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24 Hour Read-a-Thon button

This first update is going up much later than I thought while writing my start-up post. The day took an unexpected turn and -going with the flow- I only got to join in the fun at ten to seven tonight. It’s eleven now and I’m a bit tired, but also happy that I got to read at last!

Cover Crossing to SafetyCurrently reading: Crossing to Safety ~ Wallace Stegner (ebook)

Books finished: 0

Pages read: no page count but I went from 22% to 39% read – progress!

Running total of pages read: ?

Amount of time spent reading: 3.00

Running total of time spent reading: 3.00

Amount of time spent on socialising: 0.27

Other: I only did the kick-off meme mini-challenge. Concerning reading spots: I first hung on the couch with Mr Gnoe reading next to me. After dinner (a simple tomato soup) I changed to our lazy chair where I lounged with Kuki on my lap. Had a glass of orange coloured prosecco (with a drop of mandarin liqueur) on the occasion of King’s Day. Staying with just the one because it makes me sleepy and we can’t have that, now can we? Snacked on grapes and banana, drank tea, coca cola light and water. Now I’m going to light some candles, make another pot of tea, grab a cat and continue my book.

See you later?!

24 Hour Read-a-Thon button

Kick-off meme

  1. What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
    Utrecht, The Netherlands, Europe!
  2. Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
    Finishing Crossing to Safety and finally reading We the Animals.
  3. Which snack are you most looking forward to?
    Haven’t prepared any but I cleaned a whole bowl of grapes so… Looking forward to that!
  4. Tell us a little something about yourself!
    I’ve read so little for a long time lately that I hardly dare call myself a reader any more. My choice of books is literature (rarely Dutch though) and mysteries. Some of my favourite books are Mr Sandman by Barbara Gowdy, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Murakami, A Pale View of Hills and Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro and ANYTHING by David Mitchell. I love both reading from paper as on my Kobo Glo. I just don’t like that I can’t choose fitting bookmarks to accompany the different ebooks. :(
  5. If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today?
    I didn’t participate in October’s readathon but I was here for the one in April 2013. Today I’m NOT going to read as many hours nor books as possible and I AM going to connect with the community fun a lot.

Cover Crossing to SafetyCurrently reading: Crossing to Safety ~ Wallace Stegner (ebook)

Books finished: 0

Pages read: 0

Running total of pages read: 0

Amount of time spent reading: 0

Running total of time spent reading: 0

Amount of time spent on socialising: 0

Other: –

24 Hour Read-a-Thon buttonHello! Long time no see! I’ve been having a blogging burnout and reading slump, but today I’m trying to fix both.

2pm local time brings the kick-off for the spring edition of Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-a-Thon. I desperately need to finish my IRL book group’s read, so I’m jumping in! However, I will NOT be reading for 24 hours, nor will I be reading as much as possible: I will spend a serious amount of time happily mingling with the other participants on social media. Last year I didn’t do that at all because I felt it distracted me too much from actually reading. But, like Andi says, the readathon is all about the community! So why miss out on the fun?!

Retro plaid bag I bought

I haven’t prepared at all for today so I’m just going with the flow. WOAH that’s such a different mindset from other times I participated! The one thing I did do in anticipation of the readathon is start King’s Day celebrations early… yesterday :) It’s our very first King’s Day after Queen (now Princess) Beatrix abdicated last year and while I’m not much of a royalist, this is A National Event. And a good way to enjoy the lovely spring weather – ha! ;) The king-size jumble market in town traditionally starts at 4pm the day before and goes on all through the night and next day. So I got to go and scavenge for treasures! Like that neat retro British plaid bag I scored for 5€. :D

(Any tips on getting a musty smell out?)

But I digress. Here’s what I’ll probably be reading.

Cover Crossing to Safety

Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner (ebook). I need to finish it before my book group meet-up on May 12th. I’m currently at 22% and really enjoy it but I’ve had problems picking up my book and holding on to it for longer periods of time. Something to do with an iPhone, Instagram and what not… *coughs*

When I get it done — or need a change of palate, I may pick up one of the following (or anything else that tickles my fancy).

Pile of books

Nicely colour-coordinated, don’t you think? ;)

Now let’s get that #readathon hashtag a trending topic on twitter again!

 

Ringo sunbathing (2009)

I know I already did a book-related 2010 wrap-up post, but on Bookie Mee I came across the 2010 wrap-up meme inspired by A Guy’s Moleskin Notebook and thought it fun to play along.

So here goes…

The first book you read in 2010: Trespass by Valerie Martin

The last book you finished in 2010: The Christmas Quilt by Thomas J. Davis

The first book you will finish (or did finish!) in 2011: Caos Calmo by Sandro Veronesi

Your favorite “classic” you read in 2010: The Temple of the Golden Pavilion by Yukio Mishima

The book series you read the most volumes of in 2010: Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi and Les Aventures extraordinaires d’Adèle Blanc-Sec by Jacques Tardi (both graphic novels)

The genre you read the most in 2010: literary fiction (quite a lot of it being JLit)

The book that disappointed you: The Evenings (graphic novel) by Gerard Reve & Dick Matena

The book you liked better than you expected to: Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman by Haruki Murakami

The hardest book you read in 2010 (topic or writing style): The Pillow Book by Sei Shōnagon (struggled with it for months and almost gave up!)

The funniest book you read in 2010: Mutts by Patrick McDonnell

The saddest book you read in 2010: this is a hard one.. probably The Wasted Vigil by Nadeem Aslam

The shortest book you read in 2010: A Steam Whistle in the Night by Haruki Murakami

The longest book you read in 2010: The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

A book that you discovered in 2010 that you will definitely read again: I’m really not much of a re-reader but I know I’ll be picking up David Mitchell’s The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet again: I just won a Dutch copy and because of the games Mitchell played with my language in the English version, I’m curious to know how it was translated. I’ve heard the author say he liked what the translators did, so… That’s why I worked so hard a winning a copy ;)

A book that you never want to read again: Thomas J. Davis’ The Christmas Quilt; not that it wasn’t a cosy read for the holidays, but once is enough

And finally, make a New Year’s Resolution: since 2010 was a slow reading year I plan to read more — in time as well as amount of books; at least 11 more to be precise (Books on the Nightstand +11 reading challenge) BUT I won’t give in on quality over quantity!

And what’s the relevance of cat pictures in this post?
Absolutely none. :)
They’re just my cuties that almost didn’t make it into the new year.
And I’m awfully grateful they did.

Juno sunbathing in a cardboard box (2009)

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? logoToday I’m joining in again with Book Journey’s It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? meme. Yesterday I had other priorities than to write a Sunday Salon post, like putting up Christmas decorations (my Secret Santa gift is now under the tree!) and READ. There was a low-key mini-readathon going on in Twitterverse and although I only got to read 4 of the 12 hours, it’s more than I would have done otherwise!

I’m now at 1/3rd of Nadeem Aslam’s The Wasted Vigil and it’s absolutely fabulous. Aslam has a great way of saying things — I try to absorb each and every word he says.

Cover The Wasted Vigil (Nadeem Aslam)It’s an intriguing story, broadening my horizon; about the lives of five people who come together in post-9/11, war-torn Afghanistan.

Marcus, an English doctor whose progressive, outspoken Afghani wife was murdered by the Taliban, opens his home—itself an eerily beautiful monument to his losses—to the others: Lara, from St. Petersburg, looking for evidence of her soldier brother who disappeared decades before during the Soviet invasion; David, an American, a former spy who has seen his ideals turned inside out during his twenty-five years in Afghanistan; Casa, a young Afghani whose hatred of the West plunges him into the depths of zealotry; and James, the Special Forces soldier in whom David sees a dangerous revival of the unquestioning notions of right and wrong that he himself once held.

A few years ago I read his previous book Maps for Lost Lovers and loved it so much I had to get The Wasted Vigil as soon as it came out. Weirdly enough it stayed on my shelf for another two years! :-o But now I’m thrilled to find myself in 2005 Afghanistan while sitting safely on the couch.

It’s probably not too early to say that Nadeem Aslam now officially belongs to my favourite authors!

Cover The Christmas Quilt, Thomas J. DaviesI hope to read a lot this week — so what am I doing blogging??? — finishing The Wasted Vigil in a few days. I’ve been saving a book especially for the upcoming holidays you see, ever since I got it from velvet in January this yearThe Christmas Quilt by Thomas J. Davies. Now is the time to read it!

BTW Two more book-shaped parcels appeared mysteriously under the Christmas tree last night… Oh goody! ;)

Some of my all-time favourite books (read in 2004)

In June 2008 I posted my version of The Big Read: a list of 100 well-known books of which an average British citizen had read only 6 — at the time. My score was 37.

Now that this meme is making a new round on Facebook and Yvonne tagged me, I figured it would be fun to do a redux and see how many titles I’ve added in the last 2+ years… Assuming they haven’t swapped any books on the list of course! Something they have changed is highlighting the ones of which you saw the movie, instead of those you love… Is that an improvement???

You can also now indicate if you’ve just read an excerpt, where we used to share which novels we planned on reading. I guess that’s more interesting indeed and I’ve used this category for books I got to know in a special children’s version, like the Bible and Alice in Wonderland.

Two out of three makes a lot of changes on the original challenge, but hey: the most important question is still the same: how many books on this list have you read? Well, here goes!

Instructions

  • Bold those books you’ve read in their entirety.
  • Italicize the ones you started but didn’t finish or read an excerpt.
  • Underline the ones you’ve seen the movies of.
  • Tag other book nerds.

1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series – JK Rowling (all)
5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
11 Little Women – Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare (yes, all of them!)
15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch – George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House – Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis
34 Emma – Jane Austen
35 Persuasion – Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Berniere
39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne
41 Animal Farm – George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving
45 The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding
50 Atonement – Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi – Yann Martel
52 Dune – Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road – Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
72 Dracula – Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses – James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal – Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession – AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple – Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web – EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
94 Watership Down – Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

So… (counting..) that makes a new total of 39. Thirty-nine. Just two more than previous time — how can that be? I know I’ve read at least 5 books on this list last year so something is definitely wrong. Either they’ve changed some of the titles, I miscounted or… cheated last time ;) If anyone bothers to find out, please let me know! I’m getting worried about the capabilities of my long-term memory :\

How many of these books have you read? More than 6? I’m not much of a tagger so feel free to pick up the challenge yourself!

I wonder if 6 is still the average amount for an ordinary British person. Maybe the BBC could do a redux as well?!

Classics reading challenge 2009 buttonAs you may have read in my earlier post, I also joined the 2009 Classics Challenge.

I entered the Classics Entree level, which means I have to read 5 classics this year. Plus I want to go for the bonus by reading a book of the ‘Future Classic List’, since I’ve got some of those titles piled up on Mount TBR!

I think I can manage this additional challenge because I planned to read some classics already. Here’s my list:

Let’s see how things go: I consider Revolutionary Road a classic already so I might change my level to Classics Feast at the end of 2009 and read another bonus book ;)

To be honest, by joining this challenge I hope to help myself accomplishing the task I had set myself already. Now the hard part is really to blog my reviews!

Gnoe on pile of books

Gnoe (?) on pile of books

Oh no! NOW look what you made me do, Weekly Geeks! By asking me about reading challenges, I just joined TWO MORE! As if I don’t have enough problems handling just one…

When I failed last year’s personal challenge I decided to cut myself some slack and stretch it to 2009. I had gotten halfway my list of 12 books by December, so that seemed fair. But now… I have only crossed off one more title since January! That means that, of the books on the Best Foreign Books longlist that were already on my wishlist before the election, I still have another 5 books to go:

  • To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
  • The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
  • The Chosen (Chaim Potok)
  • a choice of 2 from The Sea, The Sea (Iris Murdoch), The Corrections (Jonathan Franzen) or The Pillow Book (Sei Shonagon) — whichever of these I can get my hands on.

Five might not seem a lot to you, but it’s 20-25% of all the books I can manage in one year!

And now I’ve put some more pressure on by joining the ‘What’s in a Name‘ and ‘Classics‘ challenges! Yes, you may call me stupid if you want to ;)

So why do I take on reading challenges?

I find having a challenge stimulates me in picking up books that I wouldn’t normally read, or that I wish to have read but never feel like starting, or that are almost totally random. And yes, sometimes I get stressed a bit when a deadline is nearing ;) But I think I might never have read the classics Slaughterhouse-Five, Don Quixote or Max Havelaar without these challenges! And I must say that I only enter challenges that (I believe) really stand a chance!

Each year at least one personal challenge just ‘appears’ to me. For example I notice a resemblance in some book titles, or a certain award long- or shortlist matches part of my wishlist, like last year. I’m curious to know if this happens to other people as well! So what reading tasks have I set myself in the past?

  • 2005:
    1) read a book from each decade from 1900 until 2005
    2) read a total of 15,000 pages (I failed that by 333 pages…)
    3) finish all Bookcrossing books on Mount TBR
  • 2006: read 10 books with numbers 0-9 in their title
  • 2007: read all books on the Best Dutch Book (ever) shortlist that I haven’t read yet

More about these challenges can be found in my post about my 2008-2009 challenge, except for 2007 which has its own blogpost.

Speaking about collective challenges, up until yesterday (LOL) I’ve only joined the SIY (Set It Yourself) challenge at Bookcrossing several times. I’ll let the title speak for itself ;)

Having said all this… (thanks for hanging on ;) it might just be that I grew up in the Eighties so that I’m addicted to making lists, like Rob Fleming in Nick Hornby’s book High Fidelity ;)

resemblance

What's in a name 2(009) buttonAfter stumbling upon it in Puss Reboots Weekly Geeks post, I decided to join the ‘What’s in a Name?reading challenge (2nd edition): 6 different ‘themes’ requiring a fitting title.

It’s a bit sneaky of me that I can already cross of five of them but hey, it is supposed to be fun right? I just hope I won’t be castigated for taking the categories too loosely… :\ No need to add extra stress to my reading life!

So, here’s the list!

  1. A book with a ‘profession‘ in its title:
    The Little Emperor (Dutch title: De kleine keizer), by Martin Bril
    read in May
  2. A book with a ‘time of day‘ in its title:
    The Remains of the Day, by Kazuo Ishiguro
    read in January
  3. A book with a ‘relative‘ in its title:
    The Mapmaker’s Wife, by Robert Whitaker
    awaiting bookring
    This title also fits review theme 1: profession!
  4. A book with a ‘body part‘ in its title:
    Grey Souls (Dutch title: Grijze zielen), by Philippe Claudel
    read in January
    In Cold Blood
    , by Truman Capote
    read in November
  5. A book with a ‘building‘ in its title:
    Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh — I could have put this one at 3 (‘bride’) or 4 (‘head’) as well LOL
    read in April
  6. A book with a ‘medical condition‘ in its title:
    What came before he shot her, by Elizabeth George
    reading in June

This week all book geeks should catch up on their book reviews. If they’re following Weekly Geeks, that is ;) This specific recurring question is how I came to know of Weekly Geeks so I can’t refuse, can I?

Now before I go on, MY QUESTION TO YOU is: which one would you like me to write about? And what question(s) about the book should I answer in my post?

So, here are some of the books that I still need to review…

ammaniti 9789048800452

Crossroads (Zo God het wil / Come Dio Comanda) by Niccolò Ammaniti (2006)

I bought this book because of a very positive review in Simon Mayo’s Book Panel. Great podcast to listen to btw! Crossroads was compared to Cormac McCarthy’s The Road (but said to have more humor), and to movies by the Coen Brothers… I finished it recently during my holiday on Madeira. I’m waiting for Mr Gnoe to read it because I would really like to discuss whether this is a good book or if it will be thought another The Shadow of the Wind in a while…

akkerman 9789046805428

The Native (De inboorling) by Stevo Akkerman (2009)

In 1883 a Colonial Exhibition was held in Amsterdam, and real people from the Dutch colonies were part of it. De inboorling is a novel about a black Dutchman who, at a time when the Rijksmuseum is planning an exhibition in remembrance of the centennial of this event, discovers his great grandfather was one of the people exhibited. An interesting ethical subject for a museum employee like me! I bought this book at Teylers Museum, where an exhibition about exploitation of humans in exhibitions and art fairs just closed (De exotische mens).
scarlett thomas

The End of Mr. Y by Scarlett Thomas (2006)

I am really embarrassed that I haven’t reviewed The End of Mr. Y yet, because it was given to my as a RABCK by Rapturina: a Random Act of Bookcrossing Kindness. And I have a personal rule that I always review bookcrossing books that are sent to me, either as book ring, ray or rabck. Also I can’t send this book on the road again until I’ve made a journal entry about it! This novel about books and time traveling was an appropriate read when I had the flu ;)

tenzuidenvdgrens_w

South of the Border, West of the Sun (Ten zuiden van de grens, ten westen van de zon / Kokkyo no minami, Taiyo no nishi) by Haruki Murakami (1998)

Haruki Murakami is one of my few favourite authors. Some fans read all his books in one continuous flow, others (like me) like to take it slow and read a book every once in a while. Savour it, so to say :) South of the Border is my 9th book of this author since I started with The Wind-up Bird Chronicles in 2004 and I read it together with Elsje, who’s a Murakami addict of the other type ;)

BTW Did you know there’s a new Murakami novel coming soon? It’s called 1Q84 and has been for sale in Japan since the end of May. It’s a great succes already. Ha! Another 1000 pages to enjoy soon ;) Erm, soon? It will be published in Holland in 2011…

Anyway, here’s a bonus for all Murakami lovers in suspense of the new novel: 1984 by the Eurythmics on YouTube. Why? Q = kyū= 9 > 1984!

ETA: in the end I reviewed The End of Mr. Y based on your questions!

Gnoe goes ExtraVeganza!

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