Reading, Living and Reviewing

Showing posts with label Discussions. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Discussions. Show all posts

Barcelona – A Trip between Books, Coffee and Sweets

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

I started planning my trip to Barcelona a few months back and after I had finished adding all the things I wanted to visit, I was already bored. Don’t get me wrong, the trip was amazing, way more than I expected, but pinning every landmark, bookshop, coffee shop and anything in between was a daunting process. I had the feeling that once I’ll get there I will be strolling the streets without a map or GPS. Well, it wasn’t like that because I did manage to get lost. It’s a gift, what can I saysome have it, some don’t.

On my first day, I woke up really early, ready to explore the city. I hopped on in the Metro with one thing in mind – to get a coffee. Nearby the Diagonal Metro station, Starbucks was waiting for me with a fresh, hot coffee, the perfect way to start the day. I took my cappuccino with chocolate (for which I paid extra – like you pay at McDonald’s for a slice of baconbecause I was silly enough to think that they were giving it to me for free) to go because I didn’t want to waste any minute. After a couple of “turn right, turn left,” “that’s not the wayandhmm, I think I’m lost,” I finally found my first bookshop – La Central.

La Central is a bookshop with a wide selection of books in Spanish and a smaller, but eclectic selection of books in English and other languages. It’s also thought to be the best bookstore in Barcelona with five locations from which one is a café. Unfortunately, it was close, but I did make a couple of pictures from outside, as a reminder that not everyone gets up early as I do.

Inside the La Central Bookshop
I continued my way throughout the beautiful streets of Barcelona, passing by and taking pictures of important landmarks such as Fundacio Antoni Tapies or Casa Batllo – one of the most iconic monuments built by Gaudi. On my way to the famous La Rambla, I found another library, which obviously was closed, Llibraria Antiquaria Farre. I was sad to find it closed because they have a selection of rare and out of print books in a wide variety of topics, including first editions, hunting, law, cooking, magazines and vanguards.

Llibraria Antiquaria Farre
After an hour or two, I finally got to Placa de Catalunya, an enormous plaza located in the heart of Barcelona at the junction of Eixample districts and Las Ramblas. This magical square it’s not only an important transportation center, but it’s also home of a plethora of monuments, fountains, shopping centers and coffee shops.

Dazzled by the architecture and the smell of lime, I nearly passed by Happy Books, a bookshop located in Bari Gotic, on Portal de l'Àngel, a busy shopping street. The bookshop is one of the oldest in Barcelona, being founded in 1885 and it resembles a huge labyrinth split by arches leading to a new room with a new theme

Outside the Happy Books Bookshop

I found many interesting books, both in Spanish and English, but the most interesting things that caught my attention were the post-its with various quotations of famous people such as Aristotle, Cicero, Confucius and many others.
Post-it Panel with famous quotes
It was time to leave behind the bookshop and head back to La Rambla. I was eager to visit La Boqueria, Europe’s best markets, born somewhere in 1200. As years passed, La Boqueria became an important commercial supply for many restaurants as well as tourists and locals. It was praised by renowned chefs around the world like Ferran Adria from El Bulli Restaurant in Roses, Spain or Thomasina Miersfrom the Wahaka Restaurant in London or even writers like Manuel Vazquez Montalban. The market it’s like a gastronomic temple where you can eat and shop. There’s an abundance of seafood, fresh or salty fish, vegetables, fruits, herbs, sweets and wine. After drooling at every show-window, I left from there with sushi and spring rolls. I honestly couldn’t decide what to buy and even if I did, the lines were a bit long. It’s very hard to stop and look at something without being pushed by someone.

La Boqueria chocolate stand
Overall it was a great day. I enjoyed everything from the nicest people on the world to the cleanest streets I have ever seen. Don’t miss the part two of my Barcelona – A Trip between Books, Coffee and Sweets.

Bookshops Mentioned

La Central Bookshop
Carrer de Mallorca, 237
Opening hours:
Monday to Friday 09.30 to 21.30
Saturday 10.00 to 21.00

La Central del Raval Bookshop
Carrer de Elisabets, 6
Opening hours:
Monday to Friday 10.00 to 21.30
Saturdays 10.00 to 21.00

Monday to Friday 10.00 to 21.30
Saturdays 10.00 to 21.00

La Central del Lliure
Passeig de Santa Madrona, 40-46

La Central del MACBA
Plaça dels Àngels, 1

Llibraria Antiquaria Farre Bookshop
Canuda, 24
Happy Books
Av Portal de l'Àngel, 5
Ciutat Vella, El Barri Gòtic

Top 5 Movies to Learn From

Saturday, April 05, 2014

The Life of David Gale - 2003

          The Life of David Gale is a movie about philosophy professor, David Gale, which fights against the capital punishment. Ironically, he is sent to death row after being accused of murdering a fellow activist.
It’s not a bad movie, but it’s not great either. The Lacanian psychoanalysis and the great acting skills of Kevin Spacey save this movie.
          Learn about: U.S. law, how to give a speech and Lacanian psychoanalysis

Dead Poets Society – 1989

          It’s an impressive movie about how an unorthodox English teacher, John Keating, inspires his students to love poetry. Starring Ethan Hawke, Robin Williams and Robert Sean Leonard (Wilson from House M.D), the movie is set in 1959 at the aristocratic Welton Academy in Vermont.
          Learn about: if you skipped English to hang out with your friends, this movie will tick some of the info you missed.

A Beautiful Mind – 2001

          It’s a well-known movie about smart people. The adventures of John Farbes Nash, brilliant and asocial mathematician played by Russell Crowe are incredible. After accepting to work in cryptography, his life changes completely.
          Learn about: how schizophrenia can’t stop you of winning the Nobel Prize

Finding Forrester - 2000

          Finding Forrester it’s a movie directed by Gus Van Sant, starring Rob Brown and Sean Connery in the leading roles and Anna Paquin (Sookie Stackhouse from True Blood) and Busta Rhymes in the supporting roles.
          A black teenage writer attends to one of the most prestigious private schools. He soon becomes the prodigy of William Forrester, a reclusive writer, which helps him refine his natural writing talent.
          Learn about: the art of writing and other things you didn’t knew about literature.

Good Will Hunting – 1997
          Good Will Hunting follows the story of a janitor at MIT, Will Hunting, which needs a psychologist’s help to find his way in life. The 20 year boy (a genius with eidetic memory) assaulted a police officer and as part of a deferred prosecution agreement he ended up a patient of a psychologist (Robin Williams) and a math student of professor Lambeau (Stellan Skarsgård).
          The movie was directed by Gus Van Sant and stars Matt Damon (Will Hunting), Robin Williams and Affleck brothers, Ben and Casey. Although, Ben has the leading role, while Casey is Will’s friend. Ben Affleck and Matt Damon wrote the script of the movie that became a financial success.
          Learn about:  mathematics and psychology  

Teen Wolf, Death of a Hero

Saturday, March 29, 2014
          I am aware that most of the Teen Wolf fans already know the main character that died. Even so, this is a post that will have multiple spoilers and if you don’t know what happened in the last season and don’t want to know what happened before actually watching it, it’s better not to read further.  For the other ones, read on and let’s discuss about the things that happened along the show until the final episode.


          I will be honest. Allison is one of the characters that grew in the 3 seasons of the show, but I did not care about her. Actually I felt kind of meh in the first half of the first season, then she annoyed me a little in the second half. But I understood her. Scott was her boyfriend, but she knew him for a couple of months so there was no reason to trust him over her aunt. She was in love with him, but family comes first especially when you find out that your boyfriend is a possible killer. 

          Then came the second season and I started liking her. She already became a strong woman with bad ass hunter skills. She was among the few female characters that stood up and actually survived through the season. But then the second half of the season was like a rerun in Allison’s story. Yet again she let herself manipulated by a member of her family and turned into a not so nice hunter. Although the dark side of the character was much appreciated, I hated her a little. She went on a killing spree attacking every werewolf in her way…guilty or not. She even managed to shock her own father when she attacked Boyd and Erica. The character went on a dark side Angelus style and Crystal Reed did an amazing job.

          But in the third season it seems that she started fading. The main focus was on other things like the pack of alphas, Scott’s status as a true alpha and Lydia’s banshee powers. As much as we saw her in 3A, in 3B it looked like she was fading even more. I feel like we did not have to see enough of her. She was involved, she was there, but 3B was more about Stiles and Kira. Still, Allison’s life was on the right path. She moved on from Scott and started a new relationship with Isaac, not to mention that she and her father had some awesome, hilarious scenes.

          The death of Allison was sad, it was dramatic and all of a sudden. But so many people are angry with Jeff Davis for killing her the way he did and it was not fair for her to go that way. But I think it was perfect. Not that I am happy that she died, but she died like she was supposed to: like a hero. She died fighting along her friends and she died by protecting one of them. She died like a hunter and she died in the arms of her first love. Leaving aside the fact that it was the saddest situation, it was perfect.

          This was Jeff’s way to show that no one is safe, not even the heroes. They are not immortal or protected by the gods, they are just brave.

          Also, while patiently waiting for the last episode of the season, I was browsing the Teen Wolf Facebook page. People were and are still crying because of Allison, while others were asking in frustration: why didn't Scott just bite her?

          I might be wrong, but that is how I know the turning thing works in Teen Wolf universe.
          The alpha bites the human, and the human can either die or survive the bite and be turned into a werewolf. While it would have been nice if he bit her, she was already dying. And even if she would have been strong enough to survive the bite…I don’t know if she would have survived the stabbing. 

Who would you bring back if you had to choose between Allison, Aiden, Boyd and Erica? 

“Remember what it feels like. All of those times in school when you see him standing down the hall and you cannot breathe until you're with him. Or those times in class when you-you can't stop looking at the clock because you know that he's standing right out there waiting for you. Don't you remember what that's like?”
- Allison Argent -

Movie & TV Show Remakes

Friday, February 28, 2014
          Movie and TV Show remakes have always had a bad reputation and hell breaks loose every time news of a remake emerges to the surface. There is no need for the movie to actually appear for people to think that it will suck. Most think that the remake will suck and the original is always better. I am not agreeing with this because adaptations may vary and even a remake can sometimes surprise.

          I am all for remakes, but it wasn’t always like this. When a couple of years ago I found out about a possible Buffy, The Vampire Slayer reboot I was not happy. This is my favorite TV Show and for me Sarah Michelle Gellar will always be Buffy Summers and I cannot think of another version of the TV Show. So yeah, I get those who are angry when they find out about certain remakes.
But I changed my mind and so should others. And here is why.

1. No matter how bad the remake may turn out, a younger generation will have the chance to hear about characters you grew up with. Buffy was an icon of an entire generation. It was not just about a vampire slayer, it was about courage and friendship. It taught a lot and it would be awesome to see her again, even in a remake as long as the essence of the show stays the same.

2. Sometimes remakes can be just as good as the original. I saw Carrie, the original movie from 1976 and not too long ago I decided to see the 2013 one, mostly because of Chloë Grace Moretz and it did not disappoint.  I enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed the first one. The one from 2002 on the other hand I did not like that much, but as I said, not every remake can be a success. 

3. There are those times when the rebook can be better than the original. The one example I can think of is Teen Wolf. Yes, the original was a movie and it was more of a comedy while the remake is a TV Show. In a TV Show the story can evolve, new characters are introduced and the story, in this case, moved towards darker paths.

4. Some are too old to see. The original The Tomorrow People was an eight seasons TV Show from 1973 and it’s pretty hard to see a show that ended 35 years ago. If it wasn’t for the remake, I wouldn’t have had the chance to see it, even if it’s not the original one.

Do you have a favorite remake? Mine is definitely Teen Wolf and maybe The Tomorrow People.

In 2014 ...

Saturday, January 11, 2014
          I know I am a little too late with this post, giving the fact that we are already 11 days in 2014, but I have been busy with work, moving and re-designing the blog. I wanted to change it completely before I started writing on it again. I am now done(ish) with the design. I just wanted something fresh and clean and I also wanted to add some extra pages. While I was working on the design I realized that I have more than one hobby and besides reading books, I watch a ton of movies and TV shows, I read comics and I play video games so I decided to add them all on my blog. I guess that the main focus will still be books, but I will talk about other subjects from time to time.

          Now that the design is ready I will start reading as many books from my TBR list as possible since in 2013 I read…well none from the list and is such a shame since I am eager to dive in each of them. So yes, the books I already have on the list will have priority.  I will obviously still read books from indie authors, but I will try to help in other ways more, like interviews and guest posts.

          Also I’m done with reading reviews on Goodreads and Amazon. Not all of them, but the one star ones. I respect those who read books and state their honest opinion on websites, but most of the negative reviews are just that…negative. Thanks to one star reviews I learned some new bad words in English and I didn’t really wanted to know them. They lack the respect and the constructive criticism. I understand the frustration of buying a book and then being disappointed, but people just need to understand that one author cannot please everyone.

GoodReads Reading Challenge
          This is the first year I set a target and I am curious how many books I can read in one year. I don’t hope to reach the 50 books target, but at least two books a month would be nice. For those of you that are curious I added the widget on the sidebar and I already have a book this year…yay me. ^_^

Writing More
          I am happy with the number of posts I had last year, it was considerable higher from 2012 and this year I want to post as often as I posted in 2013 or more.

Overall, even though 2013 was an amazing year, I hope I can make 2014 better.

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