My best books of February 2019

So, here we are on the 1st of March. The husband awoke this morning with a FFS how is it March already. We are getting old as this phrase is uttered pretty much every month and has become as ubiquitous as complaints about the weather.

So March. Which means that February is over and that we can look back at that shortest of months. Normally February sees pancake day which this year is in March, which made me and the kid feel cheated, so we had waffles a few times. As a German, it’s my obligation to own a waffle maker (naturally for round waffles, because square waffles are for square people) and I am not sure if that disappointment over the pancake situation has had an influence on my reading or not, but overall, I would say that February mainly stood out for the lack of real “Wow” books. Some decent books for sure, but really not that much that blew me over.

The month started with me feeling the blues quite a bit (much better now thanks for asking) and so I reached for Anne Lamott’s  “Almost Everything – Notes on Hope”. I adore her books and I find that despite the fact I no longer consider myself a Christian, I don’t mind that she uses God and her faith to ponder some of the human problems we all face. For me, she truly achieves the aim she has in her writing. The making it just a tiny bit better.

39203790

Hardcover, 208 pages
Published October 16th 2018 by Riverhead Books


Then I picked up Mary Beard’s “Women and Power” which had been lingering on my shelf since it came out and I enjoyed it very much. Nothing new as such, but a nice confirmation, nodding along sort of read and sometimes that’s quite nice. A book that tells you “darling, the things you are thinking about, others are thinking them, too. You are not alone.” Nice.
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Hardcover, 116 pages
Published November 2nd 2017 by Profile Books


I read Affinity by Sarah Waters way back when it came out in 2000ish or around that time. It was fresh and new and all exciting then and although it has never been my favourite Waters, I still liked it very much. I love all her books, I am a total fan girl. I re-read this on audio as it is the bookclub pick and we are meeting next week. I think this will be an interesting discussion and I am very much looking forward to it.
25337939
Paperback, Reprint edition, 352 pages
Published January 8th 2002 by Riverhead Books (first published 1999)

My mission this year is to read more books in German and so far it’s going well and low and behold there will be two German books in this round up. Der nasse Fisch by Volker Kutscher, known in English as “Babylon Berlin” set in 1929 in Berlin (surprisingly) centers around the shady side of Berlin, the decline of the Weimarer Republik and all sorts of shenagigans. Now, the characters are a bit flat and the plot at times a bit “oh dear”, yet the setting of this book in Berlin of that time just won me over. So I thought I mention this here.
4603896
German edition:

Hardcover, 494 pages
Published 2007 by Kiepenheuer & Witsch
English edition:
Kindle Edition, 544 pages
Published May 19th 2016 by Sandstone Press (first published 2007)


February’s pick for the Read Around the World Bookclub was Kintu by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi, a novel set in Uganda. The story starts in the 18th century. The fascinating thing about reading around the world is that you get exposed to cultures and ideas that are not part of your own cultural map. I have been a reader all my life but my cultural map is very much based on European writing and also US fiction. I lack historical knowledge of Africa beyond the things of colonialsm we did in school, I certainly lack an understanding of culture, mythology, storytelling traditions, tribes etc. etc. So there will be much in this book that just went plain over my head. I see reading books like this as a chance to develop over time a new cultural map, so with time, I will gain greater understanding of Africa and its cultures, its history, its countries. The emphasis here is on time, reading one book by an African writer or even two will not do this. I am very much willing to be on this journey, so this book is a stepping stone and a good one at that.
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Paperback, 442 pages
Published June 18th 2014 by Kwani Trust (first published 2014)
I am not sure if I would have found Sherry Thomas if it wasn’t for Booktube, but I am glad I did, I enjoyed the second book in the series just as much as the first one. Sherry Thomas is a Chinese-American writer mostly known for her romance novels, this is more a mystery with a dash of romance. But man do I enjoy escaping into the world of Charlotte Holmes and the “what if Holmes was a woman” scenario. This past week has been super busy with work and then to just kick back and open a book that just transports you away: Magic.
33835806
Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Published September 5th 2017 by Penguin Group (USA) LLC


Die schärfsten Gerichte der tatarischen Küche by Alina Bronsky was another German book I enjoyed but that also repulsed me. Rosa is a woman who is – put kindly – overpowering and we hear her point of view of all the things that happen in her life through her eyes and witness her psychological abuse of her husband, her daughter, her grandaughter through her eyes. Harsh, but a great read. My husband always says, evil people don’t consider themselves evil, they think they are doing the right thing and that is essentially the story here.

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German edition: Paperback, 317 pages Published 2010 by Kiepenheuer & Witsch

English edition: The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine

Paperback, 262 pages
Published April 26th 2011 by Europa Editions (first published 2010)
That’s it from me. What were your favourite reads in February?

Author: Melanie

I read, I eat (and cook) and I like to go places.

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