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text 2016-05-22 19:25
Ten Bookish Questions (meme)
The Complete C. S. Lewis Signature Classics - C.S. Lewis
Gone, Baby, Gone - Dennis Lehane
The Oxford Shakespeare: The Complete Works - William Shakespeare,Gary Taylor,Stanley Wells
The Complete Vampire Chronicles (Vampire Chronicles, #1-#4) - Anne Rice
The Other Boleyn Girl - Philippa Gregory
A Game of Thrones - George R.R. Martin
The Complete Novels of Jane Austen - Jane Austen
Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury
Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives - Alan Bullock
Joseph Anton: A Memoir - Salman Rushdie

Once more, thanks to Bookloving Writer for finding and starting this.


1. What book is on your nightstand now?

C.S. Lewis: Signature Classics (Mere Christianity / The Screwtape Letters / The Great Divorce / The Problem of Pain / Miracles / A Grief Observed / The Abolition of Man) -- the book that I currently dip in in between my other reads.


2. What was the last truly great book that you read?

Dennis Lehane: Gone, Baby, Gone.  No. 4 of the Kenzie & Gennaro series, and boy had he reached his full stride by that point.  No book in the series is bad (in fact, even the very first one, A Drink Before the War, is amazingly good for a first novel and deserved every award that it won), but Gone, Baby, Gone absolutely knocked me off my socks. 


3. If you could meet any writer – dead or alive – who would it be? And what would you want to know?

Dead: William Shakespeare (obviously, if you know anything about me at all) – the greatest literary genius that ever walked the earth. I think I'd just want to hang out with him and shoot the breeze, though.  I have a feeling he'd be part annoyed, part supremely amused with all the cult surrounding him and his works these days, and the last thing I'd want to do would be to feed into that.  Once we'd hung out together for a while, I suspect the conversation would shift towards literature and the theatre quite naturally anyway, and I'd be happy to then take it wherever would seem most natural.

Living: Salman Rushdie – one of, if not the most important contemporary literary voices, particularly (though for reasons I wouldn't wish on my very worst own enemy) on the great scouges of the post-Cold War world: fundamentalism (religious and otherwise), racism, and the encroachment of freedom of thought and freedom of expression.




4. What books might we be surprised to find on your shelves?

Cry to Heaven - Anne RiceHmm.  Again, depending how well you know me, possibly the first volumes of Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles.  I'm absolutely disgusted with the way she's been behaving towards anyone who doesn't bow down before her in abject admiration in recent years, but I did actually like her early Lestat novels and also, in particular, Cry to Heaven.  I just think she's a clear case of success having completely screwed up a writer's mind.  In terms of her books, the Vampire Chronicles jumped the shark for me once and for all with Memnoch, the Devil.  I haven't touched any of her books since then, and I sure as hell won't anymore now that she's turned full-fledged bully.


5. How do you organize your personal library?

By genre and country of origin / language, and within those categories, essentially alphabetically; also including, however, a few subcategory shelves for authors or series that I particularly treasure.




6. What book have you always meant to read and haven’t gotten around to yet? Anything you feel embarrased never to have read?

With a TBR consisting of almost 3,000 books, are you kidding me?  There are plenty of books I'd still love to read -- and plenty, too, that I've always wanted to get around to but just haven't yet.  And no, I'm not embarrassed about a single one of them, either ...



7. Disappointing, overrated, just not good: what book did you feel you were supposed to like but didnt? Do you remember the last book you put down without finishing?

Disappointing and overrated: Philippa Gregory: The Other Boleyn Girl.  It was the first book by Gregory that I read, and given my interest in everything Tudor, and in Anne Boleyn in particular, it should have been a dead-on match.  Instead, I've found it badly researched, clichéd, sensationalist, and just plain sickening.  I've steered clear of Gregory's writing ever since.


DNF: My last major DNFs were (not as individual books, but as series), A Song of Ice and Fire (annoingly wordy, derivative world-building, clichéd, loads of characters too stupid to live, and just generally seriously underwhelming), Fifty Shades of Grey (awful writing and sick beyond belief) and Twilight (equally awfully written and, again, there's something truly sick to telling teenage / YA readers that it's not merely OK but even desirable to have to fear the guy you love).




8. What kinds of stories are you drawn to? Any you stay clear of?

I'm drawn to the literary classics (novels, plays, poetry, you name it), historical fiction and nonfiction (including biographies and memoirs), any- and everything international, mysteries and crime fiction, adventure stories (again, both fiction and nonfiction), art, archeology, nature, cooking, music, and politics.


I read very little horror, absolutely no slasher stories and, at the other end of the spectrum, also virtually no chick-lit and romance novels (or indeed anything arguably qualifying as cute and fluffy).


9. If you could require the president to read one particular book, what would it be?

The book that'll probably be found lying next to me when I die will be William Shakespeare's Hamlet, though as a matter of principle, I'm an advocate of people's reading as widely and variedly as possible -- hominem unius libri timeo and all that.



However, what with the turn world politics have been taking in the recent couple of months, I have a growing feeling that our precious world is in danger of going to hell in a handbasket really fast, so right about now, the books that I'd like to shove in just about all our dear leaders' respective faces are George Orwell's 1984, Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, a hefty dose of books about Stalin, Hitler, and the "Third Reich" (both fiction and nonfiction) -- as well as a copy of the Qu'ran.


10. What do you plan to read next?

Hmmm.  I just whipped through the first couple of books in Dennis Lehane's Kenzie & Gennaro series in (for me) practically no time at all, but I think I'll leave the last one for later, take a small break from Lehane's writing (great though it is), go for a  change of pace and start Salman Rushdie's Joseph Anton.  Kind of also feels also like the right book to start on the day when Germany's Austrian neighbors look all poised to elect yet another right-wing, nationalist and populist head of state ... however hard I personally may be praying that this isn't actually going to happen.






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text 2016-05-16 00:35
Which book title(s) on your shelves describe you?
Blonde - Joyce Carol Oates
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter - Carson McCullers
Here be Dragons - Sharon Kay Penman
The Warrior Queens: The Legends and the Lives of the Women Who Have Led Their Nations in War - Antonia Fraser
No Man's Nightingale - Ruth Rendell
To Each His Own (Black & White) - Leonardo Sciascia
Dreamcatcher - Stephen King
A Room of One's Own - Virginia Woolf
Searching for Shakespeare - Stanley W. Wells,James Shapiro,Tarnya Cooper,Marcia Pointon
Music & Silence - Rose Tremain

Thanks to Bookloving Writer and Olga for starting this one.  Alright, here we go:


Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader

... in a series of bullet points.


Physical Features:

Dark Blonde with The Bluest Eye (well, blue eyes, anyway ;) )


Personality / Attitude:

* The Heart is a Lonely Hunter and a Deep River, where Here be Dragons

* Perfectly happy to remain Miss Lonelyhearts and a Lonesome Dove

* One of The Warrior Queens, thoroughly familiar with The Art of War

* Catering to Nobody and No Man's Nightingale

* Plain Speaker with plenty of Resolution, giving others A Test Of Wills and Face Off with them on anything that matters to me, or to ward off an Invasion of Privacy

* However, big On Liberty and generally speaking, ready to give everybody A Place Called Freedom and To Each His Own, and to Let the Great World Spin

* Dreamcatcher, given to Reveries of the Solitary WalkerFlights of the Mind

and a Celebration of Being

* Though lately a bit wearied by The Way of the World and therefore occasionally in need of A Place of Safety 

* And if something is over or hasn't worked out: Walk On


* Freedom

* A Room of One's Own

* Silence, and A Time to Keep Silence

* One Hundred Years of Solitude (or to be able to lose myself in The Labyrinth of Solitude)



* Searching for Shakespeare: Will & Me: How Shakespeare Took Over My Life (Living in a Shakespearean World)

Books in general, but particularly The Great Books: This Reader won't ever forget How Reading Changed My Life  from early childhood on

Cats, Cats, Cats


Other Likes and Loves:

* ars musica and the right combination of Music & Silence

* Moviegoer

World History: A Dance to the Music of Time

* Journeys of a Lifetime

* My California: There is Nothing Like the Sun, The Sea, The Mountains of California, and my very own L.A. Confidential

* Travel Photography (and photography in general)

R is for Rose

* Tea at Fortnum & Mason (or at home or, heck, anywhere, actually)

Whisky in Your Pocket ... or preferably, in a tumbler or a Glencairn glass, actually ...


By Day:

The Lost Lawyer, in pursuit of A Certain Justice


Random Other Bits:

* A person with two Mother Tongues; the one I was born with (German) and an adopted one (English)

* Zodiac (Western): Libra


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review 2016-04-24 18:34
Finding the Truth through Art
Drawn - Marie Lamba

4.4 stars
I went into this book totally blind. It had been on my kindle for years, unread. I went overboard with downloading freebies for a while. Don't judge. I've been randomly picking a book by tittle alone and reading them most have been meh reads, this one wasn't.
What an amazing time travel, mystery, suspense, love story. This book took me, shook me, and kept me up all night. I was always in the edge of my seat, nibbling on my cuticles, heart thumping, breath rapid, the answer was there just another page, stage. Who was the real villain ? What changes had she caused to the future ? Can they find a way to be together ? The best part is it's not all HEA there are some tissue box moments.. No worries, the end is so good. I never saw it coming. I love this author's writing, she paced everything just right for this reader. There was just enough, of everything to entrance me in her world. Will read this author again asap.
One slightly negative point had me going ??? She wasn't a major character I just don't like undone dangling bits. Where is the mother, and what was her story ? I feel like that chapter was dropped. There was a lot of story about her leaving but never an answer. Did I miss something ?

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review 2016-04-13 23:07
Reading progress update: I've read 20%.
A Darker Shade of Dead - Bianca D'Arc


Another kindle freebie bites the dust

I made to 20% and went our for a while and instead of anxiously wanting to get back to my book, like normal, I dreaded it. I just don't care for these characters, don't want to know if they make it and I don't want to watch them bang each other after the insta-lusty eye thing they had going on.

I tried, I forced myself to read the info bomb. I was bored.

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text 2016-04-13 19:33
Reading progress update: I've read 16%.
A Darker Shade of Dead - Bianca D'Arc

Massive info dumping, about everything everywhere- some of these kindle freebies are stinkies !

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