Skip to main content

staff picks

Jonathan Stroud - The Bartimaeus Triology. A Must Read for Every Fantasy Fan

Post by Fabienne Sauberlich.

The Amulet of Smarkand"The temperature of the room dropped fast. Ice formed on the curtains and crusted thickly around the lights in the ceiling. Then two yellow staring eyes materialized in the smoke. "Hey, it was his first time. I wanted to scare him"."

This is the beginning of Jonathan Stroud's Bartimaeus Triology, a fantasy series that is all at once fantastic, thrilling and funny, with two main characters that will immediately capture your heart.

So what's it about? The story is set in a world where wizards are the most powerful people, and humans without magical powers are lower class people. Wizards conjure up demons to work for them, but they treat them like dangerous slaves knowing that a demon will take every chance he gets to kill his master. Read more »

What is Read in Germany?

Post by Fabienne Sauberlich.

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold FryYes, of course there are some German authors whose works only appear in German, so unfortunately most of you won't be able to read them. But there are too a lot of international authors we Germans also like to read. And sometimes looking at what is read in other countries can give you ideas as to what books you shouldn’t miss out on.

If you want to know what books are read most in Germany you should have a look at the so called "Spiegel Bestsellerliste".  This list comes out weekly so you may also want to look at earlier ones. Below is the list for this week, and if you find something interesting watch out for it, you might even get it in your local Library. Read more »

Suspense and Thrills with a Psychological Component

Sebastian FitzekPost by Fabienne Sauberlich.

In Germany his books regularly occupy the top positions on the bestseller lists when they first come out, in fact his first book 'Therapy' kicked the Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown right off the number one position in 2006. Some of his books have been translated into english and have made their way over to us. Have you already guessed who this post is about? It is of course about Sebastian Fitzek, an author I have enjoyed very much and as you see I am not alone. Read more »

Blood, Bandits and Dark Nights: Most Recent Crime Reads

In my last post (8 August) I discussed four titles from yes, Nordic climes, two being Swedish, one Finnish and one Icelandic. While Nordic writers tend to dominate my reading, they are by no means the only crime writers on my list, case in point being my posts on French crime fiction, Italian crime fiction, and my post on writers from as far afield as Australia, the US, Laos and Africa.

While this my latest update does include two Nordic titles, it also includes an Italian and a South African, and it is the latter that I will start with, as it is the book that excited me the most and which I am only dying to share with you.

City of BloodThe book is 'City of Blood' 5 stars, and it is the debut novel of M.D. Villiers (Martie de Villiers), a South African living in London. Set on the dangerous streets of Johannesburg, it is the tale of Siphwe, a 19-year old orphan who, after rushing to the aid of a woman stabbed on the street, unwittingly gets caught up in the turf war between two rival and dangerous crime lords, one South African, the other Nigerian. With the danger to him and those close to him ever growing, he has to have his wits about him and forge alliances with criminals and police alike in order to survive. The story is told mainly through Siphwe's eyes. Read more »

The French Crime Fiction Challenge

I think it fair to say that the Nordic countries have not got it all to themselves after all! What might I be referring to, you may ask? The market in crime fiction of course. But maybe some of you never thought they had to to begin with - after all we have always had a wealth of crime fiction emanating from the United States and from Britain, and you could add to that several others including the Italians and in recent times the Irish too. I have to say it IS great to see Irish crime fiction writing blossoming in recent years, a subject I really must blog about soon.

DivaBut there is another jursidiction we must visit and pay tribute to also, and that is France. Crime fiction is hugely popular in France; I have read where it says one in five books sold there is a crime novel. As a bit of an aside, I recall many years ago seeing Diva (1981), that wonderful french film about a Parisian mail courier (Jules) in possession of two highly sought-after tapes: the first containing a rare recording of an American opera singer with whom he has fallen in love; the second is a tape slipped into his bag by a young woman just before she is murdered. The unwitting Jules finds himself being pursued by a gang of drug-dealers who will do anything to get their hands on the cassettes. A marvellous film, do borrow the DVD from the library when you get the chance (and sitting on the shelf in Pearse Street Library as I write!). Read more »

Book vs film

Film adaptations of books can be divisive. Often it depends on which one you came across first, but in my case, it’s pretty nearly always the book first; and at this stage I’m wary of checking out  film adaptations that can potentially ruin a favourite book (Lolita, anyone?). I just prefer my own imagination. That said, some films manage to avoid the pitfalls of plastic actors, dodgy accents, weird lighting effects, and blatant changes, and let you see the story from a new angle. And some even knock the socks off the book. Here’s a roundup of the good, the bad, and the ugly.

  Read more »

Syndicate content