Wednesday, February 20, 2019

The Perfume Garden by Kate Lord Brown


This novel is a historical fiction which moves back and forth between 1936 and 2001. We get to see different generations and how their lives intertwine. In 2001, we follow Emma who had just lost her mother and the love of her life. She is also pregnant. She decides to restart her life all over again in Spain.

I actually liked Emma a lot because she was relatable. She is ambitious, strong and well-minded. I felt sorry for her for losing her mom. 

In the 1930s we follow many characters during the civil war in Spain. Now for that part of the story, I was not interested in the characters. I was more interested in the events. I never read anything about Spain’s situation before WWII. However, this novel sparked my interest. I am a huge fan of history and I studied Chinese history during WWII. But I never had a chance to uncover the facts about Spain. Definitely, every nation was impacted before, during and after WWII. Its so interested that this novel decides to give Spain its well-deserved spotlight.


The novel was definitely a slow read. Though I must say that as I went on to flip more pages, I became more invested. If you are not a fan of historical fiction, then this book is not for you. If you are a fan of historical fiction and okay with a slow read, then you will be able to enjoy this book.  

Friday, February 15, 2019

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

I am probably the last person to read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. I do regret not reading this book anytime sooner.

This book is about your own personal legend. It is a book that tells you to follow your dream. 

Literally, the boy in the novel follows his dream and his journey is very fulfilling.

I feel like I read this book at the right time. A day before reading this book I decided to follow what I really want to do during my time on Earth. I decided to follow what I visualize myself doing. And this book was very encouraging.

The book is written in a lyrical, wonderful way that any type of reader would finish it in a few days. If you are a speedy reader, it will take you a couple of hours.

When reading this book try to digest many of the sayings and think about how you can apply it into your life.

It is very important for us to go after searching for our personal legend. It is what that will provide us with fulfillment and happiness in the long term. The road might be hazy and foggy at first. But eventually, things will get clearer. So don’t give up.


Thursday, January 24, 2019

Habits You Need to Develop in 2019

Photo by Julien Labelle on Unsplash


Currently, I am searching for a new job. I am doing interviews, volunteering and (most importantly) working on habits that will (hopefully) transform me into a better influencer/educator/marketer/person/writer, etc.

Habits is a huge topic on social media these days that I decided to put my own spin on it. Throwing old, pointless habits out of the window and replacing them with new ones is very important.

This is why I am utilizing my free time in committing to good habits. Fortunately, habits are easily attainable once you put your mind to it.

So here are some habits (or new hobbies) that I have been working on:

1) Listening to podcasts: I love podcasts so much. My favorite podcasts are the ones that interview influential people who succeeded and are continually working hard to achieve their dreams. Or even self-help podcasts that informs you that you can change from yourself (pretty much things that you read about in a self-help book but in an audio format). Podcasts have helped me to see things differently. Do you listen to podcasts? What are your favorites? I am always open for suggestions.

2) Reading books: This is one is obvious. Reading is important but to find time to read is the hardest aspect of reading. But ever since 2019 has started I have been reading daily, finishing 3 books as I write this (4 books as I edit).

3) Establishing your online presence: I have been focusing on my Instagram feed. I am so passionate about books, therefore, my feed is entirely about books, bookshelves, libraries, and bookstores. I get to feed my passion for books and learn about the marketing that goes behind establishing a following on an important photo-based platform.

4) Learning a new skill: Learning is a journey and not a destination (I read that somewhere). So right now I am learning about new topics using LinkedIn Learning courses. You can pick other platforms to learn about things you are deeply passionate for.

5) TEDx videos: Generally speaking I am addicted to YouTube videos. I love watching short, entertaining videos. But this year I am trying to watch videos that will increase from my knowledge, influence me positively and inspire me. Right before writing this piece, I doubted myself because no one reads my articles anyways so why put the effort into writing a new one but I watched this one TEDx talk and it changed my perspective in an instant.

6) Following the right people: Recently I have been revamping my social media world. I have been on social media for more than 10 years. People change and so should your following list. Unfollow people whose updates do not interest you anymore. And follow people who can nourish your feed.

These are the habits I am trying to develop on daily basis in 2019. Do you think I should add more to the list? What habits are you working on this year?

For more updates, follow me @basma_aalx



Monday, January 14, 2019

The Big Life by Ann Shoket

This book read like a magazine.

I have been a fan of Ann since my adolescent years. I knew her from reading Seventeen magazine. I always borrowed the magazine from the library or skimmed through it while waiting for mom to finish shopping. It was a magazine that satisfied something in me. Oh, and I always entered their sweepstakes(never won anything).  Of course, years had gone by and I stopped reading the magazine. 

I got busy with school and work. And of course, I wasn’t 17 anymore. But I will always be taken to the past when I see the magazine on the shelves.

One thing I didn’t grow out of was following Ann Shoket. What is she up to, her adventures and her new accomplishments. She is a role model after all. I want to have the same aura she has. The successful woman who is inspiring many women. I wanted that.

When I saw her book in the library, it was as if light was coming out of it. I picked it up right away.

Reading this book felt like reading a magazine. The format was almost like how a magazine layout looks like. For example, the title of the chapters was in bold with a black background. There were interviews posted before the end of a chapter. There were take away notes that summarized important pieces (I wish all self-help books had that since I have a goldfish memory).

Reading this book really felt good. I am in a stage where I have nothing figured out. This book made me realize that I am not the only one feeling frustrated and lost.

This book showcased successful young ladies throughout the book. But those ladies didn’t have it all figured out from day one. They had to get a job, any job to start out because it was about the journey, not the destination. They had big dreams but they didn’t know from where to start.

I felt relatable to those girls. I realized that each one of us has a struggle and it is our role to overcome it.

I think this book is a great fit for those who are dreaming big. For teenagers, to know that it is fine to have nothing figured out. For young adults to know that they are not the only ones in this maze.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

How to read more in 2019?



The main reason why many of us don’t read as we want to is because of lack of time. We tend to claim that we are too busy, we have no time to sit down and read. Life can be messy and crazy so its understandable that you don't have time to read. But reading is important. It has many benefits to your personal and professional development.
Well, I am here to tell you how to read more this year.
First of all, you do have time to read. In your commute, before you sleep, while having lunch, etc. These are all times you can squeeze in some reading time. So, find the time to start building your reading habit.
Secondly, set time to read. Tell yourself that you have half an hour to read and only to read. Place your phone and any electronics far away from you.
If you hardly read, set out 10 minutes to read a day. 10 minutes is not much and you will get a few pages done. Then, gradually, increase your time dedicated to reading. This is a very important step. I, personally, wanted to set the time but also I didn’t want to check the clock every 2 seconds. So I found an app that solves this problem that is called Tide. This app has a feature called focus. You set the time you want to spend reading, then when time is over it gives a little, peaceful ring.
Lastly, choose books that call you. We tend to force ourselves to read books that are heavily marketed, given to us or recommended by celebrities. Read books that you want to read.
Question: How many books you're planning to read?

You can follow me on Instagram @ basmaandbooks for more bookish content. 
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