Travel: A winter afternoon of contemplation in Queenstown

Ancient Word of the Day: Chrysalism

Chrysalism The strange and cosy combination of tranquillity and protectedness experienced when safely indoors as a thunderstorm breaks overhead. The sensation of warmth and well-being induced by listening to waves of rain pattering onto the roof. Originally coined by the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows.   

Travel: Eileann Donan Castle, Kyle of Lochalsh, Scotland. Copyright Content Catnip 2010

Ancient Word of the Day: Kawaakari

Kawaakari (Japanese) The glow of a river or stream in darkness or dusk, the gleaming surface of a shadowed river (Japanese 川明かり). Kawaakari can refer to the reflection of the moonlight off flowing water, or the gleam of late sun at dusk. Obumbro (Latin) To shadow over and over: to make dark with shadow; to…

What do the longest living people in the world have in common?

Ancient Word of the Day: Rema

Rema (Shetland Scots) The mirror-calm surface of the sea on a calm day. A body of water with a surface as smooth as cream. Comes from the Scots word "reyme", meaning "cream"). Rjómalogn (Icelandic) Cream-calm, used to denote  profoundly tranquil weather or sea. Arafin (Welsh) Calm or slow weather in Welsh. blikkstille./ blekkstille (Norwegian) A…

11 Archaic Words That Deserve Full Revival

Here are eleven words that I have collected in much the same way as other people collect smooth stones from a riverbed or iridescent shells from a beach. With so many words and shells floating around, how can you be sure that you have the prettiest ones? Here are eleven of my favourite ancient words,…

Book Review: Yoga for People Who Can’t Be Bothered To Do It by Geoff Dyer

Book Review: Yoga for People Who Can’t Be Bothered To Do It by Geoff Dyer

In this travel memoir by novelist Geoff Dyer  I read this book waiting to be immersed into the world of the travel. Although sadly I found the result rather disappointing to be honest. He is a great writer don’t get me wrong - I loved his novel Paris, Trance in the past. This was a…

Ancient Word of the Day: Hibernal

Ancient word of the day: Flukra

As the southern hemisphere turns now towards the colder months we are all finding comfort into our nests and getting cosy for the winter. In New Zealand and the southern parts of Australia we are experiencing snow in the alpine regions. So it seems appropriate now to talk about the many ancient words for snow.…

he Act of Love by Howard Jacobson

Book Review: The Act of Love by Howard Jacobson

Written in a highly addictive confessional style, The Act of Love by Howard Jacobson traces the inner life of London antiquarian bookseller and closet sexual pervert Felix Quinn. In this intense novel, Felix takes the reader to the edge of sexual adventure. This is a strange romp in the mind of a guy who cannot…

Book Review: We Are Not Ourselves by Mathew Thomas

Book Review: We Are Not Ourselves by Mathew Thomas

We Are Not Ourselves is the story of an Irish-American family, and the life of the protagonist Eileen Tumulty, which is shaped largely by her marriage to academic Edmund Leary and son Connell. Eileen comes from a hard-drinking, hard-living Irish working-class background. As a child she’s scarred by alcoholism and attempts throughout the book to…

Book Review: The Book That Takes Its Time, An Unhurried Adventure in Mindfulness

Book Review: The Book That Takes Its Time, An Unhurried Adventure in Mindfulness

Part workbook, part guide and part creative journal, The Book That Takes Its Time, An Unhurried Adventure in Mindfulness is a hardcover containing paper-based goodies, such as booklets, postcards and whimsical little notes you can write to yourself.  https://vimeo.com/240654543 Written by Irene Smit and Astrid Van Der Hulst, the creative directors of cult creative magazine…

Book Review: The Domesticated Brain by Bruce Hood

Book Review: The Domesticated Brain by Bruce Hood

This is a riveting read from one of the leading lights of modern psychology, Bruce Hood of the University of Bristol. The book’s main premise is that 20,000 years ago our brains were 10% larger than what they are today. And that the reason for this is primarily the influence of social practices, culture and…

Book Review: A Death in the Family by Karl Ove Knausgaard

Book Review: A Death in the Family by Karl Ove Knausgaard

* No plot spoilers in this review  A Death in the Family is Book 1 of the My Struggle six part autobiography of Karl Ove Knausgaard. This mammoth six part memoir really grabs a hold to the marrow of his family, friends and sexual relationships - the blood and bone. A Death in the Family…

Book Review: Island of Wings by Karin Altenberg https://wp.me/p41CQf-KRb

Book Review: Island of Wings by Karin Altenberg

*Contains no spoilers Born and brought up in Sweden, Karin Altenberg moved to Britain to study in 1996. She holds a PhD in Archaeology and is currently senior advisor to the Swedish National Heritage Board and a Fellow of the Linnean Society of London. Island of Wings is her first novel. It's the dazzling and…

Book Review: The Signature of all things by Elizabeth Gilbert

Book Review: The Signature of All Things

Elizabeth Gilbert is best known for her world-wide best-selling autobiography Eat Pray Love which was about her own journey of self-discovery, spirituality and travel. This girl’s own adventure was  music to the ears of many young women who were already embarking on the same path as Gilbert. This is Gilbert’s first fictional novel and one…

Book Review: Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn

Book Review: Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn

Jon Kabat Zinn is a Professor Emeritus of Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and is the founder of a stress reduction technique called MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction), which is used in hospitals and medical centres throughout the world. He is a student of Thich Nhat Hanh and a life-long teacher and…

Book Review: A Man Called Ove

Book Review: A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman

Another book from Scandinavia this time from debut novelist Fredrick Backman. Originally in Swedish, A Man Called Ove is a universally appealing narrative about a curmudgeonly old man who seems to encounter infuriating people and annoying situations at every turn, when all he wants is to be left in peace. Since being published, A Man…

Book Review: Boyhood Island by Karl Ove Knausgaard

Book Review: A Man in Love by Karl Ove Knausgaard

Book Two of the Min Kemp (My Struggle) in the series of six autobiographical volumes is possibly the least adventurous of his stories although still no less compelling and compulsively readable as the other ones. If you are unfamiliar with Karl Ove Knausgaard then you must have been living under a rock. He has been…

Book Review: Boyhood Island by Karl Ove Knausgaard

Book Review: Boyhood Island by Karl Ove Knausgaard

Boyhood Island is a no nonsense autobiographical tale of a boy called Karl Ove Knausgaard, aged 6-13 years old and his everyday adventures living and growing on the island of Tromøya, Norway in the late 70's. This is a strange and unusual novel in that it doesn’t follow traditional novelistic or storytelling conventions. It’s a meandering…

Book reviews

Book Review: A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

Hi, my name is Nao. I am a time being. Do you know what a time being is? Well if you give me a moment, I will tell you. A time being is someone who lives in time, and that means you, and me and every one of us who is, or ever was, or…

Book Review: His Bloody Project by Graeme MacRae Burnet

His Bloody Project by author Graeme Macrae Burnet recounts the story of the triple murder and subsequent trial of accused 17 year old crofter Roderick McRae, who brutally slays three people in his remote village in 1896. Roderick lives with his family in a tiny croft on a property and land owned by the laird. His…

One Year Wiser by Mike Medaglia http://mikemedaglia.com/

Book Review: One Year Wiser by Mike Medaglia

Imagine if you will, a delightful and timeless book of wisdom that fits into the palm of the hand or your handbag. A hardback that looks at first inconspicuous and unimportant. And yet on opening this book you will unlock a treasury of wisdom that's beautifully illustrated on high quality paper. One Year Wiser by…