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EllaTim's continuing story 3, autumn

This is a continuation of the topic EllaTim's continuing story 2, summertime.

75 Books Challenge for 2017

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Edited: Oct 1, 2017, 1:17pm Top

Roni had a wonderful beach picture as a starter. Here's mine.

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: Jan 1, 10:18am 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
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. Walden by Henry David Thoreau ***1/2
21. Le pendu de Saint-Pholien by Georges Simenon ***1/2 (France)
22. Fulco de Minstreel ***1/2 by C. Joh. Kieviet (dutch, historical for youth)
23. Talking to the Dead **** by Harry Bingham (UK, Wales)

24. Vuile Handen by J.J. Voskuil **** (dutch)
25. The poet's dog by Patricia MacLachlan ***** (USA)
26. Het dertiende sterrenbeeld by Unni Lindell ** (Norway)
27. In the Heat of the Night by John Ball ****1/2 (USA)
28. Oorlog en terpentijn by Stefan Hertmans ***** (Belgium)
29. The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin ****1/2 (USA, fantasy)
30. The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner ****(fantasy, USA)
31. A gentleman in Moscow **** by Amor Towles (Russia, USA)

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

37. De aanslag by Harry Mulisch**** (dutch, Netherlands)
38. Rivers of London ***/2 by Ben Aaronovitch (England, fantasy)
39. Moon over Soho *** by Ben Aaronovitch (England, fantasy)
40. The Dinosaur Hunters by Deborah Cadbury **** (popular science)
41. Deutschstunde by Siegfried Lenz ****1/2 (Germany)

42. Gehen, Ging, Gegangen by Jenny Erpenbeck ****1/2 (Germany)
43. Storm: To green Angel Tower ***1/2 by Tad Williams
44. Sabriel by Garth Nix**** (USA, fantasy)
45. Kindred by Octavia Butler **** (USA, fantasy)

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

56. 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)
57. Warenar, geld en liefde in de gouden eeuw *** (dutch, Netherlands)
58. Moon called by Patricia Briggs **** (USA, fantasy)
59. A little princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett **** (UK)
60. Steen op steen by Wieslaw Mysliwski ****1/2 (Poland)
61. De Cock en een strop voor Bobby by A.C. Baantjer *** (Netherlands)
62. Le mystère de la Chambre Jaune by Gaston Leroux *** (French)
63. De Aaibaarheidsfactor by Rudy Kousbroek ****1/2 (Netherlands)

64. De verboden rivier by Chigozie Obioma *** (Nigeria)
65. Nooit meer slapen by Willem Frederik Hermans ****1/2(The Netherlands)
66. Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell ***** (Spain, author English)
67. Het huis van de Moskee by Kader Abdolah **** (Iran, author Dutch/Iranian)
68. Het Psalmenoproer by Maarten 't Hart *** (Dutch)
69. A Guide to the birds of East Africa by Nicholas Drayson **** (Kenya)
70. The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi ****1/2 (Iran)

71. Liefdewerk oud papier by Karel Eykman, and Peter van Straten **** (Dutch)
72. Asterix en de Belgen by Goscinny and Uderzo ***1/2 (comic, France)
73. Leven en wandel van Zorbas de Griek by Nikos Kazantzakes ** (Greece)
74. De Erfenis van Rataplan by Goscinny **** (comic, France)
75. The girl with all the gifts by M. R. Carey **** (UK)
76. Revolting Rhymes **** by Roald Dahl (UK)
77. The shadow of the wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón **** (Spain)
78. De verrekijker by Kees van Kooten *** (dutch)

79. Ditte Everywoman by Martin Andersen Nexø ***1/2 (Denmark)
80. De Wadden by Mathijs Deen ****1/2 (Dutch)
81. Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman ****
82. Heksenkind by Monica Furlong ****
83. Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman ****
84. Zes maanden in de Siberische wouden by Sylvain Tesson ***
85. In the bleak Midwinter by Julia Spencer-Fleming ***/2
86. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens ****
87. The Fox Woman by Kij Johnson ****1/2 (Japan)
88. Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman ****1/2

Edited: Oct 28, 2017, 1:24pm Top

Paul's thread provided inspiration to try and read more from countries all over the world. I liked this idea a lot, but in the meantime I have decided that I don´t want to exclude any countries.

I have made a thread for this here: https://www.librarything.com/topic/272621

Edited: Dec 5, 2017, 6:35am Top

And then this post for the map of visited countries

Countries with at least 1 book read

Make yours @ BigHugeLabs.com T

Oct 1, 2017, 1:14pm Top

And one last empty post for you never know what

Oct 1, 2017, 1:22pm Top

Happy new thread, Ella!

It has been so great to see you so active on this captivating thread throughout the year. xx

Oct 1, 2017, 1:32pm Top

Hi Paul, I have to say, your helping a new member along has really helped me get going. So xx back to you!

Oct 1, 2017, 2:23pm Top

Happy new thread, Ella! Lovely beach pic - so soothing.

Oct 1, 2017, 3:43pm Top

Wonderful thread topper, Ella! Happy new thread!

Oct 1, 2017, 3:49pm Top

>8 PawsforThought: >9 Storeetllr: Thanks Paws, and Mary. A real autumn shot, because in summer this beach would not have been so quiet.

Oct 1, 2017, 4:59pm Top

Happy new thread, Ella! Love the topper. I have been meaning to stop by forever. Happy Sunday too! Hope you are finding sometime, to spend with the books, this weekend.

Oct 1, 2017, 6:57pm Top

Happy new thread, Ella!
Lovely topper, sitting at the beach watching the windmills :-)

Oct 1, 2017, 7:38pm Top

Hi Mark, thanks for visiting. It's a busy group isn't it?
Yes, there was reading time today, I pushed all of my todo list to Monday. Happy reading to you as well.

Oct 1, 2017, 7:40pm Top

>12 FAMeulstee: Yes, and everybody here loves the view, no problem with those windmills at all:-)

Oct 1, 2017, 8:51pm Top

60 De verboden rivier ***

Unfortunately I felt I had to wrestle my way through this novel. Was it too far out of my comfort zone?

It did get better in the second half, where I started to feel more involved in the plight of young Benjamin, the narrator.

This Nigerian novel tells the story of four brothers, and their family. The father has moved away for work. The brothers miss his strict discipline and start doing things they are not supposed to. Like fishing in a forbidden river. They meet a homeless man, a crazy man, who has a reputation for being capable of delivering prophecies that come true. He does just that to the oldest of the boys, who is terrified. Now things start going all wrong, and from one thing comes another (don't want to say too much)

I read in one of the reviews here that the author meant the story to be symbolic of the corruption in Nigeria.

Oct 2, 2017, 12:29am Top

Happy new thread!

Oct 2, 2017, 1:01pm Top

>16 drneutron: Thanks, Jim!

Oct 2, 2017, 4:40pm Top

Happy new thread, Ella. I like the topper.

Oct 2, 2017, 7:23pm Top

Thank you, Barbara. we both have watery toppers:)

Oct 3, 2017, 1:00pm Top

Happy new thread, Ella!

Yes, there was reading time today, I pushed all of my todo list to Monday. I like that.

In fact, I'm getting ready for our Friends of the Library Sale (I'm the FotL Treasurer) and so will push lots of stuff to next week. Reading time vs. todo list. Reading time wins.

Oct 3, 2017, 3:21pm Top

>21 EllaTim: Hi Karen, good for you that you're so active for your Friends of the Library Sale. I bet lots of work but must feel rewarding as well. I'll pop over to your thread and see how you're doing.

Yes, reading time first, though I don't always manage to read a lot. sometimes the internet wins, unfortunately.

Oct 4, 2017, 6:25am Top

Reading now:

Nooit meer slapen by W.F. Hermans

Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell

The first book is part of the dutch literary canon. I saw a movie adaptation on TV, and decided I wanted to read the book.

The second is motivated by the recent events in Catalonia, I wanted to know more about the historical background. I like Orwell, and heard the book praised by the mayor of Amsterdam, a very good source.

Oct 4, 2017, 6:29am Top

Happy Wednesday, Ella. I want to read more Orwell, especially his memoir about his Spanish war experiences.

Oct 4, 2017, 6:38am Top

>22 EllaTim: Looking forward to your thoughts on the Orwell book. I've read 1984 and Animal Farm (and adord them both) but none of his other works. I don't know much about the backgroudn to the situation in Catalonia either, so might be a good one for me to pick up, too.

Oct 4, 2017, 6:47am Top

>23 msf59: Hi Marc! I want to read more Orwell too. But you say his memoir about his Spanish war experiences, is there another book of his, or am I misunderstanding you?

>24 PawsforThought: Hi Paws! I've read the first chapter of this book, and liked the style, so I hope to finish it, but you never know with me. I loved 1984 and hated Animal Farm, but have good hopes for this one.

Oct 4, 2017, 6:52am Top

Sorry, you are right, this is the one. I thought it had a different title. I read Spain in Our Hearts a couple of years ago. It is an excellent account of the Spanish Civil War and Orwell is mentioned.

Oct 4, 2017, 6:09pm Top

>25 EllaTim: Hi Marc, no, I've looked it up, and there's another edition Orwell in Spain that contains Homage to Catalonia and a variety of other writings about the Spanish civil war. Spain in our hearts seems interesting as well. So much to read!

Oct 5, 2017, 5:58am Top

Hi Ella!

>21 EllaTim: Yes, reading time first, though I don't always manage to read a lot. sometimes the internet wins, unfortunately. Oh, my, it sure does! Witness that I'm here right now, visiting threads, when I could be reading. Our book sale starts today, so both reading and the internet will take a hit until Saturday afternoon or Sunday, depending on how exhausted I am.

>22 EllaTim: I'm ignorant about Orwell - had only heard of Animal Farm and 1984. Sigh. Another book bullet!

Oct 5, 2017, 6:59pm Top

>28 karenmarie: Good luck with the sales! I hope you get lots of people, lots of book talk, And lots of books sold;)

I'm pretty busy as well at the moment, october is a busy month at the allotment, preparing everything for winter. Starting this friday, i'll be busy al weekend.

Edited: Oct 6, 2017, 3:41am Top

Autumn is a busy time for gardeners, Ella, I hope you get everything done this weekend.

Oct 7, 2017, 3:50pm Top

Hi, Ella! I brought all my tender indoor plants inside yesterday, and Monday I'll be bringing all my garden container plants into the garage as it's supposed to snow and get down to 27F Monday night!!!

Hope you have a productive weekend!

Oct 7, 2017, 8:08pm Top

Wow, snow! Isn't that very early for you?

I had a busy day, with lots of rain, unfortunately, but tomorrow is supposed to be a dry day. Here it's been, rain, rain and more rain.

Oct 8, 2017, 3:19pm Top

We had rain, rain, rain last week. Next week is one day of snow and below freezing temps, then back up to sun and temps in the 60s/70s (F) for the rest of the week. Colorado weather: if you don't like what the weather is doing, wait five minutes and it will change. But to answer your question, no, we usually get our first snow around this time, then it warms up again - interspersed with cooler days - until after Halloween. At least that's what I recall it did last year and the year before that.

Oct 8, 2017, 6:05pm Top

No snow here in Malaysia of course only the groups local correspondent dropping by to hope that your Sunday was a good one. xx

Edited: Oct 8, 2017, 7:05pm Top

Hi Mary And Paul! Thanks for the weather report! Mary, sounds like it's at least interesting at your place, but something to look out for when your plants can't deal with it.
And Paul, Thanks for the Sunday visit! I'll pay you both a weekdag visit in return, later in the week.

Had a dry day at the garden today, And saw this

heron eating American lobster

These lobsters are not native, and have become a plague. that's why we cheered when we saw that our native herons have found out how to eat them.

Oct 8, 2017, 7:38pm Top

>35 EllaTim: Do you know what type of heron this is, Ella? I saw a Green Heron and a Great Blue Heron yesterday.

Oct 8, 2017, 8:41pm Top

>36 msf59: Hi Marc, this is the most common species of heron here in Holland, we call it blauwe reiger, (so blue heron), the English name is grey heron, Ardea cinerea. It looks very similar to the American species, it's a bit smaller, up to 1m high.

These herons have become so common here that you can even spot them visiting the fish stalls at the market. They wait there untill the market closes, for the fish scraps.

Your blue heron I have never seen, there has been a green heron here, for about a year. How he managed to cross an ocean? A small miracle.

Edited: Oct 8, 2017, 10:03pm Top

Thanks for the heron info, Ella! I like the colors of your heron.

We also get egrets here too. I saw this Great White Egret earlier today:

Oct 9, 2017, 2:25am Top

Oh, how cool to see herons! We don't have a lot of them around these parts (it's just on the northern edge of their habitat, and we don't have much of the kind of environment they like - trees are the wrong kind and the rivers and river outlets are too deep to be able to wade in). I have seen a few in my life, though - it's a treat!

Oct 9, 2017, 4:35am Top

>38 msf59: Hi Marc, isn't it a lovely bird, that egret, so elegant!

>39 PawsforThought: Hi Paws, Yes, they need a certain kind of habitat that we have lots of here. And cold winters are difficult for them.

But here the grey herons have become more and more adapted to people and the city. The market I was talking about is in the city centre, there's a large population in the city zoo, pestering the penguins, and the pelicans and you see them waiting behind people angling in the canals.

Oct 9, 2017, 5:01am Top

>40 EllaTim: I can imagine the Netherlands being quite perfect for herons. It's a shame they're becoming a nuisance, though. A lot of birds to, sadly. We have a problem with Canadian geese overtaking our local fauna. And there's the usual magpies and seagulls - they seem to be everywhere around the world.

Oct 9, 2017, 7:11am Top

>41 PawsforThought: Ah no, miscommunication! No nuisance at all, what I meant is, they have a breeding colony in the trees of the zoo. And of course lots of animals get fed with fishes. Like the penguins, and the seals, the pelicans. And herons are smart and fast. And make a living in the zoo by snatching those fish. The birds that visit the market, when you live in the city you are glad to see birds there, making the city their home.

There are Canadian geese here as well. I know what you mean, lots of invasive species, American bull frogs, that could overrun our own frog population, fish from Eastern Europe, through the channel that now connects the Donau with the Rhine, I could make a list from here to Tokyo.

Edited: Oct 9, 2017, 7:42am Top

61 Nooit meer slapen by W.F. Hermans ****1/2

Dutch, fifteenth edition

A Dutch geology student, Alfred, makes a trip to Norway, to Finnmark. He's very ambitious, his goal is to become a famous scientist. In Finnmark he is supposed to prove a pet theory of his Dutch professor, having to do with meteorites. He is travelling with a friend from Norway, Arne, and two other Norse students.

But first he has to pick up a series of air photos from a Norse professor in Oslo, the arrangement for that has been made by his Dutch prof. And here begins a series of misfortunes, because the Norse professor doesn't have them, sends him on, and Alfred in the end has to start his journey without them, while they are essential to his work.

In fact, from that point everything starts going wrong, he isn't well prepared for a camping trip in difficult terrain at all. His friend, Arne, does know what he is doing, but for reasons of his own has only the barest of equipment. The other two Norse students do have good modern stuff. The midges keep him awake every night, he falls, he gets drenched, and on and on.

We learn that his ambition has been fuelled by his mother, but also by the fact that his father has died early, without being able to achieve what he wanted to achieve.

Descriptions of the landscape are impressive, of the midges as well.;)

I don't want to betray the rest of the plot. There's a lot to think about in the book. What came across for me, is that Alfred is so very focussed on his plans and ambitions, but has to let go of all of it. In the end we are small stuff. Alfred has been pushed around between his own ambitions, those of his family, and the petty jealousies between professors. But there's also the feeling you can get when everything has gone wrong, a kind of lightheadedness, where you start seeing things in the right light.

Oct 9, 2017, 7:54am Top

>42 EllaTim: Ah, okay. I figured, since you said that they pestered the birds at the zoo, that they'd become a nuisance.

Oct 9, 2017, 11:15am Top

>43 EllaTim: Happy to see you enjoyed Nooit meer slapen (Beyond sleep), Ella, now the movie makes more sense I guess ;-)

Oct 9, 2017, 6:35pm Top

>44 PawsforThought: Writing is tricky, I might think my intention is clear, and not come across at all.

>45 FAMeulstee: Definitely more sense. They complement each other nicely. And I'm happy as well, this was the first Hermans I managed to finish, and like!

Oct 10, 2017, 2:07am Top

>46 EllaTim: That is a constant issue when it comes to writing, and especially writing on the internet - where you want to be quick and not mull over what you're writing the same way you would with an essay or something. It tends to open up a door for miscommunication, particularly if you're trying to be lighthearted/joking or sarcastic.

Oct 10, 2017, 5:41am Top

>47 PawsforThought: Exactly, Paws!

Edited: Oct 11, 2017, 9:13am Top

Progress report on Homage to Catalonia

I'm becoming a fan of Orwell here. He's a very good writer, but I like the way he looks at the world as well.

I finished what I think is the first part of the book, where Orwell writes about his experiences as a soldier at the front lines in the province of Aragon.

His account of it is crystal clear, he didn't see much action, but he writes of the deprivations, the lack of equipment, the landscape, and the obvious poverty of peasants. And at last some fighting.

He says of this period that he has never had a time with as much inaction in his life before, but that he wouldn't have missed it, because of the experience of equality and hope among his fellow soldiers.

Started on the second part, where he has returned to Barcelona for a rest. There's the beginning of infighting between groups, and I had to look up some of the history of it all, and I would have loved some footnotes here! All these groups and parties.

Reading on, it won't be a fast read, I'll pick up something lighter to go along.

Oct 12, 2017, 8:53am Top

Hi Ella!

I love reading your comments on Homage to Catalonia. It's timely. I'm watching the situation in Spain carefully. It's one of the few things going on in the world that doesn't scare me to death, unfortunately.

Oct 12, 2017, 3:09pm Top

>49 EllaTim: I have ordered Saluut aan Catalonië today.

Oct 12, 2017, 5:26pm Top

>50 karenmarie: Hi Karen, Yes, lots of bad stuff going on, I get what you mean.

I admired the Catalonians for their spirit in the referendum, but i'm hoping that it will turn out alright.

>51 FAMeulstee: Hi Anita, o migh, now I hope you will like it!

Tried to add a secondhand book to my library in LT, but I don't get how to do it. It's Tijl Uilenspiegel by Charles de Coster. Translation by E. Münningshof-Dormeier.
I can find the book in LT alright, lots of editions, hard to see if mine is there. But when I try to add it, LT searches the database of the Koninklijke Bibliotheek, where I can only find entries that are definitely not my edition. That have only one other entry in LT while the main entry has lots of owners. I don't get it, but maybe the problem is in all those different editions? I don't really mind entering the wrong edition, but I would like to be able to enter the right translator. How to do that?

I'm just hoping Anita has a solution...

Oct 13, 2017, 3:56am Top

>52 EllaTim: You can add a "wrong" edition from de Koninklijke Bibibliotheek and then change the publisher, translator at "Boek bewerken".
Or you go to the website of the KB-catalogus at http://opc4.kb.nl/ and search there for your edition. If you find it there you can fill in the "aanvraagnummer" at the "boeken toevoegen" page.
I did the search for you (with Tijl Uilenspiegel Dormeier) and found that "aanvraagnummer" KW BJ 51998 gives your edition.

Oct 13, 2017, 5:34am Top

>53 FAMeulstee: Ha Thanks, Anita, I guessed you would know more about this!

I'm going to try and replicate what you did. Good tip about the aanvraagnummer!

Oct 13, 2017, 6:11am Top

>49 EllaTim: Homage to Catalonia is a timely read, Ella. I read it a number of years ago and remember enjoying it immensely.

I am, I must concede, a little fearful for the hopes of the Catalans and their target of full independence.

Oct 13, 2017, 6:25am Top

>55 PaulCranswick: Good that you say so, I'm having a bit of difficulty starting the next part, the book is good, but i know what' going to happen was not so good.

Yeah, I'm afraid it will not be easy, the central government seems very set against it. And very confrontational, leaving little room for negotiation and talking about it.

Edited: Oct 13, 2017, 6:55am Top

>54 EllaTim: It worked, thank you. It's been added, with my copy being one of 300 other copies, and that means I get the page with reviews and uploaded covers, which is what I wanted.
I'm going to save the link to the KB as well. Worked marvels.

Now is it me, I like that you know these things, but I don't want to bother you with too many questions, but is there a place in LT where I could ask these things? Update, found some myself, never tried the beginners group.

Oct 13, 2017, 6:51am Top

>57 EllaTim: The group "Nederlandstalige lezers" was more active in the early LT years, I picked up a lot about LT there.
This was mentioned in the last message of the topic Slechte data van de Koninklijke Bibliotheek and I have used it many times.

For these kind of questions you could go to the group "Talk about LibraryThing". At the group page you can search within the group. I did a quick search on "Koninklijke" and found 14 topics where the Koninklijke Bibliotheek is mentioned.

Oct 13, 2017, 6:58am Top

>57 EllaTim: We were crossposting, it seems

Thanks for the links again. I never bothered with entering my books in my library much, but I would like to use that feature more, and am running in problems with it.

Going to do some reading in both groups!

Oct 13, 2017, 9:02am Top

Glad to be able to help you, Ella.

Happy weekend!

Edited: Oct 17, 2017, 8:47pm Top

Reading now:
Het huis van de Moskee by Kader Abdolah
Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell

Het huis van de moskee is an audiobook, I started listening today, and unfortunately I don't like the reader. Still, the story has grabbed my interest at the moment.

Oct 17, 2017, 8:31pm Top

>61 EllaTim: I have the Kader Abdolah on the shelves Ella and will be interested to see how you rate it.

Oct 18, 2017, 8:15am Top

Hi Ella! I hope you're doing well this week.

Edited: Oct 24, 2017, 7:17pm Top

62 Homage to Catalonia *****

Orwell's account of his time fighting in the Spanish Civil War. He joined one of the militia's fighting at the front. The choice of which one was a bit arbitrary, but it was the POUM.

He was sent to the front, and spent some time there, mostly not fighting, as nothing much happened.

Then he goes on leave to Barcelona. The atmosphere in the town has changed, and after a couple of days trouble starts. The office of the telephone company is being taken from the hands of the Union workers, into those of the central government, and this is the cause of fighting in the streets.

After his naive and enthusiastic start fighting against the fascists and Franco Orwell now witnesses the dividedness of the anti-fascist side. And the dirty politics caused by the involvement of the Soviet Union, who are delivering weapons.

This part of the book is still interesting but complicated by the background politics, and all the parties involved.

In the end the POUM gets the blame for the troubles, they are denounced, party members, and militia members are picked up and put in jail without a trial. Orwell escapes Spain with his wife, disillusioned and frustrated.

After the story in itself, there are two appendixes that explain the background and the poltical situation. Originally these were chapters in the book, but Orwell made the choice to put them at the back. I think I can guess why, in this way the factual story, and his eyewitness account are separated from the background and what could be called speculation. Apparently the facts were not well represented in the papers at the time, and he felt the need to get the truth out.

But the choice does make it harder to understand for a contemporary reader what is going on. I could have done with some introduction.

But in all it's a very good book. Not an easy read though, because of all the dirty politics, and the betrayal that he is writing about.

Edited: Oct 18, 2017, 10:57am Top

>62 PaulCranswick: Hi Paul, this is my first by Kader Abolah, but he has made a good start. I have the feeling that there is a real scoundrel involved, but will have to read on to be certain;)

>63 karenmarie: Hi Karen, doing fine, but way behind on the threads..

Oct 19, 2017, 4:35am Top

>64 EllaTim: Good review, Ella, I hope to get to it early next week.

My edition has a foreword by Geert Mak, so hope that will help a bit.
I do understand the sentiments flaring up in Catalonia, as the present monarchy in Spain was appointed by Franco. I shiver when I see video's of Franco followers demonstating in Madrid.

Oct 19, 2017, 5:50am Top

>66 FAMeulstee: I'm sure that will be a help. Just to understand the background, and what all those abbreviations stand for.

Yes, me too. Hadn't seen those video's, but of course they are all still there. I heard the Catalan government has been getting less and less rights the last ten years. Small wonder they're protesting.

Oct 19, 2017, 12:14pm Top

>64 EllaTim: Good review, Ella, and now I want to read Orwell's account of that conflict too. It almost sounds like it could be about events happening today around the world, especially the infighting on the left in the U.S. When I do read it, maybe I should read the Appendices first to get the background picture?

Oct 19, 2017, 7:58pm Top

>68 Storeetllr: Hi Mary, infighting is kind of universal I'm afraid, but during the Spanish civil war the communists and the Soviet Union played a very damaging role.

No, I wouldn't start with the appendixes, if I were you. They were originally written as chapters, and taken out and put in the back later. So you could of course start looking for the appendix when you find yourself wondering what this is all about. The point is the original story is so clear, and easy to read, and the appendixes are a lot dryer, and harder to follow.

Oct 19, 2017, 8:31pm Top

Ah, okay, got it!

Oct 19, 2017, 8:35pm Top

I enjoyed your George Orwell review, Ella. I must go and read some more of his work and re-read what I have already finished.

Oct 20, 2017, 5:51am Top

>72 EllaTim: Hi Paul, I found myself liking Mr. Orwell, and would love to read his older stuff now. So I'll be reading backwards in time, cause I read his 1984 first I think.

Oct 20, 2017, 8:49am Top

Birding made easy. Just sitting here listening to my audiobook I hear a loud sound that seemed to come from the kitchen wall, a bit like it was being struck with a small hammer, ticker-de-tock. First I thought it was my neighbour doing some kind of repairs, but it was coming from above, a mouse behind the gypsum wall?
I opened the door to the balcony, and saw a great spotted woodpecker flying away.

It had been hacking at a wood board above the kitchen door.

Now, just a couple of years ago I first heard of people seeing woodpeckers in the middle of Amsterdam, and could hardly believe it. And here's one hacking at my house:)

Oct 20, 2017, 11:13am Top

I hope the woodpecker doesn't destroy too much, Ella.
A few years back we had a similair experience at a holliday home near Beekbergen. At first I noticed the styrofoam at the back and wondered where it came from. Then we noticed the noise, the styrofoam came from the roof (used for isolation) where the woodpecker had made holes.

Oct 20, 2017, 11:38am Top

There was a (short) interview with George Orwell's Son Richard Blair on BBC's The History Hour Podcast a few weeks ago. It's available on the podcast feed and on the website (it's the Princess Diana episode).

Edited: Oct 20, 2017, 1:43pm Top

Hi Paws, thanks for the link, I listened to the interview with Orwell's son, short but nice and interesting anyway. So thanks for pointing it out to me.

How are you doing, your cold a bit better?

Oct 20, 2017, 5:52pm Top

>76 EllaTim: Great, I thought it was interesting too.

Not really better, but different symptoms. No wry nack, but a very achy throat and a major case of the sniffles. I'm hoping this is the last of it (the throat ache usually comes at the end of a cold).

Oct 20, 2017, 6:07pm Top

>64 EllaTim: Good review of Homage to Catalonia, Ella. I want to read this one.

>73 EllaTim: Nice looking woodpecker. I hope it isn't causing too much damage. We had problems, when we had cedar siding but we switched to vinyl siding and the problems with the woodpeckers ended.

Oct 20, 2017, 6:24pm Top

>77 PawsforThought: Ah, sounds familiar. Do you have a favourite remedy? Mine is hot tea with ginger, and honey.

>78 msf59: Hi Mark. Cedar siding, now I thought that was pretty impervious to all pests (not that I see woodpeckers as pests). Was there anything in it that attracted them, or is it simply, that it's wood so they go for it?

Edited: Oct 21, 2017, 11:06am Top

>79 EllaTim: I drink a lot of hot water with honey, lemon and ginger. And the odd cup of hot cocoa for comfort reasons. I've had some ice cream now, because it makes my throat feel temporarily better.

I sometimes finely mince ginger and garlic (about a tablespoon of each), pour some yoghurt over it and eat it as-is. If you don't chew you won't really taste the ginger and garlic so you can get it down fairly easily - and it's good for your immune system. (You might smell, though.)

Oct 21, 2017, 3:51pm Top

Hi Ella!

>73 EllaTim: How wonderful, even if you'll have to be careful he doesn't damage your house. They are absolutely gorgeous birds! We don't get them here in central NC, USA.

Oct 21, 2017, 4:01pm Top

>81 karenmarie: First part sounds good, ice cream, chocolate, nice!
Lemon, ginger, for me lots of oranges.

But your second prescription yuck, though, leave out the ginger and you're on the way to make tzatziki, and that tastes good, and could be nice for your threat as well.

The whole idea being that it's good to pamper yourself a bit, when you've got a lasting cold.

Oct 21, 2017, 4:16pm Top

>81 karenmarie: Yes, they are wonderful. And they're becoming more numerous here, I'm really amazed at seeing one in my back garden, I really live in the middle of the city.

That's a pity that you don't get them, how come?

Oct 21, 2017, 4:42pm Top

>83 EllaTim: Good question. I don't know the answer. We do get Downy, Hairy, Red-bellied, Red-headed, Red-cockaded, and Pileated Woodpeckers, although I've never seen a Red-headed or Red-cockaded woodpecker.

They're thrilling to see.

Oct 21, 2017, 5:22pm Top

>82 EllaTim: It's not meant to be tasty, it's meant to be good for your immune system. The yoghurt is only there to make it easier to swallow without feeling the taste.

Oct 21, 2017, 5:49pm Top

>84 karenmarie: Oh, an abundance of woodpeckers, I thought you meant you didn't get any of them!

>85 PawsforThought: Maybe I'm a bit allergic to things that are meant to be good for you;)

Oct 21, 2017, 6:18pm Top

>86 EllaTim: Maybe I'm a bit allergic to things that are meant to be good for you ;)

I know how that feels ;-)

Edited: Oct 24, 2017, 7:27pm Top

63. Het Huis van de Moskee ****
(The House of the Mosque)

This was a wonderful read, though with ups and downs.

It's the history of an extended family living in a large house next to a Mosque, that they "own". The story takes place in the Iran of the Sjah, so Persia, and after.

The first part describes the life of the three families, three cousins, their wives, children, servants, and relations. It's a colourful story, small tales, that tell about what life was like for them. Relaxed pace, peaceful.

One of the cousins is the imam of the mosque, the other a carpet maker and salesman, the third the muezzin of the mosque. Trouble starts when a young imam from outside comes and asks for the hand of one of the daughters. Through the story it becomes clear that he belongs to a radical school of Islam, and his goal is to become the imam, of this mosque. He's not a very likeable fellow as he tries to cheat on the family at the wedding.

It appears he is a follower of Khomeini, and slowly the family and all of Iran become involved in politics. The sjah is hated, and seen as a puppet of America, modernisation is resented by the ayatollahs and a revolution follows. Now the whole atmosphere of the story changes. I found the story about the revolution impressive and pretty scary, especially as I was listening to an audiobook. The family gets torn apart, and much damage has been done.

The last part i found the hardest to understand, Abdolah talks about reconciliation, things coming right again, but I couldn't fathom if it was real, or more like a dream.

But overall a very interesting story, that I won't forget soon.

Kader Abdolah was born in Iran, and came to Holland as a refugee. He writes in Dutch. This book was translated into 14 languages!

Oct 23, 2017, 3:28pm Top

>88 EllaTim: Good review, Ella, I really should read a book by Kader Abdolah soon...

Abdolah talks about reconciliation
Maybe he is hoping dreams might come true?

Oct 23, 2017, 5:02pm Top

>89 FAMeulstee: Yes, there is some of that in it. It's the part where I felt I might be missing something.

Oct 24, 2017, 12:14am Top

Just dropping in to catch up, Ella! Lovely woodpecker.

Oct 24, 2017, 6:47am Top

Oct 24, 2017, 7:35pm Top

Now listening to
Mensenrechten by Bart Stapert
Hutten en Paleizen by Gerrit Komrij

The first is non-fiction, a series of lectures about history of human rights, especially after the second WW.
It's very good, I'm doing a bit of a reread, because listening means I sometimes miss parts, where apparently my mind has wandered. I noticed because I couldn't do a review.

The second is a bundle of poetry. An experiment, I find I like to listen to audio, but will I like this, I have to try.

Oct 25, 2017, 8:08am Top

Hi Ella! I hope you're doing well and enjoying both of your reads.

Oct 25, 2017, 2:51pm Top

>95 EllaTim: Hi Karen, excellent, and a bit diverted from reading as my eBook reader was giving me grief, it had gotten stuck on an eBook it couldn't digest, and I had to remove everything so it could start again. And then try to find which book exactly was the culprit.

Oct 26, 2017, 8:37am Top

Blech. Technology occasionally sucks. Fixed yet? Culprit found?

Oct 26, 2017, 2:50pm Top

>97 EllaTim: Hi Karen, It's a good reminder that real papier books do have their advantages, my bookcases won't disappear when I put one book in them that's somehow rotten!

I copied all ebooks to my pc, deleted those on the reader, and recopied only three to the reader. It now loads a lot faster again. Culprit not found yet, but I will take care adding more books.

The Guardian had a review for a new book by Yanis Varoufakis that sounds like just my cup of tea:

After all the good reviews here of his books, but I find all discussions about the economy very intimidating and complex. According to the Guardian Varoufakis had the goal with this book of explaining everything in simple terms.

Oct 26, 2017, 5:46pm Top

>97 EllaTim: I always remove most books I have read from my e-reader. Only keep a few I might want to read again.

That books is available at the e-library in Dutch translation De economie zoals uitgelegd aan zijn dochter.

Oct 26, 2017, 6:04pm Top

>88 EllaTim: Sounds interesting, Ella! I may have to see if I can find an English translation. As far as the incomplete ending - well, we know how it probably ended, don't we? The radicals took over the government after the Shah fell, so his musings had to be wishful thinking. Did you read Persepolis? That's the only thing about the revolution in Iran that I've read so far.

Oct 26, 2017, 6:46pm Top

>99 Storeetllr: There is an English translation Mary, hope you can find it.

Yes, they did.

If you find it I wonder what you will think of the ending, I felt like I didn't completely understand what his intentions were.

Oct 26, 2017, 7:01pm Top

>79 EllaTim: The woodpeckers loved the cedar siding. Other people, I know, have stated the same thing. Not sure, why. They can be destructive and I am glad I don't have to worry about it anymore.

Oct 27, 2017, 3:29am Top

>99 Storeetllr: Persepolis is SO GOOD! I was recommended it by a friend and read it during my commute - standing on an hour long train ride holding myself steady with one hand and holding the book with the other.

Oct 27, 2017, 7:14am Top

>99 Storeetllr: >102 PawsforThought: Well that's a recommendation I can't ignore. I looked it up, and my library has it. They don't have lots of graphic novels, but they do have this one, I'll do a request for it.

Edited: Oct 27, 2017, 5:59pm Top

>102 PawsforThought: Yes, it was. I read both 1 and 2 but thought Part 2 wasn't quite as good as 1. Still, worthwhile if you can find it.

>103 EllaTim: Cool! I think you'll find it a worthy read, Ella!

Oct 29, 2017, 4:13pm Top

64. Het Psalmenoproer by Maarten 't Hart ***

A historical novel, life in the village of Maassluis at the end of the 17th century. The life story of shipowner Roemer, who marries the wrong woman, because that's what his parents expect from him. Falls in love with another woman, a poor woman, gets a son with her, out of wedlock.

At the same time the story of the tensions in society, that lead to rebellion, around the way the psalms are sung in church. Why that would become the focal point, doesn't really become clear to me.

The first chapter worked, it was like one of his short stories, the last as well, but the whole of the book just didn't do it for me.

Oct 29, 2017, 5:03pm Top

>105 EllaTim: I liked Het psalmenoproer better than you did, Ella.
If I remeber well, the cause of the riots was the decline of the fishery, people were discontent as many were loosing their jobs. The new psalms just were the last drop for the discontent villagers.

Oct 29, 2017, 5:40pm Top

>106 FAMeulstee: I'm glad you did Anita.

The book just didn't come alive to me, and it can be really hard to pinpoint how come. But I liked both books I read by 't Hart earlier, so I will try a next one anyway.

Nov 1, 2017, 4:35pm Top

65. A Guide to the birds of East Africa ****1/2
By Nicholas Drayson (Kenya)

This was a delightful and fast read. Found on the thread of Marc.

The story of shy Mr. Malik, who is a widower, a bird lover, and secretly head over heels in love with Rose, the guide to the Nairobi Tuesday morning birding excursions.

He has been contemplating asking her out, but he is forced into action when a former school 'friend' turns up, fast and flashy mr. Khan, who used to tease and bully mr. Malik at school. And who plans on asking Rose out as well. They decide to make a wager, the man who manages to see the most bird species in a week kan ask Rose out.

It's a really entertaining story, I found myself rooting for mr. Khan in no time, and then the birds that play a role, the landscape of Kenya. Very good.

Nov 3, 2017, 7:36am Top

Too tired to do much serious reading. So doing some comfort reads, rereading stuff.

Nov 3, 2017, 10:01am Top

>109 EllaTim: As someone who is the midst of having his reading mojo on a happy visit, I sympathise, Ella. Hope your tiredness gets shucked off like an oyster shell in a champagne bar this weekend,

Nov 3, 2017, 2:55pm Top

>109 EllaTim: In previous years I did the same, Ella, some of my books I have read at least 20 times, very comforting.

Nov 4, 2017, 5:59am Top

Hi Ella!

I love to reread books, too. Comfort reads describes them exactly.

Nov 4, 2017, 7:09am Top

Happy Saturday, Ella. Hooray for A Guide to the birds of East Africa! I also recently read and enjoyed it.

Have a nice weekend.

Edited: Nov 4, 2017, 7:35pm Top

>110 PaulCranswick: Hi Paul, good for you, I hope it's a long visit. I did manage some reading yesterday.

>111 FAMeulstee: Oh yes, me too, what is your most reread book? Mine is Lord of the Rings I guess.

>112 karenmarie: Hi Karen! The joy of rereading, what is your favourite?

>113 msf59: Hi Marc, wasn't it good! And not just about birds. This could be a book to reread.

Nov 5, 2017, 8:26am Top

>114 EllaTim: I have read Lord of the Rings at least a dozen times, but I have re-read two books by Alet Schouten the most: De wateren van Finn en Het teken van Wichart, closely followed by Tonke Dragt's The Letter for the king and the sequel The Secrets of the Wild Wood

Nov 5, 2017, 9:06am Top

>115 FAMeulstee: Now I don't regret asking this question, as I have never heard of your two toppers! And yes for the Tonke Dragt of course, those are rereads for me as well. And her Torenhoog en mijlenbreed.

Nov 5, 2017, 9:10am Top

>117 FAMeulstee: Have you ever read Ogen van tijgers, the sequel after Torenhoog en mijlen breed?

Nov 5, 2017, 9:58am Top

>117 FAMeulstee: I think I have but it didn't make as much an impression on me, I can't remember much of it.

Edited: Nov 5, 2017, 11:03pm Top

I'm wide awake, in the middle of the night after a frustrating confrontation with a beeping smoke alarm. Took some research on the internet to find out how to turn it off.

So, started reading, listening to
The shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón,

another book set in Barcelona. Coincidence, or a very inspiring city?

Nov 6, 2017, 8:04am Top

>119 EllaTim: Sorry you woke up so rudely by the smoke alarm, Ella, I hope you got some sleep after.
I have never been to Barcelona, but most visitors like it a lot.

Nov 6, 2017, 4:17pm Top

>120 FAMeulstee: Thanks Anita, I manager to get some sleep after I got the battery out.
I've never been to Barcelona too. But I have heard good things and would like to see the Gaudi cathedral.

Nov 7, 2017, 6:49pm Top

Hi Ella!

>114 EllaTim: I re-read Dorothy L. Sayers' Wimsey/Vane mysteries, Agatha Christie, Georgette Heyer, Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse series, and am currently re-listening, for the 4th time at least, to the Harry Potter series. I'm listening to book 5 of 7. I also re-read Lee Child and Michael Connelly. This year 5 out of 81 books are re-reads or re-listens, with #6 going.

Nov 8, 2017, 4:33am Top

Hi Karen

>122 karenmarie: Some of yours are favourites for me as well, Agatha Christie, Harry Potter of course.

Georgette Heyer seems to be a big favourite of a lot of people here, and I had never heard of her before LT. I have her on my TBR-list, And after so much praise I'm looking forward to reading.

Nov 8, 2017, 8:28am Top

Hi again.

My mother bought me a Bantam hardcover series of ALL of Agatha Christie's books - She gave them to over the course of ten years. They have pride of place in my Library.

Georgette Heyer wrote in three genres - historical fiction, romance, and mystery. I like her historical fiction and her romances best. I'll be interested in seeing what you read and what you think of her writing.

Nov 8, 2017, 2:30pm Top

>124 karenmarie: That is a lovely present, Yes pride of place of course.

I'll start looking for it, I like all three genres I think, provided they're written well.

Edited: Nov 10, 2017, 5:15pm Top

66. The complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi ****1/2

This graphic novel is the story of growing up in Teheran during the revolution. Marjane is the daughter of an Iranian intellectual family. She tells about her childhood, and shows what happened in Iran during and after the revolution.

Her parents send her to school in Austria, hoping she will be safer there. This part of the story was particularly touching, as it shows how hard it is to live as alone in a strange country as she was.

A very good inside view of what life in Iran was like, how people reacted to the repressive regime. I loved the comic strip drawings, they certainly add to the overall story. And in spite of the serious subject matter there's a lot of humour in the book as well.

I read the omnibus edition, and I'm afraid the graphic quality was not optimal, drawings a bit smaller than they originally were? I'm not certain, but it looked like it.

Nov 10, 2017, 2:03pm Top

>126 EllaTim: I'm so glad you liked Persepolis - I adored it when I read it. I think you're right about the size difference in the omnibus edition - the ones I've seen are smaller than the separated editions.

Nov 10, 2017, 5:18pm Top

Hi Paws, we crossposted! Yes, I loved it. Isn't it a pity when they do that, I think the pictures are as important as the text. I'm going to try some more graphic novels, I really liked this one.

Nov 10, 2017, 6:51pm Top

>128 EllaTim: If you haven't read it already, I highly recommend Art Spiegelman's Maus - if you've read that one and Persepolis, you've read some of the best the genre has to offer. It's about the holocaust, so be prepared for the worst of humanity.

Nov 11, 2017, 11:01am Top

Hi Ella! I'm enjoying seeing all the places you're visiting with your reading.

I really liked Persepolis, too, when I read it. It was one of the first graphic novels I read. Have you read Maus?

I also liked The Shadow of the Wind and have A Guide to the Birds of East Africa on my wish list of books coming from the library.

I think your thread is going to dangerous for me with all the book bullets whizzing around.

Nov 11, 2017, 2:23pm Top

>129 PawsforThought: Hi Paws, I have seen a lot of praise for Maus here. I always thought my library didn't have a lot of graphic novels, but it turns out that they do, just not in my small branch. Yes, I know what it's about, and I will be keeping it in mind.

>130 streamsong: Hi Janet, this reading around the world is really broadening my horizon! A lot of my BB come from your own threads, or from Paul, or other people here, but that's so nice about LT.

Nov 11, 2017, 2:36pm Top

>67 EllaTim:. Liefdewerk oud papier by Karel Eykman, and Peter van Straten **** (Dutch)

Cor, Hans and Marja start writing for the school paper. They are very serious about it, and proud of the first edition, but then they find out their texts have been changed. The school director has done this, for their own good, he says. The three young people are very angry, and they decide to go against this, and do their own thing.

I enjoyed this story, and the illustrations by Peter van Straten. I felt a bit of nostalgia as well, the book was published in 1981, and it fits in that time. But I really liked it as well, about having the courage to be yourself, not such a bad message.

Thanks to Anita, for sending this on to me!

(And as Dutch writer Remco Campert plays an important part in this story, I think I should read something by him soon)

Nov 12, 2017, 7:14am Top

You are very welcome, Ella, glad you liked Liefdewerk oud papier :-)

Nov 12, 2017, 7:37am Top

Hooray for The Complete Persepolis! Isn't this a great volume. One of my favorite GNs. I am also a BIG fan of Maus.

Happy Sunday, Ella and Happy Reading!

Nov 12, 2017, 8:09am Top

I read and enjoyed Persepolis this year too, Ella.

Have a lovely Sunday.

Edited: Nov 12, 2017, 12:36pm Top

>134 msf59: >135 PaulCranswick: Thanks Marc and Paul. I have been feeling tired lately, so it's going to be a lazy Sunday.

I've started to read my first Murakami, The wind-up bird chronicle. I've just finished part 1, it's mostly a bit weird, but nothing heavy, but I have just finished a story told by a soldier, and now feel a bit upset by that. I'm going to look for something light to read along.

Found a pick-me-up here, it's very appropriate;)

Edited: Nov 29, 2017, 8:46pm Top

68. Asterix en de Belgen by Goscinny and Uderzo

Competition between the Gauls and the Belgians, who is the bravest. Julius Caesar is drafted to be the arbiter.

Funny, but not the best of this series of comics.

Nov 13, 2017, 2:48am Top

>137 EllaTim: Oh my, it's been ages since I read any Asterix and Obelix, and I don't think I ever read that one.

Nov 13, 2017, 7:38am Top

>138 PawsforThought: It had been ages for me as well, Paws, but this one is on my shelves, and I wanted something light and fast, got to get to that 75! ;)

Nov 15, 2017, 5:24am Top

I'm not making much headway at the moment, I've dropped the Murakami for the moment, went to the library for Roald Dahl's Gruwelijke Rijmen but it had gotten lost or something, and now I've started Leven en wandel van Zorbas de Griek and finding it pretty annoying.

Nov 15, 2017, 5:30am Top

>140 EllaTim: Zorba is a rare example when the film is more enjoyable than the book.

Nov 15, 2017, 6:56pm Top

>141 PaulCranswick: Ah, Thanks Paul, for confirming that! I have never seen the film.

And the book, I can see that Kazantzakis can write, he can paint the landscape in a couple of words. But the misogyny in the book! Is that place and time, or what?

Edited: Nov 15, 2017, 9:00pm Top

Just dropping by to give you the website for purse instructions, in case you don't make it back over to my thread for a while!

Nov 15, 2017, 10:04pm Top

Hi Roni, thanks very much! A wonderful helpful site. That bag is a bit too difficult for me at the moment, but I love that she shows different colours for it. So maybe at a later time...

Nov 16, 2017, 6:16pm Top

Hi Ella!

I'm temporarily stuck at the end of Book 1 of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, but plan on starting back up tomorrow morning. Meanwhile, I've read two 'fun' books and have started our book club's December discussion book News of the World.

I hope you've found something good to read.

Nov 17, 2017, 8:20pm Top

Hi Karen, nice to see you here. How nice to have a real life book Club! I am stuck in the Murakami as well. I'm waiting a bit to restart again. I'll be asking you for your impressions in a couple of days.

Not much reading done here, but we've been to the movies, the first Blade Runner. Wonderful, it has been a couple of years, and I had forgotten how impressive it is. And also how dark, I'm very glad we haven't gotten to that stage yet!

And now we're planning for the second Blade Runner, and Loving Vincent, and a new Japanese animated movie, called Your Name.

Edited: Nov 18, 2017, 2:18pm Top

>137 EllaTim: I re-read all Asterix comics in 2012. My favorite is Asterix en Cleopatra.

Nov 18, 2017, 1:27pm Top

>147 FAMeulstee: Hi Anita!
Asterix and Cleopatra is one of my favourites as well. And Asterix in Switzerland is another

Nov 18, 2017, 2:19pm Top

>148 EllaTim: Yes that is a good one too, Ella, and Asterix en het 1ste legioen :-)

Edited: Nov 19, 2017, 6:44pm Top

69. Leven en wandel van Zorbas de Griek by Nikos Kazantzakes ** (Greece)

I did not enjoy reading this book. The first half was the worst part, after that it did get a bit better.
In the second half the story picks up, there is less philosophy, there are more things happening, and Zorbas turns out to be more human and more palatable than he seemed at first.

The problem for me was the misogynistic attitudes in the book, expressed by Zorba himself as well as by the protagonist. Of course it's possible to say that it's an expression of culture and times, but even so, it keeps on being annoying, and comes back again and again. So I'm not even going to try for more review than this.

Paul said that the movie here is better than the book. I haven't seen it, but I can imagine how it would improve. The book is much too wordy, a movie would get rid of all the philosophising, and the talk-talk-talk, and could remove a lot of the crap about women..

And to give this post a more upbeat ending:

Zorba syrtaki dancing from the movie: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=4UV6HVMRmdk

And another syrtaki that's fun to see: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=yvEIMrqZCjc

Edited: Nov 19, 2017, 4:00pm Top

70. De Erfenis van Rataplan by Goscinny **** (France)

Lucky Luke nr. 41

We had dinner at our favourite snack bar. They have a collection of comics for the kids, and I read this one.

Had a good laugh.

The dog Rataplan inherits a fortune, unfortunately when he dies Joe Dalton will inherit. Lucky Luke gets hired to protect Rataplan.

Goscinny was responsible for the Asterix series as well, Lucky Luke is funny too.

Edited: Nov 20, 2017, 5:24pm Top

We went to see Loving Vincent, in the movie theater. Wonderful. Seeing the paintings come alive.

Usually people start running out as soon as the movie is over, but now everyone stayed for the credits, and even after the lights went on, people just sat talking.

Nov 20, 2017, 6:12pm Top

>151 EllaTim: I love Lucky Luke and have very fond memories of reading some of the albums when I was a child. I remember in particular. I was given a whole heap of Lucky Luke albums for Christmas last year and will probably dive into reading them all fairly soon.
Rantanplan is called Ratata in Swedish - it's onomatopoeia for the sound a machine gun or other automatic weapon makes. There was also a very popular 80's pop band called Ratata (I'm assuming they were named after the dog).

>152 EllaTim: Oh, that film looks so fascinating - I'd love to see it but I doubt it'll make its was to my town.

Nov 20, 2017, 6:23pm Top

>153 PawsforThought: Lucky Luke has become very international, I read them as a child as well. A whole pile of them, have fun!

That's a pity, it's really nice to see it in a movie theatre, but I think it will be released as a DVD eventually?

Nov 21, 2017, 5:17am Top

>154 EllaTim: Yeah, it'll probably come out on DVD/demand soon enough - I'll get to it then I suppose.

Nov 22, 2017, 9:36am Top

>152 EllaTim: sadly that film is not on Netflix - at least, not yet. I will keep an eye out for it though.

Nov 22, 2017, 8:07pm Top

>156 sirfurboy: Too new for Netflix? It's worth it!

Edited: Nov 29, 2017, 8:52pm Top

71. The girl with all the gifts by M. R. Carey **** (UK)

Recommended by Mary.

A good story and well written. The book keeps you on your toes as t what will happen next.

It is a post-apocalyptic zombie novel, and I would have stayed away if Mary hadn't been so enthusiastic.

But the story is wonderful, thanks to the characters, the little girl Melanie who comes to life beautifully, and her teacher, and all the other characters.

Edited: Nov 29, 2017, 8:48pm Top

72. Revolting Rhymes **** by Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl's version of some familiar fairy tales is really fun to read. They're in verse for one thing. And they're also very original, playful and irreverent.

Recommended for all ages, and found in the thread of Paws.

You can tell I want to reach 75 books read, but I did just start Pasternak's Doctor Zhivago.

Nov 23, 2017, 9:13am Top

>159 EllaTim: Ah, you read it! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

And you're on book # 72 already, you'll easily get to 75 before the end of the year! (Even with Pasternak)

Nov 23, 2017, 9:38am Top

>159 EllaTim: Nice to see you enjoyed The girl with all the gifts, Ella!
That is the strength of this group, all the great recommendations.

I loved reading Doctor Zhivago last January, I hope you enjoy your read. Should be doable within a month :-)

Nov 23, 2017, 12:13pm Top

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

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

I am thankful that you are part of this group.

I am thankful for this opportunity to say thank you.

Edited: Nov 23, 2017, 7:38pm Top

>160 PawsforThought: It was really fun, I especially loved Red Riding Hood;)

>161 FAMeulstee: Hi Anita. yes, lots of great recommendations, this was a very good one.

I hope to finish Zhivago within the month, but if not, no problem. I have read the whole of War and Peace, just going slowly through it, one little chapter at a time, and enjoyed it a lot anyway.

>162 PaulCranswick: Hi Paul! Thanks for visiting!

Nov 24, 2017, 2:33am Top

>163 EllaTim: I've been meaning to get to War and Peace for ages now, and will get to it after I finish the massive book I'm in the middle of right now (A Storm of Swords) - history has taught me not to try and read two really thick books at the same time.
I'll probably take it slow reading it - the edition I'm reading is split up into three parts/books so I'm thinking about reading roughly one book per month.

Nov 24, 2017, 8:06am Top

>164 PawsforThought: Good thinking. I make that mistake again and again, but I am finding that it's not a good idea.

I haven't read Storm of Swords yet.

War and Peace I found really good, even the chapters that deal with the war, but I had to let them sink in, I felt like every chapter was like a small colourful painting, and I couldn't do more than one at a time. Your reading schedule seems right, good luck when you start out on it.

Nov 24, 2017, 8:36am Top

>165 EllaTim: I've done that mistake so many times, always thinking that *this time* it'll be fine. And every time I have to renew the loan over and over and over until I've reached the limit. So no more!

Nov 24, 2017, 8:48am Top

>166 PawsforThought: I find myself getting bogged down in book 1, then switching to book 2, then regretting not finishing nr 1, and then having two doorstoppers at my hands. Or three. Reading something small and light does seem like a good idea, like the Roald Dahl Revolting Rhymes. Well, you live and learn, mostly about your own silliness;)

Nov 24, 2017, 9:19am Top

>167 EllaTim: Exactly!

I'm also dealing with too many books right now - and several are library books that are new purchases, so I can't renew them. I'm really enjoying Alone: Britain, Churchill, and Dunkirk: Defeat Into Victory but it's almost a week overdue. I am very weak on European history but I am finding this one fascinating!

Nov 24, 2017, 9:44am Top

>168 streamsong: Good luck on finishing your book!

I'm no good at history in general, including European and American history, I dropped the subject in school as soon as I was allowed to. Somewhere around the industrial revolution, I recall. But I'm finding it more and more interesting now. Such a lot depends on good presentation, finding the right books.

Edited: Nov 29, 2017, 8:56pm Top

73. The shadow of the wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón (Spain)

I listened to this book as audiobook. I enjoyed that, but it did take extra time. The story of this book is pretty complicated, stories within stories within stories. Some of them marvellous, others a bit less so.

There's a main story, about Daniel, the adolescent son of a book shop owner. Daniel finds a book by a forgotten writer, that he loves, and tries to find out more about the writer. We find out more about the life of the writer.

The story of Daniel himself, I liked a lot, it's told in a lively fashion, and there are several interesting persons, like his friend Fermin, who was a vagrant, and turns out to have been persecuted by a horrible police inspector, another important figure.

The other story, about the writer of the book Daniel loves so much, reminded me a bit of what Zafón calls a " Penny dreadful" in the book, or a gothic novel, and I liked it a lot less.

But overall there is really enough to enjoy in this sometimes slightly melodramatic book;-)

I am glad I finished it though, I had to go back and reread parts several times, because I had lost the thread of the story. Happens to me sooner in an audiobook.

Nov 30, 2017, 1:04pm Top

>170 EllaTim: Nice review, Ella, it is on my list to read someday.

Only 2 more books to go ;-)

Nov 30, 2017, 2:05pm Top

>170 EllaTim: That happens to me with audiobooks, too. I'll get distracted by something I see, or hear (over the book) or just a thought and all of a sudden I've missed tons.

Nov 30, 2017, 9:18pm Top

>171 FAMeulstee: It is worth reading, really, in spite of maybe some flaws.

Yeah, I'll get there.

>172 PawsforThought: I was tired, so I confess to falling asleep (several times)!

Getting distracted happens while reading too, I think, but one can just look back for a moment, and pick up what one missed, or pause.

Dec 1, 2017, 2:00am Top

>173 EllaTim: Yeah, it's much less of a problem when you're reading physical books because it's not going ahead without you like audiobook do.

I can't tell you the amount of times I've fallen asleep during my reading of A Storm of Swords, and I'm only about a third of the way in. Not because I'm not interested enough, but because I've only been reading it at bedtime and I've been so tired lately.

Dec 1, 2017, 6:51am Top

I went to the dentist today, so stress. It was cold outside, water cold. Around the corner from the dentist is a very good bakery. So I treated myself to a Dutch goodie: speculaasbrokken

In a perfect world this should go with warm chocolate milk, but I have to go out and buy that.

And now what to read with it?

Dec 1, 2017, 7:04am Top

Happy Friday, Ella. I hope you had a good week and hooray for The girl with all the gifts & The shadow of the wind. I loved both of those too.

Dec 1, 2017, 7:17am Top

Hi Ella!

Dentist visits are always stressful. speculaasbrokken look wonderful and the recipes I've looked at on the internet make them sound delicious.

Dec 1, 2017, 8:20am Top

>176 msf59: Hi Mark! Relaxing now, so okay. Nice to see you liked The shadow of the wind as well. The reviews were very mixed.

>177 karenmarie: Hi Karen. It's the spice mixture that makes the taste. You found a recipe in English?

Dec 1, 2017, 8:54am Top

I did. Several, as a matter of fact. The key is the spice mix, obviously. I just discovered that Amazon US has specculaas spice mix for sale.

Here's one of the recipes. I don't know how accurate it is, but most of them were quite similar.

Dutch Speculaasbrokken

Dutch Speculaasbrokken are spiced cookie chunks. It's a Dutch treat that's usually eaten during fall and winter, around Saint Nicholas Day and Christmas.

Type Cookies

Cuisine Dutch

Prep Time 10 minutes

Cook Time 30 minutes

Passive Time 30 minutes



◾2 cups self-raising flour 250 gram
◾2/3 cup butter 150 gram
◾2/3 cup dark brown sugar 150 gram
◾4 tablespoons Speculaas Spice Mix
◾pinch salt
◾4 tablespoons cold milk 45 mililiters


◾milk for brushing
◾handful blanched almonds halved


1. Add your ingredients into a bowl. Or add the self raising flour to a work surface and make a well. Add the sugar, speculaas spice, salt, milk and butter and cut the butter into the ingredients till you have a crumbly consistency.

2. Once it's crumbly, use your hands to knead into a dough. If needed, just add more milk if the dough is too dry and add more flour if the dough is too wet. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and leave to rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

3. Preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C.

4. Once the dough has rested you can roll out the dough, either on a floured work surface and transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Or roll it out into a rectangle of approximately 0.4 inch / 1 cm thick on the parchment paper directly.

5. Brush the rolled out dough with a little bit of milk and top with halved almonds. Put the almonds on evenly so you can break the cookie around the almonds into chunks. That way each chunk will have a piece of almond on it. Bake in the oven roughly 30-35 minutes, till golden.

6. Leave to cool. Once cooled, break into chunks, try to have a piece of almond on each chunk.

Dec 1, 2017, 9:06am Top

>179 karenmarie: The recipe looks okay to me. I googled for a picture and found a Dutch recipe site, pretty identical recipe, but they added to let the dough rest for a night, or preferably two nights(!) in the fridge. The ones I have been eating have lots of chafed almonds on top. Looks nicer than just a few here and there. Breaking the cookie won't be a problem, and I prefer that they are hard, they should make an audible crack-sound on breaking. :-) Silly, but I like that.

You do a lot of baking, I look at your thread with admiration!

Edited: Dec 1, 2017, 9:24am Top

Cool. I could buy some speculaas spice and try it. I have everything else here at the house already.

I love almonds, and would probably err on the side of generosity too.

I love to bake! Unfortunately, I love to eat it, too!

Dec 1, 2017, 11:46am Top

74. De verrekijker by Kees van Kooten (dutch) ***

Novella. The author writes about his father, the memory of him. He is in doubt about what to do with his father's war diary, and starts reading it (for the first time). He then finds a letter concerning the requisitioning of a pair of binoculars. He now starts to doubt his father's memory, the binoculars were a cherished property, did his father steal them? So he tries to find out what happened.

It's a small story, interspersed with funny sidelines, but still nice to read.

Edited: Dec 6, 2017, 8:26am Top

Reading now, or rather listening to:
De Wadden by Mathijs Deen

It's a historical description of the Waddensea area. Flowery language is making the listening sometimes a bit difficult, but the history parts are very new and interesting to me.

I'll do a short outline here, for memory's sake
1 Prehistory, no sea or islands yet, but grass and grazing, mammoths. Later there are rivers marshes and dunes.
2 Pliny the elder, and the Romans visit the north, and leave again. What they saw.
3 New Frisians? There has apparently been a lot of coming and going, groups and tribes on the move, and later Vikings, settlement, trade and plundering.
4 Sea levels rise, there's flooding, and land disappearing beneath the waves
5 About the importance of the church, and the activities of cloisters. Making dikes, owning land, crusades, and making peace.

Edited: Dec 4, 2017, 10:04pm Top

Finished one for the reading around the world challenge

75. Ditte Everywoman by Martin Andersen Nexø (Denmark) ***1/2

The story of a little girl growing up in a poor rural region of Denmark. She is an unwanted child, born out of wedlock. Her mother leaves her with her grandmother, her father rejects her immediately. Grandmother and the girl, Ditte, only have each other. Later the mother marries and Ditte gets a stepfather.

What I liked about the book were the descriptions of the land, and the landscape. The poverty and how people dealt with it. The persons, especially, Ditte, her grandmother, and her stepfather.

But as a story it is lacking, I think. It feels a bit unfinished, the weird last to one chapter where they start to live in a village with an evil innkeeper is like the beginning of a new book, a dystopia, but then the story suddenly ends with Ditte moving to a job as a servant. Or was I just wanting a happy ending? Anyway, it didn't feel satisfying.

Published 1917-21

Dec 5, 2017, 8:59am Top

Congrats on hitting 75!

Dec 5, 2017, 2:51pm Top

Hi, Ella! Congratulations on hitting 75 books! Too bad the most recent two weren't as good as Shadow of the Wind (which I also enjoyed when I read it for a book club a decade ago tho not as much as you) and The Girl With All the Gifts (which I am SO glad you enjoyed because I always worry that something I recommend will be disliked) (and now you must add The Boy on the Bridge, set in the same world and pretty much as good tho different) to your TBR list). :)

The speculaasbrokken look delicious! I love almonds too. I could eat almond paste raw from the tube. In fact, marzipan is probably my favorite candy, tho I seldom eat it. It never tastes quite as good as the marzipan my mom used to get from a bakery when we were little kids.

Dec 5, 2017, 3:16pm Top

>185 drneutron: Thanks Jim!

>186 Storeetllr: Hi Mary! Yes, I worry about people liking my recommendations as well. But no need here, and I will add The Boy to the TBR list as well.

I had them this evening. It's sinterklaas here today, so people with children are busy. Most grown- ups without kids don't bother, so I just had a meeting, but with speculaas.

Oh yes, marzipan. Hmm. Wonderful. Oh, almonds, chocolate covered almonds with cinnamon. Impossible to stop eating those.

Dec 5, 2017, 5:09pm Top

>187 EllaTim: Ah, I forgot it was Sinterklaas today. I usually send an extra greeting to a friend of mine in Belgium but it slipped my mind this year. Oh, well. Hope your day was good - improving on meetings by eating speculaas sounds like a good strategy.

Not a marzipan fan, me (the complete opposite actually) but I love almonds as they are - and chocolate covered ones with cinnamon sounds wonderful.

Dec 5, 2017, 8:17pm Top

>188 PawsforThought: Oh too bad you forgot, we are reminded every time we go to a supermarket, or watch tv. Well, it isn't the same as forgetting a birthday, or Christmas. It isn't even like everyone is celebrating.

Yes, but tomorrow a day without candy!

Dec 6, 2017, 2:58am Top

>189 EllaTim: Well, I don't think she'll mind much. Especially since it's not something we celebrate here - and I'm not sure how much she celebrates (no kids).

A day without candy? Oh, the horror!

Dec 6, 2017, 3:05am Top

Well done Ella on passing 75!

The speculaasbrokken looks spectacular

Dec 6, 2017, 4:10am Top

>184 EllaTim: Belated congratulations on reaching 75, Ella!

Dec 6, 2017, 7:31am Top

Hooray for hitting 75!! Our magical number!

Edited: Dec 6, 2017, 8:27am Top

Thanks everybody for the congratulations!

Now on to 100, but I don't think I'll get there this year.

Still reading the doorstopper by Koos van Zomeren. I'm on page 597. Can't read too fast, as he has me on an emotional roller-coaster, I've just finished a series of pages about destruction of nature, a subject that is bound to get me sad and angry, but the last piece was about writer Natalia Ginsburg, I'm thinking I should read something by her.

Dec 7, 2017, 4:11pm Top

Congratulations on hitting 75, Ella!

Dec 9, 2017, 7:05pm Top

I've never read a Paddington book, but I watched the movie Paddington 1 tonight. If the books are similar I'm converted, funny and cute.

Dec 9, 2017, 10:02pm Top

Having trouble with a bout of sleeplessness, listening to the radio
Handel, Georg Friedrich - Anthem HWV.251b in e kl.t., "As pants the heart" - compleet
The Sixteen

Wonderful music, so calming

Dec 10, 2017, 4:45am Top

>196 EllaTim: Glad to see you enjoyed Paddington - I've not got to it yet, but it's on my list. Loved the books I read earlier this year.

Sorry to hear about the insomnia, I have bouts of that sometimes. I don't think I'm familiar with that Handel piece (not with the name at least, thought I might recognise it when I hear it) but I like listening to classical music so I'm sure I'd like it.

Dec 10, 2017, 5:40am Top

>197 EllaTim: As someone who sleeps very little Ella, I recommend reading the poetry of Tennyson. Guaranteed to send off to sleep.

Have a lovely weekend. xx

Dec 10, 2017, 7:32am Top

>198 PawsforThought: Hi Paws, the new Paddington movie is Paddington 2. It has very good reviews! So I might go see that in the movie theatre. The movie I saw yesterday was nr 1, on TV.

I love Handel, and made a note of it, to be able to put it on some wish list.

>199 PaulCranswick: Hi Paul! Thanks for the advice;-) I never read any Tennyson. But there is something hypnotic about rhyming verse, so it might just work.

Edited: Dec 10, 2017, 8:34am Top

It's snowing here, my back garden is looking very Christmassy. It's supposed to keep snowing all afternoon. Cars outside are going at a crawl speed. Bikers having a hard time. Flights cancelled from the airport.

Good time for reading.

Dec 10, 2017, 8:30am Top

Hi Ella!

I hope you like the snow - we had some Friday and yesterday but it didn't stick either time.

Dec 10, 2017, 8:37am Top

>202 karenmarie: Hi Karen! I love it! It won't stick for very long, but the back garden is a picture. And everything is so quiet outside. We don't normally get a lot of snow, and it's a bother for the traffic, but as it's a Sunday now.

Dec 10, 2017, 1:42pm Top

Oh, snow! We've had quite a bit here, but more of it rained away yesterday (it poured down all day) although there have been a few flakes in the air today. I'm still hoping the temperatures will drop enough to guarantee a white Christmas.

Dec 10, 2017, 2:21pm Top

>204 PawsforThought: It's raining here as well now. Oh but how surprising, here I was thinking Paws won't think snow special at all, and now you have only got rain! Yes, snow for Christmas, nothing worse than depressing rain all of the time.

Edited: Dec 28, 2017, 9:32am Top

76. De Wadden by Mathijs Deen ****1/2 (Dutch)

I enjoyed this imaginative history of the Dutch Waddensea area and the islands very much. Imaginative, as Deen tells each chapter from the viewpoint of people living in the times he's talking about. This makes for lively storytelling instead of the dry as dust accumulation of facts.

Some interesting chapters, for me: the story of the visit of Pliny the elder in Roman times, the chapters about the 'visits' of the Vikings, and how they sometimes settled on the coast, the early Middle Ages when there was a monastery school on the island of Griend (now only the home of a large colony of terns). How those monks were very instrumental in the making of dikes when the area was flooded in that period.
The history of whaling and what it was like for the whalers wives.

So I loved this book. It helps that the Waddensea is a very popular vacation destination. I have spent some time there as well, and Deen's writing brought back a lot of good memories.

Dec 10, 2017, 2:59pm Top

>206 EllaTim: Good review, Ella!
The e-library has it, so I added it to the list.

Dec 10, 2017, 5:32pm Top

>205 EllaTim: Well, with the kind of winters we've had in the past 10 or so years, getting any snow (or getting it to stay) has become more of an exciting thing than it used to be. I do want snow and cold temperatures during winter (and Christmas especially) and not getting it, or having this on-and-off thing that we're getting so much of, is depressing.

That doesn't mean that I won't be complaining if the snow (if it does come) is still here in mid-April.

Dec 10, 2017, 8:02pm Top

>207 FAMeulstee: Nice Anita, I hope you'll like it. But it seems like your cup of tea.

>208 PawsforThought: Oh, That's a pity!
I want cold temperatures as well, for ice skating, but chances of that are becoming slim as well.

I can understand that, no certainly not, April shouldn't have snow.

Dec 11, 2017, 2:18am Top

>209 EllaTim: It's normal up here that there's still snow in April. We usually have the last cold snap of the year around Walpurgis Night (April 30th), and there's normally still a few piles of snow around when we're watching the bonfires (on WN). It does make for very long winters, though. I'd rather have snow and cold in autumn/early winter than in spring.

Dec 11, 2017, 1:24pm Top

That's late! But you have a Walpurgis Night celebration? I've only read about those in fantasy books. Is it fun?

Dec 12, 2017, 5:02am Top

>211 EllaTim: Yeah, we have a celebration. Usually just a fancier dinner with family/friends and then you go and watch the bonfire and fireworks, but it's still nice. It is sadly also a night infamous for teenage drunkeness, but I think things have got a bit better in the past decade.

Dec 12, 2017, 1:21pm Top

It stopped snowing today. Think the people stranded on the airport yesterday must have been glad. But there's still a lot of snow on the sidewalks. Quite slippery.

I went and fed our city geese. White geese, from a small hobby farm, in the outskirts of town, have spread along the canals (not in the actual centre, but in the other parts of town) thriving on the grass and what people feed them. Breadcrumbs in my case, the grass is covered with icy snow.

Edited: Dec 12, 2017, 2:15pm Top

77. Odd and the Frost Giants ****

This was a wonderful book.

The Frost Giants have captured Asgard. Odd has to help the gods get it back. Sounds impossible doesn't it?

A good story, Gaiman has managed to create a book that reads like a modern fairy story, with a twist.

Found in the thread of Paws

Dec 12, 2017, 3:01pm Top

>214 EllaTim: I'm so glad you liked it! It really is a delightful read, and a nice intro to Norse myths for those who might be new to the subject.

Edited: Dec 15, 2017, 7:35pm Top

78. Heksenkind by Monica Furlong ****

Audiobook. Translation of Wise Child

This children's book takes place sometime in the early Middle Ages. A young girl, Wise child, lives with her grandmother. Both her father and mother are gone. When her grandmother dies someone in the village has to adopt her. It turns out the local witch, Juniper, is the only one who wants to do so.
At first Wise Child is very frightened, but Juniper wins her trust, and teaches her all kinds of things.

I liked the descriptions of the life people lived, but I loved the description of the relationship between Wise Child and Juniper.

Dec 15, 2017, 10:25pm Top

Dropping by to wish you a wonderful weekend, Ella. xx

Dec 16, 2017, 2:55pm Top

>216 EllaTim: I liked that one too, Ella, and the sequel Juniper. Years later a third book was published Colman, that was a bit disappointing.

Dec 16, 2017, 8:55pm Top

>217 PaulCranswick: Thanks Paul, i'll go And wish you the same in your thread!

>218 FAMeulstee: Thanks Anita, I hope the library has it as an audiobook as well, it was a nice book to listen to late in the evening. I loved the character Colman in the first book, too bad the book was disappointing.

Edited: Dec 17, 2017, 11:25am Top

Ah, another good recommendation for Odd and the Frost Giants. I really enjoyed his Norse Mythology.

Oh hooray! I'm able to get the audio read by Neil Gaiman through my interlibrary loan system. I love hearing him read his books!

Dec 17, 2017, 2:27pm Top

>206 EllaTim: That looks like a really interesting book. If the language is flowery, it may be a bit hard for me, but I would like to read it all the same. Maybe for my long term wish list :)

Dec 17, 2017, 2:32pm Top

>220 streamsong: If you're a Neil Gaiman fan there will be a full cast audio version of Anansi Boys available on BBC iPlayer on Christmas Day and the days following. It will be available worldwide (the radio version of iPlayer always is) so anyone can enjoy it.

Dec 17, 2017, 3:06pm Top

Hi, Ella! Just stopping by to say hello on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Hope you had a lovely weekend.

I personally love Gaiman, esp. Neverwhere, The Graveyard Book, and his GC series Sandman. Currently listening to his read Smoke and Mirrors, a book of short stories, which is very dark and even stranger than usual.

>222 PawsforThought: Wonderful! I'll check to see if I can figure out how to listen to it.

Edited: Dec 17, 2017, 3:25pm Top

>223 Storeetllr: This is the website for the show - the episodes should pop up there when they're available. I think you can download the iPlayer radio app and listen via that, too, but I've never done it.

Edited: Dec 17, 2017, 3:35pm Top

>224 PawsforThought: Thank you! I've bookmarked it! Now I just have to remember that it's on on Christmas Day. :)

Dec 18, 2017, 7:24am Top

>220 streamsong: Hi Mary, Yes i really enjoyed it. I hear Gaiman is a very good reader of his own work. And I'm glad to see Paws has alerted us to the BBC iPlayer option.

>222 PawsforThought: Thanks Paws, I'll try it certainly. But I am a bit afraid it could be hard to follow, in order of difficulty, there's text, audiobook, and then audio play, because there's more voices to listen to.

>221 sirfurboy: Hi Stephen, nice to see you here.
It was really interesting. Yes, flowery language, meaning long sentences. Maybe for the long term indeed. Though you seem to have a way with languages.

Have you ever read the book by Erskine Childers The Riddle of the Sands? It takes place in the eastern Dutch Waddensea and then the German part, same location, same atmosphere.

Dec 18, 2017, 7:28am Top

>226 EllaTim: I personally find it easier to follow along with an audio play than an audiobook precisely because there are more vocies, which makes it easier for me to tell who's saying what. But we all work differently.

Edited: Dec 24, 2017, 11:00am Top

I started a new audiobook
De omweg naar Santiago by Cees Nooteboom
(Roads to Santiago)

Again, I'm not enthusiastic about the reader, who has a rather dull voice (dull not as in boring, but lacking in sound quality, making it sometimes hard to understand).

But the writing is very good up till now!

Dec 18, 2017, 7:36am Top

>227 PawsforThought: That's true of course. Well, I'll certainly try, and I've bookmarked the BBC site, so thanks for the link!

Dec 18, 2017, 7:51am Top

>229 EllaTim: I have no idea if I'll enjoy it, you never can know for sure, but I loved the full cast version of Neverwhere, and I think it's the same person who's done this adaption so that bodes well. All we can do is listen and see.

Dec 20, 2017, 5:59am Top

Just a quick hello, Ella.

>226 EllaTim: I have The Riddle of the Sands on my shelves. I love the cover and will perhaps actually read it in 2018!

Dec 21, 2017, 8:05pm Top

I have been away a couple of days due to flue. Visiting LT, reading, writing all too much. Doing a bit better now, but still a bit under the weather.

Dec 22, 2017, 3:20am Top

Sorry to read you had the flue, Ella, I hope you feel much better soon.

I finished De Wadden : een geschiedenis and found Zuiderzee at the e-library :-)

Dec 22, 2017, 3:28am Top

I'm sorry to hear that you have the flu, Ella. Not good at all. I do hope you get back to 100% very soon.

Dec 22, 2017, 12:26pm Top

>233 FAMeulstee: >234 karenmarie: Thanks, Anita and Karen. No, it's turning out very inconvenient right now! My first Christmas dinner is on Sunday and involves a three hour journey to get there. :-( Don't know if I'll manage.

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

79. Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman ****

I enjoyed this one. Some unforgettable characters in here.

80. Zes maanden in de Siberische wouden by Sylvain Tesson ***

What's it like to live in the Siberian woods near Lake Baikal for six months? Sylvain Tesson went to try this out, taking a pile of books from Thoraux, to Chateaubriand.
Lake Baikal, nature and people surrounding it turn out interesting enough. A place where it doesn't get to be spring until late June, and people live on fish, blini's, tea and wodka.
I liked the simple descriptions of life and surroundings best, the here and now was more to my taste than the philosophical musings in between. Like his stories about the two dogs he acquires, they were among the best parts of the book for me.

Dec 23, 2017, 10:41am Top

Happy Holidays to you and your loved ones.

Dec 23, 2017, 1:08pm Top

Thanks Barbara, And the best to you as well!

Dec 23, 2017, 1:11pm Top

>236 EllaTim: I wanted to add Zes maanden in de Siberische wouden to mount TBR, but I already had it in my library-wishlist :-)

Dec 23, 2017, 1:22pm Top

The picture above does remind me of the ongoing scientific debate about the possible cause of the red nose of Rudolph the Reindeer.

Is it blood flow to the nose, or bioluminescence? Read all about it here:


Dec 23, 2017, 6:05pm Top

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

Dec 23, 2017, 6:50pm Top

Merry Christmas, Ella. Have a great holiday and get some reading in.

Dec 23, 2017, 7:53pm Top

>241 ronincats: Hi Roni, Thanks for the good wishes, And the same to you!

>242 msf59: Hi Marc, And you too! Thankful for Audiobooks, eh?

Dec 24, 2017, 6:54am Top

81. In the bleak Midwinter by Julia Spencer-Fleming

Looking for something Christmassy to read, I wasn't disappointed in this one.

A nice detective story, set in the Adirondacks. I liked the protagonist, Clare Fergusson, the first female priest of the episcopal church in her town. She finds a baby on her doorstep and can't help but meddle in the investigation into its possible parents.

Edited: Dec 24, 2017, 10:13am Top

And a happy Christmas to everybody passing here!

Dec 24, 2017, 10:41am Top

Hi Ella!

Stopping by to wish you and yours all good things this holiday season.

Dec 24, 2017, 10:48am Top

Thanks Karen!

Dec 24, 2017, 8:39pm Top

Dec 24, 2017, 9:59pm Top

Wishing you all good things this holiday season and beyond.

Dec 26, 2017, 9:53am Top

Hi Ella, I hope you've had a good Christmas and thank you for stopping by my thread in my absence.

Dec 26, 2017, 8:06pm Top

>248 rretzler: >249 PaulCranswick: Hi Robin, and Paul, thank you very much, I had two nice and busy Christmas days.

>250 PawsforThought: Hi Paws, not to thank, and did you listen to the Anansi Boys? I listened to part 1, but missed part 2. Time lack. But I loved part 1, so I'm going to catch up tomorrow!

Dec 27, 2017, 9:12am Top

On the second Day of Christmas my family gave to me

6 enormous winter pears,

And one delicata Honey Boat winter squash, mmmm.

Combined weight 2900 grams (6,3 ounces). And now I am looking for recipes.

Dec 27, 2017, 3:02pm Top

>251 EllaTim: I haven't listened yet - my internet time has been too limited during the holiday - but it'll be up for a month so I have time to catch up. Glad to hear you loved the first part.

Dec 28, 2017, 6:33am Top

>253 PawsforThought: Yes, I liked it a lot, the voices, the Caribbean (I guess) accents. It's nice that it's up for a month, giving us time to listen.

Edited: Dec 28, 2017, 11:03am Top

86. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens ****

Still in the mood for something Christmassy I picked this classic. It made for a nice read, but I did feel I missed something, I guess I have seen such a number of movies made from it, that have added so much to it, that this makes for this feeling of something lacking.

(I did a recount of books read, turns out I forgot to add a couple, so now I'm officially at 86. No, never been any good at admininstrative tasks)

Dec 29, 2017, 11:04am Top

87. The Fox Woman by Kij Johnson ****1/2 (Japan)

This is a retelling of a Japanese fairy story. In Japan foxes are magical, they can change into humans, often taking the form of a beautiful woman who seduces a man to (of course) a bad ending.

"The Fox Woman follows two families, one of foxes and another of humans. The restless Kaya no Yoshifuji fails to receive an appointment in the Emperor's court and, distracted and seemingly unfazed, decides to relocate to a rural estate to pass a pensive winter, accompanied by his wife Shikujo and son Tadamaro. But a young fox named Kitsune and her brother, mother, and grandfather have set up their den in the run-down estate, and soon the fate of both families becomes intertwined; Yoshifuji becomes bewitched by the foxes, and Kitsune in turn falls in love with him, much to the distress of all others involved, especially Shikujo."

I thought this a lovely story. Beautifully written. Interesting, Kij Johnson has done her research into life and habits in historical Japan. Poetry, habits. But it's an emotional read as well, and interesting.

Dec 30, 2017, 7:15am Top

Hi Ella!

How nice to err on the side of more books read!

Our favorite version of A Christmas Carol is the 1984 version with George C. Scott. We watched it on Christmas Day this year. I've only read the book once.

Dec 30, 2017, 11:46am Top

Hi Karen, I just forgot to add them, but I also have a number of half-read books, now if I added those;-)

Next year I'll be watching the Muppets version!

Dec 30, 2017, 2:39pm Top

I saw on one of the other threads you won't be on-line tomorrow, so I want to wish you a happy start into the new year!

Dec 31, 2017, 3:48pm Top

Hi Ella!

Peace, Health, and Happiness in 2018

Dec 31, 2017, 5:19pm Top

view from Zürich's landmark mountain Üetliberg

Dec 31, 2017, 6:15pm Top

Happy New Year, Ella! May 2018 be filled with health, joy, prosperity and peace.

Dec 31, 2017, 7:49pm Top

Dec 31, 2017, 9:04pm Top

88. Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman ****1/2

Last book of the year, and a wonderful, fun, imaginative playful one it was.
Go read it for yourselves, you won't regret it.

To be honest, I finished it in the new year, but I prefer beginning the new year fresh.

Hi Anita, Karen, Barbara (what a wonderful picture, Barbara!) Mary and Robin, thank you all for the good wishes, and for the good company last year. It was really nice getting to know you all!

Best wishes for everybody for the new year!

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2017

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