Monday, November 13, 2006


I think I've spoken about this before. My brother cleaned part of his flat during summer (Until I started to help him and Christine by throwing everything out of the cupboards onto the floor, and Christine yelled at me because she couldn't keep up with throwing/putting the stuff on the floor away. Then I didn't have time anymore to help and they stopped cleaning up, too.). During that time I ravaged the whole flat for books that sounded interesting enough to give them a try.
So now I have a cupboard full of unread books. I started reading last week.

A great part of these books are 'Reader's Digest', collections of classics and bestsellers. I was always wary of those, because they look like they're boring classics that everybody should know, and therefore are collected in these digests (so people can buy them to at least pretend they know the stories).
Well, surprise, I like half of the book I've read so far. That is, I've read 2/3 or 1/2 of Benchley's White Shark (like most stories in the Reader's Digest, it's abridged - so 1/3 or 1/2 has been abridged away and I can't read it) in a day. Gore, missing limbs, and a love story. The heart of every bestseller. I liked it enough to wonder what's written in the missing parts of the book. I'm guessing it's the adultery part and lovestory.
Next were short stories by Ephraim Kishon, who apparently writes satire. I read those on the train, smiling and chuckling. Some of them are very good and insightful (concerning society and humanity), others are predictable. They made me want to read more of Kishon.
Last story of today, the one I only started reading, is Richard Martin Stern's 'The Tower'. I'm intrigued by it. It was written in 1973 and is about a recently finished huge tower in New York. During the opening ceremony a suicide bomber causes havoc. I believe there'll be a fire and lots of dead people, but I haven't read that far yet. The World Trade Center gets mentioned several times in the first few pages. One sentence startled me a bit, at the end of chapter 3 (rough translation): "In a world, in which violence seemed to be the norm, sabotaging a building was anything but unthinkable." 1973.
According to the introduction, Stern wanted to warn people of catastrophes. Shortly before the story was published 50 people died in a fire in a themepark, and some months later 200 died in a fire in an office skyscraper. Still, people want to build higher and higher, and only recently the newspapers published a planned project in Dubai, where some mad millionaire wants to build the highest skyscraper on earth (if I had ever read the Bible I'd probably reference Bablyon now; instead, I'll just do some elegant Babylon-namedropping and pretend I know what I'm talking about. Lalala.).

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