>Between learning music, the internet, and New Yorker issues, I managed to get the following books in during the course of the year — mostly on the train or in my dressing room.
Schlage die Trommel und fürchte Dich nicht – Maria Gräfin von Maltzan (A first-person account of a life which began on wealthy Silesian estates, involved fighting for the right to study, involvement in the resistance movement, drug dependency, and an intense interest in social justice. She spent her later years as a veterinarian in Kreuzberg, offering low-cost treatment for punks’ pet dogs, and died poor.)
The World Without Us – Alan Weisman
A Thousand Splendid Suns – Khaled Hosseini
Fallen, Finten und Finesse – Gregor Himmelfarb (An unusual story – Himmelfarb learned his father had been Jewish when Romanians were made to prove their Aryan ancestry. He managed to survive the war by his wits, but things got no better for him afterward, having had a German mother. It pays to remember all the people who fell through the cracks in the system.)
Der Totenwald – Ernst Wiechert (About his time as a Buchenwald inmate.)
Ich war Hitlerjugend Salomon – Sally Perel
Ich ging durchs Feuer und brannte nicht – Edith Hahn (orig. title: The Nazi Officer’s Wife. She lived, one might say, the female version of Sally Perel’s adventures. Kicked out of law school, sent to forced labor, then got fake papers, lived as an Aryan and even married an officer. Became a judge in family court in the Russian zone after the war. Her story is very interesting.)
I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti – Giulia Melucci (This was a fun read and the recipes are good)
Man muss darüber reden – var. authors (camp survivors speak to Austrian school children.)
Die Stärke der Stille – Marion Yorck von Wartenburg (widow of Peter Yorck, of the July 20 plot.)
Sehnsucht, wo führst Du mich hin? – Luise Ullrich (a German actress who left in the 40s to explore different corners of South America, more or less on her own)
When You Are Engulfed In Flames – David Sedaris
Dubliners – James Joyce
The Hemingses of Monticello – Annette Gordon-Reed (Excellent)
The Omnivore’s Dilemma – Michael Pollan
Idiot America – Charles Pierce
Bloggers On The Bus – Eric Boehlert
Was gibt’s neues vom Krieg? – Robert Bober (orig. title: Quoi de neuf sur la guerre?)
And, under the subgrouping of books I could not finish, or skipped to the end, for various reasons: Das Reichsorchester – Misha Aster (This was good, but came at a bad time for reading and I plan to finish it later.)
Erinnerungen – Albert Speer (A difficult read. Another in the “later” pile)
The Selfish Gene – Richard Dawkins
The Book Thief – Markus Zusak (I didn’t like it, however I dislike Holocaust novels in general. I don’t like it when one tries to play with my emotions for a fiction, when the truth in this case is just so much more interesting and important.)
My Lobotomy – Howard Dully (A story that needed telling, but I couldn’t stay with it.)
The Jump Artist – Austin Ratner (The biggest disappointment on the list. I had ordered it expecting non-fiction, only to find it was a novel. I read it anyway but found lots of things that annoyed me, including the stereotyping of Tyroleans. As with the Zusak, I could see from the very beginning that the authors were not from Europe, and were writing for readers not really up on European life.)
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