MissWatson ROOTs less ambitiously in 2020
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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
Good to see you back, Birgit. How was your vacation at your sisters? I hope it was great.
Happy ROOTing in 2020.
Happy new year, Birgit, and good luck with your goal. Look forward to seeing what's on your list for 2020.
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!
>Now I am off to read a ROOT
Ah what a happy thing! Cheers to a great 2020 and many ROOTs!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
>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.
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.
>31 sibylline: No, I slogged on until the end because I wanted to know who did it. I'm a masochist at heart.
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...
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.
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.
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...
Here it's storming too. Not as bad as last weekend. But some of the winds are very heavy. No rain yet.
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.
>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!
>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.
>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.
>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.
I follow an EU weather site on Twitter, what a series of storms! Wishing for everyone's continued safety.
>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.
>51 Jackie_K: I saw that on the news yesterday. I hope you will stay safe, Jackie.
>40 MissWatson: I hope the buses were running by the time the storm hit!
>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...
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.
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...
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!
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.
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.
>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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
>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 :)
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!
>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.
>71 MissWatson: That sounds yummy! I love Indian food. May have to suggest that to my other half, who does our cooking :)
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.
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.
>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.
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