Thursday, October 9, 2008

Our reading makes us world savvy...

I has been reading lots over the past few days. Day before yesterday I finished The Boy in Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne. What a haunting story. And such a devastating conclusion. It is a simple tale that lays out the horrors of a terrible time in our history and is an excellent way to keep knowledge of these injustices alive and understandable for future generations - we should never forget.

Yesterday I needed to read something completely different (and was grateful that perhaps the way history played out enabled me to). I consumed, in a day, Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn. Cool read. Now I wanna see the movie. Nick and Norah's contains a lot of geographical, cultural and product references specific to the US. Only one product had me confused but it didn't hold my enjoyment or understanding of the story back. I wish NZ books travelled to the US like their books travel here. Are kiwis more world savvy or has our wide reading about different cultures over the years made us so. One of the benefits of reading is escaping to and learning about new places, cultures and people. I could never be a teenage jewish New Jersey girl having one crazy night in Manhatten but now i know how it might feel. How cool would it be if some new jersey youngster caught a glimpse of how kids live here. I do wonder why our books don't travel and theirs do?

This morning I'm on to Kate Summerscale's The Suspicions of Mr Whicher. I hardly ever read non-fiction except the newspapers which stretch that definition somewhat at times. Its compelling so far but its a fat book and I am not sure I have the reading stamina for the whole thing. Especially since school holidays are nearly over and I will have peace and quiet, the house and the computer to myself again come monday to get back in to my writing. I can't complain too much tho'. I have been enjoying the books, and all the movies I have been to with my children. I have seen at least one movie alone with each of them which is extra nice.


4 comments:

maureen said...

Yeah I've often thought that about kiwi books traveling tothe US myself.
One of the judges for the Nobel chucked his 10 euros into the ring when he declared the US too insular and self absorbed and there wouldn't be an american winning the Nobel because of it.
So thinking about reviews....
were you listening when John McIntyre raved about Were Nana on National Radio this morning?...
Well Done Melinda!!!

Melinda Szymanik said...

Thank you :) -'Twas vair exciting. I was real pleased that he saw the eastern european connection and being compared with Grimm fairy tales - well I am speechless (Fifi will know how truly amazing that is).

I am going to try and put the link on the blog.

cheers
Melinda

Fifi Colston said...

Yes- I sat in the car on the way to an appointment and was late for it listening to the review. Fabulous! I love 'Were Nana'- it is exactly the non namby pamby stuff that kids are into! John 'got' your book- and many others will too. Ignore the nay sayers; there are always the ones who will not dare, will not adventure back into childhood where life is full of lurking shadows and things and misrepresented. xxx

Melinda Szymanik said...

Thank you, thank you. I hope being late didn't get you into trouble. I have never been reviewed on radio before and it is quite a buzz. I grew up on scary stories - Polish folktales about the witch Babayaga and the like and I think i turned out all right. I think politics (especially the US stuff) is WAY more scary and thats everywhere at the moment!

cheers
Melinda