Monday, August 22, 2011

David Leavitt: The Page Turner

A present from my cousin in Dublin, who always gives me books. I'd never heard of this and after glancing at the cover asked her sceptically if this wasn't terribly sentimental, but she said no no. I think after reading it I'd say yes, yes. It gets great reviews according to the back, not just from The Gay Times but from more, shall we say, independent press too. But me, I don't really get it.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Colin Cotterill x 3 (2? No, let's say 3)

As previously stated I read Anarchy and Old Dogs before going to Ireland. That's the one in which Dr Siri discovers a plot to overthrow the Communist government and thwarts it. He's not having the Royalists back even if his hopes of an equal and free Lao society are turning to Cold War Communist red tape dust. I liked it so much that I got my cousin the first one in the series - no, the second I think it was.  I've yet to read it myself though ironically, and the library doesn't have the first three at all. So I might buy them. However, I'm sort of reading them in order, as I read Curse of the Pogo Stick next and after that The Merry Misogynist. I liked the latter the least; not because it isn't well crafted or whatever, but because it introduces the by now rather cliché serial killer theme. I kept imagining this being filmed. There's already so much on-screen these days portraying  violence towards women - rape scenes, naked mutilated bodies, CSI and so on. As Wennstam notes in Alfahannen somewhere, this too serves to objectify, however much the creators may think it's to inform or whatever. Bla bla. Anyway, felt a bit meh, same old same old. Curse of the Pogo Stick was quite obviously written in order to introduce the plight of the Hmong people more than anything else, but that's okay. I liked it better. One con is that there is a fair bit of repetition "Dr Siri remembered how he only a few months ago had ..." and then a quick recap of the last book. You know. But fairly inevitable in this type of literature. Take the good bits and enjoy them, I say! I like these a lot. I think I'll buy myself the first three - I can always donate them to the library after I've read them.


En väldigt bra artikel, ett utskrivet tal närmare bestämt, i dagens SVD. Selma är ju ruskigt bra.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Whoohooo let's BURN this candle!

If you know what cartoon I'm referring to with that line, you win a wink.

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

Ursula Le Guin: The Other Wind

I'd missed reading this, the last part of the Earthsea books. Series. Saga. It does tie up some loose ends that had bothered me previously, but I didn't realise it until I read this. The dragons are explained, the oddness of the depressing afterlife ... Much better way to finish things up that in Tehanu, which I thought was the last one (clearly I never pay attention nor do I do research - The Other Wind is from 2001! Talk about out of it!).I still don't think she should necessarily have resurrected the series after the 1970s classic trilogy, but there you go.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011


Going to Ireland tomorrow, the whole lot of us! I'm bringing library books to read on the trip - very daring, but it's two new (to me) authors that I found and now want to read all of. If that makes sense.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Xiaolu Guo: UFO in Her Eyes

In my youth a long time ago I read a collection of short stories about Chinese peasants and their lives. Give me a year and I might remember the title and author, but it's not likely - anyway, the point is that this was the first time I came across "Miserable China". My image of China was heavily influenced by what one must bluntly call positive racism - people of learning and dignity, with an innate wisdom that they hold on to despite the suffering imposed on them even during Cultural Revolution etc etc. Invented paper and gunpowder, much more advanced really than Europeans etc etc. However, that book and this one talks of life as a peasant in China as dusty, crude, coarse and hopeless. Not only, obviously - but the contrasts between the glittering surface of modern Shanghai and these hamlets that by Chinese standards are tiny (only 300 or so inhabitants) where people still can't read and have no way of independently connecting to the outside world are immense. (I remember when I read the short story collection I was shocked at the language, the swearing. I thought Chinese was automatically more refined. In UFO in Her Eyes the favourite expressions are Bitch Bastard and Cow's Cunt - colourful.)