About great books I love…
Recently, I read The world as we know it by Joseph Monninger. The book was unknown to me, so was the author. The book jacket described the author as an award-winning writer. I guess I need to get familiar with North American literature. I chose the book because of its very first sentence”Years ago, on a cold New Hampshire day, my brother and I tried to skate to Canada”. That made me fall in love with it immediately. I saw myself in the book because one day I decided to immigrate to Canada — for no apparent reason at all, with just simply the love for a country. But let’s get back to what the book is about. The story is told quickly. It is the story of two brothers, Ed and Allard, who save Sarah from drowning in a lake in New Hampshire. This is the beginning of a lifelong friendship between the two brothers and Sarah, a girl who moved with her parents to their rural neighborhood. Over the years as the three of them grow older, Allard and Sarah become more than just friends. The big dream that all three of them share is to found a film production company to film nature and more importantly the wildlife that surrounds them. Their dream comes a little closer to reality when Ed is given a film camera by Sarah’s father as a thank you for saving Sarah. From then on, all three spend endless hours filming their surroundings. After finishing high school, they go to different universities to pursue their respective dreams. When Sarah and Allard decide to get married, Ed suggests to his brother that they go on one last hiking trip as a sort of bachelor party. And here the tragedy happens: Ed has an accident while trying to jump from one rock to another and dies. The grief coupled with feelings of guilt that he wasn’t able to save his brother is unbearable to Allard. He calls the wedding off and disappears. Years later Allard meets Sarah again; she is now a famous writer for National Geographic. Allard followed in his brother’s footsteps and became a wildlife film producer. Together, Sarah and Allard go on a filming assignment about polar bears. They fall in love again, even though Sarah is at first very hesitant of getting involved again with Allard. But love conquers all and the book finishes with them getting married.

Why have I decided to write about this book? The story seems so plain and not very fascinating at all. As already mentioned, I bought the book because of its first sentence. This sentence signaled to me a love for the north, which I share. In addition to that, the boys’ dream is one day to visit Canada. They have this huge map of Canada hanging on the wall of their bedroom. Some nights their father tells them stories about Canada. I liked that very much. What I really liked above all, is (do I dare to say it with my limited knowledge of the English language) that it is beautifully written. Despite the fact that Monninger’s vocabulary is a zillion times richer than mine, and made me look up every second word in the dictionary, I loved every single page of it. The wonderful flow of the story and the emotions, that are evoked are hard to describe. Unfortunately I have no idea how this done. How do the words come out so easily? What makes a writer a good writer? Is he just a good storyteller? Is it just about entertaining an audience? As I am struggling with my own very first blog, I wonder could this be learned somehow? I read a quote once from the famous author Michael Cunningham where he said that writing is truly hard work. To outsiders it seems so natural and effortless, but apparently it is a huge piece of hard work. If I could wish for just one talent it would be writing. Maybe it is just the thought of writing that I am in love with. I see myself at a desk writing meaningful and profound essays about the world, life and the universe. People would die to read my work and would get lost in my stories exactly the way I got lost in Monninger’s story. What is it that fascinates us with artists whether they are writers, painters or musicians? What makes them so special? I guess it is because they have this one talent or gift that a force from above has given them. Their artwork seems to be effortless. But then again, not everybody can be an artist. Most likely we do appreciate good stories because they are so rare. If everybody wrote we wouldn’t see the difference between something we really like and something that is just so-so. I will content myself with being just a reader (and an occasional blogger) who is able to appreciate a great book. I will never be a writer, not in my own language, never mind in English. Still, I would like to get better at it.

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.