Book look: Köhlmeier & the king

Michael Köhlmeier has revealed being cautious regarding research. Speaking to, the renowned author (“Madalyn”) explained that he let the characters of his books shaping the content. Asked whether natural elements mattered a lot for his creative process, Köhlmeier said: “The weather is highly important in many regards as I’m sensitive to changes in the weather myself. Few things have a stronger impact on myself than the weather.” Köhlmeier, 67, is best known for his celebrated novel “Abendland”, a monumental family story released in 2007. The Vorarlberg-born author – who lives in his home province in western Austria and Vienna – has never shied away from political engagement. Over the years, he took part in television debates or hosted them himself. Köhlmeier also writes guest commentaries for different newspapers and magazines. His most recent novel “Zwei Herren am Strand” has been published by Hanser as many of his most important previous releases.

Zwei Herren am Strand
By Michael Köhlmeier
Published by Hanser (

A new book offers revealing insights on the Habsburg monarchy from the revolution in 1848 until its decline. “Franz Joseph I. Kaiser von Österreich und König von Ungarn, 1830-1916”, now out by C.H. Beck, portrays Austrian-Hungarian Emperor Franz Joseph I., arguably one of the most iconic faces of the legendary dynasty. In 13 chapters, Michaela and Karl Vocelka describe the emperor’s upbringing and early influences, his most crucial decisions in war and peace as well as personal aspects – from affairs to his relationship with various family members. “Franz Joseph I. Kaiser von Österreich und König von Ungarn, 1830-1916” is released to mark the 100th anniversary of the monarch’s death. Kaiser Franz Joseph I. passed away in November 1916, years after the deaths of Empress Elizabeth and the archdukes Rudolf and Franz Ferdinand. By considering dozens of previous publications and different scientific researches on the Habsburg regime and his charismatic leader, the authors created an exciting and vivid portrait. Their book can be regarded as an invitation to find out what lies under the surface blurred by contemporary economic aspects as cups, postcards and other souvenirs featuring Franz Joseph’s portrait are in great demand in Vienna, Salzburg and other touristic hotspots.

Franz Joseph I. Kaiser von Österreich und König von Ungarn, 1830-1916
By Michaela Vocelka and Karl Vocelka
Published by C.H. Beck (

::: The Austrian Culture Channel on Twitter: @accthomas

Book look: 1989 & 2016

The peaceful revolution which led to the reunification of Germany is arguably the most important historical development since World War Two. Now a team of renowned journalist recount the decisive events of 1989 and 1990. Their texts can be found in “Acht Tage, die die Welt veränderten”, now out by DVA. Spiegel reporters Alfred Weinzierl and Klaus Wiegrefe headed the project while Jürgen Leinemann, Peter Wensierski and eight others contributed articles. “Acht Tage, die die Welt veränderten” analyses the impact of manipulated election results on the people in the former GDR. It also describes the increasing popularity of opposition movements in the socialist country. People in Leipzig and other cities took to the streets to call for change. Eventually Germany was one after decades of separation. Apart from brilliant texts recapturing the atmosphere in East Germany 25 years ago, the DVA release also features interviews with Condoleezza Rice, Timothy Garton Ash and Mikhail Gorbachev.

Acht Tage, die die Welt veränderten. Die Revolution in Deutschland 1989/90
By Alfred Weinzierl, Klaus Wiegrefe, Stefan Berg and others
Published by DVA (

Marathon strategy tips, clarification regarding long-distance running rumours and sports proverbs – Achim Achilles’ new calendar has got it all. “Der Achilles Laufkalender 2016” – now out by Heyne – has the potential to become every ambitious leisure-time athlete’s loyal companion in 2016. The pocket-sized publication features structured blank space for keeping a training diary, including covered distance, pace and mood. Throughout the months, its owner gets entertained by funny sports-related statements and motivation slogans. Furthermore, there is information regarding running competitions across Europe. At the end, the calendar contains a certificate for the Runner of the Year!

Der Achilles Laufkalender 2016
By Achim Achilles
Published by Heyne (

::: The Austrian Culture Channel on Twitter: @accthomas

Book look: Steffny & Sinatra

A leading Marathon expert’s book has been republished to meet public demand. As the long-distance running hype continues, Südwest Verlag presents a new edition of Herbert Steffny’s “Das große Laufbuch”. The book is a reliable guide to a healthier lifestyle thanks to a moderate running programme. However, the 400-page publication also features precise training advice for ambitioned hobby athletes interested in competing in a Marathon. Steffny, a former Olympic Games participant, informs about the origins of long-distance running and reveals why African athletes perform so well in international championships. Furthermore, the former coach of ex-German Foreign Affairs Minister Joschka Fischer explains his nutrition concept. Steffny also writes about the perfect equipment and presents effective stretching exercises. Because of its comprehensive information and great range of topics, “Das große Laufbuch” is an enduring success story.

Das große Laufbuch
By Herbert Steffny
Published by Südwest (

The life, songs and films of Frank Sinatra is celebrated in a new book. “Frank Sinatra und seine Zeit” by former ORF news boss Johannes Kunz does not describe the incredible career Sinatra, a son of Italian immigrants, had. It also analyses changes in the show business throughout the decade – from the rise, demise and resurrection of Hollywood to the record industry evolution. On 270 pages, Kunz writes about the Rat Pack legend’s remarkable performances in movies of different genres (“From Here to Eternity”, “The Man with the Golden Arm”), his real-life role as a womanizer and his difficulties with the press. Photographs featured in the book show him with Count Basie, Quincy Jones and John F. Kennedy. Born in New Jersey in 1915, Sinatra became the greatest entertainer of the century. The road he had to take was long and rocky, but he did it – “my way”…

Frank Sinatra und seine Zeit
By Johannes Kunz
Published by LangenMüller (

::: The Austrian Culture Channel on Twitter: @accthomas

Smile with Sagmeister

A renowned designer confronts his audience with essential questions in a new exhibition at the MAK Vienna.

“The Happy Show” by Stefan Sagmeister features graphics, video installations and various artworks created by the artist who was born in Vorarlberg, western Austria. In many different ways, visitors are animated to state their own opinion or just reflect on difficulties we have to deal with in the 21st century.

This exhibition takes Sagmeister’s art to another level. Works by the New York-based artist – who earned recognition by designing album covers for the Rolling Stones and Lou Reed – were on display at the MAK, Vienna’s Museum for Applied Arts (Museum für angewandte Kunst), already in 2002. With claims regarding the “ideal” salary and statements like “Keeping a diary supports personal development”, “The Happy Show” is a great platform for reflections and debate.


::: The Austrian Culture Channel on Twitter: @accthomas

Book look: Ottitsch & OK DJ

A young Austrian cartoonist has released his first book in English. “Gay Nazi Dolphins at a Gang Bang” features around 50 drawings, many of them highly controversial. Oliver Ottitsch, 33, does not shy away from topics such as terrorism, poverty and sickness. His caricatures are straight-forward and relentless. “Gay Nazi Dolphins at a Gang Bang” follows various contributions to Holzbaum Verlag publications featuring different cartoonists from Austria, Germany and other countries. Over the years, Ottitsch’s caricatures have been released by several renowned magazines. “Gay Nazi Dolphins at a Gang Bang” will definitively spur his career.

Gay Nazi Dolphins at a Gang Bang
By Oliver Ottitsch
Published by Holzbaum (

Controversy is Daniel Josefsohn’s favourite playground. His art’s main subjects are sex, spontaneity and pornographic allusions. The Berlin-based snapper’s photographs often seem to be built on confusion. Nothing seems certain on his images. Josefsohn is a master of creating uncertainty among beholders. Public places and shabby rooms are common sceneries of his photos. Celebrities like Udo Kier, Monica Lewinsky and the Klitschko are featured too, often in rather awkward situations. Furthermore, Hatje Cantz recently released “Horizons”, a picture book of around 100 landscape photos by Sze Tsung Leong. The British-American artist travelled around the world to portray cities like Rome and Astana by taking wide angle photographs. Another acclaimed Hatje Cantz publication informs about the development of Vienna’s Ringstraße boulevard. Edited by Alfred Fogarassy, renowned experts contributed articles while Nora Schoeller took fantastic photographs along the road and in some of the Ringstraße’s most spectacular palaces.

By Daniel Josefsohn
Published by Hatje Cantz (

::: The Austrian Culture Channel on Twitter: @accthomas

Book look: Grünke & the ‘Galgenvogel’

Paintings, parties, price hikes. A German manager of art projects has released a book on the crazy developments in the world of art. Nicholas Grünke’s publication “Ohne Titel” takes readers into the backrooms of the infamous circles of collectors, gallery managers and painters. On 300 pages, the 37-year-old – who previously wrote a book about his experiences as a building site worker – does not hold back juicy details as the trade with art is getting increasingly hyped. Grünke portrays a cosmos dominated by clashes between true lovers of artistic creations and those who are just focused on increase in value. Everyone interested in art itself but also the recent developments in the business will read “Ohne Titel” with great interest.

Ohne Titel. Meine verrückten Jahre zwischen Künstlern, Galeristen und Sammlern
By Nicholas Grünke
Published by Rowohlt (

A young writer has created a funny collection of animal cartoons. In her new book, Theres Denzinger focuses on puns. “Das Lexikon der Untiere” proves to be a pleasure for German native speakers and everyone with a solid knowledge of the language. The Holzbaum publication features illustrations of the Galgenvogel, an Ohrwurm and Mr Adler Horst. For more information on the author, visit Meanwhile, Holzbaum also released “Das große Cartoonsutra”, a selection of brilliant sex-themed caricatures. The Cartoonsutra reveals what occupies Tom Jones after a concert. It also suggests creative ways of how to use kitchen equipment. Don’t try this at home!

Das Lexikon der Untiere
By Theres Denzinger
Published by Holzbaum (

::: The Austrian Culture Channel on Twitter: @accthomas

Book look: French recipes & Viennese music

Improving one’s language skills, practising French grammar and finding out more about francophone culture and customs – not a bad way to start into the new year, is it? This is exactly what Langenscheidt’s new Sprachkalender Französisch is offering. Exercises on different levels, delicious recipes and lots of touristic information – a perfect mix for everyone learning French and all those who enjoy le savoir-vivre! The new “Langenscheidt Sprachkalender 2016 Französisch” also features facts about various France-related topics but also jokes in French and translations in German. Furthermore, the publishing house created additional online content.

Langenscheidt Sprachkalender 2016 Französisch
By Volker Eidems, Christine Zurmeyer and others
Published by Langenscheidt (

Small bits of fascinating facts about Viennese musicians from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to Wolfgang Ambros and their symphonies and songs have been collected and composed for a new book. “Unnützes WienWissen Musik” reveals why Gustav Mahler hated honey and which intentions lie within the lyrics of Falco and Alf Poier. The pocket-sized book – which is preceded by “Unnützes WienWissen” and “Unnützes WienWissen 2”, both published by Holzbaum – also informs about songs dealing with death written by Vienna-based artists. Who co-organised a beat boxing world championship as a teenager? Why did the term “sauerkraut” become a secret code for jazz fans during the Nazi regime? And who released “13 dirty songs”? Get “Unnützes WienWissen Musik” to find out!

Unnützes WienWissen Musik
By the team
Published by Holzbaum (

::: The Austrian Culture Channel on Twitter: @accthomas

Book look: Ich bin ich & a showbiz icon

A Viennese museum has revealed the expansive universe of creativity behind a popular book for children. “Ich bin ich. Mira Lobe und Susi Weigel” – which was on display at the Wien Museum – presented the most famous book by author Mira Lobe and illustrator Susi Weigel. The exhibition portrayed the duo’s professional partnership and their personal background. However, the exhibit went far beyond their legendary publication “Das kleine Ich bin ich”. At the Wien Museum, kids and adults were able to explore the whole oeuvre of Lobe and Weigel. Lobe passed away in 1995, Weigel died in 1990. The exhibit offered many opportunities to play, read and discover. “Ich bin ich. Mira Lobe und Susi Weigel” – now out by Residenz Verlag – enables everyone who missed the lovely exhibition curated by Lisa Noggler. On more than 250 pages, Noggler, Ernst Seibert and Georg Huemer present manuscripts, drafts, book covers, photographs and lots of background information.

Ich bin ich. Mira Lobe und Susi Weigel
By Ernst Seibert, Georg Huemer and Lisa Noggler
Published by Residenz Verlag (

1One of Germany’s best entertainers looks back on his exciting life in showbiz. For several decades, Thomas Gottschalk shaped radio and television. The extraordinarily talented bigmouth soon became the country’s best known TV presenter. “Wetten, dass…?”, Central Europe’s last big Saturday night show, is strongly linked to his personality and character. Gottschalk hosted it 151 times until 2011 when a young man’s tragic accident led to its steep decline. In “Herbstblond”, Gottschalk not only writes about his personal experiences in the golden era of television entertainment for the whole family. He also reflects on growing up on the countryside and living in Los Angeles. Criticism on Gottschalk increased as ratings shrank. While newspaper columnists initially hit out at the TV star for his choice of outfits, the pressure on Gottschalk got heavier as fewer people tuned in for the legendary primetime programme. In “Herbstblond”, the 65-year-old tells how it felt to be the scapegoat of the nation. His passion for rock music was not only a crucial aspect of various shows he hosted throughout the years. It also affects the book’s structure and chapter titles (“Radio Gaga”, “Spirit in the Sky”).

Herbstblond. Die Autobiografie
By Thomas Gottschalk
Published by Heyne (

::: The Austrian Culture Channel on Twitter: @accthomas

Book look: Schneider & Strohmeyr

An Austrian journalist provides a precise analysis of the situation in Syria and Iraq as the civil war intensifies. Wieland Schneider has visited the region several times. He became eyewitness of the decisive moments of the Arab Spring uprising in 2011. Reporting for Die Presse, the author of “Das Ende der Angst?” followed the developments until today. His new book focuses on the rise of the so-called Islamic State. “Krieg gegen das Kalifat” informs about the fast growth of the terror organisation in the Middle East. Schneider – who interviewed influential political and military leaders in the region – examines the roots of the group and takes a closer look at its enemies, especially Kurdish troops. “Krieg gegen das Kalifat” also features an outlook on how the situation might develop in the coming years.

Krieg gegen das Kalifat
By Wieland Schneider
Published by Braumüller (

Clever. Determined. Mysterious. A new book featuring 12 biographies of women has now been released by Piper, a leading publishing house. In “Geheimnisvolle Frauen. Rebellinnen, Mätressen, Hochstaplerinnen”, Armin Strohmeyr (“Verkannte Pioniere”) portrays women who had their influence throughout the centuries. Starting with Agrippina the Younger, the author writes about Empress Elizabeth of Austria (‘Sisi’) and silver screen legend Greta Garbo. Each of the biographic chapters range around 30 pages – a length which turns out to be an ideal volume to discover the fascinating lives of the different personalities. Those interested in detailed background will have to look out for additional releases. “Geheimnisvolle Frauen” can be, however, an ideal starting point.

Geheimnisvolle Frauen. Rebellinnen, Mätressen, Hochstaplerinnen
By Armin Strohmeyr
Published by Piper (

::: The Austrian Culture Channel on Twitter: @accthomas

Telly tales

Austrians’ television consumption rituals and the political influence on broadcasters are topics of a new caricature exhibit.

“Das Fenster zur Welt” – now on display at the Karikaturmuseum in Krems, Lower Austria – features different artists’ caricatures portraying the most important personalities in Austrian media and politics since the beginning of broadcasting.

Late ORF director Gerd Bacher and Bruno Kreisky are portrayed. Bacher, who died last year, is shown as someone determined to keep the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation (ORF) free from political interventions. Caricatures showing Kreisky are focusing on his brilliant rhetoric and dominance in TV debates with political rivals.

Other less political artworks portray Austrians in front of the telly in various ways – many stereotypes, but also some truth!


::: The Austrian Culture Channel on Twitter: @accthomas