Are you experienced?

On the search for a pocket to read in the train I found ‘Are you experienced’ in my bookcase, which I once bought for 50p. This book was first published in 1997 and became a huge bestseller.

And I can understand why. It is hilarious and a must-read for everyone undertaking a big exotic journey, especially to India. Everyone in Dave’s class is going abroad for a year, to ‘get to know themselves’ or to get interesting experiences for their c.v.’s. Dave is not very keen on doing the same, but when Liz, who he fancies a lot, asks him to accompany her for some months in India, he has no choice.

Their experiences are extremely funny. For Dave the trip only exists of heat and dust, beggars, bad food and other inconveniences. Liz on the other hand loves India, and she wants to reach the spiritual heart of the country. And to make things worse for Dave, Liz does not allow him to sleep with her and the two of them become separated more and more…
Witty dialogues, colourful characters and very realistic painful situations make this a great satire on the backpack generation.

Gothic II

Gothic II is an impressive looking book with over 300 pages. From the title you can conclude that this is a second part, in 2000 the book ‘Gothic – Die Szene in Deutschland aus der Sicht ihrer Macher’. That’s also an interesting book, though I must confess not having read much from it yet. I will do so soon, because this second book has really pleased me.
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Pleasures and Wayward Distractions

After reading the biography about Ian Curtis by his widow Deborah, I still had a hunger for more Joy Division reading material. So I began in this book by Brian Edge, who follows a completely different course. No biographical details, but an outline of their musical career.
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Touching from a Distance; Ian Curtis

It would be a bit dramatic to state that Joy Division made the soundtrack to my adolescence or to call them heroes. But fact is that no other music made such an impact on me, at an age when music still has that ability. Because I also like to read about music, a few Joy Division books have been on my reading menu.
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The Virgin Suicides

‘The Virgin Suicides’ was the debut for Jeffrey Eugenides, first published in 1993. The film adaptation by Sofia Coppola (yes, the daughter of, and her debut) is probably better known than the novel, but I have not watched it yet. This book by Eugenides is quite original and certainly enjoyable, but it took me a few months to finish it.
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The Scottish writer Iain Banks belongs to my favourite circle of writers ever since I read ‘The Wasp Factory’ over a decade ago. His books are full of suspense and mystery, very dark and a little fantastic without becoming true horror, and with a few injections of absurdity and satire.
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Denn alle Lust will Ewigkeit

This large format photobook really is a stimulation of the senses. Isolde Ohlbaum has photographed some very impressive graveyard sculptures on various European graveyards, like Milano, Vienna, Munich, Paris, Genua, Triest and more.
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My first encounter with the work of the British photographer Simon Marsden was through the fascinating (German) book “Geistersuche”. It contains many mysterious, sometimes creepy photos and accompanying stories about old castles, desolated buildings and other ghostlike places, from Ireland to Transsilvania…
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Miss Wyoming

I find the books of the American writer Douglas Coupland always a pleasure to read. They’re fast and amusing, and full of satire.
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Atonement is the latest novel of Ian McEwan, one of Britain’s most renowned writers. Some of his previous classics were ‘The Comfort of Strangers’, ‘The Cement Garden’ and ‘Amsterdam’, for which he won the Booker Prize in 1998. If you ask me, this novel should also be a prizewinner.
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Adrian Borland: Book of (Happy) Memories

A memorial book, compiled by some of his fans, about Adrian Borland, former frontman of The Sound, who passed away in 1999. This book contains a collection of memories from a few dozen friends and musicians, which give a very warm feeling to read.
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20 Jaar Spasmodique From the Cellar of Rose

This book tells the story of 20 years of Spasmodique, a cult band from Rotterdam. These 20 years are not a continuous episode, the band ended its activities in 1992, but recently they made their comeback.
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