Answering Kirsty's Book Challenge 
Tuesday, 24 .October, 2006, 16:56 - English Entries, Literature, Online/Blogs
Kirsty, now in Amsterdam, has challenged me. Thanks a lot for that and don't believe what she writes about me. It took me too long (as always), but here is my answer:

1. The book that changed my life

Kassandra (Cassandra) by Christa Wolf.

Cassandra is the daughter of king Priamos of Troy and she has the ability to see the future, but she has also the problem that nobody ever believes what she foresees. The god Apollo cursed her with that. The story starts at the very end, when she is brought to the home of Agamemnon, the leader of the Greece army during the Trojan war.

It is the story of a woman, who is forced to get rid of all illusions and to look beyond all the lies around and inside her. This sounds great, as I wrote it here, but it is painful and that pain is expressed on every page.

At least in German the language of the book is simply amazing. Wolf writes cold but never boring. She writes the words of a person, that has left her whole life behind her, who saw the destruction of her home, but had to destroy everything inside her before.

2. The book that I have read more than once

The long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler.

A story about friendship and love.

Ever from reading "The Big Sleep" I was a fan of Philip Marlowe, the great detective, whose ability in solving cases is surpassed only by his bad luck with women (they are either the victim or the perp - sometimes both), his loneliness and his cynical humor about himself and the world. Chandlers language is very poetic without being at any point pretentious or pathetic.

This is the best Marlowe story that exists. It is beautiful and grabbed me from the first sentence to the very last. It is a true work of art, not just a simple detective novel. I think I read it three times and I will for sure read it several times again.

3. The book I would take on a desert island

Also sprach Golem by Stanislaw Lem (original Title: Golem XIV)

A machine that develops higher intelligence than humans and then starts giving lectures to humans. This is not funny, this is amazing - it deconstructs mankind to a mental level that is close to subatomic.

But as this wonderful work is not available in English, I dare to chose another one:

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles – by Haruki Murakami

I will never understand this book. I cannot say anything about it, as I, as said, did not understand it. It is a perfect story, one can follow it from A to Z, but everything in it makes no sense at all and you need to re-invent logic to come to some clues. A fantastic book in the true sense of the meaning - but be careful, it is very dark and depressive. So don't read that during Northern Winters.

4. The book that made me silly

The Illuminatus! Trilogy by Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea.

If you have never taken drugs and you read that book, you will know how it is on LSD. It is such a big lie, with too much truth in it to not completly confuse you. Since this book I love it when a story plays tricks on me. Oh, it is good to be silly!

5. The book that made me cry

Betty Blue by Philippe Djian

Djian is one of the greatest writers that live on this planet. He makes no fuss, his books are driving you forward without a paragraph of hesitation - there is always something happening, most of the time it is about women and sex, but there are also the normal cruelties of life. It is highly unfortunate that his books are not all translated into English language - in fact Betty Blue, which is without doubt his best novel, is the only one.

In a way, this book tells the perfect late 20th century love story. It is charming, gentle and seductive. And then again it is wild, furious and brutal. And if the reader’s heart does not stop during reading, she or he will cry at one point - that is for sure.

6. The book I would like to see written

...challenges reality.

7. The book I hoped would never have been written

The Fifth Mountain [no link provided for this] by this Pauolo Cohello or however you write this overblown adjective-thrower. This is the book I regret every single movement of my hand, while reading the first third of it - after that I gave up. Every author should be forced to read his or her work at least once again after five years. I hope P.C. does this and suffers like I did.

If somebody gives this to you as a present, treat the person as your enemy.

8. The book I am currently reading

The Book of Illusions by Paul Auster

I read this again, it is great, completely self-contained. From a certain perspective I regard this as the perfect story. I can only recommend to read this, it is good entertainment at first sight, but the longer you think about it, the deeper you will get confused and will be left with nothing.

9. The book I’ve been meaning to read

The Feynman Lectures on Physics by Richard P. Fenyman

Jukka took the Bible (without stating the author of that book), I take the other side of the medal, that explains the Universe. I cannot count how often I tried to read and understand this, it all sounds easy, but it is not possible to follow Richard. When I am old, I will be wise enough to just not care and will read it for fun. For sure I will! And until then, I will try to read it again and again.

10. I challenge the following five bloggers

Andreas Winterer - http://www.senfblog.de
Lewis - http://www.lewism.org
Anja Millen - http://www.corrupted.de
James - http://thefinnishgambit.blogspot.com
Sreehari - to finally establish a blog (it's about time) and to write about his readings
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