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Current Affairs in Audio Books

Cover: Schutzzone, Vince & Eric - Reise zu den Sternen, Alles nur aus Zuckersand
© Der Audioverlag, Der Hörverag, Silberfisch

The turn of the year is a favourite time for examining past milestones as well as pressing issues of the present and future. Several audio books offer interesting incentives for this, each in their own and sometimes award-winning way.

By Marit Borcherding

Lobo: Realitätsschock © Random House Audio If anyone was predestined to make up-to-date social analyses, it’s Sascha Lobo. In his self-narrated audiobook Realitätsschock (Reality Shock), the blogger and journalist, who according to his self-description wants to contribute to understanding the digital sphere, deals the world falling apart at the seams: climate change, Trump, Brexit, shift to the right... He also dares take a look into the future and sees digital natives well equipped to cope with it. The book appealed to the HR2 audiobook jury not just because of this constructive element; in November 2019 they positioned the book in fourth place on their leader board.

Nora Bossong also deals with a social fabric in which certainties are constantly put to the test in her literary work Schutzzone (Protective Zone) read by actor XXX. The protagonist Mira works at the United Nations in Geneva. There she meets Milan, with whom she shares a common past and a past love affair – a reunion that triggers Mira’s doubts about her role and impact as a diplomat. It’s about the discrepancy between personal ideals and political reality, the meaning and purpose of UN missions, ultimately about happiness and futility in the personal and in the political. Luckily the tale is not moralising, but empathy and, in particular, thought provoking.

Anniversaries – turning points

Pletzinger: The Great Nowitzki © Argon In 2019, the exceptional athlete Dirk Nowitzki announced the end of his professional career as a basketball player. It marks a turning point for all basketball fans and thus also for the author Thomas Pletzinger. In The Great Nowitzki, read by actor Julian Mehne, he traces the pathway of the Würzburg-born basketball player to becoming a superstar for the Dallas Mavericks. The story of Dirk Nowitzki’s ascent is accompanied by discussions with his surroundings: teammates, opponents, fans, coaches, sociologists and artists have their say. They all bear witness to a unique career that could not have been achieved without great effort.

We move from the meteoric career of an athlete to the first moon landing’s fiftieth anniversary in 2019. Fittingly, Der Hörverlag released Vince und Eric – Reise zu den Sternen (Vince and Eric – Journey to the Stars), primarily for children from ages 6 to 9, but great for the whole family. Vince Ebert, a physicist and cabaret artist, and Eric Mayer, known as the presenter of the children’s programs pur+ and logo, stage an entertaining and informative journey into space that’s not just about moon landings: Why is the sky blue? How deep is a black hole? Can we zoom through the galaxies at the speed of light? Not only children benefit from this knowledge transfer in the form of a radio play, but also adults, who can quite casually brush up on their knowledge of space.

Another historic event of enormous significance was celebrated in 2019: The Berlin Wall fell thirty years ago, a crucial step towards the final dissolution of the GDR and the unification of Germany. On this occasion, the radio play Alles nur aus Zuckersand (Everything’s Just Sugar Sand) was produced, written for young people by Dirk Kummer and read by well-known television and stage actor Charly Hübner. The film of the same name received the Grimme Prize in 2017. The audiobook based on it has also received numerous awards: from the German Academy for Children’s and Young Adult Literature, hr2’s best audiobook list and the German Record Critics’ Prize. They all liked the touching story about friends Jonas and Fred who wanted to dig a tunnel from East Berlin to Australia in the late 1970s. When Jonas’s mother submits an exit application, the two are only allowed to meet in secret – and the tunnel they began becomes a tragic scene.

Urgent topics for families and society

Steinhöfel: Wenn mein Mond deine Sonne wäre © Silberfisch Finally, a timeless topic that concerns every generation: We are getting older and many families are grappling with dementia, which primarily affects the grandparents’ generation. This is also the case for Max. He misses his grandfather since he was moved to the nursing home because his dementia makes it impossible for him to cope on his own. Max kidnaps his grandfather, and a moving story begins about dealing with a disease that can slowly eradicate a person and about the intimate relationship between generations. The audiobook Wenn mein Mond deine Sonne wäre (If my Moon were your Sun) by Andreas Steinhöfel, award-winning author of children’s and young people’s books, went straight to number one on hr2’s best audiobook list in December. The book read by the author himself is enriched with pieces of music ranging from Prokofiev to Bizet.

And then there’s the most famous kangaroo ever. In December 2019, the industry press reported that the millionth copy of the audiobook Die Känguru-Chroniken (The Kangaroo Chronicles) by Marc-Uwe Kling had been sold. Successful, unsuccessful – they’re all bourgeois categories as the kangaroo himself would say. We congratulate him anyway!
 
Logo Rosinenpicker © Goethe-Institut / Illustration: Tobias Schrank Lobo, Sascha: Realitätsschock. Zehn Lehren aus der Gegenwart (narrator: Sascha Lobo)
München: Random House Audio, 2019. 2 MP3-CDs (ca. 8 h 30 min)
ISBN: 978-3-8371-4911-1
You can find this title in our eLibrary Onleihe

Bossong, Nora: Schutzzone (narrator: Constanze Becker)
Berlin: Der Audio Verlag, 2019. 8 CDs (ca. 9 h 37 min)
ISBN: 978-3-7424-1139-6
You can find this title in our eLibrary Onleihe

Pletzinger, Thomas: The Great Nowitzki (narrator: Julian Mehne)
Berlin: Argon, 2019. 2 MP3-CDs (12 h)
ISBN: 978-3-8398-1717-9

Ebert, Vince / Mayer, Eric: Vince und Eric - Reise zu den Sternen (narrators: Vince Ebert, Eric Mayer)
München: Der Hörverlag, 2019. 1 CD (56 min)
ISBN: 978-3-8445-3320-0

Kummer, Dirk: Alles nur aus Zuckersand (narrator: Charly Hübner)
Hamburg: Silberfisch, 2019. 2 CDs (120 min)
ISBN 978-3-7456-0123-7

Steinhöfel, Andreas: Wenn mein Mond deine Sonne wäre (narrator: Andreas Steinhöfel)
Hamburg: Silberfisch, 2019. 1 CD (63 min)
ISBN 978-3-7456-0138-1
 

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