Went to the Goethe-Institut last night for a book reading with Marica Bodrozic (sorry for the missing accents on the z and c) and Gregor Hens, young writers from Germany. The lounge where the reading took place had been renovated with bright colors, spotlights, a bar area, a bench with comfy pillows, all very inviting but only a handful of people showed up.

Gregor Jens read from NIKOTIN, part autobiography, part longing for the cigarettes that he had given up when he started writing the book. Why had he given up smoking, asked someone in the audience, since he had so many good things to say about it (at least in the opening chapter of the book that he read). Marica Bodrozic read from TITO IST TOT, a collection of stories from 1998, dealing with Yugoslavia, her homeland, and the death of the dictator. In beautiful German and a beautiful melodic diction that made you wonder if the story had been translated into German, she described her grandfather and a small village in which she had grown up. Unfortunately none of these books might be published in the US – NIKOTIN, a hard sell, because the pleasures of smoking is not what smoker or non smokers want to be reminded of, Marshall Tito, however, has become a person of enormous interest for writers and filmmakers. CINEMA KOMUNISTO (2011) is the latest documentary, I saw, about the dictator’s extravagant life style. Fascinated with celebrities and movie stars, like Richard Burton, who helped turn Tito’s own partisan battles into action thrillers, Tito was loved by many, especially his long time projectionist who showed him movies every night. So TITO IST TOT might eventually find a way to US bookstores. I hope so. And I can’t wait to read Marica’s other books, “das gedächtnis der libellen”, “Qittenstunden”, “Windsammler”, and more.

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