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?

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. 😦

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.

Traveling in Time

After having finished reading “Educated” by Tara Westover, I grabbed hold of an old favorite of mine:
The Timetraveler’s Wife” by Audrey Niffenegger.

It’s one of these old stories. Boy meets Girl. They fall in love, get married, and then they live happily ever after.

OR?

There are some issues though, isn’t there always? And the special issue here – is that the man travels through time! Unwillingly, unwittingly, and without any clue of when this will happen, and where he will appear.

What I (also) really love and admire with this novel, is the way it’s written. It’s certainly not an easy way of building a novel. But Niffenegger has done it so well. Of course with the language, the grammar et cetera – but there is so much more to it.

She has two main characters: Claire and Henry. The entire book is written in the first tense, and in – hm –  do you ever call this “in the first person”? (As in “I go” not “She went”) All the time the story is in one of the characters owns personal view. And they alternate with the story, Claire tells her point of view, and Henry his.

Not only Henry, but the story itself jumps in time. Back and forth, over and over again. I find it really hard to describe this to you! The story is like a 5000 pieces jigsaw puzzle, and Niffenegger has manged to get every single piece in its right place – depicting a marvelous story!

Personally, I just love to write in the first tense, and YES! of course, I also have written in the first person (I), as well as in second person (you), and I know how difficult it can be. You really have to keep yourself on the toes, and not only think twice but ten times or more, how to write to keep consistency. You just can’t slip in the middle of it and let through a “said” or something else in past tense.

But when well done, I think writing in the first tense gives a story a most beautiful closeness.

When you write in the first person, you really have to be aware of what the person in question actually can or can’t see or hear.

 

Below I’ve added what Goodreads has to say about the novel. (I have a hard time finding words – and! I am a lazy-butt). Read it!


The Time Traveler’s Wife

A funny, often poignant tale of boy meets girl with a twist: what if one of them couldn’t stop slipping in and out of time? Highly original and imaginative, this debut novel raises questions about life, love, and the effects of time on relationships.

Audrey Niffenegger’s innovative debut, The Time Traveler’s Wife, is the story of Clare, a beautiful art student, and Henry, an adventuresome librarian, who have known each other since Clare was six and Henry was thirty-six, and were married when Clare was twenty-three and Henry thirty-one. Impossible but true, because Henry is one of the first people diagnosed with Chrono-Displacement Disorder: periodically his genetic clock resets and he finds himself misplaced in time, pulled to moments of emotional gravity in his life, past and future. His disappearances are spontaneous, his experiences unpredictable, alternately harrowing and amusing.

The Time Traveler’s Wife depicts the effects of time travel on Henry and Clare’s marriage and their passionate love for each other as the story unfolds from both points of view. Clare and Henry attempt to live normal lives, pursuing familiar goals—steady jobs, good friends, children of their own. All of this is threatened by something they can neither prevent nor control, making their story intensely moving and entirely unforgettable.

I can’t stop!

At present, I’m listening to “Educated” written by Tara Westover. It’s amazing!

Memoirs are not my first choice of books to read, but if there are more of those like this one – I would for certain read more memories.
Well-written, mindblowing, heartbreaking, mesmerizing, upsetting, interesting, agonizing, wonderful……

I just can’t stop listening!

During three days, I’ve listened to 72% while doing the dishes, driving the 30 kilometers to the next city, browsing the food store, having lunch, coffee or dinner, while knitting, and so on… Even when walking 2,3 kilometers home today with a newly bought sun-chair on the back of my bike.

I had to force myself now, to do something else. Like writing. 😉 Not staying plugged in for the rest of the day. But it’s really a good thing to listen to books, since one can do anything and everything else while doing it. Except for that which also needs the brains fully attention.

However! Once again there is something that makes me want to learn more. To educate myself more. She is inspirational, Tara.

Ooops! Forgot to take that photo I’d meant to take. And NO, I couldn’t wait until Friday or some day next week, when I’ll have mydaughters car available…

Guess there were some people thinking I’m crazy. Hmmm… maybe I am.
But that’s a good thing, isn’t it?

Time to read – or rather – time to listen.

“Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine” by Gail Honeyman

I haven’t been listening to a book for some time now, men since I’ve seen this one “everywhere”, I looked for it at “Storytel”.

It was available there, and I choose to listen to it in its original fashion. In English – with Scottish and all. And that was a hit! The best choice!

(The women who read the Swedish version sounded so utterly boring and harsh. And I don’t think she even tried to sound “Scottish”.)

I got hooked! Immediately!

Beforehand, I had thought it might be one of those easy-to-read, more or less shallow books with some laughs, some tears, and some romantic. Like those romantic Christmas movies provided by Hallmarks. 😦

Oh, GOD! This was so much more. So. Much. More!!!

So beautifully and extremely well written – which I love.
Written in the first person – which I also love.
The story built up so tenderly, so real, so… you see the persons and the sceneries before you as if you were there, with them. Experiencing what they experience. Hear, see, smell, taste – feel…

Oh! That Mommy!

I cried immensely! And laughed. And felt a lot inside me.

Couldn’t let go of the iPhone and the earplugs, so during two days – for in total 11 hours 36 minutes – I was literally hooked to this book.

I think I want to buy it as a physical book! (Which means like 5 stars, from me.)

 

 

“No one’s ever told Eleanor that life should be better than fine.

Meet Eleanor Oliphant: She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy.

But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kinds of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living. And it is Raymond’s big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one.” – Goodreads

 

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

A Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick

“Beautifully written and incredibly funny, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is about the importance of friendship and human connection. I fell in love with Eleanor, an eccentric and regimented loner whose life beautifully unfolds after a chance encounter with a stranger; I think you will fall in love, too!” —Reese Witherspoon

Adlibris

Amazon

Goodreads

There has to be a nave…

The main character in the novel “A Confederacy of Dunces” is a horrible person! Ignatius Reilly is mean, egoistic, egocentric, lazy, bullying, scornful, harasser, overeating, fat – which per se isn’t a crime, but in this case, well contributes to the general picture of this… person. Though he also in some ways seems to be very intelligent – seen from another perspective… he’s just plain stupid.

It is a very humorous novel! No doubt about that! When I first read it, several years ago, I thought it was really funny. It’s also very well-written, and the story builds up – over and over again – until it just bursts.

Now, when rereading this book, I can’t as easily find the humor in it. There are still his mother and other people around him, that are both nice and doing their best and for certain, JKT has described them and their whereabouts so, that I really burst out in laughter. And the way JKT has built this story, caught all of the characters with there own personalities, and so on! It’s splendid!

It’s just that I now see more of the ill-nature in Ignatius – which he himself for certain isn’t aware of –  and it makes me… well… maybe not want to read on?

I can see why this is considered very humorous, and getting the Pulitzer price and all. I can also see that Ignatius isn’t actually mean. He isn’t violent! He wouldn’t hurt anyone, and absolutely not physically. He’s just so IRRITATING!

And I just realized this has been on stage! (When? Where?)
And as movie! ? Gotta find out…


There is another main character that has about the same qualities. Hyacinth Bucket, pronounced Bouquet, in the TV-series from the nineties, “Keeping up appearances”. I don’t know about her intelligence, Ignatius wins that competition, but she is also egoistic egocentric, conniving, bullying. Like Ignatius, she isn’t actually mean, but people try to avoid her as much as they can, and many feel so sorry for her husband, Richard.

The neighbor Emmet, who is a musician and puts up musical events in the church, hides indoors not to be seen, and cries: She sings at me!!! Just to mention one of thousands of events. The best and funniest in this series are, in my opinion, the people around Hyacinth. Her sisters: Rose, Daisy and her husband Onslow, and Violet “She’s the one with the Mercedes, sauna and room for a pony”. It’s Emmet and his sister Elizabeth, The Vicar and his wife, churchgoing people, neighbors. And those they encounter during the way!

I think the series is funny, but I prefer speeding up the parts with Hyacinth, and instead enjoy the others more. Also “Confederacy with Dunces is funny – but also there, I jump over some of the parts with Ignatius, but enjoy the others more.

Both of them, are like a nave in a wheel. They make the events spin around them, the fun parts are in the wheel! Are the wheel!

But since there can’t be any spinning wheel without a nave, there can also not be any fun story without an Ignatius or a Hyacinth. Maybe just because we in a way, (at least in these cases) dislike them?

Wouldn’t want one of those personalities nearby, though. Just in a book or on a screen…