Thursday, July 24, 2014

Marisha Pessl: Night Film

My eldest got this as part of a gift when she graduated from school this June. I told her great, I really enjoyed Special Topics of Calamity Physics, Pessl is really good! And apparently she thoroughly enjoyed Night Film herself. She was "gripped and hypnotised" as the covers promised - me not so much. Because a) why are random words emphasised in italics through the whole book? So annoying, like in comics! I stopped after half a chapter to read only the italicized words to see if they spelled a different story but if there is a code (there might still be) I didn't get it. Also, not one of the characters really came alive for me, so I didn't care thus didn't scare. A bit meh for me I'm afraid. Written like she wants a movie deal. 

Diana Wynne Jones: Enchanted Glass and The Lives of Christopher Chant

I had a hankering to read some Diana Wynne Jones. Christ, what an imagination that woman had! So much that if I'm truthful the stories aren't even finished, they're tacked together at the end with more bits of fantastic events and creations peeking in that we hardly get to know. Always ending with the feeling that there could be more - just perfect for kids. I wish I'd read all of hers as a child.

The pictures crack me up. Underneath Enchanted Glass you see the heat wave phenomenon of Swimming Towel Drying on Balcony and my pajama legs and bare toes. Christopher Chant is held by a hand already busy holding a sports bra. I am just the BEST at snapshots.

Rennie Airth: The Dead of Winter

Last I read a Rennie Airth book was back in 2006, and then I was in such a mindset that I liked it. I am in no such mindset now, instead the formula bores me. All these serial killer books are always written in the same way, I've long since stopped feeling any suspense. Airth isn't great at producing characters with personality either, it's more like he only tells us that they have personality (like the producers of Doctor Who, Torchwood and Sherlock do, they turn to the camera and say, hey, these people care about each other, ok? now we shall proceed with a television production that never makes  you feel it but that's ok because we're after telling you sure). You can see Airth's "this is personality" tricks a mile off. Anyway, serial killer, WWII, rations, snow, bombs. There you go. 




Monday, June 30, 2014

Vary the length of your sentences please


In my second to last post I gave out about staccato writing, and thanks to soshul meeja I've found this link to Gary Provost's 100 Ways to Improve Your Writing. Quote:

 This sentence has five words. Here are five more words. Five-word sentences are fine. But several together become monotonous. Listen to what is happening. The writing is getting boring. The sound of it drones. It's like a stuck record. The ear demands some variety. Now listen. I vary the sentence length, and I create music. Music. The writing sings. It has a pleasant rhythm, a lilt, a harmony. I use short sentences. And I use sentences of medium length. And sometimes when I am certain the reader is rested, I will engage him with a sentence of considerable length, a sentence that burns with energy and builds with all the impetus of a crescendo, the roll of the drums, the crash of the cymbals--sounds that say listen to this, it is important.
Got to love the internet - there's always someone out there who has already expressed what you were thinking in a coherent and succinct manner.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Tripe

Completely unreadable. Completely. I'm guessing this goes for the entirety of the authorship.


Monday, June 23, 2014

Ondvinter av Anders Björkelid (plus Eldbärare och Förbundsbryterskan)

Såvitt jag förstår är Björkelid oöversatt, så vi tar det väl på svenska då va. För omväxlings skull.


Faktum är att en av döttrarna haft författaren som lärare de senaste tre åren (hon tog studenten i år, hipp hipp och allt det där, och om detta var en normal blogg hade jag skrivit något smart om det då). Hon säger att han var väldigt bra, så det är ju kul. ("Har du haft den här Anders Björkelid som lärare förresten?" "Men mamma! Ja, i TRE ÅR. Jag har pratat jättemycket om honom! Varför lyssnar du inte?")

Boken är sådär, den är inte dålig men jag är inte helt såld. Jag ska läsa nästa så får jag se om det tar sig. Problemet är att det inte känns som om så mycket händer, fast huvudpersonernas liv vänds på ända när deras mystiska far dör och de attackeras av professionella strypare och monsterhundar och tvingas fly ut i vinternatten. Jag tror problemet är att allt är så mystiskt och de inte får svar på några frågor, vilket gör att berättelsen stampar. Först på slutet får de veta allt, men då är det fortsättning följer. Det blir lite lajvmanus över det hela, roligare att spela än att läsa kanske?

Uppdatering 2014-06-27: Nu har jag läst de följande två, Eldbärare och Förbundsbryterskan. Rättare sagt, jag har skummat dem, speciellt den senare. Och nu är jag inte snäll längre. Det är i stort sett omöjligt att få flyt i läsningen. Efter en tag upptäckte jag att jag läser den med rösten från killen som leder Barda på SVT i huvudet - något som är en bekräftelse på att boken känns som en lajvmanual. 
För så här går det, hela böckerna igenom: Någonting händer, dvs författaren lägger upp en scen som ska föra handlingen vidare - folk som träffas, dialoger, ev slagsmål - och därefter pratar huvudpersonerna Sunia och Wolf om vad som precis hänt, antingen med varandra eller i en inre monolog. Eller både ock. Det är precis som ett Barda-avsnitt! Och enormt tråkigt.

Språket är genomgående stackatoartat och upphugget, vilket gör läsningen monoton, och eftersom handlingen tydligen inte kan föras framåt utan att man pratar om den är det väldigt mycket dialog, något som också bidrar till en hackig läsupplevelse. Jag klarar inte av att läsa böcker där ingen mening tillåts vara längre än tio ord, jag minns att samma stilistiska grepp drev mig till vansinne den enda gången jag läste Ken Bruen. Det ska väl vara sparsmakat antar jag? Spända meningar = automatiskt spännande text? (Fast nej.)

Redigeringen är slarvig; kursiv stil används för att markera t.ex. en drömsekvens, men ibland kursiveras även det normala skeendet när korrekturläsningen inte fungerat. Och rent generellt hade hälften varit nog, böckerna hade mått bra av en riktigt sträng redaktör. Jag lämnas också med ett intryck av ett torftigt och enahanda språk, vilket jag misstänker kan vara orättvist för när jag söker på nätet ser jag att många uppskattar böckerna just för språkets skull. Själv hakar jag upp mig på att huvudpersonerna hela tiden utbrister och ropar. Nej, detta är ingen författare som målar bilder med sitt språk som Selma Lagerlöf, eller till och med Astrid Lindgren (som i ärlighetens namn kan vara mer än lovligt tjatig ibland) gör. I princip hela Förbundsbryterskan utspelar sig i underjorden, hos vittror och annat knytt, med referenser till sagor och de regler som finns i sagor, det är blod och mörker och det BORDE vara bra, men det är sååå trååååkigt. 

Kommer INTE att läsa den sista. Däremot barnböckerna var skojiga! De lånade jag och högläser för sjuåringen, så de är helt ok.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Traction man

This is one of our favourite books. We've borrowed it twice from the library - at the moment I'm forcing Minimus to listen to proper "chapter books" as we say in Swedish and have actually managed to make him PAY ATTENTION and ENJOY it, so we may be moving away from picture books. You never know, hope springs eternal. But Traction Man is a brilliant picture book, I highly recommend it. So funny, such a lot of little clues and extra information in the pictures, I love stuff like that. Sadly the library doesn't have the first Traction Man book - this is the second - and I was considering buying it but now that we are growing up, book-wise, I might not. We'll see. I should get it and donate it I suppose. I never blog about all those scores of kids' books I read for my son, but I thought I'd make an exception.

Fire and Bitterblue by Kristen Cashore






The second and  third part of the Graceling  series had to be read of course. My eldest daughter lolled and lolled at the covers of Fire and Graceling, which show the silhouettes of beautiful lithe girls ready to shoot arrows or something. Pretty lame, and they don’t really do the books justice. Somewhere on the internet someone has written something intelligent about this pervasive image of strong girls with bows or crossbows - as in, without one you're not strong, and you can't be strong in any other way. I don’t think these books are fantastic by any means, but they are, on the whole, well written and imaginative, with a strong ambition to discuss more difficult subjects – like how to forgive people who have been coerced to commit terrible acts of violence under an oppressive regime, with definite nods to the South African truth commissions (Bitterblue), or if a person whose parent was violent and tyrannical has a duty to atone for said parent, or a right to atone (Fire). The covers, however, are just pretty and shallow and kick-ass; elements that exist in the books, but aren't the most important by any means. The stories are darker than you'd imagine, but in my opinion they could have gone a little darker yet, and more philosophical.

Anything else I wanted to say I've long forgotten (this is another overdue draft being finished). 

Maze Runner by James Dashner (ha)



Enjoy my Paint skillz. Can't help but feeling my internet friend wasn't sharing my indignation enough.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Eld, Nyckeln


Oh lookit here, another crooked photo. Let's do this in English like I did for the first one, since they're also popular abroad. I read these for the book club, borrowed both and read them quickly. Like before, the strength is in the description of the inner lives of the teens and smalltown Swedish life. The fantasy bits are a bit so so. It's being filmed now and they've released a picture of the cast, which is all new talent. I hope a lot of the rest is new talent too because for some of this novel I was fecking casting it in my head, it felt a little predictable... Anyway, now the read is documented. 

Marie Phillips: Gods behaving badly

God, this has been sitting since March 28th too. I can hardly remember the plot at all. It wasn't as good as it wanted to be, I can tell you that. I was vividly reminded of Randall Garrett's Pagan Passions - read all about it if you click there, but you'll have to scroll down a bit there. This one is not at all as lurid as Pagan Passions, but ... anyway. Not too far off. Not very memorable. It was a spontaneous pick at the library, one must to that sometimes must one not.  



Jasper Fforde: The Song of the Quarkbeast



You know what? This post has been waiting to be written since the 28th of March, so the picture can just stay skew-ways. 

I do like a bit of Fforde, but I think I most often like the first book in a series - before he gets too clever. This is the second one of the Dragonslayer novels, I've already read the first. And well, the cleverness starts to take over sometimes and it gets a little masturbatory. Not literally omigod it's a kid's book. Come on. Anyway, that doesn't matter because it's a kid's book so it's not long enough for excessive punning and what have you, so I enjoyed it. That's all I remember. On to next draft, hey ho. 


Sunday, March 09, 2014

Look what I found


And bought:
As actual novels to read they seem shite, but I bought them in Myrornas for ten kr each which beats three times the price as collectible items and they are cuuuute.