This week's reads indeed are old and new, borrowed and blue...
I went to the library a couple of days ago, browsing books and hoping to find the right read without being able to name it - and found it: "Blue Nights" by Joan Didion, which is titled "Blue Hours" in German.
It’s a book that is both melancholic and so full of life: the whole book is a life reflection, non-fiction, a dealing with growing older, and being the one left of the family she and her husband and their adopted daughter were.
Here's a quote that sums up the theme and mood:
“Vanish.For more about the book, and more quotes, try the Goodreads page: Blue Nights
Pass into nothingness: the Keats line that frightened her.
Fade as the blue nights fade, go as the brightness goes.
Go back into the blue. I myself placed her ashes in the wall.
I myself saw the cathedral doors locked at six.
I know what it is I am now experiencing.
I know what the frailty is, I know what the fear is.
The fear is not for what is lost.
What is lost is already in the wall.
What is lost is already behind the locked doors.
The fear is for what is still to be lost.”
― Joan Didion, Blue Nights
From color, Didion's "Blue" book reminded me of a book i have here since a while: "Yellow" by Don Lee, a book of short stories that are interconnect in a fictional city, and all circle the theme of immigration / culture / race from different angles. Don Lee's family is from South Korea, and he lived both in Seoul and in Tokyo as a child, and now lives in Boston. The book is called “Yellow”, and of course, comes with a yellow cover. so it’s blue yellow reads for this weekend.
Not an easy read, but intense and human, the stories form a window and sometimes a door into being someone who has no easy, single answer to the question: "Where are you from?" and "What are you?" - someone who is called with the words "'ello, 'ello", and thinks the other means "Hello" - until the understanding sinks in that the 'ello is mocking him as "yellow". -
The most important painful question the book poses probably is: how to deal with a world that comes with prejudices, and how not to let those prejudices narrow your world view, and start to be the theme of your days, turn into the narrative of your life story. Which is masterfully done, by stories that circle exactly this narrative.
While looking for some web link, I came across a story again that remained in my mind since the first time I read it, a story that is set in Haiti, and like Yellow, opens a window into another world: "Things I Know About Fairy Tales" by Roxane Gay is an exceptional non-fairy-tale-story that also is about what we weave into the narrative of our life, and what we pull out:
"Once upon a time, not long ago, I was kidnapped and held captive for thirteen days. Shortly after I was freed, my mother told me there was nothing to be learned from what had happened to me. She told me to forget the entire incident because there was no moral to the story."*
Hulk Film Critic, or: The importance of Story and Character
And now, a very different read: an essay on modern superhero movies. Which, in fact, is an essay on much more: it's a reflection on story, character, the ethos of blockbusterdome, fakes, growth and truth.
It's written by Hulk. And it starts with this neat introduction:
PLEASE NOTE: THIS ESSAY HAS FOUR DIFFERENT INTRODUCTIONS. SORRY BOUT THAT, IT'S JUST THAT WE'RE ULTIMATELY GOING TO NEED THEM ALL.
...and includes priceless passages on mankind and subjectivity like this on:
Don't get tricked by the all-capital sentences, or by the title. By the way, a good way to read it, is to copy it and read it on an e-book reader.
Film Critic Hulk Smash: The importance of dramatizing character
Book Links, Previous Reads & Finding Books
are collected here: bookshelf: currently reading... there also is a visual bookshelf, just click it to get there.
Reading around the world - i really enjoy this literal discovery-tour of the world, and it now made me go and pull some useful links together in a blog post: Finding books by country: helpful links + resources
More monday reads from other bloggers: link list at book journey
And my own book... is Worl(d)s Apart. True.