40 Before 40: Challenge #27

6 Nov

Reading is one of my passions in life. I could easily sit and read for the whole day if I had the time and there were no interruptions. A great way to learn another language is to read. It is surprising how much you can learn passively.

However, as it is not always easy to read in another language, this can take the fun out of one of my favourite past times. Sometimes it feels like you are taking more time looking up words than you are actually reading the text. Despite this, I decide that my Challenge #27 would be to Read 40 novels in German.

So far, this is what I have read:

1. Der Vorleser by Bernhard Schlink (The Reader)

I read this book as part of my German lessons earlier this year. I wrote about this at the time on my blog. If you didn’t see it the first time, the link is here.

2. Happy Birthday Türke! by Jakob Arjourni (Happy Birthday Turk!)

This is the story of a private detective of Turkish heritage born in Germany, who is asked to investigate the death of a man, after the police have shown their disinterest to use resources to solve the murder of a “foreigner”. The story begins on the birthday of the detective, hence the title “Happy Birthday, Turk!”

The story also explores issues, such as racial stereotypes and the tensions that exist between people who are seen as foreigners and those who consider themselves to be natives. The books ends with the detective not only discovering the truth but also uncovering a corrupt system.

Thanks to this book I now know more words for prostitute in German than I do in English. I have no idea when I will use these words though.

3. Ein Tag mit Herrn Jules by Diane Broeckhoven (A Day with Mr Jules)

This was am interesting book about a woman whose husband passes away in his armchair in the morning. She doesn’t want to accept this and carries on her day as usual. What throws a spanner in the works is when the autistic child who lives in the same building comes over. He regularly comes over to plays chess with the man who has passed away.

Being autistic, he doesn’t like changes to his routine and the wife has to let him in to play chess with her husband. The boy realises quickly that his normal chess player has passed away but he spends the day with the wife anyway. By the end of the book, the wife has come to terms with her loss and admits that she needs to contact the relevant people, including her son and daughter, to deal with the death of her husband.

4. Ein paar Leute suchen das Glück und lachen sich tot by Sibyelle Berg (A few people search for happiness and laugh themselves to death)

This was an interesting book. I mainly chose the book because the author lives in Zurich. The story has short chapters which focus on individual chapters, by the end of the book several of the individual stories have intertwined.

The book explores themes such as love, loss, the complexity of relationships and, to a certain extent, the meaning of modern life.

By the end I wasn’t sure what to make of it all. I had quite a few unanswered questions. In terms of my language learning, I did learn a lot of new words, especially colloquial terms that are perhaps not easy to pick up by formal German lessons.

Four down, 36 to go…

6 Responses to “40 Before 40: Challenge #27”

  1. Confuzzled Bev November 8, 2017 at 8:41 am #

    Ein Tag mit Herrn Jules sounds interesting!

    I have to read 4 more books in German for my 35 before 35. Thinking of “cheating” slightly and reading a children’s book 😉

    • ourgirlinzurich November 8, 2017 at 9:21 am #

      4 more is easy! You must have about 2 years to go! 😃 Ein Tag mit Herrn Jules was an interesting read. I don’t think my write up did it justice – I wrote it a while after I read it!

      • Confuzzled Bev November 8, 2017 at 10:13 am #

        Yep, that’s the easy one. 31 more non-fiction books and 73 more for the Big Read not so much, which is why I want to cheat on the German one 😉

      • Confuzzled Bev November 8, 2017 at 3:59 pm #

        p.s. Actually it’s less than year now. I was 34 in August 😉

      • ourgirlinzurich November 9, 2017 at 8:26 am #

        You read about 6 books a week! I am sure that you can do it 😀

      • Confuzzled Bev November 9, 2017 at 10:07 am #

        Six fiction books a week I can manage. I am useless at reading non-fiction – hence the challenge.

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