Sunday, 21 March 2010

twelve.

Sameland by Magne Hovden (2010)

When I opened the present that contained this book, I laughed so hard. The cover. The fact that this book is about my home town. The perfect present.

Two guys are planning to start a Sami adventure park, the ultimate tourist scam. They have to get hold on some reindeer, a shaman and make an authentic Sami setting without spending much money on it. Quite an adventure getting it all together.

What I really loved in this book was the characters. I was snickering while trying to figure out who was the inspiration. The story was good and fun in the beginning, but then it became too much for me. I read somewhere that this might turn into a movie and I hope so because I think it will make a great flick.

Friday, 19 March 2010

eleven.

the English Patient by Michael Ondaatje (1992)

A Canadian nurse is alone with a nameless patient in a deserted Italian village at the end of WWII. The patient (English?) remembers every grain of the Saharan desert and what happened there but that is all he talks about. The girl is in love with the patient. A man, a former thief, who turns out to be a long lost friend of the girl turns up after hearing a strange rumour. And then an Indian sapper in the British Army shows up, disarming mines where he finds them. Then the girl falls for the Indian and they become lovers. Meanwhile, the former thief is trying to find out who the patient is, making him talk while being on morphine. Within the story there are stories about their past lives.

I think this is the first time I have been offended by the word fuck. It didn't fit in with the beautiful sentences and descriptions. It was a book I read in between classes and waiting for my sister at Schipol. It was also a book that made me want to read other books to get more knowledge about the war and mapping the deserts. And I can't wait to find out what the 5th graders make out of this book.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

ten.

Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood (1988)

Once upon a time, in a land far away, while reading Oryx and Crake, someone told me that I need to read Cat's Eye. And now I finally did.

Friendships that turn into cruelties. It's one of those stories that haunts you when you're not reading it. I saw a lot of my own childhood in this book and it reminded me about all those things I have been trying to forget.
"This is what I miss, Cordelia: not something that's gone, but something that will never happen. Two old women giggling over their tea".


These are the books that have found my way recently.
(I find it hard to write about the things I really love.)

Saturday, 6 March 2010

nine.

the Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb (2008)
I have avoided this book for a while. I thought it would be all about the Columbine school shootings and I didn't want to read about it. But when I picked it up in the book store and looked on the cover and read that it was about much more than that, I bought it. And I read it.

This book starts off with the Columbine shootings. The narrator's wife, Maureen, was hiding in a cupboard praying for her life during the shootings. The narrator, Caelum, was at this point at the deathbed of his aunt in Connecticut. The wife never recovers after the shootings, they move to Connecticut to start a new life at the farm that Caelum inherits after his aunt. Maureen eventually gets addicted to painkillers that she steals from the nursing home she works at and one night she hit a young boy when driving home under the influence.

There are so many layers in this book. It is written with the background of every significant event in American history over the past decade. I could really feel the anger and the bitterness of the narrator's voice in the beginning of the book and nearing the end of the book it turns more soft and grateful.

I loved this book as much as I love Wally Lamb's other books, She's Come Undone and I Know This Much Is True.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

eight.

the Town and the City by Jack Kerouac (1946)

Jack Kerouac was the beat generation apparently. Writing about all those people travelling from one place to another never knowing what they're looking for. And for someone who has lived in four different countries in four years, he is certainly appealing. I read On the Road in Montréal, while being on the road not knowing where I ended up, and I loved it so much that I regret giving it away.

The Town and the City was Kerouac's first novel and it is about a family with seven kids and it expands from the children being born in a small town in Massachusetts, follows some of them around the world, moves to New York and ends at the dad's funeral. I love the way it's written, so many beautiful sentences and paragraphs. I wish it would focus more on the girls in the family, but that's just me wishing for too much.

When bookless in Rome, I stumbled into a small used book store with an English section limited to books read for classes, but nevertheless, I ended up buying Pamela by Samuel Richardson. A book some 18th century lit professor once recommended and I hope it is as scandalous as the cover says.

And I just have to show off the beautiful Korean bookmark that arrived in my mail box yesterday. It is my first proper bookmark, no more using postcards I guess.