Thursday, 30 June 2011

Pulling the Winner ...

Wow. Wasn't that a grand blog hop? I visited lots of blogs and entered quite a number of giveaways myself. But here it is, the pulling of the winner of my literary giveaway!

Drumrolls, please! And a YAY! for Sam from samstillreading! You are the winner of one copy of The Brief Wondrous Life by Oscar Wao! Congratulations! I will get in contact with you via email now.

I assigned you all numbers in the order you entered the giveaway and used an online randomizer to pull the winner, which looked like the picture on the left side. I pulled number 11, which was Sam's number.

Thank you all again for participating! Hope to see you next time, too!

Monday, 27 June 2011

It's Monday!

Last week I finished reading Consolation by Anna Gavalda. I will hold back the review for the grand Paris in July event. For more information click the button in the right sidebar.

I also finished The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera, which I'm going to review this week.

I am reading Miss Timmin's School for Girls by Nayana Currimbhoy, which I got as ebook via NetGalley from the publisher.

Next up is definitely Little Bee by Chris Cleave.

Also I have a giveaway running. I am participating in the Giveaway Blog Hop hosted by Leeswammes. If you like to enter and for more information, go here.

By the way I can't believe this is already summer reading we are talking about here. Though I'm not going on vacation till September, I always tend to think I will get espacially much reading done in summer. I should have learned by now, that this was never the case. Sigh.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Weekend Cooking: Is Weekend Baking this time.

Sunken Rhubarb Cake

You need:

2 stems of rhubarb, 150 g flour,
125 g butter, 100 g starch,
2 egg yolks, 1/2 bag baking powder,
1/2 cup milk, 100 g grounded almonds,
150 g sugar

Cut the rhubarb into 1 cm pieces and put them in a bowl with water and a little sugar. Set aside. Gently mix the egg yolks and the sugar. Add the melted butter and stir. Mix flour, starch and baking poweder and add all through a sieve into the bowl with egg, sugar and butter. Stir. Add milk and grounded almonds and stir.
Take a springform pan and cover the ground with baking paper. Put in the dough and place half-moon shaped rhubarb pieces on it. Bake for 50 minutes with 175°C.

I like the look of the moon-shaped rhubarb pieces sunken into the cake. If you want to you can decorate the cake with powder sugar.

I made the pie to welcome home the great thinker from his 10 day bike tour with his buddies. The tour was exhausting and he was starved.

Week End Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish Reads. Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Literary Blog Hop, June 25 - 29

It's time for another giveaway here on Thinking About Loud! I am participating for the first time in the Literary Blog Hop, because last time when I entered the great variety of giveaways I was thrilled! People were giving away cool, literary stuff. This time I wanted to be part of it.

To keep things simple, I will give away this book, which I reviewed here:

You can win The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by simply posting a comment stating that you want it. Please leave me a possibility of how to reach you like an email address. The giveaway will be closed on Wednesday June 29th. I will pull the winner on Thursday June 30th and contact you via email. Please make sure you are going to respond within 48 hours. Once I got in contact with the winner I will put the book in the mail. I cannot be hold responsible in case of loss.

This is an INTERANTIONAL giveaway. Anybody can join. Please be aware since I already read the book it is not new and will arrive in a gently used condition.

Now make sure to visit all the other lovely blogs taking part in the Literary Giveaway Blog Hop. Thanks to Judith from Leeswammes for hosting this.

  1. Leeswammes (Int)

  2. The Book Whisperer (Int)

  3. Kristi Loves Books (Int)

  4. Teadevotee (Int)

  5. Bookworm with a View (Int)

  6. Bibliosue (Int)

  7. Sarah Reads Too Much (Int)

  8. write meg! (USA)

  9. My Love Affair With Books (Int)

  10. Seaside Book Nook (Int)

  11. Uniflame Creates (Int)

  12. Always Cooking Up Something (Int)

  13. Book Journey (Int)

  14. ThirtyCreativeStudio (Int)

  15. Col Reads (Int)

  16. The Book Diva's Reads (Int)

  17. The Scarlet Letter (USA)

  18. The Parrish Lantern (Int)

  19. Lizzy's Literary Life (Int)

  20. Read, Write & Live (Int)

  21. Book'd Out (Int)

  22. The Readers' Suite (Int)

  23. I Am A Reader, Not A Writer (USA)

  24. Ephemeral Digest (Int)

  25. Miel et lait (Int)

  26. Bibliophile By the Sea (Int)

  27. Polychrome Interest (Int)

  28. Book World In My Head (Int)

  29. In Spring it is the Dawn (Int)

  30. everybookhasasoul (Int)

  31. Nishita's Rants and Raves (Int)

  32. Fresh Ink Books (Int)

  33. Teach with Picture Books (USA)

  34. How to Teach a Novel (USA)

  35. The Blue Bookcase (Int)

  36. Gaskella (Int)

  1. Reflections from the Hinterland (USA)

  2. chasing bawa (Int)

  3. 51stories (Int)

  4. No Page Left Behind (USA)

  5. Silver's Reviews (USA)

  6. Nose in a book (Int)

  7. Lit in the Last Frontier (Int)

  8. The Book Club Blog (Int)

  9. Under My Apple Tree (Int)

  10. Caribousmom (USA)

  11. breienineking (Netherlands)

  12. Let's Go on a Picnic! (Int)

  13. Rikki's Teleidoscope (Int)

  14. De Boekblogger (Netherlands)

  15. Knitting and Sundries (Int)

  16. Elle Lit (USA)

  17. Indie Reader Houston (Int)

  18. The Book Stop (Int)

  19. Eliza Does Very Little (Int)

  20. Joy's Book Blog (Int)

  21. Lit Endeavors (USA)

  22. Roof Beam Reader (Int)

  23. The House of the Seven Tails (Int)

  24. Tony's Reading List (Int)

  25. Sabrina @ Thinking About Loud! (Int)

  26. Rebecca Reads (Int)

  27. Kinna Reads (Int)

  28. In One Eye, Out the Other (USA)

  29. Books in the City (Int)

  30. Lucybird's Book Blog (Europe)

  31. Book Clutter (USA)

  32. Exurbanis (Int)

  33. Lu's Raves and Rants (USA & Canada)

  34. Sam Still Reading (Int)

  35. Dolce Bellezza (Int)

  36. Lena Sledge's Blog...Books, Reviews and Interviews (Int)

  37. a Thousand Books with Quotes (Int)

Monday, 20 June 2011

It's Monday!

Last week I finished reading Consolation by Anna Gavalda which I will review next week as part of my Paris in July contribution. It's not too late to join in the fun. I reviewed Atonement by Ian McEwan last week and wrote a post about the new books I got via NetGalley here.
Now I am still reading Miss Timmin's School for Girls by Nayana Currimbhoy and The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera, which I hope to finish both this week.

Coming up next will be Little Bee by Chris Cleave to be followed by another Jane Austen book. I will either read Northanger Abbey or Persuasion. Which one did you like best? I haven't read either and would love a little help deciding which one to pick. Thanks.

It's Monday! What are you reading is hosted by Sheila from Book Journey.

Friday, 17 June 2011

New Books! Are you on NetGalley?

If not I would highly recommend it. At least for owners of an e-reader. It has a great variety of (un-)released ebooks. I requested seven books and already was allowed to download six of them. The titles are:

The Art of Forgetting by Camille Noe Pagan (Penguin Group USA)
The Lake by Banana Yoshimoto (Melville House Publishing)
Miss Timmin's School for Girls by Nayana Currimbhoy (HarperCollins)
White Woman on the Green Bicycle by Monique Roffey (Penguin Group USA)
The Oriental Wife by Evelyn Toynton (Other Press)
Cain by José Saramago (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) *no picture*

The publishers only ask you to write a review of the books they offer, but this is something we book bloggers do anyway, don't we?

I'm already half way into Miss Timmin's and though I thought the first chapter wasn't that intriguing, I am satisfied now. The Lake I plan on reading for the JLC 5.

I hope to squeeze in some extra reading time for the lovely titles I got. I'm off reading!

Do you know or have read any of the titles yet?

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Thoughts: Atonement by Ian McEwan

From the back cover:On a summer day in 1935, thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis witnesses a moment's flirtation between her older sister, Cecilia, and Robbie Turner, the son of a servant. But Briony's incomplete grasp of adult motives and her precocious imagination bring about a crime that will change all their lives, a crime whose repercussions Atonement follows through the chaos and carnage of World War II and into the close of the twentieth century.

I know there are ambivalent reviews of this book out there. I have read a few of them. But I decided to not care about them. I think Ian McEwan's Atonement was just great. Everything he wrote was important to the story even if it was not to the plot. The first third of the book is a detailed description of a lush afternoon in a big house in the countryside. Although it takes up half the book, the motives out of which the characters act become clear as glass. I could picture the scenery as if I were watching a postcard or something. The language is rich and beautiful. Although I found myself wondering why the characters were so naive, not getting what was going on, I decided that it made sense at last, as they don't get the whole package, not the panorama view as the reader does.

I didn't care as much for the middle part and Robbie's experiences in wwii. But as I got to part three and the present (1999), I was pleased again. I understood Briony's motives to write about the two figures by the fountain.

*beware of spoilers*

Briony is a nurse now, she visits her sister Cecilia, who has cut herself of her family ever since the bad incident. Briony finds out that Cecilia and Robbie are living together now and pursue their happiness. But this is what Briony, who wanted to tell the truth at last, made up. It is indicated that both Cecilia and Robbie died 1940. They never had a happy live together, but Cecilia lets the lovers have it. She has made herself guilty. And this is her Atonement.

I LOVE that there is so much space for interpretation. Often I don't like endings, where I am not presented everything until the last snippet. But with this novel it is completely different. I feel like I understood.

★ ★ ★ ★ and 1/2!

Published by Anchor, February 2003
Paperback, 368 pages

Monday, 13 June 2011

It's Monday! Again.

It’s Monday! What are you reading? is a weekly event hosted by Sheila at Book Journey to share with others what you've read the past week and planning to read next.

Last week I reviewed:
The Devil in the White City by Erik Larsen
The World Without Us by Alan Weisman

Last week I finished:
Atonement by Ian McEwan which I'm going to review this week. Stay tuned.

I am reading:
Consolation by Anna Gavalda this fabulous French writer I raved about here.

What's up next?
I decided to join and requested some review copies. One I'm going to read soon is Miss Timmin's School for Girls. Another will be The Lake by Banana Yoshimoto for the JLC 5. Besides I borroughed The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera from the library.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Top Ten Grandest Places in Books

1. The Cemtery of forgotten Books (Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon) - A mysterious place full of books in the heart of Barcelona. That's just grand!

2. Mount Everest (Into thin Air by Jon Krakauer) - It must be sheerly breathtaking to stand on top of the highest mountain our world has to offer. Or visting a the base camp, where people meet and expose themselves ton one of the roughest, cold and windy places.

3. Lisbon (Nighttrain to Lisbon by Pascal Mercier) - I had to add it because it's going to be the destination of my travels this year.

4. Gion in Kyoto (Geisha district), Japan (Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden) - That's a historic place I would have wanted to visit, when it was still what it was. You know waht I mean, right?

5. Bookholm, Zamonia (The City of Dreaming Books by Walter Moers) - A magical world where reading is a remarkable adventure.

6. The Secret Garden (The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett) - Wouldn't it be nice to set out for a childish adventure in a nice hidden garden once in a while?

7. London (Imagine Londo by Anna Quindlen) - I love London. I love books about London. And I love books about books set in London. That's it.

8. Paris (The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery and Hunting and Gathering by Anna Gavalda) - Here applies the same as above for London.

9. The Circus (Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen) - Imagine to join a circus like it was in the olden days...

10. An autistic world like the one in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Just out of curiosity.

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Thoughts: The World without Us by Alan Weisman

This was a most interesting read. Weisman shares a thought experiment with the reader. What would the world look like if every human being would vanish from it's surface this minute? What would happen to our cities, houses and pets? And what would become of all the plastic we produced? Is it possible that in some hundred years microorganisms are able to "biodegrade" plastic products? Weisman has an answer to all that and even more. He also explains how we humans developed till today and if the world would have been a different place without our existence. I thought it to be extremely fascinating to explore all this and liked to follow Weisman on his execution of his gedankenexperiment (another word for my list of German words used in English, too).

Let me tell you Weisman writes in a most entertaining way. I never had to force my eyelids to stay open, although I like to read in bed before going to sleep and sometimes this makes it harder to stay with a book. There were a few chapters I didn't care about as much as I cared about others, but that is all I have to complain about.

During my studies I have gained some scientific background. But I don't think that this is particularly necessary to enjoy this book. Maybe you should show a little curiosity for the world we live in and how we shaped it. If that could be you, go on read it.

★ ★ ★ ★. Well deserved.

Friday, 3 June 2011

Thoughts: The Devil in the White City

*note: I read a German translation.

You have read my note, right? Because in my opinion this must be the reason why I didn't care for Larsen's book. I may have been overwhelmed by the hard work of so many people who put together a world fair in nearly no time. Many things were very interesting but I always waited for the Devil to begin his cruel work. Unfortunately not so many details of H.H. Holmes doings were known, like that to date one has only a vague idea of how many women became Holmes' victims, so that his story often seemed to lack facts and description. I think I only got the creeps because I had to imagine what Holmes could have possibly done to the poor women instead of being told.

At some point I always hoped for the book to be over already so that I could go on to the next. I think that is why it nearly took me two and half weeks to finish, I didn't feel like taking it up too often.

2.5 stars from me!