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

28/05/2014

The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson

Sitting quietly in his room in an old people's home, Allan Karlsson is waiting for a party he doesn't want to begin. His one-hundredth birthday party to be precise. The Mayor will be there. The press will be there. But, as it turns out, Allan will not...
Escaping (in his slippers) through his bedroom window, into the flowerbed, Allan makes his getaway. And so begins his picaresque and unlikely journey involving criminals, several murders, a suitcase full of cash, and incompetent police. As his escapades unfold, Allan's earlier life is revealed. A life in which - remarkably - he played a key role behind the scenes in some of the momentous events of the twentieth century.

I just discovered this old thing stuck way back in my drafts from 2012 (!) and thought it was about time I told you how much I enjoyed this Swedish pearl of delight.

I recall it took me a little while to get into it, having just read Water for Elephants, which is also an old man remembering his past but in a more somber tone, but suddenly I was hooked and it was difficult to put down. It should be said that beyond both books being about old men recalling their youths, those two books have nothing in common. WFE is very sophisticated and fiction-real, where THYOMWCOOTWAD (what a title) is constantly taking the piss on world history and having a blast. It's somewhat similar to Forrest Gump in that regard.

I had my doubts along the way, but in the end Jonasson totally nailed it and it left me smiling and shaking my head.

It's hard to tell you much more than it already says in the summary, it's the kind of book I don't feel can be explained, it has to be read - experienced.

Furthermore, I can also tell you that the film is fantastic. It's in Swedish and with few exceptions it stays very true to the book throughout and I had such a good time watching it in the cinema at Christmas (I'm shit at publishing reviews apparently).



The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared
(Hundraåringen som klev ut genom fönstret och försvann)
by Jonas Jonasson
ISBN13: 9788770534970
371 pages / published in 2006




Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2014


I've since all this read the next book by Jonasson, The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden/(Orig. title is: Analfabeten som kunde räkna - the illiterate who was good at maths), and while the wacky style of stuff is the same, the book is much more winding and downright boring. It was really a let down for me.

In short I recommend The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared but not The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden.


25/05/2014

The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory

When the young and beautiful Jacquetta is married to the older Duke of Bedford, English regent of France, he introduces her to a mysterious world of learning and alchemy. Her only friend in the great household is the duke's squire Richard Woodville, who is at her side when the duke's death leaves her a wealthy young widow. The two become lovers and marry in secret, returning to England to serve at the court of the young King Henry VI, where Jacquetta becomes a close and loyal friend to his new queen.
The Woodvilles soon achieve a place at the very heart of the Lancaster court, though Jacquetta has visions of the growing threat from the people of England and the danger of their royal York rivals. Jacquetta fights for her king and queen, as she sees an extraordinary and unexpected future for her daughter Elizabeth: a change of fortune, the white rose of York, and the throne of England.

It took me a little while to get properly into The Lady of the Rivers. It has a rather stale start featuring Joan of Arc and that threw me for a bit, fearing I'd misunderstood what the book would be about.

However, soon enough the book got back on track and I fully immersed myself in yet another great book by Gregory. For me she truly is the 21st century Queen of the Tudor Court as well as the Courts that came just before - her research seems thorough and her portrayal of the many historical character is brilliant. They all come alive right before my eyes and I love it.

The Cousins' War series (chronological order, rather than publication):
  • The Lady of the Rivers #3
  • The Red Queen #2
  • The White Queen #1
  • The Kingmaker's Daughter #4
  • The White Princess #5
  • The Last Rose / The King's Curse (not yet released) #6
The series is about the famously known War of the Roses between the two Houses Lancaster and York, who fought bitterly over the throne of England (Spoiler: York wins and ends with Elizabeth I on the throne). This book, though published after the others, is set before them and is about the grand mother of first Queen of York. Elizabeth Woodwille, a person I'd never heard of before, but who turns out to be a highly interesting woman who lived through a turbulent time and had a great deal of influence on the court of her time.


The Lady of the Rivers
by Philippa Gregory
The Cousins' War #3
ISBN13: 9781847374592
502 pages / published in 2011
Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2014

17/05/2014

A Modern Witch by Debora Geary

Can you live 28 years without discovering you're a witch? — Lauren is downtown Chicago's youngest elite realtor. She's also a witch. She must be - the fetching spell for Witches' Chat isn't supposed to make mistakes. So says the woman who coded the spell, at least. — The tall, dark, and handsome guy sent to assess her is a witch too (and no, that doesn't end the way you might think). What he finds in Lauren will change lives, mess with a perfectly good career, and require lots of ice cream therapy.

A Modern Witch provides a completely different twist on magic and witches in modern day than I'd ever read before. I really enjoyed it and cannot thank @kiwiria enough for introducing me to it!

It's a quick and delightful read and while you can certainly accuse it of being just a tad too happy with its ending, it doesn't matter - it's a guilty pleasure, except I don't feel the least bit guilty! It is such a sweet story and I love all the characters.

I know the author has written 7 book in total in the series so far, and while I haven't gotten around to reading any further yet I definitely will. I think the second book, A Hidden Witch, will serve me very well in the upcoming ReadAThon in April.

- UPDATE - I did indeed read the second book at the Readathon and it was just as good as the first one, this is really a series I'm growing very fond of and will recommend any with the fancy for some updated witchcraft :)




A Modern Witch
A Modern Witch #1
by Debora Geary
ASIN: B004RZ2660
304 pages / published in 2011




Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2014

10/05/2014

Danish Books #5 - Den Danske Borgerkrig 2018-24 by Kaspar Colling Nielsen

Mellem 2018 og 2024 var Danmark i undtagelsestilstand; der var kampe på Rådhuspladsen, politikere blev halshugget på åben gade, og bankfolk var en truet art. Borgerkrigen blev oplevet af en 25-årig mand, som 450 efter ser tilbage på et langt liv. Den 475 år gamle rigmand bliver holdt i live af et avanceret stamcelleprogram, der muliggør hans overlevelse. Han fortæller om den skelsættende periode i sit liv til Geoff, som er 350 år. Geoff er en meget reflekteret bordercollie og rigmandens bedste ven. Rigmanden angrer bestemte handlinger fra sin første krig og kan ikke glemme de stærke følelser, der for ham var forbundet med den tid. Han oplevede sit livs største kærlighed og fortæller Geoff historier fra sit eget liv og fra en intens periode i Danmarkshistorien. Med det som baggrund udfolder sig en fortælling om, hvordan krisen i begyndelsen af nullerne fik det værste frem i danskerne, og hvordan samfundet ændrede sig. Hvordan folk mistede tilliden til politikerne, og bankfolk blev jaget vildt, da de havde anbefalet folk at sætte sig i gæld. Hvordan soldater blev ét med krigen, og hvordan afstanden mellem forskellige etniske og religiøse grupperinger blev større, og sidst, men ikke mindst, hvordan det at være rig fik livsvigtig betydning.

Den Danske Borgerkrig 2018-24 er en bog langt ud over det sædvanlige. En litterær form måde at ryste posen på. Den er ofte absurd, den er ofte bizar. Tit syntes jeg den var både klam og vulgær, men andre gange igen var den både rørende og kær. Nogle gange havde jeg lyst til at beskrive den som at den bestod af adskillige usammenhængende dele, men andre gange kunne jeg godt se det store hele.

Bogen beskriver vores nutid og en potentiel fremtid. Et Danmark i økonomisk krise, et samfund der ikke længere kan eller vil understøtte sig selv, et opgør med "de rige" og en borgerkrig, der beskrivelsesvis rammer plet. Når man i dag dagligt i pressen hører om oprør og opgør rundt omkring i verden giver det et gys når man læser Colling Nielsen's redegørelse for hvordan borgerkrigen vil bryde ud, eskalere og slutte med et hav af blod. Man følger hovedpersonen, der var til stede under krigen og deltog, men som også er i live som 475-årig senere takket være et eksklusivt stamcelleprogram, der holder ham og utallige andre rige i live og unge - inklusive deres talende kæledyr. Bogen springer rundt i tid og sted og tilsammen væver alle kapitlerne et billede af en samtid og en fremtid, der er dybt besynderlig og lettere skræmmende. Disse rige nærmest udødelige lever et surrealistisk liv, og hovedpersonen ser tilbage på hans minder og fortæller sin livshistorie til sin 350-årige Border Collie Geoff (der både kan tænke og tale, og endda har haft en eksistentiel krise).

Sideløbende med den overordnede historie er der adskillige anekdoter fra andre personer, der vender verden på hovedet og udstiller menneskehedens sygeligheder, mest nedrige skavanker, excesser, det meningsløse og det absurde.

Jeg er ikke i tvivl om at dansklærere landet over vil elske at tvinge deres stakkels elever til at analysere hver eneste side, og mens jeg er glad nok for at have læst den, var den helt ærlig ikke så nyskabende litterært et mesterværk den har fået lidt ry for at være. Den er fin, men så er det da også det. Det var ikke en bog der blev hos mig i længere tid, det er den simpelthen for bizar (og klam) til.

---
Kaspar Colling Nielsen's book The Danish Civil War 2018-24 is simultaneously well written and so stupidly absurd it hurts. Some of the smaller anecdotes are quite fresh, but others are just disturbing or downright disgusting. The main story jumps back and forth in space and time and you only occasionally get a glimpse of the red thread that's meant to tie it all together. Overall it's not really something I'd recommend to others, but I'm sure school teachers will have a field day getting the students to analyze it page by page.
---




Den Danske Borgerkrig 2018-24 
by Kaspar Colling Nielsen
ISBN13: 9788702147339
224 pages / published in 2013




Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2014

03/05/2014

#WeNeedDiverseBooks


So what is a diverse book?

Well as far as I see it, it's a book that manages to break out of the almost stereotypical plot of a white/straight man or woman being the hero of the hour. A book that allows a woman to be the hero without having to rely on a man. A book that allows its main character to be openly gay or any other sort of sexuality. A book where the main character or more aren't white. Etcetera etcetera.

Diverse books are important because we're not all blond and white. We don't all have blue sparkling eyes. We're not all clumsy yet cute. We're not all straight. We all have our own stories to tell and it's important, particularly at a young age, to be able to identify with what you see and read. People learn from reading. Reading about diversity gives you understanding and compassion for those not like you. Gives you the bravery and pride to be yourself.

Diverse books I've read:
  • All books by Trudi Canavan
  • All books by Tamora Pierce
  • Life of Pi by Yann Martel
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  • The Hairdresser of Harare by Tendai Huchu
  • The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden by Jonas Jonasson 
  • The Help by Kathryn Stockett
  • Battle Royale by Koushun Takami
  • Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
Obviously there are undoubtedly more, these are just from my "read" shelf on Goodreads over the past few years. But my list is far too short. Shockingly so, actually. I've never before given much specific thought to it, but besides a small amount of books with kick-ass heroines, I have read very few books wherein most characters aren't white or straight. Not out of direct choice, but because that's the majority of books I've been exposed to.

Being white and straight myself, I have plenty of books to identify with, but I regret not having read more books that might educate me and help me understand other people better - and I feel sorry for those who find the shelves lacking.



01/05/2014

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.
What Lou doesn't know is she's about to lose her job or that knowing what's coming is what keeps her sane.
Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he's going to put a stop to that.
What Will doesn't know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they're going to change the other for all time.

Me Before You blew me completely away. I read far into the night when I started reading it and the following day I struggled to put it down even once (I even spent 45 minutes sitting in the bathroom, wrapped in a towel, ready for a shower, but unable to find a place where I could bear not to read on).

It's a romance novel, which is a genre I very seldom venture into but luck would have it that this is not just a typical romance novel - it's the kind that makes you cry your heart out.

It's definitely the best book I've read so far this year. It pulled me in, it held me tight, and once the last page had been read (and I'd stopped crying) I kept thinking about it for days and days. I'm not quite sure I liked the way it ends, but I think it had a very real ending.

Having read and loved this so much I would definitely like to read more romance novels, but which ones could possibly live up to this one? It's so, to me, incredibly well written and captivating and I fell in love with the love story before the characters even met. Any suggestions?




Me Before You
by Jojo Moyes
ISBN13: 9780718157838
480 pages / published in 2012




Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2014