Daily Archives: August 3, 2010

My favourite books (or some of them)

Jeg elsker at læse. Og sluger selv alle de boganbefalinger jeg kan få via blogs og venner og bekendte. Så her er mit eget bidrag. Listen er en skøn blanding af forfattere og bøger – i tilfældig rækkefølge.

Og jeg modtager gerne nye forslag!

I’ve always read a lot and I love to get book recommendations through other blogs and friends. So here’s my contribution: a list of some of my all-time favourite books and authors – in no particular order.

I would love to receive your recommendations!

Jeffrey Eugenides
Manden har desværre kun skrevet 2 romaner: “Middlesex” & “The Virgin Suicides” (men jubii, der er efter sigende en tredje på vej). “Middlesex” er min absolutte favorit. Hovedpersonen er hermafroditten Cal og undervejs oprulles gribende fortællinger om Cals græske rødder og hans/hendes søgen efter egen identitet. Skal opleves.

Unfortunately this author spends around a decade writing each book and so far he’s only written two novels: “Middlesex” & “The Virgin Suicides”, but his books are well worth waiting for. My absolute favourite is “Middlesex” about the hermaphrodite Cal and his/hers Greek roots and journey towards finding a place in modern American society. A must-read!

“Geek Love” – Katherine Dunn
Grotesk, fabulerende og fantastisk. “Geek Love” hander om et omrejsende familie-freakshow og jeg-fortælleren er en albino-dværg. Ekstremt rørende og smuk fortælling. Katherine Dunn har ikke skrevet andre romaner siden.

Grotesque, heartbreaking and absolutely amazing. “Geek Love” is the story of a dysfunctional travelling family freak show, told by an albino dwarf. Incredibly moving and too bad Katherine Dunn hasn’t written a single novel since.

“To Kill A Mockingbird” – Harper Lee
Denne skønne og hjertevarme klassiker om raceulighed i sydstaterne burde være fast pensum i alle skoler. Den enste roman Harper Lee til dags dato har skrevet.

All students should be forced to read this beautiful and heart-warming modern classic about racial inequality in the deep South. The only novel Harper Lee ever wrote.

“What I loved” – Siri Hustvedt
Den her læste jeg for mange år siden på dansk, og det må snart være tid til en genlæsning på engelsk (skal bare lige have fundet et eksemplar i en genbrugsbutik). Bogen foregår i New York, hvor jeg-fortælleren Leo ser tilbage på sit liv som en del af den intellektuelle kunstscene. Her er indviklede parforhold, knuste drømme og eksistentielle spørgsmål en masse, altsammen smukt fortalt. Og så giver den mig lyst til at flytte til New York.

I read this many, many years ago in Danish and I really want to re-read it in English (just have to locate a cheap copy in a charity shop). The book is set in New York where the narrator Leo looks back on his life amongst intellectuals and artists. Filled with captivating portraits of complicated relationships, shattered dreams and life’s big questions. Plus it makes me want to move to New York.

“The Road” – Cormac McCarthy
Det kan næsten ikke blive mere dystert i Cormac McCarthys nedtonede dystopiske fortælling om en mand og hans søn, der kæmper for at overleve i en verden i undergang. Her er faderkærlighed så det batter, men den er ikke for sarte sjæle.

It doesn’t get much bleaker than this. Cormac McCarthy’s dystopian novel follows a man and his son as they travel through a grey post-apocalyptic landscape. Quite disturbing and depressing but hey, nothing wrong with that. It’s a beautiful portrait of fatherly love and the human will to survive.

“The Bell Jar” – Sylvia Plath
Jeg har en forkærlighed for tragiske kvindeskæbner og sad med tårer strømmende ned af kinderne da jeg så The Hours i biffen. Der er lidt af det samme på spil her i Sylvia Plaths eneste roman, der er halv-selvbiografisk og følger den unge kvinde Esther, der flytter til New York for at arbejde for et bladhus, men som samtidig bliver mere og mere deprimeret. Sylvia Plath begik selvmord en måned efter bogens udgivelse.

I must admit, I have a penchant for tragic life stories, especially tormented women’s. I cried my way through The Hours when I watched it in the cinema. And I loved Sylvia Plath’s only novel, the semi-autobiographical story of a ung women who travels to New York to work for a big magazine. During her stay she become more and more depressed. Sylvia Plath herself committed suicide shortly after the novel was published in the UK.

Richard Yates
Og nu vi er ved tragiske kvindeskæbner, så er Richard Yates en sand mester. Jeg elskede “Revolutionary Road” som var mindst ti gange bedre en filmatiseringen (også selv om Leo var med) men endnu bedre er “The Easter Parade” om to søstre og deres temmeligt triste liv.

Not done with the tragic life stories yet. Richard Yates is a true master. I loved “Revolutionary Road” and found it ten times better than the movie (sorry Leo). Even better is “The Easter Parade” about two ordinary sisters and their honestly quite sad lives.

Margaret Atwood
Canadiske Margaret Atwood er en af mine absolutte favoritter. Hendes bøger er intelligente, sindssygt velskrevne, ofte humoristiske og med feministist strejf og så kan jeg næsten altid identificere mig med hovedpersonerne. Hendes bedste bog synes jeg er “The Handmaid’s Tale” – en fortælling om et fremtidssamfund, hvor kvinder er stærkt undertrykte og bl.a. skal bære slør(!). “The Robber Bride” og “Life Before Man” er to andre favoritter.

Canadian Margaret Atwood is one of my absolute favourite authors. Her books are intelligent, well written, funny and with a strong hint of feminism. If you were to read only one of her books, please choose “The Handmaid’s Tale” – a feminist sci-fi tale about a society where women are veiled(!) and very suppressed. “The Robber Bride” and “Life Before Man” are pretty great too.

Carol Shields
Endnu en af favoritterne. Blandt hendes bedste bøger er “The Republic of Love” om en havfrueforsker med kærlighedsproblemer, “Larry’s Party” om en helt almindelig mand med en passion for labyrinter og “The Stone Diaries”, som ligger på hylden og venter på at blive læst.

Another favourite. Among her best books are “The Republic of Love” about a folklorist with a passion for mermaids and a messy love life, “Larry’s Party” about a very ordinary man who builds mazes and “The Stone Diaries” that tells the story of Daisy Goodwill, from birth to death.

Stephen King
Gys, gru og uhygge. Jeg elsker at lade mig suge ind i Stephen Kings horrorunivers. Han skriver som en hvirvelvind, så medrivende at man lige pludselig har slugt 900 sider uden at opdage det. Blandt favoritterne er “It” (med jordens mest skræmmende klovn), “Carrie” (griseblod anyone?), “Lisey’s Story”, “Salem’s Lot” og så selvfølgelig hans selvbiografiske bog om at skrive: “On Writing” som jeg varmt anbefaler til alle, der elsker ord.

Crawling creepiness, monsters and dark deserted houses. I love to jump headfirst into Stephen King’s amazing world of horror. He’s a true master and writes like a whirlwind, sucking you in and entertaining you 100% through hundreds of pages. Some of my favourites are “It” (with the world’s scariest clown), “Carrie” (pig blood anyone?), “Lisey’s Storey”, “Salem’s Lot” and then of course there’s his autobiographical book “On Writing” that is a must-read for all word lovers and aspiring writers.

Joyce Carol Oates
Man går ikke helt galt i byen, hvis man vælger en bog fra denne produktive forfatters hånd. Har langtfra læst dem alle, men blandt mine favoritter er “The Falls” om en tragisk honeymoon til Niagara falls og “We Were the Mulvaneys” om en perfekt familie, der falder fra hinanden.

You can’t really go wrong if you choose a book by this highly productive author. I haven’t read all her books but really enjoyed “The Falls” about a tragic honeymoon to Niagara Falls and “We Were the Mulvaneys” about a perfect family that falls apart.

“100 Years of Solitude” – Gabriel García Márquez
Gabriel García Márquez’ fortælling om familien Buendía gennem 7 generationer er dybt fascinerende og smuk i al sin magiske realisme. En af dem der godt kunne tåle en genlæsning, tror jeg.

Gabriel García Márquez’ tale of the Buendía family through 7 generations is deeply fascinating in all its magical realism. I think it is time for a re-reading session.

Paul Auster
Austers bøger kan være svære at hitte rundt i, men de er også svært tiltrækkende. Mine personlige favoritter er den selvbiografiske bog om hans far “The Invention of Solitude” + “The New York Trilogy”. Glæder mig også til at læse “Invisible”, der udkom sidste år.

It can be hard to navigate through Auster’s sometimes dreamy and surreal books but I keep getting drawn towards them. My favourite is the straight-forward “The Invention of Solitude” about the authors dad. I also really loved “The New York Trilogy” and look forward to reading “Invisible” from 2009.

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