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Feb 5

An update

Posted on Friday, February 5, 2016 in My life

Some of you may have noticed that I have been missing for a while. The reason is that I’ve been in hospital. My blood pressure was up and my legs were swelling and I ended up staying until after the C-section. I really hate being in the hospital. :/ At least so far things seem to be going well. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for the future. My blood pressure is still a bit too high and my ankles and feet are still swollen (yuck). Other than that I feel fine, but tired. I’m a bit low on iron too, so maybe that’s why.

The twins are doing ok, but not eating enough to grow as much as they should, so we have to feed them through a tube (?). It’s a thin plastic thing that has been inserted into their stomachs (?). I’m really no expert on these medical things, but it’s creepy but quite easy to handle things once they had been set up. It’s usually quite nice to feed the kids from a bottle, but this – well, at least it’s easy and convenient. The twins were born almost a month too early (because twins usually are) and apparently that’s pretty good for twins. They’re so tiny. They’re also quite a lot alike (in looks) and quite different (in personality). Maybe this is too much info for most of my followers so I’ll keep all that to a minimum. I’m not sure how much anyone will want to know. I can tell you that having a planned C section worked out exactly as I hoped it would – no pain, not even afterwards. There were uncomfortable moments with injections, blood tests etc, but no actual pain, not before, during or after the surgery. So that was good.

We’re back at the house now and are supposed to handle things ourselves from now on. Again, I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

In other news, I failed at finishing my three YA books :(. Now I have no idea when I’ll be able to do any writing at all. I don’t even have time to read (and hardly to eat and sleep…).

Even though I can’t write at the moment, I have come up with a new fanfic idea for Call the Midwife, which was totally unexpected. I never thought I’d write anything in that fandom. So maybe some day – next year? – I’ll do some more writing.

Jan 18

Too good to be true? Four new series for me to follow!

Posted on Monday, January 18, 2016 in TV series

When the series I was following on Swedish tv (not the streaming ones I watch online) stopped just before Christmas, I was convinced it would be a long time before there was anything else I could watch (again, on Swedish tv, fortunately we do still have the streaming series, though most of them will be American and not the British and European ones that we would so much like to see as well).

However, I was wrong. On an ordinary week I now have four different series to watch, and that’s not counting the Sherlock Christmas special that is coming up this month. At least that was lucky.

First of all, there’s a German series, called Deutschland 83, which seems very interesting. It’s about an East German soldier who is forced to relocate to West Germany and work as a spy. It’s set in the 1980’s which is one of my favorite decades so much of the music will be great and it’s sort of ‘historic’ now, so that too, adds to my interest in the series.

Then there’s Shetland, season 3. I had forgotten how short the seasons were, so I was a little surprised to find that we were already on season 3, but clearly it’s correct. I love the scenery and I also really like the episodes, because they’re just old-fashioned ‘real’ cop series. These days you get all that ‘whydunnit’ instead of ‘whodunnit’ and I really prefer the latter. That’s also why I love the historic cop series, because they focus on ordinary plots, instead of all that new stuff.

Finally, tonight there were two new series for me to follow. I’m amazed.

The first one is a Norwegian historic series about a group of resistance fighters who attack the heavy water plant at Rjukan in Nazi-occupied Norway. It’s a very interesting historic series that I’m really looking forward to following. Of course, that attack on Rjukan is very famous in Nordic history so I knew about it before, but I’d forgotten many of the details and we’re also getting a lot of the background, which is great.

Then right after the Norwegian series, Swedish tv has decided to air London Spy. I never thought we’d get to see that this soon after it was released in the UK. It’s a very interesting series too, especially for a slash fan like me, since it’s about two gay guys, well, actually, there’s an older gay man as well.

As someone who’s also into angst, I found this first episode very interesting though a bit surprising. My impression of men, regardless of sexual preference, is that they’re usually not that emotionally fragile and self-desctructive and rarely prone to self harm. But since this series is apparently written by a gay man, I guess he should know. Clearly I was wrong, just as I was wrong about Bob and Rose (about a gay man who falls in love with a straight woman). I also didn’t think that men were quite as likely to just talk, talk, talk instead of getting down to some – erm – action right away. I hope I haven’t spoiled this first episode for anyone intending to watch the series who hasn’t done so already.

Jan 16

Oh, no :( Bad luck.

Posted on Saturday, January 16, 2016 in My life, Whining

Today I lost or bit through a fixed broken tooth. In any case, I think it’s my remaining piece of tooth that has gone missing, not the stuff the dentist put in. So now I’m going to have a gap, fortunately not where it shows, but still.

Unfortunately, I just can’t go back to the dentist yet. Until the middle of February I’m all booked up with doctor’s and midwife’s appointments and similar stuff. I don’t feel up to going to any other place too.

:(

Also, my sister’s run into a problem with getting my unfinished books out of my crashed old computer. She will need to order some new stuff because what she has doesn’t match my old computer. :( This means I’m going to have to wait for at least a week, probably more before I can start finishing my works in progress.

Jan 16

Saeculum by Ursula Poznanski

Posted on Saturday, January 16, 2016 in Books, Reviews

I just finished reading Saeculum by Ursula Poznanski. Unfortunately, I didn’t like this book at all. I found it boring and the characters unsympathetic and the plot rather pointless. Maybe I would have felt differently at another time, but as it was, I was really disappointed. Especially since this is a big, thick book that cost a lot to buy. I’d been looking forward to reading it for a long time. Oh, well, these things happen.

I’d already read another book by the same author, Erebos, and loved it so naturally I assumed I’d like other books by her.

For someone who might like this kind of book, I’ll just briefly go into the plot.

Bastian is a medical student who has trouble relating to his manipulative father. He meets a pretty girl who gets him interested in medieval reenactments, historic fairs, that sort of thing. She talks him into coming along on a live game playing thing somewhere far from civilisation. When they get there, things start to go wrong. Is it really possible that an old curse is causing all the troubles the group is experiencing?

Unfortunately, the story never gets very exciting, at least not to me. I read the book in a Swedish translation that I really didn’t like. It made me question the translator’s qualifications. Usually, it’s the other way around, a translation can actually make a book seem better than it is. So all in all, I’d say this book was a failure from beginning to end. I don’t usually even review under these circumstances, but after reading this long book, I felt I wanted to have my say about it.

For someone else, it might still be an interesting book, but personally, I just want to forget I wasted time and money on it.

Edit: I just checked out the reviews on Goodreads and now I really wish I’d done that before I bought the book… :/

Jan 15

The Fifty Bookish Questions Book Tag

Posted on Friday, January 15, 2016 in Literature, Other

I found the book tag here on My Little Book Blog.

1. What was the last book you read?

A Swedish mystery.

2. Was it a good one?

No, unfortunately not.

3. What made it good?

What I did like about it, was the setting – it’s a very beautiful region where I went to college and it’s fun to ‘revisit’ the area. Also, I like the fact that the characters are relatively nice. In so many books today, the characters are really unpleasant and that makes it impossible for me to care about them and what happens to them in the story.

4. Would you recommend it to other people?

Not this particular book, but others by the same author.

5. How often do you read?

Every day.

6. Do you like to read?

I love it.

7. What was the last bad book you read?

See above.

8. What made you dislike it?

The author didn’t seem to be able to  manage the ‘show’ don’t ‘tell’ technique. There were info dumps towards the end, that took out any kind of excitement from the story. Also, I don’t really like the ‘main’ main character – she’s so boring. In fact, I didn’t love any of the characters, but fortunately, I didn’t hate any of them either.

9. Do you wish to be a writer?

Yes, and I already am.

10. Has any book ever influenced you greatly?

Probably, but I couldn’t say which one. I’d say many different books have.

11. Do you read fan fiction?

Yes, sometimes.

12. Do you write fan fiction?

Yes.

13. What’s your favorite book?

I can’t pick just one.

14. What’s your least favorite book?

Again, it would be hard to pick just one.

15. Do you prefer physical books or read on a device (like a kindle)?

While I love all kinds of books, I do love printed books a little more.

16. When did you learn to read?

When I was about 3 years old.

17. What is your favorite book you had to read in school?

I think I’ll have to say The Great Gatsby. If I could have chosen freely, at the time I wouldn’t have picked that one, but now I really like it.

18. What is your favorite book series?

I can’t pick just one.

19. Who is your favorite author?

See above.

20. What is your favorite genre?

I’m sorry to have to repeat myself, but I can’t pick just one so I’ll say fantasy, science fiction, mystery, historic and non fiction.

21. Who is your favorite character in a book series?

Again, I can’t pick just one.

22. Has a book ever transported you somewhere else?

Frequently. That’s what I love about reading.

23.Which book do you wish had a sequel?

I can’t say.

24. Which book do you wish DIDNT have a sequel?

See above.

25. How long does it take you to read a book?

Usually not very long.

26. Do you like when books become movies?

If it’s done well, yes.

27. Which book was ruined by its movie adaptation?

It’s hard to tell.

28. Which movie has done a book justice?

I’m not sure.

29. Do you read newspapers?

I read news online, not actual printed newspapers.

30: Do you read magazines?

No.

31. Do you prefer newspapers or magazines?

Neither.

32. Do you read while in bed?

Yes.

33. Do you read while on the toilet?

No.

34. Do you read while in the car?

No, I can’t and not on the bus either. I’d get sick.

35. Do you read while in the bath?

No and maybe this is too much info – I don’t take baths, I prefer showers.

36. Are you a fast reader?

Yes.

37. Are you a slow reader?

No, not at all.

38. Where is your favorite place to read?

In bed or a really comfortable armchair.

39. Is it hard for you to concentrate while you read?

Not if it’s a good book.

40. Do you need a room to be silent while you read?

I prefer it, but I can read even if there’s a bit of noise.

41. Who gave you your love for reading?

I suppose my mother and grandmother and indirectly, my book loving father who didn’t exactly love to read to his children, but had a huge collection of books.

42. What book is next on your list to read?

Takedown Twenty by Janet Evanovich.

43. When did you start to read chapter books?

I think I was about 4 years old, judging by when I got the first such books.

44. Who is your favorite children’s book author?

Hm. I’m afraid I can’t say, too many favorites there too.

45. Which author would you most want to interview?

I don’t know.

46. Which author do you think you’d be friends with?

I don’t know. It might be difficult, even if you love someone’s books, but then again, maybe it would work out. If so, it would be great.

47.What book have you reread the most?

I think I’ll say LOTR, but I have reread other books and series as well, for instance the Earthsea series, Diana Wynne Jones’ books and Gregory Frost’s books Shadowbridge and Lord Tophet, to name a few.

48. Which books do you consider “classics”?

The ones other people consider classics? Also any good book that’s still popular after twenty or more years.

49. Which books do you think should be taught in every school?

Any good book, I suppose.

50. Which books should be banned from all schools?

Books of really low quality. It would be a shame to waste time on them.

Jan 14

Advice about titles

Posted on Thursday, January 14, 2016 in Writing

I was wondering if my followers would be kind enough to help me with some titles for original stories.

As my readers will know by now, I’ve been complaining about how no one ever reads my original stories on Wattpad. It just occurred to me that maybe some of the titles may be boring or give the wrong idea or something.

What do you think?

Long Farewell is a story about Linnaeus and his ‘disciples’, one of which was his ‘most beloved’, which kind of set my slash mind to work. The title is from a song by Thompson Twins. One line says ‘when your love has gone away, it’s a long goodbye’. (I exchanged the word ‘goodbye’ for ‘farewell’ since I felt it was a bit more old-fashioned, and would suit the 18th century better.) Does this sound boring? Does it give the wrong idea about the content about the story? Can you think of another reason why people don’t read this story?

Julian’s Secret. Story about two brothers. The older brother thinks his younger brother is gay, but suddenly he finds out that his brother has not just one but four (or even five) big secrets he never had a clue about and one of them is that he (Julian) isn’t gay at all, but a prostitute. Is the title Julian’s Secret too melodramatic? Should it be Julian’s Secrets, in plural, to be more accurate? Any other suggestion?

Playing With Fire. Story about a young man who’s a model and a student but is having a hard time keeping up with his studies, one reason being that he’s sniffing cocaine. He has an old friend (a girl) who is obsessed with him and stalks him. (Charming, I know). She finds out more about his life than she bargains for and suddenly someone dies. I thought that the cocaine and the stalking could fit into the idea of ‘playing with fire’ but maybe it’s too melodramatic too? Or does it give the wrong idea about the story’s content?

The Road Taken (maybe I shouldn’t have been presumptuous enough to steal from that famous poem). My idea was that the two girls in the story take a road they’ve been wondering about for years, but learn the hard way that maybe the shouldn’t have. It’s a horror story or at least a ghost story. Not my usual thing. Does the title give the wrong idea? Does it sound boring? Should I change it to something else?

Most of the others seem to be more or less inevitable, so I’m not going to ask about them. I did a lot of research to find them, so if people don’t like them, tough. Another one – The Witch’s Mark – is kind of necessary because the whole story is about how a witch marks a young boy to protect him and later recognizes him by that mark.

Jan 14

My writing again…

Posted on Thursday, January 14, 2016 in My life, Writing

Now that I’m finished with almost all my writing (but the most important books are still left unfinished), I’m getting restless again. I really miss having something to do with my stories. At this time, I’ve edited and proofread them all and all that’s left is a story that I might not even finish at all. In the time since I had the idea for it, I have lost my interest in it and feel it’s rather boring. In a way, it’s a shame, because I can still remember how enthusiastic I once was over it, but not now.

I’m really looking forward to getting my two other works in progress saved from the crashed computer, because I’ve grown used to being busy writing every day. Now I feel lazy and bored.

You may wonder why I’m so bored and the truth is, at this time I’m constantly tired. Any physical activity at all, such as walking down the stairs and up again or just going into the kitchen for a while leaves me exhausted. All I can do is sit, which probably isn’t very good for me. What I can do is read and write so I try to do that. Unfortunately, I can’t read nearly as much as I want to so it’s going to have to be writing. If I can find something to write, that is.

Jan 14

TV series and how they end

Posted on Thursday, January 14, 2016 in Fandom

Some TV series end too soon, others end up going on for far too long, but some may end at just the right time.

I can tell you one series that went on for too long (or rather could have stopped sooner, even though the fans really wanted more). Roswell. Season 3 was complete crap. It may sound harsh, but it ruined everything. Knowing what I know now, I’d much have preferred to part with the series while it was still good.

It was a bit similar with Veronica Mars, but in comparison, that season 3 was excellent compared to Roswell’s, it was just a lot worse than season 1 and 2.

I apologize for bringing up a very old TV series – The House of Eliott, but I loved that series and I thought it was (gasp) a lot better than for instance Downton Abbey, which I did nevertheless quite enjoy too. The House of Eliott ended far too soon and I think it would have been an excellent idea to end it with a movie. Imagine the glamour of all those 1920’s dresses… And I’m not even that big a fan of fashion. I’m more of a history fan.

It may seem odd to mention Sliders in the same context as The House of Eliott. I mean, there will obviously be no glamorous dresses in Sliders. However, I think a movie at the end might have helped the series. If there could be no movie, then sadly I think the series should have ended sooner.

Prey ended far too soon. It was a very exciting series and I would have loved to see at least one more season before it ended.

The X files – well, I’d much rather have had it end when Mulder left, than have to suffer Doggett in it. This is a series that went on for a very long time and maybe it would have been better to just accept that it was over, than have it go on and lose its quality. On the other hand, I understand that there are viewers who actually liked Doggett and kept enjoying the series up until the end. Or did they really? Who could stand to lose Alex Krycek the way he left the series? What a crap ending for his character.

Horatio Hornblower is a series that I stopped watching before its end, because I heard that Archie Kennedy, one of my two favorite characters in the series, was going to die. I didn’t want to see that, even though there’s always fan fiction, right? I just decided that I’d had enough of the series. They could have given him a better ending if they wanted to get rid of him. Sure, having him die probably gave them plenty of opportunity for Hornblower angst, but frankly, they could have had that some other way, and left Archie alive and well, but not actually with Horatio. Why not?

Star Trek The Next Generation was a series that I think probably ended at just the right time. It went on for quite a long time and although as always the quality of the different episodes varied, I think it ended without disappointment. And there was a movie or two which was great.

In general, I can only say that if a series has to end, it has to end well. No stupid cliffhangers that lead nowhere since the series is canceled before there’s a resolution to the ending of season 1. There should always be closure of some kind.

What do you think? Do you have any examples of series that ended too soon or too late or at just the right time? Are you as annoyed by series ending badly or do you just move on to the next one?

Jan 6

The Land of the Blind by Barbara Nadel

Posted on Wednesday, January 6, 2016 in Mystery/Cop, Reviews

Last night I finished reading The Land of the Blind by Barbara Nadel. It’s part of a series about a Turkish cop, Ikmen, and his colleagues. I find this series both brilliant and fascinating. It’s an opportunity for me to travel without leaving my house.

This particular book starts with a Greek archaeologist being found dead, presumed murdered, inside an ancient Byzantine building. She has recently given birth but the baby is missing.

Soon Ikmen is lead to an old Greek house with an old woman, her likewise old Turkish servant and a younger man who is supposedly her formerly lost son returned after forty years from abroad.

At the same time, a motley crew of gays, lesbians, trans people, Muslims against Capitalism and an assortment of others, have gathered in a park in Istanbul to protect it from developers. For a while it becomes almost like a carnival, but then the police gathers – and that’s not the educated Istanbul police, but what are referred to as young men coming from ‘some nameless hole’ on the Turkish/Anatolian mainland. Barely literate, they are loyal to the Islamic regime and are looking forward to clearing out the progressives.

Unfortunately for Ikmen he has a trans cousin and a son in the park and his new sergeant has a sister who as a nurse finds it hard to leave people at the protest, as long as they need her.

Many fascinating characters come to life in this book, and a number of old mysteries are dug up.

This is a well written, fascinating book which makes it clear that the author knows Turkey extremely well and has the ability to make it come alive for the reader. I’d definitely recommend it to someone who enjoys a good mystery with many historical facts.

Jan 3

Me and Stockholm

Posted on Sunday, January 3, 2016 in My life

As my readers know, just before Christmas I traveled to first Stockholm and then Riga in Latvia. It’s not the trip in itself that I’m going to discuss in this post. It’s just my visit to Stockholm.

Funnily enough I feel a little bit at home there, even though I’ve never lived there myself. My dad was from there. He was born and grew up there and didn’t leave until he was grownup and got a job somewhere else and later on married my mom.

In any case, Stockholm is one of the places I can trace my ancestry to. My dad, my aunt and my grandfather lived there (though my grandfather was really from a peninsula nearby).

Each time I go to Stockholm and particularly when we’re traveling through her part of the city, I think about her and when we visited her but also all those years she lived there before I was born. Sometimes we get close to where dad grew up and then I think of him, obviously. Everything was different then, of course and I know I wouldn’t be able to live there myself. But it’s still so much fun and exciting to remember what dad and my aunt told me about their respective childhoods and youth growing up in these areas. I’ve also visited the peninsula where my grandfather grew up but I realize that things have changed even more there (it’s a very upper class place now, or at least nouveau riche). Besides, I’ve never met my grandfather, because he passed away when my dad was seventeen, so I have no memories of hearing him tell me stories about his life. My grandfather wasn’t part of the upper classes, he came from a shoemaker’s cottage.

It also makes me quite happy that people are relatively polite and nice to me in central Stockholm, even though visitors are always talking about how rude the people of Stockholm can be. Somehow, maybe they can tell that even if I’m not actually from there myself, I do have ancestors from the city. Particularly since I’m always treated so badly here in the west of Sweden where I was born and grew up. Ok, that’s not quite true. I’ve recently moved to the inland and people are usually very nice here too.

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