No change at The Circus can go without books being involved in one way or another. So why would we do it any differently now? The hotel is about to receive the makeover of its life and rest assured, its library will too! We are once again collaborating with our neighbors and good friends from Ocelot, and who better to give us insider information than the project’s curator herself and The Circus Hotel Manager: Katrin Schönig!

  • 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.