Friday, 16 August 2013

Day 82 (07/27): Paul Collins - Sixpence House: Lost in a Town of Books

Paul Collins - Sixpence House:

Lost in a Town of Books
Considering today's book is about Hay-on-Wye (HAY-ON-WYE!!!!!!) and I love travelling, here are some book-based travel destinations on my list :).

- Hay-on-Wye. Basically my hometown. See review below.
- For the same reason: Montelieu in France, Stillwater, Minnesota, and Gold Cities BookTown, Grass Valley, California, in the U.S. and Redu, Belgium. No need to go to Japan (Jinbōchō, Tokyo), I can't read Japanese books, this would be too depressing.
- For the same reason also Mühlbeck, which is about 2.5 hours away from me AND I NEVER KNEW!
- Cecil Court. Bookshops over bookshops, and a look that inspired Diagon Alley. (And it's in London, which makes it absolutely ideal for a visit while I'm there to seeThe British Library.)
- The Library of Congress. I'm not a patriotic American, but I'd love to see it. If only because the architecture looks stunning.
- International Book Fair, Frankfurt am Main. I KNOW that "our" book fair in Leipzig is almost as big and way cooler due to cosplay and things, but all of my favourite authors only come to Frankfurt. (You may have realized that this annoys me.)

(4*-review of today's book under the cut)

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Day 81 (07/26): Ransom Riggs - Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine, #1)

Ransom Riggs
- Miss Peregrine's Home for
Peculiar Children
(Miss Peregrine, #1)

Last week (or, considering the day I was supposed to do this, in two days time), my mum and I spent (will spend) time with a friend who likes to take photographs.
He also likes to visit art galleries, and we went to a Carl Blechen exhibition in Coswig (Carl Blechen is my favourite of the romantic painters, he lived from 1798 to 1840 and had an amazing output considering his short career). Two days later we went to an exhibition of modern art, the collection of a Bavarian art dealer called Alfred Gunzenhauser that he donated to the city of Chemnitz, Saxony. (See Branitz Castle and Museum Gunzenhauser (German website!) for details respectively.)

We were talking about what to expect from a picture, be it a painting or a photograph. He said that he doesn't care whether a picture is beautiful, but that he wants it to be good. I agree with that only if I don't have to hang the thing on my wall; in that case I'm superficial enough to want a beautiful picture.
The people who took the pictures in today's book certainly didn't go for the beautiful type either, and in a period were photographs were more expensive it is interesting that someone invested such a lot of time in setting up pictures like these. Ransom Riggs certainly weaves an interesting story around them, but I wonder what the pictures were meant to express at the time they were taken. Because no matter if you take a picture to convey something beautiful or something interesting, you want to express something. What do you express by creating a floating child?

(4*-review of today's book under the cut)

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Day 80 (07/25): Peter Carey - The Chemistry of Tears

Peter Carey - The Chemistry of Tears

Having to catch up on a lot of days means squeezing in everything that could help. And a handbag book that is 75% done certainly helps a lot!

I have my main read. (Right now it is whatever I am reading to catch up.)

I have books that I'm currently reading, usually a fiction and a nonfiction book - right now the nonfiction is "The Swerve" (see list), and the fiction is nonexistent.
I have two or three books on my bedside, where I tend to reread certain chapters when I am down or can't sleep (that is my #1, "Lycidas", and right now also Victoria Coren's and David Mitchell's memoirs).
I have a book that I will read when I have downtime around the house - say in the kitchen or in the bathroom. (Right now this is the French version of the first Harry Potter book.)

And then I have a handbag book, which isthe only other book apart from my main read that I am ACTUALLY reading. If I have a handbag book that I can't get out of my head, it will get promoted to a main read. The bad news now is that I need a new one. "The Chemistry of Tears" kept me company for more than six months. I think Chris Colfer is next.

(5*-review of today's book under the cut)

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Day 79 (07/24): Jodi Picoult - My Sister's Keeper

Jodi Picoult
- My Sister's Keeper

Just like Kristin Hannah, Jodi Picoult writes books that have only entered my reading spectrum in the last two years. And just like Kristin Hannah's books, I have had nearly all of Jodi Picoult's books on my wishlist.

Unlike Kristin Hannah however, I have only bought one book - "My Sister's Keeper". It seemed like the best starting place and I figured that I would see how I like it and could add all the other books later on.
Now I am glad that I did, because while I did like the theme, the writing was "just" alright, and I will check out the German translation from the library if I want to read another one.

I have thought about why I made different choices for these two authors when I hadn't read anything before, but I have absolutely no idea. Apparently I decided this purely on instinct, and boy did it work.

(3*-review of today's book under the cut)

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Day 78 (07/23): Ian McEwan - Atonement

Ian McEwan
- Atonement

Much like with "yesterday's" book "Rebecca", I already knew the story of "Atonement" before I started it.

I've been meaning to read Ian McEwan for a long time, so when the movie was made (and by the Wright/Knightley/Marianelli dream team behind "Pride and Prejudice" no less), I knew I had to see it. Afterwards I wanted to read the book even more, but somehow I've never gotten around to it. Or to any other Ian McEwan novel.
This will change now.

(5*-review of today's book under the cut)

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Day 77 (07/22): Daphne du Maurier - Rebecca

Today's books is a "modern" classic I have never even heard of before the musical duo Kunze/Levay - the geniuses behind "Elisabeth", "Tanz der Vampire" and "Mozart!" - decided to adapt the story into a musical. I listened to the music and the lyrics without knowing what the story was about, and it was quite an unsettling but entertaining experience :).

Thankfully this meant that I knew the story before reading the book, hence I was less scared and got through it faster. Plus points all around.

It also led me to this sketch which is mean, but hilarious:"Mitchell & Webb - Rebecca". (Youtube hates me right now, so I can't embed the video directly. I apologize if this leads you into a video-watching loop you won't get out of for the rest of the afternoon or evening. (I don't.))

(3.5*-review of today's book under the cut)

Friday, 2 August 2013

Day 76 (07/21): Kristin Hannah - Summer Island

Yesterday's and today's book are the last two I've actually read on time but hadn't gotten around to reviewing. From "tomorrow" onwards, it's catching up reading- as well as review-wise.

There'll be several changes to the original reading schedule - I've preferred shorter, more readable books and have read some that weren't on the list, just because I was excited about them which helped me to get through them a lot faster. Reading-wise I'm now up to the 28th of July, which leaves me with five books to catch up on - I hope I'll manage that in two days which would mean that I'd be back on schedule by the 4th of Agusut. Wish me luck :).

Changes to the reading list:
- Jodi Picoult's "My Sister's Keeper", Ransom Riggs' "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children" and Suzanne Collins' "Catching Fire" have been added.
- "The Swerve", "The Gift of Rain" and "The Road of Lost Innocence" have been pushed back indefinitely. (At least until after I've caught up with my schedule.)
(4*-review of today's book under the cut)