Stories from the Past

books with an impact

Whenever I return to my parents' house I also return to the stories from the past. For example, I still remember the story when brushing my teeth on a bouncy gymnastics ball. My sister jumped at me from behind and the toothbrush got stuck in my throat. We had to drive to the emergency in order to get it out. But if we put these literal, real-life stories from the past aside for a second, there are more than hundred different stories sitting on the shelf of my childhood room. In fact, the name given to Finja's room is now The Library. 

So, here are the top 9 books from my childhood room which demand some special attention. Even years later, I still remember the feeling they triggered. 

Economics of Good and Evil
 (Oxford University Press)
Die Ökonomie von Gut und Böse (Hanser)
The author says many see economics as a science, a value-free inquiry. Yet we need to be aware of science as a cultural phenomenon, a product of our civilization. It began within philosophy, Adam Smith himself not only wrote The Wealth of Nations, but also The Theory of Moral Sentiments. So the author shows how economics is woven out of history, myth, religion, and ethics. Even the most sophisticated mathematical model is a story, a parable, our effort to (rationally) grasp the world around us.

Truddi Chase
When Rabbit Howls (Jove)
Aufschrei (Bastei Luebbe)
Successful happily married Truddi Chase began therapy hoping to find the reasons behind her extreme anxiety, mood swings, and periodic blackouts. What emerged from her sessions was terrifying: Truddi's mind and body were inhabited by the Troops, ninety-two individual voices that emerged to shield her from her traumatizing childhood.

Sigmund Freud
Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality (Verso)
Abhandlungen zur Sexualtheorie
 (Fischer Klassik)
Freud’s Three Essays on Sexuality are seen (
besides his Interpretation of Dreams) as his most momentous and original contributions to human knowledge. A theory on sexuality and its connection to childhood captured in 1905.

Kathrin Tsinis
Tagediebe (rororo) - German Only
36 Tage sind es nur noch, bis Juli Hamburg verlässt und in einer anderen Stadt einen Neuanfang wagt, beruflich und privat. Alles ist so weit geregelt, die Freundinnen werden fehlen, klar, der alte Job als Architektin nicht wirklich, der Aushilfsjob in der Bar, mit dem sie die letzten Wochen vor dem. Aber gut, so ist das nun mal mit Abschieden: Einfach ist es nie, aber Juli hat es im Griff. Dann ist plötzlich Ben da. Peng. Eine, wie sich zeigt, Art Affäre auf Zeit.

Haruki Murakami
1Q84 (btb)
The year is 1Q84. This is the real world, there is no doubt about that. But in this world, there are two moons in the sky. In this world, the fates of two people, Tengo and Aomame, are closely intertwined. They are each, in their own way, doing something very dangerous. And in this world, there seems no way to save them both. Something extraordinary is starting.

Wilhelm Genazino
Die Liebesbloedigkeit (dtv)
Eigentlich ist alles perfekt. Lange schon lebt der freischaffende Apokalypse-Spezialist eine wunderbare Ménage à trois, in der die beiden völlig unterschiedlichen Frauen nichts voneinander ahnen. Nun schleicht sich aber das Alter an den Liebhaber heran. Er fühlt sich zunehmend überfordert von der Polygamie in drei Wohnungen.

Steve Tesich - German Only
Ein letzter Sommer (Kein & Aber)
Die Komplexität des Erwachsenwerdens, poetisch, liebevoll und mit analytischem Blick. Im Zentrum stehen jugendliche Hoffnungen, ambivalente Gefühle und eine kraftvolle Liebesgeschichte, die das Leben des Helden verändern. Charaktere der unterschiedlichsten Empfindungen stehen zwischen Tod und unerfüllter Sehnsucht. Und dann geht es in die Welt hinaus.

Esther Vilar - German Only
Die Mathematik der Nina Gluckstein (Scherz)
Ist Nina Gluckstein tatsächlich die Frau, die weiß, wie die Liebe funktioniert? Die Formel scheint so einfach: Man kann einen Mann nur an sich binden, wenn man ihm seine Liebe nicht zeigt. Nina Gluckstein ist die Frau, die diese Formel erkannt, angewendet, erlebt, aber auch erlitten hat. Sie konnte sich und den Mann, den sie liebte, ein Leben lang auf der Höhe des Glücks halten – doch um welchen Preis. 

Peter Stamm
On A Day Like This
An einem Tag wie diesem
On a day like any other, Andreas changes his life. When a routine doctor’s visit leads to an unexpected prognosis, a great yearning takes hold of him. Is this homesickness or wanderlust? He leaves everything behind, sells his Paris apartment and cuts off all social ties. He quits his teaching job, and waves goodbye to his days spent idly sitting in cafes. All to look for a woman he once loved, half a lifetime ago. The monotony of days has been keeping him in check; now he hopes for a miracle and for a new beginning.

Are these my favorite books of all time? I don't know. That's the same sort of black and white question like who your best friend is. It always comes at the cost of someone else, or? If you appreciate a certain friend very much, you stand next to them when they answer that their best friend is xyz instead. How would you feel? I'd say there are many special friends and similarly, there are many special books which all exist for one unique reason.

These ones, however, bring emotion, butterflies around your heart and deep-rooted understanding. They had a tremendous impact in my world. That sort of impact I'm partially aware of but which is also whispering out of my subconscious occasionally.


Suprise! Who's in for a more personal touch in this blogging world? 


What are the books which had an impact on your life?

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    1. Hey Audrey,
      Yes, that’s a good way of putting it books speak to different times. 1Q84 is really worth it! 🙂
      x finja

  1. It’s almost impossible to pick a favourite book, I think! I find with books (and also with certain music compositions), they just transport me to a certain part of my life where the book was particularly meaningful. So there are some books I read as a child that I truly adore and can recall fondly, but would they be my favourite book now? Probably not. Anyway, I loved your list – I am a huge Murakami fan. I’ve heard of the Peter Stamm book before also, but not actually read it – I’ll have to check it out.

  2. You must have been a far more intellectual child than I was to have books like the Economics of Good and Evil and Freud’s Theory of Sexuality on your childhood bookshelf. That being said, both 1Q84 and On A Day Like This sound like books I’d love, so I’ll check them out.

    To answer your last question – while I didn’t read these as a child so much as a college student, I found Unless by Carol Shields to be especially enlightening in more ways than I can leave in a blog comment and I’ve always thought the first chapter of Henry David Thoreau’s Walden to be a nearly perfect guidebook for life. 🙂

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