Monday, February 28, 2011

14 – Favourite book of your favorite writer

Why I like them all!

But I think Miss Marple is a tad better than the other characters.

And I think the earlier ones are tad better than the new ones.

And I think Murder at the Vicarage is one of the best.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

13 – Your favourite writer

Agatha Christie. There's just no contest. And I don't even feel I should have to justify this decision..

Saturday, February 26, 2011

12 – A book you used to love but don’t anymore


Once you fall in love with a book you don't fall out. You just don't; it's for life.

But I will concede that sometimes you lose interest in a book after a while. I don't normally read a book more than once (or if I do, it's either been a very long time since last time I did, or I don't realise but keep thinking I recognise the plot...).

So, although this might sound obvious... I don't love the books I used to love as a kid *as much*. I'm thinking specifically of the Twins of Sweet Valley (+ High) series... Oh man they were some great books! Joanna will agree with me, I'm sure.

Friday, February 25, 2011

11 – A book you hated

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I bought this in paperback because I'd recently read something with a similar cover that I'd loved (yes, that's the basis on which I buy books. Works most of the time!)

But this one. Oh dear. It was so bad I stopped reading it. And that's only happened... once. Ever. Or twice maybe, but I can't remember the other time. That's how bad this one was.

Don't read it. Unless you want to be very confused, sleepy and... yeah, annoyed that you've wasted your time on it.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

10 – Favourite classic book

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert. We had to read this in college (as in high school for any American readers ;) ) and it was just amazing. So amazing in fact that I'm going to re-read it this weekend - thank you for reminding me of the existance of this gem!

There's just something about these French writers that's irrestistable... Try it. You know you want to (plus it's only a penny on the link above! Or free from sites like


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

09 – A book you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving

This is tricky. I normally know what I'll like and what I won't like. And what I'll love/hate, for that matter.

So I'm going to have to be repetitive and say Twilight. Yes, I'm being a teenage fangirl again - sorry!


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Reasons why I love the UK.

1. People are so friendly. Even though they drive me to absolute distraction sometimes with their chit-chattering on buses and their 'loves' and 'sweethearts' it's kinda nice that people connect (the shallowness of it all is immaterial).

2. That we can have a wonderful summer and as soon as there's a week of rain people claim we've 'not had a summer at all'. This may in fact not be specific to the UK but I'm counting it.

3. Tall dark-haired men with Yorkshire accents. I don't need to say anything more on that. (Ok, more like 'general northern' but doesn't sound as lovely)

4. Tacky seaside resorts such as Blackpool or Scarborough and wishing I could have seen them in their hayday (heyday? I could google the spelling here but I won't).

5. Agatha Christie.

6. Lemsip. Although I'm told Panodil do a version in Sweden?

7. People speaking English. English is nice.

8. Accents I still can't understand. Having to ask people to spell their names and being asked to spell mine. Surname, that is. They're usually ok with Julia (apart from when I get called Julie...)

I'm sure there are more reasons. I'll come back to this.

08 – Most overrated book

Oh man. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (plus sequels). Seriously. The books are utter utter rubbish. The films are great but the books are so badly written. At least the originals. I'm incredibly sorry to be saying this because I guess being Swedish I'm supposed to like all things Swedish so I feel like I'm letting down the motherland (or something) but seriously. Don't bother reading them, just watch the films. And that's not something you'd often hear me say!

Whilst I'm on the subject of overrated books: Da Vinci Code. What the hell was all that hype about? It didn't make any sense whatsoever.

Hm. Maybe sometimes I wonder if I dislike things because you're *supposed* to like them. I guess this theory is supported by my previous praise of Twilight, and the fact that I honestly don't mind Justin Bieber OR Jedward.*

* I wouldn't choose to listen to either - but I don't get why people are so violently offended by them.

Monday, February 21, 2011

07 – Most underrated book

Should I have saved the book yesterday for this post? Nah...

I might shock you with this one but... Twilight. Yes, it's massively underrated. Yes, it's completely stupid and Bella is a real Mary Sue (thanks Joanna - it's a great expression!) but HEL-LO! It's written for teens. It's clearly a work of art/genius (couldn't quite decide there so left both in); it's made an awful lot of money and got an awful lot of kids into reading. I have no sources to back up either of these statements so just take my word for it!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Overheard in York.

I overheard a conversation on the bus the other day. No, I wasn't eavesdropping: they were so bloody loud I couldn't have stopped listening if I wanted to. And no, I didn't want to. But that's besides the point.

Two girls, PhD students as it later transpired were discussing the woes of not getting published and not being able to get jobs. They were claiming that you cannot get an article published unless you know *someone*. Now from my (fairly limited, it has to be said) experience of the academic publishing world there seems to be something to this. But it's not strictly true. You may have a greater chance of getting your work in a big journal if you know the panel, or rather if they know you. And you may have a greater chance of getting to present at international (or national, for that matter) conferences if you know the panel, or, again, if they know you. But these girls were so incredibly defeatist about it, that's what annoyed me. Hell, if my undergrad dissertation got me a slot at a large conference surely a decent PhD student would have a shot.

As for the jobs thing... well, it was the usual 'I'm so overqualified for all jobs cos I have an masters/PhD/whatever'. Yeah. Sure you are. I hear that a lot - but I'm not overqualified for my job at all; I have no letters after my name attesting to my ability to do student admin, website maintenance or whatever the hell it is I do. Ergo, not overqualified. It's a completely different kettle of fish - being good at phonetics/maths/history/whatever your degrees may have been in doesn't (over-) qualify you for anything other than that. And I know, I know, there are transferrable skills in all these things, blablabla. But I resent insinuations that I'm somehow wasting my life because my job happens to involve filing. Because believe me, I've had them - both from colleages and others.

Anyway, I've gone slightly off tangent here. I realise now that the last little rant sounds like I'm defending my choice of job. Who knows, maybe one day I'll do a PhD or get a job I'm not overqualified to do (HA!) but that day is not coming up soon. What I'm doing isn't a second choice to me at the moment - I wouldn't be doing something I wasn't happy to do.

Wow, tangent again! Back to the girls. The tale sadly doesn't tell us what their PhDs topics are. And I don't know that knowing would make any difference. But I guess the point I'm trying to make is that I'm sick of this elitism, this notion that adding some letters and years of debts to your name makes you somehow superior to someone else.

To quote a brilliant man: 'It takes all sorts to make a world.'

06 – A book that makes you sad

The best thing about books is that they are so alive. And it's so easy to forget you're not actually part of the story and share the characters' feelings and thoughts. And so, inevitably, there's a lot of sadness in books.

Looking over at my (rather messy) book case one book immediately slaps me in the face. Not literally. It's Ash Wednesday by Ethan Hawke. Yes, the Ethan Hawke. He's very much a modern day beat writer and he's surprisingly good. The book leaves that kind of uncomfortable sadness and it always leaves me feeling an emptiness I quickly have to fill with a good chick lit book. Or a hug, you know - whatever's to hand.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

We'll have a blue room, a new room for two room, where every day's a holiday, because you're married to me

After seeing this my sister sent me a picture.

Ignore my hair. And no, I don't know what I'm wearing. Looks like pyjamas and a suit-style jacket. As you do.

But anyway, there's the blue colour my walls used to have. It's now a very grown up, pretty colour instead. Though I have no photos of this either.

05 – A book that makes you happy

I've just been looking at my book shelf and I'm a little bit terrified; there's pretty much only thrillers, murders and mysteries in there! There are a few chick lit books; a few classic novels etc but nothing inherently happy. And no, chick lit isn't happy - it's daft drivel designed to give you a feelgood-glow for the hour or so it takes you to read it but then you're left remembering you're not in fact a heroine in a Miranda Dickinson book and you're not in fact going to be swept off your feet by a handsome rock star who also happens to be incredibly nice, generous and good with kids. And dogs. Sorry to burst your bubble there!

Selection of the library chez Julia.

So what books make me happy? I suppose that's a different question altogether from 'what books do I enjoy reading?'. I'm being asked what my go-to book is when I need cheering up.

Well. Depends on the situation I suppose. But there are two answers:

- Gruesome thrillers. I suppose they remind me that really, things could always be worse.

- Victoria Hislop's The Return. It's one of those love-through-generations epic stories and I'm so pleased I read it.

Friday, February 18, 2011

04 – Favourite book of your favourite series

Yes, it's a cliche. But it's got to be the first one. Don't get me wrong, the other six were also great, absolutely fantastic. But when I'm forced to choose it's the first one.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

03 – Your favourite series

I've not read these in years but the Tomorrow when the war began-series is an all time favourite of mine. I know they're aimed at teens and I must have been about 11 when I read them but in my mind they're classics suited to any age. Ok, maybe not young kids. But you get me.


And breathe.

It's written by John Marsden, a series of 7 books about some teenagers who go camping only to discover their country is at was when they return home. They're virtually on their own, and form a sort of rebel alliance/underground resistance group. It's a wonderful story (apart from Australia being at war, obviously) with strong characters and beautiful stories of friendship and relationships.

Wikipedia also tells me that "In 2000, the Swedish government selected Tomorrow, When the War Began as the book most likely to inspire a love of reading in young people, and financed the printing and distribution of the novel to teenage school students in the country"

Anyhoo. Read the books. GOGOGO!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

02 – A book that you’ve read more than 3 times

I don't like reading books again. But I do, over and over and over. And the worst thing is I forget whether I've read them but then I start recognising them. Sometimes I wonder if it's just a very similar book... Got a big pile of books at home I've not read yet, but I tend to mix them in with books I've had for a while and forget which ones are new. I read that much that I can't remember titles, authors... Yeah, it's pretty bad.

Anyway. My answer to this one will have to be anything by Agatha Christie. I could read her books a billion times and they never get boring. 4.50 from Paddington is a favourite. Hm, I wonder if I can find it or if it's at my parents' house...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

01 – Best book you read last year

I read a lot. You probably knew that already. I'm looking at my book shelf behind the and trying to remember which of all these books were *the* best. I'm going to have to go with De fattiga i Lodz. I think I've written about it before but it's such a powerful account of the holocaust, the lives of the poor in Poland and I don't know enough about the history to know how much of it is true but I will say that nothing in the book surprises me. It saddens me, but it doesn't surprise me.

It's a heavy book, partly because of the subject matter but also because it's about a billion pages long.

Read it. If it's not been translated into your language yet you'll just have to learn Swedish so you can read it.

Monday, February 14, 2011

30 days of books.

Found this list at Bokhora. Yes, another challenge is in order. Can I actually make it through this one?

Day 01 – Best book you read last year
Day 02 – A book that you’ve read more than 3 times
Day 03 – Your favorite series
Day 04 – Favorite book of your favorite series
Day 05 – A book that makes you happy
Day 06 – A book that makes you sad
Day 07 – Most underrated book
Day 08 – Most overrated book
Day 09 – A book you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving
Day 10 – Favorite classic book
Day 11 – A book you hated
Day 12 – A book you used to love but don’t anymore
Day 13 – Your favorite writer
Day 14 – Favorite book of your favorite writer
Day 15 – Favorite male character
Day 16 – Favorite female character
Day 17 – Favorite quote from your favorite book
Day 18 – A book that disappointed you
Day 19 – Favorite book turned into a movie
Day 20 – Favorite romance book
Day 21 – Favorite book from your childhood
Day 22 – Favorite book you own
Day 23 – A book you wanted to read for a long time but still haven’t
Day 24 – A book that you wish more people would’ve read
Day 25 – A character who you can relate to the most
Day 26 – A book that changed your opinion about something
Day 27 – The most surprising plot twist or ending
Day 28 – Favorite title
Day 29 – A book everyone hated but you liked
Day 30 – Your favorite book of all time

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Dag 30 – Ett sista ögonblick (one last moment)

In my last moment, I hope that I'm surrounded by people I love. Or, if that's too much to ask for, somewhere warm at least.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Dag 29 – Mina ambitioner (my ambitions)

My ambitions vary. I'm not sure what I want to do when I grow up. I'm not too bothered about earning loads of money (although, of course, that'd be nice...). As long as I have a job I enjoy with people I don't mind sharing 37-odd hours a week with, a comfortable home to come home to and a nice person to share that home with I'm happy.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Dag 28 – Det här saknar jag (this is something I miss)

I was thinking the other day that I miss the sweets in Sweden (Yeah I do know how that sounds... but I'm now English enough to not use 'candy' - at least not all the time!).

Sportlunch. Kexchoklad. Marabou. Lakrits (esp salty...). Polkagrisar (I don't care what you say, rock candy is not the same).

(speaking of chocolate and rock - the lovely Karin sent me some of these a while back!)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Dag 27 – Min favoritplats (my favourite place)

This is probably the easiest post on this particular list. I'll just show you a picture.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Dag 26 – Mina rädslor (my fears)

My biggest every day fear is spiders. I know that's stupid and girlish and lame, but that's how it is. We've always managed to live places with loads of spiders (apart from the Manchester pad - city centre location = no spiders). I'm much better now; I can be in the same room as even fairly big spiders so long as they're not on or too close to me. But occasionally we get visitors that I just can't stand the thought of being in the same room as.

And I know that they're more afraid of me than I am of them, and I know they can't hurt me, and I even know that there are a billion more in nooks and crannies, under the floor boards etc. But I don't care. I do think there's something to the theory that it's one of those primal fears, part of the collective subconscious Mr. Jung was so keen on having us believe in.

Spiders=scary and that's that.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Dag 25 – En första (a first)

There are so many firsts. Every day is the first something; nothing's ever the same. I was thinking of listing a few different 'firsts' but the title does say 'a'. As in one. As in, I have to make a decision.

I'm notoriously bad at making decisions. It annoys my friends no end; I honestly don't mind where we go eat, what film we see, for instance. And so every time I actually am decisive they're shocked. But that's besides the point.

So anyhoo. Enough stalling.

My first 'own' place was here in York. I've lived in plenty of places before, but it's always been student halls, shared houses and so on. All furnished. So when we moved to York we got an unfurnished flat, up by Yearsley Bridge. Now I don't know if you know York at all but since moving here I've been told this flat was in a 'bad' area. Makes me laugh every time; there's nothing bad or rough about any of York. But I suppose compared to some other areas this is the only way to describe this place?

It was a huge flat, two good sized bedrooms, two bathrooms and a massive kitchen, massive living room. It was also a pain to clean, and we paid over the odds for it. But it was ours.

We've since moved to a smaller, cosier, cheaper and more manageable flat. But the Yearsley Bridge flat with the blue carpets throughout (yes, even in the bathrooms. Bloody Brits) will always be our first place.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Dag 24 – Det här får mig att gråta (this makes me cry)

Romantic comedies. Weddings on TV (think Phoebe's in Friends). Sad films (think Remember Me. See it if you haven't already). Harsh words. Anger (my own, mostly - it always catches me by surprise. I don't like being angry; it's not who I am). Fear of losing those dear to me. Being tired and stressed. Injustice.

In summary; everything that makes most other people cry.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Dag 23 – Det här får mig att må bättre (this makes me feel better)

After yesterday's post I guess a feelgood post is in order...!

There's a whole lotta stuff that makes me feel better. And what works obviously depends on what made me feel bad in the first place. But fabric/crafts often does the trick.

I went to Abakhan on Monday. It's my best place. Ever. I didn't have that long but could have spent hours and hours and hours in there. They have massive bins of cut offs where they charge by the kilo. It's ace. You can ask them to cut it to length as well, obviously. I'm not good at fabrics, I don't know what anything is or what they're for - I go by how they feel and what they look like. Didn't buy much, one fabric for a skirt and one for a curtain (bedroom door has big window so need to cover it!), and I got some yarn and a crochet needle. Will show you results at some point...

Anyway. Spend hours - pretty fabrics - feel better. Simple!

Also - solidarity like this gives me back some hope about humanity.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Dag 22 – Det här upprör mig (this upsets me)


I know I've ranted about this before. But I just don't know whether to laugh or cry sometimes.

When 59% of Brits think there are too many immigrants in this country I get worried. When a quarter of people don't think that even legal immigrants should have access to the NHS and state schools I despair. And when 23% think that immigration is the biggest problem in this country I lose all faith.

And I bet this doesn't include immigrants from EU countries, right? I won't be included in this - I'm not 'an immigrant'.

I bloody well am, and if people have a problem with individuals coming here from countries where they're persecuted because of their religion, sexual orientation or political views, from countries where there's was, where they're so poor they can barely survive - if they have a problem with immigrants from these countries then I just cannot understand why they wouldn't have a problem with me. I have no reason to be here other than I felt like moving to a different country. I didn't have to come here and steal jobs, use NHS resources - I just chose to, for my own pleasure. Surely that makes me more worthy of hate, of being disliked or being 'sent back where I came from'?

But you've got to find something positive to hold on to, to not let stuff like this eat you up. So the positive I've taken away from this research is this:

"But the survey also shows that the more one is exposed to immigrants, the more one feels positively toward them." (GMF president Craig Kennedy)

It reminds me of the Facebook campaign, befriend a Sverigedemokrat - where people of foreign descent were adding members of the Swedish equivalent of the BNP to their Facebook friends list to try to promote tolerance and, well, love.

Cos that's what it's all about. Or, what it should be all about. In my book, anyway.

Friday, February 04, 2011