MissWatson ROOTs

Discussão2023 ROOT CHALLENGE

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MissWatson ROOTs

Editado: Ontem, 3:14 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

31. Saratoga Trunk by Edna Ferber
32. Les mémoires de Maigret by Georges Simenon
33. Der Dieb der süßen Dinge by Andrea Camilleri
34. Schloß Gripsholm by Kurt Tucholsky
35. Smoke and Ashes by Abir Mukherjee
36. Emmas Reise by Petra Oelker
37. Der eiserne Wal by Boris Meyn

38. How to rule an empire and get away with it by K.J. Parker
39. Ghosts by Ed McBain
40. Barnaby Rudge by Charles Dickens
41. Les Chouans by Honoré de Balzac
42. Pandemien by Jörg Hacker
43. Le colonel Chabert by Honoré de Balzac

44. Mord und Brand by Gerhard Loibelsberger
45. Der Henker von Wien by Gerhard Loibelsberger
46. Alte Zeiten / Ein absterbendes Geschlecht by Nikolai Lesskow
47. Stamboul Train by Graham Greene
48. Cécile by Theodor Fontane
49. Rot ist mein Name by Orhan Pamuk
50. Am Beispiel meines Bruders by Uwe Timm

51. Die ungehorsame Tochter by Petra Oelker
52. Fiddlefoot by Luke Short
53. The Gabriel Set-Up by Peter O'Donnell
54. Mister Sun by Peter O'Donnell
55. Landscape with dead dons by Robert Robinson
56. A room of one's own by Virginia Woolf
57. Aus dem Leben eines Taugenichts by Joseph von Eichendorff
58. Le diable au corps by Raymond Radiguet

59. Mistress Wilding by Rafael Sabatini
60. The Poor Clare by Elizabeth Gaskell
61. Belinda by Maria Edgeworth
62. Es waren Habichte in der Luft by Siegfried Lenz
63. Invitation to the waltz by Rosamond Lehmann
64. Bridge of Birds by Barry Hughart
65. Sturmflut by Margriet de Moor

66. The Underground Railroad by Colson Whithead
67. The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
68. Das Reispflanzerlied by Eileen Chang
69. Anabasis by Xenophon
70. Sharpe's Assassin by Bernard Cornwell
71. All the light we cannot see by Anthony Doerr
72. Verdächtige Geliebte by Keigo Higashino

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.

Jun 3, 11:52 am

ROOT #31 is Saratoga Trunk by Edna Ferber

I bought this a long time ago on a trip to London, and the paperback has held up remarkably well: the pages are brown, but the binding is intact.
Alas, the story wasn't quite as stellar. It starts with an old couple inviting journalists for an interview to explain why they're giving away their fortune (this is set some time during WWII), and the husband, a well-preserved man of eighty-nine, wants to tell of the crooked means with which he acquired it. But then we spend most of the time with his wife, daughter of a Creole aristocrat's mistress, as she returns to New Orleans and then proceeds to Saratoga to catch a millionaire. And the author's depiction of the black maid/nanny is rather upsetting to modern minds.
So this goes into the bin.

Jun 4, 4:10 pm

Catching up and glad to note your reading, so sorry about the library cyber attack!

Jun 5, 2:37 am

>92 detailmuse: Nice to see you!

Jun 7, 2:34 am

ROOT #32 is Les mémoires de Maigret by Georges Simenon

This is the one where Simenon has a bit of fun with his character. Maigret speaks for himself, reflects on his career, policing as a profession, his father and his wife, and he gets to grumble about the author taking liberties with his life. Not really a mystery, but fun.

Jun 8, 1:53 am

ROOT #33 is Der Dieb der süßen Dinge by Andrea Camilleri

I felt the need for something lighthearted, and picked the next Montalbano book. There's much to enjoy in here, especially the food, but the case was more serious than I expected.

Jun 11, 6:47 am

ROOT #34 is Schloß Gripsholm by Kurt Tucholsky

The author takes his girlfriend to Sweden for a vacation and saves a little girl from a hideous boarding house. It's a bit disjointed, and the most memorable thing about it his love for Plattdeutsch, the dialect spoken across Northern Germany.

Jun 12, 2:44 am

ROOT #35 is Smoke and Ashes by Abir Mukherjee

Third in a series of historical mysteries set in Calcutta. Captain Wyndham and his Bengali sergeant make a great team, and here the are on the trail of some gruesome murders just before Christmas 1921.

Jun 21, 2:57 am

ROOT #36 is Emmas Reise by Petra Oelker

The author specialises in historical mysteries set in Hamburg in the 18th century, and this was quite a departure. We're in 1650, the Peace treaties have been signed, and Emma is invited to visit her grandmother in Amsterdam. But travelling is hazardous in these times, and things soon go haywire...
There is a small mystery around the young boy with whom she walks towards the Netherlands, but it petered out rather unsatisfactorily in the end. So it's not a keeper.

Jun 22, 2:38 am

ROOT #37 is Der eiserne Wal by Boris Meyn

This book picks up the story of Der Tote im Fleet fifteen years later. The port expansion is finally under way and there's also a subplot involving the building of a submarine. Great local history of Hamburg.

Jul 3, 6:58 am

ROOT #38 is How to rule an empire and get away with it by K.J. Parker

I meant to have finished this in June and thus reach the halfway point in time, but the days just ran away from me. This is a nicely entertaining tale of historical fantasy, and I'm looking forward to the final book.

Jul 3, 5:15 pm

>100 MissWatson: Now you're there -- congratulations!

Jul 4, 2:46 am

>101 detailmuse: Thanks! My excuse is that my sister and our friend stayed for the weekend and we went to a wonderful concert. Summer is always full of fun things to do!

Jul 9, 8:30 am

ROOT #39 is Ghosts by Ed McBain

This was an unintentional re-read, but it felt like new. It's always nice to spend time with the guys from the 87th.

Jul 17, 3:12 am

ROOT #40 is Barnaby Rudge by Charles Dickens

Yesterday was too hot to do anything but sit in a dark room and read, so I have finished this tome of 766pages quicker than I thought. At the centre of the story are the Gordon Riots of 1780, and Dickens is interested less in the politics of it, but in the rioting, mayhem and violence, of people losing all restraint. Those descriptions are amazing and have lost nothing of their immediacy. I am glad I finally got round to this.
My copy is almost 40 years old and badly damaged by acid, so I am replacing it. I will definitely re-read this one day.

Jul 29, 5:28 am

Congrats on reaching the half way point, Birgit. Good job. Now I have to find a copy of the Dickens book.

Jul 29, 10:58 am

Thanks for dropping in, Connie. I hope the summer is treating you kindly!

Jul 31, 4:18 am

ROOT #41 is Les Chouans by Honoré de Balzac

Balzac makes his readers work very hard in this with long sentences, detailed decriptions of the landscape and a tedious pair of lovers on opposing sides of the civil war. My edition was a very cheap one without notes or introduction, which I missed very much. So it goes into the bin and at some time I'll re-read this in a proper edition.

Jul 31, 4:21 am

ROOT #42 is Pandemien by Jörg Hacker

I bought this in 2021 and then mislaid it. I was hoping for a brief introduction to pandemics for laypeople, but unfortunately it's not. Far too many technical terms remain unexplained, there are diagrams to illustrate concepts that cannot be understood with more explanation. I finally gave up and it's another one off the shelf.

Editado: Ago 1, 2:57 am

ROOT #43 is Le colonel Chabert by Honoré de Balzac

Another re-read, this time intentional. It's also short and free of the detailed descriptions that slowed down Les Chouans.

Ago 4, 5:35 am

ROOT #44 is Mord und Brand by Gerhard Loibelsberger

Another re-read, a leisurely-paced mystery set in 1911 Vienna. There's lots of food and cooking and it made me quite hungry.

Ago 5, 12:29 pm

ROOT #45 is Der Henker von Wien by Gerhard Loibelsberger

That's the next in the series, and we're in 1916. Food is scarce and expensive, and someone is killing black market operators. These are nice, quick reads, so I should get ahead with my ROOTing this month.

Ago 10, 6:37 am

ROOT #46 is Alte Zeiten / Ein absterbendes Geschlecht by Nikolai Lesskow

Two novels in one book, both set in times before the author was born. The second was more interesting, as it describes the gradual changes in Russian society after the Napoleonic Wars, all seen through the eyes of a Russian aristocrat of the old school.

Ago 14, 2:48 am

ROOT #47 is Stamboul Train by Graham Greene

We meet an odd assortment of travellers on the Orient Express on its way from Ostend to Constantinople, and most of them are not very likeable. There's also a Serbian revolutionary returning to his country after another failed uprising, and that episode ends bleakly.

Ago 19, 8:37 am

>106 MissWatson:, Summer is not really a good word for it. We'v had a lot of rain and even now, when the temps are up again, it still raining. It is really clammy outside now.

Lots of books read, Birgit. Not all that nice, but at least you can take them off your shelves.

Ago 20, 4:46 am

>114 connie53: Hi Connie! Yes, the weather has been pretty unstable and often unpleasant. Too much rain and too much heat at the same time. Right now I'm packing for our holiday, and I hope the weather guys are tight when they say it will improve. We're leaving next Sunday, so there's still hope.

Ago 20, 4:48 am

I hope the weather stays this way. It's 23C right now and sunny. Remember to pack the weather right now and take it with you. Have a very good time!

Ago 20, 4:54 am

Thanks, Connie!

Ago 22, 2:47 am

ROOT #48 is Cécile by Theodor Fontane

I got sidetracked into a few new books, but then I felt the need for something quiet, and Fontane is perfect for that. Nothing much happens, people meet and talk, but under the surface passions run.

Ago 24, 5:00 am

ROOT #49 is Rot ist mein Name by Orhan Pamuk

This is epic, at 925 pages, but it can be read in stages, as every chapter is told by a different narrator. We hear many voices arguing about how to paint the world, as the Western way of perspective painting comes to the Ottoman Empire. There's also much mention of the classic tales they illuminate in the workshop that made me aware of how little I know about this corner of the world. If only life were not so short...

Ago 24, 11:09 am

>119 MissWatson: I was thinking about reading My Name is Red but I'm not sure I want to make that much of a commitment.

Ago 25, 4:02 am

>120 Robertgreaves: The small format (half the size of a normal paperback) added pages. The German hardcover edition runs to 560.

Ago 26, 7:19 am

ROOT #50 is Am Beispiel meines Bruders by Uwe Timm

Another milestone reached!
And a very good book, too, although the subject matter is difficult. The author tries to learn more about his older brother whom he never really knew because of a 16 year age difference. He volunteered for the SS when eighteen and died eighteen monts later in the Ukraine, and Timm looks at how this affected his family and himself.

Ago 26, 3:46 pm

Have a great vacation!

Set 11, 8:23 am

>123 detailmuse: Thank you! We had fabulous weather for swimming and went daily!

Set 11, 8:27 am

ROOT #51 is Die ungehorsame Tochter by Petra Oelker

Next in a series of historical mysteries set in 18th century Hamburg, and this time we learn why our heroine ran away from home as a young girl and joined a troupe of travelling players. I like the bits about Hamburg history best about this.

Set 13, 7:18 am

ROOT #52 is Fiddlefoot by Luke Short

A solid entry in genre fiction, but the plot and the writing are a bit too formulaic. Not a keeper. However, it was short, and I'm going to need more short books to squeeze in some ROOTs into what is left of the month.

Set 14, 3:53 am

ROOT #53 is The Gabriel Set-Up by Peter O'Donnell
ROOT #54 is Mister Sun by Peter O'Donnell

These are re-reads of the first episodes of the Modesty Blaise comic strips which I acquired long after devouring the novels. They offer interesting additional information from the author and his fans, and they are every bit as enjoyable as when I first read them.

Set 17, 4:01 am

ROOT #55 is Landscape with dead dons by Robert Robinson

A mystery set in Oxford in the 1950s which was a disappointment. The language was pretentious, people not very likeable and the clubby atmosphere of misogynistic academia very stifling. My ancient copy fell apart during reading, so I am happily consigning this to the bin.

Set 18, 11:51 am

ROOT #56 is A room of one's own by Virginia Woolf

Well, I'm glad I finally read it, but I can't say I took much away from this.

Set 18, 11:52 am

ROOT #57 is Aus dem Leben eines Taugenichts by Joseph von Eichendorff

A classic from the Romantic period with unusually colloquial language, which surprised me. I last read this in school and had absolutely no memory of it.

Set 29, 6:03 am

ROOT #58 is Le diable au corps by Raymond Radiguet

This is a very ancient ROOT, and mercifully short, since I had no sympathy for the narrator, a teenager who lives near Paris and is 13 when WWI breaks out. Which he spends mostly in the arms of his first mistress, a young girl married to a soldier serving on the front. If you think this is weird, so did I.

Set 29, 6:05 am

And this is my farewell to September. 8 ROOTs, some of them short, but I am inching towards my goal.

I'll be offline for a few days and hope to report another ROOT after the long weekend.

Out 6, 4:25 pm

ROOT #59 is Mistress Wilding by Rafael Sabatini

This is an ancient ebook lurking on my Kobo, and it takes place inb a wholly unfamiliar time: the Duke of Monmouth tries to stir rebellion against his uncle James II. The romance is highly unconvincing, too, and I can't make up my mind if it's bad OCR or just printer's errors that cause some of the confusion. That's one of the reasons why I actually prefer PDFs of digitised books, you can see the original layout.

Out 10, 4:28 am

ROOT #60 is The Poor Clare by Elizabeth Gaskell

Okay, this is only a short story, but I put out my back several days ago and sitting down for long stretches (hence reading a tree book) is still difficult. So I'm browsing my Kobo for stuff I downloaded ages ago, I can read this in bed lying down.
It's a kind of Gothic tale about an Irishwoman, servant to an English Roman Catholic family, whose daughter runs away, is seduced and leaves behind a little girl. The woman curses the culprit and, unknowingly, her own grandchild. Great scenes on the Yorkshire moors and during the Antwerp uprising against the Austrians.

Out 10, 6:11 am

I'm sorry to hear about your back, Birgit - I hope that the pain eases soon and you're back to full strength.

Out 11, 2:46 am

>135 Jackie_K: Thanks, Jackie, I'm on the mend. It's a bit frustrating that I can't really concentrate on a long book at the moment.

Out 20, 3:38 am

ROOT #61 is Belinda by Maria Edgeworth

This took me a very long time to finish because I couldn't sit comfortably for long spells, and it is a long book. But it is also very enjoyable and full of surprises, things you don't expect in a novel published in 1802. That's the edition used in my copy, and the editor explains at length how much was changed in the 1810 edition. Lady Delacour is a delight.

And now that my back is finally back to normal, I'm going to read a few short books over the next days to catch up with my goal.

Out 22, 10:23 am

ROOT #62 is Es waren Habichte in der Luft by Siegfried Lenz

A small book, set immediately after the Russian Revolution, and we are in a small village in Karelia where a teacher on the run from the party tries to hide. This was a bit odd, and I didn't really understand the significance of the hawks. But the nature descriptions are great.

Out 27, 4:06 am

ROOT #63 is Invitation to the waltz by Rosamond Lehmann

This was a quiet book about two girls in a small English town looking attending their first ball. The time is immediately after the First World War, their father's business has suffered to the point that they are reduced to serious economising, and that makes them worry about being looked down on. The author is very good at getting the girls' inner life, and the description of the ball with its minor appointments and unexpected pleasures is gorgeous.

Out 29, 10:38 am

ROOT #64 is Bridge of Birds by Barry Hughart

This was a re-read after almost forty years and didn't wow me as it had then. But still a rattling good yarn in ancient China.

Nov 1, 3:45 am

ROOT #65 is Sturmflut by Margriet de Moor

This is a novel about two sisters one of whom is lost in the Great North Sea flood of 1953. We follow Lidy on her last day on earth, and in parallel watch as her sister copes with that loss and builds a life with her sister's husband. Is she living her own or her sister's life, is the great question at the end. A really great book.

Nov 6, 5:24 am

ROOT #66 is The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

This was grim reading, and yet I was a little dissatisfied, because of the author's decision to give us a real railroad. Which made me question some of the other things, too. Or is that his intention?

Nov 10, 4:45 am

ROOT #67 is The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

This was a welcome change of pace after the previous book and I am looking forward to the next in the series.

Editado: Nov 12, 7:14 am

ROOT #68 is Das Reispflanzerlied by Eileen Chang

A short novel about life in a Chinese village shortly after the Communist land reform. A woman returns to the village from her work as a maid in Shanghai and slips back into the hard work and near starvation. The new regime hasn't really changed the peasants' lot, they're just being exploited under a new ideology. It ends with a revolt and death. Bleak reading.

ETA: this was a new translation which also consulted the Chinese version, published a few years later in Taiwan. The afterword provide much-needed context.

Nov 19, 4:47 am

ROOT #69 is Anabasis by Xenophon

This is a very ancient ROOT, it's been on my shelves for nearly forty years. And to be honest, it's been a bit of a slog, as it is very repetitive. And also quite alien sometimes, the ancient Greeks are a long, long way away from us.

Nov 20, 5:58 am

ROOT #70 is Sharpe's Assassin by Bernard Cornwell

This, on the other hand, was a fairly recent acquisition and addition to a long-running series. Forty years, which is hard to take in. The fluid state of affairs immediately after the Battle of Waterloo is well-caught.

Nov 26, 4:23 am

ROOT #71 is All the light we cannot see by Anthony Doerr

I finally took this off the shelf after reading the review for the Netflix series. Knowing and loving the inner city as it is now (rebuilt), this was a painful read.

Ontem, 3:13 am

ROOT #72 is Verdächtige Geliebte by Keigo Higashino

A Japanese mystery where a physics professor and a mathematician have a battle of wits. There was a surprising twist towards the end that I didn't see coming. This was quite unusual, but I wonder if the translation was all it could be. The style was rather pedestrian.