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My November and December book haul, pt. 1

Here are the books I bought in the last week of November and the first three weeks of December. 
I've already posted the books I got for Christmas, but here are the rest - well, part of them anyway. I decided to break this up into two posts because there are so many books.

First photo:
Johannes Cabal the Necromancer is one I decided I wanted to read when I first heard of it, but then  never got round to doing it. The Love Child and Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter both looked intriguing, for vastly different reasons. The Second Book of General Ignorance I got because I have the first and I'm a fan of QI. Seaworthy I got because I love Linda Greenlaw's writing, and The Complete Stories of Dorothy L. Sayers because I love her writing as well.  Only Greenlaw's book is new. The rest are second hand, although some of them look like they have never been read.



Second photo:
The books in both photos below are all second hand, although I suspect at least a couple of them have neve…

The books I got for Christmas

I usually get at least one book for Christmas, and this year I got four, so it was a good book Christmas.

My brother got me the Terry Pratchett Diary and The Turnip Princess.  I am reading the latter and enjoying it very much. The man who collected these tales, Franz Xavier von Schönwerth, was a contemporary of the Grimm brothers, but unlike them, he seems to have only given the tales he collected a minimal editing. They are therefore raw and feel much more "real" than the tales the Grimms published, which were refined and polished before publication. They therefore remind me very much of the Icelandic "ævintýri" (märchen) collected by my favourite folk-tale collectors, Ólafur Davíðsson and Jón Árnason.

Der schönster Ort der Welt is a book of essays by German-speaking booksellers. The title translates as "The most beautiful place in the world". It was a Christmas resent from myself to myself. It remains to be seen how do at reading it, since the only Germa…

Review: Never the Bride by Paul Magrs

Genre: Urban fantasy, alternative reality, pastiche.

I'm not going to give any plot summary here, since the plot hinges on so many secrets that I might give one away by accident.

Never the Bride builds on an interesting, if not exactly original premise: the old Gothic horror stories describe real historical events and there really are more things in Heaven and Earth (and Hell) than Horatio could have dreamt.

The Bride of Frankenstein is real and lives in Whitby; the Invasion from Mars really happened; vampires walk the earth; and there are more spooky goings-on in the Goth capital of Britain than you can shake a stick at.

Oh, and the book is full of cliches, just like the last two paragraphs. That's not to say it isn't entertaining, but there is something missing. The narrative is episodic rather than linear and while the stories that make up each episode do connect into a plot of sorts, there are so many loose ends flapping in the breeze that you can see not one, but sever…

Reading report,19 December 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted by Kathryn at the Book Date and is "a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week."

Visit the Book Date to see what various other book bloggers have been up to in the past week.
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I was in Germany last Monday and didn't have time to finish a reading report before I left, so here's a double doze:

The week before last I finished listening to Five Little Pigs by Agatha Christie, audiobook read by Hugh Fraser. I'm quite sure I have not read this one before, and I think it's just become one of my favourite Poirots. Fortunately there were no foreign accents in this one, other than Poirot's (refer to my previous comments on the subject in my last reading report if you don't know what I'm talking about).






This week I read quite a lot, but only finished two books.

The first was Never the Bride by Paul Magrs. This is the first book in an alternative reality urba…

Friday links, 16 December, 2016

I didn't do much web-surfing last week. However, I did come across these links:

In fantasy literature it looks like Norse mythology is on the menu.And here's a powerful article about what reading the right book can do: The sin I couldn’t give up..

Not directly (or at all) related to books and reading:
A website: Hours of fun for someone interested in mechanics: The Museum of Unworkable Devices.Words: When a place name isn't just a name, but a symbol for something unpleasant or unwanted: The politics of geographical names.

Back to books: 
Today's book list is one of those inevitable end-of-year lists of the best novels of the year.
25 of them, to be exact.

Why did I chose this particular list? Because it's the first one I came across, that's why. In any case, these lists usually contain more or less the same collection of the year's bestsellers, and only the future will tell us which ones will be considered to be really good in the long run.

Finally, a book I mig…

Friday links, 9 December 2016

When this list posts, at 8. a.m., my flight to Germany will be taking off from Keflavík Airport. I hope someone will find something to entertain, inform or educate them in this list:

Firstly, I came across this interesting Infographic about how the world reads and thought I'd share it.

Secondly, I have never been a member of a book club, and after reading this, I'm glad: Top 10 Book Club Faux Fas.

Thirdly, here is an interesting article about Arthur Conan Doyle and how he was taken in by a simple hoax: Arthur Conan Doyle, Spiritualism, and Fairies.
Fourthly, the stories that inspired famous books are often just as fascinating as the books themselves. Here is an article on The True Story of Jaws.
Fifthly, here is a fascinating animated article about discovery: How Delivering Meals To Seniors Showed Me The Real New York. For once, a Buzzfeed article that is not full of annoying gifs from movies and TV shows I haven't seen.

Then there was the time an American gentleman wanted…

Drowning in books

I may have mentioned before that many Icelanders LOVE books. Not only do we buy them for ourselves, but we also love to give them as gifts. The market is small and therefore the one time it really pays to advertise books is the time of the year when you can give books to lots of people. In other words: Christmas.

Don‘t get me wrong: Books do get advertised at other times, like in March/April/May when the 14-year olds go through their confirmations and in May/June when school graduations take place. The market at those times is however mostly for reference books, classic literature in fine bindings and expensive non-fiction books about subjects like photography, natural history or cooking, and the advertising is likewise mostly limited to these subjects.

Books that are likely to sell well and are published in paperback at various times of the year, such as the latest by authors like Jo Nesbø or Lee Child, also get advertised, while some, especially translations of Harlequin romances, …

Enter this great Giveaway!

Who would like 250$ to buy books with?  I know I would.
 This Christmas giveaway is run by I Am a Reader, it runs from December 5th to 22, and the prize is a 250$ Amazon Gift Code or $250 in Paypal Cash! Good not just for buying books (although that's what I would use it on).

What would you buy if you won? Thanks to this awesome group of bloggers and authors who have joined with me to bring you one fabulous prize!!

Click on the image to read all about and enter the contest!

Reading report, Monday 5 December 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted by Kathryn at the Book Date and is "a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week."

Visit the Book Date to see what various other book bloggers have been up to in the past week.
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I can hardly believe it's December already. It feels like summer was only yesterday, and now Christmas season is here. I'm caught in a time phenomenon where days pass very slowly, but weeks zip by. Before I know it, it will be April and I'll start preparing my VW mini-motorhome for my trip to Germany. 
Plans for the trip itself are ongoing, although I am taking a short break from planning that trip and am instead getting ready to fly to Frankfurt with my mother to visit Christmas markets in Hessen and Baden-Württemberg later this week. We will be staying in Heidelberg. Last week the long-term weather forecast was for rain, but the forecast has changed and now it looks like it will be…

Friday links for December 2, 2016

Today's collection of links is mostly stuff I have found over the last several weeks and months:
Food: 
Here's a scrumptious literary food blog:The Little Library Café, where blogger Kate Young cooks and bakes food inspired by her favourite works of fiction.

Famous people: I've been reading Casanova by Ian Kelly in stops and starts since the summer and found this article on him and his writings interesting: How Casanova's X-rated Memoir Created a Legend.
The book is dead. Long live the book!  Once again, the book's demise has been announced and  yet the book lives on: The myth of the disappearing book: Misplaced hype overebooks dates back to the phonograph in 1894.
Book porn: 
16 Beautiful Jane Eyre Book Covers.

Art:
On my tour of Colorado, Wyoming and Utah's national parks this summer I bought a number of lovely retro-style fridge magnets with artwork related to each of the parks I visited, and I also bought a handful of stickers with similar art to use in and …

List love: 12 foods/dishes I discovered or want to try thanks to books other than cookbooks

I haven't written a List Love post in ages, but while going through some of my files I found a fully written post from several years ago and decided to post it, with a few minor adjustments. 
Note that it was written before I was diagnosed with diabetes, so I would have to make certain adjustments if I was planning to make some of the recipes today. 
This really should go on my cooking blog, but I thought it would be fun to do a cross-over post.
It’s no secret that I like to cook and eat and discover new recipes, and thanks to my reading of all kinds of novels and non-fiction over the space of 40+ years I have come across lots of different interesting foods and dishes.
I am not counting stuff I have come across in actual cookbooks and recipe collections and I am not including any books deliberately written as foodie books, but only books that made me take notice of some particular dish. However, I might do a post on mouth-watering foodie books later. Goodness knows there are enough …

Friday links, November 25, 2016

Last week's first link was to a Roundworld reference in a Discworld book. Here is another one: Treacle mining. Treacle Mine Road is frequently mentioned in those Discworld books that take place in Ankh-Morpork, and treacle mines are mentioned as well.

Do all those books with "girl" in the title annoy you? Me too. Someone decided to investigate and came up with this: The Gone Girl With The Dragon Tattoo On The Train.
Love France but can't afford to go there? Try this:
Food-and-Book Pairings in Lieu of Travelling to France.

A useful blog for writers, full of cautionary tales exposing less than ethical (and sometimes illegal) practices in the publishing industry that writers should be aware of: Writer Beware


The book list: The 86 Greatest Travel Books of All Time. Why 86? Why not the usual 100, or 17 or 42?  I rather think it's because these are ones you can buy through the website. But don't let that disturb you: there are some great reads on that list. I…

Review: Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch

Genre: Urban fantasy police procedural.
Setting: Modern London.
Themes: Violence, death, crime, gods, magic, ghosts.


Constable-in-training Peter Grant is facing a career at a desk, writing reports for other policemen, at the end of his probationary period, due to being easily distracted. Things start looking up when he meets a ghost at a murder scene he is guarding. Next thing he knows, he's been recruited into a special branch of the London police that deals with paranormal and supernatural crime, has become a wizard's apprentice and is learning how to use magic. However, finding out he's able to see ghosts and do magic is soon the least of Peter's worries as a series of bizarre acts of violence and murder sweep the city. To add to the confusion, the river gods of London seem to be heading into a turf war.

I first heard of this book when I was browsing the Discworld discussion forum on Reddit, where it was recommended as something a Discworld fan might like to read.…

Last week's book haul

I acquired four books last week.


Professor Stewart's Cabinet of Mathematical Curiosities was written by Ian Stewart, who I am familiar with as one of the co-authors of The Science of Discworld books, and it will be interesting to read this as I have been wanting to study maths again. I had my interest and joy in maths severely maimed by bad teachers when I was a teenager and I have always wanted to go back and study maths without the pressure of having to get passing grades.Rivers of London is an entertaining urban fantasy police procedural. I will post a review tomorrow.I was very happy to get my hands on a lovely, illustrated hardcover edition of Mark Twain's Diaries of Adam & Eve. I've already read both diaries, but it will not hurt to read them again in such a lovely book.Why Not? looks like a nice loo book - I am beginning to see an end to my current toilet book (1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die) and need something totally different to read.

Review: Measuring the World by Daniel Kehlmann

Translated by: Carol Brown Janeway.
Genre: Historical novel.
Themes: Mathematics, science, travel, human interactions.


Kehlmann's novel is about two great men of the 19th century: Alexander von Humboldt and Carl Friedrick Gauss.


Von Humboldt is best known as a naturalist, geographer and explorer, and Gauss is considered to have been one of the greatest mathematicians of all time. Both were pioneers in their respective fields and what Kehlmann focuses on in his book is that both men measured the known world - one travelling far and wide to do so and the other doing it all inside his own head, rarely leaving his home state.

The narrative jumps around with alternating chapters about each man, going back and forth in time a little and showing the reader both men at various ages and stages of their careers. We also get to see parts of the story through the eyes of von Humboldt's long-suffering travel companion and collaborator, the French physician and botanist Aimé Bonpland, and thos…

Weekly Monday Round-up (November 21, 2016)

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted by Kathryn at the Book Date and is "a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week."

Visit the Book Date to see what various other book bloggers have been up to in the past week.




Books I finished reading last week: 
Measuring the World by Daniel Kehlmann. Historical novel. I'm working on a review.Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch. Fantasy police procedural, set in modern London. I'm working on a review.What the Butler Saw: Two Hundred and Fifty Years of the Servant Problem by E.S. Turner. This is an informative account of life in service in England (and America) and a look at the upstairs-downstairs dichotomy. 
Books I acquired last week:


I will discuss them in more detail later in the week.


Weather report: 
We had the first frost in the Reykjavík area last week, with a little snow, which then melted and re-froze. The slippery pavements are preventing me from walking at my …

Juicy Friday links, November 18, 2016

I decided to make some changes to the Friday links. There will no longer be a fixed number of links, but any number up to 10, depending on what interesting stuff I have discovered during the week's web surfing. I will also start posting links that are not related to books and reading, or only indirectly or marginally so, because I often find interesting, fascinating or funny links related to my other interests that I want to share. I will continue to post one link to a book list per week, and I am considering putting in links to books on my TBR wishlist. Here are today's links:

Link the first relates to Terry Pratchett's Discworld, specifically to the resograph, the "thingness-writer" in Moving Pictures that measured disturbances in reality. It was made from a large vase and expelled steel balls from an aperture in the direction of the disturbance. It has a Roundworld counterpart, an ancient Chinese seismometer. Link the second is about cliches in covers of books …

Why?

Why is it, now that I can finally glimpse a hope that I'll be able to finish the bedspread - the one I started making three years ago - before this Christmas, is it that I feel no interest in continuing with the task of crocheting it all together and instead am plotting to make myself a Hogwarts scarf to wear this winter? And I'm not even a Harry Potter megafan.

Reading Report for October 2016

I finished 13 books in October, of which 5 were rereads. 8 were fiction in 5 genres and 5 were non-fiction in the same number of genres.

The stand-outs were  Not on the Label and Dragonology, the former because it is a very thought-provoking book and the latter because of its gorgeous design. I also enjoyed getting reacquainted with Charlotte MacLeod's writing - I had forgotten how good she is at writing funny characters.

The Book of General Ignorance was like having Stephen Fry speaking in my head throughout the reading.

The Mystery of Swordfish Reef turned out to be one of Upfield's more far-fetched mysteries and I got the feeling he had got to thoroughly hate his detective by the time this book was written.

Rereads: 

Book haul for last week and the week before

I acquired 4 books in the week before last: 3 non-fiction books and one novel, and have already read two of them.

The big red book is a richly illustrated history of the Vikings. It was fist published back in the 1960s, so I expect some more stuff has come to light since it was written, but it's a gloriously beautiful book worth owning.Common Grounds is a book on the natural history of a small area of land in Harrogate, Yorkshire. Click on the link to read my review.Alice is about what might have happened to Alice after her adventures in Wonderland.  Clink the link to read my review.The Devil in the White City is another history book.I expect I will read it soon, as it has been on my TBR list for several years.













Then I acquired 12 books last week and have already read 2 of them and started reading a third.

First photo:

The book in the top left corner is titled Deutschland, and is a photo book about Germany. It was published in 1964 and all the photos are black-and-white. As I have me…