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Life & Everything

Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts #80

March 19, 2017 | No comments


 

1. How many of these mysteries coming out this spring are on your tbr list? Normally, I would add them all to my list, but I was not very intrigued by the selection this year. I will definitely read A Twist in Time by Julie McElwain and The Thirst by Jo Nesbø, and I’m thinking maybe for Donna Leon’s Earthly Remains (although I haven’t read any of the other books in the series and I really don’t need to start another 20+ book series right now).

2. This made me smile.

3. A friend and I went to see the new Beauty and the Beast yesterday. I know it has gotten somewhat mixed reviews, but I absolutely loved it. It was definitely my favourite Disney movie growing up, and I though the remake did a good job of expanding and updating the story while staying true to the original.

4. This is definitely me:

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

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Life & Everything

Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts #79

March 9, 2017 | 13 comments


 

1. What happened to February and how is it already almost mid-March? Also, March means that I have to start thinking about filing taxes. This year I have to learn a 4th country’s system, so today I’m going to a very exciting seminar about Icelandic tax forms.

2. I’m in desperate need of a song to help me get rid of Jon Bellion’s All Time Low that is stuck on repeat in my head.

3. Reason #43 I’m not regretting moving to Reykjavik: The Icelandic government just announced a new law that will require companies to prove that the pay all employees the same regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexuality, or nationality.

4. For International Women’s Day, one of my favourite museums, Fotograpfiska (photography museum) in Stockholm, increased the entrance fee by 13% for men – equal to the gender pay gap in Sweden. I highly approved of the point they were making: if you get paid more to do the same job, you get to pay more to enjoy the same art.

5. I need a t-shirt like this for my collection.

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

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Librocubicularist

Beartown by Fredrik Backman

March 8, 2017 | No comments


 

In brief: Novel about a small town and it’s obsession with ice hockey.

Setting: Sweden

The good: Backman is a born storyteller with a very distinctive writing style which I love. He has an amazing ability to describe mundane everyday events in a way that makes them seem remarkable. (And everyone knows I have a soft spot for stories set in small towns.)

The not-so-good: Somehow, I got less and less invested in the plot as the story unfolded, and the book felt like it was several hundred pages too long.

Why I read it: I’m a huge fan of Fredrik Backman, and this sounded like a book I would love and recommend to everyone.

My rating: ★★ (but many passages are absolutely brilliant)

Conclusion: Definitely one of those rare cases where all the individual pieces are great but the sum total somehow does not work.

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Reading Recap | February 2017

March 6, 2017 | No comments


 

To be honest, February was a bit of a let-down. I had the flu/cough from hell, work was crazy busy, and I had almost no time (or energy) to even think about reading a book. Somehow, I still managed to finish 13 books.

HIGHLIGHTS

The Martian by Andy Weir ★★★★★
Ebook | 387 pages (Read February 18-19)

After reading a lot of 3 star reads in a row, I felt like I was heading into a readings lump and needed something to break the trend. I decided to reread The Martian, and it was just as good as when I read in in 2016 (and the first five star read of 2017).

 
Citymorden by Lars Bill Lundholm ★★★★
Ebook | 429 pages (Read February 2-6)

I devoured the first four books in this Swedish crime series, with each book set in a different part of Stockholm, in 2010 and loved them all, but had completely missed that a fifth book was published in 2014. I was so excited to read it and it did not disappoint. Sadly, none of the books in this series have yet been published in English, but as soon as they are, I will recommend them to everyone who loves Nordic crime, or just a good crime novel in general.

 
Adnan’s Story: The Search for Truth and Justice After Serial by Rabia Chaudry ★★★★
Audiobook | 15 hours (Read February 18-23)

I loved the first season of the podcast Serial, but I actually preferred the podcast Undisclosed The State v. Adnan Syed. This book is a great supplement to both those podcasts.

 
The Widow by Fiona Barton ★★★
Audiobook, 10 hours (Read February 23-26)

I decided to read this psychological thriller because Kerry gave it a positive review. It had a bit of a slow start and the jumps back and forth in time and between different points of view did not quite work for me. Overall, I liked it very much but not quite enough to give it 4 stars.

 

OTHER READS

★★★
White Nights by Ann Cleeves | Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks (reread) | Devil Bones by Kathy Reichs (audio) | High Country by Nevada Barr (audio) | Devices and Desires by P.D. James (audio) | Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner by Judy Jelinek (audio) | There Are Things I Want You to Know About Stieg Larsson and Me by Eva Gabrielsson

★★
15th Affair by James Patterson | Björnstad by Fredrik Backman

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6 Degrees of Separation: Fever Pitch

March 4, 2017 | 3 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 Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby. This memoir is a love letter to football (or soccer for you Americans), a sport that Hornby has been obsessed with his entire life.

Another author with a lifelong obsession with sports is Fredrik Backman. His latest novel, Beartown, is all about a small town’s obsession with ice hockey. The only thing that rivals Backman’s obsession with sports is his obsession with food (when I started following his blog, every other post was about frying some kind of meat).

A story that I love, and where food plays a central role, is Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg. I have had a life-long obsession with the film adaption from 1991 starring the amazing Kathy Bates as Evelyn Couch.

Kathy Bates also starred in the film adaption of Cecelia Ahern’s P.S. I Love You. I absolutely adored the story about a young widow who goes on a journey planned by her late husband, and discovers herself again. I read the book after watching the film and was very disappointed.

Another case where I loved the film adaption, but was disappointed in the book is Chocolat by Joanne Harris. It is about a young single mother who opens a chocolate store in a small town in France. Juliette Binoche is great as the lead Dianne Rocher (and Johnny Depp as Roux is tolerable) but my favourite is definitely Judi Dench as Armande Voizin. The film was directed by Lasse Hallström.

Lasse Hallström also directed the amazing film adaption of Peter Hedges’ novel What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, starring Johnny Depp and Leonardo DiCaprio.

Peter Hedges wrote the screenplay for the film adaption of Nick Hornby’s About a Boy, which nicely turns my chain into a circle.

This time, my chain took me from Fever Pitch, via stories love, food and films, to About a Boy.

Why don’t you join us and make your own chain? Starting with Fever Pitch, 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 #78

March 3, 2017 | 2 comments


 

1. Monday was Bolludagur (bun day) here in Iceland. There were free cream-filled buns at work, but sadly I couldn’t eat any. My task for next year is to figure out how to make them gluten free.

2. I thought March was going to be bit more relaxed month at work, but I guess not. I already have two presentations to prepare, a conference abstract to write, a report to proofread, article revisions to do, and a ton of other things that have to be finished in the next couple of weeks.

3. March is reading Ireland month over at 746 books. I’m not officially participating in the challenge this year, but I’m hoping to get at least one book set in Ireland read this month.

4. ABC is doing a remake of Dirty Dancing? It could be either awesome or absolutely horrible. I’m leaning towards awesome for now. (It cannot be worse than Dirty Dancing Havanna Nights, right?)

5. These always make me smile.

6. 2017 better not be a repeat of 2016. I should watch Twister again. It is one of my favourite bad geology/natural hazards films.

7. I’m going to Portland this summer. I’m definitely need to visit Powell’s Book Store while I’m there (and then figure out how to get to the other 11 on this list).

8. I got myself a new fitbit, hoping it will help motivate me to walk more even during the winter. I’ve been reaching my goal of 10000 steps every day this week.

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

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Life & Everything

The Present Participle List | February 2017

March 1, 2017 | One comment


 

DRINKING hot chocolate
WALKING through the snow
WATCHING Hallmark movies
SHOVELING so much snow
READING recipes
PREPARING progress reports
GRADING practicals
WRITING long emails
LISTENING to Ruelle
WEARING all the warm clothes
RECEIVING book surprises
LOVING winter sunrises
EATING banana pancakes
ENJOYING snow days
PLANNING summer vacation
ORGANIZING my apartment
COVETING a new planner
FEELING under the weather
CELEBRATING another birthday

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Couch Potato, Librocubicularist

Book vs Film: Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor / Christmas with Holly

February 25, 2017 | No comments


 

During my recent two-week stint with the flu/cough from hell I probably watched enough Hallmark made for tv movies to fill my need for the rest of the year. One of the films I watched was Christmas With Holly from 2012.

Half-way through the film, I realized that I had seen it before, and that I had read the book it is based on, Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor (also published as Christmas With Holly) by Lisa Kleypas from 2010. Actually, when I read the book in 2015 I was convinced I had either read it before or seen a tv adaption of it, but couldn’t quite place it.

The story is about a man named Mark who becomes the guardian of his niece Holly after his older sister pass away. Holly and Mark move in with Mark’s two brothers, and befriends Maggie, the owner of the new toy shop in town. This book, and the film, is not really a traditional romance. The romantic relationship between Mark and Maggie is not the focus, rather it’s more of a family drama (which I definitely have a soft spot for). Part of the book and film is set during Christmas, but I wouldn’t necessairly classify it as a holiday book/film.

I definitely prefer the FILM over the BOOK because:

1. I prefer romantic movies over romance novels. For a few of my teen-age years, I almost exclusively read romance novels but my reading preferences has definitely changed since then (not saying that I don’t once in a while read and really enjoy a romance novel–the list of preferred authors has just shrunken to a very small, exclusive club). Being a hopeless romantic at hearth, I do still enjoy watching feel-good romantic films.

2. The setting is gorgeous. The story takes place in Seattle and on San Juan Island, Washington, and was filmed in Nova Scotia, Canada.

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Life & Everything

Bookish (and not so Bookish) Thoughts #77

February 23, 2017 | One comment


 

1. I’m so behind on my daily reading of Les Miserables. Receiving daily short sections to read via the serial reader app was a great idea, but it is not working if I don’t even open the app… (I will catch up, I just need to read 4 or 5 sections per day for a while.)

2. I just finished listening to Adnan’s Story: The Search for Truth and Justice After Serial by Rabia Chaudry. I was a big fan of the first season of the podcast Serial as well as the first season of the podcast Undisclosed: the State v. Adnan Syed and the book didn’t disappoint.

3. I’m done with teaching for a while now. I won’t lie – I really enjoy teaching but preparing lectures and grading assignments while still doing my full-time research work was a lot to keep up with.

4. I’m looking forward to getting my evenings back again and have more time to read. I just got two books I’m dying to read via a book exchange group: Why Did You Lie? by Yrsa Sigurdardottir and Every Three Hours by Chris Mooney. The latter is the sixth book in a series so I have a few books left to read before that one.

5. Now that I’m not working two intense jobs at the same time, I figured I have time to finally start learning Icelandic, so I signed up for a month long class at the university. I thought that since I’m staying here, I should make an effort to actually learn the language (more than just answering no when the cashier at the grocery store asks if I want a plastic bag).

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

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Librocubicularist

“There Are Things I Want You to Know” about Stieg Larsson and Me by Eva Gabrielsson

February 20, 2017 | 2 comments


 

In brief: Eva Gabrielsson’s account of her life together with Stieg Larsson, and the events following his death.

Setting: Sweden

The background: Stieg Larsson and architect and political activist Eva Gabrielsson were together for 32 years. They were not married (and did not have any children together), so when Stieg passed away from a heart attack in November 2004, his estranged father and brother inherited all of his estate, including publishing rights and future royalties.

The good: For me, the highlights of this book are definitely the background information about what lead to Larsson writing the Millennium trilogy, and the inspiration for the themes, plot, and different characters. It’s absolutely worth reading just for those little tidbits.

The not-so-good: Most of the chapters are short and the style shifts back and forth, which for me made the book feel a bit unorganized. Parts of the book (especially the biographical information regarding Stieg’s childhood) is quite dry and feels mostly like a list of facts without much emotional content (a stark contrast to the more emotional chapters). I actually think I was more sympathetic to Gabrielsson’s situation before reading this book. I found her a bit off-putting and had a hard time connecting to her.

Why I read it: The Millennium trilogy is one of my all-time favourite series.

My rating: ★★★

Conclusion: Worth reading if you’re a fan of the Millennium trilogy and want more background on the legal dispute between Gabrielsson and Stieg Larsson’s father and brother.

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