Friday 29 April 2022

Book Quotes of the Week


"There is no charm equal to tenderness of heart." Jane Austen, Emma

I don't think anyone could have said that better.

"A good education and a kind heart will serve you well throughout your entire life." Alex Trebek,
The Answer is ...

Same sentiment, and I agree just the same.

"Nothing will ever replace the human contact between learner and teacher" Wole Soyinka

I think the last years of lockdown and schools closing has shown us that.

Find more book quotes here

Thursday 28 April 2022

#ThrowbackThursday. A Leap of Faith


Noor Al-Hussein, Queen of Jordan "A Leap of Faith: Memoir of an Unexpected Life" - 2003

An interesting book about an interesting woman in her interesting life. Queen Noor is a very special person. I think everyone ought to read this book in order to get a better and larger picture of the problems the people in this region - and in the meantime all of us - face.

I was really impressed with this book and the description of the country. It has made a deep impression on me and I would love to visit Jordan.

We discussed this in our international book club in January 2007.

Read more on my original post here.

Wednesday 27 April 2022

Boschwitz, Ulrich Alexander "The Passenger"

Boschwitz, Ulrich Alexander "The Passenger" aka "The Fugitive" (German: Der Reisende) - 1939
This is my eighth Classic Spin and we were given #11.

I had never heard of this author when I found the book in a bookshop. But the description sounded interesting, a book one had to read. So I bought it. Apparently, this novel was first published as a translation in English as "The man who took trains" in the UK and "The Fugitive" in the US under the pseudonym John Grane. Posthumously. Because his destiny would make an interesting story, as well. As so many Jews, he couldn't get away, he was a Jew in Germany and a Nazi in other countries. So, the British interned him as "enemy alien" and sent him to Australia. When he returned to Europe, his ship was torpedoed and sank, and with it the author and his last manuscript. Let us think about people like him when we don't welcome refugees.

You can see how the protagonist changes with the circumstances he is in. How he first believes that his Arian friends will help him, how he then thinks with the money he has left he can get away, how he tries again and again to leave Germany and a certain destiny of death.

Ulrich Alexander Boschwitz was only 23 when he wrote this book but I think you can tell that he was wise beyond his age, probably for all the events he had seen and had to live through.

The book "disappeared" for several decades. I am glad it was found again.

From the back cover:

"Hailed as a remarkable literary discovery, a lost novel of heart-stopping intensity and harrowing absurdity about flight and persecution in 1930s Germany

Berlin, November 1938. Jewish shops have been ransacked and looted, synagogues destroyed. As storm troopers pound on his door, Otto Silbermann, a respected businessman who fought for Germany in the Great War, is forced to sneak out the back of his own home. Turned away from establishments he had long patronized, and fearful of being exposed as a Jew despite his Aryan looks, he boards a train.

And then another. And another . . . until his flight becomes a frantic odyssey across Germany, as he searches first for information, then for help, and finally for escape. His travels bring him face-to-face with waiters and conductors, officials and fellow outcasts, seductive women and vicious thieves, a few of whom disapprove of the regime while the rest embrace it wholeheartedly.

Clinging to his existence as it was just days before, Silbermann refuses to believe what is happening even as he is beset by opportunists, betrayed by associates, and bereft of family, friends, and fortune. As his world collapses around him, he is forced to concede that his nightmare is all too real.

Twenty-three-year-old Ulrich Boschwitz wrote
The Passenger at breakneck speed in 1938, fresh in the wake of the Kristallnacht pogroms, and his prose flies at the same pace. Taut, immediate, infused with acerbic Kafkaesque humor, The Passenger is an indelible portrait of a man and a society careening out of control."

If you want to see what others were reading, have a look here.

Tuesday 26 April 2022

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Books with Maps On the Cover


"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 [___] On the Cover

I love geography and have always loved maps. And I was sure I'd find at least 10 books with maps on their cover. So, here is what I found.

Aaronovitch, Ben "Rivers of London" - 2011

Bonnett, Alastair "Off the Map" - 2014

Bryson, Bill "A Short History of Nearly Everything" - 2003

Garfield, Simon "On the Map. Why the World Looks the Way it Does" (aka On the Map: A Mind-Expanding Exploration of the Way the World Looks) - 2012

Kehlmann, Daniel "Measuring the World" (GE: Die Vermessung der Welt) - 2005

Kneale, Matthew "English Passengers" - 2000

Morgan, Ann "Reading the World. Confessions of a Literary Explorer" (aka The World Between Two Covers: Reading the Globe) - 2015

Roach, Mary "My Planet. Finding Humor in the Oddest Places" - 2013

Whitehead, Colson "Underground Railroad" - 2016

Winchester, Simon "The Map that Changed the World" - 2001

There we are, some maps of the earth, some street or town maps, a globe, anything a map lover likes. I'm looking forward to seeing what other bloggers chose.

๐Ÿ“š Happy Reading! ๐Ÿ“š

Monday 25 April 2022

Eliot, George "Silas Marner"

Eliot, George "Silas Marner" - 1861

I have read several novels by George Eliot and liked them all. So, it was no surprise that I also enjoyed reading about Silas Marner and his life. There are a lot of books set in this location and time-frame (English Midlands, French wars of the early 1800's) and I always compare this author to Charles Dickens who lived at the same time and described similar lives.

But, you can tell that this is a woman who wrote the book, she makes different observations, I don't want to say they are deeper or better, just different. And thereby, she adds a lot to the understanding of people from that era.

Maybe we could say this book is about karma. As Oscar Wilde said: "The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily That is what fiction means." Stories like this one confirm this.

I will certainly have to read more books by George Eliot (pen name of Mary Ann Evans).

From the back cover:

"Although the shortest of George Eliot's novels, Silas Marner is one of her most admired and loved works. It tells the sad story of the unjustly exiled Silas Marner - a handloom linen weaver of Raveloe in the agricultural heartland of England - and how he is restored to life by the unlikely means of the orphan child Eppie. Silas Marner is a tender and moving tale of sin and repentance set in a vanished rural world and holds the reader's attention until the last page as Eppie's bonds of affection for Silas are put to the test."

Friday 22 April 2022

Book Quotes of the Week


"I can’t heal you - or anyone - but I can celebrate your choice to dismantle the prison in your mind, brick by brick. You can’t change what happened, you can’t change what you did or what was done to you. But you can choose how you live now. My precious, you can choose to be free." Dr. Edith Eva Eger, The Choice: Embrace the Possible

She is right, books can help us a lot, I know they have always helped and still help me.

"One has to work very carefully with what is in between the words. What is not said. Which is measure, which is rhythm and so on. So, it is what you don’t write that frequently gives what you do write its power."
Toni Morrison

What is not said is so often more important than what is said. Not just in books.

"No furniture is so charming as books." Sidney Smith

I couldn't agree more. That's why half of your house is filled with books. You just can't sit on them so well, so we also have to have some other stuff like chairs and beds. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Find more book quotes here

Thursday 21 April 2022

#ThrowbackThursday. The Lacuna

Kingsolver, Barbara "The Lacuna" - 2009

A wonderful book about politics (especially the evil side of it), prejudices, art, love - and cooking.

This certainly is one of my favourites by Barbara Kingsolver, though I love them all.

Read more on my original post here.

Wednesday 20 April 2022

Thomas, Dylan "Under Milk Wood"

Thomas, Dylan "Under Milk Wood" - 1954

I read this for the "1954 Club".

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

I had already read "Lord of the Flies" by William Golding and "I am Legend" by Richard Matheson but there are always books in every year that I still want to read.

There were a few books that would have interested me and I might pick up a few of them in future:
Amis, Kingsley "Lucky Jim"
Rose, Reginal "Twelve Angry Men"
Murdoch, Iris "Under the Net"
Mishima, Yukio "The Sound of Waves"
Remarque, Erich Maria "A Time to Love and a Time to Die" (GE: Zeit zu leben und Zeit zu sterben)
Wodehouse, P.B. "Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit"
Frisch, Max "I'm not Stiller" (GE: Stiller)

But I chose this one, "Under Milk Wood". Somehow, I always thought it was an adaptation from a novel and I thought the title sounded interesting. However, it is a play and it doesn't really have a plot. I mean, yes, the subject is "thoughts of people in a fictional village" but I couldn't follow them or make any sense of it let alone combine different thoughts from different people. Nor did I find any humour in this. Sometimes, a book is described as funny but I don't think it is but I can still like it (e.g. "Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian" by Marina Lewycka), sometimes I am just bored ("Cold Comfort Farm" by Stella Gibbons). This one belongs to the latter category. I mean, I love British humour, this has nothing to do with it. Thank goodness it wasn't that long.

From the back cover:

"Commissioned by the BBC, and described by Dylan Thomas as 'a play for voices', 'Under Milk Wood' takes the form of an emotive and hilarious account of a spring day in the fictional Welsh seaside village of Llareggub. We learn of the inhabitants' dreams and desires, their loves and regrets. The play introduces us to characters such as Captain Cat who dreams of his drowned former seafellows and Nogood Boyo who dreams of nothing at all. It is a unique and touching depiction of a village that has 'fallen head over bells in love'. The First Voice narration reveals the ordinary world of daily happenings and events, while the Second Voice conveys the intimate, innermost thoughts of the fascinating folk of Llareggub. There have been myriad productions of 'Under Milk Wood' over the years and Richard Burton, Peter O'Toole, Elizabeth Taylor, Sir Anthony Hopkins and Tom Jones have all starred in radio, stage or film adaptations."

And here is Simon's list with all the books from 1954 other bloggers read.

Tuesday 19 April 2022

Top Ten Tuesday ~ My Bookish Merchandise


"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
Bookish Merchandise I'd Love to Own.

That would definitely go far beyond the scope because, if I may quote "Queen": "I want it all".

Therefore, I have restricted myself to some of the stuff I already own. Since my sons always say "you can never go wrong with a present with a bookish theme for you" (and hubby agrees with it), I have plenty of mugs and bags that fit into that category. I have bookends, bookmarks and statues, ornaments, jewelry and clothing (shawls, socks, T-shirts, sweatshirts, you name it …), cushions and - because my husband is an AFOL (Adult Fan of Lego) - I even have a Lego bookshop. And lots of book stamps. Whenever I see one and it is for sale, it's mine. LOL

So, enjoy my collage of bookish merchandise I own.

From top to bottom, left to right:
Bookish Mug w. elephant, Jane Austen Bookend, Reader Statues, Jane Austen Necklace, Reader Ornament, Two Readers, Asterix and Obelix Reading Statues, Book Stamp, Christmas Tree Ornament, Bag w. Bookworm's Belongings, Cushion Dinosaur w. Books, Bookbag w. Books, Book Mug, Lego Bookshop, Janes Austen P&P Shawl

Of course, that doesn't mean I'm done, as I said above: ๐ŸŽผ I want it all! ๐ŸŽผ

Now I'm looking forward to everyone else's list. I'm sure there is plenty I can put on my wishlist for my next birthday, Christmas, etc. etc.

๐Ÿ“š Happy Reading! ๐Ÿ“š

Thursday 14 April 2022

#ThrowbackThursday. The Ingenious Mr Fairchild


Leapman, Michael "The Ingenious Mr Fairchild: The Forgotten Father of the Flower Garden" - 2001

A very fascinating book, even if you're not into gardening at all (like me). The story of a gardener who first experimented in breeding different plants alongside the history but also our contemporary concerns with genetic manipulation. 

Read more on my original post here.  

Wednesday 13 April 2022

Robinson, Marilynne "Gilead"

Robinson, Marilynne "Gilead" - 2004

I like Pulitzer Prize winning novels. And I like Oprah books. This one is both and I'm not sure whether I did like it or not though I can say for sure that it could have been a tad faster, with a little more pace to it than it had. Granted, the story is supposedly told by an old man who writes to his son. He know he will not be around much longer and the son is still quite little, so he writes to his adult son in about twenty years.

Gilead is the name of the fictional small town in Iowa where the family Ames lives. John is a clergyman as well as his father and his grandfather were and he tells his son the story of their family and their town. It all flows from one event or even non-event into the next.

Given the profession of the protagonist who also functions as the narrator of the whole story, this novel is quite into religion. I am a Christian but not American and I have always felt there is a wide distance between the two beliefs, probably as wide as the ocean that separates us, especially between my Catholic Christianity and that of many American protestant denominations. I can follow a story that is based around religion, I can even read certain religious writings but reading about a whole life of a person who thinks he is better because he believes in the one and only way how to live your life and probably wanting to enforce it onto his son, well, it was a bit much.

The whole book sounded to me like the last sermon this guy was ever going to give and that his son was condemned to follow it letter by letter for the rest of his life.

The book was not what I usually experience with Pulitzer Prize winning novels. It happens rarely but it happens. Unfortunately. We can't always agree with everyone. And apart from the one author who didn't accept the Oprah nomination, I think this is also the first Oprah book I can't warm to.

Marilynne Robinson received the Pulitzer Prize for "Gilead" in 2005.

From the back cover:

"Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Critics Circle Award, Gilead is a hymn of praise and lamentation to the God-haunted existence that Reverend Ames loves passionately, and from which he will soon part.

In 1956, toward the end of Reverend John Ames's life, he begins a letter to his young son, an account of himself and his forebears. Ames is the son of an Iowan preacher and the grandson of a minister who, as a young man in Maine, saw a vision of Christ bound in chains and came west to Kansas to fight for abolition: He 'preached men into the Civil War,' then, at age fifty, became a chaplain in the Union Army, losing his right eye in battle.

Reverend Ames writes to his son about the tension between his father - an ardent pacifist - and his grandfather, whose pistol and bloody shirts, concealed in an army blanket, may be relics from the fight between the abolitionists and those settlers who wanted to vote Kansas into the union as a slave state. And he tells a story of the sacred bonds between fathers and sons, which are tested in his tender and strained relationship with his namesake, John Ames Boughton, his best friend's wayward son.

This is also the tale of another remarkable vision - not a corporeal vision of God but the vision of life as a wondrously strange creation. It tells how wisdom was forged in Ames's soul during his solitary life, and how history lives through generations, pervasively present even when betrayed and forgotten.

Tuesday 12 April 2022

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Authors I Haven’t Read, But Want To


"Top Ten Tuesday" is an original feature/weekly meme created on the blog "The Broke and the Bookish". This feature was created because they are particularly fond of lists at "The Broke and the Bookish". It is now hosted by Jana from That Artsy Reader Girl.

Since I am just as fond of them as they are, I jump at the chance to share my lists with them! Have a look at their page, there are lots of other bloggers who share their lists here.

This week, our topic is Authors I Haven’t Read, But Want To.

First I thought, ups, I think I've read most authors that I really want to read. But then I got it. There is a huge list of authors that I still want to read: the Nobel Prize winners that I haven't read, yet.

So, it was only a matter of looking for the authors that I really would like to read and since there are definitely more than ten, I just started to go backwards. And here they are:

๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ฟ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡น ๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ต ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ ๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฌ ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ช ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ช ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ

Abdulrazak Gurnah, 2021 ๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ฟ ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง
Abdulrazak Gurnah was born in Tanzania and has British citizenship. He writes in English received the prize "for his uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism and the fate of the refugee in the gulf between cultures and continents". (Wikipedia)
"Pilgrim's Way" - 1988

Peter Handke, 2019
Peter Handke is from Austria. He writes in German and received the prize "for an influential work that with linguistic ingenuity has explored the periphery and the specificity of human experience".
"Immer noch Sturm" (Storm Still) - 2010

Kenzaburo Oe, 1994 ๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ต
Kenzaburo Oe is from Japan. He writes in Japanese and
received the prize "who with poetic force creates an imagined world, where life and myth condense to form a disconcerting picture of the human predicament today". (Wikipedia)

Camilo Josรฉ Cela, 1989
Camilo Josรฉ Cela was from Spain. He wrote in Spanish and
received the prize "for a rich and intensive prose, which with restrained compassion forms a challenging vision of man's vulnerability". (Wikipedia)

Wole Soyinka, 1986
Wole Soyinka
is Nigerian. He writes in English and received the prize because he "fashions the drama of existence ... in a wide cultural perspective and with poetic overtones". (Wikipedia)

Elias Canetti, 1981
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ฌ ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง
Elias Canetti was born in Bulgaria and had British citizenship. He wrote in German and received the prize "for writings marked by a broad outlook, a wealth of ideas and artistic power". (Wikipedia)
Canetti, Elias "Die Blendung" (Auto-da-Fรฉ) - 1935

Saul Bellow, 1976
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ
Saul Bellow was born in Canada and had the US American citizenship. He wrote in English and
received the prize "for the human understanding and subtle analysis of contemporary culture that are combined in his work". (Wikipedia)
"Humboldt's Gift" - 1975

Harry Martinson, 1974 ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ช
Harry Martinson was from Sweden. He wrote in Swedish and received the prize "for writings that catch the dewdrop and reflect the cosmos". (Wikipedia)
"Aniara" (SW: Aniara) - 1956

Eyvind Johnson, 1974
Eyvind Johnson was also from Sweden and wrote in Swedish.
He received the prize "for a narrative art, farseeing in lands and ages, in the service of freedom".

Patrick White, 1973
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ
Patrick White was born in the United Kingdom and had Australian citizenship. He wrote in English and received the prize "for an epic and psychological narrative art, which has introduced a new continent into literature". (Wikipedia)

If you wonder why there are so many large gaps in between some authors, well, first of all, I am not a huge fan of poetry, so I usually leave those out unless I finish all the authors that wrote novels or non-fiction one day or if one of them comes up in my book club or elsewhere.

So, there are two authors who write in Spanish, two in German, one in Japanese, one in Spanish and the last for all write in English.

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

๐Ÿ“š Happy Reading! ๐Ÿ“š