I moved from Ireland back to Germany, which was the perfect opportunity to go through all of my books in my flat. So this is your chance to have a look at a small part of my collection.
Categorie #1: Agatha Christie
I mean you know already from a previous post how much I like her books, so here are the books of hers that are still with me in this country, while the majority is waiting at home for my return.
1. And then there were none – I am currently reading this, but it is supposed to be her most challenging book, so I am pumped!
2. The 13 Problems – This is a collection of short stories with Miss Marple and basically considered the beginning of her rise as one of the most prominent Detectives in literature
3. The Murder on the Links – This book is neither Hercule Poirot, nor Miss Marple, but focuses on a rather unknown detective story by Christie, and also this book is a used copy and smells like grandma (like really!)
4. Hercule Poirot’s Christmas – I mean, do I need to say anything?
5. A Pocketful of Rye – Still on the to-read list, but does not smell as much like grandma like the other used book.
6. A misterious Affair at Styles – I think this is definitely one of my favourites by her so far. It is very chill and clear, but still mysterious and the ending is definitely surprising.
Category #2: Irish focused Literature
Since I have been living in Ireland for a while, and did my Master’s here, it seems normal for me to own quite a collection of books, that deal with Ireland in one way or another. Some are in German, but translations are available in most cases.
1. The secret place by Tana French – I am still on the fence with this one. I like the premise of the book, the format is a bit awkward for a fiction book, but the one thing that really puts me off is that she writes, or tries (how successful this technic in anyway is, is debatable) to write in a Dublin accent and I personally am never a big fan of that kind of style.
2. A Nation and not a Rabble by Diarmaid Ferriter – Feritter is an Irish historian, who focuses on the Irish Revolution, beginning with the lead up to the Easter Rising and the following Irish Revolution to the establishment of the Irish Free State. I have to give it a proper read again, cause I used it as a reference for my thesis and now I can finally enjoy it fully
3. Occasions of Sin by Diarmaid Ferriter – This book focuses on the Modern Ireland and I find it fascinating to read how other countries and cultures deal with Sex, Sexuality and Society, especially how religious Ireland can be in some cases and how liberal in others. Pure enjoyment for me!
4. Der Tanz der Dienstmädchen by Maeve Brennan (Original: The Rose Garden) – Maeve Brennan was an Irish-born American writer who most famously wrote short stories in the New Yorker. This is a collection of some of her stories, that mainly focus on peaking behind the curtains of the Upper Class.
5. Lügenmauer by Barbara Bierach – This German book is advertised with “Ireland-Krimi” and the stereotypes man. I have not yet finished it, I think I have not even managed to get to the third chapter, because like really? The trope of the angry and bitter detective, the ginger Irish woman and the Yank coming back – my head hurts, but I will give it the benefit of the doubt… Someday.
6. Charming Billy by Alice McDermott – This is actually not a real favourite of mine as it is quite sad and depressing, but gives a brilliant inside into the life of the Irish community in Ireland in the past. This book focuses on the family of Billy and how they deal with life after his death.
7. Brida by Paulo Coelho – I have yet to read this book, it was a present by my friend and housemate with another book by the same author. These two have made a massive impact on her so I am excited to read this one too. (My copy is in German but this author is translated in so many languages, I don’t think you will have any problems finding it in your favourite language)
8. Das Irische Tagebuch by Heinrich Böll (Englisch: The Irish Diary) – Ever wondered why Germans always believe in the Green Island and the Irish cottage aesthetic as much as Americans believe in the Leprechauns? Well this book is the reason. It is a travel book by one of Germany’s best and most famous authors. It was a bestseller for more than a decade and has made probably the biggest impact on the modern German view of Ireland.
Category #3: General literature
Yes, this has literally no theme, because I have also just books for enjoyment (and classes) so let’s just roll with it, shall we?
1. Die Ausgewanderten by W.G. Sebald (English: The Emigrants) – Sebald is another of those really famous authors that everyone claims to have read, but barely anyone has. This book focuses on, as the title suggests, emigration. It’s a collection of short stories, combined with images and sketches of the places that Sebald wrote about. He focuses mostly on the people effected by emigration or exile. Another rather sad one, to be honest.
2. Der Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (English: The Alchemyst) – This is probably A.’s favourite books and I read it and very much enjoyed it. It is an easy read and not hard at all but there is so much more to it, then you first suspect. At the same time it never pretends to give you some deep truth that you will find after the third reading, but rather presents you with it’s meaning rather straight forward. It is very different in that way from other books and I really enjoyed that!
3. Last Waltz in Vienna by George Clarke – This is the memoire of a jewish man who was born and raised in Vienna, but had to flee with his family, due to the Nazi Regime of Germany taking over his country and his family was not save anymore. If you are ever interested to find out what other countries did, during the Nazi occupation, I think this is a great start. It is sad and chilling but also very warm and loving.
4. Der Vorleser by Bernhard Schlink (Englisch: The Reader) – I mean, you all know this story right? That’s that movie with Kate Winslet where she plays that woman who can’t read and has a relationship with a younger man (well boy) and people paint it as kind of romantic? Well, first of all, it isn’t, second, get ready for some reality here. The book is good, not my personal favourite, but it gives a bit of humanity back to the perpetrators of the holocaust, which we like to assume as monsters. Accepting their humanity is in my opinion an important factor in making sure that history does not repeat itself.
5. Two Lives by Vikram Seth – This book tells the story of a German woman and in Indian man living in England. It is not dramatised or horrific, but this has been with me ever since. I often remember them because Seth manages to make them sound and feel like they were your aunt and uncle and he just fills you in on the history of your shared family.
6. On Beulah Height by Reginald Hill – Hill is an Yorkshire writer who writes partially in an accent (which isn’t my favourite) but his storytelling and the characters make up for it for sure. Years ago I read a book from him which just blew me away, so I can’t wait to have the time to indulge in this classic.
7. The Lady and the Laird by Nicole Cornick – My favourite bookshop here has this really nice concept of blind dates with a book, and well this is one of them. I picked it up and it is more of the lighter sort of literature, so called historic fiction, but really enjoyable and I probably are coming back to the series at some point.
8. The Art of Scandal by Susan Loughnane – I have seriously no idea. This was a typical case of picking a book by its cover and title. I though it sounded intriguing but thats currently how far me and the book have made it. It’s a Yank coming back story but I am hoping for some mystery or at least a little bit of thriller, we will see.
Category #4: Non-fiction
I know that the Irish section had some non-fiction too, but they were about Ireland, now we are more general, okay? Order is necessary sometimes!
1. The Curious History of Dating by Nichi Hodgson – I am currently reading this, but I am enjoying it. I have a weird fascination with books about society, culture and sexuality, so there will be more! This book focuses mainly on the British side of dating, but I find this very interesting, as it starts with the times of Jane Austen and moves decade to decade closer to today.
2. Agatha Christie and the Eleven Missing days by Jared Cade – I talked about it in previous posts, so only short here: Still haven’t read it, but I will it is just one of those that will take a while cause it is a quite dense history mystery book.
3. 50 Werkzeuge für gutes Schreiben (English: Writing tools) by Roy Peter Clark – It took me an age to finish it. It is quite dense and to be honest, not my favourite when it comes to books about writing.
4. The little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking – I really like this book! I think it is one of the prettiest books I have read in a long time. I have finished it very early this year and I actually always see myself taking small everyday steps to make my life a little more hyggelig.