In my TBR

Back in January, I listed the books I was planning on reading this year. Let’s take this opportunity to review:

(The titles crossed out are the ones I’ve read.)

Catherine the Great by Robert K. Massie. Er. Not too sure I will in fact be reading this book anymore.

The Creation of Patriarchy by Gerda Lerner. Been looking for it, not going great.

Daughters of Isis by Joyce A. Tyldesley.

Den vita staden [The white city] by Karolina Ramqvist. I’ve got it in my Storytel bookshelf, one of these days…

Det är något som inte stämmer [Something’s not right] by Martina Haag. 

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.

Girl in a Band by Kim Godon.

Grejen med verb [The thing about verbs] by Sara Lövenstam. If I can be bothered reading on a screen..

Grundläggande studier i hoppfullhet och hopplöshet by Linn Spross. Again, that reading on a screen thing.

Hawthorne by Carol Goodman.

The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling.

Mr Darcy’s Diary by Amanda Grange.

The Opposite of Fate by Amy Tan.

Spectacles by Sue Perkins.

Vad ska en flicka göra? [What’s a girl to do?] by Annika Lantz.

Århundradets kärlekskrig [The love war of the century] by Ebba Witt-Brattström. 

Norrland by PO Tidholm.

Difficult Women by Roxane Gay. In the middle of it!

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The H-Spot: The Feminist Persuit of Happiness by Jill Filipovic. 

House of Names by Colm Tóibín. I did start listening to it. I don’t know what to say. There is no way I can get through it.

I’m really good at making lists; less good at following through. I like to make lists, and then do something else.

In this case. I want to blame always finding new books that I’m insanely interested in. Couple of recent additions:

John Green’s Turtles All the Way Down. Why? I saw someone give it a terrible review; this always makes v. v. interested! It’s the main reason I read Twilight; everyone seemed to hate it.

Naomi Klein’s No Is Not Enough. Because it feels as if reading Klein is doing something good for your health.

Basically, my current TBR is the bookshelf in my book streaming service.

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This has been an Endless Blog Challenge post. Past topics for this challenge can be found here.

Feminist Friday

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When writing the topics for this week’s challenge, I thought for my Feminist Friday post I’d share a non-fiction work.

But then I realized that I’ve probably been harping on about Valerie Bryson’s Feminist Political Theory enough already.

Let’s talk about Liv Strömqvist instead!

I’ve mentioned her before, too, and revisiting her Hundra procent fett (English: One hundred percent fat) I’m sure this is a better option. Better option than anything.

If it was up to me, she’d get the Nobel Prize every year.

Why? Because she does what I want Naomi Klein to do; she presents an important message in bite-size, so that it can be consumed by those of us who aren’t exactly the sharpest of knives. Or lacking in the patience department. Or with other priorities. Whatever you want to call it.

Her format is just so damn clever.

It’s an easy read, and she’s funny, sarcastic, knowledgable, and her mix of feminism, anti-capitalism, and environmentalism is brilliant.

Let’s have a look at some of the ideas she presents!

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How are women ever going to be able to take up more space in society if we’re constantly suffering from malnourishment while being mentally preoccupied with trying to control our eating?
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I couldn’t decide if I was going to shave my legs before coming here or not … I compromised—I shaved one leg!
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If we only told people the truth instead: THERE WILL BE NO CHANGE if third world “debt” is not canceled
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…the patriarchal strategy of DIETING to keep women down…
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To give my amazing beautiful body the food it needs every day is the beginning of the end of male rule.

Does it even need commenting on?

This week’s favorites

Blog

Arga Tanten (English: The Angry Lady). A blog about skincare run by a lady who is no longer in her 20s.

You might have noticed that any blog/channel/pod about skincare run by a lady over 30; it is my current obsession. This is no slight on 20-somethings; their concerns are different from mine.

As it so happens, this lady also has the tip of the week: let go of the cotton pads and just slap your products on using your hands. I can do that?!?

I was thinking of getting reusable cotton rounds, but I’ll def give this a go first; the fewer things the better, right?

Lippies

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Pre-spending diet, I managed to pick up two new NYX Lingerie lipsticks. I’m going sans foundation type product for now, and as it turns out, my favorite shade Corset looks terrible with my naked skin. So I did my research and found two colors that work well with my natural color: Exotic + Ruffle Trim

Another trick to make them work better with your natural color is to blot. (Maybe that’s just me? Maybe everyone else do blot their liquid lipsticks?)

The NYX Lingerie range remains a firm favorite for me. Stays on your lips, not sticky, only drying if you put on A TON (coincidentally why Beauty Mark works less well, because it’s patchy, and then you start to layer and that just does not end well and I’m so off topic. Never mind!), excellent shade range, I have no desire to try anything else because this works. I love it when you find something that works.

…what also works, when you leave home and forget all your lip products, is taking a (clean!) finger and putting shadow on your lips, top it off with some EOS lip balm. Just.  Saying.

Instagram account

This might be a bit of a weird one. I follow the food brand Saltåkvarn on Insta, and I’ve been loving their posts lately. There’s been lots of porridge posts lately. And. It just makes me very happy.

Especially when they turn porridge into dessert:

Book

I’ve read Mr. Darcy’s Diary by Amanda Grange. Saw a few negative comments on GoodReads; how are there people not liking this book?? I’m basically in love! I love everything about it, including the size of the book, you know, that it’s more of a square than books tend to be?

I want more books like this!

I also need to mention Nina Hemmingsson’s På A svarar jag hej då. Feeling sorry for all of you who don’t speak Swedish and are missing out.

Find

Spotify Discover Weekly has actually presented me with something quite brilliant. Had no intention of listening to it, but in my general undecided state as to what to listen to that particular day, Spotify started playing Emma Ruth Rundle and it was love at first sight.

It’s somewhere between Chelsea Wolfe and PJ Harvey. Have a listen!

 

Line in a song

Om vi nånsin behövt ett mirakel så kan det få komma nu.
(If we ever needed a miracle, now would be good)

Not so much the actual words as the delivery; I’m obsessed with the delivery.

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This has been an Endless Blog Challenge post.

Currently reading

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I’m reading two books: the fourth book in the Jessica Darling series, Fourth Comings, and Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything.

Jessica Darling, I am reading primarily to not think. But if I was going to say something about it, it’s less problematic from a feminist point of view than the first three books. However. The narration choice is a weird one. Sometimes confusing. And this is my third read, mind you.

And yeah. Third read because I love it, as I think was previously established. So not complaining about it, it’s just an observation.

Naomi Klein’s book gives me so many thoughts it’s distracting. 

It took the book no more than an hour of listening to have me in a state of panic.

I can’t go on like this! I need to get my shit together! I have to stop driving to work, recycle more, buy second hand only, if at all, only buy local produce, never travel, stop dyeing my hair, chewing gum, buying fruit that cannot possibly come from anywhere but really fucking far away….I CAN’T HAVE TEA!?! oO

At the same time.

I don’t think the environmental crisis can be solved on an individual level. It’s a structural problem. We need policies, regulation, corporations to take responsibility. I think that is what Klein’s book says too. Can’t be too sure, my thoughts drift.

Also. The book makes me absolutely furious. It explains how corporations are free to roam and wreck havoc in whatever way they please, and we, as individuals, have to take responsibility, and try to do research which we probably haven’t got the time or energy to anyway, just because governments are too weak to lay down the law.

This conflicts with my general attitude that What the hell do I care? I don’t have kids. I don’t even have kids in any sort of close proximity in my daily life and so, if the world ends…what’s it to me?

I’ve thought about it. And what makes me care isn’t what happens or doesn’t happen to the Earth, but rather that I don’t approve of a small group of people being able to avoid any sort of responsibility, and instead dumps it on the rest of us. Taking responsibility for my own goddamn actions is hard enough! What is this?!

And when I don’t take on this responsibility dumped on me—I am vaguely aware that I frequently make poor choices in terms of environment—I feel guilty about it. Even if I’m not at all sure there is anything I can do, i.e. that there are choices I can make as an individual that make any sort of difference. Until proven otherwise, I believe in legislation and regulation. Whether or not my carrots are organic? The fuck difference does it make? (Well…organic carrots are much tastier, but that’s beside the point…)

I’m upset.

I’m also concerned that Klein’s book, the way it’s written, makes in inaccessible to the majority of people. It’s a brick. And it’s wordy. And even for me, who’s a semi-decent reader, it is a daunting read. We’re talking 20 + hours if you choose the audio version. That’s half a working week. The message of the book is too important to exclude most people. As I was saying, I’m concerned.

Those are some of the thoughts I have listening to this book. And I’m only a few hours in.

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This has been an Endless Blog Challenge post.

A book about about habits

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About halfway through The Power of Habit I was kind of upset. You know the way I get. I was not convinced by its arguments.

A main problem was that how this book defines habit and how I understand the concept—they’re just two different things. This book sticks pretty much anything into the habit concept, e.g. routines, that which you have learned (which, let’s face it, that’s pretty much everything…),willpower and friendship (???).

And with this in mind, it retells a number of events in human history, in painful detail, connected by this broad definition of habit.

I mean sure. I do appreciate that it’s trying to illustrate its points via stories, it makes it easier to read for those of us who struggle in the focus department when books are too abstract.

However. Do I want every tedious detail of a man I don’t know who suffered brain damage god-knows-when-and-where? I do not. Do I want every detail of some sports team and how they turned decades of losing around? I do not. Do I care about sales figures or any other kind of indication of success? Nope. I do not.

And obviously. I find the connections between these stories a stretch. At best.

Also. The frequent us of that word, however; it’s driving me insane! Might be the reader’s fault, but still. I just had to mention it. That’s how much it bothers me.

I’m usually pro simplistic. But even so, I think this book jumps to conclusions. It fails to see that maybe the outcome of an experiment is the result of many factors, i.e. the outcome can only be considered an indication rather than a truth.

I’m listening to this book thinking that the experiments they use to argue their point strike me as not always actually proving what they want them too. For example. That wonderful experiment on willpower. Two groups of people, one group are presented with cookies that they may eat. The other group also presented with the same cookies, but they can’t eat them. Following this, each group is asked to perform a task. Turns out the first group, fueled by cookies have more patience with the task than group two. The book argues it’s because group one didn’t have to use their willpower to stay away from the cookies, thus the participants have more willpower to spare. Oooorrrrr… Are you sure it wasn’t the fact that those who were allowed to eat the cookies got some extra fuel for their brains? And that was the reason they had more patience?

But then! This book wisely included a chapter on what songs people like and why. The short answer is: we like what is familiar. What we’re used to. Which, again, I find a bit simplistic, but interesting nonetheless. Not least: how does one become this type of researcher? More importantly, would I have to study physics for it??

I was under the impression this was a book people liked. That can’t be right? I honestly don’t know why I’m sticking it out. There are other books more deserving of a read.

Unfortunately for me, since typing this post I have finished this book. And this is why I’ve decided this book is for sure not worth reading:

The final two examples in this book talk about:

ONE. A woman with a gambling problem, who ends up gambling away all of her money, her inheritance and her house.

TWO. A man who suffers from a particular type of sleepwalking, who accidentally kills his wife in his sleep, thinking she’s an intruder.

Both of these people end up in court, the woman because she is trying to get out of paying her debts, arguing that the company to whom she owed money was aware of her gambling behavior and consciously preyed on her; the man, obviously because he committed a crime.

The woman does not only not get out of paying back her debts, despite clearly suffering from addiction, but is also sued by the company, who thinks she should pay them even more money, when she already is unable to pay back what she owes them.

The man is cleared of all charges.

This. Is obvious. And I shall tell you why: because we live in a capitalist patriarchal society.

In the case of the woman, it was obvious she was going to have to pay because she is a woman, and as such expected to take responsibility for everything. Also, the law protects companies, not people. Money, clearly, more in need of protection than people.

In the case of the man, well, he’s a man, he has no responsibility, poor soul, and there is no money involved in this scenario.

The author of this fabulous book thinks this is right. 

Which is obvious. It was all along obvious that this poor delusional man is impressed by success and money, and well, he’s a man, of course he’s a fan of the patriarchal order.

Yes, excellent, good, unethical behavior on behalf of companies, of course they should be allowed to keep that up. They should not be held accountable, nono! It must be up to the individual. The woman should have made sure to get help to deal with her addiction. Note that she did move to a different state where gambling was prohibited. The company, however, managed to seek her out and payed her to travel to their casinos. Yes, it all seems to be her fault…

The man knew of his condition and took no precaution. Clearly, it was not within the man’s responsibility.

It’s obvious and I expected exactly this outcome when he started telling these two final stories, but it still pisses me the hell off.

What the author of this book calls habit, I would call human behavior. This is exactly why they keep telling you to define concepts used when you write essays at uni. It’s so you don’t end up where the author of this book ends up. He needed to define his goddamn concept, because his definition is different from the general definition of the word.

I still wouldn’t agree, but there should have been a definition.

At this point, I’d go as far as to say, I’d sooner recommend anyone to read Fieldy’s Got the Life over The Power of Habit. Because, at least, Fieldy has no grand delusions. He doesn’t think he’s writing anything profound. He hasn’t read science and drawn daft conclusions. He shouldn’t know better. This guy though, he is familiar with science and is still completely blind to forces behind his conclusions.

I don’t approve.

In which I overuse THE HORROR

I don’t always read gig reviews, but when I do, I make sure you know about it. 

Not that’s it’s a conscious choice; there usually aren’t any gig reviews I’d be interested in reading. That, or I’m just terrible at finding them.

However. Pinterest is sometimes helpful.

HELLO. Review of the Amity Affliction/Northlane/Stray from the Path/Wage War gig in Glasgow in 2016? I saw them when the tour made a stop in Stockholm, let’s see what Scotland made of it, clickety-click!

Aaaand..it’s a let down. Apparently, the purpose of the review is to demonstrate what a man the writer is.

Like when he comments on the general appearance of Northlane. Singer especially.

[T]heir vocalist Marcus Bridge still looks like Booky Wook author Russell Brand and their music, sadly, is still too niche for me to become an avid fan.

Interpretation: Marcus is too pretty, it will attract the girls. THE HORROR. Metal logic dictates liked by the girls > not heavy enough > if you do like it DON’T ADMIT TO IT. It will make you look like less of a man. That writer guy doesn’t understand why Northlane, third on the bill, gets the biggest audience reaction thus far, is hardly surprising. If you consider what the writer aims to do, failure to understand Northlane’s greatness is expected, but if you’re into the metal made these days, it’s entirely confusing.

As for their music is too niche, isn’t that like saying I only like music that appeals to a great mass of people? Oooorrrrr…? I don’t know why anyone would say that.

And don’t even get me started on the fact that it’s not as if you’d confuse Marcus and Russell Brand.

📸 @moki_mooose

Ett inlägg delat av Northlane (@northlane)

However. I’m not opposed to reviewing the appearance of the band. I think it would benefit gender equality. Women in music are already heavily judged by appearance, why should men in metal bands be any exception?

Specifically. I DO want a review of Wage War’s appearance and style.

I am serious. I need something to work with! The music isn’t doing it for me.

As in, I might, at one point, have been looking for something to throw at them. Not necessarily because they were bad. They just weren’t any fun. Not quite worth sacrificing my NYX Liquid Suede for though.

There’s this interview I keep thinking of. Guy in metal band complained people in bands weren’t allowed to be non-pretty anymore. WHAT BANDS ARE YOU EVEN TALKING ABOUT??? Kennt nicht! To me, they all look more or less like Wage War. Pretty or any synonym of the word isn’t exactly appropriate as description, is it?

And besides. What you choose to wear always sends a message. Clothes communicate. You can try and pretend it doesn’t all you want, changes nothing. May as well talk about it. Wage War; clearly not trying to challenge the prevailing world order. But then, this is metal and it’s a very conservative genre, as pointed out by Simon Reynolds and Joy Press in The Sex Revolts decades ago. Which, by the way, you really should give a read if you haven’t already.

Especially if you feel the urge to write things like this:

When The Amity Affliction finally take to the stage just before 9pm there’s a notable change in the atmosphere. … it was more a case of screaming ladies taking over the noise department and for a second I wondered if I’d been teleported to a gig hosted by the anti-christ himself, Justin Bieber.

Oh no. The few girls in attendance made their presence known. THE HORROR. Clearly, we don’t belong at metal gigs, as it needs to be commented on. Clearly, we should stick with Justin Bieber—and I’m assuming he is the antichrist because girls like him. That which girls like=evil.

Meanwhile.

Slightly surprised these guys get away with not a word about appearance. But then he’s already established they’re the girls’ faves, followed up with a final comment on how this gig was the least sweaty and bruised he’d ever been at a gig, therefore he would be unlikely to go again, i.e. Amity Affliction failed to make him feel like a man, which is obviously was this poor bloke uses metal for.

Thank you Stockholm. 📷 @xpeesx #tcbhworldtour

A post shared by The Amity Affliction (@theamityaffliction) on

I’m also confused as to why this is included:

Whilst both [Amity Affliction and Northlane] are considered metal they do have differences in their styles which I will do my best to explain.

Yesss. That’s what we need the review to do, explain the difference between Amity and Northlane. Not as if we could find that out for ourselves by, say, using Spotify? And also, why are Wage War and Stray excluded? I mean they’re all different types of metal. No explanation there??

There never is an explanation though. Unless you count labeling Northlane too niche as an explanation, or the writer’s personal opinion that Amity’s mix of melodic and heavy, well, doesn’t actually mix.

As if there is a contradiction between melodic and metal.

I suppose melodic makes for an easy listen, whereas heavy does not. Melodic music for women, heavy music for men, and thusly don’t mix? That is the reasoning behind it, right?

Obviously the idea that there’s a contradiction is simply inaccurate. Heavy + melodic = BEST MIX /fact.

…even if how to measure the level of heaviness certainly can be discussed. Anyone invent a heavyometer lately? No?

It is clear already from the start that Mr Reviewer Guy prefers the first two bands on the bill, Wage War and Stray from the Path.

Bolstering this tour are two mighty bands from the United States.

(Does my incorrect use of block quotes bother anyone? No?! What about these brackets!?)

This use of mighty. I just don’t approve. Moving on

Despite not being the headliner, SFTP take the title for best band that evening in my opinion.

What’s with the despite? Pretty sure it’s allowed to prefer an opening act to the headliner. Even if the reason is because they don’t make you worry you’ re compromising your manliness.

That being said, despite not being a Stay fan, they do put on a good show. I would repurchase, even if they’re not exactly in my playlist. (Tho the new single is v. v. catchy).

Also. I DO want to talk about is this look:

Berlin tonight

A post shared by Stray From The Path (@strayfromthepath) on

Well that or, the short speech Mr Singer Guy did in Stockholm; he pointed out that the show was for everyone and don’t fucking harass the girls, and if you see someone doing that let them know that’s not OK. (I’m paraphrasing, he said something to that effect, my brain was all Hey! That’s vaguely feminist! put him in the feminist compartment and moved on with its life. My criteria for the feminist label for men in metal are extremely low.)

OK then. I think I’ve demonstrated why gig reviews probably aren’t something I should be reading, even if I’m able to find them. Throws me straight into rant mode it does.

Not that I hate rant mode. Just don’t think other people are that wild about it.

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?

 

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.

3 thoughts on Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?

Do we need a defense of the male chest hair? Do we? Really? An entire section about how men shouldn’t remove chest hair? I feel it is only fair that they should have to concern themselves with unsightly body hair too. I mean if we’re going to.

I don’t get American comedy. Mindy lists her favorite moments in comedy and I’m staring blankly. I’m slightly disappointed. UK comedy, you don’t like it? No? You know about it? Like really, how is there nothing UK on there??? (Yea yea, with the exception of Gervais, but he just doesn’t count.)

She has the best reason for not engaging in the debate on whether or not women are funny: it’s a nonsensical argument. Just like that. Of course it is! Just like so many things; they keep trying to distract us from the issue at hand with stupid debates that have no bearing and are beside the point. This strategy can be applied in any number of scenarios. In any discussion about women, always question whether or not it’s relevant. 9 times out of 10 it is not. Use your right to simply not engage. If you must, make up similarly inane arguments.

And if you’re wondering if this is a book worth reading I’d say the answer is undoubtedly yes.

A book I might have read before?

Do you ever struggle to remember which books you’ve read? Because I do. Quite a lot actually.

More than once I’ve opened a book, started to read and gotten quite far before going Wait, hold on, this is very familiar!?!

This time though, I cannot decide if I did read this book before and remember it all wrong, or if it just makes me think of another novel. No idea which.

And that is why it’s good to own book. Usually, you can tell by the book if it’s been read or not.

So not doing myself any favors by starting to use a streaming service for audiobooks. But that’s what I’ve done.

I’ve never been drawn to audiobooks. My reasons:

  1. I like the written word. Texts; big fan.
  2. The selection has up until now done nothing for me. I don’t do crime.
  3. It’s more expensive than Spotify. That makes no sense to me.
  4. I’m so very easily distracted.

But! The selection has improved, and I’m just about trying anything to get out of this reading slump. Even if I’m distracted, I’ll probably be able to listen to most of the book…? And, excellent company for when you’re out spazieren, which I do quite a lot now that it’s not winter.

Obvious first choice of book: a book by Johanne Hildebrandt called Fördömd [English: Damned] I somehow haven’t read yet. Maybe?

The story is basically a feminist take on Indiana Jones set in Sweden with a bit of The Exorcist thrown in for good measure. It’s a lovely read. Bonus points for including university drama.

Now. In my mind, I seem to recall one of the characters, who’s this goth type girl with a keen interest in demons. And I seem to remember having read a book where this character more or less accidentally summoned a demon for some stupid reason and then me being upset about this because it seemed like goth prejudice. Or something to that effect. I should ask my sister, because she was the poor unfortunate soul subjected to my rage, the way I remember it anyway.

It’s not what happens in this book though. But I could well be remembering it wrong.

Also. I kind of did fall asleep during the final fight so I’m not sure what happened. I would have rewinded, it’s just, it was the third time I fell asleep listening to the damned book and trying to figure out at what point I fell asleep turned out to be such a hassle.

The other two times I spent a significant time listening to parts I’d already listened to because I couldn’t remember at what point I became unconscious.

I knew that would happen.

I’ve already started a new book, Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? Fallen asleep twice. Not because it’s boring! Heavens no. It’s just I’m so damned tired but still thinking just a few minutes. Maybe I’ll get the hang of it. Eventually.

Either way. I think I’ll have to get a paper copy of Fördömd. It was that good.