The French version of Langenscheidt’s Sprachkalender series is a reliable companion through the year with its appealing mix of excellent exercises, mouth-watering recipes, useful dialogues and interesting articles on customs and traditions.
Find out more about the origin of the close political ties between Germany and France, the latter country’s landmark 19th century waste management reform and the history of the delicious Reblochon cheese.
Quotes by celebrated authors and philosophers like Georges Courteline and Gustave Flaubert are not the calendar’s centrepiece but a welcome change before tricky grammar tasks are being put on your agenda the following day.
Langenscheidt Sprachkalender 2021 Französisch By Katalin Golya & Fabienne Schmaus Published by Langenscheidt (www.langenscheidt.com)
Going for a walk has become increasingly popular during the various Covid-19 lockdowns. Can “Besser gehen in Wien” be more than just another collection of short stories about different routes for strolls through the Austrian capital? It certainly can.
Christian Seiler is an author that wears his heart on his sleeve. He does not hesitate when it comes to making aware of architectural controversies and urban planning missteps. Seiler – arguably one of Austria’s most versatile writers who can look back on a string of acclaimed books and innovative media projects – is not mired in nostalgia. Throughout the 89 chapters of “Besser gehen in Wien”, he encourages readers to think flexibly, take a second look and opt for alternative directions.
Seiler’s foreword comes with a warning regarding his ignorance of Vienna’s famous sights since the book is not about Burgtheater, Karlskirche and Rathaus. The author names areas with room for improvement and deplores missed opportunities when it comes to restructuring certain regions.
“Besser gehen in Wien” always underlines the positive aspects, for example on Gumpendorfer Straße, a street in the sixth district where motorists keep ignoring the speed limit. Seiler focuses on its rich variety of shops without turning a blind eye to the yet unsolved traffic issue.
Find out with “Besser gehen in Wien” which gallery just outside Vienna’s busy Gürtel road is “cool and elegant” and why the city’s new main station is an “ungenerous place” and a “planning mess”. With its many hints and advices, this book offers totally new perspectives on a city we thought we knew so well.
Besser gehen in Wien. 89 Spaziergänge ins Innere der schönsten Stadt der Welt By Christian Seiler Published by CSV (www.csv.at)
Having just published my 1000th post, I’d like to say thank YOU, dear reader. Next year marks the 10th anniversary of this blog and I’m really looking forward to everything that lies ahead of us. Wishing you all the best. Take care and stay safe.
Harley-Davidson is so much more than just a motorcycle manufacturer.
“111 Harley-Stories, die man kennen muss” demonstrates how the company jostled its way for success – from its first product, a three horsepower bike in 1901 to the retirement of designer and grandson of co-founder William G. Davidson, Willie G. Davidson, at the age of 78 in 2012. “111 Harley-Stories, die man kennen muss” holds numerous anecdotes such as the one about the brand’s innovative Project Nova Series which was launched in 1976, a difficult period for the firm full of uncertainties and aggravated competition. On 300 pages, many other legendary models earn the recognition they deserve.
First and foremost, “111 Harley-Stories, die man kennen muss” is a well-crafted photo book which, thanks to the rich variety of stories and anecdotes, will give motorcycling enthusiasts a profound thrill.
111 Harley-Stories, die man kennen muss By Dirk Mangartz Published by Emons (www.emons-verlag.de)
A little bit of nostalgia can’t do any harm, especially in these difficult times. The latest book by Beppo Beyerl and Thomas Hofmann is a magnificent journey back in time.
Richly illustrated and based on numerous newspaper articles, official documents, postcards and ads, “Wiener Vergnügungen. Die Stadt von gestern” portrays entertainment and events in Vienna before and after World War One.
The authors describe how measures to regulate the Danube in 1870 offered new free-time opportunities. “Wiener Vergnügungen. Die Stadt von gestern” also underlines the city’s passion for music – from concerts commemorating the 100th anniversary of Franz Schubert’s death to a festival in 1928 called Sängerbundfest attended by 40,000. Especially the chapter on the spectacular success of waltz geniuses Johann Strauss and Joseph Lanner captures the festive atmosphere back in the days.
Anecdotes about activities like ice-skating, cycling and swimming add to the special appeal of “Wiener Vergnügungen. Die Stadt von gestern”.
Wiener Vergnügungen. Die Stadt von gestern By Thomas Hofmann & Beppo Beyerl Published by Styria (www.styriabooks.at)
“I’ve always been interested in the relationship between people who are in charge and those in the background,” Manfred Matzka explains regarding the intention of his latest book. “Hofräte, Einflüsterer, Spin-Doktoren” is a multi-faceted view on the political engine room.
On 250 pages, Matzka – who had positions in federal ministries and the chancellery for 35 years – portraits the most influential advisors. “Today ministry secretaries are all of almost the same age. They use similar phrases. They focus on no one else but their boss,” the author of “Die Staatskanzler. 300 Jahre Macht und Intrige am Ballhausplatz” told the Tiroler Tageszeitung.
The 15 chapters of “Hofräte, Einflüsterer, Spin-Doktoren” underline Matzka’s unmatched knowledge of procedures in Austria’s decision-making conferences throughout the centuries. From Johann Christoph von Bartenstein, the advisor to Maria Theresa and her son Joseph II., to today’s suave strategists – this book will help you understanding top-tier politics in Austria in the past 300 years.
Hofräte, Einflüsterer, Spin-Doktoren. 300 Jahre graue Eminenzen am Ballhausplatz By Manfred Matzka Published by Christian Brandstätter Verlag (www.brandstaetterverlag.com)
Kemal had it all – a beautiful girlfriend, a fast car and a lucrative contract at a top-flight Turkish football club. Influenced by the glamorous lifestyle of his teammates, Kemal finds it increasingly difficult to think straight. He breaks up with his girlfriend and suffers a serious injury wrecking his car in an illegal race.
Having seen the error of his ways, Kemal returns to Hawaii, an infamous area in the German city of Heidelberg where tensions between migrant kids and members of a fascist organisation are intensifying. Obviously there is a fine irony to the title of Cihan Acar’s compelling debut novel. “Hawaii” is the story of a young bloke trying to sort out his personal problems while there’s a riot in the streets.
Hawaii By Cihan Acar Published by Hanser Berlin (www.hanser-literaturverlage.de)
Adolf Hitler had shown every effort to manipulate his own biography. Historians have underlined the many false claims in his grotesque manifesto “Mein Kampf”. “Hitler. Prägende Jahre” is as precisely as possible when it comes to portraying the dictator’s upbringing.
Hitler’s childhood was dominated by numerous relocations, financial strain and domestic violence. Hannes Leidinger and Christian Rapp analyse the influence certain teachers might have had on the Third Reich Reichskanzler. Many theories suggested by other authors still require citable evidence, but Leidinger and Rapp never abstain from making aware of that.
Determined to carry out megalomaniac architectural concepts for regional capital Linz, the dictator later used to label himself as a misunderstood genius. Leidinger and Rapp point out that Hitler in fact struggled to make ends meet painting postcard-sized portraits of different Viennese buildings.
The chapter about the constantly changing political constellation in Upper Austria might appear excessively detailed to many readers while the recollections of August Kubizek, Hitler’s only true friend, turn the one about his Vienna years into the most fascinating one of the whole book.
Hitler. Prägende Jahre By Hannes Leidinger & Christian Rapp Published by Residenz Verlag (www.residenzverlag.at)
The difficult relationship between Russia and Europe is the subject of Hugo Portisch’s most recent book. Considering Portisch’s achievements, “Russland und wir” is a massive disappointment.
Relying on decades of experience, the award-winning author and journalist takes a look at past occurrences – from first settlement movements to the collapse of communism – to determine a solution for the near future.
Unfortunately, Portisch struggles creating a direct correlation between conflicts like the 19th century Crimean War and today’s challenges. His portrayal of a visit to Siberia back when the Soviet Union still existed take up a disproportionally large part of this 140-page publication which costs a hefty 20 Euros.
Portisch dedicates just a few pages to the communication between Vladimir Putin, Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel. Reading “Russland und wir” feels like looking at a picture hanging askew. This book is a missed opportunity.
Russland und wir. Eine Beziehung mit Geschichte und Zukunft By Hugo Portisch Published by Ecowin (www.ecowin.at)
Complex issues of astronomy, religion and philosophy are debated, but a highly unusual friendship is at the heart of Christine Wunnicke’s latest novel.
“Die Dame mit der bemalten Hand” portrays the encounter of a Persian manufacturer of astronomic instruments with a German explorer tormented by malaria on a mystic island east of Bombay. Musa al-Lahuri saves the life of the young lad from Göttingen who never really wanted to go to Asia to document nature and custom.
There have been many favourable reviews of Wunnicke’s books in recent years. This historical novel, which takes her audience back into the 18th century, is certain to spark a few more.
Die Dame mit der bemalten Hand By Christine Wunnicke Published by Berenberg (www.berenberg-verlag.de)