Monthly Bookshelf: March 2016 (Part I)

Be warmly welcomed to a regular category I’m really looking forward too: roundups of ALL the books I’ve read in a month, including a short info and review for every single one. Let’s do this!

March has been an excellent reading-month for me; I’ve been able to complete twelve books, which for 2016 so far is definitely record-breaking. That’s why I decided to break this Monthly Bookshelf into two parts- keeping it brief and readable.

The month for me started off with finally completing “Perfume. The Story of a Murderer” by Patrick Süskind, first published in 1985. I’ve read this book in German for school and was therefore only allowed to read it a few chapters at a time, which I found quite hard.

The story takes place in 18th century-France and tells the story of Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, who is born a very talented perfumer and wants to create the world’s best perfume – by all means. The story features not only a detailed and colourful description of the 18th century and traditional perfumer’s techniques, but, as the title suggests, also a row of gruesome murders.

I’ve enjoyed this novel a lot, not only because of the thrilling and often surprising story, but also the language and storytelling techniques, which I found quite outstanding. Especially the second part and the very end had me sucked in with their very visual descriptions and the disturbing insights into Grenouilles brain.


Next, I dived into a contemporary novel classic (what a label): “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” by Mark Haddon, 2003. I’ve just randomly picked this book out of my mother’s bookshelf without having ever heard of it and I’m quite glad. (I later realized it was also part of the Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge, so that was nice too.)

It tells the story of a dead dog and a well-kept secret through the eyes of Christopher, who is really good with numbers and formulas, but not so good at understanding what other people feel because he has got Asperger.

I absolutely loved this book! It was very funny and exciting, while also an unusual perspective that really helped me understand autism a bit better. It was moving, but thanks to Christopher’s analytical view on the world never got cheesy, and it even got me fascinatedly reading about maths problems. Now there’s an accomplishment!


The next book is one I’m still unsure how I feel about: “The House of the Spirits” by Isabel Allende from the year 1982, which tells the story of a Chilean family over the course of three generations, featuring secret love, political revolutions, hate, violence and a glance of the supernatural, magical. I was handed this book by my father, who himself describes it as “an interesting story, but not very well told” and “too sugary”. I myself had conflicting feelings while reading this. The story was extremely gripping, I just couldn’t lift my nose out of this book in parts, but then again it was told so weird; I just couldn’t decide if it was a pleasure or an agony to race through this.

Weeks later, I still haven’t quite got over the story which is SO INTENSE, but I still wouldn’t want to reread to be honest, because there was something quite exhausting in reading this.

After that I read a book that just doesn’t exist in English: “Lenz” by Peter Schneider. I’ll spare you the details, but it’s a teeny tiny novella, quite political, quite nice if you ask me.

Next was a book I have read in order to complete the #BustleReads-Challenge 2016: “The Buddha In The Attic” by Julie Otsuka, published 2012. This was my first novel by Julie Otsuka, although “When The Emperor Was Divine” seems to be much more popular (and I definitely plan on reading it).

“The Buddha In The Attic” is trying to give a sense of the life of young Japanese women who immigrated into the USA as “Picture Brides” and tells the stories of how their lives unravel. It’s a very poetic, quiet book, which took me a short adjustment period to really get into. After that, I was in love though and very touched by the on-point prose.

To hear about the other seven books I finished, return tomorrow for Part II of this Monthly Bookshelf…


2 thoughts on “Monthly Bookshelf: March 2016 (Part I)

  1. Pingback: Monthly Bookshelf: March 2016 (Part II) – zoe.thinks

  2. Pingback: The Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge – zoe.thinks

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