February 22nd, 2013

Imported Novels: Germany’s New Grim

Since my son may read this, I’ll just say “acute parental anxiety” ensued when, at seventeen, he decided to skip college and accept a brewing apprenticeship in Germany.  My anxiety stemmed not so much from his career choice as a beer artisan, which I see as a growth industry, but for his inability to speak fluent German.  I was pretty sure that Germany had never figured in an episode of Locked Up Abroad, but I knew it to be a country where ice cubes are extinct, no hot food is ever served before noon and t-shirts with cute sayings are universally banned. How would my son ever survive?

Then a spate of novels imported from Germany showed warm soda might be the least of his worries. These gritty page-turners reinvent the Grimm fairy tales – there’s nothing light and cheery here. Instead, Germany is depicted as a land where:snowwhite

Insular little villages hide pockets of gossipy, vengeful murderers -
Snow White Must Die by Nele Neuhaus

Having a tattoo can get you burned at the stake or worse -
The Hangman’s Daughter by Oliver Potzsch

Conspiracies involving the bodies of dead foreigners occur in hospitals -
The Russian Donation by Christoph Spielberg

Coroners solve crimes via chatty post-autopsy ghosts -broken glass park
Morgue Drawer Four by Jutta Profijt

Bearing an uncanny resemblance to someone who then offers you money to impersonate them can result in terrifying consequences -
The Lie by Petra Hammesfahr

Teenage immigrants live in housing projects and write essays entitled “The Story of an Idiotic, Redheaded Woman Who Would Still Be Alive if Only She Had Listened to Her Smart, Oldest Daughter” -
Broken Glass Park by Alina Bronsky


My anxiety was forever put to rest by a timely visit over the May Day holiday. Who can dislike a country where flavorful, smoked beer is placed in a little red wagon and pulled from one small village to another by groups of friends celebrating with a moving picnic? Just wish they’d believe in keeping the beverages cold…

Check out my Pinterest board for more reasons to break out of your cultural box.

What country has your favorite authors?

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November 7th, 2012

The Early Bird Catches the Book!

patron with booksMy father has the patience of a small child. Not until I could drive myself did I go to an amusement park, a sit down restaurant or the funeral of a non-immediate relative.  All involved waiting–waiting in line, waiting to be served or waiting for just the right emotional moment.  Waiting meant lost sleep and for a man who worked long hours, sacrifices had to be made.  Great-aunt Cora would just have to understand.

My queue coping skills permanently stunted, but unwilling to forgo Hersheypark for the rest of my life, I took a different approach.  If waiting was inevitable, then being early provided compensation.  First at the table meant spearing the biggest pork chop before my three siblings.  Setting the alarm a half hour early equaled hot water in the shower at college.  To this day, I enthusiastically volunteer to set the table at Easter for my mom, just so I can be first to snag a deviled egg or two.

Now Cecil County Public Library is jumping on my early arrival bandwagon.  In this case, the early bird gets to place a hold on adult books before they even arrive. Titles that are on-order will begin showing up as “on order” in the catalog starting this week, some months in advance of their appearance at any store. Place a hold on it right then and there to save your place in line.

Some titles I’ll be placing an early hold on include:

The Cassandra Project by Jack McDevitt
What if Armstrong was actually the fifth man to walk on the Moon? Did two early test flights do more than merely orbit?  This book is a conspiracy theorist’s dream come true.

Habits of the House by Fay Weldon
The only way for the Earl of Dilberne to clear his debts in 1899 Britain is to marry off his children to rich Americans. The perfect solution for those needing a Downton Abbey fix.

City of Dark Magic by Magnus Flyte
Enchanted manuscripts, time travel and a dash of romance envelope the search for Beethoven’s “Immortal Beloved”.  This read echoes Harkness’ Shadow of Night.

Notorious Nineteen by Janet Evanovich
When Stephanie just can’t seem to blend in at a recently embezzled assisted living facility, it’s up to Grandma Mazur to investigate.

Get some tips on placing on order holds with these helpful directions that include pictures.

What upcoming titles are you waiting impatiently for?

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