Posted in Book, Review, UK

Empire: What Ruling the World Did to the British by Jeremy Paxman #BookReview

The influence of the British Empire is everywhere, from the very existence of the United Kingdom to the ethnic composition of our cities. It affects everything, from Prime Ministers’ decisions to send troops to war to the adventurers we admire. From the sports we think we’re good at to the architecture of our buildings; the way we travel to the way we trade; the hopeless losers we will on, and the food we hunger for, the empire is never very far away.

In this acute and witty analysis, Jeremy Paxman goes to the very heart of empire. As he describes the selection process for colonial officers (‘intended to weed out the cad, the feeble and the too clever’) the importance of sport, the sweating domestic life of the colonial officer’s wife (‘the challenge with cooking meat was “to grasp the fleeting moment between toughness and putrefaction when the joint may possibly prove eatable”‘) and the crazed end for General Gordon of Khartoum, Paxman brings brilliantly to life the tragedy and comedy of Empire and reveals its profound and lasting effect on our nation and ourselves.

//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

So I picked up Jeremy Paxman’s Empire: What Ruling the World Did to the British. A glimpse into the way the British Empire shaped the world, and more importantly, how the Empire shaped the British. Interesting and very readable.

I loved that the book was filled with interesting details and not overwhelmed by historical data. Explaining the way the British Empire got to its size and influence all around the globe.

Empire: What Ruling the World Did to the British

Very logical and simple cause and effect events that make it easy to digest and to understand. I believe that the subject is an interesting one because I hadn’t looked too much into this part of history before. It helps understand some interesting ideas and attitudes one might find strange without a good historical context.
//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

I believe it is worth checking out because it is short and simple. Yet when you finish it you do feel like you have learned something. It has a BBC short series following the roads that were taken within the book. That was interesting as well, but I believe it’s better reading it first.

Let me know what you guys think about it, and the subject for that matter.

Bis bald!

IbD

Posted in Book, Random, Review

Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff #BookReview

Let’s talk about Fire and Fury. It became a world phenomenon immediately as it came out. And of course, it’s about Trump. Like everything in the news lately, Trump takes center stage.
//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

With extraordinary access to the Trump White House, Michael Wolff tells the inside story of the most controversial presidency of our time.

The first nine months of Donald Trump’s term were stormy, outrageous – and absolutely mesmerizing. Now, thanks to his deep access to the West Wing, bestselling author Michael Wolff tells the riveting story of how Trump launched a tenure as volatile and fiery as the man himself.

In this explosive book, Wolff provides a wealth of new details about the chaos in the Oval Office.

As I was interested in reading about What Happened from Hillary a few months back, this book had to be something I tried to read. I say try because after a while you get the point, and you get a bit numb to it all. Which is, I think the most dangerous, when considering what he has brought to the worlds’ political scene.

The book is nonetheless interesting and it doesn’t even say it’s going to be an honest review of the White House and its new incumbent. It’s a retelling of stories from various sources and then compiling them into something readable. And Michael Wolff did a great job at that, given the subject.
//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

It is somewhat amazing the access he was given all throughout the first year of the Trump administration setting up camp in their new home. And of course, seeing how people around Trump perceive him is fascinating. From not actually believing he will win, to finding yourself in the most powerful office on Earth, there’s a long way. And I think that for the whole new world of politics and news we find ourselves in we need to read this.

Fire and Fury
Fire and Fury

Because it portrays a politician that like words, not facts and spoke to a base he is not even sure he likes. Surrounded by unqualified people and trying to put up an interesting yet sad a times show for the whole world, that is, of course, watching.

Populism saw a rise in the US and Europe and actually I am kind of glad that we get to see how ”fun” it is to get unprepared people in office; any office. Even if half of it is not true, you get the point, you get the feeling and watching US news lately you can believe most of the things that the books say happen. And even if they are fake news, you need only look at POTUS’ Twitter or interviews and there you have it.

I know this may be a weird book for me to review, but here it is. Interesting, nicely written, not a masterpiece by any account, but thrilling still. I believe it is worth a try especially if you want to check out what POTUS says from a different perspective. Even if Michael Wolff dresses up(or down) the truth, allowing him to be there, for months on end, gives the POTUS claim no power.
//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Let me know what you think. And if you read it, because I was amazed to see the publicity it got.

Bis bald!

IbD

Posted in Book, Review, Top

A Darker State by David Young #BookReview

The body of a teenage boy is found weighted down in a lake. Karin Müller, newly appointed Major of the People’s Police, is called to investigate. But her power will only stretch so far, when every move she makes is under the watchful eye of the Stasi.

Then, when the son of Müller’s team member goes missing, it quickly becomes clear that there is a terrifying conspiracy at the heart of this case, one that could fast lead Müller and her young family into real danger.

A Darker State indeed. Need I say more? Well, yeah. Couldn’t wait to get my hands on the new Karin Müller book from David Young. Third, after A Stasi Child and A Stasi Wolf, we’ve got a new investigation à la Karin Müller on our hands.

We begin shortly after the last adventure. And I can say I’ve missed Karin and her exciting, yet dangerous job. Interesting turn of events from the start. We get right into the workings of the mighty Republik. The sun seems to start shining, but as usual, it has a grey tint surrounding it #communism.

We see a lot more of Jonas Schmidt, the Kriminaltechniker, and of course, Tilsner and Müller get back to their exciting jobs. We’ve got the ever so watchful eye of the Stasi, in case you’ve missed it.

As we step into the details of the murder we feel Karin’s complications at home weigh her down, Jonas’ home life doesn’t seem to be perfect either. I loved that we got into some intriguing details over there.

“It felt easy, comfortable, slipping back into the old routine. She and Tilsner working together. “

A Darker State by David Young Cover

Mystery and a hush-hush attitude all over, as we expect in East Germany, no matter how high up the issues go. Very interesting and gripping for sure. Loved the engaging direction of the story. If you forget for a second you are in the ‘70s in East Germany some scenes give you a warm feeling. Cute and fulfilling. Until you go to the next page. But even more exciting.

And just as you can see the pretty, cute, happy maybe, picture ever more clearly you notice its fading away. So annoying right? Yet it makes reading the book faster. Awesome! A lot of stuff happening. Information and decisions coming from higher up. All of it filling up like a balloon. Who knows what might burst out of it?

You get to scare here and there throughout the book. It has that fast-paced rhythm we came to enjoy before. Even though some scenes seem a bit too easy, rushed, unnatural?; the overall feeling is amazing.

The impossibility of doing things and of knowing things let alone asking things gets on your nerves as it should-awesome. The forever feeling that “perhaps she was getting too near the truth”.

You have to remember it’s fiction, but a good one, that it might as well be true, especially if you enjoy the world Karin Müller lives. Overall I am terribly happy with it and cannot wait for the next one in the series.

Let me know what you think and if you’ve read the first two books of the series.

Bis bald!

IbD

Posted in Book, Review

On Saudi Arabia by Karen Elliott House #BookReview

Welcome back… to my blog 🙂

I know it’s been a while and I kinda feel bad, but I set this blog up so that I could enjoy it, so that’s what I’m doing. Also, this is the 100th blog post in almost a year of blogging; awesome or what? But let’s get to business.
//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

From the Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter who has spent the last thirty years writing about Saudi Arabia—as diplomatic correspondent, foreign editor, and then publisher of The Wall Street Journal—an important and timely book that explores all facets of life in this shrouded Kingdom: its tribal past, its complicated present, its precarious future.

Behind the Saudi facade of order and obedience, today’s Saudi youth, frustrated by social conformity, are reaching out to one another and to a wider world beyond their cloistered country. Some 50 percent of Saudi youth is on the Internet; 5.1 million Saudis are on Facebook.

I somehow felt it was only appropriate to come back to reviews continuing from where I left off. So we are still in the Middle East, still in Saudi Arabia, but in more recent times, somehow.

I’m talking about the book On Saudi Arabia: Its People, Past, Religion, Fault Lines – And Future from Karen Elliott House. Very exciting and filled with information and details. Amazingly written and offering a great overview of the kingdom published in 2013. And if you look closely and read today’s news regarding the country, you will feel it’s written last week. 

At times it feels like it has predicted the future, precisely regarding the options the Royal Family had in order to keep the reins. We can easily see and understand the emergence of a younger prince in the top of the decision-making mechanism. It was only natural.

On Saudi Arabia: Its People, Past, Religion, Fault Lines - And Future

The book is much more than that though, it makes a details picture of the Saudi society. It goes to women, young people, religious people, modernists, unemployed, widows, princes, and successful businessmen. It’s an interesting political and sociological overview of Arabia.

And an image of a society half asleep but doesn’t know what’s happening around it and doesn’t really want to know. Also an image of a society half awake, the one that wants something new, but doesn’t know exactly what and how to get it. And on top of all of this, the As-Saudi family trying to balance everything around them.

On Saudi Arabia: Its People, Past, Religion, Fault Lines - And Future back cover

Full of jokes and witty writing the book is a very easy read; it’s like having a conversation with the author after she returned from a trip in Saudi Arabia. I loved the way she presents an interview for instance and then presents how others perceived those said and how it actually affects society.

It talks about the oil and how the oil might soon be a thing of the past, exactly what we see in Mohammed bin Salman’s plans to diversify the income for his country. I believe that reading the book now, taking into account the current articles and news reports about MBS’ actions within the kingdom, will help understand. Be it arresting high-profile businessmen and princes or having talks with Silicon Valley companies in order to bring them to the kingdom, it’s interesting to see how he will maintain the stronghold he has on power.

I believe the book offers a great insight into the local version of feminism and democracy and how it can ever develop over there. Interesting to see how hard it is to hold the equilibrium and the status quo, with or without help from outside.
//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Definitely a compelling book and worth checking out. Let me know what you guys think of it.

Bis bald!

IbD

Posted in Book, Review, Travel

The Kingdom by Robert Lacey #BookReview

The Kingdom is also the story of the House of Sa’ud, a dynasty that has fought its way from poverty and obscurity to wealth and power. A family characterised by fierce loyalty among its members, ruthlessness towards its enemies, and dedication to one of the world’s most severe and demanding creeds. In the updated version of his book that Robert Lacey is currently preparing, he examines the challenges facing the world’s wealthiest royal family. What are its chances of survival in the 21st century?

The Kingdom by Robert Lacey is the prequel of Inside the Kingdom, that I recently reviewed. I was amazed by the details and intricacies of Inside the Kingdom so I decided I had to go deeper in the history of the formation of Saudi Arabia. Robert Lacey wrote The Kingdom at the beginning of the 1980s, covering the events from before 1900, up to 1980. Inside the Kingdom moves from 1980 to modern times.
//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Very interesting. Just as entertaining. If not more so. As it spans over much more interesting events and covers the personality that put his name before Arabia. The interesting life of Abdul Aziz ibn Saud makes you feel like you’re reading about a medieval hero fighting for his kingdom. The man who made the country that has the most oil wealth and that can influence even the mighty America is indeed a fascinating figure.

the kingdom. arabia and the house of sa'ud

The way his life philosophy and religion shape the man that will have the strength to unite all those Bedouin tribes and have them fight for the same cause if just spectacular. Most of the beginning of the book focuses on the start of the Saudi state. Then moving alongside world events and how they affect this corner of the world, we learn how much power do honour and tradition have. And how much power oil gives to a young nation as Saudi Arabia was when they literally struck gold, black gold.

the kingdom. arabia and the house of sa'ud

It’s amazing then to see how the shoes of Abdul Aziz, who united the Kingdom, had to be filled by his sons. We follow his sons in their struggle to keep things afloat and some succeeding miraculously. It’s a different story from the one found later in Inside the Kingdom. The struggles are different and the way the family sticks together is different.

We learn with them how much power their oil had and how the US-Saudi relationship came to be what it is today. The internal power struggles of the family are something that many tried to learn about as the family tries to keep scandal away from the public eye.

the kingdom. arabia and the house of sa'ud

Still the focus I think must stay with Abdul Aziz, and his almost mythical strength that kept the united Saudi Arabian state we see today.

Amazing how the different brothers, set to become kings, have their own style of rule and how they manage to learn with the job and stay strong for the country their father left in their care. Great to learn how this traditional Kingdom managed to learn to use the wealth it discovered under its sand and launch itself on the world stage and into the 20th century.

the kingdom. arabia and the house of sa'ud

I really did enjoy the book and I think it’s a great addition to Inside the Kingdom. Definitely, both are worth checking out if you are interested in this part of the world and its tumultuous history.

Bis bald!

IbD

//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Posted in Book, Review

Inside the Kingdom by Robert Lacey #BookReview

Saudi Arabia is a country defined by paradox: it sits atop some of the richest oil deposits in the world, and yet the country’s roiling disaffection produced sixteen of the nineteen 9/11 hijackers. It is a modern state, driven by contemporary technology, and yet its powerful religious establishment would have its customs and practices rolled back to match those of the Prophet Muhammad over a thousand years ago. In a world where events in the Middle East continue to have geopolitical consequences far beyond the region’s boundaries, an understanding of this complex nation is essential.
With Inside the Kingdom, British journalist and bestselling author Robert Lacey has given us one of the most penetrating and insightful looks at Saudi Arabia ever produced. More than twenty years after he first moved to the country to write about the Saudis at the end of the oil boom, Lacey has returned to find out how the consequences of the boom produced a society at war with itself.
Filled with stories told by a broad range of Saudis, from high princes and ambassadors to men and women on the street, Inside the Kingdom is in many ways the story of the Saudis in their own words.

The extremely interesting book about the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia caught my eye. Inside the Kingdom by Robert Lacey dives into the heart of the Saudi life from 1979 up to 2009. His previous book, The Kingdom tell the story of Saudis before that. I have to admit it wasn’t all that I expected.

A very well written account of life in the Kingdom. As good as it can be perceived by a westerner. But by living there for many years, Lacey finds interesting ways of telling the story. Filled with details and quotes from Saudis themselves, we learn a great deal of the way they view politics and the outside world.
//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Funny at times, and deadly serious some other times, the book presents a very real encounter with the life in the heart of the Middle East. It shows the great power of the Islamic Scholars and the strength the Saudi family has. No wonder they made and kept the country under their rule.

The political system and written and unwritten rules are overwhelming at times, for a western mind, but after a while, you understand how the Saudi psyche actually functions. Even if some wish and long for modernity it is very hard to acquire and actually sustain in the whole picture.

Inside the Kingdom by Robert Lacey

Interesting ways of showing how the US-Saudi Arabia relationship worked for many decades and how interdependent they are. It’s amazing to see how the kings negotiate with their advisors in order to ensure the implementation of their plans.

The books a great deal of info on the way the Saudi society reacted and shifted after 9/11. And the way they tried to understand where they may have been wrong. A lot of interesting details on the early life of Bin Laden and how he got to the top of the most wanted list.

You can see the book shows a huge endeavour to present life in the Kingdom objectively and with as much detail as possible while keeping the conservatives happy, and not denigrate anyone. A truly historical gem for anyone interested in the recent history of the US friend in the region.

Bis bald!

IbD

//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Posted in Book, Review, Travel

A Line in the Sand by James Barr #BookReview

In 1916, in the middle of the First World War, two men secretly agreed to divide the Middle East between them.
Sir Mark Sykes was a visionary politician; François Georges-Picot a diplomat with a grudge. The deal they struck, which was designed to relieve tensions that threatened to engulf the Entente Cordiale, drew a line in the sand from the Mediterranean to the Persian frontier. Territory north of that stark line would go to France; land south of it, to Britain. The creation of Britain’s ‘mandates’ of Palestine, Transjordan and Iraq, and France’s in Lebanon and Syria, made the two powers uneasy neighbours for the following thirty years.
Through a stellar cast of politicians, diplomats, spies and soldiers, including T. E. Lawrence, Winston Churchill and Charles de Gaulle, A Line in the Sand vividly tells the story of the short but crucial era when Britain and France ruled the Middle East. It explains exactly how the old antagonism between these two powers inflamed the more familiar modern rivalry between the Arabs and the Jews, and ultimately led to war between the British and French in 1941 and between the Arabs and Jews in 1948.

Amazing book! I had heard about it for a while and I was very interested in the subject. A Line in the Sand by James Barr is a great choice for those looking for some insight into the Middle Eastern events that shaped the region. 

Extremely well written, witty and funny at times, the books seem to be a conversation with someone who witnessed the whole thing. Fast-paced and full of quotes that explain what the political actors were thinking the book is a very easy read.
//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

It’s a comprehensive look into the influence Britain and France had on the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and what happened with its Arab territories right after. Awesome use of historical quotes and their implication in moulding the Arab states as we know them.

Extremely well documented and objective to a certain extent. Presenting the facts, and the opinions of those who had the power to change things and how they used it or not. Makes a whole sphere of issues come to light and eases perception on some key events. More importantly, it makes you understand why the Arabs acted like they did.

A Line in the Sand: Britain, France and the struggle that shaped the Middle East

It shows the costs and intricacies of governing a faraway land. We see Winston Churchill’s influence and connection with the whole deal and of course T.E. Lawrence’s as well. Amazing inside details quotes blend it all together in a very compact and logical story. A great collage of history in a great book.

Amazing how people can fight over borders that don’t exist and create lines in the sand. The stroke of oil and kings and leaders of opinion force the hands of the political actors.

A Line in the Sand: Britain, France and the struggle that shaped the Middle East

It also presents the start of the Palestine Problem and how the British were able to contain it, or rather not. Amazing how they found themselves swiftly overwhelmed. And how the Zionist movement took over and influenced the hands of the great powers right after WWII to give them what they wanted.

An amazing portrait of the Middle East and of the people who shaped it. Great book that is definitely worth a read for those interested in this part of the world. Let me know what you think.

Bis bald!

IbD

//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Posted in Short Story

Andreas Weiß (Short Story Series #20)

So let’s continue with Andreas’ story in Salzburg. The last one was over here.

After the weekend with his ex-wife and all their friends, Andreas needed a break. The whole exhibition went perfect and he was happy for Emma, she finally had her dream come true. So he did his duty as a friend, but now it’s Andreas time.
//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

He remembered a beautiful, almost hidden, book store near his hotel, so he decided to take a walk over. Little did he know how much joy would that bring to his life.

The book store had expanded a bit and added a coffee shop. It was so quiet, just as it was in Andreas’ memory. Perfect spot to find a good new book, and enjoy an amazing coffee. The whole place was filled with a bitter-sweet coffee aroma. Just what Andreas had needed.

After a while, Andreas found an interesting book he wanted to further check out, so he took it and was headed for a table he saw before, right behind him. As he turned he bumped into a young woman who was trying to reach a book on the highest shelf.

‘I am so sorry about that’ said Andreas, and as he turned he saw the most beautiful green eyes he could ever imagine. The young lady had just regained her balance and smiled. That smile made time stop for Andreas. Just for a second. Then he realised she was saying something.

‘Good thing I didn’t fall over’ she said. ‘Nice book you have there, I found it a few months ago as well.’

‘Uhm, what, oh, yeah? Good then! Again, I’m sorry about before. Would you like to tell me more about the book over a coffee maybe, so I can repay my clumsiness?’ said Andreas with an embarrassed smile.

‘Well, I was going to get a coffee right after I got the book up top over there, so ok, if you can help me with it, the blue one over there.’ she said, as she was looking for a free table already.

Andreas was not really sure of what was happening but he couldn’t wait to get over to the table she picked. So then he went over with the blue book and sat across the table from her.

‘My name is Andreas. Nice meeting you!’

‘Hey Andreas, I am Sophia, nice meeting you too. Although next time, maybe you can be more careful.’ said Sophia with a friendly smile.

. . .

They talked for hours. And they decided to meet again the next day. That night Andreas went to sleep happier than he’d been for months. But he somehow did not want to over think everything. It was just another date. Who knows?

To be continued…

Bid bald!

IbD

//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Posted in Language, Random, Top

5 Great Reasons to Learn French

As you guys know, I am in love with languages in general, and some of them in particular. I have studied French in school for many years, and recently I wanted to rekindle that knowledge.
//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

And I wanted to remind myself why French is such a great language to know. And I want to share those reasons with you. Of course, there are other reasons as well, but these are some of my favorites.

Here we go:

1. French is a beautiful language

Just listen to it. 🙂 It’s simple. Now really, it had an amazing pronunciation and sound even if you don’t understand what’s being said.

The literature you will gain access to is rich and filled with great classics that will let you understand them deeper. French has always been deemed a sexy/romantic language. I find it amazing how even serious political talk can sound cute at times, in French.

parlez-vous francais

French is such a musical language and knowing it will let you enjoy French music even more. Of course, saying that French is beautiful is very subjective, depending on what one likes.

But I believe that the soft, melodious sounds of French can enchant most of you out there. If not, c’est la vie.

2. French is not as difficult as it may seem at first

There are some aspects of French that can be weird and complicated, depending what language you already know. But French is filled with logical rules, and some easily explained exceptions.

The verbal system is something that can seem scary until you get the hang of it. The noun and adjective have a simple dependent relationship. As soon as you get some of the rules anchored, you have a great base to build upon. Make sure you get an example that can be used for other constructions as well.
//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

There are so many channels to pick and choose the way to learn that best works for you. Listening to a lot of French will make it easier to pick up the melody and sounds, along with some particularities of vocabulary.

3. French is an important language worldwide

Diplomacy and international relations have French at their core. And have had it long before English became such a force.

Still, 220 million people speak French as their first language and many millions as their second language. Africa is a continent where French had found a home. Businesses and HR departments still find French as a great asset.

flags belgium france canada

French had over a million people learning it all over the planet. Many international institutions have French among their official and working languages.

Knowing French adds admiration and quality to a resume and definitely something to be proud of. Alors, start learning!

4. French will help you with other languages

French is one of the languages that have lent words all over the table. France and the French language have influenced Europe and more for centuries.

French grammar will give you the key to the rest of the Romance languages. It will help you speak better English as well. Some words are even written the same in both English and French. The vocabulary of English borrowed an immense number of words from French.

So even if the grammar seems difficult, remember it gives you a taste of Spanish, Italian, Romanian, Portuguese, and Latin. Très bien, non?

5. French opens up France + the French cuisine

One of my favorite reasons for learning French is that it allows you to better understand and feel and see France. The beautiful vast western part of Europe has French deep in its roots.

francais

Amazing places to visit and experience all over France. Different landscapes for every taste. Interesting people with a fascinating culture. Also, a history that helped shape Europe.

The cuisine from France has traveled all over the world. Having some knowledge of France will let you grasp some secrets lost in translation, maybe.


Basically French has been an important part of Europe and the world. And still, has a great deal of influence. Knowing this beautiful interesting language is amazing. Definitely worth learning.

Feel free to share some other reasons French is useful and good to know.

Let me know what you think about these types of posts.

Bis bald!

IbD

//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Posted in Book, Review

Conclave by Robert Harris #BookReview

The Pope is dead.
Behind the locked doors of the Sistine Chapel, one hundred and eighteen cardinals from all over the globe will cast their votes in the world’s most secretive election.
They are holy men. But they have ambition. And they have rivals.
Over the next seventy-two hours, one of them will become the most powerful spiritual figure on earth.

I am talking about Conclave by Robert Harris, a book I heard about recently. As you might already know, I have something that draws me to this types of books. Yet again, we find ourselves in Rome, in the midst of a Papal Conclave that will decide the next leader of the biggest Church on Earth.
//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Dramatic from the very start. Extremely fast paced, even though it spans over a few days, without much action. We follow the Dean of the College of Cardinals in leading the election.

Conclave by Robert Harris

I love the intricacies of Vatican politics and the bureaucracy of it all. Filled with politics, pride, and secrets of course. Betrayals and terror attacks, all can and eventually will influence the vote of the 118 cardinals who came to Rome.

I found Cardinal Lomeli as a very interesting character with a clever mind. I loved how we follow his stream of consciousness and feel how the struggle of the role and importance of the moment weigh on him.

Conclave by Robert Harris

A very subjective view, at times, scared, at times proud, at times full of hope. A book that can be devoured in one or two seatings. And definitely, keeps you on your toes until the very last pages. I loved it. Witty, well-written, interesting and more.

Definitely worth checking out. Let me know what you think of it.

Bis bald!

IbD

//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Posted in Language, Random, Travel

5 Great Reasons to Learn Spanish

I believe Spanish is one of the most important languages of the world today. I myself have some knowledge of Spanish and I wanted to think of some reasons why Spanish is useful.

All of the below are my own personal opinion, of course, but the reasons why Spanish is useful don’t stop there. Let me know what you think of the reasons I picked and what else can be added to the list.
//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Here we go:

1. Spanish is beautiful

Alongside French, Spanish is an amazingly musical, sweet language. It sounds very beautiful and learning Spanish will let you understand some of the worlds best music.

The sounds are easy and even the different regional accents sound interesting, I think. Learning Spanish will let you become fluent and creative in a special language.

Depending if you learn Spanish from Spain, the original, or the one spoke all across Latin American you will notice the subtleties and different beautiful aspects of this Romance language.

viajar photo

2. Spanish is the key to Latin America

As you know Spanish is spoken mainly in South and Central America, and Spain. Speaking Spanish will allow you to easily communicate with 350 million people all across the western hemisphere. And with those Spanish speakers traveling all across Europe.

Spanish is widely spoken and understood all across the Americas. It will make it easier for you to find your way to the hotel or order at the restaurant you pick on your trip. Or better, understand your salsa teacher while in South America.

Spanish is one of the languages that have a special status on many international institutions. Internationally Spanish is quite powerful.
//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

You can go from California to Argentina with Spanish (and hopefully other equipment) and you should be fine. An area so diverse and vast. United by the Spanish language. Perfecto, no?

3. Spanish is actually not difficult to learn

Spanish is easy I think. I am not saying that because my native language is Romanian. The vocabulary is simple and the grammar definitely won’t make your life hell. After picking up the basics the rest is a piece of cake.

And as a huge number of people are trying to say mi casa es su casa, I believe that you can see how useful and easy Spanish can be.

As a Latin based language, the verbs will seem something out of this world at the beginning, but they are worth a try. Depending on where you live, or where you want to travel, Spanish can definitely be a great tool for your daily life.

el dia de espanol

4. Spanish helps learn other languages

As it has so much in common with the other Romance languages, picking Spanish up will open the doors to all the other Latin based languages. The Arabic words also make it amazingly interesting.

Once you hold the secrets of Spanish you will definitely find it easier to pick up another language. Maybe Portuguese, so you can travel easily in Brazil as well.

The structures are incredibly similar to the rest of the language from the former Roman Empire. And Speaking Spanish will help you understand the way Latin people see and interact with the world.

5. Spanish is great for traveling and job opportunities

As I said before, Spanish is the key to South and Central America. But not only that. Having Spanish on your resume will definitely increase your points in getting that job you want.

el mundo espanol

Travelling all across Europe you may find Spanish people or people who speak Spanish. Travelling in the Americas even more so. Spanish will allow you to understand what is happening around you and have an amazing experience on your trip.

On the job market, as Spanish is so widely spread, you never know when it might come in handy. And as it’s easy to acquire, why not give it a try?


Spanish is an amazing language for sure. I hope you agree with me in picking the reasons why this is a great language to learn and speak. Let me know of other reasons below.

It’s such a rich and beautiful language that is so useful in many areas. A language that lets you get to know amazing people all over the world.

Bis bald!

IbD

//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Posted in Book, Review, UK

Corpus by Rory Clements #BookReview

1936. Europe is in turmoil. The Nazis have marched into the Rhineland. In Russia, Stalin has unleashed his Great Terror. Spain has erupted in civil war.

In Berlin, a young Englishwoman evades the Gestapo to deliver vital papers to a Jewish scientist. Within weeks, she is found dead, a silver syringe clutched in her fingers.

In an exclusive London club, a conspiracy is launched that threatens the very heart of government. When a renowned society couple with fascist leanings is found brutally murdered, a maverick Cambridge professor is drawn into a world of espionage he knows only from history books. The deeper Thomas Wilde delves, the more he finds to link the murders with the girl with the silver syringe – and even more worryingly to the scandal surrounding the Abdication…

So this book from Rory Clements caught my eye. Corpus was not what I was expecting, to be honest. Interesting. We have a strong start, but then we slowly build up to the whole turmoil all around.
//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

We follow American professor Tom Wilde in his Cambridge University become a detective of sorts. With the whole political storm that’s about to start in Europe as Hitler was rising in Germany, we try to solve a suspicious murder.

Corpus Cover

It’s an era of history I haven’t read much about, so it was interesting to have a small glimpse of how people went on with their lives maybe. It’s full of politically decided faiths and judgements of character based on what political manifesto you were hiding and praising.

But we also delve into the quiet Cambridge life that Wilde loves. Besides that, we travel around Europe and swim through an amalgam of Russian, Spaniards, German and try to go through the action-packed few days the novel presents.

I liked Tom Wilde and his way of looking at British politics and lifestyle, sometimes as an intruder trying to make sense of it. I liked the way he was trying to teach his students to look at the world through history’s glasses on.

Very well-paced and engaging. Let me know what you think of it.

Bis bald!

IbD
//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Posted in Random, Travel

This Is Tourism in the Occupied Palestinian Territories | NatGeo

The West Bank wall is a living canvas of Israeli-Palestinian narratives.

Source: This Is Tourism in the Occupied Palestinian Territories

This is an amazing article. Definitely worth checking out. I found it recently on National Geographic, which you know I love. And I found the subject especially sensitive and fascinating.
//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

The photos are breathtaking and eye-opening. The whole situation over there is. Amazing how people can just go about their trip and see the birthplace of Christ so other important places in the Christian community. All the while, over there, walls are being built. It is an exceptionally sensitive area of the world and it has been for some time now.

“I aim to show the artistic aspect of the conflict, resistance through graffiti, painting, and colors,” says Israeli photographer Yoray Liberman, who traveled to Bethlehem, the epicenter of Palestinian tourism. “I also reflect the impact the separation wall has upon the landscape, the ecology, and nature, to emphasize how big and massive the wall is in comparison with human beings.”

So when I saw this take on the region, I had to read it. It’s an interesting way of looking at the place as more than the region with some of the most tense conflicts and problems in the world. And just see it from a touristic point of view; be it religious or not. Politics always find a way to make you think ‘What are they thinking?’.

construction

It’s very sad to think that walls and separation are accepted as the norm in 2017. However sensitive the subject, I believe it needs to be addressed. And most importantly, a solution must be found. So that when people visit such a region, they don’t have to take selfies with a wall behind. No matter how interesting the graffitis on them are.

It’s interesting to see how people have adapted and adjusted to their lives in those conditions, however harsh they are.

Let me know what you think of the article and about the subject in general. Or maybe if I should still post comments on these types of articles.

Bis bald!

IbD

//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Posted in Berlin, Language, Random

5 Great Reasons to Learn German

German is one of my favorite languages. I have started this blog in Berlin, as you know, under the spell that the city had on me. And I couldn’t be happier.

I have been trying to learn German for years, even if not as successful as I’d hoped. But that has nothing to do with the language.
//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

So I decided to write about why I think German is an awesome language and why it’s worth learning it. Of course, these reasons are my personal opinion and definitely, there are more, or better ones, feel free to comment them below.

Here we go:

1. German sounds awesome

I know this is a very subjective thing. But I for one love the way German sounds. Maybe because I always thought of it as something exotic, even if I lived my whole life in Europe. It has always been something interesting and fascinating.

And I cannot be the only one to think that. It has an easy and straightforward phonetic system. Long words start making sense after a while and actually seem greatly practical.

I believe that German is one of the languages that are an acquired taste, but one you’ll want to keep close after. I find it amazingly interesting.

german language facts

2. Germany is an amazing place

As I have always found Germany an innovation hub, this year’s trip was amazing. I always wanted to visit. And I did. And it’s amazing. Germany is the powerhouse of Europe.

With a very diverse landscape, Germany is definitely a place to add your travel list. Knowing the language will let you understand an amazing society. I believe that language is the best way to really comprehend someone and their true self.

German will allow you to see the world through German eyes. And visiting Germany is bound to be an amazing experience. So many picturesque towns and mountain villages, or the huge industrial powerhouses of the west, or even the beaches of the north, take your pick.
//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Oktoberfest is something many of you might have heard of, well yeah, that happens in Germany too. If you are a beer fan, that’s for you.

3. German is a gold mine

On the job market, German is sort of a Golden Ticket to Willy Wonka’s factory. At least that’s what I saw so far, and why not. Many German businesses have ties outside Germany.

It will always help you find something interesting to do. The most spoken native language in Europe stays high on the list of best-paid languages on the job market. That’s one of the best ways to make it worth the effort of learning it.

mandela quote

Having a better understanding of the culture you are immersing yourself is always a great asset. Speaking German allows you to break some of the boundaries set by translation.

4. German is a language of culture

Music, art, literature, and others have been influenced by German-speaking people for hundreds of years, all across Europe. Germany is the country of poets and thinkers; Das Land der Dichter und Denker.

An entire section of the library will be available once you grasp the German language. A huge part of the internet will suddenly be understandable, as a great deal of Germans writes in German all over the internet.

You will find German literature and way of looking at the world to be fascinating, and to be able to understand it in the original language can only be amazing.

Germany, like France, is one of the countries that use their language a lot, rather than adopting English as much. So music and TV are in German.

German-Language-Flag

5. German is a great exercise for the mind

German may not be the easiest language to learn. The grammar is very strict and straightforward. Practical, and with exercise, easy to understand. That’s perfect for anyone trying to learn a language.

All those articles and sentence structures will train your mind into being more structured and creative with the use of words. I find that’s never a bad thing. The new irregular verbs list will be a nice challenge.

After a while, German will grow on you and will help you find new and correct ways to express yourself in German.


All in all, German is an interesting language to pick up. With great benefits in many areas of your life. I believe it’s a beautiful language and is definitely worth checking out.

Let me know what you think of German and of the reasons I picked here.

Bis bald!

IbD

//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Posted in Book, Review, UK

The Mayfly by James Hazel #BookReview

A mutilated body discovered in the woods.
A murderous plan conceived in the past.
A reckoning seventy years in the making . . .

When lawyer Charlie Priest is attacked in his own home by a man searching for information he claims Priest has, he is drawn into a web of corruption that has its roots in the last desperate days of World War Two.

When his attacker is found murdered the next day, Priest becomes a suspect and the only way to clear his name is to find out about the mysterious House of Mayfly – a secret society that people will kill for.

//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

There was a lot of hype around this novel some time ago, and I finally got round to read it. So I had high expectations. The Mayfly by James Hazel was great. Interesting and gripping from the first pages. Strong images and terrible murders all throughout.

We move back and forth from today and the first days after WW2. We follow the confessions of a former Nazi “doctor” and what effect they had on people. And most importantly how that reverberated to today. Interesting.

The Mayfly James HazelI loved the flashbacks and the feeling you get while reading those portions.

Then we move on to our very own Mr Priest. A former MI5 element turned lawyer. Priest has an interesting guest come by his place, guest who seems to haunt him throughout the book. Priest seems interesting for sure. He has a legal company and quaint colleagues.

The pace of the book is extraordinary. Very nice indeed.

Then if we look at Priest and his family there’s a lot to understand. Very odd family and family relations. Priest and his brother gave me a Sherlock-Mycroft feel.

A good page turner that offers an interesting story with implications surpassing a few simple deaths.

A conversation with author James Hazel (excerpt from book)

Your background is in the law. How did you get into writing? Have you always written?

I’ve always been fascinated by stories and how the idea of telling a story has pervaded human evolution since we developed language. It is one of the few things that every civilisation, every culture, every race and creed have in common: we all tell each other stories.

What’s also fascinating is that, throughout history, billions of people from different backgrounds and cultures have basically told the same stories, in their own ways, sometimes with astonishing similarities. Every religion has a story of creation, for example. […]

Let me know what you think of it.

Bis bald!

IbD

//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Posted in Random

End Of The Earth: Climate Change | HuffPost UK / EcoWatch

HuffPost UK travelled to Antarctica to see first-hand the effects of climate change.

Miami Mayor: ‘If This Isn’t Climate Change, I Don’t Know What Is’

Source: End Of The Earth: Will Trump’s Climate Change Denial Be Tested? | HuffPost UK
Source: Miami Mayor: ‘If This Isn’t Climate Change, I Don’t Know What Is’

I found these two articles recently and I wanted to share/comment them. I know this isn’t something the blog is focused on, but I believe it to be an important issue of our time.
//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Climate change denial. What is that? I cannot really comprehend the whole concept. Especially now, with the blatant effects of climate change on every channel and news report. I am sure that many of us have felt the effects of the weather patterns changing a bit. And looking at the whole picture, what scientists have been saying and predicting comes to view.
97% of climate scientists agree: climate-warming trends over the past century are extremely likely due to human activities. In addition, most of the leading scientific organizations worldwide have issued public statements endorsing this position.
Despite this, the voice of the 3% is incredibly loud. via Huffpost UK

In my opinion, it is just impossible to deny the fact that humans haven’t had any effect on the planet lately. You cannot compare the human footprint of the last millennia, with the last hundred years. The amount of carbon emission and pollution has been increasing at speeds never-before seen.

“This is the time to talk about climate change,” Regaldo told the Miami Herald. “This is the time that the president and the EPA and whoever makes decisions needs to talk about climate change.”

The first article from HuffPost UK, a trip to Antarctica is very interesting as it checks out one of the last outposts of nature. But the thing is that even down there, we have had an effect. And it’s starting to be visible all over the planet.

forest mist

The second article is one of many I found regarding the question whether these latest extreme weather phenomena aren’t the best proof of climate change. And more so how great its effect can be. Great as in powerful, not good. It’s fascinating to see how clear the effects and how influential can climate change become. Because I can only get worse from here.

It’s an interesting subject I think, and the politics have the deciding voice here, sadly, depending who holds office. Let me know what you think.

Bis bald!

IbD
//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Posted in Book, Review

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts I & II by Jack Thorne, JK Rowling & John Tiffany

How that’s a long title, but we are used to it in the Harry Potter world.

I wanted to touch base regarding the latest Harry Potter story. The one after. After those 19 years that pass since the end of the main series. We all loved that last part of the last Harry Potter novel. An ending filled with hope.
//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

So J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany went back and made the jump into the theatre with Harry Potter in mind. Interesting, right. And the whole world waited and held their breaths. And something interesting came of it. As the actual play is booked I think at least a year in advance, I had to see what was going to happen next. So I got the screenplay of course.

I had just finished all the novels from the main story, and the mini book/stories JK Rowling wrote to make the world of Harry Potter a bit more clear and compelling so I was ready.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

And I have to admit it was not what I had expected. Interesting indeed. The same world, the same lovely characters. And it was amazing to see them again in action. I have to admit the spin on the story was innovative and very much inspired by the original world we all fell in love with.

And as we are all curious, the chance to see what happened next is irresistible. So we travel with Harry’s son into the past to try to help. But of course, that gets a bit more complicated. What I loved was the development of the characters we know; Harry, Ron, Hermione, Draco, Neville and the others. It was so much fun to see them out of school and see how they managed to get on with their lives after the dramatic and traumatic school years.

It was interesting for sure. Same JK Rowling taste on a new (continued) adventure up to Hogwarts. Let me know if you picked it up or went to the play; how was it?

Bis bald!

IbD

//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Posted in Book, Review, Top

Origin by Dan Brown #BookReview

Will God survive science?

Bilbao, Spain

Robert Langdon, Harvard professor of symbology and religious iconology, arrives at the ultramodern Guggenheim Museum Bilbao to attend a major announcement—the unveiling of a discovery that “will change the face of science forever.” The evening’s host is Edmond Kirsch, a forty-year-old billionaire and futurist whose dazzling high-tech inventions and audacious predictions have made him a renowned global figure. Kirsch, who was one of Langdon’s first students at Harvard two decades earlier, is about to reveal an astonishing breakthrough . . . one that will answer two of the fundamental questions of human existence.

Amazing! Mind-boggling! Simple and logical! Everything I expected it to be and more! A classic Dan Brown! As usual, Robert Langdon’s adventures don’t leave us high and dry. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this new Robert Langdon adventure. Origin is a very interesting novel, trying to solve a very interesting dilemma while running for their lives.
//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Extremely interesting beginning, slowly building up to a bestseller for sure. We get a taste of an imminent scientific revelation. A clash between Creation and Evolution; Religion and Science seem to go head to head. But do they?

Very modern, current, with chapters that resemble a breaking news release, you fly through the pages and find yourself in a world of discovery. Filled with art and artistic philosophy, we learn a lot about some great artists and their relationship with nature and religion.

Origin by Dan Brown Cover Book

Gaudi’s Barcelona becomes the focal point, as we follow Langdon and Ambra, the future Queen of Spain in their race to the achieve their goal. Interesting portrayal of the religious figures and their understanding of the need for a change in today’s world.

Even though you think you might know the ending, as usual, Dan Brown succeeds in masking it till the very end, leaving Robert and the reader just as flabbergasted. Of course, we need to decipher codes and find meaning in surprising places.

We get the Royal family of Spain involved and learn from Spain’s history along the way. The power and influence of the Catholic Church and its reaches are also important. Conspiracy and betrayal, love and secrets all over the place.

“Langdon smiled. Typical. ‘Well, science and religion are not competitors, They’re two different languages trying to tell the same story. There is room in this world for both.’”

But the book is about much more. And much simpler ideas. Its simplicity is what makes it hard to believe even. It’s about the known battle between Creationism and Evolution; and its Solution. The answers to the most pressing questions: Where do we come from? and Where are we going?. Beautifully presented in a work of fiction that feels very real. And yet, the underlying issue is true.

Origin by Dan Brown

Philosophical questions, with scientific answers, and simple truths. Glad I could read such an amazing work.

The main idea of the revelation presented here can be found in other works as well. Some I have read and found amazing. Check this review as well. Though the spectacular way Robert Langdon reaches the answers is just superb.

The book is about a changing world trying to find its way. It’s about evolving and adapting and learning. About the past and the future as well. Groundbreaking and awesome! A topic very much present and alive in the collective consciousness of today (and tomorrow).

Origin by Dan Brown Cover Book

It doesn’t want to shatter beliefs, but rather help better understand them, and understand the world we live in. That’s whether we like it or not. And the increasingly powerful presence of technology in our lives today is ever more interestingly portrayed.

Definitely, a must-read for Dan Brown fans, also the rest will love it too. It’s for the religious, and the atheists alike. Let me know what you think of it. Can’t wait to see the movie!

Bis bald!

IbD

//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Posted in Book, Review

1984 by George Orwell #BookReview

April 1984. 13:00. Comrade 6079, Winston Smith, thinks a thought, starts a diary and falls in love. But Big Brother is watching him and the door to Room 101 can swing open in the blink of an eye. This major new production explores the world inside Winston Smith s head, as well as the world without, and catches the euphoria and bliss buried deep underneath the cold face of Big Brother.

Wow. This book is mind-boggling. And with that, the review is done. Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell is one of the biggest pieces of literature of the 20th century. Written in 1949 it portrays a dystopian 1984, in a world controlled and looked over by Big Brother, the supreme leader. Everything that would’ve gone wrong, has. Everything is checked, known, seen, heard.
//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

A truly amazing way of looking at the world that sometimes seems to actually happen in reality. Extremely well written from Winston’s perspective, we learn how complicated life can become if you try to step out of line. A whole new society if formed and relationships between humans are so distorted at times it’s hard to get your head around people’s reactions.

Besides the general struggle of the people in it, we have the personal, internal struggles of Winston and how careful he must be. A strong character that lives through some interesting times.

Nineteen Eighty-Four

I have to admit it was an experience, reading it. Makes you think, makes you appreciate all the freedom that you have. And it’s so easily lost. Scary at times, I think. I know it deserves a read. It is worth looking at how bad can things go when even thoughts can become a crime.

You can look at the book from so many perspectives and you will find something interesting. I did like it, and think of it something with a special place in someone’s literary must read.

Nineteen Eighty-Four

Let me know if you read it and what did you think of it.

Bis bald!

IbD
//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Posted in Language, Random

Forget “learning a language.” Focus on the habit. via Fluent in 3 months

So I found another amazing article I wanted to share with you over here.

It’s about one of my favourite subjects, learning a language. As you know I’m a language learning enthusiast. I’ve been trying to learn German, although unsuccessfully lately, along with rememorating my French knowledge. Anyways. I’ve always been fascinated by How we learn, and Why.
//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

So I found this great article on an amazing website called Fluent in 3 Months. Awesome all over. Amazing people write over there and you can learn a great deal about different cultures and language. Also, you find delightful and amazing people talking about their language learning experiences.

This article, in particular, focuses on making it easier to stick to learning rather than the learning itself. That is what I find always difficult; staying focused on one particular language or making sure the progress is continued and steadily sustained.

Books, Learning

Basically, the main idea is to try to bend your own subconscious and actions to meet the required rigour of sticking with a language. Or any learning process for that matter. I found it amazing, and very much an eye opener.

The truth is, most people will never learn a new language not because the language itself is too difficult or they’re not smart enough… but because they can’t get themselves to practice the language consistently.
They haven’t learned how to assimilate language learning into a habit.
What is a Habit?
Habits are the key to behaviour change.
When you form a habit, you won’t have to get “motivated” to do something. You won’t have to use willpower or “force” yourself and get it done.
Think about how it feels to go to bed without brushing your teeth. It feels wrong. You feel like your day isn’t complete — and you’ll even drag yourself out of bed to do it, despite being tired.

I really think it is useful and making it easy to understand why we can’t keep up with something that we want to like and keep doing. I know I definitely find myself in that situation and I will definitely try to use these tools.

Cue, Routine and Reward seem to be so simple and yet it should be so effective due to the simplicity. Our minds are such an amazingly complex instrument and yet so many people study it and find that we are simple creatures at times. Even if we don’t want to admit it. It’s interesting to see how these studies can improve language learning as well.

Let me know if you give it a go and if it works for you.

Source: Forget “learning a language.” Focus on forming the habit. – Fluent in 3 months – Language Hacking and Travel Tips

Bis bald!

IbD

//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Posted in Book, Review

Don’t Panic, I’m Islamic from Saqi Books #BookReview

Don’t Panic, I’m Islamic

Words and Pictures on How to Stop Worrying and Learn to Love the Alien Next Door

Edited by Lynn Gaspard

How can you tell if your neighbor is speaking Muslim? Is a mosque a kind of hedgehog? Can I get fries with that burka? You can’t trust the media any longer, but there’s no need to fret: Don’t Panic, I’m Islamic provides you with the answers.
Read this book to learn how you too can spot an elusive Islamist. Discover how Arabs (even 21-year-old, largely innocuous and totally adorable ones) plant bombs and get tips about how to interact with Homeland Security, which may or may not involve funny discussions about your sexuality.
Commissioned in response to the US travel ban, Don’t Panic, I’m Islamic includes cartoons, graffiti, photography, coloring in pages, memoir, short stories and more by 34 contributors from around the world. Provocative and at times laugh-out-loud funny, these subversive pieces are an explosion of expression, creativity, and color.
//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Contributors: Hassan Abdulrazzak, Leila Aboulela, Amrou Al-Kadhi, Shadi Alzaqzouq, Chant Avedissian, Tammam Azzam, Bidisha, Chaza Charafeddine, Molly Crabapple, Carol Ann Duffy, Moris Farhi, Negin Farsad, Joumana Haddad, Saleem Haddad, Hassan Hajjaj, Omar Hamdi, Jennifer Jajeh, Sayed Kashua, Mazen Kerbaj, Arwa Mahdawi, Sabrina Mahfouz, Alberto Manguel, Esther Manito, Aisha Mirza, James Nunn, Chris Riddell, Hazem Saghieh, Rana Salam, Karl Sharro, Laila Shawa, Bahia Shehab, Sjón, Eli Valley, Alex Wheatle.


I am so glad I got an email from Saqi Books regarding this book. And I am even happier I got my hands on it. It’s amazing!

dont-panic-im-islamic

Such an alive book. Witty, funny, sarcastic, real, honest. It’s a collection of art and writings from Islamic men and women who encountered interesting situations. A collection of funny little stories connected to life as a Muslim in today’s world, right after Trump’s ban and other immigrant accounts.

Art exhibition in a book, I could say. An awesome collection of stories from comedians, writers, artists, and regular people.

Portrays how narrow-minded the West can be when looking at Islamic-looking or sounding people. Sarcasm and irony all across the board. An eye-opening journey from page 1.

Separate little pieces of real life tied together with the red string of common struggle. Treating everyone as normal people with the day-to-day life having the same issues as everyone else. Makes you think, doesn’t it?

“Back in 2015 CNN broke the news that ISIS recruits women with kittens and Nutella. CNN’s Carol Costello said: ‘ISIS recruiters lure Westerners into their fight because they want people to believe their life on the battlefield isn’t so different than yours. They actually eat Nutella, and I guess they have pet kittens.’ So if you spot someone surrounded by kittens, languorously spooning Nutella from the jar you should be afraid. Be very afraid.”

Separate little pieces of real life tied together with the red string of common struggle. Treating everyone as normal people with the day-to-day life having the same issues as everyone else. Makes you think, doesn’t it? Also, it has serious thought-provoking stories that deserve to be read and that deserve to be known and fully understood by our society.

Great fun, great stories, told in an amazing way by funny people, real people.

dont-panic-im-islamic-back-cover

It’s terribly funny it wasn’t so terrible true sometimes. Interesting take on the way we live our lives in our Western society today and how we look at people who a bit different. As if different is always a bad thing. Instead of learning from them, from those differences, and improve our own lives.

“[…] I try to understand their perspective; that my beautiful language is linked to violence in their collective consciousness; that the words Allahu Akbar have become a sort of trailer song to a horror movie […]
‘Yes, I speak Arabic. Go ahead and sue me.’
‘Yes, I speak Arabic and it is with this language that I have attacked fundamentalists and terrorists more vehemently than you ever will, putting my life at risk.‘”

I loved it, I loved the art and the strong message from many of the pieces shown in the book. It must be read with an open mind and a sense of humor.

Definitely worth checking out! Again thanks for the review copy to Saqi Books.

Let me know what you think.

Bis bald!

IbD

//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Posted in Random

The Art of Blogging | Why I like it

I have already said what inspires me to write and that I want to keep doing it. To write about what I read, to write about random stuff and some of my own short stories. But I’ve been thinking about writing, blogging in general, even before I started my own blog.

I had been blogging randomly a long time ago when blogging wasn’t so big yet. But I stopped. And recently, as things change, life goes on, I remembered how good it felt. Writing is an amazing tool. Therapy like. Personal and unique. Awesome way to express whatever it is that bugs you. At least that’s what I found.
//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

I am glad I decided to start this blog. It became an awesome place for me to express myself. Be it only to tell the world what book I picked up lately. But while that is the main point of it, it’s only a part of it. I find it useful to pour many other feelings into it. And it’s so easy.

No matter how business focused and money centred this internet corner becomes, blogging is still about having a personal journal online. You cannot escape your personal bias, view, opinion in the articles you create. And that’s amazing I believe. I’ve seen a lot of articles about blogging and how fun it can be, and how much money can be made out of it. But I think it’s first and foremost a release valve into the world of your innermost thoughts.

Letting go of frustration is best for one’s mental health. Even if you don’t realise, having somewhere or someone to let go to is necessary. Especially in our world. Maybe having so many options of expression can leave one without a proper option for expression. If that makes sense to anyone but me.

Writing, Blog, Art
Writing, Blog, Art

So now, on the more profitable part of blogging. Blogging has become a great monetization tool. Countless articles on how to make it in this world of countless bloggers. And the easier it is to write, to blog, the harder it is to blog well. But as long as you remember that it’s not only about that, you’ll be just fine.

As long as blogging is used for something you really like, other perks are just bonus material. The main point of a blog is, I think, to find your voice, in writing, or on YouTube as a vlogger. Or whichever platform you choose. Talking, writing, sending thoughts into the void, helps a million. Just hearing or reading your own thoughts will help you evaluate them better. And improve, or at least understand more about yourself.

Anyway, the main point is I like blogging a lot. Be it about the awesome books I come across or random stories that pop into my mind. Or the amazing place Scotland is, or whatever place I might visit. I am glad I have this platform to help clear my mind from time to time. I hope you like reading my random stuff too.

Let me know what you think of this, if you have a blog as well, or like reading blogs.

Bis bald!

IbD

//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Posted in Scotland, Travel

Dean Village, Edinburgh, Scotland #Travel

Hey again from Edinburgh. Told you guys I was going back 🙂

Well, this time I walked around in some other areas of the beautiful Scottish capital. And I wanted to share another amazing place with you all. Just so inviting, even with all the walking involved.

//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

I am talking about the Dean Village. Close to the city centre, a nice walk is enough to get there. And you’ll be amazed. Amazing building and such a cosy feeling all over. A quiet area that was an actual village, now a part of Edinburgh. Such an amazing place to see and experience.

But don’t take my word for it, take a look:

Dean Village, Edinburgh

Dean Village, Edinburgh

Dean Village, Edinburgh

Dean Village, Edinburgh

And let me know what you think; if you’ve been or plan on going.

Bis bald!

IbD

//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Posted in Book, Review, Top

What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton #BookReview

What Happened? Let’s see, Hillary Clinton almost made it to the White House. This book tries to explain how that happened. Very interesting, and extremely well written.
//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

I couldn’t wait to get my hand on this book from Hillary Rodham Clinton. I loved the way she wrote Hard Decisions, where she talked about her time as U.S. Secretary of State.

Somehow this book is a sequel. Of what happened after she left the State Department and eventually decided to run again for President.

What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton

Very detailed, honest, sad, hopeful, real. It’s an exciting journey on her campaign trail. It starts with the beginning of Trump’s inauguration with some funny yet surreal experiences.

I loved the fact that she wrote exactly how many felt. I was very interested in last years election and was just as surprised when she lost.

Some questions come to mind. How? How could he have gotten the votes when he was so unprepared. Well, he didn’t. He lost the popular vote, but the American system makes it so that he could still be in the Oval Office now. She touches base on that too.

What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton

It’s a very blunt book, filled with amazing experiences. She writes a lot about the people she met during the campaign and how much they influenced her policies and will to go on.

It’s also humorous at times and emotional as well. You can feel the suffering and try to understand how it feels to have lost a presidential campaign. When the stakes were that high. At times you almost feel she writes ‘Told you so’ when referring to Trump’s actions since January.

What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton

But it’s a book about gratitude, understanding, hope and the ability to move past loss, suffering, and defeat. I believe that is the main message of the book. Rather than who would be to blame. Clinton herself takes part of the responsibility, but the many factors have to be mentioned too. It’s amazing how important can some emails be when the other guy had so many different, more poignant issues.

She also talks a lot about the role of women in politics and I was honestly amazed by how she still wanted to overcome that issue. She is proud of her career’s achievement and rightly so I believe.

What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton

A lot of policies are detailed and explained and you can feel that she really cared about the job, not about the win. Amazing how many obstacles she was able to overcome.

I loved the way she wrote about something so important and personal and you get to understand what she actually wanted to project to the voters, even if she wasn’t very successful at that. I believe the book needs to be read with an open mind. Even if you are not interested in politics, the book has a great overall message about hope and change.

What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton

I would really love to hear what you guys think about it.

Here’s another take on the book as well from Time magazine. I saw that now a lot of people comment around the book and Hillary as well.

Bis bald!

IbD

//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Posted in Random, Top

Mindfulness would be good for you. If it weren’t so selfish. via The Washington Post

Hey guys,

Again I know this isn’t what you are used to, but I wanted to diversify a bit the blog content. I found an interesting article regarding Mindfulness on The Washington Post and I really wanted to share it here as well. I find the concept ever so present in our books and many other materials that surround us lately.
//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Mindfulness, as popularly promoted and practiced, can itself be a distraction. It purports to draw on ancient traditions as an antidote to modern living. Yet it exacerbates the modern tendency toward navel-gazing, while asking us to resist useful aspects of our nature.

Snap judgments and “mindless” but superb performance are two such elements of our evolutionary endowment. Our nervous system — perhaps nature’s crowning achievement — evolved to discern figure from ground, to discriminate, to judge, often on an almost reflexive basis. And when we are fully absorbed in an activity, in a state of flow, it can be adaptive to lose self-awareness. A sure way to throw elite golfers off their game is to ask them to think aloud as they putt.

It is an interesting view of this phenomenon. Let me know what you think.

Source: Mindfulness would be good for you. If it weren’t so selfish. – The Washington Post

Bis bald!

IbD

//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Posted in Random, Review

Miranda (TV series) #Review

So… I know this wasn’t the initial deal we had, but I wanted to review an amazing TV series as well.

I am talking about Miranda. It’s a 4 series British TV sitcom written by and starring Miranda Hart. It can be found on Amazon and Netflix I think. And I had to tell you guys about it. Because it is amazing. I know it’s been out for a while now, the first series came out in 2009, and the last one in 2015. I remember watching it when there were only one or two of them out. And I was hooked.
//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Recently I bumped into it on Netflix and had to get the whole collection and rewatch it. It’s the funniest sitcom you can find. I know the humour is not what you’re used to maybe, but you’ll love Miranda from the first episode. She a clumsy, lovable young Brit trying to live her life. Miranda has to deal with her mother and her old school friends. She tries to run a joke business, literally. And all that while Gary, the love of her life, started working at the restaurant next to Miranda’s shop.

Miranda TV Sitcom

I know the humour is not what you’re used to maybe, but you’ll love Miranda from the first episode. She a clumsy, lovable young British woman trying to live her life. Miranda has to deal with her mother and her old school friends. She tries to run a joke business, literally. And all that while Gary, the love of her life started working at the restaurant next to Miranda’s shop. The Christmas special episodes are awesome as well. I don’t even want to give too much away because it’s better to see for yourselves.

Miranda TV SITCOM

And all that while Gary, the love of her life started working at the restaurant next to Miranda’s shop. It’s such a heartwarming journey that will make you laugh every five minutes. I loved the humour and the amazing way Miranda and everyone play. Definitely, something to keep an eye out for. It’s great to see some of the struggles of the upper-middle-class keeping up appearances. “Such fun!” for sure, as Miranda’s mom always says.

Let me know if you saw it as well, and what do you think.

Bid bald!

IbD

//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Posted in Random, Review

Thanks & Bear With Me

Hey guys, this is going to be a very short post.

I just wanted to touch base regarding the amazing readers I have. I am so happy with this blog, you have no idea. And I love the fact that I can express my love for books, travelling and random stuff. I am so grateful for all the activity and appreciation over here on the blog.
//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

I have been doing this for seven months now and it’s been an amazing ride. Recently I added a Submissions page, alongside with having the blog listed on some book reviewers blog lists, and I am happy to report that many writers have reached out. And they have been so kind as to provide review copies of their books. And I cannot be more grateful. I appreciate the willingness to collaborate and the interesting books you keep sending my way.

Bear with me
Bear with me

Just wanted to thank everyone and to tell them I am working on them. Even if very slowly, as the books keep coming, and I have some of my own choosing that I want to read. So don’t lose faith, in case you’ve sent me your book, or plan on doing so. It just might take some time.

I’ve been in a slow stage and as the TBR pile grows, I need to select and choose the books I might like and so on, you know how it goes. Point is, bear with me 🙂

Hope you enjoy the blog as much as I enjoy writing on it and let me know if there anything to improve.

Bis bald!

IbD

//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Posted in Book, Review, UK

The Devil’s Staircase by Helen Fitzgerald #BookReview

‘As elegant and witty as it is disturbing.’ – The Daily Telegraph
‘Scary and stylish slice of urban noir’ – Boyd Tonkin, Independent
‘Brilliant, shocking and unputdownable’ – Sydney Morning Herald
//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Bronny, a young Australian, finds herself down and out in London. She’s a sweet girl who has spent her teenage years in a fearful, cautious bubble. She’s never taken drugs, had sex or killed anyone. Within six weeks she’s done all three. A group of backpackers break into an abandoned London townhouse seeking a rent-free life of debauchery. They don’t realise someone’s already there: a terrified woman bound and gagged in the basement.

The Devil's Staircase book cover

The interesting book I picked up recently, The Devil’s Staircase by Helen Fitzgerald, an Australian living in Scotland now. Short and easy to go through with a lot of interesting elements. It definitely gives you another taste of life in London. That was for me something that I wasn’t expecting.

It is a bit weird to think how easily one can go astray and change one’s life. Not necessarily for the better, I would say. No matter how fun and carefree it might be.

It’s a story of a young woman who had no experience of real life whatsoever. And she somehow has the courage to go ahead and try life on her own. A shocking world she faces and shocking decisions she makes. Interesting.

Let me know what you think of it and if you guys like it.

Bis bald!

IbD

//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Posted in Book, Random, Scotland, Travel

The Elephant House in Edinburgh #HarryPotter

I know this might seem like a weirder/random post, but I wanted to share this place with you guys as well.

//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

On my most recent trip to Edinburgh, about which you can read, here, and here, I’ve been to the Birthplace of Harry Potter. The Elephant House, the coffee shop where JK Rowling wrote some of the Harry Potter books.

The Elephant House Edinburgh Interior
The Elephant House Edinburgh Interior

I just wanted to see that place, it’s been on my mind and was planning to go there on the first Edinburgh trip.

It’s an interesting little coffee-house, fills like someone’s living room. Very cosy, full, with a great view of the castle out the window. But cute and nice altogether. The toilets are filled with writings on the wall from Harry Potter fans.

Little Elephant

I found it heartwarming and hope you guys do too if you ever find yourselves there. Harry Potter fans will love it.

Bis bald!

IbD

//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Posted in Book, Review, Top

Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi #BookReview

For two years before she left Iran in 1997, Azar Nafisi gathered seven young women at her house every Thursday morning to read and discuss forbidden works of Western literature. They were all former students whom she had taught at university. Some came from conservative and religious families, others were progressive and secular; several had spent time in jail. Shy and uncomfortable at first, they soon began to open up and speak more freely, not only about the novels they were reading but also about themselves, their dreams and disappointments.

A very interesting novel! I had heard about Reading Lolita in Tehran from Azar Nafisi for some time now and it caught my eye. It is a very simple novel if you think of it. But very powerful as well.
//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

It’s a memoir of an English literature teacher living in Tehran in the year of the Islamic Revolution of 1979 and after that. It’s fascinating. Not only the literary discussions on some of the classics of English literature but also how the author and her students understand the works.

“A novel is not an allegory, I said as the period was about to come to an end. It is the sensual experience of another world. If you don’t enter that world, hold your breath with the characters and become involved in their destiny, you won’t be able to empathize, and empathy is at the heart of the novel. This is how you read a novel: you inhale the experience. So start breathing. I just want you to remember this. That is all; class dismissed.”

What I found most interesting was the little glimpses of Iranian life presented in between the lectures. Seeing how the Revolution affected daily life, slowly, sometimes not even realising how big the change is.

“We in ancient countries have our past—we obsess over the past. They, the Americans, have a dream: they feel nostalgia about the promise of the future.”

Among the books they read and talk about, Lolita of course. Nabokov’s writing seems to present the world in a light that can be found in Iran at that time, as we understand from Azar, interesting how scared can a regime become of fictional characters. Because that is what the book is about, how much real life becomes so absurd, that it resembles fiction. And how a book can be dangerous to possess. Fascinating!

Fascinating how people began thinking differently and imposing rules in the name of the Revolution. And how easy it was for things to get out of hand. That’s what I found most amazing about this book.

Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi
Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi

Otherwise, it’s a very nice and beautifully written book about a literary club. We travel alongside them in the world of books and in the minds of authors. Running away, at times, from the absurd world that hid outside her flat. We understand right there, how important cultural life and literary freedom can be.

I always found myself drawn to people who love to read, and love to tell you how they understood the books they love and see the passion they emit. And this book is just that; a reader presenting her view of some of her favourite books, in an academic way.

“This class was the colour of my dreams. It entailed an active withdrawal from a reality that had turned hostile.”

It’s a book about a newly formed family. Not in the traditional form, of course, but a newly composed family. And their adventures in the newly formed Republic.

I hope you enjoy the trip to Tehran alongside Azar just as much as I did. Let me know what you think.

Bis bald!

IbD

//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});