Wednesday, 2 December 2020

Marx, Karl "Capital"

Marx, Karl "Capital. Critique of Political Economy" (German: Das Kapital. Kritik der politischen Ökonomie) - 1867

For my classic non-fiction November read I chose a book I wanted to read for ages. "Capital". When I first joined Facebook, I used to take part in some of their "games" and found that I am very liberal (not a surprise), "as far left as can be before heading into Stalin's backyard". That was a US American test, of course. (Compared to their Republicans, that is certainly true.) But I know Karl Marx would turn in his grave if he saw what has been made out of his ideas in many countries. The Scandinavians are probably the best examples of what he wished for the people. And I belong to those people who "believe" in public healthcare, free education for everyone, a decent minimum wage, a good retirement plan, everything people are against who think that brings "communism" to their country.

But enough of that, I think I've said it often enough and I know people who don't agree but don't come up with a better answer. They seem to think it's great that the super-duper rich get away with paying low income tax whilst others go hungry.

So, the book. When I announced at the classics club that I was reading this in November, I received a lot of comments like "tough read", "well done, you, would be too hard for me". Actually, at the beginning, I thought it was rather boring. My background is more or less business, at least I had to take a lot of classes in that direction during my education. So, I knew how demand and supply set the price, material and manufacture together are the basis for that.

But all in all, there is a lot in this book about the beginning of industrialism and what went wrong there for the "little man", weirdly enough, a lot of that still is wrong, the worker is still exploited by the employer. See minimum wage discussions. They have more rights nowadays (thanks to those "bl...y" trade unions, another idea most conservatives are against) but that doesn't mean that many employers won't try to circumnavigate them and, if they have to adhere to it, won't go one step further than they have to.

I am sure there are many books around who explain this better in a contemporary way even for the most die-hard opponents to understand that the world doesn't just turn around themselves, that it would be so much nicer if people gave up their selfish attitudes. But I doubt they would want to understand them. This book and ideology have been around for more than 150 years now and not much has changed. Unfortunately.

This also is a great history lesson.

Granted, the book has some drier parts but all in all, I believe it is very readable. I would love to discuss this with people who have read it and see whether their opinions have changed.

"Let us finally imagine, for a change, an association of free men, working with the means of production held in common."

From the back cover:

"Capital by Karl Marx is a foundational theoretical text in materialist philosophy, economics and politics. Marx aimed to reveal the economic patterns underpinning the capitalist mode of production, in contrast to classical political economists such as Adam Smith, Jean-Baptiste Say, David Ricardo and John Stuart Mill. Marx did not live to publish the planned second and third parts, but they were both completed from his notes and published after his death by his colleague Friedrich Engels. Capital is the most cited book in the social sciences published before 1950. The Communist Manifesto (originally Manifesto of the Communist Party) is an 1848 political pamphlet by German philosophers Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Commissioned by the Communist League and originally published in London just as the revolutions of 1848 began to erupt, the Manifesto was later recognised as one of the world's most influential political documents.

Wage Labour and Capital is an essay on economics by Karl Marx, written in 1847 and first published in articles in the Neue Rheinische Zeitung in April 1849. This essay has been widely acclaimed as the precursor to Marx's important treatise Das Kapital.

Value, Price and Profit was a speech given to the First International Working Men's Association in June in 1865 by Karl Marx. It was written between the end of May and June 27 in 1865, and was published in 1898. Karl Marx (1818–1883) was a famous German philosopher, economist, historian, political theorist, sociologist, journalist and revolutionary socialist."

This was instigated by our Classics Club reading challenge. I found them through Words and Peace. Thank you.

Tuesday, 1 December 2020

Happy December!

Happy December to all my friends and readers

New Calendar picture with this
beautiful watercolour painting by Hanka Koebsch

"Auf dem Weg zum Nordpol"
"On the Way to the North Pole"

  I don't think Hanka Koebsch thought that so many people might want to follow the two characters in her painting on the way to the North Pole now. Who could have imagined last year that we would wish us to be anywhere but where there are many people around?

Usually, December is the time where the days get shorter, the temperature colder and wetter. But we can also look forward to lovely evenings at home with the family celebrating advent and Christmas or outside on Christmas markets and later welcoming the new year. I don't think there has been a new year as eagerly awaited since the end of the last World War. Let us all hope that it will be better than this one and that it brings us relief from Covid-19.

* * *

At least it has done our environment some good. We still have a long way to go but let's hope that even the last climate change sceptics have learned it now (after at least half a century that really should be a discussion point any more). I think this year has shown us that we need to do something.

The "German Federation for the Environment and Nature Conservation" (Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland) declared the broad-leaved marsh orchid (Dactylorhiza majalis) for their orchid of the year. Orchids are not my favourite flowers but these don't look much like those imported versions, they live in our wet meadows and are endangered because most of these biotopes are roded nowadays.

Let's hope they still bring joy to us for many, many years to come.

* * *

I wish you all a very happy December. And don't be too sad if you have to celebrate Christmas alone. We don't think our sons can come this year, they both live in different countries, we all have different rules and regulations and even if it is possible, it's really too dangerous to travel. So, if you can only see your kids from time to time, think about me. We saw our oldest son in March, shortly before Corona started and then both boys in August when it was easier for them to travel. And that's it. But with the internet and all the modern possibilities to talk to each other, we are not in such a bad position as our grand-parents and great-grand-parents were a hundred years ago.

* * *

And think about the Islandic tradition of Jólabókaflóð! Maybe a good way to spend Christmas instead.

* * *

And one more quote from one of the books I just read: "Did it ever occur to you … that tolerance can reach a point where it is no more tolerance? When that happens, the noble-sounding attitude which most of us pride ourselves degenerates into weakness and acquiescence." Grace Metalious, "Peyton Place"

* * *

Have a happy December with this beautiful watercolour painting by Hanka Koebsch. Stay safe!

You can find many more wonderful pictures on their website here.

You can also have a look under my labels Artist: Frank Koebsch and Artist: Hanka Koebsch where you can find all my posts about them.

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Top Ten Authors that Deserve More Recognition

"Top Ten Tuesday" is an original feature/weekly meme created on the blog "The Broke and the Bookish". This feature was created because they are particularly fond of lists at "The Broke and the Bookish".

It is now hosted by Jana from That Artsy Reader Girl.

Since I am just as fond of them as they are, I jump at the chance to share my lists with them! Have a look at their page, there are lots of other bloggers who share their lists here.

Our topic for today would be Book Quotes (these could be quotes from books or quotes about books/reading). Since January 2013, I've been posting them every week and you can find a list of all the quotes I ever gathered here.
Also, we did a TTT about book quotes in September (see here).

So, I thought I'd search through the old themes and choose one of those that I missed.

Authors that Deserve More Recognition
There are a couple of authors that I count among my favourite ones but if I mention them, most people either say "I never read a book by them" or, even worse, "I have never heard of them". Therefore, I like this topic and hope that some of you will pick up at least one of their books:
Falcones, Ildefonso (Spanish/Catalan)
Frazier, Charles (US American)
Fredriksson, Marianne (Swedish)
Ghosh, Amitav (India/Bangladesh)
Hislop, Victoria (British/English)
Lawson, Mary (Canadian)
Rutherfurd, Edward (British/English)
Schami, Rafik (Syrian, writes in German)
Sendker, Jan-Philipp (German)
Waltari, Mika (Finnish)

My favourite one by any of them is in the the pictures, you find all the other books I read by them in the link.

And which authors would you recommend?

Monday, 30 November 2020

Non-fiction November - Week 5


Leann from Shelf Aware and Julie from julzreads have given Non-fiction November a new twist.

They encourage us to not only read a non-fiction book this month but also to look at non-fiction books in general.

It's the end of November and also the end of Non-fiction November. To round this up, Leann from Shelf Aware has published a podcast. If you're interested, have a listen here.

Also, she has done a photo challenge. It wasn't my month, so I didn't take any pictures but I have read so many non-fiction books over the years that I thought I'll give you a list instead. Some of the books are older, that's when I haven't read a book in 2020 that fits into the category.

1.    TBR
Crafts, Hannah "The Bondwoman’s Narrative" - 1855-69
2.    2020 Fav
Taylor, Helen "Why Women Read Fiction. The Stories of Our Lives" - 2019
3.    Biography/Auto
Khorsandi, Shappi "A Beginner's Guide to Acting English" - 2009
4.    Own Voices
Booth, Cathleen "Mercy & Grace on the Camino de Santiago" - 2020
5.    Humour
Ephron, Nora "I Feel Bad About My Neck And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman" - 2006
6.    Technology
Hawking, Stephen "A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes" - 1988
7.    How To
Sanders, Ella Frances "Lost in Translation. An Illustrated Compendium of Untranslatable Words from Around the World" - 2014
8.    Shelfie
Some cook books, some other non-fiction books

9.    Writing
Campbell, Jen "The Bookshop Book" - 2014
10.    Birth
I have two children and two of my nieces have given birth this year but I haven't read a non-fiction book about birth for ages.
11.    Literary Bio
Lindgren, Astrid "Samuel August from Sevedstorp and Hanna from Hult aka A Love Story" (Swedish: En kärlekshistoria: Samuel August från Sevedstorp och Hanna i Hult) - 1975
12.    Business
Bythell, Shaun "The Diary of a Bookseller" - 2017
13.    Psychology
Nietzsche, Friedrich "Beyond Good and Evil: Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future/On the Genealogy of Morality" (German: Jenseits von Gut und Böse. Vorspiel einer Philosophie der Zukunft/Zur Geneologie der Moral) - 1886
14.    True Crime
Yousafzai, Malala; Lamb, Christina "I am Malala. The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban" - 2013
15.    Nature
Bryson, Bill "The Body. A Guide for Occupants" - 2019
16.    Parenting
Gilbreth, Frank + Gilbreth Carey, Elizabeth "Cheaper by the Dozen" and "Belles on their Toes" - 1948/1950
17.    Education
Mortenson, Greg & Bryan, Mike "Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, Not Bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan" - 2009
18.    Literary Memoir
Russell, Helen "The Year of Living Danishly: My Twelve Months Unearthing the Secrets of the World's Happiest Country" - 2015
19.    Comfort Read
Tung, Debbie "Book Love" - 2019
20.    Medical
Levy, Andrew "A Brain Wider Than The Sky: A Migraine Diary" - 2009
21.    Animals/Pets
Solstad, Lexidh "Catpasity" - 2015
22.    Mental Health
Coory, Kasey "Pious Evil. Condemn not my Children. A mother's journey to insanity" - 2014
23.    Fav Author
Bryson, Bill "Notes from a Small Island" - 1995
24.    Community
Harari, Yuval Noah "Sapiens. A Brief History of Mankind" (Hebrew: קיצור תולדות האנושות/Ḳizur Toldot Ha-Enoshut) - 2014
25.    Relationships
Biden, Joe "Promise Me, Dad. A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose" - 2017
26.    Food
Collister, Linda; Berry, Mary; Hollywood, Paul "Great British Bake Off: How to Bake: The Perfect Victoria Sponge and Other Baking Secrets" - 2011
27.    Death/Afterlife
Weidermann, Volker "Summer Before the Dark: Stefan Zweig and Joseph Roth, Ostend 1936" (German: Ostende - 1936, Sommer der Freundschaft) - 2014
28.    Organization
Kristof, Nicholas; WuDunn, Sheryl "A Path Appears: Transforming Lives, Creating Opportunity" - 2014
29.    Rainbow
Top Ten Tuesday ~ Top Ten Books with Colours In the Titles
30.    Boost a Book
Most of my favourite non-fiction books of the year have already found their way onto this list. So, I'll go with one of my favourite authors, even though that book is not a new one. And, it's his only non-fiction book I've read so far.
Pamuk, Orhan "Istanbul - Memories of a City" (Turkish: İstanbul: Hatıralar ve Şehir) - 2003

I know, I know, some of them seem a little far-fetched but those are the closest I could find to the themes. I would love to see your suggestions.

Note to self: Read more self-help books so I can find some better examples next year (we all know that's NOT going to happen, though).

Saturday, 28 November 2020

Non-fiction November - Week 4


Leann from Shelf Aware and Julie from julzreads have given Non-fiction November a new twist.

They encourage us to not only read a non-fiction book this month but also to look at non-fiction books in general.

This week, Katie's rounding things up with New to My TBR:
It’s been a month full of amazing nonfiction books! Which ones have made it onto your TBR? Be sure to link back to the original blogger who posted about that book!

I have a few non-fiction books added to my bookshelf this year. And, of course, there are always some that remain on the TBR pile for a while. Here is my list. I hope to be done with them at the end of next year. Funnily enough, they are all by male writers.

Elliot, Jason "The Unexpected Light. Travels in Afghanistan" - 1999 Goodreads
Frankopan, Peter 'The Sillk Roads. A New History oft he World" - 2015 Goodreads
Harari, Yuval Noah "21 Lessons for the 21st Century" - 2018 Goodreads
Marx, Karl; Engels, Friedrich "The Communist Manifesto" (Das kommunistische Manifest) - 1848 Goodreads
Orth, Stephan "Couchsurfing in Iran: Revealing a Hidden World" (Couchsurfing im Iran - Meine Reise hinter verschlossene Türen) - 2015 Goodreads 
Shaw, Karl "Royal Babylon: The Alarming History of European Royalty" - 1999 Goodreads
Snider, Grant "I Will Judge You by Your Bookshelf" - 2020 Goodreads

This was instigated by our Classics Club reading challenge. I found them through Words and Peace. Thank you.  

Friday, 27 November 2020

Book Quotes of the Week

"Fight from an educated perspective. Always be ready to learn." Sophia Bush
Always, always. Even more important in this day and age where you see people just repeating what others say without checking whether it's correct or not, whether they humiliate or assault someone or not.

"The only thing you absolutely have to know is the location of the library." Albert Einstein
And then use it.

"I had found a new friend. The surprising thing is where I’d found him - not up a tree or sulking in the shade, or splashing around in one of the hill streams, but in a book. No one had told us kids to look there for a friend. Or that you could slip inside the skin of another. Or travel to another place with marshes, and where, to our ears, the bad people spoke like pirates." Lloyd Jones
I think most kids find those friend if they are truly alone.

"Books are my solace and true escape from life. I wish I could spend all my time reading." N.N.
Amen to that.
[If anyone can tell me the originator of this quote, I'd be very thankful and would happily include the name.

Find more book quotes here.

Thursday, 26 November 2020

Happy Thanksgiving

🍁 It's a special day in the United States. As on every fourth Thursday in November, they celebrate Thanksgiving, a feast originally giving thanks for a good harvest (as is still done all around the world) but nowadays often thought as a commemoration of the first feast the Pilgrims had with the native Americans.

🍁 In Germany, we celebrate our Harvest Festival (German: Erntedankfest) on the first Sunday in October. But it is more a church tradition than a family celebration. The churches are decorated with harvest crops and there usually is a collection for local charities. In the United Kingdom, where we lived a couple of years, they have a similar practice, only they also donate food to be given to local food banks.

🍁 As I mentioned in my post about my Non-Bookish Hobbies, we have lived among and worked with Americans for decades and have adapted their way of Thanksgiving for our German friends and family who love this glimpse of a different culture. We've done this every year (with one exception) since 2006. Unfortunately, we might not be able to share it this year, either. Therefore, just a little reminder to all of us to enjoy what we can and start doing the other things once we get the "all clear" from our governments again.

🍁 Our dishes vary from time to time, depending on who comes and whose favourite food it is but, so far, we have served:
🦃 Turkey, pulled pork; cranberry sauce, gravy; cornbread, corn pudding, macaroni & cheese; bread stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes; baked beans, cauliflower, corn on the cob, green bean casserole, spiced carrots; apple pie, blueberry pie, lemon meringue pie, pecan pie, pumpkin pie.

🦃 My artist niece and her father (one of my brothers) made a Turkey for us from an old pottery chicken my parents had in their house. They called him "Henry" and has been a member of our group ever since. It's almost as if my parents still participated. (picture with the compliments of my hubby)

🍁 One other part that belongs to our Thanksgiving just as much as the turkey and all the other stuff is a movie by one of my favourite directors, Gurinder Chadha. Her parents are Indian, she was born in Kenya and grew up in the UK. Add to that her husband who is American with Japanese and Basque ancestry, the couple combines almost all the continents among them. Gurinder Chadha mainly makes films about Indian lives in the UK (Bend it Like Beckham is probably her most famous though one of my favourites is Bride & Prejudice).

🍁 Anyway, through her husband, she got to know Thanksgiving and she mentioned that most families have one thing in common, the turkey, but the rest of the food depends very much on their origin. So, for her film What's Cooking? she created four families with different cultural backgrounds (Latino, Asian, African and Jewish) and shows their Thanksgiving. Gurinder Chadha received several awards for it, well deserved. It's a wonderful movie with a fantastic cast and if you haven't seen it, please, please, watch it this year. It's our "Groundhog Day" moment of the year (although we do watch that one, as well, on the 2nd of February).

🍁I wish all my US American friends and anyone else who celebrates
a very happy Thanksgiving. 🍁

🍁 🦃 🥧 🎉 🍁