It's not too soon to begin thinking about next month's reading, right? As November is Caroline and Lizzy's German Literature Month, it needs a little thought and planning. Or, I just like making lists of books and thinking of where my reading is going to take me in the coming weeks.
I think last year I only managed to read one or two books (at least during the actual month) as well as a number of years into Christa Wolf's very long One Day a Year: 1960-2000. I think I read up to 1980. I am sort of having an urge to pick the book up and read another decade or so. Since she wrote the diary over the course of four decades, why not read more now? Considering how fragmented my reading seems to be this year, it isn't at all strange that I have had such a long interim of not reading the diary. I was enjoying my reading, but I know I grew a little weary of it, too, since I am not all that familiar with the literary milieu she was writing about. Maybe it will be my Sunday reading instead of short stories. Or maybe I'll find some stories in translation to read. Suggestions on short stories? I'll have to see what my library has, or browse Stefan Zweig's books, of which my library has a fair few.
This is the pile I have going so far. I know I will once again only manage one or two, but it is always nice to have a good stack to choose from. I have more books on hand translated from German, so I might share those a bit later in the week, but these are the books that caught my eye this past weekend.
Stefan Zweig's Fear. I love Stefan Zweig and have read a number of his books and have liked all of them. He is someone I could (and should happily reread). Fear is a novella about a woman who is being blackmailed by a former lover.
I think Red Uhlman's Reunion was written in English, but I have left him in the pile as he was born in Germany and remained there until he was in his 30s. This novella is about an intense friendship between two young men just as Hitler is rising to power. This was a favorite book of my friend Cath and she passed a copy on to me, so I am very interested in reading it.
I have actually read Adalbert Stifter's Rock Crystal, but I don't believe I ever got around to writing about it. Another novella that is perfect for holiday reading as it is about two children visiting their grandmother in the Alps at Christmas who get lost on their walk home. Thomas Mann gave the novella high praise.
Peter Handke is a writer that my Austrian friends (he is Austrian) have always urged me to read. I look at these books often but never seem to pick them up. I have Short Letter, Long Farewell which is called a "love letter to America". I also have A Sorrow Beyond Dreams about Handke's mother who committed suicide.
I think I am going to start with Viola Roggenkamp's The Spectacle Salesman's Family as it is set in post-World War II Germany about a Jewish family. As it would be a good companion of sorts for the reading I am doing in my Israeli Lit class it seems a natural choice. This is a Germany of the 1960s--a world of "student protest, beehive hairdos, Israel and the Six Day War, politics, religion, revolution . . . and the promise of love." It sounds perfect to me.
I will also be picking up Joseph Roth's Flight Without End as it is next month's Literature and War choice. It's about a soldier's return from WWI to a changed society.
Herta Muller's The Hunger Angel is about the deportation of a young man to a camp in the Soviet Union. Muller won the Nobel in 2009. She is a German speaker who was born in Romania, though now she lives in Germany. I think she is someone I really must read.
And another book I am very keen to read and may start as well, Sabine Gruber's Roman Elegy. Did you know that many Northern Italians speak German as their native language? I knew some girls a long time ago who were from a small town on the border with Austria and spoke German rather than Italian as their first language. This is a story of three women living in or traveling to Rome in the 1970s.
Ah, the promise of new reads. Makes my fingers all tingly in anticipation of cracking open the book and beginning to read . . . (You do know what a dilemma I have just presented with myself this is, don't you? I want to read all of them!).