What Alan Turing was looking for at Ebermannstadt

It is not a peculiarity of our times that the NSA – America’s National Security Agency – wants to know everything, even in the most distant places of our planet. And Ticom (Target Intelligence Commitee), NSA’s predecessor, wanted just the same.

In the Second World War the future of the free world also depended on their spy work and therefore it isn’t surprising at all that Ticom of course knew about the activities at Feuerstein Castle near Ebermannstadt, in the northern part of Bavaria, Germany. Activities which were peculiar and mysterious at the same time. NSA documents which cover that part of history are only known to the public since 2009. They prove the fact that the British mathematician Alan Turing was on his way to Ebermannstadt in the last months of WW II. According to that documents German physician Oskar Vierling worked within the castle. The building which never has been a castle, was masked as a hospital – including the sign of the Red Cross on its roof – but was in fact a laboratory run by the Wehrmacht and the German Foreign Office. Up to 250 people worked in Feuerstein Castle on encryption, radio links and on the improvement of the encryption machine SZ 42.  Vierling who in 1941 established  the company that today still bears his name, worked on signals that should control torpedoes and set mines on fire.

On April 16th 1945, some three weeks before Nazi Germany surrendered on May 8th, Ticom secret agents arrived at Feuerstein Castle. The American and British experts on news and communication technique were hitchhiking all the way through Germany till they arrived in Upper Franconia. The last part up to the castle itself, they walked. They hoped to find German encryption devices there, not because they hoped to use it for themselves. „It was much more important that these devices were not lost to the Russians,“ Rudolf Staritz, a tech expert on news, says.

„Turing wasn’t able to breach Vierling’s messages.“

Alan Turing came across Vierling much earlier. Turing who at that time was breaking German messages at Bletchley Park, the central site of the United Kingdom’s Government Code and Cypher School known for its efficiency and its brilliant minds. But the messages which went to and from Feuerstein Castle and the German town of Hannover on a regular bases, remained a mystery even to genius Turing. „Turing wasn’t able to breach Vierling’s messages. So he wanted to go to Feuerstein and find out what was going on there for himself,“ Staritz says. The NSA documents don’t reveal, however, how long Alan Turing stayed at Feuerstein Castle in the spring of 1945. That the brilliant codebreaker was actually there, experts consider as a fact. „There are lots of legends when it comes to Turing’s life. But we can take it for granted that he was in Ebermannstadt,“ Jochan Viehoff says. He is Head of Nixdorf Museum in the German town Paderborn.

It seems that after the war, in April 1945, Vierling soon attached himself to the new situation – according to Ticom report dated May 1st 1945: „When Vierling and some of his colleagues were found, they were very eager to talk about their work and agreed to help rebuilding the lab and the parts of the project, so they could go on with their work.“ The secret agents assumed that Vierling hoped to continue his work within his laboratory at Feuerstein Castle after the end of Nazi regime. But the cooperation terminated when allies‘ superiors on August 16th 1945 ordered Vierling’s arrest. The agents removed all interiors and research results from Feuerstein. Staritz doesn’t believe they used it for their own research. „The Americans technically were much superior compared to the Germans.“

More about Alan Turing on this blog click here.
Learn more about Alan Turing here.

The German version of this article was originally published in Fränkischer Tag on January 22nd 2015.
The author, Christoph Hägele, kindly granted the permission to translate it.

Quick look at a huge book

If you stumbled across Alan Turing because of the film „The Imitation Game“ starring Benedict Cumberbatch in the lead role, you may be aware of Andrew Hodges‘ biography „The Enigma“ – the basis of Graham Moore’s Oscar awarded screenplay.

A much deeper inside look at Alan Turing’s work which helped breaking the German enigma code, shortened the Second World War by at least two years and saved millions of lives, you should read the huge book „Alan Turing – His work and impact“ by S. Barry Cooper and Jan van Leewen. Yes, there are lots of mathematical theories, even formulas (something very awful for people like me unable to cope with numbers) but the more than 870 pages, accompanied by indexes and bibliographies are worth reading, browsing through essays about and from Alan.

„He was a genius: he was ‚a Wonder of the world‘.
Bernards Richards about Alan Turing

One essay that strikes me most  – besides the ones by Alan himself which offer a look inside the brain of a man a colleague described as „a Wonder of the world“ – is the piece „Why Turing cracked the Enigma code and the Germans did not“ by Klaus Schmeh. The German computer scientist explains that Germans were unable to bring their cryptographers together to find a possible weakness in the Enigma code itself. Despite the fact that German experts were aware of a possible breach, Britain’s success in breaking Enigma was only revealed in the 1970s when details about the codebreaker’s work at Bletchley Park became public.

„Alan Turing – His work and impact“ may not be an easy read. But it is worth every try.

S.Barry Cooper, Jan van Leeuwen: Alan Turing – His work an impact, Elsevier, £ 53 can be ordered here.

Foto: pb

Foto: pb

Alan Turing – the codebreaker

It was a secret world behind the Victorian facade of the house in Bletchley Park some 70 kilometres Northwest of London. At the beginning of the second World War the British government realised that it would be essential to decode the messages of Nazi Germany to win the war. But all messages were encrypted with the help of Enigma machines – codes that everybody believed were unbreakable. At Bletchley Park analytics from all over Britain were gathered, sworn to secrecy and set to shifts 24 hours a day – a work that would be useless at the end of every day when the Germans changed their codes.

Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) in a trailer of "The Imitation Game". Screenshot: pb

Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) in a trailer of „The Imitation Game“. Screenshot: pb

 

„The Imitation Game“ which hits German cinemas at January 22nd celebrates and focuses on codebreaker Alan Turing, the unsung hero who helped to win the war for the allies. It is believed today that he shortened the war for about two years and saved millions of lives. Alan Turing (played by Benedict Cumberbatch) is one of the first experts in Bletchley Park. Born in 1912, he has just finished his studies in Cambridge and is „an odd duck“ according to his mother and colleagues. In his job interview right at the beginning of the film he calls himself one of the best mathematicians in the world, a genius who somehow lives in his own world but he discovers that Enigma can only be beaten by another machine. A machine –  the Turing bombe as it is called later –  that would work without interruptions and which he is eager to build against all odds. Only after Alan discovers by chance that some words will appear in every German message he and his colleagues are able to reduce the unbelievable numbers of possible codes so that the bombe is finally able to do its work. It’s an irony of history that the arrogant greeting „Heil Hitler“ – „Hail to Hitler“ helps the allies to win the war because these words are in fact hidden in every message.

But the life of the codebreakers at Bletchley Park isn’t to get easier at all. It is Alan who knowing that homosexuality is illegal tries to hide his biggest secret and protect his privacy while – at least in the film – is suspected to be a Russian spy. After World War II he isn’t celebrated as a war hero but sentenced to chemical castration to „heal“ his homosexuality. But the oestrogens not only caused growing breasts but left Alan unable to concentrate on his beloved work and he killed himself in 1954.

His work which is the basis of the modern computer technique and the internet was classified till 1970s. Queen Elizabeth granted Alan an Royal pardon on December 24th 2013 after the British Parliament refused to pardon Alan in 2011, even after former Prime Minister Gordon Brown apologized 2009 on behalf of the British government: „I am very proud to say: we’re sorry. You deserved so much better.“

Read my review of the film here.

The German version of this blog entry was first published in Fränkischer Tag and on infranken.de.

Alan Turing – ein echter Held

Der Zweite Weltkrieg ist auch bald 70 Jahre nach seinem Ende immer noch präsent, jedenfalls wenn man sich den Stoff ansieht, aus dem Filme und Bücher gemacht sind. Mit „The Imitation Game – Ein streng geheimes Leben“ (115min, Verleih: Square One) kommt am 22. Januar ein weiterer Film, der in dieser Zeit spielt, ins deutsche Kino. Doch er ist nicht einfach ein weiterer Film, der in dieser Zeit spielt.

„The Imitation Game“ ist ein Film über den auch bei uns weitgehend unbekannten Helden Alan Turing. Der englische Mathematiker war zusammen mit seinen Kollegen maßgeblich daran beteiligt, den Zweiten Weltkrieg – wie Experten heute meinen – um bis zu vier Jahre zu verkürzen und Millionen Leben zu retten, indem er den deutschen Enigma-Code knackte. Doch der Film ist weit davon entfernt im Pathos zu ersticken, denn er ist auch eine Tragödie. Turing, den Zeitgenossen als liebenswerten, aber etwas merkwürdigen Menschen beschreiben, tat immer das, wovon er überzeugt war. Er lebte für die Mathematik, in der er als Genie galt, er war witzig und er war homosexuell zu einer Zeit, in der das verboten war und mit Gefängnis bestraft wurde.

„Sie brauchen mich viel mehr als ich Sie.“
Alan Turing in seinem Vorstellungsgespräch (meine Übersetzung)

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Benedict Cumberbatch als Alan Turing – aus einem Trailer. Screenshot: pb

Der Film von Regisseur Morton Tyldum hat alles, was ein guter Film braucht: er ist witzig, spannend, herzerwärmend und herzzerreißend. Und er ist zu allererst ein Film über Alan Turing (gespielt von Benedict Cumberbatch), der Großbritannien loyal diente, alle Geheimnisse über seine Arbeit in Bletchley Park wahrte und dafür nicht etwa mit allen Ehren bedacht wurde, die ein Land vergeben kann. Alan Turing wurde dafür bestraft, homosexuell zu sein und mit Östrogen behandelt, um ihn von der Homosexualität zu heilen. Außerdem hielt man ihn für unzuverlässig, Geheimnisse für sich behalten zu können und schloss ihn von seiner Arbeit als Kryptoanalytiker beim späteren britischen Geheimdienst aus.

Benedict Cumberbatchs beste Leistung

Benedict Cumberbatch gilt Kennern zurecht als einer der besten Schauspieler seiner Generation. In „The Imitation Game“ liefert er seine bisher beste schauspielerische Leistung auf der Kinoleinwand ab. Sein Alan ist verletzlich, arrogant, witzig, eigenbröterlisch und er tut und sagt immer genau das, was er in diesem Moment für richtig hält. Das wahre Können eines Schauspielers offenbart sich auch in dem, was er nicht sagt, dann nämlich, wenn ein Schauspieler mit einer einzigen Geste, einem einzigen Wimpernschlag einen ganzen Monolog erzählen kann. Das kann Benedict Cumberbatch den ganzen Film über, der in jedem Detail und mit jeder Rolle perfekt ist. Doch in der letzten Szene, die er zusammen mit Keira Knightley hat –  sie spielt Joan Clarke, eine Kollegin und Freundin, die auch noch nach Alan Turings Tod sehr viel für ihn empfunden hat – zeigt sich Benedict Cumberbatchs wahre Meisterschaft. Und die des Films, der auch in herzzerreißenden Szenen niemals kitschig ist.

„The Imitation Game“ ist ein Film, den man gesehen haben muss. Er verdient jede Auszeichnung, für die er bereits jetzt gehandelt wird.

 

Update: [25.Januar 2015]

Gestern habe ich die deutsche Fassung gesehen. Und ich muss zugeben: Sie ist nicht so schlimm wie ich befürchtet habe. Erst vor ein paar Tagen habe ich den deutschen Trailer noch einmal gesehen und war der festen Überzeugung, dass die Synchronisation grottenschlecht ist. Vor allem beim Vorstellungsgespräch zwischen Alan Turing (Sprecher: Tommy Morgenstern) und Commander Denniston (Leon Richter) hatte ich den Eindruck, dass beide Synchronstimmen überhaupt nicht zu denen der Schauspieler passen und viel zu hoch rüberkommen. Ein Eindruck, der sich dann auch bestätigt hat. Dass Tommy Morgenstern, der auch Sherlocks deutsche Stimme ist,  hier Benedict Cumberbatch seine Stimme leiht, hätte ich nicht gedacht. Sie klingt mir vergleichsweise viel zu hoch. Was aber sicher daran liegt, dass ich nicht nur an Benedicts tiefe Stimme gewöhnt bin, sondern auch daran, dass ich viel im englischen Original anschaue – dem Internet sei Dank. Daher wirken Synchronfassungen auf mich irgendwie flacher und zu sehr einem Hochdeutsch angepasst, dass im üblichen Sprachgebrauch so nicht verwendet wird. Das gilt auch für „The Imitation Game“.

Es ist sicher nicht leicht, eine Synchronisation zu machen: Vieles aus der Originalsprache ist schlichtweg nicht 1:1 ins Deutsche zu übersetzen, von der Koordination der Lippenbewegungen ganz zu schweigen. Weil nicht jeder einem Film auf Englisch (oder auch einer beliebigen anderen Sprache) folgen kann, ist sie dennoch hilfreich. Wer aber die Möglichkeit hat, die Originalfassung zu schauen, sollte das unbedingt tun. Auch wenn es vor allem für Ungeübte nicht leicht ist. Es lohnt sich!

Den englischen Trailer gibt es hier.


Hier gibt es den deutschen Trailer.

Grundlage für den Film ist das lesenswerte Buch von Andrew Hodges „Enigma“. Meinen englischen Buchtipp gibt es hier.

You can find the English version of this entry here.

A tribute to a true hero

With anniversaries of both World Wars, it seems we are flooded with documentaries, books and radio plays. And even despite the fact that this topic is a very important one, people could be bored getting another film situated in the Second World War.

„The Imitation Game“ is not just another film about one of the darkest periods in European history. It is a tribute to the true hero Alan Turing who helped breaking the German enigma code, win the war for the allies and saved thousands of lives. But it’s also a tragedy. Alan, who people always looked at as somehow different, awkward and not of this world, lived the life of a man who always was true to himself. He deeply cared for his work as a mathematician, dived into solving any problem and was – for all we learn from the people who knew him –  a very warm hearted man who happened to be gay in a time when homosexuality was illegal.

„You need me more than I need you.“ Alan Turing in his job interview

TIG_OFTrailer_23_ 2014-07-21 16:22:34

Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing – from a trailer of „The Imitation Game“. Screenshot: pb

Director Morten Tyldum’s film is all you want to have in a really good movie: it is heartwarming, funny, heartbreaking, sad and thrilling. And it is a story about Alan Turing (played by Benedict Cumberbatch), a man who loyally served his country, lived with all the secrets about his work at Bletchley Park during the war but instead of celebrating him as a war hero and giving him all the honour a country could give, was prosecuted for his sexuality, treated with oestrogens, intending to free him of his homosexuality. And if this wasn’t enough he was considered being unreliable of keeping secrets and was refused to continue his cryptographic work for the British Government Communications Headquarters.

Benedict Cumberbatch performs the role of his life. His Alan is vulnerable, arrogant, funny and he always does and says what he thinks is right at this special moment. And even if he doesn’t say anything, you know exactly what is going on in his mind – you just have to look to realise what only a brilliant actor is able to do: telling a whole story with a tiny movement within his face. The scenes with Keira Knightley who is Joan Clarke, a fellow mathematician and cryptanalysis who was in a relationship with Alan and still cared very deeply for him till his death and even afterwards, are far away from any kitsch film makers could squeeze into them.

„The Imitation Game“ is the must see film of this winter. It deserves all the awards the film industry has to offer.

—-

More about Alan Turing:

Andrew Hodges: The Enigma – the biography the film is based on. Read my review here.

Sinclair McKay: The Secret Life of Bletchley Park

Alan M. Turing: Centenary Edition

Official page of The Imitation Game

Bletchley Park

Bletchley Park Podcast – Apple users click here.

TIG_HuffPo15

Andrew Hodges: The Enigma

One of the things coming with being a fan of Benedict Cumberbatch is getting to know about books you’ve never heard of and you probably never would have read because they simply exist out of your horizon – or are simply not available in your country and language.

The German version and the original English one. Photo: pb

Andrew Hodges‘ „The Enigma“ is such a book that appeared in my life just because I learned back in 2013 that Benedict was about to play Alan Turing in the film „The Imitation Game“. Surprisingly enough I did know that Alan Turing was the man that helped breaking the German Code during the Second World War with the help of the Enigma machine – something I must have stumbled upon during school (thanks to my teachers and German curriculum).

„For him there had to be a reason for everything;
 it had to make sense – and to make one sense, not two.“

Because of the topic – oh God, it has something to do with maths which I’ll never understand in German how could I handle this in English?! – I tried and failed getting a German version of Hodges‘ book when I wanted it. So I gave an English kindle version a try just because it is cheaper and you know you do have a dictionary at hand when you are lost in language and maths. But I hardly needed it because Andrew Hodges did a very good job walking on the edge in between historical facts, technical explanations and bringing a man to life that was not only far ahead of his time when it comes to science or technology. He also was a man struggling to find his own way in a society that couldn’t cope with homosexuality as a normal form of living and loving but made it illegal forcing women and men to live their lives like criminals.

„Like any homosexual man, he (Alan) was living an imitation game, not in the sense of conscious play-acting, but by being accepted as a person that he was not“, Hodges writes. Being a highly intelligent man, Alan Turing didn’t care about his appearance but concentrated on his work and somehow on his own world in which the simple and clear rules of science were all that matter at least to him. But he also was very well aware of the fact that the society he lived in wouldn’t tolerate his sexuality: „He had wanted the commonest in nature; he liked ordinary things. But he found himself to be an ordinary English homosexual atheist mathematician. It would not be easy.“

Andrew Hodges‘ autobiography is full of historical facts, science stuff and biographical details that show that the author did a very proper and deep research. Far more it is a tribute to Alan Turing – full of love and admiration – who thought about computer and the way they might think and communicate with one another long before the word had it’s meaning and long before the word internet was even invented.  „Enigma“ is a historical document and a thrilling novel that is a joy to read.

Andrew Hodges: Alan Turing – The Enigma, Vintage Books
Deutsche Ausgabe: Springer-Verlag, Wien.

If part of this article sound weird this is due to the fact that I’m not a native speaker, so don’t be too harsh.
Feel free to share this blog entry but please quote and link properly.

Cumbercollective: Fans that are different

So you do have a hobby? You are addicted to your plants in the garden, you’re passionate when it comes to cooking and baking and you are a fan of a football  team? Relax, everything is fine, there is nothing to worry about – at least till it comes to Benedict Cumberbatch. What a comparison, you may think (I see you are shaking your head) but think it over.

Benedict on BBC about his love for formula one. Screenshot: pb/BBC

Have a look at the meaning of  „fan“ and you’ll find explanations like „enthusiast“or „admirer“  – which is exactly what fans do when their team wins the match: they cry, they laugh, they jump and they have nothing else to talk about when they meet other fans no matter if they’re meeting online or in real life.
Fans of Benedict Cumberbatch gather in front of the telly to watch a film or a series the British actor takes part. They cry, they laugh, they jump and they have nothing else to talk about when they meet other fans not matter if they’re meeting online or in real life.

„Your loyalty means a lot.
It gives me courage to take risks
and enjoy what I’m doing.“
Source: Indiatoday

Of course you get the parallels. Would you say being a fan of lets say football makes you automatically insane and stupid? No? Why do you think Benedict’s fans are insane and stupid? Why do you think that they are foolish girls only dreaming of their idol, unable to talk in full sentences, only sighing and swooning and screaming? It’s because you don’t really understand what this fandom is about, maybe because you only read the headlines of the yellow press which will always use „Cumberbitches“ to lure more clicks on their websites and more readers to their papers instead of keeping up to date and do their researches properly as Sherlock would grumble.

To set the record straight: Yes, members of the Cumbercollective (and of course the author of this blog) are chatting about Benedict, his appearance (Did you see his hair? Doesn’t this colour fit him well?), his beautiful voice (best listened to with earphones), his hands (yes, they are very huge) or his clothes (Tuxedos & suits! Scarfs & Flipflops! Hats & Glasses!). With his ability to play every characters on the big screen, on telly or doing radio plays, Benedict proves that he is in fact a class of his own. And he forces his fans stretch their brains, learning about such different topics like code breaking because of Alan Turing and the upcoming film „The Imitation Game“, motion caption and JRR Tolkien because of the dragon Smaug in „The Hobbit“ or tyres and high speed cars because he was at the Formula 1 race in Kuala Lumpur. (Yes, there are pics from an Jaguar ice driving course in Finland – but who cares about the cars?)

It is true that fans come together because Benedict is out there, but what is so special about this fandom is that many fans are grown-up women, getting their daily stuff done in real life, are interested and well informed about such different things as literature, films, sports, architecture, history and politics. Many are fluent in at least two languages – English is mandatory if your want to listen to Benedict’s voice – and always ready to help. Want a magazine from another country, a mug from a shop that doesn’t ship abroad, tips for your next trip to US, not sure if the DVD works in your country, badly in need of a live stream? Just drop a line on twitter – and get answers.
Don’t worry if it takes a few hours till they get back to you: Cumbercollective as a whole is always wide awaken and literally everywhere in the world. Due to time shifts they are on duty or simply asleep.

If part of this article sound weird this is due to the fact that I’m no native speaker, so don’t be too harsh.
Feel free to share this blog entry but please quote and link properly.

Benedict Cumberbatch rules the Oscars

Watching the Oscars is a very predictable thing. There will be lots of beautiful ladies with beautiful robes trying not to fall over, looking all gorgeous. Well most of them. There will be lots of guys looking very dapper in their suits. And there is Benedict Cumberbatch.

Benedict Cumberbatch on the Red Carpet. Screenshot: pb

Of course he looks very dapper in his Spencer & Hart suit and we all were relieved seeing his hair curling and going back to his natural colour (yes there is a bit of grey in it). It seems that Benedict really enjoyed being on the Red Carpet, THE reddest and most important carpet existing in film industry. Looking relaxed, happy and smiling all over his face, he actually belongs there, in the middle of all of these stars who all pretend being very important and very Hollywood -ish. Benedict rules them all.

„It’s a non stop party. 
We’re going non verbal and dance.“
Benedict Cumberbatch after the ceremony

Despite the fact that he wasn’t nominated for an Oscar and Cumbercollective is sure he will be in for one next year probably for the upcoming film about Alan Turing „The Imitation Game“,  Benedict was the hidden winner of the ceremony. Yes, he presented Catherine Martin together with Jennifer Garner  for the award for best production design for The Great Gatsby. He cried during Lupita Nyong’s accepting speech for best supporting actress, he smiled and laughed on stage together with the crew of „12 Years a Slave“  and couldn’t stop smiling through all the interviews he gave before and after the ceremony.

Lupita Nyong and Benedict Cumberbatch. Screenshot: pb

Benedict seemed to be and still is all over the internet and especially twitter went mad when fans realized that he really was photobombing U2, giving nothing at all to ceremonial rules by being DorkyBatch and apparently being very proud of himself.

The photobombing shared by @fangirlfreak21 on Twitter

A feeling he shared with his fans lots of them watching the Oscar broadcast no matter how late or early it was due to timeshift, giggling and smiling with their beloved man, demanding only one thing: Please don’t behave like an adult, Benedict, and give us more of your DapperDorkBatch. You’ll get more of these writings and more Cumbercupcakes, ehm Muffins as you name them.

Photobomb – in Cupcakes by @vereentjoengB

Bücher meines Jahres

Jedes Jahr schreibe ich meine persönliche Lesestatistik auf. Ganz altmodisch mit Füller auf Papier. Am Ende des Jahres wundere ich mich, dass ich viel oder wenig gelesen habe (im Vergleich zum Jahr zuvor), was ich gelesen habe und wie.

Demnach schaut 2013 so aus:
Gesamt: 34 Bücher
E-Books: 10
Normale Bücher: 24
Englisch: 16

Und das habe ich gelesen – selbstverständlich ohne Anspruch auf den ultimativen, weil hochgeistig durchdachten und literaturwissenschaftlich tiefgründig aufbereiteten Lesebefehl.

JRR Tolkien: Der kleine Hobbit:

In einer alten, schulerprobten, aber gut erhaltenen dtv-Ausgabe, natürlich als Vorbereitung auf den Film. Als Nachbereitung liegt die englische Version in einer Jubiläumsausgabe schon bereit.

Steven Levy: In the Plex

Ein interessantes Buch über Google, wie die Firma denkt, arbeitet und unser Leben verändert, wie es im deutschen Untertitel heißt.

Jussi Adler-Olsen: Das Washington-Dekret

Ich bekenne, ich habe den Thriller nicht bis zum Ende gelesen, was aber nicht heißt, dass ihn andere nicht spannend finden werden.

Lukas Hartmann: Räuberleben, Der Konvoi:

Beide Bücher sind nicht unbedingt die, die ich zum Kennenlernen von Hartmann empfehlen würde. Wer den Schweizer Schriftsteller mag, muss sie aber lesen.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle:

Natürlich Sherlock: A Study in Scarlett, The Sign of the Four, The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Valley of Fear, The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes
Empfehlenswert sind aber unbedingt auch: A Life in Letters und Sherlock Holmes Handbook von Christopher Redmond.
Dazu passen:
Anthony Horowitz: Das Geheimnis des weißen Bandes. Ein neuer Sherlock-Holmes-Roman, der tatsächlich wirkt, als sei der große Detektiv niemals weg gewesen.
Lynnette Porter: Sherlock Holmes for the 21st century. Die Essays beschäftigen sich mit unterschiedlichen modernen Adaptionen der Figur, mal mehr, mal weniger wissenschaftlich.

Ford Madox Ford: Parade’s End

Die vier Bände um den englischen Gentleman Christopher Tietjens sind beste Unterhaltung in der Zeit vor, während und nach dem Ersten Weltkrieg. Leider sind deutsche Ausgaben nur noch antiquarisch erhältlich.

Donna Leon: Tierische Profile

Der alljährliche Venedig-Krimi mit dem liebenswerten Commissario Guido Brunetti ist für mich ein Muss.

Robert Musil: Die Verwirrungen des Zöglings Törleß

Das Erstlingswerk des österreichischen Autors über pubertierende Jugendliche in einem katholischen Internat ist überraschend modern.

John William: Stoner

Wenn sich der Klappentext vor Lobpreisungen überschlägt, werde ich skeptisch. Bei diesem Roman allerdings sind sie berechtigt: Stoner ist ein zu unrecht vergessenes großes amerikanisches Werk.

Lynnette Porter: Benedict Cumberbatch in Transition

Für Fans ein Muss – für alle anderen eine Verschwendung

Martin Sutter: Almen und die Dahlien

Wer sich in der Welt der Schönen und Reichen nicht langweilt, wird sich beim dritten Fall des Detektivs Johann Friedrich von Allmen prächtig amüsieren.

George Orwell: 1984

Meine alte Ausgabe habe ich aus aktuellem Anlass wieder aus der Regal geholt. Lesenswert wie immer.

Matt Dickinson: Die Macht des Schmetterlings:

Dieser Roman über die Chaostheorie ist eigentlich ein Jugendroman. Eigentlich. Denn er ist auch für Erwachsene spannend und beste Unterhaltung!

Daniel Domscheit-Berg: Inside Wikileaks

Nein, es ist keine Dokumentation. Und nein, das Buch ist kein literarisches Meisterwerk, sondern die Erinnerungen des Autors an seine Zeit bei Wikileaks. Lesenwert ist es allemal.

Andrew Hodges: Alan Turing – The Enigma

Eine der besten Biografien, die ich seit langem gelesen habe und ein wunderbar lesenswertes Werk über den großen britischen Wissenschaftler Alan Turing, der entscheidend mithalf, den Code der Deutschen im Zweiten Weltkrieg zu entschlüsseln. Leider nicht auf Deutsch erhältlich.
[Update 29. März 2014: Es gibt eine deutsche Taschenbuchausgabe im Springer-Verlag, Wien. Sie ist laut verlegerischer Notiz eine vollständige Übersetzung der englischen Ausgabe von 1983. Meine englische Taschenbuchausgabe ist eine Neuauflage von 2012, die im Gegensatz zur deutchen Ausgabe ein paar Fotos enthält.].
Dazu passt:
Alan  M. Turing – die Erinnerungen seiner Mutter Sara Turing.

Henning Mankell: Mord im Herbst

Ein neuer Fall für den schwedischen Kommissar Wallander, leider aber keine Fortsetzung.

Solomon Northup: 12 Years A Slave

Die erschütternde Lebensgeschichte eines freien Mannes, der in die Sklaverei verkauft wurde. Leider nicht auf Deutsch erhältlich.

Ian Mc Ewan – meine persönliche Entdeckung des Jahres:

Amsterdam,
Abbitte,
Honig,
Cement Garden