Book review, Community

The 30 Day Book Challenge – Comfort Book

DAY 5. – Your “comfort” book.

Again, this challenge requires more thought than I imagined. A comfort book might be one that you read again and again or it might be one that is so good you go back to it in your mind’s eye remembering the plot, characters or storyline. As I don’t re-read books, (unless by accident), I must hatch a Plan B for finding a comfort book i.e. Find a book something so appealing you think back to it long after your have finished reading it.   That leaves out the majority of the mystery and crime fiction I normally read.

So Hanna’s daughters by Marianne Fredrikksson must be my comfort book.

Why?

Because it is a story with strong feminine roles, a story of resilience despite adversity, and to some extent, of continuity and immortality.  Three generations of woman, a grandmother, mother and daughter tell us a story of lives in Sweden over a century  from the late 1800’s. Society is dynamic, but the patterns of lives isn’t always so different. Having an avid interest in family history and in re-discovering my own Scandinavian past, this book was absorbing and comforting. This book also reminded me a little of the Chinese book, Wild Swans by Jung Chang, another chronicle of a family through several generations.

My own torturous relationship with my mother and respectful admiration for grandparents and great grandparents who were in “servitude, ” with few rights,  and how they battled to eek out a living in very difficult circumstances was echoed in the experiences of Anna, Johanna and Hanna in this book.

As Anna holds vigil at her mother’s bedside, she longs for reconciliation–not just with her mother, Johanna, but with her grandmother, Hanna, a woman she never really knew. Determined to piece together the fragments of her past, Anna sifts through tattered letters, cracked diaries, and old photographs, as the vivid lives of Hanna and Johanna at last begin to unfold.
Through shades of memory and history, longing to join the ancient threads of the family tapestry, Anna begins searching for answers to questions that have haunted her for a lifetime. What was it like for her grandmother, Hanna, more than one hundred years ago, when she married a miller and raised an illegitimate child in a staunch, rural community? What drove Anna’s own mother, Johanna, once a fiery revolutionary, to settle down? And why did the ties binding Anna to her mother and grandmother drive all three apart–only to bring them back together again?

I admired Hanna’s resilience and how she overcame adversity as did my great grandmother and grandmother; how a rebellious girl became a mother and housewife, and how Anna, the third generation, seeks to connect with the past and get to know her female ancestors through fragments of memory and photographs.

The concept of belonging and reconciliation with one’s estranged family, discussed in this book, is a concept that is endearing. As Anna realizes she is ‘of her mother and grandmother’ and ‘they are of her,’ her expectations of them diminish and her acceptance and love for them flourish.

Beautifully written, I am happy to recommend it and perhaps it also will be your ‘go to’ comfort book when seeking maternal connections and love.

Join in the 30 day book challenge by linking back with a comment or pingback

DAY 6. – Book you’ve read the most number of times.
DAY 7. – A guilty pleasure book.

DAY 8. – Most underrated book.
DAY 9. – Most overrated book.
DAY 10. – A book you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving.
DAY 11. – Favorite classic book.
DAY 12. – A book you wanted to read for a long time but still haven’t.
DAY 13. – A book that disappointed you.
DAY 14. –  Book that made you cry.
DAY 15. – A character who you can relate to the most.
DAY 16. – Most thought-provoking book.
DAY 17. – Author I wish people would read more.
DAY 18. – A book you wish you could live in.
DAY 19. – A favourite author.
DAY 20. – Favorite childhood book.
DAY 21. – Book you tell people you’ve read, but haven’t (or haven’t
actually finished).
DAY 22. – Least favourite plot device employed by way too many books you actually
enjoyed otherwise.
DAY 23. – Best book you’ve read in the last 12 months.
DAY 24. – Book you’re most embarrassed to say you like/liked.
DAY 25. – The most surprising plot twist or ending.
DAY 26. – Book that makes you laugh out loud.
DAY 27. – Book that has been on your “to read” list the longest.
DAY 28. – Favorite quote from a book.
DAY 29. – A book you hated.
DAY 30. – Book you couldn’t put down.

Something to Ponder About

Book review

30 Day Book Challenge DAY 4. – Book turned into a movie and completely desecrated.

Which book have I read that was turned into a movie and completely desecrated?

Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist

Even though I like horror films, I never, ever read books about Vampires, and that includes the popular Twilight series. Nah! No! Never!I have no specific reason, they just seem rather pointless to me. A little unreal, perhaps? So how did I come to read a book about people of the night?

I had to read a Swedish book for a book club, and this was the one I chose. And guess what, it was fantastic. This romantic horror is really about more serious life themes than Vampires. The ‘Vampiring’ is a minor side plot, that does not really take centre stage at all.

You’ll read more about relationships and adolescent bullying, love and revenge than sucking one’s blood and world domination! But I digress, we were talking about the movie that was completely desecrated.

The 2008 Swedish film version of Let the Right One in, won  a string of awards, but the American remake retitled: ‘Let me in’ [2010], failed dismally. Despite receiving positive reviews, it did not do well at the box office. Why? Because culture, atmosphere and “feel” is as difficult to translate as humour.  If you read any Scandinavian crime fiction, you will know what I am alluding to. A Scandi crime novel can be descriptive, foreboding, dark, yet entrancing to read. An American/Australian crime novel is raw, rough, in your face, and the descriptive elements are restricted to sex scenes or rape.  It is the same with the movies.

Americans are very good at making American stories, but I don’t feel the same emotion from watching an American story as a Swedish one. And it is not just the language. It can be cinematography, locations, lighting, dialogue, the chemistry between the actors, what is not said as much as what is.

Before I hear a protest from my American friends, I also think an Australian or other international version, would not have captured the essence or magic of the Swedish version, either.

The Director himself expressed reluctance about the American version and several changes were made for the English (American) version, such as altering the setting from Stockholm, Sweden, to New Mexico and renaming the lead characters. The film’s producers stated that their intent was to keep the plot similar to the original, yet make it more accessible to a wider audience.”What’s missing is the alluring otherness of Let the Right One In. Let Me In puts the emotional pressure in different places”, says one reviewer.

From IMDB

Everything about Let the Right one In is thought through. Where a more traditional horror film might have opted for endless ultra violence or else cut everything out in favor of a kiddie friendly rating. director Tomas Alfredson steers the line right down the middle. When the violence comes it is brutal and horrific, but it is never dwelt upon. We are left to question what we just saw rather than see kidneys on display.And then there is the quiet, understated ending. Some will find it haunting, others will find it whimsical, I went back and forth more than a few times. No two people will have the same understanding.

“Let the Right One In” is, at its heart, a sweet coming-of-age story which is so unique and different that it simply defies categorization. In this Swedish film, adapted from John Ajvide Lindqvist’s bestselling book, director Tomas Alfredson dares to mix pleasure and pain in a way that is both horrifying and tender.

A romantic horror that is better in Book or subtitled movie form, the English version is something best not to ponder about.

Join in with this challenge by leaving a comment and pingback. Running through November 2014.

DAY 5. – Your “comfort” book.
DAY 6. – Book you’ve read the most number of times.
DAY 7. – A guilty pleasure book.

DAY 8. – Most underrated book.
DAY 9. – Most overrated book.
DAY 10. – A book you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving.
DAY 11. – Favorite classic book.
DAY 12. – A book you wanted to read for a long time but still haven’t.
DAY 13. – A book that disappointed you.
DAY 14. –  Book that made you cry.
DAY 15. – A character who you can relate to the most.
DAY 16. – Most thought-provoking book.
DAY 17. – Author I wish people would read more.
DAY 18. – A book you wish you could live in.
DAY 19. – A favourite author.
DAY 20. – Favorite childhood book.
DAY 21. – Book you tell people you’ve read, but haven’t (or haven’t
actually finished).
DAY 22. – Least favourite plot device employed by way too many books you actually
enjoyed otherwise.
DAY 23. – Best book you’ve read in the last 12 months.
DAY 24. – Book you’re most embarrassed to say you like/liked.
DAY 25. – The most surprising plot twist or ending.
DAY 26. – Book that makes you laugh out loud.
DAY 27. – Book that has been on your “to read” list the longest.
DAY 28. – Favorite quote from a book.
DAY 29. – A book you hated.
DAY 30. – Book you couldn’t put down.