Friday, July 15, 2011

Quick and fun reads

21. Kätketyt by Johanna Sinisalo ("The Hidden")

This is a teeny tiny book from one of Finland's leading sci-fi authors, but I guess it counts as one...

The About:
Anna has just recently gotten a new job in a new town, and is having a hard time finding friends. After one especially depressing day she heads out to the bar. When she gets back from the restroom, a handsome man is sitting at her booth. Tired of her lonely life, Anna begins to pour her heart out to the man and is pleasantly surprised when he leaves a string of numbers for her--except that they are not his phone number! When a colleague clues Anna in on what geocaching is, Anna realizes that the numbers the man left behind are coordinates. Anna begins to trail the man who plays so very hard to get.

Shortly about a short book. If you start reading this, please read it all the way through. Apparently, it was written for a commission for a women's magazine, and the style really shows: unlike Sinisalo's sci-fi books, this is not filled with details and smart beings, but with gossipy characters and whenever make-up is applied, it's done with a lot of detail... Honestly, up until the two last pages I was rolling my eyes at this story, because I thought it was a ridiculously stereotypical, uninteresting romantic story involving a trendy hobby.

I was wrong. So, so wrong.

When I read those last two pages, I had to reread them a couple of times. Then I didn't want to put the booklet down. Then I wanted to read the whole thing again. I can't tell you what made me do that because it would be awfully spoilery, but if you ever run into this book, READ IT!

22. and 23. Book Lust and More Book Lust by Nancy Pearl

Seattle's superstar librarian inspiring people to read!

The About:
Recommending books is tough business. Should your recommendations be based on what kind of genres your readers usually read, their favorite authors, their favorite subjects? Nancy Pearl has a new method for expanding your reading experience beyond comfort zones: she has simply invented her own little genres, and bunches up very different kinds of books together. Are you interested in reading books about Oklahoma? Well, here are the best ones! Do you like books where an animal is the main protagonist? Here are some great ones! In addition, each book has recommendations for teenagers and young readers. Sometimes, authors are lifted out of the crowd for a "Don't miss this author" chapter.

The beauty of these books is that each recommendation is based on Nancy Pearl's personal opinions. She wouldn't just recommend a best seller; if the book didn't move her or make her think, it's not on the list. This is also why she doesn't have many books that might be your, your or your Very Favorite Books: maybe she didn't like them, or maybe she has never heard of them. Maybe she simply forgot about them and remembered right after the book got published (hence, More Book Lust). These books are wonderfully opinionated and make even the more uninteresting books seem like they're worth a try.

Nancy Pearl has this amazing skill of condensing a story into just a couple of sentences that make the story sound absolutely fascinating--without ever resorting to spoilers! Although I am not at all interested in books about, say, Oklahoma, I still managed to read the very short synopses and Pearl's reasons for why the books should be on everyone's reading list. I ended up getting acquainted with authors and books that I would never have dreamt of picking up at the library upon just seeing them. I'm thinking that if Pearl had some of my absolute favorite authors among her "Don't miss this author" sections of the book, I might enjoy the other authors she recommended as well.

I began to write down titles that sounded interesting but I had to stop when my library wish list grew unmanageable...

If you ever wonder, Which book should I read next? pick up one of these Book Lust books: they'll give you plenty to think about.

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