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Book reviews, photos (unless otherwise stated) and blog content by Iben Jakobsen.
Do not use or copy without written permission.
I can be contacted at boroughofbooks at gmail dot com

Ca. hver anden anmeldelse er på dansk.

21/05/2015

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K Dick

Through the mean streets of a grim 21st Century megalopolis, bounty hunter Rick Deckard stalked, searching out the renegade replicants who were his prey. But this assignment involved Nexus-6 targets and as a result Deckard quickly found himself involved in a nightmare kaleidoscope of violence and subterfuge - and the threat of death for the hunter rather than the hunted... 

I was so excited to finally take my time and read the original book behind the cult movie Blade Runner - Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick.

It's not a large book, just 183 pages long in paperback, but it holds quite a big story. Though I've seen it at least once or twice, I was never a big fan of the film which I just vaguely remembered as being about a police man chasing down robots (i.e. androids) so human-like that only a test on empathy could reveal them. This is essentially what the book is about too, but there's another level of human emotions in play too (and I honestly don't know if that was there in the film). In the book here, earth is scorched and broken and the only people left on it are those deemed unfit to move to Mars or wherever the rest of mankind has gone. Mostly people with some disease that doesn't allow them to procreate. These humans left behind still try to keep up appearances and keep society going, but they know it's a sham and they aren't doing too well mentally, relying on machines to fix their mood and buying robot animals to fool the neighbours and themselves. Having a pet is both status and gives your life more value.

Meanwhile you've got these androids running around, so excellent built and designed that they are virtually impossible to tell from actual human beings - except they don't quite react right when asked certain questions. It's an incredibly interesting thought concerning artificial intelligence and what happens when AI becomes sentient. Even more so it is incredible because this book was written in 1968, back when even the simplest computer was the size of a house.

It is of course very much a philosophical book, and while the overall story and plot was very intriguing, I found the ending a bit too heavy with existentialism and despair. Obviously for this story that works very well, but I just found it a bit heavy handed.

However this is definitely a science fiction classic and any geek or fan worth their salt should read it.

DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRONIC SHEEP?
by Philip K. Dick
ISBN13: 9780586036051
186 pages / Published in 1968

Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2015

19/05/2015

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children af Ransom Riggs

A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of curious photographs.
A horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.
A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography.

Jeg har tidligere læst et par anmeldelser af Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children og fået det indtryk at det var lidt en blandet landhandel. Jeg havde derfor også lidt svært ved at tage mig sammen til at komme i gang med den, da biblioteket sendte mig besked om, at den var kommet hjem, og det var faktisk først aftenen, inden den skulle afleveres igen, at jeg lige pludselig kiggede på den og tænkte, nu skulle det være.



Jeg blev overrasket over, at den tryllebandt mig efter bare få sider, og jeg slugte størstedelen af den selv samme aften og læste den færdig formiddagen efter. Den har sine svage punkter, og jeg kunne godt have brugt en mere afrundende slutning, men hovedsageligt syntes jeg den var virkelig god og meget medrivende. Sproget er nemt og plottet interessant. En god blanding af ungdomsroman, historiske begivenheder, fiktion, fantasy og endda horror.

Jacob er en meget behagelig hovedperson, og han var rart fornuftig i sin tilgang til de opdagelser, han gør sig. Jeg vil ikke afsløre for meget, men det er ret så magisk, hvad han opdager på en lille engelsk ø efter en frygtelig oplevelse i hans hjemby i USA.

Man kan debattere om, man kan lide illustrationer og fotografier i bøger, men jeg syntes de heri er superfine. Der er en grund til, de er der, og for mit vedkommende var de med til at skabe en uhyggelig stemning. De mindede mig en del om karaktererne fra American Horror Story: Freak Show, men det er også lidt inden for samme genre.

Jeg har ikke super travlt med at læse bog 2 fra 2014, Hollow City (bog 3, Library of Souls kommer desuden engang i 2015), men jeg tror da nok, jeg får den læst engang. Jeg er dog lidt småskeptisk om den helt specielle følelse jeg syntes, der er i den her bog, kan bevares i den næste.

MISS PEREGRINE'S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN
Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children #1
by Ransom Riggs
ISBN13: 9781594744761
352 pages / Published in 2011

Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2015

15/05/2015

Before Eurovision Song Contest 2015 pt. 2


And now for something completely different.

As you may know if you follow me on twitter, every year I live tweet during the Eurovision Song Contest about my opinion on each song, the singers, the hosts and the show in general. Today I'm bringing the ESC to BoB too (aren't you all just thrilled? ;)

Usually I go in watching the semi-finals on Tuesday and Thursday with no idea what to expect. I’ve never sought out the competing songs prior to the shows and it’s sheer happenstance if I’ve heard any of them before they go on stage.

This year however I noticed that DR1 (the Danish public service channel (sort of like BBC)) had made two hour-long broadcasts available online (Danish readers, you can find the show here) where they show every single music video and song in the correct order for the two semi-finals.**

In this pt. 2 we look at the 17 songs of the second semi-final (on Thursday the 21st) as well as 3 of the songs guaranteed to be in the final (Friday the 23rd).

**because I couldn't wait for the second Danish show to air I watched the videos on the official youtube playlists and it turns out that the show used different ones in some songs (stage performances vs music videos).

Beneath the cut are my thoughts on them:

14/05/2015

Cat Out Of Hell by Lynne Truss

A cottage on the coast on a windy evening. Under a pool of yellow light, two figures face each other across a kitchen table. A man and a cat. The story about to be related is so unusual yet so terrifyingly plausible that it demands to be told in a single sitting. The man clears his throat, and leans forward, expectant. 'Shall we begin?' says the cat....

I bought this book purely because of the cover and title while visiting London last December. I had never heard of it before, hadn't seen it on Goodreads and had no idea what I was about to get myself into.

In short, this book is fantastic. Combining humour and horror we follow the recently widowed librarian Alec as he's unwillingly drawn into an adventure he never in his life imagined could be possible or even plausible. We're talking talking cats, pacts with the devil, mysteries that needs unravelling and broken hearts. Like I said, fantastic.

I read it for the spring readathon and swallowed it in one sitting. The writing is excellent, the humour is on point and I kept glancing at my own cat just to be sure she wasn't secretly plotting to murder me as I read.

If you're in the mood for something dark yet funny that has to do with black magic / cats / librarians / mysteries or if you just fancy something completely different then this is the book for you. Danish publishers - get to work with this one.

CAT OUT OF HELL
by Lynne Truss
ISBN13: 9780099585343
256 pages / Published in 2014

Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2015
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