The books in my life

“I’ll bathe when I want and I don’t stink!” Blackthorne fumed. “Everyone knows baths are dangerous. You want me to catch the flux? You think I’m God-cursed stupid? You get the hell out of here and let me sleep!”
“Bath!” Mura ordered, shocked at the barbarian’s open anger—the height of bad manners. And it was not just that the barbarian stank, as indeed he did, but he had not bathed correctly for three days to his knowledge, and the courtesan quite rightly would refuse to pillow with him, however much the fee. These awful foreigners, he thought. Astonishing! How astoundingly filthy their habits are!

Come to think of it, he told himself, I’ve never seen any mats shaped or cut to size. And there’s never been an odd-shaped room! Haven’t all the rooms been exactly square or rectangular? Of course! That means that all houses—or rooms—must be constructed to fit an exact number of mats. So they’re all standard! How very odd!

Today you’re here and nothing you can do will change that. Today you’re alive and here and honored, and blessed with good fortune. Look at this sunset, it’s beautiful, neh? This sunset exists. Tomorrow does not exist. There is only now. Please look. It is so beautiful and it will never happen ever again, never, not this sunset, never in all infinity.

“How could he commit suicide? Eh? Ask him.” Blackthorne took out the short, needle-sharp sword and placed it gently on the tatami, point facing him. Igurashi said simply, “It’s a bluff! Who ever heard of a barbarian acting like a civilized person?”

Awesome book, almost done with it, hope the review I’ll make it will do it justice. Meanwhile, if you haven’t read it, do it! You can get it here at a really decent price with FREE world wide delivery. In English, though. But I learnt that books written in English are best read in English, a translation – no matter how good it is – can never catch everything as it was intended.

There are books (like the one I am reading right now) that require attention and focus and (sometimes) even a pen and paper, to follow characters.

When I was little and had just discovered books (to my little sister’s big disappointment) I could read for hours and almost quote anything related to any character in the book. My memory was fantastic (or so they said). As I grew older, my attention began to slip, my memory to fail me. Sure, I still remembered stuff, but it had to have a huge impact on me.

But since not all books were my cups of tea, especially the ones I had to read for school, I started reading mathematically. So, rather than going back over and over and over and over again, I started making charts of characters. How they were related and what business they had with one another. That required time and dedication, let me tell you that. If it was not a book I HAD TO read (see all those dreadful books that were mandatory for highschool), I wouldn’t bother with charts. I would have either picked up from the next pages (if not, tough) or quit the book.

As my time as a grown up is limited, I refuse to read books that would demand a chart for me to follow and understand. Plus, I would look really strange on the tube with my Kindle or hard copy of something and a notebook and coloured pens. So I only read what I like. What I really really like. Like Shogun right now. Only… there are so many Japanese that want to secretly kill each other, so many priests that want to kill the English pilot and rule the Japanese, so many names of towns… I often get lost in them and I need to … well, yes, go back even 20 pages to see where that samurai came from and what he wants.

That does not work well if I am so very tired. When I am tired and I need to read something that does not require my full concentration or even brain capacity for that matter, there are a few books I turn to. Books I read and liked and have that wonderful resting effect on my super heated brain cells.

In no particular order, here they are:

1. Harry Potter. Without the Deadly Hollows volume, I did not like it (will come back on that some other time)
Well, who does not like Harry Potter? All the magic, all the characters? Granted, the first time I read it, I kind of confused the characters (not the main ones, the ones that you only come across every now and then) but after reading the series 9 times I think I can get all of them right. 9 times, again, does not apply to the Deadly Hollows.

2. Hunger Games.
A little 1984ish for me combined with something I cannot put my finger on but with a light story and Hollywood ending. Liked the book, hated the movie. The next 2 books, Catching Fire and Mockingjay, did not impress me, they are still at the “one time read and that’s it I guess” stage.

3. Twilight – the complete series.
Yes, throw a rock at me. Twilight is my “running on fumes” book. There are words that make sentences, it even makes me smile every now and then (sometimes at how silly the whole thing is) so it is perfect for brain resuscitation.

4. One Day.
Although when I read it the first time I wanted to throw it out the window and the person that gave it to me after it 🙂 But it is such a good “Love Story” wannabe that you cannot not re-read it when you want to see that life CAN get worse so shut up and suck it 🙂

5. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.
Oh, yes! Although I tend to stay away from this one as much as I can because, even though I’ve read it 4 or 5 times, it still keeps me up nights wanting to see what happens next. And yes, I know what happens next. So what?

So, these are my 5 (in no particular order) emergency books. What are yours? 🙂

Jo_Nesbo

If you have never read Nesbo before, good for you! But do it fast. Don’t get me wrong, I think Nesbo to be brilliant, with a great capacity of creating characters and making you fall in love with them or hate their guts.

But, if you live in UK and never heard of Jo before “The Snowman”, you may have (like me) devoured this book and, after that, read ALL the Harry Hole novels, EXCEPT for the first ever book.

I really don’t understand why it was not published before. If you read it after all the others (like I have), it loses a lot on the breath taking edge. You kind of know what happens or, at least, it doesn’t take you by surprise because there are hints in all the books that followed “The Bat”.

Long story short. It is the book that introduces sober Harry to us. It is the book that introduces alcoholic Harry to us. But, drunk or sober, Harry is just as brilliant as a detective as he is in all the books that follow. I kind of want to sit down with Jo and ask him why he’s got a dark spot for Harry, though. Don’t want to spoil too much of any surprise but after a while you kind of with the blue eyed detective would catch a brake in his love life (yes, Nesbo writes thrillers, not soaps, but still).

Coming back to the book.

Jo Nesbo - The Bat

Jo Nesbo – The Bat

Harry travels to Australia to solve the murder of a Norwegian young girl, only to stumble upon a serial killer. Of course. Apart from the detective – related story line, there are a lot of Aussie legends in the book. I have to admit, I don’t know if they are genuine and Nesbo built the story around it or the other way around.

Funny fact. Harry’s name is Harry Hole. In Norwegian, it doesn’t mean anything. But in order to avoid being mocked by the Australians, he introduces himself as Harry Holy. I have a feeling that if this book would have been on the compulsory book list in high-school, my literature teacher would have found 1649492 meanings to this. Or worse, would have made us find them.

To go deeper into the story line would mean to spoil the fun for anyone that has not read it.

A few words about the end though. It would have made me buy the next book, if I hadn’t already. But since, like I said, in the UK “The Bat” was the last to be published, the ending had nothing. NOTHING. It was dry an purpose-less, somehow.

So take my advice. Read Nesbo. But start with this one. And go from there. He can make you feel you are THERE, in the middle of everything, may it be in Australia or Oslo or even somewhere in the tranches of World War Two.

The complete list of the Harry Hole saga (in the logical order):

The Bat
The Redbreast
Nemesis
The Devil’s Star
The Redeemer
The Snowman (do not start with this one if you don’t want EVERYTHING to be spoiled)
The Leopard
Phantom (28 days to go, but only £5.99 with free delivery??? It is MINE! So mine!)