Michael Krüger: Close to good books

Michael Krüger, editor and German academic, director of the publishing house Carl Hanser Verlag, defends publishing and quality reading and the need to educate readers. “Europe will survive thanks to culture”, maintains the poet, novelist and essay writer who participated in the Meeting of European Editors organised by Fundación Germán Sánchez Ruipérez and held at Casa del Lector, in an interview for Canal Lector.

Michael Krüger, editor and German academic, director of the publishing house Carl Hanser Verlag, defends publishing and quality reading and the need to educate readers. “Europe will survive thanks to culture”, maintains the poet, novelist and essay writer who participated in the Meeting of European Editors organised by Fundación Germán Sánchez Ruipérez and held at Casa del Lector, in an interview for Canal Lector.

 
Life is too short; we should only read good books
 
“To talk of the independence of publishing houses is to talk about publishing very good books, that is our only task”, he assures in the full version of his interview that can be seen on Canal Lector. “I always think that life is too short and we should only read very good books. If you spend years reading bad books, your taste will be bad and you will die with bad taste”, thinks the editor.
 
Krüger, who was also a bookseller in his youth, is a determined smoker who calculates that if a reader manages to read about two thousand five hundred book in his lifetime, he deserves for them to be good books, and for that editor need to collaborate with anyone responsible for readers’ education.
 
First literature and then technology
 
“We have to talk about literature, and not technology and ebooks, all that comes later”, affirms Michael Krüger, who is not opposed to new technologies (he has his own opinion channel on YouTube), but he warns: “the first thing is: why do we need literature? Or even, do we need literature? Why is it important? In our short lives we have to decide what books to read, we can’t read everything.”
 
Michael Krüger’s latest work translated to Spanish is Previsión del tiempo (E.D.A. Libros), “a culmination of his poetic voice”. Previously, his narrative books Cita en Corfú (Seix Barral); ¿Qué hacer?, ¿Por qué Pekin?, ¿Por qué precisamente yo? and El final de la novella (Anagrama) were also published in Spain.
 
“There are only good books and bad books, that can be read on paper or on screens. That doesn’t matter”, he repeats in the interview. “When I travel now, as an elderly man, I only want to talk about quality”, he points out in the video on Canal Lector, in which he also refers to the importance of educating readers, and he ends by saying that the support from governments and private sponsors is crucial. “Europe will survive thanks to its culture. We must invest in culture. People now have a greater technological intelligence, but reading is much more. I am convinced that Europe is nothing more than culture, that is why we have to teach culture”. And he concludes: “After teaching culture, you can teach business”.

 


© Copyright Fundación Germán Sánchez Ruiperez, 2010