What do you mean by superconscious?

Kästner: The walk to the dogs

"Fabian" was published in a shortened and censored form. Now the original novel that Kästner wanted to publish under the title “The Walk to the Dogs” has been published. I appreciated "Fabien", a permissive read by a recognized writer. I found the original text rather less good. The style is a bit surrealistic, satirical at the beginning. There are, of course, even more hearty spots. The suicide of Fabien's friend, who thinks that his habilitation was not accepted, and a long description of his dream are impressive. The end of the novel is more traditional: the unemployed Fabian returns to the place of childhood. In the end it is very bitter: a boy falls into a river, Fabian wants to save him. But since he cannot swim, he perishes. That's it then.

Alexandre Hmine: Milky Way, Red Dot 2021

(ital.La chiave nel latte, Mendrisio 2018)

Not an easy life. Hmine was born in Lugano in 1976, grew up with an older woman, studied literature in Pavia and teaches at a grammar school in Lugano. He looks like a Moroccan but doesn't speak Arabic, which is not easy when visiting his grandparents in Morocco. At first he lives with an older woman, later with his mother, who has a Moroccan boyfriend and who gives him a little sister. The school career is not easy, once he has to repeat a class and at university he has to catch up on Latin (like me ...). Every now and then he comes into conflict with the law. The style of the book is special. The narrative consists of individual impressions that have to be put together like a puzzle. Football plays an important role; I'm less interested in that, the few erotic experiences are more interesting. An opportunity to immerse yourself in the existence of this difficult life between Ticino, Italy and Morocco.

Patrick Modiano: Encre sympathique, Gallimard, 2019, 137 pages

Un roman qui commence comme les autres romans de cet auteur: Un jeune homme reçoit du bureau de Hutte l’orde de chercher une certaine Noëlle Lefebvre qui avait disparu tout à coup. On retrouve l'ambiance vague de la reconstruction d'un passé, mais cette fois, la recherche about it à quelque chose: Le personage principal retrouve la femme à Rome et ce qui est plus étonnant, c'est que Noëlle a même joué un rôle dans sa propre jeunesse prês d'Annecy. D'ailleurs, Modiani lui-même a passé son bac à Annecy ... Un premier indice que la dame à Rome est vraiment la personne recherchée, c'est le poème cité de Verlaine “Le ciel est, par-dessus le toit. . ”, Il figure also in the agenda trouvé à Paris. Et le titre du livre “Encre sympahtique” is also révélateur. Little by little, the message devient lisible - comme le passé par le travail de l’auteur.

Javier Cercas .: Outlaws 2014 (span: Las leyes de la frontera 2012)

A very interesting book. The story of a 16-year-old middle class who joins a youth gang. While he escapes arrest with a lot of luck, the other gang members are caught; most of them die later. The hero returns to school and becomes a lawyer. He tries to get his former buddy out of jail, but not much later he becomes a criminal again. It's about the youth gangs in Catalonia after Franco, also about the discovery of sexuality, about personal crises. The book is very extensive, the story goes on and on, but also takes unexpected turns. I got the idea to read it through a broadcast from Arte.

Turgenew: Collected Works

During my studies I had a colleague who learned Russian in order to make a comparison between Turgenev and Fontane. Otherwise I had no connection with this Russian writer. During the pandemic, I had time to read Russian literature. At first I tried Dostoevsky, but soon broke off reading. Tolstoy was more palatable, but I liked Turgenev better. He mainly wrote short stories. It is mostly about landowners who have a certain number of souls, which seems strange to us (serfdom was just abolished at that time). A lot of hunting scenes; the samovar is never absent. The longer texts were more interesting. There was an unhappy love, told in letter form; the woman died. Or a nobleman lost everything but a wonderful horse. This was then stolen from him. He found it again, but maybe it was a different horse. This story also ended tragically. A kind of ghost story was impressive. With a woman who appears to the man, he goes on air travel across Europe at night. Ghostly and beautiful. - The prose poems at the end were a bit strange: little stories, the occasion varied. - One should not forget that complete works by long-dead writers can be acquired cheaply.

Sasha Filipenko: Former Son, Diogenes, 2021, 318 pages.

Filipenko, born in Minsk in 1984, is a Belarusian writer who lives in St. Petersburg and writes in Russian. You can buy his book in Belarus, but only under the counter. That is not surprising: it is a bitterly angry criticism of the political conditions in the country. A youngster attends a concert, panics, is injured and falls into a coma for 10 years. Then he wakes up. He finds his way around relatively easily: the political conditions are still the same. But the mother remarried and had a second son. The grandmother died. - In the end, Franzsisk goes away to the host parents in Germany, who took care of him earlier, he too was exposed to radiation because of Chernobyl. - An interesting interior look at the conditions in Belarus.

Arno Camenisch: The shadow over the village, Engeler-Verlag, 2020 ?, 103 pp.

From Camenisch one knows above all books with Rhaeto-Romanic sprinkles or expressions of Graubünden German that are slightly bizarre. This book is different, very serious. It's about the village where Camenisch grew up, where a tragedy took place that people don't like to talk about: three children burned to death in a forest hut. You learn that little by little. Then the book is mainly about your own childhood, the (separated) parents play a role, the grandparents, an uncle (who shoots himself at a young age) and an aunt who runs a village pub. A Bünder village as it once was and is no longer - time passed….

Volker Kutscher: The wet fish, Piper 2007, crime novel, 541 pages

The author, born in 1962, studied German, philosophy and history, then worked as a daily newspaper editor before writing the first novel “Der nasse Fisch” in 2007, which is about Commissioner Rath in Berlin at the end of the 1920s. The book was very successful and served with the six serial novels that he later wrote as a template for the television series "Berlin Babylon".

The novel is exciting and extremely rich in facts; There is a lot of work behind this and the author has extensive knowledge. The result is a comprehensive portrait of the time: Communists, National Socialists and various crooks. The local color is sure to come into its own in the film

Volker Kutscher: The silent death

The second case by Commissioner Rath. This time it is about the transition from silent film to sound image. Three stars are found dead in cinemas. Their vocal cords were cut out and killed with an overdose of insulin. The inspector is clever and has a lot of intuition. But he is always offensive because he cannot subordinate himself and fit into the team. This would almost have been his undoing if colleagues had not saved him at the last minute. Everything takes place in 1930, and there are always clashes between communists and Nazis. Impending unemployment and indiscretions at Deutsche Bank also play a role in the background.

Volker Kutscher: Goldstein.

The third case of Commissioner Rath. Berlin 1930. An American criminal comes to Berlin: Goldstein, a Jew by the way. Rath is constantly guarding him. Nevertheless he buys a gun and defends an old Jew against a group of fascists. A shot goes off and the Nazi bleeds to death. This scene doesn't leave you indifferent: a Jew harasses a group of Nazis. Unfortunately, the reality was different ... In the end, Goldstein even got church asylum ... - A group of young people broke into department stores. A boy is killed because a police officer hits his feet until the boy falls down and is fatally injured. His partner is able to escape for the time being, but is persecuted and raped by other young people. In the end, it's about a group of police officers who believe they are above the law and want to judge themselves. At the end of the book, the Nazis appear and shout anti-Semitic slogans. The 1930 society in Berlin is well portrayed; Rath's disputes with his girlfriend are a bit troublesome.

V.olker Kutscher: The Fatherland Files

Commissioner Rath's fourth case. The quarrels with his girlfriend continue, at least Rath now makes it to the engagement. What I find interesting about the book is that there is a second location besides Berlin: Masuria. You can get there by rickety airplanes or through a corridor through Poland. The methods of killing are extremely ingenious this time: first an injection with a kind of Indian arrow poison, which paralyzes the muscles, then a torture method: a cloth over the face, over which water is passed. The victim thinks he is drowning. In the end there are 5 victims, all of which go back to an earlier murderer who plays himself as a little king in Masuria. He killed his girlfriend, who cheated on a doctor. And the friend was falsely sentenced to life, but was able to escape and take revenge under a false name. After causing further victims, the murderer, dodger and village king is finally hunted down by a forest dweller who once rescued Rath in the moor. Rath hushed it up, passed the matter off as self-defense. In the background the Nazis are becoming more and more powerful, the government and police of Berlin are being replaced. The detective novel is very sophisticated, sometimes on the verge of improbability

Ovi Loeb: Extra-Terrestrial - Intelligent Life Beyond Our Planet.

An interesting book. Loeb is a famous professor (Harvard) and involved in various research projects. On October 19, 2017, a strange object was spotted crossing our solar system: Ounuamua. It was very bright, rotated, and deviated strangely from the expected course. Loeb believes that it comes from an extraterrestrial intelligence, a so-called solar sail. Loeb is involved in a project himself - Starshot. They want to use lasers to accelerate an ultra-light spaceship to 20% of the speed of light and send it to the next fixed star. The spaceships are equipped with a camera and should arrive there within 20 years. Loeb is also involved in the Black Hole Initiative and points out that they recently succeeded in photographing a black hole for the first time. He advocates an astro-archeology; one should go in search of extraterrestrial artifacts. He also refers to experiments that were done on Mars and refers to biological traces, including biosignatures in the Venusian atmosphere. - Loeb's grandparents left Germany in 1936, Loeb grew up in Israel. Interestingly, it refers to the biographical background. Here and there the argument is a little excessive, redundant. But still very interesting and up to date.

Arturo Pérez-Reverte: Le tableau du Maître flamand (traduit de l’espagnol)

Un livre très intéressant et plein de suspense. Une femme devrait restaurer un tableau qui existe vraiment: Van Huys:Le Partie d’échecs. Grâce à des rayons X, on découvre une inscription du peintre: QUIS NECAVIT EQUITEM.?(qui a tué le chevalier ?. Cela permet, avec l'aide d'un joueur d'échecs, de résoudre leproblemème. On sait maintenant qui était responsable de la mort du chevalier représenté sur le tableau. Pour cela, on doit jouer la partie du jeu à l'envers.

Mais bientôt, le jeu continue et finalement, deux personnes sont tuées par un joueur mystérieux qui emploie un ordinateur pour être plus continue. Finalement, on découvre qu’il s’agit d’un ami de la restauratrice. C’est un pédé atteint you Sida qui se donne la mort. Le tableau va à l’étranger, des banquiers et des avocats permettent la conservation jusqu’à la vente à des privés. L’affaire est profitable pour la restauratrice, le joueur d’échecs et un marchand de tableau

Carel von Schaik: The diary of mankind - What the Bible reveals about our evolution.

The basic thesis is that the Bible provides an explanation for the problems we faced as we moved from being a hunter-gatherer to a sedentary lifestyle. And the Bible has been written for 1,000 years. Perhaps it's a shame that the text was completed around AD 400 ... - You hear a lot about the Torah, about Yahweh in the Old Testament. The God of the Psalms, on the other hand, is much more personal, perhaps you should read this part of the text. You can also hear something about the New Testament, e.g. that Jesus only understood the other Jews among his neighbors. Reading the Bible through the eyes of a biologist, some disaffected - the specialists probably knew it long ago ...

Hervé le Tellier: L’Anomalie, Prix Goncourt 2020

Une lecture fascinante. On croit d’abord que plusieurs récits sont combinés: leur point cummun: tous les personnages étaient dans le même avion de Paris à New York. Pendant le vol, il y avait des perturbations telles que les passagers voyaient arriver leur dernière heure. Il y avait plus de 200 passagers de toutes sortes: un tueur, un chanteur africiain, un homme d'affaires etc. La fin de chaque récit est un peu bizarre: des arrestations, un type du FBI apparaît etc. May après, cela devient vraiment de la science fiction. Quelques mois après, le même avion avec les mêmes passagers atterrit. Et cela cause un grand choc. Que faire de ces personnes “doubles”. D’abord, ils sont séquéstrés dans un aeroport militaire, plus tard confrontés avec leurs “clones” Ils se passent toutes sortes d’aventures. Le tueur dépèce son double, un garcon a tout à coup deux mères etc. On apprend aussi qu’en Chine, il y avait un incident analogue, mais des passagers, on n’a pas de trace. Finalement, quand le même avion arrive pour la troisième fois, il est abattu par des avions chasseurs. Un roman intéressant, agréable à lire plein de suspense qui présente des élémenrts de science fiction et est par cela bouleversant

Dai Sijie: Les caves du Potala, 187 pages, Gallimardd 2020

Ce livre m’a intéressé parce que j’avais déjà lu plusieurs oeuvres de l’auteur, mais aussi parce que j’avaisi visité le Potala il y a quelques années. Nous sommes au Potala en 1968. Batan Pa, l’ancien peintre du dalai-lama, est prisonnier des gardes rouges. D’une part, on décrit le monde bouddihste tibétain avec ses coutumes, d’autre part, la destruction de cette culture par les gardes rouges. Leur leader, “le loup” is particularly brutal. Il torture le vieux peintre, lui arrache les yeux avec des os de yack. Heureusement, la fin est un peu irréel, l’eau du dernier tableaux commence à inonder le garde rouge. Ce qui est étonnant, c’est la description de la culture tibétaine et sa destruction par les gardes rouges. Peut-être que ce n’est possible que parce que Dai Sijie vit aussi en France.

Dai Sije: L’Evangile selon Yong Sheng, 2019, 439 pages

Quand j’enseignais encore, j’ai lu avec plusieurs classesBalzac et le petite tailleuse chinoisede cet auteur. In ce nouveau roman, il s’agit de l’histoire de son grand-père. Le temps décrit va des années trente jusqu’au temps modern. Yong Sheng est le fils d’un menuisier qui fabrique des sifflets pour des pigeons. Il en fait aussi, mais plus tard, il deviant le premier pasteur chrétien chinois. Le premier temps, avant l’ère communiste, offre bien des scènes pittoresques; Le garcon de six ans p. ex. doit se faire opérer parce qu’un testicule n’était pas descndu. Or, les gens simples du village croient que le médecin américain va faire une circoncision. - Le garcon va dans une école chrétienne. Un jour, il découvre la fille du pasteur qui masse son sein et fait gicler son lait maternel sur le statue du crucifié. - A l’âge de 14 ans, il est marié parce qu’ainsi, on espère éviter la mort imminante de la grand-mère. - Quand il apprend que le pasteur est le père de son enfant, il abandonne les études de théologie à Nankin et veut poursuivre la fille du pasteur qui est capturée par l’armée rouge. - Pendant la Révolution culturelle, c’est la catastrophe, Yong Sheng devient ennemi du peuple, travaille dans un pressoir ou nettoie of the toilet. - Son copain manchot fait un enfant à la fille qu’il a élevée après la mort de son épouse qui l’avait quitté.Pendant la Révolution culturelle, cette fille l'a dénoncé, elle s'est divorcé aussi de manchot qui se tue à cause de cela dans l'eau bouillante… Plus tard, Yong Sheng s'occupe du garçon de cette fille qui commence malheureusement à prendre des drogues. A 90 ans, Yong Sheng est accusé d’avoir commandé les drogues et est exeécuté - un malentendu, je crois. - Dans ce livre, il ya quelques longueurs, mais le style de Dai Sije est fascinant et l’on apprend beaucoup sur la Chine, sur le temps de la République et la Révolution culturelle. Ce qui est nouveau, c’est le rôle du christianisme dans ce livre

Theo Sommer: China First. C. H Beck

I visited China and Tibet in the 1990s. I would probably not recognize the country these days, it has changed so much. - A good opportunity to get to know the current China is this book, which was recommended on Arte.

The almost 500-page book consists of four parts:

1. China is awakening

2. Economic superpower with a plan

3.China's new world politics

It's mainly about Yi Jinping, the new Silk Road and armament, e.g. with the artificial islands in the Pacific

4. Dangerous areas of tension

This is about the relationship between China and Japan, India, Russia and the USA. Trump and his trade war and the relationship between China and Germany are also discussed. At the end there is an in-depth discussion of the possibility of pursuing politics with China; To cooperate with China based on a decided attitude of Europe, where possible, but also to put the country in its place where it is necessary. (e.g. when exerting influence on Confucius institutes, industrial espionage, economic barriers, etc.I can use the book for an in-depth examination of China todayrecommend!

Carlo Ruiz Zafón: Shadow of the Wind / L’ombre du vent (from Spanish)

I can highly recommend this novel. It takes place in the former Barcelona, ​​before, during and after the Spanish Civil War. A boy is led into the mysterious library of the missing books, where he takes a novel with him, which motivates him to find the traces of this author. He had to leave Barcelona because he had got a girl pregnant. He went to Paris, later came back unaware that his wife and son died in childbirth. He himself is disfigured by the fire and pursued by your dubious police chief. Fate seems to be repeating itself: the boy also gets a girl pregnant again, but he is luckier than the author he is looking for. Although he almost died, he can still marry his wife and has a son, whom he leads back to the library of the missing books ... There are thriller-like scenes in the novel, including bitter humor (mainly due to the figure of a former Homeless and petty criminals). If you are looking for an extremely exciting story that takes place in former Barcelona, ​​you should read the novel!

Charles Lewinsky: The Half Beard, Diogenes

Morgarten, at the time of the battle, from a boy's point of view. This view brings a refreshing naivety with it. The half-beard comes from outside, was half burned, apparently in the territory of the Habsburgs, perhaps as a Jew. As a healer he will play an important role, also as the inventor of a prosthesis and the halberd. Sometimes it is very intense, one experiences a leg amputation, even an attack on the Einsiedeln monastery, a provost is even killed. The language is hearty. For personal reasons I didn't like the person of the village idiot Tschumpel Werni, who repeatedly shits on the floor and claps his hands ... At the end the so-called battle near Morgarten is described. A pile of former soldiers rolls stones and tree trunks onto a Habsburg with his retinue. The main character, who has been trained as a narrator, exaggerates the heroism of his relative massively - perhaps the origin of the myth; You haven't found much historical evidence in the area. The hero of the novel may have something of Lewinsky, who is also a professional narrator ... If you want to immerse yourself in the atmosphere of the Middle Ages, this book is a good opportunity.

Brian Greene: Until the end of time

Green is apparently a physicist, a specialist in string theory. This time, however, he draws on the full: He wants to explain everything, from the Big Bang to the end of all time. He is very good at explaining things in a generally understandable way, especially with comparisons, so that the average reader understands everything. I find the best way to explain the physical processes: the theory of relativity, the quantum theory, etc. He can explain the origin of life reasonably plausibly, although it is by no means certain. He is a determinist, to explain consciousness he introduces a proto-psychic property of matter. He does not believe in free will, but he does believe in a certain freedom of human beings, thanks to experience and thinking ... I have already read more interesting things about consciousness and self-confidence: Consciousness is probably a kind of simulation, we identify with the dominant processes, we are the cockpit…. Greene then follows many pages on art and religion, where he tries to find a selection advantage for evolution in these areas too. - His own experiences are impressive: How he meets Hare Krishna followers in New York and recognizes his brother among them; how he runs over a dog that is dying in his arms, how he watches the northern lights with others in an improvised sleeping bag in a forest clearing. - Greene knows a lot, many quotes are from the American culture, but not only, for example he also talks about the Gilgamian epic, which also impressed me. Towards the end, reading becomes a bit tedious: he recapitulates the most important information. And the statements about the further course of the cosmos are of course speculative. I have never thought about the end of the cosmos. All of this takes place in the most distant future. To illustrate this, he needs the Empire State Building, with the individual floors logarithmically indicating the distant time. All in all an interesting total view; Green is most convincing where he knows best.

Jim: When Einstein and Gödel went for a walk, 2020, 468 pages

An amusing read. Mostly it is about highly scientific questions (fractals, internet, string theory, etc.). Mathematicians and physicists would probably do the math when reading it. I found the last part less interesting, but the text at the very end about bullshit was again amusing. In general: I found the combination of highly complicated theories with more blatant language refreshing. - You can find an insightful review on Amazon (the first). And for those who want to continue their education: at the end of the book you will find an extensive section with further literature on the individual chapters.

.Cixin Liu: The three suns

At least I have one thing in common with Bill Gates and Obama: They also seem to like the novel. At the beginning a terrible scene from the time of the Cultural Revolution is told; that should be justified biographically. But over time it becomes more and more scientific. It is mainly about basic physical research. There is a huge telescope in northern China that is used to make contact with aliens. In preparation for the civilization of the later invaders, you can play a very complicated video game. The distant civilization has to live with three suns - this is also about the three-body problem: stable ages alternate with chaotic ones. People have to get dehydrated in order to survive. Compared to the Earthlings they are of course more advanced in terms of civilization - in two hundred years they will be heading for the earth ... There are very poetic passages in the book, for example when a remote village is described, but in general it is very abstract and (pseudo) scientific ago, but sometimes quite cruel. The book is extensive, but it is fun to read. And if you still feel like reading more like this: the novel is the first of a trilogy.

Cixin Liu: The dark forest

The second novel in the trilogy. Since people can skip whole times with the help of cold sleep, this enables the futuristic description of a distant future: we stick the houses with leaves on trees, the cars can fly and there is a lift into space ...

Cixin Liu: Beyond Time

The third novel has more than 900 pages. What an achievement to write such a text that you enjoy reading! Cixin's imagination is limitless: people want to hide behind Jupiter, for example, when photons destroy the sun ... - But then something else happens: the entire solar system is projected into a two-dimensional world. You can only flee with spaceships that fly at the speed of light. The fusion drive does not manage that, but the curvature drive, which makes use of the curvature of space, does. - And how do people come up with such ideas? You want to oppose the Trisolarians. To do this, they want to send a spy to the enemy fleet. As a spaceship, they are building a solar sail that will be propelled in space with a series of atomic bombs. Because the payload is limited, you only send a cooled brain. Unfortunately, the vehicle then goes off course. But the Trisolarians find the spaceship and clone a new body for the passenger. Later it is possible to meet this person far away from the earth. With the help of three fairy tales, people are given a helping hand. Towards the end of the novel you set out on interstellar journeys, where you then meet a well-known android. After you come into a dark area (a kind of small, black hole), the two people are given a mini-universe, which they leave at the end to return to the known universe. Only if the universe does not lose too much mass can it contract to the singularity and create a new big bang.

The novel trilogy is fascinating. Set pieces of modern science are combined with imaginative imagination. The style of the book and probably also the translation are convincing. If you didn't come across Chinese names all the time, it would be hard to believe that the novel was written in China. And many of the thoughts in the novel make the reader think - even a Chinese reader ... Incidentally, Cixin, who first worked as an engineer, is very well read: for example, one can come across thoughts that Pascal already formulated. And when there are scientific questions, the numerous comments are very helpful.

Marcel Reich-Ranicki: My life

The book is recommended by Hansjörg Schneider. That's why I bought it and now I've read it. I still remember Reich-Ranicki very well: How he could attack books in the ZDF literary quartet. And now to the extremely impressive book. Reich-Ranicki was born in Poland, came to Berlin early, was deported in 1938, was in the Warsaw ghetto, was able to escape and was hidden by a simple Polish couple, then joined the Polish army, and finally emigrated to the FRG. After writing articles for “Die Zeit” for a long time, he finally became an editor for the FAZ. Ranicki's great passion is his love for literature, especially German. For me as a Germanist, it is of course interesting what he has to say about many authors, including Group 47, Thomas Mann and Max Frisch. Reich-Ranicki was self-taught, couldn't study - and has come a long way in his career. Not everyone may have access to his personality, but his life and his views on literature are impressive. A book to read!

Joshua Wong and Jason Y. Ng: Unfree Speech, 2020

(German and French translations are available)

This young spokesman gives us an insight into what is happening in Hong Kong. He started his career at the age of 14. First, he organized a student strike against the introduction of a new school subject, with which the central government wanted to exert ideological influence on Hong Kong's students. Later came the umbrella uprising for the free election of the city president and finally the protest against the extradition law, which was finally abandoned. Joshua is a Christian (his first name refers to the prophet), he is dyslexic and therefore does not have it easy. But that doesn't prevent him from speaking, he has come a long way, has also performed in Washington, was welcomed by Nancy Pelosi, and was even nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Every now and then you notice how young he is (he loves certain films and Japanese mangas, for example). His optimism and commitment are impressive. Not surprisingly, he went to jail for it. Joshua wants to encourage everyone who works for a freer world. Sometimes you may not have been very clever tactically. When, for example, a party member was finally brought into the political body, he provoked those in power by changing the oath. This young MP was then sentenced. Well, civil disobedience is a tightrope walk ...

Helene and Wolfgang Beltracchi: self-portrait, rororo 62889, 2018,

607 pp.

The depiction of Beltracchi's life, from childhood until his deception was exposed.

Most of it is written by Wolfgnang B himself, later, when his wife plays an important role in his life, she often tells from her point of view. B.'s early days were very emotional: lots of women’s stories and drugs. The falsification of the famous pictures is very interesting. B. not only had to be able to paint very well, there was also a lot of research behind each case. He had to find suitable canvases of the time, investigate the possible provenances, forge labels from galleries, etc. Thanks to these ingenious tricks, he succeeded in tricking art lovers and amassing a fortune of 20 million, which enabled him and his wife to live a comfortable life. The children were also doing well - they didn't know anything about the cheating.

I have something in common with B.: the restaurant where I celebrated my retirement is now his studio in Meggen.

Norbert Scheuer: Winter bees, 2019, 318 pages

Egidius Arimond, dismissed Latin and history teacher, lives in the Eifel in 1944. In his diary he describes everyday life, the approaching front. In addition, he takes care of his bees and acts as an escape helper. He brings the refugees, mostly Jews, across the Belgian border in beehives. With the money he gets, he gets drugs for his epilepsy. In addition, he seduces women whose husbands are at war and conducts research on his ancestors, above all on a friar who lived in the 15th century. In the text there are always Latin sentences, as it should be for a Latin teacher (they are always translated), as well as drawings of airplanes from that time. I was amazed to learn that Scheuer was first an electrician, then wrote a diploma thesis on X-ray structure analysis of iron oxides and then studied philosophy and got his master's degree with a thesis on Kant. The book is very pleasant to read and gives an insight into what life was like in the Eifel at the end of the war. The knowledge about bees that Scheuer acquired is also impressive. I will certainly read more books by this writer.

Peter Godfrey-Smith: The Octopus, the Sea and the Depths of Consciousness

Years ago I met an octopus myself in the water, on Naxos. He looked at me, I looked at him. A strange encounter. Maybe that's why I was interested in the book. You hear a lot of interesting things about cephalopods, but the author also writes about the evolution of all species, including problems of consciousness. And he has a lot to say: the cephalopods have a completely different brain than we do: they also have nerve cells in their arms and these lead a relatively independent existence. By the way, there are several cephalopods, it is important to divide them into those with 10 and those with 8 arms (cuttlefish, squid and octopus). The play of colors poses a puzzle: Do they have a deeper meaning? How is it possible to generate color samples that match the subsurface if one does not have color cells for perception? The cephalopods are apparently intelligent and playful. But why this intelligence when most of them only live two years? So there is intelligence not only in the vertebrates, but also in the arthropods (a kind of swarm intelligence?) And also in the cephalopods. A different kind of intelligence, however. At the end of the book, the author also addresses the problems of environmental damage in the seas. The book is a very interesting piece of research.

Lutz Jäncke: Is the brain reasonable? Findings of a neuropsychologist,Bern 2015, 315 pages

The author now teaches at the University of Zurich. Using informative experiments and the latest research results with many examples from his practice as a well-known researcher, he clearly shows what an incredible organ of thought our brain is. The book is pleasant to read, it is written clearly. Most interesting to me is his view that consciousness and will are some kind of epiphenomenon. New research has shown that voluntary decisions are prepared at the level of brain activity.Jäncke assumes that there is no influence of consciousness on brain processes. When brain activity reaches a certain level, it is accompanied by awareness. He also differentiates between two levels, that of subjective consciousness and that of objectively measurable brain activity. So the so-called free will is a consequence of perspective. I also believe that we somehow identify with certain brain activities. Consciousness is a simulation, we are the cockpit

Ian Mac Ewan: Machines like me

1982 nerd Chalie buys an android, Adam, a robot in human form. At the same time he conquers the pretty neighbor Miranda. The robot has advantages: it is very successful in foreign exchange trading, for example. However, he also becomes a rival. In general, the presence of the android is eerie. Does he have feelings? Do you confuse him with real people? - In addition to science fiction, there are also elements of crime (the dark past of his girlfriend), love and an adopted child also play a role. The book is exciting and entertaining!

Jörg Dräger and Ralph Müller: We and the intelligent machines: how algorithms determine our lives and we can use them for ourselves. 2019

You learn a lot about the use of algorithms: in the allocation of study places, in medicine (analysis of X-rays, assessment of survival time), calculation of the recidivism rate for criminals, etc. You also get an idea of ​​how Facebook works, although the code is secret is held. I like the idea that the algorithms have to be questioned, including the data with which the programs are fed. For example, the algorithms often reinforce existing injustices. Unfortunately, the book is a bit lengthy, often not very specific; there are also frequent repetitions. The information about the latest developments in China is interesting.

Lea Haller transit trade. Flows of money and goods in global capitalism,edition suhrkamp 2019

A very interesting book. In the last few years one has heard a lot about the raw materials trade in Switzerland, as it is mainly practiced in Geneva and Zug, one knows names like Glencore and Marc Rich. But a lot of people don't know what merchanting is. It's about goods that are bought somewhere in the world and sold somewhere, but do not come to Switzerland. Only the profits come here. The flow of goods and capital flows are not congruent. Lea Haller first reveals the whole phenomenon historically, from the rental of soldiers in earlier times to the present day. Merchanting really got going in the 19th century, when Swiss merchants fanned out into the world and founded trading houses everywhere. However, merchanting did not appear in the statistics for a long time, partly because it was so secretive. This trade is very complex, it depends on many factors, on politics, alliances, trade barriers, foreign exchange, etc. The times of the two world wars were particularly difficult. What cannot be dismissed out of hand is the fact that merchanting often benefited from the situation in dubious ways: there was business with the Axis powers and profits from looted gold. The representation extends to the most recent times. Towards the end of the book a systematic overview of the phenomenon is given again. The book was made possible by the Branco Weiss Fellowship. The book briefly reports on the life of Branco Weiss; one would have to keep an eye on the foundation and its work.

Anne Applebaum: Red hunger. Stalin's war against Ukraine. 2017, 454 pp.

In 1932/33 the Ukraine suffered a famine that killed more than 3 million. And this was not a result of bad harvests, but rather the calculation of the Bolsheviks, especially Stalin's. All food was confiscated, purges began, Ukrainian culture was suppressed…. There were hideous scenes, people died on the street, thousands of orphans moved around, some parents even ate their children ... - Anne Applebaum, born in Washington, D.C. in 1964, is a historian and journalist. She began her career as a correspondent in Warsaw, wrote the books “The Gulag” (2003) and “The Iron Curtain” (2012). She was recently a guest on Swiss television. The book not only examines the forced death of millions of Ukrainians in the 1930s, the book also reports on earlier events and later times (Chernobyl, invasion of the east of the country, annexation of Crimea). Much of what is happening today can be better understood after reading the book.

Catalin Dorian Florescu: Zaira, Roman, dtv, 2008, 478 pages

The life story of the famous puppeteer Zaira. The beginnings are often a little grotesque: my grandmother, a Catalonian, is married to me 16, or rather sold: she has to stand on a scale, then the weight is weighed in gold. Or the birth of Zaira on the table in the waiting room in the train station. Zaira is less fortunate with the men. A young man insists on her, but the marriage does not last long. The second, also a gifted puppeteer like her, is an alcoholic. She has a daughter with him, but she has a relationship with her stepfather, the third husband. And there is another reluctant minister who cares about them. But he just wants to hide the fact that he is gay. The description of the situation in Romania is depressing. First the iron guard, the young fascists, later the oppression by the communists. The description of American reality is less convincing for me (she emigrates there via Prague, which is currently being conquered by the communists; but the escape succeeds with her husband, daughter and cat). In other books by Florescu, the USA is not represented as a paradise either. At the end of the book, Zaira returns to Romania. Communism is history. She wants to meet her former lover, maybe tell him that he has a daughter. But above all she meets a bad acquaintance from her youth who brought a lot of suffering to her and her parents in the background during the communist era.

Catalin Dorian Florescu: The man who brings happiness, Roman 2016, 325 pp.

A black book. It's about two people who met in New York during the attacks (9/11). He is the son of a prostitute and a customer who gave a television as a present. His grandfather was a newspaper boy in the poorest of circumstances and also killed sick children in order to earn money at their funerals. He later married a communist Italian woman who died in a fire. And the woman is the daughter of a leper. During the Ceausecu period, they apparently lived without medical care in a camp in southern Romania. In short: everything that has been told is terrible, only the conclusion is conciliatory: He comes from New York to Romania, times have improved, the sick are no longer contagious. Finally, the woman's mother's ashes can also be brought to the cemetery, they are still in a jar. The ashes could not be scattered in New York from the Twin Towers ...

Catalin Dorian Florescu: Wunderzeit, 255 p., Roman, 2001

The novel is likely to have many autobiographical traits, it is about Florescu's first escape with his father to Italy and the USA, where Florescu was operated on.

Italy is described positively. Although father and son live in poor conditions, they experience human warmth. Later, her Italian acquaintances visit her in Romania. The fact that a Romance language is spoken in Italy like in Romania certainly also plays a role. The US is not doing well: exploitation and crime. Finally the two return to Romania. The description of everyday life in Romania and the earthquake that mainly destroyed Bucharest are also interesting. The child's perspective is stylistically significant - it alienates the world. However, in the end the son slowly gets older and the instincts begin to stir. - The disease from which the son suffers is a degenerative nerve disease: Charcot-Marie-Tooth's disease.

Catalin Dorian Florescu: Jacob decides to love, 2011, 403 pages

Florescu studied psychology, lives in Zurich and has already written various novels. This text is about a skinny boy of a man who appears out of nowhere to marry a rich woman who has made money in America, perhaps with the help of a seedy trade. This man also impregnates a gypsy woman who also has a boy from him, but whom he encourages because he is strong and can take over the farm one day. Jacob, that's the name of the weak child, is betrayed by the father and is supposed to be deported to Siberia, where he manages an adventurous escape. Later he returns to the village where the so-called Swabians live. But times have changed: now the communists are in power and they are deporting the class enemies again. There are also flashbacks to earlier times in the book: when emigrants from Lorraine crossed the Danube to Romania in the 18th century. Many went back later when they were no longer wanted in Romania (in reality they were sold by the regime ...) An interesting book, written in an exciting way.

Carl Spitteler: Imago, 1905

An autobiographical novel. "This is not just a work of art, it is heart and soul," Spitteler wrote in a letter. The young psychoanalysis around Freud and Jung paid great attention to the work and found it to be a document from an artist's soul. The story is about Viktor, who returns to his homeland (probably Bern) to meet a woman he has loved, but who is now married to someone else and has a child. The most important thing is the contrast between the imaginary lover and the crude reality. Viktor looks like a Swiss Werther, some names also refer to Goethe (Frau von Stein, Tasso). The language is usually refreshing, sometimes exaggerated (when it comes to fantasized love). Viktor's personality sometimes seems pathological, at the end of the book there is great disillusionment. - The book can be ordered for free because the copyright has expired

Dominic Oppliger: received eight stumpo zuri. Edition spoken script, 2019, 150 pages.

The book is not easy to read at first because it is written in the Zurich dialect and sometimes several words are written together. The story is that of a somewhat freaky young man who does odd jobs, socializes in shared flats and has various relationships. Every now and then there are blatant passages (e.g. when it is described how he shits in his pants). Over time you get used to the unfamiliar shape and reading is fun.

Carlo Levi: Christ only came to Eboli, 1945, 286 pages, from the Italian

I still remember standing in amazement in front of Matera a few years ago - this city in southern Italy that has now become European Capital of Culture. In the past people lived there in abject poverty in caves, today the city is being repopulated after people were forbidden to live in this way some time ago.

Carlo Levi, an anti-fascist doctor and painter from Turin was banished to this area in Mussolini's time and wrote a gripping report in 1945 about his experiences with the common peasants. The neorealistic text is extremely impressive!