thornton37814's European Vacation

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thornton37814's European Vacation

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1thornton37814
Bearbeitet: Jan. 14, 2013, 5:53pm

I'm using GingerbreadMan's list (with a little editing based on my own research when I thought they were spelled a bit differently) even though some of these are parts of other countries. I'm including books read beginning in 2009.

Aland - 1715942::The Aland Islands by meadwr::W. R. Mead and S. H. Jaatinen
Albania - 5306129::The Siege by kadareismail::Ismail Kadare
Andorra
Armenia - 222097::The Forty Days of Musa Dagh by werfelfranz::Franz Werfel
Austria - A Fatal Waltz by Tasha Alexander; Requiem in Vienna by J. Sydney Jones
Azerbaijan - 2849877::Gentlemen of the Road by chabonmichael::Michael Chabon
Belgium - 47988::Resistance by shreveanita::Anita Shreve
Belarus
Bosnia and Herzegovina - The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway
Bulgaria - 12539065::The Rila Monastery by Hristo Hristov and Georgi Stojkov
Croatia - 11473720::Running Away to Home by wilsonjennifer::Jennifer Wilson
Cyprus - Bitter Lemons by Lawrence Durrell
Czech Republic
Denmark - 33867::Number the Stars by lowrylois::Lois Lowry
England - And Only to Deceive and A Poisoned Season both by Tasha Alexander; The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley; Winter of Discontent by Jeanne M. Dams; Dreaming of the Bones by Deborah Crombie; Slay Bells by Kate Kingsbury; A Very Private Grave by Donna Fletcher Crow; Water Like a Stone by Deborah Crombie; No Clue at the Inn by Kate Kingsbury; Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson; Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen; The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths; The Janus Stone by Elly Griffiths; Birds of a Feather by Jacqueline Winspear; The Weed that Strings the Hangman's Bag by Alan Bradley; Kissed a Sad Goodbye by Deborah Crombie; Pardonable Lies by Jacqueline Winspear; Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen; The Reluctant Detective by Martha Ockley; Mansfield Park by Jane Austen; Emma by Jane Austen; A Finer End by Deborah Crombie; The Most Beautiful Villages of England by James Bentley; Death in the Stocks by Georgette Heyer; To Love and Be Wise by Josephine Tey; Clouds of Witness by Dorothy L. Sayers; Behold, Here's Poison by Georgette Heyer; Shrouds of Holly by Kate Kingsbury; A Dark and Stormy Night by Jeanne M. Dams; Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen; Death at Whitechapel by Robin Paige; A Red Herring Without Mustard by Alan Bradley; I Am Half-Sick of Shadows by Alan Bradley; 5485095::Bleeding Heart Square by taylorandrew::Andrew Taylor; 56615::The Murder at the Vicarage by christieagatha::Agatha Christie; 11903864::The Evil That Men Do by damsjeannem::Jeanne M. Dams; 12112073::A Darkly Hidden Truth by crowdonnafletcher::Donna Fletcher Crow; 57744::Dissolution by sansomcj::C. J. Sansom; 39454::A Most Contagious Game by airdcatherine::Catherine Aird; 52097::Blind Justice by alexanderbruce::Bruce Alexander; 293882::Weighed in the Balance by perryanne::Anne Perry
Estonia - 960216::The Czar's Madman by krossjaan::Jaan Kross
Faroe Islands
Finland - 9115458::Snow Angels by thompsonjames::James Thompson
France - Murder on the Eiffel Tower by Claude Izner; Immoveable Feast by John Baxter; The Elegance of the Hedgehog by barberymuriel::Muriel Barbery; 15542::Murder on the Links by christieagatha::Agatha Christie
Georgia
Germany - The Hangman's Daughter by Oliver Pötzsch; 26236::Borrower of the Night by peterselizabeth::Elizabeth Peters
Gibraltar - 4931649::Uneasy Relations by elkinsaaron::Aaron Elkins
Greece - Murder in Mykonos by Jeffrey Siger
Greenland - 222143::This Cold Heaven: Seven Seasons in Greenland by ehrlichgretel::Gretel Ehrlich
Guernsey - The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Hungary - The Magyar Venus by Lyn Hamilton
Iceland - 6766460::Silence of the Grave by indridasonarnaldur::Arnaldur Indridason
Ireland - Death of an Irish Seawolf by Bartholomew Gill; Haunted Ground by Erin Hart; Rosewater and Soda Bread by Marsha Mehran; In the Woods by Tana French
Italy - Death a La Fenice by Donna Leon; Paganini's Ghost by Paul Adam; 12267481::Beastly Things by leondonna::Donna Leon; 413::Quietly in Their Sleep by leondonna::Donna Leon
Kosovo - The Hemingway Book Club of Kosovo by Paula Huntley
Latvia - The Dogs of Riga by Henning Mankell
Liechtenstein - 12707339::A Survey of Liechtenstein History by segerotto::Otto Seger
Lithuania - 1864549::The Last Days of the Jerusalem of Lithuania by krukherman::Herman Kruk
Luxembourg - 11849381::The Expats by pavonechris::Chris Pavone
Macedonia - 91368::The Miss Stone Affair by carpenterteresa::Teresa Carpenter
Malta - The Brass Dolphin by Caroline Harvey
Moldova - 90869::Playing the Moldovans at Tennis by hawkstony::Tony Hawks
Monaco
Montenegro
Netherlands - Maigret in Holland by Georges Simenon
Northern Ireland - In Search of Ulster-Scots Land: The Birth and Geotheological Imagings of a Transatlantic People, 1603-1703 by Barry Aron Vann
Norway - The Indian Bride by Karin Fossum; The Snowman by Jo Nesbo; 56575::Don't Look Back by fossumkarin::Karin Fossum
Poland - 3102448::The Zookeeper's Wife by ackermandiane::Diane Ackerman
Portugal - 3773750::Journey to Portugal by saramagojose::Jose Saramago
Romania - Taste of Romania by Nicolae Klepper
Russia - The Line by Olga Grushin
San Marino
Scotland - White Nights by Ann Cleeves; If Books Could Kill by Kate Carlisle
Serbia - Skylark by Dezső Kosztolányi; Serbia by JoAnn Milivojevic
Slovakia
Slovenia
Spain - The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon; The Spanish Bow by Andromeda Romano-Lax
Sweden - The Cruel Stars of the Night by Kjell Eriksson
Switzerland - A Healthy Place to Die by Peter King
Turkey
Ukraine - 1217701::The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million by mendelsohndaniel::Daniel Mendelsohn
Vatican City - Life in the Vatican with John Paul II by Luigi Accattoli
Wales - The Earth Hums in B Flat by Mari Strachan; 8174162::The Cold Light of Mourning by duncanelizabethj::Elizabeth J. Duncan

I may add Aland, Akrotiri and Dhekelia, Gibraltar, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Jersey, and Kazakhstan which are more or less as much of countries as the Faroe Islands are (according to some sources).

2GingerbreadMan
Aug. 18, 2009, 3:09am

I was ad libbing a bit with spelling, as I wanted the list to be in english for easy residence. Many of these countries have different names in my native Swedish. And I can't even count how many ways I've seen of spelling Azerbajdzjan....

I'm adding Kazakhstan to my list. Darn.

3cmbohn
Aug. 23, 2009, 7:33pm

Yeah, my list is streamlined at this point, but I can always add more later.

4thornton37814
Aug. 23, 2009, 8:54pm

I'm currently reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society so I'm pretty sure that I'm adding Guernsey to that list!

5thornton37814
Aug. 25, 2009, 3:23pm

I completed my trip to Guernsey mentioned above, so I've added that one.

6thornton37814
Sept. 15, 2009, 7:43pm

I updated my list to include my trip to the Netherlands via Georges Simenon's Maigret in Holland. It's a fairly predictable, yet enjoyable, detective mystery plot.

7GingerbreadMan
Sept. 16, 2009, 11:05am

I've never read Simenon, not being big on mysteries, but he seems a good place to start to get Holland, Belgium and Luxembourg ticked off the list. Have you read more by him?

8thornton37814
Sept. 18, 2009, 10:04pm

>7 GingerbreadMan: That was my first Simenon novel. I had picked that book up some time ago at a used book dealer in Knoxville, but it had stayed in my TBR pile until this challenge gave me a reason to tackle it. It's a short book so it reads quickly.

9thornton37814
Sept. 29, 2009, 8:20am

I have just completed The Indian Bride by Karin Fossum. This book was set in Norway except for a small section when Gunder Jomann travels to Mumbai to find a bride. I found this to be a captivating read from beginning to end.

10RidgewayGirl
Sept. 29, 2009, 11:48am

It was interesting, wasn't it? I did think, though, that the end was a wee bit rushed (although I liked the inconclusiveness).

11cbl_tn
Sept. 29, 2009, 4:59pm

>10 RidgewayGirl: Exactly my thoughts. My initial reaction when I discovered I'd read the last page was "Where's the rest of the book? I'm missing some pages!" I liked the inconclusiveness, too. The abruptness of the ending, not so much.

12thornton37814
Okt. 20, 2009, 9:12am

I just read The Cellist of Sarajevo as my selection for Bosnia and Herzegovina. What a powerful story of the siege of Sarajevo! How terrible it must have been to live in Sarajevo during the siege! I love the beauty that comes from the simplicity of the cellist's actions and the way it affects the other three main characters in the story.

13thornton37814
Okt. 24, 2009, 1:46pm

I just took a trip to Hungary with The Magyar Venus by Lyn Hamilton. This is part of her archaeological mystery series featuring antique seller Lara McClintoch. The first part of the book is actually set in Toronto. Lara then travels to Budapest to trace the provenance of an artifact that has been acquired by a Toronto museum. She also travels to a couple of other Hungarian towns or villages in the course of the book as well as a visit to the United Kingdom. She makes some great descriptions of both present-day Hungary and Hungary ca. 1900. The sense of place was strong. It took me awhile to get into the book, but the last part really flew by.

14GingerbreadMan
Okt. 25, 2009, 6:34pm

That's two fairly tricky ones down for you! I'll note the titles...

15thornton37814
Nov. 4, 2009, 10:15am

I just re-visited England with The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by C. Alan Bradley. It would be a great read for middle school aged children.

16thornton37814
Dez. 14, 2009, 11:46am

One of my favorite mystery series set in England is the Dorothy Martin series set in Sherebury. I had read most of the books in the series, but I was lacking a couple. I had managed to pick up one back in the fall, but in it, Dorothy made a trip back to her native Indiana. I'd been unable to locate one in used bookstores though. As I was looking through my Amazon.com wish list the other day, I happened to spot a used copy and ordered it. It was perfect timing because the story is set near Christmas. Even though I seem to be stuck in England, I was glad to find a copy of Jeanne M. Dams' Winter of Discontent. Sherebury is such a pleasant little town, aside from all the murders that Dorothy finds to solve. I've just completed reading this book, giving it a 3.5 star rating.

17thornton37814
Dez. 24, 2009, 10:14pm

One of my holiday books was Immoveable Feast by John Baxter. It's not my favorite "foodie" book. It is the story of an Australian who married a French woman and moved to France. I already had France covered in this challenge, but I'm adding it to the master list.

18thornton37814
Feb. 3, 2010, 2:31pm

I just added Spain to my list of visited European countries with The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. I really enjoyed the book and wished that I could visit The Cemetery of Forgotten Books.

19thornton37814
Mrz. 1, 2010, 7:46am

Another British mystery: Dreaming of the Bones by Deborah Crombie. It was very well-written and well-plotted. Crombie's series featuring Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James have become some of my favorites.

20thornton37814
Mrz. 6, 2010, 7:38am

Another one with an Irish setting: Haunted Ground by Erin Hart. A very interesting read with a bog body from the past and a modern mystery of a missing mother and child.

21thornton37814
Mrz. 7, 2010, 1:27pm

For Wales, I've added The Earth Hums in B Flat by Mari Strachan. I wouldn't say that the sense of place is overwhelming in this novel, but it does have characters speaking Welsh (although the Narrative is in English) and a few mentions of Welsh places. I'm sure that I'll probably find another book with a stronger sense of place at some point before I complete the challenge, but for now, I'm adding Wales to my completed list.

22thornton37814
Mrz. 13, 2010, 11:27am

I've now read a novel set in Italy. It was Death a La Fenice by Donna Leon featuring Commissario Guido Brunetti. It has a Venetian setting. In this, the first book of the series, Commissario Brunetti investigates the death of a famous conductor who dies of cyanide poisoning following the second act of an opera he is conducting. While it was not the most exciting of mysteries, and I feel that the author could have added more interest by incorporating more of the Venetian setting, it was strong enough to make me want to read further installments of the series to see how Brunetti's character continues to develop.

23thornton37814
Apr. 23, 2010, 9:23am

I've added In Search of Ulster-Scots Land: The Birth and Geotheological Imagings of a Transatlantic People, 1603-1703 by Barry Aron Vann as my Northern Ireland book. The majority of the book's discussion centered on them in that country before coming to America and after they had migrated from Scotland. A brief review is here, but a fuller review will be coming out in an upcoming issue of Tennessee Libraries which is now published entirely online by the Tennessee Library Association. I received the copy for review.

24thornton37814
Apr. 28, 2010, 2:00pm

I've added A Healthy Place to Die by Peter King as my selection for Switzerland. The Gourmet Detective travels to a Swiss spa to lecture in place of Carver Armitage. It's a pretty typical cozy mystery. I wasn't sure if there would be much in the way of true Swiss identity in the book, but I was pleasantly surprised at the little bits of history and culture thrown in along the way. I gave it 3 out of 5 stars. My review is here.

25cmbohn
Mai 24, 2010, 11:40am

Death at La Fenice is on my list for this year. I'm looking forward to it.

26thornton37814
Jun. 30, 2010, 9:54am

Greece is now represented by Murder in Mykonos by Jeffrey Siger. It's an interesting, but flawed, debut of a series featuring Detective Andreas Kaldis. My full review is here: http://www.librarything.com/work/7517181/reviews/60953341.

27thornton37814
Jul. 18, 2010, 9:43pm

I'm having trouble with the touchstones loading correctly on my completed list, but I've just added a novel for Sweden. I'll try to go back and fix them when they are in a more cooperative mood. The Cruel Stars of the Night by Kjell Eriksson is an interesting crime novel. A 70-year-old professor goes missing, a serial killer is killing 70-year-old men, and the professor's daughter is acting strange. Inspector Ann Liddell must determine if there is a connection between the missing man and the murdered men. My full review is here: http://www.librarything.com/work/2569183/reviews/54031135.

28thornton37814
Bearbeitet: Jul. 27, 2010, 9:16pm

I'm still having trouble with touchstones in my complete list of reads. I've visited England once again with Slay Bells by Kate Kingsbury. I wanted a "Christmas in July" read and this book in my to be read pile just called my name. I'd read several of the author's Manor House mysteries, but this was my first venture into her Pennyfoot Hotel series. It won't be my last. Where is Father Christmas? Cecily had hired a known drunk to be the Pennyfoot Hotel's Father Christmas, and it appears that he's forgotten to show up. Soon a footman she had sent to help Father Christmas down the chimney turns up dead, apparently having fallen from the roof. It isn't long until Father Christmas is discovered in the chimney -- dead from a knife wound. The local law enforcement is more interested in having the case wrapped up so he can enjoy his Christmas holiday than to see that justice is done so he decides the footman killed Father Christmas and then accidentally fell, even though the facts don't add up. Cecily would rather solve the case herself than call in the Inspector so she sets out to find the murderer. There are only a few viable suspects, but the author uses enough red herrings to keep the reader engaged and wandering if their guess is correct. Even though I didn't know the characters quite as well as persons who may have been following the series for some time, I could still follow the plot and felt that it didn't mar my enjoyment of the novel.

29thornton37814
Jul. 26, 2010, 8:48am

I've added Russia to my complete list of reads with The Line by Olga Grushin. A line forms by a kiosk which never seems to be open. Everyone begins to stand in line -- even though no one is certain what they are selling. Rumors spread that an exiled composer will be returning to conduct his 9th symphony. This is a great work of fiction, but it did not completely hold my attention. I anticipated some of the outcomes. The book is great at showing the oppression during the communist regime in Russia. The book is great at depicting how people who are obsessed with a notion react. I gave it 3.5 stars.

30GingerbreadMan
Jul. 26, 2010, 4:56pm

29 Sounds interesting. I tend to like novels who revolve around a simple premiss - as long as they aren't too long, that is.

31thornton37814
Jul. 26, 2010, 6:00pm

>30 GingerbreadMan: It really is very good from a literary perspective. It probably deserves a 4.5 or 5 star from that angle. I think you would enjoy it from some of the comments you have made about other books.

32thornton37814
Aug. 6, 2010, 3:17pm

Another Spain book: The Spanish Bow by Andromeda Romano-Lax. This is the story of cellist Feliu Delargo and his stormy relationship with pianist Justo Al-Cerraz and violinist Jewish violinist Aviva. It is set against a backdrop of political turmoil in Spain and other parts of Europe, particularly during the rise of Hitler and Franco. It's a beautifully written novel, capturing the political feel of Spain in the first half of the 20th century. I gave it 4 stars.

33thornton37814
Sept. 8, 2010, 8:28am

Just revisited Italy with Paganini's Ghost by Paul Adam. Once every two years, someone is chosen to perform on Paganini's violin. This year's winner is a 23-year-old Russian. Shortly after the performance, a man is found dead with a gold box that once belonged to Paganini. The contest winner and a shady character both turn up missing. It's up to Detective Antonio Guastafeste to solve the case, and he enlists the help of violin maker Gianni Catiglione. I very much enjoyed this visit to the world of violins. While most of the work is set in Italy, there is a small portion set in France and in London. Like the violins in this book, this book was well-constructed. Sadly, I do not know enough about Paganini's life to assess the novel's historical accuracy. This did not mar my enjoyment of the novel. It is easily one of my favorite reads of the year. I will definitely be looking for copies of the earlier book The Rainaldi Quartet and for future installments in this series. I gave it 4 stars, but I almost gave it 4.5 stars. I'm not sure what held me back.

34thornton37814
Sept. 11, 2010, 4:15pm

Adding another Austria book: Requiem in Vienna by J. Sydney Jones. Lawyer and private investigator Karl Werthen looks into a series of "accidents" that seems to be attempts on Gustav Mahler's life after being requested to do so by Alma Schindler. There is a rather large cast of suspects which seems to grow after each new attempt on Mahler's life. While the mystery itself is not bad, the writing does not flow as smoothly as it should. The author did a wonderful job in the historical research for the novel, but it reads more like a work of non-fiction (minus the footnotes) than it does as a work of fiction. Still, however, those who appreciate the music of the period of Brahms, Mahler, and Strauss should enjoy this mystery. I gave it 3 stars.

35thornton37814
Sept. 19, 2010, 8:31pm

Just read another England book, but this time, it was in a different setting than most England books. Much of the action was set on the Holy Island made famous by the Lindisfarne Gospels. The remaining action was set in northeastern England counties. A Very Private Grave by Donna Fletcher Crow. Since this was an early reviewer book, I'll provide a link to the review rather than publishing it in the thread. http://www.librarything.com/work/9467205/reviews/64692529 I gave it 4 stars.

36thornton37814
Okt. 23, 2010, 8:44pm

I'm wondering how many England books I'll have read by the time I finish this challenge? I just read Water Like a Stone by Deborah Crombie. It's one of my favorites in the series (which is also one of my favorites). My review is here: http://www.librarything.com/work/450147/reviews/66011669. I gave it 4.5 stars.

37AHS-Wolfy
Okt. 24, 2010, 6:08am

You could always split the UK into counties like the US has its own 50 state challenge.

38thornton37814
Okt. 24, 2010, 8:44pm

I did split UK into England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. I guess I could go a bit further. I'll think about it.

39thornton37814
Jan. 6, 2011, 2:02pm

Another 4.5 star England book: Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson. If you are wanting to visit a charming English village, I highly recommend this book and its village of Edgecombe St. Mary. My review is here: http://www.librarything.com/work/9045096/reviews/68463477.

40thornton37814
Jan. 8, 2011, 4:37pm

I've added Kosovo with The Hemingway Book Club of Kosovo by Paula Huntley. Huntley's husband decided to take a one year leave of absence to go to Kosovo to help with the legal system. She took a brief TESL course so that she could teach English to persons desiring to learn. She found a used copy of Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea which turned out to be one of the best teaching tools because it provided a good springboard for discussion, giving the class more of a "club" feel. Huntley has utilized the journal that she kept during the time she spent in Kosovo to tell the story of her time there. In it we see a glimpse of what life was like, not only for Americans living there in the days after the revolution, but also for the locals. We see the threat of more war as well. It's a touching story. The author has provided a list of organizations where persons may volunteer Overseas service. Many persons will be inspired to do just that as there are some inspiring stories in its pages. There's also a follow-up interview with the author. 4 stars.

41thornton37814
Jan. 16, 2011, 8:20am

Crossing off Scotland with a trip to the Shetland Islands via White Nights by Ann Cleeves. A local artist Bella Sinclair is hosting a joint exhibition at her home, the Manse, in Biddista, Shetland Islands. A mysterious man shows up at the Manse and when Jimmy Perez, the local policeman, speaks to him, the man is acting rather confused, claiming a case of amnesia. The next morning Jimmy is called to investigate a body that has been found. It turns out to be the man no one claims to know, holding a mask in his hand. Roy Turner from Inverness comes in to help with the investigation. They must determine who the man is and why someone in Biddista would want the man dead. It's an interesting case. There were plenty of options as to whom the murderer might be. I had not completely settled on a suspect in my own mind when the outcome was revealed. I did enjoy this second installment, although I believe I enjoyed the first one slightly more. This review is based on an Advance Readers Copy loaned to me by a friend. 4 stars.

42GingerbreadMan
Jan. 16, 2011, 11:56am

Murder mystery in the Shetlands sounds like an enticing concept!

43thornton37814
Jan. 16, 2011, 6:40pm

>42 GingerbreadMan: Gingerbread Man, This is the second in the Shetland Island Quartet that she has written. I gave the first one 4.5 stars. This one only garnered 4 stars. It's still a great series. The 3rd one, Red Bones is out. I hope to get to it later this year.

44AHS-Wolfy
Jan. 16, 2011, 7:55pm

I think I'll add the first of the series, Raven Black, to my wishlist. It'll fill a gap in my own European challenge. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

45thornton37814
Jan. 17, 2011, 7:54am

>44 AHS-Wolfy: Dave, I really enjoyed Raven Black. I hope you'll enjoy it too.

46thornton37814
Jan. 18, 2011, 7:26pm

Another Ireland book: Rosewater and Soda Bread by Marsha Mehran. Three Iranian women are now in Ireland, having escaped the Revolution. The setting is the mid to late 1980s. A local woman finds a mermaid-like girl who has committed unspeakable acts in trying to abort a baby. The women carry on with their lives while trying to help their friend discover the identity of the girl. There's really not much of a plot here, and I suspect that my enjoyment of the novel is greatly marred by having not read Pomegranate Soup first. There just really seems to be quite a bit lacking in this novel . . . including a gripping plot. 2.5 stars.

47pamelad
Feb. 3, 2011, 8:22pm

thornton, Helene Turston looks promising for Denmark. Have you come across her?I'm planning to read Detective Inspector Huss.

Glad to see that the Kosovo book is worth reading.

touchstones won't load

48thornton37814
Apr. 5, 2011, 7:21pm

Although I already have France and Hungary covered, I want to mention an almost 600 page book that is split mostly between those two countries: The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer. It's probably the best book I've read this year to date. Andras Levi, a Hungarian Jew, manages to secure a chance to study architecture in France. This book chronicles his time in France and his brother's chance to study medicine in Italy. Then they lose their student visas and must return home. The hardships suffered by them and by their families are chronicled in the book. I was a bit intimidated by the size of this book -- almost 600 pages, but I need not have worried. Orringer is a very skillful storyteller and kept my attention throughout the entire book. The characters are well drawn. The atrocities suffered by the Jews during the Holocaust are never easy to read, so be prepared to shed a few tears. I am impressed by the amount of research that the author must have done to write such a marvelous piece of historical fiction. 5 stars.

49thornton37814
Apr. 29, 2011, 7:46am

Another Norway book: The Snowman by Jo Nesbo - Norway has its first serial killer who leaves behind a snowman as his signature. Harry Hole is the only detective with experience tracking serial killers. He sets out to find the person responsible for the deaths in what appears at first to be a missing persons case. It's a mystery filled with suspense -- much of it a little too nightmarish for my personal taste. Although I understand why the author used it, I don't enjoy reading things that involve sex crimes. While this one doesn't go all that far in that direction, it did so to an extent beyond my comfort level. It's a well-plotted mystery, full of action that builds the suspense. There are some formatting issues with the Kindle version that make it a little awkward to read in places. It's not on every page but there are awkward line breaks and breaks in the middle of words. This review is based on an advance reader's e-galley provided by the publisher through NetGalley, and it is hoped that the formatting issues will be resolved in the final version. 3.5 stars.

50thornton37814
Jun. 28, 2011, 3:03pm

Marking off Germany with The Hangman's Daughter by Oliver Pötzsch - Jakob Kuisl is the hangman of Schongau in 17th century Bavaria. His daughter Magdalena is attracted to Simon, the son of the local doctor, even though such a relationship is forbidden in the culture. When orphans are found dead bearing a mark that is widely thought to be a sign of a witch, the local midwife is imprisoned. Jakob and other are convinced that she is not a witch, although it would be much easier if she were to just confess to the crime. It is up to Jakob, Simon, and Magdalena to find the truth behind the murders before Jakob has to kill the woman who brought his children into the world. I really enjoyed this tale based on the author's own family history. He, of course, has taken liberties with the story and plot, but it has brought to light the witch scares in Germany that preceded the one in Salem here in the United States. A great piece of historical fiction! 4 stars.

51thornton37814
Jun. 29, 2011, 11:25am

Romania: Taste of Romania by Nicolae Klepper - This is not a terrible cookbook. It is just one that failed to inspire me as others do. It was interesting to see the kinds of food that Romanians eat, to learn a little about the history of the country, to read a folktale or two, to read a couple of poems that describe the country, etc. Many of the dishes seem to be somewhat similar to goulashes. Romania wasn't a country until the latter half of the 19th century. This relatively new country's cuisine has, therefore, been influenced by the cuisines of many nearby countries as well as France. There is an extensive bibliography in the book, and the indexes appear comprehensive. The predominant cheese used throughout the book is caşcaval. In the Kindle version of the book, there is often a footnote indicated by one or more asterisks. Unfortunately it is very difficult to determine which asterisk goes to which page because they begin at about 97% of the way through the book on the Kindle edition with each footnote being on a separate page. I was able to determine that the one for this type of cheese was usually a footnote indicating other cheeses that could be used for Americans unable to locate this cheese. One thing I noted about Romanian cuisine is the extensive use of sour cream in just about everything. I've decided that I can just add some sour cream to a dish and call it "Romanian." It's an interesting book, but it's not one that I'll be using often. 3 stars.

52thornton37814
Jul. 10, 2011, 1:33pm

Although the town in Skylark by Dezső Kosztolányi was in Hungary for the setting of the novel, it is located in present-day Serbia, so I'm counting it for Serbia. Review: 35-year-old "old maid" Skylark lives with her parents in a fictional Serbian town in what was at that time Hungary. Relatives living on the plain have repeatedly invited the family to come visit. When the end of the summer approaches and the family has not made the trip, they decide to send Skylark alone for the visit. Mother and father wonder what they will do to pass the time as they await Skylark's return, but they soon rediscover the lives they used to have before giving them up to try to keep their "ugly" daughter Skylark happy. This is a novel which portrays daily life rather than one in which there is a major crisis or event. The characters are wonderful. The descriptions are vivid. The model for the town in the novel is the author's own Subotica, which is located in present-day Serbia. 4 stars.

53thornton37814
Sept. 29, 2011, 9:23am

Cyprus: Bitter Lemons by Lawrence Durrell - Lawrence Durrell journeyed from Britain to Cyprus in the mid-1950s. He describes his experiences on the island as well as the landscape and culture. He gives an inside look at some of the political turmoil that was taking place at the time. I particularly enjoyed the few passages in the book that mentioned some of the Biblical events that took place on the island. Apparently there is still a tradition on the island that describes how Paul and Barnabas ate olives as they were traveling to a village. In another place it mentions where Barnbas was buried. I cannot say that I really enjoyed the political aspects of the novel. The author mentions in the introductory pages that this is not a political book. It really isn't, but it was impossible to write about this particular period in time without mentioning how the political events of the day were shaping everyday life. There was a strong anti-British element which ultimately resulted in independence from Britain after the days covered in the book. 3.5 stars.

54thornton37814
Okt. 5, 2011, 10:56pm

Malta: The Brass Dolphin by Caroline Harvey - Lila Cunningham learns that her father has borrowed money against their home and that now the bank is repossessing it. Her employer and friend owns a home in Malta that they never use so they decide to send Lila and her father there. They arrive at a time just before World War II breaks out. It isn't long until they are taking cover from the bombings. Lila had begun working for a Count who was a historian, but she begins helping a new friend with her hospital in the city after the war erupts. Lila also begins to see a different side to her father. I really enjoyed most of this World War II story which had some of the feeling of a romantic suspense while not being pretty light on the romance and with more of a war theme than the darker suspenseful tones. Ultimately I did not like the manner in which the book was resolved and lowered my rating because of it. 3 stars.

55GingerbreadMan
Okt. 6, 2011, 3:23am

You have found some interesting books for some tricky countries! I've always found Malta's role in WW2 fascinating (more bombs were dropped on Malta in 1942 than on London during the entire war I've been told!), a shame this book didn't quite do it for you. A bad ending is never fun.

56thornton37814
Okt. 6, 2011, 6:54am

Well, it's not a horrible book, Gingerbread Man. I very much enjoyed the parts about the war. I didn't dislike all parts of the ending. It's just that the very last resolution (and the one that I think matters most to readers of the genre) did not take place quite as expected. I can't say too much without revealing spoilers. The ending may have been a little too realistic for the genre. Others may like the ending better than I did. I'd always heard that Malta was heavily bombed, but the magnitude finally struck me as I was reading this book. We read about the bombings in London in many fictional works, but it's not often you find the Maltese setting.

57thornton37814
Okt. 22, 2011, 10:40pm

Vatican City: Life in the Vatican with John Paul II by Luigi Accattoli - The author and photographer of this volume were granted more access than are typically granted to reporters covering the Vatican. The reader is able to catch a glimpse of what life in the Vatican is like through the pictures and narrative. The narrative is not as engaging as that of some books aimed at the tourist market. The photographs, however, convey the setting to the reader in more powerful terms. The book came up a little short in delivering the promised "insider's look" into the Vatican. The Vatican was still able to guard much of its privacy. This book was written several years before then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger became Pope Benedict XVI. Readers are able to get a glimpse of the role he played at the Vatican before becoming Pope. 3 stars.

58thornton37814
Nov. 12, 2011, 11:45am

Latvia: The Dogs of Riga by Henning Mankell - Two bodies have washed ashore the Swedish shore in a lifeboat. They realize that the murder did not take place in Sweden and are happy to hand off the investigation to the Latvian police when it is discovered the men were Latvian criminals. When the Latvian officer is murdered shortly after returning to his country, Kurt Wallander is sent to Latvia to help investigate. He's drawn into an investigation where he quickly realizes that one of the officers with whom he is working is corrupt -- but which one is it? Wallander cannot trust anyone and does not speak the language. This was my first Kurt Wallander mystery. He's a likeable detective, but he's definitely flawed, mainly because of his lack of experience. I'm definitely interested in reading the earlier installment of the series and future installments to see how his investigative skills strengthen as he gains more experience. 3.5 stars.

59clfisha
Dez. 27, 2011, 6:32am

You have some great books (and reviews here). I have started The Dark Philosophers by Gwyn Thomas which may do for you Welsh category, 3 novellas in one and I must admit the 1st was unremittingly bleak but still good. Of course there is always the comedy noir Aberystwyth Mon Amour..

60thornton37814
Dez. 27, 2011, 8:42am

Thanks for the recommendations on the Welsh books. I'll see if I get back to that one. I have read books in the past with a stronger sense of place for Wales, such as Sixpence House. I also read quite a few non-fiction books at one point about Wales when I discovered that one of my immigrant ancestors was supposed to have been in Denbigh, Denbighshire, Wales. I'm not sure anyone has really been able to document that particular piece of information, and it appears the family was in London before coming to the United States. One of these days, I'll manage to get around to researching that ancestor more fully.

61thornton37814
Jan. 16, 2012, 2:00pm

Portugal:

Journey to Portugal by Jose Saramago - Jose Saramago traveled throughout his native Portugal to give others a glimpse through language of what they might see. It is not easy to read because he calls himself the "traveler" throughout the narrative, making for a rather awkward third-person account. He spends a lot of time at churches, chapels, monasteries, convents, and cathedrals along the way. Another problem that I had with the book is that he began to describe things of interest and then would cut the description short while things that were less interesting were covered in more detail. I would certainly not recommend that this be anyone's primary book for a trip to Portugal, but it's okay for an armchair traveler who is more interesting in quality writing than detailed accounts of sights. There are a few black and white photos and section maps to help guide the armchair traveler. 3 stars.

62thornton37814
Bearbeitet: Jan. 23, 2012, 11:24am

Moldova: Playing the Moldovans at Tennis by Tony Hawks - Londoner Tony Hawks takes up a bet with his friend Arthur that he can defeat all 11 players of the Moldovan football team who had just completed a match in England at tennis. It's been awhile since Tony has played, and no one really knows if any of the football players is good at tennis. Hawks sets off to begin his quest and meets a number of obstacles along the way. The language, of course, is a barrier, but the players are quite spread out as far as their regular clubs are concerned. Some of their managers are not cooperative. In the end, Tony travels not only to Moldova but to Beirut and Israel in his quest to win the bet. I won't give away the outcome of the matches, but the book provides a nice change of pace from most travelogues and contains some quite humorous incidents along the way. 3.5 stars.

63thornton37814
Jan. 24, 2012, 10:02pm

Another book set in Wales: The Cold Light of Mourning by Elizabeth J. Duncan - Penny Brannigan owns a nail salon in a small town in Wales. Her best friend Emma Teasdale has just died. Penny has just done the nails for a wedding party, but before the wedding can take place, the bride turns up missing. Since Penny appears to be the last to have seen the missing bride, she is questioned. She forges a friendship with Victoria, a Canadian who has recently come to town. The detectives are quite pleasant and competent, which is a little different than many mysteries featuring amateur sleuths. The characters seem to be quite likeable. There are some problems with the plot -- a few red herrings that never quite develop as the author probably intended and such. However, the characters and setting are pleasant enough that I'll probably read the second in the series. 3 stars.

64thornton37814
Jan. 29, 2012, 11:13pm

Macedonia: The Miss Stone Affair by Teresa Carpenter - In searching for books set in Macedonia to read for the Europe challenge, I came across this book about a missionary who had been abducted there around the turn of the twentieth century. I was excited because I had read several missionary biographies in the past and enjoyed them. My joy, however, was short-lived when I realized that the author focused not so much on the missionary as on the political turmoil between Macedonia and the United States during that time. It failed to give enough background about the national situation in Macedonia at the time to provide a reader not familiar with it enough insight to understand why Miss Stone was kidnapped in the first place and why her sympathies as well as those of her nurse rested with the kidnappers. The more I read of the book, the more I wished that the book in hand were an autobiography written by the Congregational missionary herself. The book simply failed to engage me, and it failed to give me a sense of what it was like for her in captivity. I was more interested in the missionary, but the author was more interested in the hostage negotiation and political aspects. 2 stars.

65thornton37814
Bearbeitet: Feb. 9, 2012, 9:07pm

Albania : The Siege by Ismail Kadare - This is a fictionalized account of an attack of the Ottoman Empire upon the Albanians. The book is written in such a manner that the chapters are mostly from the Ottoman perspective, but at the close of every chapter are two italicized pages from the Albanian perspective. These Albanian pages are almost poetic because they are so beautifully written and translated. I'm not particularly fond of war stories, but this one was extremely well-written. 4 stars.

66thornton37814
Feb. 22, 2012, 7:49am

Poland: The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman - Jan Zabinski and his wife Antonina were zookeepers of Warsaw's growing zoo before the onset of World War II. In this account, we learn not only of the horrors suffered by the animals, but also of the zoo's involvement in the Underground Movement aiding Jewish refugees. It's a spellbinding and quick read. My biggest criticism is that it is well-researched but poorly documented. The end notes don't link to passages in the text. My first clue that they even existed was when I reached the end. While I understand the author's desire to make the book readable and use fewer citations, it would have been helpful to know which sources were used in constructing the points made in each chapter. 3.5 stars.

67clfisha
Feb. 22, 2012, 1:48pm

Not sure I could read about such animal cruelty which is silly really as I can read of human cruelty.

68thornton37814
Feb. 22, 2012, 9:43pm

Claire, I think it could have been worse than it was in the book. Of course, all Holocaust books contain cruelty. It was just a cruel time. At least the animals had some who showed them kindness.

69thornton37814
Feb. 25, 2012, 1:48pm

Croatia: Running Away to Home by Jennifer Wilson - Jennifer Wilson, a free-lance travel writer living in Des Moines, Iowa, and her husband Jim, an architect, (and their two young children) decide to take a year to live in Croatia, the land of Jennifer's ancestors, in hopes of discovering more about them. They face a number of obstacles including the difficulty of finding housing in her ancestral village, the language barrier, and access to records. Jennifer seems to be a bit unprepared for her genealogical ventures. An organized research plan is never shown and most of what she is doing seems to be random. She also seems to be content to leave her research at the parents of her immigrant ancestors instead of trying to go back further. She does mention loss of records in the narrative, but the main record mentioned as being lost is the record of burials. I'm certain there are other records which could have been explored for the time period. The Family History Library guide mentions some that they have filmed or are in the process of filming. The reader does come away with a feel for some of the family's experiences in the country, but there are gaps in the narrative and places where you want more details and many places where you want far less information. 3 stars.

70thornton37814
Mrz. 3, 2012, 6:14pm

Lithuania: The Last Days of the Jerusalem of Lithuania by Herman Kruk - Herman Kruk, a librarian, lived in Vilna Ghetto in Lithuania during the early days of the Holocaust. He kept a diary of his time in the ghetto which extended to a concentration camp in Klooga, Estonia where he and other Jews were eventually exterminated. This is an important diary because it chronicle what everyday life was like for the Jews in Vilna Ghetto at the time. It is a fascinating read even though it is slightly over 700 pages. Rarely does one read a chronicle of events that touches the day to day existence of Jews suffering through the Holocaust at the level in which this work does. It is remarkable that this diary made it through the Holocaust to be read by us today. 4.5 stars.

71thornton37814
Mrz. 4, 2012, 7:03pm

Estonia: The Czar's Madman by Jaan Kross - Jakob's sister Eeva marries Timo van Bock, the "madman." Jakob's life becomes intertwined with that of Timo and Eeva, now going by the name Katarina. The setting spans about 20 years, beginning in the 1810s. Timo wrote a letter to the czar which sent him to prison for awhile. He's eventually released because of his "madness." The narrative is written in the form of Jakob's diary. There are a couple of places in which there is untranslated Russian text, making it awkward for English readers who don't know the Russian language. While the narrative may be more engaging the in the language in which it was originally written, it failed to capture my attention. Knowing more about life and government in the Baltic Republics during the period in which this novel was set, particularly Estonia where this is mostly set, would have been advantageous. The book is a fictionalized account based upon real persons who lived at that time. The book may work better for those with a background in Eastern European studies. 2.5 stars.

72cbl_tn
Mrz. 4, 2012, 7:33pm

I had The Czar's Madman penciled in for Estonia. Maybe I'll try Purge instead.

73thornton37814
Mrz. 5, 2012, 4:13pm

72> That might be a good idea. I was rather disappointed in it.

74thornton37814
Mrz. 10, 2012, 12:46pm

Armenia: The Forty Days of Musa Dagh by Franz Werfel - At over 800 pages, this is not an easy read. It details the relations of the Armenian Christians with the Turks who were now ruling them. They were removed to Musa Dagh (Mountain of Moses) where times were difficult. It details their resistance effort and struggle during this time. My favorite portions were the portions concerning their faith and the portions that related to everyday living. The author made some wonderful descriptions of such things as food and other cultural elements. My unfamiliarity with some of the names made it difficult to read and keep characters straight in my mind as I was reading. I wish I'd spotted the list of characters and the glossary of Armenian and Turkish terms at the end of the novel prior to reading it in its entirety. Perhaps these should have been located in the front of the book! 3.5 stars.

75Samantha_kathy
Bearbeitet: Jul. 31, 2016, 8:44am

Diese Nachricht wurde vom Autor gelöscht.

76thornton37814
Mrz. 11, 2012, 8:45pm

It's a fictionalized account of a real incident.

77Samantha_kathy
Bearbeitet: Jul. 31, 2016, 8:44am

Diese Nachricht wurde vom Autor gelöscht.

78thornton37814
Apr. 8, 2012, 9:21pm

Denmark: Number the Stars by Lois Lowry - Classic children's book that tells the story of the rescue of Denmark's Jews during World War II by way of sea to Sweden. It is written through the eyes of Annamarie who has Jewish friends that her family helps to rescue. Lowry does a superb job telling the story in a manner that will interest younger readers. 4.5 stars.

Greenland: This Cold Heaven:Seven Seasons in Greenland by Gretel Ehrlich - Ehrlich spends seven years in Greenland. This book recounts her time there, living among Greenlanders and encountering the Inuits. Transportation was often by dogsled. She also takes time to share the story of Rasmussen, an early Danish explorer of arctic regions, including Greenland and Alaska. I expected more of a travelogue, and what the book offered was more of a cultural anthropology of Greenland's icier somewhat habitable regions. It did provide a good sense of the place. I found parts of the narrative more interesting than others and think that the book could have been 75 to 100 pages shorter, condensing those portions in which there was little action or which a lot of things that happened earlier recurred. 3 stars.

Azerbaijan: Gentlemen of the Road by Michael Chabon - Perhaps the best description of this story is that it is a land-based adventure story set in the Middle Ages in Azerbaijan. It is reminiscent of pirate adventures except that the only time the sea is in the picture is when the group goes to a seaside town which is being raided by the Northmen. It's not the usual type of novel that I read, but I did enjoy Chabon's command of language in describing the action and surroundings. 4 stars.

79clfisha
Apr. 19, 2012, 8:06am

Pity I have already read Gentlemen of the Road otherwise it would be a good fit! I remember enjoying as a fun, adventure tales (and the illustrations) but was very glad it was a library book as it's so short.

80thornton37814
Mai 4, 2012, 11:19am

Bulgaria: The Rila Monastery by Hristo Hristov and Georgi Stojkov - This is an interesting book on the Rila Monastery in Bulgaria. It's a bit dated visually for today's readers, but the history of the monastery is very well done. The architectural portion was more interesting than I expected it to be although there were places that I felt it was a bit repetitive. The information about the carvings, frescoes, and other artwork was also somewhat interesting. There were quite a few drawings. Most of the photos were black and white. The few that were in color were done in an old process that just simply did not stand the test of time. I actually ordered a newer book on the monastery by a different author via interlibrary loan for my Europe Endless Challenge, but this is the one that came. I do not know if it is the fault of the staff at my library or the sending library. 3.5 stars.

81thornton37814
Mai 18, 2012, 7:57pm

Gibraltar: Uneasy Relations by Aaron Elkins - Gideon Oliver is returning to Gibraltar for a reunion of those who worked on the Gibraltar Woman excavation five years earlier. Journalists have taken remarks intended for pun as truth and have stated that Gideon will be talking about something of greater import to anthropology fraud than Piltdown Man. It's not long before there are a couple of possible attempts on Gideon's life -- or were they just accidents? Two years earlier, one of their colleagues, died in a landslide on the site of their original dig cave. Another member of the group is soon dead. Gideon must convince Gibraltar's chief inspector that a crime has been committed, but it's Gideon's knowledge of forensic anthropology that will solve the case. It took me awhile to become engaged, but once the focus of the book was more on the mystery and less on anthropology with scientific discussions in the mix, I was able to care more about investigation. I have never read earlier installments in the series, and this was the 15th, so it is possible that I might have enjoyed the first part more if I'd had a better knowledge of the main characters. I do think that it works reasonably well as a stand-alone as most of the characters were developed sufficiently in the book. 3 stars.

82Samantha_kathy
Bearbeitet: Jul. 31, 2016, 8:44am

Diese Nachricht wurde vom Autor gelöscht.

83thornton37814
Mai 19, 2012, 9:16am

It's not easy to find a fiction book on Gibraltar. It's really not a country per se, but I wanted to include the independent territories for which I could find books. I was delighted that my library actually had this one.

84thornton37814
Mai 25, 2012, 2:47pm

Ukraine: The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million by Daniel Mendelsohn - This is the story of Daniel Mendelsohn's search for his maternal grandfather's brother, Shmiel Jager. His grandfather had told him stories of the family, but he became interested in learning more. His search led him to many countries and to the ancestral hometown of Bolekhiv, Ukraine on numerous occasions. Gradually through bits and pieces from different individuals who knew Shmiel's family, he is able to piece together the story. I was somewhat disappointed in the story. It's more about the search than it is about the lives of those he was researching. As a genealogist, I would have preferred to read the account of his family as it had been synthesized and pieced together (with footnotes attributing each piece to the proper source and noting discrepancies and how they were resolved). This, however, was not the direction in which the author chose to go. I found that I was constantly trying to remember what he'd learned 100 or 200 pages back that had bearing on what he was learning from his current interviewee. I felt that the book was a lot longer than it needed to be, but much of this may have had to do with my perspective on how the book should have been written. There is a lot of information here, and while I am not as happy about how he chose to present it as some others are, I am happy that he did put his family's story in print. I enjoyed the pieces of commentary on Genesis which were often based on the Jewish commentary that Friedman wrote. 3 stars.

85thornton37814
Jun. 4, 2012, 8:28am

I read another book set in Germany: Borrower of the Night by Elizabeth Peters - Vicky Bliss and several others head to a German castle to try to locate a missing piece of art dating to the Renaissance. There are all the things you would expect in a castle such as suits of armor, secret passages, and ghosts. It wasn't the most captivating mystery. This book could have used a glossary for the German words in the text that were unexplained. I refused to go track down my German dictionary so I hope I was able to figure out what most of them meant by their context. I have a low tolerance for Occultic themes in books, and there was too much of a presence in this one for me. 2 stars.

86thornton37814
Jun. 18, 2012, 10:32pm

Liechtenstein: A Survey of Liechtenstein History by Otto Seger - This short 40 page book gives a brief overview of Liechtenstein's history, primarily focusing on the political history. When other areas are mentioned, they are usually in relation to the political climate. The book had some problems in regards to mixing first (primarily plural) and third persons. It is clearly a book written primarily for Liechtenstein's citizens. It is very basic and lacks citations. I did learn quite a bit about the influences that Germany, Austria, and Switzerland have had upon the Principality of Liechtenstein. 2.5 stars.

87thornton37814
Jun. 19, 2012, 9:29pm

A bonus category in my Europe Endless challenge:

Aland: The Aland Islands by W. R. Mead and S. H. Jaatinen - Although the modern portion of this book is becoming dated, this is still a good book to read to become acquainted with the Aland Islands which are technically part of Finland but are autonomous. The Islanders speak Swedish for the most part and have ties to both Sweden and Finland. The book gives an overview of the country's geography, geology, climate, plant and animal life, and much more. It also chronicles what has become known as "the Aland question" in political circles. The book is very readable and reminds me of books in "The Land and People" series which was geared towards middle schoolers (and perhaps upper elementary schoolers), although this book was clearly written with an adult audience in mind. 3.5 stars.

88thornton37814
Jun. 22, 2012, 2:51pm

Luxembourg: The Expats by Chris Pavone - In this story of espionage, we meet a former CIA agent who quit her job to accompany her husband to Luxembourg for his new job working in the banking industry. They meet some other Americans whom she suspects are not who they claim to be. Using her background, she sets out to investigate what is going on and whom they are following. I'm not a fan of spy stories, but this one kept me turning the pages. 3.5 stars.

89VivienneR
Jun. 22, 2012, 10:47pm

Glad to hear you enjoyed The Expats. I have it on my list for Luxembourg.

90thornton37814
Jun. 23, 2012, 8:14am

I wanted to say more, but I couldn't figure out how to do so without including spoilers, so I left my review short.

91thornton37814
Jul. 1, 2012, 7:33pm

Finland: Snow Angels by James Thompson - The body of a Somali immigrant woman has been found in the snow in northern Finland just before Christmas. It appears to be either a sex crime or a racially motivated one. Inspector Kari Vaara must wade through the evidence to determine the motive and the killer's identity. It's not all that easy as the chief suspect is the man who stole his ex-wife from him. The plural of the title led me to believe that I would be reading about a serial murderer who used the snow angel pattern. Such was not the case (although I do say that with relief). I felt that some the characters lacked depth. Although we got to know Inspector Vaara and the chief suspect quite well, I felt that some of the other key players such as Vaara's ex-wife Heli, Vaara's right-hand man Valtteri, and Peter Eklund, a suspect who was the son of a wealthy man, were underdeveloped. The "f" word was overused, and there was a little more sexual description than I'm comfortable reading in this novel. It's not a bad debut novel, but I do hope that his later installments correct some of the problems of this first in the series. 3 stars.

92thornton37814
Jul. 2, 2012, 9:02pm

Belgium: Resistance by Anita Shreve - An American plane is downed near a Belgian Village during World War II. Pilot Ted Brice escapes in the woods with the aid of a small boy. He's taken to the home of Henry and Claire who are members of the resistance. The plan is to hide him there until he can make an escape through France back to England. The danger for those in the village increases when one of the villagers provokes the Germans.This is a Holocaust story and a love story. Having read other books on this period, the ending is a bit predictable. There was a lot that could have been included that was omitted, and the ending seemed a bit rushed. It's a book that a lot of women will enjoy reading. 3.5 stars.

93thornton37814
Jul. 4, 2012, 11:47am

Iceland: Silence of the Grave by Arnaldur Indridason - When a skeleton is found outside Reykjavik, Inspector Erlandur begins his investigation even though the full skeleton cannot be exumed for a few days. The archaeologist and a medical student believe that the bone that is first found is probably at least 70 years old so the detective focuses his efforts on the 1930s and 1940s. We are introduced to a horrifying tale of domestic violence and the account of an American base on Iceland. While the Icelandic names make for difficult reading, the story itself is quite absorbing. In the beginning, I had difficulty sorting out the past story and the present story, but as the story moved on, I managed to navigate both lines. My biggest criticism lies in the cursing in the dialogue. I did not feel it was critical in any place and could have been handled without including the bad language as was done in other parts of the story. I wondered if it was present in the original Icelandic or if it was introduced by the translator into the narrative. Stories involving domestic violence are never easy to read, but this one was well-told and worth reading. 3.5 stars.

94Trifolia
Jul. 11, 2012, 7:26am

Hi Lori, I just recently (re)discovered your thread. You've done some great reading. It's funny to see you come up with such a variety of books. I read Silence of the Grave too, but in Dutch. I don't remember it being so provocative with the cursing in the dialogue. Maybe the English translators spiced it up a little? I'm about to read another one in this series and I'll pay extra attention to this.

95thornton37814
Jul. 11, 2012, 3:54pm

I wondered if it was in the original or not. I suspect that it was added. It seemed too anglicized, if you know what I mean.

96Trifolia
Jul. 13, 2012, 1:17pm

Yes, I don't remember Erlendur or his colleagues to be so verbally rough, quite the contrary. How odd.

97thornton37814
Jul. 17, 2012, 11:49pm

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NEW THREAD - http://www.librarything.com/topic/139882

I've moved the thread because the touchstones will no longer load in the first message.

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