Posted in Around & About, Blogging, Books & Reading

Worst blogger ever?

Since I haven’t posted anything for some time now? Not written anything new for even longer? Well, I haven’t promised anyone anything in that way. Haven’t even given myself the promise to blog often and regularly.

I have been doing other things. Especially meeting people, and been enjoying myself in different ways. I’ve also continued reading the Legend of the Icepeople, have just begun reading book 17 out of 47. This series is so thrilling, so good!

Also been watching old episodes of Dr Who. Have them all, everyone from 1963 and further on, and are now watching the sixth doctor, played by Colin Baker. 1984 – 1986.
On the whole, I like Dr Who, even though there are adventures I’m not too keen on. Yes, some I might even find a bit boring. Yap! Sorry, but I have to admit that.

About blogging! It should be fun. If one hasn’t got any other reason for doing it, it should at least be for the fun it. If not? Why bother?
I still think it is fun, that’s not the issue, but for the time being, my mind goes to a lot to quite different tasks. Like what’s going on here in this growing neighborhood. It’s so much going on that I want to participate in. Especially this non-profit association we are starting up concerning the community gardens.

There are also family-matters. This weekend I visited my youngest daughter, together with my other daughter and grand-daughter, since my youngest’s son had his 6th-year-old birthday party. We all had a lovely time. In peace and quiet! The birthday party with a lot of kids will take place next weekend. 😉

Now, I’m spending time on the sofa, caressing a cold, sore throat and such… Outdoors the remaining of a quite fierce storm is rumbling about. So not even the faintest thought of a biking or walking tour. Maybe there will be some writing done, instead? I’ll try to! But surely, I’ll also be taking a nap, keep on reading and watch more Dr Who episodes.

P.S. The cake is a Pavlova: Meringue, whipped rich cream and berries. Yummy!

Posted in Books & Reading, Movies & TV-series, Writing

Chistmas Ending

So! Now it’s over. All the Holidays and all the Festivity. If there have been any festive days, that is. For me, I’m pretty glad these weeks now have come to an end.

I don’t regret even one thing… and I’ve been smiling quite a lot

Not that I’ve had three bad weeks! Not at all! They have been peaceful and quiet. Lots of reading and movie-watching. Kitty-sitting two of the weeks, and some bike-riding when the weather allowed it. And some church-going. Nothing much else to chose from when one wants to see people. And many of them there are my friends, after all.

About Movies! If I had been a bit cautious here, I would have written down the name of all I have seen during these weeks. I’m not and I haven’t. And I don’t even think I remember them all.

The meditative Hopi

If I had been even the slightest more cautious, I would also have written a review of them. Yes, you’re absolutely right. I haven’t. Actually! I hate writing reviews! It doesn’t matter whether it is a movie or a book or anything else. I hate it. I get an odd creepy feeling inside of me, only by thinking of doing it.

But I can mention the ones I remember from these three weeks. This evening I have just finished watching “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” from 1961 with Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard in the leading roles. At first, it seemed to me to be a bit boring, but it turned out really good!

Yesterday I watched “China Town” from 1974 with Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway. I hardly recognized that young Jack. Time flies! And the movie was good. It’s kind of liberating to watch a crime story that is told slowly, without quick camera clips and angles, and dark corners and shooting all the time. A story can be really thrilling without hasty clip-clip-clip and darkness!

My favorite Jason Bourne movie, by the way, is “The Bourne Identity” from 1988 with Richard Chamberlain in the leading role, and Denholm Elliot as the doctor. So much more a STORY and not just a lot of shooting and running. And as such, so much more thrilling since it keeps the psychology in the story intact. Also so much more true to Robert Ludlum’s book with the same title which it’s based on.

I’ve also been watching the first seven Batman-movies, and a bunch of Christmas movies. I found the TV-series “Tales of the city” on Netflix, based on Armistead Maupin’s novels. Watched the three old ones, and have begun to watch the one from 2019.

And… I don’t think I remember more. It doesn’t matter. No big deal at all.

At present I’m also hooked on reading. A series of books written in the eighties. I kind of laughed at it in the eighties-nineties something, when everyone (it seemed) read it and said it was the best books they had ever been reading. There are no less than 47 books in that series. I saw them read these pocketbooks, which were more or less warned out, laced with dog-ears and silly (I thought) images on the front. Like those cheap paperback books one could buy at newsstands and kiosks. Mickey Spillane and such.

And now I’m totally hooked! Can easily read one of those books in just a couple of hours! So! What am I talking about? “The legend of the Ice-people” of course, written by the Swedish-Norwegian author Margit Sandemo. And I know you can get it in English.

Now! Let’s Wikipedia take over here: The Legend of the Ice People – I’m to lazy too even try to write a review.

My real writing? Have I been writing during Christmas? Well! Let’s talk about that another day!

Posted in Books & Reading, Writing

Reading & Pondering

Yesterday I began reading Jean Kwok’s novel “Girl in Translation”. At first, I found it hard to understand. There were words I didn’t recognize, and the way she writes… with a kind of Chinese “accent”. I don’t know quite how to put this. “Accent” isn’t the right word for it. It’s more like I’m peeking into one, for me, different and unknown world. A “Chinese-New York” world!

It didn’t take long for me to grasp it, though. And there are still occasional words and expressions unknown to me, but mostly I understand.

I understand the meaning of them, and what images the story itself shows me. Jean Kwok uses her language with such a finesse it kind of takes the breath out of me in awe.

When reading this afternoon I made some notes. Maybe I could learn something?

For instance: “He cocked his head to one side to see me…”
I understood very well what this meant. But I’ve never seen the word used in that way before. What would I have chosen? Tilt? Bend? To you English-speaking people I guess the word cocked isn’t particularly odd at all. To me it was fun, and somehow it suited that very young man. An old man – and not Chinese – might have bent his head sideways instead. Or?

The next: “Playing hooky”.
Never heard of this expression before. Understood what it meant. Think it sounds fun.

Next: “… .. ..? I voiced my real fear.”
So wonderfully shown! Instead of just writing “I said.”

Or: “”Really?” I warmed to him.”
Beautiful!!! What a way to use the word “warm”. I could really see the girls relief and gratefulness.

I still don’t know what a “Boogie” is when it’s not referring to Boogie-Woogie or dancing. I understood though, it was a not-so-kind nick-name for the teacher.

The author writes “roaches” instead of cockroaches, and a hand or a foot can “tingle with needles”. Loved that one. We have something similar in Swedish, but here the needles don’t tingle, they stick – and therefore seem to be more painful…

It took me a while to figure out what “cooties” are, but finally, I think I had it. Lice, I presume!

Oh! I wish I could write like that…

Then, less than a second after I thought that, it hit me. I can! But not in English! In Swedish, I can “show, not tell”. In Swedish, I can play with words and make things alive, whether it is about cocking one’s head or warming up to somebody. Or if the ground is cold under someones bare feet.

Today I’ve seriously been asking myself why I chose to write my novel in English. Well, I have a couple of answers to that, but wouldn’t it be wiser to re-write/translate it to Swedish and keep on writing the story on my own ground? So to speak! Why make it more difficult than necessary?

That, would take some time of course, but on the whole – and for one thing – I would keep on writing way faster. And I wouldn’t need anyone to check if my English is accurate.
Just the thing to maintain British English and not mix in American English! Or vice versa.

That’s something to think about, isn’t it?

By the way! Read the book! Read “Girl in Translation”. I bet you won’t regret it.

“New York Times bestseller “Girl in Translation” by Jean Kwok is a powerful story about a Chinese immigrant family in Brooklyn.

Kimberley Chang and her mother move from Hong Kong to New York. A new life awaits them – making a new home in a new country. But all they can afford is a verminous, broken-windowed Brooklyn apartment. The only heating is an unreliable oven. They are deep in debt. And neither one speaks one word of English.

Yet there is hope. Eleven-year-old Kim goes to school. And though cut off by an alien language and culture and forced by poverty to work nights in a sweatshop – she finds the classroom challenges liberating. In books and learning she’ll be saved. But can Kim successfully turn to lost girl from Hong Kong into a happy American woman? And should she?

Jean Kwok’s powerful and moving tale of hardship and triumph, of heartbreak and love, speaks of all that gets lost in translation.

‘A sensitively handled rites-of-passage account…has the unmistakable ring of authenticity’ Metro’

A truly amazing story that’ll leave you full of admiration and affection for the characters’ Easy Living’

A classic and moving immigration story’ Red

Jean Kwok emigrated from Hong Kong to Brooklyn as a child; her first novel Girl in Translation is based loosely on her own experience as a Chinese immigrant in America. With Girl in Translation Jean Kwok has won the American Library Association Alex Award, an Orange New Writers title and international critical acclaim.”

(from AdLibris.com)

Posted in Books & Reading

Searching – failing

Why is it so hard to find a book to listen to, that I like? Often I get bored, if not at once, then after a while. Maybe after 20 pages or an hour, maybe even later, halfway through!

Often I don’t begin to listen at all since I think the voice of the reader is awful in some way or another. Reading too theatrical can be one reason. Too alike, and it all becomes more telling than showing. Not paying attention to natural pauses.

Too long pauses between chapter, scenes and paragraphs – one loses contact with the story. But it doesn’t seem to be particularly common doing that. It’s almost always the other way around. No breathing at all.

There are times I literally can’t stand the voice itself. It can be too sharp, too harsh, too… hmm… ear-splitting? Or it can be too squeaky, and often among those who read feel-good-books, the voice is like a tiny girl’s. Not necessarily faint, but very high up in the squeaky register. A mouse is reading! Yes! As my character Jaycee would say: too girly.

Sometimes I put a book away because of – actually – bad writing! And I never try a book in a genre I already know I don’t like. Jane Austen, for instance.

Then, all those books like “the-little-bakery-at-the-seashore” – that now overflows the market, they are so boring!!! And some of those I’ve tested wasn’t even well written. Or had facts right.

I want fantasy! I want action! Not necessarily action like violence, wars or such. But something must happen! Even in a feel-good-book, something must happen. I want to feel engaged! I want to laugh, cry, feel the excitement. I want a book to catch me so that I can’t stop read or listen!

Often I find myself not having heard what has been read for quite a long time. And often I don’t get caught more or less immediately when I start a new book. And I want to be caught within the very first paragraph, or at least within the first pages. Mostly 20-25 pages are the limit when reading. Not been caught then – book bye-bye!

I find books and inspiration to read in many places on the Internet. On Goodreads, from other bloggers, randomly, suddenly anywhere. Books that capture my interest and curiosity! But those books are only rarely available to me at the book listening app.

Just the other day I read about Jean Kwok, and she seemed to write books to my liking. On the app, I found ONE! “Searching for Sylvie Lee”. I downloaded it, began listening, and I like it! Still, after a little more than one hour of listening, I like it. Why not any other book of hers? Why not “Girl in Translation” for example?

Luckily I have a real, solid library nearby. Like 600 meters away… But it is small, and not even the main library downtown has a lot of books any longer. But thanks to the internet, I can sit at home, search for the book I want and perhaps one or some of the libraries in the area (in a range of approximately 50 kilometres) might have it. Then I order, the book will be delivered to my local nearby library – and I can walk over there and fetch it.

So now I’m waiting for Jean Kwok: “Girl in translation” and “Mambo in Chinatown”; and “Mistborn”, by Brandon Sanderson. Thank you, Alex Raizman, for the tip! The preview I got at iBooks makes me think I will like it!

P.S. I have cancelled that book listening app. Just a waste of money.

And below are some of the books waiting for me on the app. Will I listen to them? Will they catch me?

Posted in Books & Reading

I do read, you know!

Rephrasing: I do listen to books, mostly. Have been listening quite a lot lately. One author I tried and failed to listen to though, was Terry Pratchett. (Sorry, Alex! I tried because I read those recent posts of yours …) Three times I tried to listen to “The colour of Magic” but couldn’t keep up the concentration. Got the hang of it in the beginning, but then…

Thought it might be due to the reader, some are awful to listen to. I tried both Nigel Planer and Tony Robinson, but neither of them could make me understand. It must be them, I thought. They read too fast and kind of making too much of a show of it.

So, last week I went to the library. Wanted one in English, the original. Of course! Not much to chose from there, and the books were really worn down. Doesn’t matter, I thought, I’ll test these two, and grabbed Wyrd Sisters and Small gods. Went home with them. Plus one Philip K. Dick, Time out of joint.

I started with Wyrd Sisters! It began really good, but it didn’t take long until those words were there. Those, to me, unfamiliar. Too many of those. A couple, one here and one there, wouldn’t have bothered me.

Yeah! Soon discovered, in Pratchett’s vocabulary, there are lots of words I don’t know. I hate to admit that, but… so it is. No wonder I didn’t understand what I was listening to in the first place! Quite discouraging, actually.

I can read Anne Rice, for example, without any problem at all. And I have satisfyingly listened to other English books as well. Like, I loved listening to Gail Honeyman’s “Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine” brilliantly read by Cathleen McCarron. And all “Harry Potter” read by Stephen Fry, who is sooooo good. But having to check in a dictionary, like ten times per page – that’s not fun. That’s depressing. (I thought I had a better vocabulary…)

Now I’m listening to “Ready Player One” by Ernest Cline. I got the tip earlier today from my 22-year-old grandson. I really like it! Been listening for a couple of hours already, understand it … ! And I know what an Avatar is, in the world of game-craft! (And in the movie)

It’s fun though! Often both of us like the same books and movies and TV-series, and do tip each other of something new. On Netflix, I presently am watching “Limitless”. (Not this very moment). Yes! He likes that too. Just one example of many…

By the way, I had difficulties reading Robin Hobb as well. Both the language and the style
I did like Pratchett’s style though – in the paragraphs and scenes, I did understand… that’s why I unbelievingly enough ponder to read some or another of his in Swedish translation.

Naaah… that would be… pitiful…

Posted in Books & Reading, Camp WriMo, Fantasy, NaNoWriMo, The Solar Eclipse, Writing

Sofa weekend

Some days you feel, you have to do nothing. Or at least, as close to nothing as possible. This weekend is just that kind of days.

Yesterday, Saturday, was literally a sofa day. I did have help from the weather to do that. It was awful. The rain was pouring down bucket-wise, and it was horribly blowing!

I was grateful for the rain and the almost-storm.
I have been tired lately.
Feels good to close into oneself.

Okay! I did fix food for myself a couple of times, and I did the dishes. Other than that I took a nap before lunch. Had slept too little the night before, I listened to books for a couple of hours, and was watching a marathon of the 6 last episodes of “Terra Nova”.

I got really disappointed when I watched that a year or so ago (Or two years?) They only produced one season! Read somewhere it had been too expensive to produce… or something. 😦

 

I did write to the CampWriMo too, of course.
One thousand and four words.

 

Today is also a sofa-day, Though I did take a short bike ride after breakfast. Nine kilometres only.
Better than nothing.

Then I thought I would write a blog post. During this WriMo month, I don’t post as often as usual. The other writing takes up time.
And so it should.

Observe how inspired I am… hmm…
*cough, cough*

I’m still tired.
Long for the vacation starting next week.

Posted in Books & Reading

A handful of books…

A handful of the books on my virtual bookshelf… quite multifaceted…

It’s really awesome to be able to choose whether to listen to a book or read it. For the time being, I prefer to listen – you can be almost anywhere or do almost anything while listening – but you can’t get them all as audio. 😦

Posted in Books & Reading

Can’t stop!

Can’t stop listening to Jacqueline Winspear’s book about Maisie Dobbs. Sometime, months ago, I listened to the first two ones: “Maisie Doobs” and “Birds of a feather”, liked them a lot but then I did other things, listened to other books – and then I forgot about Maisie!

Until yesterday evening. I was looking for a book that really would catch me. Have tested several, but no. My attention has kept on flying on other routes.

Got reminded though, and late yesterday evening I added to Storytel, the third book in the Maisie Dobbs series, “Pardonable lies” and today I have already listened to a little more than a third of the book. Almost 4,5 hours out of 12.

It seems impossible to take the ear-plugs out of the ears and put the iPhone down, and since it’s possible to listen to a book and do almost anything else while doing it – well – I listen! While cooking, eating, doing the dishes, clean the bathroom, mop the floors…
Not while vacuuming, though…

Though not today, it’s also very possible to listen to books while biking, walking, driving the car (highway mostly), and of course while just sitting in the sofa doing some kind of coloring on the iPad – or something which doesn’t need much brain activity to do – so! I listen until my ears don’t want to do it any longer. Or when I have forced myself to write a blog post…

So this book really caught my attention!

Posted in Books & Reading

reading – sometimes – still

I confess! Haven’t been reading much lately.

Finished “Educated” by Tara Westower. Super-good!
Finished “The Timetravelers Wife” by Audrey Nieffenegger. One of my favorites!
Finished the Swedish Murder Mystery by Maria Lang – brilliant, and feels very modern though it was written in 1949. There weren’t no computers nor any cell phones back then. That’s about it! Otherwise it could have been written now!

I also finished Alexander McCall Smith’s first book about Madame Mosu… mau… something… The number One first detective agency. (Did I get it right now?) Well! Boring!

I tried some tips from Thursday friends:
By a Jenny Colgan, something about some bakery on some beach. Boring – and illogical! Skipped it!
Two others of the same kind: Boring, Boring!!!
Tried for the third time to listen to Neil Gaiman’s “Neverwhere”, but didn’t succeed to get hooked! And that is supposed to be a fantasy! Very odd – but skipped that as well.

Finally, this afternoon, I began to listen to the first Harry Potter book once more – The Philosophers stone, read by Stephen Fry. First of all! They are really, really good, the books about Harry and  Hogwarts! After reading or listening to them, you won’t bother about the movies any longer. They are “nothing” compared with the books.

I also simply adores listening to Stephen Fry who reads this series. He is marvelous!

So now I stick to that one for a while. It’s quite handy to be listening to books instead of reading them. Though I would of course never stop reading books, but for the time being listening to them suits me better.

Posted in Books & Reading, Camp WriMo, NaNoWriMo, The Solar Eclipse, Writing

Saturday evening, April 6

Apropos Camp WriMo; as the text for today, instead of writing a new piece, I chose to add the very first one I wrote. The one I added to Diana’s speculative writing prompt. The one that started this adventure. The Solar Eclipse.

Why? Was I cheating, you think?

Well, I don’t think so! That text belongs to the story. I really should have signed that one to the first day, but I didn’t think about it, that it could have been possible. And what I did write, I couldn’t stop from coming. The story was there and wanted to be written!

During the next few days, there was another thing that over and over again was popping up as I was writing. If you remember (or read it again), I had placed JayCee in a cold environment, but my mind, my Muse, wanted her in a warm – NO HOT! – environment. So I solved the problem by editing the entire thing so it would fit with the heat instead of the cold, and then counting those 1087 words as written today. In total, I now have 4368 words. (I’m the one in my Cabin that has written the most, some of them hasn’t even started. It doesn’t seem so, anyway.

However, I haven’t written all of the texts in the order it will be read later. Two days I’ve accomplished texts that have to be placed somewhere else in the store. In other words – I’ve written in beforehand! Sometimes it’s hard to begin writing a text, so I had some help from a couple of old fragments of ideas. And as such – there are scenes that will be used somewhere else in the story.

Thanks to that, two more characters have also been born. A guy called Theyou, and a woman named Lana. She is fun. Her personality is tough and quick-tongued. A bit bitchy, actually. So fun to write her. And Theyou? I haven’t pictured him yet, not fully. A young guy, quite small, but brave. He has a quest to fulfill. And yes – it’s fun to write him too.
Fun to write all four of them.


What else do I do, except writing?

I am enjoying the warm sunny weather, biking, meeting friends and family, and listen to books. Presently I listen to “The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency” by Alexander McCall Smith.
Quite good… Slightly boring…

 

Before that I listened to a book by “THE Swedish queen of Murder Mysteries”: Maria Lang – Mördaren ljuger inte ensam. from 1949.

Can´t find if this particular one is translated into English, but others are. Check Goodreads or Wikipedia or something to get examples. Some of her Mysteries have also become movies and are very popular now. They are also for sale at f.ex. AdLibris – in a new edition – and not at a low price…

She wrote her Crime fiction for four decades. 1949 – 1990, and I think I have read most of them. If not all…
I like her mysteries very much. And actually, they still feel quite modern!

 

I also act as a Sofa Potato – quite a lot…