Tag Archives: books about germany

Planet Germany is Comic Read of 2008!

I’ve been so distracted by frozen pipes, snow shovelling and trying to keep warm that I hadn’t had time to keep up with Lizzie’s blog. Lizzie’s Literary Life is a fantastic book review blog which never fails to provide great tips on excellent authors, old and new.

Anyway… when I logged in today to catch up, I was excited to find Lizzie has published her list of top recommendations from her (very extensive) 2008 reading. And there at the very top of the list is none other than…*drumroll*… my very own Planet Germany – recommended as Comic Read of the Year!

Many thanks to Lizzie! And as soon as I’ve finished writing this, I shall be straight off to Amazon to pick up her very top recommendation …. The Chocolate War.

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Filed under books, Life in Germany

The only thing worse than being talked about…

…is not being talked about.

I nearly fell off my chair this morning when I checked into the Book Depository website. Falling off my chair is generally a bad idea, first because my desk is strategically positioned next to an open window with a thorny rosebush just the other side of it, and second because it involves cats scattering in all directions, usually taking coffee mugs, papers, laptops and other items with them.

Fortunately so far, I have managed to hang onto my seat… just.

Anyway, I digress. The Book Depository is one of the big online booksellers in the UK – and the section of its website called “Editor’s corner” is actually a blog by a very cunning man called Mark Thwaite. I say cunning, because he manages to get everyone else to write his blog in the form of so-called interviews, while he, presumably sits around drinking coffee and sells thousands of books online with one occasional flick of the mouse.

This time, his chosen blogger is Marcia Jarnell aka Lizzy Siddall – author of the very wonderful book-blog: Lizzy’s Literary Life.

Now… here’s the bit that nearly caused my death by a thousand rose-thorns…

It turns out that Lizzy is a secret admirer of this very blog! She says:

Germany is also the subject of my favourite non-bookish blog Planet Germany. It brings back many good memories.

At this point, I’ll take a pause to wave at my screen and say hello to Lizzy!

But wait… it gets better. When asked what books she would recommend to other readers (Mr. Thwaite has not yet managed to outsource the questioning… but I’m sure it’s only a matter of time…), Lizzy’s reply includes:

On a less controversial note, I shall recommend Cathy Dobson’s Planet Germany, the book of the blog, to all British expatriates and to all British ex-expatriates for that matter. No, in fact to everyone. It’s hilarious.

This is why this morning, you find me teetering on the very edge of my windowsill in a state of excitement, with a cat approaching ….about to push me over the edge.


Filed under books

Planet Germany is “Book of the Month”

Well that was a lovely surprise! I found out today that Planet Germany has been chosen as “Book of the Month” on Army Wives United.

Planet Germany is Book of the Month

Planet Germany is Book of the Month

Given the number of Army Wives who have had the experience of living in Germany, there must be quite a number who can empathise with the stories in the book. I can hear the chuckling all the way from JHQ….


Filed under books, Life in Germany

Baboons, buffoons and clowns – never mix them up!

One of the great things about living outside of your own culture is that you’re never bored. On a daily basis some muddle or misunderstanding crops up which threatens to undermine your whole existence unless you solve it right this minute.

Like the other weekfor example.

As many of you know, I run my company from home… I’ve converted one of the outbuildings of our farmhouse into offices, and that’s where my colleagues and I sit. My husband also works from home, in a separate office in the barn. We all meet up regularly around the coffee machine in the kitchen.

When I was writing my book, Planet Germany, I printed off the manuscript for my husband to read – and said, “Now is your chance to get anything changed that you really object to.”

I reminded him daily for about a month. Then I said – “Right I’m sending the manuscript to the publisher on Friday – so that’s your last chance.”

Typical – he didn’t bother reading it. “It doesn’t matter,” he says. “You’ll only sell about ten copies anyway.”

But, a few months on when sales have been going really well on Amazon UK and Amazon Germany he grabs a copy and starts reading it in bed.

The other morning, he comes into the kitchen and complains: “You’ve turned me into a complete buffoon!”

Birgit (my colleague) is in the kitchen and immediately gets the wrong end of the stick.

“You English do enjoy your kinky sex games, don’t you!” she says.

I do a double take – no a triple take….my jaw hangs open… my eyes are popping…

“You what? What….how….where did that comment come from?”

“You know – the buffoon. The monkey with the red bottom. You have been playing the strict schoolmistress game or the dominatrix, yes?”

“No, no. You’re thinking of a baboon! A buffoon is more like a clown.”

“You shouldn’t have sex dressed as a clown except at karneval” she says, sniffily. And wanders off to her desk with her coffee….leaving us gawping after her….

So my husband’s angry with me and my colleague thinks I’m into kinky sex with clowns…and it’s only half past eight in the morning!

Nope – you can’t get bored in Germany…..


Filed under comedy, Life in Germany

Oooh! This is getting exciting! (Bear with me folks…)

Planet Germany seems to be on a roll at the moment. Expatwomen.com have just featured it on their front page with a full-length interview with yours truly.

I’m also very excited that Planet Germany is featured on the front page of Buch7.de – which is an online bookstore I would recommend to anyone living in Germany. They donate 50% of their profits to cultural and charitable causes – so not only can you buy your books there as cheaply as on Amazon, but you can also feel smug about yourself while you shop.

You can’t say fairer than that!


Filed under books, Life in Germany

“Planet Germany” is reviewed in the Telegraph

This is an exciting moment for me.  My book, Planet Germany, has been reviewed in the Telegraph. (You have to scroll down a bit to find the right bit).

I think I might raise a glass of something bubbly tonight.

Thank you everyone!


Filed under books

A shelf revealed…

G posted a meme asking me to reveal what’s on my shelves. I’ve never had one of these before… but I discover that a meme is a bit like a parlour game. G revealed her shelves in response to Slouching Mom‘s show and tell. Slouching Mom was acting under orders from Niobe. I guess nobody argues with Niobe, because her blog is called Dead Baby Jokes… which must make people treat her warily….

When I went for a browse of G’s shelves I was really excited to spot that she’s actually got a copy of Planet Germany sitting there in plain view, nestling between a recipe book and one of those impressive coffee table books with photos of Berlin. Having seen that, of course, I couldn’t refuse.

But then I realised… if G has read Planet Germany, then she already knows that my house is the most chaotic, untidy and undusted place in the whole of Germany. If I attempt to cheat, by dusting a couple of feet of the bookshelf and taking a snap of that…. G will rumble me. She’ll expose me as a fraud, a cheat, a scoundrel… she might distrust me so much, she’d even mistake me for a Member of Parliament.

No… I had to do this honestly. No cheating, no attempting to put books straight and absolutely no vacuuming.

Ladies, gentlemen and dead babies of the world… I bring you *drumroll* my bookshelf! (Well, a bit of one of them anyway…)

And a couple of close ups just so you can see some titles (I’m still trying to distract you all from the cobwebs…)

OK… that’s done. Now I have to nominate some other bloggers to show their shelves….

Umm… let me see… I pick…

Mausi and Maribeth (only if you want to of course)

I suppose we should all breathe a sigh of relief it was the bookshelves this time, not the deepest depths of the kitchen cupboards…. or the dark recesses of the fridge. I wonder what did happen to that Camembert…..


Filed under books

Would you recognise yourself described in a tabloid?

This is a new experience for me…. what with all the PR around Planet Germany, I’m used to the language of book reviews and Amazon blurb. But all of a sudden, I’ve started being written up in the popularist press.

Great PR! I’m really pleased of course.

But will I ever get used to the way I’m described in it? Mum of three Cathy Dobson. Excuse me? Isn’t the reason you’re writing the article that I’m an author? How about successful writer Cathy Dobson? Or even bestselling author Cathy Dobson?

But no… in the tabloid world I’m an appendage, apparently. Cathy moved to Frankfurt in 1991 with hubby Chris, who is from Birmingham and works as a sports journalist.

Hello! Can anyone see me? I have a career too! I run my own business! Hello….over here! Oh never mind….


Filed under books, Life in Germany

Cats, curry and interior decor

One of the questions I get asked a lot since I wrote Planet Germany is whether the incidents described in the book actually happened. I mean, surely not. Nobody’s household is that chaotic.

Like the time I tried to have a party and made hot curry for an entire legion of Germans. You know, the people whose food is so bland that even a blob of mustard is considered to be scarily “scharf“.

Of course they didn’t eat it. It wasn’t an out-and-out rude refusal. They nibbled at the rice and the plain Naan bread. But the curry… no. The whole lot was left untouched by teutonic fork.
My cats, on the other hand, are made of sterner stuff. No sooner had the Germans left and everyone else had gone to bed, then the felines made a beeline for the chicken madras and the prawn vindaloo.

Things I learned that night and next morning:

  • a wallpaper table can hold seven full pans of curry, no problem
  • a wallpaper table cannot hold seven pans of curry and two cats without its legs buckling
  • a pan of curry trebles in volume when hurled to the ground by a yowling moggie
  • prawn vindaloo does very bad things to the feline digestive system
  • and subsequently to the living room floor and the wallpaper
  • did I mention the kitchen….

Aftermath of the curry


Filed under books, cats, Life in Germany