Apparently, I’m really known as a book lover, I’ve been invited recently by two friends on Facebook to share my ten favorite books. A difficult task, as I have many favorite books, actually more than ten. My bookshelf is getting more packed especially when I come home from traveling. I simply love strolling around in bookstores when I’m abroad and I cannot resist to buy new „Lesestoff“. I also chose some „all-time classics“ for my hitlist, which I put in a random order. Here we go!
„Portnoy’s complaint“, Philip Roth
Bought in THE STRAND at Union Square in 1999 when I was an intern at the German-Jewish newspaper AUFBAU and fell in love with a Jewish-American lawyer, who recommended me this book to better understand the male Jewish mind.
„Manhattan Transfer“, John Dos Passos
Bought as well in NYC, years later; although this sad and compelling novel is set in the 1920s, its picture of the dual-edged nature of the „American dream“ is still lasting.
„The Diamond as big as the Ritz and other stories“, F. Scott Fitzgerald
Bought in London long, long time ago, when I was a student at Portsmouth University; the worshipping of glamour, wealth and social status in the swinging Jazz Age is still predominant for too many people also in 2014.
„On the road“, Jack Kerouac
Bought in my boring hometown Siegen in North-Rhine Westfalia, far away from the „jazz, drugs and freedom“-feeling of the beat generation.
„Narcopolis“, Jeet Thayil
I came across this extraordinary, poetic book about the world of opium dens in Bombay in the 1970s and 1980s by chance through the Literaturfest in Munich last october; had the chance to interview the author for my blog; can’t wait to read the second novel, which is exptected to be finished soon.
„Shantaram“, Gregory David Roberts
Bought in Pokhara in Nepal, couldn’t stop reading; the story of „Linbaba“ in the slums of Mumbai sometimes sounds too adventurous to be true, but it’s just breathtaking; every traveller I met during this time asked „Have you already read Shantaram?“.
„Train to pakistan“, Khushwant Singh
A present from Mary, whom I met in Ladakh, at our reunion in Delhi in July this year, amazing recaption of the time of the partition of India in 1947 by one of Indias best known writers and columnists.
„Ten Thousand Miles without a cloud“, Sun Shuyun
Bought in the Ladakh bookstore in Leh, a Chinese woman traveling along the Silk Road – like the sevent century monk Xuangzang – in the search of true Buddhism. Inspired me to plan my own Silk Road trip for 2015!
„The Inheritance of Loss“, Kiran Desai
Bought at Delhi airport before flying home from my 4-month-adventure in India and Nepal in 2012; set in the northeastern Himalayas and in New York in the 1980s, it explores the postcolonial chaos and despair and the loss of identity; a thoughtful, touching and beautifully written book. By the way, Kiran Desai is the daughter of the famous great novelist and short-story writer Anita Desai.
„The Picture of Dorian Gray“, Oscar Wilde
Also bought in London when I was a student at Portsmouth University; this moral tale of youth, beauty and corruption, that portrays the world of social decadents and artistic do-nothings in the search of pleasure and ever new sensations, is still a thrilling read.