Bookstores in Berlin

Did you know that Berlin is almost nine times bigger than Paris? No wonder there are so many bookstores here. I just started to keep an eye on bookstores because of my Instagram account. If I started with this before, I could have visited way more bookstores. That’s why the list is relatively small but I promise the next city I’ll go to; I’ll explore all the bookstores. Big or small. Hidden or not. I will find them all!

BuchHafen
This bookstore was recommended by my writer’s workshop. It’s a small, cozy bookstore in Neuköln, next to Tempelhof. Which is perfect in the summer: you buy a new book and you can enjoy reading in the park. Because I’m living on the complete other side of the city it takes me roughly forty minutes to go there. I once ordered a French book (online) and they were super friendly (and answered in one day!). I couldn’t get the book immediately because I got sick and that was alright for them. I just had to let them know when I could make it and the book would be waiting for me. This is why I’m recommending this one to everyone; it’s a lovely bookstore with lovely people.

Dussmann das KulturKaufhaus
This is the shopping mall for books (and movies and presents and a lot more!). It’s an enormous store with did I count 3 or 4 three floors. They have an “English bookstore” inside (and a bit of French, Spanish, etc). If you’re looking for a classic, thriller, crime, romance… they have it all. It’s open until 00.00 o’clock which means there’s not only a lot of choices but also a lot of time. The small couches and chairs make it comfortable while you have to wait or just want to read a bit already. To be honest: I do like the amount of books they offer. Don’t get me wrong. However, it’s just a bit too much for me. The interior is black with red and gives a modern, comfortable look. It’s just that I’m, well, biased. I love old bookstores where the floor is creaking, where you’re only surrounded by books, and where it’s small yet cozy.

Belle et Triste
Speaking of creaking floors… this one has it! It’s a small bookstore in Wedding with almost only German. The English section is not that big and it mainly consists of crime/thriller books. I had to get “Three Comrades” and asked if I could order this book in English (yes, I needed to add this because it’s actually in German and my German is not that good). This wasn’t a problem as long as I paid a bit beforehand (like a deposit). One week later and my book arrived, I didn’t expect it to be that fast!

Ocelot, not just another bookstore
This bookstore combines reading with a nice cup of coffee and a delicious cake. The store has a selection of fiction, non-fiction, and children’s book. I just like how it looked inside (unfortunately no creaking floors but there was some wood interior). There is an English section and what I absolutely loved the most; they personalized some of the books. On the cover of some books, they wrote a small message who might be interested in reading the book.

As I mentioned before: Berlin is an enormous city. There is a lot more to see than what I just showed you. For example, there is “Another country“, “Bücherbogen am Savignyplatz“, “Raum B“, and “Shakespeare and Sons“. I’ve seen Bücherbogen but that was before I started with my quest for bookstores. Now that we’re leaving the city I’m trying to go to as many as I can. But there’s a risk: I buy too many books. You know… it’s always difficult for me to leave a bookstore without buying a book. And because we have to travel and buy furniture for our future apartment, I have to be careful unfortunately. BUT! I do have a few new books: one for my birthday, one because I dragged my friend to the bookstore at the airport, and one as a leaving present. Which ones? I’ll show them soon on Instagram.

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PS the first picture on Instagram is on the Revaler Strasse (close to the art gallery and RAW-Gelände cultural center). Here you find a street full of graffiti, indoor skate park, a flea market, and a tiny mini disco in a phone booth. Yes, with my friend I did the mini disco and I can tell you: it’s hilarious. I recommend it to everyone, however, I must warn you. The music is loud but so is your singing!

March challenge

“It’s not the world that’s crazy,” said I. “It’s the people in it.”

Okay okay! March already started but in my defense: February is way too short sometimes. For February I read the book Three comrades by Erich Maria Remarque. This fascinating book tells the story of Otto Köster, Lenz Gottfried, and Robert Lohkamp. It’s actually written from Robert Lohkamp’s point of view but during the book Lohkamp describes his two other comrades frequently as well.

War, friendship, drinking, and love are all passing by in this story. It shows the aftermath of war; how does it affect you but also what happens to companionship (hence the title). I’ve never read more about cars and drinking rum/schnapps than with this book. But the strong bond between the men is admirable. They all have to live their life after war while there’s not that much for them left. Money is a problem, purpose of life is for some just another day to live. When Lohkamp slowly falls in love with Patrice Hollmann, it is beautiful to see how the other comrades embrace her as one of their own. In a world full of chaos they still have each other.

Somewhere I read that this is a simple story but I have to disagree with this. Maybe the idea of the story line is simple but the execution is the opposite. There’s beautiful prose in it and for everyone a quote to love. It’s difficult to create such a simple story about friendship and what I think true love. My friend (who speaks plenty of languages, yes jealous) read it in Russian. And unfortunately I’m not that talented but I wonder how it is in Russian because I found so many reviews in this language.

The only difficulty for me was sometimes the names (sounds silly, I know) but one time someone is called by their first name and then their last name. In the beginning I got a bit lost but once you’re in the book there’s no problem anymore. And the sentences/usage of words are slightly different from now but that’s what you get when you read a book from 1936.

We danced, and the warm, soft light was merciful; it hid all the shadows that the late night had drawn on the faces.

Now it’s time for a new challenge (and publishing year: 2018): read a book based on its cover. If you’re following me on Instagram I guess you’ve already seen it…. Circe by Madeline Miller. Gods, mortal, and one woman must summon all her strength and choose, once and for all, whether she belongs with the gods she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.

Will let you know what I thought about it (although it was chosen book of the year 2018 by book of the month, just saying!).

High road

Last Thursday it was 21st of February which also means: the deadline for the 53-word story. I didn’t struggle as much as I did last time with word count. At some stage you get used to the short word count. Now the difficulty lies in the subject. High road. To be honest, I think you can interpret this in many different ways.

They decided this theme because of the High Road Festival of Poetry and Short Fiction. And I think got inspired in a poetic way, is that even possible? Anyway, enough talking. Here’s my story:

Life slowly turning good
There is darkness. There is sadness. In each one of us. There is rain. There are clouds. There is sun. There is a rainbow. Slowly turning life around. There is grass. There is a breeze. There is joy. There is laughter. After everything: there is goodness. There is happiness. In all of us.