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SUMMER READING AND REREADING UPDATE: P. MERIMEE, F.S. FITZGERALD AND M. VUKOVIĆ RUNJIĆ

Hello, darlings! How have you been? I finally found some time to sit down and write this bookish post. I'll share some summer outfits with you today, but mostly I'll talk books. Yes, it's time for another reading and rereading update! Summer is such a perfect time to read, isn't it? I mean, don't get me wrong, I love to read all year around, but I still see summer as the ideal reading time. I wonder why is it so? Maybe it is somewhat on a subconscious level, seeing all those images of people reading on the beach.  Is it because summer is the traditional 'reading time' for many people? Is it because most people go on their vacation in the summer? Is it because most people use vacation time to catch up on reading? Is it the bookworm in me getting excited getting excited about making the most out of the 'reading season'? Is it the joy of reading in the open? It might be any or all of these things, but I do enjoy reading in summertime. How about you? Do you like to read in the summer time?
DRESS: OLD/ LOCATION: BAY TORAC , ISLAND HVAR, CROATIA

COLOMBA, A NOVELLA BY PROSPER MERIMEE 4/5

We'll start with the reading recommendations. Do you like French authors? I sure do! Prosper Merimee was a French writer of many talents. Besides being a dramatist and short story writer, Prosper was also a historian and an archaeologist. Moreover, Prosper is also credited with introducing Pushkin and Gogol to the European public, as he was among the first to translate them. Prosper is best known for his novella titled Carmen, mostly because it served as a basis for an opera. Everyone has probably heard of the famous Carmen opera. If you're familiar with the synopsis of the opera, then you'll know that it features a strong female character. Well, this novella is similar in the sense that is centered around a strong willed female character as well.  If you are looking for an exciting French classic that isn't half a thousand pages long, look no further, this is your book. Colomba is a masterfully written tale of revenge that takes the shape of a short novel (novella). I've only read Colomba recently, but better late than never. I'm very impressed by this tale and even more by Merimee's precise and beautiful writing. 

Early into the novel, I found myself fascinated with Corsica and its traditions. First we are introduced to a very sensible British family consisting of a father (who is a hunting enthusiast) and a daughter (who is a helpless flirt but kindhearted). These two serve as witnesses for most of the story, that is they make the narration sound more reliable, but at some point they also get involved in the events. Their decision to travel to Corsica is something that will change their lives as it will introduce the father and the daughter with the protagonist of this novel, young Orso. The British family of two agrees to let him travel with them. Orso is infatuated with the British girl, and befriends her father. Through their and Orso's eye we are able to observe Corsica and its customs. Orso will soon find himself torn between his connection to the island's customs and his own beliefs. 

Who is Colomba this novella is named after? Well, Colomba is Orso's sister, a rather significant character.  Colomba waits for Orso to come back home so that he could revenge their father's death. However, when Orso returns home to Corsica after a long absence, he is a changed man. To start with, Orso doesn't exactly belive Colomba's version of the story.  While I was reading this novel, I had the feeling that the author used Corsica's unique customs to criticize modern society of the time. In Corsica of the time they shot more than game (according to Merimee), but even though murders are not uncommon, you're not likely to get robbed. Do I sense a critique of modern society obsessed with wealth there? Perhaps there is something to that. Merimee's writing is often set in remote places, perhaps to make us reevaluate things we take for granted. Moreover, the remoteness of the location creates an aroma of mysticism, so popular with the romantics. While we're learning more about Corsica, we also learn that Orso finally starts to see  that his sister's version of events might not be as far fetched as it initianlly seems. However, Orso still doesn't see eye to eye with his bloodthirsty sister ( the fatal Colomba). Moreover, under the influence of the British girl he promises to resist the temptation of blood revenge. 

The characterization of Colomba is perhaps a little one dimensional, but seeing as she is the femme fatale of this story, that is perhaps inevitable. When I call her femme fatale, I don't mean that in the classical way. Colomba is beautiful young woman, but she acts almost a man, her entire being focused on vendetta. She is resourceful, cunning and intelligent but everything she does seems to serve one function and that does make Colomba seem a bit inhuman. The author provided us with Colomba's history and added many details into her portrayal, but everything about her still seems rigid. In other words, even if Colomba is superbly described and well written, the reader invariably feels that she is a work of art more that a human being.  Colomba is the character who constantly sets things in motion, she is a force a nature, a part of Corsica, a living incarnation of blood revenge. She never rests, never changes, and seems to never sleep. Colomba is almost too passionate to be real. Nevertheless, this doesn't make the story any less interesting to read. It is hard to see Colomba as a real person, but it is easy to understand Orso's dilemma. He is, quite possibly, the true protagonist of the novel, a young man in love, a man of both Corsica and the world. Caught between the desire to revenge his father and a love toward a British young lady, Orso is torn. He is no coward, but he can't imagine taking another man's life, not like that (meaning by killing someone in cold blood). At start Orso doesn't even believe the story of his father's murder. However, once his sister makes him see things in a different light, Orso's blood starts to boil. What will he do? Will he throw away his life because of revenge? One thing is sure, this writer knows how to keep his reader's interest. 
READ MY OTHER READING UPDATE HERE
MY PENCIL ILLUSTRATION, ORIGINALLY POSTED HERE



TENDER IS THE NIGHT BY  FRANCIS SCOTT  FITZGERALD 4/5

I have another classic that I'll like to review. Tender Is the Night was viewed as its author as his best work. In many ways, Tender Is the Night is more ambitious, though provoking and profound than the novel Fitzgerald is better known for, aka The Great Gatsby (although, I always insist there is a great deal of depth in that one, even more than people notice). Nevertheless, Tender Is the Night definitely doesn't read as easily. There is much tenderness inside this book, but you must work to get to it and you need to keep your heart open. 


Tender Is the Night feels more personal in tone. There is no framed narrative here, you don't get to see the protagonist through Nick's eye. What you get is a pretty clear picture of a man. Tender is the Night is definitely more autobiographical than the The Great Gatsby, perhaps more than any other work of his. The writing, albeit beautiful, doesn't flow as easily. You get the feeling that this wasn't an easy book to write. The reader can definitely see a lot of Fitzgerald in Dick, a man married to a glamours rich heiress. While you can glimpses of Fitzgerald's married life in other works of his (think his short stories), none is as detailed as this one. As a reader, one can see how much work Fitzgerald has put into this book and by that I don't mean just the years and the number of pages. It is an ambitious book. However, it is also difficult book. It is not easy to read. 

There is something very depressive about this novel, and it is not just the sadness that penetrates its pages. I hate to say, but I felt like sometimes Fitzgerald was a bit too indulgent. Not in showing himself in a good light, in fact, it was just the opposite. There were moments when I felt like the writer dived a bit too much into self-piety. As wonderful as it is to see him so honest, it is also painful to read at times. To be completely honest, this book did leave a bitter taste in my mouth, like the medicine that might be good for you but it sure doesn't taste so. Tender Is the Night is perhaps a bit like bitter medicine for the soul. I often felt overwhelmed while I was reading it, and kind of afraid I might get lost in this novel (as bizarre at that might sound).

In a way, reading this book is a lot like getting to really know a person. It takes time, vulnerability and an open heart to get at the bottom of it. Perhaps that is what this great novel is really like- a real person. A tormented but beautiful human being. Maybe I'm getting a bit too metaphorical, but reading it was an intense and even a bit mystic experience. Mysticism aside, what kind of novel it is?  This book tells the story of Dick and Nicole, a wealthy American couple enjoying their permanent European vacation lifestyle...or are they truly enjoying it? Their marriage is both happy and sad, both tragic and beautiful. They are both good and bad one for another. Nicole used to be Dick's patient (mental patient) and it seems he is genuinely concerned for her. He is definitely not with her just for her money, but Dick might be getting himself lost in their extravagant lifestyle. Money can make things seem more unreal, and this couple does have issues. The protagonist Dick is, at times, really a dick. Dick can be the worst kind of misogynist and the narrative voice is much alike to the leading character. The novel is very much focused on him, and that makes it seem more realistic but it also takes away from the other characters. We don't really get to see what Nicole is feeling. Similarly, a young American actress Dick becomes enamored with is never given a voice of her own. It seems a bit of a missed chance. I think this is a novel that could have benefited from focusing more attention to its female characters. Their part in the story is significant but their portrayal is somewhat lacking. 


As fascinating is to see Dick's tragic life story, at the same time the novel feels overwritten, especially the misogynistic parts of it. You know, with so many (often mean) things being said about everyone and everything, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. It is said that the writer was in a really dark place when we wrote this novel and the reader can really feel it. The writing is of great quality but it is terribly negative. As we witness Dick's downfall into alcoholism, the book gets darker. The endless critique of everything and everyone doesn't help either. Perhaps that is another aspect of it that makes it feel depressive. The writer is often critical and mean to just about anyone: the rich, the poor, the Americans, the Europeans, the non Europeans, the Blacks, the list is endless. With him being so negative about everything, you get this feeling that it's at least a democratic kind of hate maybe, but nevertheless all that hate can get so tiring. It is easy to see that Dick is deeply unhappy. Paradoxically (or perhaps not), as his wife gets better, Dick gets worse, perhaps because he loses his purpose- that of being her doctor/caretaker and protector. He begins to doubt himself.


I must admit that as a reader I often felt like a tennis ball being tossed around. At times this novel moves quite quickly. So many things happen and they don't seem to leave a trace...at least not at first. The hectic rich lifestyle soon loses its charm. The individuals in this book, they often feel lonely. In that sense Tender Is the Night seems authentic. Not just in that sense. Despite it being a bit overwritten, this novel does feel very much feel authentic and real. Often very open and sincere in his writing (sometimes revealing too much), Fitzgerald definitely manages to touch and move its reader. 

Tender Is the Night does a great job of drawing out human imperfections. The main characters are in so many ways detestable, but at the core of their being they are also very tender. It takes to be a good writer to get a reader to really care for them, too see the human under the glam and the sorrow, under it all. I cared alright, much to my surprise because on the conscious level there is so much to swallow. But I swallowed it somehow and it made me feel more humble. It made me see how fragile we are all. A sad but oh so beautifully written work of fiction.

Another book that I absolutely loved was Proklete Hrvatice- od Cvijete Zutorić do Ene Begović by Milana Runjić Vuković (here you can read my review for one of her other books). This book focuses on lives of several notable Croatian women. I found it absolutely fascinating and I enjoyed the writing style very much. The author wrote about these women from a more personal point of view, often wondering what they must have felt like in different stages of their life and I quite liked that. Since I read and reviewed this book in Croatian, I'll share my review of it in the language it was written in: 

Pročitala sam knjigu Proklete Hrvatice u jednom dahu moglo bi se reći, imala sam dojam da sam jednostavno potonula u nju, u likove, povijest i događanja. Svidjelo mi se što je spisateljica o njima pisala iz osobne perspektive, gledajući ih, barem mi se tako činilo, prvenstveno kao žene, pitajući se kako su se osjećale u pojedinim trenucima. Povijesne žene, ali prikazane kroz osobnu i modernu prizmu. Čak mi se i jezik jako dopao i čitajući ovu knjigu shvatila sam koliko mi nedostaje čitati takve knjige. Hrvatska klasična književnost pa i ona novija mi je nekako uvijek pri ruci, ali lijepo je pročitati i nešto iz današnjice.  Koliko god volim klasike, jednako volim čitati i modernije knjige na hrvatskom. Ova knjiga me nekako i ranila i izliječila, rastužila i usrećila. Bilo mi se lako poistovjetiti sa sudbinama i životima svih ovih žena, možda zato što sam o njima dosta i promišljala (ipak sam sa njima dosta upoznata). Osim mađarske plemkinje koja je odlučila postati ilirskom i Hrvaticom, sve su mi ostale žene bile otprije poznate. Imam dojam da bi i sama mogla o njima nešto zanimljivo napisati (možda nekad i sama napišem nešto više o njima, a u međuvremenu sam sretna što mogu o njima čitati). Ova knjiga je bila više nego dobrodošla lektira o znamenitim ženama čije su sudbine bile često tužne i tragične i vidim je i kao poticaj za daljnje čitanje. To svakako nije opširna knjiga, no upravo u tome je njezina draž. Kratka je i lako se čita, a opet prepuna je ne samo povijesnih podataka nego i emotivnih pitanja. Stil pisanja je jednostavan i prisan, bez pretenzija, a sama povijesna građa dobro je predstavljena. Sveukupno, Proklete Hrvatice je zanimljivo i hvalevrijedno ostvarenje. 

That would be all for today. Thank you for reading and visiting. Have a great Sunday! Feel free to share your summer reading recommendations with me. Soon I will probably post another reading update. I try to do as much reading as possible in the summer time.

Comments

  1. Love reading thrillers and history books, thanks for your recommendations! You look so lovely and your illustrations are fab as ever! xo

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  2. Gran y oportuna iniciativa para fomentar la lectura, lo que abre las puertas al mundo.

    bjss

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    Replies
    1. si, es verdad, la lectura abre las portes al mondo.

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  3. I do love summer reading Ivana. It just seems to go hand in hand. And you are always so good about your reviews.
    Thanks for all these suggestions!!
    XOXO
    Jodie

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  4. Dear Ivana, I like your summer looks and your dress with the cherrys is so super cute! I think I'm reading the complete year and sometimes I have the feeling I read even more in winter :) But you are right, summer is also great reading time, just today I spent nearly the complete day with reading outside on your terrace (my husband is on business trip).
    Thanks for sharing which books you read. They sound all very interesting and I think I could learn a lot about Corsica as well.
    Have a happy new - reading - week!
    xx from Bavaria/Germany, Rena
    www.dressedwithsoul.com

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    1. Thank you Rena. I do feel like I learned something about Corsica even if this book was published a while back. I think islanders are often peculiar and I don't mean that in a bad way. I'm half an islander myself.

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  5. So cute summer-looks Ivana. Hope, you learned a lot of Corsica.

    Many greetings
    Sabine

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  6. I always love your recommendations! I do know the story of Carmen so I would be intriged to read the first one. I've only read The Great Gatsby so I would read the second one two.x

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    1. I need to read original Carmen too, if it is anything like Colomba, I know that I will enjoy it.

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  7. I think it is the connection with vacations that makes us crave summer reading. Like you, I read all year round. I am sure I will end up reading Tender Is the Night at some point. Lately I seem to be reading depressing novels so I think I need to start mixing it up with a little more light hearted reads.

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    1. Tender Is the Night is very depressive, it is a good idea to read something lighter before taking it up.

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  8. Love ur summer outfit.

    www.torichux3.com

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  9. Love your summer dress !

    http://www.fruityandpassion.com/2019/07/where-to-get-great-rings.html#more

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  10. Thanks a lot :D

    you look absolutelly great :D

    NEW OUTFIT POST | ONE DAY COMBINE A COFFEE!
    InstagramFacebook Official PageMiguel Gouveia / Blog Pieces Of Me :D

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  11. Non ne ho letto nessuno dei 3 ma siccome the great gatsby mi era piaciuto credo che leggerò tender is the night anche se un po'difficile!
    Don't Call Me Fashion Blogger
    Facebook
    Bloglovin'

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    1. si, e' un po difficile ma comunque un libro bellissimo

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  12. Un posto bellissimo ! Baci cara!

    La ilusión de Nina - http://lailusiondenina.blogspot.com/

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  13. These views are so stunning, I really love them :))) x

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  14. I love the cute little Cherries Dress, it's super cute! So beautiful and appropriate for the occasion.

    Cats in the City

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    Replies
    1. thank you, I love this cherry dress too, I wear it all the time.

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  15. Hello!!

    What fantastic places !! I liked your summer looks !!

    A kiss and a great week.

    www.purestyle.com.br

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    Replies
    1. thank you dear. I'm happy you like my summer looks:).

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  16. I loved your dresses, this last was my favorite!
    I seeing these photos, missed the summer :(
    I confess that I do not like to read much, but unlike you think in the winter I feel a little more willing to read a good book, in the summer I like to walk outdoors.

    https://www.heyimwiththeband.com.br/

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    Replies
    1. Thank you. I can understand why seeing these photographs makes you miss summer, it is a wonderful season...I'm trying to make the most out of it.

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  17. anche io amo molto leggere in estate, soprattutto nelle ore centrali del giorno quando fa molto caldo e tu te ne stai al fresco, all'ombra con il tuo libro! :)
    Dei libri che hai proposto oggi ho letto solo "Tenera è la notte" di Fitzgerald, non lo ricordavo benissimo a dire il vero ma leggendo la tua review mi è tornato in mente subito!
    degli altri quello che mi piacerebbe leggere è Colomba, la storia mi sembra interessante e gli autori francesi ed inglesi sono i miei preferiti! :)
    Super carini i tuoi look, soprattutto l'ultimo, sei così graziosa ed estiva! :)
    Baci!
    S
    https://s-fashion-avenue.blogspot.com

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    1. grazie Silvia. Anch'io amo tanti scrittori francesi e inglesi.

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  18. Hello lovely, I saw your comment on my post just there & the hearts on my skin were made from a face stamper. You can get a heart, star and moon one I believe. I found them on ebay, so it was relatively cheap and works really good too. I think I put face stamp in the search or something along those lines and found them :))) x

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    Replies
    1. a face stamper! I would never have thought of that. I need to took into them, the result is really adorable.

      Delete
  19. Funnily enough, I actually read less in Summer than in Winter, when you often find me curled up on the sofa with a book. I read even less when I'm on holiday, as I then have my nose in holiday brochures, planning what to do/visit next. I started a new book days before we left on holiday and now that we're back for over a week, I'm still only half way ... I must admit that I hadn't heard of Prosper Merimee, but how fascinating that he wrote the novella on which the opera Carmen was based. Tender is the Night by Scott Fitzgerald I did read, although it was many years ago. From what I remember, your review of the book is spot on, as there is indeed an underlying sadness in the novel. Have a great week, Ivana! xxx

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    1. Thank you so much dear. I'm happy to hear you enjoyed it. I can understand why you have less time for reading books on holiday, reading travelling brochures can be quite consuming and if one likes a more active holiday with a lot of cultural sightseeing, then there really isn't a lot of time left to reading.

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  20. Such a flawless look, babe! You never cease to amaze me!
    Happy Monday, babe!
    xoxo, Vanessa
    www.WhatWouldVWear.com

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  21. These are really pretty looks dear. Love your dress!


    Jessica | notjessfashion.com

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  22. Such a beautiful place. Love all the photos.

    xoxo
    Liza
    www.lizacorner.blogspot.com

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  23. il primo vestito mi piace tantissimo

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  24. I adore your summer outfits and of course, your summer reading recommendation was so fun to read. It's been a while since I read fiction and took a dive into the characters the way you did and come out transformed. When a book is so good, it can be quite startling for me to finally realize that I am about to turn the last page. You have inspired me to pick up a book or 5 and I cannot wait ;) xoxo

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  25. All the pictures are amazing! Loved your dress.
    Adi xx | www.fancycorrectitude.com

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  26. I love reading all year too, but you are right, summer time is one of the best times to read. You read some lovely books recently, so thank you for sharing them. And I love your illustrations! I hope you are having a great week x

    Kara | http://karascloset.net

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    1. thank you dear. I love making book inspired illustrations.




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  27. I agree that summer is reading season while autumn - december is movie season for me.
    Your drawing are really good. Girl in black reminds me of Ariana Grande.

    xx
    https://anna-alina.blogspot.com/

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  28. Oh, I love your summer looks, loving the dress with cherry prints. It's so pretty and you look really gorgeous in this dress. The other two are also look great on you. Reading in summer is the best time, as the days are long and you have enough time to read your favorite books. You have read some nice books and i am happy that you shared it here. I'm reading a new book these days named 'Memoirs Of A Geisha' and loving it.

    Have a great day.
    Love <3
    http://www.rakhshanda-chamberofbeauty.com/

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  29. I loved your summer looks!

    https://estacaolilas.blogspot.com/

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  30. Great post, Thanks for sharing,
    I'm following you! X.

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  31. I really like read your book reviews and recommendation because always find some books that I will like to read. You living in amazing cities with such a beautiful beaches and nature. You photos are amazing. I'm always amazed how Croatia is wonderful.

    New Post - http://www.exclusivebeautydiary.com/2019/07/sarah-chapman-skinesis-massager-tools_19.html

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  32. Thank you for sharing this wonderful book reviews. I always enjoy reading your reviews because they're so thorough and in-depth. I haven't actually read any of these books but I've heard of them and was thinking about reading a couple so your reviews were very helpful.

    Kathrin | Polar Bear Style

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  33. The dress and slide sandals look very nice here. Fine camisole, skirt, and flatform sandals in the 2nd outfit. The 3rd outfit looks great with the cherry print dress, the hat, and the sandals. Great style on all three outfits!

    johnbmarine.blogspot.com

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  34. Summer is the perfect time to indulge in hours of reading.
    I LOVE your drawings!!

    http://a-woman-of-a-certain-age.com/

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  35. Bas tragam za nekim dobrim naslovom. Trenutno zavrsavam ''Moja baka vam se izvinjava'' od Bakmana. Citanje je zaista neprikosnovena radost! Divan post Ivanice, sve mi se dopada.

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Post a Comment

All your comments mean a lot to me, even the criticism. Naravno da mi puno znači što ste uzeli vrijeme da nešto napišete, pa makar to bila i kritika. Per me le vostre parole sono sempre preziose anche quando si tratta di critiche.

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