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)