Out of my comfort zone – Jane Austen

It has been a couple of days since my last post. That was not without a good reason: I travelled all the way to Indonesia and spent the past days trying to blend in. This is my second visit to Java, but since the first one was organised group travel, now I really feel like I am slowly stepping out of my comfort zone.

I am doing the same thing in the literary world by starting to read the books of Jane Austen. I have read some of the Classics already, for example books by Tolstoy or Dickens, but never by female authors for some reason. But a while ago, I thought it was really time to give it a try. I started with ‘Pride and prejudice’ (in German) and, surprise or not, I loved it. So today, on the train from Jakarta to Bandung, I started reading ‘Sense and sensibility’. The first chapters were already promising.

In the coming weeks I will be posting less frequently, but I hope to share some of my experiences here sometimes with all of you out there. So, we meet again soon!

Child 44 – The story continues

A book that I have read recently is ´Child 44´written by Tom Rob Smith. At this moment I am reading the sequel ´The secret speech´so it seemed only right to me to write something about it. The main theme of the book series is the Soviet Union in the time right before and after Stalin´s death. It is mostly written out of the perspective of former State Security Police (later KGB) officer  Leo Demidov. So far, the story has been perfect and horrible at the same time.

As far as my knowledge goes, the books give a quite historically correct description of how the circumstances where for people living in the Soviet Union after WWII. The author really knows how to grasp your attention and how to make you sympathize with people who have acted in horrifying ways. I believe Tom Rob Smith has a good understanding of human nature. He shows how much love, fear, loyalty and hate can live in a person simultaneously and how drastically people can change. But he also displays how people have to carry the consequences of their deeds in the most painful ways. Deeds cannot be undone.

I recommend this book since I believe it is important to realize what mankind is capable of, both in the positive and negative way. The truth is that today suppression and cruelty still continue all over the world. In some places it happens in more extreme and obvious ways on large scale and the media is on top of it, at least for a while.  But I think that the problem starts on an individual base. So many men and women have self-distructive habits, like telling themselves every day how worthless they are and taking little care of their wellbeing. Not loving yourself makes it so much harder to commit with heart and soul to relationships with others. This has consequences for the whole society: broken families, children hurt, unstable work and political atmospheres and so on.

I truly believe that even one tiny human being can make a difference by striving to be a warm, loving person. For many the hardest goal to achieve is to love oneself, but it is the very beginning of everything. The one person who deserves and yearns for your love most is looking back at you in the mirror.

“To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.” ~ Oscar Wilde

“Isn’t this how it starts? You have a cause you believe in, a cause worth dying for. Soon, it’s a cause worth killing for. Soon, it’s a cause worth killing innocent people for.”
― Tom Rob Smith, Child 44