Sunday, 25 August 2013

forty-two.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (1960)

“Atticus said to Jem one day, "I’d rather you shot at tin cans in the backyard, but I know you’ll go after birds. Shoot all the blue jays you want, if you can hit ‘em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird." That was the only time I ever heard Atticus say it was a sin to do something, and I asked Miss Maudie about it. "Your father’s right," she said. "Mockingbirds don’t do one thing except make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corn cribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.” 

Jean Louise Finch, also known as Scout is barely 9 years old when she is witnessing her father, Atticus, defending the trial of his life. A black man has been accused of raping a white girl in the small town Maycomb, Alabama. But Scout and her brother, Jem, are also obsessing over their neighbour, Boo Radley, who has never left the house, and they do as much as they dare to get him to come out. And when he finally comes out, it is to save their lives.
Although it's told through the eyes of the child, this book deals with many important topics; racism, class and gender. It is also based on Harper Lee's personal life and the people around her, including Truman Capote, and a court case where her father defended two black men. 

I first read the book a couple of years ago, and I found it heavy and remembered very little of the story. I knew I loved it, but couldn't remember why. I'm glad I reread it and I found it easy to read this time around. I love the way Scout tells the story. It is definitely a book I will read again and I must also get around to see the film. 

It is still an important book and a must-read. This was also the August book in Line's 1001 books challenge

 “We know all men are not created equal in the sense some people would have us believe- some people are smarter than others, some people have more opportunity because they're born with it, some men make more money than others, some ladies make better cakes than others- some people are born gifted beyond the normal scope of men. But there is one way in this country in which all men are created equal- there is one human institution that makes a pauper the equal of a Rockefeller, the stupid man the equal of an Einstein, and the ignorant man the equal of any college president. That institution, gentlemen, is a court.”

Monday, 19 August 2013

leserprofil

Tora på bloggen bokmerker.org oppfordrer oss til å svare på noen spørsmål om lese(u)vaner.


1. Hvilken bok leste du sist?
Country Girl av Edna O'Brien til biografisirkelen til Ingalill. Interessant dame som er flink til å skrive og som må leses mer av. (Og en av mine favoritter til Nobelprisen, faktisk).

2. Hvilken bok skal du begynne på nå?
To Kill a Mockingbird av Harper Lee. Jeg leste den for 4 år siden og likte den, men husker lite av innholdet, så gleder meg til å lese den igjen. Startet akkurat på the Year of the Flood av Margaret Atwood, og er 104 sider i Kristin Lavransdatter.

3. Er det mest mannlige eller kvinnelige forfattere i bokhyllen din?
Hvis vi bare teller forfattere så er det nok mannlige. Men hvis vi teller verk så er det kanskje flere kvinner, noe som i stor sak er på grunn av Agatha Christie.

4. Teller du alltid hvor mange sider du har igjen av en bok, eller tenker «nå har jeg kommet en fjerdedel/halvparten» eller lignende?
Ja, klarer ikke å unngå det. Teller også hvor langt det er igjen av kapitlet. Leser som oftest også de siste 100 sidene i et jafs.

5. Hvordan velger du hvilke bøker du vil lese? (For eksempel omslag, tips fra venner, anmeldelser, topplister, blogger osv)
  Jeg plukker opp tips overalt. Til og med fra eksamensoppgavene i engelsk. Mye takket være andre bloggere og anbefalingssidene til Amazon. Følger lite med på topplister. Og i butikker klarer jeg alltid å plukke med meg noe jeg aldri har hørt om takket være omslagene. Valget av hva jeg skal lese avgjøres mye av hva slags humør jeg er i når jeg avsluttet den forrige boka. Og så har jeg en prioriteringsliste som aldri blir fulgt.

6. Når er en bok for lang?
Når den blir kjedelig og jeg er for langt inni den til å avbryte den (men det kan hende den får seg et par kast i gulvet/veggen).

7. Leser du like gjerne på engelsk (hvis det er originalspråket) som på norsk?
Alle bøker som ikke er nordiske leser jeg konsekvent på engelsk. Først var det fordi jeg leste så fort på norsk at jeg mistet innholdet så jeg prøvde meg på engelsk som jeg leste mye saktere, nå er det fordi det har blitt en vane. Prøver å lese et par nordiske bøker i året, men jeg syns jeg burde bli flinkere til det.

8. Hvilken bok var den siste du bare måtte overtale ALLE vennene dine til å lese?
Tvillingene av Tessa de Loo. Suveren bok om to tvillinger som vokser opp på hver sin side under 2. verdenskrig. Bør absolutt leses! Ellers står Vi, de druknede av Carsten Jensen høyt oppe på anbefalingslista mi.

9. Kan du slutte å lese en bok hvis den er kjedelig? I så fall – når gir du opp?
Jeg gir vel aldri opp en bok, men setter den tilbake for å lese den senere. Om den noensinne blir plukket opp igjen er en annen sak. Jeg gir som oftest opp etter 20-30 sider hvis jeg ikke blir fenget.

10. Hvilken sjanger er overrepresentert i bokhyllen din – og hvilken finnes ikke?
Den allinkluderende sjangeren fiction er det jeg absolutt har mest av. Lyrikk er presentert med en eneste flis (Howl and other poems av Allen Ginsberg), og jeg har også lite sci fi og fantasy.

Friday, 16 August 2013

forty-one.

Country Girl by Edna O'Brien (2012)

 Edna O'Brien is an Irish author, born in 1930. Her first book, the Country Girls (1960), was banned in Ireland as it sparked a lot of controversy because it describes the sexual tensions between girls in Catholic schools and the sexual relationship between non-married couples. In her memoir she gives glimpses of a life which started in the poor Irish countryside to dinner parties with the rich and famous in London and New York. 

the Country Girls trilogy is based on her own experiences; a childhood in a strict religious home, crushing on the nuns in the convent she was educated in and running off with a married man. I read the trilogy last summer, and I'm glad I did before I read the memoir, and it is interesting to compare the fiction to the reality. I really enjoyed the reality; she does a marvellous job describing the scene when her family comes looking for her and the fight which followed. She eventually marries the man, Ernest Gébler, and they have two children together. But the marriage doesn't last, and the battle between the couple, and especially over the custody of the children, is heartbreaking.

She also describes the amazing parties with famous people and drugs in the 60s and 70s. There is plenty of name-dropping and anecdotes. My favourites were when her children was sung to sleep by Paul McCartney and when she was kissed by Jude Law (I love that she describes him as an Adonis). But she is at her best when she describes her surroundings; the houses and cities she has lived it. She also gives a crash-course in the Troubles in Northern-Ireland, and I think it is the best chapter in the book. 

Although it was fascinating to read about her life, I felt that she was distant; I never really got to know Edna, but got a good look at the world through her eyes. She is good at describing other people and the books and writers which influence her. She doesn't say much about her own work, except mention it in relation to other people. I enjoyed the memoir, and I will definitely keep reading her books. And so should you!

I bought the memoir when it was published last year, and I've been meaning to read it right away (as I always do, the problem is that I buy too many books). Ingalill's biographies challenge gave me the push I needed to finally do so.     

Monday, 12 August 2013

forty.

the Honorary Consul by Graham Greene (1973)

Charley Fortnum is the Honorary Consul in a small northern Argentinian town. He is old enough to entire, a heavy drinker and an embarrassment to the British Foreign Office. The small town has only two more Englishmen, Dr. Humphries, an English teacher, and Dr. Eduardo Parr, a real doctor. Dr Parr is half English and half Paraguayan, his father was too involved with politics in Paraguay and sent Eduardo and his mother across the border to Argentina. Eduardo hasn't seen his father since then, and has no idea if he is dead or alive, or a political prisoner. 

It is the politics which will cause problems for both the Consul and Eduardo. A group of revolutionists makes an error and kidnaps the Honorary Consul instead of the American Ambassador. And as the kidnappers manage to hurt the Consul in the affair, Dr Parr must get involved.

Another great book by Graham Greene. I enjoyed it more than Our Man in Havana, mainly because this book has more developed characters. I felt that I really got to know them. Greene is also an expert on painting the perfect picture of expat-life in South-America. The progress of the story is also very good, and the ending was not what I expected. I'm glad I have more Graham Greene to explore!

 

Thursday, 1 August 2013

thirty-nine.

Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene (1958)

James Wormold is an Englishman selling vacuum cleaners in Havana. He lives a quiet life with his 17 year old daughter after his wife left them, and he has a few friends which he sees for drinks regularly. Then one day he is contacted by one of his fellow countrymen and is persuaded to become a spy.

James says yes because he thinks the money will give his daughter, Milly, a better education and future. He is expected to get his own agents and write reports, but instead he invents them. Trouble finds him when the agency is so interested in his findings that they ship him a secretary, Beatrice, and an accountant. And then his invented agents become very real.

This was my first meeting with Mr Greene and I enjoyed it from the first sentence until the last. It is entertaining and a satirical take on the Cold War. But most of all, it is the characters that makes this book, from the devoted Catholic Milly, to the Cuban police chief who is in love with her and goes under the name the Red Vulture, and I mustn't forget Beatrice.  In fact, I liked it so much that I started on the Honorary Consul right after.