Book of the month

Each month, staff and students of the English Seminar introduce books they enjoyed and wish to recommend. If you'd like to post your favourite book, please write to

Juni 2021

Alexander Kaul recommends The Restraint of Beasts by Magnus Mills (1998):

"If you are looking for an accessible and entertaining read that might take your mind off Covid and everything related to it, I recommend Magnus Mills' The Restraint of Beasts. The novel depicts the life of three fence builders who are forced to move from rural Scotland to England for work. What sounds like a pretty banal and mundane story quickly turns into a dry comedy full of deadpan humour. Many work-related accidents occur so that the three protagonists leave a trail of dissatisfied (or even dead) customers in their wake. Due to its terse tone, Mills' 280-page novel can be read within a few days and is highly enjoyable."

May 2021

Hannes Koberg recommends The Great Derangement by Amitav Ghosh (2016):

"Amitav Ghosh's The Great Derangement is an accessible and captivating interrogation of the relation between fiction and climate change - and ultimately an analysis of contemporary common sense. He starts off with an intriguing claim: 'In a substantially altered world, when sea-level rise has swallowed the Sundarbans and made cities like Kolkata, New York, and Bangkok uninhabitable, when readers and museum-goers turn to the art and literature of our time, will they not look, first and most urgently, for traces and portents of the altered world of their inheritance? And when they fail to find them, what should they - what can they - do other than to conclude that ours was a time when most forms of art and literature were drawn into the modes of concealment that prevented people from recognizing the realities of their plight? Quite possibly, then, this era, which so congratulates itself on its self-awareness, will come to be known as the time of the Great Derangement.' Although 'it's tough to make predictions, especially about the future' (Yogi Berra), it's definitely worth following Ghosh's frighteningly persuasive argumentation and to allow for some apocalyptic thoughts."

April 2021

Chris Katzenberg recommends Voices from the Rust Belt (2018):

"American city literature tends to be dominated by writing from and about a select few of the nation's biggest metropolises. But much urban life goes on in the U.S. beyond these centers, in cities that inspire and require stories of their own, like those of the Rust Belt. Anne Trubeck's anthology Voices from the Rust Belt (2018) collects a variety of recent writings about Rust Belt cities big and small, from Detroit to Youngstown, Ohio. All penned by writers with a strong connection to the region, these texts are often autobiographical and cover a wide range of Rust Belt experiences: Marsha Music's memoir on the "Kidnapped Children" of Detroit's white flight stands next to Connor Coyne's writing on bathwater and life in Flint, or Huda Al-Marashi's piece on Cleveland's Little Iraq neighborhood. If you want to get to know the diversity of stories the Rust Belt can tell today if it is not being overlooked or stereotyped, Voices from the Rust Belt is for you."