Hello, from a grey and gloomy Manchester. Quite the opposite scene to last week in Spain, isn’t it?
I’m back from the most wonderful holiday in Spain, it felt beyond incredible to finally be back there after so long of yearning for it. I ate my body weight in empañadas, drank an ocean’s worth of Spanish vino, and I devoured every single second of the holiday. I actually can’t remember the last time I felt so happy, and I guess that’s why I feel so unhappy upon my return.
It is always a battle to get me away from Spain, but this time was next level. As I like to remind James so frequently, I belong there, my soul belongs there, so when I’m dragged away kicking and screaming against my will (in other words when I’m simply told it’s time to board a plane and go home), I feel real, legitimate, physical pain – I can literally feel my heart breaking inside my chest. And no, I am not being dramatic.
It’s funny, because even the Spanish uber driver who took us to the train station, a beautiful lady named Aurora, could sense it. We had a 20-minute conversation the whole way to the station where she told me that I only get one life and I need to prioritise myself and my happiness, that the only person that matters in my life is me, and I need to stop living to please my husband and get back to Spain where life is better and I clearly belong. I’m not entirely sure quite how I managed to give off the vibe that I was ready to divorce my lovely husband and move back to Spain, but clearly my adoration for everything Spanish – the climate, the people, the food, the culture and my devastation at leaving it all behind to return to a country I don’t particularly enjoy living in was palpable. Thankfully, this entire conversation was all in Spanish and James sat completely unaware of an apparent attempt at a forced divorce after what had been a delightfully pleasant holiday. Needless to say, as wonderfully kind as Aurora was (she just had my best interest at heart really), I’m not going to be leaving my husband to return to Spain without him anytime soon.
Anyway, enough of the dramatics and moping now, what do I have for you this week?
YOU ARE A BADASS by Jen Sincero
I finally finished this book – I think it could even be the first “self-help” book I’ve ever made it all the way through! I do enjoy this type of book, but sometimes I just grow tired of reading them as they seem to take me a lot longer than fiction books.
I really, really, REALLY enjoyed this book, and I’m looking forward to reading her next book You Are a Badass At Making Money. I really think if you have any interest in making your life better in any way you should give it a go!
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
I read this book because my Dad has been telling me to read it for years. If I’m honest, with the terrible news about the latest Afghanistan situation, I decided it was about time I actually read this book, if nothing else than to gain some form of insight into what life is like in Afghanistan. It breaks my heart seeing people fleeing such dreadful circumstances, and I am very aware of my privilege of being born in the UK.
Focusing solely on this book and not the political situation, I found this book extremely well-written and I really enjoyed the insight it provided into life in Afghanistan – both pre and post-war. Khaled Hosseini is clearly a natural storyteller, and I truly enjoyed the style of the book and the way it was able to portray entire lifetimes of the characters in it, from childhood right up until aging.
I wasn’t sure I actually wanted to read it because life feels dark enough sometimes without escaping into further darkness – I read to escape and find peace and joy. But one of the best books I’ve ever read is desperately dark – it is a masterpiece – (read my review on A Little Life and don’t judge my writing because I wrote it years ago), and I think it’s important to open yourself up to different genres from time to time.
So what can I say? The story itself was both beautiful and harrowing, it stunningly describes life in a war-stricken country and shines a light into different cultures, religions, politics, and history. But the book caught me off guard – and perhaps not in a good way. I don’t think I was ready to read it, I should have waited until I was in the mood for what I call “a profound read”. I read a particular scene early on in the book and wished I hadn’t, because I couldn’t unread it. It triggered one of my biggest life anxieties and that is the amount of unfairness that exists in the world. I really struggle with this, and it’s something I am working on but not yet able to manage my emotions around. I can’t stomach unjustness, and this book was brimming with unfairness, callousness, and outright cruelty.
The book devastated me and left me devoid of much feeling – there were times that I smiled and that my heart soared with joy, but for the most part I felt disappointed, devastated and heartbroken by what I was reading. Do I recommend it? I really do – I think it is brilliantly written and a beautiful insight into Afghan life. Will I ever read it again or watch the film? Absolutely not.
I saw the hype about this and figured I’d give it a go – I love anything a bit out there, or a bit of supernatural, so I was intrigued.
I actually thought it was pretty good. It was quite a clever depiction of religion and how it can drive people to behave in unbelievable ways. For someone completely unreligious (me), it did a good job of showing me what entices people to be so religious and drives them to their faith. At times I watched it thinking how lovely it must be to believe in something so vehemently that you go to a designated place with other like-minded people every week to worship it. To behave in ways because a sacred text instructed you to, and to live your life based on a set of rules that have been handed down through generations, I think it’s a nice concept.
The show also had an excellent soundtrack, and the acting from the priest was brilliant. The storyline got a little weird, very farfetched and completely unrealistic, but part of me likes stuff like that. I don’t know if it was a clever spin on religion and how it can influence the way people act and think rationally, but that’s what I took from it.
Anyway, I’d recommend it. It was a good watch – nothing amazing, nothing terrible, just good. I’d watch it for the curiosity factor and soundtrack alone to be honest!
Leave this island – maximo park
I don’t know what it is about this song, but I tend to listen to it when I’m feeling a bit down or grey. I think it’s brilliant, it has always provided me with such comfort when I’m feeling low. It is possible I’ve even featured it before in the depths of one of the lockdowns – I love the whole song but I just find these specific lyrics so moving.
Are you gonna tell me why there’s a backpack by the bedroom window?
It’s a pack of lies, everything has to reach a peak sometime.
Tell me why, there’s a map laying flat on the bedside table,
It’s a pack of lies, it’s not a peak it’s a plateau.
Give it a listen!
Before You Go…
Because I am still mourning my trip to Spain, I decided to get with the times, stop acting like the 90-year-old Nana that I’m not and learn how to use Instagram like other people my age do. So I made my first reel! Woohoo!
Check out my reel about my recent trip to Spain – ignore the fact that it cuts off abruptly, I only had a minute to create it (but I’m sure you all knew that anyway being the savvy tech kids you are!)
See you next week!