Thursday, September 30, 2010

Dorothy Sayers: The Nine Tailors

I found this newish copy second-hand and was very happy, until my coffee thermos flask leaked in my bag. Now I have a definitely more vintage-looking book, but no matter. It’s nice to own Dorothy Sayers’ books, so I can re-read them whenever I want. This one is a favourite because of the absolutely incomprehensible bell-ringing theme, nerdiness personified. Bell-ringing - sorry, change ringing - is noted down in series of numbers that make no sense at all to the uninitiated, but provide excellent cover for a code. Bellringers refer to bobs and grandsire triples, and spend eight hours ringing unmelodic sequences to ring in the new year and break an old record. What’s it like to live beside a church with an active and enthusiastic bell-ringing team, I wonder? Fantastic stuff.

This is before Lord Peter meets Harriet Vane / the book is from 1934), so it’s just him and Bunter (of unlimited loyalty). Their car crashes on New Year’s Eve near a little village on the Fens (this book is also good to teach you a bit about the fens, which in turn was helpful when reading The Golden Compass, if I don’t misremember). They stay over at the vicarage and Lord Peter helps out with the bell-ringing. Later, a dead body is found in the grave belonging to the local gentry-folk, and it becomes clear that the man died on New Year’s Eve.

It’s a good solid plot, but unrealistic that it takes Lord Peter so long to cop on to the solution. Well, I think the plot is solid, but according to a quote I saw in the novel's Wikipedia entry the whole premise for the death is faulty. I wouldn't know myself, I only ring bicycle bells.

Full props to Dorothy Sayers though for always being prepared to have very unusual murderers, and for – when the whole area is flooded and everyone has to evacuate to the church – including the detail of digging sanitation trenches. I don’t think Agatha Christie would’ve bothered with that touch of realism.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Charlie Higson: The Dead

So, time to add mine to the smattering of reviews out there on the net!

A bit surprisingly and disappointingly, The Dead takes place about a year before the events described in The Enemy. At the end the reasons for this become clear – it provides answers and backgrounds to some events and people from the first book, as well as background to what will probably become a plotline in the third book. I think that clearly Higson has been getting a lot of questions from readers, and he’s had to think about them and provide answers. Heh, always a problem with literature that is essentially illogical – someone will ask you to provide a logic to apply to it.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Mia Skäringer: Dyngkåt och hur helig som helst

Utan att alls egentligen, när jag tänker efter, ha sett väldigt mycket av Mia Skäringer (jag tittade inte speciellt mycket på tv när Mia och Klara gick osv osv), så tycker jag att hon är väldigt rolig. Att hon länge skrivit krönikor i Mama och även bloggat där kände jag inte alls till. Den här boken är en sammanställning av dessa krönikor och inlägg, och speciellt blogginläggen känns därför lite halva, enligt min åsikt. I en populär blogg är det gemenskapen och utbytet mellan skribent och läsare som gör en hel del av läsupplevelsen, skulle jag vilja påstå – men i den här samlingen finns ju naturligtvis inte läsarkommentarerna med.

Texterna i boken handlar om vardagslivet och de erfarenheter, svåra och härliga, som Skäringar samlat på sig genom livet, om barn, skilsmässa, dålig självkänsla och om att vägra ha sex om man inte verkligen vill. Jag tyckte bitvis den var fantastiskt rörande och bitvis bara sådär, men de bra bitarna gick rakt in i hjärtat på mig, och när Skäringer skriver om sin pappa gråter jag stort. Med andra ord ytterligare en bok som är helt värdelös att läsa på bussen. Att jag aldrig lär mig.

Chance of a lifetime

We only just the other day got home (ha, Swedishism) The Dead, the prequel-sequel to The Enemy. If Maxima hurries up and finishes it I might just be among the very first to review it online it seems (says I after just googling the book to see what critics are saying). One revels in small, tiny, minuscule glories, doesn't one.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Åsa Linderborg: Mig äger ingen

Efter denna bruntonade valutgång passar det ju utmärkt att skriva om en arbetarroman, även om det främst är ett porträtt av en älskad och saknad far. Åsa Linderborgs hjärta klappar dock envist och stolt på vänster sida i hennes bröst, och hennes engagemang för arbetarrörelsen lyser igenom denna kärleksförklaring till pappan.

Today is the first day of the future

And the future in Sweden, both locally and nationally, is a little bit browner. The racists got in. It is unutterably depressing. Let's hope they make fools of themselves sooner rather than later, and that the other parties don't work with them.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Left Hand of Darkness, re-read

I re-read it just now, and discovered that passages and ideas I remembered as dated or weak were less so, and that bits that I'd found perfect weren't. I really like this book. It's the same but a little different whenever I read it.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Two sad ones

I've made the mistake of reading two books with a lot of sadness almost simultaneously, and even though I've finished them both several days ago I'm having trouble shaking off the melancholy feeling I'm left with.