Saturday, October 30, 2010

Mary Rinehart, a new favourite

I have a new love, thanks to my Aldiko eBook reader. Mary Roberts Rinehart (read about her here!) is a pioneer in mystery writing, the Agatha Christie of the US, or so Wikipedia says. I had never heard of her, of course. Although reading her books I definitely get a familiar Hitchcocky feeling, which I suppose either means that Hitchcock was inspired partly by Rinehart, or that I've seen something of hers filmed. Well, it's not one of the four books I've read so far, so I think it's probably the former, and to be fair it's really only the first book I read, The After House, that feels really Hitchcocky.

Let's get some things straight first. We don't read these books for the plots. They're not - so far - stellar, although maybe they'll pick up in her later books. We read these for the awesome timewarp they are, for the early Americanisms, for the history. I love it! I've bookmarked (a handy feature of the app, I might add) about a million pages. And I have to go through all these bookmarks and write about them, this is so me and for the love of God how I'd like the blog to be about something that is me and not just lame microposts to keep up with what I'm reading. Ahem.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Alex Schulman: Skynda att älska

Vår nästa bokcirkelbok, detta. Det var kul, för jag hade aldrig någonsin kommit på att läsa den själv. Jag var dock lite tveksam till att läsa en potentiellt mycket sorglig bok, för jag hade då, vid senaste mötet, läst så många dystopier att jag var alldeles utgråten. Det visade sig dock att det var jättesvårt att lägga vantarna på den på biblioteket, och när jag fick tag på den i veckan så hade den känslan gått över och det kändes helt okej att läsa en kärleksförklaring till en död pappa. Och positivt överraskad blev jag också.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Ray Bradbury: The Machineries of Joy

I used to love love Ray Bradbury in my teens. His dreamy and sentimental worlds were just the thing for my lonely disposition. Apparently we don't own any of his books though (I was so sure I did?) except for this collection of short stories. I read it because I wanted to read some science fiction and because I haven't opened a Bradbury book since aforementioned times - that would be sometime in the last century then, folks. This is, I don't feel, strictly speaking a collection of science fiction stories though, although a few fit the bill. And frankly, they were mostly the better ones. I was disappointed re-reading this. I didn't remember Bradbury as being quite so sentimental and, well, almost maudlin. Somehow though the bite comes through, the edge that makes him a classic writer still, a social commentator, one of the greats. Especially in the later stories (they are collected from a decade or two of writing) it seems that he can get more explicit, maybe more dirty. Maybe he self-censored in the 50s, making his work a bit dreamily clean and wholesome.When he gets gritty it really gets good.

I've read several things since reading this, so I can't remember what my favourite story was, I'm afraid. I might update the post some time. Yes, I am ashamed to the core that my first post on such a classic writer, that meant a great deal to me personally, to boot, is so devoid of content! Uncool, man. Some other time.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Samuel R. Delany: Babel-17

I reread this recently, because I want science-fiction and I remembered that I'd read this and liked it but that I was more than a little fuzzy on the plot. We own a copy, this edition which is beyond fugly by the way - I'd much rather own the one pictured on the Wikipedia entry (the first edition paperback cover), at least that one is retro fugly. But but but, it's the contents that matter, the contents above all, and isn't this a good novel to use to discuss just that.

Monday, October 11, 2010



But I'm not doing anything or having people over, so I'm not expecting presents. I consider my new phone, a supertouchscreenAndroidmonster, present enough. Yesterday I downloaded the Aldiko eBook reader and browsed the free books available. There isn't much, really, unless you want to read Shakespeare, Homer, Cory Doctorow and countless happy more-or-less-amateurs, but I downloaded a Bram Stoker novel I'd never heard of, The Lair of the White Worm. So far, it's ludicrously awful. Has me wondering if I've got the abridged copy - very probable.  I also dowloaded Gigolo by Edna Ferber (because I liked Fanny Herself a lot) and The Lodger by Marie Adelaide Lowndes, an author and novel I'd never heard of, but seems to be well known. I think I'll read that and give Bram Stoker a miss. Christ. I get all protective about my phone's prestanda, and don't want to download things on the off chance they'll be readable and only end up clogging the memory card with crap. Very lame and un-2010, I know, but I'll have to research all authors first, especially the happy possibly amateurs. Anyway, new cathegory/label - eBooks!

However, my husband told me yesterday that he'd bought me a special copy of Jane Austen's Emma in a second-hand book shop, some sort of scholarly edition with lots of background info that I might find interesting. He hadn't given it to me because he was gently erasing the previous owner's pencilled notes. I told him not to bother, I like other people's notes, which reminded me that I meant to comment on the notes in this book so I'm going back to edit that post a little now.

I am also dead on my feet from sleeping so badly, and haven't had the energy to do much of anything at work yet apart from sneakily write this post. I consider it a birthday privilege.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Far Horizons – short story collection

I’m experiencing a bit of a science fiction and/or fantasy craving at the moment (escapism, me want escapism!), but since I’m choosy there isn’t much to borrow at the library. As far as I know – and continuing my reasoning I therefore borrowed this collection of short stories. Admittedly, mostly because Ursula LeGuin has one in it, but I also thought that maybe I’d get a line on a new author I might like.


Monday, October 04, 2010

Dorothy Gilman: Mrs Pollifax on the China Station

I’m not sure why the previous owner (TPO) poked a hole through the cover and first finger-width of pages of my second-hand copy (see picture after the jump). Did he or she feel a burning urge to try to drive a nail through a paperback, but then give up? Was it a tragic accident? Did TPO really hate it? Hate hats?

Saturday, October 02, 2010

A Classic English Crime – short story collection

I had time to kill before my pilates class last week, and nothing to do since the shops had closed. I hadn’t eaten, felt depressed and sorry for myself, so went into the library to feel worse, since I then had cause to yet again feel mopish about the library's lack of comfort reading for me. No unread LeGuins, Ngaio Marshes, Loveseys, Hares or Dickinsons … all very tragic. I went for the short story collections and picked out one science-fiction (more on that later) and one crime. In the large print section. To make me feel (unfairly) just that little bit more geriatric.