General booktalk archive at Stray Talk
an archive of my forays into fact and fiction

Archive: General booktalk


16th October, 2008
Read-a-thon
— Love @ 19:16 Comments (1)
Filed under: General booktalk

Read-a-thon I just signed up for the Read-a-thon which is being held again this weekend. You can read all about it over on Dewey’s blog, and the sign-up page is here (and if you click on the image, you will get to the Read-a-thon FAQ, just in case you don’t know what it’s all about).

I really enjoyed this last time, so I’m looking forward to it a lot, especially since I haven’t really been reading a lot lately. Maybe this will get me back in the saddle, so to speak. Because I haven’t read much lately, I am going to set my goals a lot lower this time around.

Last weekend I visited my grandfather’s house with the rest of my family and ended up coming back home with a bunch of old murder mysteries, mainly British ones. You see, my greatgrandmother was a great reader in general, and of murder mysteries in particular, so there were a bunch of those old books in my grandfather’s bookshelf. He’s moving from a big house to a small apartment, so he really wanted to get rid of stuff. Me? I was only too happy to oblige. ;D

Those murder mysteries are going to be my chief Read-a-thon fare, I feel relatively sure about.


15th August, 2008
July Book Blow-Out: Wrap Up
— Love @ 12:23 Comments (0)
Filed under: General booktalk

I am kind of late with this. I blame internetlessness. I might not have time to post my list today (I’m blogging from work and I have limited time. Very limited). I will attempt to come in early tomorrow before work and post the rest then.

1. Did you discover a new author?
Libba Bray

2. Where was the most unusual place you found yourself reading?
I read where I usually read — in bed, on the balcony or the sofa.

3. Did you read more than usual?
Yes and no. More than the average month, but about the same as the last few months.

4. Did you give up anything in order to read more?
I spent a little less time on the internet.

5. If you won the Amazon voucher what would you spend it on?
Probably the sequel to A Great and Terrible Beauty.

6. Would you like to see a 2009 Book Blowout?
Definitely!

My goal was to read 20 books during July and I ended up reading 31.

  • Doctor Who: The Nightmare of Black Island – Mike Tucker
  • Doctor Who: The Art of Destruction – Stephen Cole
  • Doctor Who: The Price of Paradise – Colin Brake
  • The Underdog – Markus Zusak
  • Tro, hopp och burnout – Johan Unenge
  • Torchwood: Something in the Water – Trevor Baxendale
  • Vadå feminist – Lisa Gålmark
  • Torchwood: Trace Memory – David Llewellyn
  • Homofamiljer – Sara Stenholm och Cecilia Strömberg
  • Making Money – Terry Pratchett
  • Castle Rackrent – Maria Edgeworth
  • Moab is My Washpot – Stephen Fry
  • Torchwood: The Twilight Streets – Gary Russell
  • Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World – Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero
  • Betong, fjäril, betong – Ingrid Olsson
  • Torchwood: Border Princes – Dan Abnett
  • Torchwood: Another Life – Peter Anghelides
  • Torchwood: Slow Decay – Andy Lane
  • Vegan Freak – Bob Torres & Jenna Torres
  • Skinny Bitch – Rory Freedman & Kim Barnouin
  • Vegan Virgin Valentine – Carolyn Mackler
  • Emily of New Moon – LM Montgomery
  • Emily Climbs – LM Montgomery
  • Emily’s Quest – LM Montgomery
  • The Blue Castle – LM Montgomery
  • A Great and Terrible Beauty – Libba Bray
  • From the Inside Out – Morty Diamond (ed.)
  • The History Boys – Alan Bennett
  • Life on the Refrigerator Door – Alice Kuipers
  • The Commitments – Roddy Doyle
  • Historier om ett brott – Lena Lennerhed

17th July, 2008
Internetlessness
— Love @ 11:22 Comments (15)
Filed under: General booktalk

My internet has broken down and I haven’t had a chance to get it fixed yet, thus the lack of updates.

I just thought you might want to know.

Since I can’t really do much else right now (I’m logging in, very briefly, from work to type this. Internetlessness has freed up lots of time for reading, though. Twenty-two books this month so far and still going at it!), I had an idea that I would ask the same question that I asked back in November:

Who reads this blog?

Even if you never, ever comment and plan on never, ever commenting again, won’t you make an exception just this once, so I get a little picture of who reads this. I’m curious sometimes, y’know.

 


3rd July, 2008
Epic fail and epic win
— Love @ 17:30 Comments (3)
Filed under: Contests, General booktalk

I am made of epic fail. This is a fact that most people know about me, but perhaps Kim L and Banquo know it more than most. See, back in April there was that quotation contest I held. Let me remind you—April. Do you think I sent out the prizes back then? Exactly. I didn’t. But today I finally did, so I’m a little less epic fail right now. (Kim L, Banquo: let me know if you haven’t received your gift certificates. I sent them to the e-mail addresses you used to comment here, so they should have got there safely, but if not, I need to try to fix that.)

In other, somewhat related news, I won the Read-a-thon post-event survey prize drawing, which is a subscription to Bookmarks magazine. I was pleasantly surprised to learn this.

I will have a post with June stats up at some point soon, maybe by the end of the weekend. I have yet to post reviews for a few books I read in June and I want to get those done first, but I have no time for it until the weekend, basically. (This is yet another reason for the epic fail.)

Still on a Doctor Who kick, which will soon also be a Torchwood kick (I’m about half-way through my last Ten+Rose book, and so shall have to turn to Torchwood for my Who-verse fixes. Well, until Saturday, that is).


2nd July, 2008
July Book Blowout: Intro + mini-challenge 1
— Love @ 18:18 Comments (3)
Filed under: Book Blowout, General booktalk

July Book Blowout Mrs S at Blue Archipelago is hosting a new reading challenge I just couldn’t resist joining. It’s called the July Book Blowout and the goal is to read as many books as you can during the month of July.

Since I’m going to be working full-time this month, I won’t set my goal very high. I’m aiming for 20 books by the end of the month (I’ve read one already—only nineteen to go!).

To kick off the challenge, Mrs S has posted a mini-challenge to get everyone acquainted.

1. Describe yourself in one sentence
A shy and quiet book geek with a Doctor Who fixation and a penchant for the slashridden.

2. What book will you start the challenge with?
Well, I already finished my first (Doctor Who: The Nightmare of Black Island by Mike Tucker), but next up is Doctor Who: The Art of Destruction by Stephen Cole. Yes, I’m on a Who kick currently. What of it? ;D

3. Where is your favourite place to read?
Bed!

4. What is your favourite book of all time?
Just the one? Oh, you are cruel! ;D Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, probably.

5. Remind us all of your challenge target
Twenty, which is kind of low for me, but then I’m back to work now, so I won’t have that much time for reading.


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).


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.


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.


31st May, 2008
May stats
— Love @ 23:27 Comments (2)
Filed under: Stats

I never posted my reading stats for April, mostly because I didn’t read more than two books that month, so I didn’t feel like there was a point to it. In May, however, my lust for reading came back with a vengeance. The monthly total for May ended up forty books, and I don’t know about you, but I think that’s quite a lot of them. True, May was also a month for YA and kiddie lit, which meant that a lot of those forty books were quite short, but all the same! It’s a personal record.

I have all of June off (actually, that’s not quite true—I go back to work on the 30th), which is going to leave me with a ton of time for reading. In fact, I went to the library today and picked up fourteen books (seven of which I have now finished) for some summer reading, and I’ve got a parcel of twelve books due to arrive in the post sometime next week. Not to mention all the books already on my TBR shelves, of course.

May books:

  1. Rockabilly; Josefin Ekman, B
  2. 102 Minutes: The Story of the Fight to Survive inside the Twin Towers; Jim Dwyer & Kevin Flynn, B
  3. I Am America (And So Can You!); Stephen Colbert, B
  4. My War: Killing Time in Iraq; Colby Buzzell, B
  5. Hästen från Porten; Carina Burman, B
  6. Atonement; Ian McEwan, C
  7. Kometen kommer; Tove Jansson, B
  8. Bögslungan; Per Alexandersson, C
  9. Kårnulf Was Here; Josefine Adolfsson, B
  10. Allting som är trevligt är bra för magen; Tove Jansson, C
  11. Bananflugornas herre; Fredrik Eklund, C
  12. Does My Head Look Big in This?; Randa Abdel-Fattah, C
  13. Drakvinter; Elvira Birgitta Holm, D
  14. Ior och hästarna; Renata Wrede, C
  15. Lugn för dej, Gelika; Olga Wikström, D
  16. Marsmädchen; Tamara Bach, B
  17. Trollkarlens hatt; Tove Jansson, A
  18. Farlig midsommar; Tove Jansson, A
  19. Trollvinter; Tove Jansson, C
  20. Tjuvlyssnat; Damon Rasti & Gloria Hedman, B
  21. Det osynliga barnet; Tove Jansson, C
  22. Pappan och havet; Tove Jansson, C
  23. Den som inte tar bort luddet ska dö; David Batra (not reviewed)
  24. Sent i november; Tove Jansson, C
  25. Doctor Who: I Am a Dalek; Gareth Roberts, C
  26. Daddy-Long-Legs; Jean Webster, B
  27. Dear Enemy; Jean Webster (not reviewed)
  28. Knappt lovlig; Katarina von Bredow (not reviewed)
  29. Strong Poison; Dorothy L Sayers, B
  30. Doctor Who: The Feast of the Drowned; Stephen Cole, B
  31. Heart of Darkness; Joseph Conrad, C
  32. Mr. Darcy Presents His Bride; Helen Halstead, D
  33. Språket; Lars-Gunnar Andersson & Anna Lena Ringarp (not reviewed)
  34. Persepolis: volume 1; Marjane Satrapi (not reviewed)
  35. Persepolis: volume 2; Marjane Satrapi (not reviewed)
  36. Persepolis: volume 3; Marjane Satrapi (not reviewed)
  37. Persepolis: volume 4; Marjane Satrapi (not reviewed)
  38. Bögjävlar; Stefan Ingvarsson (ed.) (not reviewed)
  39. Han sa ja!; Bo R Holmberg (not reviewed)
  40. Älskar han mig?; Bo R Holmberg (not reviewed)

Challenge stats:


20th May, 2008
It must be all that spring air
— Love @ 21:36 Comments (4)
Filed under: General booktalk

Since I last spent a couple of hours updating with reviews (that’d be last night), I have read seven books, which means I am now caught up with my personal goal of reading an average of four books a week. I was way behind on that after my reading slump back in March/April, but after all these brilliant (and, to be honest, some less than brilliant) YA finds from the library, I am back on track. Twenty-seven books so far this month, and I’d be surprised if it stops at that.

I re-read and read, respectively, Daddy-Long-Legs and Dear Enemy tonight, and it’s left a taste for love stories. Thing is, I’ve re-read most of my old favourites fairly recently, so what I’d quite like is recommendations, if anyone has any. They don’t have to be romances, strictly speaking, as long as there’s some sort of love story involved. I’m also a fan of classical stuff, where things are implied, rather than spelled out exactly. They don’t have to be classics, though.

However, if anyone happens to recommend The Time Traveller’s Wife, I fear I will have to stab myself in the eye. I tried that one once and only got about two pages in before I chucked it away in a corner and looked for another book to read.


19th May, 2008
Catching up and library finds
— Love @ 19:27 Comments (2)
Filed under: General booktalk

Last Monday I found myself in Simrishamn with time on my hands and nothing much to do (I was going for an X-ray at the hospital and the bus schedule is crap, which meant I had nearly two hours to kill before my appointment). I had toyed with the idea of going to the library, but I never looked up the directions and so I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to find it. As luck would have it, however, it was in the building right opposite the bus station, so I happily trotted inside and got myself a library card. Only borrowed one book before my X-ray appointment, though, because I wasn’t terribly keen on carting a ton of books to and from the hospital.

The one book, Kometen kommer, was enough to keep me occupied until I could go back to the library after the hospital visit, though, and then I borrowed a bunch more books. Plus I filled a paper bag with books the library was getting rid of. Wasn’t a terrible lot of interesting stuff left at that point, sadly, so I came away with only five of those books.

I was pleasantly surprised at how big the library was and, while their English section isn’t terribly huge, it’s definitely bigger than I expected it to be. I am so glad to have a decent library to go to again. In fact, I’ve already been back once, because I’d read most of the books I borrowed.

Yup, I read fourteen books last week and made the mistake of not updating Stray Talk after each one. Not doing it that way again, let me tell you! But things are up to date now (and I pity the people who get the feed on their LJ friends’ page. Sorry!). I figured to make it easier for you to find all the new posts, I would link to them here.

Last week I read: Kometen kommer, Bögslungan, Kårnulf Was Here, Allting som är trevligt är bra för magen, Bananflugornas herre, Ser mitt huvud tjockt ut i den här?, Drakvinter, Ior och hästarna, Lugn för dej, Gelika, Från en annan planet, Trollkarlens hatt, Farlig midsommar, Trollvinter and Tjuvlyssnat. That’s more in Swedish than I’ve read in ages, and I realise that’s less than exciting for non-Swedish readers.

But don’t fret, tomorrow I expect a book package in the post (a couple of Doctor Who books, two Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries and a collection of funny/weird/annoying notices that people’ve taped to various noticeboards in buildings and such) and there’s still a lot of English fiction and non-fiction in my TBR-shelves.


30th April, 2008
Contest winners and correct answers
— Love @ 15:02 Comments (5)
Filed under: General booktalk

I have tallied the scores and here are the contest winners:

First prize: Banquo with 16 points
Second prize: Kim L with 5 points

(They were, I might add, the only two people to enter.)

So, Banquo and Kim L, comment on this entry or e-mail me at love DOT esbjorn AT gmail DOT com to let me know whether you want the Amazon .com or .co.uk gift card.

And now, for the correct answers:

1. Now & Then by William Corlett
‘I have to speak to you’, he says.
I look at him, waiting. He is wearing the school uniform of grey flannels and a grey V-necked sweater. But, instead of the striped school tie, he wears the cricket XI cravat, tucked into an open-necked shirt. His black hair is longer than I am allowed to have mine. He wears it with a side parting and it falls forward over one eye like a crow’s wing. As he looks at me he runs a hand nervously through this lock of hair, pushing it back away from his brow. He has dark blue eyes, and very black eyebrows, and his clear, unlined face has a dark shadow of stubble on the top lip and round the beard line.
He is still holding on to my arm and his nails are digging into the flesh just below the elbow.
‘You’re hurting,’ I say.
He lets go at once. He is extremely agitated. He pushes the hair back with his hand again and walks over to the window so that he has his back to me.

2. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
‘I have not the smallest objection to explaining them,’ said he, as soon as she allowed him to speak. ‘You either chuse this method of passing the evening because you are in each other’s confidence and have secret affairs to discuss, or because you are conscious that your figures appear to the greatest advantage in walking; — if the first, I should be completely in your way; — and if the second, I can admire you much better as I sit by the fire.’

3. The Wrong Boy by Willy Russell
So I told my Gran. I told her about the row I’d had with my Mam. And I told her about Malcolm. I said, ‘I’ve made up this boy, Gran. And it was all right at first but it’s all sort of gone wrong now because my Mam won’t talk about anything else; it’s Malcolm this and Malcolm that and Malcolm morning noon and night. And my Mam loves Malcolm now and it’s made me dead jealous and I know that’s stupid because Malcolm’s just an invention. He’s just a figment of my imagination. He’s sort of … apart from the American accent, he’s sort of … the boy that I used to be, before the canal. And before everything happened to the little girl.’

4. A Countess Below Stairs by Eva Ibbotson (this is sometimes known as The Secret Countess, so I awarded a point for that answer as well)
Panic gripped Rupert. Even Proom, immuned as he was to the devastating effect of Anna’s curtsies, stepped back a pace. For here was homage made flesh; here, between the bust of an obese Roman emperor and a small, potted palm, Rupert, Seventh Earl of Westerholme, was being offered commitment, servitude, another human being’s all.

5. Mister Midshipman Hornblower by CS Forester
On the deck he forced himself to lounge nonchalantly against the rail, putting his shaking hands into his pockets. His excitement made him weak, nor was it lessened as he waited. Every minute before the fire cold be discovered was important. A French officer said something to him with a triumphant laugh and pointed aft over the taffrail, presumably speaking about leaving the Indefatigable behind. Hornblower smiled bleakly at him; that was the first gesture that occurred to him, and then he thought that a smile was out of place, and he tried to assume a sullen scowl.

6. Making History by Stephen Fry
‘I need you Steve. You have to help me find a library.’
Steve dropped some dollar bills onto the beer-sodden table and hurried after me.
‘Jesus man, what has gotten into you?’
‘Where’s the nearest?’
‘Library? God’s sake, this is Princeton.’
‘Any good one will do. Please!’

7. At Swim, Two Boys by Jamie O’Neill
Doyler had been right: the rain came in the evening, and it was still pouring when Jim pushed with the shop bike up Ballygihen hill. The shiny asphalt, the mop of trees, the chimney teeth with a chip off the middle, the squeaks of the wheels which seemed to complain of piles and the falling damps, the mudguard spitting wet: the world conspired with his thoughts and everywhere he looked was Doyler’s presence. Ahead lay Killiney Hill, it’s obelisk stark against the last cloudy light.

8. The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
Our inquiries at Limmeridge were patiently pursued in all directions, and among all sorts and conditions of people. But nothing came of them. Three of the villagers did certainly assure us that they had seen the woman, but as they were quite unable to describe her, and quite incapable of agreeing about the exact direction in which she was proceeding when they last saw her, these three bright exceptions to the general rule of total ignorance afforded no more real assistance to us than the mass of their unhelpful and unobservant neighbours.

9. As Meat Loves Salt by Maria McCann
We camped that night at Alresford, where Cromwell’s old comrade, Richard Norton, kept the manor. The talk was all of sieges. They said we might be over the walls of Basings-House the next day, and spirits were high. There was even the odd bawdy song, which one of the officers stopped to reprove. He was not a stern reprover. The young man pleading that he sang for the music only, he was given leave to hum the tune without the words.
I had no heart to sing. My sole thought was how to soften and win round my friend. He kept away from me, his face averted, and looked so unhappy I would almost rather he had hit me. Going to where he sat cross-legged tearing at a bit of cheat, I seated myself opposite him and put my beef, the best part of the ration, into his lap.

10. Standish by Erastes
The days gradually settled into a routine. Every morning, Trent appeared with the little trap and took Ambrose to the house. Sebastien would meet him, either on the steps or in the hall, and together they would go to the schoolroom. For three hours they would study languages, literature, and mathematics, then stop to eat luncheon. In the afternoon they would explore the grounds, concentrating on botany, geology, and natural history.
The other thing that swiftly became a routine was letters from Goshawk. After the first day at the house, Goshawk was absent. When questioned, Sebastien simply shrugged in his pretty Gallic way and said, ‘Papa is away.’

11. Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
Beyond the first smile of recognition—and even that was an hypocrisy, for she thought his arrival rather provoking—Miss Sedley did not once notice Dobbin during his visit. But he was content, so that he saw her happy; and thankful to have been the means of making her so.

12. Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
Clare continued to observe her. She soon finished her eating, and having a consciousness that Clare was regarding her, began to trace imaginary patterns on the tablecloth with her forefinger with the constraint of a domestic animal that perceives itself to be watched.
‘What a fresh and virginal daughter of Nature that milkmaid is!’ he said to himself.

13. The Giver by Lois Lowry
Now, for the first time in his twelve years of life, Jonas felt separate, different. He remembered what the Chief Elder had said: that his training would be alone and apart.
But his training had not yet begun and already, upon leaving the Auditorium, he felt the apartness.

14. Murder Must Advertise by Dorothy L Sayers
The day begun badly with Mr. Tallboy’s having lost his lucky half-crown and with Mr. Copley’s observing, offensively, that perhaps Mr. Tallboy would prefer to toss with a pound-note. This flustered Mr. Tallboy. Brotherhood’s won the toss and elected to go in first. Mr. Tallboy, still flustered, arranged his field, forgetting in his agitation Mr. Hankin’s preference for mid-on and placing him at cover-point. By the time this error was remedied, it was discovered that Mr. Haagedorn had omitted to bring his wicket-keeper’s gloves, and a pair had to be borrowed from the pavilion. Mr. Tallboy then realized that he had put on his two fast bowlers together. He remedied this by recalling Mr. Wedderburn from the deep field to bowl his slow “spinners,” and dismissing Mr. Barrow in favour of Mr. Beeseley. This offended Mr. Barrow, who retired in dudgeon to the remotest part of the field and appeared to go to sleep.

15. Fool’s Fate by Robin Hobb
He looked battered by my onslaught of questions. ‘Can you be quiet, Fitz?’ he asked me earnestly, and after a moment’s notice, I shook my head.
‘I don’t think so.’ I shifted restively as I spoke. I was suddenly miserable. I could not find a comfortable position in which to be still. I was aware that I was sleepy but could not recall how to let go of wakefulness. I suddenly wanted all of it to go away and leave me in peace. I dropped my head into my hands and covered my eyes. ‘All my life, I’ve done everything wrong.’
‘It’s going to be a long night,’ the Fool observed woefully.

16. Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
“Ow!” she exclaimed. “I ache all over!” The voice that exclaimed was a weak, cracked piping. She put her knobby hands to her face and felt wrinkles. At that, she discovered that she had been in a state of shock all of yesterday. She was very angry indeed with the Witch of the Waste for doing this to her, hugely, enormously angry. “Sailing into shops and turning people old!” she exclaimed. “Oh, what I won’t do to her!”

17. Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
Newt had never actually seen another one on the road, despite his best efforts. For years, and without much conviction, he’d enthused to his friends about its economy and efficiency in the desperate hope that one of them might buy one, because misery loves company.
In vain did he point out its 823cc engine, it’s three-speed-gearbox, its incredible safety devices like the balloons which inflated on dangerous occasions such as when you were doing 45 mph on a straight dry road but were about to crash because a huge safety balloon had just obscured the view. He’d also wax slightly lyrical about the Korean-made radio, which picked up Radio Pyongyang incredibly well, and the simulated electronic voice which warned about not wearing a seatbelt even when you were; it had been programmed by someone who not only didn’t understand English, but didn’t understand Japanese either. It was state of the art, he said.
The art in this case was probably pottery.

18. Mélusine by Sarah Monette
Light.
I sit up.
The darkness has been full of pain and screaming; I am still shaking, and I cannot hide it. Monsters booming at each other. I hope they are not angry at me, but I know they are. They always are.
They open the cell door. I scramble backwards on the cot, pressing myself against the wall. If I could become part of the wall, I would be safe. One monster comes nearer. I am shaking. I put my hands over my ears, but I cannot block out the assault of noise.
It stands in front of me. I think there are fragments of words in its roaring, but they make no sense: “here … feel … use … in.” I dare to glance up, but the monster looks back at me with the gleaming eyes of a hawk.

19. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
I knew Sebastian by sight before I met him. That was unavoidable for, from his first week, he was the most conspicuous man of his year by reason of his beauty, which was arresting, and his eccentricities of behaviour, which seemed to know no bounds. My first sight of him was in the door of Germer’s, and, on that occasion, I was struck less by his looks than by the fact that he was carrying a large teddy-bear.

20. Maurice by EM Forster
He chose a college patronized by his chief school friend Chapman and by other old Sunningtonians, and during his first year managed to experience little in university life that was unfamiliar. He belonged to an Old Boys’ Club, and they played games together, tea’d and lunched together, kept up their provincialisms and slang, sat elbow to elbow in hall and walked arm in arm about the streets. Now and then they got drunk and boasted mysteriously of women, but their outlook remained that of the upper fifth, and some of them kept it through life.

21. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by JK Rowling
Snow was swirling against the icy windows once more; Christmas was approaching fast. Hagrid had already single-handedly delivered the usual twelve Christmas trees for the Great Hall; garlands of holly and tinsel had been twisted around the banisters of the stairs; everlasting candles glowed from the insides of helmets of suits of armour and great bunches of mistletoe had been hung at intervals along the corridors. Large groups of girls tended to converge underneath the mistletoe bunches every time Harry went past, which caused blockages in the corridors; fortunately, however, Harry’s frequent night-time wanderings had given him an unusually good knowledge of the castle’s passageways, so that he was able, without too much difficulty, to navigate mistletoe-free routes between classes.
Ron, who might once have found the necessity of these detours a cause for jealousy rather than hilarity, simply roared with laughter about it all.

Bonus question #1 (which of these I’ve read the most times in the shortest period of time): 21. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Bonus question #2 (which of these is not a favourite): 10. Standish by Erastes


27th April, 2008
An apology and a meme
— Love @ 07:48 Comments (0)
Filed under: Contests, Memes

I’m sorry I haven’t tallied the scores for the quotation contest yet (I expect to do it later today). First my internet was down (I hate when that happens), then I sort of got so caught up in watching old episodes of Scrubs that I forgot everything else.

As there were only two entrants, counting up the points isn’t going to be terribly hard. Basically, if you entered, you’re going to win a gift card, but it still remains to be seen which one goes to who.

Obviously, I will also post all the quotes again, but this time with title and author so you can see who wrote what and so on. I have a nagging suspicion it was a little too hard. Damn me for liking so many books relatively few other people have read and enjoyed (though there were some proper classics in there as well, actually).

And now, a book meme!

Bold the ones you’ve read, underline the ones you read for school and put in italics the ones you started but haven’t finished

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Anna Karenina
Crime and Punishment
Catch-22
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Wuthering Heights
The Silmarillion
Life of Pi : a novel
The Name of the Rose
Don Quixote
Moby Dick
Ulysses
Madame Bovary
The Odyssey
Pride and Prejudice
Jane Eyre
The Tale of Two Cities
The Brothers Karamazov
Guns, Germs, and Steel: the fates of human societies
War and Peace
Vanity Fair
The Time Traveler’s Wife (got about three pages in and decided I couldn’t stand the writing style. My friend whose taste in books is often the exact opposite of mine loved it, so I should’ve known)
The Iliad
Emma
The Blind Assassin
The Kite Runner
Mrs. Dalloway
Great Expectations
American Gods
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
Atlas Shrugged
Reading Lolita in Tehran : a memoir in books
Memoirs of a Geisha
Middlesex (I got it from the library along with a bunch of other stuff and didn’t have time to finish it before I had to return it. One day, though. One day)
Quicksilver
Wicked : the life and times of the wicked witch of the West
The Canterbury Tales
The Historian : a novel (it wasn’t terribly good, though)
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Love in the Time of Cholera
Brave New World
The Fountainhead
Foucault’s Pendulum
Middlemarch
Frankenstein
The Count of Monte Cristo (I’ve started on this so many times, but I’ve never read the whole thing through. I need to do so soon!)
Dracula
A Clockwork Orange
Anansi Boys
The Once and Future King
The Grapes of Wrath
The Poisonwood Bible : a novel
1984
Angels & Demons (never!)
The Inferno (and Purgatory and Paradise)
The Satanic Verses
Sense and Sensibility
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Mansfield Park
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
To the Lighthouse
Tess of the D’Urbervilles
Oliver Twist
Gulliver’s Travels
Les Misérables
The Corrections
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Dune
The Prince
The Sound and the Fury
Angela’s Ashes : a memoir
The God of Small Things
A People’s History of the United States : 1492-present
Cryptonomicon
Neverwhere
A Confederacy of Dunces
A Short History of Nearly Everything
Dubliners
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
Beloved
Slaughterhouse-five
The Scarlet Letter
Eats, Shoots & Leaves
The Mists of Avalon
Oryx and Crake : a novel
Collapse : how societies choose to fail or succeed
Cloud Atlas
The Confusion
Lolita
Persuasion
Northanger Abbey
The Catcher in the Rye
On the Road
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Freakonomics : a rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance : an inquiry into values
The Aneid
Watership Down
Gravity’s Rainbow
The Hobbit
In Cold Blood : a true account of a multiple murder and its consequences
White Teeth
Treasure Island
David Copperfield
The Three Musketeers

Because I love numbers: there are one hundred and six books on the list. I have read twenty-seven and started, but not finished, seventeen of them.


14th April, 2008
Contest deadline extended
— Love @ 21:09 Comments (1)
Filed under: General booktalk

The deadline for the quotation contest was supposed to be tonight, but I’m moving it to same time next week instead. Partly because I have a crazy workweek coming up and won’t really be online much, but also because there’s only one entry so far.

Come on, people, you can make a guess, surely?


7th April, 2008
Look, it’s a contest!
— Love @ 21:57 Comments (4)
Filed under: Contests

Eva at A Striped Armchair had a contest up for Buy a Friend a Book week. I didn’t participate, but it did inspire me enough that I am going to proceed to steal the idea from her (I’m sure she doesn’t mind).

I’m still stuck in a rut when it comes to my reading, so I figured this might keep you distracted for a bit, and while I was looking through my books looking for passages to pick I did feel stirrings of the “must read this now”-kind, so hey, maybe I’ll get back to my reading while you are all busy guessing. I hope so!

The rules are pretty simple. Basically, I’ve taken passages from twenty-one books and your job is to guess the author and title of said twenty-one books. The best and second best participants will get prizes (in case of a tie I will do a random draw from the tied entrants).

First prize: a $30 or £15 gift certificate from Amazon.com or .co.uk (your choice)
Second prize: a $15 or £7.50 gift certificate from Amazon.com or co.uk (your choice)

The maximum number of points anyone can get is 47, which can be earned as follows:

  • one (1) point each for correct title and author (for a maximum of 42 points).
  • three (3) bonus points for linking to this entry in your own blog.
  • one (1) bonus point each for correctly identifying1:
    • the book I’ve read the most times in the least amount of time.
    • the one book out of these twenty-one that I do not count as a favourite.

1. Correctly identifying here means the correct number of the book you think it is. You don’t have to give the title/author of it to gain these bonus points.

I don’t think it needs to be said, but obviously googling the answers is Not Cool. Not that I have any way of checking if you do, but still. Let’s play fair, shall we?

To give everyone a fair shot at this, no matter how late or early you come into the game, I have turned on comment moderation, which means that no comment will be visible unless approved by me, and I shan’t do any approving ’til after the contest has been closed.

Today is Monday. The deadline for entries is Tuesday 22nd April 00:00 GMT (Monday 21st April 7 pm EST). (Yup, it was extended.)

Have fun guessing!

  1. ‘I have to speak to you’, he says.
    I look at him, waiting. He is wearing the school uniform of grey flannels and a grey V-necked sweater. But, instead of the striped school tie, he wears the cricket XI cravat, tucked into an open-necked shirt. His black hair is longer than I am allowed to have mine. He wears it with a side parting and it falls forward over one eye like a crow’s wing. As he looks at me he runs a hand nervously through this lock of hair, pushing it back away from his brow. He has dark blue eyes, and very black eyebrows, and his clear, unlined face has a dark shadow of stubble on the top lip and round the beard line.
    He is still holding on to my arm and his nails are digging into the flesh just below the elbow.
    ‘You’re hurting,’ I say.
    He lets go at once. He is extremely agitated. He pushes the hair back with his hand again and walks over to the window so that he has his back to me.
  2. ‘I have not the smallest objection to explaining them,’ said he, as soon as she allowed him to speak. ‘You either chuse this method of passing the evening because you are in each other’s confidence and have secret affairs to discuss, or because you are conscious that your figures appear to the greatest advantage in walking; — if the first, I should be completely in your way; — and if the second, I can admire you much better as I sit by the fire.’
  3. So I told my Gran. I told her about the row I’d had with my Mam. And I told her about Malcolm. I said, ‘I’ve made up this boy, Gran. And it was all right at first but it’s all sort of gone wrong now because my Mam won’t talk about anything else; it’s Malcolm this and Malcolm that and Malcolm morning noon and night. And my Mam loves Malcolm now and it’s made me dead jealous and I know that’s stupid because Malcolm’s just an invention. He’s just a figment of my imagination. He’s sort of … apart from the American accent, he’s sort of … the boy that I used to be, before the canal. And before everything happened to the little girl.’
  4. Panic gripped Rupert. Even Proom, immuned as he was to the devastating effect of Anna’s curtsies, stepped back a pace. For here was homage made flesh; here, between the bust of an obese Roman emperor and a small, potted palm, Rupert, Seventh Earl of Westerholme, was being offered commitment, servitude, another human being’s all.
  5. On the deck he forced himself to lounge nonchalantly against the rail, putting his shaking hands into his pockets. His excitement made him weak, nor was it lessened as he waited. Every minute before the fire cold be discovered was important. A French officer said something to him with a triumphant laugh and pointed aft over the taffrail, presumably speaking about leaving the Indefatigable behind. Hornblower smiled bleakly at him; that was the first gesture that occurred to him, and then he thought that a smile was out of place, and he tried to assume a sullen scowl.
  6. ‘I need you Steve. You have to help me find a library.’
    Steve dropped some dollar bills onto the beer-sodden table and hurried after me.
    ‘Jesus man, what has gotten into you?’
    ‘Where’s the nearest?’
    ‘Library? God’s sake, this is Princeton.’
    ‘Any good one will do. Please!’
  7. Doyler had been right: the rain came in the evening, and it was still pouring when Jim pushed with the shop bike up Ballygihen hill. The shiny asphalt, the mop of trees, the chimney teeth with a chip off the middle, the squeaks of the wheels which seemed to complain of piles and the falling damps, the mudguard spitting wet: the world conspired with his thoughts and everywhere he looked was Doyler’s presence. Ahead lay Killiney Hill, it’s obelisk stark against the last cloudy light.
  8. Our inquiries at Limmeridge were patiently pursued in all directions, and among all sorts and conditions of people. But nothing came of them. Three of the villagers did certainly assure us that they had seen the woman, but as they were quite unable to describe her, and quite incapable of agreeing about the exact direction in which she was proceeding when they last saw her, these three bright exceptions to the general rule of total ignorance afforded no more real assistance to us than the mass of their unhelpful and unobservant neighbours.
  9. We camped that night at Alresford, where Cromwell’s old comrade, Richard Norton, kept the manor. The talk was all of sieges. They said we might be over the walls of Basings-House the next day, and spirits were high. There was even the odd bawdy song, which one of the officers stopped to reprove. He was not a stern reprover. The young man pleading that he sang for the music only, he was given leave to hum the tune without the words.
    I had no heart to sing. My sole thought was how to soften and win round my friend. He kept away from me, his face averted, and looked so unhappy I would almost rather he had hit me. Going to where he sat cross-legged tearing at a bit of cheat, I seated myself opposite him and put my beef, the best part of the ration, into his lap.
  10. The days gradually settled into a routine. Every morning, Trent appeared with the little trap and took Ambrose to the house. Sebastien would meet him, either on the steps or in the hall, and together they would go to the schoolroom. For three hours they would study languages, literature, and mathematics, then stop to eat luncheon. In the afternoon they would explore the grounds, concentrating on botany, geology, and natural history.
    The other thing that swiftly became a routine was letters from Goshawk. After the first day at the house, Goshawk was absent. When questioned, Sebastien simply shrugged in his pretty Gallic way and said, ‘Papa is away.’
  11. Beyond the first smile of recognition—and even that was an hypocrisy, for she thought his arrival rather provoking—Miss Sedley did not once notice Dobbin during his visit. But he was content, so that he saw her happy; and thankful to have been the means of making her so.
  12. Clare continued to observe her. She soon finished her eating, and having a consciousness that Clare was regarding her, began to trace imaginary patterns on the tablecloth with her forefinger with the constraint of a domestic animal that perceives itself to be watched.
    ‘What a fresh and virginal daughter of Nature that milkmaid is!’ he said to himself.
  13. Now, for the first time in his twelve years of life, Jonas felt separate, different. He remembered what the Chief Elder had said: that his training would be alone and apart.
    But his training had not yet begun and already, upon leaving the Auditorium, he felt the apartness.
  14. The day begun badly with Mr. Tallboy’s having lost his lucky half-crown and with Mr. Copley’s observing, offensively, that perhaps Mr. Tallboy would prefer to toss with a pound-note. This flustered Mr. Tallboy. Brotherhood’s won the toss and elected to go in first. Mr. Tallboy, still flustered, arranged his field, forgetting in his agitation Mr. Hankin’s preference for mid-on and placing him at cover-point. By the time this error was remedied, it was discovered that Mr. Haagedorn had omitted to bring his wicket-keeper’s gloves, and a pair had to be borrowed from the pavilion. Mr. Tallboy then realized that he had put on his two fast bowlers together. He remedied this by recalling Mr. Wedderburn from the deep field to bowl his slow “spinners,” and dismissing Mr. Barrow in favour of Mr. Beeseley. This offended Mr. Barrow, who retired in dudgeon to the remotest part of the field and appeared to go to sleep.
  15. He looked battered by my onslaught of questions. ‘Can you be quiet, Fitz?’ he asked me earnestly, and after a moment’s notice, I shook my head.
    ‘I don’t think so.’ I shifted restively as I spoke. I was suddenly miserable. I could not find a comfortable position in which to be still. I was aware that I was sleepy but could not recall how to let go of wakefulness. I suddenly wanted all of it to go away and leave me in peace. I dropped my head into my hands and covered my eyes. ‘All my life, I’ve done everything wrong.’
    ‘It’s going to be a long night,’ the Fool observed woefully.
  16. “Ow!” she exclaimed. “I ache all over!” The voice that exclaimed was a weak, cracked piping. She put her knobby hands to her face and felt wrinkles. At that, she discovered that she had been in a state of shock all of yesterday. She was very angry indeed with the Witch of the Waste for doing this to her, hugely, enormously angry. “Sailing into shops and turning people old!” she exclaimed. “Oh, what I won’t do to her!”
  17. Newt had never actually seen another one on the road, despite his best efforts. For years, and without much conviction, he’d enthused to his friends about its economy and efficiency in the desperate hope that one of them might buy one, because misery loves company.
    In vain did he point out its 823cc engine, it’s three-speed-gearbox, its incredible safety devices like the balloons which inflated on dangerous occasions such as when you were doing 45 mph on a straight dry road but were about to crash because a huge safety balloon had just obscured the view. He’d also wax slightly lyrical about the Korean-made radio, which picked up Radio Pyongyang incredibly well, and the simulated electronic voice which warned about not wearing a seatbelt even when you were; it had been programmed by someone who not only didn’t understand English, but didn’t understand Japanese either. It was state of the art, he said.
    The art in this case was probably pottery.
  18. Light.
    I sit up.
    The darkness has been full of pain and screaming; I am still shaking, and I cannot hide it. Monsters booming at each other. I hope they are not angry at me, but I know they are. They always are.
    They open the cell door. I scramble backwards on the cot, pressing myself against the wall. If I could become part of the wall, I would be safe. One monster comes nearer. I am shaking. I put my hands over my ears, but I cannot block out the assault of noise.
    It stands in front of me. I think there are fragments of words in its roaring, but they make no sense: “here … feel … use … in.” I dare to glance up, but the monster looks back at me with the gleaming eyes of a hawk.
  19. I knew Sebastian by sight before I met him. That was unavoidable for, from his first week, he was the most conspicuous man of his year by reason of his beauty, which was arresting, and his eccentricities of behaviour, which seemed to know no bounds. My first sight of him was in the door of Germer’s, and, on that occasion, I was struck less by his looks than by the fact that he was carrying a large teddy-bear.
  20. He chose a college patronized by his chief school friend Chapman and by other old Sunningtonians, and during his first year managed to experience little in university life that was unfamiliar. He belonged to an Old Boys’ Club, and they played games together, tea’d and lunched together, kept up their provincialisms and slang, sat elbow to elbow in hall and walked arm in arm about the streets. Now and then they got drunk and boasted mysteriously of women, but their outlook remained that of the upper fifth, and some of them kept it through life.
  21. Snow was swirling against the icy windows once more; Christmas was approaching fast. Hagrid had already single-handedly delivered the usual twelve Christmas trees for the Great Hall; garlands of holly and tinsel had been twisted around the banisters of the stairs; everlasting candles glowed from the insides of helmets of suits of armour and great bunches of mistletoe had been hung at intervals along the corridors. Large groups of girls tended to converge underneath the mistletoe bunches every time Harry went past, which caused blockages in the corridors; fortunately, however, Harry’s frequent night-time wanderings had given him an unusually good knowledge of the castle’s passageways, so that he was able, without too much difficulty, to navigate mistletoe-free routes between classes.
    Ron, who might once have found the necessity of these detours a cause for jealousy rather than hilarity, simply roared with laughter about it all.

2nd April, 2008
March stats
— Love @ 13:19 Comments (0)
Filed under: Stats

My reading slump really made a difference in the amount of books I read during March. It started somewhere around the middle of the month and only two of the total fourteen I read, I read after the 15th.

March books:

  1. När kommer du tillbaka?; Marika Kolterjahn, C
  2. Tenderness; Robert Cormier (not reviewed)
  3. Dragon’s Bait; Vivian Vande Velde, C
  4. True Stories of Pirates; Lucy Lethbridge (not reviewed)
  5. True Stories of the First World War; Paul Dowswell (not reviewed)
  6. True Stories of the Second World War; Paul Dowswell, C
  7. Lost in Austen; Emma Campbell Webster, C
  8. Nu heter jag Nirak; Peter Pohl, C
  9. What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew; Daniel Pool, B
  10. Unnatural Death; Dorothy L Sayers, A
  11. The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club;Dorothy L Sayers, B
  12. Hey Nostradamus!; Douglas Coupland, B
  13. Linas kvällsbok 2; Emma Hamberg, C
  14. Making History; Stephen Fry, A

Challenge stats:

*I’ve read eight books for this challenge, but the eighth book is not chronologically near the other seven, hence the 7/8.


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.

Before:
IMG_6508

After:
IMG_6524 IMG_6530

IMG_6533

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.


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.


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.


6th March, 2008
Meme: Six Word Memoir
— Love @ 22:17 Comments (4)
Filed under: Memes

I was tagged for a meme by Kim L and it’s the first time in my book blogging life I’ve been properly tagged, so now I feel all special (even though I probably shouldn’t ;D). The idea was to write your own memoir, using no more (or less) than six words.

At first I thought that it sounded terribly hard and couldn’t for the life of me figure out what I would pick. Then Elvis jumped up on the bed and suddenly it wasn’t so tricky any more.

Voluntary solitude with cats and books.

And here are the rules:

1. Write your own six word memoir
2. Post it on your blog and include a visual illustration if you’d like
3. Link to the person that tagged you in your post and to this original post if possible so we can track it as it travels across the blogosphere
4 .Tag five more blogs with links

5. And don’t forget to leave a comment on the tagged blogs with an invitation to play!


2nd March, 2008
February stats
— Love @ 19:37 Comments (1)
Filed under: Stats

February wasn’t as good a reading month as January, but then I have noticed that January is nearly always my best month. I am at least keeping up with my personal goal of reading four books a week, and that’s always something.

February books:

  1. Eclipse; Stephenie Meyer, B
  2. Sickened; Julie Gregory, D
  3. Monty Python’s Flying Circus – Just the Words: Volume 2; Graham Chapman (not reviewed)
  4. Dream Boy; Jim Grimsley, B
  5. By a Lady; Amanda Elyot, F
  6. Clouds of Witness; Dorothy L Sayers, B
  7. A Countess Below Stairs; Eva Ibbotson, A
  8. The Gum Thief; Douglas Coupland, B
  9. Murder Must Advertise; Dorothy L Sayers, B
  10. By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept; Elizabeth Smart, D
  11. Duty and Desire; Pamela Aidan, C
  12. Profile of a Criminal Mind; Brian Innes, B
  13. Den hemlösa sexualiteten: en antologi, D
  14. The World According to Clarkson: And Another Thing…; Jeremy Clarkson, D
  15. Standish; Erastes, D
  16. Britta och Silver på ridskolan; Lisbeth Pahnke (not reviewed)
  17. Postcards from No Man’s Land; Aidan Chambers, A
  18. Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead; Tom Stoppard, B

Challenge stats:

*I’ve read eight books for this challenge, but the eighth book is not chronologically near the other seven, hence the 7/8.
**I decided to add another dragon book to my list, hence the 1/4 instead of 1/3.


20th February, 2008
Weekends and book resolutions
— Love @ 18:07 Comments (2)
Filed under: Challenges, General booktalk, Shopping

Me reading a book I’m finally caught up on book reviews again. I spent the weekend away from home, which gave me little time for reading and even less for blogging, and then I’ve had long days at work (yesterday I worked from eight in the morning until half seven in the evening. Let me assure you that blogging was not the first thing on my agenda when I finally did get home!) . Apart from work, though, I really can’t complain about the things that kept me from my books. You see, I spent the weekend visiting Banquo. We had a lovely time and spent a lot of it watching The Lakes on DVD. In a quiet moment, left to my own devices, I ransacked her bookshelf and sat myself down with a book. When Banquo returned, she claimed that she had to take a picture to show the world that “[I’m] always reading.” (She has graciously allowed me to pilfer said photo to post here.)

On Saturday, we met up with a few other really good friends of mine (Mikey being one of them) for coffee (well, we all had tea…), tea shopping and a visit to The Uppsala English Bookshop. At the bookshop, I bought two books and we were all witness to an intriguing tale of a book going missing. You see, Woman with Dog came in to pick up a book she’d ordered and that she’d been told had arrived, but when the woman behind the counter went to get it for her, she couldn’t find it. Eventually she asked her colleague, who then said that someone had come in earlier in the day, stated the woman’s full name, the exact title and author of the book she’d ordered and told him that she was there to pick it up for her. Needless to say, Woman with Dog was exceedingly displeased and couldn’t for the life of her think of anyone who would’ve come to get the book for her. Also needless to say, we were all dying to find out the end to the story, but I don’t suppose we ever shall.

Five books I bought over the weekend While I only got two books at UEB, I came home with five new books at the end of the weekend. On the way back, I had some time to kill at Stockholm Central Station, where they happen to have a Pocket Shop (a “pocket”, or “pocketbok”, is the Swedish word for a paperback), so by the time I boarded the train there, I had three more books in my bag. All five from the weekend are: Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl, The World According to Clarkson: And Another Thing by Jeremy Clarkson, Throne of Jade by Naomi Novik, Ship of Destiny by Robin Hobb (as a thanks-for-cat-sitting gift for my brother) and The Poe Shadow by Matthew Pearl.

My TBR-pile now constitutes about a fifth of my book collection, which is a little scary. This is why I have decided that I am not allowed to buy any books at all during March and April. It will be interesting to see if I manage and, if not, how long it takes before I break down and buy another one.

Both photos in this post will lead you to larger versions when clicked on.


3rd February, 2008
Book giveaway winner
— Love @ 23:12 Comments (0)
Filed under: General booktalk

Picking a winner As you may recall, a little more than a week ago I posted a book giveaway, where you could win a copy of Diane Wood Middlebrook’s Suit’s Me: The Double Life of Billy Tipton. The deadline for entering was on 1st of February, and tonight I finally got my act together to pick the winner.

I decided that random draw would obviously be the fairest way to go about it, but I was a little undecided exactly how to randomise it. At first I thought I’d just to the “old pieces of paper with names in a hat”-routine, but as I was preparing the pieces of paper, my cat Elvis decided that it looked like good fun, which is when I had the brilliant idea to let him and Morrissey (the other kitten) help out.

In other words, I threw all the little pieces of paper on the floor and watched the kittens go crazy. Eventually Elvis settled down in the kitty bed with one particular piece, which I then decided looked like a winner to me. (And of course, I took photos of the process. Blurry photos, yes, but photos all the same.)

The winner is Mikey, of Diegesen. Congratuwelldone1 to him!

1. That’s a reference to the Big Fat Quiz of the Year 2006, which was brilliant and had Noel Fielding and Russell Brand completely stealing the show.


2nd February, 2008
January stats
— Love @ 20:48 Comments (0)
Filed under: Stats

I think I may have mentioned it before, but making my end of the year post, and compiling all those stats, is one of my favourite things about book blogging. I’ve toyed with the idea of doing the same after each month, but I thought that maybe that would be a little too much. Then I started seeing other bloggers doing it, so I figured that I’m not alone in my love of stats.

In January I read twenty-three books, which is great, because it means I met my goal of an average of four books/week. Let’s see if I can keep it up for the rest of the year (I hope so!). January is usually my best reading month, in terms of the number of books, but this is the first year in a while that the majority of books read in January hasn’t been manga or graphic novels.

January books:

  1. His Majesty’s Dragon; Naomi Novik, B
  2. Flambards; KM Peyton, C
  3. The Edge of the Cloud; KM Peyton, C
  4. Flambards in Summer; KM Peyton, C
  5. Flambards Divided; KM Peyton, D
  6. An Assembly Such as This; Pamela Aidan, B
  7. Some Danger Involved; Will Thomas, B
  8. The Princess Diaries V: Give Me Five; Meg Cabot, F
  9. Who Moved My Cheese?; Spencer Johnson (not reviewed)
  10. Boy Meets Boy; David Levithan, C
  11. Twilight; Stephenie Meyer, B
  12. A Tale of a Tub; Jonathan Swift, C
  13. Duktig pojke; Inger Edelfeldt, A
  14. Whose Body?; Dorothy L Sayers, A
  15. Som jag vill vara; Katarina von Bredow, C
  16. Det fattas en tärning; Johanna Thydell, B
  17. The Smiths: The Early Years; Paul Slattery (not rated)
  18. The Giver; Lois Lowry, B
  19. Cliffs Notes on Lowry’s The Giver; Suzanne Pavlos (not reviewed)
  20. Gathering Blue; Lois Lowry, B
  21. Messenger; Lois Lowry, D
  22. The Amazing Adventures of Dietgirl; Shauna Reid, B
  23. New Moon; Stephenie Meyer, B

I’ve made good progress on my challenge reads, though I haven’t started on the reading for all of them yet.

Challenge stats:


1st February, 2008
Reminder
— Love @ 20:45 Comments (0)
Filed under: General booktalk

Just a friendly reminder that tonight is the deadline for book giveaway, so sign up now if you want a chance to get the free book.


23rd January, 2008
Eva’s Reading Meme!
— Love @ 21:35 Comments (7)
Filed under: Memes

Eva over at A Striped Armchair posted this meme yesterday and since I really liked the questions, I figured now was as good a time as any to post my first meme in this blog. I suspect I will now find myself on a slippery slope and include more of them in the future, but you never know, eh? (Not that I mind memes. I just don’t quite see when I’ll have time for a lot of them, with all the other things I’m meant to be doing/want to do. Moderation is probably key in this, as in so many other cases. Too bad I suck at moderation! ;))

Enough of my blabbering and onto the questions:

Which book do you irrationally cringe away from reading, despite seeing only positive reviews?
I don’t even know the proper titles of the books, but they make up The Millenium trilogy by Swedish author Stieg Larsson. Absolutely everyone and their mother has read them, and loved them, it sometimes seems and I just get more and more reluctant to read it. Not that I ever really planned to anyway, but every time I hear someone say how brilliant it was, I become even more convinced I don’t want to read it. Since I’m currently in a bit of an anti-Swedish phase, I can pretend that that’s the reason, but I know it’s not really.

If you could bring three characters to life for a social event (afternoon tea, a night of clubbing, perhaps a world cruise), who would they be and what would the event be?
Mr Darcy is a given, I’m afraid! I’m not more original than that I am completely and utterly in love with him and I think he’d be utterly fascinating to spend time around. The second character would probably have to be a certain Horatio Hornblower, from somewhere in the middle of his career. I can never get over the fact that he sees himself in such a completely different light than everyone around him, and I think it’d be interesting to be in his presence and know how he sees himself. Third and final character I’d choose is Lord Peter Wimsey, for no better reason than that he is made of win! The social event would have to be a ball, I think. An early 19th century ball. Darcy, Hornblower and myself would be completely ill at ease with the social situation, and Lord Peter Wimsey might be a bit out of his time, but I think he’d hold up well enough comparatively. I’ve always wanted to go to a proper Regency-era ball, but if I am to be honest with myself, I am such crap at social gatherings I’d probably not enjoy myself the way you were supposed to at those things. So what better company to keep than others who do not feel comfortable (plus one snarky little devil)? We could hide away in a corner and discuss Things. Of course, I’d probably not be able to get away with that if being seen as a proper young lady, but hey! Regency drag would look pretty cool too!

(Borrowing shamelessly from the Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde): you are told you can’t die until you read the most boring novel on the planet. While this immortality is great for awhile, eventually you realise it’s past time to die. Which book would you expect to get you a nice grave?
I imagine, if the one book I read by him is anything to go by, that I would pick one by DH Lawrence. I read Women in Love a couple of years back and I swear I was bored to tears during most of it. What made it the most annoying, though, was that there were hints of it getting interesting every now and then. So I’d read and read and read, and it would be boring, boring, boring, then for about a paragraph or two (sometimes even a couple of pages), I’d be enjoying myself, and then it was back to being boring, boring, boring again. I finished the book, though, because a part of me was hoping there would be more of the interesting stuff, but also because I thought it was on the BBC Top 100 list. It was neither of those things, of course.

Come on, we’ve all been there. Which book have you pretended, or at least hinted, that you’ve read, when in fact you’ve been nowhere near it?
I honestly can’t think of one. I can think of a couple I’ve mostly skimmed through, or never quite got ’round to finishing, and sometimes I try to divert attention from that fact, but none of those are books I’ve never been anywhere near.

As an addition to the last question, has there been a book that you really thought you had read, only to realise when you read a review about it/go to ‘reread’ it that you haven’t? Which book?
I think I might not have read Dickens’s David Copperfield, even though I usually say I have. There was a period when I read a couple of his books and watched a couple of screen adaption at the same time, but I can’t say for sure that I really read Copperfield, as opposed to just watching it. I’ll probably never find out, either. I should just read it now to make sure that I really have done it.

You’re interviewing for the post of Official Book Advisor to some VIP (who’s not a big reader). What’s the first book you’d recommend and why? (if you feel like you’d have to know the person, go ahead of personalise the VIP)
Good Omens, by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. It’s got humour and witches and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, not to mention a whole bunch of other stuff (probably technically more important to the actual plot). What’s not to like?

A good fairy comes and grants you one wish: you will have perfect reading comprehension in the foreign language of your choice. Which language do you go with?
French. I used to be so much better at French than I am at the moment (I got lazy and stopped practicing, which obviously was not good for me), and I have a couple of French books in my TBR pile, but with the state my French is currently in, I don’t know that I’ll ever get to read them. But since I could probably do it again if I just had a little discipline, a better choise for my fairy wish might be Russian. I think that would just be incredibly neat. I know there’s not much chance of me ever reading the Russian classics in original, which I’d love to, unless there is fairy intervention. ;)

A mischievious fairy comes and says that you must choose one book that you will reread once a year for the rest of your life (you can read other books as well). Which book would you pick?
I’ll go with Eva’s answer to this question: Pride and Prejudice. I read it about once every other year as it is, so making it once a year instead would not require a great deal of effort, plus I rather think I’d enjoy it. P&P was the first book I read in English (and I do mean first. Not first one that wasn’t one of those abridged, easy-to-read versions), it was the first whole book I finished in French (I had read one or two of those basic, French-for-non-Frenchies books first though) and it remains the only book I’ve read in three different languages.

I know that the book blogging community, and its various challenges, have pushed my reading borders. What’s one bookish thing you ‘discovered’ from book blogging (maybe a new genre, or author, or new appreciation for cover art-anything)?
Quite simply put: reading challenges. I discovered the existence of such through a book blogging community on Livejournal and it really got me hooked. The reason I even started a book blog again (I’d had a couple before, but they all died when my domains expired or I got out of the habit of updating regularly) was so that I would have a place to post about reading challenges. I think it’ll be interesting to see what participating in all of them will do to my reading habits. I know that when I started keeping track of all the books I read, I spurred myself on to read more than I did previously (the first six months of keeping track, I read thirty-five books. The following year I read one hundred and fifty-six).

That good fairy is back for one final visit. Now, she’s granting you your dream library! Describe it. Is everything leatherbound? Is it full of first edition hardcovers? Pristine trade paperbacks? Perhaps a few favourite authors have inscribed their works? Go ahead-let your imagination run free.
I would love to have a room where the walls are completely covered, floor to ceiling, with book cases. There would be spaces for the doors, of course, but even over the doorways there would be bookshelves, so that no space was wasted. I’d like a couple of huge windows, deep-set in the walls, so that one could sit curled up in the window with a good book. There’d be at least one of those little ladders on wheels to make for easier access to the books up high, and a couple of huge and comfy armchairs with good reading lighting by them. The type of books found in the room doesn’t really matter. Anything and everything, really. Just as long as there are books enough that one can pick and choose according to one’s current mood. I can’t say I’d be terribly disappointed if a copy of The Tales of Beedle the Bard managed to find its way onto a shelf, though…

Technically, I’m now supposed to tag four people, but I’m not sure I even have that many regular readers. I’ll tag three, and that’s the best I can do (if they honour the tag is another matter entirely ;)).
Banquo
Caroline
Mikey

And Eva had another little thing to say about the meme:

[I]f you leave a comment letting me know you’ve done the meme with a link to the post, I’ll give you some link love via a big list on this post of who’s participated. If in that post, you link back to this one, I’ll also enter you in a drawing to win my ARC of The House at Riverton (see my review below). If you’re an American, this is especially exciting since it isn’t going to published until April. ;) To be in the drawing, you must have posted the meme (and commented here) by February 5th, which is when I’m holding the drawing.


22nd January, 2008
TBR pile, book giveaway and flags
— Love @ 18:49 Comments (12)
Filed under: General booktalk

TBR pile as of 20080122 Today I decided to take a *photograph of all the books I own, but have not yet **read (click to enlarge). Yikes! Turned out to be a much bigger pile than I’d expected and after I’d taken the photo and put all the books back in their spots, I discovered at least three I’d forgotten to include, but by then I was too lazy to start over from the beginning, so we’ll pretend this is really it.

I’ve bought more books in these past few months than I ever did before, which surely contributes to the size of the pile (some sixty books at least. Probably closer to eighty or ninety if you count the e-books in my virtual TBR pile and the books currently on their way to my mailbox). I graduated from university in the summer and got a job right away, so that meant more money than I was used to as a student. At first, this didn’t really change anything, but in October I moved into my own ***flat and ever since there has been an radical change in my book buying habits. And I’m loving it!

Now February is fast approaching and at the end of the month it’s time for the giant, nation-wide book sale that takes place in Sweden every year. I can hardly wait!

Today I also fiddled a bit with my book lists. They’re not all done yet, but the lists for 2002, 2003 and 2008 now have tiny little flag images by each book title, showing the nationality of the author. I thought it a nice touch to be able to see at a glance where they’re from. I can tell already that I should try to branch out and read more books that aren’t written by Americans, Brits or Swedes.

In other book news, I received my Christmas presents from my ex the other day. Two of the gifts were books and one of them was one I already own. It was a good read, but I don’t really need two copies of it, so I’m going to give one away if anyone’s at all interested.

Suits Me: The Double Life of Billy Tipton; Diane Wood Middlebrook Suits Me: The Double Life of Billy Tipton
by Diane Wood Middlebrook
English, 352 pages (paperback, read once)
read about it on Amazon.co.uk

Billy Tipton was a jazz performer who played in clubs throughout the Midwest of the US for nearly 50 years. Tipton never made the big time as a musician and ended up working as a booking agent in Spokane, Washington. Only with Tipton’s death in 1989 was it revealed that the five-times-married father of three boys was biologically female.

I’ll send the book to anywhere in the world, so don’t let geography stop you if you’re interested. If you are, comment here and depending on how many people are, I’ll either give it out straight away (if it’s just the one person), or pick someone by random draw (if it’s more than one). You have, let’s say, ten days, so you have until 1st of February to comment here and then I’ll inform whoever gets it on the second. Please make sure to leave a functioning e-mail address so I can reach you if you win.

*It’s blurry, I know. It’s due to poor lighting at this time of year. By the time I discovered it was as blurry as it is, it was too dark to even make a second attempt, and today’s the only day this week that I’m at home when there is decent light, so I’m afraid you’ll have to make do with this photo.

**Some of them I’ve read in translation before, so while I have read them before, they still belong in the TBR pile. Examples of this type of book are Ibbotson’s A Countess Below Stairs, Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy and Chambers’s Postcards from No Man’s Land.

***When I moved, I bought two new bookcases, which was one more than I’d had previously (I had two, one wide and one not-so-wide, that were overflowing) and I’m already running out of space. As soon as I can get to Ikea, I want to get one more of the wide type I currently have, plus a lower one, and redecorate my living room. Once it’s done, expect photos!


6th January, 2008
Knowing where to stop
— Love @ 16:04 Comments (0)
Filed under: General booktalk

The more I think about it, the more annoyed I get with Flambards Divided. It was written more than ten years after the third Flambards book and to be honest, I don’t see the point of it.

Flambards in Summer ended on a pretty positive note and, whereas I personally wanted more at that moment, that’s just the way I am, and I’d rather it had left off there than continuing as it did in Flambards Divided. It took my favourite character and the ending I was hoping for all along and completely and utterly wrecked it.

Why do authors do that sort of thing? And why did I not stop at Flambards in Summer? I’m going to pretend that I had and that the next book never happened and that my personal favourite got the ending he deserved.

What about you, have you ever read a series of books where you felt the author took it one book too far?


3rd January, 2008
2007: a summary
— Love @ 14:58 Comments (0)
Filed under: Stats

I meant to post this a couple of days ago, but somehow never got around to it. I have to admit, though, that this sort of post is almost the highlight of my reading year — I experience a geeky sort of pleasure at seeing the stats written down. I also quite enjoy looking at other people’s stats posts.

In 2007:

  • I read 140 books by 92 authors.
  • I read 52 male authors, 40 female (which confirms my suspicion that I tend to go for the blokes. I thought there’d be more of a difference, though.)
  • I read 56 authors I’d never read before, and 23 who were Swedish.
  • I read 103 books in English, 36 in Swedish and 1 in French.
  • I read 35 books that were re-reads.
  • I read 108 books that were works of fiction and 32 that were non-fiction.
  • The busiest reading month was January, when I read 31 books.
  • I failed to reach my reading goal, which was 60 000 pages. I’d read 38 274 pages by the end of the year.
  • Best books (no re-reads) were:
    • Finns det liv på Mars? by Inger Edelfeldt
    • The Virtu by Sarah Monette
    • The Wolves in the Walls by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean
    • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling (despite the epilogue which I have still not learned to like, and most likely never will)
    • Linas kvällsbok 2 by Emma Hamberg (more for nostalgic reason than it being a proper great book. And no, I’ve never read it before—the nostalgia stems from the fact that the main character goes to the same type of highschool I did.)
    • Now & Then by William Corlett
    • Leave Myself Behind by Bart Yates
    • Flying Colours by CS Forester
  • Most disappointing was The Night Watch by Sarah Waters, which was really, really dull and I wanted to like it, but couldn’t. Every time I started to get into it and wanted to know what happened next, the story jumped backwards in time so it was like starting all over again.

For 2008, I don’t have any specific reading goals, except to try to complete as many as possible of the reading challenges I’m signed up for. I’d also like to try to read an average of four books a week. It won’t be a big deal if I don’t succeed, but I am at least going to attempt it.


30th December, 2007
The end is nigh
— Love @ 22:47 Comments (0)
Filed under: Back to History, General booktalk, Personal challenges, To Be Read

Not too many hours left of this year now—just over twenty-five here, actually.

I’ve looked over the challenges for next year and finally got around to joining two more I’ve been meaning to sign up for for a while. All lists are now set in stone (with the possible exception of the Decades challenge, which gives a little more leeway when it comes to changing one’s list).

  • The Back to History challenge, where you are to read twelve books, mixing both fact and fiction, set in historical times, during the year. My list is here, or under Challenges in the top navigation.
  • The To Be Read challenge, where the goal is to read (at least) twelve books that have been in your to be read-pile for at least six months (though this time limit is optional, I still chose to go with it). You also have the option to pick twelve alternates and I have done so. My list is here or, as always, under Challenges in the top navigation.
  • I will also be reading the Bible as a challenge during 2008, but that will be more behind the scenes, as I don’t think I will post much about it. The challenge is hosted by Caroline, though, and here is the challenge post itself. Like her, I shall be reading three chapters every day, except Sundays, when I shall be reading five. Unlike her, I will be reading a Swedish translation.

As you might also have noticed, in the last couple of reviews I’ve posted I’ve said that I read the books for the End of Year Mini Challenge, which is a personal challenge I came up with as a last minute thing to spur me on to manage 140 books this year. I only have one book to go now, so it seems likely I shall reach my goal.

I’m a ridiculous little book geek and every year I look forward to summing up the reading year that’s just passed, so expect one of those posts as soon as the bell tolls midnight on the thirty-first.

Happy New Year, everyone! (And by everyone I mean those who read this blog, which is a small set of everyones. All the same!)


23rd December, 2007
This and that
— Love @ 13:52 Comments (3)
Filed under: First in a Series, General booktalk

I’m visiting my parents for Christmas (I have four days off from work. Four! That’s the most I’ve had off in a row since June and it is bliss!) and I thought I’d dig around my old room here to see if I could find two books that have mysteriously gone missing. No luck so far, unfortunately, but I’m still hoping I might turn them up when I give my room a thorough tidying up. If I don’t, I know I’ll eventually cave and order those two books again. (Something also tells me that about two seconds after the order has been sent and it’s no longer possible to cancel it, the books will show up. As they tend to do.)

I have also taken the opportunity to join another challenge. It’s called First in a Series, is hosted by Thoughts of Joy and my list is to be found here (or under Challenges in the top navigation).

Speaking of challenges, I’ve had an idea for one myself, so watch this space in the next couple of days for an announcement post.


19th November, 2007
Reality check
— Love @ 23:11 Comments (3)
Filed under: General booktalk

I’ve been so busy with work lately that I have little to no energy left over for anything else, which means that my reading has suffered. As a consequence, there probably won’t be a new review (if you can even call what I do that) in a little while yet.

Instead, I thought I’d take the opportunity to ask who reads this blog?

If you do, would you please consider leaving a comment? It will take you all of a minute, and you don’t have to do it more than once — you can go straight back to lurking in the shadows after. I just want to get an idea about whether I’m the crazy person in the corner, muttering to themselves under their breath, or the person with a reader base (however small that readership is).

Thank you.