Velkommen

På bloggen her kan du finde anmeldelser af alt fra fantasy, science Fiction, kærlighed, chicklit, YA og NA til historiske romaner, krimier, spændingsbøger, og hvad jeg ellers lige falder over, der ser spændende ud. Herudover er der bl.a. Book Hauls og Kommende Udgivelser, samt Månedlige Opsummeringer. Occasional posts/reviews in English.
~ Iben
Bibliotekar, bogblogger & boganmelder

27/02/2013

In between reviews

I haven't got a new review for you, as I'm currently focusing on reading literature for my thesis, and the one book I was reading, turned out to be .... terrible.  I've read about 100 pages of The Rise of Nine by Pittacus Lore (book #3 of the I am number four series) and I don't care for the characters, what happens to them or what's going on.  I've got Sea Glass (book #2 of the Glass series) by Maria V Snyder lying here for when I'm ready and hopefully that'll turn out better.

17/02/2013

Deary's attack on libraries

Libraries 'have had their day', says Horrible Histories author, Terry Deary:
"I'm not attacking libraries, I'm attacking the concept behind libraries, which is no longer relevant," Deary told the Guardian, pointing out that the original Public Libraries Act, which gave rise to the first free public libraries in the UK, was passed in 1850. "Because it's been 150 years, we've got this idea that we've got an entitlement to read books for free, at the expense of authors, publishers and council tax payers. This is not the Victorian age, when we wanted to allow the impoverished access to literature. We pay for compulsory schooling to do that," said Deary, who has received hate mail since he first aired his views in the Sunderland Echo yesterday.
[...]
"Books aren't public property, and writers aren't Enid Blyton, middle-class women indulging in a pleasant little hobby. They've got to make a living. Authors, booksellers and publishers need to eat. We don't expect to go to a food library to be fed."
[...]
As one of the most popular library authors – his books were borrowed more than 500,000 times during 2011/12 – Deary will have received the maximum amount possible for a writer from the Public Lending Right scheme, which gives authors 6.2p every time one of their books is borrowed, up to a cap of £6,600. "If I sold the book I'd get 30p per book. I get six grand, and I should be getting £180,000. But never mind my selfish author perception – what about the bookshops? The libraries are doing nothing for the book industry. They give nothing back, whereas bookshops are selling the book, and the author and the publisher get paid, which is as it should be. What other entertainment do we expect to get for free?" he asked.
[...]
"Librarians are lovely people and libraries are lovely places, but they are damaging the book industry. They are putting bookshops out of business, and I'm afraid we have to look at what place they have in the 21st century."

Gruffalo author Julia Donaldson disagrees:
"I think it's brilliant that libraries are free. Not only do library users also buy books, but if some users genuinely are too poor to buy books, then it's great that we've got libraries for those people … [And] If libraries have any bearing on bookshops, it's the other way – libraries are creating readers," said Donaldson, who has "never met" a bookseller who believes libraries are putting them out of business.
[...]
"the booksellers all blamed Amazon, and to some extent ebooks, for their decline," she said. "If yet more bookshops close and people can only find books online, without public libraries there would be no place for children to physically browse and discover their tastes in reading. And publishers would only be able to publish the most popular titles, so that far more authors would be out of a living."
[...]
"In reality, libraries are the places where our readers and book-buyers are created. Without the huge choice of books which libraries provide, children are not going to discover their favourite authors, and will not then be asking for books for their birthdays or buying them when they are adults with their own money," she said.
[...]
Donaldson did agree with Deary that "writers need to make a living", and admitted that it "annoys me when we are often expected to do events for free", but said she had "never met any other author who feels that libraries are robbing them of their income. Like him I am one of the country's most-borrowed authors … but I think it is partly for this reason that we are also among the bestselling ones".

My thoughts:
As a librarian- to-be and avid book lover with a tiny budget thanks to the whole being a student thingy, I'm a major fan of libraries. I had a period where I didn't use them much, but now it's back on. I haven't bought any new books for I think almost half a year, because I can't afford to nor do I have the storage space. I've got a few to-be-purchased, books in series I'm already collecting etc, but most of my favourite reads I get from the library database. And I love that.

Personally I think Deary's way off. He's maxed out the amount of money he can be paid and he's bitter about that, he wants more. In a way, I can understand, who doesn't want to be paid in full? But I support Donaldson's arguments about the positive effects of libraries and to Deary I can only say; that's just how it is. That sounds crude, but I don't know how to argument it properly, it's just some of the drawbacks to the library system. But like Donaldson also in part mentions, many claim that it's internet shopping, self publishing and book prices of $1 that screws up the market and customers expectations and what they're willing to pay. We don't live in a perfect world, where good comes to all those who deserve it, but I believe it would be made worse if we disbanded libraries and free access to literature, good and bad.

In a way, I think it's unrealistic for authors to expect to live off being published. The world is way too big and global, there are too many others doing the exact same thing and I just don't think it's an option for most. Big good/lucky authors can manage to get an income that kicks ass, like Rowling, Meyer, Martin, King - there are tons of names. But there are millions of authors who never get anywhere, and then there are those who make some money of their writings but not a fortune.


SOURCE Libraries 'have had their day', says Horrible Histories author
SOURCE Julia Donaldson defends libraries from Terry Deary's attack

16/02/2013

The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling

When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early forties, the town of Pagford is left in shock.
Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty facade is a town at war.
Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils... Pagford is not what it first seems.
And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?

I didn't have my hopes up when I started reading The Casual Vacancy, as I'd heard a lot of poor things about it - mostly that it was boring, too long and not Harry Potter.

Though it took a little while to get started (around 200 pages of introduction to the many main characters and their story lines) it managed to completely suck me in and had me both laughing and crying. It is one of the most excellent books I've ever had the pleasure of reading and my only regret with it is that it comes to an end. It holds some of the best written most fleshed out characters I've ever "met" and they are so real, it hurts - particularly when they hurt.

I like to call it something of a social study. It's very British, it's very dark and glum, but it's also so incredibly interesting. I can only urge others to read it, but it's definitely not for everybody. For me, it was just perfect.


The Casual Vacancy
ISBN13: 9781408704202
503 pages / published in 2012
Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2013

05/02/2013

Swallows & Robins - The Guests In My Garden by Susie Kelly

As the world’s worst housekeeper, running holiday homes wasn’t, with hindsight, a sensible idea. But two collapsing buildings on Susie Kelly’s land would cost more to demolish than to restore. Thus she became a seasonal landlady. Before the guests came the builders. No’s 1, 2, 3 all started promisingly, but by builder No. 4, and with her first guests just hours away, her patience was stretched to its limit.
Her summer and winter visitors couldn’t, as they say, be made up, though, to spare their blushes some of them have been air-brushed. They brought with them laughter, tears, romance, friendship and occasional madness. And they all left behind jars of jam and pots of pepper. From them Susie learned that you don’t need to travel to find adventure. If you run holiday homes it comes to your doorstep. Unfortunately for Susie this included Ivy. The cleaning lady from hell.

Swallows & Robins - The Guests In My Garden is yet another great read from Susie Kelly. I devoured it in just two sittings and just like her other books it made me genuinely happy. Her books have such an air of lightness, humour and fun experiences that for me is impossible not to like. They're all well written and very difficult to put down. Kelly's books are my go-to-books when I'm feeling down or just need something easy and bright to read. Her various adventures are often both difficult and straining on her, but they are so much fun to read about.

The summary in the grey box really says all else that needs to be said, all I can now do is urge you to spend some happy hours reading it.


Swallows & Robins - The Guest In My Garden
ASIN: B00A9YQXOO
273 pages / published in 2013
Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2013


Other books by Susie Kelly, reviewed by me:
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Book courteously supplied by author in exchange for me jumping around in joy my review

Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops by Jen Campbell

From the hugely popular blog, a miscellany of hilarious and peculiar bookshop moments: 'Can books conduct electricity?' 'My children are just climbing your bookshelves: that's ok... isn't it?'
A John Cleese Twitter question ['What is your pet peeve?'], first sparked the 'Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops' blog, which grew over three years into one bookseller's collection of ridiculous conversations on the shop floor.
From 'Did Beatrix Potter ever write a book about dinosaurs?' to the hunt for a paperback which could forecast the next year's weather; and from 'I've forgotten my glasses, please read me the first chapter' to 'Excuse me... is this book edible?' this full-length collection illustrated by the Brothers McLeod also includes top 'Weird Things' from bookshops around the world

The last time I was in London I stood in a book store looking at this book, wondering if I should buy it. At a price of £8 I decided it was too much for a short book which, once read, you couldn't do anything with rather than leave in the bathroom for guests to peruse. So a while later I borrowed it from the library.

While somewhat entertaining I didn't get the point of this book. Campbell might as well just have put the quotes on her blog. That format would have fit the content much better. The 119 pages long short book didn't have me laughing out loud and seeing as it only contains those quotes, I'll never reread it - there is no point. They won't get funnier or worse over time. They're not inspirational. I can't reinterpret them or the stupidity or weirdness. I haven't learned a valuable lesson. There's nothing to pass on.

Now obviously, a lot of books don't fill out those criteria despite being longer and containing plots and such. But like I said, this book - it should have stayed as a blog. Besides scraping in some money, I see no reason for publishing the quotes. And why a second book is being published, is beyond me.


Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops
ISBN13: 9781780334837
119 pages / published in 2012
Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2013


Campbell's website can be found here: this is not the six word novel