Sunday, June 19, 2011

The 2011 book quest: Books 14, 15, 16, 17 & 18.

Here we are then, 2 months later and I should have read 8 books, but I have only read 5. I guess when your life gets turned upside down there is not much room for reading.

Anyway book 14 was Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.

See, it's so pretty!

And it was good too, well it's Austen so that's a given. I'm sure most people know the story, and if they don't, they should read it. I can also recommend the BBC miniseries, my mom, sister and I know it by heart. We often watch it at Christmas and reading the book, even in danish, there were a lot of passages that i could quote directly from the miniseries.
I usually don't like movies or series of books I have read. They are two so different ways of portraying characters and telling stories, and since movies often have a standard format of 1.5 or 2 hours they often cut things I find important.
The BBC miniseries of Pride and Prejudice is different. They have taken their time making 6 episodes of each an hour and nothing is lost, some points even come across more firmly than in the book.

In short: Go watch or read or both!

Book 15:

The Fall of the King by Johannes V. Jensen.

The Fall of the King was voted the danish novel of the century in 1999 and is considered one of the "must read" books if you are Danish. It centers around a man whose life runs parallel with the danish king Christian the second.
King Christian the second is a very controversial king in danish history. Some believe him to have been ahead of his time considering his social politics and his disregard for the roman catholic church.
Some believe him to have been insane and suffering from blood-lust.
This book sees him from the point of view of a danish man who becomes a soldier in his army. He is there to conquer Sweden and he sees the Bloodbath of  Stockholm where the king had 80-90 of the most prominent citizens of Stockholm decapitated.
The main character also spends his last years with the king imprisoned in Sønderborg castle and they become close friends.

The descriptions in this book are amazing, and the language is beautiful, though it took a chapter or two to get used to it. The book was written from 1900 to 1902 and naturally the language is a bit different, but instead of taking away from the experience of reading the book, by having to concentrate and translate uncommon or unknown words, it actually adds to it.

Book 16 in the read-pile:

Harper Lee's Too Kill a Mockingbird is also one of those "must read" books and I understand why. It gives an invaluable insight in to the attitude towards race in the southern states in the 1930'es.
A couple of years ago I read Original Sins by Lisa Alther and though it takes place a bit later,  it gives the same insight. You can teach children anything, good or bad, and they will believe it. But the world of children is very different from adults. They will reason their way through whatever we teach them, not necessarily correctly, but they make sense of the world the best way they know how.

Book 17, American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis:

Oh this book, this book!
I laughed my way through this book. That might seem strange with all the murder, blood and gore, but there are two very simple reasons why.
1. The internet has desensitized me.
2. It's hilarious.

When the main character tells people that he likes to gut, and brutally murder random strangers, nobody hears him. Everyone is to busy looking good, having perfect jobs, knowing the right people, getting reservations at the right restaurants and basically caring about their image and themselves to listen to anyone else.

The description of what everyone wears every time he meets someone new is pretty tiresome though I get why the author included it. The main character is so occupied with what is in that he has to constantly judge others by what they wear to decide if they are worth his time.

Book 18:

The 18th book was the first part of Thit Jensen's Stygge Krumpen. Thit Jensen was the sister of Johannes V. Jensen, and though she didn't receive a Nobel price for literature I quite enjoyed this book.

It takes place at the same time as The Fall of the King, but instead of a commoner the main character is a man who becomes bishop of Børglum in the northern part of Jutland.
Stygge Krumpen was the last catholic bishop of Børglum, during his time as bishop Denmark was reformed to Protestantism. And the first part of the book follows Stygge as he struggles to return his beloved church to it's original morals and extinguish all the sin he finds the men and women of the church immersed in.

Next up I will most likely read the second part of Stygge Krumpen, unless I decide to give it a rest. We will see I guess.

So till next time, bye.