Friday 30 August 2019

Book Quotes of the Week

"Books may well be the only true magic." Alice Hoffman

"If we didn't have libraries, many people thirsty for knowledge would dehydrate." Megan Jo Tetrick, age 12

"Any room in our house at any time in the day was there to read in or to be read to." Eudora Welty

"A wicked book is the wickeder because it cannot repent." English Proverb

Find more book quotes here.

Tuesday 27 August 2019

Harari, Yuval Noah "Homo Deus"

Harari, Yuval Noah "Homo Deus. A Brief History of Tomorrow"- 2016

After reading "Sapiens. A Brief History of Mankind", I knew I had to read the following books by this brilliant scientist and author.

After trying to explain how we got where we are today, Yuval Noah Harari now takes us on an expedition into the future, almost list Charles Dickens in "A Christmas Carol", we've dealt with "Christmas Past", we know "Christmas Present" but we have no idea what "Christmas yet to come" will bring us. The author gives us options, tells us what could be if we don't change or even what can be if we do change. Let me tell it like this, a lot was not new to me, but he gives so many different perspectives that it is interesting to see where else we might be heading.

This highly engaging book makes us aware of what we are today, where we are today, what needs to be done and what we can do. We all know that machines and computers have taken over a huge part of what our world used to be, are we ready for the next step?

I'm already looking forward to his next book where he deals with "Christmas Present": "21 Lessons for the 21st Century".

I think all his books should enter every school curriculum.

From the back cover:

"From the author of the international bestseller Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind comes an extraordinary new book that explores the future of the human species.

Yuval Noah Harari, author of the bestselling Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, envisions a not-too-distant world in which we face a new set of challenges. In Homo Deus, he examines our future with his trademark blend of science, history, philosophy and every discipline in between. 

Homo Deus explores the projects, dreams and nightmares that will shape the twenty-first century from overcoming death to creating artificial life. It asks the fundamental questions: Where do we go from here? And how will we protect this fragile world from our own destructive powers? This is the next stage of evolution. This is Homo Deus.

War is obsolete
You are more likely to commit suicide than be killed in conflict

Famine is disappearing
You are at more risk of obesity than starvation

Death is just a technical problem
Equality is out but immortality is in

What does our future hold?"

Wednesday 14 August 2019

Book Quotes of the Week

"I am not a speed reader. I am a speed understander." Isaac Asimov

"Before this generation lose the wisdom, one advice - read books." Amit Kalantri

"Magazines all too frequently lead to books and should be regarded by the prudent as the heavy petting of literature." Fran Lebowitz

"You know everything you need to know about a person from the answer to the question, What is your favourite book?" Gabrielle Zevin in "The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

Find more book quotes here.

Tuesday 13 August 2019

Yu, Hua "China in Ten Words"

Yu, Hua (余華/Yú Huá) "China in Ten Words" (Chinese: 十個詞彙裡的中國/Shi ge cihui li de Zhongguo) - 2012

Our latest book club suggestion. I am happy somebody thought of it because it is a remarkable book. I love to read about different cultures but I also love to read about language and find out what kind of words are used in which connection. To read about "disparity" or "copycat" and what the meaning of that is in modern day China is pretty interesting. Whether it's about Great Leap Forward or the Cultural Revolution, the ever present Little Red Book or just the ordinary Chinese person, the author has experienced it all first-hand.

My favourite chapter must have been "Reading", there are some fantastic quotes that recap my feelings brilliantly:

"I did once sum up my experience in the following way:
'every time I read one of the great books, I feel myself transported to another place, and like a timid child I hug them close and mimic their steps, slowly tracing the long river of time in a journey where warmth and emotion fuse. They carry me off with them, then let me make my own way back, and it's only on my return that I realize they will always be part of me.'


"If literature truly possesses a mysterious power, I think perhaps it is precisely this: that one can read a book by a writer of a different time, a different country, a different race, a different language, and a different culture  and there encounter a sensation that is one's very own. Heine put into words the feeling I had as a child when I lay napping in the morgue. And that, I tell myself, is literature."

The book teaches us a lot about life in China during the lifetime of the author (born 1960) so far as well as about the author himself. I thought it fascinating to learn about a life that could have been mine since I am about the same age as Hua Yu. Intriguing.

From the back cover:

"From one of China’s most acclaimed writers, his first work of nonfiction to appear in English: a unique, intimate look at the Chinese experience over the last several decades, told through personal stories and astute analysis that sharply illuminate the country’s meteoric economic and social transformation.

Framed by ten phrases common in the Chinese vernacular - 'people,' 'leader,' 'reading,' 'writing,' 'Lu Xun' (one of the most influential Chinese writers of the twentieth century), 'disparity,' 'revolution,' 'grassroots,' 'copycat,' and 'bamboozle' - China in Ten Words reveals as never before the world’s most populous yet oft-misunderstood nation. In 'Disparity,' for example, Yu Hua illustrates the mind-boggling economic gaps that separate citizens of the country. In 'Copycat,' he depicts the escalating trend of piracy and imitation as a creative new form of revolutionary action. And in 'Bamboozle,' he describes the increasingly brazen practices of trickery, fraud, and chicanery that are, he suggests, becoming a way of life at every level of society.

Characterized by Yu Hua’s trademark wit, insight, and courage, China in Ten Words is a refreshingly candid vision of the 'Chinese miracle' and all its consequences, from the singularly invaluable perspective of a writer living in China today."

We discussed this book in our international online book club in July 2019.

Wednesday 7 August 2019

Bridwell, Norman "Clifford"

Bridwell, Norman "Clifford" (series) - 1963-2015

My son loved Clifford, the Big Red Dog. Clifford is huge, he is taller than a house. But he is the best friend of Emily Elizabeth, a little girl who tells us his stories.

There are around 80 of them, 80 times that little children can read about the special bond between a dog and his little girl, about the adventures they have together.

I will not mention all of the titles, you can check them online, just a few that we enjoyed reading together.

The series was so successful that the American children's publishing company made him their mascot. After all, he helped them to grow into the large company they are today. They sell their editions in schools, at quite a fair price. I was lucky enough to be able to help with that in the international school my sons attended.

Clifford, the Big Red Dog
Clifford's ABC
Clifford's Christmas
Clifford's Happy Days: A Pop-Up Book
Clifford's Word Book
Clifford the Firehouse Dog
Clifford and the Big Storm
Clifford Makes a Friend
Clifford to the Rescue

Whether your children have a dog or not (mine didn't), they will enjoy these stories.


"Emily Elizabeth describes the activities she enjoys with her very big red dog and how they take care of each other."

Tuesday 6 August 2019

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Cover Redesigns I Loved/Hated

"Top Ten Tuesday" is an original feature/weekly meme created on the blog "The Broke and the Bookish". This feature was created because they are particularly fond of lists at "The Broke and the Bookish".

It is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

Since I am just as fond of them as they are, I jump at the chance to share my lists with them! Have a look at their page, there are lots of other bloggers who share their lists here.

August 6: Cover Redesigns I Loved/Hated

This is a pet peeve of mine and there really are too many to list them all. But they all come under one topic: Movie Pictures.

As soon as a book has been made into a movie, you will find that they issue a new book with a cover from that book. I suppose the intention is to sell more of the book to the people who watched the movie. I don't like that at all, it's almost as if the movie is forced upon me. I want to make up my own mind about the characters but if you present some actors to me that happen to be in the imagination of the director, it takes away part of my own imagination.

I will always try to buy an edition without a movie pictures, even if I have to go and look for a used copy.

Friday 2 August 2019

Book Quotes of the Week

"I believe in the magic of books. I believe that during certain periods in our lives we are drawn to particular books - whether it's strolling down the aisles of a bookshop with no idea whatsoever of what it is that we want to read and suddenly finding the most perfect, most wonderfully suitable book staring us right in the face. Unblinking. Or a chance meeting with a stranger or friend who recommends a book we would never ordinarily reach for. Books have the ability to find their own way into our lives." Cecelia Ahern

"The covers of this book are too far apart." Ambrose Bierce?

"The reading of a fine book is an uninterrupted dialogue in which the book speaks and our soul replies." André Maurois

"Miss a meal if you have to, but don’t miss a book." Jim Rohn

Find more book quotes here.

Thursday 1 August 2019

Happy August!

Happy August to all my friends and readers

New Calendar picture with this
beautiful watercolour painting by Frank Koebsch

"Distelblüten im Spätsommer"
"Thistle Blooms in Late Summer"

Apparently, last year we had the hottest summer last year since records began in 1910. And I think this summer will top that. We have temperatures of around 40° Celsius (around 104°F), unbearable, especially for me. And for my American friends, we don't have a/c in Europe, hardly anywhere.

So, I am not looking forward to the temperatures next month but I am looking forward to a big event, after having spent a large chunk of our life abroad, my husband is retiring and we are moving back to Germany. Let's just hope it won't be too hot on those days.

The Germanic name for the month is Weodmonað which stands for weed or herb month.

The flowers of the month are the poppy and the gladiola. While the former represents dreams and rest, the latter stands for moral integrity.

Have a happy August with this beautiful watercolour painting by Frank Koebsch. I really like the thistle. It's not only the national flower of Scotland but also a national symbol for Lorraine. We've always had thistles in our garden, even though we had to fight my father for it because he considered them weed. But we think they are beautiful.

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