Tuesday, 15 June 2021

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Books with the word "Summer" in the title

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

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

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

This week's topic is: Books On My Summer 2021 TBR (or winter, if you live in the southern hemisphere)
I have published a few reading lists lately, so I thought I'd rather concentrate on books with Summer in the title:

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Top Ten Books On My Spring 2021 TBR
Top Ten Tuesday ~ Top Ten Spring Cleaning Books 
Top Ten Tuesday ~ Top Ten Books I Meant to Read In 2020 but Didn’t Get To
Helmet Reading Challenge 2021
The World Reading Challenge
Xanadu Reading Challenge 2021
Top Ten Tuesday ~ Top Ten Books I Hope Santa Brings
Classic Challenge 2021
Non-fiction November
The Classics Club
 So, you see, I don't need any new lists. There are still quite a few books I can pull from my piles before the summer is over. I have therefore decided to make a list of

Books with the word "Summer" in the title.

Bristow, Gwen "Plantation Trilogy": "Deep Summer" - 1937, "Handsome Road" - 1938, "This Side of Glory" - 1940
Bryson, Bill "One Summer: America, 1927" - 2013
Chabon, Michael "Summerland" - 2002
Chekhov, Anton/Tschechow, Anton/Чехов, Антон Павлович/Anton Pavlovič Čechov "In der Sommerfrische: Meistererzählungen" (Russian: Дачники) [Summer Holidays] - 1880/87
Hustvedt, Siri "The Summer without Men" - 2011
Jansson, Tove "Moominsummer Madness" (Finnish: Vaarallinen juhannus) - 1954
Kingsolver, Barbara "Prodigal Summer" - 2001
Tsypkin, Leonid Borissowitsch (Леонид Борисович Цыпкин) "Summer in Baden-Baden" (Russian: Ljubit Dostojewskowo - лджубит достоджэвсково) - 1981
Tucker, Helen "The Sound of Summer Voices" - 1969
Weidermann, Volker "Summer Before the Dark: Stefan Zweig and Joseph Roth, Ostend 1936" (Ostende - 1936, Sommer der Freundschaft) - 2014

So, whether you plan a summer holiday, a summer without men, a summer in Baden-Band or a summer of friendship, I hope it will be a good one.

Monday, 14 June 2021

Savage Carlson, Natalie "The Family Under the Bridge"

Savage Carlson, Natalie "The Family Under the Bridge" - 1958

I remember selling this book in our school book sales. I probably bought this copy back then, after all, we, the parent volunteers, were our best customers.

But somehow, I never read it. Neither with my boys nor by myself. So, when in the Classic Challenge 2021, "a children's classic" was one of the prompts, I thought this might be the right one.

It's an alright book, you can tell it's sixty years old. I doubt children nowadays still would love it. The writing is pretty simple but the story doesn't grasp you. It was hard to follow any of the decisions made, especially the last one when the homeless guy turns into a grandfather/Santalike figure. Didn't sound real.

Still, it was interesting to read a book from that time-frame.

From the back cover:

"Armand was an old hobo who lived under a bridge in the streets of Paris. He begged and did odd jobs for money to keep himself warm and fed, and he liked his carefree life.

Then one day just before Christmas a struggling mother and her three children walked into his life. Though he tried to ignore their troubles, Armand soon found himself caring for the family and sharing his unusual home under the bridge with them. But the children missed having a home of their own. What could one old man do to make their Christmas wish come true?

Friday, 11 June 2021

Book Quotes of the Week

"My father always says, 'Never trust anyone who has a TV bigger than their bookshelf.' So I make sure I read. Back at home, I just put up a massive bookcase and asked everyone I know and love to help me fill it with their favourite books. I'ts been quite nice because I've learned a lot about my friends and family from what they've been giving me. A book says a lot about a person." Emilia Clarke

I think that quote her father said might be from one of the Marx brothers but no matter who said it first, that person was definitely correct. 

"Reading is a discount ticket to everywhere." Mary Schmich

So very true. I've travelled the world with only a smidgen of the cost a flight to one location would have taken me.

"I wanted to read immediately. The only fear was that of books coming to an end." Eudora Welty

The true nightmare of every reader.

Find more book quotes here.

Thursday, 10 June 2021

Lahiri, Jhumpa "The Lowland"

Lahiri, Jhumpa "The Lowland" - 2013

I've read a few books by Jhumpa Lahiri and I've had this on my TBR pile for a while. I have no idea why it took me so long to start it. Oh, wait a minute, must be those hundreds of other books on that shelf. LOL

Whilst I have read many books about India, and quite a few about the independence (e.g. Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie) and the fight for it, I didn't know much about the Naxalites, just a general knowledge that they existed. In this book, we get acquainted with the organisation and its followers. And the story also touches the reason why Indians would leave their country plus the role of women in society back then, both in India as well as in the USA.

I knew it was a violent time but it's different when you hear about individuals and how they fared under certain circumstances, even if they are fictitious. Since I always like to research the background of my books, especially if they are historical ones, I learned that the group still exists and there are still many conflicts with them and numerous people are killed every year. We hardly ever hear about that in the rest of the world. What a shame!

And then there is also a "next generation" in the book and all the implications that arise from growing up in a country where your parents weren't born.

I found this novel extremely interesting and well written.

From the back cover:

"The Lowland is an engrossing family saga steeped in history: the story of two very different brothers bound by tragedy; a fiercely brilliant woman haunted by her past; a country torn by revolution. A powerful new novel - set in both India and America - that explores the price of idealism and a love that can last long past death.

Growing up in Calcutta, born just fifteen months apart, Subhash and Udayan Mitra are inseparable brothers, one often mistaken for the other. But they are also opposites, with gravely different futures ahead of them.

From Subhash's earliest memories, at every point, his brother was there. In the suburban streets of Calcutta where they wandered before dusk and in the hyacinth-strewn ponds where they played for hours on end, Udayan was always in his older brother's sight. So close in age, they were inseparable in childhood and yet, as the years pass - as U.S tanks roll into Vietnam and riots sweep across India - their brotherly bond can do nothing to forestall the tragedy that will upend their lives.

Udayan - charismatic and impulsive - finds himself drawn to the Naxalite movement, a rebellion waged to eradicate inequity and poverty. He will give everything, risk all, for what he believes, and in doing so will transform the futures of those dearest to him: his newly married, pregnant wife, his brother and their parents. For all of them, the repercussions of his actions will reverberate across continents and seep through the generations that follow.

Epic in its canvas and intimate in its portrayal of lives undone and forged anew,
The Lowland is a deeply felt novel of family ties that entangle and fray in ways unforeseen and unrevealed, of ties that ineluctably define who we are. With all the hallmarks of Jhumpa Lahiri's achingly poignant, exquisitely empathetic story-telling, this is her most devastating work of fiction to date."

Tuesday, 8 June 2021

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Top Twelve Books I Loved that Made Me Want More Books Like Them

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

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

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

This week's topic is: Books I Loved that Made Me Want More Books Like Them 
(Jana thinks the wording is weird here, so if you have a better way to say this please let me know! What I’m thinking is… you read a book and immediately wanted more just like it, perhaps in the same genre, about the same topic or theme, by the same author, etc. For example, I once read a medical romance and then went to find more because it was so good. The same thing happened to me with pirate historical romances and romantic suspense.)

Not such a weird wording, there are often books that instigate us to immediately read something similar. Or at least wanting to read something similar or more by the same author. I have a few.

One of my favourite books ever, I had to search for a while until I found the second one and then wait for almost another decade before the third was published.
Stroyar, J.N. "The Children's War" - 2001
- "A Change of Regime" - 2004
- "Becoming Them" - 2017

Then there are the books where you know already when you start it that the author passed away after writing their very first book.
Shaffer, Mary Ann & Barrows, Annie "The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Society" - 2008
Powers, Charles T. "In the Memory of the Forest" - 1997

Or there are some where you find many other books on the same subject. We read a book about Tulipomania in the Netherlands in the book club. I found it really fascinating and have read quite a few more novels and non-fiction books about it since then.
Moggach, Deborah "Tulip Fever" - 1999
Dash, Mike "Tulipomania: The Story of the World’s Most Coveted Flower and the Extraordinary Passions It Aroused" - 2000
Pavord, Anna "The Tulip" - 2004
Laker, Rosalind "The Golden Tulip" - 1989
Marini, Lorenzo "The Man of the Tulips" (Italian: L'uomo dei tulipani) - 2002

It's often book club books that lead me to discover whole new genres.
Atwood, Margaret "The Handmaid's Tale" / "The Handmaid's Tale" - 1985
Dystopian novels, some of my favourites.
Lamb, Christina "The Sewing Circles of Herat: A Personal Voyage Through Afghanistan" - 2002
Everything about Afghanistan.
Kingsolver, Barbara "The Poisonwood Bible" - 1988
Barbara Kingsolver has become one of my favourite authors after we read this one in the book club.
Lawson, Mary "Crow Lake" - 2002
And the same goes for Mary Lawson. Unfortunately, she has not written as much.

Or authors where I start one book and end up reading all of their works:
Oates, Joyce Carol
"We Were the Mulvaneys" - 1996

Pamuk, Orhan
"My Name is Red" (Turkish: Benim Adim Kirmizi) - 1998

Ruiz Zafón, Carlos
"The Shadow of the Wind" (Spanish: La Sombra del Viento) - 2001

Rutherfurd, Edward
"London - The Novel" - 1997
All of them belong to my all-time favourites now.

I could have found lots of others but I wanted to put together a wide variety of literature so there is at least one idea for everyone.

Monday, 7 June 2021

Judd, Naomi "Love Can Build a Bridge"

Judd, Naomi "Love Can Build a Bridge" - 1993

I knew nothing much about country music when we moved to the UK in 1994. Well, I knew the "Old Garde", Willie Nelson, Hank Snow and Hank Williams, Dave Dudley, Johnnie Cash, Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers, Tammie Wynette and the likes, but none of the more modern ones. I had never heard of Alan Jackson, George Jones, Travis Tritt, George Strait, Garth Brooks, Billy Ray Cyrus, Dwight Yoakam, Reba McEntire, Shania Twain, or Mary Chapin Carpenter let alone Naomi or Wynonna Judd.

But at the time, you could get an American TV channel, called Country Music Television (CMT). And that's when I discovered a lot of the newer singers. However, I think I remember seeing Wynonna only once or twice and "Love Can Build a Bridge" only performed by three other ladies, one of them I remember being Dolly Parton.

So, despite of me hardly knowing the Judds, how did I end up reading their life story? I found the book on one of the swap shelves and I do like Ashley Judd as an actress, so I thought it might be interesting for me. Still, it took me about ten years to tackle it. When the Xanadu challenge I take part in, gave us the topic "Music", I thought that is finally the prompt to start it.

It was an interesting book about how you become a singer and all the upheavals of such a career. It was also about a single mother raising two daughters. Gosh, was I happy I have boys while reading this! On the other hand, she left her kids alone a lot, especially Ashley when she started her career with her more complicated daughter. She was easier to be pushed aside. I don't consider that very Christian.

I thought it might be a European (or rather non-US-American) thing that the many frequent remarks about God and praying and getting what you deserve if only you believe in the right God annoyed me but I have read other reviews (by US-Americans) who thought she was a little "too preachy". I'm always careful about people who cite the bible all the time.

I always try to read a little about the background of a book both before and after the book, especially if it's non-fiction. So, I was shocked when I read about the parentage of Wynonna. According to the book, Naomi (then Diane) became pregnant with her daughter Christina Ciminella (Wynonna) at the age of seventeen by her then boyfriend Michael Ciminella but on various websites, a guy called Charles Jordan, is Wynonna's father and he abandoned Naomi shortly after finding out about the pregnancy and she went back to her former boyfriend. She mentions her family and all their background stories so much and doesn't even care whether they want them to be known to the whole world, so why lie about something like this. Made the whole experience of the book a little foul.

But if this book was good for one thing. I am grateful to have two lovely boys, a wonderful husband and a normal life. I wouldn't want to swap it for all the money and glamour in the world.

From the back cover:

"Here, at last, is the exquisitely personal story of a mother and daughter who sang like angels and fought like the devil - but loved each other through struggle, triumph, and tragedy.

For eight glorious years, Naomi Judd and daughter Wynonna lived the American dream. They were signed on the spot to RCA in 1983 in a rare live audition and went on to set the music world on its ear. Their pristine harmonies, unique personalities, and stunning presence captured mainstream America's heart.

The Judds were country music's most-honored and top-selling women. They were undefeated as Duet of the Year for eight years, picked up six Grammys, and won a vast array of other awards. In the U.S. alone, they sold over fifteen million albums and were the number one touring act in their industry for 1991.

They were on top of the world when Naomi made the shocking announcement that she was being forced to retire because of a life-threatening liver disease. Their Farewell Concert, televised on cable, was the most successful musical show in pay-per-view history. Their last song together broke America's heart and ended one of the most beloved acts of all time in country music.

Naomi spent the next two years in isolation, reliving her extraordinary life and career for these pages.

Love Can Build a Bridge is written with the same raw emotion and candor that made the Judds such electrifying performers. Funny, shocking, wise, inspiring, and vulnerable, this behind-the-scenes look into the Judds' private lives spares no one and nothing.

Love Can Build a Bridge is a soaring paean of what happens when a fairy tale and grim reality collide."

Saturday, 5 June 2021

Six Degrees of Separation ~ The Bass Rock

  The Bass Rock

Wyld, Evie "The Bass Rock" - 2020

#6Degrees of Separation:
from The Base Rock (Goodreads) to The Stone Diaries

#6Degrees is a monthly link-up hosted by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best. I love the idea. See more about this challenge, its history, further books and how I found this here.

This month's prompt starts with The Bass Rock by Evie Wyld, the winner of the Stella Prize 2021.

As usual, I haven't read the book. Neither have I read anything by the author or ever heard of her. I thought about either starting with a book that takes in Scotland or one with three women but in the end, I went with the words in the title. It's interesting how the same word in a title often leads you to a completely different books.

Simmonds, Jeremy "Number One in Heaven - The heroes who died for Rock 'n' Roll" - 2006
A non-fiction book with facts on all those Rock & Pop icons that have left us far too early due to an untimely death.

Albom, Mitch "The Five People You Meet in Heaven" - 2003
An idea about the meaning of life.

Harris, Joanne "Five Quarters of the Orange" - 2001
A family trying to come to terms with their past, their behaviour in WWII.

LeBor, Adam "City of Oranges. An Intimate History of Arabs and Jews in Jaffa" - 2006
Another non-fiction book about the life in Jaffa before and after the declaration of the state of Israel and how much has changed for its inhabitants.

Löwenstein, Anna "The Stone City" (Esperanto: La Ŝtona Urbo) - 1999
Originally written in Esperanto (and translated into English by the author herself), this novel is a good information about life in the first century both in Britain and in Rome, life in freedom and life as a slave.

Shields, Carol "The Stone Diaries" - 1993
Another novel about the life of a woman born at the beginning of the last century.

And there I've wandered from rock to stone. Not such a long journey this time. 😉

Look for further monthly separation posts here.