Master of Shadows by Neil Oliver: I had high hopes for this one because Neil Oliver seemed such a promising story-teller. I had read two of his previous books, The History of Scotland and Vikings, with mixed results. The first one I loved the latter one missed something. I never really got emotionally invested in it. The same happened here which was even more disturbing since it is a book of fiction with an interesting array of characters. Still the story of John Grant whose mother was Jeanne d’Arc was just too far-fetched and the connection to the fall of Constantinople in 1453 just didn’t work. As slow as it starts in the end the book feels hurried and rushed. Only for great history lovers since the fall of Constantinople was interestingly told.
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher: Why would a young girl commit suicide? Her thirteen reasons and the impact other people and their actions had on her life make for a compelling read. Since the book now has its 10th anniversary it was a good time to re-read it (also it just happened to pop up on my e-reader). It still fascinated me how your everyday decisions can change the course of a life for someone else. So always be careful on what you say and how you talk about other people. Suicide is so far removed from my thoughts that the actions of Hannah are incomprehensible. But I remember the drama when I was a teenager and how every problem seemed like an insurmountable obstacle. How hard must it be when you don’t see any light at the end of the tunnel. Excellent book!
Die Milchfrau in Ottakring by Alja Rachmanowa: A book club read about a Russian immigrant to Vienna in the 1920’s. I really like the description of everyday life in Vienna during this time. It’s especially interesting if you know the city and its people. It was great to read that Austria has always been an immigration country and not just now as the right parties would want us to believe. And how there is not only the American Dream but also an Austrian Dream that can be achieved with hard work and dedication. The book was also a perfect choice for the Popsugar Reading Challenge 2017 that I have signed up for this year although it’s already a book from the advanced list. Let’s hope I can manage the others as well.
Us by David Nicholls: A long time ago I read “One Day” from David Nicholls and fell in love with the book and the author. As always in life my expectations are ruining everything, this book is no exception. I didn’t like Douglas, the first-person narrator, and never warmed to him throughout the book. Moreover I totally got why his wife wanted to leave him and start afresh. Maybe not the best premise when reading about how to make your marriage work again. I loved the travel part though, how as a family one might not be compatible either while traveling (have you ever had that with friends? perfectly fine at home but once one the road suddenly a different person?). It put me in the right mind-set for all my own travels and how fun it is to go about them alone from time to time. At least it also counts for the Popsugar Reading Challenge 2017.