Bookish recommendations of the month

February is the shortest month of the year, but for me it meant (again) a lot of travels and enough time for commuting for reading a lot of books either on my Kindle or on paper, many of them very interesting and strongly recommended.

Tracy Chevalier’s Falling Angels can be interesting from the literary point of view – I liked the idea of switching perspectives – and also historically – the British middle class culture at the moment of Queen Victoria’s death. It has also a couple of good images of London and it was well researched. But, I did not pay any interest for the topic and the anthropological meanings of the graves’ culture.

I am a big reader of Stephen King, but the collection of stories reunited in Full Dark, No Stars, is terribly bad. The main effects and creative writing is still there, but the red line of the stories is completely missing.

Not very happy with my literary options, I moved to the professional lane where I was enchanted by Joanna Penn’s latest book: Public speaking for authors, creatives and other introverts. It is well researched, with many useful practical tips aimed to help you to organize your speech and presentations, but also how to use the right tools and how to effectively start your career. I published an extensive review of the book on my PR and communications blog.

Back to more travel books, I was delighted reading Frances M. Thompson See the Amalfi Coast (that can still be downloaded for free on Kindle). The writing is authentic and the travel descriptions are lovely. I especially liked the ways in which the tension is built through the narrative, but also how the travel writing is integrated into the main story. With such an introduction, I can’t wait to read in the next weeks her entire collection of short stories, Shy Feet.

Part of a new project I am working on, I am curious to discover children books with a travel topic. Especially for the children, travel offers a lesson in tolerance and open the doors to understanding other cultures. From the selection at my public library, I picked up two books: Wir leben in den Turkey/We are living in Turkey, by Alexander Messager, and Wir leben in Kanada/We are living in Canada, by Emilie Gase-Milesi. Children characters with different backgrounds and religions are introducing their cultures and boroughs, with intermezzo about geography and population in a very easy going way. As usual, stories are a great way to introduce cultures and the two books offered me some good inspiration.

As usual, I want to read at least 1-2 books the month about the local history. An interesting perspective about the GDR times is Claudia Rusch’s Meine Freie Deutsche Jugend/My free German youth because some insights about the dissidence within the ‘Republic’, but also the focus on the transition from communism with the eyes of a teenager. On the other end of the history, Franz Hessel wanderings through Berlin brings back to life not only landscapes and architecture, but also the humans of Berlin.

Another practical intermezzo, useful for beginner and intermediate travel bloggers: Kirsty Stuart, How to start a Travel blog and Make Money. Don’t expect easy recipes and miraculous recipes about how to get ridiculously rich. There are good recommendations about using the right platform, monetization, SEO ideas and how to spend a lot of time diversifying your work.

I ended my reading month with big laughs after reading without too many breaks Jamie Baywood’s Getting Rooted in New Zealand. I made an interview with Jamie a couple of months ago, but this time I was only me and her book that I instantly fell in love with. The irony of the style is catching and her adventures and encounters while living in New Zealand are too good to not write at least a book about. Not only the human interaction is different, but also the language used and the meaning of the terms differ and bring a couple of challenges. Far away from home, Jamie is faced with the frequent (mis)perceptions about America abroad, but also is questioned very complicated questions about the life back home. ‘I feel like I need to do a Wikipedia search on my own country after conversation with Kiwis’, she said. A trip started for healing after a toxic relationship ends up in happiness with a ‘happily ever after’. Two usual backstories of travel.

March is a longer (normal) month and I can’t wait to keep surprising myself with new great trips and even greater accompanying books.

Happy reading everyone!

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