MissWatson ROOTS randomly – the second draw

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MissWatson ROOTS randomly – the second draw

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Abr 30, 2016, 7:33pm

Last year some people found a nifty way for randomly choosing books off the TBR. Someone else had a category challenge with 49 books to be read, which I instantly associated with the German official lotto, 6 out of 49. This gave me the idea for my own randomiser. So, after some fiddling, this is what my 2016 ROOTing looks like: On Saturday, the numbers are drawn and decide the categories to be read, which gives me a choice of 1 out of 6. There is also an additional number drawn (by which the jackpot is distributed, it represents the last digit of the ticket number, so they are 0-9). This will be my fallback if none of the six categories appeals to me in a week: The first ten slots will go to those genres which are overrepresented on my shelves. The first draw takes place on 2 January 2016. Watch this space!

Editado: Oct 5, 2016, 4:06am

The year has 52 weeks, so my target is to read 52 books I owned before January 1st, 2016.

Editado: Oct 5, 2016, 4:06am

The 49 categories are:

1 a book with more than 400 pages Sword at sunset
2 a mystery or thriller Winterkartoffelknödel, The Labyrinth Makers
3 a book that became a movie Rogue Male
4 a book more than 100 years old Wellen, The black robe
5 a book by a female author Romans, Celts and Germans
6 a book set in a different country Tod des Dichters, Stalky & Co., The tavern knight, The suitors of Yvonne
7 a non-fiction book Vorgeschichte in der Bretagne
8 a book that was originally written in a different language Asche und Blitz
9 a book you own but have never read Firmin
10 a book from your childhood The prospering, Gritlis Kinder
11 a classic romance Lumpenmüllers Lieschen
12 a book with a number in the title
13 a book published last year Die Söhne des Mars
14 a book written by someone under 30
15 a book with nonhuman characters War with the robots
16 a funny book
17 a book with a one-word title
18 a book of short stories Les récrés du petit Nicolas
19 a popular author's first book
20 a book from an author you love that you haven't read yet The Small House at Allington, Pauline
21 a book a friend recommended
22 a prize-winning book Ah, treachery!
23 a book based on a true story Le dragon des Arcanes
24 a book at the bottom of your to-read list The healer's war
25 a book your mom/dad loves La casa de los espíritus
26 a book based entirely on its cover
27 a book you were supposed to read in school but didn't Sansibar oder der letzte Grund
28 a memoir Mémoires d'Hadrien
29 a book you can finish in a day De brevitate vitae / Die Kürze des Lebens
30 a book with antonyms in the title
31 a book set somewhere you've always wanted to visit
32 a book that came out the year you were born
33 a book you bought because of a review A good man in Africa
34 a book with a love triangle Der Zauberring
35 a book set in the future
36 a book set in high school
37 a book with a colour in the title The gold bug
38 a book that made you cry
39 a book with magic L'alchimiste des ombres
40 a graphic novel
41 a book by an author you've never read before Wir
42 a book that takes place in your hometown
43 a book set during christmas
44 a book written by an author with your same initials Forty words for sorrow
45 a play
46 a banned book
47 a book based on or turned into a TV show Ross Poldark
48 a book you started but never finished The winter king
49 a book that scares you

Editado: May 1, 2016, 11:58am

KW 18

The numbers are: 14 26 28 30 36 43, bonus number 6
The book is: Tod des Dichters by Ludwig Tieck, number 6: a book set in a different country

May 1, 2016, 9:55am

Happy new thread!

May 1, 2016, 11:57am

Nice to se you, Jackie!

May 2, 2016, 3:34pm

Happy New Thread, Birgit!

May 3, 2016, 4:38am

Hi, Connie!

May 3, 2016, 8:52am

Happy new thread!

May 4, 2016, 3:34am

#28 Tod des Dichters

Tod des Dichters by Ludwig Tieck is a historical novel set in Lisbon and describes the last days of the poet Luís de Camões, which coincide with the last days of Portugal as an independent nation: King Sebastian engaged on a fatal campaign in Africa, got himself killed, and Philip of Spain took over the kingdom.
I am tempted to say that it is typical of what we expect from the Romantics; everything is larger than life, people more beautiful, feelings more intense, faith more fervent, fates more desperate. Death and the futility of life loom large. There's also the parallel between the nation's ingratitude towards its greatest poet and the decline of Portugal as a great colonial empire, and this was an aspect I found hard to swallow. This fervent nationalism, coupled as it is with the firm belief in white peoples' superiority, is very much a product of its time, a fact I was constantly reminded of by the author's quaint, old-fashioned style. It's so odd that I went to look at a digitised copy of an original printing just to reassure myself that he had actually written it like this.
Time to read up on the Romantics.

May 4, 2016, 9:53am

Happy new thread! And WOOT on being more than halfway done with your goal already!

May 4, 2016, 4:51pm

#29 Mozart auf der Reise nach Prag

A novella by Eduard Mörike. It tells how Mozart, on the way to Prague with his wife for the first production of Don Giovanni, stops over in a small town and is invited to the celebration of a betrothal at a castle nearby. There's lots of impromptu music and Constanze shares some tidbits about married life with a genius. Nice and gentle.

May 5, 2016, 8:12pm

>10 MissWatson: it sounds interesting/irritating. Which side do you think wins out?

May 6, 2016, 11:44am

>12 MissWatson: If it is translated into English, that is definitely a BB for me. I've read several books where Mozart is the peripheral character. Mozart was a notorious womanizer, so I would be interested in what his wife has to say!

May 8, 2016, 4:19pm

>13 ipsoivan: In the end, I came down on the side of irritating. There's too much of hero-worshipping the great poetic genius for my taste.

May 8, 2016, 4:22pm

>14 Tess_W: In this little novella she was quite certain that he would always come back to her, if only because she took care of the mundane things in life, like money. Then again, Eduard Mörike is strictly 19th century where they glossed over such things.

Editado: May 15, 2016, 7:14pm

KW 19

The numbers are: 16 32 34 37 42 44, bonus number 9
The book is: Forty words for sorrow: number 44, a book by an author with your same initials

May 8, 2016, 4:26pm

Thursday was a holiday in Germany, and I had visitors staying for the long weekend. No reading done, but we had fun visiting a little local fair of knitting yarns. Very beautiful stuff, mostly hand-dyed, but very expensive.

May 8, 2016, 5:09pm

I don't have any authors with the initials BG on my shelves, so I'm going for GB, as in Giles Blunt: Forty words for sorrow because it also fits a category in my category challenge.

May 9, 2016, 10:54am

>19 MissWatson: that's a fair compromise :)

>18 MissWatson: Sounds like a great day! :)

May 9, 2016, 11:07am

>20 avanders: Yes, it was great, wonderful weather, nice people, perfect.

May 9, 2016, 11:13am

>17 MissWatson: I hope you like Forty Words for Sorrow. I found it a very satisfying read.

May 10, 2016, 4:00am

>22 karenmarie: Thanks, I'm liking it a lot and hope to finish it today. Canadian winters must be extremely uncomfortable...

May 10, 2016, 7:28pm

>23 MissWatson: Usually British Columbia is spared the worst of it (or at least Vancouver and Victoria), but yes, winter can definitely get uncomfortable around here. Where I am, the city is in a valley so all the damp cold air settles in the valley and makes the already cold temperatures feel even worse.

May 10, 2016, 8:39pm

>19 MissWatson: I used to share an office with Giles Bunt's wife! I tried to read one of his mysteries and was too squeamish to enjoy it as much as I would have liked to. I really liked her.

May 11, 2016, 5:18am

>24 rabbitprincess: Reading this made me very grateful for the Gulf stream which gives us these nice, mild winters.

>25 ipsoivan: How exciting to be so close to a writer! I'm not very fond of gruesome detail either, and in this respect I found the book rather more restrained than I expected. The murders were extremely sadistic, yes, but he didn't get too close. To my mind, Minette Walters or Val McDermid mysteries are far more upsetting.

May 11, 2016, 5:24am

#30 Forty words for sorrow

I don't think I've ever read a mystery set in Canada before, and the description of the winter weather made me appreciate my local climate. It is a good mystery, I liked the characters, and although the murders are very sadistic, he doesn't give too many gory details.
I'm always surprised to see how quickly technology and fashion fads change nowadays: the book is barely sixteen years old, and Blaupunkt car radios were hot items. Do they even exist any more? I haven't seen an ad in what feels like ages.

May 11, 2016, 5:28am

I read a Minette Walters a long time ago and found it pretty horrifying. The book of Blunt's that I read may have been especially upsetting because of knowing the places well, and it seeming more real as a result--I'm not sure. I don't really want to risk another.

May 11, 2016, 6:55am

>28 ipsoivan: Oh yes, that is something I completely understand. I always find that I'm quite willing to accept murder and mayhem on TV shows set in the US, but seeing similar shenanigans set in Germany is just unbelievable.

May 11, 2016, 7:44pm

>29 MissWatson: do you have any good German mystery writers to recommend?

Editado: May 12, 2016, 9:58am

>30 ipsoivan: To be honest, I have only recently started to re-acquaint myself with the genre and I am not well-read in German authors yet. I rely on my sister for recommendations, as a librarian in a public library she knows what readers like, and what she likes (usually not the same thing). Some of her favourites are Ingrid Noll who has a very dark sense of humour, Jacques Berndorf who has a series about a crime-investigating reporter, Petra Oelker who writes historical mysteries about 19th century Hamburg and Wolf Haas who is Austrian and writes a very idiosyncratic style. I read a few books from these authors and liked them. Other well-known writers who have been picked up for TV versions of their books are: Jürgen Kehrer whose protagonist has an antiquarian bookshop, Felix Huby, Jan Seghers, Friedrich Ani. I liked the TV versions but haven't read any of the books yet. I don't know if any have been translated...

May 12, 2016, 6:39pm

Thanks-- this gives me a lot to start with. I was brought up reading mystries, as my mother loved them and always had a lot in the house that she was more than happy to share. I have fallen out of the habit of reading reviews (mostly to prevent excessive buying), so I'm really not up to date on mysteries, and welcome recommendations, especially from someone like your sister who seems to read, like me, against the grain.

May 13, 2016, 6:47am

>32 ipsoivan: This sounds very familiar!

May 14, 2016, 1:18pm

Hi Birgit, Trying to catch up on threads. That does not work well, since I get distracted by other things. But I'm here now! So waving at you!

>26 MissWatson: I love both writers you mentioned! I don't mind a bit of horror. Maybe I should seek some help ;-))

May 15, 2016, 6:33am

>34 connie53: Hi Connie! Are you still enjoying your garden reads or do you also have such heavy rainfalls as we do? This is not what I wanted for the Pentecost holiday!

May 15, 2016, 6:35am

#31 The cruellest month

My first book by Louise Penny, and third in the Gamache series. Not bad, but I wasn't enthusiastic either, so it's off to a new home.

Editado: May 15, 2016, 7:14pm


The numbers are: 5 13 18 26 30 44, bonus number 9
The book is: Die Söhne des Mars, number 13: a book published last year

May 15, 2016, 6:51am

>35 MissWatson: It's sunny but cold now. No real rain, just a few drops. The garden needs some heavy rain though. I will go and read in the garden in an hour or so. First I need to check out some of my favourite threads.

May 15, 2016, 6:45pm

>38 connie53: We've had lots of rain today and it's really cold, so no reading on the balcony today.

May 15, 2016, 6:47pm

#32 Manners for women

I found something unexpectedly nice on my shelves that I hadn't catalogued yet: Manners for women is a facsimile reprint of a guide to etiquette from the late 19th century. It had me giggling several times, other stuff she mentions is still valid today. And I loved Lord Charles Beresford's telegraphic reply to an invitation politely to be declined: "Sorry to be unable to accept. Lie follows by post."

May 15, 2016, 7:20pm

>40 MissWatson: Serendipity!

May 16, 2016, 9:34am

>40 MissWatson: lol I love that reply too! Fantastic.

May 17, 2016, 4:05am

>41 Tess_W: >42 avanders: Such a wonderful word, isn't it? I'm really looking forward to the companion volume Manners for men. Which reminds me, I wanted to look up some items on the wedding breakfast menus she recommends...

May 17, 2016, 7:53am

>Let us know about the items on the breakfast menu!

May 17, 2016, 10:58am

>44 Tess_W: Happy to oblige, Tess. Here's Mrs Humphry's sugesstion for a winter wedding reception (it used to be breakfasts, apparently you had to get married before 12 o'clock):

Petits soufflés de Homard / Petits Aspics de Filets de Soles / Médaillons de Volaille / Aspics de Foie Gras / Croûtes à la Régence / Tranches de Langue à la Gelée
Sandwichs de Foie Gras ou de Volaille
Petites Gelées aux fruits / Petites Crêmes Variées / Pâtisserie
Biscuits assortis / Gâteaux Variées
Macédoine de fruits

In summer, there are lots more sandwiches, with cress, tongue, anchovies, and some baffling items such as Sandwich Pain Bis, Sandwich Connaught and Sandwich à la Régence. I spent some time trawling 19th century dictionaries, but haven't found a satisfying explanation for the à la Régence yet.

May 17, 2016, 11:19am

>40 MissWatson: Sounds like fun! I especially like the "Sorry to be unable to accept. Lie follows by post." I finally had an epiphany about 10 years ago that I don't need to say anything beyond the "Sorry, we can't attend." It was quite freeing.

May 17, 2016, 12:01pm

>45 MissWatson: What a menu! I don't know much French at all, but Sandwich a La Regence translates Sandwich of the Regency. I'm wondering if that coincides with the Regency Era in France when Louis XV was a minor and France was ruled by a regent. Maybe a popular sandwich of that day? Or perhaps a sandwich from a famous place named Regency? I would tend to think the former. ?????

May 18, 2016, 4:07am

>47 Tess_W: That could be one explanation, but one of the few mentions I found online named Carême, a celebrity cook from the early 19th century who actually worked for the Prince Regent at the Pavilion in Brighton. That seems a much closer connection. What I haven't found yet are actual recipes. I've downloaded Dumas' Dictionnaire de la cuisine, just for the fun of it, and I'm looking for Carême's books, too.

May 18, 2016, 4:09am

>46 karenmarie: That's what Mrs Humphry suggested.

May 18, 2016, 11:08am

>48 MissWatson: Keep my apprised!

May 19, 2016, 3:48am

#33 Die Söhne des Mars

I do not often buy books fresh off the press, but in this case I did, because it promised to do what Harry Sidebottom's Ancient warfare abysmally failed to do. And it did deliver.

The author takes us from the question of how war emerged to the first archaeological remains of weapons and battle sites and on to the Greeks and Romans. He manages to explain different views of these fundamental questions in layman's terms, he does not overburden the reader with too many details, and he has an amazing way of summarising long-term developments in one succinct sentence. He even takes the trouble to translate technical terms (coined from Greek and Latin which is no longer part of the general education) into German. A five star read.

May 21, 2016, 2:01pm


The numbers are: 2 5 29 46 47 48, bonus number 4
The book is: The Black Robe, number 4: a book that is more than 100 years old

Editado: May 22, 2016, 10:50am

>52 MissWatson: The Black Robe sounds fascinating! I've never heard of it - only know Colins' Woman in White and The Moonstone. Just got it for free on my Kindle.....

May 22, 2016, 11:12am

Hi Birgit, just passing by and waving.

May 22, 2016, 1:34pm

>52 MissWatson: Let us know how you likeThe Black Robe. It's on my TBR pile!

May 22, 2016, 4:51pm

#34 The black robe

I was already halfway through the book when the number came in, so I chose it.
I found this a bit untypical of Collins. A Jesuit priest tries to convert an English gentleman to the Roman Catholic faith, and to inveigle him to return his property, which was seized by Henry VIII, to the church. Not as viciously anti-Catholic as some Victorians, but Father Benwell makes for a very hissable bad guy. I sadly missed the plucky woman in a supporting role that Collins normally provides. Unlike some other books of his, I didn't really get close to the protagonists.
My edition also lacked a few paragraphs, I had to check a digitised version on Project Guternberg for the full text. And choosing a portrait of the Reformation hero Ulrich Zwingli for the cover was a very bad call.

May 22, 2016, 4:54pm

>53 karenmarie: Collins has written some very great female characters, and unlike some Victorian authors, his women feel like real people, not those insipid, meek, suffering wallflowers that Charles Dickens favoured. Lydia Gwilt in Armadale is one of my favourites.

May 22, 2016, 5:00pm

>55 Tess_W: >50 Tess_W:

Hi Tess, The black robe is not one of his best works, but still worth reading in my opinion. I didn't like Lewis Romayne, but Father Benwell often put me in mind of Aramis at his most scheming.

I have spent a few pleasant evenings browsing old cookbooks and culinary dictionaries, but I'm still baffled. However, since the earliest mention of sauce à la Régence occurs in Carême's book, and since it is mentioned by Rottenhöfer, who was cook to a Bavarian king in the19th century, I'm inclined to think of it as a reverence to George IV. And it's based on a brown sauce and contains truffles, so not a recipe I'm eager to try.

May 22, 2016, 5:01pm

>54 connie53: Hi Connie!

May 22, 2016, 6:28pm

>58 MissWatson: Thanks for the info!

May 23, 2016, 10:22am

>58 MissWatson: Congrats on another ROOT pulled... you are rocking the challenge!
The Black Robe sounds interesting... >57 MissWatson: I appreciate "real people" female characters.. so many male authors take cheap shortcuts, it's nice to see a more involved consideration. :)

Editado: May 23, 2016, 10:37am

>57 MissWatson: Dickens has never appealed to me. I have read David Copperfield and A Christmas Carol. It's ironic because I have almost all his works on my shelves - given to me by a neighbor because otherwise they were going to take them to the thrift store. I couldn't let that happen. What if I wanted to read one of them one day? :)

>58 MissWatson: Going through old cookbooks and culinary dictionaries sounds fascinating.

May 24, 2016, 4:32am

>62 karenmarie: I read Dickens for the secondary characters, where he provides some comic relief for his sentimental love affairs. The cookbooks, on the other hand, were fascinating, although a little long-winded. I need to look again for a "dictionnaire portatif" (something went wrong during the download) which should be very useful for reading historical fiction.

May 24, 2016, 4:36am

>61 avanders: Thank you! Collins observes Victorian conventions by having demure, passive heroines who get married in the end, but there's always one with a brain and a healthy dose of self-interest.
I'm allowing myself a short break from ROOTing with a recent acquisition: Leviathan wakes.

May 24, 2016, 10:03am

>62 karenmarie: I started out my Dickens with A Tale of Two Cities, the most "un-Dickinson" of all his works; it is a great historical fiction read. Then I went to Great Expectations, which I also loved as well as Bleak House. I will say that as you, I did not like David Copperfield. I find that many of his books are about the street urchin, which gets old after awhile!

>58 MissWatson: I also love to read/collect old cookbooks. I have several from 1800 and many for the early 1900's. I think my favorite is a Polish/English one published for new Poles arriving in the U.S. in the 1850-1920's era. The left page is in Polish and the right page is in English. I wish I was more proficient in languages because English and Spanish just doesn't get it for most things. that is really why I did not go to grad school to get my PhD in history--at the major universities in the U.S., to be awarded a PhD in history, you must be fluent (as in read/research) in a foreign language that covers your area of expertise. I was in my late 40's before I was ready both personally and financially to tackle a PhD, but I would have had to add 1-2 years of language study on to that, so I did not officially enter grad school for my PhD, but have taken some of the history courses which interest me and never ONCE have I had to tackle an assignment in a foreign language!;)

May 28, 2016, 9:04am

>65 Tess_W: Reading old cookbooks can be real fun. One of my recent downloads gave an inventory of kitchen utensils, and it made me so grateful for the invention of electricity. Cooking with an open fire would scare me to death.

When I left school, you still had to have the "Latinum" to be admitted to history studies, i.e. taken Latin classes at school and passed the final exam for it. I sometimes regret I didn't make that effort, but I suppose it's one of those things whose value you only appreciate later in life.

Editado: May 28, 2016, 9:07am

And I have been a very bad girl again today, ROOTwise. It started off innocently enough with an interesting article about Walker Percy, marking the centenary of his birthday, which mentioned that Peter Handke translated his debut novel. So off I went to my favourite charity bookshop, hoping for a copy. No such luck, but I found half a dozen other books. Sigh.

edited for touchstone

Editado: May 28, 2016, 9:13am

>67 MissWatson: It's okay to be bad, in that sense! I think we all are at some time or another---that's why we're in the group! Have a nice weekend!

Editado: May 28, 2016, 10:11am

>67 MissWatson: You sound like me - an article, a thread mention, then off to try to find something. And of course, there are always other books just crying out to come home with us. Just think - you're building up next year's ROOT inventory.

Have a wonderful weekend.

May 28, 2016, 12:37pm

>67 MissWatson: It must be catching -- I came home from a church sale and my favourite used bookstore with a whole bunch of new ROOTS to read!

May 29, 2016, 12:46pm

>68 Tess_W: Thanks, Tess, I finished my non-ROOT reading outside with sunshine, so it's a great weekend.

>69 karenmarie: Yes, reading the arts pages is so dangerous. Not to mention other people's threads on LT.

>70 rabbitprincess: At least we'll never run out of ROOTs.

May 29, 2016, 12:50pm


The numbers are: 5 9 17 24 39 45, bonus number 3
The book is: The healer's war, number 24: a book at the bottom of your to-read list

May 29, 2016, 1:39pm

>72 MissWatson: I'll wait for your review before I add this to my list! I'm not into fantasy at all and some have tagged this as such; but I teach about Vietnam and it sounds right up my alley!

May 31, 2016, 11:37am

>67 MissWatson: lol a dozen others, ey? ;) Sounds like fun!

May 31, 2016, 3:52pm

>74 avanders: Half a dozen, which is still six too many. But how could I pass up a beautiful hardback copy of James and the giant peach in the year of Roald Dahl's centenary? I have never read it, and I'm looking forward to it.

Editado: Jun 1, 2016, 4:18am

#35 The healer's war

I do not recall why I bought this. The book was published in 1989, when I was working already, so I assume it was mentioned in a review somewhere. And then it sort of disappeared in the second row on the shelf.

The author herself calls it fantasy, but it does not resemble any fantasy that I have read, so far.

It is a first person narrative from a very young army nurse, looking back on her tour in Vietnam, and it is harrowing. There are three parts in the book: the first is a rather straightforward story of things happening at the hospital, off and on duty. Then a new surgeon is appointed who wants all the Vietnamese civilian patients off his ward, and Kitty tries to save at least one of them. This is the second part, where an amulet she received from an old Vietnamese becomes important and introduces the fantasy element. The third part is a brief coda telling of her problems coping with life "back in the world" and finding a new mission at the end.

The amulet provides the only element that could be called fantasy here, and to my mind it is more of a device to enable the author, who was an army nurse herself, to write about her experiences and, possibly, work through them. This part is the most harrowing, the cruelties which people inflict on both their own and the enemy side, are very bad. There is no black and white here, and she is still conflicted about it at the end of the book. The descriptions of the jungle are so vivid you fell the need for water and salt tablets. This will stay with me for quite some time.


May 31, 2016, 3:58pm

So, May is nearly over and I have read 8 ROOTs this month. Not bad at all, if I say so myself.

Editado: May 31, 2016, 6:50pm

>76 MissWatson: You convinced me, put on my wish list!
>77 MissWatson: Very very good

Post Script, Amazon had The Healer's War for only $1.99...I bought it; only the 2nd book this year. You are a very bad influence on me!;)

Jun 1, 2016, 4:19am

>78 Tess_W: Only two books? You have been very disciplined.

Jun 1, 2016, 6:11am

>79 MissWatson: I have learned to use the wish list instead of the buy button...I buy 99% of my books online for Kindle...........so unless it's something I need to read right away, or it's free or less than $2 on Kindle, I can resist. I'm downsizing after 42 years of marriage and 36 years in the same house with all of its collected "stuff" and I think I have done an excellent job! When I started here I had well over 1000 books TBR and another 400 on the shelves. I now have thinned that to about 325 physical books--most TBR. I try to buy only on Kindle now for 2 reasons: space consideration and the fact that the print in some books is too small for me to read, even with glasses. I do prefer the "real" books; I like their physicality, their touch, their smell. BUT, life is what it is and accommodations must be made. I'm actually happier with the smaller stash, it seems to be more manageable and so far, (fingers crossed) I have not missed or needed anything given away and donated.

Jun 1, 2016, 6:41am

>80 Tess_W: Downsizing, yeah, that is something I'm contemplating.

Jun 1, 2016, 7:34am

>80 Tess_W: I'm impressed by your story of downsizing. I think it was my own overwhelmed-ness by the volume of my unread books that first drew me to LibraryThing and, in time, to this wonderful group.

Jun 1, 2016, 9:08am

>82 ipsoivan: I agree that it's a wonderful group!

Jun 2, 2016, 4:08am

#36 Kleine Geschichte der Niederlande

This is a rather personal history of the Netherlands written not by a professional historian, but by a well-known author of fiction, Geert Mak, and as such it is also a reflection on what he knows and feels about his country. It ranges from history as it was taught in his youth to the revisions made by recent archaeology, from the earliest known settlements to the latest political debates. The Golden Age receives the same attention as all other eras, which means everything is told briefly and in a rather impressionistic manner, but enlightening nonetheless. It whets the appetite for reading more and in depth.

Jun 2, 2016, 4:31am

I'm off for a short holiday and will be offline for a week. Wishing all of you nice summer days and good ROOTing!

Jun 2, 2016, 7:09am

Best wishes for a great holiday, Birgit!

Jun 2, 2016, 8:45am

>85 MissWatson: Enjoy your break!

Jun 3, 2016, 10:05am

>75 MissWatson: oh, oops, I misread that.. but still sounds fun! :)
And I agree w/ your logic ;)

>85 MissWatson: enjoy your holiday!

Jun 3, 2016, 6:27pm

>85 MissWatson: Enjoy your holiday from me too!

Editado: Jun 7, 2016, 1:25am

>69 karenmarie: That's what I think when buying books. I even wait to start a book I want to read when it is becoming a ROOT in the next month!

Enjoy your holiday, Birgit!

Jun 13, 2016, 10:47am

>86 Tess_W: >87 Jackie_K: >88 avanders: >89 karenmarie: >90 connie53: Hi Tess, Jackie, Ava, Karen and Connie, thank you very much, it's been a lovely week. Lots of museums, little reading, no ROOTs. But we had fun.

Editado: Jun 14, 2016, 6:30am


The numbers are: 5 6 22 31 35 42, bonus number 3
The book is: Stalky & Co, number 6: a book set in a different country

Editado: Jun 14, 2016, 6:30am


The numbers are: 6 13 21 27 38 45, bonus number 5
The book is: Stalky & Co, number 6: a book set in a different country

Jun 13, 2016, 10:52am

And now back to ROOTing. I missed two saturday draws and nearly ten days of reading time, so I think I'll pick a book that fits for both draws. Something short to catch up...

Jun 13, 2016, 10:53am

Glad you had fun! Love museums of most any kind!

Jun 16, 2016, 6:50am

#37 Ruhe ist die erste Bürgerpflicht

I downloaded this from the German Gutenberg site last year, so it qualifies as a ROOT. And it is a big one at 1081 pages. A historical novel set in Berlin in 1805-1806, with a large cast of characters debating how to deal with Napoleon threatening war. It's a fascinating glimpse into the mindset of the age, written fifty years after the events by a man who was a youngster at the time and volunteered in 1815. Some very interesting psychological portraits, too, there is a devious diplomat dabbling in chemistry who reminded me a lot of Cagliostro.

Jun 18, 2016, 3:23pm

#38 Stalky & Co.

I bought this decades ago when I was reading the David Audley series by Anthony Price where it is mentioned frequently. Unfortunately I do not remember the context and am currently regretting that I parted with that series. As for Kipling's book, it was interesting and a bit challenging with its dated schoolboy slang.

Editado: Jun 19, 2016, 2:15pm


The numbers are: 2 8 12 17 19 27, bonus number 1
The book is: The Labyrinth Makers, number 2: a mystery or thriller

Jun 19, 2016, 2:22pm

#39 The Labyrinth Makers and #40 The Alamut Ambush

Strictly speaking, these are re-reads. I owned the entire series way, way back in the eighties, and parted with them. Lack of space, and probably I thought that the end of the Cold War put an end to the whole genre. Then the chance mention of alamut in The Prince of Persia movie reminded me of it, and I set about tracking them down again.
Well, it turns out that they have aged exceptionally well. Maybe because they do not rely on technical gizmos, but instead on using your brains for outsmarting your enemies and your friends or allies. The protagonist, David Audley, is not my favourite character, and in the later books there was far too much quoting of Kipling, but there are enough other people around to root for. And the plots are very, very devious.

Jun 20, 2016, 9:48am

Wow, you're still making awesome progress - congrats!
And I'm glad you had a lovely vacation!

Jun 21, 2016, 4:55am

Editado: Jun 28, 2016, 5:39am


The numbers are: 2 6 10 11 34 44, bonus number 3
The book is: Lumpenmüllers Lieschen, number 11: a classic romance

Jun 27, 2016, 2:51pm

I spent the weekend at my sister's and haven't really had time to think about my next selection. Maybe later this night.

Jun 29, 2016, 4:37am

#41 Lumpenmüllers Lieschen

I've had this on my shelves since the 70ies, I think, when Fischer published a series of bestsellers of the last century. It put me in mind of the year when we studied "trivial literature" in German class, this is a typical example of a novel published in the Gartenlaube, a magazine for women. It's a romance between a millowner's daughter and an impoverished aristocrat. Very very weepy.

Jul 1, 2016, 10:54am

I just looked at your ticker - what brilliant progress! You've already read twice as many books as me, and I'm having my best reading year ever!! I don't know how you do it! :D

Jul 1, 2016, 11:09am

>105 Jackie_K: I do not have a lively little girl running around the house, like you. And these days I do not spend much time with the TV as I used to.

Editado: Jul 2, 2016, 12:56pm

#42 Latein ist tot, es lebe Latein!

This is a history of the Latin language from its beginnings to modern times, full of interesting tidbits and a pleasure to read. The author is a classical philologist and his passion for his subject shows in every chapter.


Jul 3, 2016, 7:08am


The numbers are: 4 6 8 15 26 30, bonus number: 9
The book is: Rendezvous mit Venus, number 8: a book originally written in a different language

Jul 9, 2016, 3:48pm

Just a quick hello, Birgit! I hope this finds you well and happy.

Jul 11, 2016, 8:43am

>109 karenmarie: Hi Karen, thanks, I'm fine. I just spent a weekend at my sister's and we finally paid a visit to the fountains at Schloss Wilhelmshöhe. "Fountains" is a bit misleading, but I couldn't find an English translation for Wasserkunst. It involves several stages of connected fountains and waterfalls and is very impressive, despite the current building works: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bergpark_Wilhelmsh%C3%B6he

Jul 11, 2016, 8:44am

#43: Rendezvous mit Venus

The year is 1806 and Jérôme-Joseph Lalande looks back on his eventful life. It is a fictional account told in a first person narrative, which allows room for many pointed barbs at his colleagues. He was an astronomer and member of the French Academy of Sciences, and as such he was very active in the organisation of the observation the transit of Venus in 1761/1769, which gives the book its title. It was one of the first international collaboration projects: French astronomers travelled to far-flung corners of the world, some of them theatres of the Seven Years War, others only just discovered. Fellow astronomers (professionals and amateurs) elsewhere were invited to send in their observation to the Academy and Lalande collected and published them.
This is a very entertaining book, the technical aspects and the mathematics are kept to a minimum, but there’s lots about the professional rivalries, jealousies and backstabbings, the petty obstacles thrown in their way by politics and the obsessive secrecy practised by all nations, especially the Spanish, the scratching for funds from a bankrupt king, the race for new discoveries between the French and the English, and so on. The most amazing thing to learn from this book was that the enormous amount of calculation necessary for making the planetary tables was mostly done by female mathematicians.

Jul 11, 2016, 9:03am

>111 MissWatson: Sounds like a marvelous read. I can't find it in English, though!

Jul 11, 2016, 11:28am

>110 MissWatson: How gorgeous! Thanks for sharing the link. I love waterfalls, and fountains, and enjoy just soaking up all those mists of water.

Jul 11, 2016, 1:13pm

>112 Tess_W: Yes, when I looked for his other books I noticed that only his non-fiction seems to have been translated into English.

Jul 11, 2016, 1:17pm

>113 karenmarie: It was extremely hot yesterday, so most people tried to stand downwind of the big fountain which shoots up 50 metres and provides lots of mist. And of course I bought a book to read up on its construction. Ahem.

Jul 11, 2016, 1:19pm


The numbers are: 1 34 37 40 44 49, bonus number 7.
The book is: Sword at sunset, number 1: a book with more than 400 pages.

It's a good thing I had already started this...

Jul 12, 2016, 9:17am

>115 MissWatson: Of course you had to buy a book about its construction! Nothing else would do, I'm sure. I have books about Biltmore (North Carolina) and the World War I Museum (Missouri), plus several museum pamphlets of special showings I've attended over the years. I sometimes buy other kinds of souvenirs, but mostly books and pamphlets!

Jul 12, 2016, 10:12am

>117 karenmarie: I love museum shops, especially if they stock books that you wouldn't find elsewhere. It's much more tempting if you can look at the illustrations and skim the text!

Jul 12, 2016, 8:02pm

Those are usually the souvenirs that I purchase when visiting someplace--a book ABOUT the place, or a cookbook that's a take off the original owner (George Washignton's wife), or a picture book, etc. I enjoy going back through them down memory lane. In fact, I should be reading one about the Bayeux Tapestry that I saw in Bayeux, France, in 2005. I can't find it; although I've only made one search. I'm sure it will appear very shortly!

Jul 13, 2016, 3:37am

>119 Tess_W: Exactly! So where did the Bayeux book turn up?

Jul 13, 2016, 8:31am

>120 MissWatson: It hasn't, but I haven't looked again. I just regained my driving privileges since surgery (right knee) and I've been going places that I didn't want to be chauffered to--like getting my hair cut, going to the Body Works store, etc. Tonight is "German" night at my house...I'm cooking Wienerschnitzel/gravy, German potato salad, sweet/sour cabbage, and a German chocolate cake for my oldest son, who lives for this dinner! So searching of the Bayeux book, which I'm sure is under my nose, will have to wait. In the meantime, I started Outlander and although only on chapter 3, I'm in love with it already!

Jul 14, 2016, 8:07am

>121 Tess_W: It must be a relief to be fully mobile again.

Jul 14, 2016, 8:20am

#44 Sword at sunset

This is an unusual book by Rosemary Sutcliff: it is very long, at 486 pages set in very small type, it is not really aimed at children, I think, there's far too much campaigning and cavalry warfare, and it is a first person narrative.
Arthur tells the story of his life as cavalry leader for the High King Ambrosius as he lies on his deathbed. There is absolutely no magic in this post-Roman Britain, and many of the familiar names are missing.
As a variation on the Arthurian legend it is very interesting, but I think that setting the story in a defined timeframe is not helpful. The Saxons are such a diffuse threat, springing up of nowhere and seemingly concentrating on Britain as if it were the centre of the universe instead of an outlying province. It makes you wonder what went on in the rest of the world, especially since she mentions that Artos modelled his heavy cavalry on the Byzantine cavalry. Oh dear, oh dear, things to read up on, again.

Editado: Jul 15, 2016, 3:30pm

>121 Tess_W: I'm glad you're in love with Outlander already. Gabaldon is just soooo good.

Editado: Jul 16, 2016, 1:39am

>120 MissWatson: The Bayeux Tapestry has been "found" ....bottom shelf, it's only a very thin paperback and it was between 2 really large hardbacks and I didn't see it....but now I can rest easy! LOL!

Jul 18, 2016, 7:03am

>125 Tess_W: Ah, you found it! Then there's hope for the one that's gone AWOL on me. I'll mount a search and rescue tonight among the overspilling shelves.

Jul 18, 2016, 7:11am

>119 Tess_W: I bought a book about the tapestry as well when we were there. It pretty cleverly turned it into a comic strip, which was a good way of revisiting the fascinating account when we were back home. (It did not meassure up to the original, though, which is a definitely must-see.)

The Bayeux Tapestry

Jul 18, 2016, 8:13am

>127 Henrik_Madsen: I saw the original in 2005, Henrik. We had an excellent guide and she pointed out the "sewing" flaws--or was someone really trying to change history? The tapestry and the Beaches of Normandy were my favorite parts of France.

Editado: Jul 18, 2016, 11:10am


The numbers are: 1 18 22 30 34 44, bonus number 5
The books is: Ah treachery!, number 22, a prize-winning book

Jul 18, 2016, 11:10am

I am a little late with posting the numbers, again. We spent the weekend going to concerts and had a great time. Except for the moment when we came back from a walk and found someone had hit my sister's car and vanished without leaving a note. Some people are so irresponsible. Not to mention cowardly.

Anyway, I checked my shelves and found that I do not own a single book named on the winner's lists of the German Literary prize. The only one among the runners-up does not qualify as a ROOT. So I have had to bend my rules a little and instead I picked one that won the Germany Mystery Award in 1996, when it was re-published in a new translation: Ah, treachery!. I love his McCorkle/Padilla and Wu/Durant series, and I was a little surprised to find that three of his books that I haven't read yet (at least I don't remember having read them) have won this award. Perfect summer reading coming up!

Jul 20, 2016, 4:49am

#45 Die Kelten

But first I finished a non-fiction book about the Celts, to gain a little background information for reading about Arthurian Britain in the RTT group. Nice overview, and I think I'll check out the new edition due in September for the revisions and additions resulting from ongoing research...

Jul 21, 2016, 5:42am

#46 Ah, treachery!

Ross Thomas thrillers are short but action-packed, and this is no exception. It is set shortly after the 1992 elections, and while the name Clinton is never mentioned, the Little Rock team hovers in the background in this tale of election money going AWOL, with murder and mayhem piling up fast. Reading it now, with another unsavoury election coming up, was a strange experience. I guess the political antics are why I stayed away from it. My mistake. Thomas is on top form here.

Jul 21, 2016, 1:19pm

>132 MissWatson: A novel, but in just a few years, will probably be a biography!

Jul 23, 2016, 2:25pm

#47 El derecho de asilo

This is a very short book, a novella by Cuban author Alejo Carpentier about a civil servant who saves himself into the embassy of a neighbouring country when the army stages a coup, he asks for political asylum, then applies for citizenship of his host country and finally takes over the ambassador's job, all the while observing the military dicatorship from the window of his host's flat. Timeless, somehow.

Jul 23, 2016, 2:28pm


The numbers are: 5 25 29 43 47 48, bonus number 5
The book is: The winter king, number 48: a book you started but never finished

Editado: Jul 30, 2016, 11:39am

#48 Die Sachsen des frühen Mittelalters

The missing book turned up again, a non-fiction book about the Saxons. No written histories penned by themselves, no great monuments, so a very elusive people. Interesting, though aimed at a readership already familiar with the subject.

Editado: Jul 30, 2016, 11:39am

#49 The winter king

And I have finished it in my second attempt. It is a variation of the Arthurian legends, set in a concrete time, which is always problematic. So far, I'm underwhelmed.

Jul 30, 2016, 1:30pm

Almost there, Brigit!

Jul 31, 2016, 9:21am

Only one more to go, Birgit! Good job.

Editado: Ago 1, 2016, 3:51am


The numbers are: 6 13 23 26 30 33, bonus number 2
The book is: A good man in Africa, number 33: a book you bought because of a review

Jul 31, 2016, 2:42pm

>138 Tess_W: >139 connie53: Thanks, Tess and Connie! I'm dithering over my next choice, none of the categories appeals to me right now. Maybe tomorrow...

Ago 4, 2016, 5:06am

#50 A good man in Africa

I bought this on a trip to London decades ago, because I vaguely remembered having read positive reviews. Thirty years later it turns out to be the kind of book that doesn't age well. The so-called humour in it would not have appealed to me either, not even back then, I'm afraid.
The protagonist, first secretary in the British Commission of a western province in thinly-disguised Nigeria, is unlikable, obsessed with sex, a coward and incredibly incompetent. But then, so are his colleagues and his superiors, it makes you wonder how they ever ran an Empire. They still haven't come to terms with the loss of it, attitudes towards the inhabitants are crass. A book I can discard without regrets.

Editado: Ago 7, 2016, 3:41am


The numbers are: 6 25 26 33 45 47, bonus number 0
The book is: The tavern knight, number 6: a book set in a different country

Ago 7, 2016, 3:07am

Hi Birgit, have a nice Sunday!

Ago 7, 2016, 3:40am

>144 connie53: Hi Connie, wishing you the same! I'm planning to do a little paperwork, and hopefully I can find some time for Sir Crispin The tavern knight later.

Ago 8, 2016, 6:55am

#51 The tavern knight

We are in England and its Roundheads versus Cavaliers, but the politics take a backseat to the private vengeance of Sir Crispin Galliard. It is short at 263 pages, but action-packed, as Sabatini doesn't waste pages on such mundane activities as washing, shaving or eating. There's lots of drinking, of course, since Crispin is notorious for his debauchement. We have only a small cast of characters, so the plot is very predictable, but Sabatini's redeeming feature is that he knows his stuff, doesn't use anachronistic language and even has a heroine who does not ride, she needs a groom to control the horse while she rides pillion.

My copy is an MMP from the late sixties, with a truly hideous cover inspired by the film version of Scaramouche (copying those extremely inappropriate tights they made Stewart Granger wear) which gives readers a completely wrong idea of what the story is about. I can happily ditch it, since the novel is now available from Project Gutenberg.

Ago 12, 2016, 4:20am

#52 The adventures of Huckleberry Finn

I have reached my goal with this classic tale of boyhood on the Mississippi. A lovely read, although I grew very impatient with Tom Sawyer's obnoxious management of Jim's flight. On the other hand, I was wondering where he got hold of all these books he used as inspiration and when did he ever find the time to read them? My copy is going into the recycling bin, it's a paperback from 1978 and falling to pieces. It's a good thing that so many classics are available for free as ebooks.

Ago 12, 2016, 1:49pm

>147 MissWatson: I have that as a download from Project Gutenberg, I am looking forward to getting to it. I really should have read it before now!

Ago 13, 2016, 12:32pm

>148 Jackie_K: I think it is one of those books that you appreciate more as an adult.

Ago 13, 2016, 2:03pm


The numbers are: 6 14 28 30 37 39, bonus number 2
The book is: L'alchimiste des ombres, number 39: a book with magic

Ago 15, 2016, 12:34pm

Hi Birgit! I keep meaning to read Huckleberry Finn.....

Editado: Ago 15, 2016, 6:02pm

Congrats on reaching your goal. Mark Twain (Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer) is not one of my favs.

Ago 15, 2016, 11:20pm

Whoa, you reached your goal and I missed it! Belated congratulations. :)

Editado: Ago 16, 2016, 4:27am

>151 karenmarie: Hi Karen! I liked it well enough, but I do not consider it an absolute must-read.

>152 Tess_W: Thanks, Tess. It was a good read, but he doesn't make my favourite author list, either.

>153 rabbitprincess: Thank you, RP! It has been fun so far!

Ago 16, 2016, 4:29am

#53 Hirten, Bauern, Götter

This is a history of agriculture in ancient Rome. It is a very interesting book, even if the author restricts himself mostly to the surviving books of the most well-known Roman authors. But archaeology has added a lot to our knowledge, and I was surprised to learn how efficient Roman agriculture actually was. It achieved a productivity not seen again in Europe again until 1800. They gave us cherries and peaches, which I knew, but also a lot of vegetables, like beetroot, which I didn't know.

Ago 16, 2016, 1:44pm

Congratulations on meeting (now surpassing!) your goal!

I've never read Twain and would like to read one of his classics.

Ago 17, 2016, 3:39am

>156 detailmuse: Thank you!

Ago 18, 2016, 7:35pm

About Huckleberry Finn: I have now read this book 3 times over as many decades. Each time I think that I'll enjoy it. Each time I don't. I think it's important as a text in the American dialogue about race, but it feels to me like a fragmented book that is trying to do too much and suffers artistically--I know that sounds horribly pretentious, but I just have to get this off my chest. I wonder how others feel.

Ago 19, 2016, 4:02am

>158 ipsoivan: I think there are great books in the sense that they have great artistic qualities, and then there are important books because they have crystallized emotions of a certain period or influenced history and become monuments in the mindset of a people. Sometimes a book is both great and important, sometimes they are mostly important. You have to read them because so much else refers to them and some parts are really spot-on and has become iconic and it doesn't change the fact that much of it is a bit boring.

Now, I haven't read Huckleberry Finn yet, but that's how I feel about Robinson Crusoe where the whole really is somewhat less than the parts.

Ago 20, 2016, 11:09am

>159 Henrik_Madsen: I think that's a great way of looking at it. And, by the way, I am one of the few who actually really likes Robinson Crusoe. Go figure.

Ago 21, 2016, 3:36pm

>160 ipsoivan: Oh, I did enjoy Robinson Crusoe. The parts are amazing!

Ago 22, 2016, 8:41am

>161 Henrik_Madsen: Yeah, in fact I've loved every book by Defoe that I've read; I think Roxanna is my favourite, or maybe A Journal of the Plague Year. He was my gateway into 18th century literature.

Ago 22, 2016, 1:21pm

Could not ever get into Defoe or Cooper. I prefer the transcendental pessimists in American Literature.

Ago 22, 2016, 2:06pm

Hi all, interesting discussion! I've only read the abridged children's version of Robinson Crusoe, and I always wonder why publishers insist on stuffing kids with matters way beyond their comprehension.

Ago 22, 2016, 2:08pm

I spent the weekend at my sister's and came away with a few books. Ouch. And I didn't get in as much reading as I could have wished, so I haven't finished L'alchimiste des ombres yet.

Editado: Ago 23, 2016, 4:35am


The numbers are: 23 28 30 31 37 45, bonus number: 5
The book is: Le dragon des arcanes, number 23: a book based on a true story

Ago 22, 2016, 10:01pm

>163 Tess_W: Comparing Cooper and Defoe?? Can't do it! Defoe is so... stripped down and weird. Apologies to Miss Watson for highjacking her thread with my Defoe passion!

Ago 23, 2016, 3:48am

#54 L'alchimiste des ombres

This is the second book in the Cardinal's Blades trilogy. An entertaining romp with some familiar characters, such as Richelieu, Louis XIII and poor Queen Anne. There's another conspiracy afoot, involving the duchesse de Chevreuse (another real person) and quite a lot of sword-fighting. And we get dragons. I need to read a serious book on this time, just to find out how much of this did really happen...

Ago 23, 2016, 3:49am

>167 ipsoivan: Oh, there's no need to apologise for being passionate about books!

Editado: Ago 23, 2016, 7:53am

>167 ipsoivan: Your reasons exactly why I don't care for either--Defoe is stripped down; too simplistic for my tastes and Cooper is so flowery, even more than Dickens that I'm easy bored! I guess I like something in the middle!

Ago 23, 2016, 11:37am

That looks like a fun additional category challenge. :) Do you feel it helped you to read more books this year?

Ago 24, 2016, 4:36am

>171 This-n-That: Hi! Yes, having a goal of one book per week certainly helped. But I was surprised that many of the categories prove to be rather hard to fill. The only book I can think of with antonyms in the title does not count as a ROOT.

Editado: Ago 24, 2016, 10:25am

I can understand how some of the themed catagories would be challenging to fill. Having tried a few category based challenges myself in years past, there were always a few difficult ones that I kept putting off trying to find a book for. Sticking to TBR books certainly adds another element of difficulty. Good luck to you. :)

Ago 25, 2016, 7:26am

Ago 28, 2016, 11:30am

#55 Le dragon des Arcanes

And I finished the final book in my trilogy. Things get really moving and build up to a climactic battle in Notre Dame. Not all of our heroes make it to the finishing line, I would have loved to have news about half-dragon Saint-Lucq who remains a mystery to the end, and there's an incredible variation on the legend of the Man in the Iron Mask. Wow.
I thought at first I would part with the series, but on the strength of this third part I'll keep it. Pevel takes a year in French history, 1633, and sets his alternate history around real events. And he paints a very vivid picture of Paris at this time.

Ago 28, 2016, 11:32am


The numbers are: 1 8 22 32 33 43, bonus number 9
The book is: Asche und Blitz, number 8: a book written originally in a different language

Ago 28, 2016, 1:51pm

>175 MissWatson: I read book 1 and thought ok but no more....may have to look into book 2 sometime in the future.

Ago 28, 2016, 3:36pm

Hi Birgit! Wow, You have surpasses your goal! Great job.

Ago 29, 2016, 4:34am

>177 Tess_W: I thought things really dragged in the first book, he takes too much time setting up his scene and his characters. The second and third book are much more about actual events from the year 1633 and giving them a new twist, and there's lots more action.

>178 connie53: Thank you, Connie!

Ago 29, 2016, 12:11pm

Hi! I couldn't possibly catch up on the threads after my crazy-long absence, but I just wanted to say hi :)
Also, Congrats on passing your goal!

Ago 30, 2016, 3:55am

>180 avanders: Thanks. So nice to see you're back!

Ago 30, 2016, 4:05am

#56 Asche und Blitz

Hm, I cannot recall why I bought this, could have been the cover. It is set in China at the end of the Ming dynasty, barbarian invaders threaten the capital and everyone abandons the emperor. Only the abbot of a Buddhist monastery and his monks come to his rescue, and their heroism is badly rewarded by the emperor's successor. So the abbot flees and has lots of strange adventures, dragons and gods appear and meddle in the affairs of the Middle Kingdom until harmony is restored. It's difficult to know what to make of this without a deeper understanding of the myths he plays with here.

Editado: Ago 30, 2016, 6:04am

#57 The Gothic: A very short introduction

The first time around, I abandoned this book in the middle of the second chapter, where he gives us a condensed version of Thomas Rickman's description of Gothic architecture, i.e. a purely English outlook, which I thought too narrow. On second thought, this may have been a wise choice, given the restrictions of the series format (a mere 140 pages). He is on firmer ground once he gets to literature and makes some interesting comments on the genre, but here I would have liked a more detailed look. In the end the book was unsatisfactory.


Ago 30, 2016, 12:31pm

>183 MissWatson: hmm, interesting. Have you read other gothic explanations that you would recommend?

Ago 30, 2016, 2:08pm

And here, I just wanted to post a little extra glitter on your page for meeting your goal ;)

Ago 31, 2016, 6:00am

>185 avanders: Ooh, glitter! Thanks!

>184 avanders: This was my first foray into this kind of analysis. I have to say I'm not overfond of literary studies, in my school days it was summed up in the perennial teacher's question "What does the author want to tell us?". All that dry analysis seems to spoil the innocent enjoyment of a book merely for its characters or its language. Although sometimes its interesting to read the introduction after you've read the book, to see what you missed.

Editado: Sep 2, 2016, 3:57pm

>186 MissWatson: You bet! :)

And I'm not sure how I feel about literary studies either.. I loved literature classes in college, but more the reading of the literature, than the studying about it.. ;) but my husband was an english/lit major and seems to enjoy those types of studies. He took a gothic literature class -- I wonder if he has any recommendations.... But I agree w/ you: "All that dry analysis seems to spoil the innocent enjoyment of a book merely for its characters or its language. Although sometimes its interesting to read the introduction after you've read the book, to see what you missed" ... Sometimes... ;)

Sep 3, 2016, 7:53am

>186 MissWatson: On the other hand though, I do remember sometimes finding a book really hard to get into, but then once we did the analysis in class it helped me see what the author was getting at and I got into the book a bit more then, or saw a few things that I hadn't picked up from just reading it.

Sep 4, 2016, 10:05am

>188 Jackie_K: Sounds like you had some good experiences with books in school?

Sep 4, 2016, 10:07am


The numbers are: 8 14 18 25 30 36, bonus number 1
The book is: Just so stories, number 18: a book with short stories

Sep 4, 2016, 1:53pm

>189 MissWatson: Yes - I really enjoyed our English Lit classes, and even considered doing it at university (although I didn't in the end). I think having excellent teachers helped!

Sep 5, 2016, 6:53am

>191 Jackie_K: Lucky you! I sometimes got the impression that the teachers didn't like the books or the authors, but had to do them because they were on the curriculum.

Editado: Sep 10, 2016, 2:14am

#58 Just So Stories

Okay, I picked this because it is very short and I want to get on with my current non-ROOT. Kipling has a nice line in wordplay, but otherwise the stories are less than memorable.


Sep 10, 2016, 2:15am

I'm off for a short vacation and will be offline for two weeks. Happy ROOTing!

Sep 10, 2016, 6:16am

Hope you have a great time on vacation!

Sep 10, 2016, 8:06am

Have a great time! :D

Sep 11, 2016, 12:49pm

Enjoy your holiday!

Sep 18, 2016, 1:45am

Have a great time, Birgit!

Sep 22, 2016, 10:57am

Hope you're enjoying your vacation! 2 weeks sounds like a wonderful vacation :) :)

Sep 25, 2016, 12:28pm

Hi all, I'm back from Lake Constance. We had amazing weather, did lots of sightseeing and almost no reading. So I'll need to pick a few short ones for the last three draws...

Editado: Sep 26, 2016, 7:46am


The numbers are: 1 3 6 11 24 43, bonus number 0
The book is: The suitors of Yvonne, number 6: a book set in a different country

Editado: Sep 28, 2016, 5:10am


The numbers are: 3 34 35 37 46 47, bonus number 2
The book is: The gold bug, number 37: a book with a colour in the title

Editado: Sep 30, 2016, 5:00am


The numbers are: 4 15 18 21 32 45, bonus number 4
The book is: War with the robots, number 15: a book with non-human characters

Sep 25, 2016, 12:33pm

Day at the lake with amazing weather--glad you had a great time!

Editado: Sep 25, 2016, 12:44pm

>204 Tess_W: Thanks, Tess! Catching up with threads will take some time, I notice. But it's nice to be back.

Sep 26, 2016, 7:45am

#59 The suitors of Yvonne

This is the only book I finished during my vacation, the first novel Sabatini published which has languished on my Kobo for some time. It has all the marks of a typical Sabatini swashbuckler, the hero is a charming rogue redeemed by love, and there's political intrigue at the French court run by Mazarin.

Sep 30, 2016, 5:07am

#60 The gold bug

Okay, this was a lot shorter than I thought it would be, at a mere 16 pages in my edition of Poe's works. The story was new to me, and quite surprising. His detailed description of cracking the code was a little too elaborate for modern minds who would have figured it out from the moment Legrand decided the language must be English, but I really liked the analytical way in which he solved the mystery. I think we read the Tell-Tale Heart in school, but I have absolutely no memory of it, so I think October will see a few more Poe stories.

Editado: Oct 5, 2016, 3:52am


The numbers are: 7 20 25 26 34 37, bonus number 1
The book is: Der königliche Kaufmann, number 7: a non-fiction book

Editado: Oct 5, 2016, 3:46am

#61 Bardelys the Magnificent

I spent the long weekend (German national holiday on Monday) at my sister's and packed my Kobo for the train ride.
This is Sabatini's third novel, set in XVIIth century France, and features a spoiled young aristocrat who wagers with one of his drinking mates that he can win a cold provincial lady. Of course things turn out differently, and there's even some political intrigue, as we are in the times of the Fronde. Surprisingly, it's not Richelieu as the historical figure who makes an appearance, but Louis XIII who is shown much more sympathetically than I am used to. The hero, however, is rather annoying, much too full of himself, and given to serious blunders. It will be interesting to watch how Sabatini improves his technique in the next books until we reach Captain Blood and Scaramouche.


Editado: Oct 4, 2016, 11:19pm

>209 MissWatson: The book intrigues me, but not because of the swashbuckling. Since I teach modern history I've not studied France before Louis XIV, so the XIII is tempting me! But what is XVII France?

Oct 5, 2016, 3:49am

>210 Tess_W: Oops, that should have been XVIIth century, of course. Thanks for spotting it, Tess! I have noticed that a lot of Sabatini's books are set in this time, both England and France.

Oct 5, 2016, 3:50am

#62 War with the robots

War with the robots is a collection of eight stories first published between 1956 and 1961, and they definitely show their age. This is an exclusively male world, where women simply seem not to exist. The terminology has changed a lot since then, what he calls robots would be androids or even AI today, and memory storage is all on tapes. Not a keeper.

Oct 5, 2016, 4:08am

The thread is getting a bit long, and so I'm moving to a new one for the last quarter. You're welcome to join me!

Oct 18, 2016, 10:22am

Following you!
Este tema fue continuado por MissWatson ROOTS randomly – the third draw.