21. A book with a great first line

The Gunslinger – The Dark Tower book 1

by Stephen King

“The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.”

This is the first line of an epic fantasy/horror series by Stephen King. It’s an absolute favourite of mine, I’m currently on my second journey to the Tower. The first time was mind-blowing and life altering, some books have that quality about them to make you look at life differently, deeper somehow.


The story tells of a gunslinger, Roland Deschain, who is chasing a man in black. During the hunt he meets different people, kills a lot of them, encounters a talking raven and happens upon a boy. The boy is Jake Chambers, he doesn’t know how he came to Roland’s world, but knows he will die there, because Roland needs to catch up to the man in black. In the end, Jake fall to his death after telling the gunslinger: “Go then, there are other worlds than these.” Roland is conflicted, but pursues his hunt for the man in black. He feels guilt, because Jake put his trust in him, however his need for answers is greater. In the end he reached the man in black and he turns out to be an old acquaintance: Walter. They palaver and Walter informs Roland of his future, afterwards he tries to get Roland to renounce for the Tower. Roland refuses and Walter sends him west. The story ends with Roland arriving at the shore of the Western Sea.

For all you Tower-junkies out there: I contemplated switching the way each challenge was numbered so this one would be 19. In my mind it is.



3. A book you solely picked because of the cover

The Muse

by Jessie Burton

You have this light, and when it switches on I don’t think you even realize what it does.

This story. It’s SO beautiful. Absolutely intriguing, grips you from the start and doesn’t let go. Initially I fell in love with the cover, I barely read the synopsis on the back of the book. It took me two days to finish reading the story and needed two days to recover from the exquisiteness of the prose.

I was drawn to the gorgeous colours and the way the design was executed on the cover of the book. Looking at it more closely now, I recognize the story in the picture. I noticed there’s a yellow version as well, but I think this blue one is more fitting.


2. A book that was made into a movie

The girl on the train

by Paula Hawkins

“There’s something comforting about the sight of strangers safe at home.”

First of all, I never saw the movie. I’m not sure I ever will, not because I don’t want too, but perhaps because I don’t want to see the characters that came to my mind while reading, brought to life. I would never have given Rachel the face of Emily Blunt. I just don’t see it, but maybe that’s why I should go and see it. (I do like Emily Blunt, though.)


Now for the story. I’m conflicted between liking it and hating it. I didn’t like Rachel at first, but I got to understanding her. Especially when I learned what happened between her and her ex-husband. What a horrible man. But Rachel is no angel either, and neither are “Jess and Jason” or Anna for that matter. It was a mess of a situation, it made it a mess to read too at some points. The narrative wasn’t always easy to follow, however that might be more because of Rachel’s condition.

I’m leaning towards not liking it, since the story ended rather perfect and somehow happily. Of course, a girl died and the circumstances of her demise were shocking and scandalous, yet all’s well that ends well. Rachel knows the truth, Anna knows the truth.


18. A book with a blue cover

The Happiness Project

by Gretchen Rubin

“The time to start exercising, stop nagging, and organize our digital photos was when everything was going smoothly. I didn’t want to wait for a crisis to remake my life.”

This book was absolutely inspirational to me. Gretchen takes she through a year of her life, through the search to be more happy, to find happiness in her day-to-day life without radically changing anything. Some people move to another town, embark on a journey around the world, or find another job. I liked that she didn’t want to do any of these things, but tried to make the life that she has now better, tried to life fuller and love deeper. Her honesty was much appreciated, she’s fully aware that she might be more privileged than others, because she works from home, has a good marriage and two lovely children. Her project fits with her job as a writer, but it never felt as if the project would be something I couldn’t do myself. I don’t work from home, do have a good marriage as well, and I “only” have a fur baby. So maybe her privileges are not so far from mine after all.  However, no matter what your background might be, Gretchen gives great advice on how to start for yourself and make your own happiness project a success.

Her main goal was to live lighter, so she would be better prepared for hard times that would undoubtedly occur. I learned this years ago from Dr. Phil (whose book I have yet to finish, maybe that one could be in this challenge as well).

She gave each month their own chapter, added a theme, and made subcategories with goals for that particular month. My favourites were January through December, the book made me happier just by reading it. Gretchen didn’t make it look easy, she actually made it easy. I learned so much through her experiences. Most of the issues she writes about are relatable and that makes it that much more accessible for her readers. First thing I did? I joined a gym near my home. And the second? Started working on my blog again! And hopefully I’m less nagging nowadays too. The digital photo collection organization will have to wait awhile..


Star gazing

We booked 2 nights in a “star cabin” in the countryside. It was cloudy and rain fell a lot, but that didn’t stop us from having fun.

The star cabin is tiny and cosy and very well designed. It has everything you need on 9m3! It’s in Twente in the Netherlands on the lands of Erfgoed Bossem. We can hear the cows and chickens nearby, and nothing but silence beyond that. Everything at the residence is biological and ecological, they work according to the Slow Food method.

At 5 minutes walking distance there’s a star observatory. Also tiny, still we learned a lot! (Like the telescope can’t look through the clouds,  who knew, we were convinced it would work). The people working there seemed to be volunteers,  this did not put down their enthusiasm.  It was delightfully awkward, filled with clean cut dry humor as you might expect in Twente
We took silly pictures in front a green screen, showing us in space, floating in a rocket ship, and petting a T-Rex. Then a demonstration of a mini rocket launch in a nearby meadow. The wind was blowing, the second rocket took forever to launch, but our tour guide relentlessly kept trying until it went up in the air. Next was the star observatory,  that was our favourite.  Looking at the starry sky and seeing all the planets and the sun up close. Absolutely beautiful! We’d definitely like something like that in our home. Last was the actual telescope that they have. Strong enough to see at least the moon and Jupiter. Unfortunately it was still very cloudy, so we looked at tree blossoms instead. Still gorgeous. 

We’ll definitely be returning some time in the summer.  Hopefully we’ll be able to do some actual star gazing as well! 

Day 7 – Do you read? What are your favorite books?

​I don’t read books. I devour books. Currently I’m on a one-book-a-week spree and I hope it never ends.My goal is to read 52 books this year, it’s looking good so far. Luckily I have a long commute to work, which allows me to read for at least 2 hours a day. 

My favorite books? Well, there are way to many, but I can tell you my favorite series: The Dark Tower by Stephen King, The Sword of Truth by Terry Goodkind, Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien, and Harry Potter by JK Rowling.

Right now I’m om my second journey to the Dark Tower . There are so many hidden layers I missed the first time. Also the details I missed the first time, the premonitions I clearly could not see. I wonder if the ending will be as mind blowing as the first time though. 

If you want to know about all the other books I read and loved, find me on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/profile/Denise_1508

Let me know in the comments what your favourite  books are. Always like to update my TBR list!

Day 5 – Five places you want to visit

1. London – And not just visit, I want to live there. Because the very first time I visited, it felt like coming home.

2. Barcelona – My sunny home away from home. (Someone did a test and it is cheaper to commute to London from Barcelona and back each day than it is to actually live in London. Unreal.)

3. Graceland. Elvis had left the building, but I believe his presence can still be felt there.

4. New York. Because New York.

5. Sydney. 42 Wallaby way to be exact.