Browse Category: The Literate Donkey

“Kim und Struppi: Ferien in Nordkorea” by Christian Eisert

I never considered travelling to North Korea and after reading “Kim und Struppi: Ferien in Nordkorea” by Christian Eisert I still don’t want to go there. Which doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy the book. I actually did. The book is well written, partly funny, but mostly very informative about North Koreas present and past. Especially for someone like me, who didn’t know much about North Korea to begin with.

Christian Eisert, a German comedy writer, decides to travel to North Korea to find a rainbow slide, he saw once on a picture. He takes along his friend Thanh, a photojournalist. Both have to fake their CV to be even allowed into the country and the whole time they have to worry to be found out as journalists. On their trip, supervised by two Korean guides, they discover a weird country with empty highways, missing hotel levels and people, who love their dictators.

The one thing I didn’t like about this book was Thanh. She gets constantly annoyed by her guides, who, for obvious reasons, don’t want to talk ill about their country, by the forced admiration the people have to show for their dictators and by her travelling partner, because he doesn’t try to provoke anything out of the people they meet. What was she expecting?

Luckily Christian Eisert came well prepared to this trip and he is the one who wrote the book. So, we get an interesting travelling account about a country, which is very different from the countries we generally know and a lifestyle, that is hard for westerners to comprehend. He writes about North Korea without judgement, while still facing the problems in the country.

“Karlsson-on-the-Roof” by Astrid Lindgren

I kept on trying to improve my Danish and this time I chose to join Karlsson on the roof. Karlsson is a handsome, thoroughly clever, perfectly plump man in his prime and you wether love him or you hate him.

Lillebror is a perfectly normal little child living in Stockholm, except that he is friends with a little man, who lives on the roof and can fly due to his propeller on the back. Together they go through some adventures. Sometimes they have to fight of thieves and sometimes they turn into thieves themselves by stealing buns from Lillebrors mother. Karlsson is witty and smart, but also egoistic, spoiled and sometimes just rude.

I still enjoyed the stories about Karlsson. They are fun and entertaining, but I wouldn’t want to be friends with Karlsson.

“Ronja Røverdatter” by Astrid Lindgren

To improve my Danish, I decided to read some children books and who would be better to choose than famous Swedish author Astrid Lindren. (I know, Danish and Swedish are different languages, but they are very similar.)

Ronja is the daughter of a robber and grows up in a beautiful forest full of magical creatures. She is smart and brave and must face some difficult decisions when she meets Birk, son of Ronjas father archenemy. Does she have to hate someone, just because her father does? Even when that someone saved her life? And does she wants to become a robber like her dad when she grows up?

“Ronja Røverdatter” is a coming-of-age story, which takes you into a magical world and makes you to want to take of your shoes, run through the forest and swim in the lake. Especially when it is really, really cold.


“In the Sea There are Crocodiles” by Fabio Geda

The full title of the book is “In the Sea There are Crocodiles: Based on the True Story of Enaiatollah Akbari” and is based on the life of a young boy from Afghanistan, who flees from his home from the Taliban in early 2000. In the following years he moves through several countries. Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Greece until he finally reaches Italy, where he finds a new home and life.

The story is remarkable and in light of the recent fugitive crisis in Europe even more significant. A lot of people in Europe see in all the, mostly, young men coming from war-torn countries in Africa and Asia a threat and they overlook the personal stories behind those people. Everyone of them has dreams and hopes and good reasons to go on that long and life-threatening journey.

Fabio Geda reminds you of those stories by telling one of them in a straight forward and unromantic way. I was very moved by his book.

“The Chosen Maid” by Eva Stachniak

I danced Ballett as a child. I wasn’t very good, but those years as a ballerina gave me a good understanding of dancing. I can appreciate dancers and the difficult steps they take. If you want to learn more about Ballett and the hardships that come with wanting to become a dancer, then this book is for you.

Eva Stachniak gives you an interesting insight into the world of Ballett and connects that with the amazing life of Bronislava Nijinska, who was a famous dancer and Choreograf during the first half of the 19th century. She was unfortunately overshadowed by her brother, Vaslav Nijinsky.

The book is largely based on Bronislavas diary and describes her hard childhood, which was dedicated to becoming a dancer, her difficult relationship with her eccentric brother and her love for Ballett, that helps her through all the tough times in her life.

I enjoyed the book very much. I love true stories that are told in a fictional way, but include accurately historical facts. In “The Chosen Maid” I got swept away into the life of dancers during the Russian Revolution and First World War and like a Ballett it was a dreamy experience.