Thursday, 31 December 2015

Happy New Year

A Happy New Year 
to all my friends and readers

In Germany, it's tradition to watch a wonderful sketch (in English) and thereby saying good-bye to the old year. If you want to laugh a little, watch this video:


Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Kerkeling, Hape "I'm off then"


Kerkeling, Hape "I'm off then: Losing and Finding Myself on the Camino de Santiago" (German: Ich bin dann mal weg. Meine Reise auf dem Jakobsweg) - 2006

I am Catholic. But I would have never even thought about doing a pilgrimage and certainly not one like this one, described by a German comedian. Yes, true, a comedian who makes the Camino de Santiago. And not just the last 100 kilometres but the whole way from the French border, 800 kilometres entirely.

Why did I pick up this book? It is a very popular book in Germany and a lot of people have been talking about it. But mainly, I love the author, he is one of the funniest guys alive, one of the best German comedians. I know, a lot of my foreign friends will say "German comedian?" Isn't that a contradiction in terms. But believe me, if only you would understand him, you'd laugh just as much as all his fans.

Personally, I know quite a few people who have undertaken the pilgrimage after reading the book, or after seeing other people who had read the book doing it. So, on the whole, he did a great job, is probably one of their best promoters.

But even if you're not Catholic or German, this is a fantastic book. It tells us about what we can achieve. I know I would never be able to achieve what Hape (Hans-Peter) Kerkeling did, wouldn't have the time to do it all in one go, for example, but he gives us hope, he describes a fantastic journey through a very interesting part of our continent, tells us about friendships he made along the way and how he had to fight with a big enemy - himself. And since the book has been translated into several languages in the meantime, there is no reason why you shouldn't start it. (I just hope the translations are good.) I will certainly look out for more books by one of my favourite comedians.

From the back cover: "I'm Off Then has sold more than three million copies in Germany and has been translated into eleven languages. The number of pilgrims along the Camino has increased by 20 percent since the book was published. Hape Kerkeling's spiritual journey has struck a chord.

Overweight, overworked, and disenchanted, Kerkeling was an unlikely candidate to make the arduous pilgrimage across the Pyrenees to the Spanish shrine of St. James, a 1,200-year-old journey undertaken by nearly 100,000 people every year. But he decided to get off the couch and do it anyway. Lonely and searching for meaning along the way, he began the journal that turned into this utterly frank, engaging book. Filled with unforgettable characters, historic landscapes, and Kerkeling's self-deprecating humour,
I'm Off Then is an inspiring travelogue, a publishing phenomenon, and a spiritual journey unlike any other."

Friday, 25 December 2015

Merry Christmas



"Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas ... perhaps ... means a little bit more!" Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas! 

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ Merry Christmas to all my Reading Friends ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Photo ABC

I am a member of a photo group where we get a prompt for every day and have to take an appropriate picture. Because we had the alphabet one month, I decided to do a book theme.

I always added either the link to my blog or to the books. I have decided to post a picture every week so my booky friends can enjoy them, as well.

At the end of the month, we always make a collage. Here is the one from my "book month".



I used this program for the collage: BeFunky

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Hay, Ashley "The Railwayman's Wife"


Hay, Ashley "The Railwayman's Wife" - 2013

I chose this book mainly because it was about Australia and I thought it would be nice to read one about another time than just the beginnings. It's a nice book, an interesting story but that's about it. It's an easy read which leads to the result that there is not that much depth in the novel.

Maybe if the author had given a little more thought on the feelings of the people and described them better. Or hadn't wrapped up the story so quickly. It's almost as if someone dies unexpectedly, the story just ends.

Not a bad book as such but not my type.

From the back cover: "In a small town on the land's edge, in the strange space at a war's end, a widow, a poet and a doctor each try to find their own peace, and their own new story.

In Thirroul, in 1948, people chase their dreams through the books in the railway's library. Anikka Lachlan searches for solace after her life is destroyed by a single random act. Roy McKinnon, who found poetry in the mess of war, has lost his words and his hope. Frank McKinnon is trapped by the guilt of those his treatment and care failed on their first day of freedom. All three struggle with the same question: how now to be alive.

Written in clear, shining prose and with an eloquent understanding of the human heart, The Railwayman's Wife explores the power of beginnings and endings, and how hard it can be sometimes to tell them apart. It's a story of life, loss and what comes after; of connection and separation, longing and acceptance. Most of all, it celebrates love in all its forms, and the beauty of discovering that loving someone can be as extraordinary as being loved yourself.

A story that will break your heart with hope."

There is one part of the book that I do love. Anikka Lachlan, the "Railwayman's Wife" starts working in the library and their daughter loves reading, so they talk a lot about books. Some of them are mentioned:

Brontë, Charlotte "Jane Eyre"
Conan Doyle, Arthur "The Lost World"
McKinnon, Iris "Timeless Land"

Monday, 21 December 2015

Roberts, Gregory David "Shantaram"


Roberts, Gregory David "Shantaram" - 2003

A highly interesting book that was recommended to me by several friends.

This is novel is based on the life of an Australian guy, the author Gregory David Roberts, who went to prison for armed robbery and then fled from there to start a life in India. He didn't really lead a straight life after that, he led a very interesting one. We can follow him fighting the Mujahedeen, or living in the slums and running a hospital there. In any case, there is always something going on in "Shantaram's" life. (The name was given to him by his Indian friends.) The story is gripping, highly provocative, it shows the lows and the highs of a life. It is a story about everything, love and hate, crime and punishment, the rich and the poor, the corrupt and the honest, and the meaning of life as well as its banalities. More than 900 exciting pages that you can't put down. Well, at least I couldn't.

This book will follow me forever, of that I am sure.

One of my favourite quotes:
"The world is run by one million evil men, ten million stupid men, and one hundred million cowards."
and
"There's nothing so depressing as good advice."

And one more thing. I loved how easily the protagonist picks up languages.

From the back cover: "'It took me a long time and most of the world to learn what I know about love and fate and the choices we make, but the heart of it came to me in an instant, while I was chained to a wall and being tortured.'

So begins this epic, mesmerizing first novel set in the underworld of contemporary Bombay. Shantaram is narrated by Lin, an escaped convict with a false passport who flees maximum security prison in Australia for the teeming streets of a city where he can disappear.

Accompanied by his guide and faithful friend, Prabaker, the two enter Bombay's hidden society of beggars and gangsters, prostitutes and holy men, soldiers and actors, and Indians and exiles from other countries, who seek in this remarkable place what they cannot find elsewhere.

As a hunted man without a home, family, or identity, Lin searches for love and meaning while running a clinic in one of the city's poorest slums, and serving his apprenticeship in the dark arts of the Bombay mafia. The search leads him to war, prison torture, murder, and a series of enigmatic and bloody betrayals. The keys to unlock the mysteries and intrigues that bind Lin are held by two people. The first is Khader Khan: mafia godfather, criminal-philosopher-saint, and mentor to Lin in the underworld of the Golden City. The second is Karla: elusive, dangerous, and beautiful, whose passions are driven by secrets that torment her and yet give her a terrible power.

Burning slums and five-star hotels, romantic love and prison agonies, criminal wars and Bollywood films, spiritual gurus and mujaheddin guerrillas --- this huge novel has the world of human experience in its reach, and a passionate love for India at its heart. Based on the life of the author, it is by any measure the debut of an extraordinary voice in literature."

Friday, 18 December 2015

Photo ABC

I am a member of a photo group where we get a prompt for every day and have to take an appropriate picture. Because we had the alphabet one month, I decided to do a book theme.

I always added either the link to my blog or to the books. I have decided to post a picture every week so my booky friends can enjoy them, as well.

FIVE. 


Stern, Fritz "Five Germanys I have known" (Fünf Deutschland und ein Leben. Erinnerungen) - 2006
(This book is on my TBR list.)

Monday, 14 December 2015

Patchett, Ann "The Patron Saint of Liars"


Patchett, Ann "The Patron Saint of Liars" - 1992

With my former book club, I read "The Magician's Assistant". But that was years ago and I didn't really like it very much.

So, when this book was suggested to my present book club, I was a little careful, to say the least. I was certainly not prepared to pay 30 Euros for it. But, luckily, I found an arrangement with one of the other members and therefore didn't have to buy it and could indeed read it.

I was glad I did. The story is interesting, the writing captivating, the characters are somehow mysterious but also loveable. The heroine's life is full of secrets, there are so many lies and everyone seems to know there must be lies but can live with it. An interesting life, both for the mother as well as the daughter.

There is not a lot I can see about the novel itself without revealing everything but that the family lives near a home for unmarried mothers, the daughter grows up in this environment. Having grown up in a Catholic village myself, I could relate to a lot of the problems the people in the novel had.

A good read. Looking forward to more Ann Patchett novels.

From the back cover: "'I was somewhere outside of Ludlow, California, heading due east toward Kentucky, when I realized that I would be a liar for the rest of my life.'
With these words we meet Rose Clinton, a woman in flight from her marriage and her past in flight from everything, it turns out, except the child in her womb, the girl we will know as Cecilia. Rose will ever be an alluring and mysterious woman; it is Cecilia, though, who becomes the ultimate heroine of this novel, and we watch her life with mounting wonder and apprehension.
With The Patron Saint of Liars, Ann Patchett has given us an utterly fresh novel, enchanted and enchanting. Much of its action takes place in the unlikely location of St. Elizabeth's, a home for unwed mothers, in Habit, Kentucky. St. Elizabeth's is a place of indigenous sorrow but surprising humor, a place of love and lies. It is here that Rose finds refuge and decides to keep her baby girl. Here she takes a job as a cook and makes a marriage to the stolid, generous, and infinitely melancholy groundskeeper, names Son. Thus Cecilia grows up - thinking her life, as children will, 'normal' - finding nothing strange about a mother without a history and an extended family consisting of nuns and an ever-changing collection of pregnant teenage girls.
In the end, Rose's past must be reborn. We know this, and yet we resist knowing it, fearing for its effect on Cecilia. This remarkable novel, which begins by beguiling and entertaining us, gathers deepening folds of emotion until it becomes a story about nothing less than the war in our hearts between knowledge and faith. The Patron Saint of Liars introduces a young writer of extraordinary accomplishment and wisdom.
"

The funny thing, the person who suggested the book, never returned to the book club and then there were the holidays, so we never actually discussed it.

Friday, 11 December 2015

Photo ABC

I am a member of a photo group where we get a prompt for every day and have to take an appropriate picture. Because we had the alphabet one month, I decided to do a book theme.

I always added either the link to my blog or to the books. I have decided to post a picture every week so my booky friends can enjoy them, as well.


FOUR. 



This is my blog entry for this book:
Shalev, Meir "Four Meals" (כימים אחדים aka "As a Few Days" or "The Loves of Judith") - 1994

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Happy December!

New Calendar picture with this beautiful watercolour painting by Frank Koebsch "Winter Dream"



If you would like to see more pictures by Hanka and Frank Koebsch, you can check their blog here.

Greetings to my readers

Please, excuse my long silence.

As most of you know, my father passed away last year in July, my mother followed him this year in October. She missed my father terribly and had a lot of health issues but it was quite a shock for all of us. May she rest in peace.



 
I was just not able to write anything for my blog.
 

But I will be back, I promise.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Photo ABC

I am a member of a photo group where we get a prompt for every day and have to take an appropriate picture. Because we had the alphabet one month, I decided to do a book theme.

I always added either the link to my blog or to the books. I have decided to post a picture every week so my booky friends can enjoy them, as well.

 
THREE. 



 

This is my blog entry for this book.
Mortenson, Greg & Relin, David Oliver "Three Cups of Tea,.One Man's Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time"

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Gaskell, Elizabeth "North and South"


Gaskell, Elizabeth "North and South" - 1854/55

If you've read all of Jane Austen's novels and most of those by the Brontë sisters, you must be looking for other authors. May I suggest Elizabeth Gaskell?

The author is slightly younger than Ms. Austen but was personally known to Charlotte Brontë, so a contemporary of the writing sisters. She was married to a minister herself, so another thing they had in common.

In this novel, Elizabeth Gaskell tells the story of Margaret Hale whose father leaves the ministry because he has doubts about his belief. They move from the South of England to a place in the North, from a village to a town, a lot of things change for Margaret Hale.

Whereas Jane Austen has mainly written about people of her own society, Elizabeth Gaskell tells about all the different classes, from poor to rich, from the working to the leading people.

Her style is also a lot more modern than most of the novels by Jane Austen or the Brontës, we have moved into the Victorian era. So, even if you dislike Jane Austen, you might find Elizabeth Gaskell a little easier as an introduction - and then maybe move on to JA.

In any case, her characters are real and believable. They come alive on the pages. You rejoice and fear with them. But also the story itself, the development at the time, both social as well as political, it is all highly interesting.

Certainly one of the classics I will read again.

From the back cover: "Mrs Gaskell's finest social novel is also the powerfully moving story of the developing relationship between southern-born Margaret Hale and John Thornton, the young northern mill-owner.
Margaret is compelled to move from Helstone, her beloved childhood home in the New Forest, to Darkshire in the industrial north when her father resigns his parsonage owing to religious doubt Mrs Gaskell's finest social novel is also the powerfully moving story of the developing relationship between southern-born Margaret Hale and John Thornton, the young northern mill-owner.
Margaret is compelled to move from Helstone, her beloved childhood home in the New Forest, to Darkshire in the industrial north when her father resigns his parsonage owing to religious doubts.
When she first encounters John Thornton, her father's pupil and a man in favour of the power of master over worker, she finds their views in conflict. But industrial rebellion and family tragedy cause Margaret to learn the realities of urban life and Thornton to learn humanity. Only then can a mutual understanding lead to the possibility of enduring love."

Monday, 2 November 2015

Fowler, Christopher "Hell Train"


Fowler, Christopher "Hell Train" - 2011

"Hell Train", a ghost story. Not my usual genre. But a friend asked me to read the German translation and see how it flows.

Well, it flows very well. The story is interesting, even though I wouldn't normally pick one of these. The characters, four people who happen to meet in a train, are well described, each and every one of them comes alive well. The story moves back and forth from real life into the film that is supposedly under construction. Maybe that made the whole story more believable to me even though I think most people who love horror stories could have lived without it. I did like the folk tales people were telling each other about the train, stories they had heard as children and lived with all their lives.

I haven't read the original but I would think that anyone who likes to read these kind of stories will love it.

From the back cover:
"Four passengers meet on a train journey through Eastern Europe during the First World War, and face a mystery that must be solved if they are to survive... Bizarre creatures, satanic rites, terrified passengers and the romance of travelling by train, all feature in this classically styled horror novel. As the ‘Arkangel’ races through the war-torn countryside, the passengers must find out: What is in the casket that everyone is so afraid of? What is the tragic secret of the veiled Red Countess who travels with them? Why is their fellow passenger the army brigadier so feared by his own men? And what exactly is the devilish secret of the 'Arkangel' itself?
 Imagine there was a supernatural chiller that Hammer Films never made. A grand epic produced at the studio’s peak, which played like a cross between the Dracula and Frankenstein films and Dr Terror’s House Of Horrors..."

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Happy November!


I wish everyone a good November with this beautiful beautiful watercolour painting by Frank Koebsch "Orchid Dream".


This month can only get better than the last. I was sick most of the time but the worst was that my mother passed away. She followed my father only a year and three months after his death and is in peace now.


If you would like to see more pictures by Hanka and Frank Koebsch, you can check their blog here.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Photo ABC

I am a member of a photo group where we get a prompt for every day and have to take an appropriate picture. Because we had the alphabet one month, I decided to do a book theme.

I always added either the link to my blog or to the books. I have decided to post a picture every week so my booky friends can enjoy them, as well.

TWO.


This is my blog entry for this book:
Seth, Vikram "Two Lives"

Monday, 19 October 2015

Scott, Mary "One of the Family"


Scott, Mary "One of the Family" - 1958

Another lovely book by Mary Scott. I read somewhere that it was one of her most successful ones, I have no idea why because they are all nice but here you go. I would have probably chosen another one as my favourite but this certainly is also a good one.

Yes, uncle Robert returns from England after having taught hundreds of boys in his life. He visits his niece on a remote farm, a niece he has never seen in his life. But apparently, they all get on well together and so uncle Robert stays on for a lot longer than he had intended to.

Anyway, as in most books by Mary Scott (to whom I dedicated her own blog entry here), there are a lot of wonderful people living in the backblocks and they all help each other, the good ones win in the end. I don't think I'm telling anyone any secrets. If you've read some of her books, you will know anyway.

Unfortunately, Mary Scott's books are out of print and only available second hand. I have heard in the meantime, that you can buy some of them as eBooks, like this one here.

From the back cover (translated): "Robert Macalister, teacher, childless and widowed, retires and returns to England. Because he wants to spend his old age in his native New Zealand. On the sheep farm of his niece Dora Moore.
The fact that the farm is in big trouble does not frighten him. On the contrary. He wants to help his niece. And so his planned short visit turns into a longer stay.
At the end of the first year, it turns out that Uncle Robert has stood his ground. He's just the best. For him, only one thing counts: He started a new life in old age and breached his loneliness ..."

I also happened to find an article about Mary Scott and her novels called "The New Zealand Novel".

Friday, 16 October 2015

Book Quotes of the Week



"Home is where the books are." Richard Francis Burton

"Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book. And then there are books... which you can't tell people about, books so special and rare and yours that advertising your affection feels like a betrayal. It wasn't even that the book was so good or anything; it was just that the author... seemed to understand me in weird and impossible ways." John Green, The Fault in Our Stars, 2012

[The omitted words in this quotation refer to a fictitious book and author - An Imperial Affliction by Peter Van Houten - the title of which is taken from an Emily Dickinson poem "There's a certain slant of light..." According to Green, if you want to "read" the imaginary book, read "Infinite Jest" by David Foster Wallace and "The Blood of the Lamb" by Peter De Vries and then try to blend the feeling of those two books.]

"The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go." Dr Seuss

"You know you’ve read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend." Paul Sweeney

"Let your bookcases and your shelves be your gardens and your pleasure-grounds. Pluck the fruit that grows therein, gather the roses, the spices, and the myrrh." Judah Ibn Tibbon

Find more book quotes here.

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Photo ABC

I am a member of a photo group where we get a prompt for every day and have to take an appropriate picture. Because we had the alphabet one month, I decided to do a book theme.

I always added either the link to my blog or to the books. I have decided to post a picture every week so my booky friends can enjoy them, as well.
 

ONE. 


This is my blog entry for this book:
Simmonds, Jeremy "Number One in Heaven – The heroes who died for Rock ‘n’ Roll

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Talshir, Anat "If I Forget Thee"


Talshir, Anat "If I Forget Thee" (Im Eshkahekh) - 2010

A beautiful story about a love that overcomes all obstacles, even though a lot of problems do occur anyway. This book doesn't just tell the love story of Lila and Elias, it also tells the story of Israel, of the Jewish and Palestinian inhabitants of this country's difficult history. I have read a lot of books about this particular part of the world and I always find it fascinating but this was really personal.

Of course, with a background like this, it can only be a sad love story but it is beautiful nonetheless.

A very important part in their lives is played by Nomi, a young neighbour girl who represents the new generation. We also learn a lot about life in Israel today.

Anat Talshir is a journalist who has received several awards for her investigative documentaries. This is her first novel and I hope she will write more because I would love to read more from her.

From the back cover: "Awarded the Israeli Bookseller Association's Gold Prize
In Jerusalem, in the final days of the British Mandate for Palestine, a man and a woman meet on a grandstand overlooking a parade marking the anniversary of the inauguration of King George VI. Lila Cassuto, a young Jewish woman from an impoverished family, and Elias Riani, an Arab tea merchant with a distinguished pedigree, begin a love affair. But soon war breaks out and Lila and Elias find themselves on opposite sides of a divided city that will be reunited only nineteen years later. Can their love survive the painful and turbulent years of separation and change?
The only party to the secret of their great love is Nomi, the young daughter of Lila’s friend Margo. Nomi walks through life unnoticed but noticing everyone and everything around her, and she becomes the repository for the lovers’ letters of longing, and the person to whom Elias turns with his life’s final request.
IF I FORGET THEE is an impeccably written love story set against the bitter conflict over Jerusalem. With its vivid historical context, this poignant novel resonates long after the last page."

Friday, 2 October 2015

Book Quotes of the Week


"We are the children of a technological age. We have found streamlined ways of doing much of our routine work. Printing is no longer the only way of reproducing books. Reading them, however, has not changed." Lawrence Clark Powell

"A book is to me like a hat or coat - a very uncomfortable thing until the newness has been worn off." Charles B. Fairbanks

"Reading is a discount ticket to everywhere." Elizabeth Hardwick 


"All books are either dreams or swords." Amy Lowell

"Through literacy you can begin to see the universe. Through music you can reach anybody. Between the two there is you, unstoppable." Grace Slick

Find more book quotes here.

Photo ABC

I am a member of a photo group where we get a prompt for every day and have to take an appropriate picture. Because we had the alphabet one month, I decided to do a book theme.

I always added either the link to my blog or to the books. I have decided to post a picture every week so my booky friends can enjoy them, as well.

Z is for ... Zuckerberg


I do use my Facebook and love to stay in touch with my friends that way but I also see the danger of social media.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Happy October


Another month, another beautiful picture from Frank and Hanna Koebsch's calendar. I am happy to be able to share it with you just as last month. I hope you enjoy them just as much as I do.

This one by Frank Koebsch is called "Majestic".

You can check their blog here.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Wilde, Oscar "The Picture of Dorian Gray"


Wilde, Oscar "The Picture of Dorian Gray" - 1890

I read this book many many years ago in German and always wanted to re-read it in the original. Now, I finally did it.

I love Oscar Wilde's plays, I read quite a few of them, even though I prefer watching plays. My favourite is probably "The Importance of Being Earnest"  closely followed by "A Woman of No Importance".

Having also read quite a bit about his life, especially his biography "Constance" by Franny Moyle, I cannot help but think that there is a lot about Oscar Wilde in Dorian Gray.

The novel certainly raises a lot of questions and gives everyone a lot to think about. How shallow are we really? How vain? And what would we swap for eternal beauty?

The book is full of quotes that can be thrown into any conversation and whole discussions can start around them. One of my favourites:
"But beauty, real beauty, ends where an intellectual expression begins. Intellect is in itself a mode of exaggeration, and destroys the harmony of any face."

I would certainly put this on a list of books everyone should read, a list of books I would take to a desert island, a list of books that will stay with me forever. If you haven't read it, you definitely should.

From the back cover: "When the exquisitely handsome Dorian Gray sees his portrait he dreams of remaining young forever while his painted image grows old and, in a sudden moment, he offers his soul in return for perpetual youth. While his beauty remains unblemished, the potrait begins to reflect the wildness and degredation of his soul as he surrenders to a worship of pleasure and infinite passion.
The Picture of Dorian Gray caused outrage when it was first published in 1890 and marked the onset of Oscar Wilde's own fatal reputation and eventual downfall. An evocative potrayal of London life and a powerful blast against the hypocrisies of Victorian polite society it has beconme one of Oscar Wilde's most celebrated works, full of the flamboyant wit for which he is justly renowned."

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Lawson, Mary "Road Ends"


Lawson, Mary "Road Ends" - 2013

After reading "Crow Lake" and "The Other Side of the Bridge", I was really looking forward to another Mary Lawson book. I like the author for her realistic description of the characters and their actions. Even though her former books were situated in Canada only (where I've never been), I could always connect to them. Now, this one takes place partly in London, England, as well, a place I do know quite well. So, it made it even more exciting to compare.

What an interesting story, not just about young Megan who leaves Canada for England but also and especially about the family she leaves behind, her father, brother, but mostly her mother. A story about mental illness in a time where that was such a taboo, people wouldn't acknowledge it anywhere.

I always love novels narrated by several different characters and this is just one like this. And I also love Mary Lawson's style. Can't wait for her next one again.

And, of course, what I do like about the book, as well, there are a few readers in the novel, they mention the following books:
Alcott, Louisa May "Little Women"
Hardy, Thomas "Jude the Obscure"
Melville, Herman "Moby Dick"
Mitchell, Margaret "Gone with the Wind"
Salinger, J.D. "The Catcher in the Rye"
Service, Robert "The Cremation of Sam McGee"
Steinbeck, John "The Grapes of Wrath"

From the back cover: "Twenty-one-year-old Megan Cartwright has never been outside the small town she was born in but one winter’s day in 1966 she leaves everything behind and sets out for London. Ahead of her is a glittering new life, just waiting for her to claim it. But left behind, her family begins to unravel. Disturbing letters from home begin to arrive and torn between her independence and family ties, Megan must make an impossible choice."

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Photo ABC

I am a member of a photo group where we get a prompt for every day and have to take an appropriate picture. Because we had the alphabet one month, I decided to do a book theme.

I always added either the link to my blog or to the books. I have decided to post a picture every week so my booky friends can enjoy them, as well.

Y is for ... Yearbook


Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Titchmarsh, Alan "Trowel and Error"


Titchmarsh, Alan "Trowel and Error" - 2002

Alan Titchmarsh, to know him is to love him. He brought gardening to a world that had almost forgotten about it. I am not a big gardener myself, alright, I am not a gardener at all, but my father was a very enthusiastic one and I see a lot of him in Alan Titchmarsh - or is it the other way around?

Anyway, the presenter of "Ground Force" and "Gardener's World" writes about his life. He writes the way he talks, he is the same nice guy from next door as he is in his programmes. And listening to his story, you understand why that is the case. He had a normal upbringing, nothing posh, nothing special. He found his love of flowers and made it his job. No, his destiny. He is very smart, so he doesn't just stay in the garden, he goes out and teaches the world. And not just about gardening. I also love it when he presents classical music or other important British events.

He is an example to us all, he does what he loves and brings it to perfection.

Well done, Mr. Titchmarsh. Stay the way you are and delight us more with your many different talents.

From the back cover: "With the engaging charm, warm humour and down-to-earth style that has made him Britain's favourite television gardener and a popular TV presenter, Alan Titchmarsh has now written 'a touch of the memoirs'.
Brilliantly evoking the 1950s of his Yorkshire childhood, this is a story of a wide-eyed childhood, of early and embarrassing encounters with girls, of unhappy school days and the eventual discovery of a talent and love for making things grow.
With warnings that he would never amount to much, he left school at fifteen to become a gardener, and worked his way up to the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Having picked up his spade at a n early age, he went on to pick up his pen, editing the books of his hero Percy Thrower, and finally getting a chance to put his own wards in print, and present his own gardening programmes.
Few gardeners can boast of meeting Nelson Mandela and Bette Davis, Julia Roberts and the Queen. Fewer still can claim to be best-selling novelists. But whether he is writing about a visit to the Palace, or giving 'Pretty Woman' a gardening book, Alan Titchmarsh recounts his tales of 'a life on earth' with wry amusement and gentle self-deprecation.
While others kiss and tell, Alan Titchmarsh smiles and passes by, taking notes along the way, and wondering why the heck it happened to him."

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

20 Classic And Important Books That Will Make You Feel Well-Read, Even If They're The Only Ones You Read




"Infinite Jest" by David Foster Wallace
"The Handmaid's Tale" by Margaret Atwood
"A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius" by Dave Eggers
"Americanah" by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
"The Complete Novels of Jane Austen" 
"Moby Dick" by Herman Melville
"A Thousand Splendid Suns" by Khaled Hosseini
"The Grapes of Wrath" by John Steinbeck
"One Hundred Years of Solitude" by Gabriel García Márquez
"1984" by George Orwell
"Frankenstein" by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
"Beloved" by Toni Morrison
"The Joy Luck Club" by Amy Tan
"If on a Winter's Night a Traveler" by Italo Calvino
"Slaughterhouse-Five" by Kurt Vonnegut
"White Teeth" by Zadie Smith
"A Tale of Two Cities" by Charles Dickens
"The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald
"The Complete Persepolis" by Marjane Satrapi
"The Metamorphosis" by Franz Kafka

An interesting article (read it here). The author claims that these are the most talked-about books at the moment. I don't know whether that's the truth.

Whether you just want to look well-read or actually want to be well-read, I think the list is not bad. I have read 14 books from this list with a few more on my wishlist and think it is a good list to start broadening your reading experience. Give it a go. Try one of them. You can read my links to see which one might be the best one for you to start. Or you can tell me your favourite reading and I'll recommend one of them to you.

Happy Reading

Monday, 21 September 2015

McCarthy, Pete "The Road to McCarthy"



McCarthy, Pete "The Road to McCarthy: Around the World in Search of Ireland" - 2002

After reading "McCarthy's Bar" a couple of years ago, I was extremely sad to learn that the author had passed away in 2004. I read that that was his only book he had every written. Imagine my surprise and delight when I found this book in a second hand bookshop because it gave me another tale of Pete McCarthy's travels.

This time, he travels from Ireland to Morocco, New York, the Caribbeans, Tasmania, all sorts of destinations that somehow have to do with the name McCarthy, places you wouldn't even imagine having a link to Ireland at all. But Pete McCarthy found it.

Another hilarious book by a funny writer who left us all too early.

From the back cover: "From the bestselling author of McCarthy's Bar, this is a hilarious and thought-provoking journey into his Irish heritage around the world. As a veteran traveller, Pete McCarthy has long been intrigued that the emigrant Irish can be found in all corners of the globe. Determined to pin down mythical tales of his own clan history, Pete is thrust into a world-wide adventure that reveals an unsettled and poignant history, while unearthing a good pint in the most unexpected locations. From the Holy Ground of Cork harbour he travels to Gibraltar and Morocco, then onwards to New York, Tasmania, Montana, and the tiny Caribbean island of Montserrat before finally reaching the remote Alaskan township of McCarthy and its population of just 14 people, but a lot more bears."

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Photo ABC

I am a member of a photo group where we get a prompt for every day and have to take an appropriate picture. Because we had the alphabet one month, I decided to do a book theme.

I always added either the link to my blog or to the books. I have decided to post a picture every week so my booky friends can enjoy them, as well.
 

X is for ... X-rated (censored) or banned books.


Authors:
Wolfgang Borchert, Bertolt Brecht, Heinrich Heine, Ernest Hemingway, Erich Kästner, Franz Kafka, Heinrich Mann, Klaus Mann, Thomas Mann, Joachim Ringelnatz, Kurt Tucholsky, Carl Zuckmayer, Stefan Zweig


Books:
On this Tuesday (An diesem Dienstag), The Bread (Das Brot), The Man Outside (Draußen vor der Tür).

Levithan, David "Every Day"


Levithan, David "Every Day" - 2012

An interesting book. Not especially my genre. I wouldn't even call it fantasy because to me that's trolls and dwarfs and giants and all those characters that are like humans only a little different and that don't really exist. I wouldn't call it science fiction, either, because that means to me future technology and aliens. Maybe it's dystopian but it's not a different world, at least not for most of the characters.

This is about someone who we know can't exist, either, but the idea is just too captivating not to follow it. What if there were "beings" without a body who would go from one person to the next and live their life for one day? One such "being" is A who has lived 5994 days at the beginning of the book and 6034 at the end. Which means we accompany him/her on forty days of a very complicated life. As a boy he falls in love with this girl Rhiannon and tries to see her again. This changes quite some lives, the lives of the teenagers he or she is inhabiting on those days. We meet a lot of different people together with A and see how he gets to understand them, how  he can live in them for only a short time but really jump in as if he'd been there all the time.

As I said, interesting concept, well written, certainly deserves to be a best-seller, especially for the "young adults" it has been written for because it pauses so many questions that ever teenager goes through. Who am I? Who am I really? How come I am not somebody else? What if I were a boy or a girl? What if I were adopted? What if I could live in someone else's body for one day?

This book was recommended to me by someone who is a lot younger than me. She claimed it was her favourite book ever. I would not go that far but, let me say, I understand her.

From the back cover: "I wake up.
Immediately, I have to figure out who I am. It's not just the body - opening my eyes and discovering whether the skin on my arm is light or dark, whether my hair is long or short, whether I'm fat or thin, boy or girl, scarred or smooth. The body is the easiest thing to adjust to, if you're used to waking up in a new one each morning. It's the life, the context of the body, that can be hard to grasp.
Every day I am someone else. I am myself - I know I am myself - but I am also someone else.
It has always been like this.
"

Apparently, there is a "sequel" to this both "Another Day" which could also be called "The Story of Rhiannon" and a "prequel called "Six Earlier Days" which talks about, well, six earlier days of the protagonist A.

Monday, 14 September 2015

Hislop, Victoria "The Sunrise"


Hislop, Victoria "The Sunrise" - 2014

A gripping story. A story about the common people, rich or poor, winner or loser, the ordinary people who always suffer most in a war. A story that goes deep and shows how stupid any war is, anything that some people who think they are more important than others want to change with weapons and destruction. What do we gain of it? Nothing. Ask anyone who lived in a country during wartime.

Famagusta, a town in Eastern Cyprus, is not different. People live their ordinary lives. They go to work, they go home. They love their families, they love their lives. Then the invasion. First just a big hotel somewhere, well, they will stop, this will be it. Nope, they carry on. Some people leave. Others stay, thinking/hoping it won't be that bad. It gets worse, some more leave. Until it is too late for some to leave. Must be terrible knowing you are trapped somewhere and could have left if you would have just not clung to your possessions too much. Or thinking you can evade a destiny if only you close your eyes and your ears.

The worst part of the story, the war in Cyprus took place in 1974, more than forty years ago. The city of Famagusta still has parts that cannot be visited by anybody, even people who used to live there. That is what war does. It doesn't just kill people, it destroys everything, first and foremost humanity.

Another brilliant book by Victoria Hislop whom I've come to love after reading her other books:
"The Island" - 2005
"The Return" - 2008
"The Thread" - 2011
"The Last Dance and Other Stories" - 2012

From the back cover: "In the golden city of Famagusta, Greek and Turkish Cypriots alike enjoy a life of good fortune.
Invasion comes without warning, bringing chaos and terror.
As forty thousand people flee their homes in panic, Famagusta becomes a ghost town. But not everyone will find it so easy to leave."

Find the other Victoria Hislop books I read here.

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Photo ABC

I am a member of a photo group where we get a prompt for every day and have to take an appropriate picture. Because we had the alphabet one month, I decided to do a book theme.
I always added either the link to my blog or to the books. I have decided to post a picture every week so my booky friends can enjoy them, as well.

W is for ... War books 
 

All the books I read about any kind of wars can be found here:
Afghanistan 
Civil Wars 
Cold War 
Vietnam War 
World War I 
World War II 
Others 

Fowler, Karen Joy "The Jane Austen Book Club"


Fowler, Karen Joy "The Jane Austen Book Club" - 2004

I'm reading this with an ad hoc online book club a friend started to read this and Jane Austen's books. Since I just reread all of them, I am refering you to the link here for my reviews of them.

I'm afraid this book does not give Jane Austen any credit. The book club is like many of the clubs my friends have told me about - and I once briefly was a member of one, too, but left it rather quickly since I would love to talk about the books we read, not gossip about everything but books. The sticker on the cover "Richard & Judy's Book Club" should have rung huge bells. I will let that be a warning to me.

Do they ever talk about the books? Has Karen Joy Fowler even read any of them? If she did, she doesn't know how to talk about a book because I am under the impression she hasn't even opened any of these fabulous novels. Why else would she construct a story around Jane Austen without even getting into her writings?

A disappointing read. I only finished it so we can talk about it in our little group.

From the back cover: "In California's Sacramento Valley, six people meet once a month to discuss Jane Austen's novels. They are ordinary people, neither happy nor unhappy, but all wounded in different ways, all mixed up about their lives and their relationships. Over the six months they meet marriages are tested, affairs begin, unsuitable arrangements become suitable, and, under the guiding eye of Jane Austen, some of them even fall in love . . ."

There were, however, some other books mentioned in the book, apart from all the Jane Austen novels:
Henlein, Robert A. "Stranger in a Strange Land"
Junger, Sebastian "The Perfect Storm"
LeGuin, Urusla K. "The Left Hand of Darkness"
LeGuin, Ursula K "The Lathe of Heaven"
LeGuin, Urusla K. "Searoad"
Radcliffe, Ann "The Mysteries of Udolpho"
Rand, Ayn "The Fountainhead"
Tolkien, J.R.R. "The Lord of the Rings"

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Photo ABC

I am a member of a photo group where we get a prompt for every day and have to take an appropriate picture. Because we had the alphabet one month, I decided to do a book theme.

I always added either the link to my blog or to the books. I have decided to post a picture every week so my booky friends can enjoy them, as well.
 

V is for ... Vocabulary books 

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Scott, Mary "Yours to oblige"



Scott, Mary "Yours to oblige" - 1954

Mary Scott managed to write many charming little stories that tell the tale of a hard but humorous and loving life in New Zealand in the 1950s. Like this one of Justin, a lawyer's son who has just finished his studies and whose girlfriend asks him to give up his cosy life for three months and work hard in a little village where it's hard to find workers because of the hard life they have to lead.

It wouldn't be a Mary Scott novel if Justin didn't manage to find a job and find a lot of friends in the middle of nowhere. We meet many new characters, most of them lovely and delightful.

This novel is just as nice to read as all of her others books. Find a list of all her books here.

From the back cover: "Engagement - postponed on probation
There are difficulties between Justin and Elaine, a young, almost engaged couple. Because Elaine wants to know whether Justin can live without his father's money, whether he is able to stand on his own feet. They want to separate for three months, as a test.
Justin hitchhikes into the country where only the real guy counts, someone who can work hard. In Totara, a pioneer settlement on the New Zealand coast, he passes his practical test: In a bushfire, he shows willingness and courage, and now he is recognized by the villagers as one of them, as a real guy.
When Justin gets to know the young farmer's daughter Sally, he believes he has found the woman of his life. But first there is still his old friend Elaine, and secondly, everything turns out quite differently."

Unfortunately, Mary Scott's books are out of print and only available second hand. I have heard in the meantime, that you can buy some of them as eBooks, like this one here.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Happy September!


September is my favourite month, summer ends and with it the hot and humid days. It is one of the best months for my migraine. And the days get shorter so there is more time to read.

So, I am happy that there is such a happy picture on my calendar this month: Watercolour painting by Hanka Koebsch "Small Happiness".

Monday, 31 August 2015

Shakespeare, William "Hamlet"


Shakespeare, William "Hamlet" - 1599-1602

I am not a big fan of reading plays. I think they should be watched, not read. Preferably in a theatre. However, since we don't have a good one nearby, and certainly not one that plays classics in English, I am determined to read some of the classics that I really would like to know.

"Hamlet" is one of them. You always hear about the Danish Prince, the Skull, "To be or not to be", Elsinore, Ophelia, Rosenkrantz & Guildenstern etc. etc. But you never know the whole story until you have seen the play or read the story.

Well, I made it. A fascinating story. Quite complex. I am sure I will have to read it again to fully comprehend it. And again. And hopefully I will be able to watch it one day.

From the back cover: "There is arguably no work of fiction quoted as often as William Shakespeare's Hamlet. This haunting tragedy has touched audiences for centuries.
Hamlet is the story of the Prince of Denmark who learns of the death of his father at the hands of his uncle, Claudius. Claudius murders Hamlet's father, his own brother, to take the throne of Denmark and to marry Hamlet's widowed mother. Hamlet is sunk into a state of great despair as a result of discovering the murder of his father and the infidelity of his mother. Hamlet is torn between his great sadness and his desire for the revenge of his father's murder."

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Photo ABC

I am a member of a photo group where we get a prompt for every day and have to take an appropriate picture. Because we had the alphabet one month, I decided to do a book theme.

I always added either the link to my blog or to the books. I have decided to post a picture every week so my booky friends can enjoy them, as well.

 
U is for ... U is for ... Utopian (and dystopian) literature


  
All the utopian/distopian books I read can be found here.

Monday, 24 August 2015

Orsenna, Erik "Grammar Is a Sweet, Gentle Song"


Orsenna, Erik "Grammar Is a Sweet, Gentle Song" (La grammaire est une chanson douce) - 2001

An interesting book. A different book. A grammar book. A story.

An interesting story that explains grammar not only to children but also to learners of the French language. I have no idea how the translation compares because grammar is not the same in every language and especially English misses many of the different kind of tenses the French have, for example.

Still, a beautifully written story about two kids who relearn their own language. Lots of plays with words, lots of background information. I liked this book and would recommend it to anyone interested in languages. A very creative story, written with a lot of imagination. It also has some lovely illustrations.

I read this book in the original French.

From the back cover: "At the heart of its message is an impassioned plea for the magic and power of words. Jeanne, the tough-minded ten-year-old narrator, and Thomas, fourteen, are traveling to America on an ocean liner to visit their mother when a violent storm sinks their ship and tosses them up on an island. They are unhurt, but the shock of the experience leaves them without the ability to speak. Taken into the care of Monsieur Henri, an elderly islander, Jeanne and Thomas discover that the island is unlike any place they've ever been. There is the Word Market, where Monsieur Henri visits the Poets' and Song-Writers' Corner to see if they have any rhymes for sweet and mom. At town hall, pairs of words are married by the mayor. And Jeanne sneaks off to the Vocabulary of Love Shop, where a woman whose husband has left her wants to buy "a word that will make him understand how hurt I am, a mighty word that will make him ashamed." A celebration of language in all its forms, Grammar Is a Sweet, Gentle Song will delight confirmed word-lovers and inspire the uninitiated with the pleasures of the spoken and written word."

Friday, 21 August 2015

Book Quotes of the Week



"No matter what his rank or position may be, the lover of books is the richest and the happiest of the children of men." J.A. Langford

"'Tell me what you read and I’ll tell you who you are' is true enough, but I’d know you better if you told me what you reread." François Mauriac

"There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves." Will Rogers

"How many a man has dated a new era in his life from the reading of a book." Henry David Thoreau, Walden

"Books have a way of making you homesick for a place you've never been to." N.N.

[If anyone can tell me the originator of this quote, I'd be very thankful and would happily include the name.

Find more book quotes here.


Photo ABC

I am a member of a photo group where we get a prompt for every day and have to take an appropriate picture. Because we had the alphabet one month, I decided to do a book theme.

I always added either the link to my blog or to the books. I have decided to post a picture every week so my booky friends can enjoy them, as well.

T is for ... Travel.



All the books I read that belong only remotely to the category "travel" can be found here.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Bryson, Bill "Notes from a Small Island"


Bryson, Bill "Notes from a Small Island" - 1995

In preparation of Bill Bryson's next book "The Road to Little Dribbling: More Notes from a Small Island", I just had to reread his first book about my beloved island, Great Britain. It had been far too long that I had picked it up.

I should remember this and will give you this peace of advice: Always pick up a travel book by Bill Bryson when gloomy. It is the best remedy against depression, even if he describes a place I miss so much that it might have started the depression. He is better than any psychologist. Will go and get more of his travel books because I realized that I haven't read all of them, yet.

I have talked about this book before here.

From the back cover: "After nearly two decades spent on British soil, Bill Bryson - bestselling author of The Mother Tongue and Made in America - decided to return to the United States. ('I had recently read,' Bryson writes, 'that 3.7 million Americans believed that they had been abducted by aliens at one time or another,so it was clear that my people needed me.') But before departing, he set out on a grand farewell tour of the green and kindly island that had so long been his home.

Veering from the ludicrous to the endearing and back again, Notes from a Small Island is a delightfully irreverent jaunt around the unparalleled floating nation that has produced zebra crossings, Shakespeare, Twiggie Winkie's Farm, and places with names like Farleigh Wallop and Titsey. The result is an uproarious social commentary that conveys the true glory of Britain, from the satiric pen of an unapologetic Anglophile."

I love all of Bill Bryson's books. Find a link to my reviews here.

Monday, 17 August 2015

Ghosh, Amitav "Flood of Fire"


Ghosh, Amitav "Flood of Fire" (Ibis Trilogy #3) - 2015

After reading "Sea of Poppies" two years ago, I was happy that the second book "River of Smoke" had already been published and I could just carry on reading. Then I was so disappointed to find that the third book had not even been written, yet.

Well, it was worth the wait. I probably should have reread the first two first and then carried on with the last one but I just couldn't wait. Characters, scenes, events did come back but I would have liked a little more reintroduction in some cases. I was also happy to see what happened to some of the characters from "Sea of Poppies" that were hardly or not at all mentioned in "River of Smoke" so that it all came back together again. I was not happy to learn that the author abandoned the thought of carrying on further with the story as he had intended after the second book. What a shame. I do hope he will write more, though, because I do love his style which I already admired in "The Glass Palace".

Just  a fantastic read. Mesmerizing, captivating. So much more history of a part of the world I don't know much about. I don't think we went into much detail in our lessons about the opium war because I certainly didn't remember that but I know a lot about it today.

If you are really interested in the history of this part of the world or if you just would like to read a good adventure story or like a captivating tale about a lot of people, this trilogy is for you. Enjoy.

From the back cover: "It is 1839 and tension has been rapidly mounting between China and British India following the crackdown on opium smuggling by Beijing. With no resolution in sight, the colonial government declares war.

One of the vessels requisitioned for the attack, the Hind, travels eastwards from Bengal to China, sailing into the midst of the First Opium War. The turbulent voyage brings together a diverse group of travellers, each with their own agenda to pursue. Among them is Kesri Singh, a sepoy in the East India Company who leads a company of Indian sepoys; Zachary Reid, an impoverished young sailor searching for his lost love, and Shireen Modi, a determined widow en route to China to reclaim her opium-trader husband's wealth and reputation. Flood of Fire follows a varied cast of characters from India to China, through the outbreak of the First Opium War and China's devastating defeat, to Britain's seizure of Hong Kong."

This is also a book about books. Quite a few are mentioned, either because the characters are reading them or because they quote from them.

Defoe, Daniel "Robinson Crusoe"
Goldsmith, Oliver "The Vicar of Wakefield"
Haywood, Eliza "Love in Excess"
Richardson, Samuel "Pamela"
Sterne, Laurence "The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman"
Voltaire "Zadig"

You can find my reviews of other Amitav Ghosh novels here.

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Book Quotes of the Week


"Not reading a beautiful book again because you've already read it, that is, as if you were not visiting a dear friend again because you know him already." Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach

"The great objection to new books is that they prevent our reading old ones." Joseph Joubert

"He fed his spirit with the bread of books." Edwin Markham

"The smallest bookstore still contains more ideas of worth than have been presented in the entire history of television." Andrew Ross

"Books, not which afford us a cowering enjoyment, but in which each thought is of unusual daring; such as an idle man cannot read, and a timid one would not be entertained by, which even make us dangerous to existing institution - such call I good books." Henry David Thoreau

Find more book quotes here.

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Photo ABC

I am a member of a photo group where we get a prompt for every day and have to take an appropriate picture. Because we had the alphabet one month, I decided to do a book theme.

I always added either the link to my blog or to the books. I have decided to post a picture every week so my booky friends can enjoy them, as well.


S is for ... Science 
 

All the books I read that belong only remotely to the category "science" can be found here.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Zweig, Stefanie "Nowhere in Africa"


Zweig, Stefanie "Nowhere in Africa" (German: Nirgendwo in Afrika) - 1995

I reread "Nowhere in Africa" by Stephanie Zweig with an online book group, created by a friend for some of her friends on Facebook. Everybody suggested a book and then would "lead" through the discussion with some questions.

If you have not read the book before, I refer you to my review here.

If you have read it, you might want to go through my questions and maybe add a thought or two to it. Here they are:

1.    What do you think of Jettel, the mother? Do you think there were many people in Germany who didn't see what was coming?

2.    What about Regina? How do you think she will be feeling when she is being transplanted to Germany after the war?

3.    Walter, the father, is mostly described as a caring father who just wants to bring his family through the war. In retrospect, this was the right decision. What do you think he would have thought if the war hadn't been like it was, if he'd transplanted his family for nothing?

4.    Did you know that "Nowhere in Africa" is almost a memoir of the author Stefanie Zweig, that all this happened to her family, that she does have a younger brother called Max who was born in Africa, for example? If you did, how did that make you feel during the read. If not, do you think differently about the novel now?

5.    Do you have the feeling that growing up in Africa has influenced the author's style? Did you feel her storytelling had a specific flow?

6.    What do you think about the other characters, mainly Walter Süßkind and Lilly and Oskar Hahn but, even more important, Owuor? How do you think Walter and Owuor influence each other and change the other's life?

7.    This book was made into a film and received the prize at the 75th Academy Awards in 2003 for Best Foreign Language Film. If you saw the film, how do you think it compared to the book? What would you have done differently if you'd been the director?

8.    I like to learn something with every book I read. Whether you belong to those readers or not, what did you learn from the book?

9.    Any other subjects I haven't touched that you would like to discuss?