Thursday, March 31, 2011

29 – A book everyone hated but you liked

Now I keep thinking I've already answered this?! Hm... must be old age.

It's not an easy one, cos if *everyone* hated it, it probably wouldn't have been published. It's also difficult because I can't remember if the other people who read this book with me (in college/high school) liked it or not... But I'm going to say The Dwarf by Par Lagerkvist.

It's a twisted character study, really. Can't be wrong!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

27 – The most surprising plot twist or ending

Sister - Rosamund Lupton.

This is one I read quite recently. I'd been looking at it for a while whenever I've been in a shop that sells books - it's been on the charts for a good couple of months I'm sure. But I've been put off buying it, thinking it looked a bit... well, a bit dramatic.

But it's fantastic. Jeffrey Deaver described it thusly:

"[...]SISTER exists in that rare place where crime fiction and literature coincide"

...and that's not exactly a negative comment.

But anyway, this post is meant to be about a surprising twist. And this book's got one. If you're after spoilers you'll have to look elsewhere cos I do want you to read it!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Well here's something you didn't know about me.

Borrowed from Egoina. And then translated.

I've realised that my last kiss... was this morning.
I'm currently listening to... The clock ticking.
I feel the best when I... get to spend time with the people I love.
The best area of Stockholm is... most of it. Edsbergsparken is nice, for example.
I speak... slightly Swedified English. It's terrible.
I love/like... licorice and red flowers.
My best friend(s) is/are... Joannapannakaffekanna. etc. etc. etc.
My first real kiss... a very long time ago.
I hate it when people ask... what I want to do with my life. What am I doing now? There's your answer. If it wasn't I'd probably be doing something else.
Love is... the best thing.
Somewhere, someone is thinking... they're the happiest they've ever been.
I will always be... slightly shy.
I have a secret crush on... nobody. There's the shocking truth.
Last time I cried was... I can't remember.
My mobile is... red. Obviously.
When I wake up in the morning... it's always a bit later than I intended it to.
Before I go to bed... I drink some water.
Right now I'm thinking about... going to bed.
Babies are... cuddly.
Homosexuals are... homosexual, generally.
Blondinbella is... a blogger.
Tonight I'm going to... go to the tip.
I really want to... boogie woogie.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

28 – Favourite title

Random Acts of Heroic Love.

You can't go wrong with a title like this. I think it's absolutely beautiful.

The book is also very good, so can't fault author Danny Sheinmann at all really. The present-day hero's girlfriend dies in a bus crash and he goes back home to his family home. The past-day hero is a prisoner of war and we get to follow both their stories and their lost loves...

Monday, March 14, 2011

Pointless moan / I despair at people sometimes.

I went to Morrisson's the other day. For those not in the UK - think slightly pricier grocery store, though not overly posh. At all. Especially not this one...

I was walking past the checkouts, behind the queues. A lady was coming towards me with a big trolley so obviously I moved out of the way a bit, so she wouldn't hit me. In doing so, I bumped into a lady who was queueing for the checkouts as she moved her elbow out into my way. I immediately apologised, more than once, and I asked if she was ok. In response I got the dirtiest look I think I've ever had from anyone.

Ok, so I did bump into her. And I'm sure that wasn't pleasant. But seriously, it happens. And I apologised.

And after getting that horrible look I apologised again. Still, all I got was a look of disgust.

Bless Mike - always sticking up for me - gave her an equally nasty look back. My hero ;) (ok, that last part is just to embarrass him as he does read this blog. Gushygushygooo)

There's just no need to be like that. And I bet my arm hurt more than her elbow. Even if someone bumps into me, startles me or even hurts me; as long as they apologise/acknowledge that they've done it, I can move on from that and put it behind me. Because to be fair, it's not like I punched her in the face, kicked her on the shin with my Doc Marten's or threw a watermelon at her head.

Rar. This wouldn't have happened in Asda!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

26 – A book that changed your opinion about something

I've been racking my brains over this one. And I have to be honest and admit that I cannot think of a single one. I'm sure that doesn't mean none have changed my opinion - I'm just not very good at remembering things...

So yes, rubbish post. Apologies!

Friday, March 11, 2011

25 – A character who you can relate to the most

I got a comment the other day asking when I'll write a 'Julia is most like character _________' post.

I guess this would be it...

And I have no idea. I would love to say Miss Marple. I'm told I'm like a little old lady (25 going on 85) so I'm part way there, at least..

Any ideas? Suggestions? Thoughts? I bet Joanna will have one or two...

Thursday, March 10, 2011

24 – A book that you wish more people would’ve read

The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga. Again, it's set in a place I can't profess to know much about. But this is a wonderfully charming if confusing account of life in India.

The old driver asked, 'What caste are you?'
'Sweet-makers,' the old driver said, shaking his head. 'That's what you people do. You make sweets. How can you learn to drive?' He pointed his hookah at the live coals. 'That's like getting coals to make ice for you. Mastering a car' - he moved the stick of an invisible gearbox - 'it's like taming a wild stallion - only a boy from the warrior castes can manage that. You need to have aggression in your blood. Muslims, Rajputs, Sikhs - they're fighters, they can become drivers. You think sweet-makers can last long in fourth gear?'
Coal was taught to make ice, starting the next morning at six. Three hundred rupees, plus a bonus, will do that. We practised in a taxi. Each time I made a mistake with the gears, he slapped me on the skull. 'Why don't you stick to sweets and tea?'

(See, this is why I'm hesitant to learn to drive...)

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

23 – A book you wanted to read for a long time but still haven’t

Catch 22 by Joseph Heller. I know, embarrassing, but I've still not read it.

I think it's because it's meant to be so good, I'm meant to love it. And what if I don't? It's a bit of a protest, in the back of my mind. Or it could just be pure laziness.

Ok, I'll read it. I think I've even got it.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

22 – Favourite book you own

I've got about a billion books (it's almost true - ask Mike). And about a million of them are my favourites. Can't bear to get rid of them, can't stop buying more.

So picking just the one isn't easy. But I'll stop moaning about my own indecisiveness and tell you about The Help by Kathryn Stockett. I read it a few months ago now and through all the books I've read in the interim this is still one I think about a lot.

I'm sure there have been plenty of books around the same theme, racism in a 1960s USA where black people were mostly, well, 'the help'. And I'm sure this one isn't telling us anything new. But it's just incredibly well written and the characters are very vivid. I don't claim to know much about this period of our scarily recent history, or the struggles of people in this situation (still today, in parts of the world) but it left me feeling like I'd been part of it. I realise that sounds pretty damn conceited and very middle-class but Stockett very much succeeded in bringing this story to life. Two thumbs up!

Hippy happy hoppy lady day.

There's such a lot of celebration today. It's pancake day, here in the UK. In Sweden it's Fettisdagen (when we eat semlor). It's also International Women's Day.

I had pancakes for dinner. And I got cake at work - some students were marking Int'l Women's Day and gave out cake in return for writing a message on their banner. Sweet deal, I thought (geddit?). I've not had a semla yet but might make some at the weekend.

Anyway. To the point. I saw a lovely entry on a blog where the author is celebrating her mum today. It was quite inspiring. So here's a photo of the two best, wonderfullest and strongest women I know (and my lovely dad!). I love you.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

20 – Favourite romance book

Isabel Allende's Daughter of Fortune is a fantastic book. I know it's not exclusively a love story but I think this is what's so appealing about it.

Allende's magical realism is so captivating, it's been years since I read this now but I think I will re-read it very soon.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

19 – Favourite book turned into a movie

I always try to view films based on books and the books they are based on as separate entities. Because there is no way a film can contain all that a book can. There's no way they can bring a character or a story to life in the same way.

If I had to choose whether to only read books or only watch films for the rest of my life I would pick books. No contest.

Having said that, there's a whole lot of films based on books that I do like.

East of Eden is one of them. It's based on John Steinbeck's 1952 novel which he saw as his best work. I'm inclined to agree.

Friday, March 04, 2011

18 – A book that disappointed you

The Book Thief. I know I've written about it before but I feel I need to reiterate this point. The cover just looked so good!

I was also quite disappointed with Peter James' Dreamer. I normally love James' stuff, but most of his novels are crime dramas. This one is not. Now I don't mind a bit of ghosty psychic action every once in a while; but I think this one just threw me a little bit because it wasn't what I was expecting.

So overall, a bit disappointing but not a bad read.


You know the Wholegrain 50/50 bread? Looks like white bread but is healthy? At the bottom of the advert it says 'contains 1/3 wholegrain'. Pfft. It's like those mascara adverts where at the bottom of the screen you can read 'fake lashes used and enhanced in post production'.

I hate adverts.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

16 – Favourite female character

I'm so sorry, I'm going to have to be predictable here. Miss Marple is really the only answer to this one.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

15 – Favourite male character

Now I know what I'm expected to say here. At least I know what you're not expecting me to say. But lordy, isn't Jack Reacher just dreamy?

Ok, ok.

I have to say I really like Holden Caulfield. Cliche - yes. Predictable - yes. Sue me.