Wednesday, 13 September 2017

My last 5 books: Fantasy and a bit of reality

1. The Buddha in the Attic, by Julie Otsuka. I read this one in Swedish, but even through the Swedish translation of the original English I could see the Japanese language at work. This book was heartbreaking, and I don't want to believe that any of these things really happened, but at the same time I know they did. This book describes the lives of those postorder brides who travelled from Japan in the early 20th century to marry the Japanese men already working there. Their lives were never easy and never what they expected. And then it all got even worse when WW2 came around and they were percieved as enemies just for having been born Japanese. This book made my heart ache and it made me cry. At the same time as this book is now one of my personal classics and favourites, it was so short, and it ended at a point which to me was way, way, way, ahead of time.
2. Diamantsvärdet och Träsvärdet I, by Nick Perumov. This is a Swedish translation of the first book in a Russian fantasy series. I never actually finished this. I gave it over 100 pages before I decided to give up. Absololutely nothing had happened in those 100 pages, nothing of value anyway and the characters didn't feel real or well-developed. The rest of my complaints may be entirely due to the translator, but it was written in an old-fashioned Swedish that felt forced rather than natural. Like a 12 year-old trying to write like those old books grandfather has. On top of that the translator had decided to keep some things in Cyrillic lettering, and the only thing those words did was to interrupt my reading and my rhythm, because I couldn't read them and that created such a useless break. Fine if you want to keep the Russian names for these things, but could you at least write those names in Latin alphabet somewhere in the book? Like an index at the back or something. Having to switch to the back to read a word would create less of an interruption that just having a big fat question mark in the middle of a sentence. This book didn't get to stay in my bookshelf.
3. Odinsbarn, by Siri Pettersen. I've been looking forward to reading this book for a while. A Viking-inspired Norwegian fantasy series? Yes, please! And it was just as good as I expected. It was a Little bit obvious from time to time, but not obvious in a way that ruined the suspense, just obvious in the way that I figured out what was going to happen way before it did. What I didn't expect was how the characters turned out. Especially Rime. I expected this distant, independent person to keep his cool and turn almost cruel at the end. Instead he completely broke down and it was Hirka's job to save him from himself. Just goes to show how used I am to stereotypes when I expect the boy to turn into the valiant, but unfortunately cool knight who saves the female protagonist. Instead she saves her damn self all through the important moments of the book, and I love it. The next two books in this series are going to be amazing.
4. Villains of All Nations: Atlantic Pirates in the Golden Age, by Marcus Rediker. A book retelling the ventures of the real pirates during the golden age of piracy in the early 18th century. I've always had an interest in pirates, and learning more about these people was very interesting to me. Piracy back then was a protest, a revolution, and more of a democracy than the ruling nations. People turned pirate to escape from the horrendous lives of being employed by the merchant navies. I especially, obiously, liked the chapter about female pirates, which talked about the impact they had and how they influenced the women around them, and also how this particular era of time embraced the strong adventurous woman more than the 19th and 20th centuries. All in all an interesting read, only negative I can think of is that it at times felt like reading a university dissertation and not a factual book. 
5. Interview with the Vampire, by Anne Rice. You can't say you like vampires without someone mentioning this book or the movie. I saw the movie years and years ago, and thought it was time I read the book. The book is, from what I remember, very different from the movie. In general I liked the book, but Louis made me sigh so many times. He was just thinking too much. He created his own suffering by thinking so much. I don't approve of how Lestat handled his afterlife either, but come on Louis! Claudia and Armand were the stars of the book. The end disappointed me. We've been through all that and this is what happens?! Come on, you can't break both of them like that! Why would you do this?! So yes, the ending was a bit of a disappointment to me. Another thing I didn't approve of was all those times the author tried to impersonate the French writers of the 19th and early 20th century by adding philosophical monologues out of nowehere that had barely any bearing at all on the book. I don't like it when the French do it, and I don't like it when Americans do it either. All in all: good book. Not what I expected, but good book.

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