15
Jun
2011

Procrastination (ep. 384)-"Why, oh why are we doing it?"

I know it is old news, but I still keep listening to this every other day:



• • •

When I was mowing the lawn this evening I discovered that the we have a lot of wild strawberries in the garden, which are "ripening fast" as a slighty salacious Mr. Knightly as played by Mark Strong likes to say. (Honestly, that scenes is top 3 most erotic scenes of all Austen adaptations...)
I don't think there were ever so many before, so I went and picked some.
Then I made Panna Cotta with Wild Strawberries in a light sweet red wine marinade:

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(But I think I miscalculated with the starch and put in twice as much as I should have... not so great, but I'll do better next time, the rest tasted great. And there'll be more strawberries next week.)

• • •

Well, other than mowing and cooking I cleaned, put the living room in order, did my work out and watched Star Trek with the boyfriend...
I've been procrastinating for the last couple of days. Of course.
Actually I should be studying like crazy and finish a couple of papers, because as I found out (which was rather a shock) two weeks ago, I have only one semester left to complete my studies, then I'll be enrolled automatically for the Magister (old German Master degree, but not really the same at all) exams.. erm, well... and if I haven't completed every seminar until then I'll just as automatically fail the first of two tries I have.
So this completely screwed up my plans to focus on Croatian etc. Now I have to pass this stupid Spanish grammar exam which I failed like three times before, then pass Spanish intermediates in the days after that and then complete three major seminars the coming semester, while studying Croatian and Russian... and I'm sure I'm leaving something out, but it's really a lot of work and I dread that grammar exam (everything else I can handle, I'm sure, but that exam is my nemesis...)

7
Jun
2011

[book] "Der 35. Mai" by Erich Kästner

Der 35. Mai oder Konrad reitet in die SüdseeDer 35. Mai oder Konrad reitet in die Südsee by Erich Kästner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Very funny, highly absurd, I didn't know this as a child, but I would have loved it.

I liked the last part best, when they finally meet the girl called Petersilie (and discover the whale in the forest), it's really fun and I just love this typical Kästner language immensely. The way they talk is just too funny.
(I seem to have read way too much Kästner - and later on too much Tucholsky and watched too much Loriot... - because when I talk (German), people tend not to "get" me, I'm using absurd words or strange expressions, and reading Kästner, or Tucholsky for that matter, still amuses me much.)
But it is also a rather uncoordinated mixture of maybe too many different things at a time, so it is not Kästner's best for me. But still very enjoyable!

This is my favorite quote:
"Konrad war nicht fähig, etwas zu erwidern. Denn das Mädchen, das Petersilie hieß, war schwarz und weiß kariert! 'Mensch', sagte er schließlich. 'Auf dir kann man ja Schach spielen!' " ("Konrad was unable to respond. Because the girl called Parsley was checkered black and white. 'Gosh', he finally said. 'One can play chess on you!'")

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25
May
2011

[book] "Daniel Stein" by Lyudmila Ulitskaya

Daniel SteinDaniel Stein by Ljudmila Ulitzkaja
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was an exceptional read and I can't even tell why exactly.
Neither the topic of second world war nor the issues about faith, belief and god interest me much. It also isn't a story of which the end was unknown or which contained a tension arc. Still I could hardly put the book down and wanted to read on and on.
Because it is a wonderful book. Ulitskaya has a wonderful way of writing, she puts things into words, that make them seem simple, yet profound. It's a joy to read any of her books, but this one is even special, it has so many distinct voices in it. All the time while reading I kept wondering what it was that made me want to read on and on, I don't even cared much for the characters (as in "liked" them), yet I think it was exactly those voices and characters which Ulitskaya can bring to live so real and true, that made me want to read on and enjoy the book so much.
I only found, like to often with great books - why is that?, the end to be a bit rushed. And while all of the book seems very open ended and non-dogmatic, the end tarnishes this impression a tiny bit.
(And the translation is very good, it manages to keep something of the original Russian even in the German text.)
So I don't have much to say to recommend this book, still I feel like I want to urge every one I meet to read this book immediately.
So: Go read this book!

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23
Apr
2011

[audio book] "Carmilla: A Vampyre Tale"

Carmilla: A Vampyre TaleCarmilla: A Vampyre Tale by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I started this I had a kind of need to read this, knowing that it is part of the inspiration for "Dracula", which I have loved since I was a child. Then seeing there was an audio version read by Megan Follows, whose voice is so dear to me (even though here in a completely different context*), of course I had to get it.
So I expected a quick old-fashioned Gothic tale and a wonderful narration - and that's what I got.

The story itself is a true classic. Very in the spirit of the original Gothic Romance. It is dated (which makes me not give it 5 stars), true, but still a very interesting and eerie read if you're willing to go where the narrator takes you. And Megan Follows gave a perfect, perfect voice to the first person narrator, I don't think I would have had as much patience with the story without her reading.

I won't get deep into the lesbian love controversy... it is certainly no hot lesbian love story, but there might be certain moments that show certain tendencies, yes. I do think the author had that in mind, when he wrote it, but I think it is completely up to the reader what to make of it.

I also think I would have liked it, if the author had made a real novel out of this stuff. The way it is, it is more like a short story, not even a novella, I think. But with adding some frame work, some more deep side characters and some drama (and even hitting the lesbian love story plot stronger, if need be), maybe different narrators (a bit Wilkie Collins style) I could really imagine this to have become a great and famous book.


_______________________
* Well, not so far away then again, as I'm sure Anne would have had a soft spot for a good Gothic story in her romantic heart.


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22
Apr
2011

[book] "Die Geschwister Brontë" - a biography by Sally Schreiber

Die Geschwister Brontë.Die Geschwister Brontë. by Sally Schreiber
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Unfortunately I could only get the translated version at the library, but it is written in a very quick and easily readable style and the translation is unexcited, and it's a pretty book for such a small biography.
I was reading this for my paper about Chekhov and his possible connection with the writing of the Brontë-Sisters, so I wanted a quick and condensed overview. And that is what I got. I got some points to use or to do further research on for my paper, so I'm content.

There are some points I don't like too much about this book. It is (due to it's brevity probably) partly very broadbrush and loose. So you actually get more questions at parts than answers.

The book also showed the difficulty in searching for the actual (factual, but even more psychological of course) truth about the Brontës. It constantly mentiones "the Brontë-legend", the myth-like view the world has on the Brontës, and gives hints that this legend is NOT of course the truth. But I don't feel any closer to actual knowledge now after reading this book. Only maybe, that Charlotte was a difficult personage and that that also is the end to any further search for psychological "truth" about any of the Brontës. But, really, what can you truly know about any other person in the world, you're never inside them and certainly nobody can get into the mind of a Brontë.
(And on a side-note: That the Gaskell-biography is a wonderful book, but from beginning to end more a thematic and fictional work than a biography is know - and clear to anyone reading anything by or about Elizabeth Gaskell.)

This not new, but sobering thoughts will probably keep me from reading another Brontë-biogrpahy for some time to come.





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10
Apr
2011

The Read-A-Thon : Hour 23 Update

Well, it wasn't meant to be, obviously.
That headache hit me like a wave, the peppermint tea and me didn't stand a chance.
And the only position it doesn't hurt so much is lying flat on my stomach looking to the left. Don't ask me why... and no, I can't read in that position, but that doesn't matter, as my eyes are glued shut by some mysterious substance anyway.

What a pity. I actually started reading "Fahrenheit 451", but didn't make it over the first few pages.

Now I'll try to get some food into me and take some pills and hope for the best.
But I'll try again next time. :)

The Read-A-Thon : Hour 12 Update

Well, who'd have thought I'd focus on audio books?
Now I've read "Alice in Wonderland" as audio version (because I had to take a shower and all other books are no good in the shower...)

Now I've finished "The Bell Jar", which makes for:
Hours read so far: 4.5
Pages read so far: ~130

Argh, and I have a headache coming on... I hope it will just pass by... fighting it with fresh peppermint herbal tea.

Snack-wise: Onto strawberries with cream... what a perfect reading snack!

9
Apr
2011

The Read-A-Thon : Hour 8 Update

9:10 pm to 9:35 pm: Can't read, the cat fell asleep on my book...

Now I'm back into reading. I plan on finishing "The Bell Jar" soon, I started reading it some time ago, like it a lot, but really want to be done with it now. :-)

Reading on.

The (Not-)Read-A-Thon : Hour 6 Update)

Oh well, way too much work for a Read-A-Thon...

Hours read so far: 1.5
Pages read so far: hard to tell, as all I could do so far was listen to my "Northanger Abbey" audio book, but I "read" from chapter 25 to chapter 31, that should be about 55 pages or so.

Now I'm home and very tired and hungry, but I'll try to make the Read-A-Thon happen now. :)

Read-A-Thon: Hour 1 Update

Here goes. :-D
I was really looking forward to the Read-A-Thon and now I must first face more time working than I was hoping I had and already I'm tired... my, my, my.
But no reason not to answer introductory questions:

1)Where are you reading from today?
First in the car (audio book), then at work (if there's time) and than at home.
All of this taking place in or close to Munich, Bavaria. :)

2)Three random facts about me…
hm, how random might that be... 1)For about a week now I'm very into yellow nail polish for the first time in my life. (And people keep noticing.) 2)Even though I would never call myself a gossip, I'm afraid that I do gossip a lot, at least when at work. 3)When listening to a good audio book in my car - preferably read by Juliet Stevenson - I am know to have shouted aloud "bravos", because it was so incredibly good written.
Random enough?

3)How many books do you have in your TBR pile for the next 24 hours?
No actual pile of designated books. Just what is around here in my living room and kitchen, lots of books I could perhaps finish.

4)Do you have any goals for the read-a-thon (i.e. number of books, number of pages, number of hours, or number of comments on blogs)?
I don't have a real goal, just reading what comes along and what I feel like. And I would love it if I could also find the time to write a review for a book I've finished.

3
Apr
2011

24h Read-A-Thon

I'll be participating in the 24h Read-A-Thon this time! Yay!

readathon

I'm really looking forward to this and picking out books already.
Only downside is that I'll have to work at the beginning of the 24 hours, but I'll see if I can get an hour of reading in even there. ;-)
And then I plan on dedicating at least 2 hours of the Read-A-Thon to some required reading for the papers I'm writing - talk about efficiency.
What a Gilmore-Girl-ish activity!

Looking forward to this!

21
Mar
2011

Is this spring?

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Will today be the day that I finally get some serious work done?
I sure hope so. (The last week I spent at work and couldn't do any actual school work and thus dedicated the rest of my time to cleaning the house.)
But now I started by reading a whole article about church property rights in medieval Russia late last night. Three more to go today and then I'd be right into my topic again. There is one collection of Russian letters (medieval, too), though, that I don't know how to use really. My Russian is so very bad, I can hardly make out who wrote a letter...
Image and video hosting by TinyPic Image and video hosting by TinyPic

And then there's my language textbook... also waiting for me to put in some hours.

And about spring.
It certainly looks like spring today (again), bright sun shine for hours now, but the temperatures are barely above freezing. That's not spring. I want warmth!

3
Mar
2011

Dinner

Finally fish again!

dinner2011-03-03

This is lythe with a whitewine-lemon-cream sauce (with a touch of curry), mixed brown and wild rice and bush beans. I love this dish and I love that it's so easy to cook (if you have a microwave).
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Procrastination (ep....
I know it is old news, but I still keep listening to...
journey - 15. Jun, 02:32

Love it soooo much! My parents bought me an Erich Kästner...
nikana (guest) - 7. Jun, 20:14
[book] "Der 35. Mai"...
Der 35. Mai oder Konrad reitet in die Südsee by Erich...
journey - 7. Jun, 14:46
[book] "Daniel Stein"...
Daniel Stein by Ljudmila Ulitzkaja My rating: 5 of...
journey - 30. May, 02:20
[audio book] "Carmilla:...
Carmilla: A Vampyre Tale by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu My...
journey - 23. Apr, 18:13
[book] "Die Geschwister...
Die Geschwister Brontë. by Sally Schreiber My rating:...
journey - 22. Apr, 17:43
The Read-A-Thon : Hour...
Well, it wasn't meant to be, obviously. That headache...
journey - 10. Apr, 13:19
Enjoy the rest of your...
Enjoy the rest of your reading and I hope that headache...
Lu (guest) - 10. Apr, 07:00
Oh, I hope your headache...
Oh, I hope your headache lets up! You're doing great!...
Shaunesay (guest) - 10. Apr, 05:03
That sounds like a great...
That sounds like a great reading snack!! :) Hope you're...
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