Monday, March 25, 2013

reading: a forbidden book + a (non)diva diary + a memory guide

This blog post is inspired by the reading challenge: 7 Continents, 7 Billion People, 7 Books - Reading Challenge 2013 and by the "It's Monday! What are you reading?" series, more about both, at the bottom of this post.

A Forbidden Novel: "Metro" 
Egypt: that is the world heritage of the pyramids, the Sphinx, the oldest country in the world, the glorious past of the Pharaohs, the first financial system, you name it. Also, it's a country in turmoil. A book that sketches an image of life in Egypt, and addresses the problems that lead to the current situation openly - so openly that it ended up being forbidden - is "Metro" by Madgy al-Shafee. It's a rough, almost desperate ride of a story, taking the reader through a Cairo that is defined by difficulty, dreams, corruption, and a lingering revolution.

Published in January 2008, the book soon was censored for "infringing public decency". It got published outside Egypt, though, and received prizes. Here's a video that includes a report on the situation and an interview with Al-Shafee, and moments from Cairo:


Given the background and prizes, I was sure that the regional libraries would have a copy - wrong I was. But they tracked down the book in Kassel library, and it got delivered from there. If you are interested in having a look inside, the magazine Words without Borders has the first chapters online in English: from "Metro" (the navigation is on the right side). And here's a bit more about it, in a new article: Formerly banned graphic novel ‘Metro’ now available in Cairo


A (non)diva diary
Of course, when picking up "Metro" at the library, I had a look around - and in the non-fiction section, came across a book that continues the "travel / long distance trek / stepping out" theme of the last weeks, with reads like "Out of the window & into the mountains" & Deep Country..":

Helene Grimaud, a French pianist who now lives in the States, at some point decided she needs to spend some time alone, and went to Europe to walk across the Alps. I didn't know her, and was amazed to read that she is a star pianist who at home, has created a home for wolves. I just started to read into her book. It's touching, open, and you can feel her two sides: the cultural/musical side, and the longing/connection to the wild, which probably inspired the title for her first book: "Wild Harmonies: A Life of Music and Wolves"
here's her homepage: Helene Grimaud - and here's a clip with an interview that is both about her music and the wolves.


A memory book
The third book i am reading is from the "How To"-kind: "Memory Book - the Classic Guide to improving your memory at work, at school and at play". I looked for it after watching a video about memorizing techniques, and feeling: wow, i want to try that, maybe that will help me to remember names of people and places and films etc. better. (for me, it's much easier to remember whole stories than names).

Here's the video that made me go and look for such books, it's from Joshua Foer, at Ted Talks. Foer wrote a book, too, and the memory book is one of the books he refers to in his talk, as one of the classic guides.



Global Reading Challenge
This blog post is inspired by a Global Reading Challenge, more about it here: 7 Continents, 7 Billion People, 7 Books - Reading Challenge 2013 

The link is also listed in the "It's Monday! What are you reading?" series that is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey, participating blogs are listed in this Linky Book List

Previous reading blog entries are collected here: bookshelf: currently  reading... there also is a visual bookshelf, just click it to get there:

And my own new book... is Worl(d)s Apart. True.


Heather said...

Oooh, what are the other two memory books you read?

Dorothee said...

Hi Heather! I'm reading just this one memory book, the "2 other books" refere to the travelbook and the graphic novel above. But Joshua Foer (the one in the clip) actually wrote a memory book that i probably will look for, too: "Moonwalking With Einstein"