Tag Archives: autumn

September: Freya Chooses…

It’s been a little while since I have written a post in this series, so I thought it was about time that I updated my current Freya Chooses… list.  This is a blog post series that I write from time to time, when the mood strikes, which is dedicated to the various things/places/media/people who have given my life some special value over the last month, given me happiness in whatever small and yet important way or that have improved my life so much that I would recommend them to my readers to try out too.  I personally love taking inspiration from the things that my friends recommend to me or tell me they have been enjoying, so I hope this blog post gives you some ideas too!

Coursera

This month I discovered the world of online courses through Coursera.  With participating universities from all over the world, there are online courses available in a huge variety of different subjects, including philosophy, music, creative writing, business management, science, data science etc. etc.  There are so many to choose from, aaaaaaand it’s all totally free!  From browsing through the website, I found that most courses were about 10 weeks long, with a time commitment of about 5-8 hours per week.  I decided to enroll in a course called Modern and Contemporary American Poetry, hosted by the University of Philadelphia, and I am absolutely loving it!  Each week we study new and different poems, reading them ourselves, listening to recording clips of the poets reciting them, watching video discussions about the poems between teachers and students and taking part in live webcasts, which I find particularly interesting because you get to interact live and meet (virtually) people from all over the world, all interested in the same things as you!  You may have noticed that my last blog post was a close reading on a poem by Emily Dickinson – read it here – and this was actually my first writing assignment as part of my course.  If there is something that you are interested in but never had the time or the chance to study, I really recommend checking Coursera out and seeing what they have to offer.

Check Coursera out here.

 

Moleskine Planner

All my friends know that I LOVE my planner.  For whatever reason, I have not been able to transition to Google Calendars or any form of online planner… it just doesn’t work for me.  There’s something about the physical act of writing things down, deciding where to place them, organising my weeks, months and years that helps to clear my head and put order into my brain.  In my planner I don’t just write down my commitments; I make to do lists, I take note of personal daily and weekly goals, I organise upcoming trips and things to remember and I plan exactly when I am going to get nasty jobs done.  Once it’s in my planner, it’s out of my mind and I can let it go and relax.  This month I got a new, beautiful, golden yellow Moleskine and I think it is absolutely perfect.  I recommend it because it’s big enough to write everything comfortably, but small enough to carry everywhere with you.  And because it is so gorgeous to look at, it doesn’t fill you with dread when you see it.  My Moleskine has definitely given my life value so I really had to include it in this post!

 

Shit Town

There have been so many podcasts that I have been enjoying this month – I will be doing a blog post soon about my favourite ones so keep an eye out for that if podcasts are something that you are interested in.  But Shit Town is definitely the one that has most stuck with me.  Produced by the same people as Serial and This American Life, Shit Town is basically a story about a town and its inhabitants in rural Alabama.  As we listen, the podcasts twists and turns, and the original story set out at the beginning, which focuses on a mysterious murder and possible police cover-up, ends up uncovering a different, much deeper story of one man in particular and his identity within this town.  It’s totally gripping and haunting, but at its core are issues that are extremely relevant today and people who are truly fascinating.

 

Autumnal Walks

In connection with my interest in podcasts, walking has become a real feature in my life!  I walk absolutely everywhere, everyday, and I can get totally lost in the story that I am listening to as I walk around in different parts of the city.  I wanted to include this hobby in this Freya Chooses… episode because with the approaching autumn season, walks are incredibly beautiful just now.  I know that everyone is busy and tired and we all have places that we just want to get to as fast as possible, but perhaps try to find one journey that you can make in your week where you can substitute a walk in and I am sure you will feel the benefits almost instantly.

One Extra Addition…

Slippers

Just had to slip (no pun intended) this extra item in here because… I love my slippers!! They bring me happiness and comfort and are especially nice to put on after a long walk.

 

Read my last Freya Chooses… post here!

Please follow and like us:

Leave a Comment

Filed under Life

5 ‘To Read’s This Autumn

Is it just me, or are there SO MANY great looking books out right now?!  The literary world seems to be booming this Autumn and it’s totally fantastic for all of us book worms.  My Amazon basket (yes, I’m sorry, I sold my soul to the devil) is absolutely full of new titles waiting to be ordered and my pile of ‘to read’ books gets longer and longer every day.  I decided share a taster of the books that are on my list in a blog post here to help me to organise my thoughts as well as give some reading inspiration to you if you are looking around for something new to read.  There is quite a mixture here – fiction and non-fiction, old and new – so I hope you will find something that sparks your interest as it has mine!

 

Men Without Women – Haruki Murakami

I am huge fan of Murakami’s dark, twisted, fantasy style of writing so I was  really excited to read this new release of his.  Having just finished it, I can say that it definitely lived up to its expectations – it is a masterpiece.  This is a small collection of short stories, all about men who, for many different and interesting reasons, do not have women in their lives; one is a widower, another is a house-bound invalid, there’s even a character who has gone through some kind of metamorphosis and woken up completely alone and in a man’s body (could that be any more Murakami?!).  Murakami has a very unique way of storytelling; the urges and curiosity of his characters propel the narrative forward and involve us as readers.  Sometimes he even tells stories within his stories, creating this kind of wonderful meta which feels so addictive – once you begin a new story, it really is hard to stop.   It’s interesting too, how the book progresses darker and darker and how the stories connect to each other and evolve.  It’s gritty and sexual and weird and I love it.

Still Life – Louise Penny

I spent a lot of time in Canada this summer where everyone was talking about Louise Penny.  I’m not sure why, but I avoided her work for a long time… it was probably due to the very fact that she seemed to be so popular and I usually don’t tend to get on with fashionable trends.  However, I finally decided to hop on board of this hot new Canadian author’s train, and I’m glad I did because I’ve just finished the first novel in her Inspector Gamache series and loved it! This is a story about the lovable and endearing Chief Inspector Gamache, always to be found in his tweed coat and hat and with a fondness for brioche, and his investigative team from Montreal, who find themselves in the tiny Quebecois village of Three Pines, inhabited by the likes of artists and poets, after a mysterious murder has occurred.  If you like crime fiction, you will love this book, but even if, like me, you don’t normally go for this genre, I highly recommend this novel for its adorable characters, heartwarming sentimentality and cosy feeling.  It’s a real page turner, perfect for Autumn, and I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the series!

Indivisible By Four – Arnold Steinhardt

Although, as I am a musician (and particularly a violinist with a passion for string quartet playing), this book has a true relevance to me, I think it could be an interesting read for anyone who likes auto-biographical accounts of special historical lives.  Written by the first violinist of the infamous Guarneri Quartet, it tells the story of these four players, their backgrounds, how they came to be together and what playing in this hugely successful string quartet for so many years was really like.  Reading this book is like getting the scoop from the inside, and it gives such a wonderful insight into these characters and what they got up to.  Steinhardt really was an incredibly gifted writer, as well as an amazing musician, and the humour and joy with which he recounts his stories of his quartet life bring such charm to his book; it doesn’t feel at all stale or heavy-going, as these kinds of books often do.  I’m only a chapter or two into this book but I highly recommend it.

The Heart’s Invisible Furies – John Boyne

This is the new release from this author, probably most famous for his book, ‘The Boy in the Striped Pajamas’, and it promises to be just as heart-wrenching and emotional.  What I know about it so far is that it is set in post-war Ireland, where homosexuality is still illegal and is about a man who struggles with his identity in this society.  What I also know about this book is that people have called it life-changing, the BEST book they have EVER read, the most deeply meaningful read of their lives and the best book of 2017.  I don’t know if it’s because of my Irish connection that I felt drawn to this book, or the fact that it has been compared to Angela’s Ashes, which is a book that I absolutely loved, but I feel totally compelled to read this book this Autumn.  I’m ready for some powerful writing, tears of laughter and joy and that adrenaline that a great book gives you.

No Is Not Enough – Naomi Klein

In my last blog post, I asked lots of important questions about what we should be doing in the world of today, full of social discrimination and fake facts, with the privilege that we were given at birth – you can read it here.  These were questions that I really don’t have any answers to – I just don’t know what to do in the face of social austerity and it’s frightening.  But my lovely aunt recommended to me that I try reading Naomi Klein, and immediately I thought, if anyone has answers to these kinds of questions, it must be her!  I haven’t read any of Klein’s work before but I have heard her speak in interviews and I think she offers some great insights into what is going on in politics, the terrible social problems of today and how we can treat them and act in ways that could improve the state of current affairs.  Klein is all about putting ideas into action and this is exactly what I want to get on board with, and I think the first step to this is educating ourselves which is why I believe it is extremely important to read as much as possible by people who really get it.

Please follow and like us:

Leave a Comment

Filed under Culture