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Book reviews and blog content by Iben Jakobsen.
I can be contacted at boroughofbooks at gmail dot com

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Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman

A mysterious circus terrifies an audience for one extraordinary performance before disappearing into the night, taking one of the spectators along with it . . .
In a novella set two years after the events of American Gods, Shadow pays a visit to an ancient Scottish mansion, and finds himself trapped in a game of murder and monsters . . .
In a Hugo Award-winning short story set in a strangely altered Victorian England, the great detective Sherlock Holmes must solve a most unsettling royal murder . . .
Two teenage boys crash a party and meet the girls of their dreams—and nightmares . . .
In a Locus Award-winning tale, the members of an exclusive epicurean club lament that they've eaten everything that can be eaten, with the exception of a legendary, rare, and exceedingly dangerous Egyptian bird . . .

Containing a total of 27 stories of which 20 are short stories (some shorter than others), 4 are poems and 3 are something completely different; the book begins with an introduction by Gaiman wherein he presents each individual story, what they represent, how they got created and if and what they've won of awards.

I initially set out to review each and every short fiction and wonder in this book individually. 6 hand written and cramped pages later I realised this would be the world's longest and TL;DR review ever if I didn't limit myself. I will therefore instead tell you of my favourites of which there are quite a few.

A Study in Emerald - Gaiman describes this little masterpiece as "Sherlock Holmes meets the world of Lovecraft" where the rational clashes with the irrational. I absolutely loved it, though I was way too thick to properly get it until it was spelled out for me in the end. Must read A Study in Scarlett to compare!

October in the Chair - A great ghost story wrapped in something entirely different with the months personified and telling tales around a camp fire.

Other People - Very little can be said without spoiling the plot, but this is a truly fantastic, fascinating and utterly creepy tale of endless horror.

Instructions - Mentioning many details from stories read so far throughout the book, Gaiman describes this poem of sorts as instructions as to how to act if one should suddenly find oneself in a fairy tale. I particularly liked the final few lines which conveyed a hauntingly beautiful tone of how childhood differs from life and perception as an adult.

Sunbird - this is a brilliant tale of the members of the epicurean club on the hunt for a new thing to be eaten which leads them on the trail of the Sunbird. But all is not as it would seem, as they are soon to find out.

The Monarch of the Glen - this is the story I've perhaps been the most excited to read and thankfully it didn't let me down. Also known as American Gods #1.5 it's a story about Shadow and what's up to now after all he was put through in Gaiman's novel American Gods. It takes place in Scotland where Shadow is once again pulled into some supernatural shit he didn't ask for but can't seem to leave him alone. It's a brilliant short sequel in my opinion.

All in all I can conclude I'm (still) no fan of poems, but I love just about anything else Gaiman writes. His style is nothing short of amazing. The way he has with words is so very special, the way he's able to construct the most insane yet totally believable scenarios and scenes with far fewer words than you'd think possible.

- Short Fictions & Wonders
(American Gods #1.5 included)
by Neil Gaiman
ISBN13: 9780755334124
366 pages / Published in 2006

Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2014


Autumn 2014

I'm a big fan of autumn. It's a beautiful season with the most gorgeous colour display nature can provide. There are still warm days with the bluest sky imaginable and there are cold rainy ones and days where the fog is so thick you can barely see your hand in front of your face.

I've taken to bringing my camera when we walk the dogs in the evening and have captured a few rather lovely shots of the Danish fall - I hope you enjoy :)


Library Haul #10

From left to right:
The Complete Tales by Beatrix Potter
From Holmes to Sherlock by Matthias Boström
The unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
All my friends are superheroes by Andrew Kaufman
Dear Life by Alice Munro
Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight
The house we grew up in by Lisa Jewell
The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith
Ellers går det godt [Besides that, all is well] by Maren Uthaugh


The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

Meet Don Tillman. Don is getting married. He just doesn't know who to yet. But he has designed a very detailed questionnaire to help him find the perfect woman. One thing he already knows, though, is that it's not Rosie. Absolutely, completely, definitely not. 

I've recently discovered I read a lot of books where I have very little idea beforehand as to what they're about. I know enough to be interested and borrow them from the library/buy them, but I don't read the back-cover and I only glance at the Goodreads summary - mostly I find I'm told way too much in these and I enjoy not knowing what happens 50 pages in, even if the real action or drama doesn't start till after that.

Long story short, this was the case with The Rosie Project - I had no idea what I was getting myself into and I absolutely loved every single page. Don is such a lovable character and it's all just perfectly put together and so very very well written.

Don is not your typical guy, he's got his very own way of doing things and nobody is allowed to change that - but he's noticed it's high time he marry and dating and making room for another person in his very structured life is not an easy feat. And way too many women waste his time any way, being completely unsuitable. So he invents the Wife Project - and as you can probably guess from the title that leads to the Rosie Project.

I genuinely loved this book and I think if you've read The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night Time by Mark Haddon then there's a very good chance this book is for you too.

by Graeme Simsion
ISBN13: 9780718178123
298 pages / Published in 2013

Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2014
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