Tuesday, November 27, 2007

2007-the year of books and travel, part one.

I decided to write a series of posts about the books I’ve read this year because many of them have been truly wonderful, some not so much, and also occasionally there’s no one to blame but me. Because I’m lazy and don’t always have patience with even the greatest of books.

So I started out by reading What is the What by my long time favorite Dave Eggers. I even reviewed it here, so I’m not going to say much about it now, except that it gave me a good start. The tears on my cheeks had barely dried before I bravely jumped right into the Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, a book Ohmygodimmike had given me the previous summer. I had gone back to Sweden with almost no intention of ever reading it, knowing full well that books like that ( sad ones) are not for me, the one who cried for 2 days after seeing the movie Monster. I’m glad I read it though, because it was as great as my dear angry friend said, and it might sound stupid, but it also really made me want to fly kites. I read that book in February and I made great kite-flying plans. I even consulted several kite construction books, but sadly, I have not yet gotten around to it, and it’s November already.

The History of Love came next, which was a beautiful epic story of a couple torn apart in Europe during WWII, a long lost book and many other things. I decided to try and read something more cheery after that one though. So before I left for Cairo I started reading Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow, which DJ had given to me for Chrismukkah. Now that's a book that I would never think to buy for myself, even though the title is pretty catchy. And the book was catchy too, ”catchy sci-fi” I’ll call it. I guess I never actually cared how the big future war among the various attractions and rides at Disney World went, but I did love a lot of the ideas and future gadgets. Not having read much science fiction I’m still very easily impressed by people’s abilities to call each other up with their brain...chips and talking by subvocalizing and stuff like that. I know that that particular example isn’t very extravagant, but I just really wish I could do that so that’s why I remembered it. I even told my friends about it, and they... were not very excited. In Cairo, my friends and I all got a book called Cairo- City of Sand by Maria Gulia, published by the American University in Egypt. If you ever go there, and you want to learn something about the city’s history, politics, peoples, customs, swears, sayings and jokes you need to read this book. Because it’s a real ( well written) book and not some obnoxious guide.

When I got back I was really excited to see that Jonathan Lethem had come out with a new book, and it was called You don’t Love Me Yet, named after the 13th Floor Elevator song. I had very big expectations to say the least, especially since the Fortress of Solitude is one of my all-time favorite books. But, sadly, Jonathan Lethem let me down this time. And it hurts me to say it, but he must never write books from a female bassist’s perspective even again. Because things can go very very wrong, like for instance saying ” she made love like she played the bass”. That’s just silly. But I still have faith, and I believe that his next book is going to be excellent, with no more fooling around with LA and bands.

Next I read a Swedish book called Feberboken ( The Fever Book) by Stina Aronson, mostly to prove my friends wrong about me never reading Swedish books. It was about a woman who writes love letters to this married man (that she’s having an affair with) who is enjoying life in Paris while she was doing nothing in Sweden. I think. Even though it had a good ending I was glad to get the hell out of her head and start The Elephant Vanishes by Haruki Murakami. After I read Kafka on the Shore a year before ( what a rhyme!) , I didn’t know what to make of him. Did I love it? Was Murakami annoying? I was very confused. But after reading The Elephant Vanishes which is a collection of short stories I realized that that’s exactly what he’s great at, the short stories.

What happend next was greatness. It was spring. And I started The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon. I can barely believe how much I loved that book. It seams childish almost. It’s like that book is Jason or Mark Owen from Take That, and I’m 11. I rarely read noir-type detective murder mysteries, and it's a pity really, because they're a lot of fun. This was so much more though, because of the unique place he created for the world's Jewish population in Alaska, because of the brilliant characters and the wonderful language. Seriously, it was so great. And that’s how I got obsessed with reading everything by Michael Chabon...

The Book I Read- Talking Heads

Borscht Riders in the Sky- Mickey Katz



Blogger Mazur said...

Got any big book plans for next year (...nerd)?

What album is that heads song off of?

November 29, 2007 2:08 PM  
Blogger Laz said...

Nope, no book plans for next year. I'm actually thinking of cutting down significantly on my reading, or stopping entirely, it's been interfering way too much with my TV-watching.

The heads-song is off of " The name of this band is Talking Heads".

November 30, 2007 10:43 AM  
Blogger DJ said...

I think I'm going to read The Kite Runner too. It's the february book for this book club I'm joining.

December 01, 2007 11:53 AM  
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