MissWatson roams the centuries

En/na MissWatson roams the centuries, part 2 ha continuat aquest tema.

Converses2021 Category Challenge

Afegeix-te a LibraryThing per participar.

MissWatson roams the centuries

nov. 18, 2020, 5:04am

Hello, I'm Birgit, I live on the shore of the Baltic Sea and this is my eighth year in the CategoryChallenge. This year I'm taking things a little easier. I won't set numerical goals for my categories. Fiction reading will be categorised just by the century it was written in. There's a subgroup for historical fiction set in that period. Overlap between the CATs is allowed, even welcomed in the spirit of achieving CATtricks. Of course there's room for the Bingo and other reading challenges. By happy coincidence we're having a HistoryCAT this year, which fits in nicely with my plans.

Editat: març 28, 7:18am

21st century

Time flies
Faster and faster, and sometimes I can't believe this century is already two decades old!

1. The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
2. Revenger by Alastair Reynolds

Editat: març 28, 7:19am

20th century

While I breathe, I hope
Two great wars and innumerable conflicts make this century very bleak. Literature reflects this and I have mostly ignored it (genre fiction apart). Time to remedy this by means of lists, lists and more lists. I'll put in links to lists later.

1. Elkes Sommer im Sonnenhof by Emma Gündel-Knacke
2. Das fliegende Klassenzimmer by Erich Kästner
3. Verschlossen und verriegelt by Sjöwall/Wahlöö
4. Astérix et les normands by Goscinny/Uderzo

Editat: març 28, 7:19am

19th century

Faster, higher, stronger
My favourite literary period. So many great classics! Also a century that believed in progress and competition.

Unterm Birnbaum by Theodor Fontane
Clair de lune {et autres nouvelles} by Guy de Maupassant
Orley Farm by Anthony Trollope

Historical fiction
Die rote Stadt by Boris Meyn
The reluctant widow by Georgette Heyer
Death comes to Pemberley by P.D. James

Editat: març 28, 7:21am

18th century

Dare to know.
The Age of Reason or Enlightenment. Novels written in this century tend to be dreary or moralising, but there's lots of historical fiction here.

Historical fiction
Maria Christina : Tagebuch einer Tochter by Rebecca Novak

Editat: març 28, 7:21am

17th century

From the deep I call.
A time of religious disputes and wars in the middle of Europe. If I can finish five books written in this period, I shall be truly proud of myself.

Historical fiction
Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton

Editat: març 28, 7:21am

Before 1600

What we are you will be.
I don't see myself reading many books actually written in these centuries, but you never know until you try.

Editat: març 28, 7:22am


Since the foundation of the city.
History is a subject that fascinates me, some periods more than others. This is a strictly non-fiction section. The category title is taken from Livy's history of Rome.

hosting December

January: Middle Ages
Krieger und Bauern by Georges Duby
Die Ritter by Karl-Heinz Göttert
The Byzantine Economy by Angeliki Laiou
Einladung ins Mittelalter by Horst Fuhrmann

February: Modern 1800 to now
The War in the Peninsula by Robert Knowles
Rifles by Mark Urban
Die King's German Legion 1803-1816 by Jens Mastnak

March: early modern era 1500-1800
Piraten und Korsaren im Mittelmeer by Salvatore Bono
The Queen's agent by John Cooper
The world of Renaissance Florence

Editat: març 28, 7:23am


The dice is cast.
The quintessence of randomness, and my favourite category.

January: LOL
The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
The reluctant widow by Georgette Heyer

February: Fruits & veggies
Unterm Birnbaum by Theodor Fontane

March: Surprise
Revenger by Alastair Reynolds

Editat: març 28, 7:23am


Variation delights.
I am very much looking forward to buffet reading.

January: Non-fiction
Krieger und Bauern by Georges Duby
Die Ritter by Karl-Heinz Göttert
The Byzantine Economy by Angeliki Laiou
Einladung ins Mittelalter by Horst Fuhrmann

February: memoir/biography
Monteverdi by Wulf Konold

March: Action and Adventure
Revenger by Alastair Reynolds
Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton

hosting SFF in November

Editat: març 28, 7:24am


Beware the dog.
There's no need to worry, the BingoDOG is a cute little puppy!

1: Revenger by Alastair Reynolds
3: Clair de lune {et autres nouvelles} by Guy de Maupassant
5: Monteverdi by Wulf Konold
10: The Byzantine Economy by Angeliki Laiou and Cécile Morrisson
11: Adeliges Leben im Baltikum by Agnese Bergholde-Wolf
12: Maria Christina : Tagebuch einer Tochter by Rebecca Novak
15: The reluctant widow by Georgette Heyer
16: The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
17: Die rote Stadt by Boris Meyn
18: Verschlossen und verriegelt by Sjöwall/Wahlöö
19: Krieger und Bauern by Georges Duby
20: Die Ritter by Karl-Heinz Göttert
21: Das fliegende Klassenzimmer by Erich Kästner
25: Astérix et les normands by Goscinny/Uderzo

Editat: març 28, 7:24am

January: 2,470 pages
February: 2,749 pages

Editat: març 28, 7:24am

The Popsugar reading challenge:

A book that's published in 2021
An Afrofuturist book
A book that has a heart, diamond, club, or spade on the cover
A book by an author who shares your zodiac sign Unterm Birnbaum by Theodor Fontane
A dark academia book Krieger und Bauern by Georges Duby
A book with a gem, mineral, or rock in the title
A book where the main character works at your current or dream job
A book that has won the Women's Prize For Fiction
A book with a family tree
A bestseller from the 1990s
A book about forgetting
A book you have seen on someone's bookshelf (in real life, on a Zoom call, in a TV show, etc.)
A locked-room mystery Verschlossen und verriegelt by Sjöwall/Wahlöö
A genre hybrid
A book set mostly or entirely outdoors Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton
A book with something broken on the cover
A book by a Muslim American author
A book that was published anonymously
A book with an oxymoron in the title
A book about do-overs or fresh starts Die rote Stadt by Boris Meyn
A book set in multiple countries
A book set somewhere you'd like to visit in 2021
A book by a blogger, vlogger, YouTube video creator, or other online personality
A book whose title starts with "Q," "X," or "Z"
A book featuring three generations (grandparent, parent, child)
A book about a social justice issue
A book set in a restaurant
A book with a black-and-white cover
A book by an lndigenous author
A book that has the same title as a song
A book about a subject you are passionate about
A book in a different format than what you normally read (audiobooks, ebooks, graphic novels) Astérix et les normands by Goscinny/Uderzo
A book that has fewer than 1,000 reviews on Amazon or Goodreads Maria Christina : Tagebuch einer Tochter by Rebecca Novak
A book you think your best friend would like
A book about art or an artist Monteverdi by Wulf Konold
A book that discusses body positivity
A book everyone seems to have read but you
A book found on a Black Lives Matter reading list
Your favorite prompt from a past Popsugar Reading Challenge

The longest book (by pages) on your TBR list
The shortest book (by pages) on your TBR list The War in the Peninsula by Robert Knowles
The book on your TBR list with the prettiest cover
The book on your TBR list with the ugliest cover
The book that's been on your TBR list for the longest amount of time
A book from your TBR list you meant to read last year but didn't
A book from your TBR list you associate with a favorite person, place, or thing
A book from your TBR list chosen at random
A DNF book from your TBR list
A free book from your TBR list (gifted, borrowed, library)

Editat: març 28, 7:25am

This is for the GoodReads Around the Year Challenge, borrowed from Judy's thread.

1. Related to "In the Beginning":
2. Author's Name Has No "A, T or Y": Monteverdi by Wulf Konold
3. Related to the lyrics of the song "Favorite Things":
4. Monochromatic Cover: Krieger und Bauern by Georges Duby
5. Author is on USA Today's List of 100 Black Novelists You Should Read:
6. A Love Story: Maria Christina : Tagebuch einer Tochter by Rebecca Novak
7. Fits a Suggestion that Didn't Make the Final List:
8. Set somewhere you have never visited: Verschlossen und verriegelt by Sjöwall/Wahlöö
9. Associated with a specific season or time of year:
10. A female villain or criminal: Orley Farm by Anthony Trollope
11. Celebrates The Grand Egyptian Museum:
12. Written by a woman and translated to English:
13. Written by an author of one of your best reads in 2020:
14. Set in a made up place:
15. Siblings as main characters:
16. A building in the title:
17. Muslim character or author:
18. Related to the past: Adeliges Leben im Baltikum by Agnese Bergholde-Wolf
19. Related to the present:
20. Related to the future:
21. Title and Author contain the letter U: Einladung ins Mittelalter by Horst Fuhrmann
22. Posted in one of the ATY Best Book of the Month Threads:
23. A Cross Genre Novel:
24. About Racism or Race Relations:
25. Set on an island:
26. A Short Book (less than 210 pages): Unterm Birnbaum by Theodor Fontane
27. Book has a character that could be found in a deck of cards:
28. Connected to ice:
29. A Comfort Read:
30. A Long Book:
31. Author's career spanned more than 21 years: The reluctant widow by Georgette Heyer
32. Cover shows more than 2 people:
33. A Collection of Short Stories, Essays or Poetry: Clair de lune {et autres nouvelles} by Guy de Maupassant
34. A book with a travel theme:
35. Set in a country on or below the Tropic of Cancer:
36. Six or More Words in the Title:
37. From the "Are You Well Read in Literature List":
38. Related to a word given to you by a random word generator:
39. Involves an immigrant:
40. Flowers or Greenery on the cover:
41. A new-to-you BIPOC Author:
42. A Mystery or Thriller: Die rote Stadt by Boris Meyn
43. Contains elements of magic: Astérix et les normands by Goscinny/Uderzo
44. Title Contains a Negative:
45. Related to a codeword from the NATO phoenic alphabet:
46. Winner or nominee from the 2020 Goodreads Choice Awards:
47. Non-Fiction book other than a Memoir or a Biography: Rifles : Six years with Wellington's legendary sharpshooters by Mark Urban
48. Might cause someone to say "You Read What!!":
49. Book with an ensemble cast:
50. Published in 2021:
51. Refers to a character without giving their name:
52. Related to "The End":

Editat: març 28, 7:26am

And here it is, the classics challenge discovered on Leslie's thread.

1. A 19th century classic - any book published between 1800 and 1899. Unterm Birnbaum by Theodor Fontane
2. A 20th century classic - any book published between 1900 and 1971. As in past years, all books MUST have been published at least 50 years ago to qualify. The only exception is books written at least 50 years ago, but published later, such as posthumous publications.
3. A classic by a woman author.
4. A classic in translation. Any book originally written published in a language other than your native language. Feel free to read the book in your language or the original language. (You can also read books in translation for any of the other categories). Modern translations are acceptable as long as the original work fits the guidelines for publications as explained in the challenge rules.
5. A children's classic. Indulge your inner child and read that classic that you somehow missed years ago. Short stories are fine, but it must be a complete volume. Young adult and picture books don't count!
6. A classic crime story, fiction or non-fiction. This can be a true crime story, mystery, detective novel, spy novel, etc., as long as a crime is an integral part of the story and it was published at least 50 years ago. Examples include The 39 Steps, Strangers on a Train, In Cold Blood, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, etc. The Haycraft-Queen Cornerstones list is an excellent source for suggestions. Orley Farm by Anthony Trollope
7. A classic travel or journey narrative, fiction or non-fiction. The journey itself must be the major plot point -- not just the destination. Good examples include The Hobbit, Around the World in 80 Days, Unbeaten Tracks in Japan, Kon-Tiki, Travels with Charley, etc.
8. A classic with a single-word title. No articles please! Proper names are fine -- Emma, Germinal, Middlemarch, Kidnapped, etc.
9. A classic with a color in the title. The Woman in White; Anne of Green Gables; The Red and the Black, and so on. (Silver, gold, etc. are acceptable. Basically, if it's a color in a Crayola box of crayons, it's fine!)
10. A classic by an author that's new to you. Choose an author you've never read before.
11. A classic that scares you. Is there a classic you've been putting off forever? A really long book which intimidates you because of its sheer length? Now's the time to read it, and hopefully you'll be pleasantly surprised!
12. Re-read a favorite classic. Like me, you probably have a lot of favorites -- choose one and read it again.

And because I am utterly insane, here is also the #WomenReading21 Challenge (enabled by ELiz_M):
1) A Book Longlisted for the JCB Prize
2) An Author from Eastern Europe:
3) A Book About Incarceration
4) A Cookbook by a Woman of Color: Madhur Jaffrey's Ultimate Curry Bible
5) A Book with a Protagonist Older than 50:
6) A Book by a South American Author in Translation
7) Reread a Favorite Book The reluctant widow by Georgette Heyer
8) A Memoir by an Indigenous, First Nations, Native, or Aboriginal Woman:
9) A Book by a Neurodivergent Author
10) A Crime Novel or Thriller in Translation: The Hole, The Good Son
11) A Book About the Natural World
12) A Young Adult Novel by a Latinx Author
13) A Poetry Collection by a Black Woman
14) A Book with a Biracial Protagonist:
15) A Muslim Middle Grade Novel
16) A Book Featuring a Queer Love Story
17) About a Woman in Politics
18) A Book with a Rural Setting:
19) A Book with a Cover Designed by a Woman
20) A Book by an Arab Author in Translation
21) A Book by a Trans Author
22) A Fantasy Novel by an Asian Author
23) A Nonfiction Book Focused on Social Justice
24) A Short Story Collection by a Caribbean Author
25) A Book by Alexis Wright
26) A Book by Tsitsi Dangarembga
27) A Book by Leila Aboulela
28) A Book by Yoko Ogawa

nov. 18, 2020, 5:26am

You are welcome!

Editat: nov. 18, 2020, 5:35am

Good luck with your centuries. How about Moll Flanders and Tom Jones for some non-dreary, non-moralising 18th century novels?

And The Vicar of Wakefield!

nov. 18, 2020, 5:47am

>17 pamelad: Hello! Yes, Tom Jones is a great suggestion. I abandoned this once because time ran out on me. The curse of too many challenges!

nov. 18, 2020, 5:57am

Good set up! Happy reading in 2021.

nov. 18, 2020, 6:01am

>19 Jackie_K: Hi Jackie, same to you!

nov. 18, 2020, 7:16am

Hope you have a good year reading.

nov. 18, 2020, 11:00am

Good luck with your centuries! May 2021 be a good reading year for you.

nov. 18, 2020, 11:03am

Maybe you should have had a category just for 2020 - it's certainly felt like it's been a century long!

nov. 18, 2020, 11:41am

I like the century idea! Good luck with your cats!

nov. 18, 2020, 12:18pm

I'm loving your Latin phrases for each category! Tolle lege to you. ;)

nov. 18, 2020, 2:48pm

Go Latin! Enjoy your callenge.

nov. 18, 2020, 5:36pm

Someday (she says) I will learn Latin!! Welcome and happy century-roaming!

nov. 18, 2020, 5:39pm

Great set-up and I am happy to see you are joining me in the Around the Year Challenge, we can compare notes and encourage each other along. :)

nov. 18, 2020, 7:33pm

Wonderful set up, Birgit! I look forward to following along.

nov. 18, 2020, 10:34pm

Excellent setup, and I love the elegant presentation of your category taglines :)

I took two semesters' worth of Latin in university and remember vanishingly little of it, but it was a lot of fun.

nov. 19, 2020, 5:52am

So happy to see you, ladies! It is one of my regrets late in life that I didn't take Latin at school (I would have hated it at the time, most likely) but one does pick up quite a lot while reading ancient history or listening to Renaissance church music. And I am prepared for my retirement: I own a few textbooks!

>21 dudes22: Thank you, and the same to you!
>22 hailelib: Thank you, I've got high hopes for it.
>23 Jackie_K: Maybe, but I think I'd rather ignore this year completely.
>24 Tess_W: Thanks, Tess. I'm very curious to see where this leads.
>25 christina_reads: Thanks, Christina!
>26 majkia: Thanks, Jean!
>27 NinieB: That's what I tell myself, too.
>28 DeltaQueen50: I'm happy to follow you and discuss some of the vaguer prompts.
>29 VivienneR: Glad to see you here, Vivienne!
>30 rabbitprincess: Good to know it can be fun!

nov. 19, 2020, 8:31am

As a Latinist and Classics professor, I approve of this thread!

nov. 19, 2020, 11:52am

Love the Century/Latin challenges and the Classics Challenge in >15 MissWatson:. I was thinking of abandoning all challenges this year (except RandomCAT), but now you have me tempted with that Classics Challenge....hmmm...

nov. 20, 2020, 3:59am

>32 scaifea: Gratias tibi ago!
>33 kac522: I think this will be the easiest challenge of all, so fun all the way.

nov. 20, 2020, 7:42am

Love the century idea. Happy reading 2021!

nov. 21, 2020, 10:46am

des. 4, 2020, 1:18pm

Have a great year of reading!

des. 5, 2020, 10:22am

>37 thornton37814: Thanks, Lori! The same to you!

Editat: des. 5, 2020, 8:06pm

I like your challenge set-up.

>6 MissWatson:, >7 MissWatson: There's always Shakespeare!

>13 MissWatson: Also, the popsugar 2021 challenge has been announced: https://www.popsugar.com/entertainment/reading-challenge-2021-47892177

des. 6, 2020, 8:28am

>39 ELiz_M:, Yes, dear old Will. I prefer to watch them on stage ... but if nothing else turns up he's in.
And thanks for the link to the Popsugar challenge!!

des. 20, 2020, 9:36am

Great idea with more simplicity, but that's quite a few challenge lists you're taking up. Good luck with you reading!

des. 20, 2020, 9:45am

Geez, I'm really staring at that Classic Challenge. Sigh. I wanna.... but....

des. 21, 2020, 4:31am

>41 Chrischi_HH: Thanks. I am such a sucker for these challenges.
>42 majkia: I know. I know.

des. 26, 2020, 5:05am

What a great setup, I love both the centuries and the lists! And I agree, the classics challenge looks especially enticing! I'm excited to see what you will read!

des. 26, 2020, 5:10am

Wow! Do you think you might have enough lists there!? Good luck with your reading in 2021.

des. 26, 2020, 7:39pm

Thanks for making me welcome to the group, Birgit.

I make it 13 challenges listed for you this year and you are covering quite a timescale. I hope to be a regular visitor. xx

des. 27, 2020, 5:25pm

Stopping by to wish you good luck with all your reading challenges. Wow, you've got a lot going on! I admire your ambition. Also, wishing you a Happy New Year.

Editat: gen. 1, 7:59pm

And keep up with my friends here, Birgit. Have a great 2021.

gen. 1, 3:26pm

Happy New Year, Birgit! I look forward to following your century reading this year. May 2021 be a year filled with wonderful reading.

Editat: gen. 5, 10:02am

>44 MissBrangwen: I was so eager to get 2020 behind me that I probably overcommitted myself.
>45 Helenliz: Thanks, Helen. You can't have too many lists. Can you?
>46 PaulCranswick: Thanks, having visitors is so nice!
>47 This-n-That: Thank you! It wasn't quite the same without the fireworks, though.
>48 PaulCranswick: Oh yes and amen to that!
>49 lkernagh: Thanks, Lori. I have some wonderful new books on deck!


gen. 5, 10:19am

XX / Bingo: less than 200 pages / GR: prompt 9

I started the year with two children's books. Elkes Sommer im Sonnenhof is a typical girls book from the 1950s, interesting mostly because of the Hamburg flavour in the heroine's speech. It is also set in summer, which fills the first GoodReads prompt.
And Das fliegende Klassenzimmer is one of my favourite Christmas stories.

Editat: gen. 5, 10:56am

I‘ve never read anything by Erich Kästner apart from Das doppelte Lottchen, something that really needs to change!
Have you watched Kästner und der kleine Dienstag? It‘s a film about Kästner and his friendship with the boy who played Emil in the Emil und die Detektive film.

Editat: gen. 5, 11:10am

>52 MissBrangwen: He was one of my favourite authors when I was a kid and I still enjoy them. And yes, I've seen that film. It's a remarkable story.

gen. 9, 8:59am

Saturday notes

Trying to catch up with the Economist puts Ritchie Robertson's The Enlightenment on the wishlist, reviewed in the 12 December issue.
And in the FAZ today Matthias Weichelt reads Das kunstseidene Mädchen for the first time with great enjoyment. Apparently most modern editions interfere with Keun's text, so maybe that's why I didn't quite get the appeal when I read this myself? Keeping the Wallstein edition in mind.

gen. 10, 12:50am

>52 MissBrangwen: I didn't realize the twins-at-summer-camp-reunite-their-parents idea was Erich Kästner, nor that the same person was behind Emil and the Detectives! Mind blown.

gen. 10, 11:14am

>55 pammab: And my personal favourite is Pünktchen und Anton which has a very sassy heroine.

gen. 10, 12:17pm

I love your categories Birgit, I will be following along. I tend to read mostly modern history, but have a couple of books about earlier periods that I really should pick up at some point!

gen. 11, 5:28am

>57 charl08: Thank you for dropping in, I hope you find something interesting!

Editat: gen. 11, 5:57am

HistoryCAT / GenreCAT / Bingo: about history / Popsugar: dark academia / ATY: monochromatic cover

It has taken me several days to finish Krieger und Bauern, because it has very tiny print and is a dense academic treatise on the economic development of Europe between (roughly) 800 and 1200.

Duby is a big name in medieval history but I am not entirely satisfied with this. Views have changed since he wrote this in 1969. There were too many moments when I stopped and said, wait, that's not what I learned/watched the other day. I also found it very much black and white. The bad nobles and clerics suppress and exploit the poor peasants, which for a long time are simply called workers and described as a class, but he never explains why he uses this term which I find anachronistic. I also have some issues with the edition, it is not entirely clear from which edition this was translated and who added some biblographic notices for journals which were not even published at the time of the original writing. I see no need to keep this.

gen. 15, 12:40am

Excellent category headers! And so ambitious!

>59 MissWatson: Yep, I totally recognize Duby as a big name--I have every volume of A History of Private Life, though I've only delved a bit into volumes 1 and 2. I can well believe that his analysis hasn't aged well.

gen. 15, 1:01am

>60 justchris: I have some volumes from A History of Private Life. Their subject is just my cup of tea. But I have trouble staying focused on one big scholarly book for the necessary time.

gen. 15, 3:29am

>61 NinieB: Same here. So I've only dabbled intermittently.

gen. 15, 6:57am

>60 justchris: Thanks! I think it is more like greedy.
>61 NinieB: I think I have two volumes from that series, it's a bit hard to tell because the German titles do not obviously connect to the English versions. Anyway, they're still on the TBR.

Editat: gen. 15, 7:09am

RandomCAT / XXI / Bingo: suggested by another generation / GeoCAT / SFF KIT

The Eyre Affair has been recommended to me often over the past years, often by LTers from another generation, and I bought it last year for the time travel SFF KIT, but didn't find the time for it. It's not exactly for laughing out loud, although Mycroft's bookworms' digestive processes being responsible for the flood of apostrophes in incorrect places comes close. I found it to be very English in its obsession with Anglo-French rivalry, that's why it also fits the GeoKIT. And the idea of having books and authors as a national obsession is wonderful.


gen. 16, 10:04am

Saturday notes

Two articles in the FAZ marking the 200th birthday of Ferdinand Gregorovius on 19 January which make me look forward to reading his history of Rome. But when?

gen. 16, 10:08am

>65 MissWatson: LOL to when? I just began this week a history of Rome by Mike Duncan (Volume 1). It's the taking notes kind of reading as I'm woefully uneducated about history taking place before the Reformation. My goal is just to finish volume one this year.

gen. 17, 8:10am

>66 Tess_W: Yes, I know it's unrealistic to think that I can read all the books I want to read, but hope never dies.

gen. 18, 5:44am

HistoryCAT / GenreCAT / Bingo: less than 20 members on LT

Die Ritter looks at knights as a social class as they appear in contemporary literature, from the time they evolved from mounted warriors in the time of Charlemagne to their swansong in the time of the Emperor Maximilian.
The book is aimed at a lay audience, so the chapters are short and have no footnotes, and the style is conversational almost, but I still learned a lot from this. Not least how many books were already written in the vernacular, not just Latin for the clerics. Which was a bit stupid of me, this is the time the Arthurian epics were written, after all! The author is a professor of German studies specialising in this time period, and therefore we spend a lot of time with the German literature of the time, although France and England are also covered. Everyone else barely gets a look in, which makes me rather curious about Spain and Italy, for example.
My only quibble is that the numerous illustrations chosen from the gorgeous manuscripts are not in colour.

gen. 18, 9:47am

>68 MissWatson: In fact, Karl-Heinz Göttert was a professor of mine at the University of Cologne :-) I loved his lectures because they were so entertaining, lots of anecdotes and stories and not dry at all. It was very easy to listen to him. This book is on my wishlist. Glad to hear you liked it!

gen. 19, 4:19am

>69 MissBrangwen: I can well imagine that! I loved the anecdote he gives in the introduction about a tot stealing his thunder when giving a lecture about knights at a "children's university day". I also realised belatedly that he is the author of a book about the German language. My sister bought this and read the funniest bits out loud as she started reading. Which reminds me that I always meant to borrow this off her...

gen. 24, 7:22am

HistoryCAT / GenreCAT / Bingo: 2 or more authors

Another good non-fiction read was The Byzantine Economy, co-written by Angeliki Laiou and Cécile Morrisson. As usual, looking up the sources mentioned in the footnotes slowed down reading progress, and I also had to check up on some bits of Byzantine history. The blurb promises a "concise survey of the economy of the Byzantine Empire from the fourth century AD to the fall of Constantinople in 1453", and that is what it does. Lots of stuff in here that I didn't know, and the best parts are where she explains how scholarly interpretation has changed over the last years.

Editat: gen. 24, 7:39am

Saturday notes

So, there was an interview with Mischa Meier in the FAZ, because his huge book about the migrations of late antiquity was nominated for the non-fiction prize of the WBG, and what do you know, he won.
There is also Die Macht des Charlatans, first published in 1937 and now re-issued by the Andere Bibliothek which seems pertinent to our days. The book itself has had a strange career, it seems the Nazis destroyed most of the copies. One for the wishlist.

ETA: There's also a fabulous review for the TV version of The white tiger which makes me think it would be a great read. as soon as the bookstores open again, I know my charity bookshop had several copies...

gen. 24, 2:03pm

>72 MissWatson: I've heard good things about The White Tiger and several times I've either held it in my hand and put it back or was just about to click Kindle/Audiobook, but didn't. I don't live near any indie bookstores, and B&N never have it on sale.

gen. 24, 2:14pm

>72 MissWatson: & >73 Tess_W: The White Tiger was very good, but not a happy-ever-after story. I gave it 4 stars when I read it in 2015.

gen. 25, 3:34am

>73 Tess_W: Yes, same thing here, that's why I know the charity shop always has a copy in stock. It is also used for English classes, there's an annotated edition for schools which could be useful for Indian English phrases.
>74 VivienneR: From the review I thought the main character is something of a rogue...

gen. 25, 4:09am

XIX / Bingo: new to you author / Popsugar: new start / GR: mystery / MysteryKIT

Something completely different after my scholarly non-fiction: Die rote Stadt is a historical mystery set in Hamburg in 1886 (hence the XIX). Sören Bischop returns home after years in Southern Germany to take up a new job as a lawyer in a famous firm, but gets roped in immediately by the city government to solve a series of gruesome murders. His ancient, but very sprightly father (83!) lends a hand.

This is a meticulously researched book, the epilogue offers detailed explanations about the building of the Speicherstadt (warehouse district) which is in full swing in 1886. The author is an architecture historian and it shows in his descriptions which always use the precise technical terms. On the strength of this, I am happy to read more of his mysteries. Not so much for the writing, his style is a bit pedestrian, but for all the things I learned about Hamburg.

gen. 25, 7:14am

>76 MissWatson: "I am happy to read more of his mysteries. Not so much for the writing, his style is a bit pedestrian, but for all the things I learned about Hamburg."

I often read fiction because I'm curious about something other than the story, so I understand this.

gen. 25, 11:20am

>76 MissWatson: I love those novels (fiction) when I actually learn some history or a bit of true culture. It's serendipitous!

gen. 25, 11:31am

>78 Tess_W: Most of the history I've retained I've learned from well-researched historical fiction. Definitely a feature, not a bug for me.

gen. 26, 2:59am

>77 spiralsheep: So many wonderful encounters to be had in this kind of reading!
>78 Tess_W: So true!
>79 justchris: Memory works in strange ways, doesn't it?

gen. 26, 9:27pm

>80 MissWatson: Well, it helps to package the facts into interesting/entertaining wrappers. And to concentrate on the themes and trends and feel of the times, not just a litany of names and dates.

gen. 27, 9:31am

XIX / RandomCAT / Bingo: made you laugh / GR: Author's career more than 21 years / WR21: re-read a favourite book

All the love for Georgette Heyer on various threads sent me to the shelves for The reluctant widow. I am pleased to find that it has lost none of its charm and power to make me laugh. I am even happier that my copy holds up well, the edges and pages are a little brown, but otherwise it is intact. Good to last another ten years, I hope.

gen. 27, 9:32am

>81 justchris: Yes, exactly.

gen. 27, 9:38am

>82 MissWatson: hurrah!
My copies were Mum's and they're (mostly) Pan paperbacks that are older than I am. Some are in better condition than others. I wonder if I can make a guess as to which were her favourites based on condition!

gen. 27, 9:40am

>84 Helenliz: I had to buy them myself, mostly on trips to London in used bookstores, and some of them are very fragile. If I ever win the lottery...

gen. 27, 9:42am

>82 MissWatson: I have this one in the stacks. I try to pick them up when they are cheap on Kindle - I need to get to reading them.

gen. 27, 10:06am

>86 Crazymamie: They are usually fun and quick reads, easy to squeeze between more challenging books.

feb. 1, 2:46am

HistoryCAT / GenreCAT / GR: prompt 21

And the last book of January is another non-fiction read from the shelves. Einladung ins Mittelalter is a collection of essays by historian Horst Fuhrmann, all written for a non-professional audience and all of them revised for this republishing. They are as much about our relation with the past and history-writing as they are about the period and very interesting. A little too much about the popes, for my tastes, but that is his particular field of interest, so not surprising. I'm going to keep this for the detailed suggestions for further reading.

Editat: feb. 4, 3:55am

XVIII / Bingo: Love Story / Popsugar: fewer than 1,000 reviews / GR: love story

On New Year's Eve, my sister and I were watching the last part of a mini-series about Maria Theresia (very good, by the way, and fabulous costumes!) and she mentioned this book about her favourite daughter, the only one who was allowed to marry for love and not for political reasons. After some hunting around she found it and mailed it to me, so I was honour-bound to finish it soon because I must return it to her library. Maria Christina : Tagebuch einer Tochter by Rebecca Novak

Anyway, this is the love story of Maria Christina, fifth child of Maria Theresia, written as a diary from the day she first met Prince Albert, a younger son of the king of Saxony, to the day she married him. It's the Seven Years' War, Austria is endangered on all fronts, and yet life for the children at court is rarely touched by this. The details of court life are painstakingly researched and described, which is why the chosen form of a diary doesn't really work: she is constantly explaining things to her readership that she would know and wouldn't need to write down in a diary meant for no one else's eyes. In that sense the book is educational, otherwise I found it less than stellar. The language is too modern, and the French bits strike me as non-idiomatic. Comic relief is provided by Christina's youngest sister Antonia who is presented as a little imp here. If only she had left out that scene where Isabella describes her wedding night (with the crown prince Joseph) in excruciating detail...

One more note: I would never have touched this had I seen it in a bookstore. Not only is the cover pale pink, but all the pages, too, which gives a totally wrong impression. The author knows her stuff, gives a long list of further reading, and I was particulary pleased how she explained the choice of typeface for the book. It was set in Didot, which was the main typeface used for French books in the 18th century.

ETA: Title of the book

feb. 3, 4:57am

>89 MissWatson: That sounds a confusing mix of good and bad aspects, especially the presentation of Didot in pink.

One of the advantages of mostly buying books by post is that I'm not influenced by the covers.

feb. 3, 6:18am

>90 spiralsheep: I, on the contrary, often fall for a beautiful cover. And I have probably missed a few good books simply because the cover was a turn-off.

feb. 3, 6:38am

>91 MissWatson: I'm definitely influenced by covers when I'm browsing in the library. And now I think about it, my library choices have been better in lockdown via online click and collect ordering.

feb. 3, 7:10am

>89 MissWatson: Hello, Birgit! The book sounds interesting to me, but I like any bits of French history (fiction or non-fiction) that I can get! Did I miss it--the name of the book and/or the author?

feb. 4, 4:00am

>93 Tess_W: Oops, I forgot to name the book title! It's Maria Christina : Tagebuch einer Tochter. It was published by a very small publisher and I think only a handful of libraries bought this, even in Germany.

feb. 4, 4:37am

XIX / RandomCAT / Popsugar: shares my zodiac sign / GR: less than 200 pages / Classics: 19th century

Unterm Birnbaum is a short novel set in a small village on the Oder river, where an innkeeper is in financial difficulties. One night he works in his garden, digging under an old pear tree, and finds the body of a French soldier from the Napoleonic wars. It gives him an idea...
The murder is never explicitly mentioned or described, but the author gives a wonderful description of a small village society and how gossip forms and deforms public opinion.

feb. 4, 5:05am

>94 MissWatson: TY Tis true, no translation and not at Amazon or Abe's.

feb. 4, 5:11am

>96 Tess_W: I must ask my sister where she heard of it, as it is so very obscure.

feb. 4, 9:50am

I also noticed that sometime in December I passed the 5,000 books in my library threshold. Eeek! Back in 2015 it was a mere 3,000. I need to control myself. After my Thingaversary.

feb. 4, 10:00am

>98 MissWatson: After my Thingaversary.

Love it!

feb. 4, 11:16pm

>87 MissWatson: AFTER being the keyword!

feb. 6, 6:16am

>99 kac522: >100 Tess_W: It feels so good to be among like-minded people. TY!

feb. 6, 6:42am

Saturday notes

Very favourable reviews for a book by Ljudmila Ulitzkaja about a suppressed epidemic in the Soviet Union Eine Seuche in der Stadt which was apparently meant to be a movie but never got made. Also for Miroir de nos peines, I should really get to the first book in the trilogy. And Doggerland by Elisabeth Filhol.

feb. 6, 6:52am

>98 MissWatson: oh well done! Is that an actual threshold in LT or just a "that's a big number" threshold.

feb. 6, 7:15am

>103 Helenliz: I don't think it's an LT threshold, just a very scary number to me. I'm running out of space to put them.

feb. 6, 7:53am

>102 MissWatson: Thwy all sound good!

feb. 6, 9:28am

I'm at almost 2800 books total in my account, but about half of that is books from the library. That said, 1000 books in the apartment is a pretty big deal (although some are audiobooks and ebooks, which live on my computer).

feb. 7, 10:08am

>105 charl08: That is the fatal thing about book reviews, they all sound so enticing!
>106 rabbitprincess: Mine are mostly tree books I own. I should be more rigorous about parting with them once they have been read.

feb. 7, 10:21am

XIX / Bingo: dark or light word / GR: collection of short stories

And I am putting my resolution into (tentative) practice by parting with Clair de lune {et autres nouvelles}. I bought this and a few others for a song because I love ancient books – this was from 1902 and quite well preserved. It contains 17 very short pieces and I think if I ever want to re-read them again I can find them online. They are very easy to read, but they all end somewhat unresolved and you wonder what the point of the story is. The last one, La nuit (Cauchemar) is quite scary in a dark and atmospheric way. I doubt I will remember the others as well.

feb. 10, 11:34am

Sounds like you're making good progress. At least, you're reading more and more interesting stuff compared to me.

>89 MissWatson: There's no way I would have picked up a pink book including tinted pages.

feb. 11, 3:01am

>109 justchris: I know, but it was recommended by my sister, who reads lots of biographies, so I felt reasonably sure it would be worth my time. I still don't understand what the reasoning behind this decision was.
As for progress: Orley Farm hasn't found its stride yet, it feels a bit like a slog.

feb. 12, 3:19am

GenreCAT / Bingo: arts and recreation / Popsugar: about an artist / GR: author's name without A,T,Y

I wasn't in the mood for the legal shenanigans of Orley Farm, so I pulled down Monteverdi which had been on my mind since watching a video of Orfeo two weeks ago. It is rather short, and also rather old, published in 1985. It gives the important facts, as far as we know them, and offers a musicologist's appreciation of his place in music history and his technique (which went over my head, to be honest, as I have been taught little to no music at school). I wanted more, so I guess I'll be looking around for something more recent. And listen to some madrigals in the meantime.

feb. 12, 5:23am

>111 MissWatson: I love Monteverdi's music. The fact that he helped women break social barriers raised against them is a bonus.

feb. 12, 6:14am

>112 spiralsheep: That of course was not mentioned in this book. And I agree about the music. I've had "Pur ti miro" running in my head all day.

feb. 12, 6:22am

>113 MissWatson: Good baroque music is full of earworms for me.

I'm currently listening to JS Bach's Concerto for Harpsichord and Two Recorders in F Major, BMV1057 (1st movement only) on BBC Radio 3. Very bouncy and trilling.

feb. 12, 9:20am

>114 spiralsheep: I was watching a French movie last night, Mademoiselle de Joncquieres, and the soundtrack was full of familiar bits. But no proper listing in the end credits. So annoying!

feb. 12, 9:33am

>115 MissWatson: BBC Radio 3 is all the good bits, but longer.... ;-)

My most repetitive Monteverdi earworm is probably Beatus Vir. Unstoppable.

feb. 12, 1:24pm

>111 MissWatson: I like Monteverdi, but have not listened to him in years. I have a CD, will need to find it now. I purchased a book last year, Milton Cross' Complete Stories of the Great Operas. This book gives a history about the composer and a 10-12 page summary of one of their greatest works. Alas and alack, Monteverdi is not contained within. What I'm doing is going very slowly, reading, and then looking up the opera on Youtube and watching/listening. For years I have attended the ballet and the symphony, but opera is my shortcoming, so trying to "learn" and enjoy. (although I admit I have "heard" the music before at the symphony or my own CD's, but the libretto is new) Orfeo is definitely one that I will check out.

I also hate it when music credits are not listed!

Off to dig out my Monteverdi.

feb. 14, 7:10am

>116 spiralsheep: Oh dear, now you have infected me with another earworm!
>117 Tess_W: My own guide (which takes a very humorous look at the plots) also has no Baroque operas which is a pity. But at least there are many recordings! Going to the opera on my own is not very enticing, so I haven't really frequented our local house. But I have resolved to do so once we can return to live performances, just to make sure they survive.

feb. 14, 7:43am

Saturday notes

Bernardine Evaristo's Girl, woman, other has been reviewed favourably, but I think this can wait until it shows up in my charity shop (after the pandemic). And a big article about Gesualdo Bufalino whose name I have never heard before. Could be difficult to track down...
And by sheer accident I stumbled across a TV show today that talks about books, this time an interview with Kristof Magnusson that made me want to rush out and buy the book. Lockdown has its positive sides, as it cuts down on spontaneous shopping sprees.

feb. 16, 5:46am

Today is my 9th Thingaversary. I am so happy to have found this place and so many nice people with whom to talk books!
In keeping with the tradition, I have made a few purchases:
Der Tote im Fleet
La peste
La tresse
Vol de nuit
and more are on their way to me.

feb. 16, 7:07am

>120 MissWatson: Happy Thingaversary!

feb. 16, 7:33am

S'ha suprimit aquest usuari en ser considerat brossa.

feb. 16, 9:29am

>121 spiralsheep: Thank you! It has been (and still is) such fun!

feb. 16, 10:20am

>120 MissWatson: Happy Thingaversary. I looked some of your haul up in English and they look very interesting!

feb. 16, 10:22am

Happy Thingaversary! I think I'm 9 years on LT too this year, although I didn't join till August.

feb. 16, 11:27am

Happy Thingaverary, Birgit! Enjoy your new books. Mine was on February 9th and I forgot all about it. Coincidentally, I had been lulled in by a sale and bought 3 hardback books, which I rarely do. I guess the timing all worked out then, lol.

feb. 16, 3:03pm

Happy 9th Thingaversary, Birgit!

feb. 16, 5:52pm

>120 MissWatson: Happy Thingaversary! Hope you like Vol de nuit.

feb. 16, 11:27pm

Happy Thingaversary! I've also had Girl, Woman, Other at the corner of my thoughts for a little while, and have been continually postponing it just a bit. Maybe we'll get to it around the same time at this page, heh.

feb. 17, 3:57am

>124 Tess_W: Thanks, Tess. The Camus was finally available in French again, I have no idea why they didn't reprint immediately when demand surged because of the pandemic. No used copies at reasonable prices either, for a long time.
>125 Jackie_K: Lots of time then to think about new acquisitions!
>126 This-n-That: I had to put a reminder in my calendar, actually.
>127 DeltaQueen50: Thanks, Judy! You're the one responsible for the rest of the haul, because of a BB.
>128 rabbitprincess: So do I, but I am confident I will. Plus, it's short.
>129 pammab: The review I read was very favourable and it's quite possible that I will spontaneously buy it if the railway station bookshop has it. That's the only one still open because they mostly sell newspapers and I have gone there sometimes just to handle new books...

feb. 18, 8:03am

Happy Thingaversary!!! :-)

>120 MissWatson: >125 Jackie_K: It's my 9th thingaversary, too! In about a month. Yay!

>130 MissWatson: I have started looking at the books at the supermarket each time we go grocery shopping... Just to feel like being in a bookshop!

feb. 18, 8:22am

S'ha suprimit aquest usuari en ser considerat brossa.

feb. 18, 12:46pm

Belated Thingaversary. Love seeing what people put together for their lists. Enjoy!

feb. 19, 3:11am

>131 MissBrangwen: We could start a club! And I have been flicking through the books at the supermarket, too.

>133 Helenliz: Thanks! The lists always lead to browsing...

feb. 19, 3:22am

XIX / GR: female criminal / classics: a crime story

And I have finished Orley Farm where Lady Mason is put on trial for perjury twenty years after lying about her husband's will. This was not as enjoyable as Trollope's other books I have read, mostly because he had an axe to grind about the English justice system. His women characters were too bland and I liked none of the males. Felix Graham in particular was annoying and did not deserve his happy ending.

feb. 19, 5:21am

>135 MissWatson: "was annoying and did not deserve his happy ending" covers at least 40% of male characters in Victorian fiction imo. ;-)

feb. 19, 5:45am

>136 spiralsheep: I usually have a high tolerance for annoying males in Victorian fiction, simply because I don't have to live in their world. That's the way it was and we can't change it. But here Trollope handled the plot badly, imo. That whole affair with the "moulded bride" was introduced badly, we never learn why he embarked on this in the first place and then he gets rid of her without problems or conflict. So unbelievable.

feb. 20, 9:11am

HistoryCAT / Popsugar advanced: shortest book on your TBR list

I don't enter page numbers in my catalogue, so I cannot be sure that The War in the Peninsula is really the shortest book, but at 92 pages it is a good candidate. An odd little book I found in an antiquarian bookshop: a collection of letters written by a lieutenant in the 7th Fusiliers from Wellington's campaign in Spain and pubnlished by his great-great-nephew on the centenary of his death in the battle of Roncesvalles. The editor fleshes out the letters with descriptions of the engagements mentioned in the letters and some details about the family.

feb. 20, 9:20am

>138 MissWatson: What an interesting find!

feb. 20, 9:38am

>139 MissBrangwen: So it is, and I'm keeping it as a curio.

feb. 20, 9:49am

Saturday notes

A remarkable change in the weather, it's sunny and warm and I spent a wonderful hour sitting on the balcony with my coffee and newspaper. Interesting reviews, too: Malu Halasa's Mother of all pigs and a long piece about Baroque poet Sibylla Schwarz.

feb. 20, 11:42am

Happy (belated) Thingaversary, Birgit! A good haul. Der Tote im Fleet is on my wishlist as well. I tend to read more book blogs, listen to more bookish podcasts and yes, I also look at the books offered in the supermarket. But I did not think as far as you did, the station with its (probably open) shop is only 1.5km away - I just haven't been there. Yet. Enjoy the first warm weekend of the year!

feb. 21, 10:53am

>142 Chrischi_HH: Thanks! It has been a glorious day, hasn't it? I spent a few hours just basking in the sun with coffee and a book.

feb. 21, 11:01am

XIX / MysteryKIT

And I have finished Death comes to Pemberley. A quick read, but not one to rave about. The mystery relies too much on the confession and subsequent retelling of matters from various people, and as a love story between Liz and Darcy it is too modern, I think, as is shown up whenever she cites from the original book. And the references to characters from Persuasion and Emma feels like overegging the pudding.

feb. 21, 12:01pm

>144 MissWatson: I still have to read that one, but I'm not rushing it as most reviews I've read recently express opinions similar to yours - that it's ok but not great. I think I'm going to reread P&P first, anyway!

feb. 22, 3:07am

>145 MissBrangwen: Re-reading it first is not a bad idea. I actually took down my copy to refresh my memory about Georgiana's affair as Ms James spends a lot of time trying to explain it.

feb. 24, 8:41am

>144 MissWatson: "feels like overegging the pudding" I never heard that expression before, but it made me LOL!

feb. 25, 5:20am

>147 BookLizard: I learned this in my English lessons at school (way, way back) and it has always stuck in my memory because of its quaintness.

feb. 25, 6:50am

>148 MissWatson: This reminds me of the Hungarian refugees in Australia in The Women in Black who improve their English by reading classic novels such as Dickens and enjoy using quaint expressions. And, yes, "over-egging the pudding" is a splendid idiom. :-)

feb. 25, 7:23am

>147 BookLizard: I agree, what a quaint saying. Probably native English speakers have never heard this! LOL!

feb. 25, 7:36am

>150 Tess_W: I've certainly heard "over-egging the pudding" used in normal speech, but I'm middle-aged.

feb. 25, 9:08am

>150 Tess_W: Yes, it's one of those phrases that really is real! (mind you, I'm middle-aged too!)

feb. 25, 10:13am

>149 spiralsheep: I have very fond memories of George Mikes' How to be an alien, a Hungarian refugee himself.
>150 Tess_W: I have only found it in rather old English books. And possibly The Economist which used to be a goldmine for such phrases.
>151 spiralsheep: And the phrases learned in one's youth tend to stay with you until the final days...
>152 Jackie_K: I'm glad to know it's still known.

feb. 25, 10:37am

>153 MissWatson: Ha!

And I think it's no surprise that some of our greatest living "British" poets are Eastern Europeans (more or less) such as George Szirtes.

feb. 27, 6:19am

>153 MissWatson: The school I used to teach at had a subscription to The Economist. I sure do miss it!

feb. 27, 9:31am

>155 Tess_W: I miss it, too. My library has a subscription, both print and digital, but reading it online is just not the same as going through it from cover to cover.

feb. 27, 9:52am

HistoryCAT / GR: non-fiction

Work is pretty busy at the moment and I didn't have the energy for more than a few pages every evening, so it tokk me some time to finish Rifles : Six years with Wellington's legendary sharpshooters. The book delivers exactly what the title says: a history of the 95th Rifles Regiment from May 1809 when they left England for Portugal until Waterloo and the immediate aftermath. The story is told strictly chronologically.

I almost missed the endnotes which are not indicated in the text; were they scared to frighten non-academic readers? It looks to have been finished in a rush, numerous typos and jumbled sentences, and not all quotes are found in the endnotes, sometimes the page numbers are off. His focus is on the officers and soldiers of the Rifles, so the point-of-view is very insular. He has read accounts from the French side, but Spaniards and Portuguese play no part here, except for being occasionally mentioned as auxiliaries, and I am a little annoyed that he always spells the name of the Caçadores regiment wrong.
But: these gripes apart, he gives a lively account of the campaign and various members of the regiment, and readers who love the Sharpe series will find much in here that is familiar.

feb. 27, 9:57am

Saturday notes

The programme for our summer music festival was published on Thursday. Most of the concerts will be held in the open air, seating has been reduced to enable distancing, meaning that the number of tickets is drastically lower. So when I had conferred with my sister about what we wanted to hear and was ready to order, our choices were sold out already. After two days! Yikes!! We're on the waiting list, but my hopes are not very high.

feb. 27, 10:13am

>158 MissWatson: You have my sympathy for missing out on those concerts. Even though nobody knows if entertainment events will happen over here any listed tickets are selling out faster than usual!

feb. 27, 10:21am

>159 spiralsheep: Yes, people are so desperate for live music now.

feb. 27, 10:33am

>160 MissWatson: I have a field sized back garden and many local musician friends so when the weather improves, more people are vaccinated, and it's legal, I might invite the village (the main problem is lack of toilets of course).

feb. 27, 8:43pm

>158 MissWatson: I'm really missing the ballet, but also our county had a festival each July for 7 days in which all kinds of musicians and artists were invited; most well known. Along with musicians there were artists, craftsmen, etc. That has been canceled for 2021.

feb. 28, 6:53am

>161 spiralsheep: Yes, toilets (or lack thereof) could be a problem. Unless food and drink are prohibited, too?
>162 Tess_W: The city is making plans for Kiel Week to go through, the sailing events are needed as qualifying races for the Olympics. But I can't really see all the other events taking place: music, street arts, and the food stalls. Nothing much we can do except hope and wait.

Editat: feb. 28, 7:55am

>163 MissWatson: Lack of toilets would prevent many older or disabled people from attending, at least for more than a short time, and they're the people who've been most restricted and need a low-pressure local event most. I'll have to think when the situation becomes clearer.

Editat: març 2, 4:45am


I finished Die King's German Legion 1803-1816 a day late for February, but with work so busy I don't read as much in the evening as usual right now. I bought this in 2015, the bicentenary of Waterloo produced lots of books. This is a PhD thesis about a foreign corps within the British Army, solid but not exciting.


Editat: març 3, 4:46am

XX / GeoKIT: Europe / Bingo: a place you'd love to visit / Popsugar: locked-room mystery / GR: a place you've never visited

And I immediately disprove myself by finishing a book in one night. But Verschlossen und verriegelt turned out to be a great read and a fast one, too. The social critique was a bit intrusive sometimes, but all in all I didn't find this dated or boring. Also, my first Bingo!
ETA: added the GeoKIT, as the Beck series is seminal for Swedish crime fiction.

març 4, 4:44am

Bingo: impulse read / GeoKIT Europe / GR: related to the past

Yesterday Adeliges Leben im Baltikum arrived in the mail and I read it immediately because it was short and the cover invited me. It presents pictures of manor houses in what is now Estonia and Latvia. It used to be called Livonia and it has been on my radar ever since I read Der Verrückte des Zaren.

març 4, 6:11am

>167 MissWatson: That sounds like a fun impulse read. I've always enjoyed reading about historical architecture but it's more fun now books tend to be better illustrated!

Editat: març 5, 4:14am

>168 spiralsheep: It was. One of them, a real palace, was built by a Countess Lieven, governess to the children of Empress Catherine II of Russia, and I haven't found out yet if she's the one mentioned so often in Heyer's Regency novels as one of the patronesses of the Almack Club. Read one book and it takes you in the oddest directions!

ETA: No, she was't. The one we know from Heyer was her daughter-in-law, though, married to her son Christoph. Small world!

març 5, 7:23am

>169 MissWatson: Heyer knew her history.

març 5, 9:10am

>166 MissWatson:
>167 MissWatson:

Love serendipitous reads like these!

març 7, 9:00am

Saturday notes

Olivia Manning's Balkan Trilogy is being published in a new translation, the review is quite favourable but also mentions Waldeck's Athene Palace as the more sharply observed one. Never heard of her, and it didn't help that the reviewer got her first name wrong, but the university has it. Worth keeping in mind, if we ever get back to normal library use...

Editat: març 7, 9:09am

>172 MissWatson: Athene Palace looks good, and I confess I'd never heard of it (unlike Manning who is well known over here - Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson in the television adaptation). It'll go on my maybe 2022 list. Thank you!

març 7, 9:18am

So many interesting reads! I love reading about architecture and historic houses, too - and discovering connections and relations between different books and historical characters!

març 8, 3:10am

>173 spiralsheep: I vaguely remember reading about that series in the Guardian, but never got around to tracking it down.
>174 MissBrangwen: It's a wonderful pastime. If only there were more hours in the day.

Editat: març 8, 7:46am

>172 MissWatson: The Manning Trilogy was already on my WL. But I will take a BB for the Waldeck!

març 9, 2:47am

>176 Tess_W: Yes, the wishlist is growing to epic proportions.

Editat: març 9, 3:04am

XXI / RandomCAT / GenreCAT / SFF KIT / Bingo: one-word title

So, Revenger. A third into the book, things took a completely different turn from what I expected after reading the blurb, I can't remember the last time I was so surprised. I took me almost the same amount of pages to get into the groove of the story and into the world we are in here. The lingo has a distinctly Britsh flavour, and there's an amazingly cold-blooded heroine. I am not entirely sure if I buy her...


març 10, 11:50am

I bought a book! In a bookstore! From a real person! With real money! (Kidding. it was a cashless transaction.) Can you tell I'm delirious with joy?

Anyways, all the mail orders are in, too, so I have finished my Thingaversary buying. Here's what I acquired in addition to the ones mentioned in >120 MissWatson::

5: Shadows of the pomegranate tree, a BB from Judy (DeltaQueen)
6: Adeliges Leben im Baltikum, read immediately on arrival
7: Bürgertum in Deutschland, because it caught my eye on a book-swapping site
8: Der Lüster, because of an article about Clarice Lispector
9: The water dancer, because I've heard so much about it
and one to grow on: Victoire, les saveurs et les mots

And now I am off to bury my nose in a book. Happiness.

març 10, 11:55am

>179 MissWatson: That's wonderful!!! I haven't been to one yet, but I'm so much looking forward to it! Such a special time. Enjoy! :-)

març 10, 12:07pm

>179 MissWatson: Squeeeee! I can imagine your bliss. In theory I can celebrate my birthday with a haircut, a sit down tea and cake and a visit to a book shop. And as my thingaversary is a fortnight earlier, book shopping may well be accompanied by a list...

març 10, 1:07pm

Congratulations on completing your Thingaversary purchases. I am in the process of compiling lists for my upcoming June Thingaversary. I hope you enjoy Shadows of the Pomegranate Tree when you get to it.

març 10, 1:44pm

I can feel your joy! I'm making a list of 5 star reads of others for my Thingaversary in December.

març 11, 3:43am

>180 MissBrangwen: I had to drop off some letters and saw that no one else was in the shop, so in I went. I wonder if we will remember this sense of wonder once the crisis is over?
>181 Helenliz: Yes, a haircut is next on the list, as soon as I can get an appointment!
>182 DeltaQueen50: s looking at me right now. Such a lovely cover, too!
>183 Tess_W: I'm so glad they are open again. Making a list sounds like a good plan.

març 11, 11:26am

>180 MissBrangwen: >184 MissWatson:

I had my second vaccination about three weeks ago and decided at the end of last week I felt okay, still wearing a mask, to go into some shops I haven't been in since this time last year. The first place I stopped was a large craft store, Hobby Lobby. I'm very familiar with it but I was rather dazed after just seeing the inside of my house and the grocery store for so long! I probably spent an hour there just walking around, so many things to look at!

març 12, 9:25am

>185 clue: I can well imagine that!

març 12, 9:34am

>185 clue: I do wonder how we are all going to react to being in a room with 25+ other people, having spent the last year in less than 6. There is going to be quite a significant readjustment to do once this is all opened up.

març 12, 12:44pm

>187 Helenliz: The very thought of being in a room with a lot of people makes me break out in hives a bit. And yet at the same time, I desperately miss concerts.

març 13, 9:14am

>185 clue: >186 MissWatson: >187 Helenliz: >188 rabbitprincess: For me this is a bit different because I'm a teacher teaching graduating classes and I'm still in the classroom every day. From August to December we even had full classes (usually about 25 students), now we teach 50% of the students one day and the other half the next, but some classes are in big rooms so they are present in full capacity. We wear medical masks and open the windows nearly all the time (which is not fun during a Northern German winter), but that's all we can do. It is so strange because it feels like I'm in a parallel universe sometimes. There has been a lot of discussion about this all the time since the pandemic started, but it's what was decided and as teachers are civil servants in Germany and not allowed to go on strike, there is nothing much that can be done.

març 13, 9:18am

>189 MissBrangwen: I'm glad you're able to open the windows! Many schools where I am have windows that seem to be designed specifically not to open, and the ventilation is terrible.

març 13, 9:19am

>190 rabbitprincess: This has been reported about some schools here, too, but luckily not mine!

març 13, 10:10am

>187 Helenliz: >188 rabbitprincess: >189 MissBrangwen: It will feel strange at first, no doubt.
>190 rabbitprincess: Does the rain come in when they are open, or are you allowed to close them in that case? It just occurred to me because it's raining buckets today.

març 13, 10:24am


Piraten und Korsaren im Mittelmeer looks at corsairs and privateers in the Mediterranean from the 16th to the 18th century, occasionally going beyond the timeframe to talk about the end of the Barbary pirates. The book is rather short, since knowledge of and research into pirates and privateers appears to be patchy. The author is a historian and provides as much of an overview as is possible. He makes the usual legalistic distinction between piracy and privateering, butb it doesn't really stand up to historical reality. The amazing thing I learned here is that the English holed up in Livorno in the 17th century and raided French and Venetian commerce (without letters of marque), and that the order of the Maltese knights gave out such letters.

It is a fascinating subject, and I really wish the author had given proper notes. The only citations with full bibliographic info are those of Braudel. A list with further reading is not sufficient. Hence the low rating.

març 14, 9:39am

WomenReading Challenge

I have been working my way through Madhur Jaffrey's Ultimate Curry Bible during the last weeks. Very instructive, and I liked all the recipes I've tried so far.

març 14, 12:21pm

>194 MissWatson: mmm curry! Sadly, I am the only one in my family who likes it!

març 14, 1:53pm

>195 Tess_W: Same here. It's usually my treat when the husband goes away for the weekend. And as he's not been away anywhere in a year, I've not had a curry for a year.
I am very jealous.

març 14, 3:20pm

>194 MissWatson: That sounds wonderful. I read a book of short stories this week which mentioned so many Indonesian dishes I was tempted to find a specialist cookbook (including curry). The one recommended by the translator is sadly out of print though.

març 14, 10:22pm

>194 MissWatson: Yum! Curry!! One of these days I’ll branch out and try making more curry dishes.

març 15, 4:21am

>195 Tess_W: >196 Helenliz: My condolences on not being able to share. My sisters like it, but usually eat it in restaurants.
>197 charl08: Recipes in books always have that effect on me, too.
>198 LittleTaiko: They are so much easier to make now that the ingredients can be found in most supermarkets.

And just to whet your appetites: yesterday I made a rather plain rice pilaf (only five spices) but with lots of dill. Surprising, but luscious.

març 15, 9:44pm

I mention curry and my husband votes for Chinese.

març 16, 4:07am

>200 hailelib: So you have to eat it on your own, clandestinely?

març 16, 4:29am

>199 MissWatson: I love dill, especially cooked with fresh green beans and bacon!

març 16, 4:42am

XVII / GenreCAT / Popsugar: set mostly outdoors

Pirate Latitudes did not exactly wow me. The one-dimensional characters are from Hollywood Central Casting, and the plot put me strongly in mind of cheesy Italian costume dramas from the 1960s. The scenes are also much like setpieces, as in: we need a prison break, and a storm, and a sea battle, and when the Kraken showed up I could only roll my eyes. And for the life of me I can't figure out what language the Spaniards are speaking. It's not Castilian as I know it.

març 16, 9:01pm

>203 MissWatson: I felt very much the same about Pirate Latitudes, I think this was one that was finished and published after the author's death, so much of the input was not Crichton's, I'm sure he would have produced a much more cohesive and polished final product.

març 17, 3:50am

>204 DeltaQueen50: Yes, that's what it feels like. Something incomplete fished from the drawer and mangled by incompetent hands.

març 18, 4:26am

XX / Bingo: contains magic / Popsugar: different format / GR: element of magic

Astérix et les normands isn't what I would call historical fiction, so it goes into my 20th century category. All that I remembered about it from previous readings was that everything was eaten "à la crème", so this was a nice re-discovery.

març 20, 8:44am

Saturday notes

April RandomCAT made me browse other people's libraries and I stumbled across The queen's agent which I had no memory of buying. Took me an hour to unearth it, too.
And today there's a long article in the FAZ lamenting the fact that the letters of Elisabeth Charlotte, sister-in-law to Louis XIV, go still unedited, except for some blatantly bowdlerised excerpts. Favourable mention goes to Madame Palatine, a fairly recent biography. I know I own this, but where is it?
Obviously I've got a serious problem. I need more space to put my books in an orderly fashion...

març 20, 9:23am

>207 MissWatson: Good luck with buying a Tardis or other pocket dimension to keep your books in! >;-)

I suppose it must be possible to write a dull or bad book about Walsingham but generally he's a subject that gives and gives provided an author doesn't speculate too much on the available biographical evidence and is prepared to diversify into wider historical characters and events. Enjoy!

març 21, 7:32am

>208 spiralsheep: Oh yes, a Tardis. What an elegant solution to my problem!

març 22, 4:26am


And I have finished The Queen's agent. The subtitle sums up the content concisely: Francis Walsingham at the Court of Elizabeth I. Since nothing much is known about Walsingham's life, this is all about the politics he had a hand in from the day he started in her service. The author arranges his material by theme, which means we jump forward and backwards in time and he frequently forgets to put things in context again, as in "Now why was 1584 a terrible year?" A timetable listing the major events would have been helpful here. And someone like me, who is not steeped in intimate knowledge of the times, easily gets lost among the many names.

març 22, 8:16am

>210 MissWatson: I'm sorry that wasn't a good book for you. I like history books arranged by theme because they can delve deeper, but authors need to work to make them readable, and chronological accounts are much easier to write accessibly imo. I hope your next book is more satisfying.

març 23, 3:49am

>211 spiralsheep: I think I would have gotten more out of it if I had more background. Especially with the Babington plot he took too much intimate knowledge of the players for granted, while I was like "Now who might this be?" That's what you get for diving in at the deep end.

març 25, 7:49am


I bought The World of Renaissance Florence when we stayed there and tried to read this before, the bookmark was about halfway in. Various authors look at all aspects of life in the city, from the houses, the shops, family life, etc. The timeframe is also wider than I expected, they usually start somewhere in the 1350s, so the book has only one foot in the 16th century.
Sometimes you feel overwhelmed with details and too many names, even if by the end of the book you realise they're always the same. There are way too many typos, and very odd ones, too, such as "dearly" instead of "clearly" or "fast" instead of "last" that make me wonder how this was produced.
Ah yes, and the pompous, gushing style gets very tiresome. Not a keeper.

març 25, 9:42am

>213 MissWatson: There is a big debate going on currently amongst historians about the "dates" of the Renaissance (at least at the 2 universities I work for). There are those that are classically trained (such as myself) who were taught 1350-1520 (Luther/Wittenberg) and the more current time frame: 14-16th century (some even going so far as to include the 17th century). Not sure when your book was published, however, perhaps that is why only a foot in the 16th century?

març 26, 4:06am

>214 Tess_W: It was written in 1999, mostly by Italian historians (probably Florentines, I didn't check) and they claim of course that it started in Florence with Petrarca. For myself, I think that the timeframe differs very much between countries and regions, depending on when they came into contact with these newish ideas and when they found their way into daily life.

Editat: març 27, 10:04pm

The mention of Florentines reminded me of these excellent chocolate biscuits. I don't know if they come from Florence.

març 28, 7:16am

>216 pamelad: We call them Florentiner in German, but I have no knowledge of their origin, either. I didn't look for them, though.

març 28, 7:31am

Saturday notes

On 27 March was Heinrich Mann's 150th birthday, and Reclam honour the day with a new edition of Der Untertan, for the first time edited with proper notes. And it says much for his standing in Germany today that none of my usual libraries had it. Yes, I own a copy, but I would like proper notes for a re-read, because I'm sure most of the literary and political allusions went over my head when I read this in my youth. Ah well, after the Easter break...

Speaking of which, I'm spending it with my sister, so now seems like a good time to start a new thread. You are welcome to join me there!
En/na MissWatson roams the centuries, part 2 ha continuat aquest tema.