Thursday 31 March 2022

#ThrowbackThursday. Tess of the d'Urbervilles


Hardy, Thomas "Tess of the d'Urbervilles" - 1891

Tess Durbeyfield is a girl from a poor family who is thrown into a difficult situation without any fault of herself. This will determine her later life which is not a happy one.

One of the classics that will appeal to readers who love Charles Dickens who is one of my favourites, so I also loved this one.

Read more on my original post here.

Wednesday 30 March 2022

Bythell, Shaun "Confessions of a Bookseller"

Bythell, Shaun "Confessions of a Bookseller" - 2019

After having read and thoroughly enjoyed "The Diary of a Bookseller", I was really happy to find that Shaun Bythell had written a second book, "Confessions of a Bookseller". Now, these "Confessions" are similar to the sarcastic comments I loved so much in the "Diary".

If you liked his first book, you should definitely read this one. If you haven't read either of them, you should start reading both, I assure you, you, you will devour them.

We follow Shaun through a year in the bookshop. He tells us how many customers come to the shop every day, how much money goes through the till, that is quite interesting. But even more interesting is the way he acquires those books, his visits to houses where a whole library is sold or people bringing in boxes of books they'd like to sell.

Then there is the talk with customers who would like to haggle. I think everyone believes that once it is second hand, they can ask for a discount because it "didn't cost anything in the first place". Yes, it is. And if a second-hand shop puts a price on an item, I can either take it at that price or leave it. After I read the first book, I found comments by some of his customers on how rude he was. I think, some of them should be grateful that they made it out of the shop alive. The author is very witty and very funny. I think only that gets him through the day.

Anyone who has always dreamt of opening a second-hand bookshop should definitely read this before. I still would love it but, customers, beware!

I hope that I can visit this shop and its author one day. He also has a website: The Bookshop. And a blog.

From the back cover:

"'Do you have a list of your books, or do I just have to stare at them?'

Shaun Bythell is the owner of The Bookshop in Wigtown, Scotland. With more than a mile of shelving, real log fires in the shop and the sea lapping nearby, the shop should be an idyll for bookworms.

Unfortunately, Shaun also has to contend with bizarre requests from people who don't understand what a shop is, home invasions during the Wigtown Book Festival and Granny, his neurotic Italian assistant who likes digging for river mud to make poultices.

As the owner of The Bookshop in Wigtown, Scotland, you might think Shaun Bythell's days are taken up with sorting through rare and valuable first editions - or snoozing by the fire with the latest literary gem. But you'd be wrong. Instead, beset by bizarre requests from customers who appear not to know what a shop is, locked in an endless struggle with Amazon and terrorised by his bin-diving, poultice-making employees, Shaun's trials and tribulations make his life very far from a fairy tale."

And now I am looking forward to "Seven Types of People You Find in Bookshops" (Goodreads).

Tuesday 29 March 2022

Top Ten ... ahem ... Twenty ... Tuesday ~ 21st Century Classics


"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 21st Century Books I Think Will Become Classics 

Of course, I couldn't restrict myself to ten of those books. After all, the century is already more than two decades old. I could have named a hundred that might become classics or that I would like to become classics. In the end, I made a compromise and listed 20 books. Some of them are my favourites, some of them are one of the best books (in my opinion) by some of my favourite authors, some have received renowned prizes already (Nobel, Pulitzer, Booker, German Independent Book Shops, Peace Prize of the German Book Trade, ...), some have been made into films. The authors are from Australia, German, Ireland, Nigeria, Spain Switzerland, Turkey, the UK, and the USA. But they all share one remarkable trait: they are all fantastic books.

Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi
"Half of a Yellow Sun" - 2006
Boyne, John "The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas" - 2006
Chevalier, Tracy "Remarkable Creatures" - 2009
Doerr, Anthony "All the Light We Cannot See" - 2014 
Grenville, Kate "The Secret River" - 2005
Hislop, Victoria "The Island" - 2005
Kingsolver, Barbara "The Lacuna" - 2009
Lamb, Wally "The Hour I First Believed" - 2008
Mantel, Hilary "Wolf Hall" - 2009
Mercier, Pascal "Night Train to Lisbon" (GE: Nachtzug nach Lissabon) - 2004
Myers, Benjamin "The Offing" - 2019
Oates, Joyce Carol "The Falls" - 2004
Owens, Delia "Where the Crawdads Sing" - 2018
Pamuk, Orhan "The Museum of Innocence" (TR: Masumiyet Müzesi) - 2008
Ruiz Zafón, Carlos "The Shadow of the Wind" (E: La sombra del viento) - 2001
Shaffer, Mary Ann & Barrows, Annie "The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Society" - 2008
Shriver, Lionel "We Need to Talk About Kevin" - 2003
Stockett, Kathryn "The Help" - 2009
Whitehead, Colson "Underground Railroad" - 2016
Zusak, Markus "The Book Thief" - 2005

Can I decide my favourite? I don't think so. They were all great. I'm looking forward to seeing lists by other bloggers. I wonder how many of us will predict the same books.
And if you are "just" a reader, please, let me know what your favourite book of this century is so far.

📚 Happy Reading! 📚

Monday 28 March 2022

The 1954 Club

This book challenge takes place twice a year and concentrates on one year and one year only. I call it "Read the Year Club". This time, 1954 was picked. For more information, see Simon @ Stuck in a Book.

It takes place from 18 to 24 April. My pick is "Under Milk Wood" by Dylan Thomas (Goodreads).

If you would like to participate, it's still time to make up your mind.

Friday 25 March 2022

Book Quotes of the Week


"Reading a lot from the distant past furnishes one's head with rich, strange language and cadence that stay around forever." Olivia Laing

I always find there is so much to learn from the classics and from history. Maybe, if we all took it to heart, history wouldn't repeat itself that often.

"How many a woman has dated a new era in her life from the reading of a book." Henry David Thoreau

Hopefully many. I know this goes for me.

"Literature is its own republic where people can live and work together and, maybe more than anything, communicate perfectly - in depth, empathetically, morally, intellectually and in a revolutionary spirit." Olga Tokarczuk

I love the "Republic of Literature", it is inhabited by smart people. I have always found like-minded spirits in the literary society, whether in real life or online. 
Find more book quotes here.  

Thursday 24 March 2022

#ThrowbackThursday. Prodigal Summer


Kingsolver, Barbara "Prodigal Summer" - 2001

I like all the Barbara Kingsolver's books I've read. I like her style, the way her characters come alive. This one involves a lot of family history, the different people in the book all seem to have some links to each other, but there is also quite a bit about nature protection which I liked a lot.

Read more on my original post here.

Wednesday 23 March 2022

Eichendorff, Joseph von "Life of a Good-For-Nothing"

Eichendorff, Joseph von "Life of a Good-For-Nothing" aka "Memoirs of a Good-For-Nathing" (German: Aus dem Leben eines Taugenichts und andere Novellen) - 1826

German is a good language for romanticism. We can wallow in words, we can praise nature and anything we like to praise with overwhelming expressions. And that is just what Joseph von Eichendorff does.

As in any book by this genre, don't expect too much deep thinking or philosophy, even though it is in there, just on a low level. Nowadays, I would certainly classify this as chick lit, a novel about someone who doesn't fit in and finds a happy end.

From the back cover:

"Following a row with his father, a young man leaves home, and - following a series of picturesque wanderings - eventually finds love with the girl of his dreams. Deeply imbued with the style of German Romanticism, this classic story is at once an exhilarating romp and an exemplary distillation of 19th-century thought."

Tuesday 22 March 2022

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Good, Bad, Ugly


"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 With an Adjective In the Title

What a great idea. I might take that up with different adjectives again but this time, I'm just using three different ones. The first thing that came to my mind when looking at the topic was "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly". I have never seen that film but I think it is a great title. And yes, I know that one of the words in my titles is really used as an adverb but the word is still an adjective. Agreed? On the other hand, there are some other adjectives in all the titles: big and little.

Alcott, Louisa May "Good Wives" - 1869
Anam, Tahmima "The Good Muslim" - 2011
Brecht, Bertolt "The Good Person of Szechwan" (GE: Der gute Mensch von Sezuan) - 1938-40
Buck, Pearl S. "The Good Earth" (House of Earth Trilogy #1) - 1931
Ephron, Nora "I Feel Bad About My Neck And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman" - 2006
Fforde, Jasper "Lost in a Good Book" - 2002
McCall Smith, Alexander "The Good Husband of Zebra Drive" (The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #8) - 2007
Oates, Joyce Carol "Big Mouth & Ugly Girl" - 2003
Trivizas, Eugene "The Three Little Wolves and The Big Bad Pig" - 1997
Wodehouse, P.G. "Very Good, Jeeves" (Jeeves #4) - 1930

Looking forward to the adjectves other bloggers have used.

📚 Happy Reading! 📚

Monday 21 March 2022

Lodge, David "A Man of Parts"

Lodge, David "A Man of Parts" - 2011

The author starts this book with "Nearly everything that happens in this story is based on factual sources. With one significant exception, all the named characters were real people. Quotations from their books, plays, articles, letters, journals, etc., are their own words. But I have used a novelist’s licence in representing what they thought, felt, and said to each other; and I have imagined some events and personal details which history omitted to record. So this book is a novel, and structured like a novel."

I was made aware of this story because I had read a few books that were based on H.G. Wells' novels:

Palma, Félix J. "The Map of Time" (E: El mapa del tiempo) - 2008 (based on "The Time Machine")
- "
The Map of the Sky" (E: El mapa del cielo) - 2012 (based on "The War of the Worlds") 
- "The Map of Chaos" (E: El mapa del caos) - 2014 (based on "The Invisible Man")

After that, I also read "The Time Machine", I had already watched the old film version which I really like.

So, this is about H.G. Wells' life. I must admit, I had no idea about the guy beforehand, otherwise I might not have undertaken this book. Not because it has more than 500 pages or because it was badly written. I just came to dislike the famous author. I mean, he had a brilliant mind and foresaw many developments that nobody thought about it until then. He was an adulterer, a sexually obsessed maniac who promoted "free love" only so he could have several mistresses and was still proud that his wife agreed to it. He fathered quite a few children with several women. It might have been nice for him but I wouldn't have wanted to be any of those women who had to bring up their illegitimate children (even with his financial help) in a time where that did not agree with any sort of social status. It was all right and fine for Mr. Wells, though. Well, he was a man. Even in our modern times, I don't think anyone would agree with his sort of behaviour towards women.

All in all, an interesting read but somehow I wish I hadn't learned so much about this guy.

From the back cover:

"'The mind is a time machine that travels backwards in memory and forwards in prophecy, but he has done with prophecy now...'

Sequestered in his blitz-battered Regent's Park house in 1944, the ailing Herbert George Wells, 'H.G.' to his family and friends, looks back on a life crowded with incident, books, and women. Has it been a success or a failure? Once he was the most famous writer in the world, 'the man who invented tomorrow'; now he feels like yesterday's man, deserted by readers and depressed by the collapse of his utopian dreams.

He recalls his unpromising start, and early struggles to acquire an education and make a living as a teacher; his rapid rise to fame as a writer with a prophetic imagination and a comic common touch which brought him into contact with most of the important literary, intellectual, and political figures of his time; his plunge into socialist politics; his belief in free love, and energetic practice of it. Arguing with himself about his conduct, he relives his relationships with two wives and many mistresses, especially the brilliant student Amber Reeves and the gifted writer Rebecca West, both of whom bore him children, with dramatic and long-lasting consequences.

Unfolding this astonishing story, David Lodge depicts a man as contradictory as he was talented: a socialist who enjoyed his affluence, an acclaimed novelist who turned against the literary novel; a feminist womaniser, sensual yet incurably romantic, irresistible and exasperating by turns, but always vitally human.

Friday 18 March 2022

Book Quotes of the Week


"We can’t change the world, and a lot of the time we can’t even change people. No more than one bit at a time. So we do what we can to help whenever we get the chance. We save those we can. We do our best." Fredrik Backman, Anxious People

Wouldn't it be nice if we could change the world, no more wars, no more viruses ... And yes, we do what we can, we can't avoid some idiots starting a war but we can help thouse who suffer from it, in our own little ways.

"In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there's something stronger – something better, pushing right back."
Albert Camus (Au milieu de l'hiver, j'ai découvert en moi un invincible été.)

I don't really like summer but I can subscribe to this meaning, even if it isn't sure whether Camus wrote it or not.

"To enter a wood is to pass into a different world in which we ourselves are transformed." Roger Deakin,

I would change "wood" into "book" but I think it applies to both.
Find more book quotes here.

Thursday 17 March 2022

#ThrowbackThursday. Fall On Your Knees and The Way the Crow Flies

MacDonald, Ann-Marie "Fall On Your Knees" - 1997
MacDonald, Ann-Marie "The Way the Crow Flies" - 2003

We read both books in our international book club, the first one in January 2002, the second in October 2004.

Ann-Marie MacDonald has fascinated our book club in many ways. Both her novels are about families, the first about an immigrant family in Canada, the second about a military family on an Air Force base.

Both are highly interesting, not a light, easy read but quite dark at times. I absolutely loved them.

Read more on my original posts here:
MacDonald, Ann-Marie "Fall On Your Knees" - 1997
MacDonald, Ann-Marie "The Way the Crow Flies" - 2003

Wednesday 16 March 2022

The Classics Club: The Classics Spin #29


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

On her page, I found the posts by "The Classics Club" asking us to create a post, this time before next Sunday 20th March 2022, and list our choice of any twenty books that remain "to be read" on our Classics Club list. They'll then post a number from 1 through 20 and we have time until Sunday 30th of April 2022 to read it.

In the meantime, I read nine more books from my old list (Classics Spin #28) which I usually replace by some new ones. Since I want to finish my oldest classic novels first (as published in my Classics Club list) before buying new ones, I simply added those that are still on that list at the end of the list (only five more). They are all in chronological order.

1.    Voltaire "Candide, ou l'Optimisme" (Candide, or Optimism) - 1759
2.    Brontë, Charlotte "Shirley" - 1849
3.    Keller, Gottfried "Novellen" (Romeo und Julia auf dem Dorfe u.a.) "Novellas" (A Village Romeo and Juliet and others) - 1855/56
4.    Eliot, George "Silas Marner" - 1861
5.    Hamilton, Cicely "William - an Englishman" - 1920
6.    Mandelstam, Ossip "The Din of Time" (Шум времени/Shum vremeni) - 1925
7.    Hesse, Hermann "Wir nehmen die Welt nur zu ernst" [We just take the world too seriously] - 1928
8.    Meigs, Cornelia "Invincible Louisa" - 1933
9.    Christie, Agatha "Murder on the Orient Express" (Hercule Poirot #10) - 1934
10.    Némirovsky, Irène "La Proie" [The Prey] - 1938
11.    Boschwitz, Ulrich Alexander "Der Reisende" (The Passenger/The Fugitive) - 1939
12.    Zweig, Stefan "Schachnovelle" (The Royal Game/Chess) - 1942
13.    Fallada, Hans "Every Man Dies Alone" (Jeder stirbt für sich allein) - 1947
14.    Mahfouz, Naguib "Midaq Alley" (Zuqaq El Midaq/زقاق المدق) - 1947
15.    Kazantzakis, Nikos "The Last Temptation of Christ" (Ο τελευταίος πειρασμός/O telefteos pirasmos) - 1951
16.    Keller, Gottfried "Novellen" (Romeo und Julia auf dem Dorfe u.a.) "Novellas" (A Village Romeo and Juliet and others) - 1855/56
17.    Mandelstam, Ossip "The Din of Time" (Шум времени/Shum vremeni) - 1925
18.    Némirovsky, Irène "La Proie" [The Prey] - 1938
19.    Fallada, Hans "Every Man Dies Alone" (Jeder stirbt für sich allein) - 1947
20.    Kazantzakis, Nikos "The Last Temptation of Christ" (Ο τελευταίος πειρασμός/O telefteos pirasmos) - 1951

If you want to take up the challenge, here is the post: The Classics Spin #29 

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

Tuesday 15 March 2022

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Green Books


"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 Spring 2022 TBR
As always, with these challenges, I still have a few others to complete so will not start a new one before I have finished those that are on my unfinished lists.

Classic Challenge 2021  
The Classics Club  
Mid Year Book Freakout Tag 2021  
Top Ten Tuesday ~ 2021 Releases I Was Excited to Read But Didn’t Get To
Top Ten Tuesday ~ Twenty-Three Books on My Winter 2021 To-read List
Top Ten Tuesday ~ Book(ish) Christmas Presents
Nonfiction November 2021 Week 5 New to My TBR #NonficNov 5
Top Ten Tuesday ~ Most Anticipated Books of the Second Half of 2021

If you are interested to see how I am getting on there, have a look at the links.

However, that makes me twist the subject again. I don't want to steer away from the topic too much and thought about doing something with spring titles but I don't have any. What are the odds? However, I saw a nice idea on another post last week, Marg @ TheIntrepidReader had used books with "Green" in the title or in the author's name. Thanks for that, Marg.

Green is a good colour for spring, IMHO. So, I found four books with the author's name "Green/Greene/Green...", four books with the word "Green" in the title and then I added two books that have entirely green covers.

Which means, this is my topic of the week: Green Books

Green is not only my favourite colour but also my political view, so I had a lot of fun finding the titles.

Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von "The Sorrows of Young Werther" (GE: Die Leiden des Jungen Werther) - 1774 (green book)
Green, Hannah (Joanne Greenberg) "I Never Promised you a Rose Garden" - 1964
Green, John "The Fault in Our Stars" - 2012
Greene, Graham "Brighton Rock" - 1938
- "The End of the Affair" - 1951

Maalouf, Amin "Samarkand" (F: Samarcande) - 1988 (green book)
Montgomery, L. M. "Anne of Green Gables" - 1908
Rylant, Cynthia "Old Town in the Green Groves: Laura Ingalls Wilder's Lost Little House Years" - 2002
Sachar, Louis "Stanley Yelnats’ Survival Guide to Camp Green Lake" - 2003
Ulitzkaya, Lyudmila "Imago" or "The Big
Green Tent" (RUS: Зеленый шатер = Zelenyi shater) - 2010

While reminiscing about the colour, I remembered another post I did a while ago, Yaourter, Mondegreen, Lorem Ipsum and Pangrams. It has nothing to do with the colour
green but with another favourite subject of mine, languages.

I hope everyone enjoys this twist. Do you have any "Green" books?

📚 Happy Reading! 📚