Door 7: International Day for Tolerance
Task 1: Find a redeeming quality in a book you read this year and didn’t like.
I usually find something worthwhile in every book even if I didn't like it or if the book infuriated me. The exception this year was Faulkner's Sanctuary.
Luckily, I don't have to pick Sanctuary for this task and pick any of the other ones I did not enjoy reading this year. There were lots.
However, I will choose Maurice Herzog's memoir of his team's ascend of Annapurna.
The book was awful because it seemed contrived and cutting out the stories of Herzog's team members, and trying to make him look a hero. All the while, the reader knows that Herzog made bad decisions and would not have survived the trip if not for his fellow climbers. It also transpired that he silenced his team mates afterwards so none of their stories was published.
Anyway, the redeeming feature I would like to highlight is that Herzog, who lost most his hands to frostbite, gives a very honest and graphic description of what frostbite in high altitude conditions looks and feels like and what it is like once the nerve endings regain some feeling.
It was absolutely gut-wrenching reading and certainly not for the faint-of-heart, but I thought this was the first book I read that really, REALLY, warned mountaineers of the dangers of frostbite.
Task 2: Share a story about yourself, or a story about your family that’s survived the generations, or share a particular tradition your family has passed on from generation to generation and if there’s a story behind why, tell us about it.
Thinking about it, the only thing I can currently think of is a minor thing that may not be a proper tradition but is just something that I know I do, my mum does, her mum did, and I am sure my gran's mum did, too.
It's a bit silly, but when buying rolls from a bakery, we all immediately pick one and start nibbling on it. No particular reason other than bakery rolls - especially German ones - are delicious and best enjoyed as soon as one gets their mitts on them.
Task 3: The French expression for tolerance towards others is “laisser faire, laisser aller” (roughly: “let them do as they want, let it go”). Have you ever “let go” a book (e.g., given it away or decided not to yield to the temptation to buy it) and later regretted that choice?
Yes. I lost my copies of the first four Harry Potter books - not valuable editions, just the first ones I acquired - to an ex-boyfriend. I eventually got over the loss by replacing them with some very gorgeous black-cover adult editions.
Task 4: If you were offered an all-expenses-paid trip to one (one only!) of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites, which one would you pick (and why)?
I would find it difficult to choose because there are so many of them that I would like to see, but if I was really pressed it would be Khangchendzonga National Park.
It's a part of the world that I find fascinating anyway, but Mt. Khangchendzonga is also one of the mountains that I like reading about. Not just Michelle Paver's excellent Thin Air, but mountaineering books. I don't know why exactly but it is hard to not be intrigued by the look of the area:
(I found this picture on the UNESCO gallery page - here.)
Book: Read a book about tolerance, or outside your comfort zone, or set in Paris (seat of UNESCO).
Erm, this may be a prompt to read The Boxer and the Goalkeeper, a dual biography about Sartre and Camus that I have at home from the library at the moment. If this does not work our...I may pick up something by Zola.