Tuesday 28 February 2023

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Top Ten Plus Genre Freebie ~ Dystopian Literature


"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 a Genre Freebie. (We can pick a genre and build a list around it. It could a list of favorites, a to-read list, recommendations for people interested in reading books in that genre, "if you like this, try this", etc.)

I have participated in Top Ten Tuesday for almost ten years now. It has always been a lot of fun. Obviously, subjects repeat itself after a while, there are new ones but also "recycled" ones. This belongs to the latter. I have done my favourite genre three times already. First, I picked Classics, then Historical Fiction and after that Travel. But there is one genre that I also love and it seems I haven't done one on that topic, yet (at least, I couldn't find it). I know I have used most of those books whenever something came up where they would fit in. My favourite book of all, The Children's War features in 19 lists, so far. Today it makes it's 20th appearance.

So, yes, I have picked dystopian literature today. I love that genre. It depicts our fears about the future and if we look back, we can always see what people feared most at certain times. There is the fear of communism, of Big Brother, of an atomic war, of aliens. But most of all, it's often the fear of someone or something taking control of our lives, changing it forever. By some authors I have read more than just one book on the topic (Margaret Atwood, Ray Bradbury, George Orwell, J.N. Stroyar) but I have only listed one of their books, my favourite.

I hope you will find a book or two among them that you might want to read. If you do, let me know how you liked them.

Atwood, Margaret "The Handmaid’s Tale" (Re-Read) - 1985
Boye, Karin "Kallocain" (SW: Kallocain) - 1940
Bradbury, Ray "Fahrenheit 451" - 1953
Chabon, Michael "The Yiddish Policemen's Union" - 2007
Fforde, Jasper "Shades of Grey. The Road to High Saffron" - 2009
Haushofer, Marlen "The Wall" (GE: Die Wand) - 1962
Huxley, Aldous "Brave New World" - 1931
Jackson, Shirley "The Lottery" - 1948 (short story)
Levithan, David "Every Day" - 2012
McCarthy, Cormac "The Road" - 2006 
Orwell, George "Nineteen Eighty Four" - 1949
Pausewang, Gudrun "The Last Children" (GE: Die letzten Kinder von Schewenborn oder … sieht so unsere Zukunft aus?) - 1983

Sansom, C.J. (Christopher John) "Dominion" - 2011

Stephenson, Neal "Anathem" - 2008

Stroyar, J.N.
"The Children's War" - 2001

📚 Happy Reading! 📚

Monday 27 February 2023

Gulbranssen, Trygve - Bjørndal Trilogy (Bjørndaltrilogien)

Gulbranssen, Trygve "Beyond Sing the Woods" (Norwegian: Og bakom synger skogene) - 1933
Gulbranssen, Trygve "The Wind from the Mountains" (Norwegian: Det blåser fra Dauingfjell and Ingen vei går utenom) - 1934/35

These books were among the few hardcovers my parents owned and were therefore among the first ones I read. That was more than half a century ago now. When my parents died and we liquidated their house, my brothers decided that the books should be mine. I was very happy about them, because they are a nice memento of my parents and my love of reading, which I discovered early on.

The novels are considered a development, peasant, generational and gothic novel.
Let's say it could pass as a tragedy. We also liked to watch the movies when they came on TV.

From the back covers:

Gulbranssen, Trygve "Beyond Sing the Woods" (Norwegian: Og bakom synger skogene)
"The story of three generations of an old-lineage Norwegian family making their life in the northern woods (circa 1750's.) Main themes are the struggle between tradition and innovation, the prejudices of pastoral society, and a study in human nature and man's ability to make peace with it."

Gulbranssen, Trygve "The Wind from the Mountains" (Norwegian: Det blåser fra Dauingfjell and Ingen vei går utenom) - 1934/35
"In this second volume of the trilogy, we meet Dag again, who is now slightly older. He is now Old-Dag. His son, Young-Dag, is married off to Adelheid Barre, an officer's daughter, something her urban office-holding family is not immediately thrilled about. But Old-Dag makes a grand impression on them at the wedding, and the objectors fall silent. Adelheid's life at the farm is different than she expected. Her marriage is especially difficult to comprehend. She grows close to Old-Dag, and finds much joy in his company and in long and deep conversations with him. Young-Dag is in many ways a stranger both to her and the family. A tragedy prompts him to run away from the farm, into the woods - all the way to Death Mountain. From there, nobody returns. But he does anyway, and the experiences become a turning point in the relationship between Young-Dag and Adelheid."

"Det blåser fra Dauingfjell" and "Ingen vei går utenom" was collectively translated under the English title The Wind from the Mountains.

Friday 24 February 2023

Book Quotes


"She had read enough stories to know that the princess and the monster were never the same. She had been alone long enough to know which one she was." Melissa Bashardoust, Girl Serpent Thorn

I think I have read enough stories to know that the princess will always be saved from the monster by the good looking guy.

"A book was a powerful thing. It could take her away from all her incessant worries for whole minutes at a time." Susan Wiggs,
The Lost and Found Bookshop

Well said. So true.

"Paperbacks are for reading hardbacks for collecting" N.N.

Not a bad thought. But most of us don't have the space to collect all that many books, so I collect my paperbacks and only buy hardbacks very, very rarely.

Find more book quotes here.

Thursday 23 February 2023

#ThrowbackThursday. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

Angelou, Maya "I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings" - 1969

The author has led a very difficult life - at least in her youth. And she tells us all about it in this book. Racism, poverty, growing up with different caregivers, child abuse, early pregnancy.

Read my original review here.

Wednesday 22 February 2023

Perry, Matthew "Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing"

Perry, Matthew "Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing" - 2022

Do you like F.R.I.E.N.D.S.? If you do, your favourite character might be the same as the one of many: Chandler Bing.

I knew he had a problem with alcoholism. I wondered how he still managed to play such an upbeat character.

Matthew Perry opens up, he tells us everything about his life. While some might find this a little too much, I think this is a great book for those trying to understand this illness. Because that's what it is, an illness. I suffer from migraines and I've heard a lot of things about it, like just taking an aspirin, ignoring it, can't be that bad etc. Anyone suffering from a chronicle, invisible illness can tell you about that. But suffering from alcoholism or drug abuse is different, a lot of people blame them for what they are "doing", not feeling compassion for what is happening to them!

I think when reading Matthew's autobiography, you can understand how hard it is to battle such an illness and that comments like the ones above don't help but hinder.

This was a book my son gave me for Christmas. He knows how much I love F.R.I.E.N.D.S. Actually, my whole family does. Say anything and we can answer with a F.R.I.E.N.D.S. quote, we can actually have whole conversations with F.R.I.E.N.D.S. quotes. We have lots of gadgets with F.R.I.E.N.D.S. quotes, coasters, glasses, cups, plates etc. We once gave the boys cushion covers with the quote "The Cushions are the Essence of the Chair" and they both have them in their apartments. Would he have given it to me if he had read it himself beforehand and had known about all the details? I don't know but I hope he would have and I am glad he did.

There is a lot of Matthew in Chandler and a lot of Chandler in Matthew, as could be expected. Reading this memoir makes me love him even more. This is probably one of the saddest story I will read this year. So dark, so devastating.

The book is so honest, you feel the author talks to you personally as his very best friend whom he can rely on. I wish Matthew Perry all the best in the future.

From the back cover:

"The BELOVED STAR OF FRIENDS takes us behind the scenes of the hit sitcom and his struggles with addiction in this 'CANDID, DARKLY FUNNY...POIGNANT' memoir (The New York Times)

A MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK by Time, Associated Press, Goodreads, USA Today, and more!
Hi, my name is Matthew, although you may know me by another name. My friends call me Matty. And I should be dead.'

So begins the riveting story of acclaimed actor Matthew Perry, taking us along on his journey from childhood ambition to fame to addiction and recovery in the aftermath of a life-threatening health scare. Before the frequent hospital visits and stints in rehab, there was five-year-old Matthew, who traveled from Montreal to Los Angeles, shuffling between his separated parents; fourteen-year-old Matthew, who was a nationally ranked tennis star in Canada; twenty-four-year-old Matthew, who nabbed a coveted role as a lead cast member on the talked-about pilot then called
Friends Like Us. . . and so much more.

In an extraordinary story that only he could tell - and in the heartfelt, hilarious, and warmly familiar way only he could tell it - Matthew Perry lays bare the fractured family that raised him (and also left him to his own devices), the desire for recognition that drove him to fame, and the void inside him that could not be filled even by his greatest dreams coming true. But he also details the peace he’s found in sobriety and how he feels about the ubiquity of Friends, sharing stories about his castmates and other stars he met along the way. Frank, self-aware, and with his trademark humor, Perry vividly depicts his lifelong battle with addiction and what fueled it despite seemingly having it all.

Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing is an unforgettable memoir that is both intimate and eye-opening - as well as a hand extended to anyone struggling with sobriety. Unflinchingly honest, moving, and uproariously funny, this is the book fans have been waiting for."

Tuesday 21 February 2023

Book Tag: 5…4…3…2…1…

I found this on Dianna's blog A Novel Glimpse and on Dini's blog, Dinipandireads, who found it on Becky's blog @ Beckysbookblog. Becky saw this tag on Instagram but wasn’t sure where it originated, so if you do know the creator, please feel free to add a comment so we can post a link to them up!  Thank you all.

5 Books You Love

This is such a tough one. I have linked some of my favourite books by some of my favourite authors (except for the last one, she has only written that one trilogy).

Austen, Jane - "Persuasion" - 1817
My favourite book by Jane Austen, one of my favourite classic authors.
Mann, Thomas "Buddenbrooks: The Decline of a Family" (GE: Buddenbrooks) - 1901
My favourite book by my favourite German author.

Pamuk, Orhan "My Name is Red" (TR: Benim Adım Kırmızı) - 1998
My favourite book by one of my favourite authors ever. Definitely my favourite Turkish author.

Ruiz Zafón, Carlos "The Shadow of the Wind" (E: La sombra del viento - El cementerio de los libros olvidados #1) - 2001
One of my favourite books ever. Too sad the author left us so early.

Stroyar, J.N. "The Children's War" - 2001
Definitely the best book I ever read. I must warn you, it's out of print and it's a trilogy. But if you're lucky, like me, you might still find a used copy.

4 Autobuy Authors

Again, there are many. I list the first one that came to my mind and the last ones they published. Hopefully, there will be more.

Hansen, Dörte "Lunchtime" (GE: Mittagsstunde) - 2018
Right now, my favourite contemporary author. Her first book (
This House is Mine) was translated into English, this one not. Yet, I hope.
Kingsolver, Barbara "Unsheltered" - 2018
One of my favourite US American authors, loved her since I read my first one by her (
The Poisonwood Bible).
Lawson, Mary "A Town Called Solace" - 2021
Definitely one of my favourite authors ever, Canadian writer Mary Lawson.
Pamuk, Orhan "The Red-Haired Woman" (TR: Kırmızı Saçlı Kadın) - 2016
Like I mentioned, one of my favourite authors. This was, like all the others in this category, his last book (well, he brought out one more that is still not available in paperback).

3 Favourites Genres

The Genres were not difficult but the books were.

Classic Books
Since I already mentioned my favourite classic author, Jane Austen, here is my favourite book by my next favourite:
Dickens, Charles
"Oliver Twist" - 1838
Travel Books
German journalist Stephan Orth travels the world similar to the way I used to when I was younger, only we called it "Pasporta Servo" and visited like-minded Esperanto-speakers. This was the first one I read and it might be even more interesting to read today with the war going on.
Orth, Stephan "Couchsurfing in Russia: Friendships and Misadventures Behind Putin’s Curtain" (GE: Couchsurfing in Russland. Wie ich fast zum Putin-Versteher wurde) - 2017
Historical Novels
There are lots of books that teach us history while entertaining us with a nice novel, Edward Rutherfurd is probably one of the best authors of that genre. This was his first one.
Rutherfurd, Edward
"Sarum: the Novel of England" - 1987

2 Places You Read

I read anywhere, in my armchair, my bed, in the car, in doctor's waiting rooms, wherever I have a few minutes by myself. Here you can see my reading nook/armchair.

1 Book You Promise to Read Soon

There are tons of books on my TBR pile, this is the one I might read next.

Abulhawa, Susan "Against the Loveless World" - 2020

Now, I hope more bloggers will take this on and I am looking forward to your results.

Monday 20 February 2023

Gray, Martin "For those I loved"

Gray, Martin "For those I loved" (French: Au nom de tous les miens) - 1971

I read this book many years ago, but it is one that has never left me. The life that Martin Gray led, no, that he had to experience, was so hard. One loss after another. I don't know how he got through it. First the Warsaw ghetto, then Treblinka and later, when he found a family, a fire destroyed his whole life again.

Apparently, not everything happened exactly as described in the book. But the key data of the author's life is correct, and that's bad enough.

An impressive work.

From the back cover:

"Martin Gray was in his fourteenth year when the Nazis marched into Poland ; on his nineteenth birthday he entered Berlin with the Red Army. In the intervening years - in the Warsaw Ghetto, in the death camp at Treblinka, with the partisans and the NKVD - Martin Gray grew up in a hell on earth.

For Those I Loved is a classic account of survival against incredible and horrific odds.

Martin has come full circle since his boyhood world was turned upside down by the German invasion of Poland in 1939. Overnight, the teenage Martin and his family were immersed in the horrors of the Holocaust and held captive in the Warsaw Ghetto. It was a nightmare of brutality, starvation, and death. Martin became a clever smuggler to help his family survive - until the 'butchers' of Treblinka took his mother and brothers. Against impossible odds, Martin survived and returned to fight in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. As the Nazis incinerated the ghetto, he escaped to fight with the partisans, and then the Red Army.

After the war, Martin made his way to New York. The cunning and skills he developed during the war enabled him to learn the language and create a successful business. At 35, he retired to France with a fortune and a beautiful Dutch wife, starting a family and living in happiness and peace. But his world was shattered once again by a forest fire that engulfed his fleeing family. In a tragic repeat of history, Martin alone survived.

Martin Gray's past could be our future if we don't heed his call to be the change. In this 35th anniversary expanded edition of
For Those I Loved, a book beloved by millions of readers worldwide, Martin reminds us that the past is connected to the present. Only we can ensure that history is not repeated.

Martin Gray still lives in the South of France (*) and has devoted his life to his family, writing, human rights, and environmental and cultural causes. He received the United Nations Dag Hammar-skjold Award and the Gold Medal of European Merit.

* He died in 2016, after the book was published.

Friday 17 February 2023

TBR Pile Reading Challenge 2023


One of my favourite Reading Challenges that I joined in 2016.

I don't think Evie from the Bookish Blog still carries this on, as I can't find it on her page but her words with which she started this challenge are still true: "We all have those books. We buy them, win them, they're gifted to us. Then we put them up on a bookshelf and there they stay, collecting dust, waiting for the time when we'll finally decide to pick them up."

As I mention every year, even now, after seven years of participation, my TBR (To Be Read) pile is still a lot longer than it should because I just can't resist buying any new books and going to the library though I have tried to attempt reading more old books than buying new ones. But I read lately that buying books, collecting books and reading books are three completely different hobbies. And I have them all.

I could, of course, try to tackle the 50+ challenge but we all know that is not going to happen, instead, I tried to do at least 11-20 old books in addition to the new ones I'm buying and those I get from the library and wished to be pleasantly surprised at the end of the year. That happened, I have reached the 21-30 (First Kiss) and 31-40 (Sweet Summer Fling) sometimes in the last years, maybe I can get to 41-50 (Could This Be Love?) one day.

I have read
37 books in 2016,
32 in 2017,

38 in 2018
23 in 2019
25 in 2020 
39 in 2021 and
15 in 2022
of the books that had been waiting to be read for more than a year.
I hope I will manage more in 2023.

(I always add the German title - when available - in brackets for my German friends)

So far, I have already read these of my "old books" in 2023:

Illies, Florian "1913: The Year before the Storm" (GE: 1913: Der Sommer des Jahrhunderts) - 2012
Sankovitch, Nina "Tolstoy and the Purple Chair: My Year of Magical Reading" (Tolstoi und der lila Sessel) 2010
Janson, Stefan (Hrsg./Ed.) "Griechenland. Reise-Lesebuch" [Greece. Travel Reader] - 2002
Gillard, Joe "The Little Book of Lost Words. Collywobbles, Snollygosters, and 86 Other Surprisingly Useful Terms Worth Resurrecting" - 2019
Wood, Levison "Eastern Horizons. Hitchhiking the Silk Road" - 2017
Greiner, Lena; Padberg, Carola "Unser Mathelehrer unterrichtet von draußen - damit er dabei rauchen kann!: Die lustigsten Storys über Lehrer" [Our math teacher teaches from outside - so he can smoke!: The funniest stories about teachers] - 2020
Abulhawa, Susan "Against the Loveless World" (Nahrs letzter Tanz) - 2020
Lagerkvist, Pär "Barabbas" (Barabbas/Barabbas) - 1950
Mahfouz, Naguib "Die Midaq Gasse" (Midaq Alley/Zuqaq El Midaq) - 1947 (زقاق المدق)

Rutherfurd, Edward "New York" (New York. Im Rausch der Freiheit) - 2009
Kazantzakis, Nikos "Die letzte Versuchung" (The Last Temptation of Christ/Ο τελευταίος πειρασμός/O telefteos pirasmos) - 1951
Taschler, Judith W. "Sommer wie Winter" [Summer and Winter] - 2011
Mercier, Pascal "Das Gewicht der Worte" [The Weight of the Words] - 2020

13 altogether.

Thursday 16 February 2023

#ThrowbackThursday. The Joy Luck Club


Tan, Amy "The Joy Luck Club" - 1989

Four Chinese daughters growing up in New York. Four Chinese mothers playing Mah Jong. Eight different women with eight different stories, views, lives. The daughters tyring to understand the past, the mothers tyring to understand the American life their daughters lead.

We discussed this in our international book club in March 2002.

Read my original review here.

Wednesday 15 February 2023

Wood, Levison "Eastern Horizons"

Wood, Levison "Eastern Horizons. Hitchhiking the Silk Road" - 2017

I love stories about travels, I loves stories about the Middle and Far East, so this book sounded just like the right one for me.

And it was. Levison Wood tells us, how he travelled at the age of 22, first through Russia, then through Georgia and Turkey into Iran, from there to Afghanistan, then Pakistan and finally into the country he wanted to reach all along: India.

This was  a wonderful book for anyone who would love to do such a trip themselves but can't for whatever reason. As a woman, I doubt it would have been the same as it was for the author and the other men he met along the road. So, I am glad I can see it through his eyes.

I see that he has written more books like this, I should probably go and read them, as well.

From the back cover:

"Levison Wood was only 22 when he decided to hitch-hike from England to India through Russia, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, but he wasn't the conventional follower of the hippy trail. A fascination with the deeds of the early explorers, a history degree in the bag, an army career already planned and a shoestring budget of £750 - including for the flight home - he was determined to find out more about the countries of the Caucasus and beyond - and meet the people who lived and worked there. Eastern Horizons is a true traveller's tale in the tradition of the best of the genre, populated by a cast of eccentric characters; from mujahideen fighters to the Russian mafia. Along the way he meets some people who showed great hospitality, while others would rather have murdered him... 

This book confirms that Levison Wood, Winner of the 2016 Edward Stanford Adventure Travel Book Of The Year Award, has indeed 'breathed new life into adventure travel ' (Michael Palin)"

Tuesday 14 February 2023

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Love/Valentine’s Day Freebie


"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 a Love/Valentine’s Day Freebie.

We don't celebrate Valentine's Day in Germany, although the florists, chocolate shops and restaurants have been trying to push it very hard in the last decade or so. Personally, my hubby and I like to go out on our wedding anniversary, preferably with our two sons. Valentine's Day seems so artificial.

And I don't read romantic novels but I still found a couple of novels that have the word "Love" in the title and that are worth promoting.

García Márquez, Gabriel "Love in the Time of Cholera" (E: El amor en los tiempos del cólera) - 1985
Grjasnowa, Olga "All Russians Love Birch Trees" (GE: Der Russe ist einer, der Birken liebt) - 2012
Hislop, Victoria "Those Who Are Loved" - 2019
Huston, Allegra "Love Child" - 2009
Morrison, Toni "Love" - 2003
Oz, Amos "A Tale of Love and Darkness" (Hebr: סיפור על אהבה וחושך) - 2002
Şafak, Elif "The Forty Rules of Love: A Novel of Rumi" - 2001
Schami, Rafik "The Dark Side of Love" (GE: Die dunkle Seite der Liebe) - 2004
Segal, Erich "Love Story" - 1970
Soueif, Ahdaf "The Map of Love" - 1999

📚 Happy Reading! 📚

Friday 10 February 2023

Book Quotes of the Week


"There must be something in books, something we can’t imagine, to make a woman stay in a burning house; there must be something there. You don’t stay for nothing." Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

I don't think I'd stay in a burning house to save my books but I know what he means.

"When we read with children, we increase their vocabulary and imagination, and with a larger vocabulary, they become better at expressing themselves with their own words. It strengthens their ability to enter into communities that benefit them both now and in the future." HKH Crown Princess Mary Elizabeth of Denmark

Totally, the more you read with children, the better their vocabulary, the better they are in school, the more successful they are in life. Lots of studies show that and we only have to look around to see it for ourselves.

"We do not read in order to turn great works of fiction into simplistic replicas of our own realities, we read for the pure, sensual, and unadulterated pleasure of reading." Azar Nafisi

True. But we gain so much more from it.

Find more book quotes here.

Thursday 9 February 2023

#ThrowbackThursday. The Wave

Rhue, Morton "The Wave" - 1981

The teacher Ben Ross started an experience. He found a great way to teach everyone why you can be drawn into evil and why we should never forget how this can happen but also not point fingers because we never know what we might have done.

The book is based on a true life story which happened in a high school in Palo Alto, Californa.

Read my original review here.

Wednesday 8 February 2023

Petrowskaja, Katja "Maybe Esther"

Petrowskaja, Katja "Maybe Esther" (German: Vielleicht Esther) - 2014

A great tale of a Jewish family's history. One critic wrote that Katja Petrowskaja could have written a great novel, but only reproduced fragments. I think it is precisely these fragments that show more of what this family - representative of all other Jewish families - went through, all the little details that you don't often hear about.

A wonderful book.

From the back cover:

"An inventive, unique, and extraordinarily moving literary debut that pieces together the fascinating story of one woman’s family across twentieth-century Russia, Ukraine, Poland, and Germany.

Katja Petrowskaja wanted to create a kind of family tree, charting relatives who had scattered across multiple countries and continents. Her idea blossomed into this striking and highly original work of narrative nonfiction, an account of her search for meaning within the stories of her ancestors.

In a series of short meditations, Petrowskaja delves into family legends, introducing a remarkable cast of characters: Judas Stern, her great-uncle, who shot a German diplomatic attaché in 1932 and was sentenced to death; her grandfather Semyon, who went underground with a new name during the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, forever splitting their branch of the family from the rest; her grandmother Rosa, who ran an orphanage in the Urals for deaf-mute Jewish children; her Ukrainian grandfather Vasily, who disappeared during World War II and reappeared without explanation forty-one years later - and settled back into the family as if he’d never been gone; and her great-grandmother, whose name may have been Esther, who alone remained in Kiev and was killed by the Nazis.

How do you talk about what you can’t know, how do you bring the past to life? To answer this complex question, Petrowskaja visits the scenes of these events, reflecting on a fragmented and traumatized century and bringing to light family figures who threaten to drift into obscurity. A true search for the past reminiscent of Jonathan Safran Foer’s
Everything Is Illuminated, Daniel Mendelsohn’s The Lost, and Michael Chabon’s Moonglow, Maybe Esther is a poignant, haunting investigation of the effects of history on one family."

In 2013, Katja Petrowskaja received the Ingeborg Bachmann Prize, one of the most important awards for literature in the German language.

Tuesday 7 February 2023

Obama, Michelle "The Light We Carry"

Obama, Michelle "The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times" - 2022

I already read Michelle Obama's first book "Becoming" and really loved it. So, there was no question that I also wanted to read her second one.

Such a wonderful woman, such a strong personality. We need more women like her who tell us how they lead their successful lives without pointing a finger, without letting the book be a "self-help book" (I loathe them).

It's a huge privilege to be let into the thoughts of Michelle Obama, she shares so much that can be helpful to all of us. We can always learn from each other but especially from successful people.

Unlike many other presidents' wives, her life was not an easy one, she wasn't born with a silver spoon in her mouth, she had to fight her way up. But she worked hard and got there, despite many obstacles. But she doesn't judge others who didn't get as far, she knows how hard it is.

I know many would want her to be president (including myself) and I'm sure she'd be great at it but I also know that she doesn't want to and I totally understand when she says that eight years in the White House are enough.

In any case, should she write a third book, I'll be first in line to purchase it.

She introduces the book in her own words:
"I've learned it's okay to recognize that self-worth comes wrapped in vulnerability, and that what we share as humans on this earth is the impulse to strive for better, always and no matter what. We become bolder in brightness. If you know your light, you know yourself. You know your own story in an honest way. In my experience, this type of self-knowledge builds confidence, which in turn breeds calmness and an ability to maintain perspective, which leads, finally, to being able to connect meaningfully with others - and this to me is the bedrock of all things. One light feeds another. One strong family lends strength to more. One engaged community can ignite those around it. This is the power of the light we carry."

Book Description:

"In an inspiring follow-up to her critically acclaimed, #1 bestselling memoir Becoming, former First Lady Michelle Obama shares practical wisdom and powerful strategies for staying hopeful and balanced in today's highly uncertain world.

There may be no tidy solutions or pithy answers to life's big challenges, but Michelle Obama believes that we can all locate and lean on a set of tools to help us better navigate change and remain steady within flux.
In The Light We Carry, she opens a frank and honest dialogue with readers, considering the questions many of us wrestle with: How do we build enduring and honest relationships? How can we discover strength and community inside our differences? What tools do we use to address feelings of self-doubt or helplessness? What do we do when it all starts to feel like too much?

Michelle Obama offers readers a series of fresh stories and insightful reflections on change, challenge, and power, including her belief that when we light up for others, we can illuminate the richness and potential of the world around us, discovering deeper truths and new pathways for progress. Drawing from her experiences as a mother, daughter, spouse, friend, and First Lady, she shares the habits and principles she has developed to successfully adapt to change and overcome various obstacles - the earned wisdom that helps her continue to 'become.' She details her most valuable practices, like 'starting kind,' 'going high,' and assembling a 'kitchen table' of trusted friends and mentors. With trademark humor, candor, and compassion, she also explores issues connected to race, gender, and visibility, encouraging readers to work through fear, find strength in community, and live with boldness.

'When we are able to recognize our own light, we become empowered to use it,' writes Michelle Obama. A rewarding blend of powerful stories and profound advice that will ignite conversation, The Light We Carry inspires readers to examine their own lives, identify their sources of gladness, and connect meaningfully in a turbulent world."

Monday 6 February 2023

Buck, Pearl S. "The Patriot"

Buck, Pearl S. "The Patriot" - 1939

Pearl S. Buck was always a great writer of historical fiction. Here, she talks about the problems between China and Japan during Chiang Kai-Chek's time and the Sino-Japanese war.

A mixed marriage brings two families together, and nobody can tell the story of two cultures clashing better than the Nobel Prize winning author.

The history intermingles with the lives of the protagonists - it would, of course, and we can see how politics influence the family and how their reactions influence their lives.

As all books by Pearl S. Buck, a great tale of different cultures.

From the back cover:

"A Chinese dissident is torn between love and country in this novel from the New York Times–bestselling author of The Good Earth.

When Wu I-wan starts taking an interest in revolution, trouble follows: Winding up in prison, he becomes friends with fellow dissident En-lan. Later, his name is put on a death list and he’s shipped off to Japan. Thankfully, his father, a wealthy Shanghai banker, has made arrangements for his exile, putting him in touch with a business associate named Mr. Muraki. Absorbed in his new life, I-wan falls in love with Mr. Muraki’s daughter, and must prove he is worthy of her hand. As news spreads of what the Japanese army is doing back in China, I-wan realizes he must go back and fight for the country that banished him.

Find other books by Pearl S. Book that I read here.

Pearl S. Buck received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1938 "for her rich and truly epic descriptions of peasant life in China and for her biographical masterpieces".

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

Saturday 4 February 2023

Spell the Month in Books ~ February 2023


Reviews from the Stacks

I found this on one of the blogs I follow, Books are the New Black who found it at One Book More. It was originally created by Reviews from the Stacks, and the idea is to spell the month using the first letter of book titles.

I suppose Jana thought about Valentine's Day when choosing the topic for this month:

February: Red or Pink Covers

I often have problems sticking to the given topic but this month it was no problem at all. There are so many read books around, I could even choose my favourites.


Follett, Ken "Fall of Giants" - 2010
Buck, Pearl S. "The Exile" - 1936
Harris, Joanne "Blackberry Wine" - 2000
Rutherfurd, Edward "Russka. The Novel of Russia" - 1991
Whitehead, Colson
Underground Railroad" - 2016
Atkinson, John "Abridged Classics" - 2018
Tademy, Lalita "Red River" - 2007
Johnson, Maureen; Cooper, Jay "Your Guide to Not Getting Murdered in a Quaint English Village" - 2021

Happy Reading!
📚 📚 📚

Six Degrees of Separation ~ From Trust to Book Love


#6Degrees of Separation:
from Trust to Book Love

#6Degrees is a monthly link-up hosted by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best. I love the idea. Thank you, Kate. See more about this challenge, its history, further books and how I found this here.

This month's prompt starts with Trust by Hernan Diaz (Goodreads)

As happens so often, I have not read our starter book. And I have not read a book with "trust" in the title or by someone with the name Hernan or Diaz (though I know people by either of those names).

But looking at the cover, I noticed the colours, black and white with a little red. So, I thought that might be an idea and looked for books that also have a cover like that. Now just make a chain out of it.

Reading the description of the book, this is all about the rich and famous, money and secrets.

The first book with that sort of content comes to mind:
Frisch, Max "The Arsonists" (GE: Biedermann und die Brandstifter) - 1958
Gottlieb Biedermann is a rich person who is upset that some arsonists are in town who start living in people's houses while intending to burn them down.

Arson gets me to the next crime: Murder
Buruma, Ian "Murder in Amsterdam: The Death of Theo Van Gogh and the Limits of Tolerance" (NL: Dood van en gezonde roker) - 2006
Not any murder. 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.

We can go from a murder of one person to that of many: War
Michaels, Anne "Fugitive Pieces" - 1996
Jakob Beer is seven years old when he is rescued from the muddy ruins of a buried village in Nazi-occupied Poland.

This leads me to a book about humanity in general:
Harari, Yuval Noah "Sapiens. A Brief History of Mankind" (Hebr.: Ḳizur Toldot Ha-Enoshut/קיצור תולדות האנושות) - 2014
A book that tries to explain how we became the beings we are today, what happened between the time the first humanoid forms appeared on this earth and today.

Going from all of humankind to just one kind human who wrote a memoir about her interesting life:
Perkins, Sue "Spectacles" - 2015
Little anecdotes about her school life, her family, just the things that could happen to any of us, made the book even funnier. One of the books that you don't want to read in public if you have a reputation to save.

And this leads us to our passion: Reading
Tung, Debbie "Book Love" - 2005
From time to time you need a book that makes you feel good about your passion, devotion, affection, dedication, or even frenzy.


I think we can all agree that we trust in that comment, and that leads us back to the beginning.