Am I a Bad Person?

Well, how’s that for a dramatic post title?! Granted I don’t think it’s THAT bad with me (yet?) but the more I read, hear and watch about minimalism, ethical fashion and zero-waste movements the more I feel like maybe I’m not doing enough. I know (and it’s important to always keep in mind) that minimalism isn’t a competition and that it’s not perfect. But my inner perfectionist? It wants to be perfect. So badly. So whenever I take a step forward I feel like the goal I’m striving towards is also moving further, and I’ll never get there.

One of the first measures I’ve taken when becoming a minimalist was to consume less especially given clothes and other fashion items. I was feeling more free, I was spending less and was helping the environment through it too. But then I came across articles and documentaries (e.g. The True Cost) and I realized that maybe alone consuming less wasn’t enough, I also needed to consume in a right way, in an ethical way. So my euphoria over consuming less was quickly dimmed by the realization that I nevertheless wasn’t consuming ethically. And that is something I still struggle with. I want to be good to this planet and its people, but I’m also a student trying to become financially independent from their parents. And let’s be real, ethcial brands ARE more expensive than fast fashion brands. OBVIOUSLY. They use better materials, they pay better wages, the list goes on. And in theory that is what I want. I’m an idealist. I regulary have some kind of breakdown because of how unfair the world seems to be sometimes and how much greed is destroying. But I’ve also grown up this way. I’ve grown up always looking for the cheapest price and that is hard (way way harder than I ever expected) to get away from.

So yes, I want good conditions and fair wages. Yes, I want eco-friendly methods used. I want all of that and more. Yes, $40 for a shirt makes sense given all those circumstances. But to a person growing up spending $5 or $10 on shirts and not earning much it’s sometimes still really hard to spend those $40 on a plain shirt, even though I understand all the reasoning behind it and even support it.
Writing it down like this it sounds even more horrible than when I just whisper it in my head. But it is the ugly truth. While minimalism comes fairly easy to me, ethical consumption (and the price of it) doesn’t. It is a hard battle, that as of now I still often (mostly, okay) lose, but it’s better than not fighting at all. Some day I’ll get there.

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SWITZERLAND SECOND – Explained

Chances are you’ve seen at least one of the videos of European countries applying to Trump to become “second”, since America is first, obviously. The whole thing was started by a Dutch late night show, followed by a German one, which then called to all late night shows around Europe to create their own video. #EverySecondCounts was started. Next to the Netherlands and Germany, also Switzerland, Belgium, Denmark, Portugal and Lithuania have joined so far. More countries, such as Slovakia and Luxembourg will release their videos soon, and hopefully more will follow. You can check out all the videos right here (or on YouTube, if the side’s crashing again). They are well worth it and sure to make you laugh.

Whereas I understood all the references in the German video, I felt lost with some of the things mentioned in other countries’ videos. If you felt like that too watching the Swiss video here are some of the references explained that don’t have anything to do with mountains, cheese, gold or money:
(The Swiss video was created by Late-Night show Deville in cooperation with SRF (Swiss Radio and Television) all screenshots are taken from the official video.)

The first ever Bond Girl was Swiss actress Ursula Andress. Now if that ain’t sexy.

And St. Moritz is next level clean. When I visited last spring I felt like I was in an indoors studio because the streets were so clean, but we’ll get to that lovely town later.

This is probably one of my favourites. This is the same square as in the picture above, and shows a Zurich-ian tradition, the Sechseläuten. It takes place every year in April. The Böögg (the snowman) filled with firecrackers (the biggest one in its head) is put on top of a 10 meter high pyre and is then burned at 6.00pm. Once the cracker in the head explodes the time is stopped. The faster it burned the faster summer will come and will therefore last longer. Last year it was pouring down rain and the Böögg took the longest time ever to burn, a full 42 minutes. In comparison, the fastest one burned in under 5 minutes. Whereas the fest in itself is way older, the burning of the Böögg took place for the first time in 1902. You can watch a shortened and private video of the 2010 burnin here.

Joining of the EU is a topic that comes up in Switzerland every once in a while. For example, in 2001 where 76,8% voted against it.

Saint Moritz is a luxury resort in the alps. During the winter season it’s full of celebrities and high-society member, a lot of them Russians.

In the last year there has been a lot of talk about DADA in Switzerland since the movement celebrated its 100th anniversary. Due to the situation in World War I Switzerland and especially Zurich became a place where artists could meet and discussed. Dadaists rejected the logic and aestheticism of modern capitalist scoiety and therefore expressed their art through apparent chaos and irrationality.

DJ Bobo is a Swiss singer and dancer who was part of the EuroDance Scene and basically just put on really big and extravagant shows. Fun Fact: My first ever concert was a DJ Bobo concert that my parents took me and my sister too. The theme were pirates and the whole stage was basically just a huge pirate ship. While I’m a bit embarassed by this now, I can’t say that I didn’t have fun. If you’re up for some crazy shit watch this and this.

Actually, we’ve only won twice. Once in 1956 (I didn’t even know about this one) and once with Céline Dion in 1988 (pictured), and she’s not even Swiss. Watch her performance of Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi.

I can see why Trump loves alternative facts so much. Apart from those two times we won, Switzerland probably never got twelve points. For all of you who aren’t familiar with the Eurovision Song Contest, each country that participates has one set of points to give away, and let’s say that Scandinavian countries most give their points to each other, Southern Europeans to each other, etc. But it’s also highly political, for instance a lot of Eastern European countries won’t give points to Russia because politics and history. And since Switzerland is neutral, we’ve never really had any alliances and therefore have no friends at all, it seems. We’re mostly chilling at the lost spots together with Germany and the UK. If we even get into the finals, that is. Most of the time, we don’t. Last year Ukraine won because they’ve been having a tough time and deserved it. So basically, it’s a singing competition but not really a singing competition. But Australia will never understand. 😉

A little nod to Switzerland’s Direct Democracy, or well as direct as it gets. Four times a year we vote on different stuff and basically everyone can propose something and if they get enough signatures we get to vote on it. Pretty cool.

You could call Jass the national game of the Swiss. It’s a card game that uses a different card set than for instance poker or black jack. Fun fact: I even learned how to play it at school. It’s serious business.

The Trumpf is the best card and is officially translated as the Trump Card or simply Trump, because it well, trumps all the other cards. Makes sense.

This organisation is controverse even in Switzerland itself. It’s for people who have non-curable diseases, and the organization assists them with dying in dignity. They don’t just take everyone though, strict rules have to be fulfilled. There are actually several such organizations in Switzerland such as Dignitas, of which you might have heard if you’ve read Me Before You by Jojo Moyes or seen the movie based on it with Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin. Thus, the term Sterbetourismus, i.e. something like dying-tourism, has been coined.

And a little bit of Roger at the end because it would be sad without him, right?

I’m a Bad Blogger – and I Like It

The last time I’ve written to you was right before I left for my summer vacation. I had a few posts scheduled, but not nearly as many as i would have needed to keep my schedule up. I suppose that’s why I’ve never really been and never will be a good blogger. Maybe I’m more of an in-the-moment person. I want to write when I’ve got something to say and something to share, and feelings don’t really have schedules so maybe this whole blogging thing never really made sense to me. I love writing and I will continue using this blog from now on but on my own terms. It shouldn’t be a chore to me, and that is one of the many things I realized in 2016.

I know we’re all supposed to hate THAT year, but honestly? For me personally, it’s been a really good year. I don’t really care about the Kardashian-Jenners, but maybe I do have one thing in common with Kylie – 2016 has been the year of realizing things, HA. I think I now know more about what I want to achieve in the next few years and how to do it and I think I know more about who I am and what’s really important to me and how to stand by my principles. And I also know that THAT is something that matters in life. Well, to me it does. I’ve changed a lot this year and for all I know, that’s a good thing.

There’s more to come and it might not all have to do with books and reading, because well a person is made up of more than just one passion. While some people like to just update on one topic (which is absolutely fine and actually what blogs are probably supposed to be) but I just don’t feel it’s right for me. I want this to be authentic and I want it to be me. That being said, 2016 was the year of thinking, hopefully 2017 will be the year of doing. And I don’t think it’s ever too late to wish you all a fulfilled and joyful new year!

See you soon,

Diana

Hector and the Search for Happiness by François Lelord

English translation published by Gallic Books – 2010 (originally published in 2004) – 164 pageshector happiness

Hector is a successful psychiatrist. But next to people with actual disorders, he treats many others who are unhappy without anything in their lives being really wrong. Dissatisfied and unhappy himself that he can’t help those, he sets off on a journey to find out what really makes people happy (and sad). Meeting old friends and making new ones, Hector not only learns about others but also learns some important lessons himself.

The only shadow on my happiness is when I tell myself sometimes as it’s all going well, it can’t last, that one day things won’t be so good.

This book is part of the series Hector’s Journeys with other books in the series being called Hector and the Secrets of Love or Hector and the Search for Lost Time and a bunch more that haven’t been translated into English (available in French and German though).
I usually wouldn’t have picked this book up but I saw it at a charity shop and it seemed familiar to so I got it. Turns out it’s familiar because a movie (with the same title) came out in 2014 starring Simon Pegg, Rosamund Pike, Stellan Skarsgård and more, directed by Peter Chelsom. Although I haven’t seen the movie, so if you’ve seen it let me know in the comments what you thought about it!

Sometimes happiness is not knowing the whole story.

Psychiatry is such an interesting field but I really don’t like books or movies with psychiatrist in major roles and I’m sorry that this book wasn’t able to prove me wrong. I’m a fan of Simon Pegg so having in mind that he played Hector, book Hector disappointed me alot. Unfortunately he wasn’t likeable at all. He kept talking about beautiful woman and how he can’t look at them when they talk because they are so pretty and then he simply stops listening to them whenever they talk and there were some generally sexists and “old-fashioned” statements made, too (fine, mind you that was first released in 2004 before the new wave of feminism, but boy it’s still the 21st century).

The basic mistake people make is to think that happiness is the goal.

Now, I actually checked a couple times whether this isn’t a children’s book, it isn’t, because the way it was written felt so much like it. The sentence structures were very easy and things kept being repeated how they do for children who only just start reading, and the book kept posing questions that it would answer straight away and it was just so weird. I don’t mind reading children’s book from time to time but this book had none of the charm Dahl books have, for instance.
Oh, and having sex is called “the thing people do when they love each other” which again is wrong on so many points. If it isn’t a children’s book why talk around it like that, and it isn’t mentioned only once but like a lot on Hector’s travels, although he has a girlfriend back home. Also, you can love each other without doing the do and vice versa.

Many people see happiness only in their future.

All in all, there were some nice parts in this book but nothing life-changing. I didn’t enjoy the style, and the characters were all very generic and had no depth (it is a very short book but still no excuse). Now that I look at it it’s obvious to me that I never enjoyed these kind of books so I really don’t even know why I picked this up, oh well.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

The Bermudez Triangle by Maureen Johnson

Published by the Penguin Young Readers Group – 2004 – 370 pages

Nina, Avery and Melanie, who form the Bermudez Triangle, have been best friends for life. bermudez traingleHowever, this summer they will be seperated for the first time. While Avery and Mel stay and get a summer job, Nina attends a program at Stanford. When Nina comes back after ten weeks nothing’s the same anymore. While Nina tries to keep up a long-distance relationship with Steve whom she met at the program, Mel and Avery became more than friends. There are secrets and lies, the friends grow distant just to grow toegether again. It’s a whirlwind of feelings, finding your identity and learning to forgive.

You might have figured by now that characters are the most important thing for me in a story, so a big part of this getting such a low rating from me is due to them. None of the three main characters is in any way likeable. Avery never takes responsibility for her actions and runs away from everything, Mel is clingy, naive and never understand what is going on around her and Nina is self-centered and obsessively in love with a person who treats her horribly. Now, I know these are all traits we all may have at times, too and I’m all for characters being real and not always being perfect and agreeable, but in all of the 370 pages each of the girls might had one scene in which she was bearable. The only nice character that I enjoyed was Parker, but even he made a horrible joke and was into like three girls in the course of the book. But all in all, the boys were generally more bearable (gosh, I hate saying this, but it’s true in this book). Johnson is great at writing boys. She’s horrible at writing girls.

You know how you can sometimes tell when a person might like you? There’s just something about the way they look at you or the way they keep trying to talk to you?

Let’s move on to the relationships. So, they’ve been best friends for pretty much their whole lives and I honestly barely felt any real connection between them. Like when Mel tells Nina something that’s really important to her and Nina has to fake her interest because she can’t stop thinking about her boyfriend/ex-boyfriend. Yeah, best friend award definitely won’t go to any of these girls.

 Irony is the word I forget the meaning of immediately after I look it up, but I kind of feel like I live in a constant state of it.

Now to the LGBTQA+ part, or well rather just the L and the B. This book was written over a decade, this has to be noted, and representation is great. Now, I can’t judge how accurate all of that was, I’ll leave that to people who actually relate to it. I did think it was great that one of the characters seemed to struggle with the whole “gay” thing and questioned and denied it, because I suppose that does happen to people, too. And it was great that Mel wasn’t the “stereotypical lesbian” but then there’s a scene where they go to a dance for lesbians and guess what EVERYONE HAS SHORT HAIR!!! yeah great way to ruin it all.
And then there’s Nina who’s asking herself after everything she says or does “omg is that/am I homophobic??”. And when she dances with a girl at a party (as you would dance with any of your friends) “omg it happened, am I gay, too. Will people think I’m gay??”

Sorry, this review is so messy but this book was really messy, too. Everything was pretty predictable. There were some nice scenes and moments, but most of it was just enervating.
Anyhow, I was gonna give it 3 stars at first but so many moments that just made me shake my head happened in the last 80 pages, and the last impression is the lasting one so…

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Blogger Recognition Award

blogger recognition

First of all a big thank you to the lovely Stevie @ Stevie’s Bookshelf , Inside My Minds and Going Through Books for nominating me for this nice award, do check out their respective posts (and their whole blogs!).

Here the rules:
Write a post to show your award.
Give a brief story of how your blog started.
Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
Select 15 other blogs you want to give the award to


HOW MY BLOG STARTED

Sorry to disappoint but there isn’t much of an exciting story here. I’ve been having Twitter for years now but I never used it for book related stuff, I’d occasionally tweet about me reading something etc., but it’s more of a general account where I want to be able to tweet about everything. So when I felt like being able to talk about books more I knew I didn’t want to use Twitter primarly because I personally use it for something else. Then I tried Instagram because I saw that there was a quiet big book community on there. But who was I kidding? Instagram and me? It doesn’t really fit. I don’t really like taking pictures and am also not very creative in that perspective, since I just don’t enjoy it. And I always found it so weird to post a picture and then having a caption that totally didn’t fit with it, and I find long captions on Instagram weird. So that wasn’t for me either. But I saw a few people on Insatgram linking to their WordPress blogs and I found that I really enjoyed reading them. I was first hesitant to start one myself, but then thought that if I want to talk about book (which I do), then a blog is the best way for me personally. And now here I am.

LET ME GIVE YOU SOME ADVICE...

As for advice, I’m sure you all have heard it a hundred times before but liking and especially commenting and just generally engaging with other bloggers is the most important thing. Get to know people, be interested and they’ll be interested, too. And really, isn’t that the point of blogging anyway, to talk with other people and share?

And as second point, don’t try to imitate other blogs and bloggers. Sometimes you’ll see a blog that you absolutely adore and you might be tempted to try and make yours look like theirs, but don’t. You might love when someone uses a lot of gifs but personally don’t like using them yourself, so that’s okay, don’t do it. Find your own style in writing, the look of your blog and your posts. Sure, some inspiration for posts is fine and even needed sometimes but still try to always give it a personal twist. People come to your blog to see you and read your writing, not that of others.


I feel like most people I know on here have done this one already, so I’m not tagging anyone for now.

Epic Reads Tag

epic

Hello! I saw this tag a few weeks ago on Going Through Books (loved her answers, click to get to her post) and thought I’d give it a go. It should be a fun one. Hope you enjoy.


If you could invite one author and one of their fictional characters to lunch, who would you invite and what would you serve them?
Oooh so many, I think Markus Zusak would be fun, since I practically know nothing about him personally and I feel like he’s got some great stories to tell. And I would ask him to bring Rudi from The Book Thief with him (SPOILER: it would be great to see him alive again) and I would like to think that he grew up (I know, I know). It sure would be a funny evening with him. We’d get a nice steak since I don’t think Rudi’s seen much meat during the war and after it (I know, living in denial here).

What book do you wish the author would write a prequel for?
I think prequels make most sense with dystopias and sci-fi since with contemporaries and such there wasn’t really “happening” much before, to be harsh. And I feel like most of the books were prequels are really exciting already have one (The Maze Runner, Throne of Glass…). So, I’d go with Divergent. Maybe about how they started the whole “project” from the perspective of Tris’ mom.

Which two characters (not from the same book) would make a good couple?
Kenji from the Shatter Me series and Nehemia from Throne of Glass. Just because Kenji is an absolute amazing and loveable guy, although he doesn’t always seem like it. He likes to cover up his feelings with humour and I feel like Nehemia could totally deal with him and get him to talk about personal stuff. And I feel like they’re quiet opposites so they have what the other needs but also have enough in common.
This is the first time I ever thought about this, but I actually do think they fit! Where’s the fanfiction?

If you ran into your favorite author on the subway and only could say one sentence to them, who is it and what would it be?
I would never just talk someone up in public, even if they were my favourite celebrity ever. I wouldn’t know what to say at all, especially not in one sentence only.

What book made you a reader and why?
I’ve been a reader since I can remember, so it wasn’t any book in particular. Already in kindergarden I’d spend a lot of time looking at (and trying to read) books. I’d always go to the library a lot and pretty much read everything that was for my age. But of course, as for so many 0f my generation Harry Potter was very important.

Your bookshelf just caught fire. Show the book you’d save.
What a nightmare. I’d try to grab as many books as possible tbh. But one of the favourite ones I own is definitely my copy of Clockwork Princess which is signed and is generally just beautiful and shiny and that I’ve actually held so often, hah. And to cheat a little, also the boxset of the first four Harry Potter books that I’ve had since I was a kid (by the time I could read well enough the first four books were out already I suppose).

Which dystopian world would you want to live in if you had to choose one? Why?
Dystopia? Honestly? None. They’re all horrible to actually live in. I’m not nearly badass enough to survive in any of them for even a day. There are some pretty nice fantasy worlds, but dystopia definitely not.

What is your most epic read of all time?
Hmm, well some of my favourite books I definitely wouldn’t describe as “epic”, they’re rather quiet but in the best way possible. As for epic, I think it must be The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, which everyone who’s read it knows that this doesn’t need an explanation. It’s pure magic.


Aaaaand that was it. Either this tag is older already and that‘s why I haven’t seen this tag around much or not many people have done it. Anyhow I’ll nominate a few, feel free to do it or not:
Kayla @ kdrewkthebookworm
Calliope @ Calliope The Book Goddess
Louise @ geniereads
Ashleigh @ A frolic through fiction