The Day of the Triffids
The Day of the Triffids

After several books outside the 1001 branch I decided to go for the progress and read something from the list. Surprisingly Paul has some of the must-haves on his our shelves and when I showed him the options, he unambiguously pointed at The Day of the Triffids.

I like science fiction in a way that I don't read it but know it can be good for me. It just never happened. I can visualize my feeling towards everything and if I have to try hard and describe the vision towards sci-fi it would be like a cube. Kind of. So a cube is nice and precise but how much better a form is that you can't even explain? That's (literal) literature for me.

Anyway, the book was easy to read in English, and after the first cold feeling while stroking reading the cube it started to get warmer. I thought it won't be as close to my heart (yes, I'm reading with that) because it's not about human problems, but it turned out that's kind of the main point. No one believes that things like this can happen to them and a destroyed world can be their own problem. Maybe we should. But it happens by itself, you start to be very cautious with plants and little bit happy that you have a wholly (?) functional world around you full of animated humans. (It couldn't make me love humans more. Maaaybe a little. But then we saw Doug Stanhope on stage just before I finished the book, and that doesn't help.)

This is a book where it's all about the story (Paul doesn't believe me that it's not always about the story!), and I learnt that I can enjoy that as well. Without saying anything about what's actually happening in the book, I'll just note, that it can give you a different perspective for a short time, but for me it was still not as strong when I read about past/current, existing human problems. You can ignore imaginary scenes with 'I may think that there is a triffid behind the bush waiting to hit my big head, but phew, there isn't and there won't be.'

Push this text into my face whenever we start to produce triffid oil.

John Wyhdham - The Day of the Triffids (1951): Part of the 1001 challenge, read in English, enjoyed it a lot.
Less than zero
Less than zero

Umm. I started this book some time ago, and all I could remember is that semi-gay people are partying all the time, so I didnít feel the urge to continue for a long period. But the book was a present, and I decided to give it another go.

I could reach the middle of the book thinking: ďI donít care about the life of rich American teenagers, this is boring.Ē But there was still something keep me going, and I soon reached the difficult bit. If there is no violence in it, there is no shock and I close the book thinking it was not interesting. But there is violence and things that I donít want to know about, so it ended up turning the whole world into a hopeless cruel disgusting mass leaning on me. This time I didnít become part of the story, I canít identify myself as a rich American kid using drugs being empty. But I can hate them all for what they were doing there. Donít forget, the book is from 1985, I was born in 1984. This is not news. This is happening all around the world. This is now the life of many Hungarian teens, except spending that much money every day.

Ok, Iím in pain again, canít say anything else. After all, I like the voice of the book. After all, I donít think Iíll be able to read American psycho.

This book is not part of the 1001 challenge. Was reading it in Hungarian, got it from Ricsi.

Give me back my mountains!

It's official. I'm unable to "rate" any (art)work without it's content. This book is full of pain. If the pain is caused by things that would cause me pain as well, I can't see anything else but the pain. Pain grabs me and my attention, therefore I will think it's a good work. A good book. Is this normal?

Give me back my mountains! is a very famous Hungarian book, written by Albert Wass. Albert Wass is from Transylvania, and the book is about a piece of its history. As such, the topic itself is a painful part of the Hungarian history*. It's still in our 'everyday' discussions, and you can't avoid hearing about it. Even if you know the historical facts, or especially if you have patriotic feelings, I think this book will surprise you. It's about the smallest component of our history: human life.

Being 26 and born in the capital of Hungary I don't have that much experience living in the countryside. The life of a (young) shepherd is alien (even if my father was doing such things), and it's "strange" to see their lifestyle. It can make you want to go 'back to nature'. But after the rural happiness and...well, life things will change as we all know them from the history class. But here you get a different eye; you are the lowest point in the world, looking up to the lords deciding about your country. About your life. About you.

Following the life of a man experiencing 'history' gives a naive approach for the book. You can see him finding love, you can see him building home, you can see him prosper, and then you can see him lose everything. You'll see how their life is determined by law and upper decisions. You will see civilians turning into soldiers, you'll be in the middle of the battlefield hearing what each of these soldiers people think and suddenly war won't be a big black mass that you know nothing about. You can see people turning into something they've never wanted to be before. You can see people die and people killing others. But you won't find who is responsible for this. The initial naiveness will be gone, and when it comes back again on a Christmas eve, will quickly transform into something different. I think it's called loneliness. Looking for the truth, all alone in the whole world. Losing all your hope.

And the worst part is, this is not a fiction.

I finished the book in a few days, luckily, as I was part of the story feeling what they could've felt. Could I...

As a conclusion: lots of unbearable pain, great book.

*(Would not discuss it here, especially not why a Romanian territory is part of the Hungarian history. If you need more info about this, maybe try on Wikipedia.

Again, this book is not part of the 1001 challenge. But well worth it.

Hey, Nostradamus!

In advance

As part of a what-to-do-in-town-before-the-IMAX we were walking around in Central London and visited places like Forbidden Planet and Fopp. Fopp was new to me (so I got bonus points from FourSquare!) and I was happy to see that they sell books. Real books. I have an ambivalent relation with paper books - I love them, but it feels strange to collect them. I found a book for 4 pounds, and all I knew about it was that the same guy wrote Generation X, a book that I liked before. I bought it.

I wrote in a previous post that I read on Kindle in English, and that I started Madame Bovary 3 months ago. I felt ashamed that the process is bloody slow, I thought I lost my interest in reading. I was only crawling through the sentences which I hardly understood properly, so my enthusiasm to open it again decreased quickly. Then I bought this one from Douglas Coupland, saying Hey, Nostradamus!, in a language from the XXI. century. It took me less than a week to finish, and I felt alive again. No, actually, I felt dead as the book caused me real pain.

I'm not the one being able to write satisfying book reviews, because I like to keep my thoughts for myself. So why the hell am I writing this? Because it would be amazing to be able to write satisfying book reviews. So I'm gonna practice. Don't look!

In Hey, Nostradamus

You get God, and love, and death. You get lots of questions. I donít think you get any answers, but itís up to you. You get pain that will make you squeeze the book and put a little stone onto your chest, but only if you care about God, and love, and death. Or at least a few of them.

There is a couple, which has to deal with their relationship in line with their faith (and their environment), and who has to deal with death later on, so they are no longer a couple. There are their families, who have to deal with the couple, the death, and with each other. They all have to deal with evil. And God. And there is us, who have to deal with all the information we slowly get about these people. And we have to deal with evil and God, too.

To be more specific, we are dropped into the "life" of Cheryl and Jason, be witness of their love and the school massacre they fall into. As the first of the four narrators Cheryl tells us about her relationship with Jason, her relationship with God, and her death in the massacre. (Yes, she is gone by then.) After Cheryl we can look into Jason's letters written to his nephews (no). He is 11 years older, but although he survived, he couldn't find his way out of (his wife's) death. We get to know his father a bit more. And how his brother's died, too. And some secrets told to the nephews. Oh, and the blackouts, those are important. Knowing that at some point a new girl, Heather will come, I already hated her. She has nothing to do with Jason. For a few pages she has a different personality than I imagined. Then for a few pages Iím indifferent with her and interested what else to come. And then Iím on her side. She is living with Jason's wallet which soon will go into a plastic bag along with other items from Jason to keep his smell. Jason is lost and while we're waiting for him to come back, Heather is telling us how it has happened with the two of them. And how it's happening, now. And then comes Reg, Jason's father with pure Christianity (where pure means verbatim, therefore conflicting with (other's) life. But at the end, "we shall be changed." Reg, too.

I don't like descriptive reviews, so that part is deleted. All I know is that I read about a teenager love, and my favourite quote is from that part:

I would really like to ask God why it is that we don't accomplish anything until we're at least twenty. Why the wait? I think we should be born ten years old, and then after a year turn twenty - just get it over with, like dogs do. We ought to be born running.

And then I read about adult love, which still has created new worlds for itself, starting with Gerard T. Giraffe, the giraffe. And read about pain, caused by inexplicable evil in front of God's eyes. Or maybe "God is nowhere'. Since I have a confronting approach to others determining your life (like taking it) and I'm sensitive to all the other elements of the book, I was mainly concentrating to survive and not on the interestingly put sentences. I survived. And then I just felt it's good that some people are alive.

Review of the review

Is this a review? No. But this is my experience. Maybe next time...

I found some real reviews, though, which can help you out: Maybe my favourite from Damian Transler's Secret Blog, or some questions on Or an interview with Coupland on the same site.

This book is not part of the 1001 challenge. Shame. Next to come: Give me back my mountains!

The challenge

I have a passion for classics. I don't really understand it, because my main book supplier (called Ricsi) rarely lent books for me that we were learning about in school. Anyway, I found my perfect book few years ago (on sale!), which is called 1001 books you must read before you die. I take things seriously, so I'll follow their advice.

To reach my goal, I mostly rely on Android for several reasons:

  1. Classics are free on Amazon for Kindle (and Kindle is free for Android)
  2. It's a long walk to the library (and the horror section is bigger than everything else)
  3. I mostly read on the tube, where holding my phone seems more friendly than doing acrobatics to read a physical book

I resisted the obvious urge to count how many of the 1001 I've read for a long time, but in a weak moment I clarified: 27,5. I wasn't too happy about it; that means I read one book in each year of my life. Unacceptable. (Well, the tremendous amount of 'not officially cool' books are not involved here.)

The challenge's already started, and due to availability issues and my sincere wish to speak English properly (almost like the Queen) force me to - mainly - read in English. To make my job easier I started with a book for children, namely Alice in Wonderland. (Winnie the Pooh is not in the list!) I was a bit naive, but made my journey through the book. Probably missed some jokes or references, but I got a clear (can it be clear?) story line. Right after Alice came another gem of England, Jane Austen, with Pride and Prejudice. I enjoyed this one very much, and it also helped me to expand my Queen dictionary. After that I found another magic I liked a lot, The Picture of Dorian Gray that is. There aren't many books suggested from Oscar Wilde, but I'll cheat and read some more from him.
After long book-downloading sessions, I was struggling a bit where to continue. I stucked with Madame Bovary, however I find it incredibly difficult to waddle through those unknown, descriptive (a lot of 'em) words.

I love quotes as well, and according to the plans every posted picture here will get a quote from one of these books. I've also chosen my Twitter account to be a trumpet of these quotes. This is my demonstration for reading. I imagine being very effective with my 23 followers.

Hopefully I'm gonna succeed reading all the 1001 books, but in case of my failure, who would blame an old woman?