Wednesday, 27 January 2016

My Favourite Books 2015


My Favourite Books 2015:

Bryson, Bill "The Road to Little Dribbling: more Notes from a Small Island" - 2015
Doerr, Anthony "All the Light We Cannot See" - 2014
Follett, Ken: The Century Trilogy: "Fall of Giants" - 2010; "Winter of the World" - 2012; "Edge of Eternity" - 2014
Gaskell, Elizabeth "North and South" - 1854/55
Hislop, Victoria "The Sunrise" - 2014
Lahiri, Jhumpa "The Namesake" - 2003
Lawson, Mary "Road Ends" - 2013
Schami, Rafik "Eine Hand voller Sterne" (A Hand Full of Stars) - 1987
Sendker, Jan-Philipp "Drachenspiele" [Dragon Games] - 2009
Smiley, Jane "Some Luck (Last Hundred Years: A Family Saga #1)" - 2014
Talshir, Anat "Über uns die Nacht" (Im Eshkahekh/If I forget Thee) - 2010
Yousafzai, Malala; Lamb, Christina "I am Malala" - 2013

I have already published my list in my statistics here and my reading challenges wrap-up here but I like to have a link with just the favourite books that I can refer to.

Monday, 25 January 2016

Ferri, Jean-Yves; Didier Conrad, Didier "Asterix and the Missing Scroll"


Ferri, Jean-Yves; Didier Conrad, Didier "Asterix and the Missing Scroll" (Le Papyrus de César) - 2015

"All of Gaul is under Roman control, except for one small village of indomitable Gauls that still holds out against the Romans."

I have loved Asterix for as long as they have existed. Well, for as long as I have known about them which was not long after the first editions came out. I even read a French one when I was in school. (Asterix and the Banquet or Le Tour de Gaule d’Astérix)

So, as every Asterix fan, I was sad when first René Goscinny died and then Albert Uderzo stopped working on them, as well. But I still had to get the next edition (even if I wouldn't, my husband wanted it anyway). The newest one is called "Asterix and the Missing Scroll". As all of the other Asterix stories, this one is about real life, this time about information control. A papyrus goes missing that reveals some hidden political story and a journalist goes looking after it. Julian Assange in Gaul? Why not, they've had the Romans there and the Vikings, they've been going through all sorts of history so far, why not take on the current affairs.

For any Asterix fan, this is a must.

List of all Asterix books so far:
Asterix the Gaul (1959) Astérix le Gaulois
Asterix and the Golden Sickle (1962) La Serpe d’or
Asterix and the Goths (1963) Astérix et les Goths
Asterix the Gladiator (1964) Astérix gladiateur
Asterix and the Banquet (1965) Le Tour de Gaule d’Astérix
Asterix and Cleopatra (1965) Asterix et Cleopatra
Asterix and the Big Fight (1966) Le Combat des Chefs
Asterix in Britain (1966) Astérix chez les Bretons
Asterix and the Normans (1966) Astérix et les Normands -
Asterix the Legionary (1967) Astérix légionnaire
Asterix and the Chieftain's Shield (1968) Le Bouclier Arverne
Asterix at the Olympic Games (1968) Astérix aux Jeux Olympiques
Asterix and the Cauldron (1969) Le Chaudron
Asterix in Spain (1969) Astérix en Hispanie
Asterix and the Roman Agent (1970)
Asterix in Switzerland (1970) Astérix chez les Helvètes
The Mansions of the Gods (1971) La Zizanie
Asterix and the Laurel Wreath (1972) Les Lauriers de César
Asterix and the Soothsayer (1972) Le Devin
Asterix in Corsica (1973) Astérix en Corse
Asterix and Caesar's Gift (1974) Le Cadeau de César
Asterix and the Great Crossing (1975) La Grande Traversée
Obelix and Co. (1976) Obélix et compagnie
Asterix in Belgium (1979) Astérix chez les Belges
Asterix and the Great Divide (1980) Le Grand Fossé
Asterix and the Black Gold (1981) L’Odyssée d’Astérix
Asterix and Son (1983) Le Fils d’Astérix
Asterix and the Magic Carpet (1987) Astérix chez Rahàzade
Asterix and the Secret Weapon (1991) La rose et la glaive
Asterix and Obelix All at Sea (1996) La galère d’Obélix
Asterix and the Actress (2001) Astérix et Latraviata
Asterix and the Class Act (2003) Astérix et la rentrée gauloise
Asterix and the Falling Sky (2005) Le ciel lui tombe sur la tête
Asterix and Obelix's Birthday: The Golden Book (2009) L’anniversaire d’Astérix et Obélix
Asterix and the Picts (2013) Astérix chez les Pictes
Asterix and the Missing Scroll (2015) Le Papyrus de César

Non-canonical volumes:
Asterix Conquers Rome (1976) Les Douze Travaux d'Astérix,
How Obelix Fell into the Magic Potion When he was a Little Boy (1989) Comment Obélix est tombé dans la marmite du druide quand il était petit

Needless to say, I guess, I've read them all.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Pagnol, Marcel "Jean de Florette"


Pagnol, Marcel "Jean de Florette" (Jean de Florette, L'eau des collines #1)  - 1963

This was our October read in the book club, suggested by our French member. Certainly a valuable contribution to our international reading group.

I watched the movie years ago with my French conversation group and thought it was quite interesting. Reading the book gave me a lot more insight, of course.

A book about village life and how much villagers keep together against any newcomer, how they are almost treated like enemies, or maybe even worse. I've seen this happening and have experienced it myself, so I could very well relate to the story where Jean Cadoret inherits a farm but the other villagers don't want him there and do everything to prevent him from being successful.

We had an interesting discussion about the different lifestyles in the country and the town, about prejudices the inhabitants of the one have against the other, about the difference in language, certainly at the time.

We also talked about how a lot of small things lead to something bigger. There is a lot in the book to talk about.

I enjoyed reading this book, also because it gave me the chance to use my French. I read the original version.

From the back cover: "Ugolin, back from military service, lusts for his neighbor's field on which he would like to grow carnations. Le Papet, his grandfather, accidentally kills the neighbor following an argument. Consequently, Le Papet and Ugolin block the spring that brings water to the property in the hope of purchasing it at a low price. But Jean de Florette, the dead man's nephew from town, inherits the farm and decides to move there with his wife and his daughter Manon. He engages in breeding rabbits; but he is desperately short of water and, despite his smart calculations and his courage, Jean ends up working himself to death. Ugolin buys the farm out from the ruined widow and unblocks the spring, in front of Manon who had been hiding in a bush."

We discussed this in our book club in October 2015.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

2015 Reading Challenges - Wrap-Up

Reading Challenge 2015

Reading Challenge - Chunky Books 2015

The "Piggybank" Challenge 2014

I took part in 3 online challenges. I had taken on more in the last years but the "Reading Challenge 2015" had so many different tasks that I decided that would be it.

Reading Challenge 2015
Interesting challenge with 50 different categories to fulfil. I managed to read one from almost every one of them.

Reading Challenge - Chunky Books 2015
I read  24 books with more than 450 pages, 7 of them were more than 750 pages, the reading challenge calls them "chunksters". Not a bad result, I think.

The "Piggybank" Challenge 2014
This challenge goes officially from 1 March 2015 to 1 March 2016 but it's easier to wrap this up now with the rest of the challenges. This year, I read 91 books which resulted in €182 to spend on something I'd really like.

I added more books to lists I started earlier.

100 Books by the BBC
Hugo, Victor "Les Misérables" (dto.) - 1862

20 Classic And Important Books That Will Make You Feel Well-Read,
Even If They're The Only Ones You Read

None this year but there are not that many for me to complete the list.

A Century of Books
The goal is to read a book from every year of the 20th century.
If I only manage one book every year, I will have finished this list in 14 years. ;)
I did manage to find one this year:
Eco, Umberto "The Name of the Rose" (Il nome della rosa) - 1980

Best European Literature
Eco, Umberto "The Name of the Rose" (Il nome della rosa) - 1980
Hugo, Victor "Les Misérables" (dto.) - 1862
Shakespeare, William "Hamlet" - 1599-1602
Wilde, Oscar "The Picture of Dorian Gray" - 1890

The 100 Greatest Fiction Books as Chosen by The Guardian
Wilde, Oscar "The Picture of Dorian Gray" - 1890

Le Monde - The 100 Books of the Century
Eco, Umberto "The Name of the Rose" (Il nome della rosa) - 1980

Modern Library 100 Best Novels of the 20th Century
I added one more book this year and have now read 23 of those 100 novels.
Faulkner, William "Light in August" - 1932

The Motherhood + Jane Austen Book Club
Austen, Jane "Sense & Sensibility" - 1811

Nobel Prize Winners and Their Books
I enjoy the books by the Nobel Prize winners a lot and every year I can't wait to hear the name of the latest recipient rush to read some new books by him or her. This year, another winner of the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade (Friendspreis) has been awarded the Nobel Prize and I had already read a book by her, however, more are on my wishlist. I've read this one in 2014: Alexievich, Svetlana "Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster" (Чернобыльская молитва/Černobylskaja molitva) - 2006

And these are the books by former Nobel Prize authors I read this year:
Buck, Pearl S. "The First Wife and Other Stories" - 1933
Mann, Thomas "Buddenbrooks: The Decline of a Family" (Buddenbrooks) - 1901
Modiano, Patrick "La Place de l'Étoile" (La Place de l'Étoile) - 1968
Munro, Alice "Runaway" - 2004
Pamuk, Orhan "My Father's Suitcase" (Babamın Bavulu) - 2007
Yousafzai, Malala; Lamb, Christina "I am Malala. The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban" - 2013

Oprah’s Book Club

Faulkner, William "Light in August" - 1932

Oscar Winning Books
Hugo, Victor "Les Misérables" (dto.) - 1862
Shakespeare, William "Hamlet" - 1599-1602
Virgil "The Aeneid" (Aeneas) - 29-19 BC
Zweig, Stefanie "Nowhere in Africa" (Nirgendwo in Afrika) - 1995

Peace Prize of the German Book Trade (German: Friedenspreis des Deutschen Buchhandels)
Frisch, Max "The Arsonists" (aka "The Firebugs" or "The Fire Raisers: A Morality Without A Moral, With An Afterpiece") (Biedermann und die Brandstifter) - 1958
Pamuk, Orhan "My Father's Suitcase" (Babamın Bavulu) - 2007

Smiley, Jane "13 Ways of Looking at the Novel" - 2005

Only one more novel from this fascinating list. Must try harder.
Wilde, Oscar "The Picture of Dorian Gray" - 1890

What's in a Name 2014 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.

Berry, Wendell "Hannah Coulter" - 2004
Dickens, Charles "Little Dorrit" - 1857
Dickens, Charles "The Pickwick Papers" - 1836
Doron, Lizzie "Who the Fuck Is Kafka" - 2015
Ferri, Jean-Yves; Didier Conrad, Didier "Asterix and the Missing Scroll" (Le Papyrus de César) - 2015
Fowler, Karen Joy "The Jane Austen Book Club" - 2004
Mann, Thomas "Buddenbrooks" - 1901
McCarthy, Pete "The Road to McCarthy: Around the World in Search of Ireland" - 2002
Multatuli "Max Havelaar, or the Coffee Auctions of the Dutch Trading Company" - 185
Pagnol, Marcel "Jean de Florette" - 1963
Petrowskaja, Katja "Vielleicht Esther" [Maybe Esther] - 2014
Raddatz, Fritz J. "Dann wird aus Zwein: Wir beide. Kurt Tucholsky & Mary Gerold" - 2015
Roberts, Gregory David "Shantaram" - 2003
Scott, Mary "Freddie" - 1965
Scott, Mary "Pippa in Paradise" - 1955
Shakespeare, William "Hamlet" - 1599-1602
Wilde, Oscar "The Picture of Dorian Gray" - 1890
Yousafzai, Malala; Lamb, Christina "I am Malala" - 2013

My blog was nominated for
Liebster Award


Beautiful Blogger Award!!

I have been extremely honoured in both cases and have nominated bloggers for the Liebster Award myself. I will do the same with the Beautiful Blogger Award but have not been getting that far, yet.

Monday, 18 January 2016

Murakami, Haruki "Norwegian Wood"

 

Murakami, Haruki "Norwegian Wood" (Noruwei no mori, ノルウェイの森) - 1987

♫ I once had a girl, or should I say, she once had me... ♫
♫ She showed me her room, isn't it good, Norwegian wood? ♫
(© Lennon/McCartney)

I have always liked The Beatles. No, I have always loved The Beatles. Especially their slower songs. Therefore, I always wanted to read this book, ever since I first saw the title.

There is so much in this story, it's hard to get it all together, the problems of a teenager growing up, the problems of dealing with a sudden death, first love, second love, illness, especially depression. I am not a fan of poetry but this novel reads like beautiful poetry. I love the style, the flow of the words.

There is a connection to the main character, Toru Watanabe, you understand his feelings, his actions. And the same to all the other characters, Naoko, his friend of his youth, Midori, his student friend and Reiko Ishida, also an important person in his life.

The book is both sad but also full of hope. Certainly not the last novel by Haruki Murakami that I read.

From the back cover: "When he hears her favourite Beatles song, Toru Watanabe recalls his first love Naoko, the girlfriend of his best friend Kizuki. Immediately he is transported back almost twenty years to his student days in Tokyo, adrift in a world of uneasy friendships, casual sex, passion, loss and desire - to a time when an impetuous young woman called Midori marches into his life and he has to choose between the future and the past."

Friday, 15 January 2016

Book Quotes of the Week


One of our greatest actors passed away this week. So, I will post some quotes from him.

"Acting touches nerves you have absolutely no control over."

"A Film, a Piece of Theatre, A Piece of Music, or a Book Can Make a Difference. It can Change the World."

"If only life could be a little more tender and art a little more robust."

"It's an ancient need to be told stories. But the story needs a great storyteller."

"Talent is an accident of genes - and a responsibility."

"[The English language is] so rich and cruel and beautiful, like a fireworks display, and yet it can be so subtle and so crude. Marry that to the stage and something mysterious happens. Don’t ask me what. It’s magical." "The more we're governed by idiots and have no control over our destinies, the more we need to tell stories to each other about who we are, why we are, where we come from, and what might be possible. Or, what's impossible? What's a fantasy?"

Goodbye, Colonel Brandon, Alexander Dane, Hans Gruber, Harry, Jamie, Marvin, Grigori Rasputin, Sheriff George of Nottingham, Obadiah Slope, Severus Snape, Judge Turpin, ... Goodbye Alan Rickman

Find more book quotes here.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

O'Faolain, Nuala "Almost There"


O'Faolain, Nuala "Almost There: The Onward Journey of a Dublin Woman" - 2003

I love reading biographies, especially about interesting women, even if I don't really know them. So, I thought this might be an interesting read, the biography of an Irish woman writer.

However, I was disappointed. The writing wasn't all that great, the life not all that interesting, or at least she didn't succeed in persuading me that she had an interesting life or something worth mentioning. She's dragging on and on, retelling some stories from her life that, written like this, might be interesting to her family or people who know her closely but didn't really captivate me, my interest was not awakened. Neither in this book nor in the author. The ramblings of an unhappy woman.

All in all, I found the book pretty boring. I have another book of her on my TBR pile (My Dream of You), something a friend recommended. But I think it will take me quite a while until I tackle that.

From the back cover: "In 1996, a small Irish press approached Nuala O'Faolain, then a writer for the Irish Times newspaper, to publish a collection of her opinion columns. She offered to write an introduction to give the opinions a context - to explain the life experience that had shaped this Irish woman's views - and, convinced that none but a few diehard fans of the columns would ever see the book, she took the opportunity to interrogate herself, as fully and candidly as she could, as to what she had made of her life. But the introduction, the 'accidental memoir of a Dublin woman', was discovered, and 'Are You Somebody?' became an international bestseller. It launched a new life for its author at a time when she had long let go of expectations that anything could dislodge patterns of regret and solitude well fixed and too familiar.
Suddenly in mid-life there was the possibility of radical change. Whereas the memoir ended with its author reconciled to a peaceful if lonely future, now opportunities opened up, and there were thrilling choices to make - choices that forced her to address the question of how to live a better life herself and, therefore, of what makes any life better.
'Almost There' begins at the moment when O'Faolain's life began to change, and its both tells the story of life in the subtle, radical, and, above all, unforeseen renewal, and meditates on that story. It is on one level a tale of good fortune chasing out bad - of an accidental harvest of happiness. But it is also a provocative examination of one woman's experience of 'the crucible of middle age' - a time of life that faces in two directions, forging the shape of the years to come, and clarifying and solidifying one's relationships to friends and lovers (past and present), family and self.
Fiercely intelligent, hilarious, moving, generous, and full of surprises, this book is a crystalline reflections of a singular character, utterly engaged in life!"

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Hammond, Richard "On the Edge"


Hammond, Richard "On the Edge: My Story" - 2007

Everyone in my whole family is a huge Top Gear fan. I have even read "The World According to Clarkson", both Volumes One and Volume Two.

Same as every other person who knew or had heard of Richard Hammond, I was totally shocked when I heard of his bad accident in a jet-powered dragster. We all were more than anxious to hear what had happened and how he was coping. Of course, everybody could understand that the press would not be allowed in his hospital room etc. but I know everybody's thoughts and prayers were with him and his family at that time.

Anyway, I found his memoir about this incident a while ago and finally got to read it. Richard and his wife Mindy tell the story of his accident and his return to life. And not only that, we get to learn a lot about both of them, Richard's childhood, their marriage, their children, and what a wonderful family they have.

What touched me, as well, was the huge friendship that was shown by everyone from the Top Gear team and how much everyone, his parents, brothers, neighbours, everyone who knew him, supported him and his wife in this trying period.

I think, even if you've never heard of Richard Hammond, this is a lovely story worth reading. And if you don't fall in love with this guy then and there, I don't understand you.

From the back cover: "Richard Hammond was an adrenalin junkie long before joining Top Gear. From the small boy showing off his bicycle stunts to the adolescent with a near-obsessive attraction to speed, he then worked in local radio before graduating to television. It was while filming for Top Gear, driving a jet-powered dragster at speeds of over 30mph, that a tyre burst and the car crashed leaving him hovering near death with a serious brain injury.

On The Edge is a compelling account of his life before and after the accident. His wife Mindy tells of the anxious hours and days of watching and waiting until he finally emerged from the coma. She and Richard then piece together the stages of his recovery as his shattered mind slowly reformed, culminating in Richard’s return home and his triumphant reappearance in front of the cameras."

Monday, 11 January 2016

Statistics



My statistics for the last years are here:
Going back to 2009, 2013, 2014 

And these are the results of my reading lists for 2015:

* Statistics 2015 *


Challenges
I read books that contributed to the following online challenges:
Reading Challenge 2015
I read books belonging to 47 out of 50 different categories.
Reading Challenge - Chunky Books 2015
My result were 24 chunky books (more than 450 pages) including 7 super chunky ones (more than 750 pages).
The "Piggybank" Challenge 2015
The 91 books I read this year resulted in €182 to spend on something nice.
100 Books by the BBC
This is an old challenge, I added one more book to the list.
A Century of Books
This is also an old challenge, I added one more book to the list.
Best European Literature
Another old challenge, I added four more books to the list.
The 100 Greatest Fiction Books as Chosen by The Guardian
This is an old challenge, I added one more book to the list.
Le Monde - The 100 Books of the Century
Here is another old challenge, I added one more book to the list.
Modern Library 100 Best Novels of the 20th Century
This is an old challenge, I added one more book to the list.
The Motherhood + Jane Austen Book Club
And another old challenge, I added one more book to the list.
Nobel Prize Winners and Their Books
This is another list to which I could add five more books.
Oprah’s Book Club
So many old challenges, here is another one to which I added one more book.
Oscar Winning Books
This is an old challenge, I added four more books to the list.
Peace Prize of the German Book Trade (German: Friedenspreis des Deutschen Buchhandels)
An ongoing list to which I added two more books.
Smiley, Jane "13 Ways of Looking at the Novel" 
This is an old challenge, I added two more books to the list.
What's in a Name 2014 Reading Challenge
I read 18 eponymous novels this year.

Books Read: 91
Pages read: 38,899 (107 pages per day)

Books dating from which year:
Pre 1800s: 2
1800s: 7
1900-1949: 2
1950-1999: 21
2000s: 58 (11 of which from 2015)

Male Authors: 47
Female Authors: 44

Nobel Prize Winners: 6

Fiction: 72
Non-Fiction: 21

Chunky Books - more than 450 pages: 24, more than 750: 7
Oldest Book:
Virgil "The Aeneid" (Aeneas gr.) - 29-19 BC
Newest Books:
Doron, Lizzie "Who the Fuck Is Kafka" - 2015
Ghosh, Amitav "Flood of Fire" (Ibis Trilogy #3) - 2015
Krone-Schmalz, Gabriele "Russland verstehen" [Understanding Russia] - 2015
Oates, Joyce Carol "The Sacrifice" - 2015
Roth, Charlotte "Als der Himmel uns gehörte" [When heaven belonged to us] - 2015
Longest book: 1,480 pages
Hugo, Victor "Les Misérables"
Shortest book: 158 pages
Dugain, Marc "La Chambre des officiers" (The Officer's Ward) 
Longest book title: La grammaire est une chanson douce
Orsenna, Erik "La grammaire est une chanson douce" (Grammar Is a Sweet, Gentle Song) 
Shortest Book Title: Hamlet
Shakespeare, William "Hamlet"
Funniest Books:
Bryson, Bill "Notes from a Small Island"  
Scott, Mary "Pippa in Paradise
Saddest Books:
Coory, Kasey "Pious Evil. Condemn not my Children"
Doerr, Anthony "All the Light We Cannot See
Hugo, Victor "Les Misérables"
Modiano, Patrick "La Place de l'Étoile" - 1968
Weirdest Book:
Shteyngart, Gary "Absurdistan"
New authors (for me) that I would like to read more from:
Francisco Azevedo, Anthony Doerr, Lizzie Doron, Jhumpa Lahiri, Laila Lalami, Hilary Mantel, Haruki Murakami, Anat Talshir 

Translated Books: 7
2 from Hebrew, 1 each from Greek, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Romanian
Books read in another language:
16 German, 7 French, 2 Dutch

Numbers in Book Titles: One, Thirteen, Two,
Place Names in Book Titles: Absurdistan, Africa, Europe, Ireland, Little Dribbling, Neue Vahr, Norway, Paradise, Place de l'Étoile, Rio, Russia, Santiago, Villette
Names in Book Titles: Asterix, Buddenbrooks, Dorian Gray, Esther, Florette, Freddie, Hamlet, Jane Austen, Jean, Kafka, Kurt Tucholsky, Malala, Mary Gerold, Max Havelaar, McCarthy, Pippa, Shantaram
Colours in Book Titles: Blue, White

My Favourite Books: 12 (one for each month)
Bryson, Bill "The Road to Little Dribbling: more Notes from a Small Island" - 2015
Doerr, Anthony "All the Light We Cannot See" - 2014
Follett, Ken "Fall of Giants", "Winter of the World",  "Edge of Eternity" - 2010/12/14
Gaskell, Elizabeth "North and South" - 1854/55
Hislop, Victoria "The Sunrise" - 2014
Lahiri, Jhumpa "The Namesake" - 2003
Lawson, Mary "Road Ends" - 2013
Schami, Rafik "Eine Hand voller Sterne" (A Hand Full of Stars) - 1987
Sendker, Jan-Philipp "Drachenspiele" [Dragon Games] - 2009
Smiley, Jane "Some Luck (Last Hundred Years: A Family Saga #1)" - 2014
Talshir, Anat "If I forget Thee" (Im Eshkahekh) - 2010
Yousafzai, Malala; Lamb, Christina "I am Malala" - 2013

With my books, I visited places/countries:
Africa (2):
Kenya, Morocco
Asia (8):
Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Pakistan, Syria
Europe (19):
Austria, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine, The United Kingdom
North America (5):
Canada, Caribbean, Cuba, Mexico, USA
South America (1):
Brazil
Australia/Oceania (2):
Australia, New Zealand
Others: (1)
Countries "visited" in total: 38

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, 8 January 2016

Book Quotes of the Week




"I read my eyes out and can't read half enough... The more one reads the more one sees we have to read." John Adams

"This will never be a civilized country until we expend more money for books than we do for chewing gum." Elbert Hubbard

"Having your book turned into a movie is like seeing your oxen turned into bouillon cubes." John LeCarré

"A book is a version of the world. If you do not like it, ignore it or offer your own version in return." Salman Rushdie

"Always look on the bright side of life. Otherwise it'll be too dark to read." N.N.
[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.

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Reading Challenge 2015


What an interesting challenge. I have managed to read at least one book from each category though many of them can be listed under several points (the number in brackets indicates how many of my books fell under that category. Where I haven't fulfilled the challenge, there usually is a reason and I've explained it under that number.

1.    A book with more than 500 pages (20)
Mantel, Hilary "Wolf Hall" - 2009
2.    A classic romance (6)
Dickens, Charles "Little Dorrit" - 1857
3.    A book that became a movie (21)
Hugo, Victor "Les Misérables" (dto.) - 1862
4.    A book published this year (10)
Ghosh, Amitav "Flood of Fire" (Ibis Trilogy #3) - 2015
5.    A book with a number in the title (3)
Setterfield, Diane "The Thirteenth Tale" - 2006
6.    A book written by someone under 30 (5)
Patchett, Ann "The Patron Saint of Liars" - 1992
7.    A book with nonhuman characters (12)
Paull, Laline "The Bees" - 2014
8.    A funny book (14)
Bryson, Bill "The Road to Little Dribbling: more Notes from a Small Island" - 2015
9.    A book by a female author (42)
Lawson, Mary "Road Ends" - 2013
10.    A mystery or thriller (9)
Oates, Joyce Carol "The Sacrifice" - 2015
11.    A book with a one-word title (11)
Brontë, Charlotte "Villette" - 1853
12.    A book of short stories (3)
Lahiri, Jhumpa "Interpreter of Maladies" - 1999
13.    A book set in a different country
I did not know what a "different country" meant in my case, a country different from my home country or any of those that I've lived in before, a country different from the originator of this challenge (US), so I chose a book by an author who travelled around the world.
McCarthy, Pete "The Road to McCarthy: Around the World in Search of Ireland" - 2002
14.    A nonfiction book (20)
Coory, Kasey "Pious Evil. Condemn not my Children" - 2014
15.    A popular author's first book (6)
Eco, Umberto "The Name of the Rose" (Il nome della rosa) – 1980
16.    A book from an author you love that you haven't read yet (19)
Dickens, Charles "Hard Times" - 1854
17.    A book a friend recommended (25)
Fowler, Christopher "Hell Train" - 2011
18.    A Pulitzer Prize-winning book (3)
Doerr, Anthony "All the Light We Cannot See" - 2014
19.    A book based on a true story (26)
Zweig, Stefanie "Nowhere in Africa" (Nirgendwo in Afrika) - 1995
20.    A book at the bottom of your to-read list (20)
Shteyngart, Gary "Absurdistan" - 2006
21.    A book your mom loves (8)
My mum used to read totally different books from mine but I think she would have really enjoyed this one:
Scott, Mary "The White Elephant" - 1959
22.    A book that scares you (5)
I'm not a reader of ghost stories. Real life events scare me a lot more than zombies and vampires.
Yousafzai, Malala; Lamb, Christina "I am Malala. The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban" - 2013
23.    A book more than 100 years old (10)
Virgil "The Aeneid" (Aeneid lat..) - 29-19 BC
24.    A book based entirely on its cover (1)
Clayton, Meg Waite "The Wednesday Sisters" - 2008
25.    A book you were supposed to read in school but didn't
There is no way I can read a book for this task because I did read all the books I was supposed to read. Reading was my favourite and I didn't get that many books, so I read anything I could get my hands on.
26.    A memoir (11)
Kerkeling, Hape "I'm off then: Losing and Finding Myself on the Camino de Santiago" (Ich bin dann mal weg. Meine Reise auf dem Jakobsweg) - 2006
27.    A book you can finish in a day (22)
Delacourt, Grégoire "La liste de mes envies" (The list of my desires/My Wish List/Alle meine Wünsche) - 2012
28.    A book with antonyms in the title (3)
Gaskell, Elizabeth "North and South" – 1854/55
29.    A book set somewhere you've always wanted to visit (12)
Scott, Mary "Pippa in Paradise" - 1955
30.    A book that came out the year you were born (1)
Scott, Mary "Families are Fun" - 1957
31.    A book with bad reviews (3)
I am sure I can find bad reviews about every single one of the novels I read but I just found a few when researching for the links.
Roberts, Gregory David "Shantaram" - 2003
32.    A trilogy (12)
Smiley, Jane "Some Luck (Last Hundred Years: A Family Saga #1)" - 2014
33.    A book from your childhood (2)
Follett, Ken "Edge of Eternity" - 2014
34.    A book with a love triangle (18)
Hawkins, Paula "The Girl on the Train" - 2015
35.    A book set in the future (1)
Matheson, Richard "I am Legend" - 1954
36.    A book set in high school (3)
Levithan, David "Every Day" - 2012
37.    A book with a colour in the title (3)
Tyler, Anne "A Spool of Blue Thread" -  2015
38.    A book that made you cry (4)
I don't really cry easily and none of the books I considered for this part of the challenge really made me cry but the content was quite shocking.
Lamb, Wally "We are water" - 2013
39.    A book with magic (3)
Funke, Cornelia "Inkheart" (Tintenherz) - 2003
40.    A graphic novel (1)
Ferri, Jean-Yves; Didier Conrad, Didier "Asterix and the Missing Scroll" (Le Papyrus de César) - 2015
41.    A book by an author you've never read before (44)
Azevedo, Francisco "Once Upon a Time in Rio" (O Arroz de Palma) - 2008
42.    A book you own but have never read (11)
Eliade, Mircea "Marriage in Heaven" (Nuntă în cer) - 1938
43.    A book that takes place in your hometown (2)
Not too far from it/well, the closest I could get:
Mann, Thomas "Buddenbrooks: The Decline of a Family" (Buddenbrooks) – 1901
44.    A book that was originally written in a different language (26)
Same as with the different countries (see # 13 above), I read books in many different countries, so I chose a book that was written in a language I don't speak.
Murakami, Haruki "Norwegian Wood" - 1987
45.    A book set during Christmas (8)
Lahiri, Jhumpa "The Namesake" - 2003
46.    A book written by an author with your same initials (1)
Moore, Michael "Stupid White Men" - 2001
47.    A play (1)
Shakespeare, William "Hamlet" - 1599-1602
48.    A banned book
I am sure one of the books I read must have been banned somewhere but I did not check it every time, I must admit.
49.    A book based on or turned into a TV show (3)
Bryson, Bill "Notes from a Small Island"  - 1995
50.    A book you started but never finished
I finished all my books this year and didn't think I should start reading one I wouldn't enjoy just to be able to put it on the list. ;)

Monday, 4 January 2016

Tyler, Anne "A Spool of Blue Thread"


Tyler, Anne "A Spool of Blue Thread" -  2015

The first book I read by Anne Tyler ("The Accidental Tourist") didn't leave a huge impression, the second one ("A Patchwork Planet") wasn't a whole lot better but the next ("Digging to America") was lovely. I really liked it. So, when a friend recommended her latest book, "A Spool of Blue Thread", I gave it a try.

It is a really good book, a story about four generations of a family. A family that consists of all the usual members, the ordinary ones and the not so ordinary ones. Anne Tyler tells about them as if you are there, as if you are part of the clan. It all sounds so familiar. And nice, even though not everything that happens is nice, it's what life is.

I can recommend this book if you like family stories, especially of the 20th century.

From the back cover: "'It was a beautiful, breezy, yellow-and-green afternoon.' 
This is the way Abby Whitshank always begins the story of how she fell in love with Red that day in July 1959. The whole family - their two daughters and two sons, their grandchildren, even their faithful old dog - is on the porch, listening contentedly as Abby tells the tale they have heard so many times before. And yet this gathering is different too: Abby and Red are growing older, and decisions must be made about how best to look after them, and the fate of the house so lovingly built by Red's father.
Brimming with the luminous insight, humor, and compassion that are Anne Tyler's hallmarks, this capacious novel takes us across three generations of the Whitshanks, their shared stories and long-held secrets, all the unguarded and richly lived moments that combine to define who and what they are as a family."

Anne Tyler was shortlisted for the Booker Prize for "A Spool of Blue Thread" in 2015.

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Happy January!

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.

This month's calendar picture is another beautiful watercolour painting by Hanka Koebsch "Kingfisher".



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