Tag Archives: Balkans

Books of the Week #36

Merde, It’s Not Easy to Learn French: A Story In Easy French with Translation Volume 1 by France Dubin

Reading a book in French can be difficult, even for advanced students. French novels are usually full of idiomatic expressions. They use complicated tenses, complex sentence structures, and often slang. This book is in simple French. It’s about the joys and the frustrations of an adult learning French. It includes a good dose of humor, a few exercises, and illustrations.

The book has two sections, allowing more levels of French students to enjoy it.
Section 1 has the story written completely in French, and includes grammar exercises.
Section 2 contains a list of the more difficult vocabulary translated into English and the complete text in English so students can check their comprehension.

https://books2read.com/u/4DyPd7

Der Tote im Strandkorb (Die Inselkommissarin 1) (German Edition) by Anna Johannsen

Auf Amrum, der kleinen nordfriesischen Insel, wird der Leiter eines Kinderheims tot am Strand aufgefunden. Die örtliche Polizei geht von einer natürlichen Todesursache aus, bis das Landeskriminalamt die Obduktion des Leichnams veranlasst und Ermittlungen einleitet. Hauptkommissarin Lena Lorenzen wundert sich darüber, dass Kriminaldirektor Warnke ausgerechnet ihr diesen Fall überträgt. Wenige Monate zuvor hatte er sie noch wegen eigenmächtiger Ermittlungen aus einer Sonderkommission abgezogen und ihre Herunterstufung beantragt.

Lena, die auf Amrum geboren und aufgewachsen ist, holt die Erinnerung ein: Sie hat die Insel vierzehn Jahre zuvor im Streit mit ihrem Vater verlassen. Während der Tage auf Amrum trifft sie ihre herzliche Tante Beke wieder und läuft schon am ersten Tag Erck über den Weg, ihrer einstigen großen Liebe.

Der Fall erweist sich als kompliziert. Nicht nur die Personen aus dem unmittelbaren Umfeld des Toten geraten unter Verdacht, sondern es tauchen auch mysteriöse Kontakte auf. Erst nach und nach wird Lena klar, warum ihr Chef ausgerechnet sie nach Amrum geschickt hat.

https://books2read.com/u/4Azv5e

Blancanieves y los siete enanitos: Un cuento de los hermanos Grimm (Mundo de cuentos) (Spanish Edition) by Karla S. Sommer (Author), Wolfgang Looskyll (Illustrator)

Espejito, espejito mágico… Cuando la malvada madrastra ve a Blancanieves en casa de los siete enanitos reflejada en su espejo, se llena de rabia y toma la decisión de ir al bosque y ofrecer a Blancanieves una manzana envenenada.

– Un cuento de los hermanos Grimm para leer- Magníficas ilustraciones- Para niñas y niños mayores de 4 años

https://books2read.com/u/47rgAj

Rose of Sarajevo by Ayse Kulin

Ever since Nimeta was a child, she’d done exactly what was expected of her. She married a responsible man she met in college, had two children, and established a busy journalism career—and there was no reason to think anything would ever change. Then one day, while reporting on a protest in Zagreb, Nimeta’s life takes a dramatic turn. Not only does she lay eyes on a handsome reporter who captures her heart, but a little-known politician by the name of Slobodan Milosevic delivers a speech fanning the flames of long-dormant Serbian nationalism. As her love affair intensifies and political tensions build, Nimeta is forced to reconsider everything she thought she knew about family, love, loyalty, and humanity itself. Navigating both the new landscape of her heart and that of her beloved war-torn city, Nimeta must draw upon her deepest reserves of inner strength to keep her family safe. A moving drama set against the backdrop of the crisis that rocked the Balkans in the 1990s, Rose of Sarajevo reveals the tremendous lengths people will go to in the name of love.

https://books2read.com/u/bwvrpP

The Scribe by Antonio Garrido

The year is 799, and King Charlemagne awaits coronation as the Holy Roman emperor. But in the town of Würzburg, the young, willful Theresa dreams only of following in the footsteps of her scholarly father—a quiet man who taught her the forbidden pleasures of reading and writing. Though it was unthinkable for a medieval woman to pursue a career as a craftsperson, headstrong Theresa convinces the parchment-makers’ guild to test her. If she passes, it means access to her beloved manuscripts and nothing less than true independence. But as she treats the skins before an audience of jeering workmen, unimaginable tragedy strikes—tearing apart Theresa’s family and setting in motion a cascade of mysteries that Theresa must solve if she hopes to stay alive and save her family.

A fugitive in the wilderness, Theresa is forced to rely on her bravery, her uncommon education, and the compassion of strangers. When she encounters Alcuin of York, a wise and influential monk with close ties to Charlemagne, she believes her luck might have finally changed. But the biggest secret lies between Charlemagne and her father. Theresa moves ever closer to the truth, bent on reuniting with her beloved father, only to discover that her family’s troubles are inextricably entwined with nothing less than the fate of an empire.

https://books2read.com/u/3LDNp0

The Museum of Abandoned Secrets by Oksana Zabuzhko

Spanning sixty tumultuous years of Ukrainian history, this multigenerational saga weaves a dramatic and intricate web of love, sex, friendship, and death. At its center: three women linked by the abandoned secrets of the past—secrets that refuse to remain hidden.

While researching a story, journalist Daryna unearths a worn photograph of Olena Dovgan, a member of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army killed in 1947 by Stalin’s secret police. Intrigued, Daryna sets out to make a documentary about the extraordinary woman—and unwittingly opens a door to the past that will change the course of the future. For even as she delves into the secrets of Olena’s life, Daryna grapples with the suspicious death of a painter who just may be the latest victim of a corrupt political power play.

From the dim days of World War II to the eve of Orange Revolution, The Museum of Abandoned Secrets is an “epic of enlightening force” that explores the enduring power of the dead over the living.

https://books2read.com/u/4XX0jL

Anns Krieg – Verrat (German Edition) by Hannah Howe (Author), Sandra Puhl (Translator)

Die Krimireihe Anns Krieg ist eine Reihe aus fünf Erzählungen, die in den Jahren 1944 bis 1945 spielen. Jede Geschichte ist circa 15.000 Wörter lang und beinhaltet einen in sich abgeschlossenen Fall. Die Geschichten sind: Betrayal (Verrat), Invasion (Invasion), Blackmail (Erpressung), Escape(Flucht) und Victory (Sieg). Der Handlungsbogen wird über die gesamte Reihe aufgebaut und findet seinen Abschluss im fünften Buch, Victory.

Verrat

Während ihr Mann auf einer streng geheimen Mission ist, macht sich Ann Morgan für einen weiteren Tag als Sekretärin in Trevor Bowmans Detektivbüro bereit. Aber dieser Tag wird alles andere als alltäglich werden. Innerhalb von 24 Stunden wird Anns Leben auf den Kopf gestellt, denn sie findet eine Leiche, trifft den gut aussehenden Witwer Detective Inspector Max Deveraux und stellt den Mörder in einer Geschichte voller Versuchungen und Lügen.

Books of the Week #31

The Woman on the Orient Express by Lindsay Jayne Ashford

Hoping to make a clean break from a fractured marriage, Agatha Christie boards the Orient Express in disguise. But unlike her famous detective Hercule Poirot, she can’t neatly unravel the mysteries she encounters on this fateful journey.

Agatha isn’t the only passenger on board with secrets. Her cabinmate Katharine Keeling’s first marriage ended in tragedy, propelling her toward a second relationship mired in deceit. Nancy Nelson—newly married but carrying another man’s child—is desperate to conceal the pregnancy and teeters on the brink of utter despair. Each woman hides her past from the others, ferociously guarding her secrets. But as the train bound for the Middle East speeds down the track, the parallel courses of their lives shift to intersect—with lasting repercussions.

Filled with evocative imagery, suspense, and emotional complexity, The Woman on the Orient Express explores the bonds of sisterhood forged by shared pain and the power of secrets.

https://books2read.com/u/4AzQgq

A Divided Inheritance : Epic historical fiction by Deborah Swift

London 1609 Elspet Leviston has always managed her father’s lace business and expects to continue in his footsteps. So when her hot-headed cousin Zachary Deane appears from nowhere, his arrival in her life is like an earthquake.

Zachary is not who he seems, and has no love at all for Leviston’s Lace. When her father dies unexpectedly, Elspet is horrified to find her inheritance is tied to her cousin’s. But by now, her father has sent Zachary on a Grand Tour, and he is in Spain. Determined to regain her rightful inheritance, she goes to Seville in search of him.

Zachary is in training at the sword school of the charismatic Senor Alvarez, and here, in the searing heat and dust of Spain, Elspet’s real journey begins. A journey that throws her into one of the most turbulent moments of Spain’s history, and leads her to question everything she has ever known about her country, her faith and herself.

Epic historical fiction set in 17th Century London and Golden Age Spain.

https://books2read.com/u/4AzQpk

Metropolis by Ellie Midwood

Weimar Berlin, 1924 Unemployed actors, profiteers, cabaret girls, and impoverished aristocracy – out of this wild set of characters populating Weimar Berlin, Margarete Gräfin von Steinhoff belongs to the latter category. Having lost everything due to hyper-inflation, she considers jumping into the freezing waters of the Spree rather than facing the humiliating existence shared by millions of her fellow Germans. However, a chance meeting makes her change her mind at the last moment and offers her a chance to rely on the help of the metropolis itself, where anything can be sold and bought for money and where connections are everything. The bustling nightlife of cosmopolitan Berlin, with its casinos and dance halls, brings good income for the ones who don’t burden themselves too heavily with morals.

After a New Year’s Eve party, Margot finally meets her ever-absent and mysterious neighbor, Paul Schneider, who makes a living by producing a certain type of film for his rich clientele. Under his guidance, Margot discovers a new passion of hers – photography and soon, her talents are noticed by the prominent newspaper, Berliner Tageblatt itself. But being an official photographer of the most celebrated events of the La Scala and most famous Berlin theaters no longer satisfies Margot’s ambitions. As soon as the chance presents itself for her to get involved with the cinematography on the set of “Metropolis” – the film with the highest budget ever produced by the UFA – Margot jumps at it, without thinking twice. At the same time, Paul becomes involved with a rival project, “The Holy Mountain,” which stars an as yet unknown actress and an emerging director in, Leni Riefenstahl. As the two women meet, professional rivalry soon turns into a true friendship, fueled by their passion for cinematography. However, due to the economic woes facing Germany, both projects soon run out of money and now, both film crews must go to extreme lengths to save their respective productions.

Set against the backdrop of a decadent, vibrant, and fascinatingly liberal Weimar Berlin, “Metropolis” is a novel of survival, self-discovery, and self-sacrifice, in the name of art, love, and friendship.

https://books2read.com/u/4XXaN5

The Danish Way of Parenting: What the Happiest People in the World Know About Raising Confident, Capable Kids by Jessica Joelle Alexander, Iben Dissing Sandahl

What makes Denmark the happiest country in the world — and how do Danish parents raise happy, confident, successful kids, year after year? This upbeat and practical guide reveals the six essential principles that have been working for parents in Denmark for decades:

– Play: essential for development and well-being- Authenticity: fosters trust and an ‘inner compass’- Reframing: helps kids cope with setbacks and look on the bright side- Empathy: allows us to act with kindness towards others- No ultimatums: no power struggles or resentment- Togetherness: a way to celebrate family time, on special occasions and every day.

A revealing and fresh take on parenting advice, The Danish Way of Parenting will help parents from all walks of life raise the happiest, most well-adjusted kids in the world.

https://books2read.com/u/b5578p

Mystical Emona: Soul’s Journey by Ronesa Aveela

Past, present & future come together in this explosive modern tale of love and revenge.
Travel to the world of the Balkans with Mystical Emona: Soul’s Journey and discover the secret lives of samodivi (Veelas). You’ve met these wondrous, mysterious creatures in different books. Now let Mystical Emona introduce you to samodivi as legend portrays them.

Carina, the most enchanting maiden in all of Thrace, is ravished on her wedding day her ring cursed. It will bring happiness to none but her. The curse will be broken only when the ring guides her true love back to her. Every spring she goes to “the other side of the moon” to await the return of her soul mate. After centuries, the ring flashes like a beacon to guide a handsome man named Stefan to Emona.

Stefan is a widowed artist from Boston, Mass, with a young daughter. He hopes moving to a secluded village on the Black Sea coast will ease his pain, and the wild, untamed beauty of this surrounding will inspire him to take up his art once again. He meets a mysterious woman and his life changes. He is drawn to her by some unknown bond, but cannot give his heart to her fully because his memories refuse to release their hold on him. Then the dreams begin. Some delightful. Others terrifying.

Take the journey to Mystical Emona and find out if the lovers reunite. The book is sure to enchant you with its perfect blend of history, legends, rituals, and romance.

https://books2read.com/u/4DyOwe

Books of the Week #18

One Autumn in Europe by Steven Hubbell

This is a travel journal, a tribute, a coming of age in foreign lands adventure tale, and the celebration of a personal pilgrimage. It is a cultural feast as witnessed through the eyes of a young, small-town Texas explorer on the quest for his own sword in the stone. What he finds both humbles and emboldens him; his discoveries alternately astonish and educate and terrify and reassure him as he hitchhikes from London to Rome and back, savoring every nuance he can find 5,000 miles from home.
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A Great Love of Small Proportion by Colin Falconer

Diego Sanchis is Seville’s most famous painter; his glorious art fills every church in the famous city. But for all the beauty in his soul, Diego himself is no oil painting. He sees beauty everywhere, but what beauty will ever look at him?
Until one day he is asked to take on a new student.
Mercedes Goncalvez is the most desired young woman in the city, and her father is rich and powerful. They are so utterly different – but they discover their souls are the same.
But these are dangerous days to defy convention. Beyond the dungeons of the Inquisition, to overcome betrayal and torture; even as the Christian cannons are turned towards the heavenly gardens of the Alhambra, can Diego and Mercedes cling to true beauty among the ashes of last hope?
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The Little Book of the Icelanders: 50 miniature essays on the quirks and foibles of the Icelandic people by Alda Sigmundsdottir

After more than 20 years away, Alda Sigmundsdottir returned to her native Iceland as a foreigner. With a native person’s insight yet an outsider’s perspective, Alda quickly set about dissecting the national psyche of the Icelanders. This second edition, from 2018, contains new and updated chapters from the original edition, reflecting the changes in Icelandic society and among the Icelandic people since the book was first published in 2012.
Among the fascinating subjects broached in The Little Book of the Icelanders:
The appalling driving habits of the Icelanders
Naming conventions and customs
The Icelanders’ profound fear of commitment
The irreverence of the Icelanders
Why Icelandic women are really men
How the Icelanders manage to make social interactions really complicated
The importance of the family in Icelandic society
Where to go to meet the real Icelanders (and possibly score some free financial advice)
Rituals associated with weddings, confirmations, graduations, and deaths
… and many, many more.
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The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht

A tiger escapes from the local zoo, padding through the ruined streets and onwards, to a ridge above the Balkan village of Galina. His nocturnal visits hold the villagers in a terrified thrall – but for one boy, the tiger is a thing of magic.
Natalia is the granddaughter of that boy. Now a doctor, she is visiting orphanages in the war-torn Balkans when she receives word of her beloved grandfather’s death, far from their home, in circumstances shrouded in mystery.
Compelled to unravel the truth, Natalia stumbles upon a clue that will lead her to a tattered copy of The Jungle Book, and then to the most extraordinary story her grandfather never told her – the legend of the tiger’s wife.
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Sins of the Father: A Sam Smith Mystery by Hannah Howe

For the first thirty-three years of my life I had no knowledge of my father, no idea what he looked like, his name, whether he was dead or alive. Then fate brought us together. Then, a year later, he decided to hire me.
 
Although we had talked for a year, my father was still Gawain Morgan to me, a stranger, not my dad. Would the task of locating Frankie Quinn bring us closer together, or drive us further apart?
 
Frankie Quinn was a con-man, a life-long villain, a member of my father’s old gang. That’s right, my father was a villain too, with dodgy contacts, a shady past and sins he preferred to forget. The police wanted Frankie and, if arrested, he faced the prospect of spending his final years in prison. However, he had a trump card, evidence of my father’s indiscretions. Frankie was looking to cut a deal with the police, my father was looking for Frankie. They knew that one of them would spend the winter of their days in prison; but who would it be?
 
Meanwhile, the clock was ticking towards my wedding day. Would I enjoy the happiest day of my life, or be left crying into my champagne?
 
Sins of the Father, ten days that defined my relationship with my dad.
 
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