Bookworms: Monthly Readings, December 2016

Books Reviews

Books I read in December: 
Ray Bradbury “Dandelion Wine”;
Richard Bach “Jonathan Livingston Seagull”;
J.D. Salinger “The Catcher in the Rye”;
Tove Jansson “Finn Family Moomintroll”.

Ray Bradbury

Dandelion Wine

Country – United States
Year – 1957
Language – English
Genre – Novel
Read in English (print)

Dandelion Wine

Yes I know, I am a little too late with both reading and reviewing this well known, highly praised and loved by many Bradbury’s arguably masterpiece and undoubtedly good read. I had great expectations of the book. Firstly, I am Bradbury’s fan and, secondly, Dandelion Wine can be found in most “The best of…” good reads lists. I shall put it this way – I am a sucker for anything sentimental, personal, magical, childish, simple, romantic, poetic etc. etc., but even for a pink-unicorn-believer like me Dandelion Wine was merely too much. Too much of ramblings, too much of nostalgia, too much of simplicity, too much of obvious truths. I mean, I enjoyed the book, I got struck frequently by Bradbury’s witty observations, but I had to dose it. Few pages a day would do for me. Might be just wrong timing or I am growing skeptical, who knows.

P.S. I ordered a bottle of Dandelion Wine today on Amazon – will see how Bradbury’s idea of captured and corked summer in a bottle works in real life. 😄

“Sunsets we always liked because they only happen once and go away."
"But, Lena, that's sad."
"No, if the sunset stayed and we got bored, that would be a real sadness.”

“No matter how hard you try to be what you once were, you can only be what you are here and now.”

And then, there is always that amusing Bradbury’s’ imagination:

“I got a statistic for you right now. Grab your pencil, Doug. There are five billion trees in the world. I looked it up. Under every tree is a shadow, right? So, then, what makes night? I'll tell you: shadows crawling out from under five billion trees! Think of it! Shadows running around in the air, muddying the 

Richard Bach

Jonathan Livingston Seagull

Country – United States
Year – 1970
Language – English
Genre – Novella
Read in Russian (print)

Jonathan Livingston Seagull

Tiny short story that gained huge regard and finally my attention. It’s so short, that it seems it is entirely wrought of self-sustaining excerpts. Pick any sentence and you’ll end up with one of Richard Bach’s well-known quotes. I’ve read both laudable and scathing reviews of the novel and frankly think there’s too much ado about nothing. I don’t find this fair that a few pages of copy, even if these pages contain legit ideas, would be placed in a row with some of the great literature works. On the bright side, I would definitely want to be friends with Jonathan Livingston Seagull. 😊 I like dissidents, those with precise understanding what they love and want to do in life and with eager determination to leave all nuisances behind to embrace their passion.

“He was not bone and feather but a perfect idea of freedom and flight, limited by nothing at all”
“The gull sees farthest who flies highest”
“Jonathan Seagull discovered that boredom and fear and anger are the reasons that a gull's life is so short, and with those gone from his thought, he lived a long fine life indeed.”

J.D. Salinger 

The Catcher in the Rye

Country – United States
Year – 1951
Language – English
Genre – Novel
Read in Russian (print)

The Catcher in the Rye

Yes, I somehow managed NOT to have read this book until now. Until I am 34. This is a shame and I feel disappointed with myself for being such an ignoramus! Not because it’s a classic that was translated into almost all world’s languages and not because it is considered one of the best novels of the 20th century, but because I finally have an answer to the question ‘What’s your favorite book’. Today it is The Catcher in the Rye! Exclamation point.

I knew long before that my mental age hasn’t bypassed teenage years, but getting to know Holden Caulfield’s way of thinking and linking it to my own way of thinking completed last pieces of the puzzle. I am a 14-year old teenager trapped in a body of a 34-year old woman. I loved Holden’s anger and good heart, his egoism and caring, wit and naivety, his sense of humor and stubbornness, his ignorance and sensibility. Loved his rebellion, his search for righteousness. And I would love to be friends with J D Salinger, or at least talk to him, see him from afar or hear his voice. Do I sound like a stalker yet? 😅A new fan has been born.

That's the thing about girls. Every time they do something pretty, even if they're not much to look at, or even if they're sort of stupid, you fall half in love with them, and then you never know where the hell you are.
She was really a moron. But what a dancer. 
“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you're all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn't happen much, though.”  

Tove Jansson 

Finn Family Moomintroll

Country – Finland
Year – 1948
Language – Swedish
Genre – Children's novel
Listened to an audio [in Russian]

Finn Family Moomintroll

I have bragged about my love for Tove Jansson and her Moomintrolls world here. Finn Family Moomintroll should be one of my favorites in the series: so funny and the author's imagination is scintillating! I can't wait to have kids so that I could read them stories about Moomintrolls and their adventures! Just kidding, I have more reasons to want kids, really. 😅

“Someone who eats pancakes and jam can't be so awfully dangerous. You can talk to him.” 
“Moomintroll's mother and father always welcomed all their friends in the same quiet way, just adding another bed and putting another leaf in the dining-room table. And so Moominhouse was rather full -- a place where everyone did what they liked and seldom worried about tomorrow. Very often unexpected and disturbing things used to happen, but nobody ever had time to be bored, and that is always a good thing.” 

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