Saturday, August 16, 2014

Japanese Lit Challenge 8

So It's now time to change directions and join the Japanese Literature Challenge No 8. This month I'm joining Dolce Belezza in a read-a-long with Murakami's latest release. My copy arrived at the local bookstore right on time, and I collected it today. So I'm on my way.....
I'm not sure what is actually going to happen in this novel, because the pre release press was very very vague - in true Murakami mystery. I'm also not sure what the read-a-long will entail, but I'm ready.... but to start........I want to share with you my first dilemma with this novel.

When the pre-release press was purposely vague and mysterious, I'm left a little curious as to what to do with the little present I found when I opened my new copy of the book.... I'm not even sure if I will open the little present until I find out more about it.... did anyone else find a little treat inside their new book?
 So, since Paris in July ended, and while I was waiting for my Murakami novel to arrive, I read Keigo Higashino's Salvation of a Saint.

Keigo Higashino is one of the most popular and biggest selling fiction authors in Japan.
Born in Osaka, he started writing novels while still working as an engineer . He won the Edogawa Rampo Prize, which is awarded annually to the finest mystery work, in 1985 for the novel Hōkago (After School) at age 27. Subsequently, he quit his job and started a career as a writer in Tokyo.

In 1999, he won the Mystery Writers of Japan Inc award for the novel Himitsu (The Secret), which was translated into English by Kerim Yasar and published by Vertical under the title of Naoko in 2004. In 2006, he won the 134th Naoki Prize for Yōgisha X no Kenshin. His novels had been nominated five times before winning with this novel.
 I enjoy a crime/forensic novel, and I devoured this one once I got into it. Salvation of a Saint involves a seasoned detective, a physics professor and a new recruit as the mystery solving team. The crime involved Arsenic Acid, a seemingly driven man who wanted to be a father, and the women he selected to bear his children. It was, for me, a fairly typical crime novel, with the infusion of some interesting Japanese cultural aspects.  Given that this author has more that 90 titles to his name, and many TV/Movie versions of his work, I figure I'll probably read more of his work sometime in the future. Does anyone recommend any of his other works??

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Images from my week

 At the end of my commute, I arrive to my favourite destination - the harbour port of my home town. 

 During my morning commute, I take in the early morning tranquility..

When I arrive at the office, I take in the icon scenery of the city I work in. 
Then I enjoy  my weekend with this view :)

Spring is coming!

What's happening this month;
  • Simplifying - sorting out books, DVD's, CD's and magazines to share with others...
  • Gardening - feeding, pruning and planning spring plantings
  • Crazy stuff - signed up for 7.5km run for Alzheimers
  • Work for ODAM (my charity in India) - Trivia Night this month
  • Reading - Japanese Literature - Starting with this
  • Eating - Just had this for dinner with friends last night

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Paris in July - Reflection Post 2014

Paris in July - my personal reflections as a co host of a blogging event. 
Originally the brainchild of Karen and myself after having a conversation about bringing our shared love of Paris, literature and travel into an event to share with others - Paris in July, the blogging event, has now celebrated 5 years.

For me Paris in July, the blogging event, is one time in the year when I put significant energy and thought into my blogging practice. This year, i considered my commitments in life, and stepped up my role in the event because I had a bit more time and space than Karen did. This year we invited and welcomed co-hosts - Bellezza, Adria, Vicki and Nichole. Having a team of co-hosts allowed us to achieve several important milestones in Paris in July.
  • Between us all, we ensured that there was a new Paris in July post ever day of the month. I am so proud of that!
  • with new blood on the team, we ensured a cross selection of posts and topics - from travel, food, photos, literature, fashion and life in Paris. 
  • Between the co hosts - we were able to invite along other participants from our followers - and we welcomed new participants, and previous ones too. 
  • Some of the co-hosts are also active Twitterers - and this added to our coverage, making the event more accessible... 
Along with all of those changes, I also introduced some new aspects to my blog for Paris in July.
  • Monday Menus - the post that outlined the main activity for the week - also had a Mr Linky spot for participants to add their Paris in July post links
  • The Menus were then available on my blog (top left hand corner) so people could easily link into the week menu to check other participant posts and the plans for the week. 
  • I created an image to mark the two posts per week I was responsible for - Tuesday Travels and Thursdays Taste of Paris. For me, having the two dedicated posts per week meant a little bit of homework, but it was so much easier when I had planned it out in advance.
Some lessons I've learnt co-hosting this years Paris in July blogging event include
  • being prepared in advance - like having all the cohosts proposed posts at the beginning of the month - makes each week much easier to roll out.
  • inviting previous participants is helpful - as many people dont 'follow' enough to be aware that the event is on. I did this to a certain extent by visiting previous participants blogs and leaving them messages to come over and join in.
  • Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram & Facebook could probably be utilised more to engage a broader audience and to create a broader conversation. (Funny that I say that as I dont do any of that stuff!)
  • being flexible and responsive - Sadly Nichole's blog was 'corupted' for some of the time during July!
On reflection, I had a great time in my role (I do love lists, organising and order). I loved visiting everyone's posts as soon as they were put up on mr linky. I enjoyed my own easy Monday Menu Links on my front page, and I love my co-hosts contributions - wedding dresses, perfume, icecream, pre school, childrens books, stories in photos (watermelon and rose!!!) all of it was fantastic.

I hope it all happens again next year!

I'd love to hear your thoughts too.  And dont forget, I'll leave the Monday Menu links up for a few weeks yet.... there's heaps of posts there to read.