Book-a-Day-Challenge – Day 6

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Today I would like to recommend a classic that I was given as a kid. It actually belonged to my father and both our names are written in their as proud owners. I wasn’t actually planning on re-reading it, I sort of got stuck in it, when I took it from the shelve, reading the first few lines.

Around the World in Eighty Days is the original Steampunk! It was first published by Jules Verne in 1873, and was published in monthly installments.

Each chapter is therefore has its own cliffhanger. The character of Phileas Fogg has become the stoic archetype for the cool gentleman traveller who is facing every adventure with black humour and a stiff upper lipp. The story is of course a little silly and childlike but also fast moving and fun, still a good read over a hundred years later. A interesting aspect of the story is the portrait of the American west in the 1870s from a European perspective.

The idea for the story came from the actual journey of an eccentric guy from Boston. George Francis Train. (He called himself „Citizen Train“). You can check him out on Wikipedia.

Not completely unexpected probably but Verne’s novel is a strong reminder how deeply the book is steeped in colonialist superiority:

„The steamer passed along near the shores, but the savage Papuans, who are in the lowest scale of humanity, but are not, as has been asserted, cannibals, did not make their appearance.“

In a similar way he describes Punjabis, Chinese, and Native Americans 😦 The book is a shameless celebration of the British Empire at its peak and Mr. Verne was quite the Anglophile. He constantly praises Phileas Fogg’s Englishness (his honor and stoicism) and bashes out at Passepartout’s Frenchness (chatty, emotional). There is of course also a love interest, Aouda, a rescued indian lady who keeps being the damsel in distress who the brave Phileas Fogg can rescue over and over again.

When Jules Vernes was a young boy he ran away from home, trying to smuggle himself on board a ship to sail the world and follow the adventures of Robinson Crusoe, a book he had read and admired. He was caught and promised his worried mother that from now on he would only travel in his dreams and that promise he pretty much kept. Not unlike Karl May, he rarely traveled he prefered to surround himself with books and research the maps and countries of his books without ever actually visiting them.

So – reading Jules Verne today can still be fun but the books need to be read within its historical context and with a critical mind.

Accompany „Around the World in 80 days“ with Nelly Bly’s account of her travel around the world, who actually met Jules Verne during her trip.

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Kurzgeschichten für lange Nächte


Ich bin kein großer Kurzgeschichten-Fan, ich glaube das ist – wie bei Gedichten auch – so ein „aquired taste“ wie Rotwein, Whisky, Blauschimmel-Käse. Kurzgeschichten haben es nicht leicht bei mir, drohen immer mal wieder in die Ecke zu fliegen, wenn ich in die Geschichten nicht reinkomme (wie kürzlich beispielsweise bei George Saunders), daher wiegen die hier aufgelisteten für mich um so mehr, denn die haben mich in der Regel von der ersten Zeile nicht mehr losgelassen.

Eine liebe Freundin hat mir vor kurzem einen Kurzgeschichten Band zugeschickt: Victoria Hislops Sammlung mit Kurgeschichten von Frauen und zu meinem Entzücken fand ich dort meine Lieblingsgeschichte „The Lottery“ wieder, was mich auf den Gedanken brachte, meine Bibliothek zu durchforsten, um meine persönliche Sammlung aus den für mich besten Kurzgeschichten der Welt hier zu präsentieren.

Einige kann man im Internet finden, da habe ich den link ensprechend angehängt und bin jetzt sehr gespannt, ob Euch meine Sammlung gefällt, welche ihr davon kennt und vielleicht auch mögt oder eben auch nicht. Fehlt euch etwas? Freue mich sehr auf Eure Kommentare und etwaigen Ergänzungen. So long äh short 😉

Isaac Asimov – The Martian Way
Margaret Atwood – Torching the Dusties
Margaret Atwood – Death by Landscape
Margaret Atwood – The Martians claim Canada
Paul Auster – Augie Wren’s Christmas Story
James Baldwin – The Outing
Karen Blixen – The Monkey
Wolfgang Borchert – Nachts schlafen die Ratten doch
Jorge Luis Borges – Die Bibliothek von Babel
Octavia Butler – The Morning, and the evening and the night
TC Boyle – Dogology
Ray Bradbury – The Veldt
Ray Bradbury – A sound of Thunder
Ray Bradbury – The Million-Year Picnic
Albert Camus – The Artist at Work
Truman Capote – Handcarved Coffins
Truman Capote – Miriam
Raymond Carver – Neighbors
Angela Carter – The Bloody Chamber
Ted Chiang – Story of Your Life
Roald Dahl – Lamb to the Slaughter
Philip K Dick – The Golden Man
Philip K Dick – The Minority Report
Charles Dickens – The Signal-Man
Charles Dickens – A Christmas Carol
Denis Diderot – Gründe meinem alten Nachtrock nachzutrauern
Joan Didion – On Self-Respect
Emma Donoghue – Words for Things
Fjodor Dostojewski – Weihnachtsbaum und Hochzeit
Fjordor Dostojewski – Weiße Nächte
Arthur Conan Doyle – The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle
Agatha Christie – The Witness for the Prosecution
Jennifer Egan – Safari
Harlan Ellison – I have no mouth and I must scream
Sheridan Le Fanu – Green Tea
William Faulkner – A Rose for Emily
F Scott Fitzgerald – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Gillian Flynn – The Grownup
EM Forster – The Machine Stops
Neil Gaiman – Der Fluch der Spindel
Neil Gaiman – Snow, Glass, Apples
Ursula LeGuin – Coming of Age in Karhide
Ursula LeGuin – The ones who walk away from Omelas
Graham Greene – The Third Man
Ernest Hemingway – The Snows of Kilimanjaro
Ernest Hemingway – A clean well-lighted place
O. Henry – The Robe of Peacej
Patricia Highsmith – The stuff of Madness
Aldous Huxley – Young Archimedes
Washington Irving – The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
Mary Gaitskill – The Other Place
Charlotte Perkins Gilman – The Yellow Wallpaper
Maria Dahvana Headley – See the Unseeable, Know the Unknowable
Judith Hermann – Kaltblau
Siri Hustvedt – Mr. Morning
Henry James – The Turn of the Screw
Shirley Jackson – The Lottery
Franz Kafka – Die Verwandlung
Franz Kafka – In der Strafkolonie
Stephen King – Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption
Stephen King – Children of the Corn
Stephen King – The eerie aftermath of a mass exit
Stephen King – The Road Virus heads north
Heinrich Kleist – Die Marquise von O
Lautréamont – Die Gesänge des Maldoror
Stanislaw Lem – Test
Hengtee Lim – The Girl at the Bar
Jack London – The Red One
HP Lovecraft – Cool Air
HP Lovecraft – The Dunwich Horror
Guy de Maupassant – Der Horla
Herman Melville – Bartleby, the Scrivener
Laurie Moore – How to become a writer
Daphne Du Maurier – Don’t look back
Daphne Du Maurier – The Birds
Haruki Murakami – Kinos Bar
Haruki Murakami – Yesterday
Haruki Murakami – The Elephant Vanishes
Vladimir Nabokov – Terra Incognita
Joyce Carol Oates – Where are you going, where have you been?
Dorothy Parker – Sentiment, A Telephone Call
Sylvia Plath – Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams
Edgar Allan Poe – The Tell-Tale Heart
Edgar Allan Poe – The Pit and the Pendulum
Annie Proulx – Brokeback Mountain
Karen Russell – Vampires in the Lemon Grove
Karen Russell – Reeling for the Empire
JD Salinger – For Esme
JD Salinger –  A Perfect Day for a Banana-Fish
Oliver Sacks – Altered States
Jean-Paul Sartre – The Room
Jean-Paul Sartre – The Wall
Arthur Schnitzler – Traumnovelle
Ali Smith – Free Love
Robert Louis Stevenson – The Body Snatcher
Bram Stoker – Dracula’s Guest
Donna Tartt – The Ambush
James Tiptree Jr – And I awoke and found me here on the Cold Hill’s side
Mark Twain – Cannibalism in cars
Jules Verne – Der ewige Adam
Kurt Vonnegut – Harrison Bergeron
Kurt Vonnegut – The Drone King
HG Wells – Empire of the Ants
Jeanette Winterson – Days like this
Virginia Woolf – A mark on the wall
Richard Yates – Saying Goodbye to Sally
Banana Yoshimoto – Lizard
Stefan Zweig – Die Schachnovelle
Stefan Zweig – Brief einer Unbekannten