Friday, 17 April 2009


The recent protests in Bangkok got me thinking about our forthcoming book, Conflict by Nelson Rand, which is going to be published next month. Rand has lived in Southeast Asia for over ten years, and Conflict is about the secret wars which are taking place Thailand, Burma, Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos.

I was impressed by his ideas and his motivation to go to remote and highly dangerous areas in order to talk to the people involved in the conflicts of Southeast Asia. In his book Rand tells the stories of the conflicts and their background, and it is shocking to realise that the world seems to have forgotten or is basically ignoring the struggles of so many people.

But Rand’s book also made me realise that there are two sides to every conflict. Rand is an excellent reporter, who outlines the conflicts in an impartial manner, helping to give the reader an understanding of why these battles are taking place.

Which brings me back to how things are in Thailand at the moment? Some of our friends who live there have written to us, saying that even though certain areas have been inflicted by riots and battles, you can find people celebrating the Thai New Year, drinking and dancing just around the corner from the protesters. In cities with millions of people, a couple of thousand protestors can get lost pretty fast. Nearly everybody is carrying on as normal.

This can also be the face of a conflict – what is perceived as normal life goes on while riots rage around the corner.

If you are interested in learning more about the struggles in countries like Laos, Vietnam, Burma, Thailand and Cambodia, read our new book “Conflict”, which will give you a great insight into some of the world’s forgotten wars.
Even if you are planning to go straight to the beach in Phuket to chill out for two weeks, it’s worth knowing what is happening in the countries surrounding you.

See our website for more details.

So long, Susanne

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Easter Holiday

In my family in Germany there are only a few people who are religious. For them Easter holiday means going to church, having special church events and get-togethers. For the rest of my family, including me, the religious meaning of the Easter holiday isn't that relevant.

For us, the Easter holiday is all about getting together with our family. For years we have been meeting on Good Friday, early in the morning, for a hike. Each year another part of the family organizes the hike, where we'll have lunch, which route we will take.... As a child I loved these hikes because all my aunts would buy little presents, like chocolate bunnies, for the children and then hide them somewhere in the forest for us to search. Now I am a bit too old for that, but I still love the Easter hikes, they are part of our family tradition and I always get to see my family.

This year I am here in Ireland and can't take part in our Easter hike, so I'll be going to the Wicklow Mountains and hike there, see something of the beautiful green island. And the rest of the time?

Well, I guess I'll just catch up on some reading, because that's also what free days are for, right? And maybe I'll find a chocolate bunny somewhere...

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

The connection between movies and books

I have just discovered that the book "The reader" by German law professor and author Bernhard Schlink has hit the Bestseller-Lists of Books USA Today.

The award-winning novel was published in 1995 in Germany and two years later, having been translated into english, in the United States. So that was 12 years ago. Why is it in the Bestseller-Lists now?

The answer is the film adaption of 2008, which was extremely well received and was nominated for five Academy Awards, of which it won one. It also received 10 other prizes and was nominated for 23 more. With Ralph Fiennes and Kate Winslet in the main roles, the film already has become a hit.

So it is no wonder that a lot of people seem to discover the book, on which the movie is based, only now. I think that was the same with the Harry Potter movies. Many children, and not only children, started reading the book only after having seen the movie.

All in all I don't believe this to be a bad thing, for if the movies get the people to read again or read more, why complain?