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review 2016-07-24 20:06
Not at war anymore - but also not quite at peace
Krieg und Frieden - 'Leo Tolstoi', 'Hermann Röhl'

Never before has it taken me that long to finish a book as it did with War and Peace. I started this work an unbelievable 8 years ago! I didn't read it during all this time, there were long breaks and several attempts to finish it. The main reason why it took me so long was that I had this huge one-volume edition which just was too big for my hands and too heavy for my handbag. But the end of last year my library finally had it as an ebook and this really helped! Now I'm just glad to finally be done!

I had watched a miniseries of War and Peace before reading the book which made reading it a lot easier: I had the character's faces on my mind and this helped remembering who was who. There really are a lot of characters!

War and Peace is an enormous work and it deserves to be read. It's just that tiny bit too long. The peace parts can be read fairly quickly, but the war parts are often very very slow going. I'm not really interested in battle descriptions or at least only up to a certain point. When they are hundreds of pages long with every detail and often repetitive that's a bit too much. He reaches the peak when he even uses mathematical equations! What I didn't like about Tolstoy's style is that whenever he uses an image or an example he explains it. It seems like he doesn't believe his readers can understand what he's saying. He's also often quite preachy which isn't my cup of tea.

I was at war with this work for a long time, now I'm finally at peace with it but only barely. After all the effort I put into reading it I just hoped that I would love it in the end. It's a good book but it will never be one of my favourites.

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review 2015-10-26 13:11
The Ascent of Rum Doodle by W.E.Bowman
The Ascent of Rum Doodle - Bill Bryson,W.E. Bowman

The Ascent of Rum Doodle is a parody on mountaineers and as with all parodies there are people who love them and others who really don't see anything in them. I'm a bit in the middle of these two. The writing was over the top and there were lots of funny paragraphs - I just didn't laugh as much as I had hoped. My expectations were very high, especially because Bill Bryson in the foreword calls this the funniest book he ever read. It is funny, just not as funny as I thought. Sometimes it was also trying a bit too hard to make people laugh. I think I might have enjoyed it a lot more even I hadn't read the foreword and the caption which both gave away the funniest parts of the book. So I'm not saying anything else about the books content here because I don't want to spoil it for anyone else.

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review 2014-08-04 07:41
Cider with Rosie by Laurie Lee
Cider With Rosie - Laurie Lee

Cider with Rosie is a childhood/youth memoir by Laurie Lee. Lee grew up in a small village in Gloucestershire around the time of the end of the Great War. He was born into a family with many children and was raised by his mother and older sisters (his father stayed in London after the war and did not return).
What sets Cider with Rosie apart from other (childhood) memoirs is the way it is structured: instead of using a chronological order, Laurie Lee groups his memories into thematic chapters. There are chapters on school, his mother, the neighbours etc. I especially liked the chapter on his uncles who are very original.
Other things that make the book special are the beautiful language Laurie Lee uses in contrast with how people talk and the perspective from which it is told: other memoirs likes Angela's Ashes are told by an adult but through the eyes of a child; things aren't commented or critiziced but told as they are. In Cider with Rosie the memories are told through adult eyes and events are sometimes put into a negative light (e.g. the attempted rape). This gives the book a different tone and doesn't romantize what happened.
Cider with Rosie is a book well worth reading as it also gives a glance at village life as it doesn't exist anymore.

(I received a free digital copy via netgalley)

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review 2014-07-11 07:21
#BookADayUK - Day 11: The Book that made you cry
Die unerträgliche Leichtigkeit des Seins (SZ-Bibliothek, #1) - Milan Kundera,Susanna Roth

Once again a category with lots of possible choices. The Unbearable Lightness of Being is one of the most beautiful love stories I ever read. It really made me cry - but not because of the love story. I cried when Karenin, the dog, died!

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review 2014-07-08 07:47
#BookADay - Day 8: Favourite Great War Novel
Im Westen nichts Neues - Erich Maria Remarque

I've somehow dedicated this year to reading novels on the Great War. I've enjoyed (as far as you can enjoy books on this occurence) all the books I've read on it so far. But among all these books there was one that sticks out and that is All Quiet on the Western Front. It is just absolutely brilliant. The descriptions of the war, the people's injuries and their situation at the front are completely ruthless but I think that's the only way to really show the horrors of war.  

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