January 2017 Book Log

My favourite book in January

For 2017, I set myself another challenge to read 52 books. A book per week sounds like an achievable goal, in my opinion! I made a good head start in January (a few days off, lots of train travel and no show I’m watching on Netflix at the moment might be the reason for that). If you’re looking for a new book to read, you might want to give these a go!

Fiction

Half of a Yellow Sun / Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi

If you’ve been a reader of this blog for a while, you know that I’ve been a fan of Adichi’s books for years. I finally read her most appraised one “Half of a Yellow Sun” in January and I’m so glad that I did! It deals with the Biafran war from 1967 to 1970 – a war I never heard about before, I must admit – from the perspective of three different narrators. It’s a heartbreaking tale, something everybody interested in international affairs should read, in my opinion.

Homegoing / Yaa Gyasi

Another novel set on African soil, Homegoing tells the history of slavery in America from two different angles. It sets out with the story of half-sisters Effia and Esi. Both grow up in 18th century Ghana under very different circumstances: Effia is married to a British slave trader, Esi herself is sold into slavery. Homegoing tells the story of the generations that follow these two – a mesmerizing page turner.

Non-Fiction

On Writing / Stephen King

I haven’t read any of King’s novels yet, but I’ve heard plenty of times that “On Writing” is a must-read for every hobby writer out there. I finally picked it up at the bookstore around Christmas and it definitely is worth the praise! Half memoir, half writing tips , you should give King’s book a go if you’re thinking about becoming a writer.

Talking as fast as I can / Lauren Graham

I’m a BIG Gilmore Girls fan, no denying that. So, when Lauren Graham published a memoir last year, of course I had to get a copy! It’s funny, heart-warming and easy to read – ideal for a grey winter day while you’re waiting for Spring.

The Folded Clock / Heidi Julavits

The Folded Clock has been on my list for a while. I loved Julavits’ anthology “Women in Clothes” and her journal is just as whimsical and fun to read. She’s definitely slightly neurotic, but that makes reading this one even more fun.

Did you read any great books lately?

Getting inspired by Chef’s Table

Getting inspired by Chef's Table - Hanna's Places

Have you guys watched the Netflix show ‘Chef’s Table’ yet? It’s a documentation series about some of the greatest chefs around the world, focusing on one of them in each episode. I have just finished watching the first season and I feel so inspired from it. Not inspired to cook necessarily but inspired to create and follow my passion. All of those chefs in the show are very different and from lots of different places as well, but still, there’s a couple of basic truths that unite all of them.

Lessons from Chef’s Table

1. They all know exactly what they are doing. Even though all the chefs are creating new things that have never been there before, all of them are highly trained as well. Many of them have worked in Paris and learned from the best. What does that teach us? You first need to learn your craft and practice a lot (!), before things will get as great as you imagine them.

2. Determination lead them where they wanted to go. Most of the chefs struggled with failure and disappointments in their career. Failed restaurants, unemployment etc. They still kept their dreams alive and just tried something different – the road to success is never straight.

3. They all prioritized good and simple ingredients over quantity. If you start with great basics, whatever you are creating will be so much better as well. Furthermore, it shows even more that mass-produced fast food only harms our bodies and our environment. Some of the chefs grow all the vegetables in their restaurants themselves – one even had his own farm. Consequently we can watch how much care goes into choosing the right dishes for each season. It’s simply fascinating!

4. Nature inspires all of them. There’s no better place to clear your head than being surrounded by nature and nothing else.

5. They were all confident about the fact that you they creative beings. We have all been created with a creative mind. It isn’t about whether you are creative or not, it’s about whether you have started creating yet or not.

If you haven’t watched Chef’s Table yet, you simply need to check it out.

September 2016 Book Log

September 2016 Book Log

September has been a great book month! I finally got a membership for my local library (it’s a good one) and I finished a few of the books on my nightstand. I also went on a Social Media Detox this month (more on that later), which meant more reading as well. Here’s all the books I finished this month, maybe you can find a few great ones for your autumn reading list.

Fiction

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend | This book is more in the light reading group ;) It’s about a Swedish girl called Sara, who’s extremely lonely and only finds solace in books. She goes to Iowa to visit a friend and ends up falling in love and changing the life of the people around her before she leaves. Yes, it’s that kind of book. If you’re in the mood for something light, it’s a fun read, otherwise I wouldn’t recommend it.

Memory Wall | My favourite book in the world is ‘All The Light We Cannot See’ by Anthony Doerr. This is one of his earlier works and again, beautifully written. The story is slightly odd, about a boy who comes to possess an old woman’s secret memory. It’s a bit uncomfortable to read, but still something to make you think.

The Improbability of Love | Again, this book probably isn’t important literature, but the perfect autumn read: It’s set in the London art world, there’s love, there’s intrigue and the atmosphere is lovely. It also makes you think about the worth we give to the objects we own. Go read it.

A Little Life | This book is massive. I finished it last week and I’m still constantly thinking about it. It’s written in a beautiful way, but boy, it’s one of the most depressing books I’ve ever read. It talks about the story of Jude St. Francis, a man who has been mistreated in his childhood in horrific ways. It shows both his inner conflicts and the way his friends and adopted family try to tell him that he is worthy of love and a good life. I cried ugly tears when I read the last few pages.

Non-Fiction

Fashion Matters | This is a selection of 101 essays on fashion by Frances Corner, the Head of London College of Fashion. If you’re into fashion at all, you’ll really enjoy this one! She writes about the impact fashion has on our society and our environment and why (and how) we tend to identify through clothing.  I’ve read it over the past few weeks, an essay at a time, and loved it.

Good or God? | I first heard about John Bevere when he was at my church late last year. The message he brought (on the holy spirit) was one of the best I ever heard. Then, when a friend of mine recommended ‘Good or God’ to me, I knew I had to pick it up! And it was worth it. It’s not an easy book and it challenged me in many ways. But: if you’re interested in living your life as God intended, this one’s for you.

Wild | I’ve heard so much about Cheryl Strayed’s trip along the Pacific Crest Trail. She left having nothing to lose and came back beginning to heal from her past. I enjoyed reading Wild, though it probably won’t change my life. I’d like to go on a similar trip one day (though better equipped and not alone), but that’s about it.

Merken

Merken

June 2016 Book Log

June Book Recommendations | Hanna's Places

Another month is over and it’s officially time for summer reading. I have traveled a lot in June and I got my weekends back by handing in my dissertation so lots of new books for me! Sadly, the books I read this month were nothing more than ‘okay to read’, but that’s life, right? ;)

June Reading

The Language of Flowers | This book was a beautiful story about a girl who grew up in different foster homes. She never really made friends or felt at home anywhere, apart from one family over ten years ago. They taught her the language of flowers – before something terrible happened. Now she’s trying to make her place in the world and get past her troubled past. I really liked reading this book especially the first half. It gets a bit disappointing at the end, but by then you will love the story enough to keep going.

Go Set a Watchman | It took me a long time to pick up Harper Lee’s sequel of ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’. The reviews haven’t been the best, especially since Atticus Finch turns out to be a racist like everyone else. Of course, it’s nothing like TKAM both in terms of the storyline and the depth of the story. But it’s still a nice weekend read.

The Chaperone | This is the story of silent movie star Louise Brooks, her chaperone and a summer in New York. The chaperone Cora Carlisle has her very own agenda why she wants to go to New York with Louise. Over the course of a month secrets surface and Cora faces her past. It was a really enjoyable summer read, not my favourite but good for the beach.

The Shadow Year | Another beach read. For some reason I put this book on my Goodreads ‘to read’ list and checked it out at the library over a year later. Please don’t ask me how it ended up on that list. A recommendation on another blog? Maybe. Anyway, to the book: The story is quite gripping, though highly unlikely. It was great for a rainy weekend at home, but nothing that would make you think or teach you something valuable about life. Just – a beach read.

Women In Clothes | I loved ‘reading’ this book! Though it’s less of a story but more like a conversation. It consists of interviews of over 500 women of all ages and social categories. Pictures, stories, style tips – you can find everything in this book. If you love fashion, you will love Women in Clothes as well. If you’re curious: You can find another review on Anoushka’s blog with lots of quotations as well.

What have you been reading in June? Any tips?

May Book Log

May Book Log

The weather truly feels like autumn at the moment, right? Definitely appropriate to get some reading done…

May Reading

Through the Looking Glass | After reading ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ in April, I’ve finished the sequel ‘Through the looking glass’ at the beginning of May. To be honest, I enjoyed the first part way more, ‘Through the looking glass’ was a quick read but not really all that interesting. Okay, but I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re not a serious Alice fan.

The Problem of Pain | This is another book that I’ve been ‘reading’ for over a year now. It deals with the (really big) question why God allows so much pain to happen in this world. It’s really interesting and I’ve learned quite a bit, but it is really theoretical as well – not really a beach read. If you’re up for some food for thought, this one is for you though.

The Miniaturist | I honestly don’t know why this book has gotten such great reviews. I finished reading it (because I usually do), but the ending is definitely not satisfying, the story feels staged and unrealistic, I just didn’t like it. It might be because I don’t enjoy historical fiction (I picked it up because of said great reviews), but I wouldn’t recommend it to anybody.

Men Explain Things to Me | I was hesitant in starting this book because I didn’t want to start some men-hating feminist book, but I actually really enjoyed it! It’s funny and wise and doesn’t lump together every man in the same category. It’s an easy read and makes you think – I liked it!

The Colour Purple |This story is a classic with good reason. It starts out quite gloomy but seeing how the main character Celie frees herself from oppression and finds her own way is wonderful to read.

Mr Rosenblum’s List | That’s such a cute book! It’s very slow in the middle, but you need to push through because it gets great at the ending again!

Merken

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