Through the Nornennetz (Nornnetwork) (where I’m a norn, too 😉 ) I learned about the #Buchpassion, a promotion event for readers, authors and publishers celebrating books together, organized by Janine of kapri-zioes.
This years topic is „Favourite Authors“, but as I can’t decide which one I’d choose, I’ve instead decided to talk a bit about some of the more unusual Literary Reading Sessions (Lesungen) I participated in over the years. Because what’s better than having someone – maybe even the author – read a book to you? 😉
A completely moronic reading
I do believe it was my eighteenth birthday when my Mum and I went to the Reading Session of Tommy Jaud’s „Vollidiot“ (Moron) as read by actor Christoph-Maria Herbst (e.g. Loki from Mara and the Firebringer). It was fun, even though I still haven’t read the book yet (or saw the movie), but the thing I remember most about it was afterwards at the autograph table.
He was signing a picture card when I asked him if I could get a second one in the book because it was my birthday. As reply he gave me a Kinderriegel (chocolate bar by Kinder) and offhandedly told me that no one had had told him about it, otherwise he would have brought something more. I doubt the sincerity of the words, as he was quite busy, but it’s a fun gesture in a hectic situation – and it’s my own fault for bringing it up anyway.
I never ate the Riegel, it might even still lie somewhere in a shelve …
Back when The Forum was still a thing the self-made publisher Torsten Low announced that his reading tour would make a stop in Zislow, a village more or less nearby. So I took a friend from school with me and off we went trying to find it somewhere in the wilderness of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern…
It was nice meeting Torsten in person and have him read from the anthology Lichtbringer (Lightbringer) and watch him bind a book and talk about it. They only had a small table with their products and it was only the two of us sitting on the wooden benches before it, listening to him, but with the medieval-ish market around us and the phantastical stories it was a great atmosphere.
During the encounter I interviewed Torsten and it later appeared on Literatopia, a German literature portal: Interview with Torsten Low.
Back then the Verlag Torsten Low, was still relatively small. His series Dunkel über Daingistan (Darkness over Daingistan) and Lichtbringer were more or less the whole program. By now they won several Deutsche Phantastik Preise (German Phantastic Prices), have several novels and anthologies, even regular authors and a lot of authors know about him and his publishing company. It’s pretty cool to have been a part of that, even a minuscule one as a listener and reader.
Another quite exclusive Reading Session was by Boris Koch and Michael Tillmann at the Weekend of Horrors:
Their reading session was in the cafeteria of the building, only separated from it through a more or less thick, black curtain. So you heard the rustling and dulled noises from outside.
It still was fun as we were the only two attending their session and they read some quite interesting stories. I will never look at lady bugs the same way…
Six years later I still remember the story mentioned in the other post and the feeling of dreadfulness Boris created through reading it.
One of our Christmas traditions is to go the the Christmas market in Neubrandenburg at least once. After one of those times, I read messages between Anice and Black Kat about a Reading Session of Letzte Instanz‘ (Last Instance) Holly Loose. In our local English Pub he was to read stories from the fan-anthology (fans wrote stories for their songs) „Weiße Geschichten“ (White Stories). Of course I couldn’t resist the opportunity.
Although I still haven’t gotten around to read the volume I got at the session (again…), the stories he read were quite emotional and well chosen. It’s always fascinating what music can inspire you to write, even if you’re not entirely following the lyrics. It was also nice to hear short acoustic versions of some of them.
We got to chat a little with the woman who organized it and Holly himself and it was a really nice evening.
A Game of what now?
One of the largest Reading Sessions I ever attended was when bookstore-chain Thalia invited Tom Wlaschiha, known as Jaqen H’ghar from Game of Thrones to read part of book two (A Clash of Kings). He chose the part, where Arya tells Jaqen the names of the people he should kill and he read it amazingly. He also talked a bit about filming and teaching Maisie Williams German between takes (according to him her favourite word is „Bahnhof“ – train station 😀 ).
But the most hilarious thing about it was the audience and especially that one guy not capable of pronouncing Game of Thrones correctly. As is more or less commonly known do Germans have problems with the English „th“, but what some make of the word „thrones“ is weird even for German ears. I mean Game of Trons makes for an entirely different franchise…
As I’ve mentioned before did I attend a couple of Lesebühnen, Reading Stages, these past few years. And as this is about authors, why not talk about those that stand in front of an audience and read their works to them?
Doing that is thrilling and terrifying and fun and brilliant and every person ever daring to do something like this deserves the utmost respect, be they professionals like the people mentioned above or more or less amateurs like the people from the Lesebühne I occasionally attend.
This particular Lesebühne in Neubrandenburg (in the pub mentioned above) is organized by local students and is without any kind of judgement, everyone gets applause for simply going on stage and reading. Therefore it’s not as strict as a Poetry Slam, even if lots of the readers participate in those as well and sometimes read their texts from those. Other stages only allow members of certain groups or a registration long beforehand, but here you can appear on time and your name gets added to the list, or you can even use the open mic afterwards.
I’m one of a few that reads short stories, mostly from the Your Picture – A Story project and I’m always nervous when I do it and am barely able to look up from my sheet of paper. My heart is pounding like crazy and it makes breathing while reading quite difficult at times. But I’m getting better, I guess, I even manage to get a few more words out before and after the texts, even if they sometimes sound way better in my head … I still have a lot to learn.
Still, it’s incredible to read for someone else or to be able to listen to others read a story to you. The most annoying thing for the person sitting on the stage is an audience that won’t shut up. It’s rude and disrespectful, and makes them question themselves even more then they already do.
So, iff you ever attend a Reading Session, be it professional or amateurish: Be quiet and listen!
And maybe among those you will find your favourite author. 😉