Monday, November 14, 2011
Sunday, November 13, 2011
So I'm just going to note that I read this and well it's a Pratchett and I enjoyed it. This is the one where the heir to the Faraonic throne is educated as an assassin before having to return to be king. Pyramids - cosmic energy - time - kaboom. There.
Wednesday, November 09, 2011
I'm writing on my way from work to my book club, ergo am tapping away on the phone, ergo no deep thoughts today. Sadly not even a picture of the book in question on my lap; the rental has been returned to the library. ("Rental" because it was overdue and I'll have to pay for my forgetfulness. Oops.) Couldn't get hold of it in English, so read the translation - btw, it's a bit annoying when they don't translate the title, because if you're not up to speed on your library codes you can't tell which search result is the English one and which is the Swedish one. Translation ok, possibly brought out certain repetitions and mannerisms on Smith's writing for the worse. Hard to be sure without reading both obviously.
The book is about Patti Smith's relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe, how they met in the late 60s and how their careers got started in the following decade. Everyone seems to love this book, I've heard no-one gripe about it yet. Me - not sure. A lot of names in it I don't know, especially towards the end. The first half is the best and feels genuine, moving and heart-warming. I feel a great deal of sympathy for these kids and their dreams. I lose interest as the book progresses though. Despite professing to be The Story, honest and true, she seems to be writing more about surfaces. A lot of talk about how artists are special and not like other people - without really explaining the art to me. A lot of talk about how they're all about their inner lives, yet all the time telling me what they're wearing. It starts to feel - horror of horrors - pretentious. And I really don't think she is.
Be interesting to hear the others.
Tuesday, November 08, 2011
Not read so much as skimmed. Can't quite stand all the dying, but I have to know how it all turns out. He ties up some loose ends in this one, bringing different characters together (and then killing them off). "St George's" zombie army is on the march now and becoming a real threat, just as megalomaniac David plants spies to destroy the nerds at the Museum of Natural History from within. It's still bloody terrifying, thank you very much Mr Higson. I think I even dreamt about it tonight.
Sunday, October 30, 2011
Sunday, October 23, 2011
Thursday, October 13, 2011
I've read the second book, Fool Moon (har har har - it's actually pretty funny, didn't notice the pun until now) and books 6, 7 and 10 - Blood Rites, Dead Beat and Small Favor. I didn't read them in order though, which was an experience in itself, a bit like that film with your man who has no long-term memory and the film shows what's happened to him backwards. You know which one I mean.
Slight Mary Sue warning on The Dresden Files. Not bad though. Really not - all characters are fleshed out and complex enough to avoid the serious Mary Sue-ing. A little too much martial arts, in the sense that you can tell that Butcher has been imagining the fights in his mind beforehand. Down to the last blow. But you can skim a lot of that stuff.
My favourite part of Butcher's writing is that he manages to add in a self-deprecating comment every time things get too cliché. I'd give an example, but I'm not keeping notes. Like, Harry cracks one-liners and then mentally comments on how on-type that was. It shows a nice sense of what we in Swedish call självdistans.
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Kolla, kungen! På väg till bokcirkeln, hann med tåget med ett nödrop. Detta är dagens bok, av mig lånad på bibliotek. Var ju synnerligen aktuell 2010 då den kom ut, märkligt nog aktuell även nu när kvällspressen skrev om någon intervju som Camilla Henemark gjort nyligen om skandalen. Hon är, för den som missat det, den enda av kvinnorna i denna cirkel runt kungen som namnges, och hon pekas också ut som kungens regelrätta älskarinna. Inte bara utpekas, hon säger det själv och i den ovan nämnda intervjun menar de att kungen erkänt det han också då han talade om att vända blad och sådär.
Boken inleds med en evighetslång beskrivning av kungens uppväxt och familjebakgrund (nazister). Här citeras barnjungfrun, systrar, rektorer, officerare från självbiografier och intervjuer. Bilden vi ska få är av en gosse som inte ville bli kung. Gott så - tråkigt men gott. Sen kommer vi till snasket. Kaffeflickor och allmän sexism, fester, festlokaler som ägs eller hur det nu var av kriminella. Sjöberg säger att han vill lyfta hur anmärkningsvärt och olämpligt det är att vår statschef umgås i sådana kretsar, hur han skulle kunna utpressas osv. Att det inte i första hand är moraliserande så. Men det är det. Jag tycker inte vi får någon analys av kungen, så bakgrunden känns lite jahapp, och den stora poängen är snasket. Klart som sjutton det är moraliserande, och varför inte säger jag. Med en mer fokuserad och ärlig bok hade kanske debatten kring den blivit bättre. Ni dog den i Anne Rambergs upprörda tal om elakt skvaller. Jag tycker att bokens historier är fullt trovärdiga, och hade det rört statsministern hade det tagit hus i helvete. Varför tillåts det glömmas när det rör statschefen? Konstigt konstigt. Men som sagt, egentligen inte jättebra som bok. Läsvärd dock!
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Sunday, September 25, 2011
Saturday, September 24, 2011
Quite a dark book. I like that side of her, it's genuine I feel. Like I've said a million times. Fluff, but not the worst kind. Reading this I was also struck by how well her books work to describe the minds and culture of the places she writes about. Small-town, semi-rural, bigoted yet capable of goodness America.
Friday, September 23, 2011
This is the one in which Eric is cursed by witches, remembers nothing about himself and has to hide out at Sookie's house. And Jason is kidnapped and we're introduced to the were-panthers of Hotshot. I've been wanting to read this in a not-very-active sort of way, because it's been a gap in the storyline for me - read the ones before and after, so knew what would happen but just hadn't read it.
Think I spotted several plot flaws, but I didn't keep notes (you don't when you're standing up reading on a moving fecking train) so don't remember specifics. Things like Sookie guessing something and two pages later treating it as fact. I do so wonder what Harris could turn out if she took her time instead of being so productive, but seeing as all her heroines (bar one) have low-paying jobs, struggling to get by, and Harris clearly writes from experience, I certainly don't blame her for wanting to keep a steady income coming in.
I'd've taken one of those fabulous book-in-my-lap photos, since this was a commuting read alright, but I forgot the book at home today and am tapping this out just before starting a new one. Hey ho.
Monday, September 19, 2011
This is the one in which people's hearts are magically ripped out of their chests by an evil wannabe wizard.
Oh, note to my sis: the love interest is TOTALLY OBVIOUS.
Monday, September 12, 2011
Parked my bike next to the window of a second-hand book shop ten minutes ago, and walked past their display on my way to the station. Among the children's books I noticed a book by Christianna Brand, about a little Matilda. Huh, don't think I knew that she'd written books for kids. That would be interesting to read ... but I'd want it in English obviously. Note to self, however.
Friday, September 09, 2011
Thursday, September 08, 2011
Bought myself this second-hand. Quite enjoyed reading it. It's a prequel, set before Reacher leaves the army, starting just as 1989 turns to 1990. The Berlin Wall is coming down and Reacher discovers that the various fractions in the military are panicking over what the new world order will mean for them. The best part for me was that Reacher and his brother Joe visit their mother in Paris, and she obviously lives right next to where I lived when I was an au-pair. Awesome! Brought back memories that did. Pretty nice complicated plot, but not too hard to follow, despite military jargon and all. Am writing this on phone on the train home, so will try to insert snapshot of book on my lap, on lovely Boden bag my sister gave me.
Monday, August 22, 2011
Sunday, August 21, 2011
Saturday, August 20, 2011
Anyway, so we've had a busy summer, during which I have largely not been at the computer. I have been reading however, so shall now try to catch myself up with some posts over the next few days. My husband said something a while ago about how my blog posts were mostly me moaning about how bad the post is and how I have no time to blog - but hey, there you are. It's true and I feel sad about it. All the smart thoughts I have in my head while reading, all the associations and connections I make; even if I make notes I can't get it down. Ah well.
Luckily I've been reading nothing too strenous. I had two weeks holiday before we went to Ireland for another two weeks (where we had an absolutely glorious time) and I'd started two new obsessions then: Eric Ambler and Colin Cotterill. Of the two, Ambler is the easiest to spell, so I'll start with him.
Wednesday, August 03, 2011
Tuesday, August 02, 2011
Monday, August 01, 2011
Saturday, July 30, 2011
Friday, July 29, 2011
Thursday, July 28, 2011
(Basically I only want to note down the titles so I can keep track of which ones I've read.)
Monday, July 18, 2011
A colleague and I got to talking today about how she'd seen all the Twilight films recently and ended up reading the final book to see what would happen. She was surprised at herself because the book was so thick (cue me "one should never judge a novel in advance based on the number of paaaaaaages it's all about the stoooooooryyyyy...") and because it was fantasy. So she was rather pleased with this venture into a new genre, and I immediately tipped her off about the Sookie Stackhouse series. And I wasn't snarky about Twilight.
And now I'm off on my holidays. Good times.
Friday, July 15, 2011
Utter utter shite. Avoid avoid avoid. I took notes but it was ages ago and frankly I don't feel it's worth the effort now (three months later).
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Anyway, so you all should read both. The Lost Continent is about Bryson driving across America to rediscover the country he has left and the road trips of his childhood. It's also I think a form of grieving process since his father's death; this is never the main point, but now and then Bryson's memories are very touching and poignant. Since the book is by now a little older (first published in 1989) it's also by way of being an historical document, almost. Made In America is about linguistics, about how that special kind of English called American evolved. It's tremendously interesting for those of us who like that sort of thing. I especially enjoyed the bits about the oldest records, Pilgrims and all.
Very much recommended, always.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Monday, July 11, 2011
Friday, July 08, 2011
Summary: this is the one where young Jimmy-oh is on/in (which is it? surely on?) Sardinia and meets a lunatic art-collecting local "prince" who has kidnapped the sister of one of his schoolmates. All coincidental of course - if real life was like James Bond storylines the police would solve all crimes. They'd go into shops to get a fresh pack of cigarettes and overhear the crooks making plans behind the deodorant shelves.
Thursday, July 07, 2011
Wednesday, July 06, 2011
Monday, June 27, 2011
Summertime means changes in the train schedule, so the 7.13 departs directly from Uppsala instead of coming in from the North (i.e. Tierp), which means that those of us who are always there early have the pleasant luxury of being able to step aboard a waiting train and choosing our seats, instead of jostling like it's the last lifeboat off the Titanic. This is off topic, but it needed to be crowed over.
Saturday, June 25, 2011
I get a bit vexed with myself for wasting my fantasy-mad childhood reading Alexander Lloyd, who frankly is monotonous when you devour all his books at pretty much once, when I could have been reading Wynne Jones instead. Nothing and no-one is perfect, but Wynne Jones has a lovely wry sense of humour that isn't limited to goofy side-kicks. I like that. At the same time she introduces very difficult subjects in her books.
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Sunday, June 05, 2011
Saturday, May 28, 2011
I went on this Harry P kick after we watched the last film again not long ago. Of all the films it's my favourite. They manage to convey a feeling of bleakness and realism that lifts the story to a better level. All good science-fiction and fantasy should, ironically, be realistic. I'll get back to that when I write my Tolkien post someday THIS YEAR - see how I've committed myself now? I read that part two of The Deathly Hallows is going to me more spectacular though, all effects and 3-bloody-D I suspect. How utterly boring, predictable and disappointing.
Sunday, May 08, 2011
Friday, May 06, 2011
Two days before reading these books (well, one of them, I can't remember which one I was thinking of when I started the draft) my husband and I walked about the Wordsworth poem We Are Seven (yes yes, initiation of discussion was all his. I'd never read it before, I admit it). And lo and behold the quote from that very poem on page 82 (in one of the books, see above), which would have been meaningless to me only three days earlier. Yesterday I read an article about a recent trend in Japan for divorce ceremonies. A key element was smashing a symbolic wedding ring with a mallet. The broken pieces are placed in the mouth of a netsuke, a frog (not real one obviously), which in Japanese belief symbolizes new beginnings. Page 210 Mary Russell breaks into a house, and her foot brushes against a netsuke on the floor.
Lucky I'm not that crazy, or I'd start thinking I was receiving messages from Above. Of what though? - that would lead to new levels of madness.
Monday, May 02, 2011
Thursday I stopped by Väsby Centrum and went into the big charity shop there (a very good one!) to panic-shop something to wear to a dissertation party we were going to the next evening (a very smart lady deserves her guests to be at least moderately smartly attired, no?). Naturally I browsed the book section, which was surprisingly good, even for English books. I could have picked up several, including two Lee Childs because whythehellnot, but I settled for The End of mr Y which I've been wanting to read for ages and lo, lo, lo and behold - The Language of Bees.
I've finished the latter and reading it was like meeting old friends. I'll get back to you on that one.
Tuesday, April 05, 2011
My poor husband was on to me for the first few weeks to find out if I liked it, but I didn't read it straight away (this is unusual for me) because I wanted to save it as a back-up book for times of drought. By the time he'd given up I did start reading it, and frankly wasn't too enamoured with it so it got pushed to the side for a while. I finished it this month anyway (by this month I mean March, the time of writing), and have been left with a resounding impression of Meh.
Sunday, April 03, 2011
Friday, April 01, 2011
Thursday, March 31, 2011
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Monday, March 28, 2011
Monday, March 07, 2011
I counted 35 books, and only 15 female authors. That annoyed me quite a bit, and in the second photo session I added on a few women. However, I did go with photo nr 1 for now, and I do think that it is another bit of proof that we're living in a patriarchal society, innit. I think of myself as someone who is forever reading books written by women, but when I'm choosing books that I feel represent a sort of cross-section of my reading, men dominate. Just like all research shows that when teachers feel that they're giving boys and girls equal time in the classroom, they're giving boys more, and when they do split it equally they feel like the girls are getting more time. I read just last week some columnist in the paper (can't find it now) who wrote about a visitor who had remarked grouchily that "you seem to read only women writers!" after looking in her bookshelf. The reality was a pretty accurate 50/50. So there we are.
Another side-effect: trying to find the books I wanted to photograph made it clear how impractical colour-sorting is. Christ. So it has to go. Project Alphabetical Order is being drafted. I gave it a go yesterday, after taking the photos, but you need to take EVERYTHING down, and dust, and sort, and put EVERYTHING back, and make some tough decisions ... so it'll have to wait.
Saturday, March 05, 2011
Friday, March 04, 2011
Monday, February 28, 2011
Just writing this post feels terribly rude, but my intent is not to complain really. I've (almost) come to terms with having more limited reading time. And the colleague I most often travel with is lovely. It's more a case of, yet again, noticing how different the work-place culture is compared to my last job. There were several of us who commuted at my last job, but by tacit understanding we never sat beside each other while travelling. That time was private time. We slept, tried to work a little sometimes, we read. Nodded at each other, said hello, but we didn't encroach on each other's privacy, oh no no.
Although ... okay, slight complaint. This commute is different in that it's more broken up and I can't sit and relax for the full hour or so what with changing buses and trains and stressing over whether I'll make the connection or not. So it does affect me a little to not have all that time to myself, to wind down or mentally prepare myself for the day ahead. While I in theory have those three hours (oh dear Jesus that's depressing) to myself each day, in reality I don't, and it makes me feel like I Never Get Time For Myself - you know. Normally a book = two commuter days. Now - I have no idea. It takes some getting used to.
Sunday, February 27, 2011
Saturday, February 26, 2011
Monday, February 21, 2011
Sunday, February 20, 2011
Anyway, I didn't really see what he was on about, because I'd only started reading it and it was quite enjoyable retro science fiction so far. Clearly drawing on Soviet Russia, Rand describes a future in which no-one has choice, but are allocated work at the age of 15 or something, and then work work work until they retire, old and worn, at the age of 40. There is no privacy, no I. Only community and We. As far as community and we goes it reminded me of the anarchist world of Anaress, except Rand's future is a nightmare version of the idea. Our narrator is a bit of a rebel and has always been difficult, so despite having an aptitude for science he works as a street-sweeper, which clearly is a form of punishment and shows that there is a subtler power structure at work in a seemingly egalitarian society (Shevek on Anarres, again, comes up against that same problem). By chance he finds a way to hide away and experiment, but runs away when he realises that society doesn't want his ideas. The book then descends into a trudging monologue on how important it is to stand alone and not be ... I suppose it might be forced into a community, but it comes across more as part of community at all. A long tribute to Ego. It's boring and obvious and ruins the science fiction. Frankly, why bother writing a novel of imagination if you can't go through with it and be more subtle in your ideas? The most annoying part was Rand's surprisingly shoddy treatment of women, in my opinion. The narrator's love interest, who escapes to follow him into the wilderness, has no personality and seems to exist merely to worship the man and his great ideas, and to bear him a son (of course, the sex of the child she carries is a given, I mean why ever expect a daughter, right?). Oddly misogynistic and just plain dull.
Sunday, February 06, 2011
Wednesday, February 02, 2011
Sunday, January 16, 2011
Looking at it now though I know there were some things I definitely wanted to say about it, but for the life of me I'm not certain what. It's a very political novel, very definitely with a strong agenda.