, they discover a frozen corpse, survive untold dangers in remote mountains and deserts, and encounter the merciless King Twala en route to the legendary hoard of diamonds. 


You know what I love about book reviewing and blogging the most? It gives you the freedom to google your favorite books and characters for hours and hours and if someone asks what you are doing you can quite honestly say: RESEARCH. (You might even glare at them over the rim of your glasses. For effect. Also make sure to have a pencil at hand. Again - for effect)

Afterwards, you might sound extremely clever and give lots and lots of useless information to anyone who would be interested in listening. (I strongly suggest that you keep your glasses down on your nose and have that pencil either in your hand or stuck in your hair).

Just look at all this useless info we came up with regarding our lead character in King Solomon's Mines, Alan Quarterain:  
  • Alan Quartermain was born in 1817 
  • Physically he was small, wiry, unattractive, with a beard and short hair that sticks up. (So very, very unattractive as you can see)
  • He was married twice, but widowed quickly in both instances. No, we are not jumping to any conclusions considering the sudden passing of two wives.
  • He lived in Durban, Natal, South Africa
  • He was a professional big game hunter and occasional trader. Yes, he did have access to guns. Big ones. But still, we are not jumping to any conclusions regarding his wives.
  • He had one recorded son, Harry, who died of smallbox while working as a medical student. 
  • He had a speculated daughter who married a relation of Sherlock Holmes
  • The product of the above mentioned relationship was none other than Indiana Jones' father,
    Henry Jones Sr. (It might just be me, but I can definitely see a strong family resemblance)
     
  • We meet him for the first time in King Solomon's mines when he was 55.Alan Quartermain died on 18 June 1885 
That's enough useless information for now (you may either put your glasses down or place them in a more proper position, but hold on to the pencil for a few seconds more). Just one last thing: 

Did you know: When Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island was first published, H. Rider Haggard made a 5 shilling bet that he could write a better adventure novel. (You may now put the pencil down as well)

In 1885, Haggard published "the most amazing story ever written". It became one of the best selling novels of the nineteenth century. It is the first English novel set in Africa and is considered to be the genesis of the Lost World literary genre.

This novel tells of the search by sir Henry Curtis, Captain John Good and the narrator, Alan Quatermain, for Sir Henry's younger brother George. He has been lost in the interior of Africa for two years in the quest for King Solomon's mines. The legendary source of the Biblical king's enormous treasures. The three companions encounter fearful hardships, fierce warriors, mortal danger and the sinister and deadly witch Gagool. Quatermain tells the tale of their struggles through unmapped Africa with touches of humour and excitement.

I so love the phrase: unmapped Africa. That leaves the reader with an open imagination for the location of King Solomon's mines. Yes, there has been numerous speculation on the precise location of the treasures. Even in this story, we never know where Kukuanaland actually are. That might be anywhere in Africa. I do tend to favor South of Africa more, but then again, I might just be biased and make my own conclusions. 

Through those hours and hours doing research, the following clues are the ones that convince me that the setting has to be in the southern part of Africa:
  • KU-KU-ANALAND: I am quite sure that is a word-play on "cuckoo". And you have to be a bit cuckoo to love and live in Africa, especially South Africa. It is a survival skill. "Afrika is nie vir sissies nie" (Africa is not for the meek)
  • SHEBA's BREASTS: In chapter 5 and 6 we read that the men are climbing Sulimans (Solomon's) Berg. This peak form part of twin peaks called Sheba's Breasts. These peaks are located in the Southern African Kingdom of Lesotho.
  • AFRIKAANS: My mother tongue and a language mainly spoken in South Africa. There are a whole lot of Afrikaans words in this novel. Yea!! I had a few nice chuckles with the pronunciation of some words and was wondering if the meaning of all the words were understandable:
Biltong: A kind of cured meat
Kaross: A coat made from the hide of livestock with the hair still on
Kraal: An enclosure for livestock
Kwagga: Sub-species of the zebra. Now extinct.
Koppie: A small hill. Also a cup. 

  • GAGOOL: She was old and dry, very ugly and full of wickedness. Like I said, Africa is not for sissies. Yes, there are plenty of things to fear in Africa. Lions and elephants might not be the worst of your fears. And if you thought that the African witch doctor belongs to the 19th century, think again. They are alive and well and very, very active. http://witches.co.za/

King Solomon's mines has been on my book shelve for YEARS. Somehow, I just never wanted to read it. Mainly, because I never knew what it was about and my copy has a rather unattractive cover. That is why book blurbs and good book reviews are very important. No matter how old a book is, we as readers need to keep them alive. My wish for this book is that it will bring joy to many more adventurous minds and hearts in the years to come and that maybe one day all of Africa will remember to do as Umbopa promised to Alan Quatermain:

"Remember to do as thou did promise: To rule judge; to respect the law; and to put none to death without a cause. - So shalt thou prosper."


 
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