What I read in 2016

Yeah, I know. What do you care about 2016? We are way past the end of year posts – but well, bare with me. This is hopefully a way for me to start blogging again.

At the very least, I’ve started reading again after a very long hiatus and well, when I read, I also want to write about what I’ve read. Hence The Literary Bunny. I’ve read 6 books so far this year. Actually, I’ve read 6 books during April and May. And I’m loving it. And compared to the 10 books I read all of 2016, 6 books is a lot.

But enough talk about this year. Let’s look back and see what I did get read in 2016.

raising_steam1Terry Pratchett: Raising Steam (Discworld #40). 3 stars.
I love Terry Pratchett, I love Discworld and I love the character Moist von Lipwig. That said, this was not one of my favorite Discworld novels.
After having created both the post service and a proper banking system, Moist now has to deal with transportation – with trains.
Still, even though this is not the best Discworld novel, there are as always plenty of things to enjoy – like these quotes:
‘Is there something in the word ‘tyrant’ you do not understand?’
‘The Queen appeared as innocent as one of those mountains which year after year do nothing very much but smoke a little, and then one day end up causing a whole civilization to become an art installation.’
‘Don’t force me to draw my own conclusions. I do have a very big pencil.’

333293Stephen King: Song of Susanna (The Dark Tower #6) and The Dark Tower (The Dark Tower #7). Both 5 stars.
The Dark Tower series has been a presence in my life for a very long time. When I was a teenager and started going to the library on my own, I read Christine and Cycle of the Werewolf among others and kept eying The Dark Tower series – but kept waiting for it to be finished before I started reading. I regret not reading it back then but I’m glad that I have now finally read it. I started reading it back in 2012 (!) so it’s actually taken me 4 years to finish the series.
the-dark-tower-stephen-king-2011-a-pThese are so good books! They have so many qualities and I love the alternative reality elements where King himself suddenly shows up in the story and actually incorporates his real life traffic accident and the entire meta layer of Roland v. King. Who actually calls the shot? Fictional Roland or fictional King – or real King?
‘What we’re playing for, Roland, is the ages.’

 

9781922070005Félix J. Palma: The Map of the Sky (Trilogía Victoriana #2). 5 stars.
The second book in the series – and just as mad a ride as the first one. I love the mixing of alternative reality with fantasy elements. This one, starring both Edgar Allan Poe and H.G. Wells, is similar in many aspects to the first one but is still it’s own thing. The plot twists may not be quite as clever as in the first one but this might just be because I’m now more familiar with his writing style and crazy creativity. I can’t wait to read the next one in the series.

41fCzBniKSL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Marjorie Celona: Y. 5 stars.
Oh man, I wish I had taken notes when I read this book. I remember loving it and thinking it was quite different from the other books I’ve read this year but I can’t quite remember that many details from it. And that makes the book perhaps seem not worth reading which is not my intention.
It goes into some quite heavy subjects – is it ever the right thing for a mother to give up her daughter?
It was a good read!

s-l400Umberto Eco: The Name of the Rose (I read the Danish version: Rosens Navn). 4 stars.
I am a big fan of reading the book before watching the movie – or tv series (still haven’t watched Game of Thrones!) but in this case, I watched the movie years ago and only now got around to reading the book. So my book had Sean Connery in it – which is not surprising for anyone who has watched the movie, I guess. And it is a great story. The killing of monks, the danger of knowledge, the clever old monk, the not so clever young monk. It is a great story. The only reason I didn’t give it 5 stars is, that I feel it is a bit heavy. It’s a demanding read and at some points, it didn’t quite keep my attention (which might say more about me than the book, actually).
11174642._UY200_Deborah Harkness: A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy #1), Shadow of the Night (All Souls Trilogy #2) and The Book of Life (All Souls Trilogy #3). 4 stars, 4 stars and 5 stars respectively.
One of my colleagues got me reading this series. She absolutely loves it and actually owns several copies of it.
I bought the first volume some time ago but never got around to reading it. Finally I started to read it – and then had to pick the two next volumes up so I could read them, one immediately after the other. It has become quite a thing I do  – to buy the first volume in a trilogy to see if I actually want to read it, and then be annoyed later on and not start to read it because I only have the first book…
17270883I preferred the first and third volume though. The second one was a typical middle part of a trilogy and just not quite as interesting to me, despite it’s taking place in Shakespeare’s England. But I did like the time traveling elements and the chance it gave for Diana to know Matthew’s past.
I liked how Harkness introduces her vampires and witches into a modern setting and letting them just be a part of our world.
I adored Diana’s family house and her family and how the house kept secrets and things until it deemed it time to release them. And also Matthew’s family!
510BYyiGPdL._SX325_BO1,204,203,200_The entire story of how to come into your own and learn who you are at the same time as you struggle with coming to terms with a love that is not supposed to be and which many people have an interest in preventing – and will go quite far to stop, actually – was very enjoyable and I think Harkness succeeded in creating a modern day version of a vampire story that is actually quite good.
I’m looking forward to the movie, whenever it might be out – and also the next book in the series, out later this year, supposedly.

9780007448036George R. R. Martin: A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire #1). 5 stars.
As I mentioned earlier, I haven’t watched Game of Thrones yet – which is actually quite an accomplishment! And something my boyfriend hates me for because I’ve made him wait alongside me until I finish the books… So finally, I started. And of course, I enjoyed it. I wish I had read it earlier before knowing so much about the plot but it still captured my attention very much.

These are the 10 books which made my 2016. Mostly great reads. Mostly fantasy – which is my genre of choice, especially when I’m not reading much and trying to get back into reading.

So except for the low number of books, it was actually a really good year!

 

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Terry Pratchett: Making Money (Discworld #36) (review)

terry_pratchett_making_moneyDiscworld is a funny and very creative fantasy series written by Terry Pratchett. He has written some 40+ books in the series, all taking place on a flat disc floating in space on the backs of 4 elephants standing on the back of a huge turtle who swims through space. While being set in this fantasy world, Pratchett’s books comment on this world, our world. There are several story lines in this universe – the wizards, the witches, the watch, Death and more. This book is about Moist von Lipwig, a former conman whom we previously met in ‘Going Postal’.

As a Discworld fan, you know that things can’t go wrong when a book involves Ankh-Morpork, Lord Vetinari and Moist von Lipwig. von Lipwig has the worst (or best) name and we’ve only had one book about him before, Going Postal, which I really liked. In that book, von Lipwig was saved from the gallows by Lord Vetinari who saw some potential in him. In Going Postal, he was given the task of saving the postal service and ended up re-inventing the whole system. When we meet up with him again in this one, he is bored out of his mind (not literally, although that could easily be the case in a Discworld novel). So he is breaking into his own office, climbing walls and picking locks to try to get some excitement in life.
Of course, Vetinari knows this. Vetinari knows everything. So he decides to introduce von Lipwig to Mrs Lavish, the lady in charge of the Royal Mint and the bank – and to the chair dog.
And luckily he does so (well, I’m not all that sure that Vetinari believes in luck), because shortly after this, Mrs Lavish dies – and her last will puts von Lipwig in charge of the bank and the Mint. As von Lipwig previously introduced stamps, he now sets out to introduce paper money because gold is a bit old-fashioned and not really necessary for modern banking. This of course does not go smoothly. Change never does. In this case, one of the issues is that the only artist clever enough to make the art for the new money, is about to be hanged – after von Lipwig himself has testified against him previously. Now, a hanging is not anything that stops anyone in Ankh-Morpork so this is just a minor incovenience that has to be dealt with.
The continuing struggle with the Lavishes, the owners of the bank, as well as Mr Bent, the Chief Cashier, who always dresses in black, never smiles, and is extremely good with numbers, is the main issues von Lipwig has to overcome; that, and Lord Vetinari who of course will not allow anyone to get too much power in his city. And when von Lipwig’s girlfriend suddenly shows up with a army of goblins, only von Lipwig can control, serious trouble arise!
In some ways, the plots of Discworld novels is only an excuse for Terry Pratchett to get to play with language. I simply adore reading the creative uses of language, he puts into the text every chance he gets. Writings like this: ‘I know exactly what you never said. You refrained from saying it very loudly.’ (p. 124) and ‘He’d reached the point where he was so wet that he should be approaching dryness from the other end.’ (p. 214) and ‘The only reason that her words came out at the speed of sound was that she couldn’t make them go any faster.’ (p. 314). Oh, and of course this one which reminds me of a quote from Doctor Who: ‘That is a very graphic analogy which aids understanding wonderfully while being, strictly speaking, wrong in every possible way.’ (p. 266)
I really liked this novel even though it was not quite as good as Going Postal – probably in part because it is somewhat the same story. But still, the additions of the chair dog Mr Fusspot and his very special rubber toy, Lord Vetinari and his crossword puzzles, the Department of Post-Mortem Communication at Unseen University, the Lavish family in it’s entirety and especially Cosmo and his Vetinari obsession, make this it’s own novel, quite capable of standing on it’s own two feet. And I’m definitely looking forward to Raising Taxes, the third von Lipwig novel, when that is published at some point.

Oh, and in the basement of the bank, there is something like this. Except the Discworld version is run by an Igor. And it isn’t just a model.

  • Title: Making Money (Discworld #36)
  • Author: Terry Pratchett
  • Publisher:Corgi Books
  • Year: 2008 (original 2007)
  • Pages: 480 pages
  • Source: Own Collection
  • Stars: 4 stars out of 5

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If you like Terry Pratchett, you might also like Neil Gaiman and China Miéville! Both have a way of writing that reminds me of Pratchett as well as somewhat similar ideas and themes.