In October 2019 I visited Mexico City – Ciudad de Mexico. It is a magical city, full of colour, vibrant atmosphere where the old meets the new at every corner. It is a beautiful place in all its diversity but also sadly with many inequalities being apparent every step you take.READ MORE
“I would be reading at my desk, something she deemed part and parcel of my job, and considerate as she was, she kept me company but left me undisturbed. We were two solitudes benefiting from a grace that was continuously reinvigorated in each other’s presence, two solitudes who nourished each other.”
“I identify with outsiders, with the alienated or dispossessed. (…) I like men and women who don’t fit well in the dominant culture, or, as Alvaro de Campos calls them, strangers in this place as in every other, accidental in life as in the soul.”read more
“When the other person is hurting, confused, troubled, anxious, alienated, terrified: Or when he or she is doubtful of self-worth, uncertain as to identity, then understanding is called for. The gentle and sensitive companionship of an empathic stance . . . provides illumination and healing. In such situations, deep understanding is, I believe, the most precious gift, one can give to another.”Carl Rogers
Books written by James Baldwin have always had a special place in my heart. They helped me to overcome many struggles that I faced as a young immigrant earlier in my life. I cannot express with words how much Baldwin’s writings mean to me. I especially like this quotation below from one of his interviews as it reflects my very own thoughts and it shows one of the reasons why storytelling is so important as a carrier of our shared humanity.read more
“We leave something of ourselves behind when we leave a place, we stay there, even though we go away. And there are things in us that we can find again only by going back there.”Mercier, P., Night Train to Lisbon, London: Atlantic Books, 2009
“It is the duty of those who have survived to bear witness to ensure the dead are not forgotten, nor humble acts of self-sacrifice left unacknowledged. (…) I dedicate this book to the MEN AND WOMEN OF GOODWILL who, generously, with unfailing courage, opposed the will to violence and resisted to the end.”
Françoise Frenkel, No Place to Lay One’s Head, 2019, Pushkin Press
If you love literature and, in particular, books by Patrick Modiano, you will love this compelling beautifully written memoir, No Place to Lay One’s Head (Rien ou poser sa tete) by a Polish-Jewish enigmatic writer, Françoise Frenkel (1889-1975) with a preface by Patrick Modiano.read more
“your life is your life‘The Laughing Heart’ by Charles Bukowski
don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is a light somewhere.
it may not be much light but
it beats the darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods will offer you chances.
you can’t beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.
your life is your life.
know it while you have it.
you are marvelous
the gods wait to delight
“The path of fiction could easily misled you into the cosmos of stories where everything was fluid, quixotic, and as open to surprises as a moonless night in the desert”Shafak, E., The Bastard of Istanbul, Penguin Random House UK, 2015, pp. 96 – 97
Wanderer . . .
Bibliophile . . .
Introvert . . .
Exiled Soul . . .
My name is Joanna and this blog is merely a tool for me to express my thoughts about the books I have read, places I have visited and experiences I have lived through.
My reading list is very eclectic. I am trying to read from the East and the West; fiction and non-fiction. I read every genre and I particularly cherish books that I can connect with on an emotional level.
I love spending time in the nature, away from London city life.
I am an introvert who often needs time spent in solitude. Reading is one of the tools that allows me to go within in order to find peace and calmness.
Literature allows me to put myself in the shoes of the “other”, to hear many different voices from all parts of the world and to meet people that I would not be able to meet otherwise. I am particularly interested in reading stories of people who have been forgotten, marginalised and who exist on the peripheries of the society.
Reading allows me to connect with the rest of humanity and my inner self.
I hope you will enjoy this blog and it will inspire you to read some of my favourite books and to visit the places I love.
Two things that make me instantly happy are: a cup of Bergamot Earl Grey tea with a piece of lemon, cloves and cinnamon stick, and a cup of cardamom coffee with non-dairy milk.
My favourite movies are: Victor Nunez’s ‘Ruby in Paradise’ (1993), Krzysztof Kieslowski’s ‘Double Life of Veronique’ (1991), Wong Kar Wai’s ‘In the Mood for Love’ (2000) and Ken Loach’s ‘I, Daniel Blake’ (2016).