MissWatson ROOTS randomly – the second draw
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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
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
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.
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.
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
>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.
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.
>26 MissWatson: I love both writers you mentioned! I don't mind a bit of horror. Maybe I should seek some help ;-))
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.
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
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."
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
>58 MissWatson: Going through old cookbooks and culinary dictionaries sounds fascinating.
>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!;)
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.
edited for touchstone
Have a wonderful weekend.
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
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.
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.
Enjoy your holiday, Birgit!
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
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
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.
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.
The numbers are: 2 8 12 17 19 27, bonus number 1
The book is: The Labyrinth Makers, number 2: a mystery or thriller
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.
And I'm glad you had a lovely vacation!
The numbers are: 2 6 10 11 34 44, bonus number 3
The book is: Lumpenmüllers Lieschen, number 11: a classic romance
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.
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.
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
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.
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...
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.
The Bayeux Tapestry
The numbers are: 1 18 22 30 34 44, bonus number 5
The books is: Ah treachery!, number 22, a prize-winning book
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!
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...
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
I've never read Twain and would like to read one of his classics.
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.
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
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...
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.
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
Also, Congrats on passing your goal!
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.
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.
>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.
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... ;)
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
The numbers are: 7 20 25 26 34 37, bonus number 1
The book is: Der königliche Kaufmann, number 7: a non-fiction book
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.
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.