Matt Potter ... writing, and then some

quirky stories, amusing and true ... or not

WHERE TO BUY 'Hamburgers and Berliners'

US$18.00 | ISBN: 978-0-9966894-0-3 | 273 Pages

To order online, click on the link below, or click on the cover image above:

http://www.thelostbookshelf.com/Hamburgers20and20Berliners

By mail: $18.00 + $4.00 postage to: PO Box 440357, West Somerville, MA 02144

With thanks to Gloria Mindock at Červená Barva Press.

 

You can also buy via Small Press Distribution and Amazon.com 

as well as via Fishpond.com, Fishpond.com.au and Fishpond.co.uk

 

You can also buy it in person, at independent bookshops in Adelaide, South Australia:

 

Shakespeare Books @ Blackwood

Shop 1, 10 Coromandel Parade, Blackwood

http://www.shakespearesbooks.com.au

 

Imprints Booksellers in the West End

107 Hindley Street, Adelaide

http://www.imprints.com.au 

 

Booked @ North Adelaide

North Adelaide Shopping Village

81 O'Connell Street, North Adelaide

http://www.indies.com.au/booked/ 

 

 

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FROM THE INTRODUCTION TO 'HAMBURGERS AND BERLINERS'

... to people at home, including the disapproving ones who couldn’t fathom why I was (sort of) leaving a seventeen-year relationship, “I don’t want to be 52 and still wishing I’d done this,” I’d say.

It was a difficult time, and to be honest, after my six months in Hamburg I thought, Germany has got to be better than this and so after three months back in the Australian summer, I went to live in Berlin in April 2009. And yes, it was better.

During those two stints in Germany I wrote regular emails to those I thought might be interested in what I was experiencing.

And those emails can be found here in these pages, piquant ramblings from a man in his early forties who was having a great time and having a sad and lonely time too, observations from a man who came from the other side of the world, observations I might well not make now. And yes, I was glad I was having these experiences at 42 (or 43), and not still wishing I had done them at 52. Or 53. 

 

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WHAt PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT 'HAMBURGERS AND BERLINERS'

Both travel journal and an examination of cultural diversity, this book is a joy and a must-read for the observant soul that relishes travel as the mirror through which we not only gain a better understanding of other people but of ourselves. Laugh-out-loud funny, profoundly insightful, touching in its willingness to admit fallibility, this is one that will resonate with everyone who's ever lived outside their country (and can laugh about it).

Guilie Castillo Oriard, author of The Miracle of Small Things

 

When I read Hamburgers and Berliners I felt first envy – envy of the travelling, the work and the experiences. Then I felt awe – that someone did all of this all alone. Finally, respect and admiration that the experiences were recorded in so much glorious detail and so many hilarious observations. The descriptions of the breakfasts and the shopping trips, the tangled transport experiences and the encounters with natives and other travellers are brilliant. When I finished the book, I felt a huge sense of regret that it was over for me. Experiences of travel and work are rarely recorded so completely or so richly, so that, wherever you are or whether you are travelling or not, you can gain something real from the unfailing honesty and candid humour. Thank you, Matt Potter

Kerry Hood, The Book Keeper

 

Australians have a reputation as intrepid travelers. Matt Potter’s latest book fortifies that impression. Potter spent two extended stays in Germany, the first in Hamburg, the second in Berlin. While there Potter supported himself by teaching English as a second language. The book is composed of the email dispatches he sent to friends and family back home. Would that we all had a friend abroad sending us emails like these!

With keen eyes, ears, and a sly sense of humor, Potter turns mundane travel details—missed connections, verbal misunderstandings, bureaucratic snafus—into the stuff of drama and comedy. The author is fascinated by language, its use and misuse. The book will either have you planning your own trip to Germany or, as in my case, glad Potter went to Germany and wrote a book about it. 

Todd McKie

 

Matt Potter has written a fascinating account of his temporary transplantation from Australia to Germany during an approximate two-year period at the beginning of this century, combining elements of memoir, journal, autobiography and self-psychoanalysis in a winning narrative that both educates and entertains the reader throughout. Potter's observations are alternately witty, sly, self-revelatory and informative, and I found myself immediately drawn into his experience as a foreigner grappling with the challenges of residence in a culture poles apart from that of his homeland. The book's style is full of staccato-like observations and reactions which keep Potter's narrative moving, while still providing the reader with the kind of details of German life seen through fresh, i.e. non-German, eyes. For me, whose domicile has been limited to no more than a 12 mile radius from the hospital in which I was born, reading this book has been an adventure second only to having lived Potter's experience myself. Seen through his humor, sometimes light, sometimes dark, is just an added bonus. 

Paolo Paravicini

 

One of the joys of traveling is to see the world with fresh eyes, to delight in the simple variations that life elsewhere holds. So what a treat to read Matt Potter’s new book, Hamburgers and Berliners and other courses in between, just as my own "homesickness" for Germany was starting to kick in. Part travelogue, part memoir, and with a hefty dose of cultural and personal musings, one man, approaching middle age, decides he can wait no longer to realize his dream of living in Germany. Collected as a series of “letters home”, Potter reveals daily life as an outsider—learning the language, the culture, and the nuances of living out of one’s comfort zone. As anyone who has traveled knows, it’s all about the small moments and the small victories—from getting on the right train (finally!), to being understood by native speakers, to the simple observations about sunglasses, sidewalk etiquette, eating alone in restaurants, and the difference between self-tanning and regular hand cream! Generously peppered with dry wit and historical tidbits, Hamburgers and Berliners is less a guidebook and more a window into both the loneliness and celebrations of following one’s heart.

Nancy Stohlman, author of The Vixen Scream and other Bible Stories

 

Matt Potter's Hamburgers and Berliners took me to Germany—with brief forays to Austria, Portugal and other European countries—without me having to shift an inch from my sofa. Potter's prose is, as always, absorbing, amusing, enlightening and engaging. If you are thinking of a trip to Europe (or Australia, where Potter originates) make sure you read Hamburgers and Berliners before you go. This intimate portrait of an Australian abroad should be nestled in your hand luggage beside your spare undies and bottled water—it's just as essential. Potter examines the differences between cultures big and small—between countries, continents or, at the other end of the scale, the microcultures that exist within a block or a street. He constantly questions the what and the why of things, observing idiosyncrasies and habits and ingrained patterns of thought in a way that makes you see your own surroundings and behaviours afresh. Never uncomfortably disrespectful (though often funny), Potter had me smirking with some of his descriptions and going “Aha!” at others. Hamburgers and Berliners is that rare thing, a guide to humanity, forgiving in its delivery but covering every niggly aspect of living as a foreigner abroad in delicious detail, warts and all. If you want to give your brain a holiday, get it, read it, and have a ball.

Gill Hoffs, author of The Sinking of RMS Tayleur: The Lost Story of the Victorian Titanic and Wild: a collection


Matt Potter unflinchingly allows us inside his mind and heart, sharing fears and insecurities that most of us would never dare to reveal. His book is both poignant and funny, and through Potter's eyes we get a vivid picture of Germany—its landscapes, people, customs and quirks—while also witnessing one man's struggle to make sense of his own life as well as life at large.

Len Kuntz, author of The Dark Sunshine

 

Matt Potter's Hamburgers and Berliners brings back the adventures, the frustrations and the newness of moving to Germany. These honest missives made me want to do it all over again.

Christopher Allen, author of Conversations with S. Teri O'Type

 

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