“My Body” – Emily Ratajkowski (4/5 ★)

This book has taken me by surprise. I somehow ended up pre-ordering it without planning to, simply because I was curious about Emily’s writing after having read her article “Buying Myself Back” (Ratajkowski, 2020) on The Cut website. And luckily, I wasn’t disappointed! 239 pages long, comprised of 12 essays, this was quite a short…

“Strangers” – Taichi Yamada (3/5 ★)

“Strangers” was one of those books that has been left behind by another traveler on the shelf of an Airbnb apartment. Me, always being curious about what kind of reads others bring along on their vacations, decided to take it along for a couple of days at the beach. As it says in the reviews…

“A New Earth” – Eckhart Tolle (4/5 ★)

The review of this book could start off with a game of “never have I ever”… Never have I ever taken along so much valuable knowledge after finishing a book. Never have I ever highlighted as many passages within a book. Never have I ever come across a book that would feel so life-changing. Never…

“Couchsurfing in Saudi Arabien” – Stephan Orth (4/5 ★)

Jedes Mal wenn die Nachricht erscheint, dass bald ein neues Buch von Stephan Orth veröffentlicht wird, mache ich wortwörtlich einen Freudentanz! Ich habe in der Zwischenzeit vier seiner Bücher gelesen und habe mich in jedes davon Hals über Kopf verliebt!!! Zu “Couchsurfing im Iran“, “Couchsurfing in Russland” und “Couchsurfing in China” kommt jetzt das vierte…

“Bonjour Tristesse” – Françoise Sagan (3/5 ★)

Upon finishing reading this book, I felt quite conflicted… The main character was extremely vain, superficial, privileged and spoilt. The voice it was written in took the mindless state of existence during teenagerhood to its perfection. It was full of sexist remarks, uttered by both men and women. If you take it as a snapshot…

“Syria’s Secret Library” – Mike Thomson (5/5 ★)

Prior to reading “Syria’s Secret Library“, I have just finished “The Book Collectors of Daraya” by Delphine Minoui. Both books were written about the hidden library within the Syrian town of Daraya but my curiosity simply hasn’t been satisfied after Delphine Minoui’s book, which was originally published in French in 2018. Upon doing some additional…

“21 Lessons for the 21st Century” – Yuval Noah Harari (3/5 ★)

This was my third Harari book that I immersed myself in, after having read “Sapiens” in 2016 and “Homo Deus” in 2018. I find myself recommending these books to people because I did find them incredibly valuable and informative (especially Sapiens!) but I still end up only giving ratings of 3/5 ★ to them. It…

“The Book Collectors of Daraya” – Delphine Minoui (2/5 ★)

Within this book, the reporter Delphine Minoui tells the story of an underground library that has been created within the Syrian town of Daraya, despite the constant bombings and a state of terror the inhabitants were surrounded by, day in, day out. The focus is placed upon both the founders of this library, as well…

“Essentialism” – Greg McKeown (2/5 ★)

The most important take-away from this book for me was – if you’re not feeling completely overworked, chaotic and goal-less with the things you’re currently doing on a daily basis (whether that’s in your personal or your professional life), put this book aside until you feel that way one day and only then reach out…

“Greenlights” – Matthew McConaughey (5/5 ★)

Reading Matthew McConaughey’s memoir is comparable with the experience of sitting down with a good friend and simply having a chat about life. Having a laugh with each other, shedding some tears and sharing some little life lessons. It’s especially ideal as an end of start of the year read, as it manages to round…

“Intimations” – Zadie Smith (2/5 ★)

I was completely disappointed by this tiny piece of writing made up of 6 essays by Zadie Smith. Maybe it was because I’ve been meaning and wanting to read something by the author for such a long time, having built up too high expectations. Maybe because this isn’t the right book to start with if…

“The Diary of a Bookseller” – Shaun Bythell (3/5 ★)

Having had this book on my virtual “to read” list for a while, I have finally come across it by chance in a book shop in Lisbon the other day. What it ended up being was a light and quick little read, sparkled with a bit of humour here & there, while telling the story…

“Know My Name” – Chanel Miller (5/5 ★)

Going into this book I wasn’t expecting too much besides that the personal story that the author would tell to be really impactful. A story that got a lot of media attention in the US about how a young girl got assaulted by a Stanford student on campus grounds. What I wasn’t prepared for, was…

“Maybe You Should Talk to Someone” – Lori Gottlieb (5/5 ★)

This book was everything I was hoping for and so much more! Just as its subtitle says – “A therapist, her therapist, and our lives revealed”, this book will give you an insight into the world of therapy while most importantly diving into the topic of therapists having their own therapists too. It’s extremely satisfying…

“Dependency” – Tove Ditlevsen (5/5 ★)

The third and final part of Tove Ditlevsen’s autobiography almost draws you into a dependency to it until you turn the very last page. After a less engaging middle part, “Youth”, this one has definitely left me under an impactful impression. Just as the title suggests it, this part of the story deals with the…

“Childhood” – Tove Ditlevsen (5/5 ★)

Here is a case where judging a book by its cover has gone well for me 😉 Never having heard of the author Tove Ditlevsen before, I have discovered this trilogy, Childhood making up the first book of it, on…. Bookstagram! (aka some accounts posting book content on instagram) I was tempted to purchase this…

“Lifespan” – David A. Sinclair (3/5 ★)

“Lifespan” was definitely one the most challenging books I have read this year and if it wasn’t for a book club I’ve attended, I would have never come across it! As I noted down 25 pages in, I straight away understood that it would be a bumpy ride. It’s demanding of your entire attention and…

“Future Crimes” – Marc Goodman (4/5 ★)

Did you know that the technology to simply control gadgets (like your Google Glass) with your thoughts already exists? Did you hear about the 2013 story of electronic teakettles and irons manufactured in China that spread a virus to all your electronic devices through WiFi? 😀 Or that we’ll be able to literally “bring back…

“Couchsurfing in China” – Stephan Orth (5/5 ★)

Nachdem ich ein riesiger Fan von Stephan Orth’s beiden anderen Couchsurfing Büchern war (Couchsurfing im Iran und Couchsurfing in Russland), war ich wahnsinnig gespannt über seine neuen Abenteuer in China. Ihr habt wahrscheinlich die Bewertung im Titel schon bemerkt und ich kann mit voller Überzeugung sagen, dass es absolut lesenswert ist! Ich bin immer noch…

“The Fire Next Time” – James Baldwin (5/5 ★)

Diving into my first James Baldwin book, I was simply blown away by how elegant and impactful his writing was. I was glad to have an introduction to his works with “The Fire Next Time” since it’s such a personal account, allowing you to get to know the author better. The way he tackles the…

“Small Fry” – Lisa Brennan-Jobs (2/5 ★)

Picking up this memoir that I bought almost a year ago during an event with the author at the Shakespeare & Co shop in Paris, I’ve got to say that I was a bit disappointed… I have picked up the book on 8 different days to get through it, which was proof that it simply…

“Born a Crime” – Trevor Noah (5/5 ★)

This book… Was simply unforgettable… I laughed and I cried while reading it, both thanks to dozens of hilarious moments but also to a tragic one towards the end. This book simply hooks you from the first sentences on (which you can see yourself within the first quote) and I applaud either Trevor Noah’s writing…

“The Honeymoon Effect” – Bruce Lipton (4/5 ★)

This book is a prime example of the category of books “I would never have bought myself”. It has presented itself as a lesson of the saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover”, throwing in an additional one on “Don’t judge a book by its title”. It looks cheesy, it sounds cheesy, which it…

“All We Leave Behind” – Carol Off (3/5 ★)

This book has been standing around on my “to read” bookshelf at home for 9 months until I finally got to it. I’ve picked it up at the airport in Montreal but I guess the topic finally sounded a bit too intimidating to jump on reading it earlier. The story circles around the conflict in…

“Behind Closed Doors” – Natalie Fiennes (2/5 ★)

This super short book of just about 150 pages really has the potential to make you question well anchored thoughts & ideas in your mind. Starting from how “virginity” is a purely heteronormative & invented term, which is still being used too often in our society, to how we’re not taught about the diversity of…

“Trick Mirror” – Jia Tolentino (3/5 ★)

My first reaction upon finishing the book was – what the hell did I just read??!! The 9 chapters that make up the book felt so much all over the place that it felt like I’ve read 9 short different books. The topics ranged from the author’s personal stories about her disinterest towards marriage, her…

“Three Women” – Lisa Taddeo (1/5 ★)

After reading “Normal People“, I decided to move on to the next hyped book I constantly kept hearing about – “Three Women”. Unfortunately, in this case, it didn’t turn out that well… The lesson I have learned here is to mind the upvoted ratings about the book on goodreads. Even though this book doesn’t have…

“Unorthodox” – Deborah Feldman (4/5 ★)

Having been too impatient & having watched the Netflix series of “Unorthodox” first, I was definitely in for a positive surprise with this book. After overcoming the annoying fact that I wouldn’t be able to get a copy with a different cover than the one with the actress Shira Haas on it, I finally gave…

“Educated” – Tara Westover (3/5 ★)

“The past is beautiful because one never realises an emotion at the time. It expands later, & thus we don’t have to complete emotions about the present, only about the past.” – Virginia Woolf That’s the quote the book starts with & it’s definitely my favourite one out of the entire reading experience. I came…

“The Hidden Life of Trees” – Peter Wohlleben (3/5 ★)

What started off as an incredibly interesting book filled with completely new information for me, didn’t quite manage to hold that level until the very end. Nevertheless, I still considered it to be a more or less enjoyable read. I really appreciated the sense of humour of the author throughout the writing & the short…

“Why We Sleep” – Matthew Walker (5/5 ★)

If I was given the restriction to only read 1 single book this year, then I would without a doubt choose Matthew Walker’s “Why We Sleep”!!! I don’t remember the last time I read a book that was so densely packed with valuable information & on top of that “packaged” in such an approachable way…

“Talking to Strangers” – Malcolm Gladwell (2/5 ★)

I have been tempted to pick up the “Talking to Strangers” book having previously liked Gladwell’s “Outliers“ (read it in 2015 & gave it a 4 out of 5 star rating back then) & also because of its title, which ended up being completely misleading. I was expecting something more psychological or something that would…

“A Good Wife” – Samra Zafar (4/5 ★)

This book & Samra’s story is such an important one portraying abusive relationships, as well as the dangers of strict (religious) traditions, such as arranged marriages. While reading it, you manage to live through that suffocating feeling of being trapped & at times, it even sounds like something out of a horror movie. The most…

“The Universe in Your Hand” – Christophe Galfard (3/5 ★)

I’ll start off with the mention that this is an amazing book & that I’d suggest each & everyone to read it! (don’t mind the 3 stars!!) It opens up your understanding of our planet, our universe & simply how bizarre our existence is, living on a ball of matter floating through space. I’ll also…

“The Art of Making Memories” – Meik Wiking (4/5 ★)

“The Universe is made up of stories. Not atoms” – Muriel Rukeyser I picked this book up at an airport shop after a birthday trip to Canada, which I would now describe as one of the best trips of my life. Already then I was afraid of the memories fading away or of losing them…

“Talking as Fast as I Can” – Lauren Graham (2/5 ★)

If you have picked this book up because you are or used to be a fan of the Gilmore Girls, I’ve got 2 suggestions for you: Just toss it right now. Unless you’re a notorious “book-finisher” like I am, who gets through any & every book that they start, at all costs, simply in order…

“Closer” – Sarah Barmak (5/5 ★)

This book ended up being one of my favourites for the entire year of 2019. I wish I would’ve come across it earlier in my life & wish that literature like this would be part of sexual education rather than the outdated program that is currently still being taught to teenagers all over the world….

“The Bookseller of Kabul” – Åsne Seierstad (5/5 ★)

Having by chance stumbled across this book in a bookshop in Cuba, I couldn’t have been more glad to have come across it!! This narrative of a “not so usual” Afghan family is so eye-opening on so many levels. It was specifically for me, since I’ve never dived into the topic about the country or…

“Starkes Weiches Herz” – Madeleine Alizadeh (5/5 ★)

An Madeleine’s Buch habe ich mich mit einer Prise Skepsis rangemacht. Sowohl das Buchcover, als auch den Buchtitel fand ich zu kitschig und war sogar richtig enttäuscht darüber, dass diese die Endwahl für das fertige Produkt wurden. Ich schämte mich sogar ein wenig dafür, mit dem Buch in der U-Bahn gesehen zu werden, das einem…

“M Train” – Patti Smith (3/5 ★)

Finishing up “M Train”, I still feel enveloped in a trance & dream-like state. The reading experience has been like taking a seat on Patti Smith’s train of thought, a comfortable window seat, watching passing by landscapes, cities, people. Like gently floating on waves from one image to the next, I felt transported to a…

“Cuba” – Alan West-Duran (2/5 ★)

The book starts off in a way you would expect from a university paper or a thesis on the topic of Cuba (not a good one though & which is not. a great. sign). The author dives directly into the deepest details while not giving you enough background on any of the subjects approached: Minute…

“Havana” – Mark Kurlansky (4/5 ★)

I absolutely adored this book & couldn’t have wished to stumble upon a better intro to Cuba before my upcoming trip! The biggest tip I could give, is to read it with Cuban music in the background & you’ll feel directly immersed into the story & the country. What others criticised, I actually enjoyed a…

“Reading Lolita in Tehran” – Azar Nafisi (3/5 ★)

This book isn’t captivating, it has to fight for your attention. It’s not a page-turner and yes, its structure is quite chaotic (what I already expected from it, by skimming through other readers’ reviews). You have to create time for it, give it air to breathe, allow it to take space in your day, to…

“Don’t Be a Tourist in Paris” – Vanessa Grall (5/5 ★)

This book is an absolute must-have for any kind of Paris-fanatic: Whether you’ve been living in the city for years & want to have a new & fresh view onto it or you’re coming to visit for the very 1st time – there’s something within it for both types of readers! It motivates you to…

“Who Moved My Cheese?” – Spencer Johnson (1/5 ★)

You can’t even call this a book, a simple story bound in a soft cover.It’s short, it’s foolproof, it’s understandable to each & everybody. Is there any literary effort given to it? Wouldn’t say so.Yes, it’s a brief & fun story to read through in probably less than 2 hours.Might it help you to perceive…

“The End of Eddy” – Édouard Louis (2/5 ★)

I would give “The End of Eddy” at most a rating of 2,5 stars out of 5.The book simply wasn’t long enough to get attached to it or to understand the characters. Somehow the story felt like it was being suffocated, that it didn’t have enough space & enough pages to unfold itself onto. I…

“Un Thé à Shanghai” – Jamel Balhi (2/5 ★)

What started out as a promising read, ended up as quite a disappointment… Having shared a BlaBlaCar trip from Zurich to Paris with the author Jamel was how I first found out about his existence & a quick Google search afterwards showed up the couple of books he has written about his trips around the…

“The Art of Thinking Clearly” – Rolf Dobelli (2/5 ★)

Having gone through the book, I strongly agree with some bits in the previous reviews I have skimmed through before starting. While “The Art of Thinking Clearly” succeeds at presenting something of an easier breakdown of “Thinking, Fast and Slow”, it feels highly repetitive (some ideas being too similar & being presented too often), the…

“Homo Deus” – Yuval Noah Harari (3/5 ★)

Finally! After 3 months (which is the longest it has taken me to finish a book in a while!) I’ve finally gotten through this one! It was an incredibly interesting read, but the time that it has taken to finish it, speaks quite a bit about it. I was a bit disappointed by it in…

“Underground” – Haruki Murakami (3/5 ★)

Murakami’s “Underground” has definitely nothing to do with the author’s other works of fiction. Nevertheless I mostly reached out for the book because of Murakami – I didn’t end up being completely disappointed but it also wasn’t a groundbreaking book in my opinion, therefore the 3 out of 5 stars rating. What I read out…

“Couchsurfing im Iran” – Stephan Orth (5/5 ★)

Nach dem fertiglesen des “Couchsurfing in Russland” Buches, bin ich von der iranischen Version sogar mehr begeistert! Der Unterschied zwischen den beiden ist, dass in der Iran-Ausführung mehr Zeit genommen wurde, über die Personen und die Interaktionen mit den Leuten zu schildern, anstatt eher nur über das Land im Allgemeinen. Der angenehme & die Spannung…

“Chernobyl Prayer” – Svetlana Alexievich (5/5 ★)

Chernobyl Prayer is one of those books that simply takes you on an emotional roller-coaster ride while reading it. The collected stories are probably the most authentic ones you’ll get to read when trying to find the real background stories of people affected by Chernobyl. With tears of sadness, feeling touched by the stories of…

“Confessions of a Sociopath” – M. E. Thomas (3/5 ★)

I would have given the book a 4 out of 5 rating, but unfortunately it is too noticeable that the author absolutely isn’t a professional writer. I just started with “Eating Animals” by Jonathan Safran Foer & the difference couldn’t have been bigger, the 2 books seem like 2 absolutely different worlds judging by the…

“Influence” – Mary-Kate & Ashley Olsen (4/5 ★)

As far as the format of this book goes – it’s much better than what I’ve expected it to be. What I’ve thought would just be a narrative about the lives of the Olsen twins, led on by their portraits embellishing the cover, turned out to be something completely different. A gorgeous book full of…

“Paris Revealed” – Stephen Clarke (2/5 ★)

Having read two books by Stephen Clarke about the Parisian adventures of a fictitious character, “Paris Revealed” sounded like a light & fun read, while I didn’t have any expectations towards it at all. Though it did have a few entertaining passages and it is successful at introducing the Parisian way of life, starting from…