Friday 26 January 2024

Dickens, Charles "Barnaby Rudge"

Dickens, Charles "Barnaby Rudge: A Tale of the Riots of Eighty" - 1841

I'm a huge Charles Dickens fan. I have never read a book by him that wasn't fascinating. This was so great, as well.

I didn't know that this was another historical novel (next to "A Tale of Two Cities").

What I loved about this book was just what I normally love about Dickens. His description of the little man, the life of people at the time he writes about. How did they live? What were their problem? Why did they revolt in this case?

We get a good view about the lives and the problems of the people in the 18th century even though it wasn't the time Dickens lived in.

I can see why this is the least read of his books though it doesn't really deserve it. The topic might not seem as interesting to readers or maybe they are missing a really feel-good romance. No matter the reason, this is a great book and if you are a fan of classic literature, you should consider reading at least one of Dickens' books. And if you don't want to carry on then, it is your loss.

I would love to read this with a book club since there is so much to talk about. But I don't want to give spoilers on my blog, so I will not go into details.

From the back cover:

"Dickens's first historical novel is set against the infamous 'No Popery' riots that were instigated by Lord George Gordon in 1780, and terrorised London for days. Prejudice, intolerance, misplaced religious and nationalistic fervour, together with the villains who would exploit these for political ends, are Dickens's targets. His vivid account of the riots at the heart of the novel is interwoven with the mysterious tale of a long unsolved murder, and a romance that combines forbidden love, passion, treachery and heroism.

A typically rich cast of comic characters, from the snivelling Miss Miggs and the posturing Simon Tappertit to the half-witted
Barnaby Rudge of the title, ensures high entertainment."

Thursday 25 January 2024

#ThrowbackThursday. Tuesdays with Morrie


Albom, Mitch "Tuesdays with Morrie" - 1997

This book is telling the relationship between Mitch Albom, a sports reporter, and his former university professor. The author hears about his professor falling sick and starts visiting him every Tuesday.

It is a very moving and touching book. You learn about life and death and how to deal with it.

I thought both these books were very inspiring. 
Read my original review here.

Tuesday 23 January 2024

Gaiman, Neil "Coraline"

Gaiman, Neil "Coraline" - 2002

Coraline is only a short novella. It was an alright read though nothing spectacular. I probably would have enjoyed reading it with my boys.

I have never been a fan of books where children are heroes and this falls into this category. But I can see the attraction.

I loved the pictures by Chris Riddell. He is a wonderful illustrator and makes every book better, even the great ones.

And I liked these quotes:
"Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten."
"When you're scared but you still do it anyway, that's brave."

Luckily, there are always several people in a book club who have a different opinion, so here goes:
•    I absolutely loved Coraline. I listened to it as an audiobook that was narrated by Neil Gaiman himself. His narration was perfect for the story.
•    The story had everything I want from a book: it was mysterious, a little spooky, thrilling, had thought provoking layers and interesting vivid details. Not to mention a lovely protagonist, very interesting different side characters, especially the CAT, and a really interesting antagonist.
•    Nice plot twists with playing games with the other mother and everything turning out alright at the end again.
•    I rather not think about what this says about me and my brain, but this was the most brain stimulating and heartwarming story I read/heard all year. ♥

We read this in our international online book club in December 2023.

From the back cover:

"Sometimes, a door is closed for a very good reason…

There is something strange about Coraline’s new home. It’s not the mist, or the cat that always seems to be watching her, nor the signs of danger that Miss Spink and Miss Forcible, her new neighbours, read in the tea leaves. It’s the other house - the one behind the old door in the drawing room. Another mother and father with black button eyes and papery skin are waiting for Coraline to join them there. And they want her to stay with them. For ever. She knows that if she ventures through that door, she may never come back…

Friday 19 January 2024

Statistics 2023


My statistics for the last years are here:
Going back to 2009-12, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022 
And these are the results of my reading lists for 2023:

* Statistics 2023 *
I did 184 posts in 2023 which was about a hundred less than last year before but about the same as many others.

My regular posts are either weekly (Book Quotes, Top Ten, ThrowBack Thursday,
Wordless Wednesday) or monthly (Happy Month), so I posted more or less the amount of weeks or months in a year.
Book Quotes of the Week (5 posts)
Happy Month (12)
Top Ten Tuesday (11)
ThrowBack Thursday (41)
Wordless Wednesday
Six Degrees of Separation (12)
Spell the Month in Books (12)

I also did a few lists that are more or less statistics about half of the year and a comparison to ten years ago
(see here):
10 Year Challenge Book Tag
Mid Year Freak-Out Tag
The End of Year Book Tag
Book Tag: 5…4…3…2…1…

Same as last year, I also participated in Non-fiction November.

And then there are, of course, all the challenges I have done over the years.
I read books that contributed to the following challenges. Some of them count for more than one category:

Challenges (number of books read for the challenges in brackets)

13 Ways of Looking at the Novel (1)
2023 TBR Pile Reading Challenge (13)

Anti-Racism Books (1)
I read more on this topic but they were not on this list.
The Classics Club (18): The Classics Spin (4)
5* for the Classics Spin, 18 in total
* There was one left from the original list and I finally finished it:
Dutch and French Books (0 Dutch, 4 French)
Favourite (German) Independent Books (1)
(Das Lieblingsbuch der Unabhängigen = The Favourite Book of the Independents)
German Books (32)
My Favourite Books Ever (15)
Every year I find some more books I can add to my list of favourite books. 24 this year. Not too bad, I guess.
Nobel Peace Prize (1)
Nobel Prize Winners and Their Books (13)
Oscar Winning Books (1)
Paris in July (6)
Peace Prize of the German Book Trade (1 + 2 previous ones from this year's recipient)

(German: Friedenspreis des Deutschen Buchhandels)
Read the Year Club (2)
We read 1940 and 1962 this year. It's a good idea to add some reads from former years that we might not have touched before.
Reading Challenge - Chunky Books 2023 (12)
I read 12 chunky books in 2023 of which 3 are considered a chunkster. Mor-book-ly Obese again.
Reading the World (1)
Suggestions from Friends (3)
I read suggestions from friends all the time, just haven't kept up with who recommended which book.
Top Ten Tuesday
I took part in 11 of the challenges, this is a great way of reminiscing or planning your reads. But I have done so many of them before.
Travel the World Through Books (1)

Some of the challenges are older and I only add to them if I happen to read one of the books. No new books on these lists:
The 100 best Non-fiction Books of All Time as Chosen by The Guardian (0)
100 Books by the BBC (0)
100 Greatest Fiction Books as Chosen by the Guardian (0)
101 Best Selling Books of All Times (0)
20 Classic and Important Books (0)
Only three more books on my list.
7 Books That Will Radically Shift Your Perspectives (0)
Books That Changed the World (0)
Emma's Book Club - Our shared shelf (0)
An ever growing list of books about and for women, a group started by Emma Watson (better known as Hermione Granger), UN Woman Goodwill Ambassador.
Esperanto Books (0)
Here we mostly read short stories.
Le Monde - The 100 Books of the Century (0)Oprah's Book Club (0)
The non-western books that every student should read (0)
The only thing I miss from our old place is the library that would get me any book I wanted. Not so easy here where we only have a small church library and they only get the biggest best-sellers. And all of them in German only, of course.

Book Club 2017 etc. (11)
I decided not to read the September book since it was not for me and we had read a few like that before.
German Book Club (11)
We only read eleven, we usually take a little break in the summer.

Books Read: 83
Pages read: 26,717 which results in 321 pages/book, 73 pages/day, 7 books/month
Last year (2022), I read 73 books with 20,533 pages which resulted in 281 pages/book, 56 pages/day, 6 books/month. So, I have improved a little.
The average novel contains between 140 and 320 pages, i.e. 230 which would make 116 average books (compated to 89 last year). Not too bad, I thought I had read less.

Books dating from which year:
Pre 1800s: 1
1800s: 3
1900-1949: 8
1950-1999: 8
2000s: 65 (1 of which from 2023)

Male Authors: 49
Female Authors: 37
Some are by several authors, so the number is not the exact number of books read.

Nobel Prize Winners: 14

Fiction: 52
Non-Fiction: 33

Chunky Books - more than 450 pages: 12, of which more than 750: 3
Library: 6
Re-Read: 2
TBR Pile: 18

Oldest Book: 1759
Voltaire "Candide, or Optimism" (F: Candide, ou l'Optimism) - 1759
Newest Book: 2023
Weiler, Jan "Älternzeit" [Eldertime] - 2023
Longest book: 1,057 pages
Rutherfurd, Edward "New York" - 2009
Shortest book: 48 pages
Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi "We Should All Be Feminists" - 2014
Longest book title: 35/38
Wickert, Ulrich "Frankreich muss man lieben, um es zu verstehen" [You have to love France to understand it] - 2017

Funniest Book:
Bythell, Shaun "Seven Kinds of People you Find in Bookshops" - 2020
Saddest Book:
Perry, Matthew "Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing" - 2022
Weirdest Book:
Canetti, Elias
"Auto-da-Fé" (Die Blendung) - 1935
Most disappointing:
Kazantzakis, Nikos "The Last Temptation of Christ"
(Ο τελευταίος πειρασμός, O telefteos pirasmos) - 1951

New author (for me) that I would like to read more from: 13
Ewald Arenz, Tsitsi Dangarembga, Dilek Güngör, Andrey Kurkov, Heinrich Mann, Matthew Perry, Bernd Schroeder, Heike Specht, Karosh Taha, Paul Theroux, Benedict Wells, Iris Wolff, Levison Wood
Translated Books:
6 from 6 languages
1 ea from
Arabic, Greek, Italian, Russian, Spanish, Swedish

Books read in another language:
Dutch: 0
French: 4
German: 32

Numbers in Book Titles:
2, 7, 1913
Place Names in Book Titles:
Brussels, Constantinople, Crow Lake, Flanders, France, Frankreich, French, English, German, Greece, Hook of Holland, London, Longbourn, Midaq Alley, New York, Northern Ireland, Paris (2), Rotenburg, Rue Morgue, Silk Road, Syria, Turkish
Names in Book Titles:
Barabbas, Barnaby, Caleb, Candide, Christ, Coraline, Hans, Idefix, Ishmael, Leo, Lina, Lukas, Maria, Rudge, Schmitz, Sommer, Winter
Colours in Book Titles
Blue, Purple, Red

My Favourite Books: 24
Arenz, Ewald "The Big Summer" (GE: Der grosse Sommer) - 2019
Brooks, Geraldine "Caleb’s Crossing"
- "People of the Book" - 2008

Bythell, Shaun "Seven Kinds of People you Find in Bookshops" - 2020
Dangarembga, Tsitisi "Nervous Conditions" - 1988
Güngör, Dilek "My Turkish Grandmother's Secret" (GE: Das Geheimnis meiner türkischen Großmutter) - 2007
Hajaj, Claire "Ishmael's Oranges" - 2014
Heidenreich, Elke; Schroeder, Bernd "Rowing Dogs" (GE: Rudernde Hunde) - 2002
Hislop, Victoria "Maria's Island" - 2021
Ibrahimi, Anilda "Red Like a Bride" (IT: Rosso come una sposa/Rot wie eine Braut) - 2008
Keefe, Patrick Radden "Say Nothing. A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland" - 2018
Kurkov, Andrej "Grey Bees" (RUS: Серые пчелы/Seryye Pchely) - 2019
Mahfouz, Naguib "Midaq Alley" (arab: زقاق المدق/Zuqaq El Midaq) - 1947
Obama, Michelle "The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times" - 2022
Perry, Matthew "Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing" - 2022
Ruiz Zafón, Carlos "The City of Mist" (E: La Ciudad de Vapor - El cementerio de los libros olvidados #5) - 2020
Rutherfurd, Edward "New York" - 2009
Şafak, Elif "The Island of Missing Trees" - 2021
Taschler, Judith W. "The German Teacher" (GE: Die Deutschlehrerin) - 2013
- "Summer and Winter" (GE: Sommer wie Winter) - 2011

Weiler, Jan "The Awning Man" (GE: Der Markisenmann) - 2022
- "Eldertime" (GE: Älternzeit) (Pubertiere #5) - 2023
- "In My Little Country" (GE: In meinem kleinen Land) - 2006
Wells, Benedict "The End of Loneliness" (GE: Vom Ende der Einsamkeit) - 2016
With my books, I visited places in the following countries:
Africa (4):
Egypt, Nigeria, South Africa, Zimbabwe
Asia (13):
Afghanistan, China, India, Iraq, Israel/Palestine, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Mongolia, Pakistan, Russia, Syria, Turkey
Australia/Oceania (1):
New Zealand
Europe (23):
Albania, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Cyprus, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom
North America (2):
Canada, USA
South America (3):
Argentina, Paraguay, Suriname,
Extra-terrestrial (0):
Countries "visited" in total: 46

Authors come from:
Africa (4):
Egypt, Nigeria, South Africa, Zimbabwe
Asia (4):
Iraq, Israel/Palestine, Sri Lanka, Syria
Australia/Oceania (1):
Europe (15):
Albania, Austria, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Greece, Poland, Romania, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom
North America: (2):
Canada, USA
South America (0):
Author countries in total: 26

See also "My Year in Books" on Goodreads.

You may find some even greater statistics by better bloggers than me, e.g. at "Stuck in a Book".
If you want more information on any of the lists mentioned, please, let me know.

Thursday 18 January 2024

#ThrowbackThursday. Measuring the World

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

Apparently, this is the most successful German novel since Patrick Suskind's "Perfume" and has knocked J. K. Rowling and Dan Brown off the bestseller lists.

I can very well believe that. The author talks about two brilliant German scientists of the 18th century, the explorer and naturalist Alexander von Humboldt and the great mathematician and physicist Carl Friedrich Gauss. These two guys were the brain of the late 18th century.

Read my original review here.

Wednesday 17 January 2024

Wells, Benedict "The End of Loneliness"

Wells, Benedict "The End of Loneliness" (German: Vom Ende der Einsamkeit) - 2016

A quiet book about a family that suddenly isn't a family anymore. How do children cope with the death of their parents, how do they get on?

In this story we can see what happens next.
Or not. How this loss accompanies a child throughout their entire life, how it shapes their life.

After the death of their parents, the children grow up in a boarding school, which is also described very impressively.
Here the author probably drew on his own experiences, as he too was at boarding school at the age of six.

This is a fabulous book that captures all facets of an entire life (or several).
Wonderfully written, a fascinating family story that is so comprehensive despite only being just over 350 pages long. Terrific. 

I think I will read more from this young author.

From the back cover:

"Jules Moreau’s childhood is shattered after the sudden death of his parents. Enrolled in boarding school where he and his siblings, Marty and Liz, are forced to live apart, the once vivacious and fearless Jules retreats inward, preferring to live within his memories - until he meets Alva, a kindred soul caught in her own grief. Fifteen years pass and the siblings remain strangers to one another, bound by tragedy and struggling to recover the family they once were. Jules, still adrift, is anchored only by his desires to be a writer and to reunite with Alva, who turned her back on their friendship on the precipice of it becoming more, but just as it seems they can make amends for time wasted, invisible forces - whether fate or chance - intervene.

A kaleidoscopic family saga told through the fractured lives of the three Moreau siblings alongside a faltering, recovering love story, The End of Loneliness is a stunning meditation on the power of our memories, of what can be lost and what can never be let go. With inimitable compassion and luminous, affecting prose, Benedict Wells contends with what it means to find a way through life, while never giving up hope you will find someone to go with you

"The End of Loneliness" has been chosen favourite book of the year 2016 by the German Indepent Book Shops and received the European Union Prize for Literature.

Tuesday 16 January 2024

The Classics Club: The Classics Spin #36


"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 21st January 2024, 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 3rd of March 2024 to read it.

This time, I read only the one book from my old list (Classics Spin #35). But there are always some new books that I can add to my challenge. The books are all in chronological order.

1.    Aristophanes "Lysistrata and Other Plays" (Lysistrata) - 411BC
2.    Dickens, Charles "Nicholas Nickleby. The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby" - 1838/39
3.    Dumas, Alexandre fils "Camille: The Lady of the Camellias" (La Dame aux Camélias" - 1848
4.    Brontë, Charlotte "The Professor" - 1857
5.    Turgenjew, Iwan Sergejewitsch "Fathers and Sons" (Отцы и дети/Otzy i deti) - 1862
6.    Conrad, Joseph "Victory: An Island Tale" - 1915
7.    Hamilton, Cicely "William - an Englishman" - 1920
8.    Hesse, Hermann "Wir nehmen die Welt nur zu ernst" [We just take the world too seriously] - 1928
9.    Faulkner, William "The Sound and the Fury" - 1929
10.   Hemingway, Ernest "A Farewell to Arms" - 1929
11.   Meigs, Cornelia "Invincible Louisa" - 1933
12.   Orwell, George "The Road to Wigan Pier" - 1937
13.   Du Maurier, Daphne "Rebecca" - 1938
14.   Krleža, Miroslav "On the Edge of Reason" (Na rubu pameti) - 1938
15.   Némirovsky, Irène "Les biens de ce monde" (All Our Wordly Goods) - 1941
16.   Cela, Camilo José "The Family of Pascal Duarte" (La Familia Duarte) - 1942
17.   Zweig, Stefan "Schachnovelle" (The Royal Game/Chess) - 1942
18.   Wilde, Oscar "Only Dull People Are Brilliant at Breakfast" - 1946
19.   Huxley, Aldous "Ape and Essence" - 1948
   Yates, Richard "Revolutionary Road" - 1961

For the Classics Spin #36, we received #20 and this is my novel:
Yates, Richard "Revolutionary Road" - 1961

This is a great idea for all of us who want to read more classics. Go ahead, get your own list.

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.

Friday 12 January 2024

My Year in Books

I am still doing my usual statistics but this is what Goodreads tells me. You can find links to all my books on Goodreads here or on my page under My Reading List

Saturday 6 January 2024

Six Degrees of Separation ~ From Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow to Books That Changed the World

#6Degrees of Separation:
from Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow to Books That Changed the World

#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 Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow (Goodreads). Again, I have not read the starter book. But maybe, someone would like to read it, so here is the description:

"In this exhilarating novel, two friends--often in love, but never lovers--come together as creative partners in the world of video game design, where success brings them fame, joy, tragedy, duplicity, and, ultimately, a kind of immortality.

On a bitter-cold day, in the December of his junior year at Harvard, Sam Masur exits a subway car and sees, amid the hordes of people waiting on the platform, Sadie Green. He calls her name. For a moment, she pretends she hasn't heard him, but then, she turns, and a game begins: a legendary collaboration that will launch them to stardom. These friends, intimates since childhood, borrow money, beg favors, and, before even graduating college, they have created their first blockbuster, Ichigo. Overnight, the world is theirs. Not even twenty-five years old, Sam and Sadie are brilliant, successful, and rich, but these qualities won't protect them from their own creative ambitions or the betrayals of their hearts.

Spanning thirty years, from Cambridge, Massachusetts, to Venice Beach, California, and lands in between and far beyond, Gabrielle Zevin's
Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow is a dazzling and intricately imagined novel that examines the multifarious nature of identity, disability, failure, the redemptive possibilities in play, and above all, our need to connect: to be loved and to love. Yes, it is a love story, but it is not one you have read before."

I don't think, I would like to read this book, even though it seems to be very much appreciated, but it's not the type of literature I enjoy.

But, I can use a word in the title and I always enjoy that. The starter word is, of course,

Harari, Yuval Noah "Homo Deus. A Brief History of Tomorrow" - 2016

Hawking, Stephen "A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes" - 1988

Haddon, Mark "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time" - 2003

Calvino, Italo "If on a Winter's Night a Traveller" (I: Se una notte d’inverno un viaggiatore) - 1979

Follett, Ken "Winter of the World" (Century Trilogy #2) - 2012

Taylor, Andrew James "Books That Changed the World" - 2008


Unfortunately, there is no link between the first and the last book. One is a novel, the other one a non-fiction about books. But about a lot of books. Who knows whether "Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow" isn't going to change the world?

Friday 5 January 2024

Spell the Month in Books ~ January

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.

January: New
(interpret as you wish: new releases, recent acquisitions, “new” in the title, etc.)

January - a new year. So not a bad idea to start with something new. I chose books on my TBR pile that I hope to read during the next year.

Worsley, Lucy "Jane Austen at Home" - 2017 (Goodreads)
This new telling of the story of Jane's life shows us how and why she lived as she did, examining the places and spaces that mattered to her. It wasn't all country houses and ballrooms, but a life that was often a painful struggle. Jane famously lived a 'life without incident', but with new research and insights, 
historian Lucy Worsley reveals a passionate woman who fought for her freedom. A woman who far from being a lonely spinster in fact had at least five marriage prospects, but who in the end refused to settle for anything less than Mr Darcy.

Barnes, Julian "Arthur & George" - 2005 (Goodreads)
As boys, George, the son of a Midlands vicar, and Arthur, living in shabby genteel Edinburgh, find themselves in a vast and complex world at the heart of the British Empire. Years later - one struggling with his identity in a world hostile to his ancestry, the other creating the world’s most famous detective while in love with a woman who is not his wife - their fates become inextricably connected.

Walker, Alice "
Now is the Time to Open your Heart" - 2004 (Goodreads)
In Now Is the Time to Open Your Heart , Alice Walker has created a work that ranks among her finest the story of a woman’s spiritual adventure that becomes a passage through time, a quest for self, and a collision with love.Kate has always been a wanderer. A well-published author, married many times, she has lived a life rich with explorations of the natural world and the human soul. Now, at fifty-seven, she leaves her lover, Yolo, to embark on a new excursion, one that begins on the Colorado River, proceeds through the past, and flows, inexorably, into the future. As Yolo begins his own parallel voyage, Kate encounters celibates and lovers, shamans and snakes, memories of family disaster and marital discord, and emerges at a place where nothing remains but love.

Dallek, Robert "An Unfinished Life - John F. Kennedy 1917-1963" - 2003 (Goodreads)
Drawing on previously unavailable material and never-before-opened archives, An Unfinished Life is packed with revelations large and small - about JFK's health, his love affairs, RFK's appointment as Attorney General, what Joseph Kennedy did to help his son win the White House, and the path JFK would have taken in the Vietnam entanglement had he survived.
Robert Dallek succeeds as no other biographer has done in striking a critical balance - never shying away from JFK's weaknesses, brilliantly exploring his strengths - as he offers up a vivid portrait of a bold, brave, complex, heroic, human Kennedy.

Huxley, Aldous "Ape and Essence" - 1948 (Goodreads)
In February 2108, the New Zealand Rediscovery Expedition reaches California at last. It is over a century since the world was devastated by nuclear war, but the blight of radioactivity and disease still gnaws away at the survivors. The expedition expects to find physical destruction but they are quite unprepared for the moral degradation they meet. Ape and Essence is Huxley's vision of the ruin of humanity, told with all his knowledge and imaginative genius.

Orwell, George "The Road to Wigan Pier" - 1937
A searing account of George Orwell’s experiences of working-class life in the bleak industrial heartlands of Yorkshire and Lancashire, The Road to Wigan Pier is a brilliant and bitter polemic that has lost none of its political impact over time. His graphically unforgettable descriptions of social injustice, slum housing, mining conditions, squalor, hunger and growing unemployment are written with unblinking honesty, fury and great humanity.

Brooks, Geraldine "Year of Wonders" - 2001 (Goodreads)
Spring 1666: when the Great Plague reaches the quiet Derbyshire village of Eyam, the villagers make an extraordinary decision. They elect to isolate themselves in a fateful quarantine. So begins the Year of Wonders, seen through eighteen-year-old Anna Frith’s eyes as she confronts the loss of her family, the disintegration of her community, and the lure of a dangerous and illicit love. Based on a true story, this novel explores love and learning, fear and fanaticism, and the struggles of seventeenth-century science and religion to interpret the world at the cusp of the modern era.

* * *

I hope I will read them all this year. Wish me luck. And:

Happy Reading!
📚 📚 📚

Thursday 4 January 2024

#ThrowbackThursday. Possession


Byatt, A.S. "Possession" - 1990

I am happy to start this year's ThrowbackThursday list with one of my favourite books. I have read this book several times and I had to buy another copy because my paperback was falling to pieces.

There are two stories playing at the same time. Roland Mitchell, an American researcher at a London university, tries to find information about the fictitious Victorian poet Randolph Henry Ash. This leads him to Maud Bailey, a professor at Lincoln University who is an expert on another fictitious Victorian poet, Christabel LaMotte. While they discover a common past of the two poets and unfold a mystery, their lives begin to take on a turn parallel to that of the two poets.

The different chapters always start with a poem written by one of the two poets. I love classic novels and although this isn't one, it reads like one. Plus there is the time the two poets lived in that gives you the feeling of being in a classic book.

Did I say I love it?

Read my original review here.  

Monday 1 January 2024


  Happy January to all my friends and readers

New Calendar picture with this
beautiful watercolour painting by Frank Koebsch

"Die Ahrenshooper Mühle im Winter"
"The Mill of Ahrenshoop in Winter

Frank says to this picture:
Als wir in den vergangenen Wochen im Winter an der Ostsee unterwegs waren, dann hatten die Schneewolken die Landschaften an der Ostsee in einen Wintertraum verwandelt..

When we were traveling along the Baltic Sea in winter in the past few weeks, the snow clouds had transformed the landscape on the Baltic Sea into a winter dream.

(see here)

Another great watercolour painting by Frank Koebsch. Enjoy!

Read more on their website here. *

 * * * 
I have always loved windmills. Therefore, I cannot hide this January picture by Frank Koebsch. Isn't it beautiful?
 * * * 

The German word for January is Januar, so very similar. But there are old German words, as well. They are often based on natural phenomena and seasons. January used to be called Hartung (hardening) or Eismond (ice moon or ice month).
 * * * 
* You can also have a look under my labels Artist: Frank Koebsch and Artist: Hanka Koebsch where you can find all my posts about the two artists. 

* * *
🌬🍃 I wish you all a wonderful January! 🌬🍃

Happy New Year!

  Happy New Year to all my friends and readers

New Calendar picture with this
beautiful watercolour painting by Frank Koebsch

"Liebeserklärung an …. (Rostock)"
"Declaration of love to …. (Rostock)

Hanka and Frank say to this picture:
Das Bild ist eine Liebeserklärung an die vielen wunderschönen Augenblicke mit und ohne Sonnenuntergang mit Hanka und eine Liebeserklärung an die Stadt Rostock, in der wir so viele schöne Momente verbrinden konnten.

The picture is a declaration of love to the many wonderful moments with and without sunset with Hanka and a declaration of love to the city of Rostock, where we were able to spend so many beautiful moments.

(see here)

Another great watercolour painting by Frank Koebsch. Enjoy!

Read more on their website here. *
 * * * 
We meant to visit Rostock several times already but didn't manage so far. Yet, I hope. It seems to be a beautiful city, is situated at the Baltic Sea, that's always a plus.


November was rainy, December even more so. But that was alright. Most of the activities at the moment take place indoors anyway, concerts, visits with friends. Just a visit to the Christmas market was outdoors and we were pretty lucky with that.


It was nice having our sons visit us for Christmas, even though their trip here was a catastrophe. The train system in Germany is just awful. It took one of them twelve hours (the second time that happened this year) instead of five. And only because we picked him up halfway.


Do you bake cookies for Christmas? It's a definite must in our house. So, here are a few to share. If you want some real ones, you must come to our house.
  * * * 
* You can also have a look under my labels Artist: Frank Koebsch and Artist: Hanka Koebsch where you can find all my posts about the two artists. 

* * *
🎉 I wish you all a Happy New Year! 🎉