How is your country/ state treating Corona CoVID panic? In Dubai, UAE the public places are being regularly disinfected. The schools have been shut down for 4 weeks and many office goers been offered the choice to work from home. It has been weird seeing the car park full of cars during the day time.
But for me, it has been quite the normal week, as I work from home as a freelancer. I just stopped going to the gym and better sanitation and hygiene for me. And that’s about it.
What I read this week
Last week, I finally finished reading Poet X, The by Elizabeth Acevedo and I am currently reading From Twinkle, with love from Sandhya Menon. Not a bad week I suppose.
What I watched this week
As I was saying earlier, I have been binge-ing on The Office for a few days now. And I been rewatching the BBC’s Sherlock Homes, for no good reason at all. And I am loving them both, unsurprisingly.
On my blog
In case you missed these posts on my blog last week, here is a quick recap.
Happy Sunday y’all! It has been a while since I had a Sunday update post but look at me, taking extra effort because the whole new year and new me jazz! So let’s get to the update part of the year 2019, shall we?
Where did I vanish off to?
Since the last update post, I had to visit my hometown for a funeral of a close family member which was sudden and shocking. Their immediate family is still recovering and getting back on their feet.
But the whole thing put off from doing anything productive or being social for a while. Hence the disappearance for the past few weeks.
What did 2019 bring me?
In many ways 2019 was unexpected and kept throwing rocks at me. I survived but I am glad it is a whole new year.
I traveled across the borders quite a lot! I visited Macau, Oman, Malaysia and of course India all in a single year.
So how would you describe your 2019? And has it taught you something to take forward for 2020? Well me? I learnt nothing from the big bang of 2019, as per my usual. I am still gonna do my go big or go home style! Let’s talk.
New year, New day and hopefully a new beginning. I know time is just a man made construct and the ‘new year’ doesn’t change anything. But for me, and many of others, this is big deal. And if you are anything like me, you probably have great plans and schedules that are ready and have just begun to be put to use.
I don’t call them resolutions, because we all know how quick I am at failing them. But they are typically long to do lists and new ideas to be tried out. So what is on store for this year? Let me show you my GRAND plans for the new year.
Here is a list of reading challenges that I will be participating this year.
Goodreads Reading Challenge 2019
I think this is the most basic of all the reading challenges. I am increasing my target from 35 to 45. I know it might seem very less compared to other prolific readers/ bloggers around here. But I hate having to stress about reaching the target and not enjoying the book.
A – Z reading challenge 2019
Hosted by the Ginger Mom and company, I did great last year and that motivated me to join this year’s challenge as well. But this year I will plan to participate more and be more social.
Target: Reading books with the titles starting with all the letters of the alphabets
Reading more classics
One of the major goals I have is to read more classics during the year. And I will following these two challenges for my reading choices.
Penguin’s classic books reading challenge for 2019
It has been years since I read a Nancy Drew and I found a stash of those books a while ago. So I am going to take a go at it. I will be following this Goodreads group as a guide.
Blogging Plans and actions
We come to the interesting part of the post – the blog plan.
I participated in the Tidyathon hosted by Clo and Sam of Book Dragon247 and Fictionally Sam and I totally loved it. And all the colorfulness you see on my blog are just a result of that. It is still a work in progress, let us just face it, editing about 200+ posts and graphics is not a small deal. At least that is what I tell myself.
For 2019, I decided I will blog better, like every other blogger here. But knowing me I won’t do well without an action plan. So here are my plans.
When I started Elgee Writes I used to post lots of book reviews and a little bit of personal updates. I have come a long way from that and currently I post four times a month with a variety of content like quotes, quizzes and tags and lot of discussion posts with a weekly review.
And joining Nicole’s Book Blog Discussion Challenge last year made the switch more easier. So I will be joining the challenge for 2019 as well. As I was saying earlier, I will be more vocal and participative in this link up as well.
I am also planning to include more fun and non bookish posts in the coming months but not to worry, it will stay a book blog.
Join us to leave no comment un-replied and un-returned!
I am proud of myself with my last year’s blog hopping and I plan it to keep up.
Visit blogs I follow at least weekly once.
Reply to all the comments on my blog
Return the comments by visiting their blogs
Learn to follow and use blog statistics.
And to care about the follower counts.
This is a more obvious one – more consistent blogging.
I already post 4 times a week and I more or less am consistent in doing that. I plan to continue that but I am trying to make it more streamlined. I am putting to use of all the time I have spent on ‘pretending to be organized’ into becoming actually organized.
So what I am going to do differently?
Planning the topics ahead of time.
Working in batches
Scheduling posts at least two days before the publishing date
Taking planned holidays off the blog
Make more blogging friends
Yes you heard it right!
Blogging has got me so many new virtual friends this year, especially ones with similar interests. Isn’t that really great?
I am part of a few Discord, Facebook and Twitter groups. But being the introverted booknerds that we are, it is understandable that I didn’t take part in the conversations as much as I wanted. So this year I will be doing exactly that.
Yet another Sunday and here I am to update the happenings in my colorful life from Dubai.
We have guests staying over this month and that means you may get to see more of the places we take them to visit around Dubai. I love this time in Dubai when it is not too cold that we have to bring out the sweaters nor too hot that we can’t walk around the city in the noon.
Last week we visited Gold Souq which means Gold market and as I have told you already, we in Dubai are the definition of Over the Top. Yes we are and when I say Gold souq, imagine a spice market with wares displayed out in the open and sellers calling out to you but with gold.
Too hard to believe? I, for once, remembered to take pictures for you guys. Here I go:
I will try and bring more updates and pictures from my city in the upcoming weeks.
If you like what you see, you should consider following my new Instagram account (yes I finally jumped in) where I will post more of these and books as well. At least, I plan to do that.
I am so excited today to write today’s post as we have Camilla as our guest blogger from Italy under our Flyaway Friday feature. She is a straight shooter and her answers are not sugar coated. I loved reading them and learned so much about the country. I will hand it over to her.
Hello, I’m Camilla. A 24 years old Italian currently living in Rome. I’m a fashion student, a writer when find time and calm mind, warrior reader, your proud in plain sight but also in the closet ace girl. And your nice and bitter blogger at The Reader in the Attic.
1) What do you think is exotic about Italy?
You want me to be honest? That’s difficult. I always lived in Italy, every thing the culture is made of is normal and everyday thing.
Okay, one thing… is that every region of Italy has its own tradition. Carnival, for citing a well know Italian tradition, change very much in forms and traditions depending on where you are. Not everything is Venice’s Carnival.
There’s plenty of sweet (savoury recipes too) that have the same name but change part of their ingredients depending on the region. But also, some sweet, despite being made in the same region, change even from city to city. Sometime even from village to village, despite both places being quite near.
Same thing for dialects. I’ll make a real-life example. I’m born in Carrara, north of Tuscany, really near Liguria, and city of marble. It’s situated up in the mountains, while the zone at the sea is called Marina di Carrara. Both are really near, but their dialects are different and some food recipes too.
2) Will you tell us about Italy’s eating habits and its national cuisine?
Italians can start a war over food. And trust me when I say that, despite saying it with a smile and looking like they’re joking, the great majority of Italians despise the way people outside our country eat typical Italian food.
There are also some deeper social reasons (Italians think often that their culture is the better one, no matter how toxic), but it’s fun to have food discussion. Just recently, I told one of my fellow Italian friend that an American blogger asked me if we eat pasta Alfredo…. and we laughed a lot. No one in Italy eats this Alfredo thing, whatever it’s. A part of me dies every time I hear Alfredo something.
With the same blogger (we’re friends, I swear XD ) we also had interesting discussion about ice cream and gelato, and the great illusion that eating ice cream/gelato (the English translation of gelato is ice cream for Italians) in Italy doesn’t make it the Italian gelato everyone seems to dream of.
I think that is true that Italian kinda fall into the pasta stereotype. It’s also true that in certain families, houses, street, sometimes more rustic corners, people are gonna almost force feed you, drinking on vine, talking at really high voices, and spend entire hours at the table.
3) Tell us more about a typical day in Italy.
Well, I guess you wake up, goes to work or school or university, whatever you have to do. Then you eat something outside and go back to what you have to do. Or find a way to go back home. At night adults may not go out that often, but the young generation are easy to find outside. They don’t do anything particular, just stay in the same place for hours until the sun rise, drinking and smoking (boring, if you want my youngster opinion).
I think the week is kind of common, but it’s when Saturday and Sunday arrive that things change. People go around the city, shops a lot, go to some mall, bring the kids to the parks. Some people go to the church for the mass. Going to watch sport or reunite with fellow friends is also common.
During summer is typical to reach to sea, but to be honest depends a lot from where you live. Here in Rome you can do everything, the only problem maybe is that we don’t snow that often and the city get blocked.
(the image features a pic of a villa, the Casino of Bel Respiro, situated inside the park of Villa Doria Pamphili. Such place was once a park and hunt zone owned by the Pamphili family, and now it’s one of Rome bigger park. The villa is sually closed to public because it’s used as a government base)
4) Can you tell us about some of your unique customs and practices specific to Italy?
*start to go thought the list* As I said, we have Carnival and I think we have a quite good number of our own unique Carnivals, different from the one of other nation. In Italy we have plenty of random festivities days because of some saint and our sort of Halloween, our day of the dead, is just about bringing flowers to the tombs. We have specific kind of sweet for some festivities.
Other things we do, that some people find strange, is that we kiss on the cheeks when we meet, or people shake their hands. Sometimes you bring little gift if you’re invited to someone house, but I think it’s a more education fact than an actual tradition. It’s not observed at all by many younger generations.
5) Which books / films in your opinion were very much true to the Italian culture?
I’m not a great film watcher, so I can’t give a good number of titles but I’ll say: films made by Italians.
They know their thing. We either have really useless romantic comedies, that heavily relies on gender stereotypes… and are actually quite painfully true when it comes to many relationships I’ve seen. Or are really obtuse. We have a real passion for idiotic film with extremely low and misogynist humour. Another thing that is not far away from Italian behaviour.
I may suggest you to check out things like Suburra or Gomorra, or old films about the fascism and such periods. These are quite truthful about Italy. Or any other film by an Italian that show some rural village or the rich part of the society.
Those are quite good indicators that you’re reaching for what can be the right film. So many Italians were really angry at films like La Grande Bellezza, because it painted a really decadent image of Italy, talking about the richer people.
But I’m a girl that kind of lived between the more common and everyday life of Italians and had the chance to slip into places represented in such film. So, yes, I can confirm that is kinda true in what it represents.
6) Tell us about some of the stereotypes about Italy as depicted in the media, books / film etc that annoy you.
One thing I say is that: stereotypes about Italians are false but also true at the same time. One part of me relate a lot when some POC talks about their family behaviour or mom way of being. That’s because is also typical Italian parent material.
On other sides, recently I was talking with a friend that read a book, in which the protagonist was all about how amazing was the Italian family she was with: those women that sang, dance and drink wine and her Italian lover who was a fervent feminist.
Oh, please… Italian party, we have loud voices and use a lot hand gestures. We drink and laugh, but is not like we jump on table and dance. We’re not that passionate, because the passion that is usually represented is straight up misogyny and possessive behaviour. Italian men are hardly feminists.
Italian are also shown as friendly and welcoming, and we can be. Some people will do everything to please you and treat like an actual human being. Some other people will open the door of their house while openly mocking you in term of gender, race, sexuality and disability. The same moment they are called out, they will tell they’re joking.
For Italians everything is a joke. So, even the warmest welcome can be not actually that nice. Italians, if they hate you, will heavily display that, from touching you without permission, to abusive behaviour, physically hitting and verbal assault.
Also, we have this horrible habit of using slurs of every type as common words. Do not let me start of bigotry, culture levels and such. Also, I think that people have this idea of mafia like another sort of thrilling thing to take inspiration from.
Mafia is a thing and is not nice at all to write book inspired by mafia system, describing it as “interesting and dashing”. It’s not. Mafia exist, is present, it’s deadly, kills tons of people every year, and terrorize the others.
It’s corruption and murder, that keeps growing in every part of the govern, even inside religion. It’s drug and human traffic. Do not let me start on the damage it does to younger generation. Every year we remember people killed by mafia, including whom that fought it. Who is alive, is currently forced to live under special condition, because they denounced the mafia system.
Basically, what people do with their mafia’s romanticized idea, is insulting and spitting on the dead.
7) What are your favorite fictional (bookish or otherwise) characters native to Italy?
That’s hard because I’m not exactly passionate about my country literature and work, while if I reach outside, like to US production, at beast I can find some mafia involved character. So, the answer is no one.
8) Tell us more about your national language. Teach us some very common words and few uncommon ones.
For this last answer I searched around the internet for finding some Italian words you people may find interesting, and I found this article and I found it too be behind silly. What is even sprezzatura? No one use it in common everyday language (at least in my zone). Same thing for impiraressa. And why would you need this world in English when you have words with the same exact meaning already?
Fascination with Italian language is.. strange.
But let me start with the uncommon, because it is much more easy that way. Mostly of our uncommon words, I think are from dialect. Romanaccio is the dialect of Rome and we have particular way to say things like yay, which is daje. Or when we want to say that we’re going to see at a certain hour, we say: ce vedemo a una certa.
One thing about my national language is that it’s really heavy and for saying a single thing, we take hours of our time. And also, verbs. So many verbs. We are also very vulgar, and swear words can be kinda incorporated in our language… despite having people who still react like touched by a bee if someone swears. Like, we can say easily sticazzi (literal translation is: these dicks) for meaning something that impressed us to what we don’t care at all.
Okay, few words that can help when you’re in Italy. If you want to say hello, go with ciao. Our good morning is Buongiorno. If you want to say good evening to someone or to pass a good night out, you said, respectively: buona sera or passate una buona serata. You want to wish a good night you will go with buona notte. Grazie and per favore are our ways to say thank you and please.
If you want to ask for things like breakfast, lunch and dinner, those are colazione, pranzo e cena. We also do a thing called meranda during the afternoon, when we eat a little things, usually sweet, and a drink.
We also take aperitivo or apericena. The first consist in drinking specific types of drinks along with savoury snacks, like potato chips, olives, peanuts… The apericena is kinda the same thing but with much more food, and is a mix between a dinner and an aperitivo.
Wow that is a lot of Italian for a day, I suppose. But again, we can always reach out to Camilla to ask for more help. You can contact her via.
I guess this is the end of this month’s travel, the Italian edition. I hope we will meet yet again next month with another country with its books, author and bloggers. I can’t wait!
Tell me what makes Italy such a romantic place to visit. Have you visited Italy? If so share your favorite Italian memory. Do you have any Italian stereotype that you would like to talk about? Let us chat.