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

Archive: June ‘08


30th June, 2008
Here Be Dragons: Challenge wrap-up
— Love @ 20:24 Comments (3)
Filed under: Here Be Dragons

Here Be Dragons It’s the 30th of June and thus ends the Here Be Dragons challenge I’ve been hosting since January. I hope everyone who participated had fun and discovered new (and old!) dragon acquaintances.

Tell me, did you finish the challenge? Which was your favourite book?

My list:

  1. A Strong and Sudden Thaw; RW Day — finished 14th June, 2008
  2. His Majesty’s Dragon; Naomi Novik — finished on 3rd January, 2008
  3. A Game of Thrones; George RR Martin — finished 30th June, 2008
  4. Dragon’s Bait; Vivian Vande Velde — finished on 2nd March, 2008
  5. Throne of Jade; Naomi Novik — finished on 22nd June, 2008

My favourite was A Strong and Sudden Thaw by RW Day, followed closely by the two written by Naomi Novik. I’m definitely going to have to get my hands on the rest of that series (as well as the sequel to ASaST, which I hear is in the works).

I’m going to be visiting all the participants in the next few days to see how you all did. ‘Cause I’m nosy like that. ;D

I’ve already got some half-formed plans for a follow-up challenge, or a repeat challenge.


30th June, 2008
A Game of Thrones; George RR Martin
— Love @ 20:10 Comments (1)
Filed under: C, English, Fantasy, First in a Series, Here Be Dragons

A Game of Thrones; George RR Martin A Game of Thrones
by George RR Martin
American

For the Here Be Dragons and First in a Series reading challenges.

English
837 pages
Bantam Books
ISBN: 987-0-553-57340-4

First line: “We should start back,” Gared urged them as the woods began to grow dark around them.

Back cover blurb:
In a land where summer can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister and supernatural forces are massing beyond the kingdom’s protective Wall. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family born as harsh and unyielding as the land they were born to. Sweeping from a land of brutal cold to a distant summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, here is a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens. Amid plots and counterplots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, the fate of the Starks, their allies, and their enemies hangs periously in the balance, as each endeavor to win that deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.

Thoughts: I kept pushing back reading this forever, as it’s such a big book. I didn’t use to mind big books—quite the opposite, in fact—but then I got a job and I don’t have as much time for reading as I used to, so I’ve rarely got time to finish big books in one sitting, which is what I prefer to do (example: I read A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth, which was 1239 pages in the translation I read, in less than two days).

Anyway, I went to London and I needed to have some reading material with me, or I’d go spare, but I also didn’t want to take too much, on account of weight issues and such, so this book got to come along with me. I didn’t finish it there, but I did get about half-way through. And then I finished it today.

For the first couple of hundred pages or so, it was pretty much just confusing. It’s written in third person. However it’s not one person we follow, but at least eight (I probably forgot someone now. It wouldn’t surprise me) and they never have two chapters in a row, which means that it took a while to get to know them.

Once I did, though, things did pick up a little and the story ends up being quite good. I even had a couple of favourite characters (Dany, Eddard, Jon and Tyrion). However, I don’t feel that it was good enough that I’ll likely want to read the rest in the series. Probably not, anyway. I am itching a little to know what happens next, so maybe one day I will end up reading the other books, but right now I doubt it.

It’s a C grade, which means it was a decent read, but not awe-inspiring.


29th June, 2008
The Uncommon Reader; Alan Bennett
— Love @ 22:19 Comments (3)
Filed under: A, English, Fiction

No cover image available The Uncommon Reader
by Alan Bennett
British

English
121 pages
Faber and Faber
ISBN: 978-1-84668-133-2

First line: At Windsor it was the evening of the state banquet and as the president of France took his place beside Her Majesty, the royal family formed up behind and the procession slowly moved off and through into the Waterloo Chamber.

Back cover blurb:
Led by her yapping corgis to the Westminster travelling library outside Buckingham Palace, the Queen finds herself taking out a novel by Ivy Compton-Burnett. Duff read though it is, the following week her choice proves more enjoyable and awakens in Her Majesty a passion for reading so great that her public duties begin to suffer. And so, as she devours work by everyone from Hardy to Brookner to Proust to Beckett, her equerries conspire to bring the Queen’s literary odyssey to a close.

Thoughts: This book is made of awesome and that’s a fact. I read it in just a little over an hour and I kind of wish I hadn’t read it yet, so I could read it again for the first time.

I love the ending. I think it was absolutely fab. The rest also. I laughed out loud more than once and giggled madly about three times that.

There was a paragraph—well, not actually even a whole paragraph really, but a bit of a paragraph— at the beginning of the book that made me shout with glee. This, to be exact:

[…] he was largely self-taught, his reading tending to be determined by whether an author was gay or not.

Because I have a tendency to do that. Well, not exactly. More like I tend to turn towards books that I know have gay characters, even if maybe they don’t sound terribly exciting otherwise. I am hooked on boy on boy, okay? IT IS AN *AFFLICTION, BUT I AM NOT ASHAMED! (I am, however, operating on about four hours of sleep and um, it’s starting to show?) Almost, without fail, if a book has a gay character, he will be my favourite. I am terribly predictable about this, but there it is. (And it doesn’t apply to females. Because most of the time I couldn’t care less about the womenfolk. Which is, err, not so great, actually.)

Aaaaanyway, then I finished the book and read the blurb about the author. And I realised I was well daft and that Alan Bennett of The Uncommon Reader is Alan Bennett of The History Boys, which set my gaydar off big time. Because there were certain elements in The Uncommon Reader and there were also elements in The History Boys (very cute elements. V.v. cute elements! Adorable, even! I should read the play. Like, yesterday) and sometimes I have a functioning gaydar.** After a quick Wikipedia check, I had all the confirmation I needed.

And that’s when I cracked up about the quote again. Because it shouldn’t matter, and it doesn’t, but it does. (One day I will show you the little symbols I use in my little black book of books and you will laugh at me.) HI, I’M SHALLOW AND I LIKE BOYS WHO LIKE BOYS.

I think I might have got a bit sidetracked there. Y’know, just a smidgen. The Uncommon Reader gets an A grade, because it’s brilliant, but not because it has boy on boy (it doesn’t. Really) or because my gaydar worked on the author, but because it is about books and about reading and it’s funny and quirky and I LOVED IT!

Um, I think I should go to bed now…

*Being hooked on it, I mean. Not the boy on boy. Never!
**Which would be useful, except it only works on authors and fictional characters, more’s the pity.


29th June, 2008
Read-a-thon: Wrap-up
— Love @ 18:15 Comments (8)
Filed under: June 28th, 2008

Wrapping things up The Read-a-thon’s over and I’m sitting here with pasta with blue cheese, a cup of tea and my little black book of books.

I enjoyed the whole experience ever so much and next time I intend to participate again, only that time I hope to be able to do the full twenty-four hours (why must there be such a thing as work? Why, oh why?). And next time, I hope my blog doesn’t die on me right in the middle of it. Do you have any idea how excruciatingly annoying that was?

I wish I’d had more time for visiting all the other participants. I did try at the start of it, but then I hardly got any reading done, so I stopped after a while. There were a couple of people I did check in on regularly, but I was a poor commenter to be sure.

Let’s have some numbers then!
8 books finished
2 books dabbled in
1,550 pages read
12.4 hours spent reading
6.5 hours spent sleeping/watching Doctor Who
4 hours (approximately) spent blogging/visiting other people’s blogs
10 cups of tea consumed
1 cup of (shoddy) coffee consumed

Next time I want to spend less time sleeping, more time reading, and hopefully break the 2,000-page barrier. I wasn’t that far off this time, all things considered. (Eva kind of scares me, though. I think she must be superhuman…)

In the photo below you can see eight of the books I picked up and read at some point during the Read-a-thon. Only six of those I finished, though. The other two of my completed reads were e-books, which makes it a tad difficult to include them in the photo.

The books I read Post-event survey from Dewey:
1. Which hour was most daunting for you?
Hour 22 and 23, definitely. I wasn’t very tired, exactly, but my eyes were finding it a little hard to focus on the text.

2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?
My last hour I spent on The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett, and I wish I’d started it a little earlier, because it’s a very fast, very fun, read and I would’ve liked to have finished it during the Read-a-thon.

3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
Not really, I think it was fab the way it was! What do you mean, next year, though? ;D

4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?
I really loved the mini-challenges and the cheerleading. I know I didn’t participate in many of the mini-challenges (I meant to for a lot of the later ones, but then my blog stopped working so I couldn’t, and some of the earlier ones I missed because I’d gone to bed), but they are a very nice touch to keep people interacting with each other. And the cheerleaders were gold!
Another thing is I read a lot of kid’s fiction/YA, which helped move things along (even though I felt a bit like I was cheating at times, reading such “simple” stuff).

5. How many books did you read?
I finished eight and read parts of two more.

6. What were the names of the books you read?
Finished: Travels in the Scriptorium – Paul Auster, The Rose and the Ring – William Makepeace Thackeray, Drömponnyn – Pia Hagmar, Teena går til filmen – Ria Tofft, Sandman: The Kindly Ones – Neil Gaiman, Lad, a Dog – Albert Payson Terhune, Good Luck to the Rider – Joan Phipson, Melka: The Story of an Arab Pony – Joan Penney
Dabbled in: A Game of Thrones – George R R Martin, The Uncommon Reader – Alan Bennett

7. Which book did you enjoy most?
See my answer to question 2. I really liked Travels in the Scriptorium too, though, as well as Gaiman’s The Kindly Ones.

8. Which did you enjoy least?
I liked them all, or I would’ve put them straight down. I can say that A Game of Thrones was perhaps not the best choice for the Read-a-thon. I was already more than half-way in by the time the ‘thon started, but I felt it was a little heavy and really slowed down my pace, so I didn’t read that much from it.

9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?
n/a

10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?
I should like to participate again very much! Same role as this time, except I hope I’d be able to stay awake the full twenty-four hours.


29th June, 2008
Read-a-thon: Hour 24
— Love @ 17:02 Comments (1)
Filed under: June 28th, 2008

Title of book(s) read this hour: The Uncommon Reader – Alan Bennett
Number of books read since you started: 8 (Travels in the Scriptorium – Paul Auster, The Rose and the Ring – William Makepeace Thackeray, Drömponnyn – Pia Hagmar, Teena går til filmen – Ria Tofft, Sandman: The Kindly Ones – Neil Gaiman, Lad, a Dog – Albert Payson Terhune, Good Luck to the Rider – Joan Phipson, Melka: The Story of an Arab Pony – Joan Penney)
Pages read: 94
Running total of pages read since you started: 1550
Amount of time spent reading: 47 mins
Running total of time spent reading since you started: 12 hrs 25 mins

I ended up not going with the Hitchcock short stories after all. I had it in my hand and everything, but then I glanced at my copy of The Uncommon Reader, tried a page and just had to go on. I didn’t quite finish it, but as I’ve only got about twenty-five pages to go, I dare say I will later tonight.

And that’s the end of that. I had heaps of fun and will be posting an entry summing things up in a tick.


29th June, 2008
Read-a-thon: Hour 23
— Love @ 16:06 Comments (3)
Filed under: June 28th, 2008

Title of book(s) read this hour: Melka: The Story of an Arab Pony – Joan Penney
Number of books read since you started: 8 (Travels in the Scriptorium – Paul Auster, The Rose and the Ring – William Makepeace Thackeray, Drömponnyn – Pia Hagmar, Teena går til filmen – Ria Tofft, Sandman: The Kindly Ones – Neil Gaiman, Lad, a Dog – Albert Payson Terhune, Good Luck to the Rider – Joan Phipson, Melka: The Story of an Arab Pony – Joan Penney)
Pages read: 95
Running total of pages read since you started: 1456
Amount of time spent reading: 53 mins
Running total of time spent reading since you started: 11 hrs 38 mins

One measly hour to go, but it does look as though I’ll manage my not-really-set goal of 1500 pages. My eyes don’t feel as tired now as they did an hour ago, which is certainly nice. I think I’ll round off with some Hitchcock short stories.

A big, huge thank you to Dewey for arranging the Read-a-thon. She’s brilliant!

Another big, huge thank you to all the cheerleaders! Your comments have really brightened the whole experience, and if I had gone for the full twenty-four hours, I’m sure I would have appreciated them all even more.


29th June, 2008
Read-a-thon: Hour 22
— Love @ 15:03 Comments (0)
Filed under: June 28th, 2008

Title of book(s) read this hour: Good Luck to the Rider – Joan Phipson, Melka: the Story of an Arab Pony – Joan Penney
Number of books read since you started: 7 (Travels in the Scriptorium – Paul Auster, The Rose and the Ring – William Makepeace Thackeray, Drömponnyn – Pia Hagmar, Teena går til filmen – Ria Tofft, Sandman: The Kindly Ones – Neil Gaiman, Lad, a Dog – Albert Payson Terhune, Good Luck to the Rider – Joan Phipson)
Pages read: 85
Running total of pages read since you started: 1361
Amount of time spent reading: 47 mins
Running total of time spent reading since you started: 10 hrs 45 mins

My eyes are starting to get really tired, but it’s only two hours to go now and I’d really quite like to reach 1500 pages if I can, so I’ll keep on trucking!


29th June, 2008
Read-a-thon: Hours 16 to 21
— Love @ 14:17 Comments (1)
Filed under: June 28th, 2008

Well, finally! I don’t know why it happened, but it was certainly exceedingly ill-timed. At least the domain is back up now, after being down nearly six hours.

Hour 21:
Title of book(s) read this hour: Good Luck to the Rider – Joan Phipson
Number of books read since you started: 6 (Travels in the Scriptorium – Paul Auster, The Rose and the Ring – William Makepeace Thackeray, Drömponnyn – Pia Hagmar, Teena går til filmen – Ria Tofft, Sandman: The Kindly Ones – Neil Gaiman, Lad, a Dog – Albert Payson Terhune)
Pages read: 93
Running total of pages read since you started: 1276
Amount of time spent reading: 45 mins
Running total of time spent reading since you started: 9 hrs 58 mins

Hour 20:
Title of book(s) read this hour: Lad, a Dog – Albert Payson Terhune, Good Luck to the Rider – Joan Phipson
Number of books read since you started: 6 (Travels in the Scriptorium – Paul Auster, The Rose and the Ring – William Makepeace Thackeray, Drömponnyn – Pia Hagmar, Teena går til filmen – Ria Tofft, Sandman: The Kindly Ones – Neil Gaiman, Lad, a Dog – Albert Payson Terhune)
Pages read: 106
Running total of pages read since you started: 1183
Amount of time spent reading: 52 mins
Running total of time spent reading since you started: 9 hrs 13 mins

Hour 19:
Title of book(s) read this hour: Lad, a Dog – Albert Payson Terhune
Number of books read since you started: 5 (Travels in the Scriptorium – Paul Auster, The Rose and the Ring – William Makepeace Thackeray, Drömponnyn – Pia Hagmar, Teena går til filmen – Ria Tofft, Sandman: The Kindly Ones – Neil Gaiman)
Pages read: 100
Running total of pages read since you started: 1077
Amount of time spent reading: 56 mins
Running total of time spent reading since you started: 8 hrs 21 mins

Hour 18:
Title of book(s) read this hour: Sandman: The Kindly Ones – Neil Gaiman
Number of books read since you started: 5 (Travels in the Scriptorium – Paul Auster, The Rose and the Ring – William Makepeace Thackeray, Drömponnyn – Pia Hagmar, Teena går til filmen – Ria Tofft, Sandman: The Kindly Ones – Neil Gaiman)
Pages read: 108
Running total of pages read since you started: 977
Amount of time spent reading: 42 mins
Running total of time spent reading since you started: 7 hrs 25 mins

Hour 17:
Title of book(s) read this hour: Sandman: The Kindly Ones – Neil Gaiman
Number of books read since you started: 4 (Travels in the Scriptorium – Paul Auster, The Rose and the Ring – William Makepeace Thackeray, Drömponnyn – Pia Hagmar, Teena går til filmen – Ria Tofft)
Pages read: 127
Running total of pages read since you started: 869
Amount of time spent reading: 50 mins
Running total of time spent reading since you started: 6 hrs 43 mins

Hour 16:
Title of book(s) read this hour: Sandman: The Kindly Ones – Neil Gaiman
Number of books read since you started: 4 (Travels in the Scriptorium – Paul Auster, The Rose and the Ring – William Makepeace Thackeray, Drömponnyn – Pia Hagmar, Teena går til filmen – Ria Tofft)
Pages read: 71
Running total of pages read since you started: 742
Amount of time spent reading: 26 mins
Running total of time spent reading since you started: 5 hrs 53 mins


29th June, 2008
Read-a-thon: Hour 15
— Love @ 08:16 Comments (1)
Filed under: June 28th, 2008

Title of book(s) read this hour: Teena går til filmen – Ria Tofft
Number of books read since you started: 4 (Travels in the Scriptorium – Paul Auster, The Rose and the Ring – William Makepeace Thackeray, Drömponnyn – Pia Hagmar, Teena går til filmen – Ria Tofft)
Pages read: 107
Running total of pages read since you started: 671
Amount of time spent reading: 48 mins
Running total of time spent reading since you started: 5 hrs 27 mins
Other participants visited: Mrs. B, Chris, Word Lily and Eva.

I’ve read Teena går til filmen before, but it was a long time ago. It’s quite a funny book. It’s written in the late 50’s/early 60’s sometime, so it’s quite dated, but very cute.

One thing that interests me, however, is that it takes place Stockholm, Sweden. I suspect that in the original (it was written in Danish orginially, and I read it in Swedish), it’s set in Copenhagen and everyone is Danish, but the translation has changed everyone to Swedes (including changing names, I don’t doubt) and all the place names mentioned are Swedish. Do they still do that in translations? If not, when did they stop and how common was it?


29th June, 2008
Read-a-thon: Hour 14
— Love @ 07:08 Comments (2)
Filed under: June 28th, 2008

Title of book(s) read this hour: Drömponnyn – Pia Hagmar, A Game of Thrones – George R R Martin
Number of books read since you started: 3 (Travels in the Scriptorium – Paul Auster, The Rose and the Ring – William Makepeace Thackeray, Drömponnyn – Pia Hagmar)
Pages read: 144
Running total of pages read since you started: 564
Amount of time spent reading: 47 mins
Running total of time spent reading since you started: 4 hrs 39 mins

And I’m properly back in the game with that. Speaking of games, A Game of Thrones is quite good, though at first I was a little annoyed by the way it keeps swapping perspectives (there are six or so main characters, and so far there hasn’t been two chapters in a row with the same character’s perspective). Actually, I still am, but now that I’m 600+ pages in, I’ve got to know them all, so it doesn’t bother me quite as much.

Interestingly enough, the main family, the Starks, has the direwolf as their sign. I thought direwolves were completely made up, but then I went to the Natural History Museum in London, and they had a dire wolf on display. Apparently they actually existed, thousands of years ago, though much smaller than George R R Martin has made them in the book.


29th June, 2008
Read-a-thon: Hour 13
— Love @ 06:10 Comments (0)
Filed under: June 28th, 2008

Coffee and e-book Title of book(s) read this hour: Drömponnyn – Pia Hagmar
Number of books read since you started: 2 (Travels in the Scriptorium – Paul Auster, The Rose and the Ring – William Makepeace Thackeray)
Pages read: 32
Running total of pages read since you started: 420
Amount of time spent reading: 8 mins
Running total of time spent reading since you started: 3 hrs 52 mins
Cups of tea/coffee:1 cup of Gevalia Daim Cappuccino

I overslept a little, I’m sorry to say. I meant to get up by six am, but when my alarm rang, I stayed in bed for an extra half an hour. Still, considering I didn’t get to sleep until 2 am, it’s not too bad.

Once I was out of bed, I went to make myself a cup of coffee to wake me up further. I used my last sachet of instant Irish Cream cappucino and then noticed that it was clumping more than it usually does. No wonder — the kettle wasn’t plugged in and the water hadn’t actually been boiled. ::facepalm:: I had to resort to the Daim Cappucino instead, which I hate, but is slightly less vile if you remove the excessive foam on top.


28th June, 2008
Read-a-thon: Hour 6
— Love @ 23:18 Comments (4)
Filed under: June 28th, 2008

Reading and reading and reading... Title of book(s) read this hour: The Rose and the Ring – William Makepeace Thackeray, A Game of Thrones – George R R Martin
Number of books read since you started: 2 (Travels in the Scriptorium – Paul Auster, The Rose and the Ring – William Makepeace Thackeray)
Pages read: 49
Running total of pages read since you started: 388
Amount of time spent reading: 32 mins
Running total of time spent reading since you started: 3 hrs 44 mins
Cups of tea/coffee: 1 cup of tea

I love Thackeray to tiny little pieces. He’s so clever and funny and his illustrations crack me up. The Rose and the Ring has nothing on Vanity Fair, of course, but it’s still an entertaining book. I must admit to a smallish crush on Giglio, to be honest. Again, he has nothing on Dobbin, but then there are degrees of awesome.

It’s getting late here (it’s past midnight now), so I’m going to take a break—to sleep and to watch the latest episode of Doctor Who (I am hopelessly addicted to new Who, and that’s a fact!). I’ll be back in six hours or so. I wish I could stay up all night reading, but I start work again on Monday and I need to be wellrested then, which is not going to happen unless I go to bed now. I’d risk it, if it weren’t for the fact that it’s the Euro 2008 final tomorrow night and I wouldn’t miss that for the world, so…


28th June, 2008
Read-a-thon: Hour 5
— Love @ 22:14 Comments (1)
Filed under: June 28th, 2008

Title of book(s) read this hour: The Rose and the Ring – William Makepeace Thackeray
Number of books read since you started: 1 (Travels in the Scriptorium – Paul Auster)
Pages read: 149
Running total of pages read since you started: 339
Amount of time spent reading: 51 mins
Running total of time spent reading since you started: 3 hrs 12 mins
Other participants visited: none
Mini-challenges participated in: none
Cups of tea/coffee: two cups of tea

I’ve switched to Swedish now and consequently my reading speed has picked up considerably. I quite like that, but I wish I could read this quickly in English as well. It is a fact well known to those who know it well1 that you can’t have everything you want, however.

1. I keep using that, I know, but no one’s guessed where it’s from yet and I want to give out cookies, damn it! Even if they’d be virtual cookies and nothing more. I feel like I’m the only person on the whole planet who likes this author, but I know I’m not (I used to run the fanlisting for this person, before I got lazy and my domain died and all that).


28th June, 2008
Read-a-thon: Hours 3 to 4
— Love @ 20:57 Comments (1)
Filed under: June 28th, 2008

I confused myself with the titles of the posts, so I’m going back in a sec and changing the ones on the other entries, and titling this after the hours that just were, not the hour that’s coming up.

Title of book(s) read this hour: Travels in the Scriptorium – Paul Auster
Number of books read since you started: 1
Pages read: 108
Running total of pages read since you started: 190
Amount of time spent reading: 1 hr 10 mins
Running total of time spent reading since you started: 2 hrs 21 mins
Other participants visited: none
Mini-challenges participated in: none
Cups of tea/coffee: 3 cups of tea (strawberry-flavoured black tea. Not as nice as the other one, but tolerable enough. Let’s not mention the bathroom breaks. Tea is lovely, but it does pass through you quick as all that. ;D And that was TMI. My apologies.)

So, I finished my first book and I quite liked it. I’m not sure what I was expecting from it, but it was a little creepy towards the end. I’ll have to read more by Auster, though, as this gave me a taste for more. Maybe the New York trilogy next?


28th June, 2008
Read-a-thon: Hour 2
— Love @ 19:09 Comments (0)
Filed under: June 28th, 2008

Title of book(s) read this hour: Travels in the Scriptorium – Paul Auster
Number of books read since you started: none finished yet
Pages read: 22
Running total of pages read since you started: 82
Amount of time spent reading: 15 mins
Running total of time spent reading since you started: 1 hr 11 mins
Other participants visited: Chris, Care & Nymeth.
Mini-challenges participated in: Nymeth’s webcomics challenge
Cups of tea/coffee: 1 cup of the same tea as the last one

I didn’t get much reading done this hour at all, so now I plan to pick up that book again (it’s good. I’ve heard so many positive things about Auster, but I’ve never read anything written by him before) and read until I feel like a break, whenever that might be. It’s quite possible, then, that I won’t post again until hour 4 or 5. We shall see.

Happy reading, all fellow participants!


28th June, 2008
Read-a-thon: Hour 2 Mini-Challenge
— Love @ 18:35 Comments (1)
Filed under: June 28th, 2008

Nymeth’s mini-challenge for hour two is one where you take a break from reading books, to spend ten minutes on a webcomic (the link explains all, so click it!).

Since I’ve been away for a while, I have some catching up to do on the blogs and webcomics I read daily, and decided to use this challenge as motivation to catch up on Cyanide and Happiness, which is my favourite webcomic ever. It’s completely insane and hilarious, and pokes fun at things you’re normally told you shouldn’t joke about. Sometimes bad taste is the thing to make you laugh.

I’m posting two of the comics from this most recent week, so you’ll get a sample of what it’s like. There are many more strips to be found in the archives (some 1,300—I spent a fair few days earlier this year reading all the older ones). Apologies if this messes up the layout (which is already messed up in IE, from what I hear).

Cyanide and Happiness, a daily webcomic

Cyanide and Happiness, a daily webcomic


28th June, 2008
Read-a-thon: Hour 1
— Love @ 18:18 Comments (2)
Filed under: June 28th, 2008

I’m a little uncertain if I should title the posts after the hour that has just gone by, or the hour that has just begun. I’m going with the second option for now, though. ETA: I’ve changed my mind, because I got confused. All stats posts are now titled after the hour that was, rather than the hour that is.

Snacks So, the first hour, I spent most of the time reading. I didn’t get stuck in the moment the clock hands turned to read-a-thon time, though, as I was a little late in prepping my snacks. Better late than never, though, and my snacks are awesome. ;D

Stats: Hour 1
Title of book(s) read this hour: A Game of Thrones – George R R Martin
Number of books read since you started: none finished yet
Pages read: 60
Running total of pages read since you started: 60
Amount of time spent reading: 56 mins
Running total of time spent reading since you started: 56 mins
Other participants visited: Dewey, Word Lily and Eva
Mini-challenges participated in: Darcie’s introductory meme
Cups of tea/coffee: 1 cup of tea (black saffron & chili, very nice!)


28th June, 2008
Pre-read-a-thon post: Getting ready
— Love @ 16:38 Comments (5)
Filed under: June 28th, 2008

The Read-a-thon starts in about half an hour and I am excited and rearing to go. To start things off, here is an introductory meme from Darcie.

Where are you reading from today?
At home, which is a small town in southern Sweden.

3 facts about me …
* I just came back from trip to London and am not quite caught up on sleep yet, so we’ll see how it goes.
* I have always loved reading. It used to get me teased, but that’s a long time ago now.
* I’m wearing cow-patterned pajamas with “Grumpy Cow” written on it, as I suspect that will be me by this time tomorrow. ;D

How many books do you have in your TBR pile for the next 24 hours?
My stacks I just counted, and it’s twenty-four. I know there’s no way I will have time to finish all of them, but ten or so would be nice.

Do you have any goals for the read-a-thon (i.e. number of books, number of pages, number of hours, or number of comments on blogs)?
My goal is to read as much as I possibly can, but I won’t put numbers on it (though it would be nice to get past 1,500 pages…). I’m also going to try to blog at least once every couple of hours and keep track of everyone else.

Any advice for people doing this for the first time?
I am doing this for the first time, so no. ;D


27th June, 2008
Another meme
— Love @ 17:00 Comments (2)
Filed under: Memes

I’m way behind on my reviews and I think at this point it’s probably just easier to give up and face that I won’t get around to writing about all the books I’ve read this month. At least I haven’t read very much this week—only about half a book—as I’ve simply not had time. I spent the last three days in London, and boy, do I love that city! We had good weather too, which is always nice. Actually, all the times I’ve been in London, I don’t think I’ve been rained on more than three times.

Anyway, I came back with a sunburn (I forgot the sun block, being a bit of an idiot and all), a few new books, English snacks, Jelly Belly jelly beans and some new clothes. A good trip, in other words!

While I was away, Eva tagged me for a meme.

What was I doing 10 years ago?
Ten years ago I was on summer holidays. A friend and I house-sat my aunt’s house while she and her partner were away on vacation. We looked after the chickens, read a bunch of books, went for swims in the lake and generally had a good time.

Five Snacks I enjoy in a perfect, non weight-gaining world:
1. McCoy’s salt and malt vinegar crisps
2. Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. Dublin Mudslide especially. Yum!
3. mini mozzarella pizza
4. chocolate-covered coffee beans
5. cheesecake, Swedish style (but only Vrigstad’s), with whipped cream and jam

Five Snacks I Enjoy in the Real World
1. slices of fresh pineapple
2. dried apricots (but only the dark kind), dates and figs
3. apple slices with peanut butter
4. frozen green peas
5. ice lollies

Five Jobs I Have Had
1. instruction manual folder
2. manual labourer (mostly digging and painting)
3. pharmacist
4.
5.

Three of My Habits
1. I’m obsessive about recording what I read. I write it down in an Excel spreadsheet, a notebook and this blog, as well as in a wall calendar.
2. Every morning, before going to work, I check my e-mail, Livejournal friends list and the feeds I subscribe to.
3. I scratch at my scalp. I can’t seem to stop, and as a consequence I almost always have one or two scabs I keep picking at. Disgusting, but true.

Five Things I Would Do if I Was a Billionaire
1. Donate to charities.
2. Give presents to family and friends.
3. Buy a house.
4. Pay off my study loans.
5. Quit work and spend most of my time travelling and/or reading.

Five Places I’ve Lived
1. Umeå, Sweden
2. Eskilstuna, Sweden
3. Flahult, Sweden
4. Bordeaux, France
5. Lund, Sweden

Five People I Want to Know Better: (i.e.: the tags!)
T Y, Kim L, Banquo, Stephanie and Iliana (but only if you want to, of course).


22nd June, 2008
A Strong and Sudden Thaw; RW Day
— Love @ 16:30 Comments (2)
Filed under: A, English, GLBT interest, Here Be Dragons, Romance, Science Fiction

A Strong and Sudden Thaw; RW Day A Strong and Sudden Thaw
by RW Day
American

For the Here Be Dragons reading challenge.

English
333 pages
Iris Print
ISBN: 978-0-9787531-1-5

First line: There’s an old scenic view about halfway up the mountain, alongside where the old highway runs.

Back cover blurb:
Dragons in Virginia?

Nearly a hundred years after the Ice changed the face of our world, the people of Moline work to reclaim the frozen land, both from the cold and from the dragons that now live in the hills outside of town—dragons that the government won’t believe exist.

David Anderson knows very little of the world outside of his family’s farm, until Callan, an assistant healer from the south, arrives in Moline and begins to teach him of a world he never knew, full of books and ideas, and history long forgotten. When Callan is found in the arms of another man—a crime in this post-Ice world—David learns a frightening truth about himself, and the difference between what is legal… and what is right.

After trouble hits the nearby town of Crawford, David and Callan discover the seeds of a plot that affects not only their home, but towns just like Moline across the world. Now they must fight to save their home, not only from the dragons, but from a government that wants them dead!

Thoughts: I loved this novel to tiny little pieces. I was a bit sceptic, because a person, whose taste in books I usually do not agree with at all, liked this a lot, and so I thought that I probably wouldn’t. For this reason, I kept pushing back reading it until I couldn’t really push it back any longer, as the end of the Here Be Dragons challenge came nearer and nearer.

I picked it up one night, read until I couldn’t keep my eyes open a second longer, slept, woke up and read the rest of it. It was that good. I will say that it took me a little while to get used to the language used. David, the main character, might by some be considered a hillbilly/redneck, and he usually doesn’t bother too much about proper grammar when speaking. Don’t let that put you off, however, because once you get used to that, the story is so worth it.

David and Callan’s relationship is absolutely beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time and I simply can’t find proper words to describe why this book is awesome. Just trust me on that.

It’s an A grade. I can’t give it anything else. This is the first book in quite a while where the characters stayed with me for at least a couple of days after I turned the last page, and I immediately wanted to go back and read it again.

The one biggest thing I wasn’t super thrilled about (yeah, there were a few things like that) was the ending. It doesn’t feel at all finished and lots of things are left unresolved. Still, it doesn’t feel like a bad thing, exactly, but more like an opening for a sequel (which I understand is being written/has been written and is waiting for publication).

Edit: It appears that Iris Print, the publisher of this book, has closed down without telling its authors, and that a couple of them has had trouble getting in touch with the publisher and RW Day had a royalty cheque bounce. While I do want a lot of people to read it, I don’t exactly feel comfortable recommending anyone buying it, with things being what they are at present. You can read more about it here, at the author’s website.


22nd June, 2008
Throne of Jade; Naomi Novik
— Love @ 15:52 Comments (0)
Filed under: Adventure, B, English, Fantasy, Here Be Dragons, Historical

Throne of Jade; Naomi NovikThrone of Jade
by Naomi Novik
American

For the Here Be Dragons reading challenge.

English
399 pages
Del Rey
ISBN: 978-0-345-48129-0

First line: The day was unseasonably warm for November, but in some misguided deference to the Chinese embassy, the fire in the Admirality boardroom had been heaped excessively high, and Laurence was standing directly before it.

Back cover blurb:
When Britain intercepted a French ship and its precious cargo—an unhatched dragon’s egg—Capt. Will Laurence of HMS Reliant unexpectedly became master and commander of the noble dragon he named Temeraire. As new recruits in Britain’s Aerial Corps, man and dragon soon proved their mettle in daring combat against Bonaparte’s invading forces.
Now China has discovered that its rare gift, intended for Napoleon, has fallen into British hands—and an angry Chinese delegation vows to reclaim the remarkable beast. But Laurence refuses to cooperate. Facing the gallows for his defiance, the captain has no choice but to accompany Temeraire back to the Far East—a long voyage fraught with peril, intrigue, and the untold terrors of the deep. Yet once the pair reaches the court of the Chinese emperor, even more shocking discoveries and darker dangers await.

Thoughts: I read the first book in this series back in January, then bought the second book in mid-February, but I haven’t got ’round to reading it until know. Don’t ask me why, as I have absolutely no idea.

It’s a really good story. There is adventure and swashbuckling and excitement, and I could hardly put the book down. I adore the main characters (Laurence and Temeraire) and their relationship with each other, as well as the plot that takes them to China. I was a little worried that I’d find the voyage there a little dull, but Novik manages to make eight months at sea quite interesting, by skipping over the parts where nothing much happens. Good on her!

I will definitely get the rest of the books as soon as I can, because this is a series I want to follow to its conclusion. There are already two more books out (possibly three by now, as I do not know the exact publication date for the fifth in the series, except that it was supposed to be sometime in June, which is almost all gone now), which is nice. The only thing is that the two books I own so far are the ones published by Del Rey, and the ones published by Voyager really have so much prettier covers. However, I refuse to mix covers.

As for the rating, it’s a B.


20th June, 2008
Two memes
— Love @ 19:00 Comments (1)
Filed under: Memes

I have been tagged for two memes.

The first one is from T Y and seems to be about books in general.

*A book that made you laugh: Apocalypso by Robert Rankin. The Most Amazing Man Who Ever Lived by same.

*A book that made you cry: Fool’s Fate by Robin Hobb. About three quarters of the way to the end the pages in my copy start showing signs of water damage. That’s all I’m sayin’. ;)

*A book that scared you: Cujo by Stephen King

*A book that disgusted you: Dream Boy by Jim Grimsley

*A book you loved in elementary school: Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe (though I’ve later realised that the one I read was a highly edited version)

*A book you loved in middle/junior high school: Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery. Emily’s Quest, by same.

*A book you loved in high school: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. A Countess Below Stairs by Eva Ibbotson.

*A book you loved in college: As Meat Loves Salt by Maria McCann. Mélusine by Sarah Monette

*A book that challenged your identity: Faghag by Linda Leopold (maybe. Or it confirmed it. I don’t know)

*A series that you love: the Farseer/Tawny Man trilogies by Robin Hobb. The Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries by Dorothy L Sayers

*Your favourite horror book: Låt den rätte komma in (Let the Right One In) by John Ajvide Lindqvist

*Your favourite science fiction book: Making History by Stephen Fry. A Strong and Sudden Thaw by RW Day (I’d classify it as fantasy myself, but the cover says it’s sci-fi, so I guess I’ll have to trust it).

*Your favourite fantasy book: either The Golden Fool or Fool’s Fate, both my Robin Hobb

*Your favourite mystery book: Murder Must Advertise by Dorothy L Sayers

*Your favourite (auto)biography: A Liar’s Autobiography by Graham Chapman

*Your favourite “coming of age” book: Duktig pojke by Inger Edelfeldt. Leave Myself Behind by Bart Yates.

*Your favourite classic: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

*Your favourite romantic novel: A Countess Below Stairs by Eva Ibbotson

*My favourite book (non-fiction): The Complete Jack the Ripper by Donald Rumbelow

*My favourite short story(ies): I hardly ever read short stories, so I’m afraid I can’t think of a favourite.

The second meme is from Word Lily and is Read-a-thon related.

If I had 24 hours to read, be my goals would be:
To read as much as I possibly could and see how many books I might be able to finish in that time.

This is what I am going to have to do to get 24 hours of reading:
I haven’t decided yet if I will stay up the full 24 hours, as my time zone makes it a little tricky, especially coupled with the fact that the Euro 2008 final is played on the evening of the 29th and I go back to work on the 30th. But to keep myself up for as many of those 24 hours as possible, I expect I shall load up with caffeine and snacks, and maybe go for a short walk now and then to get fresh air.

If someone asked me for recommendations of “can’t put down” books for the read-a-thon, I would recommend:
It’s so hard to recommend books to others, I always find, because I’m never sure they’ll like a book as much as I did. However, a couple of “can’t put down” books for me, personally, are Mélusine by Sarah Monette, Now & Then by William Corlett, Leave Myself Behind by Bart Yates and A Strong and Sudden Thaw by RW Day (the latter which I’m going to write a review on in a tick).

If you participated in the October 2007 read-a-thon:
I didn’t, so the last two questions don’t apply to me. I wish I’d known of it when it took place, though, because I would have loved to participate in that one too.

For you, what was your favorite part of the October read-a-thon and why?
How many hours/ books/ pages were you able to read in the Read-a-thon?:

I won’t be tagging anyone, because I figure most people participating in the Read-a-thon have already done that meme. Also, I’m lazy. So anyone who wants to do either of these memes, but haven’t been tagged by anyone, can consider themselves tagged by me. ;)


11th June, 2008
Coming out of the woodwork
— Love @ 09:19 Comments (3)
Filed under: General booktalk

Twilight; Stephenie Meyer You may, if you’ve read this blog a while, remember that I read Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight books a few months back. I found them quite okay, almost addictive, though I had a few problems with certain things (and I don’t actually quite understand why I liked them, but that’s another matter), and this I said in my reviews of them.

Now, I’m sure most of you have noticed that there are a lot of Twilight fans about, and that a lot of them take things very seriously. Most of them are rational creatures and perfectly fine with people disagreeing with them, or the cast of the film not corresponding exactly to the images in their heads, or whatever else might run contrary to their view of things. Then there are the rest, and a few days ago I had the joy of one of them commenting on my Twilight post. I’ve debated long and hard with myself if I should approve these comments or not, because they attack not only me, but some of the other people who commented on that post as well, but in the end I decided to go ahead and post them, because I figure most of you will appreciate the lol-factor (as they say) in this.

The commenter, who dubbed her(?)self Team Edward, left the following comments on this post. See if you can follow everything she’s saying, because I sure can’t!

ok..ppl if you havent noticed THIS ROCKS.

ok..first of all TWILIGHT SHOULDNT deserve a B??????? like hello! it should deserve an A+++++++++++! Im like the only one in this conversation that actually likes talking about the book., normally .instead of the collection. I HAVE TO SAY, go READ it before u make a fool of yourself saying how u have the collection and stuff. IF YOU HAVENT READ IT GO SHOOT YOURSELF..or ill do it for you. I MEAN COME ON!. geesssssss like EVA?! who in the world are you to say ’soul mate” LIKE WTF???? we talk about TWILIGHT cuz of EDWARD..I DONT GIVE A S*** if you dont like EDWARD..well I DO..SO GO FUCK YOURSELF.!

I HATE JACOB BLACK AND EVA!

OH AND EVA…and NICOLE B. yeah…U CAN FIND A SOULMATE AT 17! FUCK ITS THE REAL WORLD..PPL FIND EACHOTHER AT 13..so like GET A LIFE? WHY WOULD U EVEN BOTHER SATYING THAT SHIT ABOUT TWILIGHT..if you hate that then LIKE..wow! =\ U PPL HAVE NO LIFE…U NEED TO USE A BRAIN ONCE IN A WHILE! GOSHHHHHHH. :|
yeah. so like I MRS.CULLEN! if you ahve a problem with the age 17 then like wow. WHO CARES.its a book with beautiful story. GOSH. GOOOOODD JOBBBB STEPHANIE MEYER.


9th June, 2008
Annika Larsdotter: barnamörderska; Inger Lövkrona
— Love @ 13:40 Comments (0)
Filed under: Back to History, C, History, Swedish, To Be Read, True crime

Annika Larsdotter: barnamörderska; Inger Lövkrona Annika Larsdotter: barnamörderska
by Inger Lövkrona
Swedish

For the Back to History and To Be Read reading challenges.

Swedish
255 pages
Historiska Media
ISBN: 91-88930-64-5

First line: Boston — Min vän slänger tidningsartikeln på skrivbordet med en kort kommentar: “Ja, här har du en till.”

Back cover blurb:
Annika Larsdotter avrättades 1765, 18 år gammal. Hon hade då erkänt dråp på sitt nyfödda barn genom kvävning. Barnets far var Annikas svåger som hade tvingat henne till sexuellt umgänge, men sedan förnekade faderskapet.

Annika Larsdotter var en av tusentals unga svenska kvinnor som under 1600-, 1700- och 1800-talen anklagades för barnamord eller fosterfördrivning. Brottet ansågs vara samtidens största samhällsfara. Barnamörderskor dömdes strängt och utan förbarmande — kvinnan beskrevs ofta som en osedlig, ondskefull och grym moder, i nära släktskap med häxor.

Denna bok handlar om Annika men också om några av hennes olyckssystrar. Varför valde dessa kvinnor att mörda sitt barn? Varför valde de inte istället att, i likhet med andra ogifta mödrar, ta på sig rollen som ogift mor?

Etnologen Inger Lövkrona söker svaren genom att studera rättsfall från perioden 1729-1776. De bevarade domstolsprotokollen ger unika möjligheter att komma nära barnamörderskornas handlingar, tänkbara överväganden och känslor.

Very short synopsis in English: This is the study of eight cases from 18th century Sweden where young, unwed women murdered, or were accused of having murdered, their newborn children. Why did they do it?

Thoughts: This was a very interesting read, but what struck me as most shocking was an excerpt at the very beginning of the book, about “prom moms”. It’s easy to read about a case from the 18th century, where shame and desperation led someone to commit almost unspeakable offenses, and think that at least we’ve moved on from that now. Not everywhere we haven’t. Young women still sometimes don’t see any other way out. It’s absolutely horrifying and sad — it was then and it is now.

The book was sometimes a bit tricky to follow, but that always happens to me when I haven’t read academic texts in a while. All things considered, a C grade is in order.


8th June, 2008
Doctor Who: The Resurrection Casket; Justin Richards
— Love @ 13:20 Comments (0)
Filed under: Adventure, B, English, Science Fiction

Doctor Who: The Resurrection Casket; Justin Richards Doctor Who: The Resurrection Casket
by Justin Richards
British

English
254 pages
BBC Books
ISBN: 0-563-48642-2

First line: Death was hiding in Kaspar’s pocket.

Back cover blurb:
Starfall — a world on the edge, where crooks and smugglers hide in the gloomy shadows and modern technology refuses to work. And that includes the TARDIS.

The pioneers who used to be drawn by the hope of making a fortune from the mines can find easier pickings elsewhere. But they still come — for the romance of it, or in the hope of finding the lost treasure of Hamlek Glint — scourge of the spaceways, privateer, adventurer, bandit…

Will the TARDIS ever work again? Is Glint’s lost treasure waiting to be found? And does the fabled Resurrection Casket — the key to eternal life — really exist? With the help of new friends, and facing terrifying new enemies, the Doctor and Rose aim to find out…

Thoughts: Again with the Doctor Who — sorry (I have three more Ten+Rose books coming in the post any day now, but after that I should be able to shut up about them — at least in this book blog).

This was a fun adventure novel about space pirates, with quite a few reveals I didn’t see coming from a mile away (sometimes, surprises are nice) and the nicest vicious monster ever. A B rating again for the good Doctor and his companion.


6th June, 2008
Doctor Who: The Stone Rose; Jacqueline Rayner
— Love @ 13:11 Comments (0)
Filed under: Adventure, B, English, Science Fiction

Doctor Who: The Stone Rose; Jacqueline Rayner Doctor Who: The Stone Rose
by Jacqueline Rayner
British

English
254 pages
BBC Books
ISBN: 978-0-563-48643-5

First line: Rose carefully dropped three pound coins into the large collecting box at the entrance to the British Museum.

Back cover blurb:
Mickey is startled to find a statue of Rose in a museum — a statue that is 2,000 years old. The Doctor realises that this means the TARDIS will shortly take them to ancient Rome, but when it does, he and Rose soon have more on their minds than sculpture.

While the Doctor searches for a missing boy, Rose befriends a girl who claims to know the future — a girl whose predictions are surprisingly accurate. But then the Doctor stumbles on the hideous truth behind the statue of Rose — and Rose herself learns that you have to be very careful what you wish for…

Thoughts: I’m still on a Doctor Who kick, still pathetically in love with the tenth Doctor and still enjoying the companion books. I was a bit worried at first that I wouldn’t like them at all (which is why I just got one or two at first to test the waters a bit), but I do. Now, the writing isn’t the best thing I’ve read in my life, but it gets the job done portraying the Doctor and giving a sense of adventure, which is all I’m asking for.

They are different writers, of course, so the tone is slightly different from book to book, but I haven’t been let down yet. The Doctor, Rose, Mickey and Jackie are all written in a way that I can hear their (well, the actors’, technically) voices in my head.

The Stone Rose is a nice adventure and mystery and deserves a B grade (I’ll let it be known that that rating is tremendously influenced by my love for anything Doctor+Rose, however).


6th June, 2008
A Christmas Carol; Charles Dickens
— Love @ 12:58 Comments (1)
Filed under: C, Classics, Decades '08, English

A Christmas Carol; Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol
by Charles Dickens
British

For the Decades ’08 reading challenge (first published 1843) and part of the BBC Big Read.

English
77 pages
Dover Publications
ISBN: 978-0-486-26865-1

First line: Marley was dead: to begin with.

Back cover blurb:
In October 1843, Charles Dickens—heavily in debt and obligated to his publisher—began work on a book to help supplement his family’s meager income. That volume, A Christmas Carol, has long since become one of the most beloved stories in the English language. As much a part of the holiday season as holly, mistletoe and evergreen wreaths, this perennial favorite continues to delight new readers and rekindle thoughts of charity and goodwill.

With its characters exhibiting many qualities—as well as failures—often ascribed to Dickens himself, the imaginative and entertaining tale relates Ebenezer Scrooge’s eerie encounters with a series of spectral visitors. Journeying with them through Christmases past, present, and future, he is ultimately transformed from an arrogant, obstinate and insensitive miser to a generous, warmhearted, and caring human being. Written by one of England’s greatest and most popular novelists, A Christmas Carol has come to epitomize the true meaning of Christmas.

Thoughts: I’ve been meaning to read this for years and years and years, but I never did get around to it until now.

I knew the basics of the story already, of course, having seen an animated adaption or two in my day, but I was pleasantly surprised at how good I found it. Somehow, I don’t know why, I was expecting to almost struggle through it and want to give up because of boredom, or what have you. There really was no reason for me to be expecting that, as I’ve liked all the Dickens I have read so far, plus there has to be a reason for its popularity.

At any rate, I get to mark another book on the BBC Big Read as successfully read, and to dole out a C rating.


6th June, 2008
Read-a-thon
— Love @ 10:40 Comments (1)
Filed under: General booktalk

Read-a-thon Dewey at The Hidden Side of a Leaf is holding a read-a-thon on the 28th of June. She’s held one (more?) before, but that was before I got into book blogging properly again, so I missed the last one. I’ve been toying with the idea of doing it solo now that I’m on vacation, but it seems a lot more fun to do it at the same time as a bunch of other people, so I’m definitely going to take part in this one.

There is one thing, though. See, the read-a-thon starts at 9 am Pacific DST. That’s five o’clock in the afternoon for me, which means that I’d finish at six in the evening on the 29th. Since I go back to work on the 30th and would like to be well-rested then, I have devised a plan. I shall take part in the read-a-thon, but I will start at 9 am my time and finish at 9 am my time. This means I won’t be doing it at quite the same time as everyone else, but it’ll definitely be better for my sanity.

Or, another way would be to do it at the same time as everyone else, but go to sleep for a few hours in the night, which is acceptable according to the rules (here’s the FAQ, for those who might be interested. It seems like a fun thing to do, so come on! Join in!) and would probably be easier on me.

We’ll see what I do. Right now I both want to do the full 24-hour thing and at the exact same time as everyone else.


3rd June, 2008
Människohamn; John Ajvide Lindqvist
— Love @ 12:27 Comments (0)
Filed under: C, Fiction, Swedish

Människohamn; John Ajvide Lindqvist Människohamn
by John Ajvide Lindqvist
Swedish

Swedish
451 pages
Ordfront
ISBN: 978-91-7037-373-2

First line: Välkommen till Domarö.

Back cover blurb:
“Pappa, vad är det där? På isen?”
Det är en strålande vinterdag. Högst upp i Gåvastens fyr står Anders med sin sexåriga dotter Maja. Isen ligger snötäckt så långt ögat kan nå och Anders kan inte se något speciellt där hans dotter pekar.
Maja går för att undersöka och fem minuter senare börjar mardrömmen. Trots att det inte finns någonstans där Maja kan försvinna, är det just det som händer. Hon försvinner. Spårlöst. Anders och hans hustru Cecilia har inte längre något barn.
Det lyckliga livet på ön Domarö i Roslagens skärgård är slut. Bara förtvivlan och skilsmässa återstår.
Ett par år senare återvänder Anders till ön, nersupen och deprimerad men fast besluten att leva. Då nås han av ett meddelande som tänder ett vansinnigt hopp: Maja finns ännu i världen, på en plats där han inte kan nå henne.
Ett sökande tar sin början. Det kommer att föra Anders till Domarös hemlighållna förflutna, mot havets mörka hjärta. Genom avgrunden måste han gå för att finna den han älskar. Om det nu verkligen är hon.
En mopedmotor hörs i skogen om nätterna. Brevlådor vandaliseras och hus brinner. Havet kastar sig mot klipporna. Någon hatar oss.

Thoughts: Människohamn is Ajvide Lindqvist’s most recent novel and as I’ve liked his previous books a whole lot, I pretty much had to go out and get this as soon as I could when it was out.

On the whole, it’s a good book, but I felt that the ending was a bit lacking (endings are, to be honest, not Ajvide Lindqvist’s forte) and so it doesn’t reach the same heights as Låt den rätte komma in (his first novel, now available in English as Let the Right One In — read it) did.

Människohamn does have its moments, though. I’m thinking, of course, of the Smiths-quoting ghosts. It’s impossible not to feel utter glee at them. Well, it’s impossible if your name is Love and you happen to be a big Smiths/Morrissey fan…

När sommaren kom stod det klart att Henrik och Björn hade hittat sin grej. Meat is murder [sic] hade kommit några månader tidigare och Anders tyckte att var en helt okej skiva, men inte som Hatful of hollow [sic]. Henrik och Björn tyckte annorlunda. De kunde varenda textrad på skivan och båda hade blivit vegetarianer, möjligen de första någonsin på Domarö.

That John Ajvide Lindqvist is a big Morrissey fan is a fact well-known to those who know it well1, and the title of his first novel is actually taken from a song written by Morrissey. It bothers me slightly that the English title of that book isn’t quite what it should be (Let the Right One Slip In), but I guess you can’t have it all.

Människohamn is a decent book, but not scary, which was both quite nice (as it didn’t keep me from falling asleep) and quite disappointing (I was expecting to be scared). I’m giving it a C, which would have been a higher grade if the ending had been better and the rest of the book hadn’t had quite so many passages that didn’t really move the story forward.

1. Cookies to the person who can tell me who I stole that phrase from.


1st June, 2008
En liten chock; Johanna Lindbäck
— Love @ 11:45 Comments (0)
Filed under: C, Swedish, Young Adult

En liten chock; Johanna Lindbäck En liten chock
by Johanna Lindbäck
Swedish

Swedish
272 pages
Tiden
ISBN: 978-91-85243-98-3

First line: Han ansträngde sig inte direkt för att komma i tid, det kan man inte säga.

Back cover blurb:
Gustav hoppades på tre saker när han började gymnasiet:

  1. En flickvän, eller en tillfällig tjej att ha sex med, åtminstone en gång.
  2. En massa nya kompisar med samma intressen som han, det vill säga inte sport.
  3. En ny personlighet.

Nu är det bara ett par månader kvar till studenten och Gustav har nästan gett upp hoppet. Men så bildar han och Elin i klassen en pakt. De ska göra något oväntat—något som gör dem mindre missnöjda med varandra och sina förutsägbara liv. Något som gör att de slipper dö av tristess och leda.
Det drar ihop sig till en liten chock…

Thoughts: This was a decent little YA read. Most of the reason I liked it as much as I did (not more than a C rating, though) is because it’s set in Umeå, which is where I studied at university, so I know the city. It’s always neat to have places you are familiar with appear in fiction.