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EllaTim's 2018 Pleasure of Reading, part two

This is a continuation of the topic EllaTim's 2018 Pleasure of Reading.

This topic was continued by EllaTim's 2018 Pleasure of Reading, part three.

75 Books Challenge for 2018

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1EllaTim
Edited: Mar 26, 2018, 5:59pm Top



Hi, I'm Ella, from Amsterdam, Holland, living with my husband, Marc.

I love books, nature, gardening in my allotment garden, birds, our garden cat, music, movies and books. Loved the idea of having a nature picture as a topper.

I used to read mainly fantasy and science fiction and still do, but last year I started a project of reading around the world, and found that very interesting. It´s nice to step out of my comfort zone a bit, and do a bit of armchair travelling.

My plans for this year are:
- continue reading around the world (not nearly finished!)
- participate in some reading challenges and group reads
- reading some more of the dutch classics that i managed to avoid when I was in high school;-)
- and have fun with unplanned reading (that's why the title of my thread for this year)

And also to finish some books that I left half read last year, likes Les Miserables that I read only part 1 of, and really would like to read in its whole.

2EllaTim
Edited: Mar 26, 2018, 5:35pm Top

Favorites of last year to be found in my first thread of 2018

3EllaTim
Edited: Jun 3, 2018, 12:13pm Top

Books read in 2018:

January

1. Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens (UK, 835 pages) ****1/2 (UK)
2. I capture the Castle by Dodie Smith **** (UK)
3. Love story, with murders by Harry Bingham ***1/2 (UK)
4. The Rainbow Troops by Andrea Hirata **** (Indonesia)

February
5. Niets liever dan zwart by Antjie Krog ****1/2 (South Africa)
6. Brood voor de vogeltjes by Simon Carmiggelt (Dutch) ****
7. The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (USA) ****
8. The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths (UK) ***1/2
9. The Bottle Factory Outing by Beryl Bainbridge (UK) ****
10. Hoe duur was de suiker by Cynthia McLeod (Surinam) ***1/2
11. De vorm van water by Andrea Camilleri (Italy) ****

March
12. Schildpadden tot in het oneindige by John Green *** (USA)
13. Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell, (UK) *****
14. Epitaph for a spy by Eric Ambler (UK) ***1/2
15. Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb (UK) ****1/2
16. Het Dovemansorendieet by Maarten 't Hart (dutch) ****
17. Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb, fantasy (UK) ****1/2

April
18. The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro (UK) ***1/2
19. De Tienduizend Dingen by Maria Dermoût (Dutch, Indonesia) *****
20. Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie (USA) ****
21. Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie (USA) ****
22. A Man called Ove by Fredrik Backman (Sweden) ****1/2
23. Eeuwelingen by Steffie van den Oord (dutch) ****1/2
24. Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie (USA) ****

May
25. Contrapunt by Anna Enquist (dutch) ****1/2 (208pp)
26. Het Bittere Kruid by Marga Minco (Dutch) ***** (93pp)
27. Fire upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge ***
28. De Cock en de broeders van de zachte dood by A.C. Baantjer (Dutch)***
29. Aarde en Klimaat {Earth and Climate} Dutch by professor Salomon Kroonenberg. ****
30. On Tyranny by Timothy Snyder (USA) *****
31. The Crow Trap by Ann Cleeves (UK) ***

June
32. The Pride of Chanur by C. J. Cherryh (UK), **** (SF) (1982)(237pp)

Reading now:
- Detour to Santiago by Cees Nooteboom, audiobook, Spain. This book is sometimes wonderful, and sometimes annoying. Partly due to the reader, maybe, but I need an audio.
- No is not enough by Naomi Klein. Reading it with trepidation, as all the bad things happening in the world don't leave me cold, but I want to understand them better as well!
- De Thibaults deel 1 by Roger Martin-du Gard, read five of the six books it is comprised off, hesitating about the sixth

DNF
The Taxidermist's Daughter by Kate Mosse

4EllaTim
Edited: Mar 26, 2018, 5:40pm Top

Reading around the world:

My main thread for the reading around the world challenge can be found here

I´m now following the most extended version;-) of this challenge, trying to read first one book of all countries around the world (192 at the moment), but aiming for five read per country. For some countries this will be near impossible, but I´ll see how it goes. I found this idea first in Paul C.´s thread, but Janet (streamsong) is doing the extended version as well.

And here's my map:

visited 32 states (14.2%)
Create your own visited map of The World

5EllaTim
Edited: Jun 20, 2018, 7:01am Top

Challenges I try to participate in:

BAC
January
I capture the castle by Dodie Smith
February
The Bottle Factory Outing by Beryl Bainbridge
March
Epitaph for a spy by Eric Ambler
April
The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro
May
The Crow Trap by Ann Cleeves
June
Travels with a donkey in the Cévennes by Robert Louis Stevenson

AAC
February
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

Non-fiction Challenge
January
No is not Enough by Naomi Klein (started)
February: biography
Dickens biography (started) by Claire Tomalin
March: travel
And April: history
Detour to Santiago by Cees Nooteboom works for both themes
May: Maps, geography
Salomon Kroonenberg
June: the Outdoors
A buzz in the Meadow by Dave Goulson

Seems this challenge is a difficult one for me. But I would like to finish some reading for it.

That's it, go ahead and post, visitors welcome!

6FAMeulstee
Mar 26, 2018, 6:29pm Top

Happy new thread, Ella!

I love the snowdrops at the top, the earliest signs of spring. In my garden they are nearly gone now.

7drneutron
Mar 26, 2018, 7:03pm Top

Happy new thread! Our flowers are just starting to peek out. We might have a few in a week or so.

8PaulCranswick
Mar 26, 2018, 7:20pm Top

Happy new thread, Ella.

9thornton37814
Mar 26, 2018, 9:57pm Top

Happy new thread! That's a lovely topper.

10Berly
Mar 27, 2018, 12:04am Top

Happy new thread!

11vancouverdeb
Mar 27, 2018, 4:47am Top

Happy New thread, Ella! Lovely topper. Spring is coming!

12sirfurboy
Mar 27, 2018, 5:03am Top

Happy new thread, Ella.

13johnsimpson
Mar 27, 2018, 3:14pm Top

Happy new thread Ella my dear.

14jnwelch
Mar 27, 2018, 4:17pm Top

Happy New Thread, Ella! Reading around the world - kudos to you for your ambition.

15FAMeulstee
Mar 29, 2018, 6:31am Top

Awfully quiet here, Ella, is all well with you?

16karenmarie
Mar 29, 2018, 8:50am Top

Hi Ella and happy new thread. Beautiful picture as your topper.

17EllaTim
Mar 30, 2018, 7:33am Top

Hallo everybody and thank you all! I'm sorry for not answering more fully at the moment.

My back went out, and sitting at the computer is not any good at the moment. I have to take a bit of a vacation from LT, will just have a peak from time to time. Still reading but updating will have to follow later.

18FAMeulstee
Mar 30, 2018, 9:28am Top

Happy to see a post from you, Ella, not so happy reading why you went missing.
I hope your back settles soon.

19vancouverdeb
Apr 1, 2018, 7:05am Top

Sorry about your back,Ella. I hope you are soon feeling better.

20msf59
Apr 1, 2018, 7:21am Top

Happy New Thread, Ella. Sorry, to hear about your back. I hope it heals quickly. Keep us updated.

21karenmarie
Apr 1, 2018, 8:44am Top

Happy Easter, Ella, and I hope your back is better soon.

22EllaTim
Apr 2, 2018, 4:38am Top

Hi Deborah, Mark and Karen! Thanks very much. Slowly getting better but it's so annoying to have to be so careful. I'm reading up on it, of course, seems there is a thing called trigger points that are to blame for a lot of this:-(

We went birding yesterday, had a very nice day, involving some art buying as well.
It was icy cold outside, but we saw avocets:

23EllaTim
Apr 9, 2018, 2:34pm Top

18. The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro (UK) ***1/2



I read this for the British Book Challenge, april, Arthurian novels.

As such it was an interesting read. The story takes place after the death of King Arthur.

An elderly couple of Britons, Axl and Beatrice are living in a small village, a warren. Their only son is gone, the villagers are not treating them well. But there is something strange going on, there is a mist of forgetting over the land. It makes for a strange atmosphere of suspense and suspicion.

They decide to leave the village and go to visit their son. But as Beatrice is sickly they make a detour to visit a wise woman. Now their adventures start and they meet with strange circumstances, knights, a very elderly Sir Gawain, etc.
Slowly more is revealed about the cause of the forgetfulness, and the life of the elderly couple.

Memory, forgetting, but also forgiveness, love, hate and war, are themes of the story.

Still, it doesn't start as a very good read. The language is stilted, the people don't seem to come to life at first. The beginning of the story first made me think of Tolkien, with hobbits and holes in the ground, but then reminded me more of Kafka.

Reading on there is more of interest and the story came more alive for me. With an ending that is very melancholy, the book is food for thought.

24streamsong
Apr 9, 2018, 2:46pm Top

Happy New Thread, Ella!

What a striking and beautiful bird! Thank you for sharing.

The American Avocets, which we sometimes see around here don't have the black on their head although their heads and neck do get a rusty red brown color when they are breeding. I just learned about them in the shore birds class I took last month, but haven't spotted once since then. I need to get out to a marsh!

I've been thinking of reading The Buried Giant since its release. I think right now I need something a bit more upbeat, but I enjoyed your comments on it.

25FAMeulstee
Apr 9, 2018, 3:12pm Top

>23 EllaTim: Good review, Ella, I might get to The Buried Giant someday.
But first I have some other Ishiguro books waiting on the shelves.

26karenmarie
Edited: Apr 11, 2018, 3:32am Top

Hi Ella!

I hope your back continues to improve.

Lovely birds, avocets. I haven't ever seen one, alas.

27EllaTim
Edited: Apr 11, 2018, 5:25am Top

>24 streamsong: Hi Janet, thanks!

Yes, aren't they beautiful? So there is an American species as well? Here the avocets are not rare, but you have to go looking for them. They like shallow pools, with small islands. We had seen them last year at the same place.

I have been doing a lot of rereading, before I read The Buried Giant, my go-to when I don't feel up to something more demanding.

>25 FAMeulstee: Hi Anita! I still have The Remains of the Day on my to-be-read list! Looking forward to it.

>26 karenmarie: Hi Karen, Thanks.
They are lovely. I hope you get to see one, you never know. I saw on your thread that you have seen hummingbirds! Now I have never seen one of those, because they are absent in Europe, and I would so love to see them!

28vancouverdeb
Apr 11, 2018, 5:50am Top

I hope your back continues to feel better. I really enjoyed The Remains of the Day, and it was not a demanding read at all. I hope you enjoy it too!

29EllaTim
Apr 11, 2018, 5:56am Top

19. De Tienduizend Dingen by Maria Dermoût (Dutch, Indonesia) *****
Translated as The Ten Thousand Things.

Maria Dermoût (1988-1962) was born in Indonesia, when it was still a Dutch colony. She returned to Holland, this book was published in 1955, when she was in her sixties. It was her first novel.

A beautifully written book. Telling about the islands of the Maluccu's, where the writer was born.

A woman do Dutch-Indonesian descent (Felicia) returns to the house and "tuin" of her family, with her small son. Her grandmother is still living there.

The book describes the people, nature, surroundings at the island. The garden is near the sea, and the sea plays a role in the story. There is the magic of Indonesia, there are family ghosts.

Already, in the beginning of the book, we see Felicia alone in her garden, and we get to know that her son has died. The book tells the story of Felicia herself, her son, and other murdered people on the island, and as such it is a sad book. But Maria Dermoût has woven these stories together in such a magical way, that they can contain the grief that's there. While giving a beautiful impression of nature and people living there.

I'm afraid my review can't really do it justice.

30EllaTim
Edited: Apr 11, 2018, 6:09am Top

For some unknown reason I can't do an edit. I made a mistake, it was not her first book.

More about the writer here:
https://mariadermout.wordpress.com/

And a discussion of her work with Dutch writer Louise Fresco here:
http://www.writersunlimited.nl/productie/nrc-leesclub-live-louise-o-fresco

Both sites in Dutch.

31jnwelch
Apr 11, 2018, 10:10am Top

I'm another fan of Remains of the Day, Ella. So well done.

Lovely avocet. They must be rarer in the States. I haven't seen one here either.

I'll look for The Ten Thousand Things. It sounds beautiful with the Indonesian setting.

32vancouverdeb
Apr 11, 2018, 6:28pm Top

I had trouble last night too, Ella. I posted both on your thread and mine and it didn't show up? Then I checked again about 10 minutes later and the posts were there. Off to the doctor shortly . Yikes!

33EllaTim
Edited: Apr 11, 2018, 6:40pm Top

>28 vancouverdeb: Hi Deborah, here is the mysterious missing post, it has been floating around in LT space for how long?

>28 vancouverdeb: >31 jnwelch: And as both of you love Remains of the Day I should really be getting to it soonish.

Hope you like The Ten Thousand Things as much as I did, Joe! I read some reviews, some just as positive as I was, but not every review as glowing.

>32 vancouverdeb: Wishing you the best of luck with the doctors visit, Deborah.

34msf59
Apr 11, 2018, 9:17pm Top

Hi, Ella. Love the avocet. It is a beauty.

Good review of The Buried Giant. I agree with your assessment but I liked it a bit more than you.

35EllaTim
Apr 15, 2018, 6:56am Top

>34 msf59: Hi Marc! Nice to see you.

I liked The Buried Giant but it took some time to get into the story. How can i not like a story that has Sir Gawain in it?

36EllaTim
Edited: Apr 15, 2018, 7:03am Top

20. Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie ****



Science Fiction.
What fun, a real sf. I like fantasy, but it was a joy to read a real sf again. Writer Ann Leckie playing with the concepts of AI, and possibilities of multiple bodies, identity, and space!

And so many people here have read it before me, that I don't feel the need to review it, beyond saying how much I enjoyed it, and have already started the next book in the series. 😁

37drneutron
Apr 15, 2018, 1:01pm Top

>36 EllaTim: Glad you liked it! It's one of my favorite of the newer sf books I've read.

38EllaTim
Apr 15, 2018, 5:11pm Top

>37 drneutron: Hi Jim! I'm really enjoying this series! Well thought out space adventure, but there is a large element of social interest as well.

39EllaTim
Apr 15, 2018, 5:16pm Top

Reading now
Ancillary Sword and Eeuwelingen


The second book for april non-fiction challenge, theme history.

40vancouverdeb
Apr 17, 2018, 1:11am Top

Perhaps you are not quick to the Women's Literature list, as you noted on my thread, Ella, but look at all of the challenges you are participating in! I'm always keen to read books from the Prize lists, but I try to be selective and not force myself to read books that I really dislike. But I do push myself out of my comfort zone. I have to fit in some of my" fun" series books to break up some of the more serious reads.

41EllaTim
Edited: Apr 18, 2018, 8:03pm Top

>41 EllaTim: Hi Deborah! Yeah, I suffer from anticipatory enthusiasm, I like the idea of participating in all the challenges, but I find that it then gets too much and I just want to read something relaxing or cozy. So I quite agree with you.

Had a nice day at the allotment garden today. The migrating birds are returning, we saw swallows, and heard a blackcap sing. Wonderful weather.

Oh, and we saw some of the small water bugs, that are called schrijvertjes, (water-writers, gyrinus)
There's a Dutch poem about them, with a Scottish translation here:
https://www.poetryinternationalweb.net/pi/site/poem/item/14147/auto/0/THE-WATTER-SCRIEVER

42PaulCranswick
Apr 21, 2018, 9:45am Top

>40 vancouverdeb: Good point made by Deb about not forcing oneself to read books you don't like. I always think my challenges should be there to dip in and out of as you see fit. What takes your fancy read but what makes you shudder, avoid.

Have a great weekend, Ella.

43EllaTim
Apr 21, 2018, 8:40pm Top

Hi Paul, thanks, the weekend is coming along fine!

yes, and I quite agree, but i haven't read anything in your challenges that made me shudder Paul! But sometimes I like to stray from plans.

We went to a concert, an amateur orchestra and choir, a friend who plays the violin. They played Respighi, Gli Uccelli, The Birds, a nice piece of music, very fitting for bird lovers.

44EllaTim
Apr 21, 2018, 8:43pm Top

21. Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie ****

It's a nice follow-up to the first book, and I rushed through it. I think book 1 is slightly better, it feels more surprising.

45EllaTim
Apr 23, 2018, 8:06am Top

22. A Man called Ove by Fredrik Backman (Sweden) ****1/2



A book about a grumpy old man. Ove is 59 and a real sticker for rules. Hè does not sound very likable. Then his new neighbours move in and crash his mailbox trying to back up their trailer.
From there we follow Ove and his interactions with his new neighbours. Funny and endearing. There is more to Ove than meets the eye at first. I liked his new neighbour a lot as well.

Very enjoyable book, in spite of the serious subject it felt light, with some laugh out loud moments as well.

46jnwelch
Apr 24, 2018, 9:35pm Top

Oh, I loved that Ancillary series, Ella. I'm glad you're having a good time with it.

47figsfromthistle
Apr 25, 2018, 10:57pm Top

>45 EllaTim: I enjoyed A Man Called Ove as well :)

48EllaTim
Apr 26, 2018, 5:51am Top

>46 jnwelch: Hi Joe, Yes, and found it through all the recommendations here of course!

>47 figsfromthistle: Hi Anita! Glad you enjoyed it as well.

49FAMeulstee
Apr 26, 2018, 9:39am Top

>45 EllaTim: Glad you loved Ove, Ella, I loved him too :-)
I just downloaded Eeuwelingen from the e-library.

50karenmarie
Apr 26, 2018, 9:24pm Top

Hi Ella!

I loved A Man Called Ove too. You're right. It's a serious subject but was done just right with lightness and laughs, too.

51vancouverdeb
Apr 28, 2018, 12:38am Top

Another voice chiming in to say that I too loved A Man Called Ove. I wish fun, quirky books like that would come my way more often.

52EllaTim
Apr 28, 2018, 5:07pm Top

>49 FAMeulstee: Hi Anita! I saw your review of Eeuwelingen. You finished it before me! I'll post my review below.

>50 karenmarie: Hi Karen! Nice to see you here! >51 vancouverdeb: Hi Deborah, Yes, it was special.

53EllaTim
Apr 28, 2018, 5:11pm Top

23. Eeuwelingen by Steffie van den Oord (dutch) ****1/2

Life stories of hundred year old people from Holland. The book was written after the turn of the century, so the people in it were born before or around 1900, and died after the year 2000.

Their life stories are really interesting. They give a view of what has changed during the century, and what was important to people.

The book does not focus on how people got to this age, most of them do mention it, but only to say that they are amazed, and don't understand their good luck.

A lot of them have in common that they grew up in scarcity or outright poverty. Doing manual labour. Though most of them don't complain about it. Many of them say that when they were young people seemed more contented, one woman mentions that people used to sing in the streets. They miss the greater solidarity and social atmosphere then. I do think I know what they mean.

Some things have improved, reading their life stories it's clear that people had much less in life choices. Like the oldest daughter had to stay home and help out with the children. Or the money was needed and people had to start working at an early age.

And women's rights! There was one appalling story of a single woman who had to stay and live with her parents, was treated as a cheap live-in help, until she finally met a man and ran away from home at age 46.

There are a number of stories touching on politics, and world events. Mostly about first or Second World War. Often things I didn't know anything about. That don't feature in history books, or do, but these stories give a more personal view of what it was like.

So, not the traditional history book, but really worth while, social history of ordinary people.

54EllaTim
Apr 28, 2018, 5:18pm Top

24. Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie (USA) ****



So the finish of this threesome of books. And very satisfying it was. A good story that kept my attention easily. Good world building. But so very satisfying! Is it because here the good wins? And makes such good decisions?

And I loved that the A.I in the novel get their own free choice, they were a bit like slaves, but they are set free. And they make good choices!

55FAMeulstee
Apr 28, 2018, 5:31pm Top

>53 EllaTim: Good review, Ella!
And thank you for mentioning the book, I probably would not have found it without you. It was a good read.

56EllaTim
Apr 29, 2018, 9:52am Top

>55 FAMeulstee: Thank you Anita!

57karenmarie
Apr 29, 2018, 10:09am Top

Hi Ella!

>53 EllaTim: Fascinating review. Thank you.

58EllaTim
Apr 30, 2018, 4:35am Top

>57 karenmarie: Hi Karen, I guess a book like this would definitely be your cup of tea as well. I don't think it has ever been translated, but it would be most interesting when the people interviewed are from your own country, region.

It felt a bit like listening to one's grandparents talk. I never heard much from my own grandparents about their youth, bits and pieces. My grandparents on my father's side died rather young, and on my mother's side the family was so big, there wasn't much opportunity to really talk with them.

59EllaTim
Apr 30, 2018, 6:14am Top

Reading now Contrapunt by Anna Enquist.

Actually listening to the audio book.

And A fire upon the deep by Vernor Vinge

60msf59
Edited: Apr 30, 2018, 7:03am Top

Happy Monday, Ella. Hope you had a nice weekend. Hooray for Ove! I really enjoyed that one too.

61EllaTim
May 1, 2018, 10:07am Top

Hi Marc! General love for Ove. It would definitely be on my list of best books.

62EllaTim
May 1, 2018, 8:41pm Top

25. Contrapunt by Anna Enquist (dutch) ****1/2

Audiobook, with music.

A woman, a former pianist, is studying the Goldberg variations by Bach. She writes about the music, the study, but at the same time about her memories of her daughter.

In the audiobook you hear each of the variations followed by a text piece. Life and music follow and mirror each other, like in the Goldberg variations the music does.

Reading on it becomes clear that a tragedy has happened, so although a lot of the memories are happy, of childhood, you know that's not all.

Anna Enquist also tells about Bach and his life and what went into the writing of the Goldberg variations.

I loved this book, I have never managed to listen to this music, but now it was wonderful. The story was almost too sad at the end, but here the music helps again.

63EllaTim
May 3, 2018, 9:56am Top



Wisteria flowering, sunshine and ice cream day.

64FAMeulstee
May 3, 2018, 1:03pm Top

>63 EllaTim: Beautiful wisteria!
We had sunshine today, but it was not warm enough for ice cream at 16 C ;-)
Tomorrow and the days after tomorrow are ging to be much warmer.

65EllaTim
May 3, 2018, 3:26pm Top

I think it was warmer here. Very nice day. Enjoy the sunshine tomorrow, it's about time.

66EllaTim
Edited: May 4, 2018, 11:58am Top

26. Het Bittere Kruid by Marga Minco (Dutch) *****
(Translated, English title: Bitter Herbs)



The story of a young Jewish girl and her family during the Second World War in Holland.

It's a bitter story, told in details, in a simple style.

It's autobiographical, and I listened to the author reading it herself. She's an old woman now, hearing her read it added to the experience for me.

I'm not doing more reviewing, see my rating for what I thought of it.

4th of May is the Dutch Memorial Day for the victims of WWII, that's why I read this book today.

67jnwelch
May 4, 2018, 8:58am Top

Hi, Ella.

Good for you for reading that one on the Memorial Day for victims of WWII. I'm reading Lilac Girls right now, a novel from different women's points of view during WWII. What a bitter, awful time.

68FAMeulstee
May 4, 2018, 9:04am Top

>66 EllaTim: Must be special to hear Marga Minco reading her own novel. In this book she is saying so much with so little words.

69EllaTim
Edited: May 4, 2018, 12:09pm Top

>67 jnwelch: Hi Joe, yes it was. The subject of Lilac Girls is pretty awful. However bitter those times were, there is a real need to remember, still, and think how those things can happen, and why.

>68 FAMeulstee: Yes, it was good to hear her read it. It's a deceptively simple book, she reads it rather slowly, giving you time to absorb what's happening. I remember reading this as a teenager, and not being particularly impressed, my reaction now was completely different.

70Ameise1
May 4, 2018, 12:28pm Top

I love wisterias. Happy weekend, Ella.

71EllaTim
May 4, 2018, 3:18pm Top

Hi Barbara, thanks. Good weather this weekend, sunny, warmer, nice.

72EllaTim
Edited: May 5, 2018, 5:27am Top

27. Fire upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge ***



This book has won a Nebula, but I guess it's just not my cup of tea. There are lots of interesting ideas, but I felt the story dragged on. For me it would have benefitted from some good editing. The parts about the human children and the packminded dogs were interesting, but there were whole parts that just didn't come alive for me.

One thing that thoroughly annoyed me: whole civilisations are being killed in this book, but it's just background, what matters is a boy who has to be saved, and for the rest it's just "Ah, we can come back".

73EllaTim
May 5, 2018, 6:57am Top

Another picture from the site where I found the Wisteria.

An example of municipal housing in Amsterdam, built in the twenties:



Inspired by one of Charlotte's Guardian reviews: Municipal Dreams by John Boughton reviewed by Rowen Moore
"Council housing, talked down and eroded for decades, looks appealing again. If, in a country suffering from rationing and postwar austerity, the state could build hundreds of thousands of homes, why not now? ..... the history of council housing from its 19th-century origins in Liverpool and London up to and past the Grenfell Tower disaster, is timely"

I'm hoping that we'll start seeing that Yes we could do it then, so why not now! (Sorry, got a bit carried away here)

74FAMeulstee
May 5, 2018, 1:36pm Top

>73 EllaTim: Beautiful building, Ella, thanks for sharing! Berlage?
Did a search, indeed "Amsterdamse School" but architect Jan Gratema :-)

Sadly our present government is not much interested in building social housing....

75EllaTim
May 5, 2018, 2:19pm Top

>74 FAMeulstee: Lots of good architecture from this period. I'd like to visit the museum Het Schip, all about Berlage and co.
https://www.hetschip.nl/

The one in the picture above is a city monument, only the outside, no example of the interior of these days has been conserved. All was social housing that now is being sold:-/

76vancouverdeb
May 6, 2018, 5:08am Top

I've got Lilac Girls in my TBR pile. I just finished an excellent book, The Home for Unwanted Girls. It was a difficult book subject matter wise too. Thought it is fiction, it's based on some terrible Canadian history , where pregnant young girls were forced to give up their babies by their families. The babies were places in foundling homes , run by nuns. But a few years on, the foundling homes were changed to " Lunatic Asylums " because the government paid better rates . Now I need an a good escape read.

We also have the issues with government building in social housing, or at least not enough. I don't think social housing was created in Canada til the ? 1970's or so. We had more of a post WW11 " war houses" - small detached homes built for veterans and their families.

77EllaTim
May 6, 2018, 5:15am Top

Hi Deborah, I knew that this happened in Ireland, I married girls being forced to give away their babies, but I never thought it would happen in Canada. This is one thing where times have changed for the better.

Holland had it's memorial days for WWII the day before yesterday, and we celebrate our liberation on the 5th of May, so that was yesterday. There are always a number of Canadian veterans involved. As they did the liberating. It was nice to see on TV yesterday, these old men, as they are now, getting cheered and kissed, and enjoying it all very much!

78PaulCranswick
May 6, 2018, 5:57am Top

>73 EllaTim: I loved wandering around Amsterdam enjoying the museums, the fries (with curry sauce not mayo), the Amstel and the lovely buildings.

Wishing you a wonderful Sunday, Ella. xx

79EllaTim
May 6, 2018, 4:58pm Top

>78 PaulCranswick: Hi Paul! Glad you like it. My fries with peanut sauce please:-)

Had a great day Paul, visiting the allotment by taxi, how decadent can you get. Wonderful weather, planted some potatoes, enjoyed the apple blossoms, and picked my first rhubarb.

80EllaTim
Edited: Jun 3, 2018, 11:52am Top

28. De Cock en de broeders van de zachte dood by A.C. Baantjer (Dutch)***
(audiobook read by Frits Lambrechts) (1979)



Two people, husband and wife, are found death in the Amsterdam canal, the Keizersgracht, arms and hands linked. It looks like a double suicide. But detective De Kok doesn't trust it.

This was an enjoyable, almost cozy police story. It was fun that it is set in Amsterdam, so lots of familiar places. The reading by actor Frits Lambrechts adds to that familiar feeling, he has a nice Amsterdam accent and a voice that fits, a bit rough.

One drawback was the language used, lots of repetitions and cliches. And the old-fashioned and formal wording in some dialogues seemed to come directly from a police report. *

But it was definitely a good story! So I enjoyed it anyway.

*I looked the author up, he was a policeman and worked for many years at Bureau Warmoesstraat.

81EllaTim
May 10, 2018, 3:03pm Top

Busy weekend ahead, my husband is coming home tomorrow. Probably with a bunch of these:



And there are lots of things to be done at the allotment, and then my sister's birthday.

So I'm wishing everybody a happy weekend!

82EllaTim
Edited: Jun 3, 2018, 11:53am Top

For the non-fiction challenge

29. Aarde en Klimaat {Earth and Climate} Dutch by professor Salomon Kroonenberg. ****
A series of audio lectures



It's a series around climate change and earth's geological history. The story of the three climates that the earth has known in the past, the Red, the Green and the White earth (you will have heard other names, but these give a clear impression).

The red earth was the earliest, a very dry, desert climate. Followed by green, or greenhouse earth, warm, with high ocean levels. Then the ice ages, the white or snowball earth.

He talks about the importance of plate tectonics to explain these changes. Giving a lot of background to the history of all the scientific findings. There is a clear link to maps, you can see the geological strata on both sides of the Atlantic are the same, you can see the split where the continents split apart.

He was quite controversial in Holland as a climate sceptic. He doesn't deny climate change in itself just the importance we give it.. hmmm, sorry, nature can survive a lot, but can we? But apart from that he explains it all very well. And here audio is a clear disadvantage, but I could still follow the story thanks to his easy explanations. I thought the whole story really fascinating, in the light of climate change by human influence we see now. Giving it four stars because he explains it all so well.

83Deern
May 11, 2018, 6:13am Top

Hi Ella, I finally starred your thread. For now just wishing you a happy weekend, but I hope to spend some time here in the near future. :)

>63 EllaTim: I love wisteria! I mean - looking at them, mainly. 3 years ago during a yoga holiday we got them fried for dinner, hadn't known they are edible. While they were nice, I never felt tempted to cook them at home.

84EllaTim
May 11, 2018, 6:35am Top

Hi Nathalie, nice to see you here. So many threads here, it is hard to find and impossible to follow them all!

Wisteria edible? Really? The flowers, or the pods? The flowers are too beautiful to eat, I'd regret every single one of them.

85figsfromthistle
May 11, 2018, 7:35am Top

Happy Friday!! Enjoy your busy weekend :)

86Deern
May 11, 2018, 8:31am Top

It was the flowers, and there were so many of them at the agriturismo and they were close to falling off anyway - that was the explanation. We were all a bit dubious (a violet flower sceams "poisonous", doesn't it?), but it was fine. However, there are enough other foods to fry, I wouldn't go for the flowers. :)

87karenmarie
May 11, 2018, 8:41am Top

Hi Ella!

I love the photo with the wisteria and read with interest about the municipal housing. Here it is typically called The Projects, and very poorly thought of since in many cases crime is rampant and upkeep is minimal. Sigh.

Have a lovely weekend with your husband returned and your sister's birthday to celebrate.

88PaulCranswick
May 11, 2018, 10:57pm Top

>81 EllaTim: Hope the poor chap doesn't turn up empty handed but arrives as confidently predicted with flowers a-plenty.

89EllaTim
May 13, 2018, 3:48am Top

>85 figsfromthistle: Hi Anita, nice to see you here, and thanks. Had a busy day yesterday, now some rest at home, and then to my sister with presents.

>86 Deern: Yes, violet doesn't seem very edible, still the Chinese say to eat something of every colour every day...

>87 karenmarie: Hi Karen, Wow, The Projects, it doesn't sound nice at all, but I'm living in one and crime statistics are very good here, quite low, and I always feel safe here in my neighbourhood. Amsterdam has a lot of social housing all built by so-called building corporations. I found a map where you can see how many there are here: https://maps.amsterdam.nl/afwc/

>88 PaulCranswick: Hi Paul, Yes, he came home yesterday with three bushes of flowers. He's retired but he helps my brother (who grows them) with his harvest, so that's why I was pretty sure he'd bring me some;-)

90Storeetllr
May 13, 2018, 8:07pm Top

Hi, Ella! I "lost" your first thread and missed all the fun of this one, but now I'm caught up (more or less). I loved the Ancillary trilogy too. Very satisfying scifi.

>63 EllaTim: Beautiful! And I love the phrase, a "sunshine and ice cream day."

Have a lovely week!

91ronincats
May 14, 2018, 12:01am Top

Hi, Ella. Coming in way late to this thread--I blame being sick last week! Glad you liked the Leckie series, that's a lovely peony (which I can't grow here) and I hope you got lots.

92EllaTim
May 14, 2018, 8:08am Top

>90 Storeetllr: Hi Mary, nice to see you anytime. Ann Leckie is good, isn't she? I seem to have heard she has a new book out...

>91 ronincats: Hi Roni! They are picky flowers, enough sunshine, good food, enough water, not to disturb too much... I'm guessing it's too warm where you live? But you have lovely roses!

I got three vases full of them so I'm very content, and they smell nice too.

93karenmarie
May 14, 2018, 8:14am Top

Hi Ella! Yay for 3 vases of peonies.

Thank you for sharing that map - I love maps in general - and was fascinated by the prevalence of municipal housing. I'm glad to hear that it is good.

94EllaTim
May 14, 2018, 2:15pm Top

>93 karenmarie: Hi Karen! I'm glad you liked my link. I'm fascinated by maps, but I didn't know of course if you'd feel the same. Yes, it's good here. And now I'm interested in the social history of my town, and would like to read a bit more about it. Looking for a book...

95FAMeulstee
May 14, 2018, 6:02pm Top

>89 EllaTim: >92 EllaTim: That is great, Ella, three vases of peonies :-)
The first peonies are flowering in my garden, dark red/pink. Very beautiful, but unfortunately they don't smell at all.
The next one, a light pink peonie, will flower soon and that one smells very good. And the first rose buds are coloring as well.

96EllaTim
May 16, 2018, 4:09am Top

Reading now: On Tyranny by Timothy Snyder



Halfway through, finding this book really thought provoking and worth while. "Believe in truth" Right!

97msf59
May 16, 2018, 7:00am Top

Happy Wednesday, Ella. I hope you are having a good week. You will love On, Tyranny. An important read.

98Storeetllr
May 16, 2018, 12:48pm Top

>96 EllaTim: It's a must read, for sure, Ella! That and So You Want to Talk About Race are my top two books so far this year, which is unusual for me as I prefer to read escapist novels.

99EllaTim
May 16, 2018, 6:49pm Top

Hi Marc and Mary, I finished On Tyranny today, surprised by how fast a read it was, but I totally agree with you, it's very good! So thanks to all the recommendations here.

100EllaTim
Edited: Jun 3, 2018, 11:54am Top

30. On Tyranny by Timothy Snyder (USA) *****



Mr. Snyder, a Yale professor, has written an excellent book on democracy, on Tyranny, and how democracy is lost. He presents this in 20 short and pithy lessons, and I must say, he is an excellent teacher. Very clear and easy to follow and understand.

He talks about the lessons we can learn from history, the rise of fascism and totalitarian communist regimes.

What I really liked is not only does he warn, but he also points out the things we can do to help preserve democracy and democratic institutions. Pointing out that we need to support the things we value, and take action.

His last chapter is a bit more difficult to follow.

The whole book is thought inspiring, what is real democracy? How democratic is my own country, the EU?

He mentions a number of people, writers, that I now would like to read!

101jnwelch
May 16, 2018, 8:37pm Top

Oh good, Ella. I thought On Tyranny was excellent, too. Nice review.

102EllaTim
May 17, 2018, 4:37am Top

Hi Joe! It's a pleasure to find such a good one, isn't it?

I'm wrestling with The Crow Trap. I find my attention wandering away when I'm reading it. I'm at nearly 3/4 done, and still thinking of putting it aside. Well maybe one last try.

103EllaTim
Edited: Jun 3, 2018, 11:55am Top

31. The Crow Trap by Ann Cleeves (UK) ***

Mystery novel. The first of the Vera Stanhope series.

As I like the Vera Stanhope TV series, I thought I'd love this novel. But in fact I had trouble getting through it. For some unclear to me reason it just didn't grab or hold my attention. Didn't help that I kept confusing the people with rather similar names. I don't know what was going on. Maybe I shouldn't have read two mystery novels at the same time?

Didn't help that the book is written from four different viewpoints of four protagonists.

Three women biologists are doing an environmental impact assessment. The book follows them all three after each other. Only after that we get the story from the view of Vera Stanhope herself. There it did pick up.
I don't think this structure worked well here, the book could have been a lot shorter. I didn't feel a connection to any of the protagonists, only to Vera herself a bit.

Anyway, I'll leave it at this. Sometimes a writer just doesn't work for me.

104EllaTim
May 18, 2018, 6:51am Top

Started: De Thibaults by Roger Martin du Gard



This is at 800 pages just part 1 of a series, what am I doing? But the first pages are a fast read, and the story immediately absorbing, so wish me luck!

105FAMeulstee
May 18, 2018, 8:11am Top

>100 EllaTim: Glad you loved On tyranny, Ella, it should be read widely.

>104 EllaTim: Sounds promishing, enjoy!

106Storeetllr
May 23, 2018, 3:58pm Top

>100 EllaTim: Good review of a must-read book.

107EllaTim
May 24, 2018, 7:28pm Top

>106 Storeetllr: Hi Mary, Thanks, was it you who said, that it was worth a reread? It certainly is.

108Storeetllr
May 24, 2018, 8:08pm Top

I don't know, Ella, but I do know that I plan to buy a few hard copies of the book, keep one for reference, and give away a couple.

109EllaTim
May 25, 2018, 8:10am Top

It's going to be a warm weekend, today off to the allotment, tomorrow I'll be busy. Have put all my pumpkin seedlings out on the balcony. They still have to grow a lot, to be more snail-resistant.

110karenmarie
May 25, 2018, 8:15am Top

Hi Ella!

>100 EllaTim: Good review of On Tyranny. I started it and have read through #4, will pick it up again eventually. I go through cycles of paying attention to politics and avoiding it like the plague. I'm in an avoidance mode right now, not even watching Morning Joe or reading much online.

111EllaTim
May 27, 2018, 5:15am Top

>110 karenmarie: Hi Karen! I can relate to that, I'm in an interested phase, but I have had my avoidance times as well. It can really get to be too much, and certainly with how things are standing right now. I'm watching the antics of your president with abhorrent fascination right now:-(

112EllaTim
May 27, 2018, 5:42am Top

Had a good day at the allotment yesterday. Getting ahead with De Thibaults well, but it's a chunckster. So I'm not finished yet. I managed to fall asleep listening to the last but one chapter of Omweg naar Santiago and now I'll have to renew the borrowing again.

The weather was marvelous, and we are seeing lots of dragonflies. And a new one for the garden: a hobby falcon. I haven't seen lots of those, so I had to look it up to confirm it. Good video here https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=KVhkl6rd6T4
It likes to chase dragonflies!

My husband had to rescue some young wrens. Some years ago we hung a small wren nest, but it stayed empty, and we forgot all about it. But this year it has been used. He heard bumping noises, went to look and found some young wrens that had managed to fall out of the nest into a bucket, and couldn't get out. He took them out and they immediately flew to the honeysuckle. Parents very alarmed in the background. One silly bird was hanging upside down above the rain barrel, so he picked that one up as well. It took them all some time to calm down. It must be quite stressing to be a bird parent!


Young wren, isn't it cute?

113msf59
May 27, 2018, 7:47am Top

>100 EllaTim: Good review of On Tyranny. It is an important little book.

>104 EllaTim: I like that book cover!

>112 EllaTim: Now, that is cute. I like the way their little tails stick up.

Happy Sunday, Ella. I hope you are having a lovely weekend.

114Storeetllr
May 27, 2018, 1:20pm Top

>111 EllaTim: abhorrent fascination

That about describes it, although I'm about over the "fascination" part and on to "horror."

115EllaTim
Edited: May 28, 2018, 6:13am Top

>113 msf59: Hi Marc! It's a nice cover, isn't it? It's an existing painting: Coquelicots (poppies) by Claude Monet



Thank you Marc, we went out looking for birds. Heard a lark! Then we went looking for a cool place near the water, but it was a bit marred by a run-in with a cloud of biting midgies. I'm still scratching right now.
Did some googling and found a Scottish site that tells all about them, for instance, when a female midge finds you, and bites, she lets off a pheromone calling all her sisters to the table:-) Isn't that interesting;-)

>114 Storeetllr: Hi Mary, I can imagine, it's a lot easier to ignore him here, we have some distance. Wouldn't like to be in your position.

116FAMeulstee
May 28, 2018, 7:47pm Top

>112 EllaTim: We also see a lot of dragonflies this year.
Your husband did good, rescueing the little wrens, the are cute little birds.

117EllaTim
Edited: May 29, 2018, 6:54am Top

Hi Anita, I wish I could have seen those little ones, I've a soft spot for wrens, for all their small size they are tough and resilient birds.

In between report on De Thibaults. It is in fact a series of originally 8 books. Six of them are bundled in the Dutch translation I am now reading. The last two will follow in part 2. I have now finished five of the six, so I am nearly finished. Could say I have now read five books;-)

The list of the six books:
Le cahier gris 1922
Le pénitencier 1922
La Belle saison 1923
La consultation 1928
La sorellina 1928
La mort du père 1929

The drawback of this is a lack of story line between the separate books. I have now finished book 5, there is a feeling of closure, I will go on to read book 6, but I could also stop here.

Roger Martin-du Gard recieved the Nobel prize for literature in 1937 for Les Thibault. It's supposed to be a new form of novel, called the Roman fleuve, so a meandering story.

118FAMeulstee
May 29, 2018, 7:56am Top

>117 EllaTim: And those 6 books (De Thibaults 1) are shorter than the next 2 books (De Thibaults 2)... My library has the both, I might get to them eventually.
I am halfway my project, 501 of 1001 books are on the Dutch 1001 list.

119EllaTim
Edited: May 29, 2018, 9:25am Top

>Yes, they come close to the length of a novella.

I will have a look, immediately. Kudos for all the work involved.

I do see a number of Dutch works on the list, I wonder which books have been removed from the English one, and if there are similar lists for other language areas?

The book 1001 books you must read before you die has ten translations, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Norwegian, Dutch, etc!

120EllaTim
May 29, 2018, 9:26am Top

I have to speak to a meeting tonight, yuck, and an unpopular matter as well, double yuck. Nervous.

121karenmarie
May 29, 2018, 9:37am Top

Hi Ella!

abhorrent fascination is on the mild side, Mary's horror instead of fascination sums it up for me.

There are some very disturbing extreme-right activities going on in the world right now, I'm afraid. drumpf, Israel, Germany, Austria, and even Britain, too, are worrisome.

Good luck at your meeting tonight. I hope your nerves calm down well before the event.

122FAMeulstee
May 29, 2018, 9:39am Top

>119 EllaTim: On LT you can find:
- All editions of the 1001 books you must read before you die
- The Swedish 1001 (not complete)
- And this is a Russian list of 1000 books (not complete)
- In German there is the Harenberg Buch der 1000 Bücher

>120 EllaTim: Sending calming vibes.

123EllaTim
May 29, 2018, 7:22pm Top

>121 karenmarie: Hi Karen! Yeah, you can say that again, Israel, for Germany I still have confidence in Angela Merkel, who at least has shown she has a heart.

Thanks, my nerves calmed down after the event, but I can handle it when I'm not too nervous. I met a friend there, who has a very calming vibe for me, so I asked my question after him, and that helped a lot.

>122 FAMeulstee: Hi Anita, thanks for the calming vibes!

Aren't those lists interesting! Thanks for the links. I'd be particularly interested in what books people in different countries consider classics and must-reads.

124EllaTim
Edited: Jun 1, 2018, 6:48am Top

For the moment I've put De Thibaults aside. The last book of the six is the harrowing account of sickbed and death of the father of the two men who are the main protagonists of the story.

I just don't feel up to it.

The other five books were worth reading. It's the story of two brothers, and their very conservative, catholic, moralistic father. The eldest brother is a doctor, and has made a success of his life. He's an amoral man, at least that's what he feels himself to be, but he still does the right things. The youngest brother is the rebel, running away from home in book one, because of a friendship that is frowned upon. In book two he is locked up in his father's correction institute and suffers a lot from that.

I thought the books rather differed in quality. Some of the story is really strong, and feels like written from the authors own experience. Other parts made the impression on me of being more at a distance and rather analytical.

Maybe I'll read the last part later.
Or when I don't get to 75 I'll just say I read five books;-)

125FAMeulstee
Jun 1, 2018, 6:55am Top

>124 EllaTim: Or when I don't get to 75 I'll just say I read five books;-)

I did that in in 2009 ;-)

126karenmarie
Jun 1, 2018, 8:08am Top

Hi Ella!

I definitely have to be in a strong mental state to read books about sad or depressing subjects. I hope your next read is uplifting, fun, frivolous, or all three.

127EllaTim
Jun 1, 2018, 6:08pm Top

>125 FAMeulstee: Hi Anita, good strategy, but not one you need anymore:-)

>126 karenmarie: Hi Karen. Exactly, uplifting, fun and or frivolous, would be really nice.

128EllaTim
Edited: Jun 3, 2018, 12:03pm Top

Reading now
The Pride of Chanur by C. J. Cherryh



Definitely fun!

Went to visit my brother today, saw some birds on the way, lots of geese and ducks. A common shell duck with young. The small ones could already dive very well, a funny sight.

129Storeetllr
Jun 2, 2018, 9:14pm Top

Oh! I really enjoyed Pride of Chanur when I read it long ago. I've always meant to get back to that series. No idea what's stopped me. Oh, wait. I do know. SO MANY BOOKS!!! :)

Hope you are having a great weekend!

130EllaTim
Jun 3, 2018, 8:04am Top

It's an oldie isn't it? For some reason I never got to reading C. J. Cherryh, but I read such a lot of good things about her here, I felt I had missed out. And yes, lots of good books out there, impossible to keep up.

Having a nice restful, reading Sunday, wishing you the same!

131EllaTim
Jun 3, 2018, 12:09pm Top

32. The Pride of Chanur by C. J. Cherryh (UK), **** (SF) (1982)(237pp)



A fun and interesting adventure story. Several civilizations coexisting in space. A ship of a lion-like species harbors a fugitive, who turns out to be human and completely lost. First contact, but seen through the eyes of the hani, not the human.

Interesting and well done, what would civilization be like if we were lions, how would people deal with each other? Here, it's the women who fly the space-ship, the men are at home, busy with power struggles among themselves, and the siring of children.

132EllaTim
Edited: Jun 7, 2018, 6:01pm Top

The June theme of the BAC is travel writing. Paul had prepared a list of possibilities, but all of them unfamiliar to me. I clicked through to a list of travel writing and found this:

Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes by Robert Louis Stevenson


I have read good things about this book here on LT, and it was easy to find, as there is a link to an annotated version in the reviews of the book. Quite useful as it is an old book, for clearing up some words, and giving background.

It's surprisingly easy to read, lighthearted and funny.

133Storeetllr
Jun 5, 2018, 11:52pm Top

>132 EllaTim: Oh, that looks like fun! I'm wishlisting it. I look forward to your review. My go-to book on travel is The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton. I read snippets of it every so often. On my Grandmother's Library bookshelf, I have an old book called Roaming Through The West Indies that I mean to get to one of these days.

134FAMeulstee
Jun 6, 2018, 12:12pm Top

>132 EllaTim: I read that one last year and was pleasantly surprised how readable it was. For me it was extra special, as we spend our first vacation in France, in 1972, near the end of Stevenson's journey.

135EllaTim
Jun 6, 2018, 6:51pm Top

>133 Storeetllr: Hi Mary! It's quite easy to have a quick look at it, as it can be found on the internet. I never read any De Botton, must try and remedy that!

>Hi Anita, that's really nice, sort of revisit the places you have seen yourselves. I looked at photos on Wikipedia, it seemed like a beautiful quiet place.

136msf59
Jun 6, 2018, 7:30pm Top

>128 EllaTim: Ooh, I like the Common Shell Duck, Ella. Never hear of them but I love their look.

Looks like your books are treating you well too.

137EllaTim
Jun 7, 2018, 6:00pm Top

Hi Marc! They are nice ducks, and apparently have not been imported into the USA then.

My reading is coming along nicely, though I don't feel like reading anything heavy at the moment.

138EllaTim
Jun 7, 2018, 6:10pm Top

The June theme of the BAC is travel writing. Paul had prepared a list of possibilities, but all of them unfamiliar to me. I clicked through to a list of travel writing and found this

33. Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes by Robert Louis Stevenson (UK) ***



I have read good things about this book here on LT, and it was easy to find, as there is a link to an annotated version in the reviews of the book. Quite useful as it is an old book, for clearing up some words, and giving background.

It's surprisingly easy to read, lighthearted and funny.
Some things are easy to relate to, like his struggle with his luggage. He made a sleeping bag of his own design, and had to find a way to load it all on a very small donkey. I felt rather sorry for her.

What I liked best about the book were his descriptions of nature, sleeping under the stars, trees. He writes also about the history of the place, the story of Catholics and Protestants. This felt rather outdated.

All in all still a nice read.

The same site, Wikisource, (https://en.m.wikisource.org/wiki/Wikisource:Index)
has some more annotated older books to read. A good project, I'm going to have a look to see if I can find anything else of interest.

139Storeetllr
Jun 7, 2018, 9:43pm Top

Thanks for the link. I didn't know about Wikisource.

140thornton37814
Jun 7, 2018, 10:25pm Top

>138 EllaTim: I thought I had read that one before, but I guess I have not done so. I'm pretty sure I have it on my Kindle app or in an ebook collection downloaded from Internet Archive.

141EllaTim
Jun 8, 2018, 6:31am Top

>139 Storeetllr: I'd never heard of it either, but it's an interesting site to browse a bit. I thought their list of authors by nationality was useful, and interesting.

>140 thornton37814: Hi Lori, Yes, the book is in the public domain, could be on Gutenberg or other free sites.

142EllaTim
Jun 8, 2018, 9:08am Top

In the Wikisource site I found this
Popular tales from the Norse
https://en.m.wikisource.org/wiki/Popular_Tales_from_the_Norse/East_o%27_the_Sun_and_West_o%27_the_Moon

This Sir George Dasent is really only the translator, it is a collection of Norwegian folk tales, collected by MM. Asbjörnsen and Moe. Who also didn't write them of course, but would deserve to be mentioned as authors I'd think.

Reading one at a time, but it's a good collection. Just finished one, where it's not the three suns who get the adventure but the three daughters!

143streamsong
Jun 8, 2018, 10:03am Top

Good morning!

Love the shell ducks!

>131 EllaTim: " For some reason I never got to reading C. J. Cherryh, but I read such a lot of good things about her here, I felt I had missed out."

Yes, me too! I did hear her talk a year or two ago and think she is a thoughtful, articulate lady. I bought a couple of her books - although I didn't get them signed - but still haven't made it to reading them. She sounds like good summer reading.

144EllaTim
Edited: Jun 12, 2018, 5:22am Top

I've been off at the allotment for a couple of days. Sorry for being here so on and off. The weather was wonderful, and there's lots to do there. But I can't participate in LT when I'm there, very limited internet access.

I read two Terry Ptatchett's, and they were fun.

34. Witches abroad by Terry Pratchett (UK) ****



Here the witches travel to Genua, to be fairy godmothers, but with a twist.

Followed by
35. Lords and Ladies by Terry Pratchett (UK) ****



Here the witches have to stop an elf invasion into Lancre, while at the same time Magrat is having doubts about marriage.

145EllaTim
Jun 12, 2018, 6:05am Top

I started a new (for me) Stevenson: Treasure Island. I really liked Stevenson's writing style, and I wasn't sure I had read this famous book of his. Now that I have read the first chapters I think I probably read a condensed version for children.

146karenmarie
Jun 12, 2018, 6:54am Top

Hi Ella! I hope you're doing well - reading and your allotment sound wonderful.

I didn't know about Wikisource either - thank you!

147FAMeulstee
Jun 12, 2018, 1:27pm Top

>144 EllaTim: You made good use of the weather, Ella, so don't be sorry.

>145 EllaTim: I read Treasure Island last year. I never read the original, but did read the abridged Het schateiland in my youth.

148EllaTim
Edited: Jun 16, 2018, 4:42am Top

36. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson (UK) ***

I don't think I read this as a child, and it doesn't need my review.

Reading it now, as an adult, I can see it's attraction, it's a good adventure story for boys. I think I am too old for it now, though. What is interesting about it, I think, is that it's not just black and white. Jim, the young protagonist, is adventurous, and does things he's not really supposed to, though they do turn out well. And Long John Silver, the pirate, saves his life in the end.
He's the really interesting figure in the book, the story really rests on him.

149EllaTim
Edited: Jun 18, 2018, 6:02pm Top

37. De Voorlezer by Bernhard Schlink (Germany) ****1/2
(=The Reader)



A young german boy and an older woman have a love affair. At first they are very happy, he reads the books to her he has to read for school. He knows next to nothing about her, she doesn't talk about her past. Then suddenly she is gone, and he is shattered.

He goes to university, studying law, and then he sees her again, in court, it turns out she has been a camp guard during the war. He follows the trial.

It's a confrontation with the past, with guilt and shame, and how to deal with the fact that a person you loved, who is important to you has done atrocious things. Impossible to understand. Trying to understand.

I loved this book, in spite of the sadness and heaviness of the story.
What would you have done, she asks during the trial.

Reading is a theme in the book, his reading to her is important. it turns out she can't read, and is very ashamed of this. It has been the driving force that made her join the SS. Only in jail she learns to read

150FAMeulstee
Jun 18, 2018, 6:14pm Top

>149 EllaTim: Good review, Ella, added it to mount TBR :-)
It is on the Dutch 1001 boeken list.

151EllaTim
Edited: Jun 18, 2018, 7:01pm Top

>149 EllaTim: The ever growing mount;-)
I would like your opinion when you have read it.

I saw!

152msf59
Jun 18, 2018, 7:48pm Top

Hi, Ella. I also really enjoyed The Reader. I am glad you felt the same.

153EllaTim
Edited: Jun 19, 2018, 9:58am Top

Hi Marc, glad you liked it as well. It has an impact, hasn't it? What happened to Hanna, could it happen to us as well? Or is the biggest problem that we get used to it and don't act?

154EllaTim
Edited: Jun 20, 2018, 5:23am Top

38. Omweg naar Santiago by Cees Nooteboom (Dutch) **** 1/2



It took me forever to finish this book, but that doesn't mean it's not good, in fact it was excellent.

Nooteboom writes about travelling through Spain, on the way to Santiago, but he sees all corners of Spain before finally arriving there.

He looks at the landscape, at art, churches, cloisters. It's clear he knows about history, and he writes about the history of the places he visits. This way one gets a four-dimensional view of Spain, it's like looking at a labyrinth, everywhere you can see the present, but also the past is still there. And there is a lot of past in Spain, and it's very interesting. His way of presenting it is not straightforward from then to now, but more roundabout. And it's never dull!

I listened to the audio, and was rather annoyed by the reader, who tried to read Dutch with a Spanish accent. Read the text like it was a poem. Still, audio was a good choice, it worked well so I stuck with it. It's one of the reasons it took me so long to finish the book, I kept loosing my place in the book, and sometimes falling asleep. I must have fallen asleep four times during the final chapter!

But I don't regret reading it, it gave me a very interesting view, and a way of looking at things. It made me interested to read a bit more about the history of Spain, the early history and the Reconquista sound very interesting.

155karenmarie
Jun 22, 2018, 8:27am Top

Hi Ella!

I, too, loved The Reader. It was my choice for my real life book club in 2000. I was surprised that it was that long ago - the book came out in 1995.

156EllaTim
Jun 24, 2018, 6:22pm Top

Hi Karen! Always nice to hear others loved it as well. 1995 is some time ago. I know that it has been made into a movie, but I never saw it. But it's a timeless story I think.

157EllaTim
Jun 26, 2018, 5:56pm Top

39. The Road to Wigan Pier by George Orwell (UK) ***1/2

Orwell visits the industrial north of England. He talks about the housing for labourers, and about the working conditions of miners. Both so awful that it's hard to realise that this is 1936 and not 1836 he's talking about.
Very much worth reading.

Then he goes on to talk about socialism and the threat of fascism in England. It seems socialism wasn't attractive enough. I had to laugh about the people he goes on about, long-haired hippies, sandal wearing health freaks, goat-wool socks types. He was clearly afraid that fascism would get hold in England as well. But instead there was a war of course. This part of the book was harder to get into, as I don't know all the ins and outs of that time. Still interesting though.

If war is so good for economy can't we think of other solutions? War seems about the stupidest thing we can do.

158EllaTim
Edited: Jun 26, 2018, 6:24pm Top

Today still a nice day at the allotment. A lot to do cause tomorrow it's supposed to get warm, and the soil is very dry already. I had to plant my pumpkins.

Nice, we keep seeing and hearing a couple of robins, warning about our cat. They have an alarm call, and they keep calling. They fly to a tree above the cat, and call and call.... must drive him crazy. We think they've got young ones they have to keep away from the cat.

In between it's the usual, like sitting close when you're digging, on your spade, they're not afraid at all. Taking a bath in the small pond under the shrubs.

159Storeetllr
Jun 26, 2018, 9:42pm Top

>158 EllaTim: What a great bird drawing, Ella! Do you know whose work it is?

Yes, the robins who come to my yard are also pretty fearless. When I step outside, all the other birds take off in a panic (as if they don't realize that I FEED THEM), but Mr. (or Mrs.) Robin just stands there watching it all. Not sure where their nest is, but it must be nearby; they come around all the time for, I guess, the grubs and worms in my yard.

160FAMeulstee
Jun 27, 2018, 4:08am Top

>154 EllaTim: Nooteboom is on my (long) library list, Ella, I will go for the paper copy ;-)

>157 EllaTim: Everything that is good for economy isn't good for the earth.
After reading an article in De Groene, I requested Indiaans verhaal; In de schaduw van twee beschavingen by Reinier Artist. The writer is an indian from Surinam, who went to university here and gives lectures now about the old way of life of his tribe. He didn't know the concept of time when he was young. Only learned that, and many other things when he went to school.

161EllaTim
Jun 27, 2018, 5:56am Top

>159 Storeetllr: Hi Mary, Yes, it's a good one, isn't it? Here's the artists site: https://loesbotman.nl/about-loes-botman/?lang=en

Hurray for robins. I can't find the nest of my birds either, but it should be quite near, I see them all the time as well.

>160 FAMeulstee: The paper book might have some illustrations, I missed those in the audio version.

Ah, no, we could think of lots of things that would be good for economy and for the earth. We have to change the way we think.

How interesting! We'll be waiting for your impressions. You are one of only two LT members who added this book.

162jnwelch
Jun 27, 2018, 8:40am Top

Hi, Ella. I like that drawing of the robin, too. I'll check out the artist's website.

163EllaTim
Jun 27, 2018, 3:16pm Top

Hi Joe, nice to see you around!

164EllaTim
Jul 1, 2018, 6:05am Top

40. De witte buldog by Boris Akunin (Russia) ***1/2

(English title: Sister Pelagia and the White Bulldog)



This is a mix of crime, adventure, history and social comment.

Sister Pelagia is a small and unobtrusive nun, living in a small provincial town in Russia. But she is also smart. And so her bishop sets her to solving a murder and an attempted murder: his aunt's white bulldogs have been the victims, and she is terribly upset.

But from there it becomes clear that more is going on.

The book is set in the Russia of the 19th century. There is some resemblance of Agatha Christie. It's an original, sometimes funny and sparkly crime story that at the same time discusses society and its quirks.

The only drawback: the Russian names, where you feel you should have made a list so as not to forget who was who.

165Storeetllr
Jul 1, 2018, 6:15pm Top

Hi, Ella! Hope you have had a good weekend!

>164 EllaTim: This sounds kind of like a cozy mystery. Not my cup of tea, though I used to love Agatha Christie.

166ronincats
Jul 1, 2018, 6:21pm Top

>131 EllaTim: Ella, since you liked The Pride of Chanur, I strongly urge you to consider at least the next three of the four remaining books: Chanur's Venture, The Kif Strike Back, and Chanur's Homecoming. These are all one story and continue the story directly following the book you just read and are even better. The fifth book features Hilfy rather than Pyanfar and takes place 15 years later, and shows the changes in hani culture precipitated by the events in the first four books. Just a really excellent series!

167EllaTim
Jul 1, 2018, 6:57pm Top

>165 Storeetllr: Hi Mary, Yes, wonderful weather here, good for relaxing, watching blue skies, picknicking in the shade. we're not on holiday, but we do feel like it.

>166 ronincats: Hi Roni, yes I liked it a lot. And I picked the first up in order to read the series. And then I forget, so thanks for reminding me:-)

168The_Hibernator
Jul 2, 2018, 7:53am Top

I like Robins. :) We have a cardinal nesting in our back yard.

169EllaTim
Jul 2, 2018, 8:53am Top

>168 The_Hibernator: Hi Rachel!
Like this one?


I had to look it up, what a spectacular bird!

170The_Hibernator
Jul 2, 2018, 3:05pm Top

They certainly are beautiful!

171EllaTim
Edited: Jul 3, 2018, 7:58am Top

Started:
Listening to "Monteverdi" (touchstone keeps painting to the wrong work) by
Leo Samama
Part of a series of audio colleges about composers.



And reading:
Chanur's Venture

172msf59
Jul 3, 2018, 7:56am Top

>169 EllaTim: Hooray for the Northern Cardinals! We have them year round. Always a welcome splash of color.

Happy Tuesday, Ella. I hope your week is off to a good start and you are enjoying the books.

173EllaTim
Jul 3, 2018, 8:01am Top

>171 EllaTim: Hi Marc, you don't get them more colorful than that!

You posted while I was wrestling with post 170, but I'm enjoying both books.

174EllaTim
Jul 4, 2018, 5:54am Top

41. A buzz in the Meadow by Dave Goulson. (UK, non-fiction) ****1/2

Dave Goulson is a professor of entomology in Oxford, and he's a really good writer.

He writes about his small farm in France, his life there, nature, descriptions making me feel pretty jealous. About insect life and his research. Very interesting and entertaining.

He also writes about the threats, those awful neonix insecticides that turn out to be really harmful. If you want to know more about that, I recommend reading his chapter about this issue, he has a gift for explaining things clearly and easily.

Lots of information in this book, and I wanted to look up every animal he names, so lots of googling necessary. But it's worth it. He makes quite clear how much we still don't know about insects and their lives and what they mean to us.

175EllaTim
Jul 4, 2018, 6:45am Top

The book by Dave Goulson was great, but ending with chapters about threats. Loss of diversity, what does it mean to us, insecticides and bee death. I am glad that people are taking bee death seriously, and that there has been lots of activity on that issue.

But I do feel the need for some positive news, and I found a good source of it here:
https://www.theguardian.com/world/series/the-upside

I just read the most recent article on the possibilities of tidal energy. A very reliable clean energy source that is being developed right now. See, we can do it, if we want to.

176EllaTim
Edited: Jul 5, 2018, 5:59pm Top

We had to be at the hospital today, to hear the result of tests. Good news, yes it is cancer, we already knew that. My husband. But it is manageable, just on the surface. It needs to be checked regularly, but he will be okay.

A big sigh of relief, you don't realise how stressed you were till after. We went to the beach to celebrate.

The hospital had a small exhibition of wonderful photographs:



The photographer is a Jimmy Nelson, and he is working on photographs of indigenous peoples.
See his site here:
https://www.jimmynelson.com/

177Berly
Jul 7, 2018, 12:30pm Top

>176 EllaTim: I wish the cancer wasn't there at all, but congratulations on the good news--I hope you can both de-stress a little now.

178FAMeulstee
Jul 7, 2018, 3:51pm Top

>176 EllaTim: Happy to read it was good news, Ella, the beach is a perfect place to celebrate :-)

Thanks for sharing the picture and the link, I looked around at the website, the photo's are incredible.

179EllaTim
Edited: Jul 7, 2018, 6:41pm Top

>177 Berly: Hi Kim, nice to see you here! Yes, my wish as well. But we're both glad of the good news given the circumstances!

>178 FAMeulstee: Hi Anita. Aren't they wonderful? The hospital had a number of them at a really large size, like 1m wide. They are spectacularly good because he uses the old technique with large photo originals.

180ronincats
Jul 7, 2018, 8:25pm Top

If it has to be cancer, I'm glad it's that scrape off-able skin cancer. I've known quite a few people who have it; none have had anything serious as a result.

Tickled pink that you've started on the next Chanur book!!

181EllaTim
Jul 8, 2018, 6:20am Top

>180 ronincats: It actually is bladder cancer, but the bladder has skin too of course, so the comparison makes sense. Don't tell me anything bad please, I'd like to stick my head in the sand as much as possible;-)

"Tickled pink" I like that expression:-)

182streamsong
Jul 8, 2018, 2:37pm Top

I'm sending all the best thoughts that things go smoothly for your husband.

Lovely photographs by Jimmy Nelson. Wouldn't that book be wonderful to have!

183EllaTim
Jul 8, 2018, 7:59pm Top

Hi Janet, thanks, we appreciate it!

Yes, it would be wonderful to have around and look at all those pictures.

But I am now finding a drawback to a photo book: I'm looking at the collection of prints here: https://www.jimmynelson.com/artprints/all/17
They are wonderful, but I miss the stories to go with the pictures! I want the background, how did he make those photos, who were those people, and so on.

184EllaTim
Edited: Jul 9, 2018, 6:01pm Top

42. Monteverdi by Leo Samama (Dutch) ****
(Touchstone corrected)

A series of audio lectures on Monteverdi, the Italian composer and his music.

Leo Samama talks about the background of Italy in the last part of the sixteenth and the beginning of the seventeenth century. Italy was divided in separate states, and in those states the cities had a lot of independence and political power. For Monteverdi this meant that he had to work for the prince of Mantua first, who treated him rather badly. Later he moved to Venice, and stayed there the rest of his life, as Venice was more like a republic, and he liked it much better.

Monteverdi starts composing with a background of renaissance music. Composing polyphonic music, but he develops his style, changes, writing for the church and for the stage. Writing madrigals, songs with several parts, but in his style the words are very important, and the music has to support and show the words. Leo Samama gives a number of examples, and yes, it becomes quite clear how skilled Monteverdi was, and how good as a composer.

Still I liked the last chapters best, where he discusses the operas. The Orfeo, the first real opera where the characters are real people, and their emotions are very important. And his last opera, the Incoronazione di Poppea. Samama tells us here that the orchestra players did have written music, but that this only gave the melody lines for the singers and the bass notes. The rest the orchestra had to improvise!

And my question, the beautiful love music, and the awful personalities in the Poppea? Well, Samama explains them saying that Monteverdi asks the question of what is most important in the world, fortune, virtue or love, and answers that love is the strongest. But it isn't in a good way here, as Nero kills and banishes everyone who opposes him in getting Poppea.

Nero was traditionally sung by a castrato voice. This choice was made, says Samama because Nero was a kind of hero, a half-god. But listening to the music I was reminded of listening to a teenage boy, set on getting his own will.

I enjoyed this series and thought them really interesting. Sometimes a bit dry, especially when he discusses the madrigals and the musical theory. I still don't really like them, even though I understand them better. But as a background to the music I do love this was really useful, I learned a lot.

One drawback: he talks right through the music, a necessity of course, but I'm glad there's YouTube to find the music he talks about without voice-over! I'll certainly be looking for the Poppea again.

Listening to it now, with English subtitles, here: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=rZZyySg6JZU

185EllaTim
Edited: Jul 9, 2018, 7:55am Top

I don't get what I did wrong, I added the work, by looking it up in the KB. Found it there and added it to my library. It's there, I can find it there. But when I try to add the touchstone it won't work at all, then points to the wrong work. The list of possible works is very long, maybe that's the problem?

I added Leo Samama as an author, thinking that maybe it would be listed there, but no, I don't see it. So, the details of the work can be found through my library, if that will work at least?

Added: I have now changed the settings of my library to public, maybe that will make a difference?

186norabelle414
Jul 9, 2018, 9:15am Top

>185 EllaTim: When a book is first added, it can sometimes take awhile to show up in touchstone search.

However, anytime you are having trouble with a touchstone you can "force" it by putting the work number inside the brackets as well, with two colons in between. So if you put "22046532::Monteverdi" inside the touchstone brackets, you get Monteverdi

187EllaTim
Jul 9, 2018, 12:43pm Top

>186 norabelle414: Hi Nora!

You managed it! Your touchstone is the right one. I had tried forcing it, Anita had shown me that option some time ago, but it didn't work when I tried it. I'm going to correct my earlier touchstone, see if I can get that one working as well. Thanks!

188EllaTim
Jul 11, 2018, 7:28am Top

Started reading We were eight years in Power

I have read the first essay, food for thought this one. I don't know all the background of course, but the basic issue is general enough, and a painful one.

189EllaTim
Edited: Jul 11, 2018, 7:25pm Top

Had a nice green day, watering my pumpkins. No rain as yet, so they need it. And the weekend will be a hot one. But the plants are coming along nicely, they have started flowering. Even the cucumber plants. Will see what they will be doing.

Saw two green woodpeckers in the field, I think a parent with its young. Parent calling loudly, youngster following it.



Left here is the young one, to the right the adult bird.

190The_Hibernator
Jul 14, 2018, 11:46am Top

Beautiful woodpeckers!

191Berly
Jul 15, 2018, 2:50pm Top

>188 EllaTim: I think I am on the fifth essay now. I got a little sidetracked. Ha! They are very thought provoking and a little sad that things aren't right...still Sigh.

192EllaTim
Jul 15, 2018, 4:50pm Top

>190 The_Hibernator: Hi Rachel!

>191 Berly: Hi Kimberly, Yes, very thought provoking. I also thought Obama's election meant things had improved. And I still think it means something, finally a black president was an option. The turn that things have taken now, in lots of countries, is definitely not good!

I'm at the allotment right now, using Wifi, while being tormented by midges. They like the warm weather. Time to go inside, out of Wifi-range, out of the midges.

193EllaTim
Jul 17, 2018, 6:39am Top

43. The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde (UK) ****



This one was praised by a number of people here, and I really needed something fun, as I have been feeling a bit down and stressed lately.

And it was fun, I like reading about dragons, but there was a lot more to be found here. A likeable hero, a good story, with a new twist on dragons, a Quarkbeast.

Recommended, and I'll be looking for the next one.

Sorry, I don't feel up to doing a real review.

194msf59
Jul 17, 2018, 6:43am Top

>189 EllaTim: Ooh, I love the green woodpeckers, Ella! Such beauties. I have been enjoying my new camera. Practicing whenever I can. Capturing birds, in a photo, is tricky business.

I hope you are enjoying We were eight years in Power. I hope to get to that one soon. I adore Coates.

195karenmarie
Jul 17, 2018, 9:56am Top

Hi Ella!

Ditto what Mark said about the Green Woodpeckers.

>192 EllaTim: Ugh. Midges.

>193 EllaTim: I got The Last Dragonslayer at the Fall Friends of the Library book sale - I've got two books going right now and need to read one for our book club meeting in August, but maybe I'll try to sneak it in. *smile*

196FAMeulstee
Jul 17, 2018, 11:11am Top

>189 EllaTim: They are beautiful!

>192 EllaTim: Sorry the stinging creatures are giving you a hard time, Ella. I hoped there would be less of them with the dry weather, but here they are also in abundance.

197EllaTim
Jul 17, 2018, 12:28pm Top

>194 msf59: Hi Marc, beautiful birds, and very distinctive, their upright posture. It's not my photo, just spent some time looking for a good pic on the net!

>195 karenmarie: Hi Karen, always nice to have an extra book going, I'd say;-)

>196 FAMeulstee: Hi Anita, they are awful, and having to go inside, just when the outside is cooling nicely and getting very pleasant, yuck! You too, you must be living near water. My house in town is clear of them but hot.

198EllaTim
Edited: Jul 17, 2018, 6:32pm Top

On the way home from a neighbourhood meeting my neighbour and I found a pile of children's books all neatly stacked in a basket. Most are by Annie M.G. Schmidt. She's one of our most famous writers for children, but I haven't read most of her books. They were not in our library when I was a kid, not suitable for catholic children?

List:
Abeltje
De A van Abeltje
Jorrie en Snorrie
Heksen en zo
Wiplala
Wiplala weer
Jip en Janneke
De reizen van de slimme man
Fausto Koppie
Het Wonder van Frieswijck
Het weer en de Tijd

I'm going to read some and then they're going to a different destination. My neighbours granddaughters, or some Little Free Library, I think.

199EllaTim
Jul 18, 2018, 7:41am Top

Dutch TV is doing a series on a Dutch architect (Francine Houben) who is doing a project renovating the New York Public Library. I watched the first part yesterday. Quite interesting, it's a beautiful building, very grand.

The Lending Library on the other side of the street is part of the project, and I loved the interview with the librarian, talking about their attitude to lenders, and how everybody is allowed in, even homeless people.

It's here, mainly in Dutch of course, but with lots of interviews in English:
https://www.avrotros.nl/francine-houben/gemist/detail/item/een-nieuwe-new-york-public-library-12-07-2018/

I want to watch the second instalment, so the link here is handy for me as well:-;

200FAMeulstee
Edited: Jul 18, 2018, 7:49am Top

>198 EllaTim: Some very good ones in that list, Ella!
Some Kinderboekenweekgeschenken (Children's Book Week Gifts) between them I haven't read yet. Annie M.G. Schmidt wrote many good books, I still love Heksen en zo, I got it in 1968! I found the Wiplala books a bit outdated when I reread them recently. Imme Dros is also a great writer, see my review of De reizen van de slimme man on the book page :-)

201EllaTim
Jul 18, 2018, 12:54pm Top

>200 FAMeulstee: I thought so, I remembered you had read Heksen en zo recently, and liked it. You do have all those books?

They're looking good in their basket, I'm feeling quitr smug about finding them:-;

202FAMeulstee
Jul 18, 2018, 1:41pm Top

>201 EllaTim: I have them all, except the first two. You had a very lucky find!

203EllaTim
Edited: Jul 19, 2018, 5:00pm Top

Let me confess I don't like Jip en Janneke! Janneke is always the girly girl, and Jip always the real boy, yuck, I'm sorry. I like the pictures, but I wish she'd chosen to shake things up a bit.

204FAMeulstee
Jul 19, 2018, 5:10pm Top

I can understand that, Ella. The stories were written in the 1960s... too early to shake that up.
The illustrations by Fiep Westendorp are great :-)

205Ameise1
Jul 20, 2018, 1:28am Top

Hi Ella,I finally caught up here. You did some great reading.

>103 EllaTim: Sorry to read that the first of the Vera series didn't work for you. I liked it.

I'm sorry to hear about your husband's result. Sending lots of positive and healing vibes for you and your husband. I hope he gets the best treatments.
{{{Hugs}}}

206EllaTim
Jul 21, 2018, 6:31pm Top

>204 FAMeulstee: Hi Anita! Yes, the illustrations are wonderful!

>205 Ameise1: Hi Barbara! Nice to see you here.

Oh well, I think I might have lacked the necessary concentration, you have to have your head together for a detective and mine wasn't there I believe .

Thanks very much for the good wishes, I really appreciate them. He's going to be treated again end of august, but he has to adjust to the situation, and he quit smoking! Both take some emotional energy.

207EllaTim
Edited: Jul 21, 2018, 6:58pm Top

Received a couple of books from a friend:
A small cookbook Uit één pan. Ideal for meals at the allotment. My friend's a vegan, and this book has too many meat recipes for her, Boeuf Bourguignon, hmm.

And a book about cats by Philip Freriks Les chats de Lili = De katten van Lili
He wrote it with his French wife, who made the drawings (very nice).



Not looking forward to next week, a heatwave, and lasting heat predicted.

208johnsimpson
Jul 22, 2018, 2:40pm Top

Hi Ella, hope you are having a good weekend my dear, the weather here is still hot with no sign of any let up with the heat. Sending love and hugs dear friend.

209EllaTim
Jul 22, 2018, 6:21pm Top

Hi John, nice to see you here.

It's scorching here as well! But today was nice, a visit to a beekeepers park, really 20 beekeepers and a number of allotment gardens, full of flowers. And lots of high old trees, so nice and cool.

Sending hugs back to you, and stay cool the coming week!

210FAMeulstee
Jul 23, 2018, 4:31am Top

>206 EllaTim: Sending comforting thoughts to you and your husband, Ella.

As I have already trouble with the continued warm weather, I am not looking forward to the heatwave. The airco barely keeps the first floor cool enough to sleep. Downstairs the temperature is slowly going up :(

211EllaTim
Jul 23, 2018, 5:00am Top

>210 FAMeulstee: Thank you, Anita!

Yes, those nights. So even the airco doesn't help enough does it?
I don't have airco, and I'm now keeping the house cool by opening all windows in the evening and letting the cool air in. But when it doesn't get cooler outside it won't help much. I'll be looking for a fan for the bedroom, I think, see if that can help a bit.

212FAMeulstee
Jul 23, 2018, 5:10am Top

With the airco it is a LOT better than it was, Ella. Our house is on a corner with the side wall on the south and a flat roof. Before we had airco the temperature upstairs would go over 30C on sunny days and I could not sleep there at all. Now it keeps it at 20C during the night, but I prefer temperatures well under 20C. I dream of cool caves and winter ;-)

213msf59
Jul 23, 2018, 6:34am Top

Hi, Ella. I hope you had a good weekend and got plenty of reading time in. I saw a few birds yesterday on my walk. The highlights being several turkey vultures and a pair of red-tailed hawks, screeching and playing.

214EllaTim
Jul 24, 2018, 4:37am Top

>212 FAMeulstee: Oh Yes, our houses have not been built for hot weather. Yours would be a good candidate for a green roof;-) Mine should have sun screens. And a cool cave to sleep in would be very nice!

>213 msf59: Hi Marc! Those red-tailed hawks sound good. Can't see them over here, but I have seen red-tailed falcons.
Turkey vultures make me think of Snoopy;-)



Reading time is suffering at the moment, lack of concentration? I don't really know.

215FAMeulstee
Jul 24, 2018, 5:56am Top

>214 EllaTim: We are not used to these temperatures and neither are our houses.
To keep the house cooler we started with sunscreens, then placed new windows and doors and after that the airco came. Next project will be to put solar panels on the roof. I am not sure that would go together with a green roof. Solar panels might help to keep the warmth from the roof and would provide all the energy we need :-)

216EllaTim
Jul 24, 2018, 7:12pm Top

>215 FAMeulstee: A green roof is a good way to provide some necessary extra insulation for your roof. I don't know if they go together with solar panels, but it's an extra weight so your roof should be strong enough.
Good idea, solar panels! Should provide lots of energy with all this sun around:-)

217EllaTim
Edited: Jul 25, 2018, 8:19pm Top

44. Gebr. by Ted van Lieshout (Dutch) ***1/2
Audiobook, English translation Brothers

Luke has lost his younger brother Marius. His mother is going to burn all Marius' belongings, as a ritual. Luke doesn't want her to burn his brothers diary, so he starts writing in it, answering his brothers story.

In this way we get to know more about the relationship between the two brothers. A very realistic portrait it is.
Also about Luke's feelings about his brothers death, and the secret that he has kept.

A good story, touching and emotional, but not overdone.

218EllaTim
Edited: Jul 26, 2018, 7:24am Top

45. Elizabeth and her German garden by Elizabeth Von Arnim (UK) ***1/2

An account of gardening and life. A garden book is very fitting for me at the moment. Elizabeth Von Arnim writes well, light and easy, and often funny. The parts about the garden and nature are often very well written, it is clear she loved gardening.

I had some trouble getting into the first pages, but that changed when she began talking about her own background, what the garden at her father's house meant to her, her childhood, a very upper class one, with governesses and all. She can be very witty, but also sharp. And a bit snooty.

I was just thinking, that well, she never does anything herself, when she wrote that as a woman she is never allowed to take up a spade, and how she would have liked to.

Reading about the background of her life is worth while, she's had an interesting life. This book, her first, was actually written when her husband, who she refers to in this semi-autobiographical book as the Man of Wrath, was in prison for fraud!



I might try another one of hers, there are more books at Project Gutenberg, and I really enjoy her books.

219FAMeulstee
Jul 26, 2018, 8:10am Top

>217 EllaTim: I only have read some poetry by Ted van Lieshout. But Gebr is waiting on the shelves, sounds like a good read to me :-)

220EllaTim
Jul 26, 2018, 6:47pm Top

>219 FAMeulstee: Yes, I think you' like it!

221Ameise1
Jul 27, 2018, 4:37am Top

Happy Friday, Ella.

222msf59
Jul 27, 2018, 7:06am Top

Happy Friday, Ella. It looks like you are back on track, with your reading. Yah! Have a great weekend.

223karenmarie
Jul 27, 2018, 8:33am Top

Hi Ella!

I love that picture of Snoopy and Linus in >214 EllaTim:. Sorry about the heat wave, looks it might start cooling down a bit for you next week.

224EllaTim
Jul 27, 2018, 12:00pm Top

>221 Ameise1: Thanks Barbara

>222 msf59: Hi Marc! Light reading today, too hot for anything heavy. Tomorrow I have to work, for the allotment, but it's going to cool down during the night. Pffff, I don't like heatwaves.

>223 karenmarie: Hi Karen, big Snoopy fan here.

Yes, it's going to cool a bit. Yesterday there was a bit of rain, we heard it fall on the roof first, and everybody came outside, happy to see it finally raining a bit. And the smell you get then!

225EllaTim
Jul 27, 2018, 5:26pm Top

46. Abeltje by Annie M. G. Schmidt (dutch) ***

This one is a mostly fun book for children around ten.

Abeltje has started his first job as a lift boy, in a new warehouse. But the lift is not behaving as expected, and Abeltje is flown off, with three visitors, to unknown and exciting destinations and adventures.

Rather nice story, but I felt it was a bit too long.
The drawings by The Tjong Khing were really nice!


226EllaTim
Aug 2, 2018, 6:45am Top

47. The long way to a small, angry planet by Becky Chambers (USA) ****

A good read, adventure in space.

No good internet access here, so just a small note of what I have finished reading. Sorry people, visiting threads is not a real option at the moment.

227FAMeulstee
Aug 2, 2018, 9:36am Top

>225 EllaTim: Thé Tjong Khing is a very good illustrator :-)

>226 EllaTim: I hope you can keep a bit cool at the alotment. Keeping cool is more important than visiting the threads!

228EllaTim
Aug 6, 2018, 3:43pm Top

Hi Anita! Well, today was a hot day. And I have to do stuff as well. But I did have time to read.

48. A closed and common orbit by Becky Chambers (USA) ****

This one kept me reading, it was even better than the first in this series.

49. We were eight years in power: An American Tragedy by Ta-Nehisi Coates ****1/2

A series of essays, written during the presidency of Obama, and shortly after. Very good, enlightening, but also depressing. The last essay is about the rise of Trump, and of course this is not fun to read. White supremacy. Coates shows that racism is not just racism, but has everything to do with a power structure, where black people are at the bottom, and all white people profit from this.
How much has changed, and has it changed for the better? I can't say. I kept thinking, that well Obama was the first black president, it has got to mean something...But Coates isn't optimistic. The ending of the last essay totally unconvincing, after such a lot of pessimism.

229EllaTim
Edited: Aug 9, 2018, 7:56am Top

Reading now, audiobook from the library

Kwartet by Anna Enquist



Again a book where music has a prominent part. To the background of Amsterdam. So far very enjoyable.

I'm dealing with a riddle, I have reserved a book from the library. According to the catalogue there are maybe ten copies of it, but all where lent out, when I looked. It's weeks ago, but still no book is showing up. All are either unavailable or reserved. Is it that good?

It's this one:
Het achtste leven (voor Brilka) / Nino Haratischwili

230The_Hibernator
Aug 9, 2018, 2:36pm Top

>193 EllaTim: I've been meaning to read that book.

231EllaTim
Aug 9, 2018, 6:52pm Top

Hi Rachel! I'm thinking the same thing all the time on people's threads, or variations on it. So many books!

232EllaTim
Aug 10, 2018, 7:20am Top

It's my birthday today. We're making a nice day of it, depending on what the weather looks like. Probably a visit to a garden centre.

I've decided that I want to contribute to a tree planting project, CO2 compensation or something like that. All the news about climate change and forests burning down has made me feel so bad.

I'm investigating options. The Dutch bird protection society is doing a tree planting and protection project in Africa. That means bird protection, those trees provide necessary habitat for our birds. A goal of helping people there. And tree planting.

Their site is in Dutch, but this UK site explains what they do:
https://www.treeaid.org.uk/

233jessibud2
Aug 10, 2018, 7:23am Top

Happy birthday, Ella! And so lovely that you are giving a birthday gift to the world! Good for you; we should all take an example from you.

234FAMeulstee
Aug 10, 2018, 8:39am Top

Gefeliciteerd met je verjaardag, Els, maak er een fijne dag van!

235norabelle414
Aug 10, 2018, 10:21am Top

Happy birthday!!

236jnwelch
Aug 10, 2018, 1:57pm Top



Happy Birthday, Ella!

237figsfromthistle
Aug 10, 2018, 10:12pm Top

Wishing you a wonderful birthday!!!!

238EllaTim
Aug 11, 2018, 7:15am Top

>233 jessibud2: Thanks Shelley! It's the first time I decided to do something like that and it has made me feel good all day:-)

>234 FAMeulstee: Dank je Anita!

>235 norabelle414: >236 jnwelch: >237 figsfromthistle: Thanks, Nora, Joe and Anita.

We had a really nice day, with first a visit to the allotment to feed the cat, and pick some apples. And then a walk at a nearby nature estate. With coffee and cake, to celebrate.

I took some pictures, as I have a new phone, but I don't know how to upload them yet. My sister gave me her 'old' android phone, as she preferred an iPhone after all. But I'm very happy with it, I had finally decided to buy a real smartphone, and here it is! Thanks, sis.

239FAMeulstee
Aug 11, 2018, 6:42pm Top

>238 EllaTim: So now I am the last one without a smartphone? ;-)

240EllaTim
Aug 11, 2018, 7:37pm Top

Well, my husband doesn't have one, nor a computer. I'm the digital nerd between the two of us. But I'm surprised you don't have a smartphone!

I had held off buying one, but I really like it now. It's a camera that's really lightweight, I had been looking for a new camera. I love the GPS function with the maps. But I'm going to watch out so as not to become hooked on it:-)

241charl08
Aug 12, 2018, 5:40am Top

Happy belated birthday - look forward to seeing the pictures.

242EllaTim
Aug 12, 2018, 6:01am Top

>241 charl08: Thanks Charlotte. Oh, I'll have to try...

243EllaTim
Edited: Aug 12, 2018, 4:26pm Top

A birthday present from a friend:

Darwin in de stad evolutie in de urban jungle by Menno Schilthuizen


244FAMeulstee
Aug 13, 2018, 2:25pm Top

>240 EllaTim: I am the computer nerd here, as I was working with computers, long time ago in my working life.
But it is my husband who has a smartphone ;-)
He needed one for his work, as they use WhatsApp for a project he is working for.
I am still content with my ancient mobile (mainly used as alarm clock) and the laptop.

245EllaTim
Edited: Aug 13, 2018, 6:33pm Top

>244 FAMeulstee: Good for you!

What I don't like is that they (the producers) try to force you to buy a new phone after just a short time. Because of lack of updates, and security issues. For the moment I don't plan on using it to pay anything.

246EllaTim
Aug 13, 2018, 6:50pm Top

50. Kwartet by Anna Enquist (Dutch, audio) ****

A lot of themes in this novel. Music, loss, old age, politics.

Four people play in an amateur string quartet together. The music is important to them. Two of them, a married couple, have lost their two sons through an accident. They are still trying to deal with their loss. The music is helping them.

Then there is their old cello teacher, who is trying to deal with getting old. Through his story, but also that of the others, we start to see that this society is different from ours, in how it deals with older people.

There is a chapter where the old man is trying to buy tickets for a concert. The troubles he meets are described in detail, and seem at the same time almost comical and painful.

An extra for me, as the story takes place in Amsterdam, is the fact that I think I recognise certain things, like the awful wooden stairs in the new music centre the old man cannot deal with.

And can he still trust people or will they betray him? Can he trust the young Muslim boy whe has volunteered to help him, or is this a ploy and will he be robbed by the boy's older brothers?

And finally there is the real criminal and the plot becomes a thriller, with a satisfying ending.

A good story, and interesting.

247berjuang
Edited: Aug 13, 2018, 7:08pm Top

This user has been removed as spam.

248EllaTim
Edited: Aug 14, 2018, 5:42am Top

Reading now:
Het achtste leven (voor Brilka) / Nino Haratischwili



It's the library book that hade me waiting such a long time. My guess is that it took everyone who had it ages to read it, as it is a major chunkster! 1275 pages!

A family story, of a Georgian family. Six generations, from the start of the 20th century till now.

I'm reading it as part of the theme read in the Reading Globally group.

249EllaTim
Aug 14, 2018, 1:26pm Top

And a new audio:

Congo by David van Reybrouck

Listened to the first chapter, fascinating history and well written.

250FAMeulstee
Aug 17, 2018, 5:12am Top

Reading two big tomes!
I added Het achtste leven to mount TBR and I have Congo on the shelves, should get to it one day.

251EllaTim
Aug 20, 2018, 4:05am Top

And still reading those same tomes. But I confess to straying off the path: I went to the allotment, and thought the big library book to heavy to take along Het achtste leven and Congo a bit intimidating, so I am now reading an eBook and listening to a shorter audio. Reports will follow.

As I can't do LT there I apologise for being absent, bit I do get some reading done!

Cucumbers, zucchini, apples. Grapes as well.
Pruning, and accidentally disturbing a wasp nest.

252streamsong
Aug 20, 2018, 9:47am Top

Hi Ella! A very belated Happy Birthday! We share August as a birthday month - mine was a few days before yours.

I love the idea of having some trees planted for your birthday.

Good review of We Were Eight Years in Power. I agree that it was a sobering book. It's interesting to read your international view of US politics.

Your allotment produce sounds wonderful. I hope the wasps didn't get you! Nasty things!

253EllaTim
Edited: Aug 21, 2018, 7:27am Top

>252 streamsong: Hi Janet, nice to see you here! So we are both Leo's are we? Did I say happy birthday to you?

I notice that I am not very well informed when it comes to US internal politics. We do follow presidential elections, and international politics, as they are very important to the rest of the world as well. So I thought those essays very interesting, trying to compare to our situation here, as we have problems with racism and discrimination as well, but with a different background.

One wasp sting, still itching but I managed to escape in time to not get hit by a swarm:-)

254EllaTim
Aug 21, 2018, 7:24am Top

I'm following a series on Dutch tv, an interview series with a number of women, feminists, politicians, philosophers. It's actually a relief, and very refreshing, to have an all-women program, it's usually male only talking heads, or a few token women.

It's called "Sign of the Times". I've already missed most as I don't watch a lot of TV. So this as a marker to myself to not forget watching all of them.

255FAMeulstee
Aug 21, 2018, 7:29am Top

Sorry to read you accidently disturbed a wasp nest, and got stung.
It looks like the heat finally will end, I welcome the cooler weather!

256karenmarie
Aug 21, 2018, 9:02am Top

Hi Ella!

A very belated Happy Birthday to you, and congrats on a SmartPhone. I have an Android device, too, and this is my 3rd smartphone. I love having one.

I'm sorry about the wasp sting and glad it was only one and not the swarm.

257EllaTim
Aug 21, 2018, 5:22pm Top

>255 FAMeulstee: Hi Anita. I could have know there was a nest somewhere, we were seeing lots of wasps, eating away at the apples and the grapes.

Yes, cooler weather, It's a relief!

>256 karenmarie: Hi Karen! I've found I can get it to count my steps, I really love that option. My husband wants do go on vacation in the Grindelwald, Switzerland. So I need to be able to walk some distance without too much complaining:-)

258EllaTim
Edited: Aug 22, 2018, 7:47pm Top

51. The song of the Quarkbeast by Jasper Fforde (UK) ***1/2

Fantasy, humor. Magic with a twist.

52. Het Water komt by Gerda van Wageningen (Dutch) ***
A novel about the storm disaster of 1953 where lots of dikes broke in the province of Zeeland. I just knew about the facts but wanted to read a novel to get a bit more insight in what had happened and what it was like for the people involved. I found this one in the audio library. Gerda van Wageningen is not an author I enjoy, but still this account seemed realistic, and gave me a bit more insight.

259msf59
Aug 22, 2018, 8:57pm Top

Happy Belated Birthday, Ella. I hope you had a great day.

I am trying to get back to my normal, work routine, after my Colorado trip. I am doing it, but I am still thinking of those majestic mountains.

260EllaTim
Aug 23, 2018, 7:17am Top

>259 msf59: Hi Marc! Thanks for the birthday wishes, i had a nice day with my hubby.
I can imagine you still thinking about those mountains, enjoy revisiting them in your mind. It must have been really special.

261EllaTim
Edited: Aug 23, 2018, 7:30am Top

53. The Gift of Rain by Tan Twan Eng (Malaysia) ***

The recipient of extraordinary acclaim from critics and the bookselling community, Tan Twan Eng's debut novel casts a powerful spell and has garnered comparisons to celebrated wartime storytellers Somerset Maugham and Graham Greene. Set during the tumult of World War II, on the lush Malayan island of Penang, The Gift of Rain tells a riveting and poignant tale about a young man caught in the tangle of wartime loyalties and deceits.

In 1939, sixteen-year-old Philip Hutton-the half-Chinese, half-English youngest
child of the head of one of Penang's great trading families-feels alienated from both the Chinese and British communities. He at last discovers a sense of belonging in his unexpected friendship with Hayato Endo, a Japanese diplomat. Philip proudly shows his new friend around his adored island, and in return Endo teaches him about Japanese language and culture and trains him in the art and discipline of aikido. But such knowledge comes at a terrible price. When the Japanese savagely invade Malaya, Philip realizes that his mentor and sensei-to whom he owes absolute loyalty-is a Japanese spy. Young Philip has been an unwitting traitor, and must now work in secret to save as many lives as possible, even as his own family is brought to its knees.


I really wanted to love this novel, but I couldn't.
The basic story is interesting, the boy Philip feeling he doesn't belong anywhere, getting too attached to his Japanese teacher.
The language is beautiful.

But
But I got thoroughly annoyed by the whole aikido thing. Swords, the adoration of them. Fighting, and descriptions of fighting. Is this macho culture? Male bonding? And the spiritual thing, I am sorry, I am a crude westerner, it didn't ring a bell for me. I would have liked the book better without those elements, though of course they must have been part of the attraction for the boy so they do belong in the book. I just don't like it.

262jnwelch
Aug 23, 2018, 9:44am Top

>261 EllaTim: Your spoiler is a great example of the personal reactions people have to books, Ella. I've been interested in martial arts since I was young, and that element suited me just fine. Maybe it is mostly a guy thing? I loved The Gift of Rain. Have you read his The Garden of Evening Mists? For me, it's even better than TGOR.

263EllaTim
Aug 23, 2018, 2:11pm Top

>262 jnwelch: Exactly Joe! I sometimes see people waiting a couple of days to write a review, but I like to write something at once. Helps me remember. So this is not a review, but my first emotional reaction.

I understand the attraction of martial arts, I did self-defence classes when I was younger. But I always saw it as a strictly defensive thing. So maybe a guy thing, I don't know.

There is a lot to think about here. For instance, the Japanese as a very cultured people still committing awful war crimes, how could they? But of course, in the end, all people are capable of committing atrocities unfortunately.

264EllaTim
Edited: Aug 26, 2018, 4:40am Top

Busy day yesterday, work at the allotment, digging over our compost heaps. We found several tiny grass snakes, grass snake eggs, and an adult. Who slithered away at high speed. They are completely harmless to humans, even the adult snakes won't hurt you, still meeting a snake unexpectedly gives you a shock!

It had been raining during the night, and there was some thunder, and in the afternoon more of the same. Very good as the soil still needs more moisture.

In the evening a concert, a full symphony orchestra made up of young music students, playing in a small church. Shostakovich 5th symfony, very impressive, to the ears as well, as all instruments get a turn, and there were four percussionists employed! But we enjoyed it a lot.

265FAMeulstee
Aug 26, 2018, 8:57am Top

>264 EllaTim: I saw some young water snakes in the local TV last week, dark with an distinct ring behind the head. Easy to see why we call them ringed snake. I have only seen a few when I was young, in the water of the Kromme Rijn. Always far enough, so I was never scared. Don't know how I would react if I saw them so close.

And a Shostakovich concert, I love his works!

266karenmarie
Aug 26, 2018, 9:06am Top

Hi Ella!

Just dropping in for a quick hello. Live music concerts are always so wonderful. I really need to check out what's on offer at the local University, my best hope of something Baroque or Classical.

267msf59
Aug 26, 2018, 9:24am Top

Happy Sunday, Ella. Sorry, to hear, that you did not enjoy The Gift of Rain. Like Joe, I loved The Garden of Evening Mists and have been wanting to read this one.

268EllaTim
Aug 27, 2018, 6:31pm Top

>265 FAMeulstee: Hi Anita. It was wonderful to be so close to a live concert, and the Shostakovitch was very impresive. I was invited, but i would like to go next year as well. This wasn't a fameus orchestra like the Concertgebouw, but the young musicians are so very enthusiastic, and they were very good.

>266 karenmarie: Hi Karen, Yes, if your local University has an orchestra or music students, it's really good to see young people perform!

>267 msf59: Hi Marc, this really is so much a matter of personal preference and tastes. I always regret not liking a book so many people here do like, but there you go, we are all different!

269EllaTim
Aug 27, 2018, 6:48pm Top

54. De Cock en het lijk in de kerstnacht (Dutch) ***1/2



The third instalment in the long series about the Amsterdam police detective Dekok, and his sidekick Vledder.

A corpse is found in a canal on Christmas Eve. Vledder has to call for DeKok's help. Who uses some rather unusual methods to solve the case.

The biggest attraction of the series is in the people, the types, like "smalle Lowietje". The atmosphere in the books, and the descriptions of Amsterdam as it used to be, very nostalgic.

This was an audiobook, works well for this book!

270EllaTim
Aug 31, 2018, 8:10am Top

55. Ja Omdenken als levenshouding by Berthold Gunster (Dutch) ****

A self-help book. Gunsters philosophy about changing one's thinking about life. It's actually very simple, but a lot harder to do. He gives lots of appealing examples, of how accepting what is, and being creative with that can be very positive, and useful to one's life.

I liked this book a lot, as he is at the same time pretty realistic, and positive and enthusiastic.

271EllaTim
Aug 31, 2018, 6:40pm Top

Fall is coming, that means we will be going to the movies from time to time.

Today we saw a new Danish movie. Den Skyldige (The Guilty) Five stars, it was very good.

Alarm dispatcher and former police officer, Asger Holm, answers an emergency call from a kidnapped woman. When the call is suddenly disconnected, the search for the woman and her kidnapper begins.

Everything happens through the lens of this alarm dispatcher, but it only serves to make the suspense bigger. A real thriller, but there's more to it than that.
Recommended!

272karenmarie
Sep 1, 2018, 10:38am Top

Hi Ella and happy Saturday to you.

>268 EllaTim: My daughter played trombone from ages 10-20. She still occasionally plays when she comes home for a visit - always upstairs by herself because she's never liked the focus to be on her. But we loved the student concerts we went to when she was in middle and high school.

273EllaTim
Sep 2, 2018, 6:22am Top

>272 karenmarie: Hi Karen and a good weekend to you too.

The trombone has a nice sound. I get that, not liking the focus on oneself. Was she in a band?

274Ameise1
Sep 2, 2018, 6:38am Top

Oh dear, I missed your birthday. I wish you a very belated happy birthday, Ella.


275EllaTim
Edited: Sep 3, 2018, 6:26pm Top

>274 Ameise1: Thank you Barbara! I like snails;-)

276EllaTim
Sep 3, 2018, 6:32pm Top

56. Just one damned thing after another by Jodi Taylor ** (UK)

I'm sorry to say this book and I just didn't get along. I suppose I'm too serious, but it got on my nerves so much that just 50 pages from the end I put it aside and declared it DNF.

277FAMeulstee
Sep 4, 2018, 11:33am Top

>276 EllaTim: I am glad that one isn't translated, Ella, so I won't read it anyhow ;-)

278EllaTim
Sep 5, 2018, 6:16pm Top

>277 FAMeulstee: And it's a whole series! But lots of people like it. Matter of taste, I don't like The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy either, I'm just not getting this kind of humor I guess;-)

279EllaTim
Sep 5, 2018, 6:38pm Top

My reading is not going well, too many different books, not enough energy, too many other stuff going on. I find myself skipping obligatory reading from other sources as well.

280FAMeulstee
Sep 6, 2018, 4:08am Top

>279 EllaTim: Sorry you feel that way, Ella, I hope you feel more energetic soon!

281EllaTim
Sep 6, 2018, 8:11am Top

Hi Anita. Thank you, I hope so too!

My husband had a hospital visit this morning, a second operation has been necessary, and this was a talk with the doctor for the results and the plan for further treatments.

The good news is that this time they got everything out. And again, he reassured us, about the type of cancer. Good doctor, understanding our worrying!

The bad, that further treatment will be necessary, as this type of cancer can come back easily. My husband will be treated with a BCG treatment, a harmless version of a tuberculosis vaccin, to stimulate his immune system. The idea is that while the immune system is busy dealing with the tuberculos it will at the same time clear out the cancer cells. Smart.

So after the stress we are going to the movies tonight, Miyazaki's last movie: The Wind Rises

282FAMeulstee
Sep 6, 2018, 10:20am Top

>281 EllaTim: Sorry to read about your husband's ongoing trouble, Ella. It is good that it is treatable, but of course you worry...
Wishing you a relaxing evening at the movie.

283EllaTim
Edited: Sep 6, 2018, 7:20pm Top

>282 FAMeulstee: Thanks Anita. I was really glad the doctor took the trouble to repeatedly reassure us. It was needed.

The movie was really nice. I had looked up some reviews, that said it was too slow, the love affair too sweet. But I loved the slow tempo, it made for relaxing viewing. It was a beautiful movie with lots of drawings of Japan before the Second World War.

Unfortunately this was a copy with only English subtitles. Difficult for my husband, but he could follow the story. It was a studio Ghibli retrospective, and next they have a Bergman retrospective programmed, and I'm afraid again all movies with English subtitles. So we'll be skipping those, his movies are filled with talk, so no way. They had The 7th Seal programmed, and I've always wanted to see that. But it's a no no. I'm thinking of contacting the theatre to protest. Will probably be useless. Yuck.

284karenmarie
Sep 10, 2018, 2:29pm Top

Hi Ella!

>273 EllaTim: To answer your question, Jenna was in middle school band for 4 years, Concert Band in HS for 2 semesters, Marching Band and football Pep band for 3 years, Jazz Band for 4 years (she was invited in as a freshman!) In college she was in a brass ensemble, a woodwinds ensemble (that also had brass, obviously), and she rang handbells for 2 semesters. Oh yes, she was also in the Pep band one semester at college.

I’m so sorry to hear about your husband’s health problems. I hope that the BCG treatment helps stimulate his immune system.

Going to the movies is always a good idea. I hope you had a good time.

I don’t understand - They had The 7th Seal programmed, and I've always wanted to see that. But it's a no no. I'm thinking of contacting the theatre to protest. Will probably be useless. Yuck.

I hope you’re settling in on some good reading.

285EllaTim
Sep 10, 2018, 6:40pm Top

>284 karenmarie: Hi Karen, what an impressive list for your daughter! It always seems like such fun to me, playing music with a group of people, I would have loved to be able to do the same.

We certainly had a good time!

I was protesting the movie theatre showing a whole program of interesting movies (Berman), with subtitles only in English. Swedish spoken movies, so you need subs. But we are Dutch, and my husband's English is not very good, and he's dyslexic. I don't understand why they choose to do so.

286EllaTim
Sep 10, 2018, 6:51pm Top

57. Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen by Lois McMaster Bujold (USA) ***

This novella is part of Bujold's Vorkosigan series. It's about the developing relationship between two older people, and the choices they have to make. What is really important in their lives?

I am a real fan of the author and I liked the Vorkosigan series a lot. In this book she is clearly still the same wonderful writer, the book is a pleasant read, because of it's calm tempo.

Still it was a bit of a disappointment mainly because she devotes so much time to flashbacks, that seem totally unnecessary to the story.

287msf59
Sep 10, 2018, 7:03pm Top

Hi, Ella. I hope you had a good weekend and got plenty of reading in. Seeing any interesting birds?

288ronincats
Sep 10, 2018, 8:05pm Top

Ella, I am finally catching up here after my prolonged absence in August due to visiting my mother in the midwest, and I see that I missed your birthday. Many belated birthday wishes for a good year. Sorry to hear about the need for continued treatment for your husband, but good that the prognosis is so positive. Too bad about the movie subtitles; hope your protest will contribute to some changes.

289EllaTim
Sep 11, 2018, 6:59pm Top

>287 msf59: Hi Marc! A nice and busy weekend. The weather was wonderful. We're not seeing lots of birds, but we did see a spectacular big insect, hornets. Twice as big as normal wasps.

>288 ronincats: Hi Roni, Thanks for the birthday wishes!

290FAMeulstee
Sep 13, 2018, 3:47pm Top

Looking forward to tomorrow! :-)

291FAMeulstee
Sep 15, 2018, 4:25am Top

It was so nice to meet you! :-)

292msf59
Sep 15, 2018, 7:54am Top

Happy Saturday, Ella! It sounds like you had a lovely Meet Up! LTers, no matter where they are from, are a wonderful bunch, right?

293EllaTim
Edited: Sep 15, 2018, 6:00pm Top

Hi Anita and Marc, Yes we had a very nice evening together. Joe and Debbi and Darryl and Frank and Anita, it was a pleasure to meet you all!

Only regret that I couldn't join Darryl and Frank visiting the Bimhuis, as I'm very interested in how they liked it.

294EllaTim
Edited: Sep 15, 2018, 6:42pm Top

58. Vox by Christina Dalcher (SF, USA) ***1/2

Interesting Science Fiction. Imagine you, as a woman, are suddenly only allowed to speak a limited number of words a day. A very limited number, only a 100 words.

This has happened somewhere in the near future in the USA. Jean, who used to have a career as a neurolinguistic scientist suddenly has to deal with this. A religious party has come in power and has decided that women should listen and not talk, stay at home and so on.

The most frightening in this novel was what happened to her family, her son who ends up as some kind of Hitlerjugend, accepting it all, and her small daughter who isn't allowed to even learn how to read. It's hard to imagine what it would be like to be unable to read, but not speaking is even worse. What would it do to a small child to grow up like that?

I guess I liked the idea better than the story in itself.

295FAMeulstee
Sep 15, 2018, 6:19pm Top

>293 EllaTim: Darryl did put his impressions on Facebook, Ella.
I think he will put some of his thoughts on his thread here, when he has time to do so.

296EllaTim
Sep 15, 2018, 6:36pm Top

Hi Anita! I'm not very familiar with how Facebook works. Will I be able to find his thread?

297FAMeulstee
Sep 15, 2018, 6:45pm Top

You can see the FB messages where Darryl (and Debbi) tagged me on my FB page. Between Debbi's pictures of Day Nine there is the picture of all of us.
To see all what Darryl posted you should send him a friend request.

298EllaTim
Sep 16, 2018, 5:28am Top

>297 FAMeulstee: Thanks Anita! Will go and try this out.

Now that I have a smartphone I can keep track of my walking. My husband wants to go to Switzerland, I want that as well, but I want to be able to walk a bit better than I can now. So the plan is to go next year, so that I have some time to improve. I've set a minimum number of steps to walk each day (just 3000 at the moment), and when I've managed that for a week, I will try for 500 steps more, the next week. This trouble with pain when I walk has lasted for years, so I have to be careful, and not try to do too much at once.

But Switzerland is a good motivation, I'd love to see the alps, and those famous mountain meadows.

299FAMeulstee
Sep 16, 2018, 7:36am Top

>298 EllaTim: Sounds like a solid plan, Ella, each week a bit more.
I always had trouble with walking, I preferred the bike. Turned out to be related to my thyroid as well, as I do like it now.

300Ameise1
Sep 16, 2018, 4:04pm Top

Did I hear Switzerland? Sounds great.
I saw on FB that you had a gorgeous meet-up. I hope there will be a possibility to meet you in Switzerland.

301EllaTim
Sep 16, 2018, 7:51pm Top

>299 FAMeulstee: Such a lot of impact this thyroid has! It's good that you like to walk now. I used to like walking but I have back problems, and it results in pain when I walk. But last summer I had a really good physical therapist who has helped me a lot. So I'm improving:-)

>300 Ameise1: Hi Barbara! Dreams and plans, but we would love to go. My husband has been to Grindelwald in 1975, so long ago, and he still talks about it from time to time:-)

Would be really nice to see you!

302EllaTim
Edited: Sep 16, 2018, 8:16pm Top

We went to the movies tonight, and saw BlackkKlansman by director Spike Lee. It was really worth while.

A black policeman manages to contact the local KKK by telephone. He goes undercover, but of course he can't do it himself, so one of his white colleagues impersonates him. It was based on a book after a real story.

The movie is not a complete success in my opinion, I thought it was a bit too long, and Spike Lee is pushing his message a bit much, but it is still a good movie, it's quite a feat to get people laughing while dealing with such a difficult subject. The music was wonderful.

We bought a pass, and now have unlimited access to a number of movie theatres, for the price of two tickets a month! What a treat.

303EllaTim
Edited: Sep 18, 2018, 7:32am Top

59 Wij weten niets van hun lot by Bart van der Boom (Dutch, non-fiction)

Dutch historian Bart van der Boom tries to answer the questions about what (Dutch and Dutch-Jewish) people knew of the holocaust during the Second World War. He does this by analysing a series of diaries, that different people wrote at that time.

The result is interesting, for everybody who has wondered why people didn't resist more. It seems, knowing what we know now, nearly impossible to understand. Van der Boom argues very convincingly in this book that the problem was that people didn't really know what was going to happen. Facts had been hidden by the Nazis. Good information was scarce. There were horror stories, and rumours, but those could be wrong, and people were skeptical about what they heard. So people tended to be more optimistic than in reality was justified, although at the same time they realised that the stories the Germans spread, that it was just going to a work camp, couldn't were right.

The book gives a good impression of the general reaction, the thoughts and feelings about the measures the Germans were taking against the Jewish population. Nearly all sources rejected what happened, but people didn't know what to do, and were afraid of making things worse.

Most impressive was the chapter where Van der Boom cites a number of diaries more extensively. You get an impression of the people who wrote the diaries, their thoughts and feelings. It's shocking and sad to read what happened to them, or their friends and relatives. Because you have got to know them as individuals, they came much more alive to me than just the numbers that are given, however impressive those numbers are.

It somehow doesn't feel right for me to give this book a score, but I feel it gave me a lot to think about and it gives a clearer view of the backgrounds. For example, the importance of access to good information.

304msf59
Sep 18, 2018, 6:41am Top

Hi, Ella. I hope your week is off to a good start. Glad you liked BlackkKlansman. I want to see that one too, although Lee's work has been uneven over the years.

305EllaTim
Sep 18, 2018, 7:29am Top

Hi, Marc! Nice to see you. There's enough to like in BlackkKlansman to recommend to go see it. This was my first Spike Lee, so I can't compare. It is maybe a bit uneven in itself, but I would love to hear your view.

306kidzdoc
Sep 20, 2018, 4:16am Top

Hi, Ella! It was great to meet you on Friday, and I hope that we can get together during my future visits to the Netherlands. In addition to Anita & Frank I'm developing good friendships with Connie (connie53) and Sanne (ennas), both of whom I've met previously, and there are several other Dutch LTers who I met two years ago during a group meet up in Leiden, so I'll do my best to visit NL at least once a year.

I'll send you a PM regarding my Facebook account, and how to link to it.

I did post photos on my thread from Friday's meet up. The performance that Frank & I saw by Ikarai at Bimhuis was inventive and very entertaining; we both loved it. Fortunately the group will perform Muhammad several more times in NL; their web page has a link to the dates and locations of these concerts. I'd love to hear what you think of it if you decide to see it.

I'm glad that you liked BlackkKlansman. I missed seeing it earlier this summer, but my local art cinema in Midtown Atlanta is still showing it, so I'll catch it either this weekend or sometime next week, if my work schedule allows it.

The book by Bart van der Boom sounds very interesting, and possibly applicable to the current political environment in the United States.

307EllaTim
Sep 20, 2018, 1:13pm Top

>306 kidzdoc: Hi Darryl! It was certainly nice to meet you, and Joe and Debbi.

Thanks for the link, It's nice to see some more pictures of your visit to Engeland as well.

I hope you'll like Blackkklansman.

Yes, the book by Van der Boom was interesting, I think it's very generally applicable!

308EllaTim
Sep 20, 2018, 1:17pm Top

We're spending some days on the island of Texel, to the north of Holland. Birding. On the way we already saw some harriers, lapwings, geese.

And then some birds that could have been phalaropes, and it turns out my husband has forgotten to pack the telescope, aaah. Can I count some could-possibly-be Rednecked Phalaropes? And those waders are so difficult, anyway!

Now sitting in our room here, listening to the wind through the trees, real nice.

309karenmarie
Sep 23, 2018, 12:01pm Top

Hi Ella!

>303 EllaTim: Very good review.

>308 EllaTim: Rednecked Phalaropes - I looked them up and wish we had them here in my part of the US.

310EllaTim
Edited: Sep 23, 2018, 2:23pm Top

>309 karenmarie: Hi Karen!

Thank you! It took me some time to write this one.

The phalaropes are beautiful, aren't they? I have never seen one either, they are migratory birds here.

We had a good weekend on Texel, lots of wind, sun, showers and wind again. But I don't mind that. Friday we went to a nature centre, Ecomare, where we saw young seals. The seals breed in May and June. sometimes people find young ones that aren't doing well, they are left by their mothers. People bring them to Ecomare where they are raised. They now had eleven of those young ones, not babies anymore but so adorably cute. Still, they get fed three times a day, and at each feeding they eat seven herrings a seal, talk about appetites.

Very good diner at the beach, Bries20.

Saturday we did a tour of the island. We had bought a small booklet, for birders. A list of birding areas, viewpoints, and of birds. Wonderful of course. So we went from viewpoint to viewpoint and didn't manage half of them. But lots of them were not accessible, as the government is working on the dikes. But it would have been too much for one day anyway.

Among the birds we saw, were lapwings, and curlews, and spoonbills.



Today it has been raining all day, a chilly day.

311EllaTim
Sep 24, 2018, 4:11pm Top

A DNF. I had to return Het achtste leven by Nino Haratischwili to the library. Couldn't renew it, because another reader had requested it. But I didn't mind too much. It was a chunkster, but it didn't hold my attention. And wrestling your way through 700 pages, no that didn't feel like a good idea.

Oh well, it happens.

312EllaTim
Edited: Sep 24, 2018, 4:31pm Top

60. The Cuckoo's calling by Robert Galbraith (UK) ***1/2

The first detective by Robert Galbraith, or JK Rowling. I must be one of the last people reading. I loved Harry Potter so much, that I thought a detective could only be disappointing. So, best advice is to just forget about HP, at all.

As such, this is a solid read. A good story, interesting protagonist. I will certainly read the next book in the series. I won't be writing a review though, not necessary I think.

313Berly
Sep 25, 2018, 1:56am Top

Hi there! So jealous of your meet-up...sounds like great fun.

>312 EllaTim: I need to get my hands on the latest Cormoran Strike, #4. I have very much enjoyed them and, yeah, you kinda have to forget about the whole Harry Potter thing. They are COMPLETELY different!

Good luck with the walking.

314FAMeulstee
Sep 25, 2018, 4:11pm Top

>308 EllaTim: >310 EllaTim: Glad you had a good time on Texel, Ella, it is a beautiful island!
I didn't know they were still rescueing seals, I thought the population was considered large and strong enough a few years back?
Looks like you saw a lot of special birds, I like the spoonbills, have only seen a few of them in my life.

Might be time for a next thread, as it takes a long time to load now.

315EllaTim
Sep 26, 2018, 6:13pm Top

>313 Berly: Hi Kim, I went so fast to make a new thread that I forgot to answer you. You're not the only one to enjoy Cormoran Strike, I'm reading lots of enthusiasm in the threads here.

Thanks, I'm keeping my goal in mind for the necessary motivation. 3605 steps yesterday.

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