Tuesday 28 January 2020

Wilding, Valerie "Top Ten Dickens Stories"

Wilding, Valerie "Top Ten Dickens Stories" - 2000

This book is part of the Scholastics "Top Ten" book series. It's meant for children and written in a funny, comical way. But it is also interesting for adults, whether you've read Dickens and love him like me, or not.

The author doesn't just describe Charles Dickens' novels, she also explains life in London during his time.

Lovely little collection.

From the back cover:

"What was top of the page in Victorian Times?
Want to know which Dickens stories had the number one slot since the 19th century? It could be …
Great Expectations - Take a peep in Pip's diary and expect tales of escaped convicts and romance gone horribly wrong!
A Tale of Two Cities - The French are revolting and anyone could end up on the gory guillotine. Can our heroes and heroines keep their heads?
Oliver Twist - Starved orphan kidnapped by bad Bill Sikes!
Joint he manhunt with the Crimes R Us TV crew.
WITH top ten fact sections, including crime, punishment, nasty nightmare schools, and kids up chimneys.
Dickens stories as you've never seen them before."

Monday 13 January 2020

Atkinson, John "Abridged Classics"

Atkinson, John "Abridged Classics: Brief Summaries of Books You Were Supposed to Read but Probably Didn't" - 2018

A funny book. Hundred classics you can read in five minutes. I think the descriptions are funnier when you know the story, though, but I had so much fun with all of these, whether I read them or not.

Since we want our friends to have fun with it, as well, it is now THE reading material in our guest toilet and has led to many funny and also deep and interesting conversations.

Some of my favourites:
Ulysses "Dublin, something, something, something, run-on sentence."
War and Peace "Everyone is sad. It snows."
Peter Pan "Some kids and a crocodile pester an amputee."
The Lord of the Rings trilogy "Middle-earth’s epic jewellery return policy."

The title says "abridged" and it surely is "abridged". If anyone didn't know what abridged means, they will after reading this book.

From the back cover:

"A collection of irreverent summations of more than 100 well-known works of literature, from Anna Karenina to Wuthering Heights, cleverly described in the fewest words possible and accompanied with funny color illustrations.

Abridged Classics: Brief Summaries of Books You Were Supposed to Read but Probably Didn’t is packed with dozens of humorous super-condensed summations of some of the most famous works of literature from many of the world’s most revered authors, including William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, Emily Brontë, Leo Tolstoy, Jane Austen, Mark Twain, J.R.R. Tolkien, Margaret Atwood, James Joyce, Plato, Ernest Hemingway, Dan Brown, Ayn Rand, and Herman Melville.

From 'Old ladies convince a guy to ruin Scotland' (Macbeth) to 'Everyone is sad. It snows.' (War and Peace), these clever, humorous synopses are sure to make book lovers smile."

Friday 10 January 2020

Book Quotes of the Week

"The difference between fiction and reality? Fiction has to make sense." Tom Clancy

"Libraries will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no libraries." Anne Herbert

"70 million books in America's libraries, but the one you want to read is always out." Tom Masson (that also goes for other countries)

"If you can read this, thank a teacher." Anonymous Teacher

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

Find more book quotes here.

Wednesday 8 January 2020

Atwood, Margaret "Hag-Seed"

Atwood, Margaret "Hag-Seed. The Tempest Retold" - 2016

Before I left the Netherlands, a friend gave me this book. She had received it as a present and couldn't get into it. She remembered that I liked Margaret Atwood. I do, so I was happy to read this book of hers. It's a little different from her other stories as she is retelling Shakespeare's "The Tempest" in a modern setting. Highly interesting.

I must admit, I never read or watched "The Tempest" though I did watch the musical "Return to the Forbidden Planet" which was already a retelling of Shakespeare's piece in a futuristic setting and won the Olivier Award for Best New Musical both in 1989 and 1990. It's been a long time since I watched it but I remember brilliant actors, an interesting story and great music.

I really liked this book. It shows two things. One, that Shakespeare was a brilliant writer whose stories are still very much alive today. And two, that Margaret Atwood is just as brilliant because she can take this timeless classic and bring it nearer to today's readers. Fantastic.

I hope, the author will tackle some more of the bard from Stratford-upon-Avon.

From the back cover:

"Treacherously toppled from his post as director of the Makeshiweg Festival on the eve of his production of The Tempest, Felix retreats to a backwoods hovel to lick his wounds and mourn his lost daughter. And also to plot his revenge.

After twelve years his chance appears in the shape of a theatre course at a nearby prison. Here, Felix and his inmate actors will stage his Tempest at last, and snare the traitors who destroyed him. But will it remake Felix as his enemies fall?"

Margaret Atwood received the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade (Friedenspreis) in 2017. 

Monday 6 January 2020

Happy January!

Happy January to all my friends and readers

New Calendar picture with this
beautiful watercolour painting by Hanka Koebsch

"Auf Futtersuche"

January is a lot warmer than it should be. This will help the little guy in the calendar picture, although we always put out lots of food for them anyway. 

The robin is often linked with December and Christmas but I think the setting is also great for this month. Such a beautiful bird, especially when seen in the snow (not that we've seen much of that this year), its red breast looks even more colourful.

But the bird of the year is the turtle dove, a member of the bird family Columbidae, the doves and pigeons. It is a migratory bird that spends its summers in the Northern hemisphere, the Palearctic realm (just imagine all of Europe and most of Asia except for the region around India, plus the northernmost part of Africa around the Mediterranean), and the winters in the southern part of Africa.

 In Europe, it stands for eternal love and is often used as symbols for weddings. In Germany, we call two people in love, especially at the beginning of a relationship, turtle doves.

Plus, they also represent good luck. And, of course, in the twelve days of Christmas, the true love gave two turtle doves, as it should be.

Unfortunately, its population is in rapid decline and it has the red status on the conservation list everywhere.

For me, December started well and I've been reading a little more than last month. Let's all hope this continues. I definitely hope to be back here more often than in the last couple of months. 
We just need to get into our routine.

Have a happy January with this beautiful watercolour painting by Hanka Koebsch.

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