2016/03/29

BOOK HAUL: MARCH

March is at an end, and I can barely discern the beginnings of spring here in Oslo. Winter always last much longer than I remember from the previous year and I can't wait for spring now. A little sunshine, a little warmer weather, no snow to slip on...

Nevertheless, books have been drooled over and acquired this month, as every month, so here they are in all their glory (with some tulips, as this is the season of tulips and I loooove them).


















Did you get any books this month, and are you excited for spring too?
ALL LINKS ARE AFFILIATE
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2016/03/27

AMAZING AUTHORS:
KATE MORTON

As spring is quickly approaching into bloom, I sat down to write another post about amazing authors, and the first the came to mind was an old favorite: Kate Morton.


Born: 1976
Nationality: Australian
Genre: Fiction, Historical Fiction
Most Notable Works:
- The House at Riverton
- The Forgotten Garden

Morton is one of my favorite historical fiction authors, and I have very fond feelings around her books. They remind me of long, lazy summer days, of quiet and of the joy of reading and getting lost in a book. It's been quite a few years since I read her books, but they still bring up fond feelings in me.

I like her books because they're fairly easy to read and it doesn't take a lot of work to get invested in the stories she creates. They are accessible and books I think most people would like, if they enjoy historical fiction. I also really like how she manages to effortlessly transport the reader back to a certain time period and setting. Her books have a very strong sense of place.

PS: I have not read these books in the original English, I've read the Norwegian translation, which you will see below.

Books I've Read:

Books I Want To Read:

The Book To Start With:

I would recommend starting with The Forgotten Garden, because it's the one I remember enjoying the most. This has a bit of mystery to it, which is probably why I like it so much, and the story contains a dark book of fairytales, a aristocratic family and a secret garden. 

I could probably have found an interview for her, but instead I'm going to put up a vlog with Leena from justkissmyfrog from #BookBreak, because it's a lot more fun to watch.



I also have to say, if you're looking for a gift for your mom, one of Morton's books is the way to go.
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2016/03/26

BOOK REVIEW:
A STOLEN LIFE BY JAYCEE DUGARD

Title: A Stolen Life: A Memoir
Author: Jaycee Dugard
Published: 2011
Language: English
Pages: 288
Rating: 2/5


Summary:
This is the memoir of Jaycee Dugard, a girl kidnapped at age 11 and held captive for eighteen years.


Review:
This is a very difficult book to review, because the life Dugard has endured is so horrific. That's why it's difficult to write a slightly negative review, as I felt this book read sort of incomplete.

The biggest focus of this book in on the earliest years of her captivity, which I think is a little sad. I felt like this book had so many holes in the story, and it didn't stick as deep as I thought it would. I would very much have liked to read more about how she raised her daughters in such an environment and more of her thoughts and feelings from her adulthood. There are pages filled with her journal entries from some years in her early twenties, but I think for me, as a reader, it didn't explain a lot of how she felt, even though I know it's meant to.

This book is quite simply written, which is not surprising, seeing as Dugard had so little education, but it does take away from some of the enjoyment. I do get the feeling that this book was a bit rushed as well. Maybe it would have been a better book if it had time to simmer and to grow alongside her for a couple of years. I definitely think it would've made it a lot better if she had help from a proffesional writer, because in a lot of ways it feels unfinished.

That being said, I think it's a very brave book, and probably one that was very hard to write. And I think her outlook on life and how positive she seems after regaining her freedom, that's a true accomplishment.

You can get this book at The Book Depository*
You can get the e-book on Amazon
You can read more about it on Goodreads
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2016/03/25

2016/03/23

BOOK REVIEW:
THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE BY NEIL GAIMAN

Title: The Ocean at the End of the Lane
Author: Neil Gaiman
Published: 2013
Language: English
Pages: 181
Rating: 5/5


Summary:
Upon returning to his childhood home, our nameless main character finds himself remembering his past, where he once met a strange girl who led him into an unimaginable world.


Review:
I can't believe it took me so long to pick this up, I feel like this book was practically written for me! Magical, strange and melancholy - I absolutely loved it.

At times terrifying, heartbreaking and whimsical, this is a perfect book for anyone who likes magical worlds that are wonderful and horrible, light and dark, all at once. It's brilliant and in a lot of ways has a sort of intimacy to it. I thought the way he portrayed the characters in this book were wonderfully complex, especially the children. Even though there are all these magical and strange elements, it feels realistic.

I really like books that don't overexplain things, even if it means not explaining them at all, and this is one of those books. I do think some people would find that annoying, but I loved it. I found the story to be engaging and surprising, a little scary and dreamlike. The writing is lovely, easy to follow and Gaiman weaves a fascinating and whimiscal world effortlessly.

I would wholeheartedly recommend this book, especially if you like books like Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll or the Fairyland series by Cathrynne M. Valente.

You can get this book at The Book Depository*
You can read more about it on Goodreads
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2016/03/22

TOP 5: MODERN CLASSICS I WANT TO READ III

After having reorganised my shelves in my new place, I realise I have quite a lot of the Penguin Modern Classics and thought I would share five of them that I want to read soon.

I've done two of these before, you can check them out here and here.


Thousand Cranes by Yasunari Kawabata


Mostly I want to read this because I've really been resonating with books translated from Japanese these past months, so I'm hoping this will be another success.

The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand


Though the sheer size of this book is slightly terrifying, I've heard almost nothing but great things about this. It's a story about money, power and a man's struggle to succeed on his own terms.

A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf


This is a book that has intruiged me for ages, but I've never gotten around to reading it. It's a sort of feminist book about the importance of female writers to have their own space to work.

The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman by Angela Carter


Having enjoyed two works by Angela Carter already, I want to read some more of her work.

The Complete Cosmicomics by Italo Calvino


I've read Under the Jaguar Sun by this author and found it to be disturbing and fascinating. If this is anything like that, I'm bound to like it.


Let me know if you've read any of these, and what you thought!

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2016/03/21

BOOK REVIEW:
BINGE BY TYLER OAKLEY

Title: Binge
Author: Tyler Oakley
Published: 2015
Language: English
Pages: 303
Rating: 3/5


Summary:
A collection of personal essays from YouTuber, LGBTQ+ advocate and social media king Tyler Oakley.


Review:
I have to preface this by saying that Tyler Oakley was one of the first people I ever watched on YouTube, and I think he's great. I laugh out loud at so many of his videos. That being said, I was slightly wary when all these YouTubers got book contracts, because I think writing is an art and a skill not everyone has, and one I have a great amount of respect for. So, one asks the question: are these people writing a book because they just happened to get a book contract or is it something that they are good at?

That being said, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed reading this, because I was very negative going in. Right off the bat, when I started reading, I felt like I could hear Tyler's voice in my head. The writing style feels very true to him, even if it isn't extraordinary or particularly beautiful. It's simple and funny.

I am uncertain of whether this book has any value for people who don't know who he is though. I felt like the stories were funny and interesting because they were about him. I don't know how much of it transcends beyond the author, which is why it falls a bit short for me. I felt like the deeper the subject got, the shorter the chapters got, which I think is a shame. I don't know if this really brings anything more to the table than what he brings in his videos and I find that I prefer his videos over this.

I'm glad I got this book, if only to support someone on the Internet that I really like. It was an interesting and funny read, and I think it's a quick and easy read for anyone who enjoys his videos.

You can get this book at The Book Depository*
You can read more about it on Goodreads
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2016/03/20

BOOK REVIEW:
THE WIND IS NOT A RIVER BY BRIAN PAYTON

Title: The Wind Is Not A River
Author: Brian Payton
Published: 2014
Language: English
Pages: 325
Rating: 3/5


Summary:
Having lost his brother to the war, writer John Easley throws himself into documenting the situation in Alaska and finds himself trapped and lost on the island of Attu. Meanwhile, his wife, Helen, will not sit idly by and wait for him - she will find him, one way or the other.


Review:
This was a fairly interesting book, and one I read and enjoyed.

This book is set both in Seattle and in Alaska, on the Aleutian islands, which is an uncommon setting of books about World War II that I really enjoyed. I felt like a got a really good feel for the place and the surroundings.

The characters in this book are pretty well-rounded, though I thought perhaps I would like to know even more about their back story, as I felt I didn't quite get to the root of their motivations. This is, in large parts, a love story, though not an annoying or awkward one, which is something I appreciate.

I don't feel particularly overwhelmed by this though, but not underwhelmed either. I feel like this was a nice, fast-paced read that simply didn't blow me away. I didn't wholly connect with the characters, though I must say I enjoyed reading about John, more than Helen, as his viewpoint felt more realistic. I do also like how not everything in the story works out easily - the obstacles and failures make the story more lifelike.

Overall, a good and enjoyable historical fiction, though nothing extraordinary. I imagine if one often enjoys love stories, you'd enjoy this more than I did.

You can get this book at The Book Depository*
You can get the e-book on Amazon
You can read more about it on Goodreads
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2016/03/19

2016/03/18

2016/03/17

BOOK REVIEW:
TAKE IT AS A COMPLIMENT BY MARIA STOIAN

Title: Take It As A Compliment
Author: Maria Stoian
Published: 2015
Language: English
Pages: 96
Rating: 4/5


Summary:
Stoian has collected the stories of real life people and their experience with harassment, violence and sexual abuse and brought them to life with her artwork.


Review:
I really liked this book and I applaud the author for making a book about such an important topic in such an accessible and beautiful way. I am both pleased and disturbed by this: pleased because it's important topic to talk about, disturbed because so many of these stories felt familiar.

Just the title of this book is fantastic; I don't know how many times I've heard this being said to me or my friends. I like how the stories in this touch on several different varieties of harassment and sexual assault: being inappropriately touched on a subway, being scared into doing thing you don't want to do, being raped by your partner, having someone block the way and insist on telling you that you're sexy... and much more. I also appreciate how it had a few stories with males being sexually harassed and abused, because I think it's important to remember that it's not just women this happens to.

I really enjoyed the artwork in this as well. It was raw and honest and it really brought another element to these stories. I thought perhaps some stories were a bit more challenging to follow and some ended very abruptly.

I would wholeheartedly recommend this book to everyone. I also think it could be quite educational, as it brings to life several situations that some are thought to overreact about, but that really is a form of harassment or abuse. It also informs you that you're not alone.





You can get this book at The Book Depository.
You can read more about it on Goodreads.
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2016/03/16

BOOK REVIEW:
A SPOOL OF BLUE THREAD BY ANNE TYLER

Title: A Spool of Blue Thread
Author: Anne Tyler
Published: 2015
Language: English
Pages: 358
Rating: 3/5


Summary:
In this book, we follow the Whiteshank family through three generations, witnessing events and discovering secrets.


Review:
I have sort of ambivalent feelings about this book.

This is a quiet and emotional family drama, where you follow the characters through everyday life and discover interesting facts, secrets and traits of the characters, who reveal themselves slowly and over time. And I think the characters really are the stars of this book: they're fascinating, complex and imperfect.

The storyline is quite calm and has few ups and downs, and I think the writing style adds to that. It's like a picture that unfolds so quietly you barely notice, until you have a somewhat complete picture in front of you. However, for me, I feel like I can't see the entire picture.

The reason for this is that there were several surprises in this book and the way they're revealed so calmly should, in a way, make them even more shocking. And yet I didn't feel myself getting really pulled into the story. I can't really pinpoint why, but perhaps this simply isn't the perfect book for me. It was good though, and definitely worth the read.

I would recommend this book to people who enjoy family dramas that quietly unfolds. I imagine a lot of people would absolutely love this, so I would give it a go if it sounds good to you.

You can get this book at The Book Depository*
You can read more about it on Goodreads
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2016/03/15

TOP 5: RUSSIAN LITERATURE I WANT TO READ

Having recently finished War and Peace, I've found I want to explore more Russian literature, so here are five books from Russian authors I want to read.

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov


A book that has been on my TBR for as long as I can remember, I think this will creep me out, but fascinate me.

Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol


I have read a tiny short story by Gogol before and really enjoyed it, so I want to read more of his works.

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy


Because I enjoyed War and Peace, I really want to read another book by Tolstoy. I actually imagine I'm going to like this even better, because I've heard it's a lot more character driven, while War and Peace is very much historical and political.

Notes from the Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky


This is actually one of the two books by Dostoevsky I own, the other one being a short novella, and I feel these are less terrifying than the beast that is Crime and Punishment.

The Captain's Daughter by Alexander Pushkin


I want to read this because I know my grandma read it and really enjoyed it and even told me I should read it. So, I probably should.


Do you have any Russian literature you want to read soon, or any books to recommend?


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