Friday 29 January 2021

Book Quotes of the Week

"A story is like a giant jigsaw puzzle, a jigsaw puzzle that would cover the whole floor of a room with its tiny pieces." Angelica Banks
And the good thing, you don't have to put it together yourself, it's already there for you to consume.

"The classics are the books of which we usually hear people say, 'I am rereading . . .' and never 'I am reading . . .'" Italo Calvino
Well, there are always new classics to discover, nobody will have read them all. Still, they are great books to reread.

"Every time a story is told, we are taken somewhere new, somewhere familiar yet strange, somewhere unsafe yet reassuring. A writer who can embrace these contradictions and offer a new way of looking at our time will always be sought after." Jonny Geller
I'm always excited to see where the next books takes me.

Find more book quotes here.

Thursday 28 January 2021

Brecht, Bertolt "The Good Person of Szechwan"

Brecht, Bertolt "The Good Person of Szechwan" (German: Der gute Mensch von Sezuan) - 1938-40

A story about good and bad people. And how we can or cannot distinguish one from the other. In this play, even the Gods have difficulties in doing that.

No wonder, the author was in trouble finding even one good person in the times that he lived in. But would that really be so much easier nowadays? We hear about riots in countries that are supposed to be peaceful and democratic, we have refugees coming from everywhere, children go hungry or die of all sorts of illnesses contracted through the problems imposed on their countries and families through others.

Bertolt Brecht has been one of my favourite German authors ever since I went to school and had to read his pieces. (See also here: Life of Galileo). If you haven't heard from him, he also wrote the "Three Penny Opera" which I should review one day.

From the back cover:

"The Good Person of Szechwan is one of Bertolt Brecht's most popular works. When three gods come to earth in search of a thoroughly good person, they encounter Shen Teh, a goodhearted but penniless prostitute, who offers them shelter. Rewarded with enough money to open a tobacco shop, 'Angel of the Slums' Shen Teh soon becomes so overwhelmed by the demands of people seeking assistance that she invents a male alter ego, 'Tobacco King' Shui Ta, to deal ruthlessly with the business of living in an evil world. The Good Person of Szechwan is a masterpiece that shines a light on human nature and social mores.

Brecht's parable of good and evil was first performed in 1943 and remains one of his most popular and frequently produced plays worldwide.

In 1952, Hannah Arendt hailed Bertolt Brecht as
'beyond a doubt the greatest living German poet and possibly the greatest living European playwright.' His plays, widely taught and studied, are searing critiques of civilizations run amok. During the thirties, the subversive nature of his work sent Brecht from Germany to Scandinavia and later to the United States. The Good Person of Szechwan, written during Brecht's exile and set in Communist China, is a parable of a young woman torn between obligation and reality, between love and practicality, and between her own needs and those of her friends and neighbours."

Tuesday 26 January 2021

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Top Ten … ehm … Eleven New-to-Me Authors I Read in 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 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 … ehm … Eleven New-to-Me Authors I Read in 2020
(If you didn’t read 10 new authors, that’s fine! Just do what you can.)

I read many new authors in 2020 but these are the ones that stuck most and where I would love to read more. Some of them have only written one, so far, I'm hoping they will carry on. Others, where I had the chance, I've already read more than one in that year, I guess it shows how much I loved their books.

New author (for me) that I would like to read more from: 11
Cathleen Booth, Erika Fatland, Maxim Gorky (Максима Горького), Shappi Khorsandi, David Malouf, Benjamin Myers, Richard Osman, Delia Owens, Ayn Rand, Helen Russell, P.G. Wodehouse

Booth, Cathleen "Mercy & Grace on the Camino de Santiago" - 2020
Fatland, Erika "The Border: A Journey Around Russia Through North Korea, China, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, Poland, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Norway, and the Northeast Passage" (Norwegian: Grensen: En reise rundt Russland gjennom Nord-Korea, Kina, Mongolia, Kasakhstan, Aserbajdsjan, Georgia, Ukraina, Hviterussland, Litauen, Polen, Latvia, Estland, Finland og Norge samt Nordøstpassasjen) - 2017
- "Sovietistan: Travels in Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan" (Norwegian: Sovjetistan. En reise gjennom Turkmenistan, Kasakhstan, Tadsjikistan, Kirgisistan og Usbekistan) - 2014
Gorky, Maxim (Максима Горького) "Mother" (Russian: Мать/Matj) - 1906/07
Khorsandi, Shappi "A Beginner's Guide to Acting English" - 2009
Malouf, David "Fly Away Peter" - 1979
Myers, Benjamin "The Offing" - 2019
Osman, Richard "The Thursday Murder Club" - 2020
Owens, Delia "Where the Crawdads Sing" - 2018
Rand, Ayn "We the Living" - 1936
Russell, Helen "The Year of Living Danishly: My Twelve Months Unearthing the Secrets of the World's Happiest Country" - 2015
Wodehouse, P.G. "Ring for Jeeves" (US Title: The Return of Jeeves) - 1953
- "Right Ho, Jeeves" - 1934
- "The Code of the Woosters" (Jeeves #7) - 1938

Monday 25 January 2021

Harris, Kamala "The Truths We Hold"

Harris, Kamala "The Truths We Hold. An American Journey" - 2019

I just finished this, on the day of her inauguration. I am so happy to have read it. I didn't really know much about the new US vice president and this was a great way to get to know her. What a woman!

If you've been following my blog for a while, you will have heard this already. When I first joined Facebook, I used to take part in some of their "games" and found that I am very liberal (not a surprise), "as far left as can be before heading into Stalin's backyard". That was a US American test, of course. (Compared to their Republicans, that is certainly true.)

Anyway, I believe in peace to this world, human rights and social justice for all, equal opportunity, a good healthcare, free education for everyone and anything that makes life easier for all of us, not just for the richest of the riches.

Kamala Harris represents all that. In her book, she tells us the story of her parents who came from India and Jamaica, how they started from scratch, how her mother brought up her daughters alone, how Kamala and her sister got through their education and into their jobs, how they keep fighting for the underprivileged, how she climbed the ladder in a system that seems to be very much inclined towards other goals. I'm not surprised, Joe Biden chose her as his VP. She believes in books and education and hard work, she believes in family values, loves her family and friends with all her heart and cares deeply for her "neighbour". I know many people believe that foreigners shouldn't care for who the US president is but the influence that country has on the world is still very big and, therefore, we should care. Kamala Harris gives us new hope.

I believe that we should trust in science. Yes, the world is round and climate change/global warming exists. And the earlier we do something against it, the better. It might already be too late.

She has taken something her mother always used to say as a guideline:
"You may be the first. Don't be the last."
She has tried to pass on the help she received from people before her to young people everywhere. We should all take her as an example.

One of my favourite lines:
"Freedom must be fought for and won by every generation. It is the very nature of this fight for civil rights and justice and equality that whatever gains we make, they will not be permanent. So we must be vigilant. Understanding that, do not despair. Do not be overwhelmed. Do not throw up our hands when it is time to roll up our sleeves and fight for who we are."

So, even if you don't trust the media and don't like the democrats, I think everyone would enjoy this book and maybe change their mind about the author a little bit. She truly is inspirational.

From the back cover:

"The extraordinary life story of one of America's most inspiring political leaders.

The daughter of immigrants and civil rights activists, Vice President Elect Kamala Harris was raised in a California community that cared deeply about social justice. As she rose to prominence as a political leader, her experiences would become her guiding light as she grappled with an array of complex issues and learned to bring a voice to the voiceless.

Now, in
The Truths We Hold, Harris reckons with the big challenges we face together. Drawing on the hard-won wisdom and insight from her own career and the work of those who have most inspired her, she communicates a vision of shared struggle, shared purpose, and shared values as we confront the great work of our day."

Friday 22 January 2021

Book Quotes of the Week

"Coming into a bookstore when it's raining is like grocery shopping when you're hungry." Overheard in a Harvard Book Store
Nice that someone wrote it down. I agree with that stranger. Although, having said that, going into a bookstore is always dangerous.

"To really be a nerd, she'd decided, you had to prefer fictional worlds to the real one." Rainbow Rowell
If I look at today's world, most people probably prefer the fictional ones.

"Books… are like lobster shells, we surround ourselves with 'em, then we grow out of 'em and leave 'em behind, as evidence of our earlier stages of development." Dorothy L. Sayers, The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club
Yes, sometimes we outgrow a book but can't say good-bye because of all the memories.

Find more book quotes here. 

Thursday 21 January 2021

Snider, Grant "I Will Judge You by Your Bookshelf"

Snider, Grant "I Will Judge You by Your Bookshelf" - 2020

Every once in a while, we all need a picture book. I often find cute little comics on the internet, more often than not, if they are about reading, Grant Snider is the originator. So, I was happy to find this book.

A couple of years ago, I already talked about this in my blogpost "Judge a reader by his books". So, I was happy to find a like-minded person here.

There are some wonderful pages here, like the "book fair" that gives us all the little booths you will find, just with a different title (fresh-squeezed romance, deep-fried memoir, ice-cold true crime or self-help on a stick for the food stalls, for example). Just cute. Or "The Portrait of Parent Reading". Or "Behind every great novelist is a …" And then there is a guide to the "National Department of Poetry". It's tough to find the best bits, these are just some short examples I found while flipping through the book.

But the best part of the book is: you can get it out again and again and have a wonderful time, it always makes you smile. It's funny, creative, a great way of showing us how we are. Readers of the world, unite. And read Grant Snider!

From the back cover:

"A look at the culture and fanaticism of book lovers, from beloved New York Times illustrator Grant Snider
It’s no secret, but we are judged by our bookshelves. We learn to read at an early age, and as we grow older we shed our beloved books for new ones. But some of us surround ourselves with books. We collect them, decorate with them, are inspired by them, and treat our books as sacred objects. In this lighthearted collection of one- and two-page comics, writer-artist Grant Snider explores bookishness in all its forms, and the love of writing and reading, building on the beloved literary comics featured on his website, Incidental Comics. With a striking package including a die-cut cover,
I Will Judge You By Your Bookshelf is the perfect gift for bookworms of all ages."

Tuesday 19 January 2021

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Top Ten Books I Meant to Read In 2020 but Didn’t Get To

"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 I Meant to Read In 2020 but Didn’t Get To
(You could take this opportunity to tell us what’s left on your seasonal TBRs from last year. Or books you were super excited about and then you didn’t get to them.)

There are a lot of books I meant to read, I could write a list of a hundred, I guess. But I thought I add those here that are already on some of my lists to read soon, hopefully that way I will get to them faster.
Dickens, Charles "The Old Curiosity Shop" - 1840
Ford, Ford Madox "Parade's End" (Tetraology: Some Do Not, No More Parades, A Man Could Stand Up, Last Post) - 1924-28
Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von "Italienische Reise" (Italian Journey aka Letters from Italy) - 1817
Gogol, Nikolai (Никола́й Васи́льевич Го́голь, Nikolay Vasilyevich Gogol) "The Overcoat" (RUS: Шинель) - 1842
Jacobs, Harriet Ann (Linda Brent) "Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl" - 1861
Sand, George "Fadette" (aka Fanchon, the Cricket) (La Petite Fadette) - 1849
Savage Carlson, Natalie "The Family Under the Bridge" - 1958
Shakespeare, William "Much Ado About Nothing" - 1598/99
Twain, Mark "A Tramp Abroad" - 1880 

Monday 18 January 2021

Pamuk, Orhan "The Naïve and the Sentimental Novelist"


Pamuk, Orhan "The Naïve and the Sentimental Novelist" (Turkish: Saf ve Düşünceli Romancı) - 2011

One of my favourite authors talks about one of my favourite subjects: books. What could go wrong?

Nothing. Orhan Pamuk talks about his view of writing, his approach to literature in just the same enchanting way as he describes the characters in his novels. He goes through various forms of writing for all of which he gives good examples from well-known literature (see list below). He uses a lot of Russian literature, especially comes back to "Anna Karenina" a lot.

This is an introduction to literature, how to understand it and what to make of it. It would probably be a great book for students of any language but certainly those who study literature. I have yet to find a book by this fabulous author where I don't learn at least a little. Here, I have learned a lot.

If he hadn't received it already, I would have suggested him for the Nobel Prize many times, but certainly after this book.

From the back cover:

"From the Nobel Prize-winning novelist, an inspired, thoughtful, and deeply personal book about reading and writing novels. 

In this fascinating set of essays, based on the talks he delivered at Harvard University as part of the distinguished Norton Lecture series, Pamuk presents a comprehensive and provocative theory of the novel and the experience of reading. Drawing on Friedrich Schiller’s famous distinction between 'naïve' writers - those who write spontaneously - and 'sentimental' writers - those who are reflective and aware - Pamuk reveals two unique ways of processing and composing the written word. He takes us through his own literary journey and the beloved novels of his youth to describe the singular experience of reading. Unique, nuanced, and passionate, this book will be beloved by readers and writers alike."

Orhan Pamuk "who in the quest for the melancholic soul of his native city has discovered new symbols for the clash and interlacing of cultures" received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2006.

Orhan Pamuk received the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade (Friedenspreis) in 2005.

You can read more about the books I read by one of my favourite authors here.

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

List of books and/or authors mentioned:
Abū Nuwās (al-Ḥasan ibn Hānī al-Ḥakamī) (~756-814)
Albrecht, Michael von (1933-)
Alighieri, Dante (1265-1321)
Allston, Washington (1779-1843)
Aristoteles "Physics" (Φυσικὴ ἀκρόασις/Phusike akroasis) ~4th century
Auden, W.H. "The Shield of Achilles" - 1952
Austen, Jane (1775-1817)
Bakhtin, Michail (1895-1975)
Balzac, Honorée de "Father Goriot" (Le Père Goriot) - 1835
- "The Human Comedy" (La Comédie humaine) - 1829–48
Barnes, Julian "A History of the World in 10½ Chapters" - 1989
Beaudelaire, Charles (1821-67)
Beauvoir, Simone de (1908-86)
Benjamin, Walter (1892-1940)
Bhabha, Homi K. (1949-)
Borges, Jorge Luis (1899-1986)
Bourdieu, Pierre (1930-2002)
Broch, Hermann (1886-1951)
Brod, Max (1884-1968)
Bulgakov, Michail "The Master and Margarita" (Мастер и Маргарита/Master I Margarita) - 1866-67
Butor, Michel (1926-2016)
Cabrera Infante, Guillermo "Three Sad Tigers" (Tres tristes tigres) - 1967
Calvino, Italo "Invisible Cities" (Le città invisibili) - 1972
- "If on a Winter's Night a Traveller" (Se una notte d’inverno un viaggiatore) - 1979
Çelebi, Evliya (1611-83)
Cervantes, Miguel de "Don Quixote, vols. 1 and 2" (El Ingenioso Hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha) - 1605-1615
Christie, Agatha "Murder on the Orient Express" - 1934
Coetze, J.M. (1940-)
Coleridge, Samuel Taylor "Biographia Literaria or Biographical Sketches of My Literary Life and Opinions" - 1817
- "The Rhyme of the Anicent Mariner" - 1798
Conrad, Joseph (1857-1924)
Cortázar, Julio "Hopscoth" (Rayuela) - 1963
Defoe, Daniel "Robinson Crusoe" - 1719
Desai, Kiran (1971-)
Dick, Philip K. (1928-82)
Dickens, Charles "David Copperfield" - 1850
- "Oliver Twist" - 1838
Diderot, Denis (1713-84)
Dikbaş, Nazim (1973-)
Dostoevsky, Fyodor "The Brothers Karamazov" (Братья Карамазовы/Brat'ya Karamazovy) - 1879-80
- "Demons" aka "The Possessed" (Бесы/Bésy) - 1871´-72
Eco, Umberto (1932-2016)
Ekrem, Recaizade Mahmut "Araba Sevdazi" - 1896
Eliot, George (1819-80)
Eliot, T.S. "Hamlet and his Problems" - 1919
Faulkner, William "As I lay dying" - 1930
- "The Sound and the Fury" - 1929
- "The Wild Palms/The Old Man or If I Forget Thee Jerusalem" - 1939
Fielding, Henry "The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling" - 1749
Firdausi, Abu l-Qasem-e (940-1020)
Flaubert, Gustave "Madame Bovary" (Madame Bovary) - 1857
- "Sentimental Education" (L’Éducation sentimentale) - 1869
Forster, E.M. "Aspects of the Novel" - 1927
Foucault, Michel "What Is an Author?" (Qu’est-ce qu’un auteur?) - 1969
Frank, Joseph "Dostoevsky: The Miraculous Years" - 1995
García Márquez, Gabriel (1927-2014)
Gautier, Théophile (1811-72)
Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von (1749-1832)
Greenblatt, Stephen (1943-)
Habermas, Jürgen (1929-)
Hakmen, Roza (1956-)
Handke, Peter (1942-)
Hedayat, Sadegh "The Blind Owl" (بوف کور/Boof-e koor) - 1936
Heidegger, Martin (1889-1976)
Highsmith, Patricia (1921-95)
Homer "Iliad" (Ἰλιάς, Iliás)
- "Odyssey" (Ομήρου Οδύσσεια, Odýsseia) - 800-600 BC
Horace "The Art of Poetry" (Ars Poetica) ~19 BC
Huyssen, Andreas (1942-)
Iser, Wolfgang (1926-2007)
James, Henry "The Golden Bowl" - 1904
Joyce, James "Finnegans Wake" - 1939
- "Ulysses" - 1922
Kafka, Franz "The Metamorphosis" (Die Verwandlung) - 1912
Kundera, Milan "The Unbearable Lightness of Being" (Nesnesitelná lehkost bytí) - 1984
Le Carré (1931-2020)
Lem, Stanisław (1921-2006)
Leskov, Nikolai "Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District" (Леди Макбет Мценского уезда Ledi Makbet Mtsenskovo uyezda) - 1865
Lessing, Gotthold Ephraim "Laocoon: or, The limits of Poetry and Painting" (Lakoon oder Über die Grenzen der Malerei und Poesie) - 1766
Lukács, György "The Theory of the Novel" (Theorie des Romans) -1974
Mann, Thomas "Buddenbrooks: The Decline of a Family" (Buddenbrooks) - 1901
- "The Magic Mountain" (Der Zauberberg) - 1924
Manzoni, Alessandro "The Betrothed" (I Promessi Sposi) - 1827
Melville, Herman "Bartleby, the Scrivener" - 1853
- "Moby Dick or The Whale" - 1851
Molière "The Miser" (L'avare) - 1668
Montaigne, Michel de (1533-1592)
Murasaki, Lady Shikibu "The Tale of Genji" (源氏物語/Genji Monogatari) - early 11th century
Nabokov, Vladimir Vladimirovich "Lolita" - 1955
- "Pale Fire" - 1962
Naipaul, V.S. "Finding the Centre" - 1984
"In a Free State" - 1971
Nerval, Gérard de "Sylvie" (Sylvie) - 1853
Nietzsche, Friedrich (1844-1900)
Ortega y Gasset, José - 1883-1955
Pamuk, Orhan "The Black Book" (Kara Kitap) - 1990
- "Cevdet Bey and His Sons" (Cevdet Bey ve Oğulları) - 1982
- "Istanbul - Memories of a City" (İstanbul: Hatıralar ve Şehir) - 2003
- "The Museum of Innocence" (Masumiyet Müzesi) - 2008
- "My Name is Red" (Benim Adim Kirmizi) - 1998
- "The Silent House" (Sessiz Ev) - 1983
- "Snow" (Kar) - 2002
- "The White Castle" (Beyaz Kale) - 1985
Perec, Georges "Life; A User's Manual" (La vie mode d'emploi) - 1978
Poe, Edgar Allen "The Philosophy of Composition" - 1846
 - "The Raven" - 1845
Proust, Marcel "In Search of Lost Time" (À la recherche du temps perdu) - 1913-27
- "Swann's Way" (Du côté de chez Swann) - 1913
Rabelais, François (~1483-94-1553)
Robbe-Grillet, Alain (1922-2008)
Rousseau, Jean-Jacques "Confessions of Jean-Jacques Rousseau" (Les Confessions) - 1782
- "Julie; or, The New Heloise" (Julie ou la Nouvelle Héloïse) - 1761
Rumi "Masnavi" (Masnavi-ye-Ma'navi/مثنوی معنوی‎) ~1273
Sartre, Jean-Paul "The Words" (Les Mots) - 1964
Schiller, Friedrich "Über naive und sentimentalische Dichtung" (On Naïve and Sentimental Poetry) - 1795
Shakespeare, William "Macbeth" - 1606
Shklovsky, Viktor (1893-1984)
Şoray, Türkan (1945-)
Stendhal "The Charterhouse of Parma" (La Chartreuse de Parme) - 1839
- "The Red and the Black" (Le Rouge et le Noir - 1830
Sterne, Laurence "The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman" - 1759-67
- "Sentimental Journey through France and Italy" - 1768
Strindberg, August "The Son of a Servant" (Tjänstekvinnans son) - 1886
Sue, Eugène (1804-57)
Tanizaki, Jun'ichirō "Naomi" (痴人の愛/Chijin no Ai) - 1925
Tanpınar, Ahmet Hamdi "The Time Regulation Institute" (Saatleri Ayarlama Enstitüsü) - 1961
Thomas, Bernard "Old Masters" (Alte Meister) - 1895
Tolstoy, Leo "Anna Karenina" (Анна Каренина/Anna Karenina) - 1877
- "War and Peace" (Война и мир/Woina I Mir) - 1868/69
Vargas Llosa, Mario "Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter" (La tía Julia y el escribidor) - 1977
Woolf, Virginia "Mrs. Dalloway" - 1925
- "The Waves" - 1931
Wordsworth, William (1770-1850)
Yourcenar, Marguerite "The Abyss" (L'Œuvre au noir) - 1968
- "Memoirs of Hadrian" (Mémoires d'Hadrien) - 1951
- "That Mighty Sculptor, Time" (essay "Ton et langage dans le roman historique" from "Le Temps, ce grand sculpteur") - 1983
Zola, Émile "Nana" (Nana) - 1880

Friday 15 January 2021

Book Quotes of the Week

"Let’s be reasonable and add an eighth day to the week that is devoted exclusively to reading." Lena Dunham
I second that.

"I've tried atheism and I can't stick at it: I keep having doubts. That probably sums up my position." Ian Hislop (husband to Victoria Hislop)
I think that is a good way of describing the views of many.

"No novel that I've loved has ever given me an answer. It's given me the opportunity to live in the question." Nicole Krauss
Many books give us more questions than answers. Isn't that how it should be?

"Book lovers never go to bed alone." N.N.
So true. And what a comfort that is.
[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 14 January 2021

Helmet Reading Challenge 2021

We have a lot of Finnish members in our online book club and they made us all aware of the Helmet Reading Challenge. Helmet network (Helsinki Metropolitan Area Libraries) consists of the city libraries of Helsinki, Espoo, Kauniainen, and Vantaa. Every year, they publish a new list of challenges (books, music, games, films). Of course, the one interesting for me and all my blogger friends would be the book challenge of which there exists one with 52 books (so one for each week) and a little one (with 25 books). I will try to read as many books as possible for this challenge but won't promise that I will be able to do them all.

Helmet Reading Challenge 2021

1. A book featuring keeping a diary
2. A book written by a teacher
3. A historical novel
4. A book where someone shares their memories
5. A book related to a TV series or a film
6. A book about love
7. A book featuring a group of friends
8. A book where the world is changing
9. A book whose author’s first and last name begin with the same letter
10. A book with a number in its title
11. A book about poverty
12. A book set in the woods
13. A book related to the theatre, opera or ballet
14. A book that is a part of a series
15. A book that has something in common with your own life
16. A book where people live without electricity
17. A book whose title includes the name of the protagonist
18. A book about an LGBT+ family
19. A book featuring playing
20. A book featuring a profession that no longer exists or that is rare
21. A book related to a specific season
22. A book featuring cycling
23. A book that you read outdoors
24. A book whose title includes a question mark or exclamation mark
25. A book written by two authors
26. A biography of a person who is still alive
27. A book whose protagonist is an animal
28. A book that is useful for you to read
29. A book whose protagonist’s life is changing
30. A book published after the author’s death
31. A thriller or a mystery
32. A book with a cat on the front or back cover description
33. A book that teaches a skill
34. A book where nature is observed
35. A book you have been waiting for
36. A book featuring travel through time
37. A book with a character whose work is important to the story
38. A well-translated book
39. A book featuring listening to music
40. A book about animal rights
41. A book featuring travel by train
42. A fairytale book
43. A book that does not reveal the name of the protagonist
44. A book including recipes
45. A book written by a Nordic author
46. A book featuring eating treats
47–48. Two books on the same subject
49. A book published in 2021
50. A book recommended by a member of the library staff

Little Helmet Reading Challenge 2021

1. A fairytale book
2. A book related to a TV series or a film
3. A book featuring a group of friends
4. A book with a number in its title
5. A book set in the woods
6. A book that is a part of a series
7. A book that has something in common with your own life
8. A book whose title includes the name of the protagonist
9. A book related to a specific season
10. A book featuring cycling
11. A book that you read outdoors
12. A book whose protagonist is an animal
13. A book that is useful for you to read
14. A thriller or a mystery
15. A book with a cat on the front or back cover
16. A book that teaches a skill
17. A book where nature is observed
18. A book featuring listening to music
19. A book including recipes
20. A book written by a Nordic author
21. A book featuring eating treats
22–23. Two books on the same subject
24. A book published in 2021
25. A book recommended by a teacher or a member of the library staff

Wednesday 13 January 2021

Austen, Jane "Sanditon"

Austen, Jane "Sanditon" - 1817

I've had this fragment of a novel on my TBR pile for a while already. I never was sure whether I really wanted to read it. I have read "The Watsons" and "Lady Susan" and Andrew Davies have just made this into a mini-series. He has already made other great series and movies from Jane Austen's novels and several other classics, so I'm almost certain it's a good one.

But I wanted to read it first. It is a very promising beginning of another Austen novel, the characters well depicted, the scenes worked out beautifully, you can tell that there are going to be a few problems along the way that need solving. It is lovely to read how she made fun of certain traits in people and I'm sure there was more like that to come. What a shame she wasn't well enough to tell her sister what her plans were for the story.

Do I really want to hear the end from someone else? Oh, Jane, why couldn't you live longer? It would have been great to have a hundred of your stories.

From the back cover:

"Written in the last months of Austen's life, Sanditon features a glorious cast of hypochondriacs and speculators in a newly established seaside resort, and shows the author contemplating a changing society with scepticism and amusement. It tells the story of Charlotte Heywood, who is transported by a chance accident from her rural hometown to Sanditon, where she is exposed to the intrigues and dalliances of a small town determined to reinvent itself - and encounters the intriguingly handsome Sidney Parker."

Tuesday 12 January 2021

The World Reading Challenge

I've been "travelling" around the world with my books for ages. And I've been following other bloggers who do the same. One of them is Ash from Tale_Away.

She always gives good advice on differente kind of reads that lead us to unknown countries. Her latest post was: World Reading Challenge: Books Around The Globe 2021. Here, she suggest 52 books for the year from 52 different countries. Or, you can choose a book from her shortlist. In any case, there are lots of great ideas.

And I have several lists that always inspire me to read more books about countries I haven't "been to before":
Around the World in 12 Books Challenge 2014
European Reading Challenge 2013
The Collector of Countries (Die Ländersammlerin)
Travel the World Through Books
Reading the World

I am not going to follow the challenge by reading all the books on the list but I hope to find a few books through that from some of the countries I'm still missing. If you can recommend a good book about it, I'd be more than grateful. If you are looking for a good book from one of the countries I didn't mention, look for a recommendation from me here. Or just ask me.

Antigua and Barbuda
Brunei Darussalam
Burkina Faso
Cape Verde
Central African Republic
Costa Rica
Côte d’Ivoire
El Salvador
Equatorial Guinea
Eswatini - Swaziland
Lao People’s Democratic Republic
Macedonia, The former Yugoslav Republic of
Marshall Islands
Micronesia (Federated States of)
Papua New Guinea
Republic of Moldova
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Lucia
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
San Marino
Sao Tome and Principe
Sierra Leone
Solomon Islands
South Sudan
Tanzania, United Republic of
Timor Leste
United Arab Emirates

These are the books I read from the shortlists:

Books Around the World: Africa
Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi "Half of a Yellow Sun" - 2006 (Nigeria)
- "Americanah" - 2013 (Nigeria)
Coelho, Paulo "The Alchemist: A Fable about Following Your Dream" (O Alquimista) - 1988 (Morocco)
Dinesen, Isak/Blixen, Karen "Out of Africa" - 1937 (Kenya)

Books Around the World: Asia
Aitmatov, Chinghiz "Jamila" (Джамиля - Jamilia) - 1958 (Kyrgyzstan)
Hosseini, Khaled "The Kite Runner" - 2003 (Afghanistan)
- "A Thousand Splendid Suns" - 2007 (Afghanistan)
Lahiri, Jhumpa "The Lowland" - 2013 (India)
Lee, Min Jin "Pachinko" - 2017 (Korea, Japan)
Murakami, Haruki "Norwegian Wood" (Noruwei no mori, ノルウェイの森) - 1987 (Japan)
See, Lisa "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan" - 2005 (China)
Seth, Vikram "A Suitable Boy" - 1993 (India)

Books Around the World: North America
Alvarez, Julia "In the Time of the Butterflies" - 1994 (Dominican Republic)
Angelou, Maya "I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings" - 1969 (USA)
Fitzgerald, F. (Francis) Scott "The Great Gatsby" - 1925 (USA)
Lee, Harper "To Kill a Mockingbird" - 1960 (USA)
Rhys, Jean "Wide Sargasso Sea" - 1966 (Dominica)
Tartt, Donna "The Goldfinch" - 2013 (USA)

Books Around the World: South America

Books Around the World: Europe
Ruiz Zafón, Carlos "The Shadow of the Wind" (La Sombra del Viento) - 2001 (Spain/Catalonia)

Books Around the World: Oceania
McCulloch, Colleen "The Thorn Birds" - 1977 (Australia)

Monday 11 January 2021

Xanadu Reading Challenge 2021

Word cloud made with WordItOut

One of my book club friends has a fantastic Blog, Notes from Xanadu. For 2021, she has started a great reading challenge in which I think anyone can participate. I have looked at the various topics and I'm sure I'll find a book for every single month. 

For January it's "New Beginnings", I have decided to read a book by a woman who will start a new job this month, one no woman has had before, Kamala Harris, the new vice president of the United States. It should be an exciting book. This was a book I received for Christmas from my son, so it fits the second category but I think it fits the whole theme overall tremendously, don't you agree?

I will update this post monthly, so if you're interested, come back. And go to the Xanadu page and participate, if you like.

January - New Beginnings

  • a book published in 2020 or 2021
  • a book given to you as a present (or bought with a book token given to you) as a Christmas or other mid-winter festival present
  • a book about a new hobby or interest
  • a book to do with a New Year’s resolution
  • a New Age book

Harris, Kamala "The Truths We Hold. An American Journey" - 2019

February - Spring Awakenings

  • a book about nature
  • a coming-of-age story
  • a novel where the protaganists are animals

Sapolsky, Robert M. "Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst" - 2017

March - All Things Irish

If you are from Ireland:
a book as Gaeilge. Children’s books are fine, but try to challenge yourself.

Everyone else:
•    a book by an Irish author
•    a book about Irish history
•    a travel book about Ireland

Binchy, Maeve "The Maeve Binchy Writers' Club" - 2010

April - Mental Travelling

a book from an author from a country you have never visited and have no connection to
a travelogue about a similar country

•    a novel about a journey
•    a non-fiction book about the history or technology of one or more forms of transport
•    a non-fiction book about space travel

Andersson, Per J. "Take the train: on the track through history, present and future" (aka: From the Swede who took the train and saw the world with different eyes/Ta tåget: på spåret genom historien, samtiden och framtiden) - 2019

May - Music
•    a biography or autobiography of a musician or composer
•    a novel where music is one of the main themes
•    a book that teaches you how to play an instrument

Judd, Naomi "Love Can Build a Bridge" - 1993

June - Language
a book in a language with which you are familiar, but don’t read in very often, if at all.
(if you are monolingual):
•    a beginner’s "Teach Yourself" book in a language you are interested in.
•    a coding manual in a programming language you don’t know
•    a book about the history of language or linguistics

’t Hart, Maarten "The fury/rage/raging of the whole world" (Dutch: Het woeden der gehele wereld) - 1993

July - Science
•    a science fiction book
•    a popular science book
•    a science text book
•    a book about psychology
•    a biography or autobiography of a scientist

Masood, Ehsan "Science & Islam: a history" - 2009

August - Philosophy
•    a philosophy book
•    a philosophical fiction book
•    a biography or autobiography of a philosopher
•    a book about politics
•    a book about economics
•    a religious book

Marx, Karl; Engels, Friedrich "Das kommunistische Manifest" (The Communist Manifesto) - 1848

September - Fantasy
•    a classic fantasy book
•    a sword and sorcery fantasy book
•    a fantasy book written more that 100 years ago
•    a super hero/other non-realisticgraphic novel
•    a book of folk/fairy tales

Hetmann, Frederik "Traumklänge oder Das längste Märchen, das es je gab" [Dream sounds. or the longest fairy tale that ever existed] - 2004

October - History
•    a history book about the country you live in
•    a history book about a country you know very little about
•    a history book about a country where someone you know lives/comes from
•    a history book about a place that you would like to visit
•    a historical novel
•    an alternate history novel

Frankopan, Peter "The Silk Roads. A New History of the World" - 2015

November - Classics
•    any adult or children’s classic in any genre that you have never read before

Stoker, Bram "Dracula" - 1897
I have read all sorts of genre but this is probably one I have read least.

December - Comedy
•    a comic novel or book of short stories
•    a joke book
•    a biography or autobiography of a famous comedian or comic actor
•    a collection of comic strips

Trotter, Derek "Del Boy" (Family of John Sullivan) "He Who Dares" - 2015

Friday 8 January 2021

Book Quotes of the Week

"To read is to empower
To empower is to write
To write is to influence
To Influence is to change
To change is to live." Jane Evershed, More than a Tea Party
I've always said it's important to read. Only then can you understand what's important. But, of course, then it is also important to pass on the knowledge and stand up to those who only want our destruction.

"Someone needs to tell those tales. When the battles are fought and won and lost, when the pirates find their treasures and the dragons eat their foes for breakfast with a nice cup of Lapsang souchong, someone needs to tell their bits of overlapping narrative. There’s magic in that. It’s in the listener, and for each and every ear it will be different, and it will affect them in ways they can never predict." Erin Morgenstern, The Night Circus
Where would we be without stories. We'd forget what's important. I once read a book about illiterates and they had no concept of time or other important parts to survive in today's society.

"The candle lights up the room, the book lights up the heart." Chinese Proverb
What a lovely comparison. 

Find more book quotes here.

Thursday 7 January 2021

TBR Pile Reading Challenge 2021

One of my favourite Reading Challenges that I joined in 2016.

I don't think Evie from the Bookish Blog still carries this on, as I can't find it on her page but her words with which she started this challenge are still true: "We all have those books. We buy them, win them, they're gifted to us. Then we put them up on a bookshelf and there they stay, collecting dust, waiting for the time when we'll finally decide to pick them up."

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

I could, of course, try to tackle the 50+ challenge but we all know that is not going to happen, instead, I tried to do at least 11-20 old books in addition to the new ones I'm buying and those I get from the library and wished to be pleasantly surprised at the end of the year. That happened, I have reached the 21-30 (First Kiss) and 31-40 (Sweet Summer Fling) in the last years, maybe I can get to 41-50 (Could This Be Love?) one day.

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

38 in 2018
23 in 2019 and 
25 in 2020 
of the books that had been waiting to be read for more than a year.
I hope I will manage more in 2021.
(I always add the German title in brackets for my German friends)

So far, I have already read these of my "old books" in 2021:
Austen, Jane "Sanditon" (Sanditon) - 1817
Brecht, Bertolt "Der gute Mensch von Sezuan" (German) (The Good Person of Szechwan) - 1938-40
Barbery, Muriel "L'Elégance du hérisson" (French) (The Elegance of the Hedgehog/Die Eleganz des Igels) - 2006
Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von "Italian Journey aka Letters from Italy" (German) (Italienische Reise) - 1817
Gödde, Stefan "Nice to Meet You, Jerusalem. Auf Entdeckungstour ins Herz der Stadt" (German) - 2019
Mann, Thomas "Herr und Hund. Ein Idyll" (German) (A Man and his Dog) - 1918
Sand, George "Fadette" (French) (Fadette, aka Fanchon, the Cricket/Die kleine Fadette) - 1849
Christie, Agatha "Hercule Poirot. The Complete Short Stories" - 1923-61
Ford, Ford Madox "Parade's End" (Tetraology: Some Do Not - 1924, No More Parades, 1925, A Man Could Stand Up 1926, Last Post 1928) (Keine Paraden mehr) - 1924-28
Gogol, Nikolai (Никола́й Васи́льевич Го́голь, Nikolay Vasilyevich Gogol) (Russian) "Gogols Mantel. Erzählungen aus Russland" (Der Mantel - The Overcoat - Шинел/Shinyeliь) - 1842
Elliot, Jason "An Unexpected Light. Travels in Afghanistan" (Unerwartetes Licht - Reisen durch Afghanistan) - 1999
Jacobs, Harriet Ann (Linda Brent) "Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl" (Sklavenmädchen. Die Geschichte meiner Befreiung) - 1861
Binchy, Maeve "The Maeve Binchy Writers' Club" - 2010
Rhoides, Emmanuel (Emmanuel Roidis) "Die Päpstin Johanna von Ingelheim" (gr.: Πάπισσα Ιωάννα/Papissa Ioanna/The Curious History of Pope Joan) - 1866
Dickens, Charles "The Old Curiosity Shop" (Der Raritätenladen) - 1840
See, Lisa "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan" (Der Seidenfächer) - 2005
Bulgakow, Michail "Der Meister und Margarita"
(The Master and Margarita - Мастер и Маргарита/Master i Margarita) (Russian) - 1929-39
Storm, Theodor "Der Schimmelreiter und andere Erzählungen" (German) (The Rider on the White Horse and other tales) - 1888
Judd, Naomi "Love Can Build a Bridge" - 1993
Lahiri, Jhumpa "The Lowland" (Das Tiefland) - 2013
Savage Carlson, Natalie "The Family Under the Bridge" - 1958
't Hart, Maarten "Het woeden der gehele wereld" (Dutch) (Das Wüten der ganzen Welt/The fury/rage/raging of the whole world) - 1993
Masood, Ehsan "Science & Islam: a history" - 2009
Simenon, Georges "Maigret Sets a Trap" (Maigret tend un piège/Maigret stellt eine Falle)
(French) (Maigret #48) - 1958
McLain, Paula "The Paris Wife" (Madame Hemingway) - 2012
Twain, Mark "A Tramp Abroad" (Bummel durch Europa: Mit einem Anhang mit Nachwort, Zeittafel und Bibliographie) - 1880
Clarke, Stephen "Merde actually" (aka In the Merde for Love /Ich bin ein Pariser) - 2005
Frost, Robert "A Boy’s Will" and "North of Boston" - 1913+1914
Elbogen, Ismar; Sterling, Eleonore "Die Geschichte der Juden in Deutschland"
(German) [The History of the Jews in Germany] - 1935/66
Hetmann, Frederik "Traumklänge oder Das längste Märchen, das es je gab"
(German)[Dream sounds or The longest fairy tale that ever existed] - 2004
Douglass, Frederick "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave" - 1845
Ditfurth, Hoimar von "Der Geist fiel nicht vom Himmel: Die Evolution unseres Bewußtseins"
(German) [The mind
did not fall from the sky: the evolution of our consciousness
- 1976
Highsmith, Patricia "The Talented Mr. Ripley" (Der talentierte Mr. Ripley) - 1955
Wharton, Edith "Ethan Frome" - 1911
Rushdie, Salman "The Satanic Verses" (Die Satanischen Verse) - 1988
Christie, Agatha "Murder on the Orient Express" (Hercule Poirot #10)) (Mord im Orient-Express) - 1934
Martin, Catherine "The Incredible Journey" - 1923
Shakespeare, William "Much Ado About Nothing" (Viel Lärm um Nichts) - 1598/99
Trotter, Derek "Del Boy" (Family of John Sullivan) "He Who Dares" - 2015

Wednesday 6 January 2021

Osman, Richard "The Thursday Murder Club"

Osman, Richard "The Thursday Murder Club" - 2020

When I became aware that Richard Osman had written a book, I knew I had to read it. Even though I'm not much into murder mystery, I just love Richard Osman's wit. He is one of the smartest people you see in the entertainment branch, his book just had to be good.

And it was. I knew he would be a good writer because he can make the best jokes in his shows which I really love (see here). I think I would read anything he writes, he always cheers you up.

I saw him on the Graham Norton Show lately where the two were joking about being #1 on the bestseller lists in their respective countries. I'm not surprised, they are both such lovely guys that everyone expects them to be great authors. I've yet to read one of Graham Norton's books but I'm sure they're also splendid.

No matter what kind of book you like to read to entertain yourself (for me, they have to be funny), this is the one. Enjoy.

From the back cover:

"Four unlikely friends * A shocking murder * Welcome to THE THURSDAY MURDER CLUB

In a peaceful retirement village, four unlikely friends meet up once a week to investigate unsolved murders.

But when a brutal killing takes place on their very doorstep, the
Thursday Murder Club find themselves in the middle of their first live case.

Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron might be pushing eighty but they still have a few tricks up their sleeves. Can our unorthodox but brilliant gang catch the killer before it's too late?

Tuesday 5 January 2021

Statistics 2020

My statistics for the last years are here:
Going back to 2009-12, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 
And these are the results of my reading lists for 2020:

* Statistics 2020 *
I read books that contributed to the following challenges. Some of them count for more than one category:

Challenges (number of books read for the challenges in brackets)
The 100 best Non-fiction Books of All Time as Chosen by The Guardian (0)
Best European Literature (4)
Bildungsroman (3)

I'm sure I read more books in that direction but these are typical for this genre.
Book Bingo 2020
Books That Changed the World (0)
A Century of Books (1)
Children's Books (7)
The Classics Club (13): The Classics Spin (4)
4 for the Classics Spin, 13 in total
Esperanto Books (1)
Emma's Book Club - Our shared shelf (0)
An ever growing list of books about and for women, a group started by Emma Watson (better known as Hermione Granger), UN Woman Goodwill Ambassador.
Favourite (German) Independent Books (2)
(Das Lieblingsbuch der Unabhängigen = The Favourite Book of the Independents)
German Books (18)
Le Monde - The 100 Books of the Century (0)
My Favourite Books Ever (16)
Every year I find some more books I can add to my list of favourite books. 16 this year.
Nobel Peace Prize (0)
Nobel Prize Winners and Their Books (7)
Oprah's Book Club (0)
Oscar Winning Books (2)
Peace Prize of the German Book Trade (2)

(German: Friedenspreis des Deutschen Buchhandels)
Reading Challenge - Chunky Books 2020 (18)
I read 18 chunky books in 2020 of which 7 are considered a chunkster.
Reading the World (1)
Suggestions from Friends (1)
The "Piggybank" Challenge 2020
The 78 books I read this year resulted in €156 to spend on something nice.
The non-western books that every student should read (0)
Top Ten Tuesday
I took part in 50 of the challenges, this is a great way of reminiscing or planning your reads.
Travel the World Through Books (1)
Twitterature (2)

Some of the challenges are older and I only add to them if I happen to read one of the books.

Book Club 2017 etc. (12)
Esperanto (1)
Here, we read mostly short stories.

Books Read: 78
Pages read: 30.650
393 pages/book, 84 pages/day, 6.5 books/month
The average novel contains between 140 and 320 pages, i.e. 230 = 133 books in 2020 (that's only one fewer than last year, somehow I had the feeling I hadn't read as much)

Books dating from which year:
Pre 1800s: none
1800s: 12
1900-1949: 12
1950-1999: 15
2000s: 45 (3 of which from 2020)

Male Authors: 48
Female Authors: 36
Both: 2

Nobel Prize Winners: 7

Fiction: 58
Non-Fiction: 27

Chunky Books - more than 450 pages: 18, more than 750: 7
Library: none
Re-Read: 1
TBR Pile: 26

Oldest Book: 1807
Staël, Anne-Louise-Germaine de "Corinne ou l'Italie" (Corinne: Or Italy/Corinna oder Italien) - 1807
Newest Book: 2019
Osman, Richard "The Thursday Murder Club" - 2020
Longest book: 1,168 pages
Undset, Sigrid "Kristin Lavransdatter" (Norwegian: Kristin Lavransdatter/Kristin Lavranstochter) - 1920-22
Shortest book: 64 pages
Hubbard, Fra Elbert "A Message to Garcia" (Nachricht an Garcia) - 1899
Longest book title: 41
Stelter, Bernd "Das Leben ist zu kurz, um schlechten Wein zu trinken" [Life is too short to drink bad wine] - 2004
Shortest Book Title: 5
Rutherford, Edward "Sarum: the Novel of England" (Sarum) - 1987

Funniest Books:
Kaminer, Wladimir "Mein deutsches Dschungelbuch" [My German Jungle Book] - 2003
Wodehouse, P.G. "Right Ho, Jeeves" - 1934
Saddest Book:
Thomson, Mike "Syria's Secret Library" - 2018

New author (for me) that I would like to read more from: 12
Cathleen Booth, Erika Fatland, Maxim Gorky
(Максима Горького), Evelyne Hespel, Shappi Khorsandi, David Malouf, Benjamin Myers, Richard Osman, Delia Owens, Ayn Rand, Helen Russell, P.G. Wodehouse

Translated Books:
Translated Books: 13 from 6 languages
3 from Norwegian
2 from Polish, Russian, Swedish
1 from Finnish, Italian, Spanish, Turkish
Books read in another language:
18 German, 7 French, 1 Esperanto

Numbers in Book Titles: 343, Ten
Place Names in Book Titles: Denmark, Europe, Germany, Kazakhstan, Kleve, Kyrgyzstan, Monte-Cristo, Oz, Petersburg, Peyton Place, Primeval, Provence, Sanditon, Santiago, Sarum, Scotland, Siberia, Solaris, Syria, Szechwan, Tajikistan, Trulala, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan
Names in Book Titles: Adèle, Agnes, Anna, Corinne, Erika, Frankenstein, Garcia, Grimm, Grey, Jeeves, Kristin, Kühn, Lavransdatter, Nickel, Peter, Prince Serebrenni, Saki, Shakespeare, Wooster
Colours in Book Titles: Black, Grey, Red

My Favourite Books: 17

Wodehouse, P. G. "Right Ho, Jeeves" - 1934
Falcones, Ildefonso "Die Erben der Erde" (Los herederos de la tierra/La catedral del mar #2/The heirs of the earth) (La catedral del mar #2) - 2016 (I will review this once it's translated into English.)
Stelter, Bernd "Nie wieder Ferienhaus" [Never again a holiday cottage] - 2004
Taylor, Helen "Why Women Read Fiction. The Stories of Our Lives" - 2019
Rand, Ayn "We the Living" - 1936
Khorsandi, Shappi "A Beginner's Guide to Acting English" - 2009
Russell, Helen "The Year of Living Danishly: My Twelve Months Unearthing the Secrets of the World's Happiest Country" - 2015
Weir, Alison "Six Tudor Queens. Anna of Kleve. Queen of Secrets" (The Princess in the Portrait, American title) - 2019
Owens, Delia "Where the Crawdads Sing" - 2017
Borrmann, Mechtild "Grenzgänger. Die Geschichte einer verlorenen deutschen Kindheit" [Cross-border commuters. The story of a lost German childhood] - 2018
Booth, Cathleen "Mercy & Grace on the Camino de Santiago" - 2020
Hislop, Victoria "Those Who Are Loved" - 2019
Whitehead, Colson "The Nickel Boys" - 2019
Rutherford, Edward "Sarum: the Novel of England" - 1987
Zweig, Stefanie "Nirgendwo war Heimat. Mein Leben auf zwei Kontinenten" [Home was Nowhere. My Life on Two Continents] - 2012
Metalious, Grace "Peyton Place" - 1957
Myers, Benjamin "The Offing" - 2019
With my books, I visited places in the following countries:
Africa (6):
Congo, Egypt, Kenya, Mauritius, Tanzania, Togo
Asia (21):
Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, China, India, Iran, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, North Korea, Palestine, Sri Lanka, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkey, Turkmenistan, UAE, Uzbekistan, Yemen
Europe (27):
Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, The UK
North America (7):
Belize, Canada, Caribbean, Costa Rica, Cuba, Panama, USA
South America (4):
Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Peru
Australia/Oceania (3):
Australia, New Zealand, Oceania
Extra-terrestrial (2)
Everywhere (5)
Others/Anywhere (2)
Countries "visited" in total: 68

See also "My Year in Books" on Goodreads.

You may find some even greater statistics by better bloggers than me, e.g. at "Stuck in a Book".
If you want more information on any of the lists mentioned, please, let me know.