The Bookshelf Scavenger Hunt

Well hello there! Today I am once again doing a tag post that I was never even tagged in. In fact, I literally found it by googling something along the lines of bookish tags. Is that cheating? I don’t care… I thought it looked fun so I’m doing it. I have no idea who created this game originally so I can’t link to them. I believe it started on YouTube, which I suppose makes more sense as a “scavenger hunt” since you get to watch them actually look for the books. None of that here though, so you’ll just have to make do with photos.

Anyway… the goal of this challenge is to find books on your shelves based on specific prompts. I can’t explain better than that, so I’ll just get started. Apologies for the quality of my photos – it has been trying to snow for the past few days and my bookcases are quite far from the window anyway so I had to switch on the light.

Find an author’s name or title with the letter Z in it

Thanks to my former boss, I have a whole bunch of books by Sebastian Fitzek, but I decided to go with this one:

1 Author with Z

A thriller set on a cruise ship. The blurb says: “On average, 23 people per year disappear without a trace from cruise ships. Never before has someone come back… until now.” I love Sebastain Fitzek’s writing and this was a great thriller, but I was unable to relate to any of the characters and actually couldn’t have cared less if the main person had died! I gave it 4 stars though. It’s been translated under the title Passenger 23 if you’re interested in reading it.

Find a classic

This one was easy to find since all my classics live together. I chose this one because it has a pretty cover.

2 classic

I haven’t actually read it so no idea whether it’s any good. My grandma likes Thomas Hardy though.

Find a book with a key on the cover

A lot of people had trouble with this category, but luckily I had been sorting out my to-read books recently and I remembered seeing a key one of those books.

3 key on cover

Like I said, it’s on my to-read shelf so I can’t say if I recommend. It sounds good…

Find something on your bookshelf that’s not a book

I have a few non-book items on my bookshelf, but I chose to go with this:

4 non-book

Meet Arthur! I bought him at Cardiff Castle and he’s clearly a Welsh dragon. The name is a play on King Arthur (Arthur the dragon =  Arthur Pendragon. Yes, I thought I was being clever…)

Find the oldest book on your shelf

I think it’s probably this one.

5 oldest book

I took a photo of the inside cover since the outside is just plain red. Jan’s sister got me this from a second-hand bookshop and it has no date in, but on the spine it says it’s by “Dean Swift”. If he was still a Dean at the time it was printed I assume it’s a pretty old edition?

Find a book with a girl on the cover

This book has two girls on the cover. Do I get extra points for that? 😉

6 girl on cover

Again, I haven’t read this book yet so I can’t tell you whether it’s any good.

Find a book that has an animal in/on it

Some versions said in and some said on, so I went with a book that both has an animal on the cover and features an animal in the story.

7 animal on cover

Again, I have not read it (those books were the easiest to find because the recent sorting meant I knew exactly where they were), but how stunning is that cover?

Find a book with a male protagonist

I have a few, but this was the first one my eyes landed on:

8 male protagonist

The protagonist is a boy named Will. I read this one last year and I really enjoyed it.

Find a book with only words on it

This one was difficult and I spent ages hunting!

9 only words

The words are kind of stylised and have thorns on, but I think it still counts?
I had actually forgotten I had this book! I read it years ago – before I joined Goodreads. I’m fairly sure I enjoyed it but I think I may have to read it again now I’ve rediscovered it.

Find a book with illustrations in it

This one has illustrations and is also a really cute story:

10 book with illustrations

Find a book with gold lettering

Another one from my to-read shelf.

11 gold lettering

Find a diary (true or fictional)

As soon as I saw the word diary I knew which book I was going to grab for this one:

12 diary

I got this one from a second-hand book stall at an indoor market (I’ve since learned the stall has closed… noooo!) when I was about 14 and it’s one of my all time favourite books. I wrote about it here.

Find a book written by someone with a common name (like Smith)

I didn’t want to literally go with Smith (although I could have) sooo…

13 common name

I feel like everyone knows a Dan(iel) – if you don’t please don’t shatter my illusions 😉 – and Brown is a pretty common surname.
My grandma gave this to Jan years ago. I have read it but I remember almost nothing about it!

Find a book that has a close up of something on it

14 close up

It’s a close up of a baby dragon hatching. YAY! I’ve read this one. It’s an adorable children’s book.

Find the book on your shelf that takes place in the earliest time period

This takes place in the Stone Age – I don’t think you can get a much earlier setting than that? Certainly not on my shelves!

15 earliest setting

Find a hardcover book without a jacket

This had a dust jacket at one point, but I’ve had it since I was little and I have no idea what happened to it!

16 hardcover no dust jacket

Again, I took a photo of the inside because the naked cover is literally just blue 😉
I really don’t think I need to tell you anything about this book? It’s a classic!

Find a teal/turquoise coloured book

17 turquoise book

I think this is turquoise? The photo looks closer to green, but in person it looks turquoise to me. You’ll just have to take my word for it!

Find a book with stars on it

18 stars on cover

I read this one recently, and wrote about it in my very long Show Us Your Books post.

Find a non YA book

I know it may seem like I read a lot of YA, but actually the majority of my books are for adults so this was really easy. I chose Stephen King because you cannot get much further from YA!

19 non-YA

Again, I have not read this one yet, so don’t ask me what it’s about!

And that’s everything. This was great fun to do! If anyone else decides to do it please let me know (it’s easiest if you have a lot of books!).

Advertisements

Sunshine Blogger Award

Wow, a blog award… I’m pretty sure it’s been literally years since I last did one of these! I was nominated by the lovely Chomeuse with a Chou – if you don’t know her blog definitely go and read it. She’s an amazing writer!

sunshine blogger

The Sunshine Blogger award is given by bloggers to bloggers who inspire positivity and creativity in the blogging community. As always, there are rules.

1. Thank the blogger who nominated you in your blog post and link back to the blog.
Thank you, thank you, thank you! (Link up there ^)

2. Answer 11 questions that the Blogger asked you.
See below.

3. Nominate 11 new bloggers to receive the awards and write them 11 questions.
Also below.

4. List the rules and display the Sunshine blogger award logo in your post on your blog.
Done and done 🙂

  1. Why did you start your blog?
    Short answer: to clear my mind of all my random thoughts (see tagline). Slightly longer answer: My first blog was an MSN space (later MSN Live Space) that came with my e-mail address. I started using it out of curiosity, having no real idea what it was. Later, I used it to blog during my time in Austria, as a way to keep friends in the loop about what was happening over there. I started this blog shortly after I moved back to Germany. I was bored, basically friendless and my boyfriend was busy writing his Diplom (German version a Master’s) thesis, so I started a new blog to keep myself occupied and get my thoughts out of my brain.
  2. What are your favourite things to do (when you aren’t blogging, of course)?
    Read, obviously. If you’ve read even one post on this blog you’ll probably know that 😉 Other than that cross stitch, travel and eat.
  3. If you could only visit one place, where would you go?
    Japan – assuming this means visit one place on holiday and not if you choose anywhere other than “home” you never get to go and see your family ever again 😉
  4. Do you have a favourite post from your blog?
    Ooh, umm.. difficult one. I enjoyed writing this one: https://confuzzledom.wordpress.com/2014/08/25/the-best-or-worst-of-denglish/
  5. What is your favourite book? (If it is far too difficult to choose, who is your favourite author?)
    Do you really think favourite author is any easier than favourite book? Both faaar too difficult! If forced to choose I would say Terry Pratchett (with massive apologies to Stephen King, Joanne Harris, Michael Bond and Agatha Christie!). Book is literally impossible.
  6. What are your goals for your blog?
    I don’t have any really. Just to keep going with it for as long as it makes me happy.
  7. Which three possessions would you grab in the event of fire?
    Nick (my stuffed mouse who I’ve had since I was born – you can see him at the end of this post, although these days he no longer lives in the bed due to a hole that I’m afraid might grow), my passport, and the only photo of my step-mum I own.
  8. Do you live in the town or country where you were born?
    If you’ve read even one word of my blog you should know the answer to that 😉 No, no I don’t.
  9. Do you have any unusual phobias?
    I don’t like ironing because I’m afraid of burning either myself or the clothes. SO pretty much I have a phobia of the iron (as opposed to iron the metal). Is that unusual enough?
  10. Do you speak another language?
    German. Plus the tiniest bit of Spanish.
  11. If you could chat to any person in history (real or literary) who would you choose?
    If we’re talking famous people, Beatrix Potter. Otherwise my Ukrainian great grandmother.

Here are my questions:

  1. What is the best book you’ve read so far in 2018?
  2. If you could have any animal as a pet what would it be? (In this imaginary scenario you have the perfect conditions to keep it happy and healthy and there is no danger of being eaten)
  3. What food could you happily eat every day?
  4. What is your favourite thing about the place you live?
  5. Where were you born?
  6. Are you eating or drinking anything right now?
  7. What is one talent you wish you had?
  8. Do you have a favourite board game?
  9. What is your favourite thing about blogging?
  10. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?
  11. If you won a large sum of money, what’s the first thing you would do?

Now to nominate people. Feel free to not do it and please don’t hate me 😉

Kristen from See You in a Porridge

Shazza from Sunshine and Celandines

Audrey from Life as Louise

Dubliner in Deutschland

Elaine from I Used to Be Indecisive

Beth from Ami in Schwabenland

Heather from Heather goes Deutsch

Jessica from Ever the Crafter

Steven from Sunshine. Whimsy. Tacos.

Lyndsay from Our Girl in Zurich (who is currently away on an adventure in South America, but will hopefully answer my questions on her return after Easter)

Sorry, that’s only ten. Everyone else I can think of us has been nominated already or doesn’t really read my blog. If you made it this far, I hope you enjoyed this little insight into me!

A Photo an Hour: 17 February 2018

Saturday was February’s photo an hour date. I didn’t take part on Twitter because I was in France for most of the day and didn’t want to buy a data package, but I did take photos ready for uploading to a blog post. I had actually forgotten about it until Jan said “don’t forget to take a photo every hour”… at 20 past 11! By then I had missed just over two hours worth of photos! So I decided to wait 10 minutes and make it a photos at half past day, rather than on the hour. As a result, getting up and breakfast are missing and my “day” starts shortly after checking out of the hotel.

11:30 a.m. Just left our hotel in Dijon. The red phonebox (with no phone in it) is a meeting point for tour buses.

12:30 p.m. Rainy Dijon. We had just bought tickets from the Tourist Information office to climb the tower you see in this photo.

1:30 p.m. After a tea/coffee break, we’re back out walking in the rain.

2:30 p.m. Our tower tickets were for 2 p.m. At this stage we were at the bottom of the tower waiting for the guide to open the door and let us out.

3:30 p.m. At the museum of Fine Arts, formerly the Ducal Palace.

4:30 p.m. Another museum! This time The Museum of Burgundian Life.

5:30 p.m. All museumed out, we headed to a nearby bar.

6:30 p.m. Still at the bar. There were lots of these drawings on the wall.

7:30 p.m. After collecting the suitcase from the hotel, we picked up some food for the train journey home.

8:30 p.m. On the train reading Anna Karenina.

9:30 p.m. Back in Basel and on the train home – Dijon is only just under 1.5 hours away!

10:30 p.m. So happy to be all snuggly in my PJs!

That was the last photo I took – I did read for a little afterwards, but I was snuggled up with the lights out long before it would have been time to take the next photo.

As always, Photo an Hour was hosted by Louisa and Jane.
What did you get up to on Saturday?

What I read in January 2018

Hello! I’m back again for another round of Show Us Your Books with Steph and Jana… very late to the party given the link up was on Tuesday when I was on a train for two hours then in the office then back on a train for another two hours. No time for blogging! But I am here now and I want to talk about reading.

After only finishing 4 books in December, I did really well in January managing to complete the first round of Erin’s book challenge in 20 days. That’s 10 books read from 1st to 20th January, leaving me with another 11 days for non-challenge reading. So let’s take a look at my January books.

Challenge books first, then the rest. Apologies in advance – this is going to get long!

show-us-your-books-2016-300by300

The Lost Twin (Scarlet and Ivy book 1) by Sophie Cleverley (288 pages, read for: book with a mostly red cover). I absolutely adored this book. It’s both a boarding school book and a mystery, and it features twins, three things I’ve always loved in a book. Where were all the books like this when I was 10? The basic story is that 11-year-old Ivy is “invited” (i.e. forced) to a prestigious boarding school to take the place of her sister, Scarlet, who has disappeared. Once there, she finds a series of clues planted by Scarlet, which she follows in attempt to get her twin back. I loved Ivy and her room mate/best friend Ariadne, I loved the mystery… basically I loved everything about this book. Five stars and highly recommended!

A Parcel for Anna Browne by Miranda Dickinson (528 pages, read for: book with a character name in the title). The basic idea of this book is that the titular Anna Browne starts receiving mysterious packages at work, each of which makes her feel special and encourages her to come out of the shadows and change her life for the better. Most of her friends find it creepy, but Anna thinks it’s nice. Eventually she decides she does want to know who is sending the packages, so she can at least say thank you. Sounds like a fun story, right? I really wanted to love this one. I mean, mysterious packages – it sounds so intriguing! But somehow I just couldn’t get into this one the way I wanted to. Anna is a perfectly nice character, but that’s all she is… just nice. Almost too nice at times. And bland. Except when she’s getting weirdly possessive about her parcels and refusing to open them until she’s own her own. “It’s my gift… why should anybody else get the pleasure of seeing me open it“. My precioussss! When the reveal finally came I was disappointed – it just didn’t make sense to me! (Although I can’t say why without spoiling it). There is also a romance that I just didn’t get at all. They just don’t seem to have anything in common. I gave it three stars because it’s a perfectly nice story, but nothing more than that.

Local Girl Missing by Claire Douglas (368 pages, read for: a book that starts with L). This one is difficult to review. It’s basically the story  of a woman – Francesca or Frankie, whose best friend disappeared, presumed drowned twenty years ago. When human remains are found, Frankie returns to the village she grew up in to face her past. It should have been precisely the kind of thriller I love, but somehow it wasn’t. I enjoyed it, but it didn’t keep me wanting to read it when I should have been doing something else. It’s rare that I can easily put a book down because it’s time to sleep! I didn’t guess what happened, but a lot of people did so I guess I’m slow. There is a rape scene, so be aware of that if that is likely to upset you. I gave this one 3 stars.

Mosquitoland by David Arnold (352 pages, read for: a book that takes place (mostly) on a form of transport). After two mediocre books, this one was a breath of fresh air. I LOVED it! When Mim Malone’s parents divorce, she is forced to move from Ohio to Mississippi with her dad and new stepmother. A conversation she overhears leads her to believe her mother needs her, she sets off on a Greyhound bus, meeting a whole bunch of quirky characters along the way. Mim obviously has issues and is entirely unreliable as a narrator, but I still found myself adoring her and rooting for her all the way. I gave this book 5 stars, although in the interests of honesty I should point out that that may have been a reaction to how “meh” I found the previous books. To an extent, my ratings are always dependent on my current mood though, so it’s really nothing new.

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro (282 pages, read for: a book from a specific list of books with twists). Okay, first of all I have to say I have no idea why this book was on the list it was on. There wasn’t really a twist, as such. While it’s not immediately obvious what’s going on, the knowledge is imparted gradually throughout the book starting from very early on. Anyway, it’s really hard to review this book without spoiling it. You really need to go in not knowing what’s going on. It’s creepy and dystopian and raises interesting questions about people’s willingness to go along with things. And that’s all I’m saying. Just read it. 5 stars.

We Never Asked for Wings by Vanessa Diffenbaugh (336 pages, read as my freebie). This book has a bit of everything… teenage pregnancy, illegal immigration, first love, a woman who has no idea how to be a parent but is trying her best. But despite all that it somehow didn’t seem too full – all the various issues just seemed to make sense as part of the whole story. Maybe also because – to me at least – it also didn’t seem that deep. It was relatively easy to read despite dealing with some really heavy issues. That spoiled it a bit for me – with all that going on I would have expected to have loads of thoughts about all these issues, but instead I just breezed through it. Which sounds like it should be a compliment, so maybe this is just me being weird? Anyway, Vanessa Diffenbaugh is an amazing writer and I can’t wait to read more from her. I gave this one 4 stars.

The House at the Edge of the World by Julia Rochester (272 pages, read for: a book with “house” or “home” in the title). I didn’t even manage to write a review for this one on GoodReads because I honestly didn’t know what to say! It’s… weird. A family drama with possibly the strangest set of twins I’ve ever encountered in literature. The book opens with the twins’ father dying by falling off a cliff he’d been living next to all his life… maybe you would be a bit strange after that, but from the back story it seems like they were always strange. And not just because they were weirdly close. The writing is good but the characters are all equally unlikeable… except maybe the grandfather. I can’t really describe it better than this, so all I can say is if you’re intrigued maybe give it a try? 3 stars.

Das Mohnblütenjahr by Corina Bomann (528 pages, read for: a book originally written in a language that is not your own). As you can see, I’m a show-off so I actually read the book in the original language that is not my own 😉 Other books by this author have been translated into English but apparently not this one. This is a story that takes place in two time periods. In the present, we have Nicole, who is pregnant and has just found out her baby has a probably genetic heart problem. Nicole never met her father and knows nothing about him, but when the doctor asks her to find out about possible heart problems in his family she finally persuades her mother to talk. Then we have Nicole’s mother’s story, which takes us through her childhood to the year she spent teaching in France, where she met the man who was to become Nicole’s father. I enjoyed the past story more, partly because I just didn’t like Nicole that much, but also because it was more interesting. I got through this one relatively quickly, mostly thanks to having to go into the office which meant four hours on trains. It’s not a bad book, but I much preferred Die Schmetterlingsinsel – the only other book I’ve read by this author. By the way, that one has been translated, under the title Butterfly Island. Anyway, I gave this one 4 stars.

After the Fear by Rosanne Rivers (314 pages, read for: a book whose author’s first and last name start with the same letter). This is a dystopian novel set in a Great Britain of the future. Basically, the country has managed to get into loads of debt with other countries and the citizens all have to help pay it back, either by paying to go to “demonstrations” or by being involved in “demonstrations”. Said demonstrations are basically fights to the death between “demonstrators” and criminals. It seems like anyone can be chosen as a demonstrator (some were really young), and of course our heroine, Sola, ends up being chosen. The story itself is quite interesting. I was intrigued by the idea of this society and would have liked to find out more about ordinary life for the citizens. However, the writing isn’t great – if I saw the word “which” one more time I swear I would have started taking red pen to it! Half the time they should have been replaced with “that”, but in some instances there just didn’t need to be anything there at all. Aaah! Where was the editor? Of course, there’s a mean girl who seems almost too mean. Like a caricature of meanness. Even after nearly dying she’s still showing no emotion and trying to manipulate people?And this is a girl in high school – not some super villain! And there’s a romance, but it is kind of intregal to the plot so I’ll let it go. Lots of people compared this one to The Hunger Games. I haven’t read it, so I wouldn’t know. What the demonstrations really reminded me of was the gladiator fights of Roman times. Anywaaay, time to wrap this up. It was good enough to pass the time but I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it. There are better dystopian YA novels. 3 stars.

Send Me a Sign by Tiffany Schmidt (400 pages, read for: a book with a character who has a debilitating physical illness). The illness is leukaemia. So yes, this is a teen cancer book. Given the subject matter, it feels kind of wrong to say I enjoyed this book. When Mia is diagnosed with leukaemia, she doesn’t want anyone to know. She somehow thinks she can go through the treatment, beat it, and get on with her life. But obviously it can’t work like that. In real life, I probably would have hated Mia – cheerleader, popular student with her very own “clique”. But I actually really felt for book Mia. I wanted to shake her at times, then I felt sorry for her, then I cried. There is a love triangle going on, but for once I didn’t mind it. Both boys had their flaws, but it wasn’t just a case of “amazing just-a-friend guy who she should clearly be with” vs. “bad boy who is actually really not good for anyone but of course our main character believes she can change him”. Ryan, the popular “hot jock” really did seem to care for Mia and one thing I loved was a scene where Ryan and Mia are making out in his bedroom and he keeps asking if things are okay, then when she tenses up/hesitates he notices and stops what he was doing. This should not even be a thing that deserves special mention, but sadly it is. So yeah. I’m in the minority here, but I liked this so much more than The Fault in Our Stars.  Not a full 5 stars but very readable.

And that brings us to the end of my challenge reading. Now on to the other books I read in January. Sorry – I did say it was going to be long!

The Whispers in the Walls by Sophie Cleverly (Scarlet and Ivy Book 2). In this book, the twins return to Rookwood School where there is once again a mystery to solve. This time the terrifying headmaster seems to be involved. I didn’t enjoy this book as much as the first one – possibly because it was written from alternating points of view and I just wasn’t a fan of Scarlet. I loved Ivy in the first one and I wish she had continued to be the narrator this time round. Every time it switched to Scarlet’s point of view I wanted to shake her. She comes across as such a selfish, spoiled brat! That’s not to say I didn’t like the book though – I just didn’t love and adore it like the first one. I’ve since read book 3 and have book 4 waiting for me. YAY! 4 stars for this one. Also, I have to mention the dedicatione:

In Memory of Sir Terry Pratchett
“Do you not know that a man is not dead while his name is still spoken?”

*Sniffle*. Now I miss Terry Pratchett all over again!
By the way, I had to re-buy this book because the cover of the copy I originally got didn’t the rest of the series. Tragedy! So if anyone wants to start reading these books let me know and I’ll send this one to you. I’m afraid you’ll have to get hold of book 1 yourself though.

The Queen’s Nose by Dick King-Smith. I remember watching this TV series when I was about 12, but I had never read the book. I recognised some things from the TV show, but I feel like screen Harmony was older than book Harmony? She’s 10 in this but I seem to remember the girls being about 13 and 16? Anyway, this is a cute little book about a magic 50p coin that grants wishes. It’s set in 1983 and references cables, but other than that and mentions of Harmony being born in 1973 it doesn’t feel too dated to me. Maybe it’s a little slower than modern books? I still think children aged 8-10 year will enjoy it anyway. 4 stars.

Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt. This story is narrated by 12-year-old Jack, whose family is fostering 14-year-old Joseph. Before Joseph arrives, all Jack knows about him is he has a daughter and he’s just been released from a young offenders’ institute. So it’s about teen parenthood, but it’s also about so much more than that – friendship, love and about not judging a person without getting to know them first. And it’s about cows… I loved the cows! (Jack’s family live on a farm). My main issue with the book is that the ending seemed rushed. I felt like I was just getting to know Joseph then BAM… The End! I gave it 3.5 stars, so 4 on Goodreads because I like to round up.

The Witch of Demon Rock by Gabrielle Kent (Alfie Bloom book 3). I am still really enjoying this series. At the start I wasn’t sure whether I was going to enjoy it as much as the previous two, but then I ended up staying up until 1am to finish it sooo… 😉
My favourite thing about these books is still the friendships. Alfie and his cousins/friend are a real team even if they bicker occasionally. I also like that the parents (or in Alfie’s case his dad) are present and the adults are all actually responsible! In this one the children go back in time to visit someone (sounds odd – you have to read it!) and before they do the person they’re visiting insists on meeting with Alfie’s dad and arranging things possible. The dad in turn insists that an adult (the butler) go with them. Of course, the children do end up dealing with things on their own throughout the series, but there’s always a reason the adults aren’t around. I’m really interested to see where the series will go now that what seems to be the main adversary has been dealt with.

Elen’s Island by Eloise Williams. The basic story: When Elen’s parents go abroad, she’s sent to stay with her grumpy granny on a Welsh island. Elen and a new friend she meets there become convinced there’s treasure on the island and set out to find it. This is very much a book for younger readers. It says age 7-9 but I think at 9 I might have found it a little boring. That may just be me though – I was reading Agatha Christie at 10. As an adult I could see the charm in this sweet little book. 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4.

On the Road by Jack Kerouac. I got to the end of this book and my first thought was “what on Earth did I just read?!”. It doesn’t really have a plot as such – it’s just a bunch of guys travelling across the US time and again, getting drunk and high and having lots of sex. Surprisingly, I didn’t hate it, although I didn’t really like it either. None of the characters are particularly likeable and the way women are treated in the book is awful (and don’t try to tell me it’s a product of its time!). How enough people chose it as their favourite book for it to end up on the BBC Big Read list is beyond me! I won’t be reading it again, so if anyone wants it let me know and I’ll post it out to you. 2 stars.

On the Road was my final January read – I actually finished it on the train home from Germany on 31st January so it only just made it into this post! Sooo that’s 16 book reviews in this post. Phew!

Oh, and if anyone’s still wondering how I read so many books, I don’t usually include page numbers other than for challenges (to prove the books were long enough), but just so you know The Queen’s Nose has 150 pages (and large font), Orbiting Jupiter is 183 pages and Elen’s Island is 153 pages (and again large font). So other than being anti-social and spending Saturday afternoons reading, my tip is: read short books that are actually meant for 8 year olds 😉

If you’ve read any of these books let me know what you thought. Do you agree with my opinions? Or just tell me something good you’ve read recently. And of course check out the link up to see what everyone else has been reading.

35 before 35: Progress report #8

I would have liked to do this yesterday, when it was exactly 6 months until my birthday and thus the end of the challenge. But I was in the office yesterday so by the time I was back in Switzerland and had eaten there was no way I was switching the computer back on! So today it is. My last progress report was seven months ago. Let’s see what I’ve achieved since then…

Number 6: Travel round Britain again

Technically we only spent time in England and Scotland and it wasn’t a round trip (we flew into Gatwick and left from Edinburgh), but we spent two weeks travelling within Great Britain so I’m counting it as completed in August 2017.

Number 13:  Read (or re-read) 50 non-fiction books

Last time I was up to 19… now I am on 20 (and the time before it was 18). This does not bode well! I read The Naming of the Shrew by John Wright. There’s a short review here.

Number 15: Read 30 books in German

Last time I was up to 24, now I’m on 27. So three read. The three were Toten Stille by Daniela Arnold (fairly meh), Mein Leben, mal eben by Nikola Huppertz (really enjoyed it), and Das Mohnblütenjahr by Corina Bomann (good, but not as good as the other book I’ve read by her). And now I have another three to go – should be doable.

Number 18: Bake ten different kinds of biscuits

It’s been a while since I’ve baked biscuits. Last time I didn’t even mention this category! The time before I had been on 7, and now it’s 8. I recently baked coffee shortbread. (I actually baked chocolate brownie biscuits at Christmas, but I’ve done them before so they don’t count).

coffee shortbread2

Number 21: Read all the books from the BBC Big Read that I hadn’t before starting this challenge

Last time I was up to 56 and now I’ve made it to 63! That leaves another 69 to read in 6 months. Hmm. I’m not going to mention you all the ones I’ve read since last July in this post, but you can find the entire list here. I will say I read the last one, Jonathan Livingstone Seagull, yesterday while waiting for my train home and it’s possibly the weirdest book I’ve ever read!

And that’s everything this time. Only one challenge actually completed, but a bit of progress made on some others.

19 items remain incomplete. Some I can finish fairly easily, others will not be happening. I may try to check in one more time before August, but I’m not promising anything. This may well end up being my final progress report. And now to try and complete as many things as I can before August… Wish me luck!

Friday letters

Hello friends! (I hope none of you mind being called friends?). It’s finally Friday and I haven’t done Friday letters for a while, so I thought I would today. Here goes.

Friday letters

Dear Switzerland. A recent blog post by Kezzie and a slightly less recent one by Hazel have reminded my once again of how badly you need to up your recycling game. After being able to place basically all packaging in the recyclables bin in Germany I find it so frustrating to have to throw so much into the ordinary household waste here (and yes, I take my plastic bottles back to the supermarket but they won’t accept yoghurt pots or toothpaste tubes, for instance). Even Britain has recycling bins. Sort it out, Switzerland!

Dear unread books. I recently rearranged my shelves so that most of you are together and I hadn’t realised quite how many of you I own! I really need to start reading books I own before buying more…

unread books
I actually have more unread books than this, but I couldn’t fit any more on these shelves. Also, I excluded classics & non-fiction entirely since they have specific sections on my bookcases.

Dear water. Why is it so difficult to remember to drink enough of you? Must try harder!

Dear Basel cinemas. Why aren’t you showing the new Jumanji film in English? Just because it’s aimed at children doesn’t mean nobody wants to see it in the original language – do you know how many English-speaking children there are in the region?

Dear weekend. I’m glad you’re almost here. I’ve been very tired this week and I’m looking forward to a lie in!

Dear boyfriend. Thank you for sorting out the dishwasher and not complaining (often) when I fail to put away my lunch dishes.

That’s all for today folks. Happy Friday, wherever you are.

The Guilty Reader Book Tag

bookshelf

Hello everyone! So, I wasn’t even tagged for this – I just randomly found it on the Internet. I thought it looked fun though, so I just decided to do it anyway. The original came from YouTube (or Booktube as the cool people apparently call YouTube channels that talk about books). I wanted to link it, but as soon as I opened YouTube it totally froze my Internet browser so you’ll just have to look it up for yourselves. The channel is called A Dash of Ash.

Anyway, the idea of this tag seems to be to answer questions about habits that some people I suppose would consider “bad”, hence the guilty thing.
Here goes:

Have you ever re-gifted a book you’ve been given?

Only if giving them away to charity shops counts? I don’t think I’ve ever literally wrapped a book up as a gift that was originally given to me as a gift and passed it on to someone else. I maaay have carefully read a book I was planning on giving to someone before actually wrapping it though 😉

Have you ever said you’ve read a book when you haven’t?

Nope. Even in school I was a little swot and genuinely read all our assigned books 😉 I even read all of Faserland for my German culture class at university and I hated that book! Luckily it’s relatively short.

Have you ever  borrowed a book and not returned it?

Umm, I accidentally kept a book I borrowed from the school I was at before I moved to live with my dad. I had already moved when I realised I still had it. I also still have a Linwood Barclay book on my shelf that technically belongs to my mother. Ahem.

Have you ever read a series out of order?

I do this all the time with crime/thriller series! With those kinds of books it’s usually the current case that’s important anyway so you can get away with it. Only occasionally are the gaps in the detective’s back story an issue. Oh, and going back to my childhood I definitely read The Babysitter’s Club out of order! I only actually owned a few and for the rest had to rely on whichever ones the local library happened to have, but it was okay because they always explain everything at the start of the book ;-). The same thing happened with the Chalet School books actually – the first one I read originally belonged to one of my aunts and it definitely wasn’t the first one. But again it wasn’t sooo important. On odd occasions a Chalet School book continued a story from the previous book, but mostly they were fairly self-contained. I still haven’t read all the books in the series because they’re mostly out of print and I’ve never managed to find the missing ones in second hand shops.

Chalet school books

Have you ever spoiled a book for someone?

I don’t think so? I might have told Jan how a book ends, but it’s not really spoiling when he’s never going to read that book anyway! I would never do it for one he might actually be interested in.

Have you ever dog-eared a book?

I did when I was younger – a lot of my childhood books have folded over corners. Apparently bookmarks were not a thing in my world? I would never treat a book that badly now though! However, I do use random things to mark my page… receipts, envelopes, other books. You wouldn’t think I actually own about 30 bookmarks!

Have you ever told someone you don’t own a book when you do?

No. Not on purpose anyway. I suppose it’s possible that I haven’t remembered I own a book when somebody asked. Not that many people ask about books I own.

Interestingly the answers to this seem to be divided into people thinking you would deny owning a book because you’re ashamed of it and those who say they’ve denied having a book to get out of lending it to someone.

Have you ever told someone you haven’t read a book when you have?

No. If I’ve read a book I have no problem admitting to it – even if that book were 50 Shades of Grey (which I genuinely have not read by the way. And I have no interest in it either).

Have you ever skipped a chapter or a section of a book?

No. I may have skim read some of the books we were assigned in school, but I never skipped whole sections. Not in fiction books anyway – I probably skipped whole sections of text books back in the day.

Have you ever bad mouthed a book you actually liked?

No. Why would I do that? If I like a book I don’t care who knows that I liked it… even if nobody else on the planet seems to enjoy it. Conversely, I ave no problem telling people I don’t like popular books (I’m looking at you Wuthering Heights and The Catcher in the Rye!). What’s the point in pretending?

Since I wasn’t actually tagged for this I’m not sure whether it’s fair for me to tag other people, but if you feel like doing it please let me know so I can come and have a nose at your answers. Or if you’ve already done it post a link in the comments. Alternatively, you can just answer one or two questions in the comments if you prefer.