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Author: Lutz Pietschker

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Books and authors I like

  • Wolf Schneider, German non-fiction author and teacher at the School of Journalism, Hamburg. His books about language and style are still very much readable today, and his books about other topics follow his own advice about how to write correct, interesting and comprehensible text.
  • Hoimar von Ditfurth and Frederic Vester, scientists and writers, were among the first German authors who tried (from the 1970s onward) to introduce a community to current science. Their successors in spirit are science journalists like Ranga Yogeshwar and Mai Thi Nguyen-Kim who pursue a patient and steady fight against fake information, hoax and lies.
  • Richard Dawkins, biologist, who is on the forefront of introducing the public to evolutionary biology and in defending science against "belief" (religious influence).
  • Egon Erwin Kisch, a journalist from Prague. His most famous articles are from the 1920s/30s. He could turn almost any commonplace observation into a gripping newspaper article (never hiding his left-wing opinion). See also: dhm.deexternal link, hagalil.comexternal link
  • Douglas Adams, with his great and witty humour, master of expressing satire behind the superficially absurd, and a great writer to promote the preservation of nature. See also: h2g2.comexternal link
  • Peter O'Donnell, prolific British writer, creator of the Modesty Blaise comic strips and novels and (under the pen name Madeleine Brent – notice the abbreviation?) a series of Victorian novels. See also: Modesty Blaiseexternal link, theatlantic.comexternal link, tcj.comexternal link, Titan Booksexternal link, mailing listexternal link, modestyblaiseltd.comexternal link, sayyide.deexternal link
  • Mark Twain, shrewd observer and witty writer. See also: gutenberg.orgexternal link, biblio.comexternal link
  • Lewis Caroll, mathematician and charming writer of the weird, best known for his Alice books. See also: bibliomania.comexternal link
  • Edgar Allen Poe, a moving writer of the fantastic and gruesome, exploring the murky depths of our own minds. See also: Annabel Leeexternal link
  • William Shakespeare, a great and witty writer living in interesting times. See also: folger.eduexternal link
  • Robert Burns, a writer with passion and style. See also: electricscotland.comexternal link
  • Herman Melville, a writer I love for his hymns to the ocean. See also: melville.orgexternal link
  • Philip Pullman for his His Dark Materials trilogy, companion books and Book of Dust sequel as well as for his children's book. A great storyteller, and I think I share his views on religion.
  • Neil Gaiman, another great storyteller equally at home in books, graphic novels and on the screen. His charmng stories Neverwhere and Stardust span all these forms of art.
  • J. M. Barrie and his Peter Pan books and plays (and I do not mean the Disney version, if you please). In his time, the way he plays with imagination, and his opinions about children and adults, must have been distinctly out of the norm. See also Project Gutenbergexternal link
  • Roald Dahl, another of the great storytellers; he wrote charming ones for children as well as weird ones for adults.
  • Ella Maillart, Swiss traveller, reporter, book author and many more. A tough lady by any account, but in her writing she does not make much of her own achievements but concentrates on the people she met – a cosmopolitan at a time and in circumstances that made that a very dangerous attitude. Also travelled with Peter Fleming, who was clearly impressed by her – see below.
  • Peter Fleming, traveller and author, with a distinct, laconic style of writing. His reports about his travels are superb. Also travelled with Ella Maillart, see above.
  • Ian Fleming, younger brother of Peter Fleming (above), best known for his James Bond novels. While the first third of each of these is always worth reading, they usually degrade into barely bearable, hare-brained trash towards the end. But his non-fiction books (Thrilling Cities, The Diamond Smugglers) are excellent; he certainly drew from his experience in the British Secret Service for writing them.
  • Tim Severin and his books about re-enactments of historical (real and fictitious) travels.
  • Hans Steuerwald: his book "Weit war sein Weg nach Ithaka" throws a well-researches new light on the travels of Ulysses. Das Atlantisrätsel is a book I found not quite as convincing.
  • Jules Verne, engineer and writer of technology-centered novels that also are concerned with travels, but that also show his deeply humanitarian concern (plus, in his later years, a heavy dose of patriotism that looks somewhat pompous from today's point of view).
  • Andy Weir, mentioned here for his book "The Martian" because it shows that fiction is not necessarily forced to deny physics.
  • Isaac Asimov, scientist and science fiction author who explored scenarios for a possible future but also wrote excellent and witty crime stories.
  • Barbara W. Tuchman, opinionated historian and writer, shows how to write non-fiction history books that are not dusty at all.
  • Bernard Cornwell and Edward Rutherfurd for their historical novels. They bring history alive in a singular way, a way that lets you expereince history as a personal thing.
  • Len Deighton, not so much for his thrillers as for his historical novels like Winter and Bomber and his non-ficton books like Fighter: The True Story of the Battle of Britain.
  • Holling Clancy Holling, an American writer of story-telling history books like Paddle-to-the-Sea
  • John Keegan, British military historian
  • J. R. R. Tolkien for inventing the sagas around Middle Earth to fill his need for a truly English saga (the only original one is Beowulf, and even that does not play in Britain)
  • Michael Crichton has written some splendid, somewhat investigative novels and reports. His later novels I found … not quite as good. See also: Penguin booksexternal link
  • J. K. Rowling, famous for her Harry Potter stories, but she did more than that (for example under the pen mname Robert Galbraith). I am impressed with the way she masters very different styles of writing and with the way she turned a children's book into a deep and dark saga over a span of seven volumes. See also: Viola Owlfeather's Harry-Potter-Kisteexternal link
  • Jonathan Stroud for his Bartimaeus stories, a very nice variation on the "magicians and wizards" topic.
  • Arthur Conan Doyle and his Sherlock Holmes short stories and novels. For me, Sherlock will always be the detective.
  • Erich Kästner, a German author who always wrote for children, even if some of his books were adressing adults
  • Joachim Ringelnatz, a German author, painter, sailor and adventurer with a unique way to re-tell his experiences.
  • Kurt Tucholsky, a German author who broke apart over the way Germany delivered itself to the National Socialists in 1933.

Music I like

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