Book Talk May 2022 – What I read

what i read may

We are already way into the month of June and I haven’t shared my readings of May was a very good months with 10 books. As I was still having a few hours on my demo subscription of bookbeat – an audiobook platform I was able to get through more book this past month. But at the same time audiobooks just don’t do it for me. This is probably why I pick titles I don’t need to like or want to buy but am interested to hear what the hype is all about.

Das größere Wunder by Thomas Gavinic | ★★★★☆

What it is about: A love story at the highest peaks – while Jonas is climbing Mount Everest he is looking back at his life, his choices and his love.
What I thought: It was a wonderful read (thank you Franzi for gifting). Ever since reading into the air I enjoy a story taking place high up in the mountains. You could see that Gavinic was inspired by Krakauers memoires. It did not bother me as this story’s a fictional one. I found the main character honest, raw and at times funny.
Original Language and Title: German “Das größere Wunder” hardcopypaperbackebook
Publications: It seems like it has not yet been translated.
Recommend to: If you enjoy love story for life and love give it a try.

An unreliable Man by Jostein Gaarder | ★★★★☆

What it is about: Jakop is a lonely man. Divorced from his wife, with no friends apart from his constant companion Pelle, he spends his life attending the funerals of people he doesn’t know, obscuring his identity in a web of improbable lies.
What I thought: What a quirky fun main character Jakob Jacobsen is. Once again Jostein Gaarder has created a story worth reading. He stays true to his favorite of writing about a loner who is special in his own way. The topic of mental illness is woven into the story but very unagitated. It is more observed. Also again Gaarder weaves in his love for linguistics and philosophy.
Original Language and Title: Norwegian Dukkeføreren
Publications: German: “Ein treuer Freund” hardcover, paperback, ebook || English “An unreliable Man” hardcover, paperback, ebook
Recommend to: Every Gaarder fan, people liking quirky character, older characters and lovers of words and linguistics.

Before we were yours by Lisa Wingate | ★★★★☆

What it is about: Based on one of America’s most notorious real-life scandals, in which Georgia Tann, director of a Memphis-based adoption organization, kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country, Before We Were Yours is a riveting, wrenching and ultimately uplifting tale.
What I thought: Very intense tale and wonderfully written. (Thanks San for recommending.) I enjoyed the story, it was entertaining, heart breaking, magical and full of love and peace. I checked the historical background and it is mind-blowing that such things really can and have happened. Not only in the U.S. but it is also a dark history of the G.D.R.
Original Language and Title: paperback, ebook
Publications: German: “Libellenschwestern” hardcover, paperback, ebook
Recommend to: Everyone enjoying historical fiction, strong sisterhood and a good story. Perfect summer read.

Gut: The Inside Story of Our Body’s Most Under-Rated Organ by Guilia Enders | ★★★★☆

What it is about: The key to living a happier, healthier life is inside us. Our gut is almost as important to us as our brain or our heart, yet we know very little about how it works.
What I thought: I listened to it as an audiobook and I have mentioned a couple of times that I usually can not pick up all content when listening. This one – I am sure would have been a 5 star if I read it and could seal the info in front of me. Very detailed, very interesting and most of all with lots of humor.
Original Language and Title: German: “Darm mit Charme” hardcover, paperback, ebook
Publications: English paperbackaudiobook
Recommend to: Everyone wanting to get a humorous look into your gut and if you are medically interested.

Brief an meine Mutter by Waris Dirie | ★★★★☆

What it is about: Dearest Mother, you have recently asked me again why I am fighting against the ritual of circumcision. Why I cannot accept that this is Allah’s will. We had a big fight and both cried out in pain, anger and disappointment. I am now trying to answer you in this letter, which I hope someone will read to you.
What I thought: I enjoyed this short novel. It gives a detailed view into the struggles of Waris with her mother view on female circumcision and the trauma she has carried since childhood. The strugglesof continuously trying to form a connection and to reconcile.
Original Language and Title: German hardcopypaperbackebook
Publications: I have only found a few Eastern European translations.
Recommend to: If you are familiar with Waris Dixies work and if you enjoy a mother-mother conversation.

Northern Spy by Flynn Berry | ★★★☆☆

What it is about: BBC news producer Tessa from Belfast is covering chelate NRA bombings when she sees her sister Marian on screen getting ready for an attack. Which is simply not possible. Or is it?
What I thought: I enjoyed the story a lot but had some issues with it. For one I am not familiar with the history of Northern Ireland so I had some hard time following along. This is not really to blame on the author though. What I found irritating is the fact, that I do not find it believable that a terror organization is so casual about how their members behave. The ending really was a downer for me and I had a few eyeballs. Nevertheless it was an entertaining read and definitely had me peek into the whole conflict and made me interested to learn more.
Original Language and Title: hardcopypaperbackebook
Publications: Haven’t seen any translations yet.
Recommend to: Anyone loving historical fiction and Northern Ireland.

Of Woman and Salt by Gabriela Garcia | ★★★☆☆

What it is about: From nineteenth-century cigar factories to present-day detention centres, from Cuba to the United States to Mexico, Gabriela Garcia’s Of Women and Salt follows Latina women of fierce pride, bound by the stories passed between them. It is a haunting meditation on the choices of mothers and the tenacity of women who choose to tell their truth despite those who wish to silence them.
What I thought: I found the different perspectives a bit confusing. I was not able to really dive into the story as the connection between the woman was not very clear. I enjoyed the more historical personas more. I didnt like the present day characters.
Original Language and Title: hardcover, paperback, ebook
Publications: no translations yet.
Recommend to: If you enjoy reading strong female stories set in Latin America.

Was weiße Menschen nicht über Rassismus hören wollen by Alice Lasters | ★★★☆☆

What it is about: Alice Hasters shares how she every day racism has been part of her life. What it made with her and how she wished it was or could be handled.
What I thought: Arghh this is a tough one. I really wanted to learn more and enjoy it more but. Overall it was just a sort of memoire and that one not all that great. I enjoyed the part where she was in the U.S. and started to analyze her own experiences. However the title is widely misleading. I am sure every anecdote is important to the author and also it does make you think. Something though of the way it was told bothered me I just can’t quite pin point what.
Original Language and Title: German paperbackebook
Publications: No translation as far as I know.
Recommend to: Unsure. It is not really a book to start getting into the topic as it doesn’t share much helpful information. However it is a good book to learn how people of color do feel.

Big Magic by Elisabeth Gilbert | ★★★☆☆

What it is about: Elisabeth Gilbert asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering. She shows us how to tackle what we most love, and how to face down what we most fear.
What I thought: Mellow. Again this was an audio book and I listened to it while cleaning and such. It was great back ground noise but there was hardly any interesting though there that made me stop and listen intently. Glad I didn’t buy this book ist would have been a disappointment. As a free audiobook it was ok.
Original Language and Title: hardcoverpaperbackebook
Publications: German “Big Magic: Nimm dein Leben in die Hand und es wird dir gelingen” hardcover, paperback, ebook
Recommend to: If you are new to the area of living creatively, need some sort of validation to do your thing.

Body Politics by Melodie Michelberger | ★★☆☆☆

What it is about: Women should conform to the ideal of beauty, but not be too individual. Those who do not conform to the ideal should at least love themselves. The pressure on women is higher than ever, and as has been the case for centuries, the male gaze determines which women’s bodies are attractive.
What I thought: Arghhh maybe I should stop picking up those kind of books. again more memoire than any helpful information. Well I guess a lot of people find inspiration listening to other peoples story. I am not one. this book was uninspiring, lots of complaining. Didnt feel any connection to the author and her story. Had hoped for more. Again misleading title.
Original Language and Titlepaperbackebook
Publications: German “Queenie” hardcover, paperback, ebook
Recommend to: People who enjoy reading memoirs and can extract some sort of helpful information.

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

  • I can proudly report no new books have made it to my shelves in May.

I was almost caught up on my reading challenge by the end of May. Spoiler I am not anymore. So don’t get used to this mass of books in my monthly reviews. Have you read any of the above mentioned ones?

Happy Sunday,


2 thoughts on “Book Talk May 2022 – What I read

  1. I think I read Big Magic a few years ago? How sad, I can’t even remember?!
    A busy month of reading for you. I tend to reallllyyyy slow down my reading pace over the summer, so I only finished ONE book the whole month of May. I enjoy the summer break from reading and then feel extra ready to start reading in the fall.
    Elisabeth recently posted…Update: Outside Walks (Almost Every Day)My Profile

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