Sedaris at Literaturhaus

David Sedaris has been tickling my funny bone since I first heard him read from the SantaLand Diaries on NPR. The man is brilliant, and even if we listeners (or readers, of course!) are basically witnessing his life-long self-therapy, I simply can’t imagine anyone more enjoyable to support in this way 😉 … If you, too, want to be a shrink-for-a-day, come along to the Literaturhaus in Munich on Monday, November 10th, 8pm and laugh away your own neuroses.

Schöner wird’s nicht
Lesung mit David Sedaris und Gerd Köster
Veranstalter: Blessing Verlag, Stiftung Literaturhaus
Eintritt: Euro 10.- / 8.-
Lucy, kisses to you for organizing tickets 🙂

Sedaris on style for men

For those of you who find Sedaris’s English too hard to follow, I warmly recommend the translations by wonderful Harry Rowohlt (my favorite German translator), some of which are contained in his bilingual CD with the original English texts and Rowohlt’s translation, The Best of Harry Rowohlt. (The CD was a tip from Rod, thank you!)


Norman Silver: in the old old days
(from Age, Sex, Location, Colchester: tXt cafe, 2006)

in the old old days
b4 there were mobile fones
how cud a boy eva meet
a person of the oppsite gender

& even if they cud get acquainted
wivout a mobile fone
how cud they ch@
each uvver up

& even if they cud natter
wivout a mobile fone
how cud they stay in touch
if they were in diffrent classes

& even if they could communic8
wivout a mobile fone
how cud they flirt
or get 2 kno each uvver

& even if they cud get close
wivout a mobile fone
how cud they say gudnight

Norman Silver: txt commandments

1. u shall luv ur mobil fone with all ur hart
2. u & ur fone shall neva be             apart
3. u shall nt lust aftr ur neibrs fone nor thiev
4. u shall b prepard @ all times 2 tXt & 2 recv
5. u shall use LOL & othr acronyms in conversatns
6. u shall be zappy with ur ast*r*sks & exc!matns!!
7. u shall abbrevi8 & rite words like theyr sed
8. u shall nt speak 2 sum1 face2face if u cn msg em insted
9. u shall nt shout with capitls XEPT IN DIRE EMERGNCY +
10. u shall nt consult a ninglish dictnry

Poetry quoted by David Crystal in
Txtng. The Gr8 Db8, Oxford University Press 2008

David Crystal, linguistics professor, writes: “Texting has added a new dimension to language use, indeed, but its long-term impact on the already existing varieties of language is likely to be negligible. It is not a bad thing.” My favorite lines from this book are taken from a poem by Julia Bird:

it splits my @oms
wen he :-)s @ me.

Buy this book! And read more about it in November @Spotlight.

The truth

wallace-mccainSunday was election day here in Bavaria. There are a lot of people who think that this state doesn‘t have a democracy, since it‘s been ruled by the same party for so long that public servants are not seen to be serving anyone but themselves. …
I’ve been thinking about what makes democracy tick as I read a book by David Foster Wallace, the most brilliant writer of my generation in many ways, who killed himself on September 12th, losing his 20-year fight against depression. This book is called „McCain’s Promise“, and it’s about what makes people care enough to get involved in politics. According to Wallace, it comes down to straight talk. Continue reading The truth

9/11: The falling man

fallingmanI’ve just finished Don DeLillo’s “Falling Man”, an alternately moving and bleak description of relationships after the attacks on the Twin Towers, focussing on a troubled marriage. When Lianne sees her estranged husband Keith, a survivor of Tower 1, come in the door covered in blood and helps him clean up, she realizes that most of the blood on him is from other people. The crisis brings the two of them together again briefly. As victims, they are busy healing and helping and focussing on each other. But then, as the story unfolds, the marriage falls apart again as they get on with their lives. A parallel storyline focusses on the making of one of the terrorists, from his first flirt with the extremists to his death in flames. He, too, is trying to find his – troubled – way. DeLillo’s message, in simple terms, seems to be that we cannot escape our group identity in our attempt to give our lives value. We work with what we have. That’s what makes us all a part of humanity. A very liberal message, one of the reasons New York is home to people from all over the world. Listen to DeLillo read a passage from his novel:

Continue reading 9/11: The falling man

Elisabeth Gilbert: Stern Men

gilbertBefore I set off for Croatia and then Drummond Island, I’d like to leave you with another reading tip. “Stern Men” is a first novel by Elisabeth Gilbert. Her heroine is an independent, smart and plucky 19 year-old girl called Ruth who fritters away the summer on a remote island populated by oddball lobstermen who are feuding with the lobstermen on a second island. Ruth is back after four years of boarding school, and in fact the island of her childhood is too small for her. She needs a job, and a lover would be nice, too. Continue reading Elisabeth Gilbert: Stern Men

Khaled Hosseini: A Thousand Splendid Suns

a-thousand-splendid-sunsWhen I first opened this book and started reading in the middle, there was so much brutality that I thought, no, there is no way I’m going to read this. But then I started properly at the beginning, and I fell in love with it from page to page. It’s this marvellous type of book that’s like a dream and pulls you in, because it’s got this old way of storytelling that comes from the Orient, you know: that old tradition that had Scheherazade telling stories that kept her king interested and her alive for the 1001 nights.

Continue reading Khaled Hosseini: A Thousand Splendid Suns