How great an idea is this? The Austrian city of Graz is offering a grant via one of its magazines to a lucky contest winner. The prize? Three weeks in a paid apartment in order to read ten German books of your choice - three have to come from small presses and five of them have to be by authors who are still alive! This is definately an idea that every city should emulate. What a great tourist hook it could be - intriguing a traveller with books about the city and then giving them some spending money to go and explore it on their own. Actually if my bosses are reading this - how about an inhouse contest for the reps? Heck, I'd take three weeks of paid reading in a shack in the middle of nowhere.
If you can read German and want to apply, you can find more information here, at a great blog that I read regularly called Love German Books. It's written in English by a translator from Berlin and a great source for all things to do with German culture, and of course books - many of which will make their way (albeit slowly) into English translation. I'm reading one of them now which I'll blog about when I've finished - Daniel Kehlmann's Me and Kaminski, out this November. So far, so good - it's extremely funny. Kehlmann's previous novel Measuring the World was a huge bestseller in Europe.