Archive | May, 2014

2014 Reading Challenge and 5 Book Reviews!

29 May

My reading challenge for 2014 is to read 25 books, and I’m using GoodReads to keep track of my progress. I chose to for 25 as I haven’t been sure of how this year would be like for me, how much energy and time I’d have, so I thought it best not to set the bar too high. Right now I’m on 14 read books, and have 4 unread ones waiting for me, so I’m well on my way, 4 books ahead of schedule 😉

I thought I’d give a quick review on a few of the books I’ve read so far this year, there are definitely many I’d recommend, and some that were quite disappointing.  I do usually write a full review on the books I read on Goodreads, so if you want to read them a bit more detailed, just head over there, as I will keep it quite short in this post.

Metro 2033 – Dmitry Glukhovsky

Metro 2033 quickly became one of my favourite reads, I found the story really interesting and exciting. It takes place in a post-apocalyptic world, where the few survivors in Moscow has taken refuge in the city underground, forming small societies in the different stations, all based on different ideologies. Some are at war, some at peace, some are overrun with mutants and horrible creatures. Life in the Metro is never particularly safe. I’ll be the first to admit that Glukhovsky’s writing style at times can become a bit repetitive, but I feel that it fits the tone of the story, and the plot itself is so strong that I’m willing to overlook this fact. A recommended read for anyone who likes dystopia, post-apocalyptic, exciting and thrilling novels!

The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern

I’m sorry to say that this book was such a disappointment to me! I’ve heard many people praise The Night Circus, so my expectations were high, but sadly they were just not met. A story about a mystical night circus being the arena of a fierce and dangerous competitions between two young magicians sounds incredibly promising and exciting, so I was actually quite sad to discover that there wasn’t really anything exciting about this novel at all. My main problem was with the characters, they were all so underdeveloped and none of them really memorable. If I were to describe any of their personalities I’d actually come up short for every single one. I was quite annoyed by how it seemed like the author spent too much time making everything seem very pretty, and not enough time moving the plot forward or developing the characters and their relationships. Everything in this book is described to  detail, and yes, that part is well done and I can imagine being there and seeing all the wonderful things, smelling, tasting and sensing, but it’s so frustrating that that’s pretty much the whole book. In conclusion The Night Circus is not a book I’d recommend, but I know I’m in a minority there, so I’d suggest if anyone’s curious about it you should look it up and read more reviews before you decide.

Me Before You – Jojo Moyes

Reading Me Before You was almost the opposite experience of reading The Night Circus. I had quite low expectations as the cover looked super cheesy, and it didn’t sound all that interesting. Still, a lot of my friends had good things to say, so I gave it a try, and I’m so glad I did! The story centers around Lou Clark who finds herself in the need of a new job, and therefore becomes the personal assistant for former daredevil, now wheelchair-bound Will Traynor, and how their relationship develops and affects other aspects of their lives. What I really liked about Me Before You was that the characters were believable and dynamic, although not necessarily sympathetic all the time. Jojo Meyes also does a fine job using clichés in a good way, they are present, but they don’t take away from the story and it’s not over the top. A recommended read for anyone who likes reading about human relations, and doesn’t mind a bit of crying 😉

Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West – Gregory Maguire

Aah, what can I say. I REALLY wanted to like this, but I just couldn’t. It was so frustrating how the writing style changed throughout the entire book, and not in a natural dynamic way, it was just chaotic. The characters had no consistency, and Maguire keeps pushing symbolism and metaphors in the readers face in almost every single paragraph. I like when stories are meant to represent something from our world, but gosh, be more subtle about it. I did actually like the first few chapters, and I think the story would be so much better if it was more about life at Shiz and Elphaba’s (the wicked witch) relationships with her fellow students. I think this might be the only occasion where I’ve liked an adaption of a book more than the book itself, so instead of recommending this read to anyone, I’ll rather go with: Watch the musical instead!

On Beauty – Zadie Smith

Howard Belsey is an Englishman abroad, an academic teaching in Wellington, a college town in New England. Married young, thirty years later he is struggling to revive his love for his African American wife Kiki. Meanwhile, his three teenage children— Jerome, Zora and Levi—are each seeking the passions, ideals and commitments that will guide them through their own lives. (From Goodreads). Zadie Smith is the queen of characterization, there’s no other way to put it. She creates characters that are so real, so versatile, so believable, and they all have their own distinct narrative styles and way of describing the world and others around them. I love how in On Beauty we start forming a picture and opinion on a person based on the point of view from one person, but then it completely changes (or develops would be a more correct term, as she’s not inconsistent) throughout the book, through the eyes of a different character. The people are all like an intricate puzzle, and each chapter provides a crucial piece to putting the puzzle together. A book I would recommend to everyone, but be aware that you shouldn’t expect to sympathise with the people you read about all the time!

 

Redhead

18 May

Aah, what a sunny and lazy Sunday. Not done much today, but it’s been super nice and sunny so I’ve made sure to enjoy it a bit while it lasts. It’s just starting to get a bit cloudy at the moment, and the weather report says we could have some thunder tonight. I can’t be the only one who loves thunder storms? I just really enjoy that feeling you get when it’s raining and thunders outside, and you can sit in the sofa wrapped in a blanket with a warm cup of tea. So, sunny days followed by stormy nights = my favourite!

New hair colour!

New hair colour!

I dyed my hair again last night! I first dyed it a bit over a month ago to bring out the red in my hair a bit more, but I decided I wanted a bit more intensity this time, and left the formula in for longer to get that proper red colour. I’m super happy with the result, but it’s a bitch to photograph, the proper colour just won’t show up. It’s actually a lot more vibrant in real life, but I guess these pictures will have to do. It also looks a bit uneven, which is mostly the lighting 🙂

I finished all the new books I bought a while ago, so of course I had to order some new online yesterday. I’m currently waiting for Silver Lining’s Playbook and Jane Eyre to arrive in my mailbox, meanwhile I’m going through all our bookshelves to find something that will catch my interest. I’m also always open to suggestions, so if anyone have any book recommendations I hope you leave a comment 🙂 I always try to give most genres a go, so it doesn’t have to be something similar to what I’ve read in the past. Quick reminder that this is my Goodreads-account, where a new friend is always welcomed.

I thought I’d do a post about my Reading Challenge for 2014, where I think it’s fitting that I add some of my reviews for my latest reads, which I said earlier I would post here. It’s coming soon, just need to gather all my thoughts and write it down. Until then, have a nice Sunday, and a good following week 🙂

A kingdom of isolation

10 May

I might not have a kingdom to myself (thank goodness), but I do have a house! I’m cat-sitting my dad’s three cats while he’s away ’till Wednesday, and I really appreciate being able to have some time just completely to myself. Well, myself and the cats. I am quite a social person and I love hanging out with friends and meeting people, but I also need to be alone once in a while. I don’t get easily bored, and I find great pleasure in solitude, often with a book, scrapping, cooking or just watching TV. When I’m completely alone, with no close neighbours I can stop worrying about making too much noise, and play loud music all night or sing ’till my lungs almost explode. Which I do quite a lot. Some of the most common activities I do while alone includes:

  • Singing  and acting out One Day More, doing all the voices and the marching.
  • Belting out Let It Go, On My Own and Defying Gravity over and over again.
  • Pretending I’m in a musical featuring myself and my life.
  • Finding the scripts of various films and voice-acting them. All by myself.
  • Give one of my favourite songs the Google Translate-treatment (send it through 10 languages,and then back to the original) and then sing it out loud. (Yes, very much inspired by the amazing Malinda Kathleen Reese).
  • Practice the dance routines from Cats. Even though I’m a shitty dancer.

Oh god, these poor cats..

The only thing I’m not too happy about in my isolated state is the fact that I have to watch Eurovision alone tonight! Noooo! I love watching Eurovision with other people, having a laugh about how absolutely ridiculous most of the entries are, trying to guess the scores, and just making a really fun evening out of it. I’ll be watching it on my own tonight, but at least I’ve planned some “Skype dates” with some friends, so we’ll have an active commentary session throughout the show. Yey!

I’d love to hear your thoughts about spending some time on your own, and what you usually do when there’s no one around. Feel free to leave a comment! Hope everyone is having a great weekend 🙂

Hedvig April