How do you use your words?

I learned from a great woman today that, If we were to take a look at how we communicate with others, we might find that there are things that we do and say that we shouldn’t do, have done, even if truth is on our side. 
A truth that is said with an intent to hurt is negative, even if it is the actual truth. For this reason, I learned that sometimes we can be economical with the truth and that’s ok. It doesn’t mean we should necessarily tell lies. It is better to say something a little bit gray, vague than to say something direct and hurt people. 

Perhaps, today, be mindful of how you communicate with others and consider carefully what your motivation is, when you speak.

The Sicilian Connection

Sicily, one on my long list – of travel destinations. I actually have just wondered how I didn’t manage to travel there when I visited ‘The Eternal City’ !!! One of those epiphanic moments eh…
This beautiful island in the Mediterranean with popular ruins, mountainous structures, the famous Mount Etna and splendid beaches yet with organised criminal syndicates. Such a paradox in itself you would think. What is the single most important thing famously popular to Sicily; – Cosa Nostra, The Sicilian Mafia!!!

I often wondered whether people travelled for the Mafia tourism or to genuinely experience the landscape and scenic views of the mountains and the beaches. Or perhaps both. I would travel for both and probably more, to be fair. 

According to Travel analysts, Sicily appears to sound so exciting from the outside (i.e a touristic point of view) with significant numbers of tourists having themed perceptions of Sicily- developed from a vision of crime and gangster movies coupled with this intrigue that Sicily is what you saw in GodFather 1,2,3 or Goodfellas. However, in Palermo, the island’s capital, there is the scary reality for many Sicilians on a local level. Many of Sicily’s mob bosses are still behind bars for decades (to come).

The history of the Mafia stems from themes of murder, blackmail, drug dealing and other illegal business deals dating to 150 years. The organisation still exerts a high level of (criminal) influence on the island from high levels of political corruption to petty extortion rackets. Yes, petty ones! Even in the food and fruits flea markets. The level of control over the Sicilian economy cannot be understated. 

In recent years, Sicilians have made continuous efforts to eradicate the Mafia’s influence esp via tourism. With a common bid to uphold ‘Bye bye protection money’, the locals believe that New Sicily – has many things to offer to the world not just the Mafia associations! 

Who wants to come with me? We could head to Palermo and do the walking tour in Sicily and learn first hand about the Mafia Addiopozzio!

  

This year’s reads so far:

1. Gone Girl- Gillian Flynn (there was a movie release last year)

2. Frida (a biography of Frida Kahlo) – Hayden Herrera

3. Life moves pretty fast: the lessons we learned from eighties movies.- Hadley Freeman. I attended a book slam at Clapham for this one and she read a chapter which I loved and got it.

4. The lovely bones – Alice Sebold – saw the movie years ago

5. The Lunatic Tale: Forever single- Woody Allen ( this is an old book I found at my dad’s- you can literally read it 10 mins)

6. Americanah- by a Nigerian author – Chimamanda Adiche. Just finished this one. Was good! 

7. Only Time Will Tell- Jeffrey Archer 

These ones are a bit more maybe feminist inclined: 

8. The reluctant bride – Lucy Mangan

9. Hopscotch and handbags- Lucy Mangan

10. The one you love – Paul Pikington

11. Just One Night- Lexi Ryan

Repeat reads: 

12. Great Expectations – Charles Dickens

13. Pendulum days- Mark Ryan (he is my bff)

14. The Adventures of TinTins too.

15. Emotional Intelligence – Daniel Goleman.

I have started to read a few books by Kaballah authors. 

  

I read so many books, my brain had turned 

I majored in (BA) English & Literary studies (literature). It got me thinking why I have this messy psychosis where my brain is so confused by the level of information I had it retain over a number of 4 years. 
I read over 406 books in university averaging about a 100 each academic year. 

Please don’t go, wow! because this wasn’t out of choice (I actually hated reading books at the time- I was a teenage girl ffs!) it was rather out of circumstance or should I say compulsion. There was a streak of choice there too. The desire of having to pass my exams. An example here—say we had 20 books originating from one course of syllabus, our exams could be set on/from a random number of those 20 books or all 20. 

You are unable to answer exam questions if you haven’t read the 20 books. There was no short cut to this. No matter how genius you were. Sorry!

They could set questions from any chapter or page(s) so if you haven’t read the book (not scanned through it) and I mean- actual reading and articulating, then you are totally screwed more or less. 

From the Shakespeare’s, to the Dickens, to Hardy’s Tess of the D’ubervilles, to Fitzgerald’s Great Gatsby and Wole Soyinka’s series of complex unfathomable poetry, I read, I read, I bought books and read and read until I started to hate reading. It became boring and compulsive, cumbersome, tiresome and painstaking indeed. 

Maybe schooling in Africa also does that to you. It was hot, stuffy, humid and distressingly hot. My brain had to articulate these books written centuries ago by mostly medieval English literally gods and veteran authors. It was hard but I passed my exams and in my final year, funny enough, I began to miss literature as I had focused on specialising in qualifying in English language by studying areas like the 22 accents of English and the history of RP, English English, psycholinguistics, semantics, phonology etc. I had great teachers. I hated only 1. There is always that one!!!

Anyway, I wondered why I struggled reading books at a later phase of my life. Maybe university was the time when the universe instructed me to read all these books I could possibly muster to be able to gain a qualification, an education and then deal with the consequences of literature overload and attention deficit syndrome in the future. 

Subsequently, the true Gemini in me began to camouflage it’s features when I read. 

I became a dirty little promiscuous whore when it came to my reading habits. Yes! I would start a Zadie Smith, read half way through it, pick a Lucy Mangan, read half way through it, pick a James Patterson, read half way through it and so on and so forth until I found I was reading 101 books at the same time!!! I abandoned books half way when a friend or colleague recommended a ‘great’ book. My excitement won’t stop for Amazon until I buy the new book, dump the current one, as it joins the abandoned lovers on the dusty bookshelf. Till further notice.

Yes I admit to being a pathetic-typical-Gemini-serial-book-adulterous-whore and of course I can’t help myself. Then I tell the books each time, sorry it’s not you its me, I will come back to finish you. And so it goes on and on until I made a new year resolution in 2014. Check it out on one of my other write ups. The one about reading at least 12 books a year. I actually accomplished it. Yeehaw! And so the book adulterer repented and became tamed.  

What sort of reader are you? Do you finish books? Do you read multiple books at the same time? 

Have I got the book reading disease?

  

Oh yes, it’s also made me a hopeless romantic…