The Bookshelf Tour Tag | Motley Monday

Normally, I save tags for other days, and do ranty random things on Mondays. However, I have at least three (that I know of) tags that I’ve been meaning to do, and I have exactly zero ideas for a Monday post. So. I shall be doing a tag. 

Liz tagged me in this one agesss ago, and I’m finally doing it. Thank you, Liz! She actually created it herself, which I think is awesome. 

For this one, I have to select one book that I own to fit each category, and preferably include a picture. I shall not be including pictures, because I am far too last minute to have time for that. Some of the books might also not be ones that I own, because my book collection is not as extensive as I would like. 

But oh well! On with the tag! 

A short but powerful book: I’m going with Of Mice And Men (one that I don’t own) for this one, because a) it’s short, and b) my mum is still very angry that I recommended it to her. I loved it. She hated it. Arguments ensued. 

Actually, for one that I do own, that could be Fahrenheit 451. Pretty short, but amazingly powerful. 

A good, long book: Pretty sure the longest book I own would be Inheritance by Christopher Paolini. I inherited it (pun intended) when my brother moved to Australia. I have not read it yet. 

Favourite classic on your shelf: Umm. I’ve read quite a few classics this year, and there were some really good ones, but I don’t think I own any of the ones that I loved. Although The Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes was pretty great. I’ll go with that. 

A relatively obscure book: A lot of my books are probably pretty obscure. I can’t think of any in particular that are overly so, though. 

An underrated book: I read Persuasion earlier this year, and I loved it. When it comes to Jane Austen, it’s one of the least popular, but it’s so good. If you want a smaller dose of Jane Austen than Pride And Prejudice or Emma, try Persuasion. It’s relatively short, and it’s so good. 

An overrated book: I don’t think I own any books that I consider to be overrated. However, I could go on a rant all day about either The Catcher In The Rye or The Perks Of Being A Wallflower. Don’t even get me started. 

Most reread book: There was this one book that I had when I was about 10 that I reread every couple of weeks for about six months straight, but I don’t think I own it anymore. My most reread that I own (technically it belongs to my mum) would probably be Kilmeny Of The Orchard by L.M. Montgomery. So good. I love it. 

Of all the books you own, how many have you not read? Back in January, I counted my books, and I owned about 400. Not long after that, I was given 40-50ish books from my grandmother, and with the few I’ve bought since then (or inherited from my brother), I probably have somewhere between 450 and 475. Of those, a large majority are children’s books, because I’m a sentimental fool who can’t bear to let go of things. So I’ve read all of those ones. I haven’t read most of the ones that my grandmother gave me, as well as a few others, so I’d probably say that there’s somewhere between 50 and 100 thaf I haven’t read (although probably closer to 50).

A book you haven’t read: Of the ones that I own, probably the one that sticks out is Alice In Wonderland. I own three different copies of it, two of which I’ve had for as long as I can remember, but I’ve never read any of them. 

A short story collection: I don’t know if I own any. Do I? Let’s investigate. 

Upon inspection, I can’t find any short story collections. I’m not sure how I feel about this. 

A non-fiction book: I’m pretty sure I’ve got a copy of a book about Helen Keller lying around here somewhere. 

A book (physical copy, not the story itself) that has an interesting story behind it: Closest thing I’ve got to an interesting story is my copy of a little poetry book. It’s about 100 years old, and was given to my great grandmother by her stepfather. (I’m pretty sure I’ve talked about this before). That part of our family history is very special and significant to us, so that book is rather special too. 

And there you have it! Now you know a bit more about my book collection. 

I think that I need to get some kind of storage unit/spare bedroom for all of the books that I’m keeping because of memories (I keep telling myself that I’m keeping them for my future children), and have a separate, much larger collection of books that are actually aimed at my age group or older. 

Anyways.

I’m going to tag Rachel, because she doesn’t post enough and I want to read her answers. And I also tag anyone else who would like to tell me about their book collection. 

I’ve missed doing tags. 

Arohanui, 
Tessa Ann 

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The List: Update #6

I was going to do this last week, but I was halfway through another book so I decided to wait til this week. Although I probably didn’t need to, since it’s been two months since the last update, which would normally mean 16 books on The List should’ve been read. 

Nope. There’s been five. 

Even I’m surprised at that. 

Anyway, let’s get on with it. 

Changes to The List: No changes. Although I attempted to read Robinson Crusoe recently, and could not get very far, so I may end up replacing that with something else. I’ll try again first. 

Books I’ve read: First up was The Da Vinci Code. This was very good, and very challenging to read. There were a lot of times when the line between fact and fiction was very blurred, and that made it difficult to read, as a Christian, considering some of the things that it was relating to. I sometimes found myself wanting to slap Dan Brown for even insinuating some things, but I forced myself to remember that it was a piece of fiction, and that I needed to have an open mind. Despite all this, it was very enjoyable, and I gave it four stars.

Next up was one that was much less enjoyable for me. Cold Comfort Farm. Not my cup of tea at all. It was 230ish pages, and it took me about two and a half weeks to read, because it was simply so boring and made no sense to me. I think it was supposed to be humorous, but I don’t think it even made me smile (and books have frequently made me laugh out loud). Eventually, I just had to force myself to finish it before leaving for Fiji, because I knew I’d never finish it otherwise. I generously gave it two stars. 

The next two books were the ones I read in Fiji. I took three with me, one being Robinson Crusoe, which I’ve already told you about. The first one that I read over there was Treasure Island. It was my first time reading a pirate book, which was interesting. I enjoyed it for the most part, although I didn’t understand what was happening half the time. Four stars, although a lower four stars than The Da Vinci Code. 

The other one I read in Fiji was Watership Down. I’d always been kinda scared of this book, because I’d known the song Bright Eyes as a kid, and knew that it was about something sad that happened in the book. I read it, despite my fears, and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was so good, and the tragic thing, while still tragic, was not as heart wrenching as I had always feared. Maybe I’m just biased because rabbits are some of my favourite animals, but I gave this a very hearty five stars. 

Finally, I read The Diary Of A Young Girl by Anne Frank. That was one of the most difficult books that I’ve ever read. It was difficult to read for two reasons. The first was that I felt like I was intruding by reading someone’s diary, especially since much of it seemed very private. The second reason was that I knew how it all ended. There was no hope, like there normally is, for a happy ending, and, to make matters worse, it wasn’t fictional. It opened my eyes and broke my heart, and there is no way that I can give it anything other than five stars. 

Looking back at the last update, I mentioned that I was reading 1984, and had reserved The Kite Runner. Well, I didn’t get very far in 1984, because the copy I had smelt so strongly of cigarette smoke that it a) gave me a headache every time I tried to read it, and b) made my stuff stink. So I gave up. I’ll eventually try again, and hope that I end up with a different copy. As for The Kite Runner, I remember reserving it, but for some reason that I can’t remember, I never actually got a copy of it. I might reserve it again soon. 

Favourite/least favourite: My favourite based on enjoyment is Watership Down, and my favourite based on challengingness is The Diary Of A Young Girl. The Da Vinci Code is a close second for both of those. My least favourite was definitely Cold Comfort Farm. 

Next to read: After a discussion with a youth group leader at church on Sunday, I decided to try Harry Potter again. I read the first three (I think) when I was about ten or eleven, but couldn’t be bothered to wait for the fourth one. So that’s happening. I also might reserve The Kite Runner again (I’m still bewildered about what happened with that). Otherwise, I don’t have any grand plans. 

Les Miserables update: I kinda haven’t read this in a while. I’m currently at 10%, I think, and it’s a really boring bit, so I haven’t been reading it. Maybe I’ll read some more of it this week. 

There we go! That was way longer than I anticipated. 

Arohanui, 
Tessa Ann 

Some Ramblings About Ptosis | Motley Monday

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If you’re new here and have no idea what ptosis is, or you just want a reminder, I suggest you read this post first.

On Thursday, I’m having the first of two surgeries that I’m having this year (probably). The purpose of this surgery is to align my right eye, so that it doesn’t drift off into outer space. The purpose of the other surgery is to lift my left eyelid.

Both of these things have been attempted before. Multiple times. Soon, after the second surgery, I will have had a total of nine surgeries, all but one on my eyes.

I’ve been thinking a lot about ptosis lately. There are times when I forget that I have it. I forget that it’s not normal to have your left eyelid shut most of the time, and to only see out of one eye. I forget that in a sea of faces, mine stands out because it looks different to everyone else’s.

Sometimes I wonder how much it is actually noticed. Most people don’t comment on it unless I bring it up, or unless they know me quite well. But how many people see my face and register that something is different? How many people notice it? How many wonder what it is? How many want to ask but are too scared? I’ve always wished that I could see myself from someone else’s perspective, to see how noticeable it really is.

No matter how many surgeries I have, there is one thing that will not change: I will never not have ptosis. It is a part of me, and it will always be a part of me. I will never know what it is like to see with both eyes or to constantly have both eyes open (unless the second surgery works amazingly well, which I doubt). I will never not be different. There’s always going to be something about me that isn’t quite the same. I mean, it’s like that for everyone. We’ve all got our differences. But most aren’t quite like mine. Most don’t alter both your appearance and the way you see the world. Seriously, mine literally alters the way I see the world.

There have been times when I’ve desperately wanted to not have ptosis. It has caused a literal ache in me, and brought tears to my eyes, knowing that I’m never going to experience seeing with both eyes, or even having both eyes fully open. But, like I said before, I also forget, a lot of the time. It has been a part of me for my entire life, like a birthmark that’s just always been there. It’s a part of who I am, and no hoping or tears or aching can change that. No number of surgeries can change that.

I was born with ptosis. I’ve lived my life so far with ptosis. I’ll live the rest of my life with ptosis. I’ll die with ptosis. Nothing will change that. It’s just the way that my life has to go.

But my ptosis does not define me. It doesn’t determine my life or the choices I make. It’s just along for the ride.

And you know what? I can live with that.

Arohanui,
Tessa Ann

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Post Trip Stuff | Motley Monday

I kinda forgot that I had a blog for a while there. I was supposed to do this post last week, but I was sick and feeling lazy so I didn’t. And now I’m writing this at 1:30am, right after reading the first book in A Series Of Unfortunate Events. I’ve read the first one or two before, but never the entire series, so I’m reading them all now. I’m ignoring the fact that I’m nearly double the recommended age. 

Anyways, this post it about my trip. First thing on the agenda: where did I go? Well, despite the wonderful response of two or three guesses (which were great guesses, and much appreciated), no one guessed correctly. The correct answer was Fiji. It’s smaller than New Zealand in basically every way possible, f is in the first half of the alphabet, the flight from Wellington to Nadi was three and a half hours, and the natural disaster was Cyclone Winston, back in February. 

I’m just going to tell you about everything in chronological order, starting in last November. 

In November, my youth pastor first mentioned the trip, and I was very keen. I, along with nine other youth group members and three leaders, signed up for the trip, and we began preparing and fundraising. The purpose of the trip was to experience the culture and share our faith. 

In February, when Winston hit, we considered postponing the trip. When we established that it would still be possible, just different, we decided to individually choose whether or not to remain on the team, and we all did. 

Exactly two weeks before we were supposed to leave, I found out that I had a medical issue that would most likely prevent me from going. Rather than pulling out then and there, I remained on the team, and got many people to pray for healing for me. Three days before we left, the doctor said that he was happy for me to go, as long as we found travel insurance to cover it, which we managed to get. 

So, on the 7th of July, we packed up all our gear and flew to Nadi. We stayed in Nadi for two nights, at the house of a pastor, before leaving early on the Saturday to travel to the highlands of Rakiraki. Multiple bus/car/truck rides later, we arrived in the village that we stayed in for ten nights, which was in Rakiraki, and had between 100 and 200 people. We stayed in the homes of people there. I was staying with the local bus (bus is a stretch – it was a truck that they called a bus) driver, his wife, their three year old twin daughters, and their nearly two year old son, who was quite sick, and had been since January. 

For ten days, we lived in this village. The boys helped to repair the roof of a church, while us girls chopped firewood, picked taro leaves, picked up rubbish, and did other general little things. As a big group, we planted a cassava plantation and went down to the local primary school to help out a couple of times. We attended church both Sundays – 2 & 1/2 hour long church services in primarily a different language and very hot temperatures (we had come from a New Zealand winter, which is quite cold, to temperatures like those of a hot New Zealand summer). We ate on the floor, used their minimal bathrooms (my house had an outdoor flushing toilet and a (cold) shower, which was not the case for many people), and washed our clothes by hand. We spent a lot of time withwith the kids. Many of us got sick. I ended up sleeping for the majority of three days. 

After the ten days were up, we got up way before the sun to travel back to Nadi for our last two nights. We basically just relaxed and did a little bit of touristy stuff, before heading home on the Thursday. 

And that is a basic summary of the trip. However, I do plan on doing another post about it at some point. At the end of this month, the team who went to Fiji is running church, and I’m speaking as part of that. I think I might put my speech on here, so you can get more of an idea about what the experience was like for me. 

But for now, this is my post about the trip. I hope you enjoyed reading a bit about it! 

My first alarm goes off in four and a half hours. Oh joy. 

Arohanui, 
Tessa Ann