a book blog about reading all of astrid lindgren's books

Archive for February, 2018

from reader to . . . collector?

I thought this blog was over.

Just because I’ve ignored this blog for years doesn’t mean I haven’t been reading — and loving — Astrid Lindgren books. I’ve re-read many of the books, and at Christmas or my birthday there’s nearly always been a favorite Astrid book waiting for me. There didn’t seem to be anything else to say — I read all the books. Done.

Well, maybe.

I never intended to collect all of Astrid’s books. Not my goal. There are so many, and I try to not accumulate too many books because it makes it hard to move. I don’t think a person needs to own something to appreciate it.

Yet at the back of my mind there’s been this little worry that some of her books are disappearing and will be increasingly harder to find — and therefore harder to ever read and appreciate again. For many of her books such as the Bill Bergson/Kalle Blomquist series, new life has been zapped into the books with new editions. (This is great news because the original edition Bill Bergson trilogy would set me back at least $250. Ouch.) Yet there are books like Brenda Brave, the Kati series, and the Riwkin-Brick books which, realistically and sadly, are probably never going to be reprinted. I would LOVE to be wrong about this.

I blame my partner Elliott. (Yes, a lot can change in three years.) His not-quite-midlife crisis consisted of buying 50 pounds of Legos this month and turning our living room into a Lego workshop. As far as midlife crises go, I can handle this one. It was enormously fun to watch him explore a toy from his childhood and rekindle a love of play. While he was sorting, I read to him from Astrid’s War Diaries and it made me realize that Legos are to him what Astrid Lindgren is to me. And he was having so much fun with Legos. Wouldn’t I also have fun if I revisited Astrid Lindgren?

Stepping over Legos for a week, I concluded that I could do worse things than slowly collect all the Astrid Lindgren books. Some of them are disappearing and I want to be able to read them still in decades to come.

 

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War Diaries

Image result for astrid lindgren war diaries amazonYes, it has been awhile.

I got this book for Christmas in 2016. Due to a different reading project I was doing in 2017, I didn’t get a chance to actually read it until this month.

Phenomenal.

For someone (me) who really despises war history in general, these diaries are a way for me to connect with history. To read what Astrid was thinking and feeling about the war and to learn how it affected Sweden and its neighboring countries – what a unique view into history. The little details like what was rationed when and how people reacted to it were my favorite parts — these little pieces of history might be lost to time without these diaries.

It’s fascinating to relive the war in an era before worldwide news on television and the internet. Rumors, who heard what from what source, and of course the letters she read — these were her Twitter. Astrid also freely wrote what she thought of the players involved (“those poor devils!” she writes of the Italians at one point).

Then there’s Astrid-as-an-author and for any fan of her works this diary is important because it all began here: her success with Britt-Mari and later Pippi. English readers don’t know Britt-Mari because for the life of me, I cannot find a translated version of the book (anyone?) but of course we all know Pippi Longstocking. And Pippi was born during the war. In fact, if not for the war, we can assume circumstances would have been different enough that we would never have met Pippi. She would never have existed.

One can’t help but wonder if Pippi’s success – not only with Astrid’s daughter Karin but also the world – was in part because the world needed the kind of chaos that Pippi brings — fun, childish and childlike chaos — as opposed to the years of death, destruction and emotionally-draining chaos the world had been suffering.

Yes, this book drew me in because it’s Astrid’s words — but even if this wasn’t the work of my most favorite author, it would be an incredibly interesting book.