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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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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10 points on A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf

Typewriter - A Room of One's Own

1. “A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write.” That’s the quintessence of Virginia Woolf’s famous essay. In Woolf’s time, of course, men usually had money and a space they could call their own, and women did not. They depended on their husband’s or father’s money and shared their space with their children or with other women of the household. That’s why Woolf phrased her statement with focus on women. Today, A Room of One’s Own can be read in a wider sense: Not only women need a room of their own – everybody does; men, women, and children. And we don’t only need it if we are to write, but if we are to…

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10 points on Vienna (2005) by Eva Menasse

1. Vienna is pure Viennese feeling captured in one book. You don’t have to love Vienna (the city) to love the book, but I have to be straight with you: If you’re not in love with this city, then you’ll probably not enjoy it as much as we Vienna-lovers do. So, start loving my amazing city already! You don’t get to be the worlds most livable city 6 times in a row because of nothing. 2. Vienna is the debut novel of Austrian author Eva Menasse and was published in 2005. The German press praised it while the Austrian press criticized it, which is kind of funny because, as you may know, Germans and Austrians have a kind of rivalry going on. Maybe…

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