Dublin 2014, part IV – in where I’m feeling lazy

The last few days have been far less eventfull that my first week of travel. I haven’t done a whole lot, but slowed it down. I think that after traveling for a bit, your energy level just isn’t at the same peak anymore, and you just feel like doing less.

My main event on Tuesday was visiting Trinity College and the Books of Kells. It was amazing! But more about that in another entry.

I also went to a place called Tea Garden, where my goal was to drink tea. I had looked it up on Yelp, and it had good reviews, so I wanted to try it out.

I was first not sure if I’d gone to the right place, as I had to go down a pair of steep, winding stairs to get there. It also didn’t look like what I expected from a tea place. However, I had come to a proper tea place, and the tea was really good (but I missed having milk in my black tea, but didn’t dare ask for it).

The Tea Garden also seemed to be a very hip place. Not so much for the interiour, but because a lot of young, hip people were there. I, on the other hand, is not a hip person, but was still happy to sit by myself, drink wonderful tea and read my book.

A book is open on a table, there's a tea cup in the back, and a teapot to the right.
Drinking tea and reading at the Tea Garden
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2014

After drinking tea, I headed to the Longstone Pub, to the monthly Dublin bookcrossing meetup. We weren’t very many, but it was a nice bunch of people, and I had a brilliant time. Before I went there, I had a plan on leaving early, but I ended up staying until the end.

Wednesday was another quiet day. I had decided to sleep in, but didn’t, as there was too much noise in the hotel. Not extraordinary noise, just the regular noise that comes from super thin walls. So, I was waken by the fact that the people in my neighbouring room were talking (normally) to eachother. However, I decided to stay in my room and relax, before I went out for breakfast. The breakfast at the hotel I was staying at wasn’t exactly the greatest, to say the least. Instead I went out for brekfast, and then did a bit of walking around Hanry’s street.

I then went to an early showing at the cinema. Off peak tickets were cheaper, only €7.50, and I landed on a film called What If, with Daniel Radcliffe. It’s not the sort of film I’d normally go to, but it wasn’t too bad. Not too crazy about the ending, but, oh well.

After the film, it was already dinner time, and I headed for a cheap, vegetarian place. The food was good, and only €3 for a plate of food. And that was pretty much what ended my day.

On Thursday, i.e. yesterday, it was time to move to another hotel. I’m staying at the convention hotel for Shamrokon (EuroCon), and was fortunate enough to have a bus going directly from right outside my former hotel to where I’m staying now. So, I went to the new hotel after breakfast, and then walked to the centre of the city. Walking through St Stephen’s Green is actually qiote nice, and I was in no hurry, so I did stop and have a look around as well.

A memorial fountain in St Stephen's Green
A memorial fountain in St Stephen’s Green
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2014

I met up with Peadar, whom I first met at EasterCon last year, for lunch, and he then took a couple of other science fiction fans and I on a privately guided tour in Dublin Museum. Peadar was the perfect tour guide, with so much interesting knowledge! Dublin Museum has free admission, and is most definitively a place I’d like to visit again at some other point.

Floor details inside the Dublin Museum
Floor details inside the Dublin Museum
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2014

After the museum visit, we headed back to the hotel, and I got to check in and then head for my room. I had amazingly tasty Indian take away for dinner (in my room), and the evening was spent chatting to strangers. I was warmly welcomed to sit by the table with a group who had come over from Australia, and it was very nice.

It was then bedtime, and I headed for my room, for a cup of tea and some reading before I got a good night’s sleep.

Book Review: The lies of Locke Lamora, by Scott Lynch

I picked this book up at a bookcrossing meet up back in 2008, but didn’t get around to read it until now. And I’m mighty glad I did, as this was a very good read! The lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch is the first book in the Gentleman Bastard series, and was first released in 2006. Lynch was born in Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA, in 1978, and had since written two more books in the series: Red seas under red skies (2007) and The Republic of Thieves (2013). There are at least five other books planned to be released in the series.

The book "The lies of Locke Lamora" on a silver coloursed plate.
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2014

The story in this book is about Locke Lamora, who at the age of six ends up being bought by Father Chains, a priest of the Crooked Warden, the god of thieves. Here he is brought up to, along with a group of other young boys, to be a master of disguise, and they become “the Gentlemen Bastards”. This is the setting for an exciting thriller of a journey for us readers…

This book was different from any other fantasy book I’ve read in many ways. Not only did it have a pretty original plot, but it had a rather colourful language as well. If you’re of the religious kind, you might find it offensive, as it does contain swearing. Personally, I think it fits with the rest of the story.

For me, this book was a real page turner. There’s so many good things about it, not only the language and the originality, but it is full of humour and is at times so exciting, I almost forgot how to breath! I also loved all the different and colourful disguises that were described, and kept wondering how Locke could fool so many.

I must say though, this is not a book for the faint-hearted. Lynch has not spared any details in the combat scenes. They are quite bloody, to say the least. But if you don’t mind such things (personally, I think it makes the book just that much more believable), you’ll probably enjoy it.

As far as I’ve understood, Warner Brothers bought the movie rights to the book shortly after it was released. However, I’m not sure if I’d like to see it at the cinema, though it were to be screened, I’d probably go. I’m worried, though, as the descriptions in the book are so lively and great food for your imagination, I have a hard time seeing the film can come anywhere near the book. But we’ll see, time will show.

Book Review: Talking about Jane Austen in Baghdad, by Bee Rowlatt and May Witwit

I joined the bookring for Talking about Jane Austen in Baghdad, written by Bee Rowlatt and May Witwit, simply because of the title. I mean, I’m a Jane Austen fan, what else is to be expect? It didn’t talke long, though, before I realised that this book was not so much about Jane Austen, as about two other women.

The book "Talking about Jane Austen i Baghdad" is on a table, a cup of coffee on the top right corner.
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2014

This is the correspondence between the BBC journalist Bee and the Iraqi university teacher May, who wrote e-mails to eachother from the beginning of 2005 to late 2008. Bee works for the BBC World Service in London, is married with small kids. May teaches English and human rights at the University of Baghdad, and is married for the second time to a much younger man.

It is through Bee’s job the two women get in touch with eachother for the first time:


Dear May

Thank you for agreeing to be available for interview. As I said, I’m a producer for BBC World Service radio, on the news programme The World.

And so starts the e-mailing back and forth the two women, and through e-mails they develop a deep friendship, despite cultural differences, age gap and different religious views.

This was a very interesting read. I must admit I even had to break down some prejudices I had about Iraqi women. And that, I think, is a good thing. I loved reading about the women’s lives. Especially I found May’s side of the story interesting. Through her eyes we get to know Iraq better, even before and after the invation. Not only does May tell Bee about the (then) present situation in Iraq, but she also gives information about the coutry’s history. I can’t even phantom how it must be like to have such living conditions!

I’ve seen some people mentioning that they don’t like May all that much, but I disagree. Even though there are things she, and Bee for that matter, thinks that I do not agree on, I do take a liking to her. Heck, I like them both. Not that I know what on earth I would say to them should I ever meet them, but they’re real. They don’t show us picture perfect lives, but how things really are, for them both.

To be honest, I think this is the kind of book most people should read! Maybe especially Americans, but also others in the western part of the world. I think that we all have something to learn from this. Maybe we should force Barak Obama to read this? 😉