Tuesday 31 May 2022

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Comfort Reads


"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 Comfort Reads (Share which books or kinds of books you turn to when you need to escape. You can either share specific titles if you love to re-read, or you could share qualities of books you look for in a comfort read.)

This was another tough subject for me. I like challenges, I love books that have more than 500 pages, I love classics, Nobel Prize Winners, Peace Prize Winners, anything that is not too easy. I can escape the real world best when I read about it. Weird, but there you are. And I've already done my favourite Nobel Prize Winning Books last year (see here). However, there are other prizes where I like to read the latest winners or some from former winners. I know many of you will disagree that these could be comfort reads. But yes, they often give me great comfort because I realize how well off I am.

None of these authors has received the Nobel Prize though I believe they would all be worthy of it.

Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi "Half of a Yellow Sun" - 2006 - Women's Prize for Fiction

Doerr, Anthony "All the Light We Cannot See" - 2014 - Pulitzer Prize for Fiction

Hansen, Dörte "This House is Mine" (GE: Altes Land) - 2015 - Favourite (German) Independent Books and several other German prizes

Kingsolver, Barbara "The Poisonwood Bible" - 1998 - Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (finalist)

Leky, Mariana "What You Can See From Here" (GE: Was man von hier aus sehen kann) - 2017 - Favourite (German) Independent Books

Lenz, Siegfried "The German Lesson" (GE: Deutschstunde) - 1967
- Peace Prize of the German Book Trade and several other prizes, i.a. Goethe Price and Thomas Mann Prize

Myers, Benjamin "The Offing" - 2019
- Favourite (German) Independent Books and The Times Book of the Year Award

Owens, Delia "Where the Crawdads Sing" - 2018
- Favourite (German) Independent Books and The New York Times Fiction Best Sellers

Powers, Richard "The Overstory" - 2018
- Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, MAN Booker Prize Shortlist, William Dean Howells Medal and several others

Whitehead, Colson
"Underground Railroad" - 2016
- Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and National Book Award for Fiction plus several other awards

As always, I'm really looking forward to the other comfort reads. I know we will all have a different view and share different books. I hope one or another will find one of my books interesting.

📚 Happy Reading! 📚

Monday 30 May 2022

Rutherfurd, Edward "China"

Rutherfurd, Edward "China" - 2021

I was really looking forward to this book that I received for Christmas (thanks, Zach) because I love anything written by Edward Rutherfurd. And I was not disappointed. He delivered what he promised with his other books.

There is only a slight change. In most of his books, he tells stories of families over throughout the centuries, often starting way before our calendar. This one starts in 1839 and ends in the early 1900s, long enough to see the lifetime of all the protagonists. And that is the only criticism I have about this book. I would have liked a list at the end or the beginning about all the different characters, as he has done in all his former historic novels. That way you know where you are in history. Granted, this spans not even a century but the Chinese names make it a little more difficult to remember who is who, especially since sometimes there are several others who tell their story before we return to a certain one. It was still alright to remember who was who but it would have been easier otherwise.

As in all his other books, we learn a lot about China's history. I have read many books about it but this one is very detailed and gives us so much information about the opium wars and the rebellions that more or less formed the new China, and when we complain about something the Chinese are doing today, our countries were responsible for a lot of it. Not mine in this case but we have enough other skeletons in our closet, so I won't even go further into who was there and who wasn't.

I can understand that Edward Rutherfurd didn't want to go through all of China's history, it is so vast and the country is so huge, the book would have been a lot longer than the 784 pages of my edition. I think concentrating on this part was an excellent idea because many of us know our history from that time and can compare.

I wouldn't say I prefer this way of writing the story of a country to the other one, I probably still like the whole story better, but there is so much to learn from this book, I can only highly recommend it. Reading his books is better than any history lesson I remember from school.

I do hope, he'll write many, many more.

From the back cover:

"China in the Nineteenth Century is a proud and ancient empire forbidden to foreigners. Western merchants desires Chinese tea above all other things and resort to smuggling opium in exchange.
The Qing Emperor will not allow this trade to continue. The Opium Wars begin - heralding a period of bloody military defeats, reparations, and one-sided treaties which will become known as the Century of Humiliation.

From Hong Kong to Beijing to the Great Wall, from the exotic wonders of the Summer Palace and the Forbidden City, to squalid village huts, the great clash between East and West rages across the Celestial Kingdom. We meet a young village wife struggling with the rigid traditions of her people, Manchu empresses and warriors, powerful eunuchs, fanatical Taiping and Boxer Rebels, savvy Chinese pirates, artists, concubines, scoundrels and heroes, well-intentioned missionaries and the rapacious merchants, diplomats and soldiers of the West. Fortunes will rise and fall, loves will be gained and lost.

China is a feat of the imagination that will enthrall, instruct and excite, and show us how the turmoil of the nineteenth century led to modern China’s revolution and rebirth."

Find a link to all my reviews on his other novels here.

I have been told by a lot of people that Edward Rutherfurd writes like James Michener. If anyone here has read books by both of them, would you agree? And which book by Michener should I start with?

Friday 27 May 2022

Book Quotes of the Week


"For as long as she could remember, she had thought that autumn air went well with books, that the two both somehow belonged with blankets, comfortable armchairs, and big cups of coffee or tea." Katarina Bivald, The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend

Anything goes well with books. No discussion necessary. 

"That's how it is with books, isn't it: They're not in a hurry. They’ll wait for you till you're ready." Charles Bukowski

That's a very consoling thought when I look at my TBR pile.

"The world of reality has its limits, the world of imagination is boundless." Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Isn't that fantastic?

Find more book quotes here

Thursday 26 May 2022

#ThrowbackThursday. The Hour I First Believed


Lamb, Wally "The Hour I First Believed" - 2008

I like all books by Wally Lamb and it is hard to choose a favourite. But this could be it.

The author always finds a great way to describe people's feelings, little by little he dissects any situation. I love his style. He has a great way of telling a story. There is so much humanity in this book, so even though a lot of negative events happen, it still is a book of hope and love.

The novel is primarily Columbine High School and the shooting, it combines so many other topics. I thoroughly enjoyed this very descriptive book.

We discussed this in our international book club in January 2010.

Read more on my original post here.

Tuesday 24 May 2022

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Lighthouses


"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 Book Quote Freebie (Share your favorite book quotes that fit a theme of your choosing! These could be quotes about books/reading, or quotes from books. Some examples are: quotes for book lovers, quotes that prove reading is the best thing ever, funny things characters have said, romantic declarations, pretty scenery descriptions, witty snippets of dialogue, etc.)

I have done this already in the last two years,
Top Ten Book Quotes in 2021 and
Top Favourite Book Quotes in 2020
Also, I publish my weekly book quotes almost every Friday (see all of them here).

I also did Top Ten Book Titles that Would Make Great Song Titles.

Which means, I have decided to twist the topic today. Or go a completey different way.

I'm just reading a book that takes place in a lighthouse. It's written in Danish but takes place in Norway. Unfortunately, not yet translated into English but I'm sure that will come. So, that gave me the idea to go for this subject.

Coelho, Paulo "The Alchemist" (PO: O Alquimista) - 1988

Pamuk, Orhan "Nights of Plague" (TR: Veba geceleri) - 2021 (Goodreads)

Roop, Peter & Connie "Keep the Lights Burning, Abbie" - 1985 (Goodreads)

Ruiz Zafón, Carlos "The Prince of Mist" (E: El príncipe de la niebla) - 1993
- "Watcher in the Shadows" (E: Las luces de Septiembre) - 1995

Stedman, M L "The Light Between Oceans" (Das Licht zwischen den Meeren) - 2012 (Goodreads)

Uthaug, Maren "Where there are birds" (DK: Hvor der er fugle/Hannahs Lied) - 2017

Woolf, Virginia "To the Lighthouse" - 1927

The first two pictures in my collage are by one of my favourite contemporary painters, Frank Koebsch. If you follow my blog, you might have seen his and his wife Hanka's pictures in my monthly greetings. They are all beautiful and since they live by the sea, there are a few lighthouse pictures among them.

I posted the first one in my "Happy May 2022" post and the second on in "Happy October 2020".

Mind you, there are a few quotes on my list (here) that mention lighthouses and/or light, mostly comparing books to the light that guide you in this world.

"Books are lighthouses erected in the great sea of time." E.P. Whipple

"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire." W. B. Yeats

"To sit alone in the lamplight with a book spread out before you, and hold intimate converse with men of unseen generations – such is a pleasure beyond compare." Kenko Yoshida

"Thinking is more powerful than talking. Reading is more enlightening than seeing." Dr T.P. Chia

"A book, too, can be a star, 'explosive material, capable of stirring up fresh life endlessly,' a living fire to lighten the darkness, leading out into the expanding universe." Madeleine L'Engle

"Fairy tales in childhood are stepping stones throughout life, leading the way through trouble and trial. The value of fairy tales lies not in a brief literary escape from reality, but in the gift of hope that goodness truly is more powerful than evil and that even the darkest reality can lead to a Happily Ever After. Do not take that gift of hope lightly. It has the power to conquer despair in the midst of sorrow, to light the darkness in the valleys of life, to whisper 'One more time' in the face of failure. Hope is what gives life to dreams, making the fairy tale the reality" L.R. Knost

In your dark night, I urge you to hold to your faith, to embrace hope, and to bear your love before you like a burning candle, for I promise it will
light your way." William Kent Krueger, When Ordinary Grace

I'm really looking forward to all the quotes of the other bloggers. I love quotes, but - as I mentioned - I probably post them more than often enough already.

📚 Happy Reading! 📚

Friday 20 May 2022

Book Quotes of the Week


"Re-read your favourite books at different stages of your life. The plot never changes but your perspective does." Junaid Akram

I have done that with a few books and wish I would have been able to read more great literature when I was younger.

"A book is like a trapdoor that leads to a secret attic: You can open it and go inside. And your world is different." Antonio Iturbe,
The Library of Auschwitz

It's great that you can go to another world through a book, I never really though about it as a trapdoor but more a window.

"One should examine oneself for a very long time before thinking of condemning others." Molière

Good advice, Monsieur. It would be great if more people adhered to it.

Find more book quotes here