I think I have found my summer reading as long as the library can supply me with the books.
Just finished the first Napoli novel My Brilliant Friend. I enjoyed Ferrante’s storytelling style through the eyes of Lenu, her passages of narrative interspersed with just enough conversation. I now know the neighbourhood, the characters. The friendship with Lila is familiar as is the community way of being.
It is beautifully translated. Not a single blip! On to the next one soon. The collection is very popular and reservation numbers are high as we all jostle for the books.
I believe an adaptation for screen is coming.
As I was growing up, there was one thing my mother said to me repeatedly: Don’t be a sheep. Don’t be like everyone else. I think this stemmed mostly from her fear of my getting in with the wrong crowd and being scared of a liberal British society where it seemed to her, anything goes.
Lucky for her, that I was a precocious little goody-two-shoes who rarely strayed in to unknown waters. I too feared that liberal world. Observation was more my thing. Reading was too. But I’ve talked about the library and post office previously and their influences on me. The two Tolstoy novels in the house in Serbian and so on.
We live in precarious times during which many things are thrown at us through imagery, film, words – the media in general. Again, my mother would announce: Phantasmagoria! Propaganda! What to believe in all this information available to us. What is kept from us.
As for books. Follow your intuition I say. Just because something is up for a prize, recommended by a national paper, reviewed on a radio programme, doesn’t mean it’s for you. Do your own research. Find what you like. Read what you want. Sometimes you have to go to the ends of the earth for it. I do, especially for international literature – whether it’s in English or its mother tongue. Sift through the rubbish heap of information and source the one thing that speaks to you, that is true to you.
Wabi Sabi: The Japanese Art of Impermanence by Andrew Juniper. Wabi sabi, the quintessential Japanese design aesthetic, is quickly gaining popularity around the world, as evidenced by recent articles in Time, The Chicago Tribune and Kyoto Journal. Taken from the Japanese words wabi, which translates to less is more, and sabi, which means attentive melancholy, wabi sabi refers to an awareness of the transient nature of earthly things.
I’m exploring Japanese words and their meanings…