Book Talk June & July 2022 – What I read

stack of books I read in June July

I’ve missed out on sharing my book reads in June so get yourself some iced latte and some time. I am back to reading and I have a piled up a few books I want to share today. My Book Talk June & July is filled with lots of four star reads. Apparently I’ve been having a good nose when it comes to picking books lately. Such a great feeling. A bad book really can put a slow to the reading pace, doesn’t it?

I also have to admit that a few are again audio books. I’ve gotten a deal for 1€ a couple months that I just couldn’t pass up and so cooking and cleaning and migraine days where not all wasted time. Do you like listening to audio books when doing chores? Sometimes I enjoy it as it flows by faster but I also have to admit that I am not as involved with the books. So it’s not working for all stories. I am still practicing picking the right books here.

The year of the Dugong by John Ironmonger | ★★★★★

What it is about: The novella tells the story of Toby Markham, a wealthy businessman, who wakes up many years after a near fatal accident to find himself in court charged with the worst offences ever brought to trial. A cautionary tale about human responsibility, climate change, extinction, and a pangolin.
What I thought: Listened to it as audiobook and really did enjoy it immensely. I had a bit of an issue getting into the story but I think it was because I didn’t pay too much of attention in the beginning and didn’t catch certain hints. Definitely a story that makes you question your behavior, will stay with me and challenge me.
Original Language and Title: ebook
Publications: German: “Im Jahr des Dugong” hardcover, ebook
Recommend to: Everyone! I really do think it is a story for our time and we should all read.

I let you go by Clare Mackintosh | ★★★★✶

What it is about: In a split second, Jenna Gray’s world descends into a nightmare. Her only hope of moving on is to walk away from everything she knows to start afresh. Desperate to escape, Jenna moves to a remote cottage on the Welsh coast, but she is haunted by her fears, her grief and her memories of a cruel November night that changed her life forever.
What I thought: I don’t read thrillers and mysteries that often but when I do – and pick. up a good one – it. sucks me in completely and I forget what’s happening around me. This is what happened here. so much so that I told Mr. ♡ I can’t spend any time with him. Only issue I had or was confused about why there were two people narrating from first POV. That had me confused and interrupt my reading flow.
Original Language and Title: hardcoverpaperbackebook
Publications: German title “Meine Seele so kalt” paperback, ebook
Recommend to: Everyone enjoying a fast paced crime mystery set in a remote country cottage.

The Au Pair by Emma Rouse | ★★★★☆

What it is about: Seraphine Mayes and her twin brother Danny were born in the middle of summer at their family’s estate on the Norfolk coast. Within hours of their birth, their mother threw herself from the cliffs, the au pair fled, and the village thrilled with whispers of dark cloaks, changelings, and the aloof couple who drew a young nanny into their inner circle.
What I thought: Looks like I’m on a mystery crime solving spree. Another great read – thank you Anthea for recommending. I enjoyed this one a lot too. Only the ending was a bit two twisted and constructed that it seemed unrealistic. And I also didn’t find the situation of the AuPair all too realistic as well. Cant get into detail without giving anything away.
Original Language and Titlepaperbackebook
Publications: German title “Die Zwillinge von Summerbourne” paperback, ebook
Recommend to: Everyone who needs some beach read that isn’t romance, enjoys a twisting story with quirky characters.

Bis Odette schweigt by Michaela Öhlinger | ★★★★☆

What it is about: “What the hell are you afraid of?” he asks seriously.
A big question. Difficult to answer. If I knew, many things in my life would probably be very different. I am afraid of her. Of fear. Of the world in general, the expectations, the wishes and desires. I’m afraid of the stupidity, the ignorance, the spitefulness, the insignificance, the unchangeability and the fact that my life, as difficult as it seems to me, is in fact meaningless. I am afraid of disappearing one day without having put anything in its right place. I can hardly put the fear into words at the thought that then it won’t have made any difference how hard I tried.
What I thought: So happy I finally read this one. It was a hidden gem on my kindle a freebie I downloaded when looking for 500+ page books and some personal experience or memoir based books. It is a slow and quiet kind of book. Not fast paced but nevertheless it was gripping. I enjoyed diving into a world of panic attacks that is very unknown to myself (luckily). And I enjoyed that the author did not only tell the story from her point of view but also how it effects people who are in her life. I also enjoyed every character in the book – not easily done.
Original Language and Title: German paperback
Publications: no translation and I fear it will not be
Recommend to: Everyone interested in mental health issues and trying to understand more about it. Great character study too.

One Italian Summer by Rebecca Serle | ★★★★☆

What it is about: When Katy’s mother dies, she is left reeling. Carol wasn’t just Katy’s mom, but her best friend and first phone call. She had all the answers and now, when Katy needs her the most, she is gone. To make matters worse, their planned mother-daughter trip of a lifetime looms: two weeks in Positano, the magical town Carol spent the summer right before she met Katy’s father. Katy has been waiting years for Carol to take her, and now she is faced with embarking on the adventure alone.
What I thought: I really enjoyed this book. I bought it on a whim, usually not so much into this kind of story. However I was pleasantly surprised. It started out with a sort of time travel mystery thing so I was hooked. But don’t be fooled its not a time travel story. We dive into Italian summer, thoughts about life, choices and future. And there is a happy ending – of course but quite different from what you may expect. Only downer for me was the very close relations ship between the main character and her late mother. For me that was bordering on toxic and I was a bit appalled.
Original Language and Title: hardcoverpaperbackebook
Publications: not yet translated into other languages but sure it will be.
Recommend to: If you want to dream yourself to the Italian coast, enjoy some romance but not the way you imagine.

Junge Frau, am Fenster stehend, Abendlicht, blaues Kleid by Alena Schröder | ★★★★☆

What it is about: Life is raging in Berlin, only 27-year-old Hannah feels that hers has not yet begun. Her grandmother Evelyn, on the other hand, can hardly wait for the end after almost a hundred years. A letter from Israel changes everything. In it, Evelyn is identified as the heiress to a stolen and lost art fortune. But the old woman remains silent. Why doesn’t Hannah know about the Jewish family? And why does her only living relative refuse to talk about the past and especially about her mother Senta?
What I thought: I really enjoyed this story and was eager to hear how it involved. First audio book I was totally engaged in. I enjoyed the characters, I loved the setting, I always enjoy if a bit of art is involved and of course the history. I was almost a bit sad to learn that it is all fiction and the mentioned painting doesn’t exist.
Original Language and Title: German hardcoverpaperbackebook
Publications: unfortunately not yet translated but I’m certain it will be
Recommend to: Everyone loving art and wanting to learn about the Holocaust in story form.

Kräuter richtig anbauen by Andrea Heistinger, Arche Noah | ★★★★☆

What it is about: Herbs exude an irresistible scent, they taste delicious, they can heal and revitalise. Whether in the garden, on the balcony or in a pot on the windowsill – with the well-founded practical tips from Andrea Heistinger and the Arche Noah Diversity Gardeners, you are supplied with the best herbs for cooking, teas and herb bouquets all year round!
What I thought: Very detailed book on gardening with a focus on herbs. At times it was actually too sophisticated for my taste and I am a bit overwhelmed on what I need to do all. But this way it will be a book I will reach for more than once. I would have enjoyed a bit more detail on the certain herb profiles like what they can be planted next to or how to actually use them. A better overview of key facts would have been helpful.
Original Language and Title: German hardcoverebook
Publications: unfortunately not yet translated
Recommend to: Everyone interested in growing herbs and getting into the right way to groom plants.

Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender | ★★★✶☆

What it is about: Felix Love has never been in love—and, yes, he’s painfully aware of the irony. He desperately wants to know what it’s like and why it seems so easy for everyone but him to find someone. What’s worse is that, even though he is proud of his identity, Felix also secretly fears that he’s one marginalization too many—Black, queer, and transgender—to ever get his own happily-ever-after.
What I thought: It was an ok read. It reads as YT novel and I am happy such novels exist and can be read. I think I would have found it more interesting during my teens. However I was not totally convinced. I think in the entire book there is no straight person. And while that may be the reality of the author or the queer community I just found it a bit unrealistic. But maybe I am ignorant here. And I keep realizing that just because you have a story to tell you may not be the best story teller. There just is a quality difference between some person who is asked to write a book and authors who know what they are doing. I keep realizing this lately.
Original Language and Title: hardcoverpaperbackebook
Publications: German title is the same hardcover, ebook
Recommend to: Everyone wanting to read a YA novel about the queer community.

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus | ★★★✶☆

What it is about: Chemist Elizabeth Zott is not your average woman. In fact, Elizabeth Zott would be the first to point out that there is no such thing. But it’s the early 1960s and her all-male team at Hastings Research Institute take a very unscientific view of equality. Except for one: Calvin Evans, the lonely, brilliant, Nobel-prize nominated grudge-holder who falls in love with – of all things – her mind. True chemistry results. Like science, life is unpredictable. Which is why a few years later, Elizabeth Zott finds herself not only a single mother, but the reluctant star of America’s most beloved cooking show, Supper at Six. Elizabeth’s unusual approach to cooking (‘combine one tablespoon acetic acid with a pinch of sodium chloride’) proves revolutionary. But as her following grows, not everyone is happy. Because as it turns out, Elizabeth Zott isn’t just teaching women to cook. She’s daring them to change the status quo.
What I thought: Unfortunately I listened to it as an audiobook and was more than once tempted to quite. The narrator was horrible and I felt yelled at so many times that it truly was no joy and far from relaxing to listen to it. So tried to add half star because the author truly isn’t responsible for that. However I am surest may have been a higher rating even ifI read it completely Anyhow, once I managed to ignore the screaming I enjoyed. the story, its strangeness, the main characters of woman, the different struggles and the entire setting.It was a bit different from what Iexpected.
Original Language and Title: hardcoverpaperbackebook
Publications: German “Eine Frage der Chemie” hardcover, ebook
Recommend to: Everyone enjoying strong female characters, scientific settings and quirky characters.

Ich hab Migräne und was ist deine Superpower by Bianca Leppert | ★★★☆☆

What it is about: If you have a cold, you have a runny nose. People who have the stomach flu run to the bathroom. And people with migraines? They don’t get purple dots on their foreheads. They shouldn’t make such a fuss about a little headache. Although migraine is a widespread disease, there are many myths surrounding it. However, migraine is not comparable to a normal headache. It is a complex neurological disease. “Imagine having the worst hangover of your life, but not having any fun the night before,” is how journalist Bianca Leppert, who has had migraines for 20 years, describes an attack. For her, people with migraines have superpowers. Because despite the frequent pain, they manage to cope with their everyday lives. And in fact, their senses are heightened.
What I thought: It’s a good book if you have been newly diagnosed with a migraine, still try to find your bearings and need to find acceptance of being chronically ill. Formiert was at times interesting but I do prefer a more scientific and a less “we can get through this with happy thoughts” approach. But I can see why it is helpful for many. And I am not totally immune either – specially when suffering a long episode again.
Original Language and Title: German, paperbackebook
Publications: unfortunately not yet translated but I’m certain it will be
Recommend to: Everyone needing to educate about migraines – not only sufferers but also relatives.

Men explain things to me by Rebecca Solnit | ★★★☆☆

What it is about: Collection of essays. The author took on what often goes wrong in conversations between men and women. She wrote about men who wrongly assume they know things and wrongly assume women don’t, about why this arises, and how this aspect of the gender wars works, airing some of her own hilariously awful encounters.
What I thought: It was an ok read I guess. At times it was interesting and some situations she told I was nodding along as it wasn’t too far off from my own experience but over all it was just a re-telling of memories. While it is interesting I just dont really know what I can take from those kind of books.
Original Language and Title: hardcoverpaperbackebook
Publications: German “Wenn Männer mir die Welt erklären” hardcover, paperback, ebook
Recommend to: I guess everyone who enjoy this kind of writing.

Wohlfühlgewicht by Mareike Awe | ★★★☆☆

What it is about: introduction in intuitive easting with a lot of personal anecdotes by the author peppered with some medical facts. Also included are a lot or exercises for meditation and affirmations.
What I thought: I keep repeating the same mistake by reading – or here listening – to some self-help book that is actually more or less a memoire of the authors bad time and how they saw the light. I am sure the entire science of intuitiv eating is something we should pay more attention to it just was too mellow for me. While the podcasts are ok and also helpful and entire book is just not. It seems like podcast episodes stringed together. Not every influencer is an author. Maybe stick to the things you know best.
Original Language and Title: German paperbackebook
Publications: not yet translated as of now
Recommend to: Everyone needing an introduction to intuitive eating and likes to get some scientific facts.

The Weekend by Charlotte Wood | ★★☆☆☆

What it is about: Sylvie, Jude, Wendy and Adele have a lifelong friendship of the best kind: loving, practical, frank and steadfast. But when Sylvie dies, the ground shifts dangerously for the remaining three. These women couldn’t be more different: Jude, a once-famous restaurateur with a spotless life and a long-standing affair with a married man; Wendy, an acclaimed feminist intellectual; Adele, a former star of the stage, now practically homeless. 
What I thought: I haven’t read such a nonsense book in a long time. And I would have never bought it if not for the book club. This was just not enjoyable. I hated the characters, the promising of a story about friendship needed to be searched for– not sure I found it. While I like the setting of older ladies I just found the telling of their issues was at times appalling. And this disgusting dog… I really didn’t get what this book was about. The bookclub meet is still coming so maybe it makes sense after.
Original Language and Title: hardcoverpaperbackebook
Publications: German title “Das Wochenende” hardcover, paperback, ebook
Recommend to: Not sure if I would. But I’m certain some people enjoy it.

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green | ★★☆☆☆

What it is about: Roaming through New York City at three AM, twenty-three-year-old April May stumbles across a giant sculpture. Delighted by its appearance and craftsmanship April and her best friend, Andy, make a video with it, which Andy uploads to YouTube. The next day, April wakes up to a viral video and a new life. News quickly spreads that there are Carls in dozens of cities around the world.
What I thought: I didnt enjoy it very much. I dont like stories where people get famous, get prominent and started earning tons of money. These rags to riches stories dont interest me. Now this one also was a bit boring because it takes a lot about the mechanisms of social media fame. Working in that field I guess I am just fed up with. The story was more about a person handles the fame and less about the contact with an alien species. So I will not continue the series.
Original Language and Title: hardcoverpaperbackebook
Publications: German “Ein wirklich erstaunliches Ding” hardcover, ebook
Recommend to: Everyone enjoying contemporary fiction and out of space life and has a hang for rags to riches stories.

New books on the shelves

I decided in 2022 I will also share how many books make it to my TBR list (only books I own otherwise we would sit here in years) and occupy my shelves right above the reading chair and also on my digital home on the kindle. Feel free to ask me in a few weeks if I have read it yet. HA

As you can see the bookshelves are fully stacked with titles to read. I am also trying to catch up on my reading goals. Do you have a book recommendation for books by a born author of Argentina, El Salvador or Chile? I want to move forward on my Read Around the World challenge a bit more.

Happy reading,

Tobia

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