Lillelara

Lillelara

"A half finished book is, after all, a half finished love affair"
                 - Robert Frobischer (Cloud Atlas)

Review
4 Stars
This Sweet Sickness
This Sweet Sickness: A Virago Modern Classic (Virago Modern Classics) - Patricia Highsmith

I love Patricia Highsmith´s descriptions of her totally messed up characters. At first glance they seem to be perfectly ordinary people, until slowly, layer by layer, she reveals the sociopathic and psychopathic nature of her characters.

 

In some respects the main character David Kelsey reminded me of Tom Ripley, Highsmiths most famous character. Both feel entitled to certain things. Ripley to money, goods and social standing, David to a woman and both characters are mentally disturbed. But where I started to root for Ripley at some point throughout the novel (he is pretty ingenious, after all), David started to genuinly creep me out. In that respect David is an even more disturbing character than Tom Ripley (I never thought that someone would be able to kick him of the "most disturbing character" throne). This book is spine tingling.

 

 

The story is off to a slow start and Highsmith takes some time to develop the story, so especially in the beginning it´s not the most compulsive read. But once the actual plot has been set in motion, I couldn´t put it down. 

 

I can´t exactly say that I enjoyed this novel, but it was an intense reading experience. 

 

16 Tasks of the Festive Season: Square 16: December 26th-31st:

 

Book themes for Kwanzaa: Read a book written by an author of African descent or a book set in Africa, or whose cover is primarily red, green or black.

 

Reading progress update: I've read 222 out of 305 pages.
This Sweet Sickness: A Virago Modern Classic (Virago Modern Classics) - Patricia Highsmith

David has just written a letter to Annabelle:

 

[Source]

 

[Source]

 

Shocking News, BrokenTune

It´s actually old news, because Themis has linked to the Tagesschau article more than once. But I really like that I found this random piece of information in one of the biggest German pharmaceutical journals.

So, Reinhold Messner might actually be on to something.

 

[Source: Deutsche Apotheker Zeitung; Ausgabe 49/2017]

 

[Source]

 

I´m really looking forward to our upcoming buddy read :).

Reading progress update: I've read 48 out of 305 pages.
This Sweet Sickness: A Virago Modern Classic (Virago Modern Classics) - Patricia Highsmith

David is one of the good guys from next door, a genuinly nice and normal human being. Except that he has bought a house under a false name for him and Annabelle, who in his mind is to become his wife rather sooner than later. Problem: Annabelle is married to another man and she isn´t answering his letters. A minor nuisance which might resolve itself some way or another.

 

Well, it is a Patricia Highsmith novel, so I except "the one way or another" will turn out to be psychologically interesting. It´s just an inkling, though.

 

Advent calender story: December 8th
The Valancourt Book of Victorian Christmas Ghost Stories -  Arthur Conan Doyle, Tara Moore, Walter Scott

This story plays on the realistic nineteenth–century fear of death by fire. Between 1848 and 1861, nearly 40000 people in England were burned alive or scalded to death; after the breaching age of five, girls were 60% more susceptible to this end than boys due to their flammable clothing; the danger was also higher for older women. Authorities recommended that Victorians starch cotton, linen, and muslin dresses with fire–resistant chemicals to avoid this danger.

 

From the preface of the story „Bring Me A Light!“.

Reading progress update: I've listened 427 out of 1244 minutes.
Hyperion  - Dan Simmons, Allyson Johnson, Marc Vietor, Kevin Pariseau

On my first read I liked Fedmahn Kassad´s story the least and this hasn´t changed. But only now on my reread / relisten I realise that his story is military torture porn insterspersed by passages where he is "making love" to a total stranger.

 

Rolling Eyes - Lucille, Arrested Development

[Source]

 

I really dislike this disgusting storyline and I´m glad when I´m done with it.

 

 

Reading progress update: I've read 268 out of 444 pages.
Hogfather: (Discworld Novel 20) - Terry Pratchett

Between work, rehearsing with my Gospel choir for our upcoming concerts this friday and the next and being boned tired and going to bed early, I´m slowly working my way through the Hogfather.

 

I have to admit, at times I don´t know what is going on. But I really enjoy this read and I love the God ... oh, I´m sorry ... the Oh God of Hangovers. That whole sobering up episode made me chuckle.

 

One question: Does the Hex get explained in another Discworld novel?

 

 

16 Tasks of the Festive Season: Guy Fawkes Night

Tasks for Guy Fawkes Night: Post pictures of past or present bonfires, fireworks (IF THEY’RE LEGAL) or sparklers. Or: Host a traditional English tea party, or make yourself a nice cup of tea and settle down with a good book to read. Which kind of tea is your favorite? Tell us why.

 

At my parents house this was waiting for me:

 

 

My aunt bought this in a Danish supermarket, one for me and one for my parents. Every door has two teaebags in it. And I couldn´t resist, I had to make myself some tea:

 

 

It´s "Pink Peace" in the mug, which is a Chamomile, Beetroot and Dandelion blend. And it is a delicious tea. Earlier in the day I tried the companies Christmas tea "White as snow", which is a blend of white tea, Cinnamon and Apple. And I really liked that one as well. Later in the evening I´m going to make myself a "Tummy Love", a blend of Ginger, Tumeric and Cardamom.

 

My favorite tea: I like Roiboos tea and everything fruity, as long as they aren´t too overly sweet. I´m not a big fan of black tea (except Englisch Breakfast, which is delicious) and Earl Grey is the worst thing ever.

 

One more reason to look forward to the next 20 days.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review
4.5 Stars
True Grit
True Grit - Donna Tartt, Charles Portis

Do you remember the time when I told you that I don´t like children as a narrator or main protagonist? Well, give me a 14-year-old girl, whose story is told in hindsight from the point of view of her 80 year old self, and I totally love that child. Mattie is awesome, her journey for revenge is awesome as well and I just really, really liked this book / western. A highly recommended read.

 

Book themes for Sinterklaas / St. Martin’s Day / Krampusnacht: A story involving children or a young adult book, or a book with oranges on the cover, or whose cover is primarily orange (for the Dutch House of Orange) –OR– with tangerines, walnuts, chocolates, or cookies on the cover.

 

Review
2.5 Stars
The Door
The Door - Magda Szabò

I really wanted to like this book, but this was such a chore to get through. One of the problems was that the chapters read like vignettes, especially in the beginning of the novel. This short snippets of the lives of the two main protagonists, Emerence and Magda, are supposed to give a glimpse of their developing friendship, but I´m afraid to say that it left me absolutely cold. And once the story starts to come together, I felt completely indifferent towards the perils of the characters. And then I was glad that I was done with this book.

 

Book themes for Boxing Day/St. Stephen’s Day: Read anything where the main character has servants (paid servants count, NOT unpaid) or is working as a servant him-/ herself.

 

Emerence is the Magda´s housekeeper, so she is a paid servant.

 

Review
0 Stars
Bookish advent calender: December 1th - December 3th
Classic Ghost Stories: Spooky Tales to Read at Christmas - Various The Valancourt Book of Victorian Christmas Ghost Stories -  Arthur Conan Doyle, Tara Moore, Walter Scott

December 1th: The Open Door by Margaret Oliphant (from Classic Ghost Stories)

 

A story about a father, whose son falls sick after he has encountered something strange in the ruins on their home property, and his subsequent search for the truth behind the encounter.

This short story was an ok one. The parts I enjoyed the most were the nightly trips to the ruins, the juniper bush with a life of its own and the sceptical doctor, who doesn´t believe in superstitious mumbo jumbo. A good and decent story. This will definitely not be my last read by Mrs. Oliphant. 3 Stars.

 

December 2th: They by Rudyard Kipling (from Classic Ghost Stories)

 

This short story has some beautiful writing, even though the prose is too flowery for my taste (do you really need 2,5 pages to tell the reader, that the narrator got lost in the country side? I don´t think so). And I didn´t like the story. 1) There is no suspense at all, because it is clear from the get go what is up with those children and 2) I need someone who explains the ending to me. I didn´t get the ending at all. 1,5 Stars. 

 

December 3th: The Captain of the "Pole-Star" by Arthur Conan Doyle (from The Valancourt Book of Victorian Christmas Ghost Stories and Classic Ghost Stories)

 

I really enjoyed this story and I loved the setting(a whaling ship stuck in the polar region). It´s one of my favorite settings and it works wonderfully in this story. The captain is an intriguing character I would have liked to know more about and Conan Doyle is setting him up in a very mystical way. The fact that the story is told from the point of view of the ships doctor adds to the mystery, since he takes a rational approach to everything that is happening on the ship. A great example of Conan Doyles weird fiction. 4 Stars.    

Reading progress update: I've read 42 out of 444 pages.
Hogfather: (Discworld Novel 20) - Terry Pratchett

You were right, all of you. So far I haven‘t read one of the good Pratchetts. But this one is hilarious.

 

Education had been easy. Learning had been harder.

Getting an education was a bit like a communicable disease. It made you unsuitable for a lot of jobs and then you had the urge to pass it on.

 

She‘d become a governess.

[...]

She‘d sworn that if she ever find herself dancing on rooftops with chimney sweeps she‘d beat herself to death with her own umbrella.

 

The Susan version of a famous story:

“...and then Jack chopped down the beanstalk, adding murder and ecological vandalism to the theft, enticement and trespass charges already mentioned, but he got away with it and lived happily ever after without so much as a guilty twinge about what he had done. Which proves that you can be excused just about anything if you‘re a hero, because no one asks inconvenient questions. [...]“

 

 

Reading progress update: I've read 25 out of 444 pages.
Hogfather: (Discworld Novel 20) - Terry Pratchett

His hand hovered over the Guild´s ancient and valuable tantalus, with its labelled decanters of Mur, Nig, Trop and Yksihw.*

 

*It´s a sad and terrible thing that high-born folk really have thought that the servants would be totally fooled if spirits were put into decanters that were cunningly labelled backwards. And also throughout history the more politically concious butler has taken it on trust, and with rather more justification, that his employers will not notice if the whisky is topped up with eniru.

 

LOL! Cheers.

Bildergebnis für whiskey gif

[Source]

 

16 Tasks of the Festive Season: Advent

Tomorrow is December 1th, so it is about time for my advent post. I really wanted to have a bookish advent calender, so I sort of made one for myself. Following the Victorian tradition of reading ghost stories at Christmas, I decided to choose two ghost short story collections:

 

Classic Ghost Stories: Spooky Tales to Read at Christmas - Various  The Valancourt Book of Victorian Christmas Ghost Stories - Arthur Conan Doyle,Sir Walter Scott,Tara Moore   

 

Two of the stories are overlapping in both collections, which leaves me with 31 stories. I jotted them down on seperate pieces of paper, folded the pieces and put them in a bowl:

 

 

 

Then I have choosen 24 pieces at random, numbered them and put them in a jar with a Christmassy look to it:

 

 

 

So for the next 24 days I will be reading one short story per day. The remaining 7 stories I will read over the Christmas days.

 

The drawing has been supervised by my trusted advent snowman. He solemnly swears that no cheating has occured:

 

 

Tasks for Advent: Post a pic of your advent calendar.

 

It has arrived (I love my library)

Good news, BrokenTune. I got notifed by my library that a certain book has arrived, so I immediately went there and got it:

 

 

The picture section in my copy looks like it has been mauled by the Yeti himself:

 

 

I have to look out for that loose page.

 

So I´m ready to start reading it whenever you want to start it. Let´s see if Messner is able to clear up some of the prejudices concerning the abominable snowman (I have to admit, though, that I don´t know much about him anyway). But he could be a nice guy:

 

"Abominable! Can you believe that? Do I look abominable to you? Why can't they call me the Adorable Snowman or...or the Agreeable Snowman, for crying out loud? I'm a nice guy."
—The Yeti describing himself to Sulley and Mike in the Monsters, Inc.

 

Yeti says welcome to the Himalayas in Monsters Inc

[Source]

 

 

 

 

Review
1.5 Stars
Du Hättest Gehen Sollen
Du Hättest Gehen Sollen - Daniel Kehlmann

You Should Have Left tells the story of a screenwriter, who is struggling with the deadline for his next screenplay and whose marriage is desintegrating. In this tense situation he takes his wife and his 4 year old daughter to a remote cabin in the mountain ... because that is apparently what Germans do whenever life goes of the tangent.

 

So over the course of 96 pages the life of the main character starts to unravel and I have to say I just didn´t care. The characters were poorly developed, the writing was disjointed and confusing and the plot was disapppointing as well.

 

I guess this book should give me the incentive to pick up another book by Daniel Kehlmann, but I think I will give him a pass.

 

16 tasks of the festive season: Square 9 Tasks for Winter Solstice and Yaldā Night: 

Read a book in one night - in the S. Hemisphere, read a book in a day. –OR– Grab one of your thickest books off the shelf. Ask a question and then turn to page 40 and read the 9th line of text on that page. Post your results. –OR– Eat a watermelon or pomegranate for good luck and health in the coming year, but post a pic first!.

 

It took me about an hour to read this book and it is pitchblack outside.

 

 

 

 

currently reading

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Progress: 111/464pages
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