Letters to a Young Writer by Colum McCann

Pic by Franzi.

“The whole point of good literature is to make newness durable. You are creating alternative time. You are making vivid that which did not exist before.” Colum McCann, Letters to a Young Writer

Letters to a Young Writer by author Colum McCann comprises fifty-two short texts that give some practical and philosophical advice about various matters of authorship – like creating characters, developing a plot, the terror of the white page, the first line and many more.  For me, each of the small texts was highly motivating and full of inspirational lines, which I would like to write down on a BIG mood board and hang it up above my favorite place to write (so currently this would be above my sofa).

A big recommendation for everyone who is loving the written word but also fighting with it from time to time.

I wish you a wonderful week! Have a creative one :)!

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A Book About the Brain!

Pic by Franzi.

Today’s post is written under some time pressure: Thus the small picture and only a few lines…

Our last book in the literature club was Mein Hirn hat seinen eigenen Kopf (My brain has its own head) by Dong Seon Chang. It’s a book about the wonders of the mind – how our brain works and how it defines us and our relationships to the people around us.

An exciting read with lots of insights to discuss about!

I wish you a wonderful week! Enjoy the wonders of your mind :)!

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A Portuguese Crime Novel: Lost in Fuseta by Gil Ribeiro!

Pic by Franzi.

It was more accidentally than planned that I took the crime novel Lost in Fuseta by Gil Ribeiro (aka Holger Karsten Schmidt) with me at the Algarve.

In this first book of a new crime novel series we get to know Leander Lost, a police officer from Hamburg who participates at an exchange program and will stay one year in Portugal – in Fuseta, a small town at the Eastern Algarve. But Leander Lost is not the ordinary kind of police men: He wears only black, stares strangely into the eyes of other people and – most important – cannot lie. Soon after his arrival there is a murder case to investigate and his new Portuguese police partners, sub-inspector Rosado and her colleague Esteves, have to deal with this strange new man in their team.

This book was a positive surprise: It is written in an entertaining (German) voice, I really liked its figures and I learned a lot about the people at the Algarve. A book that is worth reading – not only if you are actually in Portugal.

I wish you a wonderful week! Enjoy the sun :)!

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Those Books I’ve Read!

Pic by Franzi.

During the last four weeks I read one book that was famous in the 1970, one book as a follow-up of one I read the month before, one crime novel that waited a long time on my stack of unread books and finally I listened to an audio book I discovered on the Frankfurt Book Fair last October.

Carmen KornTöchter einer neuen Zeit (Daughters of a new Time)

I saw this book the first time on the Frankfurt Book Fair last October and wanted to read it ever since. It’s the first of three books about a bunch of women living at the beginning of the 20th century in Hamburg. Töchter einer neuen Zeit starts in the year 1919 and ends shortly after WWII. Now I finally listened to the audio book and was fascinated by the descriptions of the life in my hometown Hamburg 100 years ago. The women of the story are all very different from each other, but I liked every one of them and wanted to know what happens next in their lives! Now I can’t wait to read the follow-up Zeiten des Aufbruchs, which is planned to be released in June.

**** (out of five)

Ernest HemingwayA Movable Feast

After reading Paula McLain’s novel The Paris Wife about the first marriage of Ernest Hemingway, narrated by his first wife Hadley, I was curious about his view on this time of his life in the early 1920s in Paris. Luckily, he wrote the memoir A Movable Feast. Written during the last years of his life, the book looks back at his younger self at the beginning of his career as a writer, his life with Hadley in Paris and also at the other famous writers he met in those years – Gertrude Stein, Scott Fitzgerald, James Joys…. It’s a read full of insights, which showed me once more that I am a big fan of Hemingway’s style. I will definitely read more from him in the future!

****

Val McDermidThe Retribution

The Retribution is a follow-up of Scottish crime writer Val McDermid’s most famous novel The Wire in The Blood. After more that 12 years in prison serial killer Jacko Vance escapes. And he has one big goal: Revenge. On top of his list are Detective Chief Inspector Carol Jordan and the clinical psychologist and police profiler Tony Hill who once caught him. I couldn’t put down this book – it’s a real gem of a crime novel. If you loved The Wire in The Blood, you have to read The Retribution! Val McDermid at her best :).

****

Erica JongFear of Flying

Fear of Flying is a book that was extremely famous during the 1970s – mostly because of its description of female sexuality.

The main character Isadora Zelda White Stollerman Wing is a 29-year-old poet who accompanies her second husband on a psychology conference in Vienna. There she decides to try out her sexual fantasies with another man, also a psychologist. The story is about a young married woman who is struggling to find her place in the world and defining who she is and how relationships/marriages are influencing this.

I can totally see the point of why this book caused this much controversy back in the 1970s. Nevertheless, it’s a brave book, that dares to question the old ways of living and with it the institution of marriage in itself. I am sure that this book helped a lot of women to understand that they are not alone with their struggles and their desires.

****

I wish you a wonderful week! Have an inspiring one :)!

Like always: All credits appear after clicking the links. If you are interested in putting ads on My so-called Luck feel free to email me.

Those Books I’ve Listened To!

Pic by Franzi (Audible screenshots from my mobile).

During the last four weeks life was busy. Thus, I only re-read one favorite book of mine and listened to two audio books…

Sophie KinsellaMy Not So Perfect Life (Read by Fiona Hardingham)

I love all novels by Sophie Kinsella. Only the Shopaholic series is not my cup of tea. But she simply is a genius in the field of writing romance novel plots! This is her last book:

Katie Brenner has the perfect life – at least on her Instagram account. In reality she lives in a tiny flat in London, has a stupefying commute every day, isn’t worshiped in her job and she hates her boss Demeter, who seems to have it all (the perfect job, man, family, house and look). But then the worst happens: Katie loses her job and goes back to her hometown, where she pretends to be only on a sabbatical to help her dad in starting a glamping (glamorous & camping) side. Everything works out well… until Demeter arrives for vacation with her family.

The plot was easy to follow, the heroine likable and there was – of course – some romance in the air. A book like a cup of hot chocolate on a rainy March Day ;).

*** (out of five)

Hendrik GroenEierlikörtage (Read by Felix von Manteuffel)

This book is based on the “secret diaries” of Hendrik Groen, 83 years old, living in a retirement home in Amsterdam.

Since my own grandpa is living in a retirement home (in Berlin) since a year now, I was immediately hooked by the idea to get an insight into the life of such an environment.

Hendrik Groen describes all those funny and not-so-funny everyday situations in his retirement home. Sometimes you have to laugh out loud and sometimes you are nearly crying.

I big must-read for everyone with relatives in retirement homes (and everyone else)!

****

I wish you a wonderful week! Have a remarkable one :)!

Like always: All credits appear after clicking the links. If you are interested in putting ads on My so-called Luck feel free to email me.

Those Books I’ve Read!

Pic by Franzi.

During the last four weeks I read a bunch of books I would like to tell you about. Moreover, there was one more audio book and I  finally finished two books I started reading a long time ago and never made it to the end.

Edgar WallaceThe Green Pack (Lotterie des Todes)

I started this book because I wanted to read a crime novel by the famous Edgar Wallace. Moreover, I was in love with its retro look. It tells the story of Jacqueline, a doctor’s daughter who looses a vast amount of money in a card game. Because she isn’t able to pay, she makes an unmoral deal with Louis Creet, a rich ‘friend’ of the family. But this only leads to more conflicts… An easy read and a classic crime play.

*** (out of five)

Emma StraubModern Lovers

This was an impulsive book buy: The bookseller was recommending it enthusiastically with the words: “You will fall in love with the characters and their different developments during the story.” She was absolutely right. You get to know the life of two middle-class families, living in Brooklyn. The parents are old friends and had a college band together. Now they have kids and deal with their midlife-crisis(es). On the other hand, their teenage kids have their very own adolescence/coming-of-age problems. A great and entertaining read.

****

Jessamyn WestLove Is Not What You Think (Solange es die Liebe gibt)

This is a short non-fiction book about love, written in the 1950s out of a woman’s perspective. Jessamyn West’s views on love, falling in love, relationships and marriage are somehow old-fashioned, but also pretty amazing for a girl in the 1950s living in her parent’s house.

***

Paula McLainThe Paris Wife

A book I planned to read for quite some time: It’s the story of Ernest Hemingway’s first wife Hadley. The novel tells how they fell in love with each other, followed by their marriage, their time in Paris, the birth of their son, but also about the end of their marriage and the developments leading to divorce. I had to think a lot about this book – it really triggered something inside me. I even dreamed about Hemingway. Since the book oriented a lot on the real events, I also learned a lot about Hemingway and life the 1920s.

****

The books I finally finished:

Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer:

A long time ago, together with my literature club (in Osnabrück), I started this non-fiction book about eating animals and the effect animal farming has on our environment, the animals and consequently also on us. Somehow I never found the time to make it through the last two chapters. Now I finished it and was reminded on a lot of discussions we had back then. A book really everyone should read.

*****

Making Ideas Happen by Scott Belsky:

This one I started reading when I was thinking about starting a business club for scientists. Since then my life was tuned in a completely other direction and I never made it through the book (or founded the business club). Now I finally finished it. It contains a lot of insights into team building and bringing ideas to life.

***

One audiobook I listened to:

Erbarmen (Mercy) by Jussi Adler-Olsen: I wanted to start this famous crime series about inspector Carl Mørck and his Department Q for investigating the unsolved cases for quite some time. Now I listened to the first book and have to say that I am not disappointed: Part two is already on my list.

***

I wish you a wonderful week! Have a fantastic one :)!

Like always: All credits appear after clicking the links. If you are interested in putting ads on My so-called Luck feel free to email me.

New Year’s Resolution V: Visit more Museums!

Pic by Franzi. Instagram @luckmysocalled.

My fifth resolution: Visit more museums (and exhibitions)! I realized that this important part of my life didn’t play the same role last year as in the past.

I maybe was only five times in a museum during the last twelve months. Last week I visited THIS fantastic exhibition and learned a lot about my own country. So, next year I resolve to spent more time with cultural events, museums and exhibitions.

Have a beautiful day :)!

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Happy Holiday!

No Arts and Books today, but a song: Happy Holiday by the fantastic She & Him (aka Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward) from their latest album Christmas Party.

I wish you a wonderful weekend! Merry X-Mas :)!

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A New Podcast Addiction: Seriendialoge//Dialogs about Series!

Podcast screenshot. Made by Franzi.

I am in the mid of the pre-X-Mas craziness! So, today only a very short introduction into my newest (German) podcast addiction: Seriendialoge by journalist Ulrike Klode.

For every episode, she invites a guest to speak about his or her favorite series. Listening to those dialogs, I already learned a lot of background stuff about some of my favorite series – like Grey’s Anatomy, Transparent or Doctor’s Diaries. …One also gets recommendations for new series (I have to watch Episodes – it sounds great!).

I wish you a wonderful weekend! Have a fantastic one :)!

Like always: All credits appear after clicking the links. If you are interested in putting ads on My so-called Luck feel free to email me.

The Books I’m Reading Right Now: Veilchen im Winter // Violets in Winter by Amei-Angelika Müller!

Pic by Franzi.

A few weeks ago I sat on  sofa in Osnabrück and had a relaxing break. Suddenly I found the novel Veilchen im Winter (translation: Violets in Winter) by Amei-Angelika Müller, published in 1990, in my hands and started reading:

Julia spends her first winter vacations with her skiing-obsessed husband in a sports hotel, somewhere in the snowy mountains. Very soon, she realizes that she is not quite a skiing talent (I sympathize with her!). So, she spends her days stumping through the snow, accidentally crashing with other skiers on a slope and waiting for her husband – who is too exhausted in the evenings to be any fun at all.

Until… she meets Friedel, a little boy who is – to his dad’s big disappointment –  also not very fond of skiing. The two of them are spending their days together, Julia tells Friedel stories about dragons and they are enjoying each other’s company. But then… they are standing in front of a real dragon.

A novel full of nice surprises that doesn’t take itself too serious. A nice and entertaining winter read!

I wish you a wonderful weekend! Have a fantastic one :)!

Like always: All credits appear after clicking the links. If you are interested in putting ads on My so-called Luck feel free to email me.