2018/03/30

BOOK HAUL:
MARCH

March is at an end and spring seems to finally be arriving, albeit slowly. Having the days become lighter and lighter this month has been really nice, and I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to putting away my winter boots for the season.

However, you didn't come here to hear me talk about shoes; here are the books I got this month!















I hope you've all had a lovely month, folks, and that spring is making its way to you too.
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2018/03/29

BOOKISH REFLECTIONS:
LITERARY PRIZES

The Women's Prize for Fiction longlist was announced earlier this month, and as it is my favorite literary prize to follow, I was super excited, and it got me thinking about literary prizes in general. I know some people really reject the idea of literary prizes all together, some are on the fence and some people love and follow some of them, or all of them. Everyone's got opinions (as they should).

I'm somewhere in the middle; I usually pay attention to the biggest literary prizes and which books make it to what lists. I'm horrible at predicting what will be on there, and when I do I'm almost always wrong, so the lists help me discover new books to read.


I'm more often than not positive towards all kinds of literary prizes, because I see them as a celebration of literature, and I think it offers up a lot of positive things for the author, the publisher and the public. They're also kind of fun to follow along with.

On the other side, I generally find that the bigger literary awards I'm exposed to and the ones I notice the most don't really have a wide array of different types of books when it comes to genres. There's an overwhelming amount of literary fiction and historical fiction. I rarely see foreign or translated books on the lists. Some of the prize's longlisted authors are often overwhelmingly male (and white).

Now, obviously a lot of the prizes have guidelines to follow and a lot of books aren't even eligible, but some years I feel like I just keep seeing the same books everywhere. I feel like they sometimes all fish in the same waters and no one casts a wide enough net. Books completely slip through the cracks, and sometimes all they do is catch the same type of fish.

I'm aware that there are literary prizes that cater to certain genres and are more inclusive than others, but the big ones, the ones most people have heard of and pick up a book because of, a lot of the time feel very narrow. Perhaps a lot of the books fall into the same-ish genres because they're easier to compare? I don't know.


There's no way any literary prize could ever be perfect anyways, because everything is subjective and the judges are all different every year, but I feel like a lot of them could improve quite a lot. I think for those of us who are very into the literary world and exposed to a lot of books, it's easier to find those great books that never win prizes, but I just wish they didn't fly under the radar of everyone else. There's all this great stuff they're missing out on and I wish they weren't (although I suppose all of these things I've been talking about can be said for movies, music and so on as well).

This was sort of a ramble and I'm sure I've missed several key points, but what do you guys think? Do you like and follow literary prizes or not? Does a literary prize winning book make you want to read it? Do they and should they matter? I'd love to know!
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2018/03/28

THINGS I LIKE NO. 11

I'm not a huge podcast listener, but when I find a podcast I like, I become obsessed, and as mentioned in a recent favorites video, my current obsession is My Favorite Murder.

This podcast, as I'm sure you can deduce from the title, is all about murder... but in a really fun way. I know that sounds like it wouldn't work, but it does. Basically, every episode, we get to listen to Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark tell each other about their favorite murders. There are also minisodes in which they read hometown murders and creepy stories from listeners, which are equally awesome.

It works because Karen and Georgia, as well as being hilarious, are shamelessly intrigued by murder and mystery. It's dark, funny and brilliant.
It's one of those things you'll either love or hate, but if you're as fascinated with murder as these fantastic women (and myself), I'd highly recommend you give it a go and join the murderino squad. 

SSDGM.
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2018/03/27

BOOK REVIEW:
THE IDIOT BY ELIF BATUMAN

Title: The Idiot
Author: Elif Batuman
Published: 2017
Language: English
Pages: 640
Rating: 2/5


Summary:
Selin is the daughter of Turkish immigrants and a freshman at Harvard, and in this story, we follow her as she explores language, her new life and herself.


Review:
I find it kind of hard to write a whole lot about this book, because I feel like 70% of it literally just went over my head.

The story of this book is fairly interesting at its surface, but I'm not sure how well I felt it was conveyed. There's something about the writing style that I kept falling out of rhythm with; one minute I feel like I'm there and I'm following along and the next we are up in the clouds and I don't know what happened.

I'm not sure if this book is just not great or if it's simply too high brow for me. There are parts I did like, like the friendship between the main character and her best friend, but there were also parts that made me feel stupid because I really just didn't get it and parts that were tedious and down right boring. It's a long book and it feels even longer when you feel like the title; an idiot.

There's something here I'm not getting, much like the main character keeps not getting things. I guess we have that in common, if nothing else.
You can get this book at The Book Depository (affiliate link)
You can read more about it on Goodreads
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2018/03/26

WORD CLOUD CLASSIC:
FRANKENSTEIN




The wonderful Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (I'm especially digging these endpapers).
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2018/03/24

BOOK REVIEW:
AT HOME IN THE WORLD BY TSH OXENREIDER

Title: At Home In the World: Reflections on Belonging While Wandering the Globe
Author: Tsh Oxenreider
Published: 2017
Language: English
Pages: 288
Rating: 2/5


Summary:
This is about Tsh Oxenreider, who when in her late thirties, decided alongside her husband to take their three kids on an epic one-year journey around the world, all the while musing on the idea of home, travel and belonging.


Review:
I think this is one of those cases where I picked up a book that just wasn't meant for me.

I imagine this the perfect book for the right audience, but I am not that audience. The introduction talks about how this is a book about traveling the world with children, and how the two are not incompatible, and already at that point I had an inkling that I wasn't going to love this.

I think the musings in this book about home are interesting enough, but most of this book, to me, feels rushed. I don't feel like I got a good sense of the places they went or that I was really there with them. I don't feel like I got to really know anyone in this book, not even Tsh, and I even sometimes forgot who everyone was, like who the different kids were. I don't feel like I was really let in on anything; I felt incredibly held at a distance. The more I read, the more I felt everything was just being repeated over and over again, and I had a really hard time finishing it.

I think perhaps the disconnect is due to me not being the target audience and not being able to really relate to the author. I find it hard to really recommend this, because to me it feels like a book that simply scratches the surface of what it promises to do, but I imagine it would be better for someone in their thirties/forties, married with kids who perhaps want to travel and feel like they can't because of said husband and kids.
You can get this book at The Book Depository (affiliate link)
You can read more about it on Goodreads
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2018/03/23

2018/03/21

BOOK REVIEW:
THE LAST MRS PARRISH BY LIV CONSTANTINE

Title: The Last Mrs Parrish
Author: Liv Constantine
Published: 2017
Language: Language
Pages: 390
Rating: 1/5

Trigger warning: This book portrays quite a lot of domestic abuse, abusive language and sexual violence. If you're sensitive to these topics, I would not recommend reading this.


Summary:
Amber Patterson is fed up with being a nobody and feels she deserves more; a life of wealth and power like Daphne Parrish has. So she comes up with a plan to take what she deserves for herself and as a bonus, take everything away from Daphne, as she doesn't appreciate what she has anyway.


Review:
This book started off fairly well and I was pretty intriguied with the story. Then somewhere in the middle, it took a complete nosedive.

It is a bit of a slower book which I usually don't mind, but towards the middle I felt like it was really beginning to drag out. The story is told through two viewpoints; Amber and Daphne, and Amber occupies the first two hundred pages of the book. Towards the end of that is where I started to loose my patience. Then, when I saw we were getting to read from Daphne's point of view, I was excited; which only lasted about three seconds, as the minute I started reading from her viewpoint, I knew where everything in the rest of the story was going.

I kept reading in the hopes that I would be wrong, that something was going to surprise me, but it didn't. I do think the characters in this book are somewhat interesting, even if they are unlikable, but I kind of wish they weren't written so incredibly black and white. It's very, very clear who you're supposed to root for and who is right, which to me is kind of boring. There aren't really that many layers to the characters, nothing that makes you wonder about them.

It also ties up way too neatly in the end. Everyone "gets what they deserve" and you don't even flinch, because you don't really care about any of the characters or what happens to them. It also implies that some people deserve something I don't think anyone deserves and this is my biggest issue with this book, and the main reason I've given it one star instead of two.

I don't think I would recommend this book to anyone, as not only did I not really like it, there's also a lot of problematic things in this book that I can't really discuss without spoiling it. There are much better thrillers out there that you can read instead.
You can get this book at The Book Depository (affiliate link)
You can read more about it on Goodreads
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2018/03/20

BOOKSTAGRAM SPOTLIGHT:
@SHE.TURNS.PAGES

Hello there! Allow me to divert your attention to yet another bookstagram account that I adore: @she.turns.pages. This account is run by Kath, who also runs a book blog.


Et innlegg delt av kath (@she.turns.pages)

Go follow!
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2018/03/19

BOOK REVIEW:
MURDER ON THE BALLARAT TRAIN BY KERRY GREENWOOD

Title: Murder on the Ballarat Train
Author: Kerry Greenwood
Published: 1991
Language: English
Pages: 151
Rating: 4/5

This is the third book in the Phryne Fisher series.


Summary:
The Honuorable Phryne Fisher has arranged to go to Ballarat for a week, but finds herself waking up on the train filled with poisonous gas, and after saving all but one of the other passengers, finds herself trying to figure out who murdered the old woman who died.


Review:
Again, what a joy this series is to read!

The mysteries in this book are really excellent, and quite a lot better than the ones in the second book. Everything is intertwined and exciting. Melbourne works as a perfect backdrop, as does the 1920's, and there's always something rather charming about trains and travel, even if it does involve a gruesome murder.

Phryne is badass as always and an absolute joy to go on adventures with. I can't wait to read the next book in this series already!
You can get this book at The Book Depository (affiliate link)
You can read more about it on Goodreads
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2018/03/17

BOOK REVIEW:
SLOW BOAT BY HIDEO FURUKAWA

Title: Slow Boat
Author: Hideo Furukawa, David Boyd (translator)
Published: 2003
Language: English (translated from Japanese)
Pages: 128
Rating: 3/5


Summary:
This is the story of a man taking a look at the failures and small victories he's experienced in his life, all the while trying to find his way out of Tokyo and trying to make sense of his dreams.


Review:
This was a really weird book, but I think I liked it. It has certainly made me think.

It's hard to describe this book and I certainly don't think it's a book everyone would enjoy, but I thought it was well-written, even beautiful in places, and quite gripping. There are some things in it that doesn't make sense to me, but the main story kept me intrigued to find out more.

It's reminiscent of Haruki Murakami, so if you like his work, I'd give this a go.
You can get this book at The Book Depository (affiliate link)
You can read more about it on Goodreads
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