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Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read For The First Time In 2016

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". 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.

December 6: Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read For The First Time In 2016

Aboulela, Leila "The Kindness of Enemies" - 2015

Abulhawa, Susan "Mornings in Jenin" - 2010

Ali, Sabahattin "Madonna in a Fur Coat" (Turkish: Kürk Mantolu Madonna) - 1943

Atkinson, Kate "Behind the Scenes at the Museum" - 1995

Filipović, Zlata "Zlata's Diary: A Child's Life in Wartime Sarajevo" (Bosnian: Zlatin dnevnik: otroštvo v obleganem Sarajevu)- 1993

Kulin, Ayşe "Rose of Sarajevo" (Turkish: Sevdalinka) - 1999

Maalouf, Amin "Samarcande" - 1988

Obama, Barack "Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance" - 1995
- "The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream" - 2006

Steinem, Gloria "My Life on the Road" - 2015

Ulitzkaya, Lyudmila "Imago" or "The Big Green Tent" (Russian: Zelenyi shater/Зеленый шатер) - 2010

Looking at that list, this was a great reading year. I found so many new and interesting authors. Well, some of heir names were already familiar to me but I had never read anything by them. Others were completely new to me. But all in all, I found some wonderful books and some great new authors.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Happy December

Happy December to all my friends and readers 

New Calendar picture with this beautiful watercolour painting
 by Hanka Koebsch

"Christmas Greetings from the Baltic Sea"
"Weihnachtsgrüße von der Ostsee"


Same as last year, I'd like to share the wonderful watercolour paintings from Hanka and Frank Koebsch with you every month. I have bought their calendar every year for five years now and have loved every single one of their pictures. I hope you enjoy them just as much as I do. 

You can find a lot more wonderful pictures on their blog here.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Angelou, Maya "Mom & Me & Mom"

Angelou, Maya "Mom & Me & Mom" - 2013

I have read "I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings" by Maya Angelou quite a while ago and really liked it. So, I was happy that when one of her books was chosen as a new read for "Emma's Book Club - Our shared shelf".

And I was not disappointed. Maya Angelou's writing is still as gripping as it was in her previous novel. She writes in a way as if you sit there listening to her telling a story. A really good story.  Her mother must have been a remarkable woman, as she was remarkable herself, she can find something good in everything, even though she had a difficult life to lead.

I learnt a lot about Maya Angelou and her family but I also learnt a lot about myself and my relationship to my late mother. Everything good but still interesting.

I am certainly going to read more of her books.

From the back cover:
"The story of Maya Angelou’s extraordinary life has been chronicled in her multiple bestselling autobiographies. But now, at last, the legendary author shares the deepest personal story of her life: her relationship with her mother.

For the first time, Angelou reveals the triumphs and struggles of being the daughter of Vivian Baxter, an indomitable spirit whose petite size belied her larger-than-life presence - a presence absent during much of Angelou’s early life. When her marriage began to crumble, Vivian famously sent three-year-old Maya and her older brother away from their California home to live with their grandmother in Stamps, Arkansas. The subsequent feelings of abandonment stayed with Angelou for years, but their reunion, a decade later, began a story that has never before been told. In Mom & Me & Mom, Angelou dramatizes her years reconciling with the mother she preferred to simply call 'Lady,' revealing the profound moments that shifted the balance of love and respect between them.

Delving into one of her life’s most rich, rewarding, and fraught relationships, Mom & Me & Mom explores the healing and love that evolved between the two women over the course of their lives, the love that fostered Maya Angelou’s rise from immeasurable depths to reach impossible heights."

Monday, 28 November 2016

Arnold, Catharine "Globe: Life in Shakespeare's London"

Arnold, Catharine "Globe: Life in Shakespeare's London" - 2014

I have read a few books of and about William Shakespeare and so far have enjoyed most of them a lot even though I always say a play is written to be played, not to be read.

My favourite of those books is still "Shakespeare: The World as a Stage" by Bill Bryson, one of my favourite authors.

However, this is a great non-fiction book about The Globe, how it first was built in Shakespeare's time and what it meant for the world of acting back then and how it influenced our world of the theatre today.
I love reading about historical times but the Tudor times belong to my favourites. There was just so much going on, the world was about to change. The world of great rulers was always the world of great art. And no matter what people say about Elizabeth I, she did a great job in a man's world and with her encouragement, the theatre flourished.

We learn a lot about the theatre here, about Shakespeare's plays, Shakespeare's life and life in Shakespearean times in general.

Informative, interesting, excellent book about interesting, adventurous times.

Unfortunately, I have not yet been able to visit the new Globe but I am determined that I will during my next visit to London.

From the back cover:
"The life of William Shakespeare, Britain's greatest dramatist, was inextricably linked with the history of London. Together, the great writer and the great city came of age and confronted triumph and tragedy. Globe takes its readers on a tour of London through Shakespeare's life and work as, in fascinating detail, Catharine Arnold tells how acting found it's place in the city. We learn about James Burbage, founder of the original Theatre in Shoreditch, who carried timbers across the Thames to build the Globe among the bear-gardens and brothels of Bankside in 1599, and of the terrible night in 1613 when the theatre caught fire during a performance of King Henry VIII. Rebuilt, the Globe continued to stand as a monument to Shakespeare's genius until 1642 when it was destroyed on the orders of Oliver Cromwell. And finally we learn how, 300 years later, Shakespeare's Globe opened once more upon the Bankside, to great acclaim, rising like a phoenix from the flames.

Arnold creates a vivid portrait of Shakespeare and his London from the bard's own plays and contemporary sources, combining a novelist's eye for detail with a historian's grasp of his unique contribution to the development of the English theatre. This is a portrait of Shakespeare, London, the man and the myth."

Friday, 25 November 2016

Book Quotes of the Week

"Show me a family of readers, and I will show you the people who move the world." Napoleon Bonaparte

"Reading aloud with children is known to be the single most important activity for building the knowledge and skills they will eventually require for learning to read." Marilyn Jager Adams

"Many persons read and like fiction. It does not tax the intelligence and the intelligence of most of us can so ill afford taxation that we rightly welcome any reading matter which avoids this." Rose Macaulay

"I think reading is a gift. It was a gift that was given to me as a child by many people, and now as an adult and a writer, I’m trying to give a little of it back to others. It’s one of the greatest pleasures I know." Ann M. Martin

"The habit of reading is the only enjoyment I know in which there is no alloy. It lasts when all other pleasures fade. It will be there to support you when all other resources are gone. It will be present to you when the energies of your body have fallen away from you. It will last you until your death. It will make your hours pleasant to you as long as you live." Anthony Trollope

Find more book quotes here.

Monday, 21 November 2016

Štimec, Spomenka "Croatian War Nocturnal"

Štimec, Spomenka "Croatian War Nocturnal" (Kroata Milita Noktlibro) - 1993

This is not just the diary of a girl who speaks Esperanto about her life during the Balkan wars, her life and that of her family and friends, and often about their deaths, as well. It is a view into life during wartime. Snippets of several lives that are affected that build a big picture together.

I bought this book because it was written in Esperanto but there are several translations available, i.a. in English.  The title is a word play. Day-book is the Esperanto word for diary (same as in many other languages) but because she wrote this mainly during the night, she calls it her night-book. She had to type it in the bathroom because it was the only room in the house without a window where she could use light at night - whenever they had some.

I doubt that this book is available in a normal bookshop but if you can find it, it is totally worth reading. It is a story about how from one minute to another, love can turn to hate, how you can more or less be "given" an enemy. Neighbours and friends turn against each other all of a sudden because you don't belong to the same group as they do. What a nightmare! And you know what? I see this happening all the time and I'm afraid if someone is given the chance, they will do what the politicians in former Yugoslavia have done and start a civil war or an even greater one. We all need to stick together because in the end, we are all the same. None of us is better or worse than someone else because of where we come from.

I therefore hope, that everyone will follow the words of one of the widows in the story whose speech at her husband's funeral is on the back cover:
"Friends, relatives, neighbours, colleagues - now is the time to end the hate. It does not matter who started first and how often. I do not feel anger against anyone because my husband was killed. But stop! For the mortal remains of my husband, I beg you - forgive and forget all open bills! Let us go forward. Do not let our children and grandchildren fight against each other again. Whether this happens depends on us. Let us do what is in our power. Let us be the beginning of peace, of which everyone is talking."

Books she mentions:
Krleža, Miroslav "Croatian God Mars" (Hrvatski bog Mars) - 1922
Zamenhof, Ludwig L. "Call to the Diplomats" (Alvoko al Diplomatoj) - 1915
Auld, William "The Infant Race" (La infana raso) - 1956

Friday, 18 November 2016

Book Quotes of the Week

"God be thanked for books! they are the voices of the distant and the dead, and make us heirs of the spiritual life of past ages." W.E. Channing

"Literacy is not a luxury, it is a right and a responsibility. If our world is to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century we must harness the energy and creativity of all our citizens." President Clinton on International Literacy Day, September 8th 1994

"We are too civil to books. For a few golden sentences we will turn over and actually read a volume of four or five hundred pages." Ralph Waldo Emerson

"In my view, nineteen pounds of old books are at least nineteen times as delicious as one pound of fresh caviar." Anne Fadiman

"When I get hold of a book I particularly admire, I am so enthusiastic that I loan it to someone who never brings it back." Edgar Watson Howe

Find more book quotes here.