What I’ve been reading

2018 – 2019

Michelle Obama  “Becoming”  .  Of course, the way it is presented on the book cover, it reads “Becoming Michelle Obama”.   Being a mother and a teacher I am always interested in reading and hearing about how other people grew up. Of her mother, Michelle Obama says, “She never indulged my outrage, but she took my frustration seriously. […] She knew the difference between whining and actual distress.” and “She wasn’t quick to judge and she wasn’t quick to meddle. […] When things were bad, she gave us only a small amount of pity. When we’d done something great, we received just enough praise to know she was happy with us but never so much that it became the reason we did what we did.”

Simon Winchester  “The Perfectionists – How Precision Engineers Created The Modern World”  .  Reminiscent of Steven Johnson’s research into relevant but forgotten history, and equally enjoyable. He’s not afraid of long sentences: “The technique had an immediate cascade effect very much more profound than those he ever imagined, and of greater long-term importance, I would argue, than the much more famed legacies of his friend and rival Abraham Darby III, who threw up the still-standing great Iron Bridge of Coalbrookdale that attracts tourist millions still today, and is regarded by most modern Britons as the Industrial Revolution’s most potent and recognizable symbol.”

Jane Austen  “Pride and Prejudice”  .  Reading this for the first time ever, I’m struggling a bit with the 200 yr-old writing style, and trying to keep track of all the different characters. I will probably enjoy this more when I read it the second time = when I know who’s who and where the story is going.

Alan Walker  “Fryderyk Chopin, A Life and Times”  .  I am enjoying this immensely. The author manages to marry an insane amount of research and a very readable writing style. While the book is organized chronologically, one does not necessarily have to read it from beginning to end. Every time I open the book, even randomly anywhere, I am again pulled into the story, the history, finding it hard to put the book down. (How’s that for an excuse for not practicing? …) At nearly 700 pages, this is an ongoing project …

Agatha Christie  “Murder on the Orient Express”  .  No movie can ever do justice to a book – there is simply not enough time in a movie to cover all the details, to slowly develop a story. I therefore enjoyed reading the book, after having seen the movie. Agatha Christie is a master at presenting the different characters, but I still appreciated an overview of the characters at the beginning of the book, and especially a diagram of the carriage, showing which character was in which compartment – since this is an important part of the story.


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