German Literature Month

4 November, 2011

It’s funny how things work out, isn’t it? I was all set to tuck into some German literature for Caroline of Beauty is a Sleeping Cat and Lizzy of Lizzy’s Literary Life‘s German Literature Month a few months ago when I first came upon some of their posts and then November happened and I got manflu, which I can’t seem to shake, and I’ve also been busy trying to build up my word count for Nanowrimo. It all seems to happen at the same time.

So it’s a good thing that Caroline reminded me that my review of Dark Matter by Juli Zeh was a good starting point for my month of some German fayre and I realised that I also had one more German title I’d just finished which I’ll be posting about soon. So do have a gander at their blogs to see what’s what, participate in one of the readalongs, join some giveaways and, more importantly, check out what everyone else is reading. I particularly enjoyed Caroline’s post on 14 German Women Writers You Shouldn’t Miss and may choose to read a book from that list.

My knowledge of German literature is skeletal as I’ve only read a couple of authors such as Herman Hesse, Thomas Mann and I think I tried some Faust at college. But I’ve always been fascinated by the notion of Mitteleuropa, the fairy tales of the Grimm brothers and the legends and myths drawn upon by Wagner’s Ring cycle. The only thing that probably stopped me from actually diving into all this rich literature was my lack of linguistic skills. As two of my closest friends are now living in Germany and my ears are becoming attuned to German words, I’m actually rather curious about the German language which sounded so rough at the beginning but has slowly transformed into something musical, and I envy those who will be reading in the original rather than in translation. I hear the syntax is similar to Japanese, but hey, what do I know?

So, who’s in?

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13 Responses to “German Literature Month”

  1. Caroline Says:

    Thanks so much for the post and the kind words. I hope you will find a book you will like among my 14 women writers. The Wall is quite astonishing but so are some others.
    German is probably not an easy language. As a native speaker it’s difficult to say but there are so many good translators out there.
    I’m looking forward to your book choices.

    • sakura Says:

      Oh, I will be reading in translation as I’ve never had the chance to learn German (I took French at school instead). But looking forward to it and thank you for the nudge!

  2. Susanna P Says:

    I’m participating, too! I haven’t posted much yet, though; I’m only halfway through Lotte in Weimar and just starting Grimms’ Fairy Tales.

    • sakura Says:

      Grimms’ Fairy Tales! They were my favourite stories as a child but I haven’t read them since. I wonder how it will read as an adult as they are supposed to be very dark.

  3. Rikki Says:

    Japanese syntax similar to German? Never heard that before. I tried to learn Japanese some years ago but gave up quickly. I found it extremely difficult, especially since it is so unlike German. I agree however, that both languages are probably very hard to learn, each in its own way.

  4. Tony Says:

    I think the syntax refers to the way Japanese verbs come at the end of the sentence, as some German verbs do in multi-word tenses (or in subordinate clauses). Also, the way Germans build new words from existing ideas by sticking them together is reminiscent of how words can be created in Japanese.

    Possibly ;)

  5. itoeri Says:

    hi hi hi i’ve been away from your blog for too long that i’ve got loads to catch up. and yes, go for german. i think you’ll enjoy it. and that reminds me that i should be reading the original version of “the reader”(der vorleser) by bernhard schlink to oil my rusty german a bit.


  6. I’ve always wanted to learn to speak German – the sounds seem suited to my mouth and so much closer to English that the French which was mandatory at school.

    I haven’t read much German literature – Mann is the only one who comes to mind – but I think I’d like to try some more. Maybe in 2012.

    • sakura Says:

      I only read Mann because a friend of mine was obsessed about Death in Venice and we watched the film together. But I enjoyed it and wouldn’t mind reading more. Stop by and let me know what you do read next year!


  7. [...] sakura (chasing bawa) is thrilled by her discovery of Dark Matter by Juli Zeh  and adds (after having been tracked down by the German Literature Month Police , i.e. me) an Introduction. [...]


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