Monday 31 March 2014

Scott, Mary "Tea and Biscuits"

Scott, Mary "Tea and Biscuits" - 1961

The third book in the series by Mary Scott about the farmers' wives Susan and Larry whom we've met in "Breakfast at Six" and "Dinner Doesn't Matter".

The families have more members in the meantime, both had another child, so that there are four children plus the twins from their other friend Anne. Plenty to do for two mothers who also lead a busy farmers' life.

However, if one of their loved ones is in danger, they are prepared to risk anything.

This time, it is Larry's uncle Richard who brought her up and is very dear to hear.

As in the other novels, the humour of this book is just wonderful. A feel-good book that can make me laugh every time I read it again.

This is not the first time I read the book and certainly not the last.


From the back cover (translated):

"A shocking message for Susan and Larry: Uncle Richard, around sixty, wants to get married again. The trouble is that Gloria, the chosen one, blond, sweet and only half as old, probably just wants the money of her future husband. 

This must generate a new plan for the two friends who are otherwise brave farmers' wives. With a variety of means and female tricks they try to snatch Richard O'Neill from the clutches of the money-hungry blonde ...

This is the third book in the series. And this is the list of all of them:

"Breakfast at Six" - 1953
"Dinner Doesn’t Matter" - 1957
"Tea and Biscuits"  - 1961
"A Change from Mutton" - 1964
"Turkey at Twelve" - 1968
"Shepherd’s Pie" - 1972
"Strangers for Tea" - 1975
"Board, but no Breakfast" - 1978

Unfortunately, they are out of print and only available second hand or some as an ebook.

Find more of my reviews of books by Mary Scott here.

Saturday 29 March 2014

Book Quotes of the Week

"She reads. She reads. She reads words of splendour to comfort her soul." Leila Hussein

"It's always better to have too much to read than not enough." Ann Patchett

"I was raised among books, making invisible friends in pages that seemed cast from dust and whose smell I carry on my hands to this day." Carlos Ruiz Zafón

"The bookshop has a thousand books, all colours, hues, and tinges, and every cover is a door that turns on magic hinges." Nancy Byrd Turner 

"When reading, we don't fall in love with the characters' appearance. We fall in love with their words, their thoughts, and their hearts. We fall in love with their souls." N.N.

Find more book quotes here.

Thursday 27 March 2014

Ruiz Zafón, Carlos "The Midnight Palace"

Ruiz Zafón, Carlos "The Midnight Palace" (Spanish: El Palacio de la Medianoche) - 1994

Another youth book by Carlos Ruiz Zafón that also deserves being read by adults.

After having read quite a few books by this author about his beloved home city Barcelona, I was surprised to find that this story takes place in India. However, once I started reading, I think I understood why he chose this place. A lot of the story would not have been as plausible in Europe. Not that the story itself was plausible but the real life story was more credible in India than in Spain.

Anyway, as usual, Carlos Ruiz Zafón wrote a wonderful story which kept me in suspension for the whole duration of the book. It reminded me more of a fairy tale than fantasy, maybe that's why I like his writing even though I am not a fan of fantasy in itself. He keeps more in line with the South American writers and their magic realism even though this is time he is quite stretching it.

The beauty of this story is not just the tale itself, no it's the characters, eight young people who are the best of friends, each one of them a hero or heroine in itself, some adults who are also very "good". Lots of twists add to the suspension and if you start reading this book, you might not want to put it down before you have finished it.

Don't tell me I haven't warned you.

See more comments on my ThrowbackThursday post in 2023.

From the back cover:

"1916, Calcutta. A man pauses for breath outside the ruins of Jheeter's Gate station knowing he has only hours to live. Pursued by assassins, he must ensure the safety of two newborn twins, before disappearing into the night to meet his fate. 

1932. Ben and his friends are due to leave the orphanage which has been their home for sixteen years. Tonight will be the final meeting of their secret club, in the old ruin they christened The Midnight Palace. Then Ben discovers he has a sister - and together they learn the tragic story of their past, as a shadowy figures lures them to a terrifying showdown in the ruins of Jheeter's Gate station."

Read about his other books here.

Wednesday 26 March 2014

Thackeray, William Makepeace "Vanity Fair"

Thackeray, William Makepeace "Vanity Fair, or, A Novel without a Hero" - 1848

Okay, so William Makepeace Thackeray is not a Jane Austen. But I didn't expect him to be. He is also not a Charles Dickens. However, he is a valuable classic British writer, someone who made himself a name and who deservedly belongs among the list of great authors. If I had to compare him to any classic writers, I'd say Oscar Wilde comes pretty close.

Seldom have I seen such a persiflage of aristocratic England and its surroundings. The author tries to answer the old question how important rank and money really is? The protagonist of this novel, Miss Rebecca Sharp, called Becky, is born into not too favourable circumstances in the mid 19th century. The author describes the way she tries to find her footing in society, her successes and her downfalls. But there is not just Rebecca Sharp, even she would not have been able to fill a thousand pages of a book. There is her friend Amelia Sedley who also has her share in the problems of a young lady of the time. And then there are countless guys who surround our two, shall we call her heroines? W.M. Thackeray called his novel "Vanity far, or, A Novel without a Hero", that does not mean it cannot have a heroine. For me, there are two. At the time, a woman without a man was nothing. And our two girls have a lot of troubles to go through with or without the help of their fellow men.

An interesting story, partly humorous, partly sad, but overall well written.

Quote: "Which of us is happy in this world" Which of us has his desire? Or, having it, is satisfied?"

From the back cover: 
"Vanity Fair: A Novel without a Hero is a novel by William Makepeace Thackeray, first published in 1847–1848, satirizing society in early 19th-century Britain. The book's title comes from John Bunyan's allegorical story The Pilgrim's Progress, first published in 1678 and still widely read at the time of Thackeray's novel. Vanity Fair refers to a stop along the pilgrim's progress: a never-ending fair held in a town called Vanity, which is meant to represent man's sinful attachment to worldly things. The novel is now considered a classic, and has inspired several film adaptations."

Tuesday 25 March 2014

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Top Ten Things On My Bookish Bucket 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.

March 25: Top Ten Things On My Bookish Bucket List (could be blogging related, book related etc. -- meeting authors, reading x many books per year, finishing a daunting book, etc.)

1. Visiting the Jane Austen Festival in Bath.
2. Visiting Jane Austen's birthplace and other locations important in her life.
3. Visiting the Barcelona of Carlos Ruiz Zafón and going on the Shadow of the Wind walk.
4. Visiting New Zealand and seeing some of the places Mary Scott describes.
5. Have a house with in-built bookshelves, maybe like in Beauty and the Beast. And with a ladder that I can roll around.
6. Study English literature.
7. Visit the most beautiful libraries in the world.
8. Visit the most beautiful bookshops in the world. I've already been to number one, several times.
9. Go to the next book fair in Frankfurt or Leipzig.
10. Visit the locations of all the Jane Austen films and TV adaptations.

I know most of them will not come true but one is always allowed to dream, right? 

And I really have to add a number 11 to this list:
Visiting Haye on Wye during their book festival.

Friday 21 March 2014

Book Quotes of the Week

"A reader doesn't really see the characters in a story; he feels them." Cornelia Funke 

"When I am attacked by gloomy thoughts, nothing helps so much as returning to my books." Michel de Montaigne 

"Books give a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything!" Plato 

"I had never known the pleasure of reading, of exploring the recesses of the soul, of letting myself be carried away by imagination, beauty, and the mystery of fiction and language. For me all those things were born with that novel." Carlos Ruiz Zafón 

"Reading a book is like dreaming. You can't control what's going to happen, but it takes you into a different world." N.N.  

Find more book quotes here.

Thursday 20 March 2014

Karystiani, Ionna "The Jasmine Isle"

Karystiani, Ionna (Ιωάννα Καρυστιάνη) "The Jasmine Isle" (Greek: Μικρά Αγγλία/Mikra Anglia) - 1997 

This is one of the examples where you find several different titles for the same book and you wonder why. The original title "Μικρά Αγγλία" (Mikra Anglia) means "Little England" which is what they call the island in the story, the Spanish have translated that word by word "Pequeña Inglaterra", the German title "Die Frauen von Andros" means "The Women of Andros" which is the name of the island the women live on whereas the Italians and the British call it "The Jasmine Isle" or "L'isola dei gelsomini" respectively. Why? I doubt that even the people responsible for this know the real reason.

I liked the story about the seafaring Greek guys before and during World War II and the women they leave behind on their little island. It is definitely (as mentioned in the German title), the women's story. Ioanna Karystiani describes the protagonists so well, she has an interesting way of introducing both characters as well as incidents. I like her style even though it seems a little confusing at times. But I read somewhere that it is a good recollection of life on the islands at the time. I can imagine since the author herself was born on Crete, larger than Andros but still, a Greek island. When I visited it in the early 2000s, it still seemed stuck in the middle of the past century. Very alluring, very charming but still, life was not as modern as I know it from my part of Europe, so I can imagine that this story is close to reality.

Definitely a Stream of Consciousness novel, worth a read.

From the back cover:

"A modern love story with the force of an ancient Greek tragedy. Set on the spectacular Cycladic island of Andros, The Jasmine Isle one of the finest literary achievements in contemporary Greek literature, recounts the story of the beautiful Orsa Saltaferos, sentenced to marry a man she doesn't love and to watch while the man she does love weds another."

Wednesday 19 March 2014

Ionesco, Eugène "Rhinocéros"

Ionesco, Eugène "Rhinoceros" (French: Rhinocéros) - 1957

I have seen plays by Ionesco, for example "The Bold Primadonna", but never read a book. I don't usually like to read plays, I always say they have to be watched rather than read.

However, I came across this one and hadn't read anything in French for ages, so I started reading it and had a lot of fun.

The story starts with two men sitting in a café and they see a rhinoceros walking by. I don't want to give away the plot, so that is about all I will say about the story.

Only this, the whole the play is fantastic, full of thought-provoking, absurd themes, both philosophical and humoristic. And if you see when it was written, you can also understand the background, the reason for the question "do I need to conform or not?"

I especially enjoyed reading a French book that I liked.

From the back cover:

"When a rhinoceros charges across the town square one Sunday afternoon, Berenger thinks nothing of it. Soon, however, rhinoceroses are popping up everywhere and Berenger's whole world is under threat. What will it take for him to stand up to the increasing menace of rhinocerisation?"

Tuesday 18 March 2014

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Top Ten Books On My Spring 2014 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.

March 18: Top Ten Books On My Spring 2014 TBR List (to be read list)

Austen, Jane "Persuasion" - 1817
Döblin, Alfred "Berlin Alexanderplatz: Die Geschichte vom Franz Biberkopf" (Berlin Alexanderplatz) - 1929
Gaskell, Elizabeth "North and South" - 1854/55
Grossman, David "The Zig Zag Kid" [יש ילדים זיגזג/Jesh Jeladim Zigzag) - 1994
Nafisi, Azar "Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books" - 2003
Northup, Solomon "Twelve Years a Slave" - 1853
Oates, Joyce Carol "Carthage" - 2014
Pamuk, Orhan "Snow" (Kar) - 2002
Ruiz Zafón, Carlos "The Midnight Palace" (El Palacio de la Medianoche) - 1994
Senkiewicz, Henryk "Quo Vadis:A Narrative of the Time of Nero" (Quo Vadis?) - 1895

Monday 17 March 2014

Sendker, Jan-Philipp "The Art of Hearing Heartbeats"

Sendker, Jan-Philipp "The Art of Hearing Heartbeats" (German: Das Herzenhören) - 2002

Jan-Philip Sendker is a German journalist turned author who has written some fantastic books about his experiences as a correspondent in Asia. So far, I have read "Risse in der großen Mauer" [Cracks in the Great Wall], a non-fiction book about the China of today with all its problems in the modern world and "Das Flüstern der Schatten" (Whispering Shadows), a novel about a guy living in contemporary Hongkong. Both books are brilliant but haven't been translated into English, unfortunately.

Therefore, I was quite surprised that "Das Herzenhören" (The Art of Hearing Heartbeats) has been translated into English as well as its sequel "Herzenstimmen" (A Well-Tempered Heart). This is a fantastic chance for my foreign friends to get to know this wonderful author.

The plot of this story sounds easy. A Burmese man who has been living in the United States for ages, goes missing and his Burmese-American daughter follows a trail to Burma. But the background! There is so much in this story, mainly about cultural differences between East and West. I am not Asian, so I don't know how well he manages to stay close to their culture but I have read quite a few books both by Asians as well as Europeans/Americans who have lived there and I think he is doing a good job.

This book is about love, secrets, deceit, and hope. It tells us a beautiful love story. I really love the author's way of writing, his style is beautiful, his method of informing us about the East-West differences is unique. And he makes us think about the important things in life.

I just love his books.

From the back cover:

"A poignant and inspirational love story set in Burma, The Art of Hearing Heartbeats spans the decades between the 1950s and the present.  When a successful New York lawyer suddenly disappears without a trace, neither his wife nor his daughter Julia has any idea where he might be…until they find a love letter he wrote many years ago, to a Burmese woman they have never heard of. Intent on solving the mystery and coming to terms with her father’s past, Julia decides to travel to the village where the woman lived. There she uncovers a tale of unimaginable hardship, resilience, and passion that will reaffirm the reader’s belief in the power of love to move mountains."

Friday 14 March 2014

Book Quotes of the Week

"Time Machines have existed for Centuries" Michael Andereck

"The problem in our country isn't with books being banned, but with people no longer reading. You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them." Ray Bradbury 

"He liked all books, because he liked the mere act of reading, the magic of turning scratches on a page into words inside his head." John Green

"There are a lot of people like me, people who need books the way they need air." Richard Marek

"Writers turn dreams into print." James Michener

Find more book quotes here.

Thursday 13 March 2014

Fo, Dario "My first seven years (plus a few more)"

Fo, Dario "My first seven years (plus a few more)" (Italian: Il Paese dei Mezaràt: I miei primi sette anni (e qualcuno in più)) - 2004

I know this is not one of the books for which Dario Fo received his Nobel Prize because he wrote it seven years later.

However, you can see from this book how the writer Dario Fo developed from a small child into a Nobel Laureate. And he is not just a famous writer, he is also an actor and comedian. And just listening to his stories makes you believe that he is a very good one. He is the little boy who always makes everyone laugh, especially during the hard times of the war.

The title and the story of the book come from a quote by Bruno Bettelheim: "All I ask is that you give me the first seven years of the life of a man. It’s all there; you can keep the rest." Luckily for us, Dario Fo carries on a little longer for this, so we can also look into the Italian Resistance against Fascism.

Some of the stories are quite funny and the whole book is quite easy to read. I am interested in reading more of this author.

One quote that I really liked:
"When a farmer dies who knows the land and the story of the people working it, when a wise man dies, who knows how to read the moon and the sun, the wind and the flight of the birds, ... not just one man dies. It's a whole library that dies."

From the back cover:

"An extraordinary coming-of-age memoir by the Nobel-Prize-winning playwright.

My First Seven Years is Dario Fo's fantastic, enchanting memoir of his youth spent in Northern Italy on the shores of Lago Maggiore. As a child, Fo grew up in a picturesque village teeming with glass-blowers, smugglers and storytellers. Of his teenage years, Fo recounts the struggles of the Fascists and Partisans, the years of World War II, and his own tragicomic experience trying to desert the Fascist army.

In a series of colorful vignettes, Fo draws us into a remarkable early life filled with characters and anecdotes that would become the inspiration for his own creative genius."

Dario Fo "who emulates the jesters of the Middle Ages in scourging authority and upholding the dignity of the downtrodden" received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1997.

I contribute to this page: Read the Nobels and you can find all my blogs about Nobel Prize winning authors and their books here.

Tuesday 11 March 2014

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Top Ten All Time Favourite Books in X Genre

"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.

March 11: Top Ten All Time Favourite Books in X Genre (you pick the genre!)

I didn't have to think one second which genre to choose from. Classics, definitely classics.
And here are my top twelve of my all time favourites. (Sorry, sometimes you just need a dozen.)

Austen, Jane "Persuasion" - 1817
Brontë, Anne "The Tenant of Wildfell Hall" - 1848
Collins, Wilkie "The Moonstone" - 1868
Dickens, Charles "Great Expectations" - 1861
Dostoyevsky, Fyodor "Crime and Punishment" (Преступление и наказание) - 1866
Droste-Hülshoff, Annette von "The Jew's Beech" (Die Judenbuche) - 1842
Eliot, George "Middlemarch" - 1871-72
Fontane, Theodor "Effi Briest" (Effi Briest) - 1894
Lessing, Gotthold Ephraim "Nathan the Wise" (Nathan der Weise) - 1779
Mann, Thomas "Buddenbrooks: The Decline of a Family" (Buddenbrooks) - 1901
Tolstoy, Lew Nikolajewitsch (Толстой, Лев Николаевич) "War and Peace" (Война и мир = Woina I mir) - 1868/69
Trollope, Anthony "Barchester Chronicles" - 1855-1867

Monday 10 March 2014

The "Piggybank" Challenge 2014

I have taken part in this challenge last year and decided to carry on. Why? You will discover once you read this text:

This is a challenge idea by a German blogger. I have translated her text and you can find the original site here at "Willkommen im Bücherkaffee".

How long does this challenge last?
1 March 2014 to 1 March 2015

What goes into the piggybank?
For every book I've read - €2.00 into the piggybank
(Amount can be individually altered, of course)

    • For every finished book, the amount chosen is inserted into the piggy bank/ money box.
    • This money is then off limits until the end of the challenge, i.e. the piggybank stays closed.
    • On 1 March the piggybank can be opened and you can go shopping extensively - or carry on reading and saving.
    • Be consistent and put the money into the bank immediately, otherwise you will lose track easily. (Personally, I put the books I read right next to the money box  until I drop the money in, otherwise it gets forgotten very quickly. Only after that do i put the book back on the shelf.)
    • A list of books read would be very nice because you can perfectly observe the savings success.
    • In addition, it would be great if you post a challenge post on your blog. This way, everyone can follow the progress of the other challenge participants so much easier. If you don't have a blog, then just leave a comment here in the comments from time to time about your opinion or your progress.

    Would you like to join us?
    Go ahead ! It is worthwhile in any case and you will not regret it.

    Just write in the comments or by email to and send your link to the post. You may use the challenge logo with a link to the challenge in the Bücherkaffee.

    The hashtag for the Twitter exchange : # Sparstrumpf

    Would you like to join?
    Go on. It is worthwhile in any care and you will certainly not regret it.

    Last year, I read 95 books in that timeframe which resulted in €190 to spend on something nice. :-D

    My progress (I add the German title, if available, for my German friends):
    Sendker, Jan-Philipp "Das Herzenhören" (The Art of Hearing Heartbeats) - 2002
    Ionesco, Eugène "Rhinocéros" (Die Nashörner) - 1957
    Karystiani, Ionna (Ιωάννα Καρυστιάνη) "The Jasmine Isle" (Μικρά Αγγλία/Mikra Anglia/Die Frauen von Andros) - 1997
    Thackeray, William Makepeace "Vanity Fair, or, A Novel without a Hero" (Jahrmarkt der Eitelkeit) - 1848
    Scott, Mary "Tea and Biscuits" (Tee und Toast) - 1961
    NDiaye, Marie "Rosie Carpe" (Rosie Carpe/Rosie Carpe) - 2001
    Ruiz Zafón, Carlos "The Midnight Palace" (El Palacio de la Medianoche/Der Mitternachtspalast)
    Austen, Jane "Persuasion" (Überredung/Anne Elliot) - 1817
    Linthout, Dik "Onbekende buren" (Frau Antje und Herr Mustermann) [Unknown Neighbours] - 2002
    Lander, Leena "The Order" (Käsky) - 2003
    Nabokov, Vladimir "Lolita" - 1955
    Wolff, Uwe "Wo war Jesus zwischen Karfreitag und Ostersonntag? Das Leben Jesu für unsere Zeit erzählt" [Where was Jesus between Good Friday and Easter Sunday? The Life of Jesus told for our time] - 2003
    Seth, Vikram "Two Lives" - 2005
    Pamuk, Orhan "Snow" - 2002
    Scott, Mary "A Change From Mutton" - 1964
    Calvino, Italo "Why Read the Classics?" (Perché leggere i classici?) 1991
    Christie, Agatha "Poirot Investigates" (Poirot rechnet ab) - 1924
    Mann, Thomas "Der Tod in Venedig" (Death in Venice) - 1912
    Kishon, Ephraim "Kein Applaus für Podmanitzki. Satirisches" [No Applause For Podmanitzki. Satirical] - 1973
    Dallaire, Roméo "They Fight Like Soldiers, They Die Like Children: The Global Quest to Eradicate the Use of Child Soldiers" - 2010
    Nafisi, Azar "Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books" (Lolita lesen in Teheran) - 2003
    Lindgren, Astrid "Seacrow Island" (Vi på Saltkråkan/ Ferien auf Saltkrokan) - 1964
    Tartt, Donna "The Goldfinch" - 2013
    Sienkiewicz, Henryk "Quo Vadis: A Narrative of the Time of Nero" (Quo Vadis?/Quo vadis) - 1895
    Heller, Joseph "Catch-22" (Der IKS-Haken) - 1961
    Austen, Jane "Emma" (Emma) - 1816
    Green, John "The Fault in Our Stars" (Das Schicksal ist ein mieser Verräter) - 2012
    Palma, Félix J. "The Map of the Sky" (El mapa del cielo/Die Landkarte des Himmels) - 2012
    Gaarder, Jostein "Sophie's World" (Sofies verden/Sofies Welt) - 1991
    Ruiz Zafón, Carlos "El principe de parnaso" (Der Prinz von Parnass) [The Prince of Parnass] - 2012 .
    Montgomery, LM "Anne of Green Gables" (Anne auf Green Gables) - 1908
    McCulloch, Colleen "The Thorn Birds" (Dornenvögel) - 1977
    Scott, Mary "Turkey at Twelve" (Truthahn um Zwölf) - 1968
    See, Lisa "Peony in Love" (Eine himmlische Liebe) - 2007
    Burgess, Anthony "A Clockwork Orange" - 1962
    Aaronovitch, Ben "Moon over Soho" (Schwarzer Mond über Soho) - 2011 (Rivers of London 2)
    Nietzsche, Friedrich "Also sprach Zarathustra. Ein Buch für Alle und Keinen" (Thus spoke Zarathustra. A Book for All and None) - 1883-85
    Stratmann, Cordula "Sie da oben, er da unten" [She up there above, he down there below] - 2010
    Döblin, Alfred "Berlin Alexanderplatz: Die Geschichte vom Franz Biberkopf" (Berlin Alexanderplatz: The Story of Franz Biberkopf) - 1929
    Korschunow, Irina "Von Juni zu Juni" [From June to June] - 1999
    Byatt, A.S. "Ragnarok. The End of the Gods" (Ragnarök. Das Schicksal der Götter) - 2011
    Bryson, Bill "One Summer: America, 1927" (Sommer 1927) - 2013
    Brizuela, Leopoldo "Nacht über Lissabon" (Lisboa. Un melodrama) [Night over Lisbon] - 2010
    Scott, Mary "Shepherd’s Pie" (Geliebtes Landleben) - 1972
    Austen, Jane "Northanger Abbey" (Kloster Northanger) - 1818
    Dahl, Roald "The Best of Roald Dahl" - 1978
    Bradbury, Ray "The Martian Chronicles" (Die Mars-Chroniken) - 1950
    Shields, Carol "The Stone Diaries" (Das Tagebuch der Daisy Goodfellow) - 1993
    Harris, Joanne "Blackberry Wine" (Wie wilder Wein) - 2000
    Faulkner, William "Light in August" (Licht im August) - 1932
    Hislop, Victoria "The Last Dance and Other Stories" - 2012
    Berry, Wendell "Hannah Coulter" (dto.) - 2004
    Pamuk, Orhan "Der Koffer meines Vaters" (Babamın Bavulu) [My Father's Suitcase] - 2007
    Scott, Mary "Strangers for Tea" (Fremde Gäste) - 1975
    Baxter, Charles "The Soul Thief" - 2008
    Hunter, Stephen "Night of Thunder: a Bob Lee Swagger novel" - 2008
    Roth, Charlotte "Als wir unsterblich waren" [When We Were Immortal] - 2014
    Austen, Jane "Sense & Sensibility" (Verstand & Gefühl/Sinn & Sinnlichkeit) - 1811
    Vermes, Timur "Er ist wieder da" (Look who's back) - 2012
    Dickens, Charles "The Pickwick Papers" (dto.) - 1836
    Montagu, Ewen "The Man Who Never Was" - 1953
    Hamdi Tanpınar, Ahmet Hamdi "The Time Regulation Institute" (Saatleri Ayarlama Enstitüsü/Das Uhrenstellinstitut) - 1961
    Scott, Mary "Board, but no Breakfast" (Übernachtung - Frühstück ausgeschlossen) - 1978
    Lahiri, Jhumpa "The Namesake" (Der Namensvetter) - 2003
    Lamb, Wally "We are water" - 2013
    Brown, Daniel James "The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics" - 2013
    Sefton, Maggie "Knit One, Kill Two" - 2005
    Smiley, Jane "Some Luck" (Last Hundred Years: A Family Saga #1) - 2014
    Virgil "The Aeneid" (Aeneid lat.) - 29-19 BC
    Clayton, Meg Waite "The Wednesday Sisters" - 2008
    Follett, Ken "Fall of Giants" (Sturz der Titanen) - 2010
    Mann, Thomas "Buddenbrooks" (Buddenbrooks: The Decline of a Family) - 1901

    Saturday 8 March 2014

    Book Quotes of the Week

    "We read to know that we are not alone." C.S. Lewis

    "Stock your mind. It is your house of treasures and no one in the world can interfere with it." Frank McCourt 

    "She entered the story knowing she would emerge from it feeling she had been immersed in the lives of others, in plots that stretched back twenty years, her body full of sentences and moments, as if awaking from sleep with a heaviness caused by unremembered dreams." Michael Ondaatje in "The English Patient"

    "Every book, every volume you see here, has a soul. The soul of the person who wrote it and of those who read it and lived and dreamed with it. Every time a book changes hands, every time someone runs his eyes down its pages, its spirit grows and strengthens." Carlos Ruiz Zafón in "La Sombra del Viento" (The Shadow of the Wind)

    "A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading." William Styron

    "Books! People never really stop loving books. 51st century. By now, you've got holovids, direct-to-brain downloads, fiction mist. But you need the smell. The smell of books, Donna - Deep Breath!" The Doctor (Doctor Who, TV Series)

    Find more book quotes here.

    Thursday 6 March 2014

    Bryson, Bill "Shakespeare: The World as a Stage"

    Bryson, Bill "Shakespeare: The World as a Stage" - 2007

    Bill Bryson belongs to one of my favourite authors. I first started to love him for his hilarious travel stories, then admire him for his knowledge about the English language and in the end respect him for his in-depth research into all sorts of knowledge.

    He has outdone himself again. I knew that we didn't know much about Shakespeare's life but I never knew that we knew so little. But to make a whole book out of the little that is known and to paint a good picture about one of the most important people in history, that requires quite a talent and I can't imagine a better writer for this than Bill Bryson.

    He guides us into the world of playwrights, almost the beginning of theatre as we know it. We visit the England of Elizabeth I with all its glory and horror, we see how people lived and died. All that through the description of one man of whom little is known. But what a man, he had a profound impact on this world, even on today's society. His contribution to the English language is huge and anyone who learns it comes across him at one point or another. Having said that, even if people don't learn the English language, his plays have been translated into every major language, and will have been watched by more people than those of any other writer dead or alive.

    And, as I said before, I think only Bill Bryson would know how to tackle this enormous task of writing about someone who has been dead for almost 400 years and left little behind than his plays.

    See more comments on my ThrowbackThursday post in 2023.

    From the back cover:

    "World-famous writer Bill Bryson brings us this brilliantly readable biography of our greatest dramatist and poet William Shakespeare.

    Examining centuries of myths, half-truths and downright lies, Bill Bryson makes sense of the man behind the masterpieces. In a journey through the streets of Shakespeare's time, he brings to life the hubbub of Elizabethan England and a host of characters along the way. Bryson celebrates the glory of Shakespeare’s language - his ceaseless inventiveness gave us hundreds of now indispensable phrases, images and words - and delights in details of his fall-outs and folios, poetry and plays.

    Stitching together information from a vast array of sources, he created a unique celebration of one of the most significant, and least understood, figures in history - not to mention a classic piece of Bill Bryson.

    See my post about all of his books here.

    Wednesday 5 March 2014

    Frisch, Max "Homo Faber"

    Frisch, Max "Homo Faber" (German: Homo Faber) - 1957

    I have no idea why I never read this. Maybe because most students in Germany hated any kind of classic literature, classic meaning written about ten years before we went to school.

    So many issues in this book. Max Faber is Swiss and works around the world as an engineer. His colleagues call him Homo Faber as in the man who makes things, a direct translation from Latin.

    You can tell he is a logic thinker but is world is everything but logic. His thoughts travel from World War II to the love of his youth or maybe even the love of his life, His trip to Mexico ends in a massive amount of coincidences which, would they happen to us in real life, we would never believe. Neither does Max. And that's what blinds him, makes him ignore the obvious.

    Anyway, this book is a philosophical one, a thinker. We travel through time and space alongside Walter but also accompany him on his way into wisdom, into the "he who can see" part of his life.

    Interesting story, good read, great writing.

    From the back cover:

    "Walter Faber, engineer, is a man for whom only the tangible, calculable, verifiable exists. Dubbed Homo Faber (Man the Maker) by associates, he is devoted to the service of a purely technological world. This devoted service is not, however, without cost: on a flight to South America Faber succumbs to what he interprets as "fatigue phenomena," and we see him lose touch with reality. A return to New York and to his American mistress only convinces him of a need for further rest. Accordingly he boards a ship for Europe, where he encounters a girl who, for reasons of which he is unaware, strongly attracts him. They travel together to France, Italy, and finally Greece, where chance and fate, in an ironic twist on a theme of classic tragedy, make a blind man see."

    Max Frisch received the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade (Friedenspreis) in 1976. 

    I also read "The Arsonists" by the same author.

    Tuesday 4 March 2014

    Top Ten Tuesday ~ Top Ten Popular Authors I've Never Read

    "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.

    March 4: Top Ten Popular Authors I've Never Read

    This was not a tough topic to find authors, in fact, I could have probably taken any list of crime writers, science fiction writers, fantasy writers and most of all chick lit writers. You name them, I probably haven't and will not read a book by them. So, here is a short list of authors by whom I have never read a book.

    Tom Clancy
    Michael Crighton
    Patricia Cornwell
    Ian Fleming
    Stephen King
    Stephene Meyer
    James Patterson
    Anne Rice
    Nora Roberts
    Danielle Steel

    Monday 3 March 2014

    Scott, Mary "Dinner Doesn’t Matter"

    Scott, Mary "Dinner Doesn’t Matter" - 1957

    One of my favourite authors of my youth was Mary Scott, an author from New Zealand who was probably best known outside of her country in Germany because all her books were translated into German. I first found her in our local library and later bought all her books.

    I still like them and reread them from time to time. The latest one was "Dinner Doesn't Matter", a sequel to "Breakfast at Six".

    In this novel we meet Susan and Larry again, the two friends married to sheep farmers in the middle of nowhere in New Zealand. They have both become mothers in the meantime but that doesn't keep them from getting into trouble, more often than their husbands Paul and Sam would like to know.

    But the biggest trouble comes from Susan's sister Dawn who has come to visit for nine months. She is twenty years old but rather than being a help, she needs a babysitter of her own.

    At last, true to Mary Scott fashion, everything turns out to be alright in the end.

    Another hilarious story by this wonderful writer.

    This is the second book in the series. And this is the list of all of them:
    "Breakfast at Six" - 1953
    "Dinner Doesn’t Matter" - 1957
    "Tea and Biscuits"  - 1961
    "A Change From Mutton" - 1964
    "Turkey at Twelve" - 1968
    "Shepherd’s Pie" - 1972
    "Strangers for Tea" - 1975
    "Board, but no Breakfast" - 1978

    From the back cover: "A New Zealand family story set in the country: a sequel to Breakfast at Six."