Wednesday, 21 September 2016

By The Book

I've came across this tag on Mimmi's blog a few months ago and I immediately thought that I wanted to do it myself. However, over the weeks I completely forgot about it, so it is only now that I am finally writing this post. I hope you enjoy reading my answers!

Is there a book on your nightstand right now?
Yes, I am currently reading "My Grandmother sends her Regards and Apologises" by Fredrik Backman, but the German version. I mentioned this book in my book haul I did a few weeks ago and I am enjoying it so far. It is a bit hard to get into but I've nearly finished it now and I think it is a really good book, especially because it is a bit different to the kind of stories I normally read.

What was the last truly great book you read?
"A Man Called Ove" by Fredrik Backman again. I wrote a post about it only recently, so if you're interested then you'll find my thoughts about it there. It is a really wonderful book!

If you could meet a writer, dead or alive, who would it be and what would you want to know?
This would definitely be J.K. Rowling. The Harry Potter books have such a secure place in my heart and have accompanied me through my teenage years up until now. I also once watched a film about her and I felt weirdly close to her because I feel she is a very similar person to me so I think we would get along well. Or at least I hope so. I think I would want to know where she gets her inspiration to write, what are the things in her everyday life that stick with her and lay the foundations of her stories.

What books might we be surprised to find on your shelves?
Probably all my children books I still have, from the Astrid Lindgren stories to several well-known German authors. They are very precious to me and if I'll ever have children myself I will definitely read the stories to them. I also have quite a few poem collections which I like flicking through from time to time.

How do you organise your personal library?
There is no organisation at all. I simply put books where there is space. I also have several stacks of books all over my room as there is no space on my shelfs anymore. As soon as I have my own flat again, I will buy big shelfs and probably organise them in alphabetic order by the author's names.

Is there a book you have always meant to read but haven't got around to yet? Anything you feel embarrassed not to have read?
So many! There are so many classics I haven't read yet and even some books I have bought a long time ago that are sitting on my shelf and that I haven't gone through until now. For example "The Group" by Mary McCarthy (Gilmore Girls fans will probably recognise this as I picked it up upon Rory's "recommendation"). But there is nothing I am embarrassed to not have read. There will always be books I haven't read as it is simply impossible to read them all. I still have time to get through some more.

Disappointing, overrated, just not good; name a book you feel you were supposed to have liked but just didn't? Do you remember the last book you put down without finishing?
I am generally quite easy to please and I don't judge too much what I read which is probably not a good thing, but that's just who I am. I picked up a light-hearted holiday read when I was on Sylt in July, which was a crime novel set on Sylt that was also supposed to be funny but I didn't enjoy it at all. It was not good at all and I was very happy when I finally got through it. I probably read some more books over the years that I didn't enjoy that much but I simply can't remember them anymore.

What kinds of stories are you drawn to? Any you steer clear of?
I kind of read everything. But I do love dramas and fantasy novels, however not all of them. But generally I am open to everything. Around ten years ago I was basically only reading novels that were set in WW1 and WW2 times and although I still enjoy them today, I am glad I expanded my horizon and read other kind of books now as well. ;)

If you could choose a book the President (/Prime Minister) had to read, which would it be?
In my case it would be Angela Merkel, our Chancellor. I don't like about her that she seems incapable of making a decision, of taking positions. So I guess I would recommend the Harry Potter books to her, as Harry - although he might not always make the right decision - is always quite fast with deciding upon things. And it is also a lovely read and she looks like she needs something to cheer her up.

What do you plan to read next?
The next book I want to read is "The Light Between Oceans" by M. L. Stedman. I wanted to read it before the film comes out and I hope I can make it so I am able to see the film in cinema.

I hope it was interesting to read my answers and maybe you learned something new about me. I always love reading these kinds of posts because I always think book choices say quite a lot about a person.


Sunday, 18 September 2016

A Few Days In Frankfurt

I am back. I took a few weeks off blogging because I felt uninspired and a bit tired as well, so I thought it's no good if I stress about writing good blog posts and I'd rather take a step back. I don't know if I will post regularly in the next few weeks though. I am at a point in my life where I don't know where I will end up and when, so I kind of feel very insecure about myself and my life and I don't think I will be able to write good posts in that time, but I will try.

However, today I will share with you some pictures I took while I was in Frankfurt a few days ago. I visited my brother who lives there and I really enjoyed my time. It was super hot as we were having a heat wave and I don't particularly like it when it gets too hot, especially when you're in a city. But I loved Frankfurt anyway, it's such a lovely city. I've never properly been there before and I always thought of it as this centre of banks and commerce with high buildings and so on. Of course it is that, but it's also a beautiful city with a lovely centre.

My brother actually lives in a very nice area where you find an abundance of food places that serve vegan dishes, so it was perfect for me. I didn't see as much from Frankfurt as I could have I guess, but I had to leave earlier than I thought and I also went out with my brother and his friends a few times. And of course it was just too hot and after a few hours walking around I didn't feel that motivated to do anything anymore. But I'm sure I will come back soon to visit all the things that I didn't manage to see this time.

Have you ever been to Frankfurt?


Sunday, 28 August 2016

Missing Sweden

It's been two months now since I moved from Sweden back to Germany and although I didn't have much time to think about it too much, I still do realise every now and again that there are certain things I had in Malmö that I'm really missing here. So I thought I would create a little list for you.

Although we have good coffee here in Germany, you mostly don't find good filter coffee in coffee shops or cafés. It's so strange, because a drip coffee maker is probably part of every other German household. But as soon as you order a black coffee in a café you get this bad bitter thing in a cup that came straight from one of those stupid coffee machines. Adding to that, I also really miss all the nice café chains in Sweden. I loved going to Barista or Espresso House and get a big old latte macchiato with soy milk, in summer the iced version of course. Yeah, I know, there is always Starbucks to go here and as soon as I am in a bigger city, I have these options in other cafés too. But here in the small town I'm living in at the moment, there is no such thing as soy milk. Disgraceful.

The Sea
I didn't really go much to the seaside all year round, but especially in summer I loved sitting on the planks in Västra Hamnen and look out to the bridge and Copenhagen. When it was warm and sunny, there were so many people sitting or swimming there and there was also an Espresso House where I could get my soy milk iced latte macchiato (see previous point). Although I really like the nature we have here where I live in Germany, I do miss the sea. There is something so calming about looking out to the water and hearing the seagulls scream.

My Flat Share
Moving back in with your parents might be nice and alright at the beginning. After all, it's quite nice to have someone doing your laundry and cooking food most of the times. But it's so hard for me to fit back in with their rhythm after years living on my own. I really miss having my own little room in our lovely flat share. It wasn't a beautiful flat but I had the nicest flat mates and I really miss them too. I can't wait to start working and moving into my own place soon.

The Weather
Well, this is a bit of an odd one, really. A lot of my time in Malmö I spent complaining about the bloody wind and that it wasn't quite warm enough in summer. Now we have this horrible heat here in Germany and I'm already melting away when I sit still in the shades with basically no clothes on. So all I do now is longing for the fresh breeze and 25 degrees I had back in Malmö. Well, I guess you always want the things you do not have right now.

My Friends
This is an obvious one. Of course, I do miss my friends a lot. I already mentioned the girls from my flat share, but I also miss all the other people I have met in Malmö and that have become my friends. Some of them still live in Malmö, but most have left as well, just like me. They either have gone back to their home countries or have left to study or work somewhere else. It's so weird to imagine Malmö without them. It will definitely feel a lot different when I go back there.

This one is quite similar to my point about coffee. If I would live in a bigger city right now, I probably wouldn't feel this way, but here I am in my small town, dreaming about falafel. Being a vegan in Malmö is so easy and I never really thought much about how it would be when I move back to Germany. When I was in Berlin in June/July, I found so much amazing vegan food, but here in my home town there are not many option. Nearly none actually. I miss being able to get a yummy and cheap falafel or having the option between a multitude of vegan restaurants when eating out.

There are also other things that I'm missing. Like the diversity, all the different cultures and people you can find in Malmö. I also miss the general vibe of the city, with it's many second hand shops, green thinking and alternative people that care about the same kind of things that I care about.

I think it will still take some time for me to fully understand that Malmö is not my home anymore. A part of me still feels like I will move back there in a few days to start my new term at university. I definitely want to go back for a visit, but I don't know how soon I can go as my life is so unpredictable at the moment and I don't know where I'll be in a few months.

What about you? Do or did you live in another country for a while and what are the things that you miss?


Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Book Haul | August 2016

I've bought quite a few books lately, so I thought I would share them with you. Most of them are German books but as they're all from English speaking authors, there are existing English translations. Most of the books I've bought at my local library, as they were having a clear out and sold old books for 50 cents or 1 Euro. So of course I had to go for it and I ended up leaving with six new books to add to my overflowing shelfs.

Carlos Eire "Warten auf Schnee in Havanna" (Waiting for Snow in Havana)
This is the true story of Carlos Eire. In 1962, at the age of eleven, he was one of 14,000 children that were airlifted out of Cuba. Leaving his parents behind, he believes he will arrive in paradise, as he only know the US from several tv shows, and he believes he will see his parents again soon. Only later he will realise that through his plane journey to the US he was not actually reaching but leaving paradise. Because he does not only lose the privileged life he had in Cuba, but his father also refuses to come to America with his mother. Although Carlos will meet his mother again a few years later he will never see his father again. The book tells Carlos' story in a new and foreign world and his struggles to forgive his father.

I wanted to read this book for a long time, so when I saw it in my library, on sale for 1 Euro, I couldn't not buy it. I am very excited to read it, although I've heard that it can be hard to get through at times.

Monica Ali "Brick Lane" (Brick Lane)
Nazneen grew up in poor conditions in Bangladesh and is married away at the age of 19 to a man she doesn't even know. Her new husband lives in London, so she has to move there and starts her new life in Brick Lane, the "little India" of London. There she struggles with the new life and simple questions as, how can she cross a road without being hit by a car? As a good Muslim girl, Nazneen struggles to not question why things happen and she submits, as she must, to Fate and devotes herself to her 20 years older husband and daughters. Slowly, with the help of her daughters and through the affair with a young radical, Nazneen starts to leave the predetermined way.

Yet another one I wanted to read for a long time. I remember when it was released and I read some good reviews about it, so I have high hopes for this one.

Helen Fielding "Bridget Jones - Schokolade zum Frühstück" (Bridget Jones's Diary)
This is the devastatingly self-aware, laugh-out-loud daily chronicle of Bridget's permanent, doomed quest for self-improvement — a year in which she resolves to: reduce the circumference of each thigh by 1.5 inches, visit the gym three times a week not just to buy a sandwich, form a functional relationship with a responsible adult, and learn to program the VCR.

I think everyone know this book and the films, so there is nothing I can really say about it. I've seen the movies so often that I finally wanted to read the books as well. I actually wanted to read them in English but as I've found them for 1 Euro each at my library, I changed my mind. :)

Helen Fielding "Bridget Jones - Am Rande des Wahnsinns" (Bridget Jones - The Edge of Reason)
The Wilderness Years are over! But not for long. At the end of Bridget Jones's Diary, Bridget hiccuped off into the sunset with man-of-her-dreams Mark Darcy. Now, in The Edge of Reason, she discovers what it is like when you have the man of your dreams actually in your flat and he hasn't done the washing-up, not just the whole of this week, but ever.

This is the second Bridget Jones book and of course I have to read that one as well.

Henning Mankell "Chronicler of the Winds"
One night José hears gunfire from the deserted theatre next door to his bakery. He races to the theatre's uppermost gallery, and there beneath him on a spotlit stage lies the wounded body of Nelio, a street urchin renowned for living on his wits. Gasping, the wounded boy asks to be taken to the roof to breathe the beautiful air fresh of the Indian Ocean. On that theatre roof, his life ebbing away, Nelio begins to tell José his extraordinary story...

I've read a lot of Mankell's crime stories about Kurt Wallander over the years and they are still some of my favourite crime novels. However, I always wanted to read something else by him, also seeing as he was really engaged in projects in Africa. I really like the sound of this one and it's quite small so I can get through it quickly.

Elizabeth George "Auf Ehre und Gewissen" (Well-Schooled in Murder)
The quiet, confident atmosphere of Bredgar Chambers School is shattered by the discovery of the body of one of its pupils in a country churchyard. Who murdered the brilliant boy and why? How did his body get from the school to the distant churchyard? Why had he lied about his exeat destination? Inspector Thomas Lynley and his partner, Barbara Havers, find their investigations hampered by the code of honour and loyalty that prevail in the old and distinguished public school. But they discover within the confines of that privileged community a culture of cruelty that stretches back across the generations.

A few years ago, I have already read an Inspector Lynley novel by Elizabeth George and I remember liking it a lot. This one sounds very good and I like the critical view of the elite system and the human abyss in society.

Anthony Doerr "All the Light We Cannot See"
Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel. In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.

I heard a lot of good things about this book and it's been on top of my "to read" list for a while now. I am very excited to read this, also because I love novels that are set in or between the wars.

M. L. Stedman "The Light Between Oceans"
After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby. Tom, who keeps meticulous records and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel insists the baby is a “gift from God,” and against Tom’s judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them.

This book has only been made into a film and it will be released soon. So I want to make sure to read the book first before I might go and see the movie in cinema.

Fredrik Backman "Oma lässt grüßen und sagt, es tut ihr Leid" (My Grandmother sends her Regards and Apologises)
Elsa is seven years old and different. Her grandmother is seventy-seven years old and crazy as in standing-on-the-balcony-firing-paintball-guns-at-strangers crazy. She is also Elsa's best, and only, friend. At night Elsa takes refuge in her grandmother's stories, in the Land-of-Almost-Awake and the Kingdom of Miamas, where everybody is different and nobody needs to be normal.
When Elsa's grandmother dies and leaves behind a series of letters apologizing to people she has wronged, Elsa's greatest adventure begins. Her grandmother's instructions lead her to an apartment building full of drunks, monsters, attack dogs, and old crones but also to the truth about fairy tales and kingdoms and a grandmother like no other.

I already enjoyed A Man Called Ove so much, so I had to buy Fredrik Backman's second novel as well. I already started reading it, but it's still too early to say much about it.

I will try and post reviews about all the books as soon as I've read them but it can take me a while I guess.

Have you ever read any of the books mentioned?