Sunday, August 26, 2007

Three books...

...bought at the local supermarkets on the outskirts of Agia Marina, Crete
(anybody got any more books for that list?). So I left my newly acquierd
reading material for this vacation on my kitchen table and hence was forced to find
suitable reading down here (the collected works of Ari Behn will have to wait.
Thanks for the recommendation, W.)

The criteria I had for selecting the books, was that be easy to read (i.e., kids
interupting so I have to be able to read half a page at the time, without
loosing track of the story), no western or drama/lovestory (had a bunch of
Danielle Steel books which I immidiatly disqualified) and they had to be in
English or Norwegian (don't understand a word of Greek, wasn't in the mood for
Swedish or Danish, my German vocabulary are barely enough to understand an easy
childrens book, and any book in french sounds like a slightly gay erotic novel). So with that in mind, I choose the following:

John Grisham - The Summons
Basically I chose this because it's by a well know writer, and crime books are
usually a genre I read in my holidays.

And I admit that this was jackpot at first try. I really enjoyed this book,
and would recommend it to anybody looking for an easy read and exiting crime.

First of all it's very well written, and the charaters are presented in a easy
understandable order. And this is not an who-murder-and-how crime. In fact,
there isn't a murder, or even a real criminal act in the whole book.

The book is about Ray Atlee, a law professor in the south states, which is the son of a
small town judge. He chose to take the position as a professor rather then to
take over his fathers seat as a judge. This is one of the reasons why the
relationship between father and son hasn't been the best for several years. Ray Atlee also have brother, an alcholic and drug abuser which never been able
to hold a job. Needless to say, that father-son relationship wasn't too good

When the judge dies, Ray finds a stack of money in his fathers
belongings. The book is about the quest to find out where this money comes from,
if they are legit or not and how this huge pile of money affects the professor.

It doesn't sound too exciting, but it is. Don't want to give away too much of
the story for those who wants to read it.

Scott Turdow - Presumed Innocent.
This is a more conventional crime/ thriller book, with a murder. Basically a
female lawyer at the State Prosecutor's office is found murdered, and deputy district
attorny Rusty B... is put in the charge of the investigation. It's an OK book,
but there are some things that annoy me about it:
- It takes about 1/3 of the book before things start to get interessting. I
nearly put down the boot after 75 pages.
- A lot of people are introduced at the beginnig of the book. Many are really
not a part of the story.
- Most story takes place in the court room, Matlock style. I prefer this on TV/
movie rather then in a book.
- The non-chronolgical beginning the book doesn't work for me.

An alright read, which manage to hide who the killer was by shifting my
suspicion between several charaters. But a slow start, the court room setting
and a bit messy introdution of the characters pulls down an otherwise excellent

Brian Churck - Learn Greek in 25 Years - A Crash Course for the Linguistically Challenged
Ok, I just had to buy this when I saw the sales pitch on the front: "Best seller - 20000 idiots can't be wrong".
It even have a garantee: "Perfect Greek by 2029... Or your money back.", with
the disclaimer: "This offer doesn't apply to people who bought the book". A man
after my heart.

So, this book (or should we say booklet?) is a collection of 25 lessons from
Brian Church's weekly column in Athens News. The author openly admits that he
doesn't speak, write, read or even remotely recognise the language (told you
he's a man after my heart). But it's more a humorus view on Greece, the greek
language and people. And he really manages to make fun of a lot of other nations
(Spania, USA, England, Turkey to name a few) and even his readers:

"The more astaute readers will have noticed the feminine form of the adjective.
My less astute readers will not."

Reading this book on a Greek island and experiening first hand a lot of the
things he talks about (e.g. busses, roads and toilets) surely makes me biased.
But it's a hillarious book, beginning with the dedication "To my father, David
C. Church, who taught me how to laugh, worry and write (turn the page over) and
(here he has two pages packed with names, including "all past members of Hams,
Hellenic Amateur Musical Society, sorry for calling you the musical wing of
Hamas")... all of whom, except Uncle Stewart, promise to buy this book if I
dedicated it to them".

But back to the lessons. Could you actually learn something from them? Probably
not, unless you allready have basic knowledge to Greek. Church uses Greek
letters when spelling words, but he almost never say anything on how they are
pronounced. He gives a translation on all the Greek words, but I wouldn't trust
them too much. As there, when he explains the days of the week:

"As for Sunday (n Kvpiakń) itself, this his obvious religious connections such
as O Kvpioc, (the Lord), kvpiakátika (Sunday's best, meaning clothes) a'
kuvotpóφoc (dog-fancier). Friends say my examples can quickly get quite weak.
I think they're jealous."

I'm going to start to use the term "dog-fancier" more often in my daily
conversation. Especially if it's work related.

I would recommend this book to anybody who have likes Greece and have a sense of
humor. It's not often I laugh out loud when I'm read, but I did with this book.

(Note: I haven't got a clue on how to get greek letters on this blog, so the spelling for the examples are way of.)


Wilhelm said...

First of all, it is teh awesome to see a book review from you. And you're welcome for the recommendations. Ari Behn's complete works and thopughts will still be in the discount bin upon your return.

The Grisham book - which Southern state are we talking about here?

Scott Turdow - Presumed Innocent.: Maaaaatloooockkkkk!!

Anders said...

Mississippi (The judge) and Virginia (The professor).

Looks like something got messed up when posting this review. This is the draft version with spelling errors and all. I'll look into it when I get home. But still, it was enough to let you be knock out by my "awesomeness". :-D So next up, Billy F. Gibbons: Rock 'n' Roll + Gearhead... :-D

Have you read Presumed Innocent? I really had a feeling that this would make a much better movie then book. Wonder if it has been filmed.l

Wilhelm said...

Did ya know that the confederate pattern is part of the Mississippi state flag?

Haven't seen presumed innocent, I think

Anders said...

That's one ugly flag! So they still kept the confederate in their flag even after "The war of Nothern Aggression".

Wilhelm said...


Now you're catching on. Deep-six the station wagon in favor of a truck, git yo' bad self a straw hat, and start substituting sentences with "Yep - I reckon da there's about riite".

Nah; the South rules.

Anders said...

y'all come back now, ya hear! Ma' is makin' gritz and corn bread fo' suppa...

Wilhelm said...

I's jus' fixin' to mend da feince 'round da trailer 'fore de critters eats up all my turnips