Eine Stadt. Ein Buch – 100.000 books for free

I don’t know in how many cities this is normal, but here in Vienna we have every year this “Eine Stadt. Ein Buch” (1 town. 1 book). That means you can get one of 100.000 books for free (in a library or other places in town). This year it’s a John Irving book called “Lasst die Bären los!” (O.T.: Setting Free The Bears). It’s quite ok, especially if you are ill & right out of prison like me (I always get ill if I come out of prison, it’s a problem with the society, or like a friend calls it “ A problem with reasocialization” ;)).
Irving is nice, every 5 to 7 years, because his books are somehow similar (often bears, often families, often Vienna, often…), but they are funny & easy to read. But if the green party says it’s strange, that since 4 years only books written by male writers are published – so that’s true (http://wien.gruene.at/frauen/artikel/lesen/4870/).


I like the idea that 100.000 people are reading the same book at the same time. So I started immediately reading when it came out the 14th. February in the underground. But I was frotten the only one & now I’m ill and can not see the others. How is it? Are people reading in public spaces? Are there now 99.999 readers all over the town?
I imagined an underground full of readers, the people start talking about the book, dicsuss it. That would be nice. But I think that’s only in my romantic 68ies head ;).

So – anyway. Irving uses in the german translation often the word “frotten”, & I dont know exactly what it means. Somebody could help me?
I give you some examples (in german):

Bei Gott – Graff – was bist du doch manchmal für ein verfrotteter Trottel.
(Oh god – Graff – what frotten idiot you are sometimes.) (p. 49)

Menschenskind, sagte Siggi. Frot!
(Man alive, said Siggi. Frot!) (p. 62)

Oh, frot! sagte er. Oh, frot, frot, frot!
(Oh, frot! he said. Oh frot, frot, frot) (p.74)

So anybody anidea what it means?

And another question I ask is:
Does anybody know what word Irving used in the original book?
Did he use also frott?
So – if he did – now I have to eat some frotten spaghetti, Bon Appetit!

ps: If you wanna read more about the book (in german): http://wien.orf.at/magazin/lustaufwien/wohlfuehlen/

5 Comments so far

  1. nex (unregistered) on February 16th, 2006 @ 2:03 pm

    Cue half a dozen commenters asking what you were in prison for. (Something worthwhile, one hopes.)

    I think ‘frotten’ means something along the lines of ‘fucking’ (the adjective, not the verb) and was chosen as an inoffensive alternative. Which is a frotteningly stupid practice.

  2. umberto (unregistered) on February 16th, 2006 @ 2:30 pm

    I just grab a copy of the book (it helps to improving my bad bad german) and I was willing to write a post on that as well.

    I like the idea of a city actively participating (in several ways) to the cultural improvement of its citizens. My compliments to the author of this nice idea.

  3. bernhard (unregistered) on February 16th, 2006 @ 8:12 pm

    maybe this could be a clue, though it doesn’t seem to make much sense either..
    OMG, IT’S FOR FREE!! GRAB ONE! NO, GRAB THREE! i bet at least 70.000 out of the 100.000 people didn’t even know what they were standing in line (?) for. reminds me of the “donnerstags-demo” for some reason..

  4. guess (unregistered) on February 18th, 2006 @ 12:07 am

    a combination of fucking and rotten?

  5. karl (unregistered) on February 18th, 2006 @ 3:00 pm

    Thanks for all the infos, I also think it has something in common with fucking. I like the word “frotten”, because it sounds idiotic & I used it today in the supermarket, 1 of this frotten eggs was broken in its box. Frot!
    About my time in jail:
    I was for nothing special in prison, this time it was only a financial thing:
    I have since a long time together with fm zombiemaus an project called “The Tokyo Symphony”. It is a quite expensive project and we had an investor that helped us. I also invested all my money. But than we got a letter from the municipality of Tokyo, and they informed us, that the project is at the earliest possible in summer 2012. So our frottttten investor quit us, and I got all the debts, because I fucking signed the contract!!! (Contracts are nothing for artists, my mama often told me. But like all young man, I ignored her). That’s why I was once again in prison. Shiiiiiiit!
    But btw.: fm zombiemaus was nice, she often visited me in prison & she helped me, because she found an group called “Lesser Group” and they cleared of all my debts. That’s why I’m back in town. I only have a few weeks left in prison, and I can choose myself when I serve the last parts of my sentence. Thanks to fm zombiemaus that she didn’t let me down & to Lesser Group Austria that they believing in us & the Tokyo Symphony.

    & Umberto: At the beginning the book is good, but it gets worse. It’s not at all Irvings masterpiece. I would recommend Irvings Hotel New Hampshire. Much better, funnier, absurd.
    Anyone a tip what you would read if you want to read about Vienna? Maybe we can make a proposal for the book next year :-)
    A female writer would be great!

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