Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Ten Signs You’re a Book Lover



"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.

Ten Signs You’re a Book Lover

1.    My house is full of books, there isn't a single room without a book (no, not even the bathroom).
2.    My house is also full of book lover trinkets … mugs, little statues, bookends, bookmarks, totes, posters, candles, jewellery, keyrings, t-shirts, scarves, cushions, … You name it, I've got it.
3.    I take a book everywhere.
4.    I usually pack an extra bag just for books for going away, even if just for the weekend.
5.    I talk about books all the time.
6.    I prefer books to movies.
7.    I can't pass by a book shop without entering it.
8.    I can't leave a book shop without buying a book.
9.    I love words like Bibliognost (someone who knows books or bibliography), Bibliosmia (the smell or aroma of a good book), Librocubricultarist (someone who reads in bed), Logophile (lover of words), Tsundoku (the act of leaving a book unread after buying it, typically piling it up together with other such unread books) etc. etc.
10.    I love book quotes, see here.

Friday, 27 March 2020

Book Quotes of the Week


Readers may be divided into four classes:
1. Sponges, who absorb all that they read and return it in nearly the same state, only a little dirtied.
2. Sand-glasses, who retain nothing and are content to get through a book for the sake of getting through the time.
3. Strain-bags, who retain merely the dregs of what they read.
4. Mogul diamonds, equally rare and valuable, who profit by what they read, and enable others to profit by it also. Samuel Taylor Coleridge

I hope I belong to the fourth category.

"This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force." Dorothy Parker
Don't we all feel like that from time to time?

"There's a lot of poetry written nowadays, but there's not a scrap of good in any of it." Leo Tolstoy

"I was reading a book, 'The History of Glue'. I couldn't put it down." Tim Vine 😂🤣😂

Find more book quotes here.

Thursday, 26 March 2020

2019 Reading Challenges - Wrap-Up


I took part in four "new" reading challenges (20 Classic And Important Books, The Classics Club, Reading Challenge - Chunky Books 2019, The "Piggybank"Challenge 2019, TBR Pile Reading Challenge 2019), joined a new Book Club, and added books to several other lists.

For the old challenges, I only added the number of books read in brackets, otherwise I comment.

100 Books by the BBC (2)
Burnett, Frances Hodgson "The Secret Garden" (Der geheime Garten) - 1911
Melville, Herman "Moby Dick or The Whale" (Moby Dick oder der Wal) - 1851

101 Best Selling Books of All Times (1)
Achebe, Chinua "Things Fall Apart" (The African Trilogy #1) (Okonkwo oder Das Alte stürzt/Alles zerfällt) - 1958

The 100 Greatest Fiction Books as Chosen by The Guardian (4)
Achebe, Chinua "Things Fall Apart" (The African Trilogy #1) (Okonkwo oder Das Alte stürzt/Alles zerfällt) - 1958
Fielding, Henry "The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling" (Tom Jones: Die Geschichte eines Findelkindes) - 1749
Hawthorne, Nathaniel "The Scarlet Letter" (Der scharlachrote Buchstabe) - 1850
Melville, Herman "Moby Dick or The Whale" (Moby Dick oder der Wal) - 1851

13 Ways of Looking at the Novel (2)
Fielding, Henry "The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling" (Tom Jones: Die Geschichte eines Findelkindes) - 1749
Melville, Herman "Moby Dick or The Whale" (Moby Dick oder der Wal) - 1851

20 Classic And Important Books That Will Make You Feel Well-Read, Even If They're The Only Ones You Read (1)
Melville, Herman "Moby Dick or The Whale" (Moby Dick oder der Wal) - 1851

Best European Literature (3)
Burnett, Frances Hodgson "The Secret Garden" (Der geheime Garten) - 1911
Beckett, Samuel "Waiting for Godot" (En attendant Godot/Warten auf Godot) - 1952
Alighieri, Dante "The Divine Comedy" (Divina Commedia/Die Göttliche Komödie) - 1308-20

Bildungsroman (2)
Fielding, Henry "The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling" (Tom Jones: Die Geschichte eines Findelkindes) - 1749
Ondaatje, Michael "Warlight" (Kriegslicht) - 2018

A Century of Books (1)
Burnett, Frances Hodgson "The Secret Garden" (Der geheime Garten) - 1911

Children's Books (1)
Burnett, Frances Hodgson "The Secret Garden" (Der geheime Garten) - 1911
Wilding, Valerie "Top Ten Dickens Stories" - 2000   

The Classics Club (14)
These are the classics I read last year:
Achebe, Chinua "Things Fall Apart" (The African Trilogy #1) (Okonkwo oder Das Alte stürzt/Alles zerfällt) - 1958
Alighieri, Dante "The Divine Comedy" (Divina Commedia/Die Göttliche Komödie) - 1308-20
Beckett, Samuel "Waiting for Godot" (En attendant Godot/Warten auf Godot) - 1952
Burnett, Frances Hodgson "The Secret Garden" (Der geheime Garten) - 1911
Dostojewsky, Fjodor "The Brothers Karamazov" (Братья Карамазовы/Brat'ya Karamazovy/Die Brüder Karamasow) - 1879-80 
Fielding, Henry "The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling" (Tom Jones: Die Geschichte eines Findelkindes) - 1749
Gárdonyi, Géza "The Invisible Man" aka "Slave of the Huns" (A láthatatlan ember/La nevidebla homo/Wer bist du/Ich war den Hunnen untertan) - 1901 
Grass, Günter "Cat and Mouse" (Katz und Maus) - 1961
Hawthorne, Nathaniel "The Scarlet Letter" (Der scharlachrote Buchstabe) - 1850
Hüsch, Hanns Dieter "Frieda auf Erden" [Frieda/Peace on Earth] - 1959
James, Henry "Daisy Miller" -1879
Melville, Herman "Moby Dick or The Whale" (Moby Dick oder der Wal) - 1851
Wells, H. G. "The Time Machine" (Die Zeitmaschine) - 1895
Zweig, Stefan "The World of Yesterday" (Die Welt von Gestern. Erinnerungen eines Europäers) - 1942

Dutch and French Books (1 French book)
Word cloud made with WordItOut
French
Beckett, Samuel "Waiting for Godot" (En attendant Godot/Warten auf Godot) - 1952

German Books (14)
Since German is my native language and I can easily obtain books in it, I read 14.

Ahmad, Aeham "The Pianist from Syria" (aka The Pianist of Yarmouk) (German: Und die Vögel werden singen. Ich, der Pianist aus den Trümmern) - 2017
Erfmeyer, Klaus "Karrieresprung" [Career Leap] - 2006
Eschbach, Andreas "One Trillion Dollars" (Eine Billion Dollar) - 2001
Finkbeiner, Bernhard, Brekle, Hans-Jörg "Frag Mutti" [Ask Mum] - 2006
Gesthuysen, Anne "Wir sind doch Schwestern" [But we're sisters] - 2012
Grass, Günter "Cat and Mouse" (Katz und Maus) - 1961
Hüsch, Hanns Dieter "Frieda auf Erden" [Frieda/Peace on Earth] - 1959
Kaminer, Wladimir "Meine Mutter, ihre Katze und der Staubsauger: Ein Unruhestand in 33 Geschichten" [My Mother, her Cat and her Vacuum Cleaner] - 2016
Montasser, Thomas "Monsieur Jean und sein Gespür für Glück" [Monsieur Jean and his sense of luck] - 2015
Nast, Michael "#EGOLAND" [ego-land] - 2018
Noack, Barbara "Auf einmal sind sie keine Kinder mehr" [All of a sudden, they're not children anymore] - 1978
Orth, Stephan "Couchsurfing in China. Durch die Wohnzimmer der neuen Supermacht" (Couchsurfing in China: Encounters and Escapades Beyond the Great Wall aka High Tech and Hot Pot: Revealing Encounters Inside the Real China) - 2019
Schnoy, Sebastian "Das bisschen Frieden: Eine heitere Geschichte Europas in drei Revolutionen und einem Geistesblitz" [That Little Bit of Peace] - 2019
Zweig, Stefan "The World of Yesterday" (Die Welt von Gestern. Erinnerungen eines Europäers) - 1942

Le Monde - The 100 Books of the Century (1)
Beckett, Samuel "Waiting for Godot" (En attendant Godot/Warten auf Godot) - 1952

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 (18)

Every year I find some more books I can add to my list of favourite books. 10 this year.

Ahmad, Aeham "The Pianist from Syria" (aka The Pianist of Yarmouk) (German: Und die Vögel werden singen. Ich, der Pianist aus den Trümmern) - 2017
Aitken, Ben "Dear Bill Bryson: Footnotes from a Small Island" - 2015
Bythell, Shaun "The Diary of a Bookseller" - 2017
Dostojewsky, Fjodor "The Brothers Karamazov" (Братья Карамазовы/Brat'ya Karamazovy/Die Brüder Karamasow) - 1879-80
Harari, Yuval Noah "Sapiens. A Brief History of Mankind" (Hebrew: קיצור תולדות האנושות/Ḳizur Toldot Ha-Enoshut/ Eine kurze Geschichte der Menschheit) - 2014
Morton, Kate "The Clockmaker's Daughter" (Die Tochter des Uhrmachers) - 2018
Obama, Michelle "Becoming" (Becoming - Meine Geschichte) - 2018
Palma, Félix J. "The Map of Chaos" (Spanish: El mapa del caos/Die Landkarte des Chaos) - 2014
Pamuk, Orhan "The Red-Haired Woman" (Turkish: Kırmızı Saçlı Kadın/Die rothaarige Frau) - 2016
Weir, Alison "Six Tudor Queens: Jane Seymour" - 2018

Nobel Prize Winners and Their Books (8)
Word cloud made with WordItOut
Beckett, Samuel "Waiting for Godot" (En attendant Godot/Warten auf Godot) - 1952
Coetzee, J.M. "The Childhood of Jesus" (Die Kindheit Jesu) - 2013
Gordimer, Nadine "Burger's Daughter" (Burgers Tochter) - 1979
Grass, Günter "Cat and Mouse" (Katz und Maus) - 1961
Pamuk, Orhan "The New Life" (Yeni Hyat/Das neue Leben) - 1994
Pamuk, Orhan "The Red-Haired Woman" (Turkish: Kırmızı Saçlı Kadın/Die rothaarige Frau) - 2016
Saramago, José "Blindness" (O Ensaio sobre a Cegueira/Die Stadt der Blinden) - 1995
Solzhenitsyn, Alexander (Солженицын, Александр Исаевич) "August 1914" ["The Red Wheel" cycle] (Узел I - «Август Четырнадцатого», Красное колесо/August Vierzehn, aus dem Zyklus "Das Rote Rad") - 1971

Oscar Winning Books (4)
Dostojewsky, Fjodor "The Brothers Karamazov" (Братья Карамазовы/Brat'ya Karamazovy/Die Brüder Karamasow) - 1879-80
Fielding, Henry "The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling" (Tom Jones: Die Geschichte eines Findelkindes) - 1749 (1963)
Weir, Andy "The Martian" (Der Marsianer) - 2011 (2015)
Woodward, Bob; Bernstein, Carl "All the President’s Men" (Die Watergate-Affäre) - 1974 (1976)
(The year they received the Academy Award in brackets)

Peace Prize of the German Book Trade (4)
(German: Friedenspreis des Deutschen Buchhandels)
Achebe, Chinua "Things Fall Apart" (The African Trilogy #1) (Okonkwo oder Das Alte stürzt/Alles zerfällt) - 1958
Atwood, Margaret "Hag-Seed. The Tempest Retold" (Hexensaat) - 2016
Atwood, Margaret "Oryx and Crake" (Oryx und Crake) - 2003
Pamuk, Orhan "The New Life" (Yeni Hyat/Das neue Leben) - 1994
Pamuk, Orhan "The Red-Haired Woman" (Turkish: Kırmızı Saçlı Kadın/Die rothaarige Frau) - 2016

The "Piggybank"Challenge (82)

This challenge isn't officialy running anymore but I always find it fun to do. The 82 books I read this year resulted in €164 to spend on something nice.

Reading Challenge - Chunky Books 2019 (19/7 chunksters)
TBR Pile Reading Challenge (23)
23 books that you can find here.

Top Ten Tuesday (7)
I managed to put together nine lists in this fun challenge.
Top Ten Tuesday ~ Top Book Titles with Numbers In Them
Top Ten Tuesday ~ Cover Redesigns I Loved/Hated
Top Ten Tuesday ~ First Ten Books I Reviewed
Top Ten Tuesday ~ Top Ten Settings I’d Like to See More Of
Top Ten Tuesday ~ Top Ten Auto-Buy Authors
Top Ten Tuesday ~ Top Ten Books From My Favourite Genre
Top Ten Tuesday ~ Favourite Books Released In the Last Ten Years
Top Ten Tuesday ~ Top Ten Books I wish I read as a kid
Top Ten Tuesday ~ Top Ten Childhood Favourites

And I added seven more books to some of the older ones I created earlier.
Ahmad, Aeham "The Pianist from Syria" (aka The Pianist of Yarmouk) (German: Und die Vögel werden singen. Ich, der Pianist aus den Trümmern) - 2017
Burnett, Frances Hodgson "The Secret Garden" (Der geheime Garten) - 1911
Harari, Yuval Noah "Sapiens. A Brief History of Mankind" (Hebrew: קיצור תולדות האנושות/Ḳizur Toldot Ha-Enoshut/ Eine kurze Geschichte der Menschheit) - 2014
Obama, Michelle "Becoming" (Becoming - Meine Geschichte) - 2018
Palma, Félix J. "The Map of Chaos" (Spanish: El mapa del caos/Die Landkarte des Chaos) - 2014
Weir, Alison "Six Tudor Queens: Jane Seymour. The Haunted Queen" - 2018
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

Travel the World Through Books (3)
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 85 until now, added three more this year: Indonesia, Nigeria, and Saudi Arabia. I'm sure it's also harder for real travellers to add more countries to their list but I will try to add some more this year. If you have a good suggestion for those countries I haven't "visited", yet, please let me know.

Indonesia:
Hirata, Andrea "The Rainbow Troops" (Lasykar Pelangi/Die Regenbogentruppe) - 2005

Nigeria:
Achebe, Chinua "Things Fall Apart" (The African Trilogy #1) (Okonkwo oder Das Alte stürzt/Alles zerfällt) - 1958

Saudi Arabia:
Alsanea, Rajaa "Girls of Riyadh" (بنات الرياض‎ Banāt al-Riyāḍ/Die Girls von Riyad) - 2005

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.
Aitken, Ben "Dear Bill Bryson: Footnotes from a Small Island" - 2015
Atwood, Margaret "Oryx and Crake" (MaddAddam # 1) (Oryx und Crake) - 2003
Beckett, Samuel "Waiting for Godot" (En attendant Godot/Warten auf Godot) - 1952
Dionne jr. E.J.; Reid, Joy-Ann "We are the Change We Seek. The Speeches of Barack Obama" - 2017
Dostojewsky, Fjodor "The Brothers Karamazov" (Братья Карамазовы/Brat'ya Karamazovy/Die Brüder Karamasow) - 1879-80
Doyle, Roddy "Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha" (Paddy Clarke ha ha ha) - 1993
Fielding, Henry "The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling" (Tom Jones: Die Geschichte eines Findelkindes) - 1749
Fredriksson, Marianne "The Book of Eve" (Evas bok) (Paradisets barn/The Children of Paradise #1/Eva) - 1980
Hüsch, Hanns Dieter "Frieda auf Erden" [Frieda/Peace on Earth] - 1959
Gordimer, Nadine "Burger's Daughter" (Burgers Tochter) - 1979
James, Henry "Daisy Miller" (Daisy Miller) - 1879
Kishon, Ephraim "Kein Öl, Moses?" [No Oil, Moses?] - 1974
Melville, Herman "Moby Dick or The Whale" (Moby Dick oder der Wal) - 1851
Montasser, Thomas "Monsieur Jean und sein Gespür für Glück" [Monsieur Jean and his sense of luck] - 2015
Rhodes, Ben "The World As It Is. Inside The Obama House" - 2018
Weir, Alison "Six Tudor Queens: Jane Seymour" - 2018
Wilding, Valerie "Top Ten Dickens Stories" - 2000 

No new books in:
7 Books That Will Radically Shift Your Perspectives
Emma's Book Club
Esperanto Links 
Interesting Links
Modern Library 100 Best Novels of the 20th Century
Oprah’s Book Club 
Suggestions from Friends  
The 10 Greatest Books Ever
The non-western books that every student should read
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.

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Taylor, Helen "Why Women Read Fiction"


Taylor, Helen "Why Women Read Fiction. The Stories of Our Lives" - 2019

My son gave me this book for Christmas because "it was a new one and I could be more certain you don't have it yourself yet, though I do think you are interested in it." He was right on all accounts. I hardly ever buy hardbacks, especially not if I think they might come out next year in paperback and it is certainly interesting to read about women reading. And why we're reading so much more than men.

When my sons were little, they were voracious readers, they devoured everything that fell into their hands and therefore, they read adult books a long time before they were adults.

I found the questions asked by the author very intriguing. I found myself in a lot of the women she described. Having been a member of several different book clubs, I understood a lot of the findings and of the frustrations that come along with deciding what to read and discuss. The author talked to many other authors, readers, book clubs, and they all had something to add to the fact "why women read fiction". She reports on our reading habits, how we choose what we read and share what we read,

I totally agree that it has to do with the fact that we used to be more housebound than the male of the species but that's not necessarily true anymore. Mind you, I lived in a hostile environment for a long time and without being able to flee into my books, I doubt I would have come out sane on the other side. So, there's that.

An interesting idea, if you're in a book club, or even if not. Let every member name "the book they loved, the one that made them stalk, the one they struggled with, the one that surprised you, the one that divided you, the one that nobody finished, the one you wished you'd read."

I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in reading and the reason behind it. It certainly would also be a good book club book.

The book is full of quotes. Here are my favourites:

"There is no Frigate like a Book
To take us Lands away." Emily Dickinson

"Life is a handful of short stories pretending to be a novel." Susan Hill

"Reading has seen me through good times and bad. It has taken me to places I longed to go and some I did not want to go. At times, it has challenged, at times comforted." Kathy J.

"MYTH: Romance readers are obsessed with wine, chocolate and Pride and Prejudice. FACT: You say that like it's a bad thing." Maya Rodale, Huffington Post

"Every book [is] a message in a bottle." Jeanette Winterson

"Reading is a life-long collision with minds not like your own." Jeanette Winterson

And I found a new interesting blogger: dovegreyreader

From the back cover:

"Ian McEwan once said, 'When women stop reading, the novel will be dead.' This book explains how precious fiction is to contemporary women readers, and how they draw on it to tell the stories of their lives. Female readers are key to the future of fiction and - as parents, teachers, and librarians - the glue for a literate society. Women treasure the chance to read alone, but have also gregariously shared reading experiences and memories with mothers, daughters, grandchildren, and female friends. For so many, reading novels and short stories enables them to escape and to spread their wings intellectually and emotionally.

This book, written by an experienced teacher, scholar of women's writing, and literature festival director, draws on over 500 interviews with and questionnaires from women readers and writers. It describes how, where, and when women read fiction, and examines why stories and writers influence the way female readers understand and shape their own life stories. Taylor explores why women are the main buyers and readers of fiction, members of book clubs, attendees at literary festivals, and organisers of days out to fictional sites and writers' homes. The book analyses the special appeal and changing readership of the genres of romance, erotica, and crime. It also illuminates the reasons for women's abiding love of two favourite novels, Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre. Taylor offers a cornucopia of witty and wise women's voices, of both readers themselves and also writers such as Hilary Mantel, Helen Dunmore, Katie Fforde, and Sarah Dunant. The book helps us understand why - in Jackie Kay's words - 'our lives are mapped by books.'"

Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Top Ten Alternate History Novels


"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.

Today is a genre freebie. There are many different ones I like, so it was a tough decision. But in the end I chose:

Alternate History

I haven't read all that many books in this genre but I do love it. Just fantasizing what would happen if a certain event hadn't taken place, if a certain person hadn't been born, a certain decision had been made differently and what the world would look like today.

My favourite of them all is certainly "The Children's War" and its follow-up "A Change of Regime" but there are so many others out there that I still haven't read.

But here is my selection:
Basti, Abel & van Helsing, Jan "Hitler in Argentina" (German: Hitler überlebte in Argentinien) - 2011
Chabon, Michael "The Yiddish Policemen’s Union" - 2007
Clarke, Susanna "Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell" - 2004
Palma, Felix J. "The Map of Chaos" (Spanish: El mapa del caos) - 2014
Palma, Félix J. "The Map of the Sky" (Spanish: El mapa del cielo) - 2012
Palma, Félix J. "The Map of Time" (Spanish: El mapa del tiempo) - 2008
Roth, Philip "The Ghost Writer" - 1979
Sansom, C.J. "Dominion" - 2011
Stroyar, J.N. "The Children's War" - 2001
Stroyar, J.N. "A Change of Regime" - 2004

Monday, 23 March 2020

McCall Smith, Alexander "44 Scotland Street"


McCall Smith, Alexander "44 Scotland Street" - 2005

I have been a fan of Alexander McCall Smith ever since I read his first novel in "The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency". But he has written more series, so I thought why not try his novels on Scotland, his home country. After all, he has described Botswana so well, he should do just as great with his own nation.

It was interesting to read in the introduction, that this story was written in the same way Charles Dickens wrote his many great works, it's a serialised novel. The author had wondered why they didn't exist anymore and he had been taken up on this, so his novel appeared in snippets for six months in "The Scotsman".

The novel was as expected, funny and light-hearted, an easy read, nothing much happens but it doesn't get all that boring, either. The chapters are small, so they could fit into the newspaper, I suspect. I usually like my books a little more intriguing but this was quite nice.

From the back cover:

"Alexander McCall Smith's Scotland Street occupies a busy, bohemian corner of Edinburgh's New Town, where the old haute bourgeoisie finds itself having to rub shoulders with students, poets and portraitists. And number 44 has more than its fair share of the street's eccentrics and failures.

When Pat - on her second gap year and a source of some worry to her parents - is accepted as a new tenant at number 44, she isn't quite sure how long she'll last. Her flatmate Bruce, a rugby-playing chartered surveyor, is impossibly narcissistic, carelessly philandering and infuriatingly handsome. Downstairs lives the gloriously pretentious Irene, who precocious five-year-old is in therapy after setting fire to his father's copy of the Guardian. And then there is the shrewd, intellectual Domenica MacDonald, mysteriously employed but a sharp-eyed observer of the house's activities in her spare time...

Dry, funny, hugely entertaining, with its glittering cast of rogues, oddballs and innocents, McCall Smith's Scotland Street is proof that the author of The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency can be as witty, incisive and humane in observing his native Edinburgh as his adopted Botswana."

Friday, 20 March 2020

Book Quotes of the Week



"Blessed are those who do not fear solitude, who are not afraid of their own company, who are not always desperately looking for something to do, something to amuse themselves with, something to judge." Paulo Coelho 


Not necessarily a book quote but I believe it is. We readers do not fear solitude, we are not afraid of our own company and are not always looking for something to do or to amuse ourselves with or even judge other people (just the books). So, I can look on this quarantine situation calmly, I have plenty of books on my TBR pile.

Find more book quotes here.

Thursday, 19 March 2020

TBR Pile Reading Challenge 2020


This is another highly interesting Reading Challenge I joined in 2016.

I don't think Evie from the Bookish Blog still carries this on, as I can't find it on her page but her words with which she started this challenge are still true: "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."


After four years of participation, my TBR (To Be Read) pile is still a lot longer than it should because I just can't resist buying any new books and going to the library but I have tried to attempt reading more old books than buying new ones.


I could, of course, try to tackle the 50+ challenge but we all know that is not going to happen, instead, I tried 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 wished to be pleasantly surprised at the end of the year. That happened, I have reached the 21-30 (First Kiss) and/or 31-40 (Sweet Summer Fling) in the last years, maybe I can get to 41-50 (Could This Be Love?) one day.

I have read
37 books in 2016,
32 in 2017,

38 in 2018 and
23 in 2019
of the books that had been waiting to be read for more than a year.

So far, I have already read these from my "old books" in 2020:
Stanišić, Saša "How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone" (
Wie der Soldat das Grammofon repariert) - 2006
Kaminer, Wladimir "Mein deutsches Dschungelbuch" [My German Jungle Book] - 2003

Staël, Anne-Louise-Germaine de "Corinne ou l'Italie" (Corinne: Or Italy/Corinna oder Italien) - 1807
Giordano, Paolo "The Solitude of Prime Numbers" (
La solitudine dei numeri primi/Die Einsamkeit der Primzahlen") - 2008
Undset, Sigrid "Kristin Lavransdatter" (Kristin Lavransdatter) - 1920-22 
Rand, Ayn "We the Living" (Vom Leben unbesiegt) - 1936 - 464 pages
Wilding, Valerie "Top Ten Classic Stories" - 2001

Stendhal "Le Rouge et le Noir" (The Red and the Black/Rot und Schwarz) - 1830
Northup, Solomon "Twelve Years a Slave. Narrative of Solomon Northup, a citizen of New-York, kidnapped in Washington city in 1841, and rescued in 1853, from a cotton plantation near the Red River in Louisiana" (Zwölf Jahre als Sklave) - 1853
Brontë, Anne "Agnes Grey" (Agnes Grey) - 1847
Deary, Terry "Top Ten Shakespeare Stories" - 1998
Hustvedt, Siri "The Summer without Men" (Der Sommer ohne Männer) - 2011
James, Henry "The Europeans" (Die Europäer) - 1878
McCall Smith, Alexander "Espresso Tales" (44 Scotland Street #2) (Hausgeflüster) - 2005

Stephenson, Neal "Anathem" (Anathem) - 2008

Gorki, Maxim "The Mother" (Мать/Matj) - 1906/07
Hawking, Stephen "A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes" (Eine kurze Geschichte der Zeit) - 1988
Baum, L. Frank "The Wizard of Oz" (Der Zauberer von Oz) - 1900
Kaminer, Wladimer "Die Reise nach Trulala" (Travel to Trulala) - 2002
Crafts, Hannah "The Bondwoman’s Narrative" - 1855-69
Grass, Günter "Grimms Wörter. Eine Liebeserklärung" (Autobiographical Trilogy #3) [Grimms Words - A Declaration of Love] - 2010
Dumas, Alexandre "Le comte de Monte-Cristo" (The Count of Monte Cristo/Der Graf von Monte Cristo) - 1844-46
Harris, Joanne "A Cat, a Hat and a Piece of String" (Katze, Hut und Regenschirm) - 2012 
Marx, Karl "Das Kapital. Kritik der politischen Ökonomie" (Capital. Critique of Political Economy) - 1867

All in all 25 books that I eliminated from my ever growing pile.

Wednesday, 18 March 2020

Undset, Sigrid "Kristin Lavransdatter"


Undset, Sigrid "Kristin Lavransdatter" (Norwegian: Kristin Lavransdatter) - 1920-22

I read this book over several months. Not because it was so boring or anything, it just was quite long and I always read a couple of books (at least five) at the same time.

I wasn't sure at first whether I should treat it as three books. After all, that's how it was written and published first.

The Bridal Wreath (Kransen) - 1920
The Mistress of Husaby (aka: The Wife/Husfrue) - 1921
The Cross (Korset) - 1922

But then I couldn't put it down after having finished the first one and was glad I had a copy with all three editions:

The Bridal Wreath is about the young woman Kristin, daughter of rich landowner Lavrans. As was custom at the time of the 13th/14th century, she was promised to one guy but fell in love with another one.

It was interesting to see how she and her beloved tried to achieve their goal to get together and what the rest of society has to say to that. It was also interesting to see how they lived at the time, what their customs were and what has stayed from that until today and what has not.

The Mistress of Husaby (aka: The Wife) tells us about Kristin's life as a wife and mother, her trials and tribulations with the family, her husband's ways and politics. It was a hard life for a woman, she had many tasks and was watched all the time, she could make so many mistakes that would bring her shame. Mind you, if I think about it, not so much has changed since then.

The Cross tells us about Kristin's final years. Her children grow up, and she has to make a decision what she wants to do without a real task in the house.

So, we learn about the whole life of a woman back then, from childhood to old age. And it's amazing how much it still resounds today, how we can still follow her steps and say, okay, some things have changed but in general, there is a lot that we still go through, even though we should know better in the meantime.

Brilliant, well written, well thought of, I highly recommend this book to you, unless you are afraid of reading books over a thousand pages.

I would definitely call this an epic tale.

From the back cover:

"In her great historical epic Kristin Lavransdatter, set in fourteenth-century Norway, Nobel laureate Sigrid Undset tells the life story of one passionate and headstrong woman. Painting a richly detailed backdrop, Undset immerses readers in the day-to-day life, social conventions, and political and religious undercurrents of the period. Now in one volume, Tiina Nunnally's award-winning definitive translation brings this remarkable work to life with clarity and lyrical beauty. 

As a young girl, Kristin is deeply devoted to her father, a kind and courageous man. But when as a student in a convent school she meets the charming and impetuous Erlend Nikulaussøn, she defies her parents in pursuit of her own desires. Her saga continues through her marriage to Erlend, their tumultuous life together raising seven sons as Erlend seeks to strengthen his political influence, and finally their estrangement as the world around them tumbles into uncertainty. 

With its captivating heroine and emotional potency, Kristin Lavransdatter is the masterwork of Norway's most beloved author, one of the twentieth century's most prodigious and engaged literary minds and, in Nunnally's exquisite translation, a story that continues to enthrall."

Sigrid Undset received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1928 "principally for her powerful descriptions of Northern life during the Middle Ages".

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

Tuesday, 17 March 2020

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Books with single word titles


"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.

Book with Single Word Titles

It's amazing how many books with a one word title there are, and yet everyone is totally different from the others. I had to delete many but - as usual - I had to come up with eleven nonetheless.

Abarbanell, Stephan "Displaced"
Aitmatov, Chinghiz "Jamilya"
Austen, Jane "Persuasion"
Brooks, Geraldine "March"
Byatt, A.S. "Possession"
Coetzee, J.M. "Disgrace"
Collins, Wilkie "Armadale"
Eliot, George "Middlemarch"
Morrison, Toni "Beloved"
Oates, Joyce Carol "Carthage"
Pamuk, Orhan "Snow"

Monday, 16 March 2020

Waltari, Mika "The Secret of the Kingdom"


Waltari, Mika "The Secret of the Kingdom" (Finnish: Valtakunnan salaisuus) (The Malinianus Duology) - 1959

This is my third book by Finnish author Mika Waltari, I read all of them in a book club, always suggested by a Finnish member as one of their most important authors.

And it's true, Mika Waltari has some important thoughts to convey, whether it's about religion, philosophy or life itself. You notice this guy knows what he is talking about.

In this book, he describes the life of a Roman citizen who witnesses Jesus' crucifixion and then gets drawn into his circle, meets the apostles and other friends whose lives have been affected by Jesus of Nazareth. He has a great way of describing the story, makes you believe you've been there yourself. Definitely makes you believe that this could be how it was.

Certainly, a great book if you want to explore your faith but also if you just want to delve into the history of Christianity from the outside. This is a very detailed and descriptive story about the passion and its aftermath, starting at Easter, finishing on Pentecost.

I'm not surprised I liked this book because I also liked the other ones I read (The Egyptian, The Dark Angel). A great author.

From the back cover:

"Against a background of the strife-torn land of Judea two thousand years ago, Mika Waltari has written what is certainly his most important novel.

Seeking the meaning to his life in the study of philosophy, the young Roman. Marcus Manilianus, discovers in an Alexandrian library a vast number of predictions, all tending to confirm his own feeling that the world is about to enter upon a new era. Two chance encounters with Jews who proclaim the coming of a world leader whom they call the Messiah or King, cause Marcus to resolve to make a visit to the Holy City of the Jews. He arrives outside Jerusalem in time to see crowds - some curious, some shocked - staring up at three crosses on a nearby mound. Above the center cross, an inscription had been fixed: JESUS OF NAZARETH, KING OF THE JEWS.

The quest that ensues leads Marcus through all parts of Jerusalem and into contact with men and women of all stations of life who had known this remarkable man. And by degrees, wonderful if strange things are revealed to him of Jesus’ teaching, and he experiences the odd sensation of almost believing in the destiny of this crucified Roman among the alien Jews, Stands alone on the borderline of two worlds, feelings he belongs to neither, and it becomes vital to him to find 'the way, the Kingdom,' to again knowledge and certainty, not merely belief.

What follows, as Marcus pursues his search for the promised secret of the Kingdom, bring to a climax as exciting and deeply moving a novel as Mika Waltari, certainly one of the world’s outstanding historical novelists, has ever written. It is a story of a time long past, yet it deals with a theme as modern as today: the dilemma of modern man and his culture in gaining and retaining a faith. And always present throughout the novel is the splendor, the irony and humor which have so delighted millions of readers of other Waltari novels from The Egyptian to The Etruscan."

We discussed this book in our international book club in March 2020.

Friday, 13 March 2020

Book Quotes of the Week


"All of us possess a reading vocabulary as big as a lake but draw from a writing vocabulary as small as a pond. The good news is that the acts of searching and gathering always expand the number of usable words." Roy Peter Clark

"Men must read for amusement as well as for knowledge." Henry Ward Beecher

"She gathered books like clouds and words poured down like rain." Markus Zusak

"Books are hindrances to persisting stupidity." Spanish Proverb


Find more book quotes here.

Thursday, 12 March 2020

Reading Challenge - Chunky Books 2020


I have taken part in this reading challenge since 2013. The moment I saw that post, I know this was the most interesting challenge for me. I signed up for the highest of the four levels "Mor-book-ly Obese" which meant eight or more chunksters (books over 450 pages) of which three must be 750 pages or more.

I have carried on with that challenge without setting goals, I love big books and I will always read some. And I am more than willing to tell my friends about them.

If you are interested in the challenge, check out this link. They discontinued their challenge the old link for 2015.
You can still find suggestions by page number, in case you can't find any chunksters yourself. ;-)

Or you can check out my lists from the previous years (below), maybe you are interested in a couple of them.

I read in
2013: 38 chunky books, 13 of them chunksters
2014: 37 chunky books, 15 of them chunksters
2015: 26 chunky books, 8 of which chunksters
2016: 28 chunky books, 3 of which chunksters
2017: 35 chunky books, 6 of which chunksters

2018: 29 chunky books, 6 of which chunksters
2019: 20 chunky books, 7 of which chunksters

I will be posting the books I have read here:
(I add the German title, if available, for my German friends)
[I add my own translation of a foreign book title if it's not available in English.]

Fatland, Erika "Die Grenze. Eine Reise um Russland" (Grensen: En reise rundt Russland gjennom Nord-Korea, Kina, Mongolia, Kasakhstan, Aserbajdsjan, Georgia, Ukraina, Hviterussland, Litauen, Polen, Latvia, Estland, Finland og Norge samt Nordøstpassasjen) [The Border. A trip around Russia] - 2017 - 642 pages
Staël, Anne-Louise-Germaine de "Corinne ou l'Italie" (Corinne: Or Italy/Corinna oder Italien) - 1807 - 632 pages
Bryson, Bill "The Body. A Guide for Occupants" - 2019 - 464 pages
Undset, Sigrid "Kristin Lavransdatter" (Kristin Lavransdatter) - 1920-22 - 1,168 pages

Rand, Ayn "We the Living" (Vom Leben unbesiegt) - 1936 - 464 pages
H., A. "My Struggle" (Notes by some megalomaniac who thought he could rule the world) - 1925/26 - 782 pages
Stendhal "Le Rouge et le Noir" (The Red and the Black/Rot und Schwarz) - 1830 - 825 pages
Tolstoy, Aleksey Konstantinovich "Prince Serebrenni" (aka The Silver Knight/The Silver Prince) (Князь Серебряный/Knjaz' Sserebrjanyi/Fürst Serebrenny/Zar Iwan der Schreckliche) - 1882 - 610 pages

Weir, Alison "Six Tudor Queens. Anna of Kleve. Queen of Secrets" (US title: The Princess in the Portrait) - 2019 - 512 pages
Falcones, Ildefonso "Die Erben der Erde" (Los herederos de la tierra/La catedral del mar #2/The heirs of the earth) - 2016 - 928 pages
Stephenson, Neal "Anathem" (Anathem) - 2008 - 1024 pages
Hislop, Victoria "Those Who Are Loved" - 2019 - 489 pages
Crafts, Hannah "The Bondwoman’s Narrative" - 1855-69 - 464 pages
Dumas, Alexandre "Le comte de Monte-Cristo" (The Count of Monte Cristo/Der Graf von Monte Cristo) - 1844-46 - 531 pages
Rutherfurd, Edward "Sarum: the Novel of England" (Sarum) - 1987 - 1,376 pages
Metalious, Grace "Peyton Place" (Die Leute von Peyton Place) - 1957
- 512 pages
Fatland, Erika "Sovietistan: Travels in Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan" (Sovjetistan. En reise gjennom Turkmenistan, Kasakhstan, Tadsjikistan, Kirgisistan og Usbekistan) - 2014 - 512 pages
Marx, Karl "Das Kapital. Kritik der politischen Ökonomie" (Capital. Critique of Political Economy) - 1867 - 768 pages

I read 18 chunky books in 2020 of which 7 are considered a chunkster.