Who reads wins.
What are the odds? Doom metal band Pyramido from Malmö not only has one librarian in the band, but two! So what band in the world has more academic heaviness and more metal strenght to their choice of reading than Pyramido?
That is why swedish blog Bara Metal asked both Viktor Forss [drums, books] and Dan Hedlund [guitars, more books] to recommend great books for the blog’s great readers. Especially since it is Easter and time to read books, drink swedish snaps and take a break from reality.
Dan and Viktor happily contrubuted with personal favourites. They even contrubuted with photos showcasing the books. You can find Viktor’s suggested reading here, and here follow Dan’s recommendations:
PC Jersild – Efter floden [After the flood]
You read The Road and liked it? Well forget that shit, this is the real deal! Swedish author PC Jersild wrote this book in 1982 and it´s the best post apocalyptic story I’ve ever read. This was translated to english back in 1986 so I guess that fucker McCarthy just ripped the whole feeling off from Efter floden.
It’s years after a nuclear war that nearly wiped out the human race and a sorry excuse for humanity is traveling on old rusty boats in the archipelago outside of Stockholm. The radioactivity has lead to vaste deformation and there are nearly any women left, therefore no new children are being born. Sexual abuse and cannibalism is part of everyday life and on this boat in particular a young boy called Edvin Fittmun (that translate to Pussy/cuntmouth) is seeing his fair share of abuse being on the bottom of the food chain onboard. After the crew grows tired of him he is left to survive on what seems to be a deserted island and this is where the story really takes of.
This book is so very gloomy, dirty and grimy and so far ahead of it´s time. One of my faves!
Lawen Mohtadi – Den dag jag blir fri
This is a biography on Katarina Taikon written by swedish journalist Lawen Mohtadi. Taikon was an author and civil rights activist of romani origin. Not only did she write the hugely popular books about Katitzi but she was also extremely active in the struggle against the oppression/racism of the Romani population in Sweden.
Sweden has a good international reputation when it comes to equality and civil rights but let us not forget that in the 1920s-30s-40s (before and after as well I suppose) the swedish government locked up and often sterilized people only based on their ethnicity. This books reminds us about that and is very up to date these days when a normalization of racism is well on it’s way in both Sweden and in Europe as a whole.
The book is based mainly on interviews with Taikon’s sister Rosa and covers her very though childhood followed by her adult life which she devoted to culture, politics and her friends and family. Crucial swedish history!
Helle Helle – Rödby Puttgarden
Helle Helle is one of my favorite authors. She’s danish and writes books mainly about the kinda boring and ordinary lives of, well, it could be anyone. Rödby Puttgarden is a book about a girl who works on the super depressing ferries that connects Rödby (Denmark) with Puttgarden (Germany). I for one would know having traveled this route many times with Pyrafckerz. Well the book is about her and her pretty stale life in a small town. And that´s basically it, at least if you don’t pay attention to the the small nuances in the language. If you appreciate these, then you can tell that Helle Helle is funny as hell AND she also goes very deep in her special minimal way. The iceberg theory anyone?
Pär Lagerkvist – Onda sagor [Evil fairytales]
This guy really characterize what we call ”det svenska vemodet” (the Swedish melancholy). Lagerqvist was a poet and author that was active and released a ton of titles between the early 1900s until he died in 1974. This is a collection of short stories that I recently read and became very fond of. It’s pretty heavy stuff, heavy enough to borderline into something almost comic when you read it nowadays. In the first story ”Far och jag” (My father and I) Lagerqvist paints a picture of him as a kid encountering a dark raging ghost train to illustrate his anxiety and inner darkness to come. Very (almost too) obvious, but I can imagine it was groundbreaking when it came out in 1924. There is a great sense of solitude to all these storys. The best one being ”Frälsar-Johan” (Johan the saviour) centering around Johan, a seemingly mentally ill man believing he is the reincarnation of Christ and is suffering a great deal when people laugh him off in the village he roams around in. Later on he dies alone in a violent way making the ultimate sacrifice for his fellow man. As you may tell, there ain’t a great deal of joy in this book and I would recommend this to fans of emo-bedroom-black metal any day.
Pooneh Rohi – Araben [the Arab]
This was THE book of 2014 for me. Written by debutant Pooneh Rohi it’s about this man, nearly a ghost of a man, who travels around the subway of Stockholm waiting for another day to end. He is refered to only as ”araben” (the arab) but could just as well be from anywhere in the middle east. He is alone, he is mad at the world around him and he is mad at this cold country where he has spent the last 20 something years being nearly invisible.
We also get to follow another character, a girl in her late twenties. She came to Sweden as a child and has only vague memories of her life in the old country. She has succeeded in every way that the arab has not – she lives in the centre of Stockholm, has a rich social life and is going for a high degree in university. Still she experience this nagging feeling of loneliness and not belonging anywhere.
In a review I read, Pooneh Rohi was described as an author who has succeeded to make the reader feel as if he/she has experienced what is described in the book although that reality is far away from the readers everyday life. I think that is what really got to me with this story. I can feel both of these characters fears and feelings of not belonging. On a larger scale (and very simplified) I guess that’s a huge first step to counteract such things as racism and ignorance – making people understand each other. I also love the language in this, it’s poetic yet straight forward and in that way you get this kind of ”quiet storm” building up during the reading of this. Top notch!