Some Ideas for German Literature Month IV

Recently, Lizzy and Caroline announced that the fourth edition of their German (-language) Literature Month would be going ahead in November, and the question for me, as always, was not whether I’d be taking part (as if…), but what I’d be reading.  So, off I went to look for some inspiration, and here are a few of the ideas I came up with – feel free to steal any you like the look of 😉

The first stop was the German-language corner of my personal library, where I discovered several likely candidates for November’s reading.  While I’m waiting for his new book to come out in paperback, Peter Stamm’s debut novel(la) Agnes should tide me over, and Sybille Lewitscharoff’s Blumenberg, a book I didn’t get to during August’s Women in Translation Month, also looks interesting.  A book that’s been languishing on my shelves for a long time now is Hans Keilson’s Das Leben geht weiter (Life Goes On) – I wonder if I’ll get to it this time around…

There are also some heavyweights among my collection.  Robert Walser’s Jakob von Gunten is a book I’m eager to try, and Die Ausgewanderten (The Emigrants) would be the third W.G. Sebald novel to be read and reviewed on the blog.  But if I read those, will I have time for the Heinrich Böll short-story collection Erzählungen, or one of the three related novels in F.C. Delius’ Deutscher Herbst (German Autumn) trilogy…

Next, attention turned to my Kindle, where I had a host of classics stored and ready to go.  How does Robert Musil’s Die Verwirrungen des Zöglings Törleß (The Confusions of Young Torless) sound?  Or Adalbert Stifter’s lengthy, impressionistic novel Der Nachsommer (Indian Summer)?

Then there are some of the writers whose work I’ve meaning to revisit – I still haven’t managed to get to the second part of Gottfried Keller’s Die Leute von Seldwyla (The People of Seldwyl) cycle, and Theodor Storm’s Eine Halligfahrt (A Hallig Journey) and Lena Christ’s Lausdirndlgeschichten (I’m not even going to try to translate that one) have been on my TBR for a while now.  But what about the Joseph Roth week to end the month?  Surely I can fit in Die Legende vom heiligen Trinker (The Legend of the Holy Drinker)?

A little fatigued by the overwhelming number of possible choices, I started to browse online sites to unwind, only to end up looking for more books.  With few female writers among my choices, perhaps Christa Wolf’s Stadt der Engel or The Overcoat of Doctor Freud (City of Angels…) or Anna Seghers’ Transit might be worth getting.  Also, having enjoyed Jenny Erpenbeck’s Aller Tage Abend (The End of Days) recently, why not try her earlier work Wörterbuch (The Book of Words)?  But that would mean not reading another by Thomas Bernhard, and I really wanted to get a copy of Alte Meister (The Old Masters)….

In the end, I’m afraid it all got a little too much for me, and I had to go and have a rest.  However, I’m sure I’ll have worked it all out by the time November comes around.  Please come back then, and see what made it through the final cut – viel Spaß dabei 😉


14 thoughts on “Some Ideas for German Literature Month IV

  1. I believe I gave my self several months to read Der Nachsommer, and I needed them. I got a lot out of the book, though. Absolutely worth it.

    Old Masters might fire up your interest in Stifter, though, or kill it forever, depending on how you take the narrator.

    I admire the appetite represented in this post.


  2. These are great choices, some I have on my shelves as well. I was also tempted by Der Nachsommer but I guess Tom's right – it would need more time.
    Not that it isn't feasible, it's just not a book to rush through.
    I'm looking forward to read your reviews. I guess my planning post will be up tonight.


  3. Which reminds me: I need to make some choices too. I love the sound of all of yours… But I'll stick to what I already have on my shelves, especially since Caroline and Lizzy are so generous with us… I have Vienna Tales as well as a Bernhard Schlink collection of stories, Alois Hotschnig Maybe This Time from Peirene and (as if to balance out my lack of female writers) a book about women writers during Nazi times: Verboten Verfemt Vertrieben by Edda Ziegler.


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