Almost intimate insights into cramped, cluttered, partly messy, partly well-organized homes including toilets with the typical fluffy toilet-only slip...moreAlmost intimate insights into cramped, cluttered, partly messy, partly well-organized homes including toilets with the typical fluffy toilet-only slippers in front, enriched by short written introductions to who lives there and what is his or her occupation. I love it. It is like being invited to visit and explore. Why don't you do the next project set in the county-side, Mr. Tsuzuki? When I pass those village-dwellings in Japan, my knuckles itch from refraining to knock and look.
My only complaint is about the binding of the book. It falls apart after the first leafing-through.(less)
Finished for the first time on November 28th 2008.
Three aces (and five stars or more)!
Small-town Ohio. Sixteen-year-old Hallie Palmer, poker pro and...moreFinished for the first time on November 28th 2008.
Three aces (and five stars or more)!
Small-town Ohio. Sixteen-year-old Hallie Palmer, poker pro and high-school-drop-out escapes her life as the second child of eight in a christian family as she accepts a position as a live-in "yard-person" in the unconventional Stockton household, which consists of Judge Stockton, who - in the last stages of Alzheimer's - is being cared for by his wife Olivia, an eccentric activist, atheist and successful writer of magazine pornography, his son Bernard, antique dealer, Bernhard's husband Gil, stage director at the local theater ... and Rocky, an alcoholic chimpanzee who is devoted to cocktail-mixing and the catholic church.
The coming-of-age-novel passes about a year of Hallie's life. During this time Hallie becomes a valued member of the household, sheds her image as the town's teenage delinquent, repairs the relationship with her parents and learns a lot about friendship, trust, love, life and tolerance and almost as much about culture, history, gardening, cooking, etiquette and religion.
Even if one (like me) does not share Ms. Olivia's belief of a godless universe, the warmth of the displayed relationships, the quirky characters, the comic situations, the puns and the misunderstandings cannot fail to touch and entertain.
I really love this book and have added the following two volumes to my Christmas wish-list.(less)
Unpurposely re-read. Well, I got this book back from a friend and just wanted to look at a certain passage quite at the beginning. And ... whoosh, I s...moreUnpurposely re-read. Well, I got this book back from a friend and just wanted to look at a certain passage quite at the beginning. And ... whoosh, I skipped breakfeast and ended up spending the free morning on the couch. I personally do not favour the concept of reincarnation or soul-recycling after death, but this novel, which follows 15-year-old Liz after a fatal accident to "Elsewhere", where she lives her afterlife with her now young grandmother for 15 years until she is a seven-days-old infant again ready to be sent down the river, is very much worth reading. Contrary to Liz' believe that her life is over - and meaningless - without her usual surroundings, family and friends, she eventually finds happiness, an avocation and even love. The novel convincingly depicts human and animal life as a cycle with the different cycles building together a line and states that death is just a part of life. Most important however is the message that in life quantity is not what counts but quality. After re-reading I can say that the story gets even better the second time.(less)
*** Read on 12/12/2010. Re-read from 08/09/2012 to 08/13/2012. Review written in 2010. *** Let me tell you: There is nothing too special about the sto...more*** Read on 12/12/2010. Re-read from 08/09/2012 to 08/13/2012. Review written in 2010. *** Let me tell you: There is nothing too special about the storyline: Seventeen years old girl is sent to attend a posh American boarding school in Paris against her will, gets included in a circle of close-knit friends she would not have befriended under different circumstances and falls for a nice boy of the sexy variety who isn't really available, supposedly out of her league and who has a waiting line of interested parties – including one of the heroine’s new friends - queued up should a miracle aka break-up occur. In addition I usually despise unimaginative titles beginning with FIRST NAME AND. I have wanted to read it very badly inspite of that since I had read the two-lines-review author Laini Taylor wrote on her Goodreads page in October 2009. Good for me, because although the story is pretty "normal" for a contemporary young adult novel, the excecution is not. The writing is not fluffy, but cute, realistic, but not depressing or grey. As the author writes in her blog, Anna and the French Kiss is "serious and fun". I have to re-read "Anna" soon to get the gist of it, but Stephanie Perkins' skill in displaying the miraculously realistic actions, reactions, emotions and thoughts is so masterful you cannot help investing your whole heart into the characters and their lives. Confession time: I am neither Anna, nor Étienne (I really do not like calling people by their last name only, b.t.w. and ... I immediately played the 80s' hit Etienne by Guesch Patti in my head when he was introduced to Anna and to me), nor Meredith, but a lot of scences and a lot of Anna's inner turmoil triggered good and bad memories of my own - which perhaps enhanced the powerful impact the book had on me. - There are these scenes in which Anna and Étienne share a bed or in which Étienne bumps into Anna on her first evening in the dorm. Anna is so very self-conscious and has difficulties to remember how to breathe. She berates herself for the silly things she said because she was so flustered. They made me remember the tiny moment it took me to recognise „This is it: We are going to kiss. Oh, my God“ or my futile efforts to subtly get the attention of the boy of my dreams each Saturday at a church group, who seldom noticed my presence; but when he did, I turned tongue-tied and had to look away. Shaking his hand when making the round at the beginning switched off all my life-supporting organs. And ... holding hands in secret at the cinema? I've been there! Hasn't everybody? - The infatuated giddyness Anna is drenched in when she spends time with Étienne and she notices that he seems to enjoy her presence, too. It took me back to uncountable points in my life: Teasing a boy I liked as a ten-years-old, behaving like a drunk without a drop of alcohol working on my system ... I almost cannot believe that my husband, back whe he still was my boyfriend ripped out a PAGE out of his PASSPORT to write down his home address for me when he went home for the holidays, which has caused us several awkward discussions with airport officers since. Or that I wasn't shocked or angry when in the middle of a makeout session at night next to a beltway I found my own naked butt exposed to the world, because that impossibly naughty guy wanted to test if I'd notice that he pulled my jeans – and panties down. Imagine: I just laughed happily and rearranged my clothes. - Étienne's reluctance to finally split up with Ellie and his guilt when he comes back after his first non-date with Anna: I have to admit: After six years with a former boyfriend I took flight and selected an internship in a far away city telling him that I rather did not want him to visit instead of making a clean cut at home. There were the good times still fixed in my head and a tiny pull to make it right and maybe also the fear to be alone again. Like Anna, who accepted the admiration of Dave and its consequences up to a certain point, I took to cuddling up with at least a handful of boys in my dorm for TV or board games. - Anna is hurt by the reactions of her little brother when she returns home at Christmas. She deems him fickle, because in her absence he transferred his affections to Anna's best friend Bridge. Oh, how I missed MY seven-year-old brother when I left home for university at nineteen. We were really close whe he was in Kindergarden and now at 23 - and ravishing - in my eyes he is still the cute kid grinning his cheeky grin at me, begging for a story. - Meredith is in love with her friend's boyfriend. So she settles for being a good friend to him, but hopes he will somehow see her worth and change his mind. I’ve been in love once with a friend from a very pious family. I tried to convince his familiy of my purely "friendly" intentions by behaving chummy, because I knew I would have been banned from the house otherwise. But in secret I always hoped he would say "Screw my parents and their strange views on sex. I want to be with you." I am sure if they would have looked at my face closely, I would have been as easy to read as Meredith is. - The Anna-Bridge-Toph thing. I also almost lost a very good friend, because my former boyfriend told me he fell in love with her, which made me behave distanced toward her. Silly me. - Anna feeling uncomfortable because of her friends' public dispay of affections (Rashmi and Josh), but when she is the one kissing in the park she doesn't care what happens around her. Oh, I remember not knowing where to look when my best friend from school acquired her first boyfriend and spent the whole evening of a garage party on a mattress in a corner with him. We arrived together and I thought "How can she do this to me?" But later, when I had my first boyfriend I got thrown out of a church in Taizé (hey, I WAS a teenager), because my kissing offended the congregation (said the orderly). - The whole dorm life. In spite of the noise and the gritty kitchen and the mold growing inside the waste bins, I loved it!!!!
Powerful memories like that stay with you always, but time takes away their luster and their thrill. Reading Anna polished the dust from the emotions that came with them. Thank you, Stephanie Perkins, for the roller-coaster-ride and the memory trip. How did you do that? Where did you buy your magic wand? (less)
***Read for the first time: July 20th 2008*** 4 stars. ***Re-read on July 11th 2013*** 5 stars.
It is really astonishing how much of Josie's extraordin...more***Read for the first time: July 20th 2008*** 4 stars. ***Re-read on July 11th 2013*** 5 stars.
It is really astonishing how much of Josie's extraordinary, lively character I had forgotten in mere 5 years. I still do not love her as much as Francesca Spinelli, but I adore her a big, fat lot. And it's funny to think that by now I am even older than her mother Christina.(less)
Review in German (01.11.2008) : My most excellent young adult novel. Bitte mehr davon! My Most Excellent Year ist einer dieser Romane, bei denen alle...moreReview in German (01.11.2008) : My most excellent young adult novel. Bitte mehr davon! My Most Excellent Year ist einer dieser Romane, bei denen alle Fäden am Ende zu meiner Zufriedenheit verknüpft worden sind und Story und Charaktere mir so sympathisch waren, dass ich sie sofort nach dem Zuklappen des Buches bereits vermisste. Der Klappentext sagt eigenlich schon viel - obwohl sie kurz ist. Ich führe etwas aus: Hauptaktionspunkt der vielschichtigen, mehrere Jahre abdeckenden Geschichte ist eine High School in Boston (In der Nähe des Fenway Park, dem Stadion der Red Sox). Sie setzt sich zusammen aus für die Schule geschriebenen Berichten (z.B. mit dem TItel "My most excellent year"), Tagebucheinträgen, Listen, Lexikonartikeln, Chatprotokollen, Briefen und E-Mails.
Die Hauptfiguren sind: * T.C. Keller, der bewusst seine Noten auf einem niedrigen Level hält, mit Leidenschaft Baseball spielt, mit seinen Vater (Witwer) zusammenlebt, nach Außen als ein oberflächlicher Jock wirkt und große Anstrengungen unternimmt, die kühle, intelligente Alejandra Perez für sich zu gewinnen.
* Augie Wong, seit der Grunddschule T.C.s selbsterwählter Bruder. Sein Vater hat ein Buchladencafé, seine Mutter ist eine feministische Theaterkritikerin. Augie liebt Broadway-Musicals und Musical-Verfilmungen. Er kann alle weiblichen Parts auswendig und weiß nicht, dass er schwul ist (alle anderen wissen es), bis er sich in Andy Wrexler, Mädchenheld, verliebt. Augie bekommt die Leitung des jährlichen Theaterstücks der Schule zugesprochen.
* Alejandra Perez, Diplomatentochter, fühlt sich schon etwas zu T.C. hingezogen, schämt sich aber dafür, einen oberflächlichen Hohlkopf zu mögen. Ale geht offiziell zum Französisch-Unterricht, nimmt aber heimlich Stunden im Tanzen und Singen.
* Teddy Keller, T.C.s Vater, freut sich, dass sein Sohn wegen mangelnden Einsatzes so oft zu seiner Beratungslehrerin Lori muss, die er seit Jahren erfolglos zu einem Date überreden versucht.
* Hucky Harper, Heimkind, gehöhrlos und fünfjährig, beobachtet immer das Baseball-Training im Fenway Park zu. Dort lernt er T.C. kennen. Er schaut jeden Tag die Mary-Poppins-Verfilmung mit Julie Andrews an und wartet darauf, dass Mary Poppins kommt, um ihn zu retten.
Die Art, wie jede dieser Personen sich um die Probleme der anderen Personen sorgt, sich dabei positiv verändert, selbstkritisch und humorvoll ihre Situation und ihre Vergangenheit betrachtet, ist einfach nur schön gemacht. Ich konnte kaum fassen, dass dieses Buch von einem Mann geschrieben wurde. Seit Liebste Abby vom Autorenduo Hadley Irwin habe ich kein so gutes Buch über männliche Teenager mehr gelesen.
First read first in 2008. I need multiple reading dates, Godoreads!(less)
Re-read from July 1 to July 2 2013. Loved it as much as a month earlier. A pretty perfect book in my eyes. Honest, real, raw, tender, funny, sad, well...moreRe-read from July 1 to July 2 2013. Loved it as much as a month earlier. A pretty perfect book in my eyes. Honest, real, raw, tender, funny, sad, well-articulated and open-ended on a hopeful note. I want to quote it to pieces and I want a physical copy to keep. Affordable, international edition, where art thou?(less)
Well ... apart from the fact that a bored and bright kid can have an awesome time with every thing that offers colorful illustrations (from food wrap...more Well ... apart from the fact that a bored and bright kid can have an awesome time with every thing that offers colorful illustrations (from food wrappings to street signs) I think that "Little Miss Austen" is one of the worst counting books I've come across. It comes highly recommended as a baby shower present for Darcy-crazy young mums. And since I love my Austen novels a lot, I thought I had to see for myself how the book, that claims to introduce the classic lovestory to the youngest of all readerships, manages to 'tell' the story in 22 pages. I have to admit I overlooked the 'counting primer' inscription on the cover, when I stumbled across the publisher's site. Still, even when I held the book in my hands and noticed the fine print I was intrigued. But ... do you want to know what superduper interesting things the book counts together with darling Baby Fitzwilliam? Horses (great!), Rich Gentlemen (well, okay ...), Sisters (alright ...), but Marriage Proposals? 1000-Pound-Notes (10 altogether)? Probably you hand over the great idea to the austenish Mummy if you buy this book for her newborn. You show her that you are aware of her obsession, that you are a observant girl-friend. I would rather buy something that will appeal to Mini-Bingley a few months later and promise his mother to find time for a video marathon or a joined re-read when he is asleep fondly drooling on 'Bobo Siebenschläfer'.Here are a few sample pages to give you an idea.(less)