#25

I am the ultimate bookworm. I’ll admit it here and now. I love books as much as I love chocolate waffles, and nine times out of ten, you’ll find that I’ve been reading not only the one book, but that I’ve in fact got two books on the go at the same time. Which yeah, used to have its moments of being awfully confusing – but I’ve now learnt that if I read two difference genres, there’s no more mixing up the storylines. The point is however, books are my thing.

My obsession with reading started from a young age. My mother used to read to my younger brother and I constantly. When I was about four, it was Enid Blyton that cradled us to sleep. Of course I wasn’t quite up to that reading level yet, but I would beg for it to be read to me.

When I got a little older, I inherited the full length series of Trixie Beldon and would gladly spend the whole of Sunday’s reading perhaps one or two of the books in one day. I was becoming a fast reader by the age of ten.

After Trixie, there was Nancy Drew. Then ‘The Babysitters Club’, Andy Griffiths and Morris Gleitzmann. I remember my Dad and I started a Tuesday traditions whenever it was school holidays which included making an early morning dash to the video shop to make sure we scored all the new releases by 9am, before heading across the road to the library where I was able to scout the shelves for whatever took my fancy. I started reading so many authors it was becoming hard to keep track of who I liked best. But that was never something I complained about.

I started tackling the classics when I turned fourteen, mostly because it was part of the curriculum in grade eight at the time, but somewhat because I enjoyed gaining a little peak into the history that made these classics just that – a classic. In fact, I remember reading Anne Frank and realising that history was a genre that I had never explored. And from there I read a great few books based on true fact. Chinese Cinderella, Hitler’s Daughter, Memoirs of a Geisha Girl – It all opened my eyes a little to the world I was so blissfully unaware had rather large cracks. The knowledge was empowering, and I was starting to understand humanity probably a little more than any fourteen-year-old should.

Throughout the rest of my schooling, I read everything on the curriculum book list (well, all except one – but we’ll get to that). Not because I was a goodie-two-shoes or trying to be an overachiever, but purely because I hated the idea of picking only one or two books from the list worrying that I might just miss out on a good story.

Almost six years later, I’m still reading. I average a new book each week much thanks to the Book Swap at my Mr.’s Cafe (which if I’m honest, I treat more as a ‘Book Take‘ rather than a ‘Swap‘ – but I always put them back when I’m done I swear!). Sometimes I’ll even spend a whole day sitting there reading, because coffee and books just go together and it’s nice just to do both without having to venture anywhere for the next Vanilla Latte when you’re too deep into the story to move a muscle.

Recently (and by recently, I mean the beginning of 2015), I stumbled across a book list unlike any I’ve seen before. You might have heard about it – It’s called ‘Bringing Up Burns Book List’ and is made entirely out of instructions that lead you to pick your own books for the list itself. 2015 was the first year they published the list, and now due to popular demand, it looks like this unique book list is going to become and annual thing.

Nevertheless, from the moment I stumbled upon the list I new it was something worth doing. It forced me to branch out with my reading, and choose things that I wouldn’t have normally ventured out to try. And I loved that about it. So I added the ‘Bring Up Burns Book List 2015‘ to the Bucket List. And finished it with only hours to spare before the New Year begun.

Here’s my list:

  1. A book you own but never read: The Secrets of Midwives by Sally Hepworth
  2. A book that was made into a movie: The Wave by Todd Strasser
  3. A book you pick solely because of the cover: Something Wicked by Sherry Ashworth
  4. A book your friend loves: Lesbian for a Year by Brooke Hemphill
  5. A book published this year: The Five Year Plan by Emma Lea
  6. A book by an author you’ve never read before: Eyes by Joseph Glass
  7. A book by an author you love: Evil Mind by Chris Carter
  8. A book at the bottom of your ‘to be read’ pile: Skin Deep by Emma Lea
  9. A book with a colour in the title: The Mystery of the Ruby Glasses by Lindsey Cripps
  10. A book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit: Falling For Rachel by Nora Roberts
  11. A book you started but never finished: Strictly Business by Emma Lea
  12. A book with a lion, a witch or a wardrobe: Dark Witch by Nora Roberts
  13. A book with a female heroine: Spiking the Girl by Gabrielle Lord
  14. A book set in the summer: Summer Fling by Emma Lea
  15. A book of poems: Getting Stitches by Rudy Francisco
  16. A book you learnt about because of this challenge: The Vanishing Season by Jodi-Lynn Anderson
  17. A book that will make you smarter: Discipline and Punish by Michael Folcaute
  18. A book with a blue cover: Whisky Beach by Nora Roberts
  19. A book you were supposed to read in school: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  20. A book ‘Everyone’ has read: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Tim Carroll
  21. A book with a great first line: Walk of Shame by Emma Lea
  22. A book with pictures: Banksy in New York by Ray Mock
  23. A book from the library: Dark Lady by Richard Patterson
  24. A book you loved (read it again): Red Cardigan by J.C Burke
  25. A book older than 10 years old: The Conspiracy Club by Jonothan Kellerman
  26. A book based on a true story: The Winter Ghosts by Kate Mosse

So there you have it. You’ll notice a lot of Nora Roberts and Emma Lea, and I feel like I should explain a little as to why I let the same authors battle it out in most of the list positions.

The first book I read by Nora Roberts was Whisky Beach, and I loved it. It was a book that had romance and mystery in equal parts and had me hooked right from the start. It was also a book in a pile of many at my Mr.’s grandmothers house which he has been looking after while she’s being cared for up north. As he is getting ready to sell the house, the books too are looking at a new home in a second hand shop and I just felt awful to let them go without reading them first. As you have probably guessed, many of the books were by Nora Roberts – seemingly a favourite of hers. And ergo, plenty of Nora Roberts squeezed into the list.

The second author to dominate the list was Emma Lea, and she’s actually a friend of mine. Her name is, of course as many great authors create, an alias. But she has accomplished a great deal since the start of 2015 now having published more than eight books and novels. I am a part of her ‘Street Team’, which means I read and review the books before they are released. And since she has been so busy writing, I have been just as equally busy reading. Emma Lea is one to watch – so if you haven’t already, look her up. Because she will be the next Nora Roberts.

To Kill a Mockingbird was the one book I never read in school like I should have. Back then I found it altogether much too hard to get into, and to be honest, not much has changed now. I did however manage to finish it this time. And while my opinion still manages to oppose the whole idea of it being a classic, I can grant some understanding in it’s popularity being something more related to the time and era it was published.

But by far, my favourite discovery was Evil Mind by Chris Carter. I started out with Trixie Beldon, so it was always going to be a crime novel that stole my heart, and oh how Evil Mind did. This year, I will be reading a whole lot more of Chris Carter that’s for sure.

If there is one thing you do this year, make it a rainy day spent in the close captures of a book. I don’t think there’s anything else quite like it.

#25: Read ‘Bringing Up Burns: 26 Books’ Booklist – Check!

d x

 

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#20

Ever since I was little, I’ve always wanted to go to a Drive-In movie. From the moment I saw one on ‘Grease‘ as a kid, I was fascinated with the idea. And while these days I knew not to expect a John Travolta dance number to break out mid-theatrical screening, I still couldn’t wait to pack the car full of pillows, snacks and for an old school 1950’s date night. Understandably, it just had to make the Bucket List.

To go to a Drive-In movie is listed as #20 as I’ve never lived anywhere that’s had one before and subsequently never been. As history has it, these little makeshift theatres have been around since the early 1930’s with the first ever Drive-In movie making it’s début on a mild spring night in May. I figure if we’ve kept them going almost a century onwards, they must be worth the hype. And oh how I was right.

On Friday night, my Mr. and I made the hour and a half road-trip to the port of the city where a new Drive-In theatre has just opened next to the local night food markets. We got there a little early especially to scope out the markets and of course, indulge a little with all the food at our finger tips.

They call it the Eat Street Markets. But it definitely isn’t just one street, and I’m definitely not complaining. There was cuisine from almost every country, and just as many dessert stalls to tempt you into waving goodbye to your diet. My Mr. and I even came across a flavoured popcorn stall where we watched corn being flavoured and swirled in a huge vat before exploding right in front of us into the most amazing smelling popcorn I’ve ever known! We couldn’t help ourselves but buy a whole bag.

Finally, after filling our stomachs to the brink of bursting with the most delicious creations like giant potatoes slinky’s (more tasty than it sounds) and strawberry and mango carbonated ice tea (seriously something worth trying) – we decided to make our way over the the theatre before diabetes became our next health problem.

Located just upon the edge of the river we parked our car directly in front of a giant screen cast upon three stacked shipping containers. Behind it the big city lights became a perfect backdrop and we watched the last of the boats pull into the harbour as we waited for the movie to start.

We don’t have a convertible, so it wasn’t quite like out of a scene for ‘Grease’. But it didn’t need to be – I was enjoying myself regardless. We wound down the windows to let the speakers sound through, and reclined the car seats right the way back so it was more like a bed than a seat. And with a 1kg bag of salted caramel popcorn propped up on the centre console between us, we were set.

It was amazing. It was like having our own little cinema and there was no one to shine a torch in our faces to tell us to get our feet off the dashboard. It was without a doubt the most fun I’ve had in a while and I would undoubtedly do it again!

I can now understand why we haven’t booted the good old Drive-In movie out of existence. And now having been to one, I can’t imagine why anyone would want to. I may even go as far to say that I like them more than Gold Class Cinemas and that’s a big statement coming from the girl who loves the ability of being served a three course meal whilst watching a movie (because how great is that, honestly).

If you haven’t been to a Drive-In movie, book yourself in this weekend! I guarantee that you will love it just as much as I did. Besides, as long as you don’t bring the kids, there’s no one to be kicking your seat from behind and that is a bliss worth knowing about.

Best date night ever.

#20 – Go to a Drive-In movie: Check!

d x

 

Homesick

I saw a meme the other day about friends and how we make them. The small quotation had read “Friendships are weird. You just pick a human you’ve just met and you’re like ‘Yep I like this one’ and then you just do stuff with them…

It made me laugh as I realised that that is literally how friendships work. And I love that.

I was in grade nine when I met my best friend. We shared a love for ‘Nutty Ribbon Sandwiches’ and Carnival Skittles (which they don’t make anymore much to my devastation). And in any given hospitality class, you could find us at the back of the room usually eating whatever we were making when the teacher turned her back, or decorating our school diaries with highlighters and gossiping about our weekends.

Through the years of school that followed we bonded over sneaky trips in our lunch breaks to the bakery down the road for Garlic and Cheese Pull-aparts and venting about hospitality customers whose meals we would have liked to put a cockroach in (but never would have…) as we were both waitresses at the time.

Despite her having blonde hair and me having brunette – you could have easily mistaken us for being the same person. Eight years later, we’ve even become pretty great at reading each other’s mind. Sometimes we don’t even have to say a single thing, we’re just on the same wave length – but we’ll still find it weird when we text each other at the same moment.

Nowadays, we still love our food as much as we did in school and practically live at each other’s house most days of the year. It’s the kind of friendship where I know where the good treats are in her pantry and falling asleep on the couch ten minutes after arriving at her house is totally acceptable.

We have gotten each other through some pretty rough times and she’s someone I couldn’t have survived without. She’s ‘my person’ and the Greys Anatomy reference in that could not fit any better when describing what she means to me because we talk about that show as if it were real life.

It was even better when both our Mr’s became best friends about two years ago. We were so excited at the prospect of finally rolling out the double dates. It’s now become quite apparent that we have the same taste in even boyfriends – because the boys seem to talk more often than we do. But while they surf, we shop. And we’ve somehow all become the perfect combination.

Recently, my best friend and her Mr moved overseas. We spent weeks helping pack their little life into storage and organising things like bank accounts and phone numbers. They were so excited, and I tried to be too even though I was definitely not prepared for them to leave!

The day they flew out was a rainy one which suited how I felt perfectly. But I braved a smile and waved them off as far as I could see them past the Departure Gates.

It’s an odd feeling when such a huge part of your life isn’t just five minutes away but quite literally on the other side of the world instead. And I’m entirely grumpy at the fact that our timezones don’t match, making Skype dates very difficult.

I’m so used to having my best friend around that I feel very lonely without her. And there’s so many exciting things going on that I wish she could be here for – so I usually fill her inbox up with at least twenty photos and five novel-worthy messages every day.

She sent me a twelve page long hand written letter last week telling me how she was homesick and missed everything here immensely. I wanted to write back and tell her that I’m homesick too, but in the sense that she’s sort-of my home in many ways.

But in the middle of missing her there’s something I’ve come realise. Being homesick is almost like a small reminder that you are truly blessed. Blessed to have a home, to have people who love you, to have something so wonderful in your life that you could miss it by not being around it. And so while it’s definitely not socially acceptable to do so, I think I’ll continue to bring my best friend along to the sushi train via Skype and just know that we are lucky enough to be missing each other, because we are lucky enough to have each other in the first place.

Happy travels BF, I’ll see you when you get back!

d x