Friday, 22 October 2010

Die Buchmesse

The book fair

First, an apology (excuse) for the sparse writing lately. It seems that one of two things is usually the case:

  • I haven't done very much so don't have much to write about
  • I have done a lot so haven't had time to write.
I will do my best to reform as of now.

Two weeks ago my sister came to visit (for my birthday). One of our planned activities was a visit to the book fair. It is apprently the largest in the world. 

On Thursday night we went to get a meal at a restaurant at the Römerberg. I had Frankfurters; Jess had Rindfleische mit Grüner Soße after I ordered her the wrong meal. She did like it though so it wasn't a problem. There was writing being projected on to the Römer and other buildings which looked quite cool. And there was a literature night happening in the Römer itself. So after we had had our meal we went to see what was happening. 

An author called Harald was being interviewd. He had written a book about a woman which spanned 40 years of German history and was written from the perspective of the men in her life. He then read some of the book aloud. Well, quite a lot of the book. The interviewer desperately wanted to ask more questions but tried her hardest to look interested and not interrupt. I did my best to interpret for Jess but the people at the EU make it look a lot easier than it is. 

On Saturday we had ticekts for the book fair. So we went to Westend to get the U-Bahn. We bought day tickets thinking we might go somewhere for dinner afterwards. As we got on the train I remembered our Buchmesse tickets also counted as day tickets. I was dismayed to say the least that we were each 6 Euros down due to this forgetfulness!

We got to the Messe and got throroughly confused. It was very big. We didn't know what was where or when things were on. We missed the talk by the Simpsons creator. There were lots of 'Cosplay' people dressed as manga characters and as video game characters and I am sure I saw some dressed as Pokemon characters. We walked through the 'Cosplay Center' where you could buy wigs and other items to perfect your costume. We did not buy any.

We managed to spend a lot of time getting lost in the French publishers area trying to find Sweden. It was definitely worth it when we found the "Bäbis" series of books. These are books about a baby, written in Swedish, aimed at small children. I enjoyed them immensely. "Bäbis tittut" (Peekaboo baby) was my favourite - I laughed out loud, and to the point of tears - though "Bäbis jobbar" (Working baby) was damn good too. I would like to offer my services as translator of these books into English as more people need to enjoy the comedy gold (though maybe they were funnier because they were in Swedish). 

We then sat outside on the sunny day and ate the pack ups I had so dutifully prepared. Salami and cheese bread rolls, apples, paprika crisps and Milky Way Crispy Rolls were the main components. They were delicious pack ups.

We then went to look round the media and film area, where a whole film was being shown before its release. It was a German film about a rich famous man whose sone was in hospital. We did not stay long enough to find out anymore. 

As we left the film screening we saw a large crowd amassed by the ARD stage. They were listening to (Nobel Laureate) Günther Grass! He was talking about his new book about the Brothers Grimm and how fairy tales are important to our lives. The actual Günther Grass! My lecturers will be so jealous!

We then realised it was nearly half past two and that meant time to go and see (Eurovision entrant) Roger Cicero being interviewed. He also has a book out. It is an autobiography. 

Eventually we also found the English speaking section. We had to get the shuttle bus. When we arrived our bags were searched which we blamed the Americans for; we also moaned a lot that we were being suspected as dodgy because we were entering the English-speaking area. Not cool Buchmesse, not cool. 

In the English speaking  area we took free sweets from the Australians, free maps from the council of Europe, read some English as a foreign language textbooks and saw lots of new books by celebrities. Jess picked up a proof of Gwyneth Paltrow's cookbook. We were going to cook pancakes. We bought the buttermilk but forgot syrup. The buttermilk is still in my fridge. 

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