Monday 30 November 2020

Non-fiction November - Week 5


Leann from Shelf Aware and Julie from julzreads have given Non-fiction November a new twist.

They encourage us to not only read a non-fiction book this month but also to look at non-fiction books in general.

It's the end of November and also the end of Non-fiction November. To round this up, Leann from Shelf Aware has published a podcast. If you're interested, have a listen here.

Also, she has done a photo challenge. It wasn't my month, so I didn't take any pictures but I have read so many non-fiction books over the years that I thought I'll give you a list instead. Some of the books are older, that's when I haven't read a book in 2020 that fits into the category.

1.    TBR
Crafts, Hannah "The Bondwoman’s Narrative" - 1855-69
2.    2020 Fav
Taylor, Helen "Why Women Read Fiction. The Stories of Our Lives" - 2019
3.    Biography/Auto
Khorsandi, Shappi "A Beginner's Guide to Acting English" - 2009
4.    Own Voices
Booth, Cathleen "Mercy & Grace on the Camino de Santiago" - 2020
5.    Humour
Ephron, Nora "I Feel Bad About My Neck And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman" - 2006
6.    Technology
Hawking, Stephen "A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes" - 1988
7.    How To
Sanders, Ella Frances "Lost in Translation. An Illustrated Compendium of Untranslatable Words from Around the World" - 2014
8.    Shelfie
Some cook books, some other non-fiction books

9.    Writing
Campbell, Jen "The Bookshop Book" - 2014
10.    Birth
I have two children and two of my nieces have given birth this year but I haven't read a non-fiction book about birth for ages.
11.    Literary Bio
Lindgren, Astrid "Samuel August from Sevedstorp and Hanna from Hult aka A Love Story" (Swedish: En kärlekshistoria: Samuel August från Sevedstorp och Hanna i Hult) - 1975
12.    Business
Bythell, Shaun "The Diary of a Bookseller" - 2017
13.    Psychology
Nietzsche, Friedrich "Beyond Good and Evil: Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future/On the Genealogy of Morality" (German: Jenseits von Gut und Böse. Vorspiel einer Philosophie der Zukunft/Zur Geneologie der Moral) - 1886
14.    True Crime
Yousafzai, Malala; Lamb, Christina "I am Malala. The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban" - 2013
15.    Nature
Bryson, Bill "The Body. A Guide for Occupants" - 2019
16.    Parenting
Gilbreth, Frank + Gilbreth Carey, Elizabeth "Cheaper by the Dozen" and "Belles on their Toes" - 1948/1950
17.    Education
Mortenson, Greg & Bryan, Mike "Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, Not Bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan" - 2009
18.    Literary Memoir
Russell, Helen "The Year of Living Danishly: My Twelve Months Unearthing the Secrets of the World's Happiest Country" - 2015
19.    Comfort Read
Tung, Debbie "Book Love" - 2019
20.    Medical
Levy, Andrew "A Brain Wider Than The Sky: A Migraine Diary" - 2009
21.    Animals/Pets
Solstad, Lexidh "Catpasity" - 2015
22.    Mental Health
Coory, Kasey "Pious Evil. Condemn not my Children. A mother's journey to insanity" - 2014
23.    Fav Author
Bryson, Bill "Notes from a Small Island" - 1995
24.    Community
Harari, Yuval Noah "Sapiens. A Brief History of Mankind" (Hebrew: קיצור תולדות האנושות/Ḳizur Toldot Ha-Enoshut) - 2014
25.    Relationships
Biden, Joe "Promise Me, Dad. A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose" - 2017
26.    Food
Collister, Linda; Berry, Mary; Hollywood, Paul "Great British Bake Off: How to Bake: The Perfect Victoria Sponge and Other Baking Secrets" - 2011
27.    Death/Afterlife
Weidermann, Volker "Summer Before the Dark: Stefan Zweig and Joseph Roth, Ostend 1936" (German: Ostende - 1936, Sommer der Freundschaft) - 2014
28.    Organization
Kristof, Nicholas; WuDunn, Sheryl "A Path Appears: Transforming Lives, Creating Opportunity" - 2014
29.    Rainbow
Top Ten Tuesday ~ Top Ten Books with Colours In the Titles
30.    Boost a Book
Most of my favourite non-fiction books of the year have already found their way onto this list. So, I'll go with one of my favourite authors, even though that book is not a new one. And, it's his only non-fiction book I've read so far.
Pamuk, Orhan "Istanbul - Memories of a City" (Turkish: İstanbul: Hatıralar ve Şehir) - 2003

I know, I know, some of them seem a little far-fetched but those are the closest I could find to the themes. I would love to see your suggestions.

Note to self: Read more self-help books so I can find some better examples next year (we all know that's NOT going to happen, though).

Saturday 28 November 2020

Non-fiction November - Week 4


Leann from Shelf Aware and Julie from julzreads have given Non-fiction November a new twist.

They encourage us to not only read a non-fiction book this month but also to look at non-fiction books in general.

This week, Katie's rounding things up with New to My TBR:
It’s been a month full of amazing nonfiction books! Which ones have made it onto your TBR? Be sure to link back to the original blogger who posted about that book!

I have a few non-fiction books added to my bookshelf this year. And, of course, there are always some that remain on the TBR pile for a while. Here is my list. I hope to be done with them at the end of next year. Funnily enough, they are all by male writers.

Elliot, Jason "The Unexpected Light. Travels in Afghanistan" - 1999
Frankopan, Peter "The Silk Roads. A New History of the World" - 2015 
Harari, Yuval Noah "21 Lessons for the 21st Century" - 2018
Marx, Karl; Engels, Friedrich "The Communist Manifesto" (Das kommunistische Manifest) - 1848 
Orth, Stephan "Couchsurfing in Iran: Revealing a Hidden World" (Couchsurfing im Iran - Meine Reise hinter verschlossenen Türen) - 2015
Shaw, Karl "Royal Babylon: The Alarming History of European Royalty" - 1999 
Snider, Grant "I Will Judge You by Your Bookshelf" - 2020

This was instigated by our Classics Club reading challenge. I found them through Words and Peace. Thank you.  

Friday 27 November 2020

Book Quotes of the Week

"Fight from an educated perspective. Always be ready to learn." Sophia Bush
Always, always. Even more important in this day and age where you see people just repeating what others say without checking whether it's correct or not, whether they humiliate or assault someone or not.

"The only thing you absolutely have to know is the location of the library." Albert Einstein
And then use it.

"I had found a new friend. The surprising thing is where I’d found him - not up a tree or sulking in the shade, or splashing around in one of the hill streams, but in a book. No one had told us kids to look there for a friend. Or that you could slip inside the skin of another. Or travel to another place with marshes, and where, to our ears, the bad people spoke like pirates." Lloyd Jones
I think most kids find those friend if they are truly alone.

"Books are my solace and true escape from life. I wish I could spend all my time reading." N.N.
Amen to that.
[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 26 November 2020

Happy Thanksgiving

🍁 It's a special day in the United States. As on every fourth Thursday in November, they celebrate Thanksgiving, a feast originally giving thanks for a good harvest (as is still done all around the world) but nowadays often thought as a commemoration of the first feast the Pilgrims had with the native Americans.

🍁 In Germany, we celebrate our Harvest Festival (German: Erntedankfest) on the first Sunday in October. But it is more a church tradition than a family celebration. The churches are decorated with harvest crops and there usually is a collection for local charities. In the United Kingdom, where we lived a couple of years, they have a similar practice, only they also donate food to be given to local food banks.

🍁 As I mentioned in my post about my Non-Bookish Hobbies, we have lived among and worked with Americans for decades and have adapted their way of Thanksgiving for our German friends and family who love this glimpse of a different culture. We've done this every year (with one exception) since 2006. Unfortunately, we might not be able to share it this year, either. Therefore, just a little reminder to all of us to enjoy what we can and start doing the other things once we get the "all clear" from our governments again.

🍁 Our dishes vary from time to time, depending on who comes and whose favourite food it is but, so far, we have served:
🦃 Turkey, pulled pork; cranberry sauce, gravy; cornbread, corn pudding, macaroni & cheese; bread stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes; baked beans, cauliflower, corn on the cob, green bean casserole, spiced carrots; apple pie, blueberry pie, lemon meringue pie, pecan pie, pumpkin pie.

🦃 My artist niece and her father (one of my brothers) made a Turkey for us from an old pottery chicken my parents had in their house. They called him "Henry" and has been a member of our group ever since. It's almost as if my parents still participated. (picture with the compliments of my hubby)

🍁 One other part that belongs to our Thanksgiving just as much as the turkey and all the other stuff is a movie by one of my favourite directors, Gurinder Chadha. Her parents are Indian, she was born in Kenya and grew up in the UK. Add to that her husband who is American with Japanese and Basque ancestry, the couple combines almost all the continents among them. Gurinder Chadha mainly makes films about Indian lives in the UK (Bend it Like Beckham is probably her most famous though one of my favourites is Bride & Prejudice).

🍁 Anyway, through her husband, she got to know Thanksgiving and she mentioned that most families have one thing in common, the turkey, but the rest of the food depends very much on their origin. So, for her film What's Cooking? she created four families with different cultural backgrounds (Latino, Asian, African and Jewish) and shows their Thanksgiving. Gurinder Chadha received several awards for it, well deserved. It's a wonderful movie with a fantastic cast and if you haven't seen it, please, please, watch it this year. It's our "Groundhog Day" moment of the year (although we do watch that one, as well, on the 2nd of February).

🍁I wish all my US American friends and anyone else who celebrates
a very happy Thanksgiving. 🍁

🍁 🦃 🥧 🎉 🍁

Wednesday 25 November 2020

Metalious, Grace "Peyton Place"

Metalious, Grace "Peyton Place" - 1957

If you are looking for any topic in a book, this one probably has it. It tells us about the life in a small place in New Hampshire, starting in 1937, following its characters up until 1944.

The name of the town is fictional. The author herself said: "Peyton Place. Peyton Place, New Hampshire. Peyton Place, New England. Peyton Place, USA. Truly a composite of all small towns where ugliness rears its head, and where the people try to hide all the skeletons in their closets."

She's right there. If you have lived in a small town or village, you will recognize a lot of the characters. And if you have never lived in a small town or village, you can learn a lot about life in such a place. We always say, the disadvantage of living in a small town is "everybody knows everyone" and the advantage is "everybody knows everyone". Everybody knows all of your business but you are also never left alone in times of troubles.

Even though the story takes place a long, long time ago, I believe not that much has changed. I know a lot of Americans who still agree with the kind of double-sided morale shown in this book that was considered controversial, most notorious but also one of the best-selling novels of the 1950s.

The book was made into a movie (which won the Golden Globe and was nominated for 9 Academy Awards) and a television series.

The author was very philosophical and ahead of her time. Some of the quotes from her book could have been current ones:

"If every man … ceased to hate and blame every other man for his own failures and shortcomings, we would see the end of every evil in the world, from war to backbiting."

"Did it ever occur to you … that tolerance can reach a point where it is no more tolerance? When that happens, the noble-sounding attitude which most of us pride ourselves degenerates into weakness and acquiescence."

A great novel that deserves even more respect considering when it was written.

From the back cover:

"When it first appeared in 1956, Grace Metalious's Peyton Place unbottened the straitlaced New England of the popular imagination, transformed the publishing industry, and made its young author one of the most talked-about people in America. Metalious's debut novel - which topped the bestseller lists for more than a year and spawned a feature film and long-running television series - reveals the intricate social anatomy of a small New England town. This new paperback edition, which celebrates the seventy-fifth anniversary of Grace Metalious's birth, will reintroduce readers to a landmark of American popular culture. An introduction by Ardis Cameron explores Peyton Place's influential role in American literary and cultural history."

Monday 23 November 2020

Non-fiction November - Week 3


Leann from Shelf Aware and Julie from julzreads have given Non-fiction November a new twist.

They encourage us to not only read a non-fiction book this month but also to look at non-fiction books in general.
This week, we are asked to Be The Expert/Ask the Expert/Become the Expert: "Three ways to join in this week! You can either share 3 or more books on a single topic that you have read and can recommend (be the expert), you can put the call out for good nonfiction on a specific topic that you have been dying to read (ask the expert), or you can create your own list of books on a topic that you’d like to read (become the expert)."

I was thinking about a lot of subjects for this, the first one that sprang to my mind was history. My old history is either turning in his grave or laughing his head of, if he's still alive. I hated history lessons in school. But I have come to love it once I left school and learned about real history, not just learning dates by heart. Of coures, there are many topics there that I've read a lot about. World War II, Holocaust, history of Germany and Austria, history of the United Kingdom, Ireland, France. But in the end, I chose the part that I think is most exciting, a very busy time, a scandalous time, 

No matter how many books they will write about this time or television series or movies make about it, I'll be there.

Starting with Henry VII who united the Houses of Lancaster and York after the war of the Roses, then Henry VIII and his six wives, his children Edward VI, (Bloody) Mary I and Good Queen Bess (the Virgin Queen). They all represent a part of the House of Tudor who ruled from 1485-1603, only 150 years but what a reign it was!

Ackroyd, Peter "The History of England, Vol. 2 Tudors" - 2012
Weir, Alison "The Six Wives of Henry VIII" - 1991
Fry, Plantagenet Somerset "Kings & Queens. A Royal History of England & Scotland" - 1998
Only rulers like that can bring forth such great artists as William Shakespeare.
Arnold, Catharine "Globe: Life in Shakespeare's London" - 2014
Bryson, Bill "Shakespeare: The World as a Stage" - 2007
Deary, Terry "Top Ten Shakespeare Stories" - 1998
There are two books about the Tudors in "Horrible Histories" by Terry Deary: "The Terrible Tudors" and "The Terrifying Tudors" (aka Even More Terrible Tudors). They usually hit the descriptions of the peoples spot on.

I have also read a lot of novels about the Tudors, a lot of them are almost as informative as the non-fiction editions. You can find them here.

This was instigated by our Classics Club reading challenge. I found them through Words and Peace. Thank you.

Friday 20 November 2020

Book Quotes of the Week

"I like being the main character in your story." Jay McLean, Leo
That is certainly an important choice.

"I have only read one book in my life and that is White Fang. It's so frightfully good I've never bothered to read another." Nancy Mitford
The poor woman.

"Painting is the silence of thought and the music of sight." Orhan Pamuk, My Name Is Red
I think that also goes for writing and reading.

"No matter who you are, no matter where you live, and no matter how many people are chasing you, what you don’t read is often as important as what you do read." Lemony Snicket
It is very important to read, whether it's a lot or a little, a book or the newspaper or an article on the internet. Get yourself informed about what's going on around you. And history. It's important that we don't repeat the mistakes of our forebears.

Find more book quotes here.

Thursday 19 November 2020

Baumgart, Klaus "Laura's Star"

Baumgart, Klaus "Laura's Star" (German: Lauras Stern) - 1996

A lovely children's book with beautiful illustrations. My children, both boys, grew up with this book and even though it was about "a girl", they really liked it.

Laura is lonely and finds a friend in a star. It's such a lovely little story that every child can relate to. There are lots of other books about Laura and her star in the meantime, they celebrate Christmas together, she takes her friend to school or for a sleepover, the star ist there for her all the time.

The book was translated into 25 languages and sold over four million times in 30 countries. Therfore, the author is one of the most successful children's book artists of all time. Some of his books have also been turned into movies.

Laura has many more adventures and they are all written down in sequels. I couldn't find a good list of all the books with the English and the original title but I put those I could find together in chronological order.

Laura's Christmas Star (Lauras Weihnachtsstern) - 1998
Laura's Secret (Lauras Geheimnis) - 2002
Laura's Journey to the Stars (Lauras Sternenabenteuer) - 2002
Laura's Star and the New Teacher - 2004
Laura's Star and the Sleepover (Lauras erste Übernachtung) - 2005
Laura's Star and the Search for Santa (Laura suche den Weihnachtsmann) - 2006
Laura's Star and the Dream Monsters (Lauras Stern und die Traummonster) - 2006
Laura's Star and the Special Pony (Laura und das Pony) - 2008
Laura's Star - Friends forever (Laura und der Freundschaftsbaum) - 2010
Laura Goes on Holiday (Lauras Ferien) - 2014

And here are the ones that might have been translated, might not have been translated. Again, chronological order.

(Sternenreise) - 2004
(Das große Lauras Stern Buch) - 2005
(Laura kommt in die Schule) - 2005
(Lauras Stern Und Der Geheimnisvolle Drache Nian) - 2009
(Laura Und Die Lampioninsel) - 2009
(Lauras erste Überraschung) - 2012
(Lauras Ferienabenteuer) - 2013
(Laura und das kleine Kätzen) - 2014
(Lauras Piratenschatz) - 2014
(Laura und der andere Stern) - 2015
(Lauras Stern - Meine ersten Zaubertricks) - 2016
(Laura und das Osterei) - 2016
(Lauras Stern - Die gestohlene Nase) - 2018
(Laura und der Ferienhund) - 2018
(Lauras Stern - Der Vorlesewettbewerb) - 2019
(Laura hat Geburtstag) - 2019
(Laura und der Vorlesetag) - 2020

The author has also written several good night story books about Laura and her star friendship. And a series about a little green dragon plus several other children's book, all just as nicely illustrated and lovely told.

From the back cover:

"Laura is often lonely, longing for a friend of her own. One night she sees a falling star and runs outside to find it lying, damaged on the pavement. Taking it upstairs, she mends it and puts it on her pillow, knowing she has found a friend at last."

Wednesday 18 November 2020

The Classics Club: The Classics Spin #25

"Words and Peace" is a blog I've been following for a couple of years and I have always found some interesting new books there, especially French ones.

For a while, she published posts by "The Classics Club" asking us to create a post, before next Sunday 22nd November 2020, and list our choice of any twenty books that remain "to be read" on our Classics Club list. On Sunday 22nd November, they'll post a number from 1 through 20 and we have time until the end (Saturday 30th) of January 2021 to read it.

In the meantime, I read five more books from my old list (Classics Spin #24) which I replaced by some new ones. They are all in chronological order.

1.    Austen, Jane "Sanditon" - 1817
2.    Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von "Italienische Reise" (Italian Journey aka Letters from Italy) - 1817
3.    Eichendorff, Joseph von "Aus dem Leben eines Taugenichts und andere Novellen" (Life of a Good-For-Nothing) - 1826
4.    Gogol, Nikolai (Никола́й Васи́льевич Го́голь, Nikolay Vasilyevich Gogol) "The Overcoat" (Шинель) - 1842
5.    Douglass, Frederick "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave" - 1845
6.    Sand, George "Fadette" (aka Fanchon, the Cricket) (La Petite Fadette) - 1849
7.    Keller, Gottfried "Novellen" (Romeo und Julia auf dem Dorfe u.a.) "Novellas" (A Village Romeo and Juliet and others) - 1855/56
8.    Eliot, George "Silas Marner" (Silas Marner) - 1861
9.    Jacobs, Harriet Ann (Linda Brent) "Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl" - 1861
10.    Rhoides, Emmanuel (Emmanuel Roidis) "The Curious History of Pope Joan" (Papissa Ioanna) - 1866
11.    Twain, Mark "A Tramp Abroad" - 1880
12.    Storm, Theodor "The Rider on the White Horse" (Der Schimmelreiter und andere Erzählungen) - 1888
13.    Van Dyke, Henry "The Story of the Other Wise Man" - 1896
14.    Hubbard, Fra Elbert "A Message to Garcia" - 1899 - The Classics Spin #25
15.    Frost, Robert "A Boy’s Will" and "North of Boston" - 1913+1914
16.    Mann, Thomas "A Man and his Dog" (Herr und Hund. Ein Idyll) - 1918
17.    Christie, Agatha "Hercule Poirot. The Complete Short Stories" - 1923-61
18.    Martin, Catherine "The Incredible Journey" - 1923
19.    Ford, Ford Maddox "Parade's End" (Tetraology: Some Do Not, No More Parades, A Man Could Stand Up, Last Post) - 1924-28
20.    Mandelstam, Ossip "The Din of Time" (Шум времени/Shum vremeni) - 1925

If you want to take up the challenge, here is the post: The Classics Spin #25 

"This is your Spin List. 

You have to read one of these twenty books by the end of the spin period.

Try to challenge yourself. For example, you could list five Classics Club books you have been putting off, five you can’t WAIT to read, five you are neutral about, and five free choice (favourite author, re-reads, ancients, non-fiction, books in translation - whatever you choose.)

On Sunday 22nd November, we’ll post a number from 1 through 20. The challenge is to read whatever book falls under that number on your Spin List by 30th January, 2021. Yes, you read that correctly! The 30th January 2021. You have almost 9 weeks to read your next CC Spin book. So why not load your list with those chunksters you’ve been putting off forever?

We’ll check in here on the 30th January 2021 to see who made it the whole way and finished their spin book!"

The reason I've been putting off reading them is because my TBR pile is so huge. I love classics, I want to read them, and I love how I actually read more classic books than before.

I will add the chosen number once it's published. I will also add every other book I read afterwards with a link to the spin.

Here are all the books on my original Classics Club list.
And here is a list of all the books I read with the Classics Spin.

Tuesday 17 November 2020

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Top Ten Books With Animals

"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.
This week's topic is: Top Ten Characters I’d Name a Pet After 
(These could be your own pets (present or future), you could pick 10 different animals and tell us the name and animal type, or you could choose 10 names that would make fun cat names, etc. Put your own spin on this one!)

I'm not an animal type of person. I've never had a pet and I wouldn't want one, either. So I thought I'd take a little twist on the topic today.

Books With Animals
I must admit, there are more than ten books here but at least I kept myself to ten animals, excluding my favourites, elephants. (I have read "Water for Elephants" by Sara Gruen but I didn't care for it much, therefore it won't feature below.) Therefore, here's a picture of one: 
Paull, Laline "The Bees" - 2014

Kingsolver, Barbara "Flight Behaviour" - 2012

Murakami, Haruki "Kafka on the Shore" (Japanese: 海辺のカフカ Umibe no Kafuka) - 2004
Solstad, Lexidh "Catpasity" - 2015

Haddon, Mark "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time" - 2003
Scott, Mary - all books
Wroblewski, David "The Story of Edgar Sawtelle" - 2008

Noa Bercovitch, Pascale "The Dolphin’s Boy: A Story of Courage and Friendship" (French: Oline, le dauphin du miracle) - 2000
O’Dell, Scott "Island of the Blue Dolphins" - 1960

Frazier, Charles "Thirteen Moons" - 2006
Scott, Mary - all books
Stewart, Sheila "Ramlin Rose" - 1993

Orwell, George "Animal Farm" - 1945

Adams, Richard "Watership Down" - 1972
Potter, Beatrix "The Tale of Peter Rabbit" - 1902

Scott, Mary - all books

Bach, Richard "Jonathan Livingston Seagull" - 1970

These are all great books, by the way. Don't ask me to pick a favourite.

What books have you read where animals are a very important part? And what is your favourite pet?

Monday 16 November 2020

Non-fiction November - Week 2

Leann from Shelf Aware and Julie from julzreads have given Non-fiction November a new twist.

They encourage us to not only read a non-fiction book this month but also to look at non-fiction books in general.

This week, we need to pair up a nonfiction book with a fiction title. "It can be a 'If you loved this book, read this!' or just two titles that you think would go well together. Maybe it's a historical novel and you'd like to get the real history by reading a nonfiction version of the story."

I had to think immediately about a book I read ages ago with my book club. It was called "Tulip Fever" (and has been made into a film in the meantime). There was a recommendation to read some background information books, and I read two non-fiction books about tulips and the history of the phenomenon called "tulipomania". One concentrates more on the flower itself, the other one on the craze that ruined many lives in 1630's Holland, especially Amsterdam.

This was instigated by our Classics Club reading challenge. I found them through Words and Peace. Thank you.

Friday 13 November 2020

Book Quotes of the Week

"I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience." Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text
I don't think you can express that any better.

"Books are the training weights of the mind" Seneca
Also true. apparently, reading every day may reduce dementia risk. What could be a better incentive?

"...paradise is a world where everything is a sanctuary & nothing is a gun..." Danez Smith, Don't Call Us Dead: poems
And whoever doesn't agree doesn't deserve paradise or a gun.

Find more book quotes here.

Thursday 12 November 2020

Non-fiction November - Week 1

Leann from Shelf Aware and Julie from julzreads have given Non-fiction November a new twist.

They encourage us to not only read a non-fiction book this month but also to look at non-fiction books in general.

This week, we are to take a look back at our year of reading and reflect on the following:

1.    What was your favourite non-fiction read of the year?
2.    Do you have a particular topic you’ve been attracted to more this year?
3.    What non-fiction book have you recommended the most?
4.    What are you hoping to get out of participating in Non-fiction November?

1. First, I found not just one favourite non-fiction but three that I all enjoyed tremendously. They are all very different, therefore it is tough to choose a favourite. Here they are:

2. Definitely anti-racism as this was such a big topic this year. I can't believe there are still people out there who think someone with a certain colour is better than others. I published a list because I think everyone should read at least one book about it.

3. That's a tough one but I suppose that must be one of my favourite non-fiction authors, Bill Bryson. My favourites here must be those he wrote about his and my host country (mine only for a while but still, it's the favourite of all the countries I lived in), "Notes from a Small Island" and "The Road to Little Dribbling". 

4. My hopes for this month is that I can tick off another book from my classics club list. LOL. No, I hope that many more people will read classics, whether non-fiction or fiction. They are here to tell us something.

This is part of our Classics Club reading challenge. I found them through Words and Peace. Thank you.

See further years here.

Tuesday 10 November 2020

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Top Ten Book Titles that Would Make Great Song 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 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.

Book Titles that Would Make Great Song Titles 

I'm a singer-songwriter type of girl. Always have been, always will. Think Carole King, Leonard Cohen, Neil Diamond, James Taylor, Bob Dylan, Billy Joel, etc. But I guess if you know the kind of books I like to read, you're not surprised. I could have found hundreds of books but had to stop after I had ten.

I try to imagine the kind of songs these would make. Maybe one day, someone takes up this idea and writes songs about our favourites books. Wouldn't that be nice?

Don't you feel that some of those pictures would also be great for the record cover?
Byatt, A.S. "Possession" - 1990

Chabon, Michael "Summerland" - 2002

All the Light We Cannot See
Doerr, Anthony "All the Light We Cannot See" - 2014

Edge of Eternity
Follett, Ken "Edge of Eternity" - 2014

Frazier, Charles "Nightwoods" - 2011
Rose of Sarajevo
Kulin, Ayşe "Rose of Sarajevo"
(Turkish: Sevdalinka) - 1999
The Shadow of the Wind
I think La Sombra del Viento also sounds great!
Ruiz Zafón, Carlos "The Shadow of the Wind"
(Spanish: La Sombra del Viento) - 2001

The Dark Side of Love

Schami, Rafik "The Dark Side of Love"
(German: Die dunkle Seite der Liebe) - 2004
Red River
Tademy, Lalita "Red River" - 2007

Nowhere in Africa
or also Somewhere in Germany

Which of your favourite books do you think would make great song titles?

Monday 9 November 2020

Non-fiction November

The Classics Club is an interesting website. It gives us the opportunity not only to read the classics we always wanted to read, no, though their pages we are able to talk to others and also find new classics we didn't think about.

It's non-fiction November and the club reminded us that there are lots of non-fiction classics about, as well. I checked my classic list and found that I don’t have many non-fiction classics on my list, probably because I prefer to read about current affairs there. But there are a few:

Douglass, Frederick "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave" - 1845
Jacobs, Harriet Ann (Linda Brent) "Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl" - 1861
Rhoides, Emmanuel (Emmanuel Roidis) "The Curious History of Pope Joan" (gr.: Papissa Ioanna) - 1866
Marx, Karl "Das Kapital. Kritik der politischen Ökonomie" (Capital. Critique of Political Economy) - 1867
Elbogen, Ismar; Sterling, Eleonore "Die Geschichte der Juden in Deutschland" [The History of the Jews in Germany] - 1935/66

I have chosen Karl Marx this month. I desperately want to read "The Communist Manifesto" (Das kommunistische Manifest) but bought "Das Kapital" a while ago. So, "The Capital" it is.

Through "Words and Peace" I found "The Classics Club".

Saturday 7 November 2020

The 100 Best Non-fiction Books of all Time

The 100 best Non-fiction Books of All Time as Chosen by The Guardian

For their non-fiction November month, the Classics Club published a link to Robert McCrum's "The 100 Best Nonfiction Books of All Time" (to be found in The Guardian here). I have read a few of those, there are some on my TBR pile but have never even thought about the majority (though I've heard of most of them which is probably a good sign).

I never considered plays non-fiction unless they are based on a true event but it looks like I'm alone there. Also, a lot of the books here are not real classics but I'm sure they will become one once they're old enough.

I am sure we can all find a few classic non-fiction books to add to this. What would be your suggestion?

1. Kolbert, Elizabeth "The Sixth Extinction" - 2014
2. Didion, Joan "The Year of Magical Thinking" - 2005
3. Klein, Naomi "No Logo by Naomi Klein" - 1999
4. Hughes, Ted "Birthday Letters" - 1998
5. Obama, Barack "Dreams from My Father by Barack Obama" - 1995
6. Hawking, Stephen "A Brief History of Time" - 1988
7. Wolfe, Tom "The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe" - 1979
8. Said, Edward "Orientalism" - 1978
9. Herr, Michael "Dispatches" - 1977
10. Dawkings, Richard "The Selfish Gene" - 1976
11. Heaney, Seamus "North" - 1975
12. Sacks, Oliver "Awakenings" - 1973
13. Greer, Germaine "The Female Eunuch" - 1970
14. Cohn, Nik "Awopbopaloobop Alopbamboom" - 1969
15. Watson, James D. "The Double Helix" - 1968
16. Sontag, Susan "Against Interpretation" - 1966
17. Plath, Sylvia "Ariel" - 1965
18. Friedan, Betty "The Feminine Mystique" - 1963
19. Thompson, EP "The Making of the English Working Class" - 1963
20. Carson, Rachel "Silent Spring" - 1962
21. Kuhn, Thomas S. "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions" - 1962
22. Lewis, C.S. "A Grief Observed" - 1961
23. Strunk, Willam; White, E.B. "The Elements of Style" - 1959
24. Galbraith, John Kenneth "The Affluent Society" - 1958
25. Hoggart, Richard "The Uses of Literacy: Aspects of Working-Class Life" - 1957
26. Baldwin, James "Notes of a Native Son" - 1955
27. Clark, Kenneth "The Nude: A Study of Ideal Art" - 1956
28. Berlin, Isaiah "The Hedgehog and the Fox" - 1953
29. Beckett, Samuel "Waiting for Godot" - 1952/53
30. David, Elizabeth "A Book of Mediterranean Food" - 1950
31. Leavis, F.R "The Great Tradition" - 1948
32. Trevor-Ro.per, Hugh "The Last Days of Hitler" - 1947
33. Spock, Dr. Benjamin "The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care" - 1946
34. Hersey, John "Hiroshima" - 1946
35. Popper, Karl "The Open Society and Its Enemies" - 1945
36. Wright, Richard "Black Boy: A Record of Childhood and Youth" - 1945
37. Fisher, M.F.K. "How to Cook a Wolf" - 1942
38. Connolly, Cyril "Enemies of Promise" - 1938
39. Orwell, George "The Road to Wigan Pier" - 1937
40. Byron, Robert "The Road to Oxiana" - 1937
41. Carnegie, Dale "How to Win Friends and Influence People" - 1936
42. Brittain, Vera "Testament of Youth" - 1933
43. Churchill, Winston "My Early Life: A Roving Commission" - 1930
44. Graves, Robert "Goodbye to All That" - 1929
45. Woolf, Virginia "A Room of One’s Own" - 1929
46. Eliot, T.S. "The Waste Land" - 1922
47. Reed, John "Ten Days That Shook the World" - 1919
48. Keynes, John Maynard "The Economic Consequences of the Peace" - 1919
49. Mencken, H.L. "The American Language" - 1919
50. Strachey, Lytton "Eminent Victorians" - 1918
51. Du Bois, WEB "The Souls of Black Folk" - 1903
52. Wilde, Oscar "De Profundis" - 1905
53. James, William "The Varieties of Religious Experience" - 1902
54. Clark, Andrew, ed. "Brief Lives by John Aubrey" - 1898
55. Grant, Ulysses S. "Personal Memoirs" - 1885
56. Twain, Mark "Life on the Mississippi" - 1883
57. Stevenson, Robert Louis, "Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes" - 1879
58. Lear, Edward "Nonsense Songs" - 1871
59. Arnold, Matthew "Culture and Anarchy" - 1869
60. Darwin, Charles "On the Origin of Species" - 1859
61. Mill, John Stuart "On Liberty" - 1859
62. Seacole, Mary "The Wonderful Adventures of Mrs Seacole in Many Lands" - 1857
63. Gaskell, Elizabeth "The Life of Charlotte Brontë" - 1857
64. Thoreau, Henry David "Walden" - 1854
65. Roget, Dr. Peter Mark "Thesaurus" - 1852
66. Mayhew, Henry "London Labour and the London Poor" - 1851
67. Martineau, Harriet "Household Education" - 1848
68. Douglass, Frederick "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave" - 1845
69. Emerson, R. W. "Essays" - 1841
70. Trollope, Frances "Domestic Manners of the Americans" - 1832
71. Webster, Noah "An American Dictionary of the English Language" - 1828
72. Quincey, Thomas de "Confessions of an English Opium-Eater" - 1822
73. Lamb, Charles and Mary "Tales from Shakespeare" - 1807
74. Park, Mungo "Travels in the Interior Districts of Africa" - 1799
75. Franklin, Benjamin "The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin" - 1793
76. Wollstonecraft, Mary "A Vindication of the Rights of Woman" - 1792
77. Boswell, James "The Life of Samuel Johnson LLD" - 1791
78. Burke, Edmund "Reflections on the Revolution in France" - 1790
79. Equiano, Olaudah "The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano" - 1789
80. White, Gilbert "The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne" - 1789
81. 'Publius' (James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay) "The Federalist Papers"- 1788
82. Burney, Frances "The Diary of Fanny Burney" - 1778
83. Gibbon, Edward "The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" - 1776-1788
84. Smith, Adam "The Wealth of Nations" - 1776
85. Paine, Tom "Common Sense" - 1776
86. Johnson, Samuel "A Dictionary of the English Language" - 1755
87. Hume, David "A Treatise of Human Nature" - 1739
88. Swift, Jonathan "A Modest Proposal" - 1729
89. Defoe, Daniel "A Tour Through the Whole Island of Great Britain" - 1727
90. Locke, John "An Essay Concerning Human Understanding" - 1689
91. Cranmer, Thomas "The Book of Common Prayer" - 1662
92. Pepys, Samuel "The Diary of Samuel Pepys" - 1660
93. Browne, Sir Thomas Hydriotaphia, Urn Burial, or A Brief Discourse of the Sepulchral Urns Lately Found in Norfolk" - 1658
94. Hobees, Thomas "Leviathan" - 1651
95. Milton, John "Areopagitica" - 1644
96. Donne, John "Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions" - 1624
97. Shakespeare, William "The First Folio" - 1623
98. Burton, Robert "The Anatomy of Melancholy" - 1621
99. Raleigh, Walter "The History of the World" - 1614
100. King James Bible: The Authorised Version - 1611

See my classics club list here

There is also a list of the 100 Greatest Fiction Books as Chosen by The Guardian. See my post here.

Friday 6 November 2020

Book Quotes of the Week

"Until then I had thought each book spoke of the things, human or divine, that lie outside books. Now I realized that not infrequently books speak of books: it is as if they spoke among themselves. In the light of this reflection, the library seemed all the more disturbing to me. It was then the place of a long, centuries-old murmuring, an imperceptible dialogue between one parchment and another, a living thing, a receptacle of powers not to be ruled by a human mind, a treasure of secrets emanated by many minds, surviving the death of those who had produced them or had been their conveyors." Umberto Eco, The Name of the Rose
Such a nice reflection on libraries and what they do for us.

"Thank God for books and music and things I can think about." Daniel Keyes, Charlie Gordon in Flowers of Algernon
Especially at times like this.

"Books invite all. They constrain none." Susan Orelan, The Library Book
Books have no prejudices. They are there for all of us.

Find more book quotes here.

Thursday 5 November 2020

Boye, Karin "Kallocain"

Boye, Karin "Kallocain" (Swedish: Kallocain) - 1940

I started reading this book and then had to go back and check when it was written. Yes, it was before "Nineteen Eighty-Four", so George Orwell must have received some of his ideas from Karin Boye.

This was another book our international online book club read. I had never heard of this Swedish author even though she seems to be quite well known for her dystopian literature. Probably not that much outside of Sweden which is a shame. So, I am glad one of our Scandinavian members recommended it.

The book is well-written, the plot runs smoothly and even with an opening paragraph that tells us more or less how the story will end, it is quite gripping to guess how the end will come.

I can never understand highly idealistic people who want to change the world with something they have no clue about. The protagonist of this novel, Leo Kall, is convinced that every person belongs to the state and we are only there to serve the state, are not allowed to have any private wishes or even thoughts. How can that be? How can someone blindly follow a leader like a lamb to the slaughter? If we knew that, we'd have fewer problems in this world.

There is a German song called "Die Gedanken sind frei" (The Thoughts Are Free). I always liked that song because it showed that no matter how much can be controlled, nobody can guess and therefore control my thoughts unless I share them. Not in this story, though. A very thought-provoking idea. What if people would know what we think. I'm pretty sure this world would be a worse place because not everybody likes the truth.
There is an article about the song on Wikipedia with a translation.

This is a great book that shows where our fear can lead us, how we can deal with ideas that want to influence our thinking, how we can try to escape the hatred all around us. I wish more people would read this kind of books. It's also interesting to see, like in "Nineteen-Eight Four" how everyone thinks, their state is the only good one and the others are bad and the others think just the same.

A highly impressive book.

Some comments by other book club members:
  • This was a great discussion book, both about the story itself and all its many sides, but also to mirror it to the real world at the same time and the author's suicide a year after publishing it.
  • Author's suicidal ideas are clearly showing up in this book. Heavy use of splitting and fantasizing about killing or imprisoning the bad side of the split.
  • Our library was not able to get the book for me so I reluctantly read it online. I like to cozy up with a book and empathize with the characters but that didn't happen for me with Kallocain. The book was deliciously creepy as were the characters so I enjoyed it as a chilling warmup to Hallowe'en.

And here is a great quote that sounds so true especially at the moment:
"Here I am, then. As it must be. A question of time. If truth be told. Can you hear the truth? Not everyone is true enough to hear the truth, that is the sad thing."

This was our international online book club read in October 2020.

From the back cover: 

"A pioneering work of dystopian fiction from one of Sweden's most acclaimed writers

Written midway between
Brave New World and Nineteen Eighty-Four, as the terrible events of the Second World War were unfolding, Kallocain depicts a totalitarian 'World State' which seeks to crush the individual entirely. In this desolate, paranoid landscape of 'police eyes' and 'police ears', the obedient citizen and middle-ranking scientist Leo Kall discovers a drug that will force anyone who takes it to tell the truth. But can private thought really be obliterated? Karin Boye's chilling novel of creeping alienation shows the dangers of acquiescence and the power of resistance, no matter how futile."

Tuesday 3 November 2020

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Top Ten Non-Bookish Hobbies

"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.

Non-Bookish Hobbies
(let’s get to know each other! What do you do that does not involve books or reading?)

I think for most of us that is a tough question. I am sure none of us reads 24 hours a day and, yet, if we have do define ourselves, the first thing we can come up with is that we love reading. At least that's the fact for me.

Now, what else do I like? First, I've always liked to create something. And for the last twenty years, my family had to endure my love of cardmaking.

I better carry on in alphabetical order. It's not just the food, it's more the companionship. We have lived among Americans for decades and have adapted their way of Thanksgiving for our German friends and family. That's just as important to us than our holidays. I absolutely love baking bread, cakes and cookies, as well.

I used to play games with my family when I was little and then we carried on playing with our boys. And we still play with our friends and family. We just love it.
I love languages. I often get asked how many languages I spek. That's a tough question. It depends on how well you need to speak a language before you can put it in the category "I speak the language". Let's start with the easy ones.

German - my mother tongue

English - I started learning it in 5th grade, that's about half a century ago and I still learn more every day. I lived in England for six years and have worked with/lived among English speaking people more than half of my life. So, I guess, that definitely goes into that category.

French - I started that in 7th grade. I lived in Brussels for a while and went back to visit at least once every year since 1980. I wouldn't call myself perfect but I can easily put it with the languages I speak.

Esperanto - Started this in 1977 and used it a lot in international meetings. It is such an easy language that I can also communicate with it without any difficulties.

Dutch - I'm from Northern Germany where we speak Low German which really is more related to Dutch than High German. (Check here on Wikipedia). Then I lived in the Netherlands for twenty years. Again, one of the languages I would say I speak.

That makes five. Those are also the languages where I read the original book if I get a copy of it. Now it gets toughter. While many who leave school probably know less then I do in those languages, I wouldn't say I speak them. I know enough to be able to read an easy text, get the gist of something. I can even talk to a person one to one (not without ease) but I certainly cannot follow a conversation between two natives.

Spanish - 11th grade but my teacher was sick half the time and that was that. I have been following up with books and online courses (Duolingo, for instance).
Italian - I really wanted to learn this for so long becaues I love the sound of it. It's not too difficult when you speak some other Roman languages already but I never found the right course, the beginner's courses were too easy but I needed to learn the basics. Now, with Duolingo, I'm on the right track.

Latin - 9th grade - not my most glorious subject at school, I didn't like it at all. I've picked it up again but I doubt I will ever be able to really read a long text.

Swedish - my son moved to Sweden for his masters' degree. We meant to visit us, so I started learning it on Duolingo. I've finished the course there but with Corona, we never managed to go. Still, another language that I can read.

Find me here on Duolingo.

I've had pen friends from all sorts of countires since I was about thirteen. Still love it. I send more cards nowadays than letters but I communicate with many of my friends via e-mail.
I just love studying maps and everything that relates to it. Where is Kazakhstan (to quote one of my favourite quizmasters, Richard Osman), what is the capital of Burkina Fazo (Ouagadougou, one of the coolest names there is), what does the flag of Suriname look like (green-white-red-white-green stripes with a yellow star in the middle)??? Fascinating.
Next to languages and geography, this was one of my favourite subjects in school. Still love it.
Granted, my husband is the better photographer but I love it, as well. All the pictures on this page are taken with my camera, the one you can see in this photo.
I have always loved any kind of puzzles, starting with crosswords and not yet ending with Sudoku (here, I especially love the Killer variety).
I have always loved traveling and I found a husband who does, as well. While we can't go on any trips at the moment, we enjoy looking at our photographs from past years.
Aachen, Amsterdam, Belfast

Lübeck, Brussels, Strasbourg, Bonn