Henrik’s first take on a category challenge

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Henrik’s first take on a category challenge

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Modificato: Ott 7, 2014, 1:02 pm

This is my first attempt to do a category challenge on librarything. I have used various tricks to vary my reading before, and this sounds like fun. I don’t want to tie up my reading too much, so I have tried to define some rather loose categories which will enable me to figure out much of my reading as I go along.

My aim is to read five books in each of the 14 categories. Some may fit in two or more categories, but they will only be counted in one of them. Some categories will probably far surpass 5 books, but we’ll just have to see.

Danish poet Inger Christensen has written several collections build on various mathematical formulas. The results are strangely compelling – like her collection Alfabet – so I have attempted to build my categories on such a formula. Much simpler and less interesting, obviously.

My categories will be titled in 1, 2, 3, 4 etc. words. (Categories in bold are finished):

Boring books
Bye, bye books
Brilliant jubilees of books
Baffling books born B.C.
Books by the best of authors
B is the author of the book
Books for the beach, books for the plane
Book no. two - who says A must say Book
Beautiful books build on the talent of skilfully pencilled pictures
Books Lost in translation? Bother Not. Books booked for reading in original
Books of art, books of history, books of facts, building knowledge
Books of plays, poetry, and stories short - books of novels are they not
Books of brutal struggle and bravely beleaguered heroes. Books in bunches is the thing

Modificato: Dic 21, 2014, 10:32 am


This is my miscellaneous category. If it doesn’t fit anywhere else, it will fit here

1. Nis Petersen: Sandalmagernes gade
2. Janne Teller: Afrikanske veje
3. Cristina Capetillo et.al.: Uden for myldretid
4. Nora Roberts: High Noon
5. Thomas Espedal: Mod kunsten
6. Leif Davidsen: Den ukendte hustru
7. Per Olov Enquist: Lignelsesbogen
8. Toni Morrison: Salomons sang
9. Kaspar Colling Nielsen: Den danske borgerkrig 2018-24
10. Florian Illies: 1913: Århundredets sommer
11. Chinua Achebe: Alt falder fra hinanden

Modificato: Dic 21, 2014, 10:13 am

Boring books

This is for books read because of work and not pleasure. One can of course hope, that they won’t be boring anyway.

1. Henrik Toft Jensen m.fl.: Industrien, job og krise : befolkningsudvikling, pendling og industribeskæftigelsen i Region Sjælland
2. Gunvor Christensen: Indsatser i udsatte boligområder. Hvad virker, hvorfor og hvordan?
3. Mindre stationsbyers sammenhængskraft udg. af Ministeriet for By, Boliger og Landdistrikter
4. Hans Thor Andersen m.fl.: Boligmarkedet uden for de store byer
5. Jannick B. Pedersen og Anders Hvid: Forstå fremtiden

Modificato: Ago 17, 2014, 9:19 am

Bye, bye books

My private library is overflowing with volumes and new ones keep entering the house. This is my attempt to clear a little room on my shelves by giving away some of the books, which are really only worth one read

1. Noah Gordon: Lægen fra Zaragoza

Modificato: Dic 22, 2014, 4:16 pm

Brilliant jubilees of books

This is something I have done for years: Reading books which were published ten, twenty-five, fifty etc. years ago. It’s a great way of getting to know some classics and they usually end up being some of the best reads of the year

1814 Walter Scott: Waverley
1864 Alfred Tennyson: Enoch Arden
1914 Selma Lagerlöf: Kejseren af Portugalien
1939 William Faulkner: Wild Palms
1964 Alexander Kluge: Slaget
1989 Gabriel Garcia Marques: Generalen i sin labyrint

1814 candidates: Jane Austen: Mansfield Park and Walther Scott: Waverly
I read Pride and Prejudice last year, so it will probably be Scott.

Modificato: Gen 3, 2014, 9:33 am

Baffling books born B.C.

Speaking of classics: Time to catch up on some REALLY old books. This is for books from classical antiquity. Books from imperial Rome will be included even thought they were written A.D.


Candidates: I always wanted to read The Odyssey by Homer but never got around to it. After listening to Imperium by Robert Harris last year, some of Cicero's works is also a possibility.

Modificato: Gen 20, 2014, 3:21 pm

Books by the best of authors

Sometimes I overlook the authors I love the most, because new titles offer themselves all the time. That is not a good thing, so this category is reserved for Per Petterson, Haruki Murakami and other favourites of mine.

1. Ida Jessen: Postkort til Annie

Modificato: Mar 23, 2014, 11:47 am

B is the author of the book

As I said before, my shelves are overflowing with books and a lot of them are unread. I try to rectify this in various ways. I’m a member of the ROOT group, and some years ago I started an alphabetical clean-up. A is done, this is reserved for books by authors starting with a B.

1. Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson: Synnøve Solbakken

Candidates: Well, the next one on the shelf is Herman Broch: Die Schlafwandler in German so that's a bit of a mouthful.

Modificato: Lug 26, 2014, 6:04 am

Books for the beach, books for the plane

I love reading, I love travelling with my family, and I love reading books with a connection to the places we’re going to. This is reserved for books read during or related to our vacations.

1. Ferdinand von Schirach: Der Fall Collini
2. Wolfgang Herrndorf: Tschick
3. Milan Kundera: Tilværelsens ulidelige lethed
4. Vaclav Havel: Fjernforhør
5. Franz Kafka: Processen
6. Karel Capek: Krigen mod salamandrene
7. Jan Bonek: Cubist Prague
8. Pavel Kohout: Jeg sner

Modificato: Ott 21, 2014, 2:27 pm

Book no. two - who says A must say Book

Ever tried reading a book by a new author, loving the book and inexplicably never getting back to him or her again? I sure have. This is reserved for finding out, if they were just “one-hit wonders”.

1. Claudio Magris: I blinde
2. Harald Voetmann: Alt under månen
3. Judith Hermann: Sommerhaus, später

Candidates: There are soooo many possibilities.

Modificato: Dic 13, 2014, 6:28 am

Beautiful books build on the talent of skilfully pencilled pictures

I love comics and graphic novels. This is the category for those books.

1. Ole Comoll Christensen: Han, hun og algobatoren
2. Hergé: Den mystiske stjerne
3. Christin & Mézières: Rejser i tid og rum. Linda og Valentins samlede eventyr, bind 5
4. Niels Roland: Menigmands guide til dommedag
5. Goscinny & Uderzo: Asterix - den komplette samling bind 2
6. Palle Schmidt: Stiletto
7. Fábio Moon & Gabriel Bá: Daytripper
8. Chris Claremont: Essential X-Men Volume 5
9. Marcel Ruijters: De hellige
10. Chris Claremont: Essential X-Men Volume 6
11. Vittorio Giardino: Jonas Fink
12. Alison Bechdel: The essential Dykes to Watch Out For
13. Hermann: Afrika
14. Jaime Hernandez: Speedy Ortiz dør
15. Henrik Rehr: Gavrilo Princip

Modificato: Lug 29, 2014, 4:25 pm

Books Lost in translation? Bother Not. Books booked for reading in original

I live in Denmark and my native language is Danish. Naturally I read most books in Danish, but I would like to read more in English, German and French to keep my language skills alive. This is the category for books read in a foreign language.

1. Ernest Hemingway: For Whom the Bell Tolls
2. Lukas Hartmann: Abschied von Sansibar
3. Eugen Ruge: In Zeiten des abnehmenden Lichts
4. Franz Kafka: Die Verwandlung

Modificato: Nov 1, 2014, 5:21 am

Books of art, books of history, books of facts, building knowledge

Over the last couple of years I haven’t read much non-fiction unless it was part of my work. That is a shame, because I always enjoyed diving in and really exploring new subjects. This is for non-fiction.

1. Stig Lennart Andersson:Empowerment of Aesthetics
2. Nils Arne Sørensen: Den store krig

Modificato: Nov 2, 2014, 8:05 am

Books of plays, poetry, and stories short - books of novels are they not

The novel is the king in my literary universe, but there are lots of other interesting genres. This is for poetry, plays, short stories, essays, memoirs and other interesting stuff.

1. Wolfgang Büscher: Berlin-Moskva
2. Christopher Marlowe: Doctor Faustus
3. Rachel og Israel Rachlin: Fortællinger fra vores liv
4. Yahya Hassan: Yahya Hassan
5. Norman Mailer: Kampen
6. Asta Olivia Nordenhof: det nemme og det ensomme

Candidates: Currently all Shakespeare plays are being re-translated and published in Danish. I got the first volume for christmas, so there is a lot of possibilities there.

Modificato: Giu 30, 2014, 3:30 pm

Books of brutal struggle and bravely beleaguered heroes. Books in bunches is the thing

Finishing a book and moving on from its characters is nice, but getting back together with old acquaintances is also great. This is for old or new series – Game of Thrones comes to mind – and if I finally get serious about my long-planned sci-fi theme, it will also be registered here.

1. Martin Jensen: Helligåndens gæster (Eske Litle #2)
2. Arnaldur Indridason: Nordmosen (Erlendur Sveinson #3)

Dic 25, 2013, 12:56 pm

Just in case

Dic 25, 2013, 1:10 pm

Haha, nice, creatively done. :) Welcome to the challenge!

Dic 25, 2013, 1:16 pm

Welcome aboard! Nice to see you here. Laughed out loud at your description for the "boring books" category -- hope they prove interesting! Good luck with your challenge!

Dic 25, 2013, 1:32 pm

Nice category names :) I'm also trying to read books in foreign languages as part of my category challenge, so I'll be keeping an eye on that category :)

Dic 25, 2013, 4:37 pm

> 17 Thanks! Of course this is the easy part. Next thing is finding books for the categories.

>18 rabbitprincess: Thanks. So do I and they usually are, luckily.

> 19 Good to hear. I see you are dutch so our foreign languages are probably similar. We definitely share a lot of books!

Dic 26, 2013, 10:17 am

Welcome to the challenge! You have some creative categories and I'll look forward to seeing what books you choose to fill them!

Dic 26, 2013, 8:49 pm

Welcome! Love the "B" theme.

Dic 27, 2013, 12:07 am

Welcome! I love the category names and the overall 'theme' of your challenge!

Dic 27, 2013, 6:22 am

I love your categories!

(Bruce's evil twin :-))

Dic 27, 2013, 11:21 am

Thanks for all the nice comments on my categories. I'm sooo ready for January and getting started.

> 22 Thanks. It stretched my knowledge of English adjectives starting with a B to the limit!

Dic 27, 2013, 2:17 pm

What a fun idea for your categories. Happy reading in 2014!

Dic 27, 2013, 11:29 pm

Brilliantly bewitching and bodacious! Welcome to the group.

Dic 28, 2013, 12:19 am

I love your theme and categories! Welcome to the challenge, and I look forward to seeing what you read!

Dic 30, 2013, 5:50 pm

Thanks for all your kind words and welcomes - I think it will be great fun putting content into the categories and following other people's reading.

>27 mamzel: I sure could have used those words, when I made the categories. What is a challenge without bodacious?

Dic 30, 2013, 8:11 pm

I like your categories, how original!

P.S. Somewhere in your country I have cousins: my grandfather came to the USA from Denmark in the early 1900's.

Dic 31, 2013, 1:13 am

Welcome to the challenge Henrik. Your category names are fun. With those categories you should have no problem finding books for your categories. I usually cheat -- I pick the books I want to read next year and then create categories around those books.

Gen 1, 2014, 9:08 am

>30 fuzzi: Thanks. Do you know from which part of the country he immigrated? Would be kind of fun if I knew the place. (Theoretically you could be MY cousin!)

>Thanks a lot, and you're right: The categories are deliberately quite wide. I don't really want to plan a whole year's reading in advance.

Modificato: Gen 3, 2014, 11:34 am

Henrik Toft Jensen m.fl.: Industrien, job og krise : befolkningsudvikling, pendling og industribeskæftigelsen i Region Sjælland

Book #1
Category: Boring Books (1/5)

This is a book on migration and jobgrowth in one of five Danish regions during the recent financial crisis. It's not terribly tough to read, and it did touch on some interesting points related to my work but if you don't have a specific interest in the topic, chances are you will find it pretty boring. And it's in Danish!

Gen 3, 2014, 2:19 pm

COOL!!! Finally someone reading something interesting! Wait. . . you put this in the boring Books category?? :-) I did read an interesting article this last weekend on Turkish migration and whether were being pushed from the country that their families moved to or pulled back to Turkey because of the change in economy and better opportunities.

Ok, since it is in Danish it can't go on my wish list :-( .

(Bruce's evil twin :-))

Gen 4, 2014, 3:04 pm

>34 bruce_krafft: You're right, you're right. A little more enthusiasm is required. How about this:

To the interested student of recent economic and demographic trends in western countries 'Industrien, job og krise' provides amble source material. The financial crisis has substantially affected economic patterns as is clearly demonstrated by this study of the Danish Region of Zealand. Unfortunately, it's only avaiable in Danish. ;-)

Modificato: Gen 5, 2014, 5:49 am

Nis Petersen: Sandalmagernes gade (The Street of the Sandalmakers)

Book # 2
Category: Books (1/5)

3 stars
I did enjoy reading the story of Marcellus and his love for three women. It’s situated in Rome in the second century A.D. and Nis Petersen’s colourful portrait of Roman everyday life is one of the book’s main attractions. It was a time of turmoil and persecution of Christians. Since two of Marcellus’ women are Christians, this is an important subplot in the novel.

Modificato: Gen 5, 2014, 5:50 am

Ole Comoll Christensen: Han, hun og algobatoren (He, she and the algobator)

Book # 3
Category: Beautiful books build on the talent of skilfully pencilled pictures (1/5)

3 stars
Two aliens crash land on earth. They are in desperate need of an 'algobator' which they try to find in the nearby town of Tuchosa. Luckily everyone is having a costume party, so no-one notices the strangers. They get a bit involved with the problems of the locals - a girl is angry with her boyfriend, because he has fooled around with her mom - and learn how to drink beer. The story isn't original and the aliens are too human to really add much to the plot, but the black/white artwork is pretty good. A nice little read, nothing more.

Gen 5, 2014, 9:26 am

Welcome to the challenge. It looks like you're off to a good start. Love your categories!

Gen 5, 2014, 11:21 am

Thanks mathgirl. Yes I'm off to a great start. Now I just have to keep it up as the calendar starts to fill up with work and other reading-prohibiting stuff!

Gen 6, 2014, 7:44 am

Just found your Category Challenge thread. Great idea! I'm hoping to find some Danish authors, too. Going off to check out Ida Jessen.

Gen 6, 2014, 12:34 pm

> Good to see you! Just ask me if you want an opinion on Danish authors - maybe I can lead you in good direction.

Gen 6, 2014, 7:06 pm

Thanks Henrik, I will surely take you up on that sometime this year.

Gen 8, 2014, 4:28 pm

Wolfgang Büscher: Berlin-Moskva

Book # 4
Category: Books of plays, poetry, and stories short - books of novels are they not (1/5)

4 stars
In the summer of 2001 the author leaves Berlin. He’s on foot and his ambition is to keep going until he reaches Moscow. The three months of walking in the footsteps of Napoleon’s and Hitler’s armies is also a journey into the past. Both the past of Büscher’s father, who died shortly before the end of the war, and the violent past of Germany and Eastern Europe. The book is extremely well written, and the reader meets lots of other persons who were also marred by the great upheavals of the past.

Gen 9, 2014, 5:25 am

>43 Henrik_Madsen: Hi Henrik, great review. Do you know if there's an english or french version of the book ?

Gen 9, 2014, 5:47 am

>44 electrice: Thanks! I believe there is a french translation listed on librarything, but apparantly not an english one. I haven't really looked into it, though.

Gen 9, 2014, 11:22 am

>45 Henrik_Madsen: Just checked it, there is no english translation but there's a french one, thanks :) Add it to the BB list.

Gen 14, 2014, 12:16 am

Loose categories is a good way to go to not feel too constrained - looking forward to seeing what you read.

Gen 14, 2014, 10:55 am

> Thanks. My categories are a bit loose on purpose - i don't like to plan my reading too much.

Modificato: Gen 16, 2014, 5:12 pm

Ernest Hemingway: For Whom the Bell Tolls

Book # 5
Category: Books Lost in translation? Bother Not. Books booked for reading in original (1/5)

4½ stars
I loved this book about the Spanish Civil War. Robert Jordan has travelled to Spain to fight on the side of the republic, and he is send behind enemy lines on a secret mission. We follow the preparations with the local guerrillas as Robert falls in love with the young Maria, and we get to know the horrors of war and revolution. The love story wasn't very convincing, but book is a great portrait of men under extreme pressure. And I was pretty impressed with the fact that Hemingway openly descibes the unfounded violence used by the Republic instead of just denouncing the fascists. Definitely worth a read!

Gen 17, 2014, 3:52 pm

Janne Teller: Afrikanske veje

Book # 6
Category: Books (2/5)

4½ stars
It’s a short novel about a Danish woman returning to Nairobi almost twenty years after leaving. She has come back to write a couple of articles on the Karen Blixen Museum, but one afternoon she gets lost in the entangled roads around the city. She is forced to reflect on her life again, both because her husband is cheating on her and because the place makes her remember her lost love. It’s a nice and well-told little story. I wasn’t blown away, but it was good.

Gen 19, 2014, 6:46 am

Christina Capetillo m.fl.: Uden for Myldretid (Outside rush-hour)

Book # 7
Category: Books (3/5)

3 stars
The forces of urbanization are really affecting Denmark as well as many other countries these years. This development has led to various projects which aim to create new development and economic possibilities in the periphery but also attempts to challenge the common conception of rural areas as backward and in decay. This book is the result of four photographers travelling through the least inhabited areas of Denmark trying to capture the unique potential of these places. The pictures are beautiful, but in my opinion they overstate the emptiness. The people who live there and has helped shape the landscape, build the houses etc. are almost totally absent.

Gen 20, 2014, 3:23 pm

Ida Jessen: Postkort til Annie (Post-card for Annie)

Book # 8
Category: Books by the best of authors (1/5)

4½ stars
Collections of short stories are not really my thing, but this one was great. Ida Jessen perfectly sees the true fears of people in our comfortable little country. Disease or traffic accidents taking your loved ones away too soon. Losing your child to crime or abuse. In these six stories middle-aged women are pushed. Maybe their children are getting more and more involved with crime. Maybe their best friend is diagnosed with cancer. Maybe they just really need sex, a wish their husband cannot or will not fulfil. Each and every story touched med. I’m still a huge fan of Ida Jessen!

Gen 26, 2014, 5:19 am

Hergé: Den mystiske stjerne (The Shooting Star)

Book # 9
Category: Beautiful books build on the talent of skilfully pencilled pictures (2/5)

4 stars
After observing a strange phenomenon in the sky and narrowly escaping the end of the world, Tintin and Haddock sails off on en expedition to the North Atlantic. Here they face multiple obstacles in their quest to find a mystic meteorite and the new metal it contains. The story is very well told and the book doesn’t feel dated even though it was originally published in 1941.

Modificato: Gen 26, 2014, 5:47 am

>53 Henrik_Madsen: Classics never felt dated :) I purchased a dozen BD of Tintin with my pocket money when I was a child. I remember being trilled by all the adventures going on ...

Modificato: Gen 26, 2014, 6:02 am

>54 electrice: You're right. Classics are forever! If you still have those Tintin books around I can recommend a reread. They hold up well.

Modificato: Gen 26, 2014, 7:45 am

>55 Henrik_Madsen: Ah well I was wondering about that. I have all of them around and didn't want to reread them for fear of disappointment. I'm glad then and I will, thanks :)

Gen 26, 2014, 9:35 am

>56 electrice: I think Hergé is pretty good at including some wrinkles for the adults as well. In this one e.g. captain Haddock is president of the League of Sailors against Alcohol. I don't think I really got that joke the first time I read it, but now it's pretty funny because he is obviously stuffing the ship with whiskey anyway.

Gen 26, 2014, 9:44 am

>57 Henrik_Madsen: LOL captain Haddock is president of the League of Sailors against Alcohol, isn't that ironic ;) It's a good thing to not catch this one when younger, I think, innocence and all that jazz ...

Gen 26, 2014, 10:24 am

Gunvor Christensen: Indsatser i udsatte boligområder. Hvad virker, hvorfor og hvordan? (Actions in vulnerable neighborhoods)

Book #10
Category: Boring Books (2/5)

In Denmark as in other Western countries large funds are invested in dysfunctional neighborhoods. The idea is to create areas with better social balance, employment for a larger part of the the people living there and make the inhabitants more satisfied with their environment. Considering the size of investments the actual results of them have been surprisingly little studied. This report attempts to do this with statistical analysis.

The conclusion is interesting: The basic charachter of the neighbourhoods are not changed, because the actions taken doesn't change the basic forces creating polarization in society and on the housing market, but they do change prospects for individuals living there. Especialy men living in these areas are more likely to get employed. An interesting read, even though the author's methodological statements were a bit too thorough to my taste.

Gen 26, 2014, 12:57 pm

59> Reminds me of an episode of Undercover Boss that we watched with Subways Chief Development Officer. One of the locations he went to was in a church in Buffalo NY. The church wanted to provide jobs with on the job training, so they opened a Subway.

Again. . . in the boring book category. . . ! :-)

(Bruce's evil twin :-))

Gen 26, 2014, 4:35 pm

>60 bruce_krafft: Amazingly - and depressingly?! - it will apparently be one of the first categories filled.

Gen 26, 2014, 6:09 pm

I love Tintin, but you have to be careful of the racism that was so prevalent back then. Babar the elephant is a lot worse, though. But Hergé was definitely not immune, the volumes that deal with other countries have some whoppers. Like I said, I love the comic, it has a lot of good, funny stuff, but...

Gen 27, 2014, 2:23 am

>62 .Monkey.: Oh there are nasty parts in Tintin as there are in almost all Western litterature of that age. Racism and imperialism was just too widespread not to be reflected in literature. Maybe it's a bit more obvious in comics, because pictures are more revealing, and in childrens books.

Modificato: Gen 27, 2014, 2:54 am

>62 .Monkey.: & 63 I remember giving up Tintin for these reasons and Jules Verne too.

At the time, I was feeling outraged when I was old enough, around 8-9 years old, to see not only the adventures but also all the underlying racism and colonialism. That's a good enough reason to read them again, see how I'll feel now ...

It's a part of popular culture and a good way in to explain about these topics to children. Once I had my 'revelation' I remember my mother explaining about racism, colonialism and how some things had improved and others not so much. It was difficult at the time to fall out of love with one of my childhood hero but a durable learning experience.

At the same time, my sister was never enamored with him because she was already way ahead of me in term of critical thinking even though we only have a 2 years gap.

Gen 27, 2014, 2:06 pm

I can remember reading Little Black Sambo when I was young and being a little confused when it was yanked off library shelves. I had only seen a little boy running around the tree and wasn't aware of his color. I loved the part where the tigers turned into butter! I didn't know if I should feel guilt for not noticing he was black or outraged that the author dared make him black. At the time I was living in the Caribbean.

Gen 27, 2014, 4:17 pm

@ 65 -- Also, in that book, Sambo was Indian, not of African descent. Which is certainly not a contemporary use of the word "black"!

Gen 28, 2014, 8:13 am

>64 electrice: Oh yeah, I was definitely irritated with Verne, I just recently read 5 of the 7 novels in the B&N leatherbound series of his Seven Novels, and urgh. It's really frustrating, because you can see that he's not attempting to make actual judgments about the Africans, that he simply thinks it's plain fact: they are savages, they lack intellect, etc. He's clearly just describing the "scientific proofs" like he does about everything else, he does not hate them, and doesn't have a clue how bigoted what he's saying is. With some, you can very clearly see the opposite, that they are looking down their nose at darker skin and have hostile views of those who dare have it.

But I agree, as long as you're on top of the situation they're a very good way to teach about those subjects and broach those difficult discussions.

Gen 28, 2014, 2:34 pm

>67 .Monkey.: Hi PM, I'm re/reading Verne's books progressively. I'm thinking the same, it can be really frustrating ...

Gen 28, 2014, 4:31 pm

>64 electrice: Interesting - I don't think I have ever given up on litterature because of it's political undertones. I have definitely been angry / frustrated with books sometimes, but bad writing has usually been involved when giving up on books.

>65 mamzel: & 66 I never read it - and seeing your comments, I'm not certain I really missed anything.

>67 .Monkey.: &68 I think the racial prejudices are part of the setting when reading Verne and similar writers. They wrote within and implicitly reproduced the colonial discourse of their era. It's obviously not without consequences, like Edward Said has shown in his books. But is it a reason not to read the books today? I don't think so. (Unless it spoils your reading experience - then, there are lots of other books out there.)

Gen 28, 2014, 4:41 pm

Except that not everyone was racist or believed that garbage, and not all books from the time period felt the need to go into it. Also, there's a big difference between those like Verne who merely took it as fact that "black savages lack intelligence" and note it here and there in the course of things, and those who were actively bigoted and saying nasty crude things that there is no excuse for. I will still read it, if it's a classic, but I will most certainly sit in judgment of the author.

Feb 1, 2014, 5:57 am

Claudio Magris: I blinde (Blindly)

Book #11
Category: Book no. two - who says A must say Book (1/5)

This is the second book I have read by Magris, but I was not as pleased with this one, as I was with the first. The story is interesting. Salvatore is narrating his dramatic life as an Italien communist that has taken part in several wars and also experienced Tito’s prison camps first hand, when foreigners were repressed. He is telling his story from a psychiatric hospital, probably because he is also claiming to be a clone of the Danish / cosmopolitan adventurer Jorgen Jorgensen. He was shorttime ruler of Icelander, co-founder of Hobart on Tasmania and later convicted and deported to the same place.

Both stories are dramatic and filled with violence and broken ideals. Unfortunately the novel is too fragmented and too stuffed with literary references to be a really good reading experience.

Feb 2, 2014, 6:02 am

Christopher Marlowe: Doctor Faustus

Book # 12
Category: Books of plays, poetry, and stories short - books of novels are they not (2/5)

4 stars
The myth of Faust is so well-known that it almost feels unnecessary to read the actual works behind it. Still, knowing the contours of a story is one thing; first-hand reading of the text is something quite different. This was my first book by Marlowe, and I liked it a lot. The story is told rather straightforward but the basic drama doesn’t really need much dressing-up anyway. The young doctor Faust’s thirst for knowledge and power is so great that he signs a contract with the devil without much second-thought, and the drama culminates with the inevitable fulfilment of the contract 24 years later.

There are lots of Latin quotes and references to classic antiquity, so I much appreciated the notes. Still, the writing is not terribly difficult.

Feb 2, 2014, 10:36 am

Good to know that Doctor Faustus is not too difficult! And I agree, it is interesting to read a story that's been referenced so many times in popular culture. I had a similar reading experience with The Picture of Dorian Gray.

Feb 2, 2014, 11:40 am

>73 rabbitprincess: I think that is mostly the case with classics. If you are interested and has an idea about the story it's manegable. (Many have probably read classics in school where they are neither motivated nor know any of the references. That makes it seem harder than it actually is.) Still, it was good to have an edition with notes, an introduction and translations of the Latin quotes.

Feb 3, 2014, 5:46 am

Yeah I didn't find that one difficult at all. I read his Complete Plays from the library a bit ago. Except I skipped the one that one would need to have a dedicated knowledge of ...Roman, was it? history in order to make sense of. I read a few pages and was like, Nope, not happening! Haha. His others were alright, Faust was probably the best one.

Modificato: Feb 5, 2014, 5:28 pm

>72 Henrik_Madsen:-4 Faust Part II by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, on the other hand, IS difficult. Even knowing the Faust legend from several sources the Walpurgis Night section is a bit confusing.

Feb 5, 2014, 6:22 pm

We picked up the Wordsworth Editions of that one last year, eventually I'll get to it!

Feb 13, 2014, 3:37 am

> 76 There are exceptions - many of them written in German! Guess I'll just have to take my time to wrestle with Goethe at some point since the Faust theme is really fascinating.

Feb 14, 2014, 7:06 am

Nora Roberts: High Noon

Book # 13
Category: Books (4/5)

3 stars
This is one of my first book bullets picked up somewhere on librarything - I don't remember where excactly - but I wasn't too pleased with this one. It's a bit slowpaced for a thriller and I wasn't too thrilled with the charachters. I never really found them believable. The best part was probably the negotiations, where Phoebe tried to talk some sense into desperate hostage takers.

Feb 14, 2014, 8:35 am

Wow, I haven't read High Noon but I haven't read any Nora Roberts that I didn't like. Of course it has been a while since I read anything by her.

Sorry you didn't like it. Maybe THAT one should be in the 'boring books' category. . . :-)

(Bruce's evil twin :-))

Feb 14, 2014, 9:02 am

#79 Maybe it should! No, it wasn't bad and I felt entertained most of the way. It just wasn't good either, and it rubbed me the wrong way in a number of ways. Phoebe is just too perfect e.g., even her breakdowns are planned for the best possible time.

I see what Roberts does and I can appreciate the craftsmanship. It just never really touched me.

Modificato: Feb 14, 2014, 12:14 pm

Ferdinand von Schirach: Der Fall Collini

Book # 14
Category: Books for the beach, books for the plane (1/5)

3½ stars
The young attorney Caspar Leinen is chosen to defend Fabrizio Collini, who has very obviously murdered industrialist Hans Mayer. The real question is why, and defending Collini is difficult, since he refuses to even comment on it. To complicate matters further, Leinen knows Mayer very well and gets himself involved with his granddaughter Johanna. Still, he sticks to his duty and defends Collini. Once he unveils the motive, the crime presents itself in a very different light.

I like Schirachs writing, but I guessed the motive in the first chapter – it is VERY German – so the book was not much of a mystery.

Feb 14, 2014, 5:56 pm

I'm surprised that Nora Roberts wrote a stand-alone book! She usually seems to favour trilogies or quartets (and then of course there's the In Death series).

Feb 15, 2014, 8:06 am

>83 rabbitprincess: I didn't know that, but since I don't know if I'll read more from her hand, I'm glad it's a stand-alone book.

Feb 16, 2014, 9:28 am

Wolfgang Herrndorf: Tschick

Book # 15
Category: Books for the beach, books for the plane (2/5)

5 stars
It is brilliant. Just brilliant. Maik Klingenberg is 14 and his family is a mess. His mother is an alcoholic taking four weeks in rehab. His father is on his way to bankruptcy and decides to go on a “business trip” with his young assistant Mona. So, Maik is home alone for two weeks, when he is approached by Tschick who is even more of an outsider in school. Maik is desperate to make an impression on Tatjana and to finally stop being boring and overlooked. When Tschick steals an old Lada, he goes along for a magical trip through the German countryside.

The story is compellingly told, and the voice of Maik is filled with intelligence and innocence, pain and joy. So far, this is definitely the best book I have read in 2014.

Modificato: Feb 21, 2014, 10:26 am

>85 Henrik_Madsen: This seems really interesting, alas there's no french translation. I'll keep this one on a wait for translation list ;)

Feb 21, 2014, 10:46 am

>86 electrice: Not even a French translation? I'm a little surprised since it was nominated for some of the big German book awards, and it seems quite translatable. Most of the topics are relevant in all western countries, it seems. I hope a translation will be out soon!

Feb 21, 2014, 3:07 pm

>87 Henrik_Madsen: Ok after your comment I search a little bit more and find it, it's been translated as 'Good Bye Berlin'. So it's on the BB list, thanks :)

Feb 21, 2014, 3:57 pm

>87 Henrik_Madsen: Is that the French title?

Feb 21, 2014, 4:01 pm

Christin & Mézières: Rejser i tid og rum. Linda og Valentins samlede eventyr, bind 5

Book # 16
Category: Beautiful books build on the talent of skilfully pencilled pictures (3/5)

3½ stars
This is volume 5 of the collected works of Valérian and Laureline. I greatly enjoyed reading the albums as a kid, and when they started reprinting the series a couple of years ago, I started buying them. The common theme of the three stories in this collection is lack of money. After the disappearance of Galaxicity Linda and Valentin are forced to make a living in all kinds of ways. This gets them into trouble on the planet Bobik and Rubanis – the last one greatly inspired Luc Besson’s film The Fifth Element – and it is also a source of strife between them. Valentin thinks he has to do something, and so do Linda, but when he starts out as a weapons dealer, it is too much.

Enjoyable, but read some of the early and truly great albums first.

Feb 21, 2014, 4:38 pm

>89 Henrik_Madsen: Yes, it's the title of the french translation.

Feb 22, 2014, 5:49 am

>91 electrice: Interesting. Just another sign that the French opposition to using English is lessening I guess.

Feb 22, 2014, 5:59 am

>92 Henrik_Madsen: I don't know about official decisions but I think it's ridiculous to be against using english word in everyday life when appropriate. What I still don't understand though it's changing character name's in books to a french translation and having an english title to a german book. I mean Tschick is the name of one of the character, right ? So why not keep it for the title ?

Feb 22, 2014, 6:21 am

>93 electrice: Oh, I totally agree on both your points. It's crazy to think a using English words will delute a language, but we have had the same debate in Denmark. Usually people forget that lots of the "national" words were also borrowed. It just happened so long ago, that we have forgotten about it!

Sometimes translations don't make sense. I have seen American films getting a NEW English title as the "Danish" title. That's just silly.

And yes, Tschick is one of the charachters, so it would make just as much sense in French. I don't know what the publisher might have been thinking. Maybe they are trying to appeal to people who have seen the film Goodbye Lenin or read the Goodbye to Berlin nevel by Christopher Isherwood? Seems strange, though. Very different themes.

Feb 22, 2014, 7:56 pm

Gosh, I had completely forgotten Linda and Valentin - loved them when I was a kid! I will have to check if the library still carries the books when I go back home next time.

Modificato: Apr 2, 2014, 4:41 pm

Rachel og Israel Rachlin: Fortællinger fra vores liv

Book # 17
Category: Books of plays, poetry, and stories short - books of novels are they not (3/5)

4 stars
The Rachlin couple became famous in Denmark in the 1980s when they published two books on the 16 years they spend as deportees in Siberia under Stalin.

I really liked this book, both because it’s well-written and because the subject matter is interesting. The book supplements the two others – which I still haven’t read – but it can definitely also be read on its own. Israel is a Lithuanian Jew, who was educated in Germany before Nazism took over. Since Lithuania is placed between Russia and Germany, there were lots of touching points with both regimes, but even close to the outbreak of war, it didn’t concern them much. Rachel was from Denmark and this turned out to be crucial because it was the key to them leaving the Soviet Union in 1957.

Being deported to Siberia is a pretty horrible fate, but it actually ended up saving them. Shortly after their transportation to the east, Germany launched its attack on Russia. It was an inhuman war, and where the Nazis systematically killed Jews and other “unworthy” people in the occupied countries, and they were especially thorough in Lithuania. This and the negotiations to immigrate to Denmark in the 1950s are documented in the book. A number of contemporary documents are reprinted here.

Mar 9, 2014, 6:42 am

Tomas Espedal: Mod kunsten

Book # 18
Category: Books (5/5)

4 stars
This was a very interesting small book. The narrator - who shares many biographical traits with the author - is in deep crisis. He still haven't gotten over the death of his mother, and this sorrow comes back to haunt him, when his ex-wife also dies, leaving him alone with the daughters. During the novel he gradually works his way through grief. He writes the history of his family and by doing this, he writes himself back into existence. This is also the story of him coming into his own as an artist.

I liked the writing very much. Beautiful sentences that doesn't spell out everything, but leaves a lot to the reader's imagination. Since we read this for my book-club having some vague points to discuss is not a bad thing!

Finishing this book also means finishing the first category of the challenge. Yay! Unfortunately it's the miscallenous category, so I'm not really sure it's a good thing....

Mar 17, 2014, 6:02 pm

Lukas Hartmann: Abschied von Sansibar

Book # 19
Category: Books Lost in translation? Bother Not. Books booked for reading in original (2/5)

3 stars
This wasn’t a great read. Even worse: The story has potential to be great, but I didn’t like the writing much. Emily Ruete is a real person who was born as Salme, an Arabian princess in the kingdom of Zanzibar. After meeting Heinrich from Hamburg she flees with him, and after his death she has to bring up the three children alone in Germany. The story is told from the children’s point of view as they look back on their long lives during and just after the World War II. Their story is also the story of the rise and fall of the imperial Germany, but the potential of the story is never realised in my opinion. Hartmann tells too much and shows too little. It is always his voice I hear, rarely the separate voices of his characters.

Modificato: Mar 19, 2014, 6:40 pm

Niels Roland: Menigmands guide til dommedag (The Everyman's Guide to Doomsday)

Book # 20
Category: Beautiful books build on the talent of skilfully pencilled pictures (4/5)

3½ stars
This is funny book. Niels Roland is clearly fascinated by the various doomsday visions thriving in science fiction and other parts of popular culture. Most of them have a foundation in scientific discovery – well, maybe not The Core – and obviously the planet has seen waves of mass extinction before. Every threat from meteorites to global warming is discussed, and everything is told in comic form and with a good deal of humour. People familiar with Danish comic history will recognize many similarities to the late Claus Deleuran – others can just enjoy it. I thought the book was entertaining, but it wasn’t quite in-depth enough for my taste.

Mar 23, 2014, 11:49 am

Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson: Synnøve Solbakken

Book # 21
Category: B is the Author of the Book (1/5)

3 stars
The book is a short novel originally published in 1857. The story is set in the Norwegian farmland, where the young girl Synnøve is raised by very religious parents. She is a single child and they are very hesitant when she is attracted to Thorbjørn. He is wilder, gets into fights and is nearly killed in one of them. Can he finally master his own nature and become a worthy husband?

Maybe it was the setting or the too-virtuous nature of the characters, but the story never really got to me.

Apr 1, 2014, 3:13 pm

Leif Davidsen: Den ukendte hustru (The Unknown Wife)

Book # 22
Category: Books (6/5)

4 stars
Marcus Hoffmann has been married to Nathalie for more than a decade. They met in Russia just after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and after leaving Moscow she has never looked back. Marcus is engulfed in his work, but he believes they are happy. He is forced, however, to question everything when she vanishes during a holiday in Russia. Has she left him? Has she been kidnapped? And why did she even want to go to Russia in the first place? Marcus is left with all sorts of questions, and he is soon forced to face the fact, that he has in some ways been living with a stranger. The search for Nathalie takes him down a dangerous route, because not much is what it seems in the new Russia.

I think Den ukendte hustru is a really good thriller. I pretty much believed the intrigue, and Davidsen writes with great skill and knowledge about a modern Russia that is far from a flawless democracy.

Apr 2, 2014, 4:43 pm

Yahya Hassan: Yahya Hassan

Book # 23
Category: Books of plays, poetry, and stories short - books of novels are they not (4/5)

4 stars
Yahya Hassan is only 18 years old and he was the literary sensation in Denmark last year. His poetry collection has sold more than 100.000 copies, which is Dan Brown territory. He also sparked or rather rekindled a hot debate on immigration and Islam. He is of Palestinian descent and his ferocious attacks on his tyrannical father seemed to feed right into the ongoing Danish debate on integration.

The poems can be read as an autobiography of the author and his horrible childhood. The father regularly beats up Hassan and his siblings and tries to isolate the family from the surrounding society. The mother is repressed too, and it is sort of obvious that the boy drops out of school and becomes a hardcore youth criminal. The picture the book paints of some immigrant neighbourhoods are pretty shocking. I wasn’t terribly impressed by the poems themselves, but the story is so strong, that it doesn’t really matter. The hype was warranted in this case.

Apr 7, 2014, 4:59 pm

Goscinny & Uderzo: Asterix - den komplette samling bind 2 (Omnibus 4-6)

Book # 24
Category: Beautiful books build on the talent of skilfully pencilled pictures (5/5)

3½ stars
Last year I started re-reading the Asterix series and it is great fun. In the first volumes new elements are still being introduced e.g. the pirates and Idéfix, both of which are introduced in this book containing the original volume 4-6.

All three stories are told with humour and lots of references to contemporary popular culture like the films Spartacus and Cleopatra, but my favourite story in the volume was probably the Tour de France. The Romans decide to shut the Gauls out by surrounding them with a massive wall. The Gauls obviously resent this and Asterix makes a bet that he can travel around the country. The journey is a great opportunity to introduce some of the regional differences in France and to make lots of fun of the Romans. Definitely still worth a read.

Apr 12, 2014, 10:04 am

Palle Schmidt: Stiletto

Book # 25
Category: Beautiful books build on the talent of skilfully pencilled pictures (6/5)

3 stars
Schmidt has created three graphic novels, which are all part of the crime noir genre, and this is probably the best of them. Maynard and Alphonse are cops, and they are asked to solve a double murder case. Two officers have been killed protecting a witness, and only members of the police department knew, where they were. Trying to find the murderer and the leak – called Stiletto – they are soon engulfed in a dark world of crime and corruption. Despite good art work and a nice plot-twist in the middle of the book, everything is very recognizable and strictly held within the genre.

I enjoyed reading it but it wasn’t very original and the end was a bit too much.

Apr 14, 2014, 3:58 am

Fábio Moon & Gabriel Bá: Daytripper

Book # 26
Category: Beautiful books build on the talent of skilfully pencilled pictures (7/5)

4 stars
Daytripper is the story of Brás de Oliva Domingos. He is the son of a famous Brazilian author making a living writing obituaries until he is ready to fulfil his own dream of writing. It is a story about the meaning of life and death, told in ten chapters which shows us ten different aspects of Brás’ life. Each chapter ends with his death and can be read as an obituary, if his life had ended at that particular point in time. The message seems to be, that the full meaning of a life is only visible when it’s over. Since we never know when that’ll happen, we better live our lives now.

I enjoyed the artwork too. It’s not spectacular, but it worked well. The characters are recognizable as they age and the dream sequences work well.

Modificato: Apr 16, 2014, 1:59 am

I just finished Daytripper as well - and I absolutely loved it; it had such an unexpected narrative and such beautiful art. I'll definitely be looking out for more of the twins' art!

Apr 21, 2014, 4:50 am

I think you probably loved it a bit more than me ;-)

It's a good book, though, and I can see from your review, that we pretty much agree on the strengths of the book. I really liked how every chapter ended with the Bras' death - it underlined the different perspectives on the character.

Apr 29, 2014, 2:13 pm

Per Olov Enquist: Lignelsesbogen (The Book of Parables)

Book # 27
Category: Books (7/5)

4 stars
The narrator is an old author who shares many traits with the author of the book. It is probably very autobiographical but as a reader, you should obviously never trust a narrator too much! True or not true, the book revolves around an old man taking another (maybe the last?) long hard look on his life. He has received an old notebook written by his father, which he believed his mother had burned many years ago. The discovery that this was not the case, makes him look at his parents’ and his own life differently. It is perhaps also time to come to terms with the sweet memory of his sexual debut, when he was 15 and was willingly seduced by the woman who had rented the house next door. It is perhaps his most pure memory of love? Maybe, or maybe it just seems so after three divorces and a series of complicated relationships.

Enquist is a great writer. I don’t think this is his best novel, but I enjoyed reading it and would gladly recommend it.

Apr 30, 2014, 4:30 pm

Chris Claremont: Essential X-Men Volume 5

Book # 28
Category: Beautiful books build on the talent of skilfully pencilled pictures (8/5)

3½ stars
I read a lot of Marvel comics when I was younger, and my favourite was the X-Men. Now my son has discovered them and rekindled my interest a bit, so when we were on a trip to Copenhagen a couple of weeks ago, I got tempted by it.

It was a lot like getting together with old friends: Some things seem new, but soon everything comes back and you enjoy yourself. Chris Claremont wrote this volume, which was originally published 1983-84, and it is very characteristic of his style. Every one or two issues a story is told, but along the way the main characters evolves. In this volume this is especially true of Rogue, Storm and Shadowcat – and obviously the strong female characters are another Claremont trademark.

Modificato: Mag 1, 2014, 7:53 am

Marcel Ruijters: De hellige (Dutch: Alle Heiligen, The Holy in English)

Book # 29
Category: Beautiful books build on the talent of skilfully pencilled pictures (9/5)

2½ stars
This is a curious book. Marcel Ruijters is a Dutch comic book artist, who is obviously fascinated by medieval Europe, and he has published several different works on the subject. This is a series of fake hagiographies. He tells 13 nuns’ stories, and all of them were made saints (sainted?) after their death. It is not actual saints. They are made up, but their experiences are only marginally weirder than some the stuff actually believed in at the time. Everything is illustrated in the style used in medieval books and wall paintings. The art is beautiful and interesting, but the stories never really captured me.

Mag 3, 2014, 11:09 am

Walter Scott: Waverley

Book # 30
Category: Brilliant jubilees of books (1/7)

3 stars
Waverley is a classic. Walter Scott more or less invented the historical novel as a genre, and this was the first in the series. It depicts the last Stuart attempt to regain the English throne in 1744-45 and we see the events through the eyes of Edward Waverley. He is an English nobleman who is fascinated by the Scots in the highlands, so he decides to join the Stuart cause, when he thinks his honour hurt by the English. The story is interesting enough and there were some good parts – especially the portrait of the fanatical Flora MacIvor – but it feels like an old book, and I found it difficult to really relate to Waverley himself.

Mag 3, 2014, 11:19 am

Great idea to read "anniversary" books! Also thanks for the reminder that I need to read some more Scott. I have read Waverley and would probably agree with your assessment (I read it in university and don't remember much about it).

Mag 3, 2014, 11:55 am

Thanks - I have been doing it for some years to "force" myself to read more classics, and they usually end up being some of the best books of the year.

I also have Ivanhoe on the selves, so I'm definitely planning to read more Scott. As I understand it, some of his later novels are more entertaining. I hope so, because this one felt a bit dated.

Mag 4, 2014, 3:42 pm

Toni Morrison: Salomons sang

Book # 31
Category: Books (8/5)

4½ stars
Macon Dead lives a relatively privileged life for a black man. He is born in a well-off family in Michigan in the early 1930s and for a long time he is mostly concerned with going to parties, sleeping with women, and generally enjoying his life. He is not a political activist like his friend Guitar or carrying the past with him like his aunt Pilatus. Even though he is rich, he believes, that only money stands between him and true freedom. He gladly goes on a quest to find an ancient treasure, but instead he discovers his own roots in the South and in family history.

Morrison masterfully weaves an engaging story filled with drama and believable characters. Much like Macon finds his own history and identity; she explores the cultural history of African Americans and convey their experience to all.

Modificato: Mag 10, 2014, 9:42 am

Martin Jensen: Helligåndens gæster (Eske Litle #2)

Book # 32
Category: Books of brutal struggle and bravely beleaguered heroes. Books in bunches is the thing (1/5)

3½ starsMartin Jensen: Helligåndens gæster (Eske Litle #2)

This mystery is set in medieval Denmark in the city of Assens. It was a time of great turmoil, but in this book it is only part of the overall scenery. Eske Litle, the sheriff faces a triple murder in the local in, and there are obviously more questions than answers. Who was the primary victim and why should anybody care enough about three ordinary citizens to murder them?

The mystery is not excessively complicated, but the investigation is methodical and quite entertaining. Most of all Martin Jensen manages to bring the past to life with lots of details from everyday life.

Mag 13, 2014, 7:43 am

>105 Henrik_Madsen: Hi Henrik, great review of Daytripper. Seems like the kind of story that makes us think of what we want from life ... It goes on the BB list.

Mag 13, 2014, 3:02 pm

#116 Thanks! I enjoyed it and I hope you will too.

Mag 13, 2014, 3:03 pm

Norman Mailer: Kampen

Book # 33
Category: Books of plays, poetry, and stories short - books of novels are they not (5/5)

4 stars
This classic book focuses on the “Rumble in the Jungle”. When Muhammed Ali fought George Foreman in Kinshasa in 1974, it was an epic battle. At that point Ali was larger than life, or at least larger than boxing, so it makes sense that Mailer wrote a book about the fight that is also about more than boxing. There is – and I believe this annoys a lot of readers – much on Mailer himself, but there is also an attempt to understand the cultural importance of Ali going to Africa for the fight.

Modificato: Ago 14, 2014, 3:16 pm

Alfred Tennyson: Enoch Arden

Book # 34
Category: Brilliant jubilees of books (2/7)

3 stars
This is the second of my anniversary books and I decided to download it from Project Gutenberg last week. It was the first time I read fiction on the Ipad, but it functioned quite well. I still prefer reading a book, but it is good a good option, especially for rare books that is not easily obtained.

This collection contains five longer poems, some of which are essentially short stories written in verse. The best ones were probably ‘Enoch Arden’ about love and sacrifice in an English seaport and ‘Sea Dreams’ where a couple reflects on their lives on a vacation by the sea. Love, forgiveness and Christianity are common themes in the collection.

I don’t read much poetry and definitely not in English, so it was an interesting read. Still, I wasn’t overwhelmed so I’m not sure I will read more Tennyson in the future.

Giu 28, 2014, 7:43 am

Chris Claremont: Essential X-Men Volume 6

Book # 35
Category: Beautiful books build on the talent of skilfully pencilled pictures (10/5)

3 stars
I loved X-Men when I was younger and this volume covers some of the issues I read at the time. Most of them are pretty good, but Marvel got greedy and that didn’t really do anything good for the series. New spin-offs were introduced, and there were way too many cross-overs which broke up the flow of the main series. Still, the development of characters like Storm and Rachel made the reading worthwhile.

Giu 29, 2014, 10:00 am

Vittorio Giardino: Jonas Fink

Book # 36
Category: Beautiful books build on the talent of skilfully pencilled pictures (11/5)

4 stars
Vittorio Giardino's works usually take place in the middle of the twentieth century. Jonas Fink grows up Prague in the early 1950s. He is a Jew and for that reason his family is targeted by communist regime as part of the last wave of repression instigated by Stalin. One night the secret police knocks on their door and the father is sentenced to ten years prison without any kind of trial.

Turned into outcasts, Jonas and his mother have to build a new life on the ruins of the old one. Jonas is not allowed to go to high school because of his father's "crimes" and instead he becomes a plummer's apprentice and later an assistant in a book shop. He also grows up at falls in love with Tatiana, a beautiful girl, who is part of group of young students. They get together to read and share books forbidden by the regime. With secret police agents everywhere, this is obviously dangerous.

I liked the book a lot. The art work is perfect for a graphic novel placed in a specific time and place, and the story of a young boy growing up under difficult circumstances is always fascinating.

Giu 30, 2014, 3:39 pm

Arnaldur Indridason: Nordmosen (Erlendur Sveinsson #3)

Book # 37
Category: Books of brutal struggle and bravely beleaguered heroes. Books in bunches is the thing (2/5)

4 stars
This was my first mystery by Arnaldur Indridason - it's the third book of the series, but the one chosen for my book club - and I enjoyed it a lot. When an old man is found murdered in his home, Erlendur soon suspects that is not just a robbery gone wrong. He believes answers are to be found in the man's past, and what is dug up is not at all flattering. Nasty secrects have been hidden and until they are revealed, solving the murder is impossible.

Erlendur is a very Scandinavian policeman. His private life is in shambles, but he is himself a rather a tolerant melancolic, whose knowledge and gut feelings can fill in the blanks left by the forensic evidence.

Lug 6, 2014, 2:09 am

>121 Henrik_Madsen: It's a hit. The cover is beautiful and the story looks promising.

Lug 20, 2014, 3:47 pm

>123 electrice: Good - I hope you will enjoy it as much as I have.

Modificato: Lug 21, 2014, 6:34 am

Back from a great holiday in the Czech Republic - where I have of course been reading Czech litterature to get that extra feeling for the country. This should also help me complete another category!

Milan Kundera: Tilværelsens ulidelige lethed

Book # 38
Category: Books for the beach, books for the plane (3/5)

4½ stars
Tomas is a brilliant, womanizing doctor in Prague in the 1960s where he meets and falls in love with Tereza. Their love is complicated but strong, so strong that he follows her back to Czechoslovakia after their escape to Switzerland in 1968. Soon after, though, their existence is threatened by communist repression. Tomas is asked to call back a critical letter published in a periodical before the invasion, and when he refuses he can no longer be a doctor and becomes a window cleaner instead.

Kunderas novel is much more than a novel about repression. It asks what being is actually about, and neither Kundera nor Tomas can stand lightness. Being human and alive is all about taking things seriously – which is what Tomas and Tereza do, even if their relationship is peculiar.

Lug 21, 2014, 6:34 am

Vaclav Havel: Fjernforhør

Book # 39
Category: Books for the beach, books for the plane (4/5)

4 stars
The book was created around Christmas 1985. The journalist Karel Hvizd’ala wanted to “interrogate” Havel from afar, and had sent him a long list of questions, which Havel then recorded his answers to. Havel is still listed as the author, which seems quite fair, since the questions are merely a means to get him talking systematically about his life and his experiences as a dissident in Czechoslovakia.

The book depicts Havel’s life both as a playwright working with absurd theatre in the 1960s and as a political activists continually fighting for the right to freedom of thought and speech. This soon meant confrontations with state and party leaders. Havel’s significance in the period before 1968 is probably a bit exaggerated because we see everything through his eyes, but it is still a fascinating glimpse into the working of a totalitarian regime. When Charta 77 was founded in 1977 he became a much more important voice of opposition and his thoughts on the process and on life in prison is interesting.

This is not the book to read on The Velvet Revolution, but it is still an interesting portrait of an important figure in postwar Europe.

Lug 23, 2014, 12:08 am

>125 Henrik_Madsen:
I have to get around to that one soon! I've only seen the film, which is clearly not an adequate replacement.

Lug 23, 2014, 3:06 am

>127 -Eva-: You should - I think you will like it.

I have never watched the movie but I'm considering it now as a follow-up. Is it any good?

Modificato: Lug 24, 2014, 5:45 am

Franz Kafka: Processen

Book # 40
Category: Books for the beach, books for the plane (5/5)

5 stars
This book is famous for a reason. It is brilliantly written and the claustrophobic atmosphere I like nothing I have ever read before. When Josef K. is arrested he is never told, what he is accused of, and he never actually faces the judge who is ruling in his case, because the trial is “naturally” not public. This makes a real defence difficult, but this is not what really breaks him down. What is truly horrific for K. (and the reader who shutters and despairs with him) is the fact that everybody else accepts the mysterious court system as some thing natural and in its own way logic.

Lug 23, 2014, 8:04 am

I admire you for reading this on a plane or a beach. I find Kafka such a horror trip into the depths of the human soul that I need to be in a very safe place emotionally before opening the book.

Lug 23, 2014, 8:43 am

>130 MissWatson: Well, it wasn't actually on plane or beach but in Prague! The weather was great - sadly that has changed - and it is such a beautiful city, but I still couldn't help thinking about the author and and his sinister book when we walked through the Josefov neighbourhood or in the small streets below the castle. I also bought Die Verwandlung in German in the Franz Kafka Society, and look forward to it.

Lug 24, 2014, 3:26 am

>131 Henrik_Madsen: Ah, I see, just the books related to the visited country. I dearly want to go there one day. Soon.

Lug 24, 2014, 5:44 am

>132 MissWatson: You should. It's a beautiful, interesting city and it is much closer than I thought. I guess my mental geography is still influenced by the cold war, because I always think Eastern European places are further away, than they actually are.

Lug 24, 2014, 5:46 am

Karel Capek: Krigen mod salamandrene

Book # 41
Category: Books for the beach, books for the plane (6/5)

4 stars
I enjoyed the book a lot. It is a dystopian satire about the sudden and surprising rise of newts, discovered in the Pacific, trained for pearldiving and through human folly spread all over the globe and supplied with weapons, which they inevitably turn on the humans. Published in 1936 it is obviously inspired by contemporary events, but since the main problem is the human tendency to split up and form rivalries between states instead of handling common threats it is still relevant.

It is also funny and well-written and a really good book overall.

Lug 24, 2014, 6:18 am

>134 Henrik_Madsen: This sounds very interesting. Off to check the library catalogue, that is something they should have.

Modificato: Lug 26, 2014, 6:03 am

Jan Bonek: Cubist Prague

Book # 42
Category: Books for the beach, books for the plane (7/5)

3½ stars
Prague is beautiful the way central European cities are beautiful. Lots of quality architecture, especially from the Art Nouveau period. What is unique about Prague is the existence of cubist architecture which was never really build anywhere else.

The book is a useful guide to the buildings. It is divided into geographic chapters, which is an advantage when you walk through the city to see them, and the book is full of good photos and good descriptions on individual houses. There is also an introduction about the four main architects behind the movement, but I missed a bit more analysis of the movement and the theoretical ideas that must have been the foundation of cubist architecture.

Lug 26, 2014, 6:03 am

Pavel Kohout: Jeg sner

Book # 43
Category: Books for the beach, books for the plane (8/5)

4½ stars
This novel is all about seeking the truth even at great cost. Petra Marova is editing personals at a Catholic newspaper in Prague after the velvet revolution. She is also poet, mostly writing for the drawer, and her life is a mess. She is having an affair with Viktor Kral, her old lover who has returned from exile in Canada, but he is torn between her and his new family. When he is accused of being an agent under the old regime, she sets out to prove his innocence. But she also faces doubts and has to look over her life again. She is certain, however, that she cannot continue until she knows the truth.

I liked Jeg sner very much. The theme is interesting and Petra Marova is a complicated, energetic and funny main character. She is adamant in her quest for the truth, but she is also very good at lying to herself, and the text is full of small sentences, where you can follow her doubts and thoughts.

Lug 26, 2014, 8:56 pm

>128 Henrik_Madsen:
I enjoyed it immensely, but it was almost a quarter of a century since I saw it, so I'm not sure it has stood the test of time. :) The cast is brilliant in any case.

Lug 27, 2014, 12:47 pm

Eugen Ruge: In Zeiten des abnehmenden Lichts

Book # 44
Category: Books Lost in translation? Bother Not. Books booked for reading in original (3/5)

4½ stars
It is a pretty great novel. Ruge tells the story of the German Democratic Republic (the middle part of the name was obviously a fraud) through the development of a single family. The first generation returns from exile to help build the new society, and even though the reality is somewhat disappointing, they toil on. So does their children, but after that there is only indifference or even resentment. During its entire existence the GDR was in “Times of fading Lights” as the title so precisely puts it.

German literature has a strong tradition of novels on families and their decline – like Buddenbrooks – and I feel certain Ruge will take his rightful place between the best. He masterfully mixes character development with societal change, and the result is a very compelling and rather easily read novel.

Lug 27, 2014, 12:48 pm

>138 -Eva-: Thanks - I'll give a go if I can get my hands on it. I thought the casting was pretty impressing, too.

Lug 28, 2014, 11:33 am

Mindre stationsbyers sammenhængskraft udg. af Ministeriet for By, Boliger og Landdistrikter

Book # 45
Category: Boring books (3/5)

2½ stars
So, back to work and back to boring books! This is a government report on the challenges and future possibilities of the many small railroad towns in Denmark. Right now they are facing difficulties, because their raison d'être as local commercial centres are undermined by changes in retail and business. As a result the main street is falling apart and leaving an impression of decay. New centres have formed themself around schools and community buildings, and the book argues, that urban planners should try to connect and display the active parts of the town to create a more wholesome urban environment.

There are som interesting examples and strategies, but the future of towns are also determined by globalization and urbanisation. A future as a settlement depending on pendling to major job markets will not be possible for all of them. In short: Some useful points for work but not a particularly fun or interesting read.

Lug 29, 2014, 4:28 pm

Franz Kafka: Die Verwandlung

Book # 46
Category: Books Lost in translation? Bother Not. Books booked for reading in original (4/5)

4½ stars
One morning Gregor Samsa wakes up transformed into a giant bug. He is supposed to go to work but can hardly get out of bed, and once his family and his boss sees him, they are appalled. Soon he is living a life contained in his room where only his sister dares enter, getting progressively weaker as his humanity fades.

Kafka never explains the metamorphis, but much like Josef K. in The Trial he is trapped in a new, absurd reality anyway. It is a reality I totally identified with and the book was a compelling read like hardly anything I have ever read before.

Ago 1, 2014, 11:02 am

Alison Bechdel: The essential Dykes to Watch Out For

Book # 47
Category: Beautiful books build on the talent of skilfully pencilled pictures (12/5)

4 stars
Dykes to Watch Out For is a comic strip published by Bechdel since 1987, and this tome is an anthology containing most of the work published 1987-2008. It is a clever chronicle of American society spanning twenty years and seeing life through the eyes of a group of leftwing, vegetarian lesbians fighting for equal rights and struggling with love and career like everyone else.

It is a funny and intelligent book documenting how lesbians become normal in ways supported by the author (they form families, get equal rights) and ways that discomforts her (lesbians can also be neocons supporting Bush, waterboarding and the war on terror!)

Ago 14, 2014, 3:18 pm

Selma Lagerlöf: Kejseren af Portugalien

Book # 48
Category: Brilliant jubilees of books (3/7)

4 stars
This is my third anniversary book. 1914 is when the Great War began, but it was too early to be reflected in literature that year. Instead I chose this novel by Selma Lagerlöf who in 1909 was the first woman to receive the Nobel Prize for literature.

The main character is Jan Andersson, a poor sharecropper in Northern Sweden, whose life finally gets meaningful when his daughter Klara Gulla is born. It is as if, he had never really loved or cared about anything before, but now he admiringly watches her grow up, slowly convincing himself that she can handle any situation. The only thing he is not prepared for is her leaving. When she does and hardly gives her parents any notice of her whereabouts, he slowly withdraws into a different reality. It is a world, where Klara Gulla has become a princess and Jan himself is the emperor of Portugalia.

I enjoyed this novel a lot. It’s a bit of a slow read in the beginning, but it picks up pace, and it is so interesting to see Jan losing his mind but never, ever letting go of the love for his daughter. It is truly limitless and unconditional.

Modificato: Ago 17, 2014, 9:18 am

Hans Thor Andersen m.fl.: Boligmarkedet uden for de store byer

Book # 49
Category: Boring books (4/5)

3 stars
Urbanization is affecting all parts of Denmark as well as many other parts of the world. Working in a rural municipality I'm trying to keep up with the substantial amount of research being conducted right now on the subject. This book is mainly concerned with the effects on the housing market, but also takes a broader look at development strategies of three Danish municipalities. They all face the same challenge - fewer inhabitants, fewer children and a distinct need to merge schools and other institutions to ensure cost-efficiency.

The development of the housing market closely reflects urbanization patterns in general. Prizes sky rocket in major cities and plummets in rural areas.

There are no major surprises in these conclusions, but the book further documents and analyzes important changes in our society.

Ago 17, 2014, 9:18 am

Noah Gordon: Lægen fra Zaragoza

Book # 50
Category: Bye, bye books (1/5)

2½ stars
It’s a historical novel set in Spain around 1500, when all Jews were expulsed from the country and the Spanish Inquisition mercilessly hunted down those converts who secretly retained their old rituals and beliefs. Yonah is the son of a silver smith in Toledo, and his family is even more under siege than others. His older brother has been murdered because they have been caught up in a violent struggle within the Church. Once the expulsion becomes law, Yonah must flee across Spain on his own, secretly vowing never to convert.

The story is full of drama, but it just never really got to me. The characters are too one-dimensional, and at the end there were just too many coincidences helping to wrap up the story.

Ago 17, 2014, 3:53 pm

Hermann: Afrika

Book # 51
Category: Beautiful books build on the talent of skilfully pencilled pictures (13/5)

3 stars
Dario Ferrer is trying to protect the wildlife in Africa from poachers, and he takes no prisoners along the way. He is constantly angry and unwilling to explain himself, so interviewing him is quite a challenge for the young reporter Charlotte, who doesn’t approve of his war-like handling of poaching. Yet she is fascinated by the majestic nature of Africa, which is very beautifully expressed in the artwork.

When Ferrer and Charlotte accidentally observes a military assault on some rebels, that they were definitely NOT supposed to see, the book changes gears and becomes a chase-and-escape-if-you-can story. I enjoyed the art work, but the story is hardly original.

Set 7, 2014, 7:02 am

Kaspar Colling Nielsen: Den danske borgerkrig 2018-24 (The Danish Civil War 2018-24)

Book # 52
Category: Books (9/5)

3½ stars
Colling Nielsen is a young Danish author who writes compellingly and imaginative. At every turn of the book I was curious to see, what he came up with next and I enjoyed reading it throughtout. The story focuses on what could happen if the economic crises deepened and split the country into a devastating civil war. I never bought that idea, and some of the other topics in the book is never explored as much as I would have liked. (The story is told by the 475 years old narrator to Geoff, his speaking dog, but the themes of immortality and the blurred distinction between humans and animals are only touched upon.)

I still think Colling Nielsen can write a brilliant novel. I just don't think this is it.

Set 13, 2014, 11:04 am

Harald Voetmann: Alt under månen (Everything under the Moon)

Book #53
Category: Book no. two - who says A must say Book (2/5)

3½ stars
I read my first book by Voetmann a couple of years ago. It was a novel about Pliny the Elder, which brought to life both the Roman Empire and the famous scientist.

This book is also the story of a famous scientist and his surroundings. At the end of the 16th century the famous Danish scientist Tycho Brahe lived on the Island of Hven, where he meticulously observed the changing star formations and laid the groundwork for modern astronomy. The novel doesn’t deal much with the findings, though. It is mostly a portrait of a historical period where strange religious beliefs and alchemy existed side by side with scientific discovery. Much of the story is told through the eyes of servants, who don’t hold back when it comes to graphic descriptions of bodily decay.

I enjoyed the book, much like I enjoyed Voetmann’s earlier book. He brings famous historical characters to life in a pretty compelling way.

Modificato: Set 28, 2014, 2:45 pm

Jaime Hernandez: Speedy Ortiz dør (The Death of Speedy)

Book # 54
Category: Beautiful books build on the talent of skilfully pencilled pictures (14/5)

3 ½ stars
32. Jaime Hernandez: Speedy Ortiz dør

3½ stars
Maggie and Hopey are growing up in a Hispanic suburb the Los Angeles in the 1980s. They don’t really know what to do with their lives, as they struggle to find a job – it’s a mystery to me why Maggie gives up on being a mechanic since she obviously likes it – and what to do with their love life. They live together and are on-off lovers, but they both have other love interests as well. Around them are a great number of characters, both friends and family, whose stories intertwine at various points.

It is a interesting portrait of a community, and I enjoyed both stories and artwork.

Set 14, 2014, 5:14 pm

>150 Henrik_Madsen:
It depends on the day whether I prefer the Palomar-stories or the Hoppers ones, but this story arc is one of my favorites of any Love & Rockets comic.

Set 28, 2014, 2:51 pm

>151 -Eva-: I have enjoyed both series as well, but I must admit I found some of the Palomar stories a bit repetitive. I guess that's almost inevitable when they have been produced and published over such a long period of time.

Set 28, 2014, 3:04 pm

William Faulkner: De vilde palmer (Wild Palms)

Book # 55
Category: Brilliant jubilees of books (4/7)

3½ stars
This is actually two novels written into one. The first one is about a young doctor who falls in love with a married woman. She leaves her husband and they go on a journey around the country to create a life with eachother. Or so they tell themselves, because it seems most of all like an escape from reality as they move from place to place, tumbling down towards the bottom of society. The other story takes place during the Mississippi flooding of the late 1920s where a prisoner is sent out in a boat to rescue a woman. He picks her up, but they are swept away by the wild waters. Even though he has a chance to escape, he is only concerned with finding his way back to prison and the freedom of his ordered life there. After all, he (and Faulkner?) seems more at ease with a mule than with a woman.

I enjoyed the beautiful descriptions of the flooded countryside and the passion which Faulkner writes with. But I didn't like the premise much, and I never understood why the couple in the first story were attracted to eachother - and when I don't understand that, it is really difficult to understand their actions.

Set 29, 2014, 12:21 am

Stig Lennart Andersson: Empowerment of Aesthetics

Book # 56
Category: Books of art, books of history, books of facts, building knowledge (1/5)

3 stars
Andersson was the curator of the Danish part of the biannual exibition on architecture in Venice, and this is the catalogue documenting it. Andersson argues that Architecture needs to break with pure modernity because it's ratinal and functionalistic view of the world is i sufficient. Instead there is a need to adopt a complementary view combining rationality and aesthetics. In his view, both approaches are "true" at the same time, much like light is both wave and particle at the same time.

It is a very beutiful book, but unfortunately I needed a more documentary and less aesthetic approach to the subject. The theory is interesting, but the illustratins don't really help understanding it's implications for urban planning.

Ott 5, 2014, 10:30 am

Florian Illies: 1913: Århundredets sommer

Book # 57
Category: Books (10/5)

4½ stars
Illies paints a nuanced portrait of the year 1913 – just before the old Europe broke down in four years of brutal bloodshed. We follow important characters and events month by month. Two of them are Hitler and Stalin, who were both in Vienna and could have spared the world a lot of sorrow by settling their differences right there. It is not, however, mainly a political book. It is most of all a chronicle of the birth of modern culture. It is interesting to see just how much of a foundation for abstract painting, conceptual art and psychological literature that was already in place before the war.

It is a book full of knowledge, but it is also well crafted and entertaining. Illies shows how the larger story of cultural change is connected to and founded in personal experiences.

Ott 7, 2014, 1:02 pm

Jannick B. Pedersen og Anders Hvid: Forstå fremtiden (Understanding the future)

Book # 58
Category: Boring books (5/5)

4 stars
Well, this is one of the more curious books I have read due to work. We are working on a new development strategy for the municipality, and we are really trying to broaden our minds this time. So, my boss left this book on my desk and it was a fast, disturbing read.

The authors try to understand what will drive future technological change and how it will manifest itself in our everyday lives. Moore’s Law says computer strength will double every two years in relation to size and prize, and this will be the foundation of sweeping change. In a few years Blockbuster and Kodak went broke because of it, and we are only seeing the beginning of what’s possible when practically free and unlimited calculating power is combined with biotech, nanotech and robotics.

The book is not a warning, but it certainly shook me up. It was a fast, easy, and thought-provoking read, even though it didn’t really discuss all the inherent cultural changes and existential dilemmas. Not boring at all, actually!

Ott 21, 2014, 2:29 pm

Judith Hermann: Sommerhaus, später

Book #59
Category: Book no. two - who says A must say Book (3/5)

3½ stars
I loved my first Judith Hermann book – Alice – and thought it was time to renew the acquaintance. Her debut from 1998 consists of nine stories full of sad characters. Happiness always seems to be in the past or just out of reach for them. The stories are well crafted and there are some memorable scenes in them. I loved the hopelessly self-absorbed boyfriend who could only say: “I’m not interested in myself.” Or the homeless taxi-driver from the title story, who finally gambles on restoring an old country house to fit in. Sommerhaus, später is a fine collection, but not quite as good as Hermann’s later work.

Modificato: Nov 1, 2014, 5:23 am

Nils Arne Sørensen: Den store krig (The Great War)

Book # 60
Category: Books of art, books of history, books of facts, building knowledge (2/5)

4½ stars
The book is a great synthesis on the history of the Great War in Europe. We get concise analysis of the origins of the war, of the major developments on the battle fields and an even depiction of all the major fronts. (The West Front was obviously immensely important, but it was not the only front even though most of the imagery of the war in Western Europe focuses on the trenches in France and Flanders.) It also brings fresh knowledge to life of ordinary soldiers, women on the home front and the massive remembrance culture developed after the war. It is, in short a really good book and one that I would recommend to anybody interested in a interpretation of the war in Danish.

Modificato: Nov 1, 2014, 11:35 am

Alexander Kluge: Slaget

Book # 61
Category: Brilliant jubilees of books (5/7)

3 stars
In 1964 Alexander Kluge made an early attempt to challenge the bounderies between history and litteratur. His depiction of the battle of Stalingrad is not a novel in any traditional sense, but it is not really a work of history either. The battle is described from different angles and different sourcematerial, starting out with official German Progaganda and finishing with day-to-day descriptions of skirmishes and major battles. This contrast is interesting, but the lack of charachters made it difficult to read the book as litterature - and it seemed rather dated as a work of history. The absense of any discussions of the crimes comitted by the German forces throughout the campaing is particularly eye-catching to the modern reader.

Nov 2, 2014, 8:04 am

Asta Oliva Nordenhof: det nemme og det ensomme (The easy and the lonely)

Book # 62
Category: Books of plays, poetry, and stories short - books of novels are they not (6/5)

3½ stars
Memories and everyday situations are the fuel in Nordenhofs writing. They are written in precise sentences, and the collection emanates much vulnerability and a poignant indignation.

I always find it difficult writing about poetry – especially in English – but I really enjoyed reading the book.

Dic 13, 2014, 6:38 am

Henrik Rehr: Gavrilo Princip

Book # 63
Category: Beautiful books build on the talent of skilfully pencilled pictures (15/5)

4 stars
In June 1914 the story of two men collided in Sarajevo. Franz Ferdinand was heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, but he was also a romantic who chose Sophie Chotek even though their children would never be allowed to inherit the throne - and he was actually a calming voice among the war-mongers. Gavrilo Princip was a young student who was fascinated by serbian nationalism and soon devoted his life to bringing all the southern Slavs together in a new Yugoslavia. He was willing to sacrifice his life and his love for the cause - and when he had convinced himself that the death of the archduke was needed, he never hessitated.

The artwork is good but perhaps a little bit gloomy and the dialogue and storytelling could be more compelling, but overall this is a good presentation of a very interesting story.

Dic 21, 2014, 10:40 am

Chinua Achebe: Alt falder fra hinanden (Things Fall Apart)

Book # 64
Category: Books (11/5)

4 stars
Some novels carry almost too much history and too much fame. Achebe’s debut novel e.g. is called the “starting point of modern African literature” and it’s hard to live up to such lofty expectations – and sometimes it’s actually hard to read such books as independent works of art and not as focal points in literary history.

This story of the colonization of Nigeria around 1900 is definitely still worth reading. Okonkwo is a powerful and successful in traditional society, which is portrayed both nuanced and intimately, but his position and his beliefs are challenged by missionaries and colonial rule. In the end he has to choose between accepting the new order or disappearing. Part of the novel almost reads as an anthropological study, but it is also moving and definitely still interesting 50 years later.

Dic 21, 2014, 9:48 pm

>162 Henrik_Madsen:
I found that the "oral tradition" writing style made it very timeless.

Dic 22, 2014, 4:18 pm

>163 -Eva-: Agreed - but there were times when stories didn't feel genuinely oral but seemed to be processed to some degree.

Dic 22, 2014, 4:20 pm

Gabriel Garcia Marques: Generalen i sin labyrint

Book # 65
Category: Brilliant jubilees of books (6/7)

3½ stars
The story of the last journey of Simon Bolivar from Bogatá down the river Skt Magdalene is an interesting portrait of a man who was already myth when he lived. He travels with a large number of old comrades from his many military campaigns and important episodes from his life are told through numerous flashbacks. It is a good book with a very fascinating main character. I enjoyed reading it, but it’s not really a great book.