I saw this tag over at Marina Sofia’s place a while back, but now that I’m gearing up for #germanlitmonth in just over a fortnight’s time, I thought I’d adapt it and see if it helps me to come up with a final reading plan. I don’t hold out much hope for that – I’m on what must be version 36 already – but let’s see what happens.
A novel you’d recommend to everyone (provided they don’t mind 900 page chunksters)
Nino Haratischvili’s The Eighth Life: For Brilka (tr. Charlotte Collins and Ruth Martin) is the translated-from-German release of the year, which I’ve already read. It is brilliant and reads much quicker than you’d expect it to. So do not be put off by its size. More to follow in November obviously.
A recently read oldie that you enjoyed (and am going to enjoy again)
I feel a Brecht revival in my bones. I enjoyed re-reading Mother Courage and Her Children (tr. John Willett) so much this summer, and I have now acquired a copy of Tom Leonard’s translation into Glaswegian ……
Something you could not get into
I drove my German professor mental with my loathing for Goethe’s dramas Iphigenie auf Tauris and Torquato Tasso. Would I appreciate them more some four decades later? I don’t intend testing the theory even if there is a Goethe Reading Week during this year’s #germanlitmonth. Thankfully I have plenty of other options.
Your most anticipated release
This is where the problem begins. There have been some fantastic recent releases that coincide with my Age of Weimar Republic reading project. NYRB Classics have released translations of Gabriele Tergit’s Käsebier Takes Berlin (tr. Sophie Duvernoy) and Kurt Tucholsky’s Castle Gripsholm (tr. Michael Hofmann) – both originally published in 1931), Then I discovered Our Bauhaus – Memories of Bauhaus People (tr. Steven Lindberg and Amy Klement) while bookshop browsing. I’ll probably only have time for one of these in November. Which one will it be?
An author you’d love to read more of
More young adult novels by Ursula Poznanski, though only Erebos has been translated into English. (Why no more?) On the other hand, there are now four volumes of Volker Kutscher’s Gereon Rath series in English. I read Babylon Berlin earlier this year. Perhaps it’s time to read the second, The Silent Death.
A novel you consider to be better than the film
All novels are better than the film, aren’t they? I must say though oscar-winning as it was, I did not like the film of Günter Grass’s The Tin Drum (tr. Breon Mitchell). Though it was a valiant attempt at filming the impossible.
I run a mile from the p-word, though I suppose this is where Hermann Hesse comes to the rescue. I do have a soft spot for Narcissus and Goldmund (tr. Geoffrey Dunlop) and its examination of hedonism vs aestheticism. Set in medieval times, it’s not as heavy as it sounds.
Talking of lightening philosophy, I have Nicholas Mahler’s graphic Party Fun with Kant (tr. James Reidel) in the stacks. As I enjoyed his graphic adaptation of Thomas Bernhard’s Old Masters last year, I’ll pop this in the immediate TBR too.
One that has been on your TBR for too long
That would be Katherina Hacker’s The Have-Nots (tr. Helen Atkins). Once read, I will have completed my reading of all the translated German Book Prize winners. (Until another is published, of course.) I have no idea why I haven’t read it to date. It’s only been on my shelf for nigh on a dozen years!
A popular book you have not read yet
That would be Berlin Alexanderplatz (tr. Michael Hofmann) and that is a situation that will be put to rights this November.
A book you have heard a lot about and would like to read
It’s always interesting to discover which work in a translator’s oeuvre is their favourite. So when the late, great Anthea Bell nominated E T A Hoffmann’s The Life and Opinions of The Tomcat Murr as hers, it immediately became a must-read.
So there we have it. I won’t be able to read all listed TBR titles in November, but could I manage them by the end of the year? Anyone fancy a 2-month #germanlitmonth? 😂