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EllaTim's continuing story 2, summertime

This is a continuation of the topic EllaTim's continuing story.

This topic was continued by EllaTim's continuing story 3, autumn.

75 Books Challenge for 2017

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Edited: Jun 28, 7:20pm Top

Painting by dutch painter Miriam Fleuren

Hi, I'm Ella, from Amsterdam, Holland, living with my husband, a garden, a garden cat, books.
I love to read, mainly fantasy, but I'm looking at other stuff as well.

LT is wonderful, I really enjoy all the book bullets, and the participation here has got me out of my boring routine.

Last year I had a bit of a reading slump, That's why this year I set some goals, I want to read around the world, and read through time. I also read some shared books with my mother, so we can talk about them. She is definitely not a fantasy reader, but we can find books we both enjoy.
And I'm doing a project to upgrade my high-school languages. So enough going on to keep me busy.

For the moment I'm trying to read my way around the world, a fun project, but we'll see how it goes.

Edited: Sep 18, 4:51pm Top

Here's my list of books read in the first half of the year (read and finished, as I have also started but not finished some more)

Read in January:
1. Afke's tiental by Nynke van Hichtum **** dutch (Friesland)
2. Les Miserables, by Victor Hugo part 1 **** (France)
3. King's Dragon by Kate Elliott **** (fantasy)
4. Pietr-le-letton by Georges Simenon *** (France)
5. Sans Famille by Hector Malot ***** (France)
6. De zeer vermoeide man en de vrouw die hartstochtelijk van bonsai hield *** (dutch)
7. The case against sugar by Gary Taubes *** (non-fiction)
8. Between the world and me ***** by Ta-Nehise Coates (non-fiction)

9. De 100 allermooiste gedichten van de Europese poëzie
10. H is for Hawk **** by Helen Macdonald (England, autobiography)
11. The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart *** (England, fantasy)
12. Sourcery by Terry Pratchett ***1/2 (England, fantasy)
13. Macbeth **** By William Shakespeare (England)
14. Wyrd Sisters ***** by Terry Pratchett (fantasy)
15. A single shard *** by Linda Sue Park (Korea, historical fiction)

16. Guards, guards! by Terry Pratchett (fantasy)
17. Equal rites by Terry Pratchett (fantasy)
18. Mockingbird **** by Kathryn Erskine (USA)
19. Meneer Beerta by J.J. Voskuil ***** (dutch)
20. Le pendu de Saint-Pholien by Georges Simenon ***1/2 (France)
21. Fulco de Minstreel ***1/2 by C. Joh. Kieviet (dutch, historical for youth)
22. Talking to the Dead **** by Harry Bingham (UK, Wales)

23. Vuile Handen by J.J. Voskuil **** (dutch)
24. The poet's dog ***** by Patricia MacLachlan (USA)
25, Het dertiende sterrenbeeld ** by Unni Lindell (Norway)
26. In the Heat of the Night **** by John Ball (USA)
27. Oorlog en terpentijn***** by Stefan Hertmans (Belgium)
28. The Fifth Season**** by N.K. Jemisin (USA, fantasy)
29. The Thief **** by Megan Whalen Turner (fantasy, USA)
30. A gentleman in Moscow **** by Amor Towles (Russia, USA)

31. Het vrome volk **** by Maarten 't Hart (dutch)
32. The Dragonbone chair by Tad Williams **** (fantasy)
33. Vincent in Den Haag by Theun de Vries ****(dutch)
34. Stone of Farewell by Tad Williams **** (fantasy)
35. Een zomer in Italie by Barry Unsworth **** (Italy, UK)

36. De aanslag by Harry Mulisch**** (dutch, Netherlands)
37. Rivers of London ***/2 by Ben Aaronovtch (England, fantasy)
38. Moon over Soho *** by Ben Aaronovtch (England, fantasy)
39. The Dinosaur Hunters by Deborah Cadbury **** (popular science)

40. Gehen, Ging, Gegangen by Jenny Erpenbeck **** (Germany)
41. Sabriel by Garth Nix**** (USA, fantasy)
42. Kindred by Octavia Butler **** (USA, fantasy)

43. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnet **** (UK)
44. The enchanted april by Elizabeth von Arnim **** (UK, Italy)
45. Mevrouw Verona daalt de heuvel af by Dimitri Verhulst **** (dutch, Belgium)
46. The Endless Steppe by Esther Hautzig **** (Lithuania)
47. Kleine gedichten voor kinderen by Hieronymus van Alphen *** (Netherlands)
48. Baltische zielen by Jan Brokken ***1/2 (dutch)
49. Zwart Brood by Emily Teixidor **** (Spain)
50. La Belle et la Bete by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve ** (France)
51. Max Havelaar by Multatuli **** (Netherlands)

52. Tien geboden revisited; een hoorcollege over de betekenis van de Tien geboden toen en nu
Hans Achterhuis en Maarten van Buuren (no touchstone) **** (dutch, Netherlands)
53. Warenar, geld en liefde in de gouden eeuw *** (dutch, Netherlands)
54. Moon called by Patricia Briggs **** (USA, fantasy)
55. A little princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett **** (UK)
56. Steen op steen by Wieslaw Mysliwski **** (Poland)

Jun 28, 6:29pm Top

I was going to list the years that my books were published, reading through time. It's not complete, I will have to update my list, but here it is:

1. Reading through time

1862 - Les Miserables
1878 - Sans Famille
1903 - Afke's tiental
1930 - Pietr-le-letton
1970 - The Crystal Cave
1988 - Sourcery
1997 - King's Dragon
1999 - Publieke werken
2015 - Niet zonder elkaar
2016 - De zeer vermoeide man en de vrouw die hartstochtelijk van bonsai hield
2016 - Princess Bari
2016 - Evicted

Edited: Sep 18, 5:20pm Top

Paul's thread provided inspiration to try and read more from countries all over the world. I'm going to copy and paste his list here, and fill in what I've read so far. And as it seems like I've seen more movies, than read books, I'm going to list those as well (fill it up a bit)

AFGHANISTAN: - The Kite runner by Khaled Hosseini
ALGERIA: - The Stranger by Albert Camus
Australia:- A town like Alice by Nevil Shute
Movie:- Rabbit-Proof Fence
Austria: I saw the movie The Wall, would like to read the book by Marlen Haushofer
BELGIUM: - Oorlog en Terpentijn by Stefan Hertmans
Movie: -Kiss of the Spider Woman, director Héctor Babenco
- O Amor Natural, directed by Heddy Honigman
CANADA: - Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood
CHINA: - Jung Chang - Wild Swans
Movie: - A Chinese Ghost Story Director: Siu-Tung Ching ,
- Raise the Red Lantern Director: Yimou Zhang
Cuba Book ?
- Movie: Buena Vista Social Club directed by Wim Wenders
DENMARK: - Hans Christian Andersen - Fairytales
- Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow by Peter Høeg
Movies: - Babette's Feast, directed by Gabriel Axel
- Riget by Lars von Trier
Dominican Republic
FINLAND: - Finn Family Moomintroll by Tove Jansson
FRANCE: - Alleen op de Wereld by Hector Malot
- Pietr le Letton by Georges Simenon
Movie: - La Grande Vadrouille with Louis de Funes
GERMANY: - Deutschstunde by Siegfried Lenz
- Gehen, ging, gegangen by Jenny Erpenbeck
Movie: - Die Blechtrommel,
- Die Himmel úber Berlin, with director Wim Wenders
HOLLAND: - Het Bureau by Voskuil
Movie: Alleman by Haanstra
ICELAND: - Hannah Kent - Burial Rites
Movie: - Rams
Movie: - "Salam Cinema" directed by Mohsen Makhmalbaf
ITALY: - Het Respijt by Primo Levi
- Een zomer in Italie by Barry Unsworth
Movie: - "Novecento" directed by Bertolucci
Movies: - Tampopo directed by Jûzô Itami,
- Spirited Away by Hayao Miyazaki
KOREA: - A single shard by Linda Sue Park
NEW ZEALAND: - The Bone People by Keri Hulme
POLAND: - Solaris by Stanislaw Lem
- Steen op steen by Wieslaw Mysliwski ****
Movie: Lisbon Story director Wim Wenders
- Oorlog en Vrede by Tolstoy
Movie: - Solaris by Tarkovsky
Saudi Arabia
Sierra Leone
South Africa
SPAIN: - Pa Negre by Emily Teixidor
Movie: - Hable con ella directed by Pedro Almodóvar
Sri Lanka
St. Kitts
SWEDEN: - De vrouw in het Gótakanaal by Maj Sjówall
- Niels Holgerssons wonderbare reis by Selma Lagerlöf
Movie: - Sameblod (Sami blood) director Amanda Kernell
SWITZERLAND: - Heidi by Johanna Spyri
UK: - David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
Movie: - A Fish called Wanda by Charles Crichton
USA: - The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
Movie (too many to count of course)- The Green Mile by Frank Darabont
ZIMBABWE: - Doris Lessing The Grass is Singing

Edited: Sep 9, 9:39am Top

And then one last post. For my map of visited countries

Make yours @ BigHugeLabs.com

As you see I'm visiting European countries at the moment.

Would like to have different colours for visited once, or several times! Like light blue, to dark blue...

visited 26 states (11.5%)
Create your own visited map of The World

The world map. Heavily slanted towards the northern half of the world, will have to remedy that.

For the world map I have used a different site than for the map of Europe. The first gives better detail. The second is easier to use. He uses a list that has countries and states, so for instance the Faroer islands as a separate country. This makes the list longer again...

Jun 28, 6:49pm Top

Happy new thread, Els, nice cat & wren up there!

Edited: Jun 28, 7:28pm Top

Glad you like it, Anita!
The cat is the spitting image of my deceased cat, who was a lapjeskat (tortoiseshell?) as well.

Now can I prevent the touchstones from overlapping the picture?
No, apparently not, too bad.

Jun 29, 5:58am Top

Happy new thread Ella. Lovely to see you so active this year. xx

Nice to see you adopting the Around the World in 80 Books theme. Feel free of course to change the countries as you see fit as I will probably do so as well!

Jun 29, 6:41am Top

Hi Paul, and thanks for your support! I could never be as active here as you are, but it's nice to have people visiting my thread.

Yes, of course I'll be changing the 80-books theme. It's the idea of reading around the world, that attracted me. The list is a nice frame to think about options and possibillities:)

Jun 29, 6:56am Top

At my screen the picture isn't overlapped by the touchstones.
But you can change it: now there is width="600" for the image, if you change that numer into 500 or 400 the picture gets smaller. You can try and see what happens with preview.

Jun 29, 7:21am Top

>I'm switching between big screen, PC, and small screen, mini-laptop. Yesterday evening I was using the small screen, and then it overlapped with the touchstones, in a very ugly way, right over the eyes of the cat. That's why I changed the width of the picture to 600, then the touchstones overlapped the body of the cat. But now I'm using the big screen, and they don't overlap at all here. So it seems it's all dependent on the screen people are using.
You're quite accomplished with this stuff!

Edited: Jun 29, 7:37am Top

>11 EllaTim: For creating and maintaining my own website I learned HTML (the programming language for webpages) and that is what is used here.

The website was about our Chow Chows, breed information, the litters we had. It is still there, but since our last Chow Chow died last year I don't update anymore.

Jun 29, 10:48am Top

Happy new thread!

Jun 29, 3:43pm Top

Thanks, Jim!

Jun 29, 7:38pm Top

Filling in the list of countries with movies I have seen. It's hard to remember, but every once in a while a new one comes to mind (that I have seen and loved/liked) It's fun to do.
And LT does have touchstones for movies, they don't all work, but lots do.

Edited: Jun 30, 4:57pm Top

I was investigating what book to choose from Denmark.
Turns out there was a Danish author by name of Piet Hein.
Now Piet Hein here in Holland is known as the famous admiral, seafarer, who captured the Spanish "Silver Fleat". Subject of nationalist songs, mostly sung at soccer matches.

The Danish Piet Hein is supposed to be a descendant. Was a mathematician, who wrote humorous poems and aphorisms. That have been translated into English Grooks

And now I'm dying to read one of his books, but can't find it of course. ;(

Jul 2, 4:36am Top

>16 EllaTim: On Denmark, I like the books by Jussi Adler-Olsen and have read and enjoyed Peter Hoeg but I fancy my Denmark choice will be The Long Ships by Frans G. Bengtsson.

Have a lovely weekend, Ella.

Jul 2, 5:14am Top

>17 PaulCranswick: Frans G. Bengtsson was Swedish!

Jul 2, 6:04am Top

>18 PawsforThought: Ooops, Paws. I had better put it back on the shelves then as I have already read Mons Kallentoft for my Swedish book toward the challenge.

Thanks for correcting me otherwise I would have screwed up my challenge completely!

Jul 2, 6:08am Top

>19 PaulCranswick: No worries. To be fair, he was from Scania which did once belong to Denmark, but not during his lifetime.

Jul 2, 7:18am Top

>17 PaulCranswick: Thanks Paul, I might try Jussi Adler-Olsen, good idea. I have seen the movie of Miss Smilla's feeling for snow, but I didn't like it much.

>19 PaulCranswick: Ah, what a pity, I have heard lots of people praise The long ships.

Have a nice weekend, both of you!

Jul 3, 7:09am Top

Nice to see you read Les Miserables. That is on my list - but not not one I will finish any time soon. Likewise L'etranger is on my list. I read The Crystal Cave quite a few years back and liked it a lot. I also see I have put De aanslag on my TBR... did I see that in your thread or did Anita mention it?

Jul 3, 10:01am Top

Hi Stephen, I've only read part 1 of Les Miserables, and liked it, but there's still parts 2, 3, 4 and 5 to go through, so finishing it, I don't know if I'll manage it.

De aanslag, I was inspired by Anita's reading, and I think it's been doing the rounds. Paul read it as well. I thought it was a good read, and not as enormous as Mulisch more famous the discovery of heaven, which I certainly will avoid.

Jul 3, 11:05am Top

39 The Dinosaur Hunters by Deborah Cadbury ****

The very readable story of the beginnings of the science of paleontology in England. Told through the story of the people, scientists, fossil hunters, involved.

Fossils were found earlier of course, but noone knew what to make of them. Religion was very influential, the bible told that the world was created in 6 days, and the bisshop of Ussher had even managed to calculate that the world was created 6000 years BC.

This is how the story starts out, but it ends with Darwin's evolution theory, a very radical change. So what happened in between?

We get a good view of the science involved, the difficulties in puzzling together all the clues, the geological layers, the fragments of bones. That in itself is interesting. The life stories of the people involved give an additional interest to the book. Their difficulties, the class society they lived in, the rivalries. It adds a lot of juice to the book.

Jul 3, 11:17am Top

>24 EllaTim: Ooh, that sounds like an interesting book!

Jul 3, 12:34pm Top

Yes, it really is, covering a lot of aspects of dinosaur science, like models, and museums. But all presented in a very accessible style, bringing it to life. I bet you'd like it.

I'm going to pay a visit to the nearby natural history museum of Naturalis, to round this off I think.

Jul 3, 12:46pm Top

>26 EllaTim: The fact that it's about dinosaurs is enough for me to be interested in reading it, but I also really like when there's focus on not just the science but the people behind it - makes it easier to understand what happened.

I wish I had a natural history museum close by, but I'll have to wait a few weeks to visit one.

Jul 3, 1:08pm Top

And then were will you be going?

Jul 3, 1:46pm Top

>28 EllaTim: Paris! Their natural history museum looks very interesting, though sadly it doesn't look as if it's included in the Museum Pass.

Jul 3, 7:05pm Top

Oh, wow Paris. Well allready wishing you a great time there. I had a swift look at their site, it looks great. Better take your walking shoes;) You'll probably need them.

Jul 3, 7:34pm Top

>30 EllaTim: Yeah, I probably will. When I was in Vienna a few years ago my feet hurt so much I had to rinse them with cold water at the end of each day.

Edited: Jul 4, 7:58pm Top

We saw a swedish movie yesterday evening: Sameblod (Sami blood) director Amanda Kernell

About the childhood of an old woman, from the sami. Growing up in the 30's there was a lot of prejudice and discrimination The movie shows how it gets to her, to all the children in the movie. At a boarding school for sami children.
A touching movie, and especially good acting by the two young girls.

Jul 5, 5:33am Top

>32 EllaTim: Ah, I recognise the name of the film, but I haven't watched it. It was in cinemas fairly recently, I think.
The 20's and 30's were god-awful for Sami people and they were treated ass less than people. Nazi Germany got many of its ideas on phrenology and other horrendous things from the Swedish "Race Biological Institute" which measured Sami people's heads and bodies, photographed them and pointed out why their bodies were (according to the institute) inferior to non-Samis, and sterilized many of them.
It's one of the worst parts of our history and has been shushed down until fairly recently - 25 years ago maybe. It's been talked about quite a lot since then, though, and it is taught in school nowadays.
Sterilization was done to a lot of other people too, including the mentally and physically disabled. A friend of the family was put in a mental institution when he was young for being "an idiot" (actual diagnosis) and sterilized. They were treated like animals, but he eventually got out and lived a perfectly well-functioning life with a job and his own place - just needed a bit of help with some things.

Jul 5, 6:32am Top

I did know that Sami were discriminated against. The movie has a (quite horrible) scene where the children were measured and photographed. And it shows how they are treated, and called names. And how the children started thinking bad about themselves as well. In fact, the main character, when she comes back, after 50 years, is still thinking like that about her own people.

Sterilization, that's awful.

This was clearly a movie with a message, still it was also enjoyable. The scenes between the two sisters, the resilience of the main character. The acting.

Jul 5, 6:40am Top

>34 EllaTim: I'm definitely going to try and watch that film one of these days. Sounds really good.

I'm not surprised she still had those thoughts - stuff like that doesn't just go away.

Jul 5, 6:42pm Top

Lots of gardening today, and hardly any reading.
Picked my first gooseberries (green and red, the red ones are the best). Removed a series of slugs from the pumpkin plants, and the broadbeans (sigh, no broadbeans this year). And then some weeding, and reeds mowing, and lots of discussion. And tomorrow, if the slugs will leave it alone, my first zucchini!

(I had a slug picture, but I'm not going to inflict it on you)

Jul 5, 6:49pm Top

>36 EllaTim: I love gooseberries; I should probably check to see if ours are ready for eating picking yet. I love both but prefer green.

And thanks for not posting the slug pic.

Jul 6, 9:34am Top

I would think it was way to warm to work in the garden ;-)

I had a red gooseberry in my previous garden. Now my garden favourites are blueberries and Japanese wineberries, both tasty and easy to grow.
Fortunately I didn't see many slugs this year, I don't mind pictures ;-)

Jul 6, 6:28pm Top

It was warm, but I have a lot of shade in the garden. And then later, when it's a bit cooler I do the sunnier places.
The best time for catching slugs is near sundown anyway, or just after. Then they all come out looking for that nice broadbean, or like today I catch them at the salad.

I've got blueberries as well, but the blackbirds are faster than me. I've got to be stricter. Japanese wineberries are wonderful. Beautiful and tasty.

Jul 9, 8:07am Top

Where I am reading now:

Still in Germany, with Jenny Erpenbeck, and a novel about a professor and a group of refugees:
Gehen, Ging, Gegangen

In the Netherlands, with a series of nature columns by Koos van Zomeren:
Ruim duizend dagen werk

And in Osten Ard with fantasy by Tad Williams
Storm: To Green Angel Tower, Part 2

Having a good time with all three of them, and a nice diversity.

Jul 9, 9:26am Top

>40 EllaTim: How nice, Koos van Zomeren, when we still had the NRC, his columns were the first I would read.

Jul 9, 6:08pm Top

Hi Anita, How nice that you know them!
I never read the NRC when those columns were published, I found the book by accident, liked what I saw and bought it. Had it on the shelf unread, for ages, and started reading for one of the challenges here, but I'm really enjoying them now. And there's really 1001 of them.
I don't want to rush through them, they weren't supposed to be read like that, but they're really nice in between 'heavier' reading, or when i have just a little time.

Jul 10, 8:20am Top

Thanks for reminding me of him, I would like to read the books about his dogs: Het complete Rekelboek and Alptraum : Stanley's laatste gems. I see that both are available at the e-library, so I add them to mount TBR.

Jul 10, 2:18pm Top

>43 FAMeulstee: I'm reading a lot about Rekel right now:)

Jul 11, 5:38am Top

I'm having back trouble, and have to take a break from the computer for a while.

Jul 11, 9:00am Top

>45 EllaTim: I am sorry, Els, I hope your back problems leave you soon.

Jul 11, 5:39pm Top

Thanks, Anita, hope so too, but I have to take it easy at the moment.

Edited: Aug 21, 7:47am Top

40. Gehen, Ging, Gegangen by Jenny Erpenbeck ****1/2
Library, German, (translated in Dutch : Gaan, ging, gegaan roman), 308 pages

The book is about a German ex-professor, Richard, he's a pensioner, his wife has died, and he doesn't know what to do with his time.
By coincidence he comes upon a group of African refugees, camping on the Oranienplatz in Berlin. Richard is interested in them, at first he just wants to do some research, how are they living in Germany without work, without family.
So he decides to go and interview them. It does come across as pretty naive, but it works in this novel, as now we get to hear their stories, about their background, their situation in Germany etc.

I thought this novel very sad, the refugees are in a hopeless situation, and that comes across very clearly. The world is not a good place for them. Reading the book is tough, but it isn't only that, I also felt there is a lot of good, in the people described, in the influence they have on Richard.

I read some reviews, some positive, some really negative. As was to be expected, as the book has such a political subject. One thing I did agree with: all the refugees are portretted as really good people, there are no bad intentions, criminality. Just in the last chapters, one of them goes astray, and steals from Richard. But as we know his awful situation, it's easy to understand how this happened. But I wondered, while reading I was expecting bad things to happen, so how warped are our views, as bad news is always making headlines? How cynical have we become, and how realistic is that?

A worthwhile read, though not easy.

I'm working on my german, and the language in this book was harder to read than in Deutschstunde, I had to reread sentences, and sometimes I had to read out loud, it seemed to help when coming upon a difficult construction.

Up till now Germany does not disappoint!

Jul 13, 6:59am Top

Time for something lighter, still reading two huge chunksters. But as a third I'm starting on the much recommended
Matilda by Roald Dahl

Looking forward to it.

Jul 13, 3:54pm Top

>48 EllaTim: Thanks for your review, I have added Gaan, ging, gegaan to my library wishlist.

>49 EllaTim: Have fun with Matilda! My next Roald Dahl is De heksen (The witches).

Jul 13, 7:08pm Top

>De heksen is on my wishlist as well.

Edited: Jul 26, 7:57am Top

Storm: To green Angel Tower ***1/2

At last I manager to finish book 3 of Tad William series Memory, Sorrow and Thorn.

And I must confess I am a bit disappointed. It was such a long read, And it did hold my attention enough to read on, but I was glad to finish the book, And would have liked it a bit shorter. I feel that there is too much borrowed, lots of things reminded me of other books, movies. Of course, nobody can be completely original, or has to be, but a story that feels like a mishmash of other books...

And I used to love reading chuncksters, the bigger, the better, I could get totally absorbed. But I seem to have lost that capacity.

*edited for silly mistake

Jul 26, 7:36am Top

>52 EllaTim: "Memorystick, Sorrow and Thorn"? LOL

Through time our reading habits can change, it can change back someday.

Edited: Aug 21, 7:49am Top

Haha, I hadn't seen that. Used my brother's Ipad to write, it keeps editing my posts;)

I don't always have internet access at the moment, so I'm not up to date with reviews of my reading.

41. Sabriel by Garth Nix ****

An unexpected pleasure, this young adult fantasy.

I must have found it here in someone's thread, but I can't remember where.

Sabriel comes from The Old Kingdom. Where there is magic. She is the daughter of the Abhorsen of this kingdom, a necromancer, but one whose task is to lay the dead to rest.
She grows up across the border, in the safe country without magic, but then she is warned her father is in danger, or dead already? And she has to cross the border to help him.

I thought this an interesting and inventive fantasy. Sabriel is a nice character, couragious. The story has a good forward going drive to it, while still having time for good descriptions. And then the relief of a timely ending;)

Edited: Jul 26, 8:29am Top

Reading now: Baltische zielen by Jan Brokken

Stories about people from the Baltic nations. Through their life stories the reader gets a good impression of the history of the baltics during the 20th century.

Jul 27, 5:57am Top

>54 EllaTim: That series is excellent, and agree completely with your review of Sabriel.

Jul 28, 6:24pm Top

>56 sirfurboy: I'm already reading the next book in this series and still enjoying it!

Edited: Aug 21, 7:50am Top

42. Kindred by Octavia Butler ****

Travelling back in time, it sometimes seems attractive, but less so when it means you end up in very difficult circumstances. This happens to Dana, the protagonist of Kindred. She finds herself travelling back, to a time where she is just in time to rescue a relative, who will be her greatgrandfather. Unfortunately this is also a time and place where slavery is still existent. And as she is a black woman, she finds herself in dire straits.

It certainly was an interesting novel. One can think about how people are formed by their circumstances, how it influences us, for good and for bad. The boy she rescues, several times, slowly grows into a man, who is a lot like his father (not good). Dana has to act in ways she finds awful, just because she has no better options available.

It's very good, but I did find it hard to get into, in the beginning, the writing style didn't draw me in maybe.

Jul 30, 9:24am Top

Reading plans .
I have been reading Baltische zielen for my around the world project. Well, I 'm not going around the world yet, too much choices for me, I wanted some direction and thought to first just go east from Holland, to Germany, and then on.

Finding books for Germany was easy, but for the other countries I had to do some research. I would like the book to be a good representative of the country I am reading it for. Like, the writer should be born there and live there, the book should not be a fantasy. Talk about making things difficult. I'm still looking for good Polish books, so for now I'm going with having read Solaris by Stanislaw Lem, in spite of it being fantasy/sf.

The Baltic countries were even harder to find something for, so I decided to read Baltische zielen first. It turns out to be a good choice. I now am finding out that I know next to nothing about the countries and their history. It's interesting, but I am a bit shocked about my own uninformedness.

So my next read is going to be In Europa by Geert Mak. He is a Dutch historian, who travelled around Europe for a Year, for the paper, the NRC, to write about the history of the twentieth century in Europe.

I've started reading, and I'm optimistic about it, in spite of it's length, as Mak writes well, and the first chapters were interesting and easy to follow.

Jul 30, 12:15pm Top

>59 EllaTim: I loved In Europa learned a lot from it. I read the first book in 2008 and the second in 2010, both a 5* read for me :-)

Jul 30, 5:38pm Top

Hi Anita, good to hear that you liked In Europa so much. It is a chunkster, but it helps to know it's worth the effort. But I've already seen it isn't the kind of dry history that I used to hate so much.

Aug 1, 8:21am Top

I finally found your thread and starred it. Have a lovely day. Ella.

Aug 1, 2:38pm Top

It's nice to see you here, Barbara!

Aug 6, 2:10am Top

Dropping by to wish you a lovely weekend, Ella.

Aug 8, 12:05pm Top

Thank you Paul!

Aug 8, 12:26pm Top

I listened to
The Secret Garden ****

And loved it. A free recording from Librivox, I was afraid it would be awful, mechanical voice, but in fact it was quite good, I'm going to try more of this.

It was a reread, but listening changes the experience, and there was lots I didn't remember. I read it as a child, and loved the idea of a secret garden all your own. I guess lots of children do. Now I still liked it, Mary and her contrariness, she's still appealing.

Aug 8, 1:13pm Top

>66 EllaTim: The Secret Garden is one of my all-time favourite books. I re-read it a few years ago and it's still as good.
I really felt connected to Mary as a child - we're a lot alike (though I've never had someone dress me).

Aug 8, 5:59pm Top

I thought the writer had done a really good job in her description of Mary, she comes across very clearly, and alive.
And what child is always happy, thank god for books about 'less than good' children!

Aug 9, 7:22am Top

>66 EllaTim: I have never read The secret garden, I guess the library of my youth didn't have a copy. So I have added it to mount TBR :-)

Aug 9, 7:28am Top

Have fun with mount TBR! Do you keep track of it?

Edited: Aug 9, 8:51am Top

>70 EllaTim: I have a lot of TBR lists: on LT all books in my own library, that I haven't read since 2008 & Wishlist & TBR; I have a TBR list at the library, that partly overlaps the LT TBR list; a small list at Bol.com; and then some small notebooks full with titles I collected since 2008 in the 75 group.

I have requested The secret garden at the library.

Aug 9, 9:11am Top

>66 EllaTim: Librivox is great, although the quality of recording can vary. I remember one I listened to where the reader appeared to be an Italian reading in a coffee bar/ coffee shop. Her accent was pleasant, her English impeccable, but there was a lot of background noise!

I had to wonder what people around her must have thought as she made the recording!

Aug 9, 5:58pm Top

>71 FAMeulstee: Lists and lists;)
A list at the library is a good idea, I'm going to look into that.

I hope you like The secret garden!

>72 sirfurboy: Wonderful atmosphere;) At least she could read on while ordering a cup of coffee...

I like Librivox, but I have to be careful with the quality of the recordings, most of the books are in English, and it is not my first language. When I'm reading I hardly notice that, but listening is more difficult, and then bad sound recordings, or accents can trip me up easily. But I've found another good one:

The enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim

It's a free book, in the public domain, dates from 1922. I picked it from the list most highly voted novels.

The plot is rather familiar, four women go on vacation in Italy, away from the dreariness of home. Made me think of the movie Shirley Valentine, of maybe even Elizabeth Gilbert's book? But this book was first of course, and it's really nice, it kept me listening. I'm halfway through it already.

Elizabeth von Arnim has a german sounding name, but she was a australian born writer, who grew up in England. She then married the prussian count Von Arnim.

Listening was a very nice option today, I have a lot of harvest from the garden, zucchini, apples, plums, and I'm putting it in the freezer, or making apple sauce. Lots of cutting and peeling, can be very boring, so it's nice to have a book to listen to.

Edited: Aug 21, 7:56am Top

Finished 44. The enchanted april ****

I enjoyed it. It's a light and bubbly read. Lots of dark books around, so it's refreshing to read something like this, sparkly would be a good word to describe it as well.

Ending on a really romantic and maybe slightly less realistic note, well, it was nice;)

Aug 12, 5:44am Top

>74 EllaTim: I could do with an Enchanted August, Ella!

Have a great weekend.

Aug 13, 6:20am Top

Yeah, that would be something Paul!

Have a happy weekend, yourself.

Aug 15, 5:15am Top

Today I'll be making lots of apple sauce again, as I have two buckets of apples, that will only last a few days.

So I'll be trying an audiobook again. Borrowed one from the library De oorlog heeft geen vrouwengezicht, by Svetlana Alexijevitch.

but I don't know , maybe I'll look for something lighter as well, audio is a different experience than reading, if only because it's easier to detach oneself from the book, when you feel you need a small break.

It's her first book, about the experience of women in WWII. I listened to the first chapters, very impressive, but not light reading. Also a lot of repetition in the stories, where they all seem to meld together. I would have liked some pictures, of the people being interviewed.

Aug 15, 5:24am Top

>77 EllaTim: Yum! Apple sauce is so delicious, and homemade is the only way to go. Our apples aren't ready to be picked yet, but soon enough.

Aug 15, 8:10am Top

>77 EllaTim: That is a lot of apples, you'll have enough apple sauce for a long time ;-)
I have read two other books by Svetlana Alexievich Voices of Chernobyl (Wij houden van Tsjernobyl) and Secondhand Time (Het einde van de rode mens). Both were no light reads, but I found them facinating and very informative.

Aug 15, 7:59pm Top

>78 PawsforThought: Homemade is the best. I add as little water as possible, and no sugar at all. Our apples are early, and they don't keep well. But sooo tasty! Will you be making apple sauce?

>79 FAMeulstee: Yes, I can make enough for the whole year, but I try to give some to my neighbours as well;)

Her other books seem fascinating as well. I've now listened to the greater part of this book. It is really interesting, but very sad in parts.

Aug 16, 2:31am Top

>80 EllaTim: That's the way I do it too. I'll probably make applesauce when they're ripe enough, but it depends on how busy I'll be at work. Mum might pip me too it. Some of the apples are made into deserts and frozen.

Applesauce instead of oil in muffins is really delicious - have you tried it? I especially like it in oatmeal muffins with cinnamon.

Aug 16, 4:39am Top

What desserts do you make? I know how to make apple pie but that's about it. But I might try the oatmeal muffins, it sounds good...

Aug 16, 6:40am Top

>82 EllaTim: We make a lot of what we call "oven apples" (I don't know if there's an English word for it). You peel and core the apples and put them in a pan, then fill the hole up with a mixture of butter, sugar/syrup, cinnamon and maybe chopped nuts and/or marzipan (I like a bit of cardamom added to mine). You can cover a bit of the top/sides as well if you want/have leftover "goo". Then into the oven (about 200-225ºC). There are a million versions.
They freeze just fine - I just had some last week that we made around this time last week and they tasted good. You can eat them as they are (re-heated, of course) or with ice cream, custard or similar.

This is the result I get when I google it, you should be able to Google translate the recipes without too much trouble. And you're more than welcome to ask if you have questions.

We also cut some of the apples up into smaller pieces (after peeling and coring), blanche them and freeze. When you want to make a pie or something later on you just take them out and defrost them and then carry on as you would normally.

Aug 16, 7:55pm Top

>83 PawsforThought: I looked up your link, and they look very tasty! I'll be trying those definitely, and thanks for the recipe.

I'll be trying the google translate option, but from experience I know that it can lead to rather weird results;)

Aug 17, 2:57am Top

>84 EllaTim: If it sounds weird, doesn't make sense or you're just not sure - ask and I'll do a aproper translation.

Aug 17, 9:00am Top

>83 PawsforThought: We make those in my family too; we call them "baked apples". Usually we leave the peels on the apples, though.

Edited: Aug 21, 7:58am Top

> Thanks, Paws! Your link has taught me my first word in Swedish, äpple. Now that was easy...

45. De oorlog heeft geen vrouwengezicht

Audiobook. Dutch translation.

Svetlana Alexievich has interviewed a lot of Russian women, to write this impressive book about their experiences during the Second World War.

In the introduction she explains her motivation, she grew up in Belarus in a small town. The school library was filled with books about the war, but no books from the perspective of the women. There's more, personal involvement through her family etc

The interviewed women do the talking in the book, Alexievich adds some comments about her own experiences making and writing the book, and about the reactions of the censor. It was her first book, and was originally written during the eighties. This is a new edition.

The stories are very impressive. It's not an easy read. Some of them are very sad, or horrible. But there is a lot of resilience, and humanity there as well.

Alexievich can safely assume that readers know a lot about the war in Russia, I do think a bit of background would have helped me. And I guess that quite a large number of the interviewed women, were from Belarus, a country that's almost like a black hole in Europe, so little do I know about it.

But it isn't very important, Alexievich's book is more about the people, and what the war did to them, and to their souls!

Aug 17, 9:11am Top

>86 norabelle414: Some people do that here, too, but we've never done it in my family. I'm not fond of the texture of baked apple peel.

>87 EllaTim: Ha! If only all language learning could be that easy!

Aug 17, 10:03am Top

>88 PawsforThought: There are a lot of more difficult languages, I had some fun looking up the word "apple"

Albanese: mollë
Armenian: խնձոր
Birma: ပန်းသီး
Bulgarian: ябълка
Chinese: 蘋果
Georgian: apple

I guess moving to Georgie would be my best option, or to Sweden of course;)

Aug 17, 10:11am Top

>89 EllaTim: Oh, jeez. Good thing none of those langauges were on my list of languages I want to learn...

Aug 17, 12:25pm Top

Awfull isn't it? I knew about Greek, Arab, and Cyrillic alphabet, but it turns out there are more, very unfamiliar. You'd have to learn how to read all over again. I don't think I could do it.

Aug 17, 1:39pm Top

>91 EllaTim: I definitely couldn't. I'm pretty good at language-learning, but I have limits.

Edited: Aug 21, 8:00am Top


45. Mevrouw Verona daalt de heuvel af by Dimitri Verhulst ****

Audiobook, Belgium, Flemish dutch, read by the author.

About the life and death of an elderly woman, Madame Verona. She lives in a small, dwindling village, in a remote village. The book tells about how she's lived there with her husband, who she loved very much, but who has died, some twenty years ago. And about the village, and the people there, the village is dying out as well.

The title refers to how she goes down the hill, where she lives, for the last time, knowing she can't go up again and will die.

It's beautifully told, in a slightly absurd style, don't know if that's the right word for it, but it also left me feeling sad.

Listening to it as audiobook was a good choice for this book, having it read by the author added to the experience. He read rather slowly, but the book and the language deserve to be listened to without hurry.

Aug 18, 9:09am Top

>93 EllaTim: That was the first book I read by Dimitri Verhulst, back in 2009. I loved the book with its beautiful, poetic language, a bit sad but more humor and love. It might be time for a re-read.

Aug 18, 9:12am Top

>94 FAMeulstee: Yes, humor and love as well. Writing a good review is hard;) but i just finished it, and my feeling after finishing it, was sadness. Not in a bad way, sadness can be good as well.

This is one I would like to reread every once in a while as well!

Aug 18, 9:15am Top

>95 EllaTim: With some books I have to wait a bit before I write the review. I just finished Oblomow and I need some time to let the story sink in, before I can write about it.

Aug 18, 9:57am Top

I'm afraid I would forget a lot of details when I wait too long to review.

What did you think of the dogs in Dimitri Verhulst books? Are certain people destained to have a bond with dogs?

Aug 18, 11:35am Top

>97 EllaTim: For me humans and dogs belong together, so it felt natural.

Edited: Aug 21, 8:03am Top

I liked her and her husband the more because of it:)

46. The Endless Steppe **** by Esther Hautzig

Found in the threads of Paul C.

Esther, 10 years old, and her family, mother father, grandma and grandpa, uncles and aunts, live happily together in Poland, in the town of Vilma.

Then the Russians come, and take over part of Poland. Esther's family is deported to Siberia, they are capitalists, according to the Russians. They spend weeks in cattle trains, and at last arrive in the steppe, at a work camp. Very hard circumstances, still they are lucky, in the end.

It's a good story, well told, through the eyes of Esther. Though the family goes through difficult times, this is not a holocaust story, it's much more a story about resilience and adaptation. A fast read, interesting, and informative.

Most of the story takes place in Russia, but Esther was Polish, I will count this as a Polish book for the challenge.

(edit, I'm calling the girl in the novel Esther in my review, but that was not her name in the book.. but as it was an audiobook I can't look it up, Lelita? Telling, I didn't even notice the mistake at first, it's an autobiography)

Aug 20, 2:22am Top

>98 FAMeulstee: This human does NOT belong with a dog - I promise :). I like seeing photos of dogs (especially puppies, as my thread currently shows), and don't mind other people's dogs (as long as they're on a leash and not barking up a storm), but could never have one of my own.

Aug 20, 6:09am Top

>100 PawsforThought: I didn't mean individually, but as the whole species. The bond between human and dog is very old.

Aug 20, 6:16am Top

>101 FAMeulstee: I figured, but was trying to make a joke. (Did you know dogs were not the first animal to be domesticated - reindeer were.)

Aug 20, 6:23am Top

>Not a dog person Paws? Doesn't that contradict your name here, first thing I think of when I see the word Paws is dog paws;) Or is that me?

I couldn't have a dog too, though I might like to, but I live on the third floor, in a small apartment, and I think a dog should have more space. I had cats here, but even for a cat, I think my apartment is too constrained. My cat at the allotment, is shared between three 'owners', maybe a better word would be tenders, we certainly don't own him.

Aug 20, 6:31am Top

Just freaking around at the moment. Been reading about reading globally. I'm having fun with it, so I decided to broaden the project to all recognized nations. It felt strange to exclude half of the world, when only incuding 80 states. And I would regret not being able to show off, when I read a book from a state that isn't included;)

See here: http://ideas.ted.com/your-guide-to-reading-the-world/
(I will have to check out how to make this a working link)

This is the page that describes the project of writer Ann Morgan, reading globally. There's maps for every region of the world, with clickable links for her reviews of the books she read (for all 196 states)


1. Afghanistan
2. Albania
3. Algeria
4. Andorra
5. Angola
6. Antigua & Deps
7. Argentina
8. Armenia
9. Australia
10. Austria
11. Azerbaijan
12. Bahamas
13. Bahrain
14. Bangladesh
15. Barbados
16. Belarus
17. Belgium
18. Belize
19. Benin
20. Bhutan
21. Bolivia
22. Bosnia Herzegovina
23. Botswana
24. Brazil
25. Brunei
26. Bulgaria
27. Burkina
28. Burundi
29. Cambodia
30. Cameroon
31. Canada
32. Cape Verde
33. Central African Rep
34. Chad
35. Chile
36. China
37. Colombia
38. Comoros
39. Congo
40. Congo {Democratic Rep}
41. Costa Rica
42. Croatia
43. Cuba
44. Cyprus
45. Czech Republic
46. Denmark
47. Djibouti
48. Dominica
49. Dominican Republic
50. East Timor
51. Ecuador
52. Egypt
53. El Salvador
54. Equatorial Guinea
55. Eritrea
56. Estonia
57. Ethiopia
58. Fiji
59. Finland
60. France
61. Gabon
62. Gambia
63. Georgia
64. Germany
65. Ghana
66. Greece
67. Grenada
68. Guatemala
69. Guinea
70. Guinea-Bissau
71. Guyana
72. Haiti
73. Honduras
74. Hungary
75. Iceland
76. India
77. Indonesia
78. Iran
79. Iraq
80. Ireland {Republic}
81. Israel
82. Italy
83. Ivory Coast
84. Jamaica
85. Japan
86. Jordan
87. Kazakhstan
88. Kenya
89. Kiribati
90. Korea North
91. Korea South
92. Kosovo
93. Kuwait
94. Kyrgyzstan
95. Laos
96. Latvia
97. Lebanon
98. Lesotho
99. Liberia
100. Libya
101. Liechtenstein
102. Lithuania
103. Luxembourg
104. Macedonia
105. Madagascar
106. Malawi
107. Malaysia
108. Maldives
109. Mali
110. Malta
111. Marshall Islands
112. Mauritania
113. Mauritius
114. Mexico
115. Micronesia
116. Moldova
117. Monaco
118. Mongolia
119. Montenegro
120. Morocco
121. Mozambique
122. Myanmar, {Burma}
123. Namibia
124. Nauru
125. Nepal
126. Netherlands
127. New Zealand
128. Nicaragua
129. Niger
130. Nigeria
131. Norway
132. Oman
133. Pakistan
134. Palau
135. Panama
136. Papua New Guinea
137. Paraguay
138. Peru
139. Philippines
140. Poland
141. Portugal
142. Qatar
143. Romania
144. Russian Federation
145. Rwanda
146. St Kitts & Nevis
147. St Lucia
148. Saint Vincent & the Grenadines
149. Samoa
150. San Marino
151. Sao Tome & Principe
152. Saudi Arabia
153. Senegal
154. Serbia
155. Seychelles
156. Sierra Leone
157. Singapore
158. Slovakia
159. Slovenia
160. Solomon Islands
161. Somalia
162. South Africa
163. South Sudan
164. Spain
165. Sri Lanka
166. Sudan
167. Suriname
168. Swaziland
169. Sweden
170. Switzerland
171. Syria
172. Taiwan
173. Tajikistan
174. Tanzania
175. Thailand
176. Togo
177. Tonga
178. Trinidad & Tobago
179. Tunisia
180. Turkey
181. Turkmenistan
182. Tuvalu
183. Uganda
184. Ukraine
185. United Arab Emirates
186. United Kingdom
187. United States
188. Uruguay
189. Uzbekistan
190. Vanuatu
191. Vatican City
192. Venezuela
193. Vietnam
194. Yemen
195. Zambia
196. Zimbabwe

Edited: Aug 20, 7:05am Top

>102 PawsforThought: Sorry, reindeers were the last, according to several sources about 3.000 years ago or less ;-)
For dogs the estimates are between 100.000 and 40.000 years.
There are even thoughts dogs & humans domesticated eachother: We Didn’t Domesticate Dogs. They Domesticated Us.

>103 EllaTim: That is a good deal at your allotment, a shared cat :-)

>104 EllaTim: I'll be following your global reads.
And the link works allright.

Aug 20, 7:21am Top

>105 FAMeulstee: Hey, nice to see my link does work, less work!

Such a long history of domestication, 100.000 years. But it seems plausible, when you think about how many dog races there are, and how changed dogs are from wolves. That does take time. Now how many years for cats? And I guess they domesticated us as well, hanging out looking for mice, and then for scraps from the table.

Oh man, cuteness warning, I love orang utans, under Anita's link to the article about dogs:

Aug 20, 7:46am Top

>106 EllaTim: In Russia there has been an experiment with taming foxes, selecting for the friendliest ones. Within 20 generations they started to show other colors, dropped ears and curly tails, so change can happen fairly fast!
BBC article about the experiment A Soviet scientist created the only tame foxes in the world.

Cats were domesticated (if ever ;) ) about 9.000 years ago.

Orang utans are facinating and cute!

Aug 20, 11:30am Top

>103 EllaTim: Dogs aren't the only animals that have paws! My name references cats.

>105 FAMeulstee: The sources I've seen say reindeers have been domesticated for at least 14 000 years! And I've never seen numbers as high as 40-100 000 years for dogs.

My favourite domestication story is cats, who were never actually domesticated but simply chose to live with humans because they felt like it.

Aug 20, 2:05pm Top

>108 PawsforThought: The highest estimates come from those who support the hypothesis that Homo sapiens had an advantage against other Hominidae because they were working together with dogs, and that was why they could develop speach. Most scientists do agree on about 40.000 years. Oldest finding is 36.000 years, athough some say that it was an unknown kind of wolf.

Funny, I looked up Wikipedia on this subject in different languages and they all have other estimates ;-)

Edited: Aug 20, 3:07pm Top

>109 FAMeulstee: I think the highest estimate I've seen for dogs is 12 000 years.

ETA: That's odd about the different estimates in different languages, but I suppose it might have something to do with articles/information being available in different parts of the world.

Aug 20, 7:26pm Top

>110 PawsforThought: Or evidence not being conclusive, everybody having different pet theories. Also, how to find your evidence.

>107 FAMeulstee: That's interesting, that change can be so fast. I can imagine that dogs have been domesticated for a long time, they are so useful in so many ways, protection, hunting, chasing, etc.

Aug 21, 5:22am Top

>11 EllaTim: Indeed, all things that have an impact.

Edited: Aug 21, 6:20am Top

Reading up, and searching for books, for the reading globally project. I now find it can be really hard to decide which nationality a book and or an author should be counted under.

For instance: I read The Endless Steppe by Esther Hautzig.
I counted it for Poland, as she says in the book, that they lived in Vilna, Poland. The family talk about themselves as being Polish, at the end of the novel they go back to Poland. They spoke Polish. They were also jewish.

But: Vilna, Poland, is now Vilnius, Lithuania. Vilnius has in fact, historically, been Polish, Lithuanian, Russian, and German.
When the family lived there Vilna was Polish. Esther was deported to Russia, with her family, when she was ten years old (in 1941). She then lived in Russia for five years (until 1946). After some time in a work camp, Polish people were released, and Esther went to school in Siberia, where she was taught (Russian) literature by very good Russian teachers. So she spent five important years in Russia.

The family moved back to Poland, in 1947 Esther went to America, as a student, met her husband, married and has lived in America for the rest of her life.

Confusing, isn't it? I can count the book as Lithuanian, but she identified herself as Polish, and the book takes place in Russia.

For now I've wrote it up as Polish, but I'll try to find some more books from Poland or Lithuania.

Aug 21, 6:30am Top

Fascinating discussion about domestication, and thanks for the links.

I have been away, but back now so sorry just read your further comments about Librivox. I really need to sit down with their catalogue again, because I agree that an audiobook can be the perfect accompaniment to otherwise boring tasks.

Aug 21, 7:16am Top

>113 EllaTim: Have you read Between Shades of Grey by Ruta Sepetys? It's a YA novel about a Lithuanian girl and her family who are taken to a Soviet camp during WW2. Looks good, and I've heard good things about it. I believe her novel Salt to the Sea is about Lithuanian refugees, as well.

Aug 21, 8:12am Top

>114 sirfurboy: Yes, I am very happy to have found it. And they do have a lot of options. We all have those boring tasks, don't we;)
You don't have to say sorry, for being away, I'm away a lot too!

>115 PawsforThought: No I haven't, but I would like to. There's a striking similarity in subject to the book by Esther Hautzig. Would be interesting to compare.
Salt to the Sea would seem a good read as well, I will look out for those two books!

Edited: Aug 21, 1:51pm Top

47 Kleine gedichten voor kinderen
By Hieronymus van Alphen ***

A small bundle of poetry for children.
Written in 1778!

It's the first Dutch book meant for children. And it's surprising how light they are in tone. Although they were obviously meant to educate a number of them are still enjoyable. I liked the first one the best:


Zie daar, lieve wigtjes!
Een bundel gedigtjes,
Vermaakt er u meê!
En springt naar uw wooning;
Maar … eerst ter belooning
Een kusjen of twee.
Door liefde gedrongen
Heb ik ze gezongen,
En wilt gij er meer,
Gij moogt er om vragen.
Wanneer ze u behagen
Komt huppelend weêr.

The bundle even is part of the official Dutch literary canon, well there you go.


Aug 22, 5:24am Top

48 Baltische zielen by Jan Brokken ***1/2
dutch language

Stories about people from the Baltic nations.
Jan Brokken has been to the Baltics, and talks about his encounters with people, and trying to find backgrounds for his stories about them. Through those life stories the reader gets a good impression of the history of the baltics during the 20th century.

Reading it was a mixed experience for me, at first I was very enthusiastic, but about halfway through it started to drag a bit. Looking back I guess that the most interesting ones, were the stories where he also talks about his own experiences, meeting the people concerned or their families, neighbours. The ones that seem to only rely on third party background are a lot drier.

Of course it was nice to read about Arvo Pärt, and Gidon Kremer. The last one, not only for his baltic background, but for the story of growing up with a difficult jewish father. Kremer studied and studied for his father's sake.

A lot is about the history before the second world war, and what happened during it (very impressive), but there is also some information about how the baltic states gained independence when the Sovjet Union fell apart. The chain of freedom, that story could be a book in its own right.

Aug 22, 10:45am Top

>117 EllaTim: I had been thinking about following you and PaulC with reading global, but now I have made up my mind. The project I want to do is reading the Dutch canon. It links nicely to my other project, reading at least half of the "1001 books you have to read before you die", some books are in both lists.

I created a list: Canon van de Nederlandse letterkunde

Aug 22, 7:58pm Top

>119 FAMeulstee: I quite like the global reading challenge, because it gets me out of my comfort zone. But reading the Dutch canon might do that for you too;)

And you were already thinking of looking at the Dutch classics again, you mentioned that idea earlier in the year.

So good idea! Now what will you be doing with that list, I don't quite get how lists on LT are to be used I think.

On the Wikipedia page there are two more lists: the 100 best authors, and a Flemish list. I thought those interesting as well.

So I'll be interested in following your project, I'm already ahead of you by 1 book, I guess;)

I was pleasantly surprised by Van Alphen, and there might be more of those surprises hidden in this canon.

Aug 23, 7:15am Top

>The Wikipedia page gives two external links, both worthwhile to take a look at, but don't miss the Flemish one:

Aug 23, 11:51am Top

>120 EllaTim: I have already read 10 from the list: Max Havelaar, Van den vos Reynaerde, De avonden, De donkere kamer van Damokles, Nooit meer slapen, De ontdekking van de hemel, Kaas, De aanslag, Het bureau and Herfsttij der Middeleeuwen
You can use yourself it by simply adding the books you have read.

>121 EllaTim: I saw the Flemish list too, it is more balanced. In the Dutch list there are some works of writers AND the complete works of that same writer...
We even ordered a book from it Wolfijzers en schietgeweren together with De Oostakkerse gedichten that is on both lists.

Edited: Aug 23, 1:17pm Top

>122 FAMeulstee: I went back to your list and now I could click the books I read. Nice!

Of Reynaert the Fox
The Evenings
Camera obscura
Old People and The Things That Pass
The Discovery of Heaven
Kees de jongen
The Assault
A posthumous confession
Het bureau
Snikken en grimlachjes
Parken en woestijnen : gedichten
Kleine gedigten voor kinderen
Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl
The Black Lake
Captain Jan: A Story of Ocean Tugboats
Eric in the Land of the Insects
The Twins

Now, I have read most of them a long time ago, vague memories. I saw what you meant, the list is strange, containing a separate work, and the complete works of one author.

I think I really should read Max Havelaar as number 1 on the list and I don't know why I skipped it. Could make it count for Indonesia, or maybe Oeroeg.

I mentioned the Flemish site ,because they made a real effort to make it interesting, you can read (parts of) the books, for example.

Lots of poetry there, both the books you ordered are poetry? I'll be interested to hear how you like them.

Edited: Aug 23, 1:09pm Top

>123 EllaTim: You did add 13 book to the list :-)
De Oostakkers gedichten is poetry, I think Wolfijzers en schietgeweren is both poetry and prose. I went to boekwinkeltjes.nl for the first book and then saw the same seller had the second one. They will arrive tomorrow.

Aug 24, 6:18am Top

49 Zwart brood by Emily Teixidor ****

Spain, original title : Pa Negre, 2003

The story of a boy, Andres, growing up in Spain, after the civil war. He is living with his mother's family, on the family farm, in the woods. His father has been imprisoned for his position in the civil war, several family members have fled over the border.

He talks about life on the farm, playing, school, his cousins. Describing the things around him with love, the novel started off as a pleasant read. Teixidor paints a picture with words.

But then the story becomes darker, there are secrets, that the children only have partial knowledge of, and that as reader I had to guess at as well. His father dies, and his mother has to toil at the factory, and can hardly take care of him. Bad things happen, and he sees how everybody has secrets.

For me, at this point the book started to drag a bit. Teixidor gives explanations, talks about things.

The story ends with Andres being sort of adopted by the rich owners of the farm of his family, who want to give him a good education.

It's an interesting novel that gives a clear impression of what Spanish society was like after the civil war. Not an easy read, though.

Edited: Aug 30, 3:05pm Top

In Scaifea's thread she asked what we do when making a journey, reading, something else?

Today I made a train journey, early in the morning, through the landscape north of Amsterdam.
Beautiful misty morning feeling, sunlight falling through the low haze.
It's already a bit like autumn is starting, with lots of birds in flocks coming through
And I saw first a spoonbill, and then a great egret. Wonderful, no reading there.

Reading now, well listening to a Librivox recording, of

50 La Belle et la Bete by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve **

Exactly the right amount of difficulty for me, with a female reader who has a wonderfully clear voice and pronunciation. (Ezra)
Not going to review it, the story is rather sappy, and veeery well known, to everybody I guess. Listening to adult literature in french is just to hard at the moment.

Aug 26, 5:33pm Top

>126 EllaTim: Both beautiful birds!

Aug 27, 6:29am Top

>127 FAMeulstee: They sure are. And the egrets are new to the area, they have spread from Flevoland only in the last couple of years. I love it that there can be more birds instead of less birds, if you get my meaning.

I started on Max Havelaar, finding it entertaining and serious at the same time. Can predict a high rating for it, (and a bad ending, I guess ) :-(

Aug 27, 10:14am Top

I'm jealous of your train journey and the lovely scenery!

Aug 27, 10:17am Top

Oh dear, I'm so far behind. Happy Sunday, Ella.

Aug 27, 6:09pm Top

>Hi Amber, nice to see you here. I loved it, and especially because I had to get up very early, and was feeling cranky after a lousy night. But the train journey lifted my mood completely!

>130 Ameise1: Hi Barbara, I appreciate a visit, but this group is so busy, it's really hard to keep up, and then there's life as well, and you shouldn't spend all your time behind a screen, it's not healthy!

Aug 29, 6:27am Top

>126 EllaTim: I love misty autumn mornings. So atmospheric.

Aug 29, 6:23pm Top

>132 sirfurboy: We seem to be in autumn mode already, falling leaves, cool evenings, misty mornings. Autumn is really my favourite season.

Edited: Aug 30, 3:00am Top

>133 EllaTim: You have autumn down there already? With falling leaves and all? We're still in late summer up here, no fallen leaves and yesterday it was 19 degrees - same is expected today.

Aug 30, 3:54am Top

>134 PawsforThought: Yes, it's starting to feel like autumn. It is surprising, but I'm not the only one who thinks so. See
It's in Dutch, but the picture with the article makes it very clear.

So, falling leaves, flocks of birds gathering, cool evenings, misty moisty mornings, ripe apples... I can go on. But falling leaves is of course no more than just the first leaves yellowing and falling off. I notice them because of having to keep the garden paths clear.

As to temperatures, early autumn can be very nice, when it's not raining (but it has been raining, all night, and will be raining all day, and it's 17 degrees). Reading today, and making apple sauce again.

Aug 30, 3:58am Top

Found a very nice list of books for global reading here:


Some books have been written by people who were not born in a certain country, but still seem like a good choice.

It's a very accessible list, as far as I can see now.

Aug 30, 4:17am Top

>135 EllaTim: It's all still a luscious green here. Definitely cooler than earlier in summer, but comfortable anyway. Not enough to warrant a warmer jacket. And I haven't notised any migrating birds yet either. A bit strange that autumn has arrived in continental Europe but not up North. But nature is strange.
Autumn temperatures are rarely nice here. It's describe 17 as spring or summer temperatures - autumn is never above 15 and rarely above 10.

Aug 30, 5:38am Top

>133 EllaTim: Yes, there are some signs of autumn here too.

The NPO article is interesting (and a lovely photo too) but it is interesting. They say 1st September is the meteorological start of Autumn, but in Welsh August has always been an autumn month.

The Welsh summer months are Mai, Medi and Gorffennaf. Mai is May/mei ad you would expect, but Medi comes from the Latin medium, and refers to mid summer, where as Gorffennaf is literally Gorffen y haf - the end of summer.

In the UK, school summer holidays run from the end of July to the beginning of September. The name "summer holiday" is perhaps a misnomer though. The 6 week break was originally required because this was the traditional time of the most intense harvest (harvest continues into September of course). The problem was that if you ran a school during harvest, no one would turn up because all the children were needed as casual harvest labour.

The holiday period is therefore anachronistic in the modern age where the closest kids get to harvesting crops is playing Farm Town (do they still play that?). These days we get our casual labour from the EU :) . Of course, with Brexit coming, we may have to force the kids to work again, but that is another matter!

If I were Prime Minister I would shake up the school holidays and give kids a proper break when the weather is at its best, a few weeks earlier than now. There would also be merit in reducing the 6 week break to two shorter summer holiday periods.

Sadly no one cares about sensible stuff like this. :)

Aug 30, 6:13am Top

>137 PawsforThought: I'm now wearing a pair of warm socks. As I felt a bit chilly. Keep in mind it was 27 degrees yesterday, and sunny. You're a fair bit more north than we, of course, still as long as the sun is shining weather is ok for me.

>138 sirfurboy: Funny, such differences. June is the month with the longest days, but august the one, for us, that can get the most heat.

I know all about vacations and harvest. My parents had a small farm and grew tulips (what else?), so summer meant lots of harvesting. When I grew up all my class mates had summer jobs like that. Now, it's mainly people from Poland.

I would guess that as soon as it turns out that Brexit is damaging your economy, government will find a way around?

I'm all for children having holidays when the weather is best for it. But it's hard to predict when that will be.

Aug 30, 6:27am Top

>139 EllaTim: I'm wearing a t-shirt at work - and I'm normally the one who's always cold and wearing layers upon layers.
I have started wearing woolly socks around the house in the morning and before bed, though. Always feel a bit cold when I'm tired.

I love that your family had a tulip farm - so delightfully typical!

I feel so sorry for those poor kids and their short summer holidays. Here kids are off for 10 weeks during summer (early June to late August). From my experience working in schools, kids really benefit from having a proper holiday rather than just a few weeks. There's a lot of stress in schools nowadays and having more time off allows the kids to really de-stress and return fresh in Autumn.

Aug 30, 8:28am Top

>140 PawsforThought: Yes, typical indeed, though no wooden shoes, we did have two windmills, American ones, to be exact :)

Ten weeks off during summer! Wonderful. But I do think it's really needed when winters are so long, to reap all the benefit of being outdoors in summer.

Aug 30, 8:41am Top

>141 EllaTim: Yeah, that's part of it. That's why the holiday is so early in the season compared to other countires, too. Some people think it should be pushed later, because it's usually warmer in August than in June, but it's also much darker.

Aug 30, 9:11am Top

It seems wonderful. And are there other holidays in the rest of the year? Kids and teachers really needed those breaks. Here it's a break in October, then the Christmas holidays, a break in February, then Easter holidays, or May holidays, more or less every six weeks.

Aug 30, 9:16am Top

>143 EllaTim: Oh, yeah. Pretty similar to you, actually. 3 weeks for Christmas/New Years, 1 week at the end of October ("culture break"), 1 week in February/March (depending on where you live, "sports' break") and one week for Easter. Plus a few public holidays (Labour Day, Independence Day, Ascension Day).

Aug 30, 9:22am Top

>140 PawsforThought: Your system sounds like the Italian one too. There I suspect the holidays are so long because summer gets so hot. Actually Italians have about 3 months off. Early June to early September.

The problem with a long summer holiday is that there is evidence that kids forget too much in it, but there is indeed a fine line between a short enough holiday to boost memory retention, and too short so that kids don't get a proper break.

When I become dictator of the world, I will get some scientific studies conducted before I make any snap decisions ;)

>139 EllaTim: Well Brexit is pretty clearly already harming the economy, and we haven't left yet! There are signs of the tide of opinion beginning to turn, but so far no sign that the UK government will find a way out of the hole they have dug for themselves. We will just have to wait and see, I suppose.

Aug 30, 9:28am Top

>145 sirfurboy: The evidence I've read suggests that while kids do forget, they pick it up again within weeks - so not really a big loss.
I think your plans during world dictatorship sound good - I'd vote for you (damn, you can't vote for a dictator, can you?

>145 sirfurboy: Is it cruel of me to cheer whenever I see articles or reports about some other part of the British economy going down because of Brexit? (I'm pretty bitter about it, if you couldn't tell.)

Aug 30, 9:48am Top

>146 PawsforThought: Sure you can vote for me when I am dictator. I will just ensure that I am the only candidate on the paper ;)

I am pretty bitter about Brexit too. I am not ready to cheer damage to the economy, but I do have an "I told you so" feeling every time it happens.

Aug 30, 9:52am Top

I take back what I said earlier - I just spotted some yellow leaves on one of the trees outside of work - so it's not all still luscious and green.

Aug 30, 10:14am Top

Hi, Ella. Just stopping by to catch up and say hello. How fun to have grown up on a tulip farm! They are one of my favorite flowers. I was a little sad years ago when I got married and could not have tulips in my bridal bouquet since our wedding took place in August. However, the stargazer lilies and other flowers were beautiful, but I always felt that the tulips would have suited me more.

Aug 30, 2:34pm Top

>145 sirfurboy: Wow, that is some serious vacation!
No, I don't think stopping Brexit all at once will happen, but maybe compromises like, workers from the EU are allowed when they can show they have a job?

>146 PawsforThought: Does Brexit have negative consequences for you, Paws?

>147 sirfurboy: I'll vote for you as dictator, as long as you promise we can get rid of you again!

>148 PawsforThought: Aha!

>149 rretzler: Hi Robin, and hello to you. Stargazer lilies sound wonderful. Unfortunately getting tulips to flower in august is still not possible!

Aug 30, 3:26pm Top

51. Max Havelaar by Multatuli **** (Netherlands, Dutch East Indies, 1860)

Reading this book was a rollercoaster.

It's part of the Dutch canon of literary works, see Anita's list: http://www.librarything.com/list/11963/all/Canon-van-de-Nederlandse-letterkunde

There's a main story, but this is told by, o, it's too hard to explain.

Most important is the story of the experiences of Multatuli himself, I suppose, in the Dutch East Indies. He had lived there, and tried to improve things for the indonesian people, but he got fired, and came back poor. This book is his attempt to get himself heard at the home front. And no, it wasn't a success.

But it's a wonderful book. Filled with very different voices, and styles, some satire, when he introduces the trader Droogstoppel, merchant in coffee. Sometimes very lyrical, writing poetry, or in the sad story of Saidja and Adinda.

This also means that some parts I raced through, I mean Droogstoppel is pretty funny. But there are some parts that I found hard to get through, these cover the story of how he tried to get the dutch management in Indonesia to change. There the book was interesting, but rather dry. But then he changes tone, and there's something wonderful again. In the end the good parts more than make up for the dry ones.

He also comments about his own book, how he is trying to make it interesting for the reader. And he's managed that, in fact, it seems he was praised for his writing, and then dismissed, because, well it was just a novel, wasn't it?

Aug 30, 3:50pm Top

>150 EllaTim: I used to live in the UK, and have toyed with the idea of going back. But if Brexit goes through and the right to live and work in there as an EU citizen goes away, it'll be very difficult to do. That's the main reason I'm angry.

Aug 30, 3:52pm Top

>151 EllaTim: Happy to see you finished & enjoyed Max Havelaar!
It is very compelling and indeed sometimes funny, the language didn't feel very dated to me.

Edited: Aug 31, 5:24am Top

>152 PawsforThought: Ah, yes, when you were considering a move, I get it. Have you lived in the U.K. for a long time?

>154 EllaTim: The language doesn't feel dated. Some differences in spelling, nothing major. It was a good choice for starting to read the Dutch canon. I'm thinking about my next one, have you got plans?

Aug 31, 5:21am Top

>150 EllaTim: I have decided I am not setting my sights high enough as dictator of the world. I now intend to be first star lord of the galaxy.

Aug 31, 5:26am Top

>154 EllaTim: I lived there twice, for abot 6 months, I think.

Aug 31, 10:02am Top

>155 sirfurboy: I'm sorry, can't help you there (tssk)

>156 PawsforThought: must have been interesting!

Aug 31, 10:06am Top

>157 EllaTim: It was - especially for a museum nerd like myself. I spent all my weekends walking around museums (so many of them are free, it's amazing!)

Aug 31, 11:41am Top

>158 PawsforThought: The ultimate museum country. And it's great when they're free, you can just take your time to look at some parts of an exhibition and come back later to see the rest.

What museums would you recommend, or were especially interesting?

Aug 31, 12:16pm Top

>159 EllaTim: Yeah, exactly, you don't have to feel guilty for not seeing "enough" - just whatever you feel like that day.

Museums, it depends a lot on your areas of interest, of course.
Obviously the British Museum is amazing, but it's also so massive that it's impossible to see the whole thing in one day (or even one trip, so it's definitely best to decide what to focus on and do that - then maybe see something else if you're not too tired.
The Natural History Museum has always been good when I've been there - they have a dodo which I'm always excited about and they also have Dippy the Diplodocus, but I think s/he's on a tour atm. They've had a big re-do of the big hall and there's a blue whale skeleton suspended from the ceiling now - I'd love to go see it.
Tate Britain is probably my favourite of the art museums, because they have several pieces that I could just sit and stare at for an entire day (but it depends on what your taste in art is, of course).
Friends of mine adore the Imperial War Museum but I've haven't yet made it there. It's on the list for my next visit - whenever that'll be.
But there are SO MANY more. I don't think I've ever been disappointed in a museum in London.

Aug 31, 12:54pm Top

>I guess I'd like all of those. And indeed, pick and chose. Dippy the diplodocus:-)

Those are the best visits, sit and stare at something you love.

A visit to Kew Gardens would be on my list.

Aug 31, 12:57pm Top

>161 EllaTim: Ah, yeah. I'e never been to Kew Gardens, but I have friends who go regularly and adore it. I quite like visiting botanical gardens when I'm on holiday so I'm sure I'd love Kew too.

Aug 31, 7:28pm Top

I borrowed a doorstopper from the library, but it isn't heavy stuff:

De Nederlandse kinderpoezie in 1000 en enige gedichten

A collection of poetry for children. I liked the bundel by Van Alphen I read earlier. I don't think I Will read this straight throug. Will probably pick what seems attractive.

Sep 1, 4:12am Top

From the library:

De nederlandse kinderpoezie in 1000 en enige gedichten

A collection of poetry for children, in Dutch. A 1000 is a lot, so I will probably skim through it, but I already had a good laugh with a poem by Annie M.G. Schmidt about a depressed chicken:)

Sep 1, 4:22pm Top

That is a beautiful collection, I own a copy. Annie M.G. is always good for a laugh.

Edited: Sep 5, 6:19am Top

I've started to read the

Fables by Jean de la Fontaine

I downloaded them from LibriVox, but in fact, the language is too hard for me to just listen to them. So I think i'll read them first, the text is available from Gutenberg.

And now that I've started to read them, it's obvious to me that they are not easy. I have to look up lots of words, (using my ereader that isn't such a nuisance anymore) they were written in the seventeenth century, so the language is old, and they rhyme, so sentence construction can be difficult! Anyway, I'll see how far I can get.

Sep 6, 9:05am Top

>166 EllaTim: Hmm, then maybe I won't try that one either. I would probably confuse myself with 17th century French.

Edited: Sep 6, 6:01pm Top

>167 sirfurboy: It's mostly words I don't know, and that I have to look up. It seems that French might have changed less since the 17th. century than for instance Dutch. But I first started listening to them because they were on librivox, so free, and I thought fables for children, easy, so that was a disappointment!

I listened to a series of lectures:
52. Tien geboden revisited; een hoorcollege over de betekenis van de Tien geboden toen en nu
Hans Achterhuis en Maarten van Buuren (no touchstone)

It's a series of ten lectures about the Ten Commandments, and what their meaning might be in modern times.

I thought this really interesting, a mixture of religion and history, bible knowledge, ethics, philosophy, social history. Most of these subjects I would have thought not my cup of tea at all, but here it was interesting. Through the series the lectures did get more interesting, and a bit less academic.

In one of the first for instance Maarten van Buren talks about one of the commandments, historical views, but then he goes on with talking about Spinoza, and what his view was. This was pretty hard to follow. I do like it better when lecturers mix in some of their own views, and experiences. And they did so in the later lectures.

Very interesting for instance the chapter about property (thou shalt not steal), where the lecturer talked about the views of stealing and property in ancient times, and not even so long ago, where he shows that the views about property have changed, and it's not all so cut and dried as it would seem. Thomas Piketty, the commons etc, several books on my TBR list as a result.

Found this as audio download from the library, but it isn't on LT, and I can't find it to add. Weird.

Sep 6, 9:33pm Top

>166 EllaTim: I thought I knew all of the book websites but I had not yet heard of LibriVox. Thanks! I'm signing up now!

Sep 7, 4:07am Top

>169 rretzler: Hi Robin. I think Librivox is great. like Gutenberg for audiobooks. I don't think you have to sign up, you can just visit the site and download, how about that;)

Sep 7, 4:35am Top

I've used LibriVox a bit, too, but it's a bit hit-and-miss with the narrators. That's okay, since it's free, and "regular" audiobooks can be hit-or-miss with the narrators, too.

Sep 7, 6:52am Top

>168 EllaTim: Those lectures look interesting. I found a link to them here:


Which gives a very short summary of each one. However, 8 hours of spoken Dutch is going to be taxing for me. I find that my mind wanders as I listen. In English, my mind can wander and I still take in what I hear, but in Dutch I would realise that I have not understood a word of the last 10 minutes and then have to do it all again. because I don't get every word when listening to Dutch, I have to work hard to maintain my understanding and gist of what is being said. Still, I may listen to just one lecture.

In light of what I just read in Dickens, and from general interest, I may try "Gedenk de sabbat en houd hem in ere" (although if you can offer a brief summary, that would be interesting too :) )

Sep 7, 4:44pm Top

Hi Ella
Thanks for posting all the links. Here, autumne has arrived, too. The days are mild and the nights cool. It's my most favourite season. I love all the colours.

Sep 7, 8:09pm Top

>172 sirfurboy: Hi Stephen, I get what you mean about listening. These lectures did require to really listen, and I've noticed that my mind wanders as well, when you read a book you just go back a bit and reread.

You might try to listen to one of them, I really can't say how difficult it would be, but can you find them somewhere, they were in the Dutch library, but do you have access to that?

Very short summary in Dutch is to be found from the page you linked to, thanks by the way, I'll translate here, very roughly:

The sabbath has been part of Jewish religion. There were two motivations for a day of resting, god has made the world in six days, and rested in the seventh, and the other was to celebrate delivery from slavery in Egypt.

In old times work did not have the same value as it has now, working was a necessary evil, but not working was better. Than Protestantism came along, and suddenly there was the work ethics, and we all base our own value and what we make and deserve in life on our work. Here he refers to Max Weber.

And now we are in modern times, and lots of people want to get rid of the Sunday, much more efficient to just work all days of the week, and for everybody to choose when to have a day off.

There are two problems with this, says Hans Achterhuis, the free Sunday is a day for meeting with friends and family, without the Sunday we won't have this common day anymore. The other is that we need a rhythm to our activities, on and off. This way we feel better, and are still capable of working hard.

>173 Ameise1: Hi Barbara, I love autumn colours. The flowers, the leaves, and the colour of the light in autumn. I really enjoy the season, except when it's raining all the time, and we will have a lot of that the next days!

Did some harvesting today: zucchini again, runner beans, and the first grapes. Lots of sparrows everywhere, I hope they'll leave my grapes alone.

Sep 8, 4:10am Top

Sorry to hear that you'll get lots of rain. We only will get a little.
Happy Friday, Ella.

Sep 8, 9:13am Top

And you too, Barbara

Sep 8, 9:44am Top

>174 EllaTim: Yes, lots of rain today, Ella!
Sparrows (mussen) after your grapes, or did you mean starlings (spreeuwen)?

In my garder the starlings had bad luck this year, in other years they eat a lot of the plums, this year the plumtree only had a few plums.

Edited: Sep 9, 7:21am Top

53. Warenar, geld en liefde in de gouden eeuw ***

By P.C. Hooft, 1617

editors of this version Lia van Gemert, and Marijke Meijer Drees, 2002

This 17th century comedy is part of the dutch canon.

The version I read is a "translated" version, it is a version in modern Dutch. A retelling of a play by Plautus. Though Hooft has given it his own twist, by setting it in Amsterdam, and peopling it with Dutch characters.

The plot is about a miser, who is guarding his treasure, and being very paranoid about it. And then there's his daughter who has to get married, as she is very pregnant, to the rich old neighbour.

I thought the play just moderately funny, too predictable, but it doesn't help to just read it. The public seems to have loved it, in its time, maybe because they could see themselves in it. There are some funny sharp verbal twists in it.

The background comments were interesting, culture, like marriage practices, politics, refugees, money, all are mentioned and explained clearly. I now know what the Volewijk was (the place where the gallows stood) and what the 'Ellendigen kerkhof' was. A pity that the illustrations in the google books version I read had to be left out, because of copyright issues.

As this is obligatory reading for high school age there are several YouTube versions to be found, like this rather short one:

Really a new way to read the necessary books;)

Sep 8, 10:51am Top

It's raining up here, too, and it's supposed to keep doing that for the whole weekend. I'm trying to see the good side of it - constant rain means perfect weather for reading and watching TV!
Hope the skies clear up a bit down your way.

Sep 8, 12:58pm Top

>179 PawsforThought: Yup, onfortunately, same here. Raining cats and dogs;) now that is English is it, I'm a bit confused sometimes.

Lots of time to read, and I should be cleaning up here;)

Hope the same for you, here the Sunday will be better, but after that it's the same thing again.

Rain and colder weather always make me crave nice cups of tea or cocoa, or ginger cookies or..

Sep 9, 6:26am Top

>104 EllaTim: I was looking at 80 but that is a challenge almost impossible to resist, Ella!

Have a lovely weekend.

Edited: Sep 9, 7:22am Top

>181 PaulCranswick: It is, isn't it? And the big advantage that all, or nearly all, countries are included, and can be counted. I thought it a bit strange that some were excluded.

You have a good weekend as well.

Sep 9, 7:33am Top

54. Moon called by Patricia Briggs ****

The first in a series featuring Mercy Thompson. Urban fantasy.

Lots of action, but Mercy is a sympathetic character as well. She is a car mechanic, but also a shape changer. She can change into a coyote. She is a tough woman, but very human, coyote is not strong enough to be tough all the time, and has to be wiley.

And then there are werewolves, and vampires. And some romance, but not to the detriment of the story.

I liked this, it was a fast read, that drew me in from the first page. I will be continuing this series.

Sep 9, 9:54am Top

Now reading:
Stone upon Stone by Wiesław Myśliwski

Found in the threads of the Reading Globally group.

It's from Poland.

It's a strange novel, it's like listening to an old man talk about his life, he goes from the here and now, back to his youth, story upon story, back and forth. It's interesting, but it took some getting used to. And as there is little forward drive, as there is no clear story, going from start to finish, there is no real impetus to take it up again.

But there is also beautiful language, and observations, I feel like I should read this slowly, give it time. But unfortunately, this is a library book, and will have to be returned in time.

Sep 10, 4:52pm Top

>184 EllaTim: Nice review, Ella, the LT ratings on this book are high.
They have it at the e-library, I have put it on my library wishlist.

Sep 10, 6:16pm Top

>185 FAMeulstee: Yes, it got high ratings. Still, I had problems with it in the beginning. Nice to hear your impressions (I wondered if it didn't live up too well to all the prejudice about polish people).

I'm reading the e-book, feeling a bit stressed because it has to be finished in three weeks. Hope I'll manage to finish it in time.

Sep 12, 12:09pm Top

I have been browsing the internet looking for books to read from around the world. There are lots of sites to go to for book recommendations, here on LT, but also on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/52937-around-the-world-in-80-books

But it's one thing to find a title, and quite another thing to find the book! It has to come from the library, I found worldcat, http://www.worldcat.org/, which is wonderful, but when the nearest library that has the book I would want to read is in London, that's nice to know but not much use to me.

So I've decided to broaden the scope, from books alone, to books, and/or movies, and/or music. Because it is really wonderful how easy it is to find music from all around the world, as compared to books. Books come first, but when I can't find anything music or a movie might do as well.

I'm now working on Poland, and found lists of good Polish literature, but lots of it has not been translated, then the books have to be available. But for music, I already knew some composers, like Chopin, Gorecki, and it's easy to find more.

But when I try to find a book for Armenia, or Georgia, I have been looking, but without much luck. There are travel guides, or non-fiction, but fiction? I will keep looking though.

Sep 13, 2:09am Top

>186 EllaTim: No need to be stressed about the 3 weeks, Ella, as you can lend the book again the moment the three weeks are over. All you need to do is remember the page you were on.

Sep 13, 8:24am Top

>188 FAMeulstee: That's true Anita, and I'm now making some headway into the book as well. Relax, relax (note to myself)

Music, see 187. A good pretext to listen to some Armenian music, which i find lovely, wonderfully slow and atmospheric.
Levon Minassian & Armand Amar – Songs From a World Apart

Sep 13, 6:29pm Top

55. A little princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett ****
Audiobook from Librivox

I'm hooked by Librivox. Chose this book because I liked The secret garden.

And I have enjoyed this one as well. It does show it's age with it's focus on being good, but it wasn't too much.

Sarah, the young daughter of an Indian officer has to go to boarding school in England. At first she is treated well, like a little princess, as her father has money. She makes friends at the school. She likes to play pretend games, and pretend she is a princess.

But then her father dies and leaves her penniless, and the owner of the school, who disliked her anyway has to provide for her. She is now treated like a servant, often going hungry. She is brave and does her best to make the best of it. And then fate intervenes because an Indian army officer comes to live next to the school, and things turn around again.

Sarah comes very much alive here, but the other children and their relationships as well. The book deals with issues like poverty, class, worth in a very gentle and likeable way. I liked it.

Edited: Sep 15, 6:30am Top

I found a nice mystery on Librivox, in French

Le mystere de la chambre jaune by Gaston Leroux.

It's a golden oldie, published in 1908. And a closed room mystery, and I always like those.

I read some of the reviews here on LT, and they worn about improbable coincidence in the plot and rambling. I don't really mind, the writing style is easy and fluent, and I am already curious about the rest of the plot.

Very useful: the book can be found in Gutenberg, and has an English translation available as well. So lots of help.

Gaston Leroux is also the writer of The phantom of the opera, a rewrite, I guess, of the novel by Victor Hugo, and the book that inspired the musical version.

Sep 15, 9:08am Top

>191 EllaTim: That looks interesting. I should check it out, thanks.

Edited: Sep 16, 7:30am Top

Went to the allotment yesterday. The weather was nice, and we needed to assess any storm damage.

It wasn't too bad. Just that part of my vegetable garden has been inundated. My zucchini are finished, but I 'd like to save the pumpkins. So I made a ditch, to let the water run somewhere else. Well, lots of work, but it's been raining all night again, so it won't help much I'm afraid.

Harvest: the last of the zucchini, runner beans, completely ok, last of the corn, and lots and lots and lots of quinces. I mean lots. A branch of the tree had been torn off by the storm, and it was so heavily loaded. Those quinces are heavy! But now, what to do with them?

Not much reading yesterday, watched a movie on TV, called Beyond Sleep. it was made after the book Nooit meer slapen.
The book is in the Dutch canon, but I haven't read it. The movie was sort of okay, beautiful landscape images, from the north of Norway, good acting.
But annoying, people doing so many stupid, dangerous, improbable things. I get that the plot revolves around the psychology of the characters, but still I want to be able to believe in what happens. And I also got the impression that I had missed a lot of what happens, that I only saw at the end. And I wondered how much of the book had to be left out, to make the movie. Maybe I should read the book.

Sep 16, 8:18am Top

Found a good site with lots of recipes. There is a recommendation to put them in the freezer first, if you want to make jelly. I like that, can forget about them for a few days.

Sep 16, 9:26am Top

>192 sirfurboy: Hi Stephen, I hope you like it, but I can 't predict anything. LT is quite confident I won't like it;)

Sep 16, 10:50am Top

>191 EllaTim: Victor Hugo and The Phantom of the Opera? Have I missed something or did you mistake it for The Hunchback of Notre Dame? Because I'm pretty sure Leroux is the original author of The Phantom of the Opera.

Sep 16, 11:03am Top

>193 EllaTim: Thanks for reminding me, Ella, I completely forgot to watch Beyond sleep. But I can watch it tonight, we can watch tv-programs a week back.
I liked Nooit meer slapen, but found the book Padjelanta by Anton Quintana, with a silimilair theme, much better.

Sep 16, 11:35am Top

>196 PawsforThought: Yes, you're right, paws. I confused the two.
Now what a weird mistake, obviously different titles. How embarrassing (slinks off through the side door)

>197 FAMeulstee: Yes, that's nice, isn't it, you can still watch it.
I'm going to read the book, it's a good incentive to read Hermans. I tried one of his Donkere Kamer van Damocles when I was still at school, and didn't like it. have been avoiding his books ever since.

Padjelanta has very good ratings! I'd never even heard of Quintana.

Sep 16, 11:46am Top

>198 EllaTim: Not at all! There are similarities in the main characters.

A bit surprising to see the word "Padjelanta" on here. It's not a word I think I've ever heard/read in an English discussion.

Sep 16, 12:05pm Top

>198 EllaTim: I didn't like De donkere kamer van Damocles at school either, liked it much better when I read it again earlier this year. Nooit meer slapen is a more accesable book.
I have loved everything Anton Quintana wrote, I started reading his books when Het boek van Bod Pa won the Woutertje Pieterse prijs and the Gouden Uil in 1996. But sadly his books aren't widely read.

>199 PawsforThought: The book is Dutch and the story takes place in the north of Sweden.

Sep 16, 12:10pm Top

>199 PawsforThought: Yes that would explain it. And hasn't the hunchback of the Norte Dame been popularised as well?
I seem to remember a movie.

Padjelanta, I had to look it up, but it fits the movie I saw yesterday very well. Where does the word come from? It sounds really nice.

Sep 16, 2:36pm Top

>200 FAMeulstee: Yeah, I figured that from the title and the LT page.

>201 EllaTim: Yeah, there's been a Disney film made. Sometime in the mid/late 90's, I think.
Padjelanta is the name of the largest national park Sweden; it's in Lapland in northern Sweden (on the border to Norway). It's also part of the world heritage site Laponia.
The word is a Sami word meaning "the high land". It's pronounced something like PAH-dje-lah-tah (most of the emphasis is on the first syllable). The Padjelanta trail is a popular hiking trail that goes through the park.

Sep 16, 4:28pm Top

>200 FAMeulstee: Ah, it wasn't just me. I didn't like any of the obligatory great Dutch writers, at least at that age. Can't really remember what I did read, but I wasn't a great favourite with the teacher.
But Nooit Meer slapen seems like a good choice, from what you say.

>202 PawsforThought: Thanks, Paws. Nice name, and easy to remember. My husband has been to Lapland several times, but me never. Would love to, but hiking is not really an option due to physical problems.

Sep 16, 4:40pm Top

>203 EllaTim: Well, I've been to Lapland a few times in my life but really only the southeastern parts (my home region borders that part of Lapland). I've only been to the mountainous areas once when I was a toddler and I've never been to the area where Padjelanta and many of the other national parks are.
There's plenty to do and see in Lapland even if hiking's out of the question, so hope you get around to it some day.

Sep 16, 4:52pm Top

>204 PawsforThought: I sure hope so!

Sep 16, 10:11pm Top

>203 EllaTim: I am not well read with Dutch authors, Ella. I suppose Gerbrand Bakker, Harry Mullisch and Cees Nooteboom would be the only three that I have read.

Have a splendid weekend. xx

Edited: Sep 17, 6:17am Top

>206 PaulCranswick: So much to read, Paul, from all over the world. It's staggering! I haven't read Cees Nooteboom.

You have a great weekend as well.

Sep 17, 7:36am Top

Hi Ella!

Is your garden cat a calico like the one in the painting in #1 above?

I like the recommendation of putting the quinces in the freezer first and your being able to forget them.

Edited: Sep 17, 7:47am Top

>198 EllaTim: We watched Beyond Sleep last night, it was a nice effort to turn the book into a movie. Reallity and imagination fluidly merge. I think the movie is easier to understand when you have read the book.

Sep 17, 8:26am Top

>208 karenmarie: Hi Karen, nice to see you here! The cat in the painting is the spitting image of my old cat, who's been dead some years. The garden cat is a striped one, a tabby. He does like to catch birds, I don't think the wren in the picture would have been safe with him. Luckily the birds know all about him, and how to avoid him.

>209 FAMeulstee: Book and movie make for a nice combination, maybe. I read a review on cinema.nl and they said the movie misses whole parts of the book.

Edited: Sep 17, 6:15pm Top

Hello there, Ella! Thanks so much for visiting my thread!

Love the calico cat and bird painting! I had one once when my daughter was little. Now I have birds. :)

Your reading plan for this year is inspiring! Glad it's pulled you out of your slump. Although I keep telling myself I need to read more internationally, I'm not so good with plans - I get too distracted too easily. One of my favorite mystery series with cops Grijpstra and de Gier, written by Janwillem van der Wetering, is set in Amsterdam. Have you read any of them?

Sep 17, 7:45pm Top

Hi Mary, Nice to see you here!

I like making plans, but keeping up with them is hard. There's so much to read that i haven't read yet. And I want to read for fun as well.

Grijpstra and the Gier, what fun that you like them! Well now you know everything about Amsterdam. And I haven't read them, just never got around to reading them, must remedy that.

Sep 18, 6:47am Top

Nice weather yesterday, we made a small trip to the outskirts of town, and saw a hummingbird hawk moth,

In exactly the same pose as in the picture. I've seen them a couple of times before, but not often.

Not getting much reading done, unfortunately.

Sep 18, 7:23am Top

Wishing you a good start into the new week, Ella.

Sep 18, 9:02am Top

Hi Ella!

I've never heard of Hummingbird Hawk Moths - fascinating!

I hope you have a great week.

Sep 18, 9:46am Top

>213 EllaTim: Wow, I have never seen a hummingbird hawk-moth, Ella, only a few of the more common moths.

Sep 18, 1:03pm Top

>215 karenmarie: Thanks, Karen, >214 Ameise1: and you too, Barbara, I hope you are doing better!

>216 FAMeulstee: Neat looking butterfly, isn't it? When you have seen them once they are easy to recognise , as they can really stand still in the air, in front of a flower, just like a hummingbird.

Edited: Sep 18, 4:49pm Top

56. Steen op steen by Wieslaw Mysliwski ****

An old man, Szymek, tells stories about his life. He's been to hospital for two years, and now wants to build a grave for himself and his family.
Slowly we get to know him, his family, his life, and life in the farmers village where he lives.

He's been a bit of a scoundrel, drinking, fighting, women. I had a bit of difficulty with that, as it coincides so neatly with all the prejudices about polish labourers.

But there is a lot more to tell about him, I loved the chapter where he talks about the love of his life. Stories about his time fighting as a partisan against the nazis. About his relationship with his brother.

It's hard to do it justice. There's so much in it.

I gave it four stars in stead of five, because I sometimes felt annoyed by the long speeches by people in the book.

Sep 20, 6:49pm Top

Picking grapes today. After picking lots of cleaning to do, as there were a lot of brown ones. Nice job to do while listening to an audiobook.

Lots of little critters in a brunch of grapes, earwigs, woodlice, and some very tiny snails, smaller than a small grape carrying a nearly sea through shell on their backs. Never thought I would think snails cute, but these were.

Edited: Sep 20, 11:22pm Top

What fun! Do you use them to make jelly, wine, or just eat fresh?

ETA the grapes, not the snails. :)

Sep 21, 3:19am Top

>219 EllaTim: Oh, love grapes. We have one grapevine but it's not warm or sunny enough for it to really produce. We do get grapes (quite a lot, actually), but they're all miniscule (like, the size of a pea) so not much of a harvest. They taste nice, though and it's enough to make a couple of jars of grape jelly. We'd get a lot larger grapes if we had it in a greenhosue but that's not on the table right now.

Sorry to hear about the amount of critters (even if you thought the snails were cute).

Sep 21, 4:48am Top

>220 Storeetllr: Hi Mary! It's been a really good year, first time I have a lot of grapes. I eat them fresh of course. And they're really nice in warm dishes like chili beans, or sauerkraut. And jelly I have to try, or wine. I'm going to ask my neighbour at the allotment, he's got a lot of experience.

No, the snails, are much too small;)

>221 PawsforThought: Hi Paws, I'd never have thought you could get grapes where you live. Wonderful! And the vines don't freeze in winter?

My grapes are pretty small as well, at least the white ones that I picked now. But they taste nice, and that's the main thing.

The vine is supposed to come from Hungary, and is pretty winter proof. We didn't really have a good summer for it, so much rain, the last weeks. But the critters love it, butterflies as well. I don't mind, as they have left a lot for me.

Sep 21, 5:04am Top

>222 EllaTim: Well, the ground freezes most winters, but the vine has survived. It's a vine grown for colder regions too - most vines wouldn't fare too well. We've had it for 8-9 years now and it's still alive. It's planted by a south-facing wall, mostly protected from winds so that helps - but we're right on the border of where they'd be able to survive.

Sep 21, 5:12am Top

>223 PawsforThought: Neat. Good for you. There's more races available nowadays, that can survive the cold. The wall would help, must be a nice spot in your garden, nice and warm.

I have a blue vine as well, imported from Italy, by friends of mine. Really good quality, but when there is a bad frost in winter the plant dies back, but it comes back from its roots pretty fast.

Sep 21, 7:10am Top

>224 EllaTim: It is a nice spot - right next to wehere I like to plop down on a towel and get a bit of a tan!

That's nice that even though the vine dies back, it grows up again.

Sep 22, 7:34am Top

57 De Cock en een strop voor Bobby ***

I wanted to read something shorter and lighter and Mary mentioned this series, so I read the first book.

It is a bit of a prequel as it isn't about De Cock, but about a colleague of his.

An older and experienced detective, Vergheer, who gets in a moral tangle. He's been working with a young and naive beginner, who everybody in the police force thinks should toughen up, and not let things get to him so much. Vergheer prides himself on doing everything by the Law. But then a notorious pimp threatens his daughter, and Vergheer starts to rethink his position. It's pretty obvious what is going to happen to the pimp. But when it happens, there is still the mystery of what has happened exactly.

It was enjoyable to read, though I also thought the plot a bit too obvious. It seems like the author still had to find the form he wanted the books to take. The first part has it's pace, then it changes to the viewpoint of Vergheer, and his struggle with his conscience, this part I liked a lot less, and finally there is the rest of the plot again.

Having a busy weekend, and week coming, so will be on LT a bit off and on, wishing everybody a good weekend!

Sep 22, 10:55am Top

Yes, Ella, the De Cock books are certainly shorter and lighter, I like to read one in between heavier reads :-)
I started with De Cock en een strop voor Bobby in April last year, when I saw all 70 books were available at the e-library. I now just finished book 43 of the series :-)

Sep 22, 11:01am Top

>227 FAMeulstee: Exactly, a bit less heavy lifting now and again can't hurt. And 70 books, it's a lot isn't it? I liked the small part of the Amsterdam of years ago I got to see:)

Sep 22, 11:08am Top

>228 EllaTim: As a Rotterdammer at heart, the Amsterdam scene did put me off at first. But I am over that ;-)
Yes, 70 books is a lot, although I go faster through them then I thought I would. Most plots are easy to crack, but they are enjoyable for a bit of mindless reading.

Sep 22, 11:19am Top

>229 FAMeulstee: Of course, well Rotterdam is okay too of course, (how many books have been written set in Rotterdam, I wonder?);)

Sep 22, 12:06pm Top

>230 EllaTim: LOL! Way more books set in Amsterdam, even by foreigners! I just started reading The house of dolls by David Hewson. I loved his Nic Costa books that are set in Rome. This is the first one of three about Pieter Vos in Amsterdam.

Sep 22, 2:24pm Top

Amsterdam is far more known probably.
But Rotterdam has got Jules Deelder.

Sep 22, 8:16pm Top

>230 EllaTim: I cannot vouch for its accuracy, Ella, but this link has a few suggestions at least:


Have a wonderful weekend.

Sep 24, 6:50pm Top

>233 PaulCranswick: Hi Paul! That's an interesting link! Thanks.

Some good suggestions certainly. Like Simone van der Vlught. Or Thea Beckman.

Have been playing around with the site for a moment, really fun, and useful for reading around the world.

But hey, Andre Norton has written a book set in Rotterdam? Didn't she write fantasy?

Sep 26, 5:22pm Top

58 Le mystere de la chambre jaune ***

This is a closed room mystery. A young woman, the daughter of a famous professor has been attacked and wounded in her bedroom, doors and windows closed but the perpetrator has disappeared in a mysterious way. Young reporter Joseph Rouletabille tries to solve the mystery, with an older friend, who is the narrator of the novel. Until the very end of the novel there are multiple clues and red herrings. Then the great denouement.

The novel is written in a very accessible style, and kept me wanting to know what has happened. But I thought the final explanation rather improbable.

I had to think of Agatha Christie while reading, and wondered if Poirot was inspired by Roulletabille, because there is a lot of emphasis on his wonderful mental capacities, and on relying on reason. I kept thinking of Poirot's little grey cells;)
Still, it was a fun book if only to read a book where people say "Parbleu" for real.

Audiobook from Librivox, excellent reader.

It's possible my rating is not as high as the book would deserve because it cost me more time than I thought to read it, the French was harder than I thought, so I had to reread most of the chapters.

Sep 27, 12:15pm Top

>235 EllaTim: - I love this sort of old mystery-fiction anyway, but when you mention Poirot, it's enough to add it to my TBR-pile. For some people this sort of book might feel obsolete but I just love the feel and the atmosphere of these old mysteries. And you read it in French!

Sep 27, 12:29pm Top

>236 MGovers: Hi Monica, nice to see you here!

Yes, maybe a bit obsolete, but that adds to the fun. But when I mention Poirot, and compare to Christie, the book sort of invites it, talking disparagingly about Conan Doyle, but I thought Christie rather different.

I'm trying to improve my school French. I was a bit shocked that after six years of French classes I am still so ill at ease on a visit to France, hardly understanding people, finding shopping difficult etc.

Sep 27, 12:36pm Top

>235 EllaTim: That sounds like a pretty good book. I probably won't be able to get hold of it, but I'll make a note of it just in case.

I took five years of French over 15 years ago and have only dabble a tiny bit since (sporadic Duolingo and the like). But I still managed better than I'd thought when I was in Paris this summer. Obviously, I relied on English for any longer discussions, but I did all the small stuff in French and was very proud of myself when I managed to buy both postcards and stamps without a single word of English.

Sep 27, 12:39pm Top

>237 EllaTim: - It's lovely to find another soul here who's not put off by this sort of books.

I know what you mean about being shocked. I have had the same experience. Meanwhile, I've integrated 5 minutes of French every day with Duolingo and it really helps.

Sep 27, 1:24pm Top

>238 PawsforThought: Hi Paws, it's at least interesting. Don't know if you'd like it, it's more about the ridddle, and the people come across less clearly than in Agatha Christie. It's easy to find as it's available in Gutenberg, in french, and in English.

Good for you that you managed. I found it surprisingly hard, had to think just now about the translation of the word stamps, I have bought them so I should know. Well, eh, estampes? No, that's not right, think again, estampes? Nooooo, ehhh. And then a minute later, oh yes, des timbres. Pfff.

>239 MGovers: I like a lot of nineteenth century books. I'm more put off by a lot of modern crime, because of all the violence.

Yes, duolingo, that's a good one. And five minutes a day, nice that you can see a difference already.

Sep 27, 4:23pm Top

>240 EllaTim: Oh, Gutenberg? I'll definitely look it up, then. Thanks.

Yeah, stamps was the tricky word, but while I was walking down the street (rehearsing a bit in my head to prepare) "timbre" just came to me. I was SO proud of myself for that. To celebrate, I watched "Ensemble, c'est tout" on Netflix in undubbed French (with French subtitles). I understood approximately 30% of what was being said, and that was mainly because I've seen the film before!

It's the little words that trip me up in French. Prepositions and things like that - can never remember which is which.

Sep 27, 5:49pm Top

>241 PawsforThought: Oh, oui, oui, c'est comme ça, n'est ce pas? And then say it fast and you're totally in trouble.

I used to be able to watch TV5, French programs with Dutch subtitles, pretty good. But unfortunately the provider has put it in a digital package, and now you have to pay extra for it. And my digital receiver stopped working after two months, lousy thing.

Sep 28, 2:48am Top

>242 EllaTim: Oh, no, that's a shame. Watching TV is such a good way to learn and maintain language skills (I'm pretty sure my watching Le juge est une femme help maintain my French skills after I left school).

Sep 28, 5:06am Top

>243 PawsforThought: Yes, I was pretty angry about it. We had a package of tv-channels, in Amsterdam. Some thirty channels, dutch public and commercial, two BBC, two Belgian, three German, and then TV5, some local channels, and the things like MTV, National Geographic, etc, and a good classical music channel that I used to watch regularly.

So with digital TV the provider made pay packages, and put a number of the more interesting channels in a pay package, I don't want to have to pay extra every month, so, they're gone. Digital is going to make everything better, unfortunately not so.

Well, this was a rant, sorry:)

Sep 28, 5:17am Top

>244 EllaTim: Completely understandable rant. Digital TV packages make me annoyed too. If I want anything other than the bare basics (public service plus two commercial channels) I have to buy a package and it's always about 5 channels I'm interested in and 25 I couldn't care less about. I don't want to pay for things I don't use or want!

Sep 28, 5:27am Top

>245 PawsforThought: Yes, I agree with that. So why can't they set it up, where you just subscribe to the channels you really want to see.

I was ranting, but I see that we really seem to have lots of choice here as compared to where you live. It's really nice to be able to watch some channels from Belgium or the UK.

Sep 28, 6:06am Top

>246 EllaTim: Yeah, we can get some UK and US channels, but only special ones (like Discovery or BBC Entertainment) not the "regular" channels - I have no idea why. And if you get the really expensive packages you can get some other European channels or Middle Eastern ones. I'd love to have the BBC, ITV and similar channels from European countries. I can watch the Danish public service channels on their website, so there's that at least.

Sep 28, 6:37am Top

>241 PawsforThought: I have watched a good number of French language films, and I know exactly what you mean. When spoken fast, and particularly when there are lots of contractions, it can be very hard to follow French (or any language - I have the same problem with Dutch films). I don't think 30% of the dialogue is necessarily so bad though. If you can get the gist, there is no need to understand every word.

I really liked the Petit Nicolas films (Le Petit Nicolas et Les Vacances du Petit Nicolas). I read and enjoyed some of the books so the films were a natural progression.

Sep 28, 6:59am Top

>248 sirfurboy: But it was only that high a percentage because I'd seen the film before so knew what they were saying and what was happening.

French is one of those languages were the words just flow together into a blur even when people are speaking slowly and carefully. Danish is the same way (I can't watch Danish TV without subtitles because it's just a blur all of it).

I'd never heard of Petit Nicholas before - watching films after reading the book can be a good way to get into the language.

Sep 28, 7:53am Top

>249 PawsforThought: Oh Yes, that is a problem when listening to a French speaker, and most of all with all those small words. Listening to Librivox I've noticed that some readers tend to do much more of this than others. I'm back to listening to the Comtesse de Segur, fairytales for children, not only are the stories easier, but the pronunciation is clearer.

>248 sirfurboy: So maybe movies for children are easier to listen to as well. Le petit Nicolas was written by Goscinny, from the Asterix comics, if I'm not mistaken, and is a good recommendation, Stephen.

We have Danish shows on Dutch tv too. Good shows, but can't understand a word of what they say. Whereas, when I listen to people speaking Spanish I often feel that I can almost follow what they're saying, cause Spanish pronunciation is so clear.

Sep 28, 8:02am Top

>250 EllaTim: Fairytales, that sounds nice!

And Danish is in a class of its own. Written Danish is almost completely intelligible to a Swede, but spoken Danish can be complete gibberish (Copenhagen and Zealand in general are better because there are a lot of Swedish people commuting from Malmö).

Sep 28, 10:56am Top

>249 PawsforThought: Yes, I suppose that the nature of the French language itself does make it especially hard - particularly picking up small words. The liaisons basically sound like they are constantly making new words!

Liaison is a class of something, the name of which I forget, found in many languages where words can change the sounds of other words that they are next to. I mention this, because I read that this same effect can be found in some North Germanic languages (not with the same rules as French, but words might change their sounds when run together). Apparently such sound changes are almost never written! Could this be what makes Danish so hard to understand? (I don't know any Danish so that is just a wild guess).

Sep 28, 12:17pm Top

>252 sirfurboy: Nah, it's because they slur their words. Swedish people often say that Danes sound like drunk Norwegians or Norwegians with food in their mouth. They tend to skip a lot of their consonants and so it's mainly just a jumble of vowels with the odd K, L and G thrown in.
Danish people are well aware of this, too, and sometimes make fun of themselves for it.
I even remember reading an article ages ago about how Danish kids are some of the slowest to learn their native tongue fluently - because it's so difficult to hear what people actually say!

Sep 28, 5:49pm Top

Edited: Sep 28, 7:54pm Top

Reading now:
De verboden rivier by Chigozie Obioma
Het psalmenoproer by Maarten 't Hart

Both as eBook from the library.

Sep 29, 1:52pm Top

>253 PawsforThought: - LOL, indeed! I'd never noticed how difficult it is to pronounce Danish, until I started dabbling with it on Duo Lingo last January. It seems Danes swallow letters, as if they're keeping their mouth shut and teeth clenched while facing a fierce storm. So when I hear a syllable I don't understand, I'm thinking what sentence might be behind it. And what's that about the pronunciation of the D ???

Sep 29, 2:08pm Top

>256 MGovers: Oke, the next Danish series I'm going to pay special attention, you both have made me really curious. Also having strange images of what Danes will look like when speaking.

Sep 29, 2:28pm Top

>256 MGovers: Yeah, they swallow tons of letters. Admittedly, I leave out letters in words too, because of my dialect, but mainly the last one or two and the rest of the word is still intelligible. Danish is just a jumble.
The pronunciation of the letter D? You mean when it's in the middle or end of words and just sort of flows into the other letters? This YouTube video has a pretty good conversation about Danish vs. Norwegian pronunciation (and meaning) that talks about several of the things we've mentioned, including the D sound. Interestingly, while Swedish pronunciation is much closer to the Norwegian one, the meaning of some of the words they discuss is the same as in Danish. ("Rar" means sweet/kind, "svårt" means hard/difficult, "underlig" means strange/weird)
Also I love that he mentioned "chocolate cake" because that's my favourite example when it comes to Danish pronunciation. "Shokolae kae" LOL!

Sep 29, 2:33pm Top

>257 EllaTim: - LOL. The first word I understood when I watched "Dicte" (and probably the easiest Danish word anyway) was øl (beer). That's really it, nothing more, nothing less, no other syllables added, no strange sounds. That may say something about the Danes too :-)

Sep 29, 2:44pm Top

>259 MGovers: Congrats! You now also know the Swedish (and Norwegian) word for beer ("öl", pronounced almost the same but with a more clear L sound)! Important word to know!

And Ella, sorry about hijacking your thread to talk about Danish!

Sep 29, 2:56pm Top

>260 PawsforThought: - Indeed, Ella, sorry for hijacking your thread. I'll behave after this intermezzo.
>258 PawsforThought:. LOL - What a brilliant video! The Norwegian is easy to understand, but the Danish... I have a long way to go :-) (although I did understand the chokoladekage). One of my favourite words so far is "edderkoppen".

Sep 29, 3:12pm Top

>260 PawsforThought: >261 MGovers: I'll just meddle in the conversation as it was my thread:)
Watched the video just now, and know what language I will not be trying to learn. The Norwegian sounded a lot easier. "Rar" means weird in Dutch as well.

Sep 29, 3:30pm Top

>261 MGovers: I had to look "edderkoppen" up because I couldn't for the life of me figure out what it meant.

Yeah, Norwegian is WAY easier (says the person whose native tongue is 95% mutually intelligible with Norwegian). Danish is just - *shakes head*
Having said that, I love Denmark and the Danish language.

Sep 30, 5:29am Top

>263 PawsforThought: Edderkoppen, now if that doesn't sound like an insult.

And now I have to run.

Sep 30, 7:31pm Top

Had a meeting today. Useful but some fun there as well. One woman, first told us the story of how she managed to drop her mobile phone in the river, where it immediately sank. Two meters of water and a layer of mud. She went in and found it by feeling in the mud, got it out, and it still worked.

And then she showed this adorable movie of a piano player and his cat.

Like this one: https://youtu.be/n2Xc6Hvy1AQ

I'm not making much progress on my first library book, it doesn't draw me in, am going to try a bit longer, but, well.

So I'm going to do a bit of a reread in
De Aaibaarheidsfactor

Which is all about cats.

Sep 30, 8:17pm Top

You can't go wrong with kitties or with chocolate, I always say! Hope you're having a great weekend!

Oct 1, 3:33am Top

I love the cover of my edition of the De aaibaarheidsfactor, it is soft and "aaibaar" :-)

Oct 1, 5:21am Top

>267 FAMeulstee: Yes, mine as well. Loved the drawings too. (By the then 6 years old daughter of the author)

59 De aaibaarheidsfactor

Review: satisfied miaow ****1/2

A series of funny essays about animals, pets, cats and how and why we love them.

Not translated, sorry cat lovers.

But there is a lovely quotation from Stevie Smith in the book

In his fur the animal rode, and in his fur he strove,
And oh it filled my heart my heart, it filled my heart with love.

Edited: Oct 1, 8:09am Top

>266 Storeetllr: Hi Mary! No you can't go wrong with those, but birds are good as well.

Sorry for the quotation above only mentioning fur, the book does have one good story about a bird, a wild crow that had a hurt wing, that the author took to his home to heal. Very clever bird:)

Oct 1, 7:51am Top

>269 EllaTim: Yes, crows are clever birds with an excellent memory!
My first Chow Chow, Nemo, once almost caught a crow. The crow had obviously something wrong, as he had trouble flying, else Nemo would never have gotten so near. For years after this incident the crow would try to attack Nemo from the air, when we visited that park.

Oct 1, 8:55am Top

>270 FAMeulstee: Oh my, poor Nemo..

Oct 1, 9:17am Top

>270 FAMeulstee: Not surprising that a crow with such a chip on its shoulders has trouble flying!

Have a lovely Sunday, Ella.

Oct 1, 9:19am Top

Just a quick hello and a Happy Sunday to you, but I'll be back soon to catch up.

Oct 1, 3:47pm Top

Haha, a crow with a vendetta against a dog. Poor dog, but I bet it learned its lesson about attacking crows! For having such small brains, birds are some of the most intelligent animals around. And they do have long memories.

Oct 1, 3:53pm Top

>273 karenmarie: Thanks Karen

>274 Storeetllr: There are lots of interesting books about crows and their relatives, their intelligence, social life. Not very beautiful, but smart they are.

Oct 1, 4:41pm Top

>274 Storeetllr: The crows in our neightbourhood have a multi-generation, two decades old vendetta against any cat that lives in our house. Our old cat tried to catch one of their young when he was just a kitten and they never forgot - for the rest of his life (13 years) they'd shout at him every time he went outside, and they'd try to attack him if he went to the side of the house the tree with their nest was on. The cat died, and we got a new cat, who we've now had for 10 years and who (to our knowledge, and he isn't a bird catcher in general) hasn't tried to catch one of them - they still shout like crazy when he goes to "their" side of the garden.
The crow family are incredibly intelligent - the most intelligent of all birds, and some say they're on par with dolphins. I watched an amazing documentary on ravens a couple of years ago where they presented the birds with problems (a nut at the bottom of a jar with water in, that was too deep and too narrow for them to use their beaks, and which couldn't be tipped over; they made tools - rudimentary hooks - and fished them out, or dropped small pebbles in to make the water level rise and the nut therefore rise high enough for them to pick it). Absolutely incredibly animals.

This topic was continued by EllaTim's continuing story 3, autumn.

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2017

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