Recently, I’ve Been Reading… (Quite a Lot, Actually)

I thought, if I don’t feel like writing about anything else at the moment I should at least be able to write a short review post about the books I’ve read recently. Which I’m trying with this post, even though the last book has blown my mind in such a way, that I’m not sure I can find the right words to describe it. Anyway….

I am Zlatan (Zlatan Ibrahimovic & David Lagercrantz, 2013) | ★★
I love Sweden and as German I’m bound to at least like football and know stuff about it. I think it’s in our DNA. Anyway, I didn’t know much about Zlatan, one of the best and most successful European football players, except that he’s from Sweden (to where his parents immigrated from Bosnia / Croatia) and that he’s supossed to be a diva on and off the field :-) And he might be. At least I think he might be difficult for some people to get along with, but this autobiography sheds some light on why that might be the case. It was a fascinating read about how this boy from the ghetto, because let’s face it, that’s where he grew up, made it to the top of the European football world. Yes, he screwed up a lot when he was a kid or teenager and he still likes to race his car way past the speed limit, but he also is such a family guy and kind and generous and that shows throughout the whole story.
I enjoyed it a lot, especially some “behind the scenes” details. Like reading his side of the story why he doesn’t at all get along with Raffael van der Vaart (I’m totally on Zlatan’s side on this) and most of all, his absolute animosity towards his Barcelona coach Pepe Guardiola, who is now coach of German’s #1 football team Bayern München. Quite a few people (football journalists, fans etc.) in Germany think that Guardiola can walk on water, so it was refreshing to hear a rather opposite opinion of this guy from Zlatan.

Blood on the Water – Monk #19 (Anne Perry, 2014) | ★★☆☆
I’ve discovered this series last year and read the first 18 within a few months and I enjoyed most of them. I really grew fond of all the characters and loved following their lifes in London in the 19th century. I thought the actual crime/law stories lost a bit of their quality throughout the series, unfortunately. And I had the same difficulties with this new one. I never really got interested in the core of the crime plot and who did what when and why. No idea how to explain it, really. Maybe it felt so disjointed because I rushed through the story?

The Humans (Matt Haig, 2013) ★★★★
I don’t know how I learned about this book, whether it was on Twitter or an Amazon recommendation. I bought it and I started following the author on Twitter, because he’s a Twitter gem in my eyes. When I finally started reading it a few days ago I immediately, after the first few pages (6 to be exact), knew that I was going to absolutely love this story. And I did.

It’s about an extraterrestrial visitor who arrives on Earth to destroy any information the mathematics Professor Andrew Martin had stored somewhere about his solution to one of the biggest mathematical problems, because this solution would help the human race to advance in every kind of way. This extraterrastial species, which is a very logic based and very advanced race don’t think the humans are ready for this kind of progress.

This visitor takes the form of Andrew Martin and plans to simply destroy all physical evidence and to also kill everyone whom Professor Martin might have told about his breakthrough and then return home to his planet. But these plans get thwarted once he learns more and more about the human species and about two humans – Martin’s wife and son – in particular.

It’s written in such a funny but also beautiful and wise way that I was in complete awe all through the book. I usually don’t use the annotation function on my Kindle, but I “underlined” quite a lot in this story, because there are o many poignant observations of the human race. It’s bloody brilliant. I have in fact already ordered the paperback edition as will, because this is one of those books, I really want to have in my hands and read again and use a coloured pencil to mark the things I want to remember and to read again and all that. Seriously, if you only want to read one book this year, read this one!

You need proof of why this is one of the funniest and wisest books you can read? An random selection of my annotations.

“It was the kind of night I had never known. This night was the power of night to the power of night. This was night cubed.”

“[…] inventions of things which they have no idea how to handle (the atomic bomb, the Internet, the semi-colon).”

“After a while, with a dog on your lap, you realise there is a necessity to stroke it.”

“The point of love was to help you survive. The point was also to forget meaning. To stop looking and start living.”

“The ‘pub’ was an invention of humans living in England, designed as compensation for the fact that they were humans living in England.”

“The single biggest act of bravery or madness anyone can do is the act of change.”

*sigh* I’m going to read this book again soon and I think getting the paperback edition gives me a good excuse to do so :-). I already bought two more novels by Matt Haig, the one I would have loved to read next isn’t available on Kindle, so I have to wait for the paperback as well. But the other one – “The Radleys” is already off to a good start as well. It’s about a family of vampires(Oh no, another one of those books you might think, but it’s not the ordinary vampire story) These parents are convinced that it’s time to overcome instincts and be abstinent and it all works well, until the daughter, who has no idea that she’s a vampire, bites and kills a boy in self defence. Quirky idea for a story? Definitely, but I like it a lot already.

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