Archive | March 10, 2013

Not Another Greek Salad by Ann Rickard

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I really enjoyed Rickard’s first travel book, Not Another Book About Italy. But this one failed to grab me.

I found it tedious. There were a few scenes that made me want to travel to Greece. But in the main the book didn’t make Greece appear in the slightest a pleasant place to visit.

Take a sample of the descriptions of food: “We order lamb with red wine and chickpeas, which just tastes like the most ordinary stew with a can of chick peas thrown in, and then we go for the house speciality of chickpea balls, little fried things that don’t taste of much at all.”

The descriptions of service are also off putting: “we find … outstandingly awful food and hostile service.”

There’s more. But perhaps it is Rickard’s plan to keep the tourist numbers down so she can have the place herself? Maybe I just read it too soon after her first book?

Today’s decluttered items = assorted junk from my bedside table. How much junk can one tiny bedside table hold? I’ve tidied and decluttered the two drawers but there is also a little shelf thing, which I am embarrassed to say hold much more than the bits I am tossing today – receipts, business cards, a plastic bag, packaging.

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My Experimental Life by A.J. Jacobs

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I love this book! The whole concept of reinventing, improving yourself; trying a new way of living, a new way of viewing things; this has been the premise of my blog.

Jacobs doesn’t just dip his toe into something. He lives it. For a month.

And his account of his experiences, his reflections and his analysis are humorous, witty and philosophical. It’s very personal (using everything in his life – his wife, his kids included) and at the same time very universal. Jacobs researches his topics and presents reasoned arguments with conflicting viewpoints.

I laughed. But I also learnt a lot. About topics as varied as cognitive bias and George Washington and mindfulness.

Brilliant read!

Today’s decluttered items = I bought a lovely set of Wedgwood dinner setting a few years ago. I have kept them packed away, whether from laziness, the old chestnut of “keeping them for good” or no room in the cupboard, I don’t know. But I have two sets of dinner plates that I really don’t like. Fat, thick crockery. They were Mr Sans and were bought cheaply. Why have I hung onto them? Ugly things, they are! Well, they still do their job. That is, they are plates and hold food. I do hate throwing things which are still useable into the bin. But why angst over plates? Out with the old, ugly ones that give me no joy. In with the attractive ones. If they break or fade in the dishwasher, at least they were used and not cluttering up the spare room. One set were already tossed in the bin before I remembered to take a photo. This is the other lot. And there is only three among this lot, so we couldn’t set the table with matching plates anyway. Not a crime I know. But we are not students living in shared accommodation. We own nice plates, so why not unpack them, put them in the kitchen and use them?

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