Have I mentioned before that I love, Love, LOVE to read? Yes? I did? Well, that's because I really, Really, REALLY love to read. Unfortunately, since being grown up means having to earn money and to take care of my own household (not even talking about the amount of energy and care it takes to keep me and my men fed! How is it that I never saw all that effort when living with my mum? The fridge was always full. Never running out of milk is a strange talent that I still have to muster!) my reading time somehow diminished as compared to living at home and going to university.
Anyway, I just finished my lovely two weeks holidays and I spent an enormous amount of time reading! It felt so good to being able again to lose yourself in a book, without having to look at the watch all times, but just to keep reading until my head or eyes hurt, or I got hungry or (which happened most of the time as I am really good in fading out any bodily functions that keep me from reading) until I finished the book. I stayed in bed every morning after waking up to do some reading. And in the afternoon I took some time to make myself comfortable on the couch, have a cup of coffee and something sweet (a MUST with my afternoon coffee - I have to have something sweet with it) and do some reading.
I taught myself how to read in kindergarden, about 4 or 5 years old. In Austria you learn reading in school, which you usually start with 6. That was too late for me. My mum read a lot to me when I was little, but she wasn't able to fulfill my constant need for books and stories (otherwise she would never have been able to keep that fridge always full with milk) so I went to my grandmother and nagged her in front of the newspaper: "Oma, what kind of letter is this? Oma, what does that word mean? Oma, how do you pronounce this?" until I had figured it out. From there on no one was stopping me. I read all the time. I borrowed books from school, from friends, I re-read everything a thousand times because my parents would never have been able to afford my reading habit (or the fridge would have stayed empty. I can't even think about that!).
And this hasn't change until this day. Give me enough time and I will spend most of it with a book in my hand, my face covered in the pages. So I'll show and describe three of the books I managed to read in the last few days.
#1: E.L. James - 50 Shades of Grey
Now this isn't easy. I always refused to read this book. I heard about it (of course - who hasn't?) and I knew some people who read it. Some of them loved it, some hated it. But I was averted to it, partly because it was such a great hit with a generation and a class of women that are totally different from me. And I heard, that the author cited the author of the Twilight series as her great literary role model. Now I haven't read the Twilight books either (again, I guess I'm not part of the target group) but I saw the first movie which was enough for me.
But J, whom I visited in Hamburg, had tickets for a parody musical - 49 1/2 shades of grey. Now if you read - and didn't like - the book, I highly recommend to go and visit that musical if it is anywhere near you.
Now here's a little summary for those of you who haven't read the book: Ana, a sexually unexperienced college graduate meets Christian Grey, a wealthy young man, who is immediately attracted to her and wants to introduce her to his sado-maso inflicted sexual lifestyle. What you wouldn't think when you read this storyline is, that the whole book is one big, fat lovestory. Two people, totally different, who shouldn't love each other do so and get confronted with all the problems such a lovestory entails. Rather predictable, rather dull writing. But as I said - it was purely for research reasons. Don't judge me, please.
#2: Donna Tartt - The Goldfinch
Here comes a book where you can talk about literature. The Goldfinch is a thick novel which tells the lifestory of Theo, a boy, whose mother gets killed in a bombing when he is only 13 years old. The father left just a year ago and the reader now accompanies Theo on his disturbing and confusing way through his life. Donna Tartt received the Pulitzer Price for this book. It's wonderfully written, rich and detailed and it's a book, that (despite it's thickness, somewhere around 750 pages in the English version) is hard to put aside. I read it in just a few sittings, being totally emerged in Theo's life that led him from New York to Las Vegas and back to New York with an unusual and slightly dangerous item that he takes with him all the time and which is the cause for the big showdown. But I don't want to give anything away. If you like good stories, beautifully written words and pages, that soak you up and leave you unaware of your surroundings and the real life - buy this book. It's one of the stories that you will come back to again and again over the years.
#3: Cheryl Strayed - Wild
I saw that book mentioned on the blog of Kate. I can't find the post anymore, but she mentioned, that she loved every word of that book and slowed down reading it because she didn't want it to end. And I have to say - I felt the same way. Wild accompanied me on my journey to Hamburg. I started reading it when I was waiting on the airport in Vienna and finished it while looking at the Hamburg harbour, on the Elbstrand. It's a book about the author, Cheryl, who loses herself after the sudden death of her mother, suddenly finding herself before the broken fragments of her life. In this state she decides to walk the Pacific Crest Trail, a trail, that reaches from Mexico through the USA all the way up to Canada. She is unexperienced and has a hard time at the beginning. But her description of that journey, of how she felt, what she saw and which people she encountered on the way left me in the desperate need for a new adventure. I had a big one, just a little over a year ago (travelling around the world for four months, one day, there will be the whole story, I promise) and ever since just strapping on a backpack and leaving, not knowing, where the path will take you and how long you will be away, is something I definitely want to do again. Just taking off on an adventure, because there is no better way to get to know yourself and to learn about what's important to you and how you want your life to be. Read that book and you will want to buy some (big enough) hiking boots for yourself and just get going. Perfect holiday book.
So what are you reading at the moment? I also started "The Cuckoo's Calling" by Robert Galbraith. It's the pen name J.K. Rowling chose for her first crime novel. I have about three quarters now and I really like it, though it's nothing special. Let's see how it ends. Only by the end can you judge a crime book. But J.K. Rowling wrote a REALLY good end to her first non-Harry-Potter-novel "the casual vacancy", so I have high expectations. Well, I'm off to read now.
P.S.: I just found this link: It's a website that lists all 339 books referenced in the Gilmore Girls. Now if you watched Gilmore Girls as enthusiastically as I did, that's a really interesting site for you! I counted 50 books out of those 339 that I've read myself. I'm thinking about taking on a reading challenge! Anyone in?