What I’ve been reading, № 2
Here’s the next installment in this series – What I’ve been reading for the last month. This list includes two books that I read ENTIRELY FOR FUN, which was refreshing. I’d highly recommend both of them, as well as all the rest!
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - I expect most of you will have read this already. It was my first time and it was great, great fun. I will say that having seen the movie actually almost felt like it spoiled the book (I am NOT saying that the movie was better than the book, but that the movie effectively took the surprise out of some of the best moments in the story.). It’s a good, silly read and a great way to unwind from heavier material.
The Marriage Plot - Purely pleasure reading book number ONE. I read almost the whole of this book on the flight (and during layovers) back from Germany to the US last week. It is WONDERFUL. The story is riveting and ultimately satisfying without being too cloying or cliché. And for those of you out there who are literature students (past, present, or future) this book has a lot of delicious little literary theory moments. I mean, a relationship inspired by a class on deconstruction?! Wonderful.
Eine Frau in Berlin (English here) – This first-person account of the lives led by survivors of World War II in Berlin as the Russians rolled in is absolutely amazing. It’s beautifully written and absolutely heartbreaking. This book is one of the very best accounts that reminds us that not all Germans in the war were villains, not all of them were Nazis, and that, in fact, many of them were victimized as well. It is also unique for its focus on the lives of women immediately after the war, a time when most women were depicted only as Trümmerfrauen – women cleaning up the rubble – which has the effect of glossing over some of the less savory sides of living in the occupied city.
John Saturnall’s Feast - I’ll admit I haven’t finished this one yet, but I will say this. Historical fiction, witchcraft, cookery, and blurbs by A.S. Byatt. I’m sold. Also it’s a totally engaging story AND it’s not often you pick up a book that’s printed in two colors on every page! Fancy! Seriously. Read it.
Berlin: David Clay Large – The new definitive history of Berlin. Well written and researched, very readable.
The Ghosts of Berlin: Brian Ladd – A slightly more theoretical take on some of Berlin’s history, particularly focusing on architecture and design as expressions of problematic historical practices. I’d recommend this to anyone interested in architecture who is visiting Berlin. Or just interested.
More next month! Read on, friends!