Carsten's (ctpress) Take and Read - 2013

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Carsten's (ctpress) Take and Read - 2013

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Edited: Apr 6, 2013, 6:23am

Time for a new top image - a painting by the Irish artist Brigit Ganley

OK here we go again, documenting another reading year on LT-75 from my little corner of the world - Denmark. Exciting to start a fresh new thread on the brink of 2013.

My planned reading this year will not be much different from the years before - the classics have a high priority - also classics of sci-fi, spiritual and children's literature - but I guess I can squeeze in some award winning novels and scandi-crime and what else is hot and happening in the world of literature right now....

01. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce (2012) - 4/5
02. The Light Between the Oceans by M. L. Stedman (2012) 5/5
03. Life of Antony by Athanasius (356) 3.5/5
04. Life of Pi by Yann Martel (2002) 2,5/5
05. Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe (1721) 2/5
06. The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndhan (1957) 2/5
07. A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter (1909) 3.5/5

08. Gilead by Marilynne Robinson (2005) 5/5
09. The Small House at Allington by Anthony Trollope (1864) 4/5
10. The Little Flowers of Francis Assisi by Anonymous (ca. 1300) 3/5
11. Tales of Mystery and Terror (Puffin Classics) by Edgar Allan Poe (ca. 1866) 4/5
12. The One Hundred and One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith (1956) 3,5/5
13. Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham (1956) 5/5

14. Final Harvest by Emily Dickinson (ca. 1860) 4,5/5
15. A Conspiracy of Faith by Jussi Adler-Olsen (2010) 4,5/5
16. Stuart Little by E. B. White (1945) 3/5
17. A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving (1998) 4/5
18. Last Crossing Guy Vanderhaeghe (2002) 5/5
19. Breakfast at Tiffany's Truman Capote (1958) 3,5/5

20. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (1890) 4/5 (reread)

Currently reading

Dec 30, 2012, 9:58am

Hi Carsten! Welcome back! I look forward to following your reading in 2013.

Dec 30, 2012, 10:41am

Hi Carsten! *waves*

Dec 30, 2012, 10:51am

Nice to see you again Carsten. Will endeavour to keep up again this year.

Dec 30, 2012, 10:59am

Hi Kerri - likewise - hope it will contain many hours of delightful storytelling and food for the imagination.

Hi Diana - Nice to see someone waving "close" to home here in Europe...

Hi Paul - I'll make an effort not to miss any of your threads this year....I know I have to be quick and alert!

Dec 30, 2012, 12:18pm

Hello my fellow Scandinavian!
Your planned reading for the year sounds not dissimilar to mine (classics and sci-fi dominate my year) so I'm looking forward to seeing what you end up with.

Dec 30, 2012, 2:45pm

#6: Hello - even closer to home :) not so many scandinavians here, so it's a nice surprise.

Edited: Dec 30, 2012, 3:48pm

Hello again Carsten! I always look forward to your review of the Classics because it reminds me I need to read more of them. :) Have a wonderful New Years!

Dec 30, 2012, 4:01pm

Glad to see you back, Carsten! I love the Potter picture up top.

Dec 30, 2012, 5:33pm

Hi Stacia - Happy to be back reporting on another book-year.

Dec 30, 2012, 5:34pm

I will try and stay up with the threads a bit better this year. I am looking forward to seeing what you are reading!

Dec 30, 2012, 10:16pm

Welcome back!

Dec 30, 2012, 11:13pm

Hello, hello! *wave wave*

Dec 30, 2012, 11:17pm

Hi Carsten! I'm back to follow you and your reading in 2013. Happy New Year!

Dec 31, 2012, 5:42am

Great to ' see you" Carsten! I see you just loaded up Gilead by Marilynne Robinson. That sounds wonderful! I can't wait to hear what you think of it! And I see that you are reading a number of books at once! I hope that you enjoy The Unlikely Pilgrimage by Rachel Joyce!.

Happy New Year in advance, Carsten!

Dec 31, 2012, 6:00am

#8: Marie - And a happy new year to you - Yes, I will continue my exploration of the classics. There's fewer each year :)

Hello Jim and Faith - Nice of you to stop by - *waving* back with a happy new year wish

Anne - I'm reading Girl of the Limberlost at the moment and it will be one of the first to finish in the new year. It's very good. Happy New Year.

Deb - Yes, enjoying the walk by Harold Fry. Gilead is in the top of my TBR-pile. Hope to get to it soon. And a happy new year to you :)

Dec 31, 2012, 7:34am

Starred you!

Dec 31, 2012, 8:48pm

Happy NY, Carsten. Here's to 2013's literary adventures!

Dec 31, 2012, 11:20pm

Carsten - apologies for mistakes in advance:


Jan 1, 2013, 2:25am

Happy New Year, Carsten! I wish you a lot of good books for 2013.

Jan 1, 2013, 3:07am

Wishing you a Happy New Year and many great reads in 2013!

Jan 1, 2013, 6:24am

Rhian - thanks, happy new year.

Nancy - Happy new Year. Good to see you back. I'll rush over to your new thread....

Paul - Godt nytår :) nice with a danish version

Monica - yes, a lot of good books I sure hope. Happy new year.

Nathalie - likewise - And a hope for a more peaceful year to you :)

Jan 1, 2013, 6:42am

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Jan 1, 2013, 7:08am

Happy New Year, Carsten!

Jan 1, 2013, 11:01pm

Happy New Year, Carsten, I hope to be able to keep up a bit better this year - famous last words...

Jan 2, 2013, 4:17am

Diana - Happy New Year :)

Genny - famous last words indeed :) a happy book year to you

Edited: Jan 2, 2013, 6:38am

Happy New Year ,Carsten! Yes, I am afraid that a catchy new cover on The Scarlet Letter finally induced me to purchase the classic! How shallow is that. You know the saying " Never judge a book by it's cover." This time I am afraid that I was won over by the new fangled cover! LOL!! :)

Click on my link - it will show you the new cover! :) It seems that at least some of the old classics are getting " fancy new covers", perhaps to better catch the " New Generation" of which I am not a part. But they got me anyway!

Jan 2, 2013, 7:03am

Deb - Ha, ha....I can understand you got hooked :) It has romance written all over it - My own danish version has a picture from the movie-adaptation - a sensuous Demi Moore and a dribbling Gary Oldman caressing :) I think some readers will be disappointed by the lack of dribbleness/dribbling? in the actual story....

Edited: Jan 2, 2013, 7:12am

Before I get too caught up in the year 2013, let me just look back on 2012 - These are stories I remember enjoying a lot - or stories that had a great emotional impact on me - most of them are still quite fresh in my mind.

It's a Top 11 - couldn't get it down to ten.

North & South by Elisabeth Gaskell (1855)
Jack's Life: The Life Story of C.S. Lewis by Douglas Gresham (2005)
Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter (1913)
Adam Bede by George Eliot (1859)
Framley Parsonage by Anthony Trollope (1861)
The Detour by Gerbrand Bakker (2010)
The Way of a Pilgrim and The Pilgrim Continues His Way by Anonymous (1884)
The Redbreast by Jo Nesbo (2001)
The Road by Cormac McCarthy (2005)
My Antonia by Willa Cather (1918)
Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand (2010)

Jan 2, 2013, 7:37am

Hi Carsten, what an interesting list! With a majority of books written almost 100 years ago, you are truly a classics-fan. So what can we expect this year? And do you have an all-time favourite? I'm having a great time with Anna Karenina.

Jan 2, 2013, 6:25pm

Looks like we share quite similar tastes in books. As well as Pollyanna, North and South and Adam Bede are also favourites of mine, although I haven't read either of them for several years.

Jan 2, 2013, 7:54pm

Great list, Carsten! So many of my own favourites on it: North and South, Framley Parsonage, The Detour, and Unbroken. Still need to get to Nesbo and Cather.

Edited: Jan 2, 2013, 11:04pm

Heee hee! Carsten, I nearly drooled with laughter at the description of the cover of your copy of Scarlet Letter. Fear not, I am not expecting romance or bodice ripping - I think maybe Hester is some how is unfairly taken advantage of - and suffers shunning by the Scarlet Letter. But that is just a guess! :)

Jan 3, 2013, 5:31am

Monica - yes a classic-fan for sure. An all time favorite. Ugh. Tough one. Well, you're reading it. Anna Karenina. Dostoevsky called it a "perfect creation" - it has both the deep inner conflicts of the mind and moral observations, tragedy and romance, historical novel from the ballrooms of Sct. Petersburg to the lowest peasant in the country.

But it's not just that. It was the classic novel that really got me going exploring the classics 12 years ago. I just wanted more of the feeling and wisdom that novel gave me.

Edited: Jan 3, 2013, 5:56am

Rhian - It was a good reading year and actually the first four reads of 2012 ended up on my top 11. Happy to find a fellow classics lover :)

Nancy - Going over the top 11 again I think about how many really was the recommendations of friends here at LT. You with Unbroken a World war II story and I think also North and South and pacing me with Trollope. Deb with the Detour. Paul with Redbreast - and Pollyanna was also a recommendation but can't remember which. I think you will love Cather :)

Deb - A good quess :) No bodice ripping but a lot of shunning and moral agony and themes of judgment, sin and forgiveness...

Edited: Jan 3, 2013, 7:15am

Book 1. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce (2012) - 4/5

Harold get the news of of a colleague that are dying of cancer. He sets out to post a letter - and he decides in stead to walk to her and it turns out to be an eventful pilgrimage.

I liked this book best, when it was just Harold on the road by himself meeting strangers. These moments, these situations were truly wonderful - also his wife back home starting to open up to her neighbor. On his long walk we are also introduced to things of the past, slowly we discover truths that alter our perception of the characters. The relationship with his son being the main theme - a theme I didn't think was that successful.

Well, it was wonderful reading by Jim Broadbent - one that added to my rating. A slow, careful, pensive reading. Just like Harold - and then Harold does this thing without thinking, totally out of character. And life opens up...I feel like rereading Thoreau's wonderful essay on Walking. Well, I might just do that.

Jan 3, 2013, 12:37pm

for an excellent review of The Unlikely Pilgrimage, Carsten. I expect Jim Broadbent would be a fabulous narrator!

Jan 3, 2013, 12:52pm

Thanks, Nancy. Unfortunately there's nothing else by Jim Broadbent on audible - except for a few short stories.

Jan 4, 2013, 9:55am

36: First book bullet of the poor wishlist is in for it.

Jan 4, 2013, 10:16am

Carsten, clearly we must get our dear friend Nancy to read The Unlikely Pilgrimage, plus , oh , let's say The Light Between Oceans.. We'll try not to pressure her too much. :)

Great review - and so glad that you are reading The Light Between Oceans. You are sure to enjoy it!

Jan 4, 2013, 11:58am

Excellent review of The Unlikely Pilgrimage. I'll put this one on my wishlist. I was about to put The Light Between Oceans on my wishlist as well. Before I do that, I always check if a nearby library has it or if I will need to put in an extra effort. I noticed my local library has, but it was lended... till I noticed I'm the one who did so... Absent-minded or just getting used to a hard day's work at the office? Anyway, I'll probably read the book soon (if I don't forget it).

So far I love Anna Karenina. It's a lot better than I had expected (feared) nd I can see why you felt like reading more classics after you'd read that one.

Edited: Jan 4, 2013, 1:43pm

Marie - Yes, it's a vicious circle with that wishlist. You try to trim it and it grows even longer :)

Deb - Yes, we have to get Nancy going on Harold Fry and the Lighthouse :)

Monica - Ha, ha - I have bought a book I later found out I already had - there you go - not the only distracted person here :) Glad you like Anna Karenina - adding to your question of the best classic ever - do you have a favorite? As an afterthought I think maybe the best one - not in a literary sense but personally maybe should be one you want to return to several times. And for me it will be the novels of Jane Austen - and then Jane Eyre - all of them I read twice and some of them three or four times. And I will most likely read them again.

Jan 4, 2013, 3:41pm

Nice best of list! The Road remains one of my all time favourites. And the only other one there that calls to me is the Detour. I have had that one on my radar for a while as well.
Great to have you back in for another round, Carsten!

Jan 4, 2013, 3:44pm

I didn't like The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry as much as most people did. It was cute and all...but I've never been a big fan of books which dwell on a lifetime of bad decisions. On the other hand, I didn't dislike it. :)

Jan 4, 2013, 5:59pm

Hi Megan - yes, I think you would like The Detour. Together with The Lighthouse by Alison Moore it's one of those novels last year I reflected most about.

Hi Rachel - I thought about that when I was listening to it. There was too many flashbacks - and a lot of the times I enjoyed mostly what happened on the road with Harold. But I loved the way he came to terms with his life - and the way the walk put everything in perspective for him.

Jan 4, 2013, 10:00pm

Carsten - enjoyed your top 11 - good trend why should it be ten anyways?!

Good review of the Harold Fry - looking forward to a paperback version over here.

Have a great weekend and I hope it is not too cold there.

Jan 4, 2013, 11:39pm

Great list, Carsten! Who says there have to be 10?

Edited: Jan 5, 2013, 3:17am

Paul - no, it's actually not cold at all. 2-3 degrees celcius which is quite mild this time of year. Thinking of going for a long walk today and listen to Life of Pi - he is struggling with a tiger at the moment and it's all very exciting :)

Anne (and Paul) - Exactly. Those lists should come in all form and sizes - after all, it's MY list....or do you think the Top 10-police will hunt me down?

Jan 5, 2013, 5:27pm

2-3 degrees celcius which is quite mild this time of year.

Jan 5, 2013, 5:30pm

49. 2-3 Celsius is extremely warm for this time of year (in my part of the world). It's been a very warm January so far, usually January is the coldest month of the year and averages of -25 Celsius is fairly common. We had -30 and colder a few times last year and that's not even close to a record.

Jan 5, 2013, 8:08pm

Carsten, where I live they open the "Extreme Cold Shelters" for the homeless when the temp gets down to about 2-4 Celcius. I don't think that is what most folks picture Canada as being like, temperature wise. Vancouver is very warm compared to the rest of Canada, though. We our on the Pacific Ocean and we get what the meteorologists call " The Pineapple Express" from Hawaii. Rainy but much cooler than Hawaii. Around this time of year -temps average around 6 C. When it snows or freezes the city shuts down.. truly!

Oh Carsten I feel your pain as far The Light Between Oceans goes. Such dilemmas that the characters get themselves into. Sometimes when I'm reading I get so anguished that I have to peek at the ending bit.. not that I'm suggesting that. shhh it's my little secret! :)

Edited: Jan 6, 2013, 2:55am

Yes, Megan. 2-3 degree celcius. We can't believe our luck :)

50 - I guess you live in the north of Sweden? I've been there a few times for skiing and yes, it can get very cold......

Deborah - I thought it would be colder in people (and me) still ride bicycle when it's below zero...

I will keep your little secret, don't worry. After reading about Harold and Futh it's also nice to read about a secluded soul like Tom who seems to be more "normal" so to speak and genuinly good-hearted...which makes the approaching heartache even more painful. I won't peak or rush. I enjoy all the details and descriptions. Like the joy and fear over the unexpected "gift". Just this quote:

“The simple fact was that, sure as a graft will take and fuse on a rosebush, the root stock of Isabel’s motherhood—her every drive and instinct, left raw and exposed by the recent stillbirth—had grafted seamlessly to the scion, the baby which needed mothering. Grief and distance bound the wound, perfecting the bond with a speed only nature could engineer.”

Jan 6, 2013, 2:56am

#36: I already have that book in the BlackHole or you would have hit me with that book bullet. I am glad to see that you enjoyed the book so much.

Jan 6, 2013, 6:59am

52. Yes, fairly far north. Not near the polar circle or anything but far enough. But even southern Sweden can get cold in the winter.

Jan 6, 2013, 8:32am

Carsten, people here also ride bikes all year round. When it gets icy and colder, the few plows that Vancouver has make sure that bike lanes and bike lanes over the bridges are plowed and salted. A lot fewer people bike in the winter when it gets slippery though.

Beautiful quote from The Light Between Oceans... oh it will get so much more complex, Carsten.

If you look here, you can see lower down the average temps for the Vancouver area. It's very nice here!

Jan 6, 2013, 12:43pm

Hi Carsten,
#36 If you like reading about walking you might want to check out Robert MacFarlane The Wild Places and The Old Ways, a Journey on Foot. He is an amazing writer (teaches at Cambridge) and the newly appointed chair of the judges for the next Man Booker prize. Thought you might enjoy these books!.

Edited: Jan 6, 2013, 2:10pm

Stasia - Maybe it will come up from the BlackHole soon :)

54 - yes even down here at the level of southern Sweden we are not out of the woods yet. The frost will no doubt return.

Deborah - Sounds like a city for me, with bike lanes that are salted like here :)

Mary - thanks for the suggestions. Actually I've been thinking of taking a hiking/walking trip soon with a friend - maybe in Sweden this summer. It's all those novels :) I enjoyed one in the Lake District of England a few years ago. I will explore your suggestions, thanks. I love well written travel/nature books.

Jan 6, 2013, 3:44pm

Hi Carsten, re. message 42, I think Anna Karenina will be the clear winner for me too. Not only because it's a very good book, but also because it's one of the few classics I've read so far. I don't have a clear other favourite, although I do like Jane Austen's books as well. My favourite would be a book that touches me, with characters that I can relate to and a storyline that adds something extra. In that respect Anna Karenina is a perfect example, but I need to check out more classics. I have a list of classics that I want to read over the next few years, so you might see my progress here on LT.

Jan 6, 2013, 6:23pm

#52 Wonderful quote from The Light Between Oceans, Cartsen. Oh, the writing!

Jan 7, 2013, 5:36am

Monica - I will follow your progress into the world of the classics. Glad you like Anna Karenina - I hope the new movie-version turns out to be good :)

Nancy - Oh, yes, the coming up right away....

Edited: Jan 7, 2013, 6:14am

Book 2: The Light Between the Oceans by M. L. Stedman (2012) 5/5

The novel opens with an arresting scene. A boat washes up on shore on a little island near a lighthouse, its cargo a dead man and a crying baby. Tom, the lighthouse-keeper and his wife Isabel finds the boat - but what to do about the baby? Isabel still mourning after a recent miscarriage can only see this baby as "a gift from God". Is this baby for her?

The moral dilemma is clear from the beginning and we sense the devastating consequences looming - the novel starts out very slow, taking its time to get us into Toms world - a secluded soul but good-hearted - and slowly introduces us to other characters in a little coast-town in Australia in the years following WWI.

This is a story about loss, loneliness, guilt, forgiveness, love. Written with compassion for each character, with a deep understanding of the human heart, it's frailty and strength. It's ability to hurt and love at the same time. We come to understand these people, ache with them in their sorrows and moral agonizing.

Stedmans lyrical prose is filled with biblical imagery - it adds to the themes of guilt and forgiveness. There's so many keen observations about life, so many beautiful poetic passages. What a marvelous debut novel.

A long quote:

“Now and then, as if brought in on the breeze, the memory of Isabel’s kiss floats into his awareness: the touch of her skin, the soft wholeness of her. And he thinks of the years when he simply couldn’t have imagined that such a thing existed. Just to be beside her had made him feel cleaner somehow, refreshed. Yet the sensation leads him back into the darkness, back into the galleries of wounded flesh and twisted limbs. To make sense of it—that’s the challenge. To bear witness to the death, without being broken by the weight of it. There’s no reason he should still be alive, un-maimed. Suddenly Tom realizes he is crying. He weeps for the men snatched away to his left and right, when death had no appetite for him. He weeps for the men he killed.”

Jan 7, 2013, 6:51pm

Thumbs up for your lovely review, Carsten! I am so glad that The Light Between Oceans was such a wonderful read - 5 stars! I had a feeling that you would enjoy the book . I know I did. It was almost painful at times, with the choices that characters made. Great going!

Jan 7, 2013, 6:54pm

Great review! You are 2 for 2 for adding to my wishlist.

Jan 7, 2013, 9:01pm

Carsten, fabulous review of The Light Between Oceans. Between you and Deb, this one is already on my list. Off to thumb your review ... you'll be hot again in no time!

Edited: Jan 7, 2013, 11:43pm

Deborah - Thanks. Yes, it was painful, decent people facing difficult decisions. Very painful.

Marie - Thanks, hope your wishlist can cope. It's been a good start of the year.

Nancy - Thanks, I agree with Deborah. This one you would like very much, beautiful prose. Be quick. It will be adapted for the big screen. It could be nice to be hot again. It's rather cold here :)

Jan 8, 2013, 2:59am

Great review of The Light Between Oceans - I've added it to my Wishlist.

Jan 8, 2013, 8:51am

Thanks Rhian, I was totally engaged and also torn during the reading.

Edited: Jan 10, 2013, 3:36am

Book 3: Life of Antony by Athanasius (356) 3.5/5

From two good novels of 2012 we now go back to the year 356....

St Antony (Antony the Great) gave all his possessions away early in life, seeking to live a life of prayer without ceasing….he lived a very ascetic life alone in the desert for many years - most of what we know about him comes from this little biography written by Athanasius shortly after Antony's death.

It's a really fascinating tale of a man who didn't want anything to disrupt his prayer life and dedication to serve God in solitude. His friends provided bread for him which they lowered down into his cave in the desert and he lived there alone for years - well, that's not exactly true - because he was in a constant spiritual battle with Satanic temptations of all sorts. Later on many came to him in the desert mountains for counseling, prayer, healing, exorcism and teaching.

Fascinating to read about one of the desert monks of the early church. I always think: Why? Why all this seclusion, extreme self-imposed affliction? But then again. How much do I really pray and how often do I get distracted in this busy world? Sometimes a cave could come in handy. Well, I don't know. My exploration of the spiritual classics both baffles me and intrigue me.

Jan 10, 2013, 4:02am

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Edited: Jan 10, 2013, 11:23am

Book 4: Life of Pi by Yann Martel (2002) 2,5/5

Going into this reading I expected a fantasy mixed with philosophical/religious overtones. It was not that, well, maybe a little. It was a fascinating tale, no doubt, but I couldn't really get emotionally involved in this characters story. One major problem was that the true tale of survival at sea Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption kept disturbing my reading of life of Pi. Unbroken being one of the best - if not the best - book I read in 2012. That shouldn't take anything away from life of Pi - but it did.

The audiobook-reading was very good - still, I don't think I was ready for another harrowing ordeal on a life boat. Also it contained some very disturbing killings. It was almost too much at times.

Jan 10, 2013, 2:16pm

Excellent reviews of Life of Anthony and Life of Pi, Carsten. I agree with you wholeheartedly that sometimes a cave would come in handy.! I enjoyed Life of Pi more than you did, but I read it many years ago. And I certainly understand what you say about Unbroken.

Jan 10, 2013, 2:57pm

Thanks, Nancy. Life of Antony and Life of Pi. One alone in the desert in a cave, the other alone on the sea in a life boat. Hmm....funny when readings collide. I think I would have enjoyed Life of Pi much better at another time. But it was now or never, the movie soon coming to my apple tv and all...

Jan 11, 2013, 6:28am

I understand your problems with Life of Pi, I didn't like the book. Happy weekend, Carsten!

Jan 11, 2013, 7:58am

Adding The Light Between Oceans to the BlackHole. I have never heard of the book before. Thanks for the review and recommendation, Carsten!

Edited: Jan 11, 2013, 10:58am

Diana - Good I'm not alone in having trouble with the Life of Pi - but I have heard the movie should be beautiful, so I look forward to that. And a good weekend to you.

Stasia - I'm sure you will enjoy or be touched by this story. If it will reappear from the BlackHole at some point :)

Jan 12, 2013, 3:58am

2-3 degrees being mild and said without the slightest hint of irony.
Best classic read ever? If we mean pre 1900. I would have to piss off Richard and go for A Tale of Two Cities with Return of the Native receiving an honorary mention. In translation La Bete Humaine or Germinal as a toss up as my favourite among the French. Crime and Punishment bringing home the bacon for the Russians.
The Light Between the Oceans looks like one to seek out. The Life of Pi was loved by Megan if I'm not mistaken and she normally has a keen eye, but so many more have hated it. Long on the shelves and I know why I keep taking it up and putting it back.
Keep warm and have a great weekend.

Jan 12, 2013, 6:00am

Stopping by to say hi, Carsten! Life of Pi is not to my taste. Yann Martel, the author, though Canadian, is not for everyone. Or maybe Yann Martel is a lovely person, but what I mean is that his books are not to my taste.

Jan 12, 2013, 3:23pm

Hi Cartsen, just dropping in to say happy weekend : ).

Jan 13, 2013, 3:35am

Paul - This morning it's minus four celcius, so not mild anymore :) Thanks for your best classic of all time suggestions. After reading about five Dickens my favorite is David Copperfield and Great Expectations - I have plans to read Return of the Natives this year. Let's us see how it goes.

Deborah - I've no plans of reading more of Martel - plentt of other novels waiting....

Nancy - And a good rest of the weekend to you - have a nice reading-sunday.

Jan 13, 2013, 10:12am

Have a terrific Sunday, Carsten!

Jan 15, 2013, 12:43am

Stasia - Thanks a working sunday - but now I have some time of from work the next two weeks, so I'm looking forward to that.

Jan 16, 2013, 6:16am

Hi Carsten! Excellent review of the The Light Between the Oceans. It sounds like something I'd enjoy. I'll put it on the list.

I'm sorry that Life of Pi was disappointing. I'll probably read it eventually as part of my plan to read all of the Booker winners, but it certainly seems to get mixed reviews. It describes as something that I probably wouldn't enjoy, but you never know. I'm always surprised when it comes to which books end up touching my heart.

Jan 16, 2013, 3:48pm

Carsten, I read The Return of the Native last year, narrated by Alan Rickman. SUPERB!!

Jan 16, 2013, 5:11pm

>61 ctpress: oh oooooh oooh, I want to read this book! On the library list it goes. It reminds me of Shipwrecks and also of The Lighthouse - probably for obvious reasons.

I loved Life of Pi - the book, and really liked the movie. I never got the religious themes, but was very carried away with the dual story options!

Jan 17, 2013, 4:47am

Kerri - thanks, I hope you'll enjoy both Life of Pi and Light Between Oceans if you get to them - yes, it's often a surprise that some books touch us while others leave us cold. And often difficult to explain exactly why.

Nancy - I have already bought the Alan Rickman version of The Return of the Native and started a little listen-peek into it and I look forward to it maybe later this year.

Megan - Shipwrecks looks interesting. Well, I was kind of irritated by the alternative story in the end of Life of Pi- and couldn't really figure out what it was all about. Well, something about faith vs reason or our perception of reality only from the standpoint of cold hard facts or usung your imagination and looking at the world with wonder and awe through eyes of faith?

Looking forward to see how they treat it in the movie.

Jan 17, 2013, 12:55pm

#85 Shipwrecks is well worth a read, but very sad.

Jan 17, 2013, 1:16pm

Hi Carsten, I am behind here, but I just caught up, and wanted to tell you that I LOVED your review of A Light Between the Oceans. I am adding that one to my wish list. Thank you!

I enjoyed reading your reaction to Life of Pi -- it wasn't an earth-shattering book for me, either, but I thought it was interesting that you kept returning to Unbroken while reading it. I have that last one in my pile somewhere.

Hope you're having a good week!

Edited: Jan 17, 2013, 4:14pm

Indeed, Carsten, in my opinion books by Yann Martel can gather dust on the shelves. But I just did not get the love of " fantasy" stories chunk of my brain I guess. Maybe I can blame my parents for that ???? Not in my genes? The movie Life of Pi is not on my list.

Jan 18, 2013, 1:55am

Hi Rhian - Thanks for the recommandation - and warning :)

Hi Anne - Thanks. Hope you'll enjoy it if you get to it someday. Do get to Unbroken soon. If you love well researched biographies then this is a must. One of my top favorites last year.

Hi Deborah - No hobbits, fairies, and dragons for you, I can guess :) Life of Pi is not really a fantasy in that respect - no cave trolls there - I must say I don't read much of the fantasy-genre myself, although I love it once in a while.

Jan 19, 2013, 3:01am

Carsten - I would follow you and Deb in a qualified dislike of fantasy and more specifically science fiction. It has to be very good to draw me in.

Have a great weekend and I hope it is cool enough for you.

Jan 20, 2013, 2:29pm

Paul - It's very cold here - a couple more days of frost and it's time to skate on the lakes in the center of Copenhagen. People are all waiting for the green light :)

Jan 20, 2013, 3:05pm

Keep warm, Carsten!

Jan 20, 2013, 5:41pm

#91 How wonderful, skating on the city's lakes, Carsten : ). I grew up in Ottawa and so LOVED skating on the Rideau Canal, which would be green-lighted just about this time of year. We'd skate for several kilometers through the city.

Jan 20, 2013, 7:10pm

Nancy - it IS wonderful... Quite liberating. I guess skating and Ottawa are hand in glove - and all over Canada for that matter...

Jan 21, 2013, 6:46am

I never really made my mind up about Life of Pi. I had high expectations because everyone was loving it so much and then I found the book quite disappointing and also disturbing, especially the ending. Repulsive actually. But it also had good bits and I didn't hate all of it. The conclusion didn't work for me.
Still I'd like to see the movie some day, just because I believe it looks good on the big screen.

Skating on the city lakes - that sounds sooo lovely! We finally got some centimetres of snow yesterday, but when I look out of my office window I can watch it all disapperaing again.

Edited: Jan 21, 2013, 8:00am

No skating in the city in Vancouver, or surrounding area, Carsten. It rarely freezes here, and never long enough for a lake to freeze, never mind a backyard ice rink!:) I love to break Canadian stereotypes. Of course my area is much warmer than the rest of Canada - we get the " pineapple express" from Hawaii - cooler and full of rain... or the meteorologists tell us.

Ottawa is very pretty though , and yes, people do go skating on the Rideau Canada. I've only been to Ottawa in the summer.

Sorry by Gail Jones was heartbreaking but wonderful read. I think that you would enjoy it, Carsten. I have not gathered my thoughts together on the book, but I feel confident in recommending to you -and Nancy loved it too.

I've started on my first Sherlock Holmes book - A Study in Scarlet. Quite amusing and about time I read something by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Edited: Jan 21, 2013, 9:13am

Stasia - I will - there's no bad weather, just bad clothing, as they say :)

Nathalie - yes, exactly my own thoughts on Life of Pi. Didn't like the ending at all - it took the sting away from the hole thing. Do you go skiing in the mountains where you live?

Deborah - well, based on the mountains in the picture on your thread you can always drive a few miles and then you have snow plentiful :) Danes are travelling all the way to Austria or Italy for alpine skiing. Happy you liked Sorry - it will be on my list - till the next time I'm in the mood for a heartbreak-story. Good luck with Mr. Holmes and Mr. Watson. Classic crime :)

Edited: Jan 22, 2013, 4:41am

Hi Carsten! Thanks for stopping by! Yes indeed, I think that you would enjoy Sorry when you are ready for some heart breaking fiction. It does not end all badly - that much I will tell you. But I kept wincing at many of the events.

Yes, one can drive a for 45 minutes ( if traffic is good ) and get into the snow in the mountains. I used to ski,but these old bones of mine no longer wish to take the risk of falling. Oh the peril of age ;)

I'm very much enjoying A Study in Scarlet and I thought of you when I began it. I know you are a fabulous classics reader as is Nancy and many more here in the 75's. I might have to stay up even later to finish off the book before I go to bed... it's getting that interesting... from England to the Mormons in the USA - such a wide sweeping story for such a short book. Interesting!

You have plenty of interesting reading going on! Enjoy!

Gilead has been in my sights for a while - I look forward to your comments on that one most especially!

Jan 22, 2013, 5:35pm

Hi Deborah - I'm more of a cross-country skiing fan - it doesn't involve falling so much, at least it doesn't hurt. Have an offer to go with a friend to Sweden in the fall - we'll see...

Have just started Gilead and it looks promising. Good to know that it's not total tragedy in Sorry :)

Jan 22, 2013, 7:46pm

Cross country skiing in Sweden sounds gorgeous! Look forward to hearing your thoughts on Gilead; I've had that one on the list, but have never gotten to it.

Jan 23, 2013, 4:54pm

Hi Nancy - I'm reading too many books at the moment that I struggle to finish - my pleasure reading at the moment is Gilead while the other ones are a bit of a struggle. Don't tell anyone but I've actually also started a new audiobook - The Small House at Allington - it's so good that I plan several long walks this week to listen to more Trollope. One third into it. Simon Vance is THE man.

Edited: Jan 24, 2013, 5:15am

Book 5: Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe (1721) 2/5

With the novel's title you know what's going to happen:

The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders who was Twelve Year a Whore, five times a Wife (whereof once to her own Brother), Twelve Year a Thief, Eight Year a Transported Felon in Virginia, at last grew Rich, liv'd Honest, and died a Penitent. Written from her own Memorandums.

Sounds all very exciting, but to me it was a tedious account by a very annoying person. I didn't like her at all, and it goes on forever describing various husbands, lovers and money-worries - the latter is preeminent - the children she have we hear little or nothing about - as if they were just some play dolls.

From a historic point of view of course it's interesting to read as a precursor to the modern novel.

Book 6: The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham (1957) 2/5

After the wonderful Day of the Triffids I had high expectations to another Wyndham. But it was a disappointment altogether. The premise itself was interesting enough. A small village where every woman of child-bearing age becomes pregnant at the same time after a suspected gas poisoning in the area. The children grow up displaying a very strange "group" behavior and becomes a threat in the town - controlling people with their minds.

But it's a dull read, not at all exciting or scary, told from the viewpoint of an outsider who tries to fill in the blanks.

Jan 24, 2013, 11:05am

Hmm, a couple of duds, Carsten. Still, I thoroughly enjoyed your remarks. I read Moll Flanders in university, but it has never crossed my mind to reread it, and you've just confirmed that. (went to star your review, but you didn't post; are you planning to?) As for Wyndham, the only thing I've read is The Crysalids, and I read it many years ago; did not inspire me to read another of his works - and you've also confirmed that for me : ). Gosh, thank you for saving me a heap of time!

Jan 24, 2013, 11:47am

Yes, a couple of duds - that about sums it up, Nancy. Glad I could save you some time - I will put other Wyndham-books on hold for the time being.

Review of Moll is up and running now :)

Luckily I do have more stars to spread out to the ones I'm reading now.

Jan 24, 2013, 12:37pm

Ah, Carsten, sorry you have run across a couple of duds. I congratulate you for not ditching the books altogether! May your next books be 4 or 5 star reads!

As for cross country skiing, I only tried it once in my teens. All of the lessons and skiing here seemed to be geared to down hill skiing. Once you've experienced the thrill of down hill skiing - well - when I went cross country skiing , I looked for small hills , climbed up and skied down! :) I think since then they have developed more cross country stuff. You know, my second date with my husband was down hill skiing, and it was on the lift on the way up that I decided in my mind - I will marry this dashing down hill skiier! :) Of course we had a little more in common than that! :)

Edited: Jan 24, 2013, 6:10pm

LOL, Deborah..good date-anecdote. A perfect place to take a second look. I get your point :) No girl is going to turn her head and say: hey see that dashing cross country skiir. They are all hitting on men going down hill.

Jan 24, 2013, 6:38pm

Moll Flanders: Is that why people call people a "Moll" then? As a derogatory name, I mean. Shame it didnt do it for you Carsten.

Jan 24, 2013, 11:13pm

Glad you posted your review of Moll, Carsten.

Jan 25, 2013, 2:27am

Megan - Moll Flanders is the name the gang of thieves give her - I think it already back then was slang for prostitute or girl of the street. She calls herself Mrs Flanders in the novel and tries to hide her true identity, we never get to know her real name.

Nancy - Thanks :)

Jan 27, 2013, 4:27am

I guess Moll Flanders will now stay a bit longer where she is - in the lowest part of my tbr pile.
Have a great Sunday, Carsten!

Jan 27, 2013, 8:47pm

Moll Flanders is in 1001 books so your expectation level is there isn't it? I fully agree with you though, tedious barely covers the experience. The absence of any chapters makes it a real grind too.

Jan 27, 2013, 8:57pm

I have never read Moll Flanders and it sounds like I can continue to avoid it.

I am sorry to hear about Midwich Cuckoos. Like you, I really enjoyed Day of the Triffids.

I hope your next reads are better ones!

Jan 28, 2013, 2:05am

Nathalie - Probably a wise decision to put it on hold for a while :)

Paul - it is even figuring in the revised edition of Burt's The Novel 100 - normally agree with him but this is a miss. Although from a historical point of view it's interesting to study in terms of the development of the modern novel.

Stasia - Oh yes, I'm enjoying my present reads - Trollopes The Small House at Allington and Gilead are both enjoyable reads. I will be much more liberal with my stars :)

Edited: Jan 28, 2013, 6:56am

I enjoyed your review of Moll Flanders, Carsten! I had no idea that it was the precursor to the modern novel form. Thumb up from me!

Hee! I never hit on a man in my life , Carsten! I think it would be safe to say that both Dave and I were somewhat shy initially. Dave was a customer where I worked and the others told me- oh that fellow has his eye on you. I told them - no, he is far too good looking to me. It took him a 6 months to work up the courage to ask me out, and I had to kind offer an opportunity to him - by asking him to call me at the bank where I worked to give me some needed work information, at which time he asked me out. I felt like a " call girl" even telling him to phone me at the bank. Very traditional in many ways, Carsten, that is me -except once you get to know me, you'll soon find I am nut! I like to think that Dave married me for my nuttiness and fun! :)

You know what Dave thought was a compliment to me when we were dating? Because I was quite athletic he said to me " You have nice thick calves - you must be a dancer? I said - you mean I have shapely muscular legs from running? Well, that it was Dave meant. LOL! Dave , a man of many " choice" words. He's improved over time....

Jan 28, 2013, 10:49am

A "call girl," Deb! You are too much altogether! LOL. Thanks for the chuckle to start my day.

Jan 28, 2013, 11:43am

Ha, ha, you are so funny, nuttiness is one of your many fine qualities, for sure, Deborah. It was a killer of a compliment, who can resist that. Definitely not a "call girl" :)

Edited: Jan 30, 2013, 5:18am

Book 7: A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter (1909) 3.5/5

A classic american children's story about a very creative and charming girl who decides to pay her way through high-school collecting moth's in the Limberlost swamp. Elnora's father is dead and her mother lost in grief and refuses to support her in any way, blaming Elnora for the death of the father.

This can't quench Elnora's spirit. She has an incredible determination, and the transformation of this girl into a young woman captivates us. She's unspoiled, curious, self-taught and with a disarming simplicity and love of nature.

The second half of the book is more of a love story between Elnora and a rich kind city-boy, Philip. however he's already entangled with a conceited girl that does whatever she can to stop the blossoming love.

Stratton-Porter is a naturalist and we get a lot of knowledge of the nature life in the swamp. It also takes on some serious issues about loss, grief and reconciliation. If you love Anne of Green Gables there's a good chance you will love this one.

It's in 1001 Children's Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up.

Edited: Jan 30, 2013, 8:04am

Winter in Copenhagen.....Here's a few snapshots from the meadow and small lake nearby where I live.

Jan 30, 2013, 10:50am

Carsten, that is a great review of A Girl of the Limberlost. What a wonderful idea, reading from 1001 Children's Books You Must Read. Also, I love the illustration you've posted with your review.

Wow, I didn't know you were also a talented photographer. Your photos of winter in Copenhagen are gorgeous. Do you skate on the lake you've photographed?

Edited: Jan 30, 2013, 12:19pm

Nancy - About skating I have to do it elsewhere, unfortunately, it's very seldom that the official green light is given for that lake - right now it's beginning to thaw again so it will take some time. But there's a bog/moor? not so far away that is open for skating very quick. But I've had some good walks around the lake and meadow listening to The Small House at Allington - it's getting better and better. Eames have just thrashed Crosbie - that "confounded scoundrel" - wonderful :)

Yes, I'm getting a lot of good suggestions from 1001 Children's Books You Must Read - it's a wealth of old and new YA-fiction - and with many beautiful illustrations and covers. Just a joy to flip through. A free book with illustrations - don't you just love the iPad? :)

Jan 30, 2013, 5:50pm

Beautiful pictures of Copenhagen, Carsten! wow! Are you trying to compete with my "Tourism Vancouver Schtick"? If so, you are doing a great job!Great review, Carsten and I like the sounds of The Small House at Allington. Ahh - another Trollope. Bravo, my classics man!

Jan 30, 2013, 7:21pm

Eames have just thrashed Crosbie - that "confounded scoundrel" - wonderful :). Oh, yes! Wonderful, indeed! I remember chuckling out loud reading listening to the same part, Carsten. Trollope's humour is fabulous! So glad you are enjoying Small House at Allington so much : ).

Jan 30, 2013, 8:22pm

Deborah - We are normally very humble people, we Danes - but hard pressed we do try to assert ourselves in the world. We have our proud peaks too, you know - our highest spot is appropriately called "Sky Mountain" a whopping 482 feet (I get dizzy, just jotting down that number). Well, the highest until 1847 when some pioneer explorer found out another spot just a few feet higher :)

Nancy - Oh, yes, also thanks to Simon Vance there's plenty of chuckles. Also whenever Earl de Guest is around - who sleeps soundly after dinner while the guests try to entertain themselves :)

Feb 1, 2013, 2:05am

Wonderful photos Carsten; I especially like the bottom one.

Feb 1, 2013, 12:54pm

Thanks Paul - yes, the bottom one taken just a few days ago :) - but now all the snow is gone...for now.

Feb 1, 2013, 12:57pm

Book 8: Gilead by Marilynne Robinson (2005) 5/5

“Grace has a grand laughter in it.”

The old reverend John Ames has a heart condition and knows he's going to die very soon. He writes a letter to his young son, the blessing of a late marriage to a much younger woman. The novel is this long letter, an attempt to pass on his own story and the story of his father and grandfather.

“People talk about how wonderful the world seems to children, and that's true enough. But children think they will grow into it and understand it, and I know very well that I will not, and would not if I had a dozen lives.”

This is a profoundly moving and insightful novel. The beauty of the story is not in a fast moving plot - no, this story will slow you down - should slow you down - this is a meditation on life, what it means to be human, the mystery of faith, the wonder of creation, the grief and regret that a life fully lived will contain, the relationship between father and son, about the things that are worth living for and dying for.

The first part is mainly stories of his father and grandfather, but while writing the letter, things also happens in the present. The "prodigal son" of his best friend is returning to town - a young man, whom John Ames has always disliked - he struggles with accepting him, and his own "theology" is put to a test.

“The Lord is more constant and far more extravagant than it seems to imply. Wherever you turn your eyes the world can shine like transfiguration. You don't have to bring a thing to it except a little willingness to see. Only, who could have the courage to see it?”

Feb 1, 2013, 12:59pm

I read A Girl of the Limberlost years ago. I remember a TV movie (perhaps a Hallmark one?) that was based on the book as well. Enjoyed both the book and the movie.

Feb 1, 2013, 1:13pm

Oh, that is a marvellous review of Gilead, Carsten. Sounds like one not to be missed.

Your review is perfectly captivating: this story will slow you down - should slow you down - this is a meditation on life, what it means to be human, the mystery of faith, the wonder of creation, the grief and regret that a life fully lived will contain, the relationship between father and son, about the things that are worth living for and dying for

Feb 1, 2013, 1:41pm

Lori - Yes I saw thare was a movie-adaptation - I've tried to locate a dvd of A Girl of the Limberlost but I guess it isn't sold on dvd.

Nancy - Thanks :) I enjoyed it so much - my version is underlined many places and I know I will return to this one later on.

Feb 1, 2013, 1:52pm

A wonderful review of Gilead! Thumbs up from me! I just got it out from the library, but I think The Secret River is going to be next. I'm so glad you enjoyed Gilead. It's been on my mind to read it forever!

Feb 1, 2013, 2:43pm

Thanks, Deborah. With your love for beautiful prose I'm sure you will like Gilead. It's a book full of age old wisdom.

Feb 2, 2013, 8:01am

First off, Carsten I am in a swoon ( again! :) There is a new book out - in May 2013A Conspiracy of Faith by Jussi Adler-Olsen. I am very eager for the further adventures of Department Q!

Your message in 123 - well, Carsten, I think I can understand why you and your fellow Danes excel in cross country skiing, with that high - cough- " Sky Mountain" Oh that gave me a chuckle! I was looking up the height of the highest peaks in Canada, and most of them are in my province and the highest is 15,325 ft. There a higher mountains , the highest being 19,551 ft in the Yukon or something. Because the area around me is fairly mountainous -but 40 minutes away from, of course there is far more down hill skiing. But I do think that cross country skiing would be lovely, however, our climate and geography does really favour it.

You are so witty ! " Normally humble Danes". Really, if I could notlive in Canada, I would chose a Scandinavian country and Denmark would be high on my list.

Gilead will find it's place for me, hopefully fairly soon. I always love a book about Christian Faith.

Feb 2, 2013, 8:48am

I guess our "mountains" can only be considered as hills, or maybe just a clod/knoll? in Canada - a triviel thing to pass by till you get to the real thing :)

Good to heat that they continue translating The Department Q stories, Deborah. I will myself begin with A Conspiracy of Faith in a short while - when I get it from my sister. She's up to date with all things concerning Jussi, and are now reading nr 5 in the series which have just been released here in Denmark. She speaks highly of nr 3 so you/we can look forward to that one.

About Gilead there's a lot of references to Bible stories and passages he's going to preach on - his mind always in a prayerful state. There's numerous mentioning of prayer, blessing, baptism, forgiveness which all add significance to the story. It has such a beautiful ending....well, enough said.

Feb 3, 2013, 4:08am

Thumb of course and you are one hot guy! :)

I can't wait to hear what you think of A Conspiracy of Faith, how will I wait for May!

Feb 3, 2013, 8:47am

Deborah - Yes, I did manage to squeeze myself up among the hot ones for a moment :)

I will let you know how things are in Department Q - hope to get to it soon.

Feb 3, 2013, 12:47pm

Getting hot, hot, hot in here, Carsten : ). I'm also curious about the Jussi-Adler. Haven't started that series yet, but it's on my list.

Feb 3, 2013, 4:58pm

You better stay away or you'll get burned, Nancy :) Yes, do try a Department Q story - best when you just need to relax with something uncomplicated and pure entertainment. Good solid Scandi-Crime.

Feb 4, 2013, 5:46am

Well, hot Carsten, I've finished the powerful The Secret River and I have moved onto a Dandicrime? Do you think there is sub title of Scandi Crime called DandiCrime? If so, I am reading Invisible Murder by Lene Kaaberbol. Just started it, it looks to be a nice change from all the heavy going .

Feb 4, 2013, 7:04am

Hi Carsten!

#102 - I'm sorry that The Midwich Cuckoos was disappointing. I really enjoyed The Day of the Triffids, and I'm quite the harsh critic of 1950s sci-fi!

#118 - Beautiful photos - thanks for sharing!

#126 - Nice review of Gilead - I like a good, slow-moving meditation on life. I'll put it on the list, if it's not already there.

Feb 4, 2013, 5:55pm

Deborah - DandiCrime? Ha, ha, Yes, we might as well call it that. I haven't yet read Kaaberbøl - she's mostly famous for her YA fantasy but have now turned also to the crime scene. I better make myself acquainted with her soon. Good of you to "visit" Denmark :)

Feb 4, 2013, 5:59pm

Kerri - Maybe Day of the Triffids was a one hit wonder? I think I'll try Wyndham inna while again to see.....

Yes, Gilead s a slow meditation on life. It's filled with fine observations.

Feb 5, 2013, 3:15am

I've read most of John Wyndham - but not The Midwich Cuckoos. I particularly enjoyed The Chrysalids and The Kraken Wakes - I'd say he was a reasonably consistent author, but of course I can't comment on the one I haven't read.

Feb 5, 2013, 4:01am

Rhian - Thanks for the suggestions. I think Chrysalids is mentioned in one of the list-books I'm using as reference so I might try that one. Wyndham is good because he does a lot of reflecting on what a certain catastrophe means to humanity.

Feb 5, 2013, 5:46am

Carsten, I hope you can forgive me for only just getting to your thread this year :-)

#61 Wonderful review of The Light Between the Oceans which I've wishlisted.

#70 Sorry you didn't enjoy Life of Pi. I loved it when I read it a few years ago but I did find it very harrowing in parts which is the reason why I haven't gone to see the film.

#102 And sorry you didn't enjoy The Midwich Cuckoos too. I have that one in my TBR pile after really enjoying The Day of the Triffids. Oh well, I'll give it a go.

#117 And wishlisted A Girl of the Limberlost as I love Anne of Green Gables!

#118 Wow - fabulous photos, especially the goose. How close did you have to get to get that shot?

#126 A wonderful review and I'm so pleased to see another fan of Gilead. I thought it was a wonderful book and I'm looking forward to reading Marilynne Robinson's other books.

Feb 5, 2013, 4:27pm

You are forgiven, Heather :) .....well, I better forgive you, since I just saw I have not even starred your thread - lost in the crowd. How could I miss it?

I think I will watch the Pi-movie on dvd and fastforward if it gets too brutal. About Midwich Cuckoos you might enjoy the very british stiff-upper-lip approach to the disaster which I found very funny. It has a lot of humour.

Glad to find another Gilead fan. She has only written three novels so she's easy to catch up with. My next one will be her latest Home. And now over to your thread......

Edited: Feb 8, 2013, 2:15am

Book 9: The Small House at Allington by Anthony Trollope (1864) 4/5

The Small House at Allington is the fifth (out of six) in the Chronicles of Barsetshire series by Anthony Trollope. Having read the previous in the series I knew what to expect. Not dramatic events and a fast moving plot, but gentle humor and insightful observations on human nature - well-rounded, believable and real characters that we come to know very well.

I had some problems with the household at Allington, the widowed mother and the two young daughters that are being courted by various men. Lily Dale are clearly the "heroine" but she was the most annoying of them all. So delicate, so hypersensitive a nature, but also manipulative in all her servility. Ok, I suppose she is to be pitied, but it's hard to really feel for her, when she responds as she does.

Johnny Eames is one of the suiters - but very wimpish - it's funny to follow his route from a young "hobbledehoy" to become a man. Specially when he's taking under the protection of Lord de Guest - also the old Squire Dale I finally loved more than all the others. These two elderly men offered a wonderful balance with their course manners and hard-headed approach to life. And the "scoundrel" Crosbie was perhaps the most interesting to follow - we almost pity him in his downfall.

I can't recommend the Barsetshire-series warmly enough - and the reading by Simon Vance. It's a wonderful "shire" to be brought back to.

Book 10: The Little Flowers of Francis Assisi by Anonymous (ca. 1300) 3/5

I'm not really sure if I approach this classic the right way - with the necessary prayerful devotion. First of all, this is not a reliable biography of Assisi. These are collected legends - the stuff of folklore - when the miracles, dreams and visions just gets more and more fantastical when they are told and retold and eventually one jots them down.

I read it with a smile on my face - a lot of them are quite humorous, inspiring in a childish kind of way - the devotion so extreme it becomes, well, oddly funny.

No doubt, Assisi was a very humble man, serving Christ and others with much devotion. When I read about this man who can tell the destiny of other monks, quiet the birds when he preach to them, calm the fierce wolf of Gubbio, have dreamlike visions of Christ, St. Paul etc. etc. well - I smile. It's just a lot of wonderful stories - we want them to be true…..and some of them no doubt are true, and some of it did happen. Some of it.

Feb 8, 2013, 12:42am

#126 I absolutely loved Gilead and Home. I read one after the after and loved them so much that I suggested them both for my book club but they were not as well received as I was hoping. Oh well! Glad to see you liked Gilead so much. Thanks for the tip about 1001 Children's books you must read before you grow up. I didn't know about it and will get it!

Feb 8, 2013, 3:07am

Marie - I look forward to reading Home - too bad the book club didn't enjoy the novels....I would have thought it would be received well from book lovers. Hope you enjoy the 1001 list of Children's literature. I have discovered several old forgotten classics in it. And still do.

Feb 8, 2013, 4:11am

I enjoyed your reviews very much, Carsten! I've read a lot encouraging quotes by St Francis of Assisi, and I think he was truly a devoted Catholic. One my friend's daughter's attended Little Flower Academy, which is a Catholic private school , and it is based on the teaching of St Francis of Assisi.

I'm very much enjoying Invisible Murder by Lene Kaaberbol. One thing I've discovered is that she is co-writing her books with a woman who is/ used to be a reporter in Denmark. I think that accounts from some of the more topical issues that the book is covering - not to give the book away, but topics of Roma's in Denmark and Hungary, a mosque being built with the objection of some objecting to it, especially the minarets. Now, I'm not sure if those things are really issues in Denmark, but if so, the book is all the more interesting.

Do come to Vancouver, but I do think that very likely Denmark is full of history and beautiful sights as well. My sister visited Denmark back in her teens with a friend of hers who's parents came from Denmark, and my sister was very keen on Denmark.

Feb 8, 2013, 11:52am

I enjoyed "The Little Flowers", Deborah - I visited Assisi - the town in Italy, not him :) - three or four years ago and I just loved walking in this old monastery area relishing all that happened there. I wish I had read this book before my visit. I like his outlook on life preaching to the birds and spending so much time in the nature praying there - I think that was his favorite church ceiling - the blue sky above.

Happy you are enjoying "Invisible Murder" - yes, in fact both the things you mentioned have been in the media in Denmark. Interesting - like a social comment. Most of us travel to see something new - and Vancouver would certainly be something new in terms of nature. Have a nice weekend.

Feb 8, 2013, 1:59pm

Wonderful reviews, Carsten. I thoroughly enjoyed your thoughts on The Small House at Allington, which, as you know, I also loved. Your analysis of Lily Dale is spot-on. My thoughts, as I read, were completely in line with yours. And the "scoundrels," or the "confounded scoundrels" ... yes, so much fun! The older gentlemen do indeed have a welcome, hardheaded approach to life ... just get over yourself and get on with it!

Feb 9, 2013, 3:22am

Thanks, Nancy - I saw that "poor" Eames will return in the last one in the Barchester Series - along with Lily Dale - so they might end up together after all, but I'm not sure it will be a good match - well, at least I hope Eames will develop into more of a man - although he will never be an Apollo - few - if any - of Trollopes heroes are great Apollos - one thing Trollope is very quick to admit :) when I get to the last one, I don't know. Oh, boy it's an even longer novel....

Feb 12, 2013, 1:00am

Really loved Invisible Murder, Carsten. How fabulous that you have visited Assisi in Italy! That is really the advantage of living in Europe - so much history at your doorstep, so to speak!

Feb 12, 2013, 1:43am

Glad you liked the second one in the series also, Deborah. Oh, yes, London, Paris and Rome on the doorstep is very nice :) - sometimes we just go there for the weekends. I don't know how often I've been in London, but many times. Well, I had relatives there once also. As a city I prefer Paris, but feel more at home in London.

As for reading I hope to get the next Department Q from my sister this sunday - the third in the series. I have some days off work and are planning to read it then - at the moment I'm escaping into fantasies, - or at least on adventures with Dalmatians, a little clever mouse, at sea with a young man - and inside the troubled mind of Mr. Edgar Allan Poe - at lot at once I admit.....

Feb 12, 2013, 8:53pm

I'll say that you've got a lot at once Carsten, between Dalmations, a mouse, a young man at sea, and the troubled mind of EAP. Good thing you've got some days off coming up : ).

Feb 12, 2013, 8:55pm

Oh Carsten, don't make me jealous with your week- end jaunts to Merry Ole England and Rome etc! :)

I can't wait to get my hands on the next Dept Q once it's released here in Canada. Enjoy your wonderful escape into the fantasy of 1001 Dalmations. I remember seeing that as a Disney Movie at the end of Grade 1 or 2, the entire school gathered in the gym and watched it. Ohh - Cruella scared me silly when I was 6 or 7! But then, so did The Wizard of Oz!Scary stuff for me as a child!

Edited: Feb 12, 2013, 9:00pm

I think it's important to an appreciation of The Small House At Allington to understand that there's no "right' way to respond to Lily Dale; we're not necessarily supposed to see her as a - or even "the" - heroine. A more negative or questioning reaction is perfectly valid (and indeed, aligns with Trollope's own: his readers liked her more than he did).

Feb 13, 2013, 5:46am

Nancy - Yes, I look forward to some quality time in my couch. I'm just in the mood for Children's literature right now :)

Deborah - Did I mention I'm going to London in may? :) I can't remember the Disney-Dalmatians, but Cruella is a towering menace that can frighten anybody - specially at 6 or 7. I enjoy the reading by Martin Jarvis - Children's book are meant to be read aloud, I think.

Liz - Well, said - It's funny how Trollope in the beginning of his novels make excuses for the "hero" or "heroine" - that Eames is not an Apollo and so on - and Trollope knows there must be a heroine in every story, but he can't altogether recommend Lily Dale as his heroine. I think he has a lot of fun with it.

Feb 13, 2013, 11:49pm

Enjoying the comments about Trollope. I think he has a lot of fun, too, Carsten : ).

Feb 14, 2013, 10:23am

Nancy - Hope you are enjoying Trollope - I guess you are still listening to Phineas Finn? - Any Apollo-heroes in that one? Probably not :)

Feb 15, 2013, 11:55pm

LOL, nope -- distinct shortage of Apollo heroes in Phineas Finn, too! Truthfully, I'm loving Violet Effingham even more than Phineas. She's SO funny! Not sure Trollope intended her to be as funny as I'm finding her, I'm having a wonderful time!

Feb 16, 2013, 4:10am

Enjoy your trip to London in May , but I will be slightly envious. However as I cannot get myself on a plane, I've long given up truly feeling envious of people taking trips! Wild horses won't get me on a plane- and I've adapted to that. This evening just for I listened to Simon Vance on audio com. He has narrated a great number of books and now I can see what you and Nancy are talking about. He sounds like a fabulous reader!

Feb 16, 2013, 5:15pm

Nancy - I thought so. Glad you are enjoying Trollope - there's usually one or two hilarious characters in his novels. I have just finished One Hundred and One Dalmatians - and ok book - but read by Martin Jarvis I enjoyed it a little more.

Deborah - Flying is not something I will ever get used to - it usually involves a lot of prayers when we take off :) Hope you can start enjoying an audio-books - Simon Vance would be a good start. There are many good "readers" out there. I can't go back to danish audiobooks - it's so flat and boring, they don't make the effort really to do the different voices of the characters.

Edited: Feb 17, 2013, 10:11pm

Book 11: Tales of Mystery and Terror (Puffin Classics) by Edgar Allan Poe (ca. 1866) 4/5

Terror and mystery. The title words reveal the grotesque imaginations of a genius writer. A lot of the tales have a storyteller who are on the brink of insanity, if he has not altogether lost it. A murderer haunted by the heartbeat of his victim. Another driven to madness by a black cat. One in a dungeon facing severe torture but from what source?, a haunted house in "Usher", a ship heading for a horrible sci-fi-like fate - and even a rather humorous tale titled "Some Words with a Mummy".

This selection has 13 of his best known tales. The variety is refreshing. Pit and the Pendulum - The House of Usher - A Tell-Tale Heart, The Black Cat are among them. Missing are his three detective stories (fx the famous The Murders in the Rue Morgue) - I will read them later in a separate collection.

OK, it's not my favorite genre - (and definitely not my favorite cover) but Poe has an ability to describe the sense of madness and horror when people are facing death or the fate of their foul deeds. It's just brilliant writing. And also seemingly normal incidents are suddenly turned upside down with fantasy and the grotesque.

This is a good selection that will give you a good idea whether to pursue more Poe or not. But do give him a chance. Afterwards you can tick off two titles in 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die. The short tales are listed as separate titles.

Book 12: The One Hundred and One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith (1956) 3,5/5

Here is a story that is now more well known as a Disney movie than a novel. And perhaps also the more recent adaptation with Glen Close as a wonderful sinister Cruella de Vil. She doesn't appear a lot in the novel, but it's always shocking when she does.

I knew the basic storyline - but it was a wonderful reading by Martin Jarvis. Highly recommended fun relaxing reading. And one more to tick off in 1001 Children's Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up.

Feb 17, 2013, 8:00pm

Bravo Carsten for your recent reads! Great review of Tales and Mystery by Edgar Allen Poe!That sounds totally creepy and much to scary for me! I'm glad that you tempered it with 1001 Dalmatians -but as I say, that scared me plenty when I was a young child!

Feb 17, 2013, 9:30pm

Carsten, that is a fabulous review of Poe's Tales of Mystery and Terror. Certainly not my favourite cover, either, but the writing does sound brilliant: Poe has an ability to describe the sense of madness and horror when people are facing death or the fate of their foul deeds. And 101 Dalmations sounds like pure fun.

Btw, went to thumb-up your Poe review, and it's not posted?? Don't forget!

Feb 17, 2013, 10:35pm

Deborah - thanks - If Cruella de Vil is too much I think you better stay clear of Poe's troubled mind :) He was himself plagued with madness - some of the stories are very creepy. But some are just fascinating sci-fi like stories... Oh yes, you don't like them either...hmm...

Nancy - Arrrggghhhrrr.... Another tale of Touchstone-Terror. There are so many collections of his stories, that they can't tell them apart. Try this: Tales of Mystery and Terror (Puffin Classics). Well, thanks anyway. I look forward to his detective stories. The Dalmatians were a lot of fun. Martin Jarvis is also reading Wodehouse, and he can be recommended if you are in need of a stiff-upper-lip british accent...

Feb 17, 2013, 10:38pm

Aha, that's the right touchstone, Carsten! Thumbed : ).

Feb 17, 2013, 10:44pm

Touchstones are works and authors "touched on" by your message, and an easy way to link to them. Who wrote that? It is not a truth universally acknowledged.

Feb 17, 2013, 11:59pm

I realized that too, Carsten! I went to your personal review page to thumb your review. It's amazing how many books are separated by the lack of a The , or having one book in lower case and the other in Upper Case . * sighs*

Feb 18, 2013, 8:21am

Good idea, Deborah - I haven't been on that page for long - it will come in handy in a couple of years when I have forgotten if I liked a novel or not :)

Feb 18, 2013, 8:29am

Hi Carsten!

#164 - Terribly creepy cover, but great review! I've not read very much Poe - only a story here and there in classes. I think I may be able to handle a collection like that, but it might frighten me too much. I'm not sure.

Edited: Feb 18, 2013, 9:07am

Hi Kerri - There was only one cover to choose from for this particular collection, so I was forced to use it :) there are other collections which has more of his sci-fi and detective-stories that are not so frightening (I think....) - all of his stories can of course be downloaded for free as ebooks.

Feb 18, 2013, 10:59am

#169 I agree! What bollocks is that, and who wrote it, LOL!

Feb 18, 2013, 7:41pm

>126 ctpress: I loved this one too Carsten!

You have been reading some from across the ages havent you! 1300's authors are probably not that easy to come by in the local book shop.

Feb 18, 2013, 8:45pm

LOL! That really is a gruesome cover, Carsten, on Edgar Allan Poe's book! Was he really " mad" as in crazy? Or" just" tortured by depressive thoughts? You are beginning to make me more curious about Edgar Allan Poe. Perhaps and just perhaps - I will one day dip my big toe into one of his works of madness - but no guarantee that I will make it any further. I can take dark -but then there is too dark!

Carsten, you read and write with such amazing English. Do you learn English immediately in school , or are you one of Denmark's geniuses? You also read such a broad scope of books, I really admire you.

Feb 18, 2013, 10:08pm

I'll second Deb's thoughts, Carsten. I admire your English tremendously. As for being one of Denmark's geniuses, well, we already know that you are : ).

Feb 19, 2013, 2:54am

Megan - Good to hear of another Gilead-fan - have you read her other two novels? I haven't yet, but will definitely try one of them. Sometimes I do feel I live (in my mind) in another century where everyone still exclaim "I dare say" and "Upon my honor" and "I do declare" - can't get enough of it :)

Deborah and Nancy - LOL - Come on dear ladies, enough now - you embarrass me :) Actually we start to learn english in Denmark very early on, in third grade - around 10 years old. As a teenager I often underlined every word I couldn't understand in articles in Time Magazine which I subscribed to - my father thought I was mad - but the grammar is still killing me. I just try to wing it, knowing all is not well in that department. As to the genius part, well, I can confirm that, of course :)

About Poe I don't know that much about his background - There's not a consensus on what he really suffered from - I don't think madness or insanity in a clinical sense - but some sort of manic-depression - increased no doubt by periods of excessive use of alcohol. The death of his wife hid him very hard also.

Feb 19, 2013, 3:09am

Umm, that cover doesn't look very Poe-like to me. He was more into beautiful corpses than blood-streaked ones.

As for Poe's life, I remember an English teacher telling us that they were discovering new things about him. They believe he had diabetes and that when he was found dead from drink in the streets, it really wasn't from drink. He'd gone into a diabetic coma. She also said that much of the biographical information we have on him was from a rival coworker who hated him and was out for character defamation. I don't know what the current trends are on what people believe about his life, but I would be skeptical about much of it. Just because he wrote gothic horror doesn't mean he lived it.

Feb 19, 2013, 4:31am

Katie - I think maybe the cover could be from the story "Some Words with a Mummy" - where a mummy suddenly comes alive when they examine it. But it's one of his more humorous tales, so it doesn't make sense....ah, well, it was the only cover there was for that particular edition. Yes, there's conflicting reports about his death, his depression and use of alcohol. Your teachers information I haven't heard before...makes you think.

Edited: Feb 22, 2013, 2:08pm

Book 13: Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham (1956) 5/5

“Mathematics is nothing if it isn’t correct! Men’s lives depend on those figures!”

Nathaniel Bowditch utters these words almost in rage in this biography of his life. Nat is a nerd - a genius with numbers - and he revolutionized navigation in the late 18th century - eventually writing The American Practical Navigator - which became THE book for sailors and saved a lot of them from shipwreck.

It's historical fiction written for teenagers - but I found it utterly refreshing reading about this self taught mathematical wizard.

His father couldn't afford to send him to Harvard - his big dream - so he's placed in indentured service as a bookkeeper for nine years. But nothing could stop Nat's thirst for knowledge. There's something immensely satisfying reading about Bowditch's drive and determination - and the thrill of excitement as he discovers language and science. A good friend gives him Newton's Principia Mathematica - but it's in Latin, so he studies latin to read it - same with a french book - it all eventually lead to his mission in life: Correcting the navigational tables, writing the book and teach sailors on board the ship so they themselves can find their way at sea.

His personal life is filled with both romance and love but also tragedy when several people dear to him dies at an early stage of his life. The fact of life in a seatown as Salem in those days (also as war is raging)

As YA-historical fiction this is hard to top. It was awarded the Newbery Medal in 1956.

Feb 22, 2013, 6:32pm

Superb review of Carry On, Mr. Bowditch, Carsten. Thumbed-up! Historical fiction written for teenagers does sound intriguing. As for the love of numbers, this is the second piece I've read today about such an unusual talent; one of my students wrote to me about his fascination with numbers.

Feb 22, 2013, 7:54pm

Thanks, Nancy. I really liked the teacher-student aspect of it. Although he trained himself Bowditch was so eager to help others and learned to explain navigation so every sailor could understand it. An inspirational story indeed.

Edited: Feb 23, 2013, 8:52am

Thumb up for your excellent review on Carry On, Mr. Bowditch. Nat is a nerd - a genius with numbers It's unfortunate that math geniuses are often thought of as nerds. There was a tv show on here, called Numbers and the math genius - who was handsome and a non - nerd like was part of the FBI solving crimes. We need more shows like that to dispel the myth the number people are nerds!

Of course I've sneaked a peek at what you are currently reading and I am jealous!!!! The new Jussi Adler- Olsen and A Prayer for Owen Meany. I remember reading A Prayer for Owen Meany some years ago and enjoying it - and I think it's also one of those 1001 books to read . Go Carsten!

Feb 23, 2013, 11:15am

You got a point Deborah - just being a mathematical wizard doesn't automatically make you are nerd - Nat certainly is no social misfit in the biography - We have the same expression in danish (nørd) but we also use it in a more endearing/affectionate way than it's maybe originally understood. I always like the movies where the "nerd" is the hero - and the cool guys are just vain and stupid.

I'm having a good time reading right now - Carl Mørck is more disgruntled than ever, and a new sinister killer is focusing on sects in Denmark. And my first Irving - he's really a good storyteller - it just flows out of him - very entertaining. Another one to jot down from 1001 Books - in a while - it's a brick (can you say that, if it's on the iPad?)

Feb 23, 2013, 12:44pm

it's a brick (can you say that, if it's on the iPad?) Love this thought, Carsten! I've wondered the same thing myself, LOL. All these bricks, pretty soon I won't be able to lift my iPad, and then where will I be?? All joking aside, I read on my iPad a lot, and thoroughly enjoy it : ).

Feb 23, 2013, 6:01pm

The iPad is my preferred ebook reader, Nancy - well, I love the good old leatherbound of course, but just to be able to hear about a book and then have it on the iPad the minute after is very convenient....and in the type-size I want etc. Incredible I can still lift it after all those bricks. Magic :)

Edited: Feb 23, 2013, 8:31pm

Carsten I made so many spelling/ sentence mistakes in my last post that I amazed that you could understand what I was trying to say! Here too, the word nerd / nord can be used in an affectionate way, at least I think so. I enjoy the movies where the nerd is the winner and not the cool guys. I look very forward to an even more disgruntled Mork and new sinister killers! I have yet to come up with a review for my current read, but I've started into Poisoned Pawn and by page 2 I have learned that dead bodies -well, no matter what the colour of your eyes, after 72 hours all eyes turn brown and then black! :) How graphic is that! I think the story goes from Cuba to Canada to the Vatican! Bon voyage!

Feb 24, 2013, 2:41am

Bon voyage, Deborah. I see you are the only "member" of Poisoned Pawn - doing some pioneer CandiCrime again. Have a nice sunday - maybe visiting the Vatican :)

Feb 24, 2013, 1:35pm

Hi Carsten! Haven't been here for a while but now that I am catching up, I immediately caught a couple of BBs... I got Gilead on my shelf and must get back to Trollope and it has been ages since I read some Poe.
Have a great week!

Feb 25, 2013, 5:13am

Yes Carsten, me and my CandiCrime and you and your Dandicrime - we make quite a pair!I'm blazing a trail where no man has dared go before with Poisoned Pawn. :) Finally got a review done on The Age of Hope which taxed my poor small brain. Now I can get back to reading my CandiCrime...

Feb 25, 2013, 1:18pm

Hi Nathalie - Glad to be able to remind you of some forgotten treasures. Gilead will probably be on my top ten for 2013.

Hi Deborah - Yes, quite a pair :) You can look forward to Department Q no. 3 - what a sinister killer in that one....Oh yes, those reviews - they don't all come easy.

Feb 25, 2013, 2:02pm

Just flying by Carsten, and agreeing with the others in marvelling at your great English "speaking"- I take it you speak it as well? Not just writing? ;P

Feb 25, 2013, 6:03pm

Hi Megan - Yes, I do speak English whenever I get a chance to - in the church I attend we have several international members from India, USA, England and some other countries, so I can practice my English quite often. That's nice.

Edited: Feb 27, 2013, 1:34am

Just checking up on things, Carsten. It's great that your church has a number of international members so you can practice your English! You know the most interesting person as far as speaking goes was a man at my church, who was Chinese but spoke English with a Scottish accent. That was so cool! Of course he had been born and raised in Scotland - but it was so surprising.

Feb 27, 2013, 4:55pm

A Chinese with a Scottish accent - yes, you wouldn't suspect that, Deborah :) my sister is married to a Scot so we have the Scottish accent close by - I love it. 1,3 billion Chinese. They are everywhere now.

Mar 2, 2013, 7:19am

Ah! That is interesting, Carsten! Your sister married to a Scot. Cool! My background is half Scottish, so I have an affinity for that. One of my brother's got married wearing the dress kilt of my last name -and my other brother served as the best man, in the non - dress kilt. They looked good. My eldest brother is 6 ft 4 inches, so he had his specially made. But no cool Scot's accents here. Just plain old Canadian.

Mar 2, 2013, 9:29am

Ha, ha...These brave Scots. It was also with kilt here - and the father-in-law with his bagpibe in the church when my sister got married. Some traditions you can't kill - and shouldn't kill :)

Mar 2, 2013, 2:01pm

Started this week listening to Cranford but it got all so mixed up in my's not at all like the wonderful BBC series adaptation and I couldn't continue listening, so now I watch the tv-series again for the fouth time. Hmmm....BBC have ruined a reading but I don't mind.

Mar 2, 2013, 2:59pm

Hi Carsten!

#181 - Nice review! While, I'm not sure it's my cup of tea, I always love to read reviews of books that have so touched the reader.

Sorry Cranford was a disappointment. I've been meaning to get to her, but probably Mary Barton, which I may have said here already.

Mar 2, 2013, 6:42pm

#199 Hmm, I have Cranford on audiobook, too, Carsten. I haven't gotten to it yet, but I am also comparing it in my mind to the wonderful BBC adaptation. I wonder whether I'll find the same thing when I get to listening to it. I've listened to Mary Barton, too; enjoyed it but found it lagging in parts.

Mar 2, 2013, 11:16pm

Hi Kerri - the only one I've read by Gaskell was North and South and it was good. So I might try another one.

Hi Nancy - the BBC production - just finished it last night - is based on Cranford and two other novellas. In the book one of the main characters Captain Brown die very early in the novel - while he thrives well and good in the tv-series. Very confusing...hope you have better success if you try the audio-version :)

Edited: Mar 3, 2013, 5:00am

Woot! The father in law with the Bagpipes yet! I recall my dad apologizing to my brother's father- in law for the kilts and saying it's all my brother's idea. The father in law laughed very hard - turns he is a wonderful guy -and said that his family was of Ukrainian descent and he said he'd have his daughter wear a babushka to the wedding. The babushka thing did not actually come to pass.

Edited: Mar 3, 2013, 7:56am

Hi Carsten. Sorry to hear you didn't get on with the book of Cranford. Like you I struggled a bit with it at first after having loved the TV series so much - I did enjoy the book eventually but there was more sadness in it than I remembered from the TV series. Still, I thought it was a very good book in the end. May be try Mr Harrison's Confessions which is an earlier work by Gaskell which the TV series was also based on - I found that more humourous.

Mar 3, 2013, 4:57pm

Kilt, bagpipes and babushka. Would have been quite a sight, Deborah. I just love people keeping some sort of link to their past :)

Heather - Yes, maybe I should try that one - after all it's my favorite story in the tv-series. Poor Dr. Harrison. But it all turned out well in the bbc version.

Edited: Mar 5, 2013, 1:43pm

Book 14: Final Harvest by Emily Dickinson (ca. 1860) 4,5/5

It has taken me a long time (years…) to finish these poems. Generally not reading more than a handful of poems at a time. They deserve to be pondered upon.

This selection by Dickinson scholar, Thomas H. Johnson, has 576 of the 1.775 poems she wrote. While reading this volume I also read Roger Lundin's fine scholarly biography Emily Dickinson and the Art of Belief - read it in 2010!!- it made me more aware of her silent secluded world and her many sorrows and struggles.

What I like about Dickinson is her naked honesty - the way she searches her own heart and soul - struggling with doubt, faith, death, immortality and the nature of God. As Roger Lundin writes: She took the full measure of the loss of God and bravely tried to calculate the cost. In the end, as one who both doubted and believed, she resembled Dostoevsky more than Nietzsche. Like the Russian novelist, she won her way through doubt to a tenuous but genuine faith.

I know that He exists.
Somewhere - in Silence -
He has hid his rare life
From our gross eyes

Even when she tries to illuminate nature it is an enchanted world - it often points to another reality - a transcendent one.

She can be very difficult to understand - what exactly does she see now or try to convey with those brief sentences? Often I had to give up. But then suddenly there's a genius play on words or an insightful observation that blows you away. And while she's preoccupied with death and pain she can also be funny - so let me end with that:

I'm Nobody! Who are you?
Are you Nobody - too?
Then there's a pair of us?
Don't tell! they'd advertise - you know.

How dreary - to be - Somebody!
How public - like a Frog -
To tell one's name - the livelong June -
To an admiring Bog!

How apt in our reality-tv days :)

Mar 6, 2013, 8:16pm

Carsten, superb review of Dickenson's Final Harvest. I read almost next to no poetry, so I'm duly impressed. Love your words: What I like about Dickinson is her naked honesty - the way she searches her own heart and soul - struggling with doubt, faith, death, immortality and the nature of God. She's REAL! Thumb!

Mar 6, 2013, 11:48pm

Great review of Final Harvest. Am I correct in my thinking that Emily Dickinson 's thinking or poems played a fairly big part in The Detour by Gerbrand Bakker. I think so... you tell me!

Edited: Mar 8, 2013, 3:08am

Thanks, Nancy. Yes, she's REAL! I'm no great reader of poetry either, but like it from time to time.

Thanks, Deborah. You're right. The main character is doing some research on Dickinson - also there's a poem in the Detour that deals with death.

Mar 8, 2013, 3:08am

Sounds like you've got some great books arriving! If I may ask, where do you get most of your books, besides the one's on " the brick" aka you Ipad?

I order the majority from Amazon canada Amazon ca. If I can, I order a second hand book from Amazon ca. Right now I am waiting for The Idea of Perfection - second hand but still via amazon protection, and The Introvert's Way: Living a Quiet Life in a Noisy World. I also use the library of course and also a couple of bookstores - a big box bookstore and an independent one. Of course there is also the kindle.

As for your next book, hmm - I favour a nice short read for you.

Personally I can attest to having saddle sores from exploring too many rough and tumble frontiers, be they in Australia, New Zealand, or North America. I can't speak for Nancy, but I suspect she is busy with those shots while listening to the Palliser novels!;)

Mar 8, 2013, 4:06am

I order from where ever it is cheapest and have also found Amazon second hand is the best choice ( for me) - no danish version - also and a danish internetstore can be good - I don't order from Amazon usa as we have to pay a large duty on it. I guess you do as well.

Mostly for new books I check for a Kindle-version (american store) or iBook-version. Of course sometimes it's cheaper to get a used paperback from England than to buy it on the Kindle.

So for The Idea of Perfection - it's rather expensive on Kindle (17$) - cheaper to get a paperback from UK (ca. 10$ with postage) or cheapest - I see a danish translation at my local library and I can pick it up for free today if I want to :) Well, I might even do that.....

What is "Amazon protection"?

I'm at the last chapters of Department Q no. 3 - it's the best in the series yet, I think!

I did had my suspicions about Nancy and her fondness for the saloon's :) Hope she's not reading this...

Mar 8, 2013, 9:37am

What a great Emily Dickinson review, Carsten. Have a good weekend!

Edited: Mar 8, 2013, 12:53pm

#210-11 Ahem, I'll speak for Nancy, LOL! She is in fact nursing her saddle sores while she listens to the Palliser novels, but I only imbibe on Coca-Cola shots. My memory is better that way, hehe!

Mar 8, 2013, 4:15pm

Thanks Diana - have a great weekend too.

OK, Nancy - I can relax now. I was beginning to think all these westerns had lead you into dubious places and habits :) Coca-cola shots can do no harm. I see you are already into your next Trollope - no stopping you.

Mar 8, 2013, 10:35pm

Sure Nancy just sticks to coca cola! Do you believe that, Carsten! ;) I've seen some of her " tipsy " reviews. I do wonder about that dear old duck of a Nancy, that bar fly! Tsk Tsk!

As for " amazon protection" if I purchase a second book via a second hand book under the amazon ca "auspices" amazon guarantees that you will get your book within a certain time frame, even though it's from a second hand dealer. So, if the seller reneges or does not mail out the book, amazon will refund your money. That only happened to me once and amazon did refund my money. I'm the same - sometimes I can't find a book for my kindle , or else I'd prefer it in print, so I will often as little as 1 cent for the book and then $6.49 for the postage - standard on amazon. ca. I guess I could also go to the Book Depository if they have the book, but since I'm often checking on amazon ca , I usually get second hand books there.

Hmmm... I'm looking at comment 213 , and I'm thinking that actually our little " barfly " does have an excellent memory and very good listening skills. I find it amazing how she can listen to Palliser novels and keep track of it all. I don't think I could do as well, and all I drink is milk and water and coca cola when I am indulging.

I checked my local library and they did not have The Idea of Perfection - so I decided to purchase it second hand. There is just something about having a real book in my hand, though I do enjoy my kindle too.. And yes, sometimes it's cheaper second hand then by purchasing on kindle.

Mar 8, 2013, 10:37pm

Ohh btw - I cannot wait for the third book in Department Q!!!!!! Great reading Carsten!! I have not got any reading done today , it was a beautiful day with SUNSHINE and I got out to walk in it and went into downtown Vancouver - a very nice day!

Mar 9, 2013, 12:20am

You got a point, Deborah - it's really not a normal way to drink Coca-cola - ("shots"?!) Nancy would have been put under suspicion any day in a Scandi-Crime :) As for "Trollope-binges" I do recommend English Breakfast with milk - and scones of course.

Yes, there's a lot of characters in the Trollopian world - but he's no match for Tolstoy or Doestoevsky - they are more difficult to follow, I think. The thing about Trollope - his victorian world moves slowly and comfortably, so you just have to slow down yourself - if you want to rush, Trollope is not for you.

A sunny day in downtown Vancouver - sounds brilliant. Finished Department Q - review coming up.

Mar 9, 2013, 8:39pm

Actually it is quite a tasty drop, but I cant stand the sight of myself drinking it. (a) its so sugary and (b) its such an insidious corporation

Mar 9, 2013, 9:17pm

Carsten - Wow if the third Department Q is the best I will join Deb somewhere near the head of the queue as I can't wait either.
Enjoy your weekend.

Mar 10, 2013, 3:48pm

He, he, Megan - a Coca-cola drinker with a conscience. It's bound to be create a conflict.....ah, well, I drink it with pleasure - insidious finance and all :)

Paul - Just read it. It's a top Scandi-Crime.

Edited: Mar 12, 2013, 11:31am

Book 15: A Conspiracy of Faith by Jussi Adler-Olsen (2010) 4,5/5

The detective Carl Mørk is back. Oh he's so very back. More grumpier than ever in his under-budgeted Department Q that takes on all the unsolved cases. And in pursuit of the most sinister killer by far in this series. No need to elaborate on the plot here. This is Scandi-Crime and no one in their comfortable suburbans houses are save. Specially not the members of shady sects in Denmark. Mørks team assist him once more - sidekick Assad with the hidden talents - and the quirky secretary who reluctantly plays a more active role this time.

I like the way the narration shifts between the killer's perspective and the investigator's - sometimes in the same scene - the last part of the story is really suspenseful. In the beginning of the story there are several scenes that borders on the farcical - over the top for my taste - but a minor detail.

I like the English title better than the Danish. FYI - the English translated-version will be available in late may. This is the third one in the series.

Book 16: Stuart Little by E. B. White (1945) 3/5

A charming tale about a very determined and studious mouse - who doesn't care if he's smaller than anybody else - he can make his mark on the world - and nothing shall stop him from doing it his own way. It was quite funny in the beginning - but as he go on a travel to find a bird he loves the story ends somewhat unresolved in the middle of his big quest. Very strange for a children's book. Garth Williams illustrations are great.

Another classic from 1001 Children's Book You Must Read Before You Grow Up.

Mar 12, 2013, 2:04pm

Great review of both books especially A Conspiracy of Faith , Carsten!!! I am so eager for the third installment of Department Q to arrive in Canada. If I could, I'd learn to read Danish so I didn't have to wait for the translation!!

Mar 12, 2013, 2:18pm

Ohh, Carsten, you got me with a book bullet on A Conspiracy of Faith! I have Jussi-Odler on my list, but have yet to get to that series. Department Q needs my attention! More fabulous Scandi-Crime.

Glad you also enjoyed Stuart Little. I only know E.B. White for Charlotte, his famous pig.

Edited: Mar 12, 2013, 6:58pm

LOL, Deborah - I'll be happy to give you a crash-course in Danish, but I'm not sure we'll make it before the end of may - sometimes I wonder how all the humor will end up in the translation - Danish humor have a lot of understatement and very thick irony/dark sarcasm but hopefully the translation will get it right.

Nancy - I feel inspired to get on the band-wagon and try a western very soon - so I hope the book bullet will get you down from your "high horse" and visit Denmark and the Department Q :) - about Stuart Little - I think Charlotte's Web is much better. I love that famous pig.

Mar 13, 2013, 4:47pm

LOL, Carsten : ). I'll have to be careful about that horse. When they're too high, they make for a nasty fall. In the meantime, you need to join Deb and I on the dusty, wild frontier!

Mar 14, 2013, 2:43am

Yes, for sure, Nancy - any suggestions for a newbie on the dusty, wild frontier? Vanderhaeghe, McMurtry?

Mar 14, 2013, 3:50am

Why Carsten, I think you under estimate my facility for learning languages! ;) Danish in 2 months - oh quite do-able for yours truly! :) Kidding of course! I barely remember any of my grade 12 French!

Why that Nancy, surely she knows of Elements of Style by the same E. B.White. Gasp! Tis a high school must read for English students. Really Nancy, how did you make it through school! :). I preferred Charlotte's Web too. I'll leave the wild west recommendations to Nancy.

Edited: Mar 14, 2013, 3:41pm

#226 Carsten, Guy Vangerhaeghe's The Last Crossing is probably my favourite duster! It is actually part of a very loose trilogy, but the novels are easily stand alone, and The Last Crossing was the best among them. McMurty's Lonesome Dove was also a five star read, but you'll need to feel like taking on a chunkster. And Doc, which I'm presently reading, is also fabulous. But Vanderhaeghe is Canadian, so Candi-dust it is!

eta: Deb, shh ... I haven't told anyone I didn't make it through school!

Edited: Mar 14, 2013, 7:59pm

Well, I have not read it ,but True Grit by Charles Portis is supposed to be a humourous western and I thought it was one of of those 1001 kids books you should read, but I just checked and I am wrong, but it did win a several awards. But Lit Chick knows her stuff!!!

Mar 15, 2013, 7:43pm

Thanks Nancy and Deborah for the recommendations. I think I will try Last Crossing - can't possibly resist a Candi-dust, LOL - and then True Grit can come later - humour and a classic western - sounds great for me. I haven't watched the recent Coen-movie, so I don't know the story.

Lit Chick knows her stuff. The authority on westerns has spoken - This is what it says on Amazon: The Last Crossing is a sweeping tale of breathtaking quests, adventurous detours, and hard-won redemption. Who can say no to that - I just had to click on that 1-click-button. Oh, it's too easy....

Mar 15, 2013, 7:55pm

Ah, yes, that infamous 1-click-button at dear Amazon. It's a life changer, hehe! I SO hope you enjoy The Last Crossing!

Mar 15, 2013, 7:59pm

Book 11: A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving (1998) 4/5

I am doomed to remember a boy with a wrecked voice— not because of his voice, or because he was the smallest person I ever knew, or even because he was the instrument of my mother's death, but because he is the reason I believe in God; I am a Christian because of Owen Meany.

A brilliant opening sentence of A Prayer for Owen Meany that encapsulate the essence of the story and immediately grabs our attention.

This is a story of a beautiful and lasting friendship - about growing up in the 50's and 60's in a small fictional town in New Hampshire. About the loss of childhood - a tragic death - and more than anything about faith and God's providence - that nothing happens without a reason.

Owen Meany is one of the most fascinating characters I've met in a long time in fiction - an unlikely angel or savior, a dwarf-like-prophet with a wrecked voice who weighs almost nothing. Definitely something transcendent about his place in this story - when he speaks it's always in CAPITAL LETTERS, like a prophets voice. At one point he's called THE VOICE due to his column-writing in the school-paper.

The narrator John is Owens best friend - and the story alternates between events in the present (1980's) and his memories of childhood. We meet Johns mother, her new fiancé Dan (a man with such a tender wisdom), the strict grandmother (with a weakness for tv-watching) and Hester - John's beautiful seductively cousin - and a lot of other persons (this is a 700 plus pages brick).

This is my first Irving - so I can't compare it to his other writings - Irvings world is quirky - so many memories weave into each other effortlessly - many strange, absurd and funny incident's and clever observations. But for some reason I wasn't deeply moved by the story - hence the four stars and not five.

Mar 15, 2013, 8:23pm

Ha, ha, Nancy - indeed a real life changer - and money changer. Look forward to some time in the saddle on the dusty road.

Edited: Mar 15, 2013, 9:04pm

Hee hee! Where would we be without our " One -Clicks" ? Rich, maybe ? ;) Great review of Owen Meany . I remember reading that in my " salad days" aka in my twenties or early thirties. I really enjoyed it, along with Cider House Rules.

Owen Meany is one of the most fascinating characters I've met in a long time in fiction - an unlikely angel or savior, a dwarf-like-prophet. Isn't that the truth. thumb!

Enjoys your travels in the Wild West and don't forget I warned you about saddle sores! :)

ETA Candi- dust! Hahaha , Mr. Dandi - Crime! :) We should try asking for Candi- dust or Dandi - Crime next time we go to a book store and see how fast we are escorted out .

Mar 15, 2013, 10:01pm

Thanks, Deborah - I think I could buy a nice ranch for that one-click-money :)

He, he - I don't think they have a category in the bookstore for Candi-dust - nor Dandi-Crime. But maybe one day!!

Mar 15, 2013, 10:20pm

Carsten, what a wonderful, and always thumb-worthy, review of Owen Meaney. I also have not read John Irving but you certainly make a case for changing that. I like what you say about ratings: But for some reason I wasn't deeply moved by the story - hence the four stars and not five. I can also thoroughly enjoy a book and yet somehow there is something missing -- frequently something which I cannot even identify -- but I am not moved in the 5* perfection moves me.

Yes, I can see being escorted out of a bookstore and perhaps directly to a police station for asking for Candi-dust!

Mar 16, 2013, 4:23am

Thanks Nancy - Yes, exactly - You should be moved by a five star. I couldn't put my finger on it - a wonderful storyteller, but something was lacking. I'll try another Irving - maybe that will be a different story, oh yes, of course it will.

Mar 18, 2013, 10:47pm

Hey there Carsten! How is life in the saddle! :) I think I may move on to The Hound of the Baskervilles and see if I can be frightened!

Mar 19, 2013, 5:01am

I like life in the saddle - my first gunfight is yet to come, but I'm sure it will come very soon - tensions building up. Good reading with Sherlock - it's one of his more suspenseful stories. I might also be reading The Innocents soon.

Mar 19, 2013, 6:25am

Hi Carsten!

#232 - Great review! I do know what you mean though, regarding something being of very high quality, but not particularly moving. I read a couple of his novels many, many years ago, but wouldn't know what to recommend next.

Edited: Mar 19, 2013, 6:13pm

Checking in to make sure you're still here, Carsten, what with a gunfight looming and all ...

Mar 19, 2013, 1:44pm

Thanks, Kerri. A colleague gave me Hotel New Hampshire so I guess that's going to be my next Irving. Hoping to be more moved this time.

Still alive, Nancy. Indians on the prowl, and I survived the first gunfight, but it was a close call. A lot of interesting characters.

Mar 20, 2013, 2:27pm

Ah, safe and sound so far , Carsten, kicking up the dust. Gosh, gunfights and Indians on the prowl!!! I'm just dealing with a perhaps " spectral hound" - an evil one if things are to be believed... I'm exceedingly frightened on this bright and sunny day! Lucky thing I'm staying away from the moor at the moment and I have my trusty Bichon Friese at my side... :)

Mar 20, 2013, 4:25pm

#232 Fantastic review of Owen Meany Cars ten and duly thumbed. I've had that one in my TBR pile for several years now but for some reason it scares me.

Mar 20, 2013, 8:40pm

Owen Meany is one of my favorite books of all time. I'm glad to see you enjoyed it so much, although sorry it didn't touch you in that 5-star kind of way.

Mar 21, 2013, 2:28am

LOL, Deborah. It sounds safe enough with your trusty Bichon Friese at your side, but beware in the fog on the moor :) Last Crossing certainly brings one the wild west-feelings. Great.

Heather - Thanks! No need to be scared....well, maybe over the length of the novel, but so much to enjoy.

Ursula - Thanks for stopping by. I can understand why Owen Meany would be an all time favorite. Also I find that I keep thinking of Owen Meany, so that character will stay with me. A special boy indeed.

Edited: Mar 21, 2013, 2:00pm

I see you're trying to read through the 1001 Children's books too! I've found some very good ones on there. :)

Mar 22, 2013, 4:55am

Rachel - yes I've been trying to read more from the 1001 Children's Books this year - and have several on the list which I look forward to. It's a great and beautiful book I take out often to look at for inspiration.

Mar 23, 2013, 2:13pm

Yo homie! How's it going man? Just chillaxiing today? I look forward to your defence/ review of Sherlock Holmes once you have a chance to read another of his book. I suppose he is the father of modern day crime fiction?

Mar 23, 2013, 9:17pm

Hi Carsten! I am getting caught up here. I loved your photos of Copenhagen in winter -- I've been there in June and August, both times were lovely.

I've been meaning to get to A Prayer for Owen Meany for a long time, as a few of my friends count it as their favorite book. I enjoyed your review! There's a movie also, which I watched a few years ago for a class: Simon Birch. I enjoyed it.

I read Stuart Little as an adult (aloud to the girls) and for a bit thought there was something wrong with my book -- surely that wasn't the end...? It is odd for a children's book to end that way. I absolutely love The Trumpet of the Swan and of course, Charlotte's Web.

Hope you're having a great weekend!

Mar 24, 2013, 12:48am

Yo, homie :) - I will prepare a thought-provoking, in-depth analysis of the complexity of Sherlock Holmes and his longlasting contribution to the world of crime fiction.....well, maybe not so ambitious :) I'm slow-reading The Return of Sherlock Holmes taking a story now and then. With the current speed my review will be ready around spring 2016.

Hi Anne - and we are still in the freezer here - not many signs of spring - have plans for watching the movie version soon which I've heard been altered a lot in the plotline. And hoping to read The Trumpet of the Swan this year. We'll see.

Mar 24, 2013, 7:47am

Catching up once again... Great review for A Prayer for Owen Meany which has been on my audible wish list forever. I am determined to read it some time this year.

Mar 24, 2013, 12:31pm

Carsten, will be eagerly anticipating your review of The Return of Sherlock Holmes in the spring of 2016, LOL!

Mar 24, 2013, 11:58pm

Hi busy Nathalie - Thanks - You can look forward to a great character - no one like Owen Meany!

Hi Nancy - Yes I'll Return with Sherlock - Good to have something to look forward to, right? :)

Mar 25, 2013, 12:04am

When you watch Simon Birch, you'll see that it had to be "inspired by a novel by John Irving" because he wouldn't sign off on the movie version, so I don't think they were even allowed to name the book.

Mar 25, 2013, 12:28am

Interesting, thanks for that Ursula - already the word "inspired by" in the beginning of the movie you know you are miles away from the original story. Will be interesting to see if the movie will keep my interest or I'll just be irritated by all the changes....

Edited: Mar 29, 2013, 7:39am

Book 18: Last Crossing Guy Vanderhaeghe (2002) 5/5

This has western written all over it. Plenty of action with shooting, stabbing and scalping - but it's not just an action packed story. Even more I would say it's reflective and deals with the inner turmoils of the many very different characters coming to terms with their conflicted past.

The two brothers Charles and Addington Gaunt sail from England to "The New World" in a doomed search of their lost brother Simon. Charles is a good-hearted but disillusioned artist, Addington, a disgraced military captain, is a reckless man without honor - together they assemble an unlikely search party at the Montana frontier - among them the "half breed" scout Potts (half Blackfoot, half Scot) - the Civil War veteran Custis Straw and - of course - a woman - the young Lucy Stoveall - who have an agenda of her own - to seek revenge for the murder of her sister. And she attracts the attention of both Charles and Custis which brings additional tension to this band of misfits.

Canadian author Guy Vanderhaeghe alternates between many of the characters perspective - sometimes narrating in first person, sometimes in third person - and he does something magical with the language in this book - his "archaic" style (in a good way) fits with the time and place so well - you are instantly brought back to 1871 and immediately get a lot of dust in your eyes riding a long the trail. The sense of place is exceptional here. This is a clever, well-researched intellectual, yet suspenseful western.

Book 19: Breakfast at Tiffany's Truman Capote (1958) 3,5/5

"I never get used to anything - anybody that does, they might as well be dead"

A quote from Holly Golightly - this short novel tells her story - or the narrators brief "friendship" with her during the war in the 1940's Manhattan. He lives in the same apartment building as Holly - he's deeply fascinated with her - maybe in love with her - or maybe just infatuated with her.

Holly Golightly is a woman hard to describe. One of those you just never really get to to know really well. With a mysterious past - she's always in search of something more, a new place, new people, new experiences - not particular interested in thinking of the past or the future - just living in the moment.

A free spirit, she likes to break the rules (like shoplifting as a sport), with thousand whims and ideas that are exchanged for new ones the next day. There are some funny and weird incidents in this novel but it's Holly as a person that is the story - how she reacts and talks funny with her crazy ideas and living. Not really sure if she's clever or naive.

She leave a definite mark on the narrator - being around her life is just more interesting - she's an interesting but brief breeze in his life and he will never forget her.

I enjoyed the sweet sense of nostalgia but was also happy it was a quick read.

Another one from 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die"

Mar 29, 2013, 6:06am

Got four paperbacks this week from Amazon - just in time for easter and some spiritual reading:

The Cloister Walk by Kathleen Norris
Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott
The Long Loneliness by Dorothy Day
The Problem of Pain by C. S. Lewis

Will concentrate on The Cloister Walk by Kathleen Norris (I like it already)

Reading together with The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde - my first reread this year.

Mar 29, 2013, 1:05pm

Thumbed both of your reviews, Carsten. " Nice Haul " from amazon! Perfect for the Easter Season. I've always wanted to read an Anne Lamott, so you'll have to let me know what you think of that one in particular. Good Friday to you.

Hmm, Holly Golightly shoplifts as a sport... hmmm, Carsten! I hope you are not unduly influenced by that read! :) Woot! A 5/5 read with The Last Crossing - I'm very glad that you enjoyed it. Later on, I'll update my thread.

Mar 29, 2013, 1:21pm

for two wonderful reviews!

Oh, Carsten, I am so delighted you loved The Last Crossing! It was a five star read for me, too : ). You describe it perfectly here: you are instantly brought back to 1871 and immediately get a lot of dust in your eyes riding a long the trail. The sense of place is exceptional here. This is a clever, well-researched intellectual, yet suspenseful western.

Also an excellent review of Breakfast at Tiffany's. That's another I haven't read, and I admire that you are steadily reading form 1001 Books. I started out in that regard with good intentions, but I got lost somewhere; now, anything that I read from 1001 happens more by coincidence than planning.

I am curious about your next read, The Cloister Walk. Just looked up its main page. Sounds very reflective.

Mar 29, 2013, 3:14pm

Thanks, Deborah - Yes, a nice haul - a good mixture of reflective writing and biography - just what I need now. Ha, shoplifting here. It was one of the things that was a turn-off for me when it came to Holly Golightly.

I'm looking forward to Anne Lamott - have heard good things about this book.

Thanks Nancy - and for introducing me to the wild, wild, west. I just loved it. I'm going back again some time. Yes, I've had a handful of 1001 Books already this year - I have this mental goal of getting around 10-15 new "1001 Books" each year, so I'm well on track this year.

The Cloister Walk will not be a quick read - demands "lectio divina" - spiritual or holy reading, which is something I need to get more of. I like what she says about it in the beginning of The Cloister Walk:

With lectio divina one does not try to "cover" a certain amount of material so much as surrender to whatever word or phrase catches the attention. A slow, meditative reading, primarily of scriptures, lectio respects the power of words to resonate with the full range of human experience.

There goes my trying to "cover" the 1001 Books :) - well, no - there's a place for both, but sometimes it's just good to slow down with non-fiction that demands reflection.

Mar 29, 2013, 4:53pm

Hoppy Easter, Carsten!

Mar 29, 2013, 5:23pm

Hoppy Easter, Nancy :)

Mar 30, 2013, 6:58pm

Stopping by to say Happy Easter, Carsten!! May you eat many chocolate bunnies! :)

Mar 31, 2013, 4:01am

Happy Easter, Deborah. Have a good time with the family.

Edited: Apr 6, 2013, 6:12am

Book 20: The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (1890) 4/5 (reread)

“Live! Live the wonderful life that is in you! Let nothing be lost upon you. Be always searching for new sensations. Be afraid of nothing.”

Not the best advice in the world to a young innocent man.

The premise of Oscar Wilde's only novel is well-known. Dorian Grays friend Basil Hallward paints his picture - and Gray thinks it's a shame he will grow older, but the picture will stay the same. He declares that he would sell his soul if the reverse was true. Well, be careful what you wish for……

This was a reread - and it's remarkable that I remember so many things from this story - having read it back in the 80's. Down to certain quotes I remember pasting into a scrapbook I once had - the power of stories. I was very fascinated by it back then - I wasn't gripped so much by it this time.

The reckless libertine, Lord Henry Wotton admires the young Adonis - and he deliver's much of the wit in the story with his amoral life wisdom spoken out so elegantly.

“There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.”

“Nowadays most people die of a sort of creeping common sense, and discover when it is too late that the only things one never regrets are one's mistakes.”

Things like that.The second part of the story is not so well crafted I think, but it is slowly building up to the "grand finale" - the novel reminded me of Stevenson's Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde although that is a more of a gothic horror story than Dorian Gray. But I mostly enjoy it for the conversations in the beginning between, Basil, Lord Henry and Dorian Gray. That's sublime.

My first reread this year - planning on more....

Apr 6, 2013, 6:54am

thumb for your review of Dorian Gray, Carsten. I had no idea that Dorian Grey was a gothic horror story, or so much more than that, nor that it had any similarity to Dr. Jeykell and Mr. Hyde - which I've not read either. You've piqued my interest with your review! Bravo you, with the classics!

As for me - I've absolutely LOVED Life After Life. I am just pondering on a review for it -and you know I have a difficult time churning out my reviews! :) But I do recommend it!

Apr 6, 2013, 8:35am

Thanks Deborah - Both Dorian Gray and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are short novels, so if you're in the mood for some gothic literature and 1001 Books then these are two quick reads. But I much prefer Jekyll and Hyde over Dorian Gray.

Apr 6, 2013, 8:48am

I really enjoyed Dorian Gray when I read it... there's just something about novels from the late 1800s that's so different and appealing than what we find on store shelves today. I don't blame you for re-reading, I kind of want to do the same now!

Apr 6, 2013, 1:23pm

Carten, excellent review of The Picture of Dorian Gray. Great quotes by The reckless libertine, Lord Henry Wotton admires the young Adonis - and he deliver's much of the wit in the story with his amoral life wisdom spoken out so elegantly. I am always interested how books affect us differently over time: pending on where we are in our own lives, our life circumstances, etc.

Apr 6, 2013, 4:10pm

Hi Faith - You are right about this period - A period of some great literature, and I have a handful of rereads ready from that time. Not onlt Dr Jekyll but also Dr. Dracula :)

Thanks Nancy - it was a fascinating reread. In fact when I read it as a young man I was as Dorian Gray fascinated by the "wisdom" of Lord Henry - now I read his opinions in another light. It's true that the appreciation of certain books depends upon where you are in your life at the time of reading. Rereads is a good way of telling.

Apr 7, 2013, 8:05am

Hmm, Carsten, Dr Jeykell and Mr. Hyde will be a book I will take a closer look at. Thanks for that! Churned up that review. big sigh! :)

Apr 7, 2013, 4:13pm

Oh yes do read Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde - I've read it three times and are planning a reread soon again. It's a great story.

Apr 8, 2013, 7:59pm

Just checking on you, Carsten and that book burning happening over there in Denmark....I think I see the smoke! * waves hello* I don't blame you one bit for burning up 1001 books for not including Fahrenheit 451 . That is just a travesty, Carsten! We'll have to write our own book of 1001 books and make a fortune for ourselves. You can be the European Correspondent and I shall stand in for Canadian Novels that most of you have never heard of but should read. For sure, The Lighthouse by Alison Moore should be in it, though that is your domain- well, Britain, I guess. You can get your sister in on it too. We'll invite Nancy too. $$$$$ my friend!!!!

Apr 8, 2013, 7:59pm

Oh by the way, you have put Dr. Jeykell and Mr Hyde on my radar , perhaps later this year!

Apr 8, 2013, 10:36pm

Just want to make sure there is no book-burning going on over here, Carsten.

Edited: Apr 9, 2013, 12:13am

LOL, Deborah and Nancy - No smoke yet, false alarm :) But I fear that I will turn into Mr. Hyde again and then no 1001 Books are safe. Yes, good idea to make our own 1001 Books - Deborah, you come up with a killer title, and Nancy will write the introduction - A lot of CanDandi Lit of course :)

Apr 9, 2013, 10:05am

CanDandi Lit. Of course! What a perfect idea! I've almost got the 1001 chosen already, LOL!

Edited: Apr 11, 2013, 9:07am

Sorry to that Franny and Zooey is such a snore fest of a book. If you don't want to burn it, there is always the garbage! ;)

CandiDandi Lit! Perfect, Carsten!:)

By the way, I finished and reviewed A Trick I Learned from Dead Men . The ending was very ambiguous. I think it could go two ways -but I'm really not clear. I'll be interested in your thoughts should you chose to accept your assignment. ( Actually I think you had that on your possible Orange LL read. )

Apr 11, 2013, 9:19am

Yes, I already bought the Trick-book and have it on my iPad, so it will be one of my next reads I think....going to finish off Franny and Zooey one way or another.

Edited: Apr 11, 2013, 9:29am

Oh good! I can't wait to see how you interpret the ending of A Trick I Learned From Dead Men. I could think of two ways it could be understood , and usually that is not a problem, but I think the author meant for it a definite ending - but what, I could not tell. I can't wait til you read it! I'm glad that I read it and can compare it to the other Orange LL. I did prefer it to the The Innocents by quite a bit.

Edited: Apr 11, 2013, 10:47am

I'll be curious as to how you like A Trick I Learned from Dead Men, too, Carsten. That one's on my list, but I'm in the library queue, and the book is still on order so ...

eta: I'd just burn that snore fest!

Apr 11, 2013, 6:04pm

Deborah - Always a little frustrating when you can't decide or figure out how to envision the ending. I think I will read it soon.

Nancy - I give up on the snore fest :) it's not working out for me.

Apr 16, 2013, 11:23pm

I see that the snorefest is still one of your books that you are reading, at least according to you profile page. Carsten - have you fallen so deeply asleep with that snorefest Zoey and Franny that you forget to change it on your profile page, or did you decide to persist in your reading! * Rings Bell Loudly * like an alarm clock! Wake up Carsten - that bad dream is just a book! :)

Edited: Apr 17, 2013, 4:27am

Currently reading Franny and Zooey.... - well, it's a disguise, Deborah - Going under cover as a reader :) - well, I've given up on snorefest, time to wake up, right? - I'm now reading several (too many) novels but not sure which one I will concentrate on. I'm at sea with Ishmail hunting a whale (you can guess the book, I'm sure) and in company of the The Possessed (very long one) - and have just stranded on The Coral Island. All classics - you know me....Enjoying all of them - but reading is slow and fragmentary just now. Also last week I read another Sherlock Holmes short story and for devotional reading I'm taking The Cloister Walk.

And then too busy at work this week - I think you know I work as an editor/journalist for which is the equivalent to BBC in Denmark - my first day monday after some days off work and then came the explosions in Boston and I had to work all evening and night. But the last part of this week looks promising - spring is finally here with warm weather and a lot of sun. We are basking in it right now.

Apr 17, 2013, 4:27am

I had no idea what sort of work you did, Carsten, other than I've long thought that you are brilliant! Woot! I know a famous journalist/ editor! I'm practically famous by association! Yes, I bet you were busy with the explosion in Boston. Can you try to get Duchess Catherine's or Prince William's autograph for me as you jet -set about Europe. I'm not sure that you cover that British Royalty, but a girl can ask.

So, you are reading Moby Dick in addition to everything else. Wow! By the way, the Orange short list is out, and it's on my thread as well as on in the January/ July Orange are, should you get a moment.

I was out walking the dog today (as usual) and all of the tulips are out in bloom, azaleas, cherry blossoms are over now and even the sight of a bunch of dandelions in the field was a nice bright sight to behold. However , tomorrow it is supposed to rain and it is still unseasonably chilly overnight ( like 5 - 7 C ).

Apr 17, 2013, 4:38am

Ha, ha an autograph - I wish - as an editor I have to stay put and let others do the fancy reporting travelling around the world - I work mostly with our news-website editing the news. But I'm going to London next month - see what I can do :)

I'll have to check the shortlist now.

Apr 17, 2013, 11:14am

Good to "see" you, Carsten. I also did not know what kind of work you did, so, like Deb, I am pleased to be in acquaintance with a famous editor/journalist! I can certainly understand how the tragedy in Boston kept you working well into the night.

I've looked at Moby Dick and looked at it, and have never taken the plunge. Like you, I love my classics, but I'm not sure that's one I'd get through.

Chuckled at the autograph quips, Deb! I'm decidedly less enthralled with the Duchess who I think needs to get a job, gasp! (Remaining clothed at all times when outdoors would also be a good idea, LOL). But Denmark has its own Royalty for Carsten to jet-set with, non? (or at least dispatch journalists to hobnob with).

Apr 17, 2013, 6:23pm

Oh, yes Nancy - we have our own Royalty - as does Canada I guess - my father once got an honorary medal from the Queen and were invited to her Castle to shake her hand - that's seriously bonding with the Royal family. I'm waiting for an invitation any time soon :)

Moby Dick is a reread for me - I love it more this time - it's actually hilarious. I guess I've decided to concentrate on that one for now.

Edited: Apr 17, 2013, 7:05pm

Well, I think you should expect your invitation to the visit the Queen any time then, Carsten. It's only right! Canada does not have its own royalty. We are a Commonwealth country and still subscribe to the British Royals (much to the displeasure of many Canadians). Canada's Governor General, who resides in Ottawa, is the Queen's representative in Canada.

Tickled you are enjoying your reread of Moby Dick so much : ).

Apr 17, 2013, 8:43pm

Hi Carsten- long time no see :)

>274 vancouverdeb: hey, I want in too. This money-making scheme is right up my alley ;)

>285 ctpress: I think you know I work as an editor/journalist for which is the equivalent to BBC in Denmark
I didnt know that! It sounds like a fantastic job. I bet it keeps you busy.

>289 ctpress: good luck on getting that invitation, Carsten. Im sure its in the mail :)

Apr 18, 2013, 3:17am

Nancy - Yes, right, Commonwealth of course - Rule Britannia, Britannia rule the waves etc. The Royal family are still very popular in Denmark - although I think it's a an odd and artificial institution.

Megan - Yes a long time - good to hear from you. Nice to see some interest around the world for the new 1001-Book-project. Literary quality is irrelevant - purely a money-making scheme :) Yes, being a news-editor can be very hectic - but fortunately a lot of fun....Ah, the mail, I bet that invitation got lost somewhere - that's the reason....

Apr 18, 2013, 7:53am

Cough ,cough erhem! I follow every move of the Duchess of Cambridge and the Princes! Nancy - that Kate should get a job! Gasp! I check " what Kate Wore" and" Duchess Kate" every day on the internet , so I can follow her in detail. I did the same thing with Diana. Hee hee! I even went to an exhibit of Diana's Dresses after her death. My sister and and a friend of mine were totally enraptured . And my sister and the same friend got to see Diana and Charles during the Expo here in Vancouver. At the time my eldest son was just 18 months old , plus I was working p/t and no way was I going to get up to line up on a sidewalk downtown at 5 am!!!!

Carsten, I'm sure that your invitation is in the mail. How cool that you got to visit the Danish castle and your dad got a medal!!Ahhh flirting with royalty - swoons! ;)

I'm glad that you are enjoying Moby Dick so much. I think most people are scared off by that tome! Good for you!

Edited: Apr 18, 2013, 8:27pm

Deborah - you should come work for us. We have two girls at work who are die hard Duchess Kate fans - and they use every chance they get to write news about the Royal family in Denmark and Great Britain. I think you would fit in quite well here :)

Captain Ahab have just entered the scene for the first time after about a 100 pages - yes, I'm enjoying Moby Dick :)

Apr 19, 2013, 6:37am

Ohh thanks Carsten, for the invitation!! :) I am indeed a die hard Duchess Kate fan! Oh big time! I'm betting you are busy with work right now. On the late news at 11:30 pm they let us know about the events in Boston, so I've been watching live news stream on my computer here. I've finally written a rough draft of of my review for The Stubborn Season, but my time has been hi- jacked by watching the news. It will be awhile til it makes it onto my thread. Yes, maybe I'd fit in well at your place of occupation! :)

So glad you are enjoying Moby Dick . I'm trying to get into Flight Behaviour , but having some difficulty getting caught up in the book.

Apr 19, 2013, 1:34pm

Yes, very busy at work. Have been called in and have to pull an all-nighter danish time - goodbye weekend.

Hope you'll get into Flight Behaviour very soon. Shortlists are not always that easy...

Did you know we have very important visitors from Canada this weekend? - at least according to most teenage girls here: Justin Bieber :)

Apr 19, 2013, 3:17pm

Oh, good grief, Justin Bieber, LOL! Teenage Denmark will be MAD, and adults (intelligent ones) will be running for cover! Here's an idea: Denmark can keep him, hehe!

Sorry to hear you've had to kiss the weekend goodbye in order to work, Carsten. And now with that huge explosion in Texas. Yikes! I just read on someone else's thread, who resides in Texas: This week has sucked. It certainly has sucked in terms of tragedies in the US.

Apr 19, 2013, 4:37pm

Thanks, but no thanks, Nancy. You are stuck with him. One weekend of hysterical girls are enough :)

Yes, a tragic week in the US. I'll relax tomorrow - or rather sleep the whole day. And turn off my cell phone.

Apr 19, 2013, 9:41pm

Yes, with all that has been happening in Boston re the capture/ shootout/ etc of the two brothers I imagine you have been very busy.

Oh Carsten, please do we Canadians a favour! Please keep Justin Bieber. The guy is national embarrassment. Throw him off the stage and let the teenage girls have him. Doesn't he still have a monkey in quarantine in Germany or something? Can you get him to stop wearing those half way down harem pants, or whatever they are..

* shudders to self*

Apr 19, 2013, 11:13pm

*shudders to self* LOL, Deb! You are too much! You are also right!

Edited: Apr 20, 2013, 6:39am

Stop begging, Deborah - no amount of "shudders to self" will do - I'm far away from becoming a Belieber. But look at the bright side - he's touring the world - far away from beloved Canada.

Yes, Nancy - too much - and also right :)

Apr 23, 2013, 8:30am

Ups - I made it pass 300 - guess it's time for a new thread.....
This topic was continued by Carsten's (ctpress) 2013 - Take and Read (2).