2008 March archive at Stray Talk
an archive of my forays into fact and fiction

Archive: March ‘08

31st March, 2008
Catching up and branching out
— Love @ 22:08 Comments (6)
Filed under: General booktalk

The bad news I received last week was of the death of my grandmother on dad’s side of the family. She was old, but I didn’t at all expect it. Now grandfather is on his own and we’re all a bit worried about him, as his memory isn’t what it once was. He seems to be holding up fairly okay, but of course it’s hard on him.

I haven’t got much reading done at all of late, but I did finish a couple of books since my “In a slump”-post the other week. Today I played catch-up and wrote four reviews I’d neglected to do. As I always back-date my reviews to the day I finished the book in question, I thought I’d link you to the four of them to make them a bit easier to find—The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club (Dorothy L Sayers), Hey Nostradamus! (Douglas Coupland), Linas kvällsbok 2 (Emma Hamberg) and Making History (Stephen Fry).

Tomorrow I hope to post my March stats.

In other news, I went to Ikea with my family on Saturday and I came back with a couple of new bookshelves, and on Sunday my living room got the makeover I’ve been planning for a couple of months now.


IMG_6524 IMG_6530


As you can see, I have four tall ones and one lower bookcase in the middle. I think it turned out really well. The huge framed photo over the lower bookcase is an enlarged print of a photo I took at the beach last fall. The framed pictures underneath are magazine clippings from the 1930s, all featuring Leslie Howard. It is a sad fact that one of my biggest actor crushes died more than forty years before I was even born. He was brilliant, though, and he’s the dead spit of the Lord Peter I see in my head whenever I read the Wimsey books.

And of course, now I have much more shelf space available for new book purchases!

I’ve put explanatory notes on the bookshelf photos on Flickr, so you can see how I have arranged my books (because I am a complete and utter bookgeek, and it’s sad, sad, sad). Just click on the photos to get there.

27th March, 2008
Making History; Stephen Fry
— Love @ 21:16 Comments (2)
Filed under: A, A-Z Reading Challenge, English, Science Fiction

Making History; Stephen Fry Making History
by Stephen Fry

For the A-Z reading challenge.

556 pages
ISBN: 0-09-946481-0

First line: It starts with a dream.

Back cover blurb:
Michael Young is convinced his history thesis will win him a doctorate, a pleasant academic post, a venerable academic publisher and his beloved girlfriend, Jane.

A historian should know better than to think he can predict the future.

Leo Zuckermann is an ageing physicist obsessed with the darkest period in human history, utterly driven by his fanatical hatred of one man. A lover’s childish revenge and the breaking of a rotten clasp cause the two men to meet in a blizzard of swirling pages. Pages of history. When they come together, nothing—past, present or future—will ever be the same again.

Thoughts: I’ve read this book at least twice before (I could go back and count the exact number of times, but I’m currently too tired), and it’s just as good this time as it was the other times. I’ve read other books by Fry and while some of them, technically, feel like better books (perhaps) than this one, this is still my favourite. Because I am a sucker for gay and because I do like a happy ending every now and then.

An A rating seems perfectly fair.

20th March, 2008
Bad news
— Love @ 17:52 Comments (3)
Filed under: Memes

(I removed the test that was here because it really messed up the layout. Sadly enough. Basically, I was apparently 91 % book nerd.)

I got some bad news this morning, so I don’t know if I’ll get much reading or blogging done in the next few days. But I’ll be back eventually, you can count on that.

17th March, 2008
Linas kvällsbok 2; Emma Hamberg
— Love @ 20:51 Comments (2)
Filed under: A-Z Reading Challenge, C, Chick lit, Romance, Swedish, Young Adult

Linas kvällsbok 1 & 2; Emma Hamberg Linas kvällsbok 2
by Emma Hamberg
Title translated to English: Lina’s Nocturnal 2

For the A-Z reading challenge.

303 pages
Bonnier Pocket
ISBN: 978-91-0-011399-5 (in the same volume as Linas kvällsbok 1)

First line: Jag har inte skrivit en rad sedan den femte juni.

Back cover blurb:
I Linas kvällsbok 2 lär Lina 16 Ã¥r oss om det här med att välja. Tryggt eller vilt? Cello eller hasch? Kärlek eller passion? Pojkvän eller älskare? Singel eller bigamist? Hur mycket kärlek kan ett hjärta innehÃ¥lla innan det sprängs? Och hur mycket fÃ¥r den man är förälskad i dricka och skolka egentligen? Och hur mycket mÃ¥ste ens pojkvän veta om saken…

Very short synopsis in English: Lina writes a journal, except she calls it a nocturnal since she almost always writes in it late at night. This year, she moves away from her parents and her childhood home, to start secondary school at an agricultural boarding school. In her class is also Kevin, gorgeous “bad boy” and an almost irresistible temptation. But at home is Ivar, her boyfriend…

Thoughts: I’ve read this once before, last fall (a couple of months before I started this blog). It’s not a terribly good book, but it’s a pretty easy read, so when I was in a slump and just wanted a feelgood novel, this was the one I chose. As usual, this is a pretty angst-ridden story, but then all my feelgood novels are.

The biggest reason I went back and read it again, however, is that it reminds me so much of my time at secondary school. You see, I too went to an agricultural boarding school, so I recognise so many of the things that happen in this story. It’s a little insane, really. Mostly because I didn’t really like it all that much there! Though I think in part I made myself think it worse than it really was while I was there.

In fact, just today (31 March, which is the day I’m writing this. Back-dating all the way, baby!) I got a phone call from my friend L., who is the only person from secondary school that I still keep in touch with, and there’s a reunion this May for all old students, and since it’s five years since we graduated, it’s supposed to be extra-special for us. Or something. Either way, I’ve decided that I’m going. Why not, right? L. kind of wanted me to come and it could be fun to catch up with others, even if I was the weird kid in the corner for all three years. Apparently a ton of the others have kids already. This is quite Scary, if you’re me. (This one bloke, T., who really reminds me of Kevin in Linas kvällsbok 2, apparently has a four-year-old daughter. And doesn’t know where he lives. He always was a little creepy and scary, though.)

But back to the book: it’s decent enough, but not brilliant, so a C rating it is.

16th March, 2008
In a slump
— Love @ 19:35 Comments (1)
Filed under: General booktalk

This weekend I’ve managed to finish one book (Hey Nostradamus! by Douglas Coupland — review coming later), but then the air sort of went out of me. I’ve started four books and am getting nowhere in any of them. Simply put, I’m in a slump.

I get like this sometimes and don’t read for weeks. I hope this one won’t last that long, though, as I have a couple of pretty easy work weeks coming up, and I’d really like to spend that extra free time on reading. Perhaps I shall re-visit old favourites for a bit of comfort reading.