Quarterly check up on that TBR pile (part 2)

They always say that accountability helps with achieving things, so here we go.

American War by Omar El Akkad
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Bortom Varje Rimligt Tvivel by Malin Persson Giolito
Bottenskrap by Jørn Lier Horst
The Culture Map by Erin Meyer
De Indische Romans by Helkla S. Haasse
Der Kleine Prinz by Antoine de Saint-Expery (German version)
En Officer & Spion by Robert Harris
The Female Eunuch by Germaine Greer
Feminist Fight Club by Jessica Bennett
Fjällfolk by Bernhard Nordh
Freja by Johanne Hildebrandt
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Grottmannen by Jørn Lier Horst
Himmel und Hölle by Alice Munro (German version of Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage)
I Marsfjällets skugga by Bernhard Nordh
Illiaden by Homer (Swedish version)
Independent People by Halldor Laxness
Jesus was Cesar by Francesco Carotta
Love and Friendship by Jane Austen
Matthildur by Roald Dahl (Icelandic version)
Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson
Odysseen by Homer (Swedish version)
On the Shortness of Life by Seneca
Paradise Reclaimed by Halldor Laxness
Persuasion by Jane Austen
Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Samlade Dikter by Edith Södergran
The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir
Snare by Lilja Sigurdardottir
The State of Africa by Martin Meredith
Stjärnklart by Lars Wilderäng
Unspeakble Things by Laurie Penny
Vinterstängt by Jørn Lier Horst
Washington Black by Esi Edugyan
Watchmen by Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons
Winter in Madrid by C.J. Sansom
Äta Kakan och ha den kvar by Kristin Emilsson
1793 by Niklas Natt och Dag

Det står ett rum här och väntar på dig by Ingrid Carlberg
A book with 3 stories by Selma Lagerlöf (can’t find it anywhere to link to)
Nederland. Een objectief zelfportret in 51 voorwerpen by Wim Brands

By month:

January – I got nothing.
February – I got 2 and felt like a fucking champion. (Freja & Snare).
March – Culture Map, Bortom varje rimligt tvivel, American War, Washington Black.

April – I marsfjällets skugga.
May – Äta kakan och ha den kvar & Unspeakable Things, abandoned 1793.
June – Stjärnklart.

While not as good as the first quarter, I find this acceptable. 11 down in total, not shabby at all.

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June wrap-up

The Books

Brandon Sanderson’s The Way of Kings (Stormlight Archive #1) (re-read)
Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orïsha, #1)
Lars Wilderängs Stjärnklart (Stjärnklart #1)

Well, Stormlight Archives still holds up – the first book was as good as I remembered. Second book was a bit more “meh”. It was of course not bad at all, and the story caught my attention, I just haven’t thought about it at all since putting it away. The book about Amy Byler was the big surprise in this list. I picked it as part of the summer reading challenge. It was the one in a list whose cover seemed to be in my taste. I really really enjoyed it! GW’s book was far from interesting, but I still finished it. Sjärnklart was not bad for a Swedish dystopic book, but not as good as Swedavia (also (spoiler alert!) the second part makes it clear he’s going with the alien invasion as reason… so boring.)

The Shows

Lucifer
The Big Bang Theory (trying to finish it…)
Designated Survivor (S01!)
Friends from College

The Movies

Always be my Maybe
About Time
A Star is Born
Bohemian Rhapsody
Ex Machina
A Simple Favor

Ok, so. I’ve mentioned the first two earlier (recommend both!). A star is born was underwhelming, but maybe my expectations were set too high based on the hype. Bohemian Rhapsody was quite entertaining. Ex Machina was good. However, the by far favorite was A simple favor. I mean it has Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively as the main characters!

The workouts

This month has been a bit on and off with the workouts, mainly as I finally had enough of the old gym and how busy it is (only took close to 6 months). Found a new gym and have done a trial week there to see if I like it (I do!). Hopefully July will be more consistent in this area.

 

April wrap-up

The Books:

Bernhard Nordhs I Marsfjällets skugga
Torgny Lindgrens Ormens väg på hälleberget
Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Grey
Lena Anderssons Utan personligt ansvar (Ester Nilsson #2)

Meh. Most memorable is the environment/nature in the first book, and the storyline of Dorian Grey. Still enjoy Lena Anderssson’s language though. (And only the first one was a physical book… that TBR pile is still staring at me.)

The Movies:

Someone Great

Basically, I’ll watch anything that has anyone from Pitch Perfect in it. In this case – Brittany Snow. The other two leading ladies were also very worth seeing!

The Shows:

Gilmore Girls (season 6 now!)
Black Mirror (yes, I’m slow)

March Summary

The books

Erin Meyer’s The Culture Map
Malin Persson Giolitos Bortom varje rimligt tvivel (Sophie Weber #2)
Maria Langs Inte flera mord!
Omar El Akkad’s  American War
Esi Edugyan’s Washington Black
Johanna Junekes Swedavien
Look at me read! Best ones were American War & Swedavien, although Washington Black was also a very nice read. (Not saying the others were bad, just less memorable.)

The movies

Isn’t it Romantic
The Dirt. Cause Lisa mentioned it in passing.
Behind the Curve

All 3 were worth seeing! First one with Rebel Wilson (and small cameo by Tom Ellis) and a Hemsworth brother. Movie about Motley Crue (I did read the book, but many years ago). And then the wildcard – a movie about flat-earthers. I would normally never have watched that, but Martin at work recommended it, so I did. And it was quite amusing.

The shows

House of Cards (final season)
Agents of SHIELD
Champions
Gilmore Girls
Turn Up Charlie
Wild, wild country

Ok, well now Jess left for California without even telling Rory, so I’m now on neutral grounds. The boys in this show are stupid, and Rory deserves better. I really enjoyed Champions as well, and Turn Up Charlie, but they got their own posts already, so enough with that. Wild, wild Country is a show I’ve watched only during warm-up at the gym (so we’re talking 5 minute increments here), and I finished it now, only 6 months later. My verdict? Meh.

February wrap-up (a.k.a “week 9”)

Can we just start with this song? I can’t say that I know the National at all, and having listened to the original afterwards, I still prefer this cover by my favorite Icelander:

The Books

Marion Zimmer-Bradley’s The mists of Avalon
Maria Langs Farligt att förtära
Karolina Ramqvists Den vita staden
Lilja Sigurðardóttir’s Snare
Jenny Colgan’s The cafe by the sea
Johanne Hildebrandts Freja
Malala Yousafzai’s I am Malala
A.J. Jacobs’ The Year of Living Biblically: One Man’s Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible

They were all pretty good, I have to say. Looking back, I remember Snare (not necessarily the storyline, but the feeling the book gave me) and Freja. Meanwhile Jenny Colgan has become my most reliable read when it comes to chicklit.

Concerning Maria Lange though – I rather enjoy the books, but the mortality rate in them is close to Midsummer Murders numbers, and you as a reader wonder how this woman can be welcomed into any circles.

The Movies

Decoy Bride

Yep, rewatched it. David Tennant is in it, and they speak Scottish – what’s not to love?

The Shows

Orphan Black
Gilmore Girls
Derry Girls
The Good Place
House of Cards
Star Trek: Discovery

We finished Orphan Black! And yeah, it was pretty great. Very impressed by Tatiana Maslany’s portrayal of… dozens (?) of characters and still managing to make them feel genuine. Meanwhile, in Gilmore Girls, I’m completely on team Jess (sorry L! you were right all along) and Dean is a jerk. And Sonequa Martin-Green is the coolest main character in Star Trek that I’ve seen.

2018 in books

My reading goal for 2018 was 80 books (and the same 30 – 10 (skipped the 20) as previous years). When I set this, I was still commuting 2 hours a day, and it didn’t seem at all crazy. Then we moved, and my commuting time turned to 10 minutes walking each direction to get to work, and voila – natural reading time disappeared. I find that it is much more difficult for me to get the reading done now, as I have to consciously make time for it, or it won’t happen. Anyway, how did it go?

Number of books
I ended at 79 read books. I could’ve pushed this and reached the 80, but I didn’t want to, and thus didn’t. I’m perfectly OK with this total, and doubt I’ll get even close to it this year.

The countries
So the 30 still stands for books from 30 countries, which I – once again – did not even come close to. The authors came from 15 different countries. Actually quite happy about this too, as I don’t think 15 is bad…

The decades
The 10 in the challenge stands for 10 different decades (I wrote centuries first – not THAT would have been a real challenge…). I covered 8 different decades, so with this one I’m pretty bummed. I’ve made it easily in previous years, so I clearly did something wrong!

The genders
I also set a goal of reading 80% female authors, and ended at 82.3%, so mission accomplished!

The laureates 
An inofficial goal of mine is to read some Nobel laureates every year. I imagine this will also help broaden my reading horizons. This year I covered 3 – Selma Lagerlöf, Doris Lessing & Svetlana Alexievich.



I’ve already covered my favorites in the Best of 2018 post, but what about worst?

I found Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s Shadow of the Wind tedious. While I liked his descriptions of war-time Barcelona, the story as a whole did nothing to me. My completely unscientific methods tell me that if you’re a middle-aged, middle-class white man however, you probably like it (people at work talked about it; this was the division). 

If you’re into shitty and shallow descriptions of women, I suggest reading Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84 (trilogy). I really love his way with words and the stories, but seriously. Come on Murakami, let a woman have something to say.

Malin Persson Giolito’s Bara ett barn (I guess “Only a child”?). This was the author’s debut, and you can tell. It’s not necessarily BAD, it just feels a bit… forced?

While I didn’t love Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower when I read it (mainly due to the religious undertones of it) it has stayed with me, so I think I need to revalue that and maybe even read the sequel?

51-+rburccl._sx325_bo1,204,203,200_I don’t recommend this one.