2018 · April · May · Wrap-Ups

Wrap-Up | April & May 2018

Here’s my super-late wrap-up from April and May! The reason why I didn’t do this sooner is that I haven’t been reading, so I thought I would merge these together to have more to talk about. Then I thought I would film it, but if I do that it will be even later ^.^’ . So here it is in written form, at least.

(M)ornitologen, by Johanna Thydell
4 feathers // My review (in Swedish)

This was the one book I read in April, and I basically finished it over one weekend. It’s about a girl called Moa, whose mum left when she was little and Moa hasn’t really missed her. One day, her mum gets in touch and wants to meet Moa, who decides to come visit her mum’s house in the forest under the pretense that she’s doing a school project about birds over the summer. I liked this one a lot! I especially liked that it was such a quick read, the ending was bittersweet and the footnotes were awesome.

Agnes Cecilia – En sällsam historia, by Maria Gripe
Three feathers // My review (also in Swedish)

This is about a girl called Nora, who lives with relatives after her parents died when she was a kid. When they move into a turn-of-the-century apartment, strange things start happening to Nora. I think that this would be the perfect book to read aloud if you have children around the age of 9-12; it’s just the right amount of scary for children around that age. However, there were some things that bothered me. For example, it became clear that it’s both written and set during the early 80s, which felt slightly jarring for the simple reason that it was obvious. There were also some inconsistencies with the age of the characters.

Anteckningar från en ö, by Tove Jansson & Tuulikki Pietilä
Four feathers // Review here (once again, in Swedish ^.^’)

Anteckningar från en ö is a diary-like book about how Tove and Tooti found a remote island in the Finnish archipelago and built a house there. What I liked the most about it was the environment and the surroundings. I’ve always lived close to the sea, I spend all my summers in the Swedish archipelago, and can’t imagine a life without it, so I loved the fact that this was set in an environment that I’m so familiar with. The surroundings and Tove’s relationship to them were captured really well. My one complaint was that it could have been longer.

They Both Die at the End, by Adam Silvera
3.5 feathers // Review here

This one’s about two boys, Mateo and Rufus, who live in an alternate universe where people get a phone call on the day that they’re going to die. Mateo and Rufus end up meeting through an app and spend their last day together. Overall, I enjoyed this. The ending was good and the love story actually worked. However, it was cheesy, it took a while to get into the story, and some things were left unexplained.

That was it! I only read four books in total, and I haven’t read that much in June either, but it felt a bit much to have three wrap-ups in one ^.^’ . Here are these two at least!

2018 · April · Lists

How to get out of a reading slump

I feel like I’m on my way into a reading slump, and I am desperate to avoid it. I am not in the mood for anything I pick up, so I thought I’d do this post to help myself get out of it, and maybe it will help somebody else in the process!

1.Audiobooks!

Audiobooks are great when you’re not in the mood for reading, because you’re not actually doing the reading yourself, so it doesn’t really feel like reading. Plus, you can do other things in the meantime; audiobooks are great for driving or sitting on the bus, since it’s a nice way to pass the time when you’re just sitting there anyway.

2. Quick reads

For me, it usually helps to reads things I know that I can get through quickly, because it makes it feel like getting reading done. Avoid slow books at all costs until you’ve gotten back into reading! It will only make it worse if you don’t feel like you’re getting anywhere. Chick-lit/contemporaries and action-packed fantasy books tend to help me a lot!

3. Libraries are a thing

If you don’t own books you’re in the mood for, use the library! Even if you live in a small town (like me), there is most likely a local library. The one where I live, for example, is incorporated into a school library, so it’s both a public and a school library at the same time. If there isn’t one in your town, maybe there is one in the town/city where you study, or your school/uni has one! Anyway, the point is, just go there and have a browse, and pick up something at random that seems even remotely interesting. You don’t have to pay for library books, so it doesn’t really matter if the book is crap – you can just hand it right back if you don’t like it after two chapters. And if it isn’t a new favourite – that doesn’t matter either! It was a nice pastime, and at least you read something.

4. Don’t read!

This is probably my #1 tip. If you’re not in the mood, don’t push it. Reading is supposed to be fun, and if you’re not enjoying it at the moment, it’s okay to take a break for however long you need.

5. If a book isn’t good after 50 pages…

… put it away and read something else instead. This is one of the best pieces of reading advice I have ever been given, even though I still struggle with following it. It’s worth keeping in mind.

2018 · April · Reviews

Bokrecension: “(Mor)nitologen”, av Johanna Thydell

Publicerad 2016 av Alfabeta | 4 fjädrar

For all my English-speaking followers: I’m going to try something new. Very occasionally, I read something in Swedish. If that book hasn’t been translated into English, I will write the review in Swedish. Such is the case with this book. There will be an English-language summary in my wrap-up at the end of the month where you get my thoughts, but to me it felt kind of weird to write a full review in English of a book that was written in Swedish. Pleased bear with me! (And maybe leave a comment; I want to know if you guys think this works or not. Should I continue doing this, or should I write everything in English?)

Sammanfattning:

Moas mamma stack när hon var två, och har inte hört av sig sedan dess. Tills en dag, när Hedvig plötsligt ringer och vill ses. Moa vill egentligen inte erkänna att hon faktiskt vill träffa Hedvig, så hon hittar på att hon ska göra ett skolarbete om fåglar över sommaren och “måste” därför komma och hälsa på Hedvig, som bor i skogen.

Recension:

Jag var lite nervös innan jag började läsa. Johanna Thydell har skrivit tre ungdomsböcker tidigare som har fått väldigt mycket uppmärksamhet (I taket lyser stjärnorna (2003), Det fattas en tärning (2006), och Ursäkta att man vill bli lite älskad (2010) ). Jag läste alla tre ganska nära inpå varandra när jag var 15 (jag är 22 nu, och fyller 23 till sommaren), för mamma gav mig de första två i födelsedagspresent den sommaren och sen släpptes den tredje den hösten. Sen dröjde det ända till 2016 innan hon släppte något nytt, och vid det laget hade jag tappat “favoritintresset” för hennes böcker, så jag var inte säker på om jag kanske hade vuxit ifrån henne. Men jag kan glatt rapportera att jag tyckte mycket om (Mor)nitologen också!

Till att börja med var det kul med fotnoterna; Moa lägger in små kommentarer via fotnoter texten igenom, vilket var ett roligt inslag. Slutet tyckte jag också fungerade väldigt bra – det var något bitterljuvt över det och det var inget guld och gröna skogar. Det tyckte jag om, att allt inte bara huxflux löste sig.

Det här var också precis den typen av bok som jag behövde just nu, för det gick så otroligt fort att läsa den. Jag började vid 7-8 på kvällen, nästa morgon vid 10 hade jag läst över 100 sidor, och däremellan hade jag ätit middag, sett en film, och sovit hela natten.

Med andra ord är jag glad att jag äntligen läste den här!

 

Ett citat jag tyckte om: “Dessutom vägrade jag vara en sådan där med trasig barndom. Det var min mamma som var trasig, inte jag.” (s. 9)

2017 · April · Currently Reading

Currently Reading | April 2018

I am reading so many books at the same time, again -.-‘ . What gets to me the most is that I always start a lot of books, and then I never have time to finish anything because of life. Also, how can it already be a month since I did my last currently reading-post?? Anyway, here I am again, with some thoughts on everything I’m reading at the moment.

La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman + Gösta Berlings saga, by Selma Lagerlöf

These are the only two on here that are the same as last month. I don’t think that I’ve made any progress on them since then; regardless, I don’t have anything to add. If you want to know more of my thoughts, you can check out last month’s post.

The Trial, by Franz Kafka

I started this for class, but I never finished it, so it’s just been on hold since then. I do like what I’ve read so far though, so I will probably finish it. The Swedish audiobook is just 8,5 hours long as well, so it’s not a huge commitment either. The plot is also really interesting, because it’s about a man who is arrested for no apparent reason, and is then put through an absurd trial which ends in him receiving the death penalty. It’s a very important modernist novel, so it would be nice to be able to say that I’ve read it.

Kvinnor och äppelträd, by Moa Martinson

This is also one of those books I’ve started for class; we were reading it for our lecture on working class literature in Sweden. And it was actually a lot better than I thought it would be. Not that I really expected anything, but so far so good. I will probably finish this on audiobook as well, once I’m done with The Trial.

Falling Kingdoms, by Morgan Rhodes

Finally, something I’m reading for fun! I haven’t read that much yet, I think I’m only somewhere around page 50, but I’m finding it hard to get into. I wanted something that would grab my attention right away, and so far I don’t think this one has done that.

That was all of this month’s books! I can’t believe that I’m reading five books at once ^.^’

2017 · April · read-a-thon · Wrap-Ups

Tome-Topple Wrap-Up

I didn’t actually finish any books for this. I didn’t even read that much so I’m not really sure why I’m doing this wrap-up, but hey, why not?

The main reason why I wanted to participate was that Neil Gaiman’s American Gods has been made into a TV show which is being released in late April, so I wanted to have read the book before I watch the show. I only got around 120 pages into this, and it’s over 600 pages long. I am liking what I have read so far, though, but I don’t think I will have finished it before the series starts.

My “slack book” was The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss. I call it that because it’s my current audiobook which I would have listened to regardless of the readathon, and it’s something that I just listen to whenever I’m doing something else, like going to class or whatever. I am around 10 and a half hours into this, and like it a lot!

I also got Laini Taylor’s Strange the Dreamer in the mail a couple of days into the readathon, and I had to start reading it right away. I read maybe 70 pages of it before the readathon was over, and I love it so far <3.

This means that I read a total of around 190 pages and listened to maybe 9 hours worth of audiobook during these two weeks, which I still feel is pretty good.

2017 · April · Currently Reading

Currently Reading

It’s time for this month’s currently-reading post! I try to do these once a month to keep track a bit of what I’m reading at the moment. This time around, there are four books on this list, so here goes 🙂

  • American Gods, by Neil Gaiman

I started this for the Tome-Topple Readathon because the TV series starts in late April, but so far I’m not doing too well in the readathon aspect ^.^’ . I am liking the book so far though, but I’m not sure I would recommend starting here if you haven’t read any of Neil Gaiman’s books before because this is pretty bizarre in a sense. Try Stardust or Trigger Warning instead. Anyway, I’m hoping to at least have read a third of this before the TV series begins. Right now, I’ve read around 100 pages, and there are 635 in total in my edition if you exclude all the extra material in the end.

  • The Wise Man’s Fear, by Patrick Rothfuss

This is my current audiobook, and I have listened to around 7 hours of this so far, which is roughly half of part 1. I’m not sure how many pages that is in the actual book. I’m loving this so far, it’s definitely living up to The Name of the Wind.

  • Strange the Dreamer, by Laini Taylor

This is one of my most anticipated books of the year, so when it arrived in the mail a couple of weeks ago I had to start reading it immediately, even though I started a couple of other books ^.^’ . I’m on page 65 right now and loving it!

  • London Fields, by Martin Amis

I’m reading this for class, and it’s supposed to be finished by next Tuesday, so I should probably be prioritising it, but honestly I can’t really force myself to continue reading it at the moment. I’m on page 44, but I have mostly skimmed through those so I can’t actually tell you if I like it that much or not. It might be more on the it’s-okay-but-I-don’t-love-it side, considering it’s a book that someone is telling me to read.

That’s everything for today! I’ve fallen back into the habit of reading several books at once ever since I started studying at uni, since I usually read one book for class and at least one for fun at the same time.

2016 · 2017 · April · Reviews

Book Review: “Dracula”, by Bram Stoker

Published in 2016 by Penguin | Originally published in 1897 | 3 stars

Summary:

I guess y’all know the plot of this already, but it’s about Jonathan Harker who goes to Transylvania to help Count Dracula buy a property in England. However, the count soon turns out to be a very sinister person.

Review:

To begin with: I did not actually finish this, though I did mark it as finished on Goodreads. However, I have read everything apart from the last maybe 70 pages, and I know exactly how it ends because I wrote an essay on it for class without actually having finished the book and thus had to look up a detailed summary of it. So I feel as if I can write a full review.

I can’t decide if I actually think that this is worth 3 stars. I like having read the “original” vampire story, and it was interesting to see how far some of the modern vampire books are from this in some places. And it surprised me that Dracula isn’t actually in this very much. He’s more of a background figure than I thought he would be. Also, when I actually picked it up I did find the story interesting.

However, it was so slow, and the plot feels unnecessarily drawn out. I would find myself wishing that they’d just get to the point. What also annoyed me was the view of women. Mina would frequently be left out of things on the sole basis that she happened to be a woman – because, according to Van Helsing and Dr Seward, she couldn’t handle the vampire-hunting business (also on the sole basis of her happening to be a woman). And at some point, Van Helsing says that she “has a man’s brain” (yes, he actually said that), meaning that she’s a “better” sort of woman than other, typically “weak” women. This annoys the crap out of me, and it makes the book feel incredibly dated. In that respect, it has not aged well.

The chapter division also seemed a bit weird to me. Sometimes, there would be a chapter division in the middle of someone’s diary entry. And it also made everything seem so intentional – in the beginning, there’s a note saying that the diary entries has been placed in a particular order, and the reason for that would become clear as you continue reading. The chapters sort of destroyed that. I don’t that think they should have been there at all. Of course, it would perhaps have made it more difficult to read (the droning slowness would have been even more distinct), but still.

So I dnf’ed this. I just didn’t like it enough to continue reading it. Which is sad, because I really wanted to like it.

2017 · April · Reviews

Book Review: “The Name of the Wind”, by Patrick Rothfuss

Published in 2008 by Gollancz | Audiobook published in 2008 (I think) by Orion, read by Rupert Degas | The Kingkiller Chronicle, Day 1 | Five Feathers

Summary:

I’m of the opinion that the less you know about this book going into it, the better. But it’s about a travelling trouper turned orphaned thief and beggar turned notorious wizard. This is his story.

Review:

I loved this book so much. It’s easily one of the best books I’ve read this year so far, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it still holds that position by the end of the year. It might even have made it onto my list of favourite books ever. It’s that good.

It’s hard to pin down exactly what I liked about it, but the narrator had a lot to do with it. I think there are different people reading the American and British audiobooks, but this was the British one and it was so good. I’ve been listening to audiobooks for just over a year now and I think this is one of my favourites. It would almost be weird to read these books without listening to them on audiobook now, because the narrator has become such an integral part of it to me.

The characters had a lot to do with it as well. I ended up caring about what would happen to them, and it was sweet seeing how Bast actually cared about Kvothe, Nonetheless, neither of them is anyone I would like to end up in a fight with.

I’m writing this the same evening I finished it, and I haven’t fully collected my thoughts on it yet. I fully realise that I am adding to the hype right now, but let me say this: it had everything I could ever want from a high fantasy novel, and I would highly recommend it.