The books that have so far shaped me are of completely different genres, eras, and handling different topics. I am beyond ashamed to admit that since starting at Oxford I have read barely more than two books beyond my set reading list – but if you like German and Italian literature, you may appreciate that’s not too bad a compromise. My favourite authors are Ian McEwan, Ernest Hemingway, Lydia Davis, and Virginia Woolf.

An array of memorable reads follows.


Muriel Barbery’s tale of philosophy, bourgeoisie existences, and the point of being alive


The coming-of-age novel that left Belmondo in most teenage French girls’ bedroom walls


What a master Munro is in short stories. A well deserved Nobel prize.


McEwan’s twist of insanity, the divine, persistency


A relationship tangled in post Holocaust atonement


A memoir of being an Italian woman in the Fascist years


A collection of short stories with a typical, thrilling final twist


Testimonies of women living in the DDR era



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