March 12th, 2006


Herman Hesse – Mit der Reife wird man immer jünger (06-010)

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When in Rome, do as the Romans. Whenever I go to a German speaking country, I try to read a German book. I’ve got one shelf at home in that language, yet never get round to reading them. So my annual trip to Austria is a good opportunity to pick one book and do work on my German vocabulary.

Herman Hesse is my favourite German author. He wrote two classics imho. Siddharta is well-know, as it is the story any Buddhist wants to read, but Der Steppenwolf is even better. A classic novel, one of the all time best books ever. So it was easy for me to pick this book, when I saw it in a bookshop in Münster a couple of years ago.

I’m afraid I have to admit it was a disappointing read. Stories about getting older, about elderly people, about the wisdom that comes with age. Short stories, poems, extracts from other books and quotes from letters or interviews, as if it was ‘Readers Digest introduction to Herman Hesse’.

Obviously some of his thoughts hit home, some of them are fun to read. Not all stories are bad. But overall my impression was that this book has been collected after his death to gain a few more Deutschmarks, knowing that many fans (including this idiot) will buy it regardless. They’ve succeeded.

One quote (in German obviously):
”Was mir seit Jahrzehnten widerlich ist, das ist erstens die blöde Anbetung der Jugend und Jugendlichkeit wie sie etwa in Amerika blüht, und dann noch mehr die Etablierung der Jugend als Stand, als Klasse, als >Bewegung<.“

One strong point: This book is a hardback, nice for on my shelf. Another one: Several pictures in the book, portraying the author. Last one: Free CD with stories read by the author himself (I still have to listen to that one someday (soon?))

Number: 06-010
Title: Mit der Reife wird man immer jünger
Author: Herman Hesse
Language: German
Year: 2003 (Original 1990)
# Pages: 191 (1313)
Category: Literature
ISBN: 3-518-45551-6