Two Halfs of One Whole – My Reading Life with Two Languages

English Conquers My Reading World

I started reading novels in English a long time after my high school English teacher told me that I would never be able to speak English properly. My pronunciation was good but the rest, well it wasn’t and it was never going to be good. I have now finished my PhD in American Studies and I wrote it in English. And though I will be far from being at a native speaker level (and I never aimed at being one) I think I managed to make the language my own – familiar, comfortable, home 🙂

Is my German Really Lost – The Rediscovery of My Native Tongue

Because I was so focused on conquering English, I haven’t read German authors for many years

  • because I felt I had to read English to stay connected with the language,
  • because it was easier for me to read English after so many years,
  • because books in German became strangers to me.

All there was English, novels in English, theory texts in English, TV series in English, movies in English, manuals in English – you name it. Once I started reading blogs and watching Booktube I was brave enough to picked my first German book in over a decade. Though reading the first novels felt strange, it became familiar again – it  also became home.

Do I Have to Choose – My World Is Big Enough for Both

So, every time I read a book in German I yearned for English and every time I was deeply invested in an English novel, I looked forward to read a story in German – it was a predicament. I considered myself a torn because I couldn’t decide which language I liked more, which was more familiar, which was my home. But finally I discovered, I don’t have to decide. I can love both equally. I can be at home at two different places at the same time.

I was a little mad at my English teacher for telling me English and I would never get along. Today I am thankful for it. Because of what he said I chose English as a subject of my studies, I lived in an English-speaking country, and I am at easy with two languages. I am at home when I hear or read either of them.

A Pick Me Up for Broken Things – How the Snyder’s Healer Series Healed my Sou

The Healer Series has healed my fantasy deprived soul. I used to read so much fantasy and lately I was mostly unhappy with what I read and I missed stories, worlds, and characters that would captivate me. I felt as if something in me was broken. The joy I usually deprived from fantasy books was gone – maybe even lost. But then the Healer Series by Maria V. Snyder came along. This trilogy – Touch of Power, Scent of Magic, and Taste of Darkness – fed three ravenous beasts within me: the thirst for action, believable friendships and world building.

I Need To Catch My Breath – Action Packed Storylines That Don’t Slow Down

Just as her Study Trilogy the action was fast paced. I enjoyed the setting and the world building, but the incredible fast pace, the lack of narrative breaks and therefore the amount of running, hunting, being hunted and fighting the protagonists had to go through, captured me from the first to the last page. There was barely a break for the poor guys to catch a breath.

Cross My Heart And Swear To Die – Friendships Save The World

Alongside the action, the friendships make up the core of the story – at least for me. They are believable, withstand opposition and hardship, are comical and endearing, and longstanding. Once I close the book, I start to miss them, as I felt like a member of that circle. The sidekicks are usually the most lovable characters in the book. Until this day I am always happy to see them again – in other stories or when rereading the old ones.

Take Me Away From Here – Building A World Where I’d Rather Be

Within a short time I am fully immersed in the world and often the magical, political, and social system that is new to me. I can see it, feel it, and I am familiar with it, still I discover even more throughout the entirety of the trilogy. Yet I believe, if those are continued I would learn so much more and still am surprised by it.

So far I have enjoyed Maria V. Snyder’s Study Trilogy and Healer Series. I have to admit that I am not as thrilled with the Glass Series (that is set in the same world as the Study Trilogy), but I will surely finish that as I want to continue my adventures in Ixia. If you need something to pick you up that you can’t put down – have a go.

Merken

Miss Marple Calms My Restless Mind

Miss Marple always solves her crimes – sitting, knitting, wearing tweet costumes. However stressed my life becomes and however deep I am caught in a reading slump, Miss Marple has a way of reaching my absent mind. The allure of coziness and comfort within the confines of murder is soothing. It feels like coming home. The reasons I return to Miss Marple at any given time: the lack of gore, the inherent nosiness, and the nostalgia.

Where is the blood – the lack of gore in Miss M.’s murders

Given the often overpowering images of news outlets (be that papers, television, or even radio) and television with there attempt to outdo each other with even more shocking and gory details of crimes, wars, and other catastrophes, the lack of blood is a nice change in pace.

Yes, I am nosy – Miss M.’s passion for poking around

Miss Marple lives out the nosiness that I do feel when a riddle or any other interesting unanswered question stops by. The great thing is: I don’t have to feel guilty because Miss M. asks all the questions that I have (and of course many more that I don’t have) and pokes about to get the answers. This is of course oversimplified and at times feeds the stereotype of elderly spinster detectives but I really love her moxie and her awareness of the perception people have of her. She always uses that to her advantage.

Everything Was Better Before – Miss M. reminisces

While Miss Marple is nostalgic towards her own past, I am nostalgic towards my own as well as the past (as stereotypical and simplified as that might be) illustrated by Christie. Due to less gore and the acceptance of the nosiness of elderly spinsters, it is a calm escape for a hectic overexposed mind caught in a world where the attention spans get shorter and the visuals more prominent and faster. The peace and quiet offered by Miss Marple are a wonderful way to return my hectic brain to a more normal speed – one that was common when I was yet young and the world just a bit slower.

Eva Sternberg – Fünf am Meer (incl. a Short English Review)

This book is written by a German author and is not translated into English yet. For a short English Review please see further below.

https://www.randomhouse.de/content/edition/covervoila_hires/Sternberg_EFuenf_am_Meer_6CD_163797.jpg

Klappentext:

Willkommen im Sea Whisper Inn
Die frisch getrennte Linn erbt überraschend eine verwunschene Villa in den Hamptons. Diese ist bereits ziemlich in die Jahre gekommen — wie auch deren fünf Bewohner zwischen 69 und 75. Doch schnell fühlt Linn sich zwischen Granatapfel-Cocktails, Mittagsschläfchen und Renovierungsarbeiten ziemlich wohl. Wären da nicht dieser gut aussehende Journalist und der unumgänglich scheinende Hausverkauf … (Random House Audio)

In Kürze:

+ ein unterhaltsames Sommerbuch, das auch gerne zu anderen Jahreszeiten gelesen werden kann
+ eine Geschichte im Fremde, Freundschaft, Familie und kleine und große Geheimnisse
+ liebenswerte Figuren und ein wunderbares Erzähltempo

Meinung:

Ein Haus in den Hamptons. Das hört sich glamourös an. Das hört sich nach einem Leben mit viel Geld, keinen Sorgen und vielen Partys an. Nachdem Linn ihren Freund beim Stell-dich-ein mit der besten Freundin erwischt, scheint das plötzlich geerbte Haus genau der richtige Ort zu sein, um vor dem Geschehenen zu fliehen. Doch mit dem Haus erbt Linn auch dessen Bewohner, ein in die Jahre gekommenes Haus und die Geschichte einer Tante von der sie bis dato nichts wusste. Und dann sind da noch die Männer und andere kleine Katastrophen.

Das Buch hört sich nach einer wunderbaren leichten Lektüre an, die man im Sommer gerne am Strand genießen möchte. Ich habe mir die Geschichte nun im Herbst angehört und war sehr angetan. Die Geschichte ist zwar Ansatzweise leicht und seicht, hat aber auch ihre Tiefen, spannenden, lustigen und dramatischen Momente. Vom dem dramatischen Liebes-aus und den Zukunftsängsten, über die Vergangenheit der Tante und des ominösen Gemäldes, bis hin zum undurchsichtigen Journalisten und hinterlistigen Detektiv ist alles dabei. Dabei ist der Erzählstil angenehm und die Geschichte entfaltet sich in einem angenehmen und gleichbleibenden Tempo – passend zum Wellengang am Strand aber dennoch so spannend, dass man Weiterhören muss.

Die Figuren sind sympathisch und liebenswert und auch die Hauptfigur ist mir positiv im Gedächtnis geblieben, auch wenn ich ihre Handlungen und ihre Gefühle nicht immer hundert prozentig nachvollziehen konnte.
Die Sprecherin hat die Geschichte ganz wunderbar gelesen und das Cover hat mir sehr gefallen.

Vielen Dank an Random House Audio für die Bereitstellung dieses Rezensionsexemplars.

Fazit:

Ein wunderbar unterhaltsamer Roman über Fremde, Freundschaft und Familie – genau richtig für die Sommerzeit. Man kann das Buch auch gerne zu einer andern Jahreszeit hören kann.

Die Autorin:

Emma Sternberg, geboren 1979, hat schon fast überall gewohnt: in Hamburg, in Oberbayern, in Frankfurt, in Berlin. Wo es am schönsten ist? Natürlich immer da, wo sie noch nicht gewesen ist – das ist ja die Krux mit dem Leben.

In English:

A house in the Hamptons – that sounds like money, parties, no worries and glamour. After Linn discovers her boyfriend in a rather precarious situation with her best friend, the inherited home in the Hamptons sounds like the perfect escape. With that house Linn also inherits the inhabitants – a group of retired friends of her dead aunt – and old house, and the secrets of her aunt’s life of whom Linn did not even know existed. And of course there are men and other smaller catastrophes.

The book is intended as a summer read, but it is also a wonderful read in autumn. It reads like a light story but contains drama (love and other), mystery (a painting and the past), and wickedly charming journalists and just wicked detectives.

The flow of the story reminded me of the waves rolling onto the beach but without making you sleeping. The writing was fluent, calming, and captivating, the characters were loveable and sympathetic, and although I did not understand every action or emotion that Linn portrayed perfectly, I do remember her fondly.

My Reading Month August

I know it is very late for a reading month August since it is already October, but what the hell…here goes nothing. 🙂 Slowly I feel that I have my reading groove back at least I had it back for a short time due to late summer nights on my balcony and a nice stress level at work that made me grab an audiobook or two. Yet the groove to publish content more regularly has not yet returned in full force. But I am happy about a little force as well. All in all, I am quite happy with the month of August.

  • Books: 4
  • Audiobooks: 6
  • Pages (only books): 956
  • Pages (incl. Audiobooks): 4300
  • Minutes listened: 6779min. (almost 13 hours)

img_20160814_191219_resized img_20160828_191417_resized

Books:

Maggie Stiefvater and Jackson Pearce – Pip Bartlett und die magischen Tiere: Die brandgefährliche Fussels/ Pip Bartlett*s Guide to Magical Creatures

My first read this month is also the book that has gotten me out of my little low. This book is such a lovely story with a wonderful and rich world of magical creatures and great ideas. I enjoyed every minute of the story as well as the beautiful illustrations. A great children’s adventure story about magical creatures and a girl who can talk to them.

Kerstin Rottland – Agathe Bond: Cool wie das Wasser im Pool

Another fantastic and adventurous read is this spy novel with a tortoise as the main protagonist and major spy. A hilarious and fantastic story with beautiful illustrations, quite some adventure and a lot of spy equipment hidden in one small tortoise-shell.

Dora Heldt – Jetzt mal anders

This collection of columns written by a well-known German author were entertaining, sweat, and short. I did not feel the pressure of having to read the book cover to cover but pick it up when I felt like it. The stories cover a wide range of everyday topics and observations.

Martina Sahler – Matilda und die Sommersonneninsel

This young adult book or early teen book – whatever age range this is supposed to cover – is a wonderful summer read for young girls as the story centers around a group of young girls and their long summer vacation. Short, sweat, and entertaining.

cimg6916

Audiobooks:

Kirstin Cashore – Die Flammende / Fire

I have read this book some years ago and I enjoyed every page of it. The same holds true for the audiobook. It was as riveting and exiting as I remembered the book to be. A wonderful fantasy novel with a great protagonist. I thoroughly enjoyed the read.

Eve Chase – Black Rabbit Hall

A family drama with two different timelines that intertwine towards the end. Though I felt like I could predict what was going to happen, the author had the uncanny ability to make me doubt my previously made decisions. The story kept my on my toes and was an entertaining and thrilling audiobook. A great read or better a great listen.

Frauke Scheunemann – Ziemlich unverhofft

The second book centering around the protagonist Nicola was another entertaining and fun audiobook. I returned to the world, the people, and a similar chaotic life of the protagonist with pleasure and passion. Though I was a little annoyed by the story line with her neighbor Tiziano and this attempt at some sort of love triangle thing…the remainder of the story was great.

Lucinda Riley – Der Lavendelgarten/ The Lavender Garden

My second Riley novel was another audiobook for the win column. The story was set in two different times (as seems to be the case with Mrs. Riley) and follows the family history of Emily de la Martiniere – her struggle to maintain a family legacy and the struggles of her family in WWII. The story was riveting, the characters were sympathetic and likeable, both story lines drew the reader in yet were slow enough to enjoy the beauty of the scenery the narrative was set in as well as the writing.

Sarah Lark – Das Lied der Maori (#2) / Der Ruf des Kiwis (#3)

These two audiobooks are the second and third installment in a family tale. I enjoyed the first immensely and wanted to continue with the narrator and the author and the family story. We follow the descendants of the two women that came to New Zealand in the first book – trying to survive in a world and situation that they cannot escape and if they do, they have to endure a lot of pain and suffering.
Though I think you could have listened to these audio books individually without a specific order in mind, I was happy that I listened to them how it was intended. The books were a little more intense than the previous one especially the third installment. This is not necessarily for times when you as a reader are in emotional distress or more vulnerable because the story includes quite an ordeal of abuse and rape into these books. I had to stop on occasion. Despite those scenes the books were very good.

A lack of motivation, reading slumps and that darn time consuming thing called work

I am not sure why this has hit me so hard lately. While I was at times even more stressed or even more busy than I am now, I often lack motivation when I come home after work. I did change from a part-time job and writing my PhD thesis alongside that job to a full-time job in another different yet not completely alien field. But when I get home … well, I just can’t be bothered to read a book or sometimes even listen to an audiobook. I was also not really motivated to write reviews and come up with any kind of content for my blog. Maybe that’s because I am starring at a computer for such a long time everyday that I am relieved when I don’t have to.

It stressed me out in the beginning – the lack of content on my blog, the lack of books on my night stand, the stagnating number of books in my Goodreads challenge. Somehow that seemed to increase my reading slump or my lack of motivation. I lost the enjoyment of reading. I am slowly coming back from this with small, short and enjoyable books that are not daunting and preferable children’s books or Agatha Christie’s. They always get me into my comfortable zone. I also reduced my Goodreads challenge to 30 books instead of 45. This also reduced a lot of self-imposed pressure.

cimg6936

Yet, I am not sure I can maintain this happy feeling. A lot of things are changing at work again and I have to find my rhythm – again. And then there are those moments in live that show you how short it can be. My friend had a severe brain infection and though it was a miracle that she made it out of this okay, another friend then got hit by a car with severe brain trauma and several emergency surgeries. Life is full of surprises and sadly not only good ones. I love reading and I love to dive into new worlds, funny stories, and great adventures, but I also need to go back and live some more of these adventures. The older I got, the more I achieved or felt like I have to achieve, the more I lost track of the living my life part. So I will try to find a new rhythm of living, working, reading, blogging, and adventures. But that might also mean a more or less regular content on my blog (though I will get my reading months up soon since I simply forgot to post August) and just an occasional sign of life on my Instagram. I hope you bear with me. 🙂

Maggie Stiefvater & Jackson Pearce – Pip Bartlett und die Magischen Tiere: Die brandgefährlichen Fussels/ Pip Bartlett’s Guide to Magical Creatures (Incl. English Review)

https://i1.wp.com/www.randomhouse.de/content/edition/covervoila_hires/Stiefvater_PearcePip_Bartlett_1_168793.jpg

  • Hardcover
  • Verlag: Heyne>fliegt
  • veröffentlicht: 2015
  • Seiten: 340

Klappentext/Blurb:

Die neunjährige Pip Bartlett hat eine besondere Gabe: Sie kann mit magischen Tieren sprechen – mit Einhörnern, Seidengreifen und Hopp-Grackeln. Mit Eltern und Lehrern klappt die Verständigung allerdings manchmal nicht so gut. Weshalb Pip in den Sommerferien wegen des Einhorn-Vorfalls (wer denkt denn auch, dass die so doof sind!) zu ihrer Tante Emma verbannt wird. Emma leitet eine Praxis für magische Tiere, und begeistert plaudert Pip den ganzen Tag mit den verrücktesten Geschöpfen, die man je gesehen hat. Doch dann taucht ein abenteuerliches Problem auf, nämlich Unmengen von Fussels. Das Schlimme an diesen kleinen pelzigen Wesen: Wenn sie sich aufregen, gehen sie in Flammen auf … Hier können nur Pip und ihr neuer Freund Thomas helfen. (Heyne>fliegt)

An exciting new series full of magical creature, whimsical adventures and quirky illustrations. Pip is a girl who can talk to magical creatures. And her aunt is a vet for magical creatures. When things go amok, Pip consults JEFFREY HIGGLESTON’S GUIDE TO MAGICAL CREATURES — a fun guide to such entities that Pip adds to from time to time. (Amazon)

In Kürze/In (Very) Short:

+ ein wunderbares Abenteuer mit magischen Tieren
+ tolle Illustrationen und tolle Buchgestaltung
+ sympathische Figuren und Kreaturen und einen schönen Bösewicht
+ a great adventure story with magical creatures
+ beautiful illustrations and an overall stunning design
+ loveable characters and a wonderfully wicked villain

Meinung/My Opinion:

Pip Bartlett kann mit magischen Tieren sprechen und sorgt damit für ein Riesenchaos beim Schulprojekt. Als Strafe muss Pip zu ihrer Tante, die eine Tierarztpraxis für magische Tiere hat. Nicht wirklich eine Strafe für Pip – wenn man von ihrer Cousine einmal absieht –, die hier nicht nur ihre Fähigkeiten einsetzen kann, sondern auch gleich noch ein paar magische und nicht-magische Freunde kennenlernt. Mit denen muss sie die Stadt vor den brandgefährlichen Fussels retten.

Das Buch ist ein wunderbare Kinderbuch mit einer liebenswerten Protagonistin, tollen Kreaturen, einem spannenden Abenteuer und einer schönen Botschaft am Ende.

Das Autorenduo hat wirklich eine tolle Welt mit wunderbaren Figuren und sehr schönen Kreaturen erschaffen. Diese sind liebenswert und chaotisch – wie z.B. Pip, das Einhorn Regent Maximus, Thomas, der auf magische Tiere mit magischen Allergien reagiert, und der mürrische Seidengreif Blubber. Natürlich gibt es auch einen wunderbar unsympathischen weiblichen Bösewicht und eine nervige Cousine.

Die Geschichte ist wirklich niedlich und schnelllebig, das Buch ist sehr schön gestaltet mit Zeichnungen zu den jeweiligen Wesen und ist in blau gehalten. Die Zeichnungen sind wirklich wunderbar und entzückend. Der Schreibstil ist angenehm, flott und zum Thema und Buch passend.

Vielen Dank an den Heyne>fliegt Verlag für die Bereitstellung des Rezenzionsexemplars.

Pip can talk to magical creatures and gets into trouble. As a punishment she has to spend her summer with her aunt who is a veterinarian and treats magical animals. Not really a big punishment for Pip. She quickly makes new friends and soon has to find a way to save the city from little flammable creatures.

This books is a wonderful children’s book with a loveable protagonist, wonderful creatures, an exiting little adventure and a lovely message at the end.

The authors have created an interesting and divers world with some unique and beautiful magical creatures. Who doesn’t love a scared and scatterbrained unicorn – who has way to many anxieties and issues. Alongside the many likeable characters (Pip, Thomas, Pip’s aunt Emma, Regent Maximus – the unicorn and many more) are of course a wonderfully wicked villain and an annoying teenage cousin.

The story is fast-paced and adorable, the book is beautifully illustrated and the illustrations as well as the pages are kept in blue. The writing is fluent, fast, and fitting for the age range it was written for.

Fazit/Bottom Line:

Ein wunderbar unterhaltsames Kinderbuch mit fantastischen Tieren und Zeichnungen.

A beautiful and entertaining adventure story with magical creatures and fantastic illustrations.

Rating:

rating 4