10 points on Enigma Variations

1. This book, written by Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt, is actually a play and it is a beautiful love story – but not the traditional kind. 2. The story starts out quite ordinary: A journalist interviews an eccentric writer about his latest book – an epistolary novel that consists in love letters between the writer and his paramour. 3. Already in the beginning of the play, the reader gets the feeling that there is much more going on between the two protagonists than one might think at the first glance. Schmitt manages to create an arc of suspense that lies between the lines; through an irritated look, a pregnant pause or a strong emotional reaction between the two, that we are not yet…

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10 points on Tuesdays with Morrie

1. You will cry. Or at least tear up. If you don’t, you’re probably a monster. (Sorry.) 2. I love how the experiences of a dying professor are presented as a university course. This beautifully fitting metaphor lessens the heaviness of coping with a terminal illness by focusing on the patient’s thoughts about life instead of on the horrors of his disease, while at the same time it intensifies the importance of his teachings. 3. You will get to know the most loveable professor of all time. Remember Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society? Morrie is one of those wonderful teachers that couldn’t be anything other, even if they wanted to. 4. Morrie has ALS, a fatal disease of the…

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Litflick: Blade Runner or Is Deckard a replicant?

Why you should definitely watch it Blade Runner is the ultimate futuristic film noir: its dark, it’s rainy, and it’s full of colorful neon signs. The movie is based on Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and spawned a whole genre of science fiction which is today called “cyberpunk”. It paved the way for movies like the Matrix or 12 Monkeys, which are portraying a dystopian future. The opening weekend showed that the worst fears of its makers had come true: the movie was way ahead of its time, people didn’t get it and critics didn’t like the story. It was simply too dark and too philosophical on so many levels. Today, the ambiguousness of the movie is one of its many beauties. It leads…

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Sunday Short: The Overcoat.

Why you should read it Nikolai Gogol’s The Overcoat (also known as The Cloak) is a fantastic story that definitely deserves its place among the “Best Russian Short Stories”. But, I won’t lie to you. Not all parts of this story are exciting to read. Gogol published it in 1842 and the writing style was different then. Nevertheless, you should read the story because it is a classic, it is beautifully honest and in parts simply hilarious. The Overcoat is about a Russian bureaucrat that seems like he “had been born in undress uniform with a bald head“. Gogol’s story is so full of delightful sarcasm, that one cannot help to smile. Of course, you have to be acquainted with the silliness of bureaucracy to…

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10 points on “Ein Kind unserer Zeit” (A Child of Our Time)

1. First, I have to apologize to all English readers: Apparently there is currently no English edition of the book available. (The available ones are old editions from 1939 and start at 79 $.) This is really a shame. So, dear English readers, please consider reading “Jugend ohne Gott” (“Youth without God”) instead. 2. Stefan Zweig called this book “one of the most important German documents of our time”. It was published in 1938 in Amsterdam, so the time the title alludes to is the time in between the two world wars, right before the second. 3. Our protagonist is a soldier, who loves being a soldier. Before that he was unemployed and depended on welfare. The book is written…

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