Taking Down Time: Tiny Escapes

Being a grad student, being any student for that matter, or just being alive usually means there’s a lot going on and a lot on your mind. There are a myriad of ways to take your mind off things for a little while, but personally I love to read. To me reading takes me away to be someone else who’s somewhere else, for as long as I want to be there. Then at any time you may return there just by getting lost in a thought. I would like to do my part to help you get there. (more…)

Do you think you own your digital library?

Bruce Willis in the film Die Hard 4. Photograph: Frank Masi

A few months ago a rumour went viral on the internet: Bruce Willis was suing Apple for the right to pass on his iTunes library to his daughters in his will. The rumour was denied by his wife shortly after – not before many news sites reproduced the story though. In any case, this is not a post about the decline of journalism in which being the “first” (or at least one of the first) to report is more important than actually checking what you’re reporting… This is a brief discussion of the question raised by the fictive legal action that – in my humble opinion – we don’t discuss deeply enough.

Bringing it to our academic world, perhaps the discussion of owning or having rights to reproduce a music file on iTunes is not relevant, but as we move more and more our lives to the cloud (I know, this is becoming a cliché), we need to understand what this actually means in terms of ownership (or the lack thereof) of digital goods. (more…)

Robin Hobb: A fantasy writer out of this world

Most often, fantasy books share common plots with evil forces raging and courageous, supernatural individuals battling to save the world. The characters are mostly vampires, zombies or wizards and in the long run it gets tiring and boring. After reading numerous pale imitations of J.K. Rowling and Anne Rice, I long gave up on fantasy books. And wondered if a worthwhile fantasy book would come along and I’d be plunged once more in a world beyond me.

My call was finally answered when I stumbled on Robin Hobb ‘s marvellous books – Dragon Keeper and Dragon Haven. Though she writes about a commonly fantastic beast probed by many other authors, she employs a different, yet refreshing approach with daring perspectives. Her unique settings and stimulating characters, which seemed so real to me, kept me awake for a couple of nights and even slipped into my dreams.

After reading these two books, the characters are still buzzing in my head and my heart is now firmly set on visiting the Elderling city of Kelsingra and Rain Wilds to enjoy life in the canopy trees, instead of Niagara Falls.

neerusha gokool baurhoo

Reading Susan Wiggs’s books – No Bookmark required

The art of reading has always been my grand passion and varies from magazines, scientific papers, encyclopaedia and blogs to books (mystery, adventure, romance…). Over the years, I’ve developed a distinctive taste for a few authors, whose work I read religiously.

After a hard fruitful day in the lab, or during insurmountable difficulties with lab techniques failing, or unwanted tiffs with lab members or close relations; the one author who made me forget my worrisome and stressful world is Susan Wiggs.

Susan Wiggs has a unique way of capturing the heart of the reader and plunging the latter in a completely different world. Her characters portray genuine emotions and I couldn’t help but being swept by their stories.

It all happened, two years ago at Chapters. I was roaming the gigantic place inhaling the fragrance of newly published books when my eyes caught sight of “The horsemaster’s Daughter”. Out of reflex, I read the back cover and pondered on whether I should purchase the book (due to my meagre budget as a student, I had to be careful with my choices).

Never did I ever regret my decision of buying “The horsemaster’s daughter.” After reading the book for three hours (non-stop), I was sad to say goodbye to one of the most fascinating and brilliant character portrayed by Eliza Flyte as a horse whisperer.

What I love most about Susan Wiggs’s books is that she skillfully touches diverse aspects such as family, children, love, divorce, animals and integrate many of these themes in a single book, thus her writing is complete and profound. Today, I proudly own around twenty of her books in my collection, each as unique and different as the other.

Though all her books are highly recommended as perfect reads, “Just Breathe” and “Table of five” remain in my top three…or maybe the “Lakeshore Chronicles” and “Summer by the sea” should also be included. Though, it seems I am unable to decreed upon my top three selections :), I am certainly grateful that Susan Wiggs’s books form part of my Gradlife which required occasional and well-deserved escapes.

With much anticipation, I will be reading her latest book “The Goodbye Quilt” in the coming weeks.

If you want to forget about your world for a while and embrace a world of laughter, tears, passion which will leave you with smiles, go for Susan Wiggs.

Note: No bookmark is required as putting her books down after the first chapter is not even an imaginable possibility…

Neerusha Gokool Baurhoo

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