So they have finally arrived. The books nominated for the August-prize in the category “Non-fiction”. It will be my main reading this month although I did make the decision to continue with Tale of Genji too, just not be so strict about it. Which seems to be a sure way to lose track honestly. One day I don’t write a post and I’m of the blog wagon immediately, same with the mindfulness exercises.

So I will read in Tale of Genji everyday, otherwise I’m doomed to fail. What I’ve noticed  though is that whilst I’m over halfway in the number of chapters, I’m not so in the number if pages. The conclusion is then that the chapters ahead are longer, so it might make sense to switch tack and read a set number of pages from now on. I aim at 30 pages/day, which according to my calculations would be doable but means that I still finish it in November like planned, just later in the month.

So far I have read a book and a half from this stack; Hédi Fried’s short but intense book about the holocaust, based on the things students ask her when she is out in schools speaking about her experiences in extermination and labour camps during WW2. Very good, and worth reading. Everyone has a few hours to spare for this.

The other book, that I’m almost done with, is Brandvakten by Sven Olov Karlsson. I remember the massive fire in the Bergslagen region in 2014, the family cottage is close by for starters and the smell of it all made it down to Stockholm. I’ve put it on hold right now because a few books turned up from the library that need my attention (of course, now they turn up. Worst timing ever) and I want to speak to a few people about what I’ve read. Not that I dispute his version, or his facts. That is all true and based on interviews. He is very clear about what is his opinions and experiences and what is data. What I have a hard time with is the fragmented way of writing, and the disposition in the book.

If I didn’t know a lot about it beforehand I would understand very little. It’s great that he puts it into perspective and a global context with global warming, but so much of this book is too brief. It ends up being “neither chopped nor minced” as the Swedish saying goes. Either be brief about everything but then at least try to keep the same format, or go in-depth with a few things. As interesting as I find it, it’s a jumble. It could have been edited better or the material could have been better used. They could have stuck to a timeline, but no; we go back and forth a lot, which given the brevity of the chapters isn’t charming, just confusing. I will reserve my final thoughts until when I’m done, but doubt that the verdict will be more than “average”.



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