Friday 28 April 2017

Book Quotes of the Week

"Begin to read a book that will help you move toward your dream." Les Brown

"A man is known by the books he reads." Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Browsing the dim back corner

Of a musty antique shop
Opened an old book of poetry
Angels flew out from the pages
I caught the whiff of a soul
The ink seemed fresh as today
Was that voices whispering?
The tree of the paper still grows."
Terri Guillemets

"Read a thousand books, and your words will flow like a river." Lisa See, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

"Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy." Thích Nhất Hạnh

Find more book quotes here.

Thursday 20 April 2017

Weir, Alison "Six Tudor Queens. Katherine of Aragon"

Weir, Alison "Six Tudor Queens. Katherine of Aragon. The True Queen" - 2015

I always found the Tudor period captivating, I have read about Elizabeth I in Margaret George's great Novel "Elizabeth I" and other works about the Virgin Queen, I have read Hilary Mantel's novels "Wolf Hall" and "Bring up the Bodies" where I learned about the Boleyns, Thomas Cromwell, I have read about Shakespeare in the time of Elizabeth I. but I have never read a whole book about Katherine of Aragon, I have always seen her through the eyes of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, the "old" wife who didn't want to get divorced and therefore forced her husband to break with the church.

Now here is a chance to see it all through Katherine's eyes, learning her side of the story, how she came to England to become the wife of Henry's brother Arthur first but then was taken by Henry after his brother died. Only to be cast aside when she couldn't provide a male heir.

This novel certainly makes us more acquainted with Katherine, her life, her love, her desires, her problems. She was a strong woman, courageous, someone who tried to make the best of what life threw into her way but in the end, her husband was more powerful. Not better, not stronger, he just had more power behind himself.

Alison Weir manages to write about all this and more, how life in Tudor times was, especially in the court, of course, but she introduces so many characters that you can well imagine life anywhere, you even think it was better to be poor and have nothing to do with aristocracy at all.

So many occurrences during Katherine's life determine history and the way we live today.

What if?
Katherine of Aragon had died on her way to England?
Prince Arthur had not died?
Prince Arthur had died before marrying Katherine?
Prince Arthur had died after having had a son?
Katherine had not married Henry after Arthur died?
One of Katherine's sons had survived?
Ann Boleyn had married at the French court?
Henry and Ann Boleyn had never met?
Ann Boleyn had died of "the sweat"?
Queen Mary had not died?

If either of these incidents had or had not occurred, there would be no Anglican church today. At least not the way Henry created it.

It's interesting to follow Katherine's life and ask yourself those questions. A phenomenal book.

I can't wait for part II of this "Anne Boleyn. A King's Obsession" and have already ordered the non-fiction book that introduces all of the ladies to us: "The Six Wives of Henry VIII"

From the back cover:
"A Spanish princess. Raised to be modest, obedient and devout. Destined to be an English Queen.

Six weeks from home across treacherous seas, everything is different: the language, the food, the weather. And for her there is no comfort in any of it. At sixteen years-old, Catalina is alone among strangers.

She misses her mother. She mourns her lost brother.
She cannot trust even those assigned to her protection.

KATHERINE OF ARAGON. The first of Henry’s Queens. Her story.

Acclaimed, bestselling historian Alison Weir has based her enthralling account of Henry VIII’s first wife on extensive research and new theories. She reveals a strong, spirited woman determined to fight for her rights and the rightful place of her daughter. A woman who believed that to be the wife of a King was her destiny.

History tells us how she died. This captivating novel shows us how she lived."

Find my reviews of Alison Weir's other books here

Tuesday 18 April 2017

Grimm, Hans Herbert "Schlump"

Grimm, Hans Herbert aka Emil Schulz "Schlump. The Story of an unknown soldier" (German: Schlump. Geschichten und Abenteuer des unbekannten Musketiers Emil Schulz, genannt 'Schlump', von ihm selbst erzählt) - 1928

I have never read "All Quiet on the Western Front" * even though it has been on my wishlist forever whereas I never heard about this one. The author writes about the same war as Erich Maria Remarque but he decided to publish his book anonymously under the name "Schlump".

An interesting read, Schlump describes the various faces of war, the different kind of jobs a solider is forced to do, from sitting in an office to fighting in the trenches. We have it all first-hand, from someone who saw it all with his own, very critical eyes. Therefore, it was a good idea he didn't tell anyone his name at the time, he certainly would have ended up in one of Hitler's concentration camps. This way, he survived.

Highly interesting read.

From the back cover:
"Schlump is seventeen, a romantic, a chancer and a dreamer. It's 1914 so naturally he volunteers for war. In France he is assigned an administrative position in a small town and has a marvellous time. But when he gets to the trenches, where death and mindless destruction are the everyday, he starts to understand something about war."

Similar Books:
Remarque, Erich Maria "Im Westen Nichts Neues" (All Quiet on the Western Front) - 1929
Renn, Ludwig "Krieg" (War) - 1928

* I have in the meantime, see here.

Friday 14 April 2017

Book Quotes of the Week

"A fondness for reading, properly directed, must be an education in itself." Jane Austen, Mansfield Park

"In books lies the soul of the whole Past Time: the articulate audible voice of the Past, when the body and material substance of it has altogether vanished like a dream." Thomas Carlyle

"The multitude of books is making us ignorant." Voltaire 

"The reason a writer writes a book is to forget a book and the reason a reader reads one is to remember it." Thomas Wolfe

"I'm a bookaholic on the road to recovery. Ha, not really. I'm on the road to the bookstore." N.N.

Find more book quotes here.

[If anyone can tell me the originator of this quote, I'd be very thankful and would happily include the name.]

Thursday 13 April 2017

Pinkola Estés, Clarissa "Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype"

Pinkola Estés, Clarissa "Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype" - 1992

The latest book that was suggested by Emma Watson from the Goodreads group "Our Shared Shelf". There have been good and bad books, in my opinion, in this group. This is one of the better ones. Dr. Pinkola Estés talks about myths about the Wild Woman, she tells us fairy tales, folk sagas, anything that has to do with women standing on their own feet, defending themselves and their offspring and explains the symbolism behind it. Highly interesting.

The author explains so much about the human being so that this book should not just be read by women, also a great selection for men who would like to understand women better. You can tell this is written by a professional who knows everything about the human psyche, has studied it for a long time and always tries to look at every aspect of every story. Dr. Pinkola Estés is a Jungian analyst and even if you have never heard of Jung, she explains everything very detailed so that anyone can follow her stories and her analysis.

I have read a lot of fairy tales and there were quite a few stories that I heard in a similar version but every story the author retold was like new to me the way she explained them.

I borrowed this book from the library but might want to buy it for myself to read it again some other time. That's how good it was. And encouraging book that teaches us a lot about ourselves.

From the back cover:
"Within every woman there is a wild and natural creature, a powerful force, filled with good instincts, passionate creativity, and ageless knowing. Her name is Wild Woman, but she is an endangered species. Though the gifts of wildish nature come to us at birth, society's attempt to 'civilize' us into rigid roles has plundered this treasure, and muffled the deep, life-giving messages of our own souls. Without Wild Woman, we become over-domesticated, fearful, uncreative, trapped. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D., Jungian analyst and cantadora storyteller, shows how woman's vitality can be restored through what she calls 'psychic archeological digs' into the bins of the female unconscious. In Women Who Run with the Wolves, Dr. Estes uses multicultural myths, fairy tales, folk tales, and stories chosen from over twenty years of research that help women reconnect with the healthy, instinctual, visionary attributes of the Wild Woman archetype. Dr. Estes collects the bones of many stories, looking for the archetypal motifs that set a woman's inner life into motion. 'La Loba' teaches about the transformative function of the psyche. In 'Bluebeard,' we learn what to do with wounds that will not heal; in 'Skeleton Woman,' we glimpse the mystical power of relationship and how dead feelings can be revived; 'Vasalisa the Wise' brings our lost womanly instincts to the surface again; 'The Handless Maiden' recovers the Wild Woman initiation rites; and 'The Little Match Girl' warns against the insidious dangers of a life spent in fantasy. In these and other stories, we focus on the many qualities of Wild Woman. We retrieve, examine, love, and understand her, and hold her against our deep psyches as one whois both magic and medicine. In Women Who Run with the Wolves, Dr. Estes has created a new lexicon for describing the female psyche. Fertile and lifegiving, it is a psychology of women in the truest sense, a knowing of the soul.."

Wednesday 12 April 2017

Hislop, Victoria "Cartes Postales from Greece" - 2016

Hislop, Victoria "Cartes Postales from Greece" - 2016

Victoria Hislop has become one of my favourite authors. I loved all of her books so far.  And this one was just another brilliant one by this writer whom I've come to love after reading her other books beginning with the "The Island" until "The Sunrise" and this one is no different. First I was a little apprehensive since it was described as a "collection of short stories" and I don't really like short stories that much. But I had already liked her other collection, "The Last Dance and Other Stories", so I was determined to read this.

And I was not disappointed. Like in all her other books, the author manages to describe her characters so well and makes you want to get on a plane and go visit the place right away.

So does, Ellie, the "reader" of this story who receives postcards from a stranger. Well, they seem to be to a previous person living in her flat but since she doesn't know where S. is now, she has no idea where to send them. She starts loving the places described and goes on a trip to Greece. Quite a lovely story through which we get to know a lot of Greek folk stories and tales of contemporary Greek people.

Great read. If you like Greece or want to know more about it, the authors novels are all brilliant but this one gives you quite an overview since it travels through the country.

From the back cover:
"Week after week, the postcards arrive, addressed to a name Ellie does not know, with no return address, each signed with an initial: A.

With their bright skies, blue seas and alluring images of Greece, these cartes postales brighten her life. After six months, to her disappointment, they cease. But the montage she has created on the wall of her flat has cast a spell. She must see this country for herself.

On the morning Ellie leaves for Athens, a notebook arrives. Its pages tell the story of a man's odyssey through Greece. Moving, surprising and sometimes dark, A's tale unfolds with the discovery not only of a culture but also of a desire to live life to the full once more.

Beloved, bestselling author Victoria Hislop's Cartes Postales from Greece is fiction illustrated with photographs that make this journey around Greece, already alive in the imagination, linger forever in the mind."

Tuesday 11 April 2017

The "Piggybank" Challenge 2017

This is my fifth year of taking part in this challenge 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 2017 to 1 March 2018

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 care and you will certainly 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

Last year, I read 81 books in that timeframe which resulted in €192 to spend on something nice. :-D

My progress (I add the German title, if available, for my German friends):
Falcones, Ildefonso "Das Lied der Freiheit" (The Barefoot Queen/La Reina Descalza) - 2013
Hislop, Victoria "Cartes Postales from Greece" - 2016
Lippe, Jürgen von der "Der König der Tiere. Geschichten und Glossen" - 2017
Pinkola Estés, Clarissa "Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype" (Die Wolfsfrau: Die Kraft der weiblichen Urinstinkte) - 1992
Grimm, Hans Herbert aka Emil Schulz "Schlump. Geschichten und Abenteuer des unbekannten Musketiers Emil Schulz, genannt 'Schlump', von ihm selbst erzählt" (Schlump. The Story of an unknown soldier) - 1928
Weir, Alison "Six Tudor Queens. Katherine of Aragon. The True Queen" - 2015 
Laker, Rosalind "The Golden Tulip" - 1989
Zweig, Stefanie "Heimkehr in die Rothschildallee" (Familie Sternberg #3) [Homecoming to Rothschild Avenue] -2010
Grass, Günter "Die Box. Dunkelkammergeschichten" (The Box: Tales from the Darkroom) (Autobiographical Trilogy #2) - 2008
Scott, Mary "It Was Meant" (Zärtliche Wildnis) - 1974
Ballantyne, Tony "Dream London" - 2013
Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi "Half of a Yellow Sun" (Die Hälfte der Sonne) - 2006
Bryson, Bill "Bill Bryson's African Diary. A Short Trip for a Worthy Cause" (Mein Afrika-Tagebuch) - 2002 

Hirst, John "The Shortest History of Europe" - 2009
Schrobsdorff, Angelika "Du bist nicht so wie andre Mütter" (You Are Not Like Other Mothers) - 1992
Murakami, Haruki "Kafka am Strand" (Kafka on the Shore) (海辺のカフカ Umibe no Kafuka) - 2004

Woodruff, Elvira "Dear Austin: Letters from the Underground Railroad" - 1998Mahfouz, Naguib/Machfus, Nagib "Zwischen den Palästen" (Palace Walk) (بين القصرين/Bayn al-qasrayn) - 1956 (Cairo Trilogy 1) - 1956
Weir Alison "The Six Wives of Henry VIII" - 1991
Rosner, Elizabeth "The Speed of Light" - 2001
Lenz, Siegfried "Deutschstunde" (The German Lesson) - 1968

Solstad, Lexidh "Catpasity" - 2015
Mahfouz, Naguib/Machfus, Nagib "Palast der Sehnsucht" (Palace of Desire) (قصر الشوق/Qasr el-Shōq) - 1957 (Cairo Trilogy 2)
Tsao Hsueh-Chin/Cao, Xueqin "Dream of the Red Chamber" (红楼梦/Hung lou meng/aka The Story of the Stone) - ca. 1717-1763 (18th century)
Vance, J.D. "Hillbilly elegy: a memoir of a family and culture in crisis" (Hillbilly Elegie. Die Geschichte meiner Familie und einer Gesellschaft in der Krise) - 2016 

Whitehead, Colson "Underground Railroad" - 2016
Herbert, Xavier "Capricornia" (Capricornia) - 1938
Aaronovitch, Ben "Broken Homes" (Der böse Ort) - 2013 - (Rivers of London 4)
Schulte-Loh, Christian "Zum Lachen auf die Insel" [Onto the Island to Laugh] - 2017
Bonnett, Alastair "Off the Map" - 2014
Ruiz, Don Miguel Ángel "The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom" (Die vier Versprechen. Das Weisheitsbuch der Tolteken) - 1997 

Nöstlinger, Christine "Best of Mama" [Best of Mum] - 2001 
Oelker, Petra "Zwei Schwestern. Eine Geschichte aus unruhiger Zeit" [Two Sisters: A story from troubled times] - 2017
Machfus, Nagib/Mahfouz, Naguib "Zuckergässchen" (Sugar Street) (السكرية/Al-Sukkariyya) - 1957 (Cairo Trilogy 3)
Hemingway, Ernest "For Whom the Bell Tolls" (Wem die Stunde schlägt) - 1940
Dickens, Charles "Bleak House" (Bleak House)- 1852/53
Emcke, Carolin "Von den Kriegen. Briefe an Freunde" (Echoes of Violence: Letters from a War Reporter) - 2004 

Taylor, Andrew James "Books That Changed the World" - 2008
Toptaş, Hasan Ali "Die Schattenlosen" (The Shadowless/Gölgesizler) - 1995
Ali, Monica "In the Kitchen" (Hotel Imperial) - 2009 
Arntz, Jochen; Schmale, Holger "Die Kanzler und ihre Familien: Wie das Privatleben die deutsche Politik prägt" [The Chancellors and their Families. How Private Life Shapes German Politics] - 2017 
Mercier, Pascal "Lea" (Lea) - 2007 
Wolf, Naomi "The beauty myth: how images of beauty are used against women" (Der Mythos Schönheit) - 1990
Sitch, Rob: Cilauro, Santo: Tom Gleisner, Tom "Molvanîa. A Land Untouched By Modern Dentistry" (Molwanîen - Das Land des schadhaften Lächelns) - 2003
Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi "Americanah" (Americanah.) - 2013
Bivald, Katarina "Ein Buchladen zum Verlieben" (The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend/Läsarna i Broken Wheel rekommenderar) - 2013
Zweig, Stefanie "Neubeginn in die Rothschildallee" (Familie Sternberg #3)  [A New Beginning on Rothschild Avenue] - 2010 

Şafak, Elif "Three Daughters of Eve" (Havva'nın Üç Kızı/Der Geruch des Paradieses) - 2016
Solschenizyn, Alexander (Александр Исаевич Солженицын/Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn) "Große Erzählungen: Iwan Denissowitsch; Zum Nutzen der Sache; Matrjonas Hof; Zwischenfall auf dem Bahnhof Kretschetowka" (His Great Stories: One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich - 1962; For the Good of the Cause - 1963; Matryona's House - 1963; An Incident at Krechetovka Station - 1963) - 1962/63Scott, Mary "Away From It All" (Das Jahr auf dem Lande) - 1977 
James, P.D. "The Children of Men" (Im Land der leeren Häuser) - 1992 
Wroblewski, David "The Story of Edgar Sawtelle" (Die Geschichte von Edgar Sawtelle) - 2008
Schweizer, Gerhard "Islam verstehen. Geschichte, Kultur und Politik" (Understanding Islam. History, Culture and Politics) - 2016
Wulf, Britta "Das Rentier in der Küche. Eine deutsch-sibirische Liebe" [The Reindeer in the kitchen. A German-Siberian love] - 2016
Atwood, Margaret "The Blind Assassin" (Der blinde Mörder) - 2000
Akçam, Dursun "Deutsches Heim - Glück allein. Wie Türken Deutsche sehen" (Alaman Ocağı: Türkler Almanları anlatıyor) - 1982
Tau, Max "Das Land, das ich verlassen mußte" [The Country I Had to Leave] - 1961

Rice, Ronald (Ed.) "My Bookstore: Writers Celebrate Their Favorite Places to Browse, Read, and Shop" - 2012
Bunyan, John "The Pilgrim's Progress from This World to That Which Is to Come" (Pilgerreise zur seligen Ewigkeit) - 1678
Camus, Albert "Le premier homme" (The First Man/Der erste Mensch) - 1994

Chevalier, Tracy "The Lady and the Unicorn" (Der Kuss des Einhorns) - 2003
Dylan, Bob "Chronicles. Volume One" (Chronicles) - 2004
Ephron, Nora "Heartburn" (Sodbrennen) - 1983 

Zaimoglu, Feridun "Siebentürmeviertel" [Seven Towers Quarter] - 2015
Morgan, Ann "Reading the World. Confessions of a Lilterary Explorer" (aka "The World Between Two Covers: Reading the Globe) - 2015 

Fforde, Jasper - "Shades of Grey. The Road to High Saffron" (Shades of Grey #1 - Grau) - 2009 
Koch, Herman "Het Diner" (The Dinner/Angerichtet) - 2009
Guo, Xiaolu (郭小橹) "Language" - 2017
Weigand, Sabine "Ich, Eleonore, Königin zweier Reiche" [I, Eleonore, Queen of Two Realms] - 2015
Scott, Mary "Days that have been" (Das waren schöne Zeiten) - 1966
Jones, Edward P.
"The Known World" (Die bekannte Welt) - 2004
Cogman, Genevieve "The Invisible Library" (The Invisible Library #1 - Die unsichtbare Bibliothek) - 2015 

Heidenreich, Elke "Wörter aus 30 Jahren" [Words from 30 years] - 2003
Defoe, Daniel "A Journal of the Plague Year" (Die Pest zu London) - 1722
Pamuk, Orhan "Diese Fremdheit in mir" (A Strangeness in my Mind/TR: Kafamda Bir Tuhaflık) - 2014
Hahn, Ulla "Spiel der Zeit" [Game of Time] - 2014 

Young European Collective (Vincent-Immanuel Herr, Martin Speer, Katharina Moser, Krzysztof Ignaciuk, Liza Noteris, Zlatin Georgiev, Thomas Goujat-Gouttequillet, Stylia Kampani, Zara Kitson, Nini Tsiklauri, Giulia Zeni, Phelan Chatterjee) "Who, if not us?" (Wer, wenn nicht wir?: Vier Dinge, die wir jetzt für Europa tun können) 2017
Glasfurd, Guinevere "The Words in my Hand" (Worte in meiner Hand) - 2016

Turner, Nancy E. "The Star Garden: A Novel of Sarah Agnes Prine" - 2007 
Oates, Joyce Carol "Big Mouth & Ugly Girl" (Unter Verdacht) - 2003Bryson, Bill "Notes form a Big Country" (US: I'm a Stranger Here Myself/Streiflichter aus Amerika: Die USA für Anfänger und Fortgeschrittene) - 1999 
Preisendörfer, Bruno "Als Deutschland noch nicht Deutschland war. Reise in die Goethezeit" [When Germany wasn't Germany, yet. A travel to Goethe's Time] - 2015
Dickens, Charles "Oliver Twist" (Oliver Twist) - 1838Scott, Mary; West, Joyce "The Mangrove Murder" (Inspector Wright #3) (Das Geheimnis der Mangrovenbucht) - 1964 
Emcke, Carolin "Gegen den Hass" (Against Hate) - 2016
Atwood, Margaret "The Handmaid’s Tale" (Der Report der Magd) - 1985
Lüpkes, Sandra "Die Inselvogtin" [The Island Mayoress] - 2009 

Michaels, Anne "Fugitive Pieces" (Fluchtstücke) - 1996  
Taylor, Andrew "The Ashes of London" - 2016 
Austen, Jane "Selected Letters. 1796-1817" [Ausgewählte Briefe]
Ivey, Eowyn "To The Bright Edge of the World" (Das Leuchten am Rand der Welt) - 2016
Tolstoy, Leo "Gesammelte Werke. Die Erzählungen" [Collected Works. The Stories] - 1853-1904 

Lagerlöf, Selma "Sancta Lucia. Weihnachtliche Geschichten" (Kristuslegender) [Christmas Stories] - 1893-1917
Hamann, Brigitte "Elisabeth, Kaiserin wider Willen" (The Reluctant Empress) - 1981
Busch, Nikki "Dies ist kein Adventskalender" [This is not an Advent Calendar] - 2012
Various/Verschiedene "Die schönsten Wintermärchen" [The nicest Christmas Stories] - 2016 

Williams, John "Augustus" (Augustus) - 1972
Bode, Sabine "Kriegsspuren: Die deutsche Krankheit - German  Angst" [War Traces] - 2008
Rutland, Eva "No Crystal Stair" - 2000
Roth, Martin "Widerrede! Eine Familie diskutiert über Populismus, Werte und politisches Engagement" [Contradiction (Talk back)! A family discusses populism, values and political commitment] - 2017
Beauvoir, Simone de "L'invitée" (She came to stay/Sie kam und blieb) - 1943
Orth, Stephan "Couchsurfing in Russland. Wie ich fast zum Putin-Versteher wurde" (Couchsurfing in Russia: Friendships and Misadventures Behind Putin’s Curtain) - 2017
Tremain, Rose "The Gustav Sonata" (Und damit fing es an) - 2016
Kerkeling, Hape "Der Junge muss an die frische Luft. Meine Kindheit und ich" [The boy needs some fresh air] - 2014

Campbell, Jen "The Bookshop Book" - 2014
Kalisa, Karin "Sungs Laden" [Sung's Shop] - 2015

Scott, Mary, West, Joyce "Such Nice People" (Lauter reizende Menschen) (Inspector Wright #2) - 1962
Unigwe, Chika "On Black Sisters’ Street" (Fata Morgana) - 2007
Abarbanell, Stephan "Displaced" (Morgenland) - 2015
Aaronovich, David "Paddling to Jerusalem. An Aquatic Tour of Our Small Country" - 2000
Buddha "The Dhammapada. Verses on the Way" (धम्मपद), Buddhist text - ca. 300 BCE

Kermani, Navid "Dein Name" [Your Name] - 2011 (Friedenspreis)
McCall Smith, Alexander "Tea Time for the Traditionally Built" (Übles Spiel mit Mma Ramotswe) - 2009
McLeod, Cynthia "Hoe duur was de suiker?" (The Cost of Sugar/Die Schwestern von Surinam aka Surinam) - 1987 

Kadaré, Ismail "The Fall of the Stone City" (aka Chronicle in Stone) (Darka e Gabuar//Ein folgenschwerer Abend) - 1971 
Hanks, Tom "Uncommon Type. Some Stories" (Schräge Typen) - 2017 
Han, Kang "The Vegetarian" (채식주의자/Ch'angbi/Die Vegetarierin) - 2007
Hastings, Max "The Secret War: Spies, Codes And Guerrillas, 1939–45" - 2015 

Kennedy, Emma "Shoes for Anthony" - 2015 
Wimschneider, Anna "Herbstmilch. Lebenserinnerungen einer Bäuerin" [Autumn Milk. Memories of a Farmer's Wife] - 1985 
Carnarvon, Countess Fiona of "Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle" (Lady Almina und das wahre Downton Abbey: Das Vermächtnis von Highclere Castle) - 2011 
Hahn, Ulla "Liebesarten" [Styles of Love] 2006
Ibsen, Henrik "Peer Gynt" (Peer Gynt/Peer Gynt) - 1867
Scott, Mary, West; Joyce "Fatal Lady" (Tod auf der Koppel) (Inspector Wright #1) - 1960
Ackroyd, Peter "The History of England, Vol. 1 Foundation" - 2011
MacGregor, Neil "Germany. Memories of a Nation" (Deutschland. Erinnerungen einer Nation) - 2014
Ephron, Nora "When Harry Met Sally ..." - 1990
Tau, Max "Ein Flüchtling findet sein Land" [A refugee finds his country] - 1964 (Friedenspreis 1950) 

Oates, Joyce Carol "A Book of American Martyrs" - 2017 
Piercy, Joseph "The Story of English: How an Obscure Dialect became the World's Most-Spoken Language" - 2012
McCall Smith, Alexander "The Double Comfort Safari Club" (11) (Schweres Erbe für Mma Ramotswe) - 2010
Bohlmann-Modersohn, Marina "Hamburg. Eine Stadt in Biographien" [Hamburg. A Town in Biographies] - 2013 

Mbue, Imbolo "Behold the Dreamers" (Das geträumte Land) - 2016
Craig, Charmaine "Miss Burma" - 2017
Roach, Mary "My Planet. Finding Humor in the Oddest Places" - 2013

My lists of 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2018.

Monday 10 April 2017

Falcones, Ildefonso "The Barefoot Queen"

Falcones, Ildefonso "The Barefoot Queen" (Spanish: La Reina Descalza) - 2013

As with his former books "Cathedral of the Sea" and "The Hand of Fatima", Ildefonso Falcones does not disappoint with his newest novel. Whether he talks about Barcelona in the 14th century, Muslims in the 16th century or gypsies in the 18th, he seems to know all the characters personally and introduces us to their lives and struggles. This time, it's the gypsies and their problems in a country where they are not welcome, well, where are they ever? They can't make a living by staying somewhere because they are not allowed to work in many many jobs but they also can't travel. And when the Spanish crown decides to lock them all up in order to conduct the perfect genocide. Well, luckily, there is no perfect genocide, there are always members of a race that are willing to fight until the very end.

Ildefonso Falcones is a great storyteller, he can make you love the characters and feel with them through their dramatic lives. And in addition to that, it's also a fantastic history lesson. We don't just learn about Spain in the 18th century, we also learn about slaves in Cuba, tobacco planting and and working, trading and smuggling. There is so much in this story. Even though Caridad, a former slave, is supposed to be the protagonist, her friend Milagros with her grandfather Melchor and their family are also quite important to the story.

Can't wait until his newest book "Los herederos de la tierra" (2016), the follow-up to "Cathedral of the Sea" is translated.

From the back cover:

"A historical epic full of bravery and romance that follows two women as they make a life for themselves in 18th-century Spain.

It's January of 1748. Caridad is a recently freed Cuban slave wondering the streets of Seville. Her master is dead and she has nowhere to go. When her path crosses with Milagros Carmona's-a young, rebellious gypsy-the two women are instantly inseparable. Milagros introduces Caridad to the gypsy community, an exotic fringe society that will soon change her life forever. Over time they each fall in love with men who are fiercely loyal and ready to fight to the death for their rights as a free people. When all gypsies are declared outlaws by royal mandate, life in their community becomes perilous. They soon find themselves in Madrid-a city of passion and dancing, but also a treacherous one full of smugglers and thieves. Caridad and Milagros must help in the gypsy's struggle against society and its laws in order to stay together; it's a dangerous battle that cannot, and will not, be easily won. From the tumultuous bustle of Seville to the theatres of Madrid, The Barefoot Queen is a historical fresco filled with characters that live, love, suffer, and fight for what they believe."

Friday 7 April 2017

Book Quotes of the Week

"That place that does contain

My books, the best companions, is to me
A glorious court, where hourly I converse

With the old sages and philosophers;
And sometimes, for variety, I confer
With kings and emperors, and weigh their counsels;
Calling their victories, if unjustly got,
Unto a strict account, and, in my fancy,
Deface their ill-placed statues."
Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher

"If you love a book, write a nice review. It gives the author encouragement for bad days, when they want to take up scorpion petting." Liana Brooks

"Never put off till tomorrow the book you can read today." Holbrook Jackson

"Think before you speak. Read before you think." Fran Lebowitz

"A library is not a luxury but one of the necessities of life." Henry Ward Beecher

Find more book quotes here.

Tuesday 4 April 2017

2017 TBR Pile Reading Challenge

I have joined quite a few reading challenges since I started my blog but this one sounded the most interesting of them all.

As Evie from the Bookish Blog says: "We all have those books. We buy them, win them, they're gifted to us. Then we put them up on a bookshelf and there they stay, collecting dust, waiting for the time when we'll finally decide to pick them up."

Okay, I admit, my TBR (To Be Read) pile is a lot longer than it should be and I can't resist buying any new books but I will attempt to read more old books than buying new ones this year.

I could, of course, try to tackle the 50+ challenge but we all know that is not going to happen, instead, I will try to do at least 11-20 old books in addition to the new ones I'm buying and those I get from the library and hopefully be pleasantly surprised at the end of the year. In 2016, I managed to read 37 of the books that had been waiting to be read for more than a year. Let's see how many there are going to be next year.

So far, I have already read these of my "old books" in 2017:
Fredriksson, Marianne "Simon and The Oaks" (aka Simon's Family/SW: Simon och ekarna) - 1985
Bohjalian, Chris "Midwives" - 1997
Laker, Rosalind "The Golden Tulip" - 1989 
Grass, Günter "Die Box. Dunkelkammergeschichten" (German) (GE: The Box: Tales from the Darkroom) (Autobiographical Trilogy #2) - 2008  
Ballantyne, Tony "Dream London" - 2013
Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi "Half of a Yellow Sun" (Die Hälfte der Sonne) - 2006
Bryson, Bill "Bill Bryson's African Diary. A Short Trip for a Worthy Cause" - 2002
Schrobsdorff, Angelika "Du bist nicht so wie andre Mütter" (German) (GE: You are not like other mothers) - 1992
Murakami, Haruki "Kafka am Strand" (Kafka on the Shore) (J: 海辺のカフカ Umibe no Kafuka) - 2004
Lenz, Siegfried "The German Lesson" (German) (Deutschstunde) - 1968 
Herbert, Xavier "Capricornia" (Capricornia) - 1938
Aaronovitch, Ben "Broken Homes" - 2013 - (Rivers of London 4)
Ruiz, Don Miguel Ángel "The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom" - 1997
Nöstlinger, Christine "Best of Mama" (German) [Best of Mum] - 2001 
Hemingway, Ernest "For Whom the Bell Tolls" (Wem die Stunde schlägt) - 1940 
Taylor, Andrew James "Books That Changed the World" - 2008 
Ali, Monica "In the Kitchen" (Hotel Imperial) - 2009 
Mercier, Pascal "Lea" (Lea) - 2007 
Sitch, Rob: Cilauro, Santo: Tom Gleisner, Tom "Molvanîa. A Land Untouched By Modern Dentistry" (Molwanîen - Das Land des schadhaften Lächelns) - 2003 
Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi "Americanah" (Americanah) - 2013 
Şafak, Elif "Three Daughters of Eve" (Havva'nın Üç Kızı/Der Geruch des Paradieses) - 2016 
Wroblewski, David "The Story of Edgar Sawtelle" (Die Geschichte von Edgar Sawtelle) - 2008
Atwood, Margaret "The Blind Assassin" (Der blinde Mörder) - 2000  
Bunyan, John "The Pilgrim's Progress from This World to That Which Is to Come" (Pilgerreise zur seligen Ewigkeit) - 1678 
Chevalier, Tracy "The Lady and the Unicorn" (Der Kuss des Einhorns) - 2003
Jones, Edward P. "The Known World" (Die bekannte Welt) - 2004 
Heidenreich, Elke "Wörter aus 30 Jahren" [Words from 30 years] - 2003
Turner, Nancy E. "The Star Garden: A Novel of Sarah Agnes Prine" - 2007
Oates, Joyce Carol "Big Mouth & Ugly Girl" (Unter Verdacht) - 2003
Dickens, Charles "Oliver Twist" (Oliver Twist) - 1838 
Austen, Jane "Selected Letters. 1796-1817" [Ausgewählte Briefe]
Hamann, Brigitte "Elisabeth, Kaiserin wider Willen" (The Reluctant Empress) - 1981

Altogether 32 TBR books in 2017.

Monday 3 April 2017

Hansen, Dörte "This House is Mine"

Hansen, Dörte "This House is Mine" (German: Altes Land) - 2015

I don't think I would have ever found this book if it hadn't been suggested as a book club read by an American book club member. I had seen it but thought it looked more like a chick lit book and I had plenty of books on my TBR pile already.

Anyway, I read it and loved it. A great description of some women who try to find their way in this world, starting with the mother who has to flee East Prussia after WWII, the daughter who will always be the foreigner in the new part of Germany they start to live in, a granddaughter who tries to find her roots. A lot of women's problems are mentioned in the novel but also the change of the countryside, the German word "Landflucht" (fleeing from the countryside) probably describes it best, the children of farmers who have cultivated their land for generations leave their home and settle in the towns, they don't want to be farmers anymore. Those who stay behind have to fight a lot of battles, those against nature and its harshness but also against laws and newcomers who would love to have everything done a different way, a new way, until they find that sometimes that is just not possible.

I come from an area not too far from the "Altes Land" (the German title, translated: Old Country although that wasn't the original meaning, situated to the southwest of Hamburg) and I grew up speaking the low German in which the old people in the novel talk. Therefore, reading this book, was a little bit like home to me. The English title comes from the inscription on the gable of the old house:
"Dit Huus is mien un doch nich mien, de no mi kummt, nennt't ook noch sien." (This hoose is mine ain and yet no mine ain, he that follows will caw it his.  = This house is mine and yet not mine, whoever follows still calls it his.)
The author is a journalist and this is her first book. I do hope that more will follow because I intend to read them all.

I read this in the original German language.

We discussed this in our international book club in March 2017.

From the back cover:

"A bestselling German novel about two women connected by their experiences in and around a special old house.

Told in skillfully-crafted alternating points of view and a non-linear storyline, Hansen's bestselling debut novel showcases her impressive talent for characterization and dialog in an unusual book that combines emotional depth and humor. She immerses the reader in a series of brightly lit or obscure scenes that call for close reading and offer many rewards. The author's sparse language and sometimes oblique references make for a deeply immersive reading experience, and the characters will resonate long after the last page has been turned. Readers of Anthony Doerr and M.L. Stedman will find much to love here.

All her life Vera has felt like a stranger in the old and drafty farmhouse she arrived in as a five-year-old refugee from East Prussia in 1945, and yet she can’t seem to let it go. 60 years later, her niece Anne suddenly shows up at her door with her small son– Anne has fled the trendy Hamburg neighborhood she never fit into when her relationship implodes. Vera and Anne are strangers to each other, but have much more in common than they think. As the two strong-willed and very different women share the great old house, they surprisingly find what they have never searched for: a family."
"This House is Mine" has been chosen favourite book of the year 2015 by the German Indepent Book Shops.

Saturday 1 April 2017

Happy April!

Happy April to all my friends and readers

New Calendar picture with this
beautiful watercolour painting by Hanka Koebsch

 "Into the Garden" * "Ab in den Garten"

April showers bring May flowers. Let's hope so, there is usually quite a bit of rain in this area. But at least we can enjoy some of the beautiful flowers in this watercolour painting by Hanka Koebsch

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