The I Dare You book tag

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A girl can’t just sit around waiting to be tagged can she!? I saw this tag in my feed and it looked like such fun I’m just blatantly stealing it and dragging hitherdither with me.

Let’s go!

Which book has been on your shelves the longest?

We’re not off to a good start. I’m confused as to whether this means the book I’ve owned the longest, or the book left unread for the longest.

Let’s go with the first, I might be able to work that out somehow. I’m fairly sure it’s the Swedish translation of Stephen King’s Carrie. I have it in English too, because yea, I love it? Wrote a thesis on it I did.

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Probably one of my least favorite covers ever. The book tho, so much love!

What is your current read, your last read and the book you’ll read next?

Since I recovered from my reading slump I’ve taken pride in only reading one book at a time.

Yes well, I’m back to old habits. I’m currently reading three books: Kim Gordon’s Girl in a Band, Amy Tan’s Saving Fish from Drowning and Annika Lantz’s Vad ska en flicka göra?

My last read was Kristian Gidlund’s I kroppen min, which I told you about on Wednesday.

I think I’m due for some chick lit next.

What book(s) did everyone like and you hated?

Pretty much any book on any reading list ever. I’m a very critical (read: negative) person, especially when it comes to books picked by an authority (fancy word for teacher). I’m going to nitpick until the end of me, whereas my classmates are more interested in a positive mindset. Not sure why. Is it because they’re being tactical?

I could give you a reverse though; a book I loved that everyone else hated. The Autobiography of My Mother. I LOVE this book. My classmates hated it with a passion. Possibly because of the menstrual scene. It’s how I remember it anyway. It was my favorite scene.

I remember this book as being frequently gross while having a lanuage that reads like poetry, and the main character, Xuela, I love her. Which must mean she’s either bitter, tough, or sarcastic. Or all of the above. It’s been too long, I should schedule a reread.

…and I just went to get it and lo and behold! There’s actually an accurate description of this book on the back:

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So I’m not imagining things! There actually is a rhythm to the language.

If you haven’t read The Autobiography of My Mother, you really should. If for no other reason, then to see whose side you’re on.

Which book do you keep telling yourself you’ll read, but you probably won’t?

I’ve been telling myself I need to read the latest Stephen King for years now. Y e a r s. It’s probably not happening.

I used to love Stephen King, and I’d like to think I still do. But it’s been a while since I read one of his books.

Which book are you saving for “retirement”?

None! What if I never retire?! I could miss out on some brilliant stuff! Also I’m impatient. If there’s a book worth reading I’ll read it now or never. Plus, I like my books short, why would I save a short book for my retirement?

…unless. Unless that’s when I’m finally going to finish Ein Meerschwein Frisst die Erde Auf, the Die Ärzte biography.

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Just look at this beaut!

Best start my body building for that though. The weight of it. I swear if you can get a good hold on it, it could well be used for workout.

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Normal size book vs Die Ärzte. Think encyclopedia. Actually, there are encyclopedias that are smaller. 

Last page: read it first or wait till the end?

I’m not usually that interested in knowing the end, I’m more interested in finding out how the characters get there, so it would make no sense to read the last page before the end.

But.

If the story bores me, I could read the last page to see if the story is going anywhere good at all, to see if I should stick it out or not.

Acknowledgements: waste of ink and paper or interesting aside?

Complete and utter waste of ink! Having to read acknowledgements by scholars as a job, and edit them, it’s not helping. Their language is never as bad as when they write acknowledgements.

Which book character would you switch places with?

What character wouldn’t I want to switch places with!?

But oh, the Prague in Daughter of Smoke and Bone. That Prague, I am so in love with. (Still haven’t finished this book but shhh!)

Do you have a book that reminds you of something specific in your life?

Mists of Avalon – sitting through my thesis seminar wondering how it was even possible these people (my classmates) were going to be teaching English. But you know, they do. The cockiest I’ve been in my entire life.

Name a book you acquired in some interesting way.

Le Petit Prince I got sent to me from a girl in Scotland. The most generous person I have ever met. At the time though, we hadn’t met, it was a LJ friend. Did meet her later when I moved to Scotland, which, coincidentally was where she lived. She was lovely. She probably is, but we lost touch.

Have you ever given away a book for a special reason to a special person?

Mmm…no. I’ll put that on my to-do list. Although it rarely works out does it? It’s like trying to introduce people to your new favorite song. They never get it. Must be because I lack social capital.

Which book has been with you to the most places?

Feminist Political Theory at least looks like it’s been with me to most places!

Had a bit of an accident when I was moving once. Packed a box, stood it next the refrigerator which I was defrosting. Clever.

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Still covered in bookmarks and underlinings. Can’t even remember what this particular bookmarks is about. 

Any “required reading” you hated in high school that wasn’t so bad two years later?

That is a beast that does not exist I’m telling you. High school is an endless parade of shitty books.

However. I felt like Under det rosa täcket was on my own personal required reading list, and if I recall correctly I didn’t like it much at all at first. Fortunately, I have since seen the light. It introduced me to my all-time favorite Dirty Weekend, safe to say I love Under det rosa täcket.

What is the strangest item you’ve ever found in a book?

Nothing. Nope. No. Nothing weird in my books.

Used or brand new?

I like used books. As long as they’re readable and not falling apart then I’m good. It’s just that lazy streak in me. I don’t buy nearly as many used books as I should on account of it’s just easier to go to Adlibris, type in what you want and presto! Book in your hand. Pretty much.

Have you ever read a Dan Brown?

I’m not 100%, but I think no? Pretty sure no. If yes then I don’t remember it. Which isn’t saying much, the majority of books I’ve read I don’t remember. Would it make you feel better if I said yes? I could go either way, my taste in books is by no means sophisticated.

Have you ever seen a movie you liked better than the book?

I know I have! But I can’t remember what it was.

I did like Warm Bodies the movie better than the book. But then I wasn’t overly fond of the second half of the movie either, still though.

A book that NEVER should have been published.

The Backyard Babies biography comes to mind. I’ve repressed what it’s called and I’m not going to google it either. Two pages of this book and I was furious about how insanely bad it was. And I LIKE this band. Or used to. Until I read the two first pages of this book.

Also love biographies about musicians in general. But this. JFC.

Have you ever read a book that’s made you hungry, cookbooks being excluded from this question?

Not hungry, but I really want to make bannocks when I read Carol Goodman’s Incubus. They sound delicious!

Who is the person whose book advice you’ll always take?

There is literally no such person. Although, to be fair, most people I surround myself with that could recommend me books usually go “you probably wouldn’t like it”, so I’m not exactly drowning in advice here.

What it does mean though! Is that these are some sensible people who have some knowledge of my taste so I should be able to trust them to recommend me books there’s a fair chance I’d like.

Gee that has to be the most boring possible answer to this question.

And on that note!

Reading the books; Hawthorne

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Hawthorne is the final installment in Carol Goodman’s Blythewood trilogy. The Blythewood trilogy is the story of how a man, traumatized by having his love rejected goes on to murder the subject of his affection, terrorizing her offspring, goes on a quest to destroy the world. The offspring and main character, half human, half darkling, keeps intervening.

Basically.

It reminds of all of your favorite book-turned-movie franchises, diluted with that particular Carol Goodman flavor; her brand of magic, folklore, school setting and a mystery you can figure out. And Scotland, everything traces back to Scotland.

Despite this, and despite the story taking place in my favorite era, the early 1900s, I didn’t love it.

My theory is that this is because it feels rushed. For example, it feels as if there is never enough time to get to know and love the characters. Not even by the third book. Too many characters, too many new events.

The only character I sort of like is Raven, main character Ava’s love interest. And this is only because he’s broody, sulky and bitter. And I find it funny. Makes me think of Kiefer Sutherland, frequently in 24, and pretty much throughout The Three Musketeers. Kiefer’s really got the bitterness down.

I digress.

Another feature I did enjoy, is how Goodman incorporates historic events, plays with the idea what if this never happened, or what if what we think we know about history was actually a cover up of a supernatural sort of event? Theoretically, a brilliant idea, but the execution in this book falls short. For me, I think I’d like it better if she developed each event, e.g. how the Titanic really went down, spent a significant number of pages on that event. But she keeps rushing on! It’s as if she’s got a zillion ideas and no patience to stick with any one of them.

Which I get. But I’m not sure it makes for enjoyable reading. Or maybe I’m just going to have to realize I’m not the target audience?

If you’re new to Carol, I’d say go with The Lake of Dead Languages and/or Incubus. Maybe skip the Blythewood trilogy.

What I’d wish though is that someone would take up this thread and write some fiction about it:

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The great big loom, the fates, or specifically, the Norns. I need fiction about the Norns. More than what’s in Sandman.

End of year summary; Favorite reads

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You know when you schedule yourself for a workout class but spend considerable time looking for an excuse not to go?

I’ve found the perfect excuse: spending more time looking for an excuse to not go to the gym than you would actually spend at the gym in itself is a reason not to go. For the sake of your sanity.

There is literally no way I’d enjoy it, and then what’s the point?

So I’m skipping it and spending my time catching up on my tea-drinking and listing my top 8 reads of 2016.

Far less easy than the albums of the year list.

Top 8 reads of 2016

Estrid by Johanne Hildebrandt. Because it has all that I love: feminism, mythology, Vikings, a well-thought out language.

Uppgång & Fall by Liv Strömquist. Because she tells us about important things we need to know in an easily accessible way. The fact that she’s funny too is just a bonus.

Kill the Boy Band by Goldy Moldavsky. This idea is just going to stick with me forever. It’s pure brilliant; that if fangirls really put their minds to it, there is nothing they can’t do. Overthrow governments? Piece of cake. If only that’s what they’d use their power for.

Before I Die by Jenny Downham. Again, the idea of this book appeals to me such a lot. Because it’s about knowing your days are numbered and still only wanting what everyone else wants, messing up like the rest of us; not finding the love of your life and traveling the world. Any unhappy story about the imperfection of people; ♥♥♥.

Unspeakable Things by Laurie Penny. (Her name is so confusing! I can never remember which is her first and which her last name.) Non-fiction feminism; funny and accessible.

Blythewood by Carol GoodmanI’m so in love with her school settings, the worlds she creates and the creatures in them. There’s definitely a pattern to her stories, the good news is, if you like this pattern you will love all of her books.

Hur man botar en feminist by Nanna JohanssonFeminists have the best sense of humor. Need I say more?

Odinsbarn by Siri Pettersen. Not quite through this book yet, but I quickly went from WTF is this? Tails!!?? to just being completely caught up in the story. I don’t want to ever leave this world; cursing myself for not adding part 2 to my cart in my last book order.

So apparently, I like my music by men and my books by women? I’m going to call that a trade-off and stop feeling bad about the horrible male dominance of my listening habits.

xo,

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Reading challenge; A mystery

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Another category of the reading challenge down!

This time, I am actually quite excited about my read! So get your pen and paper, or GoodReads, or whatever you use; you’re going to want to add Blythewood by Carol Goodman to your list.

Or maybe not. I know there are people who are really less than impressed by Carol’s work, but me, I LOVE Carol. Her books, or the ones I’ve read, are all quite similar: there’s generally a mystery, the setting is generally school, and there are supernatural features, Faerie is frequently mentioned, as is Scotland. I’m sure there are people who’d complain that her work is “too samey” – but I don’t mind it one bit! Probably because she incorporates many of my favorite features.

If I was going to say one thing that could be a negative it’s that the mystery, you can usually figure it out. But then, doesn’t that just make you feel awfully clever? That’s kinda nice, right? But I guess some people don’t want that (??).

In addition, this time, she’s set the story in my favorite era: the early 1900s. Same era as many of Agnes von Krusenstjerna’s work, same era as The Knick (♥♥♥). This is a random and inexplicable obsession of mine; there’s no logic behind it.

The plot, the plot, what’s the plot? I’ll just give you the blurb, because I’m not sure I can say anything sensible and not just plain gush:

At seventeen, Avaline Hall has already buried her mother, survived a horrific factory fire, and escaped from an insane asylum. Now she’s on her way to Blythewood Academy, the elite boarding school in New York’s mist-shrouded Hudson Valley that her mother attended—and was expelled from. Though she’s afraid her high society classmates won’t accept a factory girl in their midst, Ava is desperate to unravel her family’s murky past, discover the identity of the father she’s never known, and perhaps finally understand her mother’s abrupt suicide. She’s also on the hunt for the identity of the mysterious boy who rescued her from the fire. And she suspects the answers she seeks lie at Blythewood.

But nothing could have prepared her for the dark secret of what Blythewood is, and what its students are being trained to do. Haunted by dreams of a winged boy and pursued by visions of a sinister man who breathes smoke, Ava isn’t sure if she’s losing her mind or getting closer to the truth. And the more rigorously Ava digs into the past, the more dangerous her present becomes.

So this is like if Harry Potter was a girl, and kinda, romance?

Like my previous read, this was also a book I was looking forward to reading, but unlike last time, I was not disappointed. This book comes with my highest recommendations! I’m ordering part 2 and 3 asap. Not sure how to fit it into my challenge, guess I’ll have to be real creative.

xo,

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