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 :)!

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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 :)!

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’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.

Some Men Are More Perfect Than Others by Merly Shain!

book copyPic by Franzi.

It took a while to finally get a copy of Some Men Are More Perfect Than Others by Merle Shain into my hands (I finally imported one from the U.S.). I once saw it on a website and was instantly hooked by its title, the content and the raving reviews: It’s ‘a book about men, and hence about women, and love and dreams.’ Merle Shain’s narrates her personal view on relationships/marriages (she wrote it in the 1970’s, where a marriage was still the status-quo). Back then the Canadian author was already divorced and experienced both sides of the story. I loved her writing and all those clever insights …that during the 1970s and 1980s were surely revolutionary!

On Romantic Love:

Day to day contact has a way of causing the intensity of romantic love to dissipate and sometimes when you get the somebody you have yearned for, most of the magic vanishes with the pain. It’s easy to want what you don’t have, when you don’t have it, and hard not to want something else when you do, so the big love in a lot of lives is the one that got away.

On Love and Making Love:

Once we couldn’t speak of sex and now we can’t speak of love, and strangers go to bed together instead of shaking hands.

On Married Men and Other Women:

A mistress has magic on her side, it’s true, but no one really believes in magic, not even magicians themselves, and the wife has history on her side, and economics, and children and innocence, habit, inertia and self-respect. And many a man who wouldn’t stay for her will stay for the image of himself as a good person, for his sailboat and his books, and because it is usually easier to stay where you are and do nothing, except when you must do something, anything at all. In that case, the mistress is simply a means of escape – like a parachute – essential to the skydivers safety while airborne but extra baggage when on the ground. And many a woman who felt herself loved by a man when he had a wife finds she has less, not more, of him after he is free.

On More Married than Happy:

We want to be together all the time, so we lock ourselves away in the love nest and begin to sacrifice individuality for “the relationship,” personal friends for mutual friends, and evenings with the boys for nights in which both give up what they would like to do for activities neither really wants.

On Today and Tomorrow:

Perhaps the old view of “Me breadwinner, you hausfrau” worked for our grandparents, when people obligingly popped off before boring each other to death, but it won’t work any longer because we are living too long and divorce is needed today to do what death accomplished more economically before.

On Loss of Love:

Some say it is rejection itself that panics us and that it hasn’t a thing to do with how much the lover was valued. And that seems likely, as many of us have wept copious tears over someone we were planning to leave ourselves before they beat us to it.

Perhaps it is the loss of the dream of being loved and loving that matters more than the loss of the lover himself, and that is a loss of self. One can’t run in a park without a dog or make angels in the snow without a child and there are things one can’t do without a lover, so the loss of the lover is like an amputation and the patient goes into shock.

On when Marriage (aka a relationship) ends:

One of the fringe benefits of being handed back your life is being awarded custody of yourself. {…} When you are first on your own, it may not seem a lucky break, because it takes time to rediscover who you are (And when you are used to defining yourself as half of a couple, or as the wife of a particular man, it takes a while to get this clear.) Most women, when they first find themselves alone again, unconsciously wait for another man to define themselves around, remaking themselves a little for each one that comes along.

On Your Own:

Single women have more moonlit drives and weekends out of town, but they may often spend their birthdays on their own and sometimes when they want to see a movie they have to take themselves.

There are no perfect men of course, but some are more perfect than others, and we can use all of those we can get. It’s true that there are fewer reasons to marry than there were in our parent’s day, but the most important one remains the same. It is still awfully nice to have someone to curl around in the night.

I wish you a wonderful weekend. Have a perfect 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 for details.

X-Mas Decoration Ideas!

Upper Row: Gingerbread GarlandPumpkin SnowmenBurlap Garland.
Lower Row: Fruit TreeBook Stack TreeAcorns.

Is your flat decorated already? Mine is full of crafted Froebel stars, but could still use a Christmassy make-over. Here are some decoration ideas… and I will definitely make a book stack tree!

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.