Thursday, 29 September 2011

Thoughts: The Likeness by Tana French

Cover story: "Six month after a particularly nasty case, Detective Cassie Maddox has transferred out of Dublin's murder squad and has no plans to go back. That is, until an urgent telephone call summons her to an eerie crime scene.

It's only when she ses the body that Cassie understands the hurry. The victim, a young woman, is Cassie's double and carries ID identifiying herself as Alexandra Madison, an alias Cassie once used on an undercover job. Suddenly, Cassie must discover not only whokilled this girl but, more importantly, who is this girl?"

Tana French is on her way to become my favorite author concerning murder, mystery and psychological thriller. Her characters are versatile and have personality. I love to flip through the pages and would have actually never minded if there was no last page to the book. I can loose myself in the story, just like Cassie who steps in as Alexandra Madox again to find out who the other girl's killer was. She must be careful, especially around her four housemates who knew the dead girl very well. Soon Cassie gets used to her new life and wouldn't mind never leaving it again. But there is this case to solve and Franck Mackey, who supervises the undercover work, is watching every single step Cassie makes.

I can't wait to grab Faithful Place from the shelf, the third novel of the Dublin murder squad series, in which Franck Mackey will narrate the story.

Final words: Alarmingly thrilling.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

I am rereading whatever I like.

I reread whenever I feel like it. I reread The God of the Small Things by Arundhati Roy, The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides just to name a few. Those are extraordinary books I wanted to enjoy more than once. In fact every time I reread a book it's a whole new experience. Because I am older, because I recognize new things, because I feel like visiting old friends, because I can't get enough of them.

Today I share my top ten books I plan on rereading in the future.

1. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer - It whirled up my emotions. Love, love, love it.
2. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden - Personally I think there is nothing more interesting than this old Japanese tradition.
3. Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer - Mount Everest is fascinating as well as Krakauer's encounters there. My favorite non-fiction until now.
4. Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Aidichie - The beauty of Aidichie's writing combined with Nigerian history. I have to pick it up again sometime.
5. Three Bags Full by Leonie Swann - My favorite book by a German author. A sheepish murder mystery. Funny and touching.
6. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini - I don't know why but I will pick it up again.
7. The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende - I think I might have been to young to grasp the whole concept of the book when I first read it.
8. Set This House in Order by Matt Ruff - A story about a man with a multiple personality. Highly interesting.
9. On Beauty by Zadie Smith - One of the first books I read in English, which really stuck with me.
10. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon - because it is my absolute favorite and I expect I will reread it from time to time my whole life.

Do you think rereading is a waste of time? Or do you occasionally pick up an old loved one?

This meme is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Thoughts: A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewcycka

I picked this book up in a used book store in London one year ago because I already recognized it, always being prominently displayed in every German book store. Now it took me nearly one year to finally pick it up from my shelf. I expected something humorous or possibly hilarious. This I expected quite rightly because every praise on the cover used the word 'funny'.

Unfortunately I didn't find the story or the characters particularly amusing. Valentina is a 36 years old Ukrainian woman, who wants to live in the UK. So she marries Nikolai Mayevsky, a 84 years old Ukrainian immigrant. Valentina makes life to hell for Nikolai, that is where his daughters come in. They want to help their father out of his desperate situation and Valentina out of their mother's kitchen.

The language Lewycka used is the only thing that caused me to giggle from time to time, because it's a lively mix of English used by Ukrainian immigrants. Otherwise there is very much dark humor spread over the pages, mainly a greedy woman abusing an old man, making fun of him and his daughters trying to help him out of a tragic situation he doesn't acknowledge being in, more often than not bitching at Valentina, who seeks a better life for herself and her son.

The fifty years of darkest European history which were meant to be uncovered weren't as insightful as I hoped for. I would have liked a little input about Siberian labor camps, but as Nikolai's family seeks to keep the past under tight wraps, not much insight is allowed.

Somewhat generous 3 stars.