How Persuasion won me over

I am, as I have probably said before, not a fan of old books. By this I don’t mean wonderfully musty books you’ve had for ages, or those passed down in generations, I simply mean literature that is anything less than modern. I don’t really like the language and although the idea of ‘classics’ is appealing, the few I’ve struggled through I’ve found are just too boring.

Anyway, I do dislike the thought of missing out on all these books so many people admire. So I tried Persuasion. The fact that a major reason in me choosing this book was that it was a character from a film I like’s favourite book is neither here nor there.

It was better than I expected, which was a nice surprise. I still don’t like the style of writing, with sentences that go on forever with a minimum of ten clauses. It’s difficult and unnecessary and puts people, me included, off.

But after a slow start of trying to get into it, I found the characters interesting and the whole system of norms and pleasantries and politeness of good society made for a good story. Would I read it again? Probably not. But I may be more inclined to read something else by Jane Austen if it ever comes across my path readily. Perhaps it is an acquired taste that takes more than one experience to cement.

A short history of tractors in Ukranian

I got this through a book exchange – one of the best inventions ever! Unfortunately I didn’t have a book with me to swap, but I gave a donation instead and took this book, one I’d been meaning to read for a while. It took me so long because even though I trust my friend’s recommendations, personal (albeit irrational) prejudices can be difficult to overcome. In this case, it was the title. I knew (or thought I did) that the book wasn’t actually about tractors. But still, everytime I thought about finding the book, a  little voice inside would complain ‘But I don’t like tractors! It will be boring!’ So this fortunate set of circumstances that led me to the book exchange meant I gave it a chance.

And I am glad I did! It was a great book, very easy to read and the quirky broken English actually made the book more enjoyable, despite structural changes like this usually resulting in off-putting, or distracting language. It was also very interesting to see the difference this made to the atmosphere of the book, and how while every sentence is easily intelligible, the sense it gives to the story is fascinating.

I also liked it because it has a lot of crazy characters in it, crazy in the best kind of way, that reflects human irrationality. The book also shows how extreme circumstances can change our values and beliefs far more easily than we would have predicted.

It is also a very funny look at one ‘dysfunctional’ family and how strong those bonds of love are, regardless of how little we like particular members, or their habits. Again this reflects the paradox of holding contrasting attitudes to the same object simultaneously.