Das Ereignis by Annie Ernaux My rating: 5 of 5 stars »(Vielleicht wirkt diese Beschreibung irritierend oder abstoßend, oder sie mag als geschmacklos empfunden werden. Etwas erlebt zu haben, egal, was es ist, verleiht einem das unveräußerliche Recht, darüber zu schreiben. Es gibt keine minderwertige Wahrheit. Wenn ich diese Erfahrung nicht im Detail erzähle, trage ich dazu bei, die Lebenswirklichkeit von Frauen zu verschleiern, und mache mic...

The Madness of Crowds by Louise Penny My rating: 5 of 5 stars I’ve long been a fan of Louise Penny’s series about Chief Inspector Armand Gamache. Satisfyingly, Penny is more than capable of writing thrilling mysteries but additionally she has never been shy to address the major topics of our time (this book being no exception…). Then there is the almost mystical village of Three Pines in which most of the novels play out and which features ...

Love is Make-Believe by Riham Adly My rating: 3 of 5 stars I was approached directly by the author, Riham Adly, who told me about her collection of “Flash fiction” – something I hadn’t heard about before. In Riham’s own words: “Flash is so flexible, it sometimes reads like a traditional short and sometimes like a poem with a narrative arc and sometimes it’s very experimental; it lends structure from other forms like menus, l...

Blaue Frau by Antje Rávik Strubel My rating: 5 of 5 stars Aufwühlend, bewegend, anstrengend, schwer „verdaulich“, unbedingt lesenswert und wichtig! »Es braucht klare Ansagen, wenn die, die ihre jahrhundertealte Meinungshoheit verlieren, diesen Verlust zum Ende der Meinungsfreiheit erklären.« Ursprünglich aufmerksam auf “Blaue Frau” wurde ich durch die Vorstellung des Buches und dem Interview Denis Schecks mit Antje Rávik Strubel in...

When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr My rating: 5 of 5 stars This is the second time I’m reading “When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit”. The first time was when it was compulsory reading at school more than 30 years ago. I don’t remember much of my reading experience back then but that I felt with Anna, the protagonist and narrator, who had to leave Pink Rabbit back in Germany when her family emigrated to escape the rising Nazism… Now,...

A Spindle Splintered by Alix E. Harrow My rating: 4 of 5 stars In this modern spin of “Sleeping Beauty” we meet Zinnia “Zin” Gray who is suffering from a rare condition which usually leads to death before the 22nd birthday – and Zin has just turned 21… Since Zin is obsessed with the fairy tale “Sleeping Beauty” her best friend, Charm, throws her a themed birthday party during which Zin pricks herself with a spindle. As this is...

What Abigail Did That Summer by Ben Aaronovitch My rating: 4 of 5 stars This is one for the fans of Ben Aaronovitch’s “Rivers of London”. This novella firmly establishes Abigail as an important character in that reading universe. Abigail investigates the (temporary) disappearance of teenagers (including a friend of hers!) and in the course of said investigation finds a mysterious house in which something has been left over… Sadly, the ent...

Der Vorleser by Bernhard Schlink My rating: 5 of 5 stars Vor vielleicht einem Jahr kam meine Tochter auf mich zu und fragte, ob wir eine Ausgabe von Schlinks “Der Vorleser” besäßen. Sie brauche es für den Deutsch-Leistungskurs in der Schule. Ein Vierteljahrhundert vorher war Schlinks Roman gerade erschienen und machte Furore. Meine damalige Freundin schenkte es mir 1995 zum 20. Geburtstag und ich habe es verschlungen und geliebt. Mir war e...

The Push by Ashley Audrain My rating: 5 of 5 stars Blythe, mother to Violet and Sam, comes from two generations of dysfunctional families: Blythe’s mother, Cecilia left her husband and her child when Blythe was eleven. Blythe only ever saw her mother twice later on and never in a positive way. Cecilia’s mother Etta (»born on the very same day World War II began«) – Blythe’s grandmother – suffered from a severe psychological di...

Tales from the Folly: A Rivers of London Short Story Collection by Ben Aaronovitch My rating: 5 of 5 stars I was actually wary of reading this – I don’t generally enjoy short stories and, even worse, the latest instalment in this series, False Value, was a severe disappointment. Thus, I was happy to find out that these short stories feature the same dry humour and sarcasm that made especially the first books such a joy to read. »I’ve a...

Turn the Ship Around: A True Story of Turning Followers into Leaders, by L. David Marquet
Book Review / September 29, 2021

Turn the Ship Around!: A True Story of Turning Followers into Leaders by L. David Marquet My rating: 5 of 5 stars I rarely read this kind of “professional career guide” type of book. They’re all too often fairly dry, are strongly dependant on the cultural and social environment they’re based upon (e. g. US/Europe) and, honestly, range from “difficult to apply” to “impossible to adapt”. Luckily, this book is completely di...

Such a Fun Age, by Kiley Reid
Book Review / September 14, 2021

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid My rating: 3 of 5 stars Well, this was a light read, indeed. The pages flew by and I felt entertained but, sadly, on a very, very shallow level despite the topics of racism, privilege and “class” differences. After a rushed ending, it feels like the author simply bit off too much for her debut novel. Emira, our black protagonist, came across as devoid of any ambition, drifting mostly with the flow. She w...

Oystercatcher (Bruno, Chief of Police #12.5), by Martin Walker
Book Review / September 8, 2021

Oystercatcher by Martin Walker My rating: 1 of 5 stars This completely forgettable shortstory has Bruno in it but he’s not even near his beloved Perigord. He’s out to catch oyster thieves and for some bizarre reason Isabelle actively engages in this tiniest possible case as well. Just skip this. I only read it for completeness’ sake. One star because there are words in this. View all my reviews...

The Four Winds, by Kristin Hannah
Book Review / September 8, 2021

The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah My rating: 5 of 5 stars I had finished a nice-enough book and was looking for the next good read. My wife chose from my list for me and picked this one. She chose well. »Books had always been her solace; novels gave her the space to be bold, brave, beautiful, if only in her own imagination.« This book drew me in, chewed me up and spit me out. If a book really “speaks” to me, I step into it. I stop ...

The Coldest Case (Bruno, Chief of Police #14), by Martin Walker
Book Review / September 2, 2021

The Coldest Case by Martin Walker My rating: 4 of 5 stars It was with great hesitation that I started reading this fourteenth Bruno novel. Instalments twelve and thirteen weren’t very interesting to read – both books felt like Walker was trying to press the most absurd political issues into a nice mystery series. Bruno also acted often pretty much out of character, making severe mistakes, mistreating people – it read like ...

The Atlas of Middle-Earth, by Karen Wynn Fonstad
Book Review / August 24, 2021

The Atlas of Middle-Earth by Karen Wynn Fonstad My rating: 5 of 5 stars During my recent re-read of “The Hobbit, or There and Back Again” I remembered that years ago I had bought this “atlas” in order to immerse myself even more fully into Tolkien’s world and to provide my children with maps to the adventures I was reading to them at the time. In this atlas, you’ll find brilliant maps in two colours that are in all aspects v...

The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien
Book Review / August 24, 2021

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien My rating: 5 of 5 stars What’s left to be written about “The Hobbit, or There and Back Again”, one of the great masterpieces of classic fantasy, written by the “founding father” of high fantasy, J.R.R. Tolkien? “The Hobbit” was lauded by Tolkien’s friend and fellow author C. S. Lewis, by poet W. H. Auden, celebrated for its influence on the entire fantasy genre. To me, it was the metaphorical...

People We Meet on Vacation, by Emily Henry
Book Review / August 15, 2021

People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry My rating: 5 of 5 stars »“Um.” I try to think of how to explain it. Years of undying love, occasional jealousy, missed opportunities, bad timing, other relationships, building sexual tension, a fight and the silence afterward, and the pain of living life without him. “Our Airbnb’s air-conditioning broke.”« Now, this was interesting. I had deliberately aimed low – I’m on holid...

Piranesi, by Susanna Clarke
Book Review / August 12, 2021

Piranesi by Susanna Clarke My rating: 1 of 5 stars Reading “Piranesi”, I mostly felt unbelievably bored: Piranesi lives in a house with infinite halls; some of them submerged, in some there is an ocean and all feature statues depicting people of all kinds. Piranesi has developed a kind of faith based upon the house and how he feels it cares for him; even going as far as considering himself the child of the house. We witness Piranesi...

Modern Love, Revised and Updated: True Stories of Love, Loss, and Redemption,
Book Review / August 8, 2021

by Daniel Jones Modern Love, Revised and Updated: True Stories of Love, Loss, and Redemption by Daniel Jones My rating: 5 of 5 stars »Because real love, once blossomed, never disappears. It may get lost with a piece of paper, or transform into art, books, or children, or trigger another couple’s union while failing to cement your own.But it’s always there, lying in wait for a ray of sun, pushing through thawing soil, insisting...