Wednesday 22 February 2017

Statistics 2016

My statistics for the last years are here:
Going back to 2009-12, 2013, 2014, 2015  

And these are the results of my reading lists for 2016:

* Statistics 2016 *

I read books that contributed to the following online challenges:
Reading Challenge 2016
I read books belonging to 38 out of 40 different categories.
Reading Challenge - Chunky Books 2016
I read  28 books with more than 450 pages, 3 of them were more than 750 pages ("chunksters").
The "Piggybank" Challenge 2016
The 85 books I read this year resulted in €170 to spend on something nice.
2016 TBR Pile Reading Challenge
A new challenge where the participants try to read as many books from their To Be Read Pile as possible. I managed 37 books that had been on that stack for a while
101 Best Selling Books of All Time
This is a new list where I marked all the books I have read so far, 37 in all. I'm sure more will follow next year.
Travel the World Through Books
After reading the book "Die Ländersammlerin" [The collector of Countries] by Nina Sedano, I thought it would be great to read a book from every country in the world. 77 until now. If you have a good suggestion for those countries I haven't "visited, yet, please let me know.
The 10 Greatest Books Ever, According to 125 Top Authors 
An interesting list. 125 Authors have chosen the 10 greatest books ever written of which I have read six so far.
Emma's Book Club - Our shared shelf
This will hopefully be an ever growing list of books about and for women, a group started by Emma Watson (better known as Hermione Granger), UN Woman Goodwill Ambassador. I read eight of the nine books last year and fourteen from the overall list.
100 Books by the BBC
This is an old challenge, I added four more books to the list.
A Century of Books
This is also an old challenge, I added one more book to the list.
Best European Literature
No new books in this old challenge, unfortunately. There are still quite a few good ones that I haven't read, yet.
The 100 Greatest Fiction Books as Chosen by The Guardian
Another list where I didn't add any new books.
Le Monde - The 100 Books of the Century
This is an old challenge, I added three more books 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.
Nobel Prize Winners and Their Books
This is another list to which I could add four more books.
Oprah’s Book Club
So many old challenges, here is another one where I didn't add anything.
Oscar Winning Books
No new books.
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
Even though this is an older challenge, I always think it's interesting to read an eponymous book, it's always something special. Nine books this year.

Books Read: 85
Pages read: 29,533 (80 pages per day)

Books dating from which year:
Pre 1800s: 3
1800s: 5
1900-1949: 4
1950-1999: 26
2000s: 48 (4 of which from 2016)

Male Authors: 36
Female Authors: 46

Nobel Prize Winners
: 5

Fiction: 52
Non-Fiction: 33

Chunky Books
- more than 450 pages: 28, more than 750: 3

Library: 16
Re-Read: 8

Oldest Book:
Anonymous "Lazarillo de Tormes" (Spanish: La vida de Lazarillo de Tormes y de sus fortunas y adversidades) - 1554
Newest Books:
Konar, Affinity "Mischling" - 2016
Oates, Joyce Carol "The Man Without a Shadow" - 2016
Longest book: 691 pages
Eliot, George "The Mill on the Floss"
Shortest book: 64 pages
Grimm, Jacob und Wilhelm "Jorinde und Joringel. Acht Märchen der Brüder Grimm"
Longest book title: The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid
Bryson, Bill "The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid"
Shortest Book Title: Q & A
Swarup, Vikas "Q & A" - 2005
Funniest Book:
Bryson, Bill "A Walk in the Woods" - 1998
Saddest Book:
Too many to choose from but these are probably the saddest ones.
Abulhawa, Susan "Mornings in Jenin"
Filipović, Zlata "Zlata's Diary: A Child's Life in Wartime Sarajevo"
Konar, Affinity "Mischling"
Štimec, Spomenka "Kroatisches Kriegsnachtbuch" (Kroata Milit Noktlibro)
Weirdest Book:
Mitchell, David "Cloud Atlas" - 2004
New authors (for me) that I would like to read more from: Leila Aboulela, Susan Abulhawa, Sabahattin Ali, Kate Atkinson, Ayşe Kulin, Zlata Filipović, Affinity Konar, Amin Maalouf, Barack Obama, Gloria Steinem, Lyudmila Ulitzkaya, Juli Zeh

Translated Books: 10
3 from Turkish, 2 from Russian and Spanish, 1 from Bosnian, Hebrew, Italian
Books read in another language:
16 German, 5 French, 1 Dutch and Esperanto

Numbers in Book Titles: Three, Zero
Place Names in Book Titles: American, Carthage, Cleves, Deutschland/Germany, Floss, Globe, Jenin, Königsallee, Persepolis, Rothschildallee, Samarkand, Sarajewo, Trastevere, Unterleuten
Names in Book Titles: Cevdet, Emma, Jorinde, Joringel, Lazarillo, Macbeth, Perlmann, Shakespeare, Sisyphus, Zlata
Colours in Book Titles: Green

My Favourite Books:
Abulhawa, Susan "Mornings in Jenin" - 2010
Alexievich, Svetlana "Second Hand Time. The Last of the Sovjets" - 2013
Atkinson, Kate "Behind the Scenes at the Museum" - 1995
Bryson, Bill "A Walk in the Woods" - 1998
Ephron, Nora "I Remember Nothing. And other reflections" - 2010
Filipović, Zlata "Zlata's Diary: A Child's Life in Wartime Sarajevo" - 1993
Kostova, Elizabeth "The Swan Thieves" - 2010
Kulin, Ayşe "Rose of Sarajevo" (Sevdalinka) - 1999
Maalouf, Amin "Samarkand" (Samarcande) - 1988
Mistry, Rohinton "Family Matters" - 2002
Oates, Joyce Carol "The Man Without a Shadow" - 2016
Pamuk, Orhan "Cevdet Bey and His Sons" (Cevdet Bey ve Oğulları) - 1982
Perkins, Sue "Spectacles" - 2015
Trollope, Anthony "The Way We Live Now" - 1875
Zeh, Juli "Unterleuten" - 2016

With my books, I visited places in the following countries

Africa (6):
Algeria, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Namibia, Sudan
Asia (17):
Afghanistan, Armenia, Egypt, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Irak, Iran, Israel, Korea, Pakistan, Palestine, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Uzbekistan, Vietnam
Europe (21):
Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegowina, Croatia, Cyprus, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, United Kingdom, Turkey
North America (2):
Caribbean, United States
South America (3):
Colombia, Mexico, Venezuela:
Australia/Oceania (2):
Australia, New Zealand
Extra-terrestrial (1):
Countries "visited" in total: 52

You may find some even greater statistics by better bloggers than me at "Stuck in a Book" and "Ready When You are, C.B."

Tuesday 21 February 2017

Scott, Mary "If I Don’t, Who Will?"

Scott, Mary "If I Don’t, Who Will?" - 1971

As all of Mary Scott's book, this one is quite funny. Laura, a young woman, inherits her grandmother's farm and house but has to take care of her cousins, as well. Most of them are older than her, so you would think that's not a problem but they all think of the house as their home and take advantage of Laura. Sometimes you would like to shake her and tell her not to be exploited by those selfish people but the whole plot is always so funny that you don't mind, after all, none of this would happen if she reacted like any of us.

Anyway, I can only recommend to read any of Mary Scott's books, they are all full of humour. Unfortunately, they are all 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):
"Laura, a young woman of twenty, inherits her grandmother's house and farm. But the inheritance has a condition: Laura is to take care of her relatives, she is supposed to make sure that her cousins and the aged uncle have a comfortable home Joseph in Brookside. This does not seem to be more than right and wise..
But as time goes by, it turns out that the condition has a catch. For Lester and Eva, Christine and Uncle Joseph and finally Hugh, the youngest, come to Laura with all their worries, rob her time and occupy Brookside so much that Laura soon no longer knows where her head is.
Then Laura's husband takes a stand ..."

Friday 17 February 2017

Book Quotes of the Week

"I was born with a reading list I will never finish." Maud Casey

"One to whom books are as strangers has not yet learned to live. He is a solitary, though he dwell amid a vast population. On the other hand, he to whom books are as friends possesses a Key to the Garden of Delights, where the purest pleasures are open for his entertainment, and where he has for his companions the master minds of all the ages." Charles Noel Douglas

"A blessed companion is a book, a book that, fitly chosen, is a lifelong friend, ... a book that, at a touch, pours its heart into our own." Douglas Jerrold

"Books are islands in the ocean of time. They are also oases in the deserts of time." Lawrence Clark Powell

"The book of the moment often has immense vogue, while the book of the age, which comes in its company from the press, lies unnoticed; but the great book has its revenge. It lives to see its contemporary pushed up shelf by shelf until it finds its final resting-place in the garret or the auction room." Hamilton Wright Mabie

Find more book quotes here.

Thursday 16 February 2017

Coates, Ta-Nehisi "Between the World and Me"

Coates, Ta-Nehisi "Between the World and Me" - 2015

A friend sent me a link to an article about two books, One Way To Bridge The Political Divide: Read The Book That's Not For You.

I started with this one, because my library had it. I hope they will get the other one soon because I don't really want to buy a book about conservatives.

Now to get to this book. It is fantastic. It shows the inner feelings and fears of a black guy, first for himself, then later for his family. He talks to his son Samori, tells him about his youth and what he did or didn't do. I think everyone should read this. There are so many great books out there to understand what people are going through, makes us all understand them better.

We all need to learn from history and move forward, this is one of the books that teaches us about it.

Every time I read about topics like this, I am reminded of the most famous quote by Martin Niemöller (1892–1984), a Protestant pastor who spent seven years in concentration camps for opposing the Nazis:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out -
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out -
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out -
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me - and there was no one left to speak for me. 

Let's all speak out for the oppressed minorities in any country.

From the back cover:
"'This is your country, this is your world, this is your body, and you must find some way to live within the all of i'.”

In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of “race,” a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men—bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion. What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden?

Between the World and Me is Ta-Nehisi Coates’s attempt to answer these questions in a letter to his adolescent son. Coates shares with his son—and readers—the story of his awakening to the truth about his place in the world through a series of revelatory experiences, from Howard University to Civil War battlefields, from the South Side of Chicago to Paris, from his childhood home to the living rooms of mothers whose children’s lives were taken as American plunder. Beautifully woven from personal narrative, reimagined history, and fresh, emotionally charged reportage, Between the World and Me clearly illuminates the past, bracingly confronts our present, and offers a transcendent vision for a way forward."

These are the two books from the article:
One Way To Bridge The Political Divide: Read The Book That's Not For You:
Strangers in Their Own Land by Arlie Russell Hochschild is about Tea Party conservatives in Louisiana. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates is about what it means to be black in America.

Wednesday 15 February 2017

BBC "The Nation's Favourite Poems"

BBC "The Nation's Favourite Poems" - 1995

I'm not the biggest reader of poetry. But there was a poetry book in one of my challenges this year, so I thought I ought to tackle one.

A couple of years ago, the BBC asked their viewers and listeners to name their favourite poems and then published this book.

This has been in our house for a while but I only read a poem or two before. So, I picked it up and read a poem now and then, didn't read it back to back, starting with the first and ending with the last but I think I read them all.

Here is a list of all the poems in the book. Check out a few of them, it's worth it.

1 If -, Rudyard Kipling; 1865-1936
2 The Lady of Shalott, Alfred, Lord Tennyson; 1809-92
3 The Listeners, Walter de la Mare; 1873-1956
4 Not Waving but Drowning, Stevie Smith; 1903-1971
5 The Daffodils, William Wordsworth; 1770-1850
6 To Autumn, John Keats; 1795-1821
7 The Lake Isle of Innisfree, W.B. Yeats; 1865-1939
8 Dulce et Decorum Est, Wilfred Owen; 1893-1918
9 Ode to a Nightingale, John Keats; 1795-1821
10 He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven, W.B. Yeats; 1865-1939
11 Remember, Christina Rossetti; 1830-94
12 Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard, Thomas Gray; 1716-71
13 Fern Hill, Dylan Thomas; 1914-53
14 Leisure, William Henry Davies; 1871-1940
15 The Highwayman, Alfred Noyes; 1880-1959
16 To His Coy Mistress, Andrew Marvel; 1621-78
17 Dover Beach, Matthew Arnold; 1822-88
18 The Tyger, William Blake; 1757-1827
19 Twelve Songs IX, W.H. Auden; 1907-73
20 Adlestrop, Edward Thomas; 1878-1917
21 The Soldier, Rupert Brooke; 1887-1915
22 Warning, Jenny Joseph; 1932-
23 Sea-Fever, John Masefield; 1878-1967
24 Upon Westminster Bridge. William Wordsworth; 1770-1850
25 Sonnets from the Portuguese XLIII, Elizabeth Barrett Browning; 1806-61
26 The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, T.S. Eliot; 1885-1965
27 Cargoes, John Masefield; 1878-1967
28 Jabberwocky, Lewis Carroll; 1832-98
29 from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner Part I, Samuel Taylor Coleridge; 1772-1834
30 Ozymandias of Egypt, Percy Bysshe Shelley; 1792-1822
31 Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, Robert Frost; 1874-1963
32 Abou Ben Adhem, Leigh Hunt; 1784-1859
33 Everyone Sang, Siegfried Sassoon; 1886-1967
34 The Windhover, Gerard Manley Hopkins; 1844-89
35 Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night, Dylan Thomas; 1914-53
36 Sonnet; 18, William Shakespeare; 1564-1616
37 When You Are Old, W.B. Yeats; 1865-1939
38 Lessons of the War (To Alan Michell); 1. Naming of Parts, Henry Reed; 1914-86
39 The Darkling Thrush, Thomas Hardy; 1840-1928
40 Please Mrs Butler, Allan Ahlberg; 1938-
41 Kubla Khan, Samuel Taylor Coleridge; 1772-1834
42 Home-Thoughts, from Abroad, Robert Browning; 1812-89
43 High Flight (An Airman’s Ecstasy), John Gillespie Magee; 1922-41
44 Journey of the Magi, T.S. Eliot; 1885-1965
45 The Owl and the Pussy-Cat, Edward Lear; 1812-88
46 The Glory of the Garden, Rudyard Kipling; 1865-1936
47 The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost; 1874-1963
48 The Way through the Woods, Rudyard Kipling; 1865-1936
49 Anthem for Doomed Youth, Wilfred Owen; 1893-1918
50 Bloody Men, Wendy Cope; 1945-
51 Emmonsail’s Heath in Winter, John Clare; 1793-1864
52 La Figlia Che Piange, T.S. Eliot; 1885-1965
53 The Whitsun Weddings, Philip Larkin; 1922-80
54 from The Ballad of Reading Goal, Oscar Wilde; 1854-1900
55 I Remember, I Remember, Thomas Hood; 1799-1845
56 This Be the Verse, Philip Larkin; 1922-80
57 Snake, D.H. Lawrence; 1885-1930
58 The Great Lover, Rupert Brooke; 1887-1915
59 A Red, Red Rose, Robert Burns; 1759-1796
60 The Sunlight on the Garden, Louis MacNeice; 1907-63
61 The Old Vicarage, Grantchester, Rupert Brooke; 1887-1915
62 Diary of a Church Mouse, John Betjeman; 1906-84
63 Silver, Walter de la Mare; 1873-1956
64 Pied Beauty, Gerard Manley Hopkins; 1844-89
65 Prayer before Birth, Louis MacNeice; 1907-63
66 Macavity: The Mystery Cat, T.S. Eliot; 1885-1965
67 Afterwards, Thomas Hardy; 1840-1928
68 The Donkey, G.K. Chesterton; 1874-1936
69 My Last Duchess, Robert Browning; 1812-89
70 Christmas, John Betjeman; 1906-84
71 The Thought-Fox, Ted Hughes; 1930-98
72 Preludes, T.S. Eliot; 1885-1965
73 Love (III), George Herbert; 1593-1633
74 The Charge of the Light Brigade, Alfred, Lord Tennyson; 1809-92
75 I Am, John Clare; 1793-1864
76 The Hound of Heaven, Francis Thompson; 1859-1907
77 The Passionate Shepherd to his Love, Christopher Marlowe; 1564-93
78 The Song of Wandering Aengus, W.B. Yeats; 1865-1939
79 She Walks in Beauty, George Gordon, Lord Byron; 1788-1824
80 Loveliest of Trees, the Cherry Now, A.E. Housman; 1859-1936
81 The Flea, John Donne; 1572-1631
82 Ducks, F.W. Harvey; 1888-1957
83 An Arundel Tomb, Philip Larkin; 1922-80
84 Sonnet 116, William Shakespeare; 1564-1616
85 Ulysses, Alfred, Lord Tennyson; 1809-92
86 Snow, Louis MacNeice; 1907-63
87 Let Me Die a Youngman’s Death, Roger McGough; 1937-
88 The Ruined Maid, Thomas Hardy; 1840-1928
89 Toilet, Hugo Williams; 1942-
90 Futility, Wilfred Owen; 1893-1918
91 The Raven, Edgar Allan Poe; 1809-49
92 Tam o’ Shanter, Robert Burns; 1759-1796
93 Love’s Philosophy, Percy Bysshe Shelley; 1792-1822
94 from The Song of Hiawatha, H.W. Longfellow; 1807-82
95 God’s Grandeur, Gerard Manley Hopkins; 1844-89
96 Chocolate Cake, Michael Rosen; 1954-
97 Jenny Kissed Me, Leigh Hunt; 1784-1859
98 Blackberry-Picking, Seamus Heaney; 1939-2013
99 from The Prelude, William Wordsworth; 1770-1850
100 Warming Her Pearls, Carol Ann Duffy; 1955-

From the back cover:
"In a nationwide poll to discover Britain's favourite poem, Rudyard Kipling's 'If...' was voted number one. This unique anthology brings together the results of the poll in a collection of the nation's 100 best loved poems. Among the selection are popular classics such as Tennyson's 'The Lady of Shallott' and Wordsworth's 'The Daffodils' alongside contemporary poetry such as Allan Ahlberg's 'Please Mrs Butler' and Jenny Joseph's 'Warning'. Also included is the poignant 'Do not Stand at my Grave and Weep'."

Friday 10 February 2017

Book Quotes of the Week

"The time to read is any time: no apparatus, no appointment of time and place, is necessary. It is the only art which can be practised at any hour of the day or night, whenever the time and inclination comes, that is your time for reading; in joy or sorrow, health or illness." Holbrook Jackson

"I learned to write by reading the kind of books I wished I’d written." Barbara Kingsolver

"How vast an estate it is that we came into as the intellectual heirs of all the watchers and searchers and thinkers and singers of the generations that are dead! What a heritage of stored wealth! What perishing poverty of mind we should be left in without it!" J.N. Larned

"Education is the best gift you could ever receive, because once you have it, no one can ever take it from you." William Arthur Lewis

"Who shall silence all the airs and madrigals that whisper softness in chambers?" John Milton

Find more book quotes here.

Thursday 9 February 2017

Reading Challenge 2016

Another new and interesting challenge with many different kind of suggestions. 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 based on a fairy tale (1)
Grimm, Jacob und Wilhelm "Jorinde und Joringel. Acht Märchen der Brüder Grimm" [Jorinde and Joringel. Eight Fairy Tales] - 1812
2.   A National Book Award winner (4)
Nguyen, Viet Thanh (Việt Thanh Nguyễn) "The Sympathizer" - 2015
3.   A YA bestseller (4)
Oates, Joyce Carol "Sexy" - 2005
4.   A book you haven't read since high school (6)
Borchert, Wolfgang "Schischyphusch oder Der Kellner meines Onkels" [Shishyphush or my uncle's waiter] - 1947/2016
5.   A book set in your home state (country) (11)
Schwarzer, Alice "Lebenslauf" [My life] - 2011
6.   A book translated to English (20)
Alexijewitsch, Swetlana (Alexievich, Svetlana) "Second Hand Time. The Last of the Sovjets" (Время секонд хэнд/Vremja sekond khend/Secondhand-Zeit: Leben auf den Trümmern des Sozialismus) - 2013
7.   A romance set in the future (1)
Mitchell, David "Cloud Atlas" - 2004
8.   A book set in Europe (44)
Mercier, Pascal "Perlmanns Schweigen" (German: Perlmann's Silence) - 1995
9.   A book that's under 150 pages (3)
Štimec, Spomenka "Kroata Milita Noktlibro" (Kroatisches Kriegsnachtbuch/Croatian War Nocturnal) - 1993
10.   A New York Times bestseller (6)
Obama, Barack "The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream" - 2006
11.   A book that's becoming a movie this year
I don't really follow when they make a movie of one of the books I read so I might have read one in previous years that they made a movie of or I read one this year that they'll make a movie of next year or even this year but I have no idea.
12.   A book recommended by someone you just met (2)
Kulin, Ayşe "Rose of Sarajevo" (Turkish: Sevdalinka) - 1999
13.   A self-improvement book (2)
Hooks, Bell "All About Love: New Visions" - 1999
14.   A book you can finish in a day (24)
Angelou, Maya "Mom & Me & Mom" - 2013
15.   A book written by a celebrity (9)
Obama, Barack "Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance" - 1995
16.   A political memoir (14)
Grass, Günter "Mein Jahrhundert" (My Century) - 1999
17.   A book at least 100 years older than you (6)
Anonymous "Lazarillo de Tormes" (Spanish: La vida de Lazarillo de Tormes y de sus fortunas y adversidades) - 1554
18.   A book that's more than 600 pages (8)
Pamuk, Orhan "Cevdet und seine Söhne" (Turkish: Cevdet Bey ve Oğulları/Cevdet Bey and His Sons) - 1982
19.   A book from Oprah's Book Club 
Since Oprah doesn't publish much new stuff, I didn't add any new books to this list.
20.   A science-fiction novel (2)
Adams, Douglas "The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy" - 1979-92
21.   A book recommended by a family member (3)
Filipović, Zlata "Zlata's Diary: A Child's Life in Wartime Sarajevo" (Zlatin dnevnik: otroštvo v obleganem Sarajevu) - 1993
22.   A graphic novel (4)
Satrapi, Marjane "Persepolis. The Story of a Childhood" - 2000
23.   A book that is published in 2016 (5)
Oates, Joyce Carol "The Man Without a Shadow" - 2016
24.   A book with a protagonist who has your occupation (8)
Ali, Sabahattin "Madonna in a Fur Coat" (Turkish: Kürk Mantolu Madonna/Die Madonna im Pelzmantel) - 1943
25.   A book that takes place during Summer (11)
Twain, Mark "The Innocents Abroad" - 1869
26.   A book and its prequel (7)
Mantel, Hilary "Wolf Hall" - 2009
- "Bring up the Bodies" (Falken) - 2012
27.   A murder mystery (5)
Aaronovitch, Ben "Whispers Under Ground" (Ein Wispern unter Baker street) - 2012 (Rivers of London 3)
28.   A book written by a comedian (28)
Perkins, Sue "Spectacles" - 2015
29.   A dystopian novel (1)
Mitchell, David "Cloud Atlas" - 2004
30.   A book with a blue cover (14)
Grossman, David "The Zig Zag Kid" [יש ילדים זיגזג/Jesh Jeladim/ Zickzackkind) - 1994
31.   A book of poetry (1)
BBC "The Nation's Favourite Poems" - 1995
32.   The first book you see in a bookstore (10)
Arnold, Catharine "Globe: Life in Shakespeare's London" - 2014
33.   A classic from the 20th century (14)
Camus, Albert "L'étranger" (The Stranger/The Outsider) - 1942
34.   A book from the library (14)
Joyce, James "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" - 1916
35.   An autobiography (21)
Grass, Günter "Beim Häuten der Zwiebel" (Peeling the Onion) - 2006
36.   A book about a road trip (9)
García Márquez, Gabriel "The General in His Labyrinth" (El general en su laberinto/Der General in seinem Labyrinth) - 1989
37.   A book about a culture you're unfamiliar with (20)
Abulhawa, Susan "Mornings in Jenin" - 2010
38.   A satirical book (1)
Ephron, Nora "I Remember Nothing. And other reflections"  - 2010
39.   A book that takes place on an island (2)
Stevenson, Robert Louis "Treasure Island" (Die Schatzinsel) - 1881/82
40.   A book that's guaranteed to bring you joy (9)
Bryson, Bill "A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail" - 1998

I did a similar challenge last year. You can see the results here.

Tuesday 7 February 2017

Kostova, Elizabeth "The Swan Thieves"

Kostova, Elizabeth "The Swan Thieves" - 2010

I read Elizabeth Kostava's first book "The Historian" a couple of years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. So, when I came upon this novel, I had to read it.

Even though this book was totally different from her first one, I was not disappointed. Same as in her old book, she brings history into her novel, and art. One of my favourite eras in the history of art, French Impressionism.  Béatrice de Clerval who features in the story, was not a real person but many painters mentioned were. Just listing their names feels like going through one of the great museums of Paris: Manet, Morisot, Monet, Sisley, Pissarro.

I did enjoy this novel just as much as her first one and am looking forward to her next which is announced to be published next year, "The Shadow Land".

From the back cover:
"Dr Andrew Marlowe has a perfectly ordered life, full of devotion to his work and the painting hobby he loves. This order is destroyed when renowned painter Robert Oliver attacks a canvas in the National Gallery and becomes his patient. 

As Oliver refuses to speak, Marlow's only clue is the beautiful, haunted woman Oliver paints obsessively, day after day. Who is she, and what strange hold does she have over this tormented genius? Desperate to help, Marlowe embarks on a journey that leads him into the lives of the women closest to Oliver and to a dark story at the heart of French Impressionism - a tragedy that ripples out to touch present-day lives.

Kostova's masterful new novel travels from American cities to the coast of Normandy; from the late nineteenth century to the late twentieth, from young love to last love. The Swan Thieves is a story of obsession, history's losses, and the power of art to preserve hope."

Wednesday 1 February 2017

Happy February!

Happy February to all my friends and readers 

New Calendar picture with this beautiful watercolour painting
by Hanka Koebsch

"Christmas Rose" "Christrosen"

Most people don't like February because it is so wet and grey and dull. But this morning, I was greated by a new beautiful picture on Frank and Hanna Koebsch's calendar. I hope the month getting a little better with this. 

You can find many more wonderful pictures on their website here.