“Because you’ll never meet me” Or An ode to friendship

BYNMM-Cover-265x400Ollie is a teenager with severe responding-to-electricity epilepsy. He lives in a cabin in the woods and can have no contact with anything running on electricity, from a TV to the cable wires that lie some miles off the house road. Moritz is a boy born without eyes and with a weak heart.  He has a pacemaker and he can see through echo location. With the encouragement of their mutual physician they become pen pals, and all of their secrets become known to each other. They are happy, sad, scared and angry together throygh their correspondence…because they can never meet each other.

A sad and beautiful story of two teenagers that leave miles away from each other, yet have so many things in common, this is the ultimate ode to friendship. Two people , both having very little in their lives, both wanting to give everything they want to the other one. Their hard lives are laid there for us to see. How does one cope with not meeting people? What is school like for someone who gets bullied because he is different? What is it like for you to have one friend only and not be able to ever meet them? Ollie and Moritz will start building a mutual trust, confide each other, give each other advice.  As time goes by, their advice will get them through hard times, make them feel less lonely, make them appreciate more the things they already have. And maybe, after all, they will find a way to meet in the end.

Nothing O’clock: Neil Gaiman’s Doctor Who adventure

Nothing_O'ClockDoctor Who is a legendary TV series in the UK. For those not familiar with it, it is surprisingly difficult to actually describe it, but since I want to introduce you to the literature – part of it, I’m going to give it a shot. The Doctor is an alien, the last of his race, the Time Lords. As the name of the race indicates, the Doctor has special knowledge that allows him to travel through space and time. Usually along with a human friend, the Doctor has saved the earth from various dangers and alien invasions throughout the history of our existence.

So why am I writing about a TV series? This is one of the rare occasions when instead of books turning into film adaptations, a series has turned into book adaptations, and that is so, so fascinating! What is even more wonderful is that the story adaptations are exceptional. Every year,  an author is asked to write a small fiction novel based on doctor who, and the results so far have been inspiring.

Nothing o’clock was written by fantasy expert Neil Gaiman. The Doctor, along his human friend Amy Pond, meets a strange alien race that has been imprisoned for thousands of years, and its plan to wipe out the human race in order to use planet earth as their own home. Slightly frightening, very well written and brilliant, Nothing O’clock is a short story that is definitely worth your time, even if you are not familiar with the series. After all, it is a good way to get acquainted to it!

We have always lived in the castle

We-Have-Always-Lived-in-the-CastleLiving in a large mansion in the middle of a vast private garden, the Blackwood family had always been dislike by the residents of the village. The hate, however, came when the parents, their ten year old son and an aunt died of arsenic poisoning. But who murdered them and why? Why are the Blackwood daughters that survived so hated?

This is the last novel Shirley Jackson wrote before her death. It is as well written as a book can get, atmospheric, and with lots of suspense. You start the story not knowing what is going on with the family. Why is Constance never out of the garden? How did Mary Kate survive? What does Uncle Julian remember of that night? You follow their lives moving among the villagers, and then inside the house, and everything you see, smell and hear, combine with the thoughts of the narrator, young survivor Mary Kate Blackwood. Its eerie atmosphere will captivate you. This is not a book easily put down before it is finished!

Should you read this? Let me put it this way. Do you like eerie stories? This is not horror in the sense of splatter, excessive violence or supernatural fantasy. It is a different kind of horror story; spooky, yet extremely tasteful, so much that you forget that it is meant to be scary. Don’t get it wrong, you will get frightened, but not from the murders or the murderer, but from deeper aspects of the book: the mind of the surviving victims, the bad intentions of people, the hate for everything that is different to an individual in contrast to social structures. So yes, this is definitely worth reading. In fact, all of Jackson’s novels are worth your time.