Monday, 28 February 2011

It's Monday!

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 read two books. I have swallowed Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen by Susan Gregg Gilmore which I will review this week. It is Christian Fiction, a genre which I usually don't read. I recognized that this is for a reason. Being an atheist I don't go to church Sunday's and everything that comes with it although I do understand that this builds the fundament of community life in South American small towns like Ringgold, GA. I did get what it means to grow up in a small town like this though, dying to escape this life like heroine Catherine Grace does.
I also read Tell No One by Harlan Coben, which is a thriller, full of suspense and aimiable characters. I did like to spook myself at night a lot. I also learned that the French made it into a movie, which I plan on watching. Maybe I will review both sometime, book and film, this week.

I started to read a book by a Russian author of which I found no translation into English. In German the tilte is: Ergebenst, Euer Shurik. Which is translated something like: Sincerely yours, Schurik. It is about a young Russian who is not able to emancipate from his grandmother and mother, but who is sensitive about the needs of every woman young or old. He aslo does not shy away to satisfy those needs, be they ugly or beautiful.

Next I will read Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.

Have you read any of these?

Monday, 21 February 2011

Review: Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

This was my first book by Canadian author Margaret Atwood, I fell in love with her writing in an instant. I took my time with this book to take in everything Atwood has to say about what is going wrong on planet Earth and to what it could possibly lead. This especially means overpoulation, resource constraints, war and terror, all things caused by humans, weakening them. Atwood describes an apocalyptic future where all this has let to the extinction of all humans but Snowman and the children of Oryx and Crake.

Snowman is a solitary human living close to the genetically modified Crakers. He is like a prophet for them, telling them stories about Crake, who made them and Oryx, who teached and loved them. We get to know Snowman's story, his childhood and how he became friends with Crake and how he fell in love with Oryx. He is the only one left who knows what happened. His story is told between descriptions of his present day activities, where he has to get hands on some food or has to hide from genetically mixed animals like pigoons or wolvogs.

I think the genetic engineering going on in the book, which at last becomes a man-playing-god tale, to be upsettingly realistic. Reading multiple reviews, I know this book is not liked by everyone. But if you like a thought-provoking, literary dystopia novel this book is highly recommended. Five stars!

It's Monday!

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 have finished one book: Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood which I have reviewed here. I loved spending time with this book. Snowman is a great character with all the flaws of a human, guiding us through his dystopian world.

Lately I feel like I have too many books, it's really become hard to choose what to read next. So this week I let my friend decide. I grabbed three books from the tbr shelf and he picked one at random. I'm going to read Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queenby Susan Gregg Gilmore, which I got from Julie at Book Hooked Blog. As it is a short one I might squeeze in something else before the end of this week. Or I will read the given literature for my diploma thesis, which is all about spectra analysis and H2O and CO2 fluxes.

I got one new book last week. It is The Children's Book by A.S. Byatt.

Any thoughts?

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Review: Still Alice by Lisa Genova

Fifty-year-old Alice Howland is professor in Harvard, has three grown-up children and a loving, scientist husband. When one day on her usual jogging round she can't remember where she is, Alice recognizes that something has changed. She visits her doctor who soon diagnoses her with the early onset Alzheimer's disease.

Alice now has to face all the horrible things that come with such a diagnose. She has to tell her husband and children and needs to deal with the fact that soon she will not be able to remember faces, places and words; and later how to go or eat. Of course she hopes that some medicine can help her, but as of today there are only meds which can slow the process of the disease but cannot cure it.

I liked that Genova describes a diversity of problems Alzheimer's patient and their relatives have to deal with. For an example that there exist many self help groups for relatives but only very few or no groups for patients.

*spoiler warning*

Genova also did a good job to describe the emotional turmoil a family faces when one amongst them is diagnosed with Alzheimer's. I felt really sorry for Alice's husband who always loved the eloquence and smartness of his wife and first struggles to accept the disease and later tries to get out of Alice's way because he cannot stand to watch her decay. Or later when Alice doesn't recognize her youngest daughter anymore but still feels that this person loves her and simply loves her back. It's heartwrenching but somehow beautiful, too.

*end spoiler*

At a certain point I could never put down this book. I read it at late night, with everybody else already asleep. Although I felt like I had not have enough sleep the next morning, I love when this happens with me and a book.

Monday, 14 February 2011

It's Monday!

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 finished Still Alice by Lisa Genova which I will review this week. The story totally hooked me up so I had to read the second half of the book at night in my bed, reading lamp on, cat and my better half already asleep next to me.

Now I'm reading Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood. First I thought I would never get into this book, but it had me when Snowman begins to tell the story of the days which are now long gone.

I also got three new books last week. All of them well known to you readers, I think.

I got The Help by Kathryn Stockett, The Distant Hours by Kate Morton and Room by Emma Donoghou.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Mini Review: Lost on Planet China by J. Maarten Troost

Troost is a travel writer. He sets out to find out about China. All we know is that China is an upcoming super power and that it has well over 1.8 billion inhabitants. Troost talks about politics, environment, economy, food and people. His journey begins in Beijing and includes cities like Shanghai and Honk Kong but also well known landmarks as Tibet and the Three Gorges Dam.

From goodreads: The book also delivers a telling look at a vast and complex country on the brink of transformation that will soon shape the way we all work, live, and think.

It was funny and entertaining but will not stay with me for ever. But it inspired me to read on, e.g. on Mao's sparrows or the Chinese Panda breeding.

★ ★ ★ stars.

Monday, 7 February 2011

It's Monday!

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.

Congratulations to Sheila for her one year anniversairy. I really appreciate all the work you put into this, Sheila. I have been participating in the Monday meme on and off since June last year. I'm not sure how many blogs I love to follow because of It's Monday!, though.

Last week I read Lost On Planet China by J. Maarten Troost. It is about a man who travels China and tries to understand the Chinese mindset. I will review this book this week.

Now I'm reading Still Alice by Lisa Genova. I'm halfway through this book and so far I think it's briliant. When I have finished it I might start Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood. I'm really excited to read Atwood as many people whose opinion I value love her.

Cheers to reading and It's Monday!

Friday, 4 February 2011

Time for Book Blogger Hop!

Every Friday, join the Book Blogger Hop, hosted by Jennifer at Crazy-For-Books, and hop to some new blogs. The Book Blogger Hop gives book bloggers a chance to connect and find out what others are reading. Sign up at Jennifer’s blog so people can find your blog too.

If you visit my blog because of the hop, please leave a comment and link and I will be sure to pay a visit at your blog, too.

This week Jennifer asks which book I am currently reading and why. This is an easy one. I read Lost on Planet China by J. Maarten Troost for the Book Read Round the World event hosted by Carin at A Little Bookish. Last year I signed up for this fun event and now read a book which already has been read by fellow book bloggers from the USA, the Netherlands, Canada and the UK. Now this book is staying with me in Germany and I'm going to send it to Australia soon.

Have a nice weekend everyone!

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Review: Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

When Mr. Dashwood dies all his posessions and estate go to John, his son of first marriage. His second wife Mrs. Dashwood and her daughters Elinor, Marianne and Margaret are left on a low income. They move into a small cottage at Barton, where they make many new acquaintances.

For Elinor and Marianne, sisters who could not be any more different, a respectable marriage is desired to establish in life.

Elinor feels attracted to Mr. Edward Ferrars, a pleasant, intelligent but reserved young man and Marianne falls in love with dashing, handsome Willoughby.

When both sisters are invited to come to London in winter to stay with a friend, the engagement of Edward Ferrars as well as Willoughby to other women is revealed. Where Marianne suffers publicly, Elinor suffers in silence as nobody knows of her pain and she wants to spare her sister of more suffering which the knowledge of Elinor's feelings must cause her.

I grew to like the character of Elinor very much, being the one reasonable and responsible whereas Marianne gives way to her thoughts and emotions too freely.

From the introduction to Sense and Sensibility in the Penguin Classics edition:

The main contrast between Marianne's and Elinor's codes of conduct lies in Marianne's romantic insistence that desires be spoken, whereas Elinor requires that they be silenced.

Austen used different traits in characters but unique fates to point out the meaning and difference of sense and sensibility.

Due to Marianne's silence Elinor is pledged to think she experiences everything the first time. She falls in love first, she discovers that Willoughby is already engaged, and she struggles to gain control of her feelings when they are hurt. Only Elinor and the reader knows that Marianne's experiences are a repititon of Elinor's.

That Elinor is the first to become happy is no secret though, and as Marianne becomes happy too some time later, everything appears in the right order again.

I enjoyed reading another Austen (besides P&P) but did not like it enough for five stars. Four stars it is then.