If I told you that at university I am doing physics, you would certainly
be able to guess my favourite book. Yes, it must be Douglas Adam's 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the
Galaxy' and - surprise - it is. I read it countless times and can almost say
that I love it, especially parts one, three and four. Honestly, you can forget
the fifth part, it is (almost) rubbish. Two other books of his I can highly
recommend are 'Last Chance to See' (Some deeply philosophical thoughts on nearly
extinct species) and 'The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul' (featuring a
holistic private investigator who meets some weird nordic gods).
Web-based information may, for example, be found here, although I do of course recommend (1) reading the books yourself and thinking about them whatever you want to think and (2) searching the web, since it is quite easy to find millions of web pages concerned with Douglas Adams or the Hitchiker. Anyway: you may want to try these two locations:
I think it is beyond dispute that JRR Tolkien is another great author who has had much influence on today's literature. There is, sadly, not much I would like to say about his books apart from that I do love them, or at least those which I have read. The first one to mention is, of course, `The Lord of the Rings', but if you have read it and like it, then you must as well try the `Simaril', which - admittedly - may seem a bit lengthy. It is, however, an important piece to read if you really want to understand more of what is going on in the Lord of the Rings. The following link leads you to lots of stuff around Tolkien and his work and also offers about 100 further links: Tolkien Information Page You will undoubtedly notice, that there are millions of people worldwide who have contributed their own thoughts to the discussions about JRR Tolkien. I will therefore not say anything more. There are others that can do and have done better than I.
I may now be supposed to say some words regarding Terry Pratchett, because everybody does so. But because everybody does, I don't have to. Yes, I did read some of the discworld novels and I do like reading them, although I have to confess that if I compare him to Douglas Adams, Terry does not stand a chance. Anyway: read his books if you have not already done so. Or don't read them. If you want to find information concerning Pratchett, then have a look here.
All right. By now you may ask yourself: 'funny guy. Doesn't he read any German books at all?' And I would answer: 'o yes, I do. I did once try to read 'Die Buddenbroks' by Thomas Mann and the first two pages already drove me crazy, which is a state I am still in.' Apart from this I did of course read what is commonly considered the most inspiring of Goethe's works, a book that is said to be the second important text for a physicist to read. It is called 'Faust'. Faust, or rather Dr Faustus, is a scientist, say a professor, skilled in everything from law to medicine, from physics to magic arts. Cute guy? Yes, very cute, but he still is not content with what he has achieved so far (as he says himself: 'Hier steh' ich nun, ich armer Tor, und bin so schlau als wie zuvor', which has nothing to do with football).
It is now time to enter the early German emperor, you might call him Mephisto, as Goethe did, who makes the curious Anakin Skywalker-Faustus the offer to teach him in all the dark arts of the dark side of the Force. All he asks for in return is Faustus' soul and since this thing doesn't exist anyway, it seems to be a fair deal. So far, so good. But then things start becoming a bit messy and in the end Faust is turned into some dreadful Darth Vader and already mad, Grete (a girl) is either mad or dead or both (I do not remember. Mea culpa...) and the emperor is still alive, sitting on his dead-star-cloud. To be continued in 'Faust - the tragedy's second part'.
But yes, there are other german authors as well. One of my favourites is Siegfried Lenz ('Die Deutschstunde', 'Die Klangprobe') and - how could I forget him - Hermann Hesse who has written such tremendously wonderful books as 'Der Steppenwolf' (born to be wild...) or 'Siddharta'.
Last changed Friday, 28/06/2002