Essays on luck – a tough nut

Heinrich Meier (Hg.): Über das Glück. Ein Symposion.
ISBN 978-3-492-25304-8 ⭐️⭐️⭐️ A collection of scientific essays on luck and happiness. Aspects from literature, psychology and philosophy. Interesting, but very hard to read for a tired mind. I did not finish it which almost never happens. However I do not rule out to take it up again – with a more alert mind.

However I know how to find happiness. With works from the Baroque composer Johann Sebastian Bach:

Souvenirs of cozyness triggered by a Bach sonata

Bach appeals to our sense of beauty

A portrait of modern Turkey’s founder

Andrew Mango:
Atatürk. The Biography of the Founder of Modern Turkey. ISBN: 978-1-58567-334-6 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ A fascinating portrait of Kemal Mustafa Atatürk, the end of the Ottoman Empire and the birth of a modern yet Muslim state.

The Turkish composer Ahmed Adnan Saygun was a contemporary of Atatürk and had studied music in France before returning to Turkey to become a renown composer.

Of missed opportunities and burning bridges

Small lies, big lies

Ramita Navai: Vivre et mentir à Téhéran.
(English title: City of Lies) ISBN 978-2-234-07808-6 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Interesting and amusing short stories about citizen of Tehran, how they live and lie to survive. Small lies, big lies, harmless lies, brutal lies and above all the strong wish to live – a charming portrait of the country of Iran.

Everybody’ cheating on everybody and the worst liar of opera history certainly is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Don Giovanni:

Rape, murder, love and vengeance in two acts

Us and them

Thomas Mann: Mario und der Zauberer.
(English title: Mario and the Magician) ISBN 978-3-596-21381-8 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ I know why I love the German language and I know why I love Thomas Mann: Each word well chosen, each sentence carefully crafted. A fine novel about “us” and “them”, the manipulation of people, the abuse of power and man’s response to evil: freeze, flee or fight.

Thomas Mann: Tonio Kröger. ISBN 978-3-596-21381-8 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ A novel reflecting man’s identity and how he may or may not express his emotions and his sensitivity. Beautiful.

Both novels have been published in English under the titles “Mario and the Magician” and “Tonio Kroeger” respectively.

Thomas Mann’s novels very often allude to German Romanticim composers, be it Franz Schubert, Robert Schumann or Richard Wagner:

A breeding ground for emotions and revolutions

Living in an uncertain world

Zygmunt Baumann: Liquid Times. Living in an Age of Uncertainty.
ISBN: 978-0-745-63987-1 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ A modern day prophet explains why we feel uneasy in a globalized world, how we became disconnected from our neighbours and what shapes our existential fears. A thoughtful book, very appropriate in a time marked by “alternate facts”, delusional politicians, racism and simplistic solutions to complex problems.

Laure Mandeville: Qui est vraiment Donald Trump? ISBN 978-2-84990-3 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Short and to the point. A portray of the 45th US president and the Unites States at a historical landmark.

Arlie R. Hochschild: Strangers in their own land. ISBN 978-1-62097-225-0 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Climbing the empathy wall to see how people in the red states of the US feel about past, present, future and why Trump’s message appeals to them – a fascinating, frightening journey.

The ascendance of a populist like Donald Trump, the United Kingdom set to leave the EU, Turkey betraying its modern history – western societies face widespread discontent with the current state of political affairs. The contemporary Armenian composer Tigran Mansurian has written an interesting piece that came to my mind while I contemplated a world that seems to fall apart:

Before and after#Brexit