Book Blogger Hop #16

Book Blogger Hop is a weekly meme run by Coffee Addicted Writer. Every Friday, a question is posted for the book blog community to discuss. This week’s question is…

Would you stop reading a book if an element of the plot strongly clashed with your personal beliefs, or would you continue reading until you finished the book?

I would definitely finish the book. At least, that’s what I think and hope I would do. As long as the book is good, I will keep on reading it. For example, I finished Jodi Picoult’s Songs of the Humpback Whale although the personal choices of the characters did not fit in at all with my moral values. It definitely made me like the book and characters a lot less, unfortunately, but I did plow through to the end because the book was still good enough for me to want to know the rest of it.

Most books I read nowadays are either very recent or classics. It’s easier for me to brush off elements that clash with my personal beliefs in classics because “that’s just how it was back then.” I still feel a slight offense but nine out of ten times, things are better now so there’s also a feeling of relief.

In terms of modern stories, I think most instances where this happens, it’s to demonstrate a positive message or to spread awareness.

So no, something must be very bad in order for me to drop the book.


Book Blogger Hop #15

Book Blogger Hop is a weekly meme run by Coffee Addicted Writer. Every Friday, a question is posted for the book blog community to discuss. This week’s question is…

When you feature a book in your posts, do you include a book cover?

I definitely try my best to do so. It seems a little weird to write a blog post about a book without featuring the cover. I know most people like visuals when they look at a post and feel more enticed to read it. They also say, “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover” but more often than not, I’m sure many people do (I am one of them!) and decide to pass on posts depending on what kind of book they think it is about just from the cover. This might have the opposite effect from what a blogger may want but it just seems to be the standard!


An Hour at Cafe Blanca

There’s a cool hip place at the edge of Calgary’s Chinatown and across Eau Claire Market called Cafe Blanca. They’re most known for their Siphon coffee which I unfortunately did not remember to try. Instead, I ordered a plain normal latte and a cheesecake.

Now, I’m not cheesecake expert but I’m definitely a cheesecake lover. I got myself a mint chocolate cheesecake. It was extremely delicious. It was a little more cake than I prefer (the base was an actual chocolate cake and yes, cake, not brownie) and not as much cheese as I’d like. Still, very good.

I have a very love-hate relationship with lattes. Some lattes are great. All lattes will leave me with an upset stomach, which I somehow manage to forget every time I order one. This latte was simply okay. I don’t really know what I would expect otherwise. But it was pretty good.

The actual space is great. The atmosphere is pretty chill. The tables are long and huge which is great for big groups or activities like paint night or Meetups. There’s also spaces for individuals as well which are nice and isolated. I gotta give props for the music selection, I distinctly heard Joanna Wang playing at one point, Wild World is my guess.

My only hitch was I had no idea where to put my dirty dishes. I ended up putting it in a tub neear their counter. I hope that’s the right place to put them. I even turned to Google Images for assistance on the layout of the place. But that part of my visit is just the social anxiety talking.


Book Blogger Hop #14

Book Blogger Hop is a weekly meme run by Coffee Addicted Writer. Every Friday, a question is posted for the book blog community to discuss. This week’s question is…

If you could meet one author, dead or alive, who would it be? Submitted by Kristin @ Lukten av Trykksverte

I am in love with the Brontë sisters. Their lives intrigue me a great deal and the sense of mystery surrounding them is too much for me to take at times. There are days when I spend hours researching and reading about their lives, despite most of the information being repeated.

It’s hard for me to pick just one of the sisters but I just might have to choose Charlotte. I admire her works the most. Maybe it’s because she published the most books out of her sisters that I prefer he works. That doesn’t absolve the fact that I also would love to pick at her brain and learn about her life.

I’m not even sure what I would ask. I just would love to be in the prescence of an incredibly creative mind. She has led a romantic life that I almost envy. Yes, I envy tragically romantic lives such as hers.

But I think the day should be spent in her beloved moorlands. A picnic, if possible. We’d eat and drink while looking out on the desolate land. Maybe we’d talk about her childhood, the stories that she never managed to write, her sisters and her brother, or the regrets she has had in her life. Or maybe we’d just sit in silence and take in the view.


FO #5: My First Granny Square

My previous FO was part of the March National Crochet Month and this one is no different. Except this event is a charity run. This square will be going to a charity to be part of a blanket! Different squares from different people will all be sewn together. I think it’s a cool joint effort!

It took me a swatch to get the hang of making a granny square. Thankfully the process is straightforward. It’s quite relaxing to do! I would love to get rid of my leftover yarn from the MCAL.


Book Review: The Birthday of the World and Other Stories by Ursula K. Le Guin

For more than four decades, Ursula K. Le Guin has enthralled readers with her imagination, clarity, and moral vision. The recipient of numerous literary prizes, including the National Book Award, the Kafka Award, and five Hugo and five Nebula Awards, this renowned writer has, in each story and novel, created a provocative, ever-evolving universe filled with diverse worlds and rich characters reminiscent of our earthly selves.

Now, in The Birthday of the World, this gifted artist returns to these worlds in eight brilliant short works, including a never-before-published novella, each of which probes the essence of humanity. Here are stories that explore complex social interactions and troublesome issues of gender and sex; that define and defy notions of personal relationships and of society itself; that examine loyalty, survival, and introversion; that bring to light the vicissitudes of slavery and the meaning of transformation, religion, and history.

The first six tales in this spectacular volume are set in the author’s signature world of the Ekumen, “my pseudo-coherent universe with holes in the elbows,” as Le Guin describes it — a world made familiar in her award-winning novel The Left Hand of Darkness. The seventh, title story was hailed by Publishers Weekly as “remarkable . . . a standout.” The final offering in the collection, Paradises Lost, is a mesmerizing novella of space exploration and the pursuit of happiness.In her foreword, Ursula K. Le Guin writes, “to create difference-to establish strangeness-then to let the fiery arc of human emotion leap and close the gap: this acrobatics of the imagination fascinates and satisfies me as noother.” In The Birthday of the World, this gifted literary acrobat exhibits a dazzling array of skills that will fascinate and satisfy us all.

I have found a new favourite author in Ursula K. Le Guin. I first read her work, “A Fisherman of the Inland Sea” which piqued my curiosity and I kept searching for her books until now. “The Birthday of the World and Other Stories” is not so different from the book I first read by this author. They are both collections of short stories and even feature some of the same planets. Somehow, I did not tire of the universe that Le Guin has created. There was always something new to learn about a planet or a species, even if I had already read about them before.

While her universe isn’t as carefully crafted as one would think (her prologue discusses this), there is no denying the fact that her universe is extremely immersive. I could get lost in the lore and the people in it. Her characters, although many of them alien, are very understandable. Though their customs may be different, it was still generally easy to empathize with their specific alien problems. Everything is so believable and feels very real. Not once was I pulled out of my suspense of belief.

The stories were very memorable as well. Each culture was so distinct that I found it hard to mix up stories. I will admit that some of my favourite stories are the ones about the people of O and their complex relationship structures. However, my favourite story from this collection is without a doubt the very last story.

Maybe I’m being a little bit egocentric because it’s a story about us humans directly but I found it to be a very touching experience. I envy future generations who get to travel through space and I am always in awe of future generations learning about the past and how they would think of our current ways of thinking. Still, there’s a relationship element in addition to all the nitty gritty sci fi that made my eyes water towards the end.

All in all, I would travel in Ursula K. le Guin’s universes again. Her worlds are a world builders wet dream. Thank goodness I have found Ursula K. le Guin.


TIL: How to Set Up Virtual Hosts on Apache

Create a virtual host configuration file site-name.conf for the site:

sudo vim /etc/apache2/sites-available/site-name.conf

Inside the file:

<VirtualHost *:80>
    ServerAdmin email
    ServerName domain name
    ServerAlias domain name
    DocumentRoot path to folder no slash at the end
    ErrorLog path to error log
    CustomLog path to access log

    <Directory />
        Options FollowSymLinks
        AllowOverride All

Add the site to the host file:

sudo vim /etc/hosts

Inside the file: localhost.localdomain localhost stashofyarn

Enable the site:

sudo a2ensite site-name.conf

Reload the Apache service in sudo mode:

sudo service apache2 reload