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Weekly Geeks 2011-6: Love is in the Air

This week’s Weekly Geeks:

On Monday it’s Valentines Day here in the US, which means love is in the air! Many of us have been talking about love all month, but I thought it would make a perfect Weekly Geek-ish type assignment to suggest a post that included anything about love that moves you.
Some ideas:
– favorite love stories.
– favorite romantic movie.
– favorite love songs.
– favorite romantic get away.
– a personal loves story you’d like to share.
– favorite couple in books, movies, TV or real life.
– things you like or don’t like about romance.
– anything love related you can think of!

This is the first Weekly Geeks post in a long time. The topic fits a poem I recently read. I wasn’t familiar with A. E. Housman until some time ago and I quite like this one.. not necessarily romantic, admittedly, but at least it is realistic. Sorry to all the Valentine’s Day lovers.

Oh, when I was in love with you,

Then I was clean and brave,

And miles around the wonder grew

How well did I behave.

 

And now the fancy passes by,

And nothing will remain,

And miles around they’ll say that I

Am quite myself again.

See what other Geeks write about this week at The Weekly Geeks.

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Weekly Geeks 2010-39: Plans for 2011

This week’s Weekly Geeks:

Do you plan on participating in any reading challenges in 2011? Are you planning on hosting any reading challenges? Perhaps you’d like to share an idea for a reading challenge–to see if there is any interest!  Share with us which challenges look tempting to you! (You don’t have to "officially" join any of the challenges for this weekly geek. Just let us know which ones you’d be most interested in.) You might want to spend some time browsing A Novel Challenge. Are there any challenges you are looking forward to that haven’t been announced yet? Regardless of your challenge plans, are you starting to plan ahead for next year? Do you make lists or goals? Are you a person who enjoys reading more if it is structured? Or are you all about being free to read what you want, when you want?

I have already talked abut my reading challenge plans for 2011, but it won’t do any harm having them all together in one post.

For 2011 I am planning to participate in the following three challenges:

That’s it. I will try to stick to my list for the One, Two, Theme Challenge, will read one book for the Gothic Reading challenge and as as many Steampunk books as I like. I don’t tend to stick to lists, so the fewer the better for me.  I am not very structured when it comes to reading, it’s supposed to be fun, not a schedule I have to follow.

To read what other weekly geeks have to say, go to the Weekly Geeks site.

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Comparing covers: Johnny got his gun

The last Weekly Geeks post made me think of this book. At the Geeks site they were talking about “To kill a Mockingbird” and what other books we have read that influenced our views of the world and society. I’ve never read “To kill a Mockingbird”, but the question about influential books immediately made me think of “Johnny got his gun” by Dalton Trumbo.

Johnny Got His Gun is a book everybody should read. It is now as up-to-date as ever, even though it came out at the beginning of WWII and talks about WWI. I read it many years ago and will never read it again. That won’t be necessary anyway because once you read it you will never forget it again. If you don’t know it, I strongly urge you to go and read it. It is horrifying and intense and will leave a huge impact. No summer read for certain!

trumboeng1 trumboeng2

trumbodt1 trumbodt2

I like the two English covers, especially the second one. The two German ones, I’m not sure. The bottom left one is the one on the copy I own so I am used to the image now, but I find it gives away a bit too much.

The German title is ok. It means “Johnny goes to war” so it is just an adaptation of the original one. About the sub-line “Süss und ehrenvoll” (sweet and honourable) – no idea where that came from. Obviously they thought they have to improve the title for some reason. Totally unnecessary in my opinion.

Have you read “Johnny got his gun” and how did you find it?

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Weekly Geeks 2010-25: Name the author – solution

Last week I posted the Author picture quiz for the Weekly Geeks. Today I want to let the cat out of the bag and tell you who the authors were that I showed you.

1. F. Scott Fitzgerald and Thomas Mann.

2. Annie Proulx (that was easy, you just had to look in the sidebar)

3. This is Axel Scheffler, a very popular illustrator of children’s books with a distinctive style.

4. He illustrates a lot of books by Julia Donaldson, who sings in my video her famous Gruffalo song. She and Mr. Scheffler were at Thalia in 2008 and put up a great show. I love her books.

6. Elizabeth von Arnim whose Enchanted April I reviewed recently.

Thanks everybody for posting your answers. Carin from A Little Bookish got them all right. According to her she found all the answers on this blog so she obviously has considerable detecting skills. Congrats, Carin! Since she didn’t enter the giveaway and there was only one commenter who actually DID enter (was it too hard, I wonder), the lucky winner of a book of her choice from my list is Judith.

Congrats, Judith. You said you wanted “The Smoke Thief”. Please tell me your address and I will send it to you as soon as possible.

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Weekly Geeks 2010-25: Author Picture Quiz

This was one of my favorites, so I thought it was time to do it again, especially since I’m sure there are tons of new Geeksters out there that haven’t done it. Anyway, that week, she posted this author meme of sorts. She suggested we post pictures of authors that answer the questions listed below, but without saying who they were. Then Weekly Geek visitors should guess, by leaving a comment, who they think those authors are. So it’s best if you post at the beginning of the week, because at the end of the week you’ll need to post the answers. You can even award prizes to the winning guessers if you want!
Here’s Dewey’s list (and feel free to add to this if you can think of other author picture categories that would be fun):
1. Photos of your favorite author(s).
2. Photo(s) of the author(s) of the book(s) you’re currently reading.
3. Photo(s) of any author(s) you’ve met in person (even very briefly).
4. A Youtube of (an) author(s) you’ve heard speak.
5. Any photo(s) you may have of yourself with an author.
6. A photo of the author of the book you’ve most recently finished.
7. Photos of the hottest author(s)!

I don’t think I’ll have a picture for all categories, but will come up with some. I’ll make a little contest out of this with a (used) book as prize for a random commenter.

1. Photos of your favourite authors. These are two authors I really like, not my favs, but I am having a hard time pinning down favourite authors. So here we go:

favauthor favauthor2

2. Photo of the author of the book I am currently reading.

current

3. Photo(s) of any author(s) you’ve met in person (even very briefly).

This might be a bit hard…not sure. Not so much an author, but artist and illustrator of books.

met
4. A Youtube of (an) author(s) you’ve heard speak (or sing in this case)

I’m not very familiar with uploading videos and don’t want to put it on youtube, since this is my own video I took in 2008. Somehow I couldn’t embed it here, but the URL seems to work, so, please, click the link below for the Quicktime video.

Who is singing here?

6. A photo of the author of the book you’ve most recently finished.

recent

Do you know any of these authors? Please comment and let me know. All commenters can mention which (used) book of the following list they would like to have and The Hat will select a random winner who will get their choice at the end of the week. You don’t have to have any answer correct, but you do need to give it a go! No comments without trying to guess, ok? Open to everybody. In the same post I will name all the authors I’ve shown you here, too.

  • From the Dust Returned by Ray Bradbury
  • Alexander by Valerio Massimo Manfredi
  • A Haunted House by Virginia Woolf
  • Zadig / L’Ingenu by Voltaire
  • Answered Prayers by Truman Capote
  • Demian by Hermann Hesse
  • The Smoke Thief by Shana Abe

Why don’t you join this week’s Weekly Geeks and show us some pictures of your favourite authors?

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Weekly Geeks 2010 – 24: Shiny Book Syndrome

In case you don’t know me, I like to make up medical sounding names for my book obsessions. For example: P.A.B.D.. I’d now like to introduce Shiny Book Syndrome. This is usually accompanied by a book hording problem yet to be named.
So what is Shiny Book Syndrome? It is when a person only wants to read their newest book and leave piles of poor unread books on their shelves to collect dust.
What can you do to alleviate the symptoms?
My first suggestion would be to make a list of all the books you own. I use GoogleDocs. I start by creating a form and then can organize the spreadsheet to see what I have and if I’ve read it yet or not. (For more info on how to do this,
go here).
After you know what you have, I’d suggest jumping in on some reading challenges to motivate you to read the books you already own. Read more…

It’s strange, but it seems I’m an untypical reader – or at least not as avid as the rest of us. I don’t particularly suffer from P.A.B.D., don’t hoard excessively and my wishlist is manageable. And now I realize that the Shiny Book Syndrome isn’t my thing either. Yes, I often do read the new book first and leave the older books on the shelf, but this is simply because I got the new book since it suited my current mood. If I all of a sudden feel like reading that specific book that has been waiting to be read for months, then I’ll read it. I had “Gods behaving badly” next to my bed for a long time and the other day I felt drawn to it and started to read.

To me it’s not about new or old, but totally about my mood and whether a certain book fits in or not.

 

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Weekly Geeks 2010-24: Book trailers

In the last year or two a new entity has arisen in the publishing world “The book trailer”. Apparently every self-respecting book has to have one these days it seems a good time to have a chat about them. Feel free to answer as many (or as few) of the questions as you like

Do you watch book trailer?

If yes, Do you actively seek them out or just watch the ones that get pushed to you in the same way.

If you don’t watch them, why not?

Have you ever read a book based solely on seeing the trailer?

Where do book trailers come on your list of things that influence you with regards to what books to read (friends recommendations, mainstream reviews, bloggers, bookstore promotions, the blurb….)

Do you have a favourite book trailer that you’ll like to share?

What do you like about it?

If you missed out on seeing many book trailers you might want to visit the Moby Awards Website which list the nominees and winners of what is set to become an annual award for the best(and worst) book trailers.

I have never watched a book trailer before, so I thought before voicing an opinion I need to go and have a look at a few.

I went to that Moby Awards Website and watched and was not impressed.

So, my answers would be:

No, I don’t think I’ll watch book trailers in the future.

I don’t watch them because I don’t need to watch a friggin’ FILM in order to know whether I want to buy a BOOK.

No, I have never read a book based on a trailer. Book trailers are at the very bottom of my list of things influencing me in regards to what books to read.

No, no and no to everything.

I don’t see the point of book trailers at all.

Read what the other geeks have to say about this!

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Weekly Geeks 2010-22: Hoarding Behaviour

So this week, I am curious about those gigantic TBR piles which readers tend to accumulate. Please share with us your habits, tendencies or obsessions when it comes to hoarding behavior.

  • Post a photo (or two or three) of your books to-be-read
  • Share your buying or book accumulating habits – how bad of a problem do YOU have?!?!?
  • Do you keep all the books you’ve read, or do you give them away or sell them?
  • Can you walk past a bookstore and not go in? If you go in, do you impulsively purchase?

Don’t let these questions restrict you…tell us all about your hoarding issues, if only to make the rest of us feel better!

I don’t think I have a problem. I know, everybody says that they are alright, but when it comes to hoarding books, I’m good. Sort of. Just a bit erratic and random.

I buy books when I see them and like them, planning to read them soon and then I don’t. On the other hand I buy books and read them right away. It all depends on the book and my mood.

I have no TBR pile, some books are next to my bed, some are on one book shelf, some are on another one. I’m not that organized when it comes to books, I’m afraid. Sometimes I want to read a book and can’t find it. So, maybe I do have a problem after all.

When I see a book store I usually go in. Just to have a look around, not necessarily to buy something.

I used to keep all the books I’ve read, but recently we started to have a severe problem with space. So, now I only keep fiction books I know I might want to re-read again. Others I swap. This month I also started to give away books here on the blog, which I want to keep doing regularly. I have two moving boxes full of books I want to get rid of right now and there are more to come. Somehow though our shelves look just as crowded as they did before. I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me, it seems.

Have a look at what other Weekly Geeks have to say about their hoarding behaviour!

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Weekly Geeks 2010-21: Reassess your blog / Bloggiesta update 2

Two events are happening at the moment: Bloggiesta and Book Blogger Appreciation Week Registration. Both provide an opportunity to reassess your blog and your blogging goals.
If you are participating in either one, great, but even if you are not you can still take part in this week’s Weekly Geeks.
During Bloggiesta participants are asked to take a look at blogging goals. What are your blogging goals? Maybe you did this for the last Bloggiesta, find that post and reevaluate those goals. Have you reached them? Do they no longer apply?

I’m not going to take part in the BBAW, somehow this is all getting too much. September 20-12 will be the Blogfest 2010 I signed up for, so that will be enough to do already.

For Bloggiesta I already did a mini challenge about labels / tags that was hosted on Beth Fish’s blog. Actually that post of Beth’s made me join the Bloggiesta yesterday.

I only recently gave my blog a new look with a new theme, banner and some cleaning up, but I still have some plans what I want to do in the course of the Bloggiesta.

Oh, I need to get going now…

Read what other Weekly Geeks do for the Bloggiesta or BBAW!

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Weekly Geeks: 2010-20 The Wishlist

Is your wishlist as big as your TBR pile? What books are topping your list? Are there any new releases that you are counting down the days for? Share a handful of titles and be sure to share why you want to get your hands on these books! And if another blogger is responsible for that book being on your wishlist, consider sharing a link to their review!

I have several wishlists all over the place and don’t keep track of them very well. I have several amazon wishlists sorted by topic, a wishlist on shelfari and a wishlist at the swap site I get a lot of books from. None of them is complete and I could do with consolidating and updating them.

Also my wishlist is not very long. I tend to buy books I want right away, and I don’t follow series to such an extent that I’m eagerly waiting for the next instalment. So, no books that are yet to be released are on my list.

Apart from some beading books and some that I put on in a half-hearted way, just in case I ever feel like continuing a series (for example “Atlantis Unleashed” by Alyssa Day, which I probably will never get). the following books are on my wishlist:

  • “Date me, baby, one more time” by Stephanie Rowe
    ”Must love dragons” by Stephanie Rowe
    The first two books in a series that sounds funny and somewhat different from other PNR.
  • Shadow Touch” by Marjorie M. Liu, the second book in the Dirk & Steele series
  • Heart of the dragon” by Gina Showalter, first book in the Atlantis series
  • From dead to worse”, Dead and gone” and “Dead in the family” by Charlaine Harris. I’m quite behind in the Sookie Stackhouse series.
  • “Call me by your name” by Andre Aciman
  • At swim, two boys” by Jamie O’Neill. Jane Seville recommends this on her website.
  • Boy meets boy” by David Levithan
  • The book thief” by Markus Zusak
  • By the lake” by John McGahern
  • The Gargoyle” by Andrew Davidson
  • Zwei Liebende” by Catherine Guillebaud. I think the original title is “Amants”, not sure whether there is an English translation available.
  • Tintenherz” by Cornelia Funke (translated title is “Inkheart”)

So, what is on your wish list? To see what other geeks have on theirs go here.

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Weekly Geeks 2010-19: Getting Graphic

I first became aware of the term "graphic novel" a few years ago. I thought it meant novels that are, well, graphic in the sense of violence or sex. (I’m a little slow on the uptake sometimes!) My first introduction to a graphic novel/memoir was Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home. (Some of you may know her as the amazing author of Dykes to Watch Out For in all its iterations.) I was enthralled with Fun Home’s story, the illustrations, the form. Since then I’ve read several more graphic memoirs and some graphic novels. A particular favorite author is Shaun Tan, author of The Arrival, Tales from Outer Suburbia and others.
Do you read graphic novels or memoirs? Who are your favorite authors? Which books do you recommend?
If you haven’t read any, why not?
Some people have the impression that graphic novels are glorified comic books, are unsophisticated or don’t qualify as "serious" literature. What do you think? If you track your book numbers, do you count a graphic novel as a book read?

No, I don’t read graphic novels.

I gave them a try, but found I didn’t like them at all. I tried yaoi; God, that was confusing and so not my thing. I blogged about that here.

My husband reads a lot of graphic novels and told me when the first Anita Blake book “Guilty Pleasures” came out as a graphic novel. Another shot, another failure. I hated the art work, I hated how the images in my head were not like the ones in the book.

I suppose it would be different if it was an original novel and not an adaptation, but as far as I’m concerned the less images in a fiction book, the better.

To see what other weekly Geeks have to say about graphic novels, go here.

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Weekly Geeks 17-2010 P.A.B.D. (Post Amazing Book Depression)

This week’s Weekly Geeks is coming from Tara SG from 25 hour books

P.A.B.D. has plagued me on and off for my entire life. I know many bookworms who are faced with the same problem. Please read on to see if you have PABD and see how you can help yourself or others suffering from this disorder.

So what is P.A.B.D.?
Post Amazing Book Depression – The over-whelming sad feeling one gets after finishing a great book.

Signs of P.A.B.D.

missing characters

* often includes talking about characters in day to day life
——- ex. I wonder what Katsa and Po are doing.
——- ex. Do you think Cat and Bones will get married?
——- ex. If she doesn’t choose Eric, I don’t know how I’ll survive.
* hearing songs that remind you of certain characters/scenes

  • constant rereading of the same book

* extreme cases can lead to the reading of fan-fiction

  • stalking of the author

* constantly checking their blog for updates
* Googling interviews in which the book (or series) are mentioned
* joining multiple fansites

  • lack of interest in other books

* finding yourself staring at your bookshelf and seeing nothing worth reading
* wandering around the bookstore/library picking up and putting back books

How to live with P.A.B.P.

  • Find other books by the same author.

* Is there more in the series?

  • Search for books with similar themes.

* Thanks to the hard work some dedicated book lovers, you can find sites that help you find books similar to those you love.
* Use Amazon to see what others are buying that liked the book.

  • Have a rebound book.

* Keep a favorite book on hand to immerse yourself in.

  • Force a friend to read the book

* This will give you a chance to experience reading the book through someone else.
* You will then have someone to endlessly discuss the book with.

Books Known to Cause PABD
* Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling
* Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
* The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
* Sookie Stackhouse/Southern Vampire Series by Charlaine Harris
* The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Have you had PABD?
What book caused it? How did you deal with it?

I don’t know whether I ever suffered from PABD. I feel strongly about some series and have steadfast opinions about some things, like Bill has nothing on Eric or V is the best brother, but I can live without them.

The other books mentioned above as popular PABD books never held my attention for a long time. The Harry Potter books I can do without. I read them and forgot them. Twilight I gave away after reading and I was glad when  TTTW was over because it was such a tear jerker.

A series I will be sorry to see coming to an end is Andrea Camilleri’s Commissario Montalbano books. I love all the characters, the setting (even though I don’t think I’d want to go there, it’s way too hot in Sicily) and the way he writes. Thank God there are quite a few books out there, so I have plenty to re-read.

Two books I would have liked to continue reading are

Perfume by Patrick Süskind
The story was so compelling and the characters so interesting that I was sorry to see Grenouille die in the end, even though he was so unlikeable. The way Süskind describes scents, smells and stenches is absolutely fabulous, within the first paragraph you are drawn into the story and you never get out of it again before it finishes.

Confessions of Felix Krull by Thomas Mann
If you’d like to know more about this book, please go to this weekly geek post from some time ago.
It has the subtitle “The Early Years” (in German it is called “Der Memoiren erster Teil, which implies that there is a sequel), but there never was another book by Mann about Felix Krull which is a pity. I would have loved to read more. It ended very early when Krull was only at the beginning of his “career” and since he wrote his memoirs in jail at old age (Mann wrote the book in first person) I’m sure there would have been many more stories to tell.

For more Weekly Geeks about PABD please go here.

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Weekly Geeks 15-2010: Book series

Last week was the release of the latest installment in The Black Dagger Brotherhood series – LOVER MINE, the much awaited book by J.R. Ward. One of my blogger friend, Pattepoilue from One Book Away From Heaven is having a problem getting past one of the earlier books in the series to make her way to LOVER MINE.

She tossed out a post asking for help in getting her mojo back on or some suggestion on what to do about the book that she just does not want to read.

I am pigging backing on that post and tossing it out here to the Weekly Geeker’s – to see how you guys deal with that book in that series that you are following, that is just not doing it for you.

  • What series do you read where you have had an issue with one of the books in the line-up.
  • Do you cut the author lose after one miss, or do you have a limit of failed books in a series before you toss in the towel.
  • What’s your suggestion for that book that you struggle with in a series.

E.H. posted a great topic this week. Since she mentioned the BDB series I’m going to start with the brothers right away. When I started reading the series I loved it. Up to book 5 I was ok. That one is my absolute favourite, even though the ending sucked, because I’m a V girl all over. Book 6 was a disappointment , so I didn’t bother getting book 7. I only learned from E.H.’s post that there is book 8 out now. Not interested in it anymore.  There you are. I cut the author loose after one miss.

To stay with (paranormal) romance, I also liked the first few Carpathian novels by Christine Feehan, but after a few books I quit reading that, too. The stereotype males with their continuous “little women” were too much even for me. So, no more Feehan for me.

Two series I finished with, albeit with mixed feelings, were the Twilight series and the Harry Potter books. Twilight, because I had to know what the fuss was all about, but I skipped a lot. After I was finished I gave them away immediately. I usually am a re-reader, but I will never read them again, I’m certain.
Harry Potter, because I had to know what happens next and how it will end. However, for me the HP books are totally not memorable. I know, HP fans will stone me for this, but after reading an HP book I forget the plot almost at once. Of course I remember all the basic stuff, but what exactly happens in a specific book is gone. When a new book came out I practically had to re-read the previous ones in order to follow the plot. I found this weird. If you asked me anything about the books apart from general wizardry, Hogwarts, Weasley questions, I wouldn’t be able to answer.

A series I gave up after half of the first book is the No.1 Ladies Detective Agency series. I got the first three books, which shows I was pretty optimistic about it (they also were buy two, get one free), but I didn’t like the first book at all, so no second chance for Alexander McCall Smith.

The series I follow loyally are all detective series.  And with those I never miss one.

I read all Dorothy L. Sayers’ Lord Peter Wimsey books, all Agatha Chrsstie’s  Poirot and Miss Marple books. On my auto-buy list are the following:

  • David Wishart’s Marcus Valerius Corvinus series. You just have to love wisecracking Corvinus.
  • John Maddox Roberts’ SPQR series – not for the brilliant detective work, but for the general setting
  • Andrea Camilleri’s Comissario Montalbano series. Montalbano is the epitome of manhood for me, I hope that there are many more books to come.

Basically if I read a book in a series and don’t like it, I’m done with the series. For good.

Read what other Weekly Geeks have to say.

 

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Weekly Geeks 13-2010: Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month in the US and Canada. It is "a celebration of poetry first introduced in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets as a way to increase awareness and appreciation of poetry."
Now I’m not one for poetry but maybe I should learn more about this literary form. For this week’s theme, I encourage participants to to help celebrate National Poetry Month by:

  • Posting a favorite poem, or
  • Reviewing a poem or book of poems, or
  • Discussing a favorite poet, or
  • Posting a vlog of yourself reading a poem or find a video of someone else reading one, or
  • Writing a poem yourself- any form

Or come up with something I haven’t thought of to celebrate and post it on your blog. Let your imagination run wild.

I love Ancient Japanese poetry and haiku. Haiku is a form of traditional Japanese poetry with no title, no rhyme and in three metrical phrases of 5, 7, and 5 moras (sound units). Before Masaoka Shiki came along haiku were called hokku. They became popular in the second half of the 17th century.  When a nobleman entertained in the evening a collaborative poem called Haikai no Renga was created by several poets. The first verse – hokku – had to be done by a renga master and had to follow certain rules, like contain a reference to the time and the host of the evening. Usually this was done by referring to the current season and by honoring the host with an image taken from nature. Matsuo Basho was a master at this and already during his time the hokku became a separate form of poem.

Only in the 19th century Masaoka Shiki gave it the name haiku and made it so popular that it later became known all over the world.

One of my favourite haiku by Shiki is this one:

Oppressive heat —
My whirling mind
Listens to the peals of thunder.

Unfortunately in this translation, as so often, the 5-7-5 isn’t there anymore. A German translation of the same haiku goes like this (and here the translator managed to keep the 5-7-5)

Die Hitze drückend
die Sinne ganz benommen
lausch ich dem Donner.

Here are some links to haiku sites that I recommend (mostly modern haiku):

Here you can see what other Weekly Geeks say about poetry.

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Weekly Geeks 2010-12: Checking Out Libraries

National Library Week is coming up April 11-17, and April is School Libraries Month (2010 is the 25th anniversary). This got me wondering about the state of libraries around the globe.
What’s your earliest memory of a library? What was it like for you? Were you more likely to hang out in the gym or the library when you were in school?
How’s the health of the library system in your community? How do you support your local library? How often do you check out books from the library vs. buying books? Tell us what your favorite library is like and include some photos if you can.

I remember that when I was a little girl I went to the local library with my mother. We had our library booklet where the librarian used to fill out by hand what books we got and when they were due. Then she would fill out the card which stuck in the book with our reader number and due date. The cards she kept. I have no idea what system they used back in those days to keep track of which books were due and who had them. They must have been pretty efficient in organizing.

Then years later I went to another library where they had little punch cards that were punched with a machine, not a computer yet, but definitely technically more advanced than the older system.

I always loved libraries. There was a time when I didn’t go that often, but now, that the kids like to read or be read to, I go more often again. I don’t get that much fiction, which I tend to rather buy and keep, but I’m getting tons of non-fiction there. Our older son has his own library card which he also uses with the library bus that comes to his school every two months. Also both our boys are members of the local church library because the kindergarten goes there regularly. So, at least where I live, the kids automatically get used to libraries from a very early age.

Library courtyardThe library system seems to be pretty healthy over here. Our local library has several little branches in the various parts of town and a number of library buses that go to schools. That way most of the school kids have a library card – whether they all use it though, I don’t know. Our library is situated in an old building (not old enough to be beautiful, just old enough to be ugly, except for some parts), but is in the process of being renovated. Outside the library Some parts of the building are either torn down or cored, so that the library had to move into different other buildings. Quite inconvenient because for kids’ books you have to go here, for non-fiction you have to go to another place…In one of the buildings they have a small cafe with lots of international newspapers where you can hang out for hours reading and watching people. It has a courtyard where you can sit outside in summer. Very nice and quiet.

Whenever we go to the library it is packed. Not that this reflects whether the library makes good money. It is subsidized and only wants money from the readers when books are not returned in time.

You can see a lot of beautiful libraries at Curious Expeditions. But I want to draw your attention to a private library. It is Jay Walker’s library in his home in New England. If I had a library like that I don’t think I’d ever leave my house again. AMAZING!

I had a look around for famous libraries and came across some ancient ones of which only ruins remain.

Hadrian's library by agelakis

Library of Ephesus by ultimatejourneys

Library of Pergamon by Zsenya

Angkor Wat by stuck_in_customs

 

All four images above from flick’r.

To read what other weekly geeks have to say about libraries go here. Oh, and the library in the original weekly geeks post is the Library of Congress.

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Weekly Geeks 2010-10 : Literary Tattoos

Many lovers of books and tattoos have combined the two. In my opinion, there is a magic in being able to carry your favorite quote with you wherever you go. I’m far from being the only one who feels this way. LiveJournal has a group called Bookworms with Ink in which people share their literary tattoos and ask for advice before getting one.
And so I ask:

  • Do you have a literary tattoo? Please share it with us and tell us why you chose it.
  • Do you have any ideas for future literary tattoos? Are there any quotes that you might one day want to have printed on you? (No plans on ever getting a tattoo? Just let us know what you would get if you were to ever get a tattoo!)
  • How do you think the author feels about having their work permanently inked on a fan’s body?

Want to see more literary tattoos? Feel free to check out or participate in Tattoo Tuesdays!

About a year ago I already made a short blog entry about Literary Tattoos after I stumbled somehow on a site called Contrariwise Literary Tattoos. 

I do have a tattoo, but not a literary one, so nothing to share here. I never considered getting one either, even though I totally love the idea of having a favourite quote or character (like Max) tattooed on the body. If I ever decided to get one maybe it would be a quote by Oscar Wilde, simply because his quotes are timeless and I have yet to come across one I don’t like. Another possibility would be Emily Dickinson.

Forever – is composed of Nows

maybe. But when I come to think of it, to narrow the choice down to one is probably too hard and I would decide against it altogether.

I could imagine that an author would be more than flattered if his/her work is inked  on someone’s body. Laser removal not considered they carry those words all their lives and take them to the grave. Is their a better and more definite way to express one’s admiration?

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Weekly Geeks 2010-09: Do books do the talking or do you want more from your authors?

This week’s Weekly Geeks is about the following:

Having recently been told that I’m odd because I’m not terribly interested in author interviews I’ve started to ponder whether there are two types of readers…those who stick to the books versus those who like to know more about the author’s background, thoughts, motivations and writing process.

So, what about you?

  • Do you seek out interviews with authors of books you’ve enjoyed? Why or why not?
  • Do you interview authors on your blog? If yes what did you gain from the interview process? If no is it because you don’t want to or because you haven’t felt able to ask an author yet?
  • Do you subscribe to the blogs of authors you like? Which ones? All the authors you like or only certain ones?
  • Do you track down author websites or look for biographical information about them elsewhere? Would you skip reading a book if you couldn’t find out anything about its author?
  • Have you hosted an author on a blog tour? Was it someone whose books you already read or did it introduce you to a new author?

I don’t think it is odd at all if someone is not particularly interested in an author, but only in his / her books. I’m the same. If I like a book, I only want to know whether there are more from its author. I don’t want to know the biography or the background of the writer.

I don’t seek out author interviews. If I come across one with an author I really like, I might read it and even find it interesting, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to find it. And I wouldn’t interview authors on my blog or host an author on a blog tour for the same reason. Mind you, if authors comment on my blog I enjoy the dialogue, but then it is about a certain book and not about the author him-/herself.

I am a subscriber to several authors’ blogs, not of all the ones I like, but some. Not because I want to find out more about their lives, but rather to get updates on new or upcoming books, excerpts etc.

I definitely wouldn’t skip reading a book just for the lack of information about an author. If I want to read a book, I couldn’t care less about what I can find out about its writer.

This topic brought two books to my mind. There is this German gothic novel called “Vier Tage währt die Nacht” by a certain Dorothea S. Baltenstein. According to the publishing house the author only wrote this one novel in the 1920s before she died at the age of 30. Nobody knew more about her, but the novel was reviewed positively by everybody when it came out a few years ago (it was supposed to be an attic find). Only some time later it turned out that there was no Dorothea S. Baltenstein, but the book had been written by a German teacher and four of his students. It is said that the publisher who eventually bought the novel had required a pseudonym and a fictional author, since nobody would have bought a Gothic novel written by a teacher and a few students.

And then there is the case of Toyotama Tsuno who wrote Japanese poems and had them published in a book called “Gelöstes Haar”. She was supposed to have lived in Paris and died from tuberculosis at a young age (seems to happen often to fictional writers) and only later it turned out that the supposed translator of the poems, Manfred Hausmann, was the actual poet.

So what if the biographical details of the authors were made up and had nothing to do with reality? I liked both and I couldn’t care less about whether it was a fragile Japanese lady living in exile, an equally fragile German lady from the 20s, a group of people experimenting or a German male journalist who wrote them. If that makes me odd, too, so be it.

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Weekly Geeks 2010-07: Commenting

I haven’t participated in the Weekly Geeks for ages, but it was always such fun, so I think I will try to do it more often again. This week it is an interesting topic for all bloggers: Commenting.

Do you have a commenting policy? For example:
*Do reply to all comments? If you do, how do you do it? Email? On the blog?
*Do you use moderation?
*How do you handle trolls? Flaming?
*How much do you tolerate from a belligerent commenter before you close or delete comments?
Have you ever gotten a comment from someone you admire? An author? A superstar blogger (the ones with the book deals)?
How do you feel about author comments? Are they welcome or do they make you nervous?
Word verification? Yay or nay.
And then there’s spam. How do we combat the evil that is spam?
Talk about your experiences with any of the above. Share your wisdom with other bloggers. What works on your blog? What doesn’t?

OK, I try to reply to all comments. It’s only polite, if somebody takes the time to comment on my blog that I do the same and reply. I usually reply directly in the comments section. Readers can subscribe to comments, so they will know when a new comment has been added.

Comments are moderated only the first time a reader comments. Once the first comment has been approved the next comment appears automatically on my blog. I haven’t had a troll problem yet. So I can’t say what I’d do. It’s the same with belligerent comments. Never had any yet. Spam IS a problem, though, but with Akismet which is a default plugin for wordpress blogs, it can be controlled very easily.

I hate word verification. I often have problems with it on other blogs, so I wouldn’t want to use it on my blog either.

I love author’s comments. In the m/m romance community word about a review seems to get out rather quickly, so I have had a few authors who came by and commented. Even if my review wasn’t all positive they have always commented in a nice way and said they appreciated the time I took to talk about their book. Lately one of my reviews was quite negative, in fact I said I could not recommend the story, and when I saw that the author had commented, I thought “uh oh”, but she was very gracious and had a lot of interesting things to say.

A nice feature for people who comment that I use is Comment luv, another plugin for wordpress. It displays the last (or another chosen) blog post of the commenter’s blog. So, readers can see immediately whether they might find something interesting to read on another commenter’s blog.

The little comment graphic that Weekly Geeks is displaying this week comes from The Vintage Moth, where they offer even more. I think I’ll either use one of them or create my own to stick up in the sidebar. Maybe it will coax readers into commenting more. Bloggers love comments, and I’m no exception.

See what others have to say at the Weekly Geeks blog

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Weekly Geeks 2009-35: What’s the plan?

This week’s weekly geeks: It’s hard to believe we’re approaching the last quarter of 2009. Soon those of us in the northern hemisphere will be curled up in front of the fire (or solar heater) with our favorite wintry reads, and those in the southern will be off to the beaches with their summer books.
Do you have a plan of what you’re going to read the rest of the year? Have you had a master plan all along? If so, have you stuck to it? What helps you to decide what you’re going to read next? Challenges? Book groups? Or do you have the luxury of closing your eyes and picking any book off your shelf?
I know some of you have spreadsheets and other devices to help you keep track of your books and challenges. (I even succumbed to using a spreadsheet this year after teasing my friends relentlessly about theirs.) If you have online spreadsheets, such as Google, can you give us a peek at them with a link or a screen shot?

I found this question somewhat strange. I don’t have any plan whatsoever, as far as reading is concerned. Reading is mere pleasure and I don’t read according to a plan. I read what I want when I want it. A spreadsheet to organize my reading? Don’t think so.

I loosely use Shelfari for keeping track of what I read but since I only started doing that last year I only have books on my shelf that I could remember. They should have Shelfari 36 years ago! But even on Shelfari I don’t use all the options for tagging and adding information on my books. I’m a member of a few Shelfari groups, but don’t follow them closely either. I’m to fickle obviously – and lazy.

My Shelfari shelf

Book challenges: Well, yes, I entered a few this year, but only followed through with one. All the others I gave up sooner or later. Now I’ve got tons of TBR books from those challenges on my bookshelf.

At the moment the books that are sitting there waiting to be read are:

  • The Reader by Bernhard Schlink
    That’s the book I bought in English instead of German because of the nicer cover. I’m crazy.
  • I capture the castle by Dodie Smith
    Got that because of Claire’s review. Thanks, Claire, for the recommendation.
  • Gods behaving badly by Marie Phillips
    Twelve Olympic Gods crammed into a London town house in the 21st century sounds like fun.
  • The Beautiful Being by Jessica Inclan
    This will be out end of September, but Jessica generously sent me an ARC. Thanks, Jessica.
  • Enzyklopädie der Alltagsqualen by Hannes Stein
    A very amusing book in which Hannes Stein describes everyday ordeals. Unfortunately strictly German.
  • Der schönste deutsche Satz
    A book with the entries of the competition of which sentence is the most beautiful first sentence in a German book. By the way, the winner was the first sentence of “Der Butt” by Günther Grass.

To see what other weekly geeks have to say, go here.

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Weekly Geeks 2009-33: One Title Collection

This week’s weekly geeks:

Last year, I saw a movie, I think it was called Definitely, Maybe, that got me to thinking. In this movie, one of the girls was on a quest to find a particular copy of Jane Eyre, I forget now the specific reason why. But in the process of her search, she ended up with this massive collection of Jane Eyre books, from all sorts of places and years and styles. She had a shelf that went all the way around her room, filled with these wonderful Jane Eyre books.
It made me wish I had a collection like hers, a collection of one particular title, in all it’s various versions.
So, Weekly Geeksters, tell us, do you have a collection, (or are you starting a collection,) of one particular book title? If so, what’s your story? Why that book, and how many do you have, and what editions are they? Share pictures and give us all the details.

Or perhaps you dream about starting such a collection. What title would it be and what would it take for you to get motivated to start collecting?
Or maybe it’s the works of a particular author you collect (or want to collect) instead a certain book title?

I can’t say that I ever considered starting a collection of one specific title. We have a few different issues of “Dracula”, but I can’t really call them a collection, because they came about by accident rather than on purpose. If you look at the state of our bookshelves (as you can see here, for example), it is not that easy to find a specific book, so it sometimes happens that we buy a book that we already have. Admittedly, after four copies of Dracula we should know by now that we own Dracula in abundance. So I don’t think that we will continue that collection.

Then we have a few issues of “Lord of the Rings”, but that happened when two households were thrown together. So, not a collection either.

I don’t know what would make me collect various issues of a certain book. If I’m not after special editions or signed copies, why would I collect a certain title? Maybe, if the cover art on the various issues is especially interesting. But offhand I can’t think of any title I’d be interested in collecting.

As for authors, again, no. Of course, I have several books of certain authors, but I wouldn’t call them a collection either. I don’t have anybody on a sort of auto-buy list. I don’t have favourite authors whose books I buy sight unseen.

Then again, the only author that comes to mind is possibly Marion Zimmer Bradley. I have several of her books, not all related to the same series. But given the number of books she’s written, my little collection is very small indeed.

To see what other geeks are collecting, go to the weekly geeks.

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Weekly Geeks 2009-32: Why haven’t I read this yet?

This week’s weekly geeks: I think just about every reader has a least one book that they’ve been meaning to read for awhile (months or even years) but, for one reason or another, they just haven’t gotten around to it. Maybe it’s a book a friend recommended last year, or a title you’ve flirted with in a bookstore on more than one occasion, or maybe it’s a book that’s sitting right there on your bookshelf, patiently waiting for you to pick it up — but the thought is always there, in the back of your mind: Why haven’t I read this yet?
This week, tell us about a book (or books) you have been meaning to read. What is it? How long have you wanted to read it? And, why haven’t you read it yet?

At the moment I have four books on my TBR pile that have been there for ages.

“Shakespeare” by Bill Bryson

I have no idea why I haven’t read it yet. It was given to me as a gift and I should have read it by now. I love Bill Bryson’s sense of humour, I’m sure this is a geat read, once I’m into it. But somehow, I just don’t seem to be able to pull it out of the shelf.

“A Bloodsmoor Romance” by Joyce Carol Oates

I found this one in a bookshop, read the first few pages and liked them right away. I’d love to read it, but I think the length of the book keeps me from even starting it. My reading time is limited and I have to interrupt constantly. So with a book of 876 pages, I will take forever and will have to re-read the last pages constantly.

“Danse Macabre” by Laurell K. Hamilton

This is the 13th book in the Anita Blake series and considering the way this series has been going, it’s not surprising I never got around to start this book. I still haven’t finished book 12 “Incubus Dreams” yet. I hate Anita Blake anyway (for example see my blog post about Circus of the damned), so her constant having sex with anybody and everybody for no other reason than this stupid ardeur is annoying to me. I should remove this book from the pile.

“So Idle a Rogue” by Jeremy Lamb
The Life and Death of Lord Rochester

Another biography, this time of John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester. Rochester must have been an intriguing man. So again, I have no idea why I haven’t read this yet.

To read what other participants haven’t read yet, go to the Weekly Geeks.

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Weekly Geeks 2009-31: Second Chances

There have been times in my life where I reread a book (or author) I hated–or thought I hated–but the second time around ended up loving. Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever changed your mind about a book or author the second time around? Have you ever given a book or author a second chance?

If you have, I’d love to hear your stories. Blog about your experience(s) in giving second chances.
If you haven’t, I’d like you to consider giving a book or an author a second chance. You can blog about your intentions to do so–or if you’re a quick reader, maybe you can even squeeze something in!

I can’t think of any author that I ever hated so much that I wouldn’t give him a second chance. Well, that’s not 100% true. I read a book some time ago that was so terrible, that I actually went and threw it away. That was the first book ever that I got rid of in that manner.

 

Die einsamen Schrecken der Liebe However, there is a book, I started to read months ago and have never finished it. In fact I got stuck on page 50 and by now I’ve forgotten everything that happened until then. It’s “The people’s act of love” by James Meek. This is the description on amazon:

In a remote Siberian village, amid a lawless, unforgiving landscape, lives Anna Petrovna, a beautiful, willfully self-reliant widowed mother. A mystical, separatist Christian sect, a stranded regiment of restless Czech soldiers, and an eerie local shaman live nearby, all struggling against the elements and great social upheaval to maintain a fragile coexistence.
Out of the woods trudges Samarin, an escapee from Russia’s northernmost prison camp, with a terrifyingly outlandish story to tell about his journey. Immediately apprehended, he is brought before the Czech regiment’s megalomaniac, Captain Matula. But the stranger’s appearance has caught the attention of others, including Anna Petrovna’s.
This stranger, his bizarre story—if it is to be believed—and the apparent murder of the local shaman quickly become a flashpoint for this village: temperatures rise, alliances shift, and betrayals emerge. Written with a commanding historical authority and remarkable grace, The People’s Act of Love is an epic of desire and sacrifice that leaves the reader utterly mesmerized through to the final heart-pounding pages.

Somehow the book didn’t mesmerize me at all, even though I can’t say I disliked anything about it. It just didn’t keep my attention. I started reading other things in between, and once I start doing this, I know the fate of the book is sealed. So, maybe this week’s weekly geeks will encourage me to start all over again and possibly even finish it this time.

To see what other weekly geeks had to say, go to the Weekly Geeks site.

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Weekly Geeks 2009-30: It’s a mystery

1."Do you love a little suspense in your life? Have you ever read a book that keeps you twisting and turning until the last page? Tell us about it (but not too much , we want to be left hanging ourselves). Or maybe there is a series of mysteries that you adore. Why do you keep reading about the same detectives?"***
2. To expand on that a little: the new TV series
Castle revolves around a popular mystery writer. There’s even talk that a novel will be published supposedly written by Castle himself. TV and books will muddy the entertainment waters once again. I think we all know of the Agatha Christie and Sherlock Holmes series on PBS and BBC as well. Not to mention the new movie Sherlock Holmes starring Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law will open December 25, 2009. Looks pretty exciting!
If you were to be given special TV or movie producing powers, which mystery novel character(s) would you create a TV series or movie for? Who would you cast in the major roles?
You can:
Get creative and post photos of the cast, even the locations you’d love to see them in. If you’re really feeling artsy, create a fake
imbd page on your blog or make a trailer for your fantasy show.

I read a lot of detective novels. Most of them are historical ones. I like to read about of a lot of different time periods, the more ancient the better, but my favourite detective novels are probably the ones by Dorothy L. Sayers with Lord Peter Wimsey. I like gentleman detectives, and Lord Peter Wimsey is a perfect example. He’s a rich nobleman with expensive hobbies, he has a smart butler who assists him, and his sidekick, a police inspector, becomes his brother in law in the course of the books. The books’ plots often revolve around a certain topic and a lot of insider information is given about those topics. For example in “Murder must advertise” we learn a lot about the ins and outs of an advertising agency at the time.

The books with Lord Peter Wimsey are:

source: Wikipedia

He meets his later wife, Harriet Vane, in “Strong Poison” for the first time and from then on this romance (it takes a long time to develop from her side) is an ongoing theme, even if not the main one) in the subsequent books. “Thrones, Dominations” is set after their honeymoon (the honeymoon story would be “Busman’s honeymoon”), but there is one short story which is set years after where the Wimseys have a son who is around 4 or 5 as far as I can remember.

Some of the books have already been turned into films. There are excellent BBC TV mini series from the 70s with Ian Carmichael as Lord Peter Wimsey. He still has that down-to-earth feel that Lord Peter Wimsey displays on occasion, and yet he is sophisticated and refined. Edward Petherbridge who played Wimsey in a couple of films never achieved that in my eyes. After seeing Ian Carmichael I can’t imagine a better cast as Lord Peter Wimsey, so no suggestions from me.

For more participants in this fun topic go to the Weekly Geeks!

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Weekly Geeks 2009-27: Best movie adaptations

This week’s weekly geeks: With the release of Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince this past week, I thought it would be good to turn once again to movie adaptations. In March, with the release of Watchmen (using that as a jumping off point for discussion), I brought up the subject of worst movie adaptations. This time, I’d like to bring up best movie adaptations (not saying if the recent Harry Potter movie is or isn’t faithful to the book since I’ll be honest I haven’t read the book, but using the subject as a jumping off point for discussion).
So what are some of your favorite movie adaptations of books? Include trailers or scenes from Youtube if you’d like.
Also along with that question, or instead of that question, what book or series would you like to see be made into a movie or movies? Tell us why you think it or they would work as a movie. If the book already has a book trailer, include that, to help make your point.

In general I’m no fan of movie adaptations. I absolutely loved “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy as a movie, in fact I loved it much more than the books. But to talk about LOTR would probably carry me away…So, instead, I decided to talk about a book that we all know, most of us love and whose hero every woman swoons over. 

There are a number of adaptations of Pride and Prejudice, but none is as perfect as the BBC mini series from 1995. Of course, the story is always the same, but in a mini series there is much more time to go into details, whereas a 90 minute movie just can’t cover everything.

The cast is absolutely perfect. I can’t think of a single actor who didn’t fit the part. We don’t need to talk about Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy. I have yet to meet someone who complains about him. He IS Mr. Darcy. Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth might be a bit old, admittedly, but I just love her looks and her composed air.

All the supporting characters are cast perfectly as well. Mrs. Bennett and her husband – a wonderful couple. Mr. Wickham, slightly dubious from the beginning. Charlotte Lucas – practical and reasonable to the extreme. And probably the best supporting character, Mr. Collins. That was the first time I saw David Bamber and I just adored him. Mr. Collins was a great bootlicking sycophant. Oh so brilliant. My opinion of David Bamber was confirmed years later when I saw him again as Cicero in “Rome”. Wonderful again. And, of course, the condescending Miss Bingley. I loved her, too. I can’t say enough good about the cast.

So, if you haven’t seen P&P as a movie yet and wonder which one to watch, choose this mini series. You can’t go wrong.

This here is one of my favourite scenes of the whole film, just look at Mr. Darcy! And he doesn’t say a single word…

 

As to the second part of this week’s assignment, I always wondered why nobody ever made a series from the Darkover books by Marion Zimmer Bradley – or at least I never heard of one. I think they would make a fantastic series with lots of interesting characters. The books are not all related and were not written in chronological order, so one could pick and choose to some extent. I for one would love to see them made into movies.

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Weekly Geeks 2009-26: Where in the World Have You Been?

This week’s Weekly Geeks asks you to tell us about your globe trotting via books. Are you a global reader? How many countries have you "visited" in your reading? What are your favorite places or cultures to read about? Can you recommend particularly good books about certain regions, countries or continents? How do you find out about books from other countries? What countries would you like to read that you haven’t yet?
Use your own criteria about what you consider to be "visiting" — whether a book is written about the country or by a native or resident of the country.

I don’t read many books that focus on another country as the main subject. They might be set in other countries and reflect the way of living there, of course, but I don’t pick books based on that. I created the map below showing what countries books I read are set in.  My recommendation to read would be “A thousand splendid suns” by Khaled Hosseini, but probably most of you have read it anyway. This book about two women in Afghanistan is a must-read.

Countries I've read about in one way or another

 

Feel free to tell us about any actual world traveling you’ve done in addition to your literary travels.

The map of countries I’ve visited looks a bit different. As you can see I have no clue about the East or the most part of America or Africa or anything really other than Europe and the US from own experiences.

TripAdvisor Travel Map

I’ve visited 82 cities in 14 countries.

Search millions of traveler reviews, articles, lists and forums on TripAdvisor: