Must add to my ‘must read’ pile

Paul Wilson favorably reviews Orderly and Humane: The Expulsion fo the Germans after the Second World War by R.M. Douglas. Given my family’s history, this will jump to the top of my ‘must read’ pile:

  • “From May 1945 until well into 1947 and often beyond, millions more German residents of Czechoslovakia, Poland and Hungary … were stipped of their citizenship and their properties, and driven from their homelands, on foot or by cattle car, with no more than what they could carry, to the occupied zones of a devasted Germany.”


Recollected Reading 2012

Tamar Adler – An Everlasting Meal

Friedrich Ani –

1. Süden und die Schlüsselkinder.

2. Süden und der Mann im langen schwarzen Mantel.

Ace Atkins

1. Lullaby – a Spenser novel

2. The Lost Ones

3. Crossroad Blues

Black Book of Communism

Suzanne Collins

1. Hunger Games

2. Catching Fire

3. Mockingjay

John Gierach – Sex, Death, and Fly Fishing

Gabrielle Hamilton – Blood, Bones, and Butter

Jim Harrison (rereads)

1. The Great Leader

2. Songs of Unreason – poems

3. The English Major

Stephen Hunter

1. Soft Target

2. Time to Hunt

Tony Judt with Timothy Snyder – Rethinking the Twentieth Century

Robert Parker –

1. Edenville Owls

2. Chance

3. Mortal Stakes

4. Early Autumn

5. Small Vices

6. Paper Doll

7. Potshot

8. Sudden Mischief

W.G. Sebald – Vertigo

L. Neil Smith – Sweeter than Wine

In Pursuit of Spenser – Essays on Robert Parker’s Spenser

Great Books Series:

1. Rousseau’s – Social Contract

2. Adam Smith – Theory of Moral Sentiments

3, The Eumenides

Wislawa Szymborska – Poetry: Possibilities

This past year has seen the passing of several of my favorite writers. The latest is the poet, Wislava Szymborska, who died earlier this month.

Here is one of her poems:


I prefer movies.
I prefer cats.
I prefer the oaks along the Warta.
I prefer Dickens to Dostoyevsky.
I prefer myself liking people
to myself loving mankind.
I prefer keeping a needle and thread on hand, just in case.
I prefer the color green.
I prefer not to maintain
that reason is to blame for everything.
I prefer exceptions.
I prefer to leave early.
I prefer talking to doctors about something else.
I prefer the old fine-lined illustrations.
I prefer the absurdity of writing poems
to the absurdity of not writing poems.
I prefer, where love’s concerned, nonspecific anniversaries
that can be celebrated every day.
I prefer moralists
who promise me nothing.
I prefer cunning kindness to the over-trustful kind.
I prefer the earth in civvies.
I prefer conquered to conquering countries.
I prefer having some reservations.
I prefer the hell of chaos to the hell of order.
I prefer Grimms’ fairy tales to the newspapers’ front pages.
I prefer leaves without flowers to flowers without leaves.
I prefer dogs with uncropped tails.
I prefer light eyes, since mine are dark.
I prefer desk drawers.
I prefer many things that I haven’t mentioned here
to many things I’ve also left unsaid.
I prefer zeroes on the loose
to those lined up behind a cipher.
I prefer the time of insects to the time of stars.
I prefer to knock on wood.
I prefer not to ask how much longer and when.
I prefer keeping in mind even the possibility
that existence has its own reason for being.

via: Wislawa Szymborska – Poetry: Possibilities.

German Literature Month

Thinking about participating in German Literature Month?  Check out Love German Books for details. My reading list for the month:

German Literature:  Sunset, by Klaus Modick

Crime Fiction: Gottes Tochter, by Friedrich Ani

From Austria and Switzerland:  Der kurze Brief zum langen Abschied, by Peter Handke

German Classics: Erfolg, by Lion Feuchtwanger or Lausbubengeschichten by Ludwig Thoma

Update: I forgot to mention that the folks responsible for German Literature month are Lizzy’s Literary Life and Beauty is a Sleeping Cat. You should check out their blogs for more info, not to mention great suggestions on what to read.

More Harrison

William Hastings, over at the Industrial Worker Book Review, has written one of the best reviews of a Jim Harrison book I have ever read. As a friend noted on Twitter, “It was well written, without trying to outdo the subject matter.” After reading the review, I hustled over to 2 different bookstores (one a Barnes & Noble), but neither one had it. I ended up ordering it online. It’s times like this that I miss my local Borders store – based on past experiences with buying Harrison’s work from them, they would have had it on the shelf already.