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    Just finished Don Winslow "Germany"
    Last edited by Botenlauben; August 12, 2021, 10:44 AM. Reason: Corrected a typo

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      Wolfgang Herrndorf - Sand
      It starts with several strange, sometimes kinda funny episodes. I only read some chapters so far and am curious how the story will unfold. Up to now it's rather confusing but i trust the author that everything is going to connect in surprising ways.

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        I listening to the Audiobook “The Land: Swarm”, Chaos Seeds Book V by Aleron Kong. It’s like playing a video game but in a book.

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          finished:

          Transport 6: Übertransporter

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            Recently finished Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion (Hume) - A surprisingly approachable and easy read for something with so many Big Ideas. I had put it off for years because I thought it would be boring, but I really enjoyed it. Highly recommend.

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              Just finished Jörg Kastner: "Sherlock Holmes und der Schrecken von Sumatra" (Sherlock Holmes and the terror of Sumatra). A pleasant suprise: Kastner knows Conan Doyle's works very well, he refers quite often to the universe of Holmes and he adapts the style how a character like Dr. Watson might have written perfectly. Rick Boyer wrote about the same topic, looking forward to it.

              Just finished Donna Leon: "A Venetian Reckoning".
              First things first: Donna Leon is a great person. I had the pleasure to meet her once when my task as a photo-journalist was to shoot a picture of her during an interview that was conducted by an editorial journalist of the feuilleton. I completely snafued it. The batteries of my flash did not work, nothing worked indoors actually - but Donna Leon was absolutely relaxed, not aloof at all - we went outside, she played around with a dog that ran around and I made some photos that were ok. Again: great person. That's why I will give the Brunetti series another try.

              However I have difficulties with the main character, commissario Guido Brunetti which I see as one of the most pathetic and at the same time unfortunately modern characters in the universe of crime literature.
              I'd like to express my thoughts refering to three types of detectives: Philip Marlowe, the Continental op in "Red Harvest" by Dashiell Hammett and the superintendent Kostas Charitos in Petros Markaris' novels.
              If one stirs up mud one gets his hands dirty. It is inevitable.
              I see Marlowe as a kind of existentialist character, operating in an immoral and lost world who has no illusions about the state of the world, leading a life following his own code of honour, not for a second giving in to the illusion that he himself can stay morally immaculate. A character like Sisyphos as Albert Camus saw him: rolling the stone up the hill, knowing that he will fail again but as long he keeps doing that he is undefeated. The key novel for me is "The long goodbye". Everything could be fine at the end but actually it can't. For Marlowe the affair is ended when it is ended for HIM. As Frank Sinatra sang: in his way.

              The Continental Op in Hammetts "Red Harvest" solves the problem of morale insofar as he does not seem to bother at all. He has a job to do and moral issues are no part of it. Like Julius Caesar: he comes, sees and wins. The only thing he is worried about is the reprimand he might get from the agency's boss.

              Kostas Charitos finally is the petty bourgeois as superintendent who, having served under the reign of the Greek military junta as well, has neither illusions about the state of affairs in current Greece nor about how the game of power works. Constantly he has to get along through smart maneuvering but at the same time he has the work ethic trying to do his job as policeman as good as he can. He knows where he belongs to and he lacks the belief that he might change anything in the way of the world via his work. It is even a subtle anti-intellectual dig one can find in these novels, displaying a deep scepticism: Charitos' preferred leisure activities are watching television with his dearly loved wife or immersing himself in a dictionary pondering about words and its meanings while the others watch television.

              Enter Brunetti: these novels have been a tremendous success in Germany, the character is praised in his Italian-ness, of course he is morally upright and of course he lives in a corrupt state. And of course he leans towards the "dolce vita". Everything is how John Doe imagines Italy and the Italians. However it doesn't work. Brunetti wants to stir up mud but his own hands have to stay clean. The trick the author uses is to introduce other characters like e.g. a brutal retired policeman who does all the dirty work for the immaculate commissario who despises him for his violent behaviour, of course. Not subtle enough for the commissario. As he Dowager Countess in Downton Abbey would have asked: “Does it ever get cold on the moral high ground?” No, not for Brunetti. His wife, of course, is an intellectual, left wing, somebody who the German politician of the Left Party Sahra Wagenknecht has ferociously attacked recently labeling them the "Lifestyle left". It helps that there is a safety net: the family of Brunettis wife belongs to the richest of the rich of Venice. Very convenient indeed. It is much easier to dance on the intellectual and moral high wire if you know that there is a safety net - even if one spits at it, that does not make it go away. The end of the novel corresponds to its flawed main character. Everything is done to the letter, the main character knows that it will lead to another crime but, of course, a policeman works to the letter and stays immaculate. The novel says this guy is a kind of outsider in the department - I cannot see why. He is every superiors dream subordinate. Case closed, Brunetti can go home to his family (which is a disguise term for blatant egoism), empty a few bottles of wine with his super-intellectual wife, feeling well.
              Last edited by Botenlauben; August 12, 2021, 08:06 PM. Reason: Corrected a typo

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                Botenlauben interesting view of Commissario Brunetti. I admit I've read them all and as an Italian living in Germany I have only praises for the series, because it reflects so well the helplessness that Italians often feel towards "the system". But your review of the character is really interesting, next time I read one of the books I'll keep it in mind and try to see it from this point of view.

                Talking about detectives, I'm curious about your opinion of Lord Peter Wimsey?

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                  Anek Very interesting what you say about Brunetti - your view of Brunetti is more or less describing how I see Charitos. Quite interesting as well that you have the background of being an Italian - I always had the impression that - although Donna Leon is American - this Brunetti character is a combination of stereotypes that make an Italian how a German audience may picture one. Indeed most of my Italian acquaintances here that differ a lot from a Brunetti come from Sardegna and they never fail to stress that. (Actually although they may work in ordinary jobs they are kind of intellectuals with an ability to think open and freely that remind me of somebody who I have always held in the highest esteem: Umberto Eco). By the way: I am deeply indebted to professor Eco in another way as well: without his work "How to write a thesis" I would have never completed my Master's thesis. I still remember the sentence: 'More often than not something is not read because one has xerox-copied it.' Although an academic this man really had a clue how the world works . Eco, Claudio Magris et alii - the Italian intellectual life is fascinating in many ways indeed. I remember visiting the Caffé degli Specchi in Trieste once, in a weird way thinking that that might me link to a kind of European coffeehouse tradition, and standing in front of professor Magris' office door in the university in awe not daring to knock. However I would not have had anything to say anyway, so why disturb?

                  Unfortunately I am the wrongest person to say anything substantial about Lord Peter Wimsey. I have struggled my way through Sayer's "The Nine Tailors" a long while ago, along the way learning much more about church bells and change ringing than I had ever wanted to learn. Never touched a Sayers book again.

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                    mavie "Sand" seems to be a very interesting novel according to that what I found out googleing a bit. Guess I might add it to my reading list. I am curious what you will say after you will have finished it.
                    Went to Herrndorf's blog and found first of all this wonderful sentence:
                    "Fast täglich Dschungelcamp. Die Überraschung, daß man ein Dutzend Menschen casten kann, inmitten dessen Rainer Langhans der mit Abstand Vernünftigste ist."
                    ['Jungle camp' {I am a celebrity... Get me out of here} almost every day. The surprise that you can cast a dozen people, among whom Rainer Langhans is by far the most sensible.] Hilarious!

                    P.S.: Rainer Langhans was an iconic figure in the 1968 students protest movement in Germany. Since then some things he has publicly said... - one occasionally might think he has become a complete moron. Imho. Just for clarifying why I find Herrndorf's quote so funny.
                    Last edited by Botenlauben; August 12, 2021, 08:28 PM. Reason: Added content.

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                      Finished Never Let Me Go (Ishiguro) - Starts out good and gets better as it goes, I could see this growing better with time to think it over. What I liked most about the book is that it easily could have been a sleek technothriller but was instead a subtle exploration of artifice, humanity, and beauty.

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                        Finished a couple more WW2 books:

                        Zookeeper's Wife - Life in Warsaw (at the zoo specifically) during the war.
                        Auschwitz Lullaby - Life in the Auschwitz camp, specifically as related to the woman who ran the nursery there

                        Not the most uplifting stuff, but good reads. The first of these was a non-fiction that was written to seem like it was a novel, and the second was a novel that was based as much as possible on real events. I generally have a problem with the former because of the amount of filler or conjecture that they put into them while still being "non-fiction". I liked the second one more as it was written as a novel, even though the mood was a lot more sombre.

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                          Botenlauben
                          Oh no! The Nine Tailors is in my opinion the worst of Sayers' books. Second worse is Five Red Herrings. All the others are great. I'm sorry you were put off by that one. Try Unnatural Death if you want to give it another go.
                          I retire from the discussion if your friends are Umberto Eco-like. Way above my reading level!
                          Bur Triest is the best city (it's my hometown).

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                            Anek Ok, so Sayers will make it back on my reading list.

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                              mahes30
                              I am currenty reading newpaper as TIMES OF INDIA ,Hindustan Times . Also I have read magazines and also novels .

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                                finished:

                                Perry Rhodan #132: die Macht der Unheimlichen

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