Just take a look at my ladies-in-waiting!
And there are more waiting in the wings (on the e-reader).
When I saw just how many there were, I decided I wasn’t going to buy anything else for this year’s German Literature Month, nor was I going to reread. The readalong title has to be taken from my TBR. So having seen your comments here and elsewhere, deduced from clues and reviews on past participants’ blogs, I’ve come up with a varied shortlist of six ideas that hopefully will be greeted enthusiastically and voted on by potential GLM III participants.
There are debut novels, bestsellers, contemporary classics and some obscure (to me) older classics to choose from here and plenty of online material. Options that can be easily obtained and read even if not chosen for the readalong title.
Please pick your first, second and third choices from the ideas below and note them in comments. Points will be awarded for each choice (5 for 1st choice, 3 for second and 1 for third). I’ll announce the readalong title – the one with the most points – next Sunday. In the event of a draw, I get the casting vote.
1) The Ball of Crystal (1903) – Helene Böhlau and Burning Love (1902) – Clara Viebig
Two short stories – masterpieces both according to Kuno Francke, editor of the 20 volume German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Masterpieces. In the 13 volumes that are available online at Project Gutenberg, there is only one more female contribution, Bettina von Arnim’s Goethe’s Correspondence with a Child in Volume 7. Böhlau and Viebig’s stories can be found in volume 19.
2) Anatomy of A Night (2008) – Anna Kim
Amarâq, Eastern Greenland, the end of the world. A lonely, cold, hard place, yet one that’s filled with boundless joy and bewitching natural magic, Amarâq plays host to an annual tragedy: a spate of suicides races through the town each spring, a plague that leaves no family untouched. Anatomy of a Nightdetails the events of one of these black nights, following the lives of eleven of Amarâq’s inhabitants—their loves and losses, their escapes from Amarâq and their inevitable returns, each victory and every defeat magnified by the unforgiving and unforgettably desolate landscape—and paints a portrait of a mysterious phenomenon that strikes a nearly-forgotten people, the Inuit of Greenland.
Published earlier this year by Frisch&Co. Their 1st title. E-format only.
Anna Kim moved to Germany from South Korea in 1979. Her second novel, Die gefrorene Zeit (Frozen Time) was awarded a 2012 European Prize for Literature.
3) The Wall (1963) – Marlen Haushofer
Considered her greatest literary achievement, Marlen Haushofer’s The Wall is the story of one quite ordinary, unnamed middle-aged woman who awakens to find she is the last living human on Earth. Surmising her solitude to be the result of a too successful military experiment, she begins the terrifying work of not only survival, but self-renewal. Variously interpreted as an ironic Robinson Crusoe story, a philosophical parable of human isolation and as dystopian fiction, The Wall is at once a simple survival story and a disturbing meditation on twentieth-century history.
The Wall is considered a contemporary classic and the DVD of the recent film comes out in the UK in November. A good opportunity for book to movie comparisons.
4) The Taste of Apple Seeds (2008) – Katherina Hagena
For Iris, childhood memories are of long hot summers spent playing with her cousin Rosmarie in her grandmother’s garden, a place where redcurrants turned to pale tears on the branches of trees and beautiful Aunt Inga shook sparks from the tips of her fingers. But now her grandmother is dead and, along with inheriting the property, Iris finds that she also inherits her family’s darkest secrets. Reluctant to keep it, but reluctant to sell, Iris spends one more summer at the house. By day she swims at the local lake, where she rediscovers a childhood companion. Alone at night she roams through the familiar rooms, exploring the tall black shadows of the past. In the flicker between remembrance and forgetting, Iris recalls an enigmatic grandfather who went to war and came back a different man, the night her cousin Rosmarie fell through the conservatory roof and shattered her family’s lives, and a moment of love that made all the trees in the orchard bloom over night.
A bestseller in Germany, Italy and France, where it won the 2011 Prix du Livre des Poches. The film has just been released in Germany. A while until we in the UK get our hands on it. Read this now and we’ll be ready when we do.
5) Ingeborg Bachmann Reading Day
What is there to say about Ingeborg Bachmann except that she was one of the most important female writers in German(-language) literature and has a literary prize named after her. She is also one of my co-hostess Caroline’s favourite authors. I’ve never read her I know there’s some Bachmanns in a number of TBRs but possibly not all the same title. So why don’t we each read what we have and compare notes? For those with no Bachmann in the TBR, there’s a small selection of her poems in translation here. Plus if you have any anthologies of German Literature at all, chances are you’ll find a Bachmann poem or short story contained within.
6) Juli Zeh Reading Day
One of my favourites. 3 of her works have appeared in translation and I’ve reviewed 2 of them: her most recent utopian-dystopia, The Method and her previous philosophical-thriller, Dark Matter. If you pick this option, I’ll be reading her debut novel, Eagles and Angels.
Jessie is dead. She short herself while on the phone with Max. And now grief-stricken Max, a UN lawyer, is forced to reevaluate everything about their relationship–including what Jessie, a drug dealer’s daughter, was hiding. Embroiled with the drama of the Balkan drug trade and the shortcomings of international law, “Eagles and Angles is a sophisticated riddle of a novel where mass murderers and civil was heroes exist in a bizarre symbiosis, and where nothing is as it appears.
There’s also a small essay of hers available online in 5 Dials issue 26.