Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-Thon buttonI’ve slept in, made a pot of coffee and officially welcomed all participants of da house to Dewey’s fall 2020 24RaT (being hubs, and Kuki, Sumi & Effie our feline supporters). Now I just want to put up a short start-of message and GO READ!!!

book cover on goodreads

Are you read-a-thonning this weekend as well? If you’re from a different time zone you’ll notice I’m ahead of the official kick-off. That’s because it’s so much more exciting to awake to the event and get going right away — how it started with our founder Dewey. So I’m not cheating (it’s not even a contest LOL); just making the most of it :-) I feel I can as this is my 11th (?) year participating.

So, it 10:45am and I am picking up Petite.

Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-Thon buttonHooray! Only two more nights till Dewey’s fall 2020 24 hour readathon (24RaT for short)! Although officially starting at 2PM in my time zone, I’ll probably begin right after waking up as I’ve kept the weekend free and Mr Gnoe and I love to start our Sats & Suns with coffee, cats and books smartphones books in bed.

book cover on goodreadsI’m confident I’ll be able to finish my current read: Petite (Little), by Edward Carey; an historical novel about the life of Madame Tussaud. Right now I’m at chapter 27 of 72 so I have quite a bit to go.

I saw a friend posting enthusiastically about this book and decided to pick it up with my recently renewed library subscription. So far it’s an ejoyable read.

Of course I’ll also be playing Book Bingo — and Petite will help me smoothly cross off “read a book with with illustrations” and “with a person on the cover”.

bingo board

I will probably mostly be updating on Instagram (@gnoe) and I hope to see you there!

Jap Literature Challenge 13 logo
2019 was an all-time low in reading Japanese Literature for me. I managed only one book originating in Japan: The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa.
I hate and love this story at the same time.
And I might not even have read it if it wasn’t for Dolce Bellezza’s annual Japanese Literature Challenge! So I’m very happy to join in again this January 1st.

In a nice coincidence dear Mr Gnoe gifted me Hiromi Kawakami’s The Ten Loves of Mr Nishino last night on New Year’s Eve. That will be up first for the challenge; I already picked a bookmark to go with it :-D
The Ten Loves of Mr Nishino

Aiming high this 13th Japanese Literature Challenge

If everything goes the way I want I will be reading six pieces of Japanese literature for the JLit challenge, running from January through March. I committed to join the monthly reads of the Japanese Literature group bookclub on Goodreads AND their casual buddy read of The Aosawa Murders (Riku Onda), after publication in February. The Ten Loves of Mr Nishino was this group’s read for December so I’m tagging a little behind. But that’s okay since I have already read January’s choice.

Goodreads’ Japanese Literature group Bookclub reads for January – May 2020

  • January: The Woman in the Dunes by by Kobo Abe — a masterpiece unlike any other book so please try it if you haven’t yet! I read it in 2011.
  • February: Go by Kabuki Kaneshiro
  • March: The Lake by Yasunari Kawabata — maybe my favourite Japanese author!
  • April: The Emissary a.k.a. The Last Children of Tokyo by Yoko Tawada
  • May: Shipwrecks by Akira Yoshimura

On top of that I mean to read along with #JapaneseLitChallenge13 participants in March, tackling Junichiro Tanizaki’s The Makioka Sisters . I have the 576 page chunkster on my shelf since I failed a previous collective reading.

All in all a busy schedule this first quarter of 2020! I should be able to manage however, since I surpassed last year’s goal of reading 20 books with two. That’s almost two books a month. The new target I set for 2020 is 25. Participating in Susy’s 24-in-28 Readathon on Goodreads the weekend of January 18-19 will probably help me get off to a good start.

I can do this!

Looking forward to it all!

Do you like Japanese Literature as much as I do? Do you have any reading resolutions for the new year? I’d love to hear it!

On my last trip to Terschelling island I met a travelling cat. A handsome black fellow having its own raised bench on the passenger’s side of a grey van. Food and water in their slots on the dashboard. The car being parked, the cat was playing the cool dude, resting its elbow on the open window. Or so it seemed ;-)

I had to think back to this regularly while reading The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa — the first book I picked and finished for this year’s Japanese Literature Challenge 12. A picture of the cat I met would be perfect here but alas, I have none.

The Travelling Cat Chronicles coverThe Travelling Cat Chronicles is a novella about a stray cat called Nana () being taken in by Satoru. They become companions in life, and on the road in Satoru’s grey van.

When I finished the book -a month ago already- I threw it across the roomI HATE IT! I shouted — at the same time telling the hubs to quickly go read it… I guess the story more upsets me really than evoke rage. It is way too close to my heart, and I can’t take it.

So, kudos for Arikawa’s way with words. When another of her works is translated I will be sure to pick it up. But I may never read The Travelling Cat Chronicles again. It’s a thumbs up I don’t dare recommend. All I can say is: if you plan on gifting this book, be sure to include hankies.

Back to the Japanese Literature Challenge. Unfortunately not much will come of my plans to read a J-Lit for each of the three months. It ends March 31st and though I gave Haruki Murakami’s De moord op Commendatore (Killing Commendatory) first part; een idea verschijnt a shot, the story didn’t grab me at this moment — even inducing another reading slump. I’m giving up now but still declaring JLC#12 a success. I wanted to read Japanese Literature again, and did.

And so I can choose something new from Mt. TBR… it’s going to be John Irving: Last Night In Twisted River!

Have you read any of these books? What did you think?

DSC06159-02
Seven years ago I did a wrap-up meme of my books read in 2010. Although I’m a way less prolific reader now and we’re already in February (did we skip a month?), I feel like doing this 2018 in review again anyway.

So here goes…

The first book you read in 2018: De tolk van Java (The Interpreter from Java) ~ Alfred Birney

The last book you finished in 2018: Zomervacht ~ Jaap Robben

The first book you will finish/finished in 2019: The Death of Achilles ~ Boris Akunin

Your favorite “classic” you read in 2018: the oldest book I’ve read last year is Een ezeldroom (“A Donkey Dream”) by Inez van Dullemen, published in 1977. I liked it but wouldn’t particularly recommend, unless you’re my age or have a home in rural France that you bought as a ruin and renovated…

The book series you read the most volumes of in 2018: I only read one book from a series: Aaron Falk #1 “The Dry” by Jane Harper. Will definitely read the sequel.

The genre you read the most in 2018: modern literary fiction.

The book that disappointed you: The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. It wasn’t bad (and even good in parts) but it had been on my wishlist for ages and expectations were high thanks to raving reviews in my bookish friends circle.

The book you liked better than you expected to: The High Mountains of Portugal by Yann Martell. I had bailed this one before because it annoyed me, but I was curious how it would turn out after the second and third part of the book.

The hardest book you read in 2018 (topic or writing style): The Interpreter from Java by Alfred Birney. The subject of being a child of the Indonesian colonial war survivors is close to home for me.

The funniest book you read in 2018: Donkey Work by Doreen Tovey.

The saddest book you read in 2018: The Golden Legend by Nadeem Aslam.

The shortest book you read in 2018: Simon’s Cat by Simon Tofield.

The longest book you read in 2018: The Pillars of the Earth.

A book that you discovered in 2018 that you will definitely read again: The Golden Legend. I seldom reread books but this terrific novel certainly stands a chance.

A book that you never want to read again: The Interpreter from Java. Although the topic is close to my heart, this novel is way too long and not always written well. In my opinion it would have benefited by an additional review by the editor.

And finally, a New Year’s Resolution: as I mentioned in my previous post I want to try and spend more time reading this year.

Looking back at my reading year in this way makes me realise that I have read way more Dutch literature than before. Partly due to my bookclub’s choices, but not entirely. I both started and ended 2018 with novels from domestic authors and read two more. To my liking, I must admit ;)

Go to Goodreads if you want to see all the books I read in 2018 and how I rated them!

I really don’t “do” New Year’s resolutions as I believe in starting changes right away and not just at the beginning of a year. However, the dark month of December is always a suitable moment for reflection. And glancing at my life I realised I want to read more often. I miss the cosiness and calm feeling of being curled up with a book. When did it stop being a big part of my life?

So this January I am thrilled to join the twelfth edition of possibly my favourite reading challenge: Dolce Bellezza’s Japanese Literature Challenge!

Japanese Literature Challenge #12 button

Since I have A LOT of unread books on my shelves, another one of my non-resolutions is picking mostly from our personal library. For this challenge I’m thinking of:

  • Killing Commendatore (De moord op Commendatore) 1&2 ~ Haruki Murakami
  • The Traveling Cat Chronicles ~ Hiro Arikawa
  • Kokoro ~ Natsumi Soseki
  • The Book of Tea ~ Okakura Kakuzo (non-fiction)

I won’t be able to read them all as the Japanese Literature Challenge is running for just three months and January is already almost at the end *SHOCK* but I can’t wait to tackle at least one of these longtime Mt TBR residents.

Which one of the titles I mentioned would you choose?

I’ll be posting my choice and updating on Instagram using the appointed hashtag #JLC12.

Readathon TBR pile

24 hour readathon

Cover Donkey WorkYay, the spring edition of Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon has come around again! I’ve kept most of my diary free and will do a LOT of reading this weekend (based in Utrecht, the Netherlands).

The picture above shows a selection of my Mount To Be Read (TBR). I will be choosing from this after I have finished my current read (of which I’ll tell you in a minute).

But I will definitely starting a new arrival (not to be confused with recent release); Donkey Work by Doreen Tovey. A children’s book, of which I’m usually not a fan, but I am VERY much looking forward to this one!

I am also very pleased that I will be having two local reading buddies this time Muizz and –if he doesn’t bail out– Mr Gnoe.

Currently Reading

Books I'm currently readingOn my nightstand are currently two nonfiction books and a novel. I hope to finish the latter quite quickly — after having started it sometime LAST YEAR early 2016!!! *shock* It’s The High Mountains of Portugal by Yann Martel and I’ll tell you more about it later.

Please check in on Litsy, where I’ll be posting my updates.

I’ve got a busy week ahead so it seems wise to pick up menu planning & prepping again to make sure I keep eating well ánd do not have to throw away leftover vegetables. I hate discarding food, don’t you?

Menu plan

IMG_20180211_215848

  • Sunday
    Surinamese roti with vegan No-chicken Chunks from The Vegetarian Butcher
  • Monday
    Potato-leek soup (fridge), greek salad with fermented tofu “feta” and pizza sandwich with leftover tomato sauce
  • Tuesday
    Nasi goreng (fried rice), tofu rendang and stir-fried chicory
  • Wednesday
    Valentine’s Day dinner date with the hubs :) Three course vegan meal by De Gewilde Keuken accompanied by suitable teas from TeaLounge. Photos (hopefully) to follow!

Cleaned vegetables and baked tofu in advance for quicker cooking.

I’m curious about the Taifun “feto”. I’ve made faux feta myself a long time ago; I enjoyed it but didn’t really bother preparing it again. Maybe this store-bought version is a good alternative?

– – – – –

Join Beth Fish’s Weekend Cooking with a food-related post!

Beth Fish Weekend Cooking logo

Button 24 Hour Read-a-ThonI can’t remember exactly when I participated in Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon for the first time: when she was still among us or shortly after her passing. I know I firstly blogged along in October 2009 but I may have participated on Twitter previously. I didn’t join in all editions since, but surely enjoyed a lot of them!

This ten year -tin- anniversary feels different to me in that I mainly read short stories — which is not my usual genre. It seemed many of us were into spooky books this time. But maybe that’s usual this time of year and I’m only extra sensitive to it because it’s true, and new, for me.

And then I learned a few things.

End survey

1. Which hour was most daunting for you?

Hour 17. I went for a short sleep at the halfway point (2AM GMT+1) and meant to get up at 6AM… but was too tired and killed my alarm clock so that I overslept till 9. That bums me out.

2. Tell us ALLLLL the books you read!

Wellll…. I mainly read a lot of stories?

  • The Fair Beckoning One ~ Oliver Onions
  • The Mezzotint ~ M.R. James
  • Honeysuckle Cottage ~ P.G. Wodehouse
  • Click-Clack the Rattlebag ~ Neil Gaiman
  • They ~ Rudyard Kipling
  • Memento Mori (audio) ~ Stephanie Victoire (@weepingwillow84)

The first five are all selected, introduced AND illustrated by Audrey Niffenegger in Ghostly. The last one was written by a-friend-of-a-friend on Instagram and commissioned in honour of the BBC National Short Story Award 2017.

I finished my nonfiction book about donkeys (gathering dust on the nightstand). Yay!

3. Which books would you recommend to other Read-a-thoners?

From the (ahem) “many” I read this weekend I can highly recommend Audrey Niffenegger’s Ghostly for next year’s Spooktober edition of the readathon. Other suitable faves are Mr Sandman by Barbara Gowdy, Never Let Me Go (Kazuo Ishiguro), all Mutts comics by Patrick McDonnell, Strangers by Taichi Yamada, David Mitchell’s The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, Maps for Lost Lovers (Nadeem Aslam), Norwegian Wood or The Wind-up Bird Chronicles from Haruki Murakami, Be With You (Takuji Ichikawa) — and I could go on.

4. What’s a really rad thing we could do during the next Read-a-thon that would make you smile?

Let me think on that!

5. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? Would you be interested in volunteering to help organize and prep?

VERY likely to participate, maybe volunteer as well. I have been part of the cheerleader team a few times before but needed to concentrate on crawling out of my reading slump this time. My contribution will likely depend on that in April as well.

I had a few goals at the beginning of this autumn edition of the ‘thon.

  1. I had hoped to finish Ghostly. As you have it I’m only at 60% (having started at ca. 30%). Most of the stories have been written at the beginning of the previous century which makes it a wee slower read for me than usual because of unknown vocabulary and dated language. (It must be said I’m not a fast reader anyway.)
  2. Finishing my nonfiction about donkeys. Which I did!
  3. Reading for long-ish stretches at a time. Sort of accomplished to do so as well.
  4. Not get distracted too much… Check!

Things I learned:

  • I want to read some work of Dennis Lehane
  • I may like P.G. Wodehouse as I enjoyed his story Honeysuckle Cottage
  • I need to keep my calendar fully clear for April’s readathon weekend
  • While reading less pages and for less hours than hoped used to make me feel like a #fail it now only disappoints me a little. I know it to be normal ;) I guess I’m growing up LOL

All in all I’m quite content with how the 24 hour readathon went. But I feel sad that it has gone by so fast again!

the-end

Button 24 Hour Read-a-ThonThis post consists of quick updates on my reading and socialising in the 24 Hour Readathon. New updates will be posted on top during the day.

Hour 24 – THE END

This last hour I spent reading two more stories in Ghostly:

  • Click-Clack the Rattlebag ~ Neil Gaiman (2013)
  • They ~ Rudyard Kipling (1904)

I *almost* finished the latter; having only five more pages to go.

Total pages read: 173
Total amount of time read: 4.55 hrs
Hours listened: 1
Hours watched: 2
Books finished: 1
Stories read/listened to: 6
Total amount of time spent relevantly socialising: 5.35 hrs

I will need to double check my numbers though ;)

Hour 22-23

Uh-oh, after reading P.G. Wodehouse’s Honeysuckle Cottage (which unexpectedly made me chuckle and read out parts aloud to Mr Gnoe), I just spent 70 minutes on selecting five nominations for my book group. Well, just shows you I take these things seriously.

These are the ones I suggested:

  1. The Golden Legend ~ Nadeem Aslam (latest novel from one of my all-time favourite authors)
  2. Dear White People ~ Justin Simien (must-read, recommended by my friend @rehanu)
  3. My Cousin Rachel ~ Daphne du Maurier (classic haunting tale that I haven’t read yet and seems appropriate for this time of year)
  4. Portrait of a Turkish Family ~ Irfan Ogra (highly recommended 1950 autobiography that I’m curious about but can’t remember who mentioned this)
  5. The Keeper of Lost Things ~ Ruth Hogan (something light that speaks to my love for objects (a museum girl at heart))

Next Saturday we’re choosing one as our next read. Any of them that you want to plug to my fellow book club members???

Hour 21

Been updating this post and doing some socialising on the web/IG/Litsy. I love how so many of us are reading haunted haunting tales; I don’t recall that from previous autumn editions but it may very well be that I’m more sensitive to it now because I’m reading ghost stories myself this time. Neither the spooky genre nor short story collections appear much on my nightstand.

Hour 13-20

Oops. I went to bed for what was intended to be a 4 hour nap… and awoke at nine. Half an hour to make coffee, brekkie, feed the critters etc. and now I gathered everything and everyone on the bed to continue for the last stretch. It’s awesome fall weather outside mmmmmm real cosy! Next ghost story up is P.G. Wodehouse’s Honeysuckle Cottage (1925).

How are you all doing???

12th Hour

I read the 1904 ghost story The Mezzotint by M.R. James in Ghostly.

Total pages read: 100
Total amount of time read: 2.55 hrs
Hours listened: 1
Hours watched: 2
Books finished: 1
Total amount of time socialised: 3.30 hrs

Hour 6-11

How can it be hour 11 already? I haven’t gotten that much reading done yet! Time flies when you’re having fun and I was out with my film club friends watching Gone Baby Gone, an adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s novel directed by Ben Affleck. It’s a captivating and intelligent mystery that I can definitely recommend – though not to the tender-hearted. I’m putting Lehane on my list of authors to read! The film itself took two hours but of course we had lots to talk about afterwards and I know all these ladies from the book community. All in all I was away from home for a full four hours.

It’s almost 1AM over here and I’m starting the next story in Ghostly but I’ll probably won’t be able to finish it before my eyes get too heavy and I need to go sleep for a bit…zzz

See you later! Read on!

Hour 3-5

I finished “Donkey Basics“, reading 35 pages in 50 minutes. Surprisingly enough the chapter about breeding was much more interesting than expected.

I finally got to listen to the 15 minute story Memento Mori by Stephanie Victoire aka @weepingwillow84 on instagram; a perfect September tale nominated for the BBC National Short Story Award 2017!

As I wasn’t done cooking and doing housework in a quarter of an hour (lol) I continued with Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn on Audible for about 45 minutes. Now I’m writing this update while having dinner: a chill-veggie kind of stew with spinach and avocado & olives on the side. Don’t worry, Mr Gnoe isn’t here so I’m not being rude ;)

Next up is my film club… Will share later what adaptation we watched!

Total pages read: 80
Total amount of time read: 2.20 hrs
Hours listened: 1
Books finished: 1
Total amount of time socialised: 1.15 hrs

Hour 1-2

I have read for one and a half hour and in that time I finished the 1911 ghost story The Beckoning Fair One by Oliver Onions. I hadn’t expected it to affect me so much! I really need a break now and am glad to have selected books to alternate with this collection. Like… donkeys! Those always make my heart smile. But first I’ll stop by some other participants!
(Pages read: 45)

Hour 0 Opening meme

I answered most of the questions for the traditional opening meme in my intro post but here’s a summary.

  1. I’m reading from Utrecht, the Netherlands, Europe (mostly at home).
  2. The books in my stack that I’m mostly looking forward are my two current reads that I hope to finish: Ghostly (Audrey Niffenegger) and “Donkey Basics” (Margret Keijzer).
  3. Strangely enough I’m not looking forward to any specific snack… but to eating healthy today!
  4. J-Lit (Japanese literature) is a favourite genre and I’m a sucker for donkeys and (other) rescue animals – the older the better ;)
  5. I intend to take healthy snacks and drinks and get as little distracted as possible…

Gnoe goes ExtraVeganza!

Archive

Currently grazing

Gnoe herding…

Jap Literature Challenge 13 button

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My current fav spot to graze

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