Thursday 30 May 2024

#ThrowbackThursday. The Discovery of Slowness

Nadolny, Sten "The Discovery of Slowness" (German: Die Entdeckung der Langsamkeit) - 1983

Interesting tale based on the successful arctic explorer, Sir John Franklin, his life and discoveries but also a great description how something that is usually conceived as negative, in this case a "slowness" that is regarded as "mental retardation" can be used for the good of something.

Read my original review here.

Wednesday 29 May 2024

How many books?

There are always reports about which country read the most books. A while ago, one of my blogger friends talked about that in one of his posts (see here, thank you CyberKitten).

During a visit, my mother counted my books once but she stopped at a thousand. That was about thirty years ago. I would not be able to count them today. I have a list of the fiction and some non-fiction books I read (more than 2000) but those are by far not all the books we have in the house. Not even half.

So, I have no idea. I only keep the books I liked but since I am quite picky in which ones I start, there are not that many that I don't keep. LOL

According to statistics, 53% of German citizens had fewer than 50 books, 23% had 50-100 and only 6% had over 200 books at home. On average, around 100 books per person (household). The statistics are from 2008. Then my household is certainly in the 6% with around 1000 books. And if they had another part with several thousands, we'd be in there.

I doubt I need to ask any of my fellow bloggers what group they belong to. All I know is, we always had a lot of books in our house. We always read to our children. They both became avid readers.

If you are interested in the nitty-gritty, I did find some information on how many books are read supposedly in Germany. I translated directly from the sites what I thought might be interesting for this post.

"On average, a household with children between the ages of six and 13 has 132 books, and the children have an average of 26 books of their own. In households with higher formal education (high school diploma/university degree), the inventory is significantly higher at 297 books (children: 43 books).

Reading and reading frequency prove to be extremely stable over time.
83% of the population aged 15 and over read at least one book (including e-books) in 2019, and almost 30% even read more than one book per month.

This was the result of a recent YouGov survey (see here).
According to this, 13 percent of Germans estimate their private book collection to be 10 books or fewer, 30 percent to be between 11 and 50 books. According to their own estimates, 22 percent have between 51 and 100 books on their shelves, and one in three (31 percent) have even more.

April 23 is celebrated as World Book and Copyright Day following a decision by the 28th General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1995. (see here). In India, the country where the most books are read in the world, every citizen spends about 10 hours and 42 minutes reading per week.

Research has shown that reading books regularly can likely help reduce the risk of dementia.
Researchers found that the disease rate was lower in intellectually active people. And not only that. Normally, the performance of the brain decreases with age. 

Although people still read a lot in Germany, who reads how much is unevenly distributed. The biggest readers are those aged 50-59; in this age group, 28 percent read almost every day."

"An average of 151 books in German households

The study collected data from adults between the ages of 25 and 65 from 31 countries. The results were astonishing: The average number of books per household is 115, with Scandinavian and former Soviet countries showing the highest number at 212.

The front runner is Estonia with 218. The lowest number of books is in Turkish households with an average of 27, while Germany is in the upper midfield with 151.

The research shows that with about 80 books in the home library, the children's literacy rate increases to average.

The connection between reading books and professional success, or at least a higher future salary, is also clear in a 2012 study by the economist Giorgio Brunello. If adolescents voluntarily read at least ten books in their youth, they earn around 21 percent more as adults. The amazing thing was that the type of books read had no influence on the result. The main thing is that there were ten or more..." (see here)

Monday 27 May 2024

Hamsun, Knut "Growth of the Soil"

Hamsun, Knut "Growth of the Soil" (Norwegian: Markens Grøde) - 1917

For the Classics Spin #37, we received #8 and this was my novel.

So far, I have only read one book by Knut Hamsun, "Pan". That was part of our international book club. One of our members was from Norway, and Knut Hamsun was her favourite author. I liked "Pan", it's a great novel and probably a good one for a book club since it's not too large.

"Growth of the Soil" was just as great. Apparently, this gained him the Nobel Prize for Literature. You can tell that the author loves nature and what it does for us. In this case, Isak, the protagonist, comes to an area where nobody lives and which seems hard to farm. He makes something of it and becomes one of the richest man in the area after some others follow.

It's not just the story, it's the way the people are described, their hard work, their love of nature, their will to become more, also those who don't agree with that style of life.

It's a quiet story, a calming story. An epic story about a time long gone.

"The epic novel of man and nature that won its author the Nobel Prize in Literature, in the first new English translation in more than ninety years

When it was first published in 1917,
Growth of the Soil was immediately recognized as a masterpiece. More than one-hundred years later it still remains a transporting literary experience. In the story of Isak, who leaves his village to clear a homestead and raise a family amid the untilled tracts of the Norwegian back country, Knut Hamsun evokes the elemental bond between humans and the land. Newly translated by the acclaimed Hamsun scholar Sverre Lyngstad, Hamsun's novel is a work of preternatural calm, stern beauty, and biblical power - and the crowning achievement of one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century."

Knut Hamsun received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1920 "for his monumental work, 'Growth of the Soil'"

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

Friday 24 May 2024

Book Quotes


"Speak the truth in a million voices. It is silence that kills!" St. Catherine of Siena

It's always best to stick to the truth. Especially if you don't have a really great memory.

"In journalism just one fact that is false prejudices the entire work. In contrast, in fiction one single fact hat is true gives legitimacy to the entire work. That's the only difference, and it lies in the commitment of the writer. A novelist can do anything he wants so long as he makes people believe in it." Gabriel García Márquez

Well, I have a problem with fiction that contradicts itself. If you are twenty and someone else is thirty at the same time, you better not be twenty-five and the other one is forty a couple of pages later.

"Book's are time travel. True readers all know this. But books don't just take you back to the time in which they were written; they can take you back to different versions of yourself." Peter Swanson, Eight Perfect Murders

That's the only time travel I believe in.

Find more book quotes here.

Thursday 23 May 2024

#ThrowbackThursday. The Shack

Young, William Paul "The Shack" - 2007

An extraordinary spiritual book, even if that is not your thing.

A man has to come to terms with the death of his daughter. When he receives a mysterious invitation to a meeting in a shack, hee drives there and meets three special people.

Read my original review here.

Wednesday 22 May 2024

Top 5 Tuesday ~ Sporty Books


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 Sporty Books. Meeghan says: "Have I been trying to wrangle a sports romance sub-category somehow? I’ll never tell. However, someone made up a National Tennis Month holiday, and I have taken it and run. A fictional mile."

I'm not a great sports fan. I watch the Olympics, though I prefer winter over summer. Still, I managed to find a few books that deal with sports.
Brown, Daniel James "The Boys in the Boat" - 2013
🚣 Rowing 🚣
Chabon, Michael "Summerland" - 2002
⚾ Baseball ⚾

Gurnah, Abdulrazak "Pilgrims Way" - 1988
🏏 Cricket 🏏

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

Oates, Joyce Carol
"Sexy" - 2015
🏊‍♀️ Swimming 🏊‍♀️

* * *

🏅Happy Reading!🏅
📚 📚 📚

Tuesday 21 May 2024

Top Ten Tuesday ~ New Books


"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.

Authors I’d Love a New Book From (These could be authors that have passed away, who have retired from writing, who have inexplicably gone quiet, or who might jut not be able to keep up with how quickly you read their books!)

As usual, it was not tough to find ten authors, it was really hard to restrict myself to ten. In the end I chose five authors who are still alive and will hopefully write more and ten that have passed away and will certainly not write another book. It would be interesting to see the perspective on today's world of those who haven't been with us for decades or centuries.

I have picked various books, sometimes the first one I read, sometimes my favourite. In most cases, I have read all the books the author has written.

Bryson, Bill
Bill Bryson is one of my favourite authors. Unfortunately, he has retired from writing. What a shame!

Hislop, Victoria 
I am sure Victoria Hislop will write more books about her beloved Greece. At least I hope so.

Lawson, Mary 
Mary Lawson is not one of the authors who writes another new book every year but I hope she will have many more to come.

Pamuk, Orhan
Orhan Pamuk is a great writer. No wonder he received the Nobel Prize for Literature. His books are fantastic and always different, so I hope there will be more.

Rutherfurd, Edward
Edward Rutherfurd writes the best historic novels, always describing a certain area or country. I saw some facts about Egypt he is collecting, so maybe that will be the next one?

And these are the authors who passed away way too early or too long ago.

Austen, Jane 
She was only 41 when she died. What great novels could she still have been able to write!!

Powers, Charles T. 
He turned 53 but only wrote one novel. 😞

Ruiz Zafón, Carlos
Also just 55. At least he wrote lots of novels before but what could have been ...

Scott, Mary
She turned 90 and wrote lots and lots of novels. However, I would love to see what she would have today about life today.

Shaffer, Mary Ann & Barrows, Annie 
73 years old but only wrote the one novel. Or started it, her niece finished it. Still, such a nice novel, I am sure she would have had more in her.

📚 Happy Reading! 📚

Friday 17 May 2024

Book Quotes


Unfortunately, Alice Munro passed away this week at the age of 92. She was a Nobel Prize winner and wrote some great books.

In order to commemorate her, here are some of her wonderful quotes.

"A story is not like a road to follow … it's more like a house. You go inside and stay there for a while, wandering back and forth and settling where you like and discovering how the room and corridors relate to each other, how the world outside is altered by being viewed from these windows. And you, the visitor, the reader, are altered as well by being in this enclosed space, whether it is ample and easy or full of crooked turns, or sparsely or opulently furnished. You can go back again and again, and the house, the story, always contains more than you saw the last time. It also has a sturdy sense of itself of being built out of its own necessity, not just to shelter or beguile you." Alice Munro (Selected stories)

Such a great allegory.

"Life would be grand if it weren't for the people."

I would agree for some part, it would be easier without some of the people but then there are the good ones ...

"The thing is to be happy, he said. No matter what. Just try that. You can. It gets to be easier and easier. It's nothing to do with circumstances. You wouldn't believe how good it is. Accept everything and then tragedy disappears. Or tragedy lightens, anyway, you're just there, going along easy in the world." Alice Munro  (Dear Life)

Not always easy but certainly worth a try.

Find more book quotes here.

Thursday 16 May 2024

#ThrowbackThursday. Stephen Fry in America

Fry, Stephen "Stephen Fry in America" - 2009

Travelling through half a continent in a London taxi, this could only have been the idea of a Brit. I adore Stephen Fry, he is a very smart and witty person, everything a great comedian should be. He travelled through all 50 states and had a lot to say about every single one.

Read my original review here.

Wednesday 15 May 2024

100 Best Books Written by Women

100 Best Books Written by Women

I often see interesting lists on other blogs and if I like them, I try to share them, as well. This one, I found on Brona's Books @ This Reading Life who had seen it on Paula's blog @ Book Jotter. The list was made by Good Housekeeping and there are a lot of interesting books there. While I don't agree that they all should be on that list (*), there are still quite a few I haven't read yet. 39 so far, plus 17 where I read at least one other book by that author (which I have added in brackets).

1.    Yanagihara, Hanya "A Little Life"
2.    Austen, Jane "Pride & Prejudice" - 1813 (The Motherhood and Jane Austen)
3.    Rooney, Sally "Normal People"
4.    Brontë, Emily "Wuthering Heights" - 1887
5.    Evaristo, Bernadine "Girl, Woman, Other"
6.    Honeyman, Gail "Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine"
7.    Carty-Williams, Candice "Queenie"
8.    Alcott, Louisa May "Little Women Series" - 1868-86
9.    Ferrante, Elena "My Brilliant Friend"
10.   Winterson, Jeannette "Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit"
11.   Walker, Alice "The Color Purple" - 1982
12.   Smith, Zadie "White Teeth" - 1999
13.   Lee, Harper "To Kill a Mockingbird" - 1960
14.   Blackman, Malorie "Noughts + Crosses"
15.   Ephron, Nora "Heartburn" - 1983
16.   Levy, Deborah "Swimming Home"
17.   Mantel, Hilary "Wolf Hall" - 2009
18.   Patchett, Ann "Bel Canto" (The Patron Saint of Liars - 1992)
19.   Atwood, Margaret "The Handmaid’s Tale" (Re-Read) - 1985
20.   Munro, Alice "Selected Stories 1 and 2" (Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage" - 2001)
21.   Alderman, Naomi "The Power"
22.   Smith, Dodie "I Capture the Castle" - 1948
23.   Gilbert, Elizabeth "City of Girls"
24.   Rubenhold, Hallie "The Five"
25.   Tartt, Donna "The Secret History" (The Goldfinch - 2013)
26.   Jacques, Juliet "Trans"
27.   Brontë, Charlotte"Jane Eyre" - 1847
28.   Petty, Ann "The Street"
29.   Woolf, Virginia "Mrs. Dalloway" - 1925
30.   Lahiri, Jhumpa "The Lowland" - 2013
31.   Catton, Eleanor "The Luminaries"
32.   Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi "Half of a Yellow Sun" - 2006
33.   Dove, Ella "Five Steps to Happy"
34.   Eliot, George "Middlemarch" - 1871-72
35.   Hurston, Zora Neale "Their Eyes Were Watching God"
36.   Mitchell, Margaret "Gone With the Wind" - 1936
37.   Satrapi, Marjane "Persepolis. The Story of a Childhood" (F: Persepolis) - 2000
38.   Christie, Agatha "And then there were none" - 1939 
39.   Ali, Monica "Brick Lane" - 2003

40.   Smith, Ali "How To Be Both" (The Accidental - 2004)
41.   Waters, Sara "Fintersmith" (The Night Watch - 2006)
42.   Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft "Frankenstein" - 1888
43.   Tyler, Anne "A Spool of Blue Thread" - 2015  
44.   Morrison, Toni "Beloved" - 1987

45.   Wharton, Edith "The Age Of Innocence" (The House of Mirth - 1905)
46.   Burnett, Frances Hodgson "The Secret Garden" - 1911
47.   Mansfield, Katherine "The Garden Party And Other Stories"
48.   Du Maurier, Daphne "Rebecca"
49.   Roy, Arundhati "The God of Small Things" - 1997
50.   Shriver, Lionel "We Need to Talk About Kevin" - 2003

51.   Didion, Joan "Play It As It Lays"
52.   Gaskell, Elizabeth "Mary Barton" (North and South - 1854/55)
53.   Jansson, Tove "The Summer Book" (Moominsummer Madness, FIN: Vaarallinen juhannus/SW: Farlig midsommar) - 1954)
54.   Gibbons, Stella "Cold Comfort Farm" - 1932 *
55.   Egan, Jennifer "A Visit From The Goon Squad"
56.   Stockett, Kathryn "The Help" - 2009
57.   Atkinson, Kate "Life After Life" (Behind the Scenes at the Museum - 1995)
58.   Niffenegger, Audrey "The Time Traveler's Wife" - 2003 *
59.   Heiny, Katherine "Standard Deviation"
60.   Jones, Tayari "An American Marriage"
61.   Levy, Andrea "Small Island"
62.   Howard, Elizabeth Jane "The Cazalet Chronicles"
63.   Daré, Abi "The Girl with the Louding Voice"
64.   Braithwaite, Oyinkan "My Sister, The Serial Killer"
65.   Moore, Lorrie "Who Will Run The Frog Hospital"
66.   Shields, Carol "Happenstance" (The Stone Diaries - 1993)
67.   Tremain, Rose "Restoration" (Music & Silence - 1999)
68.   Robinson, Marilynne "Housekeeping" (Gilead - 2004) *
69.   Jackson, Shirley "We Have Always Lived In The Castle"
70.   Yoshimoto, Banana "Kitchen"
71.   Batuman, Elif "The Idiot"
72.   Rowling, J.K. "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" - 1997
73.   Moyes, Jojo "Me Before You" - 2012 *

74.   O’Farrell, Maggie "Hamnet"
75.   Chevalier, Tracy "Girl with a Pearl Earring" - 1999
76.   Hinton, S.E. "The Outsiders"
77.   Highsmith, Patricia "Carol" (The Talented Mr. Ripley - 1955)
78.   Spark, Muriel "The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie"
79.   Donoghue, Emma "Room"
80.   Cusk, Rachel "Outline"
81.   Proulx, Annie "The Shipping News" - 2003
82.   Murdoch, Iris "The Sea, The Sea" (The Philosopher's Pupil - 1983)
83.   Oates, Joyce Carol "We Were the Mulvaneys" - 1996
84.   O’Brien, Edna "Girl"
85.   Strout, Elizabeth "Olive Kitteridge"
86.   Tan, Amy "The Joy Luck Club" - 1989
87.   Cather, Willa "My Ántonia" - 1918

88.   Barker, Pat "The Regeneration Trilogy"
89.   Rhys, Jean "Wide Sargasso Sea" - 1966
90.   Carter, Angela "The Bloody Chamber"
91.   Fowler, Karen Joy "We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves" (The Jane Austen Book Club - 2004)
92.   Allende, Isabel "The House of the Spirits" (E: La casa de los espíritus) - 1982
93.   Smiley, Jane "A Thousand Acres" - 1991

94.   Homes, A.M. "May We Be Forgiven"
95.   McBride, Eimear "A Girl is a Half-formed Thing"
96.   Lessing, Doris "The Golden Notebook" - 1962
97.   Le Guin, Ursula "The Earthsea Cycle" (The Left Hand of Darkness - 1969) *
98.   Byatt, A.S. "The Children’s Book" (Possession - 1990)
99.   Clarke, Susanna "Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell" - 2004
100.  Kingsolver, Barbara "Flight Behaviour" - 2012

As so often  with these lists, there are very few international books (only three!) and I always feel sorry for my English speaking friends that they don't get such a broad impact as we do. I know that many of them would like to read more books from other countries but don't have the chance.

I also miss some other great authors, Nobel Prize or winners of other prestigious awards, even English speaking authors. South African
Nadine Gordimer comes to mind. Or Pearl S. Buck who wrote great literature about China.

Maybe I should put together a list of non-English books that are worth reading. Mind you, you will find a lot of them already on my Reading List.

Tuesday 14 May 2024

Top 5 Tuesday ~ Mums in Books


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 Mums in Books. Meeghan says: "Mother’s Day is pretty universal, and what better way to celebrate than by showcasing some exceptional fictional (or non-fictional if that’s your preference) mums."
It's not mother's day in every country but it also happens to be in Germany. Always on the second Sunday in May. And Father's Day is on Ascension Day which changes, of course, but this year, they both were in the same week.

There are many great mothers in literature and I tried to find the best. I doubt I was successful there but here are some pretty wonderful books about mothers. They all show what mothers have to go through. They all have different problems but manage to raise their children nonetheless. Well done, all mothers.

Lawson, Mary "Road Ends" - 2013
The mother who was left behind.

McCourt, Frank "Angela's Ashes" (Frank McCourt #1) - 1996
The mother who raises her kids under more than difficult circumstances.

Scott, Mary "Breakfast at Six" - 1953
The mother who lives in the middle of nowhere and still manages to bring up a family.

Kyung-sook, Shin "Please Look After Mom" (KOR: 엄마를 부탁해 Ch'angbi) - 2008
The mother who disappears.

Shriver, Lionel "We Need to Talk About Kevin" - 2003
The mother who has to pick up the pieces.

* * *

👩🏻‍🍼Happy Reading!👩🏻‍🍼
📚 📚 📚

Monday 13 May 2024

Tibballs, Geoff "The Good, the Bad and the Wurst"

Tibballs, Geoff "The Good, the Bad and the Wurst. The 100 Craziest Moments from the European Song Contest" - 2016

This book is about one of my favourite events of the year. I watch neither the Oscars nor the BAFTA or any of the other award programmes but I have been watching the ESC for a long long time, still back in the day when it was called "Grand Prix Eurovision de la Chanson" everywhere.

I thought the title was hilarious. And so was the book. Granted, at times, the author overdid it. Come to that … Who is Geoff Tibballs? I am sure it's a pseudonym of someone who doesn't even want to admit that he watches this every year. I couldn't find anything about him on the internet. And there is no description in the book like: He lives with his wife, two lovely daughters, a dog and a cat in the Cotswolds … or something to that effect. If anyone knows something about him, let me know.

Anyway, we hear about the different songs in different years, who was the worst (the wurst?), who had the most interesting costume, what stories happened before, during and after the performance, who votes for whom, what is the impact on politics and vice-versa.

There used to be a Dutch website, the Barbara Dex Award who selected the worst costume every year. Unfortunately, that went from 1997 to 2016 only. But, the Belgians have started a new one in 2022, for the most remarkable outfit. The winner 2022 was Australia, then Finland. It's called the "You're a Vision Award" (Wikipedia).

To the voting, I must say, of course people vote for their neighbour countries since the taste in music is often similar. Except for those who don't really like each other much.

There are some comments about politics and Eurovision but I have to share this one, not because it was a German commentator who gets the mention. Check out this video clip on YouTube, where German comedian Anke Engelke is telling Azerbaijan that Europe is watching them. And here it is in writing. Well said, Anke (who is a brilliant presenter, by the way). People should do that more often.

And last but not least: "… and Australia belongs to Europe …"

Of course it does. 😉 Would be nice if it was a little closer. But in all honesty, there are many countries participating who are not European. But it is called Eurovision and a lot of non-European countries are members of Eurovision i.e. the European Broadcasting Union. Australia was invited to participate because they are the biggest fans. I just would like to know what they'll do, if Australia wins one day. Not this year, they didn't make it to the final, unfortunately. Better luck next time, Australia.

I know there are a lot of controversies about the ESC. But, let us enjoy one (or three) nights a year. I'm not a fan of football. Do you know how often we non-football lovers have to endure changes in the TV programme because a game goes over?

From the back cover:

"All the highs and lows of over sixty years of Eurovision, from Céline Dion to Dustin the Turkey, and from ABBA to Conchita Wurst: plenty of silly constumes, truly terrible lyrics and all-round unbeatable entertainment.

Since 1956, the Eurovision Song Contest has existed in a parallel universe that continues to beguine and bemuse in equal measure. In this glittering, magical world, a song about the construction of a hydro-electric power station is cutting edge-pop, half a dozen warbling Russian grandmothers make up a band, a song that repeats the word 'la' 138 times is a winner, and Australia is part of Europe.

There has been scandal, too, in the form of an over-long kiss; national outrage in 1976 as a result of the Greek entry's savage indictment of Turkish foreign policy in Cyprus; and a night of near-death in Luxembourg when the floor manager warned the audience against standing up to applaud because they might be shot by security forces.

By the way, my favourites this year was France, followed by Norway. They made #4 and 25 respectively. Shows how much my taste goes with the majority. LOL

Wednesday 8 May 2024

Top 5 Tuesday ~ Yellow


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 Yellow. Meeghan says: "The first of May is Beltane and one of my fave Celtic celebrations. Beltane is generally celebrated with yellow flowers, and so we are doing our top 5 yellow books!"

I already did Top Ten Tuesday yesterday, so I moved this one to Wednesday.
While yellow is not my favourite colour (that would be green), I do like it. It's so fresh and friendly. And I had no problem, finding lots of yellow covers. I have tried to use those that are more yellow than anything else. Enjoy.

Büchner, Georg "Woyzeck" (GE: Woyzeck)- 1879
Part of a stage play, unfinished, incomplete, published posthumously but became one of the most performed and influential plays in the German theatre repertory.
All the elements of a great story. Modelled after a real life figure, Woyzeck is a man with lots of problems, a "common" man, a low grade soldier with all the disadvantages the working man had at the time.

Paull, Laline "The Bees" - 2014
The story about a bee who does not conform with what she is supposed to be doing, she is smarter than other bees from her status, she is "above her class".
This book has given me a lot to think about.

Seth, Vikram "An Equal Music" - 1999
The story of a violonist and his problems with love, his job, his parents, but mainly love.

Vargas, Jose Antonio "Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen" - 2018
This is such an interesting book that puts a face to all those "illegal immigrants".

Yu, Hua (余華/Yú Huá) "China in Ten Words" (十個詞彙裡的中國/Shi ge cihui li de Zhongguo) - 2012
The book teaches us a lot about life in China during the lifetime of the author (born 1960) so far as well as about the author himself.

* * *

🟨🟡Happy Reading!🟡🟨
📚 📚 📚

Tuesday 7 May 2024

Top Ten Tuesday ~ May 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.

May is the month of flowers, so I was not surprised about this week's topic.

May Flowers - Pick your own title for this one to reflect the direction you choose to go with this prompt (books with flowers on the cover, flower names in the title, characters whose names are flower names, stories involving flowers/gardeners).

I have done challenges with tulips quite often, so this time I thought, I'll choose some books that are not about flowers but have a picture of them on the cover. And I chose five different kind of flowers. It was fun.

Barbery, Muriel "The Elegance of the Hedgehog" (F: L’Elégance du hérisson) - 2006
Morrison, Toni "Beloved" - 1987
Shakespeare, William "Romeo and Juliet" - 1597
Stroyar, J.N. "Becoming Them" (The Children's War #3) - 2017
Urquhart, Jane "The Underpainter" - 1997 (not my favourite by this author)

📚 Happy Reading! 📚

P.S. I only noticed afterwards, that I only did five books. Must have mixed it up with Top 5 Tuesday. Sorry.

Monday 6 May 2024

Tsumura, Kikuko "There's No Such Thing as an Easy Job"

Tsumura, Kikuko "There's No Such Thing as an Easy Job" (Konoyoni tayasui shigoto wa na/この世にたやすい仕事はない) - 2015

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

My first impression was, this is a weird book that talks about weird jobs. Some that I never heard about it. A young woman goes from one of them to the next. Jobs that don't seem to require any special experience or talents.

Or is that so? The more we get to know the protagonist, we get to recognize that she has a lot of talents and uses them well to go through her various tasks.

I doubt I would have picked up this novel if I had just come across it in a book shop. And even if I had, despite a pink cover, I don't think the description would have convinced me that this would be a book for me.

But, since it was a book club book, I started and finished it and I can honestly say, it was a nice read.

And - the title is correct, there is no such thing as an easy job.

From the back cover:

"A young woman walks into an employment agency and requests a job that has the following traits: it is close to her home, and it requires no reading, no writing - and ideally, very little thinking.

She is sent to a nondescript office building where she is tasked with watching the hidden-camera feed of an author suspected of storing contraband goods. But observing someone for hours on end can be so inconvenient and tiresome. How will she stay awake? When can she take delivery of her favourite brand of tea? And, perhaps more importantly - how did she find herself in this situation in the first place?

As she moves from job to job, writing bus adverts for shops that mysteriously disappear, and composing advice for rice cracker wrappers that generate thousands of devoted followers, it becomes increasingly apparent that she's not searching for the easiest job at all, but something altogether more meaningful...

One of our members recommended this essay: "The Absurdity of Labor in There’s No Such Thing as an Easy Job"

Saturday 4 May 2024

Six Degrees of Separation ~ From The Anniversary to Driving by Moonlight

#6Degrees of Separation:
from The Anniversary (Goodreads) to Driving by Moonlight

#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.

The starter book this month is "The Anniversary" by Stephanie Bishop.

I have not read it, so there is no link to that book, but here is the description:

"Novelist J.B. Blackwood is on a cruise with her husband, Patrick, to celebrate their wedding anniversary. Her former professor, film director, and cult figure, Patrick is much older than J.B.. When they met, he seemed somehow ageless, as all gods appear in the eyes of those who worship them. But now his success is starting to wane and J.B. is on the cusp of winning a major literary prize. Her art has been forever overseen by him, now it may overshadow his.

For days they sail in the sun, nothing but dark water all around them. Then a storm hits and Patrick falls from the ship. J.B. is left alone, as the search for what happened to Patrick - and the truth about their marriage - begins.

Propulsive and fiercely intelligent, The Anniversary is exquisitely written with a swift and addictive plot. It’s a novel that asks: how legible, in the mind of the writer, is the line between reality and plot? How do we refuse the people we desire? And what is the cost, to ourselves, to others and to our art, if we don’t?

Whenever I hear the word "Anniversary", I think about "Wedding" and that is going to be my next link.
After that, I will use a word in the title from one book and find another book with that same word in the title. The first word is Wedding.

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.

Benali, Abdelkader "Wedding by the Sea" (NL: Bruiloft aan zee) - 1996

Allende, Isabel "Island Beneath the Sea" (E: La isla bajo el mar) - 2010

Şafak, Elif "The Island of Missing Trees" - 2021

Tolan, Sandy "The Lemon Tree: An Arab, a Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East" - 2006

Stewart, Chris "Driving over Lemons" - 1999

Henderson, Kristin "Driving by Moonlight: A Journey Through Love, War, and Infertility" - 2003


Honestly, the last book was not one that I particularly liked but I doubt I would like the starter book, so maybe that's what they have in common.