books, life

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.

Standard
books

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.

Standard
books

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.

Standard
books

A book about love

Just to think I almost gave up on Rainbow Rowell. That would have been one massive mistake.

Eleanor & Park is just about the sweetest love story I’ve ever read. Hands down most accurate portrayal of love I’ve ever encountered in a book.

And you know me, give me a few references to music I know/love and I’m hooked. Which this book not only delivered, but also in a relatable way. Like this:

XTC was no good for drowning out the morons at the back of the bus.
Park pressed his headphones into his ears.
Tomorrow he was going to bring Skinny Puppy or the Misfits.

Yeah. That’s a feeling you don’t really grow out of.

And this is one of the best descriptions of gym:

It made sense that Tina was in Eleanor’s gym class – because gym was an extension of hell, and Tina was definitely a demon.

And, well, this is just hilarious and I feel compelled to share:

Maybe he could take a Sharpie to all Josh’s Husker football T-shirts and make them say Hüsker Dü.

Eleanor’s pessimistic attitude ♥♥:

Who knows what he missed. Her fatness. Her weirdness. The fact that she couldn’t talk to him like a regular person.

And for reasons like this, I’m basically in love with both of them:

She couldn’t repay him. She couldn’t even appropriately thank him. How can you thank someone for The Cure?

They’re just so damned reasonable!

I also want to say this, remember how I was complaining about the main character in Mhari McFarlane’s You had me at hello? How she was described as really she was pretty underneath it all, and that just annoyed the hell out of me? Eleanor not only is what I would have wanted McFarlane’s heroine to be, she’s also seen the way you would want her to be, i.e. pretty? Bah! Who cares!? See:

final1491641927586

Basically, for me, Eleanor & Park was one of those books that make it seem reasonable to call in sick so that I could keep reading the book.

Standard
books, life

Things to do on a Sunday #6

Pick a slim volume from your shelves, something you know and love, something you can finish in a day.

My pick: that reread I was talking about, Songs they never play on the radio. 

final1489836656255

Rest of Sunday you can spend doing inane things such as watching all episodes of A Place in the Country or Come Dine with Me. If anyone asks, you read a book on Sunday. Whatever else you did, you’re excused.

Standard
books, life

Dear March,

We were not off to a good start, were we? Car that needed fixing, coworkers clearly trying to kill me by dumping all of their work on me and going off on holidays (???), and then cats being sicker than usual – such fun SUCH FUN.

There were a few things that didn’t suck though.

Music

Casey released a video for Little Bird (track off their 2016 release Love is not enough).

Not sure if it’s objectively good or if I’m just being a fangirl.

The new Johannes Oerding is everything you want from Johannes:

Best track all March tho, the new Robyn track. If there is one track from March 2017 you need in your life it’s Robyn’s Honey:

Been double-checking if the full track has been released like a woman possessed. Quite embarrassing really. If it wasn’t released on Friday it’s probably not going to be released on Saturday morning either, now is it?

Reads

Siri Pettersen’s Röta ♥♥♥

final1490426501766.jpg

Wearables

I got more shoes. (SIGH.) If you’re going to be a mindful shopper, you need to not watch hauls. I don’t so much anymore. Not as an active decision it just lost its appeal. Partly because I actually, sometimes, like what I find in my closet and have no need to buy more stuff, and partly because I’m not sure where to even fit more stuff and still be able to find said stuff, and if you’re not in the market for another item, hauls aren’t that much fun.

Except when it’s Helen Anderz. I’ll watch pretty much anything she puts out. In the end. Sometimes I’m a bit like “weeellllll.. I don’t really need to know how to dye your hair purple because that’s not something I’m going to be doing”.

However. Helen’s videos can be watched even if the content isn’t on the top of your list of interests. They’re that good.

Alright then. That quickly turned into some sort of poorly disguised fangirl rant. Point was: she hauled platform canvas boots and I couldn’t resist. A boot for summer you say!? I needs it!

final1489310912197.jpg

On the screen

Just kiss my frog on YouTube. I don’t know how I haven’t stumbled on this channel sooner. I am so in love. Leena posts videos on books, feminism, cruelty free makeup, and her PCOS. Basically, all of my top interests, and she does it so, so well.

Example! Tips for your TBR:

And I really, really want to recommend this old video too, which is a defense of makeup, she makes a convincing argument I feel.

…but somebody please inform her that Not Another Happy Ending is not set in Edinburgh. It’s basically a commercial for Glasgow. I should know, it’s the reason I’ve watched it. I would comment. Only. I hate people who only comment to correct someone else. I don’t want to be that person.

Feud. The story didn’t appeal much to me so I only started watching it as a result of nothing more to watch, but oh, now, I am so in love. The combination of feminism, Susan Sarandon, Jessica Lange and a bit of history is just brilliant.

Food

Oatmeal. If I could eat one thing only for the rest of my life it’d be oatmeal. I’ve been having it for breakfast and dinner on a regular basis. Also a good way to save a bit of extra money, if that’s something you’re interested in.

Miscellaneous

Left the Lush hair treatment Jasmine And Henna Fluff-Eaze on for an hour + (sister called, and I have my priorities straight) turns out it was just what my hair needed. Similarly…

Maria Nila Color Refresh in the shade autumn red. My god. My hair was never this shiny! And the red is just about perfection. V. v. impressed. One only wishes they’d start doing actual hair dye too.

I correctly predicted when my period was going to turn up. All by myself! Sans any sort of tool. I love Clue and all, but it does feel kind of great to be able to figure things out with your very own brain box, no training or outside help necessary. I’m all for the collecting data, finding patterns, figuring things out, but on a personal level, it’s a releif that I can rely on my brain for something at least. Gives me some sort of hope.

Nina Björk’s reply to Sigrid Aliki’s text in Bang. I’m not usually impressed with the academic rhetorics, but for Björk I will make an exception. Not only eloquent, but also convincing. Not to mention relieved; clearly I needn’t feel bad I didn’t quite manage to get through Aliki’s text. (Yes HI blind faith, Nina Björk is one of my many gods. For those of you unfamiliar with Swedish culture, Björk is one of our best known feminists, she’s an academic and frequently uses feminist theory to analyse literature. Basically.)

Plans for April

  1. First gig of the year!? I’m seeing Little Jinder. And I’m not even traveling for it! Last time I didn’t travel for a gig was…2011 or 2012. Jonathan Johansson, Pipeline, the Klagomuren tour. Which was brilliant. Might have mentioned that before.
  2. THANK GOD FOR EASTER. I need days and days off. Want to save my holidays for the winter tho, not sure work will let me. But maybe I should ask how they’d feel about me taking say all of March off next year? This is one useless month.
Standard
books

A book that suffers from its translation

final1489820538815

I’ve read Mhari McFarlane before, in translation into Swedish. Usually I avoid translations from English into Swedish whenever possible. Because why would you read a translation if you don’t have to? I.e., translations tend to not be great. Basically, I’m a translator who doesn’t believe in translation. That’s probably a brilliant starting point.

Anyway!

For whatever reason I read It’s not me it’s you in Swedish and it was not bad. It didn’t read like a translation at all. It had flow for sure.

The translation of You had me at hello though, it’s making it difficult to focus on the story and not getting caught up in strange translation choices. Which is weird, because the title is spot on; the translator has really stepped away from the literal meaning of the title and picked a line from a popular Swedish song and the meaning of the words make sense with the story too.

The story is basically an Elizabeth + Darcy type love story, and you can tell in English it reads really well. What more could you want?!

The Swedish translation though.

First of all, we need to talk about main character Anna’s profession. She works at uni, apparently she’s supervising students and giving lectures. She has a PhD. I don’t need to know what the English word used is, but it’s definitely not translated as föreläsare in Swedish. I could give you a number of reasons but bottom line is: we don’t hire föreläsare at uni. We don’t. Especially not people with a PhD. She’s a lektor. 100 percent. Repeatedly seeing her referred to as föreläsare drives me insane.

I’m not blaming the translator; you can’t be familiar with all fields in life. You just can’t. But come on, it’s not that difficult to just grab random person from uni, I’m sure even a student would do, and ASK. They could all tell you. Föreläsare are people you hire for conferences, I would say usually entrepreneurs, and they come with all sorts of training. Not hired at uni though. Definitely not to supervise students.

And just to make sure that we all get that university is not a world the translator is familiar with, she throws in this little nugget Hon kommer alltså att jobba heltid när du bestämmer dig för att bli filosofie magister? 

Uh-huh. Filosofie magister isn’t something you become in Swedish, it’s a degree prefix, it’s in no way a profession. I should know, I have it. Means nothing.

Here’s another favorite: han ser ut som en slipprig kikärt. A what now!? I have literally no idea what this could mean. Other than no Swedish person read through this text before publication. Not a chance.

Also love the misuse of the word omsorg. Again. I don’t need to see the ST to know that’s simply an incorrect choice. And I don’t use the word incorrect to describe translations lightly. I’m a firm believer that there are many possible translations, and talking about a “correct translation” is for the most part daft. In this case though, I’m willing to call this just wrong.

Towards the end, it’s as if the translator has just given up on it all. The language has no flow what so ever. It reads kind of like this Hon brukar bege sig dit när en kris uppstår.

Yes. That’s a very natural and not at all stiff way to speak in Swedish. If this is a movie from the 1950s.

What I’m trying to say can be summed up as:

Dear HaperCollins,

Do you think you could maybe consider having all of your Swedish translations proofed by an actual Swedish-speaking Swede? Just a thought

I don’t want you to get the wrong impression, I did like this book. I like McFarlane’s characters, and I’m so sure in original the dialogue reads beautifully, and it’s a story that just sucks you in.

But.

It’s problematic.

First of all. Anna falls in love with a boy, James, who clearly bullied her when she was a kid in school. He did something truly horrible to her. I don’t care if he’s changed, how can you possibly see past that unless you really, really hate yourself?

Sure, James seems changed. It’s easy to see the appeal of adult James. Especially when compared to his villain friend. And sure, you shouldn’t hold grudges, but doesn’t the mere sight of a person who at one point did something horrible to you make you think of that every time?

Then there’s the beauty thing.

The way I understood It’s not me it’s you, McFarlane is interested in heroines that don’t quite fit into the beauty norm. Anna is basically described as curvy, but really she’s really a classic beauty underneath, promise!!! Whereas James has more in-your-face good looks. Both of which bores the hell out of me. I don’t even understand why it’s relevant.

At the same time, we should admire James for his ethics, for realizing beauty isn’t everything, as he finally leaves his wife when he understands that beauty is everything she’s got, beyond looks she’s just a vicious person.

You can’t have it both ways. You can’t go on about how your two main characters are just stunning, but then having one character be the villain because she (and it’s important that it’s a she) is too beautiful.

Or well. It is a very true illustration of what it’s like to be a female in this world: there’s no winning. You mustn’t be too feminine, but oh you mustn’t forget that you’re a woman! Unfortunately I don’t think that was what McFarlane was aiming for.

Maybe I was wrong, maybe I didn’t like this book? I seem to be arguing that if I had read it in English I would probably have been a fan of the language. Period.

I wouldn’t discourage anyone from reading it, let’s leave it at that. There are far worse books in this world, a lot of which are probably on your reading list already.

 

Standard