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MissWatson ROOTs less ambitiously in 2020


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Edited: Jan 3, 12:20pm Top

Hi, I'm Birgit and live on the Baltic Sea in Germany.

Last year I almost missed my goal because I got distracted by so many new books. This year I hope to read 50 books from my giant TBR. Everything I owned before January 2nd will count as a ROOT.

The ticker:

Edited: Today, 9:45am Top

And the list of books read:

1. Tod in der Speicherstadt by Anja Marschall
2. Der nasse Fisch by Volker Kutscher
3. Der Herr aus San Francisco by Ivan Bunin
4. Whose body? by Dorothy L. Sayers
5. Blutsbrüder by Ernst Haffner
6. A very pukka murder by Arjun Raj Gaind
7. Breaking news by Alan Rusbridger
8. Le jour d'avant by Sorj Chalandon

9. Astérix et la Transitalique by Ferri/Conrad
10. Clouds of witness by Dorothy L. Sayers
11. Le Rouge et le Noir by Stendhal
12. Reise nach Arabien by Thorkild Hansen
13. The Strangler Vine by M.J. Carter
14. Das kunstseidene Mädchen by Irmgard Keun

15. Un crime en Hollande by Georges Simenon
16. L'écluse N° 1 by Georges Simenon
17. Die Herrscher Sachsens by Frank-Lothar Kroll
18. Unnatural death by Dorothy Sayers
19. Astérix le gaulois by Gosciny and Uderzo
20. Astérix aux jeux olympiques by Goscinny and Uderzo

21. Little women by Louisa May Alcott
22. Die seltene Gabe by Andreas Eschbach

Jan 2, 1:36pm Top

Happy New Year and happy reading Birgit!

Jan 2, 1:40pm Top

Good to see you back, Birgit. How was your vacation at your sisters? I hope it was great.

Happy ROOTing in 2020.

Jan 2, 2:12pm Top

Happy new year Brigit.

Did you want to add 24240 to the group target?

Jan 2, 2:20pm Top


Jan 2, 2:36pm Top

Hi Birgit, welcome back - I hope you had a good break.

Jan 2, 3:13pm Top

Happy New Year and I hope your ROOTing is successful!

Jan 2, 5:19pm Top

Happy new year, Birgit, and good luck with your goal. Look forward to seeing what's on your list for 2020.

Jan 2, 8:18pm Top

Welcome back and have a great reading year!

Jan 3, 12:59am Top

Good luck with your ROOTing, Birgit!

Jan 3, 3:50am Top

Happy ROOTing, Birgit

Jan 3, 12:16pm Top

Visitors, how lovely! Thanks for dropping in!

>3 Miss_Moneypenny: Thanks!
>4 connie53: Hi Connie! We had a lovely time, mostly cuddling up with her cat who just loves to lie down on people's legs.
>5 si: Good grief, no! How did that happen? Thanks for pointing it out!
>7 Jackie_K: Hi Jackie, yes, Christmas without snow looks odd vbut it was welcome not to have shoveling to do.
>8 Sace: Thanks, I'll need that. The year is barely two days old and I have already bought some new books...
>9 floremolla: Hello Donna! I am fully determined to make a sizable dent in the TBR.
>10 rabbitprincess: Thanks, rp, I'm expecting a few book bullets from you!
>11 Familyhistorian: Thanks Meg, and the same to you.
>12 Robertgreaves: Hi Robert!

Jan 3, 12:21pm Top

And the ticker is fixed. Now I am off to read a ROOT.

Jan 4, 3:33pm Top

>Now I am off to read a ROOT
Ah what a happy thing! Cheers to a great 2020 and many ROOTs!

Jan 5, 6:33pm Top

Happy New Year a bit late and many happy hours of reading!

Jan 5, 6:35pm Top

Happy New Year and good luck with the ROOTing!

Jan 6, 11:27am Top

>16 enemyanniemae: >17 majkia: Thanks and the same to you!

Jan 6, 11:33am Top

ROOT #1: Tod in der Speicherstadt

This is a historical mystery set in Hamburg's warehousing district in 1896. It's the thrid book about Hauke Sötje, a former merchant navy captain now serving with the police in Kiel, but a mysterious death aboard a coffee smuggling boat takes him to Hamburg and the recently-built freeport and warehousing district, where both he and the reader learn a lot about coffee trading and snooty Hamburg merchants moaning about interfering police. Sötje is offered a job in Hamburg at the end, and I hope there will be more books.

Jan 11, 10:16am Top

ROOT #2: Der nasse Fisch by Volker Kutscher

Another historical mystery, this time we're in Berlin in 1929. There was much hype about the series when it was first published, and then again when it was made into a TV series, and I tend to avoid such books. But it turned up in Hugendubel's remainders bins and I was curious to see what the fuss was all about. It is quite decent, well-researched, competently written, and very much grey on grey instead of black and white, especially where the police officers are concerned. I'll read the next books, too, but won't keep them. They can be easily found again if the need for a re-read should arise.

Jan 12, 3:12pm Top

Just checking in here and wishing you a fun year of ROOTing. Looks like you are off to a good start heading toward your fifty books goal.

Jan 13, 5:20am Top

>21 This-n-That: Thanks, and the same to you!

Jan 13, 5:27am Top

ROOT #3: Der Herr aus San Francisco by Ivan Bunin

This is a small bilingual booklet containing Bunin's best-known story which I read to practise my long-neglected Russian. This required a lot of concentration, as Bunin makes full use of Russian's complicated grammar, stringing long sentences across half the page by adding one participle after the other. Little dialogue, lots of detailed descriptions and an unusual topic: a rich American visits Europe with his wife and daughter and never gets beyond Capri.
I've owned this for decades and it fell apart during reading, so off to the bin. But I'll probably replace it sometime if I can find a collection of his stories.

Jan 14, 4:27am Top

ROOT #4: Whose body? by Dorothy L. Sayers

This was a re-read for a group read and every bit as wonderful as the first, second etc time. I cannot imagine ever parting with the series.

Jan 16, 3:53am Top

ROOT #5: Blutsbrüder by Ernst Haffner

I picked this as a complement to Der nasse Fisch, to see what the situation in Berlin was like as seen by a contemporary. The author worked as a journalist and social worker, apparently, and it shows in his reportage-like writing style and his close knowledge of the life that these abandoned or runaway youngsters lead. It is a bleak book, and there's also anger at the way the adults fail the next generation.

Jan 20, 11:59pm Top

Wow. Just Wow. Anyway, welcome back, and good look with the ROOTing.

Jan 21, 6:39am Top

>26 LoraShouse: Thank you. *blushes*

Jan 21, 6:41am Top

ROOT #6: A very pukka murder by Arjun Raj Gaind

A historical mystery set in India in 1909 and one of the worst I have ever read. I am happy to throw this in the bin, would not dream of inflicting it on another reader.

Jan 21, 12:31pm Top

>28 MissWatson: Ohhh, that sounds horrible!

Jan 22, 4:29am Top

>29 connie53: It is strange how some books can rub me just the wrong way, and I get angry about the time I wasted. And other times I simply forget them.

Jan 22, 10:40am Top

Oh my! Already up to 5! I hope you didn't bother finishing #5! I have to confess I am delighted these days when I loathe a book.

Jan 23, 11:00am Top

>31 sibylline: No, I slogged on until the end because I wanted to know who did it. I'm a masochist at heart.

Jan 31, 6:31am Top

ROOT #7: Breaking news by Alan Rusbridger

This was a spontaneous buy and such a fascinating book. The former editor looks back on the changes his paper, the Guardian, and journalism in general suffered while he was editor. It partly coincided with the time I read the Guardian at work, and it brought back memories. Plus all those disturbing developments in social media...

Feb 1, 8:52am Top

ROOT #8: Le jour d'avant by Sorj Chalandon

I read this for a small group organised by one of the French teachers at our adult education organisation. A very strange book, it sets out as a man telling the story of his brother who died in a mining accident and his mission to seek vengeance, and then, during his trial for attempted murder of a former formean at the mine, everything is stood on its head. If it hadn't been for this turn, it would have been a great read, but this just didn't work for me.

So, eight ROOTs this month! Not bad.

Feb 3, 5:08am Top

ROOT #9: Astérix et la Transitalique by Ferri/Conrad

The usual fun with our intrepid Gauls entering a chariot race from Monza to Naples. I bought this in Normandy in 2018 and cannot think why I didn't read it immediately.

Feb 4, 4:22am Top

>34 MissWatson: Not bad at all! Nice job, Birgit!

Feb 4, 6:17am Top

>36 connie53: Thanks, Connie!

Feb 5, 3:16pm Top

>34 MissWatson: Wow! Good job!

Feb 6, 3:19am Top

Feb 16, 7:57am Top

ROOT #10: Clouds of witness by Dorothy L. Sayers

I'm still slogging through Le rouge et le noir, and at the halfway point decided that I needed a respite, so I re-read an old favourite. Wimsey never disappoints.

Also, I have been busier than usual at work, a three day bus strike meant a 45 minute walk to work, all of which ate into my reading time. And today we're under a second stormfront, the wind is howling and it's raining buckets. The North Sea islands suffered lots of sand loss on the beaches, and now the sea is eating at them again...

Feb 16, 8:47am Top

Here it's storming too. Not as bad as last weekend. But some of the winds are very heavy. No rain yet.

Feb 16, 8:55am Top

I wonder if you're getting the edge of the storm that has been battering us this weekend? In Scotland we had very heavy rain yesterday, and heavy winds today.

Feb 16, 2:22pm Top

Happy Thingaversy, Birgit.

Feb 17, 4:06am Top

>41 connie53: I hope your garden dodn't suffer too much?
>42 Jackie_K: Yes, but this time we only caught a thin edge of it.
>43 connie53: Thanks, Connie!

Feb 17, 9:38am Top

>42 Jackie_K: >44 MissWatson: Canadian astronaut and national treasure Chris Hadfield tweeted this amazing picture of what I am presuming is the storm you all had; the cloud stretches from Florida all the way to Europe!

Feb 17, 9:53am Top

>45 rabbitprincess: Wow, that's something else! I don't think that's what we are experiencing as it is too far south - but you can see the swirly eye of the storm to the north-west of the UK in that photo.

Feb 17, 10:32am Top

>45 rabbitprincess: >46 Jackie_K: I'm cold just looking at it.

Feb 18, 3:37am Top

>44 MissWatson: No, It did not. We just lost a few small branches, but not much damage done. I removed all decorative things from the garden-table and a side table, pots and candles. So we were prepared for Ciara, Dennis and Ellen is coming next weekend.

Feb 18, 7:59am Top

>48 connie53: Yes, I brought in the chairs from my balcony. Everything else is safe, just one flower lost a blossom. I should have kept it inside, of course.

Feb 18, 11:10am Top

I follow an EU weather site on Twitter, what a series of storms! Wishing for everyone's continued safety.

Feb 18, 11:20am Top

>50 detailmuse: Yes, we're getting a bit of a battering! Large parts of Wales, parts of England and the Scottish borders are dealing with a lot of flooding, it's awful to see.

Feb 18, 1:49pm Top

>51 Jackie_K: I saw that on the news yesterday. I hope you will stay safe, Jackie.

Feb 18, 2:39pm Top

>40 MissWatson: I hope the buses were running by the time the storm hit!

Feb 19, 3:19am Top

>50 detailmuse: My neck of the woods usually gets off lightly, but the West coast was hit hard.
>51 Jackie_K: >52 connie53: I hope you're safe, Jackie!
>52 connie53: Yes, they were. It's a good thing that I have everything I need within a short walking distance, just work is a bit further.

Feb 19, 8:12am Top

>52 connie53: >54 MissWatson: I'm absolutely fine here, thank you, there is no serious (or even trivial) flooding anywhere near me - one of my big fears is flooding, so whenever we move house I always make sure we're not in a very low-lying area. The pictures of flooding in some parts of the UK though just look horrific. And we've more rain forecast for the end of the week...

Feb 20, 3:52am Top

>55 Jackie_K: Good to know.

Feb 23, 8:37am Top

ROOT #11: Le Rouge et le Noir by Stendhal

I have finished it and I still haven't figures out what Stendhal is trying to tell us here. I guess I need to read more French history.

Feb 26, 4:15am Top

ROOT #12: Reise nach Arabien by Thorkild Hansen

This is an account of a scientific expedition to the Yemen, sent out by the Danish king in 1761. Only one of the five men returned, and he had a hard time getting the results published. The whole expedition had been pretty much forgotten by the time Hansen published it in 1961. Yet for all the melancholy pervading the telling of the tale, it is strangely uplifting to read about Carsten Niebuhr, his dedication to his work, his curiosity about the world and its people, his perseverance, and most of all his findings: he first surveyed the pyramids accurately, drew a map of the Yemen used by later explorers, surveyed Persepolis and copied reams and reams of cuneiform inscriptions there that allowed others to decipher them. Among many, many other things...

Feb 28, 4:33am Top

ROOT #13: The Strangler Vine by M. J. Carter

This is a historical mystery set in India in 1837, and for the first hundred pages or so I seriously considered ditching it. Young men doing stupid things for the wrong reasons are not my favourite type of hero, especially if they do a first person narrative. But then we arrived in Jubbulpore, the heart of Thuggee (or not?) and things improved in leaps and bounds. I'm looking forward to the next book!

Mar 1, 8:53am Top

ROOT #14: Das kunstseidene Mädchen by Irmgard Keun

I finished this on the last day of February and don't quite see why it features on so many books you should read lists.

Edited: Mar 8, 11:37am Top

ROOT #15: Un crime en Hollande by Georges Simenon

A man has been murdered in Delfzijl, a small town on the Ems estuary, and the main suspect is a Frenchman, so Maigret is sent to assist with the investigation. Not having a word of Dutch is no obstacle to solving the case. It's an odd story, as if Maigret is not the only fish out of water, but his author, too.

Mar 7, 3:37am Top

>61 MissWatson: Hi Birgit. 15 ROOTS! Wow. Good job! BTW: it's Delfzijl ;-)

Edited: Mar 8, 11:38am Top

>63 MissWatson: Hi Connie! Ah, sorry about the typo! Corrected now. Most of the ROOts so far have been short ones. Simenon rarely needs more than 200 pages for his cases.

Mar 8, 11:40am Top

ROOT #16: L'écluse N° 1 by Georges Simenon

Another early Maigret, again set on the canals. I found many at the fleamarket, and by some strange coincidence most of them belong to the first series of Maigret, which he wrote in the early thirties.

Mar 14, 5:56pm Top

ROOT #17: Die Herrscher Sachsens by Frank-Lothar Kroll

Every ruler (margarve, elector and king) of Saxony presented in a short biography. Nice reminder of the lesser-known bits of German history.

Edited: Mar 16, 2:16pm Top

ROOT #18: Unnatural death by Dorothy Sayers

Always enjoyable. I may have to get another edition, though, in my NEL copy are far too many typos and missing lines.


Mar 26, 8:09am Top

ROOT #19 and 20: Astérix le gaulois and Astérix aux jeux olympiques

I was sad to hear the news of Uderzo's passing and fished two from the shelves to indulge in a little nostalgia.

Mar 29, 6:41am Top

One of the stranger side effects of the current situation is that I have inspected my larder and found a couple of things where I cannot recall how the found their way into my shopping cart. Pasta made from red lentils, for one thing. Must have been one of those "lower your carbohydrate consumption" advice columns. So I finally gave them a try. No. Not again. I'd rather have proper lentils.

But it seems a good time to tackle the cookbooks again. I bought a cauliflower at the market yesterday and I have this cookbook just for cauli...

Mar 29, 9:16am Top

>68 MissWatson: I hope you can find proper lentils! We haven't been able to find any for two weeks.

Have fun tackling the cookbooks! I like reading about the recipes you try :)

Mar 29, 12:48pm Top

We came to a similar conclusion when we tried red lentil pasta last year. Alright if you haven't got anything else in, but not something we'd choose to buy again!

Mar 30, 11:25am Top

>69 rabbitprincess: Oh, lentils are something I always have in the kitchen. And I can never resist a special offer, so 2 kgs should last me some weeks. Here in Kiel, oats have run out.

>70 Jackie_K: Yes, real pasta is so much better, and it is a good thing that I've got several kgs in my larder (all those different shapes!) because they have been sold out several times at my nearest supermarket. People are so weird.

And a short update on the cauliflower: it was cooked Indian style with basmati and roasted cashew nuts, flavoured with cloves, bay leaf, garam masala, cardamom, cinnamon stick and star anise, cooked as a biryani. Very yummy, and a keeper.

Mar 30, 2:11pm Top

>71 MissWatson: That sounds yummy! I love Indian food. May have to suggest that to my other half, who does our cooking :)

Mar 31, 4:03am Top

>72 rabbitprincess: I love Indian cooking for the vegetables.

Apr 2, 10:13am Top

ROOT #21: Little women by Louisa May Alcott

I have owned this for ages, a mass market paperback printed in 1966, and finally got round to it, thanks to the Reading Through Time group. Very charming, but alas, the book broke in half and lost quite a few pages during reading, so it goes into the bin.

Apr 2, 11:20pm Top

I'm sorry you didn't get a chance to finish Little Women. It lasted a good long while though. 54 years is nothing to sneeze at. HOpe you can find it somewhere so you will get to finish it. I loved it.

Yesterday, 6:57am Top

>75 enemyanniemae: Well, when I reached the end of the first part, I suddenly had two halves of a book – but the pages immediately before and after the break only came loose after I had read them, so nothing missing from the plot. And there's always the ebook option, as it is in the public domain by now.

Today, 9:48am Top

ROOT #22: Die seltene Gabe by Andreas Eschbach

A thriller for young adults, with a telekinetic youngster on the run from sinister government agents. Thoroughly exciting.


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