Book Lists

This particular subject is so long (in multiple ways), I could probably write an entire book about it.

But I’ll start off with lists of books made at the Frankfurt Book Fair.

I thought I was being quite particular and jotting down the titles of only the most interesting sounding titles I came across, adding a total of 84 titles to my “buy and read list”, when it would have been so easy to add hundreds. Twenty of these were Finnish originals, mainly because I spent so much of my time poring through Finnish books this year.

Of course it is impossible to keep adding books at this pace (even I realize that 84 new titles within four days is ridiculous) because there will never be enough time to get around to them all. So you have to keep paring the lists down, trying to find the best ones. It’s not easy. The titles get shuffled around and re-researched to no end.


My sister-in-law, Christiane, is an avid reader and loves to prowl through the booths at the book fair with me all weekend. However, rather than adding to her reading list on a daily basis in an obsessive and excessive manner, she spends her time at the book fair compiling a list of must have books, ruthlessly culling through the endless piles of shiny new arrivals. Each year, two or three books are so tempting she buys them directly at the fair on Sunday.


This year she bought The Knowledge. How to Rebuild Our World From Scratch* by Lewis Dartnell (more about that later – I gave it to Ralf for his birthday and started reading it out loud to him last weekend. We are only on page 82, but so far it is very good. I feel like I should be highlighting passages as I read.)

(Auf Deutsch: Das Handbuch für den Neustart der Welt: Alles, was man wissen muss, wenn nichts mehr geht von Lewis Dartnell)


The rest of the list is handed over to her local (independent) bookshop within the next two days and then – I am not kidding, she really did this last year – she picks up the books in a laundry basket because that was the easiest method to transport 28 books! I'm assuming she had to use the basket again this year for the 31 books on her list.

I just love this image of a large basket filled to the brim with new books to read - what a deliciously decadent feeling that must be to buy them all at once! But then again, this is it for awhile. She does not keep running to the bookshop with all kinds of lists of must haves. (Well, at least not before Christmas…)

Christiane did say last week that it was difficult to decide which book to read first because they all looked so good.

So, yes, there are problems one would like to have...

For more about various types of “book lists”:


Literature Lover’s Book of Lists. Serious Trivia for the Bibliophile by Judie L.H. Strouf

Prentice Hall Press, 1998, 391 pages 

This fat tome contains nearly 200 lists relating to genres, characters, authors, settings, awards, literary terms, allusions and much more. 



Here is a small selection of books from the list I made at the book fair. So far I have bought but not yet read the ones printed in blue.

Le Grand Meaulnes by Alain-Fournier was on my Book Fair list last year and this year, which means I should probably give it top priority... (The Lost Domain in English, although it has been translated under other titles as well)


Henri Alain-Fournier                           Der Große Meaulnes

Tania Schlie                                        Wo Frauen ihre Bücher schreiben

Peter Stjernström                               Das beste Buch der Welt

Uwe-Christian Arnold                         Letzte Hilfe. Ein Plädoyer für das Selbstbestimmte Sterben

Erik Orsenna                                       Auf der Spur des Papiers

Nino Haratischwili                              Das Achte Leben (für Brilka)

Rosa Ribas / Sabine Hoffmann           Das Flüstern der Stadt

Mathilde Schwabeneder                      Die Stunde der Patinnen

Andrej Kurkow                                     Jimi Hendrix live in Lemberg

Jutta Rosenkranz                                Zeile für Zeile mein Paradies. Bedeutende Schriftstellerinnen. 18 Porträts

Martin Mosebach                                 Als das Reisen noch geholfen hat.

                                                             Von Büchern und Orten

Jürgen Neffe                                       Mehr als wir sind

Fredrik T. Olsson                                Der Code

Alexis Jenni                                        Die Französische Kunst des Kriegs

Geert Mak                                            Amerika. Auf der Suche nach dem Land der unbegrenzten Möglichkeiten

Jan Faber                                            Der Lobbyist

Diego Marani                                       Neue Finnische Grammatik


Leila Guerriero                                    Strange Fruit

George Packer                                    The Unwinding. An Inner History of the New America

Mark Vonnegut                                    The Eden Express. A Memoir of Insanity

Tom Rachmann                                    The Rise and Fall of Great Powers


Peter von Bragh                                  Sodankylä Forever. Masters of Cinema Under the Midnight Sun

Marja-Liisa Vartio                                Mies kuin mies, tyttö kuin tyttö

Mia Kankimäki                                     Asioita jotka saavat sydämen lyömään nopeammin

Rosa Liksom                                       Väliaikainen

Sini Vasa                                             Kinuskikissan helpot suosikit

Elina Jyväs                                          Baking Instinct. Eleonoora von Smöörin herkkujen aateliset

Markku Karpio                                     Selviytymispeli

Päivi & Santeri Kannisto                     Vapaana elämisen taito

Satu Taskinen                                     Katedraali

Mika Rissanen                                     Kuohuvaa Historiaa. Tarinoita tuopin takaa

Joel Haahtela                                      Tähtikirkas, lumivalkea