Friday Fill-In #135

1. It's time for coffee and biscuits.

2. Work; it's not a bad place for filling out Friday Fill-Ins.

3. I must be crazy to always come back to the same question whether I should go back to that bookstore again to "have a look" - my suitcase will not take all these books I buy here!

4. Travelling is the best thing I have ever known.

5. My office coffee cup is simply blue.

6. The last time I laughed really loudly was yesterday evening with my work colleague, sitting on a small stone wall near Okhotny Ryad at midnight and sharing stories about the abesent-mindedness of our boss..

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to sleep sleep sleep (oh, and eat these d*** potatoes I always forget about), tomorrow my plans include visiting the Palace of the Romanov Boyars and Sunday, I want to do some other small museums - there is so much to see!

Reading in hard times

It has been a long while since I finished a book (last one was Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett maybe two weeks ago) and it is funny how I feel bad about that. I know that I read for the pleasure of reading and not only to make my TBR-list smaller, but apparently I need a regular "book ending" to happen, to give me a sort of structure.
Plus, I hate to be reading so many books at the time. Anna Karenina is too big to be carried around, so I only read it at home - and as I am either at work or visiting the city until I am fall-into-bed-tired, the chapters to be read are not getting fewer. My metro read is Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides and is maybe the only one I am progressing with. For the size of the book it is a relatively light paperback that I read while the train rushes through the labyrinth (depending on the distance, up to 30 pages), on the neverending escalators (up to 5 pages!) and one or two pages while I am walking out until I realise that no, readwalking is definitely not possible in Moscow.
At work I use the great DailyLit system to get familiar with Moby Dick, Frankenstein, and Swann's Way. Moby Dick is far more easy to read than I expected, while Frankenstein had a surprisingly unengaging and almost boring start. It is getting better now that Dr Frankenstein himself is telling his story but duh! was this Walton annoying!
Ishmael is hilarious and I hope I'll stay with him for a long while. "Ignorance is the parent of fear" is in today's snippet. Well-said, Ishmael.

The Big List of Bookish Social Networks

I would quickly like to share this article by on bookish social networks. Written in 2007, it lists a number of different platforms I did not all know. What is even more interesting is the description following each mention. For example, Goodreads is a

"Simple bookish social network that emphasizes book recommendations from other users."

Others like ConnectViaBooks or LibraryThing are called to be "watched". As I use Goodreads, after trying out LibraryThing among others, I am surprised how the net has changed over the last 2 years and how it has affected the book community. I do not know how GR was before this spring 2009 when I joined, but I believe it is today one of the most promising bookish networks. It is easy to use and allows any reader to be complex in shelving or not. Authors like Paulo Coelho and Neil Gaiman have joined and contribute to their fans' newsfeed with their blog entries and readings. But what makes GR able to face the future is its flexibility based on its librarians - readers who participate in a wikipedian style to improve book information and correct mistakes.

I will check out some of these other bookish networks and would be pleased about an update of this list.

Newsweek's Top 100 Meta-List

Newsweek came up with this best of best-of-lists and even if it is again another list that stressed how many books I have not read, I like the concept enough to put it here. Enjoy.

1. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoi
2. 1984, George Orwell
3. Ulysses, James Joyce
4. Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov
5. The Soung and the Fury, William Faulkner
6. Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison
7. To the Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf
8. The Iliad and Odyssey, Homer
9. Pride & Prejudice, Jane Austen
10. The Divine Comedy, Dante
11. The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer
12. Gulliver's Travels, Jonathan Swift
13. Middlemarch, George Eliot
14. Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe
15. The Catcher in the Rye, JD Saliner
16. Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
17. One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
18. The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
19. Catch-22, Joseph Heller
20. Beloved, Toni Morrison
21. The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck
22. Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie
23. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
24. Mrs Dalloway, Virginia Woolf
25. Native Son, Richard Wright
26. Democracy in America, Toqueville
27. On the Origin of Species, Darwin
28. The Histories, Herodotus
29. On the Social Contract, Rousseau
30. Das Kapital, Karl Marx
31. The Prince, Machiavelli
32. Confessions, St Augustin
33. Leviathan, Hobbes
34. The History of the Peloponnesian War, Thucydides
35. The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien
36. Winnie the Pooh, A.A. Milne
37. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, C.S. Lewis
38. A passage to India, E.M. Forster
39. On the Road, J. Kerouac
40. To kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
41. The Holy Bible
42. A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess
43. Light in August, William Faulkner
44. The Souls of the Black Folk, W. E. B. Du Bois
45. Wide Sargasso Sea, Jean Rhys
46. Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert
47. Paradise Lost, John Milton
48. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoi
49. Hamlet, Shakespeare
50. King Lear
51. Othello
52. Sonnets
53. Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman
54. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain
55. Kim, Rudyard Kipling
56. Frankenstein, Mary Shelley
57. The Song of Solomon, Toni Morrison
58. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Ken Kesey
59. For Whom the Bell tolls, Ernest Hemingway
60. Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut
61. Animal Farm, George Orwell
62. Lord of the Flies, William Golding
63. In Cold Blood, Truman Capote
64. The Golden Notebook, Doris Lessing
65. The Remembrance of Things Past, Marcel Proust
66. The Big Sleep, Raymond Chandler
67. As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner
68. The Sun also Rises, Ernest Hemingway
69. I, Claudius, Robert Graves
70. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Carson McCullers
71. Sons and Lovers, D.H.Lawrence
72. All the King's Men, Robert Penn Warren
73. Go Tell It on the Mountain, James Baldwin
74. Charlotte's Web, E. B. White
75. Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad
76. Night, Elie Wiesel
77. Rabbit, Run, John Updike
78. The Age of Innocence, Edith Wharton
79. Portnoy's Complaint, Philip Roth
80. An American Tragedy, Theodore Dreiser
81. The Day of the Locust, Nathanael West
82. Tropic of Cancer, Henry Miller
83. The Maltese Falcon, Dashiell Hammett
84. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman
85. Death Comes for the Archbishop, Willa Cather
86. The Interpretation of Dreams, Sigmund Freud
87. The Education of Henry Adams, Henry Adams
88. Quotations from Chairman Mao, Mao Zedong
89. The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature, William James
90. Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
91. Silent Spring, Rachel Carson
92. The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money, John Maynard Keynes
93. Lord Jim, Joseph Conrad
94. Goodbye to All That, Robert Graves
95. The Affluent Society, John Kenneth Galbraith
96. The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame
97. The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Alex Haley and Malcolm X
98. Eminent Victorians, Lytton Strachey
99. The Color Purple, Alice Walker
100. The Second World War (The Gathering Storm; Their Finest Hour; The Grand Alliance; The Hinge of Fate; The Second World War (The Gathering Storm; Their Finest Hour; The Grand Alliance; The Hinge of Fate; Winston Churchill

Update 8/12/2009: Lolita and Anna Karenina now read.

Missed Friday Fill-Ins #131 and #132


1. When I heard my waking call I groaned and tried to forget work.
2. Laughing is best medicine.
3. It's late, but I want to see another episode of Pushing Daisies.
4. Never or always.
5. My eyes have seen many soldiers and militsya guys since my arrival and I don't like it.
6. I need some coffee, strongly.
7. -


1. The last thing I ate was chocolate :) and some raisins.
2. An artbook about the Russian painter Войо Станич is something I recently bought.
3. When it rains, it smells like a fresh start is possible.
4. The demanding cat Pusya was the first person I talked to today.
5. Hugs are saying "calm down and let go, here and now is family.
6. Even in the summer, this cat seems to want pillows and cushions for extra comfort.
7. -

Long time no update!

Wow, it's been quite a while since my last post but I think that writing a new one immediately on the first evening I got wifi again qualifies me for being a willing blogger. I am now writing from the not-so-red-anymore city of Moscow, where I will be living until end of August. A change of scenery and of lifestyle that will undoubtedly affect my reading habits. The summer of doing nothing but reading and lazily staring at the screen is over, even though I successfully managed to open some other reading options inbetween work, sightseeing and sleeping.

First of all, I discovered and started using the very nice DailyLit website, where I started today with Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, read far into the short story Hell-Heaven by Jhumpa Lahiri and scheduled the first snippets of Moby Dick by Melville and Du Côté de Chez Swann (the French original of Swann's Way) by Proust for tomorrow.
As you see, I will really try not to fall back in terms of reading. Especially as I brought Anna Karenina by Tolstoi from Germany (for my nightstand) and bought Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett (a light paperback for my metro journey every day) straight off the English shelves of the great Biblio Globus bookshop in central Moscow.

Fine. Now let's get back to business and leave the daily randomness.

Constantly changing places is inherent to my life. Books have always been steady friends which I could bump into wherever I was all over the world.
Stumbling upon Kaminer's German stories of "Die Reise nach Trulala" in Reykjavík's city library is as moving as meeting the Icelandic sagas in Boston's Borders.
To see a book again, that I've read thousands of kilometers away makes me smile "Hey I know you.." and shake hands by thumbing through it for a while.