I grew up in a house full of books, many among them crime novels (think: Agatha Christie), but I have only come to appreciate the genre when, while living in Italy, I totally fell in love with Andrea Camilleri’s crime novels. His Sicilian police inspector Salvo Montalbano was named after the Spanish writer Manuel Vázques Montalbán, equally a writer of the so-called social crime novel. Camilleri’s stories are written in Sicilian dialect, and, while they deal in a critical way with the Berlusconi era in Italy, they also reveal a lot about Sicily, its people, and its cuisine. Salvo Montalbano is what we would call a “foodie” (but who in Italy isn’t?), and the descriptions of his meals should not be read while hungry. Continue reading
2014 marks the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War. Many events are taking place to commemorate the war that changed the world and especially Europe so fundamentally.
It is not really surprising that a number of new books have been published on the topic during the last few months, as there are still so many unanswered questions that are being researched by historians. Continue reading
The New Literature from Europe festival’s 10-year anniversary celebration will take readers on the road with 9 authors whose writing blurs national boundaries. EU passport holders are in transit, working, traveling, living and functioning easily over most of the continent, and European writers are articulating a new consciousness of this state of motion. Continue reading
We have added great new books to our holdings in the past weeks. I have picked a few of them for you to discover:
The Bone Man by Wolf Haas
At a wildly popular chicken shack in the Austrian countryside, where snooty Viennese gourmands go to indulge their secret passion for fried chicken, a gruesome discovery is made in the pile of chicken bones waiting to be fed into the basement grinder: human bones. Continue reading
I recently discovered that our friends at the Leo Baeck Institute, a research library devoted to the study of the history and culture of German-speaking Jewry, have a lot of archival material about Austrian author Joseph Roth. Their collection includes hand-written letters and manuscripts – all of them available online – which really helped to propel my fascination with this author a step further. While every once in a while a book can move me to tears, his novel Job, the story about the Jewish-orthodox Bible teacher Mendel Singer and his faith in God being put to a test, was particularly good at it. Continue reading
History with its facts and numbers can sometimes be a little abstract, but add the human element – a name and a story – and it can come alive, as Austrian writer and historian Martin Pollack demonstrates with these three great books:
The first book by Martin Pollack I came across was actually his most recent publication. In “Kaiser von Amerika – Die große Flucht aus Galizien” (Emperor of America – The big escape from Galicia) Pollack describes what it meant for emigrants to leave everything behind in Eastern Europe (the book is about the historical region Galicia in Central Europe, between today’s Poland and Ukraine) in the late 19th and early 20th century, in search of a better future in a new land: the promising United States of America. Continue reading
Please note that our Library opening hours will be reduced for the summer months of July and August. The library will be open Monday through Friday, from 10AM to 5PM. Regular hours (extended to 8PM on Tuesdays and Thursdays) will resume in September. The library will be closed on July 4th, August 15th, and September 2nd.
Still looking for a great book to read while on vacation?
I have a few suggestions for you. Continue reading
Don’t miss the U.S.- book launch of the new English translation of Nobel laureate Elfriede Jelinek’s play Her Not All Her- on/with Robert Walser [in the original: er nicht als er- zu/mit Robert Walser] on Wednesday, June 5, 2013. The award-winning translation by Damion Searls was recently published in the Cahier series by Sylph Editions in collaboration with the American University of Paris. Continue reading