Teaser Tuesday – 25/04/17

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Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme, hosted by The Purple Booker, that wants you to add books to your TBR or just share what you are currently reading. How it works:

+ Grab your current read
+ Open to a random page
+ Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
+ Be careful not to include spoilers
+ Share the title & author so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers

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“She took his money and went out with other men, and she lied to the student – who was certainly a fool. He limped about, looking soft and sad, and soon all John’s sympathy was given to this violent and unhappy woman.” – Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin

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I Dare You – Book Tag

I got this tag from Kirsty over at Kirsty’s Book Reviews. She didn’t tag me but it looked fun and I’m trying to get back into the habit of blogging again so I thought I’d go ahead and do it.

Rules

+ You must be honest

+ You must answer all the questions

+ You must tag at least 4 people

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1. What book has been on your shelf the longest?

I’ve had War and Peace sitting in a box at my parents’ house for almost 10 years now and I’ve still not read it. I don’t tend to keep many books though because they take up too much space when you’re constantly moving around.

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Sunday Post: Black History from Maya & Sammy

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The Sunday Post is a meme hosted by Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news, recap the past week, and showcase books (and, for me, music) every Sunday.

What’s new?

Not a whole lot to report this week from the Land of the Morning Calm. School was out again so I was back to desk-warming duty. While I didn’t actually have any work to get on with, my co-workers spent hours each day screaming and shouting across the office to each other, getting into arguments and storming out of the room.

As next week marks the start of the new school year, tensions are high. People are either trying to get their affairs in order as they prepare to transfer to another school or trying their best to get everything sorted before the new students arrive. Some were bound to butt heads.

Luckily for me, my deskwarming duty meant I had a lot of free time to read and get a few things ready for my upcoming move.

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Sunday Post: It’s All About Staying Calm

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It is with trembling hands (both literally and figuratively)* that I join the Sunday Post meme hosted by Kimba at the Caffeinated Book Reviewer Blog. The Sunday Post is a chance to share news, recap the past week, and showcase books (and, for me, music) every Sunday and, as I’ve been a little off when it comes to blogging lately, I figured I’d give it a go.

What’s new?

I haven’t blogged at all so far this year. I’m not entirely sure what to talk about these days because I’m afraid that writing so publicly about my feelings will only mess things up.

So far, things are going okay. Everything’s smooth and steady. I spent 3 weeks travelling around India in January which was wonderful and horrible and incredible and frightening and good and bad all at the same time. I spent the last week relaxing in Rishikesh doing nothing but sitting in cafes along the Ganges river, reading, and making friends with the locals. That last week gave me a chance to be present and not have to worry about anything – Not my job, not my life in Korea, not my impending move, not an itinerary full of tourist sites to visit. Nothing. I just ate good Indian food, drank my weight in chai tea, and stuck my nose in a book.

I loved it.

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Happy Days to Curb the Sad Ones

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So here’s the thing, peeps: I’ve not been completely honest about everything when it comes to my recent relocation.

I’ve been trying to capture both the highs and the lows of moving to Korea over the last 2 months so that I can look back one day and really understand what it was all like. I made a decision to write about things that others might have kept quiet about as well as the things I’ve really enjoyed.

But the truth of the matter is that my first few months here have been tainted by sadness.

It’s a sadness that lurks in the back of my mind even when I’m smiling, laughing and generally having a good time. I haven’t felt that deep connection to Korea that most people seem to experience when they get here. There’s been no spark of excitement that’s let me lose myself in the moment and, no matter how much I’m grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given and no matter how much I’m trying to get from this experience, there’s something missing.

And, lately, that something missing has been getting to me more than it should.

It feels like a tick in the back of my brain that refuses to feel everything 100%.

That lingering sadness has been showing up in bursts of crying fits, agitation (not a great thing to have when you teach high school), overwhelming tiredness, and emptiness. I’ve been having difficulty concentrating and have found that I’m skipping most meals again. Worst of all, I’ve been a pretty shitty friend to those overseas. I know the obligatory ‘How’s Korea?’ question will eventually pop up during conversation and, not wanting to lie to them, I end up just not talking to them at all.

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new-girl-snap-out-of-itThis behaviour and attitude needs to come to a stop right now.

Korea’s not exactly known for its sympathies when it comes to feeling sorry for yourself and, from what I can see, the expats I’ve met seem to be having the times of their lives.

So, as I’m essentially holding myself responsible to ensure I don’t turn into a complete depressive, I’ve decided to try and take some action and join the #100HappyDays meme. Yup. The one that features a bunch of ridiculously happy people clogging up your Instagram, Facebook and Twitter feeds with pictures of sunsets and food.

I gave up doing memes a long time ago but, right now, I feel like a piece of positivity in each day couldn’t hurt.

I mean, I think even signing up to the challenge was a big red flag that I needed to go ahead with it. One of the things you have to fill in is the “Challenge Start Date” and I genuinely had to have a good think about it because I was convinced nothing was going to make me happy today.

79013-what-the-fuck-is-that-gif-WTF-E47KAlso, check out my happiness scale:

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Oh yeah, I’m a real upper.

So, there it is, guys. As of today, I’ll be doing the 100 Happy Days challenge and if you’d like to follow my little collection of photos, you can do so over on Instagram. (Oh yeah, I have an Instagram now. I’m mega cool and down with the kids. (Is cool still a cool thing to say?))

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If you follow me on Twitter or have me as a friend on Facebook, I might link up a Happy Days picture (Sunday, Monday, Happy Days … Tuesday, Wednesday, Happy Days … ) now and again but, for the most part, it’s pretty much going to be kept on my Instagram.

And, to kick it off, here’s the picture from Day 1:

Two of my favourite students who stayed after class to chat. #100HappyDays #Day1 #Naju #Korea

A post shared by Ceri (@ceripadley) on

These are two of my favourite students who decided to hang around after class today to chat. I love these girls so much. At the start of our after-school course, they barely spoke a word, sat by themselves in their little shy bubbles, and let the others do all the talking.

But now? It’s amazing to see how much their confidence has increased. In every class I have them in, they’re not afraid to participate and give answers. Not only that but, unlike a lot of their peers, they aren’t afraid to practice their English with me outside of class and try to hold a conversation.

Fabulous girls who are going to be pretty amazing women.

Things I’m Afraid to Tell You

I’m not a big fan of memes but after seeing Bianca post her list of things last night, I couldn’t help but feel inspired by the sense of catharsis it must have given her to just let it all out in the open.

I’m a very open person in real life, always honest and forthright about everything. But I do believe in keeping a good deal of privacy when it comes to the internet. Especially now that things have changed. I’m a teacher and am well aware that my students only have to do a google search for my name to find hundreds of reviews from my past life as a book and film critic. If I begin revealing all my dirty little secrets online, how would they possibly take me seriously in class?

Nevertheless, I’m pretty sure my blog isn’t something they’re likely to stumble upon any time soon so here we go …

My list of things I’m (usually) afraid to tell you:

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+ I have a horrible temper. Like my Baby Brother, I inherited my dad’s quick and fiery temper. Dad learned to control his when he had kids. I let mine fly as a teenager. It’s only in the recent years that I’ve learned how to stay calm in most situations. My rationality is that whatever’s wrong can’t be the worst thing in the world and that it’s important to put it into perspective in the grand scheme of things. In spite of this, my temper brews very quickly a lot – I can often feel it ready to snap at the smallest things. Luckily, I’m just that good at hiding it. So good that a few friends have described me as “so laid-back I’m nearly horizontal.”

I’m extremely sensitive. I have a wonderful British sense of humour, full of sarcasm, irony and self-deprecation. I can take the mick out of people as a sign of friendship but, unfortunately, if they do it back to me, I feel hurt straight away. I’m extremely sensitive – another trait I keep hidden away – and get upset about the smallest things imaginable. This sensitivity means I cry a lot too.

I’ve been in love. I don’t like talking about love because it’s something I’ve experienced and have never really gotten over.

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A Little Update & a (Belated) BTT

TGIF!

Hope you’ve all had an awesome week. I certainly have. Yesterday I was given the 110% go ahead for my new job. Up until now, I was waiting to hear the final decision – My contract was offered to me only on the basis that all references from the last five years come through. The last fortnight saw a problem with the jobcentre not coughing up the proof that I’d claimed from them and it looked like I wasn’t going to be able to have the job.

But yesterday, I got the call saying everything’s definitely 110% and I’m good to go. I start on Monday at 9am. 😀 Yay.

While this isn’t exactly a career move, it’s the move before my career move. This full-time job, which pays much better money than what I’ve been earning, will help me save to go travelling for six months next year and also help me finance my TEFL course in order to gain a certificate and explore my career options with that when I come back. 😀

Today was my last day at the jewellers and, while I won’t miss retail, I will definitely miss the friends I’ve made and have been working with there. They surprised me with a lovely card wishing me all the best in my new job and travels, and even got me a teddy bear from the Build-a-Bear Workshop with a wonderful recorded message for me when I press one of the paws. ❤ I love them. I’m going to miss them so much.

So I have this weekend to prepare myself for a brand new job and a whole new start. 🙂 Eek!

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1. Favorite childhood book?
Matilda by Roald Dahl

2. What are you reading right now?
The Stand by Stephen King. I started it back in February, put it down for a few months but am now back on it and whizzing through. 😀

3. What books do you have on request at the library?
None. I had the Harry Potter books on request a couple of months ago but now I’m trying to get through my own TBR pile.

4. Bad book habit?
I give everyone who borrows my books a four hour lecture on how to handle them carefully but I’m a complete hypocrite. Currently The Stand has a broken spine, is covered in make-up (thanks to being randomly shoved in my bag) and I have been known to highlight passages in pen.

5. What do you currently have checked out at the library?
I still have two biographies outstanding from an old library – one on Tom Cruise, one on Marlon Brando. They were due back December 2003.

6. Do you have an e-reader?
I don’t. I’m not gonna go out of my way to get one because I love the feel of books in my hands but if anyone bought me one, I wouldn’t complain. 🙂 I guess it’s more environmentally friendly.

7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once?
I prefer to read one book at a time but often find myself putting one book down if it gets too much and I need a break from it and turning to another.

8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?
Yes. I do find myself more conscious of how often I read and how fast. I also stop myself every now and again and think ‘Ooh, I’ll put that in a review’ while I’m reading.

9. Least favorite book you read this year (so far?)
Probably And This is True by Emily Mackie. I found it very much like the pieces I’d read in creative writing workshops in university. Lots of beginner writers trying to shock and use tactics they’ve picked up from other writers. They haven’t quite found their voice yet. That’s what I found this book to be like.

10. Favorite book you’ve read this year?
It’s very hard to choose but it’s a toss-up between The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas and My Invented Life by Lauren Bjorkman.

11. How often do you read out of your comfort zone?
Practically never. I don’t enjoy fantasy at all and there seems to be a lot of fans on the book blogs out there but it’s never appealed to me. I think the closest I’ve come to it is by reading some of the Harry Potter books but that’s enough for now.

12. What is your reading comfort zone?
I’m happy to read anything and everything. I know what I like and I know what I don’t. As I’ve said, I don’t enjoy fantasy and anything kind of medieval. It’s just not my thing. On the other hand, I think I can tolerate reading about controversial subjects quite well, especially on issues that a lot of readers find way too disturbing.

13. Can you read on the bus?
I certainly can. 🙂

14. Favorite place to read?
On the train. It’s 30-45 minutes each way to work and I love finding a seat and opening a book. It’s my favourite time.

15. What is your policy on book lending?
I’m too lenient with it. There’s a friend of mine who has two of my books that I know I’ll never see again … probably because I see her maybe once a year. One of them was a book I found so inspiring, I couldn’t turn her down when she asked to lend it and earn some of her own inspiration. One was a book I had yet to read!

16. Do you ever dog-ear books?
Never. I was terrible for it when I was a teenager but I couldn’t bear to do it now.  I collect bookmarks too so I have no excuse.

17. Do you ever write in the margins of your books?
Unfortunately yes. And in pen.

18.  Not even with text books?
I’ve done that quite a bit.

19. What is your favorite language to read in?
English. It’s the only language I can speak fluently though I’m learning Spanish so it would be nice to think that one day I could read a good novel in another language.

20. What makes you love a book?
It could be anything from the story, the characters, the message. It all depends.

21. What will inspire you to recommend a book?
If there’s a book that I’ve been blown away with and thought, ‘Wow, that’s excellent. I’d definitely read that again!’, I’ll recommend it.

22. Favorite genre?
I don’t have a favourite.

23. Genre you rarely read (but wish you did?)
Sci-Fi. I’m fascinated with aliens but never read any books on them.

Favorite biography?
Recently I fell in love with The Motorcycle Diaries by Che Guevara. Very inspiring. Now one of my favourites.

25. Have you ever read a self-help book?
Ah, yes! The Fat Girl’s Guide to Life (One of the books I lent to the friend I mentioned earlier 😉 ).

26. Favorite cookbook?
Vegan Cooking for One.

27. Most inspirational book you’ve read this year (fiction or non-fiction)?
The Motorcycle Diaries by Che Guevara. I’m not going to go into details about why – just read my review here.

28. Favorite reading snack?

I love a good cup of green tea with biscuits while I’m reading. 🙂

29. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience.
I was always a huge fan of vampire books. Now I can’t stand them. The recent vampire hype has killed my enthusiasm.

30. How often do you agree with critics about a book?
I don’t usually read critics’ opinions. I read book bloggers’ opinions and, luckily, I get a very balanced argument for each book I read.

31. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews?
I’m fine with it. I’m not personally bashing the author. I’m not giving unfair or unjust criticism. I just mention why I didn’t enjoy it and what I would have preferred. You can’t please anybody and all writers need to learn that very quickly.

32. If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you chose?
Either Spanish or French.

33. Most intimidating book you’ve ever read?
Bleak House by Charles Dickens. Having never read any Dickens before, this was definitely not the one to start with.

34. Most intimidating book you’re too nervous to begin?
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. It’s right on the top of my TBR pile but I’ve yet to pick it up yet.

35. Favorite Poet?
Sylvia Plath.

36. How many books do you usually have checked out of the library at any given time?
None. I don’t visit the library much – I have too many of my own to keep me going at the moment.

37. How often have you returned book to the library unread?
I can’t remember ever doing that.

38. Favorite fictional character?
Henry De Tamble (The Time Traveller’s Wife)

39. Favorite fictional villain?
Patrick Bateman (American Psycho)

40. Books I’m most likely to bring on vacation?
The Motorcycle Diaries, Into the Wild.

41. The longest I’ve gone without reading.
A couple of weeks . . . ?

42. Name a book that you could/would not finish.
I couldn’t finish The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm. I’m not even going to go into it.

43. What distracts you easily when you’re reading?
Sleep. I get so relaxed I end up falling asleep!

44. Favorite film adaptation of a novel?
Atonement by Ian McEwan. The film is a perfect interpretation of the book.

45. Most disappointing film adaptation?
I have the feeling that the new Let Me In film will sit here.

46. The most money I’ve ever spent in the bookstore at one time?
Just over £50.

47. How often do you skim a book before reading it?
I flick through when I’m considering buying a book to get the general feeling but otherwise never skim.

48. What would cause you to stop reading a book half-way through?
Either that it’s getting way too heavy for me or I’m not interested in the story and characters and reading it has become a chore.

49. Do you like to keep your books organized?
Usually but I don’t have shelves. At the moment, my books are in two piles: read and unread.

50. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you’ve read them?
Both. I like to give books to people I know will enjoy them more but I can’t give away books that have meant a lot to me.

51. Are there any books you’ve been avoiding?
Every vampire book that’s been released in the last 12 months.

52. Name a book that made you angry.
The Twilight series.

53. A book you didn’t expect to like but did?
My Invented Life by Lauren Bjorkman. It’s not that I didn’t expect to like it – I just didn’t expect to love it as much as I did.

54. A book that you expected to like but didn’t?
The Hours by Michael Cunningham. I adore the film – it’s one of my favourites – but the book was very disappointing.

55. Favorite guilt-free, pleasure reading?
Any Tudor fiction. 🙂