Right. There’s a new category of mine. My 10 of things. I will enlighten you guys with anything that’s been interesting me and giving you 10 best examples of it. Let’s start with neverending passion of mine. Books.
This should be easy. On the other hand – how am I going to pick just 10? I’ll try. These are not in any particular order. My favourites do change.
J.R.R. Tolkien: The Lord of the Rings
What can I say? Amazing story, huge and dark. And I love his words about how the story started to be something else as he planned in the beginning, how it changed something ‘dark and scary and not suitable for children or any others’ as himself put it (I’m terribly sorry, I can’t remember the exact words, but the thought was that). I love the darkness, the despair and the hope behind it. It is a great story about friendship, never giving up, and that everyone of us can have a huge impact on the world we all share. I just love it.
The first time I tried to read it I didn’t understand a word. I mean, I was totally overwhelmed with hobbits and all, I didn’t have a clue what he was talking about. I kept reading just because one boy I liked had told me that he loved this book. And on the second time I read it, I kinda unerstood. Tolkien introduced me to the world of fantasy and my life has never been same again.
Jean M. Untinen-Auel: The Clan of the Cavebear
I first read this book when I was 6-years-old. I know, strange, right? My mom let me read it because she didn’t think I could ever read it through. But I did. I think this was one reason I started to love books.
The story is very compelling, I just can’t put the book down when I start to reading it. I have been reading it through once in a year as long as I can remember. I’ll bet I would give an answer just about any question from the book. It’s interesting because the life in the ice-age is so different from ours and still so much same. The ancient ways of doing things – they kept me interested.
Jane Austen: Emma
Ohh. I just love Jane Austen! She has so unfailing style. I love the silent humour in the book, the feeling about authenticity. I can imagine myself living in that old times. Why did I pick Emma, when Jane Austen has so many great books? Well, I think this was my first book of hers I read and even though I expected to find very dull and old book I found very living, fresh and entertaining one. The surprise made it even better.
And of course, we all love happy endings, don’t we?
Stephen King: The Shining
The most frightening book I have ever read. The only one I wasn’t brave enough to read after sunset. The only one I had to – yes – get off my hands after reading it halfway through. Second time I managed to go all the way. I *love* the book. I love Stephen King, too! He has this thing with words. He can make anything scary, even if it doesn’t seem to be anything but just an ordinary everydayish thing. And every word he writes makes the reader (meaning me) want to read even more. I wish I could have a chance to have a chat with him.
I have collected some of his sayings to my quote collection. See: ‘People ask me how do I write my books. One word at a time.‘ Or describing the feeling when writing is easy as ‘seeing through the paper’ (I agree, completely). Or saying that ‘writing is the greatest type of magic’ – he continues with saying that it works from time to another, it’s kind a telepathy: I’m imagining in my head a big, hairy elephant with a pink tie around his neck – and, oh, I think you saw it in your head, too!
Oh, yes, The Shining. Do read it, please, but take my advice, don’t read it alone!
Colleen McCullough: The Thorn Birds
Ok, well this is a bit different story from the previous one. I first saw the movies made from the book and though I’m afraid it’s never a right order of doing things I still loved the book. It’s a long family history and a love story. I love it. There’s a love between a catholic priest and a girl and their lifes just aren’t that easy. I like the way the author can describe the harshness of life and the people making difficult decisions and surviving with disasters. It’s a huge story, I like get swept away with it from time to time.
And yes, I cried.
Donna Tartt: The Secret History
This one was recommended to me by one of my teachers in the creative writing class. The teacher told me that it has something in it she wanted us as her students to learn. It was a long time only in my mind that maybe I should read it, but I never got the urge to do so. Then one day I found the book in a flea market and I just needed to buy it. I buy a lot of books – you should see my house. I definately need a library room of my own!
Anyways, the book. It was completely different from what I expected it to be, but it kept me deeply interested untill the end. It is a dark and mystical and rough story and it takes the reader to the world of university and belonging – untill it turns upside down. It’s something alike as in Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky. Our actions have consequences and how do we manage to live with that makes us who we are. I recommend this book, too.
Väinö Linna: The Unknown Soldier
Finally something Finnish stuff. I apologize, I don’t read Finnish literature as much as I should, at all. This one is written in 1954 and it’s about the Continuation War. The view of the story is from the soldiers view, their experiences and thoughts. Allthough I don’t enjoy reading war related books, this one is so good, it was nearly impossible to let go of the book. I know, I have said that couple of times already, but this one, it’s… I don’t know. It could be that it is based on the real thing, this did actually happen, the war is cruel and no-one should ever have to face it. That’s my opinion. When reading this, you can easily imagine you’re there in the frontline yourself.
And, yes, I did cry. There’s no happy endings in war. The book sure is worth of reading.
Ken Follett: The Pillars of the Earth
What a huge, heavy brick is this one! (No pic of it, though, sorry, it is not found in my bookshelf, what a pity.) It’s about the middle ages and the writing style is very realistic and even rough, there’s no needless preciosity in it. There are lots and lots of characters and the reader is about to know almost everything about everyone. That, I think, is a talent! I mean, I never got even a slightest bored when reading it through. I can’t remember the exact amount of the pages, but there are over one thousand of them. (At least in the edition I read.)
This was recommended to me by a close friend of mine and I trusted her word and borrowed the book from a library. I didn’t regret believing her.
Thomas Mann: Doctor Faustus
Yes, this is one of my favourites. I got interested of the idea of the book when so many others seem to refer to it somehow. I have heard or read plenty of times something about Dr. Faustus and making a deal with the devil, and so I decided to have a closer look about it so I could know exactly what they were talking about. At first it felt almost impossible to read. I have been told that I write too long sentences in my stories, but oh, my teacher should have tried Mr. Mann’s texts! One sentence could reach from the top of the page till the very end of it.
You just can’t read this book through with just one eye, you will need your whole attention – and brain, too. When I finally got used to the writing style, I got highly amused by it. And now I can proudly say that I really have read it through. Someone said to me once that (or maybe I read it from somewhere – sorry about my exact references..) when you read a book with time, not devour it in one day, you somehow grow with the book. It was nicely said and with this book I totally agree with it. You have more time getting to know the characters, the story, you can ponder upon in in your own head, and I feel it can be a deeper experience. I usually do read very fast and too many pages at a time, but this one, I think, I read it like a month. After I put the book aside, I felt a bit lost for some time, when I had no book to go to. I mean, I had, of course, I read all the time, but not that book anymore, the familiar one. If you have patience, take a look of this, too.
That’s nine. Hmph.
This was harder than I thought. I can’t seem to pick just one more. There are so many of them! How could I choose? If I go on, I won’t stop, well, like ever. Gosh. I thought I could have chosen Torgrim Eggen’s (oh, there’s no English version, I couldn’t find anyways, so let’s put it in the original language, Norwegian) ‘Pynt’, a very compelling story, chilling and so strange and amusing in the same time. Or then I could have chosen Virpi Hämeen-Anttila’s ‘Alastonkuvia’, (meaning something as ‘nude paintings’) that softly charms you and never lets go, the delicate feelings and the beautifully chosen words paint the images you just can’t look away from. (That’s Finnish, btw.) Or something by Torey Hayden, John Grisham, Terry Brooks… Oh, yes, or Agatha Christie!
See? I just can’t pick one. This category should be put ‘my 10-or-any-number-I-feel-most-apt-at-the-time-I’m-writing-my-blog of things’. Let’s see if I can hit the 10 with the next one. Wish me luck!
And happy reading!