2015/04/29

Book Haul: April

So...

I went to London (also known as Bookshop Mecca) in the beginning of this month, and I got some books. I use the term "some" very loosely, as you will soon see. There's just something about going in to these magnificent bookshops and find books I always buy online because I cannot find them in Norway. An example is that I found an entire table full of the Everyman's Library Pocket Poets books, and I nearly lost my mind. It was just so wonderful!

Nevertheless! April was a good month, and the trip I had with my family for Easter was pretty great! Spring is in full swing now, and I'm quite excited for May. May is always a good month in Norway, because not only do we have all these random days off, but the 17th of May is Norway's Independence Day, which is always fun!

I'm done rambling now. To the books!




















Woot woot!

I hope you've all had a good month as well!
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2015/04/28

Top 5: Books Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize I Want to Read

Having recently done a Top 5 containing five books longlisted for the same award, I thought I share the books shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
2004

Perhaps the most famous novel from David Mitchell, this is a science fiction novel where several characters from several different times somehow all connect.

The Stars in the Bright Sky by Alan Warner
2010

Though I realise this is the second novel to The Sopranos, I want to read them both. This is contemporary and has a lot of Scottish culture, which sounds great!

The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng
2011

I'm quite fascinated with Asian culture, and this is historical fiction set in Malaysia. I think this is the book I want to read most out of all of these.

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler
2014

A contemporary adult fiction novel I keep seeing everywhere and hearing amazing things about. I feel like going in blind with this one though, so I haven't read any synopsis for this one.

The Lives of Others by Neel Mukherjee
2014

Again with the Asian culture, this is set in India. This is about family and politics and rivalries, and overall, it just sounds like my cup of tea.


Let me know if you've read any of these or why you want to read them too!

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2015/04/27

Book Review: Zen Poems

Title: Zen Poems
Edited by: Peter Harris
Published: 1999
Language: English
Pages: 256
Rating: 3/5


Summary: 
A collection of poetry about the Zen philosophy.


Review:
This was a wonderful little book. As with most poetry collections, there will always be parts one does not enjoy and other parts one loves.

I like the direct nature of this kind of poetry. I like the presence of nature, and the relationship between nature and man.

One of my favourites from this is "On Seeing the First Bloom of the Lotus" by Jakuren:

Here it is: this
must be that spring to come
outside the vexing world
lotus blossoms opening
through my door, in the dawn sky

Overall, a very enjoyable read. I would recommend it if you like poetry, and especially if you're interested in spirituality.

You can get this book at The Book Depository*
You can read more about it on Goodreads

A thousand times yes to this edition by the way...



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2015/04/26

Book Tag: A-Z

I wrote down somewhere that I was tagged in this, but I can not for the life of me remember by whom. Nevertheless, here we go!

Author you've read the most: Agatha Christie and J. K. Rowling

Best sequel ever: I usually find sequels disappointing, but Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor was amazing.

Currently reading: I'm writing this in advance, so it'll probably change by the time this goes up, but right now I'm reading Etta and Otto and Russel and James by Emma Hooper. And Zen Poems.

Drink of choice while reading: Coca-Cola or Peach Ice Tea. Hot chocolate for wintertime.

E-reader or physical book?: Physical.

Fictional character you probably would have actually dated in High School: Hm. George Weasley.

Glad you gave this book a chance: Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham.

Hidden gem book: Midwinterblood by Marcus Segdwick.

Important moment in your reading life: When I started to read in English.

Just finished: A Slip Under the Microscope by H. G. Wells.

Kind of book you won't read: Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James.

Longest book you've read: Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien

Major book hangover because of: Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling (every damn time, man).

Number of bookcases you own: One big one, yet not big enough, in my apartment, and four at my parents house.

One book you've read multiple times: The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

Preferred place to read: My bed. At night, while it's raining, and everyone else has gone to sleep.

Quote that inspires you / gives you all the feels from a book you've read: "She made herself stronger by fighting with the wind" from The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

Reading regret: Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer.

Series you started and need to finish: Seven Realms by Cinda William Chima.

Unapologetic fangirl for: A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin.

Very excited for this release more than all the others: Winds of Winter by George R. R. Martin (*tapping fingers impatiently at desk* sigh...)

Worst bookish habit: Buying books without actually wanting to read them. This does not happen often, but when it does, it's so annoying! And every time I'm like: why did I do this? UGH!

X marks the spot: start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book: Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens.

Your latest book purchase: A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess.

ZzZ-snatcher book (last book that kept you up way late): The Diviners by Libba Bray.


Feel free to do this yourself, I'd love to see it!

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2015/04/25

Book Review:
A Slip Under The Microscope by H. G. Wells

Title: A Slip Under The Microscope
Author: H. G. Wells
Published: 1896
Language: English
Pages: 64
Rating: 3/5


Summary:
This little book contains two short stories: "The Door in the Wall" and "A Slip Under The Microscope".


Review:
I quite liked this little book. It's easy to read, but has great descriptions and wonderful language.

I really loved "The Door in the Wall", which is the first story in the book. It's short and sweet and has a sort of eerie feel to it.

"A Slip Under the Microscope" is a bit different, and I'm not sure if I grasped the meaning behind it (if there is one). I might have to let that one simmer and the read it again.

Overall, this was a short and satisfying read. I would very much recommend it if you want to try some H. G. Wells.


You can get this book at The Book Depository*
You can read more about it on Goodreads
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2015/04/24

2015/04/23

Vintage Classics: Persuasion




Ladies and gentlemen... the absolutely beautiful Persuasion by Jane Austen.
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2015/04/22

Book Review:
Reading The World by Ann Morgan

Title: Reading The World: Confessions of a Literary Explorer
Author: Ann Morgan
Published: 2015
Language: English
Pages: 336
Rating: 3/5


Summary:
Ann Morgan one day noticed that almost all of the books she'd ever read was mostly from English speaking countries. She then decided she would try to read a book from each country in the world - in only one year, sharing her reading adventures on her blog. The experience of doing this shed some light on issues that affect us all.


Review:
Before I start, I should just mention that non-fiction is still a pretty new genre to me and because it's so different from what I usually read, I find it a little tough digest at times.

First of all, this book was very different from what I expected when I picked it up. I thought it was going to be a lot more about her reading and blogging and the year she spent doing it, while in reality it's more... factual, if that makes sense. I feel like the title of this book suggests this is written from more of a personal perspective than I found it to be.

That being said, I very much enjoyed parts of this book, especially the ones talking about publishing and translation. It really did make me think that we should all try to read more diversely, and there's so much we're missing out on, simply because it's in a different language, or the country it's from has no publishing whatsoever.

Overall, this was pretty interesting. I would recommend it if you wish to learn more about books and publishing all around the world. I've certainly learned several important lessons.


You can get this book at The Book Depository*
You can read more about it on Goodreads

You can also visit the blog that started all of this, A Year of Reading the World.
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2015/04/21

Top 5:
Books I Want To Read From Other Continents

I recently read a book that made me think about how important it is to read diversely. I read mostly works from Europe (mostly UK and Norway) and North-America, and I've realized I want to read some books from other continents. I think it's time I expand my horizons beyond my usually anglophone bookshelf. This means I want to read books not just set in other places, but written by authors from those places. Here are five of them.

Rickshaw Boy by Lao She

First published in China in 1937, this is now considered a Chinese classic, and is about a boy who dreams of one day owning his own rickshaw, but struggles on his path.

The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende

This is a historical fiction, magical realism book follows several generations of a family. I love books like these, especially in summer, so why not read one from Latin America?

Prince of Ayodhya by Ashok K. Banker

As far as I can tell, this is a sort of retelling of a 3000 year old legend from India (the Ramayana). As I love mythology, it would be really interesting to read modern versions of myths from India.

Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel

This is a romance, magical realism story from Latin America that was a best-seller when it came out. 

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I don't know if this was originally published in English or Nigerian, but the author of this book was born and raised in Nigeria. I've also heard so many amazing things about this book that I just have to read it.


Let me know if you've read any of these, or if you have any recommendations about literature from other countries.

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2015/04/20

Book Review:
The Penguin Book of Irish Short Stories

Title: The Penguin Book of Irish Short Stories
Edited by: Benedict Kiely
Published: 1981
Language: English
Pages: 544
Rating: 2/5


Summary:
A collection of short stories, capturing different generations and moods in Irish writing.


Review:
It isn't often that I struggle so much getting through a book, but I did with this one. With short story collections, there's always going to be some stories you enjoy more than others, but in this they were few and far between. This just didn't do much for me.

Two of the stories I did enjoy were "The Cards of the Gambler" by Johnny Shemish and "Wildgoose Lodge" by William Carleton. These are both some of the earlier stories in this book, as I ended up skimming big parts of the second half.

What I did like about this, is the cultural value and insight you can glimpse from time to time. It simply did not captivate me enough to really keep me awake and interested.

I would only recommend this if you really love short story collections and want a little Irish culture thrown into the mix.

You can get this book at The Book Depository*
You can read more about it on Goodreads
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