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

Reading progress update: I've read 19 out of 320 pages.
Mountains of the Mind: A History of a Fascination - Robert Macfarlane

What we call a mountain is in fact a collaboration of the physical form of the world with the imagination of humans - a mountain of the mind. And the way people behave towards mountains has little or nothing to do with the actual objects of rock and ice themselves. Mountains are only contingencies of geology. They do not kill deliberatly, nor do they deliberately please; any emotional property whic they possess are vested in them by human imaginations. Mountains - like deserts, polar tundra, deep oceans, jungles and all the other wild landscapes that we have romanticized into being - are simply there, and there they remain, their physical structures rearranged gradually over time by forces of geology and weather, but continuing to exist over and beyond human perceptions of them. But they are also the products of human perception; they have been imagined into existence down the centuries. This book tries to plot how those ways of imagining mountains have altered over time. 


Okay, I´m intrigued. I have never read a non-fiction book with an approach like this to a subject matter before. 


I have a name for my upcoming book...

... should I ever decide to write it.


While writing up my list of books I searched for "War and Sleep" (a mash up of "The Big Sleep" and "War and Peace"). A title like that ... so many possibilities for a compelling plot ;D.

A couple of more books for MR´s list
The Big Sleep (Penguin Essentials) - Raymond Chandler War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy, Larissa Volokhonsky, Richard Pevear Blitzed: Drugs in Nazi Germany - Norman Ohler The Blind Assassin - Margaret Atwood The Orenda - Joseph Boyden The Prestige - Christopher Priest In Cold Blood - Truman Capote The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea - Sebastian Junger The Name of the Rose - Umberto Eco

The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler: The Philip Marlowe books are quintessential noir, with all it apparent flaws of this time period. And Marlowe is such a great character.


War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy: Since we are allowed to name classics, this simply has to be on the list. 


Blitzed: Drugs in Nazi Germany by Norman Oehler: The fascinating account how all of Germany was on drugs throughout WWII.



The Blind Assassin by Margarete Atwood: A wonderful story of two sisters in WWII times. Even though I´m a bit fuzzy about the details of the plot (have to reread this book), I still remember how it made me feel while reading it.


The Orenda by Joseph Boyden: A book about first nation Canadians and their struggle with another tribe and the Jesuit priest, who try to convert to Christianity. As this might suggest, this book is incredibly brutal at times, but it is also absolutely amazing. 


The Prestige by Christopher Priest: You will finish this book without having the faintest clue what you just have read. It´s so good, though.


In Cold Blood by Truman Capote: I´m comparing every true crime book that I read to this one and not a single one has even come close to Truman Capote´s masterpiece.


The Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger: The first non-fiction book I have ever and still one of my favorites. The second part of the novel is an edge-of-the-seat reading experience.


The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco: I don´ think this has been mentiones by anyone, but this simply has to be on the list too. I even enjoyed reading about the page long description of the door fresco.









BL-opoly: Round #9

Starting off from jail, I´m allowed to roll again:



Which brings me to:



Lol, it seems like I´m caught within a loop of the same four squares. Non-fiction is excellent, though and my pick for that square is:


Mountains of the Mind: A History of a Fascination - Robert Macfarlane 


Maybe this book will give me an answer to the unanswerable question: Why do people climb mountains?




Card in my back pocket:


Reading progress update: I've read 14%.
Blackwater: The Complete Saga - Michael McDowell, Matt Godfrey

Well, that was a grim scene, which reminded me of a Final Destination movie. A movie, which gave me nightmares, btw.


But I´m really loving the storytelling in this book so far. 


At this point they all should know that something is not right with Elinor.

(show spoiler)
Additional books for MR´s list
My Family and Other Animals - Gerald Durrell The Word for World is Forest - Ursula K. Le Guin The Expendable Man - Dorothy Hughes A Tale for the Time Being - Ruth Ozeki Revolutionary Road - Richard Yates Honeysuckle Cottage - P. G. Wodehouse Sovereign (Matthew Shardlake #3) - C.J. Sansom Shutter Island - Dennis Lehane

My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell: I adored reading about young Gerald, his animals and his whacky family. It´s the perfect feel good read and I consider this book to be the bookish equivalent to the movie Mamma Mia.


The Word for World is Forest by Ursula K. Le Guin: Leave it to Le Guin to tell the most tropy story in a refreshing, engaging and deeply moving way. Out of all the Le Guin´s I have read so far, this is my favorite. 


The Expendable Man by Dorothy Hughes: There is one specific thing about this book that turns this into an exceptional and unforgettable read. And this is all I´m going to say about this book.


A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki: Or you could swap this book with "My Year of Meats". Both books are amazing and Ozeki is an exceptional writer.


Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates: A gut-punch of a novel.


Honeysuckle Cottage by P.G. Wodehouse: The most charming and sweet haunted house (short) story ever written. 


Sovereign by C.J. Sansom: This stands for the whole Shardlake series, book number three has been my favorite so far, though. The mysteries are compelling, the setting of Tudor England is glorious and Shardlake is one of my favorite characters ever.


Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane: This is so good. The setting, the atmosphere and the story are simply amazing.








BL-opoly: Round #8

I just finished the two books from my last roll and I´m throwing the dice:




Starting from square 22, I´m hitting:



Shoot! That´s not good! Anyhow, I have to roll the dice to determine my bail:


$ 8.00 it is. In the bail fund there are $ 17.00. Phew!


Not sure if I´m allowed to roll the dice again right now. Heading off to the Q&A post, asking MR about it.




Card in my back pocket:




Reading progress update: I've read 414 out of 414 pages.
Over the Edge of the World: Magellan's Terrifying Circumnavigation of the Globe (P.S.) - Laurence Bergreen

An excellent read and it ticked several boxes of things for me, which I love reading about: history, exploration and the struggle for survival. What these men accomplished during the 16th century was equally breathtaking, horrifying and wrong and it turned this book into a real pageturner.

The only complaint I have about this book is that the author sometimes goes on a tangent, talking about things that are not essential to the actual story. But other than that, this has been a truly gripping story. 



Page count: 414 = $ 5.00

Reading progress update: I've read 325 out of 414 pages.
Over the Edge of the World: Magellan's Terrifying Circumnavigation of the Globe (P.S.) - Laurence Bergreen

They were cautioned not to speak directly to the king. Should they wish to say anything, they were to inform a servant, who would pass it on to a functionary of slightly higher rank, who would then tell the governor´s brother, who would in turn whisper the message through a "speaking-tube" and relay it to the king.


Being forced to participate in a game of Chinese whisper with a foreign ruler doesn´t bode well for the crew of the armada. 



Reading progress update: I've read 7%.
Blackwater: The Complete Saga - Michael McDowell, Matt Godfrey

Ivey told him that something lived right at the bottom of that whirlpool, something which during the day buried itself in the sand, but at night dug itself out again and sat on the muddy riverbed and waited for animals to get pulled down the whirlpool.


I really love the subtle creepiness of this novel. That whole river junction part gave me the shivers.

Reading progress update: I've read 2%.
Blackwater: The Complete Saga - Michael McDowell, Matt Godfrey

I´m a bit fatigued of the true crime book I´m currently listening to (Michelle McNamara´s "I´ll Be Gone in the Dark") and our chat about this book got me really excited about it, so I started listening to this as well. 


And I love how atmospheric the beginning already is.



Reading progress update: I've read 220 out of 438 pages.
Over the Edge of the World: Magellan's Terrifying Circumnavigation of the Globe (P.S.) - Laurence Bergreen

During their expedition Magellan‘s crew encountered the indiginous people of Patagonia. This meeting and the account of one of the crew members inspired Shakespeare to write The Tempest.


This book is truly fascinating. And I‘m way past the point, at which it is easy to put the book down for something irrelevant like sleep or food or work.

Reading progress update: I've read 179 out of 438 pages.
Over the Edge of the World: Magellan's Terrifying Circumnavigation of the Globe (P.S.) - Laurence Bergreen

Within days, the strait´s gloomy enchantment impressed itself on the crew. As they negotiated its frigid waters, they observed thickly vegetated, forbidding shores sliding past, cloaked in eerie shadows. Late one night, during the few hours of darkness at that time of year, they caught glimpses of what they believed were signs of human settlements; distant fires with an indistinct source burst forth, their ruby flames glimmering like spectral apparitions in front of the dark green cypresses, vines and ferns. The fires sent plumes of smoke into the hazy sky, and fouled the air with an acrid odor.


This book and Lansings "Endurance" give a pretty clear-cut impression of the fact, that the area around the southern most tip of South America and the passage between South America and Antartica are the most vicious and inhospitable places on earth. 


Reading progress update: I've read 127 out of 438 pages.
Over the Edge of the World: Magellan's Terrifying Circumnavigation of the Globe (P.S.) - Laurence Bergreen

A crucial evolution to Magellan´s style of leadership, and perhaps his character, occured over a period on nine trying months, from February to October 1520. He emerged from the ordeal a very different man from the one who had begun the voyage. The Magellan of February teetered on the brink of being murdered by the men he commanded. The Magellan of October was on the way to earning a place in history. In the intervening months, he passed a series of tests that forced him to confront his own limits as a leader and to change his ways, or die. 


So far the journey has been, what I would consider, a horror trip. Apparently it gets even worse. 


This is such an interesting read. Unfurtunately I don´t have a whole lot of time this week to sit down an read. I will try and get some reading done tonight, though.

For MR: My essential reading list

I apologize if my English is a bit off, but my allergies are killing me today. So here we go:


Chernobyl Prayer by Svetlana Alexievich: Powerful, harrowing, heartbreaking and unforgettable. One of the best books I have read ever read.


Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell: I basically love everything about this book and in this one you can find my favorite character of all time, Robert Frobisher. And it´s one of these books, in which you find something new upon each reread. And in my case it is definitely time for a reread.


A Place of Greater Safety by Hillary Mantel: A beast of a book. But this one showed me, that an author can tell a compelling story without changing the historical facts. And I cared so much for these characters toward the end. Knowing what would happen to them devastated me even before I was reading that last chapter and I wished just for a brief moment that I could change history in order to save these characters.


Clouds of Witness by Dorothy L. Sayers: Parker and Mary! My first OTP even before Wimsey and Harriet became a thing. And the actual mystery plot in this one was great as well.


4.50 from Paddington by Agatha Christie: (I guess all the usual suspects have already been named, at least I hope so). I choose my favorite Marple Christie with the inimitable Lucy Eyelesbarrow and the one question, we never will get an answer for. Which of these guys does she choose? Oh, and of course, the mystery was a great one as well.


Dialogues of the Dead by Reginald Hill: This is the perfect mystery novel, at least for me. It´s so good! And I have so many fond memories reading this book, especially since it has been a recommendation by my dear colleague.


Endurance by Alfred Lansing: A testament to humans will to survive. Non-fiction at its best.


Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry: A sweeping, epic western saga with unforgettable characters. That ending destroyed me. BTW, I don´t like western stories.


True Grit by Charles Portis: Another western, this time with a fierce, headstrong teenage girl as main character, who is unforgettable as well. I repeat, I don´t like western stories and yet I had to include two on my list, because they were exceptional reads.


Hyperion & Fall of Hyperion by Dan Simmons: These two books belong together and together they become one of the most exceptional science fiction stories I have ever read. And the conclusion to this story is pure perfection and I cried like a baby.


The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith: I had to include a Highsmith and the honor goes to one of the most unlikeable characters of all time. A character, who we all secretly like and who we root for.


Perfume by Patrick Süskind: A controversial pick. I know a lot of people do not like this book and they even find it disgusting. I find it amazing and Süskind´s ability to describe a smell is phenomenal.


Der Schimmelreiter (The Rider on the White Horse) by Theodor Storm: I just have to include my favorite German classic on this list. This novella is a piece of my home and its fabulous.


The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham: Big, carnivorous, walking plants … do I need to say more? I´m not a big fan of dystopian novels, but I really loved this one and for this it needs to go on the list. Another dystopian novel I liked was The Handmaids Tale, but I think someone else had this one on their list.


A lot of the books that I would have put on my list have already been claimed, like the Harry Bosch series, a lot of the Christies or Rebecca. So I think I will stick with my selection, even though I haven´t come up with 25 books.

Reading progress update: I've read 81 out of 438 pages.
Over the Edge of the World: Magellan's Terrifying Circumnavigation of the Globe (P.S.) - Laurence Bergreen

Why have I never heard anything about the Prester John legend before? It seems like I have lived under a rock all my life.


currently reading

Progress: 18%
Progress: 19/320pages
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Progress: 53/384pages
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Progress: 124/259pages