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Aufstand der Fischer von St. Barbara by Anna Seghers

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy

The Black Book by Orhan Pamuk

Die Gläsernen Ringe by Luise Rinser

A Brief History Of Time: From Big Bang To Black Holes by Stephen Hawking

The Gospel According to Jesus Christ by José Saramago

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Member: MeisterPfriem

CollectionsYour library (298), Read but unowned (44), All collections (341)

Reviews321 reviews

Tags20th Century (167), fiction (85), 19th Century (73), Zeitgeschichte (55), *schön gebunden (47), *z&l (45), autobiographical (44), literature: Russian (33), 21st Century (27), German literature 1945-1989 (24) — see all tags

MediaNot set (11), Book (320), Paper Book (282), Audiobook (2), Sound Recording (1), Streaming audio (1), Video Recording (4), DVD (3), Streaming video (1), Other (1), Multimedia (4), film (3)

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Recommendations47 recommendations

About meBooks: I can’t imagine living without them but, at times, it seems to me that they demand too much. When I feel in danger of being suffocated I get my own back ….

If I find a book that draws my attention, mostly through the content and writing of course, but it could also be the binding, the print, an inscription or a note left by a previous owner…, this book may then join others on shelves or in one of the piles that gather on the floor. Sometimes I end up with a book written in a language I can’t read.

Do I really want to spend the time to catalogue them? I ask myself: Is it worth it this daunting and never-ending task? … I decide to list only those books which I am reading or, at least, engaged with.

As to grading:
is for me the watershed. Anything below is usually not worth spending any time on; I abandon any book when I loose hope of finding any merit. These are candidates for discarding and may not be listed here.
5* I assign to non-fiction if the subject fascinates me and I cannot find any fault with the way the author(s) present the issue/subject in question. To fiction I give 5* if I love the work, as simple as this.

I am reluctant to judge fiction in translation. A negative judgement relying on a translation can go horribly wrong: one such example I discuss in detail here:
Rating classical works of world-literature says more about yourself than the work. Hence the average ratings of such works are of some interest: they give some indication to what extend e.g. Dante or Boccaccio still speaks to their contemporary readers – keeping in mind that this is a self-selected group after all and not at all “the average reader”.

Design & binding: I tagged some books as of *exemplary design & binding . This of course refers only to my copy (sometimes not even to the entire edition) but it should be clear from the cover image and review to which edition I refer. I use this tag sparingly and the criteria are very restrictive: gatherings need to be sewn, not glued - which excludes paperbacks - and preferably adorned with head- and tail-bands; in my view, the dust-jacket forms part of the design and I usually do not thus tag the book if it is lost or not of the very highest standard judged in relation to the work. Once awhile exceptions are allowed.

The now almost ubiquitous bar-code field on the back-cover disqualifies practically all present editions (unless it is well integrated or inconspicuous and the book’s design & binding is otherwise exemplary, for example here: )
And any design worth its name is destroyed by the present trend – emanating from the U.S. and U.K. and spreading - to subject the cover to more and more screaming advertisement: the book has become just another object for making money. As Adorno writes: “In ihrem angedrehten Licht erstrahlt der Reklamecharakter der Kultur.“ (Min. Mor., 26)

Although not thus tagged, some paperback-series deserve praise for their outstanding design: edition suhrkamp, insel taschenbuch, …

Bücher: ich möchte nicht ohne sie leben, doch manchmal bedrängt mich auch ihre physische Anwesenheit. Wenn mich ihr stummer Vorwurf: lies mich doch endlich! zu sehr belasted, habe ich mich auch schon mal an ihnen gerächt ...

Entdecke ich ein Buch, das mich im Thema und der Sprache fesselt oder mir vielleicht nur durch den Einband, den Druck, eine Inschrift oder durch ein Zettelchen eines früheren Besitzers auffällt, dann kann ich dem selten widerstehen; dieses Buch bleibt dann mit den anderen wo immer sie sich hinverirren, in den Regalen oder in Stapeln, die sich auf Schränken, Tischen oder auf dem Boden ansammeln. So komme ich auch zu einigen, deren Sprache mir unbekannt ist.

Ich frage mich: Warum will ich mir die endlose Arbeit machen sie zu katalogisieren? Ich denke, ich werde hier nur die Bücher, mit denen ich mich gerade beschäftige, vorstellen.


Favorite authorsSvetlana Alexievich, Isaac Babel, Charles Baudelaire, Georg Büchner, Samuel Beckett, Jorge Luis Borges, Anton Chekhov, J. M. Coetzee, Denis Diderot, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Gustave Flaubert, Sigmund Freud, Maxim Gorky, Peter Handke, Heinrich Heine, Bohumil Hrabal, Franz Kafka, George Konrad, Ágota Kristóf, Thomas Mann, Michel de Montaigne, Robert Musil, Gérard de Nerval, Jean Paul, Fernando Pessoa, Marcel Proust, Marquis de Sade, José Saramago, Marjane Satrapi, W. G. Sebald, William Shakespeare, Laurence Sterne, Andrei Tarkovsky, Robert Walser, Stefan Zweig (Shared favorites)

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URLs /profile/MeisterPfriem (profile)
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Member sinceApr 1, 2010

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