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Nathalie (Deern) reads in 2017 - Autumn and Winter

This is a continuation of the topic Nathalie (Deern) reads in 2017 - Part 2.

75 Books Challenge for 2017

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Edited: Oct 16, 2017, 7:03am Top

Welcome to my new thread! :)

I took a long walk around Lagundo, the next village from where my house is, and like every year I was enchanted by the autumn colors. And like every year the light and the colors were too much for my camera and most of my many pics ended up blurry (or sideways...).

Even after 8 years I still can't believe how brightly postcard blue the sky here turns in September and stays like that on sunny days until March. In the warmer months there are clouds on most days.

There was that beautiful single red rose in full bloom next to a harvested vine:

The last apples... They look lovely, but they grow like grapes on those poor espalier trees, in bundles. They all look alike and mostly aren't very tasty.

A Bauerngarten, a typical garden of a farmhouse where vegetables and flowers grow:

Edited: Dec 29, 2017, 5:56am Top

Read and sometimes reviewed in my last threads http://www.librarything.com/topic/245294#6062796 and http://www.librarything.com/topic/258388

Books read in 2017:

1. The China Study by T. Colin Campbell - Audio - 4.8 stars
2. The Empress and the Cake by Linda Stift - Kindle - 3.2 stars
3. A Plant-Based Life my Micaela Cook Karlsen - Audio - 3.5 stars
4. e. : a novel by Matt Beaumont - Kindle - 4 stars
5. The e before Christmas by Matt Beaumont - paper book - 4 stars
6. E Squared by Matt Beaumont - Kindle - 3.5 stars
7. Becoming the Narcissist's Nightmare by Shahida Arabi - Audio - 5 stars
8. Wilt by Tom Sharpe (3 stars)
9. Il Porto Delle Nebbie by Georges Simenon (3 stars)

10. Mad Cowboy by Howard F. Lyman (4 stars)
11. The Dalai Lama's Cat by David Michie (4.5 stars)
12. The Dalai Lama's Cat and the Art of Purring by David Michie (3.5 stars)
13. The Dalai Lama's Cat and the Power of Meow by Dacid Michie (3 stars)
14. The Book of Joy by Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama and Douglas Carlton Abrams (5 stars)
15. Bringing Home the Dharma by Jack Kornfield (4 stars)

16. L'impiccato di Saint-Pholien by Georges Simenon (3 stars)
17. Just William by Richard Crompton (4 stars)
18. Kindness, Clarity and Insight by HH the Dalai Lama (3.5 stars)
19. 4 3 2 1 by Paul Auster (4.25 stars)
20. The Hypnotic Gastric Band by Paul McKenna (NR)
21. Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher (4 stars)
22. The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher (4 stars)

23. Hotzenplotz by Ottfried Preussler (5 stars)
24. Neues vom Räuber Hotzenplotz by Ottfried Preussler (5 stars)
25. Hotzenplotz 3 by Ottfried Preussler (5 stars)
26. Me, Myself and Us by Brian R. Little (4 stars)
27. War and Turpentine by Stefan Hertmans (4 stars)
28.-34. various St. Clare books by Enid Blyton (NR)
35. A Supposedly Fun Thing by David Foster Wallace (4.5 stars)

36. The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer by Jennifer Lynch (3 stars)
37. Sie dürfen sich jetzt küssen by Ralf König (4 stars)

38. ? by Ralf König (3 stars)
39. ?? by Ralf König (3 stars)
40. The Secret History of Twin Peaks by Mark Frost (4.5 stars)
41. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (4 stars)

42. Carol by Patricia Highsmith (3.5 stars)
43. Deep Water by Patricia Highsmith (4.5 stars)
44. The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith (4.5 stars)
45. Broken River by Robert Lennon (3.5 stars)
46. Ripley Under Ground by Patricia Highsmith (2.8 stars)
47. Catching the Big Fish by David Lynch - 3.5 stars
48. Ripley's Game by Patricia Highsmith (3.2 stars)
49. The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (3 stars)
50. Hotel Du Lac by Anita Brookner (4 stars)
51. Days Without End by Sebastian Barry (3.5 stars)
52. Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (4.5 stars)

53. Exit West by Mohsin Hamid (3.8 stars)
54. Reservoir 13 by Don McGregor
55. In a German Pension by Catherine Mansfield (4 stars)
56. David Lynch: The Man From Another Place by Dennis Lim (4.5 stars, audio)
57. History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund (3 stars)
58. Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie (4.8 stars)
59. The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy (4.5 stars)

60. Man nennt mich Bummi
61. Was ist mit Bummi los?
62. Bummi und Fiete by Martha Schlinkert
63. Swing Time by Zadie Smith (4 stars)
64. Elmet by Fiona Mozley (3.5 stars)

65. Autumn by Ali Smith (5 stars)
66. Another Day in the Death of America by Gary Younge (5 stars)
67. When We Were Orphans by Kazuo Ishiguro (4.5 stars)
68. The Unconsoled by Kazuo Ishiguro (4 stars)

69. A Gentleman in Moscowby Amor Towles (3.8 stars)
70. The Ultimate Deepak choprah Collection by Deepak Choprah
71. Winter by Ali Smith (4.5 stars)
72. Twin Peaks The Final Dossier by Mark Frost ( 4.5 stars)
73. A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond (4.5 stars)
74. Baking with Kafka by Tom Gauld (4.5 stars)
75. Das geheime Leben der Bäume by Peter Wohlleben (4.8 stars)
76. How To Tell If Your Cat Is Plotting To Kill You by The Otameal (3 stars)
77. Hannibal by Thomas Harris (2 stars)
78. Poirot and Me by David Suchet (3.2 stars)
79. Paddington Abroad by Michael Bond (3.5 stars)
80. A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle (3 stars/ 4 for the audio)

81. The Sign of the Four by Arthur Conan Doyle (2.5 stars, 3.5 audio)
82. "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight" translated by Simon Armitage (5 stars)
83. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle (3.5 stars/audio 4.5 stars)
84. The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle (3 stars/ audio 3.5 stars)
85. "The Twelve Days of Christmas" illustrated by Anna Wright (4 stars)
86. The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle (4 stars/ audio 4.5 stars)
87. A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote (4.5 stars)
88. Fontamara by Ignazio Silone (4.5 stars)

Edited: Oct 16, 2017, 7:52am Top

Books read in 2017:

Reviewed on this thread:

Currently reading:
- The Unconsoled, 50%
- VMWare for Dummies for work, slow going
- A Gentleman in Moscow hmmm.... not becoming a killjoy, but I make hardly any progress. Maybe a bit too sweet for me?
- Days of abandonment, very painful and therefore slow as well. 75%
- Changing my mind - essays by Zadie Smith, only started. It's mostly about books I haven't read, so will lead to more BB
- Deepak Choprah 20hr collection of talks on audio for my walks 75%
- still in the first half The Hidden Life of Trees which is lovely, but doesn't exactly scream "Read me NOW!"
- dito G A Novel, early Booker winner

Edited: Oct 16, 2017, 7:15am Top

For lack of chestnut pics and because I promised it on Paul's thread:

An Alm I visited on one of my August hikes, it's up near Merano 2000:

And here's some coffee and strudel:

Strudel here is more like pie, they make it with shortcrust pastry. Often you'll also find the puff pastry variety for the Italian tourists. The Austrian strudel uses a different "strudel pastry" which you can draw out extremely thinly on a cloth. Personally I prefer "our" more rustic version, because I just love pastry crust! Here they also use pine nuts instead of hazelnut, only rarely raisins and never rum.

When I walked into that Alm, the whole place was smelling of a mixture of real beef broth and freshly baked cakes. The various cakes (several strudels, spelt cake, a Sacher) were cooling on the tables. The same smell I knew from my grandma's (mum's mum) place, the one with Sudeten German Austrian-Czech roots. First thing in the morning she'd start a broth (chicken, beef, vegetable) to be ready for lunch and then bake a cake for the afternoon.

Oct 16, 2017, 10:29am Top

Happy new thread! Wow, I'd love some of that strudel.

Oct 16, 2017, 10:34am Top

Happy new thread, Nathalie. I love short crusts! That flaky richness can't be beat.

A small thread-warming gift:

Oct 16, 2017, 11:53am Top

Happy new one, Nathalie. Beautiful photos. I like strudel with vanille sauce especially in winter after skiing.

Oct 16, 2017, 11:56am Top

>5 drneutron: Thank you Jim! Yes, it was just what you need after a steep hike :)

>6 richardderus: OMG how lovely, thank you so much, {{{Richard}}}! :)

The only that slightly annoys me about the strudels is that it's apple all year round. Some apricots in summer, once I found one with fresh plums, but never ever cherries or blackberries or anything else that goes with pie crust. No, I won't make one myself, because I'd eat it in a day. :(

Edited: Oct 16, 2017, 11:57am Top

>7 Ameise1: Thank you Barbara! :) I prefer my strudel without sauce or ice cream, but Buchteln fresh from the oven with vanilla sauce is one of my eternal favorites, one of my grandma's best Mehlspeisen. Do you know them?

Oct 16, 2017, 12:20pm Top

>9 Deern: I know what it is but here in Switzerland you won't find it.

Oct 16, 2017, 4:50pm Top

Happy new thread my dear Nathalie.

The Alm looks great. The strudel looks greater!

Oct 17, 2017, 5:15am Top

>10 Ameise1: While I don't remember any specific cakes, I recall Switzerland as another paradise for cake lovers, with lots of walnuts being used and overall more elegant?

I never know about internet pics, so I'll better post the wiki link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buchteln
Those on the pic look quite like my grandma's, a bit rustic. They are basically oven-baked yeast dumplings (contrary to Dampfnudeln which are steamed), not very sweet, eaten with warm homemade vanilla sauce/custard. When eaten in cafés/ restaurants for dessert they are usually served with icing sugar and filled with jam or a poppyseed mixture, i.e. way above my threshold for sweetness.

I remember when my grandma made them for us kids in summer as a special treat. We first had to eat our way through big bowls of some hot veggie soup or broth, and when we finally arrived at the Buchteln we were already quite full. But then we'd also have them for dinner and maybe breakfast. *sigh* I wish I had learned some recipes from her!

>11 PaulCranswick: Thank you Paul! :)

So it's Booker Winner Day today? I hope for Ali Smith. Liked Lincoln in the Bardo very much, but it was read and put aside without lasting effects. As for the others... For me there were many better books on the LL, and I thought The Reluctant Fundamentalist was better than Exit West which (for me!) felt rushed and a bit timid in the second half, like he didn't dare to detail his vision of a world without borders. But there's none among the 11 I read that I totally disliked, so it'll end better for me than 2016 and 2014.

I hope to finish at least 2 books on my train ride this Saturday. Don't know if the place my parents rented for the transition between houses has WLAN, so I might be off next week.

Weather still hot and sunny, but clouds coming up. Please no snow on the Brenner pass on Saturday!

Oct 17, 2017, 6:07am Top

I want strudel :(

Oct 17, 2017, 11:32am Top

>13 BekkaJo: Here you go:

Oct 17, 2017, 12:27pm Top

Happiest of new threads, Nathalie! Lovely pictures of Lagundo

Oct 17, 2017, 3:01pm Top

Happy new thread, Nathalie!
I would love to sit there up on the Alm one day ;-)

Edited: Oct 18, 2017, 2:05am Top

>15 Carmenere: Thank you Lynda! Yes, it's a lovely village and it's where my parents have rented an appt for Christmas, so hopefully we'll have many walks there. :)

>16 FAMeulstee: Thank you Anita - might be managed! :D

After all the strudel talk I just had to stop on my walk back home at a bakery that was still open and buy a slice. It was Austrian style and almost sugar-free (but sweet apples), too good! I'm such a cake-addict! :/

No reading at all in the last couple of days, I really need that train ride!

I follow with fascination and sadness the Brexit "procedures" via the Guardian live reports and the comments in the forum. Not that there are any procedures. I'm fascinated and sad at the same time because the image we always had of British politicians was that while being quite egocentric (always needing extras in the EU and seeing it merely as a marketplace), they were also clear-minded and smart. I can't really believe what I'm seeing right now and that after having wasted over a year they still have no other action plan than blaming the EU (i.e. Merkel/Macron and "their slaves in Brussels") for the lack of progress. Somehow we had thought "okay, they're leaving, but they will do it in an organized, well-planned way". Why can't they tell the people that the issue with the "divorce bill" is obligations from projects decided and budgeted years ago, money partly spent, partly projected. The total sum is unclear also because some projects concern the UK and if they decide to end them, of course they (and everyone else) will have to pay less. Then there are salaries, pensions... How can they say in parliament that the German car manufacturers finally have to put "pressure on Merkel"? Those companies stated publicly months ago that the EU market is more important for them than the British one and that they won't influence the negotiations. How is it that I read nothing useful about the Northern Irish border or about the procedures re. the EU citizens living in the UK? "There will be some kind of registration starting winter 2018"?? And when will the conditions be known and how do they want to get those people registered within 3 months? All they're talkinbg about is trade deals and I doubt they have any clear ideas for those.
Sorry for that, but I really wish the British people well, and right now it seems their government is doing nothing at all for them.

Oct 18, 2017, 1:58am Top

Of course we now know Saunders won. Like you I was rooting for Ali Smith. Oh well......

Oct 18, 2017, 2:06am Top

>17 Deern: Ooops, totally forgot about the Booker. Two Americans in a row? That's not going to look good.

Oct 18, 2017, 3:08am Top

Brexit is a bloody disaster. Makes me very sad.

Edited: Oct 18, 2017, 11:05am Top

>20 BekkaJo: I was sad with the referendum's result, but not totally negative. Now I am, especially seeing how those politicians tell the people blatant lies just to look good. One forum member on the Guardian commented that he/she believed there were 2 groups of Brexiters: those everyone talks about (older people, afraid of foreigners, dreaming of old glory, believing every lie the DM tells them), but a second group that's much more dangerous: super-rich people, some of them politicians, with the agenda of turning the UK into a completely neo-liberal haven with no regulations at all, who are using the media to transmit a totally fake idea of reality to the people. They will feed them the "it's the EU's/Germany's/ Merkel's fault" for the rest of their lives, maybe over the destruction of the NHS and other institutions the British are rightly proud of.

It's not a new conspiracy of course, but it's becoming more and more believable. I've noticed a while ago (and already posted here) that I had wrongly assumed the political education I received is the same (or inferior to) the education kids get nowadays. Many of my generation thought so. But that's clearly not the case. I was fortunate to grow up in Western Germany during Cold War, with teachers who taught us to distrust populistic parties and media. We were also taught to take responsibility for the history of our country/people. When the wall came down and "the West had won" I was out of school. It seems like in the years between much that I learned was not seen as necessary any more, because "all was fine now", we all stopped being alert, and a thick layer of oblivion has been put on the dark aspects of history. We were all lulled, and now we're slowly waking up and see what is growing out of the ground and can't explain where it came from. Has it always been there, is it new, will it go away if we ignore it or do we have to satisfy it somehow to make it stop growing or should we become like it?

Also when I heard those young Catalán people before the referendum. Clearly nice, smart young people, students, hoping for a better future. They were talking about a free Catalunia where all refugees could find a place, with no restrictions for LGBT people, free market, social security, a total utopia, utterly ridiculous. And I thought "you poor people, you are being used and don't even realize it, how can you believe any politician would ever give you that? Did you never ask yourself what their agenda is by using you and your votes and your enthusiasm?". Of course youth should be idealistic, but not so easily seduced. It is such a repetition of old patterns everywhere, in Turkey, in Germany, in Italy, in the US of course, and people fall for it like last time and the time before and those who don't fall for it are as helpless and confused as last time. Why are we so stupid? Sometimes I wonder if we're watched from outside by some superior intelligence who shake their heads or whatever they have to shake and say "not again, they can't really be that stupid?!?"

Edit: Adding that I read today on a serious online news site that scientists are really, realistically working on a project to darken the sun to stop climate change, so we can keep our lifestyles? I thought that was a legend.

Oct 19, 2017, 3:58am Top

>17 Deern: & >21 Deern: You are expressing my thoughts so much better that I can, Nathalie. I am afraid that we humans are basicly stupid and return to that state again and again and again...

Oct 19, 2017, 8:48am Top

>22 FAMeulstee: Agreed on both counts.

Both the UK and the US are saddening at the moment. Or infuriating. Depends on the day.

Oct 20, 2017, 7:24am Top

>22 FAMeulstee:, >23 BekkaJo: Big *sigh* :(
And big {{{hugs}}}, to everyone. We need more hugs in this world. Though the May-Juncker kissing last week hasn't helped much either.

Finally really enjoying The Unconsoled though it goes slow. I hope to finish it tomorrow on the train. I now see it as a mix of strange dream and old-fashioned adventure computer game, think the “Monkey Island” series or “Simon the Sorcerer”. You have some goal, but on your way encounter 1,000 people with whom you have drawn-out weird conversations and each of them adds another task to your quest. Since I'm able to see it this way, I find it totally hilarious!

I wish you all a Very Happy Weekend! Don't worry if you don't read me for a week, WLAN situation in Germany is unclear. Or I might be too tired to type in the evenings.

Oct 20, 2017, 8:35am Top

Just saw there's a sequel for the Wohlleben book, I'll have to read this:

Oct 20, 2017, 9:23am Top

Safe travels, Nathalie.

And thanks for the link to the next Peter Wohlleben book, I reserved a copy of the Dutch translation at the library :-)

Edited: Oct 21, 2017, 12:08pm Top

The baurngarten looks exactly like my spousal unit's garden! He loves mixing the flowers with everything else.

Little mention but NAFTA also died this week -- North American Free Trade Agreement.

Oct 21, 2017, 1:31pm Top

Happiest travels possible, Nathalie. I am resolutely ignoring the political climate of the world at the moment because I came perilously close to The Edge again this spring while contemplating the probable future.

So sunshine lollipops and rainbows from me!

Edited: Oct 21, 2017, 3:49pm Top

I had an okay train ride (crowded coachs but nice people and nicer dogs), was picked up by parents in Frankfurt main station with my mum complaining about "refugees" (muslim women crossing the road). So it started already with aggressions. We had a nice dinner, then arrived in the intermediate place where my mum complained about everything to the point where my dad got into the car and drove back to the old house. So why again am I here and what's the matter with those people? If they're unable to live in 70 square meters for a couple of days, what will life in the new place be like? Doing my best not to feel guilty. Am tired and ready for sleep. But mum started another round of complaints. Note: no more alcohol for parents this week.

>28 richardderus: I need a lot of those lollipops and rainbows right now, thank you Richard!!! :)

>27 sibyx: Did it? I really missed that. Wow, an exit less for the UK.

WLAN seems to be good and I finished The Unconsoled. I was told my task for tomorrow will be packing the books :)

Oct 21, 2017, 4:11pm Top

>29 Deern: "I was told my task for tomorrow will be packing the books :)"

"Task" or "opportunity to raid the collection"? :P

Edited: Oct 22, 2017, 1:34am Top

>30 richardderus: :D Good call, but I already did that. When they started packing, first thing was calling me and reading all book titles, so I could decide which ones I wanted. When we met in Bavaria some weeks ago, they brought 2 huge shopper bags of books. So now it'll be all the mysteries and the coffeetable books. But still it's the most fun of the remaining work. :)

Oct 22, 2017, 2:24am Top

Hope the book sorting (and the move altogether) goes well Nathalie. One of the things that makes me laugh the most about living at home is when one of us decides that the books need to be cleared out. Whoever has decided this prepares a bag. Then the other two go through it and rescue most of the books and they go back on the shelf!

The politics thing. I came home to find my dad complaining that the Europeans were 'bullying' Theresa May. !?!? I have no coherent responses to this kind of thing anymore. Just try not to rant.

Oct 29, 2017, 1:41am Top

Hi, I'm back and very tired. I think I made the best out of the week, but was busy all the time from early morning till late evening, packing, sorting, gardening, keeping my parents from killing each other... :)
Said goodbye to the house, wishing each room and the garden and each tree a happy life. It has been a good house, but never a happy one, and I hope it'll get better energies in future. Said some tearful goodbyes to neighbours as well which felt strange and unreal.

The intermediate place is lovely, I really liked being there and while it was small, for me it never felt too small. My mum sees it differently, of course. :)
I guess the big move in Feb or March will be worse, when all that furniture and the boxes will be unloaded in the new appt and there won't be much space left in the first couple of days. I hope they'll use the time in between to relax and make some nice plans.

Drive back was good and uneventful for me, though not for many of my fellow passengers with a different destination who had to change trains, lost their reservations due to trains being cancelled because of "construction work". As it was many older people and families travelling (2 holidays in Germany next week), it was a bit chaotic.

Didn't finish any more books, but finally made progress with the Gentleman in Moscow (it's a much longer book than I thought!).

Oct 29, 2017, 1:49am Top

>32 charl08: As my parents don't really read it was easy. They had those big inbuilt shelves, and to fill them, my dad bought lots of books in an auction decades ago. I later found out that those were the good ones (Kafka, Capote, the Millers...). Most other books were gifts, mainly mysteries and biographies. I took some for myself, packed the better ones, left the rest on the shelves, because the new family also don't read and asked us to leave as many books as possible!
When neighbours visited, we offered to take what they liked and two really carried stacks of books home. :)

The picture sorting was fun as well. The albums were already packed, but there were boxes of unsorted pictures, many from the 50s and 60s I had never seen before, others from their various holidays. I threw out a whole big box of blurry landscapes.

Oct 29, 2017, 1:46pm Top

>33 Deern: Sounds like you had a good last week in the house, Nathalie, it isn't easy to say goodbye.
And I am glad you prevented your parents from killing eachother ;-)

Good you and the neighbors rescued some books.

Oct 30, 2017, 8:15am Top

>35 FAMeulstee: I believe I haven't fully realized yet that this really was the last time I'd look out of those windows into the garden.
Well, my parents... I better not start again. :)
Just the one example: Friday afternoon when the moving company had left with the furniture and boxes, there were just 4 chairs left in the dining room, which my aunt wanted to pick up on Saturday. I was sitting in one of them with a cup of coffee, looking out onto the terrace, and then my parents joined me. I said something like "let's enjoy this last time together in this room..." but within seconds they were arguing about empty flower pots my dad had or hadn't packed. I really broke into laughter, it was like a comedy!

Had a bad headache all day yesterday and it's still lingering. Might be the weather, it was stormy as everywhere in Europe, quite scary.

Getting an MRT with contrast agent in an hour, they want to check my breasts for eventual new lumps within the year, even before a new mammogram/ sonogram which are planned for spring. I really hope they won't find anything this time! I'm hungry, thirsty and above all very nervous, I hate that thing and always flinch when the sounds change.

Oct 30, 2017, 8:52am Top

Keeping my fingers crossed for the all clear. I hate those machines as well. Last time I had to have a scan was 6.30 on Halloween last year - slightly unsettling timing!

Oct 30, 2017, 8:53am Top

>36 Deern: Fingers crossed for a clear result Nathalie. Thinking of you.

Oct 30, 2017, 8:59am Top

>36 Deern: I hope the MRT results are positive, Natalie, when will you hear the result?

Oct 30, 2017, 1:07pm Top

Thank you for the good wishes, Bekka, Charlotte and Anita! :)
Got through it okay, but had to wait forever as something with the syringe for the constrasting agent went wrong with the patient before me. Seems they have some new staff there, they also had problems hitting my vein and no-one ever had issues with my perfectly visible veins before. :/
If meditation had no other merit than getting me through the yearly MRT it would already be worth the time and effort. (But where would I be with my parents and my work without my daily meditation?)

I'll hear something this Thursday or next, probably next as Wednesday is a holiday.

Oct 31, 2017, 4:11am Top

That sounds horrible - at least it's done for now. Silly statement but try and put it out of your mind till result day (fyi if you do manage that please teach me!).

We are waiting on some results of an MRI on my husband's back today which is a little nervy. He's been having numbness down one leg and they can't work out why. Just crossing everything that it's nothing.

Oct 31, 2017, 5:08am Top

Crossing crossables for your husband!!!

Right now I'm not yet nervous abut the result, I was nervous about the procedure because I hate those sounds. I made some progress with my anxieties (and also my guilt feelings) lately, but the way was long and stony and still is. Started writing a post for you earlier this morning, but got interrupted by work (I'll try and post sth later). Sending {{{hugs}}} and good wishes for now!

Nov 2, 2017, 12:54pm Top

>26 FAMeulstee: I went through my thread, looking for a missed Anita post - and there was one, I'm sorry, shame on me!!! :((
Sometimes I don't respond immediately (it can take weeks, at least in the past 2 years), but if I don't respond at all, it is a scrolling "accident", never a question of mood. {{{hugs}}}

I didn't get to the new Wohlleben yet, but I'm looking forward to it very much and I recommended both books to my parents, who as usual won't read them. :)

Good News (this is Good News Month after all): I got Ali Smith's Winter on my Kindle, yay! :D

Nov 2, 2017, 1:34pm Top

Ooh I so want to read that! The hardback looks so pretty I am very tempted...

Nov 2, 2017, 3:07pm Top

>43 Deern: Now I hang my head in shame, Nathalie, because I wasn't meaning to refer to that post...
So big (((hugs))) to you!

I am reading the new Wohlleben now, it is a bit more anecdotal. His tree book was better, more coherent. I think this one was published in a rush after the succes of his previous book.

Nov 2, 2017, 8:50pm Top

Oh Nathalie...I am sad that you're in such a time of maddening drains on your mental strength. I wish I could come and whisk you up the mountain to have that amazing dessert and silently absorb the scenery together.

Nov 3, 2017, 12:47am Top

>46 richardderus: That sounds like a plan! Let me get my dosh back and I'll fly along with my Queen of Smiles and pick you up Dear Fellow, collect another odd assortment of various ruffians and tootle along to an Alpine Alm to have coffee and cakes with our lovely friend Nathalie.

Keep you chin up, Nathalie. xx

Edited: Nov 3, 2017, 10:44am Top

>44 charl08: Started it today. So far it's great, but I liked Autumn better, I thought it had a really strong beginning with the Daniel in the land of the dead or not yet dead. This book has one of those wimpy middle-aged Englishmen that have been turning up so often in contemporary fiction (mostly Booker candidates) lately, that I fear some of them really exist - though I have no idea how they'd survive a single day. Like Futh The Lighthouse who couldn't manage to buy a bottle of water for his hike and always got lost. Or Harold Fry a year earlier who walked through England and had the same issues. Or worst of all that guy in Serious Sweet who got bird c**p on his pants in the first chapter and didn't know if he should change them now because he just couldn't take any decisions at all, and from then on it got just worse!

>45 FAMeulstee: Haha, that was clearly the ever-ready guilt thing coming up that I'd mentioned on Bekka's thread. :)
How sad about the Wohlleben! You're right, he was probably pressured into the sequel. I'll still read it though.

>46 richardderus:. >47 PaulCranswick: I'm perfectly fine (except for the ever-looming guilt as we've seen), headache is gone as well, and I'll think of the MRI again when I pick up the result paper. The sun is shining, the sky is clear blue, though they announced the first snow for this weekend.

However - what a lovely idea that would be! A big meet-up in the Alps, enjoying the scenery and all sorts of cakes - strudels, Sacher, Kipferln - and if you'd wait for december an the Christmas markets, also lots of Glühwein or the alcohol-free Glühpunch version, or of course some nice Italian coffee! I'd pick you all up from Verona airport! :D

Nov 3, 2017, 11:03am Top

>48 Deern: Not kidding. If my Lombok deal comes off me and Mr Derus will be supping coffee, scoffing cake and snorting back the stronger stuff - if I Hani has to wheel him to and from the Airports.

Nov 3, 2017, 12:53pm Top

>48 Deern: It is worth reading, Nathalie, but it lacks the "wow"-factor of this first.

Nov 3, 2017, 10:59pm Top

>48 Deern:, >49 PaulCranswick: I'm in. Business class so I can walk when the plane lands, though, otherwise they'll have to cut a hole in the ceiling and lift my corpse out via crane!

PS I don't at all feel confident that I'll come back to the US...

Nov 4, 2017, 11:37am Top

On a plane to Verona.

May have to go via Gatwick but I'm sure I can meet up with a few on the way ;)

I wish that wasn't a pipe dream :(

Nov 5, 2017, 5:29am Top

>49 PaulCranswick: I'm sure you'd all love it here, and I'd love seeing you all here, or elsewhere in more classical Italy south of the Alps. *sigh* happy thoughts

Hani wouldn't be impressed with the Merano shopping unless she's looking for a dirndl, but Verona is less than 2 hrs away by car, Milano 3.5. :)

>50 FAMeulstee: I was surprised a sequel was pushed out so quickly and not on plants. I might read the tree book to my parents over Christmas, they'll love it!

>51 richardderus: Verona is a small airport, I guess you and Paul would land in Milano, or maybe Bologna or Venice, even better starts for a tour of Italy. And better for book and other shopping. I'm sure Old Europe would welcome you! :)

>52 BekkaJo: Same here, what fun that would be! *dream*

Nov 5, 2017, 5:42am Top

71.Winter by Ali Smith

I finished Winter. And I still need to review 3 other books! *panic*
So here's 71 before 70, 69 and 68 which will hopefully follow eventually.

It is a sequel to Autumn in atmosphere, political themes (Brexit, refugees, feminism, added nuclear weapons) and style, but the plot and characters are different. I liked it a little less, but that's in part because winter for me is a happy season when I feel more energetic, not the season of stillness and death. The art part came up only in the last third of the book and this time it's sculpture. The collages of Autumn worked better for me, translated into words. Then I preferred old Daniel and his "living inside a tree" to incredibly whimpy middle-aged Art and his cliffends. The dynamic between the sisters Irene and Sophia was great. Lux felt like one of those typical AS intervening characters, usually they're teenage girls, Lux is 21.
A bit less perfect, a bit rough, but it fits her seasonal atmosphere well. Spring will be interesting, because spring must be a re-awakening of some sort, and I wonder how politics will deliver that.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Nov 5, 2017, 7:09am Top

Nice to see you rated Winter so highly, Nathalie! I read Autumn earlier this year but feel the need to wait for the complete seasonal quartet to be published and read them consecutively. Too much time and other books get in the way for me to see Smith's full picture.

Nov 5, 2017, 8:42am Top

>55 Carmenere: It's just that Ali Smith's writing really works for me, but of course that's an individual thing. At its best, like the opening chapter of Autumn, it activates parts of my brain that are usually dormant, much like the rare good meditation session, and I hardly notice plot inconsistencies and other flaws.

Btw, speaking about meditation, after a break to heal a wrist issue I'm back with daily doyouyoga, now doing all the hatha classes with Ricardia Bramley, my new favorite instructor. After the coincidence that lead me from HP fanfic here to LT, maybe the best site recommendation ever!! :)

Nov 5, 2017, 11:12am Top

>54 Deern: Her seasons sound very provocative in your description, Nathalie, and others have dwelt on duller, more prosaic interpretations. I'm now intrigued.

Nov 6, 2017, 8:45am Top

>57 richardderus: They are, but I'm always careful with recommending her. Her plots aren't very coherent anymore, she's (imo) trying to write in the way she experiences visual art. With mixed results. This one has rough edges and a strange beginning with an imagined baby head , but gets smoother again in parts 2 and 3. It feels like she had more time for Autumn.

Nov 6, 2017, 8:50am Top

68. The Unconsoled by Kazuo Ishiguro (1,001 #414/366)

Well yes, this is a bit of a special book. It’s either loved or much disliked by most readers and looking at reviews, many gave up during the first 200 pages. I’m glad I got through it, but it wasn’t easy. Not sure if it helped that I read When We Were Orphans first which in the Shanghai part is very similar. It made TU a bit more familiar from the beginning, but it also took away the feeling of uniqueness.

I’ve written earlier that it’s definitely Kafkaesque in style, language (the dialogues) and setting, in a good way. It’s like a confused dream, not necessarily a nightmare. I dream often of Wiesbaden or Frankfurt, and the cities are totally different from their real layouts, but always identical to dreams I had earlier, so I find my way there in very strange settings. Reading this here gives you the same feeling. The protagonist wanders endlessly through wider fields, up steep hills, the tightest side alleys, to get to his next destination (which is always “just around the corner” when he starts). Or he suddenly stands in front of a wall that cuts his way off to a nearby place. And when he finally reaches his destination, he finds he can get back to his starting point by opening the right door. Then there’s the search for “something”. When I dream, it’s usually the bathroom. When I finally find it in the most unlikely places, it’s unusable – either dirty, or it’s a chair or a couch or something like that. This guy here searches a piano, and when he finally finds it, he can’t close the door behind him, or has to drive for hours to find a second solitary piano in the “hotel’s annexe” hours away on a lonely hill. Then there are the quests that reminded me of old computer adventure games. You find yourself in a new place and start with a clear objective: play concert on Thursday. But then the porter of the hotel gives you a task, and the director of the hotel, and his son, and whenever you try to accomplish something, you have those endless dialogues with new people who heap new tasks onto you.

And I haven’t even mentioned the plot itself, that the strange town isn’t that strange because in the end the protagonist seems to intimately know many of the strangers he meets and seems to have spent much time in that place in past years, even have lived there and started a family. Then there’s the idea that many people he meets are older or younger forms of himself.

It’s a “full” book, but also a book that can grate on your nerves and that doesn’t really scream “pick me up and finish me”. Maybe it’s one that wants to be revisited in a couple of years, as most Kafka stories are that I’ve read.

Rating: I rate it with 4.5 mainly for its complexity, its humor and the promise of a second read in the future.

Nov 6, 2017, 8:57am Top

69. The Ultimate Deepak Choprah Collection by Deepak Choprah

This is just a 20hr collection of DC’s lectures and readings, many of them quite old. I own one of his books in German. I've been interested in Ayurveda close to 20 years now, and I needed something soothing for my walks, that's why I got this audio. I’ve been listening to this over the past 2.5 months several times.

Interestingly, apart from the 3 doshas and some of the food rules I’ve never before internalized any of the teachings, not from his book either. But by listening, some information stuck and I’m currently trying to apply some of it to my life, mainly the “phases of the day”. For example 6-10 am is “Kapha time” which means the metabolism is slow and needs some acceleration. I’m trying to have just a light breakfast (I’m not a breakfast person anyway) and to have some morning exercise – the office walks is perfect for this purpose. Then 10am-2pm is “Pitta time” when metabolism is said to be most effective and the main meal should be taken. One meal per day should cover all the taste sensations (sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter and adstringent). This is the most interesting part, and getting “bitter” covered isn’t always easy.

I feel that giving my day a structure makes me feel more balanced and I can deal better with the unexpected bits. Weeks ago I started working with an excel file, checking off the various small tasks (like the 5 mins of eye muscle exercises or the two short meditations I've been doing for most of the year), but by now the structure is also memorized.

Rating: none. I like it, it’s yet another form of spiritual handholding that I need sometimes, but it’s such an individual thing that I wouldn’t say “read it!”

Edited: Nov 6, 2017, 11:15am Top

70. A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

Here’s the (insert bad word) Teutonic killjoy who really should stop reading widely beloved contemporary fiction and spoiling it for others.
Well. There’s something in this book that gave me a Mr Penumbra reaction – I felt manipulated. But then I feel easily manipulated (hey – the Americans taught us to look for manipulation in written things, never to fall for propaganda again! Now I'm paranoid).
It also reminded me of Elegance of the Hedgehog which back then got 2 reviews and two ratings from me.

For me there are too many well-placed feel-good elements in this book. The count is a gourmet and has gourmet friends who are also smart and loyal. He loves the classics, but only those the reader is likely to have read (Anna Karenina, not the boring Montaignes. Which reminds me that the Hedgehog author also had clearly read Anna Karenina and mentioned it no-end). The non-daughter Sofia is the perfect piano player with the absolute pitch. Btw. I found both girls not adorable, quite annoying, and I know I'm meant to find them charming. I preferred the child-free chapters. Instead I felt sympathy for "the Bishop". I'm clearly not normal!

Then there is a lack of believable drama, and this comes from someone who usually complains about too much drama in contemporary fiction!
We elegantly pass by WWII and find the Metropol unchanged and all the important people still alive. Bad things are happening outside, but life in the hotel is elegant and glamorous, just the dresses are getting shorter. The communist party people are more or less depicted like idiotic cartoon figures, the American journalists certainly treat them that way when they celebrate their encounters later in the bar. There’s nostalgia for the good old times and a code of ethics that were only good for royalty.

This might all have been written without any hidden agenda, but given the current political climate I can’t read this in an unbiased way.

(Deleted rant about politics, religion and the World Cup in Quatar. :/ )

But then… I clearly was not in a “need a feel-good book” mood when I read this one. After my surgery in February however when my brain wanted to be cuddled, I gave high ratings to an unbearably sweet book about the Dalai Lama’s cat! *waaaah* :O
I’m sure there are readers who’d find manipulation and politically dubious things in that one as well (China! Tibet!). And I’d lie if I said I didn’t enjoy *Gentleman* at all. I enjoy my "Sissie" movies every Christmas and the occasional *Shakespeare in Love* on DVD, or this weekend I rewatched and loved "Groundhog Day".
This novel had some great moments, although it never was a page-turner for me and I skim-read some parts (Sofia!). It’s a book that can (will?) easily be turned into a movie that could win a range of Oscars, depending if it's a critical year or a happy year.

So Gentleman gets 3.5 from me.

Nov 6, 2017, 11:18am Top

#68 already read
#69 no
#70 not interested

So! No book bullets for me. *smugly traipses off*

Nov 6, 2017, 4:53pm Top

>61 Deern: Brilliant review Nathalie. I'm almost tempted to reread it now and see if I still love it with all the scaffolding showing!

Your comment about the cat book made me laugh. Nothing like that in my back catalogue (nervous laughter).

Edited: Nov 6, 2017, 5:17pm Top

>61 Deern: I almost completely agree with you, Nathalie, I even rated it half a star less.
If you want to read what I said about it, you can find it here.

Nov 7, 2017, 12:18am Top

>62 richardderus: Didn't think so. :)
Although the Choprah.... :))

>63 charl08: Yes, that cat book was sth special.... after two days with my brain a bit more awake, I already liked the two sequels far less :)
sometimes we have a need for brain candy, that's when I normally return to children's books, still "good", but simpler and happier than my usual novels.

>64 FAMeulstee: Love your review, I somehow didn't find the word "authentic" yesterday. In cases like this I rate a bit higher than I feel, because looking at all the 5 stars I think it's me and not the book. This one has an average of 4.42!

Nov 7, 2017, 8:50am Top

I appreciate your review and can't disagree with you on the essentials.
The Hedgehog did nothing for me, nor did some of the others you mentioned (some of which I think I sampled and rejected as too contrived). Somehow, I don't know why, this one got past 'the critic' - it seemed so emotionally sound, that absurd as aspects of it were, I just went for the ride. There is a certain . . . pleasure? in a book that goes against expectations sometimes. There was that Italian movie about WW2 a decade or so ago that did something similar. And as Diderot said, "If you can think it up, it happened" (terrible paraphrase).

This is tangentially apropos, in the realm of the unbelievable, basically. I'm reading a life of George Washington now, and if ever an early adulthood seems beyond improbable, it is his! The native americans he fought against (French and Indian war) concluded he was protected from death on the battlefield. You could shoot straight at him and the bullets would all miss. In his family, one by one, his siblings and in-laws die or vacate and soon he ends up with all the plantations the family had acquired, plus some he had acquired, by the age of 23 all on his own. Despite not having done terribly well in actual battles (beyond acting with courage, which does count) by 23 he is in charge of the entirety of Virginia's militia, basically by sheer force of personality.

Nov 7, 2017, 12:48pm Top

>66 sibyx: Second part: that's really incredible. Not a fan of history books, but this might be one I should read.

First part: I disliked myself so much for not loving *Gentleman* that I considered not finishing it, so I wouldn't have to write a review and disappoint people. I'm glad I finished it because I liked the second part more, despite Sofia. I don't know where certain reactions come from. Sometimes something hits the right nerve on the first pages and we're won over (Dalai Lama's Cat....grrr). Sometimes just the mood of the day when we start the book isn't right.

Writing about cats (please look away, Richard):

My neighbors have been in Spain now for about 6 weeks and will return in 3. Büsi has been absent except for feeding during the first 4.5 weeks, but now he's there most of the time. We're both not terribly happy with each other's company, but we've found an arrangement:
When I come home after work, he's waiting in front of my door on the inside stairwell, meowing loudly. He doesn't have the prettiest cat voice (very lamenting!), and the other neighbors have already mentioned it. He follows me into my appartment where he gets half of his dinner. Then he jumps on my bed/couch and only grudgingly later makes space for me, then walks up and down my body until he has found the best place, sometimes leaving little scratches through my clothes, but I guess that's part of the game.... I cuddle with him and he falls asleep for 30 mins or an hour. Then he wakes up, loudly and insistently demands more food which I give him outside on the stairs and then he stays outside all night or part of it. During the day he sleeps in his basket on a cushion under a blanket (he's warm!) on the upper stairs.

I don't want to leave him in my place all day (my appt door has no flap and I'm away 12 hrs on most days) and I guess it's fine with him. I'm there for food and a daily dose of cuddles and that's what we both can manage with each other. I can well imagine that what Lucy said on her thread about bred cats and "real" cats. He falls into the latter category.

Nov 7, 2017, 2:01pm Top

just added 2 upside down buesi pics to member gallery and am typing this with the little finger of my left hand, cat in the lap
we make a little progress every day :)

Nov 7, 2017, 2:20pm Top


Nov 7, 2017, 3:08pm Top

>67 Deern: At least you see Büsi once a day ;-)

>68 Deern: Büsi upside down is funny, and you with Büsi even more fun!

Edited: Nov 9, 2017, 9:30am Top

Spent much time the last days in various waiting rooms to finally get my car and my driver's licence "Italianized". The car has been on my dad's name with German licence plates, with a (cheaper) German insurance, and to drive it I had to keep my German licence. Now with my parents moving, they would have to re-register it twice, once where they are now and then again in Bavaria (German plates are regional) and I'd have to bring the car in every time, so we decided it was time for a change of ownership.

Well... the car is now almost done - still have to visit the agency twice, to pay the tax and to receive a certificate of importation so my dad can unregister it in Germany. For the swap of the licence I got the pictures, the tax stamp and the health certificate from my doctor (2 hrs waiting) with which I now have to go a public health officer to get another one. Then it will take a long while and cost some money. The German licences are valid life-long, in Italy they have to be renewed (new pics, new health checks, new payment) every 10 years, later every 5.

The whole business costs a fortune because private car sales + from abroad are totally unusual. Until a couple of years ago when I was already living here you had to go to the notary for a private car sale. So it was 660 EUR plus twice as much for the new Italian insurance where I have to start from scratch in the highest category. Yesterday I got the plates and had to immediately get the insurance which ate away all my afternoon. This morning I had to go to the mechanics and wait for another 2 hours because Italian plates are smaller and don't fit into the German frames. I had spent 1.5 hrs there already yesterday morning to get my winter tires.

At least all that gave me time for reading and I happily found my pre-orderd Twin Peaks The Final Dossier by Mark Frost on my phone which I read completely yesterday. Today I started a doorstopper classic, Green Henry, and I downloaded the first Paddington book in honor of the new movie.

Edited: Nov 9, 2017, 9:33am Top

>69 richardderus: :) *sigh, missing dogs*

>70 FAMeulstee: I got so many little scratches now on my body that I could do a day or 2 without him. On that pic with me he's got his little claws through my thin shirt, walking his way up my body while purring loudly. No - he's super cute when he wants to cuddle, but I'll have to put a thick blanket on top of me. :D
But he's also a really!!! demanding cat. When he's eaten and I want to sit down and have my dinner he keeps meowing and trying to climb on my lap, because after dinner is cuddle-time in his books, not in mine! But looking back at our beginnings when he was shying away all the time, we really made great progress! :)

Nov 9, 2017, 9:46am Top

#71 Sounds as bad as importing a car to Jersey! Actually worse - we at least don't have to do the health check bits.

Glad it at least provided some reading time :)

Nov 9, 2017, 10:56am Top

>71 Deern: Boo hiss on bureaucratic BS! Murrikinz have *so*much*less*hassle than y'all do.

Green Henry! Oh my, how I loved silly Heinrich in the 1980s when I read the Riverrun Press edition. Judith ticked me right off, I must say. A.M. Holt translated from the Swiss, which I'm not fluent enough to read in, so I can't say if it was accurate or faithful, but it gripped my interest for 700pp and that's not so easy to do.

Nov 9, 2017, 1:04pm Top

>73 BekkaJo: I'm so glad I found an agency that helps me through this, I'd be totally lost otherwise. Of course they have a high fee (contained in the 660 EUR), but in Italy it's really difficult being safe within the law, there are so many gaps, and then the fines are high. My friend just received two different fines for "missing taxes" referring to 2012 and 2014 and she has no idea what they're about.

>74 richardderus: Yeah, I'll never complain about German bureaucracy again - sometimes annoying, but efficient. Where was that discussion about elections? You have to register your residence, but then they send you your ballot license automatically and there are lots of other things you never have to think about anymore.
Here you need at least 5 steps for every little thing, then offices are usually closed for 2-4 hrs for lunch or are just open 2hrs per day anyway for the public (most doctors!), so you always have to take half a day off for the smallest tasks, and then queue for hours, and then they send you away because something is missing although you rang in advance to ask what was required. Moving (within the same town) last year was great fun! :)

Thanks for the Henry encouragement. I'll need it with such a long book, but it's nice to read a German classic once again.

Nov 9, 2017, 1:36pm Top

>71 Deern: That is a lot of paperwork and time, Nathalie, are you sure the car is worth it?
At the library site I saw that Green Henry finally is translated into Dutch last year, so I hope to read it next year.

>72 Deern: Thick blanket seems a good idea, I don't think so many scratches are good for you.
Ari wants to get some lessons from Büsi, he wants to rule our household, and can use some tips!

Nov 9, 2017, 4:31pm Top

>75 Deern: Stifling in bureaucracy is the least fun aspect of modern life. I know why it exists but that doesn't mean I like it.

I'm almost sure I recommended The Black Spider to you once before. A much shorter Swiss classic if you're feeling daunted! Also a darned good read.

Edited: Nov 11, 2017, 1:43am Top

71. Twin Peaks The Final Dossier by Mark Frost

For 16 of the 18 episodes of this year’s Twin Peaks I’ve been looking forward to this book like crazy, then came the series‘ finale, and it suddenly seemed kind of redundant, so I forgot I had pre-ordered it. Found it on my iphone Kindle app when waiting for my car’s winter tires and read it in one go. It delivers for the most part what I had expected from it. There’s an “FBI Dossier” on almost all the characters of the 3 seasons we might have questions about, and most open threads (What happened to Leo after season 2? Where’s Sheriff Harry Truman? What about Donna? ) are satisfyingly wrapped up. Some aren’t – I know much more about Audrey, but not where she is now (she had some very weird scenes in season 3) and what is going to happen to her. I know that Annie “is fine”.

But then, there’s the big mystery in the background. There’s Philip Jeffreys, the legend of the doppelgängers, there’s Judy, there’s BOB. Yes, I got some information, but....

Okay, I’ll spoil it here for you, but be aware that this might will take all fun and suspension out of a really great 3rd season, a fun that unfolds only fully when watched with patience, trust and unspoiled. You have been warned! When after endless delays and strange turns everything and everyone finally come together at Twin Peaks sheriff station, when finally the Cooper doppelganger is dead and BOB has left his body, when every viewer thinks we’re now in for a nice happy get-together good-bye episode in Norma’s Double R – you can still look away, please! – “good Cooper” back from the black lodge still has another task to fulfill. He is sent back to 1989, the night of Laura Palmer’s death and, before she reaches her dubious friends in the forest, leads her away, “home”. They don’t get there however, she disappears with a scream. Cooper is then sent into an alternate present reality where Laura’s alive and ageing in a different state, presumably to lead her back to Twin Peaks for a final confrontation with the great evil in some form. In the show’s last moments we get an idea of a world without the Laura Palmer murder – the diner “Double R” looks different and there are different people living in the Palmer house. It remains open which of the events we’ve seen unfold in 3 seasons spanning 25 years could have happened at all if the initial murder didn’t happen and Laura just disappeared and was never found. A tiny bit of that is answered in the book’s last chapter, but it’s partly unconvincing. Donna’s, James’, Dr Jacoby’s, Big Ed’s and Norma’s stories would have been possible. Maybe Leo’s, Shelley’s, Bobby’s with some delay and some other turns of events. But everything directly connected to the black lodge and a Cooper doppelgänger in the world wouldn’t have happened. For instance, how could there be a Cooper junior (who’s mentioned in the book, so also existing in alternate reality), if Cooper left TP after a couple of days as the book says and didn’t get involved with the lives of its citizens? How could Annie “be fine?” Where’s Laura’s mother? The Jeffreys scene in Fire Walk With Me that’s narrated in detail here couldn’t have happened that way, because without a dead Laura there wouldn’t have been an evil Cooper.

I love how the show ends. I love the tying up of loose ends in the book, but I want to say that this book shouldn’t even exist. The book's narrator wouldn't have had a reason to come to TP after 25 years, nothing to investigate

However, as a TP fan I have to rate it with 4.5. (sorry, Count Rostov, I feel guilty).

Nov 10, 2017, 5:31am Top

>76 FAMeulstee: Hahaha, I'm sure Büsi could teach Ari some lessons! :)))
He's just so insistent and with a very(!) whiny voice that sounds like he's being beaten and close to dying. And if I put him outside before his time (1-2 hrs) are over, because I'd like to sit down and eat quietly or something, he makes so much noise outside... I'll try and talk to the neighbor couple this weekend if I see them and explain the situation, that the whining does not mean he's being mistreated. His master Giuliano calls him an "Eiertreter" (kicking his nuts/balls), and he's right. Karin always explains it away with the poor traumatized kittenhood, but I'm quite convinced now that he's just a very controlling cat!

Well, licence and insurance (for another car) would have had to be done eventually anyway. My dad could have sold the car in Germany, handed me the money (I did initially pay him for it) and I could have bought another one here and saved the import work, but I love my car, and even in that case it would have cost me 300-400 EUR. As my colleage Romina said this morning "Benvenuta in Italia, Nathalie" - welcome to Italy. And she assured me it's worse in the South. :/

>77 richardderus: I read that one many years ago and loved it, maybe it's time for a reread. The right book for November *shudder*

Edited: Nov 12, 2017, 1:13pm Top

Sitting in a movie theatre for the first time in 3 years (new big chain in Bolzano) watching Paddington 2. Lovely movie, even in Italian, but why do they need a break?! Is that normal nowadays? There are 10 people in this theatre, but they bring in a cart with popcorn and sodas for 7.50.
Movie: great although I dislike all the “modern special effects stuff”, old-fashioned me. Should see more kids’ films,

edit: completing sentence with delay because lights went out
Should see more kids' films in a theatre, had forgotten how much fun it can be. Italians are lively viewers, clapping, laughing loudly...

Nov 12, 2017, 7:03am Top

>12 Deern: Do you mean Bündner Nusstorte from Pontresina or the normal Bündner Nusstorte?

Happy Sunday, Nathalie.

Nov 12, 2017, 8:23am Top

>81 Ameise1: Both look scrumptious!

>61 Deern: Interesting that one of the books I shortlisted for 75ers Book of 2016 seems to have fallen flat over here.

Have a lovely Sunday, dear Nathalie.

Edited: Nov 12, 2017, 1:40pm Top

>81 Ameise1: Oh how I wish they were real! As Paul said, both scrumptious, but I was thinking especially of the heavy normal Buendner, never tried the other one. One forkful and you can't eat for hours, but are happy :)

>82 PaulCranswick: well yes sorry, it didn't make it on my SL, but that's (too) often the case with me and new LT favorites. :( Thank you, my Sunday was indeed lovely. Movie, two new pairs of boots and a waffle for breakfast at the mall. And two hours in the office, because I had a task for which I needed quiet and a free printer, one of the monthly statistics. So hopefully less stress tomorrow.

Can I say that dogs and cats have one thing in common: they hate it when their people are on the floor doing yoga or stretching. Today I got through my sun salutations, but when I was on the floor, done with bridge, preparing for a twist, I was forced into early shavasana by cat on my stomach. Our cocker spaniel used to throw his paw on various body parts until my mum and I stopped the training and cuddled her.

We are getting along better now, but I've been getting light reactions to the hair or that whisker secretion after the first couple of days and it gets a bit worse every day although I de-hair everything as soon as he's left. I had this once before, in a house with 7 cats where I visited just the once, but I've never been in extended cat contact otherwise. Eyes are itching and getting runny, nose hurts and I cough a bit more. Two more weeks until Karin returns...

Nov 12, 2017, 1:59pm Top

Ugh, cat allergy. So so sorry. xoxo for a speedy two weeks.

Edited: Nov 13, 2017, 4:58pm Top

Probably Busi needs his wee sharp talons trimmed. I'm a pro after an undisclosed number of years and experience. Speed and the right clippers. They actually need nails trimmed by humans in front about every two weeks, more often for a "kneader", the back paws seems to get enough wear.

Nov 13, 2017, 11:40pm Top

Uh oh. I'm sorry about the cat allergy, and here I was happy that the relationship seemed to be blossoming. I'm so besotted as to welcome the kneading pain, but I can see how normal people would react badly.
I think everything you had to say about the Count in Moscow was correct, and I don't care. I guess I needed to feel good, and Towles delivered in spades. Good luck with your Green H. - sounds formidable!

Nov 14, 2017, 2:04am Top

>84 richardderus: Yeah, it's annoying and now nose is running and sore already in the morning and there's a rash or sth forming under the nose. Called the owner Karin last night and it's "only"8-9 days left.

>85 sibyx: I'm sure he needs that, but I'll be the last person to do it! :) Karin said she never does it as he's outside so much, but now that he's been more or less living on the stairs for weeks I guess his talons have grown more than usual. I know the kneading from other friends' cats and never minded it on my legs, but through a thin T-shirt it gives real scratches (none of the friends' cats ever climbed up my upper body), so now I put a cushion between us. Also better for the allergy not to have too much direct contact.

>86 LizzieD: Karin confirmed me yesterday that it must be "real affection" from his side, if he jumps on my stomach and falls asleep. "He doesn't do that with others". Well, it's a form of love that's new to me. :D
He's super-super-cute when we're on the sofabed and he gets his head scratched, but terribly demanding between feeding and cuddle-hour with those little lamenting "meh" sounds. Of course he wants to be entertained, he's been sleeping or feeling bored all day, poor thing, but could I please first have my dinner sitting down? Karin works from home most of the time and goes to bed late, so her rhythm fits Büsi's much better. Allergy - I'm trying to ignore it, but it's getting a bit worse by the day. If I remember I'll ask at the pharmacy for a mask, maybe that keeps the whisker stuff from me.

Nov 14, 2017, 2:21am Top

73. A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond

This was a re-read, in honor of the recently deceased Michael Bond and as preparation for the new movie. My relationship with Paddington isn’t a 100% perfect childhood memory. We also had the TV show which I liked very much and I read this book as a child, but as the daughter of a “cleaning maniac” (sorry mum, but it’s the truth and you know it) I had quite an aversion against Paddington’s constant stickiness when he once again had clumsily stepped into a cream bun, was covered in marmalade or got ink all over his sheets. Really – this quite annoyed me as a child and I would probably have had him shaved. I also remember I found Mr Brown’s behavior strange and unmanly, this probably founded my aversion against those “wimpy Englishmen in literature". It was just a behavior I didn’t know from my fellow Germans – we might be much louder, but my dad would have paid the poor waitress some extra money or my mum would have helped cleaning the table and the counter at the station’s buffet after Paddington’s first encounter with English cream buns and tea cups and the resulting mega-mess. Same for the poor cab driver who got his coat all dirty. No one I know would have ducked away, “hoping no-one would notice” while feeling embarrassed, reading that made me cringe once again. Of course it’s getting much better and everyone becomes proud of Paddington and proud of having him in the family. It’s also different in the movies where Mr Brown seems much more self-confident.

What struck me on this second read was something I saw discussed on the forums of the movie review: how naturally the Browns took the decision to take on a “foreigner”. I had forgotten that Paddington was indeed described like an illegal immigrant in the first book, as an unwanted person who’d probably get arrested by the police. This was clearly lost on me 36 years ago. Wow. Kudos to the Browns!

No – this is a totally cute book, and now with my own household that’s not very sticky but more relaxed than my mum's I can also laugh about all the food accidents although I'd still like to step in at the buffet scene and give the poor waitress an extra big tip. I’ll buy the two movies (if available) and watch them with my parents for Christmas.

Rating: 5 kids-books stars.

Nov 14, 2017, 3:54am Top

Sorry from me too about the allergy - I was admiring how you had won over Busi. My aunt's cat also liked to test out her claws on me - I took to wearing my jeans a lot, much more protection than a thin summer pair of trousers!

Paddington - I read and reread (or more likely, thinking about it, had read to me) the one Paddington we had at home (probably a gift from someone). Paddington takes up magic, and 'accidentally' destroys an antique watch in the course of a trick he has misunderstood. It all ends happily, but I do remember being Rather Concerned about the watch. The marmalade didn't bother me so much :-)

Nov 14, 2017, 5:14am Top

>89 charl08: That's in the first one as well. I was concerned that someone gave him a watch at all, I would have done what Mr Brown did - hiding it well under my sleeve. :)
Poor Mr Curry's watch was destroyed, but he's the "bad neighbor" anyway, so noone in the book was sorry for him (I was).

Nov 14, 2017, 5:21am Top

Recommending many many antihistamines. I have a pretty severe cat allergy (kicks of my asthma and leads to much badness). Masses of sympathy.

Nov 14, 2017, 12:41pm Top

>88 Deern: How had I not known that Michael Bond was dead! And this past June! Oh that is so sad. Another brick forming my childhood crumbled. So many good memories of Paddington.

Edited: Nov 16, 2017, 9:57am Top

>91 BekkaJo: Of course I forgot going to the pharmacy, being busy feeling annoyed with all the other things I had planned to do about the car that didn't work out. I hope to remember it on Saturday.
Thank you, now I know what I have to ask for.

>92 richardderus: Yes, very sad! I read an article in the Guardian where he describes how he invented Paddington, that there was a real stuffed toy bear he and his wife took everywhere and then he invented just stories around him and one day had a whole book.

Update on my car odyssee: they called me to get the certificate for my dad to cancel the German car insurance, I noticed that they had filled in the wrong number for the German license plate. I asked if it was also wrong in all the other documentation. "No, of course not, this was done by colleague X who didn't pay attention, the other was done by me, etc.". A day later a call "please come in, we have to exchange all documentation because the license plate number is wrong everywhere, you'll get preliminary documents...". :)

Then I got a little box in my car for the Italian road toll that needs re-programming for the new plate. This was always done by the banks, but it was changed 6 weeks ago! Now you have to go to the next Punto Blu of which only 3 exist in the whole province and which of course are closed half Saturday and all Sunday. I'll have to drive to Bolzano and queue for hours, nothing to be done via internet, not even the application is downloadable.

I'm trying to see each of these bureaucratic tasks as a new occasion to meet nice people. I just wish it wouldn't cost me so many work hours.

Spent much time contemplating death those last couple of days. After a long fight against his cancer and 3 last happy years thanks to new drugs, my uncle, the husband of one of my godmothers passed away last week. We never had much contact and I didn't go to the funeral, but I've been thinking of him and his family a lot and am grateful they had so many extra years together. They all spent the last days together by his bed, sharing memories, often laughing. This is how we'd all (more or less) want it to be, I guess.

Then I witnessed a bad accident yesterday in front of my office. Someone (who I learned had a minute earlier caused another accident down the same road and escaped) raced into a slower car just in the bend in front of our dairy. The other car was pushed on the walkway where it unfortunately hit a pedestrian who was very gravely injured, she was catapulted against the concrete pile of our gate, and had to be reanimated. As far as I know she's still in a very critical state, we're all praying for her. There were a woman and her young boy in that other car who suffered light injuries according to her husband to whom I talked later in the evening when he returned to the site, looking for some things that had fallen out of the car.
The guy responsible for the accident had his car turned over twice, but also got out with minor injuries. Another person was injured in the first accident.
So this is the other thing that can happen at any time, you know it rationally, but seeing it is different again. All the plan-making is nice and well, but clearly the outcome of nothing is in our hands, not even of a simple walk. Called my parents and my grandma in the evening to tell them I love them (and to take care "as much as possible"), and I want to send a big round of {{{loving hugs}}} to you all.

Nov 16, 2017, 5:12am Top

Love and hugs back to you too.

Nov 16, 2017, 9:37am Top

>93 Deern: Thanks Nathalie - and back to you too.

Re the accident - It is really shocking seeing that sort of thing personally. I hope that the guy gets his licence taken away and that the casualties recover.

Nov 16, 2017, 11:35am Top

>93 Deern: {{{Nathalie}}}

Nov 16, 2017, 11:37am Top

>94 BekkaJo:, >95 charl08:, >96 richardderus: thank you, more {{{hugs}}} to you!!

>95 charl08: If he had a licence.... there must have been a reason for escaping with such crazy speed from the first site.

Nov 16, 2017, 11:41am Top

There, I finally made it to 75!

74. Baking with Kafka by Tom Gauld

I had seen his regular comics/ illustrations in the Guardian, but didn’t know there were books. Richard recommended a different one, but as this one was available for Kindle I got it first and had much fun with it. Here’s the link to the Guardian site where you can find almost half of this book's illustrations, also some of my favorites: https://www.theguardian.com/profile/tom-gauld . And after having seen a pic of the new Poirot’s ridiculous moustache, I finally get the first one. :)

Rating: 4.5 graphic novel/ comic book stars


75. Das geheime Leben der Bäume by Peter Wohlleben

Many here have read and liked it. One of my books of the year, also because the type of forest Wohlleben mostly refers to is my home forest, quite different from the one here in the Alps. The one little thing I had to criticize, the sweet children’s book like language, certainly brings more information home than a totally factual voice. And maybe it makes it easier for people who don’t read much (this will be the holiday read for my parents!), but often it made me cringe. It was a bit too much “tree mothers and tree children” or “the little ones” for me.

Apart from that, I learned SO much. Passed by some town trees this morning that are planted into the boardwalk, and felt very sad for the poor things. I also understand better now why the mammoth tree close to my old apartment was cut some years ago. I even look at moss, at ivy, at fungi with different eyes now, or I should say I notice them now. This was a very worthy #75!

Rating: 4.8 stars

Nov 16, 2017, 11:46am Top

>98 Deern: I'm delighted you liked the Gauld book, of course. But you got to 75!!!! Your laurels:

Nov 16, 2017, 11:59am Top

Congrats on hitting 75!

Nov 17, 2017, 5:20am Top

Congratulations, Nathalie!

Nov 17, 2017, 6:53am Top

Well done Nathalie!

Nov 17, 2017, 7:14am Top

30 Tom Gauld cartoons later on, and I'm beginning to wonder if I really read the Guardian, as I seem to have missed most of them. They are so good! Adding the book to my Xmas list.

Congrats on your 75. Hope you have a relaxing weekend.

Nov 17, 2017, 8:43am Top

>99 richardderus: My first laurels aged 46, thank you!! :D

>100 drneutron: Thank you Jim! :)

>101 kidzdoc: Thank you Darryl! :)

>102 BekkaJo: Thank you Bekka! :) Though when I looked over my list of books read a couple of days ago I had problems finding 5 for "books of the year" so far. What a mixed bag - all re-reads, kids' books, comic novels and re-reads of kids' books (Blyton) and comic novels (König)!
I recently looked through my first thread here when I was checking off difficult and serious 1,001s like crazy. I feel like my reading brain has melted in the last 3 years.

>103 charl08: Same here. I'd noticed him, but not that he was a regular. They're great, I keep thinking of that mouse from Wind in the Willows going to town to smash windows with her toffee-hammer! :)


Büsi cuddle hour last night with a mouth/nose covering mask. He hated it and tried to get his whiskers on it to mark it. Took a selfie and saved it in my gallery, upside down again, why? This happens only here!

The guy who caused the accidents was a doctor at the Merano hospital on the way to his shift. He must have totally lost his head after the first hit, there's no other explanation.

Nov 17, 2017, 8:56am Top

How upsetting for you, I hope the woman who was hit recovers. And how bizarre that the man was a doctor. Truly bizarre.

Brilliant, to wear a mask and use a cushion. Cats always know when you are putting anything 'between' you and them!

It's so unpredictable what a child will like. We all adored Paddington, especially one of my brothers, but ZB was indifferent. My husband was a huge Freddie the pig fan and was also disappointed when ZB was meh.

Nov 17, 2017, 10:25am Top

Congratulations on reaching 75, Nathalie!

I also learned a lot from Wohllebens book, looking at trees in a whole different way.
Sorry for all those affected by the accident (((hugs)))

Nov 17, 2017, 11:26am Top

>104 Deern: My bet is that the doc has a small substance abuse problem and was politely required not to drive until it was fixed.

Sending hugs.

Nov 19, 2017, 3:08am Top

>105 sibyx: The last thing I heard on Friday was that she was still in a very critical state after a liver rupture. The broken hip and other bones can be mended, it's the internal injuries. We're all thinking of her.

He hates mask and cushion with a vengeance! And Karin called yesterday to say they'll come back next Saturday earliest, not tomorrow or Tuesday as they'd said a week ago. :/

Just read a Paddington story from the second book. He's in Fortnum&Mason (the book's version), causing much turbulence with a clothesline. :))

Edited: Nov 19, 2017, 3:26am Top

>106 FAMeulstee: Thank you Anita! I fear the poor driver of the second car that hit the pedestrian is having a hard time, and I hope the little boy gets over it okay.

>107 richardderus: That's what the police hinted at. But how irresponsible would that be?

Nov 19, 2017, 11:45am Top

I read Hannibal when it was published (1999?). It then was by far the longest book I'd ever read in English, and I hated almost every bit of it. I threw it out just last year. Now, after rewatching Silence of the Lambs, I felt like revisiting it, but as audio. I'm through 2/3 now and while I still think it's a very bad sequel to the first two Lecter books, it's quite an entertaining exaggerated stand-alone that is much better as audio. I can tell myself it's not the same serious Lecter as in the first two books nor the same serious Starling as in SotL, just because it's a different medium.

Maybe it's the time of the year or the office walks or both, but I really need audio books now. Downloaded 3 others over the weekend and can't wait to get to them: Flaubert's Parrot by Julian Barnes, Me, Poirot by David Suchet and erm, Paddington Abroad. Quite the mix.

Bought Christmas and pre-Christmas gifts for the pets in my life today, Black Friday in the pet shop. My friend Chrystle's dog Floh is getting a new travel bowl and a toy chicken made of different materials which she'll happily rip apart and Büsi got a new soft blanket which I can put between him and my couch/ my legs. He got his today and approved of it, fell asleep within minutes on it.

Edited: Nov 24, 2017, 3:12am Top

76. How To Tell If Your Cat Is Plotting To Kill You by The Oatmeal
This was mentioned on Richard’s thread and obviously I had to get it. I had planned it as #75, but then the middle part was so weak that I made an effort to get the Wohlleben finished first. I quite enjoyed the first part, a humorous cat manual and the last part where cat and owner switch roles. But then there was the long “Bobcats” bit about two cats working in a typical, Dilbert-like office environment, bullying their co-workers in the most unfunny ways. So my rating is a mix of 4 and 1 star parts. Maybe the funniest bit was how a cat tries to get your attention when you’re doing something for yourself – like work.
I like the little tyrant I’ve got at home and we had a nice Sunday afternoon together, but honestly, I’m almost counting the hours until Karin’s return and already dread their next long absences in spring and summer.
Book rating: friendly 3 stars

77. Hannibal by Thomas Harris
Okay, now that I’m through with it, I still think it is a terrible book. As a follow-up to the cool and then groundbreaking Red Dragon and Silence of the Lambs it’s useless, these are not the same characters at all. As a standalone, it’s slighty better, but too long and with an unconvincing ending (and I didn’t mind “the dinner” at all, more the whole daddy story and the memory palaces). On the other hand, the narration was great and entertaining and made me listen through every minute happily while doing walks and housework.
I still think the ending of SotL was the perfect ending to the Starling/Lecter relationship and to the story of Starling’s FBI career. I found both developments in this book highly disappointing, but the worst part was for me on both reads the Mischa-explanation. Just horrid and really (sorry!, didn’t find another word) tasteless. I considered getting Hannibal Rising to be done with the series, but that one’s read by Harris himself, not by Daniel Geroll, and will be terribly Mischa-centered I fear. The best bit, although basically just one big cliché, is the part set in Florence which feels almost too short. The Mason Verger chapters were a torture to read and now also to listen – mainly boring and hard to understand. Like last time I liked Margo and Barney and found the bad FBI guy so one-dimensional it hurt. Sadly, people like him now run countries. :/
Rating: 2 stars for the audio edition (still 1 for the book, the narration improved it)

Nov 20, 2017, 10:56am Top

#77 Ugh. No.

#78. UGH! NO!

Nov 21, 2017, 1:24pm Top

>112 richardderus: Didn't think so... sorry! Still can't believe I re-read (okay, listened to) one of my most despised books ever.

Better book news: following a post on Paul's thread, I looked up Ignazio Silone and am now reading his first book, Fontamara. It's about the people of a small and very poor village in the Italian South, set around 1930 I'd say, how they're used and cheated by the rich landowners and politicians. The language is very simple, it's basically a story told by the people in rough Italian, short sentences, so the translation will be far from poetic as well. But the shocking thing is the relevance for today. People literally sign/vote for their own "slaughter"', even kissing the don's hands in gratitude and offering to pay for losing their water rights. Sounds familiar?
I'm just a third in and still hope the people will find a way out. But seems we aren't much advanced in all those years.

Something completely different: my dad is having surgery tomorrow on his hernias. Should be easy, but the region is scarred after the radio therapy in spring, so they might have to do a real incision in place of the endoscopic one. It's his first surgery ever aged 71 with high blood pressure and overweight, I hope it'll all go well.

Nov 21, 2017, 2:40pm Top

Sorry to read about your dad's operation - Hope it all goes ok, and that he has a quick recovery.

Fontamara sounds like a heavy read- strange to read so little has changed!

Edited: Nov 21, 2017, 3:10pm Top

>113 Deern: I ordered a second-hand copy of the Dutch translation of Fontamara.

Sending good thoughts for your dad.

Nov 21, 2017, 3:07pm Top

Happy operation *whammy* for Dad.

Nov 22, 2017, 2:02am Top

>114 charl08:, >115 FAMeulstee:, >116 richardderus: Thank you guys, I'm really nervous today!

Re. Fontamara: yes - imagine an election/a referendum where the rich candidates of one side clearly only want to serve their own interests, but promise the poor people "to understand them", and those will happily sign up and hand over the little they still own. And nowadays everyone has been to a school and learned to read and write, so if Silone ever hoped education might make things better, he was wrong. :/

Listening to David Suchet's Poirot and Me. Enjoyable, but there's sth that goes against me a little bit. But it's a nice coincidence that Sky just started a new channel with only Agatha Christie adaptations and I can watch all the old episodes again with new background knowledge.

I saw the whole series more than once before, enjoyed Suchet's Poirot very much most of the time but didn't like many of the plot additions like action scenes or different endings. There was one case (the story with the Bridge game?) where they even changed the killer. Also wasn't too happy about the very Catholic, bitter and unforgiving Poirot in Murder on the Orient Express with the invented pre-story. Might watch the new version when it's in the theatres here, not for Brennagh and his ridiculous mega moustaches, but I read Depp is a great Ratchett.

Nov 22, 2017, 5:56am Top

Keeping fingers crossed for your Dad.

Hubby has seen the new Murder on the Orient and really liked it. For me, Suchet just is Poirot.

Nov 22, 2017, 6:41am Top

>118 BekkaJo: thank you Bekka! Dad just called me this instant just to say "hi"! Mum is just telling me that they could do the endoscopic operation, so careful "yay". :)

Yes, Suchet is the best, and Hastings, Japp and Miss Lemon were also cast perfectly.
Ustinov is more fun, but he isn't Poirot just like Rutherford never was Miss Marple. The guy in the older Orient Express movie also played him convincingly and I preferred that script. It was less moralistic, closer to the book and the actors had such obvious fun. Hoping for the same with the new movie (Italian dubbing though...).

Nov 22, 2017, 7:22am Top

>56 Deern: I'm so happy to see you are finding Do You Yoga, still, an important part of your life. Sadly, I've slipped off my daily routine but hoping to start anew in January.

Sorry to read you were not swept up in the world of Count Rostov. In my younger days, I was a huge fan of the book Eloise, a little girl living at the Plaza Hotel in New York. That said, reading A Gentleman in Moscow brought me back to those earlier days and the love I have for traveling and checking in to hotels. I know, weird...but it's funny how some things leave a lasting impression on a kid.

Hope you're having a lovely week.

Nov 22, 2017, 7:37am Top

I know this is controversial, but I rather love Branagh's amazing moustache. It's facial hair for the hipster generation. (My liking it is just incidental to this!)
My favourite Marple is Julia McKenzie .

Nov 22, 2017, 9:16am Top

>121 charl08: I should better say again and again. I take breaks occasionally, but whenever I return they'll have added some new style I just need and the perfect teacher for it. Last year it was yin yoga and this year the good old hatha.

The idea of the "Gentleman" book is lovely, but for such a place and such an eventful time period, it was a bit too cozy for me.

Lovely week to you! :)

>121 charl08: I like Branagh as an actor, he just doesn't "look Poirot". But Ustinov didn't either, not at all, and I enjoyed the films with him very much and watch them whenever they're on.

Julia McKenzie is a wonderful Miss Marple, though I jumped off that wagon early when they also changed too much plot, don't remember which episode it was. Strange, but when they sell me a "real" Miss Marple/ Poirot, I can't overlook plot additions as easily as when I'm watching Rutherford/ Ustinov.
Hmpf... will I ever be able to watch Poirot again and not think of Suchet training his special walk with a coin between his buttocks? :)

Nov 22, 2017, 12:22pm Top

Re the Suchet Murder on the Orient Express...I felt the strong moralistic vibe was a good addition, particularly in light of Curtain which came a few seasons later. It gave the entire denouement added depth for me to see the personal cost to Poirot of his ultimate decision.

Nov 23, 2017, 6:57am Top

>123 richardderus: I can see how it makes sense, especially when it came to the stories that had been successful films already. They needed something to distinguish themselves from the earlier versions. In the fun or super-star-casting categories they couldn't win anymore with this one, so they went for extra depth.
I thought Curtain was done very well, I believe I cried. Sadly have only ever seen the Italian version of that one.

In my case, Murder on the Orient Express was the first Poirot I read when I was about 12, quite an overwhelming reading experience. My first ever murder mystery, and such an ending!* At that age you normally don't think for a second about how that might me a difficult decision, it seemed totally justified. On a later reread I thought something along "well, basically it was the only option, you can't realistically put all those people in front of a jury".
In my listening to the David Suchet book, I'm just at the point where he inists he must "develop and mature" the character. I believe I've read 95% of the stories - not always easy to say with German titles and short story compilations often different -, and except for the very last books published that are set in the 60s and where his age is mentioned, I believe he never seemed old or haunted or bitter, nor excessively religious.
I can accept that Suchet wanted to develop the character after that many years, but the insistence he did it to stay true to "Agatha Christie's Poirot" (as he says a hundred times) gets a bit annoying.

I half-watched The Body in the Library last night and remembered why I got off the Miss Marple series almost immediately - already in episode one, one of the killers is unnecessarily switched with another character.

*I think my next Christie was And then there were none, imagine that reaction! :)
After those two, I was sold on Christie, no matter the weaker ones.

Nov 23, 2017, 9:01am Top

I know this isn't your holiday, but such a great photo! Not Posey!

Words not needed!

Edited: Nov 23, 2017, 11:00am Top

>125 sibyx: Waaah! :D :D :D

Edit: my colleague was just here with her new Akita puppy, SO cute! She now has 2 dogs and a (very quiet) cat. I tried taking pics, but the puppy was always moving around and never looking at the lense.

Nov 23, 2017, 11:02am Top

A VERY HAPPY THANKSGIVING to my US friends and everyone else celebrating it, and, why not, to everyone who doesn't but feels grateful for something!

Nov 23, 2017, 11:58am Top

>126 Deern: Akita puppies are beyond adorable :-)
There are two kinds of Akita, both no easy dogs to keep, is it an American or Japanese?

Nov 23, 2017, 12:09pm 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 24, 2017, 2:57am Top

>128 FAMeulstee: Not sure, I'll ask her. Hers is long-haired, but has short-haired siblings. They all look like little bears! :)

>129 PaulCranswick: Thank you so much {{{Paul}}}, for the kind words and of course for you being part of the group as well!

Edited: Nov 24, 2017, 3:42am Top

Aw, just had to look up Akita puppies. So cute! Hope you have a relaxing weekend ahead Nathalie.

Ed to fix Anita to Akita!

Edited: Nov 24, 2017, 4:32am Top

78. Poirot and Me by David Suchet narrated by David Suchet

I LOVE Agatha Christie’s Poirot. I love or at least like almost all of the films with David Suchet, and I believe over the time I saw them all at least once. I own most of the DVD sets and am now faithfully rewatching the episodes on TV once again. I believe Suchet is a great character actor and I might get to some of his other movies/plays if available.

This book however was not really what I had expected. Though it is completely true to its title Poirot and Me. Okay, maybe ME and Poirot would have been a better fit, but might have sold less. :) There are 3 reasons:

1. You don’t get much background info on the films except for the things you can easily look up on wiki if interested. Every director and scriptwriter is mentioned, every main location and lots and lots of cast and what feels like every single positive review in the press. But that’s technical. There’s just a handful of “and then we had a laugh” or “a group of tourists turned up unexpectedly” stories, and all of those few anecdotes are Poirot-centered. If you hope for more info about personal interactions and developing friendships or the odd funny mishap, there is almost nothing of that.

2. The book deals in its non-technical Poirot parts (because there are also long bits about every single thing Suchet did in between series, again with lists of cast, directors, locations, glowing reviews, etc) almost exclusively with Suchet trying to be the “real Poirot”. Which is very interesting in the beginning when it’s about accent, moustaches, walk, clothes and “little foibles” and not making him ridiculous, but later it turns into a “how can I get as much Suchet into Poirot as possible in a convincing way”. The films were not made and broadcast in the order of the books, so towards the ending there are some stories written decades before Curtain, and the films are (in my opinion) unnecessarily moralistic. Suchet turned more and more religious with the years, and in the later part of the book he constantly insists that the strict Catholicism and the rage against people not behaving according to God’s law are typical Poirot characteristics. As far as I remember, they aren’t. Poirot might be a good practising Catholic in the continental-European sense. There’s mass and saints and rituals, but the comfortable life is just as important, and there’s always confession. From British books dealing with Catholicism (Graham Greene, Evelyn Waugh) I always got the impression that British Catholics are more strict and unforgiving, maybe because they feel surrounded by Protestants and their faith has been regarded with distrust or was completely forbidden for long periods. In my own head, Poirot’s ethical/ moral grounds were founded on a strong belief in law and order in this world. He was also what the Italians call “furbo”, maybe sly would be a good word, and sometimes bent the truth (or the law) to get to his results. He was never what we call “moralin-sauer”, his religious morals never made him bitter in the books. That part of Poirot in the last films is Suchet. And while I can accept that it made sense for him and that he took this route, I wish he wouldn’t insist it was in Agatha Christie’s sense and even his duty to portrait Poirot in that way. It was a some self-indulgence and a professional wish to develop a character that basically remains the same in the books, and it worked okay on the screen. Unnecessarily cruel and violent murders were sometimes added to explain this personal development, and the mix makes some of the later films hard to watch for me. For example I loved the 12 amusing "works of Hercules" stories where Poirot shows lots of humor. In the film they are reduced to a handful of dark plot threads, held together by an invented brutal murder Poirot couldn’t prevent and feels deeply guilty for. How is that in the sense of the books?

3. Which leads me to the last point. This is a book by David Suchet, but we don’t see much of him either except for the religion (which is "all Poirot" of course). We get a long book about the actor playing Poirot and lots of other characters, but I couldn’t get rid of the feeling that this was an invented person as well. This is how Suchet wants to present himself, endless glowing reviews by press and colleagues included and only friendly words for everyone. Maybe Suchet is such a genuinely nice man, I don’t know, but he sure wants to be seen this way. Nice without edges. All the meticulous lists can’t really make up for the feeling that something is lacking here that you find in other actors’ autobiographies, and I don’t mean drugs or abuse or any such thing, just a bit more depth.

The writing is fluent and the narration was (of course) nice, though I needed some minutes getting used to Poirot’s voice without an accent.

Rating: 3.2 stars, and I’ll now listen to the original Murder on the Orient Express to make sure that nothing got lost in translation in the 1960s German version I own.

Nov 24, 2017, 3:11am Top

>131 charl08: And she was soooo adorable, licking everyone's hands and wanting to chew our shoes!
Happy weekend to you too, Charlotte! :)

Nov 24, 2017, 7:57am Top

>130 Deern: If it is a bear-coat (longhaired) it is probably an American Akita, I have never heard of long haired pups in the Japanese Akita.

Edited: Nov 24, 2017, 2:41pm Top

Now that I looked at pics on the net, I'm wondering if she's a mix, though she has a pedigree. I saw pics of the parents and the father seems a typical Japanese, the mother is "wild-haired". This puppy will grow long hairs and isn't all red-white while some siblings looked like the father.

Just uploaded two puppy pics to my gallery, maybe you can see which it is?

Edited: Nov 24, 2017, 6:17pm Top

>135 Deern: She looks Japanese, except for the dark muzzle (a dark muzzle is a disqualifying fault in Japanese Akita, a longhaired coat too). Japanese and American were split only some years ago, so there are still mixes around. The long hair factor must be in both parents, as it is a recessive trait, so I think both parents must have some American in their pedigree. She wouldn't get an official pedigree here.

Anyway, she is absolutely adorable!

Nov 25, 2017, 1:32am Top

>136 FAMeulstee: This is fascinating, thank you for the insights! Her other long-haired siblings are even darker, so I guess they're American. Anyway, her owners won't go to dog shows with her or anything like that. I have yet to ask them why they chose that breed though. They're very nice and animal-loving people, but have never been walkers/hikers. I hope she'll get enough movement.

Büsi's owners are coming home today, so I'll be able to have a cooked dinner again, sitting down at the table. :)

On Thursday night I returned late, I had been out to the Christmas market opening with colleagues, and half the time I had been worrying that the "poor little guy" wouldn't have his dinner and would probably be crying in the hallway for hours. Ha!
When I crossed the courtyard he just came in from the other side, saw me, didn't react when I called him. He passed me, raced up the stairs, through the automatic flap without hesitation (normally he whines when seen and wants the door opened), inside. Turned around and started whining miserably a second later. He's an actor! :o

Nov 25, 2017, 9:29am Top

Hope your weekend is off to a great start, Nathalie. The Christmas markets in Europe sound delightful but, yeah, I can see why'd your thoughts would be elsewhere. Glad it all turned out well.

Edited: Nov 30, 2017, 6:34am Top

>138 Carmenere: Weekend started very well. thank you Lynda.

Karin and Giuliano came back yesterday, so I could wash and rid of cat hair all clothes, blankets and cushion covers Büsi has been in contact with. Then I finally sorted through all my bills and stuff of the last months to clear the desk as part of my "make my place look nice and tidy" preparations for my parents' first visit there.

79. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

You know by now that I can be a total killjoy when it comes to checking "authenticity" of interpretations of original stories. I could live very well with either "the director/script writers wanted it that way" or "Suchet wanted it that way for personal reasons in the later movies because as a character actor, after 20 years he understandably became bored with the ever good-humored Poirot", but not with "Suchet claims he reread the book thoroughly and interpreted the role according to what was explicitely written in there". I had to recheck.

So all through the day yesterday I listened to Murder on the Orient Express, but no sign of bitterness or frustration with life or the case were noticeable in Poirot. On the contrary, "gleeful" was attributed to him several times and he did all the investigation in happy company with the doctor and the company director.

Suchet said he didn't let Poirot smile once in that episode, because he took from the book all the negative feelings of deep bitterness, loneliness and the deep frustration and inner rage re. the final decision. Well, no. Poirot is used to seeing murder, even thinks this one to be quite justified, though would have preferred it if the law had done its job during the trial. But once presented with the situation, all the coincidences clearly excite him and he enjoys presenting his two friends with all the hints they are unable to interpret correctly. Even the two alternatives are presented in a friendly and understanding way.

This remains one of my top 3 Christies. Wanted to rewatch the movie on VHS, tape got stuck in very old player, player broke, now I need the DVD.

Rating: 5 mystery stars, as ever

Nov 27, 2017, 2:41am Top

80. Paddington Abroad by Michael Bond

It feels a bit unfair saying I’ve been disappointed with a Paddington book. I just expected something different, maybe a bit more intercultural chaos from this one, a visit to Paris, Paddington eating in a typical bistrot, seeing the Louvre, etc.

The Browns decide to go on holiday in France and for no apparent reason let Paddington organize the itinerary. Of course they get lost, but I’d expected more from the episode of their arrival. Before getting there, there’s a cute episode with Paddington in the bank, trying to withdraw his savings, and a predictable one about his passport. I’m wondering how the Browns managed to fly over and take the car? (They take the plane and when asked how they'd move in France Mr Brown says “we take the car”, but maybe I misheard and he said “a car”?)

Once at their destination, the book becomes surprisingly boring. Everyone speaks a little English and all events could as well have taken place at an English seaside resort. Paddington goes sailing, plays the drums and participates in a bike race.

Cute book, but not a favorite. If they turn this one into a movie, there’s much room for additions.
Rating: 3.5 childrens book stars

Nov 27, 2017, 2:44am Top

Other books: re-listening to Food A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan on my walks to work. I browsed audible for hours this weekend and didn’t really find anything I liked enough to spend money or a credit on, so I’m going to listen to some of my older audios.

I’m at 20% with Der Grüne Heinrich (a chapter a day) and 50% with Fontamara, also started listening to Flaubert’s Parrot which is okay, but is it really fiction? Sounds like a biography so far.

Bought The Hidden Life of Trees in German for my parents and noticed there is a wave of forest books now. Even more Wohllebens, a third one that hasn’t been translated yet, a forest guide for adults and a really cute one for kids with ideas for the next walk. Many others jumped on that train, there was a whole table dedicated to the forest at the local bookshop.

Nov 27, 2017, 7:12pm Top

>139 Deern: I am so puzzled...I read Poirot's "bonhomie" as a front! I got the same sense Suchet had of Poirot's anger at the fact he felt he had to let Justice down to do the right thing.

Isn't it always interesting how no two people really ever read the same book?

Nov 28, 2017, 10:18am Top

Oh my, I read Orient so long ago, but I do remember thinking that he wasn't entirely happy with the choice he had to make. I would have to reread it and think hard about what subtleties conveyed that.

Nov 29, 2017, 2:36am Top

Loved the Paddington review. Maybe Bond hadn't been to Paris so had nothing to say?!

I listen to a dramatization of Poirot to fall asleep (sacrilegious? ) with John Moffatt. Not quite the full on Suchet in terms of accent. The cast list is pretty impressive - Sylvia Syms and Francesca Annis.
Poirot - Murder on the Orient Express, Episode 1 - @BBCRadio4Extra http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b007yn6z

Edited: Nov 30, 2017, 6:32am Top

Buried in work this week, long hours again and almost no time for internet and reading. Well, it's the time of the year for planning next year's productions and contracts for monthly additional milk acquisition have to be closed in advance. We're a co-operative dairy, but in the summer months many of our farmers send the cows to the alms (mountain meadows), so we have less milk in the months with highest demand and have to buy from ouside. Still from the region though, as that is certified on the products.

Anyway, it's all excel tables all day and therefore almost no eye-reading in the evenings. I read a guardian article about audiobooks and at what point people abandon books, and the forum led me to a complete Sherlock Holmes audio edition that cost me just one credit! I often silently complain about having spent another credit on a book that wasn't so great or too short, but in this case I got over 70 hrs for just the one! :)

Guess Holmes is just what I can digest while walking, cleaning, excel-tabelling, and it gets me into the mood to watch my daily registered Poirot episodes before I go to sleep.

>142 richardderus:, >143 sibyx: It's really fascinating how the same, not too complex book can be interpreted so differently. Actually I still prefer not adding too much depth to my easy Poirot, but of course I can see your points. I like my detectives "flat" and as untormented as possible, that's why I stopped early on the Wallanders and didn't get into all the other Scandi stuff.

I remember more from the read then the listen that he got angry and impatient with the theatrical elements (like "the red kimono" which was then also the title of the German edition) he had to get out of the way to arrive at the solution. The final decision was taken from him, he offered 2 alternatives and the director chose the easy one. Though the other one would have made for an interesting trial.

>144 charl08: When I moved here and was very stressed and nervous in the first weeks, I always put a Poirot DVD into the laptop in the evenings and fell asleep within minutes.

Thank you for the link, I'll try it. Never listened to dramatizations, some are available on audible as well.

Edited: Nov 30, 2017, 7:22am Top

Now listening to A Study in Scarlet which was the second Holmes I ever read when I was a kid and the last one for decades. I somehow got the Mormon stuff in the second part mixed up with Poltergeist 2 I watched around the same time on TV, with that sect that hid in a cave and died and the scary old man in the black suit. The mix really freaked me out and I couldn't read any Holmes until one of the books (Case Files?) turned up on the 1,001 list. The narration by Stephen Fry is excellent!

Nov 30, 2017, 2:15pm Top

>146 Deern: Funny, I just added the Dutch translation of A Study in Scarlet to my TBR-soon pile ;-)

Dec 1, 2017, 6:35am Top

>147 FAMeulstee: Ha, that's one of those typical little LT coincidences! :)

I just finished it on my walk this morning and started The Sign of the Four. The narration really is pure joy, and it seems Fry gives a short introduction to every book!
My parents had a German edition that contained The Hound of the Baskervilles, A Study in Scarlet and The Sign of the Four. After Scarlet I was quite freaked out - I remembered this morning that just then I found the book of Mormon on my grandma's shelf (most probably some letterbox give-away, she's not religious at all), and when the next one started with Holmes having a cocaine shot, I dropped the book and remained Holmes-averse for over 25 years.

Edited: Dec 3, 2017, 2:57am Top

80 A Study in Scarlet and
81. The Sign of the Four by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle -contans big spoilers

Finished TSOt4, but by hearing w/o listening over the long adventure part. After 2 Holmes books I say I enjoy the cases, but not the exotic adventure backgrounds with "savages" being uncontrollable killers or evil religious sects in the desert.

ASiS was great for getting to know both Holmes and Watson. I never realized they were both young at the beginning of the series. In TSot4 in Christie's world I guess the twin brother would have been the culprit, not some guy with a wooden leg and a "savage" with a poisoned thorn. I now noticed she clearly got crime mysteries back on British ground, playing with many of the Holmes elements. Just watching that Poirot with the murder in the airplane where just such a thorn is used. Of course in Doyle's times, the public wanted adventures, exotic places, never heard of murder weapons and wild native people. It's just that those parts imo didn't age that well, and that I generally don't much like adventure stories.

The narrations by Stephen Fry are a dream and I especially enjoy the short introductions. Now started The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, the first book of short stories, hopefully with some less exotic ones among them.

Dec 3, 2017, 1:47am Top

>149 Deern: I may want to read some of those again next year, Nathalie.

Really great books.

Have a lovely Sunday.

Dec 3, 2017, 3:47am Top

>150 PaulCranswick: Just noticed I already read "The Adventures" and quite liked them. Off for a long walk now (the sun is shining brightly, but it's cold and I hope stays so), and I should get through some of the stories on the way.
Lovely Sunday to you too, Paul :)

Dec 3, 2017, 2:29pm Top

dropping by to leave a *smooch*

Edited: Dec 6, 2017, 8:57am Top

>152 richardderus: Thank you and *smooch* to you! :)

The Gauld book arrived today, but I could only get it in Italian, and I fear that the special humor won't translate so well. In any case it's much nicer looking at the illustrations in a paper copy and not on a smartphone screen.

Edited: Dec 6, 2017, 8:58am Top

Very short (for me):

82. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight by Richard Armitage
I've been through some poetry loving times (sometimes it's mind-saving, at other times I can't have any, maybe also because I almost only have poetry in English on my shelves which adds extra difficulty compared to the usual prose). Never before did I have so much FUN with a poem! I read this in one go, half of it aloud to enjoy all the alliterations more. This wasn't my last Armitage translations.

Rating: 5 poetry stars

83. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
Holmes works better in form of short stories imo, and one of them on audio covers more or less one walk to/from the office with a bit to go extra during the more boring excel tasks. This one was a re-read/listen and pure joy. Now on to the Memoirs, the first stories that are totally new to me.

Rating: 3.5 stars as before for the book/ 4.5 for the audio

*jumping back into my excel planning stats*

Dec 6, 2017, 1:02pm Top

>154 Deern: YAY for the 5 Armitage stars! And BOO for the Excel!

Happy St. Nick!

Dec 6, 2017, 1:11pm Top

>155 richardderus: Oh dear, stupid excels, I forgot all about St Nick! What a lovely old fashioned picture, my advents calendar is in that style and it has Christmas melodies behind the little doors.

Happy St Nick's evening, everyone! :)

Dec 6, 2017, 1:16pm Top

That sounds completely adorable, Nathalie. (The Advent calendar, obviously, not the Excel.)

Dec 10, 2017, 5:30am Top

>154 Deern: Wow a five star poetry read and by a favourite of mine!

Have a wonderful weekend, Nathalie. xx

Edited: Dec 11, 2017, 12:47pm Top

>158 PaulCranswick: Yes, I never read unputdownable poetry before. It helped that I didn't know the story, I guessed correctly about that king but still wanted to know the ending asap.

>157 richardderus: I love it! It has also all of my favorite classic English carols.

Despite having had a long weekend I was busy with everything but reading. Met friends at the Christmas market, took walks, did most of my Christmas shopping and gift wrapping and most importantly cleaned every bit of my scruffy little appartment and redecorated (exchanged paintings and pics, cushions, blankets, put up Christmas lights) to make it more parents-friendly. I even cleaned all the tops of my wardrobes and cupboards in case my mum climbs a chair or ladder to check. :)

Listened to some Holmes throughout everything, but am getting a bit tired of it, especially in combination with the daily registered Poirot episode. Once the "Memoirs" are finished I need different audio material. Also getting tired of Poirot and wish I hadn't read the David Suchet book, can't switch off the critic in my head. Skim-watched two horrible Xmas movies on Sky (whose "season movies" are worse than ever this year). One was "Christmas with the forgot their names" (the movie to Skipping Christmas) and the other one had Jennifer Aniston in an "evil" role and she's clearly old now in the eyes of the Hollywood guys as she didn't get any of the guys, and the one I thought was meant for her (he was older!) ended up with a twenty-and-not-much-of-a-something model type. The whole movie took me less than 10 mins to watch, the rest was fast-forwarding. I thought the Italians were the masters of bad Christmas movies - they do that intentionally, the season comedies are called "cine panettone", consist of non-stop "sliding on a banana peel" type jokes and start around the 15th in the theatres - but clearly there's worse.

It got very cold and stormy over the weekend and yesterday afternoon I felt like getting the flu, but maybe I was just exhausted. Put myself to bed around 4pm, slept for an hour and felt better, though it's still like some bug is looming there.

This morning I woke up to see the snow they had promised, but about 2 hrs ago it turned into rain that will most probably freeze over during the night. Took the car this morning, but brought thick long winter boots in case in case the car freezes in and I have to walk (slide) home. They're not very good with the winter services down here in the valley.

There were fewer Italian tourists this year than usual over the Immacolata weekend, and the ones who came, came all on Saturday. Friday was quite empty and yesterday they'd clearly all fled early to avoid the announced heavy snowfalls. Saturday however it was almost impossible to move in the crowds or to get to any of the stalls.

Dec 11, 2017, 8:14am Top

Ciao, Nathalie, just stopping by to see what you are up to. This week is my designated Run Around Shopping and Getting Ready week, unavoidable. Once I give in to it usually it turns out to be kind of fun. It's the giving in part that is hard.

Would your mother Really climb up on a chair to check for dust!!! Oh my!
She'd faint if she visited me.

Dec 11, 2017, 8:23am Top

>160 sibyx: She wouldn't, I'm paranoid. She'll however with one look find the one place I forgot and that's in convenient height. :)

Dec 11, 2017, 11:28am Top

>161 Deern: Mom radar. It appears to be linked to possession of a uterus and birthing of a child.

Dec 11, 2017, 1:04pm Top

I suspect my Mum radar is lacking :/

Hope you are feeling better - and that the ice stays away.

Dec 11, 2017, 1:05pm Top

>160 sibyx: & >161 Deern: Both my mother and mother in law used to check for dust in the most hidden and high places :-(

Dec 16, 2017, 7:03am Top

Wishing you a stress free weekend, Nathalie. xx

Dec 16, 2017, 8:01am Top

Happy weekend, Nathalie! Thanks for introducing me to Immacolata. That holy day seems to slip through the cracks, with Christmas and all that entails. The major city I'm closest to, Cleveland, does celebrate the Feast of the Assumption in grand style in the Little Italy section of town. Food, parades etc. Obviously, it's much more fun to celebrate outdoors in August than it would be in December.

Dec 16, 2017, 12:16pm Top

>165 PaulCranswick: Thank you Paul, the same to you. I'm off to the office Christmas dinner in half an hour. Dreading it - too many people, two thirds of which will arrive quite drunk. I'm driving and got the car full with female (Italian = non-binge-drinking) colleagues who all like me want to be off as soon as the dessert plates are removed. Hoping for a nice quiet Sunday tomorrow with my parents who arrived today.

>166 Carmenere: That's fascinating! No parades here in August, nor anywhere in the North as far as I know (certainly processions in the South). But it's the Italian holiday, many companies close around that August day for a week or two, everyone is at the coast and prices are at their highest. So in practical catholic Italy: immacolata = extra shopping day, assunzione = beach parties. :)))

Dec 16, 2017, 1:22pm Top

Peace, Nathalie - I think it's supposed to go with the season!
Hope you and your carload are able to leave when you want and that your Sunday is what you want too.
As to cleaning ....... I had an aunt who inherited almost all the clean genes in the family for several generations. She'd walk into my house, look around, and say every time, "Oh! Are you painting?????" (I never was.)

Edited: Dec 19, 2017, 6:52am Top

>168 LizzieD: You're not alone there! We actually talked about controlling relatives last night and one of my colleagues has it worst. Her 82 year old mother lives next door and really does control visits, scolding her for every piece that's not in the right place and opening wardrobes and drawers. :o

I should have added that we always have to change venue from year to year. :) And I don't have issues with people getting drunk and partying hard as long as I don't have to witness it. Drunk people (in large groups) scare and stress me extremely on a very basic instinct level, I just want to run away.


This year we were in a 5 star hotel near Merano and they were smart enough to give us such a huge appetizer buffet that everyone had a good food base before the drinking. Not so smart that they placed us in the middle of the hotel guests and served a 6 course menu. It took forever and the other guests who had probably paid a lot of money for a romantic weekend had to suffer through hours of noise.
We finished dessert around 0:30 and then really everyone left, the young ones to party on elsewhere. Before that, we took a group picture on the stairs with blue aprons with our names on them (all farmers here wear blue aprons).

We are quite the mixed group, about 25 office people, about 100 mostly younger men working in production and the warehouse, the milk truck drivers, the sales agents from all over Italy and then the board, who in an agricultural co-operative are all small farmers.

Yesterday was one of the better parties and I even got a vegetarian meal, so didn't have to move fish or meat to other plates. There were even some really festive moments and the apron thing was fun. Should I ever get one of those pics I'll post it here.

Dec 17, 2017, 2:26am Top

Just posted 3 pics (2 of food, 1 with people) in my gallery. Is there any short cut to post pics on the threads from an ipad without a mouse?

Dec 17, 2017, 7:14am Top

Happy Sunday, Nathalie!

I can put your pictures on your thread, if needed, but if you copy what is below and put a "<" on the left and a ">" on the right, it shows the picture with you in it.
img src="https://pics.librarything.com/picsizes/f0/9b/f09b231eac37c946369734a7067434b41716b42.jpg"

Edited: Dec 18, 2017, 4:22am Top

>171 FAMeulstee: Thank you {{{Anita}}}. I was away from my ipad all day yesterday, spending the day with my parents, so I'll post them now from the office in the usual way, but I'll use this in future, thank you for typing it out!! :)

With my colleagues Markus, Samantha and Antonella (Antonella is the one with the super-controlling mum)

4th course, open raviolo with pumpkin purée and poppyseed (the best course imo)

5th course, my special vegetarian main, with mushrooms and beetroot ragout in a little tarte on parsnip purée.

All small portions, but most of it was quite heavy, and as it was late, I wasn't able to finish everything.

The other courses in my vegetarian menu were avocado mousse on orange with aniseed bread, a slice of grilled mountain cheese on winter salads, a potato soup (which was basically cream with garlic and had a ricotta cheese dumpling in it, quite the attack on the liver :) ), then the raviolo and the main, and dessert was a slice of baked apple with an almond filling, malaga ice cream and glühwein foam. Then came chocolates, but no coffee (maybe because we were storming the stairs in our aprons instead).

Edited: Dec 18, 2017, 4:23am Top

Finished this over a week ago and forgot the review.

84. The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Another nice bunch of short stories, but overall I liked them less than the last collection, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. I had been much looking forward to the stories with Mycroft and Moriarty, but found them both on the duller side. I think Agatha Christie made a wise decision when she didn't give her Watson/ Hastings no real profession and let him get married much later in the series. That made his constant presence in the earlier books much easier to explain than Watson's continued absences from his home and practice.
Listening on and enjoying The Hound of the Baskervilles much more which is another re-read for me.

Rating: 3 stars/ 3.5 audio

Other books:
stuck in Fontamara, Green Henry and even in A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote which has an average reading time of under 30 minutes. I'd better start listening to those January IAC and BAC books now, eye-reading seems completely impossible!

Had a lovely Sunday with my parents who for once are happy with their appartment. We decorated the (first-time plastic) tree together, went to two Christmas markets, and with the sun gone and several gluehweins in us, I quickly showed them my appartment, hoping for mildness on their side. It worked okay, but we all decided it would be nicer spending Christmas in their more spacious holiday appartment. My mum gave signs of having caught a cold, I hope she won't fall ill this time. My grandmother had a bit of a nervous crisis last Thursday night and was (on her wish) turned to the hospital over the weekend. She has those "fits" every year around Christmas, claims she wants to die and then recovers, we very much hope it's the same this year. All doctors said that organically she's 100% fine and that it's all in the mind. We hope for the best.

Edited: Dec 18, 2017, 2:28am Top

Christmas do sounds... well... painful. Glad there were nice spots this year - and massively glad that I don't have to do one this year :)

Also glad you got to have a nice Sunday with your parents - fingers crossed that it continues well (and for your Grandmother).

Dec 18, 2017, 8:54am Top

>172 Deern: Wow, looks great!

Dec 18, 2017, 9:12am Top

Also in awe at the food. We had a curry, and a choice of puds, which (with a cocktail) for £5, seemed like very good value.

Dec 19, 2017, 2:03am Top

>174 BekkaJo: Thank you for the crossed fingers, so far it helped! :)

>175 drneutron: Yes, I'm always amazed how they manage to do all those beautiful plates for more than 100 people and have great quality (only one of the starters was too cold). Of course at least half of the guys were complaining about small servings like every year, but they could have seconds of the main.

>176 charl08: That's important for my boss, he wants us all (and himself of course) to have one really nice dinner and good wines for Christmas. But I would also have happily taken curry (yum!) and puds, that's really great value!

It's beautifully cold and sunny here and the forecast promises another 2 weeks of sun, though higher (too high for Christmas) temps. So no white Christmas here I'm afraid. My parents accidentally already got their main present. I had prepaid part of their bill for the appartment, and my dad decided he wanted to pay everything on arrival. So after a bit of wondering why the amount was lower than expected I confessed. :)

Dec 19, 2017, 3:20am Top

That was a lovely and thoughtful gift you gave the parents, Nathalie. A way to make it a happy visit. Brava!

Dec 19, 2017, 1:00pm Top

Hi Nathalie! That was a kind present, and a little funny that he discovered it too quickly!

Dec 20, 2017, 6:20pm Top

It is! Your company holiday dinner looks like it was fun. I loved the photo.

Dec 21, 2017, 2:20am Top

>178 richardderus:, >179 The_Hibernator:, >180 sibyx: Thank you Richard, Rachel and Lucy! Well, it was the only option this year that really made sense for the parents who just moved out of their house and still have more stuff than they'll ever need and who have no real hobbies. I thought a contribution to the time we're going to spend together would be really nice.

I'm totally stressed at work and for the last two days had a bad headache which still hasn't disappeared. Every day a new year-end catastrophe comes up and I'm working (and sitting staring at the screen ==> headache) from 7am to 6pm almost non-stop. It's enough now. I'm glad I already wrapped all my gifts and have the house quite clean except for the fresh dust and some washing I'll have to do.

Did my Christmas grocery shopping yesterday for my Saturday cooking. I'll make a vegetable broth (Ottolenghi recipe with some personal additions) and store-bought pumpkin tortellini as a vegetarian substitute for the traditional tortellini in brodo, one of the most heart- and stomach-warming dishes I can imagine for Christmas. Then I'll make a cauliflower salad (guardian recipe) with pomegranate seeds, mint leaves and pistachio for myself, my parents will have salmon and (the perfect) store-bought vitello tonnato from a local delicatessen. Dessert will be a layered dish of ladyfingers soaked in a mix of plums, cinnamon and schnaps, then Greek yogurt and whipped cream, topped with cantuccini crumbs. I wanted to do it with lemon and limoncello this year, but parents insisted on the plums and schnaps :). So if we'll all stay healthy and happy (fingers crossed!) this will be our dinner on the 24th. For the 25th we have booked a table for lunch and on the 26th the Christmas market reopens and we'll snack around.

I might do my LT rounds already tomorrow if work allows and then more or less disappear from the internet until the 27th, I'll spend most of the time at my parents' appartment and maybe also sleep there on the couch as there will be (light but too much to drive) drinking.

Dec 21, 2017, 4:07am Top

Your meal sounds wonderful Nathalie. Waiting by the door for my invitation (!) I managed to persuade my parents to have some of the refugee guys over to watch a football match the week after Xmas. Should be interesting...

Dec 21, 2017, 6:34am Top

>182 charl08: I managed to persuade my parents to have some of the refugee guys over to watch a football match the week after Xmas ==> put on the list of things my parents would never ever do. Not even for Christmas. My mum would say "who ever did anything for us..." *sigh* How lovely your parents invited them over!

Dec 21, 2017, 6:46am Top

85. "The Twelve Days of Christmas" illustrated by Anna Wright
I followed Guardian links to newly illustrated childrens' books and got Kindle versions of this one and another edition of A Christmas Carol illustrated by Quentin Blake. I'd never heard of this poem before and must admit I don't really get it (must read wiki), but the illustrations are truly beautiful!

Rating: I think I never rated an illustrated book. 5 it wasn't as I can't relate to the poem (yet), so let's say 4?

86. The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
And another one down... I liked it a lot this second time as well, but had forgotten who the killer was and was quite disappointed by the easy resolution. Clearly Agatha Christie has spoiled me - I even suspected the supposed victim! Very good points however about emotional abuse in relationships, quite modern insights. Great narration as ever.

Rating: 4 stars/ audio 4.5 stars

87. A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote
A BB from Donna's thread. Can't believe it took me almost a week to read this, but my excuse it that I hate reading on the iphone, and this one had lovely illustrations by Beth Peck I wanted to see in color, so the paperwhite wouldn't do. Nice story, but it was the ending that really hit home. *sniff*

Rating: 4.5 stars

Dec 21, 2017, 8:24am Top

Sorry work is so harsh Nathalie - I'll admit, I can't wait for tomorrow either. I'm off then till 3rd of Jan, having managed to wangle some annual leave and flexi time. Here's hoping the kids give me a bit of peace (yeah right, I know!).

Your dinner definitely sounds lovely. And much lighter than I suspect mine will be!

Dec 21, 2017, 2:52pm Top

Happy Yule Book Flood!

Dec 22, 2017, 4:12am Top

>185 BekkaJo: I'm hoping for all half days next week and 2 days off the week after (the 4th and 5th). Another stupid thing came up last night just before leaving, praying now that "peace and quiet" will finally also arrive in these office rooms.

Quite light except for the dessert hopefully. I've had so much bad food in the last weeks and especially since my parents arrived, I'm craving veggies and broth! (seriously!) What are you having? Our lunch on the 25th will certainly be heavier than the dinner on the 24th though. :)

>186 richardderus: Lovely, the same to you, Richard! :)

Dec 22, 2017, 5:01am Top

Okay, I know a dog in the snow isn't very festive, but it's such a happy pic of my aunt's old dog Anton who recovered from a very bad spell this autumn, that I decided to make him my Christmas messenger this year. He's religion-neutral and brings a bit of snow to all of us who once again won't have a white Christmas:

A Very Merry Christmas or Very Happy Holidays to all my dear LT friends and their loved ones.
May there be lots of great books under the tree or in the stockings, may there be your favorite foods on the table,
May there be joy and laughter and above all lots and lots of love around you and everywhere in the world.


Dec 23, 2017, 10:41am Top

Happy Holidays to you and your loved ones.

Dec 23, 2017, 12:48pm Top

>183 Deern: Funny story, we gave the invitations yesterday, and one guy couldn't come. As I was leaving, he suggested he could come home with me that evening and watch Arsenal instead.
Um, no.
I rather liked that he felt he could ask though!

Dec 24, 2017, 11:05am Top

Happy holidays! I am thankful this holiday season for all the good friends I have made in this group. You are all so supportive. I don't know what I'd do without you!

Dec 24, 2017, 2:25pm Top

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

Dec 24, 2017, 3:06pm 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, 9:54pm Top

Wishing you all good things this holiday season and beyond.

Dec 24, 2017, 10:42pm Top

I'm so glad you liked A Christmas Memory, Nathalie. Aren't the illustrations lovely? Speaking of which, that was a lovely picture of you at the party. I hope you are having a splendid Christmas with your parents.

May the joy of the season continue into the New Year!

Dec 25, 2017, 4:41am Top

Wishing you a Merry Christmas from Philadelphia, Nathalie!

Dec 27, 2017, 3:14am Top

Good Morning Barbara, Charlotte, Rachel, Rhian, Roni, Paul, Donna and Darryl, thank you for visiting and leaving good wishes!

I joined the new group last night when only Barbara's and Rachel's threads were up, I guess when I check now there'll be a wave of threads to be starred. I might open mine as well, but as in the last 2 years I'll avoid all the double thread frenzy as I find it quite overwhelming and only post in the 2018 group only from Jan 1st on (at least that's the plan).

Had a lovely and peaceful Christmas with my parents. On the 24th we went to the Christmas market and met some of my friends for an aperitivo. Then we watched some TV together (for once my mum didn't "have to clean" until late) and started dinner early. My parents added some Maggi flavor to my broth to add some meaty taste and weren't too happy with the traditional Italian pumpkin ravioli which are made with amaretto and a bit sweetish. They liked the spinach ricotta ones much more. After salad and soup we all were too full for any salmon/ cauliflower salad and went straight to the fake-trifle dessert of which I had made 2 variations: plums with schnaps and lemon/limoncello. Both were really good. Everyone was happy with their presents. As usual, I got no books, but a beautiful pyjama and two lovely warm sweaters.

On the 25th we met Chrystle and Floh and had a delicious 3-course lunch in a restaurant near my parents' appartment. I had to go pescetarian for the first time in ages, there wasn't a single vegetarian option on the menu (normally they have them), the restaurant was packed and I didn't want to stress the kitchen. I had trofie (curly pasta) with scallops and a bit of crab meat and then gratinated scallops with spinach. I exchanged the second round of scallops with side purée and veggies from the others who were happy with their "surf & turf". Dessert was a coffee and almond parfait, not too sweet, just perfect.

In the afternoon we watched "Love Actually" and of course the "Muppets Christmas Carol". No dinner, we were all stuffed. Yesterday I took a long walk with my dad, then we all visited two Christmas markets and I finally tried the glüh-beer. Ew, never again - totally vile, I took just one sip. Overall it was far less busy than we had expected, I hope the next days will bring more tourists/ customers for the stall owners.

Back to work today, but only in the morning. We got a bit of snow last night, but now it's raining and should continue for two days. Christmas was sunny and cold - perfect.

Dec 27, 2017, 3:45am Top

Your holiday sounds great, Nathalie. Except for the glu- beer :-)

The Christmas market in Edinburgh was unbelievably busy when I went a few weeks ago. Truly a British experience, with queues everywhere.

I'm going to follow you and try to avoid a 2018 thread until the 1st Jan. I hope that will also give me time to come up with a title...

Dec 27, 2017, 8:59am Top

I'm so glad you had a fine Christmas and the food sounds so delicious!

And I'm glad too that your mother was able to relax a little bit.

Edited: Dec 28, 2017, 4:50am Top

>198 charl08: I'm always amazed at the queuing discipline of the Italians (contrary to the non-existing one of the Germans). I saw this again at our Christmas market this year. Real orderly lines in front of some stalls, with prams, dogs and everything.

>199 sibyx: Well, my mum is now spending about 3 hrs every day cleaning the holiday appartment and another hour folding clothes. It's turning worse by the year. Still, it was an improvement compared to the Christmasses in the big house. You can only dust those 50m² so many times... *sigh*

The food was really good! I started my office walks again this morning despite the snow. We're going out for dinner or lunch every day now and always have wine, and I fear I'll burst by the 7th when they're leaving unless I can get rid of some of those calories.

Yes, we had heavy snowfalls all day yesterday, and while it was all wet and is now melting, the next ones have been announced for Saturday, then we'll get high temps and sun on Sunday and snow and cold again on Monday. Quite the up and down, but we need the water, so I'll try not to complain too much. :)

Dec 29, 2017, 5:15am Top

OMG, just started my walks again and now my colleague Sharon brought THIS to the office this morning:

It's a Sacher! Okay, it WAS a Sacher. *sigh*
I need more exercise!

Dec 29, 2017, 7:30am Top

Nice. Is that a dessert?

Dec 29, 2017, 7:39am Top

Happy belated Christmas, Nathalie!
>172 Deern: Wow! Your office dinner looks very eclectic, very delicious too and something I would enjoy as well.
>201 Deern: Well, that's a work of art!.....a very rich and sweet work of art! Glad you didn't deprive yourself!
Yeah for walking again.

Dec 29, 2017, 9:14am Top

That cake looks amazing Nathalie. It would be rude not to!

Dec 29, 2017, 11:13am Top

Glad you had such a great holiday.

Dec 29, 2017, 12:49pm Top

You Christmas sounds lovely :) Glad it went so well.

Plus Muppet Christmas Carol and Love actually - two of my faves.

Dec 29, 2017, 4:56pm Top

>201 Deern: Looks fabulous. Never saw a Sacher like that one.

Dec 29, 2017, 8:05pm Top

>201 Deern: You had my bit for me, so the fattening qualities came transAtlantically to me. Happy Yule.

Dec 30, 2017, 5:07am Top

>202 kidzdoc: Hi Darryl, well -it's a cake and we have that "coffee and cake in the afternoon" tradition in Germany, we usually don't eat them as dessert, they have their extra mealtime. :)
This one however was eaten as second breakfast, I guess it can't get any unhealthier?

A Sachertorte is a classic cake from Vienna, but like the strudels it's very popular here. It's (for my taste) almost unbearably sweet: 2 or 3 layers of chocolate sponge, apricot jam filling, covered in more apricot jam and chocolat glaze. This one had a very high quality, but I felt oversugared all day long.

>203 Carmenere: Sounds stupid, but when it comes to those cakes I wish I could deprive myself without being impolite. It's not the calories, it's just that personally I like my sweets far less sweet. And when I bake and reduce the sugar to my own liking, the recipes still work out, so that whole "you can't mess around with pastry recipes" stuff you hear in cooking shows is just a myth.

That office Christmas dinner was more to my taste, especially the main.

>204 charl08: That's the thing, it would be rude not to. :)
My colleague's partner is a Konditor/Pattissier and he made that cake especially for us.

>205 The_Hibernator: Yes, it was lovely! Thank you!

>206 BekkaJo: Thank you Bekka! Yes, those two movies are a must, and the little Lord Fountleroy is always shown on TV on the 23 rd. Now my dad and I are plotting to get "Die Hard" pastmy mum for New Year's. :)

Dec 30, 2017, 5:20am Top

>207 Ameise1: Too pretty to eat(that's what I had hoped in vain) :)
Sharon had especially asked for the houses and the river with the bridge. Very wintery and cosy loooking.

>208 richardderus: That's so nice, thank you {{{Richard}}}. And happy Yule to you!


I shopped veggies and a new cook book and some seitan sausages to eat with sauerkraut on New Year's Day (brings money in Germany). I cooked red lentils (bring money in Italy) with ginger and carrots, did the washing for my parents, and will again spend the next two days at their place.

I finished a great book yesterday, Fontamara by Ignazio Silone, written in times of Italian fascism and describing the situation in a small and very poor village in the South. Totally transferable to our times with new "strong" politicians coming up and the people being more ready to tear each other in pieces than to rise against fascism and corruption and for more social solidarity. True and depressing.

I doubt I will read any more this year, so I'll end 2017 with 88 books, one of my weakest years since joining LT. 2018 can only get better, I hope?

Dec 30, 2017, 5:26am Top

So, you'll get a fortune in 2018 :-)

Dec 30, 2017, 5:34am Top

>209 Deern: Good luck, Nathalie, getting "Die Hard" past your mum :-)

>210 Deern: I have Fontamara waiting on the shelves, I hope to read it next year.

Dec 30, 2017, 7:09pm Top

>209 Deern: Yikes. That sounds too sweet for me.

Dec 31, 2017, 4:16am Top

>211 Ameise1: Well, I'll do my best, I'll also wear my red underwear, another Italian big must. Even supermarkets sell it the days before NYE. :)

>212 FAMeulstee: I hope you'll like it. The language is very simple (the plot is narrated by the people from Fontamare), but I found it quite impressive. I'll read more Silone.

>213 kidzdoc: Where I lived until 2016 there was a patisserie that uses less sugar, also for the Sacher, they're the exception. We got my dad a bday Sacher there for his 70th and it was vers good.

Dec 31, 2017, 4:24am Top

Just to be complete and very short as I'm typing on my mum's ipad.

88. Fontamara by Ignazio Silone
As I said above, a great timeless book about a small village in the Italian South during the rise of fascism.
Rating: 4.5 stars

89. The Return Of Sherlock Holmes by Artur Conan Doyle
Continued listening of the complete works. This was a very joyful one, maybe with the exception of the first story with Holmes' return from the dead. Doyle was smart enough to rid Watson of both his practice and wife, without explicitely saying she was dead (mentioning only "the loss") and I enjoyed the idea that the ex-wife is alive and well and living with the young doctor who took over the practice whenever Watson was away with Holmes in the earlier books. I know Holmes and Watson are not meant to be romantic with each other, but the handholding was sweet. :)
Rating: 4 stars/audio 4.5

Dec 31, 2017, 4:26am Top

So, typing this at my parents' holiday appt while they're in the shower, it might be the only free moment today. And yes, these 3 weeks together are lovely, but also very very demanding.

Wishing you all a HAPPY SLIDE into 2018 / einen Guten Rutsch and all the best for 2018!!!

See you over in the new group when I'm back in the office.

Dec 31, 2017, 6:30am Top

Happy New Year, Natalie, and I look forward to starring your new thread when it appears!

Dec 31, 2017, 7:29am Top

Happy Slide to you too, Nathalie!!

Dec 31, 2017, 5:26pm Top

view from Zürich's landmark mountain Üetliberg

Jan 1, 2018, 4:25am Top

Happy New Year Nathalie :)

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2017

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