Bookstores are one of my favourite places. Ever. I love the smell in there, the smell of books in general, the dust on the higher shelves, the quiet you sometimes find in smaller stores. After a busy and tiring day at work I sometimes take a different route back home just to nip into one of my favourite bookstores. The problem is: I always find something I like despite the fact that my shelves at home are crammed already and that there is this one section that holds all the books I still haven’t read. And it’s not 2 or 3 volumes but at least 20.
But then the good thing about books is that they stay on your shelves for as long as you let them. They don’t go bad or fall apart in your lifetime. They are trustworthy companions, always there when you need one of them to escape reality for a few hours. In the past few years I only read four or five books each year. For some that might feel like a lot. Still, I had the feeling that I had abandoned one of my most cherished hobbies (plus I have a masters degree in English Literary studies and am used to read 3 books at the same time and within one week). It wasn’t because I could not find anything good to read rather than the lack of time. Work kept me busy and once home I didn’t feel like sitting down and reading anything. My evening routine suddenly only included ‚watching an episode of a favourite series‘ followed by ‚go to bed‘. And on the weekends I did all the grown up stuff like getting groceries and cleaning and tidying. In 2013, after I quit my job and left the big town behind, I decided to reconquer my evenings. Since then I am reading about one or two books each month depending on how long they are.
I started my 2017 reading list with Volker Kutscher „Lunapark“, the 6th volume of a series about a german detective solving crimes in Berlin. It is set in the late 1920s to early 1930s and each book transports you back into that era. Kutscher really brings Berlin back to life in his books. Currently SKY and ARD are turning the books into a TV series („Babylon Berlin“). Latest news say that SKY will show it this autumn and ARD sometime in 2018. I am not sure about it yet. The casting looks interesting and the author mentioned at a reading I’ve attended that he is involved in the production process and chose the actors playing his characters.
The second book I have just finished reading is also part of a series. You may have heard of the Peter Grant novels by Ben Aaronovitch. Peter Grant is a police officer with the London Met. Nothing special about that one might think, but one night he sees a ghost while on patrol and finds out that there is a part of London police that deals with magical and „weird“ matters. He is assigned to the magical unit (the Folly) and his new governor Nightingale (who should be over 100 years old but isn’t) immediately and trains to become a wizard. Since Peter is the only apprentice in Nightingale’s team (the magical unit of the Met only has two official members) and they are kept secret from the public, lots of funny and weird stuff happens. The books are urban fantasy and despite the „magical“ and „fantasy“ bits are also a funny and gripping read for people who are not into orcs and elves. That’s mostly the fault of Peter Grant who approaches his „learning how to do magic“ scientifically. And of course the books are set in modern day London and reference 21st century pop culture a lot. „The Hanging Tree“ is the 6th volume and I cannot tell you what happens because it would spoil things. The Peter Grant novels are one of my favourite series at the moment.
After two novels I needed a little break from getting sucked into a fictional world and started reading „The Little Book of Hygge“ by Meik Wiking. Wiking works at the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen and researches about what makes us happy and how happiness works. In his books he explains what „hygge“ means and how you create a „hygge“ lifestyle. But not in a dry and boring, lecturing way. I have only so far read one quarter of the book. Often it is really funny and sarcastic even. Thankfully it does not at all read like a self-help, esoteric book.
These are only the first three books on my reading list for 2017. You can see a small selection of what is still sitting on my shelves in this picture. There is no particular order in which I will read these books because it really depends on what mood I am in after I’ve finished a book. Sometimes I need distraction from reality and whichever book I pick up needs to be gripping and get me hooked from page one. Other times it is enough when the book entertains me and is an easy read.
I might not even read all the books on this pile because a new one might be added to my collection when I next visit the bookstore. You never know.