The 3rd 12 Books of 2017

UprootedNaomi Novik

A modern fantasy story with kings, queens, dragons and wizards. The story is a fascinating tale where good and bad is not so black and white. It is a bit predictable at times, but interesting none the less. I found the protagonist a bit annoying at times and the characters are not as well developed, so the story is driven by the plotline. 4/5

The Colour PurpleAlice Walker

This book is based on a time after the slavery. It follows a woman who is passed from her fathers home to her husbands home as she is passed on. It discusses her depressive life, women’s position in the world at that time and the family life. It sounds depressive, but the plotline gets more positive the more you read it and I absolutely loved the characters in the book. 5/5

The 3rd 12 Books of 2017 - byLiiL

The Versions of UsLaura Barnett

This book tells a story about two people with three different scenarios of how their lives might have happened and how they will end up in some way together no matter what. It discusses love, infidelity, regular family life and unsupportive relatives. This book reminded me of One Day in a way, but not as romantic. Still, it made me shed a few tears. 3/5

ParadisoDante Alighieri

The second book of the Divine Comedy tells how the protagonist is climbing into heaven through the different levels of purgatory where souls are repenting for their misgivings before they can get to heaven themselves. The third book is a bit harder to read than the first one, especially as the characters can be unknown which makes the relevance hard to understand. There is an appendix where it explains most lines, but it is even harder to go back and forth while reading. 3/5

The Secret HistoryDonna Tartt

A book that surprised me a lot! A different type of murder mystery, where the murder itself is not the mystery but the reason behind it. It is a very sophisticated book with interesting characters and setting where they study classics. Made me also interested in studying classics, or at least reading more about it. The book is long but reads well and I found every chapter interesting. 4/5

Cradle to CradleWilliam McDonough

I’ve written a whole post about this book before and you can read about it here. It introduces a design philosophy where nothing is wasted and all the ingredients are collected and reused again. 5/5

The 3rd 12 Books of 2017 - byLiiL

The PowerNaomi Alderman

The power is a dystopian story. It entertains the idea that women get a new part in their bodies which gives them electric powers and therefore power over men. The book follows several interesting characters both female and male through this time when men are afraid and take rash decisions to protect themselves and women get aggressive. The book provides an interesting idea of how people might react in such a situation. This was a fascinating book and I would definitely recommend reading it. 4/5

FatedBenedict Jacka

This is definitely a young adult fantasy book which follows the protagonist while he fights bad mages. Some beings in the story are interesting, but the plot is very predictable, names unimaginative and it is very cheesy most of the time and made me cringe hundreds of times. I didn’t enjoy how he wrote about women, which wasn’t rude but not considerate as well. 2/5

PurgatoryDante Alighieri

The third book of the Divine Comedy was even harder to read than the second. In it the protagonist is trying to get used to heaven, understand it and love everything, especially God unconditionally. It is hard to understand and very slow to read although it is not long. 3/5

Nicholas and AlexandraRobert K. Massie

A history book telling the story of the last tsar and tsarina of Russia. It is a sad, although, highly fascinating explanation on how they lived, what were they like and why the people of Russia misunderstood them, and how all of it resulted in a revolution. You really get a sense of what their lives were like and what it was like being an aristocrat in Russia in the beginning of the 20th century. 5/5

The 3rd 12 Books of 2017 - byLiiL

The Paper MagicianCharlie M. Holmberg

The story is about a young woman who has just graduated from a mage school and is now set as an apprentice to a paper mage where she is to become a paper mage herself, although she is not looking forward to that as she would rather do any other magic than paper. The story takes her on a horrific adventure to save her master and fall in love with paper magic. The storyline moves well but is naive and a bit childish. 3/5

FashionChristopher Breward

This is a book on the fashion history, however quite superficial at that. It was lead by the emergence of the designer and their fame. The book did introduce quite many interesting points on why history moved with fashion in a certain way, but it missed many other factors. The language was dry to read and therefore the book was not very enjoyable. 2/5

The 3rd 12 Books of 2017 - byLiiL

What books have you read recently?

With love,

Lii

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What Was I Up To In October

October has been so busy I’ve barely had the time to read about anything relating to sustainability, but I catch-up with it as often as I can. Instead, last month I have been working with several different clients, which has been at the same time exciting and tiring. Running from one place to the next and not having a routine can be challenging and it’s taken a toll on my brain, but I am getting used to it and being able to focus on other stuff now as well!

Happy Favourites of the Week - Confidence - byLiiL

I didn’t write much on the blog last month, but I did manage to cover few sustainability topics. I discussed how we can support sustainability and what its causes can be, as well as introduced the Cradle to Cradle design philosophy book which I enjoyed immensely. In addition, I shared at the beginning of the month some sustainable news that I found interesting.

The Beautiful and Free Berlin - byLiiL

I shared with you how I got more confident with my work, which I still feel and will probably want to talk about it more in the future as well! I’ve been finally getting used to autumn and actually enjoying it. Surprisingly my autumn slump was much shorter this year than last and I see every day something that I enjoy about autumn. I’ve enjoyed some delicious meals from Pumpkin and I told you about my trip to Berlin, which I loved!

Happy Favourites of the Week - Enjoying the Moment - byLiiL

 

How was your October? I would love to hear, share in the comment box below!

With love,

Lii

Inspiration of the Month – Cradle to Cradle

This post is coming to you quite late, not because I didn’t know what I wanted to write about, I actually have been inspired by this book for a while now, but I found it quite hard to summarise everything that I found interesting in the book!

Inspiration of the Month - Cradle to Cradle - byLiiL

Cradle to Cradle is a design philosophy as well as a book which I am basing my inspiration on. The book was written by William McDonough and Michael Braungart. It is a small book, only 186 pages, but it offers an immense amount of inspiration especially for design practitioners as well as consumers who want to be more sustainable and mindful of their lifestyle. It helps you understand what are the problems in the current design methods, what is being done about them and offers ideas what could be the better way to design.

In this book, I found that the main principle that McDonough and Braungart were saying is that almost all our products have been designed wrong as they end up being a waste and littering our planet and that we should learn from nature. In product design the common thing to think about is what is the product the consumers want or need, how can it be produced as economically as possible, so that the company can win the big profits from the product sales. It is completely ignoring the afterlife of the product or its ingredients where valuable ingredients often end up to the landfills or being downcycled, as the ingredients were not designed to be retrieved at the end of the products useful life. For example, we think that recycling is an amazing way of being sustainable. We might not realise that actually it is just being a bit less bad and trying to find an alternative to the landfills. Big amount of the waste is incinerated which can cause toxic dioxides. The rest are recycled, but as our products haven’t been designed so that the ingredients with which the products were made with could be retrieved, but they rather are mixed with chemicals or other ingredients that reduce the value and usability of the ingredient.

Inspiration of the Month - Cradle to Cradle - byLiiL

Instead companies could be taking example out of nature of how to make their products profitable, good for the environment and the human beings, that could improve human life, be economical not only with making the product but potentially for the human who uses it, for the government or for the same company once again when they receive their ingredients and can build more products out of it again. The products could be designed with the whole lifecycle in mind rather than just the most useful one.

 

“We need to see the world as what we can learn from it, not as what we can take from it”

 

Many times while reading the book I felt that the whole humankind is doomed as it has designed everything wrong and how companies are still using toxic ingredients in various products that can be harmful to humans, how companies are eroding soil and destroying ecosystems only to find new materials for their products and get their profits. But the solutions the book offers are clever and doable if only enough people would go the extra mile. It offers various long-haul plans that would end up being economical to the company, the economy and the people as well if companies thought about their products as more than profit.

Inspiration of the Month - Cradle to Cradle - byLiiL

Another important point raised in the book was how everything is designed for everybody without understanding that everybody and every place has different needs. I read several lovely and maybe slightly disgusting stories about how people in rural areas used to get rid of their waste or use various things to their advantage whilst keeping their ecosystems thriving until the modern technology and infrastructure was introduced and their ecosystems paid for it. Whilst upgrading and improving areas we should think about ways how it can be done to support humans as well as the ecosystem in which it is done. So there wasn’t bare pieces of land where nothing grows anymore because of pesticides or a wrong way of doing agriculture for that area. Companies should be more respectful of the knowledge local people have of their ecosystems!

 

“What would have happened, we sometimes wonder, if the industrial revolution had taken place in societies that emphasize the community over the individual, and where people believed not in cradle-to-grave life cycle but in reincarnation?”

 

We often forget what effect our actions can do, but on this planet, every action can affect multiple things from other people to other organisms, to the ecosystems, so we should strive to make better choices and be less selfish about them. I got really inspired by this book and still while reading it started to be more mindful about the products that I am using or buying and what I should be looking at instead. Sometimes there is no best option and we just have to work with the “least bad” whilst letting our actions speak for themselves. I do hope there will be more designers who are adopting this design philosophy. I can see how the world could be a much more beautiful and healthy place.

 

“Insanity has been defined as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome. Negligence is described as doing the same thing over and over again even though you know it is dangerous or wrong.”

 

Inspiration of the Month - Cradle to Cradle - byLiiL

Here you can see just how much I was inspired by the book. All the folded pages are something that I want to keep coming back to!

Have you read Cradle to cradle?

With love,

Lii