Eagerly Anticipating German Lit Month V

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Lizzy and Caroline have announced the arrival of German Lit Month V this November. I saw Stu‘s possible list on Twitter last night, and of course couldn’t sleep until I’d come up with at least a few titles of my own. Reading Buddenbrooks last year was one of the highlights of 2014 for me, yet another time when the blogging world has enriched my reading life.

As my world revolves so heavily around children, for a few more years anyway, I want to revisit Heidi. I haven’t read it since I was a child, and I’m wondering how it would effect the children of today. (They adored Carlo Collodi’s Pinocchio when I read it a few year’s ago, much more than the Disney film to my great relief. I also have enjoyed the books by Cornelia Funke such as The Thief Lord as well as Inkheart. I would love to carry on toward Inkspell and Inkdeath.

An adult book seems appropriate, too. Tom of Wuthering Expectations, mentioned Effi Briest to me long ago which I immediately downloaded on my kindle. This would be a good time to read it. Even Death in Venice has been patiently waiting on the kindle. So many books, so many temptations.

German Lit MonthWill you be joining in?

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34 comments

  1. Thank you so much for writing about GLM.
    We hosted a readalong of Effi Briest years ago. Should you oick it, you might enjoy reading some of the discussion.
    You know – the first books that were read to me as a tiny girl were Heidi – Pinocchio and Uncle Tom’s Cabin. I think you can’t go wrong with these. I would love to hear what “your” kids think of Heidi.

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    1. I’m intrigued by the continuing power of children’s books, at least those I read as a child. It seems to me that few (none?) of the books today carry the same amount of story and lesson in equal measure.

      I wish I had read Effi Briest with you and the others. I began it once, and found the beginning rather ludicrous, but I didn’t give it a fair chance and finish it.

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  2. Heidi impacted me tremendously as a child. In fact, I went through a period when I demanded to drink my milk from a bowl, as Heidi did. Since we didn’t have wooden bowls, I had to make do with porcelain, but I coped. If I’d had a three-legged stool, and a mountain with pines, life would have been perfect.

    I have to think, too, that the various trials and illnesses of the children I grew up with might have made the book even more impressive to me. I’m old enough to have lived in pre-vaccine days, and knew children who were victims of polio. We often were denied the swimming pool in summer because of the disease, and we feared living in iron lungs. The 20 and 30 year-olds who rail against vaccines have no idea. None.

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    1. I have a few friends who speak of polio and scarlet fever as you did in your comment. They were very real and very tragic.

      I remember wishing to be Heidi, too, and every time I think of cheese and bread and mountain tops I think of her. I liked the simple life, and I was especially moved by the way that she helped Clara walk again.

      There used to be books which inspired people to be better than they were, to overcome obstacles, and they were so instrumental in forming my character. (I never give up, even when wisdom says at some point I ought to.)

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  3. Thank you for the reminder about GLM. I am not doing all that great with my reading challenges but this is one I’d still like to try. So yes, I’ll probably join in. And, it’s always a good excuse to make book lists right? 🙂

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    1. I’m not doing so well with reading challenges, either, not reading books for that matter. I have abandoned five this month, one right after another. But, surely we can fit in something German? xo

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    1. Do you have End of Days? I know she’s written others, but that’s the only one of hers I’ve read, and I loved it. I never would have heard of her without the IFFP this year. Looking forward to your thoughts on any Erpenbeck novel!

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  4. I would like to suggest for your German literature month to try poetry instead of fiction. I would suggest poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke.

    I have two translations you might like because of the poetry’s lyrical quality:
    Rilke’s Book of Hours translated by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy.

    The other is The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke Edited and Translated by Stephen Mitchell which contains the Duino Elegies and The Sonnets to Orpheus.

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  5. I’m very tempted to join you and Caroline for this event. I have five books lined up and another two or three listed as “possible” – works by Erich Maria Remarque, Kafka, Werner Bergengruen, and Karl May with his Winnetou, a book I adored as a teenager. Thanks for writing about this event.

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    1. It sounds like the books you’ve lined up are quite ponderous. (Much as I’ve found Germans to be.) I think I’m off on a lighter stack, but how fun to share in everyone’s choices!

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      1. They are the ones I have at the moment so I might as well give some of them a go. Also, Caroline is hosting a read-along for “A Time to Live and a Time to Die” in the last week of November and I have the book so it’s perfect. You might be right about the ponderousness of it. I guess I’ll find out soon enough. 🙂

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    1. Probably the religious aspects of it won’t “trouble” me as I grew up in a very religious home and still live that way. But, I can see that books from long ago tended to carry a lot of moral weight which we aren’t used to any more.

      Thanks for visiting me. I first saw your blog yesterday, as a result of Tweets going out about your post on Sarah Waters, and I am glad to learn of it.

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    1. Looking forward to what you decide on, Tony! So glad I’m aware of Jenny Erpenbeck for the reading we did for the IFFP 2015. Oh, and there’s the Timur Vernes'(Look Who’s Back) book, too!

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  6. Effi Briest is a genuinely beloved book for many German-language readers. Some English-language readers find it baffling, perhaps because Fontane’s Prussian setting is a place we so rarely visit, even in literature, compared to London or Paris or Florence.

    My guess is that you will be closer to the “love” side than the “baffled” side. The characters are wonderful.

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    1. I can only hope you’re right, Tom. I surely don’t want to be baffled. 😉 I remember some consternation, though, about the seemingly ridiculous beginning. When I try it next, I’ll finish it, for it seems an important classic work for my literary background.

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  7. This sounds like fun. I’ll have to see what’s on my TBR shelf. I know I have at least on book by Crista Wolf. My students and I loved Inkheart, but none of us felt the same towards Inkspell. None of us went on to Inksdeath.

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    1. Inkspell was a little too high level for my third graders, although I do like to give them the benefit of the doubt. I thought it was wonderful, but I’m interested to know Inkdeath doesn’t carry over.

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  8. Bellezza – This has nothing to do with your German Literature Month plans, but as I find no email contact for you, I’m writing here to inquire about the Two Serious Ladies group read we discussed a few months ago. Feel free to write me and let me know your thoughts – we can postpone or try to get it in towards the end of the month, given that it’s a fairly short novel.

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    1. In my renewed enthusiasm, I have sent out a brief tweet that we are going to read this in October and asked if there was interest to join us. So far, gaskella and Frances are in. So now I hope you really are agreed to October! I’m looking forward to it, as you can tell.

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  9. I would love to read more Cornelia Funke, and Effi Briest sounds intriguing. Good to know the beginning is something to be gotten through, perhaps.

    I read Heidi to my son not long ago. He enjoyed it but he didn’t request a re-read as he does with his very favorite books. I hope he’ll come back to it on his own again. The images of the beauty of the mountains are what remain with me, and I always think of them when we are in Switzerland.

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