10 books I look forward to reading in the autumn

Although I generally fail when it comes to TBRs, I enjoy the thrill of selecting books and curating a list of books that sound interesting or have been recommended to me. For my 20 books of summer project I read a total of 10 books from the selected 20, but instead of beating myself for it, I’ve decided to start afresh. Recently I’ve come across bloggers and vloggers making seasonal TBRs that cover several months instead of making set lists of books that they try to complete in 30 days. Inspired by this, I’ve compiled my own list of ten books that I’m excited about and that I believe will be perfect for the upcoming autumn months. Autumn is the time when I usually get back into classics and pick up heavier books, both in size as well as subject matter. Hence my autumn picks are divided into three genres:

Autumn2016C

  1. Classics
    1. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall – I’ve owned my copy now for over 2 years, and have been putting the book on my TBRs for approximately a year. I shall read this. It is decided.
    2. Anna Karenina – My big book for the summer that I, unfortunately, had to put down. But since I got to the half way point during summer, there’s still hope that I’ll finish this by the end of the year. I just need to commit to it.
    3. Stoner – It’s a bit odd to call this a ‘classic’ seeing that it surged in popularity only recently. However, based on what I’ve read so far, this seems like the perfect autumn read.Autumn2016CR
  2. Crime
    1. Career of Evil – Sadly, there were no beaches for me this summer, so my beach read of the summer will have to become a late-night-with-tea-and-quilts read.
    2. In the Woods – I bought this just recently, and I want to delve into Tana French’s writing. I’ve heard great things, and if I enjoy it, I’ll have five more books to go in this Dublin Murder Squad series.
    3. The Secret History – I won’t be returning to uni this autumn, so I’ll need my fix of university literature.Autumn2016CO
  3. Contemporary fiction
    1. The Vegetarian – I have it. I want to read it. QED.
    2. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – I love me some Tim Burton, and seeing that the film adaptation of this book is coming out soon, I want to know what to expect.
    3. OneironOneiron was one of the first books I purchased in the beginning of the year and, like A Little Life, one that I had been waiting to get my hands on for some time. It was the winner of last year’s Finlandia prize and in general one of the most hyped, loved and criticised book of the year. Now that the hype is gone, it should be the perfect time to read this.
    4. Uprooted / Remains of the Day / Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow / The Trial – Okay, so I have too many books that I want to read and cannot decided which one to add as my tenth pick. I’m hoping to get to at least one of these, better yet maybe two or three. Uprooted has peaked my interest with its Polish setting and interesting heroine, Ishiguro is on my 2016 TBR, Miss Smilla a book that I’ve owned almost since the beginning of my studies in university and The Trial a book in German that I’ve been meaning to get to (plus its short and a classic).

    Autumn2016CO2

    What are you planning on reading this autumn? Do your tastes change with the seasons or am I the only one affected by this? I’d love to hear about you’re reading in the comments! x

Advertisements

December Reads and January Plans

Hello lovely readers!


I hope your New Year’s Eve was wonderful, whether you were partying together or spending a lovely evening with a good book. I can’t believe it’s already 2016! December was been delightfully bookish because of the Christmas break. I’ve squeezed in 7 books and 3 graphic novels, bringing my yearly total to 98 books. My favourite of series of the month is definitely The Sandman graphic novel series, volume 2 perhaps my favourite of the three. As for novels, Celeste Ng’s Everything I Never Told You touched me deeply and made me reflect on race and prejudice. Hopefully the new year will also bring tons of similarly thought-provoking books to explore!

Books read in December:

  • The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
  • Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
  • Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marissa Meyer
  • The Sandman, vol. 2 by Neil Gaiman
  • The Sandman, vol. 3 by Neil Gaiman
  • The Sandman, vol. 4 by Neil Gaiman
  • The Signature of Everything by Elizabeth Gilbert
  • The Obituary Society by Jessica L. Randall
  • The Blue Room by Hanne Orstavik
  • The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

I will review the rest of the books – eventually – but not this one: The Obituary Society by Jessica L. Randall is a fluffy romance mystery novel with paranormal elements. I was browsing my Kindle in preparation for the holiday travelling and discovered it from my collection of unread ebooks. I honestly can’t even remember the reason why I’ve purchased it, but I believe it must be down to the intriguing title. It follows a 23-year-old young woman moving to a small town where her recently departed grandfather originated from and quickly becoming entangled with the local affairs and mysteries behind her grandfather. Despite the intriguing name, the novel left much to to be desired. The romance part was lacklustre, the mystery underdeveloped and the paranormal just plain weird. There are some clear inconsistencies in the writing, and the story overall would have needed a wee bit of more editing. All in all the book is OK, but not something I would recommend to anyone. 2/5

In January I want to kickstart my year of reading the books I already own. I acquired over 50 books in 2015 and about 30 of them are still unread. I’ve discovered that dedicating one month to reading the TBR usually helps in getting started in cutting the omniously large TBR. Moreover, it’s too easy to forget the treasures stored on the shelves and the reasons why I felt the urge to read that particular book. I don’t want to buy books for the sake of buying, but for the stories that they bring. Hence I’ve listed bellow 15 books I’ve acquired in 2015 but didn’t get round to reading.

Books to read in January:

  • A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara (currently reading)
  • Jokapäiväinen elämämme by Riikka Pelo (Finnish)
  • 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
  • Aika sattuu – Vironhaikuja by Asko Künnap, Karl Martin Sinijärv & Jürgen Rooste (Estonian haiku poetry)
  • Us by David Nicholls
  • The Master and the Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
  • Sielut kulkevat sateessa by Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen (Finnish)
  • Hägring 38 by Kjell Westö (Swedish)
  • A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
  • The Trial by Franz Kafka (German)
  • The Road by Cormac McCarthy
  • Essays by George Orwell
  • Down the Rabbit Hole by Juan Pablo Villalobos
  • Ant Farm and Other Desperate Situations by Simo Rich
  • A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra

Bout of BooksThe list features a mixture of languages, genres, time periods and formats (some of these are ebooks), so it should be an interesting month. Some of these I’m more eager to start with than the others, but only time will tell which books will end up in my January wrap-up. In addition, I hope to focus more on writing blog posts in January – both reviews and 2015 recaps. I still have last year’s stats and goals to go over as well as the goals for 2016. The annual Bout of Books will also take place from January 4th to January 11th, and I’m determined to participate once again! I don’t have big goals, just to read a bit every day, but I will try to write some short daily updates here. Lots to do, so hang tight! x

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 4th and runs through Sunday, January 10th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 15 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

November Reads and December Plans

Hello December and Oh-my-God-where-has-the-year-gone!

Yes, it’s that time of the year again. The most talked issue lately has been the passing of the year and it seems that either my friends and I are all under the misconception that the year is 14 months long or just growing busier and busier every year. Sigh. It’s also so dark outside in Finland that I sometimes start thinking about going to sleep already at four o’clock in the afternoon – no kidding. Hibernation should be a thing. I’ve not yet caught the holiday spirit, but I think it’ll come along nicely after all my deadlines are over. Fingers crossed.

The month of November was pretty decent in the reading front. I read 5 books in the month and have now read a total of 88 books this year. I took me about two weeks to finish Frankenstein–a bit of a struggle, I have to admit–and after that I mostly went for short books. The books that I read in November are quite an eclectic mix: I’ve got romance, classic, contemporary women’s fiction, modern classic with post-colonial vibes, and a historical literary fiction all in one month. Some I enjoyed more than the others, but unfortunately none of them truly stood out. However, I’ve read so many absolutely wonderful novels this year, that I’m already hesitant whether I’ll be able to narrow it down to top 10 at the end of the month.

Books I read in November:

  • A Rogue by Any Other Name by Sarah MacLean
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  • Iiris Lempivaaran raskas ja levoton sydän by Riikka Pulkkinen
  • Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
  • The Brothers by Asko Sahlberg

Once I do get back into the swing of writing reviews, I’ll try to write reviews for all of these. To summarize my feelings for each books: I was positively surprised by the writing in A Rogue by Any Other Name; frustrated and intrigued by Frankenstein; cheering for the feminism in Iiris Lempivaaran raskas ja levoton sydän (eng. The heavy and restless heart of Iiris Lempivaara); fascinated and repelled with display of colonialism in Wide Sargasso Sea, and slightly puzzled with The Brothers. 

I’m currently in the middle of reading The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón which, despite the very engaging and weaving writing style, I am not head-over-heels in love with. I can see why people love it so much, and there’s still about 200 more pages for the story to grow even more interesting, but at the moment it’s only at the ‘very enjoyable’ point of the scale.

Books I plan on reading in December:

  • The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón (currently-reading)
  • Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
  • Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
  • The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth George
  • The Winter Book by Tove Jansson
  • The Blue Room by Hanne Orstavik
  • Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin
  • The Sandman, vol. 2–4 by Neil Gaiman

Although it’s the end of the year, I still have a massive list of books that I’d want to tick off as “read in 2015”. Nevertheless, I’m trying not to put too much stress on my end of the year TBR. Yes, it would be nice to reach 100 books or to complete all of my reading goals, but it’s just not going to happen. I’ll also be travelling a lot in December due to Christmas visits, so I’ve tried to come up with a combination that will stop me from lugging a stone of books in my rucksack. From the list, I’ve three as ebooks and the rest are either paperback or library books that are due back before the holidays begin.

Last year I did a thing where I went through all of the book hauls I had done that year and tried to read as many of the unread books as I could. This year, however, my book acquisition habit has gone through the roof. I quickly counted that this year’s list would probably contain around 30 titles, which means I’d feel disheartened already at the start of the month. Hence, I think I shall keep the idea and move it for January 2016 (maybe also February). It shall be my first bookish resolution of the new year. Estella from Estella’s Revenge is doing something similar with the #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks challenge, so if you’re experiencing the same issue and want some more support and concrete rules, you should check it out!

That’s all for this wrap-up post. I hope you’re all having a wonderful December and I look forward to hearing about your reading plans for the rest of the year. Happy reading! x

October Reads and November Plans

Hi guys!

Well, this is awkward. I had all these great plans about my blogoversary (Dawn of books is now 2 years old!), blogging about this year’s Helsinki Book Fair and attending lots of author and blogger events. Also, I thought I could magically catch up with my male to female ratio within one month. It’s now safe to say that none of these things happened. I haven’t written or published a single post in the entire month and, looking back, I’m genuinely surprised I even had time to read any books. I finished 8 books in October, most of them in crazy reading bouts on weekends or during long train rides, but overall my life has lately been sorrowfully un-bookish. I was going to rant about exactly how un-bookish my life currently is, but then I realised that I’m reading exactly as many books as per usual. Sure, there are fewer moments when I could be reading, but now when I get that moment, I make use of it in order to read as much as I possibly can. At the moment, my time is pretty much divided between working, studying and writing my Master’s Thesis, but it doesn’t mean I’ll completely stop reading (or blogging).

To look on the bright side side of life, October did see some cool bookish events. I saw Aki Ollikainen (the author of White Hunger) speak about his books and his writing process. I haven’t yet read his latest, but I’m looking forward to it. The event was surprisingly low-key and fun, because the author invited the audience to ask questions, which presented some very interesting conversations. I also got to attend the annual Helsinki Book Fair on Saturday 24th and shortly on Sunday 25th, saw authors talk about their favourite books, listened to a fascinating panel on ebooks, and overspent on books. I bought five books during the first day; at first there was just one and then suddenly I was standing at the register holding my fifth purchase! I’ll try to write a post about my Book Fair weekend and the books that I bought in November soon-ish, so there should at least be one post coming up in this month!

Books read in October:

  • Aniara: An Epic Science Fiction Poem by Harry Martinson
  • Juoppohullun päiväkirja by Juha Vuorinen
  • King Lear by William Shakespeare
  • Satin Island by Tom McCarthy
  • Saga, vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughn & Fiona Staples
  • Valomerkki (Northern Overexposure #5) by JP Ahonen
  • Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
  • A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf

The one book in the list that I won’t be reviewing separately is Juoppohullun päiväkirja (eng. The Diary of a Drunkard/Sot) by Juha Vuorinen. To summarise my review: this book just wasn’t for me. Not one bit. The potential DNF-point came already within the first 30 pages, because there is no point in this novel – except to laugh at an alcoholic young man and his fellow drunks getting into all sorts of scrapes whilst intoxicated. It’s screwball humour mixed with toilet humour; not my cup of tea. The book is an interesting publishing phenomenon – having sold as much as it has and being first published online – but it most definitely isn’t a title I’d include in the Finnish “100 Books You Must Read”.1.5/5 stars

My current to-be-reviewed pile is at 21 books, so once I get the time, I’ll have to come up with a strategy to overcome my constantly growing pile of unreviewed books. However, if you’re interested in reading my immediate reactions to the books I’m reading, I suggest you check out my Goodreads feed. I tend to write quick summaries after finishing the book, so that I won’t forget them before typing up the review post. And now that my blogging hiatus/whatever is on, I need those to refresh my memory.

Books I’ll try to pick up in November:

  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (currently reading)
  • Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
  • Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
  • Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert
  • The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Following the theme of Halloween, I started reading Frankenstein on the last day of October. I’ve heard interesting things about this classic Gothic horror novel, and it sounds very intriguing. It’s an epistolary novel, so the last few days I’ve read about one or two letters a night before my brain has shut down. Not to say it’s drowsy or anything, but I’m looking forward to the weekend to dive into the story. Moreover, Frankenstein fits perfectly in my plans to read more female writers! Also on my November TBR is Everything I Never Told You which I recently purchased for my Kindle. According to some reviews, it’s been one of the more challenging and diverse YA titles of late, so I’m interested to see how it plays out.

Next up are two books from my October library haul: Wide Sargasso Sea and Signature of All Things. My number one goal on this library haul was to get books by female authors, so I picked both short and long titles to suit different reading moods. Wide Sargasso Sea is a modern classic that tells the story of Bertha Mason from Jane Eyre. Based on the first sentence alone, I’m sure the book will be a new experience. When I reviewed the fantastic Mr Darwin’s Gardener, Naomi of Consumed by Ink recommended Elizabeth Gilbert’s Signature of All Things as a book with similar themes. I’ve read Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love – which I wasn’t a fan of – but because the reviews on Signature of All Things have been more than positive, I’m giving Gilbert another go.

Lastly, I have Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s The Shadow of the Wind. This doesn’t fall into the category of “books by women authors”, but I’ve been looking forward to this book for so long that I couldn’t resist it any longer. In fact, I think the bookish themes and mysteries of this book will fit perfectly the dark and gloomy season ahead. It’s a book that will be enjoyed with big cups of tea (and maybe some fresh-from-the-oven treats). This month I’ve refrained from adding Anne Brontë’s The Tenant of Wilderfell Hall for the fifth month running to my TBR. I’m still interested in the book, but since it seems I’m never getting round to reading it, I’ll lay it aside for a while and get back to it maybe next month or in the beginning of next year. I can’t believe next year is less than two months away! As always, the TBR list is highly prone to change and the end result will very much depend on how much time I can set aside for reading.

I hope you all had a wonderful October and that November will treat you well. Happy reading! x

September Reads and October Plans

October’s here, which means it’s time for candles, big cups of tea, and bookish events! Autumn has never been my favourite season, but with so many exciting things planned ahead, I think October might turn out to be a fun month. However, let’s first look back at what I read in September.

September was a strange month because despite a busy schedule I still read 10 books. In the beginning of the month, I wrapped up my Summer Readings and also hauled a big pile of classics from the library. Nevertheless, this time I didn’t reach for the chunkier classics but chose books that were generally under 200 pages. Hence why I finished so many books. In September I also took part in a fun nationwide campaign where people gathered in public to form a “reading queue” and read their book for about 15 minutes. The event aimed to make reading a more visible activity and social activity. I’m glad I participated since I had some very interesting bookish conversations with the other participants!

Books read in September: 

  • Kiinalainen puutarha by Markus Nummi (Finnish)
  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  • Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
  • Pomes All Sizes by Jack Kerouac
  • Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  • Matkalle: Kirjaviennin uusi aika by Markku Kaskela & Jukka Koskelainen (Finnish)
  • The Black Tongue by Marko Hautala
  • Hamlet by William Shakespeare
  • Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
  • Kolmen metrin pino. Sivuja kääntäjän työpöydältä by Thomas Warburton (Finnish)

In September I read two Finnish books that had more of an informational value than purely entertainment: Matkalle (On a journey) and Kolmen metrin pino (A three metre pile). Both are also titles that have not been translated into English, so I will only give a quick review of them here instead of writing full length posts.

Firstly, Matkalle is a non-fiction book about literature exchange business in Finland and it consists of interviews and small pieces written by different professionals. For some time now, I’ve wanted to know more about the process of selling and buying translation rights and the entire process behind translated books. I’m actually planning on doing my thesis on the role of translator in this process, so I read this book partly for research and partly for general interest. It’s a nice introduction to the different roles of authors, agents, foreign rights officers and support organisations, but overall, I think the book lacked a solid conclusion. 3.5/5 stars

The second book, Kolmen metrin pino is a small memoir of a literary translator Thomas Warburton. The name of the translator was unfamiliar to me before I picked up this book, mainly because Warburton is a Swedish translator and originally also wrote his memoir in Swedish. However, what makes him interesting is the fact that Warburton has translated many Finnish classics that are considered to be very difficult and also in his 50 years of translation also tackled classics such as Joyce’s Ulysses and Sterne’s Tristram Sandy. Warburton keeps the focus of his memoir primarily on his career and marks time through the book that he was translating. For someone interested in literary translation, the book offers insights as well as some good tips for what to consider when starting out. 4/5 stars

Autumn often puts me in the mood to read classics, which is wonderful because I love classics! However, the downside of reading many classics is that they are mostly written by men and this pushes against my female to male ratio challenge. Out of the ten books that I read in September, only one was by a female author and, what’s more, my nightstand is also filled with mostly books by male authors. So to reach that 50/50 balance by the end of the year, I really need to get some more female authors on my reading list – might need to do a special women-only library haul in October since my most recent book haul also consists mostly of male authors!

Books on my October TBR:

  • Aniara: An Epic Science Fiction Poem by Harry Martinson (currently reading)
  • Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
  • Lithium-6 by Risto Isomäki
  • The Brothers by Asko Sahlberg
  • King Lear by William Shakespeare
  • The Tenant of Wilderfell Hall by Anne Brontë
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Having said that, I’m not fully giving up on reading male authors either. There are so many exciting books that it would be a shame to ignore them simply because I want to win at some silly self-imposed challenge. For example, I’m currently reading Aniara: An Epic Science Fiction Poem by the Nobel Prize winning Harry Martinson, and it’s bloody brilliant. Like mind-blowingly good. I also want to read Risto Isomäki’s (author of The Sands of Sarasvati) book Lithium-6, because the English translation is coming out in the beginning of October. In addition, I have The Brothers by Asko Sahlberg, a Shakespearean drama set in 1809 Finland (published by the lovely Peirene Press), as well as Shakespeare’s King Lear on loan from the library.

In order to balance my male-heavy TBR for October, I went through my unread books and picked up three that I think I would love to read this month. First is The Tenant of Wilderfell Hall by Anne Brontë, which I’ve been meaning to get to since July. Nevertheless, I think autumn evenings might be the perfect atmosphere to enjoy this story. Next I have Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven, which I’m finally going to read. I bought an ebook copy of this very loved book in early August and I’ve been itching to start it. And finally, because October is also the month of Halloween, I have Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Having read another scary classic, Dracula, during the summer, I think it’s finally time to also tick this one off the TBR 274. I’ve also heard some wonderful things about the structure of the novel, so I look forward to reading and experiencing it myself.

As is the fate of TBRs, this one might also change as the month progresses. In the end, it all depends on how much time I’ll be able to devote to reading. For the end of this post, I’d like to thank everyone who has been commenting and liking my post during the past few weeks. I’m sorry that I have been late in answering you comments, but I hope to improve on that in October. Happy reading! x

July–September Book Haul

IMG_7806

New books equal new adventures. During the past summer I read a lot of books (30 to be precise) and, consequently, also acquired a ton of new books. A total of nineteen books is definitely more than I had planned for, but as fellow bloggers and avid readers, you probably recognise the telling signs of a book junkie. Nevertheless, it’s hard to feel truly guilty about the new and exciting stories that now habit my shelves. Here are the new tenants of my bookshelves, moved in between June and September.

IMG_7778Firstly, I’m extremely happy to finally possess a copy of perhaps my favourite book, Animal Farm by George Orwell. The lovely kainzow from Eye of Lynx was so kind to gift me this stunning Folio Society edition. I’ve only seen pictures of these editions and they all look wonderful, but now that I also have the chance to hold one in my hands, I can vouch that they are truly crafted with love. All of the Folio Society editions are illustrated by a different artist, and what better combination that George Orwell and Quentin Blake! This, ladies and gentlemen, is true love.

Aside from writing Animal Farm, George Orwell was also a brilliant essayist, and one of his most known essays is Politics and the English Language. Having read that last year, I was left with a longing to explore more of his essays. Hence when I saw this handy Penguin edition of George Orwell’s Essays in Shakespeare & Sons in Berlin, I knew it would be coming home with me. During my four day trip to Berlin, I did actually visit Shakespeare & Sons twice, because from the moment I stepped into the shop, it became one of my favourite bookshops. I could easily spend hours upon hours just browsing through their collection, then order coffee and lose myself in my choice of a book. And each visit to the shop naturally had to be christened with a new purchase; the second time around I brought home a copy of The Road by Cormac McCarthy. I’ve heard great things about The Road and my boyfriend remembered that the film adaptation was very good, so I’m curious to see the secrets that this book holds.

IMG_7786

Contrary to my two book purchases in Berlin, the third book I bought during that trip was in German. I’ve been meaning to read more Kafka and thus when presented a chance, I decided to challenge myself to read Kafka’s The Trial in German. My German friends told me they had to study the novel in school from these school print editions, so I naturally went and bought one in the same edition. I’ve only read Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka, but I’ve heard some rumours about The Trial and its absurdity. I will report back on how my language skills faired with this one.

The next three books I purchased all within one day. Firstly, there was a big bookshop sale that had a lot of interesting titles sold for the price of a big cup of coffee. I picked up two books from that sale: Down the Rabbit Hole by Juan Pablo Villalobos and A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra. Down the Rabbit Hole is translated from Spanish and it follows the Mexican drug cartel through the eyes of a small boy. Jean from Jean BookishThoughts recommended this a long time ago, and because I can’t remember when was the last time I read some Spanish literature, I decided to give this a go. The other title, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, is a big blogger favourite and I’ve seen this book receive lots of love from some of the bloggers I follow. Anthony Marra’s newest novel is coming out in October (I believe), so I’m really looking forward to discovering Marra’s writing style.

IMG_7794

After the book shop sale, I went to visit my favourite second hand bookshop, Arkadia International Bookshop, where I came across Simon Rich’s Ant Farm and Other Desperate Situations. Simon Rich is an American humorist who launched to fame with this particular collection when he was still an undergraduate. Rich is to date the youngest person to have been hired by Saturday Night Live and has also worked for Pixar. I heard about Rich through Veronica from Ron Lit and having later read a couple of short stories and columns written by him, I was excited to find his debut collection at the shop.

At the end of August, I realised that I had gone from reading four Tove Jansson novels and a biography in one year (aka. my Tove100 project) to reading none – and that was depressing. Perhaps it was the slow onset of autumn, but I began to desperately crave for Jansson’s writing. So I did what I usually do and picked up a library copy of The Winter Book. However, about three days later I was visiting my local bookshop and they were selling a boxset of four Tove Jansson novels for five euros – an offer which I most definitely could not pass. The boxset includes Sculptor’s Daughter and The Summer Book (both of which I read last year) but also two new-to-me novels: The True Deceiver and The Winter Book. It should come as no surprise that I returned the book to the library in record time. Moreover, I adore these colourful cover illustrations!IMG_7780

IMG_7800The Winter Book was not, however, the only acquisition somehow foreseen by a library haul. I picked up a copy of The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne during my latest library haul thinking that I should probably try to read this classic during the autumn time. Then the next day I came across a wild copy of the same book when I was running past the Free Little Library shelf at my university campus. I was in a bit of a hurry, so I picked it up out of curiosity, and only remembered later that I already had a library copy at home. My book collection is slowly reaching the point in which I soon begin to buy second copies of books because I forget that I already own one. Help!

And then there were the ebooks. Compared to the amount of physical books I’ve hauled in during these three months, my ebook selection has stayed relatively within the limits of normal. In fact, four of the seven ebooks were review copies, one I’ve been highly anticipating, one was a spur of the moment purchase and one… well, let’s just say that I’m still trying to get into this author’s work.kesäkirjat15

First off are Half Bad by Sally Green and A Window Opens by Elisabeth Egan. Both were provided me for review through Netgalley and you can find my reviews of them through the links. I’m generally more of a backlist reader, but I do sometimes get curious about the up-and-coming titles. In the case of Half Bad, the book has been out for a while now, but it is still making the rounds in translation. Overall, I enjoyed Half Bad, although not as much as I had hoped for, and was very pleasantly surprised by A Window Opens.

Evelina by Frances Burney is yet another recommendation from the lovely Veronica from Ron Lit – she blurbed it as “one of the books that influenced Jane Austen”. That alone makes the book interesting in my eyes, but considering that it is 18th century literature (something that I’m completely unfamiliar with) and with a fascinating premise – uncultured country girl colliding with the rules of high society. I hope Evelina turns out to be as wonderful as it sounds!

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel took the blogosphere by storm last year (or was it the year before that?). The story of post-apocalyptic world with touring theatre group performing Shakespeare and the infamous “Survival is insufficient” quote pulled me in, but due to many circumstances, it took me until August to actually purchase a copy. I am aware that my expectation for this novel are soon about to hit the roof, so I should just get to reading this instead of thinking about it!

Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. Many adore everything that Neil Gaiman writes (it’s almost like the legend of Midas touch). However, Ocean at the End of the Lane seems to be one of the few books that divides Gaiman fans. I’ve so far read three books by him and, with the exception of The Sandman, I’ve mostly found them to be ‘okay’, but not earth-shattering by any means. Thus I’m interested to see how this book compares to the other books that I’ve read by him.

Lastly I picked up two books for the upcoming dark and chilly autumn evenings. Both The Black Tongue by Marko Hautala and Lithium-6 by Risto Isomäki are upcoming titles that have been translated from Finnish.Both translations are published by AmazonCrossing and I’ve received them from the publisher (via Netgalley) for review. The Black Tongue (pub. September 22nd) is promised to be a dark psychological thriller about an urban legend of a hatchet granny, and it has received raving reviews from other Finnish book bloggers. Horror isn’t one of my go-to genres, so I hope that The Black Tongue will enrich my reading experiences. Lithium-6 (pub. October 6th) on the other hand is a science fiction mystery featuring nuclear terrorism from the same author who wrote one of my favourite books of last year, Risto Isomäki. I was super impressed by The Sands of Sarasvati, so I cannot wait to read this one!

I think my shelves are now fully stocked for the upcoming months, and my bank account could definitely use a bit of a break from book shopping. My goal is to hold off from book buying until the end of October when I’ll be attending the Helsinki Book Fair 2016!

September Plans

Hello again, fellow readers!

Yesterday, I wrapped up my summer reading, so today it’s all about what I’ll be reading next. The morning air is getting that slow-settling chill and the leaves in trees are turning first yellow and then red. This September I’m also starting my final year at university, which is a bit sad but at the same time I’m super excited about some of my final courses. My free reading time will probably be cut to half of what it was during the summer, so don’t expect me to reach the same 9–10 books a month pace that I had during the past months.

Books on my September TBR:

  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (currently reading)
  • Pomes All Sizes by Jack Kerouac
  • Ariana: An Epic Science Fiction Poem by Harry Martinson (Swedish)
  • The Tenant of Wilderfell Hall by Anne Brontë
  • Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
  • Hamlet by William Shakespeare
  • King Lear by William Shakespeare
  • The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  • The Brothers by Asko Salhberg
  • The Black Tongue by Marko Hautala

My September TBR is almost 100% library books, with the exception of The Tenant of Wilderfell Hall, which got left over from my 20 Books of Summer list, and The Black Tongue, which is an ARC of the English translation of a popular Finnish crime novel that’s coming out in November. I’m currently reading The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, which has been on my radar for quite some time. I can’t say too much about it at this point, but I’m definitely intrigued by it. Unlike my summer list, which had more than few books that were over 500 pages, in September I have a lot of poetry and plays, which are quite short compared to novels. I have no idea what to expect from the two poetry collections, but from the first pages that I read in the library, Jack Kerouac’s poetry is curious. Ariana was recommended to me by one of my friends who is an avid science fiction reader – according to him, this Nobel Prize winner is among the best. As for the three Shakespeare plays, I’m pretty sure I’ll end up reading either just one or two of the plays, but it’s good to have variety, right?

The Scarlet Letter and Slaughterhouse-Five might seem like they have nothing in common, but they are both texts that I’ve heard so so much about that it almost feels like I’ve read them – which is why I really do need to read them. And finally we have yet another Finnish novel translated by Emily and Fleur Jeremiah and published by Peirene Press – The Brothers. I’ve loved the previous two Peirene Press novels that I’ve read – White Hunger and Mr Darwin’s Gardener (both by Finnish authors) – so I trust that The Brothers to be wonderful. Peirene Press is quickly becoming one of my favourite indie publishers, and that’s just based on their selection of Finnish fiction!

That’ll be all for my TBR. I’ll keep on trying to catch up with reviews, and I hope to share my summer book haul with you soon! So many new and exciting books. In the meantime, let me know what you’re looking forward to reading this month! Cheers! x

June Reads and 20 Books of Summer

Happy summer, readers!

June marked the beginning of my summer, expect that nobody seemed to have told Mother Earth that it was time to crank up those temperatures. Oh well, the dreary and rainy days definitely gave me enough encouragement to read and the month was filled with many amazing books. Oh man, the books. Lately I had been reading a lot of OK-but-not-really-amazing-nor-mindblowing books and, aside from a few glimmers of brilliance, I felt a bit underwhelmed with my reading. I guess it was all down to picking the right book – and especially the beginning of June introduced MANY that were beyond amazing.

In total, I read 11 books in June (with the exception of Dracula which I finished this morning) and signed up for two reading challenges: Books on the Nightstand Summer Bingo and 20 Books of Summer (see below). 11 books is a lot to me, and I do not expect to achieve that again – mainly because July will be a busier month and I have some real chunksters on my TBR. In July I will take a break from my dear local library and focus on tackling the books on my shelves. I have formed a bad habit of taking out too many books from the library and then prioritizing them over my own books, which is why I feel that I should probably take a little break and show some love to my personal collection. And as I’m once again heading to Berlin, I expect a slight (hopefully very small) growth in the collection.

Books read in June:

I do plan on writing full reviews for most of these books, but Saving Wishes by G.J. Walker-Smith isn’t one of them. Mainly because it really wasn’t my cup of tea and I don’t have much to say about it – or should I say, I have more problems with this book than positives. The story follows a young 17-year-old girl in an Australian small town who wants to get away as soon as possible. She and her best friend have been planning on this trip for a long time when a handsome visitor enters the town. The book is a first in the series, and with all its instalove and woe-is-me-life-is-unfair, I can see some people really enjoying it. Unfortunately I am not one of them. For me it was more of an exercise in eye-rolling. If it hadn’t been my dear friend pushing me to read it, I probably would have stopped after the first two chapters. It is by far not the worst of its genre, but the story needs more work and the writing more showing, not telling. For what it’s worth, it was a quick read for a 300+ paged book. 2/5

TBR for July & August: 20 books of summer

This summer Cathy from 764 Books is hosting a reading challenge called 20 Books of Summer in which the challenge is to pick 20 books that you hope to read during the summer months. Since I am already doing the BONTS Summer Bingo challenge, I decided to pick books that would also fit to the bingo squares as well as books that have been on my TBR for some time now. The end result can be seen below. Since I posted this picture on the 10th of June, I’ve already read 6 of the 20 books, but I don’t think I’ll be able to read all of the rest in July alone. So I think it’s more appropriate to call this my combined July & August TBR. The only thing missing from the picture and the list is the complete collection of poetry and aforisms by Edith Södergran which I’ve been reading since March (I think). With poetry I feel that it serves the experience to take your time and read only a few pages at a time. I could easily rush through the rest of the collection, but I probably wouldn’t remember anything of what I was reading after a while.

20booksofsummer2015

20 Books of Summer 2015 (from bottom to top):

  • Dracula by Bram Stoker (illustrations by Becky Cloonan) ✓
  • The Egyptian by Mika Waltari ✓
  • Just Kids by Patti Smith ✓
  • The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath ✓
  • A Girl is A Half-Formed Thing by Eimear McBride ✓
  • Atonement by Ian McEwan ✓
  • A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens ✓
  • Hägring 38 by Kjell Westö
  • Kiinalainen puutarha by Markus Nummi ✓
  • The Beggar and the Hare by Tuomas Kyrö ✓
  • Tähtikirkas, lumivalkea by Joel Haahtela ✓
  • A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin
  • Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell ✓
  • The Tenant of Wilderfell Hall by Anne Brontë
  • The Loved One by Evelyn Waugh ✓
  • Quiet by Susan Cain (on Kindle) ✓
  • Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley (on Kindle) ✓
  • The Princess Bride by William Goldman (on Kindle) ✓
  • Cinder by Marissa Meyer (on Kindle) ✓
  • The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith (on Kindle) ✓

A lot of reviews and a progress report on my 2015 reading challenges are waiting to be written, so this shall be all for now. Happy reading and lots of sunny days wherever you are!