Nathalie's (Deern's) Tavolata 2015 - Thread 5

Això és la continuació del tema Nathalie's (Deern's) Tavolata 2015 - Thread 4.

Converses75 Books Challenge for 2015

Afegeix-te a LibraryThing per participar.

Nathalie's (Deern's) Tavolata 2015 - Thread 5

Aquest tema està marcat com "inactiu"—L'últim missatge és de fa més de 90 dies. Podeu revifar-lo enviant una resposta.

1Deern
Editat: nov. 2, 2015, 2:54am

Welcome to my 5th (really?!?) thread in 2015. I'll try to get to 100 books which means I'll have to read 17 in the 2 remaining months. Given my new workload this is quite ambitious. We'll see.... :)

2Deern
Editat: des. 29, 2015, 10:20am

Read, not yet reviewed:

December:

Books reviewed here:
October:
83. The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith - Kindle - EN - 435p - 3.8 stars

November:
84. The Driver's Seat by Muriel Spark - Kindle - EN - 114p - 3.5 stars
85. Le Città Invisibili by Italo Calvino - Paperback - IT - 3.5 stars
86. Cakes and Ale by W. Somerset Maugham - Kindle - EN - 309p - 4.2 stars
87. The Information by Martin Amis - Kindle - EN - 396p - 2.5 stars
88. Small Island by Andrea Levy -Kindle - EN - 356p - 3.5 stars
89. Slade House by David Mitchell - Kindle - EN - 210p - 3.8 stars
90. I ragazzi del massacro by Giorgio Scerbanenco - Kindle - IT - 200p - 3 stars

December:
91. The Inimitable Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse - Audio - EN - 4 stars
92. The Italian Girl by Iris Murdoch - Kindle - EN - 176p - 3 stars
93. The Sheep-Pig by Dick King-Smith - Audio - EN - 4.5 stars
94. Enderby's Dark Lady by Anthony Burgess - Kindle - EN - 3 stars
95. The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro - Kindle - EN - 4.5 stars
96. 101 Dalmatians by Dodie Smith - Kindle - EN - 4.2 stars
97. Zwischen zwei Leben by Guido Westerwelle - hardcover - DE - 3.8 stars
98. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert - Kindle - EN - 258p - 3.8 stars
99. James e la pesca gigante by Roald Dahl - Kindle - IT - 200p - 3 stars
100.Between the Acts by Virginia Woolf - Paperback - EN - 197p - 4.1 stars
101. Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis - Kindle - EN - 400p - 3.5 stars
102. The Green Road by Anne Enright - Audio - EN - 4.1 stars

November:

Books reviewed on previous threads:

Here: https://www.librarything.com/topic/185107
January:

01. Sula by Toni Morrison - Kindle - EN - 192p - 4 stars
02. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers - Kindle - EN - 361p - 4.2 stars
03. Giuseppino by Joe Bastianich - paperback - IT - 194p - 3.5 stars
04. But I deserve this chocolate by Susan Albers - Kindle - EN - 216p - 3.5 stars
05. The Ballad of the Sad Cafe by Carson McCullers - Kindle - EN - 160p - 3.8 stars
06. The Artist of a Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro - Kindle - EN - 294p - 4 stars
07. My Year of Meats by Ruth Ozeki - Kindle - EN - 400p - 3.5 stars
08. The Photograph by Penelope Lively - Kindle - EN - 230p - 4.2 stars
09. The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald - Kindle - EN - 123p - 3.8 stars
10. The Secret of Platform 13 by Eva Ibbotson - Kindle - EN - 231p - 3.5 stars
11. 50 Ways to soothe yourself without Food by Susan Albers - Kindle - EN - 232p - 4.3 stars
12. Italian Neighbours by Tim Parks - Kindle - EN - 355p - 3.7 stars
13. The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith - paperback - DE - 206p - 3.8 stars
14. Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively - Kindle - EN - 208p - 4.3 stars
15. Wild: A Journey from Lost to Found by Cheryl Strayed - Kindle - EN - 317p - 3.8 stars

Here: https://www.librarything.com/topic/187346
February:
16. Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters - Kindle - EN - 3.5 stars
17. Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant by Roz Chast - Kindle - EN - 224p - 4 stars
18. We Feed the World: Was uns das Essen wirklich kostet by Erwin Wagenhofer - library book - DE - 179p - 4.5 stars
19. The Wings of the Dove by Henry James - Kindle - EN - 450p - 2 stars
20.Fingersmith by Sarah Waters - Kindle - EN - 600p - 3.5 stars
21.Food: A Love Story - audio book - EN - 3.8 stars
22.A Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh - audio book - EN - 3 stars
23. The Invention of Hugo Cabret - audio book - EN - 3 stars
24. The History of Love by Nicole Krauss - Kindle - EN - 3.8 stars
25. Holy Cow by David Duchovny - audio book - EN - 3 stars

March
26. The Birds and other Stories by Daphne du Maurier - Kindle - EN - 235p - 3.5 stars
27. Die Welt verändern by David Bornstein - library book - DE - 367p - 4.5 stars
28. The Sportswriter by Richard Ford - Kindle - EN - 3.8 stars
29. The City & The City by China Mieville - Kindle - EN - 388p - 4 stars

Here: http://www.librarything.com/topic/189771
March:
30. Unspeakable Things by Laurie Penny - Kindle - EN - 4.5 stars
31. Faccio tutto io! Paperback - IT - 3,8 stars
32. Das Leben macht Geschenke, die es als Probleme verpackt by Karl Rabeder - Paperback - DE - 3.3 stars

April:
33. Mrs McGinty's Dead by Agatha Christie - Kindle - EN - 4 stars
34. Ab heute Vegan! by Patrick Bolk Kindle - DE - 4 stars
35. Dein Körper - Dein Freund by Anja L. Jäger - 3 stars
36. Breaking the Food Seduction by Neil D. Barnard

May:
37. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie - Kindle - EN - 4.5 stars
38. Curtain by Agatha Christie - Kindle - EN - 4 stars
39. What Color is your Parachute? by Richard N. Bolles
40. By the Pricking of my Thumbs by Agatha Christie - Kindle - EN - 2 stars
41. The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami - pocket book - EN - 2.5 stars
42. Numero Zero by Umbert Eco - Hardcover - IT - 2.5 stars
43. Doomed by Chuck Palahniuk - Paperback - EN - 300p - 3 stars

June
44. Herzverstand by Rüdiger Schache - hardback - DE - 3.75 stars
45. Du bist Dein Guru by Gabrielle Bernstein - Paperback - DE - 4.2 stars
46. The Book of Names by Royce Llewyn - Paperback - EN - 243p - 4 stars

July:
47. The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer - Audio - EN - 4.5 stars
48. The Surrender Experiment by Michael A. Singer - Audio - EN - 3.5 stars
49. La gita a Tindari by Andrea Camilleri - Paperback - IT - 299p - 3.8 stars
50. L'odore della notte by Andrea Camilleri - Kindle - IT - 251p - 3 stars
51. Life Loves You by Robert Holden and Louise L. Hay - Audio - EN - 3.8 stars

reviews on thread 4: http://www.librarything.com/topic/193526#5325718
52. Gli Arancini di Montalbano by Andrea Camilleri - Kindle - IT - 399p - 3 stars
53. Awakening Leadership by Christine Horner - Kindle - EN - 78p - 3 stars
54. Peace from Broken Pieces by Iyanla Vanzant - Kindle - EN - 4.5 stars
55. Forgiveness: 21 Days to forgive Everyone for Everythingby Iyanla Vanzant - Kindle - EN - 5 stars

August:
56.Gilead by Marilynne Robinson - Kindle - EN - 278p - 3.5 stars
57.Home by Marilynne Robinson - Kindle - EN - 327p - 4 stars
58. Lila by Marilynne Robinson - Kindle - EN - 255p - 4 stars
59. A Little Life by Hanys Yanaghira - Kindle - EN - 738p - 4 stars
60. Weiblicher Narzissmus by Bärbel Wardetzki - paperback owned - DE - 306p - 4.5 stars
61. The Moor's Account by Laila Lalami - Kindle - EN - 336p - 3 stars

September:
62. The Illuminations: A Novel by Andrew O'Hagan - Kindle - EN - 300p - 3.2 stars
63. Did You Ever Have A Family? by Bill Clegg - Kindle - EN - 306p - 4.5 stars
64. Sleeping on Jupiter - by Anuradha Roy - Kindle - EN - 296p - 3 stars
65. Satin Island by Tom McCarthy - Kindle - EN - 189p - 4 stars
66. Et tu n'es pas revenu by Marceline Loridan-Ivens - Kindle - FR - 122p - 5 stars
67. The Chimes by Anna Smaill - Kindle - EN - 306p - 3.5 stars
68. A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler - Kindle - EN - 358p - 3.8 stars
69. The Collector by John Fowles - Kindle - EN - 276p - 3 stars
70. A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James - Kindle - EN - 699p - 4.5 stars
71. The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells - Kindle - EN - 88p - 3 stars
72. The Fishermen by Chogozie Obioma - Kindle - EN - 304p - 3.5 stars
73. The Year of the Runaways by Sunjeev Sahota - Kindle - EN - 489p - 3.8 stars

October:
74. Les Choses by Georges Perec - Kindle - FR - 89p - 3 stars
75. Finn Family Moomintroll by Tove Jansson -Kindle - EN - 170p - 4 stars
76. Der Schimmelreiter by Theodor Storm -free Kindle - DE - 102p - 4.5 stars
77. Die Regentrude by Theodor Storm - free Kindle - DE - 25p - 3 stars
78. Un Mese con Montalbano by Andrea Camilleri - Kindle - IT - 489p - 4.2 stars
79. The Tennant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte - free Kindle - EN - 550p - 4 stars
80. Very British Problems Abroad by Rob Temple - hardcover - EN -274p - 2.5 stars
81. The Devil's Pool by George Sand - online book - EN - 120p - 1.5 stars
82. Cuckoo's Call by Robert Galbraith - Kindle - EN - 3.7 stars

3Deern
Editat: nov. 2, 2015, 2:22am

PURCHASES:

January

- Giuseppino by Joe Bastianich - paperback - IT - 194p read
- XXL. 50 piatti che hanno allargato la mia vita by Paolo Marchi - paperback - IT - 182p
- The Photograph by Penelope Lively - Kindle - EN - 230p read
- The Secret of Platform 13 by Eva Ibbotson - Kindle - EN - 231p read
- The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald - Kindle - EN - 123p read
- My Year of Meats by Ruth Ozeki - Kindle - EN - 400p read
- Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively - Kindle - EN read
- Friendly Shakespeare by Derek Allen - paperback - IT - 196p
- Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters - Kindle - EN for the February BAC read
- Wild: A Journey from Lost to Found by Cheryl Strayed - Kindle - EN - 317p read
- Wonach wir wirklich hungern by Deepak Chopra - paperback - DE - 249p

February:
- A Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh - audible credit - EN - 304p read
- Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast - Kindle - EN - 224p read
- Fingersmith by Sarah Waters - Kindle - EN - 596p read
- Food: A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan - audio book - EN read
- The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick- audio book - EN read
- The History of Love by Nicole Krauss - Kindle - EN -read
- Holy Cow by David Duchovny - audio book - EN read
- The Birds and Other Stories by Daphne Du Maurier . Kindle - EN - 235p read
- The City & The City by China Mieville - Kindle - EN - 388p read
- The Sportswriter by Richard Ford - Kindle - EN - 386p read

March:
- Unspeakable Things by Laurie Penny - Kindle - EN read
- Mollo tutto e parto by Riccardo Caserini - Kindle - IT
- This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein - Kindle - EN
- Das Leben macht Geschenke, die es als Probleme verpackt by Karl Rabeder - Paperback - DE read
- Faccio tutto io read
- Book about managing a restaurant in Italy

April:
- Mrs McGinty's Dead by Agatha Christie - Kindle - EN read
- What Color is your Parachute? by Richard Nelson - Kindle - EN
- Ab Heute Vegan by Patrick Bolk - Kindle - DE read
- Dein Körper - Dein Freund by Anna L. Jäger - Kindle - DE

May: Didn't keep track in May and June, but didn't buy much

June:

July:
- Un Mese con Montalbano read
- Gli Arancini di Montalbano read
- Morte in Mare Alta
- Forgiveness: 21 Days to forgive Everyone for Everything by Iyanla Vanzanz read
- Peace from Broken Pieces by Iyanla Vanzant - read

4Deern
Editat: des. 30, 2015, 2:26am

PURCHASES continued:

August
- Gilead by Marilynne Robinson - Kindle - EN - 258p read
- Home by Marilynne Robinson - Kindle - EN - 327p read
- Lila by Marilynne Robinson - Kindle - EN - 255p read
- A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James - Kindle - EN - 699p read
- A Little Life by Hanys Yanaghira - Kindle - EN - 738p read
- The Moor's Account by Laila Lalami - Kindle - EN - 336p read
- The Illuminations: A Novel by Andrew O'Hagan - Kindle - EN - 300p read
- Sleeping on Jupiter - by Anuradha Roy - Kindle - EN - 296p read

September
- Did you ever have a Family? by Bill Clegg - Kindle - EN - 306p - read
- Satin Island by Tom Mc Carthy - Kindle - EN - 189p read
- The Chimes by Anna Smaill - Kindle - EN - 306p read
- Et tu n'es pas revenu by Marceline Loridan-Ivens - Kindle - FR - 122p read
- A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler - Kindle - EN - 358p read
- The Collector by John Fowles - Kindle - EN - 305p read
- The Year of the Runaways by Sunjeev Sahota - Kindle - EN - 489p read
- Les Choses by Georges Perec - Kindle - FR - 87p read
- The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma - Kindle - EN - 304p read

October
- The Green Road by Anne Enright - audible credit - EN read
- Gehen, Ging, Gegangen by Jenny Erpenbeck - hardback - DE
- Cuckoo's Call by Robert Galbraith - Kindle - EN - 435p read
- The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith - Kindle - EN - 435p read

November
- Nights at the Circus by Angela Carter
- Cakes and Ale by W. Somerset Maugham read
- The Driver's Seat by Muriel Spark - Kindle - EN - 114p read
- Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon - Kindle - EN - 760p
- The Information by Martin Amis - Kindle - EN - 385p read
- Small Island by Andrea Levy - Kindle - EN - 396p read
- Slade House by David Mitchell - Kindle - EN - 210p read
- I ragazzi del massacro by Giorgio Scerbanenco - Kindle - IT - 200p read

December
- The Italian Girl by Iris Murdoch - Kindle - EN - 176p read
- The Inimitable Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse - Audio - EN - ?p read
- The Sheep-Pig by Dick King-Smith - Audio - EN - ?p read
- The Buried Giant by Kazu Ishiguro - Kindle - EN - 355p read
- James e la pesca gigante by Roald Dahl - Kindle - IT - 200p read
- 101 Dalmatians by Dodie Smith - Kindle - EN - 200p read
- I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith - Kindle - EN - 376p
- How to be Parisian wherever you are - hardcover - DE
- Zwischen zwei Leben by Guido Westerwelle - hardcover - DE - 300p read
- Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert - Kindle - EN read
- L'amica geniale by Elena Ferrante - Kindle - IT - 400p
- Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant by anne Tyler - Kindle - EN - 340p

5Deern
Editat: des. 30, 2015, 2:27am

Currently Reading

- This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein - Kindle - EN - 60%
- Nights at the Circus by Angela Carter - Kindle - EN - 12%
- Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon - Kindle - EN - 85%
- Il borgomastro di Furnes by Georges Simenon - paperback - IT - 227p - p40
- Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler - Kindle - EN - 340p - 17%

6Deern
Editat: des. 29, 2015, 10:20am

Copied from past threads although I quite gave up on the challenges. Still hoping to re-enter at some point:

Challenge Lists (again trying to get as many 1,001s into those author challenges as possible):

Group Reads in the 1,001 group:
January: Sula by Toni Morrison COMPLETED
February: The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera - not participating, already read
October: The Collector by John Fowles COMPLETED

British Author Challenge 2015:
Planning to read one author per month. If there's time left, maybe also try second author.

January
Penelope Lively The Photograph COMPLETED, Moon Tiger COMPLETED
Kazuo Ishiguro An Artist of the Floating World COMPLETED, The Buried Giant COMPLETED
February
Sarah Waters Fingersmith and Tipping the Velvet COMPLETED
Evelyn Waugh A Handful of Dust COMPLETED
March
Daphne du Maurier The Birds and other Stories COMPLETED
China Mieville The City & The City COMPLETED
April
Angela Carter Nights at the Circus
W.Somerset Maugham Cakes and Ale COMPLETED
May
Margaret Drabble the Radiant Way or The Red Queen
Martin Amis The Information COMPLETED
June
Beryl Bainbridge
Anthony Burgess Enderby's Dark Lady COMPLETED
July
Virginia Woolf Between the Acts COMPLETED
B.S Johnson
August
Iris Murdoch The Italian Girl COMPLETED
Graham Greene
September
Andrea Levy Small Island COMPLETED
Salman Rushdie
October
Helen Dunmore
David Mitchell Slade House COMPLETED
November
Muriel Spark The Driver's Seat COMPLETED
William Boyd
December
Hilary Mantel
P.G Wodehouse The Inimitable Jeeves COMPLETED

American Author Challenge 2015:
I might not follow this one through the year.

Carson McCullers- January: The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, The Ballad of the Sad Cafe COMPLETED
Henry James- February: The Wings of the Dove COMPLETED
Richard Ford- March: The Sportswriter COMPLETED
Louise Erdrich- April: Love Medicine
Sinclair Lewis- May: Babbitt COMPLETED
Wallace Stegner- June
Ursula K. Le Guin - July: The Dispossessed
Larry McMurtry- August
Flannery O' Connor- September
Ray Bradbury- October:
Barbara Kingsolver- November:The Poisonwood Bible
E.L. Doctorow- December: The Book of Daniel

Old and new Booker candidates and winners:
Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively - Winner 1978
Lila by Marilynne Robinson - LL 2015
A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James - Winner 2015
A Little Life by Hanys Yanaghira - SL 2015
The Moor's Account by Laila Lalami - LL 2015
The Illuminations by Andrew O'Hagan - LL 2015
Did you ever have a Family? by Bill Clegg - LL 2015
Sleeping on Jupiter - by Anuradha Roy - LL 2015
Satin Island by Tom Mc Carthy - SL 2015
The Chimes by Anna Smaill - LL 2015
A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler - SL 2015
The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma - SL 2015
The Year of the Runaways by Sunjeev Sahota - SL 2015
The Green Road by Anne Enright - LL 2015

7Deern
nov. 2, 2015, 2:34am

I looked through the 1,001 list and over my book shelves this weekend and just couldn't find anything I wanted to read. So I checked the challenges and saw that I had planned some 1,001s for the BAC where I had dropped out after completing the March books and decided to read up as far as I can. This should easily get me over the #400 on the 1,001 list and might bring me close to 100 books read this year.

So yesterday I bought and downloaded 2 April books:
- Cakes and Ale by W. Sumerset Maugham and
- Nights at the Circus by Angela Cartes
and started both. Quite enjoy C&A and am half through, but the Carter is so not my genre that I fear it will be a drag.

I finished #83, The Silkworm, just 3 minutes before midnight on Halloween. 17 to go.

8Deern
nov. 2, 2015, 2:53am

83. The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith

I rated this book with 3.8 stars that brings it to the “planned” 4, although I can’t say I enjoyed it more than the first. But it was much harder to guess the killer (I wasn't 100% right this time), Matthew wasn’t as annoying and JKR tried a different ending (though I still don’t know what she really wanted to achieve with the action scene…). In the first book there’s what looks like a clear suicide and the challenge is to find someone with a motive for a murder. Here there’s first the mysterious disappearance of a writer and his manuscript, then a clear murder and a whole bunch of suspects, so the challenge is excluding the ones who didn’t do it.

I still like the characters, but sulking Robin got a bit on my nerves, though not as much as Strike's prosthetic issues. I was wondering where that should lead – I mean, we all got it. Strike lost his leg in Afghanistan, doesn’t look after his wound as he should, wants to be “a complete man” (especially with the Charlotte theme in the background)… but somehow this extreme emphasis on the permanent discomfort (how many times does he realize only minutes after leaving the house that he should have brought a stick and still almost never brings one?) doesn’t fit the rest of his strong character.
And I repeat: I don’t want to see those two paired up! They do have chemistry, but not that kind of chemistry imo. Wouldn’t work, unless JKR bends the characters – which is something she did in the later HPs a lot.
I liked the introduction of Al Rokeby and hope he'll turn up again.

Apart from that, the first book, while flatter, felt like written with less effort. This one also had many “ew” moments (like JKR had thought “so you want blood and gore?? I give you some, see if you can stomach it!”) and I had expected a bit more from the setting in the writing/ publishing scene.
A solid novel which of course I devoured as fast as possible, but now I’m going to take a short break and might get to #3 during the Christmas holidays.

Rating: 3.8 (4) stars

9PaulCranswick
nov. 2, 2015, 3:17am

>7 Deern: Congratulations on your new thread, Nathalie and, of course, I am pleased to see you falling back on the BAC to get to some of your 1001 books. I hated Nights at the Circus although I appear to be in the minority but Maugham has always had a solid place in my affections. I also like the fact that he is having a dig at poor old Thomas Hardy at the same time.

On the 1001 Books how do you log them? I am following only the first edition for now (I am at 260/1001) but hope to get a couple done this month.

10Deern
nov. 2, 2015, 3:39am

>9 PaulCranswick: Hi Paul, the 2008 list was the one I bought in my Frankfurt bookstore and until early this year I counted only those. It's my preferred list, much more international than the original one and with more German and Italian books, so I could at least take some out of the library.
After passing 334 I added also the books I read from the 2006, 2010 and 2012 editions, as most people on the 1,001 group do. Some listed books have never been translated into English, one is published in Aramaic only, so no normal reader will read a full list anyway. I'm now at 396 on the comprehensive list and at 355 on the 2008 list.

I used arukiyomi's (group member) excel spreadsheets for a while, but after the 2012 edition he (or she?) published an official app which I got the day I bought my ipad mini.

11avatiakh
nov. 2, 2015, 3:45am

Hi Nathalie, I also devoured the first two Galbraith novels in a few days last year. Anyway I'm waiting for the library to free up a copy for me of book 3, so earlier this year I finally read The Casual Vacancy which was an ok read.

And we share January 4 as our birthday though I'm a few years older.

12Deern
nov. 2, 2015, 3:52am

>11 avatiakh: I am waiting for amazon to lower the price a bit once the first wave of purchases is over. Might have to wait till after Christmas.

Now you write it I remember we share our birthdays. :)))

13FAMeulstee
nov. 2, 2015, 4:06am

happy new thread!

I rarely plan my readings, but love to skim through the lists of those who do :-)

14Deern
nov. 2, 2015, 4:11am

>13 FAMeulstee: Thank you, Anita! This year I learned that planning doesn't necessarily mean reading... I'll plan much less next year and just take each month as it comes. AAC/BAC/CAC/1,001 GR, all, some or none of them.

15Deern
Editat: nov. 2, 2015, 4:37am

My weekend: Pizza with the volunteers was great and we decided to try and get a stand at one of the smaller Christmas markets to sell some handicrafts which of course we'll first have to produce with the refugees.

Saturday was absolutely lovely and I hope I'll get some pics uploaded. Had much fun with Silvia and her two friends Silvia (#2) and Franziska. We started with the wine tasting and though we really had just some drops of each of the 5 white wines, I felt slightly tipsy, just not used to alcohol anymore. We then spent about 1.5 hours in the gardens, admired all the art and the colors of the leaves. Silvia#2 and I did the labyrinth, the others walked around.

For lunch we all had potato ravioli filled with sauerkraut, served with roast pumpkin. The others also had sautéed porcini mushrooms which I can't eat although I like their taste. We then spent another two hours in the gardens, enjoying the changing lights.

There were no Halloween kids this year, so this morning I dumped all the sweets into the candy bowl at reception. By now it should be half-empty already. :)

Yesterday I stayed home despite the beautiful weather, too much to do - washing, ironing, cleaning and cooking. Silvia had brought me a heavy bag of small sweet organic apples which I peeled, sliced, cooked and put in the freezer. Then I made another big batch of curried pumpkin soup with carrots and sweet potatoes, into which I added some lentils. Two thirds of that went into the freezer as well. For lunch I cleared the rest of my vegetable shelf in the fridge, I roasted peppers, small tomatoes and zucchini with Mexican spices and ate them wrapped into mais tortillas. Dessert was some lightly sweetened apple crisp. Spent an hour reading on the terrace not to miss the sun completely, and later watched the last two episodes of Buffy season 2 and a good bit of season 3.

My mum (who's still in that small place on the North Sea coast) accidentally switched off her mobile phone yesterday and of course didn't notice it. So in the evening, to make sure that nothing had happened to her, my dad called the appartment agency and asked them to please make a house call to see if everything was allright. The girl had to get in with the spare key because my mum doesn't open the door when she's alone.
She had been wondering why no-one called her all day, had tried to call my dad, but hadn't noticed that the calls didn't go through. So everything was fine of course, but I wish she was just a tiny bit more interested in technical things.

16scaifea
nov. 2, 2015, 7:50am

Happy new thread, Natalie! That potato ravioli sounds amazing...

17Deern
nov. 2, 2015, 8:23am

>16 scaifea: Hi Amber, thanks for visiting! They were amazing, the sauerkraut filling was mashed and had a mild taste and the ravioli were pan-fried with the pumpkin and served with a rosemary foam. We also got quite big side salads, so there was no more room for the very tempting chestnut mousse for dessert.

18Smiler69
nov. 2, 2015, 12:16pm

Hi Nathalie, Happy New Thread! It was lovely to get a visit and message from you on my own thread today. Like you, I haven't been much active in the group this year, but do try to catch up with my friends here and there.

Your discussion with Paul about the 1001 Books list reminded me I hadn't updated my own arukiyomi app in a while, since I only think to do so a couple of times a year at most and... the result is I ended up marking a lot more books as "tbr" than "read". So far, have only read 204 from the combined lists, but to be honest I don't make it a point to complete it either, since there are a lot of books on there I have no interest in. Also, I like to follow the Guardian's 1000, of which I've read 214 so far, so I guess I'm doing better with that list. In the end I'm sure you agree we've read plenty of books that didn't make any "lists" which we greatly enjoyed, but it IS fun to check off items from lists any day!

19connie53
nov. 2, 2015, 2:29pm

Happy new thread, Nathalie! It looks amazing with all that lists on top. And 17 books to go! We will cheer you on.

20Ameise1
nov. 2, 2015, 2:37pm

Congrats on your new thread, Nathalie. I love your cooking.

21lkernagh
nov. 2, 2015, 5:35pm

Happy new thread, Nathalie. I am here to cheer you on to your goal of 100 books.

>15 Deern: - A Christmas market stand to sell handicrafts sounds like a wonderful idea. How exciting! The potato ravioli sounds really tasty. It has been some time - years more like - since I have made anything with sauerkraut.

22LizzieD
nov. 2, 2015, 5:58pm

Ummm. Happy New Thread, Nathalie. Love your lists and cooking!
I agree with Lori that the handicrafts for Christmas is a dandy idea. I hope it works out.
I wrote this on my own thread (which I must update, I guess - *sigh*), but I'll pick up Cormoran/Robin 3 from our library tomorrow. YAY!!! Like you, I'm afraid that romance between those two would not be a good idea. He's too old for her for one thing unless they were going to have a very short affair, and that would be bad for working together. On the other hand, I think Matthew is way too self-absorbed to be a good mate for anybody. Robin deserves better.
(And the Jacobean tragedy that I would recommend is The Duchess of Malfi, but Deborah/Cariola is the one to ask. I don't find any of it easy.)

23Deern
nov. 3, 2015, 3:48am

Yay, so many visitors! :)

>18 Smiler69: Hi and thank you Ilana! The 1,001 list was what really got me started here, and when I went through my first threads some weeks ago I noticed I read almost exclusively from it. There are still so many unread authors on it - I did a variation of the old spreadsheet in alphabetical order and try now to read at least one book by each author who is listed 3 or 4 times (I think I "just" need a Pynchon now to get this challenge in the challenge done).
Must check the Guardian's 1000. Got a list of the BBC's (or was it the Times?) 100 somewhere of which I read about 75.
Now with all the author challenges and the mystery series to complete and other stuff going on in RL, I quite lost the 1,001 from my focus, this year I read almost nothing.

>19 connie53: Thank you Connie! I finished one last night, only 16 left! :)

>20 Ameise1: Thank you Barbara! I absolutely didn't love the sticky apple work. But now there are so many in my freezer and I'm looking forward to cooking/baking with them.

>21 lkernagh: Thank you Lori, I hope the cheering gives me a good push. :)
The Christmas market idea is quite ambitious, so far we produced nothing, and there's just one volunteer who knows how to make felt decorations and another one who does pottery but doesn't own an oven. But first we have to see if we get a stall.

>22 LizzieD: Thank you Peggy. I also hope the Christmas market works out, but it will be lots of work and probably fill all my weekends till Christmas.
Yay for CS#3 - I so hope you'll love it as much or more as the others. So far Robin (and the readers) find Cormoran completely unsexy and that hasn't much to do with the leg (although the constant mention of the wound's condition doesn't help). They mainly have brain chemistry built on respect as had other famous couples in books and on TV shows, and usually it's better when nothing comes out of it. There was enough sulking and not speaking out in book #2, and that would just get much worse in a relationship. I wonder if we'll get some Robin background in book #3, about her bad phase during which Matthew stood by her side. I read somewhere it will be 7 books again? :/
When I'm done with my #400 and #100, I'll have a look at that play.

24charl08
nov. 3, 2015, 4:26am

I love the sound of your eating out and baking. I still have a couple of weeks until I can try the green tomato chutney I made and see if it worked (or not!). I hope that your craft work goes well for the Xmas market. I guess craft work has therapeutic as well as those fundraising possibilities? Your smart analysis of the mechanics of Galbraith makes me smile, and realise how I read crime with very little of this switched on approach. So long as I am engrossed in the plot I can forget about the writer, style and whether the series can sustain more books.Your points make a lot of sense though.

25Deern
nov. 3, 2015, 4:57am

>24 charl08: I can't help myself switching on the inner critic when reading hyped books. That's one reason why I try to read all the Bookers before the winner is announced and too many reviews are in.

My reader-relationship with JKR's works is difficult maybe just because I adored the earlier HPs so much. In the end I owe them (=her) all my later good reading, no matter how disappointed I was with HP7. I do admire her and wish her all the success in the world, and I really enjoyed the two CS books I read, but I will do my best to never again fall into a series as I did with the HPs (on TV "Buffy" was the equivalent). That's how I was able to stop Game of Thrones after book 1 (or on TV "Lost" after one season). I'm just not willing to get into this speculation game ever again. Okay, the queuing at the bookshop early in the morning with like-minded people was nice. And they even sold muffins and butterbeer once.

Green tomatoes are one of the foods completely unavailable where I live. Maybe you get those on some big town market, but not sure. Are they really that good??

I always disliked craft work, already in kindergarten. Never liked getting my hands dirty or having to clean up afterwards. Not really looking forward to felting or pottery at all. But "going with the flow" I'll do it nevertheless, might find I like it or at least meet some new people. :)
(Do painting and knitting fall into craft work? Then those are exceptions to my rule)

26Deern
Editat: nov. 3, 2015, 10:14am

Just noticed that after Driver's Seat by Muriel Spark which I read yesterday, I'm already at 398 on the 1,001 list. So I'll try and finish the Calvino today tomorrow and make Cakes and Ale my #400. I don't want to give that honor to Nights at the Circus.

Found, copied and checked the Guardian 1,000 list. Read embarrassing 260*, with the 3 1,001s I'm currently reading all being on that list.
I'll work with this one additionally now, mainly to help me select A/B/CAC books.
The categories are a bit strange. The disturbing Spark I read yesterday counts as comedy and not as crime?

*emb. compared to my progress with the 1,001 list.

27Deern
nov. 4, 2015, 5:42am

84. The Driver’s Seat by Muriel Spark (1,001 #398/355, BAC 2015)
The book starts with a strange young woman trying on a very colorful dress, but getting loud and aggressive when she hears the fabric is “stain-free”. It continues like this – she buys a super colorful dress with a red and white striped coat elsewhere, wears them during her holiday flight and overall behaves in a “see me, notice me, remember me” way. I thought she might be a terrorist, but it is the contrary, she (big spoiler, but it’s revealed early in chapter 2 plans to become a mysterious murder victim, which includes choosing her killer and leaving clues for the police . The Spark style gave this heavy stuff a strange light almost comedy note, but it didn’t feel like comedy for a single moment, just weird and creepy. I was glad the book was so short and I don’t think I’ll ever read it again.

Rating: 3.5 stars – because it’s not bad, it just made me feel bad

************

This month's ER list offers me 3 books - one dealing with cyber/robots something, one with vampires and one with spirituality. So I requested the spirituality one and tried not to look at all the others. Stupid copyrights laws, allowing me to buy the books from the UK or US but not to receive them as ER. :(

28Deern
nov. 4, 2015, 7:36am

85. Le Città Invisibili by Italo Calvino (1,001 # 399/356)

A short book which took me almost two weeks to read. Of the 4 Calvinos I read, this is the one with the most beautiful language. Sometimes it felt like I understood only every second word, but I doubt reading in another language would have helped my comprehension. The book is plot-free, is basically a life-philosophy, told in non-existent cities by Marco Polo to Kublai Khan. I was rarely able to get through more than 10, maybe 15 pages a day, and many pages are half or fully blank.
I’m quite relieved I’m done with the listed Calvinos now. Will try that Baron in the Trees sometime though.

Rating: 3.5 stars for the beauty

29charl08
nov. 4, 2015, 7:58am

>27 Deern: I totally agree with you about the ERs. I've stopped looking at them because those offered to US residents are great, and it was frustrating not having access.

My Green tomatoes are just unripened normal ones. I just made the chutney because so many of ours failed to ripen naturally this year. Hoping it turns out close to as nice as other people's I've tried. Looking forward to some with mature cheddar on crackers.

30sibylline
nov. 4, 2015, 8:30am

That's classic Muriel Spark - I read that one a while ago and it's only a tickle now in my memory - but many of her stories do that. Give one the creeps. For some reason, in her hands, I feel a sort of weird awe in the inventiveness (good and bed) of human behaviors. Which I am not sure makes much sense. I love the way she writes, the shape of her sentences, the spare perfection of it. Crisp and no-nonsense, so sometimes I don't even care enough (probably) or as much as I should, about the content!

31Deern
Editat: nov. 4, 2015, 12:21pm

>29 charl08: Ha - I actually wondered if I could just ask someone with a garden to give me some unripened tomatoes. Maybe next year. If the recipe works well, would you send it to me? I love chutneys! :)

>30 sibylline: This is by far the creepiest MS I read. I like her writing and I somehow liked the book, can I say "edgy"? But nothing for my tb-re-read pile.

My cost cost controlling books for work arrived and have more pages than I expected. I'll take them home for the weekend and try to work through them as soon as possible. At least the "Dummies" series is usually easy to read.

32lkernagh
nov. 4, 2015, 9:03pm

I haven't read The Drivers Seat yet but from what I know from another Muriel Spark fan is that it is a very different story and I agree with you, I don't think it is supposed to slot into the comedy category.

33Deern
Editat: nov. 6, 2015, 9:50am

Oooh, what a delightful read that W. Somerset Maugham was! I'm so happy I returned to the BAC for an idea what to read next. I need more WSM in my reading life!

>32 lkernagh: with a couple of days distance it gets less disturbing, but comedy?
Somehow I connected her with feel-good books so far although Jean Brodie left me quite reaction-free. My favorite is still Memento Mori.

***
Started getting into my cost calculation books, so novel reading will slow down again a bit. I also worked very late most days this week to get into the new responsibility as soon as possible. And then I woke up this morning at 3 am and noticed I had left my mobile phone in the office which is also my alarm clock. As I couldn't sleep anymore and as there are people living in flats just above my office and the alarm is very loud I decided to be there in time to switch it off. So I left the house at 05:15 only to find my phone on the car seat...
Turned back home, did my yoga, drank more coffee and finished Cakes and Ale, was still in the office an hour early.

Weekend plans:
Tomorrow hairdresser and then all the household chores and on Sunday maybe a bike tour with the refugees. Next week I'll go to see a maso (a small farm) with a group of them which should be interesting as well. Sadly most activities are done during the week/ during work time and I can rarely participate.

34Deern
Editat: nov. 6, 2015, 10:56am

Just finally did it - I ordered a new Kindle. The old one still works, but sometimes doesn't open books on first attempt (claiming a "not found") and then it has a small stain in the screen which I fear will grow.., and what will I do if it suddenly stops working alltogether, most probably on Christmas when I won't be able to get a new one for days or on holiday? Not happy, because I'm sure the newer ones don't have the same longevity and I especially liked mine for not having a touchscreen and real typing keys. And it was white, why are all the readers black now? I ordered a paperwhite without commercials and with 3G (because I often buy books when I'm not at home and wifi connected). The extra 3G costs 60 EUR! Seeing how much money I'm spending on e-books, they should give it to me for free.. :)

35Deern
nov. 8, 2015, 4:38am

Seems it was the right time to order the new Kindle, the old one crashed several times since Friday and the restarts take forever.

Started another belated BAC read, Martin Amis' The Information. A bit slow, but fun so far, and it's another 1001. I also started Gravity's Rainbow some days ago and thanks to Lucy's comments (she's listening to the audio) I half-understand what I'm reading, although now, 10% in, I'm quite lost again.

Did a long walk yesterday with my German neigbour from upstairs and her daughter. The weather has been fantastic for two weeks now, cloud-free and sunny and far too warm for the season. Today I'll go on that bike tour I mentioned above, starting at 2pm. It's been a while since I went anywhere on a bike, I hope I'll make it, it's quite a trip.

36PaulCranswick
nov. 8, 2015, 4:54am

>33 Deern: Pleased with the positive views of Cakes and Ale, Nathalie. It is a favourite of mine.

37vancouverdeb
nov. 8, 2015, 5:30am

> Stopping by to say hi to you on your new thread. Glad you got the new kindle, Nathalie. Have a wonderful day out bike riding! I'm afraid we have a lot of rain the past few days.

38Deern
Editat: nov. 9, 2015, 6:05am

>36 PaulCranswick: I was quite surprised at how much I liked it in the end. Just caught some more WSM BBs in the 1,001 group, looking forward to all of them.

>37 vancouverdeb: Hi and thanks for visiting! Eagerly awaiting my new Kindle now and also the iPad charger I ordered along with it. The old one broke over the weekend. Empty iPad, no internet at home.

*******
Lacking internet thanks to my iPad issue (I avoid using the old notebook) I spent the bit of spare time I had trying to catch up with Lucy on Gravity's Rainbow. Or I should better say trying to let the gap not grow too large, because I need her to be in front of me or I'll be completely lost.

The biking was fun, but my legs were still tired from Saturday's long walk and today I feel like I can hardly move. How can those yoga-trained muscles be so lame after a bit of biking?? Okay, the old bike I used was terrible, only 2 gears worked, you couldn't lift the seat and using the brakes was a special experience. We went quite far, and after a first long climb which I (and others) didn't make on the bikes, it was all nice and flat. When the sun was gone it at once got beastly cold, even with an extra jacket and gloves. Got home early, took a long bath to warm up and relax my muscles and drank lots of hot tea.

I didn't cook much this weekend because there's still so much stuff in my freezer. Just made what my favorite website calls a "burrito bowl" with black beans, tomatoes and peppers and rice. Took some to the office for lunch today.

The weather will stay sunny for at least another week, but it's far far far too warm during the day, even the Italians are complaining.

39charl08
nov. 9, 2015, 7:55am

I find when I've got very cold doing exercise (thinking particularly of a recent wet walk where I had to sit and wait for a train at the end) the muscles seem to protest a lot more the next day. On the other hand, apparently tennis players have ice baths after matches to help speed up recovery, so maybe I'm just blaming the weather!

Hope your new kindle arrives soon. I am a pretty impressed with the paperwhite - it seems to be easy on the eye to read, and being able to read in the dark is great. I just wish my library rented out books that were compatible with it.

40sibylline
Editat: nov. 9, 2015, 5:46pm

Just hang onto the thought that everything relates to those V-2 rockets! Like the arc of the rainbow, they go up and then come down: somewhere. Are they random? Is Slothrop somehow controlling them, unconsciously? Is someone or something controlling Slothrop? Everyone talks about how paranoid Pynchon is - but really - he's more freaked, I think, by the conviction so many people have that there IS a grand design, life after death, etcetera, and certainly there is a whole invisible universe that very much acts upon us (of which gravity is a big player!). We are the acted upon. And how helpless are we? Once you open that Pandora's box, uh, the sky's the limit, so to speak. He's a very profound thinker, not afraid of tackling a huge shadowy side to the universe that most would prefer not to ever think about.

Back to add, I doubt I'll listen to a whole lot this week, so you should have time to catch up and take a break too.

41Deern
nov. 13, 2015, 12:00am

just a quick update (never getting used to ipad typing..).

>39 charl08: kindle's here and soooo small and light! loving it!

did almost no reading and lting this week, too much work and too busy in the evenings as well. now sitting at the reception desk for another week, so can't just sneak into lt during work hours. :(

special yoga class tonight and tomorrow a half day excursion to a farm with the refugees. and then I'm hoping for a quiet weekend, but the weather is still summery, so I might not be able to stay in. It's so warm the birds are starting singing again as in spring, poor things. I hope it gets cold before they start nesting and laying eggs again.

>40 sibylline: thank you for that, it was really helpful! only read 5% more this week and often it feels like I lost ground completely, but then again there's some hilarious scene which gives me a push to read on. enjoying it very much, just wishing I had more time.
btw your thread is really dangerous right now... never heard of knausgaard before, now got a sample, though still trying not to read it. not feeling ready for another series, but I loved Proust and (after a long struggle) Ulysses....

42Deern
nov. 13, 2015, 7:11am

>40 sibylline: re. hilarious scenes... I just almost lost my lunch which I had just finished the moment I reached that "wonderful" scene betw. Pudding and Katje. The first time a book really made me gag, and I read American Psycho. Eeeww... I hope it can't get worse than that.

43PaulCranswick
Editat: nov. 15, 2015, 7:03am

>42 Deern: Intrigued, I am going to read that book soon for sure!

I sorted out my physical TBR for the 1001 Books yesterday. I have 253 unread 1001 Books First Ed on my shelves all now gathered together in a section above our wardrobes so I can pick them off nicely. I have about 30 on kindle too and a few in the UK so with a little concentration I could make one heck of a dent in that challenge.

Started Story of the Eye today and it is, erm, graphic.

Have a lovely Sunday.

44sibylline
nov. 15, 2015, 10:57am

Let's hope there's nothing more quite like that! So glad I listen entirely alone too.

45charl08
nov. 15, 2015, 3:31pm

>43 PaulCranswick: As Paul said, this is a very intriguing book discussion!

I'm thinking I might dip my toe in with Knausgaard. Just have to be brave (such a substantial tome).

46Deern
nov. 16, 2015, 8:06am

I LTed a lot this weekend, but in the end posted almost nothing. It was all too long, too convoluted, too political, too everything. This is a feelgood place for me, also a place I run to when RL becomes too much. I'd have so much to say, but now is not yet the time.
And of course I'm France as we all are now. And I'm Russia as well.
And last week a big European ISIS recruitment network that had been watched for 5 years has been broken up and one of the main nods was in Merano of all places. *sigh*

*******

>43 PaulCranswick: I'm a sensitive person but I can go through some graphic stuff when the book is worth it. This wasn't the first time I encountered that "variety" in literature, but there was a little detail that really made it (almost) undigestible. So - you're warned. At least don't eat when you get there. :)
Wow, 253 physical 1001 books on your tbr, a dream come true!! SotE is on the 2008 list so I should get to it eventually. Never heard of it before. Am I ready for another graphic book?

>44 sibylline: I considered getting the audio as well because my reading time is so limited now. But already during the sample noticed I wouldn't be able to follow. In audio I need more plot-driven easy stuff or I'd have to concentrate too much on it without being able to drive or do any housework. So when I have to sit down to listen I can as well sit down and read. Plus I tend to fall asleep when listening without an additional activity. :)

>45 charl08: It's a very intriguing work! And yes, I'm also quite determined now to test the Knausgaard. Though maybe not before 2016.

47kidzdoc
Editat: nov. 16, 2015, 8:21am

>45 charl08: I'm planning to read Knausgaard next year as well, probably starting in January. I own Books One, Two and Four in the My Struggle series, and after reading Chris's (lauralkeet's husband's) comment about the books I want to get to them ASAP. I also own A Time for Everything by Knausgaard, which I haven't read yet either.

48sibylline
Editat: nov. 16, 2015, 8:11am

I can understand that. My french is ok but I wouldn't try to listen to the stylistically dense writers.

Just finished Book One of My Struggle. Now I have to struggle to write a review!

49lauralkeet
nov. 16, 2015, 8:13am

>47 kidzdoc: Christopher_Lindsay has read Books One, Two, and Three so far and has nothing but high praise for them.

50kidzdoc
nov. 16, 2015, 8:21am

>49 lauralkeet: Yep. We chatted by private message earlier this year about those books, and he recommended them to me enthusiastically, as you said. I received Books One, Two and Four as part of my Archipelago Books subscription, so I do want to read them, and Book Three, next year.

51Deern
nov. 16, 2015, 8:28am

My weekend... watched almost no TV for the obvious reasons, but sat and thought for hours.

On Saturday I went to an organic farm with 13 of the refugees. We got a guided tour that was very interesting for me as well. When it was finished a nice "tavolata" waited for us in an apple orchard, laden with apples, apple juice, apple and cherry cakes - lovely! Some of the guys might get seasonal work there next year. Many of them have worked in agriculture before, they were fascinated and asked many questions and told their own experiences.

In the afternoon I just sat at home doing nothing (but thinking). Yesterday I cooked for the day and the week: another huge batch of Darryl's peanut butter/sweet potato soup with all the veggies I had in my fridge, then two recipes from my favorite vegan website: smashed potatoes with avocado aioli (substituting the vegan mayo with simple soy yoghurt) and for yesterday's and today's breakfast a super-yummy carrot and banana porridge. The potatoes were fantastic and are a new favorite. I also prepared a salad for today's lunch break. Started yet another "off the refined sugar" trial. The last one went well until I went to the North Sea where my fruit and veggie supply was interrupted and cakes and waffles just too good to resist. This is day 2 and I'm so craving a cookie!!

Spent all Sunday afternoon forcing myself through Martin Amis' The Information which absolutely clashed with the Pynchon and which I wanted out of the way now. I like Amis and will read his other listed books, but this one imo simply isn't good. There are some brillant ideas that lead to nothing and overall much emptiness.
With GR I arrived at the point where Lucy's last summary ends, so I shouldn't be too far behind.

This week will even be busier than the last, I'm hoping for quiet lunch breaks.

52Deern
Editat: nov. 16, 2015, 8:37am

>47 kidzdoc:, >48 sibylline:, >49 lauralkeet:, >50 kidzdoc: Okay, I'll read them. :)))
(but why aren't they on any "must read" list so at least I could check them off something like Proust and Powell?)

53kidzdoc
nov. 16, 2015, 8:39am

>51 Deern: I'm glad that you like the African sweet potato soup, Nathalie! I made another batch of it last weekend, and one of the respiratory therapists I work with tried it last week and enjoyed it as well.

Is this the recipe you used for the smashed potatoes with avocado aioli: http://ohsheglows.com/2014/10/15/crispy-smashed-potatoes-with-avocado-garlic-aio... ? It looks good, so I'll give it a try soon (especially since I have several Yukon potatoes in my refrigerator).

I hope that you have a good week, even though it will be a busy one.

54kidzdoc
nov. 16, 2015, 8:41am

>52 Deern: Amazon must have been following this discussion. I just received a Facebook message from The Millions, which informed its readers that the US Kindle version of My Struggle: Book One is on sale today for $5.99: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00BCFZLJ2/ref=nosim/themill0b2-20

55Deern
Editat: nov. 16, 2015, 10:36am

>53 kidzdoc: Yes, it's the one! So easy, worked so well! I cooked Linda potatoes and also as a test one sweet potato. They all turned out great - super crispy although I used less oil.
And for the porridge I used the "Goldilocks" recipe on the home page, should anyone be interested.

>54 kidzdoc: This clearly is a sign that I must buy it NOW! :)))
Oh no - I switched to Amazon IT last week when the new Kindle arrived... it still 8,49 EUR.
Okay, so it can wait another day or two... If amazon really follows us they can also lower the EUR Price. :)

56kidzdoc
nov. 16, 2015, 9:48am

>55 Deern: Great. I may try that recipe this week, although I'll probably use regular mayonnaise. What are Linda potatoes?

I'll look for the porridge recipe as well.

If amazon really follows us they can also lower the EUR Price. :)

LOL

57Deern
Editat: nov. 19, 2015, 12:22am

>56 kidzdoc: It's an old variety very popular in Germany/central Europe. It has a nutty taste and a deeply yellow inside and stores very well.

****

I must find some short books or I’ll never get to 100 this year.

85. Cakes and Ale by W. Somerset Maugham (BAC 2015 April read, 1001 #400/356)

I forgot to write a review, so as much as I loved it – names have left my memory days ago. But there are other reviews I can copy from. Okay, we have our narrator, I believe he’s called Ashenden who’s asked by a much more successful fellow writer named Kear to assist him in writing a biography about the late Edward Driffield. Ashenden met Driffield as a boy when D. was still unsuccessful and married to his first wife Rosie, an ex-barmaid. Ashenden remembers his encounters with the Driffields, the unconventional couple in an extremely class-conscious small town by the sea. He befriended them against the will of his uncle, their friendship is his first step out of a very restricted world. Years later as a young writer he meets them again in London and then the friendship with Rosie takes a predictable turn.

The last part is set in the “now” between the two wars when Ashenden visits the small town again to meet the second Mrs Driffield who keeps her late husband’s villa like a shrine and, like Kear, doesn’t really want to know the truth about the early years. The ending then was unexpected and lovely.

WSM could write simple stories in a way that you can’t stop reading, you’re just gliding along on delicious prose. I don’t remember a single thing of Of Human Bondage except that I loved it and rated it with 5 stars although I didn’t like the bare plot very much.

Rating: 4.2 stars

86. The Information by Martin Amis (BAC May read, 1001 #401/356)

I should have read London Fields or some other work by MA. This one quite disappointed me. Maybe it suffered some more from being read together with Gravity’s Rainbow, another complex and unusual and super-wordy book that's really brillant. Compared directly, I just couldn’t overlook that this book switches between few moments of brilliance and many empty moments of listlessness. There are two writers, one (Gwyn Barry) writes shallow books and is extremely successful. His success seems to grow with the failure of his school friend Richard Tull who was published before him but whose “modernist” books don’t sell at all, the latest even causing heavy migraines in his few readers before they get to page 10. Richard is full of envy and bitterness and develops a plan to destroy Barry’s life. Richard also drinks too much and seems to lose his mind during the story.

What annoyed me most was that I felt there was a great idea behind it. And then maybe time ran out or motivation or both. It was around 40% when it lost me because then it also stopped being funny. The part where they tour the US to promote Gwyn’s new book had its moments and the last part started really promising, finally giving us an idea of Gwyn’s real character who so far looked like a naïve and slightly limited victim. And then it all just lead to nothing. The great revelation wasn’t surprising at all and quite misogynist imo I get Gina’s wish for revenge. But she keeps it a secret – so doesn’t even directly hurt her husband. She hates Barry, so the whole thing is just an act of sad self-degradation. I didn’t get the character of Steve at all and I thought the bits about cosmology were either pretentious or inserted to confuse.

Rating: 2.5 stars. As I said earlier, I like Amis and will read the other listed books. Really sad about this one…

58sibylline
nov. 17, 2015, 9:58am

Very good review of the Amis - I can totally see how he would suffer when read in tandem with Pynchon. It is, in fact, to Knausgaard's credit that they were sufficiently different (to put it mildly) and (totally) engaging that it's no problem.

Years ago I gobbled up Maugham - your review of Cakes and Ale totally makes me want to reread it!

59Deern
Editat: nov. 17, 2015, 11:37am

Started into my BAC Semptember book, Andrea Levy's Small Island. I don't think it'll become a favorite, but I needed something more conventional to balance the Pynchon out. And it's a 1,001 of course.

Yesterday I made another batch of the breakfast porridge with carrots and banana which I plan for tomorrow and Thursday morning. Today I met some yoga friends for a pizza lunch (cheese-free or I'd be asleep now), so I had a smoothie this morning, made with half a frozen banana, frozen raspberries, a small apple and a handful of kale. It was soo good, and so far no cookie cravings today. I noticed on an earlier sugar-withdrawal trial that I need a fruity breakfast, then I can usually get through the day.

*******
I know that most people find dreams of others boring, but I must share the one I had last night - just skip it if you like.
I had booked a train trip to Zurich (where I've never been) in a modern speed train, 1st class, and two nights in some nice hotel. When I arrived at the station of course I couldn't find my platform 7 (I checked the meaning of 7 this morning, it stands for change and perfection, hm...). Finally there was a hidden door, but something was in the way when I tried to open it. Someone helped me and behind the door there was a long dead body hanging from the ceiling. Ew. The other guy got help and I looked for another way to my platform. Found it and the train was still there, but the doors were closing. I realised I might still get onto it, but I just stood there and did nothing and with some regret saw it depart. It looked so nice and safe. Then I went to the booking office and they told me there was another train in an hour. That train was old and shabby, and I was scolding myself for having let the first train go, but there were many of my yoga friends in there. We had a fun and a bit chaotic trip, but I kept thinking of the other shiny train and wondered if it wouldn't have been better for me. Which obviously means that I'm willing to change and am on a good way with new things but that I have problems letting go of old values and concepts... and that some very old stuff (fears) stood in the way of an easy solution which would also have been a lonely one. Quite an encouraging dream in the end, though that body still worries me - but I faced it and left it behind which I hope is a good sign.

I shared my ship dream earlier and it's strange that I'm always heading towards Switzerland. Guess it's in my head as a place of freedom? Oh, and Slothrop of GR was in Zurich. And Barbara lives there! :)

And to end the dream theme - don't know if I posted this, but at Garda lake in September I fell asleep in the afternoon and woke up with a date in my head: November 28th. So you're now among the people who know that, should something happen so me on that date, I was pre-warned. I'll definitely play the lottery that day. And I'll be in the Bolzano centre collecting food for the homeless, close to the Christmas market.

60Deern
nov. 17, 2015, 10:35am

>58 sibylline: My new mantra: "I'll get to 100 and check some more 1,001s off the list before starting the K-project." :)

61FAMeulstee
nov. 17, 2015, 1:50pm

The dream doesn't sound too bad, at least you were among friends in the next train!
I'll keep you on the 28th in mind ;-)

62Deern
nov. 18, 2015, 2:15am

>61 FAMeulstee: I told my friends about the dream yesterday and predictably they complained (in fun) that they were second choice and sitting in the shabby train. :)

63sibylline
nov. 18, 2015, 1:35pm

Another way to describe the shabbier train is "lived in" - as in very alive and lively. I love your dream.

64Deern
nov. 19, 2015, 12:20pm

>63 sibylline: Thanks! :)
I discussed the dream with my therapist today and well... guess I now get it completely. I now know what the body stands for, why it was blocking the way and why I'm not all happy with the fun train.

Basically the body is all the "good girls don't" list that contains all kind of things like overeating, being untidy, getting loud and angry... all the stuff I wasn't allowed to do/ that brought punishment. So believing I was all good I tried to get on the good girls' train, but of course on my way I stumbled over that part of me I had wanted to bury (or hide behind a door). I didn't look at it closely and found a way around it but when I arrived at the train I felt I wasn't the right passenger for it. Tbh I thought passengers might "smell" that other part on me although I had made sure not to touch the body. So I decided to take the other train, but because I didn't look at that "dead" part and embrace it as part of me, I can't really enjoy the fun and life on that second train yet and wish I had been good enough for the train my parents would have wanted me on. I'm neither here nor there.

65LizzieD
nov. 19, 2015, 11:09pm

I can't believe I got so far behind with you, Nathalie...... I'm impressed with your dream analysis. Shoot! I'm impressed with your dream. I find that I remember dreams less, the older I get. Oh well.
Congratulations on your new Kindle! Your old one sounds like mine (a 2nd generation?). I love it and dread the day it dies.

66Deern
nov. 20, 2015, 5:26am

>65 LizzieD: I dream a lot, but usually forget it all within seconds after waking up. From time to time however I have those meaningful dreams (like the big one with the ship and the river) that feel like a message from the subconscious where I remember every detail. On Monday night I was in fact quite desperate once again and asked "the universe" for help, and then that dream came.

And I always wonder why dreams use those symbols the dreamer doesn't know and has to look up but which are valid for everyone. I had no idea what a dead body might mean, so why not just let me say in my dream "I'm scared to confront and embrace sides of me which aren't bad and would make me complete but were declared bad/unwished for when I was little"?

Very rarely I had dreams where I was reading a text about something I couldn't have known (like the pregnancy of a colleague's girlfriend I'd never met in my life). That's why I take that date so seriously, it was like hammered into my head. Though once I dreamed about a letter saying I'd marry a certain guy I'd met only once then and we didn't ever even date, so I have to be careful what to believe. Probably we never dated because every time I saw him later I thought "MARRY YOU? NO WAY!" and was less friendly than I might have been? :))

67Deern
Editat: nov. 20, 2015, 11:22am

>65 LizzieD: forgot to say about the Kindle - yes I believe it was second generation (or third?)? I still wish I could have got the new one in white and while reading is easy I much preferred the real keys for marks and notes and also for paging.

******
It's finally getting COLD! and not smoothly, but from one day to the next a drop of 15 degrees Celsius! Snow will come down to 1,000 metres, that means rain in Merano. Looks like I'll finally have my stay-in weekend. Time to get through some books. The next weekends up to the holidays will be mega-busy!

******
I'm so in love with the Three Bears or as I said above Goldilocks porridge that I had it every day since Sunday except for Tuesday. Got up this morning at 05:30 to make a fresh 2day batch. I take my portion to the office where I put it on the radiator and eat it at 10:00 with a small sliced apple. I had to eat a thin slice of carrot cake yesterday, managed to avoid it in the morning when my colleague brought it, but found it on my desk (opposite her, still at the reception) with a cup of coffee in the afternoon and she watched me eating it. It was good, but of course the moment I ate it I could have had the whole cake. On temptation-free days like today however I'm still absolutely fine with my oatmeal (or smoothie) and breakfast fruit. I have been far less tired in the afternoon and this monrning I woke up with so much energy altough I hadn't slept much.

Planning another Liddon recipe this weekend, the Thai sweet potato and peanut burgers that also contain chickpeas. And maybe crispy gnocchi Darryl-style with Brussel sprouts but without the asparagus which last time almost spoiled the dish (had to use frozen which was watery and had a horrible taste).

Last night for once I got veggie food at the refugee home: pasta with chickpeas and rice with vegetables. I liked it more than most of the guys who missed their meat. They are now preparing some strange handicraft stuff for a Christmas market stall on December 12th/13th. The embroidered cards will sell, but that strange yogurt-cups-sewn-together-and-put-on-bicycle-wheels-as-lamps project an artist/social worker tries to promote won't find many fans I fear.

68LizzieD
nov. 20, 2015, 12:16pm

I'm drooling at the food and laughing at the craft project. What do people think???? We had a group of women enthusiastic about weaving rugs (on a real loom, for heavens sake!) out of old tee shirts or ties. They looked like old tee shirts and ties. They even sold two or three, but I couldn't imagine having one in my house. On the other hand, DH and I (mostly DH) did a rug from old wool blankets on heavy canvas with his grandmother's looper-thingy, a sort of turn-of-the-last-century technology, and I thought that it looked pretty good. It was tedious though. Way too hard to do to consider selling or even giving one away.

69Whisper1
Editat: nov. 20, 2015, 12:31pm

Happy Friday Natalie. I'm stopping by and waving hi.

70PaulCranswick
nov. 20, 2015, 7:28pm

>67 Deern: but of course the moment I ate it I could have had the whole cake.

Story of my life; in food and in bookstores!

Have a lovely, healthy, stress free weekend, xx

71Ameise1
nov. 21, 2015, 8:09am

Hi Nathalie, I finally find time to do some weekend greetings. Wishing you a most lovely weekend.

72Deern
nov. 21, 2015, 9:17am

>68 LizzieD: Maybe just with the ties it would have worked, but mixing in old T-shirts? The blanket rug however is something I could imagine. The issue with the yogurt cups is that most of them are printed, so it screams "recycling" and looks cheap. With neutral white or transparent ones it would be better.

>69 Whisper1: Hi Linda! *wavingback* :)

>70 PaulCranswick: Yes, food and bookstores... :)
Maybe it's better for me that Italians haven't grasped the coffeeshop in bookstore concept yet? Back in Frankfurt many Saturdays went like "walk into town, go to bookstore, spend 50-100 EUR in English section, cross road to Starbucks (BS coffeeshop was in the basement, not nice), drink black coffee and eat espresso brownies until first book is read, take subway home (books too heavy to carry)".

>71 Ameise1: Lovely picture! Thank you and a happy weekend to you! :)

73Deern
nov. 21, 2015, 9:47am

Woke up this morning with a migraine (I guess it is one because I also felt nauseous and in the afternoon had some issues with my eyes). So I threw in a pill and didn't move till I felt a bit better.
Still tried some reading, but my eyes weren't happy.

As my yoga friend Katja (the one with the hotel in Resia) will be in Merano until the hotel reopens in December, I invited her and 3 others to come to my place and have dinner together. After much texting back and forth we settled on the 30th which is a Monday. Not perfect, but it's always incredibly difficult getting 3 or more women together, I don't know why. Katja has only time Mo-Thu, Andrea only on Mondays and Fridays, while Karin and I were ready to skip any other things on any day. Silvia unfortunately never has time on Mondays, but I'll see her next Saturday when I'm in Bolzano.

Anyway, I decided to test some recipes this weekend. I'll make the smashed potatoes with the avocado aioli I did last Sunday and then I decided on a warm salad of quinoa, butternut squash and avocado. Super easy and really delicious.

Then I tried the Thai sweet potato burgers with the peanut sauce. The sauce is incredibly good and I'll make it as a second dip for the potatoes, but the burgers disappointing as all veggie burgers I tried so far. They are aways dry and bland. I threw in extra spices, also two dried chilies, and I wrapped it into a salad leaf because I don't like the idea of putting something that high-carb on a bun (it's like bread on bread), but something was missing and it wasn't the meat. This one is still among the best vegan burgers I tested, but I'm looking for the perfect one. Maybe when I add some zucchini next time or mushrooms, subtract some of the ground oats and throw in even more ginger and coriander and chili it will be better.

Made also a sugar-free dessert/breakfast of steamed apples and chia/oat pudding that will be tomorrow's breakfast.

Got the audio of Gravity's Rainbow and tried to listen while cooking but that didn't work at all.
Made some progress on Small Island and looked into two samples by Margaret Drabble (May BAC), but none of them appealed to me. I might try Slade House which should be a quick read.

74sibylline
nov. 21, 2015, 9:42pm

That dream analysis just sounds so spot on. I have different "levels" of dreams too, most don't matter at all, like chatter, but others really make me sit up and pay attention. The other thing I have is that I wake up sometimes with a very clear idea in my head about what to do about a problem. I've learned to really pay attention to that -- sometimes the ideas seem odd or very surprising and need a little interpreting but then, when applied, totally right. Those thoughts feel like distillations almost of whatever I was dreaming (which I don't remember).

You are very brave to tackle GR on audio!! I am finding that it does help me a lot to skim through my print book right after I listen, or as close to it as possible. With the result too that I am listening to less at a time during this middle section, which just seems very complex somehow. - But the book does that, gets very dense, then returns to a more intelligible narrative. I've also listened to several sections twice and it does begin to make more sense the second time.

75Deern
nov. 23, 2015, 2:29am

88. Small Island by Andrea Levy (1,001 #402/357 , BAC 2015)

For the most part I enjoyed this book although it’s historical World War fiction that too often makes the mistake of throwing in too many themes and then (imo) getting lost. It happened to this book as well, unfortunately, in the last 15-20%. I quite hated that last part. Not only was it over-dramatic like it was written with a movie in mind, it was also not consistent, especially when it came to Bernard’s character. And that great coincidence re. Mr Michael Roberts was unnecessary as well.

On the other hand I liked it very much that Levy showed not just the predictable racism of the English population (and of the Americans) towards the black immigrants/soldiers, but also the complete lack of empathy towards the English people from “the bad part of town” that had lost everything in the bombings. There isn’t much difference, and if people see someone who lives just half an hour away and shares the same cultural background as “vermin”, how should they open their arms and workspaces for immigrants from Jamaica? It was also interesting for me because it’s like what my mum told me about her childhood. They were Germans, chased away from their homes, but when they arrived at their new places they were hated and threatened. Those people were unable to see how lucky they were to be born on the “right” side of the ex-reich and be able to stay were they were. And still my mum is now on the more radicalized side of the German population I am very sad to confess. Her argument against the refugees is “we at least were Germans”. No empathy, more like “we were treated badly, so why should they have it any easier”. Discussions I learned are useless. *sigh*

Rating for this book: 3.5 stars

Talked to my aunt on Saturday, the one I might call my "soul sister" and she says she feels like living on a small island in a sea of ignorance and hatred. We are glad to be on that island with each other.

76Deern
nov. 23, 2015, 3:10am

>74 sibylline: That "clear idea" thing sounds great. I think that never happened to me, but maybe I can train my mind a bit to deliver real answers overnight?
Didn't read any GR over the Weekend thanks to my headache, I wouldn't have processed anything.

*****
I've had quite a lousy weekend. Headache also through Sunday and of course it didn't rain and the sun shone so brightly I had to close the blinds. Managed to finish Small Island and bought and started Slade House which at least seems to be quite the pageturner. But I fear I'll only get to 100 if I add in picture books in December.

I was also (I think) close to what you might call a breakdown. Of course I've been thinking much about that dream, but there are other things that keep coming up since I started the whole "accepting life thing", just as Singer predicted, and this week during yoga class (not the first time) I felt a sadness for which I couldn't find a name then, but found it later, and to funtion throughout the workweek I postponed the closer look to the weekend because I knew it would be bad. Let's say that "body" in the dream is really old and behind many doors and trying to look at it brings up "hell". It's not the body that's hell, it's the doors, i.e. the reasons why I locked it away.

What got me out of it both on Saturday and Sunday was cooking. Yesterday I first made my gnocchi with veggies wok (sadly no brussel sprouts to be found) and then baked half a batch of sugar-free banana and raspberry muffins with walnuts. Totally delicious, but next time I'll add a spoonful of sugar to give them a chance to rise! The breakfast parfait thing however wasn't so great, something was wrong with the quantities and the chia and oats pudding didn't set. So I cooked it along with the prepared apples and it was just like a yummy but normal apple porridge.
With the one exception on Thursday I got through a whole week without added sugars, had many great meals and despite the headache feel quite energetic and well in my body.

77charl08
Editat: nov. 23, 2015, 6:11am

Wow. The muffins sound wonderful. I made a very easy coconut cake this week which went down well on a walk. (Cake seemed justified on a very cold day in the middle of a hike). I tried a slice of orange polenta cake yesterday on a cafe so thinking I might try cooking that at home. Slade house has turned up on the reservation shelf so I am hoping it is a quick read.

78Deern
nov. 23, 2015, 5:58am

>77 charl08: They are wonderful and were so quickly made, just really really small. The recipe doesn't need sugar for the taste if the banana is ripe, but probably for the reaction with the baking powder.
Both coconut and orange polenta cake sound super yummy, so if you have recipes to share.. ? :)))

79sibylline
nov. 23, 2015, 7:46am

I made no progress with GR either, fell into some totally self-indulgent fantasy reading. Couldn't bring myself to have to think!

80LizzieD
nov. 23, 2015, 10:28am

I'll be interested to see what we both make of :Slade House:. I should power right through it, but I find I don't especially want to. (Oh the challenge of posting on the Fire!)
(Courage and Patience to you, friend)

81Deern
nov. 23, 2015, 12:22pm

>79 sibylline: "Couldn't bring myself to have to think!" - Same here! :)

>80 LizzieD: I enjoyed it a lot, but my brain feels tired and it was just the easy page turner I needed. I could even have read more of those "opening days".
I don't think this is high literature, just a fun book that fits well into the Mitchell world.
(and thank you!)

82sibylline
Editat: nov. 23, 2015, 5:07pm

Listened a teeny bit today, might do a little more as I have some sewing that must. be. done. but then again, maybe I won't. I'm bingeing at the moment on a fairly terrible fantasy series. Definitely not in a thinking mood although I did enjoy what I did listen to today. Actually, I listened to the same section that I listened to a little bit the other day that I realized I hadn't paid much attention to, so I haven't made much progress at all.

83Deern
nov. 24, 2015, 11:13am

89.Slade House by David Mitchell (BAC 2015)

This was fun and almost too short with its 210 pages. No high literature at all, no Booker material, just a nice Halloween pageturner.
My memories of The Bone Clocks are still half fresh and this one fits nicely into that world, though thankfully not into the dystopian future part. The story consists of 5 parts, each set on the last Saturday in October, 9 years apart. Those days are “opening days” in Slade House, an old mansion well hidden in a small alley. So well hidden that you (hopefully) might overlook the tiny door that leads into its beautiful garden from where no-one who entered it ever escaped.
I especially loved the first three stories that are all similarly set and growing in intensity. Then of course something had to change, but part 4 surprised me less than I had hoped. And in part 5 there turns up a character from The Bone Clocks. I thought the ending was a bit weak and I clearly didn’t fully comprehend the “scientific theory” behind it. But the book made me wish for more opening day episodes and even for a reread of TBC to compare. Now that’s a fantasy world close enough to reality I might happily dive into.

Rating: 3.8 (4 stars)

84Deern
nov. 24, 2015, 11:19am

>82 sibylline: Read a teeny bit today and getting more and more confused if that's possible. So I tried to switch off my plot and logic searching brain and it was much better at once. :)

85sibylline
Editat: nov. 24, 2015, 7:31pm

I listened some too while working on the sewing -- I should write it up before I forget -- Slothrop is mucking about in the Zone and has been sent to retrieve a massive amount of hashish from Potsdam. "Rocket Man". This section has been mostly comprehensible and quite funny.

I'll be back in a sec with a link I stumbled across today while looking something up - oh - about Amy Sprue, the Salem witch, Slothrop's ancestress. Wondering if Pynchon took that from his own family tree, but it doesn't appear to be so.

This is the Pynchon link - have only read a little of it so far, but it doesn't seem too bad -- and he offers links to other blogs/discussions which is good. GR

86Deern
nov. 25, 2015, 6:22am

>85 sibylline: I got to the point where he accepts the mission, but everything re. Enzian and Tchitchwhateverhisname and the Schwarzkommando doesn't make much sense, but that's okay.
That's an interesting link. I just read the adenoid bit and am a bit disappointed that you need a login now to get to the linked website with the illustrations. Would have liked to see that one. :)
Am also missing Pirate, the dream thing seemed so important at the beginning. Oh, and I love all those silly songs!

I guess much of that confusing stuff is just a typical case of a genius having fun. At some point when reading my luxurious annotated edition of Ulysses I decided that in most cases I didn't need those annotations (so there was a barber shop at that street corner and why should I want to know that?), that Joyce had certainly had fun throwing in random names and adding stuff he knew was cryptic and would send readers deep into analyzing. That was also the point where I decided to just enjoy the book instead and switched to a simple paperback. The same happened with Infinite Jest - I read most of the footnotes, but refused getting into the interpretation game. In this case I'd like to have some more background, but I'm sure Pynchon also once in a while thought "let's give them something completely random and unseless to chew on".

87Deern
nov. 30, 2015, 6:25am

Aaargh.. I believe I didn't read more than maybe 20 pages of anything last week! But I know how I'll get to 100 - I listened to the Singer at least 20 times, so #wherever I end the year - #100 will all be rereads of that book.

Saturday was just great! I did 6 hours of volunteer service for the 19th international food donation day in a supermarket in Bolzano. The clients were mostly open and friendly and supportive and so many at least brought us a box of pasta or a tin of lentils. Then I met my friend Silvia who invited me to her home where I also met her two kids and had an early and very nice dinner of pumpkin soup, spaghetti pomodoro and taco chips with all kinds of dips. Then Silvia and I went to a concert of a German comedian/singer in a small basement theater which was also great fun. I arrived home just before midnight. Didn't win the lottery (I played for the first time!) and didn't meet the man of my dreams as far as I know, but didn't die either and had a fantastic day. So whatever the business was with my dream about November 28th, it probably wasn't meant to be 2015. :)

Yesterday I took a short walk in the nice weather and had a first look at the Merano Christmas market. Went to Sarah's bar for a cappuccino and a quick chat. Returned home and started the cooking business for today's dinner: made the tofu quiche with mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes and spinach (the filling is so good I made half an extra batch just for me) and the banana-raspberry-walnut muffins, this time with two spoons of sugar to make the baking powder work and they look much better. Cooked potatoes and cut a butternut squash to roast in the oven tonight for the smashed potatoes and the butternut/quinoa/avocado salad and made a bowl of chickpea/tomato/olive/parsley salad. There'll also be warm (bought) foccaccia, smoked cheese and some dips. If all that is not yet enough I'll cook them a pot of pasta. :)

Also cleaned the appt and almost dispaired because with the sun shining so strong I could see all the dust returning an instant after dusting.
During cooking, ironing and cleaning I listened to Singer once again and as usual I felt better. Definitely my book of the year!

Woke up at 03:15 this morning, did some yoga and then watched an Italian book show I had recorded. The theme was "noir" and I bought one of the classics by Giorgio Scerbanenco, I ragazzi del massacro. Kind of a mystery about the brutal killing of a young female teacher by her male students, set shortly after the war in Milano. The reader knows the boys did it, but clearly someone in the background organized the massacre and the detective Duca Lamberti uses some exceptional measures to get confessions out of the boys. This won't become a favorite genre, but I need some easy books now for December.

88sibylline
nov. 30, 2015, 8:46am

Stopping in to see how you weathered the 28th (Yes, a day late!, but oh well).

I've finished the second of four installments of GR. Have to load the next bit onto my Ipod pronto! I think I'm over half way. Tempting to take a break, but I'm a little concerned I might not come back to it until January if I do that. So I will plug on. I don't think I'm giving it what it deserves this time around, but that's ok. I better go write something down about what I listened to before I forget!

89FAMeulstee
nov. 30, 2015, 5:21pm

Nice to read you had a good weekend (and nothing life changing or bad happened on the 28th) :-)

90Deern
des. 1, 2015, 2:37am

>88 sibylline: I really hope to get through at least 20% more the next weekend for which so far nothing is planned. There's also an Italian holiday on the 8th, more reading time for me.
That sudden switch from Slothrop to yet another setting, this time with Argentinians, threw me off a bit, but I admit I gave in and read the wiki entry so at least I know what not to expect from the plot anymore.

>89 FAMeulstee: Hi Anita, yes - it was a really good one.

The great thing about that 28th of November was that, believing it would be a day of great significance (and maybe it was and I just don't know it yet), I decided not to hide in my house, but instead really to accept whatever was thrown onto my way. I was a bit scared in fact that something bad might happen, but I thought that whether I stayed in or not, "it" would find me anyway. Most probably on a normal Saturday I'd neither have done the volunteer service in a different town nor gone to the concert - simply because after a long work week I prefer to sleep in a bit and because I don't much like going out in the evenings, especially in winter and when I have a longer drive home in the dark. And what a great day I would have missed!

I thought I should have a monthly "November 28th", i.e. a random day where I won't say no to any ("normal") activities, where I'll just force myself to step over those comfort limits.

******
My evening with the yoga girls (okay, middle-aged women) was great, and I finally kicked off my 2015 Tavolata on the last day of November. Well - better late than never! They LOVED my food, and that proved me that my taste buds are still working despite their veganization. They especially liked the warm quinoa/butternut squash/avocado salad, the chickpeas and the quiche. The smashed potatoes weren't as crispy as last time, maybe because I had them in the oven with the squash and they got too much steam that way. I had also bought my favorite vegan pesto and 3 kinds of hummus to eat with the warm foccaccia bread and some vanilla cream cheese to serve with the muffins. Katja had recently tried to go vegetarian/half-vegan, but had just cut out the foods without caring about nutrients, had quickly developped symptoms of malnutrition and reluctantly returned to free-range meat and eggs. So for her it was interesting to see what you can do, that it doesn't have to be "just the sides on a plate where there used to be meat as well".

We talked a lot almost until midnight, then they left, I cleaned up a bit and now of course I'm still tired, but also energized and ready to start my "meat-free Mondays" foodie group.

91charl08
des. 1, 2015, 2:50am

Your meal sounds wonderful, I'm not surprised your friends were impressed. Personally I love many vegetarian dishes: anything with avocado has to be a winner.

Thanks for your comments about the latest Eco book on my thread. I feel guilty about not reading any Eco, but definitely won't start with that one!

92Deern
des. 1, 2015, 11:51am

90. I ragazzi del massacro by Giorgio Scerbanenco Full of spoilers, but I doubt someone will read it if it has been translated at all

This is a book that would be written quite differently nowadays and I believe would be a better book from the psychological POV.
I learned that Scerbanenco is the classic author of Italian “noir” books, the setting was promising as was the atmosphere of foggy wintery 1960s Milan. It was just the investigation that took a strange way and the crime psychology that since then has been completely revised. But back then a drug-addicted prostitute was a one-dimensional character and a homosexual was someone born into the wrong body, and that body shows that something is “wrong” (a lesbian’s hands are called “abnormally male”). Cigarettes are smoked or at least bought on every single page and offering them to a thirteen year old boy is the most normal thing in the world. In that respect the book served as a fascinating time witness where the murder case couldn’t deliver. That’s one element I enjoy when reading books from a time not too far away from my birth year. They show how much has also changed for the better, not only for the worse as is often lamented. I can accept the racism, homophobia and misogyny in books set in times past, because that is how it was. Not always that great those good old times… *

The case: a young female night school teacher has just died from the wounds she suffered from when her class, influenced by drugs and strong alcohol, gang raped her and beat her unconscious. The 11 students with learning difficulties, aged 13 to 20 and with dubious family backgrounds, are arrested and the detective begins the investigations with an impressive and totally illegal method of questioning. That part, about 33% of the books, was really quite good. But then some weird family story is strewn in (the detective’s niece tragically dies of pneumonia while he can’t leave the police station, but all the mourning is done with in days), and the way the real culprit is found who planned the whole thing and the reason why the students all refuse to talk make no sense at all.

So to come back to where I started: if a modern author dared to rewrite the investigation and the motiv and deleted the niece from the book without touching all the historically correct un-pc stuff, this would be a fantastic book!

Rating: 3 stars, but not bad, those are "fun category" 3 stars

*And that’s also the main reason why I am so often struggling with historical fiction – authors (or their publishers) don’t dare to make their protagonists part of that world and to give them layers (for example great leader but treating his wife badly). They almost always take characters with liberal Western values, because they want them to be loved by the Readers, and throw them into a historical setting and they just sound false.

93Deern
des. 1, 2015, 12:01pm

>91 charl08: I read only 2 Ecos I totally loved and both are long and complicated: The Name of the Rose and Foucault's Pendulum. I read those when they were just published and they both started genres with many much easier-to-read followers (Dan Brown's books, every monastery murder mystery..). So for a new reader they might feel just slow and long and very outdated.
Eco is just SO learned and does so much research and probably doesn't even get it that readers could have any difficulties with his works. The latest two went way over my head and there are some unread ones on my shelves I don't dare starting.

94Deern
des. 3, 2015, 3:40am

Started into December with some really short books which I'll all finish this week to have some more time for GR again:
- The Italian Girl by Iris Murdoch (belated BAC August read)
- The Inimitable Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse
- The Sheep-Pig by Dick King-Smith (which I think is the story of "Babe", and the audio takes just 1.5 hrs)

I'm also planning to listen to a short Mantel, Learning to Talk (just 3+ hrs). This should get me to 94, with GR 95. Other possible reads:

- Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis which I now got as Kindle and audio
- another Giorgio Scerbanenco, because they're short and Italian
- finish Il borgomastro di Furnes by Georges Simenon (quite a long way to go)
- if possible listen to the last Booker LL candidate 2015, The Green Road by Anne Enright, maybe when I'm with my parents
- one last read/listen of Singer's The Untethered Soul to help me get through the holidays.

Yesterday I booked the parking space at Verona airport, booked the flights already 10 days ago. Really looking forward to the 20th and the moment when I'm through check-in and security and can finally relax, the days until then will all be so busy, I feel like I'm losing my overview a bit.

95sibylline
des. 3, 2015, 7:17am

Great remarks - both about historical fiction in >92 Deern: and about Eco. I've read six of his books! One being a book of essays, Six Walks in the Fictional Woods and apparently I have very much liked everything! Baudolino was hard to get into but then I did, and I think one other one was a bit like that but all the rest, the Rose, and Foucault's were just great from the get-go. It is interesting isn't it, that Eco spawned those "mystery/puzzle thrillers . . .

OK forgive me, but I forget where you are going!

I get on a plane today, and at this moment I am on pins and needles. Regretting totally. My worst problem is leaving Posey, although we have, at the moment, a perfect housesitter who adores her. So I am silly. But I loathe flying, and now more than ever with all the fuss at security and bag restrictions.

96Deern
des. 3, 2015, 9:56am

>95 sibylline: Re. Eco, when I read Numero Zero I realized that he's really stuck in that pre-internet all-paper area. "Foucault" must read strangely für a modern reader, with that office of research where you could send people off to libraries and other places to do document research for you, but at least that was the world we lived in when the book was published. In NZ which was published this year he also goes back to the 80s where finding out things and tracing people was much more difficult, but that's where Eco clearly feels at home. These are the two most contemporary novels by him I read. Everything else is historical fiction (and paper-heavy as well). And the only non-fiction book I tried to read was all about books, old antique books, and it was so detailed I couldn't process it.

Have a safe trip!
I hate flying as well, but after last year's drama with all the snow and the delayed return to Merano, plus this year's extra obstacle with the closed borders and passport controls, I thought that a 2 hrs drive to Verona plus 1.5 hrs flying and then being almost at home (Frankfurt Airport is 55 kms from my parents' place) are preferable. And driving 8-12 hrs (depending on weather and traffic) at the busiest time of the year isn't risk-free either. Whenever I drove home lately I thought I was going crazy when halfway (around Munich) the motorway gets 4 lanes in each direction and the speed limits are taken off. Not used to that racing with 180km/h or more in strong traffic anymore.

I must say that I feel calmer this year than in the years before when I avoided flying at every cost. The various small and big things that happened made me realize that there's no safety ever anywhere, and so I'm less afraid.

Did I post here that I flew to Hamburg in October with Germanwings (the airline where a captain comitted suicide earlier this year and crashed the plane with all the passangers into a mountain)? They clearly try to re-establish trust between crew and passengers, by making the captain show himself to the people before take off and hold a little speech "now we're all flying to Hamburg together".

97Deern
Editat: des. 4, 2015, 8:41am

Okay, finished The Italian Girl and The Inimitable Jeeves and decided to read the remaining Enderby book by Anthony Burgess as well to get a June BAC off the list. Got through the first chapter (some weird Shakespeare parody) and didn't like it at all.

91. The Inimitable Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse (BAC 2015)

I am SO grateful for this easy-to-read author in December! The audio read by Martin Jarvis was a delight and should I ever get to another Jeeves book I will chose the audio again. These short stories were so much nicer than the 1,001 listed Thank you, Jeeves novel with the dubious minstrel show. Yes, Bertie's and his friend "young Bingo's" romance calamities and Jeeves’ dislike for colorful cloth details were repetitive, but I wasn’t bored at all. Had also forgotten what a great schemer for his own advantage Jeeves is. Loved the old-fashioned upper-class-boy English.

Rating: 4 stars

92. The Italian Girl by Iris Murdoch (BAC 2015)

Edmund returns home after years of absence for the funeral of his tyrannous mother. There he meets his alcoholic brother Otto, his unhappy sister-in-law Isabel and his beautiful innocent looking niece Flora, the "Italian girl" Maggie (kind of a housekeeper and nurse, the last in a long succession of interchangeable Italian girls employed by Edmund's mother) the sinister David - Otto's assistant - and his disturbed sister Elsa. Everyone seems to expect "healing" from Edmund though it's not clear how and why. Things escalate quickly.

Well, I was warned. But the book was short, quite cheap and I hadn’t read my BAC Murdoch yet. So far my least favorite, strangely fragmented and in parts like reading a theater play in novel form. It was all “too much” and it didn’t lead me anywhere. Nothing felt real. Lucy called that effect “too much staccato”, and I’m with her.

Rating: 3 stars

98Deern
Editat: des. 5, 2015, 1:57am

Finished and LOVED The Sheep-Pig, finished and was annoyed with Enderby's Dark Lady, though I liked it better than Enderby #2. Shakespeare and he alone saved it. So I am at 94 books now and will try to read as much GR this weekend as I can.

Going to some concert(?) tonight with my landlady friend Chrystle, something organized by her Tibetan Buddhist group, so it won't be Christmassy. Might go to the Christmas market later for some atmosphere. The 2nd weekend is always crazy with thousands of Italians arriving in campers, many having taken a longer weekend because of the holiday on the 8th. At least it's not too cold this year for them to sleep in those campers and caravans. In cold years the Red Cross had to distribute blankets and hot tea. This winter camping in South Tyrol has become a kind of annual adventure for many families, quite strange.

99Ameise1
des. 5, 2015, 7:33am

Wishing you a lovely weekend, Nathalie.

100charl08
des. 5, 2015, 7:36am

Oh how lovely to read Dick King Smith - a firm favourite. My favourite was The Queen's Nose, about a magic 50 pence piece.

That Xmas camping sounds like an interesting tradition. How mad not to pack enough warm things though...

101Deern
des. 6, 2015, 3:08pm

My last quiet Sunday probably before Jan 10th, so I read and read and read. Didn't get through the planned 20% of GR, only 15 or 16%, stopped when I noticed I was only moving my eyes over text without getting anything I read. I need Lucy's explanations. Slothrop has now reached Swinemünde after a decidedly weird journey on the Baltic Sea. Two thirds are done.

Started James and the Giant Peach in Italian, a Dahl children's book I don't know at all yet.

And then I read and was absolutely blown away by The Buried Giant. The Christmas atmosphere might have helped me to love a genre I usually don't like, alhough I don't even know what genre it is, the fantasy/knight's tale background mainly lending a landscape to something deep and beautiful and very sad.

With Dahl and Ishiguro's fairy tale books and it being Nikolaus day, I felt like making some more non-sweet sweets, and because I couldn't decide between carrot cake muffins and carrot cake cookies I made both. will take them to the office tomorrow, but almost sugar-free and vegan I fear they won't find many friends among my colleagues.

I wish I had another quiet pre-Christmas weekend like this one ahead, but the next one will be very busy and then it's off to Germany already.

102LizzieD
des. 6, 2015, 7:18pm

Oh my goodness! I completely forgot about your November 28! I'm glad that it was such a great day.
In fact, all seems to be going very well with you. I'm glad about that too --- and the food sounds wonderful!
(I must not know what smashed potatoes are. Crisp???? I was picturing what we call mashed potatoes, which must be creamy smooth. Headed for google.)

103Deern
Editat: des. 7, 2015, 2:28am

>99 Ameise1: This is such a lovely picture, thank you!!

>100 charl08: the Queen's Nose is now on my audible WL, thank you! :)
It's quite cold this morning and there are campers everywhere in town, even on our office parking place (yep, unauthorized of course and I don't want to know about the sanitary stuff). It wouldn't do for me, but many seem to enjoy it.

>102 LizzieD: About the smashed potatoes: the recipe is here: http://ohsheglows.com/2014/10/15/crispy-smashed-potatoes-with-avocado-garlic-aio...
Super simple - brush the potatoes clean (I prefer them with the skin which gets extra crispy), boil them normally in salt water till tender enough to eat, place on a baking tray lined with oven paper, and then don't "smash", but gently press them flat with something. I used a coffee mug and after the first potato I knew I should wrap its bottom with some cling foil. I actually smashed the first one and it got mashed instead and half of it clung to the coffee mug. I put a bit of oil on top with a (kitchen) brush and some salt and pepper. Then into the oven at 450°F (I did 225°C) until crispy. It worked very well the first time when they had the oven to themselves. The second time I parallely baked two trays of butternut squash cubes which needed a lower temperature and lost lots of water. So the oven was all steamy and the potatoes were good, but not as crispy.

104Deern
Editat: des. 7, 2015, 5:01am

93. The Sheep-Pig by Dick King-Smith

Aaaawww! :)))
Had no idea that there was a book behind the “Babe” movie which I now must urgently rewatch. I like what they added to the story to give it movie length and make it extra cute (keeping the piglet small, the animated mice, the male dog, the farmer’s wife’s appetite for bacon), but I'm sure that if I had known this book as a child, my parents would have had to read their throats sore. 
Just lovely!!

Rating: 4.5 stars on my children’s books scala.

94. Enderby’s Dark Lady by Anthony Burgess (BAC 2015)

Finally finished the Complete Enderby and don’t think I’ll ever reread it. Not that it’s bad, I even had to smile sometimes, but I just don’t like that guy and while reading it was always as if there was a bad smell around – although he spends much less time on the toilet in the later books. Part 4 is an alternative story to part 3 (where he dies). He hasn’t accepted the teaching job in New York and instead heads towards Indiana to realize a Shakespeare musical. I liked many of the Shakespeare story bits and also thought the woman cast as “dark lady” was quite likeable, but the “Americans are all stupid and most other people as well” is really getting tired, especially from someone with his life-style.
Rating: 3 stars thanks to WS.

105Deern
Editat: des. 14, 2015, 10:36am

95. The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro (BAC 2015)

So this one wasn’t nominated for this year’s Booker WHY?? It would have been my top-candidate!
Okay, so they don’t like fantasy and sci-fi. But they nominate a nice but quite flawed fantasy The Chimes which also deals with unexplainable memory loss, and last year put The Bone Clocks with its dystopian ending and its soul vampires on the LL, and another dystopian memory loss book with "J", but ignore this one because there are very short Scenes with orgs, pixies and a dragon, despite all the beauty, depth and significance of the main themes?

I loved it how Ishiguro wrote a modern story and weaved it into this fairy-tale background. The whole book has such a fragile dreamlike quality. “Haunting” Ilana said, and that’s exactly it. This book won’t leave me anytime soon.

The setting is a post-Roman England, some years after King Arthur’s death. There’s peace, or at least tolerance, between Saxons and Britons after terrible wars. The protagonists are Axl and his wife Beatrice, an elderly couple of Britons, living in a community where they aren’t treated well. They can’t remember how they got there, if they have children and what happened to them. In fact everyone seems to forget everything from one day to the next and only rarely, in dreams, the veil lifts a bit. After the encounter with a strange woman who warns her of the consequences of lost memories Beatrice develops the idea that they must travel to their son who she assumes lives in another Briton village two days away. In the ruins of a Roman villa they meet a boatsman and a widow who haunts him since he separated her from her husband when both wanted to be rowed to “the island” together. Axl and Beatrice learn that it is crucial having the same loving memories if a couple wants to set over to the afterworld together. The next day, after having spent the night in a Saxon village, they’re joined by the Saxon warrior Wistan and the young boy Edwin who’s strange bite wound causes the people of his village to want to kill him. Wistan is on a mission to kill the she-dragon (name forgotten already) whose breath is suspected to have caused the memory loss. They meet Sir Gawain, Arthur’s knight, who is on the same mission (and has been for decades). Both Gawain and Wistan seem to remember Axl from a time long ago. For a while it looks like those 5 companions might stay together, but it’s much more complex, because is it really such a great idea to remember what might better remain covered?, and after a bit of a muddle in the middle part (action scenes aren’t Ishiguro’s strength) the conclusion is surprising and the ending is inevitably sad. This is a very typical Ishiguro in a different dress, but a dress that imo goes very well with the story, much better (imo again) than the one he used in Never let me go. Timeless and beautiful.

Rating: 4.5 stars

106PaulCranswick
des. 7, 2015, 5:10am

So pleased to see you ticked so many BAC boxes in the last week or two, Nathalie!

I purposely placed Wodehouse in December so that the group could ease down with pleasant good humour. I also enjoyed my little spate of Jeeves last week and had almost forgotten just how deft the stories were.

I was a little non-plussed that the awards seem to have passed Ishiguro by this year - he is usually up for all the awards.

Had plenty of internet troubles this weekend so I'll have to wish you happy week instead!

107Deern
Editat: des. 7, 2015, 1:40pm

>106 PaulCranswick: Hi Paul, thanks for visiting and a very happy week to you!:)
Lost track of your thread once again, also thanks to internet woes at home where the higher occupancy of appartments over this extra long weekend has direct influence on the availability. Don't really understand why, but it's always like this (half of the condo are second homes, so usually in my "house slice" only 2-3 parties use the internet).
I'm myself a bit proud of my belated BAC activities. Now of all authors I hesitate to start something by my beloved Virginia Woolf because I feel I can't do her justice this month. Her books need sitting down and reading with lots of time. The alternative candidate for July is B.S. Johnson by whom nothing is available on Kindle for me. Hm... I might try to listen to Mrs Dalloway, shouldn't be too long.

Edit: instead went home, looked a shelf and several unread Woolfs, decided for Between the Acts and started reading.

****
Read another chapter of James e la pesca gigante during lunch break (can't wait to see what Zia Stecco and Zia Spugna - the aunts' names in Italian, they mean stick and sponge - are going to do with that peach!!) and slow-started into the audio of The Green Road.

108avatiakh
des. 7, 2015, 7:16pm

>98 Deern: Our family favourite Dick King-Smith was Martin's mice, it got repeated read alouds.
So have you read 101 dalmations as that's another children's classic that is better known by the Disney film version yet the book is great.

109sibylline
des. 7, 2015, 9:19pm

I am so intrigued by the Ishiguro!

Never warmed at all to Burgess.

You absolutely do want to find and read 101 Dalmations and every other book Dodie Smith wrote!
One of my favourite books ever is I Capture the Castle! About as far from ole Pynchon as you can get.

You are now ahead of me as I have not been driving anywhere or listening. I really should get at it!

110Deern
Editat: des. 8, 2015, 12:27am

Two strong voices for 101 Dalmatians, bought it untested! :)
I didn't see any Disney version, but roughly know the plot. As a kid I knew a very aggressive Dalmatian dog called Dino, owned by my gran's neighbors, so I didn't want to see 101 of future Dinos in a movie.

>108 avatiakh: Thank you- added the King-Smith to my audible WL, as it's not available (here at least) as e-book. Right now the DKSs are all over 10 USD, but I'll get to them when I have collected some more credits again.

>109 sibylline:
TBG isn't flawless (Ishiguro shouldn't write sword action scenes, but they belong into a knight's tale and thankfully were short, and then the middle part set in a monastery was a bit confusing), but it put me in a similar mood, just sadder, as did The Remains of the Day. Couldn't put it down and didn't skim pages despite its slowness. In Never let me go the logical part of my brain was involved all the time, interrupting continuously with "wouldn't work". Here, the setting in a fairy tale landscape switches logic off on the first page, I could just throw myself into it. A very smart step he took there.

I think Clockwork Orange (British version with extra chapter) is a master piece, but I could have lived a fully happy life without reading Enderby (part 1 is on the 1001 list).
And I just had a look at IctC at amazon and bought it untested as well as a belated Nikolaus gift to myself.

111charl08
Editat: des. 9, 2015, 3:09am

Glad you liked the Ishiguro. Having read it a whlie back what seems to have stayed with me is the dreamlike quality of the communities he describes.

I'm not sure why it didn't get more accolades. For me it seemed to fit well with a lot of new books read this year that in some way linked to ideas about memory, whether dementia (Elizabeth is Missing, The Illuminations) or dealing with loss (I saw a man), or even dystopian futures (The Chimes, Station Eleven). Funny how that happens.

112Deern
des. 9, 2015, 2:26am

96. 101 Dalmatians by Dodie Smith

Yay, I’m approaching 100 with the help of books for children! It fits the season and they have enough pages, so why not? This one was pressed on me by Lucy and Kerry 2/3 posts ago and I didn’t resist/hesitate a minute. Never saw the films. Why? Because though I love dogs, Dalmatians weren’t exactly my favorites. The only aggressive biting dog I ever encountered as a kid was a Dalmatian called “Dino” and this was enough to make me avoid the first movie. When the 2nd movie with Glenn Close came into the German theaters I had read about the many Dalmatian puppies bought and quickly abandoned after the US release and so I boycotted the film. Would watch it now though, I think GC must have been a great Cruella de Vil.

Now I read the book in one go and found that I really loved the story. It’s super-cute of course and I welled up towards the ending, as I always do when kids’ books take a good turn. Which reminds me that it's high time to watch the Muppets Christmas Carol and cry over the little frog with the crutch.

I have my doubts though that a spaniel would voluntarily share his meals with any other dog, I knew too many spaniels. Ours wouldn't be touched while eating.

One thing kept me from giving 4.5 stars, and that was the way Missis was described. Given the time when it was written I was quite fine with the weakest puppy being a girl, the strongest ones being boys (though wouldn’t it have been much cuter if the “military” puppy had been a girl and the Cadpig a boy??). But Missis’ inability to follow directions, to learn right and left, the scene where Pongo and the other male dog chuckle “understandingly” but totally condescendingly really angered me. Because it felt like the author bowing to male readers, like she was saying “I might be a woman and get those harmless little books published, but I’m no danger to your superiority. I’m playing your game, see, see, SEE??”. And I couldn’t help imagining parents reading the story to kids and at that point dad winking to them, saying “just like your mum, and that’s why women should better let the men drive the cars”.

Anyway, I loved all the rest!

Rating: 4.2 stars (4)

113Deern
des. 9, 2015, 2:29am

>111 charl08: I see that they had to decide whether to nominate the Chimes' fantasy/ manipulated memory loss or The Buried Giant's Fantasy/ manipulated memory loss. And while I see how they want to bring new names up and wanted to nominate someone from AUS/NZ, I still don't get why they didn't select the better book. Well, at least in the end a really good one won. :)

114Deern
Editat: des. 9, 2015, 7:45am

97. Zwischen zwei Leben by Guido Westerwelle

I had seen some very positive reviews for this book in the German press and because unlike many others I always quite liked our former foreign minister, I bought this book after having read half of it in the book shop yesterday. At home I read most of the rest, that means the part I wanted to read.

For those unfamiliar with the story: GW was the leader of the liberal party, FDP, and foreign minister under Angela Merkel during the government before the actual one. He is now finally openly homosexual, has "married" his partner (" " because the German law still doesn't allow marriage, just registration as partners, and the couples still can't adopt kids - and don't get me started on the Italians!! ), and was diagnosed with AML in 2014 which he survived thanks to a stem cell donation.

I enjoyed (if you can enjoy a cancer report) the parts where he writes about the illness, the support from his partner, family and friends, the love that surrounds him during the worst moments.
I often don't agree with his party's politics (a bit too business liberal imo), but always thought that GW was a man I could imagine being friends with because he seems so genuinely interested in people.

I didn't enjoy the political bits at all and mostly skimmed over them. I absolutely don't share his stance on the development in Ucrainia, but at least I believe he believes the things he writes.
The way he describes his illness is very touching. He was lucky to be diagnosed in time, having suffered a knee injury that caused an analysis of his blood. The illness felled him like a healthy tree from one day to the next because at that point he didn't show symptoms (which was his luck, it was really in the early stages), but had to undergo all those treatments that almost killed him to save him. His mind fights with this contradiction a lot - "here I am, fit and healthy one day, and the next day they pour all that poison into me and I don't get it". His cells were also genetically damaged, so it was clear early on that normal chemo wouldn't help, just delay, and that he'd need a donation.

A donator was found quickly, but just when the preparational treatments were to start he changed idea. Again luckily early enough - a couple of days later GW's immune system would have been too weak to survive without the new stem cells. I am a registered donator and this account showed me how absolutely crucial it is to know your responsibilities also on that side of the donation system. I know someone who donated and the doubts and fears she went through as well. She was so scared to catch a virus during the week before, and of course she had to go to work normally. There's such a risk involved, I wasn't really aware of that.
A second donator was found after a while and this time the transplantation worked. I kept thinking of Janet all the time and of her hospital blog. I'll never forget how she, who never ever complained in her posts about any treatment or pain, received and welcomed the transplant and then disappeared for many days, on her return just saying that she'd been in absolute hell. That's the expression GW uses as well.

The most impressive moments for me were his informational visit to the transplant station - how he gets through the security gates knowing that this time he'll escape again but that in a couple of days the doors will close behind him maybe forever and he will become one of the ghostlike people he saw inside. The second moment was how he was rolled through the subterranean hallways of the hospital towards the bunker where he received the "potentially lethal" radiation that kills the last remaining own stem cells in his body and put him into a completely helpless condition 3 days before the transplantation.

GW has recovered well, enjoys his life again and is full of hope that he has won his fight. He also clearly states that the treatments he received weren't special (except for of course the single room during chemo and the odd extra professor's visit you generally get with a private insurance compared with the normal one). The patients he meets and befriends are normal people and he at once becomes one of them.

The style wasn't great. The book's clearly written to be an easy read and it's that style that makes me avoid German non-fiction generally. I know I'm being difficult. :)

Rating: 3.8 stars (4)
(4.5 for the personal and illness parts, but there was too much politics which should be covered in a different book and then the writing... )

115avatiakh
des. 9, 2015, 4:54am

Relieved that you enjoyed 101 Dalmations apart from the bit about Missus. I read it long ago so don't quite remember all that. The Disney cartoon was a favourite when I was young.
I wondered if you've read any YA verse novels, as that is the fastest and very enjoyable way to build up your book count. I can recommend One by Sarah Crossan (conjoined twins), The Crossover by Kwame Alexander (basketball), or Aleutian Sparrow by Karen Hesse (historical). I gave all of them 5 stars.

116Deern
des. 9, 2015, 8:47am

Just noticed that my book purchases are getting a bit out of hand this month. It's just the 9th today and I already bought 10 books of which 6 are already read, and there are so many samples on my Kindle of books I'd love to read immediately. Really hoping for some undisturbed reading time the week when I'm in Germany.

>115 avatiakh: Err... actually I never heard of any of these. Which doubtlessly means even more samples, purchases and reads this very week! :)))

117charl08
des. 9, 2015, 9:28am

I wasn't that convinced by The Chimes - I thought more suited to a first book prize.

Have you come across Before the Feast? I've just read it (in English translation) and couldn't remember if you'd said about the German original.

118Deern
Editat: des. 9, 2015, 9:36am

>117 charl08: I noticed it on your thread this morning, but it's a new to me author. Looks like another BB! And there's (small) hope I might find it in the library. :)
I think I commented on the Erpenbeck some time last week or so.

119charl08
des. 9, 2015, 9:48am

Thanks for reminding me about the Erpenbeck. Before the Feast is apparently his second book, so I'm adding the first one to my wishlist too. Despite saying that, I need to finish some books, I'm starting to feel a bit overwhelmed by the stack full of bookmarks!

120LizzieD
des. 9, 2015, 10:23pm

Hi, Nathalie. I've just ordered an "acceptable" (wonder what that means) copy of the Ishiguro for myself. Thanks for pushing me over the top on this one.

121Deern
Editat: des. 10, 2015, 2:27pm

>119 charl08: Same here - I buy and start too many this month. But there are BBs flying in from everywhere! :)

>120 LizzieD: Hi Peggy, so far I only ordered second hand when something was out of print (it's not so popular here and prices aren't that low), but acceptable was always at least library quality, i.e. not stained, with a bad smell or half-ripped pages. I hope you'll enjoy it!

****
Yesterday I bought and started (yes, again...) Elizabeth Gilbert's Big Magic. I know many here quite hate her and had I read Eat, Pray, Love with any consciousness of the hype around it, I would have hated it as well, doubtlessly. But in my pre-LT life it sat in its English version on my shelf for a while before the translation hit the German market big time, then someday it called out to me, as if it knew I needed it. It really, really helped me through another difficult phase several years ago when I was totally overworked. I wasn't a bit interested in her next books though (no marriage in sight for me), but when I stumbled over an interview with her in the "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung" (the most serious daily paper in Germany with a even more serious feuilleton/cultural page) I decided I must read this one. Why? Because I thought much about my creativity lately. How it has been there sometimes and then again not for months. And how I'd need it right now but can't find it.

The book: It's all a bit spiritual so far, but it speaks to me and I find some of my own wild theories there. EG says that "ideas" are all around looking for a host. I always had that thought that ideas, for example melodies, exist around us until someone "plucks" them. Thoughts as well - how often are we close to saying something, decide against it for whatever reason and then the person next to us says that very thing? It wanted to be said. :)

I also struggle much with the idea that to be creative and deep you must be a pessimist and sad, "a tortured soul". There's quite a funny chapter about that. Yes, it's all a bit fluffy, but why not? So far (33% ) it's a good companion for the Singer and certainly not a bad book for the last month of the year.

122sibylline
des. 11, 2015, 8:57pm

Just dropping by to say I managed to listen to a little bit of GR today - hope to listen some more tomorrow as I sew up some curtains and, I hope, make some sort of sense of it! I must admit the toilet ship had me snickering like a ten year old. A lot of the humor is so juvenile and yet -- it is a side grown-ups deny rather than really grow out of, I suspect. Enough of that!

123Deern
des. 12, 2015, 1:38am

I finished #98, Big Magic, last night. Now trying to get through James e la pesca gigante today which will not become my new favorite Dahl and if possible make Virginia Woolf's Between the Acts my #100 which will also conclude my now at least half-done BAC 2015. Before that I won't touch GR, but that's okay, I need Lucy ahead of me. :)

I caught so many new BBs yesterday on the Guardian ws and got a couple of new samples. I am quite determined to tackle the Elena Ferrante Napolitan quadrilogy next year, though those books are long, but I finally want to find a contemporary Italian author I like and the international reviews give me hope. And I'm so glad the new Kindle has more than just one dictionary. I'll be able to read more French and Italian in future.

Plans for the weekend: hairdresser this morning, then town to look for a dress, home to do some cooking for the week (another batch of my now favorite soup with beans, sweet potatoes, peanut butter and veggies inspired by Darryl's original recipe and a dhaal from the "Oh She Glows" blog), then in the evening the office Christmas party, which here is quite a formal dinner.

Tomorrow some cleaning and reading and in the afternoon doing some service at the Christmas market stall of the refugees at an "alternative" CM. I hope they'll sell some objects, I counted at least 10 yogurt cups- bicycle wheel lamps on Wednesday. But there are other things as well.

>122 sibylline: I'll wait until my #100 is finished and then continue. The toilet ship was great fun, I got lost afterwards, on the next ship and in Swinemünde. I read that the Pulitzer was denied to him for that very scene we discussed earlier! Okay, it was a while ago and he could have let at least the chewing out.

124Ameise1
des. 12, 2015, 7:33am

Wishing you a wonderful weekend, Nathalie.

125Donna828
des. 12, 2015, 5:51pm

>105 Deern: You make a strong case for The Buried Giant, Nathalie. It is on my list to be read sometime next year. With all the different challenges I can't keep up with, I'm not making specific commitments…just struggling along at my own pace enjoying what I read.

126PaulCranswick
des. 12, 2015, 9:12pm

>125 Donna828: I will wait for the mass market paperback version hitting the stores but I want to read that one too in 2016.

Have a lovely weekend, Nathalie. xx

127Deern
Editat: des. 14, 2015, 5:59am

Didn't get to finish my #100 yet, about 90 pages to go, and they won't be a fast read - after all it's a typical Virginia Woolf!

98. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Yes it’s fluffy. And it’s not exactly written well from a “literary” view. But that’s unimportant. I believe that EG is an author you’ll like if what she writes fits your situation. If you read her and her themes aren’t yours as well, you will dislike her books – very much so, probably. Eat, Pray, Love was a great help for me, it brought me to yoga, meditation, to improving my Italian and my cooking and I don’t know if I would have that unhesitatingly moved here without having read that book. I never liked the Bali/romance part very much, I admit, and don’t think I ever reread the painful New York beginning. So far I never even tried reading any other books by her, I knew they weren’t for me. You just pick what you need from her books, and here it was the same. This is about the creativity that’s present, though too often well hidden, in all of us. She encourages everyone to just open up to it and to dare making it part of your life, in whatever form. She wisely discourages people to live for the art only if it doesn’t pay them because you’re not likely to produce well if under financial pressure. She puts much emphasis on persistence – if you want to be a writer, try to write at least something every day, just to get used to it and to be relaxed with it. And one of the most important points is that you don’t need to be a tortured soul to create. If you are one and want to remain one, that’s okay and your decision. But you don’t need to. And you’re not too old/stupid/shy/fat/uneducated/ ugly/clumsy/happy/unhappy… to at least try something. And yes, I needed to read that from someone else, obvious as it may sound. Because I'm always too "something" - as I was too stupid/clumsy/unreliable/... for years to do voluntary service until some people here told me it doesn't matter what I fear as long as I at least give it a try. (Thank you to all those wonderful friends for encouraging me!! !)

The writing is repetitive, but that’s something important in self-help books. You have to read the critical points several times to get them into your mind. I ordered two German editions this weekend and will give one to my mum and one to my aunt. To my mum to show her that you’re never too old to leave that ****** ironing board/washing machine for half an hour daily to do something you enjoy. And for my aunt for one piece about a happy bohemian 90 year old who was a great inspiration to EG, to show her we don’t have to become like my grandma, talking about death all the time to get attention and to make others feel guilty and unhappy.

Rating: 3.8 (4 stars)

99.James e la pesca gigante by Roald Dahl

As I feared at half-point, James and the Giant Peach is not my new favorite Dahl. Actually, it might be my least favorite now. Maybe I just got a little tired of those super-good badly treated children in his books. I didn’t like James in the same way I didn’t like Charlie, just that here were no alternative “bad” kids I could root for. I also found the idea of that giant peach with all those huge insects inside not very appealing and I know I wouldn’t have liked it as kid either. The ending was a bit flat, too. I should reread the BFG soon. Or Matilda.

Rating: 3 stars

128Deern
Editat: des. 14, 2015, 12:10pm

>124 Ameise1: this was just the pic I needed to stare at on this busy weekend, Barbara. Thank you!! And I love sitting down for a moment on the advent's Sundays, opening all of last week's Törlis. :)

>125 Donna828: the more I think about it the more I notice its many little flaws in the middle part, but on the other hand I feel even more enchanted. So much so that I also bought it for my parents.

>126 PaulCranswick: Thank you, Paul! And a lovely week to you!

******
Had a great weekend! The fun started at the hairdresser's: the owner, Renata, has that old and quite heavy black Labrador called Cindy. Two weeks ago they bought a French bulldog puppy called Pierre. So cute - and such a wild one. Cindy didn't move a cm, but then another client came with an older Chihuahua mix (Alfie) and Pierre did his best to play with him. Alfie was totally freaked out by the already bigger puppy, so I "saved" him by keeping him on my lap while his owner got her hair done. Pierre tried to jump up my leg for a while, then another client took him on her lap from where he tried to jump over to me and trembling little Alfie.

From there I went with my for once pretty hair to the shops and found two lovely and quite cheap dresses. I had lunch, then turned home and spent much time deciding which of the dresses to wear to the party. I am wearing the other one right now in the office.

The party started with an aperitivo (prosecco) and some foccaccia. The menu had five courses and wasn't that great this year. I had chosen the fish menu they always offer for the muslim workers, where you are safe that also no meat ingredients (like broth) are hidden in soup or pasta sauce. Last year I was allowed to have that as well and my colleague Waltraud gave me some of her side dishes and ate my fish. This year fish was open for everyone for the first time, but at my table I was the only one.

First course was a crepe with cream cheese and smoked salmon with a bit of salad. Ate the crepe and moved the salmon to Waltraud's plate. Second course was tepid pumpkin soup. Tepid it was because there were just three waiters, carrying two plates on every turn from the kitchen, and ours was the last table served (we were about 120 people). Then I got salmon ravioli and for whatever reason the meat eaters got vegetarian ones. Luckily my salmon loving colleague swapped plates with me. Then there arrived a huge portion of fish and one shrimp with a tiny ball of mashed potatoes. The fish of which I actually tried one bite because it was covered in interesting green "stuff" (which turned out to be a sweet(!) pistacchio crust) was totally dry and already cold, the worst fish dish I ever had on my plate. The shrimp looked dry and pale in its shell, with the intestine clearly visible, its dead eyes staring sadly at me. I couldn't eat it and no-one else wanted it. Waltraud tried a bit and almost spit it out, so I threw my (paper) napkin over the plate, also to dampen the strong smell. Eeeew. The meat course was just as bad and totally cold, half the food served at my table was returned. Dessert then was okay, a bit of tiramisu, chocolate mousse and some parfait. I was still hungry because the other portions had been small and so much time passed between courses, so I ate most of it and paid with stomach cramps, as I hadn't had any sugar in weeks. The wine however was good and there was plenty of it. :)

There were speeches, I was mentioned with my new responsibilities (waaah - pressure!), and the ones who have been working with the company for 20 or 30 years got gift baskets and framed certificates. When we left, we all got our panettone or pandoro, as every year, and back home I ate a slice of my pandoro because I won't have any more sugar for the rest of the week - and I just LOVE pandoro!

Yesterday I skipped breakfast, did my cooking as planned (the red lentil dhaal with spinach is SO good!) and then went to the alternative Christmas market for my service from 2-7pm. I walked there, but then returned to take the car as it was needed for transport of the materials after closing. The market was incredibly beautiful, like an enchanted forest, difficult to describe, I'll try to post some pics.

The only issue was that after a couple of warm days it was freezing and although I wore my warmest jacket, boots, a cap and gloves, I fear I might have caught a cold.
I ended up buying one of those yogurt-cup-lamps and brought it to the office today, because our own cups were used for it. They actually sold a couple, and all the cards and most of the other decorations. There were no fixed prices, it was all donations because the guys aren't yet allowed to work for money, but the people really gave much.

There was a gluehwein stall (and I couldn't have any, might have warmed me a bit) and a stage where bands were playing. Animals (goats, sheep, rabbits) for the kids to look at, a bakery where they could make their own cookies... the whole thing was quite a success and I only saw relaxed and happy faces.

129Deern
Editat: des. 14, 2015, 7:36am

So here are some pics - sadly many were blurry again, the light was difficult yesterday and I only had my mobile cam. No snow, lots of dust as it hasn't rained in almost two months now.

The CM was in a park near an old castle (of which we have many in Merano) and the Merano streetworkers and a group of students had prepared everything in the last three months. There were parts like a deep wood (of course those pics all went wrong), then there was a small bamboo forest and an open place where they had the stage, tables, benches and also couches, blankets and stoves.
Of course in the evening it was all even more romantic, but no way could my cam have captured that.

The entry with the streetworker's stall, selling decoration made by a group of Senegalese women:


The entry to the "enchanted bamboo forest":


Just one impression from the small bamboo forest where they had put those little cards with sayings/inspirations everywhere:


Our stall, you can see all the lamps. The local RAI (TV) is filming:


View from inside our stall - one of the refugees had taught me how to make those stars on the cards :


The lamp I bought:

130Ameise1
des. 15, 2015, 1:00am

Beautiful. I hope this week won't be too busy.

131Deern
des. 15, 2015, 4:35am

>130 Ameise1: Could be worse - there was an IT Workshop planned for Thursday and Friday which fortunately has been cancelled, so I should get all my work done before the weekend without having to stay longer. Which means I can also do my washing and my packing without too much stress.

******
Finished my #100 yesterday, Between the Acts by Virginia Woolf. Now I can return to GR, I hope to finish it in 2015.

132charl08
des. 15, 2015, 8:50am

Looks impressive. Hope lots of money was raised.

(The lamps were not how I imagined them at all, how funny!)

133LizzieD
des. 15, 2015, 6:39pm

CONGRATULATIONS on reading 100!!!!!
The lamp is quite impressive. I'm glad they did well but wish you hadn't gotten a cold for your good work.
The meal sounds pretty depressing. Maybe they hoped you'd drink so much wine that you wouldn't notice that it was bad???

134Deern
des. 16, 2015, 6:14am

100. Between the Acts by Virginia Woolf (1,001 #403/357, BAC 2015)

With lots of effort in the last 3-4 months I made it to 100, yay! That’s a good 50 less than in the last 2 years, but much better than could be expected after the first half of 2015 when I was doubting I’d get to 75. And my #100 is also a 1,001 and the last book I needed to complete at least half the BAC 2015. And it’s a Virginia Woolf, and a great one. It was published after her death, and some reviews call it a “draft” (maybe everything that’s not the final edited version is a draft, even if it’s as perfect as this one?).

The story is set on a warm summer day in June 1939, in an old country estate where a pageant is planned for the late afternoon. We meet the family members, some of the servants, later also some guests and we witness the play with everyone. It’s always difficult for me to review VW because I just float away on the stream-of-consciousness parts and when I re-emerge I don’t clearly remember what it was all about. I can just say that the writing here is so sensitive, the situations so well observed (it’s obvious VW witnessed herself much of what she wrote here 1:1), often there’s also some biting irony about "conventions" that I don’t remember from earlier works, maybe an early sign of a hopelessness settling in. After all, the outbreak of war is looming, and the whole setting, while “in the moment” also feels like a farewell an era that’ll soon be over, and maybe that isn't such a bad thing. This isn’t a book that will leave the reader in a content mood, maybe in a resigned one. The scenes of Isa’s and Giles’ marriage, and then the ending, were impressive as well. She's a bored and neglected woman, desperately ready to attach her heart to any new object while dutifully bound to “the father of her children”. Giles himself is agitated, but his affair with another woman is a mere placeholder for the military action he is waiting for.

The theater play went over my head a bit because I feel you need to have much historical/ cultural background on England to fully appreciate it. So I preferred the scenes before, after and yes, between the acts.

This one is very close to my old favorites, The Waves and To The Lighthouse.

Rating: 4.5 stars

135Deern
Editat: des. 16, 2015, 6:32am

>132 charl08: I don't know how much they raised exactly, but people usually gave much more than the objects' worth.
The lamps don't look that good up close, the transparent connecting plastic threads almost ruined my new poncho when I was carrying the lamp into the office on Monday, a colleague hat to cut me free. :) And on many cups there are remains of the aluminum lids they couldn't scratch off. But on the wall and switched on they're quite nice, especially the ones made with neutral white or transparent cups.

>133 LizzieD: Thank you, Peggy! :)
This was my 4th Xmas dinner here - two were great, two not so much - and on the other occasion they were stingy with the wine. They offered me white and when I accepted they removed the red wine glass (although there would be red meat later, that was in 2013, about 4 weeks before I turned vegetarian). We go to different places every year, which isn't easy with more than 100 people. I haven't been drinking any alcohol lately (just didn't feel like it), but on Saturday I was grateful for it, because white wine always settles my stomach when food makes me nauseous. It's the acidity that for most people has the contrary effect.

****
Reading plans: I'm at 40% now with Babbitt, a book I quite enjoy, but that's also easy to put down and forget for a couple of days.
I'll return to GR soon, and I'd like to finish Il borgomastro di Furnes by George Simenon - another book I enjoy, but forget to pack into my handbag every day.

136Ameise1
des. 16, 2015, 4:11pm

Congrats on 100.

137sibylline
Editat: des. 16, 2015, 4:21pm

Marvelous review of Between the Acts which I need to reread, I realize now. It's been at least 20 years.

Lovely photographs!

Oh my, and congrats at reaching 100!

138Deern
des. 17, 2015, 9:25am

>136 Ameise1:, >137 sibylline: Thank you, Barbara and Lucy! :)

Reading has come to a complete halt now probably until Sunday. So much to do! Bought 4 big pandoro cakes today for the advent celebration with the refugees on Saturday. Saw their Christmas tree outside their house yesterday with all the remaining decorations, it looks really nice. People donated a 4 digit sum in just two days on that little market, so they might be able to buy a used computer and maybe also some instruments and a sewing machine.

139FAMeulstee
des. 18, 2015, 2:31pm

Congrats on reaching 100 :-)

140LizzieD
des. 18, 2015, 5:16pm

>138 Deern: How wonderful!

141Deern
des. 19, 2015, 1:06am

>139 FAMeulstee: Thank you, Anita :)
>140 LizzieD: Yes, they're all happy, this was a great thing after so many months of "forced idleness" that they could do something that brought some money in. And people even asked if we'll do more markets, like the Easter or Whitsunday ones.

Another super-busy day ahead. Meeting my landlady first thing to give her a small present for her dog Floh. I'll also post my notice for the appartment today, already told her yesterday. The period is 6 months, so I'll have lots of time to get things organized. I love this place but really can't afford it anymore. And then it's around the corner of ex-guy's pharmacy and I still can't walk past it. Saw him twice and he "reacts" as if I didn't exist, turned away as if I had been the one hurting him. Of course it means "I know I behaved like the last ******* on earth, but I'll have to keep ignoring you to continue my new life without bad conscience".
Hurts like hell,even after 8 months.
I saw another place some weeks ago, it's the other end of town and so much smaller and quite scruffy, but it costs half the rent and I can park the car. Close to station and refugee house and in the valley, so I'll be able to use my bike a lot and save money for gas as well. The hardest part will be reducing my things so much that they fit into two smaller rooms.

Haven't packed a thing yet, so I better get out of bed now. :)

142FAMeulstee
des. 19, 2015, 7:24am

> Reducing stuff is never easy, done that twice... but on the other hand it isn't bad to go through everything every few years and get rid of some ;-)
I hope the new place turns out well!

143Ameise1
des. 19, 2015, 8:52am

Wishing you a lovely weekend, Nathalie. I keep my fingers crossed that you find a lovely place.

144Deern
Editat: des. 21, 2015, 1:08am

>142 FAMeulstee: I really hope I will be able to sell some of my furniture to the next renters. And all the other stuff.... I'm glad there are many months left to sort through things. I am sure there's much I can give away.

>143 Ameise1: Thank you Barbara, the same to you. I am quite sure I'll move into the place I saw two weeks ago. It's just... so much "less nice" than what I have now. But I've been living in Merano long enough to know it's great value for the price. Just can't afford that luxury appt. anymore, it ate up most of my money in the past 6 years.

I am in Germany now. Had the most lovely flight. Even saw my old street when we flew in over Frankfurt city. A small plane (108 seats) just half full, and of course on Frankfurt airport we were parked in the most remote place. The bus trip took almost 15 minutes, also with all the stopping to let planes pass. Quite fascinating. At the luggage belt there was just one other person, most other passengers had been American tourists taking the trans-ocean flight from Frankfurt. We waited forever and then two bags fell down on the belt.

Parents were very happy to see me. We went to the Wiesbaden Christmas market where of all things I went for the Italian arancini (vegetarian fried rice balls). Back home we finished decorating the Christmas tree and watched "Little Lord Fauntleroy". My mum was forever fretting about the lights on the tree as usual. Went to bed early and of course woke up at 4am. Have been reading some GR and a bit of Babbitt.
Today I'll first visit my aunt Karin and then drive on to see my friend Sabine who'll show me the building site for her new house. It's raining, already put the wellies into my mum's car.

145sibylline
des. 21, 2015, 9:21am

Full confession! I smashed my ipod in the car door on Saturday . . . that is what I usually use to listen to GR. I was upset but not horribly so as I have had that nano for many many years and I could use one with bigger storage. Still. It is a setback. The print on my pbk copy is insanely tiny so I can't really stand reading it. I didn't "lose" anything, all is safely stored here on my computer and various clouds around the cyberverse, but I can't figure out how to get to my audiobooks on my iphone except by accessing Audible, but I'll do whatever I have to do to keep things going. It got caught in my coat or something by the cord that goes into the sound system!

Glad you are home safe and sound. We have our daughter home and it is a joyful thing. Got our tree yesterday, but we do everything very slowly, so the lights will go on next when someone feels moved to do the job. Then I get the ornaments out and people just sort of put them on as the mood takes them.

146Carmenere
des. 22, 2015, 8:36am

Hi Nathalie, new year, new apartment, new start!

147Ameise1
des. 23, 2015, 10:38am

148Deern
des. 23, 2015, 10:54am

>145 sibylline: I am very sorry about the ipod, but that means a GR free Christmas for me, right? It's not excatly a nice holiday read... :)
My dad and I just returned from town with another light chain, so my mum can mix cold and warm lights or whatever. And she wants to turn the fully decorated tree. I already see the whole thing on the floor...

>146 Carmenere:,>147 Ameise1: Thank you, the same to you! Just started doing the rounds, see you on your threads! :)

******
Finally got all the presents, "just" need to wrap them. Helped my mum with the cooking today. Yesterday she and I were in town all day, today, after the cooking, she sent my dad and me to town again for those **** extra lights. We used the last occasion to visit the Wisbaden Christmas market which is closing tonight (the one in Merano stays open till January 6th, but here in Germany that day isn't a holiday and the season ends earlier).

149SandDune
des. 23, 2015, 3:03pm



Happy Christmas Nathalie!

150ronincats
des. 23, 2015, 6:52pm



For my Christmas/Hanukkah/Solstice/Holiday image this year (we are so diverse!), I've chosen this photograph by local photographer Mark Lenoce of the pier at Pacific Beach to express my holiday wishes to you: Peace on Earth and Good Will toward All!

151charl08
des. 24, 2015, 12:09am

I'm a fan of Xmas markets, the ones you've described sound very festive. Hope you have a lovely holiday with your family. Thanks for your kind comment on my thread. I really enjoyed reading your perspective on those Booker books. I'm hoping for a good reading year in 2016.

152avatiakh
des. 24, 2015, 7:27am

Have a lovely Christmas.

153FAMeulstee
des. 24, 2015, 8:13am

Happy holidays!

154PaulCranswick
des. 24, 2015, 11:40am



Have a lovely holiday, dear Nathalie. xx

155lkernagh
des. 24, 2015, 1:04pm

There is no chance that I will manage to get caught up with the threads but I had to make sure that I stopped by your thread Nathalie to wish you a wonderful Christmas!

156cushlareads
des. 25, 2015, 5:03am

Frohe Weihnachten, Nathalie!

Have a lovely day and I hope the Christmas markets in Wiesbaden were gorgeous. I miss them and found our Gluehwein mugs from Basel when I was unpacking.

157Deern
Editat: des. 26, 2015, 1:44am

Thank you so much Rhian, Roni, Charlotte, Kerry, Anita, Paul, Lori, Cushla for visiting and leaving such lovely Christmas wishes.

We've had a bit of a sentimental Christmas so far. On the evening of the 23rd we saw an ambulance stopping next door and shortly after a hearse (word?). Our 60 year old neighbor and friend of my parents who'd suffered an extremely severe myocardial infarction (I hope that's the right expression from the online dictionary) 6 years ago and several complications and a stroke since, peacefully died in his sleep in the early evening on the couch while his wife was cooking dinner. Of course we visited in the morning and talked and offered help, but right now there isn't much my parents (or I) could do. We're all very sad, but all said that we're greatful for the extra time and that we're relieved that after all the pain and suffering in the end he got such a peaceful painfree death. Of course a day before Christmas it is extra hard for the daughter and especially the wife who lost both her old parents in 2014.
We've been talking much about death those past 2 days and how to make the best of the lives we're given.

Some impressions from here:

Our tree with the extra light chain my mum insisted on putting on after everything had been finished already :)


Quilting is not a well-known thing in Germany, but our neighbor Karin started it some years ago and she and my parents gave me this lovely little quilt with pictures of me and my family:


And from the Christmas party last Saturday in Merano (didn't want to post pics of the guys on the internet, so it's just "things" and food):

The "tavolata":


The tree - and for whatever reason it's taken a 90 degrees turn when uploading:


I wish you all a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS / HAPPY HOLIDAYS, you wonderful friends! Lots and lots of hugs to you, wherever you are!

158LizzieD
des. 25, 2015, 8:24pm

Enjoy your home time! Hugs right back from North Carolina!

Merry Christmas and Happy, Happy New Year, Nathalie!

159lkernagh
des. 26, 2015, 12:03pm

Sounds like a wonderful Christmas Nathalie, even if it did start off on a sad note. Love the quilt! That is beautiful!

160Deern
des. 27, 2015, 7:46am

>158 LizzieD: Thank you Peggy, I hope you had a lovely one as well! That tree is beautiful! I'll visit your thread for NY wishes. :)

>159 lkernagh: I love the quilt, and it's sooo soft! I had to return it because it isn't 100% finished on the back, my parents will bring it here when they visit me in March.

Back home after another nice flight, a drive of less than two hours and some grocery shopping. The sun is shining, but it's cooler here than in Germany. Still no rain in sight at least until next Friday (that's how far the forecast goes), which makes almost 3 months. The palm trees look dry and thirsty and everything is just brown. And all that dust! I hope that once rain comes it'll come slowly, otherwise there'll be rock avalanches again as some years ago after an extremely dry winter.

Just having a cup of tea, then I'll unpack and maybe switch on my notebook to start a 2016 thread, but maybe I'll wait till Jan 1st. So far I completely ignored the new group, can hardly keep up with this one.

Tomorrow I'll return to work. Thursday is just half a day, then another long weekend. I might take the two bridge days next week (the 6th is a holiday again) if I decide to have a bday party on the 4th. It's years since I had one and now I still have the space. And I'll be half-90, so I'll be in need of company and emotional support!

161Ameise1
des. 27, 2015, 7:57am

Glad to here that you made it safely back home. Thanks for sharing all your christmas photos and news.
Thomas and I went to the Kunsthaus this morning for an exeptional 17th century Dutch art exhibition. All paintings are from privat collections therefore I won't see them again.
No rain until Friday hete, too, but in the morning it's chillier than it was last week.

162The_Hibernator
des. 28, 2015, 12:09am

Hope you had happy holidays Nathalie! Good luck with your last week of 2015!

163Deern
Editat: des. 28, 2015, 3:30am

>161 Ameise1: It's quite chilly here as well. At least it feels like winter while at my parents' place everything is green and the almond trees are in Bloom (okay, they are early ones, but February/March, not December). Heading right to your thread now to see if there are Kunsthaus pics, sounds like an excellent exhibition.

>162 The_Hibernator: Thank you and the same to you, Rachel! :)
*****
Of course I fell asleep on the couch after my post, so no new 2016 thread yet. Must still write down my favorite books of 2015, but I'm currently listening to a really good one (The Green Road by Anne Enright) and want to see if it makes it into the top 10.

164BekkaJo
des. 28, 2015, 4:34am

Belated Merry Christmas from me - haven't checked in in ages and I'll admit to skim catch up ;)

But I hope all is well and I'll try and be more present in 2016! It's a resolution anyway...

165charl08
des. 28, 2015, 6:43am

Party sounds like a great idea. Hope that you get to relax and finish The Green Road before your work gears up again.

166Deern
Editat: des. 28, 2015, 6:56am

>164 BekkaJo: Hi Bekka, good to see you posting again! All is quite well, thank you. And being more present in 2016 is also one of my resolutions (as usual)... :)

>165 charl08: Hi Charlotte, haven't decided yet, I'd have to invite quite a lot of people this year and am too lazy to really prepare dinner for them all. Thinking of something like a "kitchen chaos party", with lasagne and pizza dough and toppings so everyone can create their own pizza, also because I have no idea how many would come, my bday being on a bridge day between a super long weekend and another holiday, so many will certainly be away while others might spontaneously turn up.

I love The Green Road so far (just reading Hannah in part 2) and think it's another one that should have made the SL. It took me a bit to get used to the Irish voices, now I quite like them.

167Deern
Editat: des. 28, 2015, 10:26am

Waaah... I did it! Just invited my whole yoga group and some extra people to my birthday! Which means that I'll have either zero or 20 guests. Now I'm nervous! Should I have guests and not spend that night alone and desperate with lasagna and pizza dough, I'll post some pics on my new thread which is here: http://www.librarything.com/topic/209936

168Deern
des. 28, 2015, 10:26am

Time for a bit of sentimentality? Okay - I know in the US it is done for Thanksgiving, but I wanted to wait until the end of the year.

Events/Developments I’m grateful for in 2015:

That the two little lumps in my breasts that were removed in February just looked cancerous, but were benign, yay!! :D And that I received such fantastic treatment in the Merano hospital.

It’s hard to put this one onto the “grateful for” list, but:
That I was finally, after 44 years, confronted with my worst fear of being willingly “abandoned” and forgotten by a person I loved and trusted despite all my best efforts. I had to accept that you can’t prevent certain things from happening to you, no matter what you do. I also finally understand the whole circle of that relationship, I understand the trauma behind my own reactions in the beginning when I was so scared I started therapy and I’m quite convinced I’ll never follow that pattern again.

That I was able to continue the good things that I started in the past 3 years thanks to that man (he'd seen a side in me I had never noticed and which I liked and started to develop). When he was gone, part of my desperation was that I believed he had taken that side of me with him, as if it couldn’t exist without him. But after a couple of weeks I found that it’s still there, it’s living on and growing even better now, and I’m so happy with it.

That I was able to keep up the love instead of falling into the super-destructive cycle of disrespect and hate as I did on former occasions and as is the norm in my family when people disappoint us. I consciously chose the hard way that left me much more vulnerable, and I believe it has been good for me.

That whenever I thought my life had lost all its meaning, something happened that gave me hope. A call or a text or a thread post or a PN from a friend, a BB from LT or even from another book that lead me to a really helpful read (the Singer was a recommendation on audible, the Vanzants were mentioned in a Louise Hay book), a recipe I wanted to try, a song on the radio, an invitation to a yoga weekend, a friend I hardly knew looking for a place to stay.

That I finally overcame my fear of not being good enough/ too stupid to help and started doing voluntary work, also thanks to the encouragement from you. And that I’m still doing it and liking it despite some issues I had feared and that really came up soon (at first I was the only female single helper under 60 in a house with 70 young males desperate for a permit to stay. Never wrote it here, but of course there were “attempts”, from love declarations to “you MUST save me” pleadings that initially really scared and disturbed me).

That I started to learn to accept what life offers me instead of constructing fake plans. This has led me to countless pleasant surprises and experiences. It has also brought me new duties at my workplace and maybe also a new appartment.

That (although late in the year) I finally started inviting people to my place and guess what? They didn't run away screaming because I am such a bad host! :)

That the Booker LL got me out of the worst reading funk ever!

Friendship:
I’m infinitely grateful for the friendship I found here on LT. For the understanding when I went AWOL again and again for weeks. For the support during all my emotional struggles. This is such a special place for me, like a second home and a safe haven, and I hope we’ll continue being there for each other for many years to come.

In RL I’m especially grateful for my new yoga friends because the circumstances when we met - each of us carrying a knapsack of issues, each of us feeling emotionally weak – gave us the opportunity to completely open up without embarrassment. This was a new experience for me, and it is something I try to add into my older friendships as well.

I’m so glad to have re-connected with my aunt Karin, my “soul sister” who’s just 12 years older than me. She has become my anchor in a very difficult family and I have become hers.

Books:

Non-fiction:
The Untethered Soul audiobook by Michael A. Singer, which I listened through completely at least 20 times and special chapters innumerable times more. I gave a German paper copy to several people, but unfortunately the translation has been done very badly, it simply sounds horrible when read aloud.

The 2 books by Ilanya Vanzant I read this year. The first one, Peace from Broken Pieces, picked me off of the floor during a really bad phase, the second one Forgiveness: 21 Days to forgive Everyone for Everything helped me understand how deep those old wounds are and how angry, hateful and unforgiving I have been all my life towards just one single person: myself.

And last not least on the non-fiction side: What Color is your Parachute. Of course directed to US readers with all the info about job ads and interview techniques, but the main part, the “flower petals”, helped me so much!

Fiction: (the first one counts as novel although it's autobiographical)
Et tu n’es pas revenu by Marceline Loridan-Ivens, which I gave to my dad in German translation for Christmas. Please read it when it’s translated: heart-wrenching, beautifully written, short and very important.

The Buried Giant: it has flaws, yes, and quite many. But the dreamlike atmosphere, the feelings of sadness and loss but without desperation, lingering like a fine mist above the narrative, made this one of the most beautiful reads in 2015. Had this been on the Booker LL, it would have been my favorite. Bought it for my parents as well.

A Brief History of Seven Killings: it took me forever to like this book, but when I finally fell for it, it was like big love that had overcome all obstacles.

The “Gilead” trilogy by Marilynne Robinson. So beautiful!

Did you ever have a family? by Bill Clegg. Sad and a bit over-constructed, but with an ending I might not forget and that helped me to get through this year.

Slade House for the sheer joy! One of the most entertaining books I ever read.

And I feel I might add The Green Road by Anne Enright to that list as well. 2015 has been a great Booker year again.

169Donna828
des. 28, 2015, 12:05pm

Nathalie, that was a beautiful wrap-up to an important year in your life. You have overcome so many obstacles and learned to handle whatever life gives you. I hope 2016 is another year of learning about yourself and embracing life. I am so proud to call you "Friend"!

So far I have ignored the 2016 group, but as the days in 2015 wane, I am hearing the Siren Song of a new beginning. Happy New Year to you!

170lauralkeet
des. 28, 2015, 5:04pm

>168 Deern: What a lovely recap. It was a memorable year for you, for sure. See you in the 2016 group.

171Deern
des. 29, 2015, 5:21am

>169 Donna828:, >170 lauralkeet: Thank you Donna and Laura! To be honest, since I moved here 6 years abgo, I went from crisis to crisis - job, money, family, love - nothing seemed to work. My life "functioned" so much better back in Frankfurt (but then I didn't post much on LT if at all, so none of you will remember). But I always knew it had been the right decision to come here, that that step was very important for myself though I didn't yet know why and how. This year, difficult as it has been, has finally forced me to look at life and also at myself in a different way. Not expecting certain things all the time, not being as harsh and unforgiving towards myself as I used to be.

Being confronted with my mother in that past week showed me that I'm on the right track now. It's sad to say it, but I don't want to be her in 25 years. Born a refugee child from Eastern Europe, she always felt unloved and undeserving and hardened up so extremely that now aged 70 she's starving herself not directly to death but to total weakness and has no empathy at all for anyone except for animals. Most of the time that whole person is just badly suppressed rage. I can't help her, I tried so much. I can just live differently and of course show her my love (and avoid discussing Syrian and African refugees).

I've also tried to ignore the 2016 group for a while, but now I'm slowly starting to settle in. Stress-free of course. :)

172Deern
des. 29, 2015, 10:19am

The last 2:

101. Babbit by Sinclair Lewis (AAC 2015, 1001 #404/358) CONTAINS SPOILERS

A really nice and quite entertaining book, but also a book that didn’t want to be picked up again once I put it down. Also a book where the audio version helped, a book faster listened to than read. I see how it is on the 1,001 list, but while it is timeless in a way, it also has lost its punch. The hypocrisy behind many “good citizens” isn’t a secret anymore. George Babbitt drinks during prohibition, plays the good husband while flirting with other women (though I can hardly believe he never really cheated???), hates his job but keeps doing it. His life could have gone on like this forever, but then his best friend Paul Riesling loses his nerves and does something terrible which shatters Babbitt’s functioning world and leads him “astray” (well… having a platonic(?) affair, drinking a bit more and talking to a socialist is as far as it gets). I liked the ending, it wasn’t cheesy, it was honest in its open disillusion with what the world might still offer him.

Rating: 3.5 stars

102. The Green Road by Anne Enright (Booker 2015 LL) CONTAINS SPOILERS

I loved this book for a long time – and then I lost some of my love for it in the last part, I’m sorry. A little bit returned during the last 5 minutes for the avoidance of more drama and a quite realistic ending.

An Irish family – 4 adult children and their widowed mother – gather for Christmas 2005 for the first time after many years, when the mother announces her wish to sell her house. This is a popular theme in books and movies, and what Enright did exceptionally well were the things left unspoken where the reader can insert their own family issues and explanations and really empathize with the characters. What I liked less was the drama in the last part, after the unavoidable (though small) escalation.

The book is cleverly constructed. It starts with 5 long chapters where the reader is introduced to each of the 4 children and Rosalyn the mother with an important episode from everyone’s lives in the years between 1986 and 2005 (when Rosalyn sends out the invitations). I could connect with all of them except for Emmitt/Emmett (spelling?) whose episode about a dying dog in Mali I found extremely repulsive and whom as a consequence I didn’t like throughout the book. I felt sorry for both Hannah and Constance, in the same helpess way you feel sorry for RL people who are trapped in their lives. The Dan chapter was fantastic as were all his scenes!

In part 2, in much shorter chapters, everyone prepares for Christmas 2005. And then they are all together and it doesn’t work at all, of course. Things escalate when Rosalyn confirms her wish to sell and announces to move in with her oldest daughter Constance, the only one who stayed in the neighborhood and has been looking after her for years, the only one with a solid family life.
In the last part things escalate in a way I found unnecessary. I could still relate to them all, even to Rosalyn who was glorifying her youth and her marriage as my grandma does it now. I was very relieved that Anne Enright didn’t take the last step and avoided a movie-like happy or tragic ending.

This isn’t a feel-good book. You’ll feel as trapped and suffocated as the 4 children. It wasn’t entirely clear how Rosalyn’s behavior (of which we learn most in the first Hannah chapter) had lead to everyone’s individual situation, why Hannah was an alcoholic in an abusive relationship and I would really have liked to know why and when Dan decided against becoming a priest, but they all blamed her manipulative ways yet kept tiptoeing around her like she was a raw egg. Even in the very last chapter when Constance’s husband in a really critical situation says “it’s all about her”, meaning Rosalyn, Emmett’s first reaction is to defend her against that “outsider”.
Often painful to read, very well observed and beautifully written.

Rating: 4.1 stars – and I’m done with the 2015 Bookers! :)

173FAMeulstee
des. 29, 2015, 10:27am

>171 Deern: It's sad to say it, but I don't want to be her in 25 years.
Oh how I know feeling that... I am not so harsh to myself anymore when I recognise my mother in myself. Would be strange if I had no traits she has...
I think we are both on the right track ;-)

174sibylline
des. 29, 2015, 1:11pm

Thank you for your wrap up for the year - I do something similar in my journal and I think it is such a worthwhile exercise.

Glad you are back home safe and sound and having had what sounds like a quiet and pleasant time with your parents.

175Deern
des. 30, 2015, 3:07am

>173 FAMeulstee: It's a long process, but I'm beginning to enjoy it, and the more I enjoy it, the easier it gets.

>174 sibylline: Thank you, Lucy. I don't have a journal anymore and I found I read through old threads from time to time, so I thought it's a good place although it's public (and despite its length I removed quite a lot).

*****
7 friends already accepted and 5-7 others might come as well. Really starting to plan now - and getting hungry while planning! :)

Right now I'm thinking chili lasagna, green vegan lasagna (one friend can't eat milk products), my beloved tofu quiche in twice the normal size - and for dessert I must still decide between a fruit and yogurt trifle and a black forest trifle. And a small batch of those super-easy vegan raspberry muffins for those with lactose issues.
Okay - that's lots of layered stuff you can eat with spoons from a bowl, but for a party where you don't know when people arrive and how long they'll stay it's the easiest way.

Tomorrow I might be alone or celebrate with my neighbor friend Sabine if she returns from Switzerland in time where her oldest daughter lives. She's on the way to become a vegetarian as well and also started cutting out the milk products, so I'm planning to make another portion of the vegan quiche.

176lkernagh
des. 30, 2015, 9:10pm

The dinner menu sounds wonderful!

177Deern
des. 31, 2015, 4:00am

Had fun yesterday! Went to the biggest supermarket during lunch break, thinking it would be a better time than after work, completely forgetting about all the people having taken this week off. I got the last 3 packs of spinach, the last box with fresh mushrooms and to my total surprise the last 3 packs of tofu!! Who in Merano buys so much tofu for NYE??
Seeing the crowds I decided to buy everything I need for my bday do, except for the fresh veggies and the dairy I'll get here in our shop at a lower price. I think it was a good decision, it's unlikely that the shelves with chips/crisps, dips and booze will be restocked already on Monday. People were walking around like zombies with those looong shopping list, murmuring and looking for things already sold out.

By now 10 people have confirmed with 3 more being very likely to come as well. Getting into a bit of a planning panic because the "little party" seems to become a big one and already doubled all the recipes. Will also strain from the vegan track and buy some extra cheese and bread to "fill people up" and do an extra batch of bechamel for the lasagna. :D

I'll be alone tonight and while I don't like going out (and driving) on NYE, I'm a bit disappointed and hope I'll not get into a sad mood remembering the last two years "with man". Might post a bit on LT and hope there'll be somthing nice on TV. Last year there was so much activity, also from friends, meeting in town in the afternoon, hiking on the 1st, but this year they're either away for the weekend or otherwise busy. Well, trying to look forward to 1.5 quiet days.

>176 lkernagh: I hope everyone will like it and I'll get it organized! *panic* :D

178Ameise1
Editat: des. 31, 2015, 4:08am

>177 Deern: Shopping before festive days is always stressful. Therefore I prefer our local market and small grocery shops.
It's wonderful that so many people will come to your place.
Thomas and I don't go out for NYE. We always stay at home and there were times I was fallen asleep before midnight. Well, 2016 will come if I would make a big party or just having a quiet evening.

179Deern
Editat: des. 31, 2015, 4:23am

>178 Ameise1: Oh, I quite loved it! I was just surprised that so much stuff was already sold out.

I always enjoyed spending NYE alone, with some nice food, some good champagne and some old TV shows. And falling asleep on the couch between 11 and midnight is part of the game. :)
In town there are way too many drunk people and it's impossible to get a cab (and I remember once in Frankfurt when it arrived after I had spent more than an hour on the phone trying to get through, the driver seemed to be drunk and told me not to worry, because "the police never stops a cab on NYE").
I just know that this year memories will come up, that's why I hoped my neighbor Sabine would be back from her daughter's. But of course for her it's great to stay a bit longer with the family.

180FAMeulstee
des. 31, 2015, 4:24am

>177 Deern: I will be around tonight, Nathalie.
Instead of spening a quiet night at home, I am with the dogs in a holiday park, because the fireworks are bad this year, and Ari gets nervous from the noise. Despite promises Frank has to work as all his collegues are layed off or got an other job en the new ones are hired per January 1st... so he is the only one who CAN work this night.
We went here yesterday and I did survive my first night in a strange place with only the dogs with me, it hasn't been easy, but Frank is here now for the day.

181Deern
des. 31, 2015, 4:32am

>180 FAMeulstee: thank you Anita! I hope you'll have a quiet night in the park!
I'm sorry for Frank and I hope this will be the one and only time they're doing this to him. :(

I just overheard some colleagues who'll have to work late today because a (dairy) machine stood still last night so they'll have to do long hours and some others who had the day off have to come in. They're all unhappy - it's one thing when it's planned, but when you calculated on having a holiday and are then called in and have to cancel private plans...

In Merano they wanted to cancel the fireworks, but all the hotels protested, so now we're having one of half the usual length and it's going to be the last one. We have our first Green mayor, so the new rule should hold for another 4 years. At least private fireworks have been forbidden already years ago, this is the official one organized by the town.
I'm always sorry for dogs/cats and their owners, and this year with all the dryness there's such a fire risk.

182FAMeulstee
des. 31, 2015, 7:17am

>182 FAMeulstee: Aww that is indeed sad for those collegues, I hope they won't have to work all night.
No private fireworks sounds good to me! In the summerime there are sometimes organised fireworks at the harbor in Lelystad, that is rather far away, Ari sometimes looks up if he hears it, but is not really bothered.

Frank did work all years with New Years Eve, I don't care much as it is just an other day for me. But since Ari got nervous from the fireworks it was better if he was home, so last year a collegue took over. It is easier for Ari if we are all together. Frank still worked with Christmas.
So that was the plan for this year again... but in September, when they plan the next three months Frank found out he had to work, because he was the only one who works the night both in 2015 and 2016. They start at 9:45 and work until 8:15, and have 8 sleeping hours from 11-7.
So then we decided I would go away with the dogs. Sadly the park we usually go was booked full, so now I am in a park I haven't been before. I think I would have coped easier when I had not broken my arm. Now I can't drive and feel a bit trapped.
It is not as quiet as I had hoped, but much better than at home.

183Deern
Editat: des. 31, 2015, 3:33pm

>183 Deern: I hope everything is going well there and you and the doggies will not be disturbed by fireworks. And that Frank has a stressfree shift and will have next year's NYE off.

****
Must share today's horoscope from the local paper - on the last day of the year and in capricorn month they really dare to write "don't count on sympathy from others! It's your fault alone that you're in that miserable situation. You should have thought about the consequences earlier".
I mean - do those guys know what they're doing??
Of course I at once started thinking about everything I could have done better last year... and then fortunately my colleagues called me to a brindisi (a drink together to toast to the new year) and I went home and cooked and a friend called and we chatted for a while, and only now I remembered.
Stupid horoscope! :)

*****

Get well into the New Year, everyone - see you over in 2016: http://www.librarything.com/topic/209936 !!!

184FAMeulstee
des. 31, 2015, 3:42pm

>183 Deern: It was just a horoscope Nathalie ;-)

Guten Rutsch!!!

It will be a bit of a challange to walk them both in half an hour or so, I started to do the last round again 3 days ago. Chimay with an elastic leash that is tied to a band around my waist, so she cant pull me over and Ari on his normal leash, it will probably be a very short walk, as the noise is getting worse outside (nearest city is 8 km away, but can hear it here)!
But it is still better than it i at home, we have some fanatic firework lovers in our street... then the noise is way to close for Ari and he does not feel safe inside the house.

185FAMeulstee
des. 31, 2015, 4:39pm

That went easier than expected... Chimay decided she skipped the last round, so it was just me and Ari. He did not like it outside, so he did what he was expected to do at the nearest tree and was happy to go back to the house :-)

Now waiting for the new year, wait half an hour or an hour until it calmes down a bit outside so I can go to bed!