On the Road

Maik’s mum is an alcoholic, his father a bankrupt real estate agent off on holidays with his secretary. Girls at school ignore him. Wrangling through the drab monotony of everyday life has utmost priority when suddenly everything changes with a new classmate.

Tschick – a mysterious Russian kid who rarely speaks – turns Maik’s world upside down. Instead of staying at home the whole summer, Tschick convinces Maik to join him on what turns into a wicked road trip through the German countryside in a nicked car. Maik and Tschick have the most bizarre encounters but also find out what true friendship means before ending up in a hospital in the middle of nowhere.

Wolfgang Herrndorf’s novel has been widely considered as an instant masterpiece “as relevant as ‘Die Blechtrommel’ by Günter Grass” upon its release in 2010. Critics praised “Tschick” as “great fun” and a book children should buy for their parents and parents for their children.

Herrndorf’s debut “In Plüschgewittern” was released in 2002. The author killed himself in 2013. “Tschick” developed into a long seller. A movie based on the book starring Tristan Göbel and Anand Batbileg hit the screens last year.

By Wolfgang Herrndorf
Published by rororo (www.rowohlt.de)

Seven decades of Der Spiegel

Despite a slump in sales and wrangles between its editors and online team, Der Spiegel still is Germany’s most relevant magazine. Now the weekly teamed up with publishing house DVA to create a 500-page tome celebrating its 70th anniversary.

In its foreword, Klaus Brinkbäumer mentions a night in Chicago as one of the most memorable experiences of his career as a journalist. The current editor in chief was among Barack Obama supporters awaiting the presidential election result. Brinkbäumer also writes about the complex changes in society ever since – from fears concerning racism to Donald Trump’s tendency to lash out at opponents on Twitter.

Der Spiegel managed to compensate its weakness in sales by becoming one of the country’s most important online news platforms. However, this book focuses on milestones in print – crucial articles; photographs taken during interviews with Billy Wilder, Boris Becker, Bill Clinton and many more; all the covers showing Fidel Castro, Marlene Dietrich, Joschka Fischer in sneakers among others.

It has to be seen whether Der Spiegel can handle the growing pressure created by rival publications and the soaring amount of well-researched information which can be found online for free. Regardless of these challenges, “70. DER SPIEGEL 1947–2017” is a beautifully crafted collection demonstrating the power of high quality journalism.

70. DER SPIEGEL 1947–2017
By Klaus Brinkbäumer, Hauke Janssen and others
Published by DVA (www.dva.de)

The Knickerbocker comeback

The author of the famous Knickerbocker-Bande series has revealed why he decided to write another book about the teenage detectives 20 years on.

“I’ve been thinking about this for six or seven years. Then I received enormously positive feedback on Facebook, so I decided to give it a go,” Thomas Brezina told news magazine profil.

Throughout the years, the London-based writer’s books have found ardent admirers all over the world. Brezina, 54, has sold more than 40 million copies. “Nine of 10 ideas are getting dismissed again,” he explained, adding that some concepts were being considered for years before a decision could be made.

The books about the Knickerbocker-Bande consisting of Lilo, Axel, Dominik and Poppi are Brezina’s most celebrated publications. Each and every book of the series proves Brezina’s unique capability as a writer of crime novels for teenagers. His books are terribly moving and thrilling while saving the greatest surprise until the end.

Despite his outstanding commercial success, Brezina has rarely had a good press. Recently he also earned mixed reactions for posting feel good photo stories on Instagram. But Brezina does not care. He told profil: “You know why I’m on Instagram? I just couldn’t stand hearing about all those incredible statements by Donald Trump. Some kind of positive counteraction was needed.”

Die Knickerbocker-Bande: Alte Geister ruhen unsanft
By Thomas Brezina
Published by Ecowin (www.ecowin.at)

Parrots & propaganda

Protection of the environment, political propaganda and the exploitation of natural resources and workforce are the essential topics of a new exhibition.

“Naturgeschichten. Spuren des Politischen” (Natural Histories. Traces of the Political) is now on display at the Museum of Modern Art (MUMOK) in Vienna, one of Austria’s most important institutions for contemporary art.

The exhibit features photographs, drawings paintings, multimedia installations and even caged live parrots. How have political movements taken advantage of the beauty of nature? Is there a connection between pollution of the environment and an increasing lack of respect and tolerance in our society? Visitors of the exhibition – which stretches over three floors – are confronted with these and various other controversial questions concerning society and nature.

>> http://www.mumok.at

French & facts

Helpful instructions concerning tricky grammar such as imparfait and subjonctif as well as a rich variety in modern conversation training is the formula of success of this new course book. “On y va!” works as textbook for schools and language courses but also for individuals interested in expanding their French skills. On more than 220 illustrated pages, Nicole Laudut and Catherine Patte-Möllmann created a convincing mixture of topics including debates about national stereotypes and urban lifestyle vs. the peace and quiet on the countryside. “On y va!” also features two CDs packed with listening exercises. This publication is part of Hueber’s immense selection of language learning books and games for all levels and age groups.

On y va! Der Französischkurs. Lehr- und Arbeitsbuch B1
By Nicole Laudut & Catherine Patte-Möllmann
Published by Hueber (www.hueber.de)

Why are there no cleaners on the payroll of many schools in Japan? Which pop star got divorced just two days after getting married during a boozy night out? How many visitors to a very special museum in Hamburg fainted within a year? And why should authorities responsible for New Zealand’s 90-Mile Beach opt for a name change? These and 361 more obscure facts about science, politics, sports, art and celebrities are disclosed by Heyne’s latest calendar. “Neon Unnützes Wissen ‘18” features news, statistics and figures from all over the world. Heyne has previously published a number of top-selling collections of funny pie charts “Was wir tun, wenn der Chef reinkommt. Die Welt in überwiegend lustigen Grafiken”, hilariously erroneous headlines “Bauchchirurg schneidet hervorragend ab” and dumb quotes by footballers “Ich sag nur ein Wort: Vielen Dank!”.

Neon Unnützes Wissen ‘18
By Ernst Dahlke & Christoph Koch
Published by Heyne Ludwig (www.heyne.de)

Tyrol between tradition & trends

Skiing, hiking, delicious food and outstanding hotels – spending time in Tyrol can be an invaluable experience without a doubt. However, the province’s nature and resources are at risk due to the enormous number of holidaymakers.

Bernd Schuchter does not shy away from underlining what has gone wrong. “Gebrauchsanweisung für Tirol” describes the economically positive effects of tourism but also warns from exaggerations.

The western region is on top as far as overnight stays in Austria are concerned, followed by Salzburg and Vienna. Apart from urgent 21st century issues, Schuchter tells Tyrol’s history, from the myth of Andreas Hofer – which is still relevant and potentially controversial if approached inappropriately – to the delicate subject of South Tyrol.

The author also informs about local residents’ passion for physically taxing outdoor activities, their self-confidence, stubbornness and patriotism as well as praised aspects like various creative touristic innovations, the excellent quality of Tyrolean tap water and culinary pleasures such as dumplings and schnapps.

Gebrauchsanweisung für Tirol
By Bernd Schuchter
Published by Piper (www.piper.de)

Russia today

Which is the best way to discover a country and getting in touch with local residents without ending up being haunted by cultural prejudices and national stereotypes?

Couchsurfing may be an option. Stephan Orth, a young German journalist, decided to visit Iran using this method. His book on the trip, “Couchsurfing im Iran. Meine Reise hinter verschlossene Türen” was a commercial success. Now the author of “Opas Eisberg. Auf Spurensuche durch Grönland” picked Russia as a follow-up destination.

Orth tried to find out why Vladimir Putin is revered as a hero who must be admired for his with intellect and energy by so many. In his 10-week cross-country journey including stays in Moscow, Krasnoyarsk, Grozny and Vladivostok, Orth attempted to discover the goals and principles of Russia’s young generation. His book is an exemplary counterpart towards popular misconceptions.

“Couchsurfing in Russland. Wie ich fast zum Putin-Versteher wurde” – which features around 90 photographs – could contribute a lot to a better understanding. The same applies to Russland verstehen. “Der Kampf um die Ukraine und die Arroganz des Westens” by Gabriele Krone-Schmalz. In her book, the former reporter for German broadcasting corporation ARD criticises western leaders for not cooperating with Putin when he, according to the author, proposed the start of a constructive partnership after becoming Russian prime minister. Krone-Schmalz also hits out at NATO for its Eastern European expansion.

Couchsurfing in Russland. Wie ich fast zum Putin-Versteher wurde
By Stephan Orth
Published by Malik (www.malik.de)

Pfeifer & Frank

A young Austrian writer has released a historical narration. “Violante” by Judith Nika Pfeifer is the next in a series of acclaimed novels by published by Czernin. Pfeifer, the author of several essays and poems, has been part of reading events in different cities over the past years. She also created texts for literature programmes on the radio. Her publications have been translated into several languages. Born in 1975, Pfeifer is today based in Berlin and Vienna. Five years ago, she earned the Reinhard Priessnitz Award. Czernin recently also released “Gräser im Wind” by Christian Steinbacher and Sophie Reyer’s “Schildkrötentage”.

By Judith Nika Pfeifer
Published by Czernin (www.czernin-verlag.com)

Arno Frank’s debut novel has been met with unanimous acclaim. Critics have praised “So, und jetzt kommst du” as “heartbreaking” and a “true jewel in contemporary literature” which manages to create a balance between comical parts and a sense of seriousness. A Süddeutsche Zeitung reviewer even compared the 350-page publication with Wolfgang Herrndorf’s celebrated novel “Tschick”. Frank’s book features significant autobiographical elements. Born in Kaiserslautern in 1971, Frank today works as freelance author. Spiegel Online, taz and other respected publications have released his articles.

So, und jetzt kommst du
By Arno Frank
Published by Tropen (www.tropen-verlag.de)

Decisive duel as league nears finishing line

Two rounds are still to play before the Austrian Bundesliga takes a nap.

The winter break is nearing but the teams are determined to garner as many points as possible in the remaining fixtures.

Rapid are warned as they face Mattersburg (Saturday, 4pm), a dramatically undervalued team. At the start of the season, the Burgenland club managed to achieve a 2-2 draw in Vienna after being 0-2 down. Rapid recently disappointed their fans as they failed to beat struggling Wolfsberger AC (0-0). Mattersburg did not pocket just one but three points last weekend. Thanks to Markus Pink’s goal, Gerald Baumgartner’s team defeated LASK Linz.

Rapid are apparently looking for a new striker to up their firing power. According to reports, one player may join the squad in winter while Joelinton and Giorgi Kwilitaia are under intensified pressure to do better on the pitch than in recent weeks. However, a massive spending splurge is not expected in the coming weeks. Tough decisions on where the axe will fall are more likely to be made at the end of the season in summer 2018.

Rapid are doomed to win in front of their loyal and numerous supporters to retain confidence in their abilities to keep challenging Red Bull Salzburg and Sturm Graz. The game is enormously important for Mattersburg too as the team need to prove that they are able to achieve something away from home.

The Bundesliga after 18 of 36 rounds:

Red Bull Salzburg, 41 points
Sturm Graz, 41
SK Rapid, 30
Admira, 28
FK Austria, 23
LASK, 23
Altach, 22
Mattersburg, 17
WAC, 15
St. Pölten, 7

>> http://www.skrapid.at

>> http://www.svm.at