The book The Few by Nadia Dalbuono on a table

Fordærv

Original title: The Few

Forfatter: Nadia Dalbuono

Udgivet: Alhambra, 2018

Serie: Leone Scamarcio #1

Fordærv

Fordærv er første del i en serie om den erfarne kriminalkommissær Leone Scamarcio. Scamarcio er søn af en italiensk mafiaboss, men har valgt at gå en modsat vej og må derfor kæmpe for sin integritet som en af Roms politimænd. En dag bliver Scamarcio kaldt til et møde med sin chef, som beder ham om at undersøge en særlig sag – helt uofficielt.

Sagen handler om en død trækkerdreng, som er fundet myrdet i sin egen seng, og da der pludselig også dukker billeder op af denne trækkerdreng og en af Italiens højtstående politikere i en særdeles ømtålelig situation, er Scamarcio pludselig dybt involveret i en sag, der er svær at holde hemmelig. Som efterforskningen udfolder sig og trækker Scamarcio med ind i mere forfærdelige lag af det Italienske samfund, begynder Scamarcio også langsomt at miste sig selv lidt.

Mine tanker

Fordærv er en af den slags krimier, der tager læseren med politiet rundt i store dele af efterforskningsarbejdet, samt hovedpersonens tanker og privatliv. Det betyder, at man som læser kan få lov at udfolde sagen i samme tempo som hovedpersonen gøre det, hvilket også betyder, at man ofte føler sig lige så fortabt og forvirret som den stakkels kiminalkommissær, der er sat til at løse mysteriet.

Jeg havde svært ved at vænne mig til de italienske navne, og i lang tid følte jeg mig forvirret over, hvem der var hvem. Plottet var dog fængende og Scamarcio spændende at følge.

Mysteriet om den afdøde trækkerdreng leder Scamarcio til den italienske ø Elba, hvor en amerikansk pige er blevet kidnappet. Det virker næsten umuligt at finde en ammenhæng mellem disse to sager, hvilket gør historien endnu mere interssant. Når man som læser selv får lov at lege detektiv, synes jeg, man får lidt ekstra ud af historien. Jeg synes, det er fedt at få lov til at gætte løs og lave forskellige mulige scenarier i hovedet under læsningen.

Plottet var gennemtænkt, og der gik lang tid før, jeg begyndte at forbinde ledetrådene. De forbrydelser, man præsenteres for er barske og modbydelige, og jeg kan ikke lade være med at håbe, at det ikke er en gengivelse af virkeligheden. Den sørgelige sandhed er dog nok, at det er en ret virkelig gengivelse af virkeligheden. Og selv om det gør mig trist at tænke på, så er det også en stor del af, hvad jeg kunne lide ved bogen.

Scamarcio er en velskrevet figur, som på mange måder virker ægte og menneskelig. Dalbuono har med snilde sørget for at han er en karakter, man har lyst til at vide mere om. Han er meget uafhængig og arbejder hårdt for at gøre sit job godt. Han er brysk, men samtidig også meget relaterbar. Noget af det, der gør ham særligt interessant er hans retfærdighedssans, som er formet af både hans baggrund med en kriminel far og hans job hos politiet.

Samlet set synes jeg, at romanen var en anelse forvirrende, omend spændende og grotesk. Scamarcio er svær at holde af, men samtidig er han også svær ikke at kunne lide, og han betyder helt bestemt meget for at romanen fungerer. Dalbuono har gjort et fantastisk arbejde med at lade sine karakterer udfolde sig gennem handlinger og tale, fremfor at give direkte beskrivelser af dem.

Min største anke er, at jeg synes, historien bevægede sig langsomt fremad. I forhold til, hvor forvirret jeg følte mig over navne og det velsammenskruede plot, var det sikkert en god ting, fordi det gav mig tid til at samle tankerne undervejs. Det kostede dog lidt på læsemotivationen hele tiden at sidde og føle, at der var langt endnu.

Er den noget for dig?

Hvis du er nået hertil, vil jeg skyde på, at du generelt godt kan lide at læse krimi, hvilket jo bestemt er et godt udgangspunkt. Fordærv er uforudsigelig og tager dig konstant med på nye udviklinger i sagen, der ikke altid giver mening ved første øjekast, men som vil sætte tankerne i gang. Derudover er hovedpersonen Scamarcio som nævnt meget menneskelig og derved let at identificere sig med.

Hvis du også er ved at være en lille smule træt af den stereotype krimiromanhovedperson, (ham den midaldrende mand, der drikker og ryger lidt for meget, og som har opgivet familielivet (bevidst eller ubevidst) på grund af arbejdet) så frygt ej: Sådan en er Scamarcio ikke. Hans dæmoner er nogle andre, hvilket giver denne roman et friskt pust. Sandt at sige er han ikke gift, og hans kærlighedsliv halter godt nok også lidt, men han føles stadig anderledes. God anderledes. Jeg håber, det er intentionen, at han fortsat skal være lidt anderledes på det punkt.

Hvis du holder af at læse en krimi med et gennemtænkt plot, der også vil få dig til at undres, når du har lagt bogen væk for en stund, så kunne denne bog sagtens være god for dig. Hvis du foretrækker en krimi, der kravler ind under huden på dig med forfærdelige og virkelighedsnære forbrydelser, så vil du nok også kunne lide denne. Selv om man er sparet de groteske detaljer om forbrydelserne, så er de stadig væmmelige at tænke på, og jeg er stadig rystet over, hvad mennesker kan gøre mod hinanden…

Tak

Jegvil gerne takke forlaget Alhambra for at sende mig et eksemplar Fordærv til anmeldelse!

The Danish edition of The Power by Naomi Alderman on a wooden desk.

International Women’s Day

Today, on March 8, it is International Women’s Day. A day where we celebrate what women have achieved throughout the years and commemorate the movement for women’s rights. A lot of strong women (and men of course too) have worked hard to gain the rights we have today and men and women still struggle to achieve equal rights for all.

Therefore today is a very important day, because it also commemorates progress.

But what have today to do with books nd literature, you ask. And I can understand your wonderment. I have decided, that I want to share with you eight (since it is March 8) books featuring fierce females on this day as my own sort of celebration. The books are different genres and features different kinds of strong women. I sincerely hope to be able to recommend a read for everybody that comes by this post.

The Books

Firstly I’d like to make it clear that there are MANY books on this subject and it has been sort of hard to pick just eight. These eight books have been picked based on their voice, and I have only picked books that I have read or plan to read. Also, the books will be listed in no particular order!

Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi

This book features a young Marjane growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. It is a memoir in the form of a graphic novel and it is both uniquely beautiful and heartbreakingly honest. Marjane tells the story of this revolution from a child’s pespective, and creates a humorous tone to the very grave situation she finds herself in.

Dødevaskeren (The Corpse Cleaner) by Sara Omar

This is a rather new book published in Danish about a young girl and her family in Kurdistan. Frmesk, the young girl, is unwanted by her father simply because of her gender. This leads to a childhood where she constantly doubts her worth and place. Her well-read and sceptical grandparents become a light in her life. This heart-breaking story is Sara Omar’s debut novel and it is a seriously strong one of that. She has been under protection out of fear for her life after writing this novel, since it critiques a lot of the actions made based on religion.

The Cosmopolitan Islander by M. P. Tonnesen

This novel tells the story of a woman, who learns to find herself and her place in the 21st Century. We follow Chloe, a strong and independent Danish girl, who grows up in Denmark but moves to England to make a career for herself. She, however, suddenly finds herself moving to an island, where she is almost forced to be a stay-at-home-mum, because of the lack of possibilities for her on the island. This novel is a marvellous story of female identity and of life as this amazing thing that will take you places if only you let it.

A Wild and Unremarkable Thing by Jen Castleberry

In this fantasy novel we follow Cody/Cayda, who is a young girl living in a very poor part of her country together with her parents and sisters. Fifteen years ago their town was burned almost entirely to the ground by a Fire Scale dragon, which means that there are no longer any tourists to help develop their economy. Therefore, Cayda’s father has decided to train Cayda to be able to slay a Fire Scale, so she can win the grand prize and thus provide for her family. The only problem is, that only men can hope to claim this prize. Cayda has therefore lived as Cody since she was around five years old under the brutal will of her father. Everybody but her sisters seems to have forgotten that she was once a little girl. When the time comes, Cody travels to Yurka to slay the dragon, and on her way, she meets a man, who realises that Cody travels with a secret, but at the same time sees great potential in her.

The Power by Naomi Alderman

This sci-fi novel, that comes out in Danish today, tells the story of how a simple, yet powerful, change in the female body can suddenly change the balance of power in the world. Slowly, women realise that they can give men shocks. This novel therefore describes a change, but also the reactions and the thoughts that follow such a new ability. It is thought-provoking, however funny and interesting, since it not only makes the reader think about the power balance, but also sparks thoughts about what we can permit ourselves to do.

Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren

Pippi Longstocking was by far the most awesome girl I knew when I was a little girl. The day my father (accidently, I might add) told me that she was a product of Tommy and Annika’s imagination my heart broke a little. Pippi is not only physically superior to everybody else; she is smart, honest, funny and completely her own. She embarks on a vast variety of different adventures, some of which are fairly normal (like going to school), but she also goes on pirate adventures. You should definitely know about this girl. Even if the books about her are really written for children and are written many years ago.

New World: Rising by Jennifer Wilson

In this dystopian novel do we follow Phoenix, who lives alone in a city that has almost fallen apart. Everyone lives in tribes and it is often either kill or be killed, when you meet someone else. On the other side of a wall is the Sanctuary; a place, for everyone, who can follow the rules. Break the rules and you are thrown out into Phoenix’s city. For six years has she managed to stay alive and under the radar, but suddenly she sees a little girl in trouble. A girl not older than she was, when she her parents were killed in front of her and she was left alone in this world. She decides to interfere and help the girl, which completely turns her world around as she is captured by a resistance movement, who plans to fight the Sanctuary. ‘Cause maybe it isn’t really a sanctuary.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

This thriller is really remarkable. It tells the story of a woman, Rachel, who is almost disintegrating due to her intake of a vast amount of alcohol. Her life is spiralling downward, but from her seat on the train she can follow a few minutes in a couple’s life every day, which brings her great pleasure. When one day she reads that the woman from that couple is missing, she decides to take action. At the same time she struggles with her ex-husband and his new wife, who lives just down the street from the couple she follows. Rachel is a broken woman, who slowly and unsteadily raises herself and finds her voice again. It is also a crime thriller, told through various points of views and spun together in a remarkable way.

 

Happy International Women’s Day

If you can recommend other books featurering awesome women feel free to drop a comment below and share it with the rest of us! I will appreciate it!

I hope you have a wonderful March 8!

A book on a flowery background with a set of headphones attached to it

Audiobooks – or no audiobooks

I love to read, but I must admit that sometimes it would be nice to read a good story without sitting still. I’ve tried reading while walking to and from school, but honestly it is not a very good combination. Not only do you get easily distracted from your reading, but you do not pay nearly enough attention to the traffic. I don’t even walk that much anymore. Either I take the train, where I can read, or I bike, where I cannot read. Enter: Audiobooks.

Audiobooks

I was never the big fan of audiobooks, actually. Don’t get me wrong; I think the idea is amazing! I just tend to let my mind wander, when I listen to audiobooks. Which leads me to be (slightly) confused when my mind finds its way back to the story. However, this year I decided to try listen to them again. Really try. Earlier I have listened to Passing by Nella Larsen, The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I also started Half Bad by Sally Green, but quickly decided to read that one myself. Not so long ago I tried to listen to Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare, but had to give up, because my mind wandered. That’s it. My entire experience with audiobooks. Passing was quite good actually! The next ones not so much. This year I’ve bought 70 audiobooks. Yes I know, it’s only January, but I really want to give it a go!

Stalker

One evening a few weeks ago I was home alone. While eating my dinner in heavy silence I decided to put on an audiobook instead of turning on the radio or putting on some music. I chose Stalker by Michella Rasmussen (read by Kristina Pfeil Nielsen) and it didn’t take long for me to absolutely love it! The story was absolutely enthralling and if my boyfriend hadn’t come home and told me to go to sleep, I would have stayed up the entire night listening to the story. It was seriously amazing! The book is in Danish, but if you know Danish I recommend you listen to (or read) this one!

Stalker is about a young girl named Julie, who suddenly finds herself the attention of an unknown admirer. At first she feels flattered and finds it very exciting. Later however, she begins to see how her admirer is actullay quite creepy, and she realises that some of the things this admirer does are harmful. It dawns on her that this admirer is not just any admirer; it’s a stalker, who will do anything to get close to her.

Concurrently, a boy from Julie’s school begins to take an increasing interest in her. At first he doesn’t quite understand why he does the things he does, but later he begins to realise that there is an undeniable connection between him and Julie. He sees the pain she is in when no-one else does and he knows that he will do anything to protect her from harm.

Or no audiobooks

Having listened to Stalker I was convinced that I had made a mistake not listening to more audiobooks in my life. I was so happy I had bought a lot, because now I could listen to them all the time. Soon after, I started another book by a Danish author, namely Dæmonherskerens arving #3: Sjælens pris by Haidi Wigger Klaris. I read the first two books in the trilogy last year, but never got around to reading the third one and so I figured I might as well listen to it.

I am no more than twenty minutes into the story and I have had to stop. It is just….. I am sorry to say this, because I really don’t want to step on anybody’s toes, but honestly; this audiobook made me realise how much it means that it is the right person reading the book aloud. It is so awful. I really feel like the woman on the recording wants nothing to do with the book and that she was forced to make the recording. Her voice is completely flat. There is no trying to emphasise the main character’s emotions. And I mean, the main character has just made a choice that will forever keep her away from her friends and the family she has ever known. Her choice will tie her to a world she hates and a fate she hates, and she made her choice only because there was no other way she could save her friends. Yet, the speaker could have just as well read a recipe for homemade pasta aloud. There is just no spark.

That is the question

This broke my spirit a little. I started another recording, but more than halfway through the book I have realised that I don’t particular like the book, which doesn’t make the audiobook experience any better.

Do you have any amazing experiences with audiobooks that you can recommend I listen to? I would really love to hear your suggestions, since I really want to love the concept of audiobooks. I really want to be able to listen to a book on my bike ride to and from work, or when I go for a walk. Honestly, the concept of audiobooks is great! I just keep feeling disappointed by the fact that only a few recordings seem to be amazing, while so many others seem to be only half decent.

The crime fiction book Ligblomsten by Anne Mette Hancock on a flowery background next to a bookmark

Ligblomsten

Author: Anne Mette Hancock

Published: Lindhardt og Ringhof, 2017

The book

Ligblomsten (Titan Arum – look it up, you’ll be surprised) is the first crime novel from Anne Mette Hancock. We follow Heloise, a journalist who has recently had some credibility issues at her work place. Heloise is a young and sturdy woman, who suddenly finds herself entwined in an old murder case, because she begins to receive letters from a woman named Anna Kiel. The woman who is wanted for a murder commited years ago. With the help of policeman Erik Schäfer she tries to unfold the mystery that connects her to this old case and the killer on the run.

My thoughts

I loved this one. Okay, there I said it – you can stop reading the review now.

No really, I really enjoyed this book so much. I have had cravings for crime fiction for months now, but had some other books I needed to finish, yet after Christmas I found some time to get started. And what a start.

Ligblomsten is told through various points of views, which is something I am often very fond of, because it adds perspective to the story. In a crime novel it also adds mystery through ‘the pronoun game’. You know, when everybody is always referring to “he” and “him”, but never mentioning a name or something personal that will make you realise who is in fact talked about. That ‘pronoun game’. This is no exception, and Hancock makes it work. I was constantly trying to figure out who was connected to whom, and who “he” could be.

At the same time the story is carried by a varied gallery of characters, who are actually very believable and likeable. I didn’t get very far into the story before I thought: “Oh no, I am going to hate this person.” But I didn’t. Despite the character having traits that I normally find very annoying in book characters.

I liked that we mostly follow Heloise instead of the investigators, since it made the story much more suitable for us laypeople. Crime novels tend to be a little to heavy on the police/investigation perspective, and then they lose me. This book however managed to balance the two worlds to perfection. In doing this, we readers are introduced to the private lives of Heloise and Schäfer, which adds to their character and gives us a deeper understanding of the two.

Both Heloise and Schäfer are very likeable, and as I have already mentioned, they are also very believable characters. I really look forward to reading a lot more about these two and the adventures (or horrors) they’ll come across!

This is by far not the last book by Anne Mette Hancock that I will read.

Should you read it

I gave this book five stars on Goodreads and if you like a well-planned plot, an exciting and well-written story that is hard to figure out you should read this one. Moreover, the characters felt very human, and that just makes the reading experience so much better. Whether or not you like these characters has an impact on your experience too, of course, but I am positive that both hardcore crime fiction fans as well as new and curious crime fiction readers will find this book exciting and wonderful!

The books Desert Skies, Rebel Souls and Pigen fra Månehøjen on a flowery background.

2017 in Books

2017 has been an amazing reading year for me. Only this year did I begin to actually organise my reading; keep lists of books I have read and lists of books I want to read. It was this year I finally began to learn how to use Goodreads (Okay, I did that yesterday, so maybe I’ll learn a lot more in the new year).

2017 proved to be a year where I read a lot of books. More than anticipated. 20 more books than anticipated. That is crazy! And I very much enjoyed most of them! 2017 was also a year where I did not DNF any of the books I began! Maybe I have become a more flexible reader, or maybe I have become better at picking my books. I don’t know, but I am happy for this experience.

owlcrate

This year I began an owlcrate subscription, and I am so glad I finally got to do so! It was my birthday present from my boyfriend back in May and it has opened my eyes to a world og book merchandise and all the creative little shops that exist. And I love it!

Owlcrate has also introduced me to a variety of books I had never heard of, and thus also to authors I had never heard of. This means that 2017 for me has been a year where my knowledge of books and pretty much anything book related was seriously widened. If one can say that…

ARC’s

This year also became the year where I received my very first ARC (Advance Reading (or Review) Copy). It was something I dreamed of doing someday after having settled as a bookstagrammer – or a book blogger, when I finally got my blog up and running. It was such an amazing experience, and I still feel bubbles in my chest when I think of it or look at my books; An author actually wanted me to read her book, write down my thoughts and post a review of the book. And not just one author: Two authors. I cannot believe it.

I keep being in awe of writers. Of authors. They get to do this fantastic thing; write down stories for me to read! They’re like super stars to me. And then suddenly, some of them want to hear my thoughts on their books. I am still so thrilled! And so happy! I honestly didn’t expect to be able to do this in my very first year in the online bookloving community. The ARC’s I received can be seen in the image at the top of this post.

I am so grateful for this experience I would like to thank M. P. Tonnesen and Lene Krog for giving me this experience and for letting me review their amazing stories: Desert Skies, Rebel Souls and Pigen fra Månehøjen!

The reads

I managed to red 40 books in 2017, and although a few of them were for my class in literature at the teacher education, I actually enjoyed all of them. Some more than others of course 😉

I read a variety of books this year including two children’s books. I rarely read children’s books, which I can see is actually a mistake. Especially since I work with children, because I wouldn’t know where to start, if they asked me to read a book to them.

The Holiday Bag

This year I tried my local library’s new concept; a holiday bag. A concept, where one of the librarians of my local library mixed a bag of books for me based on some questions I had answered as I ordered one. It is a concept I hope, they will keep doing and a concept I hope more libraries will begin, since it is a really great way to find new authors and new reading material. Without this bag who knows if I would have ever been introduced to The Girl at Midnight or Regnfaldet.

The best read(S) of 2017

This is a tough one, since I feel I have read a lot of amazing books this year. Some of the books that I have the best recollections of are:

  • Half Lost by Sally Green, which was an outstanding reading experience – so was the entire trilogy(!) – and I really look forward to reading more of Sally Green’s work.
  • The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison. This was a creepy read. One of those, where you are sometimes scared how much you like the book, because it is actually quite disturbing. I cannot recommend people read this enough, and I sincerely hope thet one of the Danish publishing houses will decide to publish it!
  • Haabet by Mich Vraa was amazing! I don’t normally read this genre, but I was swept away by Vraa’s writing! I even contemplate on reading more of his books alone because of his skills as a story teller!
  • Spektrum by Nanna Foss. Yes. I know Spektrum isn’t one book. But Nanna writes exceedingly well and the books are so different, yet all the same. In a good way! And I love how the main character’s change from book to book. Even though it makes it so much harder when the book ends.
  • Til døden os skiller by Kit A. Rasmussen. This was so good, and I also possible just read it at the right time, which made the experience so much greater! I loved how the book was written like this mystery I, the reader, needed to solve – yet there was no mystery, only a tough story, where I could only hope for a happy ending. It is such an important story to tell and I think Kit did an amazing job!

Okay, I could keep on going, but I promised myself I wouldn’t make a top 20 out of 40 books. I could do that though. Or well… a lot of book would probably share the places. So this is a handful of the books I enjoyed this year.

Happy New Year

The bookstagram community, Goodreads and all the book bloggers I follow has opened my eyes to the importance of being organised and I have tried to be this year, but I still need a lot more practise!

All in all 2017 has been amazing and I can ony hope that 2018 will be even more so!

Happy New Year!

The Danish book "Kopierne" in a tree.

November Wrap Up

Not only was November a month where I bought a lot of books, I also managed to actually read more than I do on average in a month. In this wrap up I will give some explanation as to why I chose to read the books I read, but also provide you with a short summary of the book and further bring you my opinion on it.

Desert Skies, Rebel Souls

This book was generously gifted to me by the author M. P. Tonnesen in relation to the book’s release date in exchange for a review. I also got the opportunity to ask Michelle some questions to an interview I brought as a part of the book launch blog tour that was arranged. You can read the interview here.

Desert Skies, Rebel Souls is a story about the young Danish girl Olivia, who travels to Israel in search of herself; trying to run away from her parents’ expectations at home. She works at a kibbutz, where she crosses paths with the young and handsome Chaim. It is practically love at first sight, and Olivia is whirled into his world one kiss at a time. However Chaim has to leave for the army and in the meantime Olivia backpacks through the Middle East with two of her backpacking friends.

It is a very sweet story, with all the ups and downs that do necessarily follow in a love story like this. I very much enjoyed Olivias story, and I loved all the descriptions of the beautiful places she visits. I never truly felt the depth of her relationship with Chaim, though, but that has a lot to do with this whole “love at first sight” concept. And also a little to do with morals…. 😉

Mostly, it just made me want to pack my bags and travel the world; travel the Middle East. <3

Fandens fødselsdag (The Devil’s birthday)

This book I chose, because I had to read aloud to some of the children at my school. November is the month of literature and the pupil’s read, read, read all through the month. Twice the teachers read to them instead. In larger groups, where the children could go sit and listen to the story they felt like hearing at the moment. It is a very good event, I believe!

Anyhow, I chose to read Fandens fødelsdag to them, which is a sweet story about the Devil, who always gets what he wishes for, but this year something is still amiss. Then a little (naughty) angel girl swings by and celebrates Fandens birthday with him. She arranges a treasure hunt and practically bosses the poor devil around. In the end though, she is called back to Heaven and Fanden tells his parents that he wishes for friends to come over for his birthday.

I liked this story so much. There is so many things to discuss. Mostly though, the children thought it was funny, which is also very important when reading books: we need to enjoy them.

Kopierne (The Copies)

This book I had to read for my studies.

In Kopierne we follow Jonas, who it turns out, is actually a copy of the real Jonas, who suddenly returns. Jonas (the copy) then flees in order to avoid being killed, which is what is done when a copy is no longer needed. He runs into the woods, where he meets Ian – another copy (and later a third boy/copy joins them). Together they travel through the woods while trying to keep themselves together, in hopes of finding a ship. It is dangerous though, because they are still being hunted by the men, whose job is to kill them, but in the woods they must also be aware of boars. Slowly the boys start to lose themselves and staying sane is suddenly more necessary than finding the ship. Yet, without the ship there seems to be no hope.

This was a horrific story, that had me thinking a lot about many different things. Like; what kind of society accepts the use of copies when their own children are away e.g. due to hospitalisations? Why is a copy needed? Why do te copy need to be so human, that they will fight for their survival? And how can parents dismiss a copy so easily, when they seem so real?

And those were the questions I had only twenty pages into the story.

I really liked this one! I am a big fan of books where form and content are mutually exclusive. We can see how Jonas slowly degenerates in the chapters. The sentences. The headlines even. However, this story was very hard to read. Children being rejected hurts me so deeply, and this was a book about an entire community – world maybe even – where everybody thought it alright to stop caring about a person, simply because it is a copy, who is no longer needed.

Intet (Nothing)

The fourth book I read this month was also for my studies.

In Intet we follow a group of kids from the seventh grade in ground school, who come together in trying to show one of their classmates that something matters. This particular classmate had left class stating that: Nothing matters, and so nothing is worth doing. The rest of the pupils in the class try to gather items that really mean something to them, however they do not choose themselves what matters, but someone else in the class points to them and tells them what to put into the pile of things that matter. It all though, turns into a horrible episode of bullying and … *sigh*

When I closed the book I thought: “hm.. njaeh.. I don’t know.” ’cause I really didn’t know what I thought of it. The kids were awful, and I couldn’t help but to think where all of the adults were. Who could simply just let this happen? At the same time, I found it to be one of those books that were not written to be enjoyed, but merely written to be worked with. Written to provoke, to spark some thoughts, to question something. And maybe I just questioned the wrong things.

Now I actually sort of like it. Well, it is still an awful story, and I still have doubts about using it when teaching myself. Mostly because I think the book says so many things, that  do not think, I can talk about with my classes. I fear too many will not get the book, and I fear they will instead just feel horrified or bored.

Spektrum: Ursiderne

I read the first two in the Spektrum series a few months ago and really liked them. Now I finally got my hands on the third one.

In Usiderne we follow Nasrin, who is new to the group. Nasrinlives with her father, who is never home, and her late mother’s friend, who takes care of Nasrin. Nasrin lost her mother some years ago in a terrible accident and the loss has made Nasrin very reticent and destructive. In this book the group digs deeper into the mystery that was (briefly) introduced in Geminiderne (Spektrum 2). This search for answers are very important to Nasrin, because it helps her understand more about her mother’s death, but the group – and especially one of them – plays an important part in Nasrin’s self healing.

Nasin is by far a much more destructive character than we have encountered before, but I really liked her. Not as much as I liked Emilie and Pi (especially Pi) from the earlier books, but I really do think that the author Nanna Foss has extraordinary character creating skills! She manages to write characters that are truly honest and believable; and so easy to identify with. Moreover she dares to end her book(s) with a cliff hanger, so great it should be illegal! I am so enthralled by her writing and I cannot wait to read the next in the series!

 

The book Provinspis on a table next to a passport.

Provinspis

Author: Ditte Wiese

Published: Carlsen, 2017

Serie: Sonar

Provinspis – the book

Ida is a young girl living in a Danish province. Her mother, who is French, left many years ago after having withered away in Denmark for a long time. Ida mostly feels the same way about the small town that she lives in; it is boring as hell. Luckily her best friend Jon lives only 185 steps further down her street and she is always welcome at his place, which she benefits from on the nights where her own house is filled with the yelling of her dad and his girlfriend. Ida dreams of the day she can leave the town behond and travel out into the world; she just has to finish gymnasiet (high school/upper secondary)! She spends a lot of time working in the local grocery store, in order to save up for the travels she plans. And she needs to survive the boredom, which she does through sex, drugs and alcohol.

But something happens. Like things always do. Finishing her education suddenly doesn’t seem so easy. Being friends with Jon is suddenly not so easy; especially not while he is hooking up with Ida’s only girlfriend. Yet growing up means dealing with these kinds of things, and so Ida does. The only way she knows how.

my thoughts

(be aware of possible spoilers)

I was swept away by Ida and her struggles. To be honest, I don’t think I would have befriended Ida had I known her, which makes me feel sad, because she really needs a proper friend. My heart broke a little all the time she was left on her own. Even when she, in some way, caused it herself. The story is told through Ida’s point of view, which creates a beautiful layered experience, when reading the story, because everything is told through her language. I loved how the book slowly builds up to something, that I had a hard time figuring out, and at times I honestly felt as confused as Ida, which is why I never really believed myself, when I thought I knew what would happen next.

Provinspis is both a beautiful and an awful story about growing up and finding yourself in the world. Ida says: “The meaning of life is to be other places“, which I feel is so essential to the character of Ida. Even when she genuinly enjoys herself in the small town, she needs to get away. In many ways her story reminds me of Edith Wharton’s “Summer”, where the main character Charity constantly searches for the place she belongs; the place she can call home. Ida is searching for the same thing, really. Believing she will find herself, when she gets to the right place. Believing that there is so much of her mother in her, that she will never find peace in a small town in one of the provinces of Denmark.

Should you read it?

Provinspis is an honest story. The language is youthful, which is important since the target group is young adults. Ida is an average girl, who most young adults will be able to identify with. She is strong and outgoing, yet vulnerable and insecure. Everybody can benefit from reading this. The younger ones can maybe identify with Ida or one of the other characters in the book, which can sometimes help them in their own search for themselves. Parents can get some insight into the mind of a young girl, which may help them through their child’s process of growing up. Everybody will get an exceptionally brutally honest and wonderful reading experience, where the more experienced reader wil notice the layers, use of language and how the text combines form and content.

So the short answer is: Yes, you should read it.

The book Pigen fra Månehøjen on a tree branch

Drømmen om at skrive

Hello everyone! This post will be in Danish as it is written in connection with a blog tour of the Danish book “Pigen fra Månehøjen” by Lene Krog.


Følgende er skrevet af forfatter Lene Krog og handler om at følge sin forfatterdrøm. God fornøjelse med læsningen, og tak til Lene for at dele disse tanker med os!

drømmen

Engang for længe siden, i den helt spæde begyndelse af dette årtusinde, startede min rejse som forfatter, da et forlag skrev til mig, at de ville udgive min bog. Hurra! Lykken var gjort. Drømmen var nået. Sådan, mand!

Det var før sociale medier (ja, så gammel er jeg), lige kort før jeg fik min første mobiltelefon (og dengang var der ikke engang kamera i), og markedsføring var noget med aviser og blade. Der var da heller ikke meget i budgettet til en så ukendt forfatter som mig, men en af mine lærere tilbød at kontakte den lokale ugeavis for mig, så de kunne lave et interview, og jeg kunne få lidt eksponering.

Vent? Hvad?

Så folk kunne se, det var mig, der havde skrevet den der bog? Nej, sådan skulle det jo ikke være. Drømmen var jo bare at skrive bøger. Ikke stille op til interviews og udstille mig selv. Allerhelst ville jeg jo bare være anonym, mens mine bøger fløj hen over disken ved boghandleren.

Sådan virker det selvfølgelig ikke. Men stakkels, lille, introverte mig var ved at gå til over et simpelt, hypotetisk interview til ugeavisen. Så jeg sagde nej til min lærer. Forbød hende at kontakte dem. Og så kom anmeldelserne. Lidt blandede. Både positive og negative, men det negative vejede naturligvis mest, desværre. Og med det hele blandet sammen, tog det lidt modet fra mig.

Sjovt nok afholdt det mig ikke fra at skrive. Det var jo det, jeg elskede. Drømmen var at skrive. Men at skulle vise det frem, at skulle tage kritik, at skulle promovere bogen og mig selv – det var jo bare slet ikke drømmen. Men det følger alt sammen uvægerligt med, og det havde jeg lidt svært ved at acceptere.

Og til sidst stoppede jeg med at skrive. I rigtig lang tid.

Indtil for fem år siden. Pigen fra Månehøjen begyndte lige så stille at spire, og jeg havde en idé om at skrive den på engelsk og gemme mig bag et pseudonym. Godt nok var jeg på de sociale medier, men det var alligevel ikke helt mig – jeg var jo pseudonymet nu. Jeg legede lidt med Amazon, kom i kontakt med andre forfattere, og fandt Goodreads.

Jeg læste et væld af dårlige anmeldelser på populære bøger, og fandt langt om længe ud af, at man ikke kan behage hver en læser. Ligesom så meget andet, er det individuelt, om nogen kan lide en bog eller ej. Nogle elsker den samme bog, som andre hader. Og da det gik op for mig, var det på en måde nemmere at skrive. Jeg begyndte at skrive det, jeg gerne selv ville læse.

Jeg har også lært at tage kritik til mig, hvis jeg kan bruge den, og ryste den af mig, hvis jeg ikke kan. Det bilder jeg i hvert fald mig selv ind. Og efter mit korte engelske indie eventyr, som var alt for besværligt med alskens udenlandske skatteregler at sætte sig ind i, besluttede jeg mig for at vende tilbage til det danske sprog, omskrive Pigen fra Månehøjen, i mit eget navn tilmed, og tage kampen op mod angsten for selvpromovering.

Det er stadig min drøm at skrive bøger. Det har det sådan set altid været. Pigen fra Månehøjen har jeg selvudgivet, og det lykkedes mig at få den sendt videre til at få en lektørudtalelse, så bibliotekerne rundt omkring i Danmark nu er ved at købe ind af den. Og jeg glæder mig til at folk låner min bog og læser den. Om de kan lide den, tja, det kan jeg jo ikke styre. Men jeg kan håbe det. Og i mellemtiden fortsætter jeg min skrivedrøm, med alt det der følger med.


Pigen fra Månehøjen

Pigen fra Månehøjen er den første bog i en dansk fantasyserie om de to piger Merian og Aia fra landet Bragimark; et land i krig, hvor de få med magiske evner jages og deres evner tages fra dem. En dag tvinges de to piger ud på en rejse, der på mange måder bliver en betydningsfuld færd for de to piger; og ikke kun for dem personligt.

Vind bogen

Hvis du hopper forbi Lenes Facebookprofil har hun gang i en konkurrence, hvor du kan vinde hendes bog Pigen fra Månehøjen. Konkurrencebetingelser og lignende vil være at finde samme sted. Jeg ønsker alle en spandfuld held og lykke, og god fornøjelse!

Hvis du skulle være uheldig ikke at vinde bogen, kan den heldigvis købes flere steder både som fysisk eksemplar og som e-bog eller lånes på biblioteket. Så klik ind på din foretrukne bogsalgshjemmeside eller løb ned i den nærmeste boghandler eller det nærmeste bibliotek og skaf dig dit eget eksemplar, så du kan komme i gang.

The book Ave Eva is placed a the bottom of a tree trunk in a pile of dead autumn leaves

Ave Eva

Author: Sulaima Hind

Published: Høst og Søn, 2003

The book

Eva is a young girl, who has just started school in the Danish gymnasium (Corresponds to starting junior year in an American high school or starting upper secondary school). She lives with her mother and father, although her mother travels a lot due to her line of work. In a lot of ways she is just like everybody else at that age: A little insecure, yet fighting to be herself. She quickly befriends a few girls from her class, who are very proactive feminists. This leads to Eva’s involvement in several violent actions. Back home her mother is mostly away, and her father practically lives in his study, making him almost as absent. Eva deliberately avoids him at meals, yet still enjoys his company when he pops out of his office to refill his drink.

Eva enjoys writing and she does all of her writing on an old typewriter. Her Danish teacher encourages her to write a novel for the school paper, which she does and he offers to read it and help her improve it. They meet at his place one evening, and instead of helping her with her novel he severely violates Eva, who leaves the place completely shattered.

Broken down she tries to move on with her life, but her friends are quick to see that Eva suffers. They finally get through to her, and decide that Eva needs to be avenged. This fuels Eva’s disintegration further and she stays at home, avoids her friends and makes it her sole purpose to care for her father, while her mother is away. However, the horrors in Eva’s life do not end here.

My thoughts

This story is so heartbreakingly beautiful, yet still so horrible and painful. At several times I wanted to reach out and hold Eva or tell her to seek help. Even before she begins to spiral downwards, there is something about her, that seems fragile. I first read this book shortly after it was published, and I loved it back then. Rereading it now made me realise, that there were a lot of things I did not understand or pick up on back then. The story is told by Eva herself, at a time long after the events occured, and she tells it to a man, who we at first do not know. She begins her story: “I was once a girl called Eva…” creating a distance between the woman she has become and the girl in the story. The writing is excellent and even before I finished the book I reserved another one of Hind’s books at the library.

I secretely considered keeping the book (which is stealing, so no I was not being serious), because I can’t seem to find a copy for sale anywhere. This is a book I would love to own, so I can reread it again and again – even after the library has to put the book away, because so many new ones will have arrived.

I strongly encourage all the Danish readers out there to read the book! It is magnificient and works well wether you are 14 or 27 (or 58 probably).

The Book Regnfaldet (in English: The Rainfall) is lying between green plants

Regnfaldet – The Rainfall

Author: Gudrun Østergaard

Published: Kandor, 2014

In the beginning of July I read Regnfaldet (from now on referred to as The Rainfall, even though it is not the official translation. As far as I can tell the book has only been published in Danish.)

the book

The Rainfall takes place in a fantastical universe, albeit it does not differ much from what we know. It is a story about a small apartment building with four residents and a caretaker in a world where it rains constantly. The streets are flooded and as the story moves forward, the rain gets worse. Food supplies are cut off and people move away. Businesses shut down and basements are flooded. Yet people carry on, because the rain has been there for so long, it seems normal.

The four residents are four very different people, who do not wish to be involved in the lives of the other residents – or to some extent other people at all. They even prefer to not talk to the caretaker, even when they do have an issue that needs fixing. The caretaker on the other hand is a very talkative man, who smiles to people as he passes them. One day, the caretaker turns up dead, and the four residents come together to solve the mystery of his death, only to discover an even darker side to the whole ordeal.

my thoughts

This book was beyond weird, but so well-written. The fact that the fantstical universe was so close to our world, yet still very different made the reading experience a little odd. Everything seemed so normal, yet everything seemed a little off. This gives the book a somewhat eerie setting and adds a darkness to the story. The characters were really interesting, and for the better part of the story, those were the reason I continues reading. They are all, each in their own way, very peculiar people, and I kept trying to guess what would happen next.

Gudrun Østergaard writes exceedingly well, and the characters were very believable. When we have gotten to know the characters the plot twists and the caretaker turns up dead. The residents come together, and knowing from the first part of the book how they feel about each other and how different they are, I expected an almost comical meeting.

Should you read it?

The story itself was so strange, and at times I am not even sure I understood it, but the writing was excellent, and the characters were so peculiar! This book should definitely be read by someone who enjoys a great universe and cast, but does not need the book to give the reader all the answers.