Alone In Berlin by Hans Fallada

Alone in BerlinAlone in Berlin by Hans Fallada

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

1940 Berlin. Amongst the fear and conditions that the people of Berlin are living in, Otto and Anna Quangel get news that there son had been killed in the war. Spies are everywhere, few people can be trusted. Otto didn’t want to join the “party”, it was expensive and it made you different. Yet defeatist talk and being awkward could get you put in a concentration camp.

This book is about people on the inside, some thought it was disastrous for the German people to follow The Fuhrer, but it was very dangerous to voice your opinion. There was heroic resistance to the Nazi regime at all levels of German society and Hans Fallada has drawn on the true story of Elise and Otto Hampel. He shows the tensions between the people’s struggle to survive and the world around them.

Otto and Elise, represented in the book as Otto and Anna, were a couple who started a three year campaign against Nazi Germany. In that time they wrote and dropped hundreds of postcards calling for civil disobedience and workplace sabotage.

This book was written in just twenty four days by an author with a shocking history who himself barely survived time in a Nazi insane asylum. It is an emotional book and one to leave the reader thinking about the past and where we are today. This is one of Penguin’s Modern Classics.

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I thought I’d throw you a question about individual people….

Fear drives people to extremes, many of the characters in this book acted on fear, yet others were very brave. From your own knowledge and what you’ve read and seen about the war, does it surprise you that a resistance  was working in the heart of Germany?

Discovering Mexico by Swarupa N Ovalekar

Discovering MexicoThis is another book by talented author Swarpa. It details her passion and love of Mexico which she discovered during the time she spent there whist working abroad. Swarupa embraces the people, places and culture of Mexico and has presented it in a colourful and informative book. Set out in a format which follows Swarupa as she discovers the delights of Mexico for herself. There are easy to read maps, beautiful photographs and plenty of personal views.

Find a copy of this book direct from Swarupa;

Discovering Mexico:

Guest Author Swarupa N. Ovalekar

Please welcome my guest author today, I love reading her blog posts they make me feel like I’m on holiday.


1) Hi Swarupa can you tell us where your home town is?

Hi, I live in Mumbai (or Bombay), India.

2) You’ve written 3 books about Mexico, covering the country, its history and its cuisine, how long did they take to write?

Well, writing the 3 books (“Discovering Mexico”, “Mexico: The Country, Its History & The Maya World”, and “A Guide To Mexican Cuisine”) involved intense research and working endless hours at the computer. It took me over a year and a half to complete this epic labour of love.

3) Your blog posts provide the reader with some wonderful glimpses into the people of Mexico and you have some beautiful pictures, do you take them yourself?

Yes, all the photos on my blog whether on Mexico or otherwise belong to me. I just love clicking photos wherever I go.  It’s one of my favourite hobbies!

4) Is there a favourite part to Mexico for you, for instance the culture, the people or the Mayan history?

I love everything about Mexico! Be it the people, places, culture, cuisine, history, ancient civilizations (and especially the Maya), etc.

5) Do you think the people of Mexico keep their traditions alive? Or are they embracing modern technology and leaving the past behind?

Mexicans like to socialize and place a high value on family and traditional values. I believe that they have struck the right balance between old and the new. While embracing modern technology, they have also retained ancient customs and traditions like the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) and the Posadas (‘Inns’).

6) Can you recommend 5 places that a tourist could go to see some of your favourite parts of Mexico?

It’s extremely difficult for me to choose just 5 places because every part of the country has its own unique charm. I have many favourite places but amongst them I would recommend a visit to Mexico City, Guadalajara, Riviera Maya, Merida and San Cristobal de Las Casas.

7) Where can people buy your books? Are they only available as e-books?

My books are available for sale as e-books in PDF format at my blog: and my Facebook Page:

It takes just a few minutes to buy them. Select the e-books, pay through PayPal using your credit card, check your email inbox for the links to download the e-books and then download them. A safe, simple and quick medium to buy and read my e-books 🙂

8) Recently you have been posting about India on your blog, how long did you travel around India or have you been on several trips?

You’re right. It’s been a year and a little more than a month since I started my blog. Most of my 80+ posts are about Mexico but I have also written about India and my recent travels within the country. I have travelled almost all over India from the northernmost tip of the country in Ladakh to the southernmost tip in Kanyakumari, to the North East and briefly through the West.

I intend to blog about my trips to “heavenly” Ladakh and the North East which happened just after I had completed my books on Mexico. I‘ve got plenty of lovely photographs of these amazing places to share with my readers.

9) Were there any similarities or differences between Mexico and India that surprised you?

Yes, there are many similarities between Mexico and India in culture, customs and cuisine. The similarities did surprise me a lot considering the fact that the two countries are located at the opposite ends of the world. I have written about the similarities in my blog. Here are the links:

10) Do you plan to put your Indian experiences into a book?

Not at the moment. Maybe someday in the future I’d write a book “Adventures of Swarupa” covering my Indian experiences 🙂

11) I see you’ve also written a romance “The Blue-Eyed Prince of Natlife”, can you tell us where it is set and what inspired you to write it?

After my 3 books on Mexico, I was eager to write a romance fiction, a popular genre. So I started with “The Blue-Eyed Prince of Natlife”. It’s about a girl from Mexico City who comes to Mumbai to work for an Indian company and falls in love with her boss. Here’s my book trailer which will give you the storyline:

And here’s my blog page where you can read the synopsis and the first 5 chapters of the book:

It’s again an e-book in PDF format available for sale at my blog.

Discovering Mexico

Discovering Mexico:

Mexico - The Country, Its History & the Maya World

Mexico: The Country, Its History & The Maya World:

A Guide To Mexican Cuisine

A Guide To Mexican Cuisine:

The Blue-Eyed Prince Of Natlife

The Blue-Eyed Prince of Natlife:

Thank you Swarupa, do go over and visit her blog the experience is truly delightful. Even better news, Swarupa is offering free e-copies of “A Guide to Mexican Cuisine” until 11th September, follow her on Twitter, Facebook and send her an e-mail request to