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Librocubicularist

The Legacy by Yrsa Sigurdardottir

February 17, 2018 | No comments


 

What: Murder mystery with focus on complicated family relations.

Setting: Iceland

Plot in brief: Psychologist Freyja and police officer Huldar investigate a murder case where the only witness is the victim’s 7 year old daughter, who was found hiding under the bed in the room where her mother died.

The good: This book has everything I have come to expect from Sigurðardóttir’s books: complex characters and an equally complex, and intriguing, plot.

The not-so-good: I thought the first half of the book was a bit slow, but it picked up and overall, the book did not disappoint.

Why I read it: Yrsa Sigurðardóttir is one of my favourite Icelandic authors and the publisher, via NetGalley, provided me with a free copy in exchange for a honest review.

My rating: ★★★ (3.5)

Conclusion: Looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

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Couch Potato, Librocubicularist

Book vs Film: The Snowman

February 8, 2018 | No comments


 

I watched The Snowman (from 2017) last week. It is based on Jo Nesbøs book with the same name (published 2007) which I read in 2013. It is the 7th book in the series about police inspector Harry Hole. I’ve had conflicting feelings about the book series – some books were great, others were boring. The Snowman falls in the 3 star middle. It wasn’t the worst book in the series, but far from the best.

I think the book and film were about equally good, but the film might be just slightly better because:

1. Michael Fassbender is excellent as Harry Hole. He is not at all how I pictured him while reading the books, but in the film it works.

2. The film does a great job of depicting the grey, moody feel of the book (one of my favourite things about Nordic crime).

3. The soundtrack was spot on.

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Librocubicularist

6 Degrees of Separation: Lincoln in the Bardo

February 4, 2018 | 5 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 Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders. It takes place during one night in a graveyard.

Another book where a graveyard is central stage is The Graveyard Apartment by Mariko Koike, who is one of the most popular writers in Japan today.

I’ve recently started reading more Japanese authors and one of my favourites is Keigo Higashino. The first book of his that I read was Malice, which is the fourth book in the Kyoichiro Kaga series.

With Malice by Eileen Cook is about 18-year-old Jill Charron who wakes up in a hospital room after being in a fatal car accident while on a school trip in Italy, of which she doesn’t remember a thing. She also doesn’t remember what happened to her best friend, Simone, who Jill is accused of having killed.

Best friends Lilly and Ellen are two of the main characters in The Moonlit Garden by Corina Bomann. Together with musicologist Gabriel Thornton they investigate a mystery related to an old violin.

A cello is at the center of one of the best chapters in If I Stay by Gayle Forman. One of the best things about the film adaption of the book was the beautiful soundtrack.

Many of the passages in Eric Rickstad’s The Silent Girls, made me think of songs.

This time, my chain took me from Lincoln in the Bardo, via multiple countries and themes, to The Silent Girls.

Why don’t you join us and make your own chain? Starting with Lincoln in the Bardo, 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 #104

January 26, 2018 | 3 comments


 

1. I went to a yoga class yesterday, and even though it did not feel very difficult, I’m sore all over today.

2. I’m listening to Scalia Speaks: Reflections on Law, Faith, and Life Well Lived, and so far I find it very interesting.

3. Definitely need to try #9, #14, #15, and #22.

4. I want this game.

5. #11 reminds me of the time when I had to go back to the store and buy a separate screwdriver to open the box of screwdrivers.

6. A few of these places in Sweden are still on my to-visit-list.

7. I finished the third season of The Bridge. It was excellent. One of the best TV series I’ve seen in a long time.

8. I’m planning on reading several of the books on this list this year.

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

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Attacking the TBR list

January 20, 2018 | 4 comments


 

My TBR list is in dire need of some TLC. Or maybe a big overhaul.

Most people who have ever met me, either in RL or online, know that I’m obsessed with books and booklists. I use GoodReads in combination with a very extensive spreadsheet to keep track of my yearly reading (and to calculate the yearly review).

At the start of the year, my TBR list on GR contained 1904 books. The question is not if I can read all those books. I could. If I only read books that are already on the list, I could have it done within 10 years.

The question is if I really want to read all the books on the list. And the answer to that is definitely no.

I did a big overhaul of the GR list in 2013, and in the last four years, I’ve made a conscious effort to read books that are already on the list. Still, at best, half the books I read in a year come from the TBR list.

This year I’m trying something new. Rather than just trying to read more books from the TBR list, my goal is to do a spring cleaning of sorts, and delete books that I am no longer interested in reading.

I started by eliminating books from series that I started but did not really enjoy, and realistically will never finish. Now the TBR list is down to 1593 books. I don’t have a set number that I want it to be at by the end of the year–that’s not what this exercise is about. My goal is to make it a list of books I intend to read, and less of a black hole where most books I come across are added, never to be thought of again.

Do you have a TBR list, and how to you keep it from getting out of hand?

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Life & Everything

Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts #103

January 11, 2018 | One comment


 

1. I don’t do New Years resolutions, but at the start of every year I make a long list of reading goals. Previous years the list has ranged from the simple with just general guidelines to extremely complicated involving colour-coded spreadsheets. This year I’m trying something new. No goals. No list. My only bookish resolution for 2018 is to read books I enjoy. That shouldn’t be so hard, right?

2. Days like this, when we have hurricane strength winds, I’m very grateful I have a job where I can work from home.

3. These made me smile.

4. I started watching the Swedish-Danish crime series The Bridge and I’m so hooked. I’m already on the second season out of four.

5. I’ve started a new crochet project: a temperature blanket with one row per day based on the noon temperature in town. So far, I’m loving it.

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

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Cruel Is The Night by Karo Hämäläinen

January 8, 2018 | No comments


 

If you do not want spoilers, you should probably stop reading now.

On paper, this book has everything that I like in books.

It is written by an awardwinning Finnish author, and I’m constantly looking for new Finnish crime to read. The book is set in London, rather than in Finland, but after the Nordic countries, UK is one my favourite settings.

It has a locked-room murder mystery with lots of Agatha Christie references. One of the main characters even reads Murder on the Orient Express on the flight to London.

The general plot idea is great: four Finnish friends–Robert and Mikko, and their wives Elise and Veera–meet for dinner. Three cell phones ring, but the calls go unanswered because their recipients are all dead.

Unfortunately, that is where the good things end.

The flow is extremely erratic and it does not help that the chapters alternate between being told by one of four friends, and the single one of them who is still alive at the end of the night. It is quite confusing who is the narrator of each chapter and several times I had to go back and reread passages to understand who was saying or thinking what.

It does not take many chapters before the storyline goes straight into crazy land. There are multiple capsules of cyanide. There are frequent flashbacks to events happening years before. There is a suicide. Lots of internal monologues, and lots of arguments are had. And there is more sex than you would expect from what is described as a “closed room mystery”.

One of the dinner guest, while attempting to kill one of the others with a sword, dies by falling and hitting her head on a suit of armor, and consequently being pierced in the head by the spikes of the armor. If that was not enough to kill her, the sword she was holding launched out of her hand, rotated around its center of mass in the air, and then plunged into her chest.

I quickly found myself wishing for all of the characters to just die so the book would end.

There were great little pieces, like:

“My attention kept getting stuck on the Finnish translation, and I found myself trying to guess how each sentence went in the original English.”

and

“…I had learned the dialect of today’s youth relatively well, but this was my first time hearing someone use the acronym OMG in speech. No principle of economy could justify the expression, as it could in a text message, because pronouncing the three letters took just as much effort as three one-syllable words. So it was nothing more than a corruption of the language.”

Unfortunately, the gems were few. Too much of the text was painful to read. Especially the descriptions.

“The high-backed chair was from the same set as the bookcase. It had leather upholstery. The springs bounced nicely when you sat on it. The two couches and two other armchairs matched each other. They had hefty lines. As if Rubens had turned furniture designer. Sometimes I felt like I was sitting in the lap of an ample matron. Between the bookshelves was a fireplace. A light burned in it. It looked like a perfectly real fireplace. There was a poker and a shovel.”

Several times I found myself wondering what the original text in Finnish sounded like, and if part of my issues with this book is just due to bad translation.

The saving grace is the sentence “Oh Jesus’s ecumenical testicles” that Veera says at one point during the dinner. I feel it pretty much sums up my opinion about this book.

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Librocubicularist

6 Degrees of Separation: No.1 Ladies Detective Agency

January 6, 2018 | 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 Alexander McCall Smith’s No.1 Ladies Detective Agency. It is the first book in a series, with the same name, about Precious Ramotswe, Botswana’s leading, and only, female private detective. I have not read it.

A book about a group of ladies who solve crimes that I have read, and really enjoyed, is 1st to Die by James Patterson. It is the first book in the Women’s Murder Club series. All books in the series has consecutive numbers in the title.

Another series where the titles are in a pattern is the Patrick Bowers Files by Steven James. The first book is called The Pawn, and the rest of the titles are all named after different chess pieces.

Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There by Lewis Carroll is based on a game of chess, with Alice being the pawn and the other chess pieces being embodied by other characters.

In the prequel, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, a lot of the characters were based on a deck of cards.

A Solitaire Mystery by Jostein Gaarder is structured as a deck of cards, with each chapter of the book being one card. One of the subtle themes in the book is philosophy.

Philosophy is also the main theme in Jostein Gaarder’s more famous novel Sophie’s World.

This time, my chain took me from No.1 Ladies Detective Agency, via some of my favourite series and books, to Sophie’s World.

Why don’t you join us and make your own chain? Starting with No.1 Ladies Detective Agency, 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 #102

January 5, 2018 | No comments


 

1. Happy New Year! This last year fly by, and I’m so ready for what this year will bring.

2. 2017 was quite a varied reading year for me. I had a bit of a reading slump for a couple of months, but still managed to read over 200 books. There were a lot of pretty bad or forgettable books. I’m determined that 2018 will be a better year.

3. The 2018 reading year started excellently with Ann Patchett’s Commonwealth (which Kate has been raving about). I don’t venture outside of my comfort zone of mysteries and thrillers that often, but this one was one of the best books I’ve read in a long time.

4. This is definitely my kind of superhero.

5. Have you seen New York Times’ Literary calendar for 2018?

6. Tomorrow is Saturday and the first 6 Degrees of Separation of the year. The starting book is Alexander McCall Smith’s No.1 Ladies Detective Agency. Are you joining in on the fun?

7. One of my Christmas gifts was a one year subscription to Kindle Unlimited. I think it will be a great supplement to my library accounts.

8. I want one of these.

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

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Librocubicularist

Books by the Numbers – 2017

January 3, 2018 | One comment


 

It should be no secret that I am obsessed with books, lists, and statistics. Every year I fill out a very extensive spreadsheet to keep track of what I read (becuase things like that make me very happy). Since 2014, I’ve also made an infographic summarizing my reading year, because infographics are almost as awesome as the original list.

books by the numbers – 2017 | Infogram

How was your reading year?

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