Friday, 31 December 2021

Statistics 2021

 

My statistics for the last years are here:
Going back to 2009-12, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
 
And these are the results of my reading lists for 2021:

* Statistics 2021 *
 
My regular posts are either weekly (Book Quotes, Top Ten, ThrowBack Thursday) or monthly (Happy Month), so I posted more or less the amount of weeks or months in a year.
Book Quotes of the Week (46 posts)
Happy Month (12)
Top Ten Tuesday (49)
ThrowBack Thursday (11)

Then I joined a few new interesting challenges:
Six Degrees of Separation (12)
Spell the Month in Books (6)
10 Year Challenge Book Tag
I loved this especially since I started my blog in 2011, so I could start at the beginning. And now I can carry on and mention 2012 in 2022.
Mid Year Freak-Out Tag
This is really a statistic you can do in the middle of the year, looking back on the last six months. I loved it. And it's a big help for this post. I had read 36 books by the end of July and now there are 82.

And then there are, of course, all the challenges I have done over the years.
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 (1)
100 Books by the BBC (1)
100 Greatest Fiction Books as Chosen by the Guardian (0)
101 Best Selling Books of All Times (0)
I didn't add any books to this list this year, maybe I never will?

Best European Literature (4)
Bildungsroman (1)

I'm sure I read more books in that direction but these are typical for this genre.
Book Bingo 2020
(finished)
Books That Changed the World (0)
A Century of Books (1)
Children's Books (7)
The Classics Club (28): The Classics Spin (3)
3 for the Classics Spin, 28 in total
Dutch and French Books (1 Dutch, 3 French)
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.
Esperanto Books (1)
We read mostly short stories.
Favourite (German) Independent Books (0)
(Das Lieblingsbuch der Unabhängigen = The Favourite Book of the Independents)
German Books (23)
Helmet 2021 (50)
I joined this at the beginning of the year. The aim of this is to read 50 (or 25) different books to different given topics. I finished the challenge but haven't had the time, yet, to fill in the list.
Le Monde - The 100 Books of the Century (1)
My Favourite Books Ever (18)
Every year I find some more books I can add to my list of favourite books. 16 this year.
Nobel Peace Prize (2)
Nobel Prize Winners and Their Books (5)
Oprah's Book Club (0)
Oscar Winning Books (1)
Paris in July (3)
Peace Prize of the German Book Trade (2)

(German: Friedenspreis des Deutschen Buchhandels)
Read the Year Club (1)
Reading Challenge - Chunky Books 2021 (24)
I read 24 chunky books in 2020 of which 10 are considered a chunkster.
Reading the World (0)
Suggestions from Friends (1)
I read suggestions from friends all the time, just haven't kept up with who recommended which book.
The non-western books that every student should read (0)
The only thing I miss from our old place is the library that would get me any book I wanted. Not so easy here where we only have a small church library and they only get the biggest best-sellers. And all of them in German only, of course.
Top Ten Tuesday
I took part in 49 of the challenges, this is a great way of reminiscing or planning your reads.
Travel the World Through Books (0)
Twitterature (1)
Xanadu (12)

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. (8)
Esperanto Book Club (1)
Here, we read mostly short stories.

Books Read: 84
Pages read: 41,067
489 pages/book, 113 pages/day, 7 books/month
Last year I read 86 books with 30.650 pages which resulted in 393 pages/book, 84 pages/day, 6.5 books/month
This year, it's 84 books but 41.067 pages, so I obviously read a lot of larger and/or much larger books this year because my average book hat 489 pages.
The average novel contains between 140 and 320 pages, i.e. 230 = 179 books in 2021 (that's 46 more than last year).

Books dating from which year:
Pre 1800s: 1
1800s: 15
1900-1949: 13
1950-1999: 14
2000s: 42 (2 of which from 2021)

Male Authors: 50
Female Authors: 31
Some are by several authors, so the number is not the exact number of books read.

Nobel Prize Winners: 7

Fiction: 62
Non-Fiction: 23

Chunky Books - more than 450 pages: 24, more than 750: 10
Library: 5
Re-Read: 3
TBR Pile: 39


Oldest Book: 1598/99
Shakespeare, William "Much Ado About Nothing" - 1598/99
Newest Book: 2021
Kaminer, Wladimir "The Lost Summer. Germany Smokes on the Balcony" (GE: Der verlorene Sommer. Deutschland raucht auf dem Balkon) - 2021
Longest book: 968
Ford, Ford Madox "Parade's End" (Tetralogy: Some Do Not, No More Parades, A Man Could Stand Up, Last Post) - 1924-28
Shortest book: 30
Jackson, Shirley "The Lottery" - 1948 (short story)
Longest book title: 60
A
ndersson, Per J. "From the Swede who took the train and saw the world with different eyes" (aka Take the train: on the track through history, present and future) (SW: Ta tåget: på spåret genom historien, samtiden och framtiden) - 2019
Shortest Book Title: 6
Sapolsky, Robert M. "Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst" - 2017

Funniest Book:
Stelter, Bernd "The killer comes on quiet clogs: camping thriller" (GE: Der Killer kommt auf leisen Klompen: Camping-Krimi) - 2017
Weiler, Jan
"Teenosaurus Rex" (GE: Das Pubertier) - 2014
Saddest Book:
See, Lisa
"Snow Flower and the Secret Fan" - 2005
Weirdest Book:
Le Guin, Ursula K. "The Left Hand of Darkness" - 1969
Most disappointing:
Ford, Ford Madox "Parade's End" (Tetralogy: Some Do Not, No More Parades, A Man Could Stand Up, Last Post) - 1924-28
Scherzant, Sina; Notter, Marius "3 More Loyalty Points Until the Pan Set" (GE: Noch 3 Treuepunkt bis zum Pfannen-Set) - 2021

New author (for me) that I would like to read more from: 10
Muriel Barbery, Jason Elliot, Kamala Harris, Frederik Hetman, Odile Kennel, Min Jin Lee, Paula McLain, Robert Menasse, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Amor Towles

Translated Books:
7 from 5 languages
2 ea from Russian and Swedish
1 from Greek, Hungarian and Spanish

Books read in another language:
Dutch: 1
French: 3
German: 25
Spanish: 1

Numbers in Book Titles: two
Place Names in Book Titles:
Afghanistan, Boston, Deutschland, German, Iran, Italian, Jerusalem, Missalonghi, Moscow, Paris, Paul Street, Russian, Scotland, Swede
Names in Book Titles:
Alice, Basch, Binchy, Douglass, Dracula, Ethan, Fadette, Finn-Luca, Frederick, Frome, Goldmund, Grace, Hercule, Howard, Ida, Jeeves, Joan, Katherine, Maeve, Maigret, Margarita, Narcissus, Nina, Paul, Poirot, Pole, Precious, Ripley, Snow Flower, Yentl
Colours in Book Titles: White

My Favourite Books: 18

Brooks, Geraldine "Foreign Correspondence: A Pen Pal's Journey from Down Under to All Over" - 1997
Elliot, Jason "An Unexpected Light. Travels in Afghanistan" - 1999
Hansen, Dörte "Lunchtime" (GE: Mittagsstunde) - 2018
Harris, Kamala "The Truths We Hold. An American Journey" - 2019
Hislop, Victoria "One August Night" - 2019
Kennel, Odile "Was Ida sagt" [What Ida says] - 2011
Krug, Nora "Belonging: A German Reckons With History and Home" (GE: Heimat. Ein deutsches Familienalbum) - 2018
Lee, Min Jin "Pachinko" - 2017
McLain, Paula "The Paris Wife" - 2012
Obama, Barack "A Promised Land" - 2020
-
"Of Thee I Sing" - 2010
Orth, Stephan "Couchsurfing in Iran: Revealing a Hidden World" (GE: Couchsurfing im Iran - Meine Reise hinter verschlossene Türen) - 2015
Pamuk, Orhan "The Naïve and the Sentimental Novelist" (TR: Saf ve Düşünceli Romancı) - 2011
See, Lisa "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan" - 2005
T
owles, Amor "A Gentleman in Moscow" - 2016
Weiler, Jan
"Teenosaurus Rex" (GE: Das Pubertier) - 2014
-
"In the realm of the puberty animal" (GE: Im Reich der Pubertiere) (Pubertiere #2) - 2016
Zusak, Markus
"The Messenger" (US: I am the Messenger/Der Joker) - 2002
 
With my books, I visited places in the following countries:
Africa (1):
Botswana
Asia (8):
Afghanistan, China, India, Iran, Israel, Japan, Korea, Palestine
Central America (1:)
Caribbean
Europe (20):
Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, The UK
North America (13):
USA
South America (1):
Chile
Australia/Oceania (1):
Australia
Extra-terrestrial (1)
Everywhere (5)
Countries "visited" in total: 32

Authors come from:
Africa (0):
Asia (2): India, Korea
Europe (13): Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, The Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Sweden, United Kingdom
North America (17): USA
Australia/Oceania (1): Australia
South America (1): Chile
Author countries in total: 18

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.

Tuesday, 28 December 2021

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Best Reads in 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, our topic is Best Reads in 2021

I always have a hard time when it is time to decide which ones were the best book of the year even though I keep adding the best books to my list of favourite books ever all the time (see here).

But, as usual, I come to a list in the end. And here it is:

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

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

Hislop, Victoria "One August Night" - 2019

Krug, Nora "Belonging: A German Reckons With History and Home" (GE: Heimat. Ein deutsches Familienalbum) - 2018

Lee, Min Jin "Pachinko" - 2017

McLain, Paula "The Paris Wife" - 2012

Obama, Barack "A Promised Land" - 2020

Orth, Stephan "Couchsurfing in Iran: Revealing a Hidden World" (GE: Couchsurfing im Iran - Meine Reise hinter verschlossene Türen) - 2015

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

Towles, Amor "A Gentleman in Moscow" - 2016

Friday, 24 December 2021

🎄 Merry Christmas 🎄

🎄🎄🎄

This Christmas tree ornament was one of the first ones we found more than three decades ago and it has been on our tree every year. I absolutely love it and the carol on it, as well.

🎄🎄🎄

With this, I wish you all a very merry Christmas. May you all be able to celebrate with your loved ones. That is the best Christmas gift of all.

🎄🎄🎄

And to my blogger and reading friends, I wish you all lots and lots of books under the Christmas tree.

🎄📚🎄

🎼 It came upon the midnight clear,
That glorious song of old,
From angels bending near the earth,
To touch their harps of gold:
"Peace on the earth, goodwill to men,
From heaven's all-gracious King
."
The world in solemn stillness lay,
To hear the angels sing.
🎻

🎼 Still through the cloven skies they come,
With peaceful wings unfurled,
And still their heavenly music floats
O'er all the weary world;
Above its sad and lowly plains,
They bend on hovering wing,
And ever o'er its babel sounds
The blessed angels sing.
🎻

🎼 And ye, beneath life's crushing load,
Whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow,
Look now! for glad and golden hours
come swiftly on the wing.
O rest beside the weary road,
And hear the angels sing!
🎻

🎼 For lo!, the days are hastening on,
By prophets seen of old,
When with the ever-circling years
Shall come the time foretold,
When peace shall over all the earth
Its ancient splendors fling,
And the whole world send back the song
Which now the angels sing.
🎻

Edmund Sears

Thursday, 23 December 2021

#ThrowbackThursday. A Christmas Carol

 

Dickens, Charles "A Christmas Carol" - 1843

Usually, I go backwards through my blog to show one of my favourite reads but this time, I jump a little forward. I just re-read this classic and think it is a great story for this time of the year.

Because - it's Christmas and what story could be more Christmas-sy than Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" which teaches us to be good to each other, to think about others and not just ourselves, to become better people.

🎄🎄🎄

So, as Tiny Tim says: "God bless us, every one!"

Read more on my original post here

Tuesday, 21 December 2021

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Books I Hope Santa Brings/Bookish Wishes

"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, our topic is Books I Hope Santa Brings/Bookish Wishes
(or summer for those in the southern hemisphere)

🎅🎅🎅

There are still a few from last year's Top Ten Tuesday ~ Top Ten Books I Hope Santa Brings but I also added a few. So, here are my books. Santa, listen carefully! 😉

Doerr, Anthony "Cloud Cuckoo Land" (Goodreads)
Ebuehi, Benjamina "New Way to Cake" (Goodreads)
Falcones, Ildefonso "Painter of Souls" (El pintor de almas) (Goodreads) (waiting for translation)
Harmel, Kristin "The Book of Lost Names" (Goodreads)
Harris, Kamala "The Biography of Kamala Harris" (Goodreads)
Ivey, Eowyn "The Snow Child" (Goodreads)
Jonuleit, Anja "Das letzte Bild" (Goodreads)
Kampfner, John "Why the Germans Do it Better: Notes from a Grown-Up Country" (Goodreads)
Lawson, Mary "A Town Called Solace" (Goodreads) (waiting for paperback)
Mackay, Lauren "The Wolf Hall Companion. The People. The Places. The History" (Goodreads)
Obama, Barack; Springsteen, Bruce "Renegades: Born in the USA" (Goodreads)
Pamuk, Orhan "Nights of Plague" (Veba Geceleri) (Goodreads) (waiting for translation)
Powers, Richard "Bewilderment" (Goodreads)
Rimington, Celesta "The Elephant's Girl" (Goodreads)
Rutherfurd, Edward "China" (Goodreads)
The Bake-Off Team "The Great British Bake Off: A Bake for all Seasons" (Goodreads)
The Bake-Off Team "The Great British Bake Off: Love to Bake" (see here)
(Goodreads)
Towles, Amor "The Lincoln Highway" (Goodreads)
Voland, Maxim "Die Republik" [The Republic]
(Goodreads)
Whitehead, Colson "Harlem Shuffle" (Goodreads)
Zeh, Juli "Über Menschen" [About People] (Goodreads) (waiting for paperback)

Monday, 20 December 2021

Shakespeare, William "Much Ado About Nothing"

Shakespeare, William "Much Ado About Nothing" - 1598/99

As many of you might know, I am not the biggest fan of reading plays. I love seeing them in the theatre or even on TV and I always say that's what they were written for. However, from time to time, I really want to read a Shakespeare play, especially since it has been almost impossible for me to watch anything in the theatre since the beginning of Covid.

One of my favourite shows on TV is "Much Ado About Nothing" by and with the great Kenneth Brannagh as Benedick with his then-wife Emma Thompson (of whom I am also a huge fan) as Beatrice.

Some time ago, I found the "No Fear" reading version of the play and thought, that sounds interesting. The lovely thing with this is, you don't just get a modern version of the play, you get the original wording right next to it, on the left-hand side with the new one on the right. Plus explanations of old expressions etc. Brilliant. Especially for people who are not used to reading classics.

Of course, having seen the play helped a lot in understanding what was going on. But I might try to read some more of the Bard of Stratford-upon-Avon from this publisher.

Description:

"In Much Ado About Nothing, Shakespeare includes two quite different stories of romantic love. Hero and Claudio fall in love almost at first sight, but an outsider, Don John, strikes out at their happiness. Beatrice and Benedick are kept apart by pride and mutual antagonism until others decide to play Cupid."

From the back cover:

"No Fear Shakespeare gives you the complete text of Much Ado About Nothing on the left-hand page, side-by-side with an easy-to-understand translation on the right.
Each No Fear Shakespeare contains:
The complete text of the original play
A line-by-line translation that puts Shakespeare into everyday language
A complete list of characters with descriptions
Plenty of helpful commentary
"

Friday, 17 December 2021

Book Quotes of the Week

       
Word cloud made with WordItOut

"Libraries can in general be too narrow or too wide for the soul." Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

So true. It depends on what they offer and what you are looking for.

"This above all: To thine own self be true …" William Shakespeare, Hamlet

Always the best.


"People who hate to read scare me. Good books have kept me alive." N.N. *


There is so much truth in this quote. Look at all the nay-sayers, the people who don't "believe" in Corona, who spread fake news and claim the right ones are wrong ...

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, 16 December 2021

Orth, Stephan "Couchsurfing in Iran"

Orth, Stephan "Couchsurfing in Iran: Revealing a Hidden World" (German: Couchsurfing im Iran - Meine Reise hinter verschlossene Türen) - 2015

After reading Stephan Orth's book about Couchsurfing in Russia, I decided I really wanted to read his other books on this subject. He has been travelling through China, Iran and Saudi Arabia (Saudi-Arabien) so far. I still need to get his next book but the others have all been just as great as the first one.

What I love about his book is that we can take a little glimpse into the life of normal people in countries where most of us couldn't even travel as tourists. And he gets to know the "ordinary" people there. Well, as far as you can call those people "normal" who open up their homes to total strangers even though it is forbidden by their regime.

The author has a great way of describing his hosts and their friends and family, their lives, their dreams, just everything. You almost have the feeling you've been there yourself. I have read books about the Iran before and heard a lot about it through various eyes, this is yet another one who gives me an insight into this interesting people.

I have read a few reviews by Iranians who said how accurate his telling about their country is. That's very promising.

Thank you, Stephan Orth, for giving us the insight into a country that is a mystery for most of us and that we definitely can't see at the moment, especially due to all the Covid restrictions.

From the back cover:

"In Couchsurfing in Iran, award-winning author Stephan Orth spends sixty-two days on the road in this mysterious Islamic republic to provide a revealing, behind-the-scenes look at life in one of the world’s most closed societies. Experiencing daily the 'two Irans' that coexist side by side - the 'theocracy, where people mourn their martyrs' in mausoleums, and the 'hide-and-seekocracy, where people hold secret parties and seek worldly thrills instead of spiritual bliss' - he learns that Iranians have become experts in navigating around their country’s strict laws. Getting up close and personal with locals, he covers more than 5,000 kilometers, peering behind closed doors to uncover the inner workings of a country where public show and private reality are strikingly opposed."

#ThrowbackThursday. The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Society

 

Shaffer, Mary Ann & Barrows, Annie "The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Society" - 2008

I think this is one of the books I read that I've seen on many, many lists and everyone seems to have liked it. So, if you haven't read it, yet, you should give this a try.

A novel about the history of the island of Guernsey during World War II, how the war affects people, often in a bad way and sometimes in a good one, about friendship and people standing up for each other, a book about people getting together to share their love for literature and their need for communication, and food, about how people can get creative when in need, a story that shows how people were getting along in pre-internet and pre-mobile phone times, even in pre-phone times.

Read more on my original post here.  

Wednesday, 15 December 2021

Martin, Catherine "The Incredible Journey"

Martin, Catherine "The Incredible Journey" - 1923

This has been on my wish list for ages and then on my TBR pile for a while. But I am trying to diminish my pile and also to read all my classic books, so it was finally time for this novel.

I had heard of a story where children walk back through half of Australia to their parents ("Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence" by Doris Pilkington, I believe) but not of this one. But it carries more or less the same message. A child gets taken away from its mother and she walks all the way through Australia, through the desert, along dangerous areas, escapes evil men, all to get her son back.

A good story, well told. And its most important message, all human beings feel the same, there are none that are "like animals". And who wants to tell us that animals have no feelings, either? A story that should make us think that we should treat all human beings the same!

From the back cover:

"First published in 1923, The Incredible Journey tells the story of Iliapa, an Aboriginal woman, who embarks on a long, arduous journey through the Australian outback in search of her son after he is abducted by a white man. Catherine Martin said that she wrote this novel 'in order to put on record, as faithfully as possible, the heroic love and devotion of a black woman when robbed of her child'.

The novel presents a vivid picture of the Aboriginal people (viewed through the eyes of a white novelist), their culture, their dispossession and, in particular, this abhorrent white practice of taking Aboriginal children away from their parents.
"

Tuesday, 14 December 2021

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Twenty-Three Books on My Winter 2021 To-read List

"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, our topic is Books on My Winter 2021 To-read List
(or summer for those in the southern hemisphere)

I already have a couple of challenges that I haven't finished, yet, so the list is easy to complete. Having said that it's TTTT today - Top Twenty-Three Tuesdays

Classic Challenge 2021  
The Classics Club  
Mid Year Book Freakout Tag 2021  
Nonfiction November 2021 Week 5 New to My TBR #NonficNov 5
Top Ten Tuesday ~ Most Anticipated Books of the Second Half of 2021
Top Ten Tuesday ~ Top Ten Books I Meant to Read In 2020 but Didn’t Get To
Top Ten Tuesday ~ Top Ten Books on My Fall 2021 To-read List

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Top Ten Books on My Spring 2021 TBR 

Some of them appear on several but these are the ones that I still have on my TBR list. Most of them are not especially wintery and I know I won't finish them all this winter, they are more or less for the coming year:


Ackroyd, Peter "Dominion: The History of England from the Battle of Waterloo to Victoria's Diamond Jubilee. Volume V" - 2018 (Goodreads)
Böll, Heinrich "The Silent Angel" (Der Engel schwieg) - 1949/50
Brooks, Geraldine "Foreign Correspondence: A Pen Pal's Journey from Down Under to All Over" - 1997

Bythell, Shaun "Confessions of a Bookseller" - 2019
Cather, Willa "Shadows on the Rock" - 1931
Eichendorff, Joseph von "Life of a Good-For-Nothing" (GE: Aus dem Leben eines Taugenichts und andere Novellen) - 1826
Fallada, Hans "Every Man Dies Alone" (Jeder stirbt für sich allein) - 1947 (Goodreads)
Hawes, James "The Shortest History of Germany - A Retelling for Our Times" - 2017 (Goodreads)
Kazantzakis, Nikos "The Last Temptation of Christ" (Ο τελευταίος πειρασμός/O telefteos pirasmos) - 1951 (Goodreads)
Keller, Gottfried "Romeo und Julia auf dem Dorfe" [Romeo and Juliet in the Village] - 1855/56 (Goodreads)
Körner, Torsten "In der Männer-Republik. Wie Frauen die Politik eroberten" (GE) [In the men's republic: how women conquered politcs] - 2020 (Goodreads)
Mandelstam, Ossip "The Din of Time" (Шум времени/Shum vremeni) - 1925 (Goodreads)
Martin, Catherine "The Incredible Journey" - 1923
Némirovsky, Irène "La Proie" [The Prey] - 1938 (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)
Shakespeare, William "Much Ado About Nothing" - 1598/99
Trotter, Derek "Del Boy" (Family of John Sullivan) "He Who Dares" - 2015
Van Dyke, Henry "The Story of the Other Wise Man" - 1896
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)

Of course, my TBR list is longer and my wishlist even much, much longer. But I'll get to that next week.

So, what are you about to read soon?

Monday, 13 December 2021

Follett, Ken "A Column of Fire"

Follett, Ken "A Column of Fire" - 2017

I love reading about the Tudors. And I loved the two first books of the Kingsbridge Series ("The Pillars of the Earth" and "World Without End"). So, this was definitely a win-win situation.

This is mostly the story of the Willard family. There is a Romeo and Juliet plot, villains and heroes, Catholics and Protestants, Queens Mary I, Elizabeth I and King James I of England, Mary Queen of Scots, the history of the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre, the Spanish Armada, the Gunpowder plot and many other political events. This book has it all.

A very impressive novel. Ken Follett's style is fantastic, his love for detail brilliant and the stories in his book exciting.

I thought the list of real-life characters at the end of the book was very helpful. I would have also enjoyed a timeline of what happened at the time. Yes, I have the internet and plenty of other books where I can look this up but I find having it in the actual book I'm reading is actually very helpful.

Now on to the prequel, "The Evening and the Morning".

From the back cover:

"As Europe erupts, can one young spy protect his queen? Ken Follett takes us deep into the treacherous world of powerful monarchs, intrigue, murder, and treason with his magnificent epic, A Column of Fire - the chronological latest in the Kingsbridge series, following The Pillars of the Earth, World Without End, and the prequel, The Evening and the Morning.

In 1558, the ancient stones of Kingsbridge Cathedral look down on a city torn apart by religious conflict. As power in England shifts precariously between Catholics and Protestants, royalty and commoners clash, testing friendship, loyalty, and love.

Ned Willard wants nothing more than to marry Margery Fitzgerald. But when the lovers find themselves on opposing sides of the religious conflict dividing the country, Ned goes to work for Princess Elizabeth. When she becomes queen, all Europe turns against England. The shrewd, determined young monarch sets up the country’s first secret service to give her early warning of assassination plots, rebellions, and invasion plans. Over a turbulent half century, the love between Ned and Margery seems doomed as extremism sparks violence from Edinburgh to Geneva. Elizabeth clings to her throne and her principles, protected by a small, dedicated group of resourceful spies and courageous secret agents.

The real enemies, then as now, are not the rival religions. The true battle pitches those who believe in tolerance and compromise against the tyrants who would impose their ideas on everyone else - no matter what the cost.

Exciting and ambitious, and set during one of the most turbulent and revolutionary times in history,
A Column of Fire will delight longtime fans of the Kingsbridge series and serve as the perfect introduction for readers new to Ken Follett."