When I heard about the concept of Teri Lyn Fisher and Jenny Park‘s new cookbook The Perfect Egg I was extremely intrigued. The book is a “fresh take” on egg recipes for “morning, noon, and night,” to quote the book cover’s byline. As someone who frequently returns home from work, tired and with little or no dinner ideas, I saw incredible potential in such a cookbook. While there might not be much else in the refrigerator some nights, there always seems to be eggs. As it turns out, my hopes for the book and the actual contents of the book are a little different. However, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Continue reading →
After reading Swiss author Christian Kracht‘s debut novel Faserland I was hooked. While not overly simplistic by any means, Kracht writes novels that are challenging for a German language learner but aren’t overly complex either. I’m a loyal reader, a loyal fan, generally speaking. If I like the book an author has written — or a the film an actor or filmmaker has made, or the music a musician has made, and so on — I’ll typically go explore more of their work. That’s how I found myself with Kracht’s second novel, 1979. Continue reading →
After last year when I read a measly two books, I knew I had to do better this year. Taking on one of those 50 books in a year challenges certainly isn’t for me. But for 2014 I had a specific strategy: take a bit of a break from German books. I read several English language books — including a couple by I’ll-read-anything-he-writes Irvine Welsh and one by my one-time English teacher John Dixon — that I really enjoyed. Then it was right back to the German practice. Admittedly I haven’t quite finished Christian Kracht’s 1979 — I’ve got about a quarter of the book left — but as long as it’s read before the ball drop on New Year’s Eve it counts, right? Continue reading →
I love Benjamin von Stuckrad-Barre. Really. I do. I watched his television shows religiously thanks to the power of that wonderful thing we call the internet. I read all of his books that I can get my little not-in-Germany hands on. I even — and I cringe admitting this — wrote him a fan letter. Unfortunately it was not long after I started taking learning German seriously so I can imagine how nonsensical and incomprehensible it was. (I never got a response.) But, man. His writing can be tough for a German language learner. Continue reading →
Reading newspapers, websites and magazines all the time can get tedious or boring, especially if you prefer to read fiction or aren’t interested in current events. That’s where eBooks come in. One of the amazing advances of technology in this digital age is the fact that you can now walk around with a huge library on your mobile device.
For German learners, that means an unlimited opportunity to practice your German skills with German eBooks. It doesn’t matter what format you’re looking for — epub, Kindle, PDF, HTML or something else — there are books available online that you can read. Admittedly, many of the texts are classics that are no longer under copyright. But there are also some sites that have more modern books: self help, technology and other educational texts. If you’re looking for something a little different, check out Onleihe, which I recently featured. There’s something for everyone, you just may have to search. Continue reading →
When I was taking regular weekly German lessons, I think the turning point in my experience was when my tutor encouraged me to try reading novels. Admittedly, she suggested a children’s book — The Island of Blue Dolphins — which she provided by way of a copy in English and a copy in German. It took me quite a while to get through that first book but it gave me the confidence and the motivation to keep trying. In the past couple years I’ve probably read a dozen or so books in German and I love it. It’s a great way to get some German reading practice and it just has a different feel to surfing German language websites. But depending on where you live, access to German language books can be difficult and potentially expensive. Or so I thought until I found Onleihe. Continue reading →
When I started reading Heinrich Harrer’s Sieben Jahre in Tibet I didn’t know the “seven years” referred to how long it would take me to read it. Maybe it wasn’t quite that bad but between resuming German lessons and life in general, it took me much longer than I had anticipated to finish the book. Initially when I started reading the book, I got borrowed an English language translation from the library. During the check out process, the librarian mentioned he didn’t realize the film was based on a book. Never a good sign. Continue reading →
Quite frankly I’m horrified by my reading list for 2013. I only read two books this year?! That’s just embarrassing. Part of the reason is I took German lessons again. Part of the reason is a bit of reading burn out. Part was being busy starting up a new business. Part of the reason is just plain laziness. Part of the reason is that Sieben Jahre in Tibet has just been a slow read for me.
While I don’t generally believe in New Year’s Resolutions, I think reading more is definitely my 2014 resolution. And it only takes a quick look at the unread books on the shelf to know I have some good reads ahead! Continue reading →
As a German language learner, I’m always using references. It’s something you just can’t get around. I thought I’d share some of the German language resources that I use on a regular basis. I don’t have a lot of physical books but I have a few that are well used. The online resources, mostly dictionaries, I use practically on a daily basis. I even have them registered in the search bar of my browser so I can jump right to the resource I want and not have to jump through too many hoops. Continue reading →
Rock-n-roll autobiographies seem to be especially popular right now. But due to the nature of the beast, they’re relatively one-sided. You get the author’s point of view than you have to wait for their bandmates to write books to get their side of the story! But in 2005, authors Max Dax and Robert Defcon wrote a biography of sorts on Einstürzende Neubauten. Entitled Nur was nicht ist, ist möglich, the book is a compilation of conversations with the band’s members, past and present, plus a few other figures notable to their music.
Because the book is solely their words it reads like a long transcript which the authors have pieced together. It offers a better insight into exactly what each person thought and less of what the authors – or the band themselves – want to portray. Similarly, there is some back and forth between the band mates, especially during the “Ende Neu” era when two members departed and things turned a little sour. It’s also particularly fascinating to read the band in their own words and not edited together like a magazine interview. Continue reading →
I’m no German language expert — far, far from it — but I have been seeing a large response to my posts sharing my experiences learning German. So I’ve decided to start a new “feature” reviewing the German language books I read, which are as much for pleasure as they are for language practice. This will, hopefully, give other learners ideas for books to look for and what they can expect. If you’ve got a favorite book or a book you’re reading now, please share it! I’d really love to get recommendations.
First up, Benjamin von Stuckrad-Barre’s Auch Deutsche unter den Opfern. Continue reading →