Book look: Melle & marriage

One of Germany’s most celebrated novelists has released a new book. Thomas Melle’s latest work is called “3000 Euro” and out now by rororo / Rowohlt. The 41-year old author shot to fame five years ago following the publication of his debut, “Sickster”. Over the past few years, Melle has received various awards such as the Kunstpreis Berlin 2015. Rowohlt recently also presented several great non-fiction books. “Neue Anschrift Bosporus. Wie wir versuchten, in Istanbul heimisch zu werden” is a lovely account of a German couple’s attempt to feel at home in Turkey’s megacity. Susanne Landwehr and Michael Thumann, two journalists who have worked as foreign correspondents for many years, were confronted with various difficulties as they relocated to Istanbul. Their acclaimed book tells from bureaucratic nightmares and certain cultural misunderstandings, but also features amusing and heart-warming anecdotes. “Ohne Titel. Meine verrückten Jahre zwischen Künstlern, Galeristen und Sammlern” is the title of Nicholas Grünke’s relentless story about working in the international art scene for many years. The gallery manager and exhibition organiser discloses hair-raising methods of freaked out art impresarios and the sadistic regimes established by project leaders. “Ohne Titel” is an intrepid expert’s 300-page revenge on a business he knows inside out.

3000 Euro
By Thomas Melle
Published by rororo (www.rowohlt.de)

Old-fashioned rural traditions, disputes regarding responsibilities and the influence of feminism. “Drum prüfe, wer sich ewig bindet. Eine kleine Geschichte der Ehe” takes readers on a ride through the history of marriage. The 220-page book by Alexandra Bleyer – now out by Residenz Verlag – is a highly scientific and serious approach to the topic. The author considered dozens of publications for her release. Some chapters are quite hard to digest due to the immense amount of information. Especially the parts regarding procedures in Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire are tough. However, readers who want to find out more about the different developments in society concerning marriage throughout the centuries will not be disappointed. Bleyer cites many old newspaper articles, especially from the Vossische Zeitung. She also describes the immense influence of the Catholic Church on what happens in couples’ bedrooms. “Drum prüfe, wer sich ewig bindet” – which does not, unfortunately, feature any information about the author of this remarkable book – offers information and analysis of domestic violence, contact ads in former times and differing divorce procedures. Bleyer also describes different important reforms in Austria, especially in the 1970s when Chancellor Bruno Kreisky was in office but also in the 1990s when Helga Konrad called for “Halbe-Halbe” (sharing household chords equally).

Drum prüfe, wer sich ewig bindet. Eine kleine Geschichte der Ehe
By Alexandra Bleyer
Published by Residenz Verlag (www.residenzverlag.at)

Book look: Feuerstein & foreign correspondents

One of German television’s most significant comedy authors has presented his autobiography. Herbert Feuerstein has been the brain of many entertainment programmes throughout the past decades. He created a large number of shows and regular broadcasts on his own or in collaboration with Harald Schmidt, Anke Engelke and other stars. “Die neun Leben des Herrn F.” is the title of his autobiography. The 380-page book is as funny and witty as his shows. Thomas Gottschalk, Frank Elstner and Stefan Raab may have received more attention from the press and audiences. However, Feuerstein will be considered as one of the most important personalities of German-language TV for a long time.

Die neun Leben des Herrn F.
By Herbert Feuerstein
Published by Ullstein (www.ullsteinbuchverlage.de)

The Austrian broadcasting corporation has a wide network of correspondents. Now these reporters’ personal stories have been collected to create a remarkable book packed with insider tips, urban secrets and personal portraits. The ORF journalists present the cities they have been working in from their personal points of view. Readers get to know festivals, factories, an aviation museum, a flea market, an Austrian ice cream maker’s shop, a tradition-rich spa and many more illustrated stories from all over the world. Christian Wehrschütz, Peter Fritz, Hannelore Veit and 11 other correspondents have contributed stories while ORF journalist Walter Erdelitsch edited the book. Erdelitsch created reports from the Balkan for the BBC but also edited stories for the ORF’s “Auslandsreport”. “Die Stadt, in der ich lebe” is linked with a popular series of special “ORF Weltjournal” reports in which the correspondents focus on personal aspects of reporting from other countries.

Die Stadt, in der ich lebe. ORF-Korrespondenten erzählen
By Walter Erdelitsch, Cornelia Primosch, Jörg Winter and others
Published by Kremayr & Scheriau (www.kremayr-scheriau.at)

Book look: cartoons & catenaccio

Understanding plays on words in another language but one’s mother tongue can be tough. On the other hand, such jokes are often an ideal opportunity to test one’s knowledge – and to have a laugh. “Die besten Wortwitze der Welt” features cartoons by cartoon workshop initiator Denis Metz, German Cartoon Award laureate Til Mette, Katharina Greve – whose caricatures have been published by Titanic and Tagesspiegel and many others. Nicolas Mahler – who has become one of the most popular cartoonists in German-speaking Europe over the past few years – also contributed to this 65-page publication now out by Holzbaum. “Die besten Wortwitze der Welt”, which features an introduction by Leo Fischer, will disclose the remarkable connection between Pikante and Bekannte, Kot and tot, gambling debts and “Ährensache” and many other hilarious puns.

Die besten Wortwitze der Welt
By Mario Lars, Henning Christiansen and others
Published by Holzbaum (www.holzbaumverlag.at)

Juventus Turin is one of the most successful clubs in the world. A new book reveals that there is so much more to La Vecchia Signora than one Scudetto after the other. Roman Mandelc dishes up 111 reasons why Juve is the best team in the world. The Juventus supporter creates a vivid and immensely detailed picture. “111 Gründe, Juventus Turin zu lieben” is of course packed with astonishing facts about legends like Pavel Nedved and Alessandro del Piero. However, Mandelc also describes the club’s most intense rivalries, anecdotes regarding the significant striped jerseys – and the darkest moments in the history of I Bianconeri. “111 Gründe, Juventus Turin zu lieben” is just one piece of a popular series. Schwarzkopf & Schwarzkopf also presented “111 Gründe” books about several other soccer teams (Rapid Vienna, Borussia Mönchengladbach) but also dedicated to countries (Ireland, France).

111 Gründe, Juventus Turin zu lieben
By Roman Mandelc
Published by Schwarzkopf & Schwarzkopf (www.schwarzkopf-schwarzkopf.de)

Book look: Kuhn & Kermani

Twitter has become an irreplaceable aspect in modern information technology – despite stagnating user figures and a disastrous stock market performance. Politicians inform about meeting results and strategic decision via Twitter. Football fans rely on the platform for transfer news while showbiz gossip addicts check out glossy magazines’ accounts. Being limited to 140 characters is a key element of Twitter which was founded in 2006. Now a German author has created an encyclopaedia featuring articles which are not any longer than a Twitter post. “Alles, was man wissen muss – in 140 Zeichen” informs about decisive political developments, inventions and sociological changes. The book is conservatively structured into chapters about the different centuries, regions like Africa and sciences such as the history of music and literature. This fresh and unconventional approach creates a new kind of information source. But regardless where you get your facts from, it will always be up to us to memorise them. Kuhn’s book works as a companion to make the most of the time you are spending waiting for the bus each day while pub quiz participants might consider its power as far as preparation is concerned. In case of strong interest in a certain issue, additional research is, of course, inevitable. “Alles, was man wissen muss – in 140 Zeichen” is packed with facts. Unfortunately, the book does not include any information about the author.

Alles, was man wissen muss – in 140 Zeichen
By Oliver Kuhn
Published by Riva (www.rivaverlag.de)

An award-winning journalist has travelled the main 2015 migration route to create an intimate portrait of people on the run. Navid Kermani was accompanied by photographer Moises Saman when he travelled through Europe to find out more about refugees’ fate. He interviewed people from Syria and Afghanistan in Belgrade and described their journey through Macedonia for German magazine Der Spiegel. The Cologne-based Kleist Award laureate also went to Greece where hundreds of refugees arrived each day in 2015. “Einbruch der Wirklichkeit. Auf dem Flüchtlingstreck durch Europa” is a touching 90-page report about the most significant development of 2015. Kermani previously published “Ausnahmezustand” as well as several other essays and books. Both “Einbruch der Wirklichkeit” and “Ausnahmezustand” were released by C.H. Beck. The publishing house, which has its headquarters in Munich, recently also presented “Metropolen der Moderne. Eine europäische Stadtgeschichte seit 1850” by Friedrich Lenger and “Helmut Schmidt. Soldat, Kanzler, Ikone”, a brilliant portrait of late German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt by Gunter Hofmann, the author of “Willy Brandt und Helmut Schmidt. Geschichte einer schwierigen Freundschaft”.

Einbruch der Wirklichkeit. Auf dem Flüchtlingstreck durch Europa
By Navid Kermani
Published by C.H. Beck (www.chbeck.de)

Concrete, to be precise

An Austrian art institution presents reflections on a robust building material.

Concrete once was considered as modern. It is still seen as solid and reliable. However, the commonly used material is also accused of disallowing emotions and a warm atmosphere in living environments.

All of these contradictions and controversies have been challenging artists for many years. The Kunsthalle Wien’s current exhibition presents some perceptions. “Beton” not just features sculptures and parts taken from different construction projects. The exhibit also consists of photographs, video installations and sound compositions.

Artworks by over 25 designers, painters and photographers focusing on a wide range of topics from inhabitants’ situation to the material’s decay are on display at the Vienna Museumsquartier venue, including Ingrid Martens, Werner Feiersinger and Cyprien Gaillard. “Beton” – which has been curated by Vanessa Joan Müller and Nicolaus Schafhausen – follows exciting Kunsthalle Wien exhibitions about the feeling of fear, Salvador Dali, circus entertainment and Isa Genzken.

>> http://www.kunsthallewien.at

Book look: Gelsenkirchen & Gassner

A new part of the Gmeiner publishing company’s city talks series takes us to a vibrant town in North Rhine-Westphalia. Gelsenkirchen means working class, a large number of nationalities but also fascinating new art projects. The city has gone through many changes during the past decades. For her book, Brigit Salutzki interviewed 45 personalities who shape life in the city where she was born. The journalist, who now lives in Gladbeck, portrays teachers, chefs, painters and theatre directors. Other Gmeiner Verlag books take us to Frankfurt, Vienna, Hamburg and Munich. The Stadtgespräche series offers a great opportunity to discover towns through their inhabitants.

Stadtgespräche aus Gelsenkirchen
By Birgit Salutzki
Published by Gmeiner (www.gmeiner-verlag.de)

Robert Gassner has modernised buildings for more than 25 years. The architecture and renovation expert has designed and refurbished houses of various styles and sizes. Now a 400-page book celebrates his achievements. The outstanding photos – which show details, materials and the exciting results – take you closer to Gassner’s ideas and creations. The architect describes his approach in several essays. Other articles have been contributed by Andreas Kump while Ingo Pertramer and Sophie Gassner are responsible for the pictures. The concept of “Robert Gassner – Alte Mauern. Neues Wohnen” is absolutely convincing: informative texts in German and English texts and marvellous photography. Speaking to wohnnet.at, Gassner said he would “fall in love again and again” as he chooses new projects. He also admitted having a hard time convincing future residents of his ideas. Gassner added he preferred a “back to the roots” idea of living. “It’s about a careful resources consumption and enjoying ourselves at home in these fast-paced times.”

Robert Gassner – Alte Mauern. Neues Wohnen
By Robert Gassner, Andreas Kump, Sophie Gassner and Ingo Pertramer
http://www.gassner-partner.at, http://www.wohnzimmer.com
Published by Ueberreuter (www.ueberreuter.at)