MissWatson ROOTs

Discussão2023 ROOT CHALLENGE

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MissWatson ROOTs

Editado: Maio 31, 1:56 am

I am going to take things easy this year without a reading commitment. Just aiming for 75 books from my TBR. Everything I owned before 2 January 2023 counts.
ETA: I'm keeping a master list without touchstone here, so it won't take too long for the thread to load.

1. The trampling of the lilies by Rafael Sabatini
2. Wachtmeister Studer by Friedrich Glauser
3. Die Flucht nach Ägypten by Otfried Preußler
4. Der Wiener Kongress 1814/15 by Wolf D. Gruner
5. Die Vögel by Tarjei Vesaas
6. The Belton estate by Anthony Trollope
7. Fer-de-lance by Rex Stout
8. The Sea-Hawk by Rafael Sabatini
9. Ungarische Erzähler

10. Brothers of the wind by Tad Williams
11. The spy who came in from the cold by John Le Carré
12. The Cold War Swap by Ross Thomas
13. Das Bestiarium von Mähren by Vlastimil Vondruska
14. Ariane, jeune fille russe by Claude Anet
15. The corner that held them by Sylvia Townsend Warner
16. Gold by Bernd-Stefan Grewe

17. Pünktchen und Anton by Erich Kästner
18. 14 – Der Große Krieg by Oliver Janz
19. The Dry by Jane Harper

20. Un long dimanche de fiançailles by Sébastien Japrisot
21. Third girl by Agatha Christie
22. Phoebe, Junior by Mrs Oliphant
23. The Chosen by Chaim Potok
24. Royal Flash by George Macdonald Fraser

25. The enchanted castle by Edith Nesbit
26. Auf dem Staatshof by Theodor Storm
27. Vera by Elizabeth von Arnim
28. Troubles by J. G. Farrell
29. Lavalette by Golo Mann
30. Der Tote im Fleet by Boris Meyn

Editado: Jan 5, 6:00 am

Ticker thread

Jan 5, 5:23 am

Glad to see you back, Birgit - happy new year!

Jan 5, 5:24 am

Thanks, Jackie! Just working my way round the threads. Catching up at the beginning of January is time-consuming!

Jan 5, 6:36 am

Knocking on everyone's thread to say hi is definitely a bit of a trek, but it is nice to see so many familiar folks. Happy to see you back here and looking forward to seeing what you pick up.

Jan 5, 6:44 am

Happy New Year, Birgit! Here's to a great reading year for all of us, no matter how many books that ends up being.

Jan 5, 7:13 am

Welcome back to ROOTing, Birgit. Happy New Year

Jan 5, 7:19 am

>5 Caramellunacy: >6 rosalita: >7 Robertgreaves: Thanks for dropping in! I hope you're all settling down nicely to ROOTing.

Jan 5, 10:33 am

Happy New Year, Birgit! Cheers to a great year of ROOTing!

Jan 5, 10:44 am

Happy New Year, Birgit. So good to see you ROOTing again. It would not be the same without you.

Jan 5, 11:03 am

Welcome back! Cheers to creating breathing space in this year's ROOTing.

Jan 5, 12:30 pm

Happy ROOTing, Birgit. I like your no theme, no reading commitment goals. Sounds good and enjoy your reading.

Jan 5, 1:46 pm

Happy new year, Birgit. I have you starred!

Jan 5, 5:57 pm

Welcome back and happy new year! Looking forward to seeing what ROOTs you uncover!

Jan 6, 9:42 am

>9 Carmenere: Thanks! I hope there will be many great findsa on the shelves.
>10 connie53: Same here, Connie, it's not the same without you.
>11 detailmuse: Thanks. Setting a theme is fun, but it can be limiting when it comes to picking your next book.
>12 Ann_R: And Happy ROOTing to you, too!
>13 curioussquared: Thanks! Great to have you here!
>14 rabbitprincess: Thanks, RP. I hope to find some great ones this year.

Jan 6, 9:48 am

ROOT #1 is The trampling of the lilies by Rafael Sabatini

This has been languishing on my Kobo almost since I bought it and discovered Project Gutenberg. It is one of his earlier books and rather short, but it has all the zest of his more famous novels. Set in the French Revolution, we have a humbly-born, ambitious young man falling in love with a girl from the aristocracy. All ends well though. Which is a nice start to my ROOTing year.

Jan 6, 1:37 pm

Happy Reading in 2023. I'll look forward to following along. Cheers!

Jan 7, 6:13 am

>17 rocketjk: Thanks for dropping in!

Jan 7, 6:16 am

ROOT #2 is Wachtmeister Studer by Friedrich Glauser

The Friedrich-Glauser-Prize is a prestigious award for German-language mysteries, and yet I never got around to reading this author. My loss, as it turns out that this is a great story. First published in 1934, it is inspired by Simenon's Maigret and shares his psychological insights. But it is also very Swiss, and I had to look up some of the unknown words. Definitely a series I will continue.

Jan 7, 8:15 am

Hi MissWatson, happy reading in 2023.

Jan 8, 8:40 am

>20 QuestingA: Thanks! And the same to you!

Jan 9, 3:49 am

ROOT #3 is Die Flucht nach Ägypten by Otfried Preußler

The author is best known for his children's books which I adored as a child. This one is quite different, and probably taken from legends he heard from his parents and grandparents, as the Holy Family travel through Habsburg Bohemia on their way to Egypt. They meet local saints and local people, and it is related as if told at a fireside family gathering, in the unmistakable phrasing of Bohemian German. Odd, but lovely.

Jan 9, 3:52 am

ROOT #4 is Der Wiener Kongress 1814/15 by Wolf D. Gruner

I read this in small instalments at the laundromat and it took me more than a year to finish. Dry stuff, and the details won't stick, but at the end he gives a useful summary of other historians' works on the congress of Vienna which I may return to.

Jan 11, 7:23 pm

Happy New Year and Happy Reading!

Jan 12, 2:58 am

>24 enemyanniemae: Hello and thanks!

Jan 14, 10:06 am

ROOT #5 is Die Vögel by Tarjei Vesaas

I bought this because of the cover and because it says on the blurb that it is a Norwegian modern classic. And it is wonderful, a book to be read slowly to savour the language. We see the world through the eyes of Mattis who is a bit slow, can't hold down a job, because his thoughts are always going elsewhere, and yet...this was just great.

Jan 14, 11:51 am

>26 MissWatson: I thought this rang a bell - it was the book discussed on a recent episode of Backlisted, one of my favourite podcasts. The episode is here: https://www.backlisted.fm/episodes/175-tarjei-vesaas-the-ice-palace

Jan 15, 6:43 am

>26 MissWatson: That sounds so atmospheric - and like the mood fits these winter days.

Jan 15, 8:59 am

>26 MissWatson: Thanks! I also bought The Ice Palace and am eager to start.
>27 Jackie_K: Oh yes, a great book for winter althought the action happens in summer.

Jan 18, 10:24 am

ROOT #6 is The Belton estate by Anthony Trollope

Trollope is a reliable comfort read, much appreciated on cold, dark winter evenings. And while Clara won't count among my favourite Trollope heroines, it was a pleasant story.

Editado: Jan 22, 8:17 am

ROOT #7 is Fer-de-lance by Rex Stout

When I first opened this book a couple of years ago, I couldn't get into it. This time around I really appreciated and enjoyed it.

Jan 22, 1:25 pm

>31 MissWatson: Glad to hear it, Birgit!

Jan 23, 3:21 am

>32 rosalita: It is really strange how a book needs to be opened at the right time in the right mood. This time I really enjoyed the 1930s details.

Jan 23, 7:10 am

>33 MissWatson: So true! I encourage you to continue with the series — it gets better over time as Stout "learns" who his characters are.

Jan 23, 7:29 am

>34 rosalita: I will definitely pick up any I come across!

Jan 23, 7:35 am

ROOT #8 is The Sea-Hawk by Rafael Sabatini

This is something completely different, a ripping yarn about a Cornish aristocrat betrayed by his brother who ends up as the captain of a galley for the Barbary pirates in the 16th century. The author knows his history, and I'm keen to learn more about the times, preferably not written from an English viewpoint. There's quite enough available about the intrepid seafarers and pirates of Queen Bess. Something about Andrea Doria or the battle of Lepanto, I think...

Jan 23, 7:44 am

>35 MissWatson: Excellent! The good news is that this series does not need to be read in order at all, other than I would recommend saving the last book (A Family Affair) for last. Other than that, you can dip in and out however you find them.

Jan 23, 12:32 pm

>36 MissWatson: I read Sabatini's Scaramouche a few years ago and very much enjoyed it. And of course there was Captain Blood when I was a youngster. To this American's ears/eyes, Rafael Sabatini is the best name ever for an adventure book author. Just rolls off the tongue.

Jan 24, 3:32 am

>37 rosalita: They are a bit hard to find in English in my neck of the woods, but I'll be on the lookout.

>38 rocketjk: I have avoided Scaramouche until now because of Stewart Granger (and the ending), and if my Vintage edition has as many typos as the other one, I'll need to look for an ebook. But Captain Blood was fabulous! The thing I find most surprising is how well he adapts his dialogue to the period he's writing about. The Elizabethans address each other quite differently from the French 18th century aristocrats. Right now I'm reading Mistress Wilding which is set during the Monmouth rebellion, and it also has quite distinctive speech patterns.

Jan 24, 12:12 pm

>39 MissWatson: " The thing I find most surprising is how well he adapts his dialogue to the period he's writing about."

Hey, that's interesting! I don't know that I even would have noticed that.

Jan 26, 6:10 am

>40 rocketjk: The difference is very noticeable when you switch immediately from the 18th to the 16th century.

Jan 30, 5:26 am

ROOT #9 is Ungarische Erzähler

An anthology of 16 stories or novellas by different Hungarian authors, all unknown to me but good enough to go looking for more. My favourite was a story about Lancelot by Antal Szerb, which was unusual in this compilation, all others are set in Hungary. And the book is a keeper because it was published by Manesse who make beautiful little books.

Well, well, 9 ROOTs already. It's been a good reading month, but now we're starting work on our annual report and that may cut into my energy...

Fev 3, 4:38 am

ROOT #10 is Brothers of the wind by Tad Williams

This is a prequel to the Osten Ard trilogy and I love this world. Here we meet Ineluki before he was the Storm King, but we get to understand where he comes from. The story's hero, though, is his brother Hakatri, who devised the plan to kill a dragon which ends in misery for both brothers. It is told by Hakatri's squire, who is from the despised race of the Tinukeda'ya, and sets up lots of intriguing glimpses for the final books where I hope to find all my questions about them answered.

Fev 7, 6:14 am

ROOT #11 is The spy who came in from the cold by John Le Carré

I last read this when Alec Guinness played George Smiley on TV, and to my delight it is every bit as good as I remember it. So good in fact that I immediately ordered Call for the dead and The looking-glass war, because for some reason I didn't read them way back when.

Fev 9, 4:17 am

ROOT #12 is The Cold War Swap by Ross Thomas

This is a re-read, and a keeper. Some of the characters' attitudes are a bit dated, but is a ripping spy thriller involving a tunnel under the Berlin Wall, and the author certainly knows his setting.

Editado: Fev 11, 11:59 am

>43 MissWatson: I love Tad Williams' books, especially the Otherland series.

Fev 12, 9:07 am

>46 connie53: The Otherland series didn't work for me when I tried it, I just couldn't get into the characters.

Fev 15, 4:13 am

ROOT #13 is Das Bestiarium von Mähren by Vlastimil Vondruska

This is a historical mystery set in the 13th century in Bohemia. This time it's about finding out who robbed six chests of silver money belonging to King Otakar II, and the investigation gets sidetracked into the killings of several women, apparently by a werewolf. The setting is unusual, but I found it overlong and badly organised, and the dialogue was way too modern (which could be a problem with the translation). And since it fell apart during reading, I can calmly part with it.

Fev 18, 10:33 am

ROOT #14 is Ariane, jeune fille russe by Claude Anet

This was weird, and not in a good way. It's about a young girl, barely eighteen, who lives in a small town in the South of Russia and is the ruling queen of her small world. She's described as very cold and manipulative. Next we see her in Moscow at university, she meets an older man and has an affair with him, both constantly saying that they are not in love, it's a sexual affair only. He starts obsessing about her previuous lovers, she taunts him with them, he ends the affair – and then things take a 180 degree turn which I simply didn't buy.

Fev 19, 5:35 am

>47 MissWatson: Wrong books, wrong time? Or just not your cup of tea. Lots of other books to read.

Fev 20, 5:02 am

>50 connie53: Possibly. Who knows, maybe we'll meet again some time in the future.

Fev 21, 4:03 am

ROOT #15 is The corner that held them by Sylvia Townsend Warner

Who would have thought that a book about a small convent of nuns tucked away in a remote corner of east Anglia would prove such an engrossing read? But it was. The time is the 14th century, the Black Death has just killed the convent priest and a few nuns, and we follow the others over a few decades. The landscape is lovingly evoked, the women shown in all their individuality, and there's also a space for music. Fabulous.

Mar 1, 8:40 am

ROOT #16 is Gold by Bernd-Stefan Grewe

A short monograph on gold as a cult object, means of payment, the history of its mining and importance in curency policy. Quite enlightening. And I finished it on the last day of February, so my final tally is 7 ROOTs this month.

Mar 15, 4:30 am

ROOT #17 is Pünktchen und Anton by Erich Kästner

This was a re-read, a childhood favourite that has held up well. It wasn't quite as light-hearted as I needed it to be, though. The wintery weather is affecting me, I think.

Mar 16, 5:59 am

ROOT #18 is 14 – Der Große Krieg

Non-fiction about World War I, rather brief, but it covers much ground. It's a good introduction to the subject.

Mar 26, 10:26 am

ROOT #19 is The Dry by Jane Harper

Finally another ROOT! I've been busy with new books lately. This is a competent mystery, but the unusual (for me) setting in Australia more than made up for it. I'll probably pick up the sequel if I run into it.

Mar 27, 2:52 pm

Hi Birgit, I’m finally making it round to other threads. I feel similarly about The Dry. I’m not really drawn to mysteries these days, but I enjoyed the Australian setting, so am happy to read her other books while not actively seeking them out…

>52 MissWatson: This sounds good!

Mar 28, 3:44 am

>57 Rebeki: Thanks for dropping in! And The corner that held them really is a lovely read.

Mar 28, 9:21 am

>52 MissWatson:. That sounds lovely indeed.

>56 MissWatson:. I loved all the books by Jane Harper and will buy them blindly. I'm now waiting for the translation of Exiles which will be somewhere in August.

Mar 29, 3:38 am

>59 connie53: Hi, Connie! The Jane Harper books are now cropping up at my charity bookshop, so I am confident of reading more of them. The prices for English books have gone up remarkably since Brexit, so I am waiting for special offers or secondhands.

Editado: Mar 29, 4:06 am

>60 MissWatson: Birgit, do you know about Abebooks? They are an online clearing house for second hand books, if you can't find something locally.

There are also subscription libraries like Scribd where you can read as many of their ebooks as you want for USD9.99 a month, while the Internet Archive works like a library and you can borrow scanned copies of books for one hour at a time (renewable, obviously) for free.

Mar 30, 5:43 am

>60 MissWatson: Thanks, Robert. I used to buy quite a lot from Abebooks, but then the EU mandated two-factor authorisation for credit cards, and my bank insists that you need a smartphone for their system. Which I don't have, and I am not going to do online banking or any of those online payment systems, so I am stuck for the moment. I could do ILL in my library, but frankly, with all those books on my TBR I don't feel much urgency.

Abr 5, 9:47 am

I'm heading off to my sister for the Easter weekend. No ROOTing over the next few days, I'm afraid. Have a lovely time!

Abr 5, 12:23 pm

>63 MissWatson: Safe journey, Birgit, and Happy Easter!

Abr 13, 1:59 pm

>64 Jackie_K: Thanks, Jackie! The weather could have been better, but everything else was fine.

Abr 13, 2:02 pm

ROOT #20 is Un long dimanche de fiançailles by Sébastien Japrisot

Editado: Abr 23, 9:09 am

ROOT #21 is Third girl by Agatha Christie

A Poirot story written in the sixties, and you get the feeling that Dame Agatha was very dissatisfied with the way of things.

edited for touchstone

Abr 23, 9:09 am

ROOT #22 is Phoebe, Junior by Mrs Oliphant

The last book in the Carlingford Chronicles, but these can be read out of order. I think this is my favourite, as it has a truly remarkable heroine in Phoebe, a very level-headed, practical young woman. And the author tells us so much about life in the Victorian age that you don't get from male authors. Refreshingly unsentimental, she creates characters that are real people with flaws.
I've had this on my Kobo since I bought it and need to get around to her other books soon.

Abr 25, 5:52 am

ROOT #23 is The Chosen by Chaim Potok

This is very much removed from my own life, but the father-son relationship is explored in a very satisfying way.

Abr 30, 10:52 am

ROOT #24 is Royal Flash by George Macdonald Fraser

This was a re-read after more than thirty years, and I'm pleased that I very much enjoyed it, despitebeing rather politically incorrect.

Abr 30, 10:58 am

And that's the last day of April. I'm not sorry to see the back of this month, which has been full of upsetting events. The most serious being a cyber attack on the library where I work, we're still not fully operational again. It has sent my ROOTing into a nosedive, too.

Abr 30, 11:43 am

>71 MissWatson: cyber attacks are awful. hope your library recovers soon.

Maio 1, 4:57 am

>72 si: Yes, they bring home how utterly dependent we have become on the digital world.

Maio 10, 3:11 am

ROOT #25 is The enchanted castle by E. Nesbit

I've owned this since before LT and because real life is busy it took me several days to finish it. I was surprised to find it is quite different in style from Frances Burnett, not nearly as prim. Other things are dated, such as the social attitudes, but it has interesting ideas about wishes and wish fulfilment.

Maio 12, 5:22 am

ROOT #26 is Auf dem Staatshof by Theodor Storm

I feel like this is cheating, because it is a novella and a mere 34 pages long. I re-read it because my latest acquisition (and instant read) is a historical mystery which was inspired by it. It takes place at a real location near Husum, and I was surprised to see how closely the mystery author stuck to the original, keeping names and family events. But then, many of Storm's novellas are autobiographical and messing with facts is not expedient.

Maio 17, 3:06 am

ROOT #27 is Vera by Elizabeth von Arnim

As a portrait of a marriage it felt like a horror story at the end, with that domineering husband. Quite sinister, actually.

Maio 18, 6:49 am

I'm spending the weekend at my sister's, after all. I had a little scare with an awful cold, but it's cleared up and I'm happy to be able to attend the concerts. I'm so looking forward to that.
See you on Monday!

Maio 18, 12:37 pm

Have a nice trip, Birgit!

Maio 22, 6:19 am

>78 curioussquared: Thanks! The music was wonderful (arias by Monteverdi and contemporaries, and the other was Bach concertos), the weather was lovely and I brought home a book borrowed from my sister.

Maio 22, 7:40 am

Hi Birgit. Making up for neglecting my fellow ROOTers and trying to visit some of them now. I did only keep my own thread up to date and feel quite guilty about not visiting others.

I hope you had a great time at your sisters over Easter and last weekend. But I"m sure you did enjoy your stay there.

Promise to visit more often!

Maio 23, 5:06 am

Hi Connie, nice to see you! I haven't spent much time online this month either, so much else is going on! And those away trips eat heavily into reading time, but we have lots of fun. Now there's a long weekend at home coming up, and I hope to spend the days ROOTing.

Maio 24, 7:32 am

Birgit, glad to read those trips are fun. We need some fun too next to reading.
I will spend that long weekend entertaining Fiene and Marie who will stay over for 2 nights. That means hardly any reading for me expect reading to them. My livingroom will be filled with Barbie stuff (once Eveline's Barbie stuff). We will have french fries and frikandels (I can't find if they are a snack in Germany, UK or US) and pancakes.

Maio 25, 2:22 am

Looks like you've got a busy time ahead of you, Connie!

Editado: Maio 27, 11:13 am

ROOT #28 is Troubles by J.G. Farrell

This is another ancient Root pulled, it's been on my shelves since the late eighties.

Maio 27, 11:44 am

>84 MissWatson: Since the 80s! That is certain a deep ROOT. How was it?

Editado: Maio 28, 7:35 am

>85 curioussquared: Rather odd, to be honest. It starts in 1919 when a British Major recently released from hospital travels to Ireland and spends the next three years at the Majestic hotel, owned by an Anglo-Irish family, and watches as the country slowly disintegrates into terror and mayhem. The behaviour of the family's father goes from eccentric to bizarre, and it was never quite clear to me why the Major stayed there. But the writing is fantastic, especially the descriptions of the slowly decaying building. A metaphor for British rule?

Maio 30, 2:39 am

ROOT #29 is Lavalette by Golo Mann

I whizzed through my borrowed book and found time to finish a slim volume from my TBR, in which Golo Mann gives us the story of a daring escape from the Conciergerie. Lavalette was an officer of Napoleon and Postmaster, was arrested after Waterloo, and his wife switched places with him in prison so he could escape.

Maio 30, 3:05 am

>83 MissWatson: It was! We went to four playgrounds in my neighbourhood. I did not even know there were that many here. Seesaws, swingsets, slides and other things. It was lovely weather so we spend time in the garden.
I loved the evenings when they were sleeping.

Maio 31, 1:56 am

>88 connie53: It's amazing how much energy they have, isn't it?

Maio 31, 1:59 am

ROOT #30 is Der Tote im Fleet by Boris Meyn

This is the first in a series of historical mysteries set in Hamburg. The time is 1847, five years after a devastating fire burned down much of the city, and reconstruction is going on amid debates on how the city should develop. The author is an architect and it shows in all the technical detail which overshadows the actual mystery. But it's a mint of local information.