Monthly Archives: July 2014

TV Show

I can’t help thinking that a story about oil in the late 19th century and early 20th would make for a great tv show.


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Summer books

It took me 7 months to read The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. The Goodreads log indicates that it was “Read from 4 February 2013 to 22 August, 2013”. The physical book is almost 1,300 pages long. It was a monumental task and it took its toll on me to be honest. Granted, i was reading other (very short) books at the same time whenever i needed a break but the time logged is more or less accurate.

A couple of weeks ago i read this post, In the Whirled: Summer’s a great time for slow books, where the author claims that summer is the best time not for the easy going, page turners but for the more demanding books instead.

My summer goal is in direct contrast to what we typically think of as the “beach read,” those stories light and insubstantial as cotton candy. The beach read is quick, superficial and flimsy enough that we don’t care about lodging sand and seashells between its pages.

There is certainly a place for the beach read, but summer seems a perfect space for the patience and quiet that must be given to slower books. Unharried by school schedules, we have the time to make our way through the meandering stories of old.

Even though i don’t have to concern myself with “school schedules” at any time of the year i’m going to have the same summer goal as her. She was talking about fiction but i’m going to apply it to non-fiction.

I was between two options broadly covering the same topic, oil.

The “short” one was Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power (704 pages) by Steve Coll, the writer of the brilliant Ghost Wars: History of the CIA, Afghanistan and Bin Laden from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2011. The sample i read also indicated that the writing style would also be more accessible than my second option.

In the end i went with the more challenging second book, The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Power and Money (928 pages) by Daniel Yergin. This one approaches the subject of oil from a more global perspective although still with a US centric view.

At the same time, i’m going to complement this book with the children books i’m reading with my niece. So, i will still have my breaks.

With the e-reader the logistics of carrying around and reading this kind of book become irrelevant so i’m curious to see how this turns out in the end. Could summer really be the best time for longer, slower books? I’m about to find out.

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Posted by on July 4, 2014 in Books


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Movie of the week – Calvary

Highly, highly recommended on a World Cup rest night. On any night.



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Sunrise Calendar

Finally! A great calendar application.

It’s only been a week but i’m impressed with Sunrise Calendar, especially with how well it is integrates with various other applications i’m using (Evernote, Toodledo, Google Calendar).

I will slowly start phasing out Toodledo (which i like) because i want to streamline/consolidate things a bit and use a combination of Evernote and Sunrise for my reminders and To Do Lists.

Apart from the tablet versions there is also a web version.

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Posted by on July 3, 2014 in Technology, The Web


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Childrens’ books (1)

This is a wonderful world.

I started reading books with my sister’s eldest, let’s call her S6, and i did some research on childrens’ books. It’s much easier to find resources online for translations of non-greek books unfortunately. For our first book though i went to Public but i did not find that many options which caught my eye. There was an abundance of books with very little story and lots of illustrations. Even for children of ages 6-9. I was about to give up when i found a translation of Russian Folk Tales. There are about 8-9 stories in there with a beautiful illustration every 3-4 pages. After reading 3-4 of pages of the first story i grabbed it (and paid for it of course…).

Our experience with it was not great.

First of all the stories were quite similar to one another. Beautiful woman, czar, witch, marriage, After our 3rd story and our third straight “love at first sight” and marriage even S6 was frustrated.

“They got married again?!” she said.

A mistake we may have made is that we went through 4 of these in one sitting and that might not be the way to ago about it. Even so, they felt quite limited and old fashioned. Especially for young girls. As if the only fitting end to a fairy tale is finding a prince and getting married. Also the lady protagonist was usually a lady in distress figure and not a dynamic, independent woman. Maybe i should have expected this when i bought it.

Another thing that struck me was how dark these tales are. They had people dying and cut to pieces. Poems about boiling water in cauldrons and sharpening the knives. A witch’s fence was made out of human skulls and bones. Pairs of hands (with no bodies) doing chores around the house…. So those needed to be censored along the way with one or two slip ups on my part…..

In the end however she still enjoyed it and i have to say so did i. A lot. It’s quite different to read something aloud to/with someone and discuss things compared to the solitary experience.

After visiting a couple of more bookshops i got The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnet . It was not my first choice (Where the Wild Things Are and Charlotte’s Web were) but it was still highly recommended. This is definitely a step up for us length and quality wise. Can’t wait!



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Posted by on July 2, 2014 in Books


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