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Bad Book Blogger

July 28, 2012

OK, I don’t really think of myself as a book blogger. I’m mostly a garden blogger who just happens to like reading as well.

I’ve read surprisingly much this spring, 16 books, and only four of them rereads. And also only four of them in German. It’s weird how this switches back and forth, in winter I read mostly German books, and now it was mostly English.

I’ve been good about reading, but bad about blogging about what I read. So I’d better get to it while I still remember a little about what I read.

I reviewed the first nine books of spring here. Here goes the rest:

10. Midori Snyder, De Innamorati (The Innamorati) (new, Dutch):

First of all: wow, I read a whole book in Dutch! I took some classes last year, but didn’t learn all that much in those few hours, so I decided to just read books. That was how I learned English, after all (but it worked much better for English). And Dutch is very close to German, so I could probably have read it even without taking classes first. I didn’t use a dictionary once. Anyway, the book… can’t say I enjoyed it. It took me a long time to read it, and not just because of the language. It’s not a bad book, just not one that appeals to me: I know I keep linking back to this post, but I read Fantasy for the magic that is inherently part of the world, and the magic in The Innamorati is (almost) entirely “man-made”. And it’s set in Italy. Nothing against Italy – I like travelling there – and nothing against Italians, but I have an irrational dislike of the Italian language. And I could not keep the characters straight. Crazy, I know, because I have no problem remembering huge casts with made-up names, but with these Italian names, I could not remember who was who.

11. Trudi Canavan, The Ambassador’s Mission (reread, English) and

12. Trudi Canavan, The Rogue (new, English):

I enjoy Canavan’s books, even though she does some things that annoy me. Especially mixing real animals with made-up ones. If you have to call spiders “faren”, then you can’t have your characters ride horses! I can sort of tolerate it with plants, but with animals it really, really irritates me. I also have to laugh a little every time I read about the Guild, because I’m reminded of the time my best friend was mocking Percy Jackson (I think. Might have been House of Night) and said, “There’s a school for every damn thing!” And the little problem I already had with Robin Hobb’s Rain Wild Chronicles: I like having gay characters, and having them be part of the plot without being the focus, but again, it felt like there were too many of them for the size of the cast. Funny thing, though, I was just beginning to think, “OK, they’ve got gay men covered, but what about the lesbians?” – and then The Rogue had lesbians. Made me laugh!

I guess this makes it seem like I only have complaints about these books, but it’s just always so easier to remember the things that bother me than the thing I liked, and it’s been months since I read the books. A couple of stressy months, too.

13. Rudyard Kipling, Kim (new, English):

I bought that from a bargain bin at least a year ago (when I have little money and desperately need books, I buy classics, because they’re usually cheap and take a long time to read). This seemed like a good idea, because I vaguely remembered enjoying The Jungle Book, but it was really hard to read. I started it twice and put it down again before I finally finished it on the third try – I had to concentrate so much on understanding the language (something I’m not used to any more at all!) that I could hardly follow the plot, so I don’t really know what I thought about it. (And I know it’s silly, but I just do not put books away half-read. I think the only time I ever did that was with Moby Dick when I was fourteen.)

14. Andrea Heistinger, Handbuch Bio-Balkongarten [Handbook Organic Balcony Garden] (new, German):

I really liked this book. It has how-tos, and garden “portraits” and in-depth plant profiles – even of rather obscure plants. It’s the only place other than Good to Grow I’ve ever read about chayote . Most balcony gardening books are more… well… lifestyle books. Giving you suggestions for pretty mixed planters, and, oh yeah, throw in a herb planter and a tomato plant because it’s fashionable right now. This is a book for people who are really serious about growing food in a small space, ranging from raised beds to windowsills, from mixing your own potting mix to carrot varieties suitable for growing in containers…And it’s a very honestly written book as well, it doesn’t pretend to have all the answers, and is not afraid of saying things like, “Don’t try this, it doesn’t work.” I just cracked up when I read one tomato variety described as, “very pretty and tastes of nothing”.

The only problem I have with this book is that my shelf for gardening books is full, and now I don’t know where to put it.

And what makes the book even cooler for me is that I actually met the author last year, when she held a balcony gardening workshop over in Big Town. I got there and she introduced herself and I think my eyes just about bugged out when I realized she was the one who’d written my treasured seed-saving handbook. Makes me wish I’d started my German blog a year earlier, my garden might have been included in the book.

15. Leander Petzoldt, Sagen aus Österreich [Legends from Austria] (new, German):

Flea market purchase, and well worth the money. All the books of folk tales I had before are mostly from the northwest of Austria, especially around Vienna (why, actually? I don’t even live there!) and they get a little repetitive. This one had stories from all over the country, including many I didn’t know, and several mythical creatures that I hadn’t heard of before. And one or two stories with a pun that I’m still laughing about – thanks to this book, I will find ladles amusing forever!

16. Laura Ingalls Wilder, These Happy Golden Years (new, English):

Just a small case of must-finish-series syndrome. I’ve spent the last two years or so trying to get the entire series via Bookmooch, ever since I realized that old, scribbled-in, used-to-belong-to-my-uncle book I almost took along to sell at the flea market was part of a series. I don’t even remember anything about it now. Shame on me for becoming such a forgetful reader!

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