Thursday, 7 May 2009
I started reading "As Benevolentes" by Jonathan Littel quite some time ago but as it is very visible by its size, it isn´t very easy to read. Well, maybe the size doesn´t actually tell it, but the theme (World War II) is very dense and the same is true for the pages´visual appearance: the author uses no paragraphs, or almost no paragraphs, and that means that you need large amounts of time to get into the subject and read a considerable chunk of text without getting lost. It´s not uninteresting, not at all; it´s just that for the graphic designer in me it is difficult to read. I love white space but don´t know what happened to it in this book. No white space whatsoever, just lines and lines and lines with almost no space between them.
Anyway, the story it tells isn´t a nice one either: the main character was a german army officer during World War II and tells the story through his perspective. He tells about the conflicts the arian philosophy and his homossexuality raised in him. Some parts of the story are very engaging, some are so appalling that it takes time for me to get through them. It´s a very good read, nevertheless, but not for the faint of heart.
Totally the opposite are the books by Malcom Gladwell. I read "Blink" during the weekend and loved it. It´s interesting and I realize that I love that style of writing. I call it "magazine writing" - a term that, I reckon, lots of people might use too. So, to get back to his books, the topics are interesting, the style of writing is very fluid and engaging and the data is presented in a way that makes it easy for me to understand, relate and remember. I´m now well into "The Outliers" and enjoying it almost as much - not just as much because I´m reading a spanish translation, albeit a good one, I always prefer to read the original. But that´s what I had close at hand.
"Mujeres que corren con los lobos" by Clarissa Pinkola Estés is like a referral book to me. I´ve been reading it slowly for months now and I find it to be the best way to assimilate all the information that it contains. It´s been a revelation, so it works best for me to take it in little sips.
Well, last but not least, a mention to what I read during the vacation in Australia: "Eat Pray Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert - I was probably the last woman on earth to have read it but if someone hasn´t yet, then I´ll recommend it - and "Dom Casmurro", by Machado de Assis, one of the classics of brazilian literature, of which I know so little. Both are good and entertaining reads, and both have something to teach too.