24 Festive Tasks: Door 14 – St. Nicholas’ Day / Sinterklaas: Task 4

Audre Lorde: Coal

I
Is the total black, being spoken
From the earth’s inside.
There are many kinds of open.
How a diamond comes into a knot of flame
How a sound comes into a word, coloured
By who pays what for speaking.

 

Some words are open
Like a diamond on glass windows
Singing out within the crash of passing sun
Then there are words like stapled wagers
In a perforated book—buy and sign and tear apart –
And come whatever wills all chances
The stub remains
An ill-pulled tooth with a ragged edge.
Some words live in my throat
Breeding like adders. Others know sun
Seeking like gypsies over my tongue
To explode through my lips
Like young sparrows bursting from shell.
Some words
Bedevil me.

 

Love is a word another kind of open –
As a diamond comes into a knot of flame
I am black because I come from the earth’s inside
Take my word for jewel in your open light.

 

From The Collected Poems of Audre Lorde (1997)
Source: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/42577/coal

 

(Task: A Czech Republic tradition for St Nick’s Day is groups of three “people” – St Nick, Angel, and Devil – to roam the streets the night before St Nick’s Day and stop children to ask them if they have been good during the year or not.  Most kids say yes, sing a song or recite a poem.  The three “strangers” then decide if the children are telling the truth.  The good kids get candy / treats from the Angel, bad kids get potatoes or coal from the Devil.  So: Post a song or poem (your own or someone else’s) that involves candy, potatoes, or coal.)

 

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24 Festive Tasks: Door 14 – St. Nicholas’ Day / Sinterklaas: Task 2

Tangerines, two different kinds of chocolate covered gingerbread cookies, roasted almonds, spiced almonds, and organic chocolate truffles (raspberry, fine de champagne, and espresso).  A bit late for St. Nicholas’ Day, but just in time for Christmas!

 

(Task: In the Netherlands, ‘Sinterklaas’ is celebrated with ginger biscuits, marzipan and hot chocolate with cream; in Germany, it’s St. Nicholas’ Day with gingerbread, chocolate and / or nut or almond cookies, chocolate candy, and tangerines (or oranges). Choose one or more of the above as a holiday snack and post a picture for us to drool over.)

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24 Festive Tasks: Door 14 – St. Nicholas’ Day / Sinterklaas: Task 1

The Oxford Companion to the Book - Michael F. Suarez, H.R. Woudhuysen The Henry Irving Shakespeare (8 Volume Set) - Henry Irving, Frank A. Marshall, William Shakespeare Prefaces to Shakespeare - Harley Granville Barker The Complete Story of Civilization: Our Oriental Heritage, Life of Greece, Caesar and Christ, Age of Faith, Renaissance, Age of Reason Begins, Age of Louis ... and Revolution, Age of Napoleon, Reformation - Will Durant The Complete Aubrey/Maturin Novels - Patrick O'Brian Die Kultur Der Renaissance In Italien - Jacob Burckhardt Norton Anthology of Literature by Women (Boxed set, Volumes 1 and 2) - Sandra M. Gilbert, Susan Gubar, Various Authors

 

Dear Saint Nick, it would be really nice if one of these years I’d find some of these under my Christmas tree:

* The Oxford Companion to the Book

* The Henry Irving Shakespeare editions (all 8 volumes)

* Granville Barker’s Prefaces to Shakespeare (the complete set)

* Will and Ariel Durant’s History of Civilization (all 11 volumes)

* Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey / Maturin novels (all 20 volumes completed by O’Brian — I can do without the unfinished 21st one)

* Jacob Burckhardt’s Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy

* … and last but not least, the two-volume Norton Anthology of Literature by Women

 

(Task: Write a book wish list to St. Nick / Santa Claus for books that you’ve been eyeing but can’t justify the expense of purchasing.  (E.g., art books? Collector’s editions? Boxed sets?))

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24 Festive Tasks: Door 14 – St. Nicholas’ Day / Sinterklaas: Task 3

And Then There Were None - Agatha Christie Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. Gryffindor Edition - ROWLING J.K. Death of a Fool (St. Martin's Dead Letter Mysteries) - Ngaio Marsh Anna, Where Are You? - Patricia Wentworth Envious Casca - Georgette Heyer Murder in the Snow: A Cotswold Christmas Mystery - Gladys Mitchell Supernavigators: Exploring the Wonders of How Animals Find Their Way - David Barrie La Reine Margot - Alexandre Dumas The Dykemaster - Theodor Storm Raquel, the Jewess of Toledo: A Spanish Ballad - Lion Feuchtwanger

Aaah — the “different title” trap, how I hate it.  There is precisely one example of a title change that resonates with me (Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, which was originally published as Ten Little Niggers and, alternatively, Ten Little Indians), but with this one exception, I can’t think of a single title change that actually serves my interests as a reader.

I think the one change that still most infuriates me for the sheer ignorance and bigotry of its motivation is the change of the title of J.K. Rowling‘s first Harry Potter novel from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone to Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

But I’d come to detest the practice long before that, as Golden Age mystery novelists such as Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh and Patricia Wentworth, whose books account for a particularly large share of my reading material, frequently had to suffer the indignity of the publisher missing with the titles that they themselves had given to their books, based on the notion that the original title would presumably be incomprehensible to readers outside Great Britain.  The list of their title changes includes:

Agatha Christie:

(Note: Christie had a hand in some of these title changes (mostly with short stories; in many cases, especially with the “spoilery” or plain nonsensical new titles of her novels, however, she didn’t.)

* Lord Edgeware Dies — A/K/A: Thirteen for Dinner

* Three-Act Tragedy — A/K/A: Murder in Three Acts

* Murder on the Orient Express — A/K/A: Murder on the Calais Coach

* Death in the Clouds — A/K/A: Death in the Air

* The ABC Murders — A/K/A: The Alphabet Murders

* Dumb Witness — A/K/A: Poirot Loses a Client; Murder at Littlegreen House; The Mystery at Littlegreen House

* Hercule Poirot’s Christmas — A/K/A: Murder for Christmas; A Holiday for Murder

* One, Two, Buckle My Shoe — A/K/A: The Patriotic Murders; An Overdose of Death

* Five Little Pigs — A/K/A: Murder in Retrospect

* The Hollow — A/K/A: Murder After Hours

* Taken at the Flood — A/K/A: There is a Tide

* Mrs. McGinty’s Dead — A/K/A: Blood Will Tell

* After the Funeral — A/K/A: Funerals Are Fatal

* Hickory, Dickory, Dock — A/K/A: Hickory, Dickory, Death

* Murder in the Mews (collection) — A/K/A: Dead Man’s Mirror

* Murder in the Mews (short story) — A/K/A: Good Night for a Murder

* Dead Man’s Mirror (short story) — A/K/A: Hercule Poirot and the Broken Mirror; expansion of the nonseries short story The Second Gong

* Four and Twenty Blackbirds (short story) — A/K/A: Poirot and the Regular Customer

* The Triangle at Rhodes (short story) — A/K/A: Before It’s Too Late and Double Alibi

* The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding (short story) — expansion of the story The Theft of the Royal Ruby, A/K/A: The Christmas Adventure

* The Adventure of Johnny Waverly (short story) — A/K/A: At the Stroke of Twelve

* Double Sin (short story) — A/K/A: By Road or Rail

* Problem at Sea (short story) — A/K/A: Poirot and the Crime in Cabin 66; The Quickness of the Hand

* The Dream (short story) — A/K/A: The Three Strange Points

* The Mystery of the Baghdad Chest (short story) — expanded into The Mystery of the Spanish Chest

* They Do It with Mirrors — A/K/A: Murder with Mirrors

* 4:50 from Paddington — A/K/A: What Mrs. McGillicuddy Saw! and Murder, She Said

* The Mirror Crack’d from Side to Side — A/K/A: The Mirror Crack’d

* The Thirteen Problems (collection) — A/K/A: The Tuesday Club Murders

* Sanctuary (short story) — A/K/A: The Man on the Chancel Steps

* Murder Is Easy — A/K/A: Easy to Kill

* Towards Zero — A/K/A: Come and Be Hanged

* Sparkling Cyanide — A/K/A: Remembered Death

* Yellow Iris (short story) — A/K/A: Hercule Poirot and the Sixth Chair

* Mr. Parker Pyne, Detective (collection) — A/K/A: Parker Pyne Investigates

* The Love Detectives (short story) — A/K/A: At the Crossroads

* Why Didn’t They Ask Evans — A/K/A: The Boomerang Clue

* And Then There Were None — A/K/A: Ten Little Niggers; Ten Little Indians

* Destination Unknown — A/K/A: So Many Steps to Death

* The Mousetrap (play) — originally written as a radio play called Three Blind Mice; based on the short story / novella also called Three Blind Mice

* While the Lights Last and Other Stories (collection) — The Harlequin Tea Set and Other Stories

* The Actress (short story) — A/K/A: A Trap for the Unwary

* Wireless (short story) — A/K/A: Where There’s a Will

* The Listerdale Mystery (short story) — A/K/A: The Benevolent Butler

* The Manhood of Edward Robinson (short story) — A/K/A: The Day of His Dreams

* Mr. Eastwood’s Adventure (short story) — A/K/A: The Mystery of the Spanish Shawl; The Mystery of the Second Cucumber

Ngaio Marsh:

* Surfeit of Lampreys — A/K/A: Death of a Peer

* Swing Brother Swing — A/K/A: A Wreath for Rivera

* Opening Night — A/K/A: Night at the Vulcan

* Spinsters in Jeopardy — abridged in the U.S. as The Bride of Death

* Off With His Head — A/K/A: Death of a Fool

* Death at the Dolphin — A/K/A: Killer Dolphin

Patricia Wentworth:

* Danger Point — A/K/A: In the Balance

* Miss Silver Intervenes — A/K/A: Miss Silver Deals with Death

* The Traveller Returns — A/K/A: She Came Back

* Pilgrim’s Rest — A/K/A: Dark Threat

* Spotlight — A/K/A: Wicked Uncle

* The Brading Collection — A/K/A: Mr Brading’s Collection

* Anna, Where Are You? — A/K/A: Death At Deep End

* The Gazebo — A/K/A: The Summerhouse

* Who Pays the Piper? — A/K/A: Account Rendered

* Little More Than Kin — A/K/A: More Than Kin

* Seven Green Stones — A/K/A: Outrageous Fortune

* Devil-in-the-Dark — A/K/A: Touch And Go

* Unlawful Occasions — A/K/A: Weekend with Death

More recently, Golden Age mysteries have been republished with altered titles in an obvious bid to fit them into the holiday sales bracket:

* George Heyer‘s Envious Casca has been rechristened A Christmas Party; and

* Gladys Mitchell‘s Dead Men’s Morris and The Groaning Spinney are being republished as Death Comes at Christmas and Murder in the Snow, respectively.

 

Other recent examples — where the altered title, moreover, doesn’t even make sense based on the contents of the book — are, courtesy of the reminder in Mike Finn’s post for this task, Philip Pullman‘s first His Dark Materials novel, Northern Lights (published as The Golden Compass outside the UK), and C.J. Tudor‘s The Taking of Annie Thorne (published as The Hiding Place otuside the UK).

It’s not just fiction, either, though.  Just looking at the Flat Book Society’s selections for this present year, the last two selections have both been published under different titles:

* David Barrie‘s Supernavigators: Exploring the Wonders of How Animals Find Their Way was originally called Incredible Journeys: Exploring the Wonders of Animal Navigation; and

* Bob Berman‘s Earth-Shattering: Violent Supernovas, Galactic Explosions, Biological Mayhem, Nuclear Meltdowns, and Other Hazards to Life in Our Universe can also be found under the title Boom!: The Violent Supernovas, Galactic Explosions, and Earthly Mayhem that Shook our Universe.

And don’t even get me started on translations … I guess it’s a good thing that Alexandre Dumas‘s best-known novels, The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo are only known under a single title in English, because enough of his other books (which arguably could use that sort of consistency even more) aren’t.  Just consider:

* Marie Stuart: Mary Stuart; Mary Queen of Scots

* Le chevalier d’Harmental: The Chevalier d’Harmental; The Chateau d’Harmental; The Conspirators

* Ascanio: Francis I; The Sculptor’s Apprentice

* Sylvandire: Beau Tancrède; The Marriage Verdict

* Fernande: Fernande, The Story of a Courtesan; The Fallen Angel

* La Reine Margot: Margaret de Navarre; Marguerite de Valois

* La guerre des femmes: The War of Women; Woman’s War; Nanon

* Le chevalier de Maison-Rouge: The Knight of Redcastle; The Chevalier de Maison-Rouge

* La dame de Monsoreau: Diana of Meridor; Chicot the Jester; La Dame de Monsoreau; Diane

* Le bâtard de Mauléon: Agenor de Mauléon; The Half Brothers; The Head and the Hand; The Iron Hand

Les deux Diane: The Two Dianas; The Taking of Calais; The Chatelet; The Comte de Montgomery

* Mémoires d’un médecin, Joseph Balsamo: Memoirs of a Physician; Andrée de Tavarney; The Chevalier; Joseph Balsamo; Madame du Barry; The Countess Dubarry; The Elixir of Life; Cagliostro

* Ange Pitou: Taking the Bastille; Six Years Later; The Royal Life-Guard; Ange Pitou

* Le page du duc de Savoie: The Page of the Duke of Savoy; The Duke’s Page; Leone-Leona; Saint Quentin; The Tourney of the Rue Saint Antoine

* Les mohicans de Paris I: The Monsieur Jackal; The Carbonari; The Horrors of Paris, or, the Flower of the Faubourg; The Mohicans of Paris; The Suicides; Monsieur Sarranti; Princess Regina

* Les mohicans de Paris II, Salvator le commissionnaire:Salvator; Conrad de Valgeneuse; Rose-de-Noël; The Chief of Police; Madame de Rozan

* Les compagnons de Jéhu: The Company of Jéhu; The Aide-de-Camp of Napoleon

* Le capitaine Richard: The Twin Captains; The Twin Lieutenants

* Les louves de Machecoul: She-Wolves of Machecoul; The Last Vendée

* La maison de glace: The Russian Gipsy; The Palace of Ice

* La San-Felice et Emma Lyonna: The Lovely Lady Hamilton; The Beauty and the Glory; Love and Liberty; The Neapolitan Lovers

* Les blancs et les bleus: The Whites and the Blues; The First Republic; The Polish Spy; The Prussians on the Rhine; The 13th Vendémaire; The 18th Fructidor

Two of my favorite German classics are suffering a similar fate:

* The title of Theodor Storm‘s Der Schimmelreiter is translated as anything from The Rider on the White Horse to The Dykemaster (neither of which captures the spooky subtext of the German title: The Rider on the White Horse is a literal translation of the words but not their meaning in this particular context; The Dykemaster is a rendition of the main character’s job — which I actually prefer, as the sinister connotations giving rise to the German title’s subtext arise from that job); and

* Lion Feuchtwanger‘s Die Jüdin von Toledo can be found in English (to the extent it can be found at all) as either Raquel, The Jewess of Toledo, A Spanish Ballad … or a combination of all of the above.

I guess by comparison we can be glad that Miss Smilla only lost her form of address and the instinctive “feeling” was transmogrified into the more physical “sense” when Peter Høeg‘s Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow (the UK title of Frøken Smillas fornemmelse for sne) became Smilla’s Sense of Snow in the American publisher’s bid to match the alliteration contained in the original Danish title — again at the expense of forsaking the original title’s subtext, which is all about instinctive and subconscious, not about sensory and possibly even conscious responses.

 

(Task: St. Nicholas is a man of many names in English alone – Santa Claus, Saint Nick, Father Christmas … although in the English speaking world he only comes once (at Christmas, not also on December 6 – whereas in Germany and the Netherlands he makes his visits under different names on both occasions).

Which of your favorite books were published under different titles in the same language, e.g., in North America vs. Britain?  Have you ever bought a book under a title unfamiliar to you, only to discover belatedly that it was one you already own / had already read under a different title?)

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24 Festive Tasks: Door 14 – St. Nicholas’ Day / Sinterklaas: Book

Five Bloody Hearts - Joy Ellis, Matthew Lloyd Davies

Well, this may be stretching the spirit of the holiday a bit (unless St. Nick should count either murderers or policemen among the many groups of people whose patron saint he is), but the dominant color of the cover definitely qualifies, and I might as well get caught up with everything Joy Ellis (sans Nikki Galena) before the year is out.

Plus, I now have an inkling why Ellis picked a cop on the brink of retirement for this new series … I’d been wondering what she was doing, creating a third Fenland series focused on yet another detective, but this one looks like it’s going to take a bit of a different direction eventually.  Intriguing!

(Task: Read a book with an orange or red cover, set in the Netherlands or Germany, by a Dutch or German author, or with nuts, chocolate, coins, canals or beer on the cover.)

Original post:
ThemisAthena.booklikes.com/post/2006109/24-festive-tasks-door-14-st-nicholas-day-sinterklaas-book

24 Festive Tasks: Door 14 – St. Nicholas’ Day

17
3 - Melbourne Cup Day
21
9 - World Philosophy Day
12 - St. Andrew's Day
24
22
15
1 - dia de los Muertos
13 - Advent
18
6 - Veterans / Armistice Day
5 - Bon Om Touk
14 - St. Nicholas’ Day
7 - International Day for Tolerance
20
11 - Thanksgiving
23
10 -  Russian Mothers' Day
2 - Japanese Culture Day
19
16
8 - International Children’s Day
4 - Guy Fawkes Night

 

 
St. Nicholas Day
Door 14:  St. Nicholas’ Day
 
Task 1: Write a book wish list to St. Nick / Santa Claus for books that you’ve been eyeing but can’t justify the expense of purchasing. (E.g., art books? Collector’s editions? Boxed sets?)
 
Task 2: In the Netherlands, ‘Sinterklaas’ is celebrated with ginger biscuits, marzipan and hot chocolate with cream; in Germany, it’s St. Nicholas’ Day with gingerbread, chocolate and / or nut or almond cookies, chocolate candy, and tangerines (or oranges). Choose one or more of the above as a holiday snack and post a picture for us to drool over.
 
Task 3:  St. Nicholas is a man of many names in English alone – Santa Claus, Saint Nick, Father Christmas … although in the English speaking world he only comes once (at Christmas, not also on December 6 – whereas in Germany and the Netherlands he makes his visits under different names on both occasions). Which of your favorite books were published under different titles in the same language, e.g., in North America vs. Britain? Have you ever bought a book under a title unfamiliar to you, only to discover belatedly that it was one you already own / had already read under a different title?
 
Task 4: A Czech Republic tradition for St Nick’s Day is groups of three “people” – St Nick, Angel, and Devil – to roam the streets the night before St Nick’s Day and stop children to ask them if they have been good during the year or not. Most kids say yes, sing a song or recite a poem. The three “strangers” then decide if the children are telling the truth. The good kids get candy / treats from the Angel, bad kids get potatoes or coal from the Devil. So: Post a song or poem (your own or someone else’s) that involves candy, potatoes, or coal.
 
Book: Read a book with an orange or red cover, set in the Netherlands or Germany, by a Dutch or German author, or with nuts, chocolate, coins, canals or beer on the cover.
 

 
NEW: Once you’ve completed a task or tasks, please use the handy form, located in the spoiler tags (to keep things tidy) to let us know. This will make tracking points MUCH easier for the 24 Tasks Team.
[spoiler]

* Required
 

Blog Name: *

 
Festive Task Door Completed: *
Choose
Dia de los Muertos
Japanese Culture Day
Melbourne Cup Day
Guy Fawkes Night
Bon Om Touk (Korean Water & Moon Festival)
Veterans / Armistice Day
International Day for Tolerance
International Children’s Day
World Philosophy Day
Russian Mothers’ Day
Thanksgiving
St. Andrew’s Day
Advent
St. Nicholas Day
Winter Solstice
Hanukkah
Festivus
Christmas
Kwanzaa
New Year’s Eve / St. Sylvester’s Day
Hogswatch
Twelfth Night / Epiphany

 
I’ve completed the following task for this holiday: *
Choose
1
2
3
4
Book
BONUS TASK

 
Have you completed some of the tasks for this holiday already? *
Choose
Yes
No

 
If you have completed tasks previously, which ones? * (Required if answered yes to the previous question.)
Book
T1
T2
T3
T4
BONUS
 
(Optional) Link to your blog post:

 
[/spoiler]
 
Previous door’s tasks are “beneath the fold”

 

Previous Doors’ Tasks and Books

 

 
Dia de los Muertos
Door 1:  Dia de Los Muertos
 
Task 1: Compose a limerick or short poem in honor of a favorite book character.
 
Task 2:  If you like Mexican food, treat yourself to a favorite dish – and / or make yourself a margarita – and share a photo.
 
Task 3: Write an epitaph for the book you most disliked this year.
 
Task 4: Do you have any traditions or mementos of happy memories of a loved one that you feel like sharing?
 
Book: Reread a favorite book by a deceased author or from a finished series, or read a book set in Mexico or a book that either has a primarily black and white cover or all the colors (ROYGBIV) on the cover, or a book featuring zombies.
 

 

 
Japanese Culture Day
Door 2:  Japanese Culture Day
 
Task 1: Tell us about a cultural festival or event in the area where you live.
 
Task 2: Try a flavor of Kit Kat other than chocolate and report back if you liked it.
 
Task 3: Try your hand at folding a paper crane. Instructions: https://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-make-a-Paper-Crane-1/
 
Task 4: If you like Japanese food, treat yourself to a favorite dish.
 
Book: Read a graphic novel or a book set in a school or academic setting.
 

 

 
Melbourne Cup Day
Door 3:  Melbourne Cup Day
 
Task 1: Pick your ponies.*
 
Task 2: Roses are the official flower of Flemington Race Track; write your own “Roses are Red, Violets are Blue” poem for one of your favorite or most hated books of all time.
 
Task 3: Aussies shorten everything, so Melbourne Cup Day is just called “Cup Day” – post a picture of your favorite cup or mug for your daily fix of coffee, tea or chocolate.
 
Task 4: Prepare your favorite dessert – in a cup! Post a photo of it for us to enjoy vicariously.
 
Book: Read a book about horses, with a horse or with roses on the cover, about gardening, or set in Australia, or written by an Australian author.
 
* Ponies (horses) running the race will be posted here by Darth Pedant, guest hosting for MurderByDeath, as soon as they’re announced, or thereabouts. The official field is published on November 3rd.

 

 
Guy Fawkes Night
Door 4:  Guy Fawkes Night
 
Task 1: Make a list of the top 3 treasonous crimes against books that an author can commit.
 
Task 2: Start a revolution: What one thing would you change about the book reading world? (Be it publishing, distribution, editing, cover art, bookstores – anything having to do with books.)
 
Task 3: Make a little straw (or wood / cloth / wool / fabric) effigy of the book character you like least.
 
Task 4:

How do you order the books on your shelves?
 
Book: Read a book set in the UK, a political thriller, a book involving any monarchy or revolution, a book about arson or related to fires and burning, a book whose plot involves costumes / fancy dress, or that has masks on the cover, or that is self-published.
 

 

 
Bon Om Touk
Door 5:  Bon Om Touk
 
Task 1: List / tell us about your favorite rainy day reads.
 
Task 2: String up some fairy lights around your books / bookcase / kindle and share a picture of the results.
 
Task 3: Dragons and dragon-like serpents (imugi) are important to Korean mythology (as they are to that of other Asian peoples). So – which are your favorite literary dragons (fictional, mythological, whatever)?
 
Task 4:The South Korean flag features images of ying / yang (the blue and red circle in the center) and four sets of three black lines each representing heaven, sun, moon and earth and, in turn, the virtues humanity, justice, intelligence and courtesy. Compile a list or stack – 4 books minimum – composed of books that either have opposing words in their titles (e.g., war / peace; asleep / awake – not necessarily both words in the same title), or that feature the words “heaven,” “sun,” “moon,” “earth,” “humanity,” “justice,” intelligence,” and / or “courtesy.”
 
Book: Read a book by a Korean author or set in Korea, that takes place at sea or on a river, where the plot involves a festival, where the moon or rain plays a pivotal role in the plot, or with rain, water or the moon on the cover.
 

 

 
Veterans / Armistice Day
Door 6:  Veterans / Armistice Day
 
Task 1: Sunrise services are a staple of this day: Take a picture of the sunrise where you live and share it with us.
 
Task 2: In keeping with the minute of silence, tell us about the authors who have passed this year that you will miss the most.
 
Task 3: Rosemary is for remembrance, but it’s great for chasing away moths, silverfish and other bugs that can damage books (and linens). Make a sachet with some rosemary, lavender, dried basil, etc. to keep on your bookshelves – post a picture of the results and let us know what combinations of herbs you used. A list of possibilities can be found here: https://www.mnn.com/your-home/organic-farming-gardening/stories/12-plants-that-repel-unwanted-insects
 
Task 4:The Forest of Compiègne, just outside Compiègne, France, is the site of the signing of the 1918 Armistice. It was also the site of the signing by the French of a truce with the Germans following the German invasion in 1940. – Find a green space in your local area (or favorite area) and go for a walk or bike ride of a mile (or 1.61 km) and post a picture or screenshot of the map of where you walked / biked.
 
Book: Read a book involving a war, battle, or where characters are active military or veterans, or with poppies on the cover, or honor the ‘unknown soldier’ of your TBR and read the book that’s been there the longest.
 

 

 
International Day for Tolerance
Door 7:  International Day for Tolerance
 
Task 1: Find a redeeming quality in a book you read this year and didn’t like.
 
Task 2: Share a story about yourself, or a story about your family that’s survived the generations, or share a particular tradition your family has passed on from generation to generation and if there’s a story behind why, tell us about it.
 
Task 3: The French expression for tolerance towards others is “laisser faire, laisser aller” (roughly: “let them do as they want, let it go”). Have you ever “let go” a book (e.g., given it away or decided not to yield to the temptation to buy it) and later regretted that choice?
 
Task 4:If you were offered an all-expenses-paid trip to one (one only!) of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites, which one would you pick (and why)?
 
Book: Read a book about tolerance, or outside your comfort zone, or set in Paris (seat of UNESCO).
 

 

 
International Children’s Day
Door 8:  International Children’s Day
 
Task 1:  What was your favorite children’s book growing up? Your favorite middle grade book?
 
Task 2: Rediscover your childhood with a yo-yo, a slinky, – whatever toy you loved from childhood you still have access to, or make and blow some bubbles! Take a picture and share your fun with the rest of us.
 
Task 3: Make some art – draw a picture, or color one in and share the results with us. Free printable bookmarks can be found on Google images
 
Task 4: As a kid, did you enjoy visiting amusement parks and carnivals? Which were your favorite rides or shows? Do you still have any photos, or is there a memorable event you’re happy to share? – Alternatively, if you’re a parent now: Do you visit amusement parks / carnivals with your kids?
 
Book: Read a children’s or YA book or a book where children or teenagers play a significant role, or written by an author who was under the age of 18 at the time of publication.
 

 

 
World Philosophy Day
Door 9:  World Philosophy Day
 
Task 1:  Share your reading philosophy with us – do you DNF? If so, do you have a page minimum to read before you declare it a DNF?
 
Task 2: Share your reviewing philosophy with us – how do you rate a book? Do you have a mental template for reviewing? Rules you try to follow, or rules you try to break?
 
Task 3: How do you stay zen / sane over the holidays or in other stressful periods?
 
Task 4: Did you love or hate the books you had to read for school? Looking back, which ones (good or bad) stand out to you the most?
 
Book: Read a book about philosophy or a philosopher, or a how-to book about changing your life in a significant way or suggesting a particular lifestyle (Hygge, Marie Kobo, etc.).
 

 

 
Russian Mothers' Day
Door 10:  Russian Mothers’ Day
 
Task 1:  “Three Russian writers walk into a bar …” (Take it from here – the wilder the merrier!)
 
Task 2: Towards the end of the 17th century, there was a Russian apprentice carpenter and shipwright going by the name Peter Mikhailov in the Dutch town of Zaandam (and later in Amsterdam), who eventually turned out to be none other than Tsar Peter the Great, whose great interest in the craft would become pivotal to his programs for the build-up of the Russian navy and naval commerce.
So: Tell us about a favorite book, either nonfiction history (demonstrably true facts, please, no conspiracy theories or unproven conjecture) or fiction – all genres, not limited to historical fiction –, dealing with a member of royalty “moonlighting” as a commoner.
 
Task 3: Until WWII, the most famous part of the Catherine Palace at Tsarskoye Selo near St. Petersburg was the so-called amber room. It was looted, lock stock and barrel, by the Nazis, and has since vanished from the face of the earth, with its fate a complete mystery to the present day. Let your imagination run wild: What do you think may have happened to it? (Kidnapped by aliens? Spirited away by dwarves and hidden in a secret cavern deep below the face of the earth? Sold, piece by piece, to finance … what? The Nazi war effort? The restoration of the Romanovs to the throne of Russia? Stalin’s pogroms? What else?) Don’t hold back, we’d love to know!
 
Task 4: Forget-me-nots and handmade medals of honor are important Russian Mothers’ Day gifts. Create a medal of honor (with or without the image of a forget-me-not) for a favorite book character or for a family member or friend of yours that you’d like to pay respect to.
 
Book: Read a book set in Russia, by a Russian author, featuring a story within a story (like a Russian “matryoshka” doll), or featuring a character who is a mother.
 

 

 
Thanksgiving
Door 11:  Thanksgiving Day
 
Task 1:  If you have kids or pets, tell us about something “bad” they did that was so funny you couldn’t help but forgive (“pardon”) them. If you have neither kids nor pets, was there such an event in your own childhood – or with kids or pets in your family or circle of friends?
 
Task 2: Tell us: Of the books that you read this year, which are you most thankful for, OR was there one that turned out to be full of “stuffing”? Alternatively, which (one) book that you read anytime at all changed your life for the better?”
 
Task 3: Share your favorite turkey or pie recipe.
 
Task 4: Send a friend you’re thankful for having a postcard (in the mail!). Snap a picture of the postcard image (not the message) and share it with us.
 
Book: Read a book with an autumnal cover, set in New England, where a turkey shows up in the story, with a turkey or pumpkin on the cover, or with the theme of coming together to help a community or family in need.
 

 

 
St. Andrew's Day
Door 12:  St. Andrew’s Day
 
Task 1:  Tell us: Who is your favorite Scottish (or Scots-born / -descendant) writer?
 
Task 2: Ian Rankin likes to say that the Scottish national diet is sugar, fat and alcohol. The traditional Scottish dessert – Raspberry Cranachan – contains all three of these (and of course the alcohol in it is the national drink, whisky), but it’s also delicious! So … make Raspberry Cranachan: http://allrecipes.co.uk/recipe/2852/raspberry-cranachan.aspx (For a non-alcoholic version just omit the whisky – or substitute with orange juice.)
 
Task 3: St. Andrew was a fisherman by trade: Which book(s) from your TBR that you read this year turned out to be the year’s greatest “catch”?
 
Task 4: If you could create your personal tartan, what would it look like? Or if you have a favorite existing tartan, which one is it?
 
Book: Read a book set in Scotland.
 

 

 
Advent
Door 13:  Advent
 
Task 1:  Share a picture of your advent calendar.
 
Task 2: Tell us: What is your favorite holiday tradition?
 
Task 3: Prepare an apple cider wassail bowl or a wassail bowl containing your favorite drink or fruit. Post a picture and enjoy!
 
Task 4: Tell us about an event in the immediate or near future that you’re looking forward to.
 
Book: Read a pastiche, a book authorized by a deceased author’s estate, the 4th book in a series, a book with the word “four” in the title, a book featuring four siblings, or a book with a wreath, pines or fir trees on the cover.
 

Original post:
ThemisAthena.booklikes.com/post/2003671/24-festive-tasks-door-14-st-nicholas-day

24 Festive Tasks: Door 15 – St. Nicholas’ Day / Sinterklaas, Task 2 (Three Wishes)

My three wishes, as we close out the old year and begin the new one:

 

For myself: To be able to look back, at the end of 2019, and have preserved what I like in my life, and have improved what I don’t like.

 

For the BookLikes community: Long may it survive, and I hope it will grow ever closer together!  (Wish 1.a: Many happy returns of Halloween Bingo and Festive Tasks.)

 

For the world: A return to sanity, peace, justice, and (dare I say it?) wisdom.  In everything from society and politics to the environment and everyday relations and communication.  (And don’t tell me that’s more than one wish (again).  It really isn’t.  But even if it were, I wouldn’t care a rat’s rear end.)

Original post:
ThemisAthena.booklikes.com/post/1824924/24-festive-tasks-door-15-st-nicholas-day-sinterklaas-task-2-three-wishes

J.A. Jance: Desert Heat

24 Festive Tasks: Door 15 – St. Nicholas’ Day / Sinterklaas, Book


I needed a break from all the Christmas and winter reads I’ve been indulging in lately, so I squeezed this one in — the print version has been lingering on my shelves way too long as it is.  And I’m happy to have finally started on a series that I’ve long had a feeling I would like: There’s a tiny bit of TSTL syndrome and a few somewhat implausible character actions / choices, as well as a bit of tautological writing at the beginning (surprisingly so, since by the time she published this book, Jance already had another successful series under her belt that had been running for almost a decade), but all of this is essentially over and done with — and Jance and her protagonist Joanna Brady have found their book series feet — by the end of the second or third chapter, and from then on we’re off to very solid enjoyment.  The solution is clear pretty much from the word “go”, too, but once the book finds its feet, it’s fun to just come along for the ride.  This is definitely a series I’m happy to have added to my library.

And go figure, the audio version I listened to even has a bright red and orange cover, so it qualifies for the St. Nicholas square in 24 Festive Tasks!

 

Original post:
ThemisAthena.booklikes.com/post/1820156/24-festive-tasks-door-15-st-nicholas-day-sinterklaas-book

24 Festive Tasks: Door 15 – St. Nicholas’ Day / Sinterklaas, Task 3 (Holiday Treats)

Here’s my assortment — this year’s edition:

 

The traditional Christmas-y stuff:

“Christstollen” (Christmas loaf cake), “Printen” (spicy, crunchy gingerbread bars), “Frankfurt Bethmännchen” (round marzipan and almond cookies), “domino cubes” (chocolate-coated cubes filled with gingerbread mass, chocolate and jelly), and chocolate-coated almond gingerbread cookies

 

— and the not-necessarily-Christmas-y-but-melt-in-your-mouth-sinfully-delicious stuff: white chocolate and crushed almond tartuffi (pralines) and dark chocolate pralines (both Italian)

 

… and a chocolate Santa, and two snowmen wearing chequered scarves and red winter bonnets, just because!

 

Original post:
ThemisAthena.booklikes.com/post/1817173/24-festive-tasks-door-15-st-nicholas-day-sinterklaas-task-3-holiday-treats

24 Festive Tasks: Door 15 – St. Nicholas’ Day / Sinterklaas, Task 4 (Book Featuring Children Rescued from Peril)

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer - Mark Twain, Guy Cardwell, John Seelye The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett The Black Stallion - Walter Farley, Keith Ward M - Jon J. Muth

I suppose Harry Potter and just about every children’s / YA fantasy (or mystery) series would fill this bill, but big HP and Three Investigators fan though I am, let me offer these for consideration instead:

 

1.  Mark Twain: The Adventure of Tom Sawyer — Tom and Becky Thatcher in McDougal’s Cave (rescued thanks to Tom’s tenacious search for an exit), and Tom and Huck Finn up against Injun Joe; inter alia, listening to Joe’s and his cohorts’ plans at the peril of their own death in case they are discovered, and Tom incurring the same risk by speaking up at Injun Joe’s trial (after which Joe escapes through a window).

 

2.  Frances Hodgson Burnett: The Secret Garden — At the beginning of the book, Mary is sent to England to stay with her uncle to save her from the cholera epidemic that will shortly thereafter kill both of her parents, who have remained in India.

 

3.  Walter Farley: The Black Stallion — Alec and “The Black” become friends when they help each other to survive on a desert island after being shipwrecked.

 

Honorable mention:

 

“M” (screenplay, not book): A chillingly creepy 1930s movie,  concerning the hunt for a pedophile serial killer — starring Peter Lorre (pre-Hollywood) as the pedophile and directed by Fritz Lang.

 

Original post:
ThemisAthena.booklikes.com/post/1816737/24-festive-tasks-door-15-st-nicholas-day-sinterklaas-task-4-book-featuring-children-rescued-from-peril