Lillelara

Lillelara

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

Reading progress update: I've read 108 out of 473 pages.
The Invention of Nature: The Adventures of Alexander von Humboldt, the Lost Hero of Science - Andrea Wulf

I´m still enjoying this book immensely, Alexander von Humboldt is a fascinating person.

 

This second part of the book is about Humboldts travels through South America and his subsequent visit in the USA. As my fellow buddy-readers I´m suprised, too, that he and his travel companiens have managed to get out of there alive. I´m always imagining a rainforest to be the most unhospitable place on earth and Humboldt´s report of how every triburary of the Amazon has a different taste gave me the shivers. And let´s not forget all the dangerous animals and Malaria (they did know about quinine back then, didn´t they? So maybe that was a managable problem to some extent). Imminent death is looming around the corner.

 

And I wonder if Humboldt will get in trouble with the Spanish government, telling the president of America state secrets. Eventhough Humboldt is doing this in the name of science, they can´t be too amused about that.

Wisdom
Still Life  - Louise Penny, Ralph Cosham

"You need to learn that you have choices. There are four things that lead to wisdom. You ready for them?"

She nodded, wondering when the police work would begin.

"They are four sentences we learn to say, and mean." Gamache held up his hand as a fist and raised a finger with each point. "I don´t know. I need help. I´m sorry. And one other." Gamache thought for a moment but couldn´t bring it to mind. "I forget. [...]"

 

 

 

Reading progress update: I've read 0 out of 384 pages.
Rejected Princesses: Tales of History's Boldest Heroines, Hellions, and Heretics - Jason Porath

Gathering together a diverse set of some famous, some infamous, some forgotten, and some virtually unknown figures from history and myth, from all over the globe, this book presents the female role models we never knew we needed. Yes, there are are a few princesses, but there are also pirates, spies, journalists, activists, concubines, empresses, ninjas, pilots, samurais, mathematicians, sword-slingers, and warlords too.

 

I got my used copy of Rejected Princesses today in the mail and I´m looking forward to learn something new about some kick-ass ladies. And the dedication is adorable:

 

"Dedicated to my mother, the strongest woman the world. You carved a space for yourself out of a world that offers strong women no quarter. Then, out of everything you could have been, you choose to be my mom. I hope I can live up to you."

Booklikes-opoly Roll #26 (July 10th)
Mistress of the Art of Death - Ariana Franklin

Finished the fantastic book My Year of Meats, so I´m allowed to roll the dice again. Starting from square Adventureland 24:

 

 

Brings me to:

 

 

My pick is:

 

Mistress of the Art of Death - Ariana Franklin 

 

And I rolled a double, so my next roll brings me to:

 

 

 

I´ve been her before. And I don´t know what I will be reading for this square just yet.

 

 

Reading progress update: I've read 100%.
My Year of Meats - Ruth Ozeki

Why did it take me so long to read this book? It´s so good, I loved every page of it. My favorite read of the year so far.

 

  

 

 

Review
1.5 Stars
Magpie Murder
Magpie Murders - Anthony Horowitz

Honestly, this novel is a mess of a book.

 

Editor Samantha Ryeland reads a book by her most famous client, mystery writer Alan Convay. The first part of this novel consists of the mystery novel, which Alan Convay has written. But the last part of this fictitious mystery novel is missing and at this point we get thrown into Samanthas narrative, who is trying to find the missing chapters and who has to deal with a whole lot of other problems along the way.

 

Basically this book is two stories in one and let me be upfront, I didn´t enjoy both stories. Alan Convays novel is incredibly boring and when I finally got invested in the narrative of this story, the novel abruptly ends, because the final chapters are missing.

And then I had to endure Samantha´s narrative, an unsympathetic character who turns into an amateur sleuth for no reason at all. Samantha just rubbed me the wrong way with her pathetic whining about her relationsship and she is really full of herself. Towards the end of the novel she comes to the conclusion that only an editor could have solved the mystery that has been laid out in the present narrative. At that point I felt the need to punch her in the face.

 

Both stories get incredibly bogged down by incessant info-dumping. Whether it being the looks of a person, the interior of a house, the never-ending references to Agatha Christie, the author felt the need to provide the reader with too much information. This book could have been shorter and it could have needed a better editor.

 

I listened to the audiobook of Magpie Murders and both narrators, Samantha Bond and Allan Corduner, did a good job with the narration. They were the reason I didn´t DNF the book, but I´m still glad that I got it from my local library via Overdrive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading progress update: I've listened 809 out of 947 minutes.
Magpie Murders - Anthony Horowitz

I listened to a solid 4 hours of this audiobook while cleaning my flat and I had to pause my activies as soon as I stumbled upon a scene, where the main character is eating with a guy, who shreds his food into small pieces with his fingers.

 

Well, that sounded familiar to me. It took me a solid 5 minutes until i remembered that one of Agatha Christie´s characters did that. Yes, number 4 is back. Dun, Dun, Duuuuunnnnn.

 

One of my main problems with this book is that Horowitz constantly references Agatha Christie. And I´m not even sure to which extent he does it, because so far I have only read about 10 of Christie´s work. But it´s already enough that I can recognize it for what it is and I´m massivly annoyed by it.

Reading progress update: I've read 10%.
My Year of Meats - Ruth Ozeki

We left our mark in truck stops and motels across the country. So much was new to them. In Taos, New Mexico, Suzuki and Oh stayed in a pink adobe suite with a fireplace. They got drunk and made a small, cozy fire in the hearth, and when they ran out of firewood they burned the telephone book and the Bible, then a chair and a bed-post, and finally the bedroom itself. After the fire departement had left, Oh explained, somewhat sheepishly, "In Japan fireplaces are not so common."

 

I wouldn´t have expected this book to be so funny. I´m really enjoying it so far.

 

Review
4 Stars
The Left Hand of Darkness
The Left Hand of Darkness - Ursula K. Le Guin

I´ve been dragging my feet with this review. Where to begin with it? First off, I really enjoyed reading this science fiction novel. I have never read anything quite like it before. The story is still lingering on my mind and it´s been a couple of days since I finished it.

 

Le Guin does an exceptional job in creating her world and her take on gender is fascinating. I really appreciated Le Guin´s view of humanity and the love between people and the love for other people and mankind.

 

It´s not an easy story to get into, though. Due to the way Le Guin tells her story, it felt much rather like a sociological study than an actual novel. In the first half of the book I felt there has been a distance between me and the characters and I couldn´t fully connect with them. In the second half of the book it got better and I basically plowed throught the last 150 pages. 

 

I´m glad that I have read this book and I´m looking forward to my next Le Guin read. 

 

I´ve read this book for the Booklikes-opoly for the square Tomorrowland 33.

 

Page count: 301 pages

Money earned: $6.00

 

Reading progress update: I've read 64 out of 473 pages.
The Invention of Nature: The Adventures of Alexander von Humboldt, the Lost Hero of Science - Andrea Wulf

From the Capuchin monks they bought bananas, cassava roots, chickens and cacao as well as the pod-like fruits of the tamarind tree which they were told turned the river water into a refreshing lemonade.

 

Just for the record: If there is one thing that really freaks me out, it´s the thought of drinking or bathing in tropical, bacteria and parasite infested river waters.

I guess I would totally suck at being an explorer or a scientist working in these regions of the world.

Reading progress update: I've read 51 out of 473 pages.
The Invention of Nature: The Adventures of Alexander von Humboldt, the Lost Hero of Science - Andrea Wulf

I´ve just finished the first part and so far it´s very interesting.

 

The first part is about Humboldts childhood and his restless energy, which oozes from the pages. Growing up in the strict Prussian society, with a relentless mother and a clear-cut path right before him, couldn´t have been easy for Humboldt. The more I admire him for his endurance and his path to become one of the most famous Europeans of the time (I didn´t know that, btw).

 

My favorite chapter is the on about Humboldt and Goethe. There is so much I didn´t know about Goethe and learning about his interests in science and nature has been fascinating.

 

And the Danes get mentioned. Eventhough Denmark is a small country, their history is far from being insignificant. From 1666-1917 Denmark had colonies in the West Indies. Their trade consisted mainly of sugarcane (and to some degree they were involved in the slavetrade as well), which got transported to Copenhagen and Flensburg to get refined. As from 1767 and onwards rum got shipped in as well and due to this Flensburg became famous for it´s rum history. They invented the "Rum-Verschnitt". At some point it got too expensive to import rum, so they took the amount of rum they could afford, added cheap undiluted alcohol to the rum and diluted this mixture down with water to a drinking strenght.

(I´m sorry for the history lesson, but it´s the history of where I live and I´m still fascinated by it).

 

I can´t wait to continue with part II.

 

"The Invention of Nature" buddy read
The Invention of Nature: The Adventures of Alexander von Humboldt, the Lost Hero of Science - Andrea Wulf

... and Booklikes-opoly free friday read #4

 

No one had ever come this high before, and no one had ever breathed such thin air. As he stood at the top of the world, looking down upon the mountain ranges folded beneath him, Humboldt began to see the world differently. He saw the earth as one great living organism where everything was connected, conceiving a bold new vision of nature that still influences the way we understand the natural world.

 

Already cross-checking on page one, because I have to look up how much 21,000 feet are in meter. I´m puzzled, because I thought in England they would use the metric system. BrokenTune might be able to enlighten me on this.

 

 

Review
4.5 Stars
The Lincoln Lawyer
The Lincoln Lawyer  - Michael Connelly

Wow, this was such a great read and I enjoyed every minute of it. I´m not going into the plot of the story, but this book has everything that a good thriller should have.

 

It´s full of suspense, there are twist and turns, the bad guy is positively spine chilling, the main character is a likeable guy, eventhough he is a cynic and his attitude towards his work is morally grey, and the story will take you to unexpected places.

 

I haven´t been bored for a single minute while reading The Lincoln Lawyer and it has been one entertaining piece of literature. I have to read more of Connelly´s books in the future.

 

This book has been my 4th of July pick for the Booklikes-opoly. The main character Mick Haller is an attorney in California.

 

Page count: 448 pages

Money earned: $10.00

 

Booklikes-opoly Roll #25 (July 6th)

Finished my jail visit read Lady Susan, so I´m allowed to roll the dice again today. I´m still in the middle of my 4th of July read The Lincoln Lawyer and I´m really loving it. So I guess I won´t start this new book before I have finished The Lincoln Lawyer.

 

Starting from the jail I rolled:

 

 

Which brings me to:

 

 

I´m really in the mood to read another Ruth Ozeki book:

 

My Year of Meats - Ruth Ozeki 

 

There are two storylines in this novel, one takes place in New York and one in Tokio. So this should fit this square.

 

 


 

Review
3 Stars
Lady Susan
Lady Susan (Penguin Little Black Classics) - Jane Austen

This short novella has been a fun read. Mainly because the main character Lady Susan Vernon is a scheming, cunning, manipulating nightmare of a woman and she doesn´t mind one bit. She is the most unlikely Jane Austen heroine you could encounter in one of her books.

 

I did have some issues with it, though. I´m not particularly fond of stories told through letter (what this novella does) and the ending is so abrupt, it feels like Austen didn´t know how to proceed with her narrative at some point. 

 

I enjoyed reading this novella by Austen, it´s been a fun read but I´m not overly in love with it.

 

I´ve read this book for my Booklikes-opoly jail visit. 116 pages has been donated to the jail library.

 

 

Reading progress update: I've read 66 out of 128 pages.
Lady Susan (Penguin Little Black Classics) - Jane Austen

My pick for the jail visit.

 

I´ve recently watched the movie "Love and Friendship", which is based on this short epistolary novella. So far I can say that I like the novella more than the movie. Lady Susan really is a cunning and scheming character, horrible and entertaining at the same time.

 

 

 

 

 

currently reading

Progress: 38%
Progress: 140/230pages
Progress: 14/384pages
Progress: 187/473pages
Progress: 1870/4318minutes