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Showing posts from July, 2013

This week's book haul

I hit on a sale at one of the charity shops I occasionally visit - any 10 books for a fixed price - and since there were some books there I wanted and buying 5 of them full price would cost more than getting 10 on sale, I went browsing and found five more I wanted. I got one more from the free books basket, and another two from another charity shop, a total of 13. In the background is the biggest of my TBR bookcases:


What I got was:
A French book of portraits of farm animals and their owners. Have I mentioned that I love photography books? If I haven't, well: now you know;
A sampler of English poetry through the ages (I have the big Norton Anthology of English Literature, but this is something I can read in bed without breaking my nose if I fall asleep reading it);
A Nancy Mitford novel - I have had her books recommended to me by several people and this one especially;
Les Misérables, which I actually also have as an ebook, but this is a newer translation. One day I hope to read it …

Friday book list # 11: Shirley by Charlotte Brontë

It's quite tempting to also list those pieces of poetry and hymns quoted (some extensively) but not mentioned by title, but I will resist. If I go down that road it will become endless toil and spoil the reading for me.
I may have missed some, but I hope not many.

Play:
Coriolanus by Shakespeare


Poetry:
"La Jeune captive" by André Chénier
"The Castaway" by William Cowper

Folk ballad:
"Puir Mary Lee" (Scottish)


Literature:
Arabian Nights


Look at what I got!

I've been a bad, bad girl and bought me some books. The attempt to diminish the TBR stack by buying only books I strictly think I might keep has flown out the window. The TBR challenge, however, is still on, although it has slowed to a crawl.

I give you last week's book haul:



I love travelogues and like to read about foreign countries and I also like to read memoirs, especially those of people in interesting jobs and/or exotic locations. Therefore I was quite thrilled to find a number of such books. There was a travelogue about Paraguay (At the Tomb...), a country I have hitherto only visited once before in a book (Greene's Travels with my Aunt) and a book describing France - a country I think I should know more about since I am learning the language and am about to reach the step of deciding whether or not to splurge on a month of language school in the country. The Seven Pillars of Wisdom of course combines memoir and travelogue and although I have an ebook edition of it…

Booking Through Thursday: Summer reading

Today's prompt on Booking Through Thursday concerns summer reading:

Do your reading habits change in the summer? Do you take your books outside more? Do you curl up in the air conditioning? Do you read fluff instead of serious books? Are you too busy playing in the sun or gardening or whatever to read much at all?
My reading habits do not change all that much during the summer.

I don't read more outside - living where I do means that for it to be warm enough for comfortable outside reading it has to be sunny, and I burn easily. I do love to read on my living room sofa with the balcony doors open and a breeze wafting in the sounds and smells of summer. Only yesterday I was reading and the room was filled with the heady scent of newly mown grass - wonderful!


Neither do I exchange brain food for brain candy in the summer - my reading is always an eclectic mix of both - but I do tend to read shorter books and to reread more.

My summer reading sessions are shorter than the winter…

Not only women read romances

I came across this a couple of days ago:

It was during the first days of my librarian career that I found copies of Harlequin books in the drawer of my little metal desk. The previous librarian, who was less than a week away from being discharged, informed me that the dogeared pages of those romantic books would always be hotly sought after by soldiers.
“Be mindful of those Harlequins,” he briefed me. “Never let soldiers bring them to their barracks. Or it will be YOU who gets into trouble.”
My Little Library in Anatolia by Kaya Genc (follow the link to read the whole article

Reading journal for Shirley, final entry, with SPOILERS

After I wrote the last entry I picked up the book again and read it more or less in one session.

Final thoughts: 
All the character descriptions are brilliant. Some characters are summed up in one pithy sentence or one short paragraph, and you know exactly what kind of people they are, and yet none of the primary or secondary characters are stereotypes, because their words and actions then take over and show them to be more than mere cardboard cut-outs. This takes skill. The disapproving Mrs. Yorke, for example, is shown to hate youth and beauty, but is perfectly capable of changing her mind about said youth and beauty when it is suffering (e.g. Mr. Moore), when she turns out to be a mother hen type.

There are passages that seem to serve no particular purpose, or which at least could have been shorter, but taken altogether the story does not sag badly at any time. It sails on at its own pace and gets there in the end. I am certain there are readers who would have wished the ending to…

Booking through Thursday: Dogs and Pets

Today's subject on Booking Through Thursday is dogs and other pets:

My dog just had his birthday (12 years old, thanks), so … how do you feel about books about dogs or pets? Fluffy stories of fluffy family members? Solid books on training them or taking care of them? Touching reminiscences of trouble and the way a person’s dog (or pet) has helped get them through?
(Mind you, almost all the pet-related books on my shelf are about dogs, but I’m well aware that people love their cats, horses, ferrets, rabbits, fish, etc. just as much, so … any species is fine!)
Any favorite books to recommend?
I used to love animal books and still read them occasionally. My favourite books featuring pets specifically are by Gerald Durrell, who kept a varied and exotic menagerie of pets throughout his life and ended up running a zoo, and the books by Yorkshire veterinarian Alf Wight, writing as James Herriot, about the animals he treated through his years in practice.

I have also enjoyed pet biog…

Reading journal with comments and conjectures on Shirley. As always, do not read if you don't like SPOILERS.

'Mutual love! My dear, romances are pernicious. You do not read them, I hope?'
'Sometimes - whenever I can get them, indeed; but romance-writers might know nothing of love, judging by the way in which they treat of it.'
'Nothing whatever, my dear!' assented Mrs. Pryor eagerly; 'nor of marriage; and the false pictures they give of those subjects cannot be too strongly condemned. They are not like reality: they show you only the green tempting surface of the marsh, and give not one faithful or truthful hint of the slough underneath.'
From Chapter 21. 
So, not a new sentiment, then.
--

As you can see I have finally picked up Shirley again, to find lots of things happening: a funny clash between the C of E followers and the other congregations in the neighbourhood and an attempt by the Luddites to storm the mill repelled with lethal force.

Emotionally a lot going on as well: Shirley possibly in love with Mr. Moore but being rather inscrutable about it and Caro…

Booking through Thursday

Today's Booking through Thursday is a about somewhat sensitive subject, especially for non-Americans:

So, Fourth of July here in the USA … Do you ever read books that could be considered patriotic? Rousing stories of heroes? History? Brave countrymen & women doing bold things?
What would you recommend if somebody asked you for something patriotic–no matter what your country?
Be as specific or as general as you like?

There aren‘t many novels of this kind available in my language (there are some, but they tend to be maudlin and I don‘t like maudlin). There is more available in the non-fiction field, but history books here mostly tend to focus on social aspects rather than on glorifying the country.

Icelanders as a tribe are a rather cynical and deprecating lot and on the occasions when it doesn‘t show in our writing it comes out in the reading instead. You will find plenty of stories of individual heroes in Icelandic literature, e.g. in the Sagas, but not much prose which I…