Paris in July ideas

Tamara at Thyme for Tea has a post up about Paris in July asking people to suggest books, films etc. for the Paris in July participants.

This is quite hard actually. I looked through my Goodreads list of books for French themes or authors and must admit there are not many.

So, my list of suggestions for French themed literature or movies is short…


  • At the moment (as I am on a Hemingway roll) I am reading !A moveable feast” about Hemingway’s time in Paris as a young and unknown writer. It definitely has a lot of French flair.

Other books I very much enjoyed are

  • “Dangerous Liaisons” by Choderlos de Laclos. It is a novel in letters, you will probably know it from its film adaptation with John Malkovich and Glenn Close. I highly recommend it.
  • A very good book by a German author with lots of French atmosphere is “Perfume” by Patrick Süskind. If you have seen the film, I have to tell you, the book is much, much better.
  • If you like poetry you might want to give “The Flowers of Evil” by Charles Baudelaire a try.
  • The book I want to read in July is “Zwei Liebende” (Amants) by Catherine Guillebaud. I am not sure I will like it, the reviews are pretty divided. It is the story of a couple, both are married, but not to each other.



  • A good film which couldn’t be anything but French would be “Betty Blue”. That, by the way, would also be a good read. The novel the movie was made after is by Philippe Djian.
  • Then, I highly recommend “Queen Margot” (La reine Margot), a great film about the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre in 1572 and the events leading up to it.
  • I want to watch a film called “Sie sind ein schoener Mann” (Je vous trouve très beau) by Isabelle Mergaut. It is a comedy about a farmer who goes to Bucharest to look for a new, young, strong wife to help him out on his farm after his wife dies. It is supposed to be very funny.
  • And then there is the trilogy: Three Colours: Blue, Three Colours: White, Three Colours: Red. All three by Krysztof  Kieslowski. They are supposed to be very good.


A moveable feastliaisons perfume2zwei_liebende_cover


bettyblue reinemargot jevoustrouve

blue white red


There you go, this is as far as I have thought ahead. Have you got any recommendations for reading, watching or food wise? I would like to try some French cooking, but haven’t had a chance to look around yet. Have you got a favourite French dish? If so, let me know!


The sun also rises by Ernest Hemingway


The quintessential novel of the Lost Generation, The Sun Also Rises is one of Ernest Hemingway’s masterpieces and a classic example of his spare but powerful writing style. A poignant look at the disillusionment and angst of the post-World War I generation, the novel introduces two of Hemingway’s most unforgettable characters: Jake Barnes and Lady Brett Ashley. The story follows the flamboyant Brett and the hapless Jake as they journey from the wild nightlife of 1920s Paris to the brutal bullfighting rings of Spain with a motley group of expatriates. It is an age of moral bankruptcy, spiritual dissolution, unrealized love, and vanishing illusions. First published in 1926, The Sun Also Rises helped to establish Hemingway as one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century

My thoughts: 

This was my first book by Ernest Hemingway and it made me a fan of his right away. Usually I don’t like books where I cannot relate to the main female character, but that fact didn’t bother me here at all. Instead I revelled in my dislike for Brett throughout the story. What a manipulative bitch! And everything she did was done with an innocent “I can’t help it, I am little woman” touch, I hated that! She loves Jake oh so much, but can’t be together with him (I never understood that conflict in the first place. If she loved him so much she COULD have been with him). So she decides to marry Mike. Poor Mike! But Mike is not here to satisfy her, so she decides to go for a little fling with Robert Cohn, just that the love struck Robert doesn’t recognize her for what she is and takes the affair way too seriously.

I liked how all the threads of this quadrangle – if you can call it a quadrangle – come together in Pamplona in the heat of summer and the excitement of the fiesta. There the young and pretty Pedro Romero, a bullfighter, comes into play when he is the next to fall under Brett’s dubious spell. And when she gets into trouble who does she call to get her out of it? And Jake, the fool, goes and rescues her once more, instead of leaving her to rot in the hotel room in Madrid!

So, you see, the plot gave me a lot to be angry about, but in such a satisfying way that I loved it.

Even the descriptions of the bullfights, something I hate, added to the atmosphere and made this even better. I could picture myself sitting in one of the street cafes, I could feel the excitement and the building tension in the little group. A fantastic read!

There is also a movie adaptation from 1957 that I would like to mention. I can’t recommend it 100%  as it was quite melodramatic with Brett continuously declaring her desperate love for Jake and a rather awful cast. Ava Gardner as Brett and Tyrone Power as Jake are about as wrong as you can get (don’t ask me who would be right, though. I have no idea!) The only actor who fit in my eyes was Mel Ferrer as Robert Cohn. I always found Mel Ferrer quite creepy and that becomes the character Robert quite a bit.

However, if you like movie adaptations it is worth a try.


Title The sun also rises
Author Ernest Hemingway
Publisher Scribner
ISBN 9780743297332
Buy link Buy The Sun Also Rises

In my mailbox

Hosted by The Story Siren


  • A book in German about calligraphy.
  • “Amants” by Catherine Guillebaud. I got it in German, its translated title is “Zwei Liebende” (Two lovers). I’m going to read this for Paris in July.


  • “Men without women” by Ernest Hemingway
  • “Across the river and into the trees” by Ernest Hemingway

zwei_liebende_cover men_without_women_cover across_the_river_cover


What was in YOUR mailbox recently?  Check out other In my mailbox participants here.


Weekend Cooking: Zucchini Bread

Judith’s last weekend cooking post about carrot cake reminded me of a delicious vegetable cake I discovered a number of years ago.

The recipe was in an issue of Papercrafts magazine, in an article about foodie gifts and their decorative wrapping. It was interspersed with a few recipes, one of them was by Stacy Croninger for a “Zucchini Bread”. It sounded very nice – and easy, so I gave it a try right away and have made it ever since.


Zucchini Bread

Ingredients (for 2 loaf pans)

  • 3-4 eggs
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 1 cup oil
  • 2 cups finely grated zucchini
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla sugar

Mix eggs, sugar, oil and zucchini well. Add additional ingredients and mix well again. Fill into the loaf pans. Bake at 150C for about one hour!

That’s it! Enjoy!


Weekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads

Zucchini image by graibeard @flickr


Book beginnings on Friday


A moveable feast


I only started reading “A moveable feast” by Ernest Hemingway today, but already I like it. I liked it from the first sentence. In “A moveable feast” he tells us about the time when he lived in Paris in the 1920. This is how he begins it…

Then there was the bad weather.

The more I read by him the bigger a fan I become.


Thursday 13: Quotes about tattoos


I felt like looking around for quotes about tattoos today. My selection:

  • I always look for a woman who has a tattoo.  I see a woman with a tattoo, and I’m thinking, okay, here’s a gal who’s capable of making a decision she’ll regret in the future.  ~Richard Jeni
  • Beauty is skin deep.  A tattoo goes all the way to the bone.  ~Vince Hemingson
  • The universality of tattooing is a curious subject for speculation.  ~James Cook, 1779
  • Not one great country can be named, from the polar regions in the north to New Zealand in the south, in which the aborigines do not tattoo themselves.  ~Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man
  • A man without tattoos is invisible to the Gods. ~Iban Proverb
  • It’s a good thing they hurt, otherwise every pussy in the world would have one. ~Jack Rudy
  • The only difference between a tattooed person and a person who isn’t tattooed is that a tattooed person doesn’t care if you’re tattooed or not. ~Sign often seen in tattoo shops
  • Reason #7 For Not Getting a Tattoo: People will know you are running your own life, instead of listening to them! ~ Sailor Jerry Collins, tattoo artist
  • Every officer in the British army should be tattooed with his regimental crest. Not only does this encourage esprit de corps but also assists in the identification of casualties. ~Field Marshal Earl Roberts
  • Tattooing is about personalizing the body, making it a true home and fit temple for the spirit that dwells inside it. ~Michelle Delio
  • Getting a tattoo should hurt. It’s a rite of passage. ~Jenna Jameson
  • A tattoo is an affirmation: that this body is yours to have and to enjoy while you’re here. Nobody else can control what you do with it. ~Don Ed Hardy

And the last word goes to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe…

  • Painting and tattooing the body is a return to animalism.


To see what other Thursday 13ers write about today, visit Thursday 13.


Image of tattoo arts festival in Pattaya, Thailand by Binder.donedat at flickr


Blogfest 2011

The summer events are now all coming to the fore. The next one to sign up for is Blogfest 2011.

I participated last year and it was a huge success. It is a huge blog hop with lots of giveaways and tons of new blogs to learn more about. This year it is taking place from July 15 to 17.

If you want to know more about it and / or sign up for it go to A Journey of Books.


My reading list for May


I know I am a tiny bit late this month…

In April I

Not much luck with my One, Two, Theme challenge in April…

For this month I am planning to

  • finish “The Garden of Eden”
  • read “The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street” by Helene Hanff
  • continue reading “The Forest House” by Marion Zimmer Bradley” for the One, Two, Theme challenge

Those goals should be easy to reach. Especially since I am not committing to finishing the MZB book. As a matter of fact I’m not sure if I will finish it at all. So far it doesn’t really hold my attention.


Paris in July

Last year I saw a lot of posts with a “Paris in July” tag to them, but never investigated further.

Yesterday, at Sabrina’s blog “Thinking about loud”, I saw her starting post about this event which will take place again this year.

Paris in July will run from the 1st – 31st July 2011 and the aim of the month is to celebrate our French experiences through reading, watching, listening to, observing, cooking and eating all things French.

I haven’t read a lot of French books or seen French films or cooked French dishes, so I thought this might be a good incentive to do so and a nice idea (plus, I loved the button with the bicycle).

I already have a few plans as to what to read and watch etc. but more about this later when the time has come.

If you are interested in joining, hop on over to Book Bath to read more.



Literary Giveaway Blog Hop

Judith from Leeswammes’ Blog is hosting another Literary Giveaway Blog Hop in June. I participated in the first one which took place in February, and it was a big success. I haven’t quite decided yet whether to participate as I am already signed up for the UK & EU Summer Hop in August.

However, if you would like to give your blog a boost and at the same time give a favourite book to someone else, Judith’s event is the right thing for you. Hop on over to her blog and get all the information you need.


Book locations: 9 reasons why our library sucks

Since quite a few people were impressed with the pictures of our library café, I felt it was necessary to bring you all back down to earth with this post. The café might be lovely and the courtyard the nicest bookish hangout you can imagine, however, the library itself sucks.

It is a large library, it serves a city of about 500.000 people and has various branches all over the city with one main library in the center. It also has so-called "book buses" that visit schools on a regular schedule to enable pupils to get books even if their parents don’t take them to the library.

The main library is being renovated at the moment so part of it had to be moved to various nearby buildings, but the transition seems to have gone smoothly and it does not seem to be some improvised arrangement, but it looks as if everything works fine (the renovation will be going on for another year or two, I think).

So, what is not so great about this bookish place?

  • The opening times. The library opens at 11am and closes at 6pm, except for Wednesdays when it doesn’t open at all. Saturdays it is open for 3 hours and Sunday – that goes without saying, because it is the Day of the Lord and we are in God fearing Bavaria – it is closed again. Oh, hold on, wait a minute, on Thursdays it’s open one hour longer, until 7pm. That’s when all the people who have to work for a living might make it there to rush through it.
  • The staff is not really that helpful and/or friendly. There are some people who could actually work in the free economy and succeed, but all in all they are as friendly as Rosa Klebb.
  • It offers no events to speak of. When it does they take place in some suburb branch.
  • The few English books on offer are about two decades old. I am aware it is a German library but you would think that nowadays they would make sure that they are a tiny bit multilingual.
  • The late fees are outrageous.
  • They charged me late fees for one of the boys even though they accumulated because the book bus returned to his school only after the due date.  Is that my fault?
  • At the moment there are two buildings and, of course, various departments, each with their own return desk. If you have three books, let’s say a children’s book, a novel and a non fiction book you have to go to three different return desks in two buildings to return three books.
  • They have about four different cashiers (to pay the late fee), but invariably if you want to pay at a desk they will say “You can pay just about anywhere but not with me.”
  • Their website is boring, bleak and uninformative, apart from the standard info like opening times etc. If you don’t know the library and think, “I’m going to check out their website to see whether it is worth joining” you will undoubtedly decide against becoming a member.

So you think a nice café compensates for that? I don’t.


Bag insert No. 2

I really am into those bag inserts now. If I continue at this pace I will soon have an insert for every color of the rainbow. That quote I just couldn’t resist…:)

Edit: Jesus, I just noticed the spelling error! Someone should have said something! Well, it can be easily corrected and I haven’t had it printed yet.  

Credits: Papers and elements: Jen Wilson (Mud Room), Fonts: Courier New, Excellentia in excelsis, Quote by Ashleigh Brilliant


Book locations: The library café

Our library is being renovated at the moment, however, one part of it is left alone. It used to be an old cloister and the library cafe is situated on the ground floor with view to an inner courtyard.

They serve homemade cakes, snacks and drinks and also offer a large variety of international daily newspapers. A great place to sit, relax and read…


Cafe interior




Courtyard and sculpture


Does your library have a café? What does it look like?


Weekend cooking: Sweet Lasagna

I got this recipe at a Tupperware party. If you like noodles and desserts, the combination of lasagna noodles, peaches, curd cheese (German: Quark – not the same stuff as the cheese curds discussed previously) and cream is definitely worth trying out. It is easy, quick and serves a lot of people.




Sweet Lasagna


  • 3 eggs
  • 75g Sugar
  • 1 pack vanilla sugar
  • 300ml cream
  • 500g curd cheese (Quark)
  • 1 lg. can of peaches (or fresh peaches, but preferably without the skin)
  • lasagna noodles

Cut the peaches up into small chunks, the juice is not needed.

Mix eggs, sugar, vanilla sugar and cream. Add curd cheese. Add the peach chunks.

Layer noodles and the filling in a dish. I always finish with a layer of filling.

Bake in the oven at 175C for about 45 minutes.


Weekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads


Undercover sins by Hayley B. James


Police officer Gabriel Carter refuses to walk away from an assignment without seeing it through. So when he goes into deep cover as a male prostitute named Ty, he intends to do everything in his power to see his case to an arrest. He seduces his mark, Demetrius Prado, the second most powerful man in Las Vegas and a human trafficker, but the man is nothing like he expected.

The more Gabriel learns about Demetrius, the more twists and turns are thrown his way in the convoluted case leading to Demetrius’s rival, Arden, and beyond. It’s a case of mistaken identities and layer after layer of trumped-up cover stories, and Gabriel is sure there’s no way he’ll ever be able to trust Demetrius with his life… much less with his heart.

My thoughts: 

The story starts medias in res when Ty finally gets the chance to get closer to Demetrius. So we don’t know much about either of the protagonists and are being thrown right into the action.

I liked the story and the characters quite a bit, except that Ty’s principles as an undercover agent left quite a bit to be desired. Admittedly he was determined and wouldn’t back down from his mission even when his superior officer told him to pull out, but his motives were a bit dubious.

At the beginning he is determined to bring down Demetrius whom he often calls a monster. However, the hatred he feels for him doesn’t prevent him from falling in lust with Demetrius, and so he gives in to temptation as soon as the opportunity arises. Is this the responsible behaviour of a police officer undercover? OK, his cover is blown right away and he agrees to play yet another game to now bring down Demetrius’ rival, an even worse person called Arden. But his constant oscillating between believing Demetrius’ story and then deciding that he is a liar after all just grated on my nerves. His belief or disbelief in Demetrius was never based on any facts but rather his own unstable emotions.

So the so-called layer of layer of cover stories were actually only two and Ty could not make up his mind which one he should believe.

Also Ty’s constant disgust at the business methods he was witnessing were too much for me. Ok, I got it. Demetrius and Arden are human trafickers (among other things) and their business methods are less than refined. What would you expect? Every “normal” person would be appalled seeing people getting killed or treated like cattle, but Ty is an undercover police officer who should be a.) prepared for that sort of thing and b.) at least able to hide his emotions. He seemed to be neither. This just didn’t ring true and if the intention was to make him more likeable it didn’t work.

For me this was an ok read, but I think I wouldn’t read this story again. 


Title Undercover sins
Author Hayley B. James
Publisher Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 978-1-61581-855-6
Buy link Buy Undercover Sins

Comparing Covers: The mysteries of Udolpho

I found “The mysteries of Udolpho” by Ann Radcliffe on my German swap site recently. Its cover was quite surprising as it reminds me rather of a 1950s detective story than a Gothic novel from the 18th century.

The mysteries of Udolpho

So it was time for another cover compare. These are the other English covers I found, but I am sure there are many, many more:

udolpho1 udolpho2 udolpho3

udolpho4 udolpho5 udolpho6

Then there is a French and an Italian cover.

udolpho_fr udolpho_it


My favourites would be the first English cover in the second row. I like Caspar David Friedrich’s paintings, especially this one which is called “Kreidefelsen auf Rügen”. I also like the Italian cover, I just can’t resist pink!

Strangely enough there doesn’t seem to be any German version. A translation was published in 1795 called “Udolphos Geheimnisse” (a literal translation), but there is no new edition, no cover to be found, no nothing. Either there are not many German Gothic fans or they all ask for the original.

Which cover do you like best?

If you are now interested in reading this, The Mysteries of Udolpho is available as a free e-book at Project Gutenberg. Enjoy!


In my mailbox

Hosted by The Story Siren


  • “The Mysteries of Udolpho” by Ann Radcliffe.
    I got this for the Gothic Reading Challenge. It has the most astonishing cover. I would have preferred a more romantic gothic looking one, but instead what was available was a greenish illustration with a swirl and a person sucked in. It looks like a mystery from the 50s. Interesting!
  • “A moveable feast” by Ernest Hemingway. I am on a roll now.


udolphoA moveable feast


What was in YOUR mailbox recently?  Check out other In my mailbox participants here.


Bookcrossing at Thalia

bookcrossing The German book store chain Thalia is now getting involved in bookcrossing. All through May the shops are releasing books.

Here is a list of books that are being released. Maybe this will give bookcrossing a boost in Germany. Even though there are German sites out there promoting it, it doesn’t seem to attract a lot of attention. More info on bookcrossing in German can be found at