There are people who like cats and people who like dogs. I like books.
Books are not furry creatures that go around the house shedding hair on the furniture or emitting strange noises. And yet books have soul. They are somehow alive and each possesses its own unique characteristics.
When the Leipziger Buchmesse approaches, I get book fever.
This festival centered around books, with thousands of books, book-related events, writers, and readers, is an annual highlight. Of course, it features books on every conceivable topic, from novels, to textbooks, children’s books, DIY and craft books, travel books, and more. There are exhibitors from all over the world and international offers, so you are likely to find something in your language of choice. This year’s country spotlight is the Czech Republic.
In addition, authors have the opportunity to join 45-minute round table sessions with experts to discuss all aspects of writing and publishing. Self-published authors do readings and presentations of their work in Halle 5, with question and answer sessions. On Sunday, the 24th, there is a meet & greet between writers and publishing companies, offering young authors an invaluable networking opportunity.
I like books but not necessarily best-seller books.
Seldom do I read anything that is on a best-seller list, but this year I was given Homo Deus as a present. Author Yuval Noah Harari describes how man will, in the foreseeable future, acquire god-like qualities thanks to technology and science. How mankind will collectively opt for immortality and improvement of genes. This thick book contains copious amounts of information on artificial intelligence and the like. For those who are into visions and predictions of the future it is a comprehensive read.
Fiction and biographies are indeed my cup of tea.
Hape Kerkeling’s Ich bin Dann Mal Weg (I’m off Then), is a travelogue recording the popular German comedian’s adventures on the Camino de Santiago. It initially seemed a light, humorous book. However, it soon turned into a deeply perceptive confession of simultaneously trying to find God and himself. This pleasant surprise led me to Der Junge Muss an die Frische Luft, a film based on Hape Kerkeling’s biographical book of the same title. If you understand German and you are not afraid to laugh and cry your heart out in a movie theater, this film is for you. In my opinion, a great and touching achievement, directed by Caroline Link with the incredible Julius Weckauf in the lead role.
Elke Heidenreich’s Alles kein Zufall is another book I loved and actually read back to back twice. It is a collection of brief texts evoking days of the writer’s past. Included in these pages are her most interesting, most embarrassing, most adventurous experiences. Childhood, adulthood, family, love, friends: all are described with precision, irony, humor, cynicism, and tenderness.
The Leipzig Book Fair, however, offers much more than just books, and it runs between 21-24 March this year.
There are many different events to choose from, a firm fan favorite being the Manga Comic Con. Local and international cosplayers, from as far as Japan, come together at this annual celebration of all things anime, manga and comic-related.
There are events, exhibitions, and performances scattered around the city, including concertos, poetry readings and gaming events. For those who like their wine with a splash of crime, don’t miss the Krimiabends at (w)einstein 13. Here beloved German crime writers will pair readings from their work with the wonderful wines on offer. Furthermore, talks, discussion groups, musical and dramatic performances are on offer. Not to forget the workshops and opportunities to enroll in a variety of courses.
March is reading month in Leipzig. With so much to do, read, learn and experience, the Leipziger Buchmesse truly has something for everyone. One thing is for certain: You are sure to find much to entertain and inspire you and broaden your horizons. Check out the full list. (Book fair tips by Loudine Heunis)