Monday, September 15, 2014

So this book is for my two friends, and millions of others like them

I have ADHD, and sometimes (all the time) it makes my life (and M's life) really annoying (just unbearable). Normally, I watch a movie in 2-4 sessions. When drawing at home I need to take breaks all the time. I can work in a studio for 5-7 hours straight though, however only under stress. But one of my main frustrations is reading books. While I read news and articles all the time I'm online (and I'm usually online 12/24), I find it extremely hard to concentrate on a book. I can read a 200-300 pp book for weeks, no matter whether i like the story or not (and I happened to like 90% of books I read). However, oddly enough, I almost never have a situation when I can say "I'm not reading anything at the moment". There is always a book I started weeks ago and haven't finished yet ha haaa :/ 
But despite all this I genuinely like reading. And I'm not willing to feel guilty about my  of reading speed and a short attention span I happened to have. I don't see my life without reading and always have dozens of books in my reading list. But yeah, my relationship with books is complicated. The only nice thing about it I can think of is that I'll never run out of the best of the best in literature and will always have something to read.
We are all from different countries. We have our own cultural heritage, our own ethnic background. Which means all of us have certain fields of interests and hobbies to read about, and our own number of classics to add to a reading listsThat's why I think of books as something intimate and don't talk about them as often as I talk about movies here (or anywhere actually). However, today I wanted to talk about a couple of books which are not as popular as I'd like them to be, and I don't understand why.

I'm talking about the elegance of the hedgehog by Muriel Barbery (ok, this one is quite popular but mostly among French). It's a French novel about a girl from a wealthy family named Paloma (who tells you straight away that she is going to kill herself on her 13th birthday), and an old concierge lady living in / working for the the families from the same house. I absolutely enjoyed it from cover to cover, and when I looked through a couple of reviews on goodreads, I was confused: all I could see on the front page were one star reviews. I already started doubting myself when I realised that the arguments people used against the book I'd use to actually advertise it!

  • The two main characters [a 12yo girl and an old lady] are hypocritical snobs who accuse others of snobbery. Have you heard of Daria? What about Aubrey Plaza? They both are 10 out of 10, and Paloma is just a younger/cuter version = awesome! The concierge rocks as well.
  • Actually, the concierge and the 12 year old girl sound pretty much alike. The characterization is that thin. ... This is one of the main points of the story? ... 
  • Asia and Asians are characterized as "mysterious". Because they always were and always will be (in the most polite way, of course). I mean, it's obvious that the author just fancies them very much! There is a lot of admiration of Japanese/Chinese culture in the book.
  • It’s not clear why, in all 12 years of existence, I’ve never discovered a friend, teacher, neighbor, or relative who might complicate my unilaterally dark feelings about humanity by actually having some positive qualities. If you're a teenager from a showy shallow family who has to go to school full of children of same qualities, and you don't hate most of people around you, there is something wrong with you.
  • In fact, I spend so much time sounding intellectual that, except for my melodramatic suicidality, there’s little hint of the fact that, emotionally, I’m really just an early adolescent. Sounds like a perfect combination to me.
  • Also, readers accuse the author in name-dropping when she lets her characters talk about philosophy. This remark made me especially angry. Just thank this 12 years old girl for giving you a quick lesson in philosophy and widening your vocabulary and relax!

Anyway, I had a great pleasure listening to (and had a lot of sympathy with) a little hater and know-it-all twelvie. Moreover, I found the book quite anti-socialist, so it's all good. There is also a movie based on the book but it lacks so many details that it's really impossible to understand what is going on if you haven't read it yet. It's a nice illustration to the book though.

OH WAIT, can I just quickly draw your attention to Paloma's impressive collection of striped shirts and checkered pajamas?

* * *

The second book (it's a 10 pp story in a book of short stories, to be precise) I'd like to mention is a perfect day for bananafish by Salinger (you can easily find it online). I'd also like to be short with this one: this is my absolute favorite story of all time. Three years ago I showed it to M and made it one of his favorite stories too (regardless the fact that he doesn't like Salinger that much). It's a story about a deeply sad man, with his extroverted young wife, and 3-5 yo little girls (whose company he enjoys way more) as supportive characters. It's only 10 pp long but there is so much happening in this story, you won't get it until you read it several times.

[When you grow tired of catching all the nuances, you can read this review, the lady mentions some important moments there.]

Well, that's all I had for today. I guess, the reason I write about all this on the internet is that I simply don't have anyone around to discuss these things with, so I end up talking to myself and then write it all on my blog to get it out of my head. Plus, some people message me from time to time asking about books I read / movies I watch / music I listen to. So, everyone benefits in the end, right? Anyway, hope you all are ok.

Till next time! (◡‿◡✿)

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