Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas special

Unlike other bloggers I can't seem to get my act together enough to post seasonally, but I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and I wish you all the best for the New Year too.

I've had a myriad ideas for blog entries but they slip between my tired fingers. Too much work and no internet working on my own little laptop, sadly. Was looking at my e-mail and saw that I'd sent myself a reminding e-mail from work (where I have no other internet access, the stingy feckers) about a new edition of Frankenstein that's out - one with notes on the differences between Mary's original writing and Percy's additions and changes. I read about it in Dagens Nyheter, but the book is here. I'd quite like to read that. Another e-mail to myself was a reminder about a book called Lubiewo by Michal Witkowski - not for myself so much as for mr Bani. But I couldn't find it in Polish, so it was struck off the Christmas list, which it had admittedly been added to at the very last moment. Most excitingly, Sara Paretsky (see link to her blog on your right) has a new novel out - I have my feelers out for that one! Oh, and that was just some ideas of many... I don't have time to read properly, so no wonder there's no time to blog. However, I'm going to start working nights soon, and hopefully that will mean reading time. Library, here I come! Soon.

At the moment I'm re-reading Lord of the Rings. It is, as I've said before, one of the most important books in my life. I've been wanting to do a series of posts on books that have meant a lot to me, but I need some time and space to do them justice. The list is varied and ranges from Taikon to Tolkien to Austen to Brontë to Auel to Lindgren... One day perhaps.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Well, the snow mentioned above (below) didn’t last long. One week later it was all gone, bar the odd drift by the side of the road. Welcome to Uppsala. One week later also happened to be the 1st of Advent, when my church holds its traditional Advent Fair. Fair might not be an appropriate word though. There are no games, I mean. We call it “the Bazaar” or “the Christmas Market”. Anyway, my point is that second-hand books are sold there by the lorry-load, and mr Bani and I usually succumb and bring home about twenty. Especially mr Bani. This year however he wasn’t in charge of the hot-dog sales (naturally nobody then took responsibility for it, due to part misunderstanding and part plain indifference from some people who should know better, I went up briefly and got it started and trust me when I say my husband has the patience of a saint – some people are so infuriating, I mean really), so he wasn’t there the whole weekend, hence he couldn’t browse the way he normally does. I was working in the food stall, but I didn’t wander off and look at the books. Just a little bit. And I didn’t see anything interesting. Until Sunday afternoon when they started weeding out the surplus (there’s too much to save for next year’s sale) – suddenly I spotted, from afar, a Kathy Reichs novel. I missed that one unfortunately, because I mistook the weeding process for a purchase in the making. Ah well. I think it was one I’d already read anyway. But later I nabbed the fourth Stephanie Plum novel, Four to Score, from the “throw away” pile, and also Mark Haddon’s A Spot of Bother. I’ve read the Evanovich, of course, but hey, it was free. And it’s a nice sort of book to have, easy to read. Also it’s one of the better ones, partly because it’s an early one. The characters are not as exaggerated yet. In this one Benito Ramirez is let out of prison and comes after Stephanie. Those are quite good scenes. Stephanie is very frightened, so it’s not all one-liners and jokes. Nice. As for Mark Haddon – I’ve read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, and enjoyed it. I vaguely remembered A Spot of Bother as getting mixed reviews, but it surely couldn’t be terrible, I thought. And it wasn’t. It’s a nice little novel about a family going through a crisis, with an ending that borders on happy, definitely, but with enough of an edge to make it not uninteresting. Mark Haddon writes well, and most importantly he doesn’t, thanks be to Christ, write wannabe film scripts. Okay, there is at least one scene that could qualify as such – when the gay son stresses his homosexuality in front of the religious aunt – but it’s not too bad at all. The father’s descent into full mental breakdown is quite nicely written I think, but it’s a little marred by a too-quick recovery at the end. I do have a reflection on the subject of homosexuality – why does the gay man, no matter how loving the relationship, have to fuck, when the heterosexuals have sex, or perhaps even make love? I think I’ve come across that before this book. It annoys me. But perhaps it’s accurate, I must ask a gay man when I next get a chance – maybe they, being men, are perfectly comfortable using cruder language, and maybe the book reflects that. Cultural differences and what have you.

Apart from these books not much has been read. Oh, I know I read one or two of Minima’s books that she took home from the library, but I don’t remember which ones they were… I just skimmed through them because she was so excited and said they were GREAT. (They weren’t. One wasn’t too shabby, but generally the books these days are so inferior to the ones I read as an eleven-year-old. Obviously.) On the whole though I’ve mostly been reading about reading. I brought home DN’s culture supplement to blog about Clézio’s reading list in it (all I remember is that YES, I had read one name on it, Chinua Achebe – I’m pathetically thinly read, as Eddie Izzard would put it). Then I’ve noticed a few authors getting good reviews, so I always mean to blog about it as a sort of memo. But I forget. Oh the irony. Only today in DN I found another such article of interest – what was it now again? Since I’m writing this at work, where I read DN, I can go and check. Please hold while I check… oh now I remember. No, I can’t write that in the blog because that’s a potential present and you never know who’s reading. What fun! I may use the trusty technique of e-mailing myself.

So on the whole I’m happy about the books I’ve read, but unhappy about the number, my general cultural updatedness and frequency of blogging. Nothing new there then. I almost got something enw to read the other day: I was Christmas shopping, and on the sale shelf I found the first book from Evanovich’s new series, and another one that felt very desirable at the time – probably largely due to it costing only 39 kr – but I ended up replacing them and walking away. Best mind my money now that I haven’t got a job after January 18th (all tips welcome). And since I can't even remember what that second book was it can't have been that important.
Now I’m going to post this and not worry about finding links like a proper blogger would.