Reflecting On Yesterday

June 28, 2017 // 0 Comments

I found a new cafe yesterday. A pretty, petite, vintage cafe. Stepping through the door was like stepping back in time, a portal into a storybook. The waitress was dressed like Dorothy from The Wizard Of Oz. The music was 1950s, the cakes pink. The room was bathed with light from chandeliers and filled with the scent of flowers. There was an Audrey Hepburn quote on the wall: elegance is the only beauty that never fades. The juice list conjured up images of juicy apples and strawberries. Cloudy Apple and Yorkshire Rhubarb with Cinnamon. Brewed ginger with malted barley and a squeeze of lemon. [...]

Bedtime Procrastination

June 22, 2017 // 0 Comments

I have a wierd relationship with sleep. Most of the time, I avoid the pillow even when I’m so tired, my eyelids are playing tennis with my cheeks. Scientists from Utrecht University in the Netherlands call my condition bedtime procrastination. The book I am reading encourages a clockless day. I haven’t tried it but it sounds bliss. The idea is to banish clocks and follow natural rhythms of sleeping, waking, hunger and thirst. You wake when the sun rises or when your body naturally wakes. When your body is tired, you sleep regardless of what time of the day or night it is. In [...]

Rejection Hurts

June 20, 2017 // 2 Comments

When I was studying journalism, I wrote to every magazine I enjoyed reading, requesting an internship. I was rejected by many and successful in obtaining three, on Cosmopolitan, Woman’s Journal and She magazines. That was an exciting time overshadowed by a situation I was trying to get out of in Bath, where I had been living for a year. My Cosmopolitan internship was my chance to escape a person whose behaviour was scaring me. What started as a few friendly dates evolved into him sleeping in his car outside my house, pretending to be other men in text messages to see if I would reply, [...]

Writing To Penpals

June 17, 2017 // 0 Comments

When I was 10, I placed an advert in a magazine. I said was looking for penpals of a similar age with similar interests to write to. I was a girl who spent most of my time indoors reading, writing and drawing. I listed those as my hobbies. Within days, I was swamped with letters. I was so excited, I replied to every one straightaway. Eventually, I settled on two friends to correspond with regularly, Elaine and Angela. Both were the same age as me. Elaine lived with her parents and older sister in Scotland. Angela was from an English city. Both places seemed far away from my home town. As [...]

Green Tea From Korea

June 13, 2017 // 0 Comments

In the past, when I’ve attempted to withdraw from caffeine, the withdrawal headaches are so severe, I give up after a day or two of writhing about in agony. Nothing works. Except a mug of strong, sweet tea. The best way to beat a caffeine headache is to feed it caffeine. The last time this happened, I decided I wouldn’t quit caffeine completely but I would cut down. Now, I alternate traditional tea with Osulloc green tea lattes, green flake lattes (green tea with brown rice crunchy bits) and traditional green teas from Korea. Osulloc is a tea salon on one of Seoul’s busiest [...]

Reading Abroad

May 20, 2017 // 0 Comments

The number of books I read monthly has varied since summer 2016 when I began reading books from other countries translated into English, the only language I understand. This pains me when I’m abroad without much to read and the only bookstores I can find are non-English, like the one below in France. I spent an hour at this store looking at the covers, imagining what the books were about. The languages I would most like to be fluent in are Korean, Japanese and Chinese. I have downloaded language apps to help with this. Downloaded them, but never used them. Because learning a language [...]

Italian Fiction: One Hundred Strokes Of The Brush Before Bed

May 19, 2017 // 0 Comments

Melissa Panarello’s fictional memoir One Hundred Strokes Of The Brush Before Bed is an English translation of an Italian novella. I am surprised that I hadn’t heard of it before as it has sold over 700,000 copies in Italy and has been hailed as an international literary phenomenon. It is a slim book, 119 pages, more novella than novel which was a promising sign as four of my favourite books are novellas – Leonard Michael’s Sylvia, Han Kang’s The Vegetarian, Takashi Hiraide’s The Guest Cat and Alfred Hayes In Love. This book left me feeling sad. Like Melissa, author and [...]

3 American Novels I Would Read Again

April 28, 2017 // 0 Comments

When I think about books, and I think about them a lot, there are three that had such an impact on me, I associate them with the word books. When I visualise them, my brain goes into rewind in an attempt to locate the emotions they stirred. What I like about these novels in order is the writing, the American setting and the plots. Two are set in New York, city of my dreams. The other is split between Kentucky and Pennsylvania. Leonard Michael’s Sylvia is about an aspiring writer drifting through 1960s New York. The writer meets Sylvia at a friend’s Greenwich Village apartment. He [...]

Japanese Fiction: South Of The Border West Of The Sun

April 26, 2017 // 0 Comments

In Haruki Murakami’s South Of The Border West Of The Sun, twelve year old friends Hajime and Shimamoto make a pact to separate, certain that if they are perfect for each other, their paths will cross again. Their separation comes at the end of the school year when Hajime moves to a nearby town, and the distance severs their connection. Throughout the years, they never lose their memories of each other. Hajime moves through his twenties, marrying a woman he meets on the street. When his reunion with Shimamoto comes, some twenty five years later, a silent bolt of lightning strikes him smack [...]

Korean Fiction: The Vegetarian (Han Kang)

April 26, 2017 // 1 Comment

Han Kang’s The Vegetarian is the book which sparked my passion for translated fiction. The month was June, the hour late afternoon. Hastily skimming the pages before the store closed, to establish whether Kang’s writing was the kind I engage with, I was ecstatic to find something different to the books I usually enjoyed. My reading pile until that day consisted of mostly fiction set in Canada or America. Excited, I bought a copy and sought a quiet spot to continue reading. That quiet spot was a cafe opposite the store. I tucked myself into a corner and read, hypnotised by the [...]