Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Top Ten Tuesday - Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases for the Second Half of 2020


"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.

Most Anticipated Releases for the Second Half of 2020

I'm not necessarily waiting for a certain next book unless it's a sequel. That's especially difficult with German ones since here books first get published in hardback and only years later (at least it seems like it) in paperback.

Anyway, I have checked out recommendations on Goodreads and also looked out for new books by some of my favourite living authors and come up with the following list. Some of the books might not appear this next half of the year but they are about to be published.
Abulhawa, Susan "Against the Loveless World"

Follett, Ken "The Evening and the Morning" (prequel to "The Pillars of the Earth")

Hansen, Dörte "Mittagsstunde", out in hb, waiting for pb

Lawson, Mary "Before the Snow"

Oates, Joyce Carol "Night. Sleep. Death. The Stars."

Osman, Richard "The Thursday Murder Club"

Pamuk, Orhan "The Naive and the Sentimental Novelist"

 Weir, Alison "Katheryn Howard: The Tainted Queen"

These are some of the books that will appear soon. There are lots of authors where I would love to read a new book … if only they would write one.

Monday, 29 June 2020

Owens, Delia "Where the Crawdads Sing"


Owens, Delia "Where the Crawdads Sing" - 2018

This book has been recommended to me by so many friends and even though my TBR pile is growing constantly, I just had to pick it up when I came across it in a local bookshop. The choice of English books there isn't always great, so this already says a lot. I'm usually very sceptical about books that everyone praises because I don't often like them but this was different.

I think reviewing this book is one of the toughest I ever had to do. I don't want to spoil it for anyone but it's not easy to write about it after you read it all. I should have written my review before reading the last chapter.

Anyway, a great story about Kya, a girl that is left all alone by her family, one after the other leaves and she has to fend for herself at the age of nine. The villagers don't look favourable at her, to say it mildly.

In a way, there are two stories, one when Kya is a child and one when she is 19 and a murder has happened. Needless to say, it doesn't take long until she is the main suspect. The two stories are told alternately until they eventually merge together. I love that way of storytelling.

We get to know Kya not only as a very resourceful person, very down to earth, but also as a wonderful artist who gets her rightful acknowledgement in the end

I will now go on talking about the rest of the book in the spoiler section. If you have not read the book, don't open it.

Spoiler:


If you look for a page-turner, an unputdownable book, I can heartily recommend this one. I hope Delia Owens will write more books. Maybe I'll try one of her memoirs, "Cry of the Kalahari", "The Eye of the Elephant", or "Secrets of the Savanna".

From the back cover:

"How long can you protect your heart? 

For years, rumors of the 'Marsh Girl' have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life - until the unthinkable happens.

Perfect for fans of Barbara Kingsolver and Karen Russell, Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps."

"Where the Crawdads Sing" has been chosen favourite book of the year 2019 by the German Indepent Bookshops.

Friday, 26 June 2020

Book Quotes of the Week



"You are taller with every book you read." Silly Jellie, DeviantArt
I doubt that, I'm the one whos read most in my family and I'm not the tallest. 😉

"Happiness is holding someone in your arms and knowing you hold the whole world." Orhan Pamuk, Snow
As always, one of my favourite authors is totally right.

"I wanted to explain that I am constantly overestimating and underestimating the human race - that rarely do I even simply estimate it. I wanted to ask her how the same thing could be so ugly and so glorious, and its words and stories so damning and brilliant ... I AM HAUNTED BY HUMANS." Markus Zusak, The Book Thief
I'm afraid I do that all the time, it's hard not to judge when someone does something extremely dumb or extremely clever.

"A little reading is all the therapy a person needs sometimes." N.N.
A good book always helps.

[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.

Thursday, 25 June 2020

Wodehouse, P.G. "Ring for Jeeves"


Wodehouse, P.G. "Ring for Jeeves" (US Title: The Return of Jeeves) - 1953

After reading "Right Ho, Jeeves", I was eager to read the next Jeeves and Wooster novel and when I came across this book, I had to get it right away. Little did I know that P.G. Wodehouse had also written books that are just about Jeeves. Jeeves without Wooster? That's almost a sacrilege! It's like Adam without Eve, Romeo without Juliet, Stan without Laurel etc. etc.

So, Jeeves has a different "gentleman" while Bertie Wooster is away teaching something, he has absolutely no idea about - how to fend for oneself. Bill Belfry, Ninth Earl of Rowcester, however, is in no way inferior to Bertie, he gets from one calamity into the next and there's only one person to save him: Jeeves.

If you have read anything about Jeeves, you can imagine that he does this with the utmost respect and lots of humour. Even though I missed Wooster, it was a good story.

From the back cover:

"Captain Biggar, big-game hunter and all round tough guy, should make short work of the two bookies who have absconded with his winnings after a freak double made him a fortune. But on this occasion Honest Patch Perkins and his clerk are not as they seem. In fact they're not bookies at all, but the impoverished Bill Belfry, Ninth Earl of Rowcester and his temporary butler, Jeeves.

Bertie Wooster has gone away to a special school teaching the aristocracy to fend for itself 'in case the social revolution sets in with even greater severity'. But Jeeves will prove just as resourceful without his young master, and brilliant brainwork may yet square the impossible circle for all concerned."

Tuesday, 23 June 2020

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Top Ten Characters You Would Want As Family Members



"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.

Top Ten Tuesday Turns 10! 
Option 1: pick a past TTT topic you’ve done and re-do/update it (Perhaps you’d remove certain books you put on the list back when you first wrote it, or perhaps you have 10 MORE books you’d add to that list now. You could also re-visit TBR posts, whether seasonal or series you need to finish, etc., and tell us if you’ve read them yet or not. Any variation of this idea works. Feel free to be creative.)
Option 2: pick a past TTT topic you wish you’d done, but didn’t get a chance to do (the list of topics is below).

Characters You Would Want As Family Members

This Tuesday, TTT turns 10 and we get to choose one topic, either one we've done before or one we've missed.

I've chosen one that I missed and made it a special girls' topic. I have three younger brothers and two sons, so besides my mother, there was never a special woman in my family. As a child, I always wished for a sister and somehow, I still do. So, I've been thinking what kind of sister I would have liked. There are many different types of women in these books but they all have one thing in common, they are all extremely strong and can get through any troubles. That's certainly a great trait you'd wish for a sister to have.

Anne Elliot from "Persuasion" (1817) by Jane Austen

Dorothea Brooke from "Middlemarch" (1871-72) by George Eliot

Ruby Thewes from "Cold Mountain" (1997) by Charles Frazier

Vera von Kamcke from "This House is Mine" (Altes Land) (20105) by Dörte Hansen

Kate Morrison from "Crow Lake" by Mary Lawson

Precious Ramotswe from "The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" Series (1999 etc.) by Alexander McCall Smith

Kira Argounova from "We the Living" (1936) by Ayn Rand

Susan Russell from the "Breaktfast at Six" series (1953 etc.) by Mary Scott

Lidie Newton from "The All-true Travels and Adventures of Lidie Newton" (1998) by Jane Smiley

Zosia Król from "The Children's War" (2001) by J.N. Stroyar

Monday, 22 June 2020

Coetzee, J.M. "The Master of Petersburg"


Coetzee, J.M. "The Master of Petersburg" - 1994

I love Russian authors and I love Nobel Prize winners, so this was a win-win situation. A book by a Nobel Prize winning author writing about the life of a Russian author must be good, right?

It was but it was a hard read, despite it being just around 250 pages. You had to constantly remind yourself that this is a work of fiction even though a lot of the events are taken from real life. You do recognize the author Dostoevsky here and all his struggles with life, you do see parts of Russia's problems during that time, some real-life people. So, you either don't know anything about Dostoevsky and just accept this as a story or you have to constantly forget that this isn't non-fiction.

However, Dostoevsky was wonderfully portrayed, it was a great book about Russia, the book received several international prizes, i.a. the Commonwealth Writers' Prize.

From the back cover:

"Winner of The Nobel Prize For Literature 2003

In The Master of Petersburg J. M. Coetzee dares to imagine the life of Dostoevsky. Set in 1869, when Dostoevsky was summoned from Germany to St Petersburg by the sudden death of his stepson, this novel is at once a compelling mystery steeped in the atmosphere of pre-revolutionary Russia and a brilliant and courageous meditation on authority and rebellion, art and imagination. Dostoevsky is seen obsessively following his stepson's ghost, trying to ascertain whether he was a suicide or a murder victim and whether he loved or despised his stepfather."

J.M. Coetzee "who in innumerable guises portrays the surprising involvement of the outsider" received the Nobel Prize in 2003 and the Booker Prize for this novel in 1999.

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

Friday, 19 June 2020

Carlos Ruiz Zafón †


This is a sad day for readers.

I was quite shocked when I saw this morning that one of my favourite authors passed away. Carlos Ruiz Zafón, author of some great books, especially "The Cemetary of Forgotten Books" (El cementerio de los libros olvidados) tetralogy.

He had been diagnosed with colon cancer in 2018 and succumbed to it yesterday at the age of only 55.

I was always looking forward to his next one. Now I know there won't be any. Tragic.

According to many, he was "one of the best contemporary novelists", and I totally agree with that. He wrote eight novels which were translated into more than 40 different languages and sold 38 million copies.

He received several literature prizes, unfortunately, the Nobel Prize wasn't among them. What a loss. Maybe you remember, I had suggested him in my Nobel Prize post earlier this year.

Rest in Peace!

Here is my list of his books:
- "Gaudí in Manhattan" (E: La Mujer de Vapor) - Gaudí in Manhattan
- "Marina" (E: Marina)
- "The Angel's Game" (E: El juego del ángel - El cementerio de los libros olvidados #2) 
- "The Labyrinth of the Spirits" (E: laberinto de los espíritus - El cementerio de los libros olvidados #4)
- "The Midnight Palace" (El Palacio de la Medianoche)
- "The Prince of Mist" (E: El príncipe de la niebla)
- "The Prisoner of Heaven" (E: El prisionero del cielo - El cementerio de los libros olvidados #3)  
- "The Shadow of the Wind" (E: La sombra del viento - El cementerio de los libros olvidados #1) *
- "Watcher in the Shadows" (E: Las luces de Septiembre)

Book Quotes of the Week


"Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider. Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention." Francis Bacon
Some great advice.

"A wonderful thing about a book, in contrast to a computer screen, is that you can take it to bed with you." Daniel J. Boorstin
This one made me chuckle. Just imagine yourself in bed with a computer screen.

"If only you'd remember before ever you sit down to write that you've been a reader long before you were ever a writer." J.D. Salinger
I wish every author would remember it, I wish J.D. Salinger had remembered it.

Find more book quotes here.

Thursday, 18 June 2020

Weir, Alison "Six Tudor Queens. Anna of Kleve"


Weir, Alison "Six Tudor Queens. Anna of Kleve. Queen of Secrets" (US Title: The Princess in the Portrait) - 2019

Finally, it's the turn of the next of Henry's queens. Queen #4, the German queen.

I was looking forward to this, especially since I had just watched "The Tudors", a series that should really be called "Henry VIII" since it only portrays his life and everyone during his reign, nothing before or after (where we had four other Tudor kings and queens).

I quite liked Anna in the series and already had liked her in "The Six Wives of Henry VIII". Now I got to "know" her a little better.

Granted, Alison Weir took quite a few liberties with spinning this story into an interesting one, I wasn't too happy that she elaborated on some speculations as if they really had happened that way.

Spoiler:


 But I suppose that's why they call it historial "fiction". Comparing the book to her other novels, I must say I did not enjoy this as much, mainly due to the made-up part. I now wonder how much she invented about the previous queens. She did lose a lot of her credibility.

Other than that, I loved how life both in Germany as well as in England was portrayed, how young Anna came to a foreign country without speaking the language and had to fear for her life when she noticed that she wasn't what the king wanted.

She must have been a strong woman to get through all of this and keep the king's love, something none of his other queens managed. Maybe Jane Seymour would have managed in the long run but we'll never know.

I still look forward to the next book in the series: "Katheryn Howard: The Scandalous Queen".

Find my reviews of Alison Weir's other books here.


From the back cover:

"A GERMAN PRINCESS WITH A GUILTY SECRET.

The King is in love with Anna's portrait, but she has none of the accomplishments he seeks in a new bride.

She prays she will please Henry, for the balance of power in Europe rests on this marriage alliance.
But Anna's past is never far from her thoughts, and the rumours rife at court could be her downfall. Everyone knows the King won't stand for a problem queen.

ANNA OF KLEVE THE FOURTH OF HENRY'S QUEENS

HER STORY

Acclaimed, bestselling historian Alison Weir draws on new evidence to conjure a startling image of Anna as you've never seen her before. A charming, spirited woman, she was loved by all who knew her - and even, ultimately, by the King who rejected her.

History tells us she was never crowned. But her story does not end there."

Another description:

"Bestselling author and acclaimed historian Alison Weir tells the little-known story of Henry VIII’s fourth wife, as a grieving king chooses a bride sight unseen in the fourth novel in the epic and intrigue-filled Six Tudor Queens series.

Newly widowed and the father of an infant son, Henry VIII realizes he must marry again to insure the royal succession. Now forty-six, overweight and unwell, Henry is soundly rejected by some of Europe’s most eligible princesses, but Anna of Kleve - a small German duchy - is twenty-four and eager to wed. Henry requests Anna’s portrait from his court painter, who enhances her looks, painting her straight-on in order not to emphasize her rather long nose. Henry is entranced by the lovely image, only to be bitterly surprised when Anna arrives in England and he sees her in the flesh. She is pleasant looking, just not the lady that Henry had expected.

What follows is a fascinating story of this awkward royal union that had to somehow be terminated tactfully. Alison Weir takes a fresh and surprising look at this remarkable royal marriage by describing it from the point of view of Queen Anna, a young woman with hopes and dreams of her own, alone in a royal court that rejected her from the day she arrived."

I'm also a little annoyed with the book itself. I ordered it and received an edition that is totally different from the others that I already have although there is one that would fit in the series. I probably should have checked better before reviewing this but it still is annoying that there are always so many different covers around - even in the same country.

The cover I have looks a little more like chick lit. This would be the one that fits into my collection:

Wednesday, 17 June 2020

Tolstoy, A.K. "Prince Serebrenni"


Tolstoy, Aleksey Konstantinovich "Prince Serebrenni: An Historical Novel of the Times of Ivan the Terrible and of the Conquest of Siberia" (aka The Silver Knight or The Silver Prince) (Russian: Князь Серебряный/Knjaz' Sserebrjanyi) - 1882

I don't think I would have ever come across this novel, had it not been for a new reading club, started by an enthusiastic reader who wanted to talk about Esperanto literature. But, from time to time, we also want to read a translation that is otherwise not as widely known.

Not only had I never heard of the book (even though it has been translated into both English and German), I also hadn't the slightest idea about the author. Apparently, he was a second cousin of Leo Tolstoy, an author I do admire a lot.

I wouldn't compare this novel to those of Leo Tolstoy, they almost seem like a different generation, even though they were born only 11 years apart. Same as his cousin, this Tolstoy served in the Crimean War.

Probably a good thing that Ivan the Terrible was dead by the time this book was published, I doubt the author would have survived it. The main reason, this could be published at all was probably because people were more aware of justice and injustice at the time of its appearance.

Not an entirely easy read but highly interesting. I love reading about Russia and its vivid history but I had not really come across this timeframe.

Apparently, Tsar Ivan IV Vasilyevich aka "Ivan the Terrible", "Ivan the Formidable" or "Ivan the Fearsome" who reigned Russia for 28 years, was not regarded as terrible as he is always portrayed. He was highly intelligent and religious but also mentally instable. Still, in this novel we see mainly his bad side since the author did not want to describe the ruler in any way positive.

A lot is said about the life at court and the life of the poor people. The struggles they all have and how they try to get through them. As I already mentioned, highly interesting novel.

From the back cover:

"The novel begins in 1565, during the reign of Ivan the Terrible. The Czar had just instituted the ferocious policing force of social upstarts, the oprichnina, who wage Ivan's personal war of fear against the old boyar families of the Russian aristocracy. With virtues the quality of silver, the hero of this story, Prince Serebryany (which translates as 'silver'), returns to Russia from five years fighting at the Lithuanian front to find things quite changed. Ivan's paranoia is a perfect foil for Prince Serebryany's moral uprightness; never does he doubt the Czar's role, never does he step outside his moral code of honor, while Ivan irrationally calls for mass executions, sentencing to death anyone his advisors whisper to him about. Out of favor with the Czar after a conflict with the oprichnina, the prince flees Moscow and finds himself elected the leader of a band of outlaws.

The Silver Prince was Alexey Konstantinovich (commonly referred to as A. K.) Tolstoy's first full length novel. Best known as a poet and dramatist, Tolstoy (1817-1875) was a Romantic writer in the midst of the dominant Realist movement. However, the reading public in nineteenth century Russia, and still today, loved the novel for its dramatic scenes of outlaw and court life where greed and virtue collide, while contemporary writers, steeped in the tenets of Realist literature, disliked the very romance the public enjoyed. As a close confidant of the Empress Maria Alexandrovna, who shared his interest in mysticism, Tolstoy read parts of this novel to her while he wrote it; it is the only prose work he dedicated to her.

The first English translation appeared in 1892, under the title Prince Serebryany, then in 1927 as Prince of Outlaws. This translation was done for the sheer love of the story and its lively descriptions."

Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Top Ten Anti-Racism Books


"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.

This week, the topic is:

Top Ten Books on My Summer 2020 TBR 

I hardly ever put together a reading list, I just read different subjects at any time, some new books, some from my TBR, some book club books. etc.

* * * 

However, Carol from the Reading Ladies Book Club has just published a list of Nonfiction/Fiction books and Racial Injustice (see here) and I wanted to do my own list about this, as well. Therefore, this is my proposed summer reading list. Wouldn't it be nice if everyone could read at least one book about racism this summer? There's so much to learn, let's give it a try.

Angelou, Maya "I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings" - 1969
- "Mom & Me & Mom" - 2013
Chapman, Abraham "Black Voices. An Anthology of Afro-American Literature" - 1968
Coates, Ta-Nehisi "Between the World and Me" - 2015
Crafts, Hannah "The Bondwoman’s Narrative" - 1855-69
Daniel Tatum, Beverly "Why are all the black kids sitting together in the cafeteria? A Psychologist Explains the Development of Racial Identity" - 1997
Du Bois, W. E. B. "The Souls of Black Folk" - 1903
Faulkner, William "Light in August" - 1932
Griffin, John Howard "Black like me" - 1961
Hill, Lawrence "The Book of Negroes" - 2007
Jacobs, Harriet Ann "Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl" - 1861
Kidd, Sue Monk "The Invention of Wings" - 2014
Lee, Harper "To Kill a Mockingbird" - 1960
Mathis, Ayana "The Twelve Tribes of Hattie" - 2013
McCullers, Carson "The Heart is a Lonely Hunter" - 1940
McLeod, Cynthia "The Cost of Sugar" (Dutch: Hoe duur was de suiker) - 1987
Morrison, Toni "Home" - 2012
- "A Mercy" - 2008
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" - 1853
Oates, Joyce Carol "Black Girl/White Girl" - 2006
- "The Sacrifice" - 2015
Obama, Barack "The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream" - 2006
- "Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance" - 1995
Obama, Michelle "Becoming" - 2018
Stockett, Kathryn "The Help" - 2009
Stowe, Harriet Beecher "Uncle Tom’s Cabin" - 1852
Tademy, Lalita "Cane River" - 2001
- "Red River" - 2007
Tobin, Jacquelin L. and Dobard, Raymond G. "Hidden in Plain View" - 1999
Turner, Nancy E. "The Water and the Blood" - 2001
Walker, Alice "The Color Purple" - 1982
- "In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens" - 1983
- "The Way Forward is with a Broken Heart" - 2000
Whitehead, Colson "The Nickel Boys" - 2019
- "Underground Railroad" - 2016

These are all the books I read (or have on my TBR pile) that will fit into the "Black Lives Matter" topic. There are so many different kinds of racism in this world. My other books about racism are here.

* * *

Just now, Barack Obama shared another list by writer Jen Gray and encourages us all, to add these to our summer reading list. I have searched all the authors and dates of the books published. Sinc ei Had mainly the titles, I hope I found the right editions. You can see the pictures of some of the books here and here. My list is in alphabetical order.

Alexander, Michelle "The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness" - 2010
Baldwin, James "The Fire Next Time" - 1963
Blackmon, Douglas A. "Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II" - 2008
Candelario, Ginetta E.B. "Black behind the Ears: Dominican Racial Identity from Museums to Beauty Shops" - 2007
Coates, Ta-Nehisi "Between the World and Me" - 2015
- "The Case for Reparations" - 2014
Cooper, Brittney "Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower" - 2018
Diangelo, Robin "White Fragility. Why it's so hard for white people to talk about Racism" - 2018
Forman Jr., James "Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America" - 2017
Gomez, Laura E. "Inventing Latinos: A New Story of American Racism" - 2020
Kendi, Ibram X "How to be an Antiracist" - 2019
- ". Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America" - 2016
Lowery, Wesley "They Can't Kill Us All: Ferguson, Baltimore, and a New Era in America’s Racial Justice Movement" - 2016
Maxwell, Zerlina "The End of White Politics: How to Heal Our Liberal Divide" - 2020
Moore, Darnell L. "No Ashes in the Fire: Coming of Age Black and Free in America" - 2018
Oluo, Ijeoma "So you Want to Talk about Race" - 2018
Ortiz, Paul "An African American and Latinx History of the United States" - 2018
Pollock, Mica "Everyday Antiracism: Getting Real About Race in School" - 2008
Reynolds, Jason; Kendi, Ibram X. "Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You" - 2020
Saad, Layla F. "Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor" - 2020
Stevenson, Bryan "Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption" - 2014
Tatum, Beverly Daniel " 'Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?': A Psychologist Explains the Development of Racial Identity" - 2003
Theoharis, Jeanne "A More Beautiful and Terrible History: The Uses and Misuses of Civil Rights History" - 2018
Ward, Jesmyn; Jones, Kima; Cadogan, Garnette; Rankine, Claudia; Raboteau, Emily; Jackson, Mitchell S.; Trethewey, Natasha; Older, Daniel José "The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks About Race" - 2016
Wilkerson, Isabel "Caste. The Origins of our Discontents" - 2020
- The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration" - 2010
Zamalin, Alex "Antiracism: An Introduction" - 2019

* * * 

And then there is, of course, Emma Watson and her list of anti-Racism books on Our Shared Shelf:
Bay, Mia (ed.); Gates Jr., Henry Louis (Ed.) Wells-Barnett, Ida B. "The Light of Truth: Writings of an Anti-lynching Crusader" - 2014
Brown, Austin Channing "I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness" - 2018
Kendall, Mikki "Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women That a Movement Forgot" - 2020
Khan-Cullors, Patrisse; Bandele, Asha; Davis, Angela "When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir" - 2018
Love, Bettina L. "We Want to Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom" - 2019
Oluo, Ijeoma "So you Want to Talk about Race" - 2018
Richie, Andrea J. "Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color" - 2017
Saad, Layla F. "Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor" - 2020

A big shoutout goes to one of my blogger friends Sarah from All the Book Blog Names Are Taken who created a great list against racism:
Alexander, Michelle "The New Jim Crow"
Bennett, Michael "Things That Make White People Uncomfortable"
Butler, Paul "Chokehold: Policing Black Men"
DiAngelo, Robin "White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism"
Dyson, Michael Eric "Tears We Can Not Stop: A Sermon to White America"
- "What Truth Sounds Like: Robert F. Kennedy, James Baldwin, and Our Unfinished Conversation About Race in America"
Eddo-Lodge, Reni "Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race"
Ewing, Eve L. "Ghosts in the Schoolyard: Racism and School Closings on Chicago’s South Side"
Gormann, Elliot J. "Let the People See: The Story of Emmett Till"
Hawes, Jennifer Berry "Grace Will Lead Us Home: The Charleston Church Massacre and the Hard, Inspiring Journey to Forgiveness"
Hinton, Anthony Ray "The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row"
Johnson, Ronald "13 Days in Ferguson"
Kendi, Ibram X "Stamped From the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America"
- "How to be an Antiracist" Ibram X Kendi
Khan-Cullors, Patrisse "When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir"
Lewis, John "Walking With the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement"
Lowery, Wesley "They Can’t Kill Us All: Ferguson, Baltimore, and a New Era in America’s Racial Justice Movement"
Mitchell, Jerry "Race Against Time: A Reporter Reopens the Unsolved Murder Cases of the Civil Rights Era"
Morrison, Melanie S. "Murder on Shades Mountain: The Legal Lynching of Willie Peterson and the Struggle for Justice in Jim Crow Birmingham"
Oluo, Ijeoma "So You Want to Talk About Race"
Rothstein, Richard "The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America"
Saad, Layla F. "Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor"
Solomon, Akiba, Rankin, Kenrya "How We Fight White Supremacy"
Taibbi, Matt "I Can’t Breathe: A Killing on Bay Street"
Tisby, Jemar "The Color of Compromise: The Truth About the American Church's Complicity in Racism"
Tolan, Robbie "No Justice: One White Police Officer, One Black Family, and How One Bullet Ripped Us Apart"
Watkins, D. "The Beast Side: Living (and Dying) While Black in America"
- "We Speak For Ourselves: A Word From Forgotten Black America"
Wilkerson, Isabel "The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration"

* * * 

Last but not least, there is Oprah. I have all her book club books in my blogpost here that also includes a link to her page with lots more suggestions. Unfortunately, there is not a list on any of her pages, just pages to click through to get to the next book. Maybe I will be able to do a list one day but I doubt it.

* * *

Another of my blogfriends (Stuck in a Book) just published a list of the Virago Modern Classics by Black Authors courtesy of Juliana Brina from The Blank Garden.

* * *

I hope you'll forgive me that there are way more than ten books this week but I just couldn't delete any of them. They are all important.

Friday, 12 June 2020

Book Quotes of the Week



"Books open your mind, broaden your mind, and strengthen you as nothing else can." William Feather
This is so true, nothing teaches you so much as reading does.

"Naturally, since I myself am a writer, I do not wish the ordinary reader to read no modern books. But if he must read only the new or only the old, I would advise him to read the old." C.S. Lewis
That is good advice.

"I feel the need of reading. It is a loss to a man not to have grown up among books." Abraham Lincoln
I didn't have the amount of books when I was little, as my kids had but I cannot imagine how it would have been growing up completely without books.

"Reading is powerful. Words truly have the power to change our perspective and transport us to another place and time. Books can change our lives." N.N.
If only more people would read good books who help us to gain a better perspective. 

[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.

Thursday, 11 June 2020

Stendhal "Le Rouge et le Noir"


Stendhal "The Read and the Black" (French: Le Rouge et le Noir) - 1830

I had meant to read this novel for ages. Then I found it on one of those book swapping shelves I like to visit.

Now, the last couple of months, I didn't take part in the classics spin because I was already reading a few enormous ones. And this time, I almost missed it. I hadn't seen the post when the result was announced (#6), so I just used my old list and it was this novel. Two birds with one stone, I'd say.


The author, Henri-Marie Beyle, took the pseudonym Stendhal after the German city Stendal near Braunschweig where he used to live for a while.

Of course, I'm not as used to reading French books as I am reading German or English ones, so it took me a little longer to finish it.

Whilst I couldn't warm to any of the characters in the story, the idea behind it is great. It explains France at the time of the Napoleonic wars and after. The changes in society. The red stands for politics, the world, the soldiers, the black for the opposite, religion, forsaking the world, priests). The juxtaposition of these and the ordinary life beside it is probably what made this book a classic.

Julien Sorel, the protagonist, is too clever for his own good. He grew up at a time where you just weren't smart if you didn't have parents who could place you somewhere your intelligence was needed. That was probably his biggest problem. He wanted to be a soldier but it was too late for him to join Napoleon and his troops. His decision to become a priest didn't really agree with his view of the world, either. Well, these situations still exist and it is always difficult to rise from the kind of society you were born into. For women probably even more than for men. But here we go. We see a guy who tries.

If you are much interested in classics and would like to learn about this era, I can wholly recommend this book.

From the back cover:

"Handsome, ambitious Julien Sorel is determined to rise above his humble provincial origins. Soon realizing that success can only be achieved by adopting the subtle code of hypocrisy by which society operates, he begins to achieve advancement through deceit and self-interest. His triumphant career takes him into the heart of glamorous Parisian society, along the way conquering the gentle, married Madame de Rênal, and the haughty Mathilde. But then Julien commits an unexpected, devastating crime - and brings about his own downfall. The Red and the Black is a lively, satirical portrayal of French society after Waterloo, riddled with corruption, greed, and ennui, and Julien - the cold exploiter whose Machiavellian campaign is undercut by his own emotions - is one of the most intriguing characters in European literature."

Tuesday, 9 June 2020

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Top Ten Books I’ve Added to my TBR and Forgotten Why



"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.

Top Ten Books I’ve Added to my TBR and Forgotten Why

So, this week, I needed to go through my TBR list and try to remember why I bought certain books. Some of the titles look so suspicious that I really think I must have been on another planet (the first one, for example).

But I have to agree with Jana, That Artsy Reader Girl, we book lovers tend to add books to our to-read lists and then forget about them. I believe, in most cases the cover must have interested me and I bought it but the story itself is not really part of my usual reading habit.

So, here is my list. If you have read any of those books and want to encourage me to read one of them, please, let me know.

Childs, Laura "Death by Darjeeling" - 2001
Danielewski, Mark Z. "House of Leaves" - 2000
Greene, Brian "The Fabric of the Cosmos. Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality" - 2005
Harper, M. A. "The Worst Day Of My Life, So Far" - 2001
Hay, Louise L. "You Can Heal your Life" - 1984
Kelly, Cathy "What She Wants" - 2001
Reynolds, Sheri "The Rapture of Canaan" - 1997
Rubenfeld, Jed "The Interpretation of Murder" - 2006
Silas, Shelley "12 Days" - 2005
Stagg, Bruce, "The Crowd from Roaring Cove" - 1997

Monday, 8 June 2020

Higham, John "360 Degrees Longitude"


Higham, John "360 Degrees Longitude" - 2009

A family takes a trip around the world. On their bikes. And with a tent. Well, at least that was the plan.

The couple September and David planned it even before they had kids. Now the children are eight and eleven, so it's time to go. They visit the USA, Iceland, England, UK, France, Switzerland, Czechia, Poland, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Greece, Turkey, UAE, Tanzania, Mauritius, Japan, China, Thailand, Cambodia, Costa Rica, Panama, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Peru, Belize in that order (although they do return to a couple of the countries in between). Quite a challenge.

Even with the utmost planning, there is always something that comes along that way that is not as easy as envisaged.

Spoiler:


The kids love reading, so that's a plus, especially when they have to spend some time a little less active. They grow together as a family and they all love that.

I greatly admire the family for what they have achieved.

Quite an interesting book, especially for people, I would think, who never travel themselves. We never took a trip like that around the world but we lived in four different countries and travelled a lot with our kids. And they always read half a library during the journey, just as Katrina and Jordan, the Higham kids. So, sometimes I found it a little tedious, a tad lengthy and slightly naïve at times, but still a nice read.

Quote:
"... 'What makes us different?' is a question that lately keeps me up at night. Why are the street kids in Cambodia such whizzes at arithmetic and the clerks behind the cash registers in Costa Rica so abysmal? Why are stores in France open 30 hours a week while the stores in Turkey are open 18-plus hours a day? Why are Germans so fanatical about punctuality, and the Italians so ... late all the time? And last, but not least, why does the entire world, other than the United States, speak more than one language and Americans just expect that one of those is English?"

He then goes on saying that we are all the same, want to raise our kids and have some comforts in life. I think if we concentrate on that, we see that we have a lot more in common with anyone from another country than what separates us.

From the back cover:

"Much more than a travel narrative 360 Degrees Longitude: One Family’s Journey Around the World is a glimpse at what it means to be a 'global citizen' - a progressively changing view of the world as seen through the eyes of an American family of four.

After more than a decade of planning, John Higham and his wife September bid their high-tech jobs and suburban lives good-bye, packed up their home and set out with two children, ages eight and eleven, to travel around the world. In the course of the next 52 weeks they crossed 24 time zones, visited 28 countries and experienced a lifetime of adventures.

Making their way across the world, the Highams discovered more than just different foods and cultures; they also learned such diverse things as a Chilean mall isn’t the best place to get your ears pierced, and that elephants appreciate flowers just as much as the next person. But most importantly, they learned about each other, and just how much a family can weather if they do it together.

360 Degrees Longitude employs Google’s wildly popular Google Earth as a compliment to the narrative. Using your computer you can spin the digital globe to join the adventure cycling through Europe, feeling the cold stare of a pride of lions in Africa, and breaking down in the Andes. Packed with photos, video and text, the online Google Earth companion adds a dimension not possible with mere paper and ink. Fly over the terrain of the Inca Trail or drill down to see the majesty of the Swiss Alps - without leaving the comfort of your chair.

John Higham is an aerospace engineer with an expertise in satellites. He is also an avid traveler, frequently writing and lecturing on his own experience traversing the globe. The Highams live in the San Francisco Bay Area. Visit him online at www.360DegreesLongitude.com.

The Voyages of Tim Vetter interviews 360 author John Higham about what it is like to travel with children, his bucket list and what he and his family have been up to since traveling around the world. Available at http://bit.ly/podcast360 or on search for "360 Degrees Longitude" on your favorite podcast store."

Friday, 5 June 2020

Book Quotes of the Week



"A novel must be exceptionally good to live as long as the average cat." Hugh Maclennan
Sometimes we just need a humourous quote like this one.

"I don't want to be a tree; I want to be its meaning." Orhan Pamuk, "My Name Is Red"
One of the quotes in my favourite book by one of my favourite authors. He always has a great way of expressing my thoughts.


"It takes a library to raise a child." N.N.
I couldn't agree more with this even if I would. I've seen many people who had almost no books in the house, didn't go to the library with the kids and then complained that their children wouldn't read.

[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.

Thursday, 4 June 2020

Khorsandi, Shappi "A Beginner's Guide to Acting English"


Khorsandi, Shappi "A Beginner's Guide to Acting English" - 2009


Since I don't live in England anymore, I can't go and see stand-up comedians live. But there are panel shows and quiz shows and other shows where they appear as hosts etc. So, this is how I got to know Shappi Khorsandi. She comes across as a lovely person, very funny, very comical. When I learned that she had written a book about coming to England as a three-year-old, I was very interested. I imagined it to be just as nice and funny as the author herself.

I was not disappointed. This book doesn't just tell us how it is to grow up in a strange country, it tells us a lot about Iran, as well. And not just about the politics but about the ordinary family life. How they lived under the Shah, how they lived after the revolution. And with her hints about how her parents were different from English parents, I also learned a lot about Iranian culture.

It's not a hilarious book but you can see where Shappi Khorsandi gets her sense of humour. It certainly is one of the best memoirs I have ever read. You get to know both the author and her entire family very well, you get to fear with them and mourn with them, laugh with them and love with them.

I also had the chance to compare how the Khorsandi family lived in England as foreigners and how we lived in England as foreigners. Two very different worlds. Granted, it was not exactly the same place and some twenty years later but we never really felt "foreign" or weren't treated as such. Someone told me that's because we spoke English and "fitted in" but I'm sure there are some more reasons behind that. In any case, I'm happy that the Khorsandis could make England their home and that their daughter became such a great comedian.

I loved this so much, I've already ordered her next book "Nina is not okay".

From the back cover:

"When you're young just growing up seems hard enough. But if you've been shipped to a news country, away from all your beloved aunts and uncles, where you can't understand anyone it's even harder. And if the Ayatollah wants you and your family dead, then that's when it gets really tricky …

This is a story of growing up a stranger in a strange land with fish fingers and kiss chase and milk and biscuits. But it's also a story about exile, survival, and families - wherever they are."

Tuesday, 2 June 2020

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Top Ten Books that Give Off Summer Vibes



"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.

June 2: Books that Give Off Summer Vibes

So this week's topic is about books that give off summer vibes. Whilst I have read many books that take place in summer, they are not exactly what most people would think of as a good summer read. I therefore deviated a little from the topic and list ten books that have the word "Summer" in their title.

Aaronovitch, Ben "Foxglove Summer" (Fingerhut-Sommer) (Rivers of London 5)
Bristow, Gwen "Plantation Trilogy" ("Deep Summer", "Handsome Road", "This Side of Glory")
Bryson, Bill "One Summer: America, 1927"
Chabon, Michael "Summerland"
Chekhov, Anton "Summer Holidays"
Hustvedt, Siri "The Summer without Men"
Kingsolver, Barbara "Prodigal Summer"
Tsypkin, Leonid "Summer in Baden-Baden"
Tucker, Helen "The Sound of Summer Voices"
Weidermann, Volker "Summer Before the Dark"

Monday, 1 June 2020

Happy June!

Happy June to all my friends and readers

New Calendar picture with this
beautiful watercolour painting by Frank Koebsch


"Brombeerblüten locken die Schmetterlinge"
"Blackberry flowers attract the butterflies"



June brings us a painting with my favourite colours. I always say it's blue and green but, actually, it's exactly this kind of shades, a slight turquoise and a decent lilac. My favourite colour combination, as well. So, I am looking forward to seeing this picture for a whole month.


I think (hope) I found my reading mojo back last month. I have been reading some nice books of which you will hear soon in my reviews and just now, I read another couple of great ones.

* * *

Since Frank has painted blackberries with a common brimstone butterfly, and the green hairstreak looks almost like the one in the picture, let me introduce you to the butterfly of the year 2020, chosen by the BUND (German non-governmental organisation for the protection of nature and the environment. In German, it is also called the " Brombeer-Zipfelfalter" and "Brombeere" is the German word for the blackberry in the picture. So, this is definitely the correct topic for the month of June, don't you think?

As I mentioned last month, we hear a lot that nature is recovering during this hard time for us. Let's hope that will continue and that we will have these animals and these plants for a long time.

* * *

This leads me to a quote I saw this month that says it all:

"We will not go back to normal. Normal never was. Our pre-corona existence was not normal other than we normalized greed, inequity, exhaustion, depletion, extraction, disconnection, confusion, rage, hoarding, hate and lack. We should not long to return my friends. We are being given the opportunity to stitch a new garment. One that fits all of humanity and nature.
Sonya Renee Taylor

* * *

Have a happy June with this beautiful watercolour painting by Frank Koebsch. Stay safe!


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

You can also have a look under my labels Artist: Frank Koebsch and Artist: Hanka Koebsch where you can find all my posts about them.