Friday, 28 January 2011

The pleasure of reading

There are people who never read. By never reading I mean never reading a book for pleasure. It simply does not occur to them. They might read a daily newspaper, the television weekly but a book? Never.

As far as I could find out through observation of others, never reading a book implies a certain lack of curiosity. Reading a book - nearly any one - makes you enter the life of someone else. I have always thought that reading can b e a kind of fast lane to the experiences of others and that might come handy one day.

As to me, well I have been reading nearly all my life. By nearly I mean since I learned reading, about one year before entering school. When I was about five years old my grandma read those Till Eulenspiegel stories to me. This guy who lived in the Middle Ages was a kind of impudent trickster and I could not hear enough. Thus when my grandma stopped I was so impatient to know what will happen next that I managed to learn it without any outside help.

Here, have a look at this photo. This is Till Eulenspiegel's stature in his birth town. I owe him something.

Not long ago I read in Smorgy's blog a very exhausting list of his readings. And in the comments he gives even the ten books he likes most. So I just imitate him and give a list of my favourite ten. Here is it, I tried to do my best. Number 1 does not mean this is my absolute best, I only start at one.

1. Peter Weiss - Fluchtpunkt
2. Arno Schmidt - Kaff auch Mare Crisium
3. Bertold Brecht - his collected poems
4. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe - his collected poems
5. J.D. Salinger - The Catcher in The Rye
6. W.H. Davies - The Autobiography of a Super-Tramp
7. Raymond Queneau - Le Dimanche de la Vie
8. Michael Crichton - Timeline
9. P.G. Wodehouse - Psmith/Jeeves stories
10. Egon Fridell - Kulturgeschichte der Neuzeit
11. Mika Waltari - Sinuhe the Egyptian
12. Ernst Vollbehr - Bunte leuchtende Welt

Well, those ten became twelf. I am unable to delete two books from that list.

Some are well known but others , like No 1, 2 and 10 are somehow lost, forgotten but to a very small number of readers. Some more years to go and nobody will remember.

And something should be mentioned, too. It is very difficult to find a factual description of a book. I mean a review that tells you what is going on inside. Instead of this the reviewer talks and talks but I am not wiser at the end. One of the rare exceptions to this is the blogger I Me My . But maybe this is so because this person is not a professional book reviewer.

Works of art are subject to aging like people. The fastest to age are movies. But books age, too. There are those famous writers of the 19th century, monuments of literature, but I can't help it they seem lengthy and boring to me. Most of them. Long descriptions of situations and surroundings, I am not so very much interested in. So it could well be that each century or each time has its own literature or let's say interesting and thrilling books.