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post #1 of (permalink) Old 08-21-2014, 05:56 AM Thread Starter
The Swiss Miss
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Thumbs up Your favourite books?

Let me hear about your favorite books!

I’ve only read a handful books in German the last years but bought whatever I found in English to improve my vocab. At first, I concentrated on thrillers and crime stories (of which I liked “The Chemistry of Death“ by Simon Beckett most) cos they are easy to read due to the rather simple word pool but I’m getting bored by all the suspense. Meanwhile, I can read pretty fluently but old books with very flowery language (e.g. Jane Austen) or too much slang/colloquial language would give me hard times keep that in mind

I like to read pretty much everything; science, history, classics, novels, discoverer stories, biography, fiction, … doesn’t matter; a good book is a -good book. Not too much into phantasy tho. Well, maybe I just never grabbed a good one so far and then there's my soft spot for them old Russians. Have read them in German but would re-read any of them if someone recommends a good translation.

Tit for tat… some books I enjoyed:

Some great novels from this side of the pond
- The Mussel Feast by Birgit Vanderbeke; some hate it due to the breathless style of writing. I was deeply touched by that one. The author is using the lack of punctuation get you caught up in the emotion of that family. Brilliant. One of my all-time favorites
- Brother Sleep by Robert Schneider; read that one on a storm day locked in in the alpine cabin not daring to light a fire with the Foehn storm wind howling with 120km/h around the 200y old icy cold cabin, which gave kind of the perfect atmosphere for this novel settled in the Austrian Alps.
- City of Thieves by David Benioff; again Russia, this time fiction, but I dare to think, it's not that fictional... a page turner
- All Quiet on the Western Front by E. M. Remarque – Germany, WW1. A classic.
- The Reader by Bernhard Schlink – Germany, after WW2
- Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt; humorous insights into a childhood in poor Ireland

- Kolyma Tales by Varlam Shalamov; my favourite. beautifully written snippets of a wittnes of a dark part of history: forced-labour camps in Siberia. If you feel your life sucks at the moment, you'll feel glad to live that life.
- Survival in the Killing Fields by Haing Ngor; well.. another dark part of history… a must read if you're visiting Cambodia, if you’re not, it’s still worth to read.
- A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah; gosh, another dark part…

If you like popular science
- Plague, Pox and Pestilence: Disease in History by Kenneth F. Kiple; I’ve read about every existing book on pestilence history, many of them giving interesting facts but boringly written. That one is great.
- Rare Earth by Peter D. Ward and Donald Brownlee; a palaeontologist and an astronomer discussing the prerequisites for complex life; you’ll feel pretty unique afterwards 
- The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat by Oliver Sacks; you wouldn’t imagine what weird neurological disorders exist…
- A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson; a lighthearted journey thru the history of science and with some hilarious scientists portrays and fails.

I really thought quicksand was going to be a much bigger issue in my life when I was little
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