Frankfurt Book Fair 2012 – There’s still hope for humanity

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The numerous and vast halls of the Frankfurt Book Fair had once again opened their doors from 9th until 14th of October and it is the very event that the whole literary world has on their agenda.

Guest country in 2012 was New Zealand and they had really created a magical environment and put up a wonderful programme. They even had a rainfall highlighted with the distant sound of thunder in their pavillion.

New Zealand presented, amongst other things, authors like Paul Cleave, Greg McGee (pen name Alix Bosco), Paddy Richardson and Chad Taylor, an overview of 30 Years of New Zealand comics discussed by Colin Wilson, Roger Langridge, Dylan Horrocks and Greg Broadmore and the guys from WETA-Workshop to show the visitors that New Zealand is a very creative country indeed and beyond just providing ideal locations for Hobbit based movies.

The Kiwis are wonderful people and I am already convinced it is also a great country but sorry, I don’t think I’ll ever make the 28 hour flight there – well, that is unless you do to me what they always did with B.A. from the A-Team.

There were far too many events during those few days and to attend even half of them would have meant scattering yourself into atoms all over the place.

Among the most coveted events were of course the author signings. I once saw a queue from a publisher’s booth that lead halfway down the huge hall and wondered to whom it would lead and it was Uli Stein, Germany’s famous comic artist. His panels are so incredibly funny and it always strikes me as odd when I realise they are not available in English as I think his humour would definitely work in any language.

There were the inevitable biographies from celebs and wannabe celebs, a fact the British also know only too well, and I was actually surprised to find the “auto”biography of Lothar Matthaeus, an ex-soccer player from Germany – given the fact that he can’t even properly speak his own language I wondered who had written this biography for him.

The women’s spanking-and-wanking literature “Shades of Grey” (only fuck knows why they gave it an English title for the German market and left out the “50”…) had a huge display at the book fair and once I heard a woman behind me admitting to her friend she still had to read the book and I was about to turn around and say “Don’t bother!” but decided against it. Others should suffer the way I have, too!

I kind of miss the back programmes of the publishers on display as it used to be years ago. It always gave you a chance to browse through a bigger choice of titles like in a huge library. Nowadays it’s almost all about the new publications and therefore the books to discover at the publishers’ booths are limited.

For me it was great to see there are still huge varieties of thrillers to be discovered, even in my personal favourite category, the psychological thriller.

I was even lucky enough to meet author Paul Cleave from New Zealand, whose very dark and extremely grim thrillers are amongst my favourite books ever and I will put up an author portrait and an interview with Paul on this blog soon!

Also the encounter with two of Germany’s greatest psychological thriller writers, Wulf Dorn and Arno Strobel, was a real treat for me and I am actually disappointed to learn that while their books are doing great in other countries like Italy, France or Spain neither of their books are available in English, which is probably owed to the fact that the UK/US market has already huge quantities of that category – but I can tell you, you’re missing out on some great stuff here.

Truth be told, the book fair during the weekend is anything but relaxing as masses of people are cramped in the halls and oxygen starts to become scarce from 11 am already so needless to say a former career in American Football is actually helpful to move around there. For those suffering from claustrophobia I will post the appropriate short video from the book fair for you, gives you an impression what it was like, though fortunately not everywhere and all the time during the fair.

It really made me unspeakably happy to see so many young people amongst the visitors during the weekend, kids from 12 years and up hanging around with their friends, groups of Manga fans many dressed in colourful Cosplay gear and a huge percentage of the visitors seemed to be in their twenties and thirties.

Girls, if you’re looking for a sophisticated and good-looking guy I can tell you there were lots of very cute men from 20-40 at the book fair – erm, not that I have noticed or anything!!

I realised that if there are so many people interested in the written word and printed books in general there is still hope for humanity yet!!

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