Book look: Bauer and Biron

bauerThe whole world is commemorating the beginning of the First World War 100 years ago and its many victims. This conflict meant dramatic consequences for Austria, without a doubt. However, the occurrences of 25 July 1934 changed politics in the country as well. On that day, SS troops stormed the federal chancellor’s office in the city centre of Vienna and shot Engelbert Dollfuß. Seriously injured, the chancellor died hours later. There have been speculations ever since whether Adolf Hitler himself – who attended an opera performance in Bayreuth that day – ordered the attack. Vienna University lecturer – who previously wrote about rural life in Austria, National Socialism and other topics – did extensive research for his new book about the fatal fight between the SS and Austrian security forces at the officer of the Austrian chancellor. He wanted to find out who was really behind the assault and if the intruders initially intended to kill Dollfuß. Bauer manages to answer questions which have been unanswered for a very long time.

Hitlers zweiter Putsch
By Kurt Bauer
Published by Residenz Verlag (www.residenzverlag.at)

Juggling with words, playing with phrases, dancing through the alphabet – Georg Biron is a true literary acrobat. This time around, it all starts with the title: “Hai Society” is a hint to the bironprimary skill of Vienna’s upper class: bite and kill the enemy – just in a metaphorical sense, of course. Biron’s new book is a very special portrait of his hometown. In 23 stories, the skilled writer (“Quasi Herr Karl. Helmut Qualtinger – Kultfigur aus Wien”) tells from cab drivers and their very special passengers, hotel anecdotes and erotic adventures. The 23-district city has a lot to offer, but its touristic attractions are not in the focus of the author. Instead, the sights are occasionally the location for his remarkable stories. The award-winning writer – who has worked for radio and television many times – spoke with residents of the Austrian capital at snack stands, public pools and cafes. “Hai Society” is full of great comedy and big tragedy.

Hai Society
By Georg Biron
Published by Echomedia Buchverlag (www.echomedia-buch.at)

Winogrand’s wonder women

Garry Winogrand always tried to demonstrate women’s beauty. The influential photographer – who died in 1984 – despised any kind of 1artificialness and always aimed at creating photos full of spontaneity.

Winogrand’s images show self-confident women in the 1960s and 1970s enjoying their lives going shopping and eating ice-cream in Central Park and elsewhere in New York. Most of the photos now on display at Vienna’s Westlicht gallery as part of the “Women are Beautiful” exhibit were taken in NYC. However, the exhibition also features photographs he took in Copenhagen and London.

A certain touch of voyeurism is what makes Winogrand’s pictures so special. His images of young women hanging out at fountains and under trees after work and at the weekend are all laden by a distinctive level of erotic energy. Most of his models do not appear to be bothered by the snapper while the rest apparently do not realise that he is taking a picture.

>> http://www.westlicht.com

Book look: India’s incredible injustice

A few weeks ago, the whole world praised India for its robust democracy as the country elected a new parliament.

Around 814 million residents were eligible to participate in the voting process which took several weeks due to the size of the country and the complexity of the bureaucratic procedure. More than 3.6 billion Euros were spent by the competing parties on posters, newspaper ads and TV and radio commercials.blume

While most media concentrated on the consequences for the country’s economy and politics depending on which party will win the ballot, some journalists underlined the immense disadvantages of women and members of certain castes. Georg Blume and Christoph Hein decided not to close their eyes. In their new book, the reporters stress that sexual abuse of women and children and death caused by undernourishment are not exceptions to the rule.

In an article for Austrian magazine profil, Blume points out that Indian media hardly even mention that 1.7 million kids die from hunger every year. He also deplores widespread corruption among police officers. At the same time, life is getting harder for most people in India as the growth of the country’s economy has shrunk recently.

“Indiens verdrängte Wahrheit” tells from the injustice happening in the country day by day. Blume and Hein not only focus on the high number of rapes and violence against women. They also analyse the future of the 135 million Muslims living in India.

Indiens verdrängte Wahrheit
By Georg Blume and Christoph Hein
Published by Edition Körber-Stiftung (www.edition-koerber-stiftung.de)

Book look: golf course crimes and garden gnomes

naberAfter a thrilling murder story spun around the Vienna City Marathon (“Marathonduell”, 2013), Sabina Naber now tells from crimes among well-off golf players in the Austrian capital. “Caddielove” is the title of her new novel. Detectives Mayer and Katz are pressurised to solve a murder while golf course managers fear for the excellent reputation of their business. The killing could cause the cancellation of a scheduled Ladies PGA tournament. Nervousness among players – of which some desperately try to cover up their sinister past – and bosses is increasing while Mayer and Katz consider learning golf, assuming this could boost their investigative work.

Caddielove
By Sabina Naber
Published by Gmeiner (www.gmeiner-verlag.de)

A wide spectrum of emotions is created when Europeans are asked for their opinion on Germany – and Germans. Helmut Schümann thought about a new approach to the matter. schümannHe asked himself how best to find out what people really feel and think. Schümann wondered – and wandered. The Tagesspiegel reporter decided to walk along the German border to meet the residents of all the nations which share a border with his home country. His book, “Genie und Gartenzwerg” analyses the difficult relationship between the Dutch and the German as well as the German-French axis which has been considered as immensely important since the start of the financial crisis some years ago. He interviewed Austrians living in Braunau, where Adolf Hitler was born, and other towns near the Austrian-German border. Schümann – a former Süddeutsche Zeitung editor – wanted to find out whether people in other countries really think that all of his fellow countrymen are precise, decent unable to show emotions. His book features very entertaining and enriching moments and offers a new perspective on labour migration and the many prejudices which still exist on both sides of the border.

Genie und Gartenzwerg
By Helmut Schümann
Published by Rowohlt Berlin (www.rowohlt.de)

Book look: Great problems in a great country

Just in time for the Football World Cup, Adrian Geiges presents his portrait of Brazil. Based in Rio de Janeiro himself, the experienced German journalist1 is an expert on the fifth-biggest country in the world.

In “Brasilien brennt”, Geiges speaks with many inhabitants of Brazil. Readers get to know members of the country’s new middle class who demand better healthcare and education services from the government. He also interviews a former drug gangster and writes about development work organisations’ activities and the domestic security force’s new policy of sending heavily armed units into the heart of the favelas to deprive the local gangs of their power.

“Brasilien brennt” creates a vibrant, lively picture of the rising economic giant. Once more, a European journalist underlines the immense difficulties of the country’s people in their daily struggle to make ends meet. The World Cup will be history in a few weeks’ time – but Brazil’s youth are determined to remain loud and angry

Brasilien brennt
By Adrian Geiges
Published by Quadriga (www.quadrigaverlag.de)

It’s Theessink time!

The latest album by Hans Theessink – a great live record called “65 Birthday Bash” – is out now.
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Many stars and friends hit the stage with the blues virtuoso from the Netherlands on that night in Vienna to celebrate his 65th birthday. Theessink – who just won’t stop rocking – was joined by Austrian poet Ernst Molden, Austrian rock legend Willi Resetarits and Denmark’s blues star Knud Moller and others.

The versatile musicians teamed up to perform audience favourites such as “Call Me” and “No Expectations”, a Rolling Stones song recorded by Theessink already some years ago for a Jedermann compilation album.

Theessink remains as active as ever. “Delta Time” and “Wishing Well” are just two of the many excellent albums he released recently. The Vienna-based singer-songwriter’s tour continues as well. Theessink – who performed at some of the biggest music festivals in the world over the past decades – will rock the Ö1 stage at this year’s Donauinselfest in Vienna on 27 June before performing in Klagenfurt (2 July) and Wels (4 July) next month.

However, Theessink’s tour schedule does not only feature shows in Austria. Seventeen concerts are set to take place in the UK in September – including performances in Edinburgh, Liverpool and York. For more information, visit http://www.theessink.com

Book look: Big in Japan

Moving to Japan, raising her children there – German journalist Susanne Staffen’s new book is packed with funny stories which occur 1when two strongly different cultures collide.

While her father is “shocked” by the news that she is going to tie the knot with a man from Japan, Steffen encounters few problems as far as professional regards are concerned as her television production enterprise turns into a successful company bombarded with orders from broadcasters in her home country.

In “Der Windel-Samurai”, the 41-year-old reveals how her husband became the “diapers samurai” by taking a two-year vacation after the birth of their child. Steffen – who is not just running a TV firm but also working as correspondent for weekly magazine Focus – describes in many amusing anecdotes what it is like to live in Japan as a German with two little kids.

Those who love her book should also check out Finn Mayer-Kuckuk’s release “Tokio Total. Mein Leben als Langnase”, another witty experience report by a German journalist based in Japan.

Der Windel-Samurai
By Susanne Steffen
Published by rororo (www.rororo.de)