Travel and Reading Blogs

I’ve decided to start dedicated blogs for my travel and reading adventures. Click on the pictures below to go and check them out!

Laurasaurus Travels

I have quite a few followers who are here for the travel posts I sometimes do. I’m guessing you guys aren’t super interested in sewing or all the other random stuff I bang on about, so head on over to Laurasaurus Travels for all travel all the time*.

I will probably be re-covering some of the adventures I’ve previously posted here at some point, but in a different way, so I hope they will bring a fresh angle to my trips. I’ll also be posting about trips which never made it onto this blog – I’ve got a few posts up already about our visit to Russia.

If you came here for the travel, but stayed for the sewing, then I hope you’ll enjoy reading both blogs.

* Not literally all the time. I have a full time job and a cat to take care of. I will try and keep up a regular posting schedule, though. Realistically, you can expect one post per week.

Your Name-2

At the start of this year, I realised I needed something to keep me sane on the long journeys to and from work. I decided that a challenge was in order, so this year I am going to try and read one book per week.

I thought starting a blog where I would review each of those books in more detail than my usual ‘it was quite good’ on Goodreads would both challenge and encourage me when things got tough (my money is on sometime around May).

I’m not sure if anyone reading this blog is into books, but if you are, then come and join me at Laurasaurus Reads. I will read anything which is within grasping distance, so you can expect quite a bit of variety. While my bookshelf is heavily weighted towards fiction, I do have quite a few interesting looking reference books on the go. I will try my hardest not to review the anti-histamine packet I have just read the back of (side note: I have hay fever! Spring must be on its way!)

Your Name-3

“Pure Laurasaurus”, as a friend calls it, is where the sewing, lifestyle and crafty stuff will (still) be at. I don’t think anything will change here; posting will probably remain idiosyncratic, because although I dream of an organised blog schedule, I’m not going to write if I don’t have anything interesting to say.

Reading Challenge 2013: The Result

You may remember that I decided to set myself the fairly ambitious target of reading 52 books in 2013. In an effort to finish the things I start, or at least report on them, I can tell you that I managed to read 36 books in the year. Considering the international move, and the fact that I discovered some new hobbies during that time,  and any other excuses I can think up, I don’t think that’s a bad result.
I don’t think I’ll set myself a new challenge this year. I have the ability to turn anything I enjoy into a chore, and I don’t want to do that with reading – the thing I do to switch off. It was a fun challenge, and forced me to read some books which had languished on my shelf for years, and turned out to be excellent.
This year is more about reading because I want to. Since my bookshelves can’t support the number of books currently in my possession, I will be making the effort to pass books on to people once I’ve finished with them, so hopefully they can find a new audience to love them as much as me. Want a randomly selected book from my library? Get in touch!

Through a Glass, Darkly by Donna Leon

This is, I think, the third Commissario Brunetti book I’ve read, and I think it’s the worst of that trio. This doesn’t mean it’s bad, it’s not bad. Venice remains as much at the forefront as ever, and the snippets of Brunetti’s home life are as warming as I have come to expect.

However, the storyline let this one down a little. It’s about the environment, which isn’t really something I read about to relax. Leon manages to keep my interest in quite a dry subject because her writing style always strikes me as so intimate; I really feel like I’m there, in Venice, stressing about the pollution from Marghera with the rest of them.

The murder didn’t take place till about half way through, and this further reinforced the impression that this book is really just about the environment. I suppose you could class the murder of the lagoon by the chemical waste as the initial murder, if you were feeling that way inclined.

In the end, the final factor which leads me to give this book only 4/5 is that the crime really became a part of the background, and I didn’t get the details I was circling around in a vulture like fashion, waiting for.

It still made me want to return to Venice though, and given my complicated feelings towards Italy, I think that certainly justifies my score. That and the fact that I hoovered it up in three days.

A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin

At the end of this book, Martin added a page of acknowledgements, stating that “This one was a bitch”. It was a bit of a bitch to read as well.
Don’t get me wrong; the story was as fascinating as ever, and the general feeling of Lord of the Rings meets The Tudors remains. It’s well written, and transports you completely to another world. But it’s massive. Epic. And this only covers half of the characters; the next one in the series is going to cover the rest of them over the same period.
I noticed that this one included some changes in style compared to the previous books, more slang words which are just that little bit different from our own, but close enough not to be annoying. I’ve found that the writing style has really improved as the series has gone on – it didn’t really appeal to me at the start of the first book, and now I’m involved. Forever. Despite the fact that I can’t remember half the people’s names.
I really like the habit of just killing off the characters with no regard for how important they are, or how much influence they have on the story. It’s like real life: chaotic and interesting.
As with all of this series, I’m keen to read the next one, but I know I’m going to have to wait as I don’t think I can deal with the pressure of another long book right now. Soon, soon.
I can’t find a decent picture of the book, so lets just have my favourite, The Hound instead. 

Room by Emma Donoghue

Jack is five, and excited about his birthday. He lives with his Ma in Room, which has a locked door and a skylight, and measures eleven feet by eleven feet. He loves watching TV, and the cartoon characters he calls friend, but he knows that nothing he sees on screen is truly real – only him, Ma and the things in Room. Until one day Ma admits there’s a world outside… 
An interesting, harrowing story, made more interesting by telling it through the eyes of a child. Room remained fast paced and interesting throughout; the middle section was especially tense and required speed reading while hyperventilating on my part (my boyfriend came to check on me a few times because he thought I might be having a nightmare – yes, he’s frequently woken up in this way).
If it wasn’t so gripping and fascinating (which I’m not going to go into because it’s just so much better if you don’t know), I’d have been irritated by the boy. Sometimes he was insufferably slow to catch on to things, being five years old. Sometimes he was just a bit annoying with his Charlie and Lola style talk. I imagine it’s quite adorable if you have children, but I don’t, and I like it when people speak properly.
If it wasn’t for my occasional irritation at the boy, then I would give this book 5/5 – as it stands, it’s a 4/5. Read it, it’s bloody good.