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

Archive: C


7th July, 2008
Speed reviews: part I
— Love @ 08:43 Comments (1)
Filed under: A-Z Reading Challenge, B, Book Blowout, C, Classics, D, English, GLBT interest, Historical, History, Lifestyle, Mystery, Religion, Romance, Science Fiction, Sex, sexuality & gender, Speed reviews, Swedish, To Be Read, Young Adult

Since I’m sick* and way behind on reviews, I’ve realised the only way to catch up is to make them speed reviews and post a whole batch at once.

The Age of Napoleon; Alistair Horne, eng, 235 British
Interesting, but a little choppily written, and also the author assumes you know certain things and never explains them, while others he explains over and over again.
C

Cold Comfort Farm; Stella Gibbons, eng, 253 British
Funny, though I accidentally didn’t read the preface, so I wasn’t 100 % how much of it was intentional (all of it, as it turns out, and as I suspected). Flora Poste is kind of annoying, but all right all the same.
For the TBR reading challenge and as part of the BBC Big Read.
B

Rebecca; Daphne du Maurier, eng, 410 British
A re-read, not as good as I remembered it, but still lovely. Maxim is both wonderful and creepy.
C

Med uppenbar känsla för stil; Stephan Mendel-Enk, swe, 128 Swedish
Interestingly written about men and what’s considered masculine. References Morrissey at some points, mostly in connection with a man who went berserk and killed people. Lovely… not!
C

Unspeakable Love: Gay and Lesbian Life in the Middle East; Brian Whitaker, swe, 230 British
Interesting, scary and occasionally a little bit hopeful.
C

Ingen behöver veta; Christina Wahldén, swe, 139 Swedish
About male rape and how it does exist, but people find it hard to believe. Kind of a non-ending, but then I suppose that’s sadly the case in most instances of actual male rape also.
C

Ingen grekisk gud, precis; Katarian Kieri, swe, 217 Swedish
Kind of brilliant tale of a young girl who falls for a teacher. Kind of brilliant mostly because the main character is into Morrissey, but for other reasons also. I was a bit worried where it was going to end, but it’s kind of perfect, really.
B

Sandman: The Kindly Ones; Neil Gaiman et al., eng, 335 British
I wouldn’t say Sandman is Gaiman at his best, but I do like the stories and so also in this volume. Not my favourite, though.
For the TBR reading challenge.
C

Doctor Who: The Nightmare of Black Island; Mike Tucker, eng, 255 British
Scary monsters and kiddies with nightmares. I liked it, but not as much as other DW books.
C

Doctor Who: The Art of Destruction; Stephen Cole, eng, 256 British
Farming in Africa, golden statues and creepy aliens. Good, but not great. Doctor’s always nice, though.
C

Doctor Who: The Price of Paradise; Colin Brake, eng, 255 British
References Franz Ferdinand and other pop culture a time or two. Not the best of the DW books I’ve read—I don’t much care for Colin Brake’s style of writing it, though I can’t put my finger on the exact reason.
C

Tro, hopp och burnout; Johan Unenge, swe, 228 Swedish
YA story about a guy who’s really into cars and death metal, who ends up going on a confirmation camp. It’s a decent story, and I was happy to see it didn’t end up quite where I expected it would, but the writing style is very, very choppy and not at all my cup of tea.
For the A-Z reading challenge.
C

Vadå feminist; Lisa Gålmark, swe, 188 Swedish
Basic guide to feminism. I wasn’t too keen on the writing and didn’t like the book all that much. Mostly it made me a little annoyed with the author, though it did contain sections worth thinking about. It bothers me that there is no question mark in the title.
For the A-Z reading challenge.
D

Homofamiljer; Sara Stenholm & Cecilia Strömberg, swe, 312 Swedish
About rainbow families and different ways to get one. Interesting, especially the personal stories, but not fab.
C

*Just a cold, but a bad one. I hate colds. And I’ve run out of Kleenex, which means my nose is very, very sore from regular paper towels. Woe.


5th July, 2008
Torchwood: Something in the Water; Trevor Baxendale
— Love @ 15:20 Comments (0)
Filed under: Book Blowout, C, English, GLBT interest, Science Fiction

Torchwood: Something in the Water; Trevor Baxendale Torchwood: Something in the Water
by Trevor Baxendale
British

English
255 pages
BBC Books
ISBN: 978-1-846-07437-0

First line: The Late Bob Strong.

Back cover blurb:
Dr Bob Strong’s GP surgery has been treating a lot of coughs and colds recently, far more than is normal for the time of year. Bob thinks there’s something up but he can’t think what. He seems to have caught it himself, whatever it is—he’s starting to cough badly and there are flecks of blood in his hanky.

Saskia Harden has been found on a number of occasions submerged in ponds or canals but alive and seemingly none the worse for wear. Saskia is not on any files, except in the medical records at Dr Strong’s GP practice.
But Torchwood’s priorities lie elsewhere: investigating ghostly apparitions in South Wales, they have found a dead body. It’s old and in an advanced state of decay. And it is still able to talk.

And what it is saying is ‘Water hag’…

Thoughts: This isn’t the first of the Torchwood books, but it is the first one I’ve read. I liked it well enough, even if I was freaking out a bit due to the fact that I’ve caught a cold (stupid crowded plane cabins) and was consequently hacking up my lungs as I read it. Now, I don’t know about you, but if I’m reading a book wherein the majority of the characters are suffering from a strange affliction which starts with a tickle in the throat and leads to massive coughing fits, complete with blood and great quantities of green phlegm being expelled, I don’t particularly want to be suffering from a bad cough myself. Not that there are times I would want to be suffering from a bad cough, but y’know, there are degrees of “do not want.”

Apart from the cough coincidence, it was pretty all right. Darker in tone than the Doctor Who books (just like the series is darker and more ‘grown-up’ than DW), but I think I actually prefer the Who books. At least some of them, and possibly not to all of the Torchwood books (time will tell).

My one biggest complaint is that there was much too little of Ianto in this. Ianto Jones is effin’ brilliant, so he deserves more page time than he got here, but what little he did get was pretty snarky, which was nice. I love snarky!Ianto. I also love Jack/Ianto, which there wasn’t much of in this particular book. I am told that there’s more of it in some of the others in the series, though, so I’m not giving up on that yet.

I’m giving this a C rating. Had it had more Jack/Ianto, or just more Ianto, I would have given it a higher rating, most likely, but as it is, a C is just the right one.


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.


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.


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.


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.


25th May, 2008
Heart of Darkness; Joseph Conrad
— Love @ 19:51 Comments (2)
Filed under: C, Classics, Decades '08, English, Historical

No cover image available Heart of Darkness
by Joseph Conrad
British

For the Decades ’08 reading challenge (first published 1902).

English
111 pages
a Project Gutenberg e-book

First line: The Nellie, a cruising yawl, swung to her anchor without a flutter of the sails, and was at rest.

Back cover blurb:
In this tale of colonial exploitation, the narrator, Marlowe, journeys deep into the heart of Africa. But there he encounters Kurtz, an idealist apparently crazed and depraved by his power over the natives, and the meeting prompts Marlowe to reflect on the darkness at the heart of all men.
This text refers to an edition other than the one I read.

Thoughts: I’ve heard this book mentioned again and again, and I’ve always sort of meant to read it, but I’ve never really known anything about it except the title.

This afternoon I took the time to read it and it was an interesting story. Very dark, but I should maybe have clued into that from the title, had I not been a complete idiot. I did find the narrative a little hard to follow at times, but I’m not sure how much that had to do with the format I read it in (e-book), and how much it was due to the actual writing.

Heart of Darkness receives a C rating. It was an okay read, but I had some issues with the flow of narrative, and at times I was made exceedingly uncomfortable by the blatant racism. It’s true that it was written over a hundred years ago, when racism was more accepted, but I’m reading it now, with 21st century sensitivities, and of course that’s going to colour my reading experience.


20th May, 2008
Doctor Who: I Am a Dalek; Gareth Roberts
— Love @ 11:26 Comments (0)
Filed under: Adventure, C, English, Science Fiction

Doctor Who: I Am a Dalek; Gareth Robert Doctor Who: I Am a Dalek
by Gareth Roberts
British

English
106 pages
BBC Books
ISBN: 0-563-48648-1

First line: Rose checked the seal on her space helmet, then she looked across the TARDIS controls to the Doctor.

Back cover blurb:
Equipped with space suits, golf clubs and a flag, the Doctor and Rose are planning to live it up on the Moon, Apollo-mission style. But the TARDIS has other plans, landing them instead in a village on the south coast of England; a picture-postcard sort of place where nothing much happens… until now.

Archaeologists have dug up a Roman mosaic, dating from the year 70 AD. It shows scenes from ancient myths, bunches of grapes—and a Dalek. A few days later a young woman, rushing to get to work, is knocked over and killed by a bus. Then she comes back to life.

It’s not long before all hell breaks loose, and the Doctor and Rose must use all their courage and cunning against an alien enemy—and a not-quite-alien accomplice—who are intent on destroying humanity.

Thoughts: I had a dream a couple of weeks back that I went to a bookstore to pick up some of the Doctor Who novels and I had the tenth Doctor help me look. It was pretty brilliant, to be honest. When I woke up, I went to my favourite online bookstore and ordered two of the Ten/Rose novels that exist. I didn’t want to order too many at once, in case I decided the writing really, really sucked.

I Am a Dalek is one of the two I ordered. I missed that it was a Quick Reads book at first, but it was decent all the same. Being a Quick Reads book, it was a quick read that left me wanting more. I’m giving it a C rating, which would’ve been a B, had it been a regular book.


20th May, 2008
Sent i november; Tove Jansson
— Love @ 11:22 Comments (0)
Filed under: Adventure, C, Children's lit, Fantasy, Swedish

Sent i november; Tove Jansson Sent i november
by Tove Jansson
Finnish

Swedish
164 pages
Alfabeta
ISBN: 91-501-0473-X

First line: En tidig morgon i Mumindalen vaknade Snusmumriken i sitt tält och kände att det var höst och uppbrott i luften.

Back cover blurb:
Det är höst i Mumindalen. För dem som kommer dit ser allting annorlunda ut, inte riktigt som de hade tänkt sig. Och muminfamiljen tycks inte vara hemma. De som samlas i det tomma muminhuset får försöka bo och leva med varandra bäst de kan. Det är Filifjonkan och Hemulen, Mymlan, Onkelskruttet och den lilla homsan Toft. Långt bortifrån kommer Snusmumriken vandrande tillbaka i dalen där han tappat något mycket viktigt. Ute i trädgården ligger den blå glaskulan på sin pelare och speglar stora förändringar medan mörkret blir tätare omkring dem. Och slutligen en kväll börjar en helt liten men stadig ljuspunkt lysa inne i glaskulan.

Thoughts: In this book, we don’t even meet the Moomins. They are off somewhere (probably on the island they relocated to in Pappan och havet), and other characters move into their house in Moomin valley. Again, it’s a bleak and depressing tale, and most of the people populating the story are unappealing. At least Snufkin hangs around for a greater part of the story.

A C grade is what I give this. It’s not that it’s a bad story, exactly, it’s just that compared to Jansson’s earlier works, I don’t like it at all as much.


20th May, 2008
Pappan och havet; Tove Jansson
— Love @ 11:14 Comments (0)
Filed under: Adventure, C, Children's lit, Fantasy, Swedish

No cover image available Pappan och havet
by Tove Jansson
Finnish

Swedish
203 pages
AWE/Gebers
ISBN: 91-20-06402-0

First line: En obestämd eftermiddag i slutet av augusti gick en pappa omkring i sin trädgård och kände sig onödig.

Back cover blurb:
Långt ute i havet låg Ön. Den var så gott som öde. Där fanns en fyr, men den var släckt. På en udde bodde en fiskare, men han teg. Till denna ö förde pappan sin familj, som han ville beskydda och försvara.
Ön var annorlunda. Den var något helt annat än Mumindalen, där allting var som det skulle.
Sanningen att säga höll det på att bli ganska förfärligt på ön. Den var nära att förvandla alla — utom lilla My. Och orsaken var havet, som man inte kunde förstå sig på.
Vad som behövdes var en storm, en bärgningsbragd och att fyren tändes igen. Havet hade kanske dålig karaktär, men det var en bra fiende.
Tror du att denna roman handlar bara om muminfamiljen?
Läs den då en gång till — det gör man gärna — så får du se.

Thoughts: This is the second to last of the Moomin novels and gone are the optimistic and happy tones of the previous installments. It’s bleak and depressing, and my favourite character is missing, which is why I don’t rate this one particularly high. The best Moomin books are Trollkarlens hatt (Finn Family Moomintroll) and Farlig Midsommar (Moominsummer Madness). Well, in my opinion, anyway.

Pappan och havet receives a C grade.


19th May, 2008
Det osynliga barnet; Tove Jansson
— Love @ 23:09 Comments (0)
Filed under: Adventure, C, Children's lit, Fantasy, Swedish

No cover image available Det osynliga barnet
by Tove Jansson
Finnish

Swedish
167 pages
AWE/Gebers
ISBN: 91-20-07544-8

First line: En lugn och molnfri kväll i slutet av april kom Snusmumriken så långt norrut att snöfläckarna låg kvar på nordsidan.

Back cover blurb:
Om Snusmumrikens vårvisa och Ti-ti-too,
Homsans hemska äventyr och mote med lilla My,
Filifjonkan som trodde på katastrofer,
Den sista draken i världen, inte större än en tändsticksask,
Hemulen som älskade tystnad och byggde ett nöjesfält,
Det osynliga barnet som blev synligt igen,
Hatifnattarnas hemlighet,
Den lilla plysch-hunden Cedric med topasögonen,
och om Mumintrollens jul under granen i snön

handlar denna underbara bok för alla åldrar.

Thoughts: This is a collection of short stories all featuring one or more characters from the world of the Moomins. The longest of these is the one about the invisible child, which is also the one that’s given its name to the collection.

It’s not the best of Jansson’s works, but it’s more than decent all the same. A C rating is in order.


14th May, 2008
Ior och hästarna; Renata Wrede
— Love @ 18:08 Comments (1)
Filed under: Biographies, C, Fiction, Swedish

No cover image available Ior och hästarna
by Renata Wrede
Title translated to English: Eeyore and the horses
Swedish

Swedish
133 pages
Forum
ISBN: 91-37-06412-6

First line: Vi låtsas inte om, känns inte vid, vill inte medvetet medge den mänskliga faktorns existens, i alla fall inte hur stark den är, trots att den är det starkaste vi har, den är starkare än vi.

Back cover blurb:
“Kärleken till hästar har många namn: mani, passion, snobbism, dårskap eller lyte”, säger Renata Wrede i denna entusiastiska bok om ett livs hästupplevelser. Själv kallar hon det alltså kärlek.
Ior och hästarna är en lovsång till hästen och prisar samarbetet mellan häst och människa. Den är fylld av glädje och beundran.
Renata Wrede berättar om hästar som hon känt, vårdat, tävlat med eller bara ridit. Hon skildrar hästar med personlighet: Courbette, U-17, Naseva, Herr Hildeberg och andra. Glimtar från krigstidens sjukstall, från tävlingsbanor—Kviberg, Skabersjö, Niinisalo, Rom—från skånska och finska landskap utgör bakgrunden till dessa intensivt livfulla porträtt av hästen som kamrat och medarbetare—och av människorna i sadeln.

Very short synopsis in English: Renata Wrede writes about horses she’s known in her life.

Thoughts: Decent book about one woman’s love of horses. I used to read this kind of book by the dozen when I was younger. A C grade.


13th May, 2008
Ser mitt huvud tjockt ut i den här?; Randa Abdel-Fattah
— Love @ 18:00 Comments (0)
Filed under: C, Fiction, Swedish, Young Adult

Ser mitt huvud tjockt ut i den här?; Randa Abdel-Fattah Ser mitt huvud tjockt ut i den här?
by Randa Abdel-Fattah
Original title: Does My Head Look Big in This?
Australian

Swedish
350 pages
Bonnier Carlsen
ISBN: 978-91-638-5367-8

First line: Det slog mig under ett intensivpass på löpbandet därhemma medan jag tittade på en Vänner-repris för nittonde gången eller så.

Back cover blurb:
High school är tufft nog utan slöja…

Vad ska mina klasskompisar säga när jag kommer till skolan med slöja för första gången? Gissa om de kommer att freaka ut. Det skulle vara lättare att gå in i klassrummet naken. Har jag blivit en religiös fanatiker? Att bli den första tjejen med slöja kommer att stämpla mig som tidernas största loser.

Och vad ska Adam säga?

Amals beslut att bärja [sic] slöja kräver mycket mod. Klarar hon av att stå emot alla fördomar, behålla sina kompisar och få skolans snyggaste kille att tycka att hon är läcker?

Thoughts: I’ve seen this talked about all over the place, so when I randomly saw it at the library, I took it home with me. And it’s a good story. It’s not your typical YA novel in some ways, but in other ways it is completely.

A C grade is reasonable, and I’d say more about it, except I’ve fallen behind on my so-called reviews and when you have fourteen to do to catch up, well, you don’t have the energy to say much about each one (at least I don’t!).


12th May, 2008
Bananflugornas herre; Fredrik Eklund
— Love @ 18:05 Comments (0)
Filed under: C, Fiction, GLBT interest, Swedish

Bananflugornas herre; Fredrik Eklund Bananflugornas herre
by Fredrik Eklund
Title translated to English: Lord of the Fruitflies
Swedish

Swedish
152 pages
Debutantförlaget
ISBN: 91-974438-4-0

First line: “Ever thought of doing movies?”

Back cover blurb:
“Ever thought of doing movies?”

Jag stirrade på skärmen utan att förstå. Avsändaren var Male Eagles. Om mamma eller pappa hade ringt på mobilen och sagt att middagen var klar. Om Joel hade velat gå ut och dricka öl. Om staden bara hade visat mig en enda glimt av vad jag förväntade mig i livet. Då hade jag aldrig gjort porr.

Bananflugornas herre tar oss med på en resa in det förbjudna tillsammans med en sökande och stolt huvudperson. En som vill befria sig från omgivningens konventioner, visa sina fjädrar för hela världen, finna sanningen på sitt sätt. Det är en bok om att skapa sig själv, om utanförskap och homosexualitet, om modet att välja.

Very short synopsis in English: A novel about a young Swedish man, on a journey, both physical and mental, to start doing gay porn in the US.

Thougths: I started this fairly late at night and realised immediately I wouldn’t put it down until I’d finished it. Luckily, it was a pretty short novel, so the impact it had on my sleep was minimal. Minimal is also the impact it has had on me since I finished it. It’s only a week ago as I write this, but I can’t remember the name of the main character no matter how hard I try (it might possibly be Jonas).

It was decent enough, I don’t deny that, but it’s not a book you remember very well after and none of the characters were once I fell completely in love with. Still, it earns a C. Could have been better, but could also have been so much worse.


12th May, 2008
Allting som är trevligt är bra för magen; Tove Jansson
— Love @ 17:54 Comments (1)
Filed under: C, Children's lit, Fiction, Swedish

Allting som är trevligt är bra för magen; Tove Jansson Allting som är trevligt är bra för magen
by Tove Jansson
Finnish

Swedish
92 pages
Schildts
ISBN: 951-50-1301-1

First line: Det är underligt med vägar och floder, funderade Sniff, man ser dem gå förbi och får en hemsk list att vara nån annanstans.

Back cover blurb:
Tove Janssons muminböcker är en outtömlig källa till skratt, insikter och igenkännande. Citaten i Allting som är trevligt är bra för magen är valda ur de åtta textböckerna från Kometen kommer till Sent i november. Citaten speglar varje boks speciella stämning och karaktärer, men samtidigt är de underbart allmängiltiga och träffande. I sin korta form ger de uttryck för den osvikliga humor och livshållning som är muminvärldens särmärke.

Very short synopsis in English: The Moomin-books are a source of many a good quote. Here is a collection of some of them.

Thoughts: A cute collection of quotes from the Moomin books, this gets a C grade.


12th May, 2008
Bögslungan; Per Alexandersson
— Love @ 17:44 Comments (2)
Filed under: C, Fiction, GLBT interest, Swedish, Young Adult

Bögslungan; Per Alexandersson Bögslungan
by Per Alexandersson
Swedish

Swedish
136 p
LL-förlaget
ISBN: 978-91-7053-187-3

First line: Max ligger helt utmattad i sin säng, med huvudet djupt i kudden.

Back cover blurb:
Det är veckan innan nian slutar. Nu händer allt. Bråk ställs på sin spets och kompisar blir fiender. Det gäller att inte bära väskan på fel sätt, ha på sig fel kläder eller säga något klumpigt. Minsta felsteg och du går från cool till mobbad. När Max äntligen får en tjej blir han lycklig, men är han verkligen kär i henne?

Max blir livrädd när han börjar tänka för mycket på Niklas. Är han bög?!

Very short synopsis in English: It’s one week until the end of ninth grade and it’s never been as important to fit in as it is now. Max fights with his best friend, gets a girlfriend and starts to have strange feelings for Niklas, the bullied kid in school.

Thoughts: This was the winner in a contest held by LL-förlaget, a publisher specialising in books that are easy to read, for those who perhaps aren’t that good at reading (yet). The reason I read it was because it came up when I did a search on ‘homosexuality’ in the library database. It was so new, apparently, that they hadn’t even had time to put in in the ‘Just in’ case.

It’s a pretty cute story, but nothing terribly special, so the rating is a C one.


11th May, 2008
Atonement; Ian McEwan
— Love @ 16:31 Comments (3)
Filed under: C, English, Historical

Atonement; Ian McEwan Atonement
by Ian McEwan
British

English
481 pages
Anchor Books
ISBN: 978-0-307-38884-1

First line: The play—for which Briony had designed the posters, programs and tickets, constructed the sales booth out of a folding screen tipped on its side, and lined the collection box in red crêpe paper—was written by her in a two-day tempest of composition, causing her to miss a breakfast and a lunch.

Back cover blurb:
On a summer day in 1935, young Briony Tallis witnesses a moment’s flirtation between her older sister, Cecilia, and Robbie Turner, the son of a servant. But Briony’s misunderstanding of adult motives and her precocious imagination bring about a crime that will change all their lives, a crime whose repercussions Atonement follows through the chaos and carnage of World War II and into the close of the 20th century.

Thoughts: My god, this novel made me sad. It was good, though, if a little slow to get into. I much preferred part two over part one, because that one covered ground more quickly. Part one tells the events of two or three days, while part two tells the events of at least a couple of months. I’m not a huge fan of all that slow stuff, to be honest.

The rating is a C. It would have been higher if I’d enjoyed the language more.

I’m still trying to decide if I should watch the film. Part of me wants to, but part of me is also very much anti Keira Knightley, which is making watching the film seem like less of a good idea.


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

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

For the A-Z reading challenge.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


5th March, 2008
Nu heter jag Nirak; Peter Pohl
— Love @ 21:21 Comments (1)
Filed under: C, Fiction, Swedish, YA Challenge 2008, Young Adult

Nu heter jag Nirak; Peter Pohl Nu heter jag Nirak
by Peter Pohl
Title translated to English: Now My Name is Nirak
Swedish

For the Young Adult reading challenge.

Swedish
240 pages
Alfabeta
ISBN: 978-91-501-0787-6

First line: Jag, ett damm, irrande i bländljusa stråk, vilse så som allting annat då, innan tiden föddes, innan rummet slöts inom sina gränser.

Back cover blurb:
Vuxenvärlden störtar sig över Karin, snart fjorton. Hon som inte ens hunnit släppa sin låtsassyster Nirak. Och vad hjälper Niraks röst när förälskelsen slår till, förblindar tonåringen Karin som handlöst kastar sig in i en kärlekshistoria där många borde veta bättre och se vad som händer. Men de vuxna väljer att inte se och själv vet hon bara vad hon känner och vill. Och Nirak kan inget göra.

Very short synopsis in English: Karin is about to turn fourteen, and still has an imaginary friend, when her mother brings home her new boyfriend. Karin falls, fast and hard, for her mother’s boyfriend, who responds in kind. The world around them stops mattering to Karin and no one seems to see what’s going on. No one, that is, except Nirak, the imaginary friend.

Thoughts: I didn’t particularly like this book. Partly because the writing style wasn’t exactly up my street, partly because I was squicked, time and time again, by the sex scenes (and some others. Seriously, I don’t really want to read about a man doing sit-ups clad only in a thong. No, no, no and yet more no!). It’s a rather unappealing topic to start with and I was definitely uncomfortable reading about it as it was described here. Maybe if the writing style had been different, I would have liked the book better (I would still have been uncomfortable. I don’t think I could not be, given the subject matter). As it is, I’m giving the book a C rating. Partly for the reasons outlined above, partly because there was no character in the book that didn’t want me stab myself in the eye out of sheer annoyance.


5th March, 2008
Lost in Austen; Emma Campbell Webster
— Love @ 13:44 Comments (1)
Filed under: A-Z Reading Challenge, C, English, Historical, Romance

Lost in Austen; Emma Campbell Webster Lost in Austen
by Emma Campbell Webster
British

For the A-Z reading challenge.

English
348 pages
Riverhead Books
ISBN: 978-1-59448-258-8

First line: It is a truth universally acknowledged that a young Austen heroine must be in want of a husband, and you are no exception.

Back cover blurb:
Your name: Elizabeth Bennet. Your mission: to marry both prudently and for love, avoiding family scandal. Equipped with only your sharp wit, natural good sense, and tolerable beauty, you must navigate your way through a variety of decisions that will determine your own romantic (and financial) fate. Ever wonder what would happen if Elizabeth accepted Mr. Darcy’s proposal the first time around? Or ran from his arms into those of Persuasion‘s Captain Wentworth? Now is your chance to find out.

Lost in Austen: Create Your Own Austen Adventure begins in Pride and Prejudice, but your decisions along the way will lead you into the plots of Austen’s other works, and even newly imagined territory.

Lost in Austen is a labyrinth of love and lies, scandals and scoundrels, misfortune and marriages that will delight and challenge any Austen lover. Will Elizabeth succeed in her mission? It’s all up to you.

Thoughts: The premise here is quite entertaining and Webster pulls it off well enough, though sometimes I found her a little too insulting of the reader. That might possibly just be me taking offence where I shouldn’t, though.

I think I shall definitely have to play through the book at least once more, as this time around I stuck pretty faithfully to the plot of Pride and Prejudice, except for a few forays into the worlds of Emma and Jane Austen: A Life/Becoming Jane.

A fun idea, all in all, but not the best book I’ve ever had in my hands, so I find it merits a C, but not more. If Webster hadn’t been so insulting, a B might have been the order of the day, but as it appears that I am quite quick to be wounded to the core (well, not quite), that was not to be.


4th March, 2008
Sanna historier om andra världskriget; Paul Dowswell
— Love @ 13:08 Comments (1)
Filed under: A-Z Reading Challenge, C, History, Non-fiction, Swedish, Young Adult

Sanna historier om andra världskriget; Paul Dowswell Sanna historier om andra världskriget
by Paul Dowswell
Original title: True Stories of the Second World War
British

For the A-Z challenge.

Swedish
160 pages
Historiska Media
ISBN: 91-85057-78-9

First line: Trots att det nu gått mer än sextio år sedan andra världskriget rasade kommer det hela tiden nya filmer, tv-dokumentärer och böcker om kriget som vittnar om ett fortsatt starkt intresse för kriget.

Back cover blurb:
Sanna historier om andra världskriget berättar om några av de mest hjältemodiga, mest katastrofala och några av de mest avgörande händelserna under andra världskriget. Paul Dowswell förmedlar en stark känsla av det lidande människor drabbades av, men också av det med som många soldater och civila visade. Berättelserna skildrar olika sidor av kriget; de spektakulära sjöslagen mellan jättelika krigsfartyg, de stora drabbningarna mellan arméer med hundratusentals man, dueller mellan fientliga prickskyttar och ensamma individers kamp när de ställs inför en nästan säker död.

Thoughts: What a waste of human life is war. Especially the sort of modern warfare that was first seen in the first and second world wars. With a machine gun (or a hundred…), where’s the need for man-to-man combat? With the atom bomb? It’s really, really terrifying. Not that man-to-man combat with swords, bayonets and rifles, as of old, isn’t horrifying in its own right (I can’t decide if I think it more or less brutal than the impersonality of modern war).

While an interesting subject, Dowswell’s writing leaves something to be desired, so the rating ends up nothing more than a C.


2nd March, 2008
Dragon’s Bait; Vivian Vande Velde
— Love @ 19:36 Comments (3)
Filed under: A-Z Reading Challenge, C, English, Fantasy, Here Be Dragons, Young Adult

Dragon's Bait; Vivian Vande Velde Dragon’s Bait
by Vivian Vande Velde
American

For the Here Be Dragons and A-Z challenges.

English
196 pages
Magic Carpet Books
ISBN: 0-15-216663-7

First line: The day Alys was accused of being a witch started out like any other.

Back cover blurb:
It is going to eat her… All because the villagers in her town think she is a witch and have staked her out on a hillside as a sacrifice.
It’s late, it’s cold, and it’s raining, and Alys can think of only one thing—revenge. But first she’s got to escape, and even if she does, how can one girl possibly take on an entire town alone?
Then the dragon arrives—a dragon that could quite possibly be the perfect ally…

Thoughts: This book was by no means brilliant, but it was good enough to pass an hour or two with. My favourite thing about it is that Alys finds out that maybe revenge isn’t really the best solution to things. A grade of a C seems reasonable enough.1

1. Can you tell I’m really tired? I mean, I know I don’t usually write a lot, and never anything profound, but this quite possibly takes the cake even for me.


2nd March, 2008
När kommer du tillbaka?; Marika Kolterjahn
— Love @ 19:21 Comments (1)
Filed under: A-Z Reading Challenge, C, Fiction, Swedish, YA Challenge 2008, Young Adult

När kommer du tillbaka?; Marika Kolterjahn När kommer du tillbaka?
by Marika Kolterjahn
Title translated to English: When Are You Coming Back?
Swedish

For the Young Adult and A-Z reading challenges.

Swedish
202 pages
Tiden förlag
ISBN: 91-88879-77-1

First line: Innan jag hunnit längta eller ens tänka på det är tiden inne att flytta hemifrån.

Back cover blurb:
“Vi sätter oss på några stenar och ser ut över en åker. Vi sitter där bredvid varandra och är tysta en stund. Hon har gett mig mycket att tänka på. Jag tänker: Vad rädd hon har blivit, för ensamhet, för människor, för livet utanför hemmet. Nu litar hon på mig. Nu tar hon tag i mig. Tänk om jag inte kan leva upp till hennes förväntningar? Tänk om jag sviker henne?”

När Johanna börjar gymnasiet i stan blir hon vän med Magda, en tyst och tillbakadragen tjej som har det tufft med sig själv. Johanna vill hjälpa henne, men vill Magda ha hennes hjälp? Eller tycker hon bara att Johanna är skitjobbig?

Very short synopsis in English: Johanna moves from her childhood home to start high school. In her class is Magda, a quiet and introverted girl who quite obviously is not doing too great. Johanna tries to help her and pull her out of her shell, but are her efforts at all appreciated or does Magda think she’s just a pain in the arse?

Thoughts: I read Marika Kolterjahn’s first book a couple of years back and thought it was decent. Not much more, but then there’s not much lesbian young adult fiction out there at all, so it doesn’t do to be too choosy. For that reason I decided I wanted to read this other book of her’s. As it turned out, this is just young adult fiction, not lesbian young adult fiction, and so I felt that it does do to be, if not too choosy, then at least choosier. Quite honestly, Marika Kolterjahn isn’t the best of writers, in my opinion. She’s not outright bad, though, she’s just boring. Her wife is much better.

One good thing did come out of reading this book — I have now read eleven of my twelve picks for the YA challenge. Only one more to go, in other words. This one gets a C. It doesn’t deserve much more than that. Not much less either, for that matter.


20th February, 2008
Duty and Desire; Pamela Aidan
— Love @ 14:34 Comments (5)
Filed under: A-Z Reading Challenge, C, English, Historical, Romance

Duty and Desire; Pamela Aidan Duty and Desire
by Pamela Aidan
American

For the A-Z reading challenge.

English
304 pages
Touchstone
ISBN: 978-0-7432-9136-1

First line: Darcy recited the collect for the first Sunday in Advent, his prayer book closed upon his thumb as he stood alone in his family’s pew at St. ——‘s.

Back cover blurb:
Jane Austen’s classic novel Pride and Prejudice is beloved by millions, but little is revealed in the book about the mysterious and handsome hero, Mr. Darcy. And so the question has long remained: Who is Fitzwilliam Darcy?
Pamela Aidan’s trilogy finally answers that long-standing question, creating a rich parallel story that follows Darcy as he meets and falls in love with Elizabeth Bennet. Duty and Desire, the second book in the trilogy, covers the “silent time” of Austen’s novel, revealing Darcy’s private struggle to overcome his attraction to Elizabeth while fulfilling his roles as landlord, master, brother, and friend.
When Darcy pays an old visit to an old classmate in Oxford in an attempt to shake Elizabeth from his mind, he is set upon by husband-hunting society ladies and ne’er-do-well friends from his university days, all with designs on him—some for good and some for ill. He and his sartorial genius of a valet, Fletcher, must match wits with them all, but especially with the curious Lady Sylvanie.

Thoughts: If you remember, I quite liked the first book in this series, which I read back in January. This continuation, however, I was not quite as fond of. Aidan’s Darcy, when completely away from Lizzy, is not as captivating as her version of Darcy when he has to struggle to keep his thoughts in check in her presence.

Fletcher, his valet, I do still quite like. He takes a few liberties and makes enough hints that I am pretty sure he knows where things are heading, even when Darcy does not. I even have a few suspicions as to the identity of his future wife’s current employer.

Even though I did not much like this book, I still intend to read the third, and final, installment of the trilogy. Lizzy is coming back for that, after all, and I am quite looking forward to how Aidan writes the disastrous first proposal and Darcy’s reactions to Lizzy in Derbyshire.

The first installment received a B grade and this one receives a C. I hope the next one manages at least a B, because I would be sad if it didn’t, when the first was so promising.


27th January, 2008
Som jag vill vara; Katarina von Bredow
— Love @ 15:17 Comments (0)
Filed under: A-Z Reading Challenge, C, Fiction, Swedish, YA Challenge 2008, Young Adult

Som jag vill vara; Katarina von Bredow Som jag vill vara
by Katarina von Bredow
Swedish

For the Young Adult and A-Z reading challenges.

Swedish
282 pages
Rabén & Sjögren
ISBN: 978-91-29-66699-1

First line:
Det blev inte precis som hon tänkt sig.

Back cover blurb:
Arvid kommer till festen för hennes skull. Det påstår i alla fall Jessicas bästis Louise, och hon brukar veta. Med fjärilar i magen och dunkande hjärta beger sig Jessica dit, och visst, han är där! De dansar och pratar och det ena leder till det andra. Efteråt är Jessica rädd att han bara var ute efter att få henne i säng, men så är det inte. Arvid är verkligen den hon hoppats, och allt är så bra det bara kan vara. Ända tills mensen inte kommer som den ska…

Thoughts: I’ve read all of Katarina von Bredow’s previous books (well, except the two written for kids, rather than teens) and one of them is a favourite that I re-read whenever I need a good comfort book. Her later books have not been at all as good, but I still make sure to get my hands on anything new she’s had published. Som jag vill vara is her latest.

It tells the tale of Jessica, a girl of fifteen, who goes to a party where another guest is the guy she’s had a crush on for months. As it turns out, he quite likes her too, and one thing leads to another and they end up in bed together. She worries for a while that that’s going to be it for them, that he doesn’t want anything more. He does, of course, and everything is fine and dandy until her period is late. Everyone tries to get her to have an abortion, but she’s at first reluctant, later determined not to have one, and that’s what the rest of the book is about.

Everything is either black or white for the characters involved, it seems, and a lot of them come across as being rather preachy, which put me off the book a little. Jessica, the main character, feels very strongly about her point of view, but does bring up a good point at one time, which is something none of the other characters really do.

The ending is a pretty happy one, and maybe I am a cynic (actually, I am!), but I don’t feel that the happy ending is going to last. A year or two down the road, and everything is likely to be in shambles. I’m not hoping that it’s going to be like that, but it seems likelier than the other possibility.

Not one of von Bredow’s better books, then, which shows in the C rating. That it even ended up with a rating that high is because it was a quick read and I did get pulled into the story, even if I wanted to strangle most of the characters most of the time.


20th January, 2008
A Tale of a Tub; Jonathan Swift
— Love @ 18:45 Comments (3)
Filed under: A-Z Reading Challenge, C, Classics, Decades '08, English

A Tale of a Tub; Jonathan Swift A Tale of a Tub
by Jonathan Swift
Irish

For the Decades ’08 (first published 1704) and A-Z reading challenges.

English
132 pages
a Project Gutenberg e-book

First line: My LORD, Though the author has written a large Dedication, yet that being addressed to a Prince whom I am never likely to have the honour of being known to; a person, besides, as far as I can observe, not at all regarded or thought on by any of our present writers; and I being wholly free from that slavery which booksellers usually lie under to the caprices of authors, I think it a wise piece of presumption to inscribe these papers to your Lordship, and to implore your Lordship’s protection of them.

Back cover blurb: n/a

Thoughts: I really quite enjoyed this book, though I am well aware that I am missing out on a lot of references and things that would have made it even more enjoyable, had I lived in the day and age that it was published (that is to say, just over three hundred years ago). It’s amazing, though, how some things work even centuries after their first conception.

A C rating this time, because it was in parts a little hard to get through (I have to admit to skipping a paragraph or two of the digressions).

This is the second book I’ve read for the Decades challenge, and since the first was published in 1980, I now have quite some work to do to tie the two up (that is to say, I need to read one book from each decade between the two) . I’m quite looking forward to that, though!


15th January, 2008
Boy Meets Boy; David Levithan
— Love @ 21:00 Comments (3)
Filed under: A-Z Reading Challenge, C, English, GLBT interest, Humour, Romance, YA Challenge 2008, Young Adult

Boy Meets Boy Boy Meets Boy
by David Levithan
American

For the Young Adult and A-Z reading challenges.

English
185 pages
Random House
ISBN: 0-375-83299-8

First line: 9 P.M. on a November Saturday.

Back cover blurb:
Love is never easy. Especially if you’re Paul. He’s a sophomore at a high school like no other—and these are his friends:
Infinite Darlene, the homecoming queen and star quarterback
Joni, Paul’s best friend who may not be his best friend anymore
Tony, his other best friend, who can’t leave the house unless his parents think he’s going on a date… with a girl
Kyle, the ex-boyfriend who won’t go away
Rip, the school bookie, who sets the odds…
And Noah, The Boy. The one who changes everything.

Thoughts: I don’t quite know what to say about this book. I liked it well enough—it was short, sweet and quite funny—but I feel a complaint coming on, and one that’s going to make you roll your eyes at me. Remember how I often gripe about the bleak and depressing nature of a lot of gay-related stories? Well, I’m just about to take issue with one being too upbeat and positive. There seems to be no way to win!

The thing is, though, that while the town that Paul lives in is quite fun to read about and rather cute, it’s too perfect. It would be great if there were a town like his, but I think we’re a long way from that, still. Sadly enough.

Let’s face it, though: we don’t always ask for complete realism from short YA novels. In other words, I’m giving it a C rating, because it’s what I think it deserves. A little more realism (with the same basic plot/romance) and it’d have been a B or a C, depending on the language and characters. No one really clicked with me, like other literary characters have in the past, but if I had to pick one that moved me more than the others, I would pick Tony. He seemed the most realistic to me.


4th January, 2008
Flambards in Summer; KM Peyton
— Love @ 15:11 Comments (2)
Filed under: A-Z Reading Challenge, C, English, Historical, Young Adult

Flambards in Summer; KM Peyton Flambards in Summer
by KM Peyton
British

For the A-Z Reading Challenge.

English
188 pages
Oxford University Press
ISBN: 978-0-19-275054-9

First line: The RFC ditty with the sad tune, which Christina had sung several times with Will and his friends when he had been home on leave, would not leave her head.

Back cover blurb:
Widowed at twenty-one, Christina has returned to Flambards to find much has changed. The First World War is well underway, with Uncle Russell and her beloved Will both dead, while Mark is missing, presumed killed. Flambards itself is run-down, neglected and completely overgrown.

Christina vows to return the manor house to its former glory, and works hard to transform the home of her childhood. It is only when a familiar face appears at her door one day that she realizes that Flambards may even bring her love again…

Thoughts: This is the third of four books about Flambards and I finished it in one sitting. Like the previous books in the series, it’s a nice enough read and, while still considered YA, decidedly more adult than the other two.

While I don’t like it quite as much as Flambards (which I think is my favourite of the four), I still give it a C rating.


3rd January, 2008
The Edge of the Cloud; KM Peyton
— Love @ 23:43 Comments (0)
Filed under: A-Z Reading Challenge, C, English, Historical, Young Adult

The Edge of the Cloud; KM Peyton The Edge of the Cloud
by KM Peyton
British

For the A-Z Reading Challenge.

English
181 pages
Oxford University Press
ISBN: 978-0-19-275023-5

First line: ‘We’ve eloped,’ Christina said to Aunt Grace.

Back cover blurb:
Christina and Will have escaped Flambards for London with their heads full of dreams, only to find a whole new set of problems. Not only the basic ones of work and a place to live, but Will’s single-minded ambition to design and pilot flying machines, which terrify Christina every time he leaves the ground. Will is certain he can become a success, but what price is he willing to pay for the glory?

Thoughts: This is the sequel to Flambards and has less horses (and a lot more air-borne machinery). It reads as a logical continuation of Christina’s and Will’s story and earns itself another of those C ratings I seem so fond of dealing out of late.


3rd January, 2008
Flambards; KM Peyton
— Love @ 19:52 Comments (0)
Filed under: A-Z Reading Challenge, C, English, First in a Series, Historical, YA Challenge 2008, Young Adult

Flambards; KM Peyton Flambards
by KM Peyton
British

For the First in a Series, Young Adult and A-Z reading challenges.

English
220 pages
Oxford University Press
ISBN: 978-0-19-271955-3

First line: The fox was running easily.

Back cover blurb:
Christina is sent to live with her uncle and his two sons in their country house, Flambards.

She finds her uncle fierce and domineering and her cousin Mark arrogant and selfish. But Flambards isn’t all bad, for Christina soon discovers a passion for horse-riding and forms a binding friendship with her cousin Will.

As time goes by Christina comes to realize the important part she has to play in this emotionally-charged and strange household.

Thoughts: Oh, it’s been absolute ages since I’ve read any horse-y books! I used to be quite crazy about them when I was younger, just as I was crazy about everything else related to horses.

It is a nice book, though. I quite like it still, even if perhaps not quite so much as previously. A C is in order—I spent a couple of hours curled up with it, time which I don’t begrudge it, and I have no objection to (re-)reading the rest of the series, but it’s not absolutely fantastic.


30th December, 2007
A Son Called Gabriel; Damian McNicholl
— Love @ 03:09 Comments (0)
Filed under: C, English, Fiction, GLBT interest, Personal challenges

A Son Called Gabriel; Damian McNicholl A Son Called Gabriel
by Damian McNicholl
Irish

For the End of Year Mini Challenge.

English
346 pages
CDS Books
ISBN: 1-59315-231-0

First line: The choice was school or the big stick and seemed easy to make.

Back cover blurb:
Set in the hills of Northern Ireland in the 1960’s and 70’s, A Son Called Gabriel is a deeply felt and often funny coming-of-age novel that is ultimately unforgettable.
Gabriel Harkin, the eldest of four children in a working-class family, struggles through a loving yet often brutal childhood. It’s a turbulent time in Ulster, and in the staunchly Catholic community to which Gabriel belongs, the rigid code for belief and behavior is clear. As Gabriel begins to suspect that he’s not like other boys, he tries desperately to lock away his feelings, and his fears. But secrets have a way of being discovered, and Gabriel learns that his might not be the only one in the Harkin family.

Thoughts: It took me a while to finish this book because it wasn’t one of those that immediately grabs you and keeps your attention focused on it, and it alone, until you’ve turned the last page. It was good, though, in a quiet and slightly bleak sort of way.

Everyone was very, very Catholic, even if the main character had issues with religion at points, and one of the better bits was actually uttered by one of many, many priests featured in the story. In any other book, I would not have approved of what he said, but in this particular tome his voice felt like one of reason and one of acceptance and almost tolerance. Funny what a little bit of perspective can do, isn’t it?

Speaking of religion, I don’t know the reason behind it, but for some reason my copy of the book arrived with a business card, telling me that everyone breaks at least one of the Christian Ten Commandments pretty much every day and urging me to read the Bible daily, stuck in it. Weird that. Especially since the message was printed in reverse and you had to hold it up in front of a mirror to be able to read it properly (I was able to read it even without the mirror—I’m not stupid, or blind (yet)—but a mirror certainly made it easier).

Anyway, I digress. The final rating of the book is a C. It was good, I do think so, but it wasn’t great and it wasn’t brilliant and it got me down a little, because there did not seem to be any chance at all of the main character for accepting himself for who he was.


23rd December, 2007
Darcy’s Story; Janet Aylmer
— Love @ 13:14 Comments (1)
Filed under: C, English, Historical, Romance

Darcy's Story; Janet Aylmer Darcy’s Story
by Janet Aylmer
British

English
277 pages
Harper Collins
ISBN: 0-06-114870-9

First line: It is a consequence of possessing an income of ten thousand pounds a year that a man may order his life to his own liking, and chose his own society.

Back cover blurb:
Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice has long stood among the most beloved novels of all time. The story of Elizabeth Bennet’s blossoming romance with “haughty, reserved and fastidious” Fitzwilliam Darcy has enchanted readers for nearly two centuries. Yet, Mr Darcy has always remained an intriguing enigma—his thoughts, feelings, and motivations hidden behind a cold, impenetrable exterior… until now.
With the utmost respect for Austen’s original masterwork, author Janet Aylmer lovingly retells Pride and Prejudice from a bold new perspective: seeing events as they transpire through the eyes of Darcy himself. One of the world’s great love stories takes on breathtaking new life, and one of fiction’s greatest romantic heroes becomes even more sympathetic, compelling, attractive, and accessible, all through the imagination and artistry of a truly gifted storyteller.

Thoughts: When I was fourteen, I discovered Austen-inspired fanfiction online. It’s been a long time since I last read any, but upon browsing a few book blogs a couple of months ago, I was reminded of the published and printed fanfiction that is out there. Darcy’s Story is the first of these that I read and, while I can’t say that it was absolutely and utterly fantastic, it was a decent read. I minded a bit that certain parts were repetetive in the extreme, and I thought the style of writing was a bit far from Austen’s own, but on the whole, the book still earns itself a C.


22nd December, 2007
Austenland; Shannon Hale
— Love @ 14:24 Comments (0)
Filed under: C, Chick lit, English

Austenland; Shannon Hale Austenland
by Shannon Hale
American

English
197 pages
Bloomsbury
ISBN: 1-59691-285-5

First line: It is a truth universally acknowledged that a thirty-something woman in possession of a satisfying career and fabulous hairdo must be in want of very little, and Jane Hayes, pretty enough and clever enough, was certainly thought to have little to distress her.

Back cover blurb:
Jane Hayes is a seemingly normal young New Yorker, but she has a secret. Her obsession with Mr. Darcy, as played by Colin Firth in the BBC adaption of Pride and Prejudice, is ruining her life. No real man can compare.
When a wealthy relative bequeaths her a trip to an English resort catering to Austen-crazed women, Jane’s fantasies of meeting the perfect Regency-era gentleman suddenly become realer than she ever could have imagined. Decked out in empire-waist gowns, stripped of her modern appliances, Jane throws herself into mastering Regency etiquette and flirts with gardeners and gentlemen—or maybe even, she suspects, with the actors who are playing them.
It’s all a game, Jane knows. And yet the longer she stays, the more her insecurities seem to vanish. Is she about to kick the Austen obsession for good, or could all her dreams actually culminate in a Mr. Darcy of her own?

Thoughts: I rarely, if ever, read pure chick lit, but I have to admit I have a soft spot for more or less anything Austen-related, so I felt I had to read this book (though I think I might have confused it with another Austen-inspired novel). It wasn’t too bad, but it wasn’t fantastic either. There was a little bit uncertainty on how it would end, but just a little. Still, I admit I got caught up in the story after a while and was quite happy with the ending, although I felt it was maybe a little bit too perfect. Some endings are like that.

A C this time, not so much for the writing itself, which was pretty boring, but for the character Mr. Nobley, who quite managed to win me over. Which I suppose was pretty much the whole point of the book.

Also, I would like to add that I am in no way ashamed about my own Colin Firth-as-Mr. Darcy obsession, thankyouverymuch.


18th December, 2007
Ut ur skuggan; Jessica Kolterjahn
— Love @ 13:54 Comments (1)
Filed under: B, C, GLBT interest, Historical, Swedish

Ut ur skuggan; Jessica Kolterjahn Ut ur skuggan
by Jessica Kolterjahn
Swedish

Swedish
257 pages
Månpocket
ISBN: 978-91-7001-533-5

First line: Minne: Jag spelade piano.

Back cover blurb:
Jag fotograferar. Det är det enda som känns som om det är mitt eget. Allt annat är någon annans. Någon annans val.

Agnes växer upp i en rik överklassfamilj i Stockholm under 1920- och 30-talen. Hemmet är kyligt och kärlekslöst och Agnes liv präglas av längtan. Hon längtar efter ett eget liv, efter att få göra något meningsfullt, efter att bli älskad.

Först när hon får en kamera av sin morfar börjar hon känna sig hel. Genom den upptäcker hon världen på ett nytt sätt och får en egen identitet.

Steg för steg bryter Agnes sin isolering. Hon umgås med spännande människor i ett Stockholm som sjuder av jazz, politiska motsättningar och sexuell frigörelse. Hon får uppleva kärleken – både den förbjudna och den socialt accepterade.

Agnes väljer att gå sin egen väg, men till slut inser hon att hon aldrig kan glömma sitt livs stora kärlek.

Thoughts: A couple of years ago I read a book by Marika Kolterjahn, who is married to Jessica ditto (I think it’s quite neat with an author couple, I must admit). That was a young adult tale of a girl discovering her sexuality. This novel deals with more or less the same topic, but is written for adults and, in my opinion, the better of the two. There was something here, something I couldn’t quite put my finger on, that kept me reading until I’d turned the last page, which ended more or less where I felt the story should end.

On the whole, a good book, and one well deserving a B rating.


18th December, 2007
Ge aldrig upp; Michael Alonzo
— Love @ 13:44 Comments (0)
Filed under: Biographies, C, Swedish

Ge aldrig upp; Michael Alonzo Ge aldrig upp
by Michael Alonzo
Swedish

Swedish
239 pages
Frank förlag
ISBN: 978-91-858565-00-0

First line: Jag sprang in på apoteket.

Back cover blurb:
I Ge aldrig upp berättar Michael Alonzo, den förre sångaren i kultpunkbandet KSMB samt Stockholms negrer, sin egen historia. Det är berättelsen om hur han lever med en kvinna som utåt sätt är kärleksfull och god, men som inom hemmets väggar snart visar sig vara en djävul — en kvinna som slår och misshandlar sin man. När hon senare väntar parets barn bestämmer hon sig dessutom för att hon inte vill ha Michael som far, varpå hon kidnappar pojken och försvinner.

Naket och självutlämnade berättar Michael Alonzo om hur han av sonens mamma blir fråntagen rätten att träffa sin son. Och vi får därefter följa den svåra kampen för att få honom åter.

Thoughts: This book is interesting in that it tells the tale of a man who was physically and verbally abused by his wife. It’s not often you hear stories like that, and some people even refuse to believe that such cases exist. Alonzo, whose tale it is, really had to struggle, not only with having been abused and had his son stolen away, but with not being believed and almost being ridiculed for what he had experienced.

At some points during the book, I was almost boiling with rage, because it was all so completely unfair. If you are a man, and you are a father, and you’ve fallen out with the mother of your child(ren), it’s almost impossible to win back your rights to spend time with your child.

The book could have been better, but it still earns itself a C.


6th December, 2007
The Rules of Modern Policing: 1973 Edition; DCI Gene Hunt (Guy Adams & Lee Thompson)
— Love @ 11:08 Comments (0)
Filed under: C, English, Humour

The Rules of Modern Policing: 1973 Edition; DCI Gene Hunt (Guy Adams & Lee Thompson) The Rules of Modern Policing: 1973 Edition
by DCI Gene Hunt (Guy Adams and Lee Thompson)
British

English
128 pages
Bantam Press
ISBN: 9780593060209

First line: Sit down, shut up and pay attention.

Back cover blurb: n/a

Thoughts: I know you’re not supposed to take this book seriously, but it didn’t amuse me quite as much as I’d hoped it would either. However, I do love me some Gene Hunt and photos of the man himself is always a plus, so a C it is.


5th December, 2007
While England Sleeps; David Leavitt
— Love @ 18:25 Comments (0)
Filed under: C, English, GLBT interest, Historical

While England Sleeps; David Leavitt While England Sleeps
by David Leavitt
American

English
309 pages
Abacus Fiction
ISBN: 0-349-10953-2

First line: In the early 1950s, history and politics conspired to create a circumstance in which it was impossible for me to ply my chosen trade—namely, writing.

Back cover blurb:
At a meeting of republican sympathisers in London, Brian Botsford, a young middle-class writer and Cambridge graduate, meets Edward Phelan, an idealistic self-educated London Underground worker. They share a mutual attraction. Across the divisions of class they begin an affair in secrecy.
But Edward possesses ‘an unproblematic capacity to accept’ Brian and the love that dare not speak its name, whereas Brian is more cautious and under family pressure agrees to be set up with a suitable young woman. Pushed to the point of crisis, Edward threatens to volunteer to fight Franco in Spain.
In While England Sleeps, David Leavitt, highly praised for his precisely observed portrayal of the complexity of intimate relationships, depicts the violent drama of war and forbidden love in a historical novel of great resonance and breadth.

Thoughts: I’ve read one other book by Leavitt (The Lost Language of Cranes) and since I really liked that, I was prepared to be swept off my feet by this one, especially given that it’s set in 1930’s England with commies and queers. Really, I thought, there was no way I could not like it. Well, as it turns out, I was wrong.

At first, I really struggled with it. I found the language a little irritating and not at all fitting the story (I guess I had a bit of a problem with how this American author wrote a British middle-class man, even if said man had lived in the US for decades), so I put it down and I didn’t touch it for a little over a week. Then I started again and I suddenly found myself dragged in and not bothered by the language much at all.

Of course, though, being a story of commies (though not as much as I’d thought) and queers, it was doom, doom, DOOM all the way through. I wonder why I ever think it’s going to turn out differently?

Like I said, it won me around a little by the end, but not enough to earn it more than a C.


21st November, 2007
Mitt brinnande hjärta; Tasso Stafilidis
— Love @ 15:16 Comments (0)
Filed under: Biographies, C, GLBT interest, Swedish

Mitt brinnande hjärta; Tasso Stafilidis Mitt brinnande hjärta
by Tasso Stafilidis
Swedish

Swedish
234 pages
Normal förlag
ISBN: 91-855505-13-7

First line: Det är tidig höst på Fredriksdalsskolan i Helsingborg.

Back cover blurb:
Mitt brinnande hjärta är Tasso Stafilidis personliga resa genom politiken och teatern. Det är en självutlämnande bok om rättsröta och rättspatos, men också om svikna ideal och slitig vardaglig kamp för förändring. Tasso Stafilidis berättar om hatbrev och mordhot, priset han fått betala för att vara öppet homosexuell och riksdagsledamot.

Mitt brinnande hjärta ger också en unik inblick bakom kulisserna i vänsterpartiet och striden om det kommunistiska arvet. En strid som innebar att Tasso, som tagit avstånd från kommunismen redan som 15-åring, förlorade sin riksdagsplats och till slut lämnade partiet helt och hållet efter 22 år.

I boken får vi också läsa om den rapport som Tasso Stafilidis skrev om homosexuellas situation i Iran, med uppgifter om den svenska ambassaden i Teheran som tidigare inte framkommit.

Thoughts: I have to admit I am a little disappointed in this book. It’s going to sound weird, especially since the biggest reason I wanted to read it in the first place was that it was written by the first openly gay member of the Swedish parliament, but it focused almost exclusively on gay issues. Normally, this wouldn’t be a problem, but Stafilidis complains time and time again that people always zeroed in on the LGBT-issues that he worked with, as if they were the only things he was involved in, when in fact he did so many other things as well. My question, then, is why he doesn’t spend more time telling us about these other things. He mentions them, yes, but not nearly as much as his GLBT-work.

Still, the book is interesting, and I would’ve been willing to overlook the above-mentioned issue and give it a higher grade, had the language been better. As it was, it just didn’t engage me very much, and so it’s a C.


16th November, 2007
So Hard to Say; Alex Sanchez
— Love @ 23:35 Comments (1)
Filed under: C, English, Fiction, GLBT interest, Young Adult

So Hard to Say; Alex Sanchez So Hard to Say
by Alex Sanchez
MexicanAmerican

English
232 pages
Simon Pulse
ISBN: 1-4169-1189-8

First line: My name is (drum roll, please) María Xiomara Iris Juárez Hidalgo, but nobody calls me María.

Back cover blurb:
When Frederick shows up at school, Xio is thrilled. The new boy is shy, cute and definitely good boyfriend material. Before long, she pulls him into her lively circle of friends.

Frederick knows he should be flattered by Xio’s attention. After all, she’s popular, pretty, and a lot of fun. So why can’t he stop thinking about Victor, the captain of the soccer team, instead?

Thoughts: When I got this book, I thought the main characters were older than they ended up being. Xio and Frederick are both thirteen, which is a little younger than I normally like reading about. Because the story is aimed at a little bit younger audience than the books I usually go for, it was a quick read and I finished it in one sitting, even though I hadn’t intended to. Not because it was fantastic, but because there didn’t really seem to be a point to put it down and go to sleep, since there was so little left of it. Kind of regretted it the next morning, though, since I was quite tired after too little sleep. Alas, such is the life of a book lover…

This book gets a C rating. My younger self would probably have wanted to give it a higher grade, but younger self is no longer around, so doesn’t actually have a say in things at the moment.


14th November, 2007
Rainbow Boys; Alex Sanchez
— Love @ 19:45 Comments (0)
Filed under: C, English, Fiction, GLBT interest, Young Adult

Rainbow Boys; Alex Sanchez Rainbow Boys
by Alex Sanchez
MexicanAmerican

English
262 pages
Simon Pulse
ISBN: 0-689-85770-5

First line: Jason Carrillo walked around the block a third time, working up his courage to go into the brownstone.

Back cover blurb:
High school’s hard enough as it is without falling in love with your best friend–who’s crushing on the most popular guy in school. Or feeling like your parents would throw you out if they knew you were gay. Or being afraid of who you are…

Thoughts: I’ve been meaning to get my hands on this book for quite some time, especially after two of my friends read and enjoyed it at around the same time last summer. Personally, I liked it well enough. It’s your typical high school novel with a coming out theme, basically. No harm in that, of course, but it’s been done a lot of times before and for me to fall head over heels in love with it, the language would have had to be better. It’s not terrible, I just don’t think it’s earned more than a C rating from me, so that’s what it’s going to get.


11th November, 2007
Kydd; Julian Stockwin
— Love @ 18:23 Comments (2)
Filed under: Adventure, C, English, Historical, Seafaring Challenge

Kydd; Julian Stockwin Kydd
by Julian Stockwin
British

For the Seafaring Challenge.

English
440 pages
Coronet Books
ISBN: 0-340-79474-7

First line: ‘The Honourable Member for Molton.’

Back cover blurb:
Guns. Guts. Courage. Discipline. Death.

The year is 1793. Europe is ablaze with war and men are urgently needed to man the ships. Press-ganged off the streets of Guildford, young wig-maker Thomas Paine Kydd must learn the harsh realities of shipboard life very quickly. It’s that or die.

In all the danger of tempest and battle, Kydd eventually learns to admire the skills and courage of his shipmates. He comes to relish the challenge of the 98-gun line-of-battle ship HMS Duke William, and the camaraderie of its battle-hardened crew. Kydd is loyal, brave and passionate. But will that be enough to turn the raw youth into a true sailor?

Thoughts: All other novels I’ve read on this theme have, more or less, featured officers as the main characters. This one doesn’t, which in a sense made it more interesting. However, I’ve discovered that I rather do prefer to read about officers rather than able (or ordinary, as the case may be) seamen.

This is just the first in a series of books, and while it was certainly okay (once I got in to it properly, which took a while, because of the tedium of everyday life aboard a blockade-cruising ship) , I have no urge to read the following books. If it had given me taste for more, my rating would have been higher, but as things are, I give it a C.


6th November, 2007
Brothers; Ted van Lieshout
— Love @ 11:34 Comments (0)
Filed under: C, English, Fiction, GLBT interest, Young Adult

Brothers; Ted van Lieshout Brothers
by Ted van Lieshout
Original title: Gebr
Dutch

English
155 pages
Collins Flamingo
ISBN: 0-00-711231-9

First line: This isn’t the beginning.

Back cover blurb:
Can you still be a brother when your brother is dead? Luke often wonders. His brother Marius has died, leaving Luke alone with their parents. When their mother decides to burn Marius’s belongings in a ceremonial bonfire, Luke saves his brother’s diary and makes it his own by writing in it. And so begins a dialogue between the brothers, the dead and the living, from which truths emerge, truths of life and death and love.

Thoughts: The language in this book isn’t spectacular, but I don’t know how much of that is from the translation, and how much is from the original. Despite this, I found myself captured for the moment and I have to admit I shed more than a few tears. Then again, I always have been a total sap when it comes to certain things.

I’m going to have to go with a C here. It’s a decent book and I don’t begrudge it the hour or two I spent reading it, but it’s far from being a favourite and the story and characters didn’t really stay with me long after I finished it.