This month's purchases (so far):
- Hilary Mantel, The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher
- Damien Keown, Charles Prebish, Introducing Buddhism
I'm curious. Tell me, what are the books that you've bought in 2015 so far ?
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Watching an interview from the Leipzip book fair where you can see the interviewee (looking uncomfortable and somewhat distanced right from the start) getting increasingly uncooperative with each ensueing question. Not good? Right? Even worse if the interviewer happens to be a professional journalist possessing an academic degree in German literature. (For a few years she even occupied a teaching position at the University of Milan.) So one should expect a certain amount of interesting actual discussion going on there, thoughtful questions, perhaps even honest curiosity. Right?
Among the questions asked in front of rather large audience were the following treasures:
"Did you take drugs when you wrote that?"
"Your protagonist reminds me of Parsifal. You are familiar with Parsifal, aren't you?" (Interviewee was looking puzzled, due to the Parsifal connection being somewhat far-fetched. I would have been puzzled as well. Also one should not forget to mention that both the interviewee's parents are high profile stage actors, a small biographical detail adding even more to the insult.)
Last but not least:
"What did your parents say to your book? Do they like it?"
Bill Bryson, One Summer in America: 1927
Popular history, strung together somewhat loosely, but all in all a quite intriguing account of the key events and the people which came to shape the collective consciousness of American citizens during the late 1920s.
Robert Gwisdek, Der unsichtbare Apfel (German)
Hitting bookstores (or Amazon, respectively) on March 8th, it seemed quite unavoidable that I ended up finding this inconspicuously looking white little book on my birthday table, right? Debut novel, written by someone who, during the thirty years he has so far spent on this planet, has already been an actor, a songwriter, a dadaist performance artist. So, approach cautiously, right? Especially if you are a fan...
Eternal skeptic that I am, I opened Der unsichtbare Apfel rather hesitatingly, fearing, no almost sure that I would certainly be disappointed. Now, that I am about one hundred pages into the novel, I guess it's safe to say that I'm not. Not by any means at all. Capturing, imaginative (the more surrealist side of "imaginative"), beautiful language. Unsettling. These are the adjectives I would pick to describe it, but if I had to chose a comparison to sum up my subjective reading experience so far I would say: This one feels as if Hans Christian Andersen and Franz Kafka had collaborated to come up with a pre-dreamt version of a movie by David Lynch.
Of course, adjectives and comparisons never do anything, anyone justice. And of course, I better ought to check if my usual pair of glasses haven't been switched for a pair of rose-coloured ones... ;-)
What I'm currently watching on DVD:
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel: Good grief, was Lev Grossman ever right about the amount of outstanding literary quality/literary writing that can be found in genre fiction these days.
Joyland by Stephen King: Well, what can I say except: Once a King fan, always a King fan. Also, summertime = Stephen King time. Qick read, very enjoyable.
Kein schöner Land by Patrick Findeis: German provincial life, growing up, family ties, repression. So far extremely well written, in a vivid and powerful "no nonsense" style. The author apparently knows how to deliver his blows. Tragedy is in the air. More on this book once I've finished.
Currently reading History and the Media, a compilation of essays dealing with the rendering of historical subjects for both TV and silver screen. Editor David Cannadine picked some illustrious contributors I must say, as the table of contents looks quite a bit like the 'Who is Who' of BBC historians, telly-friendly academics and history-friendly producers.
Among the featured texts is one I'd very much like to quote from, partly for personal reference, partly in vague hope that it might perhaps capture somebody else's interest as much as it captured mine:
( Yes, I know, this excerpt is about as culturally conservative as it is leftist, but still... )
100% Optional Feedback Poll. To be taken about as seriously as the depiction of British Colonialism throughout all three of Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean movies ;-)
Inflicting somewhat belated surprise parcels on 100% unsuspecting people feels cool. Being a proper, polite and well-educated fairy, I of course I tried to attach some sort of explicatory note telling why the item in question was picked. But the blasted character regulations just would not let me.
So I'll use LJ instead ;-)
Happy belated birthday, Vashtan!
( Don't read before you hold the thing in your hands... )
Probably this will only amuse the handful of people who know exactly what I am speaking of ( hi cavendish, vashtan, hianja and aislingde, I'm looking at you, guys *g*).
But, good grief! I just read in the newspaper that writer Wolfgang Hohlbein (who's rather famous here in Germany for his not too brilliant, but popular fantasy novels), grew up in the very same Rhineland village as I did, then spent most of the 1980s in the tiny Rhineland city where I'm living now, and currently resides in the small town right next to the city in where I'm living now.
Behold the temptations of a workplace situated only one minute away from the local Zweitausendeins store.
Oh, and before you ask...
1) Ellen Auerbach: Berlin, Tel Aviv, London, New York.
Originally only picked up because I remebered Auerbach's name from an interesting radio feature I had listened to a couple of days ago. Now that I've browsed through the pages, I'm totally amazed by the beauty and evocativeness of Auerbach's photography.Definitely the purchase I'm most proud of.
2) German copy of Susan Sonntag: The Volcano Lover. A Romance.
I like Sonntag, I like historical fiction. No idea whether the combination of these two factors is any good. The book was there, it was dead cheap, I'm a curious person.
3)Rupert Christiansen: The Victorian Visitors. Culture Shock in Nineteenth-Century Britain
Found about two hundred meters away from Zweitausendeins, over at the rivalling Jokers. Call me a Victoriana fan girl ;-)