Book reviews: April picks

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I have decided that April is the absolute most beautiful time for Geneva. I might be a little biased, because we arrived in Geneva in April (more than two years ago now!) and we were a little shell-shocked by the stress and Geneva blew us away by being just stunningly beautiful. But every year, I love this season more and more. It’s so lushly green it feels a little tropical. Yes, there’s a lot of rain, but it means everything is growing like crazy. I’ll just be walking down my street and can’t get over how insanely gorgeous everything is. Suffice to say I’m still in love with my adopted home. Continue reading

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Book recommendations: March picks

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Seven Ages of Paris, by Alistair Horne

This is such a beautiful book, looking deep into the history of Paris through the ages, from Philippe Auguste in the 12th century, who essentially founded Paris as the major centre of French life, all the way through Henry IV, Louis XIV, the French Revolution, Napoleon, la Belle Epoque, the Occupation and the Resistance, and post-war life under de Gaulle. It’s a fascinating read, especially if you are a Francophile, which I will admit I am turning into. Continue reading

Book recommendations: January picks

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I haven’t blogged in awhile. Sorry. Am tired. I’ve been working on other projects and between that and the kids there hasn’t really been any time left over. Even for sleep. E has become the most clingy child in the history of my term as a mother, and now that she can crawl, she goes on a dogged pursuit of me the second I put her down. My sweet, stubborn little girl. No matter where I go, I can see her coming after me, tongue peeking out of the side of her mouth, bound and determined to get into my arms come hell or high water. I love her, and I love her determination, but it means no free time for me. Hell, it means there’s barely any time to cook, clean or wash my hair because this little girl has needs. Continue reading

Ultimate Reading Challenge: Mission Accomplished

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I finally did it! I finished my Ultimate Reading Challenge. I actually was done quite a while ago, but I was waiting for the right time to read my book set during Christmas. And I got to indulge in one of my Christmas fantasies – the family curled up around the fire and reading this book to each other. And I got to do it while in Chamonix, looking up at Mont Blanc. So pretty much I’m in Christmas heaven right now.

The best Christmas book you could possibly read is Barbara Robinson’s The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. It is so sweet, and my family has been reading it for years. It’s a kids book, so not long, but we often break it up and read one chapter a night, so it takes a week (of ten minutes of reading a night). This year the kiddies were already tucked into bed, but I’m hoping that by next year X at least might be able to enjoy it. It is about the spirit of Christmas, and cute kids and being kind. Totally recommended. Continue reading

Swiss History and what makes Switzerland awesome

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I just finished reading A Concise History of Switzerland by Clive H. Church, and hoo boy was that a doozy of a book. Not in a good way. Not even in a bad way. It’s just, this book is about the political history of Switzerland since roughly 1100. Basically a text book that took me an entire month to read. I’d been wanting to inform myself more on my adopted country, and I find the political system extremely confusing. I thought this would clarify things but really, it didn’t.

Switzerland has a very different history from most European countries. As opposed to a imperial empire, it was created through complex alliances and treaties of different regions. Which is great, but doesn’t make for riveting reading. You know who does have an exciting history? France. France’s history is pure sex. I mean, you have despotic sun gods for kings, then a revolution that reshaped the western world, then the Napoleonic era in which half of all romance novels are set. Even after a rather embarrassing surrender in WWII, the French come back with a very sexy Resistance. That’s a political history I want to read.

Switzerland, not so much. But it made me think a lot about Switzerland. So I came up with a list of the good and bad things in Switzerland. Here goes:

Things that make Switzerland awesome: Continue reading

Book reviews

I am currently single-parenting two kids, as Z is out of town for the week. Taking care of two kids on my own is – yikes. I am not at my best. I’m wondering if all parents feel the same way that I do, but for the most part with these kids, particularly when we are out and about in town, I feel barely competent to be raising children. Something is always forgotten, or dropped on the ground, or someone’s screaming (sometimes me). My toddler can be a hooligan, there’s no other way to put it. And I am just sometimes completely overwhelmed.

Although thinking about it, I think that might just be my personality type – often overwhelmed. Don’t get me wrong, I have lots of great qualities, but being put together was never one of them. I sometimes find the world so confusing that it’s a miracle that I’ve survivored this long, let alone have done as well as I have. Continue reading

Book reviews

I’m nearing the end of my Ultimate Reading Challenge that I started this year. My thoughts on this are: awesome! because I can go back to reading whatever I want without having to figure out which categories still need to be ticked off. And also awful! because the last few categories on my list are my least favourites, the ones I’ve been dreading from the start because I’m probably not going to enjoy them.

And was I ever proven right.

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, by Dave Eggers

Book description: Talented writer blathers on about his issues, which are many. It is entertaining for like, three pages, then gets really old for the next 300. Continue reading