Normally I like to just browse bookstores. Employees trying to help are more of a nuisance that I’d rather skip. However. Last time I was in Sweden I really wanted to bring some books (in Swedish), but the stores in the airport didn’t carry anything from my wish list. So I did something drastic and very atypical for me, and asked an employee of the Pocket Shop for advise. (And just so we’re clear, “pocket” is what swedes call a paperback.)
These are the 3 books she made sound good enough to buy:
Now I’ve read them all and thought I’d do a short review on both the books and a summary of how this specific bookstore employee at Arlanda airport did.
Khaled Hosseini’s “And the Mountains Echoed”
It really took me a while to get into this. The first few chapters didn’t “speak” to me, and I really did consider stopping. But then. It picked up! And I really enjoyed it, and wanted to see how the stories would be tied together. It’s a not very uplifting story about an Afghan family who are so poor that they sell one of their children, since they can’t afford to support them.
Jennifer Clement’s “Prayers for the Stolen”
Well, this was depressing reading. I mean, well written, but damn. Clement spent years interviewing Mexican women, and this is their story told as one. Ladydi lives in the countryside. They have a hole in the backyard where she is supposed to hide whenever a car approaches, so that the cartels who steal pretty girls won’t find her.
Elena Ferrante’s “My Brilliant Friend”
This is the book I was the most reluctant about because I have heard SO MUCH about Elena Ferrante that I had concluded she could never live up to the hype.
And, of course, I was wrong. I loved it. It’s a story about two girls growing up in one of the poorer parts of Naples after the second world war. So female friendship, fantastic writing and short chapters. What’s not to like? Now I’ll just have to order the next part of this to see how it goes.
So, all in all, the recommendations were fine. Ferrante’s book was my favorite by far, but all books were worth finishing and left some impression on me. (Plus, 3 more countries for my yearly challenge!)