Book review 14) Grimms’ Fairy Tales

so apparently I have to read lot of books for my school in Czech Republic. Just about a week back I finished Grimms’ Fairy Tales. They do not really have much to do with science but here you go, next week something different.Grimm's Kinder- und Hausmärchen, Erster Theil (1812).cover.jpg

Grimms’ Fairy Tales

Grimms’ Fairy Tales (GFT) are collected tales by Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm. For the first time they were published in 1812 and in the next editions more and more tales were added. In 1857 GFT included 211 tales. Thats helluva of stories. In the internet version that I read was only 62 and it was not very short book.

The stories repeat in a way. Kingdoms with princesses and princes. Dwarfs are usually bad. Maidens are beautiful, foxes are smart (except the one where fox dies), people want to kill their pets (Bremen Musicians and others), random forms of magic, dumb people are lucky, step mothers are nasty wenches and on and on.. the themes are simply quite similar.

In the case you think that all of them are happy and tell a tale like Hansel and Gretel or Ashputtel.. no way. Lot of them are quite brutal and throughout the editions they somewhat changed. For example in Hansel and Gretel it was their own mother who wanted to kill them and not their step-mother.. then there is this tale where the step-mother kills her son and mixes him in pudding, I am not kidding.

The Straw, The Coal and The Bean

That one is extremely random tale. Some woman wants to cook and one straw, coal and bean escape. They decide to go together and then they have to cross a stream. Straw lays itself across and the coal starts to walk over it. It is still hot though so both of them fall into the stream and die, the bean starts to laugh and bursts out. Luckily tailor walks around and sewes the bean together … thats why beans have black seams.

Overall because of fairy tales like these, it was great book, nice for relaxation. Bit too long, I would not be able to read 211 of those since as I said, they repeated in the main points.


Picture source: Public Domain,


Book review 10) The Night in Lisbon


Cover of the 1st English edition.

as promised, today I will write about one of the books I have just finished. It is The Night in Lisbon which is classic written by Erich Maria Remarque.

Book: The Night in Lisbon

Author: Erich Maria Remarque

Genre: Novel, War theme

Pages: 244

Rating: 9/10

The narrator is a German refugee who is waiting in Lisbon with his wife Ruth. They want to go to USA because WWII started and they would be persecutated by the Nazi regime. When he wanders through the city after he lost the rest of his money in gamble game he meets guy who wants to give him not only money but also visa with only one condition: that he listens to his story for one night.

It was great book to say at least. I really liked when both characters emerged from the story and interacted with people in Lisbon. Both had quite similar and unique way of looking on the world and it was interesting and very realistic as they discussed it. Most often happiness, hope, despair.. the kind of things you could except from two refugees who were last few years stagnating on the border of death and life.

Spoiler alert

The story of the guy who has the visa and wants to give it to the narrator starts when he decides to return to Germany, even though he barely escaped. Already here something almost “unnatural” drives him because as he says, he knows that his wife could long be married or dead since it has been 5 years from the moment he escaped. I like how from his point of view it could seem as a great love story (yes it is mostly romantic setting anyway). He deeply loves his wife whom he finally finds but at the same time she deceives him with other man showing that it is clearly not going to end very well. Author does his best in describing the huge difference in the man’s (Josef) and the wife’s (Helen) thinking. Josef is hardened by the years on the run where he knew he could be cought at any moment and Helen, quite naive woman.. at least before her cancer is too strong, just read it. My most favorite part is when Josef, very confidently changes his clothes and acts as electrician just to get to know what is going on with his wife.

Though it was thrilling I give it 9 because I thought that some parts were unnecessary long (in Paris for example) and it seems to me that Remarque could bring more characters into the story.