—J. H. H. Weiler, New York University School of Law; Co-Editor-in-Chief, I·CON
For the first time I have managed to post my Good Reads online before Christmas. I publish my pick from some of the books that have come my way during this past year. These are not book reviews in the classical and rigorous sense of the word, for which you should turn to our Book Review section. I do not attempt to analyze or critique, but rather to explain why the books appealed to me and why I think you, too, may find them well worth reading.
Marcel Reich-Ranicki, The Author of Himself: The Life of Marcel Reich-Ranicki (Princeton University Press, 2001)
My German readers will be shaking their head in some wonderment: Marcel Reich-Ranicki? Him again? An autobiography from 1999 of a person who died in 2013? Did he not speak enough about he, him and himself during his lifetime so as to last a few lifetimes? My non-German speakers will be shaking their heads with a different wonderment: Marcel Reich who?
But then, consider that when published this book was the no. 1 best-selling book in Germany for 52 weeks. Must be something there, no?
There is. This was my best read of non-fiction in 2018. It is a totally improbable life written by a wordsmith of great talent (I use this expression as praise), the combination of which makes it “unputdownable.” If you have any interest in the world of German letters, or in the world of letters at all, you should not, as I had done, let it collect dust on the shelves of your library. There are plenty of second-hand copies on Amazon and other used books sites.