Sunday, January 11, 2015

reading notes: "Swimming Upstream" & finding ones way: "Doves fly up" & "The girl that wasn't allowed to cry"

Catching up with reading notes - the three books are from the last weeks. All 3 books are about growing up and finding ones way, and none has an easy happy-end.  Some reading notes and summary quotes:

"Swimming Upstream" by Ruth Mancini
This book received several nominations: the 2014 Kindle Book Review Literary Fiction Semifinalist, 2014 Rone Award Nominee, and Literary Nominee for Indie Author Land’s 50 Books Worth Reading. It is a novel, but feels like it was written based on autobiographic experience. It's about a woman who walks away from a difficult relationship with a self-absorbed partner, and then lives with friends - one of them has a partner with a tendency to getting abusive, and the other friend is dealing with depression and swinging moods - all of them have no easy answers and solutions, and there is no prince charming who walks in and solves it all. It's a touching read about life and relationships. Here's the book summary:

"Swimming Upstream is a life-affirming and often humorous story about a young woman’s pursuit of happiness. It is also a story of female friendship, love, and divided loyalties – and the moral choices that we find ourselves making when the chips are down." (from goodreads)

"Tauben fliegen auf" ("Doves fly up") by Melinda Nadj Abonji
"Tauben fliegen auf" is the book that won the German Book Prize in 2010. It's a book that I found at the telephone-book-box, but gave up reading on first try - back then it probably was the wrong book, and felt like a slow and meandering read. Now I tried again, and was drawn to it, with the both personal and political dimensions it includes. Like "Swimming Upstream", and even more so, it reads like a memoir. The book isn't available in English, but there's a review in English in a blog with a summary:

"The novel tells the story of a family from the Hungarian minority who leave the Vojvodina (which belonged to Yugoslavia and now is part of Serbia) for a new life in Switzerland, and what faces them once they arrive and come to modest success, running a café. Contrasting scenes set in rural Yugoslavia and a wealthy Swiss village, Nadj Abonji narrates from the perspective of the older of the two daughters, Ildiko." (from: love german books)

"Das Mädchen, das nicht weinen durfte"("The girl that wasn't allowed to cry") by Khadra Sufi
The third book is a memoir, from the library. Like "Doves fly up", this book is about a daughter whose parents cross cultures when she is young, only that they don't find their settled new life in a better place. It's a reminder of all the refugee families and the troubles they have to face. Here's the summary, from the publisher:

"Khadra Sufi was born in Mogadishu, Somalia, in 1980 and spent her childhood as the daughter of a diplomat in the former East Germany. She is eight years old when she first returns to her home country, Somalia. At the outbreak of the civil war, however, the diplomat and his family are stripped of all their privileges. In 1990, they manage to flee to Egypt via Kenya before ending up in a hostel for asylum seekers in Germany. Khadra’s parents are utterly demoralised by the loss of their social standing, the plunge into poverty and a life continually on the verge of deportation. Khadra herself becomes her father’s main support and acts as mother to her four siblings. When her parents move to London, Khadra decides to stay in Germany. One setback follows the next, but Khadra refuses to give up."


Global Reading Challenge 2015 + Currently Reading:

For 2015, I try to read books / authors from different countries, the idea is to visit all continents. If you want to, join the reading challenge: 7 Continents, 7 Billion People, 7 Books - or just join the international facebook reading group.

Right now, I am reading a book from China: "1000 years of good prayers" by Yiyun Li, and am putting together some reading statistics, comparing my reading year 2014 with the previous year.

For more reading notes in this blog, click here: life as a journey with books and a reading list by regions is online at: World Reads by country

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