The Reader

Remember that not long ago, I told you that I hadn’t been much of a reader lately?
Well, I still spend a lot more time walking or surfing the Internet than I do reading. But I do carry a book in my rucksack and will read a few pages while on the bus or the métro.
The other day, I had forgotten the book I was currently reading (still haven’t finished it) and stopped by this bookshop to buy a small book.

Village Voice shop

Village Voice, in the Latin Quarter

I browsed around, didn’t know what to buy. It had to be a small book as I don’t want to carry heavy books around. So I picked this novel by Bernhard Schlink which I didn’t know anything about, only attracted by its size and the photo of Kate Winslett on the cover. Can you think of a more shallow way of choosing a book? 😀
Well, I can’t, but it turned out to be the sort of book that I couldn’t put down, although it took me quite a while to read.

The Reader

The Reader, by Bernhard Schlink

I only realised that Bernhard Schlink was a German writer and that I could easily have bought a translation of the novel in French. But it doesn’t matter. I like reading in English, if only because I am a fast reader and books will last longer when I read in English.
So I started reading, knowing absolutely nothing about the book. I got totally sucked in and was led from one surprise to the next till the end of the story.
In case you haven’t heard anything about it, which is unlikely, I don’t want to mention anything that might be a spoiler.
I’ll just copy a short paragraph.

At first I wanted to write our story in order to be free of it. But the memories wouldn’t come back for that. Then I realized our story was slipping away from me and I wanted to recapture it by writing, but that didn’t coax up the memories either. For the last few years I’ve left our story alone. I’ve made peace with it. And it came back, detail by detail and in such a fully rounded fashion, with its own direction and its own sense of completion that it no longer makes me sad. What a sad story, I thought for so long. Not that I now think it was happy. But I think it is true, and thus the question of whether it is sad or happy nas no meaning whatever.

A must read.


Spider story

People who say they aren’t afraid of spiders always make me laugh! I used to say the same. I was NOT afraid of spiders.
Until that day, long ago, in the Philippines, when we rented one of those small beach huts on a volcanic beach.
I wish I could find a photo of the beach.
I cannot even remember the name of the place. All I remember is this black sand beach, by a beautiful lake, in the middle of which there was an active volcano, that we were due to visit the next morning.


It looked like paradise on earth. The beach, the lake, the hut… We went into the water for a midnight bath and then went into the beach hut to get to sleep. When I was lying on the bet with the oil lamp lighting the straw ceiling, I caught sight of hundreds of small whitish spiders above our heads and told my husband there was no way I would sleep in that bed, with those spiders hanging above my head.
My husband always had a solution ready. He grabbed one of our beach towels, and with a big gathering gesture, got rid of the threatening spiders, telling me what a sissy I was!

Well, it didn’t matter. Now I could sleep.
The next morning, I got up and picked that beach towel to fold it, and guess what, no spiders there dead or alive, but huge holes in the towel!

Aren’t you glad I behaved like a sissy? I asked my husband. For all we know those little spiders may have been poisonous and in any case, they were quite able to sting their way out of the towel.

I think I have already posted this story in French at my other blog but am grateful to Virginia DeBoldt at First 50 Words for the nudge. I have not been much of a post writer lately.
That sunset photo was taken in Normandy. I just don’t have any photo of a real spider in my photostream and some of the spider photos I came across on flickr were just too scary 😀

Last minute precision: the towel was not in the hut. I made sure he hung it somewhere outside!

Excuses, excuses…

I must shamefully admit to reading less and less lately.
I used to be such a voracious reader, and now, I have to force myself to even read an article in the newspaper.
I don’t read blogs very much either. I guess I have just become reading-lazy!
For Christmas, I was offered a bunch of books that were on my Amazon WishList. Therefore books that I had noticed and marked and was interested in. I haven’t even read the first of the murder mysteries I was interested in. Pure sloth on my part.
On my list was also World Without End.
Now if you’ve read The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett, a huge and heavy but fascinating book, this is a sequel.

World Without End!

World Without End

Mind you, I haven’t read it yet and am wondering if I ever will!
As Nonie Vogue, one of my flickr contacts put it

A book that size has no beginning as far as I’m concerned. I would never start to read one that size

The book has and weighs 632g! That’s over a pound!

Another book I had added to my list was Elizabeth George’s Careless in Red, has humongous typesetting and weighs over a kilo. I have been an Elizabeth George fan for years, but honestly, I can’t even lift the thing.
I haven’t opened either of the books and wonder if I ever will.
Maybe I would if I had some sort of a lectern like the ones they have in churches to support the Holy Bible, or prayer books

Saint-Hymer church

Lectern in Saint Hymer church

Well, meanwhile, I just can’t see myself schlepping those books to read during a train or plane trip. So I guess they’ll have to remain on my bookshelf until I get either stronger, or more motivated!