International book day

Yesterday was the international book day, and I didn’t read a single page. Well, that’s a complete an utter lie, I’m in the middle of exams, again, and am currently writing three papers. I’m surrounded by books everywhere I turn. But I didn’t read for pleasure, or, well, I don’t really mind writing papers or reading what needs to be read in order to write them, but I didn’t read any fiction. In fact, I haven’t read fiction for months. I’m a few pages into “Water for Elephants” by Sara Cruen, I’ve read a few of the short-stories from Alice Munro’s last collection, and I’ve been to greece a few evenings with Victoria Hislop in “The Last Dance”. I wish I had time to read more, so now I’m making time!

I have just landed my first full-time teaching job. It’s also the very first time I’ve ever applied for a full-time teaching job. I’m very excited, but also very anxious about settling down with a full-time job. I’ve always done many things at once and now I’ll be doing one, and it’s very defined: I’m a teacher! But, anyway, with my current exam papers I am writing on future projects to run in class. I’ve had a go at these projects before writing about them while I was doing my trial-run as teacher through the teacher-teaching programme I’m currently enrolled in. One of the projects I’m writing about is how to have the students read more. And through that project my still imaginary class will have time at school every week to read, to just sit back relax and read. And in order to be a good role-model, I will do the same thing, and I will get to sit back, relax and just read. One of the the perks of being a teacher.

The five people you meet in heaven

I just read this lovely little book that I would like to recommend to you. It is not a terribly important book, and it probably won’t change your life. But it will remind you of a few important things and it might also make your head spin a bit thinking about the meaning of life and other irrelevant questions.

I found the book in a blog some time back and found the review interesting and as it only cost me a few pounds I ordered it. While reading Mini Shopaholic I also ploughed through this. It’s an easy read and a lovely story. The protagonist is a dead 84-year-old man. After his passing he meets five people in heaven who tell him their stories in order for him to understand the purpose of his life. There are no big surprises, nothing that overwhelms you and nothing that will change the way you think. But it’s a nice little story that will make smile a little more at the people around you for the next few days. Yes, it’s a recommendation.

Mini Shopaholic

Becky Brandon (née Bloomwood – which is underlined several times throughout the book) is back. She’s now sports a toddler: two-year-old Minnie. I have read all the Shopaholic books, and enjoyed them well enough to look forward to this last book. However, I must say, I was quite disappointed with the first 250 pages. Thankfully the last hundred pages were more interesting and did not leave me feeling disappointed over the entire book.

I know I have changed a lot myself since last reading a Shopaholic book, so it could be that it’s just me looking at this book with a bit more of personal experience, but I do like to believe that the first books weren’t as naive and predictable as this book. Becky’s goal for the book: to throw her husband a surprise party, is, in my opinion, a little lightweight for a 365-page book. The problems or challenges Becky is then faced with to pull this off are again a little naive, unlikely and too unrealistic for me to be pulled head-first into Becky’s world like I have been with the previous books. Becky’s quirky personally traits and issues are also stretched a little too far in this book, I often found myself feeling a little annoyed by the protagonist. Becky has in the first books come across as intelligent, well-reflected and logical, though of course with her perks and issues, which makes her so fascinating. Becky wasn’t as convincing in this book, but, of course, this could be Becky under the influence of spending a lot of time with a toddler.

Now, the book wasn’t all bad. It was just a little less than average, compared to the earlier books. The last hundred pages or so, though, were better. The final chapters tied the book well together and nicely solved all problems and challenges presented earlier. The book still left me me with a good feeling and I don’t feel the time spent reading it was wasted. I both smiled and was moved, but it will never be a favourite.

The House of the Mosque

I have just returned from a world far away from my own reality. I have met people and learned to know them better than I know some of my closest friends. I have visited them for a few hours every day, and during those hours I’ve felt my pulse rise, my heart beat faster, I’ve been disappointed and I’ve almost been moved to tears (had I been more emotional I would have cried at least a few times).

 

This world has been visited while I’ve still remained in the safety of my own living-room (or my brother’s living room, in my car, on a ferry, or in bed).

 

This time I’ve been to Iran. I have read the book The House of the Mosque by Kader Abdolah which follows the lives of the family living in the house connected to the Mosque in Senejan. The family has lived in the house for centuries, and the story told in the book spans for a few decades starting in the 1960s. A quick google search will give you a plot summary at the length you’d prefer.

 

I liked the book. I was not spellbound by it, but it was still difficult to put down. There are many characters, which I at times found a little confusing, I have never been good with names and as many of the names used in the book are quite unusual to me doesn’t help either.

The book is fictional, but incorporates real events and people. The story must thus be seen as a made up story. Still, the story has a lot to offer, and opens a window and a new angle of looking at conflict in the world today. It has helped me see further aspects of the wars fought in the Middle East.

 

I would absolutely recommend the book. It’s moving, it’s well written (at least the Norwegian translation is, so I assume the original or the English version is no worse) and reading it is a few hour well spent.

New Local Historical Book

Torgrim Titlestad, a professor in History at the University here, has just published a new book. The local newspaper wrote a wee bit about it here the other day, and I am absolutely getting a copy. The author, Titlestad, is a man I almost consider one of my heroes. He is truly engaged in his work and seems to love what he does. He has written many interesting books and is absolutely a man of great knowledge. His new book is called ‘Following the footprints of the Vikings’ and is a local tour guide covering many historically important sites. As for now it is only in Norwegian, but according to the newspaper they are planning on having it translated as well.

I think everyone should know a bit about their local community and of historical sites of importance in the area. I know I am more than averagely interested in history, and thus consider this book a must-have for anyone in the area. I assume many of you would disagree with me, but then, maybe you have a nerdy relative who you now know what to get for christmas?

Following is a link to the published information site about the book, unfortunately for some of you, it’s in Norwegian.

http://www.sagabok.no/nyheter/106_-.html

http://www.sagabok.no/katalog/p_69_i_vikingenes_fotspor___historisk_tur_guide_til_vikingsteder_i_s_r_rogaland.html