Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Summer Book Haul


Hello everyone, first of all I would like to wish you Eid Mubarak. Today I have a Summer Book Haul for you. First, I thought I would just number them as book haul #1 etc. but after thinking about it, they might be to frequent and it would reach up to #1267561234343 and that would be embarrassing right? 


The first book is the book I am MOST excited about because, since the first time I've heard about it, I just knew I wanted it immediately. A book within a book with objects.... oh my my. The idea is not only brilliant but I also want to marry the authors for making it real. Without further or due, it is S. or Ship of Thesus by J.J. Abrahams and Doug Dorsi. 



It even looks like a borrowed library book (!!!!!)



The book itself on the outside is gorgeous and as you can see it has writings as if it was written with a pen onto it. 



It has objects placed inside it such as postcards, letters etc. (which is brilliaaaaant)



The last two pictures I took from google to show you the objects a bit more clearly. I didn't want to remove mine from the pages they are at because I think they are relevant to the page/event in that part of the book.



I also got Attachments by Rainbow Rowell because I loved both Fangirl and Eleanor and Park. I plan to read the rest of her books now. 


I also got Illumination Night by Alice Hoffman because she is one of my all time favorite authors and her books haunt and captivate me in a way that no other author does. 

Also, could we appreciate my improving photography skills?

Love, 
Alya

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Alice in Wonderland Marathon

I don't know about you but I like reading books that are kind of relevant back to back. A couple of months back I discovered the book Splintered which is based on Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. I really liked the idea and found it quite interesting. I also, in general, just want to read more classics because I do find myself enjoying most of them. Thus, since I haven't read the original Alice in Wonderland book, I decided to read it and then read Splintered. I got busy from school and when I saw Alice's Adventures in Wonderland penguin cloth-bound classic it had a very long introduction. I thought it needed a lot of focus, so I just waited until summer started. So today I am going to review to you both those books and tell you what I think of them.

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll:

 I absolutely love the penguin cloth-bound editions however, I do have some remarks that might interest you. First of all the book is not really comfortable while reading. My fingers did hurt me while reading the book from the pressure of the spine holding the pages too closely. I did bend the spine several times and then it became fine. If this is an issue for you, you might want to check before purchasing the book. For me after making the spine less hard, it was just fine.


I also kept on scratching the print without noticing while reading. It did bother me at first, but I still think I'd continue buying some more of those editions. Maybe I am clumsy but I thought I'd just point it out.

Rating: ★★★

I do not think a synopsis is needed. 

Before starting of the book I was excited, because I do like the Alice in Wonderland story. However, I do honestly think that the introduction made this book even better. It talked about Charles Lutwidge Dodgson a.k.a. Lewis Carroll and the reason why he wrote the book, how it started, a lot of background information about him that definitely startled me and I found very interesting. As well as explanation and analysis of both texts. I am not sure about other classic editions but I have to say this is one of the best introductions I've read- as I usually find them boring and skim through them hastily or skip them. It just covered exactly what I wanted to find out in intricate detail without being boring. In addition, it had references in the back explaining it as you read the stories.

Moving on to the actual story, I loved it. I loved the way Carroll described each character and developed them. I did make my own analysis at times; which I think is nice considering how heavily annotated it was, you still could make your own assumptions. I loved how the same illustrations were kept from the illustrations Carroll himself chose.

What I also enjoyed was the original text in the end of the book, which was only half the number of pages and much less scenes than the one Carroll published later on. It was very interesting how important characters such as the Mad Hatter were not included in the main script. I think the illustrations in the main script were Carroll's (although I am not sure).

I read Through the Looking-Glass as well and I loved it as much as Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. I do agree with the introduction, it is much darker and gloomy(er) than Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. It was to read a sequel to it as I couldn't have enough of only one.

I cannot recommend this book enough, especially this edition because of the introduction. I am not quite sure if all the other cloth-bound editions have excellent introductions and references, but if they do I might have to get them all.

If you're wondering the notes and introduction were written by Hugh Haughton.

Splintered by H. G. Howard:


The book cover is GORGEOUS.

Rating: ★★★
Synopsis: This stunning debut captures the grotesque madness of a mystical under-land, as well as a girl’s pangs of first love and independence. Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.

When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.



As I mentioned earlier, when I heard about this book I was very intrigued and I couldn't wait to get my hands on one. I would not talk much about the plot because I would give it away however, I find the plot excellent. The world and Howard's twist on wonderland's characters, the idea is very well developed and I personally think it is very smart. I liked the fact that she is called Alyssa and her mom is called Alison, as they are all names similar to Alice.

I know you're wondering why did I rate it three stars when I praised it so much. Well... almost every single page displayed cheesy romance. The main character Alyssa is displayed as weak, innocent, driven by blind emotion. Jeb is over protective treating her as something fragile that would break, I had to stop several times to compose myself and stop my eyeballs from falling out of my sockets. The fact that she would be ashamed of acting "wild" and not expecting herself of being able to get by on her own annoys me. I just don't like the way the characters are portrayed. The romance is too cheesy for me and completely not my type.

However, this did not stop me from enjoying the plot. As much as I found it annoying, I still enjoyed the book a lot. That is why I am going ahead and I will read the rest of the books. I have also read the novella A Moth in the Mirror which I enjoyed the insight that it gave me. The second book is out already but the third book would be out in 2015. I just hope that the romance wouldn't get too ridiculous and the plot will continue on being good, otherwise I don't think I'll continue reading. 

Happy Reading!
Alya 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Tropical Salad


Since its Ramadan, Fox started airing a lot of Master Chef Australia episodes as well as other cooking TV shows (that are no where near as good). I remember one day I was too tired to do anything so I just laid down onto the sofa and flicked through the channels. Nothing interesting was on. But then I saw Master Chef and it was the only decent-looking thing among the rest of the TV crap. 

I really enjoyed that episode I saw. It was one of the firsts of that season. Ever since I have been watching it everyday. I would be upset if I missed out on an episode or if I person I was rooting for left the show. 

The salad I present today is inspired from Vern one of the contestants of Master Chef, whom sadly was eliminated. What I really like about him is that he is never afraid of taking risks and cooking something un-expected. Sometimes it would work and other times it wont, but that is the beauty of it. Once you whip up that delicious peculiar dish it captures people and you yourself have made something that others wouldn't think of. It makes you proud and happy.

Here is how this salad was created: I was hungry, I ate a lot of junk food so I wanted to eat something healthy- preferably some greens because I didn't have any for futoor. I only had a little lettuce left and I didn't want to have tomatoes in my salad. I don't know why I thought the orange would make a great companion for the lettuce and that's how it started. The rest of the ingredients I chose to be complementary to the orange. As well as, I wanted to incorporate different textures and flavors to balance the dish (terms I have heard multiple times on the show, as it what they look for to make a dish perfect). You get the sweetness of the orange, the crunchy-saltiness of the nut, the creaminess of the cheese and the balancing element: the lettuce along with the sour/sweet easy-to-make dressing. 


I know the picture quality is bad and its dark, but I promise it looked nicer. I didn't have time to take proper pictures because my sister wanted to try it before heading out and I was hungry.

Ingredients:
-Lettuce 
-Orange
-Nut: I don't know what its called, its like a mini almond that tastes salty with tinges of sweet. Let me know what its called, you can use any type of nut you have
-Kiri cheese

Dressing:
-Thick pomegranate extract
-Balsamic vinegar 
-Olive oil

Its very simple :-) For 1 table spoon of pomegranate extract you add 2 table spoons of balsamic vinegar and 2 table spoons of olive oil. Just add as much as you require but make sure the olive oil and balsamic vinegar is double the amount of pomegranate extract. Also add a dash of water so that it would make it easier for the dressing to be poured. If you don't like it very sour add more olive oil and less vinegar.

and Voila!
I will sure be making this salad more often. I look forward to creating more salads using other fruits and less usual components than what I would typically use. 

Until next time,
Alya 


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Rory Gilmore's Book List

Picture from Google

I used to watch Gilmore Girls a lot and I remember just falling in love with Rory. Everything about her personality just makes me love her even more. Today I came across a blog that mentions her reading challenge, I am not going to make the challenge but I thought it would be nice to see how many books we both have read. 

This list basically shows the books she was seen reading or that she had mentioned throughout the show.

List is taken from this blog:
  1. 1984 by George Orwell
  2. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  3. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll 
  4. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
  5. An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser
  6. Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
  7. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  8. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
  9. Archidamian War by Donald Kagan
  10. The Art of Fiction by Henry James
  11. The Art of War by Sun Tzu
  12. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
  13. Atonement by Ian McEwan
  14. Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy
  15. The Awakening by Kate Chopin
  16. Babe by Dick King-Smith
  17. Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women by Susan Faludi
  18. Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie
  19. Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
  20. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath 
  21. Beloved by Toni Morrison
  22. Beowulf: A New Verse Translation by Seamus Heaney
  23. The Bhagava Gita
  24. The Bielski Brothers: The True Story of Three Men Who Defied the Nazis, Built a Village in the Forest, and Saved 1,200 Jews by Peter Duffy
  25. Bitch in Praise of Difficult Women by Elizabeth Wurtzel
  26. A Bolt from the Blue and Other Essays by Mary McCarthy
  27. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  28. Brick Lane by Monica Ali
  29. Bridgadoon by Alan Jay Lerner
  30. Candide by Voltaire 
  31. The Canterbury Tales by Chaucer
  32. Carrie by Stephen King
  33. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
  34. The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger 
  35. Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
  36. The Children’s Hour by Lillian Hellman
  37. Christine by Stephen King
  38. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens 
  39. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
  40. The Code of the Woosters by P.G. Wodehouse
  41. The Collected Short Stories by Eudora Welty
  42. The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty by Eudora Welty
  43. A Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare
  44. Complete Novels by Dawn Powell
  45. The Complete Poems by Anne Sexton
  46. Complete Stories by Dorothy Parker
  47. A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
  48. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas père
  49. Cousin Bette by Honor’e de Balzac
  50. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  51. The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber 
  52. The Crucible by Arthur Miller
  53. Cujo by Stephen King
  54. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
  55. Daisy Miller by Henry James 
  56. Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende
  57. David and Lisa by Dr Theodore Issac Rubin M.D
  58. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
  59. The Da Vinci -Code by Dan Brown 
  60. Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol
  61. Demons by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  62. Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
  63. Deenie by Judy Blume
  64. The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson
  65. The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band by Tommy Lee, Vince Neil, Mick Mars and Nikki Sixx
  66. The Divine Comedy by Dante
  67. The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells
  68. Don Quijote by Cervantes
  69. Driving Miss Daisy by Alfred Uhrv
  70. Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson 
  71. Edgar Allan Poe: Complete Tales & Poems by Edgar Allan Poe
  72. Eleanor Roosevelt by Blanche Wiesen Cook
  73. The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe
  74. Ella Minnow Pea: A Novel in Letters by Mark Dunn
  75. Eloise by Kay Thompson
  76. Emily the Strange by Roger Reger
  77. Emma by Jane Austen 
  78. Empire Falls by Richard Russo
  79. Encyclopedia Brown: Boy Detective by Donald J. Sobol
  80. Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
  81. Ethics by Spinoza
  82. Europe through the Back Door, 2003 by Rick Steves
  83. Eva Luna by Isabel Allende
  84. Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer
  85. Extravagance by Gary Krist
  86. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury 
  87. Fahrenheit 9/11 by Michael Moore
  88. The Fall of the Athenian Empire by Donald Kagan
  89. Fat Land: How Americans Became the Fattest People in the World by Greg Critser
  90. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson
  91. The Fellowship of the Ring: Book 1 of The Lord of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien
  92. Fiddler on the Roof by Joseph Stein
  93. The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom 
  94. Finnegan’s Wake by James Joyce
  95. Fletch by Gregory McDonald
  96. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
  97. The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem
  98. The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
  99. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  100. Franny and Zooey by J. D. Salinger
  101. Freaky Friday by Mary Rodgers
  102. Galapagos by Kurt Vonnegut
  103. Gender Trouble by Judith Butler
  104. George W. Bushism: The Slate Book of the Accidental Wit and Wisdom of our 43rd President by Jacob Weisberg
  105. Gidget by Fredrick Kohner
  106. Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen
  107. The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels
  108. The Godfather: Book 1 by Mario Puzo
  109. The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy – started and not finished
  110. Goldilocks and the Three Bears by Alvin Granowsky
  111. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell – on my book pile
  112. The Good Soldier by Ford Maddox Ford
  113. The Gospel According to Judy Bloom
  114. The Graduate by Charles Webb
  115. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  116. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald 
  117. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
  118. The Group by Mary McCarthy
  119. Hamlet by William Shakespeare
  120. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling 
  121. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling 
  122. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers
  123. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad (TBR)
  124. Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders by Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry (TBR)
  125. Henry IV, part I by William Shakespeare
  126. Henry IV, part II by William Shakespeare
  127. Henry V by William Shakespeare
  128. High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
  129. The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon
  130. Holidays on Ice: Stories by David Sedaris
  131. The Holy Barbarians by Lawrence Lipton
  132. House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III (Lpr)
  133. The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende
  134. How to Breathe Underwater by Julie Orringer
  135. How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
  136. How the Light Gets in by M. J. Hyland
  137. Howl by Allen Gingsburg
  138. The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo
  139. The Iliad by Homer
  140. I’m with the Band by Pamela des Barres
  141. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
  142. Inherit the Wind by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee
  143. Iron Weed by William J. Kennedy
  144. It Takes a Village by Hillary Clinton
  145. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë 
  146. The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
  147. Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare
  148. The Jumping Frog by Mark Twain
  149. The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
  150. Just a Couple of Days by Tony Vigorito
  151. The Kitchen Boy: A Novel of the Last Tsar by Robert Alexander
  152. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini 
  153. Lady Chatterleys’ Lover by D. H. Lawrence
  154. The Last Empire: Essays 1992-2000 by Gore Vidal
  155. Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
  156. The Legend of Bagger Vance by Steven Pressfield
  157. Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis
  158. Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke
  159. Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them by Al Franken
  160. Life of Pi by Yann Martel
  161. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
  162. Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens
  163. The Little Locksmith by Katharine Butler Hathaway
  164. The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen
  165. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott 
  166. Living History by Hillary Rodham Clinton
  167. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  168. The Lottery: And Other Stories by Shirley Jackson
  169. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold – read
  170. The Love Story by Erich Segal
  171. Macbeth by William Shakespeare 
  172. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
  173. The Manticore by Robertson Davies
  174. Marathon Man by William Goldman
  175. The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
  176. Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter by Simone de Beauvoir
  177. Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman by William Tecumseh Sherman
  178. Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
  179. The Meaning of Consuelo by Judith Ortiz Cofer
  180. Mencken’s Chrestomathy by H. R. Mencken
  181. The Merry Wives of Windsro by William Shakespeare
  182. The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
  183. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
  184. The Miracle Worker by William Gibson
  185. Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  186. The Mojo Collection: The Ultimate Music Companion by Jim Irvin
  187. Moliere: A Biography by Hobart Chatfield Taylor
  188. A Monetary History of the United States by Milton Friedman
  189. Monsieur Proust by Celeste Albaret
  190. A Month Of Sundays: Searching For The Spirit And My Sister by Julie Mars
  191. A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
  192. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
  193. Mutiny on the Bounty by Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall
  194. My Lai 4: A Report on the Massacre and It’s Aftermath by Seymour M. Hersh
  195. My Life as Author and Editor by H. R. Mencken
  196. My Life in Orange: Growing Up with the Guru by Tim Guest
  197. My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult 
  198. The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer
  199. The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
  200. The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
  201. The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin
  202. Nervous System: Or, Losing My Mind in Literature by Jan Lars Jensen
  203. New Poems of Emily Dickinson by Emily Dickinson
  204. The New Way Things Work by David Macaulay
  205. Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich
  206. Night by Elie Wiesel
  207. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen – read
  208. The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism by William E. Cain, Laurie A. Finke, Barbara E. Johnson, John P. McGowan
  209. Novels 1930-1942: Dance Night/Come Back to Sorrento, Turn, Magic Wheel/Angels on Toast/A Time to be Born by Dawn Powell
  210. Notes of a Dirty Old Man by Charles Bukowski
  211. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  212. Old School by Tobias Wolff
  213. Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
  214. On the Road by Jack Kerouac
  215. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch by Alexander Solzhenitsyn
  216. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
  217. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  218. The Opposite of Fate: Memories of a Writing Life by Amy Tan
  219. Oracle Night by Paul Auster
  220. Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
  221. Othello by Shakespeare – read
  222. Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens
  223. The Outbreak of the Peloponnesian War by Donald Kagan
  224. Out of Africa by Isac Dineson
  225. The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton
  226. A Passage to India by E.M. Forster
  227. The Peace of Nicias and the Sicilian Expedition by Donald Kagan
  228. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
  229. Peyton Place by Grace Metalious
  230. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
  231. Pigs at the Trough by Arianna Huffington
  232. Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi
  233. Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain
  234. The Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby 
  235. The Portable Dorothy Parker by Dorothy Parker
  236. The Portable Nietzche by Fredrich Nietzche
  237. The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O’Neill by Ron Suskind
  238. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen 
  239. Property by Valerie Martin
  240. Pushkin: A Biography by T. J. Binyon
  241. Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw
  242. Quattrocento by James Mckean
  243. A Quiet Storm by Rachel Howzell Hall
  244. Rapunzel by Grimm Brothers 
  245. The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe
  246. The Razor’s Edge by W. Somerset Maugham
  247. Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi
  248. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier 
  249. Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin
  250. The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
  251. Rescuing Patty Hearst: Memories From a Decade Gone Mad by Virginia Holman
  252. The Return of the King: The Lord of the Rings Book 3 by J. R. R. Tolkien 
  253. R Is for Ricochet by Sue Grafton
  254. Rita Hayworth by Stephen King
  255. Robert’s Rules of Order by Henry Robert
  256. Roman Fever by Edith Wharton
  257. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
  258. A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf
  259. A Room with a View by E. M. Forster
  260. Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin
  261. Sacred Time by Ursula Hegi
  262. Sanctuary by William Faulkner
  263. Savage Beauty: The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay by Nancy Milford
  264. The Scarecrow of Oz by Frank L. Baum
  265. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne 
  266. Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand
  267. The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir
  268. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd 
  269. Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette by Judith Thurman
  270. Selected Letters of Dawn Powell: 1913-1965 by Dawn Powell
  271. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen 
  272. A Separate Peace by John Knowles
  273. Several Biographies of Winston Churchill
  274. Sexus by Henry Miller
  275. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
  276. Shane by Jack Shaefer
  277. The Shining by Stephen King
  278. Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
  279. S Is for Silence by Sue Grafton
  280. Slaughter-house Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  281. Small Island by Andrea Levy 
  282. Snows of Kilimanjaro by Ernest Hemingway
  283. Snow White and Rose Red by Grimm Brothers 
  284. Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Lord and Peasant in the Making of the Modern World by Barrington Moore
  285. The Song of Names by Norman Lebrecht
  286. Song of the Simple Truth: The Complete Poems of Julia de Burgos by Julia de Burgos
  287. The Song Reader by Lisa Tucker
  288. Songbook by Nick Hornby
  289. The Sonnets by William Shakespeare
  290. Sonnets from the Portuegese by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
  291. Sophie’s Choice by William Styron
  292. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
  293. Speak, Memory by Vladimir Nabokov
  294. Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach
  295. The Story of My Life by Helen Keller
  296. A Streetcar Named Desiree by Tennessee Williams
  297. Stuart Little by E. B. White
  298. Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
  299. Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust
  300. Swimming with Giants: My Encounters with Whales, Dolphins and Seals by Anne Collett
  301. Sybil by Flora Rheta Schreiber
  302. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  303. Tender Is The Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  304. Term of Endearment by Larry McMurtry
  305. Time and Again by Jack Finney
  306. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger 
  307. To Have and Have Not by Ernest Hemingway
  308. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee 
  309. The Tragedy of Richard III by William Shakespeare
  310. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
  311. The Trial by Franz Kafka
  312. The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters by Elisabeth Robinson
  313. Truth & Beauty: A Friendship by Ann Patchett
  314. Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
  315. Ulysses by James Joyce
  316. The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath 1950-1962 by Sylvia Plath
  317. Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe – started and not finished
  318. Unless by Carol Shields
  319. Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann
  320. The Vanishing Newspaper by Philip Meyers
  321. Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray 
  322. Velvet Underground’s The Velvet Underground and Nico (Thirty Three and a Third series) by Joe Harvard
  323. The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
  324. Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett
  325. Walden by Henry David Thoreau
  326. Walt Disney’s Bambi by Felix Salten
  327. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
  328. We Owe You Nothing – Punk Planet: The Collected Interviews edited by Daniel Sinker
  329. What Colour is Your Parachute? 2005 by Richard Nelson Bolles
  330. What Happened to Baby Jane by Henry Farrell
  331. When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka
  332. Who Moved My Cheese? Spencer Johnson
  333. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf by Edward Albee 
  334. Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire 
  335. The Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum
  336. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
  337. The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
  338. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
  339. A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
I have read 33 out of 339 which is a little compared to the list however, I find it quite good. A lot of these books I actually plan on reading sometime soon so, I would do an update after some time. Additionally, through this list I can discover new books I haven't heard of. Let me know how many of the list you have read in the comment section.

Happy reading!
Alya

Friday, July 11, 2014

My Mug Collection

A while back one of my favorite people on Youtube posted a video of her mug collection, click on the link and check it out, she is really awesome. I love coffee and tea, I drink both or at least one once a day; if not more. Thus, I really appreciate mugs and I do collect them and I have been for as long as I can remember. It is sort of a requirement where in order to fully enjoy your beverage it has to also be in a nice mug that makes you smile.

That is why I thought: why don't I make a post of all my mugs and share a little story of I got it or why do I like it. If you like mugs, this would be of great interest to you. If you don't well... you might be bored.

This mug I got from my friend as a birthday present and it is massive. This is great for days you want a huge amount of coffee or tea. I use this quite often in the winter, I would drink great amount of tea to warm me up. It is a bit heavy, but still manageable. 


This mug I got a long time ago. My aunt took me and my cousins out, I can't remember why and she told us to pick one thing. Instead of picking a toy, I got this mug. It is still one of my favorites to this day. And I really appreciate mugs that you could hold onto them comfortably. 


I got this mug recently when I went to Dubai from Kinokuniya. I love it very much. I have always wanted a penguin mug. I even love the novel Wuthering Heights and so this mug is really special to me.


This mug is not for coffee or tea since it is plastic. Unless I am making ice tea or coffee. But I only use it for drinking water. If you didn't know I love Harry Potter very much and I got this from my friend when she went to the Harry Potter world. 


My aunt got me this mug from Disney Land Paris. This mug has that comfortable handle and it is small for whenever you want just a little amount of coffee or tea. I love how it looks. One of my faves but the problem is they are all my favorites.


 I don't even remember receiving this mug, I probably just stole it from someone in the house and declared it mine. Or I got it and I can't seem to remember. But it looks really nice, its big and the handle is very comfortable. 

This is another mug I've had for as long as I can remember. What I love about it is its simplicity and the spoon handle. Of course it is great do drink coffee in. It has got the second best handle.


My sister got this with her Happy Meal from Jasmis and I took it because who doesn't love Minnie?


I used to watch Pocahontas all the time when I was younger. I still have this bond with her though, ironically I barely remember the movie. I need to watch it again. I love this mug. It reminds me of my childhood. Also I love the two sides it has. It is old so it is kind of scratched. 

We have plenty of this mug at home. My mum has the whole set. I love how it looks so I would always every once in a while drink using this mug. One side has a blueish/green heart and the other has a pink one. It looks really delicate and beautiful.

Last but not least, is a recent edition to my mug collection. It is a mug with my name from my school's bookclub. It is beautiful, I wish the flowers on the side were visible. 

-And that's all folks!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Update, Rambles and Baking

Hello everyone, so a couple of days back I went grocery shopping with my mum (which is what I do whenever we have a long vacation) because I honestly enjoy picking up food I see for the first time and try it out. Even though 80% of the time I end up not liking it. I bought mocha flavored cookies fortunately, they were very tasty. I also bought chocolate chips because when its Ramadan, everyone unleashes their inner chef. I wanted to make moist, yummy, mouthwatering cookies.

Side thought because my thoughts are always scattered and I always want to include them all in my post: Today I went to Giant and I wanted to try the canned Starbucks Double Shot Vanilla Espresso; which I ended up disliking so that concludes my examples of that 80%. It just was too milky and artificial. Also I react very badly to energy drinks, I don't know what I was thinking- I thought it would taste as nice as the glass bottle frappuccino. I think the energy stimulated this post as well. 

Anywho, yesterday while my phone only contained 10% charge I hastily typed up in google soft moist cookie recipe and I came across a really nice baking blog. Here is the url. I followed up the instructions and it said that I had to refrigerate the dough for at least 2-3 hours and its preferably to 1 day. Thus, I kept it for one day. Surprisingly, I woke up today full of energy and not just laying down on the sofa all day. I took out the dough (didn't wait for it to loosen up) and forced it to warm up.

I burned the first batch because I kept it more than the required time- don't be rebellious like me and listen to the instructions, the cookies will finish the baking process outside the oven [this is mostly a note to myself]. My second batch were nicely made and cooked perfectly- if I can say so.

Proof: my little sister and cousin ate half of it (which is most of the second batch) leaving the burned ones for us.

Here is how they turned out:




They did look quite nice but the ones on the bottom had their bottoms burned badly. The top didn't burn because they don't require baking from the top (that was batch #1). And yes, we have a bright yellow and white kitchen. 

I baked those cookies around noon. I would say that my sister tasted them at sunset and said they still tasted quite good. However, when I tasted them at midnight I didn't really feel they tasted good. So they taste good fresh only I guess.

Now I am working on improving my baking skills. Lets just hope I won't get lazy or be bored and stop. There is something about baking from scratch that is quite appealing to me. But of course I do bake from a box once I am lazy.

Also I am slacking so much on my reading since I'm focusing more on reading Quran and family gatherings. Therefore, there might not be any reviews anytime soon. Or maybe there will. Who knows.

Let me know if you want me to review a book I've read and haven't in the comment section below.

Happy baking!
-Alya