Friday, October 3, 2014

reading notes: snapshots across the globe + longreads + polar reading

Upcoming next week: International Frankfurt Bookfair! I am excited about going there again. The guestland this year is Finland. The Nothern regions of the world were also the destination of 2 of my current reads, and I found a great world anthology. Here's an overview:  

The Places We’ve Been: Snapshots Across the Globe

This is a collection of 48 vivid and transportive, personal and original nonfiction pieces that portray contemporary snapshots across the globe. It offers a great mix of forms and perspectives, from diary-like pieces to notes to reflections. The motto: "The challenge of today is not just "where do I fit in one small place," but identity and interaction throughout the world - Within the book's wide roster, you'll hear from such a range of storytellers, the likes of: a sailor and glaciologist from Scotland, Brooklyn musician, Tanzanian television host, Dubai-based journalist, and a Montreal aerospace medicine enthusiast, plus rural school teachers, a fearless rock climber, five-country midwife, and so many more."
It's available as neat and low-prized e-book. And as I just discovered, there also is a project homepage that might be interesting to browse:

The next two pieces are online longreads - since August, i visit the hashtag #longreads on twitter, and got lucky with my finds several times. So many good reads out there, and this hashtag helps to find them in unknown places: 

Longread: I Had a Stroke at 33

How does it feel to have a stroke? This essay, based on diary notes, gives an idea of our mind, how it works, and how different life is without short term memory. It's a moving longread, about a woman who had a stroke at age 33, and kept a diary of this time, to remember all the things that she kept forgetting:
“Awake I had a 15-minute short-term memory, like Dory the fish in Finding Nemo. My doctors instructed me to log happenings with timestamps in my Moleskine journal. That, they said, would be my working short-term memory.
For a month, every moment of the day was like the moment upon wakening before you figure out where you are, what time it is. I was not completely aware of what had happened to me. I was not completely aware of my deficits, in an ignorance-is-bliss sort of way. I was unable to fret about the past, or the uncertainty of the future. The sun is bright. The leaves rustle. This is the wind on my face. I am alive. This is the thing: People pay a lot of money to live like that. To live in the present tense.”

Here’s the whole read: I Had a Stroke at 33 + author blog


And the second longread could be a piece of the Field Reports: a trip norhwards. It's also an especially well done multimedia piece:

Multimedia Longread: A Journey in Which I Travel Northwards 

This journey is to Scandinavia, but not to Finland - to Norway. Reif Larsen is following the roots of his grandfather, and finds a country that is both old and new, slow and fast:

"My grandfather’s birthplace was the emblematic launching pad for my current mission. I was to start in Trondheim and take the famous Hurtigruten ferry, all the way up the Norwegian coast, past the Arctic Circle, to Kirkenes, the land of the midnight sun. It was a voyage my grandfather had taken with my own father 50 years ago."

And such a surprise to find German words in the story: "Occasionally, the tour manager would announce that there would be “eine kleine, kleine informationsveranstalting” — “a very short informational meeting” (apparently there is a whole classification of informational meetings in German) about excursion 4A to the Svartisen Glacier, for instance."

Here's the story link: Norway the Slow Way


Polar Reading: Yuri Sergeyevich Rytkheu 

Reading the Scandinavian travelogue made me remember a Northern book I have in my shelf since a long while, written by   Yuri Sergeyevich Rytkheu - or: "Juri Rytcheu", in German, a Chukchi writer, who wrote in both his native Chukchi and in Russian and who is considered to be the father of Chukchi literature. Only a few of his works have been translated into English, including his "A Dream in Polar Fog" - which is exactly the one i read, "Traum im Polarnebel".

Here's the description: "A Dream in Polar Fog is at once a cross-cultural journey, an ethnographic chronicle of the people of Chukotka, and a politically and emotionally charged adventure story. It is the story of John MacLennan, a Canadian sailor who is left behind by his ship, stranded on the northeastern tip of Siberia and the story of the Chukchi community that adopts this wounded stranger. Rytkheu’s empathy, humor, and provocative voice guide us across the magnificent landscape of the North."


Current reads, non-fiction and book fair
The polar book, it's a bit of a tale-like read, and looking at the book photo, and other recent books I read, it seems I am currently more drawn to non-fiction with all its different voices, formats and styles. And now soon to come: Bookfair. Will blog about it when i am back.


Links + More

For 2014, i didn't join a specific reading challenge, but i try to read books / authors from different countries and continents. Here’s more about it: Reading the world 

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