Friday 29 April 2016

Book Quotes of the Week

"Never judge a book by its movie." J.W. Eagan

"Old or new, the only sign I always try to rid my books of (usually with little success) is the price-sticker that malignant booksellers attach to the backs. These evil white scabs rip off with difficulty, leaving leprous wounds and traces of slime to which adhere the dust and fluff of ages, making me wish for a special gummy hell to which the inventor of these stickers would be condemned." Alberto Manguel, The Library at Night

"When a new book is published, read an old one." Samuel Rogers

"Literacy arouses hopes, not only in society as a whole but also in the individual who is striving for fulfilment, happiness and personal benefit by learning how to read and write. Literacy... means far more than learning how to read and write... The aim is to transmit... knowledge and promote social participation." UNESCO Institute for Education, Hamburg, Germany 

"There are no such things as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written or badly written." Oscar Wilde

Find more book quotes here.

Thursday 28 April 2016

Stevenson, Robert Louis "Treasure Island"

Stevenson, Robert Louis "Treasure Island" - 1881/82

I have never read this book before in my life. I haven't even seen one of the many different film adaptations but I was familiar with a lot of the characters, especially Jim Hawkins, Captain Flint and the parrot of the same name, Long John Silver, well, the main ones.

I wouldn't call this a children's book, yes, children can read it, but the story is also interesting for adults, quite some excitement going on, you need to guess what might happen next and won't succeed every time.

If someone had asked me beforehand whether I would like this, I am sure I would not have known. But I really did like it. A lot of drama and action in the story. So, if you don't want too much love in your classics, maybe this is one for you. A true classic.

From the back cover:

"Originally conceived as a story for boys, Stevenson's novel is narrated by the teenage Jim Hawkins, who outwits a gang of murderous pirates led by that unforgettable avatar of immorality, Long John Silver. Admired by Mark Twain, Rudyard Kipling, and (reluctantly) Henry James, the story has the dreamlike quality of a fairy tale. It has worked its way into the collective imagination of more than five generations of readers, young and old alike, gaining the power of myth.

Although thoroughly British in its setting and characters, Treasure Island, as John Seelye shows, has an American dimension, drawing on the author's experiences living in California, and owes no small debt to Washington Irving's ghost stories and James Fenimore Cooper's tales of adventures. This edition also includes Stevenson's own essay about the composition of Treasure Island, written just before his death."

Tuesday 26 April 2016

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Top Ten Bookworm Delights

"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

April 26: Top Ten Bookworm Delights

What is it that makes me love books so much - other than its contents, of course. Just about anything that has to do with them, from the look to the feel to the smell ... Anyway, here is my list of bookworm delights, not really in order of importance, just in order that they came to me.

1. The book cover, especially if they relate to the story, if they show what it might be about, when it gives you the idea what could happen in the book.

2. A new book. It always smells so nice and flipping through the pages like a deck of cards is one of the nicest things you can do with a new book.

3. Finding a book that I've been looking for for ages in a shop, especially in a used bookstore. Reminds me of treasure hunting.

4. Finding a reader, somewhere, on the train, at the doctor ... who reads a book I have read. Yet another joy of real books vs. ebooks, you can always see the cover and then see what the other before.

5. Reading in a quiet corner on a rainy day with a cup of coffee next to me.

6. Looking at my bookshelves. Saying hello to all the books I ever read as if they were old friends. Stories come back to mind as soon as I see the book. Almost as good as reading them again. Almost.

7. Taking a book anywhere I go. Trips, doctor's appointments, hairdresser, anywhere I might have to wait for a while. I'm never bored.

8. Talking about a book. Be it with a good friend, in a book club or with a total stranger you happen upon

9. Discovering an author new to me who has been writing a lot of books before.

And last but not least:
10. Travelling the world. Even though - due to my illness, I cannot go out much and travel even less, I can "visit" any place I want with my book. Even travel in time.

There are many many more reasons why I love books and many many more things I love about books, this is just a random, quick list of a few of those points.

Monday 25 April 2016

Filipović, Zlata "Zlata's Diary"

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

I recently read "Rose of Sarajevo" by Ayşe Kulin and remembered that I always wanted to read this book. My son read it in school and so it was in our house. No chasing after it in a bookshop or waiting until my library found it on an inter library exchange.

This is a wonderful account about a war. The interesting thing is that Zlata started this diary before the war where she is all girly and interested in all the stuff girls of her age are just interested in. so, we can see how her life changes with the war, how all she is interested in now is how to survive and how to find food. A brilliant way of showing the world that war destroys everything and punishes especially those that are innocent, most often women and children. A way of seeing the war through the eyes of a child.

Like Anne Frank in "The Diary of a Young Girl", she gives her diary a name (Mimmy) and like Anne Frank's diary, I think everyone should read this.

From the back cover:

"In a voice both innocent and wise, touchingly reminiscent of Anne Frank's, Zlata Filipovic's diary has awoken the conscience of the world. Now thirteen years old, Zlata began her diary just before her eleventh birthday, when there was peace in Sarajevo and her life was that of a bright, intelligent, carefree young girl. Her early entries describe her friends, her new skis, her family, her grades at school, her interest in joining the Madonna Fan Club. And then, on television, she sees the bombs falling on Dubrovnik. Though repelled by the sight, Zlata cannot conceive of the same thing happening in Sarajevo. When it does, the whole tone of her diary changes. Early on, she starts an entry to 'Dear Mimmy' (named after her dead goldfish): 'SLAUGHTERHOUSE! MASSACRE! HORROR! CRIMES! BLOOD! SCREAMS! DESPAIR!' We see the world of a child increasingly circumscribed by the violence outside. Zlata is confined to her family's apartment, spending the nights, as the shells rain down mercilessly, in a neighbor's cellar. And the danger outside steadily invades her life. No more school. Living without water and electricity. Food in short supply. The onslaught destroys the pieces she loves, kills or injures her friends, visibly ages her parents. In one entry Zlata cries out, 'War has nothing to do with humanity. War is something inhuman.' In another, she thinks about killing herself. Yet, with indomitable courage and a clarity of mind well beyond her years, Zlata preserves what she can of her former existence, continuing to study piano, to find books to read, to celebrate special occasions - recording it all in the pages of this extraordinary diary."

Friday 22 April 2016

Book Quotes of the Week

"You learn to write by reading, and my experiences and tastes as a reader are pretty wide." Justin Cronin

"Sixty years ago I knew everything. Now I know nothing. Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance." Will Durant

"Some people will lie, cheat, steal and back-stab to get ahead... and to think, all they have to do is READ." Fortune

"The love of books is a love which requires neither justification, apology, nor defense." J.A. Langford

"A truly good book teaches me better than to read it. I must soon lay it down, and commence living on its hint.... What I began by reading, I must finish by acting." Henry David Thoreau

Find more book quotes here.

Wednesday 20 April 2016

Hooks, Bell "All About Love: New Visions"

Hooks, Bell "All About Love: New Visions" - 1999

I read this because it was suggested in the Goodreads group created by Emma Watson "Our Shared Shelf".

I thought this might be a good and interesting non-fiction book but found that it sounded more like those self-help ones that promise that everything will be fine as long as you love yourself and love the world and all such stuff. Yeah, I'm not really a yoga-meditation kind of person and I don't believe that you can change everything in the world once you start looking at it different. How will we get rid of terrorists? Love yourself? How will we prevent World War III? Love yourself? You see the drift and you see the problem I have with that sort of stuff. I have lived in a very hateful environment for a long long time and I cannot change people's minds, I have to live with it. It doesn't make it better if people start telling me that I just have to change my mind and everything will be find. Would they have told that to a Jew who was carted off to a concentration camp? And how many of them would have believed them?

All in all, I think this book is more depressive than uplifting. One of the books where I wish I could speed-read and just get through a hundred pages in a minute, that sort of thing.  I will stop now because otherwise I will just be rambling on like the author did.

From the back cover: "A visionary and accessible book, bell hooks's All About Love offers radical new ways to think about love. Here, hooks, one of our most acute social critics, takes the themes that put her on the map - the relationship between love and sexuality, and the interconnectedness between the public and the private - and challenges the prevailing notion that romantic love is more important than all other bonds.
All About Love is a blueprint for finding myriad types of love, which hold the redemptive power to change our minds and lives. In thirteen concise chapters, hooks explains how our everyday notions of what it means to give and receive love often fail us, and how these ideals are established in early childhood. But challenging us to think of love as an action, not a feeling, hooks offers a rethinking  of self-love (without narcissism) that will bring peace and compassion to our personal and professional lives.
Imaginative and original, hooks shows how love heals the wounds we bear as individuals and as a nation. All About Love, written in vivid, provocative, and sensual language, is as much about culture as it is about intimacy. In exploring the ties between love and loss, hooks takes us on a journey that is sacred and transcendent. Her destination: our own hearts and communities."

Tuesday 19 April 2016

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Ten Books That Will Make You Laugh (or at least chuckle)

"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

April 19: Ten Books That Will Make You Laugh (or at least chuckle)

Bryson, Bill - Any book he ever wrote
Busch, Wilhelm "Max and Moritz" (Max und Moritz) - 1865
Dahl, Roald "The Best of Roald Dahl" - 1978
Dickens, Charles "The Pickwick Papers" - 1836
Ephron, Nora "I Feel Bad About My Neck And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman" - 2006
Ionesco, Eugène "Rhinoceros" (Rhinocéros) - 1957
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
Kishon, Ephraim - anything
McCarthy, Pete "McCarthy’s Bar" - 2002
Rosendorfer, Herbert "Letters Back to Ancient China" (Briefe in die chinesische Vergangenheit) - 1983
Tanpınar, Ahmet Hamdi "The Time Regulation Institute" (Saatleri Ayarlama Enstitüsü) - 1961

I have tried to add a few that were not English in the original to widen the choice. There are funny books written everywhere in the world.
If you are looking for more funny books, please, check out my label: Humour 

Monday 18 April 2016

Scott, Mary "What Does It Matter"

Scott, Mary "What Does It Matter" - 1966

Another nice little Mary Scott novel. As most of the readers of my blogs might know my now, I read all these stories when I was a teenager. Here is another one that talks about a young girl that tries to get through life in the New Zealand outback. Her father left her a farm that is highly in debt and she has a lot of problems trying to manage it. But she is a happy go lucky kind of girl and finds humour even when life gives her more than the obvious lemons.

It wouldn't be Mary Scott if the book didn't have a happy ending, though, so it is a very enjoyable read.

Unfortunately, Mary Scott's books are out of print and only available second hand. I have heard in the meantime, that you can buy some of them as eBooks.

From the back cover (translated): "When a young, carefree girl suddenly sees herself given a task, to manage a farm - and moreover one in a debt - then everything else is easy.
But thanks you her merry temperament and unclouded optimism, Sally goes through the difficulties with ease, she knows how to help herself and her friends through all the big and small troubles.
Even when her childhood friend Simon Hunter is in a jam, Sally quickly finds a solution. Spontaneously she declares herself Simon's fiancé - and suddenly she's in trouble herself.
In the end, there is a way that is as startling as it is obvious ..."

Friday 15 April 2016

Book Quotes of the Week

"Reading… a vacation for the mind…." Dave Barry

"One should be wary of people who have only read one book. ..." Giacomo Casanova

"A book is a friend whose face is constantly changing. If you read it when you are recovering from an illness, and return to it years after, it is changed surely, with the change in yourself." Andrew Lang

"Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. But a book is never just a book." The Old Sage Bookshop in Prescott, Arizona 

"There is a temperate zone in the mind, between luxurious indolence and exacting work; and it is to this region, just between laziness and labor, that summer reading belongs." Henry Ward Beecher

Find more book quotes here.

Thursday 14 April 2016

Swarup, Vikas "Q & A"

Swarup, Vikas "Q & A" - 2005

This book proves it again. Never judge a book by its cover. Or its movie. Or the description of the movie. After all the upheaval about the movie (Slumdog Millionaire), I thought this was just another chick lit, the way it was described it was an "easy" read, a "beach" read, whatever you might want to call it if you say there is really nothing in it that's worth touching.

This was not at all what I expected. Yes, a little Indian waiter wins an immense amount of money and is put into jail for it. But the story is so much more. For every single correct answer there is a story why the boy knew it even though he grew up in the slums. So we learn one question after the next about the life, not just of young Ram Mohammad Thomas but about many other people living in India, especially the poor ones.

A book well worth reading. Yes, it is an easy read but with a lot of content, funny and tragic at the same time, lovely and heart-breaking.

From the back cover: 

"Eighteen-year-old Ram Mohammad Thomas is in prison after answering twelve questions correctly on a TV quiz show to win one billion rupees. The producers have arrested him, convinced that he has cheated his way to victory. Twelve extraordinary events in street-kid Ram's life - how he was found in a dustbin by a priest; came to have three names; fooled a professional hitman; even fell in love - give him the crucial answers. In his warm-hearted tale lies all the comedy, tragedy, joy and pathos of modern India."

Wednesday 13 April 2016

Kulin, Ayşe "Rose of Sarajevo"

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

I remember the time of the Yugoslavian war very well. Yugoslavia had seemed a peaceful country with peaceful people, we had quite a few guest workers coming from there and the Yugoslavians I met were always very happy people. We had never heard them speaking of being Bosnians, Croatians or Serbs or anything else, just Yugoslavians. I even remember a very happy song about their country.

Then, all of a sudden, war breaks loose. It must have been a huge surprise to anyone involved and this story tells us all about it. We can't just learn about the way the Bosnians lived under the war, how they suffered, but also hear a lot about the history before it, the trial to understand how this all could happen. Well, as if people who want a war ever need a reason for it.

This is the story of a woman and her family, how they go through the war. The daughter evens starts a diary like Zlata Filipović in "Zlata's Diary".

In any case, we can learn a lot from this book. Hopefully stand up the next time such an atrocity happens. I learned from my Turkish book club members, that the author's family is originally Bosnian, that she has many links to the country. This wasn't mentioned in the book but I thought it was an interesting fact.

This is my first book by Ayşe Kulin but it will certainly not my last.

We discussed this in our book club in April 2016.

From the back cover: "Ever since Nimeta was a child, she’d done exactly what was expected of her. She married a responsible man she met in college, had two children, and established a busy journalism career - and there was no reason to think anything would ever change. Then one day, while reporting on a protest in Zagreb, Nimeta’s life takes a dramatic turn. Not only does she lay eyes on a handsome reporter who captures her heart, but a little-known politician by the name of Slobodan Milosevic delivers a speech fanning the flames of long-dormant Serbian nationalism. As her love affair intensifies and political tensions build, Nimeta is forced to reconsider everything she thought she knew about family, love, loyalty, and humanity itself. Navigating both the new landscape of her heart and that of her beloved war-torn city, Nimeta must draw upon her deepest reserves of inner strength to keep her family safe.
A moving drama set against the backdrop of the crisis that rocked the Balkans in the 1990s, Rose of Sarajevo reveals the tremendous lengths people will go to in the name of love."

Tuesday 12 April 2016

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Top Ten Books Every Classic Lover Should 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

April 12: Ten Books Everyone Should Read 
(Since I love classics, I have decided classics it must be.)

Austen, Jane "Persuasion" - 1817
Brontë, Charlotte "Villette" - 1853
Camus, Albert "The Plague" (La Peste) - 1947
Dickens, Charles "Great Expectations" - 1861
Dostoevsky, Fyodor "Crime and Punishment" (Преступление и наказание = Prestupleniye i nakazaniye) - 1866
Eliot, George "Middlemarch" - 1871-72
If you are looking for more classic books, please, check out my label.

Monday 11 April 2016

Marini, Lorenzo "The Man of the Tulips"

Marini, Lorenzo "The Man of the Tulips" (Italian: L'uomo dei tulipani) - 2002

An interesting story about a flower painter in Amsterdam in the 17th century. The story itself is a love story but it also tells us a lot about life in the Netherlands at the time, the love and craziness for tulips about which I already read in Deborah Moggach's "Tulip Fever", "The Tulip" by Anna Pavord and another one by Mike Dash, Mike "Tulipomania: The Story of the World’s Most Coveted Flower and the Extraordinary Passions It Aroused".

Granted, they give you more information but if you want a book that doesn't concentrate fully on the tulips and the tulip craze but also read about the life in Amsterdam at the time, this might be a little easier to read than the two latter ones. "Tulip Fever" is also a novel.

From the back cover:

"The Man of the Tulips is a story lived four hundred years ago that could be lived again tomorrow in sixteenth century Holland, where a series of stories cross each other’s path and destiny, where in a century of observation, a group of characters, strange and eccentric, a parody of our amplified human defects, live their own adventures."

Friday 8 April 2016

Book Quotes of the Week

"Children are made readers on the laps of their parents." Emilie Buchwald

"A man may as well expect to grow stronger by always eating as wiser by always reading." Jeremy Collier

"It often requires more courage to read some books than it does to fight a battle." Sutton Elbert Griggs

"Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude." Thomas Jefferson

"It is not enough to simply teach children to read; we have to give them something worth reading. Something that will stretch their imaginations--something that will help them make sense of their own lives and encourage them to reach out toward people whose lives are quite different from their own." Katherine Patterson

Find more book quotes here.

Thursday 7 April 2016

Bryson, Bill "A Walk in the Woods"

Bryson, Bill "A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail" - 1998

As one of the biggest Bill Bryson fans, I guess everyone is surprised that I never read "A Walk in the Woods" before. But I have not. I think he wrote so many books about the States that somehow this one was buried under that huge pile. And I'm not the biggest nature fan myself.

However, I ran out of good funny books and had to attempt this one. Especially since a good friend who loves the same kind of books as I do also just read and highly recommended it.

I was not disappointed. Same as in all his other travel books, Bill Bryson writes one of the funniest accounts of a mega-hike. Initially, he intends to walk the whole Appalachian trail but then he does take breaks. Still, he walks about 870 miles which amounts to only about a third of the whole trail. Well, I think he did a tremendous job. I know, I couldn't have done even a third of that, so kudos Mr. Bryson.

The story itself is hilarious, the author manages to describe everything in such a funny way that you cannot avoid laughing.

Warning: Do NOT attempt to read this in public if you don't want everyone looking at "that person who just can't stop laughing".  I mean it.

I have a blogpost called "Bill Bryson - Funniest Author ever" where I link to all my Bryson reviews.

See more comments on my ThrowbackThursday post in 2023.

From the back cover:

The longest continuous footpath in the world, the Appalachian Trail stretches along the East Coast of the United States, from Georgia to Maine, through some of the most arresting and celebrated landscapes in America.

At the age of forty-four, in the company of his friend Stephen Katz (last seen in the bestselling Neither Here nor There), Bill Bryson set off to hike through the vast tangled woods which have been frightening sensible people for three hundred years. Ahead lay almost 2,200 miles of remote mountain wilderness filled with bears, moose, bobcats, rattlesnakes, poisonous plants, disease-bearing tics, the occasional chuckling murderer and - perhaps most alarming of all - people whose favourite pastime is discussing the relative merits of the external-frame backpack.

Facing savage weather, merciless insects, unreliable maps and a fickle companion whose profoundest wish was to go to a motel and watch The X-Files, Bryson gamely struggled through the wilderness to achieve a lifetime’s ambition - not to die outdoors.

Wednesday 6 April 2016

Trollope, Anthony "The Way We Live Now"

Trollope, Anthony "The Way We Live Now" - 1875

Classics belong to my favourite reads. I have read all the "Barchester" books by Anthony Trollope and really liked them. Now, this is my next book by this great classic author. A very big book, one of those tomes I love.

The novel centres around a rich man of whom nobody knows where his money comes from. He has a daughter he wants to marry off to someone of high status but she loves someone else who in turn is just after her money. Well, that's the whole story in short but there are a lot more people in between and a lot more stories that happen to all of them. And Anthony Trollope manages to describe everything so well. His writing is almost poetry.

A wonderful book. If you like Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, classics and "chunky" books, I cannot recommend this story too much to you.

From the back cover: "The tough-mindedness of the social satire in and its air of palpable integrity give this novel a special place in Anthony Trollope's Literary career. Trollope paints a picture as panoramic as his title promises, of the life of 1870s London, the loves of those drawn to and through the city, and the career of Augustus Melmotte. Melmotte is one of the Victorian novel's greatest and strangest creations, and is an achievement undimmed by the passage of time.
Trollope's 'Now' might, in the twenty-first century, look like some distant disenchanted 'Then', but this is till the yesterday which we must understand in order to make proper sense of our today.

Tuesday 5 April 2016

Abulhawa, Susan "Mornings in Jenin"

Abulhawa, Susan "Mornings in Jenin" (aka The Scar of David) - 2010

Everyone who is only slightly interested in world peace should read this and see how much heartache there can be, how much trouble things can cause if not thought through well enough.

The problem started long before the Jews were sent to Palestine, to "a land without a people for a people without a land". The difficulty with that, it wasn't a land without a people, Palestinians had lived there for many many years. And you would have understood if they had had their new settlers integrate into the communities but this is not what happens and we are taught something completely different from what they keep teaching us.

If you read this book, you will no longer see the world in Black and White, the Palestinians as the bad guys and the Jews as the poor people who only want peace.

I have been to Israel and I have many Jewish friends. I love them all, I love the country, would have loved to stay. I have read several other books and articles about Israel and its neighbouring countries, both from the Jewish as well as the Palestinian side, so I am not here to judge.

But this book opens your eyes and shows you that there is a lot more to politics in Israel than we shall ever know.

It's a heartbreaking novel that shows hatred and tear but also love and joy, that shows how people struggle even through the biggest hardships and some make it through nevertheless. The characters are so well described, you start loving each and every single one of them.

It is so difficult to describe this book and really give it credit perfectly. All I can say is: Read it!

Movie rights have been bought but not yet been realized.

From the back cover:

"Palestine, 1948. A mother clutches her six-month-old son as Israeli soldiers march through the village of Ein Hod. In a split second, her son is snatched from her arms and the fate of the Abulheja family is changed forever. Forced into a refugee camp in Jenin and exiled from the ancient village that is their lifeblood, the family struggles to rebuild their world. Their stories unfold through the eyes of the youngest sibling, Amal, the daughter born in the camp who will eventually find herself alone in the United States; the eldest son who loses everything in the struggle for freedom; the stolen son who grows up as an Israeli, becoming an enemy soldier to his own brother.

Mornings in Jenin is a devastating novel of love and loss, war and oppression, and heartbreak and hope, spanning five countries and four generations of one of the most intractable conflicts of our lifetime."

Suggested reading from the book with some added ones from me (not all about Israel but probably all worthwhile):
Barakat, Ibrisam "Tasting the Sky: A Palestinian Childhood" - 2007
Barghouti, Mourid "I Saw Ramallah" - 1997
Hosseini, Khaled "The Kite Runner" - 2003
Hosseini, Khaled "A Thousand Splendid Suns" - 2007
Hosseini, Khaled "And the Mountains Echoed" - 2013
Karmi, Ghada "In Search of Fatima: A Palestinian Story" - 2002
Laird, Elizabeth "A Little Piece of Ground" - 2003
LeBor, Adam "City of Oranges" - 2006
Nusseibeh, Sari "Once Upon a Country: A Palestinian Life" - 2007
Said Makdisi, Jean "Teta, Mother, and Me: Three Generations of Arab Women" - 2004
Said, Edward "Out of Place: A Memoir" - 1999
Shehadeh, Raja "Palestinian Walks: Forays into a Vanishing Landscape" - 2008
Tolan, Sandy "The Lemon Tree: An Arab, a Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East" - 2006

Monday 4 April 2016

Mistry, Rohinton "Family Matters"

Mistry, Rohinton "Family Matters" - 2002

I only read one book by Rohinton Mistry so far: "A Fine Balance". We discussed it in our international book club and loved it so much that I definitely wanted to read more books by this author. I finally did and I wonder why it took me so long. Well, I don't really wonder, I know there are just too many books to read in too little time.

However, I made it and I'm happy about it. Another brilliant book about life in modern India but the problems that arise might occur in any country, family members get older and the rest of the family has to cope with their feebleness, their deterioration. Everyone reacts differently, some jump in to help, others try to push that task away from them as much as possible. Since both my parents passed away in the last two years and they both were of an old age and pretty sick towards the end, this book spoke to me even more. Not that we had any members in the family like Narim Vakeel who didn't want to chip in, it's just not always possible for everyone to do the same thing, even if they would like to.

Anyway, the author is brilliant, he manages not only to describe an international problem, the ageing of our parents, but he also involves everything that is specific to India. He described Mumbai so well, I could almost feel like being there, even though I have never been, I could hear the sounds and smell the smell, see the people going on with their lives.

This is certainly not going to be my last novel by Rohinton Mistry. He writes so well about this huge country that is so foreign to us Westerners and yet so close.

Rohinton Mistry was shortlisted for the Booker Prize for "Family Matters" in 2002.

From the back cover: "Nariman Vakeel, a seventy-nine-year-old Parsi widower, beset by Parkinson's disease and haunted by memories of the past, lives in a once-elegant apartment with his two middle-aged stepchildren. When his condition worsens he is forced to take up residence with Roxana, his own daughter, her husband, Yezad, and their two young sons. The effect of the new responsibility on Yezad, who is already besieged by financial worries, pushes him into a scheme of deception. This sets in motion a series of events - a great unravelling and a revelation of the family's love-torn past, that leads to the narrative's final outcome."

Friday 1 April 2016

Book Quotes of the Week

"I always have time for my books for they are never busy." Marcus Tullius Cicero

"A non-reader, at 70 years old, will have lived only one life: his own! He or she who reads will have lived 5000 years. Reading is immortality... backwards." Umberto Eco

"You may have tangible wealth untold; Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold. Richer than I you can never be - I had a mother who read to me." Strickland Gillilan

"I often derive a peculiar satisfaction in conversing with the ancient and modern dead, - who yet live and speak excellently in their works. My neighbors think me often alone, - and yet at such times I am in company with more than five hundred mutes - each of whom, at my pleasure, communicates his ideas to me by dumb signs - quite as intelligently as any person living can do by uttering of words." Laurence Sterne

"Books aren't made of pages and words. They are made of hopes, dreams and possibilities." 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. 

Happy April!

We always say in German "April, April, does not know what he wants." Let us hope that it will be a nice month. With this beautiful calendar image of a watercolour painting by Frank Koebsch "Cherry tree flowers announce the spring" it is certainly going to be much nicer.

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

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