Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Still breathing and what am I reading?

So I hope you noticed the most excellent and dramatic ryhme in the caption there. I am here to share what I am reading these days and to share that some of the stuff going on in my life is related to literature, young adult no less. Yaay!

Screen shot of Nubb.nu - the project I am fortunate enough to be a part of.

Nordic Young Adult literature

Since my last post I have accepted an offer to become editor/project manager of a website called NUBB.nu. NUBB is a volunteer site working to convey Nordic young adult literature and book bloggers across the Nordic borders. Check it out if you like - we recently started to offer a short summary of our posts in English, so if your interest is peaked by the summary head on over to Google Translate. Not the perfect translating tool by any means but GT will give you the gist. So it might be needless of me to say that I focus primarily on Nordic YA literature these days, but I do have shelves and a Kindle stocked with YA, written in English, that I really want to keep up with as well.

I am reading

This is what my Currently reading shelf on Goodreads look like.

“She doesn't believe in dogs," Bridget said. "Dogs are hardly an article of faith," Sylvie said.”
From Life after Life by Kate Atkins.

Some of these books I have not opened for a while, although I liked reading all of them. This especially goes for Kate Atkinson's Life After Life. The book is like a never ending sliding doors project, well written, clever idea, wonderful characters and a, sometimes very, dramatic but believable story.

You will be a wife and a mother, and that is all.
From A Mad, Wicked Folly.

A Mad, Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller is the YA historical novel I am currently listening to on audio. Victoria Darling longs to be able to study art, but that is not an option for a proper young lady according to her parents. On her mission to become accepted into The Royal College of Art Victoria's path intertwines with that of the suffragist. The title plays on a statement made by Queen Victoria:

… this mad, wicked folly of ‘Women’s Rights’ with all its attendant horrors on which her poor feeble sex is bent, forgetting every sense of womanly feelings and propriety.

“When I hug trees, the bark marks my cheek and reminds me I'm alive. Or that my nervous system is still intact. The trees breathe all the time and no one really notices. They take in all the air we choke on. They live and die in silence. So I hug them. Someone should.”
From Dr. Bird's Advice for Sad Poets by Evan Roskos.
Dr. Bird's Advice for Sad Poets by Evan Roskos is a contemporary YA novel with a male main character, James Whitman. I kind of rediscovered the book on my wish list once the paperback copy was being released. James is a quirky and lovable teenage boy, he loves Walt Whitman's poetry and a girl named Beth. Pretty much friendless and a family that so far seems to be dysfunctional I do not now how he manages to go through every single day as he does. Poetic language and great observations through James' eyes.

“Will I ever get the smell of formaldehyde out of my hair?” I needed to shout to overcome the wind blown directly into our faces and the “infernal combustion engine,” as my father called the Packard. I put my wrist to my nose. “I think the stuff’s in my skin as well!” “It is!” Father called out cheerily. “Formaldehyde is organic and seeps into the skin. You’ll smell like a cadaver for the rest of the term! Perhaps longer. Every year before the summer break all the anatomy students get together on King’s Court, set a huge bonfire, and burn their odious black coats!”
From Jane by Robin Maxwell.

Jane by Robin Maxwell is the story of Jane, you know the girl who loved Tarzan. Jane has struggles very similar to Victoria in A Mad Wicked Folly, natural of course since both stories are from the same period of time. Women struggle to be recognized as an equal part/contributors of society. I am not all that far into the story but I do find it rather fun that Maxwell has included the author, Edgar Rice Burrough, of the original Tarzan story, Tarzan of the Apes, as a character in this novel. It is good to know that the story is approved by the Edgar Rice Burrough's estate. Jane was released back in 2012, the year the original Tarzan story celebrated its "100th birthday".

“Fight me,” he said, tossing her the slab of wood. She caught it out of the air and weighed the sword in her palm. “Aren't I a little old for practice swords, Jacaré?" She never used his official title, no matter how many times he'd corrected her. The men she'd just defeated shifted nervously and took a few steps away to give the pair enough room to spar. “You're never too old to do as you're told. Now eaise your weapon."
From The Storyspinner by Becky Wallace.

The Storyspinner by Becky Wallace is the first book in the The Keepers' Chronicles. A high fantasy YA with 3rd person multiple point of view. So far I have been using a few seconds to remember who is who when a new chapter begins, the chapter alternates between the POVs. Not a big problem though as all characters has a pretty distinct voice. Half of the narrators belong to one side of the wall, so the story lines are the same for each half of the cast(does that make sense?). Sucked in from the very beginning, even if I cannot point to something highly original so far it has been an enjoyable journey so far.

“When at last I came upon the right book, the feeling was violent: it blew open a hole in me that made life more dangerous because I couldn't control what came through it.”
From Great House by Nicole Krauss.

Great house by Nicole Krauss is my second Krauss novel, I LOVED her novel History of love and I actually reviewed it here on this very blog six years ago, I admire Krauss skill of writing. I would not say that this is a book for everyone as Krauss loves great, long phrases, and I know many a reader that do not, - I suspect that the dot is Krauss' least favorite punctuation mark. I have almost finished this one, but skipped to the next and left this one gathering dust. I do not know why I did that. Time to pick it up again and see where the one item(a desk) that is the common denominator in this story, knitting all the people together, takes the story next.

Begynnelse : noveller(Eng. Beginnings: Short stories) by Anne Connie Stuksrud is an interesting find. I never read much YA when I was in my teens, so I decided to just search for some YA online at The National Library. Beginnings was one of the first books that caught my eye. The short stories focuses on subjects like love, friendship, sexuality and eating disorders and the two stories I have read so far were pretty great. In Norway we are super lucky, the entire national library collection are being digitized(read more about this project, in English, here) and the books can be read online.

“Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It's about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.”
From The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown.

I very much dislike the term self help books, it makes me feel vulnerable in some way - like I can manage every thing on my own. Oh yes, I can see the irony in this hitting me like a train without breaks. The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown is a book bearing that very label and a great one indeed. I love how Brown shares from her own life and reminding us of what is important(and what is not). A lot of what her research involves common sense, but there seems to be a lot of things we humans forget on this road called life. Reading this book is like being given a reminder of things that can give us a happier life and for that I have fallen in love with Brown.

Listen to one of Brené's TED talks and you might understand why I enjoy her writing so much:

Perhaps you have read one or more of the books on my way to long currently reading list? What did you think of the books?

Or maybe you want to read one or more of them? I know I am far from the only one with a huge, huge wish list of books.

So there you have it, you know what I am reading and news from my world. I wanted to say hello and see if you guys are still out there. Drop me a line and I will stop by your blog.


  1. Hi Mari *waving* Nubb sounds like a great project to be a part of, I love supporting local authors! Life After Life and The Storyspinner are both on my TBR mountain.
    Thanks for visiting my blog, did you review Wild Wood?

  2. It still annoys me I could not find anyone from here


Thank you for sharing your thoughts =)