December 2009


A weekend before Christmas the move is finally done. Afterwards I sorted stuff in and out and threw some away. We finally have all books united at our apartment in the new shelves that we bought, and they are sorted alphabetically.

I said farewell at the office, just need to go there once more to sign some papers and pick up some folders in January. And the job situation changed and does not look to bad right now, but I do not want to count my chicken before they are hatched and wait until everything is certain.

My thesis has been sleeping a nice winter sleep over Christmas as I decided to get rest. I was just so tired.

I finished my Christmas mail in a record of posting it late – most on Dec 23rd (those letters who had a chance of making it in time, and thanks to the post they did) and on Dec 24th.

Christmas was wonderful with lots of good food and a mix of quietness and full house, walks in the snow and reading on the couch.

“Meines Vaters Land. Geschichte einer deutschen Familie” by Wibke Bruhns
6th edition published in 2006 by Ullstein, 412 pages

The last book for this year.

Wibke Bruhns, a journalist (and the first female anchorwoman of the ZDF), watches a report on TV about the July 20th plot of 1944 and the trials before the People’s Court where she suddenly faces her father, Hans Georg Klamroth. He was sentenced to death and executed in 1944 when she was about six years old.

Seeing him on TV she realizes how little she knows about him which motivates her to  get to know him. She starts a travel into the family’s past during which she introduces her paternal family to us, a wealthy mercantile family in Halberstadt which she compares to the Buddenbrocks. They wrote a lot – letters, diaries – which built the main source for her search.

Bruhns focuses mainly on her paternal grandparents and her parents, and tells us about their lives and point of views.

It is indeed a fascinating book, especially as she can cite from so many written material on which basis she draws a portrait of three generations, including her older siblings. It is a very personal book as well: her attempt to get to know her father, questioning and dealing with his actions, especially his militarism and enthusiasm during WWI.

And these passages became tiresome for me after a while: she interprets and comments his behavior and thus leaves not really space and need for the  reader to build an own interpretation or opinion. Luckily this changes through the book.

The first three sentences:

“ICH HABE EIN FOTO VON MEINEM VATER GEFUNDEN. Es gibt Hunderte – in Alben, in Umschlägen, verstreut zwischen Tagebüchern, Zeugnissen, Briefen. Hans Georg als Kind, als ernster Halbwüchsiger, in Uniform im Ersten und im Zweiten Weltkrieg, als Ehemann, als Kaufmann, als Vater mit uns Kindern.”

I finally handed the article in! Yay!

I am not very happy with my conclusion – there is definitely some polishing missing between the theory and the case study. But I just cannot solve it, I am too involved in the whole thing and have no distance. Hopefully the editors will accept it and maybe they have a solution.

But right now I am just happy! (except there is no thesis progress to report).

K sent me her suggestions/corrections for the article which I have been working in. No energy left for thoughts about my thesis.

“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time” by Mark Haddon
Published in 2004 by Vintage, 272 pages

Christopher is a 15 year old boy who has Asperger’s Syndrome. His teacher Siobhan tells him to write something that we would enjoy reading himself, and as he likes mystery novels – besides books about math and sciences – he writes about the murder of Wellington, the dog of a woman in his neighborhood.

He found the dog and wrongly got accused of having killed him. Thus he decides to bring the perpetrator to light. In his narration about his investigation he tells us a lot about himself: he loves lists and patterns, does not like to be touched nor the colors brown and yellow.
During his investigation, however, Christopher makes  an unexpected discovery which changes the plot’s development.

It is a charming book, a wonderful book – and that was what I was afraid about at some point. Haddon draws the picture of a cute and smart boy who sounds just so adorable that I thought it might belittle autism. But I am wrong: he succeeds in the balancing act and gives us a glimpse of the exertion raising Christopher means to his parents: their helplessness and fear and love for him.

The first three sentences:

2

It was 7 minutes after midnight. The dog was lying on the grass in the middle of the lawn in front of Mrs Shears’ house. Its eyes were closed.”

Spent a wonderful day with my mother – breakfast and unsuccessful furniture shopping for the child and visiting the Christmas market and lots of talking and laughter.

No energy left for the thesis tonight.

Visits from the in-laws and birth preparation class. No energy nor time to even look at the thesis.

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