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German reading group!

  Tags: Book Club | Reading | German
 Language Learning Forum : Books, Literature & Reading Post Reply
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patrickwilken
Senior Member
Germany
radiant-flux.net
Joined 2673 days ago

1546 posts - 3200 votes 
Studies: German

 
 Message 65 of 76
19 April 2013 at 4:12pm | IP Logged 
I would be interested in joining in some sort of intermediate German reading group if people are interested.

I am at B1 in German.

I am probably not advanced enough for some of the suggestions. I would love to read Berlin Alexanderplatz, for instance, but would prefer to build up my level a bit before going there.

So far I have read, four books:

The first, 'f**king Berlin' by Sonia Rossi (2008), is an Italian student's account of student life at Humboldt University by day and prostitution at night in Berlin. Not salacious at all, and with a look at a side of life Berlin that I wasn't really that aware of. Lots of accounts of late nights in Kneipen in Wedding, relationships that are doomed to failure etc. The book is relatively short 213 pages, and available electronically.

After that I read the three Hunger Games books. The level is not bad, and the book is written largely in the present tense.

After finishing these four I looked around for something else to read, and ended up starting the Harry Potter books. I had been avoiding them because I never really liked the films, but actually the first book (which I am half way through) is quite engaging. The level is also quite easy (I think it's a bit easier to read that the Hunger Game Trilogy) and this is the first I have found that I could read extensively if I wanted to.

I have also read the graphic novel, 'Berlin: Steinerne Stadt' (2003) by Jason Lutes. 213pp. This is the first in a trilogy of books set in Berlin set between 1928-1933. The first deals with events up to the May Day massacre of 1929. Excellent book, though parts are written in Berliner idiom, which can be a bit off putting when your language skills are not that advanced. The story and text are excellent though. I would definitely recommend the first two books in the trilogy (the third is yet to be published).

I am reading all my books on a Kindle keyboard, with the Collins German-English dictionary installed, which makes reading relatively painless; with the Kindle I can intensively read at extensive speed if that makes sense.




Edited by patrickwilken on 19 April 2013 at 4:15pm

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geoffw
Triglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 2828 days ago

1134 posts - 1865 votes 
Speaks: English*, German, Yiddish
Studies: Modern Hebrew, French, Dutch, Italian, Russian

 
 Message 66 of 76
19 April 2013 at 4:21pm | IP Logged 
mahasiswa wrote:
I wouldn't mind so much joining in. I'm writing my third-year German exam today, German
Lit. of the 20
and 21st century. I had to read short stories and other pieces of literature by Hesse, Schnitzler, Kafka,
Dada, Thomas Mann, Brecht, Celan, Friedrich Dürrenmatt, Plenzdorf, Ingeborg Bachmann, Elias Canetti,
Emine Sevgi Özdamar and Bernhard Schlink. Ich lese sehr gerne auf Deutsch!

Dailylit looks great, by the way!


Have you given Der Steppenwolf a try? I read it a few months back for the first time and it was an experience not to
be missed. I hope to read it again at some point. Not the easiest read at times, be warned.
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patrickwilken
Senior Member
Germany
radiant-flux.net
Joined 2673 days ago

1546 posts - 3200 votes 
Studies: German

 
 Message 67 of 76
19 April 2013 at 4:29pm | IP Logged 
geoffw wrote:

Have you given Der Steppenwolf a try? I read it a few months back for the first time and it was an experience not to
be missed. I hope to read it again at some point. Not the easiest read at times, be warned.


I have heard that Hesse is relatively easy to read compared to some other German authors. Do you know if Steppenwolf is available for free? I found a free electronic version of Siddhartha a while ago, which I was thinking of reading next, if it's not too hard.



Edited by patrickwilken on 19 April 2013 at 4:29pm

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geoffw
Triglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 2828 days ago

1134 posts - 1865 votes 
Speaks: English*, German, Yiddish
Studies: Modern Hebrew, French, Dutch, Italian, Russian

 
 Message 68 of 76
19 April 2013 at 4:34pm | IP Logged 
patrickwilken wrote:


I have heard that Hesse is relatively easy to read compared to some other German authors. Do you know if
Steppenwolf is available for free? I found a free electronic version of Siddhartha a while ago, which I was thinking of
reading next, if it's not too hard.



For some reason it does not appear to be, which I found quite confusing. I found a used paperback copy from
amazon.com for next to nothing. I'm sure you could find a copy in Germany from a used bookstore or local library?

If you haven't yet read Siddhartha, either, I think Steppenwolf was more of a mind trip, but Siddhartha may have
been an easier read.
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patrickwilken
Senior Member
Germany
radiant-flux.net
Joined 2673 days ago

1546 posts - 3200 votes 
Studies: German

 
 Message 69 of 76
19 April 2013 at 4:44pm | IP Logged 
geoffw wrote:

For some reason it does not appear to be, which I found quite confusing. I found a used paperback copy from
amazon.com for next to nothing. I'm sure you could find a copy in Germany from a used bookstore or local library?

If you haven't yet read Siddhartha, either, I think Steppenwolf was more of a mind trip, but Siddhartha may have
been an easier read.


I found Knupp and Siddhartha for free online. I loved reading Hesse in English translation years ago, and was looking forward to reading him in the original, though my strategy has been to avoid really good German books/movies until my German is a little better so I can really enjoy them in the original.

I am avoiding paperbacks at the moment, as I am finding electronic reading just too effective. I can really read much faster on the Kindle; the inbuilt dictionary really makes a huge difference. Though I am really looking forward to the day I can just start buying cheap paperbacks at markets here in Berlin.

I also started reading Naokos Lächeln: Nur eine Liebesgeschichte by Murakami. I read the English translation (Norwegian Wood) and of all Murakami's books it's by far the most straightforward. I found the level slightly high for me, though it's relatively straightforward. I am going to come back to it after a couple of books I think.
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mahasiswa
Pentaglot
Groupie
Canada
Joined 2572 days ago

91 posts - 142 votes 
Speaks: English*, French, Spanish, German, Malay
Studies: Arabic (Egyptian), Persian, Russian, Turkish, Mandarin, Hindi

 
 Message 70 of 76
19 April 2013 at 5:01pm | IP Logged 
I haven't read Hesse's masterpiece Steppenwolf yet. This semester we dealt with him as one of two
authors touched on in a 2-lecture week, so not very much. I heard Siddhartha is an easy read, and
though I can't validate that by my own experience yet, I never heard of Steppenwolf being easy to read!
Hesse is who Borges first started to read when he was learning to read German, determined to one day
read Schopenhauer.

We looked at Hesse's biography, read Unterm Rad, and discussed it briefly, then moved on to Arthur
Schnitzler's Andreas Thameyers letzter Brief. Unterm Rad was very direct or deutlich I found, talking
about how imaginative students got suppressed by the school system of his time.

I'm more interested in der Gegenwartsliteratur, or contemporary literature, more specifically
Migrantenliteratur, like Özdamar, Yoko Tawada and Elias Canetti (not strictly contemporary but relevant
to my interests anyways), who all deal with various linguistic themes as well as living in Germany as a
foreigner, which I intend to experience some day (soon). Their sense of poetic semantics and their
inclusion of dialogue, ideas, or even nouns from foreign languages makes for really enjoyable reading.
2 persons have voted this message useful



geoffw
Triglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 2828 days ago

1134 posts - 1865 votes 
Speaks: English*, German, Yiddish
Studies: Modern Hebrew, French, Dutch, Italian, Russian

 
 Message 71 of 76
19 April 2013 at 5:06pm | IP Logged 
mahasiswa wrote:
I heard Siddhartha is an easy read, and
though I can't validate that by my own experience yet, I never heard of Steppenwolf being easy to read!


I think that's probably right. I read Siddhartha a few years back, and Steppenwolf a few months back. I had
probably similar amounts of difficulty with both, but I believe my German reading comprehension skills/passive
vocabulary had improved dramatically in the interim.
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patrickwilken
Senior Member
Germany
radiant-flux.net
Joined 2673 days ago

1546 posts - 3200 votes 
Studies: German

 
 Message 72 of 76
19 April 2013 at 5:24pm | IP Logged 
mahasiswa wrote:

I'm more interested in der Gegenwartsliteratur, or contemporary literature, more specifically
Migrantenliteratur, like Özdamar, Yoko Tawada and Elias Canetti (not strictly contemporary but relevant
to my interests anyways), who all deal with various linguistic themes as well as living in Germany as a
foreigner, which I intend to experience some day (soon). Their sense of poetic semantics and their
inclusion of dialogue, ideas, or even nouns from foreign languages makes for really enjoyable reading.


This is exactly what I am interested in too. I would love to hear any suggestions you have, though I think your level is a bit higher than mine (B1).


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