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Carsten's (ctpress) 2017 - Take and Read - part 2

This is a continuation of the topic Carsten's (ctpress) 2017 - Take and Read - part 1.

75 Books Challenge for 2017

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Edited: Nov 26, 2017, 9:35am Top

Danish artist P. S. Krøyer - “Sommerdag ved Skagens Sønderstrand” (1884) "A summers day at Skagens Sønder beach"

Summer is at hand - this painting reminds me so much of the pleasures of summer - the children totally occupied with playing - even the girl at the beach looking on with fascination. Those long days where sun, sky, water, sand seems to melt together - heaven touches earth.

I'm living in Copenhagen, Denmark. Working as a journalist and I'm almost always reading some classic. But new literature will slip through.

Books read:

29. A Philosophy of Walking by Frédéric Gros (2011) 5/5 (reread)
28. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn (1962) 5/5 (reread)
27. Surprised by Joy by C. S. Lewis (1955) 4,5/5 Audiobook (reread)

26. Mary Poppins by P. L. Travers (1934) 3/5 (reread)
25. Stand Firm: Resisting the Self-Improvement Craze (2014) 4/5

24. The Story of My Life by Helen Keller (1903) 4/5

23. The Reawakening by Primo Levi (1962) 5/5
22. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (1953) 3/5 reread
21. The Professor by Charlotte Brontë (1857) 2,5/5
20. North & South by Elisabeth Gaskell (1855) 4,5/5 - reread

19. Simon’s Night by Jon Hassler (1979) 4,5/5 reread

18. Hadji Murad by Leo Tolstoy (1912) 3,5/5
17. Der er så meget vi ikke er nødt til by Tomas Sjödin (2016) 4,5/5
16. Water from a Deep Well by Gerald Sittser (2007) 4,5/5
15. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah (2015) 3,5/5

14. Psmith in the City by P. G. Wodehouse (1909) 3/5
13. Room With a View by E. M. Forster (1908) 4,5/5 reread

12. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë 5/5 reread

11. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (1861) 5/5 reread audiobook
10. White Fang by Jack London (1906) 5/5 reread audiobook
9. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (1861) 5/5 reread

8. Old Yeller by Fred Gipson (1957) 3,5/5 (audiobook)
7. Villette by Charlotte Brontë (1853) 3,5/5
6. Shirley by Charlotte Brontë (1849) 4,5/5
5. Lady Susan by Jane Austen (1793) 3/5
4. Mike and Psmith by P. G. Wodehouse (1909) 3/5
3. He Wants by Alison Moore (2016) 4,5/5
2. Dark Matter by Blake Crouch (2016) 4/5 (audiobook)
1. Master and Commander by Patrick O’Brian (1969) 4/5 (audiobook)

May 26, 2017, 6:05am Top

17. Der er så meget vi ikke er nødt til by Tomas Sjödin (2016) 4,5/5

Title in English: "There's so much we don't have to do" -

Tomas Sjödin is a Swedish priest - this book consists of 50 columns from a Swedish newspaper. It’s a very liberating and leisurely read. He writes about daily life and trends in society with a mixture of subtle humour, profound insight and one-liners that you just have to underline and reflect upon - it can be a cheerful praise to the daily coastal water weather report or a grave meditation on the particular art of writing a funeral speech.

He's fast becoming one of my favorite Christian writers.

Edited: May 26, 2017, 6:30am Top

18. Hadji Murad by Leo Tolstoy (1912) 3,5/5

Hadji Murad is a story difficult to interprete. Tolstoy seems to be taking shots at Czarism and Russian imperialism holding up for us with admiration Hadji Murad, a muslim and a Chechen repel commander. Bound by honor and duty and reverence for his religion. Yet there’s brutality on each side - maybe more a disillusionment attitude towards war of any kind seems to be preeminent in Tolstoy’s retelling of this story - a mixture of history and fiction, facts and myth.

May 26, 2017, 7:15am Top

Happy new thread Carsten. I'm a bit boggled by the coincidence of you reading >3 ctpress: when I had never come across it until last week when it was mentioned in the book I was reading about Chechnya - A Constellation of Vital Phenomena. One of the characters says it tells you all you need to know about the two recent wars with the Russians... What made you pick it up? Would you recommend it?

May 26, 2017, 8:47am Top

Happy new thread!

May 26, 2017, 9:53am Top

Thanks Charlotte - yes, a peculiar coincidence :)

I’m reading through Tolstoy’s stories at the moment and are now at some of his stories from the Caucasus and Crimea - all inspired from his own experiences when he was a soldier in those regions.

I read The Cossacks last year and enjoyed it a lot - more than Hadji Murad but if you want to understand the cultural differencies and why Russia historically have had and to this day still have so much trouble ruling that region, Hadji Murad gives you a good perspective.

A Danish journalist writes in the foreword to the stories from Caucasus that when he was reporting from the Second Chechen war he attended a private party where the host read from Hadji Murad to the folks gathered there - afterwards the host said: “It’s sad that the Russians still haven’t learned anything” - (that is that they still makes many enemies in that region) - an anectode that tells you a lot - at least that this story still lingers in the minds of people in Chechen.

Jim - thanks - feels good with a new thread :)

May 26, 2017, 12:42pm Top

Great new thread, Carsten. I always love the Danish art you choose to feature as your toppers.

Good on you reading Tolstoy, although this one does sound difficult to interpret. At this time of year, teaching in public education, I definitely cannot get my head around the great Russian, LOL! You have my full admiration, my friend!

Edited: May 26, 2017, 1:34pm Top

Thanks, Nancy. It's difficult to interpret his intention with the novel, but it's not a difficult read as such - pretty forward storytelling as always with Tolstoy. He knew very well that this one wouldn't pass censorship and therefore didn't try to get it published as far as I know. It was released after his death.

I have a friend from church and we talked about novels at a Christmas party last year. I shared my all time favorite novels and he wrote them down. Now he's reading through the list. How amazing is that!

Several time this year he's come after church and telling me about a book he's just read from the list. I can't even remember how many titles I gave him. The last one was about two weeks ago - Anna Karenina by Tolstoy :) He really liked it a lot and didn't at all suspected the ending. Now he's reading Pride and Prejudice.

(one book he couldn't finish was Notes from the Underground by Dostoevsky. That wasn't my first, second or third choice by Dostoevsky but he had read the most popular ones, so I had to go further down my list) - another Dosto fan, yeahhh...

May 26, 2017, 2:42pm Top

>1 ctpress: I really like your thread topper Carsten. We saw several paintings by Krøyer when we visited Skagen a few years ago and liked them very much. In fact Mr SandDune bought a nice coffee table book of his work. And its's a reminder of what lovely beaches there are in that part of the world.

May 26, 2017, 5:18pm Top

What a beautiful painting for a topper of your new thread. I loved how you described...."summer is at hand...Those long days where sun, sky, water, sand seems to melt together - heaven touches earth."

Best definition of summer I have ever heard!

May 27, 2017, 2:26am Top

Happy new thread, Carsten.
The Danish painting at the top is so vivid and lifelike. It reminds me of paintings of the Dutch The Hague School in the same period.

May 27, 2017, 6:41am Top

Mary - And summer have just arrived today. 27 degrees celcius (and of course I'm working this weekend) well, I hope to be out this afternoon and enjoying the sun.

Anita - I like this period, and it's some beautiful picture on the link you send.

May 27, 2017, 12:17pm Top

Love that your friend is reading your list of favourite novels, Carsten! That is wonderful!

May 27, 2017, 11:15pm Top

Happy new thread, Carsten.

May 28, 2017, 2:55am Top

>6 ctpress: Thanks Carsten. I'm not one for reading classics usually, but maybe I should look for this one, sounds important.

May 28, 2017, 3:00pm Top

Nancy - I look forward to what he has to say about Pride and Prejudice :) I don't have that many to share my love for the classics, so it's great.

Paul - Thanks mate

Charlotte - Personally I would recommend Cossacks by Tolstoy, if I had to choose. It's the same cultural clash but easier to relate too.

Jun 2, 2017, 4:31pm Top

19. Simon’s Night by Jon Hassler (1979) 4,5/5 (reread)

I read Simon’s Night back in 2014 and the other day it just called out to me again and I felt a desire to reread it. It’s such a delightful story, funny and heartwarming.

I’ve already reviewed it so I will just say that it’s a story of an old man who way to early commits himself to a private rest home - it’s a serious mistake - but one week of events will turn his life around through one young couple he meets.

Jun 2, 2017, 4:53pm Top

Simon's Night sounds intriguing.

Jun 2, 2017, 4:56pm Top

It is good, Mary. I read most of the novels in the "Staggerford-series", but this one is a stand-alone, and my favorite of his.

Jun 3, 2017, 11:40am Top

Simon's Night sounds excellent, Carsten. Not at all familiar with this one, and I'm thinking that must change.

Edited: Jun 6, 2017, 3:39pm Top

My favorite musician quoting/retelling/interpreting one of my favorite classics (Moby Dick) - and two other great classics. It's a gift.

Bob Dylan's Nobel Prize speech is about his musical inspiration and how the western classical stories have found a way into his lyrics. 25 minutes set to soft piano music in the background. Great.


Jun 7, 2017, 8:16am Top

Nancy - Simon's Night was even better on the second reading. Like it a lot.

Jun 11, 2017, 2:55am Top

Dropping by to wish you a great weekend, Carsten.

Jun 11, 2017, 12:14pm Top

Happy new thread, Carsten!

Edited: Jun 25, 2017, 1:27am Top

Hi Carsten, I read another Hygge book The Little Book of Hygge written by Meik Wiking who works for the Happiness Institute in Copenhagen. I must be a card carrying member as I love all the suggestions and philosophy. Hope that you're enjoying the start to summer.

Jun 28, 2017, 2:07am Top

Thanks Paul :)

Thanks Robin :)

Hi Mary - great that you're enjoying our Hygge mentality. You must be an ambassador of hygge by now :)

Jun 28, 2017, 2:10am Top

I've just been away for 10 days walking in Lapland in Sweden - the Swedish "Alps". A great place for refreshment and enjoying nature.

Jun 28, 2017, 6:16am Top

>27 ctpress: Oh, how lovely! Where exactly did you go?

Jun 28, 2017, 6:47am Top

#28: We went to Abisko - the northest part of Sweden and went for day-tours from there.

Jun 28, 2017, 7:47am Top

>26 ctpress: Wonderful pictures, love the last one, with the small bell-like flowers!

Jun 28, 2017, 8:06am Top

>27 ctpress: What a beautiful place, Carsten, thanks for sharing the pictures.

Jun 28, 2017, 9:20am Top

>29 ctpress: Oh, that sounds lovely! I've never managed to get myself up to Abisko, but I've heard great things. And this time of year it must be spectacular with the midnight sun (I live too far south for any "real" midnight sun, we have about an hour or two of "night" (dusk) before the sun rises again.

Jun 28, 2017, 9:27am Top

Looks lovely. I just dipped my toe into Sweden outside Stockholm on the recent visit, but thought it was definitely worth another visit.

Jun 28, 2017, 10:37am Top

Beautiful photos, Carsten! Looks like a great way to recharge.

Jun 28, 2017, 2:25pm Top

EllaTim - We did a lot of flower-spotting. Bought a leaflet on mountain wildflowers and found several.

Anita - It was a beautiful place.

PawsforThought - yes, we stayed up for the midnight sun :)

Charlotte - I stayed a few days in Stockholm as well, and had some good time swimming in the lake/river in central Stockholm and having a bastu/sauna. It's a beautiful city.

Nancy - It was good to recharge - fresh air, walking in nature, sauna, good food - yes, it was a great holiday.

Jun 28, 2017, 4:56pm Top

>27 ctpress:

How wonderful - from the third photograph - that you still have Glaciers!

Jun 29, 2017, 1:22am Top

I loved your pictures. Thank you for posting your adventures.

Jul 1, 2017, 2:12am Top

#m.belljackson: Summer-weather was still waiting to come to Abisko. The advantage: No mosquitos.

Mary: Thanks - it was an adventure. Was in Abisko four years ago - but then it was a longer walk from place to place.

Jul 2, 2017, 4:32am Top

Hope you are having a great weekend, Carsten.

Last week I had a meeting with and may be doing some work for a Danish company, Skyways Technics. As usual I placed it in an LT context and you, our 75er Danish correspondent, immediately sprang to my mind.

Jul 2, 2017, 3:26pm Top

Good to know that the "75er Danish correspondent" came to mind, Paul :) A working weekend for me - again - happens a lot these days.

Edited: Jul 2, 2017, 3:42pm Top

20 North & South by Elisabeth Gaskell (1855) 4,5/5 - reread

At the moment I'm in the mood for "reliable" rereads. This one - Juliet Stevenson narrator - was a sure thing. I liked it more this time - read and reviewed it first in 2012, so it's up from a 4 to 4,5. I still need some more Mr. Thornton in the last part of the book, and what's happening to poor Frederick?. But of course I have to accept the main focus on Margareth's inner journey. But what an ending. It's so sudden and you want to linger for the things that are said next (what are said, Mrs. Gaskell?). Putting on the tv-series one of these days.....

Jul 2, 2017, 4:36pm Top

Delighted you enjoyed your reread of North and South so much, Carsten! I remember our GR of this one several years ago. I gave it 4.5 then, and I have Stevenson's narration in my collection. You encourage me to get to the audio sooner than later.

Jul 2, 2017, 5:29pm Top

It's definitely worth going back to, Nancy. I did argue with myself if I should see the tv-series or listen to it - but what the heck, I'm going to do both :) I remember the discussion back then but was surprised it was in 2012. Was it really that long ago? :)

Jul 3, 2017, 3:07pm Top

I love your description of the ending of North and South. Like Gaskell decided "enough already". The TV version although the romantic couple is of course the heart of the story, the mother of the factory owner is a wonderful actress. Really compelling.

Jul 3, 2017, 5:04pm Top

was surprised it was in 2012. Was it really that long ago? That's exactly what I thought! I was stunned it was that long ago. I always go back and rewatch the BBC production, too. The lead actors in that are fabulous!

Jul 7, 2017, 2:49pm Top

Hello Carsten!

>27 ctpress: Beautiful photos.

Jul 16, 2017, 3:28pm Top

Charlotte - I've just finished watching the wonderful BBC-series again. I agree with the mother - a very strong character that really embodies the character from the novel.

Nancy - Finished the BBC-series tonight and it's such a great mini-series. Top of my list actually, and very "re-watchable". The way that Mr. Thornton and Margareth change their views and perception of each other is done very good in the series. Perfect casting.

Brodie - Thanks. It was some spectacular scenery up there.

Jul 26, 2017, 4:30am Top

21. The Professor by Charlotte Brontë (1857) 2,5/5

A sweet romance - Charlotte Brontës first attempt at novel-writing. Not so well-drawned characters than in her later novels, still enjoyable enough. Only recommended to Brontë-aficionados.

Well, now I’ve read all seven of the Brontë-sisters novels - I’m not sure I will reread Wuthering Heights again - my least favorite (together with The Professor) - but I have my eyes on Jane Eyre later this year.

Brontë-sisters ranked:

1. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
2. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë
3. Shirley by Charlotte Brontë
4. Agnes Grey by Anne Brontë
5. Villette by Charlotte Brontë
6. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
7. The Professor by Charlotte Brontë

Jul 26, 2017, 4:46am Top

22. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (1953) 3/5 (reread)

Thought a rereading of this modern classic would increase my appreciation of it - it didn’t. I like the beginning, but the second half was as my first read a disappointment. So still 3/5.

Jul 26, 2017, 10:36am Top

Carsten, love that you are our Brontë aficionado! Happy to see the Shirley places directly after Jane Eyre and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. You inspired me to buy Shirley at the same time we were deciding to read The Tenant ... still have that one on the shelves. Love that you are considering rereading Jane Eyre later in the year ... have this one on audiobook, read by the inimitable Juliet Stevenson. I highly recommend!

Jul 27, 2017, 2:34am Top

Hi Nancy - Having read them all and reread three of them, I'm beginning to feel like a Brontë aficionado :) Hope you'll like Shirley when you get to it. I have listened to Juliet Stevenson's narration of Jane Eyre - Superb! - but I think this time I will read it.

Jul 27, 2017, 9:01pm Top

Hi Carsten, I am wishing some sunshine for you, some wonderful reading and holidays soon.

Jul 28, 2017, 3:05am Top

>49 ctpress: Not tempted by this one, Carsten. Hope you're having a better summer than the wet one here!

Jul 28, 2017, 7:47am Top

Mary - Thanks - it's relaxing at work at the moment. No major breaking news - but looking forward for some holiday two weeks from now :)

Charlotte - It's not raining so much here, but I wouldn't call it a good summer. Overclouded and windy most days. But we hope august will be better - it usually is here.

Jul 28, 2017, 8:36am Top

23. The Reawakening by Primo Levi (1962) 5/5

This is the second book in Primo Levi’s autobiography about Auschwitz and the aftermath of the war. Also goes by the title “The Truce”, in Danish "Tøbruddet".

As the first one this is no doubt a solid five star read. Primo Levi recounts the time just after Auschwitz when jews, refugees and other war victims are trying to get home. Everything is chaos, people are starving and sick and many dies in interim camps - Primo Levi is relocated several times to different camps, trying to survive.

He’s such a good storyteller, vivid descriptions of so many people - some showing forth trumendous strength and resilience, others caring and loving, others cruel and vicious. It’s also in places very funny in all the absurd circumstances they happen to find themselves in - so many strange characters and events that you shake your head in disbelief.

Jul 28, 2017, 10:41am Top

Thumb up for a wonderful review of The Reawakening, Carsten! Sounds like an excellent story, and a very well told one. Of course, gotta love 5*!!!

Edited: Jul 28, 2017, 11:25am Top

I was curious about Primo Levi so looked him up on line and see that there is a New Yorker mag. article about him.


Your review was very compelling (thumbs up)

Jul 28, 2017, 1:46pm Top

Nancy - Yes, he's really a master storyteller. I like the quote from the article Mary linked to:

“If This Is a Man” and “The Truce” contain beautiful portraits of goodness and charity, and it is not the punishers and sadists but the life-givers—the fortifiers, the endurers, the men and women who sustained Levi in his struggle to survive—who burst out of these pages.

That is so true.

Mary - Thanks for the link. I actually didn't know much about his later life after the description in the autobiography. It's sad that the horror of Auschwitz finally was such a dark shadow over his life that it ended in utter depression, darkness and and (apparently) suicide. That he then was old, not strong in mind to cast out the demons.

I actually wondered about it when he ended "Truce" (Reawakning) on such a dark note. He describes that Auschwitz still haunts him (this in 1962) and that in the midst of his daily life still suddenly "everything falls apart, the grief is more intense, everything is chaos, and that he's alone in the grey nothingness" (me translating from the Danish edition...).

Jul 29, 2017, 4:01pm Top

Good translating. What a powerful story he told.

Jul 30, 2017, 11:25am Top

>55 ctpress: I am a big admirer of Primo Levi's work, Carsten. His novel If Not Now, When? is usually in my top ten lists.

What a shame he died so prematurely and mysteriously.

Have a great weekend.

Edited: Jul 30, 2017, 1:11pm Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

Edited: Jul 30, 2017, 4:47pm Top

>55 ctpress: I've not read this but want to now, great review. The work I have read by him is powerful and I think should be on school compulsory reading lists, especially now in such times of conflict and intolerance.

Aug 1, 2017, 2:58am Top

Mary - Thanks - I would have quoted more if I had an english edition, there were several insightful observations on the human character.

Paul - Haven't come around to his fiction yet, but I will check out If Not Now, When?. Thanks for the recommendation.

Charlotte - Which one of Primo Levi's books have you read?

Aug 1, 2017, 9:51am Top

24. The Story of My Life by Helen Keller (1903) 4/5

An amazing autobiography by Helen Keller. An illness makes her both deaf and blind as a little child. With the help of an untiring and patient teacher she learns how to communicate with the outer world through sign language signed into her hand, and later she learns to read and even reaches the university.

What struck me most was the joyous spirit she possesses. Her wonder and appreciation of nature, friends, art, litterature and just the exitement of the everyday events like smelling a flower or touching a dog. She enjoys going to the museum and let her hand grace the sculptures:

I sometimes wonder if the hand is not more sensitive to the beauties of sculpture than the eye. I should think the wonderful rhythmical flow of lines and curves could be more subtly felt than seen. Be this as it may, I know that I can feel the heartthrobs of the ancient Greeks in their marble gods and goddesses.

I found her determination and joy in the everyday life very refreshing and inspiring, despite of her limitations and sorrow.

Is it not true, then, that my life with all its limitations touches at many points the life of the World Beautiful? Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn, whatever state I may be in, therein to be content.

Sometimes, it is true, a sense of isolation enfolds me like a cold mist as I sit alone and wait at life’s shut gate. Beyond there is light, and music, and sweet companionship; but I may not enter. Fate, silent, pitiless, bars the way…. Silence sits immense upon my soul. Then comes hope with a gentle smile and whispers, “There is joy in selfforgetfulness”. So I try to make the light in others’ eyes my sun, the music in others’ ears my symphony, the smile on others’ lips my happiness.

Aug 1, 2017, 2:53pm Top

Carsten, just thumbed your Helen Keller review. I found it very interesting. I am racking my brain for a quote of hers I came across recently but can't remember where I found it. She is so inspirational. Thanks for your review!

Edited: Aug 1, 2017, 5:19pm Top

Mary, Helen Keller is very quotable. My copy is underlined in many places and I could have added many more beautiful quotes. Such a keen observer of life and the inner workings of the mind and soul.

Aug 2, 2017, 10:55am Top

Carsten, that is a stellar review of The Story of My Life, and thumb-up my friend! Love the quotes you've included. I'm with Mary: she is completely inspirational!

Aug 2, 2017, 11:06am Top

Good morning, Carsten! I keep meaning to say how much I like your topper. The girl in the painting seem to be in between disapproval of the boys in the water and wanting eagerly to join them. :-)

I hope all is well with you.

Aug 3, 2017, 3:31pm Top

Nancy - Thanks. Yes really inspirational. It's of course completely impossible to try to imagine what she have gone through, but her outlook on life can really teach us something about gratefulness and thankfulness.

Brodie - Great observation :) I lean to the conclusion that she wants to join :) I really like that painting, and especially now when it have rained the entire day. Summer, come please, NOW!

Edited: Aug 3, 2017, 3:54pm Top

>63 ctpress: A lovely penguin anthology The search for roots. Must read more.

Love your review of the Helen Keller. I should read this too!

Aug 4, 2017, 3:31am Top

Charlotte - Interesting Primo Levi book with his favorite reading. For one that enjoys classic literature it looks like a perfect book.

Edited: Aug 4, 2017, 5:53am Top

I love books like this one where people explain why particular books have influenced them. But I need to read The Periodic Table.

Aug 4, 2017, 10:31am Top

>64 ctpress: Hi Carsten. I read that one this year too, and found it very heartwarming. I knew very little of Helen Keller before picking up her autobiography. I also really liked reading about her teacher. One can only imagine what would have happened if she had not had her teacher in her life.

Aug 6, 2017, 1:56am Top

A quick stop by to wish you well for the weekend, Carsten.

Aug 8, 2017, 11:53am Top

Charlotte - Another one that looks very good. Great with so much to explore by Primo.

Marie - Yes, that teacher really made a difference. So inspirational - I haven't seen the two movies based on her life story. Can they be recommended?

Paul - Thanks. A good weekend it was :)

Aug 8, 2017, 8:40pm Top

A 100 km bike ride, Carsten! I'm speechless, my friend, at your inspiration! I congratulate myself when I've walked 5 km in a day, LOL!

Edited: Aug 9, 2017, 1:13am Top

Carsten , I am also speechless - 100 km bike ride! Like Nancy, I'm happy to walk 4 miles/ 6.5 km in a day. And this is maybe 3 days a week. Just got in from walking in smoke from the wildfires around here. It's great where I live - even an "old lady" like myself can walk out in the dark and not fear for my safety. Well lit and many other walkers out late in the summer. Poppy will look after me! - all 15 lbs of her! ;)

Aug 9, 2017, 1:42pm Top

Hi Nancy and Deborah - yes it was a long ride - and against headwind the last part of the bicycle trip we struggled a bit, but the view was great and august has begun with fine weather here. A me and my friend take the bike to work every day we get the training :)

You should congratulate yourself, Nancy :)

It's great to be able to go dog walking in the evenings not fearing for your safety, Deborah. 6.5 km is a pretty good walk.

Aug 19, 2017, 5:16pm Top

Hi Carsten, created an account today at Postimage.org ... very user friendly, very efficient! Appreciate the tip, my friend.

Aug 19, 2017, 5:57pm Top

Stopping by to say hi, Carsten . Hope all is well!

Aug 21, 2017, 8:08pm Top

A lot of walking and cycling here.

I wonder, Carsten, if it is possible to get fit just by reading about it?!

Aug 22, 2017, 6:03pm Top

Nancy - You're welcome :) It is actually no-nonsense image posting.

Deborah - I'm doing fine. Working, but not reading. BUT! two weeks vacation coming up and I hope to catch up with some books.

Paul - I have bad news for you. I've tried it believe me and it just doesn't work. You actually have to get out and walk and ride :) Of course, if you take up audio books and go for a walk. Now you're talking :)

Aug 22, 2017, 6:40pm Top

It is a * Carsten * sighting! Rarer than -err - the Loch Ness monster putting in an appearance. Just kidding! Plenty to keep on with in the news world of work. You, know , there was a posting for an executive secretary to the Duchess of Cambridge a while back. I'm afraid it is filled, or you could have left the wild world of news for the relative peace of the Royal Family.

Enjoy your two weeks of vacation!

Edited: Aug 29, 2017, 6:00pm Top

I'm enjoying my vacation, Deborah. Just going to be home this time or travelling a bit in Denmark. After all, it's a lovely country.

Missed the Duchess of Cambridge spot I'm afraid :) We have had plenty to report about in the Danish royal family with our Prince Henrik - married to our Queen Margareth. He has always criticised being named prince in stead of a king. We follow the same rules of naming as the Brits, but other countries do it differently. But now he's so mad he says he will not be buried together with the Queen when he dies, but want to be buried in France where he's from.

I think the resentment goes deeper and must point to something else, but who really knows what's going on? Maybe I should apply for that butler position.

Sep 1, 2017, 11:50am Top

Oh oh, sounds like Prince Henrik is more than a tad miffed! These Royals, they're hard to keep up to with their problems of privilege, LOL!

Sep 2, 2017, 4:46pm Top

Pretty miffed, Nancy :) It's a little embarrassing to say the least. Well, it's a first world problem, or maybe to be more precise: A Royal problem.

Edited: Sep 2, 2017, 5:15pm Top

OK, I can't seem to finish a book these days. The new Dostoevsky is a slow read and even Wodehouse have a hard time to inspire me, so that's a bit of a crisis.

In the meantime let me recommend a BBC tv-series. Detectorists. A British show with a gentle, subtle humour - have just finished season two and now the long wait for the last season which will arrive next year. Each season is only 6 half hour shows, so it's not long.

About two metal detector guys and their nerdy quest for ancient gold - and also about how that affects their private lives. Just my type of humour. Giggling a lot.

Here's a review: http://www.denofgeek.com/tv/detectorists/38300/the-quiet-brilliance-of-mackenzie...

Sep 2, 2017, 5:30pm Top

I've read about your Danish Royalty, Carsten and yes, it is a puzzle as to why Prince Henrik wants to be buried in France. Next thing you know, Prince Phillip will whinging on about wanting to be buried back in Greece! The never ending drama of the royals!

The Dectecorists looks like fun! It is staying very warm here for September . About 28 C today! Not that I want fall to arrive any earlier than it usually does. After our cold snap last year, do I purchase a parka, or do I gamble on a usual winter and go with just a rain jacket( with a layer inside my gortex for winter? ) That's the question preying on my mind.

Say, how are your parents doing after making the move from the country to the city? I recall that you mentioned they had planned to move from a home in the country to a flat somewhere in the city? Did they make the move, and if so, are they pleased with the move?

Sep 2, 2017, 8:56pm Top

>87 ctpress: Giggling a lot. Love it! Sounds like just what the doctor ordered, Carsten, to overcome a reading crisis (I can so relate!).

Sep 3, 2017, 1:23am Top

>87 ctpress: Okay, now I feel better. I haven't been reading much either but immersersed in "The Clinic" an Irish TV production and also "Rake" an Australian one. Trying to keep up with the weekly New Yorker mags which is another pressure (poor thing ha!). Just finished a Don DeLillo short story from the mag and it was a strange one.

Sep 3, 2017, 6:54pm Top

Deborah - Parents are doing fine, and yes they did move into an apartment and are quite happy with it. They have a balcony which they're enjoying a lot - The move was pretty hard for them in the beginning, but now that they are settled they are happy not to have to take care of a house anymore.

Nancy - Yes, finding a little gem of a tv-show was a nice diversion. It's really great.

Mary - Ah, yes we all hit some periods of very little reading - good to have some tv-shows to enjoy - I have to check out the shows you're mentioning. Haven't heard of them before.

Sep 4, 2017, 5:56pm Top

Hello Carsten!

>87 ctpress: I've been in the kind of reading crisis. no fun. But on that note, I have taken your advised and put the Detectorists on hold at the library.

Edited: Sep 5, 2017, 7:51am Top

Good move, Brodie. I hope you'll like the nerdy guys in Danebury Metal Detection Club, a.k.a. The DMDC :)

Sep 9, 2017, 9:55am Top

Wishing you a great weekend, Carsten.

Sep 14, 2017, 7:09am Top

Thanks Paul :)

Edited: Sep 14, 2017, 9:35am Top

25. Stand Firm: Resisting the Self-Improvement Craze (2014) 4/5

In a subversion of the typical seven-step self-help guide, he offers his own seven steps, inspired by the ancient Stoics, on resisting the fetishisation of the self: cut out navel-gazing, focus on the negative, say No, suppress your feelings, sack your coach, read a novel and dwell on the past.
Quote from a review.

Svend Brinkmann is a popular Danish psychologist - and this anti-self-help-book was his big hit a few years ago. His humorous and self-ironic approach - deliberately exaggerating - help to get his point across. I disagree with his fundamental beliefs in pragmatism, but still he has a lot to offer in this critique of the endless demand for change, personal growth and positive thinking.

Our news organisation change every 12-18 months with sacking people and reorganisation and moving departments (and people) to and fro and it’s just crazy that you just settle in and start to know the new people, then another move, another way to do things.

I would like to tell my boss this next time he presents a new plan (it will happen in October) these words from Brinkmann:

“When someone presents plans for innovation and ‘visions’ for the future, tell them that everything was better in the old days. Explain to them that the idea of ‘progress’ is only a few hundred years old — and is, in fact, destructive.”

Edited: Sep 14, 2017, 11:06am Top

Excellent review, Carsten! How refreshing: he has a lot to offer in this critique of the endless demand for change, personal growth and positive thinking. This sounds like one I would enjoy. And thumb up, my friend.

Sep 14, 2017, 5:17pm Top

Thanks, Nancy. It's an entertaining and easy read. He has published two other books which makes sort of a trilogy - and I've begun reading the second one already. That one is called "Standpoints: 10 Old Ideas In a New World".

Sep 14, 2017, 6:01pm Top

Great review, Carsten! Just my sort of book - resisting self improvement books! Thumb up from me also .

Sep 16, 2017, 1:07pm Top

>96 ctpress: Good review Carsten, added the Dutch translation to mount TBR.

Sep 16, 2017, 6:41pm Top

>96 ctpress: I think Hani would send me on self-improvement courses!

Have a great weekend, Carsten

Sep 21, 2017, 10:20pm Top

>96 ctpress: Carsten that review was like a breath of fresh air in the busy days that I am having. This relentless self improvement is just another form of pressure to conform. I loved your review!

Edited: Sep 22, 2017, 8:30am Top

>96 ctpress: I liked the sound of this too - your review kind of reminded me of Oliver Burkeman's cynical, but careful approach to self-help. I've just come across a new book, The little book of Lykke which apparently is the follow up to anglophone interest in hygge. Imagine that! The cover is making me feel more cheerful, so maybe there's something in it?

ETA fixed book link. Less happy now.

Sep 22, 2017, 11:41am Top

Carsten, was delighted to discover that my library has Stand Firm: Resisting the Self-Improvement Craze. Have requested : ).

Sep 22, 2017, 12:30pm Top

>96 ctpress:

Sure wish some eloquent and sarcastic genius would write a Self Help Book for Racists!

Edited: Sep 22, 2017, 1:09pm Top

Unfortunately, my library does not have Stand Firm : Resisting the Self-Improvement Craze by Svend Brinkman which I think I would enjoy!
I have tried to get my mitts on any hygge books at the library and presently have Scandikitchen The Essence of Hygge which is full of great recipes and ideas. I have The Little book of Lykke on reserve too..... so sometime in the future.
Great tip on the Burkeman book Charlotte!

Sep 22, 2017, 8:26pm Top

Hope work is not too stressful, Carsten and that you can have yourself a great book-filled weekend.

Sep 23, 2017, 3:16am Top

Deborah - Thanks. It was a fun and insightful read. I think you’ll like it.

Anita - Ah, also a dutch translation, yes, I think it’s a popular book.

Paul - Ha, resist, resist, resist....

Mary - Thanks. He has some helpful thoughts on that. And with a good portion of humour added.

Charlotte - That cover does cheer you up - Thanks for the tip on Oliver Burkeman - Brinkmann quotes him so they are on to the same thing I think :)

Nancy - Good. A lot of food for thought.

M.belljackson - Ha, ha. Yes that’s one self-help book that’s acutally needed :)

Edited: Sep 23, 2017, 3:19am Top

Mary - A shame that they didn’t have Brinkmann. I think I’ll have to take check out Burkeman. Sounds like the same ironic approach as Brinkmann. Good luck with the book on Lykke :)

Paul - Well, not too busy, but I’ve not done so much reading lately.

Oct 8, 2017, 4:00pm Top

Wow. Villette and Right Ho, Jeeves as the two first inspirations. Makes me want to explore more of Ishiguro.


Oct 9, 2017, 12:20pm Top

I'll never forget reading Never Let Me Go: made a powerful impact. I'm curious about Vilette, will have to get this one onto a list.

Oct 9, 2017, 4:19pm Top

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Oct 11, 2017, 3:01pm Top

I haven’t read Never Let Me Go, but it’ on the list, Nancy.

Vilette I would put below Jane Eyre and Shirley, but in terms of the psychological/gothic elements of the story it was interesting.

Edited: Oct 29, 2017, 9:40am Top

26. Mary Poppins by P. L. Travers (1934) 3/5 (reread)

Read and reviewed this in 2012 - a mixed bag of stories - had a little more fun with it this time, as I listened to the audiobook.

Mary Poppin's eyes were fixed upon him, and Michael suddenly discovered that you could not look at Mary Poppins and disobey her. There was something strange and extraordinary about her - something that was frightening and at the same time most exciting.

Oct 29, 2017, 8:27pm Top

>114 ctpress: Glad you had fun with this one, Carsten. Love the cover!

Oct 30, 2017, 3:16pm Top

Yes, it’s a great cover, Nancy :)

Nov 2, 2017, 7:16pm Top

There you are, Carsten! Love the cover, just like Nancy mentioned. A great escape when the world seems to be going a bit crazy at times. I'm off with who else but Poppy my dog, out in the pouring rain today! Trying to put it off, but knowing there is no escape.

Best to you, Carsten.

Nov 4, 2017, 1:04am Top

Hi Deborah. So nice to hear from you. Yes, one could use an umbrella/kite like that sometimes :) but walking the dog I guess will do just fine to clear your head (although one could do without the rain. I’m actually rereading a book about walking I read earlier this year.

Edited: Nov 10, 2017, 10:23am Top

27. Surprised by Joy: The shape of my early life by C. S. Lewis (1955) 4,5/5 Audiobook - narrated by Ralph Cosham (reread)

Read and reviewed this in 2015. The other day I read a quote from “Surprised by Joy” and I just felt an urge to listen to it again. Enjoyed it even more this time - not too many surprises, but greater joy in the recognition. A small but thoroughly enjoyable autobiography.

I know it’s a very long quote, but I just smiled at bachelor Lewis describing a perfect day in his mind (now there’s a bookish type). (and a bookish quote)

If I could please myself I would always live as I lived there (at Bookham school). I would choose always to breakfast at exactly eight and to be at my desk by nine, there to read or write till one. If a cup of good tea or coffee could be brought me about eleven, so much the better. At one precisely lunch should be on the table, and by two at the latest I would be on the road. Not, except at rare intervals, with a friend. Walking and talking are two very great pleasures, but it is a mistake to combine them. Our own noise blots out the sounds and silences of the outdoor world; and talking leads almost inevitably to smoking, and then farewell to nature as far as one of our senses is concerned. The only friend to walk with is one (such as I found, during the holidays, in Arthur) who so exactly shares your taste for each mood of the countryside that a glance, a halt, or at most a nudge, is enough to assure us that the pleasure is shared.

The return from the walk, and the arrival of tea, should be exactly coincident, and not later than a quarter past four. Tea should be taken in solitude. For eating and reading are two pleasures that combine admirably. Of course, not all books are suitable for mealtime reading. It would be a kind of blasphemy to read poetry at the table. What one wants is a gossipy, formless book which can be opened anywhere. The ones I learned so to use at Bookham were Boswell, and a translation of Herodotus, and Lang's History of English Literature. Tristram Shandy, Elia and the Anatomy of Melancholy are all good for the same purpose.

At five a man should be at work again, and at it till seven. Then, at the evening meal and after, comes the time for talk, or, failing that, for lighter reading; and unless you are making a night of it with your cronies (and at Bookham I had none) there is no reason why you should ever be in bed later than eleven. But when is a man to write his letters? You forget that I am describing the happy life I led with Kirk or the ideal life I would live now if I could. And it is essential to the happy life that a man would have almost no mail and never dread the postman's knock.

Edited: Nov 10, 2017, 5:40pm Top

What a wonderful quote from C.S. Lewis, Carsten. I suspect I come from a " bookish family." I recall my mom warning us to take our books off the table at dinner time when all of the family members where at home. There were 7 of us around the table and no room for books or newspapers when all 7 of us were home for dinner. Otherwise we did read at the table. My dad was often travelling as he worked as an airline pilot , and of course as we kids got into our teens we had part time jobs or sports commitments etc that kept us from eating with the family at dinner. So my mom would give a shout out when the table was crowded with too many for dinner that we had put our books away. That was way back when the newspaper came at dinner time and my dad loved to spread out the newspaper at dinner table when he was able.

Fun bit from the quote and talking leads almost inevitably to smoking, Those good old days! :-) Great to see you Carsten!
Oh, and the short stores from Six Murderous Tales by P.D.James does not include Dagleish, but they were great on there own. I was pleasantly surprised, so have a look out for the book. Great short stories!

Nov 12, 2017, 8:55am Top

>120 vancouverdeb: I don't come from an especially bookish family. Cannot remember ever seeing my father with a book growing up but my mum did use the mobile library and read 70s style chick-lit. Barbara Taylor Bradford, Catherine Cookson and she loved biographies especially of famous ladies.

My passion for reading probably comes from my Gran who always had a book with her (and a tumbler of whisky or a pot of tea!). She was proud that hers was the first generation of her family to go to school for free and she seized on the little learning that the state provided her.

Nov 12, 2017, 1:23pm Top

Deborah - He, he...I can just imagine your moms shouting "get rid of it all" over the "dinner book table". Sounds you're from a bookish family :) I think I am also. Not in any way like C. S. Lewis describes, but my parents were school teachers and I had a good home library to search out and find gems in. And my father did read some good classics a loud to us.

Hi Paul - Ah, those good old grandmothers. Great, she was able to pass that interest on to you (whisky and tea also? :) ). My grandfather was a bookbinder and working with him I guess taught me to value books. There were always stables of them when I visited my grandparents.

Nov 12, 2017, 6:41pm Top

Carsten, that is right! Your grandfather was a book binder! Such a noble and rare profession. Yes, my family was bookish family . Not in the C.S Lewis way , not a quiet bachelor's life with tea served etc, just a lot of books , newspapers, trips to the library from a young age, Lots reading aloud from my grandma - and she was an excellent reader! I found it to be such fun in my twenties to discover that me , my dad and my grandpa were all reading the same series of books from Len Deighton.

Nov 19, 2017, 2:19am Top

Yes your upbringing sounds bookish, Deborah. Three generation reading the same author - that must have been some good Len Deighton-conversations you've had.

Edited: Nov 19, 2017, 4:36am Top

28. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn (1962) 5/5 (reread)

“He ate his supper without bread. A double helping and bread--that was going too far. The bread would do for tomorrow. The belly is a demon. It doesn't remember how well you treated it yesterday; it'll cry out for more tomorrow.”

The novel is based primarily on his own experiences as a prisoner in one of Stalin's prison camps in Siberia, and as the title indicates, the Russian author has zoomed in on a single prison camp, where we follow one day in one man's life.

Nevertheless, it is understood that this day represents all prisoners, all their days in all camps.

Although the prison tries to take away Ivan Denisovich's dignity and humanness, there’s something they can’t get to. His heart. His mind. His thoughts. His attitude towards the punishment.

The great paradox and also miracle of the novel is that the reader experiences this day as one of the worst punishments, hunger, starvation, beatings, endless roll-calls, working in extremely cold winter weather etc. We fear and dread just to experience one of those days, while for Sjuhov this is one of the good days.

Ivan Denisovich (also called Shuhov) manages to get an extra bowl of porridge in the morning, he doesn’t get sick at work, he keeps himself warm during the day, is lucky to buy some tobacco in the evening. And therefore the novel ends prosaically:

“A day without a dark cloud. Almost a happy day. There were three thousand six hundred and fifty-three days like that in his stretch. From the first clang of the rail to the last clang of the rail. Three thousand six hundred and fifty-three days. The three extra days were for leap years.”

Time is a crucial factor. It's primarily time that gets stolen from the prisoners, ten years, fifteen years, twenty years of punishment, but also times of the day, like waiting in line, like having to work on Sundays. The only time the prisoner has for himself his during the 5-10 minutes when he eats his food. Shuhov takes extra good care of enjoying that time. Tasting carefully every spoon of soup. Not talking to anyone.

It’s my fourth reading - and with every read, I reflect on how precious life and time is. If Shuhov can sleep contended and satisfied, how much more I (with so much free time, a refrigerator full of food etc.)

“Yes, you live with your feet in the mud and there's no time to be thinking about how you got in or how you're going to get out.”

Nov 19, 2017, 7:00pm Top

Great review of One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. And a full 5/5! That's another book my dad convinced me to read in my late teens. It would probably mean a lot more to me know. I think maybe my dad liked to encourage people with books he'd read and since my mom was not interested in his reading - she had her books, I was the eldest in the of the kids and so my dad always tried to convince me -and was often successful.

I'd thumb your review if you put it on the main page, Carsten.

Nov 19, 2017, 7:29pm Top

Fabulous review, Carsten! Powerful stuff: The great paradox and also miracle of the novel is that the reader experiences this day as one of the worst punishments, hunger, starvation, beatings, endless roll-calls, working in extremely cold winter weather etc. We fear and dread just to experience one of those days, while for Sjuhov this is one of the good days.

Thumb from me, too, if your review appears on the book page!

Nov 20, 2017, 10:43am Top

Deborah - great to hear your dad tried to get you to read it. Now you must do it:) It’s really thought-provoking. And a main reason for getting the Nobel Prize. See I slipped in the word Prize here to wet your appetite.

Nancy - Yes, that’s one of the great paradoxes in the novel. It’s all about perspective on life. There’s also tragedy in one character who begs and are crushed all the time. And hope in one character - a Baptist Christian- who’s the voice of conscience for Shuhov.

Edited: Nov 20, 2017, 10:44pm Top

And thumbed, Carsten. Thanks for putting your review on the main page. Oh, my dad convinced me to read One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich back in my teens. Perhaps a re- read could be in order. I recall him reading The Cancer Ward too. Ironically, my dad was a high school drop out. :-) His own dad was a University graduate, but I think my dad was a bit of a " bad boy " in his youth and tried to make up for it later in life. He claimed he must have had Attention Deficit with Hyperactivity. Hmmmmm...... ;-)

Nov 22, 2017, 12:36pm Top

Deborah - Yes, try a reread. To think of all those classics wasted on youths that were not prepared to receive them. I read Cancer Ward also, although it gave me the willies. I'm not really fond of reading of hospitals and treatments like that. Sounds like your father got cured of "Attention Deficit with Hyperactivity" :) maybe by reading the classics?

Nov 23, 2017, 7:41am Top

I'm not fond of hospitals and treatments, either, Carsten. I recall when I fell and fractured my wrist, it was painful, but what I really dreaded was having to go to the hospital and have it set. And that's relatively simple thing :-) I did not want to be sedated, so I had my wrist " frozen" with a big, big needle and I could still feel it when then wrenched around and move the bones back into place. Ugh. At least I could hold Dave's hand for support. That was a big help!

Nov 23, 2017, 12:07pm Top

This is a time of year when I as a non-American ponder over what I am thankful for.

I am thankful for this group and its ability to keep me sane during topsy-turvy times.

I am thankful that you are part of this group.

I am thankful for this opportunity to say thank you.

Nov 26, 2017, 8:39am Top

Deborah - Ugh, that sounds like a very bad experience. Luckily I've not been hospitalized for any longer period as far back as I can remember, only a few shorter experiences with emergency rooms.

Paul - Thanks - and likewise I'm grateful for the joy and energy you provide here on LT on so many threads.

Nov 26, 2017, 9:31am Top

29. A Philosophy of Walking by Frédéric Gros (2011) 5/5 (reread)

the Danish cover GÅ! (Walk)

I read and reviewed this about a year ago. The other day I just felt like reading it again. It was even better this time. Much more to ponder upon and enjoy.

Edited: Nov 26, 2017, 9:56am Top

30. Letters to an American Lady by C. S. Lewis (1967) (reread) 3/5

C. S. Lewis was a prolific letter-writer and kept up an impressive correspondence with readers, friends, colleagues etc. The American lady is constantly complaining about smaller and major things in her life and Lewis tries his best to cheer her up. There are interesting thoughts from Lewis on various subjects in the letters, also interesting details on his private life. Recommended only to fans of C. S. Lewis.

Nov 27, 2017, 10:22am Top

I remember you reading A Philosophy of Walking ... sounds like one I must read. Sorry the (Cairo's typing: Lew09oois) Lewis wasn't more enjoyable.

Btw, picked up Stand Firm from my library this weekend. Hallelujah to a different point of view on society's insatiable thirst for self-development, self-refleciton, follow-your-passion. Yes!

Nov 27, 2017, 11:51am Top

Nancy - My enthusiasm is great for A Philosophy of Walking for sure. I like his prose - and although he tends to overdo it in terms of hyperbole I find it fascinating that so many things can be said about walking related to outlook on life, well-being and mental refreshment. But it's definitely "philosophical".

Glad you enjoy Stand Firm. He has just published another book called "Gå Glip" - translated: "Miss Out", about the need to slow down and not join "the rat race" - I'm interested in that also.

Dec 10, 2017, 4:56am Top

I am finding out Carsten that there are some great books on walking.

I will take another step here and wish you a wonderful weekend.

Edited: Dec 22, 2017, 3:38pm Top

HI Carsten, I am "on a roll" with Christmas stories and just finished Hans Christian Andersen The Fir Tree. What a wonderful book! Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and all the best in 2018.

Dec 22, 2017, 6:36pm Top

Merry Christmas to you, dear friend Carsten! Take care! xo Deborah

Dec 24, 2017, 2:41pm Top

(Or in other words, Happy Christmas, to you and yours!)

Dec 24, 2017, 3:01pm Top

It is that time of year again, between Solstice and Christmas, just after Hanukkah, when our thoughts turn to wishing each other well in whatever language or image is meaningful to the recipient. So, whether I wish you Happy Solstice or Merry Christmas, know that what I really wish you, and for you, is this:

Dec 24, 2017, 8:22pm Top

Dec 24, 2017, 9:45pm Top

Wishing you all good things this holiday season and beyond.

Dec 25, 2017, 1:42am Top

Dear Carsten, best wishes to you and yours at Christmas!

Edited: Dec 25, 2017, 8:30pm Top

Merry Christmas, Carsten!

Edited: Dec 28, 2017, 6:09pm Top

Hello Carsten. I continue to read many Hygge books and just finished one Lykke book writen by the head honcho of your Happiness Institute. I think I have my bags half packed for a move to Denmark!

Wishing you a wonderful 2018, full of awesome reading.

Dec 31, 2017, 8:16pm Top

Jan 2, 3:37am Top

Thanks for the Christmas and New Year Wishes.

See you in 2018 in this thread:


Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2017

420 members

172,368 messages


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