[DWJ] Books of the year 2007

Tina liril at gmx.net
Wed Jan 2 14:23:55 EST 2008


Philip on Wolfgang Hohlbein.
> At the moment I'm struggling with a book by Wolfgang Hohlbein.  I fear
> he is not a good enough writer to be a really suitable source text for
> learning German :-) 
Possibly... Which book?
> He seems to be hugely popular over there, but I'm
> beginning to see why no-one (AFAIK) has bothered producing any English
> translations.
>   
:-) He's incredibly prolific. But maybe that's because he's been writing 
the same two or three books over and over again for years?

Now that's a bit rude, especially since I only recall reading about four 
or five of his books, mostly of the children's books he wrote with his 
wife (Elfentanz, Märchenmond, Drachenfeuer and something with a Griffin 
in the title?) and one or two of the Wandering Wood (?) series. I rather 
liked Märchenmond as a kid, I have to confess, but I hadn't read Lord of 
the Rings at that time. And in retrospective it feels quite like a rip-off.

Now that I'm taking some time to think of it, I notice that I read more 
Holbein. Given his output that is probably no wonder. Das Siegel 
(historical fiction set at the time of the crusades) and Hagen von 
Tronje (a different take on the Nibelungen Saga), both of which I found 
emotionally quite gripping at the time. And some of his Hexer von Salem 
books, which I found scary and hilarious at the same time because thy 
are really a bit over the top (they felt like some kind of Tough Guide 
to Horror Land (ObDWJ) cliché, and I hadn't read ANY horror books 
before. For those he actually used a pseudonym, and they are quite ... 
ah... trashy. So much in fact, that I quite revelled in that. And I 
learned about Lovecraft through those.

Holbein is very clever at finding ideas and themes, and turning them 
into (many) books (each). Metaphorically speaking it's a bit like fast 
food. Taking the idea, turning it into something that you consume fast, 
that doesn't really taste like the real thing and sometimes leaves a 
strange taste in the mouth. (Something you can come to like as a 
teenager. And,  if I am really honest, I did develop a crush on one or 
two of the tragic heroes at the time...)  I haven't read anything by him 
for years and years, because even if the starting comment was a bit 
snide, I really felt that he was using (and reusing) stories and 
characters and ideas, and it all wasn't very original.

Now I wonder if I still have that Hexer of Salem book somewhere. 
Because, in light of the Ch'thullu dolls livejournal I sniggered at 
sometime ago I might fancy skipping through that one again :-)

Bettina



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