book reviews: Safran Foer & 1001 Books

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by J. Safran Foer. I bought this book at the Stockholm airport in October, when I had to wait a long time before my flight. From the first page I absolutely loved this novel. It reminds me of a mix of Paul Auster, Salinger, and a little bit of K.Vonnegut. The main character is a child, Oskar, who lost his father during 9/11. The author plays with typesets, inserts images that become part of the narration, and builds up a story that is at times incredibly funny and other times deeply sad.

Some sections, like some of the grandfather narrative parts, are not as good as the rest of the book. Oskar’s narration is definitely the best part of it, together with the plot. I had to read it in English, because the way Safran Foer plays with the language is just brilliant.  I would definitely recommend this novel, perhaps you can just try to read the first page next time you’re in a bookstore, and see if you are hooked, too.

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die, ed. by Peter Boxall and written by Over One Hundred International Critics. So many Capital Letters in This Title and in the List of Authors! That wasn’t a good sign to start with. I got this one at the library, in English (thanks!). It’s basically a selection of…well, the title is pretty self-explanatory. It’s not a BAD book, but I expected something more…This guide reviews books from the “pre-1700” until today. Mostly, but not all of them, are from Great Britain and America. There is a lot of Beckett, which is nice (although, do we need to put 10 of his books in the list?). There are also a lot of quite banal novels (especially in the contemporary section) who I wish I didn’t waste my time reading, honestly. One of them is Seta (Silk) by Italian writer Baricco. Don’t need to read that before you die! I’m currently reading Jay-Z Decoded (not on the 1001 list), and so far is much better than Silk. But if you like to read, just get it at the library and you’ll find some nice suggestions in here.


2 thoughts on “book reviews: Safran Foer & 1001 Books

  1. Hi Valeria

    I must say, heres finaly something we don’t agree on: Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close is by far one of the most boring stories I’ve read in a long time, and I think it’s one of the only books I’ve actually put down half way though. Must say I read it in danish though, maybe that also has an impact. :)
    Have a happy holiday and & merry christmas. Love Anders (+Cathrine)

    1. Hey Anders! Thanks for leaving this comment – I had the same feeling reading the book…the feeling that many people could actually find the book boring. The grandma-grandpa story was the boring part, for me. But I liked the rest, and the way it was all connected. It must have been so hard to translate in Danish, btw!! Merry Xmas to both of you too, we hope to see you very soon.

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