More school drama, disliking a writer for the wrong reason and Pegasus Pulp e-books conquer Italy and Spain

Another major drama erupted in my afternoon class today, ultimately spawned – as far as I could tell – by one girl telling another that she looked like a slut. This is really the most drama laden group I ever had.

If you’re a reader living in Italy, Spain, Andorra, San Marino or the Vatican State and would like to try some of my e-books, it just got a lot cheaper and easier to do so, because Amazon has opened Kindle stores in Italy and Spain and abolished the two US-dollar surcharge for customers from those countries.

I have a more extensive post at the Pegasus Pulp blog. In the meantime, here is the full listing of all available Pegasus Pulp e-books at Amazon Spain and Amazon Italy. I have also added the purchase links for Amazon Italy and Spain to the individual book pages.

In other news, German writer Christa Wolf died yesterday aged 82. I have always had an odd relationship to Christa Wolf and her work. I disliked her for the longest time, because of a novel I was made to read in 12th grade, in which the female first person narrator stated that “men hitting women is normal and doesn’t mean anything. It’s like hitting dogs and children.” That line – which is all I remember about the novel question – infuriated my budding feminist self. Since then Christa Wolf was always “that woman who thinks hitting women, children and dogs is okay” or just “the bloody East German abuse enabler” for short.

There is only one problem: Christa Wolf never wrote the novel in question. Fellow East German author Christoph Hein did. I sold the book in question the summer after I finished school – with great glee, alongside all of those other assigned novels I hated – and subsequently must have gotten the authors mixed up. Or rather, I simply thought, “That awful book was written by an East German author whose name begins with ‘Christ'” and Christa Wolf was always more famous than Christoph Hein.

So I disliked poor Ms. Wolf for a book she never wrote and only realized my mistake approximately two years ago when Christoph Hein was introduced on a TV program as the author of that book I hated. It’s this book, by the way – though I always knew it by the West German title Drachenblut, which probably contributed to my disappointment, because I had hoped for a fantasy novel and got some abuse-enabling stuff about an emotionally disturbed East German woman instead.

Of course, I immediately mentally apologized to Ms. Wolf and transferred my dislike to Mr Hein, who – based on both Drachenblut and the new novel he was being interviewed about – really does seem to have issues with women. So did the German teacher who assigned the book, by the way, because he had the tendency to assign books with very problematic gender relationships (Emilia Galotti a.k.a. “Let’s justify honour killings” anyone?) and then acted utterly astonished when enraged female students started arguing back at him.

You know what the worst thing about the whole Christa Wolf/Christoph Hein mix-up is. Not only did I spend years disliking an innocent writer for a book she never wrote, it also turns out that there was not a single book written by a female author among all of the books assigned in my German classes throughout school. And how depressing is that?

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4 Responses to More school drama, disliking a writer for the wrong reason and Pegasus Pulp e-books conquer Italy and Spain

  1. Kaz Augustin says:

    Dammit, that only happened to me this past week!!! I bought a couple of Agatha Christie books on the weekend, after YEARS of not buying her because I hated “Puppet On A Chain”, a novel we were forced to read at school. Imagine my dismay when I found out that Alistair MacLean had written “Puppet”. It hadn’t been Christie at all! And, when I read “A Caribbean Mystery”, I was delighted! Sorry, oh sorry, Ms. Christie. Mea culpa. I shall atone by buying some Poirot at the earliest available moment.

    • Cora says:

      Yes, it’s funny how a bad reading experience at school can permanently ruin an author for us, even if the author didn’t actually write the book in question. But then, I have a lifelong antipathy against Swiss writer Max Frisch, because I experienced a horrible farting attack while we were watching a performance of his play Andorra in school. I wasn’t just publicly humiliated, I also had the teacher tell me off for failing to understand the play, because I had made my classmates laugh during a very, very serious play about anti-semitism. I should probably blame the teacher or my classmates or the pea soup I had for lunch that day, but I blame Frisch.

      You have my sympathies regarding Puppet on a Chain, by the way. I never read the book, but the film adaption from the early 1970s is something of a late night staple on German TV and a real bit of nightmare fodder. It’s a stunningly nasty story and the fact that I spent a lot of time in the Netherlands as a child and teenager makes it even more disturbing to me.

      Agatha Christie is of course so much more enjoyable.

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