Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Armchair Traveling

This summer I have made sure I take time to read as my stack of "books to read" has reached dangerous proportions... And while I was reading, I realized how much I enjoy books that have a good story line, that are somewhat suspenseful and that take me to a different time or a different place of both. All of these books have done that.

1. The Millenium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson (this book being the last of them), you can't put down if you like them (Daniel is sitting next to me as I write this engrossed in the second one). They are incredibly well written and suspenseful, all set in Sweden, a country I have always wanted to visit. I am sorry the author passed away so young and before finishing the fourth book in the series.
2. The Pale Horseman is book two of The Saxon Tales by Bernard Cornwell, set in England in the 9th century at a time when the Danes were invading. It is such a great story told from both sides, based entirely on the history of the time, but with lots of battle and bloodshed, so if you are sensitive to that, these books are not for you. I'm looking forward to reading the next one in the series!
3. I have to say that The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet was one of the most beautifully written book I have read in a long time. I am a very fast reader, both in English and in German, but this book I savored. I read and reread passages because the language was simply exquisite. Add to that an engaging story line set in a Dutch trading post in Japan around the year 1800, and I know I will read this book again sometime!
4. One of my good friends here lent me Tuareg - the German version. It was a very engaging story and a pretty fast read. It told about the "Tuareg, the true sons of the desert. They can survive in the harshest of conditions like nobody else. The noble inmouchar Gacel Sayah, is the master of a large extension of the desert. One day, two fugitives arrive from the north and Gacel, following his ancient and sacred hospitality laws, gives them shelter. However, Gacel doesn't realise that his act of kindness will lead him towards a deadly adventure." (quote from Amazon.com) It was one of those books I wish I could read in the author's native language and not a translated version - a worthwhile trip into the Saharan Desert.
5. From the Sahara back up to northern Europe where the weather is often much colder. I've read several books by Ian Rankin in the Detective Rebus series, all mysteries set in modern Scotland, another country I'd like to visit sometime. His mysteries are always a little complicated, several plots going on at the same time and often coming together at the end. Rebus is a complex character and often (not to say always) gets himself into trouble. To me these are thoroughly enjoyable! This one took me all the way out onto oil rigs in the wild North Sea!
6. And here's the book I am reading now, a German translation of Arnaldur Indriðason's Sons of Dust. Every time I visit my family in Germany, I pick up a stack of books to add to our library here so that we always have something to read in German. I've read one other by the author, but this is his first in the Detective Erlandur series, all of them set in Island, - you guessed it - another country I'd like to visit some day...
With both of us reading so many books set in northern Europe, we are in planning mode for the next summers and some traveling to those places we haven't yet visited. I can't believe that I grew up in northern Germany and have never been to Scandinavia, except one wonderful vacation on Bornholm, a Danish island, when I was five. Usually on vacations growing up my family went south to where the beaches were warm and sunshine was a little more guaranteed...

So much for my armchair travels so far this summer.  Let me know if you've read any books lately you have really enjoyed. Even though our stack of unread books is really tall, we keep an ongoing list of books that were recommended to us, just in case we spy one in a second hand bookstore or at the library book sales...

Happy reading!!


  1. Du musst Dir unbedingt die Bücher von Jussi Adler Olsen besorgen, Ich finde die noch besser als die von Stieg Larsson. Erbarmen ist der 1. Band. Hier ist gerade der dritte Erlösung erschiene, stürmt wieder die Bestsellerlisten und ich habe ihn an einem Wochenende ausgelesen.

  2. I'm not going to recommend any books but I do envy people who can lose themselves in a story. I'm very impressed that you can read in different languages too! Happy reading Silke. :)xx

  3. I haven't been able to find a book to hold my interest this summer. I'm reading the "lock artist" now that seems ok, it won and Edgar award. Thank you for your list, I might try some of them. Happy reading.

  4. Liebe Silke,

    wir freuen uns, dir sonnige Grüße
    zu schicken

    Angela und Elisabeth

  5. They all sound delightful Silke!
    My current pile of *only* 35 on the nightstand (yes, I had to count...LOL!) seems to be mostly comparative theology, a couple of art books and a few buried at the very bottom that I have no idea what they are, as they have not moved UP the pile or OUT yet!
    I may be surprised... ;-)
    Till we talk...good reads and enjoy the drawing!


  6. Gosh Silke I cannot tell you the amount of books I still NEED to read!! But time gets so tight I have taken to listening to audio books whilst sewing - I know I'm cheating - but I love it!!

    Best wishes

    Sarah xx

  7. Also jetzt muss ich mir unbedingt die Bücher von Stieg Larsson zulegen. Das zweite Mal in dieser Woche, dass ich darauf aufmerksam gemacht werde.

    GGLG Anne

  8. Looks like you are set for the summer with good reads! Enjoy!!!

  9. You really have a varied selection there! I do agree with you in liking books that take you to another time and/or place. Right now I'm reading "the Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie" by Alan Bradley, which is surprisingly interesting-- I had not been too interested in it since the protagonist is only 11 years old, but it takes place in England in the 50's, and has a good sense of humour in it. Plus I bought it for $2.99.

  10. I have to confess that since my life with the Internet, I've not read much because I do most of my reading online, but it's not the same, I know. I used to be transported into different places by reading a book and I've started to read again, albeit at the end of the day when I end up falling asleep after just a few pages. Enjoy your books and thanks for the inspiration!

  11. Silke- thanks for the great reviews - I am going to look for some of these - my reading time is limited - but I enjoy a good book better than anything~~