RECOMMENDATIONS SECOND SEMESTER 2015

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TOO LOUD A SOLITUDE by Bohumil Hrabal

For thirty-five years, Hanta compacted wastepaper and books. This was his whole life. A life lived without emotion, but knowing every day that he was doing what he wanted. This was the life of a man who had all that he desired and knew exactly how his life was going to finish.

He was considered an idiot, but he was an idiot who knew that books tell you things about yourself that you don’t know

Life will never give us what we want, and fear got Hanta when his world was completely changed because of a machine which did his job faster and better. He was afraid of not being able to follow the “new” machines.

And then, what can you do when you are not prepared for all of this?

THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME by Mark Haddon

It is possible to read this book in one sitting. It is easy reading even if it is not an easy story. The story is humorous and sad at the same time. It reflects the difficult life of a father with a child with Asperger’s syndrome, and the special world in which this child lives. He is experiencing all the world around him in a different way, but at the same time he perceives some simple things of the life with more clarity that we usually do. He has his aim for the future. He has his own moral and ethics and most of the time these contradict the general behaviours of mankind usually based on the moment and participants rather than on clear moral or ethical actions.

I had a general feeling at the end of the book that every world is a complete and perfect world for each of us.

“… and that means I can do anything.”

FOUR BARE LEGS IN A BED by Helen Simpson

Fourteen short stories about women, about sex, about relationships. Some stories are sad, some funny, but all of them make you think.

The title of the book is the title of the first short story as well.

When I closed the book I had the feeling of anger, not mine, but the anger of the author. It was as if all the frustration, disappointments suffered during her life were relieved in those words. But afterwards, when I spent some time thinking about each story . I realised that it was not about anger, but about real situations in the life lived in a particular way. The way in which you are completely able to live some circumstances as if they were completely normal even when you hate it.

HISTORIA DEL DERECHO ROMANO

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is a re-binding of a textbook. Historia del Derecho Romano is the title. The previous binding was in paperback and the continuous useDSC_0005 of the book wore out the covers and the spine.
I decided for a “Bradel binding” in dark red buckram with golden letters for the title.
The title of the book is engraved in a square mosaic on the top of the spine, and the name of the author on the bottom of the spine is hand written in Foundational or
Round Hand style.

BRODECK’S REPORT by Phillipe Claudel

DSC_0009Brodeck “survived” the war. He returned home to find his wife speechless, a daughter he didn’t know about, and his old “nanny”. His village seems the same, though, until the Anderer arrives. The Anderer turns upside down the whole village, and Brodeck is the one chosen to write about the event. He is forced to do it. He has to write the story to make others understand why they had to kill the Anderer. But Brodeck wants us to know that he has nothing to do with it. He had no part in it.

What was the fault of the Anderer? An eye to read people, to know what they are like, and to paint them, as they are, not as they seem.

Brodeck starts writing two stories at the same time: The Anderer’s murder, and his story.

This novel reminds me of Grey souls. It was in part the same feeling when I was reading. The narrative is slow, only shades of grey, no colours at all, and I read with a sinking heart the whole story.

I knew all the time that they were not safe, and I wanted to warn them: Brodeck, his wife, the Anderer. But I was only the reader, I was not part of the story even if I felt part of it.

The description of the war and the people of the village reminded me how dangerous people are when they are scared, because it is then that they are capable of the most horrid things to feel safe again, not matter what happens to others.

This is the main character, Brodeck: “I have grown accustomed to my solitude.”

“I have the feeling that I am the wrong size for my life.”

Diodeme is the scholar of the village, and some of his quotes are the best of the story.

“What I’d like to do is to understand. We never understand anything, or if we do, not much. Men live, in a way as the blind do, and generally that’s enough for them.”

“I’ve loved questions, and I’ve loved the paths you must follow to find the answers.”

The fear is the emotion that accompanies the reader throughout the story.

“Yes, I was the only one.

As I said those words to myself, I heard all of a sudden how dangerous they sounded: to be innocent in the midst of the guilty was, after all, the same as being guilty in the midst of the innocent.”

“The camp was always inhabited by the same silhouettes and the same bony faces. We were not ourselves any more. We did not belong to ourselves any more. We were not men any more. We were just a species.”

And other quotes are just wise ones or thought-provoking considerations.

“… sometimes it’s best not to go back to where you came from You remember what you left, but you never know what you’re going to find there, especially when madness has raged in men for a long time.”

“Man is an animal that always begins again.”

“The flowers were still quivering with life, as they had not noticed that they had just passed the gates of death.”

“Sometimes you love your own scars.” The ones that make you stronger?

This is one of those stories that deserve an attentive and deliberate reading.

Philippe Claudel (born 2 February 1962) is a French writer and film director.Philippe_Claudel_2013

In addition to his writing, Claudel is a Professor of Literature at the University of Nancy.

He directed the 2008 film I’ve loved you so long. Much admired, it won the 2009 BAFTA for the best film not in English.

After studying in Nancy, he remained there and for eleven years worked as a teacher in prisons. Contact with his students inspired short stories, novels, and then screenplays. He has said that the experience made him give up his simple opinions about people, about guilt, about the necessity to judge others. “It’s clear to me now that it would have been impossible for me to write a novel like Brodeck’s Report or Grey Souls, to make a movie like I’ve Loved You So Long, if I hadn’t been in jail.”

His best-known work to date is the novel Grey Souls, which won the Prix Renaudot in France, was shortlisted for the American Gumshoe Award, and won Sweden’s Martin Beck Award. He won the 2003 Prix Goncourt de la Nouvelle for Les petites mécaniques, and the 2010 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, for Brodeck’s Report, ‘ his hallucinatory story – almost a dark fairy-tale in which Kafka meets the Grimms– of an uneasy homecoming after wrenching tragedy.”

 Novels

  • Quelques-uns des cent regrets: roman, 1999.

  • Le Bruit des trousseaux, 2002.

  • Grey souls. 2003.

  • Monsieur Linh and His child, 2005.

  • Brodeck’s Report , 2007.

  • The Investigator, 2010.

  • Parfums, 2012.

SOUTH OF THE BORDER, WEST OF THE SUN by Haruki Murakami

downloadThis is a different Murakami, not like Norwegian  Wood, but also without marvellous and impossible events that occur in what otherwise purports to be a realistic narrative.

Two lives that first meet each other when they are only twelve years old to discover that they are soul mates, and get separated afterwards to different ways and for different circumstances for twenty-five years.

Hajime always remembers Shimamoto and will learn that the same happens to her, but for years they never see each other.

Hajime leads a happy life. He feels as if something is wrong, something is not complete, but after all a happy life. He has a wife and two children and has success with his own business.

One day Shimamoto shows up in his Jazz bar, and they start seeing each other again. The only requirement is never to ask her about her life.

They go on like this for a while until a final decision comes to Hajime’s mind.

I am always wondering about these main characters in Murakami’s novels. There are some unchanged characteristics in all of them: music (mostly classical and jazz), sports, books, cats and ears.

I already know that he likes cats, music, books and he is a sports man. He has declared this more than once. And so, I wonder if he is building different characters with this mix of things that he likes, are in some way how he would like to be or how he sometimes feels.

Just, wondering.

One of the things that I most love about his books is their capacity to make you think about his words long after you finished one of his stories.

Quotes:

Once I began one, I couldn’t put it down. Reading was like an addiction…”

I felt happy just being me and no one else”

That a person can, just by living, damage another human being beyond repair”

Haruki Murakami was born in Kyoto, Japan during the post–World War II baby boom anddownload (1) raised in Shukugawa (Nishinomiya), Ashiya and Kobe. He is an only child. His father was the son of a Buddhist priest, and his mother the daughter of an Osaka merchant. Both taught Japanese literature.

Since childhood, Murakami, similarly to Kobo-abe, was heavily influenced by Western culture, particularly Western as well as Russian music and literature. He grew up reading a wide range of works by European and American writers, such as Franz Kafka,Gustave Flaubert, Charles Dickens, Kurt Vonnegut, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Richard Brautigan and Jack Kerouac. These Western influences distinguish Murakami from the majority of other Japanese writers.

Murakami studied drama at Waseda University in Tokyo, where he met his wife, Yoko. His first job was at a record store, much like Toru Watanabe, the narrator of Norwegian Wood. Shortly before finishing his studies, Murakami opened a coffeehouse and jazz bar, the Peter Cat, in Kokubunji, Tokyo, which he ran with his wife from 1974 to 1981—again, not unlike the protagonist in his later novel South of the Border, West of the Sun.

Murakami is a serious marathon runner and triathlon enthusiast, though he did not start running until he was 33 years old. On June 23, 1996, he completed his first ultramarathon, a 100 kilometer race around Lake Saroma in Hokkaido, Japan. He discusses his relationship with running in his 2008 memoir What I Talk About When I Talk About Running.