Thursday, 17 January 2019

McKinley, Tamara "Lands Beyond the Sea"


McKinley, Tamara "Lands Beyond the Sea" - 2007

I would file this novel under "Catherine Cookson with a little Australiana thrown in". Too much "Lord loves poor girl, poor girl loves Lord but they can't get together" for me. The stories of the convicts have been described a lot better in other books (Capricornia, English Passengers, The Floating Brothel, For the Term of His Natural Life, The Secret River).

The story about the convicts might have been good if it hadn't all the chick lit paraphernalia thrown in. And I might have enjoyed the book if it hadn't been such an "easy read". Not my thing, I'm afraid.

I read this is the first of a series. I doubt I will read the following ones.

From the back cover:

"Discovery
By the 1700s, the Aborigine people have lived in harmony with the land in Australia for sixty thousand years. But now, ghost-ships are arriving, their very existence is threatened by a terrifying white invasion.

Love
When Jonathan Cadwallader leaves Cornwall to sail on the Endeavour, he leaves behind his sweetheart, Susan Penhalligan ... But an act of brutality will reunite them in the raw and unforgiving penal colony of New South Wales.

Hardship
Billy Penhalligan has survived transportation and clings to the promise of a new beginning. But there will be more suffering before he or his fellow convicts can regard Australia as home ...

A powerful, romantic epic weaving the lives of the Cadwalladers, the Penhalliagnas, the Aborigine and the convict settlers into the untamed tapestry of newly discovered Australia."

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

2018 Reading Challenges - Wrap-Up

I took part in five reading challenges (Emma's Book Club, Reading Challenge - Chunky Books 2018, The "Piggybank" Challenge 2018, TBR Pile Reading Challenge 2018, and Travel the World Through Books), and added books to several other lists.

100 Books by the BBC
This is an old challenge, I added two more book to the list.
Dickens, Charles "David Copperfield" (David Copperfield) - 1850
Plath, Sylvia "The Bell Jar" (Die Glasglocke) - 1963

The 100 Greatest Fiction Books as Chosen by The Guardian
I added another two books to this list.
Dickens, Charles "David Copperfield" (David Copperfield) - 1850
Grass, Günter "Die Blechtrommel. Danziger Trilogie 1" (The Tin Drum) - 1959

A Century of Books
Smith, Betty "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" - 1943

Best European Literature
Dickens, Charles "David Copperfield" (David Copperfield) - 1850
Remarque, Erich Maria "All Quiet on the Western Front" - 1928

Bildungsroman
Dickens, Charles "David Copperfield" (David Copperfield) - 1850
Smith, Betty "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" - 1943
Tremain, Rose "The Gustav Sonata" - 2016

Children's Books
I read these books ages ago when my children were small but I wrote a review this year to four more books from the list.

Carle, Eric "The Very Hungry Caterpillar"
McBratney, Sam "Guess How Much I Love You"
Numeroff, Laura "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie"
Seuss, Dr. (=LeSieg, Theo) "The Cat in The Hat"

Dutch and French Books
Word cloud made with WordItOut
2 French books, 7 Dutch books this year.

French
de Beauvoir, Simone "L'invitée" (She came to stay/Sie kam und blieb) - 1943

Dutch
Benali, Abdelkader "Bruiloft aan zee" (Wedding by the Sea/Hochzeit am Meer) - 1996
Boom, Corrie Ten "De Schuilplaats" (The Hiding Place. The Triumphant Story of Corrie Ten Boom/Die Zuflucht) - 1972
Hertmans, Stefan "Oorlog en terpentijn" (War and Turpentine/Der Himmel meines Großvaters) - 2013
Marbe, Nausicaa "Mândraga" (Mandraga) - 1998
McLeod, Cynthia "Hoe duur was de suiker?" (The Cost of Sugar) - 1987
Unigwe, Chika "Fata Morgana" (On Black Sisters' Street) - 2007

Emma's Book Club

An ever growing list of books about and for women, a group started by Emma Watson (better known as Hermione Granger), UN Woman Goodwill Ambassador. I added only one book to that list.
Smith, Betty "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" - 1943

German Books

Since German is my mother tongue and I can easily obtain books in that language, I read 37.

Abarbanell, Stephan "Morgenland" (Displaced) - 2015
Bánk, Zsuzsa "Schlafen werden wir später" [We will sleep later] - 2017
Bauer, Thomas "Die Vereindeutigung der Welt. Über den Verlust an Mehrdeutigkeit und Vielfalt" [The Unification of the World. About the loss of ambiguity and diversity] - 2018
Berlin, Peter "So sind sie, die Schweden: Die Fremdenversteher von Reise-Know-How" [This is how the Swedes are] - 2017
Bode, Sabine "Kriegsspuren: Die deutsche Krankheit - German  Angst" [War Traces] - 2008
Bohlmann-Modersohn, Marina "Hamburg. Eine Stadt in Biographien" [Hamburg. A Town in Biographies] - 2013
Böttcher, Jan "Am Anfang war der Krieg zu Ende" (Y) - 2016
Busch, Nikki "Dies ist kein Adventskalender" [This is not an Advent Calendar] - 2012
Erpenbeck, Jenny "Aller Tage Abend" (The End of Days) - 2012
Feuchtwanger, Lion "Jud Süß" (Jew Suss) - 1925
Grass, Günter "Die Blechtrommel. Danziger Trilogie 1" (The Tin Drum) - 1959
Hahn, Ulla "Liebesarten" [Styles of Love] - 2006
Heidenreich, Elke "Also… - Kolumnen aus Brigitte 4" [So … Columns from the newspaper Brigitte 4] - 1988
Kaminer, Wladimir "Ausgerechnet Deutschland. Geschichten unserer neuen Nachbarn" [Ironically Germany. Stories of our new neighbours] - 2018
Kalisa, Karin "Sungs Laden" [Sung's Shop] - 2015
Kästner, Erich "Als ich ein kleiner Junge war" (When I was a little boy) - 1957
Kerkeling, Hape "Der Junge muss an die frische Luft. Meine Kindheit und ich" [The boy needs some fresh air] - 2014
Kerkeling, Hape "Frisch hapeziert. Die Kolumnen" [Freshly "hallpapered"] - 2018
Kermani, Navid "Dein Name" [Your Name] - 201
Kermani, Navid "Zwischen Koran und Kafka. West-östliche Erkundungen" (Between Quran and Kafka: West-Eastern Affinities) - 2014
Kohl, Walter "Das leere Land" [The Empty Land] - 2011
Montasser, Thomas "Das Glück der kleinen Augenblicke" [The happiness of the small moments] - 2017
Nietzsche, Friedrich "Jenseits von Gut und Böse. Vorspiel einer Philosophie der Zukunft/Zur Geneologie der Moral" (Beyond Good and Evil: Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future/On the Genealogy of Morality) - 1886
Orth, Stephan "Couchsurfing in Russland. Wie ich fast zum Putin-Versteher wurde" [Couchsurfing in Russia. How I almost started to understand Putin] - 2017
Precht, Richard David "Anna, die Schule und der liebe Gott. Der Verrat des Bildungssystems an unsere Kinder" [Anna, the School and the Good God] - 2013
Roth, Martin "Widerrede! Eine Familie diskutiert über Populismus, Werte und politisches Engagement" [Contradiction (Talk back)! A family discusses populism, values and political commitment] - 2017
Rávic Strubel, Antje "Gebrauchsanweisung für Schweden" [User's Guide for Sweden] - 2008
Remarque, Erich Maria "All Quiet on the Western Front" - 1928
Schami, Rafik "Die dunkle Seite der Liebe" (The Dark Side of Love) - 2004
Sendker, Jan-Philipp "Am anderen Ende der Nacht" [The Rising Dragon] - 2016
Steghöfer, Marie-Helene "Ein Jahr in Schweden" [A Year in Sweden] - 2017
Tau, Max "Ein Flüchtling findet sein Land" [A Refugee Finds His Country] - 1964
Walser, Martin "Ein fliehendes Pferd" (Runaway Horse) - 1978
Weidermann, Volker "Ostende - 1936, Sommer der Freundschaft" (Summer Before the Dark: Stefan Zweig and Joseph Roth, Ostend 1936) - 2014
Wimschneider, Anna "Herbstmilch. Lebenserinnerungen einer Bäuerin" [Autumn Milk. Memories of a farmer's wife] - 1985
Wolf, Christa "Der geteilte Himmel" (They Divided the Sky aka Divided Heaven) - 1963
Zeh, Juli "Corpus Delicti. Ein Prozess" (The Method) - 2009
Zeh, Juli "Die Stille ist ein Geräusch. Eine Fahrt durch Bosnien" [The Silence is a Sound] - 2002

Migraine Books
and Links 2011, 2014, 2016
Word cloud made with WordItOut

I started a new list in 2016. You can find all the links here.

My Favourite Books Ever

Every year I find some more books I can add to my list of favourite books. 20 this year.

Abarbanell, Stephan "Displaced" (Morgenland) - 2015
Abulhawa, Susan "The Blue Between Sky and Water" - 2015
Bánk, Zsuzsa "Schlafen werden wir später" [We will sleep later] - 2017
Dickens, Charles "David Copperfield" - 1850
Ephron, Nora "When Harry Met Sally ..." - 1990
Frazier, Charles "Varina" - 2018
Jason, David "Only Fools and Stories: From Del Boy to Granville, Pop Larkin to Frost" - 2017
Kalisa, Karin "Sungs Laden" [Sung's Shop] - 2015
Kennedy, Emma "Shoes for Anthony" - 2015
Kerkeling, Hape "Der Junge muss an die frische Luft. Meine Kindheit und ich" [The boy needs some fresh air] - 2014
MacGregor, Neil "Germany. Memories of a Nation" - 2014
Montasser, Thomas "Das Glück der kleinen Augenblicke" [The happiness of the small moments] - 2017
Orth, Stephan "Couchsurfing in Russland. Wie ich fast zum Putin-Versteher wurde"
[Couchsurfing in Russia. How I almost started to understand Putin] - 2017
Ruiz Zafón, Carlos "The Labyrinth of the Spirtis" (El laberinto de los espíritus - El cementerio de los libros olvidados #4/Das Labyrinth der Lichter) - 2016
Rutherfurd, Edward "Russka. The Novel of Russia" - 1991
Sansom, C.J. (Christopher John) "Dominion" - 2011
Schami, Rafik "The Dark Side of Love" (Die dunkle Seite der Liebe) - 2004
Sendker, Jan-Philipp "The Rising Dragon" (Am anderen Ende der Nacht) - 2016
Smith, Betty "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" - 1943
Weir, Alison "Six Tudor Queens. Anne Boleyn. A King's Obsession" - 2017

Nobel Prize Winners and Their Books
Word cloud made with WordItOut

This is another list to which I could add seven more books.
Crwys-Williams, Jennifer (ed.) "In the Words of Nelson Mandela"
Grass, Günter "Die Blechtrommel. Danziger Trilogie 1" (The Tin Drum) - 1959
Ishiguro, Kazuo "The Remains of the Day" - 1989
Kross, Jaan "Professor Martens' Departure" (Professor Martensi ärasõit)
Lagerlöf, Selma "Sancta Lucia. Christmas Stories" (Kristuslegender) - 1893-1917

Oscar Winning Books

I added four more books in this category.
Dickens, Charles "David Copperfield" (David Copperfield) - 1850
Grass, Günter "Die Blechtrommel. Danziger Trilogie 1" (The Tin Drum) - 1959
Smith, Betty "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" - 1943
Williams, Tennessee "A Streetcar named Desire" - 1947

Peace Prize of the German Book Trade (German: Friedenspreis des Deutschen Buchhandels)
Four books from authors in this category.
Kermani, Navid "Dein Name" [Your Name] - 2011
Kermani, Navid "Zwischen Koran und Kafka. West-östliche Erkundungen" (Between Quran and Kafka: West-Eastern Affinities) - 2014
Tau, Max "Ein Flüchtling findet sein Land" [A refugee finds his country] - 1964
Walser, Martin "Ein fliehendes Pferd" (Runaway Horse) - 1978

The "Piggybank"Challenge

This challenge goes officially from 1 March 2016 to 1 March 2017 but it's easier to wrap this up now with the rest of the challenges. This year, I read 129 books which resulted in €258 to spend on something I'd really like. You can find the whole list with links here.

Reading Challenge - Chunky Books 2018

I read 28 books with more than 450 pages, 6 of them were more than 750 pages, the reading challenge calls them "chunksters". You can find the whole list with links here.

The non-western books that every student should read
A friend sent me an article from the Guardian by Sunny Singh, lecturer at London Metropolitan University and author of "Hotel Arcadia". It's a wonderful list of books that are not that common in the Western world but that teach us so much about other parts of our globe.

Before 2018, I read:
Bâ, Mariama "So Long a Letter"
Mahfouz, Naguib "Palace Walk"

I added in 2018:
Buddha "The Dhammapada"
Unigwe, Chika "Fata Morgana" (On Black Sisters' Street) - 2007

TBR Pile Challenge 2018

Another old challenbge where the participants try to read as many books from their To Be Read Pile as possible. I managed 38 books that had been on that stack for a while. This doesn't mean that my TBR pile got any smaller since I also bought more new books. You can find the whole list with links here.

Top Ten Tuesday

I didn't participate in this challenge this year, however, I managed to read 4 new books that I mentioned on those lists.

Backman, Fredrik "A Man Called Ove" (En Man som heter Ove) - 2012
Carey, Peter "A Long Way From Home" - 2017
Dickens, Charles "David Copperfield" (David Copperfield) - 1850
Kaminer, Wladimir "Russian Disco" (Russendisko) - 2000

Travel the World Through Books

After reading the book "Die Ländersammlerin" [The collector of Countries] by Nina Sedano, I thought it would be great to read a book from every country in the world. I managed 82 until now, added four more this year: Albania, Belgium, Morocco and South Korea. If you have a good suggestion for those countries I haven't "visited, yet, please let me know.

Albania:
Kadaré, Ismail "The Fall of the Stone City" (aka Chronicle in Stone) (Albanian: Darka e Gabuar) - 1971

Belgium:
Hertmans, Stefan "Oorlog en terpentijn" (War and Turpentine/Der Himmel meines Großvaters) - 2013

Morocco:
Benali, Abdelkader "Bruiloft aan zee" (Wedding by the Sea/Hochzeit am Meer) - 1996

South Korea:
Han, Kang "The Vegetarian" (채식주의자/Ch'angbi/Die Vegetarierin)

What's in a Name Reading Challenge

Even though this is an older challenge, I always think it's interesting to read an eponymous book, it's always something special.

Backman, Fredrik "A Man Called Ove" (En Man som heter Ove) - 2012 
Carnarvon, Countess Fiona of "Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle" (Lady Almina und das wahre Downton Abbey: Das Vermächtnis von Highclere Castle) - 2011 (more like a biography but still)
Dickens, Charles "David Copperfield" (David Copperfield) - 1850
Ephron, Nora "When Harry Met Sally ..." - 1990
Frazier, Charles "Varina" - 2018
Ibsen, Henrik "Peer Gynt" (Peer Gynt/Peer Gynt) - 1867
Weir, Alison "Six Tudor Queens. Anne Boleyn. A King's Obsession" - 2017
Wright, Richard B. "Clara Callan" - 2001

No new books in:
101 Best Selling Books of All Time  
"13 Ways of Looking at the Novel" by Jane Smiley
20 Classic And Important Books  
7 Books That Will Radically Shift Your Perspectives
Esperanto Links 
Interesting Links
Le Monde - The 100 Books of the Century 
Modern Library 100 Best Novels of the 20th Century
Oprah’s Book Club 
Suggestions from Friends  
The 10 Greatest Books Ever
The Top 10 Most Difficult Books
Top 10 Most Read Books in the World

For my German friends, I have added the German titles in () brackets if the book is available in German. For my English friends, I have added the English titles in () brackets if the book is available in English and in [] brackets if the book is NOT available in English.

Monday, 14 January 2019

Statistics 2018

My statistics for the last years are here:
Going back to 2009-12, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017   

And these are the results of my reading lists for 2018:

* Statistics 2018 *

I read books that contributed to the following challenges:

Challenges
100 Books by the BBC
This is an old challenge, I added two more book to the list.
2018 TBR Pile Reading Challenge
Another old challenge where the participants try to read as many books from their To Be Read Pile as possible. I managed 38 books that had been on that stack for a while.
Dutch and French Books
2 French books, 7 Dutch books this year.
Emma's Book Club - Our shared shelf
An ever growing list of books about and for women, a group started by Emma Watson (better known as Hermione Granger), UN Woman Goodwill Ambassador. I added one more book to that list.
German Books
Since German is my mother tongue and I can easily obtain books in that language, I read 37.
My Favourite Books Ever
Every year I find some more books I can add to my list of favourite books. 19 this year.
Nobel Prize Winners and Their Books
This is another list to which I could add seven more books.
Oscar Winning Books
I added four more books in this category.
Peace Prize of the German Book Trade (German: Friedenspreis des Deutschen Buchhandels)
Four books from authors in this category.
Reading Challenge - Chunky Books 2018
I read 28 chunky books in 2018 of which 6 are considered a chunkster.
The "Piggybank" Challenge 2018
The 129 books I read this year resulted in €258 to spend on something nice.
Top Ten Tuesday
I didn't participate in this challenge this year, however, I managed to read 4 new books that I mentioned on those lists.
Travel the World Through Books
After reading the book "Die Ländersammlerin" [The collector of Countries] by Nina Sedano, I thought it would be great to read a book from every country in the world. I managed 82 until now, added four more this year: Albania, Belgium, Morocco and South Korea. If you have a good suggestion for those countries I haven't "visited, yet, please let me know.

Books Read: 129
Pages read: 43,752
339 pages/book, 120 pages/day, 10.75 books/month
The average novel contains between 140 and 320 pages, i.e. 230 = 190 "average" books in 2016

Books dating from which year:
Pre 1800s: 1
1800s: 4
1900-1949: 5
1950-1999: 27
2000s: 91 (7 of which from 2018)

Male Authors:74
Female Authors: 52
Both: 1

Nobel Prize Winners: 7

Fiction: 81
Non-Fiction: 45

Chunky Books - more than 450 pages: 28, more than 750: 6
Library: 15
Re-Read: 1
TBR Pile: 38

Oldest Book: 300 BC
Buddha "The Dhammapada. Verses on the Way" (धम्मपद), Buddhist text - ca. 300 BCE
Newest Book: 2018
Kingsolver, Barbara "Unsheltered" - 2018
Longest book: 1,232 pages
Kermani, Navid "Dein Name" [Your Name] - 2011 - 1,232 pages
Shortest book: 56 pages
Ruiz Zafón, Carlos "Gaudí in Manhattan. Eine phantastische Erzählung" (La Mujer de Vapor) - 2009 - 56 pages
Longest book title: 32
Carnarvon, Countess Fiona of "Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey" - 2011
Shortest Book Title: 6
Feuchtwanger, Lion "Jud Süß" (Jew Suss) - 1925
Funniest Book:
Jason, David "Only Fools and Stories: From Del Boy to Granville, Pop Larkin to Frost" - 2017
Saddest Book:
Briley, John "Cry Freedom: The Legendary True Story of Steve Biko and the Friendship that Defied Apartheid" - 1987

New authors (for me) that I would like to read more from: 14
Stephen Abarbanell, Christopher Bollen, Sabine Bode, Jenny Erpenbeck, David Jason, Karin Kalisa, Neil MacGregor, Thomas Montassser, Rafel Nadal, Pamela Olson, Stephan Orth, C.J. Sansom, Chika Unigwe, Martin Walser

Translated Books: 15 from 11 languages
3 from Spanish, 2 each from Catalan, Korean, 1 each from Albanian, Estonian, Hebrew, Icelandic, Norwegian, Russian, Sanscrit, Swedish
Books read in another language:
37 German, 7 Dutch and 2 French books this year.

Numbers in Book Titles: Three, Six
Place Names in Book Titles: America, American, Bosnia, Brooklyn, Burma, Deutsch, Deutschland, Downton Abbey, England, Germany, Hamburg, Highclere Castle, Jerusalem, Limpopo, Mândraga, Manhattan, Ostende, Palestine, Russka, Russia, Russland, Schweden, New York
Names in Book Titles: Almina, Anna, Anne Boleyn, Anthony, Brigitte, Clara Callan, David Coppperfield, Gaudí, Gustav, Harry, Jack, Jesus, Kafka, Less, Martens, Nelson Mandela, Ove, Palmisano, Peer Gynt, Sally, Sung, Süß, Tudor, Ulysses, Varina
Colours in Book Titles: Black, Blue, Golden

My Favourite Books: 19
Abarbanell, Stephan "Displaced" (Morgenland) - 2015
Abulhawa, Susan "The Blue Between Sky and Water" - 2015
Bánk, Zsuzsa "Schlafen werden wir später" [We will sleep later] - 2017
Dickens, Charles "David Copperfield" - 1850
Ephron, Nora "When Harry Met Sally ..." - 1990
Frazier, Charles "Varina" - 2018
Jason, David "Only Fools and Stories: From Del Boy to Granville, Pop Larkin to Frost" - 2017
Kalisa, Karin "Sungs Laden" [Sung's Shop] - 2015
 
Kennedy, Emma "Shoes for Anthony" - 2015
Kerkeling, Hape "Der Junge muss an die frische Luft. Meine Kindheit und ich" [The boy needs some fresh air] - 2014
MacGregor, Neil "Germany. Memories of a Nation" - 2014
 
Montasser, Thomas "Das Glück der kleinen Augenblicke" [The happiness of the small moments] - 2017
Ruiz Zafón, Carlos "The Labyrinth of the Spirits" (El laberinto de los espíritus - El cementerio de los libros olvidados #4) - 2016
Rutherfurd, Edward "Russka. The Novel of Russia" - 1991
Sansom, C.J. (Christopher John) "Dominion" - 2011
Schami, Rafik "The Dark Side of Love" (Die dunkle Seite der Liebe) - 2004
Sendker, Jan-Philipp "The Rising Dragon" (Am anderen Ende der Nacht) - 2016
Smith, Betty "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" - 1943

Weir, Alison "Six Tudor Queens. Anne Boleyn. A King's Obsession" - 2017

With my books, I visited places in the following countries:
Africa (9):
Botswana, Cameroon, Egypt, Lesotho, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan
Asia (14):
Afghanistan, China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel/Palestine, Japan, Korea, Lebanon, Myanmar/Burma, Philippines, Russia, Syria, Vietnam
Europe (22):
Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Kosovo, Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom,
North America (3):
Canada, Mexico, USA
South America (3):
Argentina, Suriname, Uruguay
Australia/Oceania (2):
Australia, New Zealand
Everywhere and Others (8 books):
Countries "visited" in total: 53


You may find some even greater statistics by better bloggers than me at "Stuck in a Book" and "Ready When You are, C.B.

Friday, 4 January 2019

My Favourite Books 2018


Abarbanell, Stephan "Displaced" (Morgenland) - 2015
Abulhawa, Susan "The Blue Between Sky and Water" - 2015
Bánk, Zsuzsa "Schlafen werden wir später" [We will sleep later] - 2017
Dickens, Charles "David Copperfield" - 1850
Ephron, Nora "When Harry Met Sally ..." - 1990
Frazier, Charles "Varina" - 2018
Jason, David "Only Fools and Stories: From Del Boy to Granville, Pop Larkin to Frost" - 2017
Kalisa, Karin "Sungs Laden" [Sung's Shop] - 2015

Kennedy, Emma "Shoes for Anthony" - 2015
Kerkeling, Hape "Der Junge muss an die frische Luft. Meine Kindheit und ich" [The boy needs some fresh air] - 2014
MacGregor, Neil "Germany. Memories of a Nation" - 2014

Montasser, Thomas "Das Glück der kleinen Augenblicke" [The happiness of the small moments] - 2017
Orth, Stephan "Couchsurfing in Russland. Wie ich fast zum Putin-Versteher wurde" [Couchsurfing in Russia. How I almost started to understand Putin]  - 2017
Ruiz Zafón, Carlos "The Labyrinth of the Spirits" (El laberinto de los espíritus - El cementerio de los libros olvidados #4) - 2016
Rutherfurd, Edward "Russka. The Novel of Russia" - 1991
Sansom, C.J. (Christopher John) "Dominion" - 2011
Schami, Rafik "The Dark Side of Love" (Die dunkle Seite der Liebe) - 2004
Sendker, Jan-Philipp "The Rising Dragon" (Am anderen Ende der Nacht) - 2016
Smith, Betty "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" - 1943

Weir, Alison "Six Tudor Queens. Anne Boleyn. A King's Obsession" - 2017

Happy January!


Happy January to all my friends and readers

New Calendar picture with this
beautiful watercolour painting by Frank Koebsch


"Winterabend"
"Winter Evening"



January is not really considered a great month by many. After all the festivities of the previous one, it means going back to work. But we also celebrate the new year, looking forward to new chances, try to have a better year than last. My son always tells me the gym is too full in January with all the people starting their New Year's resolutions but that it's back to normal again in February.

The flower of this month is the carnation (Dianthus caryophyllus). It stands for Love, fascination and distinction but I guess the main reason is that you can still grow them in the winter months. Its name comes from Greek for "heavenly flower". 

In Portugal, red ones were used when overthrowing the the authoritarian regime was in 1974. In the Netherlands, a white one is the sign of the Prince, veterans and remembrance of the resistance. Red ones are often worn on the 1st of May, Labour Day as a symbol of socialism. And Oscar Wilde used to be seen with a green carnation. 

Enjoy this month with this beautiful watercolour painting by Frank Koebsch.


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

Monday, 31 December 2018

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to all my friends and readers

New Calendar picture with this
beautiful watercolour painting by Frank Koebsch

"Leuchtturm am Kap Lindesnes - Südkap Norwegens"
"Lighthouse at Cape Lindesnes - South Cape of Norway"


I wish you all a wonderful reading year with many great books.

Monday, 3 December 2018

Kermani, Navid "Between Quran and Kafka


Kermani, Navid "Between Quran and Kafka: West-Eastern Affinities" (German: Zwischen Koran und Kafka. West-östliche Erkundungen) - 2014

Navid Kermani is a German author with Iranian parents. He is an Orientalist and received the renowned Peace Prize of the German Book Trade in 2015 and this is my second book I read by him. The first one, "Dein Name" [Your name] has not been translated into English (yet!) but this one has.

A rather interesting approach to both Islam and German writers, both classic and modern from someone who has a great knowledge about both. Even if you don't know anything about either, Navid Kermani gets you closer to them. This certainly is a book that gets you thinking.

He also includes some great speeches he was invited to give at certain official German and Austrian events, like the celebration of 65 years of the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany (German constitution). All of them highly interesting.

From the back cover:

"What connects Shiite passion plays with Brecht s drama? Which of Goethe's poems were inspired by the Quran? How can Ibn Arabi s theology of sighs explain the plays of Heinrich von Kleist? And why did the Persian author Sadeq Hedayat identify with the Prague Jew Franz Kafka?

One who knows himself and others will here too understand: Orient and Occident are no longer separable: in this new book, the critically acclaimed author and scholar Navid Kermani takes Goethe at his word. He reads the Quran as a poetic text, opens Eastern literature to Western readers, unveils the mystical dimension in the works of Goethe and Kleist, and deciphers the political implications of theatre, from Shakespeare to Lessing to Brecht. Drawing striking comparisons between diverse literary traditions and cultures, Kermani argues for a literary cosmopolitanism that is opposed to all those who would play religions and cultures against one another, isolating them from one another by force. Between Quran and Kafka concludes with Kermani s speech on receiving Germany s highest literary prize, an impassioned plea for greater fraternity in the face of the tyranny and terrorism of Islamic State.

Kermani s personal assimilation of the classics gives his work that topical urgency that distinguishes universal literature when it speaks to our most intimate feelings. For, of course, love too lies between Quran and Kafka."