Final Giveaways and Looking Back on German Literature Month 2015


It feels as if I only just posted the intro to German Literature Month 2015. It’s hard to believe the month is already over.

And what a month it was. So many great posts. We have a total of 157 contributions. I’m not really into statistics, so I can’t tell you whether that’s more or less than last year – be it as it may, it’s a lot.

Thank you so much for your enthusiasm.

I haven’t read as much as I wanted, nor have I been able to visit everyone, but I’m still doing my rounds.

As a thank you to all of you, I’m giving away two books from Pushkin Press.

A Chess Story

Stefan Zweig’s A Chess Story

Chess world champion Mirko Czentovic is travelling on an ocean liner to Buenos Aires. Dull-witted in all but chess, he entertains himself on board by allowing others to challenge him in the game, before beating each of them and taking their money. But there is another passenger with a passion for chess: Dr B, previously driven to insanity during Nazi imprisonment by the chess games in his imagination. But in agreeing to take on Czentovic, what price will Dr B ultimately pay?

A moving portrait of one man’s madness, A Chess Story is a searing examination of the power of the mind and the evil it can do.

The Sorrows of Young W.

Ulrich Plenzdorf’s The Sorrows of Young W. A retelling of Goethe’s famous novel, set in GDR. It’s often called a GDR Catcher in the Rye.

‘I was just a regular idiot, a nutcase, a show-off and all that. Nothing to cry about. Seriously’

Edgar W., teenage dropout, unrequited lover, unrecognized genius – and dead – tells the story of his brief, spectacular life.

It is the story of how he rebels against the petty rules of communist East Germany to live in an abandoned summer house, with just a tape recorder and a battered copy of Goethe’s The Sorrows of Young Werther for company. Of his passionate love for the dark-eyed, unattainable kindergarten teacher Charlie. And of how, in a series of calamitous events (involving electricity and a spray paint machine), he meets his untimely end.

Absurd, funny and touching, this cult German bestseller, now in a new translation, is both a satire on life in the GDR and a hymn to youthful freedom.

Ulrich Plenzdorf was born in Berlin in 1934, and studied Philosophy and Film in Leipzig. In the early 1970s, he achieved fame with the much acclaimed The New Sorrows of Young W., considered a modern classic of German literature and taught in classrooms across Germany. From 2004 onwards, Plenzdorf was a guest lecturer at the German Institute of Literature in Leipzig. An award-winning and much celebrated author and dramatist, he died in 2007.


All you have to do is tell me which book you’d like to win and why. The giveaways are open internationally. I’ll announce the winners on Monday 7 December 17:00 – Western European time.

This Giveaway is now closed!

24 thoughts on “Final Giveaways and Looking Back on German Literature Month 2015

  1. Thanks so much to you and Lizzy for hosting this – it’s been great fun, and prompted me to read books I’d been putting off for a while! If I was chosen, I’d like to win “The New Sorrows…” for a few reasons. Firstly, I read the original Werther not long ago, so this would be a good companion. Secondly, I was a great lover of cassette culture, having a tape machine from very young. Thirdly, I have a fascination with the GDR! 🙂

  2. Many thanks to you and Lizzie for hosting GLM.
    Always an inspirational event….have added many books to my TBR pile

    I read and enjoyed these three books :

    On the Aesthetic Education of Man – by Friedrich Schiller

    The Road Back – by Erich Maria Remarque

    The Sleep of the Righteous – by Wolfgang Hilbig – ( only recently translated into English )

    Already looking forward to next year !

  3. Thanks so much to you and Lizzy for hosting this event. It’s been terrific to see the interest in reading and reviewing German Lit across the range of participants.

    I would love the opportunity to go into the draw for The New Sorrows of Young W. – the comparison with Catcher in the Rye sounds appealing.

  4. Hi Caroline. Thanks to you and Lizzy for hosting German Lit Month again. I only managed 2 contributions but loved them both as well as thoroughly enjoying reading about everyone else’s discoveries. My husband bought me The New Sorrows of Young W as a wedding anniversary present. Unfortunately I didn’t finish it in time to review. Therefore, having never read any Zweig (yes really) I would go for that!

  5. Pingback: German Literature Month Post-Event Thoughts | Lizzy's Literary Life

  6. What an amazing event again! I think to speak in the name of all participating bloggers to express my great thankfulness to you and Lizzy to host this event again. It was extremely interesting to see what the others were reading and to either discover new books or compare their views with my own opinion in case it was a book I had read before. Already looking forward to next years’edition!

  7. Thank you for this. I’d jump at the Zweig. He is such a fine writer and the depth of his humanity, his understanding of the complexities and difficulties of being human with that constant challenge between reason, empathy and instinct, makes for satisfyingly unsettling reading. Not to mention it’s a Pushkin Press and they are fab!

  8. It has been terrific to take part in my first GLM (I wasn’t even a serious book blogger this time last year). I didn’t read half of what I had intended and am still making my way through The Hunger Angel which is very powerful but rather oppressive, given that I am going through a rough time emotionally at the moment. Zweig’s Chess Story would be my choice. I read my first Zweig this month and I would dearly love to read this one – a friend has recommended it.

  9. Hi and thanks for hosting the event which let me explore and dive into certain writers and exposed me to writers and currents I hadn’t considered. I guess I’ll judge the personal success of this event on how much further I explore the areas I’ve chosen and also on how much the other fine reviewers influence my choices.

    As for the give away, I’d choose the Zweig which I would read and compare and contrast with Perez-Reverte’s “Tango de la Vieille Garde” sure to be translated into English soon

  10. Thanks for hosting, Caroline. I had a great time reading and (re)discovering books and authors. I’m already looking forward to next November. I will try my luck with the Plenzdorf. Lizzie’s review of it made me very curious, and I’d love to take this book as a prompt to reread Goethe’s Sorrows.

  11. I don’t want the books but just wanted to say thanks for putting so much into GLM this year – some fascinating reviews and other articles

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