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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Books We Love Blogfest


As you can see, today is the Books We Love Blogfest which is being hosted by Rebecca Kiel.

All we have to do is talk about one book we love and why.  I'm going to go back, way back and choose Milan Kundera's Unbearable Lightness of Being.


Before we go any further, yes, this was made into a movie and no, I did not like the movie at all.  Not even a little bit.  The problem in this particular situation is that like all of Kundera's work, Unbearable Lightness has a very existential bent that simply does not translate to film.  I don't care what anyone says.  It just doesn't. 

I had to read this book for a college class when I was 18 or 19 and this book was my constant companion for about 10 years.  I have read it so many times, I've lost count although it's probably been about 7 years or so since I last read it.  First, what's it about?

Basically it's about four people living in communist Czechoslovakia in the late 1960s and early 1970s:  Tomas, a womanizing surgeon; his wife Teresa, a wallflower and photographer, Sabina, one of Tomas' mistresses and Franz, one of Sabina's lovers.  It's mostly about their relationships--with one another, with other people and with their changing society. 

Why do I love this book?  Because it's not only a meditation on relationships but a meditation on life itself and what it means to be human.  Like all great books, it asks more questions than it answers. 

There are many wonderful quotes from this book but this is one of my favorites:

" . . . for there is nothing heavier than compassion. Not even one's own pain weighs so heavy as the pain one feels with someone, for someone, a pain intensified by the imagination and prolonged by a hundred echoes.”

You can check it out on Amazon here.  Or Barnes & Noble here.  It's not for everyone but it's a book that has had a profound affect on my life so I had to highlight it for Books We Love!

13 comments:

  1. Beautiful quote. I haven't read this one, but I did see the movie...because, well, it was Daniel Day Lewis. I think you're right that a novel like this one doesn't translate as well to film. The subtle meaning in the interstices between words gets lost in translation. Sometimes books like this need to resonate inside on a very personal level instead of being fed to us through someone else's vision.

    Excellent choice! Must put it on my TBR list. :)

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  2. This one has been on my TBR pile for a long time because it seems like it's on everyone else's Faves of All Time List! Kundera's language is beautiful, I've read several of his essays...now for the novels. =)

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  3. Wow. That quote was beautiful! I believe it's time to add to my TBR list. Thanks, Lisa! :)

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  4. I've not read it yet bc I was totally turned off by the movie - and I love Daniel Day Lewis! If you say the novel is different, maybe it's time to give it another shot.
    Thanks Lisa!

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  5. Does anyone get hacked up in it or any of that other good stuff? LOL Just kidding.

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  6. Okay, lady, I'm trusting you on this one. Sounds like it could be interesting.

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  7. Hmm...seems like a deep book.

    Film adaptions are hit-or-miss. There are times which they're trying to fit the vision. Other times...it's all about the greenbacks.

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  8. Great choice. I haven't read this yet. Might have to put it on my next amazon order tho. Glad you shared.

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  9. Oh man, I love that quote. The language reminds me of the Picture of Dorian Gray.

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  10. I haven't heard of this book, but I will definitely put it on my list of books to read. Thank you!

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  11. I came over from Carrie's blog to see how you answered her questions, but I had to tell you that Incredible Lightness was one of my favorite books in the world. Guess we have something in common. I didn't see the movie, but if I love a book, I never see the movie.

    Joined your group here. Glad to meet you.

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  12. I'm another who hasn't read Unbearable Lightness, but want to now...you've convinced me:-) Nice to meet you!

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  13. Picking it up today! The cover alone interests me. So glad you participated!

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