My Vacation (in) Books!

The six books I read during the last two vacation weeks. All pics by Franzi.

Our (late summer / early fall) vacations are already over. Those two weeks were incredible relaxing and fun. And finally there was time for reading :)! Here are the six books I indulged in.

Cooking for Picasso by Camille Aubray:

In spring 1936 seventeen-year-old Ondine cooks with her mother in the kitchen of their family owned “Café Paradis” in the small French village Juan-les-Pin. The already famous artist Pablo Picasso stays incognito in a nearby villa and makes a deal with the “Café Paradies” that they are responsible for his food. Thus, Ondine rides everyday with her bicycle to Picasso’s villa and cooks for him her extraordinary dishes.

Céline is a Hollywood makeup artist in New York of the present days. From her mother Julie, she learns that her Grandmother Ondine once cooked for Picasso and that she may once owned a Picasso painting. But where’s the painting got to?

This was a perfect vacation book – French Riviera atmosphere, excellent food descriptions, a gripping story and plot that combines the real facts wonderfully with imagination.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows

This is a historical letter novel that plays shortly after WWII and is about a young English author on the search for a topic for her new book and a bunch of people located on Guernsey who created the “Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” during the German occupation on Guernsey. The plot is hilarious and entertaining and sometimes sad. But then there’s also a romantic story-line ;)… A big must-read recommendation!

A Share in Death by Deborah Crombie

This is the first book of a crime series around the Scotland Yard Superintendent Duncan Kincaid and his young sergeant Gemma James:

Overworked Scotland Yard Superintendent Duncan Kincaid plans to make vacation at the time-share “Followdale House” in northern England. Some of his fellow guests have been to the time-share hotel before. Others are newcomers. Then someone dies…

I am a big fan of good-written crime series (I love the Elizabeth George series!) and this book was a good start into a new addiction :).

Becks letzter Sommer (Beck’s last summer) by Benedict Wells

A bored teacher in his 30s, his depressed and addicted black best friend and a 17-year-old Lithuanian, who’s a highly talented musician. Those three people are experiencing not only a summer together, but also a road trip to Istanbul full of adventures that have consequences for all of their futures.

A nice German book that’s well written, easy to read and has a clever plot.

Ein Kind für mich allein (A child all for myself) by Elfriede Brüning

This is a German 1950s classic about a woman who is trying to find her life’s purpose. Shortly after the war ended, she works as a nurse in a hospital in Berlin. She falls in love with a doctor of the same hospital who is not interested in a long-term relationship with her. Then she believes she’s pregnant…

At the moment, I am interested into German literature of the 1950s – especially if it is about the life of women during this time. The book illustrates a woman on her search of independence – which was a lot harder in the 1950s than it is now. But some of her thoughts are nevertheless up to date. Like: What is one’s purpose in life? Or: When is the right time to get a child and with whom?

Fiesta: The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

This novel from 1926 was one of the first successes of Hemingway. It describes not only the “lost generation” of the 1920s in Paris but plays also in Pamplona during the Fiesta of San Fermin where the protagonist Jake Barnes travels with a bunch of friends to visit the running of the bulls. He is in love with a typical 1920s girl named Brett. Unfortunately Jake was injured during the war and, as a consequence, is now impotent. Brett on the other side loves life and men – her fiancée Mike is with her in Pamplona – as is also her latest affair Robert Cohn.

The story is typical Hemingway – fast and with a passionate plot it narrates the story of Jake and Brett and the destiny of all those involved.

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

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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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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 :)!

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Two More Books I found on the Frankfurt Book Fair! #fbm16

book1Die Männer meines Lebens // Dear Mr. You by Marie-Louise Parker. The famous American actress and writer writes a letter to all the important men in her life: Her belated father, her son, her friends and affairs… Pics made by Franzi on the #fbm16.

Here are the last two books I would like to present you that I found on the Frankfurt book fair 2016: Die Männer meines Lebens (Dear Mr. You) by Mary-Louise Parker – something like a memoir in letters to all the men that had an impact on her – and Töchter einer neuen Zeit (Daughters of a New Age, only in German available) by Carmen Korn, a book about German History and the lives of four different women starting 1919 their midwive training in Hamburg (!).

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

book2Töchter einer neuen Zeit (Daughter of a New Age) by Carmen Korn: Four women start their midwife training in 1919 in Germany. A book about German history and the impact on four different lives.

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Children’s Books! #fbm16

book4A look inside Von einem mutigen Hasen, der heimlich auszog, die Welt zu entdecken und das Fürchten zu lernen (From a brave rabbit, who secretly went away to discover the world and to learn what fear is). I already presented you the book on Wednesday. Pics made by Franzi on the #fbm16.

Of course I looked out for children’s books on the Frankfurt book fair (like every year 🙂 ). Here are the six most entertaining, colorful, artsy and fun books I found…

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

book3bMy second children’s book favorite: Luftigruß (A boy and a house) by Maja Kastelic

book3a…a look inside the book.

book5Afternoon Tea at Raffles Hotel by Fleur Vella-Chang: The colorful book is very famous among Singapore-based kids!

book6A BIG book about bees: Bienen by Piotr Socha!

book2Extremely cute: Keiner gruselt sich vor Gustav (Nobody is afraid of Gustav) by Guido van Genechten.

book1For little Scientists: Fliege, Falter, Honigbiene (Fly, moth, honeybee) by Virginie Aladjidi and Emmanuelle Tchoukriel.

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Those Pretty Books! #fbm16

book1Der Lauf der Liebe (The Course of Love) by Alain de Botton. All pics by Franzi, made on the #fbm16.

Every year on the Frankfurt Book Fair I am looking out for books that are unique – not only in their content (which remains the priority) but also in their look. I am not the only crazy person doing this – there are even two competitions that are selecting the most beautiful books every year: The Stiftung Buchkunst honors the best book design and then there is the Beauty and the Book Award. Here are my four favorites…

Have a beautiful day!

book4Alice im Wunderland & Alice hinter den Spiegeln (Alice in Wonderland & Alice through the Looking Glass) by Lewis Carroll, illustrated by Floor Rieder.

book2The cookbook Octaphilosophy by the Taiwanese chef André Chiang looks extremely precious.

book3The most beautiful children’s book I have seen this year on the book fair: Von einem mutigen Hasen, der heimlich auszog, die Welt zu entdecken und das Fürchten zu lernen (From a brave rabbit, who secretly went away to discover the world and to learn what fear is) by Alexandre Chardin and Mylène Rigaudie.

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Frankfurt Book Fair 2016! #fbm16

fbm8This year’s guest at the book fair were the Netherlands and Flanders. Here they presented their literature and culture. All Pics by Franzi.

I am back from Frankfurt and this year’s book fair. It was a blast and my little note-book is full of inspirations and  – of course – new book recommendations. Those will be following the next days :). Here are some impressions from my time on the book fair.

I wish you a wonderful start into the fresh week – have an inspiring one :)!

fbm7The presentation of the Netherlands and Flanders reminded on a beach with waves…

fbm6…and the books shined through layers of fabric.

fbm11The stall by the publishing group Oetinger was impressing!

fbm4The Hendrick’s Gin Bar at THE ARTS+

fbm5…I drank a G&T, of course!

fbm2There was also an antiquarian bookseller part on the fair…

fbm3…that was really fascinating for me!

fbm1David Hockney opened the book fair and presented his gigantic monograph A Bigger Book.

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Guest Post: Summer Holidays are Reading Time – Zwei Herren am Strand (Two Gentlemen at the Beach) by Michael Köhlmeier!

BookPic by Franzi.

Hello again, it’s Stephan. After talking about drinking last week, an even more important summer holidays activity for me is… reading! Travelling and holiday afternoons are the perfect reading time for me and I want to present the best of several books I read this summer holidays.

***Zwei Herren am Strand (Two gentlemen at the beach) by Michael Köhlmeier***

Summer books should be easy reading. A lot of people follow this line of reasoning, but I do love the books that are flowing, yet complex. This book does this trick perfectly. The key story is the amazing (fictional) friendship of Winston Churchill and Charlie Chaplin. Both are brought together by a joint enemy, namely depression. They discover their mutual problem while meeting at a beach party. Both feel like strangers and decide to go for a long beach walk (a good link to the summer qualities of this book). The “black dog”, as Churchill refers to it in the book, is fought by the two men, who vow to support the other whenever necessary if he calls for help.

The book is playing with historical facts and fictional stories, keeping the reader guessing what is really true and what is not. The short chapters are a good incentive to read “just one more chapter”, which often turns out to be rather 8 or 10 more…

My verdict: A great book, which makes also for a good summer read!

I wish you an awesome weekend! Have a happy (reading) time :)!

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The Books I’ve Read: Meine Wundervolle Buchhandlung // My Wonderful Bookstore by Petra Hartlieb!

BookPic by Franzi.

The last weekend was rainy and grey in Hamburg – the perfect conditions to lay on my sofa and read a good book. I picked Petra Hartlieb’s Meine wundervolle Buchhandlung (My wonderful Bookstore).

The story is about author Petra Hartlieb’s own experience to – more or less by accident – have bought a bookstore in Vienna, moving there from Hamburg with her family and starting a totally new life with all its consequences: The quirky Viennese book shoppers, her lively staff, the adjustments of her kids in the new city and the yearly chaos during X-Mas time. A great read that is very charming and perfect for a Sunday on the sofa (Saturday has to be spent in a traditional bookstore, of course)!

I wish you a fun weekend! Spend it with wonderful books :)!

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 for details.