Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight (Zimbabwe)

9780375758997

Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight by Alexandra Fuller, was a library find. I did not go into the library looking for this book. I went in with a list. This is where my reading is going to start getting complicated. Three out of the four books that I have chosen to read are not in my library’s system. The one that they did have I had to place a hold on, the other three are coming from university. What is the point in all this? First this is going to slow me down, I knew that this would be a factor, but I thought it would come later in the year when I started working on the not so popular in the news countries. Second, you never know what you  are going to find in wandering the stacks.

That is how I happened to find this book, wandering through the stacks. What made me pick it up was the title. I have a thing for dogs, and I wanted to see what this one was about. Then I read that it was about growing up in Rhodesia during the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. There are land mines, there is racism, there is child abuse, rape, this in many cases would have not been an easy book to get through. There were a few times I had to put it down and take a deep breath. The abuse and rape were delicately handled. Some of the gore was a bit more graphic.

That is not saying this is an awful book. It is not, you think it would be.  I do not know how the author managed to write it like she did. It is nearly all from the point of view of a child. The things that adults think are BIG like war, are just there. The dogs, the horses, the food, the bugs are the big thing. Her Parents are a BIG thing, as are her siblings. The book is in many ways surprisingly intimate.

What did I learn form this book? That one day going to some part of Africa might be fun. The other is that I had a very safe childhood compared to the author.

QUOTES

“Mum sits back in her seat and slides the Uzi forward out the window.”

“”I’m sure they are not allowed to drink out of the same mug as us.””

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The Fall (Brazil)

9781590517000

The Fall A Fathers Memoir in 424 Steps by Diogo mainardi. This was to have been a memoir about a father and a son with cerebral palsy. It was a very short book, each section had a number from one to 424. Some of the sections were a paragraph or two some were just a sentence.

After I read the book and then went on Goodreads to read the reviews, I think I got a different book then what other people out there had read. To me this book just seemed to focus on art history. Who designed and built the hospital that Tito was born in, who painted pictures of it, and what other works that they did.

The parts of the book that I found most interesting were the parts where the author quoted articles that he wrote about his son. I wish that the book had been filled with those. They would have made much more interesting reading.

One thing that struck me about the book was  that the author did not listen to his wife. When the were walking up to the hospital she wanted the birth do be someplace else as she had “a bad feeling”. He of course insisted that the baby be born there. While the doctor was at fault in the birthing process, the author then goes on to blame everyone else in connection with the hospital for the mistake that led to his son’s cerebral palsy. I am rambling.

I did not get any good quotes out of this book, and so the one listed is one of the lines that he repeated several times in the book.

QUOTES

“That’s what Tito’s story is like: Circular.”

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running (Japan)

9780307389831

With the long title of What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami I expected a rather long book. That is not what I got, I got a deep book. I do not read reviews on a book before I read them. I read them afterwards to see if others thought the same thing about the books. In this case, out of the few that I read, I was the only one who found the book more philosophical then not.

This was for me an in-depth look at how one man views the world, and it was incredible. This book for me so far has been the one that I have gotten the most out of, and have enjoyed the most. It is his thoughts, memories, and philosophy that made the book enjoyable.

There was not a lot in here on the culture of Japan, but that is ok. Reading and seeing someone’s mind open like that is an mazing thing. I would like to think that if Mr. Murakami and I were to meet we might become friends.

One of the things that I have done when I read is keep a quote journal. I actually have two now, one for this reading adventure, and one for everyday reading. Each page in my read around the world journal is to be dedicated to one book. Not only quotes go on this page but feeling, responses and thoughts. So that when I have the time to sit down and blog about the book. I can go back and look at my notes. This book just on quotes took up a page and a quarter. It was just that good.

QUOTES

“No matter how long you stand there examining yourself naked before a mirror, you’ll never see reflected what’s inside.”

“This takes time of course, but sometimes taking time is actually a short cut.”

“Emotional hurt is the price a person has to pay in order to be independent.”

The Ice Queen (Germany)

9780312604264

 

The Ice Queen by Nele Neuhaus is my read for Germany. I know this is my second mystery but I was in the mood for that type of story.

When I read this book some of the personal interactions between the detectives did not make much sense to me. Then I found out that the books are not being translated in order and this is actually the third one in the set. That is ok for this book. There is just a little of the past that is missing, but it could also be seen as a stand alone.

In the book there is no record of the year that this is to have taken place, now if I wanted to I could do the math, I don’t.  I bring this up because if the book is to have taken place when it was written then I learned that Germany is still very much affected by World War II. There are Nazi and old weapons and secrets from the war. I am not in a position to judge on how much a war effects a place and the memories of the people that live there. I did find it interesting how the author tied them all together.

In all the characters of the book my favorite had to be Pia Kirckhoff. She is the one who while not seeming to have a great grasp on who the killer was, had the best grasp on reality. Her observations about live for the different classes that are represented in the book was wonderful. Her understanding of the people close to her was refreshing.

One thing about the book that I did find a bit annoying was that everyone had a secret. I mean EVERYONE, and none of them were stated from the first. They came about later. There was also the relationship between the one couple that kind of creeped me out. They are both adults, it is just that they are related.

QUOTES

“He hurried to lower his head again and cursed his faith, which made him a captive of his acquired moral standards.”

“The carelessly prepared food, the loss of individuality, the lass then satisfactory care by surly and chronically overworked staff members who never had time for personal conversations- a life shouldn’t have to end like that.”

Last Rituals (Iceland)

9780061143366

Last Rituals by Yrsa Sigurdardottir was my look into Iceland. This is one of the countries that I would one day like to visit in real life. The pictures that I see of the country side just amaze me, and I would love to take my camera and see what I can get there.

My goal in reading the world is to learn something about each country that I happen to read about. I did learn something about the religious history of Iceland and about the witch trials there. I did not know that in Iceland that more men were accused, and killed then women.  I did not know about the Irish Monks and their caves, in fact I am going to have to do a bit of looking into on them.

A few things I liked about the book.  The author did not within the first few pages tell us who the killer is, it is not until the last chapter that is reviled. I like that in a mystery I do not want to know the “who did it” right from the start. I also did not figure out who the killer was, that for me is a bonus! What is the point in reading a mystery when it is easy to solve.

I did have a hard time liking both the main characters in the book. Thora, the lawyer did not come across as the heroin. She was childish, rude, and shallow. Matthew, the private security was just creepy.

One of the things about the book that really bothered me was the focus on appearance. I do not know if this is cultural or just something that the author is very interested in. Thora, makes fun of her secretary because she is over weight.”. . .so huge she has her own center of gravity.” Matthew, makes fun of Thora’s winter wear, and everyone who is not a friend of the murder victim comments on his appearance. His is a bit unconventional, but having spent the last few years hanging out with people who are into body modification I did not see that as strange at all. I was rather offended in this aspect of the book. I do hope that it is more of the author coming through on that then the people of Iceland.

QUOTES

“His great achievement was to wake up in the morning in the first place.”

 

King Peggy (Ghana)

9780385534321

King Peggy is a memoir written by Peggielene Bartels and Eleanor Herman. It tells the story of King Peggy’s first two years as king, and what she did to change the village that she is king over.

This is a simple but well written book, that shows the struggles in changing a village and the minds of a people. It all starts with a late night phone call, and thus her kingship begins.

Unlike western culture she is not crowned but enstooled. There are two stools, a public one and then the stool that represents her spirit. That is kept lock up in a room with all the other stools from past kings. This leads into the way people in her village view religion. There is the honoring of local gods and goddesses, as well as the western Jesus. Both are respected and held in honor.

After the enstooling, there is something called a Gazetting. The gazetting is where the other kings admitted King Peggy to the Counsel of Kings and her name gets put in all the local papers. That is where the term gazetting came from.

One of the biggest things that she had to face was the corruption of the Elders on her counsel. They had been stealing the tax money for years and so the repairs for the palace, and the funeral for the last king all had to come out of Peggy’s pocket. Her money from working as a secretary at the embassy of Ghana in Washington D.C.  How she handled all of the obstacles that came her way show that when the Schnapps steamed up it chose the right person to be king.

As I was reading this book I wrote down some words that seemed to be a prevalent theme in it. Those words are bribe, hope, corruption, keystone cop. This last one has to do with the funeral of the king in the fridge. That is all I am going to say about that. You have to ask me or read the book. Read the book, it is better in her words.

QUOTES

“. . . which we haven’t done since the late king in the fridge went to the village to cure himself.”

“We are poor in gadgets, but rich in so many other ways. And America, despite all it’s riches, and despite all the buttons you can push there, is in some respects poor.”

“I am going to squeeze you balls so hard your eyes will pop out.”

The Patience Stone (Afganistan)

9781590513446The Patience Stone written by Atiq Rahimi translated by Polly McLean  is more of a novella then an actual book. That is not to say that the impact was any less.

In the introduction Mr. Rahimi states that he wrote this book in French because if he wrote it in Persian then there would be self censorship. I thought that this was an odd statement to make until I read the book.

It was disturbing to my western eyes to see what a woman had to go through to survive in her country. There were many similarities to women the world over. Fear being one of the biggest ones, fear of rejection, rape, abandonment, survival.

The woman did what she had to to survive. From the time that she was a child all she sought was safety and love. Things that we all crave. Her restrictions imposed by a war, by religion are things that I do not fully understand. I could understand her pain, her fear, and even her triumph over her circumstances.

In the background of the story is a war. The shells rock the house, the bullets fly, soldiers appear and disappear. The war is a character in itself, one that we do not learn who is fighting and for what. Just that it is.

In reading this book I did have the thought that for a majority of women this is life. I have hope that there is a minority out there that will change this. Men who see daughters as special children, husbands who do love their wives, mother in laws who do respect the women their sons bring home. That hope is a good thing.

Quote

“You talk to it, and talk to it. And the stone listens, absorbing all your words, all your secrets, until one fine day it explodes. Bursts into tiny pieces.” She cleans and moistens the man’s eyes. “And on that day you are set free from all your pain, all your suffering …”
Atiq Rahimi, The Patience Stone     Quote