September 29, 2014

Monday Five's - I solemnly swear I'm up to a book (or two)!

Granted, this might be the kind of blog post that usually pops up around the New Year, but why not for once be several steps ahead of myself and look at all my reading plans for the near and maybe a-little-bit-further future? With my TBR piles impressively shrinking I really feel more freedom in my reading choices and not the constant pressure of swaying book piles that seem to mock me (or maybe they're just asking me to do a little dusting). So, here they are, a line up of my bookish plans!


I
Break through the 50-books-TBR barrier
Almost there with "only" 58 unread books, so I should definitely achieve this by the end of the year.

II
Take up reading magazines again
With so many books I barely found the time to read any magazines in recent years, but now that there's light at the end of my bookshelf I feel comfortable in indulging in some of my favorite science and lifestyle magazines.

III
Stock up on the classics
This might be a little counter-productive to I, but I really want to (re)discover some of the classics readingwise. Visiting a big annual flea-market next month should help me find a few and save some bucks at the same time.

IV
Indulge in the frivolity of buying a hardcover edition
This might not sound all that amazing or unusual to some, but being my frugal self I usually resort to used books or at least paperback editions. Then I found out that finally (after a whooping 16 years!) the sequel of a book I loved comes out on October 8th and I am ready to invest those *gasp* € 22,90 in it.

V
Read all the books I acquired before 2013
Ever notice how some books remain on your TBR piles forever? No more! I intend to finally read all my pre-2013 books next year. According to my list that should be exactly 40 books which means this is absolutely doable (especially if I get a head start and begin my book-crusade nowish).

Do you regularly make reading plans too or simply read along as you go? Are any of your plans, eg re-reading the classics, similar to my own? Please share.

September 26, 2014

Non-Fiction Friday - The Call of the Farm

The Call of the Farm (Rochelle Bilow)
September 23rd 2014, The Experiment


A spirited memoir of farming and cooking, love and self-discovery, by a rising-star food writer.
It began as a simple assignment: Profile a small “full-diet” farm in central New York. At most, food writer Rochelle Bilow expected to come away with a cute city-girl-in-the-country piece. But just one day on the farm gives Bilow so many reasons to stay—the creamy taste of raw milk, the back-breaking satisfaction of stacking hay bales, and the irresistible charm of a certain freckled farmer—that she simply can’t leave.
The Call of the Farm recalls Bilow’s four seasons on the farm, where she learns to care for livestock, grow vegetables, and, as the designated cook, prepare the farmhands’ communal meals—almost exclusively from their own produce. But it’s not just an agricultural love story, as Bilow sensitively portrays the arc of her passionate romance with that freckled farmer—one that burns perhaps all too brightly (and all too fast). Honest, self-aware, and wonderfully tender, The Call of the Farm will speak to anyone who, while opening their CSA box or browsing a farmers’ market, has paused to daydream about farm life—and anyone who has fallen too deeply in love.

September 22, 2014

Monday Five's - Let me (car)toon you up!

It's Monday. The weekend is just a distant memory and you're wading knee-deep through work at the office. This means that there's really not that much time to read your favorite blogs while the boss isn't looking. To make your life a bit easier (and more entertaining) especially on a day like today, I figured I'd supply you with some cartoon fun to lighten the mood and incite some giggles and smiles. The following websites offer (mostly, some also throw in other themes for good measure) bookish cartoons which I'm sure you'll thoroughly enjoy. As do I, obviously.


I
III
Source
IV
Finding Wonderland*

Trust me to be the last-minute-gal who simply forgot to get permission to share cartoons from two of these websites. Of course once I get an ok, I will add a cartoon to No. II and V, but in the meantime you'll have to directly visit these sites (which you should do anyway). Yep, I'm taking this whole copyright stuff damn serious!

How do you like these bookishly inspired cartoon sites? Were you already familiar with one of them? Last but not least, are there any you'd like to add to this list? Please share.

Monday Five's - There's always room for improvement!

This blog post should have originally been published last week (faulty memory + draft folder = bad combination), thus there will be a double feature this week!

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I don't know about you, but as far as reading blogs is concerned it's not just the inner values that count. Call me superficial if you like, but if you groom yourself every day (at least I very much hope that you do) you might want to give some attention to your blog's appearance as well. Of course, beauty is always in the eye of the beholder, but there are a few general things that one can easily avoid, unless you intentionally want to give your blog the look of a slob. In case you do, here's my advice to achieve this goal, though you may also take my suggested solutions to heart.


I
Cram every available widget for Facebook, Instagram & Co. into the sidebar.
Solution? Social media icons are cute and convenient, plus you can find tons of free ones online.

II
Host giveaways in which everyone must follow you on every social media outlet available.
Solution? Stop playing the numbers-game and only ask for one way to follow, preferably of choice.

III
Post not just one but at least half a dozen blog tour banners right beneath the blog header.
Solution? One blog tour at a time should do it and put those banners into the sidebar instead.

IV
Use a watermarked stock-photo in your blog header.
Solution? If you really want it, you'll really have to pay for it.

V
Grab every visitors immediate attention through pop-ups and/or background music.
Solution? The only moving pictures and/or sounds should come attached to a Vlog post.

 Do any of the just mentioned points strike a chord with you? As a blogger, are you guilty of one of these transgressions yourself? Please share.

September 19, 2014

Non-Fiction Friday - Lost in Translation

Lost in Translation: An Illustrated Compendium of Untranslatable Words from Around the World (Ella Frances Sanders)
September 16th 2014, Ten Speed Press


An artistic collection of more than 50 drawings featuring unique, funny, and poignant foreign words that have no direct translation into English.
Did you know that the Japanese language has a word to express the way sunlight filters through the leaves of trees? Or that there’s a Finnish word for the distance a reindeer can travel before needing to rest?
Lost in Translation brings to life more than fifty words that don’t have direct English translations with charming illustrations of their tender, poignant, and humorous definitions. Often these words provide insight into the cultures they come from, such as the Brazilian Portuguese word for running your fingers through a lover’s hair, the Italian word for being moved to tears by a story, or the Swedish word for a third cup of coffee.
In this clever and beautifully rendered exploration of the subtleties of communication, you’ll find new ways to express yourself while getting lost in the artistry of imperfect translation.

September 17, 2014

You don't happen to have an inquizzitive mind, do you?

What is keeping boredom at bay and reveals valuable insights into you bookish psyche? Right you are, my dears. It's quiz-time once again!




Now there's a few surprises here and there and frankly, some claims being made feel eerily close to my true self. Not saying I aim to be nobody, 'cause there's time for having no body once I kick the book bucket, but it certainly gives my Ego a boost now that I know how much the universe wants me to win. On that thought, maybe I should enter a few book giveaways and see what happens? See? Had to throw in a couple of question marks, didn't I? *wink*

Now, care to share your own results with me? How true do they ring to your true nature? 

September 12, 2014

Non-Fiction Friday - Race Unmasked

Race Unmasked: Biology and Race in the Twentieth Century (Michael Yudell)
September 9th 2014, Columbia University Press


Race, while drawn from the visual cues of human diversity, is an idea with a measurable past, an identifiable present, and an uncertain future. The concept of race has been at the center of both triumphs and tragedies in American history and has had a profound effect on the human experience. Race Unmasked revisits the origins of commonly held beliefs about the scientific nature of racial differences, examines the roots of the modern idea of race, and explains why race continues to generate controversy as a tool of classification even in our genomic age.
Surveying the work of some of the twentieth century’s most notable scientists, Race Unmasked reveals how genetics and related biological disciplines formed and preserved ideas of race and, at times, racism. A gripping history of science and scientists, Race Unmasked elucidates the limitations of a racial worldview and throws the contours of our current and evolving understanding of human diversity into sharp relief.

September 10, 2014

Quote Garden - The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read ...

The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.

Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.

In a good bookroom you feel in some mysterious way that you are absorbing the wisdom contained in all the books through your skin, without even opening them.

Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.

Substitute 'damn' every time you're inclined to write 'very;' your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.

Mark Twain

September 8, 2014

Monday Five's - Revealing the unread skeletons in my closet!

So many books, so little time. Sometimes we put off picking up certain books until we are no longer able to find them underneath the dust of a decade. Then, of course, are those we tell ourselves to finally buy or get from the library, but somehow we never get around to doing that. Either way, the bottom line is that our best laid plans to read them have been foiled by ... errr, other books. As much as I prefer to think along the lines of the wine-gets-better-with-age analogy there needs to be an end in sight. Maybe a confession on my part will help. Without further ado I present to you my Hall-of-(unread-books)-Shame!


I
A Christmas Carol
Charles Dickens

II
Fahrenheit 451
Ray Bradbury

III
Walden
Henry David Thoreau

IV
The Time Machine
H.G. Wells

V
Pride and Prejudice
Jane Austen

As you can see, these are mostly classics and no publications of recent years of which, as I'd like to add, quite a handful will inevitably find their way here too if I don't get a faster read on. Still, as I'd really love to catch up on reading some of the oldies but goldies, I promised myself that these five books shall be read by yours truly by the end of 2015. Cross my bookmarks and hope not to get a paper-cut!

Which bookish skeletons are hiding on your shelves? Did my confession inspire you to read them rather sooner then later? Please share.

September 5, 2014

Non-Fiction Friday - Silent Witnesses

Silent Witnesses: The Often Gruesome but Always Fascinating History of Forensic Science (Nigel McCrery)
September 1st 2014, Chicago Review Press


A crime scene. A murder. A mystery. The most important person on the scene? The forensic scientist. And yet the intricate details of criminal forensics work remain a mystery to most of us. In a book that is by turns fascinating and chilling, Nigel McCrery leads readers around the world and through two centuries to relate the history of forensics in accessible and entertaining prose. He introduces such colorful characters as Dr. Edmond Locard, the "French Sherlock Holmes"; and Edward Heinrich, the "Wizard of Berkeley," who is credited with having solved over 2,000 crimes. All the major areas of forensics, including ballistics, fiber analysis, and genetic fingerprinting, are explained with reference to the landmark cases in which they proved their worth, allowing readers to solve the crimes along with the experts. Whether detailing the identification of a severed head preserved in gin, the first murder solved because of a fingerprint, or the first time DNA evidence was used to bring a sadistic killer to justice, Silent Witnesses provides dramatic practical demonstrations of scientific principles and demonstrates a truth known by all forensic scientists: people still have a story to tell long after they are dead.

September 1, 2014

Monday Five's - The one about most-read authors!

We all have our favorite authors, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they are the ones by which we've read the highest number of books. In times of virtual libraries, such as Goodreads or LibraryThing, there's not even the need of actually having to plow through all our bookshelves and do some manual counting of tomes. It is all only a click (or two) away. Or so I thought. As it turns out there are omnibus editions with more than one novel included, or even worse, both English and German editions of the same book in the my list. Never mind, still easier to do some basic math in your head than using muscle.


I
Dean Koontz
55 books

II
Terry Pratchett 
53 books

III
Jennifer Crusie
17 books

IV
Rachel Gibson
16 books

V
Tess Gerritsen
15 books


Interestingly enough it's two male authors who made the top of my list and while it was kind of a given who would make first place - favorite author and all that - I'm astonished that it's only by a nose-length. And did you notice the big gap following the two? The gals here all lag behind quite a bit regarding number of books read by yours truly. Makes you wonder whether they are simply writing less or I'm the one reading less (by them). Either way, no huge surprises overall, even though it's a bit of a shame that Erma Bombeck didn't quite make it with "only" 13 books.

Which are your five most-read authors? Any unexpected surprises as to who made it into your personal Top Five? Please share.