Sustainable Reading Nr. 6

Fashion

MPs Say Fast Fashion Brands Inaction On Ethics Is Shocking – Again, many NGOs activists have been saying this for years and for the MPs to now contribute to the discussion feels slow, nevertheless, they are discussing it. The article points out what the government’s committee on the topic found out from some of the major UK high street brands about their sustainable and ethical initiatives, and it ranks these high street brands on the basis of their answers. The problem is that although they are ranked into three groups there isn’t much information on what they are really doing about sustainability and ethics and whether this is supported by evidence. To that, there were many companies that were missing from the list such as Zara, H&M, Victorias Secret and many others.

Polartec Commits To 100% Recycled Materials – The header is actually a bit wrong as it explains how Polartec commits to 100% recycled and biodegradable materials. It is still amazing to read about!

Sustainable Reading Nr. 6 - byLiiL

Social

Is Sunscreen The New Margarine? – An excellent article that makes you think. Is the dermatological industry just trying to get their money’s worth and are you getting enough vitamin D?

This Teen Wrote A Bill To End Period Poverty In School – How amazing is that! When the adults are not working on things that they should be working on, there is hope that in the future these young people will grow and make the world a better place!

This Pakistani Province Just Made Polio Vaccines Mandatory For All Schoolchildren – This is a big step to eradicate the disease from the country and I hope it will go well. Although I am interested to see whether the government will support this financially.

The Future Of Gender Equality Lies In The Hands Of Female Coders: UN Chief – It is great that they are recognising that by having more women knowledgeable in the skills needed for the future and I hope there will be more support to the girls as well!

Sustainable Reading Nr. 6 - byLiiL

Plastic

A Better Way To Make Plastic Out Of Sulfur – Alternative source from which to make plastic.

Cork Vs. Cap: Which Wine Stopper Is Better? – Going through different corks and caps and what are their benefits, as well as which ones are good ecologically.

This Water Bottle Dissolves If It Ever Enters the Ocean – They talk about a biodegradable water bottle that is made out of “biopolymer called PHA that’s comes from a fermenting bacteria”. It is supposed to decompose when it touch with naturally occurring bacteria. That is how biodegradability works, however, in the article there was no proof how quickly this happens or whether it leaves any harmful chemicals behind. I will be in a post soon explaining the differences and characteristic of biodegradability and other such words relating to packaging so stay tuned.

Researchers Just Found A Brilliant Way To Convert Plastic Waste Into Fuel – The heat it up so high it is supposed to turn back into oil. If it actually works then brilliant, but it does make me wonder how it took them this long to come up with such an idea.

Sustainable Reading Nr. 6 - byLiiL

Other News

French and German Farmers Forced To Destroy Crops After GMOs Found In Bayer/Monsanto Seeds – The headline itself raises few thoughts. Mostly, GREAT they are actually doing something about the GMO seeds, the second, I feel sorry for the farmers. In the article Bayer/Monsanto say they will be reimbursing the farmers for the lost revenue, however, it is still not clear how the illegal seeds got into the crop. I really hope countries would start supporting more organic farming and especially non-Bayer-Monsanto seeds.

How Danone, Kashi and O’Lakes Are Backing Sustainable Farming – Article talks about what are the issues for farmers to transfer to sustainable farming and how the big companies are looking for more sustainable production. It brings out one problem, which is the price for the farmers to transfer to sustainable farming and how it can be a big barrier, where although the payout is going to be better in the long term, in short term can be too costly for the farmers to do. Seeing this, shouldn’t the big companies and governments support them through this transition?

The Soon-To-Be Worlds Biggest Offshore Wind Farm Will Start Powering Britain This Week – How great! I hope the whole country will soon be completely powered by clean energy!

Sea Turtle Populations Soared by 980% After Legal Protections – It is great to hear that the protections are working and animals are rebounding. Although the number is from a median, and might not tell the whole truth to a person who doesn’t know enough about the topic.

Sustainable Reading Nr. 6 - byLiiL

All pictures are from Pexels.

What news did you find were interesting lately? Share the links in the comment section below.

With love,

Lii

 

Check out the other sustainable reading posts: Nr. 5, Nr. 4, Nr.3.

You can also find me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

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The Anatomy of Gift Giving (Valentine’s Day edition)

In the eyes of a Buddhist, maitri is authentic and pure love. It means to feel compassion, kindness, goodwill, and love toward all human beings, equally, without any exceptions—including our partners.” wrote Elayane Youssef on Ethical Elephant.

Last year I wrote about a day of love where Valentine’s Day is not only for lovers but for everybody you love from your partner to your friends, family and yourself. This year I want to follow the Buddhist believe to share the love even further to the people who you don’t know and who might need your thoughts, love and caring. But before I dive into how you can share your love with strangers I thought to discuss why it isn’t usually done and why we should do it.

The Anatomy of Gift Giving (Valentine's Day edition) - byLiiL

Gift-Giving

Very often we are believed and pushed to show our love for our loved ones, whether it is Valentine’s day, Christmas or Birthday, we should be gifting our loved ones. I love giving presents to my loved ones but I do have the feeling that gift-giving days are increasing each year and people who we must give presents to are increasing in numbers. Speaking with others about gift giving I’ve noticed that people put a lot of pressure on themselves for giving ever more expensive presents and Christmas presents are expected to cost a minimum of £100 for each person you are giving a gift. Making a quick calculation that would mean I should be spending approximately £2000 on gifts every Christmas, which would easily take me on 3 holidays.

Then there are, graduations, weddings and christenings, which again are wonderful celebrations, but when planning a wedding you are being told that the guests won’t enjoy the party unless you gift them with amazing souvenirs of your wedding, I start to wonder whether the wedding is for me or for the guests who get a free meal, present and a party in exchange for showing up, congratulating you and possibly bringing you a gift. Then we have leaving parties for the quick turnover staff, all the housewarming parties, great you got a new job celebrations, back from holidays gifts/souvenirs, some people gift each other on New Years (this might be a remnant from Russia where they give gifts on New Years instead of Christmas which is a deeply religious holiday), so will we be gifting the ever-expanding network of people in our lives on Halloween as well?

Is gift giving becoming the synonym of love and care, in the western countries, when we do not actually have time for the loved ones as much as we feel we should? It is shown in the movies we watch and many of us experience it. When I was a kid my dad went often on work trips and I got accustomed to getting a small gift whenever he came back, actually so accustomed that I remember asking him once when he would be going for another work trip as I was really looking forward to a gift. Those days he was away from home well over half the year. Now that I live away from my family and friends I always bring presents home, as though they would reimburse the time we’ve lost.

The Anatomy of Gift Giving (Valentine's Day edition) - byLiiL

Gifting around the World

In other cultures, gifts are not given for birthday and there are many cultures that don’t celebrate Christmas, but rather other holidays. However, most cultures still give gifts, mostly as tokens of gratitude for being invited to a celebration or for a business deal, but sometimes for love and for care as well. The one thing I found out about the different gift-giving habits is many gifts are either money or food, and in many cultures, different items can be perceived as rude such as umbrellas or clocks in China.

Essentially gift giving is an important part of human interaction that can be especially very important in many cultures and social situations. A gift can tell another person that one really cares, although to others it can feel like an unnecessary burden as reciprocal gifts are expected almost all around the world. And some people just don’t mind gifts but rather like support or company of the gift giver more than the present, which you can read more about in the 5 love languages.

The Anatomy of Gift Giving (Valentine's Day edition) - byLiiL

Gifting Strangers

I wondered why the consumerist market is not pressuring us to give gifts to strangers and those we don’t know until I realised that they do but these gifts are masked under the word “charity” or “donations”. Occasionally these charities change the wording to “give a gift of water” or any other gift, which actually sounds like a much nicer way to put it. Why don’t we, instead of just donating money, rather give a gift? Gift giving, as we’ve learned so far, is meaningful interaction. We think about what we want to give others, what would suit them and what would make them happy. Why shouldn’t we make it meaningful when we put money into a donation for a charity or when we are doing a charitable thing? There are many people out there who do not receive gifts, who are lonely, who are poor and who, rather than receiving anonymous money, might like the human interaction with a heartwarming gift. Of course with many charities, you are not able to see how your donation or a gift is actually impacting the other person, but there are some that let you know or see this happening. Alternatively, you can be generous and gift stranger that is located closer to you.

Although giving gifts and showing love and care to those you love is something that each of us cherishes, there are people who might need it more. There are already multiple guides on what to gift to your loved ones which you can google or check some of my older gift guides, but what I recommend is giving them time and possibly give a gift to a stranger. There are some great examples of gifts you can give to those who need them.

The Anatomy of Gift Giving (Valentine's Day edition) - byLiiL

Give Gifts To Those Who Need Them
  • Why not send a loving public letter to the big companies requesting them to send Valentine’s present to the labour making the items they sell and get rich on. The present could be a bonus for working so well or items that they really need in their lives but can’t afford.
  • Why not gift the gift of water to those in need.
  • Why not gift necessary beauty or sanitary products to your local shelters.
  • Why not gift a cup of hot drink to the homeless person on the street to warm them up on these cold days.
  • Why not gift a bag of groceries to the poor neighbour, or even better give two gifts in one by inviting them for a dinner to your house to socialise with them. (make sure that you are safe though)
  • Why not gift your company to the lonely elderly.
  • Why not gift blood at the blood bank, or even better your bone marrow.
  • Why not gift a bee with flower seeds that will bloom in the summer to give them more food.
  • Why not sponsor a child in a third world country and give them a gift of a better life?

Pictures are from Pexels.

The Anatomy of Gift Giving - byLiiL

Why shouldn’t we be thinking and loving everybody on this planet on Valentine’s Day?

With love,

Lii

 

You can also find me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

My Sustainable Journey in January

This is a new thread which I hope will help me to become even more sustainable and hopefully inspire some of you to do changes with me. I started January fairly easily by calculating my carbon footprint.

My Sustainable Journey in January - byLiiL

Calculating My Carbon Footprint

My carbon footprint – 4.56 metric tons of CO2e. I did this calculation based on my habits in 2018. Although the numbers don’t actually make a lot of sense to me what does is a comparison; The average carbon footprint in the UK is 6.5 metric tons, so I know I am below that. I also know the world target it 2 metric tons which is way below of my usage. The number of flights I took in 2018 amounted to 1.41 metric tons, which is quite a lot, but I offset this by not having a car and using mainly public transport to get around. Also, I don’t fly quite so much every year, but living away from your family in a place from where it is hard to get to them by any other means than flying does make this number higher than it would otherwise.

Now that I know what my footprint is I can work on lowering it. The problem is that the majority of my footprint comes from gas and electricity in my household which amounts to 1.28 metric tons for just me and that I cannot change in a rental flat. Although I know that part of the energy I get is from wind power I don’t know how big amount it is and therefore it cannot be calculated into this. In the future when I move I hope to change this! What comes to shopping I don’t shop much, mostly just what I need, food and occasionally some extra items. However, I do know that I could live more eco-friendly.

What I did notice about this calculated it didn’t take into account your recycling and other waste habits, nor where or what type of produce you shopped for. It does suggest that to lower your carbon footprint you should not buy fruits and vegetables that are not in season, however, in the calculation, it doesn’t take this into account which could either lower or grow that CO2 emission.  It also doesn’t take into account packaging in any products, water usage nor whether you have pets in the house. All of these are minor things, but they do add up. Nevertheless, it provides with a suggested number of what your footprint is. If you want to calculate your carbon footprint you can try THIS calculator which is free to use!

My Sustainable Journey in January - byLiiL

Zero Waste Tries

I tried few zero waste products in January; bamboo toothbrush, zero waste deodorant and zero waste dry shampoo. The bamboo toothbrush was okay. I didn’t mind the bamboo handle, which I’ve heard complaints about. However, it doesn’t work as well as my electric toothbrush at keeping my teeth clean, and the bristles could be designed to get into every crevice. If the bristles could be designed better I think it would be a great alternative to regular plastic toothbrushed, but I hope the industry will start designing eco-friendly electric toothbrushes as they are superior to your own health! I quite liked my zero waste deodorant by Kutis, I didn’t feel any smell on the days when I used it, nor any sensitivity. But like with many natural deodorants I started feeling itchy after few days of use. Nevertheless, it is a great deodorant for not so sensitive armpits. The zero waste dry shampoo by Kitenest I love! It takes time to get used to using it, but it is awesome and you get a lot in this package!

My Sustainable Journey in January - byLiiL

 

In February I am planning to finally find myself some natural and zerowaste toothpaste. If you have any recommendations please let me know in the comment box below!

All pictures are from pexels, first and last by Min An.

My Sustainable Journey in January - byLiiL

What sustainable have you done in January?

With love,

Lii

 

You can also find me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Happy Favourites of January 2019

CVRCHES – I’ve been listening to them almost non-stop for the beginning of January. I’d heard them before, but never actually listened to their album.

Lethal White – I finally got to read the next part of Robert Galbraith’s Strike series and all it did was leave me wanting more. The novel is long, but I read in just a few days.

Happy Favourites of January 2019 - byLiiL

Long Awaited Change of Decor In My Home – The flat I live in is not very small but it’s not too large either, and when I have to be able to sleep, live and work, as well as let another person and the cats be comfortable in it the space seems to be getting ever tighter. This is partly because we moved in when we were still students and required space for studenty things, desks, thus we had two, and neither was very small. They both took a lot of space but didn’t offer much storage wise. I arranged a plan of how to make changes in the home slowly and the first thing to change was to arrange more storage space. Our desk in the living room was a massive glass top, which we wrapped in cardboard and put into storage awaiting us living in another space where we could take it out again. It is a desk which I love and would not want to part with. In its place we put a shelving unit, yes it is from Ikea, but it was the only piece of furniture that matched our budget, space, utility, the storage space and changeability. It is also a piece of furniture which we are planning to use for years to come. I am already so happy with the look and the freedom that we get from having so much storage space that is making our living room already much neater and makes my mind rest still.

Figure Skating EC – I feel that I add figure skating to any happy favourites list if I get to follow it, but it is the only sport that I really enjoy watching and get nostalgic and excited about. Therefore the European Championship was an enjoyment to watch. There are several skaters who I loved watching due to their artistry!

Books – I loved reading in December, but in January I got new energy and excitement to read. This might be partly because I found booktube, Youtube channels that talk exclusively about books. I think I got a bit addicted to them and to reading, having already read 6 books in January, which is way more than the average of 3 that I have set up as my goal this year, but I know that I will be reading thicker books later this year and won’t finish quite so many in those months.

Overcoming Fears – In January I had to go to the dentist. After a bad experience at the dentist a few years ago which left me in pain and not being able to move my jaw for few days because of their mistake, I have been terrified of going back to the dentist and even more of having the local anaesthesia. The most painful thing at the dentist, in my opinion, is the local anaesthesia! (I might be lucky to think that). I was so terrified in the dentist chair that my neck got really stiff and I had a headache for the rest of the day. Nevertheless, I am happy that I went and funnily enough, I lived through it and feel a lot better now. This definitely goes under my goal of Health this year and hopefully this time I won’t be as horrified at going to the dentist.

Flow Cosmetics Calendula Shampoo Bar – I’ve loved the shampoo bar, which I received as a Christmas present. It is supposed to clean your hair properly of any product. The only thing is that I have to apply product many times into my hair for it to lather up and clean it properly, which can get quite tiring to my arms (then again it might be building a bit of muscle so silver linings), but I’ve noticed that I do not need conditioner and my hair is feeling healthy, manageable and voluminous!

Crispy Frosty Winter Days – There is just something magical about seeing the beautiful frosty plants, ground and white roofs of buildings. I live in an advantageous place to be able to see far and wide this beauty and I fully enjoy it.

Coasters – I got coasters from Rocket and Fox from Etsy. I needed some nice coasters to keep my furniture in good condition for long, but I also wanted coasters that will be in good use for long. I found simple yet interesting cork coasters which look good together or apart. The cork works wonderfully to protect the furniture and it doesn’t get ruined by the humidity. In addition, it is a nice smooth surface for any type of mug or glass.

Happy Favourites of January 2019 - byLiiL

Watch

You – The new show on Netflix with Gossip Girl’s Penn Badgley as the main character. It is intense, mysterious and ominous, and I couldn’t stop watching it so I binge watched it in two days and it was the only thing that got me off from reading continuously. Penn Badgley is excellent in it although the whole thing is creepy. It does show how easily people can find you through social media and how they can follow you.

Bao – This might not be happy but it is beautiful and thoughtful. It’s a short film which is also nominated for an Oscar.

Happy Favourites of January 2019 - byLiiL

What were your favourites in January?

With love,

Lii

Sustainable Reading Nr. 5

Fashion

What Does A Sustainable Closet Look Like? – The World Threads Traveler introduces her walking wardrobe and what is her wardrobe made of, whilst reiterating how sustainable closet doesn’t need to be made 100% of ethically and sustainably made garments. Interesting read that will calm your anxiety over the fast fashion items that you bought when you didn’t know what you were doing.

Green Finance Boost For Myanmar Garment Sector – Myanmar garment factories are looking to cut their CO2 emissions!

PFCs Not Necessary In Outdoor Clothing, Claims Study – Non-fluorinated polymers work as well as fluorinated polymers to repel water.

UK Garment Factories Flouting Minimum Wage Laws – Finally the officials are looking into this and the factories are forced to pay back what the employees were meant to be paid originally! It is still a big problem, which needs to be addressed, but that is a start!

Levi’s To Pilot Blockchain Use In Supply Chain – I’ve heard good things about what Levi is trying to achieve in the fashion industry and am happy to continue hearing how they want to transform the whole industry to be better.

Sustainable Reading Nr. 5 - byLiiL

Plastic & Waste

Microplastics Ban Could Cause Beauty Sector Billions – Although microplastic beads are already restricted in the EU and especially in the UK some sort of microplastics still exist in the beauty, detergent and agricultural fertilisers and the industry is fighting back on their ban as there is no quick solution to replace this formula. Yes, it might cause the industry a lot of money, but it can cause the environment even more. And quite frankly I don’t want any kind of plastic in my beauty products, detergents or fertilisers!

Fashionista’s New Survey Suggests That Bullying Is Still Alive And Well In The Fashion Industry – It is an unfortunate truth that is probably live in many industries, however, the fashion industry is very clicky, a trend-driven place where everybody is trying to show what they are made of. The constant competition to get ahead and to get paid properly for your work doesn’t help the situation. I have experienced the clicky atmosphere, the senior staff that behaved like they were the royalty who you should not talk to and the employers who didn’t think you are worthy of being paid to. Unfortunately, in the fashion industry everybody knows somebody and complaining about this is difficult because you might not be employed again.

This New Recycling Facility Will Repurpose 90% Of Household Waste – In Australia, this recycling facility is attempting to recycle the neighbouring household’s waste. It is not the first of it’s kind. In northern European countries this is a fairly common practice that should be employed in other countries as well. The technology is there it is just missing the infrastructure to put in place everywhere else.

World’s First Plastic Free Flight Paving The Way For Green Aviation – Hurray! Although how has this been not a thing for ages I don’t know. I hope other companies are quick to follow suit!

Sustainable Reading Nr. 5 - byLiiL

Social

The Disturbing Racial Bias Of The Greatest Dancer  – It is interesting how by giving all the power to the public we can see how racially biased it is.

‘Breast Ironing’ Is Happening In The UK , Affecting Up To 1,000 Girls – The saddest thing about this is that the mothers feel like they need to protect their girls, or do they feel they want to control them in this way? Nevertheless, the health problems resulting from such behaviour is why this should be made illegal, but also it is something that should be talked more widely why it can be harmful to girls.

The UAE’s Gender Equality Awards Were Missing One Important Thing: Women – As ridiculous as it sounds the UAE had their awards for gender equality where all the recipients of initiating or encouraging gender equality were men. Nevertheless, of the country being on the forefront of gender equality in the Gulf State area, it seems as though they found a new award to award men of seemingly doing something. It is great that they are working on it, but it just shows they still have a long way to go!

The Ethical Issues With Amazon – A very comprehensive article by Francesca from Ethical Unicorn explaining the big problems with Amazon. We all knew there were problems, but this is quite unbelievable!

Sustainable Reading Nr. 5 - byLiiL

What interesting sustainability news have you read about recently?

With love,

Lii

Recycled Wool Blanket from Future Kept

Recycled Wool Blanket

My home is usually cold in the winter months, nevertheless of heating. I live on the top floor on top of a hill with poor insulation in windows where I can hear the wind whistling on almost any day, as the wind is a fairly common occurrence in Scotland. This usually means that I am always dressed in layers of warm clothing and am snuggled under a blanket. The blanket I have is knitted and crocheted patchwork blanket that I’ve made out of leftover yarn. I love it, but it isn’t the prettiest thing to keep when we get guests, and it has holes which do not always make it the warmest. Also, sometimes you just need more than one blanket.

Recycled Wool Blanket from Future Kept - byLiiL

I remembered seeing recycled wool blankets somewhere and decided to search online if I could find any. Almost instantly I found this shop Future Kept which sells a variety of beautiful recycled wool blankets in different check prints. Before I knew it I had ordered myself one, and in a couple of days, I was admiring the beautiful and so cosy recycled wool blanket made by Tweedmill. Since then it has been warming me every day alongside my other blanket. It is the warmest thing I have and it keeps the heat in very well. So well that the cats can’t stay under it for long periods of time as they get too warm. I fell in love with the blanket instantly and since then have been planning on purchasing one in another colour to have in my bedroom when I need extra layers in there.

Recycled Wool Blanket from Future Kept - byLiiL

Ethical Wool

The blanket is great quality, it looks beautiful and I love that it is made out of recycled wool in Wales. Wool is such an amazing fibre which is adaptable to heat and cold keeping you warm in cold and keeping you cool when it’s warm. In addition, it is antibacterial, breathable, natural, biodegradable, strong and it is easy to care for. There are problems with the ethics of wool, which you can read about in this excellent post. Unfortunately, ethically produced wool can be difficult, but not impossible, to find and I love to see the wool being recycled as it makes it more sustainable and shows just how resilient the fibre is.

Future Kept

Before I purchased the blanket I checked the Future Kept website and was so happy to have found another ethical store that is concentrated on timeless pieces, that are hand made, are of great quality and unique. The owners Jeska and Dean Herne themselves say that they created the online shop to “to seek out beautiful and useful items for life and the home that are made with love, thoughtfulness and detail”, which definitely translates through the pages. They offer beautiful home wear, down to earth accessories, delicate jewellery, natural beauty, beautiful books and journals, and much more. The website is a joy to visit and discover new beautiful items. I also love that from every sale 1% goes for the Planet, where they give 1% of any sale directly to environmental, not for profit groups that focus on protecting, preserving and restoring our planet. I love that!

The whole website looks beautiful and it’s like diving into Jeska’s and Dean’s world when visiting it. Their photography is lovely and rustic where each picture could be on Instagram. Their Instagram feed looks just like the shop come to life with a strong hygge (a word that I really don’t like, but it is the only word I can think of describing it) feeling to it. I know that I will be checking their shop especially when it comes to buying presents either for loved ones or to treat myself!

Recycled Wool Blanket from Future Kept - byLiiL

Have you shopped at Future Kept? What kind of a blanket would you prefer; virgin wool, recycled wool, made out of recycled plastic bags, any other?

With love,

Lii

Best Books I Read In 2018

I read a lot of good books in 2018 and it was tough choosing my favourites reads, but here they are in order in which I read them. I hope they might inspire you to read them or to choose not to.

 

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

A literary fiction book that sets in the 1950s, the ’60s and ’70s mostly in Belgian Congo during a time of upheaval. It follows an Evangelical Baptist family who moves to Belgian Congo to a tiny village to turn them all into Christianity. The story is told from the first-person perspective by the women of the family, who describe the events, other people and their thoughts in the own unique ways.

I really enjoyed the plot, the way the author handled the history and the situation of the country, and how she explored the colonialism and white man’s way of doing things their own way which to them is the only way of doing it right. It is interesting to see the cultural differences and how they bump into each other and the patience of human’s in difficult situations.

The book has quite a dark and melancholy feel to it but is dripped with funny events that feel natural to the storyline.

Best Books I Read In 2018 - byLiiL

A Concise Chinese English Dictionary for Lovers by Xiaolu Guo

The book is a beautiful reflection of clashing cultural differences between east and west. It discusses it from the point of view of lovers, although other relationships do come along occasionally as well. It discusses the English language and the meaning of words and how they can be interpreted in different ways by a different culture. Or how different the expectations are of the relationship by people from different cultures and the different needs of people from different cultures.

The book is about a young Chinese girl Z who comes to the UK to study English. She falls in love with a man and she discovers her sexuality and self-identity through travels in Europe and the rocky relationship.

It is fairly easy to read and it has great insight into the western culture from an easterners perspective. It is fresh and beautiful!

 

Ruby by Cynthia Bond

Ruby tells a story about a black girl who suffers her whole life from the hands of one man who takes advantage of her innocence and fright. The story is mainly concentrated in a small town in East Texas in a black community where everybody knows each other as they do in small towns. Ephram is a reverends son who is in love with Ruby who is considered to be a crazy person and a whore. The story is haunting, aggravating, depressing and beautiful. It tells perfectly how other people can influence your own perception of yourself in bad as well as good, and how difficult it is to get rid of that bad. It tells how love sees into the soul through all the fences and it shows how the minds of a group of people can be manipulated by a strong voice and how any bad action, in a person’s mind, can be turned into a good deed.

Ruby is definitely not for the light-hearted, but it discusses many problems we face in feminism, racism and religion very well. I was so surprised by the story, with its hint of fantasy, and it stayed with me for a long time.

 

Pirate Women by Laura Sook Duncombe

Pirate Women was a very fascinating book which told the fictional and nonfictional stories of the most famous female pirates of the world from ancient Greece to the modern day cinema heroes. It portrays and discusses the female characters who are moved by not only love, but by revenge and joy as well, and is supported by historical and cultural events. It tells stories of strong women who I wouldn’t have probably heard of from anywhere else.

The book is well researched, very sophisticated and critical, but still easy to read and really interesting. It has a strong feminist voice without having to put men down, but with criticism and speculation for culture and women’s position in that culture. If you want to read about several strong women who took their lives into their own hands, this is an excellent read!

Best Books I Read In 2018 - byLiiL

Bear and Nightingale, and Girl In the Tower by Katherine Arden

I was so surprised by how much I liked the two books from the Winternight trilogy and can’t wait to read the next and last part of the trilogy. The fairytale trilogy follows a young woman Vasilisa or Vasya in Russia at a time when a woman had her place in the house making children. When Russian wasn’t yet one big country, but rather where Tatars were controlling all the groups of people around Russian territory including Muscovites.

The books discuss the old faiths and how they along with old cultures are wiped to give room for Christianity. It discusses a woman’s place and how Vasya is trying to challenge what it should be. And it is all wrapped in a historic Rus during the winter. The books are fast paced, filled with mystery and intrigue, and will make you want to keep turning pages. It is easy to read and one of my new favourite fantasy series! I read them as ebooks, but now I really want to get the actual books maybe even hardcovers as I liked them so much!

 

An Almond For A Parrot by Wray Delaney

A book that I couldn’t put down! This is a story about Tully who decides to be a whore to keep her independence and who is a seer. Her husband is adamant on kidnapping her even though she doesn’t know why and she has to rely on the kindness of her gallants and her friends. The book is erotic with a touch of supernatural, of great friendships, love, mischief and mystery. It’s excellently written and not too obvious.

 

Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race – Reni Eddo-Lodge

This is definitely one of the most important books to read in one’s life. Not only is it very informative, but it raises important questions about racism in our society and about class and equality in our society. It delves into the truths that you might not have heard of because they are purposefully hidden to drive you to think in a certain way. This book is eye-opening to the problems people of different colours and cultures face and to the white privilege. It makes me want to know more and investigate what else is hidden from us by those with power or what is fed to make the class distinction stronger. Read this book before you talk about it!

Best Books I Read In 2018 - byLiiL

Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones

This is a book that still makes me go aww, it was so beautiful! It is a very unusual story of how life can take its hope from stories or books, in this instance Great Expectations. It tells how sinking into the imaginary world can keep people sane or hopeful when the situation is far from it. I read from the back of the book that the story is beautiful, surprising, charming, heart-breaking and has some horror. While that is all true it made me surprised when the tone of the book, throughout, was melancholy and starts with childish innocence.

It tells how different cultures have to live together and how they accept each other, however, I hoped to read more on that. It is surprising in many ways. And it will make you cry and be horrified by people’s cruelty, but still being very honest at the same time.

 

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

A lovely collection of thoughtful, strong and feminist poems. Very thought provoking and often relevant to each woman’s life. I will be coming back to it over and over again!

 

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

A really interesting biography of the life of a mixed raced boy in South Africa at the end of apartheid and time after it. Trevor writes in an entertaining but also informative way with his young naive thoughts and his adult views on the events. It tells about the different cultures in South Africa that he experienced and about his bond and relationship with his mother, which is really special and wonderful to read about. This book made me laugh out loud and cry. It gives you glimpse into another culture and how people survive in it. It also provides you with a different view on crime and what is right or wrong.

Best Books I Read In 2018 - byLiiL

I did finish 36 books, most of which I like, but these were my favourites. Reflecting on this list I realise I didn’t read any books on ethics or sustainability, which I need to change for this year. Also, it looks like I’m reading mainly female authors, but actually the list is more balanced there were just more books by male authors, that I read in 2018, which I didn’t like. We’ll see what the list is going to look like in 2019. Some of the books that I am excited to read this year are Villette, The Bees, Running with Scissors, The Winter of the witch, Spinning silver, Nevermoor, the Immortal life of Henrietta Jacks and a few books on fashion and ethics which I still need to choose.

Best Books I Read In 2018 - byLiiL

What were your favourite books you read in 2018? And what you looking forward to reading in 2019?

With love,

Lii