Carsten's (ctpress) 2018 - Take and Read - part 1
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OK, dropping Danish artists for now - I love this painting and since it's winter - and I have this postcard at home - it will do as a start of 2018
I'm living in Copenhagen, Denmark. Working as a journalist and I'm almost always reading some classic. But new literature will slip through.
The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Out of the Silent Planet (Space Trilogy, Book One) by C. S. Lewis
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Book 4) by J.K. Rowling
The Two Towers by J. R. R. Tolkien (LOTR-trilogy, Part 2)
8. Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien (Book 1) (1954) 5/5 - reread
7. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling (1999) 4/5 - reread - audiobook
6. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling (1998) 4,5/5 - reread - audiobook
5. Walden by Henri David Thoreau (1854) Rating: 5/5 - reread
4. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J. K. Rowling (1997) 4,5/5 - reread - audiobook
3. The Winged Watchman by Hilda van Stockum (1962) 3/5 - audiobook
2. The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells (1897) 4/5 - reread - audiobook
1. Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame (1908) 5/5 reread - audiobook
I only read 29 books in 2017 so it was below my normal amount of books, but three things stood out for me last year:
1. Rereads: Of 29 books 12 was rereads, so about one-third. That was one of my goals. More rereads.
2. My Brontënathon: Read the remaining Brontë-books I had not read. Read five in all.
3. Small “group-reads”: Reading and discussing He Wants by Alison Moore and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall was such a joy. I got so much more out of both novels being able to get other views and interpretations of them. Hope to continue with that.
New reads in 2017 (excluding rereads) these three stood out:
1. The Reawakening by Primo Levi (non-fiction)
2. Shirley by Charlotte Brontë
3. Water from a Deep Well by Gerald Sittser (non-fiction)
Hi Carsten! Long time no *see* ;)
Hope you are doing well, and that you come across some fantastic reads this year.
Hi Megan - true, long time no *see* - I was not very active on LT last half of 2017 - and very little reading....hopefully it will change in 2018. Best wishes for the new reading year to you too :)
Thanks, Anita. I really hope to get into some more reading in 2018. Last part of 2017 was really slow for me, readingvise.
I'll get my thread set up later. Happy New Thread, Carsten! Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Glad to see you back!
Thanks Deborah. Hopefully I can be more active on LT than the last part of 2017. It's been rather slow reading for me.
Ok, I couldn't help myself. Always so fun to make so here it is again, although not so many books this year to pick from:
Describe yourself: Master and Commander
Describe how you feel: Surprised by Joy
Describe where you currently live: Alice in Wonderland
If you could go anywhere, where would you go: North & South
Your favorite form of transportation: A Philosophy of Walking
Your best friend is: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
You and your friends are: Mike and Psmith
What's the weather like: Fahrenheit 451
You fear: Dark Matter
What's the best advice you have to give?: Stand Firm: Resisting the Self-Improvement Craze
Thought for the day: “There’s so much we don’t have to do” (Der er så meget vi ikke er nødt til)
How I would like to die: Simon’s Night
My soul's present condition: Great Expectations
I'm glad you gave the meme a twirl anyway! Your answers worked well. Hope you have a great year of reading in 2018!
Welcome back! Got some Tolkien going on, I see... I'm thinking of a re-read this year starting with Silmarilion and going through the trilogy. We'll see how that works out. 😁
Love the thought for the day - and happy new year. I will be following along. I don't think I've come across your topper art before - very sweet.
Hi Carsten, Wishing you all the best reading in the New Year. Who cares about numbers!! I can always count on you to be reading some very interesting books. I am now going to go straight to my very overloaded "kids" shelves and pick out The Wind in the Willows with thanks. Your reading makes me think I should go to the original sources. This is a very contrarian point of view but I do really like Kathryn Schulz writing. You may want to have peek after you have read the Thoreau.
Yes, I have my bags half packed. I have your new thread starred.
Amber - Yes, it's a reread and I'm enjoying the audiobook.
Lori - Thanks - The meme went surprisingly well despite the lack of choice :) I hope for much joy of reading this year.
Rachel - Thanks - also good wishes for your year of reading.
Jim - I have Silmarillion lined up as well. I've never read it, but was thinking of reading it after LOTR. I'm fearing it a little bit, but maybe I get into his fantasy world through LOTR.
Charlotte - Yes, I have to remind myself of that thought a lot.
Mary - Ah, I'm enjoying Wind in the Willows so much. A good listen for this new year. Ah, a contrarian in deed, but I agree with a lot of what she says, and wow, good writing. I think I'm almost tempted to defend my dear Thoreau a bit, but I'll wait to the review to tell you why I read it for the third time :) I've actually been to Concord and walked around the lake etc.
Nancy - Thanks. Hope your reading year will be filled with good books.
Brodie - And a happy new year to you
Amber - Michael Hordern is narrating - and he's doing a fine job of it.
Mary - No, not offended at all. I know little about Thoreau's life other than what is presented in Walden. Her critique of my dear (idealized, no doubt) Thoreau is hard to swallow so I must read more about him. I found a Ted talk where she talks on Being Wrong. Could she be wrong on Thoreau :)
Have to see it later today. Interesting.
Happy New Year
Happy New Group here
This place is full of friends
I hope it never ends
It brew of erudition and good cheer.
Paul - Happy new year to you too. Sure is a wonderful group.
Anita - Glad to hear of another "Walden-admirer". "Charmed" describes my own feelings about him. I think he's quite witty with all his irony and deliberate exaggerations. There's a certain enchantment you feel when he muses over nature and his relationship towards it.
>23 ctpress: Smile on face..."could Schultz been wrong about Thoreau?"
It would be a fun question to ask her.
1. Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame (1908) 5/5 reread - audiobook - narration by Michael Hordern - excellent.
Five reasons why I love Wind in the Willows
1. Playfulness: It’s pure delight when Mole decides to drop his spring cleaning and begin to enjoy a day of rest and play and leisure in the company of his new found friend, Ratty. Grahame reminds us of this essential part of “human” life, remember to take time of to enjoy life and rest and have fun.
2. True friendship: This is specially seen in the way they have patience with the silly conceited Toad and keep rescuing him and save him from himself. As William Horwood writes in the preface: “Kindness is at the very heart of “The Wind in the Willows”, the kindness that makes one character put the interests and needs of another first. For these are not characters out to gain advantage over each other.”
3. Sweet Home (Dulce Domum): The scene where Mole feel homesickness and they decide to find his place and he invites Ratty in to his humble dwellings is priceless. Even the caroling field mice have a feast there. It reminds me of this essential breathing space - a home where meals unite family and friends - an almost holy place where we find renewed energy.
4. Transcendence: How to interprete the chapter “The Piper at the Gates of Dawn”? The mysterious Friend, nature god Pan, this awe and reverence in the presence of something transcendent - the feeling of both joy and sadness. It’s just a miracle.
5. Poetic nature: Grahames poetic descriptions of nature is remarkable. You just feel a desire to experience it all in its fullness. The wind, the grass, the sun, the snow, the river bank.
Hey there Carsten, thanks for the kind prayers! Much appreciated. Gosh, I read Wind in the Willows back when I was a kid, but maybe I need to do a re-read. Of course as grade school child, I did not take in what the book was about except on a surface level.
Great review of why you loved the book! Thumb!
Happy New Year Carsten! I love your topper too!
Thanks, Deborah - I didn't read this as a child, but now I've read it three times since I began reading the children literature classics. Definitely a story for all ages to enjoy.
>28 ctpress: Great review of the Wind in the Willows! I love how you've structured your praise.
Thanks, Amber. The re-listening didn’t dissapoint. I would gladly listen to more by Hordern.
So glad you loved Wind in the Willows as much as I did. Fabulous, and I just adored it as an audiobook. Thumb!
Yes, it was a good start on the new year, Nancy. Whenever I’m in a book slump it normally works to go for a reread classic.
Hi, Carsten. Dropping a star.
I see that you're reading Walden - I've never read it, but have visited Walden's Pond twice, once just this past summer. Unfortunately, this trip it was so crowded there was no parking so we couldn't get out and walk around, but we did manage to get a view of the pond. The surrounding area is a great place to visit. Walter Gropius of Bauhaus fame lived there, and one can visit his house, which is absolutely fantastic. From Gropius' front yard, one can see Marcel Breuer's house, which is unfortunately unavailable for tours. I love that in a town that is dominated by formal colonial architecture that there are these two modern structures. Just down the road is the de Cordova art museum which has a large sculpture garden. And of course the houses of the Alcotts, Hawthornes, and Emersons, along with Author's Ridge at the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. A great place for book lovers!
Thanks for the "star", Robin - and for sharing the interesting travel to Walden's Pond.
I was there myself many years ago, but unfortunately the trip was cut short as I had some visa-problems and had to fly back to Denmark earlier than anticipated. Fortunately, I did get to walk around Walden's Pond and see the place where his house was built. And I also visited The Alcott House and Emersons, so - all in all - I enjoyed my short stay there. Would gladly come back and explore some more someday. Didn't know about the modern structures and the other things you mention.
On reading-plans and lists etc.
I have downsized my reading plans this year - keeping a low profile :)
Well, two things I do hope to do. Continue with my rereads (which went well last year) starting with the most famous novels by H. G. Wells - and then make progress on Newbery-medal/ honors-books and 1001 Children’s Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up. They will probably coincide.
I think I will ignore my other book-lists for the moment - didn’t make progress last year and will probably not make so much progress this year as I’m rereading a lot. We'll see.
Inspired by Robin (rretzler) I've also made a list of the Newbery Award medal and honor books I've read. I have to say the Newbery books I've read so far have been of a very high standard.
2004: The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
1990: Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
1986: Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan
1984: Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary
1973: Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
1972: Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien
1970: Sounder by William H. Armstrong
1968: From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
1963: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
1962: The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare
1961: Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell
1959: The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
1956: Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham
1945: Rabbit Hill by Robert Lawson
1944: Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes
1936: Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink
1923: The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting
2008: The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt
1988: Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
1960: My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
1957: Old Yeller by Fred Gipson
1953: Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
1939: Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard & Florence Atwater
I keep forgetting that you're working on the Newberys and the 1001 Children's Books, too. I look forward to following your reads in those categories!
>28 ctpress: Great review. It's a classic I keep eyeing on my TBR list.
Amber - I think I originally became aware of the Newbery award through your thread some years ago - and your impressive read of the list - I dropped all lists last year and are only focusing on these two for now, Newbery and 1001 Childrens Books...
Marie - It's highly recommended. One of those that are definitely for all ages - and some parts of it mainly for adults I think.
>38 ctpress: In my early LT days, I started with the Newbery list, but so many are not translated. So I went back to the 3 main Dutch prizes for childrens/YA.
I"ve read quite a few of the Newbery Award Winners by virtue of my elementary school library, where the librarian featured Newbery and Caldecott Winners , and my mom encouraged me to read " Children's Classics" . I recall really enjoying Caddie Woodlawn , The Witch of Blackbird Pond, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler , A Wrinkle in Time,The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle, Charlotte's Web and others from the list you have.
I checked my local library, but The Wind in the Willows is currently on load. I'll maybe put a hold on it.
Anita - A lot of them are not translated into Danish either. I normally listen to the audiobook versions in English - I find children's books are perfectly as audiobooks. The 1001 Children's Books.. have a wider selection with more European books.
At the moment I'm listening to The Winged Watchman - I guess you've heard of that one...
Deborah - Growing up my main intake was Danish children's books - series of books with young people solving crimes etc. as was popular in the days. Also a lot of Enid Blyton. Not many of the Newbery books was translated into Danish. Wind in the Willows is a treat. I think you'll like it.
2. The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells (1897) 4/5 - reread - audiobook narrated by Scott Brick
Read and reviewed this in 2010. It's an excellent narration and a suspenseful chilling story - I like the way it's told first from the village-peoples perspective as they encounter the invisible man with bewilderment and horror - and then you get the perspective from the invisible man himself and his tragic story.
Next one is H. G. Wells' The Time Machine.
>41 ctpress: Oh, excellent! That makes me happy, especially since you're enjoying them so much! I've finished the actual Newbery Medal winners and am now trying to work through the Newbery Honor Books, and there are tons of those.
Amber - Reading all the Honor books is a big project. But I think it's a list with very high quality so definitely worth it.
Wow, Carsten! You are really cracking along with the reading! Great re- read of The Invisible Man . I've yet to read that classic. Yes, you make an excellent point- of course in Denmark you would not have had access to Newberry Winners! Doh from me. I too really enjoyed Enid Blyton when I was young. Great choice!
Yes, Deborah - I'm in the mood for reading right now. I'm excited to reread some novels by H. G. Wells this year - such a good imagination and a pioneer sci-fi novelist.
Great point about The Invisible Man, Carsten, and hid tragic story, in spite of the horror he incites in others.
Nancy - My sympathies is with the Invisible Man despite is anger and cruelty - maybe Wells want me to care for the doctor and the other victims but I don’t. Hmm...
Megan - It feels good to be able to say “Of course I’ve read H. G. Wells”.
>44 ctpress: I registrate my readings of the 1001 Children's books at the LT list 1001 Children's Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up and have read 120 of those.
Carsten, can you believe that my local library does not have a copy of The Invisible Man? And amazon ca only has it in kindle format. I guess I''ll be out to the second hand bookstores , sooner than later!
Anita - Thanks for the list, I have to use that as well. Admittedly I will not read the picture books in the young baby age section, but I like to take the book out and look at the pictures and read about the books. Such beautiful illustrations and covers.
Mary - I've favorited it as well.
Deborah - That is a shame and strange. A well-known classic...I have it in a Danish translation as well as the audiobook. I thought you used a Kindle, or do you have another ebook-device? - it can be found for free on ebook-sites in several formats.
>45 ctpress: It's been ages since I read that one but I definitely recall it being 'chilling'. Enjoy your HG Wells reads - I have fond memories of a lot of his books.
Me to for saying hi. Hope all's well Carsten!I have Wind in the Willows sitting on my table but still so many library books jumping the queue.
Rachel, Heather, Deborah, Paul, Mary - Sorry for not responding - I've been too occupied in my mind with other things, but I will start again with updates of my reading this week.
Looking forward to some LT-time again.
Oh fabulous! You are back! I'm looking forward to seeing you more, Carsten. I understand life can sure get in the way. But it's great to " see " you.
Thanks Deborah - I have read a few a few things, so I will start by getting up to date here.
3. The Winged Watchman by Hilda van Stockum (1962) 3/5 - audiobook narrated by John Lee
About a catholic family in occupied Holland during WWII. The Verhagen family - parents and three children, risk their lives several times for the Dutch underground. There's a spy among some of their nearby friends which add to the suspense. Good reading by John Lee.
4. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J. K. Rowling (1997) 4,5/5 - reread - audiobook narrated by Jim Dale
Here's a book that needs no review...remember reviewing it for a Christian magazine. (that was when there were only two novels published, I think) I wrote that it was good, but probably wouldn't be a classic. Hrmph...famous last words. Excellent narration by Jim Dale.
The Winged Watchman sounds interesting, Carsten. I recall when there was some controversy among some Christians regarding the Harry Potter books. A sister of friend of mine would not let her sons read the book. I'm quite certain she has since changed her mind. Was that sort of thing you wrote about in your review, Carsten, or just a review of the book - no pro / con for Christians?
Here is a link to that " discussion" - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_debates_over_the_Harry_Potter_series
Personally, I was just glad that it grabbed my eldest as books that he wanted to read. I recall reading the first book together with him. And going to the movies with the my sons .
Great to see you!
Good question Deborah :)
I only briefly mentioned that controversy about the occult in my review, as it was not a major problem for the readers I was writing to here in Denmark. I think hardly any of them would think that the books encouragees readers to practice the occult.
I rather think the opposite - that the series helps us to see more clearly how to live well with goodness and love in our hearts.
I think Rowlings is very good at describing magic or witchcraft as something you can use or misuse and use for either good or evil - and thereby she also show both virtues and vices in the characters. I like that she restrics the magic with rules and even forbids it in the "real" world so boundaries are set. If you have a magic "gift" you have to mature and grow so you know how to use it for others and not for self-serving purposes.
When magic in fantasy is done well (as in Lord of the Rings, Narnia og Harry Potter - the ones I know of) the magic serves to help us see the battle between good and evil better. In Harry Potter there are certainly selfish dark forces that hunger for power but also goodness and friends who sacrifice everything for each other. I'm inspired by the latter and repelled by the former. And I think the children are as well.
Carsten I am enjoying reading your reviews and your good observations about good/evil , power/goodness, virtues/vices and the need for boundaries and maturity. Nicely said!
>70 ctpress: Great observations and so well written, Carsten. No wonder magazines want your reviews. I agree with your views. There are a surprising number of children's books that have caused some controversy over the years. My own brother and his wife did not let their four kids read a number of books - including those by Roald Dahl as they thought that would encourage bad behaviour in the kids. Neither of them are religious and both of them are educated, one a pediatrician and the other an airline pilot. I know my brother read Roald Dahl in his youth and he was hardly a wild child. It's is odd , the ideas some parents get. Perhaps they've loosened up over the years. What's to worry about - the kids will go mad for chocolate via Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory?
Thanks, Mary - Yes, there's a lot to learn and enjoy from the Potter-universe :)
Thanks, Deborah. Obviously parents need discernment in this regard, but I think they go to far as you mention - ha, they already love chocolate and candy so this is a perfect fantasy :)
Hi Carsten, Nice to see you visit! Hope all's going very well in your world! I'm now reading books about "Lagom" the Swedish word meaning 'just the right amount". So it is advice about how to balance things in life. All good!
I know that word well, Mary. One of my best friends is Swedish amd we travel together every year. He use the word lagom a lot. Doesn’t also contain the idea of contentment?
Happy reading - sounds very interesting. I’ve read quite a lot recently so I’m about ready to post something today or tomorrow.
5. Walden by Henri David Thoreau (1854) Rating: 5/5 - reread
My third reading of Walden - every time I read it I'm again reminded of the enjoyment of the simple pleasures of life - the way Thoreau observes life, nature, solitude, friendship, eating, walking. There's a lot of wisdom in his musings on simplicity, living with less, contentment.
This reading made me see the humour in Thoreau - the way he exaggerates and uses hyperbole as satire to wake us up. I think we could use more of Thoreau's curiosity and wonder of the everyday life.
6. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling (1998) 4,5/5 - reread - audiobook narrated by Jim Dale
I thorougly enjoy listening to this series again. I enjoy the slowly uncovering of more and more secrets concerning Voldemort. Gilderoy Lockhart, Hagrid, Dumbledore, there's so many characters I love whenever they appear. Excellent narration by Jim Dale.
Wonderful reviews of the two books you have read, Carsten. It is great to have you back on LT. I hope all is going well in your part of the world :-)
Thanks Deborah and Mary - I'm doing fine and finally getting back into the "reading-mode". Springtime is here with warm weather and so much sun - we have longed for that for a long time.
>76 ctpress: I need to read it at least just the once!
Have a great weekend, Carsten.
Hi Paul - It's definitely an American classic I'm sure could fit in on one of your lists :)
7. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling (1999) 4/5 - reread - audiobook narrated by Jim Dale
More things are uncovered about the death of Harry's parents and who was involved and in company with Voldemort. I'm really enjoying rereading or actually relistening to this series.
8. Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien (Book 1) (1954) 5/5 - reread
Rereading this now after I've seen the movie-adaptation so many times, it's difficult not to compare the changes in the film-version. From a movie-standpoint there's a lot of improvements to Tolkiens story - fast paced and more action, more jokes, more romance.
However it's a joy to be immersed in Tolkiens universe and the "historical" setting. I love the foreshadowing of events to come. Gandalf sense it, but not in detail. The dark forces are everywhere, very few places to feel safe. And in the book you of course get more detailed description of events and characters.
Ahh, reading some of the old classics, Carsten. I think we can regard the Harry Potter series as classics at this point in time. What do you think? And what will they name the Royal Baby? They are keeping me in suspense for far too long.
Deborah - Well, the guessing is over - how about prince Louis? I wouldn't have guessed that.
The Harry Potter book will certainly be classics I think, for their big cultural impact and sheer imagination. It's a thrill to come to them again - and I'm listening to number four now.
>84 ctpress: I love that book, Carsten. Still my favourite of the trilogy.
Have a wonderful Sunday.
I was also very surprised by Louis, Carsten. Initially I did not care for it, but now I am feeling affection for the name. It's fascinating to know that a series of books of our time are destined to be classics. I don't think Dickens knew in his life time that his" paid by the word" newspaper stories were destined to be classics.
Paul - It's been a long time since I read the LOTR-trilogy, so I can't remember which one I liked best - but as the movie goes my favorite is nr. 1.
Deborah - Yes, fascinating and it's very difficult to tell. Moby Dick was quickly forgotten in Melvilles day, and now it's one of the most solid classics. Guess that will happen to a some novels written today also.
OK, my reading progress is slow. But I'm also reading some big tomes.
Nearly half way through David Copperfield (35 hour audiobook) -
just started Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (500 pages),
one third into The Brothers Karamazov (900 pages)
and half way through Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. (600 pages)
Enjoying them all - all rereads.
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