Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Top Ten Books for a Lazy Hour at the Beach

In the summer we spend many a lazy hour where we want a book to keep us company that will take us to other places, a book that can be romantic or suspensful or lush or oh so true or all at the same time. Here are ten books that are great choices for your beach bag.

1. The Geisha by Arthur Golden

2. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

3. In the Woods by Tana French

4. Desert Flower by Waris Dirie

5. Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer

6. Hunting and Gathering by Anna Gavalda

7. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

8. Half of the Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Aidichie

9. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See

10. Chocolat by Joanne Harris

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Monday, 30 May 2011

Announcing winner of my first giveaway.

This blog is now officially one year old. Due to the blogoversary I hosted my first giveawy of Audrey Niffenegger's Her fearful Symmetry. This was the first book I reviewed on this blog. I pulled a piece of paper with the winner's name out of a small glass bowl. Congratulations to Sheila from Book Journey.

Thanks to everybody who participated. Cheers to a hopefully wonderful second year of blogging and making friends.

Friday, 27 May 2011

Literary Blog Hop May 26-29

Literary Blog Hop

The literary blog hop is a biweekly meme hosted by The Blue Bookcase. This weeks question is:

Talk about one author that you love and why his or her writing is unique. Please be specific.

I have loved many author's of whom I only read one book. And I wonder is that already enough to judge the uniqueness of any author's work?! Well, I hope so becuase I could have also hated any auhtor's writing of whom I only read one book. And after detesting it so much of course I never felt like picking up the particular author again.

One author I loved and just recently raved about is Arundhati Roy. You can find my review of her book The God of Small Things here. Her writing is as unique as it can be. I never read anything that can be compared to her style until today.

But "Hey now!" you think. "Tell us already what is so special about it!" Okay, of course I'm just too happy to oblige.

Roy's writing is just amazing because every single page is filled with metaphors, descriptions, and poetic prose (in a good readable way). The writing is not hard, it does not blow smoke, it odes not take itself too important although it is important, it is not the writing of a show off. Instead it is gorgeous and lush and rich, like it flew effortless out of Roy's pen. That's why.

And now I will give you one of my most beloved quotes to see for yourself:
But what was there to say?
Only that there were tears. Only that Quietness and Emptiness fitted together like stacked spoons. Only that there was a snuffling in the hollows at the base of a lovely throat. Only that a hard honey-colored shoulder had a semicircle of teethmarks on it. Only that they held each other close, long after it was over. Only that what they shared that night was not happiness, but hideous grief.
Only that once again they broke the Love Laws. That lay down who should be loved. And how. And how much.

What do you think? Have you read it? Have you loved it as much as I did?

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Introducing Leo the Lion

Last week I took up crocheting again. The occasion is the upcoming first birthday of my friend's son Leo. I also grabbed Amigurumi World by Ana Paula Rimoli from the shelf. I decided to crochet a lion for Leo. It's just suitable, isn't it?

Today I finished the little Lion. He came out just fine due to the great crochet pattern from Amigurumi World. The instruction to produce a muzzle with nose and mouth was very helpful. I decided to stitch on eyes because plastic eyes are not suitable for children under the age of 3. My sewing skills have been challenged but I think the resulting lion was worth it.

I hope Leo is going to like his new friend.

Monday, 23 May 2011

It's Monday and my first giveaway!

Dear readers, followers, fellow bloggers,

I'm going to host my first giveway! The occasion is my one-year blogoversary next week. I decided to give away the first book I reviewed on this blog about one year ago. This book is Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger.

It's an international giveaway. You can win this book by simply posting a comment stating that you want it. Please leave me a possibility of how to reach you like an email address or link back to your blog. I will pull the winner one week from today, on Monday 30th of May. Please make sure you are going to respond within 48 hours. Once I got in contact with the winner I will put the book in the mail. I cannot be hold responsible in case of loss.

It’s Monday! What are you reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey to share with others what you've read the past week and planning to read next.

I finally finished reading The Devil in the White City which I'm going to review this week. I started The World without Us by Alan Weisman.

In the mail I received an English version of my favorite book The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, which I plan on reading in English the first time soon.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Home Alone!

That's exactly what I am right now. The Great Thinker left home early today to go on a bike trip with two friends. He is expected to be back Tuesday the week after next week, 31st of May.

That means I have 10 days to do what ever I like, like being lazy and reading, and to do things I have to do like working on my diploma thesis and preparing my presentation for a national student forum where I am going to speak about raising flood awareness using different communication strategies.

First thing today I got my book shelf from my parent's house, because my shelf here is threatening to burst with books. But now the Thinker would come in handy to build it or at least to show me where he put our tool case. LOL.

I'm planning on finishing The Devil in the White City tonight. My cat will keep me company.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Spreading the Word!

My dear readers,

it's time to share two things that lie at my heart. First Karen from BookBath has announced the second Paris in July. Last year I and many other bloogers participated in Paris in July to share our love for all things French. We read French books, we watched French films, we tried French recipes and many more fun activities and shared our experiences.

I for one wrote a book recommendation for Hunting and Gathering by Anna Gavalda and shared my favorite bookish and gourmandish places in Paris, which I visited in September 2009.

If you are interested in participating this year, please go over to Karen's blog and say Hello.

Second things second. I decided it's time to host my first give-away. Due to the first anniversary of this blog in the end of May, I will do a birthday give-away. Isn't that fantastic!? Stay tuned for more information and the start of the give-away on next Monday, 23rd of May.

Monday, 16 May 2011

It's Monday! What are you reading?

It’s Monday! What are you reading? is a weekly event hosted by Sheila at Book Journey to share with others what you've read the past week and planning to read next.

Last week I posted a review of Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks. After reading March this book was yet another great reading experience.

Unfortunately I did not finish one book last week. That means I'm still reading The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson. I couldn't quite get into the book at first but now it takes on.

Next book up is The World Without Us by Alan Weisman. As I got it from the library I want to read it before it's due. I picked it because I pledged to read more non-fiction this year. That's why I made May my planned non-fiction month. After reading Weisman's book I finally want to get to Cleopatra by Stacy Schiff.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Thoughts: Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks

Authors like Geraldine Brooks remember me why I love to be a reader. Her story about young Anna, who is living in a small village in the far North of England in 1665, grabbed me by the hair and pulled me under water, where I was reading, struggling for air but only coming up when I finally had finished. It is not Brooks' writing which lets me fight for breath, because the writing is simple and slow paced but beautiful, it is the horrible sensation I felt when reading about the plague and how many of Anna's neighbors became it's victims. In 1665 a bolt of cloth, housing plague seeds (commonly known as fleas), comes to Anna's remote village. When the first people die the community decides to shut the gates in and out of the village and isolate themselves to prevent the Black Death from spreading. One year later hope arises, could it be that the plague's rampage is stopped?

Anna is a fascinating character, a simple girl with her heart on the right spot, she is used to hard work and won't give up. In one year she has to face the truth about the human spirit, god's rage and the loss of many beloved ones. I cared for her and her well-being as much as she cared for the well-being of the villagers.

I didn't like the end though. The last 50 pages were needless and I didn't like that Brooks moved the main character from the main scene because of a forced reason.

4 stars!

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

It's Tuesday! What am I reading?

I missed the Monday meme hosted by Book Journey. But I like it to keep you all updated on my reading. Here it is:

I reviewed The Russian Concubine by Kate Furnivall last week.

I finished reading Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks, which I enjoyed reading and will review this week. As I read some books in the last time for which I didn't care now finally a book I liked.

I started reading The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson and am curious to find out more. It's about the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago and the man who killed its visitors.

Next up is The World without Us by Alan Weisman. Another non-fiction about the world as it would look like without any human presence.

Friday, 6 May 2011

Thoughts: The Russian Concubine by Kate Furnivall

Well, oh well. This story offers an intriguing start and gets you hooked up just fine. Valentina and her husband are fleeing war torn Russia to safe their small child Lydia. When their train is stopped by the enemy Valentina's husband is captured and Valentina is enraptured to give some diamonds for her daughter's live. But soon afterwards the story leaves you, not caring a bit about the characters or the plot. Lydia is now sixteen living in a Chinese city with her worthless mother who drinks and smokes all day. Lydia feels enraptured to steal watches, wallets, necklaces or whatever crosses her way. When a young Chinese saves her life a love story begins to unfold. I kept on reading wanting to know when the part about concubines, promised in the title, would reveal itself.


But there never is a part about concubines, let alone a Russian concubine.

I thought this book would be right up my alley, promising a historical fiction set in China during the 1920s with a romance interlaced. Well, unfortunately I couldn't have cared less. I always waited for the story to begin and the characters to reveal their use to the process of the story.

Two lonely stars.

Monday, 2 May 2011

It's Monday! What are you reading?

It’s Monday! What are you reading? is a weekly event hosted by Sheila at Book Journey to share with others what you've read the past week and planning to read next.

Since my last Monday post I posted reviews of The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy, which I loved, and White Oleander by Janet Fitch, for which I didn't care much.

At the moment I'm about to finish The Russian Concubine by Kate Furnivall. Next up is Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks and The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson. I'm really looking forward to the Geraldine Brooks book as I loved her book March very much.

What I had been up to on the weekend: Traditionally we have a bonfire in the night from 30th April to 1st of May called Walpurgis Night, which we celebrated in the garden of close friends including a barbecue. On Sunday we went to the park and had ice cream and one or two games of Speedminton, with our skins warmed by the sun.