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Book reviews and blog content by Iben Jakobsen.
I can be contacted at boroughofbooks at gmail dot com

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21/04/2014

15/04/2014

Danish Books #4 - Ikk' for sjov - om kemo og comedy by Geo

Komikeren Geo fik sidste efterår konstateret testikelkræft. Han blev opereret, erklæret rask, og optrådte i julen som vært på Kræftens Bekæmpelses store indsamlingsshow Comedy Aid.
Til Geos halvårlige rutinekontrol fandt lægerne en spredning til lungerne, hvilket resulterede i endnu en operation fulgt op af ni uger med den hårdeste kemobehandling. Det blev ni uger med smerte, mistet hår, tunge tanker og grin. For ja, humoren blev Geos våben i kampen mod kræften.
Geo fortæller tragikomisk om pinlige sædprøver, om portører, som vil have jokes på operationsgangen, om kønsbehåring som falder af (det er der da ingen, der har fortalt?) og om kun at ville have frosne ærter til morgen-, middag- og aftensmad.

Ikk’ for sjov var en bog jeg ikke forventede det store af, da jeg aldrig har været specielt stor fan af Geos stil på en scene, men jeg måtte allerede efter 50 sider indse, at det her var noget helt andet. Bogen blev læst på en eftermiddag/aften, jeg formåede aldrig at lægge den fra mig.

Det er en dybt personlig og særdeles velskrevet skildring af Geos cancerforløb - den første diagnose, operation og raskerklæring til erfaringen af en spredning, endnu en operation og et frygteligt energi-tærende kemoforløb.

Siderne bringer både latter og tårer, flere steder på én gang. Det er en barsk omgang komikeren er igennem, både fysisk og mentalt. Han rammer bunden, men kommer heldigvis op igen. Bogen skildrer så flot, hvordan et kræft- og kemoforløb ikke kun handler om den syge - også de nærmeste pårørende er dybt berørte. Geo’s kone er til stede i bogen med adskillige dagbogsindlæg, der viser hendes side af sagen, hendes frygter, frustration og afmagten. Nok allermest rørende er da hvordan parrets 3-årige datter takler situationen med en meget syg far.

Alt i alt er det en bog jeg kun varmt og hjerteligt kan anbefale alle.

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Danish stand-up comedian Geo's book about his battle with cancer and chemotherapy is an incredibly heart-warming book that had me hooked throughout making me both laugh and cry. Its' very well written and shows how not just the cancer patient but also friends and relatives are affected.
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Ikk' for sjov - om kemo og comedy
by Geo
ISBN13: 9788771373929
240 pages / published in 2013




Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2014

11/04/2014

Read-a-thon Warm Up

It's almost time for the Spring Read-a-thon on the 26-27th of April 2014!

For the third time running (I participated last April and October) I'm spending a weekend reading non-stop - I am of course talking about Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-thon. It kicks off at 2 PM in Denmark (noon in London, 5 AM in LA, 11 PM in Sydney, etc) and lasts for precisely 24 hours.

If you want to spend your weekend reading but also incredibly socially through your blog/twitter/etc. then join up here! (Note that there are 2 sign ups - 1 for you in general and 1 for where you want the cheerleaders to aim their cheers).

You can also sign up to be a cheerleader, donate prizes or host Hourly Challenges :) Personally I'd love to cheer but I just know I'll be so busy reading I can't promise to devote time. I will instead do my very best to have an occasional look at the tag on twitter and give some cheering response to other readers.

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So far throughout the read-a-thons I've read 7 books pr 24 hours.

I've got a few ideas what to read for this one, but nothing is certain yet. I like to have a nice little pile of books lined up in all sorts of genres and lengths so I have something to chose between. I do strive for them all to be easy reads though. I'm gonna go with library books again this year and it's just about time to start ordering them home.

I usually read from the starting time till around 2 AM and then crash for my needed 8 hours of sleep and then carry on reading till the finish time at 2 PM Sunday the 27th. I applause those who manage to read for the full 24 hours, but I know from personal experiences that my body takes a very long time to get back on schedule if I do that and Monday is a work day, so that's a no can do.




08/04/2014

Look Who's Back by Timur Vermes

Summer 2011. Berlin. Adolf Hitler wakes up on a patch of ground, alive and well. Things have changed – no Eva Braun, no Nazi party, no war. Hitler barely recognises his beloved Fatherland, filled with immigrants and run by a woman. People certainly recognise him, though – as a brilliant, satirical impersonator who refuses to break character. The unthinkable, the inevitable, happens, and the ranting Hitler takes off, goes viral, becomes a YouTube star, gets his own TV show, becomes someone who people listen to. All while he’s still trying to convince people that yes, it really is him, and yes, he really means it.
Look Who’s Back is a black and brilliant satire of modern media-bloated society, seen through the eyes of the Führer himself. Adolf is by turns repellent, sympathetic and hilarious, but always fascinating. Look Who’s Back is outrageously clever, outrageously funny – and outrageously plausible.

I personally loved this book, but it's definitely not for everybody. I read it for a book group with two friends of mine from Library School and they were less impressed with it than me, one outright hating it.

To me it's the kind of book that makes you think - a lot - afterwards. Obviously Hitler was a mass-murdering dickhead, but as is pointed out in the book a lot of the things we want politically today he wanted back then.

You can't help but sort of like Hitler in this book, what he experiences in this modern confusing age and how he reacts to it all, and while obviously this has a lot to do with how Vermes portrays him, I think it's pretty brilliant. It's all written excellently and I can just hear him speak during his long ranting speeches. I often found myself laughing out loud and then stopping quite suddenly wondering if it's okay to laugh with Hitler.

It's also just so very easy to forget. And I think the portrait painted by Vermes here, makes it clear, just how clever and well spoken Hitler was, and how dreadfully easy it was for him to sway the masses.

My only real issue with the book was my own lack of knowledge concerning the current German government. People and political subjects and debates are heavily mentioned, referenced to or made fun of and when you  barely know anything about how Germany is run today other than it's led by Angela Merkel, I think a lot of stuff goes by unfruitful.

Like I said though, it's food for thought and if you can handle some very black humour and satire, you might just enjoy this.




Look Who's Back
by Timur Vermes
Original title: Er ist wieder da
ISBN13: 9788779735859369 pages / published in 2012



Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2014

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