Friday, 27 March 2009

Cats and Dogs

I don't know how it is here in Ireland, but in Germany there seems to be some kind of pet-owner-movement. Everywhere you look new books about all kinds of pets just spring up like mushrooms.

Here you can buy the book by a pretty famous german comedian, Ralf Schmitz, about living with his 23 year-old cat Minka. His book is subtitled "Dogs have owners, cats have employees". In his book Schmitz talks about how to get your cat through adolescence, what to do when he/she is hungry, how to organize that your cat does not disturb your love life.....

The author Hauke Brost however wrote a book called "111 reasons to love dogs". Being himself the owner of big dogs, he obviously wanted to share his feelings. This book isn't meant to be some kind of guideline for dog owners or wanna-be owners, but its 111 reasons are funny and may help you to get over something your dog just did.

And it's not just books: A new movie has come to the cinemas worldwide, called "Marley and Me". This movie is about a family who got Marley, a golden Labrador, when he was still a pup, and shows how life has developed in this family.

So it seems to me that pets got back their popularity, and even though people around the world don't have as much money as they used to have, I'm sure only a few want to abandon the idea of having a pet. I hope that this development won't stop, because let's face it:

Pets cost money, they can be nerve-racking, they might smash your most beloved possessions

- but they are still darn cute!

Thursday, 19 March 2009

What about...?

“No, that’s not available, I’m sorry…”
I don’t know how many times I have heard that sentence. Or something very similar.
You see, I am from Germany. And I love books. The only problem is, hearing about great new books or reading about the latest bestsellers on the internet is usually the first step to misery. I tend to have this unreal idea of getting every book I’d like to read in this globalized world, where a guy from Laos chats with you and tells you the best way to get from Germany to Peru via China.

But then I go to a couple of well-known German websites, type in the name of the book or the author, and get – nothing. Not available. Never heard of it. What?

Well, by now I really should know the reality. But na├»ve as I am, I think I’ll just try a book shop then. With all the qualified staff there, should be no problem to find the book in no time. Only just after popping the big question the truth is revealed. This girl standing in front of me, her nameplate shining like it’s the first time she’s wearing it, doesn’t know the first thing about books or authors or even about how to use the big computer thingy in front of her. After half an hour of pure agony, torn between the impulse of either slapping the girl or starting to cry, I leave.

You’d think I’ve learned my lesson after trying this for uncountable times. I haven’t.
The terrible truth is, even if you don’t care whether a book is in German or in English, you still can’t read it. Unless you order it on a British website, for example. But for me personally, that’s just too expensive.

I found a solution though: Ignore the news about great books. Turn blind and deaf temporarily. But does that really solve the problem?

To all German bookstores: Please consider all these people who are isolated from the rest of the publishing world!