Despite apparently not bothering with English extracts this year, the German Book Prize is collaborating with the FAZ to open up online debate. I've mentioned the paper's Lesesaal before, and now they've set one up on the shortlist. It's been online for a good hour now, and is actually rather impressive. As long as you read German, that is.
You can watch a brief and not terribly consequential interview with the Pappa Razzi of German literature, Marcel Reich-Ranicki. You can check out the titles on the shortlist, with links to FAZ reviews. I presume there will also be samples from the texts at some point. You can join in a readers' vote. But the best bit if you ask me is the Forum.
Studded with some of my favourite star critics like Ina Hartwig and Denis Scheck, this is a series of short pieces on, you know - is it a good shortlist, what's missing, which book deserves to win and which really doesn't, and so on. Scheck slags off Uwe Tellkamp's Der Turm, claiming you could sum up the 1000 pages like the first caption in an Asterix comic: band of rebels in the GDR creates fortified village of bourgeois life in country occupied by organised communism. Oliver Vogel lists the ones that got away, including Änderunsgschneiderei Los Milagros and Marlene Streeruwitz's Kreuzungen. But the rest of the titles on his personal list are brought out by publishers other than the one he works for, so that's OK. He also mentions Christian Kracht's upcoming title, which I'm curious about too. Martin Lüdke checks out some statistics - one in a thousand German-language fiction titles makes the shortlist, etc. etc. Plus you can comment on the comments.