Summer has started and so the reading begins. Or something like that. There were ten books I read in June and most of them have been fun entertainment or something educational I enjoyed learning about. As every month I share with you my thoughts:
Pippi Langstrumpf by Astrid Lindgren | ★★★★⭐︎
What’s it about: A seven year old living alone in her Villa only with her horse and Mr. Nelson the monkey. With the neighbor kids Annika and Thomas she is having one adventure after another. Discoving a lemonade tree, shipwrecking on an island, trying to learn reading and writing while not being a regular student and give the property star a run around.
What I thought: It’s a story about friendship, adventure and not quite fitting in and also being underestimated. While I have to admit I loved a tiny bit more when I was a child I still saw all the fun things this story had to offer. What an achievement as it has been published 76 years ago (March 1944) It was written in 1941 for her 7 year old daughter suffering from pneumonia.
The book was influential for the feminist movement and emancipation of women. However it also was critiqued for showing a racist point of view regarding the black kids on TakaTuka Island. And while the father is call a n* king throughout the book – which obviously is not something we can slide – I feel like for the time it was written in it was rather critical on the whole colonial topic. Of course from our stand point now it is still something we need to talk about. This made me wonder and had heated discussions about it too – how much of classic and world literature can be re-written before it looses its originality? It’s importance of the time it was published and the generations it impacted… Don’t we re-write history if we do so too much? I have no answer for it. I tend to reading originals as you might now but I understand that not everyone has the knowledge, time or patience to critically put a book in perspective. Specially children book. My mom said something like “maybe children books have an area and serve a purpose in a certain time”. If you have thoughts I am more than happy to hear them.
Language: German but available in almost all languages there are
Recommend to: everyone loving a strong adventurous heroin. However you might want to check if it was re-worked when reading to kids who might not be able to be critical about the race issue.
Das Haus der verlorenen Kinder by Linda Winterberg | ★★★★⭐︎
What’s it about: A love story set in the WWII area in Norway. Lisbet and her best friend Oda fall in love with the enemy – German soldiers stationed behind the hill of their hometown. They loose everything dear to them and their last hope is the help of the occupier. But what looked like hope is the worst night mare for Lisbet and Oda. Only years later can Lisbet find peace.
What I thought: It was a wonderfully written story that had me captured from the first pages. I knew a little bit about the so called Lebensborn project the Nazis’s have done but I had no idea about the extent. Of course it’s fiction but I feel like it’s been very good researched. The story was of course woven so we have a happy ending and yes maybe it was slightly too constructed but it felt like it should be like that.
Language: German, available in English
Recommend to: Loving historic fiction with strong women settled with in the WWII area.
Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult | ★★★★⭐︎
What’s it about: Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than twenty years’ experience. During her shift, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she’s been reassigned to another patient. The parents are white supremacists and don’t want Ruth, who is African American, to touch their child. The hospital complies with their request, but the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery. Does she obey orders or does she intervene? (Goodreads summery)
What I thought: This book has been on my TBR since 2016 and I finally managed to pick it up. And it couldn’t be a better read in times like these. It was intense. It was not fun, often uncomfortable and I could only read a couple pages because it was just overwhelming. Why was I not able to read through it you may ask? Well it was tough, it made me think and I was often times disgusted (when I read Turks view). In real life I would leave the room when people like him talk. I don’t need to give them an audience. However this book captured it perfectly. The characters were well drawn out, likable and relatable. After 1/3 the story picked up and it had more of a story flow for me. Early on in the book a thought crossed my mind: to make it a remarkable and unforgettable book there should not be a happy end. It should end with injustice. Well I will not spoil it for you.
Recommend to: Everyone should read this.
Second Hand Magic die Nachthexen by Jo Hallberg | ★★★★⭐︎
What’s it about: Mo works in a book store. But not any book store – no a magical one. But she doesn’t much care about magic as it has only brought bad luck. in her free time she saves book from their destruction. Little does she know that one little notebook will change her fate. And that she will finally have to rely on her grandmas inherited fancy apartment.
What I thought: I liked the story. I liked the setting. It was interesting and a fast paced read. I felt like there were a few new thoughts even though that’s hardly possible within the fantasy genre. I look forward reading part II. Also I was really surprised that this book was written by a guy. It felt more like a female author.
Recommend to: liking fantasy and books revolving around books
Dem Abgrund so nah by Jessica Koch | ★★★★⭐︎
What’s it about: Danny is ten years when is family is suffering from a tragedy that has them moving from the US to Germany. Dannys father handles the change by drinking too much and falling back to habit who hoped to have left before marriage. The victim is his son. And the mother can not help as she is suffering from a mental breakdown. Danny is on his own. But he has a will to survive.
What I thought: I have read the first part of the trilogy a couple years ago and always knew I want to continue. But I also knew it will be a book that takes a lot of courage for me to pick up. It is not easy to hear what is written here. It is based on a true story. I decided to listen to the book as I realized I am not as involved as if I read. I often had to stop and not continue because again I could only take so much. I am glad I read this book. However I am also glad I don’t have to do so again.
Language: German (English available under the title “So Near the Abyss”)
Recommend to: Everyone who can stomach reading about the sexual child abuse.
Zum Kaffee bei Mr. Dalton: Verwunschene Orte by Lilly Labord | ★★★⭐︎⭐︎
What’s it about: Holly tries again to learn and conquer her magic. Of course there still is the battle with her sister. She learns about hidden family secrets but it all escalates. The magicians fright against PRIMSA and the Council and it’s all very complictaed.
What I thought: I am not really involved in this series and I just want to get over it. The characters are rather flat and don’t develop at all (4th book and the main character is still not able to handle her magic…) I will finish the last one but I am rather happy it’s over then.
Recommend to: xx
Nelkenliebe by Anja Saskia Beyer| ★★★⭐︎⭐︎
What’s it about: Katharinas father has only month to live. He has three wishes before he dies. One is to find his first love and to know why things didn’t work out between them. We start on a journey through Portugal and learn about people and history while trying to track down Marisa. At the same time Katharina is taking a closer look at her own life and how and with whom she wants to live it.
What I thought: I needed an easy and quick read for my train travel. For that the book was perfect. I liked the setting in Lissabon and Portugal. I bet it’s even better when you visit there on vacation. I also like the history about Portugals dictator Salazar and his regime. I had no idea about that and learnt about it for the first time. However I didn’t really like Katharina’s love story too much. It was too black and white. It was somewhat cliché and very much predictable. Gerd and Marisas story was a bit more interesting however the flash backs felt a bit forced to give you a history lesson specially towards the end. It was entertaining but I have read better.
Recommend to: Everyone loving a low-key love story while learning about a new country and it’s history.
Life and other near death experiences by Camille Pagán | ★★⋆⭐︎⭐︎
What’s it about: When Libby Miller’s life crumbles within seconds she drops everything to escape to the Caribbean. Struggling with her ex husband, trying to sell the apartment, a noisy twin brother, a sickness that needs treating and a new love it is quite a bit there is to handle.
What I thought: The main character was not very likable in my opinion and rather judge mental and one dimensional.
It was not a light fluffy read but also didn’t carry any deep conversations on the topic.
And while it picked up slightly towards the end I somehow predicted the outcome and was just waiting for it.
For me it was a bit too shallow.
Recommend to: Anyone needing some quick read that is not the typical love story.
Niemals by Andreas Pflüger | ★⋆⭐︎⭐︎⭐︎
What’s it about: Jenny Aaron is part of a special police force. After an accident that left her blind she receives a bunch of money from a former suspect. She is trying to figure out why that is. And while doing so re-works an old case and sheds more light on it.
What I thought: What a waste of time. I really did not enjoy this book at all. It was at least well written so I actually finished. Later on there were some interesting techniques about interrogation described and also the topic of blindness was interesting. But the story itself was more than boring in my opinion.
Recommend to: If you like Tatort and thrillers you might enjoy it.
What’s it about: Well, the religious book for Islam. What else to say.
What I thought: It was a tough read. I was struggling with the language, the rhyme or flow… If you are not at all familiar it is not really possible to understand. The version I read had many footnotes and historic infos but I skipped a lot of them because the interrupted reading even more. It was good to see a few parallels and similar stories you can find in the Bible. One thing I can say for sure is that the Koran is not as violent as it is often made out to be.
Language: German – available in almost all languages
Recommend to: Everyone wanting to learn about other religions and being open minded.
And there you have it. All the books I read in June. What a selection. If you want more info on what I thought about them and what I currently read we should be friends on Goodreads. Also drop one in the comment I should read this summer.