Monday, 28 November 2016

The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year By Sue Townsend

How can you not buy a book with this title? Considering also that in the last period I feel like I can never leave the bed myself.

And also, the other book I read by Sue Townsend was hilarious (here).

The day that her children leave from university, Eva decided to go to bed and to stay there for as long as she liked, forgetting to be both a mother and a wife. Of course her decision will create first worry, then anger among her close and enlarge family. Will she ever get out of bed? Is she getting depressed? But also, who will cook food from now on? And who will clean the house.
The book is engaging at the beginning, witty and funny at times. And for half of the book I could also empathise with Eva. But after a while I found it lost all its sharpness, until the end of the book, that I found quite flat.


The Palace of Curiosities By Rosie Garland

I saw this book in a market, was there, bright with a intriguing title, I just decided to buy it.

I don't have much to say about it, if not that this is the most CREEPY thing I have ever read. Creepy, creepy and more creepy. It is not a bad reading, I just did not understand it at all, and I had to do a big effort to finish it (considering the creepiness). 

The Little Prince- The Movie

Sometimes I should just follow my gut, I knew I did not have to watch it, I knew it.
It came out in the cinema and I didn't go, as the chance to get disappointed were too high, but then I saw the DVD on offer, and in a sentimental moment I decided to buy it.

Created an atmosphere and started watching it. The first 30 minutes were magic, WOW, they found a nice way to not simply recreate the book, but to try to interpret it, through the eyes of a little girl that discover for the first time the story of the little prince. I was impressed.
Then all goes wrong, like cold water while your are sleeping, you suddenly wake up and the magic is lost, forever...

The only was to recover was to read again the book, in bed, with nice music, to reconnect with the world...

Monday, 22 August 2016

Hitman Anders and the Meaning of It All by Jonas Jonasson

The third book of Jonasson, the third secure laugh! Oh you did it again!

As I think I said before about his books, I know that you can either love or hate them, and I do love them.

Here we meet a new funny character, Hitman Anders, a former criminal that once out of prison meets some craz(ier) people on his way that have a mission in mind: make some easy money and become rich. With a naive reception and a priest without vocation, we will be brought in a new crazy adventure characterised by Moldovan red wine and Bible quotes.
As I read somewhere, while reading this book you hope God has a BIG sense of humour!!!

Yes ok, none of his books can compare in originality and laugh with his first masterpiece, but give him a break, his books are so enjoyable that I cannot stop laughing while reading them.

You did it again Jonasson!

If you interested to read my reviews about his first two books, here are the links
The hundred year old man who climbed out the window and disappeared
The girl who saved the king of Sweden

Sunday, 19 June 2016

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

One day Harold, just retired and enjoying his lazy life, receives a letter from an old friend and colleague, Queenie, who is informing him she has cancer, and not much time ahead to live.
The letter gets him by surprise and Harold, shocked, decides to walk to the post office to drop Queenie a reply.
Things, however, take an unexpected turn, when Harold lost in is thoughts, keeps on walking, passes many post offices, and makes the  sadden decision to reach Queenie by walk (on the other side of the country) to drop her the letter in person, in the attempt to try to save her.

During the long walk to Queenie, Harold will test his strength, his will, and will analyse his life from a different point of view.

A long walk to salvation and for salvation.

Engaging, sad, at times funny, a nice introspective reading!!!

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Mornings in Jenin by Susan Abulhawa

I finished this book last night, and the sadness has been following me throughout the day. Like it has been saddening me for the last month I have been reading it. A month, yes, because this is not a book that you can read quickly, it is painful, it almost breaks you, I had to take pauses from it for a little while, just to find the courage to read it again.
 Throughout the book I was trying to convince myself that after all this was fictional book and, as much as you can empathize with the characters, you could still try to detach from them. But the truth is that you actually can’t, because you somehow know that the characters might have fictional names, that the episodes might not have happened in that order, or in that precise way but you deeply know that this is all true, and this has all sadly happened, and I am afraid it is still, somewhere in the corner of Palestine...
And if you wanted to keep still a doubt to clear a bit your conscience, the writer will strongly clarify her position at the end of the book, and trust me I am doing you a favour by telling you this now, that the book might be fictional but Jenin is not!

We are, of course, in Palestine and the story set place in a simple family with a normal life, until war knocks at their door and ruin everything and everyone. They will find themselves to be refugee from one day to another, without having the time to think and to realize. The book spares you nothing, from the kidnapping to the torture, it will bring you straight there, in an enduring fight for survival. How the singular personalities will survive and shape is the key of the book, no one will possible be still the same and their relationship evolve and involve all the time during the reading.
A book which I found, after all, being still full of love and hope.

People often ask me why I do this to myself, why I feel I have to read what is going on around the world when reading should be primarily a pleasure and a distraction? It is difficult to give a satisfying answer to this, because it is something that I need to do, to not let the scream of humanity to be unheard.

“I know she is crying. Her tears fall on the wrong side, into the bottomless well inside her.”

P.s. another good read on the topic is this.

Saturday, 19 March 2016

All the names by Josè Saramago

When I am stressed I need to read something I know I would like, to reduce at minimum the possibility to quit the book after couple of chapters.
This only happen with Saramago and few others.
I open his books and by magic I am in someon else's mind, thinking what he/she is thinking and getting engaged in a new adventure.

In this book Saramago explores the mind of Senhor José, a low-level clerk in the Central Registry, and the only person with a name in the book, all the others characters will be only described with their job/activity or role in the story.
Saramago is like this, he does not waste time in details that do not help the story, and names here are really not important.
-while writing this post I think I have just realized one of the reason I love Saramago: I am very bad in remembering names in books!-
Senhor José has a very monotonous life, with a repetitive, boring work; he lives alone in a basic apartment just beside the Central Registry. To give a bit of spark to his life he collects news on famous person that he carefully organizes chronologically. His predictable and monotonous life will get an unexpected turn when he finds the record card of a woman that for no particular reason catches his attention. From there on, like there was an external will controlling his actions, he will start to obsessively looking for the mysterious woman, finding himself living a different life...

As usual Saramago enters into human brain, feeling and emotions with a simplicity that amazes me every time!

"Strictly speaking, we do not make decisions, decisions make us. The proof can be found in the fact that, though life leads us to carry out the most diverse actions one after the other, we do not prelude each one with a period of reflection, evaluation and calculation, and only then declare ourselves able to decide if we will go out to lunch or buy a newspaper or look for the unknown woman"