Favourites of 2015 — Part One…

Hey hey 🙂

In the past six months that I have been away from the blogging world, a few things have occupied my time besides work. I have managed to get through a lot of books, so much that I surprised myself. This is a sort of favourites post where I will write about the books which I have loved and others not so much, I will also include shows that I have enjoyed amongst other things. So let’s start!

Books


— The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham

1This book I borrowed from the library and it is a classic from the 1950s. When I began to read it, I got a déjà vu feeling as I felt it was going to be too similar to The Walking Dead show and I thought it would go down the same route but I am so glad it didn’t.

So the plot of the story is as follows: Bill Masen wakes up in hospital with bandages covering his injured eyes and he has missed the most spectacular meteorite shower England has ever seen. On removing his bandages the next morning, he discovers a plague of blindness has befallen the whole world. He has to leave the city because the place he knew twenty-four hours before is now gone forever. But to survive in this post-apocalyptic world, one must survive the Triffids. The Triffids are these strange plants that appeared years ago all over the world. They can grow to over seven feet tall, they can walk and kill with one quick lash of their poisonous stingers. Now that the world is in a mess, the Triffids are taking this chance to prey on humankind.

All in all, Wyndham’s The Day of the Triffids surprised me and it gave me lots of food for thought. I found it fascinating especially reading how the society went to shambles, not long post crisis which could very easily happen today.

Noughts & Crosses Series (#1) by Malorie Blackman

Noughts & Crosses I was supposed to read the other two books in the Noughts & Crosses series but got sidetracked by the other books. I don’t think it would be right for me to review this book on its own entity, so I will review the series one I have read all of them. The thing I liked most about this book was that however contemporaneous the issues were; I believe it is the way Blackman switched them over to give them a different perspective, was what made it really clever.

— Harry Potter Series by J K Rowling

Harry Potter Series I re-read the first three Harry Potter books in the Harry Potter series. They bring back so many childhood memories, especially when I used to think that Hogwarts actually existed. 😀

So in a way it is always great to go back and familiarise myself with the books again because they were loads of things I’d forgotten. My favourite book would always have to be Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

Paper Towns by John Green

PTAs the movie was releasing this summer I really wanted to read it before it released here in the UK. I had high hopes for this book as I absolutely loved John Green’s other work but I felt the story to be too similar to ‘Looking for Alaska’ so I didn’t enjoy it.

The other problem I had with this book was the character of Margo Roth Spiegelman, I couldn’t relate to her character at all. The ending also left much to be desired. I still think John Green is a great writer but this one wasn’t up to the mark for me.

But I liked to share the one quote I loved in this book:

“It’s so hard to leave-until you leave. And then it is the easiest goddamned thing in the world…Leaving feels too good, once you leave.”

— Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor & ParkI fell in love with this book instantly, it brought back happy childhood memories; the times when I used to listen to music on my Sony Walkman, ahh those were the days. You must be thinking why I am all of a sudden talking about my childhood, tapes and music. Well, all these play a big part in the love story between Eleanor and Park. I love their first meeting in the school bus, it is quite quaint and unique.

I also love the part music plays in the story. It shows how two strangers can connect and bond, how essentially a song a break can the ice between two people whereas nowadays we listen to music as a way to ignore or shut the world out.

So totally recommend this one!

— Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover

ugly-loveAfter hearing numerous bloggers, youtubers, etc raving about this book on Twitter, so I just had to read it.

However it is full-on story about love, romance so don’t go in expecting anything else. But I have to say this; Colleen Hoover’s writing style is what sets this book apart from others. Like most authors this year, Hoover is another I have recently introduced to; so I think I’m breaking the mould a little now.

— The Mara Dyer Series by Michelle Hodkin

I could not manage to finish these series, I have to admit because the second and third books let me down majorly and I just couldn’t get back into it. Perhaps one day, when I am in the right mood I might go back and finish it. But the thing that drew me to these books originally were the unique covers, they are just AH-MAZING, beautifully done…I love them. Have a look at them below and let me know what you think?

mara-dyer-trilogy

Amazing covers!

I have to say I loved the first book, it had all the elements needed to make a story great but sad to say I was left disappointed with how bizarre the plot went and it was not believable.

— Perfect by Judith McNaught

PerfectThis is the first Judith McNaught book I have read, so I gave it a chance. I definitely felt it to be a bit of an outdated story, a little cheesy and long-winded in parts. The second half of the book particular irritated me, the story took on the typical misunderstandings plot twist and it became frustrating to read.

It could’ve been a good story; if the unnecessary dragging was cut down, the romance and cheesy lines was toned down a bit.

— Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Brave New WorldThis book was strongly recommended to me by my good friend Ana and to be honest I was a bit skeptical about reading it. But I went along with it as she was quite persistent. I admit I found it difficult to get into this book, as the first few chapters were heavy going and made it boring to read. I stuck to it and…eventually the story got interesting. I don’t like giving up on a book, but all in all if the story had not picked up (which I think it was chapter three or four) I was going to call it a day.

There are only certain times when I found myself disengaged with a book and this could be because I don’t like the writing style or the plot has become incomprehensible or beyond ridiculous.

Movie


— Far From The Madding Crowd

Far From The Madding CrowdFar From The Madding Crowd is based on the novel by Thomas Hardy by the same name and it is a classic, written in 1874. I haven’t read many classics so I am hoping to change that.

I went to see this movie in the spur of the moment, so I knew absolutely nothing about the story. I remember watching a short trailer on TV but that’s about it. My first impressions were oh no it is going to a slow moving film but surprisingly I enjoyed it and I would love to watch it all over again.

Carey Mulligan and Matthias Schoenaerts stood out for me, they played their characters very well, it also helped that Schoenaerts was really good looking. 🙂


End of June, Ramadan started so I completely cut down on reading for the whole month and during that time I stumbled upon Korean shows or specifically a Korean show called ‘Boys Over Flowers’, it may sound a little odd but I became hooked once I started. I was reading the English subtitles which felt a bit weird at first but soon got used to it.

That is all for now, but I will be reviewing ‘The Girl on the Train’ by Paula Hawkins soon so keep an eye out for that.

Until next time…

Naj

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Ramadan Mubarak!

Hey hey!

It’s my second day of fasting today and I want to wish all Muslims reading this – Ramadan Mubarak.

Ramadan Mubarak

For all the non-Muslim readers; Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar in which all Muslims fast – from sunrise to sunset. As Ramadan is one of the five ‘pillars’ of Islam, those, who are physically able are required to fast each day for the entire month. Fasting helps teach Muslims self-discipline, self-restraint and generosity. It reminds them of the harsh reality of some poverty-stricken families around the world, who go through this on a daily basis. During Ramadan, Muslims say prayers from The Holy Book Qur’an and they have to refrain from distractions and negative habits.

I find the initial days of fasting hard, as it takes time getting used to the long hours; currently I’m fasting from 3:10am to 9:30pm. However, in the next few days I’ll try to update you all with an in-depth post on Ramadan. So until then!

Signing off…

Naj

My re-appearance in the blogging world…

Hey hey, I’m back!

Before I say where I  have been hiding the past two months I have big news, it is big news for me. After months of waiting my Different Weddings feature as been published! (Go to pg’s 42-44, it’s the two-page spread called ‘Asian Weddings’ and I think the title says it all regarding the content). Another thing that you might notice is that my nickname ‘Naj Bibi’ has been used as the byline, this is due to the fact that everyone at Wedding Scene called me Naj.

So during the past month, I’ve fasted in the month of Ramadan. (Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, in which it is compulsory for all Muslims to fast). I was waking up at 2am in the morning to keep the fast and then it was no eating or drinking for 20 hours (sunrise to sunset). I ws breaking the fast at 9pm at night, it was bloody hard, I tell you. So whilst on hunger strike I also watched the London 2012 Olympics, which I throughly enjoyed and I have to say during those two weeks I really felt proud to be British – which I’m sure many people in the UK did.

An incident with a particular dentist re-ignited my dental phobia; well, long story short back in 2010 I had a root canal done and suffice to say the procedure was unsuccessful. Two weeks ago (thankfully I had finished fasting) a infection set in and another visit to the dentist was called. I don’t want to bore you with the details but the tooth in question has now been extracted, so thanks for nothing lady dentist! Not to mention the money I wasted.

Change of subject is needed, I think I am going to end up drifting off if I don’t stop now.  I am beginning my final year of my degree in approx two weeks and to be honest I am not looking forward to it. Deadlines, pressure, stress and assignments will again take over my life. *sigh*

I have added a new page on my portfolio of work, it’s not much but you can all check it out. I know my dentist trip was turning into a rant but just wanted to get it off my chest. It must have happened to many people, whom have trusted dentists with their teeth and been let down. So if anyone has had some sort incident happened to them at their dentists, do let me know!

Naj