Tuesday, 30 November 2021

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Bookish Memories

         

"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 Memories

(Share stories of your reading life as a child, events you’ve gone to, books that made an impression on you, noteworthy experiences with books, authors you’ve met, etc. Reminisce with me!)

We had a somewhat similar topic last year in the Classics Club: The Classic Meme 2.0 - Classics we read as a child. But since this is about any kind of bookish memories, I didn't include all of those in here.

* * *

I remember being able to read a little before I started school. Letters always fascinated me. I belonged to one of the first students in our state that were not taught reading letter by letter but with words. My first sentence was "Da ist Heiner". (There is Heiner.) Unfortunately, I couldn't find a picture of the books that introduced me to my biggest adventure in life. It's been a while, I started school in the sixties. (So, if anyone can ever tell me what the title of this was, please let me know, I'll be eternally grateful.)

My first memory of a book I owned was when I was seven. I had just had my appendix removed and my parents brought me "Heidi". I still have that copy today (with the cover from the picture).

Spyri, Johanna "Heidi" (GE: Heidis Lehr- und Wanderjahre + Heidi kann brauchen, was es gelernt hat) - 1880/81

Of course, we had to read a lot of books in school and I was happy about that. One of my favourites was "Pole Poppenspäler" (
Paul the Puppeteer) but I also loved the following:

Droste-Hülshoff, Annette von "The Jew's Beech" (GE: Die Judenbuche) - 1842
Hauff, Wilhelm "The Heart of Stone (aka The Cold Heart or the Marble Heart) (GE:
Das kalte Herz) - 1837
Lessing, Gotthold Ephraim "Nathan the Wise" (GE: Nathan der Weise) - 1779
Storm, Theodor "Paul the Puppeteer" (GE: Pole Poppenspäler) - 1874

The next memories are my school library and our little church library in the village. I borrowed any book I could get but I especially remember this one because it was one of the first "adult books" I read and I read all the books by Mary Scott that I could get a hold of afterwards.

Scott, Mary "What Does It Matter" - 1966

And then I found Pearl S. Buck and with her my love for China and the whole wide world. This was my first one:

Buck, Pearl S. "Peony" - 1948


And then there are the books I read with my children, all of them bringing back wonderful memories. I only mention the series they loved so much, not all the individual books, most of them can be seen on my list of children's books.

Berenstain, Stan and Jan "The Berenstain Bears" - 1962ff.
Bridwell, Norman "Clifford" - 1963-2015
Brown, Marc "Arthur's Nose" - 1976
Carle, Eric "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" - 1969
Civardi, Anne; Cartwright, Stephen "Things People Do" - 1986
Davis, Lee "P.B. Bear" - 1990s
Deary, Terry "Horrible Histories"
- 1993ff.    
Handford, Martin "Where's Wally?" (aka Where's Waldo) - 1987
Hargreaves, Roger "Mr. Men"
- 1971ff.
Pope Osborne, Mary "Magic Tree House" Series - 1992ff.
Rowling, J.K. "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" - 1997
Scarry, Richard "What Do People Do All Day"
- 1968 et al.


A B C

But where would we be without the alphabet? We coulnd't read anything if it wasn't there. And I've always been very interested in that.

I learned several types of spelling/writing. First, it was the Sütterlin script, a German alphabet developed from the old German Kurrent, also known as cursive or German script. It was easier to write with the new pointed nibs than the old style. Sütterlin was taught in German schools from 1915 to 1941, so when my parents went there. Because it was still very current when I went to school in the sixties, my mother taught me how to read and write it. My parents always said it was weird how Hitler had always insisted on everything being "German" yet he had forbidden the German script and introduced the Latin one in Germany. Yes, he was an idiot and didn't even follow his own ideas properly.

The next alphabet I learned was Bulgarian. I went there for an Esperanto congress in 1978 and I have always tried to learn a little about a language, wherever I go. I usually can say Hello and Goodbye, Please and Thank You. At least. And read the letters. Well, I haven't been to East Asia. Anyway, Bulgaria uses the Cyrillic alphabet, actually, it was the first country who did this. And since there are only a few letters that differ from the Russian alphabet, I can read that, as well. Doesn't mean I understand it, I read it just the way as I would read Finnish or Hungarian, I recognize the letters but not the words.

Then there was Hebrew and Arabic which I dipped into during our participation in an Esperanto congress in Israel in 1986. I can still recognize the letters and read a few words.

And, last but not least, I learned some of the letters in school, not in a language class but I am sure you all did learn the same letters as I did. I'm talking about the Greek alphabet. While we use alpha and omega also in church, we do use at least the first four or five letters in mathematics to define angles. And then there are the letters you hear in US high school and college movies. Their fraternities and sororities usually have three letters to choose from: Delta-Kappa-Nu, Lambda-Sigma-Phi … whatever. I went to Greece with my son's year group in 2005 and, as with all the other spellings, I went and extended my knowledge of their alphabet before going and therefore could practise it while there.


Word cloud made with WordItOut 

I have put together the title of my blog and the word "bookblog" in those alphabets. Unfortunately, most pages don't recognize the Sütterlin script, so here is another picture with their alphabet.

And what are your memories of being introduced to reading?

Monday, 29 November 2021

Nonfiction November 2021 Week 5 New to My TBR #NonficNov 5

Week 5 (November 29-December 3): New to My TBR
Jaymi at The OC Book Girl

 

It’s been a month full of amazing non-fiction books! Which ones have made it onto your TBR? Be sure to link back to the original blogger who posted about that book!

📚📚📚

The last week is always both sad and joyful. Sad because Non-fiction November comes to an end. Joyful because we get to look at our TBR piles and see what books we have added lately. I must say, I tend to read the non-fiction books faster than the fiction ones, so there are not that many on my TBR pile but I still had a few to choose from.

Some of the books on my list have not been translated into English [translated title in square brackets and italics]. Yet, I hope. But there are still quite a few that are either English in the original or have been translated.
Ackroyd, Peter "Dominion: The History of England from the Battle of Waterloo to Victoria's Diamond Jubilee. Volume V" - 2018 (Goodreads)
Bythell, Shaun "Confessions of a Bookseller" - 2019
Hawes, James "The Shortest History of Germany - A Retelling for Our Times" - 2017 (Goodreads)
Körner, Torsten "In der Männer-Republik. Wie Frauen die Politik eroberten" (GE) [In the men's republic: how women conquered politcs] - 2020 (Goodreads)
Orth, Stephan "Couchsurfing in Iran: Revealing a Hidden World" (GE: Couchsurfing im Iran - Meine Reise hinter verschlossene Türen) - 2015
Pamuk, Orhan "Manzaradan Parçalar: Hayat, Sokaklar, Edebiyat" (TR) [Pieces from the View: Life, Streets, Literature] (German translation: Der Blick aus meinem Fenster) - 2008 (Goodreads)
Sadat, Jehan (جيهان السادات Dschihan as-Sadat) "A Woman of Egypt" - 1987 (Goodreads)
Westerteicher, Inga "Liebe Freundin: Briefe Berühmter Frauen" (GE) [Dear friend: letters from famous women] - 2000
Wickert, Ulrich "Frankreich muss man lieben, um es zu verstehen" (GE) [You have to love France to understand it] - 2017 (Goodreads)
Wood, Levison "Eastern Horizons. Hitchhiking the Silk Road" - 2017 (Goodreads)

For more information on Nonfiction November check here.

Friday, 26 November 2021

Book Quotes of the Week

      
Word cloud made with WordItOut

"Reading was an escape to a different world, a different life. Plus it was very cheap." Sasha Laurens

Definitely the cheapest way to go anywhere.

"I love books. I adore everything about them. I love the feel of the pages on my fingertips. They are light enough to carry, yet heavy with words and ideas. I love the sound of pages flicking against my fingers. Print against fingertips. Books make people quiet, yet they are so loud." Nnedi Okorafor, The Book of Phoenix

Sounds good. I guess anyone who reads this here loves books and can agree with the heaviness of words and ideas. Which I love even more. And, hopefully, the books with the biggest messages are the loudest.

"Literacy is one of the greatest gifts a person could receive." Jen Selinsky

Not just ONE of the greatest, THE greatest. Where would we be without the ability to read?

Find more book quotes here.

Thursday, 25 November 2021

#ThrowbackThursday. The Poisonwood Bible

Kingsolver, Barbara "The Poisonwood Bible" - 1998

One of my favourite books ever. The story about a preacher who takes his wife and four daughters to Africa, all five of them have different experiences and see the country with different perspectives.

This book doesn't just tell the story of a family and different women but also the history of the Belgian Congo and the differences of the cultures.

Still one of my all time-favourites. And the first of many books by Barbara Kingsolver that I have read since.

Read more on my original post here.

Wednesday, 24 November 2021

Hauff, Wilhelm "The Heart of Stone"

Hauff, Wilhelm "The Heart of Stone" aka The Cold Heart or the Marble Heart) (German: Das kalte Herz) - 1837

I was reminiscing about books from my youth and school years and noticed that I never reviewed one of my favourite novels we read in school.

This story is from the first half of the 19th century and even though we live in different times now, the message of the book still applies. We need empathy and feelings in our lives, otherwise it is completely meaningless.

Wilhelm Hauff's fairy tales cannot be compared to those by the Brothers Grimm, they have a very dark streak.

Peter Munk is a woodsman in the Black Forest. He lives with his mother and sells produces and sells charcoal. He falls in love with a village girl but since he is poor, he can't marry her. Because he was born on a Sunday, he can ask the forest spirits to help him. First, he turns the small "Glasmännlein" (little glass man). He first wishes for wealth but he loses all his money. Then he asks the dark forest spirit, "Holländer-Michel" (Dutch Michel). He also grants him wealth but wants his heart which he replaces with a stone as he has done with all the rich villagers before him.

From the back cover (translated):

"'The Cold Heart' is a Black Forest fairy tale in which the poet describes the fate of the Sunday child Peter Munk. After serious mistakes, Peter Munk's fate is finally brought to a happy end by the friendly elemental spirit of the little glass man. "

Remark by Goodreads:

"This work has been selected by scholars as being culturally important and is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it.

Scholars believe, and we concur, that this work is important enough to be preserved, reproduced, and made generally available to the public.
"

Tuesday, 23 November 2021

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Top Twenty Characters I’d Love An Update On

        

"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
 Characters I’d Love An Update On

There are books where I'd love a sequel but a lot of those that aren't a series already have an ending. However, I found some where I'd like to hear about the future after the "happy end" (or sad one sometimes).

Abarbanell, Stephan "Displaced" (GE: Morgenland) - 2015 
Bush, Catherine "Claire’s Head" - 2004
Chevalier, Tracy "The Virgin Blue" - 1997
Ephron, Nora "When Harry Met Sally ..." - 1990
Falcones, Ildefonso "The Hand of Fatima" (E: La mano de Fátima) - 2009
Frazier, Charles "Cold Mountain" - 1997
Harris, Joanne "Chocolat" - 1999
Kingsolver, Barbara "The Poisonwood Bible" - 1998
Lawson, Mary "Crow Lake" - 2002
Mercier, Pascal"Night Train to Lisbon" (GE: Nachrzug nach Lissabon) - 2004
Mosse, Kate "Labyrinth" - 2005
Myers, Benjamin "The Offing" - 2019
Otto, Whitney "How to Make an American Quilt" - 1991
Owens, Delia "Where the Crawdads Sing" - 2018
Powers, Charles T. "In the Memory of the Forest" - 1997

Rasputin, Valentin "Farewell to Matyora" (RUS: Прощание с Матёрой = Proshshaniye s Matyoroy) - 1976
Seth, Vikram"A Suitable Boy" - 1993
Shaffer, Mary Ann & Barrows, Annie "The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Society" - 2008
Tellkamp, Uwe "The Tower" (GE: Der Turm) - 2008
Zusak, Markus "The Book Thief" - 2005

Unfortunately, some of thse authors won't be able to write a sequel since they passed away (Nora Ephron, Charles T. Powers, Valentin Rasputin, Mary Ann Shaffer) but the others might be tempted?

I know, I've overdone it (again) but it's still TTT. 😉

I'm looking forward to see what the other bloggers came up with. I'm sure there are some real gems among those characters they would like to meet again.

Monday, 22 November 2021

Rushdie, Salman "The Satanic Verses" Buddy-Read - Questions to Part 5

 

The Satanic Verses
by Salman Rushdie
was first published in 1988
Literary fiction/magic realism
Goodreads

Discussion Questions Part 5, Week 4

We are almost nearing the end. This week we are discussing the third quarter of our book. As always, you can answer as many or as few of the questions as you like.

1.    What do you think about this chapter's title? Which city is meant and why is she both seen and unseen?

My answers (Marianne @ Let's Read):
    When I read the title "A City Visible but Unseen", I had to think about Schrödinger's cat. She's there and she isn't. That's the same with the city Rushdie describes. London is a city of immigrants but it's not the same whether you are an immigrant or a native, or rather, a European or non-European as to the colour of your skin. I think the title gives us a little view of the dilemma these people are in. I was an expat in a few countries, but nobody could see that I didn't belong there if I just walked the street, so I guess a lot of the experiences many immigrants have were spared to me. That doesn't mean I never experienced any animosities or even "racism".
    So, as an immigrant of a different skin colour, you better remain unseen by the majority, change your identity. Almost like with children who should be "seen but not heard".
Emma's answers (Emma @ Words and Peace):
    Thanks for these great questions. Unfortunately, I found this a very difficult part of the book, and most of the time, I had no idea what was going on. (Remark by me, Marianne: I totally agree.)
    The title of his part, "A city visible but unseen".
    When it is used in the part, it seems to refer to Gibreel’s mental illness: "He thought of himself as moving along a route on which, any moment now, a choice would be offered him, a choice -- the thought formulated itself in his head without any help from him -- between two realities, this world and another that was also right there, visible but unseen."
    But I think this is another way of relating the immigrant experience. The city visible and unseen could be both London and the Indian city some characters were coming from, it’s the case of Hind for instance.
    London is visible, as they now live there, but unseen in the sense that it’s totally foreign to their previous Indian experience.
    And Dhaka for instance is also unseen both for the British (they see the Indian immigrants without understanding the, without seeing them really), and for the immigrants themselves, as their current life is so foreign to them that they may tend to even forget, un-see what they used to know: "Where now was the city she [Hind] knew? Where the village of her youth and the green waterways of home? The customs around which she had built her life were lost, too, or at least were hard to find."
    Sadly, the only way she can keep in touch with her previous city is movies:  "for the endless supply of Bengali and Hindi movies on V C R through which (along with her ever-increasing hoard of Indian movie magazines) she could stay in touch with events in the ‘real world’".
    Everything is foreign: the language and its "alien sounds", the food, the weather!, the pace of life, "The customs around which she had built her life were lost, too, or at least were hard to find. Nobody in this Vilayet had time for the slow courtesies of life back home, or for the many observances of faith."
    The new city is so foreign that it seems to be on another planet: "Zeeny Vakil on that other planet, Bombay, at the far rim of the galaxy".
    And this is pushed even further: the new city is so foreign that Hind calls it "a demon city".
    And for Saladin, London becomes Hell: "Yes: this was Hell, all right. The city of London, transformed into Jahannum, Gehenna, Muspellheim."
    I love the hellish description of London: "From beneath the earth came tremors denoting the passage of huge subterranean worms that devoured and regurgitated human beings, and from the skies the thrum of choppers and the screech of higher, gleaming birds."
    The immigrants had opted for newness, but they get so much more than expected in terms of newness, to the point of losing their identity and being transformed into beasts.

2.    Why is Jumpy Joshi looking after Saladin? Do you think he is feeling guilty and trying to make amends? How does their relationship change during the chapter?

M:    I do think that the main reason is that he feels guilty about his adultery, not just about taking Saladin's wife. Adultery is forbidden in most religions. Even though the two believed Saladin was dead, there remains a part where he might admit that he could have checked better what really happened and probably confesses to himself, that he always wanted Pamela and saw this as his opportunity.
    The return of Saladin does not only intensify this feeling of guilt, it changes their whole lives through the situation Saladin is in.
E:    Not sure here. I see this more in Part VI. Yes, I think Jumpy is feeling guilty, but also scared of this man who seems to be back from the dead. For me, the evolution about their relationship says more about Saladin’s behavior. He seems to be embracing an attitude of submission to fate. Submission is a theme that occurs a few times in the book, obviously as a reference to the meaning of the word ‘islam’.

3.    Why do you think Saladin is upset when he hears that Gibreel is still alive? The author gives the resentment that he didn't help him with the police as a reason but could there be other, underlying ones?
M:    Gibreel and Saladin have a lot more in common than just falling out of the plane. They are both immigrants in England, they both come from India, they both are working in the entertainment industry. Their many dreams give them some sort of idea of their identity and their destiny. Of course, Saladin believes, Gibreel should be on his side, as they are both in the same boat and he should help him when he needs help. So, why doesn't Gibreel help him? And why would one be turned into an angel and the other one into Satan? I'm sure he is wondering why he got the bad part and resents Gibreel for that.
E:    I really have no idea! Besides the obvious fact that he may lose the woman he loves.

4.    Alleluia Cone is another immigrant, or descendent of immigrants. However, she is European and therefore not as easily recognizable as her Indian counterparts. How do you think does this contribute to the story? Do you think the understanding between European and non-European immigrants is larger than between immigrants and non-immigrants? Do you think it is easier for immigrants who look more like someone from the host nation?

M:    As I mentioned before, the story focuses on the way immigrants are treated. They tolerate them but don't want to have anything to do with them, don't want to acknowledge them at all. Also, saying you tolerate immigrants, but otherwise ignoring them means you don't see the racial tensions in your own country.
E:    Alleluia’s experience may help enlarge the story, and show that type of experience is not just specific to Indians arriving in England?
    And I believe that indeed, things get much more complicated if your hair, facial characteristics, and skin color are different from the ones most common in the host nation.

5.    Why do you think God calls himself "the Fellow Upstairs", Gibreel names him "the Guy from Underneath"?

M:    I read somewhere that God gets more and more like the author himself during the novel. If that is the case, he is not sure himself what his role is, both in life as well as in the novel.
    But even if that were not true, we can see this a lot in real life, people don't know whether God is really the "good guy" all the time, whatever is good for one of us, can be extremely bad for the next. All those questions: How can God allow this? Would God tolerate that? They mainly come from our doubts about his existence, our non-belief. Because, if we believe he is there, we don't need any signs.
E:    I can only think of common references to God and the devil.

6.    Why do you think his visions are explained with schizophrenia? Is it the easy way out?

M:    A lot of magic realism seems like visions to me, something that cannot be explained and isn't believed by people who don't have those ideas. I can't follow any of this, I just don't fancy "magic", no matter where someone applies it. Of course, it is always a good way to explain events that cannot otherwise be explained. So, I guess it often is schizophrenia (or another illness) when someone has "visions".
    So, this might already be the explanation to Gibreel's transformation into Gabriel, him believing he is a selected one.
E:    I wonder. Maybe as derision of some religious phenomenon, like so-called prophets who would actually just be people sick in their mind? Which would be fitting with Rushdie’s views of religion.
    And about the way people have been confusing mental illness with possession?
    And also to show how the experience of life as immigrants can be so very different from what they have known before, that this foreignness can lead to a split in personality and to mental illness? "He felt slow, heavy, distanced from his own consciousness."

7.    Do we think the subject of Good and Evil is well explored and explained in this chapter?
M:    I think everything is well explored in the whole book, whether it is always understandable to the ordinary mind (like mine), is another thing. We certainly cannot accuse him of not making an effort in trying to explore the subject.
E:    I don’t think it’s explored at all at the moral level. This is not at all Rushdie’s goal and perspective. This is not a theology book.
    One aspect that struck me is that Gibreel feels he is on a mission to save the devilish city with its bad influence, in reference to Jonah and Nineveh. "So: it was time to show the city a great sight, for when it perceived the Archangel Gibreel standing in all his majesty upon the western horizon, bathed in the rays of the rising sun, then surely its people would be sore afraid and repent them of their sins." This is actually a great scene, so hilarious and sad at the same time.
    So what was definitely a moral mission for Jonah turns out as a huge joke as Gibreel is just a human, and when he thinks he can enlarge himself for all the inhabitants of the city to see, and intervene in their lives through a massive apparition in a street, he ends up stepping in front of a car and be run over!
    Rushdie reduces the role to a cinematic one! There’s so much we could say about this, for so many characters, with so many references to major movies, and I read somewhere that even Gibreel’s and Chamcha’s first experience is even based on the life of two famous Indian actors.

E:    I also noted a couple other things.
    I have mentioned a few times how Rushdie had fun with words. Another way I believe, is the way he turned Saladin into a satyr, while writing his satire. I don’t think this is a coincidence.
    And obviously the play on words between Shaitan/Satan. Just like Seyton, Macbeth’s servant!
    One thing I wonder, in connection with some earlier questions we had about the role of women. How do you understand this about Rekha, "she claimed that his many tribulations had been of her making" ?
And about the importance of Allie, "determined to lead him [Gibreel] back to sanity"?

M:    Emma and I have answered the questions independently and I publish them as they are, that way other bloggers can follow our thoughts. And, same as Emma, I doubt that anything in the novel is a coincidence, every character, every sentence has its reason, of that I am sure.

All posts about this buddy-read.
Introduction on Emma's blog
Introduction on my blog
Pre-discussion questions by Emma
- Link to that on my blog
Questions to part 1 and 2 by Marianne
- Link to that on Emma's blog
Questions part 3 and 4 by Emma
- Link to that on my blog
Questions to part 5 by Marianne
- Link to that on Emma's blog
Questions parts 6 to 9 by Emma
- Link to that on my blog

Nonfiction November 2021 Week 4 Stranger Than Fiction #NonficNov 4

Week 4 (November 22-26): Stranger Than Fiction
with Christopher at Plucked from the Stacks

 

This week we’re focusing on all the great nonfiction books that almost don’t seem real. A sports biography involving overcoming massive obstacles, a profile on a bizarre scam, a look into the natural wonders in our world - basically, if it makes your jaw drop, you can highlight it for this week’s topic.

📚📚📚

I love reading history books. Or books about today's world but in a different culture/situation. Many of them sound more than surreal, so I've picked some that will defintiley fit this topic because I have not lived in such a world and hopefully never will.


Ahmad, Aeham "The Pianist from Syria" (aka The Pianist of Yarmouk) (GE: Und die Vögel werden singen. Ich, der Pianist aus den Trümmern) - 2017
What a tragic, what a sad story. The author grew up as the son of Palestinian refugees in Syria who were gathered together in a part of Damascus, Yarmouk Camp, that was extremely hard if not impossible to leave.

Alexijewitsch, Swetlana "Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster" (RUS: Чернобыльская молитва/Černobylskaja molitva) - 2016
A very powerful story that everyone should read, especially those who still think that nuclear power is the "cheapest" and "best" form of energy.

Briley, John "Cry Freedom: The Legendary True Story of Steve Biko and the Friendship that Defied Apartheid" - 1987
An interesting story about a man who tried to claim freedom for his people, equal treatment, no matter the colour of your skin, the end of apartheid. He wanted all that peacefully and paid the ultimate price.

Buruma, Ian "Murder in Amsterdam: The Death of Theo Van Gogh and the Limits of Tolerance" (NL: Dood van en gezonde roker) - 2006
The murder of a director, a public figure. Why? He made a movie not everyone agreed with. He made a movie about the Muslim faith.

Emcke, Carolin "Echoes of Violence: Letters from a War Reporter" (GE: Von den Kriegen. Briefe an Freund) - 2004
A brilliant account of what war can do to a people. If we didn't know it before, we should certainly learn it from this book. War is stupid! War is terrible! War should not be allowed! For any reason. Put the leaders in one room and let them fight about their problems themselves.

Griffin, John Howard "Black like me" - 1961
The author takes some medication that alters his skin colour and disguises as a black guy in the late 50s in the Deep South of the United States. The courage it takes to do this and keep on going, amazing.

LeBor, Adam "City of Oranges. An Intimate History of Arabs and Jews in Jaffa" - 2006
A description of every different ethnic people living in Israel with a deep understanding for their problems.

Montagu, Ewen "The Man Who Never Was. World War II's Boldest Counterintelligence Operation" - 1953
The British plan to make the Nazis believe they wanted to invade anything but Sicily.

Shakib, Siba "Afghanistan, Where God Only Comes to Weep" (GE: Nach Afghanistan kommt Gott nur noch zum Weinen) - 2002
An account of the struggles and problems women have to go through, not only in Afghanistan but anywhere in the poorer part of the world where war and/or disaster strucks.

Thomson, Mike "Syria's Secret Library: The True Story of How a Besieged Syrian Town Found Hope" - 2018
In the midst of one of the worst civil wars probably in history, some young men don't just think about themselves but build a library in order to feed their souls and learn for the future "when all this is over".

For more information on Nonfiction November check here.

Friday, 19 November 2021

Book Quotes of the Week

       
Word cloud made with WordItOut

I found Solzhenitsyn's quote today and thought of the two others at the same time.

"Evil is the Absence of Good". St. Augustine

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." John Stuart Mill (often attributed to Edmund Burke)

"We have to condemn publicly the very idea that some people have the right to repress others. In keeping silent about evil and burying it so deep within us that no sign of it appears on the surface, we are implanting it, and it will rise up a thousand fold in the future." Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

I think Solzhenitsyn knew a lot about that and if we really think about it, there is nothing left but to agree with all three statements.

Find more book quotes here.

Thursday, 18 November 2021

#ThrowbackThursday. East of Eden

Steinbeck, John "East of Eden" - 1952

John Steinbeck is a wonderful author, his writing is almost poetry, his thoughts philosophical and, yet, his stories are so alive.

An excellent report about growing up, growing in different directions, about good and evil, young and old, a very moving story, so many lives that you fear and hope with.

A retelling of the story of Cain and Abel, I have always loved this book and read it a few times. The movie is also great.

Read more on my original post here.

Rushdie, Salman "The Satanic Verses" Buddy-Read - Questions to Parts 3 and 4

The Satanic Verses
by Salman Rushdie
was first published in 1988
Literary fiction/magic realism
Goodreads

Discussion Questions Parts 3 and 4, Week 3

As you know, Emma and I take turns in asking our questions to our  buddy read. This week, it's Emma's turn.

Here are her questions for this week.

1.    Compared to Parts 1 and 2, does Rushdie use the same techniques here to introduce humor?
2.    What do you think about the transformations of the main protagonists here?
3.    We now see more clearly the focus on the theme of migration and exile. Any comments on that?
4.    How do you understand the whole episode between Gibreel and Rosa? What’s the point? Why is she the first to meet the main heroes after their fall?
5.    Ayesha appears in two forms. Why? What does she stand for? What about this whole thing about eating butterflies?
6.    And what about the character of the imam?
7.    And any other question you would like to address!

Please go and visit her post to read our answers and maybe contribute your own. 

Next week, we will ask questions about the third quarter of the book (part V. A City Visible but Unseen).

Happy Reading!

All posts about this buddy-read.
Introduction on Emma's blog
Introduction on my blog
Pre-discussion questions by Emma
- Link to that on my blog
Questions to parts 1 and 2 by Marianne
- Link to that on Emma's blog
Questions parts 3 and 4 by Emma
- Link to that on my blog
Questions to part 5 by Marianne
- Link to that on Emma's blog
Questions parts 6 to 9 by Emma
- Link to that on my blog