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text 2017-11-20 19:49
16 Tasks of the Festive Season - Square 4
The Unyielding - Shelly Laurenston
A Wreath of Snow: A Victorian Christmas Novella - Liz Curtis Higgs
The Berlin Wall: 13 August 1961 - 9 Nove... The Berlin Wall: 13 August 1961 - 9 November 1989 - Frederick Taylor
Forgotten Voices of the Great War - Imperial War Museum,Max Arthur

Square 4, Part 1: Penance Day

Book: A Wreath of Snow by Liz Curtis Higgs

Task: 5.5 Theses of Book Blogging


1. Don't sell ARCs. Donate them to a charity or stock a free little library with them, but don't sell them. I don't read ARCs for a bunch of personal reasons, yet I feel really sorry for the authors who have their ARCs sold.


2. Stop the "real" books versus e-Reader/app debate. We all know you are just doing it for page views/social engagement and it is a tired argument. Some bloggers bring this up at least monthly so their numbers look good - ESPECIALLY on FB. Reading is reading and some readers have disabilities/conditions that technology has helped to read more/read again. The argument is classist and ablest and I will unfollow a blogger in a hot minute if I start seeing this.


This goes double with audible books. Some people like to read and do crafts/garden/cook/clean at the same time and a lot of them don't have the time in their day to schedule all the things as individual tasks.


3. Don't be afraid to review/talk about books from your personal stash, freebie books found in the Nook or Kindle store or even *gasp* the books from your local library. In the daily push to promote NEW! sometimes bloggers get burnt out. Give yourself permission to once a month write about those long cherished books and why they hold/don't hold up. Don't lose your blog's personality in the quest to look good for publishers/blog tour operators.


4. Don't be afraid to address serious topics in your review. Authors really need to get over having their book babies get criticized for racism, homophobia, etc that the reader finds. Authors should coral their fans and let's not start in with death threats and slurs directed at the book blogger. And GR/BL, Twitter, and FB could give a helping hand to the blogger/reviewer when shit hits the fan.


5. Don't feel the need to be on every social media platform so that your blog gets noticed. Seems like an awful lot of work in creating and maintaining a page on FB for your blog for nothing, since a lot of FB's algorithim will keep your post/page hidden from readers feed. Twitter is one big garbage dump fire. Other platforms seem more in line with helping book bloggers.

                         5.5 However, if a blogger really likes a social media platform, say Instagram, and enjoys coming up with photos of books and bookish stuff, MORE POWER TO YOU. Honestly I am a big fan of "bookstagram" and love to see what you guys and gals come up with. Keep them coming!



Square 4, Part Two: Thanksgiving

Book: The Unyielding by Shelly Laurenston - I read it but my review got eaten by BL's bug fixing and I don't feel like re-writing my review. I gave it 5 stars and will probably gush about the entire series for at least the rest of the year.


Task: Picture of my new books. The family and I went to the Imperial War Museum at Duxford on Veterans' Day/Armistice Day (cause we know how to party, lol) and let's just say I can't be left in a museum gift shop by myself....I picked up The Berlin Wall 13 August 1961 - 9 November 1989 by Frederick Taylor; most likely the inspiration was seeing a piece of the Berlin Wall on display at the museum.


On a different day earlier in the month I went shopping at my favorite local charity shop for a White Elephant gift for the upcoming library staff and volunteer holiday party. I picked up Forgotten Voices of the Great War: A New History of WWI in the Worlds of the Men and Women Who Were There by Max Arthur.






Total points for this square: 4


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review 2017-10-17 15:25
I Can No Longer Bear the Aggressiveness of Poetry: "Berlin-Hamlet" by Szilárd Borbély, Ottilie Mulzet (Translator)
Berlin-Hamlet - Szilárd Borbély,Ottilie Mulzet

"When I came to Berlin, I no


wanted to live. Why isn't

   there a way, I thought, if 

  someone doesn't  want to live

 any more, simply to 



In "Berlin-Hamlet" by Szilárd Borbély, Ottilie Mulzet (Translator)


"I do not believe in poetry"


In "Berlin-Hamlet" by Szilárd Borbély, Ottilie Mulzet (Translator)


"I can no longer bear the aggressiveness of poetry,

and I do not wish my deeds to be investigated."


In "Berlin-Hamlet" by Szilárd Borbély, Ottilie Mulzet (Translator)



"My need is for those who will know/how/all of this will end."



In "Berlin-Hamlet" by Szilárd Borbély, Ottilie Mulzet (Translator)



I can't give any more quotes...The book is a long quote.


After having finished reading this heart-wrenching poetry book, my thoughts come back to Hamlet, as always. It's always about indecision... 


Borbély is masterfully able to give us this indecision in a modern version.



If you're into gut-wrenching poetry full of Angst don't read my review, read the book... 

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review 2017-10-03 13:02
Herrn Haiduks Laden der Wünsche: Putziger Feel-Good-Roman
Herrn Haiduks Laden der Wünsche - Floria... Herrn Haiduks Laden der Wünsche - Florian Beckerhoff

„Herrn Haiduks Laden der Wünsche“ von Florian Beckerhoff ist ein charmanter Roman mit teils skurrilen Charakteren, der gut unterhält und sich flüssig lesen lässt.


Die tatsächliche Geschichte ist in eine Rahmenhandlung verpackt: Herr Haiduks ehemaliger Stammkunde Paul kehrt nach langer Abwesenheit in den Laden. Er hatte früher einen Roman veröffentlicht – mit überschaubarem Erfolg – und die Schreiberei danach aufgegeben. Herr Haiduk sieht in ihm jedoch weiterhin den Schriftsteller und erzählt ihm nun die Geschichte über das gefundene Lotto-Los und die Suche nach dem Besitzer.


So ziemlich jeder Charakter hat in diesem Buch seine bizarren bis lustigen Eigenheiten, wodurch sich die Handlung zu einer kleinen Parade skurriler Begegnungen entwickelt. Natürlich behaupten viele Menschen, dass ihnen das Lotto-Ticket gehört, so dass nicht nur angenehme Momente entstehen.


Die Geschichte ist wirklich unterhaltsam, nur halt nicht besonders tiefschürfend. Wir lernen kaum einen Charakter wirklich gut kennen: Der Leser erfährt ein bis zwei auffällige körperliche Merkmale sowie zwei bis drei ungewöhnliche persönliche Eigenschaften, so dass die jeweilige Person leicht wiederzuerkennen ist. So entstehen interessante Charaktere mit individuellen Eigenheiten, von denen ich zum Teil gerne mehr erfahren hätte. Die Geschichte ist sehr kurzweilig geschrieben und hat bei mir eine positive Stimmung ausgelöst. Immerhin sind die Protagonisten nicht an der eigenen Bereicherung interessiert, sondern wollen das Richtige tun (auch wenn jeder eine andere Definition davon hat, was richtig ist). Da das Buch dabei meist an der Oberfläche verharrt, hat mich die Wendung/Auflösung am Ende jedoch nicht so richtig überrascht oder bewegt. Herr Haiduk bietet gute Unterhaltung, nicht mehr, nicht weniger.

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text 2017-09-20 16:40
Historic Places: Berlin

It would take far longer than the single day I had or one blog post to cover the history of Berlin, but here are my impressions.


Source: samanthawilcoxson.blogspot.com/2017/09/historic-places-berlin.html
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review 2017-08-06 18:25
A rare achievement among alternate history novels
The Berlin Project - Gregory Benford

In the alternate history genre, it's commonplace to have historical figures as important characters. It's far less common, however, for the author's characterization of those historical figures to be based upon their firsthand knowledge of them. As a physicist who knew personally some of the leading figures of the Manhattan Project, Gregory Benford is one of the select few for whom such an accomplishment is possible, and he employs it to full effect in this novel exploring the war that might have been.


Benford takes as his point of departure the use of centrifuges to separate the U-235 from uranium hexaflouride. As he explains in the afterword to the novel, this is the primary means most nuclear powers today obtain the critical isotope for building atomic weapons, yet in 1942 it was abandoned for what proved the far less effective method of gaseous diffusion. Edward Teller was among those who theorized that had the centrifuge process been used, the United States would have obtained sufficient material to build an atomic bomb in 1944 rather than in the following year.


Benford's scientific knowledge gives him the foundation for establishing an extremely plausible premise, yet it is skills as an author which turn this premise into an entertaining work of fiction. Building his novel around the pivotal figure of Karl Cohen (who was Benford's father-in-law), he walks readers through the development of a more efficient atomic bomb program, one that has a bomb ready to use in concert with the Normandy invasion. In a lesser author's hand the reader might get bogged down in the details of the physics and chemistry of nuclear weapons development, yet Benford knows how to interweave intelligible explanations of the science with plot and character development in such a way as to keep the reader engaged. His postulation of the historical effects of the use of such a bomb are a further tribute to his ability, as instead of a Pollyanish outcome he works through some of the likely ramifications of using a weapon upon an advanced industrial power capable of responding in kind. It all makes for an alternate history novel of the first rank, one that deserves to be regarded as one of the finest examples of its kind.

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