Der Massai, der in Schweden noch eine Rechnung offen hatte, von Jonas Jonasson
Book Review / February 24, 2021

My rating: 0 von 5 Sternen Ich fühle mich angewidert und beschmutzt von diesem Buch. Der Autor, der offenbar das letzte Quäntchen Geld aus seinem Namen machen möchte, ist sich für kein rassistisches Klischee zu schade. Gleich zu Beginn lesen wir über Hitler, den der Autor verharmlosend-kumpelhaft als “Adolf” tituliert: »Was zum bis dato größten Krieg der Menschheitsgeschichte führte. Adolf verlor ihn und starb.« Eine der kenianischen Figuren (eigentlich sogar alle) wird als dummer, tölpelhafter, ungebildeter Wilder dargestellt: »Schlimm genug war es, dass einen der Strom beißen konnte, bloß weil man einen Nagel in ein Loch in der Wand steckte. Aber die Maschine zum Schreiben war ja regelrecht lebensgefährlich!« Noch ein Beispiel für den geradezu beiläufigen Rassismus in diesem Machwerk: »Denn über den typischen Kuh- oder Ziegenhirten der Savanne gab es prinzipiell viel Gutes zu sagen, aber wer tiefschürfende Einsichten in den Sinn des Lebens erwartete, suchte sich besser andere Gesprächspartner.« Auch Frauen sind offenbar für den Autor allenfalls dann etwas “wert”, wenn sie den Anstand haben, für uns Männer attraktiv zu erscheinen: »Jenny wuchs heran, ohne auch nur das kleinste bisschen attraktiv zu werden. Sie hielt sich im Hintergrund. Besaß null Ausstrahlung. Kleidete sich unvorteilhaft.« Diesen Satz legt der…

Troubled Blood (Cormoran Strike #5), by Robert Galbraith
Book Review / February 24, 2021

Troubled Blood by Robert Galbraith My rating: 5 of 5 stars To get one thing out of the way right at the beginning: It’s just a disguise. Creed himself says so. Nevertheless, I’ve been informed by my daughter – who tends to be right (woe be me!) – the author proudly presents views the Dark Ages are rightly about to reclaim. Those views of the author are deeply offensive to many – me as well. And, yet, they do not diminish the greatness of this piece of art. 2021 starts out well, reading-wise. I’ve liked Robert Galbraith’s “Strike” novels from the beginning because Galbraith’s characters were so relatable. The eponymous Cormoran Strike, former soldier, now a detective, who lost one of his legs in war. Robin, who starts out as a temporary worker at Strike’s then-struggling agency as a secretary, but who becomes Strike’s business partner and confidante.Then there’s Strike’s glamorous ex-fiancee, Charlotte, his estranged rockstar father Johnny Rokeby and Leda Strike, Cormoran’s groupie mother. In the beginning of the series, that’s pretty much the entire primary cast – apart from the victims, the perpetrators, the witness, etc. – and that would already have been enough because the chemistry between…

This is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor, by Adam Kay
Book Review / February 13, 2021

This is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor by Adam Kay My rating: 5 of 5 stars »This morning I delivered little baby Sayton – pronounced Satan, as in King of the Underworld.« Wow, what a ride! Adam Kay, doctor gone writer, describes what he experienced in six years of medical practice in the United Kingdom. In about 10 chapters, Adam first introduces us to the new position or posting he’s in now. He then proceeds to write in usually short passages in anecdotal style to explain the manifold lows and highs of his profession. There were passages I laughed out loud at (something I rarely do and which garnered me curious and worried looks from my family), some that I thought couldn’t be true and others again that really truly hurt.So, first information if you want to read this book: On multiple levels, the title is extremely well chosen. Definitely dominant, though, is a wonderfully dry humour that, I imagine, in part allowed Adam to pull through those obviously at least partly hard, harsh years. »Clearly blood isn’t the delicious post-delivery snack she imagines placenta might be.« (She probably simply hasn’t read the right cookbooks!) Another…

A Dead Djinn in Cairo (Fatma el-Sha’arawi #1), by P. Djèlí Clark
Book Review / February 9, 2021

A Dead Djinn in Cairo by P. Djèlí Clark My rating: 1 of 5 stars An investigator in an alternative Egypt with ghuls, djinn, angels, other-worldly foes, a plethora of faiths and all set in a steampunk world. The writing is nothing special, the plot still mostly to-be-found at the end of this mercyfully very short novella – this is pretty much the most boring novella I’ve read in years. The most redeeming feature of the simplistically named “A Dead Djinn in Cairo” is its brevity. View all my reviews

It Only Happens in the Movies, by Holly Bourne
Book Review / February 4, 2021

My rating: 2 of 5 stars This was very different from what I expected. I expected a regular trashy romance but what I actually got was some kind of teeny romance… I wrote quite a bit more, originally, but decided not to elaborate because I’d very likely do this book an injustice. 14-year-old me probably would have liked this. Thirty-one years later, I simply found a book I’m too old for. View all my reviews

The Egg (ebook), by Andy Weir
Book Review / January 30, 2021

The Egg by Andy Weir My rating: 1 of 5 stars I’m not exactly into faith and even less into “intelligent design” which is pretty much the premise of this short story. Moreover, the idea of humanity (and the universe) being “created” to mature a new “god” is, in fact, abhorrent to me: The protagonist is supposed to be both Hitler and the millions he murdered? Maybe I’m overly critical but using the suffering of millions to “mature” a single individual – what kind of “god” would that be? And what kind of author is it who stoops so low? Altruism – rare enough under “normal” circumstances – becomes a weird kind of egoism if you’re the only true individual, if you’re everyone. Initially, I was about to award three stars but the longer I think about it, the more uncomfortable I become. One star. View all my reviews

The Guest List, by Lucy Foley
Book Review / January 29, 2021

The Guest List by Lucy Foley My rating: 4 of 5 stars »The lights go out. In an instant, everything is in darkness. The band stop their playing. Inside the marquee the wedding guests squeal and clutch at one another.« These are the strong, foreshadowing first words of this guilty pleasure of a book… There’s a wedding on a deserted island, several dark (slightly convoluted) mysteries from the past and on this brightest of days, a severe storm is brewing… This, with a small omission maybe, could have been the blurb to this often-reviewed Goodreads Choice Awards winner of 2020. This slightly Agatha-Christie-inspired setting lent itself to some good whodunnit murder mystery and I fully expected one. Unfortunately, that wasn’t quite what I got: What I got was an attempt at showing me the true characters of the bride, the groom, their families and friends, down to Hannah, the Plus-one. That attempt wasn’t even bad and rather entertaining. It was slightly marred by the fact that everyone basically “sounded” and “felt” alike. We spend much time “in the head” (or rather: the thoughts) of our heroines and heroes and all their thoughts are expressed similarly.Plus: Only on its last pages…

The Vanishing Half, by Brit Bennett
Book Review / January 23, 2021

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett My rating: 5 of 5 stars I didn’t have the slightest idea about how to write this review. The story still resonates within me; simple, and yet hauntingly beautiful. Soul-devouring and yet hopeful. I still have no idea how to write this review so I’ll start with the characters since those will be who make or break this book for you. Desiree and Stella Vignes, twins, grow up in Mallard; a small town not on any map comprised of mostly coloured inhabitants.In addition to the ever-present racism of the time – we’re starting in 1968 – the inhabitants of Mallard are proud of their town which was founded by a man for “men like him, who would never be accepted as white but refused to be treated like Negroes.”. Adele, their mother, whose husband – their father – has been murdered by white people for no particular reason, stays in Mallard for all her life whereas Desiree and Stella flee it as soon as they reasonably can, at 16. While at first both twins stay together in New Orleans, Stella ultimately leaves her sister behind to pursue another life – “passing over” into a…

Behind the Book: Making The Death of Dulgath, by Michael J. Sullivan & Robin Sullivan
Book Review / January 22, 2021

Behind the Book: Making The Death of Dulgath by Michael J. Sullivan My rating: 5 of 5 stars I’m not even sure when I got this book. It probably was part of some Kickstarter campaign of Michael’s and Robin’s which I had the honour to participate in. So I simply had to read it! This “Making of” book was simply supposed to answer the age-old questions every author gets asked: »Where do you get your ideas? How long does it take you to write a book? How do you come up with the names? Do you write every day?« Michael J. Sullivan is one of my favourite authors and, thus, I was highly interested in these rather standard questions; I just didn’t expect answers as good as these: »In school, they may have learned about symbolism and metaphors, but no one said anything about which software program to use, how much of an outline to build before you begin writing, or what music to listen to while typing.« Starting with the initial questions, Michael explains how he works. This will likely not entirely work for everyone but the techniques and ideas Michael presents are an excellent starting point to actually…

The Secret Life of Bots, by Suzanne Palmer
Book Review / January 17, 2021

The Secret Life of Bots by Suzanne Palmer My rating: 3 of 5 stars That didn’t quite hit the spot: An old derelict ship selected as a last-ditch effort to save humanity from an alien invasion. A fleet of semi-autonomous bots. A single outdated first-generation bot that saves the day. It slightly reminded me of Murderbot but, I’m sorry, it lacks the latter’s innocence and… logical purity. These bots seem logical at first glance but have nothing better to do than emulate humans, citing pseudo-religious “Rites of Something”… »Bot 9 approached to speak the Rites of Decommissioning for it as it had the destroyed silkbot, only to find its activity light was still lit. “4340-H?” the bot enquired.« One would think, a vastly superior AI should know better. Nice enough but I’ll stick with Murderbot. View all my reviews