If you don't feel like reading, you can and should just listen. Some noteworthy audio books have appeared in recent months. We present a small selection.
By Holger Moos
The publication of diaries from the years 1906 to 1940, which Lion Feuchtwanger never intended to publish, has been controversially discussed in the literary pages (see Perlentaucher). The diaries reveal the life of a cosmopolitan writer between fame, money and women, but also deal with persecution and exile. The audiobook Ein möglichst intensives Leben – Die Tagebücher (i.e. as intense a life as possible – the diaries) made it to first place on the hr2 audio book best list in January 2019: “They are also peppered with small complacencies and indiscretions. This shortened and edited version – read grippingly by Jens Wawrczeck – is rounded off very well by an introduction by Klaus Modick and an expert discussion with co-editor Nele Holdack.”
Judith Schalansky has devoted her current book, awarded the Wilhelm Raabe Prize, to the subject of loss. It represents a completely new genre – “the poetic archiving of vanished things”. The audiobook version of Verzeichnis einiger Verluste (i.e. an index of a few losses) is also very well done and took second place in the hr2 audiobook best list in January 2019: “Ausgestorbene Spezies, verlorene (Kultur)-Schätze (i.e. extinct species, lost (cultural) treasures) – ‘the poetic archiving of vanished things’ is writ large in Judith Schalansky's new work. Even though lost things are irretrievable, they can be preserved in a different way through memory. The 12 narratives follow a strict formal principle - they are all about the same length. The refined readings by Bettina Hoppe and Wolfram Koch reflect the different pitches of these texts.”
Incidentally, the hr2 audio book jury selected Wolfgang Herrndorf’s last, fragmentary novel by, Bilder deiner großen Liebe (i.e. pictures of your great love), read by the actress Sandra Hüller as the audiobook of 2018. “The wonderful Sandra Hüller has made selected passages of this ‘road novel’ resound through her speaking and singing. She has appropriated the eccentric first-person narrator with her unmistakable voice and brought it to life: wild, cocky, tender, desperate and sad. “A production that rocks and that Herrndorf would certainly have liked", was the verdict of the hr2 audiobook jury. The review on Bayern 2 was also enthusiastic, highlighting Hüller's singing talent in particular: “The performance has nothing in common with a classical reading, but can be experienced intuitively like a music album in which text, voice and music enter into a congenial symbiosis.”
Themes of the heart and information compositionsHe was a favourite of the literary pages: critic and presenter Roger Willemsen, who died in 2016. Now, with Musik!, an audiobook on a theme close to his heart has been published in which all who miss him can hear him once again. It describes his love of jazz. But this audiobook is not only aimed at lovers of the genre. “His way of marvelling, raving and describing with relish is unique,” enthuses Annegret Arnold in her Bayern 2 audiobook review. In addition to original recordings, the book also contains texts that actor Matthias Brandt reads: “For all his independence, Brandt always lets Willemsen's intonation shine through.” (1st place on the hr2 audiobook best list in December 2018).
In his feature Der Weg zur deutschen Teilung 1945-1949 (i.e. the path to German partition 1945-1949), Hans Sarkowicz, head of the hr2 literary and audioplay department, explains that Germany did not necessarily have to develop in the direction of democracy in the first years after 1945. It “captivates the listener from the very beginning by cleverly distributing the speakers and the various text forms. The original audio documents, interviews and quotations from primary and secondary texts are excellently structured and accompanied analytically with the expertise of Berlin historian Wolfgang Benz” (4th place on the hr2 audiobook best list for December 2018). For Kirsten Böttcher of B5 aktuell it is "a both serious and entertaining information composition – there is no better way to set history to music.”
Kannawoniwasein – audiobooks for children and young peopleIn the audioplay version of Rafik Shami's Eine Hand voller Sterne (i.e. a hand full of stars), 10-year-old Salima and her grandparents sit in a shelter in Damascus. Outside the war rages on whilst the grandfather reads from his diary and tells stories from his childhood. He invokes a Damascus in which people of different religions lived peacefully together. “Under the direction of Robert Schoen and with Martin Bezzola's music, the speakers bring the atmosphere up close to the ear and into the heart.” (1st place in the hr2 children's and youth audiobooks for December 2018)
The audio book Johannes Gutenberg und das Werk der Bücher (i.e. Johannes Gutenberg and the opus of the books) by Christine Schulz-Reiss is dedicated to the inventor of modern printing. He paved the way for a media revolution that is hard to imagine today, in the age of the death of newspapers and publishing crises. “This audio book is therefore all the more important. After all, we owe it to this revolution that almost everyone has access to knowledge and education. Peter Kämpfe reads Christine Schulz-Reiss's informative and at the same time narratively engaging text with admiring astonishment.” (Monika Trapp’s personal tip, hr2 audiobook best list in January 2019)
For the hr2 audiobook jury, Martin Musers Kannawoniwasein! Manchmal muss man einfach verduften (i.e. Kannawoniwasein! Sometimes you just have to scram) – a turbulent road movie of a special kind – was the children's and young people's audiobook of 2018: “Stefan Kaminski, master of voice morphing, guides us through this extremely entertaining story with a wonderfully flippant tone. It couldn't be better,” says the jury of the hr2 audiobook best list.
Feuchtwanger, Lion: Ein möglichst intensives Leben – Die Tagebücher (Sprecher: Jens Wawrczeck, Stefan Merki).
Berlin: Der Audio Verlag / BR2, 2018. 4 CDs (5 Std. 12 Min.)
Schalansky, Judith: Verzeichnis einiger Verluste (Sprecher/-in: Bettina Hoppe, Wolfram Koch).
Berlin: Der Audio Verlag / kulturradio rbb, 2018. 6 CDs (7 Std. 38 Min.)
Herrndorf, Wolfgang: Bilder deiner großen Liebe (Sprecherin: Sandra Hüller)
Bochum: ROOF Music, 2018. 1 CD (1 Std. 11 Min.)
Willemsen, Roger: Musik! (Sprecher: Matthias Brandt, Roger Willemsen)
Berlin: ROOF Music, 2018. 2 CDs (2 Std. 42 Min.)
Sarkowicz, Hans: Der Weg zur deutschen Teilung 1945-1949 (Feature mit Torben Kessler, Christoph Pütthoff, Birgitta Assheuer)
München: Der Hörverlag, 2018. 4 CDs (5 Std. 30 Min.)
You can find this title in our eLibrary
Schami, Rafik: Eine Hand voller Sterne – Hörspiel (Sprecher/-innen: Frauke Poolmann, Claus Dieter Clausnitzer, Antje Hagen, Nicolas Matthews u.a.)
Untermünkheim: steinbach sprechende bücher , 2018. 1 CD (49 Min.)
Schulz-Reiss, Christine: Johannes Gutenberg und das Werk der Bücher (Sprecher: Peter Kaempfe).
Hamburg: Hörcompany, 2018. 1 CD (1 Std. 1 Min.)
Martin Muser: Kannawoniwasein! Manchmal muss man einfach verduften (Sprecher: Stefan Kaminski)
Hamburg: Hörbuch Hamburg / Silberfisch, 2018. 2 CDs (2 Std. 19 Min.)