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Oct. 26th, 2011

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Ok, so that was three weeks...

In anticipation of the Best Book Bazar Ever, I bought no new books!

I read three, however:
Levin, Waltraut: "Nordische Göttersagen" ***
You know how everyone in a specific corner of the internet is kind of nuts about Loki, right? As played by Tom Hiddleston in the movie Thor, obviously. Well, apparently, Loki once got pregnant by a horse. That's all I took from this book. The language was at the same time antiquated and clinical, which I think was an effort to make the more racy parts suitable for children? Didn't work, if you ask me. There have to be better versions out there, especially for children.

Baum, Vicki: "Menschen im Hotel" *****
Why is it that in a lot of books from that era (the uh 1920s, I should think), someone dies in the end? It's as if the author is looking at his/her writing, thinking "Huh, nothing much happens here! Quick, let's kill someone before my paper runs out!" I didn't like that part, I felt the book did not need a dramatic climax like that. I liked all the rest, though, the small stories of people staying in a Grand Hotel in Berlin, every character unique and troubled.

Dumas, Alexandre: "Die Kameliendame" *****
I liked it, but at the same time, I have a very strong feeling of "Wait, that's it? That's what the fuss is about?", because, well, it's just this love story about a prostitute and a common guy. Then again, it's the love story between a prostitute and a common guy, isn't it? It's one of those cases where the original pales because it has been immitated so many times. But for what it is, I loved the writing, and the characters felt a lot more real than, say, Richardson's Pamela.
Actually, fun story. I started to read this book one night, because I couldn't sleep. I own a very attractive linen bound version that graces my nightstand in a decoratice function. It's in the old german typeset and hard to read, which is exactly what makes it good bedtime reading, because it tires the eyes. Anyway, I started that, and then I also have a modern print paperback that I took along on the bus, and the translations were very different. First of all, the old version calls the protagonist "Margarete" instead of Marguerite. What an odd custom to translate names. The manner of adress is different, but I felt that the old translation fits the text a bit better because of word usage and turn of phrase, the modern one felt almost too modern. Anyway, it was a fun reading excercise, and I want to read more french literature now.

There's now just the epilogue left of my Harry Potter audiobooks. I'm still debating with myself, do I even want to listen to it? But will the experience ever feel complete without? And what should I listen to next?

Oct. 6th, 2011

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I'm Aliiiiiive... etc.

In case you were, you know, wondering.
The thing is - people always used to ask, how DO you find the time to read so much? (Sometimes in that nasty, WHY would you EVER read so much? tone of voice, but let's not go there!) and I always pretty straightforwardly answered that I just like reading better than most things, and I don't do sports, and I don't have the same responsibilities someone who has for example a family or a time-consuming hobby like matchstick collecting has, so obviously, I have a lot of time to read. But now I've started being all active and shit, and as a consequence I actually have less time, and instead of reading a lot less, I'd rather read just a little less and not blog about it afterwards.

Still, I miss blogging. Maybe I'll make it a bi-weekly thing. So, here's the deal. These are the books I bought since the last time I listed the books I bought, just to get that out of the way:

King, Laurie R.: "The Beekeeper's Apprentice", "A Monstrous Regiment of Women"
Weeeell ... I felt like Pastiches, you know, to get a broader look at things, and German television was airing "Sherlock", which also had to do with it?

London, Jack: "Das Alaska-Mädchen"
Because, remember when I used to be all over Yukon-related stuff? So that book jumped out from the shelf and I wanted it.

Veit, Karl L.: "Erforschung außerirdischer Weltraumschiffe"
Because sometimes you need to read about UFOs.

Martin, George R.R.: "A Game of Thrones"
Because I'm on the Internet sometimes and that stuff was everywhere when the tv-series started to air.

Mitchell, David: "The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet"
Manguel, Alberto: "Die Bibliothek bei Nacht"

Those were gifts, and quite honestly, perfect gifts <3

So as you can see I even bought less than usual. It's a cycle. But do look forward to the end of October, when that one book bazaar, the one in the church, will be happening again. I sure am.

And I read:

43) Boyer, Rick: "Sherlock Holmes und die Riesenratte von Sumatra" ***
Do you know, this book cannot have been all that good, because I remember squat about it? It was about the Giant Rat of Sumatra, one of those cases that get a name in canon, but not a story. But what else happened? Why did I not like it? I think Irene Adler was in it in that annoying way she sometimes is?

44), 45) King, Laurie R.: "The Beekeeper's Apprentice", "A Monstrous Regiment of Women" *****
Oh, Lord. So, Sherlock Holmes is retired, and meets a 15(?)year-old prodigy and makes her his apprentice. And Laurie R. King cannot have read the canon material even once, because, ugh. So many reasons. Bumbling old idiot Watson, for one. Sherlock has a son, and Irene Adler was a love interest OF COURSE and it's all very fanfictiony and I ran the main character Mary Russell through that Mary Sue Litmus Test thingy that you can find online and she scored like a 110% or something, she's so annoying, even her flaws are her fashionably lythe figure and her keen intelligence, I think. But the worst thing is I really enjoyed reading these books anyway. They were fun and rompy and exciting and if it weren't for the self-loathing I'd get them all.

46) Valdes, Zoe: "Das tägliche Nichts" *****
Do you also find it confusing when books are hailed as the "big" novel of their time, or their place, and then they're less than 200 pages? Anyway. I watched a documentary about the author, who hails from Cuba, and that was very interesting, so I got one of her books and promptly read it three or four years later. It was a very short, very poignant look at a woman living in Cuba and her lovers, all set of course before the background of communism, and yes, it was a very big book indeed. I found it fascinating and extremely rich, although the translator - actually, let me make this a separate sentence. Unfortunatly, I had the feeling the translator wasn't able to get inside a female mindset (he is, by name, a man). He uses words, especially in the more sensual scenes, that felt grating from a feminine perspective, though of course, that might be the same in the original language and I'm just a cow.

47) Kolb, Annette: "Die Schaukel" *****
I actually watched a documentary about this author as well, so, having been pleasantly surprised by the former book, I decided I'd read this as well, and I was absolutely not disappointed. A family history, set in the early 20th century, with a lot of drama, on the small scale, and on the large one. a book about a society that is now extinct, about religion, about North&South (ha), a book that could have gone on to 800 pages and I would not have been bored.

48) Worth, Jennifer: "Call the Midwife" *****
I bought this because a friend bought it and it sounded very interesting, but I read it because the BBC made a series out of it and one of the characters is played by Miranda Hart, whom I adore (for obvious reasons. If you know me, google her, and you'll know.). It's about a midwife in the London East End of the 1950s, in the spirit of James Heriott, though by default infinitely more tragic. I loved the characters and the stories a lot and I will one day read all her books.

49) Veit, Karl L.: "Erforschung außerirdischer Weltraumschiffe"
Uh, yeah ... it's about UFOs, but also IFOs, which are Identified Flying Objects, and yes, you, the enlightened reader, now think "What, about weather balloons and stuff?" but no, it's about actual flying saucers that landed on earth. Apparently, in the 1950s, that was a thing. There are books about people flying with the spacemen and everything. I honestly though the whole UFO-thing was very niche and for lunatics even back then, but the list of people who claim to be in contact with aliens include high-ranking millitary officials and ivy-league professors, apparently? I feel that was not touched upon enough on X-Files. So now I know that, I guess. The book's obviously a stinking pile of crap, not well-written, unstructured, and the author a known (I say known but does a notation on a UFO-wiki count?) fraud. Oh, also, almost forgot, it all tied in with believing in God again somehow. 

That's all, folks.

And currently, I am reading a book about the Norse Gods, you know, Thor and his folks, and at one point, Loki is pregnant by a horse. I bet there's fanfiction.
I am also reading "Menschen im Hotel" by Vicki Baum, which I love, because it's set in an old Grand Hotel in the early 20th century, and there's an aging ballerina in it and a gentleman thief!

And I'm still not done with the last Harry Potter audiobook.

Oh, and Pottermore is kind of a let-down, isn't it?

Anyway, that's really all, and it still hasn't stopped pouring, so I guess I'll go for a run and take my shampoo.




Aug. 1st, 2011

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July Books

(I got an early spot at Pottermore, by the way, yay. I didn't even try really hard, I was just there when they were handing them out. I even solved the riddle all by myself, sophistcated as it was.) 

Anyway.

Read

38) Barker, Pat: "Blow Your House Down" *****
39) Wilke, Jutta: "Holundermond" *****
40) Garland, Lisa : "Engel oder Todesbotin?" ***
41) Otto, Whitney: "How to Make an American Quilt" ***
42) Rich, Kathleen: "Abseits vom Paradies" ******

Bought

Wolff, Evita: "Unter dem Pferdemond"

Heard

More Potter. I've finally reached the Deathly Hallows.

Jul. 31st, 2011

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Zweiundvierzig

Book Title: "Abseits vom Paradies"
Author: Kathleen Rich
Page Count: 64
First Published: 19??
Rating: superfunk - golden - sweet - blah - superblah - blergh - goatfood

OMG THIS WAS THE BEST BOOK EVER. okay. How do I describe this. There is absolutely no sense of time - this could be set any time after the invention of the car - no sense of space, though the "book" claims it's Madeira, the names are all over the place and due to the extremely, superbly crappy translation everything sounds german anyway. And the story, dear sweet lord, the story. There's a young heiress, and someone is trying to kill her. But instead of telling the police "uh, guys, someone tried to stab me in the opera" she goes on vacation with her best friend/aunt?, and they visit an old acquaintance of her dead father. And then there's a blind old woman and a doctor with a mysterious past and cross-dressing(!) and so much drama! And in the end there's more drama because the love of her life has only one year to live (tm)! And this comes out as "as I knew since I looked at the papers" and there were no papers! That part was edited out because the story had to be 64 pages! You could name every cliche you associate with dime novels like this and it would match, I swear. Brilliant. Simply brilliant.

Jul. 23rd, 2011

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Einundvierzig

Book Title: "How to Make an American Quilt" 
Author: Whitney Otto
Page Count: 254
First Published: 1991
Rating: superfunk - golden - sweet - blah - superblah - blergh - goatfood

I bought this on the flea market because I vaguely remembered reading it a long time ago and wanted to know if I remembered the right book. I kind of did, only I didn't remember how awfully boring and pretentious it was. See, it's about quilts and quilting. So not only is the whole thing a long, long, long metaphor for how relationships are just like quilts, it's also made up of different patches and basically a quilt in book form. Only it has about six patches. I think this idea would have worked a lot better on a much larger book spanning, I don't know, the history of a small town from the pioneer days until the present. And interspersed with the few chapters about relationships are instructions on quilt making in that most annoying of adresses, second person. "You read this review and think, she must not have liked that book much. You wonder if you should read it anyway. You decide you might, one day, if you come across it." You know.

Jul. 22nd, 2011

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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

I just returned from the cinema an hour ago full of hate for mankind. You know how people can do annoying things in the cinema? 
- eat stuff from loud bags
- come late
- talk to each other
- talk to the movie
- have a loud cold
- drink loud fizzy drinks

ALL THAT HAPPENED. The bitches next to me even tried to talk all through Snape's story, but I managed to make them stop. That's something. But it was a pretty shitty movie-going experience.

Anyway, on to the list-thingy, yes? I'll watch it a second time next week I think.
Spoilers! (River Song ruined that for everyone.) Collapse )
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(no subject)

"Do you think Professor Slughorn is trying to collect me?"
"Yes."
"Do you want me to let him?"
"Yes."

Okay that reads ... terrible. Did no one notice? (And now Harry's being all flirtatious too.)

So yes ... I went out and got HBP from the library (my library rocks) and put off watching DH.2 till tomorrow. But I already did the list thing after the cinema. I just wanted to say that this movie is kind of green. But I'm watching it on a different screen so that's actually not a fair comparison.

Yeah that's no reason apparentlyCollapse )
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Jul. 20th, 2011

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(no subject)

I'm just watching OotP, you know, to ~prepare myself~ (why I don't have HBP on DVD, I don't even know) (I had planned a movie marathon, but there wasn't time), and I can't help but notice that Little Whinging makes no sense. It's HUGE, for one, and then there's miles of wheat fields, and then there's a tiny, tiny playground - the same playground that, back in POA, was next to a road in the middle of some houses, by the way. And when Dudley and Harry run away, there's a tunnel where, in the introductory shot, there were just fields of wheat.

Oh, and they changed the Dementors. I never noticed. They look stupid now.
Yeah, this turned out long... Collapse )
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Vierzig

Book Title: "Engel oder Todesbotin?" (Angel or Harbinger of Death?) 
Author: Lisa Garland
Page Count: 64
First Published: ?
Rating: superfunk - golden - sweet - blah - superblah - blergh - goatfood

I'll stop rating these dime novels as goat food and rate them within the perimeter of "of course these are bad, but there are varieties of bad", shall I. I bought 12 of them at a local flea market, I don't think I've mentioned that. They must have been published sometime in the 80s judging from the advertisements, and I'm sure you could google the specifics, but let's face it, no one cares.
This one was not very good. The writing was solid, and it was a pretty engaging love/mystery story, but there wasn't enough of the gothic elements I adore. I mean, they were there in name, there was a scream in the night and a Big Secret and a stately old manor with an unused wing and a labyrinthine cellar and a secret passage ... they were just not goosebumpy, they were just there. And the ending was rushed even for 64 pages.

Jul. 19th, 2011

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Neununddreißig

Book Title: "Holundermond"
Author: Jutta Wilke
Page Count: 316
First Published: 2011
Rating: superfunk - golden - sweet - blah - superblah - blergh - goatfood

This book is so good that I want to go out, find a 10-year-old girl and give it to her to read, but I think that would be weird. Maybe I'll leave it on the front steps of the school in my neighbourhood instead. Anyway. I kind of want to make a Dan Brown comparison, only because it dealt with the church and a treasure hunt. So ... this book was like Dan Brown if Dan Brown wrote amazing books for children, I guess. 12 year old Nele has to deal with her parents divorce, and because of it hides in her father's van when he drives to Vienna for a job (he does something with culture and art and appraisal but I'm not sure that's a real job so I don't know how to look up the english word for it). There, she stays in the bed&breaksfast of enigmatic, beautiful Viviane and meets Flavio, the son of the owner of a little ice cream parlor in the nearby monastery. He shows her Vienna, and the monastery, and together, they discover that Neles father Jan has not suddenly disappeared for a job, but is missing, and that Flavios history teacher has a sinister plan involving some treasures in the monastery, and there's also time travel, I'm not really doing the plot justice here, but it was so good. The writing was very solid without trying too hard to be literature, the characters were real and you could always sympathize, good and evil weren't too black and white, but not too ambiguous either, it was just a very good book.

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