Spring book haul

Long time no see! My blogging game has been quite poor for the past two to three months, but now that summer holiday’s right around the corner I’m once again feeling more motivated to blog. And one post that has been long waiting in the reserve is my spring book haul.

Back in January I went a bit crazy with book buying and vowed to hold back for the next few months. And well, I did and I didn’t. Over the past four months, I’ve bought and received a total of 16 books – 8 physical copies and 8 ebooks. Some of them I’ve already read and blogged about (or will blog soon), but for the most part they have just increased my ever-growing TBR pile. I’ve been frequenting my local library very actively in 2015 which means that I’ve been reading mostly library books. Hopefully summer will be a turning point and I’ll be able to find a balance between reading my own books as well as books from the library.

This is going to be a loooong post so I suggest that you make yourself a cup of tea (or ice tea!) so that you’ll have something to keep you refreshed. Now let’s jump into the fun part – books! Here’s an overview of all the physical copies that I’ve acquired in the months of February, March, April and May: (excuse the lighting issues)

IMG_7758

IMG_7752

One of the bookish highlights of my year so far has been attending the book launch for Unknown Soldiers, a new translation of the Finnish classic Tuntematon Sotilas by Väinö Linna. The previous English translation of the novel was highly contested as it had removed several parts of the book and simplified the narration in many points. The book follows a military troop in the Finnish Continuation War during the WWII and it focuses on the personal and mental effects of war to this eclectic collection of men in war. I read the Finnish original two summers ago and was surprised how much this I was moved by a book that I’d considered to be “just a book about war”. The new translations by Liesl Yamaguchi and it was published in the Penguin Classics series. I probably won’t have time to read this during the summer, but I hope to get to it later this year.

Another positive surprise was discovering that Ian Doescher was also adapting the rest of Star Wars into Shakespearean style and receiving a copy of the newest book from the publisher Quirk Books. In the midst all the hustle and bustle of university, I found Shakespeare’s Star Wars: The Phantom of Menace to be just what I needed to relax and enjoy. It has just the right mix of laugh-out-loud moments and intricate Shakespeare references, so if you haven’t yet tried out the series, I’d highly recommend that you do.

One of the 2015 goals is to read more poetry. Although I’ve been slacking a bit on that front – especially in this month – it has inspired me to look for poetry collections. Aika Sattuu is definitely one of the most interesting collections that I’ve encountered during these searches because it is a Finnish translation of Estonian haiku poetry. That’s right, Estonian haiku poetry. I haven’t read it yet, despite the fact that it’s a tiny thing, because I’m saving it up for the more “zen like” moments (if that makes any sense). But once I do, I do plan on reviewing it. Plus I like the fact that it is a flip-back!

IMG_7747

Ever since picking up the fourth volume in last year’s Helsinki Book Fair I’ve been gushing to my friends about the Villimpi Pohjola (eng. Northern Overexposure) comic series. I received a bind-up of the first two books for Christmas and in March I was over the moon when I discovered the third book, Kypsyystesti (eng. Maturity Test) from a second-hand bookshop. I read it on the same day and absolutely loved it. The fifth installment should be coming out in August and I’m feeling super excited for it!

Because of my goal to read read more Finnish fiction in 2015, I’ve also found myself purchasing more Finnish books. However, neither White Hunger nor Hägring 38 are in Finnish. White Hunger is the English translation of Aki Ollikainen’s novel that I read last year and absolutely fell in love with. I gushed about the release of the translation in my blog earlier this year and even shared a link to a giveaway of the book. The English translation is by a mother-daughter duo Fleur and Emily Jeremiah and the translation has been receiving some great reviews. Because the Finnish book is still fresh in my mind, I probably won’t be in a hurry to read this, but we’ll see… As for Kjell Westö’s Hägring 38 (eng. Vision 38), the book is in Swedish. Westö is a famous Finnish-Swedish author who writes his novels in Swedish and most of his books are set in Helsinki in different time periods. Hägring 38 is his latest novel and although I had heard some very positive reviews of the book, this one was definitely a cover buy. I just could not resist the art deco font and the colour scheme!

The last two books in the picture were both bought from second-hand bookshops. First was The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov which I came across in March for 2 euros. The cover of the book has a slight crack but I was really drawn in by the design. Bulgakov is one of the famous Russian authors that I’ve been meaning to read and I thought I might as well choose a copy that has an interesting looking cover – little did I know that the Finnish translation of The Master and Margarita with the same cover design would hit the shops about a month later! In contrast to cover buys, I bought Jennifer Egan’s A Visit From the Goon Squad based on the blurb at the back and the fact that it was listed on BBC’s Greatest Novels of 21st century list. I found my copy from the Arkadia International Bookshop when visiting Helsinki and because the owner was such a pleasant person, I just knew I had to buy something. So if you ever do visit Helsinki, I’d highly suggest that you visit the shop – it has the perfect cosy atmosphere!

EBOOKS GALORE

Now on to the 8 ebooks that I’ve acquired during these months. Owning a Kindle has definitely doubled my book buying, but due to various offers and the generally less expensive price tag the dent to my wallet hasn’t been as bad as it could be. They also don’t take as much space on the shelves as physical copies do. All this being said, reading an ebook isn’t quite the same as reading a physical book. The sense of the length of the book is only visible in per cents and given estimations of how long it should take for you to read and it is sometimes easy to forget that you own a certain book unless you specifically browse through your e-library. To avoid that I’ve been trying to read the ebooks that I buy relatively soon after I’ve bought them.

Spring_bookhaul

 The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith is a sequel to The Cuckoo’s Calling which I read last summer. Robert Galbraith is the pseudonym for J.K. Rowling and although I didn’t love the first book in the Cormoran Strike series as much as Harry Potter or The Casual Vacancy, I’ll still keep reading whatever she publishes. Plus I’ve found that her crime series is a perfect light reading for the beach or weekend at the summer cottage. I think the rumours suggest that the third book in the series would be published this summer, so I’ll try to catch up with the series before that.

Love, Rosie by Cecilia Ahern is a chick-lit novel about a friendship between a girl and a boy growing up in Ireland, moving away, and maintaining a connection over several decades, marriages, divorces, heartbreaks, et cetera. Not really what I generally read, I bought the book mainly because the film trailer looked interesting and I needed some change in my reading. The book was originally named Rosie Dunne (the name of the main character), but due to the film release, the name has also changed. Fun fact: it is written in an epistolary style (a clear trend in my reading in 2015!). More of my thoughts in May Reads!

I went through a historical fiction spree in the beginning of the year and as part of that I read Winter Siege by Ariana Franklin and Samantha Norman. The book is set in medieval England during the throne war between the deceased King’s daughter and his nephew – and that is only the backdrop. The story has many levels as it is narrated by an old monk on his deathbed and it follows two female characters who have two very differing social positions in the warring land. I received a copy of the book from the publisher Bantam as part of the paperback release and having read the ebook, I was surprised to find the paperback in one of the local bookshops here in Finland. After all, it is quite a small world.

Early in March I read Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s essay We Should All Be Feminists which I adored. Reading the essay and listening to the TEDx talk that it was based on I realised how little I actually knew about something that I felt a part of. I have studied some of the early feminists text, such as Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper, in university but not specifically from the feministic point of view. So I did what every bookworm does when encountering a topic that they want to know more about – I got books. I read both early texts, such as Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, and contemporary ones, such as Caitlin Moran’s How To Be a Woman and Rebecca Solnit’s Men Explain Things to Me and Other Essays – both of which I will review later! The story of The Awakening is one that sets forth powerful questions about freedom and choices to make them and I really enjoyed how it.

After the January book extravaganza I was trying to hold tight to my goal of not buying books, but when presented with a few very tempting offers I eventually caved in. First of them was Us by David Nicholls. It was nominated for the Man Booker Prize in 2014 and as I had read One Day years ago, I thought I might see if his style had somehow changed and refined. However, due to strange meetings in the library and other oddities, I ended up reading Nicholls’ Starter for Ten instead. I think Us could also work out as a light beach reading during the summer, but at the moment I’m in no hurry to read it.

Having broken the goal once, it was too easy to break it again. The Princess Bride by William Goldman has been on my TBR list ever since watching the film and discovering that it was based on a book. Moreover, the book isn’t one that can be found in any of the local bookshops and even the library didn’t own a copy. My intention was to read The Princess Bride very soon after I’d bought the copy but here I am, four months later, and I still haven’t read it. Shame on me.

The final book on my list is a Finnish one – Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen’s Sielut kulkevat sateessa (eng. The Souls Travel in the Rain). Jääskeläinen found international fame with his translated novel The Rabbit Back Literature Society which I read earlier this year and loved its strangeness and the elements of magical realism. Sielut kulkevat sateessa is his latest novel and it follows a woman named Judit who, in the want of a change to her monotonous and dull life, takes up an slightly strange and unexpected job offer. The book is set to be a mixture of mystery and a psychological thriller, so I’ll probably save this one for the beginning of autumn.

And that’s it! Those were all the books that I acquired during the spring months. Next time I’ll to write a post as soon as I hit five, so that the posts will be a bit shorter than this monstrosity. Let me know in the comments which books you’d love to hear about more and which you’ve read yourself! Cheers x

Advertisements

Review: The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

HARDCOVER; 328 P.
LITTLE, BROWN & CO, 2002
SOURCE: FROM THE LIBRARY

The Lovely Bones is the story of a family devastated by a gruesome murder — a murder recounted by the teenage victim. Upsetting, you say? Remarkably, first-time novelist Alice Sebold takes this difficult material and delivers a compelling and accomplished exploration of a fractured family’s need for peace and closure.

The details of the crime are laid out in the first few pages: from her vantage point in heaven, Susie Salmon describes how she was confronted by the murderer one December afternoon on her way home from school. Lured into an underground hiding place, she was raped and killed. But what the reader knows, her family does not. Anxiously, we keep vigil with Susie, aching for her grieving family, desperate for the killer to be found and punished.

Sebold creates a heaven that’s calm and comforting, a place whose residents can have whatever they enjoyed when they were alive — and then some. But Susie isn’t ready to release her hold on life just yet, and she intensely watches her family and friends as they struggle to cope with a reality in which she is no longer a part. To her great credit, Sebold has shaped one of the most loving and sympathetic fathers in contemporary literature.

The Lovely Bones was one of those early 21st century bestsellers that I remember hearing about but because at the time I was going on 12 and still into children’s fiction, it never occurred to me that I could read it. However, I’ve lately seen the book mentioned on several occasions and though it sounded interesting. Also the fact that the book has been adapted into a film directed by Peter Jackson piqued my interest.

Set in a Pennsylvanian suburb in the 1970s, The Lovely Bones is the story of the death of Susie Salmon and a family trying to overcome and understand their sudden loss. The narrator, 14-year-old Susie, is raped and brutally murdered on her way back from school. Alerted to the fact that their daughter is missing, Susie’s parents contact the police but as the search continues, they are eventually told that their daughter is most likely dead. Susie follows the unraveling of her case from Heaven, watching over her family and gauging their reactions of desperation, fear and depression. Every member of the Salmon family reacts differently to the tragedy and while her sister tries to push back her feelings, her father tries desperately to find the murderer. And what of her 4-year-old brother who does not understand the concept of ‘death’?

The Lovely Bones begins with the day that Susie was raped and murdered and all the events are narrated from her perspective. It is horrible and haunting, one of those scenes that made my blood boil and want to throw the book away. As the story progresses, the lens turns from Susie to her family, to her friends and the next-door murderer who hides behind his facade. Despite the anger inducing beginning, the tone of the narration and the book is quite calm and soothing. The monotony of the quiet suburb reveals upon closer inspection a mixture of characters that are all in some ways affected by the disappearance of Susie. The Lovely Bones deals a lot with the fear of the suburbs – the fear of not really knowing your neighbours and the fear of vanishing. The book has a lot of potential to be amazing, but towards the end, some of the many plot lines get jumbled or are resolved very offhandedly. Looking at the reviews on Goodreads, the books continues to divide opinions – some people love it and some hate it with passion. I’d recommend The Lovely Bones to everyone who’s interested in reading about family dynamics, life in the suburbs and dealing with loss.

4/5

As he set it down I snapped the last solitary photo of my mother. Already her eyes had begun to seem distracted and anxious, diving under and up into a mask somehow. In the next photo, the mask was almost, but not quite, in place and in the final photo, where my father was leaning slightly down to give her a kiss on the cheek- there it was.
‘Did I do that to you?’ he asked her image as he stared at the pictures of my mother, lined up in a row. ‘How did that happen?’

Review: Open Secrets by Alice Munro

PAPERBACK; 293 P.
VINTAGE, 2007/1994
SOURCE: FROM THE LIBRARY

Ranging from the 1850s through two world wars to the present, and from Canada to Brisbane, the Balkans and the Somme, these dazzling stories reveal the secrets of unconventional women who refuse to be contained.

 

Alice Munro, “master of the contemporary short story”, is a Canadian author who in 2013 won the Nobel Prize in Literature and subsequently became one of the most read and talked about author for that year. Munro has had a long and prolific career, ranging from the 1960s to this decade, and she is considered as one of the best writers alive. Her short stories have been recommended to me time and again, so once I saw Open Secrets with its miscellaneous buttons on the cover, I decided to finally give her writing a go. And it was worth it.

Open Secrets is Alice Munro’s 8th short story collection and it was published in 1994. The blurb at the back is very mysterious and slightly non-committal, but having read the book, it actually manages to capture the one thing that connects these stories together: unconventional women and freedom. The stories in this collection tell of women of various ages and places, of various situations in life and various approaches to the significant and insignificant issues. One of the stories features an accidental letter exchange between a librarian and a soldier and the expectations that arise when he is due to return from the war. Another follows a woman that trails down her ex-husband to the other side of the world, and another a woman captured by a native tribe and being assimilated to their lifestyle.

I loved Alice Munro’s style and the craft with which she constructs her stories. The switching between different characters and time periods and the subtle indications of mood and emotion won me over completely. Occasionally the sparsity of the words brought to mind one of my favourites, Tove Jansson, who also had the talent to set the tone and mood of the characters in just a few lines. My favourites short stories in Open Secrets were Carried Away, Spaceships Have Landed and A Wilderness Station – the intricate structure and flow of narration in those was incredible. However, there were also some things that put a damper on my mood. In some of the other stories I loved the beginning but my love started dwindling slowly as the story went on and on. And although the stories share some common elements, I would have preferred to have a bit more coherence. Upon reading the collection, the stories didn’t appear to have any connecting features – only the occasional mentions of the town Carstairs.

In the end, although I fell in love with Munro’s writing, I didn’t think the collection was a very strong one and that I wouldn’t recommend that you start from Open Secrets. However, if you do like Alice Munro, I think you’ll also love this one. I’d definitely recommend that you check out Munro (maybe starting from her most recent one Dear Life?) even if you aren’t a fan of short stories. She has something for everyone.

3.5/5

He was pleasantly mystified by the thought of grown people coming and going here, steadily reading books. Week after week, one book after another, a whole life long. He himself read a book once in a while, when somebody recommended it, and usually he enjoyed it, and then he read magazines, to keep up with things, and never thought about reading a book until another one came along, in this almost accidental way.

Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

PAPERBACK; 213 P.
POCKET BOOKS, 2002/1999
SOURCE: FROM THE LIBRARY

Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.

Since its publication, Stephen Chbosky’s haunting novel about the dilemma of passivity vs. passion has received critical acclaim, provoked discussion and debate, and grown into a cult sensation with over half a million copies in print.

It is the story of what it’s like to grow up in high school. More intimate than a diary, Charlie’s letters are singular and unique, hilarious and devastating. We may not know where he lives. We may not know to whom he is writing. All we know is the world he shares. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it puts him on a strange course through uncharted territory. The world of first dates, family dramas, and new friends. The world of sex, drugs, and Rocky Horror Picture Show, where all you need is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. Through Charlie, Chbosky has created a deeply affecting novel that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is not yet a classic, but it is one that has marked and touched many young readers. The book being a favourite among many, I had been waiting to get my hands on it for some while now and when I did, I read it in a day. The narration flows easily and the voice of Charlie makes you turn page after a page. Whilst reading, I found a single piece of red glitter glued into one of the pages of the book and the subtleness of that made me smile. Sometimes you find small treasures in library books.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a collection of letters written by Charlie, a high school freshman. He writes about his own life and about the lives of the people around him. The letters follow his first year in high school and the friends and the observations he makes. Charlie is a very introverted character but he has a keen perception with which he documents the events around him. Through his letters, the reader can follow his attempts of trying to make sense of life and of people, and trying to be part of it all. As Charlie befriends two siblings, Sam and Patrick, he is also introduces to the world of high school parties and secrets. All of this is reflected against Charlie’s passion for writing and he reflects the issues to the books that his English teacher keeps recommending to him.

The first thing that struck me about The Perks of Being a Wallflower was that it was a very MTV type of book. The issues and problems described in the books seem to cover anything and everything out there. In the beginning I wasn’t very convinced by this, but as Charlie is a very perceptive character, it would also make sense that he’d see more that the others. The novel is, yet again, an epistolary one and the letters that Charlie writes are all written in a very colloquial way. It makes the style and voice poignant and makea you remember the character long after finishing the novel. Although Charlie is a wallflower that observes mostly others, the story is very much about his own development and growing up. I must admit that I was not a fan of the ending, however powerful and eye opening that is. I think the reason why The Perks of Being a Wallflower has held its positions as a cult YA novel though all these years is that it captures something very fragile about the time in high school and the confusion surrounding you. I would definitely recommend it to people currently in high school as well as others who want to experience a very poignant narration about the high school experience.

4.5/5

I don’t know if you’ve ever felt like that. That you wanted to sleep for a thousand years. Or just not exist. Or just not be aware that you do exist. Or something like that. I think wanting that is very morbid, but I want it when I get like this. That’s why I’m trying not to think. I just want it all to stop spinning.

Review: Maa on syntinen laulu by Timo K. Mukka (Eng. The Earth is a Sinful Song)

HARDCOVER; 229 P.
GUMMERUS, 2013/1964
SOURCE: FROM THE LIBRARY

Disclaimer: This book has, unfortunately, not been translated into English. Thus all the excerpts here have been translated by yours truly. 

Timo K. Mukka’s exquisite debut novel is like a ballad – startling and beautiful in its coarseness. The story follows Martta, a young woman, and a small village in Lapland where people are torn between feverish religiousness and strong sexual instincts. Martta falls is love with a Sami reindeer herder and their brief and unconventional love story is described in a way that is rough and naturalistic but at the same time very lyrical. Against the backdrop of the powerful and extreme nature of Lapland and the depressing life of a closed community. The religious fervour and the oppressing atmosphere of the homestead create a tough opposition for Martta’s love story.

Timo K. Mukka (1944–1973) published his debut novel at the tender age of 19. The reception of the novel was crushing as the strong descriptions of the sexual and religious acts were too much for the readers at the time. The attitudes of the media and the readers remained conflicted throughout Mukka’s career and the appreciation for his works began rising only after his early death. Nowadays Timo K. Mukka is considered one the most influential Finnish writers of his time.

Having lived some years in the northern Finland, you cannot avoid hearing the name of Timo K. Mukka. Mukka lived most of his life in northern Finland and many of his novels are also set in there. However, although his reputation still lives on, he is not a novelist whose works are particularly read or appreciated. In that sense, there is a clear divide between the readers in northern Finland and in southern Finland, where Mukka’s influence is stronger. As for me, I probably would not have picked up The Earth is Sinful Song for a long while if it were not for the TBR 274 list. The blurb and the themes don’t really appeal to me that much and it was only because of the cover and some reviews praising his unique writing style that I decided to give this novel a try.

The Earth is a Sinful Song describes the people living in a small village in northern Lapland in the 1940s. The main character Martta is a young woman approaching adulthood and the book follows her journey of coming to terms with her sexuality and the realities of marriage in a small, close-knit community. Mixed in to the story are the relationship of her parents, the angry and sickly mother, the father who alternates between heavy drinking and hard working, and the old man who keeps a close eye on everyone. The life in the community revolves around two opposing issues: alcohol and religion, both of which include a hefty dose of sexual acts. When Martta sets her heart on the disreputable reindeer herder, she has to deal with the reactions from both her family as well as her nosy neighbours.

The writing reflects the dialect of the region which sets the story on the context of Lapland in the 1940s. Most of the time the story felt light-years away from modern day and it made it very hard for me to understand the actions of the characters. The praised style of writing was great, and I adored the short snippets of the melody that was strewn between chapters – if only the rest had been as mystical as that I would have given it five stars regardless of the plot. In the end, The Earth is a Sinful Song however was not to my taste and I found myself occasionally very alienated from the book. I understand the controversy as well as the novelty of the book, but the crudeness was a bit too much for me personally. It made the point it was trying, but in no way was it in good taste. Keeping all this in mind, I still very much appreciated how the book challenged me as a reader – it pushed me outside of my comfort zone and made me view things from a different perspective. For that reason solely, I would recommend The Earth is a Sinful Song as an example of experimental and modernist Finnish fiction. Nevertheless, I don’t think I’ll be taking on any of Timo K. Mukka’s other books any time soon. A very conflicting read.

3/5

kirjanvuosi15

April Reads and May Plans

Hello dears!

I can’t believe it’s already May! The last months have been a complete blur, and Easter holiday seems like light-years away. However, right now there’s sunshine outside, so I can’t help but to be excited for the upcoming summer. School’s settling down a bit before the summer break, so I managed to read quite a bit of books in April – 8 books to be precise! I’ve also been able to do a bit more blogging in the past month, so things are looking up 🙂

In April, I still had some final exams and essays to turn in, but also a lot of parties. I don’t know if it’s the spring air that inspired almost all of my friends to host spontaneous picnics and not-quite-my-birthday-but-still parties. Not that I’m complaining, but if you combine all that with the International Workers’ Day (or Labour Day) parties in Finland on May 1st (it’s a BIG thing around here), I really do hope that in May I can enjoy a few more relaxed evenings with a good book – the hangovers from those are often more emotional, but not so deteriorating. Although I’d be happy to take on more book launch parties because the excitement in those events is super addicting. It makes me want to read all the books.

Books I read in April:

My April reading began with a some classic children’s stories and Shakespeare. I also finally read The Snow Child which was so wonderful and heartwarming that it still makes me tear up. I then moved on to the pile of library books that I had. I read two collections from my Edith Södergran poetry collection, and I still have about 5 collections left, so it’ll take some time to finish that. Towards the end of the month I powered through The Perks of Being a Wallflower in one day. It was very thought-provoking, but I’ll talk about that a bit later. Right now I’m in the middle of three books, and constantly picking up new ones. But to quickly recap my thoughts on the books that I won’t be writing full reviews on:

The Brothers Lionheart is a classic children’s story by the wonderful author Astrid Lindgren. Growing up I was read to and read most of her children’s stories, but although The Brothers Lionheart is one of her most loved works, I never knew it. So in the vein of improving my Swedish (Lindgren was a Swede) and reading some fun and quick books over the Easter break, I picked it up during my library visit. The story is of two brothers whom the younger Karl is a sickly boy who is expected to die soon and the older Jonatan a brave and all round loved character. During the late nights of sickly bouts Jonatan tells Karl of Nangijala, a magical place where you go after you die and where they can have adventures together. Tragically the both end up in Nangijala sooner than expected, but Kalle is soon to discover that the peacefulness of Nangijala isn’t set in stone. Lovely book, surpisingly hard language – although still very beautiful – 4/5

During my last library visit, I saw that my library actually had one of Alan Bennett’s latest books, Smut, on their shelves and did a very small, very quiet victory dance. As some of you might know, Alan Bennett is one of my favourite comedy writers and reading his works always manages to pick me up. Smut is a collection of two short stories; one of which involves a middle-aged widow who supplements her income by acting out symptoms for medical students and the other a young couple wherein the husband is narcissistic and secretly gay and the wife runs everything from behind the scenes. Bennett crafts wittily these characters that appear to be the definition of British stiff upper lip and then bring them to contact with sex and erotica. Some of the moments made me laugh out loud and some cringe in shame. However, overall, both of the stories lacked oompf and they were quickly forgotten. The jokes stayed to amuse for a while, but I felt that the stories could have been taken further, which also would have made them more credible.  3/5

Books on my May TBR:

  • Open Secrets by Alice Munro (currently-reading)
  • The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold (currently-reading)
  • Edith Södergran – poems and aforisms (currently-reading)(Swedish)
  • The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz
  • The Beggar and the Hare by Tuomas Kyrö
  • Mr. Darwin’s Gardner by Kristina Carlson
  • How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran
  • 1984 by George Orwell
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Since there were some books left over from my April TBR, I shall include them as the basis of my May TBR. I’m almost done with Alice Munro’s short story collection Open Secrets which has been like a very pleasant acquaintance that you still can’t quite figure out. I also started reading The Lovely Bones at the end of April and so far it is horrible in the best way. It’s a book that will require some time to process. In May I hope to read a few more collections from my Edith Södergran poetry collection. I’ve now read the first two and I must say that I enjoyed the first one more than the second one. However, the more famous ones are still ahead, so I’m very excited to continue reading the collection!

I didn’t get to The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao nor to 1984 in April, so I hope to do that in May. Especially 1984 has been sitting on my nightstand for a while now, so I’d really love to finally read it. From my latest library haul, I have two Finnish books that have both been translated into English. First is The Beggar and the Hare which was chosen as one of this years Waterstones book club books. The story is kind of a re-telling of a popular finish novel, The Year of the Hare by Arto Paasilinna, but instead of a man going to the wilderness with a hare, it is about a Romanian immigrant and a city hare travelling across Finland. Sounds epic. The other novel, Mr. Darwin’s Gardener, is set in a small village in Kent in 1880 and follows the villagers and their reactions to the strange behaviour of the elusive Mr. Darwin and his gardener. I don’t really know what to expect from this book, but I like the sound of it.

Finally I have two late additions, one of which I haven’t yet even checked out from the library. I’ve been wanting to read some non-fiction lately and I narrowed the selection down to Patti Smith’s Just Kids and Catlin Moran’s How to Be a Woman. And since out of the two Just Kids is not in the library at the moment, there really was no choice. In the past two weeks I’ve been listening to several of Moran’s interviews and reading her columns, and I’ve found myself really liking her snarky style. I hope that How to Be a Woman will live up to all the praise that’s been circling around. And lastly, I have the long awaited, long overdue, sequel in June – To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Now that I also own a copy it’s high time that I get on that. And since many are reading it in wait of Go Set a Watchman, I’d like to join the fun.

That’s all for my April wrap up. Let me know what you read and what you’re planning to read in May.

Happy reading!x