Freitag, 19. Oktober 2012

The one with the book that I read every week - MoFo Book Challenge #19 - A Time in Xanadu by Lars Gustafsson

When I got this book as a present for my 18th birthday I did not know that it would become so important to me. By then I did not even know that the writer existed and I don't think that my father, who gave it to me as a present, knew how much this book was going to influence my world. Gustafsson usually writes novels which I like, they are a good read and I liked most of them, but sorrily I have to say that, even though I enjoyed to read them, I did not find any of his novels remarkable (maybe because I am so intrigued by his poetry), but his poems are outstanding. I never read anything like that, they are clear and wise, beautiful and dark. They are filled with a wide range of themes - philosophy, memories, devotions, wisdom and quotes. Gustafsson dedicated this book to Goethe's color theory and Coleridge's Khubalai Khan poem and this is what might describes Gustafsson's work best: he is a highly educated man and all this education and wisdom reflects in his poems. They are about fascination for wisdom and wise men and they always leave me awestruck. The writing and content are unique and I truly never read anything as touching as this book (especially the second poem where Xanadu is mentioned).
The writer himself is an absolutely fascinating person. I once had the opportunity to hear one of his lectures and I still am impressed. I highly recommend this book to everyone.

sorry for the picture, I had to hurry...

Gustafsson was born in Sweden, travelled the world, studied in Germany and taught philosophy in Austin, Texas. He often mentions his childhood in Sweden and still seems to feel very connected to the rural countryside, so I decided to go with a typical Swedish recipe for apple cake and transform it into cupcakes. (Of course you can still use it for a large one, but you will have to extend the baking time)
The cake's taste is quite unique: it isn't very sweet and works well with anything vanilla related like sauce, ice cream, ... It definitely tastes very different from the apple cakes I usually get around here. 

Apple Cupcakes

makes ~12 cupcakes

150g all-purpose flour
100g sugar
150ml almond milk, 70ml sparkling water
2 cooking apples, grated
70ml plant oil
1/2tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2tsp salt, 1tsp apple vinegar

sliced almond, vanilla sugar, cinnamon

mix flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and powder in a large bowl, add milk, water and oil and stir well, then fold in grated apples, add vinegar and fill into a muffin pan. Sprinkle cinnamon over the pastry, cover with almond slices and sprinkle vanilla sugar on top. 

Bake at 180° for about 20min. Serve with vanilla sauce, sweet vanilla cream or/and vanilla ice. 


  1. Ich lese sehr viel aber viel zu wenig Poesie. Jetzt lese ich mir erst mal seinen Blog durch, aber eigentlich suchte ich natürlich nach einem "probe"gedicht um zu schauen ob mich der Stil anspricht. Ich finde aber nichts also werd ich das Buch wohl einfach auf meine Leseliste setzen.

    1. Eigentlich lese ich gerne Lyrik, aber irgendwie tu ichs dann eben auch nie und ich fürchte das geht vielen anderen auch so oder so ähnlich.

      Irgendwie wird Gustafson sträflich vernachlässigt, wenn du mich fragst, seine Lyrik ist aber eben auch sehr speziell.

    2. Richtig begeistert mich bis jetzt nur Larkin. Aber da muss ich mich vielleicht einfach langsam weiter arbeiten was ich sonst noch so an Lyrik mag.

    3. ich finde Lyrik sowieso generell schwierig; ich habe oft die Erfahrung gemacht, dass Menschen deren Literaturgeschmack ich sehr schätze vollkommen konträre Meinungen hatten wenn es um einzelne Gedichte oder gar das lyrische Werk eines Autors ging und auch, dass ich selbst oftmals den "Wert" von Gedichten erst nach Jahren erkannt habe (zB das namengebende Gedicht dieses Bandes, das hab ich die ersten 2-3 Jahre einfach nur überblättert...)
      Von Larkin hab ich bisher gar nichts gelesen und spontan auch nur nen Lebenslauf gefunden, das sollte ich dann vielleicht mal änder, oder?


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