A Bookstore Employee’s Recommendations

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:

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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!)

 

My favorite falsettos

I remember this one scene (scene I say, but it was definitely reality and unscripted), where I was at a terrace in Amsterdam with colleagues from my old job (best colleagues ever!!). One of the others was/is French, and we had never really talked much about non-work things, until that point, where she said “I love Sigur Rós. To me, that’s the ideal male singing voice.”

Then Lisa made a comment about not being able to get past Zayn’s falsetto! And I honestly hadn’t thought it was possible to dislike it until she said that (but of course it is!). To be fair I don’t really now if any in this list qualifies as “real” falsettos. I just use it vaguely for (mainly male) singers with high singing voices.

My favorite (male) falsetto singers

Jónsi of Sigur Rós:

Bon Iver:

Ásgeir:

And off I go!

There doesn’t seem to be anything to blog about at the moment. I don’t have time to do it at work, and I can’t come up with anything at home, so that leaves the blog in some sort of limbo.

Yesterday was a much needed public holiday. The weather was awesome and we had in-laws visiting the whole day for belated birthday celebrations. Tonight we fly to Dublin for a weekend trip. (Yes, I am off again. I’m as surprised as you. But it’s only 1 day.)

Can’t wait!

The social awkwardness

I have a draft for a post where I talk about my own social anxieties. We’ll see when that one appears, but for now I can say this:

I have a job interview today. Right now my internal voice goes like this “hopetheycancel, hopetheycancel, hopetheycancel”. What a relief it would be.

It also doesn’t help that my Fitbit went crazy last night and kept waking me up with random vibrations all through the night (until I had the sense to leave it in the bathroom where I wouldn’t hear/feel it).

Listen to the words I say

I struggle with a colleague. In my team of 5, there are 4 introverts and 1 extrovert. This extrovert is seriously killing me. This person doesn’t listen to all the words I say, just some, and then they make an interpretation of what was said. I’m not sure if this is due to the outgoing nature of the person, but to me they’re linked.

Example:

(me): Well I see that it’s wrong, but I’m not sure if they have to change something in the background too, so it’s better if you ask them to fix it so that everything goes right.

(colleague, 10 minutes later): He said he fixed it, but it went really fast and you said it was more complex with more things that had to be done.

Just… no. Listen to the words I say. Don’t interpret. The words are LITERALLY what I mean. There is no between the lines.

My partner calls me “very literal” and “part vulcan” (we’re re-watching Star Trek, it came up). I choose to see these as a compliments.