Gone Fishin’ (For Vintage Books)

————- The Book (R)evolution ———–

Books: the printed text on packs of paper fitted into paper covers which were predicted to have become extinct by now.

Well, looks like that prediction was wrong.

So, so wrong.

The rise of the ebook and the ebook reader meant that people were beginning to question the worth of the actual physical book. An ebook was cheaper and much more practical when travelling (because let’s face it, you just can’t carry a 700-page novel on a hike. Or you can, but it won’t do you any favours). Soon, Kindles were all you saw on Amazon, and book sales dropped dramatically.

Those were dark times.

But then something changed, or rather, grew to such a scale that it became all the more evident: people missed the feel of ruffling through paper pages, the sight of an ever-growing library as opposed to a digital one on an ebook reader. They wanted the real, old-fashioned book back, just as people today are turning back to vinyl records. The countless tea spills on pages was disregarded.

The book has made a dramatic entrance once again into the homes of book lovers everywhere. Publishers are taking care to produce beautiful, good quality hardbacks and paperbacks, and, after neglecting the book’s actual design for so long, have taken old and new tales and published them in gorgeous editions. These books have become so aesthetically pleasing that the world has created an online appreciation for them, with the grand trend known as #bookstagram (have a look at it on Google Images).

———- Lovely Libraries and Vintage Books ———

Having shelves lined with dozens of books was an essential part of every household in the past (having an entire room, a library, was more common than not). It was a form of expression, perhaps, as well as a place of reference and relaxation (no Internet, no problem). Even in this day and age I believe I’d feel lost without my collection of books nestled together upon my shelves, and I believe many feel the same way. Having a bookshelf in a room is a pleasure for many reasons. The obvious one is, of course, the access to hundreds of alternate worlds and realities, but the less obvious one is the aesthetics, especially when they are rare editions or vintage fabric-covered hardbacks.

Digging around in old book sales is the perfect way to unearth such treasures. You never know what you might come across: the first ever edition of your favourite classic, a letter tucked away in the pages of an encyclopedia … My aunt had once discovered my grandfather’s grandfather’s school book (she recognised the name scrawled inside) – a really lovely surprise.

I’ve stumbled upon one of those fabric-covered hardback editions of ‘I Capture the Castle’ with its title printed in gold on its spine, as well as tiny editions of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ and ‘Othello’, the latter of which must have been an old school book because tiny handwritten side notes can be found on every other page.

Where to Find Vintage Books

Before I give any suggestions, please note that I am not writing this to advertise any businesses / places. I’m only sharing places I know and enjoy going to.

If you’re after the really old editions dating back to decades upon decades ago, pay a visit to church sales. Some ideas in Malta:

  •  St. Patrick’s Church in Sliema usually holds a big book sale a couple of times a year, so look out for any flyers.
  • The Anglican Church in Rudolph Street, Sliema, has a little bazaar full of vintage books as well as old jewelry and other things. Everything there is free, but they appreciate a donation (although it is not compulsory).

Deja Vu Books & Stationary in Swieqi used to house some lovely second-hand books and was a true gem, though has shut its doors and no longer exists. They did a fantastic job at brightening the world of reading in Malta, and it’s a shame they’ve closed down.

Tips When Buying Vintage Books

  • Look out for bookworm.

Seriously. Take care to spot any pinprick sized holes in pages before you take the book home and infect your entire shelf.

  • Have a look inside the cover.

Maybe it’s signed by the author, or the name of the previous owner is one you recognise.

  • Pick up all the ones you love.

I probably sound a bit ridiculous writing such an obvious statement, but it’s a horrible feeling to regret not getting one you had really liked, because in all likely hood you’re not going to come across it again.


 

I hope that you enjoyed this post, and really encourage you to pop into the places I mentioned above. It’s a real treat, I promise 🙂

 

 

 

 

// Putting Pen to Paper //

And I’m back!

Firstly I think I should start by explaining why I’ve been away so long. In short, these past few weeks have been slightly hectic with all the revision I’ve had to cram in for the annual exams, but now they’re over (and thank goodness for that).

Not sure if you’ve noticed, but a new craze has been brewing on social media and it’s actually a good one.

That craze is journaling. 20170629_111903

It isn’t journaling in general, though; it’s a new hobby known as ‘bullet’ journaling. This basically consisted of creating lists and infographics with your own hand lettering and doodles, and it’s becoming more and more popular. It’s even been shortened to ‘bujo’.

This craze got my attention because I’ve always had a little passion for writing, and that’s originally why I decided to start a blog. Well, that and the fact that I needed a break from my chemistry revision for the exam of the following day (over a year ago already!). Before I even started a blog, however, I got into the habit of filling a notebook with comical musings, quotes and sketches. My habit seemed to have stuck with me over the years to such an extent that if I possessed a collection of anything at all, it would be notebooks.

My type of journaling isn’t really of the bullet type; it isn’t at all, actually – I usually go on writing for pages on end without a single bullet-esque list.

So why am I writing all of this, you ask?

Good question, and I shall attempt to answer.

With journaling coming back into fashion, I thought a few tips for beginners might come in handy (by ‘tips’ I mean ‘ideas’, but you get the drift).

20170629_1124591 ) Find a decent-sized notebook

If its covers will allow for extra pages to be slipped in, all the better. Cinema tickets, leaflets, brochures – they will leave it full to the bursting.

2) What should you write?

  • Humorous accounts of a memory or episode
  • Descriptions of a special event
  • Lists of books you would like to read (make a summer holiday reading list), films you’d like to watch, things you’d like to do, et cetera.
  • Sketches of a scene you’d like to remember (or of your garden or the items on your desk, if you’re lacking inspiration)
  • Quotations – One of my all-time favourites. Whether it’s Chanel on fashion or Einstein on imagination, fill a page with them and look back on it from time to time. It’s a fabulous excuse to work on your calligraphy, so make them artistic.
  • Notes of things you’re learning (such as the chords to a new song or words from a new language). It’s really encouraging to look back and see how you’ve progressed, and it can be a laugh too.

3) Alternatively, if the ‘everything in one’ journal doesn’t work for you, try the ‘travel’ journal.

Personally, I’ve been recording all of my travels between the same two covers of my 20170629_112928regular journal, but others prefer to save an entire notebook for their adventures abroad. Some of my friends from Finland were keeping one during their stay in Malta. They filled them with colourful watercolour and ink sketches of our traditional Maltese balconies amongst other things and wrote notes near each one. It looked like a lovely way to keep track of what they did and saw, and is by far a better souvenir than a run-of-the-mill shop-bought keychain or fridge magnet.

4) Only write when you feel like it.

The whole point of keeping a journal is to enjoy writing, not feel inclined to do it. Besides, writing rarely looks good if you don’t put your heart into it. Don’t force it, and the words will flow from your mind down through your pen naturally.


Oh, and whilst I’m here, I just want to wish everyone a happy summer after the exams 😉

Will write again soon,

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Bonjour Strasbourg!

P3311796.JPGAh, Strasbourg; I visited it for the first time in my life about a month ago, and well and truly fell for the beauty of it. I can’t say whether it was the bright timber houses or the overall fairytale-esque feel of the place, but I fell for it.

The reason I went to Strasbourg was actually a rather cool one: I had been one of a few students who got chosen from my school after sitting for an entry test to go on the Euroscola trip. This meant that we were going to not only visit the European Parliament but alsP3311776.JPGo sit in the MEPs’ seats and have our own plenary session.

The first day in Strasbourg practically consisted solely of travelling, but the second day was packed with action. Once hopping off the tram at our stop we stood gazing at the beautiful EU Parliament building. It was massive, I can tell you that!

Our morning session lasted a few hours and during that time we had the chance to ask Michael Crammer, an MEP who was talking to us on a video call, some questions. I had prepared one beforehand and despite feeling as if I lacked the confidence to speak in front of some 570 people, knew that I would kick myself afterwards for losing the oppurtunity. In short, I was chosen to pose a question and with all the courage I could muster, stood up and spoke into the microphone on my desk.

If you have been following my blog for some time you may have probably noticed that I often write about our right to a freedom of expression (no surprise, really. I write a blog after all!) – if you have, you may have a hunch of what I asked Michael Crammer 😉  In simple terms, I asked him what the EU’s position is about libel suits and garnishee orders being used to bully and intimidate journalists, as is currently happening in Malta. He replied that for nearly thirty years he was “deemed an idiot” in Germany for strongly opposing nuclear power, and now here we are in 2017, working towards using renewable energy sources whilst trying to phase out nuclear power (a great ‘who’s laughing now’ moment, right?). His point was that freedom of speech is important because it helps bring change and limiting it is

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Timber houses in Petite France – this area practically screamed “Beauty and the Beast”

intolerable.

You have no idea how glorious it felt being addressed to personally about such a matter in the EU Parliament – I’ll never forget that feeling.

On our third day in Strasbourg, we visited the Court of Human Rights and the Council of Europe. We then walked through the city centre and one of the main roads, and if we turned at a 90 degree angle to our left we would have realised that we were standing beneath the great, gigantic intricately designed work of art that is the gothic Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Strasbourg. None of the dozen photographs I took of it can do it justice – it was so, so breath-taking. The view from the top was just as wonderful, if not more so – I can clarify this because we walked up the 300-something steps within the turrets. It was so unreal that it was as if one were looking down at an unrolled map or a little wooden model of Strasbourg.

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The Parliament
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Inside the hemicycle
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Poster at the Court of Human Rights
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Addressing Crammer in front of the hemicycle
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Street book fair (situated in the perfect place: close to the cathedral)
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Descending the turret

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And before I forget:

My shared Instagram page is picking up! We’ve been adding plenty of new photographs to it these past few days.

So if you’d like to check out our snaps, see the link below:

https://www.instagram.com/amycoramegan/

Be sure to have a look through our portfolio on Shutterstock, too:

https://www.shutterstock.com/g/Amy+Cora+Megan



As always, thanks for stopping by!

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Songs To Repel The Studying Blues

If you’re anything like me, you find sitting at a desk in front of an avalanche of revision notes really daunting if the room is dead quiet. That’s precisely why I am a firm believer of creating playlists brimming with songs to listen to through my earplugs whilst I’m 2016-12-29 09.51.10.pngrevising.

Below is a list of some of my favourites (in no particular order):

1 ) Fast Car by Tracy Chapman

2) Everything by Michael Buble  (literally everything – I love his ‘jazz’ voice)

3) La Vie En Rose covered by Louis Armstrong

4) Romeo and Juliet by Dire Straits

– It’s really catchy. I sometimes find myself singing along to it when I’m supposed to be reading Iago’s soliloquys…

5) Tiny Dancer by Elton John

6) Tears in Heaven by Eric Clapton

7) City of Stars from La La Land (sung by Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone)

– It has an old feel to it, which I love. The Fools Who Dream is another gorgeous one, as is Mia and Sebastian’s Theme (also tracks in the film).

8) Watching the Wheels by John Lennon

9) Wonderwall by Oasis

10) Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters by Elton John

– “If I knew the tunes I might join in”.

11) When You’re Smiling by Louis Armstrong

 – “Stop that sighin’, be happy again”.

12) I Wish I Was a Punk Rocker (With Flowers in My Hair) by Sandi Thom

– This song can be so relatable sometimes.

13) Feelin’ So Good by The Archies

14) Our Last Summer by ABBA

– Although I usually listen to the version sung by Colin Firth in the film Mamma Mia! .

15) Hello Dolly by Louis Armstrong

– ‘Cause it never gets old.

16) Hey Jude by The Beatles

– ” Naa, naa, na NA NA NAAA

NAA NAA NA NA

HEY JUDE “

My playlist is ever-growing and ever-changing, but those are the songs that remain pretty much permanent.

Oh, one last thing:

If it makes your revision easier to handle, just extinguish the sound of silence with The Sound of Silence (Simon and Garfunkel)    😉

Sorry, I couldn’t not write that.

It’s just too punny.

Will write again soon (and I promise not to add such corny puns),

Meg

 

 

Freedom of Expression and Other Frowned Upon Things

 


With so much happening in the world it is impossible to stay put and keep quiet about things. When Trump was running for presidency I could not resist expressing how I felt about it – even more so when he actually won the election. It was a moment many people had been dreading worldwide, and there is proof of this in all the videos of worldwide protests on the day of his inauguration.

I cannot count the number of times I have painted a detailed picture of what Trump truly is and have been attacked for it. I do of course understand that people share different opinions and I accept that – can you imagine what would happen if everyone thought the same way? – but is it right that we should be insulted for sharing our own personal view on things?

Of course it isn’t.

You would think that in the age of virtual reality and artificial intelligence people would have grown out of it, but then again perhaps not.

In this day and age you would think that sexism should be on the verge of dying out, but when you see how women and girls are frowned upon or viciously attacked both verbally and physically for expressing their opinion you realise just how far we are from that. Look at Malala Yousafzai: she peacefully protested in favour of girls having the right to an education and refused to remain silent when the Taliban took control of her home, the Swat Valley. Since many men believe that a woman’s place is in the kitchen and not at school getting an education, the Taliban shot her in 2012 on a school bus. She has made a miraculous recovery and is still campaigning for everybody’s right to an education, especially all of those girls who are denied it.

When I wrote about how I felt on Trump’s inauguration day on social media my post was once again flooded with arguments; more than usual, in fact. I wrote exactly what I felt in my heart and what I am sure many felt as well: my disbelief at how eight years ago we were all gathered around our televisions watching Barack Obama’s inauguration (history in the making)  and now we were watching a sexist, racist narcissist with his finger hovering over the nuclear weapon button take his place.

I cannot say I was not expecting people to argue with me (and believe me they did) but you know that they have gone way too far when they begin to insult you, calling you an “idiot” and an “imbecile” just because you dared to write against what they believe is the key to America being made great again. I hope they realise that a) America will only be made worse and b) the world will be affected and not just the US.

The boy who called me an “imbecile” said that I haven’t got any arguments and am simply just calling Trump names.

Well, we all know what Trump thinks of women:

  • In 1991, Trump spoke to a magazine about the media: “You know, it doesn’t really matter what [they] write as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass.”
  •  In 1992, Trump said that German gold-medal winning Olympic ice skater Katarina Witt was “wonderful looking while on the ice but up close and personal she could only be described as attractive if you like a woman with a bad complexion who is built like a linebacker”.
  • And who could forget his “locker room banter”?

As for racist: “I think the guy is lazy,” Trump said of a black employee, according to John O’Donnell, a former president of Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino. “And it’s probably not his fault because laziness is a trait in blacks. It really is, I believe that. It’s not anything they can control.”

And when it comes to narcissist, well, Trump is the definition of the word.

The point I am trying to make however is not really about Trump at all; it is about how we (especially women, young women and girls) are continuously stripped of our right to freedom of speech. Many reading this might say that it was merely just a bunch of ridiculous comments on social media and that I am overreacting, but it is a shame that things like this happen all the time and are not given a second thought.

Everything appears to most as less harmful when it happens online, when the perpetrator is hidden behind their screen. Some of the comments on my more recent Trump related posts were written by people who have practically never even spoken to me in real life despite us seeing each other around nearly everyday. I know better than to give them the pleasure by answering them back.


So to all the people out there who have ever been attacked for expressing their opinion:

Do not stop doing so. Your opinion counts just as anyone else’s and it is golden. After all, our generation will be in charge of the world one day and we are going to have to speak out if we disagree with what the “experts” are doing. Just like Michelle Obama said, “when they go low, we go high”.

Make your voice heard, it’s worth it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

= Postcards =

Postcard (n.) – a card for sending a message by post without an envelope, typically having a photograph or other illustration on one side.

The earliest picture postcard was posted in London to the writer Theodore Hook in 1840. The illustration on this card was hand-painted, and it bore a penny black stamp (the world’s first adhesive postage stamp). Hook probably created and posted this card to himself as a practical joke on the postal service, since the illustration was in actual fact a caricature of workers in the post office. As amusing as this might have been for him at the time, he would have most likely been far from laughing had he known that in 2002 his postcard would sell for a record £31,750.

A postcard is the one thing you are guaranteed to see at almost every shop – nothing peculiar there. What is actually peculiar is that, despite them being an icon and a vital part of any holiday, they aren’t often bought, let alone sent.

In the past (pre-social media days) it was much more common for people to be seen making a beeline for the postcard stand outside a shop and spending some minutes examining each one, turning the rotating stand t-01tourism_jpg.jpg(to the annoyance of the ones on the other side of it). Postcards bought and stamps collected, a good half hour or so would then be spent reclined on a deck chair on a sandy beach, 26d44b2444d1c7ef699181939654410e.jpgsoaking up the Sicilian summer sunshine, or perhaps lounging on a sofa in the reception of a luxurious hotel in the middle of Prague – either way, a whole lot of postcard writing would be done. Little sketches of the day’s many enchanting and peculiar sights would be nestled between the short recounts on the few lines provided. Addresses jotted down, stamps licked and pasted, foreheads wiped from a hard time of writing (in the case of there being a large number of expectant people waiting to receive a postcard) and your postcards would be ready to be sent.

Besides sending postcards, it is a joy to receive them. It was quite a surprise when I’d ad12d6aac2f40f49a5a7373fb3a45a0e.jpgreceived postcards which had been posted weeks before from a country nestled halfway around the world.

I’m not saying that people do not send postcards at all anymore; many still do. It’s just that with so many people’s lives revolving around social media today we sometimes tend to forget that a tangible memory – a private one –  can be much more special than one posted on your online profile. Also, don’t get me wrong; sometimes it’s much more convenient to share your holiday memories online rather than by sending them by post.

All the same postcards should not die out. No amount of online albums could replace a precious personal collection of postcards.

Hope you enjoyed this post, although I must say that it’s a dozen times the length of an actual postcard! (Good thing it’s titled ‘Postcards‘ as a plural, huh?)

See you again soon,

Meg   🙂