Being back in Sweden I can enjoy the pleasure of going to the library. We have a small, local library in the area where I live, and a bigger one down-town. I visited the local library the other day to see what they have. It is rather new, very nice and comfy. There are areas where you can use the computer, sit an read a book or a magazine. Only thing missing is coffee, but we can't have it all.
As always when I linger among books I find something to buy, or in this case borrow. I came out with three books. Don't ask me why when I have around 200 at home on my shelves. I think it is just the pleasure of running into an unexpected book.
Three interesting books, of which I have read two.
Arvet från Bagdad ('The Bagdad Inheritance'; my translation) by Ingmar Karlsson. He is a translator and author, specialising in books about minorities, different religions, the Middle East, China and Germany. This is a pearl of a book. There are a lot of myths about islam and the Middle East area. He shows us that mostly they are just that; myths. The truth is something else. It was the well educated arabs that protected, developed and took the greek classics back to Europe. During 8th and 9th century they were translated into Arabic. Many of the learned men moved to Spain, islamic at the time, and spread the knowledge further into Europa. He gives numerous examples of how well forward the Arabic world were compared to Europe at the time. Very interested and easy accessible book about the inheritance from Bagdad, which still today is part of our culture.
The Gambler by Fyodor Dostoevsky is a book about the obsession gambling. Looking into his biography, I see that he himself was, at a time, a gambler, so he probably knows what he is writing about. A mixture of people find themselves in Rulettenburg, which is a German spa with a casino and an international setting of people. They are all waiting for the rich grandmother to die, and is totally chocked when she suddenly turns up at the hotel and starts gambling away her money. It is a story of greed, love and how easy it is to get obsessed by the gambling tables. As always Dostoevsky gives us an insight into different characters and their rational or irrational behaviour.
A History of Reading by Alberto Manguel is exactly what the title suggests. Manguel takes us through the reading habits through history, about libraries and books of treasure, about accepted and forbidden reading, about book thieves and book burners and peculiar reading machines. I have just started it, and it is just wonderful. A book for all of those who loves to read and hold a book in your hand. The mystery and imagination of the story you are about to read. Review will follow.