- So, Katrin… a library in every room. What’s the story? Where did your love of books come from?
I love reading. I always have and I’m sure that I always will. Books have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember, and my love of literature was such that I even studied it at university. It’s hard to explain, but I think other booklovers will understand. It’s something to do with sinking into a different world, of seeing things from a new perspective. Sometimes it’s about adventure, about escape, and all without leaving your sofa.
- Or your hotel…
Exactly! As the hotel manager of The Circus, my job is about helping guests have a great experience, both here in the hotel but also in Berlin. So, I haven’t always had a chance to bring my love of literature and books into my day job. But sometimes I can. It started with the library we have in the hotel now. I wanted to curate a collection that had a connection somehow to the city, as well as German classics, including translations. Of course, as a hotel with an emphasis on design, I made sure we had a great selection of design and travel books as well as something for the kids. Ultimately, I wanted to make sure our ideas and interests were reflected in the books I chose. I wanted people to see that as much thought was put into it as with everything we do.
- And soon people will be able to explore your choices in the rooms as well?
Yes. Everything about our plans for the future is exciting, but I’m especially happy I can integrate my love of books and stories even more. Every room will be set up with its own small library, and one that I will have personally put together.
- How will you decide what goes into each room?
Ah, that’s the tough question. Having done the library downstairs in the lobby I thought it would be easy. I’ll just pick my favourites… but then I realised it was really hard to choose! So I knew I would need a bit of help. I also realised that I wanted to explore contemporary literature through the selections and – with so many books published all the time – that there was a lot I did not know about. Luckily, we have good neighbours…
- Our friends at Ocelot?
Yes! Ocelot is a fabulous bookshop just a short walk up Brunnenstraße from the hotel. They have books in German and English, and I’ve always been impressed with their selection. They also have great coffee too! So I thought I would tap in to their expertise and thankfully Magda agreed. The two of us then began the task of picking 8-10 books for each room, with enough variation that returning guests will get the chance to read something new. I have to say, creating these personal libraries with Magda for future Circus guests has brought the biggest smile to my face.
- We don’t want to give away the feeling of discovery for guests when they finally get to enjoy your selections, but maybe you could give us a sneak preview of some of the books you’ve chosen?
Okay, I’ll give you three to get you started. First, a classic of Berlin literature: Fabian by Erich Kästner. Second, a future classic of contemporary Berlin literature: Der Gott der Stadt by Christiane Neudecker. And third, a personal favourite and one with a connection to the Circus. Built on Sand is a English-language novel set in Berlin by Paul Scraton, my partner and former member of the Circus team.