Book look: fitness & funny animals

Getting in shape without going to the gym? It is possible. Oliver Bertram has created an innovative guide to an attractive body. The Men’s Health writer – who has released hundreds of articles and many books about fitness and fat reduction – now presents “Men’s Health: Abnehmen ohne Geräte”. The Falken publication features different workout programmes. Bertram focuses on variation as far as the affected muscles and the difficulty are regarded. Readers interested in reducing fat and getting into shape for summer do not need any expensive equipment. This approach makes “Men’s Health: Abnehmen ohne Geräte” an ideal companion for everyone preferring to work out at home. Apart from the various exercises which are explained in detail and through many photographs, the book includes several chapters of nutrition guidelines and other general advices for a healthier lifestyle.

Men’s Health: Abnehmen ohne Geräte
By Oliver Bertram
Published by Falken (

A German publishing house has presented a spectacular 400-page Duckburg encyclopaedia. “Der Große Duckhaus. Entenhausen von A bis Z” does not only offer vital information regarding the legendary hometown of Donald and Tick, Trick und Track (Huey, Dewey, and Louie) and) It also features more than 20 exciting stories starring Dagobert Duck (Scrooge McDuck), Mickey Mouse and other favourites of the large Disney cartoons readership – from A like “Arzt” to “Bildung” and “Comedy” to “Wikinger”, “Xenien” and “Zustelldienst”. Once more, the wide range of topics and story wittiness are remarkable. “Der Große Duckhaus. Entenhausen von A bis Z” is just one of many recently published Ehapa Comic Collection titles. The firm also released “Lustiges Taschenbuch Fußballgeschichten: Und wir holen den Pokal!” and “Lucky Luke: Martha Pfahl”.

Der Große Duckhaus. Entenhausen von A bis Z
By Dominik Madecki, Julia Heller and others
Published by Ehapa Comic Collection (

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

Book look: Ringstraße & refugees

Many stories have been told about the contraction of Vienna’s Ringstraße. Numerous anecdotes exist regarding the boulevard’s buildings and inhabitants throughout the past 150 years. Now a Viennese author has focused on original newspaper articles to create a realistic portrait of life around the Ringstraße in the old days. Thomas Hofmann writes about the public outcry concerning the Looshaus design. He reveals why the city centre’s Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart statue was relocated. The author also explains how police and city authorities tried to establish traffic rules. “Rund um den Ring. Alltag und Festtag in Wien” is a vivid portrait of the Austrian capital’s most famous road. With its fantastic buildings such as the Burgtheater and the City Hall, the Ringstraße keeps attracting tourists from all over the world. This Sutton publication offers a closer look on the creation of the boulevard and how it developed until today. “Die Wiener Hofburg. Die unbekannten Seiten der Kaiserresidenz” is the title of another exciting historical Sutton release. The authors Bernhard A. Macek and Renate Holzschuh-Hofer take readers on a discovery through the 2,600 rooms of Hofburg Palace where the Federal President’s Office but also the National Library and the Lipizzaner stables are located. Other books released by the publishing house portray life in former times in different districts of Vienna and on the countryside.

Rund um den Ring. Alltag und Festtag in Wien
By Thomas Hofmann
Published by Sutton (

Which developments led to the opening of Europe’s borders last summer? How did Germany handle migration pressure before September 2015 – and which way will the country’s government take in the coming years as the war in Syria continues? “Und das ist erst der Anfang. Deutschland und die Flüchtlinge” is a comprehensive summary of the complex aspects regarding the refugee crisis which Europe’s leaders have to deal with. The book’s authors offer a serious analysis of statistics concerning refugees and migrants across the world before focusing on Germany – which is one of the most affected countries in Europe but not among the most pressurised in the world. ARD journalist Anja Reschke reflects on the increasing violence and hatred towards refugees in Germany – from insults to attacks on refugee accommodations. “Und das ist erst der Anfang. Deutschland und die Flüchtlinge” includes worrying news about the people in the most affected regions in Syria as well as a critical article on the perception of human trafficker by the media and the public. Furthermore, there is an article about the Sea Watch rescue initiative in the Mediterranean and personal stories told by refugees who speak about their experiences in Germany – from ambitious hopes to resignation. The addition of portrait photographs could be seen as taking a stance in favour of liberal migration policies – even towards people from countries like Serbia and Iran. Eventually Süddeutsche Zeitung editor Heribert Prantl calls for intensified efforts in tackling people’s misery. The decision to donate one Euro per purchased copy to a local refugee project caused furious reactions by many – another example for the worsening differences in opinion among Germans regarding accepting and helping refugees.

Und das ist erst der Anfang. Deutschland und die Flüchtlinge
By Stefan Buchen, Kristin Helberg and others
Published by Rowohlt (

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

Book look: Dangl & diagrams

An Austrian actor has decided to share his lover with the world. Michael Dangl, who is best known for his performances at the Theater in der Josefstadt, has been in love with Grado for a long time. EventuallyDangl created a declaration of love to the tourism hotspot in Friuli-Venezia Giulia. In “Grado abseits der Pfade”, the Salzburg-born actor and novelist offers a special tour to readers. Dangl portrays the small seaside town, its eateries and architectural elements. Thanks to his language skills – which improved after neglecting Russian – Dangl is able to write about the residents of Grado and their day to day experiences too. His book also contains information regarding the history of the town, some poems and many photographs, all of them taken by the author. “Grado abseits der Pfade” is part of a popular Braumüller series of books focusing on less-well known aspects of cities like Vienna, Trieste, Prague and Berlin.

Grado abseits der Pfade
By Michael Dangl
Published by Braumüller (

What are the main complaints of the residents of Vienna regarding the weather? Which thoughts are dominating people’s minds when they are using public transport. Which rumours and prejudices existing concerning the famous Sachertorte chocolate cake? These and many other aspects about the capital of Austria are now examined and analysed in a simple but terribly funny collection of statistics. “Wien in leiwanden Grafiken” features dozens of pie charts and other diagrams dealing with Vienna-related topics – from young inhabitants’ preferred university subjects to opinions regarding city traffic. “Wien in leiwanden Grafiken” is a Holzbaum Verlag release. The publishing house recently presented several other satire and entertainment books, many of them focusing on Austrian cartoonists’ oeuvres.

Wien in leiwanden Grafiken
By Clemens Ettenauer, Lena Kothgasser, Elisabeth Geiderer and others
Published by Holzbaum (

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

Book look: chansons & the chancellor

Pop music fanatics across Europe are getting ready for another edition of the Eurovision Song Contest – and a new book looks back on the many highlights of the event. Throughout the decades, Concours Eurovision de la chanson (as the competition is called in French) performances have delighted and infuriated crowds all over the continent. Families gather in front of the telly for one night in times of intensified individual media consumption via smartphone. Since the 1960s, many stars and starlets were created by the ESC hype, and at least a handful of artists from the ESC history have become household names. In their Holzbaum publication, Werner Vogel, Bernhard Tscherne and Feri Janoska take a closer look at Austrian participants’ performances. The authors also created various charts to underline the most remarkable successes achieved by artists who battled it out at the Song Contest. ABBA, Johnny Logan, Cliff Richard and Conchita Wurst are just a few of the many stars appearing in this lovely 130-page creation. “The Very Best of Song Contest” also includes interviews with football legend and singer Hans Krankl, Austrian ESC performer Alf Poier, ORF ESC commentator Andi Knoll and many more.

The Very Best of Song Contest
By Werner Vogel, Bernhard Tscherne and Feri Janoska
Published by Holzbaum (

One of Europe’s most significant political leaders is portrayed as “soldier, chancellor, icon” in a new biography. Former Die Zeit correspondent Gunter Hofmann analyses Schmidt’s interactions with other high-profile politicians but also intellectuals and personal companions. Schmidt died last year. He remained immensely influential in political and sociological debates after his term as federal chancellor of Germany ended in 1982. Schmidt became editor of Hamburg-based weekly Die Zeit. He released numerous essays, commentaries and books about European policies, political developments in China and various other key issues. Schmidt was always very open and clear concerning his opinion. This attitude is what many voters are missing these days. His outstanding speeches and abilities as ‘crisis manager’ in times of economic turmoil and terror across the country shaped his legacy. All of these aspects are investigated in Hofmann’s precise 460-page book about the late senator of the interior in Hamburg and German finance minister. A few years ago, C.H. Beck published Hofmann’s book about the “difficult friendship” between Schmidt and Willy Brandt, his predecessor as federal chancellor (“Willy Brandt und Helmut Schmidt. Geschichte einer schwierigen Freundschaft”). The same publishing house released Hofmann’s Richard von Weizsäcker biography “Ein deutsches Leben Gebundene Ausgabe” in 2010.

Helmut Schmidt. Soldat, Kanzler, Ikone
By Gunter Hofmann
Published by C.H. Beck (

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

Book look: Kaspar & Koldehoff

An expert on classical music has examined the background of some of the world’s most famous tunes. Peter Paul Kaspar’s new book “Wer hat das Ave Maria geklaut? Die wechselvolle Geschichte musikalischer Ohrwürmer” provides extraordinary details concerning the intentions of composers like Joseph Haydn, Franz Liszt and Giuseppe Verdi. Readers find out lots of exciting information about the musical geniuses’ era, their oeuvre and audiences’ response. Kaspar’s 145-page book is carefully researched and packed with scientific but also approachable facts regarding some of the most celebrated composers in history. “Wer hat das Ave Maria geklaut?” underlines Verlag Anton Pustet’s high-quality policy. The publishing company recently also released a ski tour guide by Thomas Neuhold (“Skitouren light. 100 Touren für Einsteiger und Genießer”), Klaus Ranzenberger’s crime novel “Mord in vier Gängen. Ein Burgheim-Krimi”) and “Lehrpfade im Süden Österreichs” by Tatjana Rasbortschan which focuses on hiking in Styria and Carinthia.

Wer hat das Ave Maria geklaut? Die wechselvolle Geschichte musikalischer Ohrwürmer
By Peter Paul Kaspar
Published by Verlag Anton Pustet (

What does it mean to own a Vincent Van Gogh masterpiece? How does the acquisition procedure work? What were the artist’s intentions and inspirations when he created his paintings? German culture journalist and art expert Stefan Koldehoff has examined the historical background of Van Gogh paintings and their owners. His new book “Ich und Van Gogh. Bilder, Sammler und ihre abenteuerlichen Geschichten”, which is now out by Galiani Berlin, offers astonishing insights on the art scene and painting purchase procedures. Furthermore, the co-author of “Falsche Bilder – Echtes Geld. Der Fälschungscoup des Jahrhunderts – und wer alles daran verdiente” (with Tobias Timm) informs about historical occurrences linked with the time the paintings were created, Van Gogh’s personal background and especially the life of those who owned or still own the outstanding pieces of art – from Erich Maria Remarque to Elizabeth Taylor. Speaking to Art Magazin, Koldehoff underlines the “strength and uniqueness” of Van Gogh’s paintings and the unabated myth about his personality as a tool to boost prices.

Ich und Van Gogh. Bilder, Sammler und ihre abenteuerlichen Geschichten
By Stefan Koldehoff
Published by Galiani Berlin (

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

Book look: Royals & real-life Vienna

“Englands Krone. Die britische Monarchie im Wandel der Zeit” offers an excellent insight on the British monarchy through the centuries. The 300-page DVA publication – which features contributions by morethan 20 authors – does not just focus on the best known royal representatives like Henry III. and Richard III. It also examines life in Great Britain, cultural influences and how decision-making procedures have been carried out by those in charge. Journalists and historians portray John Locke, William Shakespeare and the Order of the Garter for the book. Other chapters focus on the power of London’s tabloid press and the polices of Elizabeth II. who turned 90 earlier this year. “Englands Krone. Die britische Monarchie im Wandel der Zeit”, which includes several old documents and paintings as well as maps, helps understanding the manifold developments in the United Kingdom in the past 1,000 years in times of significant changes in Britain with UKIP’s increasing popularity and the explosive Brexit vote ahead.

Englands Krone. Die britische Monarchie im Wandel der Zeit
By Bettina Musall, Eva-Maria Schnurr and others
Published by DVA (

Essays about the infamous Naschmarkt in-crowd and the many aspects of the Donauinsel recreational area. Photographs from the 1980s documenting the enormous changes that have happened ever since. Book tips from Joseph Roth to Thomas Stangl, hilarious statements and caricatures by Bernd Püribauer. “Wien, Küss die Hand, Moderne” is a remarkably complex and comprehensive but also laid-back portray of the Austrian capital. Many sociological, cultural and urbanism-related topics are debated by the many popular authors who contributed articles for this Corso release. “Wien, Küss die Hand, Moderne” features Thomas Glavinic (“Der Kameramörder”, “Das größere Wunder”), journalist Verena Mayer, Ulrich Ladurner (“Küss die Hand, die du nicht brechen kannst. Geschichten aus Teheran”) and Nobel Prize laureate Elfriede Jelinek. Everyone looking for a portrait of Vienna free from tourism-linked clichés will be pleased with this sophisticated approach. Another acclaimed Corso publication focuses on Russia. “Russland. Menschen und Orte in einem fast unbekannten Land” takes a closer look at the economically struggling country in times of heated political debate and intensifying propaganda by populists. Wlada Kolosowa and Jessica Schober spoke with inhabitants of various regions across Russia while Evgeny Makarov and Olga Matweewa provided fantastic photographs. Both articles and images convey people’s hopes and concerns and provide a realistic panorama of day to day life in Irkutsk, Magadan and Vladivostok.

Wien, Küss die Hand, Moderne
By Eva Menasse, Sibylle Hamann and others
Published by Corso (

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

Book look: facts & facades

The internet has become our main source of information as encyclopaedias are extinct. But how trustable are things we read online? Even scientists make mistakes, let alone various self-proclaimed experts on the news. Norbert Golluch has done extensive research to present 444 surprising facts. He has structured his book into 19 chapters to help us getting it right when it comes to widespread myths and incorrect information. On over 300 pages, “444 neue populäre Irrtümer” informs about science, sports, law and geography. You’ll be surprised to find out the truth regarding our 24-hour system, the volume of a lion’s roar and the value of gold.

444 neue populäre Irrtümer
By Norbert Golluch
Published by Riva (

Hirmer has released a photo book dedicated to the oeuvre of Roland Fischer. The 58-year-old has taken photographs of facades all over the world. “Roland Fischer: Facades” features images showing bank headquarters, company offices and museums in Madrid, Sao Paolo, Melbourne and many other cities. Fischer’s photos are almost mysterious as it becomes impossible to identify the place where they were taken. His photos pose manifold questions concerning architectural identity, developments in urban regions across the globe and distinctiveness in design. “Roland Fischer: Facades” not only features dozens of Fischer’s fascinating photographs dominated by patterns, lines and squares. The book also includes essays on his creative output by Petra Giloy-Hirtz, Lyle Rexer and Sheryl Conkelton.

Roland Fischer: Facades
By Petra Giloy-Hirtz
Published by Hirmer (

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

Book look: Rembrandt & Rio

A renowned art history expert has created a brilliant biography on one of the world’s most famous painters. In his new book “Licht und Schatten”, Nils Büttner examines the personal environment of the legendary Dutch artist as well as his intentions regarding the creative process. “The Night Watch” and a series of self-portraits might be Rembrandt’s most famous paintings. Crucial elements of his oeuvre are part of the permanent exhibition at Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches Museum. In a new television series on ORFIII, KHM director Sabine Haag and poet Michael Köhlmeier present 100 outstanding works of art from the museum’s collection. Rembrandt’s achievements have been focus of one episode, of course. Büttner’s biography is carefully researched and richly illustrated. “Rembrandt. Licht und Schatten” takes lovers of art as close to the personality of Rembrandt as possible. The book is just one of many art-themed publications by Reclam. The publishing house recently also presented “Tanz des Lebens”, a book about Edvard Munch by Hans Dieter Huber and “Im Irrgarten der Bilder. Die Welt des Hieronymus Bosch” by Stefan Fischer.

Rembrandt. Licht und Schatten
By Nils Büttner
Published by Reclam (

Two experienced sports journalists have teamed up once more to create a brilliant book about a memorable event. On 180 pages, “Der Triumph von Rio” features fantastic action photographs and excellent background stories about the teams, players and managers competing in the 2014 Football World Cup. Ulrich Kühne-Hellmessen and Detlef Vetten asre in charge of the Verlag Die Werkstatt release. The reporters already wrote a photo book about the most recent Olympic Winter Games (“Sotschi 2014. Die Olympischen Winterspiele”, published by Verlag Die Werkstatt). Former Blick sports editor Kühne-Hellmessen previously presented biographies of German football icons Rudi Völler and Matthias Sammer. Ex-dapd writer Vetten’s CV features books about Adidas and Henry Maske. “Der Triumph von Rio” is an ideal opportunity to reflect on the wonderful tournament of 2014. Kühne-Hellmessen and Vetten portray the competition’s biggest stars and how they performed in Brazil. Of course the book has a special focus on the national team of Germany. There are several articles regarding the squad coached by Joachim Löw, a special report on the final against Argentine in Rio de Janeiro – and the legendary photo of Chancellor Angela Merkel in the DFB team’s locker room.

Der Triumph von Rio. Brasilien 2014 – die Fußball-Weltmeisterschaft
By Ulrich Kühne-Hellmessen and Detlef Vetten
Published by Verlag Die Werkstatt (

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