It's a mystery to me why I love books which make me cry a lot. But if I want something like that, I go read a Robin Hobb book, who writes books I just love, books which I hug after reading them, spines I stroke if I don't feel good, characters which I remember vividly but which don't bore me while rereading. Just books I love, with all my heart... books full of wonders.
I have decided that 2014 should be a year of reading joy and much less pressure for me. Last year started with a lot of challenges, but somewhere I lost against the pressure it put to my reading, therefore I will not do any big challenges, but a year of fun and lots of reviews.
Since 2006 I'm doing my Reading List thingy, I never finished one, but that is as much a tradition for me now as the list itself.
I will also do an A-Z Scavenger Hunt for Author Given-name, Last-name and Title and it might go on into the next year. I never did any, so maybe it is just something you have to do sometime.
And I have some ideas for interesting blog-posts not totally book related, but they are so rough right now, that I won't make any promises.
To discover that you are one of those weird people who love objects and want to marry them is quite embarrassing. But I have to live up to my desires... so here it comes:
I'm deeply in love with a ship.
After the fourth re-read I should just own it and move on.
Eine Serie zu starten, die eine große Gefolgschaft und viele Fans hat ist immer etwas riskant. Ich erinnere mich noch gut, irgendwann mal gesagt zu haben Harry Potter (damals Band 2) seien Kinderbücher und es ist schön das gute Kinderbücher existieren, ich würde meine Fantasy aber gern etwas erwachsener haben, Meine Güte, die bösen Blicke und harschen Worte nahmen kein Ende. Es wäre also angezeigt etwas vorsichtiger zu sein, wenn man eine Buchreihe kommentiert, die viele Fans hat... außer man heißt Gecko, dann tritt man gleich ins nächste Fettnäpfchen und sagt Twilight-Fans, das man selbst seine Vampire gerne etwas traditioneller hat und schon eine Weile darüber hinaus ist Teenager anzuhimmeln.
Jim Butchers 'Harry Dresden Files' sind sicherlich keine Kinderbücher und vermutlich würde sie auch keiner "für junge Erwachsene" nennen, aber es ist auch nur ein Band in einer langen Reihe von Büchern, und ich kann leider nicht mehr sagen, als dass ich sie mochte. Es war nicht weltbewegen neu, es machte mich nicht süchtig wie Methamphetamin. Aber es enthielt auch keine Vampire, die in der Sonne glitzerten. Das ist Grundsätzlich eine große Erleichterung. Die Antwort lag einfach irgendwo dazwischen und das ist völlig in Ordnung.
Der Inhalt war definitiv für Erwachsene, düster, blutig und mit echten Konsequenzen. Das mochte ich.
Ich mag Harrys extrem dünne harte Schale und das weiche, ängstliche Ding dahinter und freue mich schon mehr davon zu entdecken. Ich weiß aber auch, dass man Reihen seine Zeit lassen muss sich zu entwickeln, von daher wird wohl weder Jim Butcher, noch Harry Dresden oder gar einer seiner Fans wirklich schaden daran nehmen, wenn ich dem Buch eine eher durchschnittliche Wertung gebe. Zumindest hat mich der erste Band dazu gebracht gleich den nächsten zu kaufen und das schafft mit Sicherheit nicht jedes Buch.
To start a series, which has a huge following and a lot of fans, is always a little risky. I remember vividly, that I said one that the Harry Potter series (after book 2) are nice children books, and that it is always good to have some good ones, but that I myself like my fantasy more adult. Good grief, I earned a lot of dirty looks and harsh words for that. It would be advised to be a little more careful if you address a book with a huge following... except if your name is Gecko. Than you go on and tell some Twilight-Fans that you like your Vampires a little more traditionally and that the days for swooning over a teenager are long behind you.
Jim Butcher's 'Dresden Files' or surly not children books and probably nothing one would call 'Young Adult'. but they are a long series of books none the less, and I can't say more as that I liked the first book. It was not world-shattering new, it didn't hook me like meth, it just was fun to read and entertaining. There where no vampires, who sparkle in the sun, which was a relief. The answer was just in between, which for me is totally OK. The Story was definitely for adults, dark, bloody and with real consequences. I like that.
I liked Harry's very thin, but hart shell and the huge, wobbly, filled with angst thing inside of him. But I know also, that huge series need some time to develop. This in mind, I don't think that Jim Butcher, Harry Dresden or some of his friends, will get hurt, if I give this first book an average rating. At least the first book got me to buy the second one immediately, which doesn't happen with every series I begun.
On Thursday Mr. Gecko and I went into town to make some shopping, on our way back home we found this little gem. It traveled with us but we didn't pick it up. I'm not much into Yoga and definitely not into reading about it in Dutch. But I have to say it is my first BC book I found in the wild... back in my book swapping days I got some, from some people who didn't care that these books where not meant for swapping. Now I have seen one, maybe next time it might be one that I want to read.
I left a note about it on the BC Homepage, it travels since 2005.
This was my third book by this author and let me say, believing this books, all South Americans or maybe only all Colombians must live in a constant fever dream. It's amazing how Márquez writes about the most awful thing, mainly child neglect and child abuse and even pedophilia in this story and it all sounds beautiful. If you like warm, sweaty words, cocoa and smelly mangroves, that is.
The whole story is about crazy people and their crazy ideas who take this craziness and reflect it all on a 12year old girl, who has to endure their picture of her. Superstitions of all kinds, some of religious origin some just because another fever dream took hold, some because things like medicine where not as advanced back than, as they are today.
Combined with this insane people, non of them can get to grips with their own life and try either to better themselves through this child or let her be the scapegoat for everything that is wrong with them. A Horrorstory in nicely composed words, in which it reminds me a bit of "The Parfume", only that it is shorter and there is much more insanity. Even the few nicer characters are missing some cups in their cupboards. The father is not a real man, more of a ghost and even if he tries to help his daughter. The librarian priest, I really wanted to like him, but then he goes all the way down and turns into Humbert Humbert...
What is it in the airs and smells of Colombia that creates people like that, or better, what drugs is Gabriel García Márquez taking while writing his books?
Dies ist mein drittes Buch von diesem Autor und ich muss sagen, wenn man diesen Büchern glauben soll, dann leben alle Südamerikaner oder vielleicht auch nur alle Kolumbianer in einem anhaltenden Fiebertraum. Es ist bewundernswert, wie Márquez über die schrecklichsten Dinge schreibt, hier vor allem Vernachlässigung, Kindesmisshandlung und Kindesmissbrauch, und das alles klingt schön in dieser Geschichte. Das heißt wenn man heiße, schwitzende Worte, Kakao und stinkende Mangroven mag.
Die ganze Geschichte handelt im Grunde von verrückten Menschen und ihren verrückten Ideen, die sie auf ein 12jähriges Mädchen projizieren, welche dann dieses Bild erdulden muss. Aberglauben der verschiedensten Arten, manche religiöser Natur, manche geboren aus einem anderen Fiebertraum, manche einfach weil die Medizin damals noch nicht so weit entwickelt war, wie sie es heute ist.
Verbunden mit diesen verrückten Menschen, von denen keiner mit seinem eigenen Leben zu Rande kommt. Stattdessen versuchen sie sich entweder über das Kind zu bessern, oder aber sie benutzen sie als Sündenbock für alles was mit ihnen selbst nicht stimmt.
Eine Horrorgeschichte in schön komponierten Worten, welche mich ein wenig an das "Parfum" erinnert, nur das diese Geschichte hier kürzer ist und mehr Wahnsinn enthält.
Selbst die wenigen etwas netteren Charaktere haben nicht alle Tassen im Schrank. Der Vater ist eigentlich kein richtiger Mensch, nur ein Gespenst seiner selbst, selbst als er versucht seiner Tochter zu helfen. Der Priester und Bibliothekar, den ich wirklich mögen wollte, der dann aber zu einem Humbert Humbert mutiert...
Was ist in der Luft und den Gerüchen von Kolumbien, dass solche Figuren erschafft, oder besser, welche Drogen nimmt Gabriel García Márquez während er seine Bücher schreibt?
This are the last books I bought for the challenge. The first five for me, the last five for other people. Now it stands 96 books from charity shops against 95 from Amazon.
I did it, and I'm done with it.
On Monday I will send off the books I gave away through the giveaway feature on Booklikes, this is the last step. Since the beginning of this challenge I didn't buy anything from Amazon, that will go on, but is nothing to brag about. I'm still unsure what do to with my Goodreads account, more than two book-sides and my own listing at home are to much...
The first book of 2014 should be one you like, so to play save I picked up a re-read and something I should have read last year.
To write a review about a book full of short stories is always more difficult for me, as it is to write one for a novel. There is the shortness that you get, to get used to the characters and the plot, there is also the problem that it contains a lot of stories, and it is rarely that one is as good as the other.
This book as one problem more, and therefore it might be not as much of a review of the book, but a little bit of navel gazing into the mind of the reader, namely me.
For days now, I hold back to write this review and try to find some passable thoughts, that I can tell you about it. But every idea coming up, is quite personal, and is quite good described using the title of the book and Nathan Englander's first story: "What We Talk About, When We Talk About Anne Frank."
He is talking from a Jewish perspective, two couples, one liberal, one Hassidic and they aks a question, quite simple, but hard to answer. 'Would a man hide his women and his friends from the Nazis?"
Would you? Would I?
The answer gets harder the longer you think about it.
And now I want to digress and talk about when we talk about Anne Frank and when not.
The Game those couples are playing, I played myself all on my own.
I'm German, born in '76, I was a schoolgirl in the 80th, and the school was the place to talk about everything holocaust and WW II. In my childish ways I tried to comprehend what happened in Germany between 1933 and 1945. So I read every book I could get my hands on and saw every documentary about this time. I was fascinated and disgusted, but it was part of my history and I wanted to know about it. My Grandparents were children and young adults in this time, but they never talked about it. There were questions to ask, but I couldn't bring myself to ask them. I loved them dearly... but there is something that I didn't want to hear. The eerie question, what they had known and what they did throughout this atrocity will stay unanswered now that they are all dead.
The only day, when the war was ever mentioned was an Christmas Eve, when my Grandad was drunk, he always said something like: "Not everything was bad back then." One little sentence and always one of my uncles took it upon himself to protest and a yearly ritual broke lose, both of them arguing about it.
As a child, I listened most of the time, and munched on some Christmas treats. I never said anything because, like most of my family thought, there was not a real argument to have. It ran in circles...
This was because it was not really about Hitler and the Nazis, killing Jews or anything, it just was about the perspective.
My Grandfather got lost in a feeling to have to defend himself, his youth and all the memories he had, apart from Hitler, Nazis, Holocaust and War, he had a life back than, a whole childhood. And yes, it must have had all the indoctrination and brainwashing, we now know about.
My Uncle was, like me, trying to come to grips with what happened and why. We all felt guilty, we still do. You can't explain it easily how a whole nation could do something like the Germans did. You can't even be sure that you would do anything other than my ancestors did. Just imagine to be a child or young adult back than...
My Grandfather was a soldier and ended up as a prisoner of war, my Grandmother lost her family and home country. They both stayed poor till their dead, but they raised 6 children and a hell of lot more of grandchildren, non of them is a Nazi, so they might have done something right.
What the Nazis did remains in the memories of everyone, for me it is mostly a memory of awkward silence, a dark hole in the personal past of my family. All that was and is left for me are books and documentations, and the mind-games you can play with them.
What would you do?
I took the books to my room and used my imagination to time-travel back then. And I got me some answers. The best thing to do, is to remember and feel what it might have been back than, and hopefully you come to the same conclusion as I. Don't let it happen again. Be aware of those who want to brainwash you, fight against those who try to silence you and don't buy into systems that offer a scapegoat. There is no them and us, there is only us... and a lot of difference in perspective. To hinder it in it's beginning is the best way out. If you are stuck in a totalitarian system, there might be not much left that you can do, and it is not in everyone to risk his life or that of his family.
Lastly, coming back to the book I read and tried to review. I appreciate the freedom to read books like this one, which offer me perspectives, that are not my own. Nathan Englander's Jews in this stories are most of the time far from being nice, but what ever else they are, they are still human. Like most of the Germans back than. There is still beauty in humans, even if they all, Jewish, American or German, or what ever else, sometimes behave like monsters. Being a monster might just be human... but it is also human, to appreciate the freedom of speech, tolerance and kindness, we just have to look that there are always more of the latter. And while a lot of Germans are tired of the past and questions about it, I'm not a child anymore and I try to speak about it, maybe because of the silence of my own childhood.
The last page read and no words left.
I'm leaving this work of a lifetime and his author behind with admiration and love in my heart and a warm and fuzzy feeling. Maybe there is only one thing you need to know about Kurt Tucholsky, in words found by his friend Erich Kästner:
"Ein kleiner dicker Berliner wollte mit einer Schreibmaschine eine Katastrophe aufhalten."
'A little, fat man from Berlin tried to hinder a catastrophe with his typewriter'
It didn't help. He died in exile in Sweden, on December 21, 1935... the worst was yet to come.
Traditionally the wicket for Christmas Eve on an advent calendar is bigger than any other, but you can't do that on a virtual one. So I decided to do something else...
Today it is all about you, my fellow Goodreads refugees and all other Booklikers. As you might know, it is German tradition that the 24 of December is the day, or more so, the night of all things Christmas and so we get our presents earlier than you.
You can have some of this today to:
Todays books are all giveaways from me to you, if you like one of these, just enter the giveaway. At January 2, 2014 I will draw the winners. You can enter this where ever you are, I will send it to you.
Robin Hobb - City of Dragons: This is a book from one of my most loved fantasy authors. A big, and epic story. I bought this one at Oxfam and hope you don't mind that it is part 3 of the saga.
David Nicholls - One Day: An epic love story through 20 years. This comes as near as anything that I read in the last time to a romance novel. If you don't know it yet, pick it up.
Elizabeth Gaskell - North ans South: Christmas time is always the time for some cozy classics, with love and some inside in times past.
This results in 86 books from Charity against 95 Books from Amazon.
von Joseph von Eichendorff
Markt und Straßen stehn verlassen,
still erleuchtet jedes Haus,
Sinnend' geh ich durch die Gassen,
alles sieht so festlich aus.
An den Fenstern haben Frauen
buntes Spielzeug fromm geschmückt,
Tausend Kindlein stehn und schauen,
sind so wunderstill beglückt.
Und ich wandre aus den Mauern
Bis hinaus ins freie Feld,
Hehres Glänzen, heil'ges Schauern!
Wie so weit und still die Welt!
Sterne hoch die Kreise schlingen,
Aus des Schnees Einsamkeit
Steigt's wie wunderbares Singen-
O du gnadenreiche Zeit!
Tomorrow I have a little surprise for you, but that has to wait. For now I enjoy that all calms down, the last shopping is done, and in the morning the preparation starts for a quiet family night. Christmas is finally here and nothing much to do anymore. Time to light some candles, lay back and read a bit...
The books for today:
Diana L. Paxon - Die Herrin vom See: This goes to a family friend of us. I loved those celtic stuff some years ago, but can't read anything anymore with King Athur in it, due to overdose.
Siri Hustvedt - The Enchantment of Lily Dahl: All those books I found and bought cheaply, maybe I should write a thank you note to GRamazon at the end. This I wanted for a long time, and hope I will enjoy it.
This results in 83 books from Charity against 95 Books from Amazon.
Thoughts right after the last page:
Not what I expected and a little bit to mediocre and to short... maybe just not for me, we will see what I think after some days have past.
I lost my voice today. I cried my lungs out to bring our favorite football team to win against Cologne. But it was futile. Fortuna Düsseldorf lost 2:3 against those fuckers from 1. FC Köln... I'm devastated. We waited 15 years for this to happen and we lost. I'm not sure how to help Mr. Gecko to come to sleep tonight. We run out of tissues...
*gg* No, stop this nonsense. Yes we lost, but it was a good fight and a nice day at the stadium. But I really have no voice anymore.
The books for today:
Wolfram Fleischhauer - Drei Minuten mit der Wirklichkeit: A story full of love, music and dance, and the devastating reality of Argentina's brutal past and forced adoption. You can find it under "Fatal Tango" in English, it's a great book. It will go to my sister, and it's a little bit twisted, because she is a bit like Flavia de Luce. The Feely or Daffy in me told her many times, because we are so different, she might be from a tango between our mother and the postman. ;)
Anita Shreve - All He Ever Wanted: This is again, for me and another jump into cold water between a new to me author and myself. The book blurb sounds good, though.
This results in 81 books from Charity against 95 Books from Amazon.