Spring in Berlin is currently taking a serious break, hence I’ve stocked up on books before summer will swallow me completely. The selection I’ve piled up is surprisingly deep and perhaps even dark, but every book covers an extremely important issue that I think deserves some attention and wine-fuelled discussions with friends. When I’ve finished every book, the sun will be back… I know it. So here’s the lies, the love, the inspiration and the pain that kept me up at night recently.

Chris Kraus: I love dick

You will definitely want to read this book on public transport. “I love dick” has been out there since 1997 but only recently caught my attention because it was only just translated into German and widely discussed (and praised) in the media here. “Originally, the book’s reception hasn’t been that welcoming but I guess in 2017, the world is ready for a bold, feminist manifesto. I Love Dick connected the dots for the first time. Most of the other books I’d ever read had been by or about men, or about women only in relation to men. This book was brazenly, unapologetically about being a woman,” Emily Gould wrote in The Guardian.

Get the book here!

Hanya Yanagihara: A little life

I imagine giving birth must be a lot like reading “A little life”. This book is an incredibly tough read, not just because of its length (700 pages, take that). I’m still stuck somewhere in the first third so there’s only so much I can really say, apart from this: The story is about Jude, Willem, Andy and JB – and about their friendship which has endured since school. Jude has been traumatized by severe abuse for many years and has struggled (to say the least) to talk about it. Over the course of the book, the story focuses much more on Jude, Willem and the love they share. Can love heal scars that have been getting worse instead of better of the years? And is there a way of getting over to find something close to happiness and meaning in the midst of battling with the worst imaginable trauma? I can’t wait to find out.

Get the book here!

Laurie Penny: Unspeakable things: Sex, lies and revolution

The reason I prefer Laurie Penny over many other feminist writers is her dark humor and her endless wit. A columnist for the British New Statesman, she writes raw and personally about sex, anger, her own lack of self-esteem as a teenager and all the battles millions of women have to, and perhaps choose to fight daily because they matter. “Sex, lies and revolution” is a collection of essays and a manifesto – perhaps without wanting to be one – encouraging us to fight patriarchy, gender roles and the toxic structures that lead to rape culture. To name just a few. Even if you don’t agree with each and every point, Laurie is a brilliant writer and I promise you’ll see a lot of feminist issues from a new perspective. This book will also give you some great arguments and stories you’ll need when your uncle or colleague next tells you we don’t need feminism. Duh. Also, check out her Twitter!

Get the book here!

Kate Tempest: The bricks that built the houses

Kate Tempest, poet and musician, is a master of words. Her latest album “Everybody Down” was nominated for the Mercury Prize. Her debut novel “The bricks that built the houses” plays in London where Becky, Pete, Leon and Harry struggle with their identity, society in general, capitalism, drugs, money and that feeling when you’re a regular at the job center. Sounds like just another coming-of-age story that still doesn’t find universal answers to big questions, right? Well, except for her language. It’s brutal and beautiful and disappointing and mad and difficult honest and lovely. But mostly brutal, just like London. Kate Tempest has an exceptionally critical view on our society and the problems it creates, at the same time there’s a sense of endless understanding and compassion for her protagonists.

Take this passage for example, where Harry meets Becky for the first time: “The woman shines so hard in Harry’s eyes that a sudden flash is all it takes. She explodes out of herself like a fireball, blinding. Brighter and brighter. Electric and surging, her outline ripping the party like lightning, forking and searing and flashing, shining like sunlight on water reflecting back on itself and becoming heat. A fierceness about her. Shining so golden and yellow-hot, black fire, burning blue in the middle. A new sun blistering bright. Harry blinks, gathers her body parts up from the corners of the room and pieces them back together again.”

Get the book here!

Nancy Borowick: A daughter’s imprint on love and loss

This one technically is more like a picture book which I’ve discovered through Zeit Magazin which published a selection online. “A daughter’s imprint on love and loss” is a personal photo series by Nancy Borowick whose parents were diagnosed with cancer at roughly the same time. Borowick portrayed their remaining time together in a loving, heart-breaking and documentary style. It will also make you call your parents more often and be more gentle when interacting with people in general. We’re all so fragile and beautiful and that’s something to be cherished.

Get the book here!

What works have been piling up your bookshelf lately? Please tell us in the comments!