Tuesday 29 September 2020

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Top Favourite Book Quotes

"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 Jana from 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.

Favourite Book Quotes
(these could be quotes from books you love, or bookish quotes in general)

This is a topic close to my heart. As many of my book friends know, I publish some quotes every Friday (well, most Fridays) and then add them to my long list of quotes here.

Therefore, it was not easy to find the Top Ten from those hundreds of quotes I've collected so far. I'm sure I missed some of the best ones while going through the list.

There is one, though, that I had to think about right away because it is my all-time favourite by Jorge Louis Borges:
"I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library."
It's probably time for me to read one of his books.

One of my favourite authors, Jane Austen, has said a lot about reading, as well. Here's a quote I totally subscribe. I have a house of my own with my husband and we do have an excellent library, even if I do say so myself.
"I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! - When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library."

And another of my favourite authors, Orhan Pamuk, said
"I read a book one day and my whole life was changed."
I think this has happened to many of us, even if it was changed into being an avid reader.

I also like this one by P.J. O'Rourke:
"Always read something that will make you look great if you die in the middle of it."
Made me laugh but it's got something.

And then there's one, by one of the cleverest presidents the United States ever had, Barack Obama:
"Reading is important. If you know how to read then the whole world opens up to you"
This is so true. If we keep on reading, we keep on education ourselves. The amount of stuff I learned through reading is a lot larger than anything I learned at school, even though I learned a lot there, as well.

This one by Luisa Moats goes out to all the teachers in the world who passed on their knowledge to the next generation. I remember my very first teacher. She gave me a great start in life and who knows where I would be without her. I felt extremely honoured when she had a baby and gave her the same name as mine.
"Teaching reading IS rocket science."

Imagine a house without windows! I feel the same as Horace Mann does, we definitely need books in every house. I feel sorry for everyone who would have the possibility but still doesn't have anything to read in the house.
"A house without books is like a room without windows."

St. Augustine is right. The world IS a book and we can travel wherever we want with very little money and effort.
"The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page."

And who wouldn't agree with Lailah Gifty Akita. I can't remember the last time I was bored. The same went for my children, if they had no idea what to play, they selected a book.
"How can you be bored? There are so many books to read!"

And, last, but not least, a quote by William Feather. Good books are great friends, they are there for you whenever you need them.
"Finishing a good book is like leaving a good friend."

Monday 28 September 2020

Sanders, Ella Frances "Lost in Translation


Sanders, Ella Frances "Lost in Translation. An Illustrated Compendium of Untranslatable Words from Around the World" - 2014

I recently read that a linguaphile is a person who loves language and words. They can be interested in many different things such as learning to speak several different languages or simply nerding out about words in general.

I think they definitely go together. You just want everyone to partake in your wisdom you acquired by learning those languages. LOL. I certainly nerd out everyone in my environment and thoroughly enjoy it.

So, a book like "Lost in Translation" is just the right one for me. I saw words I know well like "gezellig" from the Dutch = The feeling of butterflies in your stomach, usually when something romantic or cute takes place. Mind you, the Dutch also use it in the same form as the Danes use "hygge". Or "Kummerspeck" from German, literally meaning "grief-bacon". It's excess weight we gain from emotional overeating. And "Ubuntu", meaning "I find my worth in you, and you find your worth in me." More or less human kindness. While this is a Bantu word and I don't speak that language, I've learned this word through my Esperanto life, just another reason to learn the international language. And "Tsundoku", from the Japanese, which means you leave a book unread after buying it. This, of course, I know because I tend to do that, as well. Another word from my native language you might like is "Kabelsalat", literally "cable salad", it describes a mess of very tangled cables, as one can imagine when one hears the word.

These are just a few of the many interesting words the author has put together and illustrated with her beautiful drawings. A great book for any language nerd.

From the back cover:

"Did you know that there's a Finnish word, PORONKUSEMA, meaning the distance a reindeer can travel before needing to rest?

Or that in Germany they have the very handy KUMMERSPECK: literally, grief-bacon, the weight we gain from emotional overeating?

Ever wished there was a word to convey the time it takes to eat a banana (approximately 2 minutes)? No sweat, in Malay it's PISANZAPRA?

This delightful compendium celebrates the words from across the globe that remains stubbornly - tantalizingly - not quite translatable.

P.S.: Don't confuse this with the following, though that is also brilliant:
Croker, Charlie "Løst in Tränšlatioπ. Misadventures in English Abroad" (Lost in Translation) - 2006

Friday 25 September 2020

Book Quotes of the Week

"A book may be compared to your neighbour; if it be good, it cannot last too long; if bad, you cannot get rid of it too early." Henry Brooke
I never thought of that before but a good comparison. Luckily, I have great neighbours at the moment.

"The great American novel has not only already been written, it has already been rejected." Frank Dane
That's probably true for many great novels.

"I love the world of words, where life and literature connect." Denise J Hughes
So do I. And I guess so does anyone who reads this blog.

Find more book quotes here.

Thursday 24 September 2020

Collister, Linda et al. "Great British Bake Off: How to Bake"

Collister, Linda; Berry, Mary; Hollywood, Paul "Great British Bake Off: How to Bake: The Perfect Victoria Sponge and Other Baking Secrets" - 2011

A while ago, we had a TTT topic "Books that made me hungry". This brought up the discussion that we should probably post a few cookbooks from time to time.

It just so happens that one of my favourite shows has started again this week: The Great British Bake-Off. I love everything about it, the people most of all, the humour that they bring, the cakes that are all so wonderful, even the ones that seem a disaster.

The book is just as great. I already have a cookbook from Mary Berry (might review it another time) but here she - together with Linda Collister and her sidekick, Mr. Hollywood - gives more hints and tips to perfect baking. Like, how to make the perfect shortcrust. There is everything from sweet cakes, great pies, perfect bread. Everything is explained in a simple and easy way to copy, the pictures give an added bonus, so you can see what it should look like. I haven't counted the recipes but I am sure you can bake something new every day for a whole year and not repeat yourself.

There are chapters about cakes, biscuits and teatime treats, bread, pies and savoury pastry, tarts and sweet pastry, patisserie, puddings and desserts, celebration cakes along with a whole page of conversion charts.

Of course, I also have some other GBBO books but this was my first one and is giving some great beginner's tips.

If you haven't seen the series, yet, and can watch it, give it a go, even if you don't bake. And if you love it, like I do, and want to see more, there's always "An Extra Slice" by the fabulous Jo Brand. Every Friday.

From the back cover:

"This delightful cookbook takes you through the baking challenges from the second series of the Great British Bake Off and shows you how to achieve baking perfection. Throughout the book, Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood are on hand with practical tips to help you bake perfect cakes, biscuits, breads, pastries, pies and teatime treats every time, as well as showing you how to tackle their 'technical challenges', as seen on the show.

There are more than 120 baking recipes in this book, including traditional British bakes and imaginative twists using classic ingredients, as well as the best contestant recipes from the series. There is plenty to challenge keen bakers here, from brandy snaps to elaborate pastries, pavlovas to iced celebration cakes, and with a sensuous and yet practical design and full-colour, step-by-step photography, this really will become the baking book that you will turn to for years to come.

Tuesday 22 September 2020

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Books On My Autumn 2020 TBR

"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 Jana from 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.

Books On My Autumn/Fall 2020 TBR 
(or spring if you live in the Southern Hemisphere)

I don't know when I'm going to read the next books on my TBR list because it's so huge but I thought I'll list the ones that I either bought most recently or that came up in a challenge or the book club. So, these are my books I will try to read in the next three months (among others, of course, LOL). 
Camus, Albert "Les Justes" (The Just Assassins) - 1949

Dumas, Alexandre "Le comte de Monte-Cristo" (The Count of Monte Cristo) - 1844-46

Fatland, Erika "Sovietistan: Travels in Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan" (Sovjetistan. En reise gjennom Turkmenistan, Kasakhstan, Tadsjikistan, Kirgisistan og Usbekistan) - 2014

Grass, Günter "Grimms Wörter. Eine Liebeserklärung" (Autobiographical Trilogy #3) [Grimms Words - A Declaration of Love] - 2010 - read, but it hasn't been translated (yet)

Harris, Joanne "A Cat, a Hat and a Piece of String" - 2012

Metalious, Grace "Peyton Place" - 1957

Patchett, Ann "The Dutch House" - 2019

Rutherford, Edward "Sarum: the Novel of England" - 1987

Stroyar, J.N. "Becoming Them" (The Children's War Book 3) - 2017

Whitehead, Colson "The Nickel Boys" - 2019

Monday 21 September 2020

Gilbreth, Frank + Gilbreth Carey, Elizabeth "Cheaper by the Dozen" and "Belles on their Toes"

Gilbreth, Frank + Gilbreth Carey, Elizabeth "Cheaper by the Dozen" and "Belles on their Toes" - 1948/1950

This is one of the stories where I've seen the movie(s) first. Clifton Webb as Frank Bunker Gilbreth, Myrna Loy as his wife Lillian, they portrayed great parents of a dozen children. Can't imagine what life must have been for them but it seems just very funny in the story.

The same in the book that was written by two of their children, Frank and Elizabeth. They only talk about the love in the family. Of course, they mention that money was always more a rarity than a rule but it sounds as if they didn't miss anything.

Both the parents are scientists and they work on methods how to do anything more efficient. They train young people to work in certain jobs and try out all their findings on their children. As an Esperanto speaker myself, I loved it when they mentioned that their father also wanted them to learn the international language.

Anyway, a hilarious story with lots of love. A feel-good novel. And, by the way, I didn't even try to watch the one with Steve Martin, I'm sure It's too slapstick-y for me.

From the back cover:

"'Dad had enough gall to be divided into three parts.' Dad was Frank B. Gilbreth, to the world a distinguished innovator in scientific factory management, and to his family of six boys and six girls a lively, unpredictable and wholly beloved autocrat.

Their house in Montclair, New Jersey, was a sort of laboratory for the elimination of waste motions - 'motion study' as the elder Gilbreth called it. The children made excellent, if occasionally unwilling, guinea pigs.

Only a motion-study expert could have coped with their temperamental Pierce Arrow (nicknamed 'Foolish Carriage'). But Dad found no difficulty in blowing all three horns (one electric, two of the bulb variety) as he stepped on the gas, steered madly through traffic, puffed on his cigar, cuffed a noisy youngster in the back seat, and bellowed, 'Road hog, road hog,' at the unwary.

The annual trip to their summer home in Nantucket, Massachusetts, was always fraught with drama. They inevitably caused a sensation when they passed through a small town, and were once taken for an entire orphanage on an outing. Stops were, of course, frequent and once when one of the twelve got left behind, the loss was not discovered for several hours.

Democracy was religiously practiced in the Gilbreth family through the medium of the family council. There was the matter of the dog, for instance. Dad firmly believed that 'any pet which didn't lay eggs was an extravagance that a man with twelve children could ill afford.' But the vote was twelve to one, with Mother abstaining, and the dog was added to the general bedlam.

The Gilbreths astounded the Nantucket natives (who considered the Gilbreth homestead - a pair of lighthouses with a cottage squeezed between - a must stopping place for visiting tourists), paralyzed the Montclair schools, and routed the visiting psychiatrists. Their high jinks are faithfully reported by two of the famous dozen in this uproarious book."

Friday 18 September 2020

Book Quotes of the Week

"If you cannot say what you are going to say in 20 minutes you ought to go away and write a book about it." John Cuthbert Moore-Brabazon
Many people should take this to heart before boring the world out of everyone.
"Tell me then, does love make one a fool or do only fools fall in love?" Orhan Pamuk, My Name Is Red
That might be an everlasting question never to be answered.
"Aziraphale collected books. If he were totally honest with himself he would have to have admitted that his bookshop was simply somewhere to store them. He was not unusual in this. In order to maintain his cover as a typical second-hand book seller, he used every means short of actual physical violence to prevent customers from making a purchase. Unpleasant damp smells, glowering looks, erratic opening hours - he was incredibly good at it." Terry Pratchett, Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch
Oh, to have a bookshop for all your book collections.
"Reading for at least thirty minutes a day can help you live almost two years longer." N.N.
Even if that isn't true, it's time well spent.

Find more book quotes here.

Thursday 17 September 2020

Crafts, Hannah "The Bondwoman’s Narrative"

Crafts, Hannah "The Bondwoman’s Narrative" - 1855-69

This narrative was published by Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. who is a US American literary critic. Apparently, he found the manuscript to this book at an auction. They don't know when exactly it was written but (according to Wikipedia), it must have been written between 1855 and 1869 because the author mentions Bleak House which was written in 1852/53. And it must have been written before the civil war because the author is quite meticulous in menitioning other major events, she certainly would not have omitted that one.

A while ago, I posted a list of anti-racism books as part of our Top Ten Tuesday challenge. It was "Books on my summer TBR list" and I thought, there are definitely going to be a few books about anti-racism in there and compiled a list of all those books I have read or still want to read. This was the next one.

Hannah Crafts was a real-life slave who describes her life. Her conditions might have been different than those of other slaves but I doubt that it matters how often you get sold and how many "masters" treat you kindly, you still live in the constant fear that your current situation might end and you will be separated from loved ones and/or get a really cruel person to "look after you". As happened to Hannah several times in her life. How people can endure such a treatment is almost unbelievable but I guess we all try to do that in any circumstances.

This novel certainly proves, if that wasn't clear already, that slaves were human beings with the same feelings and the same capabilities than anyone else. They could learn anything and express anything that their "masters" could. Definitely a book to read.

From the back cover:

"When Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., saw a modest auction catalogue listing for an 'Unpublished Original Manuscript,' he knew he could be on the verge of a major literary find. After exhaustive research, he found that the handwritten manuscript he had purchased was the only known novel by a female African American slave and possibly the first novel written by a black woman anywhere. The Bondwoman's Narrative tells of a self-educated young house slave who knows all too well slavery's brutal limitations, but never suspects that the freedom of her beautiful new mistress is also at risk - or that a devastating secret will force them both to flee the South and make a desperate bid for freedom."

Tuesday 15 September 2020

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Top Ten Covers without pictures

"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 we have a Cover Freebie (choose your own topic, centered on book covers or cover art)
I chose:

Covers without pictures

I like simple covers that don't give away much, covers that are not too elaborate, too pink, too … well, just too much of everything. I definitely don't like covers that have been changed after a book has been made into a film. I try to avoid them like the pest.

So, my choice today is covers without pictures, just the plain writing. As you can see, they are pretty beautiful, as well.

Angelou, Maya "Mom & Me & Mom" - 2013
Boyne, John "The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas" - 2006
Lessing, Doris "The Golden Notebook" - 1962
McCarthy, Cormac "The Road" - 2006
Nafisi, Azar "Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books" - 2003
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
Saramago, José "Blindness" (Portuguese: O Ensaio sobre a Cegueira) - 1995
Smiley, Jane "13 Ways of Looking at the Novel" - 2005
Smith, Zadie "White Teeth" - 1999
Stroyar, J.N. "The Children’s War" - 2001

Monday 14 September 2020

Kaminer, Wladimir "Travel to Trulala"

Kaminer, Wladimir "Travel to Trulala" (German: Die Reise nach Trulala) - 2002

Honestly, I have no idea whether this book has been published in English or not. I have found the title "Travel to Trulala" which is an exact translation of the German original but I haven't found a cover picture.

Still, Wladimir Kaminer is on his way to become one of my absolute favourite "German" authors. He is originally Russian but has lived in Germany for ages and writes in German. And he is absolutely fabulous. He has been described as "part Bill Bryson" and I think that is a great description. His books are not generally travel books or even always non-fiction but this one is.

Wladimir Kaminer describes how he first comes to Germany and what his dreams are, where he wants to travel. While he doesn't really get very far (except for a trip to Denmark), he has plenty of friends who do that for him and who give him enough material for probably three more books.

Usually, the author tells us about life in Germany as a foreigner. Not this time. And, while this is technically a collection of short stories, it doesn't feel like it. The author has a great talent of going from one event to the next and linking it in a way that it belongs together.

If you can't get this book in English, there's always "Russian Disco" (German: Russendisko) which I read and reviewed a couple of years ago.

From the back cover (translated):

"Whether in the most remote corners of the world or in the streets of the metropolises, the unexpected lurks everywhere. And who can tell about it in a more rousing way than Wladimir Kaminer, who takes the reader on adventurous journeys to Siberia and Denmark, Moscow and Paris. And much of what he reports should be completely new even to experts ..."

Friday 11 September 2020

Book Quotes of the Week

Word cloud made with WordItOut

"The flood of print has turned reading into a process of gulping rather than savoring." Warren Chappell
That depends. I know a lot of people who devour books, the most difficult and long ones, and know exactly what they've been reading and it enriches their lives. Yes, we have a lot of choice and it can turn us into people who just glance over the words but that doesn't mean we all do that.

"Very young children eat their books, literally devouring their contents. This is one reason for the scarcity of first editions of Alice in Wonderland and other favorites of the nursery." A. S. W. Rosenbach
A good thing that we have those plastic books nowadays. 😉

"I write as straight as I can just as I walk as straight as I can, because that is the best way to get there." H.G. Wells
Good idea. But sometimes it's also nice if you don't get somewhere in a straight line. Swerving into the area can be great.

Find more book quotes here.

Thursday 10 September 2020

Disney Parks Book Tag

Don’t we all just wish we could leave the pandemic behind us and head to Disneyland/world right about now? Deanna @ A Novel Glimpse was tagged to do the Disney Parks Book Tag by Alison @ Our Book Boyfriends. This tag originated over at Reading By Starlight.

The Rules
☆ Mention the creator of the tag and link back to original post [Alexandra @ Reading By Starlight]
☆ Thank the blogger who tagged you
☆ Answer the 10 questions below using any genre
☆ Tag 5+ friends
☆ Feel free to copy the heading graphics

I thought this was a fun topic until I tried to find books in my list that would fit the categories. I have interpreted the different categories very broadly, as you will see but I believe I have found a novel for every single one. Since I wasn't directly tagged, I'm not going to tag anyone, either. But if you feel like doing this, feel free to publish your list. Just stick to the rules above.

1.    The Jungle Cruise
A Book Set Along the River
2.    Pirates of the Carribean
A swashbuckling High Seas Adventure
3.    The Haunted Mansion
A Book with an Eerie Vibe
4.    Thunder Mountain Railroad
A Thirll Ride from Start to Finish
5.    Splash Mountain
A Book Set in the Deep South
6.    Cinderella Castle
A Book with a Castle
7.    Mad Tea Party
A Whimsical Book
8.    Matterhorn Bobsleds
A Trek through the Mountains
9.    It's a Small World
A World Inspired by Another Culture
10.    Space Mountain
A Fast Paced Space Opera

So, here are my answers:

The Jungle Cruise - A Book Set Along the River
Grenville, Kate "The Secret River" - 2005
The first involuntary settlers come to Australia and settle along a river.

Pirates of the Carribean - A swashbuckling High Seas Adventure
Stevenson, Robert Louis "Treasure Island" - 1881/82
What could be more approriate than this novel?

The Haunted Mansion - A Book with an Eerie Vibe
Aaronovitch, Ben "Rivers of London" (US: Midnight Riot) - 2011
Quite an eerie vibe, a detective, wizards, crime.

Thunder Mountain Railroad - A Thrill Ride from Start to Finish
Fowler, Christopher "Hell Train" - 2011
A ghost train! What could be more thrilling?

Splash Mountain - A Book Set in the Deep South
Tademy, Lalita "Cane River" - 2001
Definitely in the Deepest South possible. There is a follow-up, "Red River".

Cinderella Castle - A Book with a Castle
Pamuk, Orhan "The White Castle" (Turkish: Beyaz Kale) - 1985
Venice and Constantinople, two fascinating cities at an interesting time.

Mad Tea Party - A Whimsical Book
Mortenson, Greg & Relin, David Oliver "Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time" - 2006
Certainly not whimsical but maybe mad. How a guy built schools in a very remote area - in Pakistan.

Matterhorn Bobsleds - A Trek through the Mountains
Frazier, Charles "Cold Mountain" - 1997
Not exactly a trek through mountains but a trek through the American Civil War.

It's a Small World - A World Inspired by Another Culture
Murasaki, Lady Shikibu "The Tale of Genji" (Japanese: 源氏物語 Genji Monogatari) - early 11th century
Another culture but also a completely different world about a thousand years ago.

Space Mountain - A Fast Paced Space Opera
Weir, Andy "The Martian" - 2011
Probably the closest place in space we may ever be able to visit.

☆ Thank you, Deanna
☆ I didn't tag anyone, so feel free to jump in if you like to.

Tuesday 8 September 2020

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Top Ten Books for My Younger Self

"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 for My Younger Self
(These could be books you wish you had read as a child, books younger you could have really learned something from, books that meshed with your hobbies/interests, books that could have helped you go through events/changes in your life, etc.)

I didn't have many books when I was young. My parents didn't have the money to buy me many. And I had two libraries to go to, the school library where I could get one book every week and the church library where I could get a few every week. I probably read most of the books from the church library but the selection was not too great. I found Mary Scott and Pearl S. Buck that way but not too many classics that I love now. I think I might have explored reading even more, had I been exposed to them earlier. Knowing today what I didn't know, I would have loved studying either languages or literature.

Anyway, I think these are the classics I would have loved to read as a much younger person:

Austen, Jane "Persuasion"
- "Pride & Prejudice"
Brontë, Anne "The Tenant of Wildfell Hall"
Camus, Albert "The Plague" (FR: La Peste)
Collins, Wilkie "The Woman in White"
Dickens, Charles "David Copperfield"
Dostoevsky, Fyodor "Crime and Punishment" (RUS: Преступление и наказание)
Eliot, George "Middlemarch"
Steinbeck, John "The Grapes of Wrath"
Tolstoy, Leo "War and Peace" (RUS: Война и мир = Woina i mir)
Trollope, Anthony "Barchester Chronicles"

You may have noticed that I didn't add any German books. That's because I did read the German classics in school. And loved them.

Monday 7 September 2020

Hislop, Victoria "Those Who Are Loved"

Hislop, Victoria "Those Who Are Loved" - 2019

I have read a few books by Victoria Hislop and also quite a few about Greece. Next to those by the same author, "Modern Greece" by C.M. Woodhouse is probably the best if you want information about (especially the modern) the history of this interesting country. Victoria Hislop also recommends this book in her list of "Suggested Reading".

Victoria Hislop's stories about life in Greece are so informative and gripping, no wonder the Greek granted her honorary Greek citizenship for promoting modern Greek history and culture. Definitely deserved.

While we have learned i.a. about the history of Greece during the Ottoman Empire, this is a story about Greece during and after WWII. A lot of people always assume that with the end of that awful war, on VE Day, there was peace everywhere in the world except for the Pacific region. But it carried on in Europe in many areas. Like here in Greece where they felt the wounds of what was started during the occupation even more when it came to starting fresh. The country was just as divided as Germany, albeit in a different way.

In this book, we meet a normal family who has different opinions on politics. Sounds familiar? Yes, it happens all the time. There are people who are willing to fight for the freedom of their country, others who don't see a problem where there is a huge one. If this kind of different people are in one family, it can cause a lot of heartbreak and chaos.

As usual, Victoria Hislop manages to describe the different individuals, their feelings and their beliefs true to detail and possible to empathise with.

While searching for the places where this book takes place (mainly Athens and the prison islands Makronisos and Trikeri), I found an interesting website/blog about different books and their locations. Have a look here. I thought it might show some pictures but I quite liked that at least we can see where exactly the places are.

I can't wait for Victoria Hislop's next book.

From the back cover:

"Athens 1941. Nazi forces occupy Greece … and a nation falls apart.

Fifteen-year-old Themis comes from a family polarised in its political views. The Nazi occupation only deepens the faultlines between those she loves while it reduces Greece to destitution.

In the civil war that follows the end of the occupation, Themis joins the Communist army to fight for her beliefs. Ultimately imprisoned on the infamous islands of exile, Makronisos and then Trikeri, Themis encounters another prisoner whose life will entwine with her own in ways neither can foresee. And finds she must weigh her principles against her desire to escape and live.

As she looks back on her life, Themis realises how tightly the personal and political are entangled. While some wounds heal, others deepen.

Already a Number one bestseller, this gripping new novel sheds light on the complexity and trauma of Greece’s past and weaves it into the epic tale of an ordinary woman compelled to live an extraordinary life.

Friday 4 September 2020

Book Quotes of the Week

"Reading in bed jumpstarts dreams." Terri Guillemets
I never really thought about this but I'm sure it helps.
"Make reading your hobby, even if you don't like to read. You will learn things that will prove useful when you least expect it." Neelabh Pratap Singh
That is one of the best recommendations for picking up reading I ever heard.
"You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child." Dr Seuss
Good old Dr. Seuss is right, as always. 
Find more book quotes here.

Thursday 3 September 2020

Lem, Stanisław "Solaris"

Lem, Stanisław "Solaris" (Polish: Solaris (powieść)) - 1961

If you research the author, it sounds like Stanisław Lem is one of the greatest science fiction writers ever. And I fully understand after having read this book. It is quite extraordinary and not at all like what you often find in science fiction stories.

First of all, you don't find the usual "aliens" in the book that are just humans in disguise. No, it's a completely different kind of species that Stanisław Lem comes up with. So unreal that it sounds more real than all the other science fiction stories.

There is a lot of psychology in this book, the memories of earthlings are sometimes more alien than any Babel Fish, Borg, Cat, Dalek, Droid, Ewok, Klingon, Vulcan or whatever the names of those extra-terrestrials in the popular sci-fi series are.

I'm not a huge fan of science fiction though I have read a few books that were not too bad. But this one I found fantastic, exciting, gripping, captivating, intriguing, riveting. I couldn't find enough words to express my feelings.

I totally liked this quote:

"We have no need of other worlds. We need mirrors. We don't know what to do with other worlds. A single world, our own, suffices us; but we can't accept it for what it is."

I think the author managed this very well. I am very glad that my book club chose this novel because I doubt I would have ever found or read it otherwise.

Comments from other members:

  • There was one chapter that I thought was a bit too wordy, but it's mostly an easy read.
  • I really liked the book, especially how the author talentfully built up the feeling in the story and characters and the futility and frustration of understanding an alien being.
  • We also had a good laugh about the faulty logic in the test of sanity made by Kelvin. And the possibility that the characters in the story were suffering from space-madness and possibly were a representation of high-IQ people.
  • I hadn't read it before, but had read another book by Lem called Fiasco, which I am now going to reread (I own a copy). I really liked the book, and it's also interesting for me reading a book by a Polish author, as I lived there for a little while.
  • When looking up books to read for us I always get side-tracked by a lot of articles about the book and authors. I especially thought it was interesting to learn about the different translations of the book. I read a Swedish translation made in the 70-s from French, while the Finnish translation was made from German.
    I feel the same, would love to know which translation is closer to the original.
  • Our library was unable to obtain this book for me so eventually I reluctantly read it online. I like to hold a book to get into it. I got into this book in spite of myself. It triggered reflections on our elaborate defenses against understanding reality, and against reading novels on a screen.

This was our international online book club novel in August 2020.

From the back cover:

"A classic work of science fiction by renowned Polish novelist and satirist Stanislaw Lem.

When Kris Kelvin arrives at the planet Solaris to study the ocean that covers its surface, he finds a painful, hitherto unconscious memory embodied in the living physical likeness of a long-dead lover. Others examining the planet, Kelvin learns, are plagued with their own repressed and newly corporeal memories. The Solaris ocean may be a massive brain that creates these incarnate memories, though its purpose in doing so is unknown, forcing the scientists to shift the focus of their quest and wonder if they can truly understand the universe without first understanding what lies within their hearts.

Tuesday 1 September 2020

Top Ten Tuesday - Books that Make Me Hungry

"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.

 Books that Make Me Hungry 
(They could have food items on the cover, foods in the title, be about foodies or have food as a main plot point… they could be cookbooks or memoirs, etc.) 
First I thought, oh dear, I won't have any links to books I read about food. My house is full of cookbooks and I use them all the time to find new interesting recipes for both baking and cooking but I never reviewed any of them … maybe I should start doing that. We'll see.

However, I have read a few books where they talk about food, where food is a big part of the book and where it's fun to see how people in different areas and different times integrate food into their lives.
P.S. The picture shows some of my favourite food. Strawberries!!!

Happy September!

Happy September to all my friends and readers

New Calendar picture with this
beautiful watercolour painting by Hanka Koebsch

"Was für ein Ausblick"
"What a View"

The cute puffins on this month's calendar picture reminds me of the wildlife that seems to enjoy this year much more than us humans. There is less pollution due to fewer planes, trains and automobiles. Maybe this is a reminder that we all should take things easier and remind ourselves daily that we don't have a planet B. Yes, I am one of those people who have spoken out for environmental protection since the early seventies. And I don't believe that climate change or global warming is a hoax. Just look at the temperatures last month and tell me that it isn't worse than even a decade ago.

* * *

We were happy to welcome our sons in August. We hadn't seen one since March, the other since January. So, we'd be happy if this pandemic was over. I can change a quote from one of my favourite songs and say "Wake me up when Corona ends". Although, September might do. The closer to the end of this catastrophe the better. (Btw, this song is on the album "American Idiot". Since it was written in 2005, I guess "any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental."

* * *

Have a happy September with this beautiful watercolour painting by Hanka 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.