The Summer Book

by Tove Jansson | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0954221710 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingmynttiwing of Tampere, Pirkanmaa / Birkaland Finland on 8/28/2004
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14 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingmynttiwing from Tampere, Pirkanmaa / Birkaland Finland on Saturday, August 28, 2004
An elderly artist and her six-year-old granddaughter while away a summer together on a tiny island in the gulf of Finland. Gradually, the two learn to adjust to each other's fears, whims and yearnings for independence, and a fierce yet understated love emerges - one that encompasses not only the summer inhabitants but the island itself, with its mossy rocks, windswept firs and unpredictable seas.

Full of brusque humour and wisdom, The Summer Book is a profoundly life-affirming story. Tove Jansson captured much of her own experience and spirit in the book, which was her favourite of the novels she wrote for adults.


Translated by Thomas Teal
Foreword by Esther Freud

I love this book. It's funny, wise and humane, and as the quote on the back cover says "full of joys and small adventures".

To be bookringed.

Journal Entry 2 by wingmynttiwing from Tampere, Pirkanmaa / Birkaland Finland on Wednesday, October 20, 2004
The Summer Book bookring:

Hero Ireland
BlossomU Portugal
Gyd Spain
Olifant The Netherlands
Helly77 UK
Ben-Nevis Germany
Megi53 USA
Zugenia USA
Sherlockfan New Zealand

Thanks for signing up!

***
9.10.2005
I've decided to let the book continue its travels around the world. There's no need to mail it back to me. :-)

Journal Entry 3 by wingmynttiwing from Tampere, Pirkanmaa / Birkaland Finland on Thursday, October 28, 2004
Mailed to Hero today.

Journal Entry 4 by Hero from Dublin, Co. Dublin Ireland on Tuesday, November 02, 2004
Received this morning - thanks so much myntti! I've heard amazingly good things about this book, and will be starting as soon as I've finished the ring that arrived yesterday (a graphic novel, so won't be long at all).

Journal Entry 5 by Hero from Dublin, Co. Dublin Ireland on Saturday, November 06, 2004
What a wonderful book - finished it today, and it lived up to every expectation I had for it. At first I found it slightly confusing when the story moved back and forth a bit - or at least I assume it did, I was never entirely sure whether it was one summer or several combined, but it didn't matter anyway. I loved the grandmother and Sophia, both wonderful characters, beautifully depicted, and it was lovely to see the photo of Tove Jansson's mother and niece in the beginning - for all they may have been slightly fictionalised, they were clearly captured perfectly. I'd imagine this book would reward many rereads, and will definitely be getting a copy to keep. Thanks so much for sharing this, myntti.

Just one really thick question, which I'll write in white and then probably erase in embarrassment later: A friend had written out the last two paragraphs, and somehow I'd got the impression then that the grandmother definitely died, but when I read it this time, I wasn't so sure. Do you think definitely, suggested but not certain, or not?

Will be sending this off to BlossomU on Monday.

Journal Entry 6 by Hero from Dublin, Co. Dublin Ireland on Monday, November 08, 2004
Well, myntti didn't think the question too thick, and is interested to hear what other people think, so I'll leave it, and add one bit more in white. I checked back to the email in which the friend had written out the ending, and discovered that he had written about it as being 'the grandmother's death'. At least it explains why I'd thought of it that way! He does teach Literature, but I'm still not convinced it's meant to be clear either way...

Posting to BlossomU this morning.

Journal Entry 7 by BlossomU on Sunday, November 14, 2004
Just arrived, thanks Hero and myntti! It looks promising, I will get to it at once.

Journal Entry 8 by BlossomU on Tuesday, November 16, 2004
Just finished it and what a lovely book, reads like a collection of short stories, but there is too much coherence there to be it, lovely - though the geography is definetely very alien to me ( white nights, sea not so salty that normal things can grow that close to it, no tides) and sometimes in behaviour as well. Lovely though.

About that ending, I have only just now read Hero´s spoiler comments, but was just going to post about it, I am afraid my first opinion was precisely that of her friend´s, more comments in white I did think the grandmother is dying in the end, the heart beating more and more slowly more out and out to sea. It is not a absolute interpretation, we got to read it between the lines so to speak, but I thought that was what it was, and it all fits correctly with bits we are told earlier, grandmother telling Sophia she will die soon, that whole last chapter grandmother is feeling her age and moving more and more slowly. I also thought the last line, that grandmother was staying near the water, was a message, that even after death her spirit was going to remain, for those who loved her, associated it to that sea and the island and the outside. That being said, one can interpret the end literally, but I don´t think it fits as well, somehow. Hmm, wonder how the swedish edition is, if it is more definite or less?

Something else I am not quite sure, I don´t know if it was in the prologue or the text or just my imagination, but Sophia´s mother had died? The angleworms chapter, which is wonderful, makes so much sense if related to that.


Anyway, a great read, thanks so much myntti!

Book shipped to Gyd November 17th, let us see how long it takes, for some strange reason Spain is the country to which mail seems to take longer!

Journal Entry 9 by Hero from Dublin, Co. Dublin Ireland on Wednesday, November 17, 2004
More white - if you get tired of this, myntti, let me know - otherwise I'll just carry on discussing. ;) I get exactly what you're saying about what grandmother thought was the boat, but realised was her heart, but it was the addition of 'but never stopping' to the getting fainter and fainter which made me think it wasn't meant to be definite. Or a definite maybe, as myntti said.

I thought it was interesting that you never heard what the mother had died of (unless I missed it), and I also didn't pick up on the grandmother's being an artist - though the things she made and did obviously made her an artist, of course, but somewhere (either the intro or a review? Can't remember where I saw it now) it was said as if she were a professional artist. (Sorry about getting my name back on the status, BlossomU!)

Journal Entry 10 by Gyd from Barcelona, Barcelona Spain on Tuesday, November 30, 2004
Received this morning!
I'm really looking forward to reading it and I'm more than a little intrigued about the different opinions about the end. BlosssomU have kindly warned me about that so I'm not going to read any journal entry prior to reading the book.

I shall start my reading today (I was reading some Truman Capote' stories while I waited for its arrival) and maybe this book will come with me for a four days vacation.

Journal Entry 11 by Gyd from Barcelona, Barcelona Spain on Wednesday, December 15, 2004
Sent this morning to Olifant in The Netherlands.
And in white about the ending:

I think we are given 'clues' along the book that Sophia's grandmother is old and will die someday soon because that's natural, she's ready and doesn't pay it more attention than that [reassuring and teaching Sophia, after her mother's (sudden?) death, that she may die soon because that is just a natural process/cycle] ; I think her death is suggested at the end of the book but not necessarily at that right moment.

Journal Entry 12 by Olifant from Porthmadog, Wales United Kingdom on Sunday, December 19, 2004
Safely arrived! Have read some of her Moomin books, De hoed van de tovenaar and Tales of Moominvalley, and loved them. I guess I'll like this one too...

Thanks Gyd for sending and myntti for ringing.

Journal Entry 13 by Olifant from Porthmadog, Wales United Kingdom on Sunday, December 26, 2004
Beautiful wise book full of life lessons! Nothing new to add to Gyds’ journal. Recognized a lot of this book in her childrens book ‘Moominpappa at Sea’(Pappa Moem en de mysteriën van de zee). Will post this book in the U.K. tomorrow to Helly77.

Journal Entry 14 by Helly77 from Preston, Lancashire United Kingdom on Thursday, December 30, 2004
Received literally 5 minutes ago. Will start right away. Looks like a lovely litle book! Thanks!

Journal Entry 15 by Helly77 from Preston, Lancashire United Kingdom on Tuesday, January 04, 2005
This really is a lovely little book! I havent read a book so quickly for a while, and i couldnt wait to get to the end. As for the ending, I think it is up to the reader to decide what happens, I suppose it all depends on whether you are an optimist or a pessimist :o)

I will post this on the next time I get to the post Office.

Thanks so much for sharing :o)

Journal Entry 16 by Helly77 at Bookring in to another bookcrosser, By Post -- Controlled Releases on Friday, January 07, 2005
Released on Friday, January 07, 2005 at about 4:00:00 AM BX time (GMT-06:00) Central Time (US & Canada) at Bookring in to another bookcrosser, By Post Controlled Releases.

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on its way to BenNevis in Germany

Journal Entry 17 by Ben-Nevis from Bochum, Nordrhein-Westfalen Germany on Tuesday, January 11, 2005
Recieved today, thank you. Will start reading soon.
--22.01.2005----

Sophia spends the summer with her grandmother on a small Swedish island. The both of them live a remarkable relationship, they learn from each other, have fun together and argue with each other. I like the way this every day’s life is described, the nature, their feelings. Grandmother is a canny person, it is fun to read how she talks to Sophia and how she helps her to solve her problems.
I liked the chapter “The Tent” most.

“We’ll go ashore,” Grandmother said. She was very angry. Sophia looked frightened. “There’s a big difference,” her grandmother explained. “No well-bred person goes ashore on someone else’s island when there’s no one home. But if they out up a sign, then you doe it anyway, because it’s a slap in the face.”
“Naturally,” Sophia said, increasing her knowledge of life considerably.


To Myntti thank you for sharing this book and thank you all for your interesting comments!

Journal Entry 18 by Megi53 from Danville, Virginia USA on Friday, March 18, 2005
You must have been wondering when this book would arrive -- it came just today! Good timing, since this is the first warm day after a series of snowfalls and hard frosts in southside Virginia.

It's a beautiful book, and I look forward to reading it on my vacation.

Journal Entry 19 by Megi53 from Danville, Virginia USA on Friday, April 08, 2005
I'm fascinated with Finland (homeland of my daughter's father, where we've never been...) and this book gave wonderful descriptions of the rocks, sea colors, plants and weather.

Once again I'm disillusioned, though -- many liberal Americans think that places like New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Sweden, and Finland have such nicer people than we have here-- but Jansson writes about bourgeois families tearing down trees and bulldozing landscapes to build a house with a "no trespassing" sign and padlocks, and yachts full of partiers that dump their rubbish on the summer island. (just like my neighbors!)

The fictional Sophie is terribly precocious and obnoxious, with her screaming, ordering Grandmother around, and wishing her cat, Moppy, were dead. She certainly has a knack for philosophy and psychology, though: consider this remark of hers (6 years old!):

"It's funny about love," Sophia said. "The more you love
someone, the less he likes you back."

My favorite part was in the chapter, "The Cave", where Grandmother kept finding treasures like mushrooms, a Russian cap to carry them in, and a bottle of lemonade.

The most astonishing part was when Papa decided to landscape the island, and the extreme measures he took to make things grow in a place with only turf and no soil ("The Enormous Plastic Sausage").

And the ending? I took Gyd's view of it.

Thanks for sharing; the book is lovely, and I'm mailing it to Zugenia later today.

Journal Entry 20 by zugenia from Hamilton, Ontario Canada on Monday, April 11, 2005
This arrived in today's mail—thanks to all for sharing. I'll read it soon and pass it on.

Journal Entry 21 by zugenia from Hamilton, Ontario Canada on Sunday, May 01, 2005
I've been completely tied up with work since this book arrived, but just returned yesterday from a trip to interview for a job and decided to reward myself by curling up and reading all day. It's hard to describe how much I loved this book. Jansson's writing is thoughtful and beautiful and wickedly funny and full of feeling without ever nearing sentimentalism. I love the hard-edgedness of both Sophia and her Grandmother; it makes the love between them very real and, indeed, "fierce." My favorite chapter was "Of Angleworms and Others": undistilled brilliance. I will definitely be purchasing a copy of this book for my own collection, and I imagine I will give many copies away to friends and family members. Thank you so much for sharing.

On to Sherlockfan next!

Journal Entry 22 by wingSherlockfanwing from Upper Hutt, Wellington Province New Zealand on Tuesday, May 10, 2005
Arrived in New Zealand, today, May 11th. I've just posted off an assignment in the "Life Writing" paper I am studying extramurally and this looks like a very suitable reward.

Journal Entry 23 by boreal from Dunedin, Otago New Zealand on Friday, June 10, 2005
I found this in my mailbox this morning -it has had a very quick journey from Wellington, when they say it's fast-post they certainy mean it!! Thanks Sherlockfan for surprising me with it, I will give it a go and if it isn't my kind of book I will see if any other Kiwi's (or Aussies) want to read it (if that's okay with you Myntti).
Oh and Sherlockfan, I will try and reply to your message before you leave on your trip!

Journal Entry 24 by boreal from Dunedin, Otago New Zealand on Thursday, August 04, 2005
I didn't think I was going to like this but after the first couple of chapters I was hooked. I loved the humour and wisdom. As well as the very wise Angleworm chapter I liked the one about the neighbours and especially liked the same quote as you gave Ben-Nevis. The ending -well I think I agree with Gyd.

This is the kind of book that I would love to read again as I am sure I would get more out of it the second time around. Incidentally I don't think I have read any of the Moomin books but after reading this I think I will have to remedy that.
I have got someone in mind to send it to next, I am sure she will enjoy it.

Journal Entry 25 by boreal at on Friday, August 05, 2005

Released 14 yrs ago (8/4/2005 UTC) at

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RELEASE NOTES:

Posted to a good bookcrossing friend in Australia. Hope you enjoy this as much as I have!

Journal Entry 26 by LeafOfHumanTree from Sydney, New South Wales Australia on Sunday, October 09, 2005
Boreal kindly lent me this book about the relationship between a grandmother and granddaughter spending their summer holiday on a small island. It is a meditation on nature, mortality, youth and family. I'm sending a PM to myntti now to find out if I should return this book directly to him/her.

Journal Entry 27 by boreal from Dunedin, Otago New Zealand on Thursday, November 10, 2005
This arrived back in Dunedin on Tuesday -thanks for sending it back Leaf (and thanks for the letter, you will hear from me soon I hope).


Edit: January 21 2006
I offered this book to participants in the 5 books, 5 countries, 5 continents challenge. And the following bookcrossers have put their names down to read it.
Queensknob -USA
hendertuckian -USA

Journal Entry 28 by boreal at on Friday, January 20, 2006

Released 13 yrs ago (1/11/2006 UTC) at

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Mailed to Queensknob, another participant in the 5 books, 5 countries, 5 continents challenge. Hope you enjoy it.

Journal Entry 29 by queensknob from Wytheville, Virginia USA on Tuesday, February 07, 2006
Received and read and ready to pass along!
Mailed to hendertuckian on 2/14/06.

I read this book all in one day...absolutely a wonderful way to spend the day when snowing outside! I loved the entire book and missed my own grandmother much today!

Journal Entry 30 by hendertuckian from Henderson, Nevada USA on Friday, May 05, 2006
I gave this up for lost - what a pleasent surprize in my mailbox

Released 13 yrs ago (5/8/2006 UTC) at -- By post or by hand/ in person, RABCK , bookring/ray in Henderson, Nevada USA

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passing this book along to a friend for another journey. while this book was not my favorite book, I didn't hate it but found it gentel and tender just as a love between a grandmother and granddaughter should be even when they cheat at cards.

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