Thursday, February 26, 2015

The one where I feel honored and talk about songs and travels and movies and blogging and some other stuff.

Hallo meine Lieben,

a while ago my wonderful friend Chrissy from The Brave Wanderer (go check her out if you haven't already, she is fabulous) surprised me by giving me an award. And I felt so honored because it always gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling when somebody actually likes my weird blog. 
Chrissy, thank you again for nominating me! It means so much! I am happy to be able to call you a friend. Sorry it took me a couple of days to post this!

Friends rule. 

What is your favorite song?

Oh, there are so many! "New Noise" by Refused, "Tattva" by Kula Shaker, "Funny little frog" by Belle & Sebastian, "Electricity" by Suede, "Park Life" by Blur, "Whatever" by Oasis, "Was hat dich bloss so ruiniert" by Die Sterne, " Ich bin ganz sicher schon mal hiergewesen" by Tocotronic, "I don't care as long as you sing" by Beatsteaks, "The bartender and the thief" by Stereophonics, "Motorcycle Emptiness" by Manic Street Preachers, "Apply some pressure" by Maximo Park, "About a girl" by Nirvana, "Munich" by Editors, "Kung Fu" by Ash, "Svefn-g-englar" by Sigur Rós, "No you girls" by Franz Ferdinand, "Hysteria" by Muse, "3 libras" by A Perfect Circle....Oh and, classical music. I like music. 

Where would you like to travel if you could go anywhere?

Pretty much anywhere but on top of my list are Iceland, Ireland, Christmas Island, India, New Zealand, Sweden, Estonia. 

Do you regret something in your past?

Yes, trusting some non-trustworthy people. 

What is your favorite time of the day and why?

Late evening because it is the most relaxing time of the day and usually the time I cuddle with my furry family members, read a book, eat a snack and watch a movie/show. Also I like getting up early on the weekends when everybody else is still asleep because it is so quiet. 

Do you have a secret wish?

Of course I have. 

We all have a movie we could watch over and over - which one is yours?

The Boondock Saints, Dirty Dancing, Pretty Woman, Napoleon Dynamite, Reality Bites, Before Sunrise, Bienvenue chez les Ch'Tis, Wayne's World, Dodgeball, Love Actually, The Holiday, Harry Potter, Star Wars, From Dusk Till Dawn, School of Rock, High Fidelity, The Sword In The Stone. 

Is there a craft you would like to learn?

Yes, knitting and sewing. But I would like to learn all crafts to be honest. I like crafts. 

Road trip, air travel or by train?

Road trip. Or by train. Not a fan of flying. Trains are my favorite I would say. 

Camping or hotel?

Hotel. I don't think I am the born camper. One or two nights are fine but I always get so cold, even in summer. 

When did you start blogging and why?

Almost 3 years ago. I started reading blogs a couple of months before and I loved it so much that I started my own. Never regretted it. I have met so many wonderful people because of my blog. 

Where do you see yourself in 5 years from now?

Living in an quirky cottage with my loved ones and lots of animals, running an animal sanctuary, having a job I truly love, reading lots of books. And having my own library. 

This was fun! Thanks again to Chrissy for the honor! I hope you are all having a wonderful week! Maybe you want to answer Chrissy's questions as well. I would love to read what you have to say!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A bookish friendship.

Hallo meine Lieben,

I feel very lucky to have such wonderful friends like Martha and Erin. We have a whole lot in common and one of these things is our love for books. Erin had the fantastic idea to do a book-related link-up and here we are. If you do not already love those girls' blogs, then please hop over and say hello. 

1. Name a book that made you feel happy -

M. Bill Bryson's books make me laugh, which makes me happy.

K. All the Adrian Mole diaries by Sue Townsend. Those books are so hilarious that they make my smile every single time I read them. Which is why I read them quite often - and I am not planning to stop. 

E. The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, I love Douglas Adams pure British humor meets space opera. The whole series is fantastic.

2. Name a book that made you cry -

M. I cried over one of the character deaths in The Knife of Never Letting Go. If you've read it you'll probably guess which one. (No spoilers here.)

K. The most recent one was "All The Bright Places" by Jennifer Niven. I don't want to spoil anything because if you have not read it yet then you clearly should. But it is definitely one of those books that touches your heart in a way that makes you smile and cry. 

E. The Dark River by John Twelve Hawks. I loved The Fourth Realm Trilogy and recommend everyone read it, so I won't give away why this made me cry...but it did.

3. Name a book that made you adventurous -

M. I suppose reading the Nancy Drew novels gave me a sense of adventure as a kid. I thought it'd be awesome to sleuth around like she did. As an adult, Bill Bryson's books have made me want to travel, even if it's only through my own backyard.

K. When I was a teenager I read a book by a person who traveled around the world to find the perfect place to live. And at some point she lived on Christmas Island for a while. The description of that island impressed me so much that I decided that I have to travel there someday. I want to see the famous crab migration. The crime novels Arnaldur Indriðason make me want to travel to Iceland as soon as possible. Such a fascinating country. 

E. Voyage of the Dawn Treader by CS Lewis. I am going back a few years here, but as a child I used to love this book and probably read it about 15 times. I imagined running off to live on a boat and have adventures. (Looking back I should have done that, maybe there is still time!)

4. Name a book that scared you -

M. The Ruins, by Scott Smith. You won't look at plants the same way afterward.

K. "Eating Animals" by Jonathan Safran Foer because the truth about the meat/dairy/egg industry is scary and horrifying. 

E. The Stand by Stephen King, I don't trust humans not to mess around with biological warfare. After all recent events have shown that some countries see the Geneva Conventions as vague guidelines.  (Additional shout out to 1984)

5. What book did you dislike at first, but really loved by the time you were done with it?

M. I really struggled to get into A Game of Thrones--I thought it was tedious and long-winded. But by the end I'd totally changed my mind and loved it.

K. I am thinking about this questions for days and I cannot really come up with an answer. I don't think that ever happened to me. There are books that I had to start reading a couple of times before I finished them. But that was mostly because I did not really get into the books at first, not because I really disliked them. One recent book was "Eleanor & Park". I think I started reading it 4 times before I really started to feel the book. And after the first 40 pages or so I absolutely loved it and could not stop reading.

E. Several years ago I picked up The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, read the first chapter, and put it down. Then about two years ago I got it again and basically binge read the trilogy! I have no idea why I wasn't hooked the first time..

6. What fantasy land do you most want to visit?

M. I wouldn't mind spending an evening at the Night Circus.

K. Hogwarts. I always wanted to fly on a broom and learn how to do magic. 

E. Jasper Fforde's literary world. If you have not read Fforde's book pick up The Eyre Affair and Shades of Grey now. Actually, after writing this I am inspired to give them a reread!

7. What character do you identify with most?

M. I've thought about this one all weekend and can't come up with a really good answer. I suppose I slightly identify with Eliza Braun from The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences--she's a bit out of place and a little too feisty for her own good. Though I'm sure she's much braver than I am!

K. I don't really identify with any character. If I have to name one I would say Luna Lovegood. Her mother died when she was young, she behaves strange, she speaks up for others, she likes books, she is artistic, has some odd beliefs, she is brave, a nonconformist, she is bluntly honest, she does not care what other people think of her and she wore a dress made of rainbows. And she wants to find a Crumple-Horned Snorkack.

E. I kinda hate saying Lisbeth Salander, but it's true. Bad childhood, I wear a lot of black, did boxing for a couple years, have several tattoo's and more than a passing interest in technology. If only I could have her photographic memory!

8. Who is your secret literary crush?

M. Aragorn, though that's not much of a secret!

K. Tim from the TKKG books (my childhood literary crush) and Inspector Erik Winter from the Åke Edwardson crime novels. Oh, and Bob the street cat. 

E. Lord Vetenari from the Discworld series. What girl doesn't love a morally ambiguous genius?

9. Who is your favorite fictional villain?

M. I don't know if he's really a villain, aside from his family associations, but I love Tyrion Lannister. Actually, I don't know anyone who doesn't!

K. Patrick Bateman. He disgusts and fascinates me at the same time. I have a  slight obsession with serial killers. Give me a book about serial killers and I'll read it. Which is why I also like Hannibal Lecter. 

E. Napoleon from Animal Farm.  How can you not love an evil pig written by George Orwell and based on Stalin. It's genius.

10.What is the geekiest thing you have ever done for your love of books?

M. I don't think I've done anything truly geeky yet. Though the husband and I have agreed that if we get a pure black girl cat, we have to name her Guenhwyvar after Drizzt Do'Urden's magical panther.

K. A midnight Harry Potter release - including staying up all night and finishing the book in a couple of hours. Going to a book flea market and coming home with bags full of books. Going to the movies to watch all the Lord Of The Rings films in one night. 

E. I have a tattoo of a turtle that partially represents The Great A'Tuin from the Discworld series.

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed it. You can find out more about Erin and Martha on their brilliant blogs. 
Have a fantastic week!

And of course thanks to Erin and Martha for being such fabulous friends! It means a lot!

PS: We also did a vegan-themed link-up a year ago (can't believe that was already a year ago!) which you can find there: Journey to vegan: three stories

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Draw My Life | A Pig In Today's World

Hallo meine Lieben,

today I would like to ask you to please watch this video and give it some thought. I think it is a very important video to educate about the cruelty of factory farming - without the horrifying pictures of the undercover investigations (if you want to see those, just watch Earthlings or other animal rights documentaries. They clearly opened my eyes.) We can all help to end the suffering of millions of farm animals. 

Unfortunately, this is not how most pigs' lives look like. Not at all. And not just the pigs are suffering. Billions of animals around the world are suffering for meat, dairy products and also in the egg industry. And let's not forget about the animals suffering for entertainment (circuses, zoos, parks like Seaworld...).  

Thank you very much for watching!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

100 questions no one ever asks. {Part I}

Hallo meine Lieben,

I hope you are all having a good start into the new week! I found these "100 questions no one ever asks" somewhere around the internet and I will just answer them because I want you to answer them as well. 

This has nothing to do with the questions but it's true. 

1. Do you sleep with your closet doors open or closed?
Open. The cats like to sleep in there. 

2. Do you take the shampoos and conditioner bottles from hotels?
I usually bring my own because the hotels don't have cruelty-free stuff. 

3. Do you sleep with your sheets tucked in or out?

4. Have you stolen a street sign before?
Not a street sign. My friends and I found some kind of sign on the side of the road and we took it. 

5. Do you like to use post-it notes?

6. Do you cut out coupons but then never use them?

7. Would you rather be attacked by a big bear or a swarm of bees?
Big bear. 

8. Do you have freckles?
No, I do not. (Why would nobody ask this question? I don't get it.)

9. Do you always smile for pictures?
I pretty much never smile for pictures. 

10. What is your biggest pet peeve?
It drives me insane when people spit on the ground. 

11. Do you ever count your steps when you walk?
I do. 

12. Have you peed in the woods?
I did. I went on a backpacking trip so I did not really have a choice. 

13. Have you ever pooped in the woods?
In fact, I don't think I did. Weird. 

14. Do you ever dance even if there's no music playing?
Yes, I do. 

15. Do you chew your pens and pencils?
I think I did when I was younger but not anymore. 

16. How many people have you slept with this week?
I think this is actually one of the rare questions that you do not ask. At least not in public.  

17. What size is your bed?
140 x 200 cm. 

18. What is your song of the week?
"Uptown funk" because it cheers me up. And "Irish Blood, English Heart" by Morrissey because it's always good to listen to that one. 

19. Is it OK for guys to wear pink?

20. Do you still watch cartoons?
Not constantly but I do like Inspector Gadget, The Real Ghostbusters, The Gummi Bears, Captain Planet, Snorks, Doctor Snuggles....ah, memories. 

21. What is your least favorite movie?
City Of Angels. I have never been so bored. 300. And every movie where an animal gets hurt. 

22. Where would you bury hidden treasures if you had some?
I would not bury them at all. That's too obvious. 

23. What do you drink with dinner?
Water or tea. 

24. What do you dip a chicken nugget in?
I do not eat chicken nuggets. If we talk about a vegan version then sriracha. 

25. What is your favorite food?
Pasta.  Pad Thai. Pancakes. Rice milk chocolate. Indian food. 

26. What movies could you watch over and over again and still love?
The Boondock Saints. Dirty Dancing. Star Wars Episodes 4-6. Bienvenue chez les Ch'Tis. High Fidelity. Napoleon Dynamite. Harry Potter. The sword in the Stone. 

27. Last person you kissed/kissed you?
My pets. 

28. Were you ever a boy/girl scout?
No, I was not. 

29. Would you ever strip or pose nude in a magazine?
No, thank you. 

30. When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone on paper?
I wrote cards recently. Does that count? I should write more letters. I had lots of pen pals when I was a teenager. 

31. Can you change the oil on a car?
I can. 

32. Ever gotten a speeding ticket?
Never. But for parking violations.

33. Ever ran out of gas?
No, fortunately not. Just close. 

34. What’s your favorite kind of sandwich?
I prefer Brötchen. Usually with some kind of veggie meat or cheese, pickles etc. 

35. Best thing to eat for breakfast?
Brötchen. I guess I am pretty German. 

36. What is your usual bedtime?

37. Are you lazy?

38. When you were a kid, what did you dress up as for Halloween?
We did not celebrate Halloween in Germany when I was a kid but we did have Fasching and one time I dressed up a Teenage Mutant Hero Turtle (or Ninja Turtle).  Also I was a "punk" once. 

39. What is your Chinese astrological sign?
I have no idea. I hope it is rabbit or cat. 

40. How many languages can you speak?
German, English, Latin, some French and a tiny bit of Italian. I want to learn more (Icelandic, Swedish...). 

41. Do you have any magazine subscriptions?
Yes, I have one. A craft magazine called Mollie Makes. 

42. Which are better: legos or lincoln logs?
I have no idea what lincoln logs are but I did play with Legos when I was a kid and I loved it. still do. 

43. Are you stubborn?

44. Who is better: Leno or Letterman?
Never watched any of them.

45. Ever watch soap operas?
No, I do not. I did watch one when I was a kid. With my Grandma. She forced me to watch it. 

46. Are you afraid of heights?
If there is water underneath. 

47. Do you sing in the car?
I do. 

48. Do you sing in the shower?
I do not. 

49. Do you dance in the car?

50. Ever used a gun?
I did and they scare me. People should not own guns. 

So, now it's your turn. I cannot wait to read your answers!
Have a good rest of the week!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

{Book Talk #5} Books I spent time with in January.

Hallo meine Lieben,

January is over already. I don't know how that happened. But I got to read a couple of books last month which I want to tell you about. I challenged myself to read at least 60 books this year (if you want to be my friend on Goodreads, click here.). And I think I am doing fine so far. I finished 8 books in January and started some. Just don't know if I can keep up that pace. We will see. 
One of my goals for January was to read something else than crime novels and I did well. Only one of the 8 books I finished was a crime novel. They will still remain my favorites. 

So here we go. These are the books I finished in January. Please let me know if you have any recommendations for me or if you have read any of the books I finished as well. I would love to talk about them. 

The Life List by Lori Nelson Spielman

I decided to use the German cover because the original cover is so unbelievably horrible. I would have never picked up the book if I had only known the original cover. I absolutely judge books by the covers which probably causes me to miss some good books but they should really put some more effort into their covers. 
Anyway, this book is kind of chick lit, something I usually never ever read but I picked it up because the main character just lost her mother and I could relate to that. The mother leaves the daughter a list of goals that the daughter wrote down as a teenager and wants er to finish it in order to be happy again and escape from the life she leads which clearly does not satisfy her (stupid job, idiot boyfriend etc.). So yeah, I really liked the message of the book although it did have some flaws and a couple of times I had to shake my head, especially because some characters just did not make any sense to me. But despite the problems I had with the book here and there it was a pretty enjoyable read and I even virtually highlighted some quotes. I am horrible at rating books (and the stupid 5 stars that Goodreads provides do not give me enough room to rate a book) but I would give this book 6,85 stars out of 10. 

Etsy seems to be such an interesting place to share your crafts with others and find some unique stuff that you cannot see in regular stores. So I wanted to find out more about it and after reading reviews of lots of Etsy-related books I ordered this one. It deals with every topic you can imagine and probably gives you all the knowledge that you need to have in order to be a member of the Etsy community. Sometimes even more information than you might need (I need a password to set up an account? Wow.). I give this book 7,1 stars out of 10. 

Reykjavik Nights by Arnaldur Indriðason

Again, the German cover looks better, but this time the American cover does not make me feel sick. I did read the book in German because I like Indriðason in German better than in English. I am trying to learn Icelandic so hopefully I can read the original at some point. 
I was waiting for this book forever (almost as badly as for the new Adler-Olsen book). One of my favorite writers and one of my favorite detectives. I have a weak spot for grumpy detectives. This book is a prequel which made me feel even more excited because I had the chance to learn more about the young Erlendur and why he became the guy he is in the other books. It also gave me the chance to learn more about Iceland, the culture, the people. A homeless man is found dead and the police thinks it was an accident. Erlendur has doubts and starts his own investigation. It's not as bloody as some of the other cases he worked on which does not make it less exciting at all (again, weak spot for bloody murder stories.). The book makes me fall in love with Erlendur and Iceland even more and now I cannot wait for more cases. 9,06 stars out of 10. 

This usually isn't my kind of book AT ALL. I did not even read those kind of books when I was a teenager. And still I picked it up after someone recommended it. Why? I don't know. It would be easy to say that I needed a light read after reading a crime novel but that's definitely not the case because I can never read enough about crime. So yeah, I cannot say why I started the book but I can say that I enjoyed it. Although I do not know why and what exactly I liked about it. I guess this does not make any sense to you. There will be a sequel and I will read that too. Just because. The book is about a girl who is kind of annoying, at least that is how I felt once in a while. Anyway, she wrote a letter to every boy she ever had a crush on and hid them in a box in her closet. Mysteriously they got send out to the boys and then she has to deal with that. Oh no! It's kind of ridiculous but also kind of sweet. Only two of these boys matter anyway because one of them is her sister's ex boyfriend and the other one a jerk (or isn't he?). Of course that gets complicated. The book has some flaws that I still cannot understand but despite of that it was a fun read. Clearly not the best book in the world but something for a Sunday afternoon when you just want to relax and not think too much. I'd say 6,3 out of 10.

All The Bright Places  by Jennifer Niven. 

This book. I love it. I really do. So much. I wish I could read it again for the first time. It clearly is my favorite out of all the books I read in the last weeks. It made me laugh and cry and touched my heart and I felt like I never ever wanted it to end. Also it made me want to travel to a couple of pretty cool and unique places that are mentioned in the book. Like the roller coaster a guy build in his own backyard. And the shoe trees (google it.). But anyway, I am rambling. So the book starts when a boy (Finch) and a girl (Violet) meet on the ledge of the bell tower of their school, both ready to jump. Violet is the popular girl but is grieving the recent death of her sister. Finch however is not popular at all, lots of people think he is a freak because of his fascination with death and because he often acts out. They both get to know each other when they start working on a project together and this leads to a very intense love story. I really do not want to spoil anything because I don't want to ruin it for you so I won't say anything else. But please pick up the book and start reading it. Even if I would like to, I cannot even say more about the book because I feel like my words are not enough to describe the book in all its deepness. I love it dearly. That must be enough. 10 out of 10 stars. 

How to be Vegan by Elizabeth Castoria

The book contains "Tips, Tricks, and Strategies for Cruelty-Free Eating, Living, Dating, Travel, Decorating, and More" and I would say it is more for new-vegans but it caught my attention when I saw it on Instagram and a long-term vegan said he enjoyed it very much. And because I love reading about veganism I picked it up. For me it was mostly an entertaining read because it offers lots of tips on how to behave when dealing with people in everyday situations. It also contains lots of lovely graphics that offer you help about nutrition and tells you more about the meat industry and so on. It covers a lot of subjects, not necessarily very deeply but in a very entertaining way. It's clearly a great book for everybody who recently decided to live a cruelty-free lifestyle but also an interesting read for "established" vegans. It also contains lots of recipes which is always a plus. 8,4 out of 10 stars. 

Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang. 

Another YA novel. What is wrong with me? I really cannot tell but it looks like I took the read-something-other-than-crime-novels-pledge very seriously. Liz decides to die and drives her car off the road on a winter day to make it look like an accident. The book deals with the aftermath of that decision and also with the reasons and that made her come to that decision. First of all, I liked reading the book. I like the store but I cannot help myself...the characters did not really touch me. I expected to be more emotionally involved in the book. Especially after reading "All The Bright Places". But the story did not completely satisfy me and the ending left me feeling a bit....I don't even have a word for it. Left alone with a lot of questions? Expecting more? Confused? I cannot describe. I liked the book in general but not as much as I thought. I just did not like any of the characters, except of Liam (the boy who is secretly in love with Liz). So yeah, I don't even know how many stars I want to give the book. Let's say 5,5 for now. 

Forgive me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick

It's Leonard Peacock's birthday. And also the day he puts an old gun in his backpack and plans to kill his former best friend Asher. And then himself. 
This book was not what I expected it to be. And that is not a bad thing. Not at all. I really liked the characters. Especially Leonard Peacock. Even though a lot of people disagree (I read the reviews). I could absolutely relate to him. Before he follows through with his plan, he needs to say goodbye to the four people who play an important role in his life. His old next door neighbor, for example, who is obsessed with Humphrey Bogart. I loved the unlikely friendship between those two. His Iranian music genius classmate Baback. Herr Silverman, his history teacher who seems to have secret and appears to be the only person who might understand Leonard. And Lauren, the home-schooled girl who hands out Christian pamphlets at the train station. Each of the characters if very unique and Leonard drops a hint about his plan in their conversations. I really got captured following this day of the life of Leonard Peacock and could not put the book away. Even when it wasn't exactly what I expected. 9,0 out of 10 stars. 

Here are some other books I started but haven't finished yet:
Das Hexenmädchen by Max Bentow (a crime novel!)
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion
The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (more crime!)
Not That Kind Of Girl by Lena Dunham
Das dunkle Haus by Åke Edwardson (another crime novel)

Now I am curious: what have you read recently? Any books you particularly loved? A book that surprised you? A book you really hated? Any recommendations? Which books are you planning to read?

One non-book-related thing I want to mention: The third (and sadly last) season of Moone Boy will start airing next month. I cannot even express how excited I am. 

Have a good rest of the week!