Books which I have either read recently or old favorites as they occur to me.
Will be added to continuously.
My book descriptions are short for the simple reason that I generally find it tiresome to read long book reviews where every character and plot turn is described and the story interpreted for me in advance to the point where the piece almost takes on the status of secondary literature. My reading material seems fresher when it has not been chewed through, analyzed and dissected for me before I’ve read it. I really want to do this myself – it’s half the fun of reading. Of course, one could just read all the very long book reviews and skip the book itself – it would certainly save many hours of time. But that’s hardly the point unless one only wants enough information to make it seem like one has read the novel…
My purpose is to give just enough information to motivate you to run to your bookshelf, the neighbourhood library or local bookshop.
Afterwards it’s a completely different matter. We can talk about it when we’re both done reading.
Due to the paltry number of books in my various lists so far, at this early stage of the website it may be difficult to surmise what direction this might be going in. So here is a fairly random list of a few books and authors I have on my bookshelves in order to give you some idea of what might be coming in the future. (As to give you the chance to either bail out while you can and find another website or stick around to see what comes up next if you like what you see...)
In no particular order: Paul Auster, Arturo Pérez-Reverte, Carlos Ruiz Zafón, John le Carré, Thomas Mann (Buddenbrooks, Zauberberg, Felix Krull), A.S. Byatt, Isac Dinesen, Lawrence Durrell (The Alexandria Quartet), Erich Maria Remarque, Guillermo Martínez, 2666 by Roberto Bolaño, Verlockung by János Székely, Klaus Mann, Nachtzug nach Lissabon by Pascal Mercier, Agnes by Peter Stamm, Wilfried Steiner, a couple of books by Stefan Zweig, Pablo de Santis, Meister und Margarita by Michail Bulgakow, Antal Szerb, The Count of Monte Christo by Alexandre Dumas, The Geographer’s Tale by Jon Fasman, The Magus by John Fowles, Grapes of Wrath and East of Eden by John Steinbeck, Jack London, Louise Erdrich, Pilgrim by Timothy Findley, Totta by Riikka Pulkkinen, Marko Hautala, Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen, Mikko Karppi, Lumikuningas ja muita kertomuksia by Antti Jaatinen, Johanna Sinisalo, Päivi Alasalmi, American Vertigo. Traveling America in the Footsteps of Toqueville by Bernard-Henri Lévy
Literary mysteries by John Dunning
Mysteries in general by Johan Theorin, Henning Mankell, Leena Lehtolainen, Jo Nesbø, Åsa Larsson, Yrsa Sigurðardóttir, Boris Akunin.
Natural History books by Diane Ackerman and Im Fadenkreuz des Schützenfischs. Die raffiniertesten Morde im Tierreich by Markus Bennemann.
No poetry so far, except for Heli Slunga
Fantasy is limited to Tolkien.
Quite a few books on how the brain works (not that they’re helping me figure it out – it seems the more I read, the more I find there is to learn. Wait, didn’t some guy in Greece say something to that effect already?)
History now and again, but it has to be well-written. Dry academic tomes listing events one after another make me drift off into other thoughts. A Nervous Splendor. Vienna 1888/1889 by Frederic Morton and Cäsar Lässt Grüssen by Joachim Fernau are two examples (of good ones)
If your work involves managing people, read Daniel Pink’s Drive.
Books about language: Guy Deutscher’s Through the Looking Glass. Why the World Looks Different in Other Languages and Planet Word by J.P. Davidson for example, and anything by Bastian Sick (He makes German grammar FUN. Really!)
For humor you can’t beat Bill Bryson and Dave Barry.
At first I thought I didn’t own any chick lit, but a quick perusal of my shelves did in fact unearth 4 Blondes by Candace Bushnell and The Nanny Diaries by Nicola Kraus. At bookstores I generally avoid the tables piled with pink and lavender paperbacks though.
And…my favourites among the favourites are books about books. Shelves of them. Cannot get enough. Glossy picture books such as At Home with Books. How Booklovers Live with and Care for Their Libraries by Estelle Ellis et.al., essays on books read, author biographies, miscellaneous musings on books and reading. A good one to start with is Anne Fadiman’s Ex Libris. Books about books will make up a whole (probably rather large) section of its own.
Sometimes I read the books found at the top of bestseller lists, such as Dan Brown or Germany’s superstar Frank Schätzing. The adventure stories by Andreas Wilhelm were great and I’ve liked quite a few books by Andreas Eschbach and Ilkka Remes. Outi Pakkanen for light and entertaining reading in-between.
I see I could go on and on here, I haven’t even gotten started, but I think dinner might be on the verge of burning in the oven as I write…
If someone wishes to seduce me, he has only to offer me books.
- Armand Louis Maurice Seguier (1770 - 1831)