Gray day

I read “Fall of Giants” until 4am last night. I finished it. The First World War is not an easy subject matter for those early morning hours but I couldn’t put it down. And I really wanted to get started on “Gone Girl”. I’ve been eyeing it, just sitting there on my nightstand. Now I can finally dig in – after wrapping up this post.

The roommate is home sick with a very unkind stomach bug that I’m really, really hoping I won’t catch. It’s been quiet and gloomy around here, each of us holed up in our bedrooms. Not really eating or talking.

So I went for a long walk in the afternoon, to the city park about 5 minutes from our apartment. It’s one of the city’s major recreational areas. Unfortunately, it’s located between two major Autobahnen (Germany’s speedways). The A3 and A4 intersect right at the north-west corner of the city park. And incoming flights to Cologne-Bonn Airport approach landing right above. I love seeing the planes fly so low right above me but- This so-called recreational area is not exactly quiet and idyllic, or really very recreational at all. The air was crisp (albeit polluted, one can safely assume) and dry and there were none of the usual freaks at the park, though, so I was glad I went. Oh, except for the middle-aged dude with the beer belly who jumped up onto tree branches and attempted to do pull-ups. Like: WHAT are you doing, sir? He was a little weird.


I finished “In My Father’s Country” by Saima Wahab tonight. Highly recommended, you guys.

It reminded me of how much I missed reading non-fiction. When I was working full-time it was easier to follow entertaining fiction, rather than serious accounts of things that interest me – war, conflict, journalism, media, military, politics. I can’t deal with that in tiny 3-page chunks after a long day at work. I need to be awake and eager to learn and understand.

I’m unemployed right now so I do have the time but not the money to buy original English hard-covers. I did splurge on two classics, though, that are completely different from what I just described: Kurt Vonnegut’s “Slaughterhouse-Five” and Joseph Heller’s “Catch-22”. Let’s see if I make it through these two. I shall give myself a pat on the back and hold a small celebration if I do.

“Hundraåringen som klev ut genom fönstret och försvann” by Jonas Jonasson

I found the Swedish novel “Hundraåringen som klev ut genom fönstret och försvann” (“The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Stepped Out of the Window and Disappeared”) among my mom’s books. As opposed to dark Swedish crime writing and films, their novels (and children’s books!) are typically wonderfully nostalgic and lovely, so I took it with me. Author Jonas Jonasson – be honest, if you had to make up a Swedish name, this is what you would go with – is from Växjö which in itself makes me nostalgic: the train I took home from school in Sweden every day was going to Växjö.

The German title is “Der Hundertjährige, der aus dem Fenster stieg und verschwand” while its official English translation isn’t any more creative but that’s what the book is about; an old man who decides to escape from an old people’s home on his 100th birthday. It’s essentially a Swedish road movie in book form. For people who have been to Sweden, it’s a magical trip through small-town Sweden, some Swedish history and lots of Swedisms. For everyone else, it’s simply a hilariously original and well written gem of a book that should not be missed.

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