Monday, October 5, 2009

All about Berlin...

I am neglecting my poor little blog lately but between visiting Regensburg, family visitors, and a sick little toddler, I don't have much time left for anything but sleeping! Hopefully I will get some pictures downloaded and more bloggy stories to come...

I didn't intend to be so involved with stories about Berlin but I came upon all of these recently quite by chance. I thought maybe some of you out there might be interested in stories about Berlin, especially post-war.

I enjoyed everything listed here and would recommend all of them with the caveat that I don't usually read historical fiction.

What I am Reading:
  1. Stasiland: True stories from behind the Berlin Wall by Anna Funder - The Australian born Anna Funder documented many strange cases that happened while living in the former GDR. I really enjoyed this and feel I have a greater understanding of some of the difficulties of everyday life under constant watch by the Stasi. Anna Funder's style is somewhat dreamlike and very compatible to her subject matter.
  2. The Luminious Life of Lilly Aphrodite by Beatrice Colin. Despite the award for "Stupidest Title which makes everyone think you still read Sweet Valley High books", this book was quite brilliant. Set in post-World War I in Berlin, it follows a girl who struggles to survive. Great character development and well researched.
  3. Mr. Norris changes Trains by Christopher Isherwood - These 2 books were supposed to be part of a larger collection called "The Berlin Stories." Published in 1935, this chronicles the author's travels in Berlin. Although fiction, he uses his own experiences to capture a good snapshot of post-war Berlin.
  4. Good-bye Berlin by Christopher Isherwood - considered among the most significant political novels of the 20th century by many, I felt I had to read this. I enjoyed both of these books for his amazing writing style and interesting characters. However, I am not sure that I follow the "greatest book of all time crowd." Worth a read - yes. Worth
What I am Watching:
  1. The Lives of Others (Des Leben der Anderen) - the 2007 Academy Award winning film for Best Foreign Language about a Stasi officer and attachment to his human subjects. We watched it in German with English subtitles (though I tried pretty successfully not to look at them). Although many people doubt the authenticity of a Stasi officer working alone so often, it was a wonderful storyline and the acting was fantastic. I was sad that it ended.
Let me know if you have any other suggestions along these lines or enjoyed something I recommended above!


Amber Liddle said...

I have gotten The Lives of Others twice from the library and never watched it. I HAVE to get it again!

I also want to get that book Stasiland, I'm very interested in the whole idea of that, I'm sure it was crazy to live there in those times.

honeypiehorse said...

Wow you're really immersed.

finom said...

Try "A Woman in Berlin," an anonymous diary by a female journalist who lived through the Russian invasion of Berlin in 1945.

Yelli said...

@ Amber- The movie was GREAT! I didn't even fall asleep (more common nowadays with said toddler)

@ honeyhorsepie - This is less about me being immersed and more about me craving English books that are borrowed! I will take what is available. :)

@ finom - I will look for that. Thanks for the tip.

Snooker said...

Be prepared for "A Woman in Berlin". It is really not something to read during the cold, gray Berlin November. The story is well-written, but it is an emotional at times gut-wrenching one.

Happy to see you crawling out from under your schedule and blogging again.