2018 · June · Wrap-Ups

Wrap-Up | June 2018

I only read two books in the month of June; definitely not as much as I would have liked, but I’ve moved house and started working, so I’ve had a lot going on. Anyhow, here’s what I read in June!

All the Crooked Saints, by Maggie Stiefvater
3.5 feathers

This one was released almost a year ago, and I saw people haul it, but since then no one has really talked about it, which I found slightly weird because a lot of people love The Raven Cycle. I wasn’t that big of a fan, but decided to pick this up anyway since the library had a copy. It was a little difficult to get into, so it took me a while to read. However, I did like the language and the magical realism aspects.

The Loney, by Andrew Michael Hurley
4 feathers

It took me three weeks to finish The Loney, but I don’t mind all that much. It was exactly the type of book I was in the mood for. I liked the gothic atmosphere and the fact that the main character was slightly unreliable. Perhaps I should have read it at a slightly faster pace to properly remember all the details, but that doesn’t bother me all that much. Also, the horror aspects didn’t seamlessly fit in – I find that it would have been better if it had been a pure thriller. There will be a full review for this, so keep an eye out for that!

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 · May · Reviews · Svenskspråkigt

Bokrecension: “Anteckningar från en ö”, av Tove Jansson och Tuulikki Pietilä

Publicerad 1996 av Albert Bonniers förlag | 4 fjädrar

Sammanfattning:

Det här är slags självbiografi av Tove Jansson, illustrerad av Tuulikki Pietilä, som handlar om hur de byggde sig ett sommarliv på ön Klovharun längst ut i den finska skärgården.

Recension:

Vad som aldrig slutar förvåna mig är att det är relativt svårt det är att få tag på Tove Janssons böcker. Hon känns som en sån central del av nordisk litteraturhistoria att hennes böcker borde vara lättare att få tag på, men de enda böckerna som kontinuerligt är i tryck är Mumin. Men så hittade jag den här på biblioteket och lånade hem den. Den var fin, precis som alla andra Tove-böcker. (Är ni förvånade att jag tyckte om den? ^.^’)

Framförallt älskade jag miljön. Jag är lite halvt uppvuxen i skärgården, och jag kände igen mig så mycket i miljön! “Och den sista sommaren hände något oförlåtligt: jag blev rädd för havet” (s. 90), skriver hon precis i slutet, och det illustrerar hela relationen till miljön så väl. Sen finns ju det där lite underfundiga med, som alltid, i hur hon har det här ständiga kriget med måsarna och “kattfan”, och rosenbusken som de planterar första sommaren som sedan blir helt vild. Och Tootis illustrationer passade så bra in också!

Den enda “dåliga” var att den kunde ha varit längre. Fast det kanske också var poängen, det är ju trots allt “anteckningar från en ö”.

2018 · May · Reviews

Book Review: “They Both Die at the End”, by Adam Silvera

Published in 2017 by HarperCollins | 3.5 feathers

Summary:

“They Both Die at the End” is set in an alternate universe where there’s a “service” called Death-Cast. Their job is to call people on the day that they’re going to die, so if you hear from them you have a maximum of 24 hours left to live. In this book, we follow to teenagers – Mateo and Rufus – who get the call, and end up meeting and spending the day together because of an app called Last Friend.

Review:

Overall, I enjoyed this a lot. It started out pretty cheesy, because both Mateo and Rufus immediately went into full YOLO mode as soon as they got the call. While I appreciate the message, it would have been more convincing had it been more subtle. Even though that cheesiness persisted to some extent throughout the novel, it did get better towards the end.

One thing I liked is the fact that the love story actually worked. To some extent it was instal-love, considering how they only knew each other for less than 24 hours, but they didn’t actually kiss until two thirds – three quarters of the way through, so the love story did take much of the book to develop. I appreciated that.

Although I knew it was coming, the ending hit right in the heart! Also, (and I’m going to be as vague as possible on this point because of spoilers, but) it was so sad that what ended up killing them was what they weren’t actually scared of to begin with.

The third thing I enjoyed was the snippets we got to read from other characters’ points of view. Some of them added to the progression of the story, while others were just random people Mateo and Rufus passed on the street.

However, there were a few things that bothered me. Firstly, it was the cheesiness. It did get better as the story wore on, but for a good chunk of the book I considered rating it three stars because of the cheesiness and the fact that it took a while to get into the story properly.

The other thing was that some things that were left unexplained. The term “deckers” was one of them. I don’t think it was explained why the people who got the call from Death-Cast were called deckers, so I found myself asking that question a few times while reading. I would also have liked to know what happened to Delilah – she’s one of these random side characters who we get to follow a bit more, but we never get to know how her story ended. To me it felt like it was just left hanging, so it would have been nice with  even just a mention of how it went for her.

As a side note to end this review off, someone actually created Rufus’ Instagram account. You can find it here, if you want to have an extra cry.

2018 · May · Reviews

Bokrecension: “Agnes Cecilia”, av Maria Gripe

Publicerad 2015 av Bonnier Carlsen | Utgavs för första gången 1981 | Tre fjädrar

Hi peeps! This is one of those Swedish reviews, because if this has been translated, I don’t think it’s as well-known in other countries. Also, I have a ton of uni-related things coming up in the next few weeks, so posting might become more scarce than usual. I’ll try to schedule some stuff, but just a heads up.

Sammanfattning från Goodreads:

Maria Gripes “sällsamma historia” handlar om den föräldralösa Nora, som visserligen har det bra hos sina släktingar, men inte upplever sin tillvaro hos dem som något självklart.

När Nora är 15 år flyttar de till en gammal lägenhet och märkliga saker börjar hända. Klockan går baklänges, rummet förändras, de döda blir närvarande och en docka nästa levande. Nora dras in i ett magiskt äventyr, som hjälper henne att slutföra sorgearbetet efter föräldrarna och finna sin egen identitet.

Recension:

När jag läste Tordyveln flyger i skymningen för ett par år sen, var min första reaktion att den hade varit jättebra som högläsningsbok under sena sommarkvällar. Det tror jag gäller för den här också, det är en sådär lagom mysryslig bok för mellanåldern.

Däremot har jag några saker som störde lite under läsningen. Noras ålder var en sådan sak; det sägs rakt ut att hon är 15, men hon kändes inte riktigt som 15. Hon kunde lika gärna ha varit ett par år yngre. Samtidigt nämns det att styvpappan Anders är gymnasielärare, vilket skulle innebära att hans elever är lite äldre än Nora, men när Nora och Dag följer med hans klass på utflykt till Stockholm tycker Nora att det märktes tydligt att Anders elever var yngre än henne. Det gick inte ihop riktigt.

Det märktes också att boken är skriven på 80-talet. Framförallt när det gällde de äldre karaktärernas ålder fick man ofta tänka till en extra gång, eftersom att 80-talet nu har hunnit bli en generation bakåt. Också med vissa detaljer blev det otroligt tydligt – Anders skulle till exempel få ett recept från läkaren på posten.

Som sagt, överlag var det här en mysig bok, men jag tror att jag nog hade tyckt bättre om den om jag läst den när jag var yngre.

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)

2018 · Films · March · Reviews

Film review: “I taket lyser stjärnorna”

Directed by Lisa Siwe | 2009 | 3.5 feathers

Summary:

We follow 13-year-old Jenna, whose mother has cancer. That eventually forces them to move in with Jenna’s grandmother. Obviously, that’s a lot to deal with, at the same time that you’re in your early teens and have friends and school to deal with at the same time.

Review:

This movie is almost ten years old by now, and it’s based on a book that was published way back in 2003. The book was awarded a prestigious literary prize here in Sweden and got a lot of attention, and I think the movie got some awards as well. I read the book much later, when I was 15, because my mum gave me the author’s first two books for my birthday that year. Then I only watched the movie now, because I realised it was on Netflix. It would be fun to reread the book now, because I only remember the “big” details of the plot, but I can’t find my copy. I probably put it away in the garage when I cleared out my bookshelves a while ago.

Tangent over ^.^’ . To the good things: it seems like an honest depiction of teenage life, and I could relate to at least some of the main character’s struggles. Also, I can tell it’s a good movie, and I understand why it won awards. However, I can’t help but feel as if I would have liked it a lot more if I hadn’t read the book beforehand. I know I just said that I didn’t remember that much of the plot or the details, but I remember enough to notice stuff they left out or didn’t develop. For example: Jenna changes friend groups, and we get to know what her new friend’s name is, but I think that her “old” friend’s name is mentioned once, and in the book, it’s a huge deal about that friend wanting to change nicknames/spelling of her name. Now I had to google to remember what that friend’s name was because it took so long for it to even be mentioned in the film. Also, the book develops the breaking friendship between Jenna and Susanna (the old friend) in much more detail, and I think that could have been developed a bit more here as well.

Also, it could have been made clearer that she initially dislikes Ullis (the new friend). Another thing I thought about was the event the title alludes to. Jenna writes a poem in school for her mother (this is in the film), which she hides under one of these plastic, glow-in-the-dark stars you can put in the ceiling. That last part wasn’t really in the film.

In summary, I think this was a good film. But as I said, I think I would have liked it a lot more if I hadn’t read the book first.

2018 · Films · March · Reviews

Film Review: “Murder on the Orient Express”

Directed by Kenneth Branagh | 2017 | 4.5 feathers

Hello! Today I’m here with a movie review for you guys. I recently watched Murder on the Orient Express, because it was on Apple movies, so that’s the film I’m going to be talking about today.

Summary:

Murder on the Orient Express is based on the bestselling Agatha Christie-novel of the same name. It’s about Hercule Poirot, who finds himself on the Orient Express when there’s an avalanche that completely stops the train, and as if that wasn’t enough, someone is murdered as well.

Review:

Obviously I knew about the book, but I have never read it before. Oddly enough, I had also managed to avoid spoilers, so I had no idea of how it ended. And I was so surprised by the ending, I didn’t think it would end like that. I did, however, react on a few weird coincidences regarding the characters, but I wrote them off as just that: plot holes and strange coincidences, but I didn’t actually think there would be meaning to them.

It is a very well-made movie. You know the feeling when you just know that you’re watching a quality film? That’s the feeling I got from this. The environment and surroundings were beautiful, and the filming itself was great. They made use of unconventional angles; for example, sometimes they would film from directly above, as if the camera was mounted in the ceiling. That was cool, even though it made me a little dizzy ^.^’ . Also, there were a lot of good actors in it.

As you can probably tell, I really liked this film, and would definitely recommend it.