Sunday, June 21, 2009

Let's Freeze This Moment In Time

I can't believe that its been a week already! Geez time flies...even more so here in London. I love London...did I mention that??? Anyway, I haven't had time to come online...I rarely have time to sleep so checking my blog is the last on my list of things to do. I'm constantly grappeling for time...

A few notes on my home away from home...

Firstly, it's like I never left. Seeing my friends and going to my favourite places has comfirmed that. My 3 year absence feels like a mere 3 hours. Everything is still exactly the same...although a little different at the same time.

Secondly, everything is so much cheaper. Or is that just me? According to my faithful friend B, Britons no longer pay VAT. How cool is that?!?!

It has also dawned on me that I used to earn an absolute fortune working for the British Council....we'll a fortune in comparison to most people. Damn I miss that!

Another thing I've noticed...the chocolate here is very sweet. We'll it's supposed to be innit, especially since its CHOCOLATE...but South African chocolate is a little less sweet and more creamier. I haven't managed to eat much chocolate though...just don't have the apetite for it I guess.

I have the best friends in the world. Period. You don't get better than this. And I feel terrible that I won't be able to meet with everyone...especially those outside of London.

So much I want to say...I just don't have the time right now. And considering all the crap I have to go through when I get back (including a new boss), I want to enjoy and savour every second of my time here and not waste it doing frivolous things like sitting on the Internet or sleeping :D
I guess that means that there are alot more detailed posts on the way...well in the near future.

In the meantime, I have loads of other things to do, like take photos and laugh with my friends. I think I'll move here again, who cares about little things like the global recession. Actually, I don't even want to leave...so if anyone sees a crazy woman on a vespa, running away from the police on the M4, it will most probably be me. If only I could stay...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

JUNE & JULY

Four words:

ENGLAND, IRELAND, SCOTLAND, WALES

I love London. I really do. Coming back is like coming home...my second home. My challenge for this month however, will be exploring parts I haven't explored before. First up is Cardiff, then Dublin and Edingburgh. And because I'm going to be doing alot of exploring, I decided to split my challenges over two months...June and July.

I'm having such a great time so far. I got so excited to see my girls and ran to them like a little girl running into the arms of her mother. It's wonderful meeting with old friends, and new ones too. There's so much to do, so much to see and re-visit and not enough time. I'm grabbing every second and holding on to it.

Pics coming soon.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Male Blogger Lobola Index 2009

Ok, so I said I couldn’t and wouldn’t do it, and I didn’t plan to but OH’s post has ignited the flame and has been the catalyst that has led me here. It’s destiny.

I’m going to attempt a response to The Organ Harvester and apply my knowledge and skill to determine the lobola value of those eligible single male bloggers out there. My post will differ somewhat in that I will share my opinions on these men...how I see them. I will only judge those that I have had some kind of interaction with on a personal level. If readers want to know what is lobola and how it’s determined, please go here.

Disclaimer: Please note that these are purely my opinions and while I will be honest, I will communicate my perceptions in a respectful manner as these are individuals in their own right and human nature is much more diverse and complex than what people relay on their blogs. Hence, their blogs only constitutes those parts of them they wish to share, and do not form their identities entirely. I could be wrong about these gentlemen…but then again, I did say these are opinions and perceptions.

Right. Here we go. Firstly, I’d like to point out that over the months, I’ve recognized certain trends amongst the male bloggers and have perceived that most of them have the same or similar issues; they just deal with it differently. I’ll start with the man who began it all…

Organ Harvester – 3 cows, 1 calf and a samurai sword encased in genuine leather OH has his head screwed on right. And from all the bloggers, I sense that he has the strongest sense of self. OH’s issues aren’t so much with himself then they are with society and his place in it. I think sometimes he feels neither here nor there and that is the crux of the matter. On a grander scale, OH looks for normalcy, but knows that he’s not normal. On some level there is/was some kind of internal conflict and some latent anger towards the social order. Luckily for him, each day he manages to find a piece of that puzzle.
Artist: 30 Seconds to Mars
MJ – 3 cows, 2 Spur restaurants, 12 litres of strawberry Milkshake & a leather thong
The reason I like MJ is because we’re similar, yet so different. I “get” him. I get his humour and the meaning behind everything he says or does (although my balls are bigger than his, and his dick is bigger than mine). Like OH, he has a strong sense of self. He knows who he is and what he wants. The thing with MJ is that he tends to fixate on things to the point of obsession. He soon tires of his obsession and moves on to his next fixation. He’s very fickle like that. MJ’s biggest flaw is that he is in love with the notion of being in love. This makes him very idealistic and sometimes a martyr. It’s at these times that I want to punch him in the gut and tell him to wake up.
Artist: Bob Marley
Waseem3 cows, 3 Spur restaurants and a Willy Wonka chocolate fountain
I have major respect for this dude, a genuinely stellar guy. One of the reasons is because he likes chocolate too :D Waseem strikes me as the strong silent type. He’s very easy going and has a good sense of humour, but if he has something to say, he’s going to say it. The problem is that while Waseem doesn’t doubt himself, he’s insecure about people and their perceptions or reception of him. He remains guarded and a little skeptical, it generally takes time for him to open up and as a result, he takes himself out of the game. Maybe it’s a fear of rejection, but whatever it is Waseem isn’t willing to take the risk. He just needs to find a reason to take a chance.
Artist: Kings of Leon

Mash – 3 cows, sirloin steak cutlets for 6 months & a pair of genuine leather loafers
Mash is the kind of guy that people enjoy talking to. He’s engaging and intellectually stimulating and you’ll definitely walk away feeling like you’ve taken something positive from your interaction with him. Mash is honest but he is not open unless you’re one of his best friends. The problem is that he may come across to some as being cold. He appears to be (and is to an extent) very practical in nature, but I suspect that it’s used as a mask to hide a much deeper side of him. Mash is a flood of emotion, still figuring out who he is and his role on earth and has trouble communicating that. His “woman” will just have to understand and accept him the way he is. Fortunately, time will bring the answers.
Artist: Gorillaz

Edge – 2 cows, 1 calf and genuine leather coat
Like MJ, this man oozes idealism. He’s sheltered but not unaware. He’s the boy next door with his casual and friendly demeanor. The problem is that every girl will want to run to him for advice about another guy. They’ll cry on his shoulder, he’ll pat her pretty little head and wipe away her tears, but as soon as the other guy calls, she’s gone. And then she’s like “Edge who?”. He’s the quintessential nice guy…the friend, not the lover. His romantic notions of life, his agreeable nature and his idealistic views will be responsible for that since most women are bitches and want the hunter. But a nice guy is never single forever.
Artist: Boys II Men

Killa – 2 cows, 1 calf and 2 cheese burgers
This dude has an overactive imagination. I suspect that he’s quite sensitive and that sometimes the alter ego becomes bigger than him and he struggles with that. But not for long because he derives a sense of validation from the attention his alter ego receives. The problem with the real Killa is that he wants to be secretive, a mystery, so that no one really knows his motives. He plays his cards close to his chest. He is also somewhat “sheltered” and finds a sense of security and comfort in the norm. A romantic at heart (although he’ll never admit it), the blog is his playground, a place where he gets to expel and dispose of everything he really wants to say. Underneath the fa├žade though, there’s a decent guy.

Artist: Robbie Williams


Antonio – 2 cows, 1 calf and a 3-cheeses pizza
This single guy is easy going but quite fastidious at the same time. He has very specific ideas of what he wants and may come across as uncompromising. I think he’s also somewhat idealistic in his expectations. He’s on that bandwagon, that search for self and looking for those elusive answers to the world.

Artist: James Blunt

A few that I've interacted with, but not long enough to really get to know them:

Irfaan – Lives in his head, on a whole other plane. Very deep and intellectual.
Artist: Panic at the Disco
Lone Writer – Great sense of humour, studious, introspective and a bit of a dreamer.
Artist: Fall Out Boy

Arslan – Quite an artist. Pensive and contemplative, he always manages to get me to see things in a different light…in that light-bulb sort of way.
Artist: Snow Patrol

Of course there are others, but I havent interacted with them enough to make any judgements. Anyone is free to add any male bloggers I might have missed.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Joneses & Every Other Aristocratic Asshole

I lead a relatively simple life. I wear beautiful, cheap clothes and pretty cheap shoes and I drive a nice simple car that was bought with cash because I don’t relish the idea of monthly installments…the emphasis here is on CHEAP and SIMPLE. I don’t subscribe to the cult of the “Brand” and I don’t begrudge those who do. The only real debt I have is MBA related and that’s the way I’d like to keep it.

When I’m at work, I hardly ever buy lunch and rely on my own culinary skills late in the evenings to ensure that I eat during my workdays. Again, I don’t begrudge those who do buy their lunch on a daily basis, it’s their prerogative. To each his own, whatever floats your boat, whatever tickles your fanny…we’re all entitled to our preferences right?

So, I have an issue with people who have an issue with me and my money. Let me start from the beginning.

I was having one of my hectic weeks, running around like a headless chicken. Things were not only chaotic at work, but at home and at Varsity too. On one particular day, I didn’t have time to make my lunch as usual and decided to skip lunch. On that morning, I didn’t have time to have breakfast either, so by lunch time I was starving to the point of becoming homicidal. I then decided that I would buy a quarter chicken from Nandos and have it delivered to my office since I didn’t have the time to go out and actually get it myself. And of course, delivery fees were almost as much at the meal itself…but I didn’t mind, I was that hungry.

About 15 minutes later, my chicken arrives at reception, all hot and scrumptious with a delicious aroma trailing from my office. Naturally, the scent of gastronomic bliss enticed all, and they soon came crawling out of their offices like voracious predatory mammals on the hunt to locate the source of their avaricious and covetous desires. I wasn’t deterred, because I know how some of these animals are. The real offense took place after my meal.

I continued to go about my work, when Amy stepped into my office for a quick chat. She noticed the cash slip for the Nandos meal on my table and saw the amount I had paid for the chicken magnified by the delivery fee. She then proceeded to tell me, in her nonchalant and “please feel sorry for me” tone how some of them can’t afford to buy Nandos let alone pay that much for delivery fees.

This was where I drew the line. I was PISSED. Let me tell you why.

Amy’s monthly installments on her car is R6 000.00 plus insurance. But the problem is that she only works for her car because her entire salary goes into paying for it and the mandatory insurance. On top of that, she buys lunch with the extra money she earns from selling Honey jewelry, and also manages go shopping quite frequently. She's usually out and about on most weekends too. She complains rather frequently about the financial state she’s in, but refuses to change the lifestyle she's become accustomed to, or sell her car because she doesn’t want to lose face in society. She doesn’t want to look like a loser; keeping up with the Joneses and shit. She wants to seem like this important person because her self-worth is derived from the attention she receives in her car.

Now I don’t resent or envy her, again that’s her prerogative. I’m not all up in her face about the car she can’t afford. I’m not there when she’s vreeting her KFC or McDonalds. I’m not there when she’s having a blast at the movies or on a night out on the town. I’m not there when she goes shopping for all her expensive clothes and shit. So needless to say, I got really PISSED OFF when she told me that shit, which implies that I’m not entitled to buy a Nando’s meal because she squanders her money on frivolous things and activities and couldn’t at that point in time accumulate enough cash to compete in a lunch war with me.

I exploded and gave her a solid piece of my mind. And like I always say, the truth hurts…that’s why she’s still not speaking to me. If people want to live beyond their means, that’s their fucking problem and they shouldn’t be making their problems mine.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

On Names, The Cold, Quotes & Chocolate Bunnies

Exams are over and I feel like I just reached the summit of Everest. Well actually I’m about 2km’s from the summit, I’ll hopefully get to the top after tomorrow.

Speaking of Everest, it’s amazing how we humans can acclimatize and adapt to our surroundings. I can remember those days I traipsed around London doing all sorts like going to and from work, out and about in the streets to exhibitions and museums and the theatre, when the temperature was 0˚ Celsius (32˚F) and I didn’t even flinch. Then there were those days in Amsterdam at FC's place, when we were out painting the town red (pun intended) in -6˚Celcius (21˚F) weather and yeah it was a little cold at first, but we soon forgot about it. So much so that when it was 6˚Celcius (43˚F) in Paris the next week, we were all feeling “hot”. I kid you not. So it’s a bit of a surprise to me that I would feel cold in 12˚Celcius (54˚F) weather. It’s safe to say that we’re in the middle of winter, but it was an average of 24˚Celcius (75˚F) in Johannesburg up until two days ago. But I’m sure this cold snap will end soon.

I was quite amused and impressed with OH’s post on labola. I was prepared to be worth a leather bound machete, but apparently he thinks chocolate bunnies will do (and I’m perfectly happy with that). I must admit, I was tempted to do a similar one about bloggers (not a labola one because I’m no authority on that), but one which details my perceptions of everyone. I decided against it because I will only tell the truth, the way I see it, in my opinion and I don’t want to offend people. I’ve had many experiences where people don’t want to hear the truth. The truth hurts, they say. I guess it does and I don’t want to be that unsolicited mirror of candor …not now anyway and not unless I get requests to infringe on everyone’s psychological (in)securities.

I was also inspired by a one Miss Shafinaaz…writer, poet, extraordinaire. I guess people don’t put too much thought into names, unless they’re spawning. Mine has several meanings; a brief etymology…
According to the book I was named after, Azra was one of Maryam AS’s (Mary’s) many nicknames.

[ syll. a-zra, az-ra ] The girl name Azra is pronounced AEZRah KEY.

The name Azra is widely believed to have its origins in the Arabic language. But the name is actually of Hebrew origin (which would make more sense considering that she lived in Jerusalem and that was the language of the time) and the literal meaning is:

“An unpierced prestigious pearl radiating in pristine beauty in Jannah”


Other meanings of the name include:

“Pure” (evil?)
"One who levitates” (no wonder I’m high all the time)
"Possessing the highest feminine qualities"(does bitchiness count?)
"Strength" (explains a lot) and
"Star” (I wish)

The poet Heine wrote a poem called "The Azra", about a youth of the clan of Azra who dies for love (how depressing). The name Azra is most often found in Turkey, Yemen and Pakistan although it happens to be quite popular in India, the USA and Italy too. In the countries of former Yugoslavia, it is most common among Bosnians, both Muslim and Jewish, but it is also found among Romani (Gypsy) in all of the former Yugoslav republics (explains my travelling-gypsy-wander-lust streak). I suppose there’s a little bit of everything in who I am…some qualities are more prominent then others.

A few last words from this Azra who wants to share my pearls of wisdom, for those who need it:

“I don’t whine about anything I can change, and since I can always change my attitude, I don’t expect to find a hopeless situation”.
“It is our own mental attitude that makes the world what it is for us. Out thoughts make things beautiful, our thoughts make things ugly. The whole world is our own minds. Learn to see things in the proper light”.

And My personal favourite:

"What have I to do with worldly things? My connection with the world is like that of a traveler resting for a while underneath the shade of a tree and then moving on" ~ Prophet SAW

I tag everyone, come tell me what your names mean :P

Monday, June 8, 2009

Location: My office

Time: 15:33pm

Mood: Philosophically Contemplative

Listening to: The endless whining & moaning from the bitches around here

Drinking: English Tea

Eating: Imaginary scones with strawberry jam

Talking: To myself in a British accent

Wondering: What else can go wrong on this horrid day

Druming: My fingers on the oak desk

Thinking: Perhaps I shall become a murderer by the end of this day

Feeling: Aristocratically and surreptitiously insane

Waiting: To leave it all behind

Reading: Between the lies

Wanting: Desperatley, to be a squa-jillionaire

Craving: My beloved chocolate

Saying: It's only a matter of time


This is officially my 10th week of chocolatelessness. I would like to say that it was worth it, and that everyone should try it. Unfortunately the only good thing to come out of it all was that I got to save some money. Other than that, it was a total and complete waste of time. Lack of chocolate just breeds misery, especially when you’re surrounded by or come into contact with more than your fair share of assholes. And when one is miserable, one tends to overcompensate in other areas…like unnecessary carbo loading. So in reality, you’re not healthier because your body needs a certain amount sugar and will do whatever it takes to get that sugar, whether it’s from chocolate or starch. Moderation is key I guess.

It's been a monstrous and trying 3 weeks, I can't even begin to explain. I'm sure this is what some part of hell looks like. But I'm more determined than ever to get to where I need to be. At the moment though, I feel like I need to get away from my reality. It's driving me nuts. I'm tired, jaded, weary, fatigued, depleted, exhausted...I need some fresh air, literally and figuratively speaking.

Johnny Depp said it best "Money doesn't buy you happiness. But it buys you a big enough yacht to sail right up to it".

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Dear Ryvita

Miss Azra
Turquoise Waters
White Sands
Great Living Jackpot
Blogistan
777

The Ryvita Company Limited
The Weston Centre
10 Grosvenor Street
London
W1K 4QY

05 June 2009

Dear Sirs

Re: Ryvita Wholegrain Sesame Crispbread
Firstly, I would like to extend a hearty and sincere thank you to Ryvita for making every day, a healthy day. I am pleased to inform you that your product has been truly appreciated in the hearts and stomachs of health fanatics the world over, particularly here in South Africa.



I personally enjoy Ryvita every morning with my coffee, and at only 34 calories per serving, it’s a treat! Those Kelloggs cardboard boxes rack up a hefty 50 calories per 10cm x 5cm, easy! Needless to say that the first time I had Ryvita, I had the distinct feeling that I had consumed such a product before. I soon realised that the crispbread was indeed reminiscent of a time when I used to shit in my pants and wrote on walls. It took me right back there, to the good old days of crayons, cardboard, coloured paper and an endless stream of snot and saliva, how delightful!




I cannot understand why anyone would want to have anything else for breakfast, or lunch or anything else for that matter. In fact, I’ve become so accustomed to your product, that I have developed an inexplicable affinity to the dry, course, palate-grating delicious taste of nothingness that haunts my tastebuds. I have even decided to try and replicate the recipe, in an attempt to add some homestyle flavour to a new favourite.


The photograph below illustrates my attempts at a simple recipe, aimed to delight even the most fastidious food lovers. It was quite effortless to prepare, although I must admit that it lacks that woody essence that Ryvita has become so renowned for. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite compare, even though some in our household would prefer my homemade efforts to Ryvita! Sacriledge!





I write in an attempt and the hope of extracting some useful information as to how to enhance my delicious home recipe. Maybe it needs to be soaked in milk so that the cardboard is more appetizing? It would be much appreciated!

Yours Sincerely,

Azra

Sibling Rivalry

Something T said the other night that never really occurred to me. We are very close…much closer than all the siblings we know personally, including our cousins and their siblings. In our home, we talk ALL THE TIME (except when Mother is watching Survivor or Amazing Race, or Prison Break or Noot vir Noot, you get my point…because we’re told to Shut Up until the commercials come on). I call T at least 3 times a day partly because its fun to talk about shit at random hours of the day, and mostly because she’s the only one who will listen or entertain my thoughts.

When we get home in the evenings, we’re met at the door by Birdy, the youngest one (second youngest actually) who usually recounts all the interesting details of her day at University. I guess we communicate a lot…most of the time it’s positively…and sometimes negatively too.

My sisters and I can fight like cats and dogs. And when we fight, it’s like World War 2 in 3D. I guess the main reason it gets that bad is because we are all very strong willed and none of us like being told what to do. The paradox is that we are all so different…completely different people, yet we’re exactly the same.

But through all the bombs and missiles, I still love them more than they’ll ever know. And it’s not because I’m genetically programmed to. Being the eldest sets me apart. Being the eldest in the family always makes it harder, more difficult because I am naturally prone to want to protect them and take care of them all the time…even when they feel like their independence is being stifled. It’s like I become all maternal and overprotective and shit.

It’s amazing though, how we all pull together when one of us is being verbally attacked or the victim of some injustice. Usually I don’t mind telling either when they’re acting like real bitches…but if I ever heard someone else tell one of my sisters anything of the sort, I’d rip their heads off and spit down their throats. I would declare war on anyone messing with any of my sisters (& family in general) and war with Azra is like a holiday in Hell :D

I’m 2 decades older than Peanut…my Dad’s daughter in his current marriage. A lot of people refer to her as my half sister but I have to disagree. She’s my sister, through and through. The fact that she has a different mother is irrelevant; you just have to see her to know. She’s my mini-me…the same extroverted demeanor, aggressive, the same mischievous smile and that wicked look in her eye. And even though she doesn’t live with us and was reared to be somewhat different, she’s EXACTLY like us...somewhat wild. The love that exists between us is inexplicable. To see her little face light up when she sees one of us and how she runs into our arms every time, that’s real love right there.

My sisters and I enjoy similar things…so we’re each other’s company wherever we go. We have the same lust for life, the same goals and priorities. And over time, we’ve realized that we can’t rely on anyone except each other. This is all we really have in life…those ties that bind. I prefer having my sisters as my friends, even when we don’t see eye to eye because I can trust them completely, be honest to the point of being offensive and know that they’ll still be there. We are tied by more then just friendship strings.

The best part of our relationship is that NO ONE has as much fun as my sisters and I do. We can laugh for HOURS…and the same thing will still be funny the next day. Between the four of us, I reckon we could take over the world. We come up with the wackiest ideas; have the wittiest, funniest and most sarcastic conversations; make stupid home videos; dance like idiots; take memorable holidays; plan pranking sprees; sit in the sun and read for days; oogle and stalk nice guys and reflect on life, love and religion together.

I only ever want what’s best for my siblings. Actually I want for them more than I want for myself. Whatever distresses them, distresses me. They’re good people, much better people than the person I am, and they deserve nothing but the best. I know I irritate them most of the time…especially when I’m hugging and kissing the shit out of them, but one day they’ll see my wisdom in that. I hope and pray that whatever the future may bring, that it only brings us closer and doesn’t tear us apart…everything from marriage to kids. At the end of the day, all you have is your family.

I wish a similar life-long happy crazy sibling rivalry for everyone out there.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Next Generation Of Idiots

*Name changed to protect identity of the 17 year old Facebook friend. Note, this is the actual conversation.


Dino: "hey, thanx 4 acpting my invite, im dino n if u dnt mind cn we be frwndz?"

Me: I dont mind

Dino: "thanx, im Dino n wcutm"

Me: Huh? I'm old...I dont know what wcutm means.

Dino: "lol, wat cn u tel me? Towi"

Me: DUDE, I'm like 27 with a degree in English. I don't speak text-talk and I don't know what Towi means!

Dino: "oh god nw i have to speak proper english, bt it kwl geting to knw u, towi is like sowi whch stands 4 sorry".


GOD, I miss English. At least there's only 10 days left for...you guessed it...CHOCOLATE HEAVEN :D

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Book Worms

Beloved Noojie tagged me, although it originally began with Mash. I’ve been an avid fan of the literary arts and sciences for as long as I can remember. It began in those early days of Peter Rabbit and slowly progressed to include more developed, intricate and erudite material. I’ve been reading since before I became a caterpillar and long after I became a butterfly.

I find that as I get older, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find material that really captures my soul. And I can be quite picky when it comes to books. I don’t like reading text that’s too descriptive…like taking 2 pages to describe the curtains in a room…bores the shit out of me.

I like my books the way I like my movies, men and life…witty, humourous, quirky, intelligent and soulful. I don’t delve into books that are too “dark”…or too serious. Even the thrillers I read have some humour in them. I enjoy reading those books that touch my soul without leaving traumatizing footprints. So my top books (in no particular order) are:

White Oleander by Janet Fitch. This book has to be my favourite book of all time. It’s descriptive without being boring. It’s poignant to the point where you’re still stuck in the narrative long after you’ve closed the book. It took ages to extract myself from the story every time I read a few chapters and had to put it down to do things like bath and sleep. The movie version does no justice to this book.

Alhambra by Colin da Silva. This book single handedly changed my life. Don’t ask me who or what…it just did. There’s nothing overtly significant about the book, other than it’s an amazing story that captures your imagination in so many ways. I learnt many valuable lessons from this book which is set in Moorish Spain just before (and during) the Spanish inquisition.

In Her Shoes by Jennifer Weiner. Another book that is so much better than the movie (which book isn’t?). There is a whole section in this book that was omitted from the movie which I feel, robbed the viewer of a remarkable story.

Die Softly by Christopher Pike. Of all the thousands of titles I read as a teen, this one stands out the most. One of those books you can’t put down, it’s a thriller that surrounds reckless teenagers and one particularly vile character. Pike is one of the funniest authors around and has this amazing ability to be serious and hilarious at the same time, using his iconic sarcastic wit and brilliant one-liners.

I particularly enjoyed Anita Burgh’s trilogy, The Cresswell Inheritance and two preceding novels. The entire series is set in 18th century England and the story is centered around several households. It’s remarkable how she managed to give each character so much depth in an intricate story that spans several decades. Every character eventually intertwines with every other character in the novels in the most phenomenal way. The books comprise of (in order):

The House at Harcourt
The Visitor
The Broken Gate
The Heart’s Citadel
The Breached Wall

Other authors I enjoy include James Patterson and Marian Keyes.

I’ve read literally thousands of books in the last two decades…and many good ones. These just stand out the most. I tag everyone who reads :P