Impressions from the reading life

Orlando - Virgina Woolf
"Und dann versuchte er zu sagen, dass das Gras grün ist und der Himel blau, und damit den strengen Geist der Poesie zu versöhnen, den er nach wie vor weiterhin verehrte, wenn auch mit großem Abstand.
"Der Himmel ist blau", sagte er, "das Gras ist grün."
Als er den Blick hob, sah er, dass im Gegenteil der Himmel aussieht wie Schleier, die zahllose Madonnen von ihren Haaren fallen lassen, und dass das Gras schwindet und sich verdunkelt wie ein Schwarm Mädchen, die vor den Umarmungn behaartr Satyrn aus verzauberten Hainen fliehen.
"Auf mein Wort", sagte er (denn er war in die schlechte Gewohnheit verfallen, laute Selbstgespräche zu führen), "ich wüsste nicht, wie eines wahrer sein sollte als das andere. Beide sind durch und durch falsch." Und er verzweifelte an der Aufgabe zu definieren, was Posie war und was Wahrheit, und tiefe Verzagtheit kam über ihn."
Orlando - Virgina Woolf
"So then he tried saying the grass is green and the sky is blue and so to propitiate the austere spirit of poetry whom still, though at a great distance, he could not help reverencing.
"The sky is blue," he said, "the grass is green."
Looking up, he saw that, on the contrary, the sky is like the veils which a thousand Madonnas have let fall from their hair; and the grass fleets and darkens like a flight of girls fleeing the embraces of hairy satyrs from enchanted woods. "Upon my word," he said (for he had fallen into the bad habit of speaking aloud), "I don't see that one's more true than another. Both are utterly false." And he despaired of being able to solve the problem of what poetry is and what truth is and fell into a deep dejection."

March Challenge: Take Control of your TBR Pile!

Take Control of Your TBR Pile

It's time for another challenge! Well, actually this time it is just a more official way to follow my monthly reading list, but hey, I liked the button.


So, this challenge is hosted by It runs through the month of March, trying to get us to read books we already own. There are two restrictions: No novellas, and no books published after March 1st.

There will also be a Twitter Party on Wednesday March 16th (7pm EST) and a
24 hour TBR read-a-thon on Saturday March 12th. You can sign here. There is also a chance to win a book, if you're interested.


To keep this post short and sweet, here's a sneek peak of what I want to read in March:


The Guermantes Way (Marcel Proust) ☕ Gay Berlin (Robert Beachy) ☕ Bonjour Tristesse (Francoise Sagan) ☕ Demon Lord of Karanda (David Eddings) ☕ Tintenfass #22 ☕ Orlando (Virginia Woolf)

Unhaul #1

Where did all these books from? *innocent smile*

No really, I don't remember picking up hat novel about Sophie La Roche at all.

I post this because I know we all share the same problem: So many books, so little time. And space! So let me motivate you with my first purge of the year!



So, all the books I got rid of are unread ones. My tbr pile is at 110 (after the unhauling), and feels more fit for my reading habits. That is a good feeling.


Some of the books were just too pretty when I found them, but I realize now that I have no interest in their contents (Flatscreen by Adam Wilson, Prophecy by S. J. Parris). Others sounded interesting when I acquired them, but I never got around to them and now the interest has worn off (Hotel, Tortilla Flat). A third group consists of books I still want to read, but I'm sure I don't need to own a personal copy of (the Alex Capus and Italo Calvino, the latter looked a bit rough too).


I paid for none of these books in the first place, so it's not too hard to let go of them. I acquire almost all my books from bookcrossing shelves. It also makes it easier to give away the books I did pay for but don't want to keep, because I feel like I'm giving back, feeding a system I love.


My plan is to next time unhaul books from the "read" shelves. Tackling those will be super hard, I've had many of these books for such a long time. I have this habit of keeping all the books I ever had to read for school and university. It's taking up a lot of space and I really didn't enjoy some of the books. I haven't decided yet if they form a piece of my reading personality or if I can get rid of them. The worst thing would be to give them away and regret it later.


Look what I found

Unterwegs in die Welt von morgen: Ein Mann in einer fremden Welt - Robert A Heinlein

The latest addition to my tbr collection, fresh from the bookcrossing shelf: Robert A. Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land.

Now, this is a classic so I couldn't let this opportunity pass. But I'm aware of some of the issues in this book that will sure bother me.

I sneak-peeked into the book and read the first sentence: "Once upon a time there was a Martian named Valentine Michael Smith."

It kind of reminded of The Martian which had been a letdown for me and my fiancé. Also, it's fairy tale opening adds a nice twist. So I was hoping to hold a better, classier Martian in hand. Of course when I dug deeper and found out about all the sexism, racism, and whatnot that seems to be contained in this novel, my expectations sank. Or rather: I was disappointed before even having started reading. Crazy bookworm feels. Still, I shelved it. Someday I'll read this, just not now. I need to get over today's impressions.

#boutofbooks 15 Re-cap

What a turbulent week. It was filled with the unexpected. Nevertheless, I got some reading done. Of course part of the unexpectedness was my new library card, along with the realization that my old library card would soon expire. So I ended up grabbing all the soon no longer available audiobooks that I simply needed to listen to.

In the end, I only read a small part of what I thought I would get to, but hey.


Pages read: 811. I finished Heidi. I read half of each The Universe versus Alex Woods and Fun Home. Although the latter is a Graphic Novel, it is still heavy on text, even for one of its kind, so my plan to finish it on Sunday was doomed. I'm glad I can spread the experience over a few more days.

Minutes listened: 18h 48m. I finished Nordische Märchen und Sagen, The Japanese Lover, and Farmer Giles of Ham. I'm still left with roughly 2 hours of Eden.


The only letdown of the week was Isabel Allende. I met her at the Frankfurt Book Fair and was impressed by her presence alone (she is charismatic as hell). She had great things to say and made her new novel sound interesting, so I queued in for it at the library. I waited three months to get it. My disappointment therefore is a complex one.


Heidi was a joy, with all its faults.


Nordische Märchen und Sagen was a nice compilation of fairy tales, beliefs, and myths from the North.

#boutofbooks 15, Day 7

Bout of BooksHappy Sunday!
Again it is beautiful outside and I'll spend my day (mostly) outdoors. Also must prepare some appointments next week. But now some quick numbers on my reading during the readathon:
Pages read: 705
Minutes listened: ~14h 30m
I finished Heidi (book), The Japanese Lover, Nordische Sagen und Märchen, and Farmer Giles of Ham (all audio).
I'm currently reading The Universe versus Alex Woods and Fun Home, and listening to Eden by Stanisław Lem.
I know I won't be able to finish The Universe versus Alex Woods today, but I hope to read Fun Home and make a dent in Eden.

#boutofbooks 15, Day 6

Bout of BooksAlmost forgot to post!
Again yesterday was busy. With beautiful weather for a change, I spent my spare time outdoors. So not much reading to report; I listened to audiobooks instead.
To be honest with you, I don't know what I'm gonna do withthe rest of today. My flat is a construction site right now, it's noisy and chaotic. I just returned from the library where I at least was able to work for a couple of hours. Now it's closed and I have no idea if I can concentrate on a book amidst this chaos.
Wish me luck as I wish you a great Saturday!

#boutofbooks 15, Day 5

Bout of BooksI read 62 pages last night. Not much, but at least I got some sleep.
Total: 508 pages.
The Universe vs Alex Woods now gets really interesting because Alex finally met his tutor Mr. Peterson. First thing he did was to give him all his Vonegut books. Now I really must get to them eventually.
Today's Challenge: Scavenger Hunt

Book Shelves | A book you’re planning to read/currently reading for Bout of Books | A Book and a Beverage | Blue Books |Cozy Reading Spot


#boutofbooks 15

Cozy reading spot


I shamelessly combined two of the tasks, presenting you 4 pics: The pretty yellow spine is The Universe vs Alex Woods, which I'm currently reading. Next to it is a stack of blue books from my tbr shelf, which you can also see. On top of the blue books you can see the latest addition to my tea cup collection. The writing says "Best friend". FYI, the cup was filled with delicious green tea. Last but not least, a cozy reading spot. It's not in my flat, but I'll never forget that place and hope to return to it ASAP. It's a book shop in Hay-on-Wye. What could be more appropriate?

I didn't include a picture of my reading spot because honestly I don't have one, or not the one I always go to. Also, the flat still looks chaotic weeks after the actual move.


So, do you have one fixed reading nook?




Instead of reading my book I'm listening to some audiobooks. My library membership for my ex-hometown expires in 10 days and some of the audiobooks on Overdrive are not available from my new library's account.

I listened to The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende (not impressed, but it was not bad) and Farmer Giles of Ham (read by a very popular narrator who sadly passed away long ago). I also checked out audiobooks of Eden by Stanislaw Lem and a collection of Nordic Fairy Tales that features some of my favourite narrators.

#boutofbooks 15, Day 4

Bout of BooksOkay, today at least I can say for certain that I will be very busy. But there might be some reading time if I have to spend time in a waiting room.
I read 98 pages yesterday, again most of it late, which makes my total 446 pages.
The Universe against Alex Woods is entertaining and packed with science facts. At least I didn't expect that. Alex, who tells the story, is quite talkative and keeps digressing - a bit ennerving. But at the same time, he's a really nice lad. Maybe it just wasn't the right time, as soon as I can really emerge into the book I'm sure the digressions won't bother me anymore.
Today's Challenge: Villain Mash-Up
♬ Monster mash, the monster mash...♬
I'm supposed to pick two villains from different books who I'd like to see fight (in any way).
Mh. I need to ponder this. Will be back sometime.
Update: I encountered some interesting combinations, not really villain v villain but alternate stories. Like what would happen if Haggard from The Last Unicorn collected Triffids? Or what if Siegfried from the Nibelungen hunted down pigs with the boys in The Lord of the Flies? I could go on.
As for the intention of this challenge, I discovered two things: I don't memorize my villains well, and most of my read book don't have villains in the flesh.
Also it is my top priority not to spoil books for you.
So in the end I pic two classic villains who would just be hilarious would they meet (or rather, be locked in a room together).
Enter Hook, the Pirate with exceptional good manners, and The Queen of Hearts, who always gets what she wants (and if not, goes into tantrums).
I imagine the Queen would insist on whatever, while Hook would be shocked by her behaviour and trying to bring her to her senses while pressing her to respect him. Although it would be a verbal fight, the Queen might slap Hook every once in a while with her fan, when she becomes too agitated. I can see their egos collide easily!
So that is it for my villain mash-up.
See you later with reading updates.

Heidi: Unrealistic, simplistic, but a great cheerer-upper

Heidi - Johanna Spyri

Don't get me wrong, I loved this book. Thing is, in the end it got more and more saccharine and unrealistic. I still recommend this book: I was invested with the characters and their stories, although they were simplistic.

Heidi is such a good-natured creature that it almost seems she's incapable of anger, which might be unsettling or unnerving to some. But to me it was the perfect book, it's definitely a cheerer-upper and if you're feeling down, you should definitely check it out.

#boutofbooks 15, Day 3

Bout of BooksIn a late night reading session, I finished Heidi! In the end, the heavenly blessings overtook a bit, but all in all I really loved the story and its' characters.
So Tuesday totals come in at 207 pages; overall I've read 348 pages equalling one book.
What's next?
I pick... *walking off to book shelf* The Universe Versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence. I bought this on a whim because it looked so pretty ;) Haven't heard a bad word about it since so I'm really looking forward to it. Updates will follow (though they may come in late).
Challenge of the Day: Rainbows
I'm too tired right now to go for the photo option, so I'll form an acrostic that reads the initials of the colours of the rainbow (this is an official option, I'm not making this up). All authors on the list are authors I've read before and enjoyed doing so.

R – Ruppelt, Lars: This is a German poetry slam performer. I recently bought an audiobook of his, and listening to it, collapsed on the kitchen floor laughing.

O – Ozeki, Ruth: I read A Tale for the Time Being last April and instantly fell in love.

Y – Yeats, William Butler: His poems are full of myth and melancholy (okay, sometimes folly).

G – Germain, Sylvie: This sadly obscure writer published the most magical family saga ever, including a man with a golden shadow.

B – Barrie, James Matthew: If you don't know how much I adore Peter Pan, you don't know anything about me.

I – Ibbotson, Eva: The Secret of Platform 13 inspired J.K. Rowlings' platform 9 3/4. An entertaining childrens book.

V – Verne, Jules: If you have never tried any book by M. Verne, what are you doing?



I should call this a nightly readathon, I always seem to end up doing all the reading at night. Again, things went not as expected, so that I'm currently hardly done with chapter one of my book. But I'm off to bed now, and that means I'll finally have some comfy reading time before I lull off and wake up to a new round of cirque du chaos which is my life right now.

See you tomorrow with more daily life madness and hopefully some reading.

#boutofbooks 15, Day 2

Bout of Books...that escalated quickly. Yesterday after work, I didn't return to Heidi but went to see The Force Awakens instead :)
Sorry Heidi. If you had a spaceship (picture that!), I might have remained true to you.
So as things are, my Monday totals at 141 pages. Considering my reading for the last couple of months it is not even bad.
Needless to say my goal for today is to finish Heidi. Literally. Or what?

Challenge Time

Today's challenge is a round of Would you rather. Let's see what the questions are.


Would you rather lend books to someone who dog-ears pages or to someone who reads with cheesy Cheetos fingers?

Ugh. Dog-eared pages it is. At least they don't stink.

Would you rather be able to meet one character of your choice or meet one author of your choice?

There are some authors I'd love to meet, but there is always the possibility of terrible disappointment. So I'll go with meet the character. An early Anne Shirley maybe.

Would you rather never be allowed in a book store again or never be allowed in a library again?

I've moved recently and now have access to the most wonderful library. I'd rather never set foot in a book shop again than never be able to lend all the books, DVDs, and music I want. Easy choice when you think about it.

Would you rather have to choose one of your favorite characters to die in their book or have to pick one of your favorite couples to break up in their book?

Phew. I'm not into romance at all, actually I like sad stories, so the break-up it is.

Would you rather be required to read Twilight once a year for the rest of your life or The Scarlet Letter once a year for the rest of your life?

He. I pick The Scarlett Letter. Even if I don't like it, at least I can bear the writing and get something out of it other than rage.


Updates will follow. See you!



A client sent me unexpected work, so I only managed to read another 100 pages of Heidi. I'm stil loving it, but it is time I get to another book this week. Other things keep popping up and that bugs me.

I love how good-natured Heidi is. Yes, it is on the verge of saccharine fluff, but honestly I don't care. Every character in the book is precious to me, I never knew I liked them so much. Maybe I've read the book multiple times in the past without remembering it?

#boutofbooks 15, Day 1

Bout of Books

Here we go! My books are all lined up, I have a cuppa sitting next to my easy chair, I'm all ready to start a week of reading!

I decided to read Heidi first. While remembering it for its' archaic style I'm sure I'll just fly through it. I'm excited to finally reread this children's classic!


If for whatever reason you do not know what Heidi is about: It follows young orphan Heidi, who's sent to live with her grandpa on a mountain well outside the next village somewhere in the Swiss Alps. The old man carries a grudge against men and God. Heidis' loving nature soon brings joy back into his life.


I'll be adding my updates for this day to this post so I don't spam others. My secret hope is to read the whole thing today, but I've some other work to do as well, so this might be too ambitious.


Update 12.00h

I'm now on page 141 and must finally get to work :-/

Really enjoying this so far. All the memories come back. I remember feeling very sorry for Heidi when she is so misunderstood by Ms. Rottenmeier, who refuses to grasp Heidi's nature. But Heidi is very lucky to meet with so many people who are good and do like her at first glance.

#boutofbooks 15 is coming / January reading

Bout of Books


Yep, it's that time again. Next week, a hoard of joyously chatting readers will flood the internet with their reading updates, pictures, and all that jazz.


The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 4th and runs through Sunday, January 10th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 15 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team


Since my reading plans for January are made I'll just share the whole thing with you guys. Let's see what I can get through during the readathon.


Reading List (aka the random list of books I might or might not pick up during boutofbooks, January, or at all)


Marcel Proust: Swann's Way

Starting my reread of In Search of Lost Time, yay! I'm rather excited to finally try again and hopefully succeed this time. Not like that time when I called the whole thing off in the middle of book 5. I will be listening to the unabridged audiobook version, I'm not insane, people.

Johanna Spyri: Heidi

I read this maybe 15 years ago as a child, marvelling at the strange language (archaic Austrian accent). Now that I'm a linguist I'm looking forward to diving into this sound again.

Gavin Extence: The Universe vs Alex Woods

Let's say this is my random tbr pile read for the month. I bought this book on a whim, not knowing what I was going for. You could say that still is my status quo.

Katherine Dunn: Geek Love

Book one for my Women's Century Challenge, where I chose 10 books from 10 consecutive decades all authored by women. No, I'm not much of a chronological reader, so let me start with the Eighties in peace.

David Eddings: King of the Murgos

Another reread, but this time in English, this is book two of the Malloreon saga. I'm slowly making my way through all books featuring Garion&Co., approximately with the fascinating speed of the continental shift.

Ransom Riggs: Ms. Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

A group read I might want to join if time allows. The movie adaptation for this is scheduled for christmas 2016, and I don't like being spoiled by trailers, so I rather get to this ASAP.

Robert Beachy: Gay Berlin. Birthplace of a Modern Identity

I requested this for review and the book has just arrived before christmas. Couldn't start it right away and it is a big book, but I want to read it badly. Maybe I can get a bite out of it.

Merry Christmas to you!
Merry Christmas to you!