Travelling Far and Wide: My Reading Year in 2016

Baz Ozturk | December 28 2016

What a wonderful reading year it’s been. I read seventy-three books and there wasn’t a dud in the bunch. I liked most of them, and loved a special handful. I went to the slums and salons of nineteenth century France (Cousin Bette by Honoré de Balzac), and gained insight into the development of the bourgeoisie and its obsession with money and status, and its envy of the upper echelons of Parisian society. It’s a thrilling tale of revenge and one of my most memorable reads of the year for sure. One of the most simply beautiful novels I read was set in a small town in Colorado, America (Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf). It’s a minimalist love story about Addie and Louis, both living alone and lonely, having lost their spouses years ago, and getting on in age and finding solace in each other when they come to an agreement to sleep in the same bed at night to keep each other company. It’s breathtakingly moving. I also discovered an author who I’ll be reading for the rest of my life. She’s the Irish writer Edna O’Brien, whose trilogy of novels (The Country Girls, Girl with Green Eyes, Girls in their Married Bliss) blew my mind. They introduced me to the lives of Kate and Baba in a remote countryside in Ireland, and led me from their impoverished childhoods to their maturity into womanhood and tragic experiences of romantic love. If you’re jaded about love and relationships and want to validate your pessimism, look no further than O’Brien’s fiction. The books were banned in Ireland and actually burned in public. In a long repressed conservative Ireland O’Brien’s novels dismissed social conventions and openly explored the sexualities of its female protagonists, and it was a revelation. It changed the landscape for Irish literature forever after. As a feminist they were of particular interest to me and I gulped the books whole. Is there anybody better than the Irish at heartbreaking melancholy and lyricism? I think not. I also read a collection of poetry called Dome of the Hidden Pavilion by James Tate; it’s easily my favourite title of the year – I enjoy reciting it in my head, it’s so phonetically pleasing. They’re narrative poems so they can almost be read as short stories, and it was the most surreal and avant-garde literature I read this year. I’ll definitely be returning to Tate and reading poetry more widely in 2017. Where else did I go? I went to nineteenth century Russia (A Hero of Our Time by Mikhail Lermontov) and got to know the charming and arrogant Pechorin. Easily bored and possessing a sharp mind, he finds life utterly absurd and can’t take anybody seriously. He goes on a series of adventures with the aim of satisfying his lust for easy pleasures and if he has to lie, manipulate and break hearts to get what he wants, so be it! I loved him despite his douchebaggery because of his wit and sensitivity and deeply sad life philosophy. I went to Nigeria and was immersed in the terrors of the Nigeria-Biafra War of the late 1960’s (Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie). I went to Japan where a young man’s dream to settle down with his wife to start a family and live a cosy existence is shattered when she gives birth to a deformed baby. In this novel (A Personal Matter by Kenzaburo Ōe) what’s being said between the lines is clear: “Think you’ve got your life in order and your plans for a happy future in place? The senseless tragic comedy of life will knock you down when you least expect it!” I went to Vienna and followed the Cinderella-like rise and then devastating fall of a young girl as the story developed from fairytale and descended into horror as it became clear this was a story about the social costs of the First World War on the working class (The Post-Office Girl by Stefan Zweig). I met Adam Gordon, a young American poet in Spain, who tries to reconcile his art with its inherent fraudulence (Leaving the Atocha Station by Ben Lerner). It’s a novel about the distance between our projections of ourselves and who we really are. It’s a meditation on art and literature and the relationship of both to society and politics. What meaning lies in a so-called “profound experience of art” anyway? What is the value of art when compared to the mundane everyday things that affect and influence us much more powerfully? I think about these things constantly, and to have it be the subject of a novel was intensely pleasurable. I also met and followed the Englishman Patrick Melrose in three novels, part of the aptly titled series The Patrick Melrose Novels (Never Mind, Bad News and Some Hope by Edward St. Aubyn). I don’t remember the last time I came across a character as insidious, fascinating and malicious as Patrick’s father David Melrose. There is so much psychological violence in these books (shockingly highly autobiographical) as Patrick’s brutal experiences as the child of rich, snobbish, creepy and deeply unhappy parents (volume one) lead to his finding solace in drugs as a disillusioned and depressed young man (volume two), and then his excruciating and moving struggle to do better by himself (volume three). There are two more volumes to go, Mother’s Milk and At Last, which I finally acquired recently (otherwise they would have long been read) and I can’t wait to dive back into Patrick’s world. These fictions and so much more that I haven’t mentioned have made 2016 a tolerable year for me. It’s been a year of awesome fiction, of beautiful language and profound feeling, of deep pleasure and intellectual nourishment. All seventy-three books helped me to continue to grow and mature and question everything; they gave me a lesson in humility and an education in empathy. And above all, they brought me closer to myself and my connection to the world. Bring on more of the same in 2017!

  • Follow Baz on Instagram HERE!

Gut Bacteria is the new black

Tamie Cleaver | November 23 2016

Gut bacteria is the new black, super cool, suits every shape and size, it can even make you look skinny!

Discussions on gut bacteria are popping up all over the place, debating its health benefits, disease preventing properties, and its contribution toward combating depression.

The importance of a healthy gut, packed full of healthy happy gut bacteria, becomes evident when you understand that 80% of the body’s immune system is found in the gut.

It’s a pretty epic job being an immune system, you’re in a constant battle to keep the body alive and well, fighting off infections, viruses, bad bacteria, you’re even battling cancer cells. All with so little fuss, the human you’re protecting is barely even aware of the war you’re waging on their microscopic enemies.

Ironically, you only really become aware of your gut bacteria when it’s no longer functioning properly. The first you’ll know of this is when your immune system breaks down and you start getting sick. Those relentless cycles of cold and flu, that sore throat, digestive issues, feeling over stressed. Even seemingly innocuous problems like bad skin, all signs that there’s an issue with your immune system.  Then there’s the big stuff, our immune system keeps our cells in check, unregulated cells mutate, which can lead to the development of cancer cells.

So why do we treat our gut bacteria, the home of our immune system, so badly? It’s because we don’t fully understand how it works.

So here’s a quick guide to get you jump started towards a healthy gut.

You inherit your gut bacteria from your mother. You pick it up as you descend down the birthing canal and also from breast milk. Often babies who are born by caesarean or aren’t breast fed have problems with their immune system from day one, including developing allergies early in life. The good news is that we can re stock our gut bacteria, we can also repair and improve it, this is where pro and prebiotics come in to play.  

Probiotics are what give your gut the good bacteria. Imagine they are the sapling you plant to grow good gut bacteria. Prebiotics are what feed the good bacteria, nourishment to support its growth.

It is actually that simple.

Now, there are a few major things we’re doing wrong by our immune system. Firstly we’ve forgotten where it comes from; secondly we’ve forgotten how to feed it. Most worryingly, we’re killing it off. Antibiotics kill all bacteria with no discrimination between good and bad. We all understand the need for antibiotics, some bacterial infections are downright deadly and need to be dealt with, but we’re taking them too regularly, and often unnecessarily. When we do take them we’re not taking precautions to replace then feed the good bacteria that’s left, we’re not getting our immune system back on track. You can see the cycle of harm here, we take antibiotics to kill infection, which weakens our immune system leaving us vulnerable to infection…..and so on.  Antibiotics are also in our food, fed to farm animals to keep them alive in sometimes dubious conditions, and once they’re in farm animals, they’re in our food chain.

So, here’s what you do, you need to get probiotics and prebiotics into your diet on a regular basis. It’s as simple as incorporating a mixture of a few simple foods into your weekly food plan. Try these for starters, I guarantee you’ll look and feel 10 years younger in no time.  

gut-health-probiotics-prebiotics

Probiotic Foods

Kefir
Sauerkraut
Kimchi
Kombutcha
Raw Cheeses
Miso
Sourdough Bread
Tempeh
Pickled Gherkins

Prebiotic Foods

Chicory
Garlic
Spring onion
Leeks
Onions
Jerusalem Artichoke
Dandelion Greens
Avocado
Peas
Apple Cider Vinegar
Asparagus
Bananas

Generally if you eat a diet high in dietary fibre, your gut will love you, plus, as a nice added bonus, bad bacteria cannot process prebiotics, so you’re only doing good for your body by eating them.

The Juliet Journal: Book Wish List

Juliet Sulejmani | November 22 2016

Bookstores are one of my favourite places, I could literally spend hours in them. I like to see what’s on the shelves and tables, I like to check out the new books, and move along the aisles looking for something I don’t know I need yet. I made a post about a year ago, HERE, called ‘Looking For Answers’. I usually always find answers to things in books.

On my way home last night I made a detour to Readings Bookstore in Carlton. And so here is a list of all the books I took a photo of that I want to buy:

I ended up purchasing ‘Perfumes The A-Z Guide by Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez’, and then continued on my way home.

Jx

The Juliet Journal: Where are you getting your information from?

Juliet Sulejmani | November 19, 2016

The other day I listened to THIS podcast on Design Matters with Debbie Millman. Debbie interviewed Steven Watson of Stack Magazines, which is a magazine subscription company that sends out a different independent magazine each month.

The podcast was particularly inspiring to me because it touched on something that has been lingering on my mind lately and something that has been affecting me creatively. And that is, information. Information that I am consuming and where I am getting my information from.

Part of my problem has been that I have had so much work lately, that I haven’t been able to discover new things like I’m used to. I haven’t spent enough time with friends, I haven’t read many books or watched any new films. I have just been sitting in my studio continuously refreshing my instagram feed and twitter feed, and I’ve found that even though the images I get from instagram can be inspiring, there really is no substance in most of them or any nourishing information.

In the podcast, Debbie and Steven both talk about how in the current time, we feel like we have the whole world at our fingertips, however what we actually get is filtered information. When you do a Google Search, Google guesses the things you hear about, and when you’re searching for something, it’s something you already know about, or you go directly to your favourite writers, ignoring everyone else, or even the constant stream of things shared on facebook by the people you follow and depending on who you follow on ig, it can create the illusion that that is the only thing going on in the world at the moment.

The point is basically that there is less chance of you discovering something new or being surprised by something, and as Steven says in the podcast “[we are]…reinforcing the prejudices and ideas that we already have”.

And, besides his obvious love of magazines, this is kind of where Steven’s idea for Stack Magazines comes from. They mention in the podcast a blog post by Wired columnist Russell Davies “…he recommended in that post that a good way to stay interesting as a person was to read a different magazine every week”.

So the idea is that if you read a different magazine each week, on a genre that you don’t really know much about, you will be opened up to many different perspectives, points of views and you will have the opportunity to stumble across new and potentially inspiring information.

So, in conclusion, I will be reviewing the accounts I follow on social (If you have any suggestions of people I should follow leave a comment below), trying to get out more, I’m a little less busy now which is great, and I will buy and read a new magazine each week. Woo.

Until next time friends!

Jx

 

The Juliet Journal: Intro

Juliet Sulejmani | November 18, 2016

 

One thing leads to one thing that leads to another thing that leads to more things and more things lead to everything. Super fantastic, am I right?

 The more you think the more you notice, the more you notice, the more you understand, the more you understand the more you learn.

 What am I talking about? I’m talking about life. I’m talking about inspiration. I’m talking about ideas, knowledge, people, things, books. I’m talking about everything.

And that ‘s exactly it, everything. That’s what The Juliet Journal is about.

 It’s a separate ‘category’ on The Juliet Report, where I will share whatever thing I have thought or discovered on that day. No format, no rules. Kind of stream of consciousness. Just whatever is inspiring me or what is on my mind. So pretty much more of this. Cool!

Jx

 PS. Talking about one thing leading to another thing…earlier I was on Hetty McKinnon’s Website Arthur Street Kitchen, and then I read her journal, and then was inspired, and then emailed her to tell her I was inspired, and then further conversation lead to this (The Juliet Journal). Fantastic.

Pen, Paper & Prosecco at The Larwill Studio

Juliet Sulejmani | November 16, 2016

Pen, Paper & Prosecco is a workshop I will be guiding at The Larwill Studio in Parkville.

You will enjoy an afternoon of discovering your inner creative with this beauty themed illustration workshop. The workshop will give you a glimpse into my creative process as well has showing you how to see objects through a different perspective.

You will also learn various illustration exercises and techniques with a focus on taking inspiration from the everyday.

The workshop includes:

  • Glass of Brown Brothers Prosecco on arrival
  • Post workshop catering from Smith + Singleton
  • A frame to hold your illustration
  • A token gift from me.

You will need to bring:

  • Pens/pencils/paints/markers – various mediums will be supplied: however bring along any specific mediums you would prefer to use
  • A range of beauty items will be supplied for your illustrations: however please bring along anything you would like to use to illustrate (objects/images etc)

When: Saturday 26th November, 2-4pm
Where: The Larwill Studio, Parkville

Buy your tickets HERE so you don’t miss out as tickets are limited!

Links: