Bernie in Berlin

Nearly all my reading in the last 4 days has consisted of German words – in restaurants, on the U-Bahn, in museums and shops.  Not that I spoke any German at all before visiting Berlin but I reckon to have around 50 words or so by now!  At first I found myself skimming over the unfamiliarly long words, some of which seemed to go on forever, but I quickly realised that if you break the word down and tackle it a little at a time it soon starts to make some sense.

I guess this is true for all reading, especially works that challenge us a little.  In this age of instant gratification, sound bites and Tweets I find myself struggling sometimes with the bother of full sentences!

Being in Berlin was a great experience because it’s a fabulous City, with excellent food and a clean, punctual and easy to navigate transport system.  And, what joy, a population who all seem to be avid readers.  Everywhere I looked in cafes and on buses and trains there were readers – of newspapers, magazines and books.  I had quite forgotten the joy of reading in public and seeing others enjoying the same experience.

And it’s no coincidence that my own choice of reading material, having just finished Taxi by Khaled Al Khamissi, was If the Dead Rise Not by Philip Kerr.  Having not read any of the Bernie Gunther novels before it seemed fitting to choose this one, set as it is in Berlin.  It was such fun to watch out for references to real places and I’m sure fellow tourists thought me crazy when I excitedly yelled “OMG, that’s Bernie Gunther’s hotel” when visiting the Brandenburg Gate and spotting the Adlon Hotel just beside it!  I had no idea it was a real hotel!   Ah, life is full of such simple pleasures eh!

Arriving back in Manchester yesterday evening the airport and road signs all seemed a little on the short side!  It’s funny how quickly something as seemingly alien as foreign words can quickly become our norm.

Happy World Book Day to everyone wherever you are and whatever you’re reading.


About alkitaba

Reading and writing, writing and reading. Reading about writing, writing about reading. However you like to do it is fine by me. In particular I'm interested in Arab literature and at the moment my passion is Arab women writers.
This entry was posted in Authors, Khaled Al Khamissin, Reading, Travel, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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