Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Just Kids by Patti Smith

When I turned fifteen in august this year I got a book from my grandfather. It was called Just Kids, written by Patti Smith. I started reading it immediately and could not stop. The book is an autobiography where Patti writes about her life as a young artist during the sixties and her relationship with the nowadays extremely famous Robert Mapplethorpe. 
What affected me the most was probably the fact that I could relate to a lot of her thoughts and feelings and her world interested me a lot as well. Patti is about twenty years old in the book and although that is my age plus five, I felt like I understood her. Her way of writing, her lifestyle and her whole story inspired a lot. Patti Smith is a very famous woman today, mostly because of her music, but I had never really heard anything about her so when I read her book I had no perjudices or ideas about her. 
In the book there were also pictures, of Patti at different ages and places, of her love Robert Mapplethorpe and some of their art. Seeing real pictures of the person/s you are reading about makes the whole story feel closer to you and more trustworthy, I think.
Just Kids is a very honest and part-time sorrowful memoir basically about two young, bohemian, artistic souls in New York that meet, fall in love and become inseparable from each other. The book is not a love story though, I must say. The love between Patti and Robert is everything but perfect, still it plays a huge role. 
Patti Smith wrote the book just the last year which I thought was nice. She has written about her youth from an older and more grown-up perspective and I think it astonishing that she remembers everything so well. Also, knowing how famous and big stars both Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe became by the years made reading about them as so very unknown inspiring. 
This genre is not what I usually would read so I am happy my grandfather gave the book to me. Books normally does not make any significant changes to your life, I think. Though I do think that with every book you read, you become a little wiser. I always pick the good things from each book I read and bring with me. It could be inspirational or motivational things, characters and environments that I like or sometimes more serious and severe things to keep in mind.
Finally, I would absolutely recommend the book to anyone who is interested. It is a very beautiful one. 
Books are great.


Harry Potter — books that moved me. by Elin Brimberg

I was 10 years old when I first read a Harry Potter book, ”Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone”. It was summer break and my teacher had given the class a homework over the summer; we should read 500 pages each. I did not like to read, and my parents always had to force me when I had a reading homework. We went to the library to lend a few books, when I saw a sparkly cover in the fantasy section. The book was heavy, but I loved the cover with a boy in front of a red train, with an owl on his shoulder. I had finished the book in a week. After that I read all the books too fast, and I was so sad when I had finished them all.
 The books are not just about magic; they are about friendship, will and belief. That meant a lot to me, and being so young, I learned a lot from them. But a thing that meant even more was that it was the Harry Potter series who made me want to read, and not see it as a thing I just had to do.
 The books are so good that I now and then re-read them; and the thing is that they are good every time, I never get tired of them! When I was younger I just thought it was a great story; the fantasy, the friendship, the plots, the spells. When I had finished the first book I searched for a perfect wand (a stick), and when I had found it, I ran around the house, shouting spells at everything. Now, when I read them again, I look at how the books are written (I know, I sound like a teacher), the language, and I just love them more. Also, I can still find things in the text that I have not discovered before.
 My life would probably have been the same if I had not read the books, I would just have missed something great.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Together by Ebba

I’ve read a book series called Together. It’s about three teenagers in Sweden. Actually in the area where I live which I think could be one of the main reasons of why I liked it so much. Even thought it was almost seven years since I read the first book I still remember it by heart. It was about friendship and family, which was and still is a big part of my life. They didn't have the perfect life, even if it seemed that way on the outside. This has always been a part of my life; a complicated family life but that is not anything you talk about. It’s sort of hidden under the surface and since the author grew up in my and most of my classmates neighborhood she knows what she is writing about.

And of course, since the book is about a girl and two boys the friendships gets complicated and interesting. It was a lot back and forth... They think they fall in love but they don’t. But really, they do. That is another reason why I liked it... The dream almost every little girl has: to meet a prince and ride of in the sunset on his white horse. These books was like that, the characters had a tough life with trouble both home, in school and with friends but the message was really clear, even for a nine year old girl.. If you hang in there, it will be worth it. The ”prince” or the reward will come in the end.

As I said before, the book take place right were I live. The characters in the book goes to the same school as I went to when I read it which made the book very faithful and real to the nine year old Ebba.

By Elsa Bodin

The first fantasy novel I ever read on my own was Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone. It was like I fell in love with the book. All the characters, the plots, the binding of the book, the pages, the spells, the magic and the environment became so close to my heart that when I had finished reading the last page of the book, it was with remorse. I wished that I hadn’t read the book more slowly. I immediately begged my father to rush to the bookstore and get me the second book, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, which I finished reading as fast as I had finished reading the first book. And so it went on, until I had finished reading the seventh and last book. 
I wouldn’t say that Harry Potter has contributed with anything ”meaningful” to my life, except hours of joyful and exciting reading. Yet, saying that seems quite harsh. Because, this may sound cheesy, Harry Potter plays a huge role in my life (the books, not the character). For example: The joyful excitement I used to feel when I bought the next Harry Potter book or when I bought the movie-ticket to the next film. 
Yes, these books have played an important part in my life. I don’t think my life would be any different without them, yet I still thrive over their existence. 

Some book I read by Sir John

I read a book which I do not remember the name of. However I do remember the story thankfully. The book was about a boy living in Sweden, he was playing football a lot and that is what his life was all about, much like me. Anyway he was offered a contract from Frankfurt, Germany and so he became youth professional at the age of only 16.

I read this book about three years ago when I was 12. I have always dreamt of becoming a professional football player but it wasn't until now that I understood what it really meant and the hard work it would take to get me where I wanted. But frankly, it just got me more motivated, I was ready to do all the hard work in the world to make the football my livelihood.

All in all this is what this book meant to me, it was a time when I realized what it would take to become a professional football player, but it was also a time when I really started to get fanatical (I definitely think that is the correct word for the occasion) about football and that passion overweight the hard work by miles, and sure enough it still does today and I don't think that will ever change.

Sir John

Looking For Alaska by John Green

I read a book recently called Looking for Alaska. It is about a boy who goes off to boarding school and meets a girl named Alaska. The girl is a trouble maker and always full of surprises. The boy finds her fascinating but never seems to figure her out. With time, he fall in love with her.
One night, when a small group of people have been drinking, Alaska suddenly urges to drive off campus because she "has to do something".
The next day, when the boy finds out she was killed later the previous night, he feels guilty for not stopping her, but he is also depressed because he never to told her that he loved her. He entered into depression while trying to solve the mystery of her disappearance.

I don't know why I value the book so highly. But it struck me in a way that books normally don't. The message the book sent was that you should not take things for granted. And if you want something, make it happen.
Someone once said, "Life is time, and time is all we have.". This is clearly the message the book wants to give.

He did not solved the mystery of her disappearance. But he accepted the fact that he would never know for sure what had really happened that night. This book is by far one of the best books I've ever read and I recommend it strongly. It was not a typical love story, but it had a much deeper meaning then that, and that is what I like about it.


The book that has had the biggest impact on my life is It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini. It fictionalizes the life of Craig, a fifteen year old boy, growing up on the Upper East Side. He isn't very popular and has only a few close friends. They are all very smart and as they enroll sophomore year they are introduced to a new high school which only has years eleven and twelve. This high school is extremely competitive; the students that apply have straight As and go to several after-school programs. Craig is eager to get in, so one year ahead of the appliance test, he starts studying every day.

Life goes on and he starts getting depressed as he notices that nowadays all he does is study. He feels that there is so much pressure put on children at such young age. He barely sees his friends anymore and one night, he decides to commit suicide by jumping of the Brooklyn Bridge. On his way there he passes a hospital and instead of killing himself, he enrolls a mental institute at the hospital. There he meets a lot different people. He comes to realize that they all have a lot worse problems than he does. When he is there he meets his future girlfriend, gets a semi-mentor and he meets many other life changing characters. Finally, as he gets out of the institute he quits his competitive high school and soon applies to a art college.

I read this book during the fall of 2010. My age and being in ninth grade at the time are the two key reasons why this book changed me way of viewing life. I could really relate to everything the author wanted to express, Craig applying to high school and me applying to upper secondary school, all the weight that is put on our shoulders, how one's future can depend on a few tests' and essays' results. But as Craig realizes at the mental institute, everything isn't about academics,for example one doesn't have to be the most famous businessman in the world to truly be successful. Instead, being successful is being successful by one's own standards! And it doesn't have to be about work, it could be something you have accomplished personally as well. Also, something that removed some of the pressure on me was that mistakes one makes when one is fifteen isn't going to destroy one's life, instead one should learn from his/her mistakes. This book is very inspiring if you feel that people expect to much of you. After I read this book I don't worry as much about school as I did earlier. I have come to realize academics aren't everything! :D

The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

Perhaps you, meaning my classmates, are a bit tired of me talking about this book since I've done it a couple of times now... but for Aidan I will tell him, and you who bothers reading this post, why I like this book so much.

It really isn't that special if you think about it (it takes place during WWII in a poor family in Germany who takes care of a little girl), and it's about 500 pages long so I don't claim anyone for not even starting to read it. But for some reason, not sure exactly why, I've read it twice.

The first time was last summer, almost a year ago now, mostly because I didn't have anything to read. My father had already read The Book Thief and said it was incredible, so I though why not give it a try? It might as well be good. I guess it was just a lucky coincidence we had two copies at home since my mom was eager to read it as well.

We were traveling to Turkey for three weeks a couple of days later so, by purpose, I saved the book for the flight and trip. Right after we boarded I began to read. And then I couldn't stop. As I said it's not a very extraordinary story, and most people doesn't really get interested when they hear about it. But almost everyone who has read it can agree on that it truly is high quality reading.

That was the first time I read it. In the beginning I discussed it a bit with my mom but after a while I noticed I was so hooked that I was always at least twenty pages ahead of her and she was always about twenty magazines ahead of me instead. While I sat in the shadow with my book, she sat in the sun with newspapers and magazines. I guess she chose to dedicate that trip to the pool and interviews with famous people. But then again, I don't blame her. And she usually reads a lot of books at home.

The second time I read it was this winter. We had a school project about WWII and I took the opportunity to read the book again, though I thought it might be easier to focus on the history now that I already knew the book. Not really. I found myself exactly as fascinated by the characters and the simple story about the family in Germany as I'd been the summer before.

I guess there's just something that catches my interest in reading about how a "normal" life survives and handles difficult times even though they have to go through lot's of terrible happenings. I think this book will always be with me and I'm sure I'll read it again cause for some reason, don't know why, it feels a little bit like I'm a part of that family and that reading the book feels like jumping in to a second, rectangular home.

Elsa Br

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

A book that moved me

I realise you have probably written a few book reviews in school before, describing plots and characters and themes. This time I want you to write your review in a more personal way. How did the book affect you? Was its impact more powerful because of when you read it: your age, where you were, who you were with, things that were happening to you or around you?

Maybe, less a book review and more a description of a book that meant a lot to you and why. Feel free to browse around for inspiration, but don't be afraid to do it your own way.

Have a look at this page where a writer describes his favourite teenage books as books that teenagers shouldn't read...

As with the travel writing, log in and write your review as a New Post.