It was pure curiosity that made me grab this book and buy it. Sometimes you have a tendency to keep buying books that are close sisters or brothers of the one you allready know, either because you know you are going to like them and they will please you or because you know they are not going to "bother you" with new thoughts, new ideas and other things that wake you up. And sometimes it is good to change this.
It was the same reason that kept me reading. Curiosity about Israel, youth, girls and women, growing up in this era, growing up in a state that is permanently in conflict with others and itself...The book surprised me from the first page. It changes position all of the time, and tells the story from the eyes of three young women that grow up in a small border town in northern Isreal and than go into the army. Some parts are almost dream like and the chapter about Lea and the sandwich bar is like a painting by Edward Hopper (and has a quite surprising climax).
It reminded me a bit of other debuts like The Catcher in the Rye or De Avonden and it is full of the "newness" of youth, where everything that happens to you seems new, even when it is allready routine (thinking for the first time "this is not new" is also new). It did make me a bit jealous sometimes.
On top of this I think it gives a very good idea about Israël and its unique situation in today's world. And not only about what gets in the news, but also about everyday's life for Israël's young people. I think I learned about that, but also about today's youth and about women in general. I loved reading it and will probably read it again in some time to catch what has eluded me during first reading. I loved the style and the freshness of the words.
I started reading it in Bistro Beau Site in Ostend, in bright coastal autumn light, during lunchtime, and in the company of a Papegaei, https://www.facebook.com/Papegaei, a wonderful Belgian Ale. Could also be read with a kosher Chardonnay, but not with red wine. I feel it needs something with the colour of the sun.
I love Waterstone's, I really do, but whenever I pass a local book store in England, I try to step in and buy one or more books. Small independant book stores should remain in business, if it isn't for the sake of diversity, it's for the principle of supporting local economies. So when I recently walked through Hayes Wharf in London and spotted the Riverside Bookshop I went in and left with a bag o'books. Amongst the one that caught my eye and wallet that moment was the new one from Bill Bryson.
Since a good friend gave me, at New Years Eve, A small History of Nearly Everything I am a dedicated admirer of Mr Bryson. And everytime he publishes a book I am a buyer !
This book talks about 1927 and especially about Charles Lindbergh and his flight from America to Europe (Paris). We often forget but there was a time when the USA were non-interventionist and had one of the smallest armies and air forces of the world. The book talks about things and people we know by name, but nothing more. Babe Ruth, Lou Gehring, the Prohibition, Al Capone, Henry Ford, the names sound familiar but we don't really know who they were.
For me this is the reason why you should buy and read this book. It gives an insight in the American psyche and into the shared memory every American has. On top of this, it is well written (as usual), entertaining and well, fun to read.
To be read with a Budweiser or a Californian Chardonnay.
A fable relates how once a falcon refused to return to his master's fist. A cockerel, watching this, thought, I am just as fina a bird as any falcon, yet I am forced to scratch fro scraps in the dust at my master's feet. Why should I not ride upon his fist and be fed choice meats from his fingers ?
So the cockerel flew up on to his master's fist. His master was delighted and praised the the bird for its cleverness. The he killed it, and held up its body as a lure for the falcon, which at once returned to his fist and devoured the cockerel's flesh.
This quotation comes from the book The Falcons of Fire and Ice by Karen Maitland. I am a big fan of historical fiction, almost an addict, so whenever I spot one I buy it. This story plays in 1564 and starts in Portugal where the Inquisition spreads its wings of terror and decides to annihilate the Marrano's, former jews that were forced to convert to Catholicism. It ends in Iceland, where a vicar plays a deadly game to create a draugr, some kind of demon, and a Siamese twin in a cave tries to stop it. It mixes historical facts with talks of the supernatural, and it is definitely a page turner, well written, and a very pleasant read.