Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Everything is Illuminated by J. S. Foer

Yay, more Jonathan!

This is his first novel. It the story about 'Jonathan' going to Ukraine finding out about his family roots, looking for the woman who saved his grand dad from the Nazi's. Jonathan goes there with his translator Alex (who is the funniest guy ever) and Alex' grand dad who is the driver and blind. They also have a guiding dog, Sammy Davis Jr. Jr. Wonderful!!
And it's the story about his family's town Trachimbrod. It's beautiful! And weird. To be honest it is really confusing in the beginning with all it characters, remembering who is who and who does what ... and so on. But once you got into the story it very readable.
Though it is very funny at most times, it also a very sad story ... about love and how to love, about sadness and how to be sad.

There is also a movie, which only covers Jonathan's journey with Alex and his grand dad. It such a nice movie, full of unbelievably beautiful scenery of Ukraine, weirdly cool music and fun. I find that you get to know the travelers a lot better in the movie than in book because the focus of the book is more on Alex as well as Trachimbrod.

Although the novel is again a book you can read more often and it doesn't get boring, I must say that his second novel (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close) is a lot more grown up and wiser and written more comprehensible and less confusing. So if you want to give Jonathan a try start with Extremely Loud and go then over to Illuminated. But then, what do I know, I just love everything Jonathan writes ... can't help it!

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Classics vs. Trivial Literature

Classics; the books they say 'you have too read'. Who says that? Am I a bad person for not reading them? Or even not liking them?

As I said before Pride and Prejudice made me fall asleep. Papillon (Charriere) was ok in the beginning, but after his 3rd escape NOTHING new happens, it booooring. Homer's Odyssey? Joyce's Ulysses? Catch 22 by Heller? Kafka? Yeats? ... I can't help it but I don't like them. Not that I ever finished reading them (except one Kafka) but I don't even understand what they are talking about most of the time.

And what's wrong with reading 'rubbish'? I love all the Nicolas Sparks novels (even though they're all the same) and Steven King and the Twilight Saga and other nonsense!

Is it not more important to actually enjoy what you read rather than spending time trying to go through a book without thinking of cleaning the room or making plans on how not to fall asleep? I'm not saying that all the classics are unreadable, I loved Jane Eyre, Les Miserables and Oscar Wilde I just wish some people would stop bothering me about all the 'good' books. Is literature not like music ... everyone has a different taste?

Pride and Prejudice and Zobies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith

What a cool book!
I remember I started reading Pride and Prejudice (without the zombies) some years ago. It was so boring I fell asleep after about 50 pages and never went back to it. Then I watched the movie a couple of month ago. You know the one with Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen. And because I fell in love with Mr. Darcy about two minutes after his first appearance I wanted to read the book again. A friend of mine gave me a copy of the zombie version a year ago, so I started.

It's great!! Same story as the classic but with zombies and ninjas. And instead of crying when upset the girls think about how to cut of heads and rip out the man's hearts. Instead of describing the 'wonderful' landscape of England zombie attacks happen and everyone has to fight. So the zombie version is like the manly version. Awesome! It was a really good read, and I hope Mr. Grahame-Smith will co-write more of the classics.

Now I wonder if I am allowed to say that I read Pride and Prejudice. I mean it is one of those books 'you have read'. Shame on me because I thought it was boring with all the crying and landscapes? Or thumbs up for enjoying a good old zombie attack in good old England? 

Saturday, 4 September 2010

His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman (The Northern Lights; The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass)

First of all the most important: DO NOT WATCH THE MOVIE! Or if you have: Please try reading the books, they are so much better and actually make sense. I don't what happened at the movie. It was awful! I was so angry afterwards ... even Nicole Kidman didn't rescue it, and she normally can!

Right, let get to the nicer things in life: The books! Awesome!
The story takes place in a parallel world to ours. It's a really cool world. The people living there carry their souls in form of animals with them. As long as they are children and haven't yet reached puberty the animal will change as much as the character of children do. Really interesting. So the story is about Lyra who has to save the world. She does that with help of her soul (demon), the coolest polar bear on the planet and Will, who comes from our world.
It's a hard story to explain ... but once you're into the story everything makes sense. It is so well written than do really feel with the main characters. I personally would not suit the book for 'from 12 years onwards' but like 16 years onwards, because it does get complicated every now then.
It is kind of the simple story of good against evil, but it's told in such a beautiful and astonishing way! Just the creation of the parallel world, all those characters and epic places! Wonderful!!

And a short warning in the end: There is a scene in the 3rd part where I cried like a baby. I actually had to take a break to calm down again. And I am not the only person who did that!  

The Tender Bar by J.R. Moehringer

Did you ever read a book where you ended up missing the people once you finished it? The Tender Bar is one of those novels.

The story is about a boy who grows up without his dad. And because he needs a gap filler for him he looks out for the men in town - or more for the men in the local bar. They are weird, sometimes crazy, funny and friendly people out of everyday live. With normal problems and normal behaviors. And because everyone is so 'normal' they are so lovely. You just get into the book. Literally. You think you've known this people since like forever and you love knowing them (some crazy people even call them friends ... but well).

It is a beautiful story about growing up, learning about the important things in live as well as about the unimportant things. About friendship and love, about educations and career ... about emotions and how you get over them if you need.

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by J. Safran Foer

It is the BEST novel ever! Maybe I shouldn't really start my reviews with exaggerations like that? I can't help it, it just IS the best!

Extremely loud is story of 9 year old Oscar who lost his dad in 9/11. (You think uuuuaarg! I don't want to read about that? So did I. You should still read, it's so worth it!) Before his dad died Oscar and him had this ongoing game about solving problems and finding stuff merely by tiny hints. When Oscar finds a key in a vase a couple of years afterwards the game continues. Oscar goes on a journey around NY City and meets the most interesting people to find his dad's last message.

Next to Oscar's adventures Jonathan tells the story of Oscar's grand parents. The story of their love, of how they don't know each other and of how much they need each other.

Combine the stories it's heart warming as well as heart breaking. It funny as well as sad ... sometimes you get so mad at what the people have to go through that you don't even want to continue reading. You obviously still do. And you're sad that it's over when you're finished.
The good thing is that this is one of those novels which will never be boring! I read it 4 times already ... I still laugh, I still cry, and am still sad when it's over.

Ok, since this is my first post there has to be something negative about the book, right? Maybe Oscar is a little annoying at some points of the story. Only sometimes, and I think it's meant to be like this.

Hello everyone!

So this is my blog. My blog about reading! How cool. I'll write reviews about the books I read, tried to read, about movie adaptions (does it happen that the movie IS better than the book? Ever?) and some other stuff ... so let's get started, shall we?