Friday, July 31, 2009
Sometime in an undetermined future the United States is no more (neither, I take it, is most of its current coastline). Instead we have a tyrannical state called Panem, consisting of a centre, the Capitol, and twelve tributary districts, who were subdued after an uprising a century or so ago. Almost everything the districts produce goes to the Capitol. And every year the cruellest sacrifice is claimed - a boy and a girl from each district has to go to the Capitol and fight each other to the death in a kind of reality show, set in a climate-controlled wilderness with added dangers. One of the poorest districts is the twelfth one, in what is now Appalachia. Its children hardly ever win the Hunger Games. Katniss, our heroine, volunteers to fight, and is joined by Peeta, whose feelings she is unsure of. During the Games, Katniss rebellious spirit is kindled, and she starts to wonder if there is anything she can do to change the outcome.
I read somewhere that one of the great things about the book is how it caters for both sexes, as it has descriptions of stylists and outfits aswell as fights and deaths. It may be so, and if so it's even more to Collins's credit that she can write about a girl and still find her male readers. I loved this, and am already looking forward to the second book. Oh, and another great thing? The way the book ended, it wasn't completely obvious that there would be a second one. Subtlety. I like it.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
P.G. Wodehouse: Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves; Jeeves in the Offing; Jeeves Takes Charge; Carry On, Jeeves
Eejits. It's a nice pleasant read alright but I won't be (unless I really really have to) borrowing books from this particular edition series any more.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Den första börjar i tredje person, som någon som berättar om advokat Bustianu efter vad hans far berättat för honom, men växlar plötsligt till första person, dvs advokaten själv beskriver och berättar. Dessa delar är bättre, får mer känsla. Så i bok två verkar han ha övergått till första person helt och hållet, men jag tror inte jag kommer att läsa ut den för jag blir helt enkelt inte intresserad. Problemet är egentligen inte historien, utan diverse manér i skrivsättet - en tendens att avsluta repliker med tre punkter vaddetnuheter ( ... ) till exempel. Det stör mig, det stör min läsupplevelse. Sedan tror jag inte översättningen fångar texten riktigt. Det är bara en misstanke, vad kan jag för italienska utöver tutti frutti... Men med all respekt för Helena Monti känns det fel att människor i slutet på 1800-talet säger att "fåraherden råkade i trubbel", samtidigt som texten peppras med "förvisso" och "sannerligen". Återigen - detta stör min läsupplevelse. Jag upplever boken som lite styltig, och tror helt enkelt att den bör läsas i original. Om jag får tid och lust kanske jag läser en engelsk översättning någon gång för att jämföra, vi får se.
För den som är intresserad handlar bokserien om en advokat på Sardinien, under slutet av förrförra seklet, som skriver poesi och hyser ett passionerat rättvisepatos. Karaktären har tydligen en förebild i verkligheten. Det är ganska korta berättelser med lite nostalgisk karaktär. Inte oläsvärt, men jag slutar nu.
Friday, July 10, 2009
It may surprise you to know that it was actually my husband who borrowed this from the library - I can't remember why, maybe because he saw the film trailers? or maybe it was just recommended to him by an accquaintance? No matter. He read it and quite liked it, but he complained of there being a twist that he saw coming a mile off. So I read it too, and I did not see the twist coming. More fool me, perhaps, it's not a strikingly unusual nor original sort of twist, but I was quite prepared to take the story at face value. The twist therefore came as a bit of a surprise to me, and I found myself reluctant actually to accept it. More so since something is said in the prologue that makes it possibly that the twist is not true. (I'm being purposefully oblique here because I really wouldn't want to spoil the read for anyone…) So I liked this quite a bit. Lehane is a good writer, and he made a refreshing break from The Unconsoled (ha!) which I was "reading" at the time. I tend to pass by the Lehanes at the library, for no good reason at all finding myself going "nah" and choosing something else. Perhaps I should make it my objective to read them this summer. I have read Mystic River too, and liked it. His books are generally placed in a crime or thriller genre, but he is skilled enough to give them something more, really literary qualities. In fact I was thinking of this after finishing the book and looking again at the cover, which is black and disturbing with the title in a jagged script and Lehane's name overshadowing it all - had the cover been a plain beige with a plain title, and had the print of the whole novel been smaller, thus making the volume slimmer - well then it would be considered a different type of book altogether.
Story: on the isolated Shutter Island stands an asylum for the criminally insane. Two federal marshals arrive to conduct an investigation into the disappearance of one of the prisoners, a woman convicted of murdering her children. Gradually they start to see that all is not what it seems, and that something else is going on on the island. There, that could be a blurb that, but it really doesn't do the book justice. Nor can it if I don't want to risk spoiling it.
Anyway, I've already borrowed Coronado by same author, so I'll be back with opinions.
Edited 11th July:
Right, here's an opinion I forgot, that reading Coronado reminded me of: one of the things I liked best about Shutter Island is how wonderful Lehane is at describing men's emotions. He really goes all out and allows men to love, totally and overwhelmingly, and then despair utterly and bitterly when they've lost their love. It's not that often that I see that in a book (possibly I read the wrong kind of books, you say). His descriptions of emotions don't feel trite, pretentious or made up, ever. He also allows his characters to admit to their feelings. Hm, what I want to say seldom comes out when I sit down at the keyboard, but I'm trying to convey an idea that writing like that helps liberate men from a stereotype where you either don't connect with your emotions at all or distance yourself from them with a certain debonair cynicism. Do you see what I mean?
Wednesday, July 08, 2009
Thursday, July 02, 2009
There were two parallell story lines. One is about a young woman, living in her grandfather's crumbling mansion somewhere near the border to Nepal since the death of her parents. The other is about their cook's son, who is trying to make a living in America.
I recommend it even though I got restless with it. According to this blog (in Swedish) it picks up pace towards the end, and also the blog author loves Desai's first one more. So I might get that one instead first.