Tuesday 29 June 2021

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Most Anticipated Books of the Second Half of 2021


"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: Most Anticipated Books of the Second Half of 2021

I know, some of them have been released before but they will come out (hopefully) in paperback during the summer.

Falcones, Ildefonso "Painter of Souls" (El pintor de almas) (Goodreads)
(waiting for translation)

Harmel, Kristin "The Book of Lost Names" (Goodreads)

Hislop, Victoria "One August Night"

Jonuleit, Anja "Das letzte Bild" (Goodreads)

Kampfner, John "Why the Germans Do it Better: Notes from a Grown-Up Country"

Powers, Richard "Bewilderment" (Goodreads)

Pamuk, Orhan "Nights of Plague" (Veba Geceleri) (Goodreads)
(waiting for translation)

Rimington, Celesta "The Elephant's Girl" (Goodreads)

Whitehead, Colson "Harlem Shuffle" (Goodreads)

Zeh, Juli "Über Menschen" (Goodreads)
(waiting for paperback)

Monday 28 June 2021

Kästner, Erich "Lisa and Lottie"

Kästner, Erich "Lisa and Lottie" (aka The Parent Trap) (German: Das doppelte Lottchen) - 1949

Most English-speaking girls of my generation grew up with the "Little House Books", "Little Women", "A Little Princess", "Anne of Green Gables" and other stories about little girls growing up.

But I grew up as a German-speaking girl and one of the books I read as a child was "Lottie and Lisa", the German title being translated into "Double Lottie", in the English-speaking world better known through the US American films that were made from it, "The Parent Trap", one in 1961 with Hayley Mills, the other one in 1998 with Lindsey Lohan.

Lisa is a spoiled brat and lives with her single father in Vienna. When she is nine years old, she is sent to a summer camp in Northern Germany. There, she discovers that she seems to have a lookalike. Whilst at first she is so angry that the girls fight all the time, even though Lottie is a quiet girl, they soon discover that there is something wrong. Their birthday is the same day, Lottie only has a mother, so many things that are weird. They assume they are twins separated because the parents divorced. So, they decide to switch places, Lisa goes to Munich to stay with the mother as Lottie whereas Lottie takes on the role of Lisa in Vienna.

Sounds familiar? I guess almost everyone has watched a movie called "The Parent Trap" at one point or another. Either the one from 1961 with Hayley Mills who played both roles or from 1998 with Lindsey Lohan, also representing both twins. There are many more adaptations but these are probably the best known internationally. The German film from 1951 was the first to receive the German Film Award. The screenplay was written by Erich Kästner himself and if you know even a little German, try to watch the film (look here at IMDb), it's a lot better than both the American versions. And the twins are played by real twins.

This book (Double Lottie if you translate it literally) was already written in 1942 but since the pacifistic author was banned by the Nazis, it took a while until it was published.

Even then, it led to a lot of discussions. Divorce was not considered a good subject for a children's book and a single, successful working mother wasn't exactly the picture people wanted to see.

Erich Kästner was a very successful German author. This book is a little different from his other books as its main characters are girls and the mother is a strong woman.

I read this book when I was quite young and really loved it. I re-read it when my kids were young. It doesn't matter how old you are and whether you have children or not. It is a great book to read.

From the back cover:

"Imagine what a surprise it would be to discover you are a twin, and you never knew it! This is just what happened to Lisa of Vienna and Lottie of Munich when they met at summer camp.

The shock of meeting was followed by many pleasant hours while the girls got to know each other and exchanged stories about Father and Mother. And then the nine-year-olds decided on a daring plan - they would switch places and hope to find a way to bring their parents back together!

Friday 25 June 2021

Book Quotes of the Week

"'I would have thought,' said the prime minister, 'that Your Majesty was above literature.' 'Above literature?' said the Queen. 'Who is above literature? You might as well say one is above humanity.'" Alan Bennett, The Uncommon Reader

Wise words by Alan Bannett, or were they by the Queen herself???  

"You read for your life. You read to enrich your own life, and you read for the life of your family as you read together and talk about the books that you've read, and you read for your community to understand other people, and you read for your country, because you have to understand in order to be a good citizen, an informed citizen, and you read for the world so you can understand other people who are quite different from yourself." Katherine Patterson

I didn't know I was reading for so many people but, hey, the more the merrier.

"A true friend is like a good book, the inside is better than the cover." N.N.

So, so true. I have never given much about the "cover" of a person, it's always the inside that counts.

Find more book quotes here.  

* [If anyone can tell me the originator of this quote, I'd be very thankful and would happily include the name.]

Thursday 24 June 2021

Paris in July

I saw the "Paris in July" challenge the other day on "The Content Reader". "Thyme for Tea" has been hosting a Paris in July challenge for ten years. This is the first time I heard from it. "Brona's Books" also posted about it a couple of days later. If that isn't a sign that I should join, I don't know what is.
Here is the introduction:

    "Paris is alluring for so many reasons - the incredible culinary adventures you can have, its lens into history through its architecture and art museums, its walkability and world-class shopping. There is a lot to see and do in Paris and first-timers can have a hard time fitting it all in.

    We cant really go to Paris right now, but here we will share many different sides of our love of french things, and Paris.

    The aim of the month is, and always has been, to celebrate our French experiences through reading, watching, listening, observing, cooking and eating all things French!

    There are no rules or targets in terms of how much you need to do or complete in order to be a part of this experience – just blog about anything French and you can join in! Some ideas might include.

•    Reading a French book - fiction or non-fiction
•    Watching a French movie
•    Listening to French music
•    Cooking French food
•    Experiencing French art, architecture or travel (lucky Tamara!)
•    Or anything else French inspired you can think of..

So, I'm looking forward to a virtual trip to Paris with my friends. Here are my plans:


I searched my TBR pile for books that take place in Paris and found the following (I'm probably not going to be reading all three of them in July but I'll start):
Clarke, Stephen "Merde actually" - 2005
McLain, Paula "The Paris Wife" - 2012
Simenon, Georges "Maigret Sets a Trap" (Maigret tend un piège) (Maigret #48) - 1958

Which reminds me, I should probably review the first French book I ever read. Or re-read it soon:
"Bonjour Tristesse" by Françoise Sagan. (Goodreads)

We have a couple of movies on our shelf that we like to watch again and again, I'll put them in alphabetical order since I can't judge which ones are my favourites. I will probably rewatch the Maigret series with Rowan Atkinson again since I haven't seen them that often:
"La Boum" (The Party) and "La Boum 2" (The Party 2) w. Sophie Marceau and Claude Brasseur
"Charade" w. Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant
"Un éléphant ça trompe énormément" (Pardon mon affaire) w. Jean Rochefort and Claude Brasseur
"L'Etudiante" (The Student) w. Sophie Marceau and Vincent Lindon
"French Kiss" w. Meg Ryan and Kevin Kline
"Funny Face" w. Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire
"Gigi" w. Leslie Caron, Maurice Chevalier and Louis Jourdan
"Maigret" w. Rowan Atkinson:
"Maigret Sets a Trap"
"Maigret's Dead Man"
"Maigret: Night at the Crossroads"
"Maigret in Montmartre"

One of my favourite French singers is Jacques Brel. I know, he's not French but he's lived there for a long time. I also love Georges Moustaki and several other singers from that genre and time. So, I'll probably get out my old CDs and listen to them during the month.

Monet is one of my favourite artists, so I'll check out my art books and souvenirs I brought home from several visits to museums and Monet exhibitions.

If you are looking for more books about France, have a look here.

My Paris in July posts this year:
Eyewitness Guide Paris

de Brunhoff, Jean "The Story of Babar" (Histoire de Babar le petit éléphant) - 1934
Simenon, Georges "Maigret Sets a Trap" (Maigret #48) (Maigret tend un piège) - 1958
McLain, Paula "The Paris Wife" - 2012
Clarke, Stephen "Merde actually" - 2005

And for my other Paris in July years, see here.

🇫🇷 Paris in July 2022 🇫🇷

Tuesday 22 June 2021

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Top Ten Books I would love to read again for the first time


"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: Bookish Wishes

(Jana's birthday is today, so she's celebrating it by granting the wishes of  her friends! Apparently, this is a popular thing to do on Twitter, but today we’re blog hopping. List the top 10 books you’d love to own.)

Interesting subject. I had to think for a while which book I'd like to own. The thing is, I often have to buy the books because I can't get them in the library, so I own most of my favourite books. That doesn't mean there aren't books I'd like. But most of them were on my Christmas wishlist (Top Ten Books I Hope Santa Brings).

They are still all valid except for "The Truths We Hold" (present from my son) and "A Promised Land" (I found a used copy).

So, I had to twist the topic (again) and thought Books I would love to read again for the first time might be a good replacement.
Having said that, I wouldn't mind having first editions of those books (preferably signed by the author 😉) or some beautiful ones.

Austen, Jane "Persuasion" - 1817
Wouldn't mind rereading all of her books for the first time but especially this one.

Frazier, Charles "Cold Mountain" - 1997
I have reread this book several times but it would be lovely to experience it again for the very first time.

Mann, Thomas "Buddenbrooks: The Decline of a Family" (German: Buddenbrooks) - 1901
My favourite German book of all time, probably the reason why I got into classics.

Morrison, Toni "Beloved" - 1987
My first book by Toni Morrison, probably the one that left the largest impact.

Pamuk, Orhan "My Name is Red" (Turkish: Benim Adim Kirmizi) - 1998
This book introduced me to one of my favourite authors ever and I have read most of his books now.

Rhue, Morton "The Wave" - 1981
Of course, I could read this book (like all the others) again and again but I know the end and that changes the whole experience.

Ruiz Zafón, Carlos "The Shadow of the Wind" (Spanish: La Sombra del Viento) - 2001
And his whole Cemetery of Forgotten Books series. Or any of his books.

Scott, Mary "Breakfast at Six" - 1953
And all of Mary Scott's other Susan & Larry books, well, what do I say, all of her books. See here.

Shriver, Lionel "We need to talk about Kevin" - 2003
Same as what I said about "The Wave".

Stroyar, J.N. "The Children's War" and "A Change of Regime" plus "Becoming Them"
Such a great story, good to be re-read but there is so much that you see coming once you know the story, wouldn't mind reading it again for the first time.

Monday 21 June 2021

't Hart, Maarten "The raging of the whole world"

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

The title translates as "The fury/rage/raging of the whole world" and is derived from the text of the poem "Au bord de l'eau" by Sully Prudhomme, set to music by Gabriel Fauré.

I don't often review books that have not been translated into English. Why this one wasn't? I have no idea! But I read it as part of the Xanadu Reading Challenge 2021: a book in a language with which you are familiar, but don’t read in very often, if at all. I dug through my TBR pile for Dutch books and there was this one, presenting itself: Read Me, Read Me, Read Me! So I did.

This is a very well written novel with a lot of humour in it but also a lot of understanding for the people of the time, the people that were hunted by the Nazis (including a lot of Dutch people who stood by) as well as those that were "on the wrong side" or just "wrong", as he calls them or as they are called in the Netherlands. Whilst the story doesn't take place during WWII, the events in this novel are sequences thereof. As a lot of the stories of the second half of the last century are. Especially the Dutch ones.

Alexander, the protagonist, tells his life story from the perspective of a 50-year-old. He tells about his youth in a small town as the son of a rag dealer whose main goal in life was saving. His big love is music and he manages, despite many obstacles, to make it his profession. When he is twelve, he witnesses a murder and the fear to be killed by the same person accompanies him for the rest of his life. Of course, he tries to find out who is behind all this and that's what this book is about, mainly. But it also is about music and life in a small town and growing up and and and.

I was more than positively surprised about this book because I read another book by the same author (The Sundial) and was totally bored. That's probably the reason I had this one on my TBR pile for so long because I didn't fancy reading another novel by the same author. My, was I wrong!

From the back cover (translated from Dutch):

"Het woeden der gehele wereld/The Rage of the Whole World focuses on the eventful youth of Alexander Goudveyl. The history of Alexander's youth in the fifties and sixties is also the history of a murder case that has never been resolved: in 1956, just before Christmas in Maassluis, a police officer was shot dead in broad daylight.

Het woeden der gehele wereld/The Rage of the Whole World is an exciting novel that grips the reader until the last page. An international bestseller that was awarded the Gouden Strop in 1994."

The Gouden Strop (i.e. 'Golden Noose') is a Dutch prize for the best crime novel, awarded annually.

Friday 18 June 2021

Book Quotes of the Week

"All the apartments I buy or rent are for my books, not for myself." Fran Lebowitz

I would love to buy a place just for my books. However, I always made sure there was enough space for my books in the houses we lived in. 

"Each book is a world entire. You're going to have to take more than one pass at it." Lucy Mangan, Bookworm: A Memoir of Childhood Reading

I look at books as places where I travel and I could travel to several places more than once.

"One of my strongest held beliefs is that no one should ever finish a book that they're not enjoying, no matter how popular or well-reviewed the book is. Believe me, nobody is going to get any points in heaven by slogging their way through a book they aren't enjoying but think they ought to read." Nancy Pearl, Book Lust

The only exception, if you need it for an exam, otherwise, no, we shouldn't read books we don't enjoy.

Find more book quotes here.

Thursday 17 June 2021

Mid Year Book Freakout Tag 2021

I just found this Meme on Read with Stefani's page. What a great idea. Here is the original tag.

1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2021
Harris, Kamala "The Truths We Hold. An American Journey" - 2019

2. Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2021
Stroyar, J.N. "Becoming Them" (The Children's War Book 3) - 2017

3. New release you haven't read yet but want to
Follett, Ken "A Column of Fire" - 2017

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year
Lawson, Mary "A Town Called Solace"

5. Biggest disappointment
Ford, Ford Madox "Parade's End" (Tetralogy: Some Do Not - 1924, No More Parades, 1925, A Man Could Stand Up 1926, Last Post 1928) - 1924-28

6. Biggest surprise
Elliot, Jason "An Unexpected Light. Travels in Afghanistan" - 1999

7. Favourite new author. (Debut or new to you)
Lee, Min Jin "Pachinko" - 2017

8. Newest fictional crush
I don't really read those kind of books, I doubt anyone would have found a crush in any of my books.

9. Newest favourite character
Ed Kennedy from
Zusak, Markus "The Messenger" (US: I am the Messenger) - 2002

10. Book that made you cry
I don't remember when I cried the last time over a book or a movie, or ever, come to think of it. I don't cry easily about something like that. If I did, it would probably be over
Stroyar, J.N. "Becoming Them" (The Children's War Book 3) - 2017
This doesn't mean I don't feel for the characters, I just grew up with three brothers and lots of boys, you don't cry when you're the only girl, makes you look weak.

11. Book that made you happy
Again, not really my type of book but there was a nice German book that made me feel good, it reminded me of my childhood:
Hansen, Dörte "Mittagsstunde" (German book) [Lunchtime] - 2018
Not translated, unfortunately, maybe one day, like the author's first book:
Hansen, Dörte "This House is Mine" (German: Altes Land) - 2015

12. Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)
Aisato, Lisa "Life" (Norwegian: Livet) - 2019 (Goodreads)

13. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?
There are quite a few on my various challenge lists.

Brooks, Geraldine "Foreign Correspondence: A Pen Pal's Journey from Down Under to All Over" - 1997
Douglass, Frederick "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave" - 1845
Elbogen, Ismar; Sterling, Eleonore "Die Geschichte der Juden in Deutschland" (German book) [The History of the Jews in Germany] - 1935/66
Khorsandi, Shappi "Nina is Not OK" - 2016
Martin, Catherine "The Incredible Journey" - 1923
Marx, Karl; Engels, Friedrich "Das kommunistische Manifest" (German book) (The Communist Manifesto) - 1848
Obama, Barack "A Promised Land" - 2020
Shakespeare, William "Much Ado About Nothing" - 1598/99
't Hart, Maarten "Het woeden der gehele wereld" (Dutch book) (The fury/rage/raging of the whole world) - 1993
Towles, Amor "A Gentleman in Moscow" - 2016
Twain, Mark "A Tramp Abroad" - 1880

14. Favourite Book Community Member

This is so difficult to say. There are a few with whom I "talk" at least once a week and with whom I share so many interests. It would be impossible to say which one is your favourite. Just as impossible as to say which is your favourite child or which is your all-time favourite author or book.

Books read so far: 36

* * *

I'm not going to tag anyone but I'm sure a few of you will want to do this. So, feel free to follow that idea but, please, let me know. And Stefani, I'm sure she'll like to know how many are picking up that idea.

Tuesday 15 June 2021

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Books with the word "Summer" in the title

"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: Books On My Summer 2021 TBR (or winter, if you live in the southern hemisphere)
I have published a few reading lists lately, so I thought I'd rather concentrate on books with Summer in the title:

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Top Ten Books On My Spring 2021 TBR
Top Ten Tuesday ~ Top Ten Spring Cleaning Books 
Top Ten Tuesday ~ Top Ten Books I Meant to Read In 2020 but Didn’t Get To
Helmet Reading Challenge 2021
The World Reading Challenge
Xanadu Reading Challenge 2021
Top Ten Tuesday ~ Top Ten Books I Hope Santa Brings
Classic Challenge 2021
Non-fiction November
The Classics Club
So, you see, I don't need any new lists. There are still quite a few books I can pull from my piles before the summer is over. I have therefore decided to make a list of

Books with the word "Summer" in the title.

Bristow, Gwen "Plantation Trilogy": "Deep Summer" - 1937, "Handsome Road" - 1938, "This Side of Glory" - 1940
Bryson, Bill "One Summer: America, 1927" - 2013
Chabon, Michael "Summerland" - 2002
Chekhov, Anton/Tschechow, Anton/Чехов, Антон Павлович/Anton Pavlovič Čechov "In der Sommerfrische: Meistererzählungen" (Russian: Дачники) [Summer Holidays] - 1880/87
Hustvedt, Siri "The Summer without Men" - 2011
Jansson, Tove "Moominsummer Madness" (Finnish: Vaarallinen juhannus) - 1954
Kingsolver, Barbara "Prodigal Summer" - 2001
Tsypkin, Leonid Borissowitsch (Леонид Борисович Цыпкин) "Summer in Baden-Baden" (Russian: Ljubit Dostojewskowo - лджубит достоджэвсково) - 1981
Tucker, Helen "The Sound of Summer Voices" - 1969
Weidermann, Volker "Summer Before the Dark: Stefan Zweig and Joseph Roth, Ostend 1936" (Ostende - 1936, Sommer der Freundschaft) - 2014

So, whether you plan a summer holiday, a summer without men, a summer in Baden-Band or a summer of friendship, I hope it will be a good one.

Monday 14 June 2021

Savage Carlson, Natalie "The Family Under the Bridge"

Savage Carlson, Natalie "The Family Under the Bridge" - 1958

I remember selling this book in our school book sales. I probably bought this copy back then, after all, we, the parent volunteers, were our best customers.

But somehow, I never read it. Neither with my boys nor by myself. So, when in the Classic Challenge 2021, "a children's classic" was one of the prompts, I thought this might be the right one.

It's an alright book, you can tell it's sixty years old. I doubt children nowadays still would love it. The writing is pretty simple but the story doesn't grasp you. It was hard to follow any of the decisions made, especially the last one when the homeless guy turns into a grandfather/Santalike figure. Didn't sound real.

Still, it was interesting to read a book from that time-frame.

From the back cover:

"Armand was an old hobo who lived under a bridge in the streets of Paris. He begged and did odd jobs for money to keep himself warm and fed, and he liked his carefree life.

Then one day just before Christmas a struggling mother and her three children walked into his life. Though he tried to ignore their troubles, Armand soon found himself caring for the family and sharing his unusual home under the bridge with them. But the children missed having a home of their own. What could one old man do to make their Christmas wish come true?

Friday 11 June 2021

Book Quotes of the Week

"My father always says, 'Never trust anyone who has a TV bigger than their bookshelf.' So I make sure I read. Back at home, I just put up a massive bookcase and asked everyone I know and love to help me fill it with their favourite books. I'ts been quite nice because I've learned a lot about my friends and family from what they've been giving me. A book says a lot about a person." Emilia Clarke

I think that quote her father said might be from one of the Marx brothers but no matter who said it first, that person was definitely correct. 

"Reading is a discount ticket to everywhere." Mary Schmich

So very true. I've travelled the world with only a smidgen of the cost a flight to one location would have taken me.

"I wanted to read immediately. The only fear was that of books coming to an end." Eudora Welty

The true nightmare of every reader.

Find more book quotes here.

Thursday 10 June 2021

Lahiri, Jhumpa "The Lowland"

Lahiri, Jhumpa "The Lowland" - 2013

I've read a few books by Jhumpa Lahiri and I've had this on my TBR pile for a while. I have no idea why it took me so long to start it. Oh, wait a minute, must be those hundreds of other books on that shelf. LOL

Whilst I have read many books about India, and quite a few about the independence (e.g. Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie) and the fight for it, I didn't know much about the Naxalites, just a general knowledge that they existed. In this book, we get acquainted with the organisation and its followers. And the story also touches the reason why Indians would leave their country plus the role of women in society back then, both in India as well as in the USA.

I knew it was a violent time but it's different when you hear about individuals and how they fared under certain circumstances, even if they are fictitious. Since I always like to research the background of my books, especially if they are historical ones, I learned that the group still exists and there are still many conflicts with them and numerous people are killed every year. We hardly ever hear about that in the rest of the world. What a shame!

And then there is also a "next generation" in the book and all the implications that arise from growing up in a country where your parents weren't born.

I found this novel extremely interesting and well written.

From the back cover:

"The Lowland is an engrossing family saga steeped in history: the story of two very different brothers bound by tragedy; a fiercely brilliant woman haunted by her past; a country torn by revolution. A powerful new novel - set in both India and America - that explores the price of idealism and a love that can last long past death.

Growing up in Calcutta, born just fifteen months apart, Subhash and Udayan Mitra are inseparable brothers, one often mistaken for the other. But they are also opposites, with gravely different futures ahead of them.

From Subhash's earliest memories, at every point, his brother was there. In the suburban streets of Calcutta where they wandered before dusk and in the hyacinth-strewn ponds where they played for hours on end, Udayan was always in his older brother's sight. So close in age, they were inseparable in childhood and yet, as the years pass - as U.S tanks roll into Vietnam and riots sweep across India - their brotherly bond can do nothing to forestall the tragedy that will upend their lives.

Udayan - charismatic and impulsive - finds himself drawn to the Naxalite movement, a rebellion waged to eradicate inequity and poverty. He will give everything, risk all, for what he believes, and in doing so will transform the futures of those dearest to him: his newly married, pregnant wife, his brother and their parents. For all of them, the repercussions of his actions will reverberate across continents and seep through the generations that follow.

Epic in its canvas and intimate in its portrayal of lives undone and forged anew,
The Lowland is a deeply felt novel of family ties that entangle and fray in ways unforeseen and unrevealed, of ties that ineluctably define who we are. With all the hallmarks of Jhumpa Lahiri's achingly poignant, exquisitely empathetic story-telling, this is her most devastating work of fiction to date."

Tuesday 8 June 2021

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Top Twelve Books I Loved that Made Me Want More Books Like Them

"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: Books I Loved that Made Me Want More Books Like Them 
(Jana thinks the wording is weird here, so if you have a better way to say this please let me know! What I’m thinking is… you read a book and immediately wanted more just like it, perhaps in the same genre, about the same topic or theme, by the same author, etc. For example, I once read a medical romance and then went to find more because it was so good. The same thing happened to me with pirate historical romances and romantic suspense.)

Not such a weird wording, there are often books that instigate us to immediately read something similar. Or at least wanting to read something similar or more by the same author. I have a few.

One of my favourite books ever, I had to search for a while until I found the second one and then wait for almost another decade before the third was published.
Stroyar, J.N. "The Children's War" - 2001
- "A Change of Regime" - 2004
- "Becoming Them" - 2017

Then there are the books where you know already when you start it that the author passed away after writing their very first book.
Shaffer, Mary Ann & Barrows, Annie "The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Society" - 2008
Powers, Charles T. "In the Memory of the Forest" - 1997

Or there are some where you find many other books on the same subject. We read a book about Tulipomania in the Netherlands in the book club. I found it really fascinating and have read quite a few more novels and non-fiction books about it since then.
Moggach, Deborah "Tulip Fever" - 1999
Dash, Mike "Tulipomania: The Story of the World’s Most Coveted Flower and the Extraordinary Passions It Aroused" - 2000
Pavord, Anna "The Tulip" - 2004
Laker, Rosalind "The Golden Tulip" - 1989
Marini, Lorenzo "The Man of the Tulips" (Italian: L'uomo dei tulipani) - 2002

It's often book club books that lead me to discover whole new genres.
Atwood, Margaret "The Handmaid's Tale" / "The Handmaid's Tale" - 1985
Dystopian novels, some of my favourites.
Lamb, Christina "The Sewing Circles of Herat: A Personal Voyage Through Afghanistan" - 2002
Everything about Afghanistan.
Kingsolver, Barbara "The Poisonwood Bible" - 1988
Barbara Kingsolver has become one of my favourite authors after we read this one in the book club.
Lawson, Mary "Crow Lake" - 2002
And the same goes for Mary Lawson. Unfortunately, she has not written as much.

Or authors where I start one book and end up reading all of their works:
Oates, Joyce Carol
"We Were the Mulvaneys" - 1996

Pamuk, Orhan
"My Name is Red" (Turkish: Benim Adim Kirmizi) - 1998

Ruiz Zafón, Carlos
"The Shadow of the Wind" (Spanish: La Sombra del Viento) - 2001

Rutherfurd, Edward
"London - The Novel" - 1997
All of them belong to my all-time favourites now.

I could have found lots of others but I wanted to put together a wide variety of literature so there is at least one idea for everyone.

Monday 7 June 2021

Judd, Naomi "Love Can Build a Bridge"

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

I knew nothing much about country music when we moved to the UK in 1994. Well, I knew the "Old Garde", Willie Nelson, Hank Snow and Hank Williams, Dave Dudley, Johnnie Cash, Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers, Tammie Wynette and the likes, but none of the more modern ones. I had never heard of Alan Jackson, George Jones, Travis Tritt, George Strait, Garth Brooks, Billy Ray Cyrus, Dwight Yoakam, Reba McEntire, Shania Twain, or Mary Chapin Carpenter let alone Naomi or Wynonna Judd.

But at the time, you could get an American TV channel, called Country Music Television (CMT). And that's when I discovered a lot of the newer singers. However, I think I remember seeing Wynonna only once or twice and "Love Can Build a Bridge" only performed by three other ladies, one of them I remember being Dolly Parton.

So, despite of me hardly knowing the Judds, how did I end up reading their life story? I found the book on one of the swap shelves and I do like Ashley Judd as an actress, so I thought it might be interesting for me. Still, it took me about ten years to tackle it. When the Xanadu challenge I take part in, gave us the topic "Music", I thought that is finally the prompt to start it.

It was an interesting book about how you become a singer and all the upheavals of such a career. It was also about a single mother raising two daughters. Gosh, was I happy I have boys while reading this! On the other hand, she left her kids alone a lot, especially Ashley when she started her career with her more complicated daughter. She was easier to be pushed aside. I don't consider that very Christian.

I thought it might be a European (or rather non-US-American) thing that the many frequent remarks about God and praying and getting what you deserve if only you believe in the right God annoyed me but I have read other reviews (by US-Americans) who thought she was a little "too preachy". I'm always careful about people who cite the bible all the time.

I always try to read a little about the background of a book both before and after the book, especially if it's non-fiction. So, I was shocked when I read about the parentage of Wynonna. According to the book, Naomi (then Diane) became pregnant with her daughter Christina Ciminella (Wynonna) at the age of seventeen by her then boyfriend Michael Ciminella but on various websites, a guy called Charles Jordan, is Wynonna's father and he abandoned Naomi shortly after finding out about the pregnancy and she went back to her former boyfriend. She mentions her family and all their background stories so much and doesn't even care whether they want them to be known to the whole world, so why lie about something like this. Made the whole experience of the book a little foul.

But if this book was good for one thing. I am grateful to have two lovely boys, a wonderful husband and a normal life. I wouldn't want to swap it for all the money and glamour in the world.

From the back cover:

"Here, at last, is the exquisitely personal story of a mother and daughter who sang like angels and fought like the devil - but loved each other through struggle, triumph, and tragedy.

For eight glorious years, Naomi Judd and daughter Wynonna lived the American dream. They were signed on the spot to RCA in 1983 in a rare live audition and went on to set the music world on its ear. Their pristine harmonies, unique personalities, and stunning presence captured mainstream America's heart.

The Judds were country music's most-honored and top-selling women. They were undefeated as Duet of the Year for eight years, picked up six Grammys, and won a vast array of other awards. In the U.S. alone, they sold over fifteen million albums and were the number one touring act in their industry for 1991.

They were on top of the world when Naomi made the shocking announcement that she was being forced to retire because of a life-threatening liver disease. Their Farewell Concert, televised on cable, was the most successful musical show in pay-per-view history. Their last song together broke America's heart and ended one of the most beloved acts of all time in country music.

Naomi spent the next two years in isolation, reliving her extraordinary life and career for these pages.

Love Can Build a Bridge is written with the same raw emotion and candor that made the Judds such electrifying performers. Funny, shocking, wise, inspiring, and vulnerable, this behind-the-scenes look into the Judds' private lives spares no one and nothing.

Love Can Build a Bridge is a soaring paean of what happens when a fairy tale and grim reality collide."

Saturday 5 June 2021

Six Degrees of Separation ~ The Bass Rock

  The Bass Rock

Wyld, Evie "The Bass Rock" - 2020

#6Degrees of Separation:
from The Base Rock (Goodreads) to The Stone Diaries

#6Degrees is a monthly link-up hosted by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best. I love the idea. See more about this challenge, its history, further books and how I found this here.

This month's prompt starts with The Bass Rock by Evie Wyld, the winner of the Stella Prize 2021.

As usual, I haven't read the book. Neither have I read anything by the author or ever heard of her. I thought about either starting with a book that takes in Scotland or one with three women but in the end, I went with the words in the title. It's interesting how the same word in a title often leads you to a completely different books.

Simmonds, Jeremy "Number One in Heaven - The heroes who died for Rock 'n' Roll" - 2006
A non-fiction book with facts on all those Rock & Pop icons that have left us far too early due to an untimely death.

Albom, Mitch "The Five People You Meet in Heaven" - 2003
An idea about the meaning of life.

Harris, Joanne "Five Quarters of the Orange" - 2001
A family trying to come to terms with their past, their behaviour in WWII.

LeBor, Adam "City of Oranges. An Intimate History of Arabs and Jews in Jaffa" - 2006
Another non-fiction book about the life in Jaffa before and after the declaration of the state of Israel and how much has changed for its inhabitants.

Löwenstein, Anna "The Stone City" (Esperanto: La Ŝtona Urbo) - 1999
Originally written in Esperanto (and translated into English by the author herself), this novel is a good information about life in the first century both in Britain and in Rome, life in freedom and life as a slave.

Shields, Carol "The Stone Diaries" - 1993
Another novel about the life of a woman born at the beginning of the last century.

And there I've wandered from rock to stone. Not such a long journey this time. 😉

Look for further monthly separation posts here.

Friday 4 June 2021

Book Quotes of the Week

"Nothing can do what a book can do. Lifts you out of your life… to a whole new world, whole new perspective. A book is like a dream you are borrowing from a friend." Dave Kellet

Where would we be without books? They have given me everything, an education, a life. 

"There's a web of people who've put reading at the center of their lives because they know from experience that reading makes them more expansive, generous people." George Saunders

Even if that's not the reason we start reason, it often is the result.

"Reading is a way for me to expand my mind, open my eyes, and fill up my heart." Oprah Winfrey

Books are an overall healer.

Find more book quotes here.

Thursday 3 June 2021

Brown, Marc "Arthur's Nose"

Brown, Marc "Arthur's Nose" - 1976

It's about time I wrote about one of my younger son's favourite series when he was little. He even dressed up as his favourite aardvark at one of the school's book parades.

We have always enjoyed reading those books together. Some of them are easier than others which makes them ideal for beginning readers.

This book about Arthur's nose was the first one in a long series about children that are different from others and it is still as relevant as in 1976. You can see from the two different covers, how much the drawings have changed but the message is still the same. No matter who you are, it doesn't matter what you look like. It's always the inside that counts.

Conclusion of the book: "There is a lot more about Arthur than his nose."

From the back cover:

"Arthur doesn't like his nose so he went to get a new one. Which did he choose? This is a fine lesson for young ones to learn that differences are nice and that we should be happy with ourselves just the way we are."

List of all the other books about Arthur and his friends:

1976 - Arthur's Nose
1979 - Arthur's Eyes
1980 - Arthur's Valentine
1981 - The True Francine
1982 - Arthur Goes to Camp
1982 - Arthur's Halloween
1983 - Arthur's April Fool
1983 - Arthur's Thanksgiving
1984 - Arthur's Christmas
1985 - Arthur's Tooth
1986 - Arthur's Teacher Trouble
1987 - Arthur's Baby
1988 - D.W. All Wet
1989 - Arthur's Birthday
1990 - Arthur's Pet Business
1991 - Arthur Meets the President (Early Moments)
1992 - Arthur Babysits
1993 - D.W. Thinks Big
1993 - D.W. Rides Again
1993 - Arthur's Family Vacation
1993 - Arthur's New Puppy
1994 - Arthur's First Sleepover
1994 - Arthur's Chicken Pox
1995 - Arthur's TV Trouble
1995 - D.W., the Picky Eater
1995 - Arthur Goes to School
1996 - Arthur Writes a Story
1996 - Arthur's Reading Race
1996 - Glasses for D.W.
1996 - Arthur's Neighborhood
1996 - Arthur and the True Francine
1997 - Arthur's Computer Disaster
1997 - Say the Magic Word
1997 - D.W.'s Lost Blankie
1997 - Arthur's Really Helpful Word Book
1997 - Arthur Tricks the Tooth Fairy
1998 - Arthur Lost and Found
1998 - Arthur's Really Helpful Bedtime Stories
1998 - Arthur Decks the Hall
1999 - Arthur's Underwear
2000 - Arthur's Teacher Moves In
2000 - Arthur's Perfect Christmas
2002 - Arthur, It's Only Rock 'n' Roll
2006 - Arthur Jumps into Fall
2011 - Arthur Turns Green
Apparently, in one of the newer books, there is a gay wedding by one of his teachers. I think that shows how relevant this series still is.

Tuesday 1 June 2021

Happy June!

Happy June to all my friends and readers

New Calendar picture with this
beautiful watercolour painting by Frank Koebsch

"Abends am Strand von Kühlungsborn"
"In the evening on the beach in Kühlungsborn"

  If this isn't an incentive to go to the sea, I don't know what is. Sitting in such a lovely beach chair and looking at a beautiful sundown, brilliant!

* * *

The official name in Low German is "Broakmaond"or "Braakmaand", depending how they spell it in the area. "Broak" means Fallow, when you leave arable without sowing for a vegetative cycle so that the land and relax and recover. And "Maond", of course, means moon or month.

There are no official holidays in Germany in June. Of course, sometimes Pentecost falls into June and then there is Corpus Christi but it's not a day where people are given time off work.

We used to celebrate the 17
th of June as German Unity Day before reunification. In 1953, there was an uprising in the German Democratic Republic because people were dissatisfied with the rulers (and they had every right to be). It was put down by the German People's Police with the aid of Soviet troups and many people died, officially 55 but who knows how many were hushed up. In the following year, the day was declared "Day of German Unity" and celebrated in the Federal Republic of Germany, i.e. the Western part of the country until 1990. Since then, we celebrate it on the day of reunification, 3rd of October.

* * *

Of course, that doesn't mean we can't celebrate. Many villages and towns have their "Schützenfest" (shooters festival) in June. Guys in hunter's uniforms get together and shoot targets. The best shooter is the king for the year. And they hold a parade with the king and queen from last year and their whole court, shooters from neighbouring villages, but also marching bands.

But for most participants, it's just a way of getting together. Smaller villages might just have a tent where you can drink beer, a shooting gallery, so men can shoot a flower for their beloved, a sweets booth and a carousel, larger towns often have several festivals in the separate communities or a large one with lots of attractions. The largest Schützenfest of all is in Hannover in the capital of Lower Saxony (my state) with over 200 booths and attractions and around 10,000 shooters plus 150.000 to 300.00 visitors every year. The second largest takes place in our town. Here are 2.800 active shooters. Of course, due to Corona, the festival couldn't take place last year and again this year. All the fans hope that it will take place in 2022 again.

When I was little, we were always looking forward to the feast of St. Peter and St. Paul on the 29
th of June because that was usually the time when the blueberries were ripe and we could go into the forest to gather them.

* * *

Weather lore (or farmers' rule) for June:

Menschensinn und Juniwind ändern sich oft sehr geschwind.
Human senses and June winds often change very quickly

Das Wetter am Siebenschläfertag sieben Wochen bleiben mag.
The weather on dormouse day may stay seven weeks. (June 27th is dormouse day)

The weather is getting better again, we had some wet spells in between but nothing too serious or too cold.
I wish you all well.

* * *

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

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

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

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Top Books from Eastern Europe

"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 a Freebie

Image Credit Maps-Russia.com

There are always subjects that are interesting and that I just love to follow. But there are also subjects that hardly ever come up, like books from certain countries or books in other languages. One of the most neglected areas in the blogging community is probably Eastern Europe. Except for a few top Russian authors, many are widely unknown, even the ones that were awarded a Nobel Prize (that's why I marked them specially). Therefore, I thought I'd dig up some of the good ones that aren't always in the top lists. Sometimes, there is more than one great book from a country, so I've listed a few more this week.

Kadaré, Ismail "The Fall of the Stone City" (aka Chronicle in Stone) (Albanian: Darka e Gabuar) - 1971

Alexijevich, Svetlana "Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster" (Russian: Чернобыльская молитва/Černobylskaja molitva) - 2006 (Nobel Prize)

Filipović, Zlata "Zlata's Diary: A Child's Life in Wartime Sarajevo" (Bosnian: Zlatin dnevnik: otroštvo v obleganem Sarajevu) - 1993
Kulin, Ayşe "Rose of Sarajevo" (Turkish: Sevdalinka) - 1999
Stanišić, Saša "How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone" (German: Wie der Soldat das Grammofon repariert) - 2006

Štimec, Spomenka "Croatian War Nocturnal" (Kroata Milita Noktlibro) - 1993

Kross, Jaan "Professor Martens' Departure" (Estonian: Professor Martensi ärasõit) - 1984

Gárdonyi, Géza "Slave of the Huns" aka "The Invisible Man" (Hungarian: A láthatatlan ember) - 1901
Kertész, Imre "Fateless" or "Fatelessness" (Hungarian: Sorstalanság) - 1975 (Nobel Prize)
Wiesel, Elie (Eliezer Vizl) "Night" (French: La Nuit/Yiddish: Un di Velt Hot Geshvign) - 1958 (Nobel Prize)

Tokarczuk, Olga "Primeval and other Times" (Polish: Prawiek i inne czasy) - 1996 (Nobel Prize)

Eliade, Mircea "Marriage in Heaven" (Romanian: Nuntă în cer) - 1938
Müller, Herta "The Appointment" (German: Heute wär ich mir lieber nicht begegnet) - 1997 (Nobel Prize)
Müller, Herta "The King Bows and Kills" (German: Der König verneigt sich und tötet) - 2003 (Nobel Prize)

I left out the most famous ones like Dostoewsky, Gogol, Gorky, Pasternak, Solzhenitsyn, Tolstoy.

Chukovskaya, Lydia "Going Under" (Russian: Спуск под воду/Spusk pod vodu)
Rand, Ayn "We the Living" - 1936
Rasputin, Valentin "Farewell to Matyora" (Russian: Прощание с Матёрой/Proschanie s Materoj) - 1976
- "To Live and Remember" (or: Live and Remember) (Russian: Живи и помни = Zhiwi e pomni) - 1974
Tsypkin, Leonid Borissowitsch (Леонид Борисович Цыпкин) "Summer in Baden-Baden" (Russian: Ljubit Dostojewskowo - лджубит достоджэвсково) - 1981
Ulitzkaya, Lyudmila "Imago" or "The Big Green Tent" (RUS: Зеленый шатер = Zelenyi shater)

Andrić, Ivo "The Bridge on the Drina" (Serbo-Croat: На Дрини Ћуприја or Na Drini Ćuprija) - 1945 (Nobel Prize)

Lewycka, Marina "A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian" - 2005

I know there is always some controversy about where Eastern Europe ends. In my opinion, anything that lies behind Turkey and Russia is Asia but in a lot of lists you find them (and the Caucasus countries like Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and also the Republics of Abkhazia, Artsakh and South Ossetia or the unrecognized state of Transnistria) as belonging to Europe. So, I have included a nice book about Azerbaijan, again written in another language, German, because the author lives there now.

Grjasnowa, Olga "All Russians Love Birch Trees" (German: Der Russe ist einer, der Birken liebt) - 2012

I'm still missing quite a few countries, so if you have any advice on good books from those countries, please let me know.

North Macedonia

As you can see, not all the books were written in the language of the respective country. That's partly due to the authors emigrating elsewhere.

After I chose this topic, one of the blogs I follow posted a guide for readers to Eastern Europe. There are some good books in this list.