Sunday 11 November 2012

German literature November - again!

I should be continuing my job applications, but actually I’m going to post for German Literature Month run by the lovely Caroline and Lizzy – you can sign up here.

Per chance I actually started a German book last night, so despite the fact that I hadn’t logged onto the blogosphere for sometime, I hopefully will continue to complete the month.


  • Die verlorene Ehre der Katharina Blum (The lost honour of Katharina Blum) by Heinrich Böll
I bought this before my holiday in September, with the intention of reading it, but have not as yet got round to doing so. I’m really looking forward to getting into some Böll as I’ve not read anything by him.

  • Die Mittagsfrau by Julia Franck (Blindness of the heart - gosh what a weird title?)
OK, so I have actually already started this, albeit several months ago. That’s probably not a good sign, but in my defence I am trying to read the German version, and it’s not exactly bedtime reading. BUT I’m gonna do it. I will complete it by the end of the month!

Turns round in living room to look at bookshelf…hmmm…what else could I read in the next 2/3 weeks?

  • Der Mauerspringer by Peter Schneider
This also came to my shelves at the same time as the Böll with the intention of taking it on holiday. I really love Berlin though, and especially history about the DDR, so this has to be read.

Aiming to read:
Ok so if I’m feeling ambitious, these others might get a look in…

Some Kafka…. I have a large collection of his short stories on my shelf which is untouched and this is a crime. I will endeavour to read a few.

I have a nice translation of some Fontane short stories which I also might dip into. Esp. having loved Effi last year.

I think that’s probably enough of good intentions for now. Let’s see how it goes! Would love to hear what others think about German Literature Month.

ARGO review

So last night I went on my own to see Ben Affleck's "ARGO", and for once I want to make some comments on here. This space is intended for everything, even though so far I've only posted book reviews!

Really enjoyable and both funny and tense/gripping. The thing about it is, the material is necessarily good because it is based on a true story. And that led me to wondering how come the critics in general have said that Affleck is a good director?

The CIA help rescue Americans from Iran after the revolution when Iranians hated the US for refusing to send back the Shah. The bravery of all those involved is exceptional. What touched me wasn't how good the movie is (like for example a Batman film, or an Indie one like Juno), but rather, if even only a fraction is true,
what those poor people went through is absolutely incredible. The film made me forget about the actual hostages, who were kept for 444 days... and instead I was totally hooked by those 6 trying to escape.

Affleck lets the power of the story shine through, and I think that's the most important job of a director. You could argue that this should be easy, but I think that is underestimating how hard it is to make a compelling story come to life and have drama/tension/comedy on screen. I can guess where there was additional padding added for Hollywood, but quite honestly that doesn't bother me.

I saw this at the Tyneside Cinema which really gave the film something special. In the small Roxy theatre (max. 70 people I'd guess?) you feel attached and free with the small audience. Extra leg room and reclined seats come as standard, as does the generally great atmosphere. I always laugh out loud so much there.