january – march.

I have read 21 books so far this year. And only written about 2. I wanted to write about more, but I have never gotten around to it because life is simply too much everything right now (and that is why I’m reading so much – escaping reality).

So. I’m just going to list them (except the recent Norwegian ones, they will get a post of their own).

6. Disgrace by J.M Coetzee (1999): Race and rape. Bleak. It is still on my mind. Won the Man Booker Prize, is on the 1001 books list and Coetzee has a Nobel prize. Read for Line’s 1001 books challenge: books by a Nobel prize winner.

7. House of Leaves by Mark Danielewski (2000): Scary, but too much academic writing and nonsense. Disappointing in the end. 1001 books.

8-16. Harry Hole book 2-10 by Jo Nesbø (1998-2013): I developed a love/hate relationship to Harry Hole and the books. Too many similar plots. But at least Harry Hole has a great taste in music.

18. the Radetzky March by Joseph Roth (1932): The downfall of a family and the Austrian-Hungarian empire. Read it with a smile on my face and also learnt a lot of history. Read for Hedda’s off the shelf challenge: books written in German.

20. the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1892): Sherlock Holmes #3. Short stories. Entertaining, but some were too predictable. Read for Line’s 1001 books challenge: crime and mystery

21. the Black Echo by Michael Connelly (1992): Harry Bosch #1. I watched the Bosch series and fell in love. The book was tougher to get through, probably because I overdosed on police corruption reading the Harry Hole books. Ingalill says it will get better. Started on #2.

Clean slate. I’m enjoying Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel tremendously, all I want to do is read about the Tudors all day long. Luckily I have Bring Up the Bodies to look forward to.

I also set up an instagram account and it is more up to date than this blog. 

six.

Black Vodka by Deborah Levy (2013)
 “Have you ever had that weird feeling in an airport when you panic and don’t know what to do? One screen says Departures and another screen says Arrivals and for a moment you don’t know which one you are. You think, am I an arrival or am I a departure?” (from Pillow Talk)
Black Vodka is ten stories about Europe. Ten stories about identity, love, loss and longing which take the reader around Europe. I liked them all and they certainly made me think. There are many charming sentences, and they are all full of wit and sadness. Although, sometimes the Europeaness was too obvious, I mean, not every person in the book didn’t need to have several identities.

The story I liked best was probably Cave Girl; a story about a young girl who dislike herself so much she gets a total make-over. It is told by her brother and it is disturbing to read how the brother develops feelings for the sister.

Deborah Levy made me want to read more short stories, and more importantly, force my students to read, so I ordered a few anthologies with various authors to use in class, but of course I have to read them first. I also am going to read Swimming Home soon.

“Kissing you is like new paint and old pain. It is like coffee and car alarms and a dim stairway and it’s like smoke.” (from Placing a Call)

twenty-nine.

The Conservationist by Nadine Gordimer (1974)


A black man is found dead on Mehring’s farm and none of his boys know who the man is. Because he is black, the police doesn’t care and they bury the body right there because they can’t take it with him.

The start of the book was easy to follow, then it all got in to a blur. Someone’s thoughts are all over the book, I was guessing it was the farmer, but then at the end I was no longer sure and I can’t remember the last time I read a book that made me this confused. And I don’t like reading books that I do not get, but because this was a part of Ann Helen‘s reading circle, I didn’t throw it away, although I should have.

Nadine Gordimer won the Nobel Prize in 1991 and she was brave for writing about the apartheid at the time it was going on and many of her books were banned in South Africa. The apartheid is present in this book as well as it deals with the relationship between the white farmer, his black workers and the Indian shop owner nearby. And the setting and the first part of the book are interesting, but there’s no continuity in the story and it is too full of someone’s bloody thoughts and memories for my liking. But at least I can cross another Nobel Prize winner off my list. I also have July’s People in my bookshelf, but I won’t be picking that one up in the near future.