mardi 26 juillet 2011

jeudi 14 juillet 2011

Bookish Club

How I wish I could lounge on a bed, or by the pool to read during the bright summer days - but since I am working during most days, my only reading time exists through the fleeting moments when I am travelling to and fro around town, squeezed between commuters. I did try to embark on Kafka's The Trial but it got too dark and heavy for a leisure read - and mostly, I felt like I am undergoing metamorphosis myself, being squashed in the densest city in the world and transformed into an anonymous being in yet another black skirt and heels.

I have so far read two volumes of Kafka's short works, which I would share next time. Meanwhile I would like to list a few favourite books of mine for your reference - they all employ illness as a metaphor for the human condition, and has transcended the emotions pertaining to the illnesses into something more macroscopic, poetic and illuminating.

Blindness By José Saramago

The Plague by Albert Camus

Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby

I especially recommend The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, a beautiful and poignant memoir by the former editor of French Elle editor who had a stroke and was locked inside his own body. He painstakingly dictated the memoir by moving the only possible body part - by blinking his eyelids. Only through his perseverance in breaking the silence of the diving bell could we finally hear the fluttering wings of the butterfly.

What are your favourite books?


jeudi 7 juillet 2011

Things & Places I love about London

I often find myself ambivalent about London - but when I am away, I miss the city a lot - its perpetual buzz, the ever-changing light and how the Big Ben sings in the dark.

1. Covent Garden - with the famous Monmouth Coffee around Seven Dials, the brand new Laduree tea-room in the piazza, Bougie macarons, Notes café and wine bar round the corner and Byron Hamburgers. And of course, the Royal Opera House.

2. Favourite Eateries -

Busaba Eathai for happy thai food
Koya for handmade udon with fresh veggie tempura
Wright Brothers for the taste of the sea
Yumchaa for a pot of tea, then Cha Cha Moon for amazing noodles
Lick for the best gelato in town

3. Bloomsbury - for my flat, uni, British Museum and my favourite dwelling ever - the London Review Bookshop (they have an excellent cafe where you can read books accompanied by a pot of Mariage Frères tea with rose and pistachio cake)

4. For a lovely stroll and a good look at the arts, go to the V&A, the Royal Academy, the National Gallery (they open until 9pm on Friday night!)

For an equally lovely stroll in the famous markets, go to the Pimlico Farmers Market (Saturdays), Borough Market (Thursdays to Saturdays), Brixton Market (filled with independent restaurants and stores, opens daily), Portobello Road Market (Saturdays), Spitalfield Market + Brick Lane (Sundays), Columbia Flower Market (for flowers! Sundays).

5. Favourite picnic spots - St James Park (eat with the pelicans!), Regent's Park (for the cherry blossom trees), Hampton Court Palace (Henry VIII's palace with a truly magnificent garden - they filmed the New World there)

For more posts on London, check out the London tag on the side!