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  • Unlocking the Art of Genuine Networking: Tips for Making Authentic Connections in the Digital Age

    “Creating space for others is the essence of networking.” Isn’t that a beautiful perspective on a concept that so many of us genuinely fear? But why is that, and what can we do to feel more comfortable making genuine connections? In a world driven by digital connectivity, networking has become an important art. I personally enjoy connecting with people and getting to know their stories. That’s why I would like to delve deeper into this topic, share personal experiences, essential strategies and mindful approaches to create authentic connections — online and offline. Creating Genuine In-Person Connections A good network provides a supportive ecosystem that fosters personal and professional growth and opens up a variety of opportunities throughout your career. A broad network can give you new perspectives, open up new opportunities and provide visibility and credibility. To write this article, I did some research on networking and what other people think is essential to build genuine connections. I picked three arguments that really resonated with me: Networking is not about you. It’s about the person you are talking to. Show genuine interest and let people tell you about themselves. Learn to ask good questions. And here we come back to the statement made at the beginning. Make room for other people and be the host of the conversation. Ask them interesting questions. Move away from the question “What do you do?”, “What is your educational background?”, “How long have you worked there?” I am so guilty of asking these questions. So let’s commit to asking more interesting questions. Be a good listener. This not only demonstrates genuine interest, but it also allows you to understand others’ needs and tailor your interactions accordingly. Source: Podcasts The Expansive and The No Bullsh*t Guide to a Happier Life Strategies for Effective Offline Networking Here are some strategies you can use to increase your effectiveness in face-to-face networking: Attend Industry Events: Actively participate in conferences, seminars, workshops, and trade shows related to your field. These events provide excellent opportunities to meet professionals, learn about industry trends, and forge connections. Read my article about How to Rock an Event Alone. Join a Networking Group or Professional Association: Become a member of relevant professional organizations in your industry. Local Meetup Groups: It doesn’t necessarily have to be something related to your job, perhaps it’s a group focused on one of your hobbies or a skill or language you’d like to improve. These meetups often attract professionals from various backgrounds and offer a diverse pool of potential contacts. My running group is a good example of this. We meet to run, but in doing so I have met so many people from all walks of life. Volunteer at Events: Engage in events or initiatives aligned with your interests, allowing you to meet individuals who share similar values. Join Your Universities’ Alumni Network: This is an opportunity to tap into a community that often spans various industries and career stages. If it doesn’t exist, why not starting your own? That’s what I did. :) Host Your Own Events: Take the initiative to organize small gatherings, workshops, or networking events. This is something I’ve been thinking about for a while. We are just a story in everybody’s head. What story are you leaving behind?” — Podcast The Expansive How To Maintain Connections After establishing a connection at an event, be sure to exchange business cards, connect on LinkedIn, or exchange contact information. I suggest following up with someone after an event. Reach out with a genuine thank-you, reference the conversation or offer a personal touch, such as extending holiday wishes. Make it personal. If possible remain in touch afterwards, even if it’s just on LinkedIn. A special advice for women: Actively introduce the women in your network to other people, bring them into conversations, and actively contribute to creating opportunities. Fostering a culture of inclusion, especially in informal networks, is crucial. Research shows that a major barrier for female executives’ progression to top management roles is their limited access to these informal networks (Harvard Business Review/Forbes). Let’s collectively work towards ensuring that everyone has a seat at the table. Online Networking Depending on your perspective, online networking can either increase your discomfort or offer a more accessible alternative, eliminating the need for in-person conversations. The pandemic has shown us the importance of online networking and that a virtual connection could transition into face-to-face interaction. During the pandemic, I regularly attended virtual events. If a speaker or panelist really stood out to me, I would send them a message on LinkedIn. To emphasize my honest outreach, I always referred to my key takeaways from their presentation/talk. One of my close friends first contacted me on LinkedIn, we met for coffee, and now I’m lucky enough to call her a good friend. Recently, someone got in touch with me after reading my article about running and we met for a virtual coffee. Now that things have returned to normal, I continue to reach out to people on LinkedIn if they catch my attention. I did a quick survey on LinkedIn, and 70% of the participants said that they actively approach people on LinkedIn, even if they have never met. Two things struck me: Men seem to feel more comfortable doing this, and in North America this approach seems to be more widespread than among my European contacts. Perhaps two insights that are worth another article? My main realization from my research on networking is that I need to focus more on listening and be more creative with my questions. I will try to think about it before an event and I might ask different questions depending on the context. What is your key takeaway?

  • Paperback or E-Reader: Which is Better for the Environment?

    If you love books as much as I do, this might be a difficult read for you. I have stacks of books at home, and I’d chose a paper copy over my e-reader any day. But recently it occurred to me that paper books must have a huge environmental impact and that an e-reader might be a smarter choice. So I started looking into it, and here is what I’ve learned about it. Facts & Figures Disclaimer before we start with some key facts: Pinpointing exact numbers is challenging due to varying sources and the elusive nature of environmental data. The figures I’m sharing here are cross-verified from multiple sources. In 2022, over 788.7 million copies of printed books were sold in the US. Due to the pandemic, 2020 and 2021 were the biggest years for print book sales this decade. In the US, the publishing sector consumes roughly 32 million trees each year for book production. Globally, producing books emits over 40 million metric tons of C02 each year. When it comes to pulp and paper, book publishing has been categorized as the third-largest industrial greenhouse emitter. It requires about two glasses of water to produce one page of a book. It’s important to note that this article does not serve as an in-depth analysis of the entire book industry. Rather, it focuses on the implications of paper books and explores whether transitioning to an e-reader is a necessary step. Environmental Impact of a Printed Book Let’s take a look at the individual stages: 🪵 The production of paper is a significant driver of deforestation. 💡 Processing wood into paper requires a lot of water, energy and chemicals. 💦 Printing books produces emissions and uses a lot of water. 💨 The production of paper books produces carbon emissions at every stage, from the manufacture of paper in the paper mills, to the printing and binding of the books, to the various activities in the publishing offices and at the retail, as well as the transport emissions at different stages of the process. The production of a paper book emits about 7.5kg of carbon dioxide. 🚗 Transportation: Books need to be transported to bookstores which adds to the emissions. 🗑️ Disposal of books: An incredible amount of books end up unread in landfills every year. So to sum up, the production of paper books produces carbon emissions, uses natural resources, water and energy, and books often end up in landfills. How Sustainable Are E-Readers? Let’s take a look at the production of an e-reader and its emissions. The production of an e-reader requires mining of minerals and a lot of energy, their waste includes toxic components and they use energy for charging. The carbon footprint of a Kindle is around 168 kg CO2. However, an e-reader consumes no paper, saves space and thus transportation and CO2 per kg in distribution, needs hardly light when reading, and can replace a large amount of books. But the answer to the question of whether an e-reader is MORE sustainable than paper books is not that simple. After all, both productions require lot of energy and natural resources. The answer to the question depends on the number of books you read. If you are a casual reader who only reads a limited number of books, an e-reader is less sustainable and you should stick with paper books. The environmental benefits of replacing printed books with digital books are not achieved. If you are a devoted reader, an e-reader is definitely the greener option. As a rule of thumb, you can say that an e-reader achieves the same environmental impact as printed books when you have read about 20–30 books on it. Possible Solutions Some of the best solutions are buying second-hand books, borrowing them from friends or libraries, and maximizing the use of existing books. Instead of buying a new book for a friends birthday, get them a used copy. Audiobooks can also replace a paper book or two. I often reach for audio books for light summer readings, books I like to listen to while cooking, biking or walking the dog. And if you are an avid reader, it might make sense to switch to an e-reader. And for me? I’ve found that I do the worst. I have stacks of books AND an e-reader. And I didn’t read 20–30 books on it yet. But most of the books I read in 2022 were second hand. The majority have since been passed on to friends, neighbours and colleagues. But there’s definitely room for improvement.

  • How to Rock an Event Alone

    When I moved to Vancouver in 2016, I was determined to build a professional and personal network, so I attended all kinds of events. Partly for work, but sometimes just out of interest. For example, events hosted by the Vancouver Business Babes, Chambers of Commerce, Brainstation or other local organizations I found on Eventbrite or Social Media to connect with women and business owner and learn about business practices in Vancouver. Looking back, it really helped me expand my network, and I learned not only how to attend events by myself, but how to enjoy them. Because believe me, my first few events weren’t exactly a success either and I also felt really uncomfortable at times. So let’s start with the most obvious question first: Why should I attend an event alone? Why to Attend an Event Alone The reasons for attending an event or conference on your own are diverse: it allows you to expand your network and encourages you to network proactively, it promotes independence and adaptability, it allows you to focus on sessions and workshops that align precisely with your interests and professional goals, it increases your visibility and offers an enhanced learning opportunity. After the why comes the how, so here are a few tips on how to successfully participate in an event on your own: How to Attend an Event Alone Feel comfortable to stand alone You don’t have to talk to someone all the time. Sometimes I like to just stand there, observe what’s going on, and take it all in. Eventually, someone will approach you or you can take the initative to talk to someone. Remember that most people are in the same position as you are We always think that everyone else is absolutely confident, knows exactly what they’re doing, and don’t know the fears that surround you. That’s definitely not the case, I’m 100% sure of that. We all have our insecurities, so take this as a reminder to your next event and maybe make the first step. Go prepared and know your why Be clear about why you are there, what you want to talk to people about, and what you want to take away from the event. Good preparation for an event and especially a conference is important and always gives me a little confidence boost. Talk to three new people Quality over quantity! This is very important when it comes to networking. Have 2–3 fruitful conversations, connections that will help you with your network, your work, a project or are just be an inspiration or an interesting conversation. Make real connections! And make sure to follow up with them over the next couple of days. Put on your power outfit that makes you feel comfortable and strong Nothing is worse than standing in the corner and picking at your dress, skirt, blouse or pants! Chose an outfit that makes you feel comfortable and strong! Conversation Starters To expand on the topic of creating meaningful conversations at events, here are two different approaches, depending on the event/conference you are attending. When you start a conversation, it’s important that you clearly convey the reason you’re there. Personally, I take a direct approach and say, “Hello my name is Nina, I work for [company] and the reason I’m here today is that we have launched a new initiative focused on [highlight benefits of initiative for conversation partner].” That way, the other person knows exactly what I represent and what the benefits of talking to me might (or might not) be. It’s a very short elevator pitch. If I’m going to an event that has nothing to do with business, I might just say “Hi, my name is Nina and I’m here because I’m curious to learn more about [xx].” If you are new to the subject, share it that way. The fact that you are in a learning process is nothing to hide or be ashamed of, and the other person would notice it sooner or later anyway. So if you disclose that you are new to the industry, interested in the topic of the event, open to learning new things, want to expand your horizons, or are here to expand your network, those are all good reasons to attend an event, and an exciting conversation or opportunity may come out of it as well. This is something I’m still working on, and just recently I had to remind myself that I simply can’t have the same wealth of knowledge as someone who has been in my industry for 30 years. Do you have any suggestions or advices that has helped you at an event?

  • How Sustainable Are Tote Bags Really?

    I just went through my collection of tote bags and counted about 20. From brands, given by friends or ones I brought home as vacation souvenirs. And these are just the pretty ones. That’s not counting the Safeway, Walmart and Dollarama bags you get when you go grocery shopping and you forgot one of your 20 tote bags at home. But, I know I’m not the only one. You can see them all over town with various prints, quotes and designs. They look pretty and give the owner an immediate intellectual confirmation and the feeling of doing something good. For years, we have been told now that plastic bags are evil and tote bags are the solution. But it seems that — once again — we’ve taken it a bit too far and created a whole new eco-dilemma. For years, we have been told now that plastic bags are evil and tote bags are the solution. But it seems that — once again — we’ve taken it a bit too far and created a whole new eco-dilemma. So, one must wonder: How sustainable are tote bags really? The answer to this question is not as clear as you might think. Recent studies show a much more complicated picture. Let's Dive Deeper Plastic bags have earned a rather bad reputation over the years. They are produced through natural resources, are typically only used once, and end up in nature, lakes and oceans. Consequently, numerous countries and cities worldwide have banned or implemented taxes on them in an effort to reduce its numbers. As a result, paper bags and particularly reusable tote bags have become our new shopping companions. Companies, stores and organizations have seized the opportunity to promote their brand by printing their logo, funny quotes, and visionary statements onto these bags. They have become the ideal “sustainable” marketing tool for companies that otherwise aren’t too strong in their eco endeavours. But, Are All Tote Bags Sustainable? A recent study found out that we have to use a cotton bag at least 131 (this number varies depending on the source, but it’s a high number) times for it to reduce its impact on climate change. To have a comparable environmental footprint to a plastic bag, they need to be used even more. Why is that so? The cultivation of cotton requires an extreme amount of water, fertilizer and pesticides. Cotton production has a tremendous impact on the land. On the website of WWF it says the following about cotton production: “Cotton’s most prominent environmental impacts result from the use of agrochemicals (especially pesticides), the consumption of water, and the conversion of habitat to agricultural use. Diversion of water and its pollution by cotton growing has had severe impacts on major ecosystems such as the Aral Sea in Central Asia, the Indus Delta in Pakistan and the Murray Darling River in Australia.” However, the same organizations also stressed that the use of tote bags at least helps reduce plastic pollution. Each time a canvas bag is used, one less plastic bag is needed. Are Plastic Bags Bad for the Environment? Yes, they are! They are made from raw material like high-density polyethylene, take an average of 1000 years to decompose, end up in landfills and threaten our marine life. They eventually break down into microplastics and pollute our oceans, soils and air. But (!) they also require few resources for production and transport and therefore have a lower environmental impact than other shopping bags. They generate less carbon emissions, waste, and harmful byproducts than, for example, cotton or paper bags. They are also quite durable and often reusable (for a second round of groceries or as a trash bag). One of the big problems with plastic bags is what happens to them after we use them. Plastic bags can be recycled, but few people actually do so. And that’s where one of the big problems lies. In most cities, there’s no curbside recycling, so customers have to take the bags to the supermarket to be recycled. And that’s a difficult and annoying task — they fly away, or get stuck between other things, or we’re just too lazy to do it. Quickly into the trash, away with it. Out of sight, out of mind. So which one should I chose - Tote Bag or Plastic Bag? As with many things in life, the solution is moderation. Usually, the best bag to use is the one you already have. Reuse and repurpose it as often as possible. Say no to new bags and make sure to use the ones you have. Put one in your car, in your purse, at the entrance of your home, and in your gym bag. Make sure you always have a bag with you so you don’t have to buy a new one.And if you ever need a plastic bag, be sure to use it more than once and recycle it properly. One thing I want to try is taking a different one of my bags each week, it adds variety, it’s fun, and it’s a way to make sure they all get used regularly. So, what is your take on this? And how many tote bags do you have?

  • Buchkritik || Nightbloom

    Alles begann an einem Sonntagmorgen mit der Absicht, ein paar Seiten des Buches zu lesen, um einen ersten Eindruck zu bekommen. Zwei Stunden und 150 Seiten später stellte ich fest, dass ich noch nicht gefrühstückt hatte und dass mein Hund wahrscheinlich pinkeln musste. Wie ein Geburtstagsgeschenk eines der besten Bücher dieses Sommers wurde..... Nightbloom ist ein wunderschön geschriebenes Buch mit einer fesselnden Geschichte über zwei Cousinen in Ghana, die eigentlich unzertrennlich sind, aber das Leben und die Familie treiben sie auseinander. Es macht einen wütend, gibt Hoffnung, bringt einen zum Lachen und lehrt uns, dass jede Geschichte zwei Seiten hat! Das Buch Im Mittelpunkt des Buches stehen Selasi und Akorfa, die sich durch Selasis lebhaften Geist und Akorfas ruhigen Fleiß auszeichnen. Als das Schicksal und familiäre Spannungen zwischen die Beiden kommen, trennen sich ihre Wege: Akorfa strebt eine Ausbildung in den Vereinigten Staaten an, während Selasi einen anderen Weg in Ghana geht. Eine entscheidende Krise führt die beiden wieder zusammen, bringt Selasis verborgene Wahrheit ans Licht und zwingt Akorfa, sich ihrer Rolle bei der Entfremdung zu stellen. Es ist eine Geschichte über die unzerbrechliche Kraft weiblicher Freundschaft und ein Zeugnis für die Stärke weiblicher Bindungen und die Widerstandsfähigkeit gegenüber einer Gesellschaft, die Frauen am liebsten zum Schweigen bringen würde (Satz von der Rückseite des Buches). Vor dem Hintergrund der komplexen ghanaischen Klassendynamik und Familienbeziehungen bietet das Buch eine ergreifende Erkundung der Erinnerung und eine ehrliche Darstellung des Lebens afrikanischstämmiger Frauen in den Vereinigten Staaten. Die Autorin Peace Adzo Medie ist außerordentliche Professorin für Politik an der Universität von Bristol. Ihre Forschung steht an der Schnittstelle von Afrikastudien, Frauen- und Geschlechterforschung und internationalen Beziehungen und konzentriert sich auf die Reaktionen staatlicher und nichtstaatlicher Akteure auf geschlechtsspezifische Gewalt und andere Sicherheitsfragen. Im Jahr 2020 veröffentlichte sie das Buch "Global Norms and Local Action: The Campaigns to End Violence against Women in Africa" und ihren ersten Roman "His Only Wife". "Nightbloom" ist ihr zweiter Roman und wurde im Sommer 2023 veröffentlicht. Peace Adzo Medie hat zahlreiche Preise für ihre Arbeit erhalten, darunter den Best Article Award des European Journal of Politics and Gender und den African Author Prize von African Affairs. Sie hat außerdem mehrere Stipendien erhalten, darunter das Oxford-Princeton Global Leaders Fellowship. Sie hat einen Bachelor-Abschluss in Geografie von der Universität Ghana, einen Master-Abschluss in internationalen Studien von der Ohio University und einen PhD-Abschluss in öffentlichen und internationalen Angelegenheiten von der University of Pittsburgh. Weitere Buchrezessionen findet ihr hier "Bücher".

  • Book Review || Nightbloom

    It all started on Sunday morning with the intention of reading the first few pages to get an idea of what the book was like. Two hours and 150 pages later, I realized that I hadn't had breakfast yet and that my dog probably had to pee. How a birthday gift turned into one of my best reads this summer..... Nightbloom is a beautifully written book with a compelling story about two cousins in Ghana who are inseparable, but life and family drives them apart. It makes you angry, gives you hope, opens your eyes, makes you smile and teaches you the lesson that there are two sides to every story! The Book The books centres on Selasi and Akorfa, inseparable cousins in a Ghanaian village, characterized by Selasi's vibrant spirit and Akorfa's quiet diligence. As fate and familial tensions intervene, their paths diverge: Akorfa pursues an education in the United States, while Selasi choses a different path. A pivotal crisis reunites them, revealing Selasi's hidden truth and forching Akorfa to confront her role in their estrangement. It is a story about the unbreakable power of female friendship and it is a testament to the strength of female bonds and resilience in the face of a society that would prefer to silence women (sentence from the back of the book). Set against the backdrop of Ghana's complex class dynamics and family relationships, the book offers a poignant exploration of memory and a candid portrayal of the lives of African-born women in the United States. The Author Peace Adzo Medie, an accomplished scholar and author, holds the position of associate professor in politics at the University of Bristol. Her research at the convergence of African studies, women's and gender studies, and international relations focuses on responses to gender-based violence and other security issues by both state and non-state actors. In 2020, she published the book "Global Norms and Local Action: The Campaigns to End Violence against Women in Africa" and her first novel "His Only Wife". "Nightbloom" is her second novel and was published in summer 2023. Peace Adzo Medie has won many awards for her work, including the Best Article Award of the European Journal of Politics and Gender and the African Author Prize of African Affairs. She has also held several fellowships, including the Oxford-Princeton Global Leaders fellowship. Her educational background include a BA in Geography from the University of Ghana, an MA in International Studies from Ohio University, and a PhD in Public and International Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh. For more book reviews, check out the section "Book Reviews".

  • Eat Your Way Through Florence

    Florence is a culinary paradise that attracts with its rich gastronomic heritage. The city's food culture is a delightful blend of tradition, flavor and history. From bustling markets to cozy trattorias tucked away in charming alleyways, every corner offers an exciting journey through Tuscan cuisine. Meals are prepared with a handful of high-quality ingredients that bring out the natural flavors (a drast contrast to North America). The art of pairing local wines enhances any meal and makes dining a special experience. And let's not forget gelato and the countless gelaterias. In Florence, food is definitely a celebration of the city's culinary heritage. We spent two days in Florence and made the absolute most of it. So in this post, I would like to share our culinary highlights. Let's start with the famous.... Cafe Affogato We arrived in Florence early in the morning, dropped off our luggage, had a sandwich, and then headed straight to the renowned Vivoli Gelateria, celebrated for its exceptional affogatos. This unassuming gem, tucked away from the tourist crowds, is a place where locals meet lost tourists like us. It took us a while to get the attention of the barista amidst the locals rushing in for their morning espresso. But finally, they took a cup and spread it full to the top with vanilla ice cream, then ran an espresso over it, and voilà, the affogato was ready. A resounding 10 out of 10 recommendation! Up next is the briefly mentioned... Sandwiches Italy's sandwich culture is a culinary phenomenon celebrated for its simplicity and quality ingredients. Crusty, freshly baked bread, layered with cured meats, cheeses, and vegetables, resulting in the most delicious sandwich you'll probably ever taste. An essence of Italian culinary as some might say! Based on some online recommendations, we went to All'antico Vinaio in Rome as well as in Florence. BUT, go early, catch a good moment or go somewhere else. While the sandwiches are fantastic, you can easily wait an hour. Since we arrived very early in Florence, we were one of the first customers. Second piece of advice, you might want to share a sandwich, because they are huge and they don't skimp on the ingredients. I had one with burrata, ham and pistachio cream. I was also so hungry that I didn't take a picture of it. :) Best Dinner in Town To be honest, I still dream about that one dinner we had in Florence. We made a reservation (recommended!) at Zaza and to this day, we are still talking about that meal. It was a mild summer evening (mild = 35 degrees haha) and we were sitting outside on a busy square where a street musician was playing, surrounded by tables full of people. Besides too much bread, the four of us had three different dishes and each of us was thrilled. We had Rigatoni Alla Sorrentina, Beefsteak and Prawns and Zucchini Flowers Spaghettini topped with fresh truffle. It Smells Like Gucci Are you ready for a more exquisite but unique experience? Then book a table at the Gucci restaurant, the Massimo Bottura Gucci Osteria. This restaurant is located in the historic Palazzo della Mercanzia and is one of a kind. Our partners surprised us with this restaurant visit, and it was a great idea. First of all, the decoration of the restaurant is phenomenal. Elegant, but colourful, it reflects the iconic style of the brand. What we also loved about the restaurant is that one of the head chefs is Karime Lopez. In 2019, she was named Italy’s Female Chef of the Year, in 2020 she became the first Mexican woman ever to win a Michelin star. For the rest, I'll let the pictures speak for themselves: And to finish this post, I would like to share another small advice with you: Look for one of the wine windows, Buchette del vino, and enjoy a fresh, local wine. :) I hope you enjoy that little journey through Florence and if you're there next time, make sure to visit some of these places. Or add new ones to our list. :)

  • Meine bisherigen Lieblingsbücher 2023

    In diesem Jahr hatte ich einen guten Start und habe innerhalb weniger Wochen mehrere Bücher gelesen. Und dann habe ich aufgehört. Zuerst war es eine absichtliche Lesepause, in der ich die meiste Zeit meinen New Yorker Magazinen gewidmet habe (was sehr viel Zeit in Anspruch nimmt), aber jetzt fehlt mir an einem neue, fesselnden Buch, um wieder in die Spur zu kommen. Mein Leseziel für dieses Jahr sind 24 Bücher, und ich bin erst bei 5. Aktuell lese ich aber auch drei Bücher gleichzeitig, was leider auch nicht hilft. Aber heute geht es nicht um meine Lesepause, sondern um zwei der wunderbarsten Bücher, die ich seit Jahren gelesen habe. Ich habe sie Freunden empfohlen, und einige von ihnen haben die Bücher gelesen und waren absolut begeistert. Es ist also an der Zeit, sie mit meinen Lesern zu teilen. "Educated" von Tara Westover Tara Westovers Memoiren "Educated" sind ein bemerkenswerter und sehr persönlicher Bericht über ihren Weg von einer Kindheit im ländlichen Idaho, USA, zu einer hochqualifizierten Wissenschaftlerin an einigen der renommiertesten Universitäten der Welt. In ihrer Geschichte geht es um die Überwindung unglaublicher Hindernisse, darunter das Aufwachsen in einer Familie, die normale, staatliche Bildung mied, dem Lebensstil in einer Mormonen-Familie, schwerer körperlicher und emotionaler Missbrauch und das Gefühl der Isolation von der Welt. Westover's Schreibstil ist so eindringlich, dass ich das Buch nicht aus der Hand legen konnte und es innerhalb weniger Tage gelesen habe. Ihre Geschichte ist sowohl herzzerreißend als auch inspirierend, da Westover sich mit Fragen der Identität, Ideologie, Familie und dem Streben nach Wissen auseinandersetzt. Ihre Reise ist ein Beweis für die Macht der Bildung, die das Leben verändern kann, und eine Erinnerung daran, wie wichtig es ist, dass jeder Einzelne seine Zukunft selbst gestalten kann. Da Tara Westover fast gleich alt ist wie ich, ist die Geschichte für mich noch unglaulicher. Eine der Stärken von "Educated" ist die Art und Weise, wie Westover mit Anmut und Mitgefühl durch komplexe und sensible Themen navigiert. Sie schreckt nicht vor schwierigen und schmerzhaften Aspekten ihrer Geschichte zurück, aber gleichzeitig ist sie in der Lage, ein tiefes Verständnis und Einfühlungsvermögen für die Menschen zu vermitteln, die ihr Leben geprägt haben, selbst wenn diese missbräuchlich oder schädlich waren. Manchmal fällt es einem als Leser schwer zu verstehen, wie viel Mitgefühl sie für ihre Familie empfindet. Insgesamt ist "Educated" ein wichtiges und starkes Buch, das von der transformativen Kraft der Bildung, der Widerstandsfähigkeit des menschlichen Geistes und der Wichtigkeit, den eigenen Lebensweg zu finden, handelt. "Ein Mann namens Ove" von Frederik Backman "Ein Mann namens Ove" ist ein absolut herzerwärmender und lustiger Roman des schwedischen Autors Frederik Backman. Die Geschichte dreht sich um die Figur von Ove, einem mürrischen, alten Mannes, der in seinen Gewohnheiten verhaftet und sehr resistent gegen Veränderungen ist. Er hat einen strikten Moralkodex und eine stakre Loyalität zu seiner Frau. Trotz seines mürrischen Äußeren ist Ove ein wunderbarer Mensch, und der Roman erforscht Themen wie Liebe, Verlust und die Bedeutung von Familie. Das Buch ist voller Humor, denn Ove interagiert mit seinen Nachbarn und den verschiedenen Menschen, die in sein Leben treten (nicht freiwillig), auf seine ganz eigene Art. Die Beziehungen, die er eingeht, sind sowohl rührend als auch unterhaltsam, und der Roman ist letztlich eine Ode an Beziehungen und Gemeinschaften. Backmans Schreibstil ist einfach und direkt, und er hat die Gabe, die Nuancen menschlichen Verhaltens und menschlicher Gefühle einzufangen. Der Roman ist temporeich, mit einer ausgewogenen Mischung aus Humor, Drama und herzerwärmenden Momenten. Die Geschichte ist so erbaulich und inspirierend, dass ich Tränen in den Augen hatte, als ich das Buch aus der Hand legte. Insgesamt ist "Ein Mann namens Ove" ein entzückender und herzerwärmender Roman, der den Leser mit einem guten Gefühl zurücklässt. Es ist eine Hommage an die kleinen Taten der Freundlichkeit und des Mitgefühls, die im Leben der Menschen um uns herum einen großen Unterschied machen können. Hast du eines dieser Bücher gelesen? Wenn ja, lass es mich wissen, wie sie dir gefallen haben und ob du ähnliche Buchempfehlungen hast.

  • Favourite Books of the Year (so far)

    This year I started out strong and read several books in a matter of weeks. And then I stopped, at first it was an intentional reading break where I devoted most of my time to my New Yorker magazines (which takes a lot of time), but now I'm lacking a new, compelling book to get back on track. My reading goal for this year is 24 book, and I'm only at 5. But today is not about my reading break, but about two of the most wonderful books I've read in years. I've recommended them to friends, and a few of them read the books and absolutely loved them. So it's time to share them with my readers. "Educated" by Tara Westover Tara Westover's memoir "Educated" is a remarkable and deeply personal account of her journey from a childhood in rural Idaho, USA, to becoming a highly educated scholar at some of the world's most prestigious universities. Her story is one of overcoming incredible obstacles, including growing up in a family that shunned mainstream education, severe physical and emotional abuse, and a sense of isolation from the world. Westover's writing is so powerful, I couldn't put down the book and read it within a few days. Her story is both heartbreaking and inspiring, as Westover grapples with questions of identity, ideology, family, and the pursuit of knowledge. Her journey is a testament to the power of education to transform lives, and a reminder of the importance of individual agency in shaping our own futures. Besides, we are at a similar age and that makes the story even more unbelievable for me. One of the strengths of "Educated" is the way Westover navigates complex and sensitive issues with grace and compassion. She does not shy away from the difficult and painful aspects of her story, but at the same time, she is able to convey a deep understanding and empathy for the people who shaped her life, even when they were abusive or harmful. Sometimes, as a reader, it's hard to understand how much compassion she has for her family. Overall, "Educated" is an important and powerful memoir that speaks to the transformative power of education, the resilience of the human spirit, and the importance of finding one's own path in life. "A Man Called Ove" by Frederik Backman "A Man Called Ove" is an absolutely heartwarming and funny novel by Swedish author Frederik Backman. The story revolves around the character of Ove, a grumpy, old man who is set in his ways and very resistant to change. He has a strict moral code and a fierce loyalty to his wife. Despite his grumpy exterior, Ove is a wonderful human being, and the novel explores themes of love, loss, and the meaning of family. The book is full of humor, as Ove interacts with his neighbours and the various people who enter his life (not by his choice). The relationships he forms are both touching and entertaining, and the novel is ultimately a celebration of relationships and the power of connection. Backman's writing is simple and direct, and he has a gift for capturing the nuances of human behavior and emotion. The novel is well-paced, with a balance of humor, drama, and heartwarming moments. The story is so uplifting and inspiring, and when I put down the book I had tears in my eyes. Overall, "A Man Called Ove" is a delightful and heartwarming novel that is sure to leave readers with a renewed sense of the power of love, community, and the human spirit. It is a tribute to the small acts of kindness and compassion that can make a big difference in the lives of those around us. Have you read one of these books? If so, let me know how you liked them and if you have similar book suggestions.

  • Why Mexico City is worth your next City Trip

    When people think of Mexico, they usually think of beaches - Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, Tulum or Acapulco. But you shouldn't miss to visit the capital of Mexico - Mexico City. Mexico City is considered the city with the most museums in the world; there are more than 150! And there are so many other things to do. We spent a week in Mexico City this January and made the most of it. So if you're planning a trip to Mexico soon, make sure to make a stop in Mexico City. Here are our suggestions: Museums We visited three museums - the Museum of Anthropology (Museo Nacional de Antropología), the Castillo de Chapultepec and the Casa Azul, Frieda Kahlo's home. The Museum of Anthropology itself is already an architectural highlight. The monumental building consists of exhibition halls surrounding a courtyard with a large pond and a huge square concrete screen from which a waterfall descends. The museum has 23 exhibition rooms. The museum contains significant archaeological and anthropological artifacts from Mexico's beginnings, such as the Stone of the Sun and the AztecXochipilli statue, two impressive artefacts. The Castillo de Chapultepec is located in the middle of the largest park in Mexico City and was built in the 19th century. The magnificent building has served various purposes over the years - it was the residence of Maximilian of Habsburg, a military academy, the president's residence, an observatory, and since 1940, the National Museum of History. It's really worth a visit as it offers a crash course in recent Mexican history as well as a great view of Mexico City. We also saw a performance of traditional folk dances there, one of the most beautiful I have ever seen. Casa Azul was an absolute must-see for me. It is Frieda Kahlo's childhood home and she also lived there with her husband, the painter Diego Rivera. They kept everything as it was, so you can walk through Frieda's painting room, look through her library, see her bedroom where she spent most of her time after her accident, and stroll through the beautiful courtyard. An absolute highlight for me! It's so much bigger than I thought, so colourful and with so much greenery! Be sure to buy your tickets in advance, it's usually booked up! Neighbourhood: Coyoacan One of my favourite neighbourhoods we visited was Coyoacan. It's where the Cazu Azul is located. After our visit, we walked down the street and visited the Mercado de Coyoacan, a colourful and lively market with so much to see. If your stomach can handle it, you should try one of the food stands at the market. You can even try insects. :) It's one of Mexico City's most iconic markets for a reason.Close by is the coffee shop, el Jarocho. You can take a coffee to go or linger around the coffee shop like the locals. It's a very renown coffee shop and has been around since 1953. Continue walking down the street and you will reach the town square. It's full with local vendors, restaurants, musicians and greenery. We visited the artisan market and bought some souvenirs (the beautiful ones :)). Balloon Ride over the Pyramids of Teotihuacan Unfortunately, scientists have discovered that the pyramids have cracks and therefore it's no longer allow to climb onto them. So Eduardo found a solution - a pretty good one, I think. ;) He woke me up at 4am to take the bus to the pyramids and surprised me with a sunrise ballon ride. It was one of the most magical experiences ever. As the world is waking up, you fly over the pyramids and everything is completely quiet. Just you and the world, it seems, a dozen other balloons on the horizon, which makes the experience no less magical. We chose the company Volare because they fly very close to the pyramids and offer a great service. The ride ended with a glass of Prosecco, so we really couldn't complain. If you book the whole package, you are treated to breakfast afterwards and then you can walk to the pyramids to discover them by foot. That was fun too, but we were too tired and it was way too hot (in January). Other things to do One of the most beautiful buildings in the city is the Palacio de las Bellas Artes, an event hall in the middle of the city. Just a 10-minute walk away is the National Palace, the seat of the government, in the Plaza de la Constitucion. Before colonialization, it was the main ceremonial center of the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan. Be warned, however, that the city center is incredibly crowded (the 20+ million people have to be somewhere :)) and you have to take good care of your purse. Another stop worth making: The coffee shop and bookstore El Pendulo is a paradise for all book lovers. It's a restaurant, coffee shop and book store all in once. And the architecture is so beautiful. Speaking in plural, as there are several locations n the city. We went to the one in Polanco. A unique, slightly surreal experience is the Lucha Libre. It's a kind of freestyle wrestling, but for me it was more a mixture of acrobatics, dance and a lot of show. And of course they wear the colorful masks you've probably seen before. Mexicans love it, and they go crazy in the arena. Grab a beer and get carried away as the atmosphere heats up (in a good way). We booked it through Turibus, which takes you to the venue and picks you up afterwards. Food Recommendations As big food lovers, Mexico City was the place to go. There are countless restaurants, beautiful terraces, small cafes and of course a taco stand on every corner. Be careful there, not every stomach can handle those. Here are a few places we checked out: Rooftop Bars: Toledo Restaurant: Carajillo: half restaurant, half bar, great atmosphere El Califa: for tacos Villa Maria: they have a Mariachi band Taqueria Orinoco: amazing tacos Restaurante Maque: great for brunch Coffee Shops: Caffe Biscottino: small little coffee shop in a quiet street El Moro: Churros and the sweetest hot chocolate in town Cafe El Jarocho El Pendulo: bookstore, restaurant and coffee shop Helados Carmela: great ice-cream Mode of Transportation If you live in Polanco, Reforma and La Condeza, you can walk to attractions nearby, but chances are that most attractions are not nearby. :) That's why we mostly used Uber, the safest and most convenient mode of transportation. On our last day we also tried the new Ecobici. The bike stations are all over the city and offer a fun way to get around. The day pass is only CAD $8 and you can reach many destinations much faster than by car. Just be careful, Mexico's traffic is famous for a reason and many traffic rules are just a suggestion. ;) And that's a wrap, one week Mexico City packed in a blogpost. If you have a recommendation for us, please let us know, we will be back soon. :)

  • Mein Jahr 2022 in Büchern

    Solange ich mich erinnern kann, gehörte es in der einen oder anderen Form zu meinen jährlichen Vorsätzen mehr zu lesen. Und ich kann mir vorstellen, dass auch der eine oder andere unter euch sich in diesem Vorsatz wiederkennt. Viele von uns beginnen das Jahr mit dem Vorsatz, weniger Zeit vor dem Bildschirm zu verbringen und mehr zu lesen. Dieses Jahr war es bei mir nicht anders. Doch dieses Mal habe ich es tatsächlich durchgezogen. Vielleicht nicht in dem Maße, wie ich es mir vorgestellt habe, aber ich habe etwa 16 oder 17 Bücher gelesen. Hier ist meine Liste, die euch als Inspiration für eure Leseliste 2023 dienen soll oder für allfällige last-minute Weihnachtsgeschenke. Der Fabelhafte Buchladen des Mr. Livingstone von Moncia Gutierrez Artero Das erste Buch gehört eigentlich ins Jahr 2021, aber es war der Startschuss für meine Lesestrecke, und es war eines der besten und herzerwärmendsten Bücher, die ich seit langem gelesen habe. Vielleicht lese ich es sogar noch einmal. "Als die junge Archäologin Agnes Martí nach London zieht, um ein neues Leben zu beginnen, ahnt sie nicht, dass sie inmitten der schnelllebigen britischen Metropole eine Oase der Ruhe finden wird. Bei einem Erkundungsgang durch den Stadtteil Temple von einem plötzlichen Regenschauer überrascht, flüchtet sie sich in eine ganz besondere Buchhandlung namens Moonlight Books. Edward Livingstone, der Eigentümer, sucht gerade nach einer Aushilfe, und während Agnes bei einer Tasse Tee wieder trocken wird, haben beide den Eindruck, dass das Schicksal sie nicht zufällig an diesem Ort zusammengeführt hat. In den folgenden Tagen lernt Agnes nicht nur die Arbeit einer Buchhändlerin kennen und lieben, sondern auch ihren humorvoll-brummigen Chef, die eigenwillige Stammkundschaft und den Zauber des kleinen Buchladens, der seinen Namen einem kreisrunden Fenster verdankt, durch das in den Abendstunden der Mond scheint. Bis eines Tages das wertvollste Buch von Moonlight Books verschwindet, und ein hilfsbereiter Polizeiinspektor in Erscheinung tritt, um den Fall zu lösen und Agnes‘ beschauliches Leben durcheinanderzuwirbeln." - Goodreads Sommersprossen - Nur zusammen ergeben wir Sinn von Cecelia Ahern Als Nächstes kam ein Buch einer meiner Lieblingsautorinnen, das ich zu Weihnachten bekommen habe. Ihr kennt Cecelia Ahern wahrscheinlich aufgrund ihres ersten Buches "P.S. Ich liebe dich". Ein weiteres Wohlfühlbuch, perfekt für einen grauen Januar. "Es heißt, du bist eine Mischung aus den fünf Menschen, mit denen du die meiste Zeit verbringst. Wer sind deine fünf? Allegra ist bei ihrem Vater aufgewachsen. Jetzt ist sie nach Dublin gezogen, um ihre Mutter zu finden. Allegra arbeitet als Hilfspolizistin, verteilt auf ihren täglichen Runden Strafzettel. Sie lebt zurückgezogen, lässt niemanden an sich heran. Bis ihr eines Tages ein arroganter Ferrari-Fahrer eine Frage an den Kopf wirft. Völlig durcheinander, beginnt Allegra sich zu fragen: Wer sind eigentlich die fünf wichtigsten Menschen in meinem Leben? Eine mitreißende Sinnsuche beginnt." - Die Geschichte eines neuen Namens von Elena Ferrante Während der Pandemie starteten meine Mutter und ich einen virtuellen Buchclub, in dem wir jeden Sonntag über Skype ein Kapitel eines Buches besprachen, das wir gerade lasen. Das erste Buch in diesem Jahr war das zweite aus der Reihe der neapolitanischen Romane von Elena Ferrante. Die Neapolitanischen Romane, auch bekannt als das Neapolitanische Quartett, sind eine vierteilige Romanserie der pseudonymen italienischen Autorin Elena Ferrante. Die Serie folgt dem Leben zweier scharfsinniger Mädchen, Elena Greco und Raffaella Cerullo, von der Kindheit über das Erwachsenenalter bis ins hohe Alter, während sie versuchen, sich inmitten der gewalttätigen und verdummenden Kultur ihrer Heimat - einem armen Viertel am Rande von Neapel, Italien - ein Leben aufzubauen. Die Romane werden von Elena Greco erzählt. Schöne Welt wo bist du von Sally Rooney Ein weiterer Besuch in der Schweiz gab mir die Gelegenheit, in den Bücherstapeln meiner Eltern zu stöbern, ein Traum für jeden Leser. Und ich fand "Schöne Welt, wo bist du" von Sally Rooney. Neugierig auf den Hype um sie, las ich das Buch. Ehrlich gesagt riss es mich nicht vom Hocker, aber mir wurde gesagt, dass dies nicht ihr stärkstes Buch sei. "Alice trifft Felix. Sie ist eine erfolgreiche Schriftstellerin, er arbeitet entfremdet in einer Lagerhalle. Sie begehren einander, doch können sie einander auch trauen? Alice' beste Freundin Eileen hat eine schmerzvolle Trennung hinter sich und fühlt sich aufs Neue zu Simon hingezogen, mit dem sie seit ihrer Kindheit eng verbunden ist. Sie lieben sich, doch ist der Versuch der Liebe den möglichen Verlust ihrer Freundschaft wert? Zwischen Dublin und einem kleinen Ort an der irischen Küste entfaltet Sally Rooney eine Geschichte von vier jungen Menschen, die sich nahe sind, die einander verletzen, die sich austauschen: über Sex, über Ungleichheit und was sie mit Beziehungen macht, über die Welt, in der sie leben. Schöne Welt, wo bist du ist eine universelle Geschichte über den Raum zwischen Alleinsein und Einsamkeit und über die Freiheit, sein Leben mit anderen zu teilen – überwältigend klug, voller Klarheit und Trost." - Thalia 1984 von George Orwell Ich bin der Meinung, dass man ab und zu einen Klassiker lesen sollte, eines der großen Bücher der Literaturgeschichte. Deshalb habe ich dieses Jahr 1984 von George Orwell als meinen Klassiker gewählt. Es war eine interessante Lektüre, aber es hat mich auch nicht umgehauen. Aber ich bin sicher, dass es zu der Zeit, als er das Buch 1949 schrieb, ein faszinierendes Buch gewesen sein muss. "George Orwells 1984 ist längst zu einer scheinbar nicht mehr erklärungsbedürftigen Metapher für totalitäre Verhältnisse geworden. Mit atemberaubender Unerbittlichkeit zeichnet der Autor das erschreckende Bild einer durch und durch totalitären Gesellschaft, die bis ins letzte Detail durchorganisierte Tyrannei einer absolute autoritären Staatsmacht. Seine düstere Vision hat einen beklemmenden Wirklichkeitsbezug, dem sich auch der Leser von heute nur schwer entziehen kann." - Thalia Essen lernen: Wo unsere Ernährungsgewohnheiten herkommen und wie wir sie ändern können von Bee Wilson Ein etwas schwieriger Titel, muss ich gestehen, aber es sollte einem nicht davon abhalten, das Buch zu lesen. Dies ist ein weiteres Buch, das ich mit meiner Mutter gelesen habe. Manchmal war es etwas langatmig und verlor sich in Details darüber, wie die eigene Kindheit die Essgewohnheiten beeinflusst, aber alles in allem war es eine sehr interessante Lektüre mit vielen Aha-Erlebnissen. Manchmal kann es nicht schaden, über seine Essgewohnheiten nachzudenken. Vor allem in der von Zucker dominierten Welt von heute. "Dies ist ein weiteres Buch, das ich mit meiner Mutter gelesen habe. Manchmal war es etwas langatmig und verlor sich in Details darüber, wie die eigene Kindheit die Essgewohnheiten beeinflusst, aber alles in allem war es eine sehr interessante Lektüre mit vielen Aha-Erlebnissen. Manchmal kann es nicht schaden, über seine Essgewohnheiten nachzudenken. Vor allem in der von Zucker dominierten Welt von heute." - Suhrkamp Wir müssen über Rassismus sprechen: Was es bedeutet, in unserer Gesellschaft weiss zu sein von Robin DiAngelo Das Buch heisst auf English "White Fragility - why it's so hard for white people to talk about racism" und ich finde die deutsche Uebersetztung des Titels nicht wirklich angemessen. Das Buch was sehr spannend und fachte Diskussionen mit meinem Partner, Freunden und Arbeitskollegen an und war wohl eines der Bücher, das ich am meisten mit meinem Umfeld besprochen habe. Kritisch muss hier angefügt werden (und hier scheiden sich die Geister), dass das Buch von einer weissen Frau geschrieben wurde. Für manch einen sehr kontrovers und durchaus lohnenswert zu diskutieren. Hier der englische Text dazu: "Referring to the defensive moves that white people make when challenged racially, white fragility is characterized by emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt and by behaviors including argumentation and silence. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium and prevent any meaningful cross-racial dialogue. In this in-depth exploration, anti-racist educator Robin DiAngelo examines how white fragility develops, how it protects racial inequality, and what can be done to engage more constructively." -Goodreads The Boat People von Sharon Bala Wenn Kanada Flüchtlinge aufnimmt, geschieht dies in der Regel auf dem Luftweg und auf viel kontrolliertere Weise als dies in Europa möglich ist. Das Buch "The Boat People" erzählt die ungewöhnliche Geschichte eines Vaters und seines Sohnes, die aus Sri Lanka fliehen und per Boot in Kanada, genauer gesagt in Vancouver, ankommen. Da es in Vancouver spielt, war die Geschichte für mich besonders interessant zu lesen. Ich habe hier einen Blogpost darüber geschrieben. Die Frauen der Rothschilds: Das unterschätzte Geschlecht der mächtigsten Dynastie der Welt von Natalie Livingstone Eigentlich war dieses Buch überhaupt nicht geplant. Der dicke Schinken lag bei meinen Eltern auf dem Tisch, ich stöberte ein wenig darin und nach den ersten paar Seiten hatte mich die Geschichte schon richtig gepackt. Ich konnte das Buch nicht weglegen und so reiste das viel zu schwere Buch mit mir nach Vancouver und per Post wieder zurück in die Schweiz, aber diese Lektüre hat sich auf jeden Fall gelohnt. "Ihre Dinnerpartys waren legendär, sie haben Wahlkämpfe choreographiert, sich für soziale Reformen eingesetzt, an der Börse gehandelt und wissenschaftlich geforscht. Hinter den Kulissen hielten sie die Fäden in der Hand, aber in Erscheinung traten immer nur ihre Männer: die Frauen der mächtigen Rothschilds. Die Biographien dieser charismatischen Personen lässt die Historikerin Natalie Livingstone nun in ihrem Buch wieder aufleben. Beginnend mit Gutle Rotschild, der Mutter der Dynastie, beschreibt sie die faszinierenden Lebensgeschichten der bislang unterschätzen Seite der Familie. Entstanden ist nicht nur eine Würdigung, sondern ein völlig neuer Blick auf 200 Jahre europäischer Geschichte." - Bü Elefanten im Garten von Meral Kureyshi Das nächste Buch, welches ich im Rahmen des Buchclubs bei meiner Arbeit las, stammt von einer jungen Schweizerin. Das Buch schaffte es auf die Shortlist des Schweizer Buchpreises. Eine Geschichte über Trauer, Krieg, Immigration, und Dazugehörigkeit. "Als ihr Vater unerwartet stirbt, gerät die junge Erzählerin ins Schlingern. Ein Jahr lang lebt sie im Ungefähren, besucht wahllos Vorlesungen an der Universität, fährt Zug, sucht unvermittelt Orte ihres bisherigen Lebens auf, reist nach Prizren. Erinnerungen an ihre idyllische Kindheit in der osmanisch geprägten Stadt, die sie im Alter von zehn Jahren mit ihrer Familie verlassen musste, drängen machtvoll in ihre Schweizer Gegenwart." - Goodreads Schweizer Politfrauen von Nathalie Christen, Linda Bourget und Simona Cereghetti Dieses Buch habe ich erst vor etwa zwei Wochen fertig gelesen und ich kann es wirklich jeder Schweizerin und jedem Schweizer empfehlen. Jedes Kapitel stellt eine Politikerin vor, kurz und knapp, Aufhänger ist jeweils ein bestimmter Teil ihrer Karriere. Hausfrauen, die Politikerinnen werden, Studierende, die Berufspolitikerinnen werden wollen, Stadtfrauen, Landfrauen, mit Kindern, ohne Kinder - eine bunte Bandbreite von Politikerinnen. "Die drei erfahrenen Journalistinnen Nathalie Christen, Linda Bourget und Simona Cereghetti zeigen Frauen aus der ganzen Schweiz, die in die Politik gegangen sind und sich nach wie vor in diesem Umfeld bewegen. Sie sind durch unterschiedliche Hintergründe geprägt, sowohl politisch als auch von ihren Lebensumständen her. Die Autorinnen zeichnen vielfältige Vorbilder und motivieren damit vielleicht gar zum Einstieg in die Politik. Sie stellen Fragen, die Frauen besonders betreffen: Wie lässt sich politisches Engagement mit der Familie und/oder dem Beruf vereinbaren? Kann ich das? Wird frau da überhaupt ernst genommen - und was, wenn nicht? Die Politikerinnen geben ungeschminkte, von der Praxis genährte Antworten. Sie reichen von überraschend bis amüsant, von ernüchternd bis motivierend. Ein spannendes Buch von Frauen für Frauen." - Goodreads Das Flüstern der Feigenbäume von Elif Shafak Das letzte Buch stammt von einer anderen meiner Lieblingsautorinnen: Elif Shafak. Ihre Bücher sind so wundervoll geschrieben, und ich genieße die Sprache in jedem ihrer Bücher sehr. Das Buch, das ich dieses Jahr gelesen habe, heißt "Das Flüstern der Feigenbäume". "Im Jahr 1974 befindet sich das idyllische Zypern kurz vor dem Bürgerkrieg. Eine Taverne, betrieben von einem schwulen Paar, ist der einzige Ort, an dem sich der Grieche Kostas und die Türkin Defne treffen können. Der prachtvoller Feigenbaum im Innenhof der Taverne ist Zeuge ihrer glücklichen Begegnungen und ihrer stillen Abschiede. Der Feigenbaum ist auch da, als der Krieg ausbricht, als die Hauptstadt in Schutt und Asche gelegt wird, als Menschen auf der ganzen Insel spurlos verschwinden. In der Gegenwart steht der Baum im Garten von Kostas und seiner 16-jährigen Tochter Ada in London. Ada weiß nichts von ihrer Heimat, Kostas hüllt sich in Schweigen, wenn es um seine Vergangenheit geht und die seiner verstorbenen Frau, Defne. Nur die Wurzeln des Baums stellen noch eine Verbindung dar zu dem, was geschehen ist. Doch Ada forscht nach: Was verbirgt sich hinter dem Schweigen ihres Vaters? Warum musste ihre Mutter sterben? Während Ada die dunklen Schatten ihrer Familie ausleuchtet, erwartet die Feige im Garten den kältesten Wintereinbruch seit Jahrzehnten." - Goodreads Und das war es auch schon, meine Leseliste 2022. Ich hoffe, ihr konntet ein wenig Inspiration mitnehmen und ich wünsche euch alles Gute und viel Spass fürs Lesejahr 2023. Bis nächstes Jahr. Frohe Festtage, Nina

  • My Year 2022 in Books

    For as long as I can remember, my annual resolutions have included "read more" in one form or another. And I can imagine that one or two of you can relate to this resolution. Many of us may start the year with the intention to spend less time in front of a screen and read more. This year was no different for me. But I actually followed through. Maybe not to the extend I wanted to, but I read about 16 or 17 books. Here is my list to serve as an inspiration for your 2023 reading list or for last minute Christmas gifts. Mr. Livingstones Bookstore by Monica Gutierrez Artero The first book actually belongs in 2021, but it kicked off my reading streak, and it was one of the best and most-heartwarming books I've read in a long time. "When young archaeologist Agnes Martí moves to London to start a new life, she has no idea that she will find an oasis of calm in the midst of the fast-paced British metropolis. Surprised by a sudden downpour while exploring the Temple district, she takes refuge in a very special bookstore called Moonlight Books. Edward Livingstone, the owner, is currently looking for a temp, and as Agnes dries out over a cup of tea, they both get the impression that fate has not brought them together in this place by chance. In the days that follow, Agnes comes to know and love not only the work of a bookseller, but also her humorously grumpy boss, the idiosyncratic regulars, and the magic of the little bookstore, which owes its name to a circular window through which the moon shines in the evening hours. Until one day Moonlight Books' most valuable book disappears, and a helpful police inspector appears to solve the case and shake up Agnes' tranquil life." Freckles by Cecelia Ahern Next up was a book I got for Christmas written by one of my favourite authors, Cecelia Ahern, who you may know from her very first novel "P.S I love you". Another feel-good book, perfect for a grey January. "What if the people who have the power to change your life are the ones who have been there all along… Like stars in the night sky, freckles are scattered across Allegra Bird’s arms, a legacy from her beloved father. Her legacy from her mother is more complicated – until one question from a stranger inspires a change. What if it isn’t about fitting in, but finding the people who make you who you are? Who would those people be? As she searches for connection, Allegra is about to find out that it is our differences that make life worth living – if only someone can help you to join the dots..." - Goodreads Unreconciled: Family, Truth, and Indigenous Resistance by Jesse Wente Following Freckles, I read the biography of Canadian and First Nations journalist Jesse Wente. His journey is very interesting and his thoughts and explanations made me understand many issues that Canada is currently facing. "Part memoir and part manifesto, Unreconciled is a stirring call to arms to put truth over the flawed concept of reconciliation, and to build a new, respectful relationship between the nation of Canada and Indigenous peoples. Jesse Wente remembers the exact moment he realized that he was a certain kind of Indian--a stereotypical cartoon Indian. He was playing softball as a child when the opposing team began to war-whoop when he was at bat. It was just one of many incidents that formed Wente's understanding of what it means to be a modern Indigenous person in a society still overwhelmingly colonial in its attitudes and institutions." - Goodreads The Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrante During the pandemic, my mother and I started a virtual book club, just her and me, discussing every Sunday via Skype a chapter of a book we were reading. The first one of the year was the second one of Elena Ferrante's series Neopolitan Novels. The Neapolitan Novels are a four-part series of fiction by the pseudonymous Italian author Elena Ferrante. The series follows the lives of two perceptive and intelligent girls, Elena Greco and Raffaella Cerullo, from childhood to adulthood and old age, as they try to create lives for themselves amidst the violent and stultifying culture of their home – a poor neighbourhood on the outskirts of Naples, Italy. The novels are narrated by Elena Greco. Beautiful World, Where are you by Sally Rooney Another visit to Switzerland gave me the opportunity to rummage through my parents stacks of books, a dream for every reader. And I found "Beautiful World, Where are you" by Sally Rooney. Curious about the hype surrounding her, I gave the book a try. I honestly wasn't convinced, but I was told that this wasn't her strongest book. "Alice, a novelist, meets Felix, who works in a warehouse, and asks him if he’d like to travel to Rome with her. In Dublin, her best friend, Eileen, is getting over a break-up and slips back into flirting with Simon, a man she has known since childhood. Alice, Felix, Eileen, and Simon are still young—but life is catching up with them. They desire each other, they delude each other, they get together, they break apart. They have sex, they worry about sex, they worry about their friendships and the world they live in. Are they standing in the last lighted room before the darkness, bearing witness to something? Will they find a way to believe in a beautiful world?"- Goodreads 1984 by George Orwell I believe that every now and then you should read a classic, one of the great books in the history of literature. So this year I chose 1984 by George Orwell as my classic. It was okay, but it didn't blow my mind either. But I'm sure it must have been a fascinating read at the time he wrote the book in 1949. "Published in 1949, the book offers political satirist George Orwell's nightmarish vision of a totalitarian, bureaucratic world and one poor stiff's attempt to find individuality. The brilliance of the novel is Orwell's prescience of modern life—the ubiquity of television, the distortion of the language—and his ability to construct such a thorough version of hell. Required reading for students since it was published, it ranks among the most terrifying novels ever written." - Goodreads First Bite - How we learn to eat by Bee Wilson This is another book that I read with my mum. At times it was a little lengthy and got lost in details about how your childhood affects our eating habits, but all in all it was a very interesting read with many aha-moments. Sometimes it can't hurt to reflect on your own eating habits. Especially in today’s sugar dominated world. "We are not born knowing what to eat; as omnivores it is something we each have to figure out for ourselves. From childhood onward, we learn how big a "portion" is and how sweet is too sweet. We learn to enjoy green vegetables -- or not. But how does this education happen? What are the origins of taste? In First Bite, award-winning food writer Bee Wilson draws on the latest research from food psychologists, neuroscientists, and nutritionists to reveal that our food habits are shaped by a whole host of factors: family and culture, memory and gender, hunger and love." - Goodreads White Fragility - Why it's so hard for white people to talk about racism by Robin DiAngelo As part of a bookclub focused on diversity, we read this book by Robin DiAngelo. The book sparked discussions with my partner, friends and co-workers and was probably one of the books I discussed most with those around me. Critically, the book was written by a white woman (and this is where opinions differ). Very controversial for some and definitely worth discussing. "Referring to the defensive moves that white people make when challenged racially, white fragility is characterized by emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt and by behaviors including argumentation and silence. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium and prevent any meaningful cross-racial dialogue. In this in-depth exploration, anti-racist educator Robin DiAngelo examines how white fragility develops, how it protects racial inequality, and what can be done to engage more constructively." Goodreads The Boat People by Sharon Bala When Canada welcomes refugees, it is usually by air and in a much more controlled way than it is possible in Europe. The book "The Boat People" tells the unusual story of a father and his son who flee Sri Lanka and arrive by boat in Canada, more precisely in Vancouver. Playing in Vancouver, the story was especially interesting for me to read. I wrote a blogpost about it here. The Women of Rothschild: The Untold Story of the World's Most Famous Dynasty by Natalie Livingstone Actually, this book was not planned at all. The considerably thick book was on the table at my parents, so I rummaged a little in it and after the first few pages I was already fully in the story. I couldn't put the book down and so the much too heavy book traveled with me to Vancouver and by mail back to Switzerland, but this reading was definitely worth it. "The story of the family who rose from the Frankfurt ghetto to become synonymous with wealth and power has been much mythologized. Yet half the Rothschilds, the women, remain virtually unknown. From the East End of London to the Eastern seaboard of the United States, from Spitalfields to Scottish castles, from Bletchley Park to Buchenwald, and from the Vatican to Palestine, Natalie Livingstone follows the extraordinary lives of the English branch of the Rothschild women from the dawn of the nineteenth century to the early years of the twenty first." - Amazon Women Don't Owe You Pretty by Florence Given A book I probably would have never chosen, but it was part of my diversity book club and I'm glad we read it. The author was 21 when she published the book and wrote from the perspective of a young woman in today's world. She addresses self-love, body positivity, gender, sexuality, relationships and other aspects of life that we can all relate to. At times I struggled with the content, considering how young the author is, but it says more about me than it does about her and made me reflect on myself. "Florence's debut book will explore all progressive corners of the feminist conversation; from insecurity projection and refusing to find comfort in other women's flaws, to deciding whether to date or dump them, all the way through to unpacking the male gaze and how it shapes our identity. WOMEN DON'T OWE YOU PRETTY is an accessible leap into feminism, for people at all stages of their journey who are seeking to reshape and transform the way they view themselves. In a world that tells women we're either not enough or too much, it's time we stop directing our anger and insecurities onto ourselves, and start fighting back to re-shape the toxic structures of our patriarchal society. Florence's book will help you to tackle and challenge the limiting narrative you have been bombarded with your whole life, and determine feminism on your own terms. After all, you are the love of your own life." - Goodreads The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak The last one is my another one of my favourite authors: Elif Shafak. Her books are so wonderfully written and I truly enjoy the language of each of her books. The one I read this year is called "The Island of Missing Trees". "Two teenagers, a Greek Cypriot and a Turkish Cypriot, meet at a taverna on the island they both call home. In the taverna, hidden beneath garlands of garlic, chili peppers and creeping honeysuckle, Kostas and Defne grow in their forbidden love for each other. A fig tree stretches through a cavity in the roof, and this tree bears witness to their hushed, happy meetings and eventually, to their silent, surreptitious departures. The tree is there when war breaks out, when the capital is reduced to ashes and rubble, and when the teenagers vanish. Decades later, Kostas returns. He is a botanist looking for native species, but really, he’s searching for lost love. Years later, a Ficus carica grows in the back garden of a house in London where Ada Kazantzakis lives. This tree is her only connection to an island she has never visited - her only connection to her family’s troubled history and her complex identity as she seeks to untangle years of secrets to find her place in the world." - Goodreads And that's it, my reading list 2022. I hope you found some inspiration and I wish you best of luck and fun for the reading year 2023. Until next year! Happy Holidays, Nina

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