Weekly Witterings – 2nd Edition

Book Club, Life, Uncategorized, Weekly Witterings

To Witter: to chatter or babble pointlessly or at unnecessary length. n. pointless chat; chatter.

Presenting my weekly roundup in order to spread the love and keep you updated with my adventures. This is a way of sharing my inspiration, music, books, and thoughts that have been a part of my week in addition to my blog posts. Think of it as a coffee and a quick natter with an old pal.

Website of the Week

I have to be biased here, because this week I have been working really hard on a new blog that I have created, Luxury Backpack. Its a BRAND NEW concept that I dreamed up whilst on my road trip around Florida as a way of sharing my travel hints, tips and tricks (I’ve got thousands!) which make a budget trip feel more luxurious. Read all about it here, and of course follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Insty.

Enough plugging, but on the same theme of budget luxury travel, I found this great website Budget Traveller which is a great website for finding the best experiences for your buck; such as alternative budget travel experiences, cheap eats, and money saving tips from the experts. Highly recommended!

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Song of the Week

This week brought us The Grammy’s, and exhausted from our day of travelling, our first night in Miami was spend eating sushi and watching the whole ceremony. So after watching it I couldn’t get James Bay out of my head. Have a listen to Let It Go here.

Book of the Week

It’s been such a busy week on our road trip that I have hardly had time for reading, and am still gripped by Valley of the Dolls (nearly at the end now). I have just completed my review of the book I have been reading for my Cup of Coffee Book Club on Goodreads which you can read here. The next book for March is Harriet Wolf’s Seventh Book of Wonders which I can’t wait to start! On my travels I found the cutest book which I am dying to get started on called Chomp by Carl Hiaasen which is set right here in Florida. It is about Wahoo Cray and his father, Mickey Cray, both professional animal wranglers, who are hired to assist with the latest episode of a reality series titled Expedition Survival! Mickey is injured by an iguana falling on his head (only in Florida!) and so Wahoo takes it upon himself to accept for both of them. I’ll review it once I’m finished!

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Food of the Week

We found the most amazing little farm shop style food markets on the road, where we bought local honey, bee pollen (which I’m now raving on about to anyone who will listen!), and fresh fruit and veg which I’ve been whizzing up in my blender.

 

Working Out this Week

This week we didn’t have too much time to work out, but we spent a lot of time wandering around Miami beach and watching everyone else doing active things! I did have a few minutes of my day that weren’t jam packed, so I’ve been doing 7 minute ab work outs. I call it the Miami Beach Workout! 1 minute of each ab work out back to back for 7 minutes:

Sit ups – flutter kicks -bicycle kicks – crunches – scissors – leg ups – plank

Now tell me you don’t have 7 minutes to spare?

Film of the Week

I recently watched the comedy Trainwreck. I wasn’t looking forward to it as I really can’t stand these stupid American comedies, but it was pretty funny, and now I finally get the whole Amy Schumer girl crush everyone has got going… she’s basically me and every girl friend I have ever had rolled in to one!

Adventure of the Week

This week I’ve been to Miami, the Florida Keys, and through the Everglades. The Everglades were so intriguing, and learning all about the history and wildlife there was really interesting. I couldn’t get over the colour in Miami. So many candy colours, from the buildings to the ocean to the sky. I really haven’t seen anything like it before. Have a look on my Instagram for lots more pictures from my road trip.

 

Shopping of the Week

Please Santa, I know it’s early, but I would LOVE something from this beautiful marble crafter Allegra Stone. I am in love with her designs, especially the trays. Check out images of her pieces here.

allegra Stone

Love, Emily  x

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February’s Book Club Review

Book Club, Uncategorized

Hi All,

As you know, for our February book of the month we have been reading Where’d you Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple. It’s not quite the end of the month if you are still reading, but here is my review to get us started on the discussion. I have tried not to include any spoilers, but you might not want to read on if you are still not finished with your copy!

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When I finished this book I was left with very mixed feelings. Firstly, happiness; because I could rest assured the characters were going to be okay, and because finally I knew what had become of Bernadette; and lastly, a great sadness, because I was no longer in the throngs of an exciting journey in Antarctica. Compelling, entertaining, and satirical brilliance; this novel was both heart-warming and witty.

I am a great lover of character over plot line: I would read five hundred pages about paint drying if the characters watching it dry were well composed, and in this novel the characters do not disappoint. Bee is our main narrator, a sweet “Grade-S” student, who we see teeter on the edge of stroppy pre-teen and childlike innocence over the course of the novel, giving her an edge to accompany her sharp wit.

Her narration is cut  between the varying correspondence between the other characters. It is through these letters and emails that both Bee and the reader piece together the events that lead to the disappearance of Bernadette. The letter-writing style took me a while to get my teeth into, I must admit, but what begins with a lengthy introduction to our characters through short snippets of correspondence becomes a complex, interwoven storyline. Just after half way through the book you enter cannot-put-down territory, and the reader begins to assemble all of the emails and a story is built from the fragments.

In using varying narrators through the form of transcripts, the entire novel is a tapestry of voices and tone. The techy-intellectual narrations of Elgie and Soo-Lin (I want to slap her) and the youthful tone of Bee are cut by the dazzling, intellectual narration of Bernadette. When her dialogue comes it is refreshing, and leaves you with beautiful phrases that linger long after she has one again disappeared. She talks about Seattle with great dislike, and refers the other parents as “gnats”. A recluse, who only leaves the house in dark shades and a headscarf, she appears rather crazy from the start. However, as we learn of her more obscure actions and it transpires that she may well actually be so, you are left believing, along with Bee, quite the opposite. Whether she be present in the novel, assumed to be dead, crazy, or sane, Bernadette has the strongest presence throughout the book, and one that is most welcome.

The satirical nature of this book means that it is crushingly funny, and yet despite tongue in cheek approach, Semple’s characters are exceedingly intelligent, and the jokes are sharp witted and well devised. It is clear from the prose that the writer, Maria Semple, is a television writer (“Arrested Development” and “Mad About You”), and this brings us something that is probably different from anything you have ever read, and this is a very good thing!

So lets get started with some discussion!

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Head over to Cup of Coffee book club on Goodreads to join the conversation, or comment below!

 1. Which character did you feel developed the most over the course of the novel?

2. Do you think the structure worked well? Have you read any other novels that used a similar correspondence-driven narration?

3. Bernadette’s journey and disappearance was both literal and metaphorical. Which do you feel was the most significant for her?

4. Which did you think were the most significant relationships in the novel?

5. What did you make of the roles the “gnats” Angela and Soo-Lin played in the story? How did they affect the family relationship between Bernadette, Elgin, and Bee?

6. What do you think Maria Semple is trying to convey about human nature?

Happy discussion! And don’t forget to pick up your copy of Harriet Wolf’s Seventh Book of Wonders by Julianna Baggott for our March review!

Harriet Wolf’s Seventh Book Of Wonders

Book Club, Uncategorized

The book for March has been chosen, and it is Harriet Wolf’s Seventh Book Of Wonders: A Novel by Julianna Baggott.

Baggott, who also writes under the pen names N.E. Bode and Bridget Asher, has written 18 books, with her novel Pure being her most notable to date. She lives in Florida which is the place I now call home (for myself this is exciting but probably irrelevant to you). Read all about the author here.

She also writes a really great blog; introducing new writers and discussing her own writing techniques. It’s a good read for aspiring writers out there!

Julianna Baggott

About the book

It appeared on New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2015 and they described it as an ‘intricate, tenderhearted novel’. The story spans the twentieth century, and combines the stories of a mother, her daughter, and her two granddaughters. One of the granddaughters is the only person who knows where the final ‘Seventh’ book is, which holds the truths of Harriet’s life. A story of love, motherhood, and secrets, I cannot wait to start turning the pages of this novel.

So read along with me, and we will be reviewing this book in April. Don’t forget to read this month’s book which is Where’d You Go, Bernadette which we will be reviewing in March. The ‘Cup of Coffee Book Club’ can be found on Goodreads, but I will also be posting the review and welcoming conversation and comments right here as well.

I hope you enjoy March’s read, and that you can answer the question on everybody’s lips: Was Harriet Wolf a real person, or is she a fictional character created by our author Julianna Baggott?

Enjoy!

Emily

 

Cup of Coffee Book Club

Book Club, Uncategorized

My book club is now live on Goodreads!

In case you missed last weeks post, I am going to be picking a book a month to read, which I will then review and open a discussion the following month. I love discussing books, and wanted to share my experience with other like-minded people. I have always wanted to start a book club, but as someone who travels a lot this has been impossible. So this is my version of a nice get together to chat about books. Nothing serious, just grab a cup of coffee and share your thoughts on the latest read!

This month’s book is Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple. Read why I chose this book for February here. It’s not too late to get a copy and read this book before we discuss it at the beginning of March. Plus, I will be revealing March’s book soon so do stay tuned.

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Search for Cup of coffee Book Club and get involved. Happy reading!

Emily x