10 bøger, der forandrede mig

 

En hel del personer har skrevet til mig på Instagram og spurgt om jeg ikke vil lave en liste over bøger, jeg kan anbefale. I denne omgang bliver det en liste over skønlitterære bøger, der ændrede noget i mig.

 

 

  1. 1984 af George Orwell

 

 

Folk, der kender mig rigtig godt, ved at jeg kampelsker denne bog; jeg forsøger nemlig ofte at snige citater eller emner fra bogen ind i samtaler. Jeg mener, at det var fem gange, jeg læste den sidste år. Og når jeg er sur på verden, så tager jeg den frem og bladrer i den, for den forklarer mig, hvorfor vi alle er så royally fucked, og det får mig åbenbart til at falde lidt ned igen, selvom det nok lyder en anelse deprimerende.

 

1984 er George Orwells sidste roman, som blev udgivet i 1949. Det er en dystopisk roman, der handler om masseovervågning, totalitarisme, tankekontrol, propaganda, seksuel undertrykkelse, unødvendig og nytteløs krig og social stratifikation. Selvom bogen er skrevet for ca. 70 år siden, har den aldrig været mere relevant end i dag. Og man er ikke et sekund i tvivl om, at Charlie Brooker har fået en masse inspiration til sin populære serie Black Mirror fra 1984.

 

Et par mindeværdige passager fra bogen:

 

”The thing that he was about to do was to open a diary. That was not illegal (nothing was illegal, since there was no longer any laws), but if detected it was reasonably certain that it would be punished by death, or at least twenty-five years in a forced-labour camp.”

 

 

”He was alone. The past was dead, the future unimaginable. What certainty had he that a single human creature now living was on his side? And what way of knowing that the dominion of the Party would not endure for ever? Like an answer, the three slogans on the white face of the Ministry of Truth came back at him:

 

WAR IS PEACE

FREEDOM IS SLAVERY

IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.

 

He took a twenty-five cent piece out of his pocket. There, too, in tiny clear lettering, the same slogans were inscribed, and on the other face of the coin the head of Big Brother. Even from the coin the eyes pursued you. On coins, on stamps, on the covers of books, on banners, on posters and on the wrapping of a cigarette packet – everywhere. Always the eyes watching you and the voice enveloping you. Asleep or awake, working or eating, indoors or out of doors, in the bath or in bed – no escape. Nothing was your own except the few cubic centimetres inside your skull.”

 

 

”He looked around the canteen again. Nearly everyone was ugly, and would still have been ugly even if dressed otherwise than in the uniform blue overalls. On the far side of the room, sitting at a table alone, a small, curiously beetle-like man was drinking a cup of coffee, his little eyes darting suspicious glances from side to side. How easy it was, thought Winston, if you did not look about you, to believe that the physical type set up by the Party as an ideal – tall muscular youths and deep-bosomed maidens, blond-haired vital, sunburnt, carefree – existed and even predominated. Actually, as far as he could judge, the majority of people in Airstrip One were small, dark and ill-favoured. It was curious how the beetle-like type proliferated in the Ministries: little dumpy men, growing stout very early in life, with short legs, swift scuttling movements, and fat inscrutable faces with very small eyes. It was the type that seemed to flourish best under the dominion of the Party.”

 

  1. Hamlet af William Shakespeare

 

 

Jeg har skrevet utallige opgaver om Hamlet, da jeg gik på universitetet. Hamlet har fået mig til at grine, græde, blive irriteret, trist, frustreret og skeptisk. Det er et skuespil, der indeholder alt. Mord, jalousi, kærlighed, forræderi, sindssyge, fejhed, viljestyrk, all the good stuff. Hamlet er en indviklet karakter, som ofte virker svag og ubeslutsom, men han er selv klar over dette, og det får ham til at hade sig selv, og dette munder ud i en FUCKING EPISK monolog, hvor Hamlet skælder sig selv ud, for ikke at have slået sin fars morder ihjel endnu:

 

 

Her er et link til teksten, hvor der følger nogle forklaringer med.

Den her monolog giver mig gåsehud, hver eneste gang jeg læser den eller hører den blive læst op. Hamlet mener ikke, at han selv er en rigtig mand, fordi han er passiv og ikke straks søger hævn, da han opdager, at det er hans onkel, der er morderen. En mand skal være stærk, aggressiv og modig, og Hamlet opfylder ingen af disse krav, hvilket han nok aldrig har gjort, men det er først nu, det går op for ham. Han begynder også at hade alle kvinder, fordi han ikke kan klare tanken om, at hans mor har giftet sig med hans onkel. Monologen har så meget at sige om maskulinitet og identitet, og den indeholder et syn på kvinder, som desværre stadig hersker i dag. Faktisk minder Hamlets syn på kvinder ret meget om Christian Tafdrups, og begge har vist dannet sig deres syn ud fra en enkelt eller meget få kvinder.

 

Hvor ville jeg ønske, at vi sagde ting som ”giv dine tanker ingen tunge” i stedet for ”lad være med at sige, hvad du tænker”.

 

”I do know,
When the blood burns, how prodigal the soul
Lends the tongue vows. These blazes, daughter,
Giving more light than heat, extinct in both
Even in their promise as it is a-making,
You must not take for fire.”

 

Dette er et citat fra Polonius, der fortæller Ophelia, at mænd er scum, som man bestemt ikke skal stole på, for de ikke vil andet end at bolle. Men faktisk taler han bare om sig selv, og hvordan han selv var, da han var på Hamlets alder. DET ER SÅ SMUKT SKREVET!

 

Her er mit forslag til hvilken udgave, du skal købe, hvis du ikke har nogen erfaring med Shakespeare.

 

  1. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest af Ken Kesey

 

 

Alle, der nogensinde har følt sig udenfor, misforstået, overset, eller på en eller anden måde har følt, at de bare ikke har hørt til, skal læse denne bog, for så bliver man i stand til at forklare sine følelser omkring netop dette. Alle, der har mobbet, hånet, grinet af andre, skal læse denne bog, for at få en forståelse for, hvad de har tvunget andre folk til at gå igennem. I, der altid har haft det skønt og som aldrig har oplevet noget som helst negativt, skal læse denne bog, for at få øjnene op for, hvordan mange andre har det. Denne bog har gjort mig mere tålmodig over for folk, som bliver marginaliseret i vores samfund, og mindre tålmodig over for folk, der undertrykker andre mennesker. Man støder på en af litteraturens værste mennesker, Nurse Ratched. Man skal ikke langt ind i bogen, før man begynder at fantasere om at slå hende ihjel.

 

En af de mange mindeværdig passager fra bogen:

 

“The Big Nurse is able to set the wall clock at whatever speed she wants by just turning one of those dials in the steel door; she takes a notion to hurry things up, she turns the speed up, and those hands whip around that disk like spokes in a wheel. The scene in the picture-screen windows goes through rapid changes of light to show morning, noon, and night – throb off and on furiously with day and dark, and everybody is driven like mad to keep up with the passing of fake time; awful scramble of shaves and breakfasts and appointments and lunches and medications and ten minutes of night so you barely get your eyes closed before the dorm light’s screaming at you to get up and start the scramble again, go like a sonofabitch this way, going through the full schedule of a day maybe twenty times an hour, till the Big Nurse sees everybody is right up to the breaking point, and she slacks off on the throttle, eases off the pace on that clock-dial, like some kid been fooling with the moving-picture projection machine and finally got tired watching the film run at ten times its natural speed, got bored with all that silly scampering and insect squeak of talk and turned it back to normal.”

 

Filmen kan bestemt også anbefales. Jack Nicholson er magisk. As usual.

 

  1. The Master and Margarita af Mikhail Bulgakov

 

 

Dette er bogen, som jeg ville ønske, jeg selv havde skrevet. Fordi den er så vild, smuk, kaotisk, forvirrende og tankevækkende. Fordi man kommer til at sætte spørgsmål ved alt, som vi mennesker mener er ondt, godt, rigtigt og forkert.  Man bliver i tvivl om alt, og bliver nødt til at samle sig selv efter man har læst den, som et puslespil, man ikke har set før, men bare har hørt om. Jeg har en tatovering på min ene læg dedikeret til denne bog (det gælder i øvrigt også One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest).

 

Det er svært at skulle vælge en passage fra denne bog (så derfor bliver det to), men jeg skal give det et forsøg:

 

”’If you ask me, something sinister lurks in men who avoid wine, games, the company of lovely women, and dinnertime conversation. Such people are either gravely ill or secretly detest everyone around them.’”

 

”’What would your good do if evil didn’t exist, and what would the earth look like if all the shadows disappeared? After all, shadows are cast by things and people. Here is the shadow of my sword. But shadows also come from trees and living beings. Do you want to strip the earth of all trees and living things just because of your fantasy of enjoying naked light?’”

 

  1. Dracula af Bram Stoker

 

 

En af de få bøger, der flere gange har givet mig mareridt. Og samtidig er det den bog, som gjorde mig opmærksom på, at kvinders seksualitet også kan være aktiv, at vi også kan tage, hvad vi vil have, at vi ikke behøver at vente på, at en mand giver os det. Jeg lagde også straks mærke til de homoerotiske undertoner mellem Jonathan Harker  og Dracula, som jeg fandt ekstremt spæmdende. Det er i virkeligheden nok den bog, der skabte min interesse for queer theori, uden jeg vidste, at der var noget, der hed queer teori, da jeg var 15 år.

 

En mindeværdig passage fra bogen:

 

”When I found that I was a prisoner a sort of wild feeling came over me. I rushed up and down the stairs, trying every door and peering out of every window I cold find; but after a little the conviction of my helplessness overpowered all other things. When I look back after a few hours I think I must have been mad for the time, for I behaved much as a rat does in a trap. When, however, the conviction had come to me that I was helpless I sat down quietly – as quietly as I have ever done anything in my life – and began to think over what was best to be done. I am thinking still, and as of yet have come to no definite conclusion. Of one thing only am I certain: that it is no use making my ideas known to the Count. He knows well that I am imprisoned; and as he has done it himself, and has doubtless his own motives for it, he would only deceive me if I trusted him fully with the facts.”

 

  1. Geek Love af Katherine Dunn

 

 

Geek Love er en helt igennem twisted historie, der indeholder søskende, der kæmper med hinanden for deres forældres respekt og kærlighed; en mor, der tager en masse stoffer, når hun er gravid, for at få misdannede børn; en skaldet og pukkelrygget albinodværg, som er den mest normale af dem alle sammen; diskussioner om hvad der er normalt og hvad der ikke er, og meget, meget andet. Har du nogensinde følt dig som lidt af en freak, så vil du komme til at føle dig som en helt almindelig gennemsnitsdansker, når du læser Geek Love. Samtidig vil du opleve en sær og sælsom kærlighed til dem, der er på kanten af eller uden for det normprægede samfund.

 

En mindeværdig passage fra bogen:

 

”A small child looked into my face and wanted to stop but his mother dragged him on. Sometimes when I felt the eyes crawling on me from all sides, I got scared thinking someone was looking who wasn’t just curious. I knew it was my imagination and I got used to it, learned to shunt it away. But sometimes I held on to it quietly, that feeling that someone behind or beside me in the crowd – some guy leaning on the target booth with a rifle, or some cranky, sweating father spending too much on ride tickets to keep his kids away from him – anybody could be looking at me in the sidelong way that norms use to look at freaks, but thinking of me twitching and biting at the dirt while my guts spilled out of the big escape hatch he’d cut for them. That helpless rasp of death waiting as he hurt me … a feeling like that is special. Sometimes you hold on to it quietly for a while. I told Arty about it once. Arty narrowed his long eyelids and said I was flattering myself and there was nothing about me special enough to make anybody want to kill me.”

 

  1. Hard Times by Charles Dickens

 

Denne bog er ikke Dickens’ bedste. Jeg kunne hurtigt nævne mindst fem andre, der er bedre (hvis du har mod på det, så læs Dombey and Son, den er lang, men så vanvittig god). Jeg har taget Hard Times med på listen, fordi det var den første Dickens-roman, jeg læste, og derfor den bog, der introducerede mig for en litterær verden, som jeg ikke vidste, at jeg manglede. Udover Shakespeare har jeg aldrig stødt på en forfatter, som er så formidabel til at skabe komplekse karakterer som Dickens. Hans spidende samfundssatire og kritik af det finere borgerskab er så velskrevet, at jeg ofte læser sætningerne flere gange, for virkelig at få hans ord helt ind under huden.

 

En legendarisk passage fra bogen:

 

“Mr. Bounderby being a bachelor, an elderly lady presided over his establishment, in consideration of a certain annual stipend. Mrs. Sparsit was the lady’s name; and she was a prominent figure in attendance on Mr. Bounderby’s car, as it rolled along in triumph with the Bully of humility inside. For, Mrs. Sparsit had not only seen different days, but was highly connected. She had a great aunt living in these very times called Lady Scadgers. Mr. Sparsit, deceased, of whom she was the relict, had been by the mother’s side what Mrs. Sparsit still called “a Powler.” Strangers of limited information and dull apprehension were sometimes observed not to know what a Powler was, and even to appear uncertain whether it might be a business, or a political party, or a profession of faith. The better class of minds, however, did not need to be informed that the Powlers were an ancient stock, who could trace themselves so exceedingly far back that it was not surprising if they sometimes lost themselves – which they had rather frequently done, as respected horseflesh, blind-hookey, Hebrew monetary transactions, and the Insolvent Debtors’ Court.”

 

  1. Black No More af George Schuyler

 

 

Kan du lide grov samfundssatire? Kan du lide at læse om en verden, hvor alt er vendt på hovedet? Kan du lide at blive præsenteret for, hvor arbitrær og latterlig vores kassetænkning er? Kan du lide at se alle, uanset race, klasse, politisk overbevisning og seksualitet, blive spiddet på et verbalt spyd? Kan du lide at grine? Kan du lide at blive forarget? Kan du lide at blive klogere? Hvis ja, så skal du komme i gang med Black No More omgående.

 

En mindeværdig passage fra bogen:

 

‘”Well, there are plenty of Caucasians who have lips quite as thick and noses quite as broad as any of us. As a matter of fact there has been considerable exaggeration about the contrast between Caucasian and Negro features. The cartoonists and minstrel men have been responsible for it very largely. Some Negroes like the Somalis, Filanis, Egyptians, Hausas and Abyssinians have very thin lips and nostrils. So also have the Malagasys of Madagascar. Only in certain small sections of Africa do the Negroes possess extremely pendulous lips and very broad nostrils. On the other hand, many so-called Caucasians, particularly the Latins, Jews and South Irish, and frequently the most Nordic of peoples like the Swedes, show almost Negroid lips and noses. Black up some white folks and they could deceive a resident of Benin. Then when you consider that less than twenty per cent of our Negroes are without Caucasian ancestry and that close to thirty per cent have American Indian ancestry, it is readily seen that there cannot be the wide difference in Caucasian and Afro-American facial characteristics that most people imagine.”’

 

  1. Other Voices, Other Rooms af Truman Capote

 

 

Capotes sprog i denne roman får dig til at tro, at du rent faktisk befinder dig på en isoleret plantage i en af USA’s sydstater. Du kan mærke den tunge varme trænge ind i din krop, du kan høre cikaderne, du kan dufte sukkermelasse, du kan mærke den seksuelle spænding mellem visse karakterer. Og samtidig er det en fantastisk queer fortælling om drenge og mænd, der ikke er ”rigtige” drenge og mænd, og om piger og kvinder, som ikke er særligt feminine. Idéen om køn som værende noget statisk bliver revet i stykker, og du bliver taget med på en småbizar og gribende rejse.

 

En mindeværdig passage fra bogen:

 

”Radclif eyed the boy over the rim of his beer glass, not caring much for the looks of him. He had his notions of what a ‘real’ boy should look like, and this kid somehow offended them. He was too pretty, too delicate and fair-skinned; each of his features was shaped with a sensitive accuracy, and a girlish tenderness softened his eyes, which were brown and very large. His brown hair, cut short, was streaked with pure yellow strands. A kind of tired, imploring expression masked his thin face, and there was an unyouthful sag about his shoulders. He wore long, wrinkled white linen breeches, a limp blue shirt, the collar of which was open at the throat, and rather scuffed tan shoes.”

 

  1. Passing af Nella Larsen

 

 

Passing er en bog, der hele tiden undersøger grænserne mellem ægte og falsk, hetero og homo, hvid og sort, mand og kvinde, og den formår at sløre grænserne og spørge os om, hvorfor vi er så optagede af ordet ’autenticitet’, og hvad det ord i det hele taget betyder. Det er en roman om identitet og om at finde sin plads i en verden, som ikke vil acceptere en, som man er. Det er en bog, der byder på mange fine og skrøbelige øjeblikke, når man dykker ind i hovedpersonen Irenes tanker, hvor man lærer hendes frygt, jalousi og undertrykte seksualitet at kende.

 

En mindeværdig passage fra bogen:

 

“She dropped Clare out of her mind and turned her thoughts to her own affairs. To home, to the boys, to Brian. Brian, who in the morning would be waiting for her in the great clamorous station. She hoped that he had been comfortable and not too lonely without her and the boys. Not so lonely that the old, queer, unhappy restlessness had begun again within him, that craving for some place strange and different, which at the beginning of her marriage she had had to make such strenuous efforts to repress, and which yet faintly alarmed her, though it now sprang up at gradually lessening intervals.”

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