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    Picture & children's books  
Modified: 03.11.2003

I am a bookworm (like the painting from Spitzweg). I have some hundred books and they take a good part of my flat. Some of the best works I want to present here. I have chosen especially those from nearly unknown authors and small publishing companies.


Jonathan Carrol: Schlaf in den Flammen.
Jonathan Carroll is professor for creative writing at the University of Vienna. You will notice this when you read his books: The stories are always based on some remarkable ideas and they usually are concerned with literature. Some of his characters have to cope with nasty figures of some fairytales (did you ever ask yourself what these creatures do when they "live happily ever after"?), sometimes characters come to live because of the lively stories of their authors. Reading Carrol is always exciting, and there are often some little side stories woven into the plot, for example the most beautiful coffee house story in the world.
Otto Kinne: Suchen im Park.
What will a professor for marine biology when he retires? He finally writes a "real" book, not a scientific collection of facts, but one that tells a story. The meeting of some very different characters, from a simple workman over a theologist on to a physician, shows Kinne's enormous good eye on human behaviour and thinking. Not only the differences between science and religion, but the unplumbed depths of the human soul become visible when Kinne lets his characters perform in the park at night.
Joris Karl Huysmans: Die Kathedrale.
Joris Karl Huysmans lived and wrote in the time of Victor Hugo. But in contrast to Victor Hugo who creates a story of heroism and never ending love in his "Hunchback of Notre Dame", Huysmans write autobiographic books concerned with the conflict between human ideals and real live. His main character is always in trouble with live, never able to decide between leading a secular live and entering a monastery. In this book Huysmans tells us so many facts about mediaeval architecture and art and the symbolism behind them that this book could be a very good guide to the cathedral of Chartres. Even Sedlmayr (Die Entstehung der Kathedrale) mentions this book though you can feel his astonishment at the non-scientific perspective of Huysmans. For Huysmans the cathedrals and their symbolism is still at live while Seldmayr, 50 years later, is only able to collect historical facts.

Douglas R. Hofstadter, Daniel C. Dennet: Einsicht ins Ich.
After the great success of his work "Gödel, Escher, Bach" Douglas Hofstadter worked together with the philosopher Daniel Dennet on this entertaining and instructive book. Where from do we know that our vis-a-vis is able to think? What are the measures for intelligence? Where is the soul of a human? Each chapter consists of a short story and an according commentary. Authors of the short stories are Stanislaw Lem, Jorge Luis Borges,Alan Turing and Rudy Rucker. Again and again we have to ask ourselves questions about human consciousness and again and again the book provides amazing answers.

Pciture & children's books:
David Wiesner: June 29, 1999.
How can a human think of these stories? How on earth can the same human create these images to his stories? David Wiesner tells the strange story of a mysterious biological experiment. His pictures have a epic component, each one catches the readers eye. A picture book that you will not forget. Wiesner's stories: strange. His paintings: fantastic.
Michael Ende: Momo.
The little girl Momo fights a hard fight against the grey gentlemen that are stealing the time of the humans. Only master Hora, a wise keeper of the times, helps her to proceed. The story is very touching. And the core of the story is so true that this is not really only a children's book. I like it more than "The never ending story" from Ende, because it still hits the point of our society and the story is more straight forward.
James Krüss: Geschichten der 101 Tage.
With this 17 books series James Krüss created a wonderful framework for all those astonishing stoires that originate from his strong phantasy. Haltet die Uhren an. Vergeßt die Zeit. Ich will Euch Geschichten erzählen. Vergeßt die Zeit, die man Geschichte nennt. Taucht ein in die Zeit der Geschichten.. This is worth reading. By the way, the well-known story of Timm Thaler and the selling of his laugh stems from this series. The complete series was first published by Oetinger and afterwards by Ravensburger.

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