Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Book gift ideas

These are some book gift ideas in case you have a crush on a nerd or want to impress someone with your intellectual qualities. Just kidding. I hate to write post disclaimers!! These are some good books I like for different reasons and I am going to write about them in this post and in a post following this one. I have been thinking about it a lot lately that just as some people don`t travel to certain countries for political/ideological reasons, it might be the same with literature. Sometimes even a book cover might be enough to scare off people from certain books. Or that it is from Israel, or an Arabic country or Russia (or any other country). I wish that people would be more open towards art and the world in general. Anyways to me these books and the others I am going to write about carry a great message what I would like to share. And may be people who like to read and haven`t read these yet would be happy to get one of these as a gift for real.

The next post will be a continuation of this one with more book gift ideas. Plus there will be a short brainstoming post about creative Christmas ideas displaying items I like to use in the everyday.

A Tale of Love and Darkness by Amos Oz

“When I was little, my ambition was to grow up to be a book. 
Not a writer. People can be killed like ants. Writers are not 
hard to kill either. But not books: however systematically you 
try to destroy them, there is always a chance that a copy 
will survive and continue to enjoy a shelf-life in some corner
 on an out-of-the-way library somehwere in Reykjavik, 
Valladolid or Vancouver.” 
― Amos Oz, A Tale of Love and Darkness

It was after reading this book that I decided that I want to visit Israel once. To walk on the streets of Jerusalem, to see how Tel-Aviv differs from the ancient city, to visit the places where the author and his family used to live. The book has three different layers/stories running parrallel to each other. It is the rememberance of an adult person of the world of his childhood. The author recalls the stories of his childhood and the main characters around himself who played a key role in his life then. This world is full of uncles and aunts, neighbours, aquintances of his parents and of course the grandparents can not be left out either. The other layer is the story of his micro family made up of him and his parents. And the third story line is the story of early Israel how a child percieved it through listening to conversations of adults around him, catching news from the radio and seeing the world around him. I would not call this book a historical novel. It is more about that how delicate children see the world around them and how well one can recall these childhood memories even when being an adult. Besides it is also about loneliness, connectedness and disconnectedness and the question that concerns many of us sometimes: could life have been different if we would have payed more attention to certain details at some point? All in all it is a thoughtevoking book dwelling on human nature and how different we all are. There are many funny stories in it which make you laugh and some which might go deeper.

Paulo Coelho: The Alchemist

“This is why alchemy exists," the boy said. "So that 
everyone will search for his treasure, find it, and then
want to be better than he was in his former life. Lead 
will play its role until the world has no further need for lead;
and then lead will have to turn itself into gold.
That's what alchemists do. They show that, when we strive 
to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better, too.” 
― Paulo CoelhoThe Alchemist

I got this book as a present from my Mom after one of her study trips in Germany. I read it in German but since then it has been translated to almost all languages and became a classic. Coelho was not so known yet then and was not a phenomenon who is loved by some and hated by others. I read also other books from him and then stopped to read his books at some point but my love for this book did not disappear at all. There are books what you read when you are young and you feel how life might be but you still have to collect more experience about it so you read books and listen to stories. Then life happens and you read these books again to remember what is important and what can be saved still. I think The Alchemist is a book like this. I love how this book connects generations and cultures telling about an universal message of people striving for a better life/something. And about that that while they are doing so surely many unexpected things will happen and the outcome will be always something a bit different than expected at the start but not neccesarly worse. It is also a great travel novel making people want to go and explore. This book made me want to see for example the desert so much. With a minimal spoiler-effect I can tell that the book is approximately about a boy who dreams about a treasure one night and starts to follow his dream. During this journey he meets new people, travels to an other coun, finds love, looses things and starts to understand more what moves and breaks him and others. 

Mikhail Bulgakov: The Master and Margarita

“They have read your novel,’ Woland said, ‘and they 
said only one thing, that, unfortunately, it is not finished. 
So I wanted to show you your hero. He has been sitting here 
for about two thousand years, sleeping, but, when the moon is full, 
he is tormented, as you see, by insomnia. And it torments not only him, 
but his faithful guardian, the dog.
If it is true that cowardice is the most grave vice, then the dog,
at least, is not guilty of it. The only thing that brave creature ever feared 
was thunderstorms. But what can be done, the one 
who loves must share the fate of the one who is loved.” 
― Mikhail BulgakovThe Master and Margarita

I finished reading this book for the third time in Florence three years ago during my Italy trip before Christmas. When I first read this book I went straight to the last sentence before continuing reading it. It seemed a bit fuzzy to me and I was like "Ok, so let`s see where this all is leading to. Should I continue reading it or not..". For the second time I did not have this problem at all. May be I grew a bit more patient or became more open but the stories and the surrealistic world of The Master and Margarita totally amazed me. I really like the character of Pontius Pilate for example and how it tells a more human, free and artistic interpretation of a dogmatized story through the writer`s manuscript (the writer is one of the main characters of The Master and Margarita). Also other earthly rules are freely interpreted or broke in the book- people are flying and changing forms, clothes disappear and appear. It is the biggest dark fairy tale ever told about conflicting forces in and around us. I love this books so much that I do not want to give away more from it because I want everyone to read it at least once during their lives. 

And now a quote from a user called  Miriam from speaking right from my heart about the book:
"Firstly I managed to read this book when I was at school, at 10th form. I was amazed. I liked it so much, that later I read it againg, then I watched the film on it two times. Now I'm reading it once again. Some mystery, good jokes and a lot of great ideas (Bulgakov managed to describe the whole russian life of that time so... bright and truely, that...) make this book wonderful. Woland... You know, I like this charachter more thant other because he shows everything, which happens. My favourite quotes of the book are: "Yes, the man is mortal, but it could be just a half of mosfortune. bad is that sometimes he is suddenly mortal, that's the joke! And he can't say, what he will do today in the evening" "The truth is that you have a headache"and so on...I can say, that Bulgakov is a real hero, cuz he knew, that he was wrighting this book "into the table" (that means, it couldn't be published), but he finished it."Master and Margarita" takes the first place in my list of the most favourite books. And I strongly recommend to read such his stories as "The Heart of a Dog", feuilletons, essays, "The White Guard" and ""Notes of a Young Doctor"

So much for now, the second round is coming very soon!

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