Document Your Life: June 2018

In which I go to a safari park, go bouldering, visit my puppy’s breeder, go to a climbing forest, and more.

Old Man Canyon – The Road (Apple MusicSpotify)

I’ll go the way less walked to find
All the roads that wind
Between the trees over the seas I’ll go
’till I’m home


Book Review: A Very Large Expanse of Sea

This post includes affiliate links. 

Thanks to HarperCollins for providing me with a review copy. In no way does this affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

A Very Large Expanse of Sea

by Tahereh Mafi

Age Group/Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publication date: October 16th, 2018
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 320
Format: Paperback

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It’s 2002, a year after 9/11. It’s an extremely turbulent time politically, but especially so for someone like Shirin, a sixteen-year-old Muslim girl who’s tired of being stereotyped.

Shirin is never surprised by how horrible people can be. She’s tired of the rude stares, the degrading comments — even the physical violence — she endures as a result of her race, her religion, and the hijab she wears every day. So she’s built up protective walls and refuses to let anyone close enough to hurt her. Instead, she drowns her frustrations in music and spends her afternoons break-dancing with her brother.

But then she meets Ocean James. He’s the first person in forever who really seems to want to get to know Shirin. It terrifies her — they seem to come from two irreconcilable worlds — and Shirin has had her guard up for so long that she’s not sure she’ll ever be able to let it down.

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Big Book Bonanza 2018

Last week, I was fortunate enough to go to the Big Book Bonanza, which is an event hosted by HarperCollins and Van Ditmar Boekenimport where they showcase upcoming releases.

The Big Book Bonanza is mostly an event for booksellers, and for some reason I was the only blogger there. Nevertheless, I’m honored to have been invited and hope to be invited again next year!

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Switching From Plastic To Reusable Straws

Zero Waste Project #1

This is the first instalment in a blog series I’m doing about my own personal zero waste project. Or as zero as zero waste can be, anyway.
Many people see going zero waste or reducing single-use plastics as a daunting task, or something that won’t make any impact. I personally think every little bit helps, and it seems totally doable if you divide the massive task of ‘living a more sustainable lifestyle’ into smaller, more manageable tasks. One thing at a time. Once I’ve completed a task, I move on to the next thing that strikes my interest.

One of the first zero waste swaps I made was straws. Scientists estimate there are anywhere from 437 million to 8.3 billion plastic straws on the shorelines around the world. Each year, 1 million seabirds and 100,000 marine animals die from ingesting plastic. In 2015, a video in which researchers tried removing a plastic straw from a sea turtle’s nostril went viral. That video was the last straw for me, literally.

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Document Your Life: April + May 2018

In which I follow various geese and swans around for photography, go on walks with my favorite dog friends, plant a wild flower garden, go bouldering, and visit Groningen.

Ruth Moody – The Garden (Apple MusicSpotify)

I chose this song because I spent most of my time outdoors and was working in the garden a lot these months, so it has quite a literal meaning. I also picked it because of the whole ‘slept (waited, been down) for too long, work to be done (life goes on)’, see the following lyrics:

How long have we slept
How long have we wept
There’s work to be done

Sky above
So vast and so deep
You know what I need
Rain down on me
Rain down on the garden
Rain down on the garden


Summer 2018 Book Reviews

This post includes affiliate links.

The reading slump has been defeated, hooray! Getting back into fiction has definitely helped, I absolutely flew through some books.

Very slowly, I’ve been applying my minimalist lifestyle to my book collection, so from now on, every mini book review will include the question, “Would I bring this book into my tiny house library?” I’m not 100% sure that a tiny house is for me yet, but thinking of it like this helps me keep only the books that I really love.

Note on Dutch books: A Dutch flag emoji (🇳🇱) next to the book title means that I read a book in Dutch. I haven’t added affiliate links for Dutch books because I believe a great thing about the fixed book price is that you can choose who you buy from (without paying too much), and for me, that will always be an independent bookseller. If there is an English translation, I will provide a link.

Books read:
  • I read 3 books in June, 3 books in July, and 7 books in August.
  • Out of the 13 total books I finished during the summer, 7 were fiction and 6 non-fiction.
  • I started but didn’t finish 3 books. (These are not worth talking about.)
  • 3 were re-reads. (No mini reviews for these either.)
  • 2 were library books, were audiobooks.
  • Of the following books, 4 books will come along to my tiny house library, and 5 will not.

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Books Mental Health

Book Review: Notes on a Nervous Planet

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Notes on a Nervous Planet

by Matt Haig

Age Group/Genre: Non-Fiction
Publication date: July 5th, 2018
Publisher: Canongate Books
Pages: 310
Format: Hardcover

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The world is messing with our minds.

Rates of stress and anxiety are rising. A fast, nervous planet is creating fast and nervous lives. We are more connected, yet feel more alone. And we are encouraged to worry about everything from world politics to our body mass index.

  • How can we stay sane on a planet that makes us mad?
  • How do we stay human in a technological world?
  • How do we feel happy when we are encouraged to be anxious?

After experiencing years of anxiety and panic attacks, these questions became urgent matters of life and death for Matt Haig. And he began to look for the link between what he felt and the world around him.

Notes on a Nervous Planet is a personal and vital look at how to feel happy, human and whole in the 21st century.

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5 Star Predictions

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Sometimes I wonder what the point is of picking up books that you don’t think you will rate at least 4 stars. That’s why recently, I’ve been carefully picking out my next reads and researching them thoroughly beforehand. I know I can’t read every book in the world, and that’s why it’s all the more important to think a bit more deeply about your choices. So many books that I’ve picked up because they were cheap, not because I thought they’d be 5-star reads…

Inspired by BookTuber MercysBookishMusings YouTube video on 5-star predictions, here are some of my own. These predictions are based on Goodreads average ratings, blogger buzz, general popularity, and my personal excitement for the book’s topic.

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Document Your Life: January + February + March 2018

In which I go on lots of walks with my favorite dog friend, meet my future service dog’s possible mom, see Joshua Hyslop live, go rock climbing, and more.

Joshua Hyslop – Home (iTunes/Apple MusicSpotify)

I chose this song because, to me, it sort of describes the feeling of waiting for better things. I’ve been waiting for a long time, for things like therapy, my service dog, treatment of my eating disorder, a place of my own to call home…
I also felt like the pace and sadness of the song matched my feelings during these months. Even though I went out and did things, I became increasingly more anxious about the wait. It was never really off my mind.

In the dark, in the quiet now
It’s too much for me to take
To feel alone as if there’s no way out
Oh, give me peace of mind today

When the nights are long
And the days go on

I don’t feel the same anymore