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

Reading progress update: I've read 102 out of 352 pages.
This House is Haunted - John Boyne

A copy of the Illustrated London News had somehow found its way here and was lying on the table next to mine and I reached for it but then changed my mind; it was that newspaper, after all, which had advertised Mr. Dickens´ reading, and had Father not seen it, he would most likely still be with me. I had turned against the paper on account of it.


So now it is the newspapers fault that you and your father have gone out into the pouring rain, him being sick and that YOU forgot your umbrella at home.


Eliza is a moron.

Reading progress update: I've read 84 out of 352 pages.
This House is Haunted - John Boyne

Wow, two weird / evil(?) children. That´s something completely new in gothic literature.


So far I´m definitely not over the moon about this book.


Reading progress update: I've read 53 out of 352 pages.
This House is Haunted - John Boyne

Several people were running past me, making haste to board the train before it departed and, perhaps unable to see me through the mist, one collided with me, knocking my case from my hand and letting her own fall at the same time.

"Excuse me," she said, not sounding particularly apologetic, but I did not mind too much for it was obvious she did not want to miss her train. I reached for her suitcase, which had fallen to my left, and handed it across to her, and as I did so I noticed the monogrammed initials, etched red in the dark-brown leather . HB. I stared at them, wondering briefly why those initials meant something to me.


You have just read a letter signed H Bennet some five minutes ago...


Btw, she finds this out by herself a couple of pages later.



Reading progress update: I've read 50 out of 352 pages.
This House is Haunted - John Boyne

The heroines father is good-looking, her mother has been a beauty. And with that genetic material the heroine has, of course, to be plain looking. Or as her aunt puts it, she has a face "that can curdle milk". Tbh, I groaned a little bit while reading that.

Reading progress update: I've read 587 out of 587 pages.
Doomsday Book - Connie Willis

Well, this was gut-wrenching and incredibly sad. I really liked this book, though.

Reading progress update: I've read 474 out of 587 pages.
Doomsday Book - Connie Willis

*Sigh* Why do I have to go to work? The part set in the middle ages are truly gripping and I just want to know what is going to happen next.


I´m still not overly fond of the chapters set in the present time, mainly because some of those characters are incredibly contrived. William, who in the middle of an epidemic smooches a dozen different girls, and gobstopper loving 12-year-old Colin, who should have died several chapters ago. I know, I´m being mean, but I cannot stand him. 


Reading progress update: I've read 260 out of 587 pages.
Doomsday Book - Connie Willis

This is defintely not one of those action-packed time travel stories in which the person of the future seamlessly fits into the past. Kivrin is really struggling to fit into the medieval setting and I find the chapters written from her perspective the more interesting ones. The other chapters, the Oxford ones, are kind of weird.


So far it´s been a great read, though, and I´m really curious how this is going to end.


Reading progress update: I've read 139 out of 587 pages.
Doomsday Book - Connie Willis

"Sleaponpon donu paw daton", the young woman said, and she had to be saying `Rest,´ or `Go to sleep,´ but she still couldn´t decipher it. The interpreter´s broken, she tought, and the litlle knot of panic started to form again, worse than the pain in her chest.

It can´t be broken, she told herself. It´s not a machine. It´s a chemical syntax and memory enhancer. It can´t be broken. It could only work with words in its memory, though, and obviously Mr Latimer´s Middle English was useless. Whan that Aprille with his shoures sote. Mr Latimer´s pronounciations were so far off the interpreter couldn´t recognise what is was hearing as the same words, but that didn´t mean it was broken. It only meant it had to collect new data, and the few sentences it had heard so far weren´t enough.


This reminds me of the universal translator in Star Trek. I think those were actual machines, though.


I really appreciate that Willis adresses the difference of language between the two time periods this story is set in and that not everything works out as planned. Tbh, so far nothing has gone according to the plan.

Reading progress update: I've read 87 out of 587 pages.
Doomsday Book - Connie Willis

After two duds in a row, I´m happy that I have found a book that seems to be a great read. So far I´m loving it and I´m so glad that I have a whole weekend of reading before me.

Reading progress update: I've listened ? out of ? minutes.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix  - J.K. Rowling, Stephen Fry

I honestly don´t know where I´m at in this audiobook. It is soooo loooong. I think I must have listened to 22 hours so far.


Anyhow, I just listened to McGonagalls career counseling session with Harry, supervised by "dear" Dolores Umbridge (hate that woman). This was hilarious. I love Professor McGonagall, she is so fierce.


And Dolores Umbridge has to go down. Apparently the rest of the school thinks so too, making her life miserably as hell. I don´t feel sorry for her at all.

Reading progress update: I've read 175 out of 436 pages.
Mr. Mercedes - Stephen King

My colleague recommended Mr. Mercedes to me, because she absoultely loved it and couldn´t put it down as soon as she started reading it. Unfortunately, I´m not feeling the same way about it and it´s defnitely not a book that I feel the urge to pick back up again.


I know that Stephen King can be a hit or miss for me and this book feels rather like a miss for me most of the time. And there are a few things about Kings writing style that are really bothering me:


1. The book is written in present tense and that´s the reason the writing feels off. The writing simply doesn´t feel right (I´m sorry that I can´t be any more specific than that).

2. King ends his chapters repeatedly in a foreshadowing way:


He leaves his house with no premonition that he won´t be back.



I´m not exactly sure why the author is telling me that. Instead of making me curious for what is going to happen next, I´m getting massively annoyed by something like this. 


Maybe I should just DNF this book... 


Reading progress update: I've read 24 out of 300 pages.
Snowblind (Dark Iceland) - Quentin Bates, Ragnar Jónasson

This book ...


I admit, I´m feeling a bit under the weather at the moment and my chronic sinusitis makes me really grumpy, so my criticism might be a bit harsh. Or this book might be that badly written as I perceive it to be.


It starts off with a prologue, in which the authors tries to create an atmosphere:


The red stain was like a scream in the silence.

The snow-covered ground was so white that it had almost banished the winter night´s darkness, elemental in its purity.


Few people were about. Most people stayed indoors, happy to enjoy the weather from behind a window. It was possible that some of them had decided to stay at home after the death at the Dramatic Society. Tales travelled swiftly and the atmosphere was heavy with suspicion, in spite of the town´s peacuful outward appearance. A bird flying over the town would not have noticed anything unusual, would not have sensed the tension in the air, the uncertainty and even the fear, not unless it had flown over the little black garden in the middle of the town.

The tall trees surroundingthe garden were in the winter finery, taking on shadowy shapes in the darkness that were reminiscent of clowns rather than trolls, decked in delicate white from the ground up, in spite of the snow weighing down some of their branches.


Well, that´s a whole lot of blah, blah, blah. The prologue ends with an injured woman lying in the snow:


She lay in the middle of the garden, like a snow angel.

From a distance she appeared peaceful.

Her arms splayed from her sides. She wore a faded pair of jeans and was naked from the waist up, her long hair around her like a coronet in the snow; snow that shouldn´t be that shade of red.

A pool of blood had formed around her.

Her skin seemed to be failing alarmingly fast, taking on the colour of marble, as if in response to thew striking crimson that surrounded her.

Her lips were blue. Her shallow breath came fast.

She seemed to be looking up into the dark heavens.

Then her eyes snapped shut.


She seems pretty dead to me. How she has enough energy to snap her eyes shut is beyond me, though.


From this point we go about half a year back in time and we get introduced to Ari, former philosophy/theology student, who now is about to become a police officer. He just moved together with his girlfriend in Reykjavik and when Ari takes on a new job in a very remote town in Iceland without asking his girlfriend first, tensions arise between these two. And ... I don´t care. And tbh, these informations about Ari would have fit into a single paragraph, instead the author is droning on about it over three chapters.


He does the same for another character, a woman called Ugla, who apparently has lost her boyfriend and who has befriended an elderly man in the town where she is living now. I don´t know how she ties into the overall story (which at this point still is non-existent) and quite frankly, I don´t care.

And then there are some weird chapters in between, in which a women apparently gets held at knife point. Don´t know who that woman is, either. And again, I don´t care.


One less book on my physical shelf, one more book for charity.



Reading progress update: I've read 138 out of 288 pages.
Excellent Women - Barbara Pym, Alexander McCall Smith

I was punctual at the restaurant and I had been waiting nearly ten minutes before Mrs Gray arrived.

"I´m so sorry," she smiled, and I smiled, and I heard myself murmuring politely that I had arrived too early, as if it were really my fault that she was late.


There are so many scenes with Mildred in which I would behave exactly the same way as she does (being the spinster in her mid thirties that I am ;D)

Reading progress update: I've read 107 out of 288 pages.
Excellent Women - Barbara Pym, Alexander McCall Smith

When the first course came, it turned out to be spaghetti of a particularly long and rubbery kind. Rocky showed me how to twist it round my fork but I found it very difficult to manage and it made conversation quite impossible. Perhaps long spaghetti is the kind of thing that ought to be eaten quite alone with nobody to watch one´s struggle. Surely many a romance must have been nipped in the bud by sitting opposite someone eating spaghetti.


Mildred is such an socially akward and at times dorky person. She is adorable.


The other characters, though: Rockingham is an ass (albeit a charming one), Helena isn´t much better either and I think Everard might not be as bad a person as Mildred thinks. I like him the best out of these three, even though I still haven´t exactly figured out if there is a bigger conflict brewing between these three characters.


Somehow I don´t think that Helena and Everard have an affair. It´s just a hunch though.

(show spoiler)
Reading progress update: I've read 90 out of 288 pages.
Excellent Women - Barbara Pym, Alexander McCall Smith

"Can´t I help you with the curtains? I asked.

"Well, that would be most kind." The words hardly seemed to be out of my mouth before Mrs Gray had picked up another pile of curtains which were to be shortened along the line of the pins. I was a little dismayed, as we often are when our offers of help are taken at their face value, and I set to work rather grimly, especially as Mrs Gray herself was not doing anything at all.


Well, I haven´t been in the exact same situation as Mildred (there hasn´t been any kind of curtain related drama in my life so far), but I have been in similar situations. Feeling guilty when you don´t help and then getting exploited when you actually offer to help. Been there, done that.


Btw, I´m loving this book. Thanks for suggesting the buddy read, Moonlight Reader, Themis-Athena and Murder by Death :)

Reading progress update: I've read 37 out of 288 pages.
Excellent Women - Barbara Pym, Alexander McCall Smith

"More to drink!" said Rockingham with rather forced gaiety. He came towards me with the straw-covered flask and I let him refill my glass, although it was by no means empty. I began to see how people could need drink to cover up embarrassments, and I remembered many sticky church functions which might have been improved if somebody had happened to open a bottle of wine. But people like us had to rely on the tea-urn and I felt that some credit was due to us for doing well as we did on that harmless stimulant.


I really like Mildred. 

currently reading

Progress: 102/352pages
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Progress: 76/370pages
Progress: 87/352pages
Hercule Poirot: The Complete Short Stories - Agatha Christie
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix  - J.K. Rowling, Stephen Fry