Top ten historical fiction books

Top Ten Tuesday

Today it is Top Ten Tuesday freebie and we can choose any topic we want, so I will go for my top ten historical fiction books.

I like historical fiction that has at least some sort of realistic connection to the time it is talking about, maybe a real event that the story builds upon, or real people whose story is told in a fictional way. So, here we go…

Top Ten Historical Fiction Books

What are your Top Ten Historical Fiction books?

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. You will find tons of more Top Ten Tuesday participants there.


Top Ten Books to get into the Halloween Spirit

Top Ten Tuesday

OK, my horror, thriller and spooky reads are kept to a minimum these days, but I will probably come up with a few books that I have read during the years.



My Top Ten Books to get into the Halloween Spirit

What are your Top Ten Halloween Reads?

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. You will find tons of more Top Ten Tuesday participants there.

Bat graphics by Studio Flergs from 


Top Ten authors of historical detective novels

Top Ten Tuesday

I have already blogged about this topic and if you have been to my blog before chances are you will have heard of one or two people on this list. 


Top Ten authors of historical detective novels
  • David Wishart
    My absolute favourite. I just love his detective, patrician Marcus Corvinus, who wisecracks his way through Tiberius’ Rome.
  • John Maddox Roberts
    I like his SPQR series not so much for the sleuthing of his hero Decius Caecilius Metellus, but for the setting in the last days of the republic. Tons of interesting characters come to life here.
  • Lindsey Davis
    I didn’t care too much for The Silver Pigs which is set in Britain, but the later books are really good. Set in Rome in the time of Vespasian.
  • Margaret Doody
    With Aristotle this series has an interesting detective. Set in Greece in the 4th century B.C.
  • Bernard Knight
    His Crowner John books are very entertaining. Set in England in the 12th century.
  • Ellis Peters
    Well, everybody loves Brother Cadfael, if only because of Derek Jacobi. Set in England in the 12th century.
  • Susanna Gregory
    Her detective Matthew Bartholomew is a Cambridge fellow in the 14th century.
  • Robert van Gulik
    The interesting detective is Judge Dee, a Chinese magistrate in the 7th century. Based on a real person.
  • Stephanie Barron
    I love those books with Jane Austen as detective for the lovely settings.
  • Steven Saylor
    I am no big fan of Steven Saylor’s Sub Rosa series. It is set around the same time as the SPQR books, but his detective Gordianus is not nearly as interesting as the Metellan one. However, I did like the fact that Mr. Saylor has one book in the series about the little incident on the Appian way where Milo killed Clodius (Murder on the Appian Way).

What are your Top Ten Authors in a favourite genre of yours?

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. You will find tons of more Top Ten Tuesday participants there.


Top five series I haven’t finished

Top Ten Tuesday

There must be lots of them. I am not a reader who keeps on reading a series even though I have lost interest in the genre or topic or even though the series becomes just plain boring.

So I went through my Goodreads account to see what series are still unfinished or discontinued (by me).  Here we go:



Top five series I have not finished
  • The Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger.
    Stopped after book one. I have book two and three – and maybe even four, not sure – lying around here, but when I started on number 2 it bored me to death.
  • The Agatha Raisin series by M. C. Beaton
    When Agatha started to seriously lie to get her neighbour to marry her I stopped immediately. I hate that sort of stuff.
  • The Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J. R Ward
    What a promising series! I loved the guys and could have continued forever. But then she treated V so unfairly. I managed the following book six but that was it. The series had deteriorated considerably.
  • Sookie Stackhouse by Charlaine Harris
    Book seven was my last one. I am still interested but just not as much as before. It might have to do with the image of that greasy Eric from the TV series that I now have in my head. Until I saw him I adored Eric just as much as the next girl.
  • The Narnia books by C. S. Lewis
    What a disappointment! My own Narnia project given up after one book, I feel bad about that, but I found the first book rather disappointing.

Tons of mystery series: Crowner John, Matthew Bartholomew, Daisy Dalyrymple…after a while I lose interest and stop reading them for one reason or another. However, there are a few series that I follow no matter what, but that is a topic for another list…:).

What are your Top Ten series you have given up on? Or do you continue come hell or high water?

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. You will find tons of more Top Ten Tuesday participants there.


My lists project


Remember the 30 lists project I mentioned in my last recap post? Well, it is in full swing and I am having a blast. The only downside is that I don’t get anything else done. To create a list every day is quite time consuming if you don’t just scribble it on a piece of paper, let me tell you. Plus, I don’t want to fall behind, I know that one day without making the list will be the end of it, so I am keeping at it.

Want to see my lists so far? Aren’t they pretty? Well, I think they are, :).

My first batch of lists

If you would like to take a closer look you can view them on my flickr set or my Pinterest board (now you know the REAL reason I am so busy, I am uploading all day).

As far as reading is concerned, I am still reading the first Harry Potter, but find it strangely unattractive. Somehow I am not getting into it. And I started to continue The Grass Crown. My only complaint about that one, you can’t take it anywhere, it weighs a whopping 1.2kg. No bathtub read, unfortunately.

What are you all up to, be it crafty or otherwise?


Top five books on my fall TBR list

Top Ten Tuesday

This is a hard one as I am never planning ahead much, and if I do the plan usually gets thrown over quickly. However, as I have signed up for the Harry Potter readalong, at least a few books will be HP books. I am pretty sure I won’t read all of them before the end of the year, I am no Harry Potter aficionado.

So, my preliminary Top Ten Five Books for fall look like this:



Top five books on my fall TBR list
  • Harry Potter and the philosopher’s stone by J. K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the chamber of secrets by J. K. Rowling
  • Harry Potter and the prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling
  • The Grass Crown by Colleen McCullough. About time to get going with this one.
  • Shades of Earl Grey by Laura Childs. This is my second book of that cozy series that I own. I must know whether it gets any better. With the first one I was not 100% convinced.

I can’t plan more than five books, and that is already stretching it. Any more would be pure speculation.

What are your Top Ten/Five/Three Books on your fall tbr list?

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. You will find tons of more Top Ten Tuesday participants there.


Top Ten Blogs/Sites I Read That Aren’t about Books

Top Ten Tuesday

My Google reader is full of feeds for various topics, but I only skim most of them. Some sites, however, I spend a fair amount of time at. Here they are:





Top Ten Blogs/Sites I Read That AREN’T about Books
  1. The Daily Digi
    A site with digital scrapbooking news that gives a good overview of what is going on in the digiscrapping community.
  2. Better After
    I just love makeovers of any kind. Before and after photos fascinate me. The amount of time people put into making over furniture that other people consider trash is amazing.
  3. iPhone Ticker
    German iPhone info site. All the latest news on apps and iPhone related topics.
  4. The Geek Art Gallery and the Great Geek Manual
    Everything geeky under the sun, photos, art, movies, links etc…
  5. Just something I made
    Crafty site with plenty of ideas – and freebies.
  6. Funky Junk Interiors
    Look how you can create a beautiful and original home with repurposing, up-cycling and re-using things.
  7. Mamas kram
    Craft site with beautiful home decor, sewing, decorating, you name it. In German.
  8. House of Svea
    See above, just in English and Swedish.
  9. SPIEGEL online
    Online service of the German news magazine. Everything I want to know about what is going on in the world. My hangout during morning coffee.
  10. Martha Stewart
    My go-to site for recipes, household tips, craft ideas, kids’ activities and what not.

What are your Top Ten blogs or sites you read that AREN’T about books?

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. You will find tons of more Top Ten Tuesday participants there.


Week on the web


Here are my finds for this week…

What did you find on the web in the last few days?


Thursday 13: Books where the movie adaptation worked for me


In spite of my dislike of movie adaptations of books in general there are some that worked for me. Here is a selection (the links go to Youtube):

  1. Misery
    Most Stephen King adaptations are pretty bad, but this was was brilliant. Kathy Bates WAS Annie Wilkes.
  2. I, Claudius
    A British TV series adapting Robert von Ranke Graves’ books about Claudius. Unforgettable: John Hurt’s dance
  3. Girl with a pearl earring. You just have to like everything with Colin Firth.
  4. The Princess Bride
    My last re-read of the book was disappointing, but the movie is fabulous. My favourite character: Vizzini
  5. The Enchanted April
    A great book that we read around the world. The movie is just like it.
  6. The Lord Peter Wimsey series with Ian Carmichael.
    He owns that role.
  7. The P&P BBC mini series
    With Colin Firth & Jennifer Ehle. Need I say more?
  8. Rebecca.
    Isn’t Laurence Olivier great as Maxim de Winter?
  9. Why didn’t they ask Evans?
    Not the one with Miss Marple! No idea why they always put sleuths into the story where they don’t belong. This is a stand alone. The movie with Sir John Gielgud, Francesca Annis and James Warwick is it!
  10. Bridget Jones’ Diary.
    And yet again Colin Firth. Not saying this is the best film ever, but it worked. I like Renée Zellweger as Bridget.
  11. Psycho
    Alfred Hitchcock never fails to deliver. The film was better than the book.
  12. Rosemary’s Baby
    Not sure whether I didn’t like the Bramford best.
  13. The Lord of the Rings
    Much better than the books (sorry, all Tolkien purists). I don’t know how often I watched those movies with every possible commentary and without. This is one of my many favourite scenes. Can’t wait for The Hobbit.

What movie adaptations of books worked for you?

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


Top Ten Books You’d Like To See Made Into A Movie

Top Ten Tuesday

Totally forgot to post this yesterday…it was a public holiday and my schedule was messed up…

I don’t know whether I can come up with even one book that I would like to see made into a movie. Movies from books – with the exception of a few – suck. Big time.

I don’t want someone to re-create a book on film and destroy all the images in my head. When I was still a child I remember my disappointment and anger after watching “The Neverending Story” (which is only half the book to boot). Until then I had this great image of Fuchur in my head which I have never been able to conjure again after I saw that horrible WORM in the movie (don’t tell me you think this creature is cuddly or cute or anything!). The Neverending Story has never been the same again thanks to Wolfgang Petersen. I could go on and on forever, actually the topic today should rather be “Ten books you never wanted to see made into a movie”…

That being said sometimes I think that they do a really good job and do the book justice, so I probably COULD come up with a list of books where the movie adaptation worked for me after all, but this is not today’s topic.


Top Ten Books You’d Like To See Made Into A Movie

  • None

What are your Top Ten Books you’d like to see made into a movie?

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. You will find tons of more Top Ten Tuesday participants there.


Top ten all time favourite characters in books

Top Ten Tuesday

After I compiled my list of favourite characters in books it turned out that most of them are recurring characters from series and not stand-alone books. It seems they don’t make such an impression on me to really stick with me (except for a few, as you will see).

Three are from detective novels, maybe this indicates that, even though I am not a stickler for law and order, at least I am a stickler for justice. My favourite detective heroes all have proven to be able to bend the rules and let something slide once in a while.

Anyway, this is quite an eclectic list and not complete at all. They all just popped into my head.

Top ten all time favourite characters in books
  1. Wesley from The Princess Bride by William Goldman. Even though my last reading of the book was not that enthusiastic I still like Wesley who is the ultimate lover, hero, pirate, swordsman and whatever else you want him to be. At least I imagine him to be that way. 
  2. Marianne Engel from The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson. I wouldn’t have thought I would choose a religious nut for this list, but I very much like her.
  3. Adrian Mole from the Adrian Mole diaries by Sue Townsend. The funniest diaries ever. Adrian’s comments about his life are priceless. A complete loser, but you sympathize with him and his plight.
  4. Sam I am from Green eggs and ham by Dr. Seuss. Shows if you are only insistent and obstinate enough you will get there.
  5. Saskia from Girl in Hyacinth Blue. I liked how she hung on to the painting and when she had to sell it was smart enough not to just sell it to the first bidder, but was cautious.
  6. The father in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s short story Outside the cabinet-maker’s. That guy just stuck with me. What a storyteller! I loved how he passed the boring waiting time for a little girl.
  7. A blog post made me think about him just this weekend. The Comte de Valmont from Dangerous Liaisons by Choderlos de Laclos. He thinks he is on top of things when in reality he is simply getting as manipulated as everbody else.
  8. Lord Peter Wimsey from the books by Dorothy L. Sayers. The nobleman detective. Smart, clever, funny, literate, a gentleman.
  9. Marcus Valerius Corvinus from the series of the same name by David Wishart. A very modern Patrician sleuth in ancient Rome, drunkard lover of wine, rich and idle but always on the right side.
  10. Salvo Montalbano from the detective series by Andrea Camilleri. He is THE man. Sorry, Donna Leon, don’t even mention that Brunetti fellow in his presence.

What are your Top Ten Favourite Characters in Books?

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. You will find tons of more Top Ten Tuesday participants there.


Top ten tips for new book bloggers

Top Ten Tuesday

Today we are asked to give some tips to new book bloggers. I have been book blogging for a few years now. I can tell new book bloggers what I like in book blogs and what makes them good book blogs in my eyes, but that does not mean that the blogs are successful in terms of “followers”, or whether they will monetize well. These are just my ideas and not carved in stone.

Above all, remember that it is YOUR blog and YOUR voice, don’t try to please people. Here are my ten tips for what they’re worth:


Top ten tips for new book bloggers


  1. Answer comments on your own blog.
    If I leave a comment and you don’t answer me I will come back. If it happens again I lose interest and won’t be back. Obviously you are not interested in talking with your readers.
  2. Don’t leave comments that don’t mean a thing.
    If I receive a comment that says “Nice choice of books. Check out my post!” I wonder why you even bothered.
  3. Don’t clutter your blog with crap.
    Don’t put fifty buttons, widgets, blinkies and links to challenges in your sidebar so I can’t find what I am looking for because of button overload. Especially consider re-doing your sidebar if its length is longer than the length of your posts on your homepage. I don’t want to scroll down only to see your sidebar with no other  content.
    If you insist on umpteen buttons, blinkies and what not, at least make sure they align, that they don’t mess up the layout and that they look as pleasing as possible.
  4. Don’t review hype books, at least not during the hype.
    If I see the hundredth review of Mockingjay within one week I get incredibly bored. I know the book is out (how can I not know having seen five hundred count down buttons?), I have heard it is FANTASTIC and that it is a must read already.
  5. Don’t use color combos that hurt my eyes.
    If I can’t look at your blog without going blind I won’t go there at all.   
  6. Don’t use ads too obviously.
    I don’t mind inconspicuous affiliate links to books, but if I see google ads at the top of every post, or even worse, flashy ad banners to whatever shop might fit my IP address, I am turned off very quickly.
  7. Try to make the same kinds of posts look the same.
    If you have a regular post on every Tuesday about, let’s say, books you read last week, it is helpful when these posts always look the same, so I can recognize right away the nature of your post. The same goes for reviews, memes etc.
  8. Go on twitter and participate in blogging events, like Bloggiesta, Blogfest, readalongs or maybe a giveaway. People will notice your blog only if you promote it and participate in community life.
  9. If you run a giveaway don’t make it mandatory to follow your blog in order to enter.
    If I have to follow a blog just to enter a giveaway I won’t enter. I won’t clutter up my RSS feed with blogs that I won’t visit regularly. You could argue that if I don’t want to follow you then I don’t deserve winning your book. Fair enough, it’s your blog. But forced followers do not equal loyal readers.
  10. Blog regularly.
    You don’t need to blog every day, but regularly. If a blog is only updated infrequently I will forget about its existence.

What are your Top Ten Tips for new book bloggers?

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. You will find tons of more Top Ten Tuesday participants there.


Top ten books to read in one day

Top Ten TuesdayAt the Bloggiesta chat on Sunday I got the idea to join Top Ten Tuesday. I love lists, so making a list of books every week should be a piece of cake.

This week the topic is “Top Ten Books To Read In A Day”. Let me tell you, for me to read a book in a day the book must be either a (now, the standard word of the reviewer comes into play) “compelling” read or very, very short – a combination of both is recommended. I only have the time to read a couple of hours a day, if that.

I went through my GR read books list and indeed came up with my

Top ten books to read in one day


  1. Girl in Hyacinth Blue by Susan Vreeland. Best read for a long time for me.
  2. Misery by Stephen King. Mr. King just HAS to be on this list.
  3. 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff. I read this one in one afternoon, by leaving everything else undone.
  4. Chess Story by Stefan Zweig. You just have to continue until you are finished.
  5. Castle Gripsholm by Kurt Tucholsky. Very lighthearted with lots of positive vibes.
  6. Lost Horizon by James Hilton. I read this a long time ago and remember that I couldn’t put it down.
  7. How to travel with a salmon and other essays by Umberto Eco. Very funny and entertaining.
  8. Any book in the von Igelfeld series by Alexander McCall Smith. I blogged about the first two, Portuguese irregular verbs and The finer points of sausage dogs. So, so funny!
  9.  Perfume by Patrick Süsskind. You better read the book than watch the movie.
  10. The secret diary of Adrian Mole, aged 13 3/4 by Sue Townsend. One of the funniest books ever.

What are your Top Ten Books to read in one day?

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. You will find tons of more Top Ten Tuesday participants there.


Must-Read Horror Classics

Happy Halloween!

Halloween is not a big thing over here. Somehow it just doesn’t catch on. Even though the shops sell Halloween costumes and decorations, even though the TV channels show spooky movies, the people seem reluctant to really get into the spirit. Strange, usually the Germans are always more than willing to adopt foreign customs.


Image Vintage Halloween postcard by riptheskull on flickr

Still, I had a look around for horror classics and found a list at Techland. According to them these are the 15 must-read horror classics. I’m no big fan of horror, so let’s see how many I have read (in italics).

  • The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole, 1764
  • Vathek by William Beckford, 1786
  • The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe, 1794
  • The Monk by Matthew Gregory Lewis, 1796
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, 1818
  • Melmoth the Wanderer by Charles Robert Maturin, 1820
  • Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson, 1886
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, 1890
  • The Great God Pan by Arthur Machen, 1894
  • Dracula by Bram Stoker, 1897
  • The Turn of the Screw by Henry James, 1898
  • The Case of Charles Dexter Ward by H. P. Lovecraft, 1927
  • At the Mountains of Madness by H. P. Lovecraft, 1936
  • Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, 1938
  • Conjure Wife by Fritz Leiber, 1943

5 out of 15, not so great. I always wanted to read Castle of Otranto and, as an Austen lover, The Mysteries of Udolpho, but never got around to doing so. I have to put them on my to-read-list on Goodreads, so I won’t forget. Apart from those two I’m not very interested. Except maybe for Conjure Wife. That sounds interesting. Lovecraft I will definitely give a pass. I tried to read some short stories by him once and found them too weird for me.

Are you a horror lover? How many have you read?


55 Quirky questions for readers, part 1

The Literary Lollipop created this fun quiz about your book habits. She says “Feel free to cut and paste the questionnaire onto your own blogs, or if you would like to add a question, please do so! Did I miss anything? Let me know! Change it around or leave as is… it’s up to you.”

I am breaking this up, because 55 long winded answers from me in one go will probably make your eyes glaze over.

1. Favourite childhood book: The mystery series by Enid Blyton. There were 15 books and I devoured them all. It was the first series of books I collected.

2. What are you reading right now? “The Shipping News” which so far is a bit disappointing, but only because I have watched the film first – always a mistake. The second book I am reading is “Clean Slate” by Aleksandr Voinov, a GLBT novella.

3. What books do you have on request at the library? None. It costs at our library to request books and I am too cheap to pay that fee.

4. Bad book habit: Dog ears

5. What do you currently have checked out at the library? Three books on beading, 2 vegetarian cook books and a cookie baking book. I usually go for non-fiction from the library.

6. Do you have an e-reader? Yes, A Sony PRS 505

7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once? Usually two or three books, so I can switch over when my mood changes.

8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog? No, not really. The difference is now I talk about the books I read on the blog.

9. Least favourite book you read this year: That must have been “Mr. Darcy takes a wife” which was a DNF. I swapped it as soon as possible.

10. Favourite book I’ve read this year: I read many books I liked a lot so far this year. I can’t name a favourite, but the biggest surprise to me was “Enlightened”, a self published book by J. P. Barnaby that I received for review and accepted even though there were a lot of aspects I usually don’t like in a book. Unexpectedly I totally loved it.

That is it for today. Another set of questions will follow shortly. Want to tell me what your answers would be? Join the 55 quirky questions!


The pretentious books meme

At Jockey full of Bourbon I found this pretentious book meme, which sounded like fun. Obviously those are the top 106 “unread” books at The Library Thing. Their purpose on the shelf is to make you look smart or well-rounded (or they could have been a gift). The meme has complicated rules as to underscore, make bold, put in italics etc. depending on the status of the book in your case. Too much effort, but I will make the ones I’ve read bold.

Btw, why anybody would think that putting books like “Angels & Demons” or “The Time-Traveler’s Wife” on his “unread” pile makes him look smart I don’t know. They might be bestsellers, but that’s about it. Give me a break!

  1. Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell
  2. Anna Karenina
  3. Crime and Punishment
  4. Catch-22
  5. One Hundred Years of Solitude
  6. Wuthering Heights
  7. The Silmarillion
  8. Life of Pi : a novel
  9. The Name of the Rose
  10. Ulysses
  11. Don Quixote
  12. Moby Dick
  13. Madame Bovary
  14. The Odyssey
  15. Pride and Prejudice
  16. Jane Eyre
  17. The Tale of Two Cities
  18. The Brothers Karamazov
  19. Guns, Germs, and Steel: the fates of human societies
  20. War and Peace
  21. Vanity Fair
  22. The Time Traveler’s Wife
  23. The Iliad
  24. Emma
  25. The Blind Assassin
  26. The Kite Runner
  27. Mrs. Dalloway
  28. Great Expectations
  29. American Gods
  30. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
  31. Atlas Shrugged
  32. Reading Lolita in Tehran : a memoir in books
  33. Memoirs of a Geisha
  34. Middlesex
  35. Quicksilver
  36. Wicked : the life and times of the wicked witch of the West
  37. The Canterbury Tales
  38. The Historian : a novel
  39. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
  40. Love in the Time of Cholera
  41. Brave New World
  42. The Fountainhead
  43. Foucault’s Pendulum
  44. Middlemarch
  45. Frankenstein
  46. The Count of Monte Cristo
  47. Dracula
  48. A Clockwork Orange
  49. Anansi Boys
  50. The Once and Future King
  51. The Grapes of Wrath
  52. The Poisonwood Bible : a novel
  53. 1984
  54. Angels & Demons
  55. The Inferno (and Purgatory and Paradise)
  56. The Satanic Verses
  57. Sense and Sensibility
  58. The Picture of Dorian Gray
  59. Mansfield Park
  60. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
  61. To the Lighthouse
  62. Tess of the D’Urbervilles
  63. Oliver Twist
  64. Gulliver’s Travels
  65. Les Misérables
  66. The Corrections
  67. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
  68. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
  69. Dune
  70. The Prince
  71. The Sound and the Fury
  72. Angela’s Ashes : a memoir
  73. The God of small things
  74. A People’s History of the United States : 1492-present
  75. Cryptonomicon
  76. Neverwhere
  77. A Confederacy of Dunces
  78. A Short History of Nearly Everything
  79. Dubliners
  80. The Unbearable Lightness of Being
  81. Beloved
  82. Slaughterhouse-five
  83. The Scarlet Letter
  84. Eats, Shoots & Leaves
  85. The Mists of Avalon
  86. Oryx and Crake : a novel
  87. Collapse : how societies choose to fail or succeed
  88. Cloud Atlas
  89. The Confusion
  90. Lolita
  91. Persuasion
  92. Northanger Abbey
  93. The Catcher in the Rye
  94. On the Road
  95. The Hunchback of Notre Dame
  96. Freakonomics : a rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything
  97. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: an inquiry into values
  98. The Aeneid
  99. Watership Down
  100. Gravity’s Rainbow
  101. The Hobbit
  102. In Cold Blood : a true account of a multiple murder and its consequences
  103. White Teeth
  104. Treasure Island
  105. David Copperfield
  106. The Three Musketeers

36 out of 106, that is only 34%. But given that the list is not representative, I’m not too bothered. So, what books can you check off this list?


Literary one hit wonders

Times Online has compiled a list of ten literary one hit wonders. I’ve only read two of them out of my own volition, the third one was forced on me in school.

To kill a mockingbird – Harper Lee
If you’d like to read a few quotes from “To kill a mockingbird” go to Melissa’s blog. She has compiled a few quotes for one the recent Weekly Geeks.

Gone with the wind – Margaret Mitchell
Couldn’t stand Scarlett in the film and therefore never read the book.

Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
Loved it. If you liked Heathcliff, too, you might want to take a look at “Is Heathcliff a murderer?”. The book investigates puzzles in 19th century fiction.

Catcher in the Rye – J. D. Salinger
One of the most boring books ever. Never liked it, never will.

The picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde
Well, it’s Oscar Wilde, so what can I say? One hit wonder doesn’t really apply here. He’s written lots of things and was successful, even though this was his only novel.

A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
It has been published as a Penguin Modern Classic and sounds interesting. Must check it out.

The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
Don’t know. Suicidal people are not my favourite reading material.

Black Beauty – Anna Sewell
Isn’t that about horses? I vaguely remember a TV series when I was a kid. Never watched it though, I was one of the few girls who wasn’t into horses. Don’t think the book is for me either.

Dr. Zhivago – Boris Pasternak
I remember the film with, ah, what is the actor’s name – Omar Sharif. Russian revolution isn’t my thing either, I guess I’m too picky.

The God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy
Sounds interesting, too. Must check it out.

Also, make sure and read the comments of the article. Lots of other suggestions for one hit wonders and some criticism of the above choices.


100 movies to see before you die. Really?

I came across this list at An eerie tapestry. Since I love lists, I thought I’d play along, even though the list has not much to do with books (if anything). I could probably stretch it a bit and say that a lot of them are either based on books or some dubious writer came up with a not so good novelization later to make a few more bucks. Which ones they are I can’t say, that would take too much research and time I don’t want to spend that way. But I’m sure you’ll live without that valuable knowledge.

The bold one I’ve seen, the blue ones I really liked.

12 Angry Men (1957)
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) √
400 Blows (1959)
8 1/2 (1963)
The African Queen (1952)
Alien (1979)
All About Eve (1950)
Annie Hall (1977)
Apocalypse Now (1979)
The Battle of Algiers (1967)
The Bicycle Thief (1948)
Blade Runner (1982)
Blazing Saddles (1974)
Blow Up (1966)
Blue Velvet (1986)
Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
Breathless (1960)
The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
Bringing Up Baby (1938)
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
Casablanca (1942)
Chinatown (1974)
Citizen Kane (1941)
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
Die Hard (1988)
Do the Right Thing (1989)
Double Indemnity (1944)
Dr. Strangelove (1964)
Duck Soup (1933)
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
Enter the Dragon (1973)
The Exorcist (1973)
Fast Times At Ridgemont High (1982)
The French Connection (1971)
The Godfather (1972)
The Godfather, Part II (1974)
Goldfinger (1964)
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1968)
Goodfellas (1990)
The Graduate (1967)

Grand Illusion (1938)
Groundhog Day (1993)
A Hard Day’s Night (1964)
In the Mood For Love (2001)
It Happened One Night (1934)
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
Jaws (1975)
King Kong (1933)
The Lady Eve (1941)
Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
The Lord of the Rings (2001)
M (1931)
M*A*S*H (1970)
The Maltese Falcon (1941)
The Matrix (1999)
Modern Times (1936)
Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
National Lampoon’s Animal House (1978)
Network (1976)
Nosferatu (1922)
On the Waterfront (1954)
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)
Paths of Glory (1958)
Princess Mononoke (1999)
Psycho (1960)
Pulp Fiction (1994)

Raging Bull (1980)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Raise the Red Lantern (1992)
Rashomon (1951)
Rear Window (1954)
Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
Rocky (1976)
Roman Holiday (1953)

Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Schindler’s List (1993)
The Searchers (1956)
Seven Samurai (1954)
The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
Some Like It Hot (1959)
The Sound of Music (1965)
Star Wars (1977)

Sunset Blvd. (1950)
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
The Third Man (1949)
This is Spinal Tap (1984)
Titanic (1997)
To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
Toy Story (1995)
The Usual Suspects (1995)
Vertigo (1958)
When Harry Met Sally… (1989)
Wild Strawberries (1957)

Wings of Desire (1988)
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Women On the Verge of Nervous Breakdown (1988)
The World of Apu (1959)

I don’t know whether I agree with the list. You can certainly live without having seen The sound of music and the like. And obviously I missed a lot of so-called must-sees. In fact I take pride in the fact that I’ve never seen E.T. or Titanic. Some of the films on the list I should certainly go and see, like for example Schindler’s list.

An eerie tapestry (unfortunately I don’t know his name, so I have to call him by the name of his blog) suggested to add a film to the list, which I think is a good idea. He added Brazil, another film, I haven’t seen. Oh well, I’m adding:

Manhattan (1979)


Another 100 books

Lists of books are popular. This list of the nation’s (UK) best loved novels is slightly different from this one. I just wonder who those people are who "love those books best". According to the other list only 6 books of 100 have been read by the average citizen.

1. The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien
2. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
3. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman
4. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling
6. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
7. Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne
8. Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell
9. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis
10. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë
11. Catch-22, Joseph Heller
12. Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë
13. Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks
14. Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier
15. The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
16. The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame
17. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
18. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
19. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres
20. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
21. Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
22. Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone, JK Rowling
23. Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, JK Rowling
24. Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, JK Rowling
25. The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien
26. Tess Of The D’Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy
27. Middlemarch, George Eliot
28. A Prayer For Owen Meany, John Irving
29. The Grapes Of Wrath, John Steinbeck
30. Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
31. The Story Of Tracy Beaker, Jacqueline Wilson
32. One Hundred Years Of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez
33. The Pillars Of The Earth, Ken Follett
34. David Copperfield, Charles Dickens
35. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl
36. Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson
37. A Town Like Alice, Nevil Shute
38. Persuasion, Jane Austen
39. Dune, Frank Herbert
40. Emma, Jane Austen
41. Anne Of Green Gables, LM Montgomery
42. Watership Down, Richard Adams
43. The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald
44. The Count Of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas
45. Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
46. Animal Farm, George Orwell
47. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
48. Far From The Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy
49. Goodnight Mister Tom, Michelle Magorian
50. The Shell Seekers, Rosamunde Pilcher
51. The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
52. Of Mice And Men, John Steinbeck
53. The Stand, Stephen King
54. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
55. A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth
56. The BFG, Roald Dahl
57. Swallows And Amazons, Arthur Ransome
58. Black Beauty, Anna Sewell
59. Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer
60. Crime And Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
61. Noughts And Crosses, Malorie Blackman
62. Memoirs Of A Geisha, Arthur Golden
63. A Tale Of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
64. The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCollough
65. Mort, Terry Pratchett
66. The Magic Faraway Tree, Enid Blyton
67. The Magus, John Fowles
68. Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
69. Guards! Guards!, Terry Pratchett
70. Lord Of The Flies, William Golding
71. Perfume, Patrick Süskind
72. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Robert Tressell
73. Night Watch, Terry Pratchett
74. Matilda, Roald Dahl
75. Bridget Jones’s Diary, Helen Fielding
76. The Secret History, Donna Tartt
77. The Woman In White, Wilkie Collins
78. Ulysses, James Joyce
79. Bleak House, Charles Dickens
80. Double Act, Jacqueline Wilson
81. The Twits, Roald Dahl
82. I Capture The Castle, Dodie Smith
83. Holes, Louis Sachar
84. Gormenghast, Mervyn Peake
85. The God Of Small Things, Arundhati Roy
86. Vicky Angel, Jacqueline Wilson
87. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
88. Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons
89. Magician, Raymond E Feist
90. On The Road, Jack Kerouac
91. The Godfather, Mario Puzo
92. The Clan Of The Cave Bear, Jean M Auel
93. The Colour Of Magic, Terry Pratchett
94. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
95. Katherine, Anya Seton
96. Kane And Abel, Jeffrey Archer
97. Love In The Time Of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez
98. Girls In Love, Jacqueline Wilson
99. The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot
100. Midnight’s Children, Salman Rushdie

A lot of the books are on both lists, but one of my favourite ones appears on this one, No. 71. If you’ve never read "Perfume" I highly recommend it.  Patrick Süskind did a marvelous job describing the world of scents (and stenches). The film was ok, I suppose, considering the topic, but the book is a thousand times better.


100 books

I love lists, and this is a great one. I found it at Thorne’s world, who in turn found it on Nicholas’ A Gentleman’s Domain.

"A list of books that the BBC website had shown some months ago.  There are 100 titles in all and the BBC, or whoever is in charge of this sort of thing at the BBC, reckon that most people will have read only six of them." Six is pretty poor, isn’t it? So, let’s see. I’ll colour the ones I’ve read in blue…

1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien

3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte

4 Harry Potter series – JK Rowling

5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

6 The Bible –

7 Wuthering Heights -Emily Bronte

8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell

9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman

10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens

11 Little Women – Louisa M Alcott

12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy

13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller

14 Complete Works of Shakespeare

15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier

16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien

17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulk

18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger

19 The Time Traveller’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger

20 Middlemarch – George Eliot

21 Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell

22 The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald

23 Bleak House – Charles Dickens

24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy

25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams

26 Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh

27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

28 The Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck

29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll

30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame

31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy

32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens

33 Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis

34 Emma – Jane Austen

35 Persuasion – Jane Austen

36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – CS Lewis

37 The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini

38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres

39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden

40 Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne

41 Animal Farm – George Orwell

42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown

43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

44 A Prayer for Owen Meany – John Irving

45 The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins

46 Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery

47 Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy

48 The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood

49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding

50 Atonement – Ian McEwan

51 Life of Pi – Yann Martel

52 Dune – Frank Herbert

53 Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons

54 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen

55 A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth

56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon

57 A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens

58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley

59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon

60 Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

61 Of Mice and Men- John Steinbeck

62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov

63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt

64 The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold

65 Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas

66 On The Road – Jack Kerouac

67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy

68 Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding

69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie

70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville

71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens

72 Dracula – Bram Stoker

73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett

74 Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson

75 Ulysses – James Joyce

76 The Inferno – Dante

77 Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome

78 Germinal – Emile Zola

79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray

80 Possession – AS Byatt

81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens

82 Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell

83 The Color Purple – Alice Walker

84 The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro

85 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert

86 A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry

87 Charlotte’s Web – EB White

88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom

89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

90 The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton

91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad

92 The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery

93 The Wasp Factory – Iain Bank

94 Watership Down – Richard Adams

95 A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole

96 A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute

97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas

98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare

99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl

100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

What a fun list, and what variety! I’m glad, they have Vikram Seth on it, as well as Nevil Shute. I haven’t thought of Donna Tartt’s book for a long time, I must get it out again and re-read it.


Actually I just found another 100 books list at BBC which is obviously some reader’s choice list. Also interesting. I’ll go over that one later.