Thursday, 31 January 2019

Vargas, Jose Antonio "Dear America"


Vargas, Jose Antonio "Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen" - 2018

This is such an interesting book that puts a face to all those "illegal immigrants". Even though the author is not your average undocumented citizen, he can express his problems and with that the problem of all the other immigrants who would love to be legal but just have no chance.

But it is also a story about all those who oppose immigration and it teaches us that the country could gain so much from making it easier to attain a citizenship. Many people live somewhere in countries where they weren't born and whose passport they don't carry. If you make it easier for those who really contribute to your country, or need your help, you might end up with an easier life for everyone.

The story is so honest and so well written, you realize that every single of those numbers is talking about a human being.

I think this should be read by many many people though I am sure those who need it most will not even look at it.

From the back cover:

"My name is Jose Antonio Vargas. I was born in the Philippines. When I was twelve, my mother sent me to the United States to live with her parents. While applying for a driver’s permit, I found out my papers were fake. More than two decades later, I am still here illegally, with no clear path to American citizenship. To some people, I am the ''most famous illegal' in America. In my mind, I am only one of an estimated 11 million human beings whose uncertain fate is under threat in a country I call my home.

This is not a book about the politics of immigration. This book - at its core - is not about immigration at all. This book is about homelessness, not in a traditional sense, but about the unsettled, unmoored psychological state in which undocumented immigrants like me find ourselves. This book is about lying and being forced to lie to get by; about passing as an American and as a contributing citizen; about families, keeping them together, and having to make new ones when you can’t. This book is about what it means to not have a home."

Vargas authored or contributed to three Washington Post articles about the Virginia Tech shootings that were awarded the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Reporting.

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Ackroyd, Peter "Civil War"


Ackroyd, Peter "The History of England, Vol. 3 Civil War" - 2014

After "The History of England, Vol. 1 Foundation" and "The History of England, Vol. 2 Tudors", this is Peter Ackroyd's third voyage into the history of England, their kings and queens, their troubles and wars, their marriages and children, everything you always wanted to know that is behind those numbers like 1642–1651 when the English civil war took place.

He talks to us about the Stuart Kings, starting with James I all through to his grandson James II. I must admit, I did not know half as much about this part of the English history as I did about the Tudors, they are just not as flamboyant. But I learned a little about both the Stuarts as well as the interregnum and why the British all think Prince Charles might take on another name when he accedes to the throne.

I'm looking forward to the next book in this series:
Revolution: The History of England from the Battle of the Boyne to the Battle of Waterloo (The History of England #4)

There is only one thing I really missed and that was a list at the back about who became king when and who was the son of whom etc., you know, those nice little family trees you often find in these kinds of books. I am one of those readers who always wants more information and wants to check this and that. So, I had to always look up my list elsewhere. Maybe a little hint for the future.

Other than that, if you are only remotely interested in history, Peter Ackroyd is an author to read. He always includes so much information, it's such a pleasure to go through his books.

From the back cover:

"In Civil War, Peter Ackroyd continues his dazzling retelling of England's history, painting a vivid portrait of the Stuart kings, from the accession of James I to the ignominious exile of his grandson James II. In it, Ackroyd lays before us the turbulent seventeenth century, most especially the civil war which led to the killing of the hapless Charles I and the despotic reign of England's only dictator, Oliver Cromwell.

But here, too, is the cultural and social life of the period, notable for its extraordinarily rich literature, including Shakespeare's late masterpieces, Jacobean tragedy, the poetry of John Donne and Milton and Thomas Hobbes' great philosophical treatise, Leviathan. Above all, Ackroyd gives us a very real sense of ordinary English men and women, living their lives against a backdrop of constant disruption and uncertainty."

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

NDiaye, Marie "Three strong women"


NDiaye, Marie "Three strong women" (French: Trois femmes puissantes) - 2009

As I already mentioned in my review about the author's book "Rosie Carpe", I like reading a French book from time to time in order to use and improve my French. Unfortunately, I rarely enjoy them because they are always so weird. Not any different with this one.

I liked the description of the novel, or what I thought was the novel about three women who knew each other. But while reading it, I had to find out that these are three different stories with no relation to each other (other than one of them is a distant cousin of the other but the stories don't overlap). As I'm not a huge fan of short stories, I was quite disappointed when the first story ended in the middle of the book, and also in the middle of the story. None of the stories really has an end, well, the last one, sort of. None of the characters was really likeable, they all had some weird traits that I couldn't agree with.

The stories were unpleasant and ended abruptly. The characters didn't seem to even want to do anything to change their lives for the better. That is always the worst part of these kind of stories.

Nope, not my kind of book. I will have to remember not to fall into that trap again and read another book by this author.

From the back cover:

"In this new novel, the first by a black woman ever to win the coveted Prix Goncourt, Marie NDiaye creates a luminous narrative triptych as harrowing as it is beautiful.

This is the story of three women who say no: Norah, a French-born lawyer who finds herself in Senegal, summoned by her estranged, tyrannical father to save another victim of his paternity; Fanta, who leaves a modest but contented life as a teacher in Dakar to follow her white boyfriend back to France, where his delusional depression and sense of failure poison everything; and Khady, a penniless widow put out by her husband’s family with nothing but the name of a distant cousin (the aforementioned Fanta) who lives in France, a place Khady can scarcely conceive of but toward which she must now take desperate flight.

With lyrical intensity, Marie NDiaye masterfully evokes the relentless denial of dignity, to say nothing of happiness, in these lives caught between Africa and Europe. We see with stunning emotional exactitude how ordinary women discover unimagined reserves of strength, even as their humanity is chipped away. Three Strong Women admits us to an immigrant experience rarely if ever examined in fiction, but even more into the depths of the suffering heart."

Monday, 28 January 2019

Nietzsche, Friedrich "Beyond Good and Evil"

Nietzsche, Friedrich "Beyond Good and Evil: Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future/On the Genealogy of Morality" (German: Jenseits von Gut und Böse. Vorspiel einer Philosophie der Zukunft/Zur Geneologie der Moral) - 1886

A tough book by a great mind, it's hard to follow him all the time, you definitely can't read it in one go and digest it that way, you have to take it in small chunks. And even if you don't always agree with his thoughts, they certainly get you thinking.

From the back cover:

"Beyond Good and Evil confirmed Nietzsche's position as the towering European philosopher of his age. The work dramatically rejects the tradition of Western thought with its notions of truth and God, good and evil. Nietzsche demonstrates that the Christian world is steeped in a false piety and infected with a 'slave morality'. With wit and energy, he turns from this critique to a philosophy that celebrates the present and demands that the individual imposes their own 'will to power' upon the world."

Friday, 25 January 2019

Coetzee, J.M. "The Childhood of Jesus"


Coetzee, J.M. "The Childhood of Jesus" - 2013

I don't really know what to say about this book. It is so strange. A man and a boy arrive in a new country. We are supposed to believe, I think, that they are refugees abut we have no idea from where they come and where they went, only that they had to cross an ocean. They could have gone from Africa to South America, Asia to Australia, North America to Europe or any combination thereof. The only continent I wouldn't suspect is Antarctica though it could be after climate change has taken place and they start settling people there.

That doesn't really matter. I'm not even sure whether this is supposed to be a dystopian novel or not, though I will call it that. Everyone in this country starts with a clean slate, they are given a new name, their past is forgotten. Sounds more like a utopian tale at the beginning, however, it's not. Life couldn't be made more difficult for new arrivals.

I have come to really dislike the boy and that is something I don't really like. I remember a member of our book club mention that she hated books where the children are so awful that one can only dislike them. I doubt she would have liked this book.

As to the title, I have no idea what the title has to do with the novel. There are biblical allusions but without the name "Jesus", it might as well have been coincidences.

Somewhere on the internet I read someone recommending "Disgrace" and "Life of Times of Michael K." and avoid this one. I wish I had read that before starting this novel. I did enjoy "Disgrace" a lot more than this one.

From the back cover:

"After crossing oceans, a man and a boy arrive in a new land. Here they are each assigned a name and an age, and held in a camp in the desert while they learn Spanish, the language of their new country. As Simón and David they make their way to the relocation centre in the city of Novilla, where officialdom treats them politely but not necessarily helpfully.

Simón finds a job in a grain wharf. The work is unfamiliar and backbreaking, but he soon warms to his stevedore comrades, who during breaks conduct philosophical dialogues on the dignity of labour, and generally take him to their hearts.

Now he must set about his task of locating the boy’s mother. Though like everyone else who arrives in this new country he seems to be washed clean of all traces of memory, he is convinced he will know her when he sees her. And indeed, while walking with the boy in the countryside Simón catches sight of a woman he is certain is the mother, and persuades her to assume the role.

David's new mother comes to realise that he is an exceptional child, a bright, dreamy boy with highly unusual ideas about the world. But the school authorities detect a rebellious streak in him and insist he be sent to a special school far away. His mother refuses to yield him up, and it is Simón who must drive the car as the trio flees across the mountains.

THE CHILDHOOD OF JESUS is a profound, beautiful and continually surprising novel from a very great writer."

J.M. Coetzee "who in innumerable guises portrays the surprising involvement of the outsider" received the Nobel Prize in 2003.

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

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Harari, Yuval Noah "Sapiens"


Harari, Yuval Noah "Sapiens. A Brief History of Mankind" (Hebrew: קיצור תולדות האנושות/Ḳizur Toldot Ha-Enoshut) - 2014

This book is one of the most interesting ones I have read lately. A book that tries to explain how we became the beings we are today, what happened between the time the first humanoid forms appeared on this earth and today. It answers many questions you might have never asked yourself but always should have.

Why did the Homo Sapiens survive and not the Neanderthal? Why did we go from being hunters and gatherers to being settlers, farmers? Did it do us any good? Have people in the middle ages been unhappier than we are today? What is the advantage of global communities? And where does all this go? How much does biology influence history? What exactly are cultural differences?

If you have any questions along those lines, the answer is probably in this book. Or - it can't be answered.

A brilliant book by a great mind, a history professor who has studied his fellow human beings intensely.

From the back cover:

"100,000 years ago, at least six human species inhabited the earth. Today there is just one. Us. Homo sapiens.

How did our species succeed in the battle for dominance? Why did our foraging ancestors come together to create cities and kingdoms? How did we come to believe in gods, nations and human rights; to trust money, books and laws; and to be enslaved by bureaucracy, timetables and consumerism? And what will our world be like in the millennia to come?

In Sapiens, Dr Yuval Noah Harari spans the whole of human history, from the very first humans to walk the earth to the radical – and sometimes devastating – breakthroughs of the Cognitive, Agricultural and Scientific Revolutions. Drawing on insights from biology, anthropology, paleontology and economics, he explores how the currents of history have shaped our human societies, the animals and plants around us, and even our personalities. Have we become happier as history has unfolded? Can we ever free our behaviour from the heritage of our ancestors? And what, if anything, can we do to influence the course of the centuries to come?

Bold, wide-ranging and provocative, Sapiens challenges everything we thought we knew about being human: our thoughts, our actions, our power ... and our future."
 
I also read "Homo Deus" in the meantime. Just as great.

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Mary Scott Novels in English


I have read Mary Scott's novels since I was a teenager. She has been my favourite author for quite a while and I still care a lot for her books. They are natural, you can tell she lived through them.

Unfortunately, I only know her books in the German translation. I have always wanted to read them in the original but by the time the internet came up and it was easier to order books in different languages, they were out of print and I was unable to find them.

A while ago, I found a used copy. Hurray! Finally I could read at least one of her novels in English.

I was not disappointed. However, I noticed that not everything found its way into the translation. Not that the book story was changed but a lot of the minor characters and their stories were left out. So, now I wonder what was left out in the other books and would love to read more of them. I will carry on looking through the internet and hopefully find some of her other writings.

I will keep a list here of all the books I read in English now and put up a link in my post "Mary Scott writes about New Zealand".

Scott, Mary "Yours to oblige" (Na endlich, Liebling) - 1954
Scott, Mary "Breakfast at Six" (Frühstück um Sechs. Ich und Paul und Tausend Schafe) - 1953 - the first book in my favourite series about Susan who marries a sheep farmer
Scott, Mary "What Does It Matter" (Macht nichts, Darling) - 1966 

Monday, 21 January 2019

Wright, Richard B. "Clara Callan" - 2001


Wright, Richard B. "Clara Callan" - 2001

I received this book from a Canadian member of our book club. As everyone knows, my TBR pile is enormous, that's the only reason it took me so long to start this. My friend has passed away shortly afterwards, that is probably the main reason why I didn't tackle it. I am sorry I could never tell her how much I enjoyed the book. Thank you, Mary.

This is the stories of two sisters in the 1930s. One who goes to New York to become a famous radio celebrity and the other one who stays at home to be a teacher. While they have their different opinions about religion, they mostly agree about other subject, especially political matters.

While the story switches between Clara's diary and letter written between her and - mainly - her sister, it meticulously follows the chronological order. I don't mind if a book switches between the times but it is nice to read one that starts at a certain point and then carries on as time goes by.

This is not just a story about two sisters, it's about women in general at the time between the two wars, about the perception people had, about what was "done" and what wasn't? You can't but like both Clara and her sister Nora, they are both amiable people in their own way trying to find their own niche in a world that would rather see women the same as they always were, wives and mothers, housekeepers.

As an avid reader myself, I am always happy to find characters in novels that enjoy reading as much as I do. Clara Callan was such a person. She even read a lot of books that I enjoyed myself. Another reason to like her.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel. And I'm not surprised that the author received three prestigious Canadian book awards for this novel: The Giller Prize, the Trillium Book Award, and the Governor General's Award.

From the back cover:

"It's the late 1930s and two sisters, Clara and Nora Callan, face the future with both hope and uncertainty. Clara, a 30ish schoolteacher who lives in small-town Ontario, longs for love and adventure. Nora, her flighty and very pretty younger sister, escapes to the excitement of New York, where she lands a starring role in a radio soap and becomes a minor celebrity. In a world of Depression and at a time when war clouds are gathering, the sisters struggle within the web of social expectations for young women.

Clara and Nora, sisters so different yet so inextricably linked, face the future in their own ways, discovering the joys of love, the price of infidelity, and the capacity for sorrow lurking beneath the surface of everyday experience. A brilliantly realized, deeply moving novel, Clara Callan is a masterpiece of fiction."

Friday, 18 January 2019

Sendker, Jan-Philipp "The Far Side of the Night"

Sendker, Jan-Philipp "The Far Side of the Night" (German: Am anderen Ende der Nacht) (The Rising Dragon #3) - 2016

Jan-Philipp Sendker is a German journalist who has been a correspondent for China for several years. He has written several great books in the meantime. His first one, the non-fiction book "Risse in der großen Mauer" [Cracks in the Great Wall] by Jan-Philipp Sendker is just fantastic.

In the meantime, he is also a renowned fiction writer. I have read most of his books, some of them a series) but not all of them have been translated into English. Yet, I hope,
Whether you want to read "The Art of Hearing Heartbeats" or "Whispering Shadows"or any of the other books that have been translated in the meantime, they are all great.

In this novel, we meet Paul and Christine again, the American-Chinese couple living in Hongkong with their little son. Another crime story that takes them through large parts of China where we can learn about the system people over there live in. Captivating.

We meet people who live in a town and people who live in a village, far away from any larger settlement but still not too far to be caught in the grip of the party.

Brilliant story, very emotional. I can honestly say that Jan-Philipp Sendker belongs to my favourite German authors at the moment.

From the back cover:

"During a trip to China, Paul and Christine experience the nightmare of every parent: their four year old son is kidnapped. They are reunited after a few hours but the kidnappers, very powerful people in today’s China with close contacts to the police, dearly want the child back. The only safe place for the family is the US embassy in Beijing, but they are two thousand miles away, with the police searching frantically for them, and all airports, train stations and major roads under surveillance. They’ll have no chance without help from strangers, but who will be willing to risk their lives for them?

Whom can they trust?

The Far Side of the Night is a powerful, transporting novel about the struggle to maintain humanity in an impossible situation."

These are the books in the Rising Dragon (China) trilogy:
"Whispering Shadows" (German: Das Flüstern der Schatten) (The Rising Dragon #1) - 2007
"Dragon Games" aka "The Language of Solitude" (German: Drachenspiele) (The Rising Dragon #2) - 2009
"The Far Side of the Night" (German: Am anderen Ende der Nacht) (The Rising Dragon #3) - 2016

Thursday, 17 January 2019

McKinley, Tamara "Lands Beyond the Sea"


McKinley, Tamara "Lands Beyond the Sea" - 2007

I would file this novel under "Catherine Cookson with a little Australiana thrown in". Too much "Lord loves poor girl, poor girl loves Lord but they can't get together" for me. The stories of the convicts have been described a lot better in other books (Capricornia, English Passengers, The Floating Brothel, For the Term of His Natural Life, The Secret River).

The story about the convicts might have been good if it hadn't all the chick lit paraphernalia thrown in. And I might have enjoyed the book if it hadn't been such an "easy read". Not my thing, I'm afraid.

I read this is the first of a series. I doubt I will read the following ones.

From the back cover:

"Discovery
By the 1700s, the Aborigine people have lived in harmony with the land in Australia for sixty thousand years. But now, ghost-ships are arriving, their very existence is threatened by a terrifying white invasion.

Love
When Jonathan Cadwallader leaves Cornwall to sail on the Endeavour, he leaves behind his sweetheart, Susan Penhalligan ... But an act of brutality will reunite them in the raw and unforgiving penal colony of New South Wales.

Hardship
Billy Penhalligan has survived transportation and clings to the promise of a new beginning. But there will be more suffering before he or his fellow convicts can regard Australia as home ...

A powerful, romantic epic weaving the lives of the Cadwalladers, the Penhalliagnas, the Aborigine and the convict settlers into the untamed tapestry of newly discovered Australia."

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

2018 Reading Challenges - Wrap-Up

I took part in five reading challenges (Emma's Book Club, Reading Challenge - Chunky Books 2018, The "Piggybank" Challenge 2018, TBR Pile Reading Challenge 2018, and Travel the World Through Books), and added books to several other lists.

100 Books by the BBC
This is an old challenge, I added two more book to the list.
Dickens, Charles "David Copperfield" (David Copperfield) - 1850
Plath, Sylvia "The Bell Jar" (Die Glasglocke) - 1963

The 100 Greatest Fiction Books as Chosen by The Guardian
I added another two books to this list.
Dickens, Charles "David Copperfield" (David Copperfield) - 1850
Grass, Günter "Die Blechtrommel. Danziger Trilogie 1" (The Tin Drum) - 1959

A Century of Books
Smith, Betty "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" - 1943

Best European Literature
Dickens, Charles "David Copperfield" (David Copperfield) - 1850
Remarque, Erich Maria "All Quiet on the Western Front" - 1928

Bildungsroman
Dickens, Charles "David Copperfield" (David Copperfield) - 1850
Smith, Betty "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" - 1943
Tremain, Rose "The Gustav Sonata" - 2016

Children's Books
I read these books ages ago when my children were small but I wrote a review this year to four more books from the list.

Carle, Eric "The Very Hungry Caterpillar"
McBratney, Sam "Guess How Much I Love You"
Numeroff, Laura "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie"
Seuss, Dr. (=LeSieg, Theo) "The Cat in The Hat"

Dutch and French Books
Word cloud made with WordItOut
2 French books, 7 Dutch books this year.

French
de Beauvoir, Simone "L'invitée" (She came to stay/Sie kam und blieb) - 1943

Dutch
Benali, Abdelkader "Bruiloft aan zee" (Wedding by the Sea/Hochzeit am Meer) - 1996
Boom, Corrie Ten "De Schuilplaats" (The Hiding Place. The Triumphant Story of Corrie Ten Boom/Die Zuflucht) - 1972
Hertmans, Stefan "Oorlog en terpentijn" (War and Turpentine/Der Himmel meines Großvaters) - 2013
Marbe, Nausicaa "Mândraga" (Mandraga/Mandraga) - 1998
McLeod, Cynthia "Hoe duur was de suiker?" (The Cost of Sugar) - 1987
Unigwe, Chika "Fata Morgana" (On Black Sisters' Street) - 2007

Emma's Book Club

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 added only one book to that list.
Smith, Betty "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" - 1943

German Books

Since German is my mother tongue and I can easily obtain books in that language, I read 37.

Abarbanell, Stephan "Morgenland" (Displaced) - 2015
Bánk, Zsuzsa "Schlafen werden wir später" [We will sleep later] - 2017
Bauer, Thomas "Die Vereindeutigung der Welt. Über den Verlust an Mehrdeutigkeit und Vielfalt" [The Unification of the World. About the loss of ambiguity and diversity] - 2018
Berlin, Peter "So sind sie, die Schweden: Die Fremdenversteher von Reise-Know-How" [This is how the Swedes are] - 2017
Bode, Sabine "Kriegsspuren: Die deutsche Krankheit - German  Angst" [War Traces] - 2008
Bohlmann-Modersohn, Marina "Hamburg. Eine Stadt in Biographien" [Hamburg. A Town in Biographies] - 2013
Böttcher, Jan "Am Anfang war der Krieg zu Ende" (Y) - 2016
Busch, Nikki "Dies ist kein Adventskalender" [This is not an Advent Calendar] - 2012
Erpenbeck, Jenny "Aller Tage Abend" (The End of Days) - 2012
Feuchtwanger, Lion "Jud Süß" (Jew Suss) - 1925
Grass, Günter "Die Blechtrommel. Danziger Trilogie 1" (The Tin Drum) - 1959
Hahn, Ulla "Liebesarten" [Styles of Love] - 2006
Heidenreich, Elke "Also… - Kolumnen aus Brigitte 4" [So … Columns from the newspaper Brigitte 4] - 1988
Kaminer, Wladimir "Ausgerechnet Deutschland. Geschichten unserer neuen Nachbarn" [Germany of all. Stories of our new neighbours] - 2018
Kalisa, Karin "Sungs Laden" [Sung's Shop] - 2015
Kästner, Erich "Als ich ein kleiner Junge war" (When I was a little boy) - 1957
Kerkeling, Hape "Der Junge muss an die frische Luft. Meine Kindheit und ich" [The boy needs some fresh air] - 2014
Kerkeling, Hape "Frisch hapeziert. Die Kolumnen" [Freshly "hallpapered"] - 2018
Kermani, Navid "Dein Name" [Your Name] - 201
Kermani, Navid "Zwischen Koran und Kafka. West-östliche Erkundungen" (Between Quran and Kafka: West-Eastern Affinities) - 2014
Kohl, Walter "Das leere Land" [The Empty Land] - 2011
Montasser, Thomas "Das Glück der kleinen Augenblicke" [The happiness of the small moments] - 2017
Nietzsche, Friedrich "Jenseits von Gut und Böse. Vorspiel einer Philosophie der Zukunft/Zur Geneologie der Moral" (Beyond Good and Evil: Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future/On the Genealogy of Morality) - 1886
Orth, Stephan "Couchsurfing in Russland. Wie ich fast zum Putin-Versteher wurde" (Friendships and Misadventures Behind Putin’s Curtain) - 2017
Precht, Richard David "Anna, die Schule und der liebe Gott. Der Verrat des Bildungssystems an unsere Kinder" [Anna, the School and the Good God] - 2013
Roth, Martin "Widerrede! Eine Familie diskutiert über Populismus, Werte und politisches Engagement" [Contradiction (Talk back)! A family discusses populism, values and political commitment] - 2017
Rávic Strubel, Antje "Gebrauchsanweisung für Schweden" [User's Guide for Sweden] - 2008
Remarque, Erich Maria "All Quiet on the Western Front" - 1928
Schami, Rafik "Die dunkle Seite der Liebe" (The Dark Side of Love) - 2004
Sendker, Jan-Philipp "Am anderen Ende der Nacht" (The Far Side of the Night) - 2016
Steghöfer, Marie-Helene "Ein Jahr in Schweden" [A Year in Sweden] - 2017
Tau, Max "Ein Flüchtling findet sein Land" [A Refugee Finds His Country] - 1964
Walser, Martin "Ein fliehendes Pferd" (Runaway Horse) - 1978
Weidermann, Volker "Ostende - 1936, Sommer der Freundschaft" (Summer Before the Dark: Stefan Zweig and Joseph Roth, Ostend 1936) - 2014
Wimschneider, Anna "Herbstmilch. Lebenserinnerungen einer Bäuerin" [Autumn Milk. Memories of a farmer's wife] - 1985
Wolf, Christa "Der geteilte Himmel" (They Divided the Sky aka Divided Heaven) - 1963
Zeh, Juli "Corpus Delicti. Ein Prozess" (The Method) - 2009
Zeh, Juli "Die Stille ist ein Geräusch. Eine Fahrt durch Bosnien" [The Silence is a Sound] - 2002

Migraine Books
and Links 2011, 2014, 2016
Word cloud made with WordItOut

I started a new list in 2016. You can find all the links here.

My Favourite Books Ever

Every year I find some more books I can add to my list of favourite books. 20 this year.

Abarbanell, Stephan "Displaced" (Morgenland) - 2015
Abulhawa, Susan "The Blue Between Sky and Water" - 2015
Bánk, Zsuzsa "Schlafen werden wir später" [We will sleep later] - 2017
Dickens, Charles "David Copperfield" - 1850
Ephron, Nora "When Harry Met Sally ..." - 1990
Frazier, Charles "Varina" - 2018
Jason, David "Only Fools and Stories: From Del Boy to Granville, Pop Larkin to Frost" - 2017
Kalisa, Karin "Sungs Laden" [Sung's Shop] - 2015
Kennedy, Emma "Shoes for Anthony" - 2015
Kerkeling, Hape "Der Junge muss an die frische Luft. Meine Kindheit und ich" [The boy needs some fresh air] - 2014
MacGregor, Neil "Germany. Memories of a Nation" - 2014
Montasser, Thomas "Das Glück der kleinen Augenblicke" [The happiness of the small moments] - 2017
Orth, Stephan "Couchsurfing in Russland. Wie ich fast zum Putin-Versteher wurde"
[Couchsurfing in Russia. How I almost started to understand Putin] - 2017
Ruiz Zafón, Carlos "The Labyrinth of the Spirtis" (El laberinto de los espíritus - El cementerio de los libros olvidados #4/Das Labyrinth der Lichter) - 2016
Rutherfurd, Edward "Russka. The Novel of Russia" - 1991
Sansom, C.J. (Christopher John) "Dominion" - 2011
Schami, Rafik "The Dark Side of Love" (Die dunkle Seite der Liebe) - 2004
Sendker, Jan-Philipp "Am anderen Ende der Nacht" (The Far Side of the Night) - 2016
Smith, Betty "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" - 1943
Weir, Alison "Six Tudor Queens. Anne Boleyn. A King's Obsession" - 2017

Nobel Prize Winners and Their Books
Word cloud made with WordItOut

This is another list to which I could add seven more books.
Crwys-Williams, Jennifer (ed.) "In the Words of Nelson Mandela"
Grass, Günter "Die Blechtrommel. Danziger Trilogie 1" (The Tin Drum) - 1959
Ishiguro, Kazuo "The Remains of the Day" - 1989
Kross, Jaan "Professor Martens' Departure" (Professor Martensi ärasõit)
Lagerlöf, Selma "Sancta Lucia. Christmas Stories" (Kristuslegender) - 1893-1917

Oscar Winning Books

I added four more books in this category.
Dickens, Charles "David Copperfield" (David Copperfield) - 1850
Grass, Günter "Die Blechtrommel. Danziger Trilogie 1" (The Tin Drum) - 1959
Smith, Betty "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" - 1943
Williams, Tennessee "A Streetcar named Desire" - 1947

Peace Prize of the German Book Trade (German: Friedenspreis des Deutschen Buchhandels)
Four books from authors in this category.
Kermani, Navid "Dein Name" [Your Name] - 2011
Kermani, Navid "Zwischen Koran und Kafka. West-östliche Erkundungen" (Between Quran and Kafka: West-Eastern Affinities) - 2014
Tau, Max "Ein Flüchtling findet sein Land" [A refugee finds his country] - 1964
Walser, Martin "Ein fliehendes Pferd" (Runaway Horse) - 1978

The "Piggybank"Challenge

This challenge goes officially from 1 March 2016 to 1 March 2017 but it's easier to wrap this up now with the rest of the challenges. This year, I read 129 books which resulted in €258 to spend on something I'd really like. You can find the whole list with links here.

Reading Challenge - Chunky Books 2018

I read 28 books with more than 450 pages, 6 of them were more than 750 pages, the reading challenge calls them "chunksters". You can find the whole list with links here.

The non-western books that every student should read
A friend sent me an article from the Guardian by Sunny Singh, lecturer at London Metropolitan University and author of "Hotel Arcadia". It's a wonderful list of books that are not that common in the Western world but that teach us so much about other parts of our globe.

Before 2018, I read:
Bâ, Mariama "So Long a Letter"
Mahfouz, Naguib "Palace Walk"

I added in 2018:
Buddha "The Dhammapada"
Unigwe, Chika "Fata Morgana" (On Black Sisters' Street) - 2007

TBR Pile Challenge 2018

Another old challenbge where the participants try to read as many books from their To Be Read Pile as possible. I managed 38 books that had been on that stack for a while. This doesn't mean that my TBR pile got any smaller since I also bought more new books. You can find the whole list with links here.

Top Ten Tuesday

I didn't participate in this challenge this year, however, I managed to read 4 new books that I mentioned on those lists.

Backman, Fredrik "A Man Called Ove" (En Man som heter Ove) - 2012
Carey, Peter "A Long Way From Home" - 2017
Dickens, Charles "David Copperfield" (David Copperfield) - 1850
Kaminer, Wladimir "Russian Disco" (Russendisko) - 2000

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. I managed 82 until now, added four more this year: Albania, Belgium, Morocco and South Korea. If you have a good suggestion for those countries I haven't "visited, yet, please let me know.

Albania:
Kadaré, Ismail "The Fall of the Stone City" (aka Chronicle in Stone) (Albanian: Darka e Gabuar) - 1971

Belgium:
Hertmans, Stefan "Oorlog en terpentijn" (War and Turpentine/Der Himmel meines Großvaters) - 2013

Morocco:
Benali, Abdelkader "Bruiloft aan zee" (Wedding by the Sea/Hochzeit am Meer) - 1996

South Korea:
Han, Kang "The Vegetarian" (채식주의자/Ch'angbi/Die Vegetarierin)

What's in a Name 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.

Backman, Fredrik "A Man Called Ove" (En Man som heter Ove) - 2012 
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 (more like a biography but still)
Dickens, Charles "David Copperfield" (David Copperfield) - 1850
Ephron, Nora "When Harry Met Sally ..." - 1990
Frazier, Charles "Varina" - 2018
Ibsen, Henrik "Peer Gynt" (Peer Gynt/Peer Gynt) - 1867
Weir, Alison "Six Tudor Queens. Anne Boleyn. A King's Obsession" - 2017
Wright, Richard B. "Clara Callan" - 2001

No new books in:
101 Best Selling Books of All Time  
"13 Ways of Looking at the Novel" by Jane Smiley
20 Classic And Important Books  
7 Books That Will Radically Shift Your Perspectives
Esperanto Links 
Interesting Links
Le Monde - The 100 Books of the Century 
Modern Library 100 Best Novels of the 20th Century
Oprah’s Book Club 
Suggestions from Friends  
The 10 Greatest Books Ever
The Top 10 Most Difficult Books
Top 10 Most Read Books in the World

For my German friends, I have added the German titles in () brackets if the book is available in German. For my English friends, I have added the English titles in () brackets if the book is available in English and in [] brackets if the book is NOT available in English.

Monday, 14 January 2019

Statistics 2018

My statistics for the last years are here:
Going back to 2009-12, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017   

And these are the results of my reading lists for 2018:

* Statistics 2018 *

I read books that contributed to the following challenges:

Challenges
100 Books by the BBC
This is an old challenge, I added two more book to the list.
2018 TBR Pile Reading Challenge
Another old challenge where the participants try to read as many books from their To Be Read Pile as possible. I managed 38 books that had been on that stack for a while.
Dutch and French Books
2 French books, 7 Dutch books this year.
Emma's Book Club - Our shared shelf
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 added one more book to that list.
German Books
Since German is my mother tongue and I can easily obtain books in that language, I read 37.
My Favourite Books Ever
Every year I find some more books I can add to my list of favourite books. 19 this year.
Nobel Prize Winners and Their Books
This is another list to which I could add seven more books.
Oscar Winning Books
I added four more books in this category.
Peace Prize of the German Book Trade (German: Friedenspreis des Deutschen Buchhandels)
Four books from authors in this category.
Reading Challenge - Chunky Books 2018
I read 28 chunky books in 2018 of which 6 are considered a chunkster.
The "Piggybank" Challenge 2018
The 129 books I read this year resulted in €258 to spend on something nice.
Top Ten Tuesday
I didn't participate in this challenge this year, however, I managed to read 4 new books that I mentioned on those lists.
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. I managed 82 until now, added four more this year: Albania, Belgium, Morocco and South Korea. If you have a good suggestion for those countries I haven't "visited", yet, please let me know.

Books Read: 129
Pages read: 43,752
339 pages/book, 120 pages/day, 10.75 books/month
The average novel contains between 140 and 320 pages, i.e. 230 = 190 "average" books in 2016

Books dating from which year:
Pre 1800s: 1
1800s: 4
1900-1949: 5
1950-1999: 27
2000s: 91 (7 of which from 2018)

Male Authors:74
Female Authors: 52
Both: 1

Nobel Prize Winners: 7

Fiction: 81
Non-Fiction: 45

Chunky Books - more than 450 pages: 28, more than 750: 6
Library: 15
Re-Read: 1
TBR Pile: 38

Oldest Book: 300 BC
Buddha "The Dhammapada. Verses on the Way" (धम्मपद), Buddhist text - ca. 300 BCE
Newest Book: 2018
Kingsolver, Barbara "Unsheltered" - 2018
Longest book: 1,232 pages
Kermani, Navid "Dein Name" [Your Name] - 2011 - 1,232 pages
Shortest book: 56 pages
Ruiz Zafón, Carlos "Gaudí in Manhattan. Eine phantastische Erzählung" (La Mujer de Vapor) - 2009 - 56 pages
Longest book title: 32
Carnarvon, Countess Fiona of "Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey" - 2011
Shortest Book Title: 6
Feuchtwanger, Lion "Jud Süß" (Jew Suss) - 1925
Funniest Book:
Jason, David "Only Fools and Stories: From Del Boy to Granville, Pop Larkin to Frost" - 2017
Saddest Book:
Briley, John "Cry Freedom: The Legendary True Story of Steve Biko and the Friendship that Defied Apartheid" - 1987

New authors (for me) that I would like to read more from: 14
Stephen Abarbanell, Christopher Bollen, Sabine Bode, Jenny Erpenbeck, David Jason, Karin Kalisa, Neil MacGregor, Thomas Montassser, Rafel Nadal, Pamela Olson, Stephan Orth, C.J. Sansom, Chika Unigwe, Martin Walser

Translated Books: 15 from 11 languages
3 from Spanish, 2 each from Catalan, Korean, 1 each from Albanian, Estonian, Hebrew, Icelandic, Norwegian, Russian, Sanscrit, Swedish
Books read in another language:
37 German, 7 Dutch and 2 French books this year.

Numbers in Book Titles: Three, Six
Place Names in Book Titles: America, American, Bosnia, Brooklyn, Burma, Deutsch, Deutschland, Downton Abbey, England, Germany, Hamburg, Highclere Castle, Jerusalem, Limpopo, Mândraga, Manhattan, Ostende, Palestine, Russka, Russia, Russland, Schweden, New York
Names in Book Titles: Almina, Anna, Anne Boleyn, Anthony, Brigitte, Clara Callan, David Coppperfield, Gaudí, Gustav, Harry, Jack, Jesus, Kafka, Less, Martens, Nelson Mandela, Ove, Palmisano, Peer Gynt, Sally, Sung, Süß, Tudor, Ulysses, Varina
Colours in Book Titles: Black, Blue, Golden

My Favourite Books: 19
Abarbanell, Stephan "Displaced" (Morgenland) - 2015
Abulhawa, Susan "The Blue Between Sky and Water" - 2015
Bánk, Zsuzsa "Schlafen werden wir später" [We will sleep later] - 2017
Dickens, Charles "David Copperfield" - 1850
Ephron, Nora "When Harry Met Sally ..." - 1990
Frazier, Charles "Varina" - 2018
Jason, David "Only Fools and Stories: From Del Boy to Granville, Pop Larkin to Frost" - 2017
Kalisa, Karin "Sungs Laden" [Sung's Shop] - 2015
 
Kennedy, Emma "Shoes for Anthony" - 2015
Kerkeling, Hape "Der Junge muss an die frische Luft. Meine Kindheit und ich" [The boy needs some fresh air] - 2014
MacGregor, Neil "Germany. Memories of a Nation" - 2014
 
Montasser, Thomas "Das Glück der kleinen Augenblicke" [The happiness of the small moments] - 2017
Ruiz Zafón, Carlos "The Labyrinth of the Spirits" (El laberinto de los espíritus - El cementerio de los libros olvidados #4) - 2016
Rutherfurd, Edward "Russka. The Novel of Russia" - 1991
Sansom, C.J. (Christopher John) "Dominion" - 2011
Schami, Rafik "The Dark Side of Love" (Die dunkle Seite der Liebe) - 2004
Sendker, Jan-Philipp "Am anderen Ende der Nacht" (The Far Side of the Night) - 2016
Smith, Betty "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" - 1943

Weir, Alison "Six Tudor Queens. Anne Boleyn. A King's Obsession" - 2017

With my books, I visited places in the following countries:
Africa (9):
Botswana, Cameroon, Egypt, Lesotho, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan
Asia (14):
Afghanistan, China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel/Palestine, Japan, Korea, Lebanon, Myanmar/Burma, Philippines, Russia, Syria, Vietnam
Europe (22):
Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Kosovo, Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom,
North America (3):
Canada, Mexico, USA
South America (3):
Argentina, Suriname, Uruguay
Australia/Oceania (2):
Australia, New Zealand
Everywhere and Others (8 books):
Countries "visited" in total: 53


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