25 January 2010

(picture taken from postsecret.)

18 January 2010

events at st. george's bookshop (berlin) this week

again, i just copied and pasted:

TUESDAY 19TH JAN. 2010 - 21.00


Bass & Cello accompaniement, interspersed with brief German-language
biographical notes (penned by Felicitas, read by a German dolcent
- a 90-minute, total immersion in the evocatoin of Poe's spirit.

At 21:00 on January 19, the 201st anniversary of Poe's Boston birth.

The dramatic classics, The Raven and more...

Free entrance, Cash bar

WEDNESDAY 20TH JAN. 2010 - 20.30


Alistair Noon. In People's Park. Penumbra Editions, London. http://www.penumbramagazine.co.uk/

Monika Rinck. Sixteen Poems. Translated by Alistair Noon. Barque Press,
London. http://www.barquepress.com/16poems.html

Alistair Noon has lived in Berlin since the early nineties and has been a
key figure in the Anglophone literary scene in the city for several years,
co-editing the magazine Bordercrossing Berlin and founding the annual Poetry
Hearings festival. His second chapbook In People's Park is launched together
with the first appearance in book form in English of Monika Rinck, a poet
with a steadily growing reputation as quite possibly the best German poet of
her generation, with several books of poetry and essays from acclaimed
German publishers kookbooks.

"Alistair Noon's writing is characterised by a worldly intelligence,
striking verbal dexterity and a technical accomplishment by no means common
in today's poetry world. He is a writer to keep a eye on over the next few

Peter Hughes, Oystercatcher Press

"Monika Rinck is to my mind the most interesting of the younger poets to
turn up after the millennium. A post-modernist, playful and artful at the
same time, her work settles down in her third collection into a solid body
of work with a clear direction---a direction that her second volume showed
developing. (her first, Begriffstudio, was a kind of exploration of
internet- and media-speak, with meanings deliberately hard to pin down).
Deeply impressive work here... One to look out for, I think. This lady is
the real thing."

Tony Frazer, Shearsman Books.

Free entrance, Cash bar

Saint Georges English Bookshop
Wörther Strasse 27 - Prenzlauer Berg - 10405 Berlin - 030 81 798 333
Mon-Fri 11AM-8PM - Sat 11AM-7PM

what is the what - dave eggers

i put down 'what is the what' by dave eggers after countless hours yesterday at 22.38 precisely. it was quite a relief to have finished it, frankly, and not only because its contained three books and 535 pages make it quite have to hold up in front of you. it was a relief to have finished it, because war is something that just never goes down well with me. 'what is the what' is the extraordinary journey of a young refugee boy called achak from sudan to the united states of america. it describes in great detail his ordeal - things happening to him that most of us can't even begin to imagine. this, i guess, is the reason why in spite of its length, the book rarely bored me. especially the passages where he talks about the UN-run camps and institutions have proven very interesting to someone who is interested in the subject. many times, however, i had to put it away because it was just all too much... so much suffering, so much pain, so much bad luck and yet such strength, resilience and clarity in chaos. 'what is the what' is and adventure story that is very well told and thus certainly recommendable for everyone who enjoys reading biographies or stories with a roller coaster plot line.

15 January 2010

hermann bräuer und rené hamann bei 'read on, my dear'

i copy/pasted this text from their facebook event page and only inserted the links, so i won't guarantee for nothing. i won't even be able to attend myself as i'll be away that day. all i can say is i met rené and he was really nice.

München in den Achtzigern, es ist die Zeit von Kiss, Mötley Crüe und Van Halen. Holzingers Andi hat die Haare schön und obendrein einen Bass bekommen, seinem kometenhaften Aufstieg als Rockstar in einer Hair-Metal-Band steht also nichts mehr im Weg. Unter Tonnen von Schminke und begleitet von funkensprühenden Pyroshows arbeit sich Llord Nakcor ganz nach vorne, bis hin zum Plattenvertrag, und als endgültig der Durchbruch winkt, kommen ein paar versiffte Gestalten mit Akkustikgitarren und übernehmen die musikalische Weltherrschaft. Sie heißen Nirvana, und sie beenden die ruhmreiche Ära des Hair-Metal, ein Einschnitt, an den sich die Friseurinnen-Innung noch heute tränenreich erinnert. Und Hermann Bräuer.

Hermann Bräuer hat die Geschichte von Llord Nakcor in seinem Buch "Haarweg zur Hölle" aufgeschrieben, die Geschichte einer Jugend in München, die Geschichte einer Band in den 80ern, über Lidstriche, Jägermeister und zerstörte Boxentürme: alles, was ein Jugendroman braucht. Und er erzählt das alles so locker, charmant und pointiert, so liebevoll und nachsichtig mit seinen Protagonisten, dass man für einige Momente bedauert, nicht zurückreisen zu können ins München der 80er, um sich die Haare lang wachsen zu lassen und viel Unfug mit einem Haufen Kosmetika anzustellen.

René Hamann hingegen schreibt über das Gegenteil von München, nämlich Berlin. Seine kleinen, hintersinnigen Miniaturen aus allen Ecken der Stadt, durchzogen von kleinen Absurditäten und seltsamen Alltäglichkeiten sind von beruhigender Eleganz. Man kann es nicht besser sagen, als damals Werner van Bebber im Tagesspiegel: "Aber Hamanns Buch ist so schön kühl, lakonisch, uneitel und – Danke! Danke! – frei vom regierungsamtlichen und berlintourismusmarketingmäßigen Hype, dass man diese spröde spannende Stadt wiedererkennt hinter allen Be-Berlin-Fassadendekorationen. Hamann mag Berlin, das ist zu spüren."

Hermann Bräuer und René Hamann zu Gast bei Read on, my dear
20.01. Einlass 20:00 Uhr, Start 20:30
Reuterstraße 63
Eintritt frei, Austritt mit Hut


no idea why i hadn't heard of it earlier, but i hadn't: http://fixpoetry.com/

10 January 2010

"Models know the Lost Generation"

(picture by clay larsen, taken from models are smart.)

07 January 2010

the 50 books challenge becomes official & WOAW is on twitter now

as of today, the 50 books challenge has its own 50 books challenge fan page on facebook. this is open to everybody and i greatly encourage all of you to join!

also, i finally created a twitter account for WOAW. this will be linked to the above mentioned fan page - i even created a #50bookschallenge hash tag. feel free to add WOAW on twitter any time, i'll be delighted and more than happy to add you, too.

05 January 2010

rheinsberg - kurt tucholsky

i finished tucholsky´s rheinsberg - ein bilderbuch für verliebte ("rheinsberg - a picture book for lovers") on the tube this morning - a quick and inexpensive read: only 2,-€ at reclam. tucholsky's language is very bloomy, and if it weren't for clärchen, one of the main characters, and her funky usage of speech (not a defect!), rheinsberg could easily be mistaken for a shallow and rather unoriginal description of a romantic weekend in the country. there is no arc of tension or straight-forward dramaturgy, and it remains unclear what tucholsky was really trying to tell us. a vague attempt of teaching the reader a lesson by contrasting the irrationality of love with a more rational world view was only made on the last four or so pages. in fact, i found rheinsberg to be more of a writing exercise in style and the study of characters and their feelings, settings and interaction between all of the above. the only suprise, if you would like to call it that, was the sudden end - one gets the impression kurt himself had had enough of his own enamored cheers and sniggering. overall, however, rheinsberg is an amusing, upbeat read that is certainly worth a look if you are a) a writer, b) from berlin, c) in love, or d) headed to rheinsberg anytime soon.

fun fact taken from wikipedia: "In order to support the sales of the book [Rheinsberg], Tucholsky and Szafranski, who had illustrated the tale, opened a "Book Bar" on Kurfürstendamm in Berlin: anyone who bought a copy of his book also received a free glass of schnapps. This student prank however came to an end after only a few weeks."

03 January 2010

reborn - susan sontag's early diaries (1947-1963)

susan sontag's early diaries are really more of a reading list than anything else. after trying to make sense of what susan was talking about over the first 84 pages, i finally decided her diaries were an educational (as opposed to 'fun') read - and started looking up some of the authors, books, philosophers, operas, pieces of art or music i hadn't heard of previously on wikipedia. so much so, that on page 205 i donated 10 euros to the wikimedia foundation.

it is absolutely amazing to learn what susan read in her teens and twenties, and her treasury of words to describe all of it is unrivaled. unfortunately, i am far less well-read, so often i couldn't comment on or relate to her findings. incoherent, lone sentences like "Nominalist attitude to object in pre-cubist painting." are frequent and unless you are prepared to look into some secondary literature, i suppose reading susan's early diaries is not very enjoyable at all. however, if you are prepared to do so, your vocabulary and general knowledge will certainly extend.

in the more private passages, i especially enjoyed reading about susan's take on love ("Love as immolation of the self."), marriage ("... each couple in its own little house ... it's the most repulsive thing in the world.") and parenting ("Make him [her son] aware that there's a grown-up world that's none of his business."). the depth of her feelings as well as her voluptuous language and imagery are reminiscent of sylvia plath's (i read plath's diaries a couple of years back) and i appreciated susan's clarity and analytical ability ("My mother improved her manners by losing her appetite."). towards the end of the book, susan also discusses her attitudes and aspirations as a writer. i enjoyed these passages and think that they make a good finish/ outlook on her professional future. all in all, i have hardly ever read a piece of writing as brutally honest.

(picture taken from postsecret.)

01 January 2010

"I have diarrhea of the mouth and constipation of the typewriter." (Susan Sontag, 1957)