Book look: oil quests, insect inspections and language insights

A renowned Swiss historian has written a spectacular book about the quest for oil and how energy-related matters influence global politics. Daniele Ganser – who heads the Basel-based Swiss 1Institute for Peace and Energy Research (SIPER) – tries to offer a sensible prediction concerning the future of trading with oil. He also takes a look at how it all started when ExxonMobil – a pioneer on the field of energy sector firms – emerged. Ganser also explains what the foundation of Royal Dutch Shell in 1907 meant for the business in Europe. His book “Europa im Erdölrausch.” also contains lots of information about the search for the precious resource in Austria and imports by Switzerland. Ganser analyses how World War One, the international oil crisis of 1973, the Iranian revolution of 1979, the various wars in Iraq and the revolution of 2011 in Libya changed the circumstances. Furthermore, he writes about the future chances of renewable energy technologies like hydropower and solar energy.

Europa im Erdölrausch. Die Folgen einer gefährlichen Abhängigkeit.
By Daniele Ganser
Published by Orell Füssli (

“Insekten und Schmetterlinge”, a new guide by Ingrid von Brandt, helps to determine insects when spotted while going for a walk. The GU Verlag publication’s chapters focus on bugs, dragonflies, locusts, butterflies and other kinds of insects. It features nice short stories about their lives and interesting information about how their various body parts function as well as about their ways to communicate. Readers learn that there are at least 1.25 million different types of insects in the world.

Insekten und Schmetterlinge
By Ingrid von Brandt
Published by GU Verlag (

A new English-learning package confirms Langenscheidt’s position as one of Europe’s leading publishing houses specialised in languages. “Englisch mit System” by John Stevens is a sensible mixture of gap-filling and true and false exercises and games such as crossword puzzles. The guide also features many listening comprehension parts, various tests and grammar checks. “Language in use” texts are based on real life situations and packed with useful vocabulary. The book’s 20 languages include topics like dining at a restaurant, going on holidays, asking for the way and making New Year’s resolutions. Audio and MP3 CDs are part of Langenscheidt’s language-learning programme which also includes books for people interested in learning French and Spanish. The publishing house’s modern guides lead learners to the international language level of B1.

Englisch mit System
By John Stevens
Published by Langenscheidt (

Phenomenal photo exhibit excites the city

An excellent photo exhibit and an impressive permanent exhibition of contemporary art are heaving the 21er Haus into a top position among Austria’s museums.

The new gallery, which is situated near Vienna’s new main train station, currently hosts an exhibition called “Fotos. Österreichische Fotografien von den 1930ern bis heute” (Photos. Points of view in Austrian photography from the 1930s until today).
Images taken by dozens of artists are featured in the exhibit. Few names will ring a bell with most visitors. However, photographs of internationally renowned personalities such as Heimo Zobernig, Peter Weibel and Erwin Wurm are part of “Fotos” too.

Portraits, photographic still lives and controversially experimental images – images of various genres are on display at the 21er Haus. The museum, which is associated with the famous Belvedere Palace – also features a great permanent exhibition of domestic art. The creative output of big names like Maria Lassnig, Erwin Nitsch, Markus Schinwald and Franz West is on display. Furthermore, pieces of art made by global icons such as Damien Hirst are featured as well.

Austrian Culture Minister Claudia Schmied contributed introducing words for the catalogue the 21er Haus released to mark the “Fotos” exhibit. Schmied points out: “For me, it is important to enable as many people as possible to access and experience contemporary art. The exhibition ‘Photos’ contributes to that.”


Book look: Uwe A. Oster

The life of Frederick II, the King of Prussia, still fascinates people all over the world.

Several acclaimed biographies have been released recently since he was born 301 years ago. Uwe A. Oster’s book “Sein Leben war das traurigste der Welt” works as a biography, but there is so much more to it. Oster, the deputy chief editor of Damals, a magazine for history, focuses on the complex relationship between Friedrich II. and his father.
Frederick Wilhelm I. famously forced his son to watch on as one of his closest friends was executed. The elder royal strongly opposed his love for art and music and tried to influence his life as much as possible. A chapter called “The education of a crown prince” is dedicated to this topic in Oster’s exciting book.

“Sein Leben war das traurigste der Welt” – which can be translated as “He lead the saddest life of all” – includes over 20 illustrations, most of them spectacular paintings including a picture depicting Dresden created by Italian genius Canaletto. Other paintings show Frederick II. and his sister Wilhelmine, Berlin Castle and a deer hunt. Oster – who previously wrote about Prussia and a broad range of other historian subjects – also added a family tree of the House of Hohenzollern.

All of these features open readers’ eyes to the many ups and downs of the life of one of the 18th century’s most important personalities.

Sein Leben war das traurigste der Welt. Friedrich II. und der Kampf mit seinem Vater.
By Uwe A. Oster
Published by Piper (

Book look: Austrian history, Spanish art and footie facts

Its accession to the European Union (EU), turning points in various wars and important decisions in interior politics such as the abolishment of the death penalty – these and many more decisive 365 Schicksalstage - www.styriabooks.atevents in the history of Austria are told in Johannes Sachslehner’s new book. “365 Schicksalstage” features 365 moments which were crucial for the small European country which used to be one of Europe’s leading political superpowers. On over 450 pages, Sachslehner considers occurrences as diverse as a speech by Adolf Hitler at Vienna’s Heldenplatz Square and the death of Formula One (F1) legend Jochen Rindt. The historian – who also looks back in his new book on Felix Baumgartner’s controversial Stratos project – previously wrote about 365 legendary moments in the history of Austrian sport.

365 Schicksalstage. Der Gedächtniskalender Österreichs
By Johannes Sachslehner
Published by Styria Premium (

The Spanish painter Miquel Barcelo is considered as one of the most important contemporary artists in his homeland. At the same time, the 55-year-old from Majorca is hardly known outside Spain. A new exhibition – now on at the Bank Austria (BA) Kunstforum – might trigger some awareness for Barcelo’s creative work among Austria’s friends of art. A picture book released to mark the occasion underlines the beauty and power of his paintings. In her foreword, Kunstforum director Ingried Brugger praises the “subtle contrasts” and “rich variety” in Barcelo’s creations of which most have animals and fruits as their main subject.

Miquel Barcelo
By Ingried Brugger and Florian Steininger
Published by Kehrer Verlag (

“Eier, wir brauchen Eier” – a book packed with an uncountable number of football curiosities collected by the editorial of 11 Freunde, a soccer magazine – has been a commercial success. Now the reporters did the trick again. In “Ich sag nur ein Wort: Vielen Dank! Nochmal 500 Dinge über Fußball”, they have listed all kinds of information about the popular sport. The book reveals who scored two own goals within only a few minutes. It also contains 20 extraordinary facts about Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho – as well as about the Dutch who, according to “Ich sag nur ein Wort: Vielen Dank!”, the Germans love to hate. Other chapters are about Bayern Munich legend Oliver Kahn and football in Austria.

Ich sag nur ein Wort: Vielen Dank!
By 11 Freunde
Published by Heyne (

MAK makes it happen

Furniture and accessories created around 1900 are in the focus of a new exhibit which has much more to offer than visitors may expect.
picture copyright: MAK / Gerald Zugmann -
“Wien 1900” (Vienna 1900) is the title of the exhibition which was recently kicked off at the MAK, the Museum for Applied Arts (Museum für angewandte Kunst) in Vienna. It is no surprise that creations by Adolf Loos and Josef Hoffmann are an essential part of the exhibit. However, visitors are also informed about political and sociological developments in Austria between 1900 and the 1930s when Austria became part of the Nazis’ Third Reich. Chairs, cupboards and cutlery designed and built around 1900 give an impression of what Austria’s creative elite was capable of. Graphics, election campaign posters and toys are also on display.

Apart from the “Wien 1900” exhibition, the MAK hosts exhibitions about a commercial poster design competition for students and young artists and a celebrated Manga story. Tokihiko Ishiki created “Japan sinkt” (Japan Sinks) between 2006 and 2009. The artist explained he was influenced by a bestseller released in 1973 when he wrote the gripping story about Japan’s fictional doom.

By offering such a wide spectrum of exhibitions, the MAK once more proves to be one of the most important museums of the Austrian capital. The institution might not be the number one choice of tourists, but everyone interested in sophisticated exhibits about artistic developments in the old days and the creations of contemporary designers should take their time and visit it.

Visit for information about ticket prices and opening hours.

Book look: mathematical magic, the best bashes and German exam prep

Even people who despise maths might love this book – Kopfnuss - www.beck.dea collection of 101 mathematical quizzes from all over the world. Heinrich Hemme, a German mathematician, has collected riddles created across the globe. Some of the exercises featured in his new book are thousands of years old. In his foreword, Hemme explains that mathematics were invented and developed in Egypt and Mesopotamia more than 4,000 years ago to determine various taxes and the sizes of agricultural estates. According to Hemme, people soon realised that solving small mathematical mysteries is an excellent way to entertain oneself in a rather demanding and sophisticated way.

Kopfnuss. 101 mathematische Rätsel aus vier Jahzehnten und fünf Kontinenten
By Heinrich Hemme
Published by C.H. Beck (

Claudia Lafranconi – who previously published “Die Damen mit dem grünen Daumen” (2008) and “Kluge Geschäftsfrauen” (2010) – has now compiled a picture book about legendary female hosts and their parties. “Legendäre Gastgeberinnen und ihre Feste” features portraits of Jacqueline Kennedy, Dorothy Draper, Frida Kahlo, Elsa Maxwell and many others. Furthermore, the book is packed with amusing anecdotes and brilliant photographs capturing the atmosphere at the garden parties, black tie events and fancy dress get-togethers.

Legendäre Gastgeberinnen und ihre Feste
By Claudia Lafranconi
Published by Elisabeth Sandmann Verlag (

One of Europe’s most renowned publishing houses focusing on languages has released a book supposed to help migrants passing German tests in Germany. “Deutsch-Test für Zuwanderer. Der schnelle Weg.” by Margret Rodi and Stefanie Dengler – now out by Langenscheidt – features a large number of exercises meant as preparation for the country’s A2-B1 exams. On 90 pages and thanks to an audio CD, learners can train their speaking, writing and listening skills for the various parts of Germany’s official German test. The test features a 100-minute writing part, a listening exercise of 25 minutes, a reading comprehension of half an hour and a speaking check lasting around 16 minutes. The test is an important step on people’s path to becoming German citizens and gaining residence permit.

Deutsch-Test für Zuwanderer. Der schnelle Weg.
By Margret Rodi and Stefanie Dengler
Published by Langenscheidt (

Book look: green lies, German training and natural wonders

An uncountable number of books about Ökofimmel - www.dva.deeco-friendly lifestyles and the lies of the organic foodstuff industry have been published in German-speaking Europe in recent years. However, only few of them have been as commercially successful as “Ökofimmel” by Alexander Neubacher, an award-winning science journalist writing for weekly magazine Der Spiegel. The subheading of Neubacher’s book promises the answer to the question “how we try to save the world – and what effects our actions have”. Neubacher focuses on various aspects of “green living” such as electric cars and eco fuel – which is often produced by axing rainforest trees. He investigates whether cotton shopping bags are really the better option compared with plastic ones. Furthermore, Neubacher – who brands the decisions and lifestyles of many members of today’s society as “hysterical” – explains what Germany’s farewell to nuclear technology will mean for the country’s nature.

By Alexander Neubacher
Published by DVA (

“Deutsch als Fremdsprache nach Themen” is a 240-page collection of vocabularies and example sentences. The book is separated into several topics such as education, body and health, free-time and politics and society. “Deutsch als Fremdsprache nach Themen” has the potential to play a backup function to people learning German thanks to its vast number of words and phrases. An interesting aspect of the publication is that it also features English translations of the terms.

Deutsch als Fremdsprache nach Themen
By Erwin Tschirner
Published by Cornelsen (

A publishing house focusing on releases about nature now offers a desk calendar featuring 52 photographs of animals. On 120 pages, “Natur entdecken” includes loads of background information about the featured creatures. Foxes, various insects and birds, deer, storks and many more animals are part of this beautifully arranged calendar by Harald Harazim and Renate Hudak. Many people might be more aware of processes in nature when going for a walk after having heard previously unknown facts about the animals of our forests and fields.

Natur entdecken. 52 faszinierende Augenblicke im Naturjahr erleben.
By Harald Harazim and Renate Hudak
Published by GU Verlag (

Spectacular Spanish art in Vienna

The creative output by Miquel Barcelo is finally on picture copyright: Miquel Barcelo - http://www.bankaustria-kunstforum.atdisplay in Austria.

The Bank Austria (BA) Kunstforum, a Viennese gallery, cooperated with the Spanish artist about an exhibition featuring some of his most important paintings. The exhibit features sculptures – mostly of animals – which are as impressive as his pictures.

Animals are one of the key topics of Barcelo’s work. Others are human beings, fruits and small household equipment such as matchsticks which are displayed on large-scale paintings in a distinctive manner. Many of his pictures leave it to the eye of the beholder whether the depicted animals are good-natured or ready to go on a rampage. The situation is similar regarding the question if the foodstuff the paintings are showing is edible or not.

Meanwhile, a gripping photo exhibit (“Wartesaal der Hoffnung. Das Rothschild-Spital im November 1947”) is on display to unanimous critical acclaim at the Jewish Museum Vienna. The pictures of late German photographer Henry Ries show Jewish refugees at the Rothschild Hospital in Vienna after World War Two.

Tens of thousands arrived at the clinic – where disastrous hygienic conditions gave them a hard time – each year, hoping to make it into the United States of America or Palestine. Some observers even compared their current situation with the state of things at the Nazis’ forced labour and death camps.

Ries, who was born in Berlin, sent a selection of his images – mostly taken in 1947 – to the editor of the New York Times. He congratulated him to the brilliant shots – but abstained from publishing them.

Stefan set for Vienna

Paintings by one of Austria’s most exciting artists will go on display in Vienna next month.

On 5 March, a vernissage at the Gallery Steiner picture copyright: Stefan Fiedorowiczwill kick off an exhibition of pictures by Stefan Fiedorowicz. The expressionistic and abstract creations by the Canadian artist – who moved to Wiener Neustadt in 2009 after having lived in the capital city for some time – will remain on display until 30 March.

Exhibits of paintings by Fiedorowicz were previously staged in the Canadian city of Vancouver as well as in the northern German city of Hamburg. Asked what the main topic of his creative output is, the artist explained: “Colour is the key for me. I like to draw people in and keep them looking. I try to generate an emotional response.”

Visit for more information.

Meanwhile, a leading museum in Vienna is focusing on night-time as key issue in a new special exhibit. The exhibit called “Die Nacht im Zwielicht. Kunst von der Romantik bis heute” (Awakening the Night. Art from Romanticism to the Present) is now on at the Belvedere.

Artists of all genres have dealt with the night as the content of art. Celebrated painters like Georg Friedrich Waldmüller and Anton Romako are part of the exhibition. However, the names of most artists whose pictures are considered will not ring a bell except at true experts. Nevertheless, the exhibit is worth visiting thanks to its broad and open approach to the night as an artistic topic.


Book look: German football, facts and grammar

The German Football Bundesliga, one of the most popular 50 Jahre Bundesliga. - www.werkstatt-verlag.deleagues in the world, turns 50 today. Millions of fans are glued to the screens each Saturday evening to watch the highlights of the matches on ARD, Germany’s national broadcaster. The station’s football show, “Sportschau”, is hosted by Gerhard Delling – who has now written a book about the league. In “50 Jahre Bundesliga. Wie ich sie erlebte”, Delling shares very personal memories. He reveals which players he loved the most as a child but also tells of encounters with stars of the game. Delling portrays champions of the sport such as Uwe Seeler, late Borussia Mönchengladbach manager Hennes Weisweiler and the so-called magic triangle of VfB Stuttgart which consisted of Giovane Elber, Krassimir Balakov and Fredi Bobic. However, several chapters are also dedicated to unlucky athletes such as those of a club which was relegated one year after winning the league.

50 Jahre Bundesliga. Wie ich sie erlebte
By Gerhard Delling
Published by Verlag Die Werkstatt (

“102 new facts about Germany” – this is the promise of a new book published by Knaur in partnership with the Zeit Magazin. On 102 maps, it displays how many mosques there are in the country – and where they are located. The book also reveals the marketing slogans of the biggest cities of Germany. By listing all of these statements, it becomes obvious how odd some of them are. Other maps focus on the number of organic shops and traffic fines spoken out by the police across the country. The book also discloses foreign tourists’ favourite holiday destinations. Berlin and Munich do extraordinarily well in this category. Not all of the maps included in “Deutschlandkarte” offer light entertainment since one has information about city street crime statistics.

Deutschlandkarte. 102 neue Wahrheiten.
By Matthias Stolz
Published by Knaur (

“Grammatik und Rechtschreibung 1” is packed with a broad range of German grammar and spelling exercises. Based on topics people can relate to thanks to everyday life experiences, the Klett release can become an important helper to high German skills. In once exercise, learners are being explained which words need to start with capitalised letters while another part of the book focuses on creating letters and e-mails. After each chapter, the authors suggest how people should continue practicing German in order to strengthen what they just learned. Thanks to this approach, substantial success is guaranteed.

Grammatik und Rechtschreibung 1
By Anne Fischer and Kathrin Pürthner
Published by Klett (