Thursday, May 22, 2014

Traction man

This is one of our favourite books. We've borrowed it twice from the library - at the moment I'm forcing Minimus to listen to proper "chapter books" as we say in Swedish and have actually managed to make him PAY ATTENTION and ENJOY it, so we may be moving away from picture books. You never know, hope springs eternal. But Traction Man is a brilliant picture book, I highly recommend it. So funny, such a lot of little clues and extra information in the pictures, I love stuff like that. Sadly the library doesn't have the first Traction Man book - this is the second - and I was considering buying it but now that we are growing up, book-wise, I might not. We'll see. I should get it and donate it I suppose. I never blog about all those scores of kids' books I read for my son, but I thought I'd make an exception.

Fire and Bitterblue by Kristen Cashore

The second and  third part of the Graceling  series had to be read of course. My eldest daughter lolled and lolled at the covers of Fire and Graceling, which show the silhouettes of beautiful lithe girls ready to shoot arrows or something. Pretty lame, and they don’t really do the books justice. Somewhere on the internet someone has written something intelligent about this pervasive image of strong girls with bows or crossbows - as in, without one you're not strong, and you can't be strong in any other way. I don’t think these books are fantastic by any means, but they are, on the whole, well written and imaginative, with a strong ambition to discuss more difficult subjects – like how to forgive people who have been coerced to commit terrible acts of violence under an oppressive regime, with definite nods to the South African truth commissions (Bitterblue), or if a person whose parent was violent and tyrannical has a duty to atone for said parent, or a right to atone (Fire). The covers, however, are just pretty and shallow and kick-ass; elements that exist in the books, but aren't the most important by any means. The stories are darker than you'd imagine, but in my opinion they could have gone a little darker yet, and more philosophical.

Anything else I wanted to say I've long forgotten (this is another overdue draft being finished). 

Maze Runner by James Dashner (ha)

Enjoy my Paint skillz. Can't help but feeling my internet friend wasn't sharing my indignation enough.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Eld, Nyckeln

Oh lookit here, another crooked photo. Let's do this in English like I did for the first one, since they're also popular abroad. I read these for the book club, borrowed both and read them quickly. Like before, the strength is in the description of the inner lives of the teens and smalltown Swedish life. The fantasy bits are a bit so so. It's being filmed now and they've released a picture of the cast, which is all new talent. I hope a lot of the rest is new talent too because for some of this novel I was fecking casting it in my head, it felt a little predictable... Anyway, now the read is documented. 

Marie Phillips: Gods behaving badly

God, this has been sitting since March 28th too. I can hardly remember the plot at all. It wasn't as good as it wanted to be, I can tell you that. I was vividly reminded of Randall Garrett's Pagan Passions - read all about it if you click there, but you'll have to scroll down a bit there. This one is not at all as lurid as Pagan Passions, but ... anyway. Not too far off. Not very memorable. It was a spontaneous pick at the library, one must to that sometimes must one not.  

Jasper Fforde: The Song of the Quarkbeast

You know what? This post has been waiting to be written since the 28th of March, so the picture can just stay skew-ways. 

I do like a bit of Fforde, but I think I most often like the first book in a series - before he gets too clever. This is the second one of the Dragonslayer novels, I've already read the first. And well, the cleverness starts to take over sometimes and it gets a little masturbatory. Not literally omigod it's a kid's book. Come on. Anyway, that doesn't matter because it's a kid's book so it's not long enough for excessive punning and what have you, so I enjoyed it. That's all I remember. On to next draft, hey ho.