November Is German Literature Month

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Caroline and Lizzy are once again hosting German Literature Month. I’m looking forward to it, but the multitude of unread books on my shelf has made it difficult for me to pick which books to read. Heinrich Böll, Max Frisch, Herman Hesse, Günter Grass, Ingeborg Bachmann, Peter Handke, Christa Wolf, Erich Kästner, Theodor Fontane, Anna Seghers… the list goes on and on.

I finally decided to keep it small. I want to finish The Jews’ Beech Tree, a novella that claims to be the first published murder mystery, and W. G. Sebald’s On the Natural History of Destruction, a “meditation on national guilt, national victimhood, and the universal consequences of denying the past.” Sebald’s first talk on why the allied bombings of German cities are hardly ever mentioned in German post-war literature led to explosive discussions not only among Germans, so I am very interested in reading this collection.

This will hardly make a dent into my pile of German literature, so I am mulling over a year-long reading event. I’m a little hesitant to make a 12-month commitment and I haven’t yet checked whether the books I have in mind have all been translated, but I would finally be able to knock a few books of the TBR list.

Are you planning to participate in German Literature Month?

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15 comments

  1. I generally read only writers from Germany in November but am thinking of adding an Austrian Month reading list for possibly February.

  2. Do you read your books in German, being from there? November has too much going on with Aussie Lit Month and Nonfiction Nov. Maybe German Lit month should be changed to January 🙂

    • You are right about November; it’s stuffed with events. And yes, when a book was originally written in German, I do try to read it in German, although it is sometimes easier for me to get an English translation.

  3. Thanks for mentioning German Literature Month. I’m just back from Vienna and can’t wait to get started on some Austrian books. Your choices are all good. I really loved the Sebald. It’s an eye opener.

      • A couple of my favourites are a poem by Freiligrath ‘O Liebe, so lang du lieben kannst, so land du lieben magst …’, and Rilke’s ‘Die Weise von Liebe und Tod’. A German friend gifted me a copy in old script some yers ago.
        I also love some of the nonsense verse of Christian Morgenstern, though I struggle to get the message sometimes.

  4. Oh oh. November is also AusReading Month, right? Maybe you could combine them by reading a book by a German writer who lives in Australia, or maybe the setting could be Australia (or vice versa). I’m kind of just kidding, but who knows?… 🙂
    It almost hurts not to be able to read everything, doesn’t it? (Not that I don’t think you can do it. I was mostly thinking about myself – I would love to join in both, but will probably end up doing neither. I will have to read vicariously through everyone else. :))

    • November is brutal, because it’s also Nonfiction November! So I need a German living Down Under (or vice versa) who has written nonfiction. 🙂
      I wish I could just take the whole month off to sit somewhere and read. It’s not going to happen, but it’s still fun to plan. If I can do a minimum of 1 book per event, I’ll be very happy.

      • I was forgetting about Nonfiction November. Ugh. But, yes, a German living Down Under who has written nonficton. Perfect! And, you might even get more than one book read. 🙂

  5. You’re spoilt for choice with the range of German Lit on your shelves! I hope you enjoy your selection.

    I’ve planning to review three books for German Lit Month, including Jenny Erpenbeck’s The End of Days and a short story anthology centred on Vienna. It’s always interesting to see everyone’s choices.

  6. What a wonderful array of possibilities. I’m planning on participating too, and I have The Vienna Melody by Ernst Lothar on my library pile and a few more possibilities on the shelves. A year long event could be interesting, and I have it in mind to try to balance my reading it better by trying to read a book of a certain kind each month, and being more aware of what I pick up in the library.

    • I have so many plans to balance my reading or do themes, but then it never works out. And it is always fun to just get a bunch of books from the library, even if they are not what you had originally planned to read. I’m happy to hear that your library had a few contenders to read for German Lit Month. I put “German Literature” into my library’s catalog search engine, and all I got was books about German Shepherds…

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