Book look: classical composers, language connections and a cool city

Eberhard Straub, a former reporter for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, has created a fascinating double portrait of two of the most important composers of operas. In his new book, the German BuchCover-Straub-Wagner-und-Verdiwriter tells the lives of Italian genius Giuseppe Verdi and Germany’s politically controversial opera spearhead Richard Wagner. Straub – who previously released a book called “Eine kleine Geschichte Preussens” in which he writes about Prussia – analyses the significant differences of their compositions. He not only portrays the composers themselves, but also the cities they lived in: Milan, Dresden and Vienna. “Wagner und Verdi” also includes several photographs, including pictures of the composers’ birth houses in Le Roncole near Parma and Leipzig in the German state of Saxony. Furthermore, family portraits are featured. Straub writes about the love of Verdi and Wagner – who were excellent conductors too – for Paris and looks back on the decisive moments of their careers. “Wagner and Verdi” is an ideal starting point for everyone interested in finding out more about these masterminds of music who were both born 200 years ago.

Wagner und Verdi
By Eberhard Straub
Published by Klett-Cotta (

Germany’s Langenscheidt publishing house has released language guides in several languages. The French edition features the most important words and phrases for holidaymakers. It also offers a compact grammar overview to get along abroad. The pocket-size book has the potential to be of great help when it comes to communicating in countries where French is spoken since it includes lists of essential terms regarding travelling by train, plane and car. The Langenscheidt Sprachführer Französisch also contains explanations how to form questions politely. The book is a reasonable addition to the publishing house’s broad spectrum of releases – quizzes, calendars and books for people interested in learning a foreign language on their own.

Langenscheidt Sprachführer Französisch
Published by Langenscheidt (

Piper, a Munich-based publishing house has released another book of its Gebrauchsanweisung edition. As part of the very popular series, renowned writers portray their hometowns. Their reports are full of amusing anecdotes but also honest descriptions of daily life. Elisabeth Kabatek has written about Stuttgart, a city of around 600,000 inhabitants in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. Kabatek explains why most Stuttgart residents have a laid-back attitude and a comparably relaxed approach to get things done – considering Germans’ infamous accuracy. The author of novels such as “Laugenweckle zum Frühstück”, “Brezeltango” and “Spätzleblues” analyses people’s mentality, the region’s passion for football – and the increasing hatred against Swabians in Berlin, the federal capital of the country. Other topics covered by Kabatek are the beautiful countryside and culinary traditions – from hearty food to delicious wine.

Gebrauchsanweisung für Stuttgart
By Elisabeth Kabatek
Published by Piper (

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