Top Ten Series I’d Like To Start But Haven’t Yet

toptentuesday-1So this week the Top Ten theme is Top Ten Series you want to start reading but for some reason haven’t got around to yet. I thought this would be piece of cake but it turns out that I have read the first book of a lot of series – without reading any further. So such a Top Ten would have been easier. Especially because – we already did that one. Back in September: Top Ten Series I Haven’t Finished. And I actually made a bonus list back then of 4 series, I hadn’t started yet – so that did make this post a bit easier, well, not so hard. And then I looked a bit closer at my book shelves and well, turned out it was rather easy to put this Top Ten together.

As always, the Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. There’s about a billion participants each week so go check out some of the many others if you are keen to find a new series to read.

I already own at least parts of the first 7 series mentioned below so really, I have no excuse for not starting to read them sometime soon!

  1. George R.R. Martin: A Song of Ice and Fire. Do I really have to explain myself here? Maybe rather try to explain why I, a self-proclaimed fantasy lover, haven’t read this one yet? Or watched the tv series? Well, I have no explanation and now, I own all the published books of this so I hope to get around to at least start reading it sometime this year.
  2. Robin Hobb: The Farseer Trilogy. This is about a boy and his dog, roughly put. I have been told that it will make me cry. Not just a little bit, but full on ugly cry. That’s why I have put it off. But I have also been told that I will absolutely love this story of the bond between human and animals – so we’ll see which one will win out. Maybe it will be both!
  3. Patrick Rothfuss: The Kingkiller Chronicle. I’m trying to wait with this one until the final one in the trilogy has been published. I have been told that it has quite a bit of cliff hangers and that it’s insanely good so I’m really trying to not read it before they are all out. It’s the story of a powerful wizard, how he became to be so powerful and how he ended up a fugitive.
  4. Ken Follett: The Century Trilogy. Whatever I have forgotten or never known about 20th century history, politics etc, I expect to learn from reading this novel. I really enjoyed The Pillars of the Earth, so I expect to enjoy this one quite a bit – especially because I find the 20th century of more interest than the building of a cathedral in the Middle Ages… – even if that turned out to be rather exciting!
  5. Deborah Harkness: All Souls Trilogy. This is supposed to be the intellectual’s Twilight. I like Vampires (Buffy, anyone?) but I have no intention of reading Twilight, ever! So this book about a young woman, a witch I think, who stumbles upon a bewitched manuscript which unleashes hordes of vampires, demons and witches, sounds right up my alley. I have heard both good and bad about this one so not sure if it will be a good read but I’m definitely going to give it a go!
  6. Jasper Fforde: Shades of Grey. I have the first one of this trilogy – and it’s the only one published so far and the next one is not due out before 2015. So I have no guilt about not having started this one yet. Only thing is – I really want to read it soon because it sounds so cool. A society where your social status is determined by your ability to see colors? Fascinating!
  7. Neal Stephenson: The Baroque Cycle. I own Quicksilver, the first one of this trilogy of huge books. It’s historical fiction, it’s about philosophy, religion and history and I don’t know what’s not a part of this book. I think it’s a very demanding book and that’s probably why I have put it off. But I want to give it a go – I think it will be a rewarding, though difficult, read.
  8. Margaret Atwood: Oryx and Crake, The Year of the Flood, Maddaddam: I don’t know if this series has a name. But it doesn’t really matter, does it? I just want to read these – in part, because I want to explore Atwood some more since the two novels I have read by her (Alias Grace and The Handmaid’s Tale) have been really good, but also because Oryx and Crake is another post-apocalyptic tale from Atwood, this time about possibly the last human – and it just sounds really interesting.
  9. John Updike: The Harry “Rabbit” Angstrom series. I just wrote about this one the other day when I rented the first one at the library. I’ve been wanting to read this for years! You just keep hearing about this one! It’s supposed to be so good and Updike is supposed to be one of the best contemporary (although now dead) American authors. I have only read one of his novels, Terrorist, so I really have not much of an impression of Updike. He is another author I want to explore so really, it’s about time I get around to the Rabbit books.
  10. Jacqueline Carey: Phèdre’s Trilogy. This erotic fantasy about a young woman, part spy and part courtesan, is supposed to be really, really good. I have been hearing about it for years but am yet to buy and read it. I almost bought it last time I was in Paris and saw that W.H. Smith at Place du Concorde had the entire trilogy – but I ended up not buying it because I thought it would be easy enough to get it later and I had already picked out way too many books… I will read this one at some point!

Quite a bit of fantasy on my list, I think. It’s great because I love fantasy – I just don’t feel I have the time to commit to reading three books (or more!) in a row (which is silly since I can easily enough commit to reading huge, difficult books that take way more time than reading a fantasy trilogy). Anyway, I hope the making of this list will make me remember, that I actually really want to read these books!

Which series are on your list?

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A Bookish Christmas

First of, I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas! The blog has been quiet the last few days due to Christmas preparations and celebrations but now, I hope to get back to business again.

For me, books are an important part of Christmas. I love getting books as presents and I love giving books as presents. It’s especially important to me to give books to my two girls and my boyfriend and I have agreed that for every birthday and Christmas, we will gift them books. Other things too, of course, but books are a given.

So which books did I give away this Christmas?


For my mother, a book about Danish glass art in churches, air ports and more. For my boyfriend, James Clavell’s Tai Pan as well as two books by Alexander Dumas: The Whites and the Blues and The Companions of Jehu.

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And for the girls: 4-year-old Ronja got a Tinkerbell book and 2-year-old Svea got two Rasmus Klump books (I think he’s called Bruin in English).

And now to the exciting stuff – the books I got and which will be review on this blog – at some point in the future …


First of, I got ‘the story so far’ of A Song of Ice and Fire – that is, the first five volumes. I saw a bit of the tv series and I’ve been wanting to read this for years and I’m really looking forward to reading these 5 novels. Not sure when I’m getting around to it since I have just started King The Dark Tower and I’ve read 4 books in the The Wheel of Time series.

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The last few years, I’ve received a Classic for Christmas from my boyfriend. He has given me The Brothers Karamazov, War and Peace, Madame Bovary and Les Misérables. I then read it sometime during the following year and then I get a new one next Christmas. I love this tradition! This year, I got The Count of Monte Cristo and I’m really excited  about reading it.

I also got Zombie by Joyce Carol Oates and is based on the life of Jeffrey Dahmer. I love Joyce Carol Oates’ novels and I’m fascinated by serial killers so I’m looking forward to reading this even though I think it will be a rather gruesome read.

And finally, I got four of Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman graphic novels – vol. 3-6. These have been on my wish list for several years so I’m happy to get four more – especially since Neil Gaiman is very close to be put on my favorite authors list.

I also got two of a Filofax calendar so I returned one of them and got Kenneth Follett World Without End as well as order J.K. Rowling The Casual Vacancy.

So that was my bookish Christmas. Which books did you give away and which books did you find under the Christmas tree?

Top Ten Favorite New-To-Me Authors I Read In 2012

 So we are getting closer to Christmas and it shows in the Top Ten topics as well. Last week, we listed the books we wished Santa to bring us and this week, we’re looking back on 2012 and listing the best new-to-us authors we’ve read this year. Looking back over the year, I think I’ve read some really excellent  books, I have read some not so good – and I’ve read books by authors, I haven’t read before or even in some cases, haven’t heard of before. So it was relatively easy for me to put together this list. As always, the Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

  1. Yiyun Li. The Vagrants was the first book I finished in 2012 and it was amazing. I just looooooved it. It was a wonderful book and it made me feel so sad. Both people and animals are hurt in it but it’s so worth reading. Yiyun Li is definitely an author that I will keep an eye out for.
  2. Lionel Shriver. We Need To Talk About Kevin freaked me out. It’s one of those books where you stay up reading it because you have to know what happens, you have to finish it – even though you have to get up early in the morning. It was such a nasty read but also very much worth reading.
  3. Dan Simmons. After finishing Drood, I knew I wanted to read more books by Simmons – especially The Terror because he mentions the story in Drood, and it sounds so fascinating.
  4. Wilkie Collins. Like Simmons, Collins was part of my Dickens-and-Drood reading this year. I grew to really like both Dickens, Simmons and Collins. The Woman in White is such a good book, I just sat there and read and read and read to finish it and find out what happened and I’m so looking forward to  reading The Moonstone.
  5. Jonathan Carroll. Almost all Carroll’s books sounds amazing. I enjoyed The Ghost in Love so much and I just want to read more, more, more. I think Carroll might end up on my favorite authors list some day in the future!
  6. Jonathan Safran Foer. Before reading it, I was convinced that Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close would be good, but I had no idea how good. I already own Everything is Illuminated, which is supposed to be even better, and Eating Animals so I hope to get around to reading these next year.
  7. Mark Helprin. I had never even heard of Mark Helprin before finding Winter’s Tale in a secondhand bookstore. I bought it – and loved it. It’s an incredibly journey you take when you read this novel and the love story and the characters just stay with you afterwards. It’s a huge novel but amazing.
  8. Ken Follett. Of course I had heard of Ken Follett before. Over and over and over. And I really had no desire to read anything by him but a friend had gifted me The Pillars of the Earth years ago so this year, I challenged myself to actually read it. And guess what, I loved it! Despite a weak ending, the novel was so so good and I’m hoping on Santa bringing me World Without End this year.
  9. Iris Murdoch. A friend challenged me to read Murdoch’s The Message to the Planet – and I liked it quite a bit. It’s a novel that makes you think and challenges you and I think some of Murdoch’s other novels will do so even more. I’m definitely looking forward to reading more by her.
  10. Victor Hugo. Les Misérables is one of those classic novels which are rather intimidating. But I had challenged myself to reading it this year and it was an amazing book. It’s huuuuuge but the story of the two lost souls at the center of the book is just beautiful. Hugo can write about sewers in a way that makes you think it the most pretty poetry. Sometimes you feel he has completely lost it but he always manages to bring it all together. And he’s even funny at times.

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Top Ten Books I Wouldn’t Mind Santa Bringing Me

I think this week’s Top Ten topic is the easiest one ever! At least it is to me since I have put a lot of books on my Christmas wish list. The only difficult thing this week is to limit myself to only 10 books. But I will try my best! As always, the Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and here is my list for this week.

  1. Ken Follett: World Without End. I read and loved The Pillars of the Earth earlier this year so of course I’m hoping to get this book so I can see what happens next.
  2. David Mitchell: Cloud Atlas. Some years ago, I stood in a bookstore and debated whether to buy Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas or Ghostwritten. I ended up getting Ghostwritten and I’ve kind of regretted it ever since since Cloud Atlas seems to be the big thing. However, I chose Ghostwritten because I thought it sounded better so I definitely want to read that too. But after watching the trailer for Cloud Atlas, I’m just sold. I so badly want to read that book.
  3. Diana Gabaldon: Voyager (Outlander #3), Drums of Autumn (Outlander #4). I’ve read the first two of the series but with some years in between and I tend to forget how much I like these books. So after reading Dragonfly in Amber, I decided I wanted to read more books in the series – and soon. So I’m wishing for the next two.
  4. Alexander Dumas: The Count of Monte Christo. I loved The Three Musketeers as a child. Loved, loved, loved. I really want to reread that book at some point – as well as the other books in the series. But even more, I want to read The Count of Monte Christo. I keep hearing so much good about it so that’s my Classic wish for this Christmas.
  5. Joyce Carol Oates: Zombie. I’ve always been fascinated by serial killers. And this is written by one of my favorite authors. I really, really want this one!
  6. Toni Morrison: Beloved. I’ve never read Toni Morrison. It’s about time, right? I got intrigued by reading a review talking about how a woman in the book kills her baby girl because some fates are worse than slavery.
  7. Ray Bradbury: Fahrenheit 451. Bradbury recently died and that sparked a lot of people talking about him and his books. And I’ve never read anything by him. This one is about book burning and it sounds like something I will just love. Crossing my fingers I get this one!
  8. J.K. Rowling: The Casual Vacancy. It’s J.K. Rowling’s new book. Of course I want it!
  9. Salman Rushdie: Joseph Anton. I could write almost the same thing as just above but it’s not entirely true. I have not read a lot by Rushdie but I’m loving his Twitter personality, I really want to read more by him because he’s a very impressive author – and I find it very interesting to learn how he coped with the fatwa.
  10. Olivia Butler: Kindred. This sounds a bit similar to the Outlander series in plot. It’s about time travelling too but in this book, a woman travels back to the time of slavery in the US. I’ve heard so much good about it so on the list, it went.
  11. Andrea J. Buchanan (ed.): It’s a Girl: Women Writers on Raising Daughters. I have two girls, two daughters. I like getting inspiration on raising them, learning more about how to make sure we all survive when they become teenagers and just how I can be the best mom I can be. This book sounds very interesting.
  12. Peggy Orenstein: Cinderella ate my daughter. My oldest daughter is 4, she loves princesses, she talks like Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty – and I am not sure that’s necessarily a good thing. So I want to read this book to maybe get a bit of perspective on this whole princess thing and to see if it will become a problem when she grows older.
  13. Rachel Joyce: The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. This sounds like an intriguing book. A man writes a letter to a woman dying of cancer –  but instead of mailing it, he decided to walk across England to deliver it himself. It was longlisted for the Man Booker and yeah, I want it.
  14. George R.R. Martin: A Game of Thrones (Song of Ice and Fire #1). I want to know what all the fuss is about. And I want to read about the dragons. And the big wall. And what happens when winter comes.
  15. Freda Warrington: Midsummer Night (Aetherial Tales #2). I read the first one, Elfland, and liked it. I’ve been meaning to get this one for a while but just haven’t seen it anywhere.

Yeah, I know. I lied. I didn’t try my best. I realized I had 14 books on my wish list so I just went with it… These are the 15 books I would love to find beautifully wrapped underneath my Christmas tree on December 24.

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July 2012 – Monthly Wrap Up

So July has been dominated by our vacation and watching various sports – especially Tour de France (and the Olympics now, of course). This has also influenced my reading – three books about professional cycling and Tour de France this month. Vacation time also meant a bit more time to read – in one of our three weeks of vacation at least – so I devoured Ken Follett’s The Pillars of the Earth. This means that I read 4 books this month. As always, I’m not completely satisfied with this.

So as it can be seen, I’m still on track for reading 52 books this year – especially since I have read 70 % of Clarissa as well. I’ve read 2054 pages which means that I’m back reading 2000+ pages/month like in the early months of this year and Im very happy about that.

As mentioned above I made it through 4 books this month:

  1. Jørgen Leth: Den gule trøje i de høje bjerge. Denmark’s best cycling commentator writes about what he loves the most – Tour de France. Beautiful writing – but went a bit far back in history for me. 3 stars.
  2. Lance Armstrong: It’s Not About the Bike. Interesting account of Lance Armstrong’s battle with cancer and his way back to professional cycling. 4 stars.
  3. David Millar: Racing Through the Dark. Very interesting account of a young, rather idealistic rider’s descent into the dark side of professional cycling – and his way back out. 4 stars.
  4. Ken Follett: The Pillars of the Earth. Excellent book about the building of a cathedral in the Middle Ages. Well-drawn characters that will stay with you. 4 stars.

I have almost finished the Mount TBR Reading Challenge. I challenged myself to read 25 books bought before January 1st, 2012 – and so far, I’ve read 24 so I will probably finish this one next month. I’m more or less on target with Clarissa and I am definitely going to get this done. I need to read at least one book by Neil Gaiman – but I have one book by him on my own challenge list so that will get done too. The challenge I’m struggling the most with, is the one I’ve set for myself (together with two friends – the one where my boyfriend has bet me a book because he don’t think I’ll finish it…).

This month, I only read one book from the list of books I’ve challenged myself to read this year. This means, that I still have 12 books to go – and 5 months to go. So in August, I have to get some of these read. I hope to read at least two from this list – hopefully three. This doesn’t sound like much – and it isn’t. Except that all the books – almost – I have left on the list are very long books – books like Les MisérablesUnderworld and The Kindly Ones. So you don’t just fly through them in an afternoon. The other thing is that I have bought so many new books this year that I just want to sit down with and dive into. So I have to keep focus, get some of the challenge books read – and reward myself with some of my pretty new books!

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Ken Follett: The Pillars of the Earth (review)

Middle Ages. 12th century. The building of a cathedral. People struggling, starving. Knights fighting for power. Monarchs and monarchs to be fighting over who get to rule. Historical fiction. So not my thing.

I was given this book as a gift, years ago. It has stood on my shelf ever since. For the first several years, I really didn’t care to read it. I just wasn’t interested. But slowly, I became more interested. I must admit that Oprah saying she loved it, was a push for me to read it – mostly because she said it wasn’t her thing either. Also, the publication of the first volume of his Century Trilogy peaked my interest in Follett’s work. So I put The Pillars of the Earth on the list of books I definitely wanted to read this year. I must admit I have been dreading it a bit but finally, it just felt right to start reading it – and well, now I  kind of regret not having read it earlier.

Tom the Builder has a dream. A big dream. A dream which makes him drag his family all over trying to achieve it. Tom wants to build a cathedral. He wanders from place to place, building site to building site, trying to find somewhere where a cathedral is being or going to be built and where Tom can be Master Builder. So he, his pregnant wife Agnes and their two children Alfred and Martha, wander in search of Tom’s dream. But a series of bad luck follow them and leads to Agnes giving birth to a baby boy in the forest in the winter. She dies and Tom leaves the baby to die on her grave. Luckily, a priest finds him and takes him to a chapel in the forest where the priest’s brother, Prior Philip, is the leader. Philip decides that the boy should grow up in the monastery, just as he and his brother did, and he names the boy Jonathan.

Jonathan is the first link between Tom and Philip. After Agnes’ death, Tom begins a relationship with Ellen, a woman who has been living in the forest as an outlaw with her son Jack. Prior Philip becomes leader of the Kingsbridge Priory and takes Jonathan with him. Together with Tom, he makes a plan to build a cathedral and Tom begins the work – happy to be close to his baby boy.

At the nearby castle of the Earl of Shiring, his daughter Aliena is supposed to marry William Hamleigh. She refuses him however, and William takes this rather hard. So hard, that he eventually rapes her and cuts off a part of her little brother Richard’s ear after their father has been thrown in prison. William and his family takes over the castle and Aliena and Richard are homeless, struggling to find a way to survive.

When Prior Philip first became a prior, he did so by striking a deal with Waleran Bigod who then becomes Bishop of Kingsbridge. But Waleran Bigod is a man who wants power and he’s ready to do a whole lot to get more of it. He supports the Cathedral in Kingsbridge just as longs as it’s in his best interest. He has ambitions for where he wants to go and he struggles with Prior Philip, both wanting a cathedral – but for very different reasons.

All these characters weave in and out of each others’ lives. They support each other, they hurt each other, they kill each other. They fight, they starve, they suffer, they dream and build and create. They dream big and they strive to achieve it, no matter what setbacks they encounter. The ways the plot twists and turns and the various strands weave together, only to separate and then come together in some other way, is impossible to recount. The characters are fleshed out, lifelike and you get to care so deeply about them. However, although I do enjoy a good villain, you have to be careful not to make him so evil that he gets almost cartoony. I’m quite okay with William Hamleigh raping, burning, killing, slaughtering his way through the book. But there’s a scene where he wants to stone a cat just for the fun of it – and it just gets to be a bit much. I get that he’s evil – you don’t have to spell it out!

For the largest part of this novel, I just loved it. I devoured it, I read for hours each night, 100-200 pages a day. But – then something happened. Ken Follett likes to wrap everything up neatly and that’s fine, I don’t mind that at all. But it seemed that he maybe had difficulties wrapping up one of his characters –  and therefore, he introduces Thomas Beckett to the mix. Now, for most of the book, the historical facts have been sort of the canvas, Follett painted his characters on. The facts are the background Prior Philip, Tom the Builder, Jack and all the other can live and strive on. But towards the end, the facts and especially Thomas Beckett and his fight with the king and then tragic ending become the foreground of the novel and the characters we have followed and cared for during the first 900 or so pages of the book, suddenly becomes bystanders to the events. This does mean that Follett gets to wrap up all his story lines very neatly – but it also means that the story looses it’s momentum and becomes a bit less compelling towards the end.

By the way, there’s a board game based on this book. It sounds like it could be a great game. Anybody tried playing it?

  • Title: The Pillars of the Earth
  • Author: Ken Follett
  • Publisher: Pan Macmillan
  • Year: 1999 (original 1989)
  • Pages: 1076 pages
  • Source: Own Collection
  • Stars: 4 stars out of 5