Welcome to Travel Readings
Melbourne: The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas
Books, Movies and Beyond…
Books, Movies and Beyond…: Washington, DC and New York
Books, Movies and Beyond…: Rome
Rio de Janeiro: Crimes of August (Agosto) by Rubem Fonseca
Istanbul: The Museum of Innocence by Orhan Pamuk
Liège (Belgium): Pedigree by Georges Simenon
Books, Movies and Beyond…: Lisbon
Books, Movies and Beyond…: Cambodia
Hyde Park, Chicago: Ravelstein by Saul Bellow
Paris: Flowers of Ruin and Suspended Sentences by Patrick Modiano
Books, Movies and Beyond…: Naples
Books, Movies and Beyond…: Tanzania
Sri Lanka: Running in the Family by Michael Ondaatje
Books, Movies and Beyond… : Venice
Dublin: The Dead by James Joyce
Books, Movies and Beyond: Iran
Santa Cruz, Bolivia: The Matter of Desire (Materia del Deseo) by Edmundo Paz Soldán
Books, Movies and Beyond: Syria
Djibouti: Passage of Tears (Passage des Larmes) by Abdourahman Waberi
Books, Movies and Beyond: Armenia
Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso: The Parachute Drop by Norbert Zongo
Bangkok: Sightseeing by Rattawut Lapcharoensap
Périgord, France: The Caves of Périgord by Martin Walker
Books, Movies and Beyond: Brussels
Naples: The Neapolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante
Books, Movies and Beyond: Rio de Janeiro
Tajikistan: Hurramabad by Andrei Volos
New-York: City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg
Israel and Palestine: To the End of the Land by David Grossman and Wild Thorns by Sahar Khalifeh
Books, Movies and Beyond: Bavaria and Southern Germany
Cape Town: Boyhood, Youth and Summertime by J.M. Coetzee
Books, Movies and Beyond: India
Blue Ridge Mountains: Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier
Books, Movies and Beyond: Algeria
Austrian Alps: A Whole Life (Ein ganzes Leben) by Robert Seethaler
Books, Movies and Beyond: Africans in America
Zimbabwe: The Last Resort by Douglas Rogers
Books, Movies and Beyond: Colombia
Belgian Ardennes: The All Saints’ Day Lovers by Juan Gabriel Vásquez
Côte d’Ivoire: Aya of Yop City by Marguerite Abouet and Clément Oubrerie
Japan: Haruki Murakami and Amélie Nothomb
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt and The Rope and The Denial of Saint Peter by Charles Baudelaire
Books, Movies and Beyond: Cairo
Vancouver: What is Remembered by Alice Munro
Ghent (Belgium): War and Turpentine by Stefan Hertmans
Haiti: An Aroma of Coffee and Dining with the Dictator by Dany Laferrière and The Comedians by Graham Greene
Iceland: Jar City by Arnaldur Indriðason
Siena and Tuscany : Il Palio delle contrade morte by Fruttero & Lucentini and The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje
China : Wild Swans. Three Daughters of China, by Jung Chang
Amsterdam: The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton
Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris
Former Soviet Union: The Unwomanly Face of War  by Svetlana Alexievich
Provence: The Horseman on the Roof by Jean Giono, La charrette bleue by René Barjavel, Madame de Sévigné and Ventoux by Bert Wagendorp
Moscow: The House of Government by Yuri Slezkine, The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov and Limonov by Emmanuel Carrère
Books, Movies and Beyond: Vietnam
Books, Movies and Beyond: The Wars in Vietnam

Books, Movies and Beyond: Bavaria and Southern Germany


Philippe asked for some reading advice for a trip to Bavaria. This gave me the opportunity to remember several holidays around the Thumsee, near Bad Reichenhall.

German novelist Andrea Maria Schenkel was born and lives close to Regensburg in Bavaria. The novel that launched her career was « The Murder Farm (Tannöd) ». It retraces an unexplained murder in the Bavarian country side just after World War II. This short novel which I liked very much was also adapted as a movie which I have not seen yet.


I extended my search to Southern Germany. A short but very moving book is “Reunion” by Fred Uhlman, a British author born in Germany. It takes place in Stuttgart and describes the friendship between two adolescents, a Jew and an aristocrat, at the beginning of the 30s when Nazism was taking hold.


Reunion» has been adapted in an excellent movie by Jerry Schatzberg with Samuel West and Christien Anholt as the main characters. I saw it more than 20 years ago but I still remember it vividly.


Another book which I liked very much is « The Reader (Der Vorleser) » by Bernhard Schlink which is set in a city resembling Heidelberg. In parallel with a gripping love story, the novel’s core is how the German generation which grew up after the war looks at the generation which had to live and experience that period. Reading « Reunion » and « The Reader » one after the other is a fascinating experience: both novels are « bildungsroman », coming-of-age stories which portray adolescents who discover life and shape their identity as they confront events. But one takes place at the dawn of the Nazi era while the other one is set a few years after the cataclysm of World War II.


« The Reader » is also a superb movie  starring Ralph Fiennes, David Kross and Kate Winslet (who got an Academy award for her role). Here is the trailer.

To return to Bavaria, I saw 3 years ago at Salzburg Festival Wagner’s opera « The Master-Singers of Nuremberg » and I enjoyed it very much. It is a comedy which I found much more fun than the great Wagnerian tragedies. The topic is an amateur choir. Here is a short clip.

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