A new favorite

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Get your notebooks out!

If you’ve ever felt like writing a memoir, model it after Roxane Gay’s memoir Hunger. It is the perfect memoir.

It’s my new favorite for sure.

It is brilliant for the following reasons:

It focuses on a theme. It’s not let’s tell everything, including the history of my ancestors. I hate memoirs/biographies that start out with my parents/grandparents were these people, from wherever. Hate it. Instead, she focuses on events relating to her body.

It’s a feminist work. Stating the obvious. Wouldn’t be brilliant if it wasn’t feminist.

It discusses ideas, connects it to her life and society in general. While I am very fond of learning details of people’s life just for the fun of it, this is just slightly more interesting.

The best ending ever. On par with Dirty Weekend. I’d fear Roxane if I were you. I love this lady.

Don’t get me wrong, it is a difficult read. Because it shows what a horrible world we live in. The beginning of the book especially is quite difficult to get through. I had to take it at bit at a time. But it’s oh so good. Is it too soon for a reread?

Some books need a third read

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I seem to be in the middle of my third read of Megan McCafferty’s Jessica Darling series.

I don’t understand how this happened.

This was my first read:

Wtf is this??? Jessica is at the top of her class, a brilliant athlete, has a group of friends and she’s complaining??? On top of which, you’re telling me this Marcus character is the cool kid and he’s a ginger with dreads, but really just super intelligent and misunderstood? And don’t even get me started on this Paul Parlipiano character. Just NO.

My second read:

OK, I’ve accepted that she’s not Daria, her love interest is not Trent and that is a good thing, and I do like the story, and the writing is not at all bad. 

Current read:

How did I not love this from the start!?! I love how bitter and cynical Jessica is. So what if she’s an athlete (for all of the first book), so what if she’s really smart to boot? Bitter. Cynical. And at times wonderfully irrational. What more could you ask for? I loves it. You don’t have to be Daria. Even if it’s preferable. 

So ja.

If you’re not familiar with this series, and interested in knowing what it’s about, Forever Young Adult does a brilliant job explaining the plot and why you need it in your life.

I absolutely love this series and a terrible movie/TV series really should be made asap.

Of course, I fully expect Jared Leto to be cast as Paul Parlipiano. So what if he’s…30 years to old? Doesn’t matter!

Do I feel slightly guilty that I’m

a. a grown woman reading YA?
b. “wasting” time on rereads when there are lots of new and brilliant books to read?

Kinda. Yeah. But I’ve got zero control.

 

..it should probably also be said that the slut-shaming and judging people by appearance that this book is kinda fond of is problematic. But yea. You can’t expect all books to be a feminist masterpiece. 

Currently reading

There are not a lot of books that will not make my mind go into feminist analysis mode.

I’m not saying I’m good at it, I’m just saying it’s what my mind likes to do. Doesn’t seem to matter what kind of book it is.

I’ve stumbled on an exception.

Lords and Ladies by Terry Pratchett.

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I’ve zero thoughts except for Oo I like the voices the reader does.

That’s. Nice. For a change?

 

How to kill your Korn obsession in 2 minutes flat

Maybe it’s an exaggeration to say that I’ve managed to kill my Korn obsession, but we’re definitely on a break.

How I did it?

Weeellll…Mr Bass Player, a.k.a. Fieldy, wrote a biography, Got the Life, and it’s on Storytel. My current book service of choice. Had to listen to it, didn’t I?

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I sort of expected it to be a painful listen. I sort of expected it to be down there with the Backyard Babies biography.

In the case of the Backyard Babies bio, it took me approx. two pages to decide I ain’t reading a book that cannot for the life of it imagine that maybe the reader could actually be female, and that maybe referring to women as objects is a bit outdated.

Got the Life is down there alright.

I don’t know much about anyone in Korn really. Vague knowledge of who’s in the band, that they make poor interviewees, one of them has found God, aaand..that’s pretty much the extent of it. Probably not the only reader who picks up the book knowing little and/or nothing.

So what is the first thing this Fieldy guy wants us to know about him?

He wants the reader to know how he beat up his girlfriend in a hotel room.

Sure, it’s honest, sure, he says he regrets it, sure, he’s a changed man.

Do I need to point out that I subscribe to the school of thought where people aren’t actually able to change? At best, a person could hope to become an improved version of themselves but an actual change? That’s pretty much not happening. I.e. me and the book, we don’t view the world the same way. At all. Moving on!

If he regretted it, and if he in fact has changed, wouldn’t the incident make him feel embarrassed, i.e. he’d hide it away in the text somewhere? Not flaunt it on the first page?

Also, the way he describes the incident, it isn’t just blind rage. It’s calculation. That’s nice.

I do not for the life of me understand why anyone would want to represent themselves this way.

OK maybe I do. But I don’t think he thought it through properly. Purely because, OMFG stereotypical masculinity, don’t let people know you’re that boring and retarded!?

Sure. Guy clearly didn’t actually -write- this himself, he told the story, someone else typed, and I can tell someone has also tried to straighten up the text. Not particularly successfully. For example. You can’t be sometimes referring to the singer in the band as Jon and sometimes Jonathan Davis. It’s inconsistent. And really weird. Just to name one very obvious example.

What I really wanted to get at is: publisher thought structuring the information in this way was a good idea? Many people were clearly involved and literally no one thought that maybe this is not a first impression you’d want to make?

It’s not even as if it’s a chronological story and they move from this point and forwards, no this is just one incident they apparently want focus on.

Obviously I’m not surprised it didn’t occur to anyone. Because patriarchy. Men get away with this shit. It’s just. I keep expecting us to have come further.

I’m not bitter. I am super bitter.

I could go on about how it’s also extremely boring to listen to a report on just how many drugs and drinks he’s done, about how he cheated but it was only one night stands (and that makes it…OK..?), details on his cars and how he used to consider it a status symbol but now it’s just a hobby (uh-huh, please tell me more, I’m so intrigued), and OH I must mention my favorite part:

He’s getting married. Describes his and his mates’ outfits as they enter the venue of the wedding, how he imagines everyone staring at them in fear.

A. Think your mind is playing tricks on you sir, that’s not fear, that’s oh dear, someone is in dire need of a stylist,
B. Let’s say it is fear. Why would you want that?? And if you do, at least have sense enough yo keep it to yourself! For your own sake.

I sometimes read bios as a way to get some sort of sense of the history of a band. I’ve listened to interviews more informative on the subject than this book. This is basically my understanding of Korn based on this book: they were famous from the start without much effort and they’re all misogynist pigs.

Oh yeah. And he’s responsible for Limp Bizkit. Guy’s truly evil. And not in a good way.

To be honest. I couldn’t listen the last 40 minutes of the book. Just couldn’t. He’s topping off a long history of misogyny and drug abuse with praising the bible. I couldn’t take any more. I see how the bible has appeal, if you’re a fan of patriarchy, which he clearly is. Also, it’s convenient if you like to not think for yourself. (I’m sure the bible can be used in different ways, but he seems to take it as some sort of manual of life, i.e. no thinking required.) Doesn’t mean I want to hear about it.

Why I didn’t stop listening to the damned thing sooner? It was on purpose. Because I want to not like Korn. I feel this book, as suspected, aptly demonstrates why that is something one shouldn’t want. Apparently I also like to torture myself. Speaking of which…

If you for unknown reasons find that you are in fact interested in this book. Maybe don’t listen to it. Because in addition to the general stupidity of this book, the reader is insufferable. His fake chuckling in particular. In particular, because nothing is actually funny; this is an incredibly sad story.

Really. You should just do yourself a favor and read Tête-à-tête: The Tumultuous Lives and Loves of Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre rather than picking up this book. 

OR, if you’re short on time, you could listen to this interview with some guy in a band that I came across the other day. It’s not new, but there’s a bit in it that gives me just a tiny bit of hope the metal genre as a whole isn’t just a lost cause. From a feminist point of view obviously.

Just don’t listen to Memphis May Fire.

But then I don’t know why you would anyway.

Watching Queen of the Damned

I’ve seen Queen of the Damned before. Around when it came out, so 2002? I know that it’s terrible; but my new Korn obsession combined with knowing (being reminded of?) Jonathan Davis involvement in the soundtrack I had to give it another watch.

Besides, I used to love Anne Rice when I was younger; Queen of the Damned was my favorite of all her production. Maybe it’d be different this time?

….

No it wasn’t.

It was exactly the same. I usually like crappy movies (example: Blair Witch Project 2, I just think it’s way better than the first movie, clearly I have no taste); but this. What is this?

Here’s what I wonder;

Why are they trying to fit not just the one but two 400+ page novels into one hour and a half movie? Who thought this was a brilliant idea and why?? Despite the title, it’s in fact not based on Queen of the Damned only, but also the second book in the series The Vampire Lestat.

…far be it from me to say, but I do wonder who was in charge of casting. Was someone in charge? Did people bribe their way into the movie? There are literally no more than 2 good castings in this movie; Lena Olin who plays Maharet, and well, I might be biased, but I do buy Davis as the scalper.

And while we’re on the subject of Maharet; couldn’t they just have given her more space? Not only because not crap casting, but also because in the book this is quite an interesting characters. I recall her story as being one of my favorite stories in a book of all time. There’s a lovely section where she’s going to eat the brain and eyes as a part of burial ceremony. Not that that in itself is great, it’s gross. It’s just, it sticks with you.

Did nobody realize that the story in the movie is completely incomprehensible? What is the story even? Did they make it for those of us who’ve read the book(s) only, because there is no way to understand it unless you have.

Why did they have to focus on Lestat as rockstar? Why? It’s horrible. The world they paint is like when Jonathan in Buffy the Vampire Slayer casts a spell turning him into a James Bond type character in their world. Which only works because it is clear it is a spell and it is then broken. As a viewer, I cannot accept this world. It doesn’t make sense. And not because there are vampires. It lacks internal logic.

Akasha. Again, another favorite character from a book. I wanted to call a cat Akasha for the longest time. However. The Akasha in the movie is nothing like the Akasha in the book. Part of the problem is the casting.

In what world would someone who looks and acts like Stuart Townsend sound like Jonathan Davis?

Also. I much preferred Tom Cruise as Lestat. He was angry and raging. It was fun.

Maybe their mission was to ruin Queen of the Damned for all readers everywhere? If so, congratuwelldone!

This movie makes me sad.

Then again. I’ve only got myself to blame. Could have just watched Buffy instead. If I knew what was good for me, I would have.

One thought on Jenny Downham’s Unbecoming

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I’ve just finished reading Jenny Downham’s Unbecoming.

When I say reading I obviously mean listen to, because, at this point, if it wasn’t for Storytel and audiobooks I would be back in a reading slump.

And I have to say, Jenny is as pleasant to listen to as she is to read. Two books in and she’s definitely one of my favorite authors. This was a lovely little book.

Just like Before I Die, it’s on the sad side of the spectrum. Albeit in a different way.

I’d say nobody dies, but that’s not true. Let’s go with, none of the main characters die. It’s told from the perspective of three women, a daughter, a mother and a grandmother.

Each of them have their charm, but the grandmother is crafted with such care. In my opinion, Downham did a really good job describing what it’s like to grow old and forgetful to a point where life just crashes around you.

There’s one thing though.

The lack of feminist analysis.

One thing in particular sticks out to me. It’s just a detail. Tiny bit of the story.

The mother has some sort of personal crisis and basically runs away from her children and her husband. The husband calls the estranged (grand)mother to get help to care for the children.

The they haven’t spoken for years. Unlikely that the husband and the (grand)mother have spoken at all before.

What’s upsetting isn’t that it’s not realistic. It is. What’s upsetting is that no one in the book seems to consider this a problem. The problem is described as the mother and daughter not getting along, that they’re not on speaking terms. I mean suuure, that’s a problem too.

But why is it OK for a husband to call in his wife’s mother to care for his children? No comment on that? We’re just accepting it?

Imagine a mother behaving that way. For a minute. Imagine. Would it pass without comment?

This is so frustrating.

Anyway.

The wife/mother runs away to Spain. Which immediately makes me think of Bitter Bitch by Maria Sveland. Obviously.

Sarah, the main character in Sveland’s book, also leaves her kid and husband for Spain. However, it’s a planned escape, the husband is clued in, and it’s only a week. It would make sense to (re)read this book next. Because Sveland is all about feminist analysis.

Although. I really, really should get to reading Feminism by June Hannam already. Got it from the library weeks and weeks ago. And I can’t be relying on Valerie Bryson for feminist theory for all eternity. I need an update. But the actual reading with eyes, such a struggle right now.

Goodbye to June

June was an excellent month in terms of music.

A. I learned to love Korn

I had decided long ago Korn was not a band for me. Because whyyy would anyone bother with Korn when you could be listening to Tura Satana?

And if you know your music history you can quickly deduce that this was a decision I made in the late 90s.

However. Their latest releases are so my taste. I mean Black is the Soul; I can’t not like it. And if there is something I love is learning to like a band I’ve previously…not been to keen on. Put mildly.

Question is. Is it worth while seeing Korn live at this point in time? Or is it just too late?

B. New releases

In This Moment’s Roots. Insanely catchy track. Also in love with the Oh Lord video. It’s the perfect blend of Lady Gaga and Marilyn Manson.

Pvris; What’s Wrong. This song alone is reason enough for me to brave Fryshuset in November. Really. Though I still hesitate. Because Stockholm. It is not a place I love visiting. Even less so since having been to Malmö for the first time. Why can’t all bands just play there? Not least because so far, pretty much all venues in Sweden seem to be better than Fryshuset. Fryshuset can’t even get the sound anywhere near acceptable.

C. (Re)discovering old releases

Deaf Havana’s Anemophobia. Both the first part on the Fools and Worthless Liars album, and this second part which isn’t on Spotify (I think?).

Crystal Castles’ I’m not in love. Found it on an old mixed CD I keep in the car. It’s still brilliant. As I’m sure you know.

I basically want all songs to feature Robert Smith and be this sad.

David Bowie’s I’m deranged from the Lost Highway soundtrack. Has to be my favorite Bowie track. (Popular opinion, yes?)

D. Architects

Played in Malmö and as you might imagine, it was brilliant. Might just have been the best one so far. Even if it was on the sweaty side (tho not as sweaty/lacking oxygen as Thrice at the Forum last year).

Malmo was excellent thank you @edmasonphoto

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D. Deaf Havana booked a UK tour

And I’m apparently going to the Brighton show. I mean probably. I’ve got a ticket, I just haven’t made any travel arrangements. Or checked if I can have time off. I’ve got a creeping suspicion we might have something booked at work.

Not that -that- would necessarily stop me. I have no work ethics.

Reading was also not bad, mainly because of

Bitterfittan 2 by Maria Sveland

It is decidedly one of the great feminist novels. Oh yes, it’s a fact, not at all a matter of opinion.

Gawd I love being so friggin old I don’t even care if nobody agrees with me. Not that I cared before, I was just more likely to be influenced by the opinions of others, whereas now, if you tell me this is not a good book/not feminist, I’m just going to think you’re wrong.

Most reviewers have basically hated this book.

What a lot of bores.

This is how I know it’s summer: I start wearing activewear to work. I.e., it is now summer in Sweden.

This makes sense. Wearing the activewear I mean. I can go straight from work to workout without changing. Which I feel comfortable with because working at uni, there’s pretty much no one working in the summer. Or at least they’re not at the office. Except for me. Because I’m admin and use my holidays for going to shows that are not in summer.

That being said.

Leggings. It is a gift from the gods. I can’t be bothered with clothes that restrict movement. Cannot! Just give me a pair of leggings and a loose top. It’s all I want to wear, ever.

Although. I do realize that it is at times inappropriate. Unfortunate that. I would prefer being oblivious. Being oblivious is so underrated.

A few things were less than brilliant.

My period has suddenly decided it’s going to be regular. WHY HAS THIS EVIL BEFALLEN ME I AM TOO OLD ETC.

On the one hand, it’s great, no extra hormones for me (..might also mean I’m healthier than I have been, but what’s the fun in that?), on the other, my period is evil.

Regular period means more opportunities for it to turn up uninvited. And it likes to do that.

Period: Travel you say!? I shall come along for the ride.
Me: NOoooooOO.

Which leads me to….

I love Clue and all, but it can’t predict my periods for shit.

Me: Yup, that’ll be another 7 days then.
Clue: 25 days to go!
Me: WHY am I giving you ALL THIS INFO and all you give me is a goddamn average number??? Might as well be using a calculator! Are you seriously telling me you can’t see the signs!? Because I fucking can.
Clue: *remains clueless*
Me: *rolls eyes*

We’re currently not in agreement.

And one correction.

I dyed my hair. As mentioned last month. Aaand. It’s not going to be the last time. Forgot how much I love this color, even if it stains all that isn’t black.

Guess it just means I need more black things in my life.

Next month

I’ll just be waiting for August and vacation.

Top Ten Tuesday

Does anyone not know about Top Ten Tuesday at this point? Weekly feature created by The Broke and Bookish und so weiter? Ja? We all know right? More info here, if you haven’t a clue what I’m on about.

This weeks topic: Best Books You’ve Read In 2017 So Far

I have read a total of 19 books so far, nine of which were just bloody brilliant.

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Bonkers by Jennifer Saunders. Oh you know Jennifer Saunders. How could you not want to read about the creator of AbFab?

She’s very good at sticking to the funny bits, the bits you want to know, rather than telling every tedious detail of her life. Soo..yay?

Except for that chapter about procrastination. That was…ill-advised.

17985896Mad about the Boy by Helen Fielding. I’m mad about Fielding’s style (oh. how. witty.). I just love it. Never mind that this is basically antifeminist crap, and that I’m confused as to whether main character Bridget truly is concerned and knows about feminism, or if Fielding is mocking feminism through her character, oooor…I’m sure there are more options but I just don’t get it. Which makes me not like that particular detail very much.

Still. I do like it. This is probably because it is relatable. I feel like the mess Bridget is. Sure, I’m a different type of mess entirely, but that doesn’t seem to make any difference to me.

One But. It could have ended when the boytoy dumped her. It would have been a better ending.

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Bitterfittan 2 by Maria Sveland. This is something as rare as a book about sisterhood. It also has a very obvious feminist agenda. I like obvious books. I like books that say what they mean. I like books that erm. shoot straight and speak the truth to quote Entombed…

This book turns me into a gushing fangirl and I don’t know where to begin or what to say. It’s the kind of book I want to use to hit people over the head with.

Reviewers seems to mainly dislike it. Like a lot. I take that as a sign that this is a true feminist work. This is my logic: because we live in a patriarchy a book that is a threat to the current order will be disliked by people in general. Flawless reasoning on my part indeed.

15771560Fördömd by Johanne Hildebrandt. I think we’ve established my love for Hildebrandt’s work is unconditional. She can do no wrong. I wrote about it here.

Horror, archeology and Norse mythology all at once. In addition to a strong female cast. What more could one ask for?

15745753Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. I think I called this the best love story I’ve ever read? Or something to that effect. Still valid.

31833839Vad ska en flicka göra? by Annika Lantz. I’ve already told you about how I love this book. Here.

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I kroppen min by Kristian Gidlund. A book about dying. I like books about dying? Talked about this one before too, here.

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Röta by Siri Pettersen. It starts by quoting Nine Inch Nail’s Ruiner. If it was bad I would never admit it. It’s not though, best of the three in the trilogy I would say.

So basically. I don’t really need to read any more books this year. Or at least not any good one.

3 thoughts on Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology

I was off to a slow start with Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology. It is a pretty straightforward retelling of the norse sagas and I’m not overly keen. To be honest. Mythology interests me just fine, the sagas for some reason not so much. Probably because a. the Norse gods are not likable, and b. their concerns are kind of foreign to present day people.

Despite the slow start, I got really into it. I would have liked the book to never end.

Can we have Neil Gaiman read all the books? I listened to the audiobook. Neil has one of the most pleasant voices there ever was. Sometimes even bordering on Alan Rickman. (Obvs another fave.)

The Aesir got what they deserved. I don’t know if it was the way Gaiman told it, but I just really felt for the Fenrir wolf; knowing they would lose in the end, it felt right.

Why aren’t any of the stories about the norns? I love the norns, the Norse version of the fates. My favorite characters of all the characters. Not even sure why that is, it’s not as if there’s a lot of info about them out there.

Actually. I’m currently reading a new interpretation of Norse mythology focusing on the female deities. I’m hoping it’ll shed some light on the norns. Because who cares about Frigg or Freya? No, not even Gaiman managed to make them anything like interesting.

Gaiman’s got a nice intrepretation/rendition of the norns in Sandman, which you really should read if you haven’t already. Not only because of the norns, but that is defnitely one reason of hundreds to pick it up.

Top Seven Sunday; Instant attraction

I’ve been meaning to finish this post for literally months. It’s really one of the Top Ten Tuesday topics from The Broke and the BookishTop ten things that will make me instantly want to read a book.

I’m just going to ignore the fact that I’m so late the party’s been over for a very, very long time now, and just get on with it anyway. Because I really did like this topic.

And because I’ve already written the post, I know this list does not include 10 things, but rather seven, so let’s keep with the alliteration and just call it what it is.

Disclaimer: I may want to instantly read a book for any of the following reasons, but there are still any number of things that will discourage me a second later.

Norse mythology. I have  a long-going Norse mythology obsession. To be fair, I’m quite interested in mythology in general; what I find most appealing about Norse mythology is that we seem to be missing pieces of the puzzle, it makes little sense at the best of times. Which means you can fill it with content of your choice. I love it when authors take the basic idea of Norse mythology and runs with it. Examples: The Valhalla Saga, Sandman, American Gods.

Music references. Not music in general, specifically music I know and/or love, obviously. This also applies to fictive music, e.g. books set in a music industry context that also manage to be convincing, such as How to kill a rockstar. Other examples: Röta, Eleanor & Park, The Sex Revolts.

University setting. I’m a sucker for university setting. I was even before I started working at uni. Examples: You had me at hello, Rebell med frusna fötter, Fördömd – I also hear Stephen King’s Lisey’s Story is set at uni. I keep meaning to read it for that very reason.

Feminist satire. Is there anything better? Examples: Egalia’s Daughters, Hur man botar en feminist (English: How to cure a feminist), Jag är din flickvän nu (English: I’m your girlfriend now).

Feminist anything. In general. Fiction and non-fiction alike. I will give anything a go, the problem is, there are writers with faulty understanding of what feminism is, i.e. writer and me are not on the same page = they are wrong, and that will make me stop reading. I prefer feminist works of what people would probably call radical or extreme. A few favorites: Feminist Political Theory, Dirty Weekend, The End of Men, The Women’s Room, Det kallas manshat (English: It’s called hating men).

Well-written biographies. I don’t limit myself to people I know/like. I do prefer music bios about musicians I like, but I will read about just about anyone. At the same time, I’m quite particular when it comes to the quality of the writing. Which is unfortunate in this genre, as it tends to be a poorly written genre. And yes, I will immediately want to read if a reviewer says it’s a good bio. Can’t seem to learn that in general, reviewers and me don’t have the same idea of what constitutes a good bio. Examples: Scar tissue, The Heroin Diaries, It’s So Easy, The Long Hard Road out of Hell.

Books that put interesting historical figures (fictive or real) in new contexts. For example if you make up a story Karin Boye, or Medea. I know I’ve read several books like this but right now I can only remember Texts from Jane Eyre.