Blog, Reviews

Blog Entry No. 17 – Die BĂŒcherdiebin

Liebe Leser,

das Buch, um das es mir heute gehen soll, las ich kurz vor den Weihnachtsfeiertagen zuende und ich will ehrlich sein, es hat mir die besinnliche Stimmung verdorben. Aber das nehm ich dem Buch nicht ĂŒbel, denn ich denke, dass genau das ein wichtiges Ziel des Werkes ist. Mir geht es um einen der, wie ich finde, wichtigsten Klassiker moderner Literatur: Markus Zusaks Die BĂŒcherdiebin.

Markus Zusak wurde 1975 als Sohn einer Deutschen und eines Österreichers geboren. Deren ErzĂ€hlungen ĂŒber die Bombenangriffe auf MĂŒnchen und die Judenverfolgung in Deutschland nutze er als Vorlagen fĂŒr dieses Buch. Neben Die BĂŒcherdiebin schrieb er noch fĂŒnf weitere Romane, wovon Der Joker ebenfalls sehr bekannt wurde. Aktuell lebt er mit seiner Familie in Sydney.

Das Cover dieser Ausgabe des Blanvalet Verlages (heute Teil der Penguin Random House Verlagsgruppe) ist recht schlicht gehalten. Man sieht lediglich den, an altes, vergilbtes Papier erinnernden, Hintergrund sowie den Tod, tanzend mit einem jungen MĂ€dchen. Ich persönlich finde das Cover sehr aussagekrĂ€ftig; altes Papier sinnbildlich fĂŒr all die Geschichten, die gelesen und geschrieben werden, sinnbildlich fĂŒr Papier im Keller, sinnbildlich fĂŒr das Buch, dass der Tod so viele Jahre bei sich trug. Und dann natĂŒrlich die beiden Hauptpersonen: der Tod, eine generell unterschĂ€tzte Persönlichkeit, beeindruckt von Liesel Meminger, dem jungen MĂ€dchen, einer BĂŒcherdiebin, einer Autorin. Dieser Einband hat alles, was es braucht.

Die Geschichte scheint auf den ersten Blick recht unbeholfen zu beginnen, doch das spricht keineswegs gegen einen guten Schreibstil Zusaks, viel mehr fĂŒr ihn. Er lĂ€sst die ErzĂ€hlung authentisch beginnen, ganz so, als stĂŒnde man tatsĂ€chlich gerade einem Fremden gegenĂŒber, der noch nie eine Geschichte erzĂ€hlt hat. Schon der Anfang des Buches regt zum Nachdenken an, ich zumindest war mir nicht sofort sicher, dass wirklich der Tod höchstpersönlich die Geschehnisse erzĂ€hlt und als ich mir dann sicher war, las ich den gesamten Anfang noch einmal, um auch alles, was der Tod von sich erzĂ€hlt richtig auf mich wirken zu lassen und mit Vorstellungen zu vergleichen, die man sich selbst einfach im Laufe des Lebens so macht. Der Tod ist also ein stĂ€ndiger Begleiter wĂ€hrend man dieses Buch liest, aber da er mit so viel Witz und Liebe geschrieben wurde, ohne dabei seine Ernsthaftigkeit zu verlieren, empfindet man ihn am Ende eher als alten Freund und nicht als die Ursache aller Trauer. Die Ursache waren Menschen. In diesem Fall hauptsĂ€chlich Deutsche.

Liesel Meminger wurde in Deutschland geboren, kurz vor der Zeit des dritten Reiches. Weil ihr Vater als Kommunist verhaftet und gefoltert wird, kann er sich nicht mehr um seine Familie kĂŒmmern, woraufhin seine kranke Frau 1939 ihre neunjĂ€hrige Tochter Liesel und ihren sechsjĂ€hrigen Sohn Werner zu Pflegeeltern gibt. Auf dem Weg nach Molching, einer kleinen Stadt in der NĂ€he von MĂŒnchen, in welcher die zukĂŒnftigen Pflegeeltern leben, treffen der Tod und Liesel das erste Mal aufeinander. “Ein heftiger Hustenanfall. Ein letzter Atemzug, der Endspurt. Und dann – nichts mehr.” Auf diese Weise beschreibt der Tod Werners Ende. Als er seine Seele aus dem Körper trennte und das kleine MĂ€dchen gerade aus einem Traum hochschreckte, sahen sie sich zum ersten Mal. Entgegen seines eigenen Rates, kommt der Tod zu Werners Beerdigung in einem namenlosen Dorf, um dort den ersten Diebstahl der BĂŒcherdiebin zu beobachten – im Schnee. Der Zweite fand im Feuer statt. Doch ich will nicht zu weit vorgreifen. Um ein ungefĂ€hres GefĂŒhl zu bekommen, um was es in diesem Buch geht, sei noch Folgendes gesagt: Liesel kommt in der Himmelstraße bei den Hubermanns an, in denen sie eine neue Familie findet und wo sie ein paar Jahre glĂŒckliche Kindheit geschenkt bekommt. Sie findet einen besten Freund und Diebstahl-Partner in Rudi, sie lernt Lesen in einem Keller, an dessen WĂ€nden sie mit Farbe das Schreiben ĂŒbt. Sie schenkt einem Juden Wolken und eine Schneeballschlacht im Keller. Sie liest in den furchterregendsten Stunden Menschen etwas aus ihren BĂŒchern vor.
Doch keine Geschichte bleibt ewig gut und friedlich, besonders nicht wenn sie wÀhrend des zweiten Weltkriegs spielt. Es sind Wörter, die ihr Leben retten.

Die Bilder habe ich bereits vor einiger Zeit gemacht, kurz nachdem das Buch bei mir ankam.

Die BĂŒcherdiebin ist ein herausragendes Werk. Zusak brachte die Wörter fĂŒr diesen Roman auf eine fesselnde, ungewöhnliche Art und Weise zusammen, die an keiner Stelle Zweifel offen ließ. Trotz der ungewöhnlichen Wahl des ErzĂ€hlers, fand ich keine einzige Stelle, an der ich nicht geglaubt hĂ€tte, dass diese Geschichte tatsĂ€chlich vom Tod erzĂ€hlt wird. Wenn man diese Tatsache weniger personalisiert und etwas metaphorischer betrachtet, kann man feststellen, dass dies eine unglaublich poetische Variante ist, eine traurige Geschichte des Lebens zu erzĂ€hlen.
Obwohl in diesem Buch ein eher gemĂ€ĂŸigtes Schicksal dieser Zeit verarbeitet wird (womit ich lediglich meine, dass wĂ€hrend des dritten Reiches und besonders wĂ€hrend des zweiten Weltkrieges noch deutlich mehr und vor allem grausameres Leid verursacht wurde), sind einige Szenen sehr heftig. Nicht unbedingt in der Art und Weise in der sie beschrieben wurden (zum Vergleich: Orwells 1984, besonders Teil 3, wurde bedeutend bildlicher und grausamer beschrieben, wodurch ich persönlich auch schlimmere TrĂ€ume von 1984 als von Die BĂŒcherdiebin bekam), aber hinsichtlich dessen, was man sich – auch durch das Wissen ĂŒber diesen Teil der deutschen Geschichte – unter dem Beschriebenen und dessen was die jeweiligen Szenen bewirken, vorstellt. Wie bereits erwĂ€hnt, hat dieser Aspekt auch die besinnliche Zeit des letzten Weihnachtsfestes verdunkelt, besonders dadurch, dass ich zu dem Zeitpunkt gerade das Ende der Geschichte las, welches einige zutiefst traurige Begebenheiten mit sich brachte.
NatĂŒrlich ist aber zu sagen, dass es auch fröhliche Zeiten im Leben der BĂŒcherdiebin gab und diese auch entsprechend Spaß gemacht haben zu lesen. Besonders die Entwicklung der Charaktere mitzubegleiten, ist eine Freude, die einem das Buch nicht nimmt. Da Liesel und Rudi vor allem auch einfach Fußball spielende Kinder sind, bietet Zusaks Werk neben ernsthaften und traurigen Berichten des Todes auch amĂŒsante, niedliche und wundervolle. Einige der ersten Worte der ErzĂ€hlung des Todes, können meiner Meinung nach auch dieses Buch sehr gut zusammenfassen und diese Review beenden: “Bitte glaubt mir: Ich kann wirklich fröhlich sein. Ich kann angenehm sein. AmĂŒsant. Achtsam. AndĂ€chtig. Und das sind nur die Eigenschaften mit dem Buchstaben »A«. Nur bitte verlangt nicht von mir, nett zu sein. Nett zu sein ist mir völlig fremd.”

Ich wĂŒrde Die BĂŒcherdiebin jederzeit ein weiteres Mal lesen. Weil das Buch einfach unglaublich ist. Weil es gut ist. Weil es wichtig ist. Und weil ich den Tod, Liesel, Rudi, Max, Hans, Rosa und die Frau des BĂŒrgermeisters in mein Herz geschlossen habe.

Mit besten GrĂŒĂŸen,
Aly

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Blog Entry No. 16 – Livin’ in a snowy 2021 and talking about stem cell donation

Dear Readers,

the new year is already older than a week and so far nothing really changed – as expected. After a tough 2020 expectations are high for a better year following, but there are 51 more weeks that can bring great change, 356 days actually. Every day you could wake up and it’s the day that changes your life. So, let’s give it a chance. Every small improvement is worth it.

For me, work started again, even if I just sit at home all day. I really got used to doing only enjoyable things all day while holidays, but at least I’m still able to go out for a long walk every day. Since 2021 started, I feel like I haven’t seen the sun not once. Seriously, it’s extreeemly foggy and grey outside. You remember the forest picture I posted within the last blog entry? Well, I took some of the very same scenery again in the last days:

That’s how the forest was looking three days ago.
That was the same scenery yesterday, at least the clouds stay in the sky again.

At least we have a lot of snow. Right now, looking out the window, I see how calmly and quietly the big snowflakes are dripping out of the clouds. It’s beautiful. I’ll show some of the photos I took, while walking in this winter wonderland outside, as some gallery thingy wordpress offers for blog design (I wonder how well that will work) and on Instagram. Which leads to the news I wanted to tell you:

I started an Instagram and a Pinterest account accompanying this blog. I did this before, but I never really followed through, so I thought: New year, new luck, new strenght. I want to post short excerpts of my reviews and posts and show you some insights of how I write the posts, get my books and some of the other stuff that happens in life. I’ll see how it goes. You find me on Instagram: alyrene74.blog (just like the web adress of the blog, creative, I know ^^)
Pinterest: Alyrene’s Blog (I created a business account)

One last thing I want to talk about is the donation of stem cells. Yesterday I registered for donating stem cells, if they’re needed somewhere in the world. I think it is extremely important to register for these things (I also wear an organ donor card in my purse), because one doesn’t lose something (stem cells regenerate) and still it is a lifesaving possibility. If you want to donate (stem cells or money) for something important and sigificant, if you want to save lifes, please inform yourself, which oragnisation manages the donation of stem cells (and organs) in your country and help if it’s possible for you. If you’re living in Germany, please register at DKMS or donate some money, if it doesn’t hurt you. Of course it’s all voluntary, but I still want to appeal to you for donating.

Hope you’re well,
Aly

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Blog Entry No. 15 – The year 2020

Dear readers,

I’m back again. I am truly sorry for the unclompleted advent calendar, it was a pretty rough time and a really needed the holidays, but as it is still cold outside (at least at the part of the earth where I live) and I often talk about it I wanna share at least my recipe for good chai latte. Maybe I’ll find some place for the other ideas I had in some different context or in a possible next years advent calendar.

Chai Latte

I discovered this delicious drink in a lovely cafe in Ireland. Since then it’s my absolute favourite warm drink and I tried to find a recipe that comes near the chai latte I drank in Ireland, but it’s impossible. In this one I found a quite delicious variation, which is not as perfect as the first chai latte I ever consumed, but close.

You need:
– 0.5 l black tea (assam ceylon)
– 4 cloves
– 1 piece of ginger about a cm thick
– some cardamom and one stick of cinnamon (or as much as it tastes good for you)
– 0.5 l milk
– 4 big spoons honey

How to do:
Cut the ginger into thin slices. Roast the cinnamon stick, cardamom and cloves in a coated pan until nicely fragrant.
Then bring the water to the boil. When it boils, remove from heat, add tea bags and let it steep for 3-5 min. Remove the tea bags and add the spices. Simmer the tea 5 min on low heat.
In the meantime, heat the milk and honey, best in the microwave. Once the 5 minutes are up, add the heated milk to the tea brew and bring it to the boil briefly. I poured the whole thing into a coffee maker (french press) and used the strainer to press down the spices. You can also pour the finished chai through a straining cloth into a suitable container.

I hope you enjoy it.

At last, there stays to talk about the nearly gone year. It was a difficult year, no question. I am not able to speak for anyone but myself of course. How could I even though I never experienced the life of another person? But I can talk about what I witnessed and what I experienced.
In Germany we have a saying: Schaltjahr ist Kaltjahr. Which means as much as “A leap year is a cold, a bad year.” I wouldn’t consider myself much superstitious, but I trust in many things my grandma teached me and what was confirmed by experiences and this saying is both. Especially this year the saying proofed some truth. 2020 was a lonely year, a year of many dissapointments. It certainly was a year, which lead to more people feeling mentally ill. I saw friends suffering without being able to help them and I broke down every time (well, that two times it happened) I got to know there will be another strict lookdown, another period of working at home, of not talking to anyone else than my family personally and I’m seriously not sure, why. I really like my home, I live in the countryside, so I’m always able to go for a nice walk in the nature (and I’m very happy about it, I can barely imagine how terrible it must be sitting all day in a small apartment, outside only streets and concrete buildings, inbetween one or maybe two trees) and I have no major problems with my family, everything should be fine and always turned out to be fine, but still I couldn’t bear the thought of such an unpredictable, big change. But besides the mental problems 2020 caused, there are extreme, physical ones too. So many people died. Of course, every year many people die, but the pandemic caused a large amount of poeple, who wouldn’t have to die, if some governments would have treated the pandemic as what it is, a threat for life. I mean not only the patients that died from Covid-19, I also mourn all humans, who starved to death or had no clean water to drink since support from important organisations wasn’t possible because of the risk of an infection. I mourn all the people, who died or got injured in a war or similar actions, just as they took place in the last month in Ethiopia. I mourn all people, who needed to flee from their home country and needed to live or even died in such horrible circumstances like in Moria. I mourn all people, who have no possiblity to escape inhumane living conditions. I know it doesn’t change anything and I wish I could do more, but I hope to raise at least a bit more awareness of all the violations of human rights and exploitation of humans, animals and our planet.

But 2020 wasn’t all bad. Folks learned to worship family and time at home, in peace, more. Health care workers got finally some attention, even if not enough in my opinion. A big movement around black lives started and in Scotland there will be free sanitary articles for everyone. The United States will have a Democratic President again and there was luckily no war betweeen them and Iran. There is much to be thankful for. As always.
Personally, I had a pretty great summer, it was as normal as possible in these times. I finished a great piece of work (scientific paper) for the last one and a half year a few weeks ago. I didn’t lose loved ones. I made a big step right into the direction of finding help for some of my mental issues. I am thankful. For all that was done for me this year, for everything I learned how to deal with, for all the people I had the pleasure to meet and for everythinh I did not lose.

At home we are blessed with some snow, I’m reading Tolstoi’s Anna Karenina and listening to the audio book of Obama’s A Promised Land. Life treats me good right now, I hope it does so with you too. Soon I’ll write a review to The Book Thief by Markus Zusak as start for 2021, I’m looking forward to write new content in a new year and hope you will read and enjoy it.

I wish you the best and a most healthy and happy new year,
Aly

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Short Message 01

Dear Readers,

I’m very sorry, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to continue with the advent calendar in the way I did so far. For my region will start a total lockdown on Monday, which means a lot of change for me again. I don’t feel that well mentally in the moment anyway and this message didn’t make anything better. I often feel overwhelmed lately and right now, I don’t feel like completing anything. I’ll try to do all planned posts, but I can’t say for sure that I’ll post them at the right date. I’ll see how it goes.

Hope you’re good, see you soon,
Aly

Advent Calendar

7th December 2020 – 17 days til Christmas

Dear Readers,
today I want to recommend you The Nutcracker performed by the Russian national ballet as well as a Walt Disney film production by Lasse Hallström and Joe Johnston.

https://www.royalmoscowballet.com/the-nutcracker

First to the famous ballet, the score was written by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky in 1892 and the original two-act ballet choreographed by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov. It wasn’t that popular in the late 19th century, but today it’s performed every christmas season by many many ballet companies, the most famous, of course, is the Russian State Ballet. I once saw a live broadcast and it was unbelievably beautiful! Seeing them dance live is even better though (I saw them perform Swan Lake twice).

The story varies always a bit from performance to performance and so do the character names, so here is only the basic plot: It’s Christmas-Eve, after decorating a big tree and celebrating a big party, Clara (the main character) gets a wooden nutcracker from her godfather. When her brother Fritz breakes it, Clara is heartbroken. By midnight, Clara goes looking for her beloved nutcracker, suddenly the mice fill the room and the nutcracker grows to life size. Clara finds herself in a battle between mice and gingerbread soldiers. The mice start eating the gingerbread soldiers and the nutcracker, already wounded, leads the soldiers. In a fight between the Mouse King and the wounded nutcracker, Clara throws her shoe, distracts the Mouse King and saves the life of the nutcracker. The nutcracker transforms to a handsome prince and travels together with the girl to the Land of Sweets, ruled by the Sugar Plum Fairy in the prince’s place until his return. He tells the story how Clara saved him from the Mouse King and they all celebrate with a lot of sweets. At this point the Sugar Plum Fairy and her cavalier perform the extremly famous Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy. (For all who don’t know it I linked a video on Youtube.) It often happens, that the ends change pretty much from perfomance to performance, for The Nutcracker that’s the case too.

Published by Palmtree Media: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6dnKOjIRgOU

Now to the film: The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (2018):

Directors: Lasse Hallström, Joe Johnston
Writers: Ashleigh Powell (screen story and screenplay by), E.T.A. Hoffmann (suggested by the short story “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” written by)
Stars: Mackenzie Foy, Keira Knightley, Morgan Freeman

The story is pretty similar to the one of the ballet, though there are some changes of course, but because I think they are very important for the tension while watching it, I won’t tell them, just watch it and I’m sure you’ll be surprised, if you only know the basic plot or the ballet so far.

Film poster from: By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=56083804

The first time I watched the film was two years ago in an Irish cinema and I was spellbound. It was amazing. It wasn’t just the great cast, the gorgeous ballet dancers and the thrilling way of telling the story in a new way, the combination of it all left a feeling like never wanting to leave the cinema again.
It unites a fantastic fantasy plot, outstanding dance art (personally, I just love ballet, for me it’s one of the most beautiful, most ellegant ways to express stories and feelings) and an excellent picture-sound creation.

The Nutcracker is one of the most famous and one of my favourite Christmas-Stories, I hope you enjoy it.

Yours,
Aly

Advent Calendar

5th December – 19 days til Christmas

Liebe Leser,

das heutige KalendertĂŒrchen schreibe ich auf Deutsch, weil ich das Rezept von Stollen nur auf Deutsch kenne und zur Zeit nicht besonders viel Zeit habe, es zu ĂŒbersetzen. (But for my other readers: I’ll try to post a translation sometimes in the next few weeks.)

Weihnachtsstollen (Rosinenstollen)

Zutaten: (2 Stollen)

  • 1 kg Mehl
  • 100 g Hefe
  • 200 ml Milch (warm, nicht kochend)
  • 100 g Zitronat
  • 50 g Orangeat (bei Schokoladen – Stollen etwas weniger)
  • 400 – 500 g Rosinen/beliebige Menge Schokolade/Schokotröpfchen
  • 150 – 500 g gehackte Mandeln
  • 5 EL Milch (warm, nicht kochend)
  • 200 g Zucker
  • 500 g Butter (weich/flĂŒssig)
  • 3 TL Salz
  • 1 1/2 – 2 Fl. Rum(-aroma)
  • 1/2 Fl. Bittermandel(-aroma)
  1. Hefeteig machen: Mehl in eine SchĂŒssel geben, ein Mulde formen und mit Milch und Hefe fĂŒllen, alles zusammen Kneten und den Teig mindestens 30 Minuten ruhen lassen
  2. Die Rosinen waschen und mit Rum betrĂ€ufeln, Mandeln und Milch in eine SchĂŒssel geben
  3. Alle Zutaten außer Rosinen und Mandeln im Teig verkneten
  4. Rosinen hinzugeben (entfÀllt bei Schokostollen)
  5. Mandeln und Milch hinzugeben
  6. (Schokolade hinzugeben)
  7. Mindestens 24 Stunden abgedeckt, kĂŒhl aber ohne Zug ruhen lassen
  8. Alles nochmal durchkneten, in eine brotÀhnliche Form bringen, lÀngs einschneiden und mit Rouladennadeln Löcher neben den Einschnitt machen
  9. Bei 150o Umluft 60 – 70 Minuten backen (175o Ober-/Unterhitze)
  10. AbkĂŒhlen und ruhen lassen (ca. 24 Stunden)
  11. 3 Mal mit Butter und Puderzucker streichen

Statt Rosinen kann man auch SchokoladenstĂŒckchen verwenden, dann wĂŒrde ich jedoch empfehlen, etwas weniger Orangeat zu verwenden.
Lasst es euch schmecken,
Aly

Advent Calendar

4th December 2020 – 20 days til Christmas

Dear Readers,

today I want to present you an absolutely beautiful fairytale: Dornröschen (you may know it as the sleeping beauty). It was collected by the German brothers Grimm in the 19th century. This version is from my German book of fairytales and was translated by Deimos. Thankful regards.


Sleeping Beauty

Ages ago there were a king and a queen, who spoke every day: >>Oh, if we would have a child!<< – and never got one. Then it happened, whilst the queen sat in the bath that a frog crawled out of the water onto the land and spoke to her: >>Thy wish will be fulfilled and you will you will give birth to a daughter<< What the frog foretold that came about and the queen bore a girl so beautiful that the king did not know how to let himself be and set up a great festival. He invited not just his relatives, friends and acquaintances, but also the wise women thereto, in order for them to be fair and dear to the child. There were thirteen of such in his empire, but since he only had twelve golden plates, from which they could eat, he couldn’t invite one of them. Those invited came and after the feast was held, bestowed upon the child their miraculous gifts; one with goodness, another with beauty, the third with wealth and thus with all that is magnificent in the world. When ten had just done their wishes the thirteenth entered who was not invited and wanted vengeance therefore. She cried: >>The kings daughter shall, in her fifteenth year, prick herself on a spindle and drop dead.<< Then the twelfth stepped forward, who still had a wish left; although she could not revoke the evil spell, she was still able to lessen it and spoke: >>It shall however be no death, instead a centennial deep slumber, in which the kings daughter falls.<< The king hoped, to save his dear child from the spell and let the order roll out that all the spindles in the whole empire shall be eradicated. On the girl however all of the wise women’s gifts got entirely fulfilled, for it was so beautiful, modest, friendly and reasonable that anybody who looked at it had to cherish it.

Picture from: Gaugler, Almut: MĂ€rchen by Edition Stuttgart im VS Verlagshaus Stuttgart GmbH, 1993

It occurred on this day on which it was just fifteen years old, the king and queen were not at home and the young lady stayed all alone in the castle. So it went everywhere around, looked at rooms and chambers, as it pleased und finally reached an old tower. It went up narrow stairs and got to a small door. In the lock there stuck a yellow key and when it turned the door swung open and there, in a little chamber sat an old women and spun her flax eagerly. >>Ay you little old lady<<, spoke the kings daughter, >>what are thou doing there?<< – >>I’m spinning<<, said the old one and nodded with her head. >>How that thing bounces around!<< exclaimed the girl, took the spindle and wanted to spin too. She just barely touched the spindle and so the spell got fulfilled and she pricked herself with it. Right in the instant however, when she had pricked herself, she fell down into a deep slumber. And the King and the queen, who just returned, began, with all of the court to fall asleep. So the horses in the stable fell asleep as well, the dogs in the courtyard, the pigeons on the roof, the flies on the wall, well, the fire that flickers on the stove was quiet and fell asleep and the roast stopped to sizzle, and the cook, who wanted to pull the kitchen lad by the hair, because he did a mistake, let go of him and slept, and everything that had living breath was quiet and slept. Around the castle however a hedge of thorns began to sprout, which rose higher each year and ultimately stretched around the whole castle and grew beyond it, so that nothing, not even the banners on the roof were visible. However the saga of the lovely sleeping beauty, since that was how the king’s daughter was called, went around, so from time to time king’s sons arrived and tried to pass through the hedge into the castle. Yet it was not possible for them, since the thorns stuck together like holding hands and the youngsters got stuck and perished pathetically. After long, long years another king’s son came across the country, whom an old man told about the hedge of thorns, where there ought to be a castle behind, in which a beautiful royal maiden, called sleeping beauty, shall sleep alongside all of her court. He also told that he heard from his grandfather, how many king’s sons did arrive to pass through the hedge but got stuck and died a sad death. So the youngster spoke: >>This shall not discourage me, I want through and see the fine sleeping beauty.<< The old one could advice against it all he wanted, he did not even listen to it.
Now, just on the day however, when the king’s son came, the hundred years were bygone. And as he approached the thorn hedge, there were a lot of tall, beautiful flowers, they put themselves apart, so he passed through unharmed; behind him they closed themselves as hedge again. He entered the castle, there were laying in the court the horses and the hounds and slept, on the roof there sat the pigeons and had put their heads under the wings. And when he entered the house, the flies slept at the wall, the cook in the kitchen still holding the hand, as if he wanted to grab the lad, and the maid sat in front of the black chicken that should have been plucked. So he went on and saw the whole court laying there and sleeping and on top the king and the queen. So he went even further and everything was so quiet, he could hear his own breath and finally he got to the tower and opened the door to the little chamber in which the sleeping beauty slumbered. There it was laying so beautifully that he could not avert his eyes and he bend down and gave it a kiss. Just when he had given the kiss, the sleeping beauty opened her eyes, awoke and looked kindly at him.

Picture from: Gaugler, Almut: MĂ€rchen by Edition Stuttgart im VS Verlagshaus Stuttgart GmbH, 1993

So they went downwards together and the king awoke and the queen and the whole court and they all looked at each other with wide eyes. And the horses in the courtyard stood up and rattled around, the hounds jumped and waggled; the pigeons on the roof pulled their heads from under the wing, looked around and flew into the field; the flies on the wall crawled onwards; the fire in the kitchen rose up and cooked the food und the roast sizzled further; the cook slapped the boy in the face, so that he cried and the maid completed plucking the chicken. And so the wedding of the king’s son with the sleeping beauty was celebrated in all its glory, and the lived happily ever after.


For all readers who understand German language, I want to recommend you a special kind of audio book version of it: You may know Unheilig or the Graf, the musician. If not it’s of course no problem, but if you like listening to a well read story, you might like the musical setting of the sleeping beauty by the Graf:

That’s the track on youtube by Unheilig.

Have a good nights sleep,
Aly

Advent Calendar

3rd December 2020 – 21 days til Christmas

Dear Readers,

today’s post will be about another film: Every Day. Since I wrote about the book of the same name two days ago, I thought it would be a nice idea to present you the film produced on its basis. As you may have noticed, my life is pretty stressful right now (thanks a lot to my beloved cowriter for yesterday’s post), but it will get better soon I hope. But for now, I’ll try a shorter format of presentation, hoping you’ll still enjoy it. 😉

See: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7026672/?ref_=tt_mv_close

Director: Michael Sucsy
Writers: Jesse Andrews (screenplay by), David Levithan (based on the novel by)
Stars: Angourie Rice, Justice Smith, Debby Ryan

Story: As it’s based on the book, it’s nearly the same (see my post called “1st December 2020 – 23 days til Christmas”). The only two big parts of the story that have been left out or changed in the movie, are Nathan’s part and the rule about staying only one day (I don’t wanna spoiler that part). Nathan still exists in the movie and he also thinks he was possessed, but it’s different to the book, he doesn’t hunt A and also doesn’t get further in contact with him.

My opinion: Despite the fact that I like the novel so much, I didn’t watch the film for years after it came out, because I feared it could destroy the good feeling I always get by reading the book. It wasn’t a justifiable fear. Of course there are differences between my imagination and the way the film worked out in the end, to be honest, in this case they have been very strong. But these differences, like the appearance of Rhiannon and Justin, the day at the beach or the way they spend their last day, helped me to look at the film as a separate work. That’s what it is, there were more and different people, who created it, so it has to be different, does it not? I’m very happy about the depth it remained while becoming a famous film. It’s still a lovely romance with a lot of different perspectives and problems that make it real and important. All in all it’s a pretty good film, but it is how it is nearly all the time: the book is waaay better.

Hope you’re having a good day,
Aly

Advent Calendar

1st December 2020 – 23 days til Christmas

Dear Readers,

I love the time around Christmas, especially if it’s really cold and snows a lot but this year I guess everything will be different. It was a tough year, many poeple lost loved ones and the celebration of love is going to be celebrated in distance and lonlier than usual. We needed to adapt to more digital ways to see each other, to work, to live. I started this blog when we had the first lookdown in Germany, now we already experience the second one and I think life will be much different for most people after 2020. Because this is the first christmas for my blog and I want to try to enjoy the pre-christmas-time anyway, I planned something special: I’ll post something every day from now on til Christmas-eve, just like an online advent calendar. I hope to bring a bit of pleasure into the life of every reader. Even if you do not celebrate christmas, it is still the darkest season (at least at the north side of the earth) of the year and I think everyone can use some good books, films, fairytales and food. I hope for it to be an enrichment for your December.
Because these are special editions of my blog entries and outstanding, I won’t numerate those following posts as I do usually. I’ll start with Blog Entry No. 15 after Christmas again.

Photo by Kaboompics .com on Pexels.com

Sooo for today I’ll present you a short review about one of my favourite books: Every Day by David Levithan. It’s a romance about A. A is someone, who wakes up in a different body every day, always the same age like him, never in the same body twice. He/She (that’s not really clear because A woke up as girl as often as he woke up as a boy and the book is written from his perspective, but in my imagination A is to be called he) always tried to make no problems in one of the many lives he lived, he always lived the day as the person whose body he woke up in, in the morning and was not able to live an own life. But one day he meets Rhiannon and falls in love. He never told anyone about the kind of life he lives, but he tries to explain it to her. Will she understand it? Or will she think it’s a creepy joke? Even if she’d understand, would they ever have a future? And as if life wouldn’t be complicated enough, Nathan, a boy A spent the day in, thinks he was possessed and hunts A like some sort of demon.

That’s the German cover of “Every Day” (Fischer Verlag FJB) because I read it at young age and got it as present.

As I already said it’s one of my favourite books. It’s more than a simple romance, it’s a work of empathy and different perspectives, about understanding. It’s a philosophical way of thinking about people who might exist, noticing more than a normal human ever could, without us knowing about their existance. It’s a teen-novel with a deep insight of so many problems people have to deal with even at a young age. It’s a book with a sad, but absolutely fitting ending that could lead to a sequel but doesn’t have to (though I would be very happy about one). Every Day is a great book from the very first line to the very last one and I’m more than happy to have found it in the library so many years ago. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Hope you’re having a good time,
Aly