MissWatson ROOTs less ambitiously in 2020

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MissWatson ROOTs less ambitiously in 2020

Editado: Jan 3, 2020, 12:20 pm

Hi, I'm Birgit and live on the Baltic Sea in Germany.

Last year I almost missed my goal because I got distracted by so many new books. This year I hope to read 50 books from my giant TBR. Everything I owned before January 2nd will count as a ROOT.

The ticker:

Editado: Dez 26, 2020, 2:55 am

And the list of books read:

1. Tod in der Speicherstadt by Anja Marschall
2. Der nasse Fisch by Volker Kutscher
3. Der Herr aus San Francisco by Ivan Bunin
4. Whose body? by Dorothy L. Sayers
5. Blutsbrüder by Ernst Haffner
6. A very pukka murder by Arjun Raj Gaind
7. Breaking news by Alan Rusbridger
8. Le jour d'avant by Sorj Chalandon

9. Astérix et la Transitalique by Ferri/Conrad
10. Clouds of witness by Dorothy L. Sayers
11. Le Rouge et le Noir by Stendhal
12. Reise nach Arabien by Thorkild Hansen
13. The Strangler Vine by M.J. Carter
14. Das kunstseidene Mädchen by Irmgard Keun

15. Un crime en Hollande by Georges Simenon
16. L'écluse N° 1 by Georges Simenon
17. Die Herrscher Sachsens by Frank-Lothar Kroll
18. Unnatural death by Dorothy Sayers
19. Astérix le gaulois by Gosciny and Uderzo
20. Astérix aux jeux olympiques by Goscinny and Uderzo

21. Little women by Louisa May Alcott
22. Die seltene Gabe by Andreas Eschbach
23. In the wet by Nevil Shute
24. Lord Peter views the body by Dorothy L. Sayers
25. Kochen mit den Römern by Linda-Marie Günther
26. Trier : Biographie einer römischen Stadt by Frank Unruh
27. The dark frontier by Eric Ambler
28. Die Inquisition by Gerd Schwerhoff
29. The lantern bearers by Rosemary Sutcliff
30. The white rose murders by Michael Clynes

31. Les années sanglantes by Simone Bertière
32. Die Badewanne des Archimedes by Sven Ortoli and Nicolas Witkowski
33. Giganten der Gotik by Martin Papirowski and Susanne Spröer
34. The unpleasantness at the Bellona Club by Dorothy L. Sayers
35. Orden und Klöster by Georg Schwaiger and Manfred Heim
36. Le petit Nicolas et les copains by Sempé&Goscinny
37. Tambora und das Jahr ohne Sommer by Wolfgang Behringer
38. Beau Geste by P.C. Wren
39. Der Mann vom Pecos by Lee Hoffman
40. Das kosmische Kind by Wolfgang Seehaber
41. The invention of nature by Andrea Wulf
42. Geschichte Tschechiens by Joachim Bahlcke

43. Kulturgeschichte des Klimas by Wolfgang Behringer
44. Der Nordseespuk by Tilman Spreckelsen
45. Grubengold by Franz-Josef Brüggemeier
46. Planet of no return by Harry Harrison
47. Invasion: Earth by Harry Harrison
48. Strong poison by Dorothy L. Sayers
49. Empire of ivory by Naomi Novik
50. Le Mont-St-Michel et l'énigme du dragon by Jean Markale

51. El secreto del orfebre by Elia Barceló
52. Conquistadoren und Azteken by Stefan Rinke
53. Footsteps in the dark by Georgette Heyer
54. Die Konquistadoren by Vitus Huber
55. Castle Richmond by Anthony Trollope
56. Die Welt der Azteken by William H. Prescott

57. Die Geschichte des Alten China by Monique Nagel-Angermann
58. The exploits of Brigadier Gerard by AC Doyle
59. Balzac et la Petite Tailleuse chinoise by Dai Sijie

60. Die Schrecken des Eises und der Finsternis by Christoph Ransmayr
61. Die Hanse by Rolf Hammel-Kiesow
62. Götter und Kulte der Germanen by Rudolf Simek
63. Hangman's holiday by Dorothy L. Sayers
64. Prinzessin Brambilla by ETA Hoffmann
65. Enemy of God by Bernard Cornwell

66. Im Schatten der Pineta by Marco Malvaldi
67. Beat the reaper by Josh Bazell
68. Die 101 wichtigsten Fragen : Deutsche Literatur by Oliver Jahraus
69. Murder Must Advertise by Dorothy L. Sayers
70. Die Kunst der Spätantike by Paul Veyne
71. The moon is a harsh mistress by Robert A. Heinlein

72. Shovel ready by Adam Sternbergh
73. Near enemy by Adam Sternbergh
74. Wiener Küche by Susanne Zimmel
75. Für fremde Kaiser und kein Vaterland by Klas E. Everwyn
76. Red harvest by Dashiell Hammett
77. Thomas Mann by Klaus Schröter
78. Das Phantom des Alexander Wolf by Gaito Gasdanow

79. Die Geschichte der 1002. Nacht by Joseph Roth
80. Il gattopardo by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa
81. Die 101 wichtigsten Fragen : Urzeit by Friedemann Schrenk
82. Gaudy night by Dorothy L. Sayers
83. Die rote Frau by Alex Beer
84. Billy Budd, foretopman by Herman Melville
85. The eyes of the fleet by Anthony Price

Jan 2, 2020, 1:36 pm

Happy New Year and happy reading Birgit!

Jan 2, 2020, 1:40 pm

Good to see you back, Birgit. How was your vacation at your sisters? I hope it was great.

Happy ROOTing in 2020.

Jan 2, 2020, 2:12 pm

Happy new year Brigit.

Did you want to add 24240 to the group target?

Jan 2, 2020, 2:20 pm


Jan 2, 2020, 2:36 pm

Hi Birgit, welcome back - I hope you had a good break.

Jan 2, 2020, 3:13 pm

Happy New Year and I hope your ROOTing is successful!

Jan 2, 2020, 5:19 pm

Happy new year, Birgit, and good luck with your goal. Look forward to seeing what's on your list for 2020.

Jan 2, 2020, 8:18 pm

Welcome back and have a great reading year!

Jan 3, 2020, 12:59 am

Good luck with your ROOTing, Birgit!

Jan 3, 2020, 3:50 am

Happy ROOTing, Birgit

Jan 3, 2020, 12:16 pm

Visitors, how lovely! Thanks for dropping in!

>3 Miss_Moneypenny: Thanks!
>4 connie53: Hi Connie! We had a lovely time, mostly cuddling up with her cat who just loves to lie down on people's legs.
>5 si: Good grief, no! How did that happen? Thanks for pointing it out!
>7 Jackie_K: Hi Jackie, yes, Christmas without snow looks odd vbut it was welcome not to have shoveling to do.
>8 Sace: Thanks, I'll need that. The year is barely two days old and I have already bought some new books...
>9 floremolla: Hello Donna! I am fully determined to make a sizable dent in the TBR.
>10 rabbitprincess: Thanks, rp, I'm expecting a few book bullets from you!
>11 Familyhistorian: Thanks Meg, and the same to you.
>12 Robertgreaves: Hi Robert!

Jan 3, 2020, 12:21 pm

And the ticker is fixed. Now I am off to read a ROOT.

Jan 4, 2020, 3:33 pm

>Now I am off to read a ROOT
Ah what a happy thing! Cheers to a great 2020 and many ROOTs!

Jan 5, 2020, 6:33 pm

Happy New Year a bit late and many happy hours of reading!

Jan 5, 2020, 6:35 pm

Happy New Year and good luck with the ROOTing!

Jan 6, 2020, 11:27 am

>16 enemyanniemae: >17 majkia: Thanks and the same to you!

Jan 6, 2020, 11:33 am

ROOT #1: Tod in der Speicherstadt

This is a historical mystery set in Hamburg's warehousing district in 1896. It's the thrid book about Hauke Sötje, a former merchant navy captain now serving with the police in Kiel, but a mysterious death aboard a coffee smuggling boat takes him to Hamburg and the recently-built freeport and warehousing district, where both he and the reader learn a lot about coffee trading and snooty Hamburg merchants moaning about interfering police. Sötje is offered a job in Hamburg at the end, and I hope there will be more books.

Jan 11, 2020, 10:16 am

ROOT #2: Der nasse Fisch by Volker Kutscher

Another historical mystery, this time we're in Berlin in 1929. There was much hype about the series when it was first published, and then again when it was made into a TV series, and I tend to avoid such books. But it turned up in Hugendubel's remainders bins and I was curious to see what the fuss was all about. It is quite decent, well-researched, competently written, and very much grey on grey instead of black and white, especially where the police officers are concerned. I'll read the next books, too, but won't keep them. They can be easily found again if the need for a re-read should arise.

Jan 12, 2020, 3:12 pm

Just checking in here and wishing you a fun year of ROOTing. Looks like you are off to a good start heading toward your fifty books goal.

Jan 13, 2020, 5:20 am

>21 This-n-That: Thanks, and the same to you!

Jan 13, 2020, 5:27 am

ROOT #3: Der Herr aus San Francisco by Ivan Bunin

This is a small bilingual booklet containing Bunin's best-known story which I read to practise my long-neglected Russian. This required a lot of concentration, as Bunin makes full use of Russian's complicated grammar, stringing long sentences across half the page by adding one participle after the other. Little dialogue, lots of detailed descriptions and an unusual topic: a rich American visits Europe with his wife and daughter and never gets beyond Capri.
I've owned this for decades and it fell apart during reading, so off to the bin. But I'll probably replace it sometime if I can find a collection of his stories.

Jan 14, 2020, 4:27 am

ROOT #4: Whose body? by Dorothy L. Sayers

This was a re-read for a group read and every bit as wonderful as the first, second etc time. I cannot imagine ever parting with the series.

Jan 16, 2020, 3:53 am

ROOT #5: Blutsbrüder by Ernst Haffner

I picked this as a complement to Der nasse Fisch, to see what the situation in Berlin was like as seen by a contemporary. The author worked as a journalist and social worker, apparently, and it shows in his reportage-like writing style and his close knowledge of the life that these abandoned or runaway youngsters lead. It is a bleak book, and there's also anger at the way the adults fail the next generation.

Jan 20, 2020, 11:59 pm

Wow. Just Wow. Anyway, welcome back, and good look with the ROOTing.

Jan 21, 2020, 6:39 am

>26 LoraShouse: Thank you. *blushes*

Jan 21, 2020, 6:41 am

ROOT #6: A very pukka murder by Arjun Raj Gaind

A historical mystery set in India in 1909 and one of the worst I have ever read. I am happy to throw this in the bin, would not dream of inflicting it on another reader.

Jan 21, 2020, 12:31 pm

>28 MissWatson: Ohhh, that sounds horrible!

Jan 22, 2020, 4:29 am

>29 connie53: It is strange how some books can rub me just the wrong way, and I get angry about the time I wasted. And other times I simply forget them.

Jan 22, 2020, 10:40 am

Oh my! Already up to 5! I hope you didn't bother finishing #5! I have to confess I am delighted these days when I loathe a book.

Jan 23, 2020, 11:00 am

>31 sibylline: No, I slogged on until the end because I wanted to know who did it. I'm a masochist at heart.

Jan 31, 2020, 6:31 am

ROOT #7: Breaking news by Alan Rusbridger

This was a spontaneous buy and such a fascinating book. The former editor looks back on the changes his paper, the Guardian, and journalism in general suffered while he was editor. It partly coincided with the time I read the Guardian at work, and it brought back memories. Plus all those disturbing developments in social media...

Fev 1, 2020, 8:52 am

ROOT #8: Le jour d'avant by Sorj Chalandon

I read this for a small group organised by one of the French teachers at our adult education organisation. A very strange book, it sets out as a man telling the story of his brother who died in a mining accident and his mission to seek vengeance, and then, during his trial for attempted murder of a former formean at the mine, everything is stood on its head. If it hadn't been for this turn, it would have been a great read, but this just didn't work for me.

So, eight ROOTs this month! Not bad.

Fev 3, 2020, 5:08 am

ROOT #9: Astérix et la Transitalique by Ferri/Conrad

The usual fun with our intrepid Gauls entering a chariot race from Monza to Naples. I bought this in Normandy in 2018 and cannot think why I didn't read it immediately.

Fev 4, 2020, 4:22 am

>34 MissWatson: Not bad at all! Nice job, Birgit!

Fev 4, 2020, 6:17 am

>36 connie53: Thanks, Connie!

Fev 5, 2020, 3:16 pm

>34 MissWatson: Wow! Good job!

Fev 6, 2020, 3:19 am

Fev 16, 2020, 7:57 am

ROOT #10: Clouds of witness by Dorothy L. Sayers

I'm still slogging through Le rouge et le noir, and at the halfway point decided that I needed a respite, so I re-read an old favourite. Wimsey never disappoints.

Also, I have been busier than usual at work, a three day bus strike meant a 45 minute walk to work, all of which ate into my reading time. And today we're under a second stormfront, the wind is howling and it's raining buckets. The North Sea islands suffered lots of sand loss on the beaches, and now the sea is eating at them again...

Fev 16, 2020, 8:47 am

Here it's storming too. Not as bad as last weekend. But some of the winds are very heavy. No rain yet.

Fev 16, 2020, 8:55 am

I wonder if you're getting the edge of the storm that has been battering us this weekend? In Scotland we had very heavy rain yesterday, and heavy winds today.

Fev 16, 2020, 2:22 pm

Happy Thingaversy, Birgit.

Fev 17, 2020, 4:06 am

>41 connie53: I hope your garden dodn't suffer too much?
>42 Jackie_K: Yes, but this time we only caught a thin edge of it.
>43 connie53: Thanks, Connie!

Fev 17, 2020, 9:38 am

>42 Jackie_K: >44 MissWatson: Canadian astronaut and national treasure Chris Hadfield tweeted this amazing picture of what I am presuming is the storm you all had; the cloud stretches from Florida all the way to Europe!

Fev 17, 2020, 9:53 am

>45 rabbitprincess: Wow, that's something else! I don't think that's what we are experiencing as it is too far south - but you can see the swirly eye of the storm to the north-west of the UK in that photo.

Fev 17, 2020, 10:32 am

>45 rabbitprincess: >46 Jackie_K: I'm cold just looking at it.

Fev 18, 2020, 3:37 am

>44 MissWatson: No, It did not. We just lost a few small branches, but not much damage done. I removed all decorative things from the garden-table and a side table, pots and candles. So we were prepared for Ciara, Dennis and Ellen is coming next weekend.

Fev 18, 2020, 7:59 am

>48 connie53: Yes, I brought in the chairs from my balcony. Everything else is safe, just one flower lost a blossom. I should have kept it inside, of course.

Fev 18, 2020, 11:10 am

I follow an EU weather site on Twitter, what a series of storms! Wishing for everyone's continued safety.

Fev 18, 2020, 11:20 am

>50 detailmuse: Yes, we're getting a bit of a battering! Large parts of Wales, parts of England and the Scottish borders are dealing with a lot of flooding, it's awful to see.

Fev 18, 2020, 1:49 pm

>51 Jackie_K: I saw that on the news yesterday. I hope you will stay safe, Jackie.

Fev 18, 2020, 2:39 pm

>40 MissWatson: I hope the buses were running by the time the storm hit!

Fev 19, 2020, 3:19 am

>50 detailmuse: My neck of the woods usually gets off lightly, but the West coast was hit hard.
>51 Jackie_K: >52 connie53: I hope you're safe, Jackie!
>52 connie53: Yes, they were. It's a good thing that I have everything I need within a short walking distance, just work is a bit further.

Fev 19, 2020, 8:12 am

>52 connie53: >54 MissWatson: I'm absolutely fine here, thank you, there is no serious (or even trivial) flooding anywhere near me - one of my big fears is flooding, so whenever we move house I always make sure we're not in a very low-lying area. The pictures of flooding in some parts of the UK though just look horrific. And we've more rain forecast for the end of the week...

Fev 20, 2020, 3:52 am

>55 Jackie_K: Good to know.

Fev 23, 2020, 8:37 am

ROOT #11: Le Rouge et le Noir by Stendhal

I have finished it and I still haven't figures out what Stendhal is trying to tell us here. I guess I need to read more French history.

Fev 26, 2020, 4:15 am

ROOT #12: Reise nach Arabien by Thorkild Hansen

This is an account of a scientific expedition to the Yemen, sent out by the Danish king in 1761. Only one of the five men returned, and he had a hard time getting the results published. The whole expedition had been pretty much forgotten by the time Hansen published it in 1961. Yet for all the melancholy pervading the telling of the tale, it is strangely uplifting to read about Carsten Niebuhr, his dedication to his work, his curiosity about the world and its people, his perseverance, and most of all his findings: he first surveyed the pyramids accurately, drew a map of the Yemen used by later explorers, surveyed Persepolis and copied reams and reams of cuneiform inscriptions there that allowed others to decipher them. Among many, many other things...

Fev 28, 2020, 4:33 am

ROOT #13: The Strangler Vine by M. J. Carter

This is a historical mystery set in India in 1837, and for the first hundred pages or so I seriously considered ditching it. Young men doing stupid things for the wrong reasons are not my favourite type of hero, especially if they do a first person narrative. But then we arrived in Jubbulpore, the heart of Thuggee (or not?) and things improved in leaps and bounds. I'm looking forward to the next book!

Mar 1, 2020, 8:53 am

ROOT #14: Das kunstseidene Mädchen by Irmgard Keun

I finished this on the last day of February and don't quite see why it features on so many books you should read lists.

Editado: Mar 8, 2020, 11:37 am

ROOT #15: Un crime en Hollande by Georges Simenon

A man has been murdered in Delfzijl, a small town on the Ems estuary, and the main suspect is a Frenchman, so Maigret is sent to assist with the investigation. Not having a word of Dutch is no obstacle to solving the case. It's an odd story, as if Maigret is not the only fish out of water, but his author, too.

Mar 7, 2020, 3:37 am

>61 MissWatson: Hi Birgit. 15 ROOTS! Wow. Good job! BTW: it's Delfzijl ;-)

Editado: Mar 8, 2020, 11:38 am

>63 MissWatson: Hi Connie! Ah, sorry about the typo! Corrected now. Most of the ROOts so far have been short ones. Simenon rarely needs more than 200 pages for his cases.

Mar 8, 2020, 11:40 am

ROOT #16: L'écluse N° 1 by Georges Simenon

Another early Maigret, again set on the canals. I found many at the fleamarket, and by some strange coincidence most of them belong to the first series of Maigret, which he wrote in the early thirties.

Mar 14, 2020, 5:56 pm

ROOT #17: Die Herrscher Sachsens by Frank-Lothar Kroll

Every ruler (margarve, elector and king) of Saxony presented in a short biography. Nice reminder of the lesser-known bits of German history.

Editado: Mar 16, 2020, 2:16 pm

ROOT #18: Unnatural death by Dorothy Sayers

Always enjoyable. I may have to get another edition, though, in my NEL copy are far too many typos and missing lines.


Mar 26, 2020, 8:09 am

ROOT #19 and 20: Astérix le gaulois and Astérix aux jeux olympiques

I was sad to hear the news of Uderzo's passing and fished two from the shelves to indulge in a little nostalgia.

Mar 29, 2020, 6:41 am

One of the stranger side effects of the current situation is that I have inspected my larder and found a couple of things where I cannot recall how the found their way into my shopping cart. Pasta made from red lentils, for one thing. Must have been one of those "lower your carbohydrate consumption" advice columns. So I finally gave them a try. No. Not again. I'd rather have proper lentils.

But it seems a good time to tackle the cookbooks again. I bought a cauliflower at the market yesterday and I have this cookbook just for cauli...

Mar 29, 2020, 9:16 am

>68 MissWatson: I hope you can find proper lentils! We haven't been able to find any for two weeks.

Have fun tackling the cookbooks! I like reading about the recipes you try :)

Mar 29, 2020, 12:48 pm

We came to a similar conclusion when we tried red lentil pasta last year. Alright if you haven't got anything else in, but not something we'd choose to buy again!

Mar 30, 2020, 11:25 am

>69 rabbitprincess: Oh, lentils are something I always have in the kitchen. And I can never resist a special offer, so 2 kgs should last me some weeks. Here in Kiel, oats have run out.

>70 Jackie_K: Yes, real pasta is so much better, and it is a good thing that I've got several kgs in my larder (all those different shapes!) because they have been sold out several times at my nearest supermarket. People are so weird.

And a short update on the cauliflower: it was cooked Indian style with basmati and roasted cashew nuts, flavoured with cloves, bay leaf, garam masala, cardamom, cinnamon stick and star anise, cooked as a biryani. Very yummy, and a keeper.

Mar 30, 2020, 2:11 pm

>71 MissWatson: That sounds yummy! I love Indian food. May have to suggest that to my other half, who does our cooking :)

Mar 31, 2020, 4:03 am

>72 rabbitprincess: I love Indian cooking for the vegetables.

Abr 2, 2020, 10:13 am

ROOT #21: Little women by Louisa May Alcott

I have owned this for ages, a mass market paperback printed in 1966, and finally got round to it, thanks to the Reading Through Time group. Very charming, but alas, the book broke in half and lost quite a few pages during reading, so it goes into the bin.

Abr 2, 2020, 11:20 pm

I'm sorry you didn't get a chance to finish Little Women. It lasted a good long while though. 54 years is nothing to sneeze at. HOpe you can find it somewhere so you will get to finish it. I loved it.

Abr 3, 2020, 6:57 am

>75 enemyanniemae: Well, when I reached the end of the first part, I suddenly had two halves of a book – but the pages immediately before and after the break only came loose after I had read them, so nothing missing from the plot. And there's always the ebook option, as it is in the public domain by now.

Abr 4, 2020, 9:48 am

ROOT #22: Die seltene Gabe by Andreas Eschbach

A thriller for young adults, with a telekinetic youngster on the run from sinister government agents. Thoroughly exciting.

Abr 7, 2020, 6:50 am

ROOT #23: In the wet by Nevil Shute

Picking short books is working. This is set in Queensland, published in 1953, and the author tries to imagine what England and the monarchy will look like 30 years hence. Very strange to read this from a 2020 viewpoint, knowing how different things turned out.

Abr 10, 2020, 10:17 am

ROOT #24: Lord Peter views the body by Dorothy L. Sayers

Another re-read, just perfect for getting settled down in a long Easter weekend.

Abr 11, 2020, 4:10 am

How are you doing, Birgit? Are you still okay?

Abr 11, 2020, 9:30 am

Hi Connie, thanks, I am fine. I decided not to travel to my sister's, but we're talking on the phone. Right now I'm happy to have a few days without working! I packed the notebook provided by my employer away and won't touch it again till Tuesday.

Editado: Abr 20, 2020, 3:48 am

>81 MissWatson: Good for you. Just spend the weekend with books and sunshine!

Abr 12, 2020, 8:12 am

>82 connie53: Thanks, Connie. I had a wonderful walk along the waterside this morning, before the crowds came, and just put my chicken in the oven.

Abr 15, 2020, 3:25 pm

ROOT #25: Kochen mit den Römern by Linda-Marie Günther

I took this off the shelf to help with an assignment about an online course, and it did. The author takes us through ancient Rome and her provinces and discusses the food they produced and how they cooked it. It includes recipes adapted from Apicius, but they don't read as if I need to rush out and try them. They were far too fond of mixing sweet and sour in their sauces, and I am not particularly fond of vinegar, so there.

Abr 18, 2020, 10:04 am

ROOT #26: Trier : Biographie einer römischen Stadt by Frank Unruh

More ancient Romans, this time in the province of Gaul. A short history of Augusta Treverorum with many illustrations from the city museum.

Abr 19, 2020, 7:07 am

ROOT #27: The dark frontier by Eric Ambler

A spy thriller set on the Balkan which I have owned for more than thirty years. Ambler is considered a classic author of the genre, and he chose an unusual structure for the book, with the second half told by an American journalist.

Abr 19, 2020, 7:13 am

Okay, curiosity got the better of me and I tried one of the Roman recipes, because they had sea bass on offer at my supermarket. My first try at cooking fish packed in salt, and I am very pleased with the result. So little mess apart from the salt that you have to have to throw out! The sauce was very sour indeed, but tasty, so I may go looking for a better class of vinegar.

Abr 20, 2020, 3:49 am

Hi Birgit! Nice to read your cooking experiment went well.

Abr 20, 2020, 5:32 am

Hi Connie! I hope the weather is sunny and you can sit in the garden!

Abr 21, 2020, 8:14 am

ROOT #28: Die Inquisition by Gerd Schwerhoff

I bought this in the museum shop when I visited an exhibition on Spanish art in Berlin four years ago, because I never can resist the shop. How time flies...

Abr 24, 2020, 3:40 am

ROOT #29: The lantern bearers by Rosemary Sutcliff

This was a re-read. I love the way she evokes the smells and sounds of the landscape.

And I am making remarkable progress this month with my shorter books. I have also settled into some sort of routine for this working from home thing, which is a relief as it will probably continue for some time. The plan is for no more than 35 people to be at the library at the same time, so those working in the bookbinding, document delivery and stacks departments are the first to return.

Editado: Abr 27, 2020, 5:18 am

ROOT #30: The white rose murders by Michael Clynes

Another comparatively short one, a historical mystery set in the reign of Henry VIII. The author tries to create a rogue hero in the vein of Harry Flashman and doesn't succeed, so off it goes. And with 10 ROOTs under my belt this month I can now indulge in a library book. Or a fat book. Let's have a look at the shelves...

ETA: Touchstone fixed.

Abr 26, 2020, 9:40 am

>92 MissWatson: Excellent ROOT work this month! :)

Abr 26, 2020, 8:08 pm

It looks like you are reading a lot of history based ROOTs, Birgit. Are they all slimmer books?

Editado: Abr 27, 2020, 5:20 am

>93 rabbitprincess: Thanks, RP!
>94 Familyhistorian: Yes, they're all pretty short, all under 300 pages. I've now started Les années sanglantes which has almost 500, but very large print, so I think I can finish this before May.

Maio 3, 2020, 2:05 pm

Hi Birgit! I cannot believe that I didn't have your thread starred. Belated happy everything. *smile*

Maio 4, 2020, 4:54 am

Hi Birgit, good to see you are still reading ROOTs. I hope everything is all right with you and your family.

Maio 4, 2020, 9:10 am

>96 karenmarie: Nice to see you, Karen!
>97 connie53: Thanks, Connie, we're all fine!

Maio 5, 2020, 2:47 am

ROOT #31: Les années sanglantes by Simone Bertière

This took me longer than expected, as it covers a very complicated era of French history and I had to flip back to the annexes a lot. A history of the French queens of the 16th century, with Catherine de Médicis towering above them all. The author quotes extensively from letters and memoirs but never cites them in the correct academic way, which is a serious drawback. Otherwise it is a very accessible book and throws an interesting light on the Valois dynasty.

Maio 6, 2020, 8:18 am

ROOT #32: Die Badewanne des Archimedes by Sven Ortoli and Nicolas Witkowski

I was very annoyed by the condescending writing style of this and didn't finish it. Off to the bin.

Maio 7, 2020, 3:12 am

ROOT #33: Giganten der Gotik by Martin Papirowski and Susanne Spröer

Based on a TV documentary about Gothic cathedrals, it addresses the general public and thus contains mostly basic information, concentrating on a handful of examples. Lovely photos, though

Maio 9, 2020, 2:56 pm

ROOT #34: The unpleasantness at the Bellona Club by Dorothy L. Sayers

A re-read of a favourite book. I'm in need of some nice, comforting books right now. This working from home is starting to get to me, concentration is difficult. But we can travel again, within Germany at least, and I am looking forward to visiting my sister soon.

Maio 10, 2020, 7:59 am

ROOT #35: Orden und Klöster by Georg Schwaiger and Manfred Heim

A brief history of monastic life and religious orders in Christendom.

Maio 11, 2020, 7:05 am

ROOT #36: Le petit Nicolas et les copains by Sempé and Goscinny

Another quick, enjoyable read.

Maio 12, 2020, 2:35 am

Hi Birgit. Glad to hear you are doing fine. And reading a lot of ROOTs too.

Maio 12, 2020, 3:27 am

>105 connie53: Hi Connie! It's a good thing to have so many books on the shelves and such a wide variety. Right now I'm mostly drawn to the short ones.

Maio 12, 2020, 4:19 am

I tend to read the big ones.

Maio 13, 2020, 7:31 am

>107 connie53: Yes, I noticed you lined up quite a few BFBs. Well done!

Maio 13, 2020, 9:13 am

Thanks, I try my best!

Editado: Maio 13, 2020, 9:13 am

Esta mensagem foi removida pelo seu autor.

Maio 14, 2020, 4:42 am

ROOT #37: Tambora und das Jahr ohne Sommer by Wolfgang Behringer

This was a truly fascinating book. A non-fiction account of the consequences of a volcanic eruption in far-away Asia on Europe, and here in particular Germany and Switzerland. Famine, starvation, economic crises, political crises, and a cholera pandemic. And lots of parallels to our current situation that would probably have been less noticeable at another time.

Maio 16, 2020, 8:27 am

Hi Birgit! Just passing through, trying to catch up on threads. I hope you're doing well.

Maio 16, 2020, 9:29 am

>112 karenmarie: Thanks for dropping in, Karen. I'm fine, getting bored with the working from home and looking forward to a few days with my sister. I hope you're doing fine, too!

Maio 16, 2020, 2:52 pm

I'm doing pretty well, all things considered, and actually just got off a fun phone call with my sister - we were talking about our kids and recipes. I have no idea when I'll be able to see my sister again because we live on opposite ends of the US, and I really miss her. Have fun with your sist - you're lucky you can spend time with her.

Maio 18, 2020, 11:38 am

ROOT #38: Beau Geste by P.C. Wren

This was different from what I expected, and I didn't like the Geste brothers, so I am parting with the book.

ROOT #39: Der Mann vom Pecos by Lee Hoffman

I have owned this since my school days and re-reading this has finally convinced me to part with it and its fellows. I simply did not enjoy the mediocre translation any more.

Maio 20, 2020, 3:36 am

ROOT #40: Das kosmische Kind by Wolfgang Seehaber

One the one hand, it is nice to finish so many ROOTs. On the other it is disappointing to find so many of them meh at best. The best by far have been the non-fiction books. I guess I should stick to those for a while...

And now I'm off to my sister's. See you again on Sunday. Stay safe!

Maio 25, 2020, 5:27 pm

Amazing reading progress ... and SO glad you're having a visit with your sister!

Maio 26, 2020, 3:03 am

>117 detailmuse: Thank you! We had a lovely time, talking on the phone just isn't the same.

Editado: Maio 31, 2020, 9:20 am

ROOT #41: The invention of nature by Andrea Wulf

Another solid, satisfying non-fiction book about Alexander von Humboldt and the way he changed how we see nature.

edited for touchstone

Maio 31, 2020, 1:59 pm

ROOT #42: Geschichte Tschechiens by Joachim Bahlcke

A very short history of the Czech Republic is the last ROOT in May. This has been an amazing month for me, regarding numbers. The non-fiction books were the best reads.

Jun 3, 2020, 10:42 am

Hi Birgit! Congrats on a great May reading month.

Jun 4, 2020, 7:37 am

>121 karenmarie: Hi Karen! Picking shorter books helped, of course, but mostly it's because I've settled into this working from home and there's no longer this need to check the news every hour.

Jun 6, 2020, 11:31 am

ROOT #43 is Kulturgeschichte des Klimas by Wolfgang Behringer

The author looks at the effects of climate change on human civilisations from the very beginning of humankind. Not as good as his book on Tambora.

Jun 7, 2020, 5:21 am

ROOT #44 is Der Nordseespuk by Tilman Spreckelsen

A historical mystery set in Husum on the North Sea in 1843, where the clerk of lawyer-poet Theodor Storm finds a dead man in the harbour. One of the books you read for the local colour and not the mystery.

Jun 15, 2020, 7:30 am

ROOT #45 is Grubengold by Franz-Josef Brüggemeier

A history of the European coalmining industry from 1750 to our days. Black coal only, not lignite. Very interesting and well-written, too.

Jun 16, 2020, 4:42 am

ROOT #46 is Planet of no return by Harry Harrison

This is another oldie from my shelves, when I went on a book-buying spree in London, way back in the eighties and before online shopping. How long ago it seems! Time has not been kind to this type of SF, but I cannot bring myself to part with books without reading them first. Maybe I should try to read the rest and clear some shelf space...

Jun 19, 2020, 4:26 am

ROOT #47 is Invasion: Earth by Harry Harrison

This is another deep ROOT, bought on a trip to London decades ago. Very much a product of the Cold War, but here at least the USA and the USSR team up to fight off invading aliens.

Jun 20, 2020, 1:25 pm

ROOT #48 is Strong poison by Dorothy L. Sayers

This was a re-read of one of my favourite Wimseys. Reading them in chronological order is interesting.

Two more ROOTs and I will have reached my goal. Can I do this before the month ends? I have a newly bought book waiting, which was just published as a paperback...

Jun 23, 2020, 4:50 am

ROOT #49 is Empire of ivory by Naomi Novik

Well, I am so close to my goal now! Which also solves my dilemma, I want to reach my goal with the next book. The new onementioned above is about Annette von Droste-Hülshoff who spent her final years at a castle in Meersburg, so I'll save this for August when we actually go to Lake Constance on our vacation.

Jun 23, 2020, 12:47 pm

Hi Birgit!

>128 MissWatson: I agree about reading them in order - last year was the first time I ever read them that way. Yay Harriet and Peter!

Jun 24, 2020, 4:20 am

Hi Karen! I hope you're doing well?

We are back to our offices for three days a week and I spent half the morning coaxing my PC back from its long sleep. But I'm happy being back, now that summer is really here it will be much cooler in the office, whose windows look out on a small wood.

Jun 24, 2020, 4:22 am

And I have chosen my fiftieth ROOT. Hope to report success soon!

Jun 24, 2020, 9:10 am

>131 MissWatson: Ahhh a nice cool office! As much as I complain about the subarctic AC in our office, it is more bearable than my apartment in the summer, even when I turn on the window AC. Do you drive to work or take public transit?

Jun 24, 2020, 10:45 am

>133 rabbitprincess: I use the buses and they have filled up a bit, everyone wearing masks, but they are not nearly as crowded as they used to be. I think many people have switched to bikes in this sunny weather. However, case numbers have been very low from the beginning and still continue to fall, so I'm not much worried.

Jun 29, 2020, 12:57 am

Ooh, so close to your goal. Do you think you'll make it by month's end?

Jun 29, 2020, 3:30 am

>135 Familyhistorian: I am on the final 50 pages, so unless the last chapters turn into another philosophical essay I'll make it.

Jun 29, 2020, 8:31 am

Hi Birgit!

>131 MissWatson: Yes, we’re doing well, staying safe and sound. The US is absolutely ridiculous in its overall response to Covid-19, and Bill and I envision a much longer personal period of lockdown than we could have thought of even as recently as early June.

Congrats on choosing your 50th ROOT! I hope being back in the office three days a week works well for you. That’s what my husband’s doing – working 3 days at the office and 2 days at home each week.

Editado: Jul 1, 2020, 5:23 am

ROOT #50 is Le Mont-St-Michel et l'énigme du dragon by Jean Markale

Tadaaa! I have reached my goal!

It was a slog though, especially the second part which was mostly theological and philospohical regarding the nature of angels and the concept of good and evil. I expected more about the history of the famous abbey and got lots of Biblical and Celtic mythology instead.

Jun 30, 2020, 5:24 am

>137 karenmarie: Hi Karen!
The summer holidays have started here and the beaches are thronging with people which makes me uncomfortable. We will probably see rising numbers of infections again. There have also been major outbreaks at slaughterhouses, and if this means politicians finally change the laws on the horrible working conditions there it will have at least one positive effect.
And I love the days at the office, it's so nice to be able to go two doors down the corridor and ask help from a colleague face-to-face instead of emailing or phoning.

Jun 30, 2020, 2:01 pm

>138 MissWatson: Hooray, well done for meeting your goal!

Jun 30, 2020, 6:12 pm

>138 MissWatson: Woo hoo, congrats!

>139 MissWatson: Ugh, the summer holidays are starting here as well, and I am worried that people will think that the pandemic is over. No vacation spots for me!

Jul 1, 2020, 5:21 am

Jul 1, 2020, 5:28 am

ROOT #51 is El secreto del orfebre by Elia Barceló

This is a short novel (137 pages in an A6 format) about a man who fell in love with an older "fallen" woman as a teenager and years later decides to return to his village before he leaves for a new life in New York. After a night at the local hotel he wakes up in the past...

The book has a very difficult temporal structure and requires concentration so that you know where exactly you are in time. The rest is pretty obvious from early on. I most enjoyed the narrator's observations about the changes in the village during those years.

Jul 2, 2020, 4:45 pm

Congratulations on meeting goal! And on managing covid - so glad you are carefully being out and about.

Jul 3, 2020, 3:52 am

>144 detailmuse: Thanks! The summer holidays have started in several states and it feels like half of their population have come to swamp our beaches. So I am spending a weekend away at my sister's in a very small town where they haven't had a single case yet. However, a distant cousin works at a care home for elderly people in the next town and they've had some cases. That's the closest it has come to us, so far. Keeping fingers crossed and following all the hygiene rules.

See you all on Monday. Stay safe!

Jul 11, 2020, 1:12 am

Congrats on meeting your goal! We are actually being encouraged to visit our province but nowhere else. Stay safe out there.

Jul 11, 2020, 12:16 pm

>146 Familyhistorian: Hello, nice to see you! We had a lovely time going to a garden show where everyone wore masks and behaved very sensibly. We only have a balcony so we didn't buy any plants, but we love to see all those fabulous roses and lilies! And I borrowed some books off her, so there will be less ROOTing this month.

Jul 13, 2020, 3:22 am

ROOT #52 is Conquistadoren und Azteken by Stefan Rinke

A non-fiction history of the conquest of Mexico published in 2019 to mark the 500 year anniversary of Cortés' arrival. Very interesting, especially the bits about the constant infighting among the Spaniards, and that quite a few other expeditions were stumbling around the southern part of Mesoamerica that I never heard of.

Editado: Jul 29, 2020, 5:12 am

ROOT #53 is Footsteps in the dark by Georgette Heyer

I was looking online for another book, and this came up as a recommendation. I was sure I had it on my shelves, but absolutely no recollection of the plot. So...
... it's a mystery written and set in the early 1930s, where we spend more than half of the 246 pages chasing a ghost in a haunted house before a murder happens. A handful of characters, none of them very likeable, too much class prejudice and an over-obvious villain. The book fell apart during reading and I feel no need to replace it.

ETC: oops, wrong number!

Jul 29, 2020, 5:13 am

ROOT #54 is Die Konquistadoren by Vitus Huber

A brief introduction to the Spanish conquistadores from the Beck Wissen series.

Jul 30, 2020, 10:53 am

ROOT #55 is Castle Richmond by Anthony Trollope

I downloaded this last year for a group read. Not my favourite Trollope, the love triangle was uninspired and his treatment of the Irish Famine unacceptable to a modern mindset.

Jul 30, 2020, 5:38 pm

ROOT #56 is Die Welt der Azteken by William H. Prescott

This is a borderline case, as I didn't actually finish the book. I've owned this for decades and looking at it again today I find it dated, stilted and disappointing. No information on the translator or the original text, so off it goes.

Ago 5, 2020, 10:15 am

ROOT #57 is Die Geschichte des Alten China by Monique Nagel-Angermann

Just what it says on the tin, a history of the Chinese Empire until the Qin dynasty. Short but informative, ideal as a preparation for something more detailed.

Ago 8, 2020, 9:46 am

Hi Birgit!

>148 MissWatson: I tried to read Heyer’s mysteries but even though I can say the same about some of Christie’s mysteries - A handful of characters, none of them very likeable, too much class prejudice and an over-obvious villain. - I love Christie and got rid of all the Heyer mysteries I’d accumulated.

You’ve shattered your ROOTs goal – congratulations.

Ago 11, 2020, 6:49 am

>154 karenmarie: Thanks, Karen! Yes, Dame Agatha is much better at this genre!

Ago 16, 2020, 8:09 am

ROOT #58 is: The exploits of Brigadier Gerard by AC Doyle

This is a short ebook I've had on my Kobo for ages, read at night while trying to cool off on the balcony during this heatwave. I'm not quite sure what to make of this, Gerard is such a caricature, a typical Frenchman as Englishmen used to imagine them...and some probably still do, if the tabloids are any guide.

Ago 18, 2020, 3:37 am

ROOT #59 is: Balzac et la Petite Tailleuse chinoise by Dai Sijie

Another short one, full of lush French prose and the passion for books.

Ago 21, 2020, 3:57 am

It's raining and wonderfully cool today. My suitcase is packed and tomorrow I'm leaving for Lake Constance. I'll be offline for two weeks and hope you're all safe until then!

Ago 21, 2020, 3:34 pm

>158 MissWatson: Have a wonderful trip, Birgit!

Set 4, 2020, 4:58 am

Hi Birgit, I am very ashamed I neglected your thread for so long. I even did not congratulate you with reaching your goal! So ........

Set 8, 2020, 12:27 pm

>159 Jackie_K: Thanks, Jackie! Time passed so quickly!
>160 connie53: Thanks, Connie! I really surprised myself there.

Set 8, 2020, 12:28 pm

So, I'm back back from my trip to Lake Constance and have not finished a single book. Too many things to see! But now that autumn is here and the evenings grow longer...

Set 12, 2020, 12:17 pm

ROOT number 60 is Die Schrecken des Eises und der Finsternis by Christoph Ransmayr

This is a strange little book, about an Austrian Arctic expedition in 1872 whose ship got frozen in and they spent two years in the ice. They found Franz-Josephs-Land and explored the islands a little before they decided to travel back to Russia on foot. In a second timeline, a young man in 1984 follows their traces and then vanishes on Spitzbergen. The author started his career as a travel writer, and it clearly shows here. Doesn't really feel like a novel, more like an extended reportage. Quite interesting, though. I thought a lot about the current mission of the Polarstern who are travelling across the Arctic on an ice floe. Oh, just checked up on them: the floe has broken up and they are now sailing under their own power. If you are curious to know more: https://www.awi.de/en/about-us/service/press/press-release/time-to-say-goodbye.h...

Set 12, 2020, 2:37 pm

>163 MissWatson: Interesting - I've just finished Arctic Dreams by Barry Lopez and in that he discusses some of the main Arctic explorations over the centuries. There was an awful lot of getting iced in involved :(

Set 13, 2020, 5:15 am

>164 Jackie_K: Yes, Ransmayr also mentioned earlier efforts to find a Northeast passage, among them Robert Thorne in the 16th century, and it makes you wonder what drove these people. The sufferings from scurvy and frozen limbs are atrocious.

Set 13, 2020, 9:10 am

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Set 14, 2020, 8:04 am

ROOT #61 is Die Hanse by Rolf Hammel-Kiesow

A short introduction to the Hansa, very good in giving the status quo of research, but a little less technical jargon would have made things easier.

Set 16, 2020, 4:18 am

ROOT #62 is Götter und Kulte der Germanen by Rudolf Simek

Another short one from the Beck Wissen series, 128 pages of densely packed knowledge. Or lack thereof, as the author points out how little we actually know about the gods and cults of the early Germanic world.

Set 16, 2020, 5:28 am

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Set 19, 2020, 1:50 pm

ROOT #63 is Hangman's holiday by Dorothy L. Sayers

A collection of short stories, some featuring Peter Wimsey, others Montague Egg, and those were actually the most entertaining.

Set 24, 2020, 7:02 am

ROOT #64 is Prinzessin Brambilla by ETA Hoffmann

It is only a story of 115 pages, but it took me three days to finish, so I am counting it. Written in 1820 by one of the grandfathers of fantastic literature, this was inspired by some Callot engravings showing characters from the commedia dell'arte. The hero is an actor in Rome, very full of himself, who starts seeing his double during the Roman carnival. Weird, but in a good way.

Editado: Set 28, 2020, 6:02 am

ROOT #65 is Enemy of God by Bernard Cornwell

The second book in his Arthur trilogy. Better than the first, but I still don't like his Arthur very much. Casting Lancelot as a downright cad is a novelty.
And I think this is my last ROOT for this month, I have just embarked on Mann's Zauberberg which will take quite some time.

Out 4, 2020, 9:34 am

Hi Birgit!

>170 MissWatson: I like the Montague Egg stories, but read somewhere and agree that he’s better in short stories than he would have been in novels.

Out 6, 2020, 4:32 am

Hi Karen! I agree, Montague Egg in a novel is difficult to imagine.

I spent a long weekend with my sister, so little reading and no ROOTing done. When I returned, the weather had turned to real autumn, so now it's tea and sofa and curling-up with a book time.

Editado: Out 19, 2020, 7:09 am

ROOT #66 is Im Schatten der Pineta by Marco Malvaldi

This is a short, fluffy and mildy funny mystery set in a Tuscan bar. The owner and his regular patrons, a group of cranky old men (his own grandfather among them) solve a murder mostly by sharing gossip. Not very memorable, but enjoyable, so if another comes my way I'll probably read it. Though I hope the translation contains less typos and makes a better job of the title.

The Ticker Factory site has had a major overhaul and I accidentally changed the look of my ticker. Can't be bothered now to fix it, as I am off to another weekend away from home.

Out 19, 2020, 7:10 am

ROOT #67 is Beat the reaper by Josh Bazell

This was unusual: the hero is a doctor who used to be a hitman for the Mafia.

Editado: Out 23, 2020, 4:30 am

ROOT #68 is Die 101 wichtigsten Fragen : Deutsche Literatur by Oliver Jahraus

I was hoping for a crash course in German literature and found myself disappointed. Far too much about Goethe, way too little for the 20th century.

ETA: I'm keeping it for the time being, because I'm planning to read some of the books mentioned here next year. And I finally managed to restore my ticker. The new site is not as intuitive as the old one.

Out 23, 2020, 10:39 pm

>177 MissWatson: Well, I know your topic says you would be ROOTing less ambitiously but it looks like you've done well with your reading this year.

I agree the new ticker site is kinda odd and takes some time to get used to.

Out 25, 2020, 4:56 am

Hi Birgit! Just popping in to see what you are doing. I hope you are in good health!

Out 25, 2020, 10:30 am

>178 This-n-That: Thanks! I really surprised myself, but then staying at home so much mnay have helped.
>179 connie53: Hi, Connie! Thanks, I'm fine and my family, too. Let's hope it stays that way.

Out 25, 2020, 10:33 am

ROOT #69 is Murder Must Advertise by Dorothy L. Sayers

I spent a quite, uneventful weekend with a re-read of my favourite Wimsey book. And I cooked chicken soup because the weather has turned cold and wet and feels like autumn.

Out 26, 2020, 4:43 am

>181 MissWatson: I thought it was autumn ;-))

Out 26, 2020, 7:59 am

Hi Birgit!

I usually say that Murder Must Advertise is my favorite non Peter/Harriet by Sayers, but I really do love them all except for The Five Red Herrings. Glad you enjoyed your re-read.

Out 27, 2020, 3:59 am

>182 connie53: Hi Connie! Officially yes, it is autumn, but if I can sit on the balcony with my Saturday morning coffee, it feels like summer. But now we're back on winter time, and suddenly the days are short.

>183 karenmarie: Hi Karen! It's my favourite, too.

Out 30, 2020, 6:02 am

ROOT #70 is Die Kunst der Spätantike by Paul Veyne

I decided to quit because the book did not deliver what I expected: a history of art in late antiquity. Instead the author strolls around his favourite pieces, most of them not pictured, and after 60 out of 160 pages we're still stuck with 2nd century sarcophagi instead of Byzantinian mosaics. I could not summon the necessary patience.

Nov 1, 2020, 8:15 am

ROOT #71 is The moon is a harsh mistress by Robert A. Heinlein

I finished this a few minutes before midnight and liked it a lot.

Which brings me to a total of 6 ROOTs this month, more than I expected. There's a good chance I'll make it to 75 this year!

Nov 5, 2020, 5:05 am

ROOT #72 is Shovel ready by Adam Sternbergh

This was actually a re-read, but since I had absolutely no recollection what happened, it felt like a new book. I'm still hoping someone will request it from me on my book-swapping site.

Nov 7, 2020, 4:59 pm

ROOT #73 is Near enemy by Adam Sternbergh

This was even bleaker than the first part. I also had the impression that the author was pushing his own political agenda here, and it weighed down the story.

ROOT #74 is Wiener Küche by Susanne Zimmel
Normally I don't read cookbooks, I just consult them if I am looking for a recipe or a technique. But another book about Austrian cuisine had caught my eye, so before buying it I compared it with others I already owned, and this one turned out to be so good that I actually read it from first to last page. It has a lot of classic recipes, so lots of meat, but I will try some of them.

Editado: Nov 10, 2020, 3:02 am

ROOT #75 is Für fremde Kaiser und kein Vaterland by Klas E. Everwyn

A YA tale from the Napoleonic Wars, set in a very poor region that changed hands several times during the French Wars. Gerard Rörich gets drafted into the French army, deserts and joins a smugglers gang for a while. It shares a lot of ground with Der Fetzer, especially the contraband gangs, whose author, funnily enough, shares a last name with the hero of the other book. Ah yes, and both are about real people, which adds poignancy.


Nov 13, 2020, 6:18 am

ROOT #76 is Red harvest by Dashiell Hammett

I overlooked this when I entered all my books after joining LT, so when I noticed and rectified the matter, I decided a re-read was in order. I had forgotten how much bloodshed is going on, this is very noir indeed. And it is strange never to learn the name of the first-person narrator who instigates this mayhem.

Nov 13, 2020, 4:54 pm

>190 MissWatson: Good to know about the unnamed first-person narrator! Reminds me a bit of Len Deighton's "Harry Palmer" books (he isn't named in the books, just the movies, from what I understand).

Nov 15, 2020, 10:44 am

>191 rabbitprincess: I didn't know that! It must be hard to keep up for a whole series. Which reminds me, there's also The Continental Op waiting...

Nov 17, 2020, 5:14 am

ROOT #77 is Thomas Mann by Klaus Schröter

A short biography concentrating on his writing and the influences on it. It confirmed for me that much of Hans Castorp in Der Zauberberg is based on his own experiences. The book also makes me want to read all the novels.

Nov 17, 2020, 5:49 am

Hi Birgit. I hope you had a good weekend and are still in good health.

Nov 18, 2020, 4:39 am

Hi Connie, good to see you dropping in. I'm fine, thanks. The weekend went by too quickly and it is scary to see that Christmas is just around the corner. I'm glad to see the back of this year, of course, but the way things are now I may not be able to visit my sister, which would be really sad.

Nov 19, 2020, 7:38 am

Yes I understand completely because Sinterklaas (not Santa Claus) is celebrated on December 5 and/or 6. And we can only have 3 adults visiting per day. That won't work for us. And for Christmas the measurements are not yet known. I feel very sad about that. Live gets really lonely without the kids and grandkids. And videocalls are really not the same.

Nov 20, 2020, 3:50 am

>196 connie53: No, they're not. It will be a hard month, especially for the kids.

Nov 21, 2020, 10:44 am

ROOT #78 is Das Phantom des Alexander Wolf by Gaito Gasdanow

A strange book. The unnamed first-person narrator remembers a killing from the Russian Civil War, and years later in Paris he comes across a book which tells the event in detail. Did the victim survive? he tries to find the author of the book. The story has close parallels to the author's own history, especially his life as an émigré in France.

Nov 22, 2020, 11:12 am

Hi Birgit!

>190 MissWatson: I have this on my wish list already. The bloodshed doesn’t deter me. *smile*

I do hope that you get to visit your sister for the holidays. Our Thanksgiving on Nov 26th will just be Bill and me – we’re following the CDC guidelines on not having people outside our home visit, even our daughter. Makes us all sad, but we’re quite philosophical about it and realize that we’re doing the right thing for all of us. Christmas may be a disappointment, too. We haven’t gotten that far yet.

Nov 23, 2020, 4:57 am

Hi Karen! Yes, we're getting used to living from week to week, no advance planning. I'm buying Christmas presents nonetheless. It is a good thing that everyone loves books!

Dez 2, 2020, 6:55 am

ROOT #79 is Die Geschichte der 1002. Nacht by Joseph Roth

I was surprised to find that I have owned this for almost five years, it felt like a recent acquisition. A melancholy tale from Imperial Austria, and just right for a grey November evening.

Dez 12, 2020, 4:51 pm

ROOT #80 is Il gattopardo by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa

My only regret is that I didn't read this sooner. It was just wonderful.

Dez 15, 2020, 3:32 am

ROOT #81 is Die 101 wichtigsten Fragen : Urzeit by Friedemann Schrenk

A short non-fiction book about pre-history, from the Big Bang to the apparition of homo sapiens. It didn't quite live up expectations.

Dez 17, 2020, 10:11 am

Hi Birgit!

We won't be seeing our daughter at Christmas. What's interesting for me is that we usually have a family party with my husband's side in mid-December. This year was cancelled, so I had to mail 3 boxes of presents to them, plus 2 packages (so far!) to our daughter.

Dez 18, 2020, 5:45 am

Hi Karen! How very sad for you. I hope the presents arrive in time! I'm still dithering over travelling or not. We are in hard lockdown, but it would be just my sister and me at her place. It's the journey that worries me.

Dez 20, 2020, 9:05 am

ROOT #82 is Gaudy night by Dorothy L. Sayers

And finally I finished this, with lots of help from the OED and the internet for the many poetry quotes.

Dez 22, 2020, 3:32 pm

>206 MissWatson: One of my favorites, I hope you liked it.


... and here's to a better 2021!

Dez 23, 2020, 7:26 am

>207 karenmarie: Thank you for the lovely image, Karen, that really brightens this day.

As for Gaudy Night, a book with Peter Wimsey is always good, and meeting his nephew was delightful, but it won't be my favourite. I found the attitudes of all these privileged English academics (and it still strikes me that the Welsh are dismissed as country bumpkins, while neither Irish nor Scots make an appearance) as extremely arrogant and snobbish. Sayers' eye may have been on the right of women to an education, but I don't think she was aware of the class prejudice she exhibits here.

Dez 23, 2020, 7:27 am

ROOT #83 is Die rote Frau by Alex Beer

This was a re-read, this time the full print version (the audiobook last year was abridged). A historical mystery set in 1920 Vienna, and the misery of the times is well described.

Dez 24, 2020, 2:55 am

Hi Birgit, I'm not a very sociable member of this group, so thank you for visiting my quiet little thread this year. I'm also very grateful to you and rabbitprincess for drawing my attention to the excellent TV adaptation of Bleak House - in a year in which I've watched quite a lot of things, it was definitely one of the best!
However you decide to spend Christmas, I hope it's a happy and restful one :)

Dez 24, 2020, 6:45 am

>210 Rebeki: Thanks for dropping in! I caught a cold and decided that a train ride is not a good idea, so I'm staying put. It will be weird.
I am glad you enjoyed the TV Bleak House.

Dez 24, 2020, 6:47 am

ROOT #84 is Billy Budd, foretopman by Herman Melville

I bought this on my first trip to the US, way back when, so it's avery deep ROOT. Unfortunately I didn't enjoy Melville's convoluted prose very much, so it will be leaving the house.

Dez 24, 2020, 1:05 pm

>211 MissWatson: Wishing you good books and hot beverages galore to help kick that cold.

Dez 24, 2020, 1:22 pm

Happy Christmas, Birgit!

Dez 25, 2020, 5:16 am

>213 rabbitprincess: Thanks, rp, I'm trying all the tried and trusted housewifely remedies.
>214 Jackie_K: Thanks, Jackie, and the same to you!

Dez 25, 2020, 9:28 am

Happy Holidays from the Netherlands!

Dez 26, 2020, 2:54 am

>216 connie53: Thank you Connie, that's lovely!

Dez 26, 2020, 2:57 am

ROOT #85 is The eyes of the fleet by Anthony Price

And one last ROOT finished before my sister comes to pick me up. I have read far, far more than I expected to do. But I'll be happy to see the back of this year, I'm eager for 2021 to begin. See you all in January for a new year of ROOTing. Stay safe!

Dez 26, 2020, 3:25 am

Have a good time with your sister, Birgit, and wishing you all the best in 2021!

Dez 26, 2020, 3:27 am

All the best wishes for you and the family, Birgit!

Dez 26, 2020, 6:18 am

Happy holidays!

Dez 26, 2020, 3:18 pm

Happy New Year and enjoy your visit!

Dez 27, 2020, 9:23 am

Hi Birgit!

I'm sorry you caught a cold and hope you're on the mend, hope you enjoy visiting with your sister.

Dez 27, 2020, 5:10 pm

Stopping by to wish you a Happy New Year and a great year of reading in 2021. I hope your cold passes and you are feeling better soon.

Jan 1, 2021, 6:53 pm

Just catching up on threads and marvelling at people like yourself staying focused and even exceeding your goals during this challenging year - well done!

I picked up a BB - Rosemary Sutcliff, whose books I've been meaning to read for about 45 years - onto the wishlist she goes! Hope to keep up better in 2021 and look forward to seeing your new thread,

Jan 5, 2021, 7:46 am

Thank you all for dropping in! I'll see you over in our 2021 group!

Editado: Fev 4, 2021, 3:45 am

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