Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Novels for Daydreamers

Now that summer is there it always brings some time called "vacation." Lots of people spend it in on the beach in exotic countries, climbing in the mountains, on a ranch or city cruising and that's fine with me cause I've done lots of things and seen even more countries. And I'm loving every second of it. But I also understand that sometimes you can't or don't want to travel and rather stay home. That's fine with me, too.
For those, who spend their summer at their balcony, I now introduce some great books, that will abduct you to far far away places ... depending on where you live of course.

It's a list of ten and I know for sure, there are tons and tons more books about exotic places, but I either don't think about them know or I've never read them. So if you want to share your favourtie daydreamer novels, please write a comment. :)

1. Elizabeth Gilbert - Eat, Pray, Love (Titel bleibt auf deutsch derselbe)
Thanks to Julia Roberts and several other celebrity ladies this book is well-known around the world. It's way more than esoteric sludge, it's all about pleasure. The author, who actually experienced what she's writing about, takes you to Italy, India and Indonesia. After you've read this book, you want nothing more but to hit the road.

2. Lewis Carroll - Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (Alice im Wunderland)
I know lots of people, who actually have no idea that there was a book before there was a Disney movie. That saddens me. This book takes you to the most exotic place, that exists ... your dreams. It tells of a girl named Alice who falls down a rabbit hole into a fantasy world populated by peculiar, anthropomorphic creatures.
 Often refered to as a children's book, this novel is perfect for grown-ups as well. With so much fantasy and surreal figures, time flies by. Everybody knows things like the crazy tea party, the eat-me cookies, the cheshire cat or the cricket game and this book will add a lot more to the list.

3. Dan Brown - Angels & Demons (Illuminati)
You wonder, why it's on this list? Well, I know this novel is not the most ... exotic. But it's very adventurous and while Robert Langdon is following the old path of Illuminati, you get to know Rome and the Vatican of a great perspective and writes about things, that you've never thought of. Of course it's not the most realistic, but who cares? I don't!
The plot follows Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon, as he tries to stop the Illuminati, a legendary secret society, from destroying Vatican City with the newly discovered power of antimatter.
For a great perspective of France, try "The Da Vinci Code."

4. Robert Louis Stevenson - Treasure Island (Die Schatzinsel)
I love pirate stories. I'm not sure why, but I guess it has something to do with freedom, discovering new places, seeing the world ... and of course treasuries. Again, this was ought to be a children's novel but it reached grown-ups as well. The young boy Jim Hawkins gets hold of a treasure map, goes on a ship to find it, reaches an island and in the end has to fight for the treasure and his life.
This novel influenced most of the other pirate stories, thanks to treasure maps with an X, peg legs, the Black Spot, tropical islands and of course parrots on the shoulder.

5. Arthur Golden - Memoirs of a Geisha (Die Geisha)
The novel tells the fictional story of a geisha working in Kyoto, Japan, before and after World War II. It's a touching book, that tells the story of Sayuri, who is based on the character of Mineko Iwasaki, the probably most famous Geisha of all times. By the way, because she wasn't happy with Golden's book, she wrote her own biography: "Geisha of Gion."

6. Jules Verne - Around the World in Eighty Days (Reise um die Erde in 80 Tagen)
I wasn't sure which of Jules Verne's novels I should pick, because they all have the spirit of adventure in common. But since this one has lots of different countries in it to dream about, I picked this.
In the story, Phileas Fogg and his valet Passepartout attempt to circumnavigate the world in 80 days on a £20,000 wager (equal to £1,324,289 today) set by his friends at the Reform Club.
The book was made into films several times, the most recent (and weirdest) is the one with Jackie Chan.
There were lots of lots of people, who broke the record. The first one in 1889 with 72 days.

7. Helen Fielding - Cause Celeb (Hummer zum Dinner)
Helen Fielding is best known for Bridget Jones and as much as we love her and the neverending fight against the kilos, the books aren't very daydreamy. What most people don't know, Helen Fielding wrote two other books: Olivia Joules in 2003 (which is kinda weird) and Cause Celeb in 1994 - her first novel. In this very first book of hers, her style is very different from the easy going, chatty Bridget Style. It's a lot more mature.
It's about a few years in the life of Rosie Richardson, who decides to go to Africa after she breaks up with her boyfriend, Oliver Marchant, a TV presenter. But after four years working in Nambula, a fictional country in Northern Africa, there's a famine coming and Rosie turns back to Oliver and his famous friends to get the food they desperately need.

8. Sir Arthus Conan Doyle(yes, the guy from Sherlock Holmes)- The Lost World (Die vergessene Welt)
This novel is about an expedition to a plateau in the Amazon basin of South America where prehistoric animals (dinosaurs and other extinct creatures) still survive.
I really like the descriptions of flora and fauna and the idea, that there will always be secrets in this world. What I don't like is the way the characters speak about savages and all that. But I guess it's a novel, that was published during 1912, when it was usual...

9. Laura Restrepo - The Dark Bride (Die dunkle Braut)
I'm quite sure, most of you don't know this book. I don't know for sure, but I guess it has never been a best seller. Maybe I'm wrong.
A journalist investigates a small Colombian town populated by mainly “oil riggers and the prostitutes who service them.” The journalist interviews some of the townspeople of Tora to learn about Sayonara, a well-known prostitute who is the daughter of a white man and a Guahibo Indian woman. She is in charge of La Catunga, the place where employees of the Tropical Oil Company “visit” prostitutes. Sayonara falls in love with two workers—Sacramento, whom she loves only as a brother, and Payanes as a lover. However, Payanes is married and Sacramento wants to save Sayonara from prostitution
This is the gentle and life-affirming story about love, jealousy, poverty, justice and hope.

10. Karl May - like... everything (ja ... alles eben :) )
I was really trying to find the book, that fits best in this topic, but every single one of Karl May's stories is a piece of wonder. He wrote about countries, that he had never seen, thought of wild adventures and traveled the world. His best known works may be Winnetou and Old Shatterhand, but he also wrote a lot of different novels, set in the Middle east and the Orient, China and South America. You should really read one of his books if you haven't yet.

Well, that's my short list, I hope you enjoyed it!

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