Mini Hiatus!

Hello friends!

I hope you all are doing well. I am sorry for being MIA for such a long time on this blog but my temporary work assignment has taken precedence at the moment. I am really sorry for not being able to reply to your lovely comments but I have definitely been reading all of your positive feedback on the previous posts and appreciate them from the bottom of my heart. Thank you so much!🙂

I also hoped to complete NaBloPoMo 2015 this November but sadly could not. My little series of 30 Notes to Self have been left incomplete but I will definitely get back to them very soon.

Just want to give a huge shout out to Karen Rees of the blog Confetti and Curves  for featuring me in her very successful and fun ‘Behind the Blog’ series where she interviews bloggers from the blogosphere. I had so much fun answering her questions!  Thank you so much Karen for spreading sunshine and cheer, I love your blog!🙂

If you would like to be featured in her series, please get in touch with Karen via her contact page and she’ll send you all the details.

Meanwhile, take care bloggers and see you soon again in a couple of weeks!

Cheers,
Tx

 

 

Book Review: Unlocking Worlds by Sally Allen

Unlocking Worlds

Genre: Non Fiction
Published: 2015
Country: USA
Format: PDF
About the Book: iRead Book Tours | Goodreads

I think that we can all unanimously agree that reading is no longer only a solitary past time for stereotypical ‘book worms’ as it used to be labelled years ago. It has become a community activity thanks to literary websites and book blogs. Not only do books enrich us and become a part of our lives but book readers all over the world are able to connect with each other and develop a meaningful relationship based on shared literary experiences. That is the real power of literature – to bring people together and add rainbow colours to our lives through a series of words written in black on white.

Unlocking Worlds is a book about books – written by a book-lover, for a book-lover. I am always looking for good book recommendations and this one really gave me some very interesting ones.

The author has written a whole chapter in the beginning on how to let a book change you. In it, she explains that it is not imperative that a reader necessarily has to connect with a good book but it is totally okay to be able to relate to a book that is usually not considered such a literary masterpiece. Reading is very personal and subjective. The books she personally considers good in this manuscript have been classified more or less on the basis of five qualities – a compelling narrative, purposeful shaping of words, purposeful ambiguity, emotional truth and wholeness. I found it interesting because I usually tend to read a book in its entirety using only the basic elements of plot, characters, setting, conflict and resolution without delving much into nitty-gritty details and this has caused me to think more carefully about reading and reviewing.

The rest of the book is divided into several chapters that follow themes and genres – of family, time travel, war, tragedy, children’s fiction, memoirs and epistolary novels and many others. It is a well structured book where each chapter begins with a personal anecdote, usually from Allen’s childhood, and contains 10 book recommendations that not only give a brief description but also the author’s personal insight into why she was personally able to connect with them. Here, Allen’s writing, English literature and communication background has helped her to delve deeper into the meaning of each story and find the reasons why these books have moved her. She has beautifully been able to extract the essence of each book and her words have made me want to explore many books that I might not even have considered before.

I found the watercolor painted cover, the most attractive feature of this book. I honestly loved the simplicity as well as the colors used that brought out an old world charm that is sometimes missing in even the most brilliantly graphically designed books today. The little illustrations with the quotes at the beginning of each chapter were cute too.

I was able to connect with Sally Allen’s book-related experiences in many ways that a reader is able to relate to another. Books were always such a huge part of my childhood and like Allen, I often read (and re-read!) deep into the night by flashlight under the blanket after everyone had gone to bed. As the author relates in one of the latter chapters which is aptly titled ‘Books for Book Lovers’, books have sometimes played the role of ice breakers and for developing an instant connection between two individuals who might have never met before. This has personally happened to me twice on the metro as well where I was reading two different books on separate occasions and a couple of fellow commuters asked me about them. In those moments, I was completely able to relate to a stranger even if I shared only a couple of sentences with them. I have certainly not found this connection possible with any other material possession.

I think Allen has really hit the nail on the head in one of the last few chapters where she has expressed how difficult and overwhelming it can get for a reader nowadays to keep up with all the books that come out by the hundreds and thousands. I can completely relate to that feeling. It’s like a rat race that I feel I must keep up, only to realise that really reading is ultimately for my pleasure and enrichment and not for any other reason. So it’s best to really choose the books that you can personally connect to or learn from.

I would consider Unlocking Worlds to be the perfect holiday gift for a book lover who loves reading a variety of genres and you aren’t sure what book to gift them. It’s also the perfect compilation of recommendations to keep on one’s bookshelf for the next time you’re just not sure what to read next.

Book Rating : 4.5 stars out of 5

Note: I received a copy of this book through iRead Book Tours. However, the opinions expressed here are entirely my own. If you would like to read more author interviews, guest posts and book reviews of Unlocking Worlds, please have a look at the book tour schedule here.


Sally Allen

Award winning writer and teacher Sally Allen holds a Ph.D. from New York University in English Education, with an emphasis in writing and rhetoric, and a M.A. in English Language and Literature. She teaches writing, literature, and communications, leads book group discussions, and is the founder and editor of Books, Ink at HamletHub.

Connect with the author:  Website  | Twitter


Thank you for taking the time to visit this blog, I always value your encouragement and support! If you liked this blog post, I’d be very grateful if you’d help spread it by emailing it to a friend, or sharing it on Twitter, Facebook and other social media. Thank you!

If you’d like to contact me for enquiries or just to say hello, you can email me at thistlesandwhistles@hotmail.com or even connect with me on Facebook , Instagram, Twitter, Goodreads and BlogLovin’

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Author Interview : Unlocking Worlds by Sally Allen

Unlocking Worlds


Award-winning writer and teacher Sally Allen knows that good books don’t just draw us in; they talk to us, shape us, and transport us to times, places, and minds different from our own.

In Unlocking Worlds: A Reading Companion for Book Lovers, Allen deftly weaves personal stories with fifteen thematized, annotated, and illustrated reading lists for what to read next. By sharing some of the treasures in her library and the secret lives they reveal, she gives us permission to embrace the shameless book lover inside each of us. Unlocking Worlds is a testament to how reading passionately—and compassionately—can unlock the world beyond our back yard. Celebrating books and those who read them, Allen shows how the solitary act of reading can be a powerful thread that creates community and connection. Thought-provoking and eloquent, Unlocking Worlds: A Reading Companion for Book Lovers is a must-have for anyone who can’t leave the house without a book in hand.


Here’s a quick Q&A session with the author Sally Allen:

What genre do you write and why?

I write nonfiction about books. When I was younger, I enjoyed writing fiction. During and after college, I’ve written essays and done reporting and other journalistic writing. In recent years, I find my favorite subject to write about revolves around my favorite pastime, which is reading. Books give me so much to think about, and writing helps me work out what I’ve learned and valued from my reading experience.

Where do you write?

I do a lot of my writing in my walk-in closet, which doubles as my home office. I live in an old home, and my closet, which probably wasn’t a closet when the house was built, has a large, lovely window. I put a small desk under it, and it’s a surprisingly cozy spot where I can sneak away when I want to write without being interrupted.

As a mom writer, how do you balance your time?

The biggest thing I had to learn is how to write productively in small bursts. Before I became a mom, I assumed I needed long, uninterrupted stretches of time to write. After I became a mom, I realized this was no longer possible. So I had to retrain myself to take whatever time I could carve out, even if it was just fifteen minutes, and make those minutes count.

What is a book that inspired you to be a writer?

One of my favorite books growing up was From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg. Claudia and her brother, Jamie, run away from home and live in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a place I’d spent a lot of time in growing up in New York. Reading that book inspired me to write my own Claudia-and-Jamie-style adventure, though mine was set in Williamsburg, Virginia, where my family had recently gone on vacation. Though I don’t write fiction anymore, that is definitely the first book that inspired me to write.

Name a quirky thing you like to do.

My absolute favorite place to read is on airplanes, especially on evening flights. Anytime I’m booking a flight, I’ll opt for an evening one if at all possible. Something about being 30,000 feet above the earth’s surface in the dark facilitates getting lost in another world. My secret fantasy is to be given an airplane ticket around the world so I can finally make a serious dent in my massive to-be-read list.

If you would like to read more author interviews, guest posts and book reviews of Unlocking Worlds, please have a look at the book tour schedule here.


Sally Allen

Award winning writer and teacher Sally Allen holds a Ph.D. from New York University in English Education, with an emphasis in writing and rhetoric, and a M.A. in English Language and Literature. She teaches writing, literature, and communications, leads book group discussions, and is the founder and editor of Books, Ink at HamletHub.

Connect with the author:  Website  | Twitter


Thank you for taking the time to visit this blog, I always value your encouragement and support! If you liked this blog post, I’d be very grateful if you’d help spread it by emailing it to a friend, or sharing it on Twitter, Facebook and other social media. Thank you!

If you’d like to contact me for enquiries or just to say hello, you can email me at thistlesandwhistles@hotmail.com or even connect with me on Facebook , Instagram, Twitter, Goodreads and BlogLovin’

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Note to Self #8 – This Too Shall Pass

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Dear T,

A very Happy Belated Birthday and a Happy Belated Diwali and a Prosperous New Year! This year, your birthday coincided with Diwali which made everything everything so special and festive. It was a great day both at the office and at home and you really have so much to be thankful for. So take a moment and thank the Lord for all his kindness and blessings.

I’m sorry for missing out on my daily notes to you this week, T. What can I say? I don’t think I have all the right excuses ready for this one. I want to (wo)man up and say that I wish I had made better use of my time in planning out these posts. However, most of the time I feel like I can express myself in writing best when it’s done impulsively and when I really have something worthwhile to share that comes straight from the heart. There seems to be a mental clash between my spontaneous creativity and my need to manage time effectively. The former is winning of course, as you can see.

Moving on to this note’s purpose, sometimes you feel like all the efforts you are putting into overwriting your old thought patterns are bearing fruit and other days you feel like a big fat failure. I don’t want to go into much detail but you recently felt like you were making headway and then boom, the next day had you backtracking to right where you were even though you hadn’t stopped making the efforts.

This happened on the day of your birthday unfortunately. The day was pretty amazing and you were on top of the world but there was an underlying sense of disappointment that was dragging you down. You felt cheated out of the one day that should have been the happiest day of the year. At one point, you just wanted to give up and sleep it off but luckily as you didn’t want to start your 30th on the wrong note, you chose to learn a lesson instead of falling prey to a temporary setback.

The most important reminder that you received when almost on the verge of giving up was this is all temporary. There will be several good days and maybe an equal number of bad days. There will be trials, failures, disappointments and obstacles but it’s all going to pass eventually.

What came with this reminder was also the realization that you had the power to turn your day around. It’s not always easy and you know it, but you did manage to make the best with what you could and had a bloody good day nonetheless.

What you say to yourself is very important at this point. Your inner dialogue can be your biggest enemy or your strongest ally. This has been the hardest to change but it’s getting easier to talk to yourself as if you were your own personal cheerleader.

Life loves giving out free lemons but remember lemons are actually good for you despite their sourness. It is up to you what you make out of them.

Here’s to being thirty-licious!🙂

Much love,
Tx


Thank you for taking the time to visit this blog, I always value your encouragement and support! If you liked this blog post, I’d be very grateful if you’d help spread it by emailing it to a friend, or sharing it on Twitter, Facebook and other social media. Thank you!

If you’d like to contact me for enquiries or just to say hello, you can email me at thistlesandwhistles@hotmail.com or even connect with me on Facebook , Instagram, Twitter, Goodreads and BlogLovin’

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Note to Self #5 – Take A Little Break

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Dear T,

Today hasn’t been a great day. But it’s okay. Things happen. Just let the angry feelings pass by like a passing grey cloud. I know you’re not in the mood for a big pep talk kind of note so here’s a little impromptu poetry which I know I am not very good at but it might just cheer you up. It will remind you that taking a step back is more important than expressing anger at a situation that is out of your control at the time. Continue reading

Note to Self #4 – ‘Social’ Is Not The New Word For Antisocial

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Dear T,

It’s late and you’re tired and sleepy, so let’s try to make this really short. Today while you were waiting for your metro to and fro from work, you looked around the station and realized something. A large number of passengers on the platform were bent over their digital devices as if their lives depended on them. The situation was oddly homogeneous, with passive faces and bent heads showing little signs of movement while thumbs were moving incessantly. Every now and then, a head would look up and gaze around and then shift their attention back to the screen again. Continue reading

Note to Self #3 – This Is Not The End of the Journey

A Wrong Pathway 2

Dear T,

You’ve only had one calling ever since you remember – to write your way into this world. Living in an imaginative bubble, your best friends growing up were books, paper, a pencil and your sister’s old typewriter. You were always good at languages and the written word in school but did not have a strong affinity toward other subjects. The one dream you had as a young’un was to become a writer/reporter. Continue reading