Gebrauchsanweisung für die Pfalz by Christian Habekost My rating: 4 of 5 stars (To my English-speaking audience: There’s a Google-Translate button at the bottom of each page and the next review will be in English again.) “Es ist ein spielerisches, ritualisiertes Hin- und Hergezerrtsein zwischen Minderwertigkeitskomplex und Hybris.”(Der Autor über die Pfalz) Vor gar nicht langer Zeit schrieb ich bereits darüber, wie gern ich mittlerweile ...

Ich bleibe hier, von Marco Balzano Es ist keine 24 Stunden her, als ich tief seufzend neben meiner Frau ins Bett sank und mein Schicksal beklagte, schon wieder ein… komisches… Buch zu lesen. “Über Südtirol”, sagte ich und meine Frau antwortete, “Oh, nein, Südtirol – Faschismus und Nationalsozialismus, lies doch etwas Leichteres…” Sie hatte – wie (fast) immer Recht – und Unrecht zugleich. Ja, die Geschichte ist n...

Solutions and Other Problems by Allie Brosh My rating: 5 of 5 stars In 2014, I came across Allie Brosh’s first book “Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened”. Apart from funny stories from Allie’s life, it contained the story of her experiences with depression. Reading about that in what amounts to a crude comic was a singular experience for me – despite sufferin...

Fox 8 by George Saunders My rating: 2 of 5 stars For Fox’ Sake – what a disaster! What an unholy mess of a novella! Our protagonist, Fox 8, who is, you guessed it, a fox, gets a quick glance of what humanity is capable of.This is a promising premise and, if excitedly well, could lead to an interesting story. Unfortunately, it turns out foxes don’t “speak” English very well and I don’t have much patience for sentences like this: ...

Die Bagage by Monika Helfer My rating: 3 of 5 stars Der Literaturkritiker Denis Scheck hat dieses Buch empfohlen (“Auf nur 160 Seiten entfaltet die Autorin Monika Helfer eine beeindruckende und gehaltvolle Geschichte über Familienstrukturen und Beziehungen.”) und sein Wort hat für mich Gewicht. Wie so oft, wenn’s dem Esel zu wohl wird, naja, Ihr wißt schon… Das Problem dieses kurzen Büchleins ist, daß es die einerseits sehr persönli...

Cibola Burn by James S.A. Corey My rating: 3 of 5 stars Oh, well, this will be a difficult review to write, I guess. I really like this series and its ideas, its wonderful characters, the brilliant writing, etc. etc. Along came “Cibola Burn”: We find ourselves accompanying Holden and his crew through one of the rings into the great unknown – into which a band of settlers from Ganymede made it before him and pretty much started colonisin...

Hamster im hinteren Stromgebiet by Joachim Meyerhoff My rating: 4 of 5 stars Einer meiner Lieblingsschriftsteller ist von Beruf Schauspieler. Nach vier großartigen, teils autobiographischen, Romanen bedarf Joachim Meyerhoff keiner großen Vorstellung mehr. Wenn also Meyerhoff ein neues Buch geschrieben hat, dann muß bei mir literarisch alles andere hintanstehen. Das ist nichts Neues. Neu für mich persönlich ist allerdings, daß ich dieses Buc...

Abaddon’s Gate by James S.A. Corey My rating: 5 of 5 stars Wow, what a ride! After the excellent “Leviathan Wakes” and the almost equally great “Caliban’s War” here I’m sitting and wondering what to write about this more than worthy successor… When I first encountered the “The Expanse” series, I was sceptical: – I do not like science fiction literature.– I do not like soap operas (so why would I lik...

Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey My rating: 5 of 5 stars This was a tricky one for me… I have tried reading science fiction before and (usually) didn’t like it. It was all too often dark, gritty and bleak, set in a dystopian universe in which pretty much everyone acts completely self-absorbed. Thus, I disavowed science fiction in books because I’m a closet optimist: I’ve subscribed early on to the philosophy, the idealism and optimisti...

Black Bear Alibi by J.C. Fuller My rating: 4 of 5 stars I have no idea how this book actually made it onto my to-read list. Anyway, it was a quick and sufficiently satisfying read. It’s a rather simple mystery with an interesting premise: A ranger, our local hero Philip, finds the mangled corpse of a young local woman. Together with the new sheriff, Lane, he tries to find out what happened. This is a topic we’ve often read about before but th...

Gerrit Code Review for Exherbo
Exherbo / September 15, 2013

This post is outdated and only kept for historical reasons. I’ve installed a Gerrit Code Review instance on my server for use with Exherbo. Gerrit is a code review tool and allows for discussing patches and keeping the results for future reference get notified by email about changes (if you want) easily work on every Exherbo repository contributors to get their repositories added to Gerrit as well (optional but strongly recommen...

Summer’s End by Lisa Morton
Advance Review Copy (ARC) , Book Review / September 1, 2013

Summer’s End by Lisa Morton My rating: 1 of 5 stars Occult nonsense and boring at that Let’s instead start at the very beginning: The cover. It looks cheap and badly done. Tons of artifacts, especially around the arms. The text looks like it belongs to some romance novel, not a wanna-be occult horror “novella”. And, oh, yes, it certainly is a “novella” which is good because much more than the about 24...

The Hitler Diaries by Jim Williams

The Hitler Diaries by Jim Williams My rating: 2 of 5 stars This certainly isn’t a bad book. Unfortunately, it shows that this book was its author’s first novel. The story is fairly convoluted with a lot of characters most of which are expendable and don’t really add much to the book. The decision not to do additional work  before this re-publication was, in my eyes, a mistake since the story could have benefited g...

Travels in Elysium by William Azuski
Book Review / June 16, 2013

Travels in Elysium by William Azuski My rating: 1 of 5 stars Have you ever read a book by Umberto Eco? Then you’ll know that Mr. Eco is an extremely smart person – and he loves showing that to his readers. His books are well-researched, full of reference to historical facts, other works, etc. They might not all be nice to read and some are outright annoying but at least they’re well-written. Now imagine Eco without pro...

Code of Thieves by Joyce Yarrow

Code of Thieves by Joyce Yarrow My rating: 2 of 5 stars Another book I got from the “Early Reviewers” program on LibraryThing which I’m grateful for, thanks. Unfortunately, “Code of Thieves” has a lot of flaws.I’ll skip the summary which others have already done well. The problems start with the characters – none of them, including the hero, are believable human beings. In fact, they don’t...

The Bourbon Street Ripper by Leo King
Advance Review Copy (ARC) , Book Review / December 15, 2012

The Bourbon Street Ripper by Leo King My rating: 4 of 5 stars Just when I was thinking nothing really good would ever come out of giveaways, I got “The Bourbon Street Ripper” (BSR). Put off at first by the lurid title, I quickly got drawn into the book. As usual, I’ll skip summarising the story as others will have done this before. In short, it’s basically a well-done mystery novel and, in contrast to the author&...

Die Weihnachtsliste by Sophie Kinsella
Book Review / December 7, 2012

Die Weihnachtsliste by Sophie Kinsella My rating: 1 of 5 stars Groschenhefte hatten mehr Inhalt und geistigen Tiefgang… Wer sich noch an die Groschenhefte von früher erinnert, die kurz, schmalzig, niveaulos und wenig intelligent waren, der wird es einzuordnen wissen, wenn ich hier feststellen muß, daß diese Ultra-Kurzgeschichte (zumindest verringert das den unweigerlich auftretenden Leseschmerz) tatsächlich eben diese Groschenheft...

The Third Day by Mark Graham
Advance Review Copy (ARC) , Book Review / November 27, 2012

The Third Day by Mark Graham My rating: 2 of 5 stars Unfortunately, this is another book I finished for two reasons only: a) I always finish a book. b) I felt a moral obligation to do so. The problem with “The Third Day” is that it tries to do/show a lot of things in parallel and doesn’t succeed in any. Take two people dissatisfied with their lives; a depressed agnostic widow and a faithful scholar. Their lives basical...

And They Called Her Spider by Michael Coorlim
Advance Review Copy (ARC) , Book Review / November 20, 2012

And They Called Her Spider by Michael Coorlim My rating: 3 of 5 stars This is a nice, quick read and serves well as a (very short) introduction to the two protagonists, an engineer and a slightly flippant, well, whatever Bartleby is. Of course, this is a short story at best and I would have wished it to be a bit longer but it’s certainly entertaining even though it felt a bit like fast food – good but it leaves a tad bit to ...

Murder at the Ocean Forest by ROBERT ”DIGGER” CARTWRIGHT
Advance Review Copy (ARC) , Book Review / November 20, 2012

Murder at the Ocean Forest by ROBERT ”DIGGER” CARTWRIGHT My rating: 1 of 5 stars I really hoped to like this book because the author gave me the ebook for free. This was nice, Robert, and thanks for that again. Unfortunately, I really didn’t like this book for quite a few reasons. First of all, it starts extremely slowly – the entire first third mainly consists of annoying quarrelling between stereotyped characte...