Nonfiction November: Week 3

For week 3 the topic is: Be The Expert/Ask the Expert/Become the Expert (Julie @ JulzReads): You can either share three or more books on a single topic that you have read and can recommend (be the expert), you can put the call out for good nonfiction on a specific topic that you have been dying to read (become the expert

I’m going to go with Become the Expert. You know the self-help section is filled with lots of books on how to be this and that but the three books I’m going to recommend while they aren’t the typical self-help, I think can help you find yourself. At least they certainly gave me a lot to think about!

The Art of Happiness by the Dalai Lama. A book that focuses on pursuing happiness even during trying times. I read this one shortly after my dad passed away. I felt so lost and this book reminded me that we are all going through difficult times but it is how we face them that we can move forward. Happiness doesn’t come just from external events but from within and to achieve happiness you must first practice compassion.

The Battersea Park Road to Enlightenment by Isabel Losada. “I want to find out how to live life completely, abundantly, joyfully, stupidly.” The author goes on quest trying out different seminars, retreats and paths to achieve enlightenment. It was funny and didn’t necessarily give you the one thing that is going to bring you Enlightenment but just shows the sometimes crazy or odd things people will do all in the pursuit of happiness. More importantly, I think it gives you comfort in knowing you aren’t alone in the journey.

Tales of a Female Nomad by Rita Golden Gelman. When her marriage fell apart, the author travels to a village in Mexico to find peace and herself. What she found was the desire to connect with others and reinvent herself and she began the life of a nomad traveling around various countries always immersing herself in the culture and forming ties with her host’s community. I cannot imagine not having a base but I wouldn’t mind more travel in my life.

Have you read any of these? Would love to hear what you thought.

German Literature Month

Have you heard that November is also German Literature Month in blogland? Lizzy and Caroline are hosting this event again and are now celebrating 8 years! So thank you in advance to the hostesses for another fun time exploring German literature.

November is the month for reading works originally written in German: fiction, non-fiction, poetry, plays, essays, comics, graphic novels.  As long as it’s original language was German. This year, there are also some readalong and themes to explore every week.

In my last post on world literature I mentioned several German translations that would be great for this month’s reading but I don’t have those book (yet!) but of course I do have some on my shelf that would be perfect.

I’ve pulled out these two slim books (maybe if they are slim enough I can actually finish them on time!).

The first title is The Murder Farm by Andrea Maria Schenkel. The story is about a whole family is found brutally murdered at their remote farm home. The newspapers are filled with stories about what happened and it becomes a sensational case. Doesn’t this sound like In Cold Blood? I read her book Ice Cold and found it a chilling crime novel set in during the 1930s in Germany.

The second book is Rock Crystal by Adalbert Stifter. Two children, Conrad and Sanna, walk from their village in the Alps to visit their grandparents the day before Christmas. On their journey home, they take a wrong turn and are feared lost in a snowstorm.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. Between all Atwood, German literature, nonfiction and all of my other ongoing reads, I think I have plenty to do this weekend.

World Lit

Looking at my last month in review, I realize I haven’t made much progress in reading in translation. I can usually average about 10 books a year but if I want to see that happen this year then I need to pay a bit more attention to books in translation.

With that in mind, I was also thinking that as I’ve been so busy the last few months I’ve had several editions of World Literature Today piling up on my nightstand. So I finally went through one and have found quite a few books in translation that I would like to add to my radar. Here they are:

Go, Went, Gone by Jenny Erpenbeck. First off, I read that the author trained as a bookbinder! I don’t know if any of her books have any connection to bookbinding but already that raises my interest in her work. This novel looks at the recent refugee crisis in Western Europe.

A Million Drops by Victor del Arbol. Spain. An intense literary thriller that tears through the interlocked histories of fascism and communism in Europe.

My German Brother by Chico Buarque. Set in 1960s Brazil, teenage Ciccio comes upon some information that reveals his father’s affair and the possibility of a German brother and so the quest to find the truth begins.

The Good Son by You-Jeong Jeong. Early one morning, twenty-six-year-old Yu-jin wakes up to a strange metallic smell, and a phone call from his brother asking if everything’s all right at home. The setting takes place over three days as Yu-jin tries to remember what happened.

Von Spatz by Anna Haifisch. What happens at the Von Spatz Rehabilitation Center after Walt Disney suffers a nervous breakdown?

Some of these titles would certainly be good ones to consider for German Literature month right? More on that in my next post. But if you are interested in knowing more about these titles you can find the reviews in the July/August WLT edition.

Let me know if you’ve read any of these or if you have another book in translation you’ve recently read that you can recommend.