post-ferie.

Jobbåret er allerede to uker gammelt, og ferien er allerede et vagt, men bra minne. Selv om det lesemessig har vært så som så (er fortsatt to bøker bak skjema). Det som reddet det fra å bli helt fadese, var Bookerprisen. Men la oss ta det i rekkefølge, i spedt litt reisetips.

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Jeg tok med meg ei bok på ferien (+ ipaden med kindleappen). Den heldige utvalgte ble Det feige hjertet av Javier Marías (1992). Grunnen til at det ble nettopp den var at jeg trengte å lese noe fra andre land enn de vanlige og den er på 1001-lista. Konklusjonen er at jeg burde ha valgt en annen bok. Og hadde jeg kunne min Shakespeare så hadde jeg nok gjort det, siden tittelen referer til Macbeth. Den har sikkert andre referanser også, men de tok jeg ikke. Uansett, boka handler om en mann, Ranz, som reflekterer over sitt eget ekteskap og farens mystiske fortid. Den har mange elementer som er bra, som når Ranz hjelper sin venninne å finne en partner – alt var ikke enklere før Tinder for å si det sånn og når endelig farens hemmeligheter blir avslørt. Men det er også for mye dautid i mellom de gode elementene for min del. Klarer ikke å se helt hva som er så nyskapende og god med denne at den fortjener en 1001-status. Men lest er lest.

To uker ble tilIMG_0813bragt i Denver, som er en av de byene som ligger høyest i USA og Colorado er kjent for Rocky Mountains, bryggerier og sin liberale narkotikalov. Det første jeg erfarte er at sjøsamegenene mine må være ganske sterke siden 1500 meter over havet ble for mye. Jeg klarte aldri å venne meg til høydemeterne, og det hjalp ikke med et par dager på 3500 moh i tilegg til de vanlige. Føltes som jeg konstant var fyllesyk og kondisen var elendig (men den er dog mye bedre nå, så har troa på høydetrening). Denver er virkelig en bilby, så det var vanskelig å danne seg et ordentlig bilde av byen, siden mye tid ble tilbragt i en Lyft mellom bryggerier. For er det noe Denver og Colorado kan, så er det å brygge øl. Tror vi klarte 10 bryggerier på 14 dager (kanskje ikke noe rart at man følte seg evig fyllesyk). Bildet er forøvrig fra et av favorittene, Epic Brewing. Jeg var innom kun en bokhandel, men det var også et av de beste konseptene jeg har sett; bokhandel og bar! Den heter selvsagt BookBar, og ligger i ei gate med andre kule barer og butikker. Anbefales! Selv om den var litt i det dyreste laget. Jeg plukket med meg There There av Tommy Orange og the Mars Room av Rachel Kushner. Den siste ble med meg hjem siden de nominerte til Booker-langlista ble publisert mens jeg var i Denver, og jeg ble jammen revet med i år også. Spesielt siden engasjamentet til Labben og de andre Bookerbabes er så stort!

Den første av årets Bookerbøker jeg ble f35687802erdig med var Snap av Belinda Bauer. At en ren krim blir nominert til Booker er uvanlig, så da er jo forventningene at dette jo være en bra krim! Dessverre er den under par for min del. Jeg tror det er meninga at den skal være så forutsigbar som den er, men da må jo spenningen komme fra noe annet, og det syns jeg ikke at det gjør. Uansett, den handler om familien til en dame som er drept, og fokuserer særlig på eldstemann. I tillegg foregår det ubehageligheter i nabolaget. Helt ok, men neppe Bookermateriale.

36373648Den andre ut var the Mars Room av Rachel Kushner. Hvis jeg skal beskrive denne, så vil jeg si at det er sånn som å se Orange Is the New Black. Og at serien er bedre. Jeg syns det ble for mange løse tråder og for mye hopping til at jeg likte det.

 

 

 

36047860Tredje boka var jeg heldigere med. Anna Burns har skrevet en veldig bra fortelling om konflikten i Nord-Irland. Milkman er et herlig portrett av en ung jente som blir stalket av en notorisk mann med samme kallenavn som romanen. Jeg var usikker i begynnelsen om denne var noe for meg; det gikk tregt og jeg klarte ikke å få noe oversikt siden omtrent ingen har navn, men blir kalt ting som third brother-in-law og second-oldest-friend (hjelper heller ikke at alle har hundre søsken). Men etterhvert så løste det seg, og fortellerstemmen er virkelig herlig. Anbefales!

 

h%qoZCeRRqa+2jAHxdXE4gI tillegg til Denver, så ble Toronto besøkt på min Amerikaferd. Mitt første møte med Amerika var nettopp Toronto for ganske så nøyaktig 10 år siden, og det ble et herlig gjensyn. Jeg gjorde ikke stort annet enn å vandre rundt, besøke bryggerier (ja, her kan de også brygge øl) og suge til meg storbyen. Utgangspunktet for hele turen var å få med seg the National i Toronto og det var en fantastisk konsert! Jeg tok meg også tid til litt bokhandling, fant en fin bokhandel uten air con, og der ble Jamaica Inn av Daphne du Maurier (sa jo det) og the Book of Illusions av Paul Auster med hjem. Hun bak kassa anbefalte en fin, men sliten bar med fantastisk bakgård som et bra lesested. At puben het the Cloak and Dagger var jo bare en bonus. (Husker dessverre ikke hva bokhandelen het, men den ligger et par innganger lengre ned i gata på samme side). Det eneste negative med Toronto var tordenværet som gjorde at jeg ble et helt døgn forsinka på hjemveien og måtte overnatte på et strømløst hotell. Men i etterkant er det jo sånne ting som gjør at man får en god historie å fortelle.

50618Og takket være tordenvær, så ble også flyet såpass forsinka i New York at jeg fikk lest ferdig the Book of Illusions (2002) før flyet tok av. Boka handler om en forfatter som mister hele familien i en flystyrt og som i sorgen finner et prosjekt som holder han i live. Prosjektet handler om å skrive om en ukjent filmregissør, som er antatt død. Men etter at boka er publisert får han mystiske henvendelser. Boka var underholdende, men jeg har nok lest litt for mange lignende bøker til å la meg sjarmere helt. Og slutten var helt forutsigbar.

 

Post-ferie innlegg done! I tillegg til Bookermania, så leser jeg også August Is a Wicked Month av Edna O’Brien, for å balansere det nye med litt klassisk. Skal prøve å oppdatere bloggen litt jevnligere. Og få lest noe norsk 2018. Gleder meg til Stavanger om ei måned!

ny favoritt!

… skulle være overskriften på et innlegg som jeg skulle publisere tidlig i januar. Det skulle handle om Øst for Eden (John Steinbeck, 1952), somer den beste boka jeg har lest på lenge, ja, kanskje til og med noensinne. Men jeg strevde med ordene og plutselig hadde det gått et halvt år. Kanskje det er umulig å beskrive Øst for Eden? Kort fortalt handler den om to familier, Hamilton og Trask i Salinas og foregår over flere generasjoner. Bakpå står det at de presterer å etterligne både Adam og Eva pluss Kain og Abel. Cathy er den ondeste/beste karakteren jeg har møtt – herregud for et kvinnfolk! Jeg vet at dette er en bok jeg kommer til å lese flere ganger siden jeg tviler på at man får med seg alle nyansene den ene gangen. Men tviler på at det blir den første boka jeg leser hvert år.

Siden januar har jeg lest mye, men ikke nok til at jeg er ajour med Goodreads målet mitt med 50 bøker. Er fortsatt to bak skjema. Heldigvis er det forsatt nesten ei måned igjen av sommerferien, og akkurat nå leser jeg Stillitsen av Donna Tartt (2013) for harde livet for å bli ferdig med den før flyet går til Denver på tirsdag. Ikke at det er noe vanskelig, siden boka er høyst drivende. Vedder også på at jeg kommer til å grine på et eller annet tidspunkt. Den feier seg også inn i rekken av bøker lest i sommer som handler om staselige eiendommer og rare familier.

Det be24826361gynte med at jeg leste Skjønnhet er et sår av Eka Kurniawan (2002). Historien begynner med en prostituert som står opp fra grava. Hun har levd et innholdsrikt liv, blant annet startet hennes karriere som gledespike for japanske soldater under den andre verdenskrig. Romanen inneholder mye og var særdeles underholdende. Men jeg tror jeg gjorde den store feilen og leste de siste to hundre sidene i et jafs, noe som gjorde at jeg ble lei og utålmodig. Boka hadde nok fortjent noe bedre konsentrasjon enn det jeg hadde å gi.

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Den andre boka som virkelig tok meg med storm dette året er Rebecca av Daphne du Maurier (1938). Den atmosfæren som grep tak i meg fra første setning er vanskelig å beskrive, men jeg levde meg virkelig inn i historien. Jeg ble også overrasket over hvor uventet handlingen ble, jeg hadde forventet meg litt gufs. Men at det skulle bli en kriminalroman var uventet. Jeg skal få somlet meg til å se filmversjonen av Hitchcock før eller senere. Dette er en bok jeg skulle ønske jeg leste i min ungdomstid, men heldigvis var det aldri for sent. Anbefales på det varmeste!

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Tredje boka i staselige eiendommer og rare familier var Åpne sår av Gillian Flynn (2006). Den handler om en journalist som må tilbake til hjembyen for å skrive om mord på to småjenter. Temmelig makaber bok, men hjelp så det gikk unna. Likte denne mye bedre enn Gone Girl, selv om den er lite realistisk. En miniserie er tilgjengelig på HBO Nordic – jeg skal se den når høstmørket setter inn.

 

 

Ellers bør Molde/Amerika-kvartetten til Edvard Hoem få hederlig omtale. De gikk ned på strak arm. Jeg har også klart å få en sakprosa under beltet, nemlig Min europeiske familie av Karin Bojs (2015). Interessant hvis du er interessert i slektsforskning, historie og arkeologi. Jeg leste den mens jeg ventet på DNA-resultatet og den hjalp veldig til å få plass hvor man stammer fra (som heldigvis ikke var særlig overraskende).  Er også overrasket hvor lite nytt jeg har lest – fikk nok en real overdose i fjor med hele Bookerlista og litt vel mange norske. Jeg har faktisk bare lest en 2018bok, og det var Macbeth av Nesbø. Vi får se hva Booker kommer opp med i år, er litt avventende, men det er jo umulig å ikke ble engasjert når man leser det Labben skriver. Jeg kommer garantert til å kjøpe noen bøker på min Amerikareise, så vi får se hva som får bli med i kofferten hjem (jeg gjetter noe nytt og noe Daphne du Maurier).

 

Berlin, Berlin!

Goodbye to Berlin by Christopher Isherwood (1939)

“I am a camera with its shutter open, quite passive, recording, not thinking. Recording the man shaving at the window opposite and the woman in the kimono washing her hair. Some day, all this will
have to be developed, carefully printed, fixed.”
Christopher moves to Berlin where he spends his time giving English lessons, writing and having a jolly good time. But this is Berlin in the early 1930s and behind the decadence lurks Nazism and violence and Christopher decides to leave the city in 1933.

Through his years in Berlin he meets a lot of interesting characters. My favourite is Sally Bowles, an English cabaret dancer who loves men and money. I think the reason why I love Sally is her complexity, she is both fun and depressed. There are other important and fascinating characters as well, and many of them Jewish or gay. And that is why this book is so sad. The last chapter made me cry because we now know what happened. It is also the reason why this book is important.

Isherwood simply amazed me with this book, in fact I read in just a few hours on a train between Oslo and Trondheim back in February (I’m superslow at logging my books this year). Now I’m eager to read the rest of his works. I already bought Mr Norris Changes Trains when visiting fantastic Berlin during Easter and his autobiography Christopher and His Kind is very high on my wish list.

trust me, I’m telling you stories.

the Passion by Jeanette Winterson (1987)
 Henri is the man who prepares chickens for Napoleon. And because of that he gets to see the battlefields of Europe, all the way to Moscow. Meanwhile, in Venice, a web-footed girl named Villanelle works at a casino. At work she cross dresses to flirt with the customers and she falls in love with a married woman. Years later, Henri and Villanelle meet on the outskirts of a burning Moscow and they decide to desert together, making their way to Venice where Henri has to find Villanelle’s heart.

I’m amazed by the fact that this book is a mere 180 pages long, but has so many stories within the story. I loved the setting, and if I could time travel, Venice would be one of the places I’d visit (but not now, as it is a tourist trap). I also learnt more about Napoleon. All in all, it’s a great read and that was a pleasant surprise as I didn’t enjoy Orange is the Only Fruit when I read it years ago.

(Why is it always so hard to write a lot about the books you have come to love?)

This was my choice for Hedda’s off-the-shelf 2016 reading challenge; a book with a red cover. I’m months behind in blogging.

baby, now we’ve got bad blood.

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard (2015)
 
Mare Barrow (or Bone Marrow as my brain called her) is a common Red girl biding her days until she has to enlist, just like her brothers had to. She lives in a society where the colour of your blood determines what kind of life you will have. Silver means that you have some sort of superpower and you are the ruling class. Red means that you have no power and are worthless.

Mare is helping out her family as she can, mainly by being a pickpocket. Then one day she steals from the wrong person, but instead of being punished, she is offered a job as a servant for the Silvers as they will find the new queen. Then she suddenly stumbles and falls over the banister, but instead of dying, she survives and it’s discovered that she beholds a superpower.

How will the society react to the fact that a common Red girl has superpowers? And who is she?

The kids are currently reading the Hunger Games and I decided not to read it for the third time, but instead to read some of the ya novels in my pile. I told them that I expected Red Queen to be quite similar to the Hunger Games, and in some ways I was correct and in others very wrong. I really liked the idea of the superpowers despite it being one of those things that I usually find boring. It was a good read even if some things were totally predictable. I’m eagerly waiting for the sequel! 

the saddest book I ever read.

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara (2015)
  “They all—Malcolm with his houses, Willem with his girlfriends, JB with his paints, he with his razors—sought comfort, something that was theirs alone, something to hold off the terrifying largeness, the impossibility, of the world, of the relentlessness of its minutes, its hours, its days.” 

Four young men became friends at college and then move to New York to pursuit different careers, but staying friends. While JB, Malcolm and Willem are sharing everything about their past and present lives, dreams and failures, Jude is a closed book. They know very little of Jude’s childhood and inner life, the only things they know are the things they are able to witness themselves.

Jude was left in the trash as a baby, picked up by a monastery where he was punished for every little thing. And then sexually abused. Things go from bad to much worse as one of the brothers runs off with him. A couple of years later he barely survives something which he himself describes as a car accident to his friends, and his body is severely damaged after it. Once he starts college, things really improve, but yet he feels the need to punish himself almost every night.

 This book is incredibly sad. I cried, cried and cried. And despite the descriptions of all the terrible things Jude went through I couldn’t put it down. Luckily, it’s not all bad, it’s really about the strength of friendship and love. And that’s what makes it so beautiful. It is definitely the best book I have read in years, and it’s a long time since I have been so involved in a book. I had to keep reminding myself that it’s just fiction, and not real. I’m hoping that it will win this year’s Man Booker Prize.

(So much unsaid about this book, so many emotions running wild.)

 “You won’t understand what I mean now, but someday you will: the only trick of friendship, I think, is to find people who are better than you are—not smarter, not cooler, but kinder, and more generous, and more forgiving—and then to appreciate them for what they can teach you, and to try to listen to them when they tell you something about yourself, no matter how bad—or good—it might be, and to trust them, which is the hardest thing of all. But the best, as well.” 

the dragon’s mist.

the Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro (2015)
 “Yet are you so certain, good mistress, you wish to be free of this mist? Is it not better some things remain hidden from our minds?”
“It may be for some, father, but not for us. Axl and I wish to have again the happy moments we shared together. To be robbed of them is as if a thief came in the night and took what’s most precious from us.”
“Yet the mist covers all memories, the bad as well as the good. Isn’t that so, mistress?”
“We’ll have the bad ones come back too, even if they make us weep or shake with anger. For isn’t it the life we’ve shared?” 

Beatrice and Axl set out to visit their son in a neighbouring village.  The way to the village is dangerous as it is filled with ogres, bandits and other foul creatures. They spend a night in a Saxon village which is on guard as some villagers have just been attacked by ogres. When they are leaving, they’re asked to take a young boy, Edwin, with them as he has been bitten by a strange creature and the villagers banish him. A warrior, Wistan, also follows them to ensure that they will be safe.

Axl has lately been concerned about that they seem to have forgotten most of their lives. Whilst they are travelling he learns that the memory losses are caused by the shedragon’s breath which is also the reason for the misty valleys. He also learns that both Wistan and Lord Gawain, who they also meet, have been given the roles as dragonslayers. And after a lot of twists and turns, Beatrice and Axl find themselves at the dragon’s lair.

The book is certainly different from what I have been reading lately, and it’s refreshing. It has the perfect amount of fantasy for me, which means just a dash, and I love books about travelling. It was certainly an unexpected book from Ishiguro. I’m also curious about whether it will be nominated to any prizes this year. I certainly hope so, but I know that there are many books coming out this year by excellent authors like Margaret Atwood, Jonathan Franzen, Louis de Bernières and more, so it will be a tough competition.   

Heathcliff, it’s me, Cathy. Come home. I’m so cold! Let me in-a-your window.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë (1847)

Heathcliff is an orphan who is adopted by the man who owns Wuthering Heights. Here he meets Catherine, who will become the love of his life, but she chose the neighbour, Edgar Linton. And then dies after giving birth to a girl, Cathy. Heathcliff ends up marrying, Edgar’s sister, Isabella, as a revenge on both Catherine and Edgar. He is not in love with Isabella, and she suffers so much that she eventually runs off to London and gives birth to a son there, and names him Linton. When Isabella dies, Linton is sent to live with Heathcliff, and he has a scheme for his sickly son.

I first read Wuthering Heights over 10 years ago, and I loved it, but I couldn’t really remember what it was about. And then last year, when I read A True Novel by Minae Mizumura (which is based on Wuthering Heights), I wanted to reread it. And I’m sort of let down, and I think I can blame Mizumura for that, as she made the modern Japanese version way better than the original.
That doesn’t necessary mean that Wuthering Heights isn’t good, because it is. I especially liked the beginning, but as the story continues it just too detailed so I lost interest, and then it got better towards the end again.  

Read them both is my advice.

in the midnight hour she cried more, more, more.

Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie (1981)
 “Who what am I? My answer: I am everyone everything whose being-in-the-world affected was affected by mine. I am anything that happens after I’ve gone which would not have happened if I had not come. Nor am I particularly exceptional in this matter; each ‘I’, every one of the now-six-hundred-million-plus of us, contains a similar multitude. I repeat for the last time: to understand me, you’ll have to swallow the world.”
Saleem Sinai is born at the strike of midnight when India gained its independence, and then he is switched at birth. He discovers that he has a superpower, telepathy. He can communicate with the other children with superpowers whom are born in the midnight hour of India’s independence. Saleem’s life is influenced by the events that shape India’s history.

The book is high up on the list of the most difficult books I have read. I spent nearly three months on the 650 pages, and many pages had to be read over and over so I could decipher some meaning from it. But it was definitely worth it! There’s a myriad of characters, a large dose of magic realism and you will learn a lot about the history of India.

 It’s one of those books which are impossible to explain what it is about and why it is so mesmerising. I guess you have to read it yourself to discover what’s so great about it. I’m actually proud of myself for finally completing a Rushdie. I tried years ago to read the Satanic Verses, but I was way too young. I still don’t think I’m ready for that one yet, but I also have more to choose from on my shelves (and a new one to be published this year).

This was the November read(!) in Line’s 1001 books reading circle.

 “I am the sum total of everything that went before me, of all I have been seen done, of everything done-to-me. I am everyone everything whose being-in-the-world affected was affected by mine. I am anything that happens after I’m gone which would not have happened if I had not come.”

Another Austen under my belt.

Persuasion by Jane Austen (1818)
“They had no conversation together, no intercourse but what the commonest civility required. Once so much to each other! Now nothing! There had been a time, when of all the large party now filling the drawing-room at Uppercross, they would have found it most difficult to cease to speak to one another. With the exception, perhaps, of Admiral and Mrs. Croft, who seemed particularly attached and happy, (Anne could allow no other exception even among the married couples) there could have been no two hearts so open, no tastes so similar, no feelings so in unison, no countenances so beloved. Now they were as strangers; nay, worse than strangers, for they could never become acquainted. It was a perpetual estrangement.” 

Anne is the oldest of the Elliot sisters, 27 and unmarried. Due to money problems, the Elliots’ beloved property has to be let as they can’t afford to live there any more, and they will move to a much smaller apartment in Bath. It is an admiral and his wife, the Crofts who are the new tenants at Kellynch Hall, the Elliots’ estate. It turns out that Mrs Croft is the sister of captain Wentworth, whom Anne used to be engaged to. And they are bound to meet sooner or later. How will Anne react? And will she be forever alone?

As all the Austen novels I have read, it is too long in the beginning and then something unexpected happens and I just can’t get enough. Persuasion turned out to be one of the best I have read by Austen so far and Anne should be all unmarried women’s heroine. I like how I always guess who ends up with who when I read Austen.

Why do I like Austen? It is definitely because of the drama and intrigues when it comes to the matters of the heart. She writes so clearly and it is easy to picture the characters and early 19th century English countryside. And the language, of course. There are so many quotable sentences and passages, probably for every aspect of life and emotions. And that is why Austen is still so readable two centuries later. I’m glad I still have Sense and Sensability, Emma and Lady Susan to look forward to.

Persuasion was the first book in Line’s 1001 books reading circle in 2015.