Right now I am at home more than usual because my lessons have ended for the term and I am mainly translating (which I can do in my home office) and that I can do during regular working hours. In my copious spare time (I am not used to having evenings off!) I am reading a lot. I have just finished
- The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
- The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender
- The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
- The Lying Days by Nadine Gordimer
- The Past is Myself by Christabel Bielenberg
- Night by Elie Wiesel
- Good Morning Mr Mandela by Zelda Le Grange
- Cat in a Jeweled Jumpsuit by Carole Nelson Douglas
- Torka aldrig tårar utan handskar by Jonas Gardell
- Hundraåringen som klev ut genom fönstret och försvann by Jonas Jonasson
I am not the kinder of reader who can have several books on the go, or read a page here and there. So I tend to do my reading when I know I can finish a book in a day or two. I am a very fast reader, luckily. If I don’t like a book I just stop reading it. I like paper books which I then give to my students or the local charity shop. I very seldom reread a book though, I have a few favourites that I keep. The Bang Bang Club, Brokeback Mountain and Jarhead being three of my favourites, together with their ‘matching’ movies. If I want to read something immediately I tend to use the Kindle Cloud Reader because I often have to order books from the UK or the US, given that Sweden does not have a huge selection of English language books – they usually just have recent bestsellers. At the moment I am also watching:
- old television series – Magnum PI, Cagney and Lacey, Murder She Wrote, The Rockford Files, Lovejoy, Miami Vice, Kojak, Alias Smith and Jones, Petrocelli, Quincy, Prime Suspect and Nash Bridges. I love them! Detective work is so much more interesting without mobile phones and the internet.
- newer television series – Being Human (UK version)
- favourite older movies – Death on the Nile with Peter Ustinov, Without a Clue with Michael Caine, Ben Kingsley and Peter Cook. Also Educating Rita (Michael Caine again), Overboard with Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn (one of my all-time favourites), Turner and Hooch and Tango and Cash.
- newer movies – Pacific Rim, The Expendables
I used to be an avid moviegoer. I lived in a small university town with two old-fashioned movie theatres. One of them, His Majesty’s, ended up being one of the biggest old fashioned movie theatres left in the world (and was actually a question on Trivial Pursuit). They were the ones with the balcony, stage, huge velvet curtains and had way upwards of 1000 seats. I used to go to the matinee every Saturday, not matter what was showing, and they only used to show the movies if five people came, so if three turned up we would all ring our friends and try and get the number up so they could screen the movie. At night in winter it was so cold people used to take blankets and hot water bottles and snuggle up. At exam time they would show the films of the books the language students all had to read so the theatres were full of students trying to cram for their exams in every way possible. On weekend evenings the farmers from the surrounding areas would dress up with their wives and make a night of it with dinner and a movie. We had a huge army base as well and many of the soldiers used to watch movies when they had a day or a weekend pass. The projectionist, Albert, would sometimes put the reels on in the wrong order, or upside down. And we knew not to bang on his door if the movie started jumping because it sometimes meant that he had his girlfriend up against the projector. And the reels were so spliced by the time they got to our little town, which was the end of the circuit that you could sometimes barely see anything. And of course South Africa only got television in the 1970s and it was only a few hours a day for many years (and not very good) so movies were a big part of life. I miss that.
Nowadays it is really easy to watch old television and movie favourites – on Netflix and other streaming services, via daily reruns on regular channels, dedicated extra channels and even YouTube which offers everything from individual scenes to entire movies and television series (probably illegally in most cases but a quick YouTube search will show you the extent of what is out there). I had a laugh at the one episode of Murder She Wrote, where the victim has the same name as I do. It seems to be quite a common name in books as well as I have read two books with characters with the same name as me.