Sick in bed , a perfect time to activate the mind as the body slows down and options of escaping are very few, no more swimming in the ice cold lake of zurich, no more staying up late listening to street musicians dressed in a t shirt, skirt and sandals ,no more sitting up late staring at the stars in a thin summer dress, so it is bed time, tea , plenty of tea , honey and books..
The secret location of the book cellar is known to few serious book worms, the ones who enter with good intentions and leave with kilograms of books, and another winning feature of this cellar is one can find books in every language on earth, today i found Icelandic books nestled next to polish poetry!
I can only read in English and Hebrew fluently though i can manage the newspaper in German, and i carry with me the bilingual edition of a selection of Rainer Rilke’s translated poetry to English, my eyes going from left ( original German) to the left ( translated to English ) , but then in Hebrew the direction is right to left, which is quite confusing but might have advantages in integrating the left and right side of the brain .French is possible but only cartoons , menus and some translated short poetry or simple philosophy like “i think therefore i am “”Cogito ergo sum” , which is actually Latin..and well, after this long introduction, here are the chosen 22, like soccer players in a game ( 11 on each side)
according to random rating , all chosen for being attractive to me at the time
- N.P. -Banana Yoshimoto -“The title of the last collection of short stories by a celebrated Japanese writer Written in English while he was living in Boston, the new book may never see print in his native Japan each time a new translator takes up the task, death gets in the way. Four young people , each intimately bound to this writer and his work , are brought together by N.P and its unsettling legacy of secrets and suicides . But with the help of the healing message contained in the final story, they are able to defy the devastating pull of pain and loss. N.P. is an extraordinarily powerful tale about the nature of love and the taboos surrounding it, confirming Banana Yoshimoto’s place as one of Japan’s important writers. “-*I have read “Kitchen”, “Hard boiled luck”, and “Lizard”, i guess this was the missing one..i love her writing because she writes very thin books easy to carry , and very easy to relate to , kitchen was my favourite, i wonder why she chose the name banana but i prefer her so much more to Harukami , who has become a fashionable artsy fartsy pretentious writer whose book always seem to focus on male genitalia , for some reason..decorated with distractions of classic music and references to japanese culture bla bla, Banana, on the other hand, goes right to the vein, she writes the melancholic existential anxities of the striving to be perfect pleasing Japanese so many in the west love to adore , but with a pinch of humour, dark and honest sense of the human condition and just how absurd we all are.. yes, i will definitely finish this thin collection , but Harakiri, suicide plays a role in the novel, so one must bear in mind, it is not going to be all giggles ..but for that there are other writers. Banana Yoshimoto is for the suffering side that enjoys suffering .
- “Barrel Fever” -stories and essays by David Sedaris- and speaking of the devil, here comes David Sedaris to save humanity for taking itself too seriously..His reading on National public Radio made him very popular with a particular nerd engineer i happen to have befriended so my sons could have someone to play online board games with , screened by me first, with a pitch perfect sarcasm mingled with an underlying empathy. This collection of his best stories captures the essence of our secret preoccupations and delusions. Barrel Fever is like a blind date with modern life, and anything can happen …i love the opening line ” I was on” Oprah” a while ago , talking about how i used to love too much. Did you see it ? The other guests were men who continue to love too much . Those men were in a place i used to be, and I felt sorry for them, I was the guest who went from loving too much to being loved too much. Everybody loves me.I ‘m the most important person in the lives of almost everyone i know and a good number of people i’ve never even met. . I don’t say this casually. I’m just pointing out my qualification . Because i know the issue from both sides, I am constantly asked for advice. People want to know how i did it.”,* yea, me too! i have that same problem..people love you from afar so easily, don’t they? I don’t know many writers who can actually make a visit to Anne Frank’s house in Amsterdam be funny…and not in a bad way, nothing is bad, it is just funny.
3. “All families are psychotic” by Douglas Coupland- yes, i met him too and have his signature in my collection . He is funny in person too, despite being Canadian. I think like woody Allen though, his earlier books were funnier, it is like he is trying too hard, i don’t know.. but i love the way he looks at life from such an unusual perspective and this one, i think i already read , it is about a family weekend of a mother of three children, it takes place in Orlando. “In a dream you saw a way to survive, and you were full of joy”-Jenny Holzer.I think Douglas Coupland has saved many many lives, including mine during difficult days of drizzling rain and despair, he shows how a point of view can change the view, in a nut shell, and you never know what is around the corner, never…
4. “Daughter of dust” by Wendy Wallace- it says on the first page” For the abandoned everywhere” -ok, i felt this is a book that might interest me.. Born in the desert city of Khartoum, leila understand from early on that she is not part of normal Sudanese society. At school she and her best friend Amal are called “daughters of sin” but growing up under the strict discipline of nannies, Leila has no answer to the question “Who am i ?”, her pretty sister Zulima is married off to a much older man while at the age of ten, Leila and Amal undergo female circumcision. Leila goes to marry , have four children, and divorce and even grow up , she continues to know the stigma of being abandoned, yet her spirit remains strong and despite her struggle, she speaks of the beauty and joy of life, and her love for her children and friends . Leila Aziz was born in Sudan in 1969 where she still loves, working with a charity that campaigns to dispel prejudice against those considered outcasts.
Wendy Wallace is an award winning journalist and writer. She has visited sudan over many years writing for the United Nations and others, she lives in London.
I have read “desert flower” , and the books of Khalil Houseini drew me to that part of the world, North Africa, i also encountered Sudanese refugees , have seen some women dressed covered from head to toe in white near where i live and my son mentioned a boy from Sudan being called names by a racist mad swiss elderly woman who was yelling at them while playing soccer together in a school yard so i thought i would learn more about this fascinating culture where so many people became refugees in recent years. why? what is going on ? how can i know more about those people and help them in increasing understanding about their situation ? This is why i have this book. published in 2009. I am looking forward to learning about a culture so different than the spoiled “heart” of Europe/and racism where i reside at the moment ..
5. “Why men don’t have a clue and women always need more shoes” -Allan and Barbara Pease- authors of why men don’t listen and women can’t read maps. Yes, i have Men are from Mars and women from venus, and i did read it, i am very much against such a view of dividing the genders into stereotyped groups but hell, i am single, so i must be doing something wrong, so yes, i will read and report. sometimes. not high on my priority list though, to be honest, i prefer to live in delusions, well, typical female aren’t i ? ..
6. “Beatrice and Virgil” By Yann Martel – a journey of a man called Henry, involves a monkey, a donkey and a taxidermist, and a dog named Erasmus. *I attended a reading by Yann Martel and he mentioned this book, it was not one of his more popular, the life of Pi was, but the theme sounds brave and i liked what he had to say about how science and religion meet, and i look forward to writing a more detailed report. Yann Martel not only added his signature to my collection of writers but he had a very pleasant chat with me after the reading, he is a charming, intelligent, modest and sincere writer, and i look forward to reading him again after being charmed by the life of Pi, that had insights i could only nod my head and agree, yes, human beings are absurd and illogical .
7. “The Odyssey”by Homer- The story of Odysseus’ return to Ithaca from the Trojan war and tells how, championed by Athene and hounded by the wrathful sea God poseidon, Odysseus encounters the feroious Cyclops, escapes Scylla and Charybdis and yields temporarily to the lures of Circe and Calypso before he overcomes the trials awaiting him on Ithaca. Only then he is reunited with his faithful wife Penelope, his wanderings at an end.
Ok. a penguin classics. well kept. there is a dog in there too. I studied parts of it in Theater history , the Greeks love him, ok, it is time to dive deep, some day anyway..
8. “The prime of Miss Jean Bordie” by Muriel Spark. The film with Meggie Smith gripped me during an impressionable age..i wanted to become a schoolmistress with a difference too..she is proud, cultured, romantic but her educational ideals are highly progressive and even deeply shocking. She decides to transform a group of special girls into the creme de la creme at Marcia Blaine school . A maiden aunt of mine was very much a Miss Jean Brodie and i even think i watched the film with her, she looked like Maggie Smith, and invested 120% in educating the young and the restless, i tried for a while then i pursued my one life..looking forward to reading this short but powerful novel, now that i have seen the film years ago and i love the song, “Jean”
9.”The mood cure” by Julia Ross- Take charge of your emotions in 24 hours using food and supplements, let go of emotional eating, comfort oversensitive feelings, cool anxiety and stress, let the dark cloud of depression.* Well, another addition to the family of similar books i have opened , read two pages, promised myself to read every day , but left to be covered with dust. This one has been published in 2002, so not too long ago but then again every day the newspapers publish new findings about the connection between what we eat and who we are..i had a smoothie tonight, we shall see how that will affect my mood tomorrow, tonight i am super alert for a person with a bad cold who has lost her ability to speak and only coughs and struggles to breath..
10. “The language instinct ” by Steven Pinker- 1994- i just finished my M.A. when this book made headlines amongst my nerdy set of friends, Richard Dawkins recommends and i do so hope he has buried my arch enemy Noam chomsky’s theories , or at least added some of his own without ugly political theories to spoil the joy of words. Yes, definitely what i need to balance the diet of emotional reading of sudanese tortured women and Japanese wanting to kill themselves. Science always manages to smooth out the wrinkles in my brain..yes. a bit late but better than never though God only knows what new theories are now popular amongst the linguists..
11. “Dear God “- The Chassidic path to universal meditation- a path to universal meditation as taught by Rabbi Nahaman of Breslev -a small but precious book i shall cherish . I love chasidic tales and Nachman of Breslev emphasises Joy, he is the hippy of Judaism for me, i like the joy that accompanies the dancing religious men in the streets of Israel, but what about the women ? well that is another matter…i shall read, enjoy and quote for sure! a winner especially during the high holidays seasons coming up. There might still be some hope for this soul..
12. “Civil disobedience and reading ” by Henry David Thoreau- Definitely what the doctor ordered for the American Presidential elections . To be explored. a small little book full of wisdom for sure.
13. “Macbeth” by William shakespeare – Shakespeare made easy- large print. with lots of explanations. will be explored, i have read before and every reading a new insight.