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Life & Everything

Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts #84

April 28, 2017 | 2 comments


1. I have a new obsession: combining science and art (or rather, watching videos about people who do this).

2. It’s finals week and I’m grading exams. I’m not sure what is worse – taking an exam or grading one (but the latter is definitely a more time consuming process).

3. This made me smile (but I’m surprised not more Swedish idioms made the list).

4. I just read two very different Nordic crime novels and both were books I need to think about for a while before I’m ready to write reviews.

5. I’m loving that the days are finally getting a lot longer, but the weather lately has been very depressing so I’ve bought new plants for my living room window, and a big bouquet of tulips to make it feel more like spring.

6. I took part in the March for Science last Saturday. (Did you see all the great signs? Like these and these?)

7. Another reason I love IKEA.

Visit Christine at Bookishly Boisterous for more bookish (and not so bookish) thoughts.

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Top Ten Things to Avoid

April 25, 2017 | 12 comments


Las week’s top ten list was all about the things that makes me want to read a book. This week is the companion list – the top ten things (as hosted by The Broke and the Bookish) that makes me avoid reading a book are:

1. Animals dying. I have no issue reading gory crime novels, but I can absolutely not deal with any mention of a dog being harmed.

2. Epistolary novels. One of my biggest pet peeves. This literary style should be avoided at all costs.

3. Second-person narrative. Another big pet peeve. What is wrong with third-person?

4. Zombies. I’m not a big zombie fan (ok in movies, but not in books). The only exception is Pride and Prejudice and Zombies which I’m still considering reading.

5. Christian novels. I have absolutely nothing against Christian authors (or authors of any other religion for that matter), but novels that are specifically marketed as Christian makes me want to run in the other direction.

6. Paranormal/shape-shifters. Really not my thing (with some very few exceptions where the paranormal abilities are used to solve crimes and I like to think of the book as just another crime novel).

7. Ugly covers. You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover (but I do).

8. Chick-lit. Like with #5, I occasionally read chick-lit but I despise this term and most of the time I will avoid a book if that is how it is marketed.

9. Time travel. There are some notable exceptions (Outlander), but I tend to avoid books where the characters travel through time. (Dual time-lines on the other hand are usually something I like.)

10. All the other things on my literary pet peeves list that I haven’t mentioned above should be avoided (both by authors and people who lend me books…)

What things makes you avoid reading a book?

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Life & Everything

Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts #83

April 20, 2017 | 7 comments


1. The one negative thing about being an expat is definitely being away from family. My mom visited over Easter and it was so nice. She has never been in Iceland before, and I think it was colder than she had expected. But I also think that she understood why I love it so much here.

2. This is pretty amazing.

3. I’m not sure I have a strong opinion about the fearless girl statue, but I thought this was very interesting.

4. Anyone marching for science this Saturday?

5. All of these are so true. And #2 has definitely happened to me multiple times.

6. Which punctuation mark are you? I’m the Oxford comma. I’m not surprised.

7. Today is a national holiday in Iceland. It is Sumardagurinn fyrsti (first day of summer). It surely doesn’t feel like it, considering it has been both snowing, hailing, and raining today. (And when it did not snow, hail, or rain, it was so windy that I was happy I didn’t have to go to the office.)

8. I’m in a reading slump. It sucks.

9. I’m thinking that the best way of getting out of this reading slump is to go to the bookstore even though I already bought four books this year and shouldn’t really spend more money on books right now.

Visit Christine at Bookishly Boisterous for more bookish (and not so bookish) thoughts.

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Top Ten Ways for Books to Get My Attention

April 18, 2017 | No comments


In the last 15 years*, my tbr list has been increasing at an alarming rate. To be honest, it doesn’t take much to make me want to read a book, but I’m trying to become more selective. The top ten things (as hosted by The Broke and the Bookish) that are guaranteed to make me want to read a book are:

1. Include the word murder. The book blurb really just need to mention the words “crime”, “murder” and/or “police detective” and I will surely add it to the tbr list.

2. Be written by a Nordic author. It’s my kryptonite. Especially in combination with point #1.

3. Get recommended by one of my friends. Although I love reading book reviews and follow a lot of book bloggers, I rarely add books to my tbr list because I read a favourable review. There is, however, a very small exclusive club of trusted people who if they like or recommend a book to me, I will definitely read it (even if it is outside of my normal reading preferences).

4. Make it part of a series. The fact that a book is part of a series is often enough to make me want to read it. And once I’m hooked on a series, I will read everything by that author I can get my hands on.

5. Include it on an official list. I’m addicted to all kinds of official book lists. Probably half of the books I want to read are on there solely because I want (need) to read them so I can put a tick mark next to them on the list.

6. Have a great cover or title. I have no issues admitting that I judge books by their covers and titles. All the time.

7. Set it in a small town. Any book that takes place in a small town is guaranteed to get my attention (especially in combination with point #1 or #2).

8. Pick the right geographical location. Having the story take place in the UK, any of the Nordic countries, or in one of my favorite US regions is also a guaranteed way of making me want to read it.

9. Make it into a film. If possible, I always want to read the book before watching the film adaption.

10. Get an amazing audiobook narrator. If you get the right person to narrate the audiobook, I will listen to it (even if nothing else about the book appeals to me).

What things are most likely to make you want to read a specific book?

*I’m blaming you the Internet. (And especially Goodreads.)

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Couch Potato, Librocubicularist

Book vs Film: Love, Rosie

April 13, 2017 | 2 comments


I watched Love, Rosie again the other weekend with a friend, and I have some conflicting feelings about it.

I read the book Love, Rosie (originally published 2004) BEFORE seeing the film Love, Rosie (premiered 2014).

I don’t think I can really pick one over the other (but the book might be slightly better than the film), because:

1. The book is an epistolary novel (told through a collection of letters, emails, and notes between the two main characters Rosie and Alex) which is one of my big literary pet peeves. I cannot stand this narrative form, however, this book is one of the few exceptions to the rule.

2. The first time I watched the film, I thought it was a disappointment but now that I watched it again it was a lot better than I remembered. It is a good film, but I don’t love it (and I cannot quite put my finger on why I’m not over the moon about it).

3. Lily Collins and Sam Claflin are absolutely adorable as Rosie and Alex, and even though their chemistry is amazing, I didn’t love the characters in the film as much as in the book.

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Life & Everything

The Present Participle List | March 2017

April 7, 2017 | 4 comments


DRINKING tea with honey
WALKING along the water
WATCHING Chicago Justice
READING crime series
WRITING conference abstracts
LISTENING to Murder, She Wrote novels
WEARING dresses
PRESENTING research progress
LOVING the longer days
EATING cheese
ENJOYING spring time
PLANNING summer trips
ORGANIZING my closet
COVETING a new planner

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Life & Everything

Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts #82

April 6, 2017 | One comment


1. I found this video about political satire very interesting.

2. I’ve gotten sick again. This is the fourth round of the cold-from-hell since Christmas.

3. Prison Break is back again!

4. I just started listening to S-Town and I’m hooked.

5. Jason Mraz’ concert Saturday evening was great.

6. After seeing this, I really want a proper fika. (If you haven’t already seen it, this documentary tells you everything you need to know).

7. I finally started a new crochet project. Now I’m all motivated and have ideas for five other projects (and just need to find the time to do them all…)

8. This is exactly how I feel all the time.

9. Gösta Ekman, one of the all-time greatest Swedish actors (and director and comedian), passed away last weekend.

Visit Christine at Bookishly Boisterous for more bookish (and not so bookish) thoughts.

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Reading Recap | March 2017

April 2, 2017 | 4 comments


In spite of reading 21 books in March, I feel like I’m getting into a reading slump. With the exception of a few of the books from last month, most of them were only ok and far from great or exciting reads. I also did not read anything in Swedish last month, or make any progress on Les Miserables.


Passing Strange by Ellen Klages ★★★★ (4.5)
Ebook | 224 pages (Read March 2-4)

This historical fiction (with a dash of magic) about a group of women in 1940 San Francisco was without a doubt the highlight of March for me. It is a beautifully written story that was hard to put down and I also love the cover. Big thanks to Kazen for recommending it.

The Dead Room by Chris Mooney ★★★★ (4.5)
Paperback | 458 pages (Read March 24-26)

I finally got around to continuing this series that I started (and loved) in 2015. The third book in the series did not disappoint. This time, crime scene investigator Darby McCormick investigates multiple cases where neither the victims, nor all the people involved in the investigation, are who they claim to be, and Darby cannot be sure who to trust. I cannot wait to read the rest of the series.

The Ice Queen by Nele Neuhaus ★★★★ (4.5)
Audiobook | 15 hours (Read March 4-9)

This is the third book (and first I’ve read) in a crime series set in Germany. It had everything I want from a crime novel: great characters and an interesting plot that kept me guessing until the very last chapter. I will definitely be reading more from this series soon.



Red Bones by Ann Cleeves (audio) | Blue Lightning by Ann Cleeves (audio)

206 Bones by Kathy Reichs (audio) | Nemesis by Agatha Christie (audio) | Don’t Look Back by Karin Fossum | High: Stories of Survival from Everest and K2 by Clint Willis (audio) | The Lewis Man by Peter May | Epic: Stories of Survival from the World’s Highest Peaks by Clint Willis (audio) | Dead Man’s Folly by Agatha Christie (audio) | Death in the Clouds by Agatha Christie (audio) | After the Funeral by Agatha Christie (audio) | The Chessmen by Peter May | Coffee, Tea, or Murder? by Jessica Fletcher (audio) | Panning for Murder by Jessica Fletcher (audio) | Margaritas and Murder by Jessica Fletcher (audio) | Bones are Forever by Kathy Reichs (audio)

Endless Night by Agatha Christie | Flash and Bones by Kathy Reichs (audio)

Visit the linkup to see other monthly recaps.

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6 Degrees of Separation: Room

April 1, 2017 | 8 comments


6 Degrees of Separation is a book meme hosted by Kate at Books are My Favorite and Best. The goal is to construct a chain with 6 other books, using any criteria you want, and see where you end up.

The starting book this month is Emma Donoghue’s bestseller Room about the five year old boy Jack who, together with his mother, is being held captive in a small room.

Another book where family is an important aspect is Lone Wolf by Jodi Picot. It centers around a man named Edward, who is forced to return to his childhood home (and to his estranged family) after a terrible accident leaves his sister injured and his father in coma.

Lone Wolf is also the title of the third book in Linwood Barclay’s series about newspaper writer, family man, and reluctant hero Zack Walker. He gets involved in a case involving a mutilated corpse that is found at his father’s lakeside fishing camp. The death is first blamed on a bear attack, but Zack suspects something (or someone) else is responsible.

In Wolf Winter by Cecilia Ekbäck, a mutilated body is found by two girls herding their family’s goats. The death is attributed to a wolf but the girls mother Maija is certain that another man is behind the gruesome death.

The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon gives me a similar eerie feeling as Wolf Winter. It is set in a town plagued by mysterious disappearances, like that of a woman found dead in a field behind her house in 1908, just months after the tragic death of her daughter. Now history is about to repeat itself when the mother in the family living in the same house mysteriously disappears.

Another book where history is repeating itself is Snowblind by Christopher Golden. It is set in a small town where a large part of the population disappeared during a snowstorm. Now, 12 years later, a new storm approaches and ghosts from the past resurfaces again.

Snowblind is also the title of a book by Ragnar Jonasson. It is a crime novel, set in a small town in Northern Iceland, that I recently added to my tbr list.

This time, my chain took me from Room, via links mostly based on themes of titles, to Snowblind.

Why don’t you join us and make your own chain? Starting with Room, where will you end up? Visit Books Are My Favourite and Best to read the rules and see who else made a chain this month.

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Life & Everything

Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts #81

March 30, 2017 | 2 comments


1. I did my taxes (for all 3 countries)! The Icelandic tax return was easier to understand than the US federal one (in spite of the former being completely in Icelandic without an English translation).

2. If the fact that filing your taxes is so easy wasn’t enough reason to want to stay in Iceland, videos like this one reminds me why I never want to move away.

3. I love this video. Especially the comment about one man looking like an English teacher’s husband.

4. This is so cool.

5.The shortlist for the 2017 Petrona Award for the best Scandinavian crime novel of the year was announced this morning. I have one of them, and I’m definitely gonna read all six books on the list.

6. As a chocolate-loving geologist, I really want one of these geodes.

7. I love mysteries where the past and present are combined, so I was a bit surprised that I had only read two of the books on this list. Many of the others have now been added to my ever-growing tbr list.

8. I’m going to a concert on Saturday. Jason Mraz is playing in Reykjavik, and I’m so excited (he was amazing when I saw him live in Honolulu a couple of years ago).

Visit Christine at Bookishly Boisterous for more bookish (and not so bookish) thoughts.

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