Classics

I bought myself a MacMillan Collector‘s Library edition of Jane Eyre in 2018. Cute little hardback…

Jane Eyre
by Charlotte Brontë

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I put my re-read of this classic on hold back then, I was not in the right mood for it.

My review from 2008: (pretty sure I read it before, but I could be delusional)

I expected to be bored. Classics usually do that to me. Especially, when I know the story already quite well through various movie adaptations. But this I liked quite a lot. I did a little skimming in the beginning and occasionally throughout the book, when it got a little too slow for my taste. Jane feels relatively modern and the language, although necessarily old-fashioned, wasn’t too stilted. I could have done without the episode with St John. That part of the book felt like a filler to me and I don’t remember seeing it in any of the various TV adaptations I have watched over the years.


Not such a successful classic read was Jane Austen. Quite embarrassing, probably, as everybody seems to love this book.

Pride and Prejudice
by Jane Austen

Rating: 2 out of 5.

I give you this, written and posted first in 2015:

Maybe I would have been better off just watching that BBC miniseries. 12% into the book I was wondering what all the fuss is about. People meet for dances and have meaningless conversations about who could marry whom and which girl is plainer or prettier than the other. Really? Boring! Where is the plot?

Eventually I was skimming through more and more conversations that did not interest me, although some semblance of a shallow plot eventually emerged. 

At 25% I gave up. I didn’t care why Darcy is despicable or not or which daughter is going to marry what gentleman.

Out of curiosity I read the last two chapters and they left me just as indifferent. This may be a famous novel, but it went straight over my head. I did not connect with any of the characters and the descritpion of society back then just rubbed me the wrong way on every page. Not for me, sorry. Off to finally watch Colin Firth and to see if the story works better for me that way…

Now, in 2021, it might be time for another attempt? We‘ll see.

October Wrap-up

BR novels:
– Monstress, Vol. 5, comic, ★★★★★, siege of a city, war, revelations about the past. This was good, although different to the previous ones. More of an ensemble cast and more focused on setting up the scene for that siege and the war that will probably pick up speed in the next volume.
– Dragonquest, paper, ★★★★★, fun 2nd Dragonriders book. Fire-lizards! I enjoyed this a lot and it was much better than I remembered it.
– The Only Good Indians, audio, ★★☆☆☆, revenge, indigenous people, hunting. Carry-over from last month. There were some good parts in this. Some of it I even liked. It just didn‘t come together well. 
– The Ministry for the Future: A Novel, ebook, Netgalley, ★★☆☆☆, DNF at 56%, climatefic, too little plot, more a collection of essays, too much economics, blockchain, weird surrealistic meta-fic somethings. The plot that was there, I liked. The rest bored me silly.

Ongoing BR:
– The Doors of Eden, audio, featured BR, 6 hours left, will finish in November… Good so far, I like it. Tchaikovsky writes well and is great at world-building. I have to get to his back catalogue one of these days.

Planned BR, but didn‘t read:
– The Butterfly Garden, ebook, didn‘t manage to squeeze it in and after reading a friend‘s review I am not sure if I want to. Postponed.

Solo reads:
– Home: Habitat, Range, Niche, Territory, short, ★★★★☆, intermezzo for Mensah and Murderbot 
– Shakespeare’s Sonnets, poetry, ★★★★☆, read-along with Sir Pat on Instagram.
– BLAME! Vol. 4, manga, ★★★★☆, fighting and exploring the megastructure.

Plans for November:

BR novels:
– The White Dragon — started already! Fun!
– Phoenix Extravagant, netgalley 
– Conventionally Yours, netgalley — romance readers
– Great Expectations, read-along on wordpress — this will be postponed, month tbc

Notes of the overbooked and overcommitted…

Would there be any interest in a read-along of Great Expectations by Charles Dickens for September? I will host it if there’s any interest. Please …

Interest in a September Read-Along?

Well, it looks as if I committed to a Charles Dickens read-along in November (September didn‘t work out). The ebook is downloaded, I took a note in my Goodreads calendar, I am ready and not quite as overbooked as in September!

My plans for September 2020:

Again a lot more than I had intended. It just happened. Next year I have to make more of an effort, not to committ to too many BRs… 

BR novels:
– Mindtouch, ebook started
– Emerald Blaze (Hidden Legacy #5), ebook started
– The Bookish Life of Nina Hill
– Sourdough 
– The Mother Code
– Axiom’s End
– Maybe The Only Good Indians

Solo reads:
– Something from Prime Reading (KU)
– maybe The Ippos King, To be published September 15 

Kindle in Motion, Pottermore…

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Harry Potter, #1)
by J.K. Rowling,  Jim Kay

Rating: 5 out of 5.

It‘s been ages since I read Harry Potter. More or less when the books were published the first time, in the original UK editions. I ordered myself an illustrated version a few years ago, but never read it. Every now and then I take a look at some of the illustrations — very pretty! Now a friend mentioned Kindle in Motion. It‘s basically the same version as my hardcover, as a kindle and with animated illustrations — it‘s mesmerizing!

I can‘t get over the owl on page 43 and how it moves! So cool… Diagon Alley is so pretty in this! 

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And I love how the Golden Snitch zoomes around the page, when the crate is opened and Harry gets his introduction to Quidditch!

This is a very nice addition to the illustrated edition. It brings it to life and enhances the already pretty illustrations well.

Blast from the past

The Far Pavilions
by M.M. Kaye

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Around thirtyfive years ago, give or take a few, I watched the TV miniseries with Ben Cross. I am pretty sure I loved it. I think I read the book afterwards and liked it as well, so I will give this 4 stars for now. 

Who knows, I might re-read it at some point…

Shōgun (Asian Saga, #1)
by James Clavell

Rating: 5 out of 5.

As a teenager and in my twenties I read this book three or four times. Loved it. The exotic culture, the adventure, the difficulties of the English captain to understand the alien society and language, his slow growth throughout the story… Great stuff. And I loved the TV adaptation with Richard Chamberlain and Toshiro Mifune. I can hear the soundtrack in the back of my head, as I type this…

What is your blast-from-the-past that you barely remember, but probably liked and are a little scared to pick up again?

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

Shakespeare’s Sonnets (Kindle Edition)
by William Shakespeare

Sir Patrick Stewart, lovely man, reads Shakespeare’s sonnets on Instagram, one a day. This will take a while. Just mentioning it again, in case you haven’t noticed. Lovely to listen to his gorgeous voice and very relaxing. He must be the most adored man in social media right now. 

So, today Sir Pat read that most famous sonnet #18. I didn‘t know that‘s what it‘s called, but I recognized it right away. Lovely!

SONNET 18

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? 

Thou art more lovely and more temperate:

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,

And summer’s lease hath all too short a date: 

Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,

And often is his gold complexion dimm’d; 

And every fair from fair sometime declines,

By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimm’d;

But thy eternal summer shall not fade

Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st;

Nor shall Death brag thou wander’st in his shade,

When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st; 

So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,

So long lives this, and this gives life to thee. 


Sir Patrick on Instagram today

My daily dose of Zen…

Sir Patrick Stewart, a seemingly lovely man, started to read Shakespeare’s sonnets on Instagram. Just mentioning this, in case you haven’t noticed or aren’t on there… Lovely, really, to listen to his gorgeous voice, even if I sometimes don’t have a clue what he reads… and very relaxing.

Here is today’s offering, sonnet #10:

A Sonnet a Day


For shame deny that thou bear’st love to any,

Who for thyself art so unprovident.

Grant if thou wilt, thou art belov’d of many,

But that thou none lov’st is most evident;

For thou art so possessed with murd’rous hate

That ‘gainst thyself thou stick’st not to conspire,

Seeking that beauteous roof to ruinate

Which to repair should be thy chief desire.

O change thy thought, that I may change my mind.

Shall hate be fairer lodged than gentle love?

Be as thy presence is, gracious and kind,

Or to thyself at least kind-hearted prove.

  Make thee another self for love of me,

  That beauty still may live in thine or thee


I copied the sonnet from here, where you can also find a useful modern text adaptation.

Rough storm

Listen and watch…

The Tempest

by William Shakespeare

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Hell is empty, And all the devils are here.

I am listening/watching this on an app on my iPad. I posted about it a few days ago.

As mentioned there, my main motivation really was to watch Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi read this at me. And the hope of understanding it better. The biggest help for the understanding of the text were the annotations and explanation in the app. 

Very, very good! I recommend this app and if they bring out some other play, I will gladly pay for it and watch/listen, whatever play it might be!

Link to app

For tracking purposes I downloaded a kindle unlimited version as well and re-read some parts there as well.

How familiar am I with Shakespeare? Not very. I watched some movies and I read Hamlet about 30 years ago. The Tempest is a first for me, in any kind of medium, I think. I tracked down a movie version with Helen Mirren, that I will probably watch in the next few days.

I am not going to review the actual play, I am sure everything has been said, that could be written about it. And much more knowledgeably.

McKellen is fantastic as Prospero in the app. 

The instalove is a bit odd. They meet, they like what they see and on the spot decide to get hitched. Ok…

At times I felt the need for a translation into plain, current-day English. Some of the speeches went right over my head.

The motivations of the various characters were not always clear to me. Why did Prospero ‚abjure‘, for example, and forgive everybody?

„How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world

That has such people in’t.“

Is this where Aldous Huxley got the title for his book?

I am sure I will come back to this, re-read and discovery many new things I missed the first time around.

Hour 24: the halftime show

Happy second midnight (well, for your east coast hosts), readers! 👋 Time is a weird thing these days with most of us isolated/quarantined, and …

Hour 24: the halftime show

I got in a little over 10 hours of reading so far. Did a little washing and cleaning, watched a little telly and texted with friends, as we are all pretty much stuck at home. Restaurants are completely closed now. Anyway, I might sit outside on my balcony for a bit, while the sun is still out and the sky is blue… I finished my audio of False Value, I finished the rest of Storm Cursed and read the first 100 pages of Smoke Bitten. I read a few pages of Walking Dead, Vol. #5. And I started The Tempest on this amazing app… Pretty cool. Not sure if that still counts as reading, but what the heck…