Wednesday’s book report + my daily routine at the farm

WINTER MORNINGS = BLISS
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♥HAPPY VALENTINES DAY EVEYRONE♥

I finished the book, and there will be a report where I will include a short description on my thoughts and feelings about the memoir – but first … I would like to invite you into my daily routine at our farm in Norway.

What do I do when I wake up? How do I continue my day on the Norwegian country-side? Who do I spend time with, and what does my working schedule look like?

Well, you’re about to find out!

♥ First of all, I get up from bed around 08:30 in the morning. Then I head to our glass-veranda, where my mother is sitting with freshly brewed coffee and three cups; one for herself, my brother and me. We talk, read and discuss news for about an hour, before my father wakes up – and we make a new pot of coffee. Then I dance my way to our kitchen and prepare a small plate of breakfast for myself. This time it was pancakes with crushed almonds, bananas and maple syrup. 

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♥ After eating breakfast and reading for two hours, I either start organizing myself by making a list of new articles for the blog in the future – or I continue writing on an article I’ve already started.

All the organization-stuff, I write in my own homemade bullet journal, here↓

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♥ After writing for two hours, I go out for a walk in the snow-landscape together with a very good friend, my camera. I always end up taking a great deal of pictures of the nature, our cat, Apollon and Kossette, our dog!

♥ Then, I head inside to have some lunch. Afterwords, I sprint (eagerly) over to the other house at the farm to drink more coffee (not gonna lie, probably my fifth cup by now) with my father in his studio. Here, I start writing on my own things. I don’t know what it is, but I love writing creatively in my father’s atelier while he’s painting. There’s something so peaceful and lovely about it … a feeling I can’t describe!

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♥ Now, the clock will strike 3, which means guests will probably come over for coffee and tee. I am not saying this happens every day (maybe every second day would be more accurate) but it does happen so often, that it is necessary to include as a part of my daily routine. Some days, I will make a pie for this coffee hour. Other days, my mother will have bought something or made some sweets on her own. Either way, this time is always so lovely; lots and lots of coffee (I know, this drink is all we talk about at the Nerdrum School) and lots of inspiring conversations and good laughter.

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♥ After about an hour with social time, I sneak away to my humble bed-chamber and continue on my writing. This time, I type everything I have written by hand (earlier that day) into the computer. I usually do this, chapter by chapter.

♥ The clock strikes 7. Everything outside has darkened – meaning it’s time for dinner with the family. Everyone gathers around a big table. Candles are lit, the food is warm. Restless conversations start before anyone has even started serving themselves. These dinners usually last an hour or more.

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♥ After the meal, my brother Öde plays some piano, while I make coffee and glögg as an after-dinner-treat. (For you who are wondering – glögg is a Swedish hot-wine with spices. Very sweet and very enjoyable during cold days!)

After the coffee and the hot wine has been made, my two brothers and I gather in their office to watch BBC-period-drama together. This time, we are watching “Little Dorrit” from 2008; an adaptation of Charles Dickens’s serial novel with the same title. I can highly recommend this one for all the period-drama-lovers out there! It is very sweet, full of drama and utterly romantic! Plus, my brother is an absolute copy of Matthew Macfadyen, who’s playing Mr. Clennam (the hero of the story) in the series! Both in clothing and in personality.

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♥ After some well-spent quality time with Öde and Bork, I settle down in the fire-place room together with my mother, a good book and a cup of tee. Throughout the evening, the whole family will join us. My father will be watching a movie while talking to my brothers. I will read, watch and listen to the conversation at the same time. After this, I go to bed- usually around 12 – 1 o’ clock in the evening.

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And NOW to my book-report

 

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I would like to say that the further I came to the ending of the story, the more I loved it. Sadly, this is not true. I ended up feeling rather cheerless and sad by listening to the main character, Joyce Maynard, narrate her everyday-life during her time after the love-affair. This does not mean the book was badly written. It just had a very gloomy affect on me.

In my opinion, this sadness was mainly because of the constant repetition of her eating-disorder and her low self-esteem. I could not help but thinking; but she has got everything! Everyone loves her writing, she has people wanting to make publishing-contracts with her wherever she goes. She has enough money to buy a house in the end. She is a top-notch career woman at age 19. What is she complaining about?  

Of course, she was abandoned by her first love, which left an immense scar on her heart – making her fall into a long-lasting depression, including numerous control-issues and restrictions on her diet. All this is natural for any young person experiencing their first heartbreak, but for me … the story was quite different. I realized how different I was from Joyce Maynard when I understood that for her, J.D Salinger was everything she needed in life.

I am not saying I have a cynical approach to love, but it does have a relatively stronger impact on me, if I fail in my career, than if I fail in my love life.

Therefor, I found it hard to relate to her, which made me very detached from the whole story and also Joyce Maynard herself.

I will not spoil the interesting ending of the book … So my conclusion is, that this book is very suitable for young women going through a heavy heartbreak at the moment. Buy this book if you want to be able to relate to someone who has literally gone through the worst mentally, but came out through the other side. You will enjoy it!

 

Next book is …… “The World of Yesterday” by Stefan Zweig!

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I am looking so much forward to this book, and I can’t wait until next book report!

 

That’s it guys. I hope you’ll have a wonderful day with your loved one/ones (whoever they are) and I’ll see you next time♥

 

Love,

Aftur S. Nerdrum

 

 

 

 

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#metoo? More like #MrDarcywhereareyou

Let’s talk about how Jane Austen taught me more about manliness and the reason why #metoo doesn’t work.

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Why is it that Jane Austen is more famous today than she ever was during her time of living? Her novels are adored all over the world and film and Tv-adaptations have brought them to millions more. Although it’s been over 200 years since the humble author put the pen to paper – we still cannot get enough of the classics; “Persuasion”, “Emma”, “Sense and Sensibility” and “Pride and Prejudice”.

Here’s a questions that came into my mind when reading her novels for the second time; Are women today, secretly longing for the same politeness and refinement that they see in the men from Austen’s stories?

People say that her insights into the human nature of females – especially when engaged in the frustrating business of courtship – are as true today, as when she originally wrote them. I agree with this statement. Basic human emotions never change with time. Yet, have the men and their way of courting women changed? Yes. They most certainly have. Their manliness is lost.

First off, my view on manliness is not related to aggressiveness or being violent. Men are supposed to be polite – yet act like real men.

Manliness includes caring for women, keeping a strong character and overall – act like they’re able to protect the lady they’re courting. That doesn’t mean women are weak, or that they belong to the kitchen. Quite the contrary – in this article, I am honoring a strong woman who wrote love-stories and saved a great deal of people’s lives through them. Ideally, both genders should take care of each other. All I’m saying, is that 21st century men seem to have forgotten what it’s like to be a proper chaperone. Respect is lost. Their manliness is taken away from them, and we want it back. anigif_enhanced-buzz-29546-1390936973-4.gif

I see women all over Instagram – complaining about how they can’t seem to find a Mr. Darcy, and that men like him don’t exist anywhere. I experience girls my age – crying over a boy, because they cared too much and he cared too little. Yet at the same time, the metoo-hashtag-campaign is taking over the internett – making men too scared to even look another woman’s way. The dread of rape-convictions and cyberbullying have become a real thing, and the alfa-male has made the decision to back off. 

Why? Because that’s what they think we want! But what we actually want is for them to become a Mr. Darcy! Why isn’t there a #MrDarcywhereareyou instead of #metoo?

It would’ve made it so much easier for the men to understand. Wouldn’t it?

Just imagine how the world could be, if we had changed the hashtag to the one suggested; The men would’ve gotten their act together. They would’ve asked you out on a date, they would buy you a rose and kiss your hand. Instead, with the #metoo – we are not helping them in any way. Women make it seem like theres no solutions to the problem.

That’s just how men are, right? So now, we are just going to be angry and see what happens …

Well, if you think this way – nothing is going to happen. Both women and men work in such a way that when someone accuses them of something – they are not going to be willing to change, unless the accuser adds a solution to the problem.

 

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Right now, theres no solution! Me too – what does that even mean in a man’s brain? For an average man, all it means is that women are now gathering together, creating a hate-group against him. Oh and – they’re not going to tell him how to change. They just want to let him keep on living in confusion, thinking that the way he has approached women so far, and the way he will continue doing it – is all wrong.

Let me tell you something; Things are not supposed to be easy. But they’re not supposed to be hard either.

A 21st century woman should not have to beg on her knees for a 21st century man to ask her out. That’s just … wrong.

Anyone who has ever read Jane Austen’s books, knows deep inside that men are supposed to be like her characters. So why not tell the whole world about what we truly want – now that we’re already telling them about how much “we suffer” with the #metoo?

How do you think Mr. Darcy would react if he lived in these #metoo times?

Most probably, he would be sitting at home being all miserable like the other alfa-males out there.

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(What are your thoughts on this subjects? What did you learn from reading Jane Austen? Let me know in the comments below! Until Wednesday then.)

Love,

Aftur S. Nerdrum♥

 

 

How to grow fond of reading

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Hello lovelies♥

Yesterday, me and my mother visited a gorgeous little French cafe called “Étoile”.  It has now become our favorite in town, and I think it would be ideal as a meeting-place for a book-club! Sitting there, reading and talking with her – made me think of all the great advantages of being an active reader. Sadly, there are people out there who haven’t yet discovered this paradise, so I felt an urge to help you guys out a little.

So instead of Wednesday’s book-report (I promise it will come next week!) – I want to present to you, my list of ideas on how to truly commit to books and start loving them!

 

1. Make a friend join you!

When you start doing something new, it’s always hard in the beginning. However, with a friend (someone who is equally new to book-reading of course) everything suddenly becomes easier. It’s like exercising; very hard in the beginning, but once you start, you don’t stop. And if you bring a friend, its even more fun!

My advice is to create a small bookclub with your friend. Choose one book, read it and then discuss it afterwards with coffee and cakes. You’ll be surprised when you realize how fun this actually is.

 

 

2.  Don’t start with the classics, just because you feel like you have to

I definitely prefer the classics, but it doesn’t mean I started reading them as a beginner.  The most important things is to start with what you want to read. Do not take other people’s advice too seriously. This is about you. Your development. Your introduction into the world of books.  So read “Twilight” if you’re into love-stories. Read some Nicolas Sparks if you love watching “The Notebook”. Remember that once you get into reading, the classics will come naturally.

In fact, the first books I started reading actively (I think I was about 10 years old) were the “Sweet Valley High” books. If you don’t recognize the title; it was a widely popular book-series going on in the 1980s – about first love, high-school drama, dating problems etc. Every girl in my class read them, and everyone thought it was insanely cool – reading books from the 80s in the early 2000s. We thought we were sooo old-school of course.

I know … very teenage of me! But hey! It got me into reading. So whatever you choose to do, whether it’s diving into “Sweet Valley High” or some other glossy, gossipy love-fiction, do not hesitate or think it’s embarrassing. Just go for it.

(Ps: I have to admit that I still love these books … ! And I do read them occasionally.)

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3. Don’t tell anyone!

I don’t know if you’ve heard the advice before. Maybe it’s just me, but whenever I start something new – I like to keep it a secret. Everything suddenly becomes so much more fun if you’re being all mysterious about it. And if you choose to do this with your friend, make them keep their word as well. It’s nothing more exiting than reciting a phrase from a book you’ve just read to your parents or your colleagues. Most probably, they will freeze completely and get all confused. They thought you weren’t a reader. Well … I guess they were wrong!

 

4. Find your spot

This is probably the most important one on the list. Finding your own spot is like creating a routine. Furthermore, you’re creating your own meditation for the day – which is one of the biggest advantages of reading. Every time you go there, you know it’s time to open the book again and disappear from the world. So use your creativity. It can be the weirdest spot! Either on the top of a mountain hill, inside your parked car, in the kitchen while you’re cooking, outside on the balcony while taking a smoke, in a bar, in a café, in a local library, in your library, in your studio, in someone else’s studio, in your bed at night, in the bed in the morning while taking a coffee, in the bathroom, in your office, in your living room by the fire, in the forest while taking a walk, in the park …. the list goes on!

So find your spot, and I promise you; reading will eventually be the thing you look most forward to when waking up in the morning.

Personally, I prefer reading in the morning with my coffee, or reading at a café together with my mother or my brother. I also enjoy opening a book while I’m in my father’s studio of course!

 

5. Watch the movie first

Ok. I know exactly what you’re thinking now; she’s crazy! It ruins the book if you see the movie first! 

In one way, yes. It does ruin the book, and it’s definitely not something you should continue doing for the rest of your life. But in another way, it’s a great ritual to start with.

Believe it or not, but my first introduction to Jane Austen (who I love so dearly today and always will) was through movies. I remember I was about 12-13 years old when I saw the 2005-adaptiation of “Pride And Prejudice” with Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen  for the first time on the television. I was together with my father that day, and we both cried at the ending where she asks her father for permission to marry Mr. Darcy. I looked her up of course, and I ended up seeing all the movie-adaptations in less than a week. Since I had never read any classics before, I was imagining her books to be terribly tedious, full of advanced words and unnecessary descriptions. (I know, I’m still not proud about that…)

Stubborn as I was, I refused to the read the books before I turned 14 years old in 2013. That year, I read all of them. I also started on the Brontë sisters and Victor Hugo.

For me, movies were actually a golden ticket into the world of classics. They made me put those “Sweet Valley High” books on the shelf and turned me into the person that I am today. So thank you movies! You have done more than you know!

Maybe they will have the same effect on you …?

 

I hope this list was fulfilling to you non-readers out there, and that you will feel encouraged to drop by the bookstore today!

 

Love,

Aftur S. Nerdrum♥

 

 

 

 

 

 

The magic of the Nerdrum School (from a writer’s perspective)

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The Nerdrum School.

Some don’t have a clue and others have misunderstood the concept completely. People tend to pretend they know. Most of those people think that this is some kind of a spooky cult, and others just don’t see the point.

I am here to tell you the truth – and this time, from a writer’s perspective …

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When I look back at my life – from the day I was only three years old, crawling around in the grass in-between students, painting themselves and each other at our farm in Norway – to where I am now, sitting by my desk, listening to Gustav Mahler’s Adagietto from his 5th symphony, reminiscing on the past – It doesn’t seem like time has gone by at all. Things remain the same; timeless.

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I am surrounded by beauty everywhere I go. My father is still working diligently on his compositions and students from all over the world are watching him with amazement. Some afternoons, my mother will appear with coffee and cakes, and we will all be sitting in the studio or outside on the lawn – discussing philosophical ideas or political matters. Odd Nerdrum will be having his coffee in his atelier, lecturing young, aspiring painters about Aristotle and Kant – and what impact they have had on esthetics today.

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I couldn’t wish for a better life … yet, I wanted to escape it multiple times during my teenage years. Why? I felt the urge to search for something new, a place even more thrilling and more exiting. Fact is, I left home, only to come back two years later – knowing that there wasn’t anything like the Nerdrum School out there … At least not for me.

Many things happened to me during my time away from this place. Both good and bad. However, I can safely say that I am learning more by spending one month here, than I have done by spending two whole years away from it.

Let me tell you the reason why …

On this school, we have a wonderful work-ethic. It is very easy to keep up with; You spend your whole day working on what you love. And that’s it.

It should be self-evident, but today’s perception of an artist or a painter – is not even close to our lifestyle. The students here don’t drink all day and paint when they feel like it. They don’t wait for the inspiration to hit them, while getting tipsy on absinthe or rum. They push through the difficult times, and if a painter’s block should occur – they look through Titian – or Rembrandt books to help them on their way.

How is this lifestyle convenient for a writer?

In so many ways – this type of living is ideal for anyone who’s doing something creative with their lives. In fact, I find painters and paintings to be a first-rate inspirational source for my writing. Not only because of the images they create on the canvass, but also the reason why they choose to do what they do; kitsch-painters who have studied under the guidance of my father – paint because they want to create something bigger than themselves. That is why time and the seasonal fashions connected to it – seem completely irrelevant when you you come to the Nerdrum School. By coming here, you begin to understand the fact that both writers and painters need to escape their time in order to create something truly great.

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Oftentimes, I have noticed that all the students who apply have one thing in common;  they have been searching their whole lives for people to connect with.

And when they finally find their people, they feel blessed.

Blessed to talk about a mutual passion.

Blessed to be around their biggest idol.

Blessed to escape the modern world, and enter (what my sister likes to call it) «The garden of Eve». 

Another thing I have observed here, is that painters also feed on writers. Through them, they pick up on stories and make them alive by depicting them. And if you fail, you’re not considered incompetent in your profession. You just have to work harder. For this is a place where knowledge flows and talents come together. A place where there is no longer the question of who made this – but how it was made.

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It is a place, where each day consists of an equal amount of both learning and doing. As Aristotle once said; «Those that know, do. Those that understand, teach.»

On the Nerdrum School, the Master does both.

 

Love,

Aftur S. Nerdrum

(Ps: let me know in the comments below, if you want me to write more articles about this. What you are wondering about, if I should include something more etc.)

 

31.01-18 Wednesday’s book-report

Let’s start our first book-report! 

 

Currently reading⇓                                                 (375 pages on paperback) 

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Summary:  «At Home In The World» by Joyce Maynard is a memoir by a published author in America, where she reveals details about her uneasy up-growing in the 60s, her first love affair – at age eighteen – with the famous author J.D Salinger and her path to becoming a writer. It is a raw autobiography, where she portrays her life with full honesty; disclosing the most unrefined parts about herself as both a child a wife and a mother. 

 

 

 

 

 

Why this book?   

One day I felt curious, so I sat down with my computer and researched: «Well-known authors who got published at a young age.» I came across an article with the headline: «23 writers who were famous by age 23» – published on the website, mentalfloss.com by Andréa Fernandes (23.08.12). 

As I scrolled down the long list of writers and their most famous books, my eyes suddenly caught a glimpse of the words: «Affair with J.D Salinger». 

The headline reads Joyce Maynard, and in the paragraph below there is a description of her relationship with the author of «The Catcher In The Rye» – an episode she writes about in her most published book, «At Home In The World» (1998). 

I was intrigued. For some reason my mind told me that I had to buy this book.

(I call this feeling: instinctive book-shopping. I keep it as a rule that when I feel like I must read something, I buy it – and I never regret it afterwords.)  

Although I knew nothing about this author, I was eager to feed my curiosity on Mr. Salinger’s day-to-day life in Cornish, New Hampshire. I also obtain a secret obsession with autobiographies – something I have been trying to avoid for a long time, in order to really catch up with the fictional classics. However, now I could not keep myself from reading about yet another author’s life. 

I started it a week ago and I’m on page 109, chapter 5 – the day that Joyce and Mr. Salinger first meet. 

What I liked

  • Her direct way of explaining things. 

 She doesn’t decorate her words more than necessary and only some of her adjectives can be called advanced. I noticed quickly that she likes to combine several words to make one word. Ironically, J.D Salinger does the same thing. For example, late-at-night or hand-in-hand are expressions that belong in their vocabulary. At first, I found her sentences bizarre and out of place- but after a while, I rather enjoyed them. 

  • Her mother’s affection. 

 Although there is a considerable amount of weaknesses to find in Mrs. Maynard’s personality – she does care for her daughter deeply. For me, it’s obvious that she sees herself in Joyce – there is a mutual understanding between them that never dies and I have a feeling it will continue to be present for as long as Mrs. Maynard is alive. And since I’m very sensitive on the subject of a mother’s love for a daughter — I almost cried on page 45, when she leaves a letter to her daughter in Joyce’s diary, explaining how much she can connect with her feelings of alienation and despair. It was heartwarming and gripping all at once. 

What I disliked 

  • Her parents view on life

On page 40, Chapter 1 – the UNH english professor and failed artist, Max Maynard makes his daughter believe that one cannot always make a career out of what one is truly passionate about. As the author quotes:

 «But I’m acutely aware of my father’s story, too. I know well that the fact that you love to do a particular thing doesn’t mean you can earn a living by it, or that anyone will ever acknowledge your talents.Singing and dancing might make me happy, but are less likely to make me successful – something that matters a lot in our family.» 

I don’t know (yet) if this should actually be on the list of dislikes, because the author might reveal later that she doesn’t go by the same belief anymore – but the fact that her parents held this highly pessimistic approach on life – makes me sad and angry. I don’t think anyone should ever give up their passion, because they’re afraid of not getting the right acknowledgement from the public. In my personal opinion, this is a damaging way of thinking – and it doesn’t lead to anything good. 

A part of me is happy that she chose to become a writer (for I like her style and the way she entertains the reader), but another part is frustrated over the fact that she didn’t choose a career on the stage … 

  • The absence of her sister, Rona 

Before the preface, she writes: «To my sister, Rona, with admiration and love.» 

Yet, throughout the 109 pages I have read so far – she has only mentioned her two or three times. And when she does, it’s short and modest, as if Rona was an irrelevant character to her life. In fact, her mother and father seem much more important to her than the person she is most related to by blood. Perhaps they weren’t on good terms. I don’t know. However, I would like to know more about this mysterious girl and the reason why she’s so shy and hidden from the rest of the world – as the author puts it. 

Overall opinion of the book

As an overall opinion, I must say that I’m loving it so far. Despite the few unanswered questions that I have, this is a very enjoyable memoir – and it gets even more exiting when J.D Salinger comes into her life and changes her whole view on things. I will not reveal too much, but if you’re an aspiring writer, seeking for some advice on how to climb the latter – this book (among many others of course) is something for you. 

In addition to Wednesday’s book-report, you’ll get a weekly poem and quote. (This time, I have been looking into some translated works).

Enjoy! 

Poem of the week 

“Love teaches me to feed on flames and tears; 

to turn withered hope green through desire; 

to re-enslave my heart each time Love frees 

his noble face from that heavy disdain; 

Love also teaches me to bear his weight 

when I dream he’s there alluring, touching 

me, and in the sweet encounter the pain’s 

gone and my beloved enjoys my languors; 

Sweet are these tears, delicious this passion. 

How is this–that I have lost all hope saves 

me–in the back of my mind the sense I 

can renounce the desire coursing through 

my body–that people honor torment 

when you smile serenely. Thus Love teaches me …”

(«Love teaches me to feed on flames and tears» by Italian, Vittoria Colonna) 

 

Quote of the week 

“Never stand begging for what you have the power to earn.”

– Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (Spanish writer) 

 

Hope you’re having a lovely day so far♥

Love,

Aftur S. Nerdrum

Books to cuddle up with during winter times

 

“He who marvels at the beauty of the world in summer will find equal cause for wonder and admiration in winter” 

 – John Burroughs (In The Catskills) 

 

AFTUR READING

 

Its a tricky time of the year. Holidays are over, the trees have become leafless and frost is covering the roads outside. Now, all we can do is wait for spring to greet us a welcoming “Hello”. In the meantime, why not find a few pleasure-books (as I like to call them) to cuddle up with under a warm blanket in front of the fireplace?

Here is a list of some books that I like to seek comfort in during cold days in Scandinavia …

 

1.   “Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott 

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“I think I haven’t done much harm yet, and may keep this to pay for my time,” she said, after a long meditation, adding impatiently, “I almost wish I hadn’t any conscience, it’s so inconvenient. If I didn’t care about doing right, and didn’t feel uncomfortable when doing wrong, I should get on capitally. I can’t help wishing sometimes, that Mother and Father hadn’t been so particular about such things.»

Summary: This is a family drama, set in the middle of the eighteen hundreds – including a mother, her four daughters and their father who is serving as a chaplain in the Civil War. Their family recently lost a fortune, so the sisters are struggling to support themselves. However, poverty doesn’t stop them from building castles in the sky and believing in each other. As the girls grow older, each one gets confronted with their own weaknesses – leading them through a passage from childhood to womanhood, from children to mothers and to faithful wives.

 

My first discovery of this book happened on a lovely april day at a hotel-room in London, 2014. Little me, had just turned fifteen, when my mother decided that we would go on a little retirement – away from our busy lives in Norway. For two or three days, we were staying at Portobello House in Notting Hill, taking the time to wander the streets, watching busy strangers pass by and getting lost in second-hand books from the Portobello Road Market. Then, one night, we had scheduled a dinner appointment with an old friend for 7pm. She was supposed to meet us in the lobby around that time, but fortunately she was running late because of complications with the tubes. My mother decided to turn on the television to pass the time – and that was when we both discovered the movie adaptation from 1994 of «Little Women». It did not take long for me to start researching. Was this movie based on a book? I asked myself as I fetched a computer and typed in the name on Google. I remember how badly I wanted it to be a book, and that if it was, I would buy it online as soon as possible.

And when the letters appeared before my eyes, «Little Women» based on a novel by Louisa May Alcott, my mother and I cheered in delight. We enjoyed the rest of the movie and ended up postponing the dinner appointment just for another hour.

This novel has given me so much joy, and I would read it again in a heart beat. I laughed when Jo burned Meg’s hair and I cried when Beth fell ill. I felt sorry for Laurie’s bitter heartache and I smiled whenever Mrs. March comforted her daughters during sorrowful times.

Although it’s as long as 449 pages, it will feel like a light breeze going through it – and at last, you’ll be sorry because it ended too soon.

 

 

 2.  “Letters written during a short residence in Sweden,  Norway and Denmark”     by Mary Wollstonecraft 

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 “How frequently has melancholy and even misanthropy taken possession of me, when the world has disgusted me, and friends have proven unkind. I have then considered myself as a particle broken off from the grand mass of mankind.”

Summary: The eighteenth-century British feminist and writer, Mary Wollstonecraft takes the reader on a journey through twenty five letters, covering a wide range of reflections and observations of the three countries, Sweden, Norway and Denmark. The original reason behind her journey was to retrieve a stolen treasure ship for her lover, Gilbert Imlay – in order to restore their broken relationship with more money. However, during the three months spent in the north, she realizes that he doesn’t care for the union any longer. Nevertheless, she continues her journey without the intention to stop writing about it.

 

Although this is hardly a novel, I find it utterly satisfying to read these letters on wintry days. First and foremost, they include elaborative descriptions of the Scandinavian landscape, culture and people – which I find perfectly suitable to read during the cold months that we are approaching now. Second of all, Mary Wollstonecraft’s letters are (till now) the best I have come across in female literature. The way she narrates her trip to her lover, Gilbert Imlay – allows the reader to learn more than just the conditions of nordic living – one also gets to explore her ways of thinking; her thoughts on gender equality, human emotions and politics. Therefore, it has been considered both a travel journal and an autobiography.

I would highly recommend this book for all the dreamers out there, who’s thoughts are in a constant blur, and who’s opinions are too unconventional to be heard. Mary Wollstonecraft´s melancholic intonation will let you know that you’re not alone in this world – and that everyone goes through a moment of existential crisis some time in their life.

 

3. “The catcher in the rye” by J.D Salinger

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“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn’t happen much, though.”

Its time to man up with some male literature. And speaking of being lost in the world – «The Catcher in The Rye» couldn’t be a more suitable as the last one on the list.

Summary: The story takes place outside New York City around the 1950s, where the main character quits school. This decision is the theme of the book. His thoughts are described equally as much has his actions in the days following his choice to quit. On one side, he sees society as something decadent and ugly. On the other side there is his sister, who is the light of the world and what the world could be. When he has to decide whether to save his sister from becoming like him or fleeing as planned, his inconsistent brain has to make up its mind.

 

During my childhood, the book-title was mentioned countless of times through conversations among twenty-something year old students of my father. Most of them were sufferers, proclaiming how much they could relate to Holden Caulfield – and how they wish that the society they lived in wasn’t that disordered. At the time, I wasn’t tempted to read it at all – convinced that it was written for a specific audience: young and angry boys, tired with the world and the people in it. So I let it rest on the shelf for a couple of years. But then one day, while surfing online, I discovered some interesting facts about the book. According to Mercedes Aguirre, the lead curator of American collections, the novel is one of the most censored books in American literature – due to its objectionable language and unorthodox content. In fact, it has been banned from several school libraries ever since it was first published in 1951.

I was interested.

Insanely curious about the radical content and the despicable slang I was about to devour in, I reached for the paperback in the corner of the shelf  – and started reading. Skipping both lunch and dinner that day, I was captivated with the whole story. When I finished it that night, I wanted to start from the very beginning again. Somehow I liked J.D Salinger’ broken off sentences. I enjoyed Holden’s cynical narration and I loved how unpredictable all his actions were. Even for girls or young women, this novel is sensational, because almost every teenager has had the same worries or the same feelings of alienation before. During cold winter times when you’re feeling a little gloomy because of dark, sunless hours – this book is perfect to cuddle up with.

Just … dont end up using the phrase; “That killed me” too much after reading the book, like I did!

Thats about it! I hope you enjoyed my list of pleasure-books, and that it will make your winter warmer.

In my next blog post, I will share with you – what its like living as a writer at the Nerdrum School .

 

Love,

Aftur S. Nerdrum

 

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