#NordicFINDS is here! (Sticky)

Finally, my project for five weeks of reading Nordic literature is here. ‘FINDS’ – stands for Finland, Iceland, Norway, Denmark & Sweden. For me, reading Nordic literature really began in the 1990s, when a few modern novels began to appear in translation in English. Some of them went on to become huge bestsellers. I’ve been a Read More

#NordicFINDS – Finland week – a cli-fi, spec fic, dystopian noir crime thriller

The Healer by Antti Tuomainen Translated by Lola Rogers I discovered Tuomainen last year when I read his latest novel The Rabbit Factor, a dark comedy thriller which I loved. I decided to go back to his first available novel in English for #NordicFINDS, (first published in 2010, translated in 2013), which in now typical Read More

#NordicFINDS – Finland Week – My ‘Would-be’ Gateway Book

The Summer Book by Tove Jansson Translated from the Swedish by Thomas Teal Because until this week, I’d read so few Finnish books, I didn’t have a definite gateway book that led me into the country’s literature. But it would have been The Summer Book by Tove Jansson, because when Sort Of Books started their Read More

#NordicFINDS – Sweden Week – A new to me grumpy detective

The Mind’s Eye by Håkan Nesser Translated by Laurie Thompson As so often happens with crime series, The Mind’s Eye published in Swedish in 1993 – the first in Nesser’s Inspector Van Veeteren mystery series, wasn’t the first to be translated into English later in the late noughties. That was the second: Borkmann’s Point. Why Read More

#NordicFINDS – Sweden Week – a novel of letters and longing

Some Kind of Company by Nan Östman Translated by Julia Rivers We have to thank Aspal Press for finding this hidden gem of Swedish literature and making it available in English translation for the first time. Östman, who died in 2015, is a much loved Swedish children’s author, often writing about girls and horses, and Read More

#NordicFINDS – Sweden Week – A Workplace Drama

The Room by Jonas Karlsson Translated by Neil Smith There’s a well-worn office cliché: ‘You don’t have to be mad to work here, but it helps!’ Something that definitely applies to the employees of the Authority in Jonas Karlsson’s engaging novel. What the Authority does is never specified, but the higher the floor you work Read More

#NordicFINDS – Sweden Week – My Gateway Book – a different take

Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist & its movie adaptations Although a rather baggy novel at over 500 pages, Let the Right One In, translated by Ebba Segerberg, blew me away when I read it back in 2009. My full review from back then is here. At the novel’s heart is the Read More

#NordicFINDS – Norway Week – A feminist dark metal manifesto?

Girls Against God by Jenny Hval Translated by Marjam Idriss I was browsing the Verso books website (as you do when there’s an offer on!). I don’t think I’d read any of their publications before, but I knew they had some Scandi authors in their list. I was drawn to the cover of this one, Read More

#NordicFINDS – Norway Week – A Modern Classic

The Ice Palace by Tarjei Vesaas Translated by Elizabeth Rokkan Literally everyone I know who has read this novella has fallen in love with it. First published in 1963, this English translation was brought to us by Peter Owen publishers in 1993, who have let Penguin add it (and another by Vesaas, The Birds, reviewed Read More

#NordicFINDS – Norway Week – A locked room mystery

The Human Flies by Hans Olav Lahlum Translated by Kari Dickson This is the first novel in Lahlum’s ‘K2 and Patricia’ series of Norwegian detective novels which now number four. Set in the late 1960s into the early 1970s, they are unencumbered by modern technology bar the forensics of the time, allowing the convolutions of Read More

#NordicFINDS – Norway Week – My Gateway Book

Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder Translated by Paulette Møller My second gateway Nordic read was another huge worldwide bestseller, first published in English translation in 1995. I got my original copy with the cover above through the QPD book club, now defunct, who produced what we’d now call trade paperbacks of new hardbacks – ie: Read More

#NordicFINDS – Norway Week

I chose Norway for the second week of my Nordic reading, because I instantly had in mind a gateway book that opened up that country’s reading for me. That was the huge bestseller Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder (re-read review soon). Meanwhile, my pile of Norwegian authors does slightly exceed my Danish one, and again Read More

#NordicFINDS – Denmark Week – A Quirky Novella

Minna Needs Rehearsal Space by Dorthe Nors Translated by Misha Hoekstra Some of you will have come across Dorthe Nors from her novel Mirror Shoulder Signal which was shortlisted for the International Booker in 2017 (my full review here). In Mirror… Sonja, a newly single forty-something, decides to learn to drive as part of starting to Read More

#NordicFINDS – Denmark Week – An unusual crime novel

The Murder of Halland by Pia Juul Translated by Martin Aitken I didn’t want to wake Halland; he had to be up soon anyway. After going to the loo, I went back into the living room and collapsed on the sofa under a blanket. When I opened my eyes again, I knew a sound had Read More

#NordicFINDS – Denmark Week – My Gateway Book

Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow by Peter Høeg Translated by F. David Being published in English translation in 1993, this was the first Nordic novel I knowingly read, acquiring the paperback when it was published in 1994. In my thirties then, I was beginning to expand my reading, having moved on from the diet of Read More

#NordicFINDS – Denmark week

I chose Denmark for the first week of my Nordic reading as I was ultra-keen to revisit Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow by Peter Høeg, and it is alphabetically the first country – an approach I abandoned when setting the dates for each country (which ended up being random, not even in FINDS order). Apart Read More

Six Degrees of Separation: Rules of Civility

I’m back to doing the super monthly tag Six Degrees of Separation, which is hosted by Kate at Booksaremyfavouriteandbest,  Six Degrees of Separation #6degrees picks a starting book for participants to go wherever it takes them in six more steps. Links to my reviews are in the titles of the books. Our starting book this month is: Read More

Review of the Year #3: 2021, Books of the Year!

I still award a score to the majority of books I read – out of 10, including halfs (so out of 20 really!). Those scores are only snapshots of course, and some books fade from your memory as others, which maybe scored lower initially, stay or grow. I read 150 books this year, of which Read More

Review of the Year #2 – 2021 – Time for Book Stats.

I always say this, but this post is possibly my favourite of the year! The master spreadsheet is still going strong. I love playing all that data to mine for nuggets of information that will tell me if my reading habits have changed. Without further ado, here are the charts (accurate to 25 December). Books Read More

Review of the Year #1 – 2021, A Year of Reading and Blogging

As always, I’m saving my books of the year for the 31st, but today I plan to share some other blogging highlights, discovered authors and the few disappointments of my reading year. (By the way, the cute calendar comes from Asking For Trouble). Let’s go through the year first… JANUARY – saw the start of the Read More

Life According to Literature 2021

I’ve done different versions of this in 2020, 2019, 2018, 2016, 2011 and 2009 – where it originated is way back in the ether somewhere. The questions evolve and vary over the years as people have fun and adjust them – and this set comes via a long chain to Davida at The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review, but I’ve kept a Read More

Christmassy reads

With perfect timing, I have some Christmas fare for you today. Admittedly, I probably wouldn’t have read these at the right time unless I had occasions to read them for, so without further ado… The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis Chris at Calmgrove is hosting #Narniathon21 beginning this month, reading the Read More

Excuse me, but there’s a cockroach crawling up your skirt!

Mrs March by Virginia Feito From the moment I saw the cover, I was always going to read this book. First impression – that ‘Ratched‘ mint green dress, set against a tomato-red background, the woman’s blood-red lipstick and nails, her air of repressed primness. And then there’s the cockroach! Those critters just creep me out! Read More

Ariadne, Theseus and the Minotaur – a book pairing of opposites

This would have been just a single review – of Jennifer Saint’s retelling of Ariadne’s story from Greek Myth. But then Marina Sofia recently posted a review of Russian author Victor Pelevin’s Omon Ra, and I remembered I had Pelevin’s retelling of Theseus and the Minotaur from the Canongate Myths series on my shelves, and Read More

“It was a pleasure to burn.” Twice!

What an iconic first line: one of those that often comes up in quizzes. Ray Bradbury’s 1953 novel Fahrenheit 451 is an absolute classic of spec fiction which I first read in the 1970s. I invested in the lovely Folio Society edition some years ago, but was finally spurred on to reread it due to Read More

Catching up with Book Group reads

With our December zoom last week, another year of our Book Group came to an end – we did manage to have two in person meetings sitting in a pub beer garden, until that got too cold. We’ve retreated back to zoom for now, but fingers crossed for the spring. I’ve been going since 2004, Read More

November Watchlist

Since my last update, I’ve been to the cinema twice. Last Night in Soho First on Halloween weekend was Last Night in Soho, which I thought from the trailer was going to be a thriller all about 1960s vice and conmen. I sort of gathered that there was a modern day strand to the movie Read More