Thursday, June 13, 2013
Rocannon's World just isn't very good, somewhere half-way through I just lose interest. You can tell that she hadn't found her voice and style yet, but was writing something much more generic. Planet of Exile was a lot more enjoyable, and I really liked having City of Illusions to read directly afterwards, since they're connected. As novels they are a little lacking, they lack tempo a bit and towards the end lose detail and sort of just peter out.
It's very interesting, and I think Le Guin has written about that herself somewhere, that she can be so comparatively daring (for that time) as to have the exiled Earthlings be all black, but it was hard to imagine a society without clear divisions between men and women - with women at the bottom (clearly this is based on some human patriarchal cultures). I mean, even though we don't want to be we are trapped into certain ways of thinking by our culture and upbringing. I think I wrote that this aged The Left Hand of Darkness too - it was very difficult for a writer in the sixties to imagine that a lot of the gender-specific ways of behaving and reacting would disappear.
Monday, June 10, 2013
[...] a disheveled giant of a white man. Two metres tall, easily, a hundred and ten kilos, maybe a hundred and twenty, shaved head, wrists as wide and hard as two-by-fours, hands like shovels, dressed in dusty grey denims and work boots.
As if there is a casting director on the planet who wouldn't immediately think Tom Cruise, right?
Saturday, June 08, 2013
Nu känner jag att jag måste lugna mig lite. Problemet är att det inte är ett dugg smart och sprituellt att skriva en bok i en för en själv främmande genre, som krim eller science fiction eller fantasy eller vad du nu vill, om du inte är ett skvatt intresserad av att respektera det hantverket och snickra ihop en bra historia, där dina intellektuella (eller, snark, pseudointellektuella) tankar och funderingar kan fungera som något som gör historien bättre, djupare, kvickare. Till en riktig roman. Som t.ex. Fröken Smillas känsla för snö nu när jag tänker efter. Och hej Danmark får vi väl lov att säga igen. Om du bara vill skriva ett manifest tycker jag att du ska göra det. Eller en insändare i Metro för all del. De tar in det mesta. Om boken ska vara läsvärd och inte aptråkig så måste ju ändå grundhistorien få ett grepp om läsaren tycker jag. Har jag fel?
Nä, det här orkar jag inte läsa ut. Urk. Och jag är ändå rätt tolerant mot dåliga böcker va. Det är nog de pretentiösa jag har svåra problem med.
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Sadly not many points for Laurie King either, because the book feels sort of rushed. I love the idea, and I love the idea of an ensemble stuck on a boat together, but can't help but long for Ngaio Marsh or Josephine Tey or even Dorothy Sayers to write the dialogue. This is the sort of setting that they'd excel in. Mix in a bit of modernity in Ms King's way (i.e. no fear of a censor) and it'd be great. Frankly, as it is now, it's seems a little as though - dare I say it? - it was written with a screenplay in mind. Never write for the movies folks! Still enjoyed it though, still devoured it.
Sunday, May 19, 2013
I wonder if it's worth the trouble trying to read this in Danish. Granted, Swedish and Danish are not that far apart, but I think there is a certain something extra-terse and ass-kicking about the Danish language that is probably lost in translation. Reading in Danish and Norwegian is oh such a pain though. Could they not film this, the Danes, and do it properly, and let me hear Smilla's rude remarks the way they're supposed to be heard? Do it well and it'll be a good story about their colonial past aswell, which may be needing to be told to the world.
Sunday, May 05, 2013
I'm in the unfortunate position of not being able to keep the blog up, since I don't have computer time. It has led to me not reading. I want to blog about the books I read. If I can't blog, I don't read. I actually find this ridiculously upsetting. Haven't decided if I should just call it quits and live in the Now of the IRL instead of getting too hung up on a digital journal that shouldn't be allowed to become the reason for enjoying literature.
I read all the Gregor the Overlander books, bar one, which I don't think I'll work to hard on getting hold of. I liked them, and like some reviewer I read find it a little surprising that they're not better known. Collins writes so well for kids, the stories don't shy away from darkness and difficult moral choices and are still easy to understand. I also read something somewhere about how this is one book that is NEVER going to be filmed - this may be a very accurate assessment. Giant rats and bats and other creepy-crawlies? Not really workable. I'd post links but this was ages ago and I'm not looking for them now (feel like I'm writing on borrowed time).
Other than that I've read nothing, bar a novel written by a fella I work with. Exciting, isn't it! It hasn't been published, so we'll keep it anonymous. Ever since he mentioned that he wrote a novel I've been pestering him to let me read it - especially after he showed me the rejection letter he got from a publisher. It was rather a good rejection letter as such ones go, pinpointing briefly but accurately what the problems were with the book. Anyway, my colleague is a tad miffed because he'll never get it printed now, because it's much too much like Kristian Lundberg's Yarden (which I've written about before and which was one reason why I was so keen to read this one). This is true. It's just bad luck. They wrote at the same time, and Lundberg got there first. And Yarden is a better book, I have to say. How much this is thanks to it being actually published and having the benefit of an editor (let's hear it for editors!) I don't know (as I've also said I wasn't keen on book 2 so my confidence in Lundberg's writing went way down). My colleague's book could benefit from some sprucing up, some tightening up of certain passages and a clearer purpose in the storyline; all things he admits, but he says he just accepts that it's not going to be published now, so he'd rather keep it the way it is. It's sort of a document of himself, I suppose, since it's about a young man working a menial, soul-sucking job in a warehouse, despite being from a cultural middle-class background and "so promising" - which is what my colleague did a few years ago. In short sparse episodes he describes situations, emotions, people trapped in the warehouse, like a separate universe. I've become very curious about my colleague after reading this. How much is based on himself? If it's a lot, I'm immensely flattered and touched that he let me read it at all, because then it's very revealing and personal. But he's an intelligent man with plenty of empathy, so it's not at all impossible that it's only loosely based on himself and perhaps more inspired by someone else he worked with.
Because of this I've found that it's been a bit disconcerting to have read it, actually. Since I know the author it opens up for lots of questions - did you feel like this? Tell me more! What really happened? How much is true? - but the coffee room at work, with all the others around is not an appropriate place for the third degree. Probably, if I'm honest, nowhere is - we don't know each other well enough for me to be permitted to quiz him on personal matters. But he did let me read it, and I'm a very curious person and I want to know darn it. Ah well. So I passive-aggressively write about it here instead, in my own anonymity. I'm so terrible at this blogger lark, I should obviously have posted an interview with him instead, but there you go.
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Well, what do you think I chose? Came across Val McDermid's Hostage to Murder which I hadn't read, and I do have a soft spot for Lindsay Gordon I do, so easy contest. This is the one in which Lindsay doesn't want to become a parent, goes to Russia and takes on the IRA.
And it's not great, is it. The prose - not marvellous. No. But I like it anyway.