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 pick 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 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.

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

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.