Bücher, Filme, Technik und Benedict Cumberbatch – auf Deutsch and in English

Schlagwort: Canongate

Alan Rusbridger: Breaking News

Alan Rusbridger’s latest book “Breaking News” is an insight look into The Guardian as well as an insight look into  journalism itself – and it offers a glimpse inside the mind of an Editor-in-Chief in times when literally all newspaper are struggling for survival.

“Keep it short, keep it simple, write it in language you would use if you were telling your mum or dad.”

When Rusbridger left the Guardian after being its Editor-in-Chief for 20 years, he left an organisation heading towards a new age where the fear of shutting down the printing presses isn’t gone but has lost at least its fear that journalism would die with them. That is because Rusbridger isn’t only a brilliant writer but because he is guided by a decent, humble opinion about how journalism can survive in an age where fake news and mistrust in media and journalists is about to take over at least vast parts of social media. To understand Rusbridger’s thinking, you have to follow his career that started as a local journalist at the Cambridge Evening News, covering nothing but wedding reports. It was a time when journalists didn’t talk about business models (because they didn’t need to) but were aware of getting “the salient facts into the top of the story so, in haste, it could be cut from the bottom.” They lived (and local journalists still do) among the people on whom they reported. That closeness also bred respect and trust – Rusbridger considers as the most important values journalists (and their publishers) should hold dear.

To get along with the internet

Journalists and even Editors-in-Chief had to discover what that internet really was, where it lived (apparently somewhere in Silicon Valley) and how to they possibly could get along with it or “We were conquered” as  Rusbridger puts it, even if he, like most of his fellow journalists, had no idea what to make out of it, it was obvious that a  media organisation couldn’t ignore it. With the death of Lady Diana and later with 9/11, people were desperate to get information – if not by the Guardian, then from someone else. When the planes crashed into the World Trade Center, the internet couldn’t cope with the huge amount of visits on various websites. But like other websites (I remember vaguely that Süddeutsche Zeitung‘s site skipped pictures and went to text only), “The Guardian – with anxious tech developers sitting up all night – didn’t go dark.”

“We broke virtually no celebrity news or gossip. We tended to ignore people’s private lives. All this appeared – for our readers – to be a positive, not a negative.”

Maybe this was one of those moments, readers found The Guardian, liked it and came back. Not only for information from and about the UK but about world affairs and made it the leading serious newspaper English-language website in the world, made it “worthy”. Then readers came back for information about the Leveson inquiry into press standards and ethics and the Snowden revelations which won The Guardian the Pulitzer Prize for public service in 2014.

“Breaking News” is an inspiring and thrilling read for journalists who might find familiar thoughts and situations. For other readers it offers a brilliant read of journalism and media and how decent and serious information are made.


Alan Rusbridger: Breaking News – The remaking of journalism and why it matters now, Canongate, from £13.

You can find my blog entry about “Play it again” here.

Matt Haig: Notes on a nervous planet

People have literally everything at their fingertips: news, music, libraries, the internet, family and friends. But never before in human history are so many people stressed by how fast the world around themselves is spinning, afraid of how they can possibly face this stress. They are not only afraid but suffer from serious illnesses, including depression. Matt Haig knows what he is writing about in his latest book “Notes on a nervous planet”, having been through heavy depression himself.

“We need to build a kind of immune system of the mind.”

Without any self-pity Matt Haig offers his thoughts about the world and  what he finds helpful to stay sane on this nervous planet – what he finds helpful for himself; he is far from forcing his readers to follow his thoughts as gospel. But even if you are not stressed from constantly checking your Twitter or Instagram or scrolling through news, you will find that there is more than a little bit of truth in Matt Haig’s writing.  Unless you are the only person alive that has never enjoyed the sounds of a summer’s evening or watching the rain poring down or just sitting there with your own thoughts – or thinking nothing at all.

“Reading is love in action.”

Those moments are precious because we have to step back from all the fuss around us, we have to remind us that although  it is fascinating and a great achievement that we can chat to friends from all over the world any time, constantly. And even if we are so lucky to have met friends from Twitter in real life, we have to remind us that we don’t have to answer immediately, that it is totally okay to finish the chapter of our book or the whole book before picking up our phone again. But it’s not okay to try to be someone else, the model with that shiny hair, the actor with his huge range of knowledge, that colleague who runs a marathon. It’s totally fine to be ourself: “We are humans. Let’s not be ashamed to look like them.”

What makes Matt Haig’s writing and therefore this book – his books –  such a pleasant read is that it offers such a huge amount of knowledge, glimpses into different spaces, different opinions while being funny and relaxing and an eye opener at the same time. Some might say this isn’t what literature should be. Don’t mind them. Just read.


Matt Haig: Notes on a nervous planet, Canongate, round £11/ 12 Euro.

Matt Haig: How to Stop Time

Time travelling isn’t a new topic neither in films nor in literature. It seems that people have always been fascinated by stories about travelling back into history to meet people from the past and forward in time to get a glimpse of a possible future. BBC’s  “Doctor Who” has everything people expect from a telly series covering that topic: an age old time traveller who knows not only how to handle humans but also past, present and the future – not to mention all sorts of aliens.

“My mother died a very long time ago. I, on the other hand, did not.”

Matt Haig’s new book “How to Stop Time” comes without aliens, or strange tech gadgets but with a man who ages in slow motion. Tom Hazard may look like a 40 year old guy. But he has outlived centuries before he hits modern day London – and he hasn’t lost his memory. That’s why he not only remembers ancient times and places like Shakespeare’s London (and the great playwright himself). He also has to cope with serious headaches indicating that his brain, like a hard drive, is about to reach its maximum capacity. Teaching history at a school in London, Tom uses his first-hand-knowledge to bring history to life for his pupils without revealing his true identity. But the past is always with him.

“How to Stop Time” is an intense story that hooks the reader from the very beginning not because it is breathtakingly fast and action packed but because it is calm and lacks all sorts of excitement in a very fascinating way.  Matt Haig’s newest novel is one to loose yourself in  – which is the best you can say of any book.

Photo: Petra Breunig

Photo: Petra Breunig


Matt Haig: How to Stop Time, Canongate, 15 €/13 £.

The book will be adapted for film by Sunny March with Benedict Cumberbatch taking the lead role.

Die deutsche Ausgabe wird 2018 im dtv erscheinen.

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