Books Read in 2009

The other day I discovered that you can paste your goodreads.com book reviews and ratings into a blog. You give me something to copy & paste online which results in the opportunity to overshare...

Goodreads.com is a great social networking site focused on books: you can share and read reviews of books, let others know what you're reading and snoop around your friends' virtual bookshelves to look for recommendations. Goodreads also offers an app for facebook to automatically add your books & comments to your profile (which could still use some improvement).

I'm not sure if I'll post my super short reviews/ratings here every time I read a book, but for now here is my list of books read in 2009. Note that this year I was part of a "guilt-free guilty pleasure" book club - so there are lots of books about girl detectives and girl vampire lovers and girl detectives that love vampires...



My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A very engaging, moving, informative and easily-read journey through four decades of Afghan history and culture from the perspective of two Afghan women and their families.




My rating: 2 of 5 stars
The holes in the story, the religious superiority, the "Fabio in the 90s (1990s vision of 1790s)" descriptions of the male vampires and the repetitive chummy language, spoiled what could have been a thrilling read about a tough, yet somewhat dimensional, female vampire slayer solving crimes.




My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Entertaining - but I don't think I'm going to run out and get the rest of the series.







My rating: 4 of 5 stars
What a dark laugh - especially when read out loud with a friend.







My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Dark, devastating and beautiful. Among such bleakness there is hope for love and compassion to survive. If only for a little while.






My rating: 2 of 5 stars
This is based only on the 40 pages because I actually put the book down. There's a good chance I'll give it another shot later and like it better - but for right now: too many good books, too little time. The idea of mixing Pride and Prejudice with zombies is very cool and the execution is actually very well done. It's funny and even witty. But I just couldn't ENJOY reading the book because I was so aware of the inserting of new paragraphs/zombie content and the merging of genres. It wasn't possible for me to get into the story because I kept thinking: oh, look here is a new paragraph, but wait, did he also change this sentence? Darcy didn't say that in the real book, did he?...




My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Fascinating new perspective through showing the Dark Others' point-of-view. More interesting characters, more twists, more theories... no one is just good, everyone is just a pawn... or maybe not? A sequel that doesn't disappoint.





My rating: 4 of 5 stars
At times depressing, at times inspiring, the statistics and fascinating examples given in this book mostly confirmed certain suspicions/theories I already had about why some people are extremely successful and others aren't. The insights about what goes on in an airplane's cockpit were eye-opening... and a little scary.




My rating: 2 of 5 stars
More of the same - yes, page turner, yes, new fascinating factoids, yes, some interesting contemplations arise, yes, cool to surf for images of real things on the internet along with the descriptions in the book -- BUT then it's hit-you-over-the-head formulaic (especially if you've read the previous books). And there's the bugging thought that you don't know which facts you can actually believe and which ones are totally made up. And last but not least while some of the theories are interesting, the "solution" in the end seemed very weak and ultimately wasn't worth the whole mystery (neither setting it up nor dying over nor solving it).




My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Page-turner, unique world & characters and makes you think. Nice. Cannot wait to read Day Watch.







My rating: 3 of 5 stars
It captures well that college-age time as it played out for certain people: when all you know is that you don't quite fit in and you somehow want something more from life but haven't quite figured out what and how to get it so you just kind of drift meaninglessly through nights in Hamburg and south of the Elbe.





My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Beautiful and sad. Rather visceral and in a way always just right out of reach (which can also get a little frustrating when so many things go unsaid or appear out of order). Fascinating choice to jump around in time and change who the narrator is speaking to (talking about Stella or to Stella) within the same paragraph. Like a sad and beautiful dream.




My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Great premise: not only the time-travel (which to me relates to many people's desire to have known their loved one when they were a kid or when they're old), but also the idea of portraying a love relationship from beginning to "end" with all it's typical ups and downs). Great beginning. Inspires meaningful contemplations. But then it just gets so long and needlessly wordy with endless descriptions of plain factual details of boring events and inconsequential actions. Mixed into the mundane then is the melodrama. And yes, it does seem like a book for women only.




My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I think I liked this one even more.







My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Total page-turner. So many levels to the book - fascinating story lines, characters, settings, insights... However, the need for the gruesome details are questionable to me as well as certain moral implications after revelation of the huge crimes. But I definitely can't wait to read the next book in the series to follow the main characters' journeys.




My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Charming, but the ending was a bit of a let-down.







My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I wanted to love it. (I really like the idea of it.) But I just didn't. I probably would have appreciated it a lot more during my school years when I was obsessed with Kafka. Maybe there'll be time for it again in the future.





My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Fascinating insights into life in Botswana. Likable characters, interesting story lines. Most charming are the contemplations of ethics and culture. This second book seemed to have more to offer in regards of provoking thought than the first one. But I am not a big fan of the simplistic style of the writing, both in language, characters and over-all structure (again there's one major interesting case that starts early on but won't be solved until the end, several smaller cases appear in starts and stops throughout the book, personal story line of main character weaves through the book without many plot points or major conflict).




My rating: 3 of 5 stars








My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Hat das Gefuehl der ersten Naechte in der neuen Stadt genau festgehalten und so einige Erinnerungen hervorgerufen. Man kann sich durch das Buch treiben lassen genau wie durch solche Naechte. Ausserdem hab ich daraufhin Lust "Herr Lehmann" noch mal zu lesen, um zu sehen wie es denn bei allen weiterging.






My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Quite outstanding how he can create a whole universe true to itself full of fascinating characters and a suspenseful story.






My rating: 3 of 5 stars








My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Fascinating and memorable - yes. But in the end it might just be a little too absurd and incoherent for me to really embrace it as much as some of his others.







My rating: 5 of 5 stars
What a beautiful, important, well-written story about a very diverse group of people coming together during the 2nd world war - each with their own agenda and yet all playing a part in doing the same good thing. Very surprised this wasn't on my school's reading list.





My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A great contemplation on age, life, love, friendship, responsibility and ethics.







My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Mixed bag of Christmas-themed short stories. I got it for the Sookie story, which in this case didn't play into the "saga" as much as some of the other short stories published outside the novels.