book recommendations

Best Books of the Year: My personal Top 20

stefan mesch best books 2014

(After a popular list last year [Link] and earlier in 2012 [Link] and 2011 [Link]…)

…here are the 20 very best books I’ve read in 2014:

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20: HEIDE KOEHNE, „Der Buchladen“, German novel, 2011.
Der Buchladen

19: BRIAN WOOD, „The Massive“, Books 1 to 5, Graphic Novels, 2013 and 2014.
The Massive, Vol. 1: Black Pacific The Massive, Vol. 2: Subcontinental The Massive, Vol. 3: Longship The Massive, Vol. 4: Sahara The Massive, Vol 5: Ragnarok (The Massive #25-30)

18: TIM WISE, „White like me. Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son“, Nonfiction / Memoir, 2004.
White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son

17: HARUKI MURAKAMI, „Von Männern, die keine Frauen haben“, Japanese Short Stories, 2014. (I liked his most recent novel, too.)
Von Männern, die keine Frauen haben

16: STEWART O’NAN, „Der Zirkusbrand“, Nonfiction, 2000.
Der Zirkusbrand

15: CHRISTIANE FROHMANN, „Tausend Tode Schreiben“, German anthology, 2014: 135+ personal texts about dying and loss […more here].
Tausend Tode schreiben

14: GREG RUCKA, “Lazarus”, Books 1 and 2. Graphic Novels, 2014.
Lazarus, Vol. 1: Family Lazarus, Vol. 2: Lift

13: ED BRUBAKER, “Velvet”, Book 1. Graphic Novel, 2014.
Velvet, Vol. 1: Before the Living End

12: MARTIN HATZIUS, „Alles fragen, nichts fürchten“, book-length interview with my favorite German living writer, Dietmar Dath, 2011.
Dietmar Dath: Alles fragen, nichts fürchten

11: SIGRID NUNEZ, „A Feather on the Breath of God“, Memoir, 1995.
A Feather on the Breath of God: A Novel

10: ARTHUR MILLER, „Focus“, Novel, 1945.
Focus

09: MEIKE WINNEMUTH, „Das große Los“, German Travelogue, 2012.
Das große Los

08: JAN BAUER, „Der salzige Fluss“. German Graphic Novel Travelogue, 2014.
Der salzige Fluss

07: NORA WICKE, „Vierstromland“, German novel, 2014.
Vierstromland

06: G. WILLOW WILSON, „Ms. Marvel“, Book 1. Graphic Novel, 2014.
Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1: No Normal

05: TSUGUMI OHBA, „Bakuman“, Books 2 to 20. Manga series, 2009 to 2012.
Bakuman, Volume 2: Chocolate and Akamaru (Bakuman, #2) Bakuman, Volume 3: Debüt und Ungeduld Bakuman, Volume 4: Phone Call and the Night Before (Bakuman, #4) Bakuman, Volume 5: Yearbook and Photobook Bakuman, Volume 6: Recklessness and Guts

04: ROBERTO AGUIRRE-SACASA, „Afterlife with Archie“, Book 1. Graphic Novel, 2014.
Afterlife with Archie Book 1: Escape from Riverdale

03: VALERIAN TORNIUS, „Zwischen Hell und Dunkel“, German novel, 1932.
Zwischen Hell und Dunkel. Ein Rembrandt-Roman

02: LIANE DIRKS, „Vier Arten meinen Vater zu beerdingen“, German novel, 2002.
Vier Arten meinen Vater zu beerdigen

01: ÁGOTA KRISTÓF, „The Notebook“, „The Proof“, „The Third Lie“, Hungarian Trilogy, 1986 to 1991.
The Notebook, The Proof, The Third Lie: Three Novels

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For a complete list of books I’ve read in 2014, please go here [Link].

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In comics, I’ve also enjoyed book 3 and 4 of Brian K. Vaughan’s „Saga“ space opera [Link], Year 1 and (to a lesser degree) Year 2 of Tim Taylor’s „Injustice: Gods among us“ [Link], Bryan Q. Miller’s still solid „Smallville“ [Link], the Marvel books „She-Hulk“ [Charles Soule, Link] and „Hawkeye“ [Matt Fraction, Link].

I enjoyed the first six „New 52“ DC comic books featuring Wonder Woman [Link] and started reading lesser-known series like „Promethea“ [Link], „Nailbiter“ [Link], „Rat Queens“ [Link], „Mind MGMT“ [Link] and „The Private Eye“ [Link]. I’ve also enjoyed Daniel Clowes‘ „David Boring“ [Link].

Mark Millar’s „Jupiter’s Legacy“ had a great start – but I will have to wait until 2015. [Link]

Here’s a big collage of the graphic novels I’ve discovered in 2014:

graphic novels stefan mesch 2015
Have a great 2015! More to come!

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Related Posts:

and:

and, earlier:

 

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Best Graphic Novels 2014

underdog literature october 2014
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Here are 20 monthly comic book series that caught my interest lately.

Off-beat, quirky or curious titles that might deserve more attention…

all published and / or collected in trade paperback collections in 2014.

 

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01: RICK REMENDER (writer): „Deadly Class“

ongoing high school thriller / mystery series, Image Comics

Deadly Class, Vol. 1: Reagan Youth

02: MARK MILLAR (writer): „Jupiter’s Legacy“

10-issue ongoing mini-series about the children of super-heroes, Image Comics

Jupiter's Legacy Volume 1

03: CLAUDIO SANCHEZ (writer): „Translucid“

philosophical and experimental super-hero tale, Evil Ink Comics

Translucid

04: KEL SYMONS (writer), „The Mercenary Sea“

adventure and espionage, set in 1938, Image Comics

The Mercenary Sea Volume 1

05: KELLY SUE DeCONNICK, „Pretty Deadly“

ongoing horror / fantasy western, Image Comics

Pretty Deadly, Vol. 1: The Shrike

06: LARIME TAYLOR (writer), „A Voice in the Dark“

ongoing horror / serial killer drama, Image Comics

A Voice in the Dark, Volume 1

07: ALES KOT (writer), „Zero“

ongoing spy thriller, Image Comics

Zero, Vol. 1 An Emergency

08: KYLE HIGGINS (writer), „C.O.W.L.“

ongoing period drama about Chicago’s super-hero labor union, Image Comics

C.O.W.L. Volume 1: Principles of Power

09: JOSHUA WILLIAMSON (writer), „Nailbiter“

ongoing horror / serial killer small town drama, Image Comics

Nailbiter Volume 1: There Will Be Blood

10: J. MICHAEL STRACZYNSKI (writer), „Ten Grant“

ongoing supernatural demon-hunter urban fantasy drama, Image Comics

Ten Grand Volume 1

11: JIM ZUB (writer), „Disney Kingdoms: Figment“

limited all ages fantasy mini-series about theme park Disney characters, Marvel Comics

Disney Kingdoms: Figment #1

12: ED BRUBAKER (writer), „The Fade Out“

ongoing noir crime drama set in Hollywood in 1948, Image Comics

The Fade Out #1

13: CHRIS MISKIEWICZ, „Thomas Alsop“

ongoing superatural urban fantasy drama – might be whimsical and melancholic. BOOM! Studios

Thomas Alsop #1

14: SIMON SPURRIER (writer), „Six Gun Gorilla“

ongoing sci-fi western action comedy (?), BOOM! Studios

Six-Gun Gorilla

15: CHARLES SOULE (writer), „Letter 44“

ongoing science fiction thriller about astronauts making first contact, Oni Press

Letter 44 Volume 1: Escape Velocity

16: RICK REMENDER, „Black Science“

ongoing crazy sci-fi adventure, Image Comics

Black Science, Vol.1: How to Fall Forever

17: MARK MILLAR (writer), „Starlight“

ongoing (?) golden-age style space opera, Image Comics

Starlight #1

18: GREG RUCKA (writer), „Veil“

Urban Fantasy / horror ongoing, Dark Horse Comics

Veil

19: KIERON GILLEN (writer), „The Wicked + The Divine“

ongoing supernatural drama about deities, reborn as hipsters, Image Comics

The Wicked + the Divine Volume 1

20: JOE KEATINGE, „Shutter“

ongoing Young Adult science fiction adventure, Image Comics

Shutter, Vol. 1: Wanderlost

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I’m shocked that so many Image Comics titles made the cut: Image has launched a lot of new series, and reviews / reception has been great for most.

I’m also curious about Brian Michael Bendis‘ mob drama „The United States of Murder“ and Jason Aaron’s „Southern Bastards“.

Bonus:

5 ongoing older (but still recent) series that I want to read soon:

Revival, Vol. 1: You're Among Friends Bedlam, Vol. 1 The Black Beetle in No Way Out Nowhere Men, Vol. 1: Fates Worse Than Death Storm Dogs Vol. 1 TP
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…and all recent ongoing series that I read and enjoy:

Velvet, Vol. 1: Before the Living End Lazarus, Vol. 1: Family High Crimes The Massive, Vol. 1: Black Pacific Saga #1

Afterlife with Archie: Escape from Riverdale MIND MGMT, Vol. 1: The Manager Alex + Ada, Volume 1 Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1: No Normal The Private Eye, Volume One

She-Hulk, Vol. 1: Law and Disorder Hawkeye, Vol. 1: My Life as a Weapon Injustice: Gods Among Us, Vol. 1 Smallville Season 11, Volume 1: Guardian Wonder Woman, Vol. 1: Blood

I’m also curious about Geoff John’s „Superman“, Cameron Stewart’s „Batgirl“ and Becky Cloonan’s „Gotham Academy“.

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related Posts:

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Best Books published by NYRB: New York Review of Books

underdog literature september 2014

 

Here are 20 books that had my interest for a while:

all (re-)published by the New York Review of Books (Link).

you can find a reader-ranked list of 360+ NYRB Classic books here (Link).

see also:

for a list of cool upcoming titles… click here [Link]

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01: BARBARA COMYNS, „The Vet’s Daughter“, 133 pages, 1959.

The Vet's Daughter

02: DOROTHY B. HUGHES, „The expendable Man“, 264 pages, 1963.

The Expendable Man

03: NATSUME SOSEKI, „The Gate“, 256 pages, 1910. [Japan]

The Gate

04: G.B. EDWARDS, „The Book of Ebenezer Le Page“, 394 pages, 1981.

The Book of Ebenezer Le Page

05: CAROLINE BLACKWOOD, „Corrigan“, 319 pages, 1984.

Corrigan

06: CURZIO MALAPRTE, „The Skin“, 343 pages, 1949.

The Skin

07: REBECCA WEST, „The Fountain overflows“, 408 pages, 1956.

The Fountain Overflows

08: BOLESLAW PRUS, „The Doll“, 704 pages, 1890. [Poland]

The Doll

09: GEOFFREY HOUSEHOLD, „Rogue Male“, 200 pages, 1939.

Rogue Male

10: PATRICK HAMILTON, „The Slaves of Solitude“, 256 pages, 1947.

The Slaves of Solitude

11: JOYCE CARY, „Herself Suprised“, 300 pages, 1941.

Herself Surprised

12: HELEN KELLER, „The World I live in“, 192 pages, 1908.

The World I Live In

13: PENELOPE MORTIMER, „The Pumpkin Eater“, 224 pages, 1962.

The Pumpkin Eater

14: DWIGHT MACDONALD, „Masscult and Midcult: Essays against the American Grain“, 289 pages, 2011. [Cultural Studies]

Masscult and Midcult: Essays Against the American Grain

15: J.R. ACKERLEY, „My Father and myself“, 283 pages, 1968.

My Father and Myself

16: TAYEB SALIH, „Season of Migreation to the North“, 139 pages, 1966. [Sudan]

Season of Migration to the North

17: ANDREI PLATONOV, „The Foundation Pit“, 208 pages, 1969.

The Foundation Pit

18: WILLIAM McPHERSON, „Testing the Current“, 352 pages, 1984.

Testing the Current

19: VICTOR SERGE, „Memoirs of a Revolutionary“, 576 pages, 1951. [Russia]

Memoirs of a Revolutionary

20: ANTAL SZERB, „Journey by Moonlight“, 320 pages, 1937. [Hungary]

Journey by Moonlight

..

Bonus: 3 NYRB books that I’ve read… and that were really good:

5 of 5 stars: TOVE JANSSON, „The Summer Book“, 184 pages, 1972. [Finland]

The Summer Book

4 of 5 stars: ROBERT WALSER, „Jakob von Gunten“, 176 pages, 1908. [Austria]

Jakob von Gunten

4 of 5 stars: MARIA DERMOUT, „The Ten Thousand Things“, 208 pages, 1955. [Indonesia]

The Ten Thousand Things

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related Posts:

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Best Books of the 1980s

underdog literature 2014 08 august.
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Here are 20 books that caught my interest lately.

Off-beat, quirky or curious titles that might deserve more attention…

all published in the 1980s.

see also:

for a list of cool upcoming titles… click here [Link]

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01: BARRY HANNAH, „Ray“, 128 pages, 1980.

Ray

02: RICARDO PIGLIA, „Artificial Respiration“, 240 pages, 1980. [Argentina]

Artificial Respiration

03: ALAN PATON, „Ah, but your Land is beautiful“, 292 pages, 1981. [South Africa]

Ah But Your Land Is Beautiful (Vintage Classics)

04: AARTO PAASILINNA, „The Howling Miller“, 284 pages, 1981. [Finland]

The Howling Miller

05: BOHUMIL HRABAL, „Harlequin’s Millions“, 312 pages, 1981. [Czech Republic]

Harlequin's Millions: A Novel

06: TOBY OLSON, „Seaview“, 250 pages, 1982.

Seaview

07: HELEN HOOVEN SANTMYER, „And the Ladies of the Club“, 1176 pages, 1982.

...And Ladies of the Club

08: KERU MIYAMOTO, „Kinshu: Autumn Brocade“, 208 pages, 1982. [Japan]

Kinshu: Autumn Brocade

09: BILLY LEE BRAMMER, „The Gay Place“, 560 pages, 1983.

The Gay Place

10: BARRY HUGHART, „Bridge of Birds“, 271 pages, 1984. [Fantasy]

Bridge of Birds: A Novel of an Ancient China That Never Was

11: FERROL SAMS, „The Whisper of the River“, 544 pages, 1984.

The Whisper of the River

12: PRAMOEDYA ANANTA TOER, „Footsteps“, 480 pages, 1985. [Indonesia]

Footsteps

13: JUAN JOSÉ SAER, „The Sixty-Five Years of Washington“, 220 pages, 1985. [Argentina]

The Sixty-Five Years of Washington

14: JOAN SLONCZEWSKI, „A Door into Ocean“, 403 pages, 1986. [Sci-Fi]

A Door Into Ocean

15: JON HASSLER, „Grand Opening“, 336 pages, 1987.

Grand Opening

16: LANFORD WILSON, „Burn This“, 98 pages, 1987. [Drama / Stage]

Burn This

17: PENELOPE LIVELY, „Moon Tiger“, 224 pages, 1987.

Moon Tiger

18: JACKIE KAY, „Trumpet“, 278 pages, 1988.

Trumpet

19: GIACONDA BELLI, „The inhabited Woman“, 374 pages, 1988. [Nicaragua]

Bewohnte Frau

20: WALTER SATTERTHWAIT, „Miss Lizzie“, 332 pages, 1989.

Miss Lizzie

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related Posts:

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Best Summer Books / Beach Reads / Young Adult Novels 2014: Recommendations

Underdog Literature May 2014
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Here are 17 books that caught my interest lately.

Fresh, off-beat, quirky or curious titles that might deserve more attention…

Young Adult. dystopias. middle grade fiction. beach reads.

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01: PAUL ACAMPORA, „I Kill The Mockingbird“, 176 pages, May 2014. [Middle Grade]

I Kill the Mockingbird

02: E. LOCKHART, „We were Liars“, 240 pages, May 2014.

We Were Liars

03: MARIKO TAMAKI, „This one Summer“, 320 pages, May 2014. [YA Graphic Novel]

This One Summer

04: JASON REYNOLDS, „When I was the Greatest“, 240 pages, January 2014.

When I Was the Greatest

05: N.D. Wilson, „Boys of Blur“, 208 pages, January 2014. [Middle Grade Fantasy]

Boys of Blur

06: NON PRATT, „Trouble“, 384 pages, February 2014.

Trouble

07: KATE RACCULIA, „Bellweather Rhapsody“, 340 pages, January 2014. [YA Mystery]

Bellweather Rhapsody

08: LAURA MARX FITZGERALD, „Under the Egg“, 247 pages, March 2014. [Middle Grade]

Under the Egg

09: MELISSA KANTOR, „Maybe One Day“, 384 pages, February 2014.

Maybe One Day

10: EMERY LORD, „Open Road Summer“, 342 pages, April 2014.

Open Road Summer

11: ANNIE CARDI, „The Chance you won’t return“, 352 pages, April 2014.

The Chance You Won't Return

12: ROBERT DINSDALE, „Gingerbread“, 421 pages, February 2014.

Gingerbread

13: SARAH BETH DURST, „The Lost“, 352 pages, May 2014. [Dystopian YA, Book 1 of 3]

The Lost (The Lost, #1)

14: MATT HAIG, „Echo Boy“, 400 pages, February 2014. [Dystopian YA]

Echo Boy

15: MIKE CAREY, „The Girl with all the Gifts“, 416 pages, January 2014. [Dystopian YA]

The Girl with All the Gifts

16: CHARLES SWIFT, „The Newman Resident“, 337 pages, 2014. [Dystopian YA]

The Newman Resident

17: CLAIRE NORTH (Catherine Webb), „The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August“, 416 pages, January 2014.

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August

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More? Here are three new YA books that feature disabled main characters:

01: KIMBERLY ELKINS, „What is visible“, 320 pages, June 2014.

What Is Visible: A Novel

02: GAIL GILES, „Girls Like Us“, 224 pages, May 2014.

Girls Like Us

03: CAMMIE McGOVERN, „Say what you will“, 352 pages, March 2014.

Say What You Will

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Best Nonfiction Books 2014: New Essays, Memoirs, Recommendations

underdog literature best nonfiction books 2014.

Here are 15 books that caught my interest lately.

Fresh, off-beat, quirky or curious titles that might deserve more attention…

memoirs. non-fiction. essays.

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01: JOHN W. EWANS, „Young Widower“, 200 pages, January 2014. [Memoir]

Young Widower: A Memoir

02: MIMI POND, „Over Easy“, 272 pages, April 2014. [Graphic Novel „Semi-Memoir“]

Over Easy

03: DAVID GIFFELS, „The Hard Way on Purpose: Essays and Dispatches from the Rust Belt“, 272 pages, March 2014. [Essays / Journalism]

The Hard Way on Purpose: Essays and Dispatches from the Rust Belt

04: IVAN E. COYOTE & RAE SPOON, „Gender Failure“, 256 pages, April 2014. [personal Essays]

Gender Failure

05: CAROLINE CLARKE, „Postcards from Cookie“, 320 pages, April 2014. [Memoir]

Postcards from Cookie: A Memoir of Motherhood, Miracles, and a Whole Lot of Mail

06: SEAN STRUB, „Body Counts: A Memoir of Politics, Sex, AIDS and Survival“, 432 pages, January 2014. [Memoir / Politics]

Body Counts: A Memoir of Politics, Sex, AIDS, and Survival

07: ANALD GOPAL, „No Good Men among the Living: America, the Taliban, and the War through Afghan Eyes“, 320 pages, April 2014. [Politics]

No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban, and the War through Afghan Eyes

08: HISHAM D. AIDI, „Rebel Music: Race, Empire and the New Muslim Youth Culture“, 432 pages, March 2014. [Cultural Studies / Politics]

Rebel Music: Race, Empire and the New Muslim Youth Culture

09: ROBERT A. FERGUSON, „Inferno: An Anatomy of American Punishment“, 337 pages, March 2014 [Politics / Sociology / Cultural Studies]

Inferno: An Anatomy of American Punishment

10: ARIEL GORE, „The End of Eve. A Memoir“, 234 pages, February 2014. [Memoir]

The End of Eve: A Memoir

11: MARK GEVISSER, „Lost and Found in Johannesburg“, 352 pages, April 2014. [Memoir: South Africa]

Lost and Found in Johannesburg: A Memoir

12: TIM ANDERSON, „Sweet Tooth“, 333 pages, March 2014. [Mainstream Humor / Comedic Memoir]

Sweet Tooth

13: GREG GUTFELD, „Not Cool: The Hipster Elite and their War on You“, 272 pages, March 2014. [a right-wing „Fox News“ employee tries to trash hipsters! 🙂 ]

Not Cool: The Hipster Elite and Their War on You

14: BRIGID SCHULTE, „Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play when no one has the Time“, 368 pages, March 2014. [Psychology]

Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time

15: PATRICIA WOODELL, „Are the Keys in the Freezer? An Advocate’s Guide for Alzheimer’s and other Dementias“, 243 pages, January 2014.

Are the Keys in the Freezer?--An Advocate's Guide for Alzheimer's and Other Dementias

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Here are five books that made me curious enough to buy them:

01: LESLIE JAMISON, „The Empathy Exams“, 256 pages, April 2014. [personal Essays]

The Empathy Exams: Essays

02: PLUM JOHNSON, „They left us everything“, 288 pages, March 2014. [Memoir]

They Left Us Everything: A Memoir

03: ADAM BEGLEY, „Updike“, 576 pages, April 2014. [Biography]

Updike

04: EILEEN CRONIN, „Mermaid: A Memoir of Resilience“, 336 pages, January 2014.

Mermaid: A Memoir of Resilience

05: YASHA MOUNK, „Stranger in my own Country: A Jewish Family in modern Germany“, 272 pages, January 2014. [Memoir / Cultural Studies]

Stranger in My Own Country: A Jewish Family in Modern Germany

[German article here (Link)]
…and I’m excited about:

SERAH-MARIE McMAHON: „The WORN Reader: A Fashion Journal about the Art, Ideas & History of what we wear“, 416 pages, April 2014.

The WORN Archive: A Fashion Journal about the Art, Ideas, & History of What We Wear

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related Posts:

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Best New Books – Spring 2014: New Novels & Recommendations

Underdog Literature Best Novels 2014 Spring WordPress
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Here are 15 books that caught my interest lately.

Fresh, off-beat, quirky or curious titles that might deserve more attention…

all published between January and June 2014.

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01: MAXWELL NEELY-COHEN, „Echo of the Boom“, 456 pages, April 2014.

Echo of the Boom

02: PETER MATTHIESSEN, „In Paradise“, 256 pages, January 2014.

In Paradise

03: SIRI HUSTVEDT, „The Blazing World“, 368 pages, March 2014.

The Blazing World

04: AARON THIER, „The Ghost Apple“, 304 pages, March 2014. [Satire]

The Ghost Apple

05: TED THOMPSON, „The Land of Steady Habits“, 272 pages, March 2014.

The Land of Steady Habits: A Novel

06: KEVIN BROCKMEIER, „A few Seconds of radiant Filmstrip: A Memoir of Seventh Grade“, 208 pages, January 2014. [Memoir / Coming-of-Age / Cultural Studies]

A Few Seconds of Radiant Filmstrip: A Memoir of Seventh Grade

07: SHANE KUHN, „The Intern’s Handbook“, 288 pages, April 2014. [Corporate Satire / Thriller / Dystopia]

The Intern's Handbook: A Thriller

08: NNEDI OKARAFOR, „Lagoon“, 320 pages, April 2014. [Science Fiction; Nigeria]

Lagoon

09: ROBERT GLANCY, „Terms & Conditions“, 272 pages, February 2014 [Satire]

Terms & Conditions

10: LESLIE JAMISON, „The Empathy Exams“, 256 pages, April 2014. [personal Essays]

The Empathy Exams: Essays

11: NATALIE HAYNES, „The Amber Fury“, 307 pages, February 2014. [Mainstream / Suspense]

The Amber Fury

12: COURTNEY C. STEVENS, „Faking Normal“, 321 pages, February 2014. [Young Adult]

Faking Normal

13: ROBIN HERRERA, „Hope is a Ferris Wheel“, 272 pages, March 2014. [Young Adult]

Hope Is a Ferris Wheel

14: JOHN COREY WHALEY, „Noggin“,  356 pages, April 2014. [Young Adult Sci-Fi]

Noggin

15: STEWART FOSTER, „We used to be Kings“, 368 pages, January 2014. [Young Adult]

We Used to Be Kings

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Here are five books that made me curious enough to buy them:

01: SUE MONK KIDD, „The Invention of Wings“, 373 pages, January 2014. [Mainstream / Historical Fiction]

The Invention of Wings

02: JENNIFER CLEMENT, „Prayers for the Stolen“, 224 pages, February 2014.

Prayers for the Stolen

03: WILLY VLAUTIN, „The Free“, 297 pages, January 2014.

The Free

04: GABRIELLE ZEVIN, „The Stories Life of A. J. Fikry“, 230 pages, March 2014. [Mainstream]

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry

05: DANAH BOYD, „It’s complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens“, 296 pages, February 2014. [Sociology]

It's Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens

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Underdog Literature: The Best Books from World War One – 1914 to 1918

Underdog Literature World War 1 WW1 February 2014 WordPress
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Here are 15 books that caught my interest lately.

This month: Books that were published during – or shortly after  – World War One. Forgotten, classic or curious titles that might deserve more attention:

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01: ROBERT TRESSEL, „The Ragged Trousered Philantropists“, 608 pages, 1914.

The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists

02: EDGAR LEE MASTERS, „Spoon River Anthology“, 144 pages, 1914.

Spoon River Anthology

03: ROMAIN ROLLAND, „Jean-Christophe“, 1579 pages, 1914.

Jean-Christophe

04: EMMELINE PANKHURST, „My Own Story“, 176 pages, 1914.

My Own Story

05: ELIZABETH VON ARNIM, „The Pastor’s Wife“, 492 pages, 1914.

The Pastor's Wife

06: EARL DERR BIGGERS, „Love Insurance“, 432 pages, 1914.

Love Insurance

07: BOOTH TARKINGTON, „The Turmoil“, 268 pages, 1915.

The Turmoil (The Growth Trilogy, #1)

08: THEODORE DREISER, „The Genius“, 744 pages, 1915.

The Genius

09: ALEKSANDR KUPRIN, „Yama: The Pit“, 360 pages, 1915. [Russia]

Yama: The Pit

10: ABOUT WW1: HUGH WALPOLE, „The Dark Forest“, 252 pages, 1916.

The Dark Forest

11: RUPERT BROOKE, „Letters from America“, 124 pages, 1916.

Letters from America

12: HAROLD BEN WRIGHT, „When a Man’s a Man“, 212 pages, 1916.

When a Man's a Man

13: CLAUDE C. HOPKINS, „My Life in Advertising“, 48 pages, 1917. [Essay]

My Life in Advertising

14: ABOUT WW1: ANDREAS LATZKO, „Men in War“ / „Menschen im Krieg“, 112 pages, 1917. [German]

Men in War (Dodo Press)

15: ABOUT WW1: KARL KRAUS, „The Last Days of Mankind“ / „Die letzten Tage der Menschheit“, 263 pages, 1918. [Stage Play; German]

Last Days of Mankind

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Here are seven books about World War One that were published a short time later:

01: ABOUT WW1: W.N.P. BARBELLION, „Journal of a disappointed Man“, 275 pages, 1919.

Journal of a Disappointed Man

02: ABOUT WW1: A.P. HERBERT, „The Secret Battle“, 208 pages, 1919.

The Secret Battle

03: ABOUT WW1: ISAAC BABEL, „Red Cavalry“, 352 pages, 1920. [Russia]

Red Cavalry

04: ABOUT WW1: ERNST JÜNGER, „Storm of Steel“ / „In Stahlgewittern“, 320 pages, 1920. [German]

Storm of Steel

05: ABOUT WW1: ERNST FRIEDRICH, „War against War“ / „Krieg dem Kriege“, 242 pages, 1920. [German?]

Krieg Dem Kriege

06: ABOUT WW1: STRATIS MYRIVILIS, „Life in the Tomb“, 353 pages, 1924. [Greece]

Life in the Tomb

07: ABOUT WW1: EMMANUEL BOVE, „My Friends“, 150 pages, 1924. [France]

My Friends

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Best Books of the Year: My personal Top 20

best books 2013 stefan mesch wordpress.

(After a popular list last year [Link] and another in 2012 [Link]…)

…here are the 20 very best books I’ve read in 2013:

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20: WALTER ABISH, „How German is it“, Novel, 1980:
How German is It (Wie Deutsch ist es)

19: SARI BOTTON (Editor): „Goodbye to all that. Writers on Loving and Leaving New York“, nonfiction anthology / personal essays, 2013:
Goodbye to All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving New York

18: BARBARA PYM, „Excellent Women“, Novel, 1952:
Excellent Women

17: ALEXANDER MAKSIK, „You deserve nothing“, Novel, 2011:
You Deserve Nothing

16: BRIAN WOOD, „DMZ“, 12-volume Graphic Novel series, 2005 to 2012:
DMZ Vol. 12: The Five Nations of New York

15: A.S. KING, „Reality Boy“, Young Adult Novel, 2013:
Reality Boy

14: KATE SOUTHWOOD, „Falling to Earth“, Novel, 2013:
Falling to Earth

13: ANNA FUNDER, „Stasiland“ […alternatives / runner-ups: BARBARA DEMICK, „Nothing to Envy“ and SEBASTIAN HAFFNER, „Defying Hitler“: Three great nonfiction / cultural studies reads that focus on ordinary people and mass mentality in totalitarian regimes.]
Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Walland Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea and Defying Hitler

12: ÉDOUARD LEVÉ, „Autoportrait“, postmodern novel / art / journalism, France 2005:
Autoportrait

11: DEBBIE LEVY, „Imperfect Spiral“, Young Adult Novel, 2013:
Imperfect Spiral

10: J.H. WILLIAMS III, W. HADEN BLACKMAN, „Batwoman“ 1 to 3, Graphic Novels, 2011 to 2013:
Batwoman, Vol. 1: Hydrology

09: JOHN BRANDON, „Citrus County“, Novel, 2010.
Citrus County

08: BRECHT EVENS, „The Making of“, Belgian Graphic Novel, 2011.
The Making Of

07: ALEXANDER RÜHLE, „Ohne Netz“, German Journalism, 2010.
Ohne Netz: Mein halbes Jahr offline

06: DAVID GATES, „Jernigan“, Novel, 1991.
Jernigan

05: DAVID LEVITHAN, „Two Boys Kissing“, Young Adult Novel, 2013.
Two Boys Kissing

04: MARIA SEMPLE, „Where’d you go, Bernadette“, Novel, 2012.
Where'd You Go, Bernadette

03: CARSON McCULLERS, „The Member of the Wedding“, Novel, 1946.
The Member of the Wedding

02: ROBERT SHERRIFF: „A Fortnight in September“, Novel, 1931.
The Fortnight in September

01: PETER HEDGES: „What’s eating Gilbert Grape“, Novel, 1991.
Gilbert Grape, Irgendwo In Iowa

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For a complete list of books I’ve read in 2013, please go here [Link].

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In comics, I’ve also enjoyed Glyn Dillon’s „The Nao of Brown“ [Link], the excellent finale of Joe Hill’s „Locke & Key“ series (all in all: the best comic series I have ever read, Link), Juan Diaz Canales‘ „Blacksad“ [Link] detective stories, the finale / later half of Brian Michael Bendis‘ „Alias“ series [Marvel, Link] and the „New 52“ DC comic books featuring „Wonder Woman“ [Link], „Green Lantern“ [Link], the new „Green Arrow“ [Link] and sometimes „Batgirl“ [Link] as well as lots of good, older „Superman“ titles [Link] and Marvel’s amazing „Hawkeye“ series [Link]

…and, just like last year, „Honey & Clover“ [Link] – a „Scott Pilgrim“-like, bittersweet / comedic coming-of-age manga series about five friends at an art school.

Here’s a big collage of the many, many good graphic novels I’ve discovered in 2013:

000 2013 best graphic novels wordpress collageHave a good 2014! More to come!

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Best Books of 2013 – popular new recommendations

Underdog Literature WordPress December 2013.

Every month, I select 15 books that caught my interest lately.

Fresh, off-beat, quirky or curious titles that might deserve more attention.

This month – in time for Christmas:

15 of 2013’s best / most recent books!

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01: JINCY WILLETT, „Amy Falls Down“, 336 pages, May 2013. [Realistic Fiction / Satire]

Amy Falls Down: A Novel

02: J.J. ABRAMS, DOUG DORST, „S.“, 472 pages, August 2013. [post-modern fiction / Fantasy]

S.

03: TAMARA FAITH BERGER, „Little Cat“, 224 pages, June 2013. [Realistic Fiction / Memoir]

Little Cat

04: PAUL ROME, „We all sleep in the same Room“, 280 pages, October 2013. [Realistic Fiction]

We All Sleep in the Same Room

05: PETER GELFAN, „Found Objects“, 268 pages, April 2013. [Realistic Fiction]

Found Objects

06: MAC LETHAL, „Texts from Bennett“, 320 pages, September 2013. [Humour]

Texts from Bennett

07: CARI LUNA, „The Revolution of Every Day“, 392 pages, September 2013. [Realistic Fiction]

The Revolution of Every Day

08: TERRY McMILLAN, „Who asked you?“, 400 pages, September 2013. [Realistic Fiction / Chick Lit]

Who Asked You?

09: HELEN WAN, „The Partner Track“, 304 pages, September 2013. [Realistic Fiction]

The Partner Track: A Novel

10: MARTIN FLETCHER, „Jacob’s Oath“, 323 pages, October 2013. [Historical Fiction / WW2 – and set in Heidelberg, Germany]

Jacob's Oath

11: SEBASTIEN BREBEL, „Villa Bunker“, 106 pages, July 2013. [Realistic Fiction; French]

Villa Bunker

12: MARTIN VAN BOOY, „The Illusion of Seperateness“, 224 pages, July 2013. [Historical Fiction / Realistic Fiction]

The Illusion of Separateness

13: KAREN JOY FOWLER, „We are all completely besides ourselves“, 310 pages, May 2013. [Realistic Fiction]

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

14: STEPHEN DIXON, „His Wife leaves him“, 407 pages, September 2013. [Realistic Fiction: YA]

His Wife Leaves Him

15: CHINELO OKPARANTA, „Happiness, like Water“, 208 pages, August 2013. [Short Stories]

Happiness, Like Water

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As a bonus, here are five 2013 nonfiction books that I’ve sampled and liked:

16: SCOTT NADELSON, „The Next Scott Nadelson: A Life in Progress“, 264 pages, February 2013.

The Next Scott Nadelson: A Life in Progress

17: SHERI FINK, „Five Days at Memorial“, 558 pages, September 2013.

Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital

18: J.L. WITTERICK, „My Mother’s Secret: A Novel based on a true Holocaust Story“, 208 pages, March 2013.

My Mother's Secret: A Novel Based on a True Holocaust Story

19: PAUL KWIATKOWSKI, „And every Day was overcast“, 280 pages, October 2013.

And Every Day Was Overcast

20: DAVID FINKEL, „Thank you for your Service“, 272 pages, October 2013.

Thank You For Your Service

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Here are five books from 2013 that made me curious enough to buy them:

01: DAVID RHODES, „Jewelweed“, 448 pages, April 2013. [Realistic Fiction]

Jewelweed

02: DONNA TARTT, „The Goldfinch“, 756 pages, October 2013. [Realistic Fiction]

The Goldfinch

03: ELIZABETH GILBERT, „The Signature of all Things“, 512 pages, October 2013. [Historical Fiction]

The Signature of All Things

04: ALISSA NUTTING, „Tampa“, 272 pages, July 2013. [Realistic Fiction]

Tampa

05: PRISCILLE SIBLEY, „The Promise of Stardust“, 432 pages, February 2013. [Mainstream]

The Promise of Stardust

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…and finally, here are nine recent books from 2013 that I read – and that were really good:

5 of 5 stars: DAVID LEVITHAN, „Two Boys kissing“, 208 pages, August 2013. [Realistic Fiction / YA]

Two Boys Kissing

4 of 5 stars: KATE SOUTHWOOD, „Falling to Earth“, 272 pages, March 2013. [Realistic Fiction / Historical Fiction]

Falling to Earth

4 of 5 stars: JANETTE JENKINS, „Firefly“, 156 pages, June 2013. [Realistic Fiction]

Firefly

4 of 5 stars: DENNIS MAHONEY, „Fellow Mortals“, 288 pages, February 2013. [Realistic Fiction]

Fellow Mortals

4 of 5 stars: LEA CARPENTER, „Eleven Days“, 288 pages, June 2013. [Realistic Fiction]

Eleven Days

4 of 5 stars: SUSAN NUSSBAUM, „Good Kings Bad Kings“, 298 pages, March 2013. [Realistic Fiction: YA / literary fiction]

Good Kings Bad Kings

4 of 5 stars: SARI BOTTON, „Goodbye to all that. Writers on Loving and Leaving New York“, 288 pages, September 2013. [personal Essays]

Goodbye to All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving New York

4 of 5 stars: SONALI DERANYIAGALA, „Wave“, 274 pages, March 2013. [Memoir]

Wave

4 of 5 stars: NICKOLAS BUTLER, „Shotgun Lovesongs“, 432 pages, September 2013. [Mainstream; German edition]

Shotgun Lovesongs

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…have a look at my „Young Adult Literature: Best of 2013“ recommendations, too!

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Underdog Literature, October 2013: 15 fresh or suprising, off-the-wall titles

Underdog Literature WordPress October 2013.

Here are 15 books that caught my interest lately.

Fresh, off-beat, quirky or curious titles that might deserve more attention:

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01: JHUMPA LAHIRI, „The Lowland“, 352 pages, September 2013.

02: JESMYN WARD, „Men we reaped. A Memoir“, 272 pages, September 2013.

03: LARRY WATSON, „Let him go“, 256 pages, September 2013. [Thriller]

04: GAVIN EXTENSE, „The Universe vs. Alex Woods“, 407 pages, June 2013. [Young Adult]

05: DONAL RYAN, „The Spinning Heart“, 160 pages, 2012. [Ireland]

06: KA HANCOCK, „Dancing on broken Glass“, 416 pages, 2012. [Chick Lit?]

07: MAX BLECHER, „Scarred Hearts“, 240 pages, 1937. [Romania]

08: IRENE RATHBONE, „We that were young“, 528 pages, 1932. [British]

09: MÁRIO DE SÁ-CARNEIRO, „Lucio’s Confession“ / „A Confissao de Lucio“, 128 pages, 1914. [Portugese]

10: CHARLES JACKSON, „The Lost Weekend“, 244 pages, 1944. [Novel about Alcoholism]

11: IRA LEVIN, „This Perfect Day“, 368 pages, 1970. [Science Fiction]

12: MARY DOWNING HAHN, „The the Wind blows backward“, 272 pages, 1992. [Young Adult]

13: CAMERON CROWE, „Fast Times at Richmond High“, 253 pages, 1981. [Journalism! I had no idea!!]

14: JOHN ROBERT LEWIS, ANDREW AYDIN, „March“, 128 pages, August 2013. [Graphic Novel]

15: KEIICHI SIGSAWA, „Kino’s Journey: The Beautiful World“, 205 pages, 2000. [Graphic Novel / Manga series]

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Here are five books that made me curious enough to buy them:

01: SOURIS HONG-PORETTA, „Outside the Lines: An Artist’s Coloring Book for giant Imaginations“, 256 pages, September 2013. [Coloring Book / Art]

02: MICHELLE NEVIUS, „Inside the Apple: A Streetwise History of New York City“, 384 pages, 2009. [City Guide / History]

03: JOE DAVID BROWN, „Paper Moon“, 320 pages, 1971.

04: RUSSELL HOBAN, „Turtle Diary“, 182 pages, 1978.

05: ROBERT C. SHERRIFF, „A Fortnight in September“, 326 pages, 1931.

.

…and finally, here are three books that I read – and that were really good:

4 of 5 stars: JONATHAN CARROLL, „The Land of Laughs“, 256 pages, 1980. [literary Fantasy]

4 of 5 stars: BARBARA PYM, „Excellent Women“, 231 pages, 1952.

4 of 5 stars: ALEXANDER RAMATI, „And the Violins stopped playing. A Story of the Gypsy Holocaust“, 200 (?) pages, 1985.

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Underdog Literature, September 2013: 15 fresh or compelling, off-the-wall CRIME novels

Underdog Literature WordPress September 2013.

Here are 15 books that caught my interest lately.

Fresh, off-beat, quirky or curious titles that might deserve more attention:

For this month, my focus is on crime novels, domestic suspense, thrillers and noir classics.

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01: HARLAN COBEN, „Tell No One“, 370 pages, 2000. [Thriller]

02: WILLIAM HJORTSBERG, „Falling Angel“, 302 pages, 1978. [Fantasy Noir]

03: TED ALLBEURY, „Lantern Network“, 200 pages, 1979. [Espionage]

04: RUTH RENDELL (as BARBARA VINE), „The Dark-Adapted Eye“, 278 pages, 1986. [Thriller]

05: CHARLOTTE ARMSTRONG, „A Dram of Poison“, 160 pages, 1956.

06: ROSS MACDONALD, „The Chill“, 288 pages, 1963. [Noir; book 11 of an 18-book series]

07: ED LACY, „Room to Swing“, 132 pages, 1957. [Noir]

08: KIN PLATT, „Sinbad and me“, 255 pages, 1967. [Children’s Mystery]

09: JACK D. FERRAIOLO, „The Big Splash“, 288 pages, 2008. [Middle-Grade Noir]

10: STUART GIBBS, „Spy School“, 291 pages, 2012. [Middle-Grade Spy Parody]

11: JOHN MORGAN WILSON, „Simple Justice“, 304 pages, 1996. [Mystery, first in an eight-book series]

12: JOHN FREEMANTLE, „Charlie M“, 207 pages, 1977. [Spy Thriller, first in a fourteen-book series]

13: ADAM HALL, „The Quiller Memorandum“, 254 pages, 1965. [Spy Thriller, first in a nineteen-book series]

14: ISSER HAREL, „The House on Garibaldi Street“, 290 pages, 1975. [Nonfiction]

15: JÜRGEN THORWALD, „Das Jahrhundert der Detektive“ / „Century of the Detective“, 704 pages, 1965 pages [Nonfiction; German]

This month, I found most of these titles on a long list [Link] of winners and nominees for the Edgar Awards [Link].

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Here are five books that made me curious enough to buy them:

01: DON CARPENTER, „Hard Rain Falling“, 308 pages, 1964. [Noir Classic]

02: CHESTER HIMES, „If he hollers, let him go“, 224 pages, 1945. [Noir Classic]

03: ERIC AMBLER, „A Coffin for Dimitrios“, 304 pages, 1934. [Espionage / Suspense]

04: TONINO BENACQUISTA, „Saga“ / „Das Seifenopern-Quartett“, 439 pages, 1997. [Farce / Satire; France]

05: DANIEL GALERA, „Flut“ [German title] / „Barba Ensopada de Sangue“ [Portugese title], 424 pages, 2012. [Brazilian… literary thriller]

I started reading Dieter Wunderlich’s review here [Link, German; Spoilers], marked the book as to read – and later got a copy of the German edition, from Suhrkamp [Link]: Frank, the German editor, is a good publishing friend… and thought I’d like it.

.

…and finally, here are three books that I read – and that were really good:

5 of 5 stars: DAVID GATES, „Jernigan“, 256 pages, 1991.

5 of 5 stars: PETER HEDGES, „What’s eating Gilbert Grape“, 319 pages, 1991.

4 of 5 stars: CELIA FREMLIN, „The Hours before Dawn“, 192 pages, 1958. [Thriller / Domestic Suspense]

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Underdog Literature, June 2013: 15 fresh or notable, off-the-wall titles

Underdog Literature WordPress June 2013.

Here are 15 books that caught my interest lately.

Fresh, off-beat, quirky or curious titles that might deserve more attention:

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01: SUSAN NUSSBAUM, „Good Kings Bad Kings“, 336 pages, March 2013.

02: MATTHEW SPECKTOR, „American Dream Machine“, 464 pages, March 2013.

03: LAUREN BEUKES, „The Shining Girls“, 368 pages, April 2013. [Mainstream time-travel thriller]

04: MA JIAN, „The Dark Road“, 384 pages, April 2013. [China]

05: COLUM McCANN, „TransAtlantic“, 259 pages, May 2013. [still haven’t read anything of him.]

06: TAO LIN, „Taipei“, 256 pages, June 2013.

07: MIGUEL ÁNGEL ASTURIAS, „The President“, 288 pages, 1946. [recommended by Clemens Setz]

08: JESUS CARRASCO, „Intemperie“ / „Die Flucht“, 224 pages, January 2013. [Dystopia, Spanish]

09: GEORGE PACKER, „The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America“, 448 pages, May 2013.

10: JANET MALCOLM, „Forty-One False Starts: Essays on Artists and Writers“, 320 pages, May 2013. [Essays]

11: NICK FLYNN, „The Reenactments“, 320 pages, January 2013. [Memoir]

12: DAVID BATCHELOR, „Chromophobia“, 128 pages, 2000. [Cultural Studies / Art Criticism]

13: RUTU MODAN, „The Property“, 232 pages, May 2013. [Graphic Novel]

14: MASON CURREY, „Daily Rituals: How Artists Work“, 304 pages, April 2013. [Trivia / Nonfiction]

15: MONIKA HELD, „Der Schrecken verliert sich vor Ort“, 272 pages, March 2013. [German: I liked Mara Giese’s review – here (Link, German)]

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Here are five books that made me curious enough to buy them:

01: STEVE ERICKSON, „Zeroville“, 329 pages, 2007.

02: LIDIA YUKNAVITCH, „The Chronology of Water“, 268 pages, 2011. [Memoir]

03: KATE SOUTHWOOD, „Falling to Earth“, 264 pages, 2013.

04: JUDITH KUCKART, „Wünsche“, 301 pages, 2013. [German]

05: MARTIN KLUGER, „Abwesende Tiere“, 1040 pages, 2002. [German, recommended by Jo Lendle]

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usually, I also promote three books that I read – and that were really good.

but I’ve spent the month finishing a long, nerdy (paid) Marvel Comics book translation for a German publisher…

…and spent all my reading-time with old Superman comics to prepare a slew of Tagesspiegel articles I will write this month – now that „Man of Steel“ is finally in theatres.

I also watched „Iron Man 3“ – and it was near-perfect superhero fun: 4 of 5 stars.

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Underdog Literature, May 2013: 15 fresh or remarkable, off-the-wall books

Underdog Literature WordPress May 2013.

Here are 15 books that caught my interest lately.

Fresh, off-beat, quirky or curious titles that might deserve more attention:

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01: LAUREN KIRSHNER, „Where we have to go“, 336 pages, 2009. [Canada, Coming-of-Age]

02: MICHAEL DAHLIE, „The Best of Youth“, 288 pages, January 2013.

03: NOELLE REVAZ, „With the Animals“, 232 pages, 2002. [Switzerland]

04: PAUL RUSSELL, „The Unreal Life of Sergey Nabokov“, 375 pages, 2010.

05: PETER RUSHFORTH, „Kindergarten“, 224 pages, 1979.

06: ANDRÉ MAUROIS, „Climates“, 400 pages, 1928. [France]

07: CHARLES NEWMAN, „In Partial Disgrace“, 600 pages, March 2013.

08: ANDRÉ CARL VAN DER MERWE, „Moffie“, 314 pages, 2006. [South Africa]

09: FRANK NORRIS, „The Octopus. A Novel of California“, 688 pages, 1901.

10: DIANE ATHILL, „Stet. An Editor’s Life“, 256 pages, 2000. [Memoir]

11: ALEKSANDER WAT, „My Century“, 448 pages, 1977. [Memoir / Journalism; Poland]

12: KEVIN GUILFOILE, „Cast of Shadows“, 336 pages, 2005. [Sci-Fi / Thriller]

13: SALLY CLARK, „Waiting for the Revolution“, 362 pages, 2010. [Toronto]

14: CONSTANCE SQUIRES, „Along the Watchtower“, 320 pages, 2011. [Coming-of-Age]

15: ALICE ZENITER, „Take this Man“, 176 pages, 2011. [Nonfiction, France]

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Here are five books that made me curious enough to buy them:

01: JOSEPH KESSEL, „Belle de jour“, 188 pages, 1928.

02: BARBARA STAFFORD, „The Mountain Lion“, 240 pages, 1972.

03: DANZY SENNA, „Caucasia“, 413 pages, 1998.

04: JOHN LANCHESTER, „The Debt to Pleasure“, 272 pages, 1996.

05: PATRICK McGUINNESS, „The Last Hundred Days“, 384 pages, 2011. [Romania]

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…and finally, here are three books that I read – and that were really good:

5 of 5 stars: CARSON McCULLERS, „The Member of the Wedding“, 240 pages, 1946. [Coming-of-Age / Southern Fiction]

5 of 5 stars: MARIA SEMPLE, „Where’d you go, Bernadette“, 326 pages, 2012.

4 of 5 stars: 05: BARBARA DEMICK, „Nothing to envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea“, 314 pages, 2009. [non-fiction]

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Underdog Literature, April 2013: 15 fresh or urgent, off-the-wall titles

Underdog Literature Apr 2013 WordPress.

Here are 15 books that caught my interest lately.

Fresh, off-beat, quirky or curious titles that might deserve more attention:

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01: RON CURRIE, jr.: „Flimsy little plastic Miracles“, 340 pages, February 2013.

02: HELEN GARNER, „Monkey Grip“, 245 pages, 1977. [Australia]

03: CHESTER HIMES, „If he hollers, let him go“, 224 pages, 1945. [Racism]

04: JULIE KIBLER, „Calling me Home“, 336 pages, 2012. [Romance / Mainstream]

05: DANA JOHNSON: „Elsewhere, California“, 304 pages, 2012.

06: KAREN BOYE, „Kallocain“, 224 pages, 1940. [Dystopia / SF]

07: JAKOV LIND, „Landscape in Concrete“, 190 pages, 1968.

08: LAWRENCE THORNTON, „Imagining Argentina“, 240 pages, 1987.

09: TYLER McMAHON, „How The Mistakes were made“, 352 pages, 2011. [Novel about a Courtney-Love-like punk / grunge singer.]

10: PETER NATHANIEL MALAE, „Our frail Blood“, 448 pages, February 2013.

11: MICHAEL KIMBALL, „Big Ray“, 192 pages, 2012.

12: STEVE ABEE, „Johnny Future“, 208 pages, 2009.

13: GOLDA FRIED, „Nellcott is my Darling“, 160 pages, 2001. [Young Adult; Toronto]

14: VIKKI WAKEFIELD, „Friday Brown“, 345 pages, 2012. [Young Adult]

15: FRANK DEFORD, „Alex. The Life of a Child“, 142 pages, 1983. [Biography / Death]

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Here are five books that made me curious enough to buy them:

01: SHUSAKO ENDO, „When I whistle“ / „Eine Klinik in Tokyo“,  273 pages, 1979. [Japanese psychological novel about the war generation]

02: NATACHA APPANAH, „The Last Brother“, 165 pages, 2007.

03: ERLEND LOE, „Naive. Super“, 208 pages, 1996. [Finnish Young Adult Bestseller]

04: DEZSő KOSTOLÁNYI, „Skylark“, 222 pages, 1924. [Hungary]

05: IRENE SABATINI, „The Boy Next Door“, 416 pages, 2009. [Zimbabwe]

.

…and finally, here are three books that I read – and that were really good:

5 of 5 stars: „Batwoman: Hydrology“ (J.H. WILLIAMS III, W. HAYDEN BLACKMAN), 160 pages, 2012. The sequel, „To Drown the World“, is very good, too. If you want to start at the beginning – here’s a reading list I made for the character, from 2011.]

4 of 5 stars: TOBIAS WOLFF, „This Boy’s Life“, 304 pages, 1988. [Autobiography / Coming-of-Age]

4 of 5 stars: 05: SONALI DERANIYAGALA, „Wave“, 274 pages, March 2013. [Memoir about the 2004 tsunami]

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