Suchergebnis: „James Rhodes“ (Seite 1 von 2)

James Rhodes: Playlist

“Oh what a huge and interesting looking book”, the book seller at my local book shop said while handing “Playlist” over. And she is right. James Rhodes’ latest book is another journey into the (for many) strange and foreign world that is classical music. A world that is inhabited by heroes like Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Mozart, Rachmaninoff, Ravel and Schubert. Those heroes gave us music that is still listened to after all these centuries – one wonders if today’s pop stars are to be known in a hundred years time.

“They changed history, inspired millions and are still listened to and worshipped all around the world today.”

James Rhodes devoted his life to classical music and tries to lure people – his audience, his followers on social media – into it, tries to get this music  down to earth, back to ordinary people who have no idea what “symphony” or “étude” mean. And who listen to it with the help of a streaming service and their ear buds in comfy clothes while knitting on their sofa or typing this blog. Maybe James Rhodes is successful on his mission because he is not an ordinary pianist (as I wrote a couple of times before) – and because he writes and tweets the same way  he addresses his audiences, telling them more about his favourite composers (and while chatting to people when signing books or CDs). In “Playlist” he offers a list of classical pieces assembled on Spotify and information about them and their composers including their personal life.

“I’m sorry. There are lot of capital letters in that paragraph. It’s just hard not to get overexcited when talking about Schubert.”

Because the book is a big  – the size of an LP actually – picture book with beautiful illustrations (by Martin O’Neill) and enthusiastically written chapters intended to be read while listening to the accompanying piece of music, it is the perfect book sitting on your living room table patiently waiting to be picked up again for a re read or just enjoying its beauty while flipping through it. So, if you are looking for a Christmas gift for a loved one, or for yourself or if you are just interested in James Rhodes and classical music, this is the perfect book to start.

James Rhodes: Playlist – The rebels and revolutionaries of sound, £ 17.

James Rhodes 2019

[Update: Die Deutschland-Tournee wurde zwar abgesagt.

Eigentlich schaut es so einfach aus. Ein Mann in Jeans, Turnschuhen und schwarzem Shirt mit dem Schriftzug “Bach” kommt auf die Bühne, begrüßt das Publikum, stellt sich vor und spielt dann auf einem Flügel.

Eigentlich. Dass es nicht ganz so einfach ist, beschreibt der britische Pianist James Rhodes in seinem Buch “Fire on all sides” und bei seinen Auftritten, unter anderem in diesem Herbst in verschiedenen Städten in Deutschland.

Auf dem Programm steht:

Ludwig van Beethoven: Sonata No. 15 Op. 28 “Pastoral”;
Frédéric Chopin Scherzo Nr. 2 n. 2 in b-Moll, Op 31;
Frédéric Chopin: Nocturne in C-Moll Op 48/1;
Johann Sebastian Bach (Fassung für Klavier von Ferrucio Busoni): Toccata, Adagio und Fuge in C-Dur, BWV 564;


18. Oktober, 20 Uhr: München, Prinzregententheater;
1. November, 20 Uhr: Dortmund, Konzerthaus;
3. November, 19 Uhr: Düsseldorf, Savoy Theater;
5. November, 20 Uhr: Stuttgart, Theaterhaus;
18. November, 20 Uhr: Berlin, Kammermusiksaal der Philharmonie;
26. November, 20 Uhr: Lübeck, Musik- und Kongresshallen.

Karten zu allen Konzerten gibt es im Vorverkauf auch bei Eventim.

Mehr zu James Rhodes gibt es hier


James Rhodes: Fire On All Sides

Honest and open. That were one of the first thoughts that came to my mind when I read the beginning of James Rhodes’ new book. Next it was astonishment. The astonishment that “Fire On All Sides” offers a much deeper look inside James’ mind than “Instrumental”, his first book, does. There’s no doubt that “Instrumental” is shockingly open when James, raped for years as a boy, describes how this disgusting and horrible abuse destroys the life of a young, sensible child that only seeks for love and support from his teacher who rewards trust with violence. James has no doubt that he is still alive because music saved him.

“Fire On All Sides” could be the evidence that dreams can indeed become reality. The James of today is a professional concert pianist, travelling various countries, playing concerts. He writes articles for newspapers, gives interviews, hosts radio shows. And yet there are those evil voices trying to convince James that he is not that good, that every single concert will be a disaster and that even an ordinary day offers problems and obstacles that are challenges.

The voice is so loud that I convince myself that I am perpetuating a fraud.”

Of course this is a book about music, about love and hatred and imperfection. But James wouldn’t be the author if he wasn’t to add “including the self-indulgent crap because it’s me and I’m a narcissistic asshole”. Even if we are lucky because we have not to fight depression or anxiety or a horrible illness on a daily basis, we all face the challenge to get up in the morning, go to work, get things done. And no one knows how difficult it is to smile and pretend everything is okay when it is not. Imagine you have voices in your head that are your constant companions that have nothing else to do than convince you, you are not enough. In James’s case: he’s not able to play the piano properly, no one will pop up to his concert venue, and the waiter in the café just round the corner always stares at you because you seem to be some sort of freak.

“Words are dangerous, music is salvation – the one thing I don’t need to be afraid of.”

But then there are these moments when James realises he can handle it. “It” meaning walking on stage after make sure for the hundredth time that every single note is saved in the memory (James always plays the piano on stage without scores), that of course there is indeed an audience that isn’t only excited to see what is waiting for them. They enjoy the evening and they want to get their books or CDs signed. And – surprise –  there is even a “bunch of really lovely German fans” waiting for him at the stage door in Munich’s Gasteig back in the autumn of 2016.

So after having survived a horrible childhood that still haunts him, James has finally reached a stage where he can even convince the evil voices in his head that he lives the life he always wanted, “a life surrounded by, engulfed by, music”. A life that is bearable because he is finally ready to see life as it is: Imperfect. And that there is no need to pretend that life and humans and especially James is perfect and furthermore its “fragility can unite us all in the most comforting way”.

Or as Sherlock would say: “We are all humans after all”.

James Rhodes: “Fire On All Sides: Insanity, insomnia and the incredible inconvenience of life”, Quercus, Ebook from 8,49£/9,49€.
The new album “Fire On All Sides” is available at the usual streaming service.

James Rhodes: “Life’s too short to pretend”

Ahead of his upcoming tour in  Germany, Austria and Switzerland, James Rhodes kindly answered a few questions. No idea how he does it, but the answers hit my inbox in no time 😉

You have been on tour recently and will have a couple of concerts in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Do you have time to stroll a bit through every town you are in? And if so are you looking for something typical in the town you are in?
I really hope so. Some days I’ll have more time than others but ideally I’ll always be able to stroll around and explore new places – most of these cities are new to me and I can’t wait.

How are you preparing for the concert in the evening? Is it important for you to relax, sleep in or are you too excited to be calm?
It’s a real mixture – on a perfect day I’ll be well rested and excited (in a call way!). But of course lots of the time I’ll be stressed and anxious and grumpy. But then I’m that way with everything not just concerts.

Is it difficult to concentrate when playing in a new hall?
Not usually. Sitting at the piano is the best place for me, whatever the hall is like.

You are quite active on Twitter where you are not only funny or chat about ordinary things. You are very open when it comes to topics such as depression or the abuse you suffered as a boy. Is it some kind of therapy for you? And are the internet/ social media stressful sometimes?
I love Twitter. I’ve met some wonderful people on there and been very lucky in that I haven’t come across much nastiness. I think loneliness can be really debilitating for people especially if they’re a bit wobbly emotionally (like me), so social media can be a really positive thing. I think it’s important to just be myself whether it’s with a friend in a cafe or online, it’s always the same me. Life’s too short to pretend.

When meeting fans it seems you are really enjoying it. Is there anything you want to tell them?
Thank you! That’s the main thing. It’s appreciated more than they know and it makes me feel all warm inside. Don’t ever feel shy about coming to say hello 🙂

I met James Rhodes in September 2015 after a talk at The Guardians' and asked for a selfie. Photo: Petra Breunig

I met James Rhodes in September 2015 after a talk at The Guardians’ and asked for a selfie. Photo: Petra Breunig


You can find more about James Rhodes on his side where there are also links to tour dates, his Sound Cloud and his Twitter – and on this blog

All dates for his upcoming tour are in this poster: jamesrhodestourposter2016

James Rhodes “Der Klang der Wut” – A story like a fairy tale

The truth one might think is something you can’t suppress. But it looked highly unlikely that the book “Instrumental” (“The sound of rage” is it in German – my note) would never make it onto the shelves of the book stores. Not until the British Supreme Court allowed the publication of the book saying that the author is allowed to tell his story. The judges rejected Rhodes’ ex-wife try to prevent not only the publication of the book . She tried to prevent Rhodes from talking about his past publicly.

A different kind of pianist

The author is James Rhodes, a pianist who is exactly the opposite you expect a concert pianist to be. He appears on stage in Jeans, tee and trainers, seems to be hyperactive and calm, witty and serious and has no problem at all to get rid of his black, long sleeve tee with “Bach” written in capital letters on the front (“Sorry, I’m warm, have to get out of that shirt. Be envious, I was at the fitness centre.”). And creating worlds out of music on a very impressive huge and polished Steinway piano, fascinating his audience in London’s Barbican centre last autumn. And then this small, fragile 40 year old British guy who takes off his nerdy glasses when playing thousands of notes out of memory, seems like he has been happily playing this wonderful music, just himself and his piano, for all his life.

But what he is writing in his book – that is now available in German – hasn’t anything to do with classical music, at least not for a start. Without whitewashing anything, Rhodes writes how he was abused by his boxing teacher over the range of five years. Yes, he doesn’t describe all the most devastating details but even without them, the book is shocking, stirring, disturbing and moving. That is because Rhodes writes the same way he communicates on Twitter with his followers or describes his audience why he is playing the piece of music he is playing, what it means to him – and he tells something about the life of the composer.

 “I started writing at 3.47 am. Something is wrong with me.”
(My translation)

Of course “Instrumental” is about classical music, pieces of great composers, even outsiders know their names, even if that sort of music isn’t their cup of tea. This music is more than just a way to earn money. It has saved his life because, Rhodes writes, music comforts him “when there is desperation, music gives pure energy in a very high doses when one feels empty, broken and exhausted.” (My translation). Music that a friend smuggled inside his mental hospital on an iPod where Rhodes tried to commit suicide several times after his marriage broke up and he stopped working in the City.
The fact that he now is married happily to his second wife, writes for British papers, had a show about music on British telly and has his own label – thanks to his manager he met in a café – reads like a fairy tale. Of course the book “Instrumental” isn’t a fairy tale at all even if the story could have come out of the mind of a screenwriter. But he would lack that direct, puzzling tone which comes with the swearing of the original in the German version where the reader is addressed as “Sie” (the polite way to talk to strangers – my note) – and which sounds a bit rough from time to time. The joy of reading is completed by a Spotify playlist of all of the pieces introducing every chapter.

Photo: Petra Breunig

Photo: Petra Breunig

Book & music
James Rhodes: Der Klang der Wut, Nagel & Klimche, 22,90 Euro.  [You can find my review of “Instrumental” here]
James Rhodes offers some of his pieces for free on https://sound-
His latest album is „Inside Tracks”.

[The German version of this article was first published in Fränkischer Tag, 10th February 2016 and online  (paid).  This blog entry is my translation and has a few notes to explain specific German expressions]

James Rhodes: Instrumental: Violence, music and love

The thing with autobiographies is they can go totally wrong, trying to convince the reader what a perfect, clever, self-confident and of course perfect looking human being the writer is – and leaving you as the reader either laughing or sick because you can’t cope with a super man (of course there are super woman around, too).

James Rhodes’ “Instrumental”, that is finally available, isn’t that sort of book at all. It is funny, it is shocking, it leaves you shaking your head in disbelief and it touches you deeply. That is because – and for me the most important thing – James writes about his life, his experiences and the things that matter most to him in such an open, honest way as if he is talking to you as a very close friend. Being able to literally write about grief, sorrow, shame, feeling insecure and simply not fit for the world outside is a kind of getting rid of it. No matter how people will react.

“I started writing this at 3.47 am. There is something wrong with me.”

And people will react, they always do. Especially in a time when they can throw their rubbish onto the internet and straight into James’ Twitter and Facebook (He’s on Google+, too but unfortunately doesn’t keep that account alive). And especially when it comes to abusing children or as James names it: rape. The fact that he was raped, humiliated and tormented by a school teacher when he was a boy, is not only disgusting, may turn your stomach and makes you cry when reading about it (so this book is not a book for children or people unable to cope with violence). It is also unbelievable for people who never experienced violence in their lives. But this is the truth and it is a miracle that this boy now a man of 38 hasn’t committed suicide, is able to speak out – not only with this book but also in various articles and on Twitter – and is desperately trying to bring classical music to a broader audience. From the moment a friend gave him an iPod, smuggled into the hospital James was living because he had tried to kill himself frequently – together with his destroyed self confidence, the feeling that everything that has happened was his fault was result of the raping experienced as a boy – James knew and still knows that classical music can make a difference: “Anything changed.” The Bach-Marcello Adagio “took me to a place of such magnificience, such surrender, hope, beauty, infinite space, it was like touching God’s face.”

“I would not exist (…) without music.”

And because music is so important to him and because he is as different from a “normal” pianist – sitting in tee, jeans and trainers at the piano – as you possibly can imagine, it’s thrilling to listen to his work, to his explanations about the composer or watching him on telly or on Youtube. Or simply finding out that classical music isn’t something for an elite audience but for normal people who are not able to remember the name of the composer but just like or dislike a special piece of music. No wonder that he tries to catch people whereever he can, engaging with his fans on Twitter and on Facebook, offering free music on his soundcloud and promoting his book. A book that is worth every hour reading it.

Screenshot: Petra Breunig

Screenshot: Petra Breunig

Every chapter has an introduction about a special piece of music. There is a play list on Spotify

James Rhodes: Instrumental, Canongate, £16,99.
As ebook on Amazon, iTunes and Google Play Books.

And interview with James Rhodes can be found here.

James Rhodes – the uncommon piano man

Classical music is an event you can’t take seriously enough. And of course you should listen in a very upright position and with all awe you can possible be capable of. It’s a cliche that comes with classical music the British pianist James Rhodes wants to get rid of. And he himself isn’t a typical pianist at all – sitting in Jeans, Chucks, T-Shirt at a steinway, his hair trying to get right away from his head – making perfectly clear, that all that matters to him is his music.

Experiencing violent sexual abuse as a little boy, being too afraid to tell anybody about his pain, he only found comfort in classical music he listened to on his father’s CDs. Ever since then classical music has been a very important part of his life.

 “88 keys and within an entire universe.”

As many others he learned to play the piano when he was about seven but he tried very hard getting along with pieces too complicated for his abilities, he admits today. So he stopped trying and started a career in the City of London, perfectly denying his inner self and his deepest wishes – and suffered a complete breakdown, spending nine months in different mental institutions “trying the best to kill myself”, James Rhodes says. “Perhaps it was this new-found pressure that came from knowing I finally had a shot at what I really wanted.” he writes on his internet sites – playing classical music. The kind of music a friend smuggled through to him on an iPod when he was completely isolated, without any contact to normal life.

One can only imaging that this might have been like the sun forcing her way through clouds on a dark day, lightening the mood at once and it made up his mind and changed his life. For then he knew that he really wanted to play classical music as a concert pianist despite the facts that he now was divorced and without any income.

Luckily he stumbled into his eventually-to-be manager who not only realized Rhodes’s genius but finally opened doors to household labels like Warner Brothers. “The notion that the concert pianist has to be selected from birth and nurtured/trained cruelly for countless hours, that he or she can only succeed by winning competitions and attending the best conservatories is simply not true.” writes James Rhodes on his website. Though he admits that he was and is very lucky, earning his living with his beloved music.

“Almost every piece of classical music is universal. If you have the chance to hear it. And it will transform you.”

You only have to watch his vids on Youtube or listen to his music on soundcloud (where he posts them for free) to realize that all that really matters to him is his music and his steinway, sitting there, playing four hours every day, drinking endless cups of coffee, enjoying his life  – when he’s not on tour or recording a new album. Rodes’s life is by no means ordinary but a lucky and privileged one, and he’s taking nothing for granted, including the fact that British celebrities like the author Stephen Frey and actor Benedict Cumberbatch are his friends, honouring his genius in public.

James Rhodes playing more than 100.000 notes from memory alone not only talks to the audience trying to bring music and composers to life, getting them grounded. He also explains that he has difficulties playing a special piece and why. His honesty is baffling – when he writes on Twitter that he desperately is in need of more coffee, very nervous just right before a concert and his openness helps him fulfilling his mission: Getting classical music back to ordinary people.

You can buy or download his works on Google Play, iTunes or Amazon.

The German version of his article was first published in the weekend supplementary “Fränkischer Sonntag” 8th Sept 2013 of the German newspapers Fränkischer Tag, Bayerische Rundschau, Coburger Tageblatt, Saale-Zeitung sharing the platform
All rights reserved.
My translations.

After a decision of the Supreme Court, James Rhodes’s biography “Instrumental” (Canongate books) will be released this May.

I will write an blog entry about the book as soon as possible.
Update: Read my blog entry about “Instrumental” here.

Bücher für Weihnachten 2019

Es soll ja Leute geben, für die Bücher als Geschenke nicht in Frage kommen. Sei es, weil sie selber weder lesen noch überhaupt einen Bezug zu Büchern haben, sei es weil sie keinen zu Beschenkenden haben, der sich über Bücher freuen würde. Für mich – und hoffentlich auch für die regelmäßigen Besucher dieses Blogs (Danke!) – sind Bücher etwas Wunderbares und als Geschenke immer willkommen.  Wer noch auf der Suche nach einem Buch ist, wird vielleicht hier fündig:

Claire Lombardo: Der größte Spaß, den wir je hatten  (dtv, 25 Euro) ist die Geschichte der Familie Sorensen. Die Eltern Marilyn und David sind nach 40 Ehejahren immer noch ineinander verliebt – ein Vorbild, das für ihre Töchter nicht immer leicht zu ertragen ist. Claire Lombardos Erstlingswerk ist ein wunderbarer Schmöker, leicht und dennoch nicht banal erzählt, den man nur ungern aus der Hand legt.

Astrid Ruppert: Leuchtende Tage (dtv, 15,90 Euro) ist das, was man landläufig als “Frauenroman” bezeichnet, denn er erzählt die Geschichte der Frauen der Familie Winter über drei Generationen hinweg. Der erste Band einer Trilogie hat nur den Fehler, dass die Folgebände noch nicht erschienen sind.

Tom Mole: The Secret Life of Books (Elliott & Thompson, 16,40 Euro) – das es meines Wissens nicht auf Deutsch gibt – ist das Geschenk für den Buchliebhaber unter den Freunden, der bestimmt das ein oder andere lernen wird, das er noch nicht über Bücher gewusst hat.

André Aciman: Fünf Lieben lang (dtv, 22 Euro): Wer  “Call me by your name – Ruf mich bei Deinem Namen” liebt, wird auch dieses Buch lieben, das aus fünf unterschiedlich langen Geschichten besteht.

Keine Buchtipps ohne einen Hinweis auf  Ian McEwan, dessen “Kakerlake“(19 Euro) gerade erst erschienen ist. Alle seine Bücher sind bei Diogenes in durchweg sehr guten Übersetzungen erhältlich.
Fehlen dürfen auch nicht Lukas Hartmann, der in diesem Jahr “Der Sänger” (Diogenes, 22 Euro) vorgelegt hat und Bernhard Schlink, dessen neuester Roman “Olga” heißt.
Wer London und Detektivromane mag, für den sind Robert Galbraiths Cormoran-Strike-Romane ein passendes Geschenk. Anfangen sollte man  mit dem ersten Band der Reihe “Der Ruf des Kuckucks” (Randomhouse, 10,99 Euro) und unbedingt die Verfilmung (unter dem Titel “Strike”) mit Tom Burke in der Hauptrolle anschauen.
Bisher nur auf Englisch erschienen ist “Playlist” (Wren & Rook, ca. 29 Euro) des wunderbaren James Rhodes.  Der englische Pianist bringt seinen Lesern auf seine ganz eigene Weise klassische Musik im wahrsten Sinne des Wortes nahe – ganz ohne schwarzem Anzug und Fliege.

Bücher meines Jahres 2018

Es ist wieder Zeit, Bilanz zu ziehen – in Form von Büchern, die ich im fast abgelaufenen Jahr 2018 gelesen habe. Darunter sind Neuerscheinungen genauso wie Bücher, die mir aus dem ein oder anderen Grund als lesenswert erschienen. Insgesamt habe ich genauso viele Bücher gelesen wie 2017. Erstmals waren zwei Hörbücher dabei.

Meine Bilanz:
Gesamt: 38
Deutsch: 18
Englisch: 20
E-Books: 5 (auf dem Tolino gelesen)
Hörbücher: 2

Aus meinem Bücher-Jahr möchte ich diese empfehlen:

Deutschsprachige Autoren der Gegenwart:
Benedict Wells jüngste Sammlung von Kurzgeschichten “Die Wahrheit über das Lügen” hat nur den Nachteil, dass die Geschichten zu kurz sind –  zu gut und zu spannend sind sie geschrieben. Wer noch nichts von dem 34-jährigen Schriftsteller gelesen hat und erst einmal vorsichtig Kontakt aufnehmen will, sollte zu diesem Band greifen.
Bernhard Schlink und Lukas Hartmann haben  2018 beide Frauen als Hauptfiguren ihrer neuen Romane gewählt. Schlinks “Olga” setzt im Deutschland des 19. Jahrhunderts alles daran, als selbstständige Frau ihren eigenen Lebensunterhalt zu verdienen. In Hartmanns “Ein Bild von Lydia” ist die reichste Frau der Schweiz im Zürich des Jahres 1887 in den Konventionen ihrer Zeit gefangen.

Die Sprache ist egal
jedenfalls wenn es um diese Autoren geht, deren Werke wunderbar ins Deutsche übersetzt wurden:
Ian McEwan ist eigentlich immer lesenswert, auch seine Kurzgeschichten wie “The Daydreamer“, “Der Tagträumer“, die aus der Sicht eines Jungen erzählt sind, der sich am liebsten in andere Personen oder Tiere hineinversetzt.
Matt Haigs “Notes on a nervous planet” erscheint im März unter dem Titel “Mach mal halblang – Anmerkungen zu unserem nervösen Planeten” bei dtv, wo auch die vorherigen Werke erschienen sind.

sind eigentlich nicht unbedingt meine Welt, weil ich fürchte, wichtige Passagen zu verpassen. Immerhin habe ich zwei geschafft, was bei einem am Vorleser, beim anderen an einem Kinofilm liegt.
Carlo Rovelli: The Order of Time, vorgelesen von Benedict Cumberbatch  und
Dr. Seuss: How the Grinch stole Christmas, vorgelesen von Walter Matthau.

Ein neuer Privatdetektiv
Cormoran Strike, der in heutigen London unterwegs ist,  ermittelt in seinem mittlerweile vierten Fall “Lethal White”, “Weißer Tod“.  Wie bei anderen Reihen auch, sollte man aber am Anfang beginnen, in diesem Fall mit “Der Ruf des Kuckucks“. Actionfans werden allerdings nicht auf ihre Kosten kommen, Fans von Donna Leons Commissario Brunetti eher schon.

Worauf ich immer hinweisen muss:
James Rhodes’ jüngstes Buch Fire on all sides, zu dem der britische Pianist auch eine Spotify-Playlist angelegt hat und in dem er beschreibt, welch Anstrengung es ihm unter anderem immer noch kostet, auf die Bühne zu gehen und das zu tun, was er am liebsten tut: Klavierspielen. Wer Lust hat, James live in Deutschland zu erleben, hat 2019 mehrfach die Chance.

Bücher für Weihnachten 2018

Bücher als Geschenke – was für den einen einfallslos sein mag, ist für den  Buchleser der Beweis dafür, dass er sich mit den Vorlieben des zu Beschenkenden auseinandergesetzt hat und aus der schier unerschöpflichen Auswahl an lieferbaren Büchern ein ganz bestimmtes ausgesucht hat. Und wer kurz vor knapp noch ein Geschenk braucht, kann sich damit entschuldigen, dass das Buch noch nicht auf Deutsch erschienen ist und er daher einen Gutschein überreichen muss.

Meine Empfehlungen aus Büchern, die ich heuer gelesen habe (und bei deren Auswahl ich gemerkt habe, wie unterschiedlich sie sind). Die jeweiligen Links führen zu ausführlicheren Blogbeiträgen:

Mary Ann Shaffer: Deine Juliet (btb, 9,99 Euro): Als der Film in die Kinos kam, wusste ich nicht, dass er auf einem Buch basiert. “Deine Juliet” erzählt die überraschende Begegnung zwischen der Londoner Schriftstellerin Juliet und dem Club der Guernseyer Freunde von Dichtung und Kartoffelschalenauflauf kurz nach Ende des Zweiten Weltkriegs.

Bücher mit Tiefgang:
Wendy Mitchell: Somebody I used to know (Bloomsbury, ca. 12 Euro; erscheint unter dem Titel “Der Mensch, der ich einst war: Mein Leben mit Alzheimer”, im Juni 2019 auf Deutsch bei  Rowohlt, 12 Euro): Der deutsche Titel nimmt vorweg, um was es in dem Buch geht: Alzheimer – und wie die Autorin Wendy Mitchell damit umgeht und versucht ihr Leben neu darauf auszurichten. Das ist weniger sentimental als gedacht, aber dennoch sehr berührend.

Anthony Doerr: Memory Wall (btb,8 Euro): Unsere Welt, unser Leben besteht aus Erinnerungen, so wie das Leben von Alma Konachenk, die das Gedächtnis verliert und in deren Erinnerungen irgendwo der Hinweis auf ein Fossil versteckt ist.

James Rhodes: Fire on all sides (keine deutsche Übersetzung bisher, Quercus, ab ca. 8 Euro). Der britische Pianist James Rhodes wurde als Kind mehrfach vergewaltigt. Dieses Trauma hat er keineswegs überwunden, wie er erschütternd offen, aber auch gleichzeitig witzig, frech und direkt in “Fire on all sides” schreibt. Unter dem gleichnamigen Titel ist auch ein Album erschienen, das das Buch sozusagen begleitet.

Ian McEwan: Der Tagträumer (Diogenes, 10 Euro/The Daydreamer, Vintage, ca. 10 Euro): Die Kurzgeschichten im dünnen Band “Der Tagträumer” (Link führt zu meinem englischsprachigen Beitrag) haben alle die gleiche Hauptfigur: Den Jungen Peter Fortune, der nichts lieber macht als sich in den Körper von anderen Lebewesen zu träumen.

Matt Haig: Wie man die Zeit anhält (dtv, 20 Euro; How to stop time, Canongate, ca. 8 Euro): Der Roman erzählt die Geschichte von Tom Hazard, der zwar 439 Jahre alt ist – der aber äußerlich nicht altert. Das ist für Albas wie ihm ein Problem, denn natürlich merken die Menschen in seiner Umgebung, dass er anders ist.

Robert Galbraith: Weißer Tod (Blanvalet, 24 Euro, erscheint am 27. Dezember/Lethal White, ab 12 Euro): Der mittlerweile vierte Fall für den Privatdetektiv Cormoran Strike ist genauso spannend und gut geschrieben wie die vorherigen. Kennt der Beschenkte die noch nicht, mag aber Krimis, die zudem noch in London spielen, sollte man zum ersten Band  “Der Ruf des Kuckucks” (Blanvalet 10,99 Euro) greifen.

Bernhard Schlink: Olga (Diogenes, 24 Euro): Olga ist nach den Maßstäben am Ende des 19. Jahrhunderts zwar nur eine Frau. Aber sie weiß genau, was sie will. Selbstständig sein, eine Familie gründen – scheinbar unerreichbare Wünsche für eine Frau in Deutschland, in der immer radikalere Ansichten, die Politik bestimmen werden.





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