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German Literature Month 2019

by J. C. Greenway
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Pages from a German book for German Literature Month
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So as we all know, this month is Nonfiction November, as well as being the month where the intrepid attempt to write a novel in 30 days during National Novel Writing Month. But did you also know that it is German Literature Month? The prefect time to join other readers in enjoying an array of books that were first published in German.

As noted on the website of one of German Literature Month’s hosts Beauty is a Sleeping Cat, this year is a significant one for Germany, with a number of different historical and literary milestones being marked, including 30 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall. There are some special reading events taking place during the month, as well as a readalong of Berlin Alexanderplatz by Alfred Doblin, which unfortunately I missed the start of! (The book is on my to be read list. One day…)

To start you off, here are three book reviews of works originally published in German from the ten million hardbacks archive:

  1. First has to be Transit by Anna Seghers, a book I never tire of recommending. Have you read it yet? The story of a group of people attempting to flee Marseilles, which resonates with the refugees crisis of today
  2. Kids and big kids alike will delight in the ‘macabre and imaginative’ Struwwelpeter from Heinrich Hoffman and its cautionary tales for the wicked
  3. Timur Vermes’ Look Who’s Back fearlessly imagines what would happen if Hitler were to wake up in modern times
  4. Another favourite from Anna Seghers: The Seventh Cross

The DDR literature theme for the month is interesting, as it seems as if most of my reading of German authors covers the Weimar Republic and Second World War. It is a good nudge to expand beyond that often-covered period and get into the modern era.

Tell me, what are your favourite books from German authors? Do you have any plans to read anything new for German Literature Month? What would you recommend? Let me know in the comments…


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