Which classics are the easiest to read

Books of the year : We recommend the best classics

The days are getting shorter, Christmas is just around the corner and the pandemic leaves plenty of room for enjoying literature. We present the best books of the year in five categories. This time: classics, from Joseph Conrad to Tomi Ungerer.

Gustav Flaubert: Apprenticeship in masculinity

Just as terrific as “Madame Bovary”, with terrific settings and an anything but terrific hero. Most grandiose, however, is the translation, plus a long epilogue which, with the following notes, is once again a very own Flaubert book (Edl. Hanser, Munich 2020. 800 pages, 42 €). The more you read the "Education", the better it gets. (Gerrit Bartels)

Joseph Conrad: The Nobody of the "Narcissus"

Black lives matter. Joseph Conrad's third novel, published in 1897 as "Children of the Sea", then as "The Nigger of the, Narcissus'", Mirko Bonné has translated anew and ingeniously replaced the word N., based on Conrad (Mare, Hamburg 2020 . 255 pages, 32 €). Because the dying black man on the “Narcissus” is: someone. (Peter von Becker)

Maria Stepanova: The body returns

Three visionary long poems. A walk across the battlefields of the First World War, two expeditions to the front lines of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict (Suhrkamp, ​​Berlin 2020. 142 pp., 22 €). The Muscovite, born in 1972, knows very well that poetry is not politics, but that an examination of history can only gain through poetic perception. (Gregor Dotzauer)

Axel Schildt: Media intellectuals in the Federal Republic

The magnum opus from the estate of one of the excellent post-war researchers will become a classic, a standard work (Wallstein Verlag, Göttingen 2020. Eds. Gabriele Kandzora and Detlef Siegfried. 896 p., € 46). Schildt explores the role of intellectuals in the media after 1945, from Adorno, Enzensberger, Kogon and Eggebrecht. Full of discoveries and well-founded interpretations. (Caroline Fetscher)

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Elisabeth Raabe: The Literature Calendar 2021

Max Bartholl has been designing the literary calendar that was previously published by Arche since 1984 (Edition Momente, Zurich and Hamburg 2020. 60 sheets with 55 photos, some in color, € 22). Different publisher, consistent quality: Week after week, this classic generates refreshing discoveries from the pens of Tomas Tranströmer to Patricia Highsmith for the photos selected by Regina Vitali. (Katrin Hillgruber)

Anna Kavan: Ice cream

Early climate fiction? Or glimpse into a drug-ridden mind? In Kavan's classic novel from 1967 (Diaphanes, Zurich 2020. 184 pp., 18 €) a man follows a woman through an inhospitable, apocalyptic world in which the weather is going crazy and everywhere is being prepared for senseless wars: surreal, dream-logical, and maybe that is precisely why the book of the hour. (Anja Kümmel)

Tomi Ungerer: The Mellops family celebrates Christmas

The Schweinchen family dedicated his very first books to Tomi Ungerer, and 60 years later the Mellops are still great fun (Diogenes Verlag, Zurich 2020; 36 pages, 18 €). Instead of mopping up because of the shrunk Corona Christmas party, you just celebrate with them. (Susanne Kippenberger)

Georges Manolescu: Prince Lahovary

With his memoirs, the Romanian hotel thief and marriage swindler Georges Manolescu, who posed as a prince, became a bestseller in 1905 (Manesse, Munich 2020. 447 pages, € 24). The charming conversationalist did not know any scruples. The world, he found, was crying out to be betrayed. (Christian Schröder)

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