Thursday, 30 April 2009

Karl May's Boots Are Made for Walking

I have another passion in life aside from German books, and that is walking. And now the German health ministry has got together with the country's libraries and booksellers to launch a "more walking" campaign by the name of "lesen bewegt" (reading moves you). As anyone who's tried it will know, though, it's very difficult to walk and read at the same time, especially in a busy city. So how does the whole thing work?

Bookstores and libraries are organising all sorts of weird and wonderful events, with nature walks to the library for children, walking tours on the trail of famous writers, and readings of famous literary walks. And booksellers are hoping to call attention to all those fitness books loitering inert on their shelves through the campaign too.

What I like best though is the posters and other advertising material showing literary legs. Check out Karl May's crotch-high leather boots and studded rifle, or Agatha Christie's matronly ankles and sensible shoes. Or even Thomas Mann's dapper slacks and spats in bookmark form.

I'm not sure whether the campaign will get readers walking - or walkers reading, for that matter - but it's certainly more appealing than one of the others on the same website: taking a brisk walk with the health minister herself under the pithy title Ulla Schmidt geht mit.

1 comment:

biblioasis said...


My name is Dan Wells, publisher at Biblioasis, a Canadian literary press. Sorry to contact you in this fashion, but I couldn't find an email. Chad Post suggested I get in touch re. a book we're releasing in english, from the German: Hans Eichner's Kahn & Engelmann. Any chance I could get you some info and/or a book?

I can be reached at