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

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…

Posted in Books & Reading

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.


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.

Posted in Books & Reading

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?

Posted in Books & Reading, Miscellaneous

Fairy tales with a dilemma

... a fairy tale... is a fairy tale... is a fairy tale...

Tuesdays and Thursdays forenoon, I usually spend a couple of hours at something called “Café Welcome”. It´s not a cafeteria per se. People can’t just drop in, buy themselves a cup of coffee, or a latte or something, sit there for a while and then leave.

Instead, it is a gathering place for women from different countries. We talk! We communicate!
We have a good time!

Tuesdays comes a woman from the main city library. She brings a book, she reads something – not anything long. And then we talk about the text and can express thoughts about it. On the whole, it’s supposed to train the women with other native languages to speak in Swedish, and increase their vocabulary as well as the courage to actually open the mouth and say something in Swedish! In a women-friendly surrounding, where everyone can relax and just enjoy the moment. And no one is forced to be here.

It’s just lovely! So much I’ve learned during the time I’ve participated in this! BUT! Nota bene! I don’t teach Swedish, like a schoolteacher! I’m just being there. Talking sometimes. Listening. Learning. Hopefully giving something positive back. Literally – participating!

This woman from the library, on the other hand, is supposed to give positive influences in talking and understanding Swedish. Not only the language per se but also the world around us. Our habits here in Sweden, our culture. And we get so much back about their cultures and habits, and their experiences before moving here and how it is now.

Today this Librarian had brought a book with fairy tales. A bit odd fairy tales. They are very short and ends abruptly in a dilemma. Actually – a really mind blowing problem. Then, we were supposed to discuss this dilemma. Which of the suggested solutions to the problem would be best? Or?

Before I give you a summary of the story, I'll just say we 
had a lovely, energetic, giving discussion afterward...


In the story, there is this young, poor man who lives with his mother. She is old, and not well at all. As a matter of fact, the son is taking care of here. Even feed her. That’s how feeble she is.
There is also a King who has a daughter. Well – there is a princess.

One day the princess meets the young man, and they fall in love – and get married.

(As I said, the tale is really short. Here we could have heard a loooooong tale about how they met, all the troubles due to she being a princess and he being a common and poor man. Even though he was also young and beautiful…
In that imaginary story (my imagination, thought about this part later), there was a revolution or something else really nasty occurring, the king was killed, the castle burnt down – and the princess fled from that blond, obese, egotistical and arrogant, small-mouthed conqueror with pig-eyes before he could lay his hands upon her – and he didn’t bother much despite the fact she was young and beautiful. There were lots of other young and beautiful women to chose from… )

In the librarian’s story; when married, the princess began to take care of her mother-in-law. (And where did the husband/son go?) But one day, while the princess was feeding her, the old woman bit the (former) princess in the hand! And kept biting her, wouldn’t let go!

The princess cried and screamed and tried really hard, but couldn’t get free. The people in the town heard her of course and came, wondering what was going on. Also her husband came, and he was thinking really hard on how to solve this problem. Since his mother refused to open her mouth and let go of the hand, he saw only two possible solutions. Either he had to cut off his wife’s hand, or break open his mother’s mouth.

He just couldn’t decide.

The old people in the city urged him to cut off the wife’s hand, and the young ones urged him to break open the mother’s mouth – and he could do neither. They asked a judge in the city for advice, but he was also unable to come to a solution….

Here ended the story, as with a big question mark.
What do you think? You, who just have read this all the way down the blog. Do you have a solution to this dilemma?

We, who sat there around the table with coffee mugs and chocolate toffees in front of us, had a great discussion – and one of the women, one of those lovely, intelligent, well-educated, humorous, gorgeous women, came up with a brilliant solution!!!

I might tell you tomorrow – if you want me to.

Posted in Books & Reading

The next book

When you have finished listening to a book on Storytel, you see a couple of buttons on the screen. One, for rating the book – the usual option one to five stars. One, for going back to your bookshelf. And one which says: To book suggestions.

After listening to Eleanor Oliphant, I chose the suggestion-button.

I browsed. Tested something by Steinbeck. Didn’t like the reader. Hemingway? Yeah! Why not? But which one? There aren’t the entire collection of his books, but with books read both in English and in Swedish put together, there are more than enough to choose from.

I chose “The sun also rises“, read in Swedish by Stefan Sauk who is a Swedish actor. (A good reader.) It’s a rather thin book, less than 200 pages, and is read in little less than 8 hours. I set it a bit faster. 6 hours… 😉

When we had History of Literature at school, we had to learn about Ernest Hemingway and the famous “Iceberg theory”. A lot of discussions around that, and is maybe something we should consider more of when we now are writing ourselves?

My writing teacher from 2006 to 2012 always used to say we mustn’t get lost in clutter, then we would lose our reader pretty fast. Less is More! she said.

And so it is!

In school, we were also supposed to read at least one of Hemingway’s works. Have absolutely no idea which I read at that time, if any, but later I have read a couple.

I think my favorite was “Across the river and into the trees” from 1950.

“Hemingway described Across the River and into the Trees and one reader’s reaction to it, using ‘Indian talk’: “Book too much for him. Book start slow, then increase in pace till it becomes impossible to stand. I bring emotion up to where you can’t stand it, then we level off, so we won’t have to provide oxygen tents for the readers. Book is like engine. We have to slack her off gradually.”

And that’s the elephant, isn’t it? The body high, the trunk and tail low…

I also liked “The garden of Eden” which wasn’t published until 1986, posthumously.

“The novel was published posthumously in a much-abridged form in 1986. Hemingway began The Garden of Eden in 1946 and wrote 800 pages, For 15 years, he continued to work on the novel which remained uncompleted. When published in 1986, the novel had 30 chapters and 70,000 words. The publisher’s note explains that cuts were made to the novel, and according to biographers, Hemingway had achieved 48 chapters and 200,000 words. Scribner’s removed as much as two-thirds of the extant manuscript and one long subplot.” (Wikipedia)


This one, The sun also rises, was published in 1926 and takes place in France and Spain. A travel from Paris to the Festival of San Fermín in Pamplona to watch the running of the bulls and the bullfights.

I don’t know whether I liked it or not. The main figure is the narrator and describes from day to day what he is doing, what people he meets, interact with, what he sees and think and experiences. All in Hemingway’s clean-cut way.

Is it boring? Yeahhh…. and no! I got hooked! Despite the endless fiestas, the wine drinking, getting plastered, the eating, the bars, the fishing, the woman the story also moves around, the desire, the jealousy…

And of course a lot about the bull running and the bullfights.

So they eat, drink, quarrel a bit, have friends – and attend a fiesta with bulls… boooooring!

And still! So amazingly, yet sparsely, written! You are there! You feel the heat from the summer sun on your bare shoulders. You taste the cold, a bit tart wine on your tongue, and you sense the pulse around the characters.

Without much doubt, I think all of you have at least heard of the Old man and the sea” published in 1952. And/or watched the movie from 1958 with Spencer Tracy as the old man.

No wonder Hemingway has become a “classic”, a “must-read” author. And I’m inclined to read or listen to more written by him.

I can only say one thing after this –


Posted in Books & Reading

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



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