Thursday, 30 January 2014

Eye-Feasting Season

Fans of German books! Tonight's the night you get to feast your eyes on beautiful, intelligent people! Start with my lovely friend Tess Lewis, who is curating this year's Festival Neue Literatur in New York and stars in her own video. And she's very cleverly picked only attractive people to present their writing - from Austria, Switzerland and Germany and from the USA - at the festival: Milena Michiko Flašar (Austria), Olga Grjasnowa (Germany), Maja Haderlap (Austria), Abbas Khider (Germany), Melinda Nadj Abonji (Switzerland), and Richard Weihe (Switzerland) plus U.S. authors Monique Truong and Keith Gessen. Go along! Drool!

If you're not actually in New York in February, there's still hope for you. The Chemnitz bookshop Lessing und Kompanie has the world's most beautiful Tumblr. According to the trade mag Börsenblatt they invested a big fat €3500 in an all-day session with a professional photographer taking shots of 127 of their customers in the shop, with their favourite books. My friends and I have been perving over the pictures for a week or so now. This is how internet dating should actually work. Actually attractive photos, no stupid self-descriptions, and don't you think you can tell so much about someone by their favourite book? Whether it's been read hundreds of times over, how they hold it, what kind of book it is... One friend likes the Döblin fan, I prefer the Joycean, another loves the idea of a man whose favourite book is about Italian food. Honestly, I could look at it for hours. I probably will.

Not quite as telefantastic but still amusing is a new German ad campaign for, erm, reading. Various TV personalities you may not have heard of make some interesting statements about what reading can do for you. Not to be taken too literally, I suspect, especially the claim that "reading makes you fit". No, it really doesn't. I do like "reading makes you bright" though, and not only because I used to have a bit of a crush on Steffen Hallaschka when he was on 100 Grad. It was the nineties. We all looked like that.