Tuesday 30 April 2024

Read the Year Club

This book challenge takes place twice a year and concentrates on one year and one year only. I call it "Read the Year Club". This time, 1937 was picked. For more information, see Simon @ Stuck in a Book and Kaggsy @ Kaggsy's Bookish Ramblings.

Undset, Sigrid "Kristin Lavransdatter" (NO: Kristin Lavransdatter) - 1920-22
Mann, Thomas "The Magic Mountain" (GE: Der Zauberberg) - 1924
Kästner, Erich "Emil and the Detectives" (German: Emil und die Detektive) - 1929
Buck, Pearl S. "East Wind: West Wind" - 1930
Mitchell, Margaret "Gone With the Wind" - 1936
Orwell, George "The Road to Wigan Pier" - 1937
Herbert, Xavier "Capricornia" - 1938 
Stein, Gertrude "Paris France" - 1940
Brecht, Bertolt "The Caucasian Chalk Circle" (GE: Der kaukasisiche Kreidekreis) - 1944-45
Camus, Albert "The Plague" (F: La Peste) - 1947
Greene, Graham "The End of the Affair" - 1951
Thomas, Dylan "Under Milk Wood" - 1954
Mahfouz, Naguib "Palace Walk" (arab: بين القصرين/Bayn al-qasrayn) (Cairo Trilogy #1) - 1956
L'Engle, Madeleine "A Wrinkle in Time" - 1962
Scott, Mary "Freddie" - 1965
Dick, Philip K. "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" - 1968
in October 2024

Ditfurth, Hoimar von "Der Geist fiel nicht vom Himmel: Die Evolution unseres Bewußtseins" [The mind did not fall from the sky: the evolution of our consciousness] - 1976
Vargas Llosa, Mario "Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter" (E: La tía Julia y el escribidor) - 1977

I also have a list of "A Century of Books" where I list a book of every year of the century, if I read one.

I have only participated in the years where I included a link under the year. However, I have read books from most of those years and have added at least one for those who are interested in reading a book from that specific year.

You can find all the challenges so far on Simon's page Stuck in a Book under 'Read the year' Clubs.

Thursday 25 April 2024

#ThrowbackThursday. If on a Winter's Night a Traveller

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

One of the most weird - but also most interesting - books I ever read, a reader is trying to read a book called "If on a Winter's Night a Traveller". The book is partly about the reader's life and partly about the books he is trying to read.

One of my favourite books ever.

Read my original review here.

Tuesday 23 April 2024

Top 5 Tuesday ~ Cheese


Top Five Tuesday was originally created by Shanah @ Bionic Book Worm, but is now hosted by Meeghan @ Meeghan Reads. To participate, link your post back to Meeghan’s blog or leave a comment on her weekly post. I found this on Davida's Page @ The Chocolate Lady.

* * *
This week’s topic is Cheese. Apparently, "somewhere in the world it is National Grilled Cheese month… I know, right?! So, you can take this any way you want. Either shout about some books with great jokes (cheesy or otherwise), or go straight down that literally path of cheesy goodness."

I am lactose intolerant. If you've been sick from anything containing lactose, you don't really like neither the smell nor the tast of it, so I have never liked cheese. And I don't like cheesy stories, either. However, I came up with a few books that fit the description.

Clarke, Stephen "Merde actually" (aka In the Merde for Love) - 2006
Well, the French are known for their cheese, right?

Drinkwater, Carol "The Olive Farm" - 2001
A farm in the South of France? Again, they eat a lot of cheese here.

Johnson, Dr. Spencer "Who Moved My Cheese?" - 1998
The name is in the title.

Prelutsky, Jack "A Pizza the size of the Sun - Poems for Children" - 1990-2000
Most people believe there has to be cheese on a pizza. However, the original one just had leftovers on it, could be cheese, could be something else.

Spyri, Johanna "Heidi" (GE: Heidis Lehr- und Wanderjahre + Heidi kann brauchen, was es gelernt hat) - 1880/81
They definitely talk about making cheese here, Heide moves in with her grandfather in a hut in the mountains and they have a lot of goats.

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🧀Happy Reading!🧀
📚 📚 📚

Monday 22 April 2024

Hyde, Catherine Ryan "When I found you"


Hyde, Catherine Ryan "When I found you" - 2009

A member of my book club mentioned she really liked the books by Catherine Ryan Hyde. I had never heard of her before, so she lent me one of her titles.

It looks like Mrs. Hyde is a very diligent writer because she has published 24 books sind 1997, this being her eleventh.

A lot of topics are touched in this book. Not that it makes it superficial or anything, the whole story is very touching and the different topics float into each other perfectly. Abandonment, foster care, professional sports, early love, late love, poverty. You would think with all those subjects, it is more a chick lit type of book but it was not. I quite liked it.

From the back cover:

"When Nathan McCann discovers a newborn baby boy half buried in the woods, he assumes he's found a tiny dead body. But then the baby moves and in one remarkable moment, Nathan's life is changed forever.

The baby is sent to grow up with his grandmother, but Nathan can't forget him and is compelled to pay her a visit. He asks for one simple promise - that one day she will introduce the boy to Nathan and tell him, '
This is the man who found you in the woods.'

Years pass and Nathan assumes that the old lady has not kept her promise, until one day an angry, troubled boy arrives on his doorstep with a suitcase . . .

Thursday 18 April 2024

Orwell, George "The Road to Wigan Pier"

Orwell, George "The Road to Wigan Pier" - 1937

I read this for the "1937 Club" club.

I have read a few books by George Orwell already and they were all highly interesting. This one started off a little tedious, many numbers that would have been easier to understand had they been converted to today's currencies or at least given the money in context. How am I supposed to know how much 15s. or 3s. 6d. are? How much do people have to pay for a piece of bread? How much does a good earner receive?

But the book improves after the author goes on to mention the conditions under which people live.
We are in the year 1937. A year that was very important. As another blogger wrote: "A LOT of good writing came out of the 30's. Turbulent times tend to do that...." (see here, thanks Cyberkitten)

And yes, we have similar turbulent times again and if we don't pay attention, history might repeat itself.

A quote from the book:
"They [Socialists] have never made it sufficiently clear that the essential aims of Socialism are justice and liberty. With their eyes glued to economic facts, they have proceeded on the assumption that man has no soul, and explicitly or implicitly they have set up the goal of a materialistic Utopia. As a result Fascism has been able to play upon every instinct that revolts against hedonism and a cheap conception of ‘progress’. It has been able to pose as the upholder of the European tradition, and to appeal to Christian belief, to patriotism, and to the military virtues. It is far worse than useless to write Fascism off as 'mass sadism', or some easy phrase of that kind. If you pretend that it is merely an aberration which will presently pass off of its own accord, you are dreaming a dream from which you will awake when somebody coshes you with a rubber truncheon."

We shouldn't forget these famous words by Martin Niemöller.
"First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out - because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out - because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out - because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me - and there was no one left to speak for me.
If we don't pay attention, we will be there again. And sooner than we would like to think.

From the back cover:

"In the 1930s, commissioned by a left-wing book club, Orwell went to the industrial areas of northern England to investigate and record the real situation of the working class. Orwell did more than just investigate; he went down to the deepest part of the mine, lived in dilapidated and filthy workers' houses, and used the tip of his pen to vividly reveal every aspect of the coal miners' lives. Reading today, 80 years later, Still shockingly true. The despair and poverty conveyed by this picture have a terrifying power that transcends time and national boundaries. At the same time, the Road to Wigan Pier is also Orwell's road to socialism as he examines his own inner self. Born in the British middle class, he recalled how he gradually began to doubt and then hate the strict class barriers that divided British society at that time. Because in his mind, socialism ultimately means only one concept: 'justice and freedom.'"


Wednesday 17 April 2024

The Classics Club: The Classics Spin #37


"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 April 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 2nd of June 2024 to read it.

This time, I read three books from my old list (Classics Spin #36). 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.    Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von "Urfaust. Faust Fragment. Faust I" (Faust) - 1772-1808
3.    Dickens, Charles "Nicholas Nickleby. The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby" - 1838/39
4.    Dumas, Alexandre fils "Camille: The Lady of the Camellias" (La Dame aux Camélias" - 1848
5.    Flaubert, Gustave "Madame Bovary" (Madame Bovary/ Madame Bovary) - 1857
6.    Turgenjew, Iwan Sergejewitsch "Fathers and Sons" (Отцы и дети/Otzy i deti) - 1862
7.    Conrad, Joseph "Victory: An Island Tale" - 1915
8.    Hamsun, Knut " Growth of the Soil" (Markens Grøde/Segen der Erde) - 1917
9.    Hamilton, Cicely "William - an Englishman" - 1920
10.   Hesse, Hermann "Wir nehmen die Welt nur zu ernst" [We just take the world too seriously] - 1928
11.   Faulkner, William "The Sound and the Fury" - 1929
12.   Hemingway, Ernest "A Farewell to Arms" - 1929
13.   Meigs, Cornelia "Invincible Louisa" - 1933
14.   Du Maurier, Daphne "Rebecca" - 1938
15.   Krleža, Miroslav "On the Edge of Reason" (Na rubu pameti) - 1938
16.   Némirovsky, Irène "Les biens de ce monde" (All Our Wordly Goods) - 1941
17.   Cela, Camilo José "The Family of Pascal Duarte" (La Familia Duarte) - 1942
18.   Zweig, Stefan "Schachnovelle" (The Royal Game/Chess) - 1942
19.   Wilde, Oscar "Only Dull People Are Brilliant at Breakfast" - 1946
20.   Huxley, Aldous "Ape and Essence" - 1948

This is a great idea for all of us who want to read more classics. Go ahead, get your own list. I can't wait to see what I get to read this time.

This time, it's #8, so my novel is:
Hamsun, Knut " Growth of the Soil" (Markens Grøde) - 1917

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

Tuesday 16 April 2024

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Characters I’d Like to go on Vacation With


 "Top Ten Tuesday" is an original feature/weekly meme created on the blog "The Broke and the Bookish". It was created because they are particularly fond of lists. 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 Characters I’d Like to go on Vacation With - (Pretend you’re going on vacation and can bring 10 of your closest friends with you. Pick your vacation spot and tell us who you’d like to bring! Bonus point if you tell us why. Or maybe you like the idea of traveling in small groups, so plan 10 trips or 5 trips!)

Ruby Thewes from Cold Mountain:
Frazier, Charles "Cold Mountain" - 1997

Anne von Kamcke from This House is Mine:
Hansen, Dörte "This House is Mine" (GE: Altes Land) - 2015

Ellie Thomas from Cartes Postales from Greece:
Hislop, Victoria "Cartes Postales from Greece" - 2016

Luisa from What You Can See From Here:
Leky, Mariana "What You Can See From Here" (GE: Was man von hier aus sehen kann) - 2017

Dulcie Piper from The Offing:
Myers, Benjamin "The Offing" - 2019

Susan Russell and Larry Lee (because you can't have one without the other) from Breakfast at Six:
Scott, Mary "Breakfast at Six" - 1953

Francie Nolan from A Tree Grows in Brooklyn:
Smith, Betty "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" - 1943

Zosia Król from The Children's War:
Stroyar, J.N. "The Children's War" - 2001

Sarah Agnes Prine from These is my Words
Turner, Nancy E. "These is my Words" - 1999

Regina Redlich from Nowhere in Africa
Zweig, Stefanie
"Nowhere in Africa" - 1995 (GE: Nirgendwo in Afrika) - 1942

My eleven friends (see Susan and Larry) are all girls. Girls of all ages and from all eras. Girls from different countries (Germany 3, Greece 1, New Zealand 2, Poland 1, UK 1, USA 3) and different backgrounds. But they all have one thing in common. They are strong women who fight for a place in their lives.

📚 Happy Reading! 📚

Monday 15 April 2024

Joyce, Rachel "Miss Benson's Beetle"


Joyce, Rachel "Miss Benson's Beetle" - 2020

After reading "The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry", I decided I didn't want to read another book by this author. Then a friend lent me her copy of this book and promised it was better. Well, it was, just a little. I think I just don't like the style of writing. And I prefer book with some content where I can learn something.

I really wanted to like this book but couldn't. I neither liked the characters nor could I really make any sense of their trials and tribulations it was all a little higgledy-piggledy, reminded me a little of the illogical sequences in sci-fi stories.

Not for me. And, after not liking two of her books, I can safely say that this was my last one by this author.

From the back cover:

"It is 1950. In a devastating moment of clarity, Margery Benson abandons her dead-end job and advertises for an assistant to accompany her on an expedition. She is going to travel to the other side of the world to search for a beetle that may or may not exist.

Enid Pretty, in her unlikely pink travel suit, is not the companion Margery had in mind. And yet together they will be drawn into an adventure that will exceed every expectation. They will risk everything, break all the rules, and at the top of a red mountain, discover their best selves.

This is a story that is less about what can be found than the belief it might be found; it is an intoxicating adventure story but it is also about what it means to be a woman and a tender exploration of a friendship that defies all boundaries.

Thursday 11 April 2024

#ThrowbackThursday. Barchester Chronicles

Trollope, Anthony "The Warden" - Barchester Chronicles 1 - 1855
Trollope, Anthony "Barchester Towers" - Barchester Chronicles 2 - 1857
Trollope, Anthony "Doctor Thorne" - Barchester Chronicles 3 - 1858
Trollope, Anthony "Framley Parsonage" - Barchester Chronicles 4 - 1861
Trollope, Anthony "The Small House at Allington: - Barchester Chronicles 5 - 1864
Trollope, Anthony "The Last Chronicle of Barset" - Barchester Chronicles 6 - 1867

I love these novels because there are so many different themes in the whole series. If you look for a long term commitment and like classical novals, this series is for you. It was written in the middle of the 19th century and describes the life of the people in the Victorian world, a fictive town, Barchester, in a fictive county, Barsetshire, with a cathedral and all its paraphernalia.

Read my original review here.

Wednesday 10 April 2024

Ryan, Donal "The Thing About December"


Ryan, Donal "The Thing About December" - 2013

This was our international online book club book for March 2024.

I think I expected something different from this book. Something typical for Northern Ireland, I guess. Well, this could have taken place anywhere. The story was not especially well told or exciting in any way.

A boy with some kind of mental illness is left orphaned and inherits his parents' farm. The village wants him to sell it because then they all can make a large profit. There are some bullies in the village but he also makes a friend. That's it in a nutshell. However, I couldn't get any interesting access to the story, it was way too boring for me.

Just not my thing.

Comments from the group:

I did not like it.

I kept having this bad feeling, waiting for the other shoe to drop. I had hoped I would somehow end up rooting for the protagonist, but because of his attitude I couldn't even properly do that. 

What I did enjoy about the book was the picture it painted of a particular place and time in Ireland, and can definitely see why it won a fair amount of local prizes. 

If this book were written with the exact same story, but placed for example in Africa, it would be hauling in big international literary prizes, because this type of stories of the unfortunate seems to me like flypaper to flies for people from the first world, while I feel "we" get uncomfortable when reading about poverty and unfortunate events and people closer to home.

In Finland there has been a fair amount of these types of times, that are just not reported on much, with extreme high suicide rates and starvation (for example the economy crash in the 90s and after WWII when russia was pretty much blackmailing Finland for "retribution payments" to get an excuse to invade if we couldnt keep paying, and the infighting and murdering after WWI.) So there is a fair amount of Finnish literature on similar topic, that I personally avoid.

There is a sub-genre of literature called "looser literature" in Finland, where the protagonist like in this book are victims of their circumstance in life and a difficult character to like because of learned attitudes, while at the same time causing one to feel sorry for him. One member has read a lot of this type of books, so had a lot of comparison points and thoughts about society's stance on these kinds of individuals.

From the back cover:

"While the Celtic Tiger rages, and greed becomes the norm, Johnsey Cunliffe desperately tries to hold on to the familiar, even as he loses those who all his life have protected him from a harsh world. Village bullies and scheming land-grabbers stand in his way, no matter where he turns.

Set over the course of one year of Johnsey’s life,
The Thing About December breathes with his grief, bewilderment, humour and agonizing self-doubt. This is a heart-twisting tale of a lonely man struggling to make sense of a world moving faster than he is."

Tuesday 9 April 2024

TBR Pile Reading Challenge 2024


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 
15 in 2022 and
13 in 2023
of the books that had been waiting to be read for more than a year.
I hope I will manage more in 2024.
(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 2024:

Taschler, Judith W. "Sommer wie Winter" [Summer and Winter] - 2011

, Charlotte "The Professor" (Der Professor) - 1857
Yates, Richard "Revolutionary Road" (Zeiten des Aufruhrs) - 1961
Harris, Robert "Fatherland" (Vaterland) - 1992
Tomalin, Claire "Jane Austen - A Life" - 1997
Orwell, George "The Road to Wigan Pier" (Der Weg nach Wigan Pier) - 1937
Schnoy, Sebastian "Smørrebrød in Napoli. Ein vergnüglicher Streifzug durch Europa" [Smørrebrød in Napoli. A fun journey through Europe] - 2009
Melandri, Francesca "Alle, außer mir" (Sangue giusto) [Right Blood or Everyone but me] - 2017

Monday 8 April 2024

Tomalin, Claire "Jane Austen - A Life"

Tomalin, Claire "Jane Austen - A Life" - 1997

Jane Austen is one of my favourite authors. I have read all her novels, even the ones she didn't finish, some letters and short stories, so: a lot about her.

Claire Tomalin is a British journalist and biographer. She has a good reputation, especially for her biographies.

After reading this book, I understand why. I think she put together whatever is known about Jane Austen and her life, her family, her works, her illness, her death, anything. And she also tells us a lot about the era the author lived in, how female authors were regarded, how women were regarded, how people lived. You just have the feeling you lived with them.

We also get to see many of her writings, not all the letters as a whole but many excerpts that give us a glimpse of the author's life.

It's a shame Jane Austen was not able to write more books but this is a good supplement to her literature.

From the back cover:

"At her death in 1817, Jane Austen left the world six of the most beloved novels written in English - but her shortsighted family destroyed the bulk of her letters; and if she kept any diaries, they did not survive her.  Now acclaimed biographer Claire Tomalin has filled the gaps in the record, creating a remarkably fresh and convincing portrait of the woman and the writer.

While most Austen biographers have accepted the assertion of Jane's brother Henry that '
My dear Sister's life was not a life of events,' Tomalin shows that, on the contrary, Austen's brief life was fraught with upheaval.  Tomalin provides detailed and absorbing accounts of Austen's ill-fated love for a young Irishman, her frequent travels and extended visits to London, her close friendship with a worldly cousin whose French husband met his death on the guillotine, her brothers' naval service in the Napoleonic wars and in the colonies, and thus shatters the myth of Jane Austen as a sheltered and homebound spinster whose knowledge of the world was limited to the view from a Hampshire village."

Saturday 6 April 2024

Six Degrees of Separation ~ From Brussels to Afghanistan


#6Degrees of Separation:
from Brussels to Afghanistan

#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 we are supposed to use a travel guide as our starting book (e.g. a Lonely Planet or an Eyewitness Travel title). My favourite place to visit is Brussels, and my favourite travel guides are the Eyewitness Guides by Dorling Kindersley, so I just had to select this title:

Dorling Kindersley "Brussels. Bruges, Ghent & Antwerp" - 2000

And since we are on a trip already, I have decided to carry on like that this month and take you on a tour through two continents but lots of different countries.

Bryson, Bill "The Road to Little Dribbling: More Notes from a Small Island" - 2015
The first place I would go to from Brussels is the British Isles. And who better to tell us about them than Bill Bryson. He has travelled Great Britain on foot when he first arrived and wrote a book about it in 1995 but then did almost the same tour again twenty years later. If you decide to go the Britain, Bill Bryson is a great author to read beforehand. And after.

McCarthy, Pete "McCarthy's Bar" - 2000
Next we'll hop to the next island in the British Isles, another one of my favourite, Ireland. Thelate Pete McCarthy has searched the whole island for pubs with his name. He found quite a few and also detected a lot of places in Ireland that are worth visiting.

Booth, Cathleen "Mercy & Grace on the Camino de Santiago" - 2020
Now we cross the Atlantic and enter a country in the South.
Did you ever fancy walking the Camino de Santiago? Many people dream about it, a lot of the members of my church have done it. One of them is the author, who went with other members of your congregation and wrote a book about it. She is a wonderful author and even if you don't want to do that tour, she tells us a lot about that part of Spain.
For the next country, we are going East, so we probably want to take a plane. Or we might not want to go at all given the present political situation.
But Stephan Orth was there before the war started. And, as in his other books where he couchsurfed in the most unlikely countries, he tells us a lot about the people, those that we normally don't meet. A beautiful tale of an excursion to a country we might never be able to visit that way.

Fatland, Erika
"The Border: A Journey Around Russia Through North Korea, China, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, Poland, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Norway, and the Northeast Passage" (NO: Grensen: En reise rundt Russland gjennom Nord-Korea, Kina, Mongolia, Kasakhstan, Aserbajdsjan, Georgia, Ukraina, Hviterussland, Litauen, Polen, Latvia, Estland, Finland og Norge samt Nordøstpassasjen) - 2017
From Russia we can visit many different countries and that is just what Norwegian journalist Erika Fatland did, she travelled around this huge country and went to all the countries that surround Russia. From Norway to North Korea (there is only one country in between them, Russia), from China to Estonia, through most of the Stans, what a trip.

Elliot, Jason "An Unexpected Light. Travels in Afghanistan" - 1999
And since we're in the area, a country I think I might never travel to, either. They have been at war for as long as most of us can remember and we just have to feel sorry for the poor people having to go through the occupation and then their own compatriotes who started to bring back the Middle Ages. But Jason Elliot visited the country and met the "real" Afghans. And he has a great way of telling us all about it.


So, it's easy to see the connection betwen the first and the last book this month, they both take you to another country, one a little more adventurous than the other.

Thursday 4 April 2024

Spell the Month in Books ~ April


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.

April: Fish, Bodies of Water or Comedy
Jana suggests for this month: Poisson d’Avril – The French version of April Fool’s Day involves fish, so let’s look for books related to fish, bodies of water, or comedy

I love the sea, so I had to find some books that go with the bodies of water. I found some rivers, a lake and the sea.

Taylor, Andrew "The Ashes of London" - 2016
A combination of historical novel and crime story. We have all heard about the Great Fire of London, it happened in 1666 and started in a bakery in Pudding Lane. But how did the people live at the time?

Hamsun, Knut "
Pan" (NO: Pan) - 1894
It’s fascinating how the author describes nature and makes it come alive. He smells the forest, paints a picture, reminds us of our youth, love, culture, nature, civilization. It’s an echo of childhood and youth for some of us, the inner soul of the human being, he loved to explore that. There is a struggle between opposites, men and women, nature and town, the love story is eminent, there are obstacles, pride, jealousy.

Tademy, Lalita "
Red River" - 2007
The author tells the story of her father's ancestors, the Tademy family that came all the way from Egypt as free men only to be turned into slaves in the States. The story begins after the Civil War when the slaves have officially been freed but white supremacists don't want to accept that, so there is still a long struggle ahead of them.

Hislop, Victoria "The Island" - 2005
This book reflects on the lives of the people of a wonderful island, how the people got there, how their everyday life was, how life was for those left behind, how the people in the little village just opposite the island were. The author managed to illustrate all this through a family who was involved in the whole history. There are some strong characters in this devastating family saga. The most exciting part: it was used as a leper colony from 1903 to 1957.

A family saga. Two brothers growing up in India in the 50s and 60s. The different lives they choose for themselves and the consquences it has for the whole family.

* * *

All of these are fantastic books. I am glad I can recommend them to you again.

Happy Reading!
📚 📚 📚


Wednesday 3 April 2024

The 1937 Club


This book challenge takes place twice a year and concentrates on one year and one year only. I call it "Read the Year Club". This time, 1937 was picked. For more information, see Simon @ Stuck in a Book and Kaggsy @ Kaggsy's Bookish Ramblings (here is Karen's invite and here is Simon's).

If you are looking for inspiration, there are a few books from that year that I read already:

Bristow, Gwen "Plantation Trilogy" (Deep Summer, The Handsome Road, This Side of Glory) - 1937-40
Dinesen, Isak/Blixen, Karen "Out of Africa" - 1937
Hemingway, Ernest "To Have and Have Not" - 1937
Steinbeck, John "Of Mice and Men" - 1937
Tolkien, J.R.R. "The Hobbit" - 1937

I also found some other ideas:
Christie, Agatha "Death on the Nile"
Hergé "The Broken Ear"
Ingalls Wilder, Laura "On the Banks of Plum Creek" (Little House Books)
Kurban, Said "Ali and Nino"
Lovecraft, H.P. "The Thing on the Doorstep"
Marsh, Ngaio "Vintage Murder"
Narayan, R. K. "Malgudi Omnibus" (Trilogy: Swami and Friends, 1935; The Bachelor of Arts, 1937; The English Teacher, 1945)
Neale Hurston, Zora "Their Eyes Were Watching God"
Orwell, George "The Road to Wigan Pier"
Somerset Maugham, W. "Theatre"
Wolf, Virginia "The Years"
Zedong, Mao "On Practice and Contradiction"

There is something here for everyone, children's books, comics, crime stories, non-fiction.

This challenge takes place from 15 to 21 April 2023.

I had this on my TBR pile, therefore I picked:
Orwell, George "The Road to Wigan Pier" - 1937

Tuesday 2 April 2024

Top Ten Tuesday ~ April Showers ~ Gardens and Flowers


 "Top Ten Tuesday" is an original feature/weekly meme created on the blog "The Broke and the Bookish". It was created because they are particularly fond of lists. 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.

I haven't done any TTT for a while. But that doesn't mean I want to give it up altogether. I will come back from time to time.

This week, our topic is April Showers - Pick your own title for this one to reflect the direction you choose to go with this prompt (books with rain on the cover/in the title, that have rainstorms in the story, or that have anything to do with rain)

I have done rain and storms last year under "weather events". But I like the idea with rain. A while ago, I mentioned that I have always lived in an area where it rains a lot: Northern Germany, Belgium, England, The Netherlands. We have a lot of rain and therefore we have a lot of flowers and vegetables and it is always green.

So, i thought rather than talking about the negative parts of April and rain, I will list the positive ones, gardens and flowers.

Buck, Pearl S. "Peony" - 1948
Burnett, Frances Hodgson "The Secret Garden" - 1911
Dash, Mike "Tulipomania" - 2000
Diffenbaugh, Vanessa "The Language of Flowers" - 2011
Leapman, Michael "The Ingenious Mr Fairchild: The Forgotten Father of the Flower Garden" - 2001
Marini, Lorenzo "The Man of the Tulips" (IT: L'uomo dei tulipani) - 2002
Pavord, Anna "The Tulip" - 2004
Titchmarsh, Alan "Trowel and Error" - 2002
Turner, Nancy E. "The Star Garden" - 2017
Wilde, Oscar "The Nightingale and the Rose" - 1891

I found lots and lots of books about tulips. Not so surprising, since I lived in the Netherlands and, as a member of an international book club, we would always try to read something about our host country, and often those were stories that included tulips. But I only chose some that were stories about them.

📚 Happy Reading! 📚

Monday 1 April 2024

Happy April!

   Happy April to all my friends and readers

New Calendar picture with this
beautiful watercolour painting by Hanka Koebsch


Read more on their website here. *

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March is St. Patrick's Day, International Women's Day, World Wildlife Day, National Grammar Day in the US, and this year, we even had an early Easter. So, lots of occasions for celebrations. Wouldn't it be great if we could celebrate International Peace Day???

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We visited our son in Brussels. I didn't take many pictures but here is one of my favourite places in the town:

I used to live nearby and now my son does. What's not to love?
This is the Cinquantenaire Arch which is commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Belgian Revolution. There is a large parc behind it and the whole parc is just beautiful.
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The old German word for April is Launing or Ostermond. The former is probably because the April is moody (launisch), the latter stands for the month of Easter.

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* 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. 

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Attention, it's April's Fools Day today!

🤪 🤣 I wish you all a Happy April! 🤪 🤣