EllaTim's Reading Challenge in 2020 From 50 to 75?

Esto es una continuación del tema EllaTim's Reading Challenge in 2020 part Two.

Charlas75 Books Challenge for 2020

Únete a LibraryThing para publicar.

EllaTim's Reading Challenge in 2020 From 50 to 75?

Editado: Oct 8, 2020, 8:37 pm

September, time for a new thread. I just finished my 49th book, it seemed a good place for a new thread.

Hi, I'm Ella. Living in Amsterdam, with Marc.

Last year I just met 75 books read, and for this year? Let's just say I'm reading for pleasure, so no musts, or shoulds. Last year Marc was diagnosed with cancer, and it takes a lot of energy for the both of us, to deal with it. I have less energy and concentration and that shows.

Apart from reading, I love nature, birds, my allotment garden, music, and movies.

Picture taken at my allotment garden complex.

Editado: Dic 31, 2020, 7:56 am

My reading for this year:

1. Dreaming of the Bones by Deborah Crombie ****
2. Het hele Schaap Veronica by Annie M. G. Schmidt (audio, Dutch) ****
3. De Stille Kracht by Louis Couperus (audio, Dutch, 1900) ****
4. De Cock en de dode meesters by A. C. Baantjer (dutch, audio, 1994) ***
5. The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal (SF, USA, 2018) ***1/2
6. Alles gaat voorbij. Zelfs Donald Trump by Charles Groenhuijsen (dutch, audio) ****
7. How to train your dragon by Cressida Cowell ****
8. Mothering Sunday by Graham Swift (UK) ****1/2
9. "Groot en vermakelijk prenttafereel, bestaande in meer dan vier honderd soorten van afbeeldingen en figuren, als menschen, beesten, vogelen, visschen, schepen enz." (picture book, Dutch)
10. Schoolidyllen by Top Naeff (Dutch, 1901, no translation) ***
11. Kissed a sad Goodbye by Deborah Crombie (USA) ***1/2
12. The Bertrams by Anthony Trollope (UK) ***1/2

13. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Le Guin (fantasy, USA) *****
14. The Salt Path by Raynor Winn ***** (UK)
15. Chocolat by Joanne Harris (UK) ***1/2

16. Only you can save Mankind by Terry Pratchett (fantasy, UK) ***1/2
17. Johnny and the Dead by Terry Pratchett (UK, fantasy) ***1/2
18. Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks ****

19. Normal People by Sally Rooney (Ireland) ****
20. Epidemieën en pandemieën by Roel Coutinho (dutch, non-fiction, audio) ****
21. The Dispossessed by Ursula Le Guin (fantasy) ****1/2
22. De Brief voor de Koning by Tonke Dragt (Dutch) ****1/2

23. Geheimen van het Wilde Woud by Tonke Dragt (Dutch) ****
24. The Sealed Letter by Emma Donoghue (Irish/Canadian) ****1/2
25. Post voor Mevrouw Bromley by Stefan Brijs ****1/2 (Belgium)
26. The Word for World is Forest by Ursula K. Le Guin (SF) ****

27. The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai (USA) *****
28. All systems red by Martha Wells
29. Artificial condition by Martha Wells
30. Rocannon's World by Ursula K. Le Guin (SF, 1966)
31. Audio:
De leesclub by Renate Dorrestein, read by the author herself. (dutch) ***1/2
32. Planet of Exile by Ursula K. Le Guin (Sf) ****
33. De Zevensprong by Tonke Dragt (Dutch) ***
34. Network Effect by Martha Wells (SF, USA) ****
35. The Hollow Kingdom by Clare B. Dunkle (fantasy, USA) ****
36. Close Kin by Clare B. Dunkle (fantasy, USA) ***
37. In the Coils of the Snake by Clare B. Dunkle ( fantasy, USA) **1/2
38. De gloed van Sint-Petersburg by Jan Brokken (non-fiction, dutch, 2016) ****1/2

39. Op je kop in de Prullenbak by Guus Kuijer (dutch)
40. The splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson (Non-fiction, USA) ****1/2
41. City of Illusions by Ursula K. Le Guin (Fantasy, USA) ****
42. The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula Le Guin (fantasy, USA) ****

43. Castle Richmond by Anthony Trollope (UK) ****
44. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas (YA, Fantasy)***1/2
45. The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides (USA)
46. The Brothers Lionheart by Astrid Lindgren (Sweden, fantasy for children) ****

47. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (UK) *****
48. Very Far Away from Anywhere Else by Ursula Le Guin (USA) ****1/2
49. Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas (YA, Fantasy) ***1/2
50. The Siege by Helen Dunmore (UK) ****1/2
51. Shinju by Laura Joh Rowland (USA, historical mystery) ***
52. Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire ***1/2

53. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë (UK) ***
54. The invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman (Fantasy, UK)****
55. Troubled Blood by Robert Galbraith (UK, detective) ****1/2

And here I started a Lois McMaster Bujold series:
56. The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold

57. Paladin of Souls by Lois McMaster Bujold (fantasy, USA) ****
58. The Hallowed Hunt by Lois McMaster Bujold (fantasy, USA) ****
59. Penric's Demon by Lois McMaster Bujold (fantasy, USA) ****
60. Penric and the Shaman by Lois McMaster Bujold (fantasy, USA) ****
61. Penric's Mission by Lois McMaster Bujold (fantasy, USA) ****
62. Mira's Last Dance by Lois McMaster Bujold (fantasy, USA) ****
63. Penric's Fox by Lois McMaster Bujold (fantasy, USA) ****
64. The Prisoner of Limnos by Lois McMaster Bujold (fantasy, USA) ****
65. The Orphans of Raspay by Lois McMaster Bujold (fantasy, USA) ****
66. The Physicians of Vilnoc by Lois McMaster Bujold (fantasy, USA) ****

67. Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (UK)
68. Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel (UK) **** 1/2
69. Doctor Who: The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Time Traveller by Joanne Harris ***

70. Autumn by Ali Smith (UK)
71. Mrs Harris Goes to Paris by Paul Gallico ****
72. Something Fresh by P. G. Wodehouse ***1/2
73. Met bonzend hart by Willem Nijholt (Dutch) ****1/2
74. The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison (USA, fantasy) ****1/2
75. Five Quarters of the Orange by Joanne Harris (UK) ***1/2
76. Het Vrouwenpaleis by Laetitia Colombani (Fr) ***1/2
Original title: Les Victorieuses
77. Vesper Flights by Helen Macdonald (UK) *****
78. The Spy who came in from the cold by John Le Carré (UK) ****1/2
79. De meeste mensen deugen by Rutger Bregman (dutch) *****
(English title: Humankind: A Hopeful History)
80. De Nachtstemmer by Maarten 't Hart

Editado: Dic 27, 2020, 12:49 pm

Reading and not finished yet.

Sometimes I start a book and it takes me forever to finish it. Or I lose track. So here the books, that I have started will go.

Still reading:
The Iliad by Homer

The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker, put aside because I wanted to read The Iliad first:-)
And now I also want to read A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes

In Europa by Geert Mak
TV is airing a third series. Interesting again. I found the old series can still be seen. So I would like to see the old TV series, while listening to the book. I think the visuals will be worth it. But it's a project and will take time.

Part 1, turn of the century, general introduction, death of queen Victoria, new technology.
Part 2: 1906, Germany, Berlin, Kaiser Wilhelm II, Austria

Defying Hitler by Sebastian Haffner

Dirk Draulans' Beagle dagboek - p332
I think Darwin's actual Beagle Diary will be a better read, but this one gives a contemporary perspective, and is easier.

The ten thousand Doors of January (maybe next year)

Oryx and Crake (maybe next year)

De Onderwereld van de Tuin by Romke van de Kaa (still reading)

Taal is zeg maar echt mijn ding by Paulien Cornelisse (I'm considering this one finished)

Sep 6, 2020, 4:04 pm

Reading challenges. I love them, or, at least, I love to follow them, they are such a good way to find new books, new ideas.

So I'm going to post links to challenges here.

British Isles Author Challenge
January: Mothering Sunday by Graham Swift

Non-Fiction Challenge
January's theme is prize winners. Now Marc has been warbling about Underland. Seems like my cup of tea.
Here's the first thread:

Under construction

Sep 6, 2020, 4:07 pm

Reading plans for the autumn:

The Siege by Helen Dunmore, fits the BAC, a book about WWII
Autumn by Ali Smith
Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell

And try to finish what I started!

Sep 6, 2020, 4:08 pm

Ready! Welcome visitors!

Sep 6, 2020, 4:10 pm

Happy new one, Ella. Will you add a topper. I really loved your last one of the lilacs!

Like you, I seem to start several books and that pile of unfinished books keeps growing. Not because I have abandoned them, just got distracted. Good luck to us both in finishing!

Sep 6, 2020, 4:11 pm

Happy new thread, Ella!

Sep 6, 2020, 4:39 pm

>7 jessibud2: Thanks Shelley. I am still looking for a topper.
I hope to finished some of my pile of half-read books. I seem to want something new faster than i can read. Good luck to us both in finishing indeed.

>8 FAMeulstee: Thanks Anita!

Sep 6, 2020, 5:05 pm

Happy new thread!

Sep 6, 2020, 5:11 pm

>9 EllaTim: Thank you Anita.

Sep 6, 2020, 5:25 pm

Happy new thread!

Sep 7, 2020, 8:47 am

>12 drneutron: Thanks, Jim!

Sep 7, 2020, 2:11 pm

Happy new thread, Ella. xx

Sep 7, 2020, 2:24 pm

Happy new thread, Ella!

Sep 7, 2020, 5:58 pm

>14 PaulCranswick: >15 RebaRelishesReading: Hi Paul and Reba, Thank you both.

Sep 7, 2020, 6:06 pm

Happy New Thread, Ella! Hooray for Wuthering Heights. I will have to revisit that one.

Sep 8, 2020, 11:35 am

Thanks Marc. Always nice to revisit a book you loved.

Sep 8, 2020, 4:11 pm

Hi Ella my dear, Happy new thread dear friend.

Sep 8, 2020, 6:44 pm

>19 johnsimpson: Thank you John!

Sep 9, 2020, 5:48 am

Working at the allotment today. It's very much autumn. I'm pruning hedges and removing the small trees that have been planted and sown by the birds. Small oaks here, cotoneaster there, an alder, wild cherry. Lots of birds around, though most can only be heard. I did see a small Robin, they are not afraid of people.

Started on The Siege, and still reading Wuthering Heights.

Sep 9, 2020, 8:58 am

Hi Ella, and happy new thread!

>5 EllaTim: I want to read Hamnet, too. It’s getting rave reviews here on LT for sure.

Sep 9, 2020, 9:11 am

Este usuario ha sido eliminado por spam.

Sep 9, 2020, 6:51 pm

>22 karenmarie: Hi Karen! Thanks. Yes, Exactly, so many good reviews, and I love the cover.

Sep 13, 2020, 6:06 am

Had a very busy week, but I did do some reading:

50. The Siege by Helen Dunmore (UK) ****1/2

The Siege is the story of the siege of Leningrad, during WWII, 1941. Not a military story, but told through the eyes of a couple of inhabitants of Leningrad living through it. Anna, and her writer father. Her small brother Kolya, her new lover Andrey. We get to know these people, and follow Anna's attempts to get them all through the winter. The main enemies in the story are not the Germans, but generals Winter and Hunger. Helen Dunmore quotes Russian poets, Pushkin for instance. It's a dramatic story of course, and though the book was published in 2001 it felt older.
It's a tribute to all the people who died there as well.

Sep 13, 2020, 7:41 am

>25 EllaTim: Oh, that sounds like a really interesting read. I should try to remember that one.

Sep 13, 2020, 4:51 pm

>26 PawsforThought: It was good. I found it in the Guardian list of best books of the 21st century that Paul shared recently.

Sep 15, 2020, 7:33 pm

Having trouble with digital reading and devices. The library has updated their E-books app. Unfortunately the new version is not compatible with my iPad (10.x), I must have 11.x it tells me. I can use the new version on my mobile phone, but who wants to read on that? At least I can still listen to audiobooks that way. E-books I now will have to download on PC, the E-reader version. It's doable, just more hassle.

E-reader is having trouble with a book file. It keeps getting stuck, and I have to remove the offending file.
Sigh. One problem you never get with old-fashioned paper books, that they would suddenly refuse to open!

Sep 15, 2020, 10:22 pm

Happy New Thread, Ella!

Sep 16, 2020, 2:34 am

>28 EllaTim: Argh, how annoying! The only time I read e-books is on the Internet Archive and they're recently changed from 2 week loans to 1 hour loans, which I understand but am frustrated by, as I pretty much never sit down for an hour straight and just read - I'm too easily distracted by other things.

Sep 16, 2020, 9:07 am

>28 EllaTim: The online library has a good helpdesk, Ella, maybe they can help out with the corrupted file.
Paper books can be damaged in many other ways. My first dog loved books... to chew on ;-)

Sep 17, 2020, 8:30 pm

>29 ronincats: Thanks Roni!

>30 PawsforThought: That would pretty annoying and frustrating, as most books can't be finished in one hour. So you'd have to go back and reborrow t again, and again. No, that's no good.

>31 FAMeulstee: Hi Anita. I'll go back to the help desk. Most frustrating for now is the continuing problem with audiobooks that don't work in the new app. Maybe they can help with that. The malformed eBook issue has been resolved, so I can read again. When I stop wasting time on other stuff, like addictive games;-)

Sep 18, 2020, 5:02 am

>32 EllaTim: What annoys me most about it is that it's one continuous hour, not an hour of reading time (which for me couple be 15 minutes here, 20 minutes there, etc.) If it was one hour of active reading time I'd be okay with it in a way I'm not now.

Sep 18, 2020, 5:57 pm

>33 PawsforThought: Yes, I see what you mean. Why would they limit access like that?

Sep 18, 2020, 10:27 pm

>25 EllaTim: Fits the BAC for this month of course, Ella.

Have a great weekend.

Sep 19, 2020, 4:21 am

>35 PaulCranswick: That's one of the reasons I picked it Paul. Have a nice weekend as well.

Sep 19, 2020, 9:18 am

Hi Ella!

>28 EllaTim: I’m sorry your Library has updated their e-books app and your iPad 10x is now incompatible. Yes, thank goodness old-fashioned paper books never refuse to open.

>30 PawsforThought: A one-hour loan only? That’s ridiculous.

Sep 19, 2020, 3:57 pm

Hi Karen! Hurray for paper books and real libraries.

Editado: Sep 20, 2020, 10:20 am

Happy New Thread!

I haven't tried ebooks from my library as I have to read them on my phone or laptop. I have the Kindle app on my laptop and download the occasional hot deal from them.

Currently I'm reading a Viveca Sten mystery on my phone during breaks while on jury duty.

Mostly paper books for me, too. I love their feel as well as notes people have left in margins in older books. And the aroma!

Sep 20, 2020, 11:47 am

>34 EllaTim: They do it with books they only have one copy of, so people don’t have to wait so long to read something, but I’d rather wait a week and get to read the whole thing than do it this way. I’m fairly sure it’s also related to some copyright infringement issues they’ve faced.

Sep 21, 2020, 10:32 am

Happy New Thread, Ella!

I liked Helen Dunmore's The Siege a lot. I'm glad it worked well for you.

How is Marc doing with the cancer? My sympathy to both of you on going through that.

Sep 22, 2020, 3:23 am

>39 streamsong: Hi Janet! Reading on phone or laptop is a bit of a hassle.
Doing jury duty? What's that like? But i can imagine reading on your phone is a nice diversion then.

>40 PawsforThought: Hi Paws. Just one copy, that explains it. They can be reached from all over the world, so a popular book can get a long waiting list in no time.

>41 jnwelch: Thanks Joe. Marc is doing good at the moment. Scans looking good, and he feels better. Treatment still going on. Wednesday another scan, and then the waiting for the results starts again. That's anxiety.

Sep 24, 2020, 10:56 am

51. Shinju by Laura Joh Rowland (USA, historical mystery) ***

In 17th Century Japan, Sano Ichiro, senior police commander, investigates the death of a noblewoman and a peasant who drowned in a river tied to each other. Officials say a love-suicide, but Ichiro says murder and sees a suspect in the royal family--for which he is fired. But he doesn't give up.

This was an interesting read. It was enjoyable as a detective but I liked the historical background best. Laura Rowland provides an insight into Japanese culture that was fascinating. A bit of a drawback that I found it hard to connect to Sano Ichiro's problems, as his values of loyalty and obedience are so alien to my own culture. None the less interesting though.

Editado: Sep 26, 2020, 5:31 am

52. Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire ***1/2

A cross between fantasy and detective. Half-blood fae Toby finds herself in mortal danger when her friend gets murdered. She has to solve the puzzle of the identity of the killer or die herself.

Lots of action, but also an interesting world. It reads a bit like a Sue Grafton detective, lots of action, the voice of the detective, the style. But with added interesting bits;-)

Editado: Sep 27, 2020, 7:46 pm

We wanted a day out of doors, but the number of Covid-19 contaminations of going up fast. After one look at the zoo entrance we felt it was much too busy there. So we headed to a more quiet spot: the Oosterbegraafplaats (a cemetery). It's a very green and quiet spot, as it is an arboretum as well. Flocks of ring-necked parakeets, nice looking birds, but oh their call, much too loud. Later we saw what attracted them: the beeches, and especially the beech nuts! Standing under a beech we heard this strange crunchy sound, a whole flock of ring-necked parakeets, hidden between the leeves, tasting the beech nuts.

Sep 27, 2020, 8:33 pm

>45 EllaTim: - Wow! What a story! Looks like you didn't get your quiet afternoon but you sure had a bit of an adventure! :-)

Covid numbers are going up here too, in many cities across our country. It's going to be a long winter, I'm afraid!

Sep 28, 2020, 4:32 pm

Sorry to hear your numbers are going up. There were many predictions that would happen come fall but I kept hoping that with mask use and distancing it might be avoided. Our numbers in San Diego are fairly stable (some spikes related to one of the universities) but we're still having summer weather so we'll see.

I?45 beautiful bird. I didn't know there were wild parrots species in the Netherlands. Do they migrate?

Sep 28, 2020, 4:36 pm

>45 EllaTim: Sorry to hear your numbers are going. There were some predictions that would be the case with on-set of fall but I kept hoping we would avoid it with strict use of masks and distancing.

Beautiful bird but I didn't know there were wild parakeets in the Netherlands. Do they migrate?

Sep 28, 2020, 6:46 pm

>46 jessibud2: >47 RebaRelishesReading: Hi Shelley, Hi Reba! Numbers have been going up the last couple of weeks. People have been taking it easy, after the first wave was over. So now, finally our government has issued some stricter measure. Pubs and restaurants to close at ten. Mask strongly advised in shops, but only in our three largest cities. Our government adviser has opposed mask wearing from the start, and still does, but people want more active measures.
The problem is that people have not been keeping those measures that were there.

Those parakeets are invasive exotics. People have been feeding them in winter for the first years, and now they have adapted and flourish in and around bigger cities. In London as well, I think.

Sep 30, 2020, 1:46 pm

>49 EllaTim: Moved away from NL in 1977 -- I'm sure a lot has changed since then :)

Sep 30, 2020, 5:47 pm

Editado: Sep 30, 2020, 5:59 pm

The Children's Book Week has started.

The Price for best book went to Uit Elkaar by Bette Westera. (I see that Anita has already added this one)

Price for the best picture book went to Hup Herman! by Yvonne Jagtenberg. (I've added the book, touchstone may turn up later).

Sep 30, 2020, 6:50 pm

I am part of the group that manages the common greens of our allotment complex. That means we have to organise the upkeep of all shared places. Working together, every gardener has to spend a couple of hours a month doing some upkeep. Today our group had to decide how to deal with the rising Covid numbers. We are a group of five: two people who want to be more careful, two who think we have been careful enough, more is not needed, one who doesn't want to decide. Pff, I'm exhausted now, didn't get to any reading. And have decided the board will have to decide. (Lots of decisions in these sentences:-) I want to be as careful as possible, and have been saying this for some weeks now.

Editado: Sep 30, 2020, 7:02 pm

>53 EllaTim: - I happen to agree with you, Ella, about being as careful as possible. And not only because you have someone at home who is vulnerable. I just don't understand why this is so hard for people. If everyone would adhere to the rules and guidelines, we could have had this beat, ages ago. Well, maybe not completely but certainly we'd be at a better place than we are now, in so many places, with the second wave in full force. Our restrictions seem to be increasing as our numbers rise daily. It's so annoying.

Sep 30, 2020, 8:00 pm

>54 jessibud2: Than it seems we're more or less in the same spot at the moment. It is annoying. We were doing very well here, after the first lockdown. I was glad to be able to visit a museum again, with rules and distance of course, but still. We have been careful, and my older neighbours have been even more careful.
Those rules have worked well during the first wave, when we had a lockdown, but after that there was this false sense of security, with mainly young people getting ill. And now everyone is so surprised that there are more hospital and IC admissions, and numbers are growing fast. Very annoying, and scary again.

Sep 30, 2020, 9:34 pm

>43 EllaTim: Interesting cover.

>53 EllaTim: I agree. It should not be difficult to follow the guidelines set out by the government. A lot of younger students seem to be less bothered by the virus. Our province has over 700 cases, worse than at the beginning of the pandemic.

Oct 1, 2020, 4:43 pm

>56 figsfromthistle: Guidelines should be really clear of course. But every situation is different, that makes that clarity difficult.

It's the same here, most cases started in young age groups, but now older people are getting infected.

I don't know how large your county is. The Netherlands has had 19.000 new, reported, cases over the last week. Population 17 million people. And I don't think all cases get reported.

Oct 3, 2020, 8:18 am

>57 EllaTim: The numbers are scary, Ella, the second wave is going fast.

The kids and young adults at Franks work are having a rough time, having psychical problems AND the covid restrictions. It is more difficult for most youngsters to stay home and not socialise. I would have gone crazy in my teens and twenties if I had to live under covid-19 guidelines.

Oct 3, 2020, 9:11 am

Hi Ella!

I'm sorry that the numbers are going up in the Netherlands, as they are in many countries now again.

I'm still pretending we're in phase 1 lockdown, even though our governor put the state in phase 3 yesterday. More things are opened up, but at very small capacities, and most business indoor activities are restricted by % of capacity of under 100 people.

Oct 3, 2020, 9:54 am

>58 FAMeulstee: Hi Anita. It is difficult and scary. I wouldn't want another lockdown like we had before. Young people need interaction, but older people as well. And all the restrictions are not making it easier. I am glad for our allotment facilities. We are restricting group size and cancelling unnecessary activities. But we did have soup together, for lunch, six people at social distance.

Oct 3, 2020, 9:59 am

>59 karenmarie: Hi Karen. It seems to be the same in lots of countries. Numbers were really down here, and we could do more safely then. But now we seem to be back to square 1.
Very wise, t stay in a kind of lockdown yourself. I think we have been too careless. It should be possible to do more, when your numbers are down. Still, we could go to the movies, for instance, under 30 visitors it is allowed, but I don't feel at ease with the idea.

Oct 3, 2020, 10:04 am

Our movie theaters are allowed to open under phase 3, but I don't feel comfortable about going to see a movie either. Thank goodness we have Amazon Prime and Netflix for shows and movies, in addition to some really decent things on DISH satellite TV.

Oct 8, 2020, 8:30 pm

53. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë (UK) ***

Finally, finally I managed to finish Wuthering Heights! (How long did it take me?)

Very mixed feelings about it.
I loved her writing style, fresh, lively, colourful.
But the story! I really found it so strange. Heathcliff as the adopted, dark stranger. Spoiling everything for everybody unto the second generation. What is this? The gypsy fortune teller, saying beware, beware? Their father as the gullible fool who takes home a monster?
Gothic story, yes. What's romantic about it? Why does Catherine say he is her soul, when he is as bad as that? Why does she choose a milky toast boy like Linton to marry?
But I found a large part to dark. It felt like the book was made up out of parts that don't really fit together. For instance, why this second generation? With people that seem the mirror images of the first generation? I don't get it.
Three stars because I loved the writing style, and some parts, but hated the story.
I will have to read up about it.

Editado: Oct 8, 2020, 9:06 pm

I started The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman. Fun, liked it so much that i'm reading the next books as well in this series.
Found it in the Nonfiction Challenge, august, books about books. Books and libraries play a large part of course, but fay and dragons an even larger. And lots of adventure, and action.

Interesting in connection to reading Wuthering Heights there's a storyline where the Fay being present can mean that people start fulfilling storylines and expectations, the stories start dragging them along. We do have those stories in our minds somewhere, the bad expectations. Often from TV nowadays.

Oct 8, 2020, 9:40 pm

>63 EllaTim: Interesting review of Wuthering Heights, Ella. I liked it better than you did, but I do recognise its imperfections as a story. What I noticed most of all is that we have the same version of the book. That cover has adorned my shelves for many a moon.

Oct 9, 2020, 10:42 am

>65 PaulCranswick: Hi Paul! Well, my review is very much unfinished business. I felt very annoyed about the storyline, but it did get me thinking about it, and that is usually the sign of a good book.

No, I read it digitally. I just picked a cover I liked;-)

Oct 13, 2020, 1:23 pm

>42 EllaTim: By now, I think you've read my account of Jury duty on my thread. Not a good experience at all, but at least all the jurors were respectful of one another. One jurist commented that her mother had been on a jury where several of the members shouted and almost came to blows. Unbelievable.

>45 EllaTim: What a beautiful photo of the parakeet! Are they native or were they introduced?

>64 EllaTim: I first read Wuthering Heights when I was in high school. I disliked it intensely then. Perhaps I was just too young. I've read it maybe twice since then. Each time I think I understand it a bit more, but it will never be a favorite.

Editado: Oct 14, 2020, 8:24 pm

>67 streamsong: Hi Janet. Yes, I read it. Didn't sound like a good experience at all. I can understand that some cases can be emotionally trying and difficult, but coming to blows about it sounds awful.

No, they are not native, but nearly every large European city has them. They must have escaped, and during their first winters they were fed by people who made a complete project of it. Now they have adapted and know exactly what they can eat and where and when... so large flocks everywhere. I'm not too fond of them, they are very loud, and have the bad habit of taking a few bites from an apple and then changing to the next.

Wuthering Heights: It seems like you either love it, or you don't at all. I listened to a BBC podcast about it, and now I do understand it better, but I still don't love it.

I had a 15.000 steps day today, I am very proud of myself that I managed it. But my back is protesting loudly, so I will have to take it easy tomorrow. Than another busy day this saturday, and then it should get quieter.
Lots of birds in the allotment today, migrating I think. And the usual occupants, a grey heron, Robin singing. A nice day, cool, but a bit of sunshine. A friend gave me a meal, and I harvested a butternut pumpkin. Marc's scan results were in yesterday, and they were good again. yay! Would have wanted to celebrate, have dinner in a restaurant, but those were all full to the brim, last day, tomorrow all restaurants and pubs are closed for a month. We did take-out instead, very good.

Oct 14, 2020, 9:11 pm

>68 EllaTim: Congratulations on 15000 steps. That's an excellent day!! Hope your back recovers quickly. I haven't been walking this week and I'm getting terribly stiff in my legs and back. It's a good reminded that I must get moving.

Oct 15, 2020, 12:40 am

>63 EllaTim: Wuthering Heights was also a mixed bag for me. Not my favorite of hers, but as you said, something to think about--it has definitely stuck with me over time.

>64 EllaTim: I totally enjoyed The Invisible Library! Hope you continue to like it.

Sorry your COIVD numbers are going up. Stay safe!

Oct 15, 2020, 3:23 pm

>69 RebaRelishesReading: Hi Reba. It was a lot for me, so I had a quiet day to recover. More sitting still doesn't do me any good though, so yes to moving around.

>70 Berly: Hi Kim! I am still enjoying The Invisible Library, but I switched to a different book, for the moment. Don't eat cake all of the time;-)

It's going up in a lot of places at the moment, isn't it? I wish you could see that virus, the invisibility is making it more threatening.

Oct 15, 2020, 5:29 pm

Reading now:
Vesper Flights by Helen MacDonald

Found it through Mark's thread, I guess. I just read the first essay and loved it. She says people have a main theme in their writing, and that hers is love. Interesting idea. But i loved H is for Hawk as well.

The new mobile layout isn't really working for me. Can't see the touchstone. Reading is easier, but writing is not very workable like this.

Oct 15, 2020, 6:39 pm

>68 EllaTim: We also have seen a lot of birds, Ella, and our robin is back in the garden. Robins migrate and this one is always here in autumn/winter.

Oct 15, 2020, 7:30 pm

>73 FAMeulstee: They are so cute! And very fast to come close and see what you are doing.

Oct 16, 2020, 9:09 am

Not a big pumpkin harvest this year, but the individual pumpkins are large. I'm cutting up the first one, weighing 9 kilo.
It's an orange one, and very warty. Now looking for recipes.

Oct 17, 2020, 10:13 pm

Not a lover of pumpkins (except as a soup strangely enough) although a head carved from one with a shock of pale blond hair would look remarkably like Boris Johnson.

Have a lovely Sunday.

Oct 18, 2020, 1:46 pm

>76 PaulCranswick: Hi Paul! Now I was going to make pumpkin soup, don't spoil it for me please!

Editado: Oct 18, 2020, 7:24 pm

A pleasant afternoon in the forest. Not a lot of autumn colours yet, but spectacular skies. Late afternoon sun, followed by heavy dark clouds, light rain, and then the sun came out again and we saw a double rainbow. Lots of people out for a walk. We brought our own coffee, and drank it on a bench under the trees.

A double rainbow like this one:

So not only an extra rainbow at a distance on the outside, but with extra colour bands on the inside. I've never seen one like it before.

Oct 19, 2020, 11:21 am

Wow, that's an amazing rainbow (and very hilly country for the Netherlands)! Looks like a beautiful day.

Oct 20, 2020, 1:09 pm

Hi Reba. Yes it is. This wasn't my picture, so it's actually Alaska. But i saw a wonderful picture from a friend on Instagram. Same rainbow, but in the dunes near the coast.

Oct 20, 2020, 5:01 pm

>78 EllaTim: The skies were beautiful yesterday, Ella.
We went by bike through the Oostvaardersplassen and also saw a part of a double rainbow :-)

Oct 20, 2020, 7:43 pm

>81 FAMeulstee: You too! It was spectacular. A good day to go biking as well. Did you do any birding?

Oct 21, 2020, 11:25 am

>79 RebaRelishesReading: Ah, Alaska. That makes more sense now.

Oct 22, 2020, 7:28 am

Having a relaxing day. Marc is getting his flu shot, at a church this year, to provide the necessary space for the line of people expected. We'll be going out later to buy an apple picker. The sun is shining so we'll be making a small outing of it. In the meantime I'm listening to the classical top 400 on radio.

Reading The Invisible Library series, got stuck on Five Quarters of the Orange, in a scene where the protagonist is getting bullied, I just can't stand reading it. Put it aside or push through?

Editado: Oct 23, 2020, 7:04 pm

54. The invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman (Fantasy, UK)****

Fantasy. Irene is a librarian for the invisible library. Her mission to steal books. Dealing with fae and dragons the library unites worlds. It's task is to keep things stable, but Irene meets with lots of adventures while doing her job.

This was a lot of fun. Well written, action and adventure, good world building. Very enjoyable, and just what I needed.

There are more books, in this series, and I'll definitely be reading on.

Editado: Oct 23, 2020, 8:04 pm

Reading now:
De Bourgondiers by Bart van Loo

History at school was full of holes. We were taught about Charlemagne(800 AD) and then suddenly he was followed by Charles V of Spain (1500). In between there were the Middle Ages, and stories about the count of Holland, and about Vikings, but most of it is very fuzzy for me. So I hope to learn a bit more from this big book! Wish me luck.

Editado: Oct 24, 2020, 8:55 am

Happy Saturday, Ella. you mentioned larks on my thread. I thought I had never seen one, but it turns out I have seen a Horned Lark. I think that is the only type that can be seen in North America.

Oct 25, 2020, 12:47 pm

Hi Ella, and good luck on your history catch up.

We've got rain today, completely overcast, no change of a rainbow yet, much less a double one.

Oct 25, 2020, 6:20 pm

>87 msf59: That's one special looking bird, Mark! I looked it up, and it seems it's also living in Europe. But I have never seen one.

>88 karenmarie: Hi Karen. After the rain, the sunshine...

Editado: Oct 27, 2020, 1:22 pm

55. Troubled Blood by Robert Galbraith (UK, detective) ****1/2

The latest in the Cormoran Strike series. Cormoran and Robin get asked to solve a very cold case: a woman who disappeared 40 years ago. Not even her body was found, but she left behind a small daughter, only one year old, who now really wants to know what happened.
It proves a difficult task, lots of red herrings, a real puzzle. Involving a serial killer.
And in between the relationship between Cormoran and Robin develops.

I thought it was a really good read, immersive from the start, a good puzzle, but with more to it than that. The 833 pages took me only a few days to get through.

Found this on Karen's thread.

Oct 27, 2020, 2:25 pm

>85 EllaTim: Looks to be a great series.

>90 EllaTim: I read all of them except the newest one. A good series. Just each book seems to get a lot longer.

Enjoy the rest of your week.

Oct 27, 2020, 5:29 pm

>91 figsfromthistle: Hi Anita!

I enjoyed the length of the book, it's sometimes very nice to be totally immersed for some time.

Have a good week too!

Editado: Oct 30, 2020, 8:28 am

56. The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold

This is a reread for me, but I am a fan of the author, and this reread is a real pleasure!
After reading the Miles Vorkozigan books this is a real surprise. Fantasy after SF, and such a complete world, she has created, with magic and gods and demons in it.
I was drawn into the story at once, and loved it's complexity.

A man broken in body and spirit, Cazaril has returned to the noble household he once served as page, and is named, to his great surprise, secretary-tutor to the beautiful, strong-willed sister of the impetuous boy who is next in line to rule. It is as assignment Cazaril dreads, for it must ultimately lead him to the place he most fears: the royal court of Cardegoss, where the powerful enemies who once placed him in chains now occupy lofty positions. but it is more than the traitorous intrigues of villains that threaten Cazaril and the Royesse Iselle here, for a sinister curse hangs like a sword over the entire blighted House of Chalion and all who stand in their circle. And only by employing the darkest, most forbidden of magics can Cazaril hope to protect his royal charge -- an act that will mark the loyal, damaged servant as a tool of the miraculous ... and trap him, flesh and soul, in a maze of demonic paradox, damnation, and death.

Oct 28, 2020, 4:53 pm

>63 EllaTim: Just spotted you finished Wuthering Heights. I read that last year and think I had a similar reaction. It will never be a favourite of mine, although it has its strengths. Interesting character studies but too dark.

Oct 29, 2020, 11:14 am

>94 sirfurboy: Hi Stephen. Yes, we share that opinion then.

Oct 30, 2020, 8:13 am

Hi, Ella.

I've enjoyed that Invisible Library series. I'm glad the first one worked well for you.

Wasn't Troubled Blood good? Like you, I enjoyed the length, and being immersed in it.

Oct 30, 2020, 8:22 am

>96 jnwelch: Hi Joe. Yes, I loved both. I thought Troubled Blood even better than the books before it.

Oct 30, 2020, 9:17 am

Hi Ella!

>90 EllaTim: I’m so glad you liked Troubled Blood! “immersive” is a very good way to describe it.

I hope the ‘partial lockdown’ you’re going back into in the Netherlands helps with the growing number of cases.

Our federal government has basically given up on containing the virus according to the White House Chief of Staff – a stunning and demoralizing conclusion to a criminally negligent handling of it from the beginning.

Editado: Nov 1, 2020, 8:59 am

>98 karenmarie: Hi Karen! The partial lockdown is at least doing something at seems, but here in Amsterdam numbers are still going up.

Yes, to give up, that is really demoralising and angry making! I really hope for a good result of the coming elections. Here our government is at least doing something though I would have liked them to act faster. But there's the economy and people who want their freedom above all, and say that a mask is like a muzzle for them (so I wonder did they want to bite?)

Editado: Nov 1, 2020, 9:03 am

Happy Sunday, Ella. I read and enjoyed the first 3 Cormoran Strike books. I should return to it.

Nov 1, 2020, 5:48 pm

>100 msf59: Hi Mark! You will enjoy book 4 and 5 I think (though they do get bigger and bigger, Good for some rainy days in the future).

Nov 1, 2020, 5:55 pm

57. Paladin of Souls by Lois McMaster Bujold (fantasy, USA) ****

Three years have passed since the widowed Dowager Royina Ista found release from the curse of madness that kept her imprisoned in her family's castle of Valenda. Her newfound freedom is costly, bittersweet with memories, regrets, and guilty secrets, for she knows the truth of what brought her land to the brink of destruction. And now the road, the escape beckons. A simple pilgrimage, perhaps. Quite fitting for the Dowager Royina of all Chalion.

Book two in this series. I had fun with this one. I could sympathise with the Dowager, wanting something new in her life, wanting to break free. A good story, and well written.

Nov 1, 2020, 6:01 pm

58. The Hallowed Hunt by Lois McMaster Bujold (fantasy, USA) ****

The half-mad Prince Boleso has been slain by a noblewoman he had intended to defile. It falls to Lord Ingrey kin Wilfcliff to transport the prince to his burial place and to bring the accused killer, Lady Ijada, to judgment. His mission is an ugly and delicate one, for the imminent death of the old Hallow King has placed the crown in play, and the road he travels with his burden and his prisoner is fraught with danger. But in the midst of political chaos, magic has the fiercer hold on Ingrey's destiny, and Ijada herself may turn out to be the only one he dares trust.

And as I was on a roll, I finished book three as well. Yes, it has been lousy weather, good for snuggling in with a cup of tea and a good story. A comfort read indeed. Some adventure, some romance, and a happy ending.

Of the three books I thought the first the best, here in part three there is a lot of speculation in the first half, making it a bit slow and confusing at first.

Nov 6, 2020, 5:59 pm

Wonderfully sunny afternoon. We took a walk along a forest, enjoying autumn colours, looking for mushrooms. Very nice. We saw birds as well, but heard more. All those small, fast birds in the treetops.

We're having a partial lockdown at the moment, restaurants and pubs closed. Library, theatres, museums all closed. But we can still go outside and enjoy sunshine and nature! The lockdown seems to be working, the numbers are dropping.

Nov 6, 2020, 7:00 pm

>104 EllaTim: Libraries are not completely closed. Like in the first lockdown, you can't go into the library, but libraries worked out other ways to get the books to their members. In our library you can get a surprise bag with 4 books in your favorite genre, and pick up reserved books.

Yes, it was a beautiful day, good to go out. We went e-biking near the Oostvaardersplassen.
So glad the COVID infection numbers are going down :-)

Nov 7, 2020, 6:48 am

>105 FAMeulstee: Hi Anita! It depends on your library branch, I think. Ours doesn't do that at the moment.

Oostvaardersplassen, nice destination! Did you watch for birds?
For us it was s'Graveland. Lots of people around even on a Friday, but lovely place.

Nov 7, 2020, 6:59 am

>106 EllaTim: Two of the 4 bikeways going out of our neighborhood go towards the Oostvaardersplassen, Ella, so we often go there.
We were late, we saw the sun go down. Only a lot of geese flying, and a few raptors that we far away, so I could not identfy.

Nov 7, 2020, 7:04 am

>107 FAMeulstee: Nice, to be so near. I like coming back to the same places, seeing what has changed. But it takes us some time to get out of the city. Lots of geese, I can imagine, and sundown.

Editado: Nov 7, 2020, 7:18 am

I've been on a roll, reading The Penric and Desdemona series, by Lois McMaster Bujold. Lots of fun, good writing. It's a series of novella's so I could finish one a day. ****

59. Penric's Demon
60. Penric and the Shaman
61. Penric's Mission
62. Mira's Last Dance
63. Penric's Fox
64. The Prisoner of Limnos
65. The Orphans of Raspay
66. The Physicians of Vilnoc

Some a bit better or more appealing than others. I liked the first a lot, where Penric acquires his demon, names her Desdemona, and figures out how to relate to her. But the whole series was fun and an easy read, and that was just what I needed right now. I'm feeling quite lazy at the moment, so I'm not reviewing them separately.

And now I might have a chance at reaching my goal of 75 books read, it feels like cheating a bit, but never mind:-)

Nov 7, 2020, 3:24 pm

Hi Ella my dear, hope that you and Marc are having a good weekend and send love and hugs to both of you from both of us dear friend.

Nov 7, 2020, 5:17 pm

Hi John. Thank you very much. Hugs back to you and Karen. I hope you are having a good weekend in spite of being in lockdown as well.

Nov 8, 2020, 2:30 am

>109 EllaTim: I recently bought one of her books but am looking for another one as it is apparently better to read that one before the one I bought.

Have a lovely Sunday.

Nov 8, 2020, 6:21 am

>112 PaulCranswick: There was a logical order to the series I just read, and starting with the first is a good idea.

A lovely Sunday to you too Paul! The group definitely has a joyous mood right now.

Nov 8, 2020, 7:54 am

Happy Sunday, Ella. Hooray for your current book roll. Seeing any interesting birds lately?

Nov 8, 2020, 8:06 am

Este usuario ha sido eliminado por spam.

Nov 8, 2020, 9:12 am

Hi Ella! Another set of wishes to you and Marc for a good weekend regardless of the lockdown. Fresh air and nature are a good antidote.

Nov 8, 2020, 6:04 pm

>114 msf59: Hi Mark! Lots of birds. Blackbirds eating our apples. Geese by the hundreds flying over at sunset. And we keep hearing birds, but it's so hard to recognise all their calls and sounds.

>116 karenmarie: Hi Karen! Thanks, we had really good weather this weekend so we could visit the allotment. I've picked apples and some cavolo nero for soup.

Editado: Nov 11, 2020, 7:55 am

We stirred up a woodcock at the allotment. Hidden in a wooded corner. Such a beautiful bird.

And last night there was an owl calling outside in my town back garden. Love it when that happens.

I'm doing a reread of Wolf Hall as I want to read the new book. I'm still finding it difficult, all those 'he says' where one has to decode who exactly is talking. But it's good, and easier than the first time around.
There's an old thread here on LT where Suzanne is tutoring Ilana on it, very helpful, good questions and good answers.

There is a lot of history and background to get into, but the book also gives these unexpected gems like this one:
When he hears this he thinks, imagine living inside the Lord Chancellor's head. Imagine writing down such a charge and taking it to the printer, and circulating it through the court and through the realm, putting it out there to where people will believe anything; putting it out there to the shepherds on the hills, to Tyndale's ploughboy, to the beggar on the roads and the patient beast in its byte or stall: out there to the bitter winter winds, and to the weak early sun, and the snowdrops in the London gardens.

(Thomas More, the Lord Chancellor has made some vile accusation against the Cardinal Wolsey).

But isn't this a wonderful strong image when written down like this?

Editado: Nov 15, 2020, 11:17 am

I'm still busy reading Wolf Hall. It is a chunkster!
(At p. 472)

Rainy, windy day today, so we're staying inside. There's enough to be done, planning the garden for next year. Looking for recipes with apples, we have a big apple harvest this year. My neighbour has practically ordered me to attend a meeting tomorrow, and I have to write a small newsletter for the renters committee. Not making much headway with that. Writers block, well I don't know what it is.

Nov 15, 2020, 1:33 pm

>119 EllaTim: Oh, I envy you you big apple harvest. Apple season has been abysmal here and we hardly got a single apple from our trees (they don’t usually give big harvest but we normally have enough to make apple sauce and dried apple rings. Nada this year - lucky we have left over from last year.

Nov 15, 2020, 3:46 pm

>120 PawsforThought: Hi Paws. Yes, we've really had a good year! I'm still working on getting them all picked, the Blackbirds are very happy with all apples still left in the tree. I'm sorry that your harvest has been bad. But maybe next year will be better? Nice that you make apple sauce and dried apple rings.

Nov 15, 2020, 5:31 pm

>121 EllaTim: I didn’t know blackbirds ate apples! I’ve only ever seen them picking at insects on the ground.
The bad harvest was due to a bad rowan berry year. Not enough rowan berries = apple fruit moths go for apples instead of rowan berries. Hopefully there will be more rowan berries next year.
I look forward to reading about what you end up doing with your apples. Apart from dried and mashing them, we usually make pies and cakes (and freeze apple bits to use in pies and cake at a later date).
There a company in the next town that will make apple juice for you - I’d love to do that if we ever have tons of apples. They also make really good glögg which we like to buy at the Christmas market, but since there won’t be a market this year we’ll have to go without.

Nov 16, 2020, 12:03 am

>122 PawsforThought: I didn't realise they eat apples as well, but I saw three of them having a go at my tree at once. They love berries as well. Do you see any blackbirds where you live now? They have probably migrated, I guess?
I didn't know about the apple fruit moths eating Rowan berries! Looked them up, I have a rowan in the garden as well. It had a good year too. But it might be more of a problem in Scandinavian countries.
You're much more creative with you apples than I am. I was thinking of making apple pie. Other uses: in a salad, with beets. In pumpkin soup. In a dessert. Apple pancakes.
I'd love to make cider, but I think I would need even more apples. But I am going to look into that option!
So what's glögg? And I'm sorry about the Christmas markets. Very dull to have to go without. Though necessary.

Nov 16, 2020, 12:13 am

67. Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (UK)

A good reread, in preparation for reading the second and third book in the trilogy. Impressive. It really brings this time period alive. Don't live in interesting times, here you could learn how cruel people can be to each other. The ending is sad, I thought, and I'm still thinking about it.

Can't sleep tonight. Noise.

Nov 16, 2020, 12:56 am

>123 EllaTim: Yes, our blackbirds have migrated by now - probably to your neck of the woods. They’ll be back in the spring when there’s more to eat here.
Glögg is Swedish mulled and spiced wine (though you can make it with cordial or juice for a non-alcoholic version. It’s THE Christmas drink in Sweden.
I will really miss the Christmas markets, but as you say it’s necessary. I’m looking online to try and see if I can buy some of the things I usually buy at the markets there instead. If I can support some of the vendors who will lose a major part of their yearly income I want to do that.

Nov 16, 2020, 3:22 am

>125 PawsforThought: Then my apples are now feeding your Blackbirds. Good thought.
Glögg sounds good. Literally, I like that sound.:-)
It's really the dark time of the year at the moment. We're on our second day of rain. We usually have saint Nicholas stuff now, but it's all done virtually at the moment. Christmas markets should be fun, but aren't so very usual here. The garden centres are filled with Christmas stuff, but I'm not going there right now. Good idea to support your vendors! What do you usually buy for Christmas?

Nov 16, 2020, 7:53 am

-Black-capped Chickadee

Hi, Ella. Hooray for Wolf Hall! I loved the first 2, especially, but it is a terrific trilogy.

Nov 16, 2020, 11:54 am

>126 EllaTim: Rainy weather here too - and it feels like it’s been raining for about a decade. It was so grey today that we never really noticed the sun rising and setting, not much difference. And a couple of weeks ago there was so much rain my old workplace flooded the entire basement. At least the water reserves are filled up.

I have two Christmas markets that I like to go to, at the first one I usually find some craft things I like (I bought a metal wire oak sculpture last year and a Santa figure that was really just a beard and a hat the year before. Also fresh donuts because my family knows the people who run the donut cart (and they’re amazing donuts). Sometimes some food things like smoked fish. Otherwise it’s mostly just the atmosphere.
The second one is way bigger. I always buy suovas (a Sami dish made from reindeer meat, it’s basically the Sami version of kebab). Also tunnbröd, both crisp and soft versions, because it won’t be Christmas without it. Glögg, if someone’s selling something that seems nice. Candles sometimes, I’ve bought both beeswax and wood tar candles. Decorative things (I bought a reindeer pelt last year and a heart-shaped wreath made out wool the year before). Candy (Swedish version of candy canes) and meat products (elk and reindeer sausage, smoked elk meat, etc.) Last year we found someone who sold Karelian pierogi which was a very nice surprise. Lost of food and crafts, basically.

Nov 16, 2020, 12:21 pm

>127 msf59: Love that picture Mark!
I just started part two, again really good. She writes so vividly, starting with the falcons, named after Cromwell's daughters...

Editado: Nov 16, 2020, 1:09 pm

>128 PawsforThought: There's been a lot of rain here as well, very much needed, we've had two summers of unusual drought and the water reserves in the east of the country were very much depleted.

Elk meat, and reindeer meat! Does Santa allow that?
Tunnbröd I know of, thanks to IKEA. Marc has been to Sweden several times, before we met, and good me about the 100 kinds of knäckebröd available in Sweden. I wouldn't mind visiting your Christmas market. Sounds really nice.

Here in Holland we don't have much Christmas tradition, it's St. Nicholas coming up now, so kids get candy in their shoe, each night. Small stuff, marzipan frogs and mice. Speculaas, taai-taai, and pepernoten and those striped candy sticks. Now with those dark days I find myself craving light and colour, but also warm and spicy and sweet stuffs.

Editado: Nov 16, 2020, 2:29 pm

Here's my version of the meme doing the rounds in the group. I found it on Paul's and Anita's thread.

1. Name any book you read at any time that was published in the year you turned 18:
The Periodic Table by Primo Levi. But I read it much later than 1975
2. Name a book you have on in your TBR pile that is over 500 pages long:
The Source by James Michener
3. What is the last book you read with a mostly blue cover?
Close Kin by Clare B. Dunkle
4. What is the last book you didn’t finish (and why didn’t you finish it?)
Five Quarters of the Orange. Dark book, a lot of bullying involved.
5. What is the last book that scared the bejeebers out of you?
The Splendid and the Vile. I´d never realised it could so easily have turned out with Hitler winning.
6. Name the book that read either this year or last year that takes place geographically closest to where you live? How close would you estimate it was?
De Cock en de dode Meesters by A.C. Baantjer, takes place in Amsterdam.
7.What were the topics of the last two nonfiction books you read?
The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson: Churchill and the first year of WWII.
De Gloed van Sint-Petersburg: art of Sint-Petersburg, Anna Akhmatove and other artists
8. Name a recent book you read which could be considered a popular book?
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
9. What was the last book you gave a rating of 5-stars to? And when did you read it?
Pride and Prejudice, september this year, but it was a reread. Don´t know when was the first time I read it.
10. Name a book you read that led you to specifically to read another book (and what was the other book, and what was the connection)
The Left Hand of Darkness. Led to reading: The Dispossessed followed by a couple of others, I wanted to read all of Le Guin's books.
11. Name the author you have most recently become infatuated with.
Hilary Mantel, after reading Wolf Hall
12. What is the setting of the first novel you read this year?
Dreaming of the Bones by Deborah Crombie. Set in Cambridge according to LT, I must confess I have forgotten all about it.
13. What is the last book you read, fiction or nonfiction, that featured a war in some way (and what war was it)?
The Siege by Helen Dunmore. WWII in Leningrad.
14. What was the last book you acquired or borrowed based on an LTer’s review or casual recommendation? And who was the LTer, if you care to say.
Wolf Hall but I can't say which LTer's review, it was really doing the rounds.
15. What was the last book you read that involved the future in some way?
Network Effect by Martha Wells
16. Name the last book you read that featured a body of water, river, marsh, or significant rainfall?
De Leesclub by Renate Dorrestein. There´s a boat trip involved, a literary cruise from Scotland.
17. What is last book you read by an author from the Southern Hemisphere?
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion (that was last year, have to remedy that).
18. What is the last book you read that you thought had a terrible cover?
Wolf Hall
19. Who was the most recent dead author you read? And what year did they die?
Ursula Le Guin? Died in 2018
20. What was the last children’s book (not YA) you read?
The Brothers Lionheart by Astrid Lindgren
21. What was the name of the detective or crime-solver in the most recent crime novel you read?
Troubled Blood, Cormoran Strike
22. What was the shortest book of any kind you’ve read so far this year?
Het Hele Schaap Veronica by Annie M.G. Schmidt. 122 pages, but filled with pictures and short poems.
23. Name the last book that you struggled with (and what do you think was behind the struggle?)
Wolf Hall because of the complicated writing style, and all the different people you have to remember
24. What is the most recent book you added to your library here on LT?
De Onderwereld van de Tuin by Romke van de Kaa
25. Name a book you read this year that had a visual component (i.e. illustrations, photos, art, comics)
Het Hele Schaap Veronica combining poetry with lots of illustrations.

Nov 16, 2020, 2:39 pm

>130 EllaTim: Ha! Yes, our Santa doesn’t travel with reindeer, he walks on foot so there’s no issue with eating reindeer.
Are you familiar with tunnbröd, knäckebröd or both? There’s a big difference (the biggest being that lots of tunnbröd is soft). It’s yummy either way, but tunnbröd beats inäckebröd.
St. Nicholas is in early December, right? I have a friend from Belgium who explained the sweets-in-shoes thing when we first met. Sounds fun. And I like the sound of both taai-taai and pepernoten - I love rye so seems right up my alley. And speculoos are similar to the Nordic version of gingerbread biscuits and those are amazing so I assume speculoos are too. I sadly never got to try them when I was in Amsterdam - next time, I guess.

Nov 17, 2020, 12:26 pm

>132 PawsforThought: Hi Paws! He just walks! Very old-fashioned. No sledge? So how does he transport his packages? Isn't it interesting how those stories change from country to country.

Knäckebröd I am familiar with. And I always look for the version that's just rye and water, nothing else. I love rye as well.

Gingerbread biscuits sound good. All those spices that go with cold weather. Aniseed. Ginger.

Looking for the spices that are used for speculaas I found Wikipedia saying that they are very similar to the Swedish pepparkakor.

Nov 17, 2020, 1:51 pm

>133 EllaTim: He carries the bag filled with presents on his back. Strong guy.

Knäckebröd to me is a particular type of crisp bread made in a round shape with a hole in the middle. I call all other crisp breads “hårdbröd” (hard bread). People down south call all crisp breads knäckebröd.
My favourite of the crisp breads are the rye ones with square shaped “pillows”.

Yes, that’s what I was referring to with speculoos. Swedish pepparkakor = ginger bread biscuits (though I think our version are called “ginger snaps” in English speaking countries). They’re superb. If you find any made by Nyåkers I highly recommend them, but stay away from Annas.

Nov 17, 2020, 4:31 pm

>134 PawsforThought: Right, strong guy indeed.

I have seen those round ones, but we usually get square ones, we must be from the south.

Ikea has some Swedish products but there isn't a Swedish shop in Amsterdam. I would like to try them.

I watched an interview with Barack Obama, about his new book. It's on my TBR-list now!

Nov 17, 2020, 6:53 pm

>131 EllaTim: Nice list , Ella!
I hope you had as much fun as I had whith making it.

There are so many books set near your place. The few set in Leystad never attracted me ;-)

I had reserved a copy of Troubled Blood at the library and was 14th on the waiting list at the end of October. To my surprise it came last week. I will pick it up next Thursady or Friday, I look forward to reading it.

Nov 17, 2020, 7:08 pm

>136 FAMeulstee: It was fun doing it, Anita.

There can't have been that many books, but I read one called Zuiderzee last year. When you imagine Lelystad 100 years ago, it could have been situated right there.

Have fun reading Troubled Blood.

Nov 18, 2020, 5:58 am

>137 EllaTim: Glad you had fun doing it too, Ella.
As I recall Zuiderzee was mainly located at the Afsluitdijk, Urk and southwest Friesland. Only a small part was at the water.

Nov 19, 2020, 5:53 am

Hi Ella!

>117 EllaTim: I hadn’t heard of cavolo nero, but see that it’s a type of kale. I need to find a good recipe that uses kale in soup…

>131 EllaTim: The Source is one of my few 5 star reads of all time. I’ve started re-reading it but am mentally having a tough time reading any fiction that is profound or serious right now. I hope you can get to it one of these days. Pride and Prejudice is another one of my few 5 star reads, and I re-read it this year, too.

Nov 19, 2020, 1:21 pm

>138 FAMeulstee: That's right I think. They must have crossed over Lelystad, but only for a short while.

>139 karenmarie: It's a type of kale, but it does taste different. I like kale but I love cavolo Nero. I've never used kale in a soup, but maybe it will taste good as well.

Yes, I can imagine. Sometimes only light and fun or easy reads will work. I had a period of that as well. I hope it will get better, after january 20?

I do hope to get around to The Source. At the moment trying to get the Wolf Hall trilogy read.

Nov 21, 2020, 5:29 am

Reading now Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel

It's really good. She has me pitying poor Mark Smeaton, p229 of 330.

Nov 22, 2020, 7:23 pm

I've been making a dish of stewed pears this evening, in the slow cooker. Added some leftover red wine, and a cinnamon stick. It smelled delicious. Eating it tomorrow.

Editado: Nov 24, 2020, 12:10 pm

68. Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel (UK) **** 1/2

Though he battled for seven years to marry her, Henry is disenchanted with Anne Boleyn. She has failed to give him a son and her sharp intelligence and audacious will alienate his old friends and the noble families of England. When the discarded Katherine dies in exile from the court, Anne stands starkly exposed, the focus of gossip and malice. At a word from Henry, Thomas Cromwell is ready to bring her down. Over three terrifying weeks, Anne is ensnared in a web of conspiracy, while the demure Jane Seymour stands waiting her turn for the poisoned wedding ring. But Anne and her powerful family will not yield without a ferocious struggle. Hilary Mantel's Bring Up the Bodies follows the dramatic trial of the queen and her suitors for adultery and treason. To defeat the Boleyns, Cromwell must ally with his natural enemies, the papist aristocracy. What price will he pay for Anne's head?

When you say that reading is about placing yourself in someone's mind, understanding what they are coming from, Hilary Mantel does an excellent job with her story of Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell. In this book court intrigue plays a large role. It becomes obvious how destructive King Henry's personality is for the people around him, who try to please his whims. Including Cromwell.
Someone said they found him a less sympathetic character than in book one. I agree with that, but I thought it was the result of his situation, where he is forced to act less humane all the time.
As this is book two of course you start comparing it with book one, and I liked that a bit better, because of it's wider scope. The religious and philosophical issues of the time. Here the story is more limited, concerning Anne's downfall and the manoeuvring of Cromwell to achieve that, and stay safe himself.
Some very good scenes, Hilary Mantel can really make you feel for her characters!

Nov 24, 2020, 6:56 pm

69. Doctor Who: The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Time Traveller by Joanne Harris ***

Struggling to get back to UNIT HQ, his body being destroyed by radiation, the Third Doctor arrives in the most perfect English village, where everyone is happy. But is he really on Earth, or somewhere far more strange? As his body weakens, the Doctor and the Queen of the village begin to unravel the truth.

Something different after those two Wolf Hall books. I'd never read a Doctor Who book. Short and a fast read. I did miss the visuals of the TV series.

Nov 25, 2020, 7:09 am

>144 EllaTim: Once upon a time I devoured Doctor Who books. They were all quick reads! Yet I haven't read this one. Is it new? Was there a TV episode of this or is it some new story that has been written?

Nov 25, 2020, 6:06 pm

>145 sirfurboy: I don't know Stephen. I came across the book more or less by accident. I had wanted to read something by Joanne Harris for the BAC, and got stuck in the book I chose earlier. This seemed a lighter read.

I think that it is a new story, but it seems to feature the third doctor. So I'd guess not made for a TV episode. Any real doctor Who fan feel free to correct me.

Nov 26, 2020, 10:09 pm

I was thinking about Thanksgiving. Gratitude is beautiful but it can sometimes be hard to feel grateful. Then this poem came to mind:

"Marc groet 's morgens de dingen

Dag ventje met de fiets op de vaas met de bloem
ploem ploem
dag stoel naast de tafel
dag brood op de tafel
dag visserke-vis met de pijp
dag visserke-vis met de pet
pet en pijp
van het visserke-vis

Daa-ag vis
dag lieve vis
dag klein visselijn mijn"

By Paul van Ostaijen

Calling to mind a small boy greeting the day and the things he loves in the morning.

Nov 27, 2020, 5:04 am

>147 EllaTim: Oh, I like that poem :) Not least because I was able to read it without a dictionary.

Nov 27, 2020, 6:25 am

>148 sirfurboy: Good for you Stephen! So simple but really nice, isn't it?

Nov 27, 2020, 8:35 am

>147 EllaTim: Paul van Ostaijen wrote so many great poems, Ella, thank you for sharing it.

Nov 27, 2020, 8:46 am

Hi Ella!

Even though it was very rough, I was able to read a translation of the poem and was charmed.

I hope you are having a lovely day.

Nov 27, 2020, 12:17 pm

>147 EllaTim: Charming poem. It reminds of Goodnight Moon, a classic English language children's book.

Nov 27, 2020, 4:43 pm

>150 FAMeulstee: I know just a few of them, Anita. There's one in Tonke Dragt's book Torenhoog en Mijlenbreed.

Ik zag Cecilia komen

>151 karenmarie: Hi Karen! Using Google translate? I'm curious now...

>152 RebaRelishesReading: Hi Reba. You didn't need a translation I bet.
Goodnight Moon looks nice.

I like the poem, and it makes me think of something I love about my Marc: the ability to really look at things and appreciate them.

Nov 28, 2020, 4:47 am

Knots and Crosses by Ian Rankin ** DNF

I am now at 3/4 in this book. But really the only reason to go on reading would be so I could count it as a book read. Not sufficient.

Plot is very improbable. People didn't come alive to me. Serial killer out on revenge. Not my cup of tea.

Nov 28, 2020, 8:30 am

Happy Saturday, Ella. Hooray for Bring up the Bodies. I am so glad you loved the first 2 but I am not all surprised. The third one was not as strong but it still capped off a fine trilogy.

Nov 28, 2020, 12:40 pm

>155 msf59: Hi Mark! I had that impression, no real buzz here around it... i still want to read it, but first something different again.

Nov 28, 2020, 8:59 pm

Returned to Vesper Flights. Just read the title essay, very satisfying.
She makes you see things, see more.

Editado: Nov 29, 2020, 7:55 pm

A walk in the woods, at four o' clock it was already getting dark, a cold day. Still lots of colour.

I posted earlier that the council was planning to raise the prices of allotments in and round the city. Well, those plans are now up for a decision. Four times higher, and for some plots even eight times more expensive. We are doing a petition, and trying to get the papers to write about it.
A petition turns out to be pretty exciting. We are nearing 10.000 signatures, probably tomorrow morning. Can't resist checking every hour. Wish us luck.

Local papers writing about it, but now those politicians have got to listen to us :-(

Editado: Nov 29, 2020, 9:03 pm

Good luck, Ella! Politicians who do such drastic things TO people, ought to get the boot, in my opinion. Politicians often forget as soon as they get elected, that they work FOR US (the people). The people ought to have a say in pricing of allotments. Hope things turn around.

Nov 30, 2020, 5:52 am

>159 jessibud2: Thanks Shelley! In my mail this morning an article in a major paper where the responsible party does get the boot. In words, that is to say. Hope it helps indeed.
I get their reasons, space is getting scarce around the town. There is a severe scarcity of housing. Young people can't be independent from their parents, when they can't afford a place to live. I get it, but i don't like this solution.

Editado: Nov 30, 2020, 12:53 pm

Still loving Vesper Flights. Read the essay about Orioles in poplar plantations. I have never seen one, but I have heard them. In meadows planted with poplars, just as she describes. The Netherlands still has them. It's an extra, reading about birds that I grew up with. In spite of them being pretty rare, there is a popular Dutch song referring to them. One of the mythical birds?

It's a pity the book hasn't been translated (yet?). It would make a good present for a friend who is a bird lover.

Nov 30, 2020, 1:30 pm

>161 EllaTim: The Dutch translation "Schemervluchten" will be published in February 2021.

Nov 30, 2020, 8:10 pm

>162 FAMeulstee: Hi Anita! That's good to know.

It will be a challenge to translate, I think. Even the title, Vesper is a word I know in Dutch as well, and has different associations for me than Schemer.

Dic 1, 2020, 9:52 pm

70. Autumn by Ali Smith (UK)

I had written a complete post about this book, but it has disappeared.
I find it hard to review, there were interesting parts and others less so. Having finished it I felt maybe I should do a reread? I'm going to let it rest for a while.

Dic 1, 2020, 10:10 pm

71. Mrs Harris Goes to Paris by Paul Gallico ****

I saw this was a group read in the 1001 books group and wanted to read something nice. This is the story of lovable mrs Harris, a London char woman who scrimps and saves to achieve her dream: to own a real Dior dress.

A good story. Maybe a bit sentimental, but you know, that can be very nice sometimes.

Editado: Dic 2, 2020, 6:55 pm

I'm in a lousy mood today. Doesn't help that none of the usual remedies are available, thanks to covid. No eating out, no movies, yuck.

Added to the threat to my allotment: City council is making budget cuts, four smaller branch libraries might be closed, the one in my neighbourhood one of them. Pff. But the council is now reconsidering. Hoping for a positive result of this. Library is small but important to children, especially from the poorer backgrounds. For elderly people, who can use the computers, and read a paper. Lots of elderly people who need it.

Dic 3, 2020, 10:18 am

>166 EllaTim: Glad to hear they are reconsidering. I hope they can find the funds to keep it going. Libraries are indeed very important community spaces.

Dic 3, 2020, 5:04 pm

From 10.000 times our petition has now been signed 21.650 times. The councilor is starting to feel uncomfortable and is doing her own media campaign now. Yuck.

Editado: Dic 5, 2020, 6:32 am

I really needed something light and funny to read. Wodehouse it is.
Something Fresh Touchstone not working, Search function not working as well.

Dic 5, 2020, 7:11 am

>165 EllaTim: I have been on the look out for that one for a good while, Ella. Glad to see it pleased.

>166 EllaTim: etc With me not having such a resource available these days I must voice out and say that libraries are incredibly important. As are allotments in city spaces. I hope things work out well for you.

>169 EllaTim: Something light? I'm reading Pendennis by Thackeray from 1850 which is over 1,000 pages long and together with my three other books Shuggie Bain (not for the faint of hearted), a history of the Ottoman Empire and Coastliners by Joanne Harris (almost light reading) - I am into some pretty heavy reading this weekend.

Dic 5, 2020, 9:08 am

Hi Ella!

>153 EllaTim: Yes, I do use Google translate on occasion because it’s easy to get to. I should remember to use babelfish.com instead.

>154 EllaTim: I read it, enjoyed it well enough, but never wanted to continue the series.

>158 EllaTim: Grass roots politics at its best! Good luck. And yay for >168 EllaTim: more than double the signatures.

>166 EllaTim: I do hope the council reconsiders. The sense of community that a Library provides is not measurable in money.

Dic 5, 2020, 7:35 pm

>170 PaulCranswick: Hi Paul. Mrs Harris was fun, and I still have the next book to read! I'll wait for your report on Pendennis. 1000 pages sounds like a real challenge, but you love your challenges!

>171 karenmarie: Google translate has become better. Facebook has been doing translations as well, pretty good.

The grass roots politics is pretty exciting, but today was a nice day pruning our common apple trees with two friends, tea afterwards. On Tuesday we as citizens can address the council, I will have a try at it, am already nervous.

>170 PaulCranswick: >171 karenmarie: Glad to see two library lovers here! Paul you really have no access to a library at all? That's a pity! And I quite agree Karen, the sense of community is so important. Glad to report that the councillor has been held to account and is now reconsidering the budget cuts. Four city neighbourhoods upset in the process, though.

Editado: Dic 27, 2020, 12:42 pm

72. Something Fresh by P. G. Wodehouse ***1/2

I needed something light and this fits the bill. A real comedy, why is comedy old-fashioned? I don't know, I enjoyed it. One of the reviews here on LT used the words farce, and mayhem in the dark.

Dic 8, 2020, 3:38 pm

>172 EllaTim: I hope all went well today, Ella, and the council will cancel the budget cuts.

Dic 8, 2020, 7:14 pm

>174 FAMeulstee: Hi Anita! I had a long and rather stressful, but also interesting evening. There were 120 people on the digital connection, wanting to expres their views. The councilor got some undiluted and welll spoken opinions. Last one at 23.45 was old council member Roel Walraven, who is still well known, respected and loved here in Amsterdam.
The councillor is now rethinking, I hope she will do a complete turnaround.
Thank you for asking!

Editado: Dic 9, 2020, 7:27 am

73. Met bonzend hart by Willem Nijholt (Dutch) ****1/2

It took me some time to finally finish this book, and I had to renew it from the library. It's an autobiography, written by way of a series of letters to his good friend, the writer Hella Haasse.
For me Willem Nijholt was a famous actor, seen in TV series, known and admired from a distance. In this book you get to know him very personally. He writes about his life, his acting career, his life in France in the now, but the main focus of the book is his past in Indonesia, as a young child, growing up before the war, and with his mother, brother and little sister in a Japanese POW camp.

His writing is colourful, and with drama and emotion. He's an actor, and he can also be angry, and spiteful, there's a whole range here. Knowing him as actor I could almost hear his voice. Descriptions of life in Indonesia, or nature in France. He started writing because Hella Haasse asked him to, but he is clearly enjoying himself. It's a touching read as well, because he is writing about a difficult past, and you see him doing this slowly, and finding it hard.

Finally, he writes about the books he reads and loves, very interesting.

Dic 9, 2020, 9:18 pm

There was a council meeting on the allotment issue today. I've watched, from home, while exchanging comments on Whatsapp. That was fun to do!
I'll definitely be voting for a certain council member who I particularly liked, next election. Not the one I used to vote for. Not the same party either.

And then a walk to release pent-up energy, just 2800 steps, still not up to a lot more.

Dic 11, 2020, 12:19 pm

I'd wanted to do some work today, but I find myself without the energy. In the meantime started to read The Goblin Emperor and loving it.

Dic 11, 2020, 10:08 pm

Oh, so glad you are enjoying The Goblin Emperor, as I love it too and indeed just reread it for comfort reading, along with rereading the Penric books which you also recently read. And I'm delighted you love the Bujold fantasies, although I rate CoC and PoS as pretty equal. And please continue with the October Daye series!! And I've got the latest Invisible Library series on its way to me from the library. So LOTS of overlap in our reading.

We are on shut-down again too, although I never really got out except for necessities. Good thing I've had so much to do around here.

Dic 11, 2020, 11:57 pm

>172 EllaTim: Pendennis so far is an enjoyable period piece.

The National Library has a tiny lending section which is almost not worth bothering about.

Dic 12, 2020, 9:47 am

>179 ronincats: Hi Roni. I think lots of my reading I might have found on your thread. You will certainly enjoy the Invisible Library series. Lots of light fun. It's sometimes really good to have lots to do, this shutdown is becoming really boring.

>180 PaulCranswick: Hi Paul. Enjoyable sounds good!

Such a pity, a country should have a library!

Editado: Dic 12, 2020, 9:01 pm

74. The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison (USA, fantasy) ****1/2

Maia, the youngest, half-goblin son of the emperor of the elves, has spent most of his young life in exile. Then, suddenly, his father and brothers are killed, and he has to step up, and become the new emperor.
He hasn't been trained for it, has no friends, no advisors, just his own good sense. Enemies, court intrigue, plots, and he is desperate for a friend.
I liked this book a lot, felt really immersed in it. Katherine Addison has created an interesting world, and a very sympathetic character in Maia. I found myself rooting for him. He is insecure, and doesn't think too well of himself, but he does better than expected.

It seems there is a sequel in the make. Witness for the Dead. Not out yet.

And now I have the rest of the month to get to 75!

Editado: Dic 14, 2020, 7:56 am

75. Five Quarters of the Orange by Joanne Harris (UK) ***1/2

"Beyond the main street of Les Laveuses runs the Loire, smooth and brown as a sunning snake - but hiding a deadly undertow beneath its moving surface. This is where Framboise, a secretive widow, plies her culinary trade at the crêperie - and lets her memory play strange games. As her nephew attempts to exploit the growing success of the country recipes Framboise has inherited from her mother, a woman remembered with contempt by the villagers, memories of a disturbed childhood during the German Occupation flood back, and expose a past full of betrayal, blackmail and lies."

I finally managed to finish this dark story. In my first attempt I had to put it aside. Does say something about the quality Joanne Harris' writing, I think. But when I picked it up again it still felt like a struggle. Other reviewers have described the book as dense, and slow, but maybe it was just too much dark, and not enough light. The protagonist, Framboise, has an ongoing fight with her mother. As a consequence of that she and het siblings are vulnerable. Things get out of hand, in a bad way. The book started to feel lichter when she gets some support from an old friend.

This is just a personal reaction, I struggled with it. There's some very good writing here, like in Chocolat cooking, smell, and taste play a real part, but that one was a lot lighter, and more enjoyable.

Dic 14, 2020, 8:13 am

>183 EllaTim: - I attempted this book several years ago, Ella, but did not finish it. It is reassuring, somehow, to see that my instincts about the book are shared. I found it not at all inviting and, at least at the time I tried, not worth the effort to plow through.

Editado: Dic 14, 2020, 9:18 am

>184 jessibud2: Hi Shelley! I'm glad you felt the same. It is hard to pinpoint what was so difficult about it though. I'm now looking for a lighter read:-)

Still reading Vesper Flights, just finished the chapter about tree pandemics. Because Dutch Elm Disease, or Ash Blight, are as much pandemics as human diseases are. Amsterdam still has a lot of Elms, but the most beautiful ones are also the most susceptible. They have to be guarded closely for signs of disease, and are cut down as fast as possible when it appears. Always a few every year. And then they are replanted, because those elms belong to our town. I can only imagine how awful it must have been to see a whole landscape deforested because of it:-(

Dic 14, 2020, 10:26 am

>183 EllaTim: Congratulations on reaching 75, Ella!

Dic 14, 2020, 10:33 am

>186 FAMeulstee: Thank you Anita! And I have two weeks left of the year:-)

Dic 15, 2020, 6:54 am

We're on a lockdown. At least until mid January. Very unfortunate for all shops that were counting on holiday sales. Necessary as well, as starting with Black Friday (and what was that all about in a country that doesn't have a Thanksgiving weekend at all?) shops and streets were congested with people going for the bargains.

On the good side: meetings today have been cancelled. I have a day off, much needed. And time to call my mother and have a good chat:-)

Editado: Dic 15, 2020, 7:43 am

Black Friday? In Amsterdam?! I knew that England had "Black Friday" sales, which is completely ridiculous, but the Netherlands may be more so. Is this happening in other European countries as well?

Has SARS-CoV-2 vaccine distribution begun there?

ETA: I just looked, and Portugal had Black Friday sales as well. Sheesh.

Dic 15, 2020, 8:46 am

>189 kidzdoc: It's all over Europe now, unfortunately. We've had it in Sweden for at least 5 years, and it makes no sense at all.

Dic 15, 2020, 8:49 am

Editado: Dic 15, 2020, 8:57 am

>189 kidzdoc: No, the vaccine is not atmitted to the EU yet, Darryl.
Now is though it will get approved at the 23rd of December, so I guess distribution can start after christmas.

Dic 15, 2020, 8:58 am

>192 FAMeulstee: Sounds good. I should receive my first vaccine dose this week or next.

Dic 15, 2020, 9:01 am

Hi, Ella. I see you that you are reading Vesper Flights. I hope you are enjoying it as much as I did.

Dic 15, 2020, 9:43 am

Hi Ella!

>183 EllaTim: Congrats on #75! I read this book in 2011 and also gave it 3.5 stars but I remember liking it better than you did. I also don’t remember a single thing about it, though, even after reading your review.

I’m sorry you’re on lockdown again. Things are strange here with vaccines just starting to get distributed to essential workers (glad you’re getting the vaccine this week or next, Darryl!). I anticipate being able to get the vaccine late spring/early summer.

Dic 15, 2020, 4:33 pm

Hi Ella my dear, Congrats on hitting 75 books for the year.

Dic 15, 2020, 4:40 pm

>189 kidzdoc: Hi Darryl! Nice to see you!

Black Friday, oh Yes, you Americans have some influence here, and it's a good excuse to get people shopping... It's usually not such a problem, but now, with Covid numbers really rising I thought it was pretty irresponsible of shop owners. They can predict how people will react.

>190 PawsforThought: Hi Paws. No sense indeed, people are the same everywhere I guess.

>192 FAMeulstee: I heard that too Anita! Good, start soon.

>193 kidzdoc: Good for you Darryl. One of the essential health workers. That's where we start as well, but people working with the elderly are really first.

>194 msf59: I'm loving it Mark. I think this will be a five star read. I'm just a lot slower about it than you were.

>195 karenmarie: Thanks Karen. I am very happy about reaching my nr 75 without having to look for some extra thin books on December 31;-)

I haven't been in the mood for dark books, this year. And forgetting what a book was about, that happens to me a lot as well! My review wasn't very comprehensive.

Yes, vaccines are coming, but in the meantime hospitals, doctors and nurses, are overloaded. We still have to take care, still a tricky time. Take care, Karen, and everybody!

Editado: Dic 15, 2020, 5:06 pm

Scheltema, my favourite bookshop has chosen it's book of the year 2020, and no it is not a pessimistic book.

The shortlist was:

Finse Dagen by Herman Koch
De Meeste Mensen Deugen by Rutger Bergman (Humankind: a Hopeful History)
Japan in honderd kleine stukjes by Paulien Cornelisse
Uit het leven van een hond by Sander Kollaard
De avond is ongemak by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld (The Discomfort of Evening)

The number 1 chosen was De Meeste Mensen Deugen

Good incentive to finally read it!

I'm also interested in the Japan book, there was a tv series about Japan that she made, very interesting. And the one by Sander Kollaard, I read some praise for it.

Editado: Dic 16, 2020, 8:50 am

76. Het Vrouwenpaleis by Laetitia Colombani (Fr) ***1/2
Original title: Les Victorieuses

Succesfull lawyer Solène suddenly finds herself in a burn-out after a client commits suicide. She has to quit her job, and ends up feeling depressed and lonely. Her psychiatrist tells her to start a volunteer job. She doesn't much feel like it, but ends up taking a job as a public writer in a shelter for homeless and refugee women.
There is a second story line, of the founders of this shelter, Blanche Peyrot and her husband, of the Salvation Army, Paris.
Solène has to find her feet, but manages to really make contact with the women in the shelter, finding a meaning in her life and joy she didn't have while she was a workaholic lawyer.

I did find the story inspiring and interesting, although at the same time a bit stilted, and maybe too formulaic.

A comment on LT: this is originally written in French, but the touchstone gives it a German title. Feels kind of strange. I would have expected either the original title, or an English title as we are on the English LT site. There is no English translation, wouldn't it be more logical to use the original French title, instead of a German title? There are more translations. Weird.

Dic 16, 2020, 4:22 pm

Reading now:
De meeste mensen deugen

Very readable and interesting!

Dic 18, 2020, 6:24 am

>200 EllaTim: That was one of the best books I read last year, Ella.

Dic 18, 2020, 7:59 pm

>201 FAMeulstee: I like it a lot, Anita! And of course I knew you had read and liked it, that helped.

Dic 19, 2020, 8:56 pm

I have been trying to set up a Wordpress weblog, used to know how to do this. But they've changed the editor, and now i've spent a large part of the evening trying to find out how to change the header image. And then there was Shetland on TV, and then Vera. Both good.

Dic 20, 2020, 8:31 am

>203 EllaTim: I am distracted today too. Hani is in Johor again seeing her ill father and angry with me, Belle and Kyran for not following. In fairness I had to work Saturday morning and she refused to wait for me to come home. Still Leeds play at Manchester United later and I'd rather not miss that stuck in traffic on the way home!

Editado: Dic 20, 2020, 12:00 pm

Hi Ella!

>200 EllaTim: Well, I just went to look for this book, found another with the same title for $.99 on Kindle and bought it. This book is $15.99 on Kindle and I'll pass.

Dic 20, 2020, 8:36 pm

>204 PaulCranswick: Ah, Paul! I'm sorry, never any fun to have a disagreement with one's loved one. Hope you can mend it soon.

>200 EllaTim: Hi Karen. Another Humankind but cheaper. I wonder what it was, touchstone gives me a title of "Lucy", very confusing. My version of the book was from the library, so it was free to me. I probably wouldn't buy an unseen eBook for a price like that either! (I tried the 'others' option and found an interesting list of possible titles, there was the alternative of 'Humankind: a brief history' for instance)

Dic 20, 2020, 8:53 pm

>183 EllaTim: Congrats on reading 75 books!

Dic 20, 2020, 9:09 pm

Hi Ella. I think I missed congratulating you on 75. Late to the party, that's me!

Dic 21, 2020, 6:18 am

>207 figsfromthistle: >208 jessibud2: Thanks, Anita and Shelley! Nice to meet the finish line.

Dic 21, 2020, 6:30 am

77. Vesper Flights by Helen Macdonald (UK) *****

This is my book of the year. Already thinking of giving it to friends who love the natural world. Waiting for the dutch translation.

It's a series of essays, or short stories, about nature, about meeting nature, birds, animals, Helen Macdonald's own life and experiences. She obviously knows a lot, and loves nature. She is a very good observer, and writer, making you feel you are seeing the scene, living the experience.
But what I liked most about those stories that she makes you aware of all the layers that are part of an experience, like in feeling how dense the air is for a falcon at full speed. She writes about something she did as a child: thinking about all the literal layers the earth held, below your feet to the core of the earth, above your head to the stratosphere. In this book there is the layer of the felt experience and what it means to us. Read the book, I find it hard to explain.

Editado: Dic 21, 2020, 6:35 am

Found on Mark's thread:

The Winter Bird

Thou sing’st alone on the bare wintry bough,
As if Spring with its leaves were around thee now;
And its voice that was heard in the laughing rill,
And the breeze as it whispered o’er meadow and hill,
Still fell on thine ear, as it murmured along
To join the sweet tide of thine own gushing song.
Sing on—though its sweetness was lost on the blast,
And the storm has not heeded thy song as it passed,
Yet its music awoke in a heart that was near,
A thought whose remembrance will ever prove dear;
Though the brook may be frozen, though silent its voice,
And the gales through the meadows no longer rejoice,
Still I felt, as my ear caught thy glad note of glee,
That my heart in life’s winter might carol like thee.

-Jones Very

So yesterday there was a starling singing in the top of the trees in my street. No storm, a balmy December day. But still very unexpected.

Editado: Dic 22, 2020, 8:08 am

78. The Spy who came in from the cold by John Le Carré (UK) ****1/2

This was a reread for me, but it was such a long time ago that i had almost forgotten the story.
Leamas has had to return from West-Berlin, after losing all of his espionage ring to betrayal. An East-German, Mundt, has wrapped them all up. Back in England his boss makes him a proposal for a plot to bring Mundt down. Leamas has to pretend going to seed. Things will evolve from that.
It's a complex story, I won't write more about it, don't want to spoiler it.

Very strong in atmosphere, bleak, tightly written.

Paul wrote about Le Carré that he is very good at bringing moral issues to the table, and I quite agree with him. The book left me with a strong impression of that. I certainly would never be able to be a spy, Leamas is a very lonely man.

I have one point of criticism, and it is more or less in hindsight: his description of the East-Germans: one of the East-German women, small eyes, pudgy, short hair, brought the image of Angela Merkel in mind, sorry ms Merkel, but she's one of the most humane leaders I know of. Mundt portrayed as the typical emotionless blond nazi-like German. So here Le Carré is using prototypes, playing on emotions and prejudice. There still have to be sides?

Dic 22, 2020, 8:40 am

Hi Ella!

Starlings are so beautiful, I'm glad you got to see one.

... and here's to a better 2021!

Dic 22, 2020, 8:57 am

>213 karenmarie: Hi Karen! I love starlings, hearing them sing brings back good memories.

Thanks for the nice Christmas Wishes! I've been admiring your Christmas organisation. You are so well prepared! I'm still scrambling, what will we eat, not enough Christmas cards. Stores locked down doesn't help.

Dic 22, 2020, 1:27 pm

We went and bought a real Christmas tree at the gardening centre where we usually shop for Christmas stuff. They are closed, because of the lockdown, but it's still allowed to sell Christmas tree and other green stuff. But it was dead quiet there, one man selling, that was all. We bought a tree, and a wreath, all at reduced prices, and got an extra small tree for free.
Christmas sales are what they live on in winter, and we always enjoy a couple of hours of fun browsing there. When all this nastiness is over, I hope they are still there. The restaurant downstairs has put up a notice ' For Rent', so I guess they'll be closing soon.

Dic 22, 2020, 1:40 pm

>215 EllaTim: - It's so sad, isn't it, Ella? We are seeing a lot of that here too, especially those small independent businesses. It's heartbreaking.

Dic 22, 2020, 4:07 pm

Dic 22, 2020, 4:36 pm

Happy everything, Ella. Here's to good health, above all, and of course, good books.

Dic 22, 2020, 5:47 pm

>210 EllaTim: This is on my buy soon list. I can't wait as it looks to be a fantastic read!

Dic 22, 2020, 7:22 pm

>216 jessibud2: It is sad, Shelley, but upon closer consideration this particular board is an action by several restaurants to warn the public that they are having a problem and want more financial support, not quite the same.

>217 johnsimpson: Hi John! Nice to see you here, and wishing you a very good Christmas!

>218 jessibud2: I would love a tree like that. Happy Christmas, and good health and good books to you too, Shelley.

>219 figsfromthistle: I hope you'll love it Anita. And happy Christmas to you too.

Dic 24, 2020, 6:26 pm

Ella--Have fun decorating the tree! Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. May 2021 bring you less need for masks, loads of peace and joy, good health and, of course, books!

Dic 24, 2020, 7:04 pm

>221 Berly: Hi Kim! Thanks for all the good wishes! Love your snowy landscape.

79. De meeste mensen deugen by Rutger Bregman (dutch) *****
(English title: Humankind: A Hopeful History)

Now this was fascinating!

"Bregman presents an optimistic view of human beings, and backs this up with many, many examples. He writes like Malcolm Gladwell, though his only mentions of Gladwell in this book are critical. "

Reading the book I found myself struggling with this optimistic view. What Bregman says is that in general we have a pessimistic negative view of people. That this view can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. It's what they call in science philosopy a paradigma. And ours is that people are bad, tend to bad, must be controlled, that the good is just civilization, a veneer that can be scratched off by small circumstances. He argues and shows that the opposite is true. He cites Lord of the Flies as an example of this pessimistic view. This book (that I hated, when i read it as a teenager) is fiction. Bregman has found an example of a true story of three boys landing on a deserted island, and doing just the opposite, managing just fine.

The struggle is because of course people are not always good, and we have dozens of examples where we just can't trust, shouldn't trust. And he doesn't say that all people are good, just that it would be a good idea to base our opinions and actions more on trust.

So, read it, it's fascinating, and you end up debating and questioning your self and your own beliefs. Very useful.

Dic 25, 2020, 3:11 am

I hope you get some of those at least, Ella, as we all look forward to a better 2021.

Dic 25, 2020, 8:02 am

Merry Christmas, Ella! Hoping for a better 2021! Hooray for Vesper Flights! Your book of the year!

Dic 25, 2020, 8:15 pm

>224 msf59: Hi Mark, Thanks for the Birdy wishes. Lets hope for a better year, next year.

My next door neighbour has Covid, he's staying indoors and friends are taking care of his shopping. Still, it feels a bit scary, when it comes so close.

Dic 26, 2020, 10:43 am

HI Ella! I hope you had a good Christmas.

>214 EllaTim: I live in an entirely different environment than you do, I think. The closest store to me is 14.5 km from the house, so I do a lot of ordering via the internet just in general, much less for Christmas.

>215 EllaTim: I worry about our Christmas tree sellers but without Jenna home the idea of a Christmas tree and wreath were depressing rather than ‘bravely soldiering on’ in the face of the pandemic. I am sure there are going to be many businesses that fold here, too.

>225 EllaTim: Scary is right, that your next door neighbor has Covid. Stay safe!

Dic 26, 2020, 12:06 pm

>226 karenmarie: Hi Karen, thanks, we had a nice Christmas visiting a friend who lives alone. His son and grandson live in England, and he couldn't visit them of course. So we have pruned his grapes, and had dinner together.

Yes, we couldn't live more different, we are in urban environment, typical Amsterdam layout, four floors of apartments. My next door neighbour lives on the same staircase, other side of the hall. He has friends doing the shopping for him, I just checked up with him by WhatsApp.

I quite understand you not feeling like buying a tree. You just have to do what feels best for you under the circumstances.

Dic 26, 2020, 2:05 pm

Happy Holidays, Ella.

Good idea to read Wodehouse as a spirit-lifter. I love his Bertie and Jeeves and Galahad Threepwood stories in particular. Have you read Georgette Heyer's Regency novels like Frederica, The Grand Sophy, Cotillion and The Unknown Ajax? Some of her humor reminds me of Wodehouse (particularly in The Grand Sophy), and some of her storytelling reminds me of Austen. It's a nice combination.

Dic 26, 2020, 5:30 pm

>228 jnwelch: Hi Joe! Wodehouse is a great spirit-lifter. For some weird reason I love the books that feature pig breeding, Blandings Castle. I have read people praising Georgette Heyer here on LT, but she is really unknown here in Holland. Have to track her books down, because you make her sound good.

Dic 27, 2020, 1:00 pm

My five best reads of the year. I am being illogical here, I am looking at my rating for them, but also at how I feel about them with hindsight.

1. Vesper Flights by Helen Macdonald *****
Because I loved, loved, loved it
2. De meeste mensen deugen by Rutger Bregman *****
Because it made me think, and still does
3. De gloed van Sint-Petersburg by Jan Brokken (non-fiction, dutch, 2016) ****1/2
Because there was so much in it, and I liked the mix of history and culture
4. Met bonzend hart by Willem Nijholt (Dutch) ****1/2
Unexpectedly interesting and well-written personal history of a well-known actor
5. The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison (USA, fantasy) ****1/2
Fun and uplifting, much needed in this year.

Dic 28, 2020, 8:10 am

Started a couple of Big Books, that I probably won't finish in December.
1493 by Charles C. Mann. The friend we visited for Christmas had it, browsing through the book it looked very interesting.

And I've started another Dickens: Martin Chuzzlewit . A real doorstopper, what am I doing. But they are all short chapters, so one chapter at a time, I'll get to the finish.

Dic 28, 2020, 11:11 am

Hi Ella!

I read 1493 in 2013 and gave it 4*. I do hope you enjoy it.

Good luck with Martin Chuzzlewit. I've given up on Dickens for a while, but never say never...

Dic 28, 2020, 9:35 pm

Hi Karen!
4* Sounds good. I think there's a lot of new information and perspective in it for me.

I am actually enjoying lengthy and wordy Martin Chuzzlewit! Don't know how Dickens does it, but it feels like he enjoyed himself very much writing the book.

Dic 29, 2020, 10:01 am

Intro starts with discussion about globalisation of trade. Biological consequences of globalisation, just what we are dealing with right now!

Dic 30, 2020, 7:11 am

Enjoying myself with De Nachtstemmer by Maarten 't Hart.
I had started it before but I wasn't in the mood for it maybe.

Dic 30, 2020, 8:05 am

>235 EllaTim: I love Maarten 't Hart, Ella, but haven't read that one yet. Maybe next year?

Dic 30, 2020, 8:19 am

It was published last year, I think. When you love 't Hart, you will certainly like this one. I'm finding it very entertaining, and it's very typical 't Hart.
I thought this one could easily be made into an audio play. Sounds, noises, and music play a large role. The protagonist is an organ tuner, and this alone would make for interesting audio scape.

Dic 30, 2020, 4:19 pm

Happy New Year Ella and Marc.

Dic 30, 2020, 8:20 pm

Hi John. Thank you. Best wishes for the new year to you and Karen as well!

Editado: Dic 31, 2020, 8:02 am

80. De Nachtstemmer by Maarten 't Hart (dutch) ****

Organ tuner Gabriel Pottjewijd has to tune an organ in an unfamiliar place. The book starts with a detailed description of the trains he boards on his trip. Knowing Maarten 't Hart it's clear the town Gabriel arrives at is 't Hart's birth place, Maassluis.
It's filled with weird people, strange names, their reactions, the things they talk about, almost gothic, but very entertaining. Gabriel finds a place to sleep and meets with the elders of the local reformed church. Here 't Hart entertains us with a discussion about a small part of the bible, where a donkey starts talking.
In order to tune the church organ he gets help from a mother and daughter. The daughter has the endless patience needed for the job, maybe because she is a bit simple? The mother is a beautiful woman from Brazil. Both of them like Gabriel from the beginning and invite him to dinner. As a result the town gossip starts, and Gabriel starts receiving threats. He feels more and more threatened. And to make things worse he can't get the tuning done because of the noise near the church.

All in all I found the book very entertaining. The descriptions of the people, the discussions about believing, music, the Bible, women, and life. Very enjoyable.

No English translation available.

Dic 31, 2020, 9:53 pm


As the year turns, friendship continues

Ene 1, 2021, 4:10 am

>240 EllaTim: Good review, Ella, at times 't Hart can be so funny.