Tomorrow, November 1, kicks off the month long German Literature month hosted by Caroline and Lizzy. So I have created a stack of books to choose from and we'll see what I can manage in the coming four weeks. I am hoping to read a short story each weekend (and hope also to give one day over each week to my short stories--maybe Mondays) and then perhaps a crime novel and a novel. And hopefully that will not be too ambitious.
So, running from top to bottom:
The Duel by Heinrich von Kleist -- It looks like I already read this one several years back, but classics are often well worth revisiting. It seems I enjoyed it the first time around and the instant (or quicker) gratification of reading something reasonably short is always nice.
Nightdrive: Modern German Short Stories edited by Klaus Humann -- I found this while browsing my library's shelves. It is a collection of stories by new-to-me German writers. Many or possibly all the stories are by writers previously untranslated into English. Shall I read the bios first and choose a story accordingly, or just open the book and start with wherever I happen to land?
The Country Road by Regina Ullmann -- I had my eye on this one when it first crossed my desk at work. Ullmann is a Swiss writer and these are "nineteenth-century village tales" reminiscent of Adalbert Stifter and Robert Walser (forgot to add him to my pile, but I will be working in earnest on the NYRB book I received in my subscription).
Five by Ursula Archer -- Caroline suggested this one, and as it is written by an Austrian writer, I am hoping it is set in Vienna. I was very fortunate to have lived in Austria and 'know' (or 'knew' in any case) the city. I would love to revisit it through the pages of a book, though I think this crime novel might verge on the gruesome with victim's body parts showing up in a "cat and mouse"-type tale.
On Tangled Paths by Theodor Fontane -- I've read and liked Thedor Fontane, and lord knows I need to read more classics. This is a favorite theme in literature--love across social classes.
The End of Days by Jenny Erpenbeck -- This was longlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize and imagines one woman's live, or rather "lives" in a variety of situations and places--very much in the vein of Kate Atkinson, I think.
The Bridge of the Golden Horn by Emine Sevgi Ozdamar -- I'm leaning heavily towards this one, not least as it has long been on my bookshelves (I think it is not currently in print as well). The author was born in Turkey but now lives in Berlin and as far as I can tell this was written in German. "In 1966, at the age of 16, our unnamed heroine leaves our native Istanbul and signs up as a migrant worker in Germany. Lying about her age, she gets work on as assembly line in West Berlin making radios, and lives in a women's factory hostel." It sounds like an interesting time, place and experience and would be an interesting look at what I think is a large ethnic group living in the country now.
And this is a little bit of a cheat since Berlin: City of Stones is by American author Jason Lutes but it is not only a graphic novel (I've been trying to add graphic novels into my reading in any case) but it would tie in nicely with my reading this coming month and with my run ins in October with Weimar Germany. This is the first volume in a planned trilogy (I think the last one is in progress now). The setting is the last years of Weimar Germany (from September 1928 to May Day 1929). It focuses on art student Marthe Muller and journalist Kurt Severing. I think it might complement my other reading nicely.
Now the difficulty of choosing. I'll be starting with a little crime and a short story and going from there! I wouldn't mind reading a story set in the former DDR if I can find something that looks interesting and easily obtainable. Any suggestions? Otherwise I think I have a nice variety of reading head of me.