Announcing German Literature Month II – November 2012

I’m so pleased that I can finally announce that German Literature Month is returning. Mark November in your calendar and join Lizzy and me for the occasion.

While we focused on countries last year, this year we are structuring the month around genres and literary formats.

Week 1 (November 1-7) Novellas, plays and poems
Week 2 (November 8-14) Literary Novels
Week 3 (November 15-21) Genre Fiction – Crime, Fantasy, Horror, Romance
Week 4 (November 22-30) Read as you please

We chose that sequence so that Judith’s previously announced Bernhard Schlink Week (November 11-17) would span both literary novels and genre week. So if you read something by Schlink this month, you can partake in two blogging events for the price of one. Cunning, don’t you think?

2012 is also the bi-centennial of the birth of the Brothers Grimm. We can’t let it pass without a Brothers Grimm Readathon. So we’ve put that in the calendar from 22-26 November.

My Literature and War Readalong of Gert Ledig’s The Stalin Front will bring the month to a close on the 30th.

I’m looking forward to another wonderful month with lots to read, discuss and discover. Please join us.

Looking for inspiration? Why don’t you browse through last year’s discussion or the German Literature Month 2011 page. You never know what you’ll be inspired to pick up.

Like last year there will be giveaways. Additionally I’m planning on doing a series of introductory posts during October.

142 thoughts on “Announcing German Literature Month II – November 2012

  1. I am looking forward to this. i have a Sebald novel, my first, set aside for November, some Thomas. Mann short stories and a web page link to a number of older short stories.

  2. As long as my travel schedule does not get too much in the way I will try to join for at least one of the weeks. Week 2 Literary Novels would be the most likely. Other then Hermann Hesse I really have not explored enough Germain Literature.

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  4. You know I’m in for at least one title for the read anything you please week. Any suggestions for a small novel that will knock my socks off. You did an excellent job recommending Pereira Maintains–no pressure though 🙂 I’m considering a novel by Hans Fallada. I know he’s a little controversial, but I read one of his novels in school and enjoyed it.

    • I wouldn’t so much say that Fallada is controversial but he writes normally huge tomes 600 -800 pages. It will be a bit of challenge to find a shorter one. How about Schlink? I cannot remember if you have reviewed him. I’ll have a look at your 1001 and tell you what is short and I liked.

      • I was thinking of The Drinker by Fallada. It’s about 300 pages, which is short for me–I read a lot of Dickens. But I’ll look into Schlink. I’m not sure I’ve read him, but his name sounds familiar. I think many German writers were angry with Fallada for not leaving Nazi Germany. I don’t worry too much about the 1001 list. It’s great when I can combine them, but I love finding good authors no matter what. I’ve made horrible progress on my list this year, but I’ve read a lot. Thanks for your help. Maybe I can read two this time. Last year I was moving and didn’t have much time.

        • Ah, yes, The Drinker is a shorter one. Controversial in that sesnse, I see. But I think he was never suspected of supporting the Nazi’s. I think a book you would like for many reasons is Marlen Haushofer’s THe Wall. If you could find it, that would be great. It’s about a woman who wakes one morning to find that there is an invisible wall between her and the rest of humanity. She’s alone with a dog until she feels she might not be alone. It’s realistic and dsytopian and very powerful.
          You would also like the novels of Irmgard Keun. Just a few suggestions.

  5. This is awesome news, Caroline! The long-awaited German Literature Month is going to come soon! I can’t wait! I want to read a Bernhard Schlink book and a Hans Fallada book this time. I have to start making a list of German books to read now. I read Grimm’s Fairy tales sometime back for a course I am doing but haven’t reviewed it yet. Maybe I will read some of the stories again for the Grimm’s readathon. Thanks to you and Lizzy for hosting this. It is one of my favourite reading events of the year.

    • Thanks so much the enthusiasm, Vishy and for joining. I’m glad you do. It wouldn’t be quite the same without you. 🙂 I might read the Schlink you reviewed last year. Or his short stories. I’m not sure yet. I’m spoilt for choice. And there will be giveaways too.

      • Thanks Caroline 🙂 I hope to discover more new wonderful German literature this time too. I remember you writing a post about German women writers last time. I will try to get some of the books that you recommended there. Time to go book shopping 🙂

        Hope you enjoy Schlink’s ‘Homecoming’. I loved it when I read it. It is nice that Judith is doing a Schlink week. I am thinking of reading ‘The Reader’ during German Literature Month. If there is time, I might think of squeezing in ‘Flights of Love’ too. I read a story from it sometime back called ‘The Other Man’ which was also made into a movie (with Liam Neeson, Laura Linney and Antonio Banderas) and I loved both the story and the movie.

        • That’s interesting, I hadn’t heard of that movie.
          I hope to be able to do a few suggestion posts during October but maybe that’s too late for the book shopping part. And there are also the giveaways. I’ll be giving away 4 different genres, if I’m not mistaken Historical, love story, crime and a YA/Horror/Fantasy mix. 🙂
          Homecoming sounded very good. I need to get it or the short stories or…. too manay books which just sound too appealing.

  6. I’ve already started compiling a list – not too sure about genre fiction, but I’m going to try the others. My initial plan has 12-15 works, with representatives from Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Romania, and novels, novellas, short stories, plays and at least one poem 🙂

    I think I may have gone a tad overboard in my excitement…

  7. I think it’s so great that you always do these country challenges. I have the problem that the books chosen for translation usually feel to me like very literary choices that make me think, okay, I’m done with college, I want to read easier stuff. Nevertheless, this admittedly deplorable attitude does not prevent me from wanting to read everyone else’s summaries and reviews of these books, and I so appreciate the posts!

    • Thanks and for the comment. I think what you write is very valid and if you see our giveaways (in a two weeks) you will notice I had this in mind. Mayn people would love to read in translation but if they prefer genre and that genre is not crime, it will be very hard for them to find books. There is a growing number of German YA and fantasy being translated which is great as it’s of good quality and has a very long tradition. I hope to be able to introduce people this year to some authors. Maybe the one or the other will inspire you. If not, you’re welcome as a “Zaungast” – sitting on the fence and watching.

  8. I was really hoping you were going to do this again this year! I will start browsing my shelves tonight! 🙂 I think the only readalongs that are organized like this I ever do well with are Carl’s RIP and your last German Reading month–hopefully it will be the same this year. I’m looking forward to your intro posts and hope you’ll recommend some new titles–but I’ll be looking at last year’s posts as well.

    • I’m very happy that you’re joining as well.
      You were very active last year. You even made me discover books. I hope to be able to write those intro psost soon. i think it’s worth it. It’s hard to just browse the net and tryinf to find something.

  9. Really glad this is returning as I had great fun with the event last year–most notably Mann’s Blue Angel & Doris Dorrie. Not sure that I’ll stick with the weekly schedule as I have a lot lined up for that month already, but I will absolutely join in.

    • That’s fantastic news. Don’t worry about the schedule. Those who want to do it like that can, the others shouldn’t feel obliged.
      I will probabaly do a month of watching German movies in parallel. Just got Mephisto today. I haven’t read it but I love Klaus Maria Brandauer.

    • Hi Pit, I was wondering what expat meant. Now I know. We had a few Germans participating last year but no expat Germans. That’s nice.
      It would be great if you would join as a contributor or share a favourite writer?

    • I find I do not do well when I have to read either very long or very challenging books for an event. I think Musil would have covered both departments. I’m glad to hear you’re joining and will be very interested to see what you choose.

  10. Super excited about this, Caroline and Lizzy! Just have to narrow down the choices now, but I have a lot of fairly recently purchased items that will all fit the bill splendidly. Thanks for hosting the event again, but are you sure you don’t want to make this a two-month long party this year?!? 😀

    • Thanks so much for joining Richard, I’m really glad. Lizzy jokingly said last year we could have turned it into a year long event…
      I’m lloking forward to see what you’ve got. I’ll go with the flow. I have a lot of German books.

  11. Oh, I’m excited! I may just put all other reading plans for November on hold and read only German (language) stuff. I will definitely join you in week 3 with Dürrenmatt’s Justiz.
    And I might even squeeze in time for another one… let’s see how this goes 😉

    • That’s so great, Bettina. I’m totall neglecting to read any German these days so in my case it will be at least one whole month of reading in German.
      Dürrenmatt is great, of course and I’ll be interested in any other choice as well.

    • Wonderful to have you. By expressing your interest you’ve already joined. You can read one book per week or only pick the week you like best. If you can follow the themes it’s great, if not it’s not necessary. We try and catch all the reviews via google reader and pit the together on separate posts and pages. But it’s always good to trackback or leave a comment with your link, so we’re 100% sure. You’re free to choose to read whatever you like, even if you enter and win a giveaway title.

  12. Sounds great! I enjoyed last year’s event, although it came at a busy time for me and I wasn’t able to participate as much as I wanted, apart from the Effi Briest readalong.

    This year I don’t even know where I’ll be yet, possibly in Barbados or possibly in London or maybe somewhere in transit. So I’ll follow the announcements and join in as best I can. Thanks to you and Lizzy for organising! I got a sneak peek on Lizzy’s RSS feed a few days back, before the post got deleted. But I think I did a good job of feigning surprise, don’t you?

    • She let the cat out if the bag a bit too soon. Happens when you schedule a post and forget to chnage the day. 🙂 Some people commented and were a bit puzzled the post had disappeared.
      It’s wonderful that you will join, from wherever you will be. I’m looking forward to your choices. I think it’s easier to follow the program this year but if you just read whatever you like, it’s OK too.

  13. Thanks for organising this again.
    I’ll try to read at least Concrete by Bernhard. Given my recent performances with the Tabucchi week and Max’s Hungarian lit month, I’m not going to commit to anything more.

    • You’re welcome. I’m really looking forward to the whole month and to reading Schlink. I’ve only read The Reader so far.
      I can’t help with blogger and buttons I’m afraid.

  14. ah…I should have shared my metamorphosis review on November 😉

    you make a very detail event…one theme per week meaning one book per week!! I guess only thin book can fit this.

    I’ve heard so much of Brother Grimm but haven’t read their work yet…I will try doing it on November and join your event.

  15. I found out my local library actually has a book by Fallada (Jeder sterbt für sich allein) and one by Schlink. So although my options are limited, I will get them out. Do think I have to preread Fallada (nearly 500p), and I will get Sommerlügen by Schlink. Looking forward to November!

    • It’s great that you are joining David. The Fallada needs some pre-work I gues, it’s rather long. I’ve got it hre as well and thought it was even longer than that.
      I’m not sure which Schlink I will read yet.

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  17. I started and almost finished pre-reading Schlinks Sommerlies (In Dutch, as another translation or the original work was not available: Zomerleugens). I will probably read something by Robert Walser: . I remember reading a review of Tiefer Winter. Geschichten von der Weihnacht und vom Schneien. It was there I read something which brought me to tears, and made me realize the full glory and beauty of the german language. So I will have to get myself a copy of that and reviwew it for the GLM!

    • I’m totally looking forward to your reviews. I have the collected works of Walser but still not read everything. It will be great to discover some of his stories through your reviews. I think German is a very beuatiful language. I like it a lot. I’m not sure why people often think it’s not. I need to pick my Schlink soon.

  18. I started a new blog, apart from my one on phaleristics, just for the purpose of listing reviews of the books I read, Not just during the GLM, but more in general. Please join me at

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  20. Hi Caroline – have been very sporadic in my webcrawling and only noticed Germanlitmonth today. I’ll have to trawl my shelves and dig out some German books so that I can participate in at least one of the weeks.

  21. Hi, Caroline. I’ve just found and written a post on Wolfgang Hildesheimer’s short story “Why I Turned Myself Into a NIghtingale.” He has a couple of novels in amongst all the plays and some librettos he’s written, but I don’t know what they would be in English translation. Do you have a title of his in English you’d like to pass on for German Literature 2012 month in November? I would have to start reading it soon. It would probably fit in somewhere, I guess.

    • That’s tricky for me. As my native languages are German and French I tend to have problems to find the English titles.
      I can have a look and come back to you. It would have been a great contribution for short story week. I haven’t read him yet.

      • His list of publications are on the English version of wikipedia, but the titles aren’t translated. And I don’t see a short story collection on it, I just happened upon the story a day or two ago.

        • I realized I have his Mozart biography. He has written short story collections one is called Lieblose Legenden in German (loveless legends).
          I’ll read your post later today.

          • Sorry, that should be “his list of publications IS on wikipedia.” There was also something listed there call Marbot or Murbot, something like that, a fictional memoir, which sounded interesting, if one could find it in translation. Thanks for scouting out the title of the short story collection; I’ll look for it by that title.

              • Hi again, Caroline. I got some special help from the library today. There are as far as I know at least two things in translation by Hildesheimer. One is “Marbot: A Biography,” translated by Patricia Crampton (which for some reason is listed as a fictional biography on Wikipedia). Possibly it refers to members of the powerful and influential Marbot family in France (Wikipedia also says they were from Quercy province). That’s all I know about that. The other book which has been translated is “Collected Stories of Wolfgang Hildesheimer,” translated by Joachim Neugroschel. Needless to say, that’s not where I got my translation; mine came from a book of world tales without a specific translator’s name attached. I’m very bad to pick up books of tales, stories, myths, etc., just to have a hold on more fictions that shape the world. I hope this has been helpful (especially since I brought it up), and I’m sorry that I didn’t find the book closer to doing the short stories. Oh, and of course the Mozart biography has been translated–it seems to be the best-known of his works in English.

                  • Yes, thanks for the recommendation to the Mozart. Biography is not my strong suit, but I’ll certainly read it eventually, because Hildesheimer strikes me even upon short acquaintance as a quality writer.

  22. I’ve been thinking about reading Robert Musil’s Man Without Qualities–not necessarily for German Lit Month but just because I want to, and I’m finding that I’m getting tied up with questions of translations. I’m reading lots of comments about the old translation (the original) being far better while the new translation is not as good. Pros and cons:
    hard to find copies of all volumes of the old translation (Eithne Wilkins and Ernst Kaiser) and then the novels were unfinished. The new translation has all the unpublished chapters added in, plus drafts.

    Any comments from anyone?

  23. I don’t know whether it was me or something about the book itself or the translation I had at the time, but I did not enjoy what little I read of “The Man Without Qualities,” though I’ve used the theme of a character(s) like that in the novel I’m working on now. But then, my treatment of the material is very different. Besides, I’m not a writer of the stature of Musil. Isn’t the work by Musil supposedly unfinished? I thought I read something like that. Anyway, it will be interesting to read a review of it. Thanks.

    • Yes, it’s unfinished. Tome I I think is finished, Tome II isn’t. Musil isn’t an easy writer. I tried his three noevllas on women last year and had to abandon. I didn’t care for the sexist vibe. But Törless is an amazing little book.

  24. P.S. Just read the very stimulating dialogue you’ve passed on from Richard’s website, Caroline (about “The Man Without Qualities”) and it sounds like I wasn’t showing sufficient imagination the first time I read it. Maybe I need to try again sometime. I know I once owned a two-volume set of it, but I can’t begin to imagine where it is now–I know it’s no longer here, because I went through all my books earlier this year, and I didn’t encounter it. Oh, well, it sounds as if it’s worth buying again if I can find it not too expensively.

    • Richard’s review certainly put me in the mood to read it but I know it will be a very slow read and so I’m still postponing it. As said in my other comment I tried one of his novellas last year and it annoyed me beyond words. I guess the Man Without Qualities is very different though.

      • From the parts of “The Man Without Qualities” which Richard’s website quoted, it sounds as if Musil does a lot of word play in order to make his points philosophically, and if you’re action-minded (and I don’t know if you are) and prefer some degree of quicker-pacing, this can seem irritating. I’m not sure if this is what annoyed you about the novella or not, but once I’d gotten past the first part of Musil, I just put him down and sneaked away to something else (I rarely don’t finish a started book, but this was an exception). It seems to be a question also of style.

        • The novella had some sexist elements whic annoyed me and ten there is the work problem. I work full time. Coming home from a day at the office filled with tedious meetings I find it hard to concentrate on more literay texts as much as I love them. That’s why I often read genre novels and literary novellas, the novellas are reserved for the week end.

          • Caroline, my hat’s off to you (and I’m a woman, so it’s against sexism for me to doff my hat in tribute!). You are evidently one of the most well-read people I’ve ever “met” and to know that you work all day every week and still find time to do what you do with literature is simply astounding. I would like to say “keep up the good work,” but I don’t want to seem demanding. Just know that I really value the time you spend not only on your own site, which is a real prize, but the time you spend answering comments and commenting on other sites (like mine). As far as the sexism issue, I’m still reading my way through a book of de Maupassant stories, and am constantly being put off by the way the beating and forcible seduction of women is taken for granted, sometimes as merely a comic element. Thank God the world has changed at least some, and is still continuing to change!

            • This is so very nice of you. Thanks.
              It’s not always easy, this month particularly will not be such a busy month for me writing and visiting wise.
              When I read Maupassant’s Bel-Ami there were a few essentialist remarks concerning womeone I didn’t like but that’s how the times were. It has chnaged a lot although not as much as one would wish.

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  32. I can’t believe I missed this. This was one of my favourite events last year 🙂 I hope I can still join, I can totally make up for the two days I missed.

    • Of course you can still join. Lizzy has posted a sign up post as well but a cmment is fine too.
      We have a programme like last year but you are free to read as you please.
      I’m looking forward to your reviews.

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    • Thanks, a lot.
      A Goethe Reading Challenge? That’s an interesting idea. Author weeks work very well – even a month, I haven’t seen a challenge or a whole year dedicated to one author yet.
      You’d have to emphasize that it can be used for many other challenges too. Classics, plays, poetry, then, I think yes, it could be quite interesting.

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