The stories we tell ourselves

I’ve been reading a lot lately – well, ‘a lot’ is clearly overstated, but at least I’m reading books again. Real books, no virtual electronic files, because like pictures need to be hung onto walls, books have to be printed and bound.

It all started with a movie tho, and the one which touched me most this (almost passed) year was the Wachowskis’ Cloud Atlas. I found it totally fascinating that they managed to portrait the characters and the general idea (which is based on Nietzsche’s eternal return) so clearly and precisely in only a few hours. This deep introduction into a story’s characters is nowadays far more easy for long-running series like Lost, and even in the past good and long stories like Treasure Island, or even David Balfour needed long movies in 4 or more parts. Cloud Atlas (the movie) manages that in 172 minutes.

But I was starting about books, and instead of reading Cloud Atlas (the book), I decided to start with the first of David Mitchell’s novels, Ghostwritten (German book title is Chaos).

No, I won’t describe it here, but what a book it is! A chain of short stories which all are connected like in chaos theory (where a butterfly’s wings can produce a storm elsewhere). Highly recommended.

And from yesterday to today I was reading Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Woods (German book title is Naokos Lächeln).

And while I also won’t write much about it here, it’s some coming-of-age story like Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, together with a good amount of Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain, and a good part of Franz Kafka in it. A bit sad, but also highly recommended.

So – repetitions if you like to describe these stories that way. But aren’t all the stories we tell each others repetitions of the same old themes, re-written to explain them to the next generations? These stories, told and re-told from generation to generation are maybe as old as mankind itself (and Tom Hanks shows that very well in the beginning and end of Cloud Atlas (the movie)).

So if you have some spare time at this year’s end, go and have a look at some photos. Real photos hung onto real walls. And lose yourself into them – seeing them online isn’t the same! Or get a good book, and read and lose yourself in that.

The ones mentioned here are good. Life’s too short for bad ones.

Thanks for reading.