It’s TTT time! As usual, if you’re curious about this, Jana over at That Artsy Reader Girl hosts these weekly challenges (so, see her blog for more info). Today’s TTT prompt is about books I loved but never reviewed. Oh boy, guess I’ll have to peruse my top-of-all-time Goodreads shelf. On it are several books I read during my youth that I never reviewed after starting my Goodreads account (unless I’ve reread them since).
Let’s start with all the books that are (currently!) on that shelf. They are in no particular ranking. A large portion I’ve read in German or French. Several I’ve re-read in English. I left the pictures to reflect that when possible.
Of these, I’ve mentioned Das Parfüm/The Perfume an absurd amount of times since it is my all-time-favorite book. I do have a short review on Goodreads but I actually just talked about it on Dewey’s blog (here). It basically represents my ideal novel. Additionally, for completeness purposes, find my reviews for the following novels on Goodreads: The Lost Honor of Katherine Blum, Momo, The Little Prince, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, The Alchemist, Carrie, The Sunset Limited, The Sleeper and The Spindle, The One Hundred Nights of Hero, Snow and Rose, Milk and Honey, and The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane.
So, now let’s actually get to the books that are on that list but *** GASP *** do not have a review. There are 8 in total.
This is one of those books I had to read in high school and was adamant would suck. Oh boy, was I wrong. I loved everything about it. 10/10 would read over and over again. In fact, I was just talking to my sister that we should read this together sometime this year. Effi, married to a much older man, is bored and indulges in an affair with a roguish gentlemen. Many years later, her husband discovers the indiscretion and mayhem ensues. Theodore Fontane created a masterpiece of social criticism and commentary brought to life by satire and irony (see Goodreads synopsis).
Der Zug war pünktlich / The Train Was on Time
I think this is my favorite Heinrich Böll novel (sorry Katherine Blum). He is by far my favorite German writer. It perfectly represents Böll’s critical eye of a war-ridden Germany. This poignant short story combines a melancholic atmosphere with bright, and often ironic, plot points. The protagonist is certain he will die as he is being shipped off to the Polish warfront – so what would you do with the remaining hours of your life? No surprise here, language dominates plot but there are plenty of events to hold your interest (see Goodreads synopsis).
Ich bekenne, ich habe gelebt / Confieso que he vivido. Memorias / Memories
Pablo Nerudo is my favorite poet. I basically love all his works, but his memoir tips the scale. He led a controversial life and I am definitely not defending some of his choices (there is a rape allegation based on what he talks about in his memoir) but his influence on poetry is undoubtedly vast. I loved following his journey through life, which he describes honestly and in beautiful prose (see Goodreads synopsis).
Mein Leben / The Author of Himself
Marcel Reich-Ranicki, to me is the god of literary reviews. As a Jewish, Polish-born German, Reich-Ranicki’s memoir dissects his life in vivid detail. The sections on his experiences in the Warsaw Ghetto are harrowing and eye-opening. His mastery of literature, theatre, and music flows through the pages and his knack of writing keeps you completely enthralled with what he has to tell you. His critical reviews of books etc were known to be sharp of tongue and his memoir did not deviate from that (see Amazon synopsis – I could not find one in English on Goodreads).
Candide ou l’optimisme / Candide
Oh Voltaire! I read you in high school and fell in love! Candide is yet again one of those epic-find-yourself-journeys, similarly to The Alchemist, but bursts with satire and societal criticism. The protagonists sets out on a journey to essentially prove that he lives in the best of all worlds when in fact he did not live in the best of all worlds and shit happens without a bigger reason. Sometimes life just sucks. Without a lesson to be learned. Without a bigger plan. For no reason at all. This novel is full of witticism and philosophy (see Goodreads synopsis).
Honestly, my mind is blown that I haven’t reviewed this book! I can only think that is because the task is so daunting. How does one review such a crucial piece of literature? A piece of work that has influenced pretty much every horror novel that followed it? A story that perfectly combines Gothic horror tropes with Slavic and Romanian folklore? Bram Stoker, you’re an evil genius, and I love you (see Goodreads synopsis).
Nicht ohne meine Tochter / Not Without My Daughter
This is a book that I read a million times as a teenager and I think was the first novel to prompt me to realize that women can have less rights than men. The fact that this is a memoir was mnd-boggling to me as a young girl. Betty Mahmoody is inspiring. She persevered. She was resourceful. She went full on mamma bear. Held essentially prisoner by her husband on a trip to visit his home in Iran, she faces the fight of her lifetime and no one is willing to help her escape if she wants to bring her daughter (see Goodreads synopsis).
Up until reading this book like 15 years ago, I had no idea there was a female pope. I immediately got sucked into the story of a young women who was raised pagan, turned Christian, and quickly realized she can’t become what she wants to become in a man’s world. Despite the fact that this is a book with a religious setting, I found this story by Donna Woolfolk Cross inspiring and empowering and would consider it a must read of historical fiction (see Goodreads synopsis).
Have you read any of these books that I am mentioning? What did you think? Leave your reviews and your links to your TTTs below in the comments so I can be sure to check out your books that you loved but never reviewed.