Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Book survey

You already know that books are a (too) big part of my life. So I read Hayley's blog and discovered a book survey. And I realized this would be an easy blog post :) so I took it. It took me probably a lot more time than to write a normal entry (fail), but anyway, here it is:

1. What author do you own the most books by?

My book collection is fluid, but right now... Lemony Snicket.

2. What book do you own the most copies of?

That's a tie between many books that I own the English and German version of. *oops... did I end that sentence right?*

3. Did it bother you that both those questions ended with prepositions?

Well... not really. English is my second language and I don't care as much as I should about these things :D

4. What fictional character are you secretly in love with?

I rarely fall in love with book characters, I'm a shallow and visual person :) Give me cute actors anytime. Wait... what does that tell you about me? Forget I wrote that.

5. What book have you read the most times in your life (excluding picture books read to children; i.e., Goodnight Moon does not count)?

I have read some books like The Alchemist, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, City of dreaming books etc a number of times. Maybe 4-5x? But I don't really keep track.

6. What was your favorite book when you were ten years old?

At 10 years, my favourite book was Drachenfeuer (Dragon fire) by Wolfgang Hohlbein. When I was 10, Harry Potter didn't exist yet ;)

7. What is the worst book you've read in the past year?

Well there is the usual suspect (B** Dawn), I also hated the brilliant book "Noone belongs here more than you", because it depressed the hell out of me.

8. What is the best book you've read in the past year?

I've read a huge number of great books in the last year (Kite runner, John Green's books etc come to mind), but the one that spoke most to me was "Perks of being a wallflower".

9. If you could force everyone you tagged to read one book, what would it be?

I don't know how to answer this one. Forcing a book on someone is never a good idea. Maybe I'd force the HP series on people who think the books are as bad as the movies sometimes make them seem.

10. What book would you most like to see made into a movie?

I only want to see movies made into books that have a strong fantastic element, just to be amazed by special effects and foreign landscapes :) The character development is better in books anyway. So for this reason, I'd like to see the Otherland tetralogy as a movie. Mainly because I didn't like the books, but I liked the idea behind them.

11. What book would you least like to see made into a movie?

Oh God, so many. The least would actually be The perks... because I could imagine someone wanting to make it into a movie, but in my opinion it's impossible to do, because the beauty of the book is inside of the protagonist's head.

12. Describe your weirdest dream involving a writer, book, or literary character.

All my dreams are weird and I consider every dream that a writer appears in as weird, but no particular one comes to mind.

13. What is the most lowbrow book you've read as an adult?

I'm with Hayley on that one. The Twilight series was probably the one I was actually hesitant to even tell people that I'm reading it. (Mind you, I read all 4 books in one week).

14. What is the most difficult book you've ever read?

Gödel, Escher, Bach. It killed my mind. In hindsight, it was stupid to try and read it in English at that time.

15. What is the most obscure Shakespeare play you've seen?

I'm perfectly content in watching non-obscure Shakespeare plays, thank you very much :)

16. Do you prefer the French or the Russians?

Noone beats the Russians in literary style and general grandeness, but I personally prefer the French.

17. Roth or Updike?

I haven't read much of both, so I'll not pass judgement.

18. David Sedaris or Dave Eggers?

I've only read Sedaris, so Sedaris it will be :) He cracks me up.

19. Shakespeare, Milton, or Chaucer?

Shakespeare. Just 'cause.

20. Austen or Eliot?

Austen. A bit hesitant on my part, but Austen. Definitely.

21. What is the biggest or most embarrassing gap in your reading?

I've had times during my university studies where I read only less than 10 books a year.

22. What is your favorite novel?

What does "favourite" mean. The best one? The one I like to re-read most? The one that spoke to me the most? I can't possibly answer that, but one of the titles that up there is 100 years of solitude.

23. Play?

Not too much into modern plays, so some Shakespeare for me please. I don't go to the theatre often though.

24. Poem?

Yes. Oh you meant a specific one? Dickinson in the English language and many many in German. A specific one is difficult, maybe "Die Fahrende" by Gertrud Kolmar.

25. Essay?

I don't know too many essays, but one that stuck with me is about the genius cult in the late 1700.

26. Work of nonfiction?

I like books like Fermat's enigma, Universe in a nutshell etc.

27. Who is your favorite writer?

At the moment? I really like Maureen Johnson ;)

28. Who is the most overrated writer alive today?

Oi. That's a mean question because you single handedly insult everyone who loves this writer. If I had to choose, I'd vote for Steph. Meyer. Simply because in her case the difference between deserved acclaim and actual success is largest.

29. What is your desert island book?

One book would be kind of cruel, but seeing as I haven't gotten far in "Infinite Jest" yet, I'd take that one and hope that boredom would force it on me.

30. And... what are you reading right now?

I'm a bit ashamed to say I'm reading Diabolus by Dan Brown (don't yell at me, I'm on holiday!) and will soon start HP7, Catcher in the Rye and many more (still 2 more weeks of vacation :)

Lyrics of the day: Put the book back on the shelf by Belle & Sebastian

Sebastian you're in a mess
You had a dream, they called you king
Of all the hipsters, is it true?
Or are you still the queen?

Like getting blood out of a stone
The city left you all alone
You came to dance, but there's no poignancy
When they all leave you standing alone

The wider issues of the day
Don't interest you, you'll have to pay
For looking at the floor
When people talk to you

You wrote a book about yourself
The people left it on the shelf
You'll write another one
Now you've got a story that's worth talking about

Are you happy with yourself?
Are you talking to yourself?
Are you happy with yourself?
Put the book back on the shelf

I know the company you keep
You're on the sofa hidden deep
While on the telly Sid James speaks
To you like God

You're always looking for a sign
But boy you blow it every time
You hear a voice begin to speak
You ignore it and go softly to sleep

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Finding yourself

With the things I experienced during the last week, I could fill many blog posts, but I will try to be short and concise, because let's face it: people like the blogs they follow to come to the point ;) Or at least I do.

I took the above pic from the plane when I flew over the desert Sinai. No plant in sight for hundreds of miles. No shrub, no tree. Just rocks and sand. I have never experienced anything like it and it scared me. If you look at all the pictures I posted taken near my home, you know that I'm from a hilly, green country. Vineyards, fiels, forests. Being among that much sand and that little plants scared me.

I went for a vacation that lasted 1 day in the end. That's right, I flew to Egypt for 1 day. To my defense, I had planned to stay a week, but something came up. And with something, I mean personal issues (could I be any more vague?). Sufficed to say that I would not fly around the globe if it wasn't unavoidable.

This week, I learned much about myself. About who I am and about what I can do. I also got more scared than I had been in many years. That tends to happen when I delve too deeply into my self. What does that tell about me, if I can even scare myself with it? I don't really want to know. So I'm sitting in a 5-star hotel at the red sea. Thousands of miles from anyone I know. Noone, nothing to distract me. No work. No internet. Not enough books (seriously, what was I thinking? 5 books for a week? I read 3 in 2 days!). Just me and my thoughts.

I circled a very big dark hole for a day till I decided to try anything to get home, even if it meant to a) throw away money that I had already spent on the hotel and b) admit personal failure to the people at home. They said I shouldn't go on a vacation alone. It turns out that they were right, but not because I can't be alone or go on a vacation alone, it was a combination of many things. A series of unfortunate events, if you will.

Summary: I am afraid of my future. Like, "pull the covers over my head, close my eyes, put my hands over my ears and hum a lullaby" afraid.

It seems like a mockery to see the light blue button down there that says "save now".

Save now? Yes, please. And hurry.

Lyrics of the day: Save me by Aimee Mann

You look like a perfect fit
For a girl in need of a tourniquet

But can you save me
Come on and save me
If you could save me
From the ranks of the freaks
Who suspect they could never love anyone

'Cause I can tell
You know what it's like
The long farewell of the hunger strike

You struck me dumb like radium
Like Peter Pan or Superman

You will come to save me
C'mon and save me
If you could save me
From the ranks of the freaks
Who suspect they could never love anyone
'Cept the freaks
Who suspect they could never love anyone
But the freaks
Who suspect they could never love anyone

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Never forget

As I am not the youngest anymore, I vividly remember a song by Take That called "Never forget (where you're coming from)". I always thought that to be excellent advice.

So today, I was driving home from work after about 11-12 hours of working without a break and I wasn't actually tired... and then it happened. An epiphany.

Just imagine the following situation and you know my life.

I'm in my convertible, driving, wearing my sunglasses. I'm blasting the new Owl city album with these saccharine lyrics that I grew to love so much... the sun is shining, some wind, some clouds... perfection.

and then it starts pouring. Raining cats and dogs. And I'm driving... fast enough that the rain can't touch me, the sun is still shining and I'm starting to laugh, because the whole situation is
A) ridiculous
B) futile, I can't stop anywhere to close the top and
C) completely and utterly like my life I can't stand it.

I love life. Even if mine is chaotic, tumbling out of control, crazy... I still love it.

The abstract notion of life and the personal one.

Whatever that may mean.

Lyrics of the day: Fireflies by Owl City

You would not believe your eyes
If ten million fireflies
Lit up the world as I fell asleep
Cuz they fill the open air
And leave teardrops everywhere
You think me rude, but I would just stand and stare

I'd like to make myself believe
That planet earth turns slowly
It's hard to say that I'd rather stay awake when I'm asleep
Cuz everything is never as it seems

Cuz I get a thousand hugs
From ten thousand lightning bugs
As they try to teach me how to dance
A foxtrot above my head
A sockhop beneath my bed
The disco ball is just hanging by a thread (thread, thread)

I'd like to make myself believe
That planet earth turns slowly
It's hard to say that I'd rather stay awake when I'm asleep
Cuz everything is never as it seems (when I fall asleep)

Leave my door open just a crack
(Please take me away from here)
Cuz I feel like such an insomniac
(Please take me away from here)
Why do I tire of counting sheep?
(Please take me away from here)
When I'm far to tired to fall asleep

To ten million fireflies
I'm weird cuz I hate goodbyes
I got misty eyes as they said farewell (said farewell)
But I know where several are
If my dreams get real bizarre
Cuz I saved a few and I keep 'em in a jar

I'd like to make myself believe
That planet earth turns slowly
It's hard to say that I'd rather stay awake when I'm asleep
Cuz everything is never as it seems (when I fall asleep)

I'd like to make myself believe
That planet earth turns slowly
It's hard to say that I'd rather stay awake when I'm asleep
Cuz everything is never as it seems (when I fall asleep)

I'd like to make myself believe
That planet earth turns slowly
It's hard to say that I'd rather stay awake when I'm asleep
Because my dreams are bursting at the seams