Monday, 24 January 2011

Room by Emma Donoghue


Room is the story of Jack and his mom. Together they live in a room. This room has a locked door, a skylight, a TV with Jack's friends in it, and other stuff you need for living. Jack knows that TV is not real, and so is everything else, except him and his ma. He is five years old and has never left Room.

Jack is telling us the story starting at his 5th birthday. Everything changes when he turns 5. His Ma 'unlies' that the world outside is not unreal and that they have to try to get outside. They create a plan together so Jack can get outside Room. Into the outside world.

I'd love to write the rest of the story but that would take a lot of awesome reading experience for you away, so I'll just leave the story where it is now.

The way Jack narrates the story we get an insight into the mind of child, that has never met other people, never played on a playground, never went to the shops, has never walked bare food through the grass. The way he writes about his life in Room shows the worth of love he has for his ma. And even though one might think, that this isn't a story for the tearful reader ... it is. It is a story for everyone. It's not over dramatic (although it is very exciting and tense at times) nor is it overly sentimental. It's funny and sad at the same time.

Room is one of those books one can read within a day. It's hard to put down, and it's an easy read as well (once you're used to Jack). If you have to spend a week reading on it (like I did, thanks exam time), it's a book that doesn't shut up. You keep thinking about Jack and his mom. About the changing relationship within those 5 years. About her change when she got Jack after being in Room alone for 2 years. What happens when they get out? He's never seen daylight and she just has to re-adjust. Will she still love him once she is outside?

And the most important question. How much does this novel relate to reality? Emma doesn't say anything about her inspiration for the book, but I am pretty sure it's inspired by the Fritzl case. Did you ever ask yourself what it would be like for those children? They have never seen the world. Room put those imaginations into a book. And did great work.

It's a very inspiring story. It's well written, has lovely characters and is also super interesting. So go, and get reading.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Sharing project

Right, I kind of want this to be a little more interactive than it is now. (I know, with all the zillion readers I have ... ) So here's the plan:

Version A: You email me your address and the wish book (which is one of the book I reviewed here) and I'll send it to you. For free. And you then, in return comment your opinion of the book underneath mine, in the comment section. And then give it to a friend (or if you didn't like it, you 'forget' it at the train station).

Version B: Now this version is a lot bigger and will take a looooot more time to actually work. I'll put my read and reviewed books into Oxfam bookshops. Now first stupid thing is that there is only one in my city. I could also forget them in the bus, planes, train stations ... not sure that would speed it up. Anyway, every book that is put out there will have a little note with the blog address and a 'please tell us what you think and pass the book on' note in it.

I hear you asking: What's the point? The point is to make me rich and famous with my blog and genius idea. Besides that it gives you guys the possibility to form and post an opinion, and help other readers to decide if the book is worth reading because there are more then my valued opinion. Or if not, you could get a free book.

But before this all starts I'd like you to tell me if you like the idea. So if you do, put an x in the comments, re-tweet it or let me know on facebook. If you even want to tell me which of the plans you favor - how awesome are you.

Enough of me now, I better get back to my exam revision.

Friday, 14 January 2011

Bus vs train vs plane

I had this discussion with mum the other day ... where is it best to read?

When I went to school my way there was about 20 minutes by train. Homework? Read a paragraph for class? All done on the train.
After school I used to live about 45 minutes by train away from work. That meant 1 hour and 30 minutes of reading time every day. 5 days a week. I read so many books. Les Miserable took me week (well train and bed reading together), some books were finished within a day. I loved that! Absolutely. (Also wish I'd had this blog already)

Then I moved to a smaller town, where I cycled 30 minutes to work everyday. Well, over the reading. Not so many books anymore. I however still loved reading on the train on the way to the family.

Now I moved countries and also into a much smaller town. I can walk to university within 20 minutes. I also have to take a 3 hour bus journey to the airport (or 2 1/2 with the train). And the almost 2 hour flight home. And do I use those journey hours wisely? Nope. For somewhat reason I can't concentrate when I'm in the bus. Or train. All I do is sit there and stare out of the window even at night time. It is very rare and a massively good book (in fact, the last was 'Disgrace') that I spend all the time reading. But as soon as I get into the airport I start reading. I sit there, next to the boarding door and read. Walk into the plane and continue.

So how did I unlearn reading on the way? What's better about the landscape (I know by heart)? Weird. My mom is still traveling to work by train. About 30 minutes each way. Lots of books read ... and some forgotten on the train.

A Place of Execution by Val McDermit

My favorite crime novel ever! Well ... maybe not ever ever, but certainly my favorite by Val.

A child is missing. Missing in a tiny town with weird tiny town inhabitants who are not very helpful for the investigation. Is it murder? Possibly. Why? What happened? And what is the motive?

The atmosphere created is creepy but wonderful. You have the English countryside with all it's up and down sides, the village with all it's rumors and who doesn't like who because of what, just to see that they all stick together in the end. You have the detective and his team (I didn't really like anyone in particular in the team ... not sure if that was how she had intended it) working their mind off ... and you have a revelation about the history of the characters every now and then.

The case is rather frustrating. Not only for the detective, but as well for you! It took me forever to 'solve the case'. I had everyone in my suspicion, outsiders, insiders, everyone. And whenever I thought I got it, I turned the page ... and changed my mind. (And I'm normally pretty good in solving the cases before the detectives! Honestly! So good, I think I should go to join the police!)

I love Val McDermit novels. So far I've read 4 of them (and there are about a zillion) but this is the best! It's my recommendation when ever somebody asks me for a crime novel.

So. If you like crime novels. Go and get reading. Val McDermit it is.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Merci and Disgrace (?) by Jussi Adler-Olsen

Hurray for the North of the world for the crime novel authors. Here's another brilliant mind!

The series, which contains 3 books so far, plays around Detective Morck in his special operation "force" (haha, it's himself and his lovely assistant) for open cases. The characters are simply wonderful. They have fights, and crisis (massive crisis!) and problems like normal people. No perfection within the police. Far from it.

In Merci Carl and assistant get the case of a missing woman on the table. Everyone thinks she is dead because it's years and years ago. Carl goes after it anyway, in his very own way. The story doesn't only explain what he does why, it also goes into the mind and surrounding of the woman. And that's the creepy part. It's not so much a story of trying to guess who the 'murder' is, it's more of shock-horror thing when you hear what that woman has to go through. Brilliantly written!!!

In his second case (which I translated from the German book as Disgrace) he is trying to get his mind around a solved case. Weird. Starts kind of boring, gets a lot better, once you got to know how everyone is supposed to be and what actually happened. The case is of course not solved, and it's a lot more difficult to get it that way. It kind of reminded me of The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo ... but I'm still not exactly sure why. It's not as exciting and grabbing as the first one, but it's still and easy and fast and well worth read!

However, if you're in the UK or the US you'll have to wait to get it. It's supposed to come out in May this year. It's worth waiting for though. Or you can try learning German until then.If you're German or are able to read it (go you!!) you can run out to your favorite bookstore now and grab a copy of both.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Something for protection

Keep safe out there with which book? Witz (which hilariously means joke in German). Check it out, it keeps you safe!

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

My arty farty disappointment aka. Tree of Codes by Jonathan Safran Foer

It was sad! Very very sad.

I have to say I like arty farty things! Honestly, big fan of arty farty movies (if their not too experimentalist and not too much David Lynch), arty farty novels (if they don't try too hard) even arty farty minimalistic music. And the best of it all is the expression itself. Arty farty for the go!

As you maybe know I am adoring Mr. Safran Foer for his writing. And I think I have actually read everything he wrote ... which is why I was so looking forward to his new book.

I also have weird habit of getting the least amount of information about the book possible. Just in case they spill the story ... so I didn't read any interviews or articles about his new book "Tree of Codes".

Well, the day comes. After tracking down every possibility to get the new book, I finally got it (wasn't cheap), ripped open the 2 envelopes with all my excitement, open the book very careful to's an arty farty book. He didn't write anything. Even if he would have, it's almost impossible to read without getting annoyed and/or ripping the pages. So sad. It's 'just' another story cut out. He took Bruno Schultz's "Street of Crocodiles" and left some words/sentences/phrases of it. The rest is an assembly of wholes. Honestly?? Why? He could have as well spend his precious time on writing.

I'm sure the art world will appreciate his work a lot more than I do. For now there is nothing left to do. Except of reading "Street of Crocodiles" as whole. I hope at least that will be worth the read.