‘A book? That was quick,’ I hear you say, ‘I only found out about this post last week.’
Let’s rewind a little, to about eighteen months ago. Summer, 2012. I had been collecting observations about my new country-fellows, since arriving in 2010. The list was numbering 78 points when the brilliant volk at Überlin came knocking in June last year and said they’d like to run the list on their (sensational) site. Na klar, I said, and they did.
It blew up. Went viral, as the kids say. Überlin’s site crashed (more than once). There were 40-something thousands likes on Facebook. Hundreds of comments. WIKAG (as we came to call it) garnered mentions by Stern, Bild.de, Financial Times Deutschland, and Swiss paper Tages-Anzeiger. The response was so enormous, that we decided to take the list up to 100, with the help of crowd participation. And then, as the dust cleared, and we all looked at each other in shock, Überlin said, ‘why don’t we do a book out of this?’
And I said … JA!
Überlin got cracking. They brought illustrator Josh Bauman on board, and he unleashed his talent, responding to the points with wonderfully funny, highly original artwork. I wrote an introduction. Überlin tirelessly assembled and developed the project over the course of a year, developing, designing and preparing to launch both an ebook and paperback, and a corresponding official website. (So, you know, made the book actually happen.)
And then last week, out of nowhere, the list blew up again, on this here site. 40,000 more likes on Facebook, page views in the hundreds of thousands. Hundreds more comments, tweets, emails. My site crashed. For 3 days.
And the book came out. Look at it. It is bloody fantastic.
What I Know About Germans: 101 Observations is the outcome of a wonderful collaboration between four foreigners who have made Germany their home. It is a collection of brilliantly illustrated observations about a country and its people, written with deep, deep affection. A response to a culture we have adopted, moved into, nestled deep within, by choice.
This list has resonated with more Germans than I ever, ever thought it would. It began, simply, as something I entertained myself with, a way of documenting the quirks of my adopted country-fellows. It has become something hundreds of thousands of people have read, thousands have commented on, shared, recommended. As one reader said, ‘I don’t know if you are aware of what you have kicked loose with this …’
You can buy the book here.
Visit the official website here.
Read more about it over on Überlin here.
Peek inside here.
And thank you so, so much for reading and for responding.