Friday, July 24, 2009

book list (Updated)

I read Cath’s post and was very pleased that I hadn’t fallen out of a sail boat. Then I read in the comments that this did not work out as an excuse ;)

So, "list fifteen books that had the most profound impact on you - ones you can think of in fifteen minutes or less."

And as the discussion went in the commentaries, I can do the list in Swedish! (Don’t worry my esteemed readers, I will translate the titles later on. I just need to leave a chance for the challenger DuWayne to be able to translate...)

I think, in hindsight after seeing the books that were the first I thought of, that I might have been a tad bit influenced by the fact that there was a cold war going on when I grew up... and that my reading times began when I was 6 years old.

Den långa flykten (Watership Down by Richard Adams)- the story about the rabbits having to move and discovering the hardship of dictatorship (and yet, so stable it was). It made believe in true friendship (between Kronan och Femman for example) and exploring the world together and that saving is in trusting eachother and keep fighting for the good cause.

Tornfalken (Västmarkstrilogin) (The Kestrel, The Westmark Trilogy by Lloyd Alexander) - this trilogy was written to fit all my thoughts about the heroism of fighting against the evil dictatorship... and it was very real in its similarities to what I thought was “behind the Iron curtain”. I was also fiercly admiring Justin, a fact I was a bit ashamed of since Theo was so obviously the better man to like (Justin was blazingly insane...).

NIMHs hemlighet (Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert O'Brien) - I wonder if this made my science interest. After all, it must have been one of the first times I read about lab rats and tests by the scientist. Not to mention that these rats turned out to be nice to mice who needed help in the middle of the field when the farmer needed to plow and their house is in the way.

Trollkarlen från Oz - (The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum) the whole 14 books. I remember telling my parents I loved the invention of the pearl who would turn white when you told the truth and black when you didn’t. Seemed like an easy enough way to make sure criminals were kept locked up and innocent people weren’t harmed. Then they asked me “what happens if the bad people get a hold of the pearl? What happens then?”. That got me thinking about truth and lies, and evil and good.... again.

Sagan om de två tornen (The Two towers by JRR Tolkien) - I liked the second book in the trilogy much more than the first. (partly because I never liked the part in the first book about Tom Bombadil, something I would probably change if I was to read the book for the first time now.) The descriptions of the orcs, the failure of Boromir and his struggle and not making it, the ents’ move....

Borta med vinden (Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell)- of course I liked Scarlet. Or liked might not have been the word. Dreaming with conflict thoughts might be more like it. I had a copy that was printed in two columns so I could practice speed reading the numerous times I reread it. I still have a hard time with the whole Ashley/Rhett thing.... i.e. choosing Ashley over Rhett. Something about that passion and pride that consumes Scarlet and Rhett.

1984 (1984 by George Orwell) - one of my first sci/fi books, or what to call the genre? it was a new world and I got fascinated. Thinking about what the world would look like in a few decades and how much would the robots and computers take over? (After all, when I was a small girl the tv was in black and white.) Still terrified of the rats in a cage and eyes.... and that words can mean what you decide they mean.

Kallocain (Kallocain by Karin Boye)- The first book in the genre I am not sure what to call. It made me weap and feel and explore more of Boye’s poems and another female writer, the Finnish Edith Södergran. It is also what would be called a dystopian but it made me think alot about “feeling” and “needing to feel to live”.

Pappan och havet (Moominpappa at Sea by Tove Jansson) - a lovely story about different hopes and dreams about life and thought about how to live it. The father who wants to live on an island and his wife who wants to grow roses (that can’t grow in the unfertile soil on the island). Other stories with Mumin, Late in November etc...

Den blå sagoboken (den gröna, oranga, rosa, lila, gula, bruna.... etc) (Andrew Lang's Fairy Books) - I read them over and over again. Reading all the different stories from all over the world. It was magical to resda what other people heard as children and trying to understand how differnet cultures percieve

Processen (The Trial by Frank Kafka) - before I read his diaries I read Processen and Slottet. I kind of like Slottet the most but the Process was what got me thinking about the illusion of right and wrong... (the common theme in my head I think when I read this list of mine)

Baskevilles hund and the Other stories with Sherlock Holmes (The Hound of The Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle) - I really really wanted to become a detective like him. It seemed so wonderful to try and make sense and solve all the mysteries like he did. Especially the philosophical “when you have eliminated all the possibilities, the only one left is the one it is - how unusual it might seem”. The various different things I learned from the books were intriguing too. Lion's Mane Jellyfish, cipher with Dancing men (a huge challenge for the translator to Swedish and making it hard for me as a reader to try and decipher it before the story happened) and the elusive Miss Adler in A Scandal in Bohemia (I thought she was very cool).

Most of the Agatha Christie books with Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. I read all of AC’s books and even kept a list so I could tick them off. She wrote about 70 books... and the Mousetrap and other plays were in there. It’s the same thing as with Holmes, I tried to figure out who had done it prior the ending since I very much wanted to become a detective. And I started with the Murder on THe orient Express but I remembered the story about the researcher in Iraq much more , maybe because it is a almost Swedish anthropologist on a dig?

And lastly, Mangeln (The Mangler by Stephen King). It is only a short story by Stephen King but it made me terrified of ever walking down into the communal laundry room as a child. I was quite convinced that our mangle would start and whirr and go “ahh... a virgin to drink blood from”. I guess my imagination was a bit too vivid?

UPDATE: I filled in the English titles and some links. I also realise that I forgot the Dvärgen - The Dwarf by Pär Lagerkvist. We read it in high school and it was quite an experience discussing it and seeing correlations to evil, especially since it was written in 1944.

And I should've thought about Cherry Ames. I read the books at my grandmother's place and they were so vivid in my mind. I wanted to become an MD and save people, i got some pretty romantic views about war too.... and the heroic things of saving soldiers. In hind sight I wonder but at the time they were the books. Them and the Connie Blair books... The heroines were a bit older than Nancy Drew and there was a certain feel of "adulthood" in them. All very exciting for a 15 year old ;)


Monday, July 20, 2009

drop dead diva

I have a confession. I like some tv shows that people tend to call shallow.... female... Life Time Movie Network shows... or rather Army wives... and the likes... and now I am watching this Drop Dead Diva. It’s about a shallow yet gorgeus model who dies and ends up in a sharp as a whip lawyer body. The catch? She is  turning into size 16 instead of a size 0.

Not that it is novel, it is all about the fact “she’s smart and sharp but alas she wears Lane Bryant (i.e. plus size) and is single. But all love her at work since she works her ass off”. And the model hates her new body and all the paths that are closed to her.

She does love the brain though.

And of course, her resentment grows bigger when her fiancee is starting at the same firm and the (skinny) other lawyer is hitting on him.

This is all about my old process about Beauty or Brains. Like The Pet Shop Boys say; “I’ve got the brains, you’ve got the looks... lets make lots of money.” (Opportunities, from the Album Please). 

It brings to mind a question a friend of mine asked “why don¨t you wear sexy clothes to work” and I mumbled something about “ I want it to be about my science and not about something else”.... then again, that’s not how to play the game I guess.

I will say this though, it is very nice to see a “normal” woman on tv and realise that you can be good looking and sexy even if you aren’t a size 2 like all the movie stars.

....and I am not even a size 16... there is hope for me...

(end of the LMN and girly thoughts... start “how to organize that paper”)