Wednesday, 30 July 2014

The Book Cake Tag

"People don't read enough nowadays. It is such a shame." that is what my lecturer tells us basically every week. Personally, I never feel affected when he says that. I  love reading despite the fact that I am very slow. It is impossible for me to have a long reading session, but I have to read at least a few pages every night before I go to sleep.
Reading is a pleasure and because I love to discover new titles for my "to read list" I thought I might share a few of my favourites and warm recommendations with you. So, when I found the "Book Cake Tag" I figured it might be the perfect chance to finally do it.

1) Flour - a book that was a little bit slow to start off, but that really picked up as it went along

 First of all, let me rephrase this sentence: A book that was a bit hard to get through, but still worth the while. To me this would be "The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet" by David Mitchell. This book caught my eye at the book shop, because of the gorgeous cover which already promised a Japan set story. It deals with Jacob de Zoet, a Dutch trader who stays in Dejima/Japan at the end of the 18th century and who falls in love with a Japanese woman.
Sadly,  I have to admit that David Mitchell might not be my favourite author. His style of writing did not appeal to much and it made the story tedious at times. However he manages to depict a quite accurate picture of the Japanese country and it's peculiar relationship to foreigners during the late Tokugawa period. The love story between Jacob and his love interest Orito is grown-up, but still romantic.
All in all you should give this book a try if you are interested in (historic) Japan as it is quite insightful.

2) Butter (yes, I don't use the term margarine) - A book with a rich and great plot

For this category I chose Rachel Johnson's "Winter Games" which follows an English girl who goes to Germany during the Third Reich to go to school. It combines her story with the one of her grand daughter who tries to reveal the happenings of that time. The title of the book refers to the Winter Olympics of 1936 which were held in Germany.
Being German myself the entire topic of the Third Reich, Hitler and national socialism was discussed at school more than enough, but even to me this book offered an entirely new approach to this rather difficult, often dull subject. Sometimes you are surprised by the lighthearted atmosphere in the book, but you still feel that something is "wrong".
3) Eggs - A book that you thought was going to be bad, but actually turned out quite enjoyable

To be honest, I did not know which book to pick at first, but then I decided to chose one which was just unexpectedly good. My choice: "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett.
Before reading the book I watched the film featuring Emma Stone and I loved it and last year on my birthday my friend gave me the book. I did not expect it to be bad, but I also did not expect that I would love it so much. As I said in the introduction, I am a slow reader, but I positively devoured this one. It has humour, but remains earnest and Kathryn Stockett really knows how to play with words. A must read for everyone this summer!

4) Sugar - A sugary/ sweet book

This category was the easiest. I mean, when a book it already called "Paris my sweet" isn't that the moral imperative to mention it just now? In this easy breezy Spring/Summer read Amy Thomas talks about the experiences she made when she lived in Paris. You can not expect a deep or profound storyline, but if you are looking for something to get your mind off of your daily life and just indulge in everything Paris, food and living the good life this book is perfect. Furthermore it features Amy Thomas' favourite places at the end, in case you are planning a trip to Paris yourself.
I read this book on my flight to Japan last year, while waiting for my connection flight: best way to spend my time there!
5) Icing - A book that covered every single element that you enjoy about a book

I love Oscar Wilde - his plays, his poems and his biography. When I came across Gyles Brandeth's "Oscar Wilde Murder Mystery Series"a few years ago, I immediately figured out that this would be just my cup of tea. And I was right. Written from the perspective of Oscar Wilde the books deal with different periods of his life and of course there are crimes to be solved. So far there are six novels. Unfortunately I only own the first three of them so far. They are witty, clever and captivating. Gyles Brandeth's novels are a wonderful way to bring the famous playwright and poet back to life.

If you are capable of the German language, I can always recommend the historic novels by Rebecca Gablé, especially "Die Hüter der Rose". They are my favourite books to read. One of them, "The settlers of Catan" was actually released in English a while ago.

6) Sprinkles - A book you kind of turn to for a little pick me up when you're feeling down

When I am in a bad mood, I usually like to skim through books which do not consist of a heavy storyline, but which are easy reads with short chapters. Books you can open on any page without thinking about it. To me, of these books is "What would Audrey do?" by Pamela Keogh. It is a mixture of a biography about Audrey Hepburn, my favourite actress, and a lifestyle-guide. It offers nice, little episodes about Audrey's life mixed with subtle advice and lovely illustrations to top it off.
Sometimes I also like to read through cookbooks and cooking magazines. They always calm me down.

7) The cherry on top - favourite book this year

Sadly, this one has to be a German title and another Paris related one: "Madame ist willig, doch das Fleisch bleibt zäh" (Madame is willing, but the meat stays tough) by Sigrid Neudecker. In this book the author writes about her experiences when she moved to Paris with her husband all centered around her efforts to learn how to cook. Being not really a chef myself, I enjoyed this book a lot and it made me laugh a lot. A lot, a lot. At the end you will also find several French recipes, tested and approved by Neudecker and a useful blogroll.

At the moment I am reading Bernard Cornwell's "Azincourt", which I truly enjoy. It could be a potential favourite this year, too.

What are the ingredients for your Book Cake?


  1. Your lecturer is so right! Not enough people do read nowadays. I love to read, but even I will admit I read far less now than I did when I was younger and the internet was less present.

    1. Oh yes, the internet. It is a blessing and a curse indeed. It is a bit scary when I think about how many hours a day I usually spend browsing various websites.