Monday, 30 June 2014

Green, John "The Fault in Our Stars"

Green, John "The Fault in Our Stars" - 2012

I am not normally into weepy, chick lit type stories. And even though this book was written by a guy, it had a very chick lit type feel to it, the colour of the cover, the description. And, as we know, the cover never lies.

Neither did it in this case. However, I have read so many quotes by John Green, I really admire the guy, so I wanted to give his book a try. I am glad I did. "The Fault in Our Stars" is a lovely story about a girl who suffers from cancer. Of course, we all expect her to die at the end but as in many of these stories, there is a twist in the end and we don't really know what happens to her in the long run.

This is not a book about cancer in the first place. Or about love in the first place. Or about teenagers. It is a good mixture between all of them. However, one has to consider that this is a story for young adults, not written for grown-ups in the first place. If you do that, you will enjoy the novel.

From the back cover: "Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten."

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Migraine Books and Links 2014


Word cloud made with WordItOut
Migraine Books and Links

As a migraine sufferer, I am always interested in finding a solution or at least talk about what might and might not help. Therefore, I created a list three years ago with links to anything that could be helpful for a sufferer like me. Even though I updated it constantly, there are so many new websites and articles in the meantime. Therefore, here is a new list that I will update from time to time. You can still go back to the old one (here) and check for some of the sites there, as well.

Books about migraine:

Baxter, Blodin, Betsy "Migraine Expressions: A Creative Journey Through Life With Migraine"
Davis, Stefanie M. "Through the Eye of Migraine"
Frances, Marian "Migraine: Pain of the Body, Cry of the Spirit"
Frith, Alison "Coping with Headaches and Migraine" ** 
Griffin, Shelly L. "The Migraine Deliverance Planner"
Hatak "Guided Tour of Hell In the Words of Migraine Sufferers" 
Hutchinson, Susan "The Woman's Guide to Managing Migraine: Understanding the Hormone Connection to find Hope and Wellness"
Kabat-Zinn, Jon "Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness" 
- "Mindfulness Meditation" **   
Lynne, Jean "My Life With Migraines"
Marcus, Dawn A. Bain, Philip "The Woman's Migraine Toolkit: Managing Your Headaches from Puberty to Menopause"
Peterson, Christina "The Women's Migraine Survival Guide: The most complete, up-to-date resource on the causes of your migraine pain--and treatments for real relief"
Podoll, Klaus "Migraine Art: The Migraine Experience from Within"
Servan-Schreiber, Dr. David "Healing without Freud or Prosac" **

There is a list here.

Suggestions for more books about this topic are always welcome.

There are so many websites and blogs about migraines, I try to list a few and will add more over time:
"The Spoon Theory" - someone with a chronic disease explains how it feels to someone who is always healthy.
How to understand someone with Chronic Pain.

Websites: 
About Migraines  
Headache and Migraine News
Migraine Discussions  
Relieve Migraine-Headache.com - It's time to fight back
The Daily Headache  
Virtual Medical Centre  

Blogs:
Abi's Migrainous Wanderings  
Malevolent Migraines  
Migraine Chick
Still searching to get my life back ...   
That M Word   
The Migraine Girl 
The never ending headache  
This is my brain on migraines 

There are a lot already here.

Articles:
1% Thursday: Warning Signs   
1% Thursday: Hire Someone (when you can't afford it)
1% Thursday: Moderate 
3 Reasons Why Migraineurs Stop Sharing Their Migraine Pain
3 Things the Chronically Ill Wish Their Loved Ones Knew 
5 Common Food Types That Triggers Migraines 
5 Diseases Coffee Can Prevent 
5 People You Meet When You Have A Chronic Illness  **
5 Realities of Living with Chronic Pain **
5 Reasons People Abandon a Sick Friend  
5 Things to Do (And Not Do) to Support Someone with Depression **
5 Things You Didn't Know About Migraines 
5 Things You DON'T Say to a Migraine Sufferer 
5 Tough Choices You Face When Chronically Ill or in Pain
5 Ways Not To Be A Jerk To Your Friend With A Chronic Disease **
6 Things About Chronic Pain You Didn't Know
6 Tips for Handling Migraines at Work **
6 Tips to Get Motivated When You're Feeling Depressed  
7 Coping Tips for Chronic Migraine Sufferers 
7 Surprising Things You Didn't Know About Migraines
8 Reasons to Care About Migraine **
8 Things Everyone Needs to Know About Migraine 
8 Things Only People with Anxiety will Understand  
10 Common Chronic Pain Myths
10 Creative Ways to Fight a Migraine **
10 Life Lessons Learned From a Chronic Illness **
10 Things NOT to Say to a Person with Migraines
10 Things to Tell Your Doctor
10 Tips for Effective Migraine Management Goals **
10 Ways for Migraineurs to Sneak in Some Exercise **
10 Ways to Help Someone with Migraine 
10 Ways to Show Love to Someone With Depression 
10 Yoga Poses to Heal Migraines
12 Tips for Living Well with Migraines **
12 Ways to Naturally Relieve Headaches  
13 Disorders Caused by Lack of Water **
13 Things Not To Say To Someone With A Migraine
13 Tips From 13 Years Sick **
14 Migraine Prodrome Symptoms **
15 Diseases, Disorders and Syndromes That Go Along with Migraine 
15 Mental Tricks that Fight Pain  
15 Tips for Empaths and Highly Sensitive People
18 Signs You're Having a Migraine - Sometimes you get them all at the same time.
22 Things About Migraines You May Not Know 
23 Tips for Men on Supporting a Partner with Chronic Pain
29 Things Only Migraine Sufferers Understand **
34 Truths People Who Get Migraines Wish Others Understood **
35 Things You May Not Know About My Invisible Illness 
100 Ways to Answer the Question "How Are You?" **
About Migraine **
A Cancer Survivor Designs the Cards She Wishes She’d Received From Friends and Family **
A doctor finds cure for rare migraine **
Acephalgic or Silent Migraine - The Basics  
After a Migraine: Vision Problems and Stroke Risk?
A Letter to my Migraines ....  
All About Headaches
A Migraine Is Not a Headache, Not Even Close; 17 Struggles Only Migraine-Sufferers Understand **
An Open Letter to People Without Migraine **
A Not-To-Do List for the Chronically Ill 
Anxiety and Migraine Warning Signs 
A Patient Education Day: "Take Control of your Pain"
Aphasia - Migraine and Headache Glossary
A "Piercing" New Alternative for Migraine Relief **
Are Migraine Researchers Preoccupied with Pain?  
Are these Migraine Headache Symptoms? 
Art Taught Scientists About Migraine's Pathophysiology 
Baby Blues: Migraines, Pregnancy and Motherhood 
Barometric Pressure & Migraine 
Block migraine pain with a back-of-the-head injection 
Botox for Migraine 
Brain Changes May Explain Stroke Risk in Migraine Sufferers 
Can Migraine Glasses Stop Migraines?
Changing the way we talk about Migraine **
Chocolate for Migraine?
Chronic Illness & Dwindling Friendships: Finding a Balance and How to Handle Negative/Changing Relationships **
Chronic Migraine - Misfits? 
Chronic Migraines: A Tidal Wave of Activity in the Brain
Chronic Pain Can Damage Brain
Chronic pain not only hurts, it also causes isolation and depression. But there’s hope. **
Clenching Your Teeth May Contribute to Migraines 
Cluster Headache - Migraine Fact Sheets 
Coffee painkiller to target headaches? 
Cold Laser Therapy 
Colic in infants may be early sign of migraine headache
Common misconceptions about migraine **
Community Thoughts: What’s the Most Frustrating Thing About Migraine? **
Dear healthy loved one **
Dentist offers new, 95% effective migraine treatment **
Does Anyone Else Live in Fear Each Day That One Will Hit You?  
Don't believe the headlines (and the news)  
Does BPA Trigger Migraine? 
Does my child have migraine? 
Don't Let Migraines Ruin Your Holidays 
Do your migraines feel like a rocket is exploding your head? 
Electronic Headband Prevents Migraines With Tiny Jolts 
Everything You Need To Know About Migraines (In Under 4 Minutes!)
Evidence Depression Isn't Just 'All In Your Head' - The toll depression has on the body and mind **
Excedrin Tension Headache 
Exercise as Potent Medicine  
Exercise for Chronic Pain 
Exploding head disorder 
FDA approves device to treat migraine headaches 
Fending Off Migraine Triggering Heat: My Secret Weapon 
Fighting the Blues: Chronic Migraines and Depression 
Fight Migraine with our HeadWay Community 
Finding the Cause of Migraine Headaches
Five Lessons I Learned From Dealing with Depression **
Five Tips for Preventing Summer-Season Migraines 
Fragrance can be dangerous for Migraine Patients
Friend in Need - Lisa Kudrow's Doctor Father Brings New Hope to Migraine Sufferers **
From Migraine to Mygraine  
Full Ibuprofen Dosage Information for All Ages  
Getting to sleep with migraine 
Gluten-free, Casein-free Diet f- for Migraine?  
Grain-Free = Migraine-Free 
Headaches and Migraines: What's the good news?  
Headache, Migraine In-Depth Report 
Headache Migraine Depression Connection  
Headache / Migraine News articles
Helpful Things to Say to Someone in Chronic Pain 
Hemicrania Continua - The Chronic Daily Headache 
Homeopathy for Headaches
Hope for migraine sufferers as 'ground-breaking' injection to prevent attacks is shown to be successful **
How a Wandering Brain Can Help People Cope With Pain
How Can I Help a Friend Who Seems Depressed? **
How Dangerous are Migraine Drugs during Pregnancy? 
How Disabled is your Child with Migraine? 
How the Spoon Theory helps those suffering Chronic Pain and Fatigue
How to Cope When Chronic Pain Affects Friends, Family & Social Life **
How to Describe Your Migraine Pain 
How to Deal with People Who Don't Believe You're Sick
How to Destroy Your Headaches **
How to Recognize Our Loved Ones Migraine Symptoms
How to Respond to "How are you?" **
How to Support a Friend Who Has a Chronic Illness **
How to Survive Chronic Pain, One Moment at a Time 
How to Understand Someone With Chronic Pain
How to understand someone with chronic pain - Chronic Body Pain
Icepacks for less **
Identifying and avoiding your migraine trigger 
I Had Alice in Wonderland Syndrome
Insensitive Things That People Say When You Have an Invisible Condition 
Is Stress a Migraine Trigger?  
If You Won't Try Tylenol for That Migraine, Stop Complaining 
It happened to me: I've had a migraine for five years 
It's my Migraine and I cry if I want to.
Letter to people without chronic pain
Living in a big black hole: My experience with depression and anxiety **
Living with Migraine
Meal skipping: chicken or egg **
Medication-Overuse Headache and the Brain  
Migraine - 'a common and distressing disorder'
Migraine Again: Think you don't know anyone with chronic migraines? Think again 
Migraine and Depression: Shared Genetics
Migraine and Epilepsy - Shared Mechanisms within the Family of Episodic Disorders
Migraine and REM Sleep 
Migraine and Stroke in Young Adults and more
Migraine: Are Blood Vessels to Blame After All? 
Migraine Associated Vertigo Symptoms 
Migraine Awareness Shirts 
Migraine disorder comes with its own set of clues to preventing pain
Migraine Emergency Toolkit  
Migraine Guided Visualization 
Migraine Headache  
Migraine Headache Surgery 
Migraine is Associated with Variations in Structure of Brain Arteries
Migraine Nausea 
Migraine Not More Prevalent in RLS Patients  
Migraine: Pain Never Really Goes Away 
Migraine Patients Find Pain Relief in Electrical Brain Stimulation 
Migraine Prevention 
Migraine Questions: What is Synesthesia?  
Migraine Quick Tip: Dehydration - The Why, What and How of a Simple Migraine Trigger 
Migraine Research: Exploring Weather Related Triggers
Migraine Research: Why You Should Care and What You Can Do **
Migraines and Mental Health - Mental Health Month 2014 
Migraines and Mental Health - Social Support is Vital 
Migraines are Thieves
Migraines, Back Pain and "Psychogenic" Raise Risk of Suicide
Migraines Can Cause Permanent Brain Damage, Study Finds
Migraines ... headaches you were born to have - and the best cure may be a cup of coffee or two
Migraines Linked to Structural Changes in Brain 
Migraines: Magnetic Device Offers pain Relief  
Migraines: Myth & Reality 
Migraines: Simple steps to head off the pain  
Migraine Symptoms: Sneaky Signs Before Your Head Hurts
Migraine Stats You Need to Know **
Migraine Treatment: Acupuncture Therapy  
Migraine Treatment: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy  
Migraine Treatment: Prevention Therapy  
Migraine Treatment: Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation  
Migraine Triggers: Track them Down  
Migraine With Aura May Be Linked to All Stroke Types - Migraines & Headaches Health Center
Migrainous Infarction - A Stroke from Migraine?  
Natural Migraine Relief: the Best Strategies  
Neck Support - A neglected necessity  
Neuromodulation Headache Therapy  
New Migraine Drugs Bring Relief to Sufferers With Pain Prevention, Not Just Treatment
New Chronic Migraine Solution 
New Migraine Treatments Show Promise   
New Research Shows Migraine Responsible for 13% of Deaths in Women **
Niagrara Falls Illumination   
Niagara Falls on Chronic Migraine Awareness Day  
NICE approves migraine magnet therapy
No One Talks About the Fear **
Not a Stroke Just a Migraine
Not Just a Headache: How Migraine Changes Your Brain **    
No Vacation From Migraines **

Nutrition for Migraine Prevention  
Oh Christmas tree, Migraine triggers do you bring me!  
On wishing and hoping for a migraine free future   
Opthalmic Migraine  
Orthopedic Surgeon treats migraine sufferers with unique procedure 
Perspectives on Migraine Trigger Site Deactivation Surgery  
Poor Migraine Control Predicts More Migraines  
Pretending to feel fine 
Professors Delve into Mysteries Behind Chronic Pain, Migraines 
"Proof" That Headaches are Caused by Stress? 
Secret Illness **
Sex and the CM: 6 Things Chronic Migraine Sufferers Should Know  
Sex Matters in Migraines  
Share Your Migraine-Fighting Recipe!  
Silk Ring Theory - How not to say the wrong thing   
Six Common Misconceptions About the Chronically Ill  
Sleeping Sound with Chronic Pain  
Status Migrainosus - When the Attack Doesn't Stop  
Staying Motivated with Migraine Care
Still Searching To Get My Life Back **
Stop Calling Your Headache a "Migraine"  
Study: Migraines triggered by stress relief?  
Suicide and Chronic Migraines  
Suffer From Migraines? Device Worn on the Head may Prevent Them   
That hole in my life called the migraine  
That Smell Before a Migraine Episode  
The 2014 Basilar Migraine Studies Report   
The Chronic Migraine Survival Kit: What's Included by Advanced Migraine Relief   
The Extra Burdens Faced by Young People with Chronic Illness  
The Five People You Meet When You Have Migraine **
The Hidden Ingredient in Your Painkillers  
The Hormone Effect: Menopause, Perimenopause and Women With Migraines
The Impact Of Chronic Pain In The Family **
The Link Between Depression and Migraine 
The Migraine Book Review
The Migraine Dirty Dozen - Things Not to Say to a Chronic Migraineur
The Migraine Medication Decision Process
The Reality Of Chronic Pain Is Different From the Movies **
Theramine for Migraine   
The Silencing Effect of Chronic Illness - The Daily Headache
The Traveling Migraine Diary 
The Traveling Migraine Sufferer: Tips for Relief during Travel  
They don't give you a headache - but 'silents migraines' can be even more shattering  
This migraine preventing space tiara was just approved by the FDA  
Those with migraine still stigmatized  
Top 7 ways to stop Weekend Headache   
Top Ten Things You Should Know if Your Spouse Has Chronic Migraine **   
Triggers 
What a Migraine Feels Like by Cindy McKee
Understanding Cluster Headaches  
Unusual Botox Treatment for Cluster Headache 
Visual Aura  
Vitamin D: An important Migraine Treatment?  
Weight Loss Benefits: Study Says Losing Weight Can Prevent Migraines  
What are Silent Migraines? 
What Are The Best Places To Live For Migraine Sufferers
What Causes Migraines? The Common Triggers Plus Best Treatments **
What Does a Migraine Truly Feel Like? **
What Does it Really Mean When I Say "My Head Hurts"? **
What do you DO all day? Questions for a Chronic Migraineur
What Do You Know About Migraines?  
What do you tell your Doctor?  
What's Tylenol Doing to Our Minds  
What the Chronically Ill DON'T Want to Hear  
What the Healthy Can Learn from the Sick   
What To Do When Migraine Headaches Strain Your Relationships  
What You Might Not Know About Treating Migraines  
When a "Toothache" is Really a Migraine  
What we talk about when we talk about pain
What You Need to Know about Migraine in Emergency 
When using Triptans, do you make this mistake?
Why Migraines Deserve More Attention **
Why Spitting it out could stop Headache Pain  
Yoga may help feet, ease migraine 

Other Pain Articles:
4 Foods That Can Fight Depression  
5 Things I learned From Helping My Dad Die  
7 Big, stupid, destructive lies depression tells you  
10 Simple things you can do today that will make you happier, backed by science  
Best Tips for Managing cognitive symptoms 
Depression: Causes and Advice 
Drinking Water on an empty stomach 
Five Lessons I Learned From Dealing with Depression  
How to find out which foods are making you sick  

How to help someone suffering with depression  
How to stop an anxious thought in its tracks   
'Just Snap Out of It' - Four Hidden Truths About Depression  
Positivity is Bullshit When You Have Cancer 
Six Common Misconceptions about the Chronically Ill 
Stroke has a new indicator 
Stroke risk tied to cold, humidity, weather swings  
Symptoms of Depression 
The Connection Between Migraines and Skin Temperature 
The Garden of Eating: Red Cabbage, Carrot, Cilantro Slaw (With an Asian Slant)  
The Myth of Eight Hour Sleep 
The Science of Sleep: Dreaming, Depression, and How REM Sleep Regulates Negative Emotions  
This is anxiety 
Three Fascinating Depression Articles in Recent News 
Yoga for Complete Beginners - Yoga Class 20 Minutes

Videos:
A Migraine in (animated) Action
Chronic Migraine - We are not alone  
Do you need a Cat Cave for your Migraines?
Magnesium - The Missing Link to better help 
Migraine again  
Migraine Insiders: Interview with Catherine Charrett-Dykes, founder and president of Chronic Migraine Awareness.
Migraine pain is 'indescribable' by Cindy McCai
Migraines: Not Just Another Headache 
Migraineurs across the world (including me!) 8.11
Pain Matters - Discovery Health Programming 
Stress Release! I'm about to Whip Somebody's A**! Song of a Duck  
Slideshow: Celebrities with Migraines  
The Dangers of Chronic Migraine (Interview with JP Summers, Becky Dwyer, Nancy Girvin and Dr. Joshua Cohen)
The Faces of Migraine 2013 
The Frightening Impact of Chronic Migraines (Huffpost)
The mystery of chronic pain 
The postdrone: migraine's silent sister 
What is Depression? (The Black Dog)
Yoga for Complete Beginners - Yoga Class 20 Minute

Study:
Do you experience migraines? 

Products:
Blue tinted glasses for migraine sufferers
Cefaly - FDA Approves New Device to Prevent Migraines
Chillow  
Comfort Revolution Pillows

Migraine and Art:
Feeling Despair, I will Prevail - Poem
"Migraine Art: The Migraine Experience from Within" by Klaus Podoll , Derek Robinson, Oliver Sacks
Migraine-suffering artists depict what the awful headaches feel like  

Headache and Migraine News
The Most Popular Headache and Migraine Posts of 2013 
My Favourite Posts of 2013 

"There are over 100 drugs, surgical interventions, and devices used to prevent or treat migraine symptoms! Finding one or a combination that might work requires patience and expert help." Migraine Research Foundation

I am not an expert or a in a profession that is in any way healthy related. Therefore, I do not represent or endorse the accuracy or reliability of any information, content or advertisements contained on, distributed through, or linked, downloaded or accessed from any of the services contained on this website, nor the quality of any products, information or any other material displayed, purchased, or obtained by you as a result of an advertisement or any other information's or offer in or in connection with the services herein.

** added 2015

Friday, 27 June 2014

Book Quotes of the Week

"Words can be like X-rays if you use them properly - they’ll go through anything. You read and you’re pierced." Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

"All fiction is largely autobiographical and much autobiography is, of course, fiction." P.D. James

"A book has but one voice, but it does not instruct everyone alike." Thomas Kempis

"In the shop we buy and sell them, but in truth books have no owner. Every book you see here has been somebody’s best friend." Carlos Ruiz Zafón

"In reading, the mind is, in fact, only the playground of another's toughts." Arthur Schopenhauer

"The cure to boredom is books. There is no cure for books." N.N.

Find more book quotes here.

Monday, 23 June 2014

Heller, Joseph "Catch-22"

Heller, Joseph "Catch-22" - 1961

"Strictly speaking, a 'Catch-22' is "a problematic situation for which the only solution is denied by a circumstance inherent in the problem or by a rule."

In this case, if you want to be discharged by the army, you must be crazy, but if you apply for being recognized as being crazy, you can't be crazy. "Because anyone who wants to get out of combat duty can't be crazy." So, you cannot be discharged.

The whole book continues in this satirical style, if you love dark humour (which I do), this is a great book. I never thought I could laugh about a war book. But I did. A lot. The novel still illustrates the insanity of war, probably even more than any serious book every would. Even though there is a lot to laugh about, it's the kind of laugh you do despite the situation not because of it.

The protagonist of the story is a US army bombardier during World War II in Northern Italy who is close to going home on leave because he has flown an x-amount of missions. But then the number is raised and he can't go home just yet.

There are a lot of tragic scenes and characters in the story. Not only the soldiers appear, also the normal people who have to go through a lot of hardships.

The book was not written during the war but fifteen years later, you can tell that the author wanted this to be an anti-war story. He might have been a little ahead of his time there but aren't those always the people who say it best?

The story about the title is almost as funny as the book itself, they had to change the number several times because of other books that had the same number in their title.

Absurd, satirical, surrealist, call it what you will but enjoy it.

From the back cover: "Fifty years after its original publication, Catch-22 remains a cornerstone of American literature and one of the funniest—and most celebrated—novels of all time. In recent years it has been named to “best novels” lists by Time, Newsweek, the Modern Library, and the London Observer.
Set in Italy during World War II, this is the story of the incomparable, malingering bombardier, Yossarian, a hero who is furious because thousands of people he has never met are trying to kill him. But his real problem is not the enemy—it is his own army, which keeps increasing the number of missions the men must fly to complete their service. Yet if Yossarian makes any attempt to excuse himself from the perilous missions he’s assigned, he’ll be in violation of Catch-22, a hilariously sinister bureaucratic rule: a man is considered insane if he willingly continues to fly dangerous combat missions, but if he makes a formal request to be removed from duty, he is proven sane and therefore ineligible to be relieved.
Since its publication in 1961, no novel has matched Catch-22’s intensity and brilliance in depicting the brutal insanity of war. This fiftieth-anniversary edition commemorates Joseph Heller’s masterpiece with a new introduction by Christopher Buckley; personal essays on the genesis of the novel by the author; a wealth of critical responses and reviews by Norman Mailer, Alfred Kazin, Anthony Burgess, and others; rare papers and photos from Joseph Heller’s personal archive; and a selection of advertisements from the original publishing campaign that helped turn Catch-22 into a cultural phenomenon. Here, at last, is the definitive edition of a classic of world literature."
Books mentioned in annex:
Andrzejewski, Jerzy "The Children's Crusade" aka"'The Gates of Paradise" (Bramy raju)
Bellow, Saul "Mr. Sammler's Planet"
Burgess, Anthony "A Clockwork Orange"  
Camus, Albert "The Myth of Sisyphus" (Le Mythe de Sisyphe)
Céline, Louis-Ferdinand "Journey to the End of the Night"
Donleavy, J.P. "The Ginger Man"
Dos Passos, John "Three Soldiers"
Forman, Dennis "A Night at the Opera"
Hašek, Jaroslav "The Good Soldier Schweik" (Osudy dobrého vojáka Švejka za světové války)
Heller, Joseph "Something Happened"
Heller, Joseph "Good as Gold"
Hersey, John "A Bell for Adamo"
Horne Burns, John "The Gallery"
Jones, James "From Here to Eternity"
Jones, James "The Thin Red Line"
Kazin, Alfred "On Native Grounds"
Kazin, Alfred "Bright Book of Life"
Kerouac, Jack "On the Road"
Kesey, Ken "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest"
Lewis Wallace, Edward "The Pawnbroker"
Lowry, Malcolm "Under the Volcano"
Mailer, Norman "The Naked and the Dead"
Mandel, George "The Wax Boom"
Nabokov, Vladimir "Laughter in the Dark"
Pynchon, Thomas "Gravity's Rainbow"
Remarque, Erich Maria "All Quiet on the Western Front" (Im Westen nichts Neues)
Richler, Mordecai "St. Urbain's Horseman"
Shaw, Irwin "The Young Lions"
Southern, Terry "The Magic Christian"
Uris, Leon "Mila 18"
Vonnegut, Kurt "Cat's Cradle"
Vonnegut, Kurt "Slaughterhouse-Five"
Waugh, Evelyn "Sword of Honour"
Wouk, Herman "The Caine Mutiny"

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Sienkiewicz, Henryk "Quo Vadis"


Sienkiewicz, Henryk "Quo Vadis: A Narrative of the Time of Nero" (Quo Vadis. Powieść z czasów Nerona) - 1895 

"Where are you going?" a question asked in the New Testament (John 13:36), used in the Latin translation as the book title, it is quite empowering. It gives a sense of mystery.

This book has been on my wish list most for most of my life. Why I have never tackled it before? Well, maybe I thought it was more of a tackle. As it is, it is a surprisingly easy book to read with an astonishing story and a lot of historical background. I have read other books about the early Christians in Rome and I have always been fascinated by them. Why does someone give up their life and that of their loved ones for a new religion? What is behind those martyrs, what are their motives, their desires?

This book gives a lot of answers to those questions. It is a book about history as well as a book about religion and philosophy, about slavery, power and poverty. We can learn about how Ancient Rome was ruled, how the rich lived and how the poor. We have love and war, trust and betrayal, prayers and fights, the whole world seems to gather on these pages.

Granted, it is a large book (more than 700 pages) but well worth it. We even meet Saint Peter and Saint Paul, the former is always named as the first Pope. We see how his followers see him, love him, find strength through him. Maybe the main reason why this book is called "Quo Vadis?"

Lygia is a young Greek slave and the Roman patrician Marcus falls in love with her. At the beginning, he doesn't know she is a Christian but he tries all sorts of tricks to get her. Not much has changed there but he has different kind of tactics up his sleeve. He involves his uncle Gaius Petronius (who is one of many actual historical figures in this novel) to help him.

The plot is not the most breathtaking part of the novel, even though it is pretty good. But the writing is just as powerful, the characters are described very vividly, and so are the scenes. A very realistic description of every tiny little detail makes you believe you are there in the middle of the book with all the people.

I am not surprised the author received the Nobel Prize, he was a fantastic writer. I will try to read more of his books, this one was magnificent.

From the back cover: "Quo Vadis is a powerful historical novel about the rise of Christianity in the Roman Empire. Through a romance between a high-born Roman pagan and a Christian woman, Henryk Sienkiewicz masterfully brings to life the decadence of imperial Rome during the reign of Nero Claudius Caesar (AD 54-68), the bloodthirsty persecutor of the early Christians.
Quo Vadis has been translated into more than forty languages, as well as adapted into several movies. Jeremiah Curtin's accurate and lively English translation of the novel successfully conveys Sienkiewicz's muted portrayal of the beginnings of Christianity and his spectacular, apocalyptic vision of the Roman Empire in decline."

Henryk Sienkiewicz received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1905 "for his outstanding merits as an epic writer."

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Top Ten Books On My Summer TBR list

"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.

June 17: Top Ten Books On My Summer TBR list
I chose a list of different kind of books, easy ones, tomes, German, Dutch, translated from other languages,  classics and modern, male and female writers, fiction and non-fiction to get me over the summer. Should be a good selection for some diverse reading. Will report once I've read them.

Döblin, Alfred "Berlin Alexanderplatz: Die Geschichte vom Franz Biberkopf" (Berlin Alexanderplatz: The Story of Franz Biberkopf) - 1929

Ford, Ford Maddox "Parade's End" - 1924-28

Grossman, David "The Zig Zag Kid" [יש ילדים זיגזג/Jesh Jeladim) - 1994

Harris, Joanne "A Cat, a Hat and a Piece of String - 2012

Hemingway, Ernest "For Whom the Bell Tolls" - 1940

Mistry, Rohinton "Family Matters" - 2002

Multatuli (Eduard Douwes Dekker) "Max Havelaar of de koffiveilingen der Nederlandsche Handelmaatschappy" (Max Havelaar, or the Coffee Auctions of the Dutch Trading Company) - 1859

Nietzsche, Friedrich "Also sprach Zarathustra. Ein Buch für Alle und Keinen" (Thus spoke Zarathustra. A Book for All and None) - 1883-85

Oates, Joyce Carol "Carthage" - 2014

Pamuk, Orhan "My Father's Suitcase" (Babamın Bavulu) - 2007

Friday, 13 June 2014

Book Quotes of the Week


"What kind of life can you have in a house without books?" Sherman Alexie

"Reading was my escape and my comfort, my consolation, my stimulant of choice." Paul Auster


"I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book." Groucho Marx


"Open a book this minute and start reading. Don’t move until you’ve reached page fifty. Until you’ve buried your thoughts in print. Cover yourself with words. Wash yourself away. Dissolve." Carol Shields, "The Republic of Love"


"Reading centers on finding yourself in a book." Anita Silvey


"Fiction is to the grown man what play is to the child; it is there that he changes the atmosphere and tenor of his life." Robert Louis Stevenson


Find more book quotes here.

Monday, 9 June 2014

Austen, Jane "Persuasion" - 1817

Austen, Jane "Persuasion" - 1817
The Motherhood and Jane Austen Book Club


This was the third book I read with this blog and joined the challenge to read and discuss Jane Austen's novels with a view of the mothers in the stories.

The first two novels we discussed were "Pride & Prejudice" and "Mansfield Park", I had already reviewed both novels earlier.

If you have not read this novel, I refer you to that more general review because this one will contain spoilers.

As in the other novels, we have different kind of mothers again, real mothers who do a good or a less good job and women who take the place of mothers. I want to talk a little about every one of them.

We have a large and very different variety of mothers in "Persuasion", almost any type. This is not only my favourite Jane Austen novel but probably also the best one to discuss mothers.

Mothers: Mrs. Musgrove sen., Mrs. Charles Musgrove, Mrs. Harville, Dowager Viscountess Dalrymple, Mrs. Penelope Clay
Mothers not present: Lady Elizabeth Elliot
Non-Mothers: Lady Russell, Mrs. Sophia Croft
Mothers not mentioned: Mrs. Elliot (mother of William Walter Elliot, Esq)

Mrs. Charles Musgrove sen.
I always think of Mrs. Musgrove as the ultimate mum in "Persuasion". None of the other mothers cares as much for their children as Mrs. Musgrove does. She is down to earth and liked by everyone. She wants what's best for her children, not necessarily what makes them richest, just that they will be happy. The perfect mother.

Mrs. Charles Musgrove jr. née Mary Elliot
Now Mary Musgrove, née Elliot. The "née Elliot" part is a very big part of her name and her character. It is something she never lets for get anyone. She is the mother who will tell you when her kids did their first steps, when they said their first word, made their first craft, not because she really cares for her children but because her children just have to be better than yours. We all know the type, the reason your child has to dance at playgroup all the time just because this mother insists that's best for any child, only because her child likes it best. Why she married a man beneath her rank is a secret only she might know. She doesn't care for her children, rather goes out and meets complete strangers than looking after a sick child and always finds a way to push her children onto other people. Not my most favourite character in the whole book but certainly one of the worst mothers of them all.

Mrs. Harville
We don't hear as much about Mrs. Harville as about the other mothers but we can see that she is perfect. She "makes do" with whatever she has, is kind and hospitable, caring and loving. She takes care of Louisa when she is injured and it is no question that she invites a whole group of people into her small house for dinner, even though she doesn't have enough space. She is the person you would like for a friend.

Dowager Viscountess Dalrymple
Another character who is not very prominent in the book but is made very important by some mainly because of her title. We don't see much about her as a mother, only that she brings her own daughter to Bath where she resides over all the relatives and other visitors who regard her as important enough to fawn over her.

Mrs. Penelope Clay
Mrs. Clay. Best friend of Elizabeth Elliot. She leaves her two children alone for month and goes to Bath with the object of her desire, Sir Walter Elliot and thus becomes the ultimate gold-digger. What more proof is there needed to say she must be the worst mother in the novel, even worse than Mary Musgrove, although I am sure she would do the same if she were in that situation.

Lady Elizabeth Elliot, née Stevenson deceased, mother of Elizabeth, Anne and Mary Elliot, wife of. Sir Walter Elliot
We don't know too much about Lady Elliot, only that she was a "sensible woman with sound judgment and understanding" We hear that there had been moderation and economy in the house when she was alive. And we understand that she is was a lot like Anne who loved her very much. Therefore, we can only conclude that she must have been a mother who tried to do as much for her children as she could.

Lady Russell
Lady Russell, a neighbour of the Elliots and a good friend of the late Lady Elliot, is perhaps the greatest mother figure in the lives of the Elliot girls. She tries to steer them into the kind of position they "deserve in society" and gives "advice" as much as she can.

Is she a good mother to the girls? Probably a better one than Sir Walter but certainly not someone who has the best interest of the girls in her mind, just that they have a good position, not necessarily that they are happy.

Mrs. Sophia Croft
I really like Mrs. Croft, sister to Captain Frederick Wentworth, wife to Admiral Croft who rents Sir Walter's estate. She doesn't take any nonsense, neither from a man or a woman and has her own mind. She is a good influence to anyone she meets. It's a pity she doesn't have children, she would have been an excellent mother but I can see she will be a great adviser for Anne, as well.

Mrs. Elliot (mother of William Walter Elliot, Esq.)
We don't really learn anything about the young Mr. Elliot, so we can only speculate. I can see a similar father as Sir Walter, someone who is very impressed by rank and a mother who has nothing to say in the house. She might have loved Mr. Elliot or she might not but she certainly didn't manage to raise him into a good young man.

I think the main reason why I like "Persuasion" best is that the heroine is already a little older than those in the other Austen novels, they are more settled and, as in Anne's case, are more grown up women than the other heroines (even Elizabeth Bennett). I really like Anne. But there are also some other characters I quite liked, Mrs. Musgrove, Mrs. Harville and Mrs. Croft, for example.

In any case, if you haven't read "Persuasion", you definitely should. It's worth it.

Other Jane Austen novels I have read with regard to Motherhood:
"Emma" - 1816
"Mansfield Park" - 1814
"Northanger Abbey" - 1818
"Persuasion" - 1817
"Pride & Prejudice" - 1813
"Sense & Sensibility" - 1811

Find a link to all my Jane Austen reviews here.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Top Ten Books That Should Be In Your Beach Bag

"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.

June 3: Top Ten Books That Should Be In Your Beach Bag or Ten Books That Will Be In My Beach Bag This Summer

Since most people consider beach reads "easier" book, I have tried to put together a list of my "lighter" novels. That doesn't necessarily mean those are the books I would take on holidays, I like a challenge, especially in the holidays. My selection includes several different kind of books but none of them is over 500 pages (which is usually the size of a book where the fun starts fro me) or is older than a hundred years old. They are all easy to read and easy to digest, I think. If they are the beginning of a series, I have only mentioned the first and indicated that there is a series. There is only You will find more information in the link.