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Light in the autumn darkness

Ukraine's choice: Autumn is coming. Turn around. Read now.


[book harvest] Watch out! You're being tricked. You think autumn is flooded with new books because publishers are going to make money. That they are going to sell for Christmas – hard packages under the tree, soft thoughts over the root of the nose.

But that's not the way it is. The book harvest is no accident. Books are published because the leaves should fall off the trees. And the leaves fall off the branches since they know that the stem will turn into books. No trees, no books. No books, many trees. That's why Jan Kjærstad and Jon Fosse started the now-defunct journal Beech: Because the centerpiece between one book and several books, it becomes beech. From book you have come, to beech you shall be.

We have only one problem: There are hardly beech trees left in Norway. All books have become books. But we haven't read too much, we've just read the wrong trees. Therefore, it is time to choose another tree. In the spring I choose birch, in the fall: Salary. Salary, Øystein Salary. In a dark beech harvest, he calls his short story collection Suddenly Rural. About the special in general.

Must read Payroll done. Now. Preferably below the salary on the family farm, with my son, outside my father's house. Afterwards, I could read my father's new short story collection The Wells, while I glanced down the maple helicopter planes down towards a pool of water at the root of the tree. But I already read that book, have to go now, leaf by leaf.

And there, right there, we arrive at Between Two Cultures, also the one at Gyldendal, but still: Sharam Alghasi, Katrine Fangen and Ivar Frønes have captured twelve voices, twelve "immigrants" as they are often called. But most twelve sociologists, psychologists, nurses, comedians, scientists, poets and other potatoes. Crazy fates, strong voices. After all, after all. Just what you need, right now.

Evening Post's Knut Olav Åmås also liked the book. But he wrote that the Foreign Ministry should give the book to new Norwegians, instead of the standardized and nation-worshiping book gift. So wrong he can take. It is not the multicultural Norwegians who need Between Two Cultures, but the Monocultural. Those who believe that it is a well-meaning cliche that the world and the human mind are one.

Therefore: Rather give the book away to schools, gas stations, hairdressers. Take it, give it, throw it after someone, leaf by leaf, until there are only bones, margins and a hard back. And only books without magazines.

[internet] When the books are gone, out of sight and mind, or there have been too many of them, when we want more trees, we always have the web, the great cobweb. And after this issue of Ny Tid, and after this weekend with TV programs, radio debates and newspaper articles about the half decade after 9/11, we do not want more terror. Only peace now. Quiet. Surf. Feel the waves beat, sail to Lebanon, Beirut. The city that the goddesses of peace often forget, now it is we who do not remember.

Then read the leading newspaper The Daily Star on In the midst of the bombing of Beirut, the editorial board asked the world to remember the Palestinians in Gaza, who were worse off. Now they do it again: They have asked Foreign Reporter Julie Flint to write about why "the world must not fail Darfur for the fourth time". It's almost so you think there is hope for the world anyway.

And just as hope wins over the gloom, it's time to surf further, to a brilliantly humorous ending to the week to come: Autumn darkness will not be quite the same without these video clips.

Dag Herbjørnsrud
Dag Herbjørnsrud
Former editor of MODERN TIMES. Now head of the Center for Global and Comparative History of Ideas.

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