Rescue Home for Books

As I’ve said before, I like books. Actual printed books. Preferably previously owned. I like having them on my shelves. I like organizing them so they can have nice neighbors. I like carefully lending them to people I really like and trust, and also love books.

I like proving a good home for all my books (unless they are truly terrible, and then I just find someone willing to take them, sorry, Cum Laude), and sometimes that means re-binding or wrapping them up in those plastic thingies. Particularly paperbacks. Particularly books I am prone to throw into my already-too-big bag and take it with me everywhere (I’m looking at you, HP). Since my mother majored in Languages and has a TON of books, she taught me how to protect them when I was little. Basic stuff. Just cross your fingers some bubbles don’t magically appear somehow, and you’ll be fine.

I had lots of fun doing that as a kid (and still do), but one thing that I’ve kept with me is that she taught me to fold the corners cutting off a triangle and generally making it look weird. Case in point, my poor thrift shop “The Mummy“:

No bubbles!

No bubbles!

Inside corners, mom’s style.

And why is that remotely interesting? Around the same time, I’d ordered another Anne Rice book, also former thrift shop resident, “Memnoch the Devil” (I was going through an Anne Rice fase — as in I’d sit and read the first half of every novel she wrote, then sit it down and never open it again). It was fancier. Its previous owner was thoughtful enough to wrap it himself. And take a look how well it resisted:

A treasure amongst second hand shops: a well-kept book!

A treasure amongst second hand shops: a well-kept book!

See? Yellow-ed, but well-kept. Notice the corners. Squared.

I was so amazed at how well it had been treated that ’till this day, whenever I wrap a book, I do the square corners and congratulate Memnoch‘s previous owner.

His/Her's signature was obstructed by the shop's stamp :( But he/she is remembered.

His/Her’s signature was obstructed by the shop’s stamp :(
But he/she is remembered.

I know it may seem silly to some people. But isn’t it nice to think maybe your book will not only have a second (and third, and fourth) life but a little bit of you (perhaps a habit) will carry through?

If not that, than at least I hope my books will survive time as well as Memnoch. Also, I’ve once catalogued all my books in Before Previous Memnoch’s Owner and After PMO. (Long vacations.)

Today I wraped “Will Grayson , Will Grayson“.

New and shiny.

New and shiny.

Squared corners. Pro.

Squared corners. Pro.

Strangely, this whole paranoia with books’ covers began when I lent one to a friend who I didn’t know was veery carefree about books. It came back with the cover all hurt and dog-eared. I was appalled, tried to conceal just how much from her. I fixed it up with black marker and iron, then sealed it for eternity and ever since have been doing background checks before I lend books to anyone. Hah.

What about you? Any weird habits to protect your books? Or are you a hippie book-owner? (;

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Early semester drama

The semester has just started (ok, it started a month ago) and I was super excited about the new subjects (ok, some new subjects) it brought with — but that didn’t bother a train of thought that cost me 6 slides on a very dynamic class. I will now share that fascinating conversation with myself. Just because I have pictures. And I got a fun cute eraser.

Here’s what my “desk” looked like during class:

The view.

The view.

Thoughts:

#1 “Oh wow, maybe this class will actually be pretty cool, I seem to be getting the hang of things, look at that notebook! Do you remember what it looked like last semester? Keep up the good work! o/”

#2 “Wait. Did I color coordinate my stuff with my pencil case?”

"Oh my, I think I did"

“Oh my, I think I did”

#3 “Is it weird that I hadn’t noticed that WHILST buying the stuff? Which I did in different days? It even matches my pendrive. And it is oold. Maybe I have a bit of OCB. Just a bit.”

#4 “OK, a miiinor bit. Remember what my room looks like?”

*half a minute goes by*

#5 “My eraser is cute.”

"Best gift my aunt ever gave me."

“It is adorable.”

#6 “Remember that beautiful MONO I had? I used it ’till it was a quarter of its original size, then I couldn’t hold it any more.”

#7 “WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I’VE USED UP ENOUGH OF THIS ERASER THAT IT DISAPPEARS INTO THE STRIPPED CASING?”

#8 “I’ll have to cut it??? But it’s STRIPED, I’ll never cut it straight enough! It has a fixed bottom, it’s not like MONO. It’ll be a nightmare. I’ll be staring at the uneven striping for the rest of the semester/year. It’ll be an OCB nightmare. Like that squirrel and the soap bar in ‘Let’s pretend this never happened‘…”

*half a minute of panic and anxiety*

#9 “It’s oookay, it is only an eraser. You can do it.”

*another half a minute goes by*

#10 “OK, let’s cross that bridge when we get to it. Now get on with it.”

*six slides have gone past*

Cloud Appreciation

IMG_20140301_184212

Just another day, just outside my window

I can remember the first (and only) time I heard someone describe a cloud as something more than just the warning of precipitation — actually, I remember reading it. My friend had gotten an English correspondent off some band’s forum online and she’d sent him a carefully folded letter that involved a thorough description of her most favorite type of clouds — cumulus nimbus clouds.

At the time, I was about 13, he was about 15 and we both had only heard “Nimbus” from Harry Potter’s Nimbus 2000. Thank God for Wikipedia. We looked them up, picked our favorites (pretty much any cumulus cloud), and that was that. Never heard anyone talking about them clouds in non metereological ways again.

That is, until last week, when I somehow ended up watching a documentary on clouds, cloud spotting and how a professor who needed a catchy name for a speech on clouds ended up with the “Inaugural Speech for the Cloud Appreciation Society” — and found followers. He even created an app (Mac/Android) so you can take a picture and figure out what kind of cloud you’re looking at.

And I’m actually very tempted to pay the R$6,23 to use it, except my phone (for all the good qualities that it embeds, such as not breaking when I repeatedly drop it) does not have a decent camera.

But I’ve found myself looking up at the sky more. And finding numerous different clouds everywhere.

And you know when you’re watching a movie or seeing an ad and you think to yourself “Well, that ain’t real”? Unless I’m in some sort of Truman Show my brain is playing tricks with me, ’cause those clouds up there? They were in my backyard. I was closing my window and I was just “Wow… that can’t be real”. But it was. And I can’t even tell how many sights like these I’ve missed because I was indoors or not looking up.

Also, apparently “Cloud Study” is a thing, and has been a thing way before meteorologists were called meteorologists. There was a guy called John Constable in the early 19th century who did a hundred studies of cloud formations —

Cloud Study 400

John Constable

And apparently they (meteorologists) are taking a closer look at these paitings, now with a cientific purpose, since Constable was very faithful to reality. You can see more of his paintings by clicking on the picture bellow and going into the Tate Museum’s website, and more on his life and work clicking here.

“Cloud Study”, 1822. John Constable

Constable, however, was not the only one to like clouds. It’s just a bit unusual to portray reality. Dutch Jacob van Ruisdael, for instance, created his own clouds to make up dramatic scenes.

“A Landscape with a Ruined Castle and a Church”, 1665-70, Jacob van Ruisdael

As well as (Joseph Mallord) William Turner — who was the only painter whose name got stuck in my head because his paintings were denoted “J.M. William Turner”.

“Raby Castle, the Seat of the Earl of Darlington”, J.M. William Turner

But anyways, all that to tell you I like clouds.

Do you like clouds?

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Crappy hotel, fantastic view

doodling with words

She refused to open her eyes until she could remember every part of the dream. There’d been a breeze coming out of the half open window. She looked at her feet. The floor wasn’t… stable. She’d felt cold. Why had she felt cold again? She was barefoot. And wearing only a nightgown. Not her type of nightgown either. It was a… fancier…. vintage-looking one. Where had she seen that before?
Uh! That pirate movie! Yes. But why pirates? she wondered, I never dream about pirates.

She’d stepped over to the window, her feet now freezing. She remembered the pattern on the window. Nicely done. They reminded her of… those windows in castles. The ones her mother always remarked on how hard would be to clean  – eventhough she, herself, had never cleaned a window in her life. But it was pretty. The gray sky above projected stenciled shadows across the room she was in.

What was the room like? She had been sitting on something when this first began. Or wasn’t she?

There seemed to be a lot of wood paneling. Wooden floors. And that motion.

She’d looked through the window and saw… ice. Blocks of ice. Floating in the ocean. The ship pushing them aside. The blue water beneath it gently rocking the ship.

Huh. When did I watch a pirate movie set in ice?

She always dreamed about bits of movies. Which is why she could usually pinpoint the whole story. Like, say, what she was doing and where it was leading to. But usually it was more like… watching. Not this. She’d lived this one.

She’d felt cold.

And it was 30oC outside.

Huh, she thought, and opened her eyes to the geometric shapes projected by her own window, gray sky above.

—–

As proposed by Today’s Author.

Lucky number seven

OK. Let me just start with: I don’t DO new year’s resolutions. I mean, really.

They’re doomed to fail.

January is month of extremely high hopes, whereas the ensuing months are… not energetic enough to keep up. Setting up goals in January is like asking a tiny kid what he wants to be when he grows up, after he’s rocked at kart racing for the first time. Of course he’s going to be a Formula 1 winner.

HOWEVER, after reading Ms Inkeri’s post I’ve decided to write Things I Aspire To For 2014. But I’ll call it LN7 and copy her number seven. But in my defense: I was born on the 7th, the week has 7 days,  7 is a prime number (and I like prime numbers), and according to Chinese medicine, life is divided in 7 year chunks. Tadaaa!

In 2014 it would be very nice to:

1 – Exercise regularly

Which I have. At least for every weekday since January 2nd. I’m the opposite of fit and my classes are all the way up 4 flights of stairs. Gasping for air ain’t attractive.

Also, found peace with dance classes. More specifically, zumba. I hate running around like a hamster and Zumba actually feels more demanding than running track — and it’s loads more fun.

2 – Keeping up with uni

It’s not that I’m lazy, it’s not that I’m not organized. I’m just… poorly motivated to fully dedicate myself to uni. I’ve got two years left, hopefully including an exchange program, and I am going to do my best, and show people what I’m capable of.

And, you know, not drive myself insane when things begin sounding cryptic.

3 – Not feel guilty about which books I’m reading

Ever since I entered college, I’ve been reading very dense books. I mean, seriously. They are from the 1970s. They’ve got loads of equations. They’ve got examples. Usually not fun examples. And even if I didn’t tire my brain out with those stuff, why should anyone feel guilty going to the bookstore and picking up a Sophie Kinsella book, or whatever chick lit I’ve found? It’s still one book more than the average person in my country reads. Per year.

Entertainment is a valid choice. Ignore the judgemental eyes of the hipster salesperson.

4 –  Stay calm. There’s plenty of time.

Well, there might not be. But the things I usually stress about are things not worth stressing about. It’s done. Things will fall where they may. Be zen about it. Try learning to french braid your own hair. Maybe Inkeri can help.

Just don’t fret about all that planning and all that nothingness. About your age. About the years going by. About people. About liiife… just HUSH.

Also, this was the item I’d saved for my reading goals this year. But it’s not worth it. I don’t want to start demanding myself to read. I like reading. Let’s keep it that way. I read about ten books this year, but I also found three new favorite authors (Danny, Jenny, John) – actually, four, if I was entirely honest. I read books that enticed me, that made me laugh, that made me cry, that made me think, but most importantly: that kept me in cozy company. I really loved some of the books I read this year, even found a top favorite. And I’m pretty sure my being extremely picky had something to do with it, so I’ll trust my gut.

Though I probably should consider taking a closer look at the books I currently own, as my bookshelf situation is a growing nightmare. No. More. Bookstores.

5 – Improve my French to B2 level

And I mean B2. I have studied it on and off for 2,5 years, but I feel in no way confident about it. This holiday I have been on Duolingo quite often (you can even check that here). Duolingo is a really, really great memorizing tool for learning new languages. If you are looking into German, French, Spanish or Portuguese I invite you to take a look.

But I still need to do some deeper reading/writing. For that, of course, I’ve bought some books (Le Petit Nicolas, and a book by G. Musso) I’m too scared to read yet, and I’m trying to find a penpal (email or otherwise). Suggestions on either?

6 – Go and get that exchange program

I want to study abroad. I want to learn how other people live. I want to go somewhere cold! And I won’t rest until I do! Hehe. Seriously. On-going procedures. Fingers crossed.

I just need to work on not sabotaging myself.

But I think first and foremost, after this year that’s gone by, I’d like to be able to say that I’ve managed this:

7 – Stay true to myself

I know it’s corny. I really do. But I honestly feel I wasn’t true to myself this year. And that caused me a lot of unnecessary pain. Not to get too dramatic here, but to put it simply: I let people treat me poorly and didn’t stand up for myself. I let myself be carried away and forgot that the one person who knows what makes me happy or not is really me. I thought my sense of self-worth and my values were bigger than whatever petty remark could turn me into, and I was disappointed in myself.

But this year being happy will be a goal, not pleasing others. I am important. What I feel matters.

And that will be my motto for this year. Life’s too short to spend it dreading mornings. And I think that’s the first thing I’ll do: start sleeping early and waking up well rested and looking forward to a brand new day.

Have I mentioned it’s 2h25 in the morning here?

I’ll start tomorrow :P

Otherwise, I pl— No, I won’t plan, I’ll intend to write a little bit. Either here, either privately, try to keep my head in order. But most definitely share fantastic books I’ve come across (maybe even the embarrassing ones), including some from last year which I shamefully neglected to review, and anything nice that comes my way — and hopefully I’ll read about your’s too :)

Happy New Year!

When friends become friends

Some time ago, a friend and I were talking about when we realize our friends have become friends — you know, when your colleague with whom you chat with after a meeting becomes the person you call just because, and then go have pizza. And my friend said something I’d never given much thought to: you become a friend when you feel you can mess with them and they’ll take it as a joke.

It felt particularly meaningful because he – my friend – messed with me the very first day we met. He made fun of my hair, and suddenly I was part of the group. It was such a silly thing, but it worked as a social trigger. And thinking back, it was like that with every other group I’ve been in, and every newcomer that joined us. Like a rite of passage of sorts.

But what happens when this intimacy that allows for (and maybe even encourages) these sort of comments and jokes is lost?

I’m in that tricky path of seeing which highschool friends survive the test of time, distance, different new interests and blablabla. I’m heading to my 4th year of uni. We still have a facebook group. I still know what they look like, in which city they are living, what courses they are taking… But we are not that close any more. Or I’m not that close any more. Different cliques have developed for those who live close by or still don’t forego when that singer they love comes into town, like expected. But when we meet, they don’t seem aware of the lack of intimacy with the entire group — and then messing with becomes actual messing with.

And it’s annoying.

And I was just wondering, how far should one go to keep friends from the past? Is it really worth it? Are they really friends still?Has this happened to anyone else or am I just too sensitive?