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!

 

Top ten auto-buy authors

I have been slacking off on participating in the Top Ten so far this year, partly because of lack of time and partly because I’ve found some of the topics really hard to answer, some of them because they were not really relevant for the types of books I read. But I think it is fun to participate and I’m trying to get back in the game with this week’s theme, authors you automatically buy whenever they publish something new.

As always, the Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

  1. John Irving. I love John Irving’s books. I always buy him. I have almost everything he’s published, only lacking his movie memoir, two of his early books and a short story collection. I haven’t read all his works yet because I’m savoring them and I can’t imagine having no new Irving novels to read. He is a definite auto-buy author!
  2. Haruki Murakami. Murakami is another of my favorite authors where I have a no-questions-asked policy and just buy whatever he writes. I love both his magical realism books and the realistic ones – it’s just all good.
  3. Donna Tartt. I’m not going broke it anything by promising to auto-buy all if Donna Tartt’s future books. So far, she has published two (both of which are in my collection) and has one coming out this year. She published her first book back in 1992 so that’s 3 books in 21 years. I’ve really loved her first two novels so I’m so so excited about a third. Definitely a must-buy!
  4. Joyce Carol Oates. I really try to buy all Joyce Carol Oates’ books when they come out or soon after but it is so hard when we’re talking about a so extremely fast-writing author as Oates. She usually has more than one book coming out each year so I mostly limit myself to her novels. And a novelette. And her diaries. Ideally, I want to own everything she has written but … It’s close to impossible!
  5. Stephen King. So here we have another prolific writer whom I am desperately trying to keep up with. Again, I’m only buying the novels although I am reconsidering this because King writes excellent short stories. But yeah, I buy him even though he sometimes misses.
  6. Terry Pratchett. I buy the Discworld novels. I don’t buy the Discworld companion books and I haven’t (yet) bought any of his other novels or books. I don’t buy the books immediately after publication, though, since when I began buying them I could only get the paperbacks and so I have continued with this format. He never disappoints!
  7. Jonathan Franzen. After The Corrections, I’m buying Franzen’s novels. I loved The Corrections so so much. Again, this is not an author who is going to make me broke. He is not exactly a fast writer.
  8. Jeffrey Eugenides. I really liked Middlesex and so I have bought whatever he has published since. Which is one book, The Marriage Plot. So again, easy to promise to buy all his novels!
  9. Neil Gaiman. He can publish his grocery list for all I care. I’m buying! Even though he is a difficult author to have on the auto-buy list, since he writes in so many different genres and formats. Still, I am so looking forward to his next novel, I desperately want to get Chu’s Day, his children’s book, and translate it to my daughters and he’s also publishing a prologue to Sandman, the graphic novel series, this year, I think. I want it all!!! More, more, more!
  10. J.K. Rowling. I debated with myself whether I should put her on the list since I haven’t bought and have no intention of buying the various companion books to the Harry Potter series. Still, right now, I’m buying any novel she puts out there so on the list she goes.

Related posts:

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

Related posts:

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.

Neil Gaiman: Neverwhere (review)

What would you do if you came walking down a street and saw a young woman lying hurt on the sidewalk? Would you stop to help her and carry her to your home if she asked you not to call an ambulance? If you said yes to this question, I’m sorry to say that your answer is wrong! Really really wrong! At least if you have a life and maybe a family you care about.

Because that is exactly what Richard Mayhew does. He finds a hurt woman, he takes her to his home to help her – and because of this random act of kindness, he’s thrown into a life and an existence he had no idea existed even though it was right beneath his feet.

The girl he helped, was Door. Door comes from the London Below and if you associate too much with people and places from London Below, your existence in London Above disappears. People stop seeing you, you loose your job and your apartment – you’re simply forgotten. And that’s what happens to Richard. He helps Door escape from the very nasty Mr Croup and Mr Vandemar and he takes a message from her to the Marquis de Carabas – and that’s it. Suddenly, he’s shunned in London Above and he has no choice but to go to London Below – like all the other things and people who have fallen through the cracks.

Once Richard is below, he’s dragged into Door’s life. And she does not lead a peaceful one. Instead she’s on the run from the people who slaughtered her entire family and trying to figure out why they did so. Various characters help and hinder this quest and it’s all good fun and gives the reader a lovely, entertaining time. And the rats, of course. And pigeons.

Besides a fascinating story that I really enjoyed, what I loved most about Neverwhere was the way, Gaiman uses London. Place names of various parts of London suddenly get a new – and often sinister – meaning when you know London Below. Names and phrases like Mind the Gap, Shepherd’s Bush and Knightsbridge are some of the things that get the Gaiman treatment. And of course the floating markets – people from London Below just meet up in places and have their markets and then pack it all down again and move on to a new location. One such location is Harrod’s and the description of this is just marvelous. London Above – and Below – will never be the same. It all reminds me of an Escher painting.

And I just love Gaiman’s writing. Here are a couple of quotes to showcase it: ‘To say that Richard was not very good at heights would be accurate, but would fail to give the whole picture. It would be like describing the planet Jupiter as bigger than a duck. True, as far as it went; but it could go further.’ (p. 43) and ‘He never had believed in angels. He was damned if he was going to start now. Still, it is much easier not to believe in something when it is not actually looking directly at you, and saying your name.’ (p. 154).

One of my favorite authors is Terry Pratchett. And another author who is rather new to me and who I’m really starting to like, is China Miéville. This book by Neil Gaiman reminds me of both these authors. There’s a lot of similarities between Neverwhere and Miéville’s UnLunDun and The City & The City. Both Neverwhere and UnLunDun takes place in London but in a different London than we know. And just as people don’t see the people from London Below in Neverwhere, people don’t see the other city and it’s inhabitants in The City & The City. There’s something so interesting to me about these co-existing cities and how they exemplify how we live our lives, not seeing what we’re not supposed to see and if you see something that other’s don’t, you’re automatically labelled insane. It could be really interesting to read all these three novels together to really compare them and dig into their themes and similarities – and their unique aspects as well.

The similarities with Terry Pratchett is clearly seen in the humor. There are sentences here where it could almost have been Pratchett writing. No wonder that Pratchett and Gaiman wrote a book together – but big wonder that I didn’t particularly like it … I think I need to reread Good Omens at one point.

One other thing that fascinates me about this book is, that it originally was a tv series and then Gaiman adapted it into a novel. Right now, so many books are made into movies – Cloud Atlas, Life of Pi, Les Misérables, The Hobbit, Midnight’s Children – but it’s rarely the other way around, I think. I really want to watch this series (and all those movies…!). But I wonder – I prefer reading the book before the movie … but if the book is based on the tv series, should you read the book first or watch the series???

Anyway, I digress. What I really wanted to say with this review is, that Neil Gaiman is living up to my expectations and that he has taken a big step closer to be added to my small list of favorite authors and that I loved reading this book.

  • Title: Neverwhere
  • Author: Neil Gaiman
  • Publisher: BBC Books
  • Year: 1996
  • Pages: 287 pages
  • Source: Own Collection
  • Stars: 4 stars out of 5

If you liked this novel, you might also like Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips, anything by Terry Pratchett or The City & The City and Un Lun Dun by China Miéville.

Book shopping in Copenhagen

As part of our vacation activities this year, my boyfriend/fiancé and I took a day trip to Copenhagen – mainly to buy books. My favorite Danish bookshop is located på Rådhuspladsen in Copenhagen and the reason that I love it is, that it stocks all the new contemporary fiction – in English. I am of course talking aboutPolitikens Boghal which is one of the few places in Denmark where you have a great selection of fiction written in English. And since that’s what I read the most, of course this is my favorite bookshop.

So I bought 7 books in Politikens. 6 fiction, one non fiction. Most of these were already on my wish list and I’m excited about all of them.

      

  • Lev Grossman: The Magician King (The Magicians #2). The second volume in this fantasy series, inspired heavily by Harry Potter and Narnia.
  • Ramona Ausubel: No One is Here Except All of Us. A sort of 1001 Nights set in a tiny Jewish village in Romania in WWII.
  • Carlos Ruiz Zafon: The Prisoner of Heaven (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books #3). The final installment in this trilogy. The first one was amazing. I plan on reading all three together – hopefully soon.
  • Christos Tsiolkas: The Slap. What happens when a father slaps a child who is not his own? Simple premise – but I expect a lot from this Booker shortlisted novel.
  • John Lanchester: The Capital. I bought this book mainly because it takes place in London during the recession. An entire street in London with very different people, yet all receive a card in the mail with the same message on: We Want What You Have.
  • Tom Perrotta: The Leftovers. What happens after a rapture like event has removed millions of people from earth? How do the leftovers react and go about their lives, rebuilding societies etc?
  • Nicholas Joll (ed.): Philosophy & The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy so many times as a teenager. I plan on reading it again soon – and this will be a wonderful companion read.

Close to Politikens, you can find a small bookstore in a cellar, FantaskFantask is the place to go if you wish to buy comics, graphic novels and fantasy.

  

  • L. Jagi Lamplighter: Prospero Lost. A fantasy version of Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Beautiful cover!
  • Terry Pratchett: Snuff. The newest paperback in the Discworld series. Can’t wait!
  • Neil Gaiman: The Doll’s House (Sandman #2). I am pretty sure I read the Sandman series years ago – now I’m slowly buying them for myself.

And finally, we also visited a sale. Again, very close to Politikens, there’s a huge – and I think permanent – book sale called Vangsgaards Bogudsalg. I mostly picked up some coloring books and picture books for the girls but I did pick up a couple of books for myself too – one of these unfortunately in Norwegian…!

 

  • Alan Moore: From Hell. Alan Moore’s take on Jack the Ripper. I’ve been wanting to read this book for years. But it sucks that I somehow ended up with a copy in Norwegian!
  • Jasper Fforde: Shades of Grey. I really like the one Thursday Next book I’ve read and the idea of your ability to see colors determining your place in society sounds intriguing.

So 12 books all in all did I carry back home in the train. Quite a good haul, I think. I’m looking forward to reading them!

February 2012 – Monthly Wrap Up

February has been mostly dedicated to Charles Dickens and Edwin Drood. I’ve read two novels by Dickens and one about him – sort of – as well as watched the new BBC adaption of The Mystery of Edwin Drood and a Doctor Who episode featuring Dickens.

And look how pretty my Reading Challenge Goal looks. 2 books ahead! Yay me!

So again this month I’ve read some pretty awesome books. All 5 were actually really good. Two 5-stars read, 2 4-stars read – and The Mystery of Edwin Drood would have gotten more stars if it had been finished.

  1. Terry Pratchett: The Unseen Academicals. Oh, I loved this. Funny funny read. The Wizards of Unseen University has to play football – of course everything goes wrong in exactly the right way. 5 stars.
  2. Charles Dickens: Hard Times. So good. Dickens completely nails these characters – especially Mr. Gradgrind and Mr. Bounderby. 4 stars.
  3. Charles Dickens: The Mystery of Edwin Drood. I loved this – but it’s only half a book and the action was just getting started when it ended. Would have loved to read it in it’s entirety. 3 stars.
  4. Dan Simmons: Drood. This was amazing! Simmons has a lot of knowledge about Dickens, Wilkie Collins and The Mystery of Edwin Drood, and he manages to create an extremely exiting novel that I absolutely adored. 5 stars.
  5. Joyce Carol Oates: We were the Mulvaneys. How much does it take to break a family? Get the answer in this awesome book by one of my favorite authors. 4 stars.

I’ve read 2068 pages this month as well as a e-book: The Mystery of Edwin Drood by Charles Dickens. So a little less than last month but still good. The longest book I’ve read this month was Dan Simmons Drood with it’s 775 pages.

I still think I’m doing good on my challenges. I read three more books for the Mount TBR Reading Challenge 2012 as well as two for the Chunkster Challenge 2012 (as well as a bonus chunkster). I’m also right on track with the Clarissa read-a-long and I love it! With regard to my own personal challenge, I need to read about 2 books a month from the list and I have – this month it was Terry Pratchett: Unseen Academicals and Joyce Carol Oates: We were the Mulvaneys.

I have a list of books I really want to read in March. In fact, I want to read them all right now – but since I can’t read them all at once, I’ll try to read them as quickly as possible. So these are the books, I really want to read in March:

  1. Wilkie Collins: The Woman in White. After reading Drood, where Wilkie Collins was the narrator, I really wanted to read some of Collins’ own works.
  2. Marisha Pessl: Special Topics in Calamity Physics. I bought this a while ago but recently read a review where it was compared to Donna Tartt’s The Secret History which I read earlier this year and loved.
  3. Jonathan Carroll: The Ghost in Love. I’ve been wanting to read Carroll for a while and this one sounds so good. It’s about a man who falls and dies – but doesn’t die. There’s a ghost who was supposed to take his soul to the afterlife, but since the man didn’t die, the ghost has to stick around a bit. Of course, the ghost falls in love with the man’s girlfriend – and then things get complicated …
  4. Matthew Pearl: The Last Dickens. Matthew Pearl wrote the introduction to my version of The Mystery of Edwin Drood by Dickens, and since I’m still on a bit of a Edwin Drood craze, I’m really looking forward to hear what Pearl has to say about Dickens’ last work.

Discworld: Terry Pratchett: Unseen Academicals (review)

Discworld is a funny and very creative fantasy series created 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 the wizards.

The wizards have never exactly been sporty. Or fit. They’ve never participated in any team activities that involved athleticism or if they did, they were always the fat looser kid picked last. Dead last. So imagine how they feel when they discover that to make sure a sum of money keeps coming into the university, they have to play football. But well, when the money is part of the food money, of course they step up.

Especially because Archchancellor Ridcully and Lord Vetinari are teaming up together to make it happen.

Now, the wizards don’t just start playing the kind of football that is being played in the streets where a man who has scored 4 goals, is a hero – or where the spectators are happy whenever they get a chance to see the ball. So the wizards set out to create a new version of football, a game with rules and a referee, a game with goal keepers and a real ball that goes gloing.

Besides that, Lord Vetinari has got a guy named Nutt a job at the university – he’s a candle dripper (yes, of course the wizards have candle drippers). But he’s more than a candle dripper. Only thing is that he doesn’t quite know what he is. But when Lord Vetinari is involved, you know things aren’t always straight-forward.

And on top of this, Pratchett gives his own version of Romeo and Juliet in this book. Of course, Pratchett’s Romeo and Juliet have far bigger problems than just their families being against them – their issue is they support different football teams…!

Oh, and when Pratchett in the end gets to the big game – it’s amazing!

What I love about Discworld is that after so many books, it has become such a well-carved out universe that while each book  is readable on it’s own, you really get a lot out of having read at least some of the others. Pratchett has main characters from other books in the series show up for brief appearances. We get a brief visit from Death, we speak to Vines from the Watch, Moist von Lipwig covers the football match and of course there’s a brief appearance by Rincwind and the Luggage. This makes the world real because these are the people who would show up in those circumstances.

But what I love even more than to get the feeling that this is actually a real world, is the humor which is present on every page in the book. I always write down a lot of quotes when reading these books. For instance on the first page in the book, there’s this perfect quote about Lord Vetinari: Technically, the city of Ankh-Morpork is a Tyranny, which is not always the same thing as a monarchy, and in fact even the post of Tyrant has been somewhat redefined by the incumbent Lord Vetinari, as the only form of democracy that works. Everyone is entitled to vote, unless disqualified by reason of age or not being Lord Vetinari. (p. 13) or this quote about the relationship between women and men: The right tone from a woman with her arms folded always bounces an answer out of an unprepared man before he has time to think, and even before he has time to think up a lie. (p. 299)

I’ll end up with this quote that perfectly sums up, the wizards’ role in society – or maybe everyone powerful’s role. At least their role as Ponder, the main administrator, sees it: We can do practically anything, but we can’t change people’s minds. We can’t magic them sensible. Believe me, if it were possible to do that, we would have done it a long time ago. We can stop people fighting by magic and then what do we do? We have to go on using magic to stop them fighting. We have to go on using magic to stop them being stupid. And where does all that end? So we make certain that it doesn’t begin. That’s why the university is here. That’s what we do. We have to sit around not doing things because of the hundreds of times in the past it’s been proved that once you get beyond the abracadabra, hey presto, changing-the-pigeons-into-ping-pong-balls style of magic you start getting more problems than you’ve solved. It was bad enough finding ping pong balls nesting in the attics. (p. 428)

  • Title: Unseen Academicals (Discworld # 37)
  • Author: Terry Pratchett
  • Publisher: Corgi Books
  • Year: 2010 (originally 2009)
  • Pages: 540 pages
  • Stars: 5 stars out of 5

Pratchett & Harkness

So I’ve bought a couple of new books. I was in Odense yesterday and there’s an all right bookstore so I of course had to go – and I was determined to buy something. So even though there wasn’t any of the books I’m really itching to get my hands on, they still have a couple of all right books that I would have bought sooner or later anyway.

Terry Pratchett is one of my favorite authors and I love the Unseen University and the wizards. So of course it was only a matter of time before I bought Unseen Academicals (Discworld # 37). This is Pratchett’s football novel and it came out around the time of the World Championships in South Africa. Of course, Pratchett’s take on football is quite different from … well, from anybody else’s really so there’s no way this isn’t going to be very funny.

About the book:

Football has come to the ancient city of Ankh-Morpork – not the old fashioned, grubby pushing and shoving, but the new, fast football with pointy hats for goalposts and balls that go gloing when you drop them. And now, the wizards of Unseen University must win a football match, without using magic, so they’re in the mood for trying everything else.

The prospect of the Big Match draws in a street urchin with a wonderful talent for kicking a tin can, a maker of jolly good pies, a dim but beautiful young woman, who might just turn out to be the greatest fashion model there has ever been, and the mysterious Mr Nutt (and no one knows anything much about Mr Nutt, not even Mr Nutt, which worries him, too). As the match approaches, four lives are entangled and changed for ever.

Because the thing about football – the important thing about football – is that it is not just about football.

Here we go! Here we go! Here we go!

The second book I got was one, I’ve heard both very good things about – but also very bad. Deborah Harkness is a professor of history and A Discovery of Witches is her first novel. I hope it’s an intelligent take on the vampire genre and that she has written an exciting novel about witches, amperes, daemons, love – and academia. This is the first novel in the All Souls Trilogy – vol. 2 (Shadow of Night) should be out this summer.

About the book:

When historian Diana Bishop opens a bewitched alchemical manuscript in Oxford’s Bodleian Library it represents an unwelcome intrusion of magic into her carefully ordinary life. Though descended from a long line of witches, she is determined to remain untouched by her family’s legacy. She banishes the manuscript to the stacks, but Diana finds it impossible to hold the world of magic at bay any longer.

For witches are not the only otherworldly creatures living alongside humans. There are also creative, destructive daemons and long-lived vampires who become interested in the witch’s discovery. They believe that the manuscript contains important clues about the past and the future, and want to know how Diana Bishop has been able to get her hands on the elusive volume.

Chief among the creatures who gather around Diana is vampire Matthew Clairmont, a geneticist with a passion for Darwin. Together, Diana and Matthew embark on a journey to understand the manuscript’s secrets. But the relationship that develops between the ages-old vampire and the spellbound witch threatens to unravel the fragile peace that has long existed between creatures and humans—and will certainly transform Diana’s world as well.

Read more:

Something to be excited about in 2012

Edited December 30th – because I find out something HUUUUUGE. John Irving is publishing a new novel already! YAY! So that’s definitely something to look forward in 2012! And – the next one is coming in 2015 so we don’t have to wait too long for the next one either!!! The new novel is called ‘In One Person’. It’s about a 60-year-old man and is written in first person – Irving’s first novel in first person since Owen Meany. I can’t wait… Bu tI have to wait till June 2012…

This also means that my list now contains 12 books I’m looking forward to in 2012 – very fitting!!

So I’ve been doing a bit of research and I’ve realized that there’s a lot of really interesting books scheduled for publishing in 2012. I’ve compiled a list here of some of these – the ones, I’m most interested in reading.

  • Donna Tartt. I don’t know the title of this book yet but I’m so excited. Donna Tartt has so far written two books, I’ve read and loved one of these. I plan on reading her first novel next year and hopefully also the new one. The Little Friend, her second novel, was really a great book so I have high hopes for both these reads.
  • Joyce Carol Oates: Mudwoman. I love Joyce Carol Oates. She’s an amazing writer and I hope to make it through all her novels one day – a pretty hard task since she has written so many and keeps writing at least one a year. This one has been compared to Rebecca by Daphne de Maurier so how can it be anything but great?
  • Stephen King: The Wind Through the Keyhole. King is one of my favorite authors – he’s a master story teller. This book is an installment in his Dark Tower series, a series that I unfortunately haven’t started yet but I’m looking forward to it. I hope to start reading Dark Tower next year – just as soon as I’ve finished 11.22.63 …
  • Hilary Mantel: Bring up the Bodies. I’ve read Mantel’s Booker Prize winning novel Wolf Hall and liked it. I felt like my knowledge of English history was seriously lacking and that got a bit in the way of my enjoyment. Mantel is an excellent author, the writing is superb – but just as with The Satanic Verses and War and Peace, it helps if you know something about the subject before reading the novel.
  • China Mieville: Railsea. Mieville is one of those authors who has the potential to be one of my favorite authors. I’ve only read UnLundun which I really liked, but it’s a ya novel so it’s not necessarily a good one to compare the rest of his work to. So next year, I plan on reading at least one other Mieville novel (The City and The City) and maybe this one as well. Or Kraken. I’ve been meaning to read that one for a while.
  • Terry Pratchett: The Long Earth. This is a sci-fi series from Pratchett that he had written a lot of before Discworld took off – and because of that, The Long Earth was abandoned. So this is something completely different. I’m definitely looking forward to this!
  • Michael Chabon: Telegraph Avenue. Chabon is another author who has the potential to become a favorite (btw – a third author who has this potential is Jonathan Franzen!). Anyway, I’ve read a couple of novels by Chabon (Wonder Boys and The Final Solution) and I’ve liked them but they haven’t lived completely up to my expectations. Still, I definitely want to read more by Chabon so this one made the list as well.
  • Anne Rice: The Wolf Gift. It’s Anne Rice. It’s werewolves. What’s not to like??? Actually, I’m not that big a fan of werewolves and I haven’t read that much by Rice but still – it has potential!
  • Freda Warrington: Grail of the Summer Stars. This is the third novel in the Aetherial Tales series. I’ve read the first and loved it. It was new and refreshing so of course this one made it on the list.
  • Carlos Ruis Zafon: The Prisoner of Heaven. I’ve read The Shadow of the Wind and it was amazing. This is the third in that series so really looking forward to moving on to the second and third installment in the Cemetery of Forgotten Books series.
  • Adrian Tchaikovsky: The Air War. This is the 8th installment in the Shadows of the Apt series. I’ve made it through the fourth first novels and they are really interesting and fascinating so until I finish this entire series, I’m looking forward to each new novel.

Hm – I think this list really shows that I need to get a lot of reading done in 2012. There’s a lot of books and series that I want to read and books I look forward to but where I need to read some other books before I can read them… I need to organize my reading better in 2012! More on that later!

New books in 2011 (part 2)

So back in February, I wrote a blog post about 10 books I was looking forward to in 2011. So far, I’ve bought 4 of the 10 and read 1 of them – not all that impressive. I did however like the one I read – Gail Carriger Heartless.

But of course, a list of 10 books could not contain all the exciting books of the year so I’ve decided to write about some other books coming out this year that are very exciting.

First of, Tom Perrotta has a new novel out – and it got a cover review on New York Times Book Review. And as if this wasn’t impressive enough, the review was written by none other than Stephen King! (See the review here). I read Little Children last summer and I enjoyed it a lot and I have The Abstinence Teacher waiting on the shelf where The Leftovers will join it. Hopefully I’ll get around to reading them both soon!

And the man himself, Stephen King, also has a new novel out. 11/22/63 will hit stores November 8th 2011 and is about a man traveling back in time to try to prevent the Kennedy assassination. I think King is an excellent story teller so I’m looking forward to this one – hopefully it will be better than Under the Dome!

I’m a huge fan of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series and even though I’m not a crime novel reader, I’m really looking forward to reading his take on crime novels – especially since it seems to be inspired more by crime novels like then one by Agatha Christie than the modern novels by Swedish, Danish and Norwegian crime writers… Snuff is out in October 2011.

This year’s Man Booker award also has a lot of interesting books on the longlist. I listen to the Guardian’s Book podcast a lot and they cover this award so this is my favorite book award – besides the Nobel Prize which is always fun (and being announced in just a few days now).

One of these is Stephen Kelman Pigeon English which also has made it onto the shortlist. This is a book about a boy from Ghana and how he tries to find his way in England – as well as investigate a murder.

Another is Sebastian Barry On Canaan’s Side about a woman who looses her grandson. Since it spans seven decades, it also tells the story of her entire life from when she fled Dublin at the end of WW1 and how she came to America.

There’s also The Last Hundred Days by Patrick McGuinness about the last days of the Romanian revolution of 1989.

So again – more books to check out if anybody need any suggestions … sighs … I know I have plenty of books waiting already but hopefully I’ll get around to reading all of these as well. At some point. Probably not this year …