Friday, March 28, 2008

Done

This is really just a quick one, to explain myself a bit, I guess.
Things aren't exactly rosy for me right now and I'm really fed up with everything. Most of all with my inability to learn from past mistakes and make the same ones over and over again. I keep forgetting that the only person I can rely on is myself.
So to keep this short, as promised - I'm switching my mobile phone off for the time being. Same goes for my home phone. Nor do I intend to write or reply to emails much.
I just really, really need a break. To try to focus on who really matters (I DO) and maybe get the hang of how to deal with being completely and utterly overwhelmed by a lot of things.
I shall try to update this blog once in while so you know I'm not dead but really, it's time for me to take a break.
Peace.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

A spectacular book

Whilst I am an avid reader and can, at times, read up to five books a week (yes, that was my record a few years back), I VERY rarely find books that leave me spent, deliriously happy, teary-eyed, exhilarated, shaking and smiling all at the same time.
In fact, I'm not sure I remember any book doing all the above mentioned things to me. Before this one. "A place called here" by Cecelia Ahern.

I spend a LOT of time in libraries. Always have. And I have an affinity for chick-lit and (auto) biographies. When it comes to the chick-lit genre I choose books by their cover. As ridiculous as this may sound, a bright, colorful, shiny cover indicates to me that this a book that won't be serious, won't be about something that happened in real life, won't include stuff that will make me even more morose when I'm actually trying to relax. So the colored covers always win. They jump out at me and usually, after reading the summary of the story on their back, I pick them up, take them home and read them.
Most of the time, I read them very, very quickly since they're really easy to "digest" and that's how I sometimes end up reading a book deep into the night just for the sake of finishing it. Because most of the time, I don't find the book all that good or the writing all that compelling. At that point I would just get deep enough into the story to want to know how it ends. So I finish it. Mostly I'm disappointed by the ending, sometimes I think it was a nice book and very rarely, I actually skim the pages to the end just so I can pick up vital bits of information that help me understand the ending chapters.
So, to summarize - finding a book that is DIFFERENT and actually makes me WANT to inhale every word written in it is ridiculously rare.
I picked up "A place called here" because it had a pink cover and because it had Cecelia Ahern's name on it. I had read a few of her previous books but I couldn't actually tell you what they were about so they can't have impressed me that much. Still, I took it and started it yesterday evening.
The concept started out to be completely different from all other books I had read. The main character (and don't worry, I won't give too much away so as to not spoil it for you), is this woman who is obsessed with finding things and finding people that disappear. The way the book is written is so very clever. Partly written in first person, you go through the story alongside her, seeing it all happen through her eyes and remembering the past through her memories. And then it's also written in the third person, following another character who, through his brief contact with her character, follows his own storyline but also leads hers into center stage.

I was a bit confused at first, not quite understanding what was going on (which is why I didn't read it to the end last night) but as I turned the pages, the mystery of what was happening to her just gripped me. I woke up earlier than my alarm clock was supposed to this morning and decided to spend the extra awake hour reading before going to work (yes, I have a new job - more about that at some other point, in another post). And that's where it got really good. Really interesting. But I only had that one hour.
I set off for work, packed the book, planning to take it with me to Subways in my lunchbreak, so I could have a sub and some peace and quiet to continue reading.
It is so very rare when you come across something that gives you such pleasure just to think about it. You know the kind of pleasure that makes you think you feel like a kid on Christmas Eve, giddy with excitement. This book did just that. The morning flew by (faster than usual at work, which is dreadfully boring) and at 1pm on the dot, I got up, took my bag and off to Subways. I spent my lunch hour continuing to read, revelling at the twists and turns in the story, at the way my heartrate increased at certain passages. I reluctantly returned to work but was wearing a smile on my face that I hadn't worn in a long time. To know that I still had something like half a book of that fantastic material to read, I couldn't wait to get home and finish it! And in fact, not just finish it, but read every single word in it!
For the past few hours I have sat in my favorite, supercomfy chair and I've read through the book, word for word, page by page. Particularly towards the end I couldn't stop waves of goosebumps making their way all over my body, it was so absolutely incredible.
I guess part of this reaction comes from the fact that I didn't expect it to be this good and that it's really so out of the ordinary from anything anyone has ever written about.
I'm amazed at the thought proccess behind this, at the way this story unfolds, at the way it is told, the way the characters are written so beautifully different from all others I have ever encountered in books.
As for chick-lit... not so much. No usual male/female relationship stuff going on in there, the basis of all chick-lit novels, I find. Quite the opposite, this is a very egocentric tale about one person's obsessions and how they accompany her life and where they lead her. So in a way, maybe it could be a science fiction novel but even that wouldn't be right.
I guess it is what it is, in the end. A spectacular book that will most certainly take pride of place in my collection of books, a book that I will continue to recommend to everyone I know, including YOU because it is a must read!!!!!