July 23, 2015

We were Liars by E. Lockhart

We Were Liars

Delacorte Press
13th May 2014
227 Pages

We were Liars is a book almost noone really reviewed and I totally get why. 
So, I won't review it, either. 
I will not talk about the story at all. 
I will say that it's a good book, but - based on the hype around it - did not meet my expectations. 
Yes, there was a very unexpected turn. 
But after finding out about it, it didn't blow me away. 
Okay, let's make this a real review, after all: 
I loved the language, the metaphors especially and - despite my earlier disappointment with "The Boyfriend List" - now have a very high opinion of E.Lockhart as a writer. 
One other thing I reallly loved was the beautiful setting, the family dynamics and the almost political take on the poor and rich, right and wrong questions. 
There you have it. Said something without saying anything. This is probably the shortest review I've ever written. 

PS: I received a copy of this book from NetGalley, but that doesn't affect my opinion at all.

July 21, 2015

Book Review: Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

Along for the Ride

It’s been so long since Auden slept at night. Ever since her parents’ divorce—or since the fighting started. Now she has the chance to spend a carefree summer with her dad and his new family in the charming beach town where they live.

A job in a clothes boutique introduces Auden to the world of girls: their talk, their friendship, their crushes. She missed out on all that, too busy being the perfect daughter to her demanding mother. Then she meets Eli, an intriguing loner and a fellow insomniac who becomes her guide to the nocturnal world of the town. Together they embark on parallel quests: for Auden, to experience the carefree teenage life she’s been denied; for Eli, to come to terms with the guilt he feels for the death of a friend.

In her signature pitch-perfect style, Sarah Dessen explores the hearts of two lonely people learning to connect.

Hardcover, 383 pages

Published June 16th 2009 by Viking Books for Young Readers (first published 2004)

Book Review

I have a conspiracy to reveal. Sarah Dessen had us all fooled. 
Throughout our (younger) teenage years, we all thought she had peeked into our dreams, into our wishes and worries when we were asleep at night and then put them down in paper, along with a few phrases of really good advice. 

We thought that, with every one of her books, she just hit the nerve! She just understood!
And in a way, we were right. Sarah Dessen does understand. But reading Along for the Ride, I realized that it may not be my head she peeked into. Maybe neither of our heads. Maybe it is just her own and her memory and experience of growing up and growing apart and growing together. 

Now, this is not necessarily a bad thing. I understand most authors write what they know. And Sarah Dessen certainly does it in an enjoyable way. Her style is subtle, easy. She uses her words to tell a story, nothing more. Her language does not translate the feelings, the emotions. That's - surprisingly - what the plot does. And what her words and sentences do. 

Often times this ends in her telling instead of showing - but not in a bad way! Throughout most of the book, there are no lectures, just subtle hints of advice, of guidance, of thoughts that may be right or may be wrong, but that are definitely worth thinking about. 

Her main character, Auden, is certainly likeable, not too average, not too perfect and not too imperfect, either. But just like language, Auden seems to be a device to bring the message across. And neither of the other character serve any other purpose. Outgoing, indecisive and adventurous Hollis, girly - but - smart Maggie, girly - but - tough Heidi, cowardly - Dad and Icequeen - Mom - each of these characters, eventually, only portrayed one way to live and delivered the message that living life - in the end - is accepting that there's always more ways than one, that you don't always have to decide and that you will feel the fullest, the most you, if you let them all in and put them all out there. 

So, Along for the Ride has an important message that will make every reader feel a lot better about them and their lives. This message - and the feeling of being understood - is the main reason I would recommend the novel. The simple language, character and plot make it an easy and quick read. However, this simplicity also takes some things from the book that I think could have been there: a little bit more depth in the characters, a little bit more confrontation between them, certainly a more varied and unpredictable plot, less cliché metaphors. 

Two last points: The love story in this book left me completely unattached, BUT Auden's mother is hilarious and the humour that is thrown into this story from time to time definitely makes it a good Spring and Summer read!!!

July 18, 2015

The Lunar Chronicles Read - A - Long

lunar chronicles read along


I'm so excited, you can't even imagine!

One of the worst thing about pausing blogging when I did was that I hadn't read Cress! And when I tried reading it now, I couldn't remember anything from the first two books. And rereading them just didn't feel right. But rereading them with a bunch of people who are slowly getting excited for the next installment...YES, please! 

So, 'nough said. This is happening. 

Oh, and it's hosted by The Book Addict's Guide, so go ahead and check her blog to maybe sign up, as well ;) 

Hope everyone has a good Saturday! 



July 17, 2015

Review: Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

Lean In for Graduates


Lean In For Graduates is Sheryl Sandberg's account of why women struggle to succeed in business and how we can change that, structured by ten rules like "Sit at the Table", "Don't Leave Before You Leave" or "Seek and Speak your Truth". The Graduates edition also contains a "Letter to Graduates" as well as additional material in the back, stories of how Lean In changed other peoples' lives and advice from other successful women in business, ranging from emotional support to find your own path to very practical tips on applying for jobs - from the cover letter to negotiating a salary. 


Believe me, my liking - even loving! - this book was by no means a given thing. 

After reading Laurie Penny's "Unspeakble Things" where she states that the problem was not how to get more women into boardrooms but why there are not more boardrooms on fire, you could call my expectations towards "Lean In" at least...let's say...limited. 

But the point Sandberg makes, not too obviously, but convincingly, is that to change the situation of women in the world everywhere, we need to start somewhere. And it is no mystery that the greatest power to actually change things cannot be found in not - for - profit organisations and voluntary work at the library (although I do that and think it's amazing) but the big institutions in politcs and economy. Whether we like that or not. 

And even if we don't like that or don't ever want to work there, Lean In is a strong contribution to the struggle for womens' rights today that I believe every woman should own a copy of (and read it - several times!). That's because Sheryl Sandberg is an intelligent woman that worked hard to provide an interesting and inspiring account of giving women the recognition they deserve in the workforce in general. 

Instead of offering a very long letter to women everywhere encouraging them to "live their dream", "make no compromises" etc. etc., Sandberg mixes valuable (although often - heard) advice with backup in the form of statistics and numbers as well as personal experience that is educational, funny and inspiring. 

For example, Sandberg addresses the issue of women not speaking up for themselves. But instead of just telling us to "raise our voices" and "make a difference", she acknowledges the fact that, statistically, women are perceived more negatively if they are successful career - wise than men are. And that, when negotiating for themselves, women come across as less sympathtic in contrast to men who are perceived as competent when doing the exact same thing. 

Thus, her advice - based on the statistics and the experiences she made herself - is, just one example, to reflect your sense of teamwork and community when negotiating for yourself as a woman, i.e. by stressing how a higher salary for yourself will benefit the entire team by creating a highly motivated team. 

This advice, just like pretty much everything else she says, can be scrutinized by the question of why women should obey the rules that oppress them in the workforce in the first place. The reason is, and she addresses this argument head on several times, that women almost never make up 50% of the powerful institutions of our world. Thus, we do not have the power to change all the rules at once. We must get there first. 

No matter whether you're trying to become the next CEO of Google or Facebook or want to be a stay -at - home mom or are a successful - male - young professional in business: This book is for all of us. If we want to live in a world where as many people as possible actually recieve equal treatment and equal opportunities, there are a couple of suggestions in this book that, if enough people follow it, could really make a difference. 

I should mention, though, that - depending on what you want from the book - you might want to skip some chapters. For example, Sandberg discusses the role of man and woman in the home and family care to a great extent. For a 20 - year - old single student like me, who takes her rule of "Don't Leave Before You Leave" very seriously, that got a bit boring and even repetitive. However, some parts of the "Graduates" edition that I read might apply to students and - well - graduates more. I especially enjoyed Mellody Hobson's essay on owning who you are - and maybe changing the rules of the game a bit to fit you - and Rachel Simmon's account of listenning to your inner voice and breaking the rules of everybodies' expectations. These essays again show how this book is not "just for women", but for everyone. The men, the successful and the not-so-successful, the blacks, the whites, the straights, the gays. 

I'll finish this up with saying this book gave me confidence and a positive outlook on life and work and whatever comes next. And it didn't do that by striking like a bomb with a lot of inspiring quotes, but by carefully analysing what - statistically - is wrong with our world, how others have experienced and changed that - and how we can do that, too! 

I hope you have a good day! 



July 16, 2015

(Yet Another) Reading List

For July this time. It might surprise you that yes, I have actually managed to get through a bit of my reading list for June. I just haven't posted any reviews yet and even that is for a reason, as well: Just as I am re-starting this blog, I decided to work on a German version, as well & all of that together is taking a bit of a chunk of my time ;D


This is what I read in June:


Pivot Point (Pivot Point, #1)Saga, Volume 1We Were LiarsUsThe Thing Around Your NeckNW


Zur Verfassung Europas: Ein EssayDie Schatzinsel: mit der "Hispaniola" auf der Suche nach dem Schatz des Piratenkapitäns FlintKrusoWas heißt Denken?: Vorlesung Wintersemester 1951/52. [Was bedeutet das alles?] (Reclams Universal-Bibliothek)Das Pubertier

Eleven books in total - good, but not great, regarding the endless amount of time I had in June. There were some reading slumps and a LOT of wasted time on the Internet. Details and reviews will follow suit ;)

July is halfway over (can you even imagine?) & my reading to this point was...well not too successfull now:

Was ich noch sagen wollteBlackbox Urheberrecht (German Edition)

These are both German non-fiction books. The first is autobiographical (author: the former German chancellor Helmut Schmidt) and the second one a collection of essays and blog entries regarding German copyright law. I know, terrific stuff! ;D

For the rest of the month, there's some more law stuff for me to get through. Apart from that, I'm trying to work on the books already on my shelves instead of buying new ones.

Kleiner Mann - was nun?We Are Not OurselvesThe Coldest Girl in Coldtown

I've dipped into all of these, they're all lovely, but the spark hasn't really jumped over yet...

The Silkworm (Cormoran Strike, #2)How to Be BothThe Children ActNachrichtenzeit: Meine unfertigen Erinnerungen (German Edition)Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead

These are in no particular order and of no theme other than: I need to work on my TBR pile. So, I hope enthusiasm will come around anyway - there's a reason, after all, I bought this books months and years ago!

I hope y'all have a wonderful summer day and promise some reviews for the next couple of days!

June 02, 2015

May Wrap Up and June TBR

Hello, Hello! 
Long time no see. I hope you are all well - and reading! 
For this first post, I thought I'd share with you what I read in the month of May and what I plan on reading during June. Some of these books are German (my first language), but I linked all of them to Goodreads, so if you want to go see if there's an English translation - there you go! 

The German Ones (none of them translated into English, sadly, but if you can read German and have read them, let me know what you thought of them!) 

Mir fehlt ein Tag zwischen Sonntag und MontagDas Känguru-ManifestDie juristische Unschärfe einer Ehe

The English Ones: 

How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent ReadingHard ChoicesUnspeakable Things: Sex, Lies and RevolutionRunning and Being: The Total Experience

Just realized pretty much all the books I finished this month were non - fiction books. Thankfully, these were all really good. How to Read a Book will probably change my University experience forever, Laurie Penny may not have changed my views on feminism radically, but definitely everything I ever knew about youth culture and protests of the (young) masses. Finally, Hard Choices took an incredibly long time to finish and got a bit repetitive at the end and I had my biggest (though not very big) problems with Running & Being. 


June! The link from spring to summer, my birthday month, endless days without school or work to worry about! 

To begin with, these are the books I have already read in June: 

Pivot Point (Pivot Point, #1)Saga, Volume 1 (Saga #1-6)Zur Verfassung Europas: Ein EssayWe Were LiarsUs

And now the books I'm still planning to read: 

We Are Not OurselvesGeschichte des Westens: Vom Kalten Krieg zum Mauerfall5 to 1The Thing Around Your NeckJust One Year (Just One Day, #2)Saving June

The Author I want to read this month: Zadie Smith! 

White TeethOn BeautyNWThe Autograph ManChanging My Mind: Occasional EssaysMartha and Hanwell (Pocket Penguin 70s #45)

I should probably add that this is a selection. I would really like to get through all of these books and I should have the time for it, too, but I might have to make compromises here and there. 

So, what are you reading this month? Do you ever set focus on a single author and try to read all their works? This is a completely new experience for me, but I would like to try!

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