My favourite Reads of Last Year

When we cosily had our drinks in front of the fire, Dina suggested that I should write about the books I read last year. Siri 🙂 and 🙂 Selma were immediately thrilled. As I read a lot and fast I keep a diary in which I write a couple of sentences about every book I have read because I can much better remember what I have written down. If my memory is vage I will look in this book and remember clearly. So I had a look in this diary and picked the following six books which I read enthusiastically.

Als der Wind ums Haus pfiff, schlug Dina vor, dass ich über Bücher schreiben sollte, die ich letztes Jahr gelesen habe. Siri 🙂 und 🙂 Selma waren gleich Feuer und Flamme, und so nahm ich mein Lesetagebuch hervor. Ich lese viel und schnell, deswegen führe ich solch ein Tagebuch. Darin schreibe ich, nachdem ich ein Buch ausgelesen habe, ein paar Sätze zu meinem Leseerlebnis. Geschriebenes behalte ich besser. Ich kann bei nur vager Erinnerung später schnell nachgucken. Mein Buch blätterte ich also durch und fand diese sechs Bücher, die ich begeistert bis zum Ende gelesen habe.

Robert Macfarlane “Underworld” (“Im Unterland“)

What a great birthday gift! Siri 🙂 and 🙂 Selma gave me “Underworld“, a book of ‘New Nature Writing‘, a category that Macfarlane’s late friend Roger Deaking with “Waterlog” and his other books and Helen McDonal with “H for Hawk” made popular. The new approach of this nature writing is that the authors centre their texts around their personal experiences and believes.
Of all this New Nature Writing books I found Macfarlane’s book outstanding. It’s written in a highly reflected style, every metaphor fits as well as the choice of adjectives. It’s an excitingly told non-fiction book that reminded me of Sebald’s “The Rings of Saturn“. Macfarlane covers in a philosophical way topics like dark matter. He asks the question if this incomprehensible and all-connecting matter is like a concept of god. Even in the safe rocking chair my hair stands on end reading about exploring caves and the underground world of cities like Paris. It partly reminded me on the sixth journey of Sindbad the Sailor in “The Arabian Nights“. Moreover Macfarlane made me aware that in our society down is always seen as negative and up as positive. Last not least, I really appreciated how Macfarlane sees the political dimension of landscapes as well.

Siri 🙂 und 🙂 Selma schenkten mir zum Geburtstag “Im Unterland“, das zur Kategorie New Nature Writing gehört, die Macfarlanes verstorbener Freund Roger Deaking mit u.a. “Logbuch eines Schwimmers” und Helen McDonald mit “H für Habicht” populär machten. Neu an diesen Naturbüchern ist, dass der Autor seine Erfahrung und Ansichten in den Mittelpunkt der Naturbetrachtung stellt.
Von allen Büchern dieser Kategorie die ich las, fand ich Macfarlanes Buch herausragend. Es ist sprachlich reflektiert geschrieben, immer passen die Metaphorik und die Wahl der Adjektive. Es erzählt spannend, und es ist zugleich ein hervorragend erzähltes Sachbuch, das mich vom Stil an Sebalds “Die Ringe des Saturn” erinnerte. Hier werden Themen wie Dunkle Materie philosophisch betrachtet und die Frage gestellt, ob diese unfassbare und alles verbindende Kraft unserem Gottesbegriff ähnelt. Selbst im Schaukelstuhl lesend, standen mir die Haare beim Höhlentaucher-Kapitel zu Berge, so wie ich es nur von der sechsten Reise von Sindbad aus “1001 Nacht” kannte. Außerdem vermittelt dieses Buch anschaulich, wie in unserer Kultur das Unten stets negativ und das Oben als positiv betrachtet wird. Mir gefiel ebenso, wie Macfarlane Politik und Landschaft verbindet.

Eleanor Catton “The Luminaries” (“Die Gestirne“)

The Luminaries” found me in a dark overcrowded second-hand bookshop in which nearly collapsing shelves were fixed with rubber bands. I noticed that its white spine wasn’t broken what is unusual for a read pocket-book of more than 800 pages. Eleanor Catton, the author from New Zealand, was unknown to me although she got the Booker Prize and the Guardian Book Award (one of the few book awards I trust).
Quite sceptically, I started to read. It’s about crime in the surroundings of the New Zealand gold rush. Already after 15 pages, I was astonished how well written this novel is. It’s so well written that I collected some of her sentences in my author’s treasure box. And it is even more astonishing that over 800 pages it is never boring although the pace of telling the story is slow. This novel is modern and resembles a Victorian novel at the same time. Although I read this novel excitedly, I asked myself why do I read such long novels, what do I expect from reading them? I have to admit I really don’t know – yet.

Die Gestirne” hat mich in einem dunklen, überfüllten Antiquariat gefunden, dessen Regale mit Gummispinnen zusammengehalten wurden. Auffallend war, dass sein Buchrücken nicht gebrochen war, wie es sonst bei gelesenen 800seitigen Taschenbüchern üblich ist. Mir war die neuseeländische Autorin, die den Booker Prize und das Guardian Book Award bekam, kein Begriff. Skeptisch las ich den Roman an. Es geht um einen Kriminalfall im Milieu des Goldrausches in Neu Seeland. Bereits nach 15 Seiten war ich verwundert, wie stilistisch gut der Text war. Viele Sätze und Wendungen, habe ich in mein Autoren-Schatzkästchen gesammelt. Mir gefällt die langsame Erzählgeschwindigkeit und trotzdem bleibt der Text spannend. Es gibt über mehr als 800 Seiten keine Hänger. Das Buch ist modern und mutet zugleich wie ein viktorianischer Roman an. Trotz aller Spannung kam bei mir die Frage auf, warum ich solch lange Romane lese, was verspreche ich mir von ihnen? Darauf fand ich keine Antwort – bis jetzt.

As a student, I was proud that I thought I had understood this text. Today, I see how naiv I have been and how the way of understanding is changing with age. I had lost this book and was looking for it in its unabridged edition for quite a while (it wasn’t before 2006 that an unabridged English edition was published by Routledge). – We went to Cambridge last year. Cambridge is highly dangerous for a book lover as there are bookstalls and shops everywhere. In the compartment for special books in an antiquarian bookshop I found this classic of structuralism well preserved. The book was spotless. This has drastically changed because I can’t read without a pencil at hand. To underline I use a soft (B) pencil, and I am writing my comments at the sides with a hard (F) pencil both sharpened every day.  Siri 🙂 and 🙂 Selma call me ‘finicky’. They make the point that I can’t get rid of books because they are like a diary of my ideas, oh dear, another book-diary …
This history of insanity in the age of reason is extraordinary well researched but it doesn’t fascinate only because of its abundance of facts but also with its study how we experience ‘the other’. This makes it important for today, nearly 50 years after Foucault started to research how we deal with outcasts.

Als Student war ich stolz zu meinen, diesen Text verstanden zu haben, heute sehe ich, wie naiv ich war und wie sich das Verständnis mit dem Alter ändert. Dieses Buch, das ich verloren hatte, habe ich lange in einer ungekürzten ersten Auflage gesucht. – Letztes Jahr fuhren wir nach Cambridge. Cambridge ist gefährlich für Bücherfreunde, dort werden nämlich allerorten Bücher angeboten. In einer feinen Spezialabteilung eines Antiquariats fand ich es endlich als wohlerhaltenes, pre-loved Buch. Das Buch war makellos – es ist es nicht mehr, denn ich habe die Unart, mit einem Stift zu lesen und meine Anmerkungen an die Seite zu schreiben. Zum Unterstreichen habe ich stets einen weichen (B) und für Randnotizen einen härteren (F) Bleistift zur Hand, beide spitze ich täglich nach. Siri 🙂 und 🙂 Selma nennen mich deswegen Pingel und warnen mich davor, dass ich mich nie von meinen Büchern trennen kann, da sie ein Tagebuch meiner Lesegedanken darstellen. Noch ein Lesetagebuch …
Es ist erstaunlich, wie genau dieses Buch recherchiert ist. Die Geschichte der Verrücktheit im Zeitalter der Vernunft besticht aber nicht nur durch eine Unmenge von Fakten sondern auch durch seinen Stil, der maßgeblich den späten Strukturalismus beeinflusste. Außerdem ist es eine Studie, wie wir mit dem Anderen umgehen, mit den Outlaws, und damit ist es doch ziemlich aktuell.

Gregory David Roberts “Shantaram

Many books have this sticker ‘pageturner‘ on their cover (as nearly every book is offered as ‘bestseller’). Although “Shantaram” got this sticker it is a real pageturner. Don’t get discouraged that you have to turn a thousand pages, it is worth it! The topic is the Indian mafia milieu. India is that well described that I remembered clearly how I experienced this country staying there for quite a while. Most of the books about India are books of a romantic transfigured India for tourists, this is real India. Usually the publisher makes an author claim that he has experienced everything what he describes (this is especially fashionable in women’s literature). But here it’s just the other way round: Roberts tries to make sure in nearly all of his interviews that he hasn’t experienced what he describes but journalists found out that he has.
Shantaram” is the best suspense all of us have read for years. We couldn’t stop reading it. But be aware, it’s sometimes cruel and brutal. Unfortunately, the follower “The Mountain Shadow” is not such a pageturner. We were disappointed.

Viele Bücher werden als ‘pageturner‘ angepriesen (wie fast jedes Buch heute als Bestseller angeboten wird). “Shantaram” ist wirklich einer. Lasst euch nicht davon abhalten, dass eintausend Seiten umgeblättert werden müssen. Es lohnt sich! Es handelt sich um die bestechende Beschreibung des indischen Maffia-Milieus. Ich hab viel von einem längeren Indien Aufenthalt dort wiedergefunden. Die meisten Bücher über Indien beschreiben verklärt ein süßliches Touristenindien, hier findet ihr das echte Indien. Normalerweise rät der Lektor seinem Autor, er solle behaupten, er habe seinen Plot erlebt (was besonders in der Frauenliteratur modisch ist). Hier ist es genau umgekehrt: Roberts behauptet, sich den Plot ausgedacht zu haben, aber die Rezensenten wiesen nach, das die Geschichte teilweise sein Leben widerspiegelt. Wir alle hier haben den Roman atemlos gelesen und möchten nicht mehr verraten.
Seine Fortsetzung “The Mountain Shadows” ist, wie so oft, nicht derart spannend. Ich war enttäuscht.

Dag Solstad “T Singer

Dina gave me the first edition of this book. I hardly knew anything about Solstad what is a shame as he is seen as the most intelligent of the contemporary Norwegian authors. So he is not only seen by Per Petterson whose novels  like “Out Stealing Horses”, “I Refuse” and “In the Wake” I can recommend as well.
Literary critics see “T Singer” as most important of all Solstad’s novels. This novel is written mostly in an inner monologue. There is hardly any action and so it is the opposite of “Shantaram” and other modern novels full of action. Of course, I read Dan Brown and Follett but in the long run I find action boring – well with the exception of “Shantaram”. “T Singer” captivates readers like me because of its exact observations and its irony. I liked this novel because I felt caught. Dag Solstad was called “the Norwegian Günther Grass” in the literary magazine ‘Paris Review’ what I find questionable.
.
Dieses Buch bekam ich vom lieben Dinalein in der Erstauflage geschenkt. Ich wusste wenig von Solstad, was eine Schande ist, denn er wird als intelligentester zeitgenössischer norwegischer Schriftsteller gesehen. So sieht ihn nicht nur Per Petterson, dessen Bücher wie “Pferde Stehlen” und “Im Kielwasser” ich ebenfalls empfehlen kann.
“T Singer” wird als Solstads Hauptwerk bezeichnet, ein Roman, der weitgehend aus inneren Monologen besteht, die in der 3. Person geschrieben sind. Er setzt sich wohltuend von all der Action-Literatur ab, sozusagen das Gegenteil von “Shantaram”. Ich habe natürlich Dan Brown und Ken Follett aufgeregt gelesen, aber ich finde Action auf die Dauer langweilig. Dieses Buch besticht durch gute Beobachtung und Ironie. Ich habe es auch deswegen geliebt, da ich mich an einigen Stellen ertappt fühlte. – Dag Solstadt wurde von dem Literaturmagazin ‘Paris Review’ als der norwegische Günter Grass bezeichnet, was ich jedoch fragwürdig finde.
.

Huw Lewis-Jones “The Writer’s Map” (“Verrückt nach Karten“)

This is the most beautiful book of all the books I recommended here and a brilliant collection of essays. The topic is how we see the world between phantasy and reality. I was amazed to read how many authors, especially children’s book and phantasy writing authors, create a map before they begin to write. From “The Writer’s Map” I learned that f.e. David Mitchell and Philip Pullman started some of their books with a map and who hasn’t heard about the best known map in literature, this simple map of a treasure in Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Treasure Island“. “Start with a map and you can be sure you will end up in an adventure“, reckon Siri 🙂 and 🙂 Selma and immediately pinched my (!) book.
Who doesn’t want to read such long texts as I have recommended above will enjoy this book as the reader can appreciate brilliant illustrations and relatively short articles. This is one of the few books with great texts and illustrations. I can recommend “The Sky Atlas” and “The Golden Atlas” by the same author as well. They are also a collection beautifully illustrated texts.

Dies ist ein wunderschön aufgemachtes Buch und zugleich eine hervorragende Aufsatzsammlung. Das Thema ist im Grunde wie die Welt zwischen Realität und Fantasie wahrgenommen wird. Mich hat erstaunt, wie viele Autoren – bes. im Kinderbuch und Fantasie Bereich – mit einer Karte ihr Schreiben beginnen. Auch wer nicht so viel lesen möchte und sich mehr an Abbildungen erfreut wird diese Aufsatzsammlung lieben.
Wer kennt nicht die berühmteste Karte der Literatur, die Schatzkarte in Robert Louis Stevensons “Die Schatzinsel“. In “Verrückt nach Karten” lernte ich, dass auch David Mitchell und Philip Pullman teilweise ihr Schreiben mit einer Karte begannen. “Beginn mit einer Karte und du kannst sicher sein, dass ein Abenteuer folgt“, meinten schon Siri 🙂 und 🙂 Selma und rissen sich sogleich mein Buch unter den Nagel. Dieses Buch ist eines der wenigen Bücher, die die sowohl vom Text als auch von der Illustration her bestechen. – Vom gleichen Autor kann ich für den Liebhaber schöner Bücher auch “The Sky Atlas” und “The Golden Atlas” empfehlen, die ich gerade zu lesen beginne. Wir mir scheint, sind diese beiden Bücher noch nicht ins Deutsche übersetzt.

I wish you all happy reading for 2020 and hope to have given you some ideas for your future reading.

Ich wünsche euch allen fröhliches Lesen und hoffe, euch einige Ideen für eure Lektüre gegeben zu haben

Klausbernd, aka Masterchen 🙂

 

© Text and illustrations, Hanne Siebers and Klausbernd Vollmar, Cley next the Sea, 2020

 

 

135 thoughts

  1. Moin Klausbernd. Das klingt gut. Nun ja, ohne das zu meinen gefassten Vorsätzen gehört, schon gar nicht für das neue Jahr, so hätte ich doch mehr lesen wollen und will es auch weiterhin wollen, aber seitdem ich Opa bin komme ich zu nix mehr 😉
    Alles Gute für 2020, Grüße von der Ostsee

    Liked by 1 person

    • Guten Morgen, lieber Sven, moin, moin
      dein Nicht-so-ganz-Vorsatz klingt doch gut. Dann viel Freude beim Lesen, wenn du Zeit dazu findest.
      Gratulation zum Enkel.
      Mit lieben Grüßen und herzlichen Dank
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Happy New Year, my dear friends.
    2020 started well for us in Stockholm. Lots of new books to be read and trust you to inspire me to get even more.
    Since we last spoke, I got Macfarlane’s “underworld and I totally agree with you. What a phenomenal read! What I truly appreciate, Macfarlane is a profound believer in climate change who pulls no punches in delineating man’s degradation of the environment. He speaks both to serious laypersons and scientists, asking without preaching, “did we do that?” as he tackles the issues of whether we stand today in a man-made world gone nuts, or whether that change is yet one more manifestation of nature’s power and variability of the Holocene (the official epoch of the planet’s current history). Implicit in Underland is his suspicion that the “gone nuts” theorem is a popular by-product of the yet unproven exit from Holocene to Anthropocene (the age of man), which he defines as the “crowning act of (man’s) self-mythologisation…and technocratic narcissism” instead of recognising the vast forces of the agency of nature. You may recall Nobel Prize physicist, the late Richard Feynman, “Reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled.”
    This is no global warming polemic, nor a denier’s playbook. This is a learning springboard and a summons to get beyond political convenience, to acquire more actionable knowledge of planet Earth and mankind’s feckless stewardship and I thank you once more for recommending it.

    I’ll dive in to you other books in my next coffee break. Have a great day, Fab Four. 🙂

    Kram, Annalena x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good morning, our dear Swedish friend Annalena,
      you wrote that well about “Underworld” that you should have written the blog text about this book. Thank you very much 🙂 🙂
      It’s unbelievable that quite some people still ignore global warming and changes of nature caused by human behaviour. You only need to look to Australia right now but you can see it everywhere. Siri 🙂 and 🙂 Selma are big friends with Greta Thunberg having a picture of her hanging over their little fairy beds.
      Our dear Master is a little bit ill, he has caught quite a heavy cold and is sneezing and coughing. He says THANK YOU soooo much.
      With lots of love from us all
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
      XXXX

      Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, what a compliment, Klausbernd. 🙂 I talked about the book to a friend last night; this is no global warming polemic, nor a denier’s playbook. This book is a learning springboard and a summons to get beyond political convenience, to acquire more actionable knowledge of planet Earth and mankind’s feckless stewardship. I would not be surprised if this book surpasses Macfarlane’s previously acclaimed Landmarks (2016), acknowledged as his magnum opus. Everyone should take the time to read it. Your readers will not be disappointed if they follow your advice.
      Kram, Annalena x

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Annalena,
      in comparison to most other books about nature Macfarlane is neither moralistic nor is he getting agitated. He doesn’t ignore politics nor is he agitating. I would say, it’s his style and his way of thinking that make his books so worth reading. Here “Underworld” is seen as his Magnus Opus, but as he is just in his forties we are expecting more inspiring books of him.
      In an interview he told that he wrote more than ten year on “Underworld”.
      Love from us all
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
      XXXX

      Like

    • Liebe Wildgans,
      habe herzlichen Dank für deinen lieben Kommentar.
      Ja, die Handschrift … Unser Masterchen liebt es, mit seinem Lieblingsfüller in sein schönes dickes Lesetagebuch zu schreiben. Wir wundern uns immer wieder, wie viel er per Hand schreibt und dabei seine Handschrift pflegt. Allerdings, so erzählte er uns, konnte er in der Schule das Fach Schönschreiben überhaupt nicht ausstehen.
      Mit lieben Grüßen vom regnerisch grauen Meer
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Like

    • Dear Tish,
      thank you very much 🙂 🙂 Well, our dear Master loves reading. Every day he reads for at least two hours. These are his holy hours when we are not allowed to disturb him. But actually we call that ‘professional deformation’ as reading was an important part of his job.
      We wish you a happy new year as well
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Fraggle,
      a happy new year to you as well.
      These three books about maps our Master mentioned in this post are all very beautiful books with easy reading and informative texts. We all here love old maps – especially those with sea and other monster.
      Wishing you a great weekend and thanks for commenting
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. A very unusual selection, as I would have expected. Your text makes the joy of reading leap off the page, and Dina’s photos are as delicious to see as always.
    Our very best wishes to you all, dear friends in Cley.
    Love from Pete and Ollie. X

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good morning, dear Pete,
      it was not that easy finding the ‘right’ books to present here. Actually, these are all books I read in the second half of the year and books which are really special – at least for me.
      Indeed, I love reading and need my time for reading every day – otherwise I will get a grumpy old man 😉
      Wishing to our dear friend living not that far away a great weekend and even a greater new year
      Klausbernd & the rest of The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Das nenne ich mal ein verheißungsvolles Sixpack, lieber Klausbernd! Danke für die tollen Anregungen. Besonders an “The writer’s map” werde ich wohl nicht vorbeikommen. Herzliche Grüße aus dem diesigen Hamburg!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Liebe Maren,
      habe herzlichen Dank für deinen Kommentar 🙂 🙂
      “The Writer’s Map” ist voller Karten und kartographierten Ideen. Meine Bücher habe ich auch oft mit einer bebilderten MindMap begonnen, die ich leicht auch zu einer Karte hätte ausbauen können. Ich hatte das Gefühl, was ich grafisch in einer anmutigen Form darstellen kann, das habe ich verstanden. Solche Grafiken erstellte ich mit vielen farbigen Stiften und malte auch bisweilen kleine Symbole in sie hinein. Nachdem ich dieses Buch las, fragte ich mich, ob nicht jeder Autor mit einer Karte oder so etwas Ähnliches arbeitet.
      Mit herzlichen Grüßen vom regnerisch grauen Meer
      Klausbernd
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

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  5. Dear Klausbernd and Annalena,
    reading your reviews about “Underland” I immediately ordered this book, thank you so much. I remember reading James Tabor’s acclaimed, deep cave exploration “Blind Descent” some years ago – Macfarlane’s take on the underworld sounds more like my cup of tea.
    I’m delighted to find Dag Solstad on your list. A fine writer worth more recognition in foreign languages!
    All the best to my dear friends, have a good weekend,
    Per Magnus x

    Liked by 2 people

    • Good afternoon, Per Magnus. This is no knockoff of J. Tabor’s “Blind Descent”, a book I didn’t finish. Macfarlane offers this brilliantly researched work to tease the reader’s understanding of the geologic ways of our planet and, along with it, to explore the writer’s take on the human impact against the natural backdrop. He has done this with the humility of modern physicists (though physics is not his discipline), who recognise that human knowledge is an island in an ocean of ignorance.
      Hope to see you soon!
      Kram, Annalena x

      Liked by 1 person

    • Good morning, our dear friend Per Magnus,
      yes, it is a pity that Dag Solstad is hardly known out of Scandinavia. He is translated in English and German (we read him in English) but rarely reviewed. He doesn’t seem to have such powerful agents like Knausgård f.e.
      We had a look at Tabor’s “Blind Decent” a while ago. Although a classic book of exploration we didn’t really like it – just a feeling. Macfarlanes book is much more reflected and caving is only one topic besides many others in “Underland”.
      We wish you a great weekend as well
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
      XXXX

      Like

    • Dear Annalena,
      as I wrote before, Siri and I only flicked through Tabor’s “Blind Decent” and we were quite sure that we don’t want to read this book. Unfortunately, I can’t remember what made us reject this book.
      With lots of love
      xx
      Klausbernd 🙂

      Like

  6. How I welcome a reading list miles away from the trivial list one normally gets to see! I must confess I don’t know any of this books. Having spent four weeks in India last year (my first visit) I can’t wait to read “Shantaram”. Also on my list now is “The writers map”. Have you read “The Sea Journal: Seafarers’ Sketchbooks” by the same author, Huw Lewis-Jones? It’s magnificent and so is also the “Explorers’ Sketchbooks: The Art of Discovery & Adventure”. Both have given me hours of endless escapes to magical adventures around the globe, beautifully illustrated like the book you recommend.
    Best regards, John

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear John,
      Huw Lewis-Jones wrote and edited a lot of beautiful books with extraordinary well researched texts. As he was curator of the Scott Polar Research Institut/Cambridge and also of the National Maritime Museum/Greenwich he really knows what’s he writing about. He is interested in art as well, just researching the National Collection of Inuit Art. This combination makes him a brillant writer and editor. All his books are worth reading and enjoying their special illustrations.
      Thank you very much for liking our dear Master’s list. It tells a lot about him as well, doesn’t it?
      Thanks for commenting and have a great weekend
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Like

  7. Fab Four of Cley,
    Happy New Decade to you all – wishes for nothing but happiness for you!!
    You have always given me excellent advice for reading material and I will try to take your advice on these books, if possible. I would especially enjoy seeing a book from you!
    I hope this note finds you all well and happy and looking forward to the future!
    Have an outstanding weekend, my friends!
    GP Cox

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear GP Cox,
      thanks a lot 🙂 🙂 We are quite well, but our dear Master caught a cold and is sneezing all the time and coughing as well. That will go soon and cleans his system. So it’s not that quiet here as usual 😉 Nevertheless we are happily enjoying the new decade. Wishing you that it will be a happy, healthy and a little bit exciting decade for you too. Go on with your important work of telling us about the history what we didn’t learn at school.
      There are only four of our Master’s books translated in English and they are all out of print for years. And not only this, it were early publications of his when he was interested in esoterics as it was zeitgeist 40 years ago.
      Have an easy and happy weekend
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for the update, but I will continue to look for your Master’s books – you never know! Sorry Klausbernd isn’t feeling well. It must be something going around the UK. A few of my blogging friends are also down with it. What a way to start a new year, eh?
      Take care of yourselves and each other!
      GP Cox

      Liked by 1 person

    • My dear friend,
      it’s not that bad, actually quite cosy. Now I have a reason to stay in our living room in front of fire, go to the sauna this afternoon and no other obligations, just blogging and reading for fun. You see, it reads much worse as it is. Friends of ours have such a cold too; it seems to go around. Fortunately, it’s very bearable.
      With love from the sea
      Klausbernd 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Laurie
      thanks for liking our dear Master’s list 🙂 🙂
      We – Siri 🙂 & 🙂 Selma – love “Underworld” and “The Writer’s Map” best. Siri 🙂 is just finishing “Underworld” and cannot stop talking about it.
      Have a GREAT weekend
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Lo and behold! “Underworld” was available at our own little library in town, and I borrowed it yesterday. I immediately started reading it. My oh my, what a book. Both scary and inspiring. Wonderful! A great way to start the New Year. Many, many thanks for the recommendation.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. A very fine list of books indeed! I liked your method of writing down key ideas of the books you are reading. Your notes will trigger and revive the important things you read. Happy New Year to you and your family!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Good afternoon, dear Peter,
      every year, Dina gives our Master a beautiful book in which he writes his ideas about the books he has read. That not so easy to find book with paper heavy enough that he can write with his fountain pen on both sides of the page. He consults this book for blogging, when he writes articles or prepares interviews. It’s better than Wikipedia or other sources in the net because it’s personal.
      Happy new year to you and your family as well
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Peter,
      I love to write with my fountain pen 🖋 It‘s a classic Montblanc. The flow of the ink is perfect 👌 and it writes really soft. I write a lot by hand. Years ago, I noticed that my style changes when I computer-write. Quite some authors use to write their first draw by hand. And I have to admit that I like seeing a nicely written text.
      Greetings from the sunny sea
      Klausbernd 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Margaret,
      indeed, we all here love Macfarlane’s work but those other five books as well.
      Wishing you a happy weekend and an even happier new year
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Like

  9. Happy new year, für euch phantastischen Vier 🙂
    Immerhin kann ich bei Shantaram mitreden und pflichte dir bei: es lohnt sich, auch wenn es hier und da seine Längen hat!
    Gutes euch
    und liebe Grüße
    Ulli

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hallihallo, liebe Ulli,
      hast du auch den zweiten Band gelesen “Im Schatten des Berges”? Alles mit den gleichen Personen, am gleichen Ort spielend, aber längst nicht so spannend. Immerhin habe ich das Buch jedoch ausgelesen.
      Hab’s fein 🙂 🙂
      Mit lieben Grüßen vom sonnigen Meer
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Lieber Klausbernd, nein, das habe ich nicht gelesen und werde ich wohl auch nicht, das erste hatte mir schon zu viele Längen, war aber eben spannend und wenn du jetzt sagst, dass es nicht so spannend ist, dann lasse ich es doch 😉
      herzliche Grüße,
      Ulli, Zurzeit auch mit viel Sonne auf den Bergen 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Liebe Ulli,
      wenn du ein weiteres spannendes Buch lesen möchtest, wenn du es nicht schon kennst, dann können wir dir “I am Pilgrim” von Terry Hayes (ich weiß nicht den deutschen Titel, sorry. Ist das vielleicht “Der Tod hat kein Gesicht”?) empfehlen.
      Liebe Grüße und alles Gute
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. My favourite sentence: “We went to Cambridge last year. Cambridge is highly dangerous for a book lover as there are bookstalls and shops everywhere.” What a wonderful adventure it must have been for the Fab Four of Cley. Ah, a new year of reading and exploring. My brother and his son sent out the call to our entire family to join a 2020 book challenge, where we share our thoughts on each book, just like you have with us. I find this so idea so important as we cannot read all the books in our lifetime. We must rely on others to share their insights. How wonderful it is to enter 2020 together, a new year and a new decade. With much love and many hugs to my dear friends, the Fab Four of Cley.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good afternoon, dear Clanmother,
      your 2020 book challenge sounds great. You are so right, one cannot read all the interesting books that are around. For classic literature I quite often use my “Kindler Literaturlexikon” (48 vol.) in which the plot of the most important classic novels – it’s novels only – is explained in detail and what the literary criticism is saying about it. Anyway a personal criticism is even more valuable.
      Other dangerous places for book lovers are Cecil Court in the city of London and Hay on Wye (we blogged about it last year).
      We wish you a lot of great reading adventures 🙂 🙂
      With big hugs and xxxx
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Clanmother,
      we all need that criticism, without it we become stupid and boring. Criticism brings progress.
      With lots of hugs and kisses
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I’m always pleased to read someone else’s best book list. A friend just recommended Underworld because I had read The Overstory. Now I’ve had two recommendations of it and may just have to get my hands on it. It’s also nice to have someone mention Per Petterson. I think Out Stealing Horses was fabulous. Now your reaction to Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries fascinated me. I found it really beautifully written and intensely visual. I still have many images in my head from it and the New Zealand gold rush was fascinating. But I read several other books in the course of finishing it because it was so long and moved so slowly. At the end, I really was not sure what the point was.

    It was also nice to read about someone reflecting on how they reacted to a book earlier and later in life. I’ve recently come upon this experience in both film and books and it’s nice to be able to see changes and attribute them to life experience. Finally as a lover of maps in the front of books, I will seek out the Writer’s Map and hope it is available here. Thanks for sharing your books and happy new year to the Fab Four.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dina recommended Petterson’s “Out Stealing Horses”. As we collect Scandinavian and especially Norwegian literature we immediately read it. We were amazed how well written this novel is. Later we read some of his other novels, all well written but we like “Out Stealing Horses” best.
      It seems to us that the preferences one likes reading novels are changing from action to style with age. When our Master was younger he read for the plot whereas now he enjoys much more the style, the language and rhythm of the story. We suppose, as more you have already read as more you look beyond the plot, although we enjoy a clever plot design as well. But as older we get as more we find this action literature like Dan Brown and Ken Follett boring, not only because it’s similar all the time but it also lacks a reflected style. It seems to be written in a hurry and edited by a lazy editor 😉
      Thank you very much for your comment 🙂 🙂
      Wishing you a great week to come
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  12. That’s quite a list. The Macfarlane and map book sound the most interesting to me. I also keep a list of all the books I’ve read with a few notes to remind me what each is about, although I tend to read more fiction than non-fiction. I’m currently reading a very interesting and useful book called “How to Have Impossible Conversations”, by Peter Boghossian and James Lindsay. In today’s polarized society, it seems quite useful.

    A most happy and blessed 2020 to all of you and one full of good books!

    janet

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good morning, dear Janet,
      we read some very praising reviews of “How to Have Impossible Conversations” but we haven’t read it yet. That’s an important topic in nowadays split societies. We feel quite often speechless when confronted with opinions that are far from ours. On the other hand, we are hardly ever confronted with opinions that are opposing ours. We just know them from the media.
      We also read more fiction than non-fiction. Actually, we only read what fits in our collections. Only sometimes we come across a book that’s different like Eleanor Catton’s “The Luminaries”. There are so many interesting books around that we have to make a choice, although we read a little bit more than a hundred books per year. But some of them we don’t read to the end.
      We wish you happy reading adventures in 2020 and a blessed new year
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I’m pleased and not at all surprised to see Macfarlane on your list. I gave his Landmarks to one friend as a Christmas gift, and The Lost Words to two others. Now, I will add Underworld to my reading list for 2020. Macfarlane and John McPhee are two of my favorites; McPhee’s The Control of Nature, which contains his essay on our attempts to control the Mississippi River, is especially interesting.

    Your mention of writers’ maps reminded me of Faulkner’s map of Yoknapatawpha County. As for History of Madness, the very mention recalls the ‘asylum’ that was some miles outside my home town. It wasn’t a ghastly place at the time, at least from what I’ve been told, but in latter years there were some unfortunate trends in ‘treatment’ that were instituted. Since an English translation’s available now, I believe I’ll put that on the list, too — just for a little reflection.

    I smiled at your system for writing in books. I’m an underliner and margin writer, too. When I re-read a favorite book, I will use a differently colored ink. It’s quite interesting to go back and see how my response to each book has changed from year to year.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good afternoon, dear Linda,
      Foucault did write most of his “The History of Madness” in Vermont and I suppose this asylum is situated in Vermont as well.
      I reread Foucault’s book not so much for all the facts how outsiders were treated from the middle ages onwards but more for language that was used talking about them. What are the formative powers of knowledge, how they change and how this is shown in the language. I read his later books as well many years ago as I was very much interested in structuralism and post-structuralism. I suppose, the problem with “The History of Madness” is that Foucault collected so many facts that the reader easily misses out his method.
      When I first read Foucault’s texts I was very much interested how he saw ‘ideology’ as his contemporary philosopher Louis Althusser defined it. Where is the point we take something for granted because we cannot or will not derive it any more and how this is shown in the language we use.
      Anyway, may reading Foucault will inspire you. As every good text it has many ways to understand and enjoy it.
      Wishing you a great week to come
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Like

  14. Lieber Klausbernd,
    Danke für die Hinweise.
    Zu meiner großen Freude gibt es Die Gestirne als ungekürztes Hörbuch zu kaufen. Sascha Rotermund liest in knapp 40 Stunden das vor. Während dieser Zeit werden einige Zeichnungen entstehen und ich werde beim Hören an einem Gemälde zum Thema Europa arbeiten.
    Foucault schätze ich auch sehr. Wir haben ihn an der Uni im Seminar Ausstellungsanalyse näher betrachtet und ich bin begeistert, wie seine Art, die Dinge zu betrachten bzw. zu forschen, eine Analyse inspirieren kann. Sehr gut hat meines Erachtens der Philosoph Deleuze Foucaults Logik, die seinen Forschungen zugrunde liegen, beschrieben.
    Hast du eigentlich von Thea Dorn Deutsch, nicht dumpf gelesen? Ich bin stecken geblieben und habe es ziemlich schnell wieder weggelegt. Wie siehst du das Buch? Ich weiß ja, dass du Thea Dorn sehr schätzt.
    Liebe Grüße ins ferne Cley sendet dir Susanne

    Liked by 1 person

    • Liebe Susanne,
      interessant, dass du Deleuze in diesem Zusammenhang erwähnst. Etwa zur gleichen Zeit wie Foucault’s Werke las ich auch “Anti-Ödipus” von Gilles Deleuze und Felix Guattari. Übrigens im Berliner Merve Verlag kam das Büchlein heraus “Der Faden ist gerissen”. Das sind Gespräche und Aufsätze von Foucault und Deleuze.
      Nee, von Thea Dorn “Deutsch” habe ich nicht gelesen. Irgendwo haben wir ihr Buch “Die deutsche Seele” in unserer Bibliothek, das ich auch nicht gelesen habe und das ich auch nicht finden kann – oh dear 😦 Ich bin hier natürlich viel mehr auf die englische Literatur eingestellt, da die leichter erreichbar für mich ist.
      In “Die Gestirne” ist die anschauliche Sprache toll. Ich denke mir, das wird in der deutschen Übersetzung auch herauskommen. Viel Spaß! 🙂
      Dann wünsche ich dir gutes Gelingen bei deinem Gemälde zum Thema “Europa” und für deine Zeichnungen.
      Liebe Grüße nach Berlin
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Like

    • Lieber Klausbernd,
      danke für deine Hinweise.
      Nachdem ich erst meinen Vater besucht habe, beginne ich gleich mit der Grundierung meiner Leinwand.
      Liebe Grüße an euch alle nach Cley,
      Susanne

      Liked by 1 person

    • Liebe Susanne,
      bei uns wurde gerade die Weihnachtsdeko abgebaut, verpackt und in unserem Schuppen verstaut.
      Ich werde gleich ein weiteres Buch von Hugh Aldersey-Williams, dem ‘Kartenmenschen’, über Tiden zu lesen beginnen. Tiden interessieren mich sehr, nicht nur da sie beim Bootsfahren und Strandspaziergängen für mich wichtig sind, sondern auch, da ihr Rhythms ein schwierig zu fassendes mathematisches Problem darstellen. Ich liebe solche mathematischen Puzzle. Das Buch kam vor nicht ganz drei Jahren heraus. Ich hatte es mir zu Geburtstag gewünscht.
      Ich bin gespannt. Allerdings lockt mich zuerst das wunderschöne Wetter in den Garten, wo immer etwas zu tun ist.
      Mit lieben Grüßen nach Berlin, das übrigens etwa auf der gleichen geographischen Breite, nämlich 52 Grad N, wie Cley liegt. Also immer nur nach Westen fliegen und du kommst nach Cley 😉 Gutes Gelingen beim Malen!
      Klausbernd 🙂
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Like

    • Lieber Klausbernd,
      wir hatten gestern auch das beste Wetter und ich bin eine lange Strecke am Nachmittag spazieren gegangen. Beim Spazieren kann ich gut denken. 🙂
      Heute muss ich mein Atelier auf hochglanz bringen, ich bekomme Besuch von einer Künstlerin und zwei Verlegerinnen. Noch aber trinke ich Kaffee und beantworte meine Kommentare. Die Damen kommen erst am Nachmittag, so dass mir noch einige Zeit bleibt.
      Unsere Weihnachtsdeko und den dieses Jahr besonders schönen Weihnachtsbaum haben wir schon Samstag abgebaut.
      Einen schönen Tag aus Berlin von Susanne

      Liked by 1 person

    • Liebe Susanne,
      dann wünschen wir dir einen angenehmen und erfolgreichen Nachmittag.
      Liebe Grüße aus Cley, wo bei uns heute voll Action anliegt, einkaufen, Zahnarzt, Müll wegfahren etc.
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  15. History of madness würde mich interessieren.
    In ähnliche Stoßrichtung gehen ja wohl auch solche Bücher wie”kulturgeschichte der nacht” und ähnliches, was ich besitze.
    Letztes jahr las ich ein Buch über traumatisierung und die dazu verschiedenen Auffassungen und Therapien in unterschiedlichen Kulturkreisen. Die Auffassung des Autors war, dass traumatisierung “politisch” ist, also nie unabhängig von Gesellschaften.
    Ich meine, auch das geht in ähnliche Richtung.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lieber Gehard,
      da hast du wohl recht, Foucault sieht Traumatisierung und Wahnsinn als politisch abhängig, als Teil des Diskurses der Macht. Dieser Hintergrund der Begrifflichkeit wird jedoch nicht offen dargelegt und damit macht Foucaults “Geschichte des Wahnsinns” Schluss. Ich finde bes. augenöffnend, wie er die Sprache analysierend betrachtet, mit der wir über Outsider reden. Der umfangreiche Text besteht aus schwindelerregend vielen Beispielen vom Mittelalter bis zur Neuzeit.
      Du hast uns auf “Die Kulturgeschichte der Nacht” aufmerksam gemacht. Herzlichen Dank! 🙂 Dieses Buch ist sogleich auf unsere Wunschliste gekommen.
      Viele Spaß beim Lesen 🙂 🙂 eine gute Zeit dir
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Pejorative verwendet man oft in Zusammenhang mit Außenseitern.,
      Man ist nicht gefeit gegen vorurteile und so hängt es einem wie mir oft nach, wenn ich da reingetappt bin, auf die eine oder andere Weise.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Da hast du wohl recht. Es ist erstaunlich, wie oft man sich selbst ertappt, dass man eine von Vorurteilen geprägte Sprache benutzt. Voll peinlich. Aber das zeigt auch, wie stark die Ablehnung des Fremden in unser Denken und unserer Sprache verwurzelt ist. Freud meinte, das Fremde sei stets angstbesetzt. Dass es auch belebend ist, scheint auf der Struktur unseres Diskurses noch nicht durchgedrungen zu sein.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Wow! Some fantastic books here and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed your reviews of them, along the way learning about your reading/notation style! Haha ‘Cambridge is highly dangerous for a book lover as there are bookstalls and shops everywhere.: So true, and luckily we don’t live too far away! Have a fabulous year of books and it will be interesting to see what literary wonders you come across in 2020!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good afternoon, dear Annika,
      the nearest ‘book-place’ for us is Norwich, UNECO’s City of Literature. It’s famous for it courses in creative writing of the University of East Anglia which are seen as world leading. The city has quite some good bookshops we always visit when we are there and never leave without some books.
      We wish you a lot of great reading-adventures.
      Thanks for your comment and all the best
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Very thought-provokimg. I am reading Macfarlane’s The Old Ways; his writing stops me with its lucidity and elegance…his narrative is satisfying. I would enjoy The Writer’s Map, I am sure. Good to make notes; we take more time to understand and question–a tribute to a good author.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Thanks for such a informative start of a new year, new decade. Honestly speaking, I have not heard of any of these books except I have “Shantaram”in my library and yet to find time to start reading it.
    I want to add ” Underworld ” and “Writer’s Map” definitely in my reading least. Warm wishes for your health. Wishing a happy, healthy and cheerful year ahead for Fab Four of Cley.🌷🌷
    Love reading your blog, always find fresh perspective to look at the life at large. 💖

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Nehal,
      thank you very much for your kind words 🙂 🙂 🙏🙏🙏
      All the books of Robert Macfarlane are worth reading. At least for a reader who is interested in our natural surroundings. All the books of Huw Lewis-Jones are a great reading adventure as well. We can highly recommend them too. Especially Siri 🧚‍♀️ and 🧚‍♀️ Selma are fans of his so well illustrated books 📕📘📗📙.
      We are wishing you a happy, healthy and inspiring new year and, of course, a lot of great readings.
      With warm greetings from the cold sea
      The Fab Four of Cley
      💃👭🚶‍♂️
      🇪🇺❤️

      Like

  19. “Das große Buch der Farben” und ein Yogabuch von Plattner…meine Urlaubslektüre auf Fuerteventura, vor viiiiiiilen Jahren.
    Aha, aha, KB Vollmar hatte wohl ordentlich recherchiert, dachte ich, meine Güte, was für ein Wissen!!! Ich sagte zu mir: Mädel, du musst was tun, du bist etwas “hintendran”, gelinde gesagt…bin ca. 20 Jahre jünger als der Autor des Farbenbuches, habe ich eine Chance jemals diesen Bewusstseinszustand zu erreichen? Kaum…
    Bemühe mich, werde bald wieder Zeit zum Lesen haben und freue mich schon auf die Lektüre, Danke für diese wundervollen Empfehlungen! Alles Liebe für Euch im neuen Jahr!
    Das mit den beiden sauber angespitzten Bleistiften empfinde ich als reine Provokation.
    Das Foto meines Nähtisches und darunter erspare ich Euch;
    Was sind das nur für erstklassige Fotos, freue mich!!!
    Liebe Grüße vom Pialein (gerade klemmen alle Schlösser…)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Das ist ja witzig, liebes Pialein, bei uns klemmen auch 3 Schlösser, was Masterchen gerade mit Kriechöl zu beheben sucht. Das ist bei uns stets im Winter so, da wegen Kälte und Feuchtigkeit das Holz arbeitet. Wird’s wieder warm und trocken, klemmt es nicht mehr. Deswegen wissen wir cleveren Buchfeen, dass das Ölen nicht nutzt.
      Dank, dass du Masterchens Buch hier lobend erwähnst. Sooo lieb von dir 🙂 🙂 Ach weißt du, es war ja Masterchens Job, klug und belesen zu sein. Er ist dafür erzogen worden und liebte es. Ja, ja, er hat einen Hang dazu, etwas überordentlich zu sein. Wir lachen uns ja schief. Sein Schreibtisch ist stets bestens aufgeräumt und abends liegen Füller und Drehbleistift ordentlich nebeneinander, an der Schreibtischkante ausgerichtet. So ist er eben. Das Gute daran ist, dass er das nicht von uns verlangt. Obwohl wir keine Chaos-Fairies sind. Wir alle lieben eine schöne aufgeräumte Umgebung, die uns zu klaren Gedanken anregt. In solcher Umgebung lieben wir es zu lesen. Beim Lesen finden wir, je weniger Ablenkung desto konzentrierter lesen wir und behalten es dann auch besser. Unser Masterchen liebt es, bei Dunkelheit zu lesen und dann nur die Buchseiten beleuchtet zu haben. Wir Buchfeen lesen viel in unseren Kuschelbettchen liegend. Noch etwas Wichtiges finden wir in Bezug aufs Lesen, man muss immer wieder Pausen einschieben, in denen man über das Gelesene nachdenkt oder wie manche es ausdrücken, in denen man das Gelesene verdaut.
      Toll, dass dir Dinas Fotos gefallen, uns auch 🙂 🙂
      Dir wünschen wir ein gesundes, frohes und inspirierendes neues Jahr voller verrückter Projekte und kreativer Abenteuer
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Like

    • Dear Kaya,
      well, we know this, so many books, so little time and our pile of books to read is getting higher and higher.
      We started to read more systematic. That means, we are reading only books that fit in our field of collection. In a way it’s a pity but we can’t read any interesting book.
      Wishing you a happy and healthy new year with lot of happy reading
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  20. 🙂 Danke für die Lese-Tipps, lieber KlausBernd!
    Das Indien-Buch klingt besonders spannend, so dass ich es mir auf meine Lese-Wunschliste geschrieben habe.
    Euch auch einen guten Start in ein gesundes und glückliches 2020!
    Liebe Grüße
    Claudia 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Jacqui,
      we wish you good luck. Here in England even small public libraries store some copies of this book.
      By the way Macfarlane’s other books are worth reading too. “Underworld” is his latest.
      Thanks and cheers
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Like

  21. I wish you a very beautiful and rewarding year of reading.
    When I saw the photo of all these free, oh my God, what I wish I could have crossed the screen to find myself there
    It was only late that I came to read, around 12 years old, but I always knew books at home, I always saw them. Last year someone from my building moved and left their entire library with anyone who wanted books. Regularly there were not two or three, but twenty at a time on the radiator of the ground floor of the building and it lasted several months.
    … I used
    Currently I started in French “only the beasts” by Colin Niel
    Maybe I don’t read so-called difficult books, but I read and, that’s the most important thing I think

    Liked by 1 person

    • First of all, thank you VERY much for your kind wishes 🙂 🙂 and for commenting.
      We have grown up surrounded by books as well. As our dear Master was quite often ill when being a child he started reading early and always read a lot. Later he made it to his job teaching literature and philosophy in Montreal. And like a lot of readers he became a writer. Nowadays he is retired but still we are all reading a lot. We just love it. An parallel to your life, we inherited a huge library from a lady we only once met in our life and hardly knew a couple of years ago. The action was that it was in Berlin and we had to bring all the books from there to our home in England. But we managed.
      Colin Niel seems to write in the same direction as Macfarlane, as we understand it. We googled him and this brought us to the regular Arctic Connection Bookfair. One of our main field of collection are books about the Artic.
      We wish you a healthy & happy new year with a lot of great reading-adventures
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Your story is fabulous
      But I want to tell you this
      When my brother was going to die he had the strength to ask me this.
      “call the small neighborhood library XXXX and ask her to come by to sell what interests her. – my brother had several thousand books at his house, several full libraries loaded with various works.”
      This is what I did but when the appointment was given to my brother (after his death) I did not hear him ring so it could not be done. So I looked for another library and asked them to come. Previously I had sorted because I would like to keep my brother’s books (and especially valuable books …). So I took around 400 pounds for me which was not much.
      The library was delighted but I asked them this. What are you going to do with books that don’t interest you? They told me to give them to a small structure that was responsible for sending books to Africa. So I said; give them all my brother’s books.
      I contacted the small structure and asked them this; as they were going to open a library in the small town of XXXXX to give it the name of my brother (given the donation made). They said yes
      Later I contacted them and in the end they were very unpleasant.
      They didn’t even say thank you for the books
      They did not send the books to Africa, they kept them for them and moreover I had asked them to look if in the works there were not letters etc … and to send them to me. They did not do it.
      They answered me but it’s ours now, we do what we want with it
      Never again will I give something, my brother’s will has not been respected
      And when I think of the monetary value of all these books, it reaches a huge sum.

      Liked by 1 person

    • The books we are not interested in we put in our bookstall in the church. Don’t worry, we are not churchy people at all, but we run bookshelves for our community where people can donate and take books. All those books we are not interested in end up there and most of them find a reader. And if a book doesn’t go there, we give it to charities, mostly to a children’s hospital. We had a little bookstall at the entrance to our house too but that collapsed.
      Well, most of the books we get or the doubles from our library are not really valuable although some are first editions and even more than hundred years old. But you only get a decent price for antiquarian books if they are signed copies and preferably with a dedication to some known person or with written notes in it by a celebrity.
      We have some books from the early 18th c but they are not worth much. We collect mostly first editions, signed copies and, of course, just books we are interested in. But our collection is our hobby. We don’t do it for profit.
      Enjoy your books
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Robert,
      you are very welcome 🙂 🙂
      If we come to other people’s home we always have a look at their book shelves and we love to read the booklists of other bloggers as well. Of course, we are aware that such a list says at least as much about ourselves as about the books.
      All the best
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  22. This is a lovely post, as are all of your posts; presently I am in a public area, so the post will stay on the screen until I am home and able to enjoy it with the attention it deserves. It’s always great to see notifications of your posts, as positive and soothing vibes enter our lives and uplift our souls. Thank you, and happy new year!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good morning, dear Lisa,
      thank you very much for your kind words 🙂 🙂 We hope we gave you some ideas what’s interesting to read.
      As our dear Master mentioned Foucault’s “History of Madness” we suppose “The Order of Things” would be as interesting – but we didn’t read it last year.
      Wishing you a healthy, happy and creative new year full of inspiration and fun
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Like

  23. I love your habit of writing /saving a line or two from each book. A well crafted line is such a jewel – and to be able to look back and find the source when you simply can’t remember where that line came from – great idea (I tend to cling to old fashion print books as I like to underline and make comments in the margins – it does make it difficult to had off titles – how can you give aways your conversations? HAHA
    Thanks for the book suggestions

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good morning, dear Phil,
      thanks a lot for your comment 🙂 🙂
      As we read a lot and write a lot we need a system of how to process all the infos about the books we read. Our reader’s diary is a perfect tool we can always refer to. Our dear Master kept such reader’s diaries for many years now. We have several big volumes of them. And sometimes we just flick through one of these diaries and are amazed about what we have read – and it comes back to our mind.
      Wishing you all the best
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear RH
      the same author wrote quite some books about maps.
      We just found “The Mapmakers” by John Noble Wilford from 1981 in an antiquarian bookshop. Do you know this book? The next books we will read are both by Edward Brooke-Hitching “The Golden Atlas” about explorations and discoveries, full of maps, and “The Sky Atlas” also illustrated with quite some maps.
      A happy new year, happy reading 🙂 and thanks for visiting our blog regularly and comment here which is very much appreciated
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  24. An interesting and inspirational list indeed! (I noticed I have been un-followed again by WP…) My husband read Shantaram – I never did. It seemed too brutal for me. I have been reading mostly non- fiction these days, but now you provided me with some new ideas. “Underworld” and “The Writer’s Map” ended up on my list! So grateful for your reviews. Wishing you all a very healthy, happy new year, 2020!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Leya,
      thank you very much for your commentary 🙂 🙂
      Well, “Shantaram” is partly brutal but so is India. We are sure, you will like “Underworld” and “The Writer’s Map”. Our dear Master planed his books with MindMaps in different colours and with little pictures and symbols. That’s a bit like a writer’s map.
      Wishing you and your family a great new year, health and happiness
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Like

  25. Please excuse this very late visit to your post.
    I enjoyed your review of your favourite books very much. Dina’s photograph of you, Klausbernd, is very good!
    I hope to read ‘Underworld’ some time soon and I am sure I will appreciate it as much as all MacFarlane’s other books. I like your likening his style to that of Sebald’s ‘Rings of Saturn’, which I love. Have you been the to Sebald exhibition at Norwich Castle museum? I was engrossed for hours there!
    I read ‘The Luminaries’ when it first came out and was amazed at the depth and maturity of the writing of this young author. This style of writing isn’t very common these days especially with young writers – such detail and so many layers of narrative remind me of 19th century writers.
    I bought ‘The Writer’s Map’ for my younger daughter last year and we return to it again and again. I love the end papers! Maps are treasure troves in themselves, with so much to discover in their fine detail. I cannot resist books with maps and plans in them.
    Wishing you all a very happy, successful and healthy new year.
    Clare 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Good morning, dear Clare,
      we much enjoyed the Sebald exhibition in Norwich castle too. A couple of years ago we visited Sebald’s birthplace in southern Germany and blogged about it https://kbvollmarblog.wordpress.com/2012/10/25/w-g-sebald/
      Sebald and Macfarlane combine fiction and non-fiction perfectly.
      We agree, the style of the “The Luminaries” is perfectly done, it’s Victorian as well as modern. And to keep that brilliant style for so many pages is great art. This is one of the few books we read where we found no cliches and so many perfect sentences and expressions.
      We just started to read “The Sky Atlas” by Edward Brooke-Hitching and afterwards we’ll read “The Golden Atlas” by the same author. We really like books with and about maps.
      Thank you very much for your comment 🙂 🙂 and thanks a lot for visiting our blog regularly and commenting there.
      We wish you a happy and healthy new year
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Like

    • Dear Pia
      it depends
      Schade, im Deutschen kann man das nicht so knapp & passend ausdrücken.
      Wir sind ‘mal weg – im Urlaub im Lake District und hoffen auf Schnee.
      Von der Aufführung deines Musicals “Die Erde bereisen mit Schnecke und Buckelwal” sind wir sehr begeistert. GRATULATION!
      Alles Liebe und mach’s gut
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  26. Ahhh, ich liebe eure Buchempfehlungen!!
    Gregory David Roberts “Shantaram“…wirklich 1000 Seiten Spannung? Dann werde ich das für meinen lieben Mann bestimmt kaufen. Er war schon so begeistert von euren vorherigen Buchempfehlungen 🙂
    Liebe Grüße aus einem kleinen deutschen Städtchen ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Liebe Vera,
      dann wünschen wir deinem Mann viel Spaß beim Lesen. Schön, dass deinem Mann unsere letzten Buchempfehlungen gefielen.
      Habe Dank fürs Kommentieren und wir wünschen dir eine wundervolle Woche
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  27. Coincidentally, I’m reading shantaram at the moment. I picked this 1000 pager as it seemed apt for a lockdown read. It surprises me that you managed to finish it and also like it. 🙂 Many foreigners left a bad for this on good reads.
    What I really liked about it does not offer a glossy picture of India. I’ve lived in India for more than 25 years and was fortunate to be a privileged minority in this country. There are quite many things in this book that are described perfectly to a level of detail, most indians themselves might not know!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Megha,
      we think the novel presents quite a realistic picture of India and we think it’s brilliant suspense.
      It’s a long time ago I visited India and stayed there for more than half a year. Indeed, a lot of situations that are well described in detail reminded me of this time. I have to admit, sorry, that India wasn’t my country but I like this novel about India. I suppose I am too Nordic for India.
      Thanks for your comment.
      Have a happy week to come
      Klausbernd and the rest of
      The Fab Four of Cley
      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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