Book Review- Picnic in the Storm by Yukiko Motoya

Book Review- Picnic in the Storm by Yukiko Motoya

* Contains no plot spoilers Japanese author Yukiko Motoya’s collection of short stories have a definitive style and are matched with substance. It’s obvious that she gets a bit of inspiration from Murakami’s magic realism style, although seen through Yukiko’s lens, the world is from a woman’s perspective. Her stories seem to feature unremarkable everyday…

Ryoan-Ji zen garden in Arashiyama, Kyoto. Content Catnip 2018 www.contentcatnip.com

Jisei: Haunting Japanese death poems from history

Japan has a long history of jisei, or death poems. Jisei is the “farewell poem to life.” These poems were written by literate people, often monks, royalty or courtiers just before their death.  A Jisei from Prince Otsu in 686 BC is one of the earliest recorded death poems. Not all death poems are written…

Every picture tells a story: The library made of gigantic books

The book blogger confessions tag

I saw this tag at the wonderful book blog by Diana Ideas on Papyrus.  I simply had to do this book tagging exercise, even though this apparently happened AGES ago. Still, it's a very cool and fun idea. So here are some books that have imprinted themselves onto my soul. Please share the love and do…

Mark Ryden's gloriously uncanny paintings

Ancient word of the day: Uncanny

The ancient word of the day is Uncanny. This is the feeling of encountering a landscape, person or object that is both frightening and unsettlingly dissonant. Freud coined a similar word for this “unheimlich”— which is to say, eerie and both homely and unhomely. I'm sure you would be able to recall some uncanny encounters,…

Book Review: The Heading Dog That Split in Half by Brown and Tait

Book Review: The Heading Dog That Split in Half by Brown and Tait

Aotearoa has a rich and varied history of folk legends and urban myths in addition to the rich history of Maori myth and legend. The Heading Dog Who Split in Half collects these half-realised dreams together with stunningly beautiful graphics. This book makes for engaging and captivating reading experience for readers of all ages. The…

Helen Keller's Fierce Friendships and Bold Legacy

Helen Keller’s Fierce Friendships and Bold Legacy

Helen Keller was not just some blind lass from the last century. She was a fierce socialist, pacifist, author and sufragette who believed in birth control, workers rights and women's rights. The first blind person to complete a Bachelor's Degree, she was a bold trailblazer with a sweet nature. "I seldom think about my limitations,…

Seven reasons why it's great to be an introvert and having introverted friends

Seven reasons why it’s great to be an introvert and having introverted friends

Many of us are introverts but are in denial about this and trying fervently to be extroverted, pushing ourselves to exhaustion trying to make small talk about bullshit that doesn't matter, often dealing with obnoxious people who have loud voices and often (but not always) boring and generic thoughts on the world. Here's a list…

Adventures on the Isle of Skye

Franz Kafka on reading books

A book must be the axe to crack open the frozen sea within us. We need books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves. We need books like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. Five Creepy Islands in…

Book Review – South of the Border, West of the Sun by Haruki Murakami

*Contains no spoilers This is a slim book. In little more than 200 pages you are able to sink into a well-rounded and thoroughly immersive story. In the hands of a less-skilled writer, this would be impossible. For Murakami though, 200 pages is more than enough to captivate and absorb. Big in scope, the story…

I bought this lovely book in Tokyo a month ago and they wrapped it up as though it were made of gold, in its lovely wrapping paper.

Book Review – Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami

* Contains no plot spoilers This has to be my favourite Murakami novel so far. Although I’m not even half way through his oeuvre.  The plot is a compelling and slow unravelling of two separate strands. The first strand is the 15 year old Kafka Tamura, a teen runaway who takes refuge in a remote…

Ancient word of the day: hedgehog

Ancient word of the day: Hedgehog

The ancient word for today is hedgehog Erinaceus europaeus. In the Middle Ages, writers didn't make reference to hedgehogs, but to urchins. A term still favoured in some English dialects. It's also associated with the sea urchin, which is literally a sea hedgehog. The word urchin came over to England with the Norman invasion and…

Te Ao Maori and the aesthetics of cosiness Featured

An indepth exploration of the aesthetics of cosiness

There’s a lovely subreddit I recently found called Cosy Places, which calls for people to submit their log cabins, hideaways and cosy loungerooms. This is a veritable treasure trove of different ideas for cosiness. Someone even parsed the photo content in the subreddit and came up with the recipe and criteria that make up a…

Book Review: Life in a Medieval Castle

Book Review: Life in a Medieval Castle by Frances and Joseph Gies

Life in a Medieval Castle is one of a series of compelling historical reference books written by acclaimed husband and wife historians Frances and Joseph Gies in the 1970's. Life in a Medieval Castle (along with companion books Life in a Medieval Village and Life in a Medival City) were re-released in 205 under the weight…

Book Review: In Order to Live by Yeonmi Park

Book Review: In Order to Live by Yeonmi Park

Yeonmi Park has to be the bravest girl/woman in the world. She was born in the North Korean city of Hyesan which is separated by a river to the Chinese border and at the age of 13, she boldly and bravely managed to escape from there and gain her freedom. Yeonmi Park’s autobiography written at the…

Book Review: She Rises by Kate Worsley

Book Review: She Rises by Kate Worsley

*Contains no spoilers. She Rises is an erotic, sea-faring adventure by debut novelist Kate Worsley. Under the tutelage of mentor and maven of the historical novel Sarah Waters, Kate Worsley has created a beautifully sculpted jewel of a novel set in an Essex fishing village in 1740. A word to the wise, the book is…