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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.

Dec 23

What would Conan Doyle think?

Posted on Wednesday, December 23, 2015 in Fandomlinks, Literature

I just read an article about literary spinoffs.

Maybe most of these won’t be to my taste. I’ve already read a few ‘modern’ continuations of classic novels and didn’t like them very much, unfortunately. Also, I’ve read reviews and articles about others and found that I probably wouldn’t care much for them either. But that’s just me. Some people might actually love these new versions of their old idols.

What interested me, as a fan fiction writer, was the following:

“Would Conan Doyle have objected to any of this? I like to think not. When the American actor William Gillette was seeking to insert a romantic interest into his stage play featuring Sherlock Holmes, he cabled Conan Doyle with the question May I marry him? – to which the author is reputed to have replied You may marry him, murder him, or do anything you like to him.

Writers ever since have been taking him at his word.”

The quote is from the article I mention above. Sounds like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wouldn’t object to anything we might make up about Sherlock Holmes or for that matter, anything authorised writers and tv producers might make of him. That’s good to know.

Nov 17

Book Tag – How I Read

Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2015 in Literature

I found this on Nya Reads, and I thought I’d do it too.

How do you find out about new books to read?

From Booklikes mainly, but also other book sites, like Goodreads.

How did you get into reading?

I don’t remember. LOL. Actually, I learned how to read when I was about 3 years old, so I’ve been reading ‘real’ books, that is, books for kids, who could read, for a very long time. Before that, I had picture books read to me by primarily my mom, but I think also my grandmother. My dad (and to some extent my mom and grandmoter) loved reading, so I guess it was only natural.

How have your tastes in books changed as you got older?

Not much, except for one thing: I now like science fiction too.

How often do you buy books?

Me personally? Practically never, unfortunately. I tend to get them either as birthday presents or as Christmas presents. because I can’t afford to buy that many books.

How did you get into reviewing books?

Hm. Oddly enough I don’t really remember. I guess it’s because I joined Goodreads, several years ago. Those reviews spilled over to my personal homepage/blog and my Booklikes blog, because I can’t resist posting them everywhere I can.

How do you react when you don’t like the end of a book?

I’m afraid it ruins the whole book for me. Usually, I don’t even review it and I’d never read it again.

How often do you take a sneak peek at the ending to see if there is a happy ending?

I try not to, but it happens. Fortunately, most books have a happy enough ending so I can finish reading them.

My own question:

Do you use bookmarks in your books?

I used to dogear my books. (I’m so ashamed!). These days I don’t do anything. I always seem to be able to find my place anyway.

Finally, I am tagging everyone who wants do this too!

Nov 3

Real (historic) people

Posted on Tuesday, November 3, 2015 in Humanities, Literature

Serenissima made me consider if there is a historic character I (might) want to get involved with. It struck me that it’s really hard to tell, even if I’m sure no one will show up and demand I actually get involved with the guy in question. Haha.

Actually, it’s probably about the same with some real life celebrity. How can I tell if he’s actually as great in real life as he seems to be in the media?

I did come to the conclusion that I probably wouldn’t want to be involved with Shakespeare, at least not judging by the famous portrait. Not really my type.

In fact, it would probably be easier to simply consider if I would like to meet one of these characters in real life. Just to talk to. Or even just to see from a bit of distance. That would be a little easier. If so, Shakespeare would be on my list, I think. I’ll add the Roman emperor Trajan too, I think (though the culture shock would probably be enormous). Then Raoul Wallenberg, just because I happened to think of him. Even this is really hard to tell. Who would be interesting to meet?

And since it’s just a matter of meeting and talking or even seeing someone from a distance, I’ll have to add women too. Why not?

So maybe Anne Frank, though I’ve read that she might not have been the sort of girl I’d like to get to know. A bit too outgoing for my taste.

Maybe Jane Austen. George Bernard Shaw. Possibly Christine de Pizan. If I’m looking this far back in time, I’ll say Corinna too, since that’s one of my ‘idols’ too. LOL. Maybe Joe Hill. I hear he was very handsome. But maybe he was a bastard to women. And maybe even if we for some magical mysterious reason were to find ourselves in the same time, he’d probably never look at me twice.

Nov 3

Serenissima by Erica Jong

Posted on Tuesday, November 3, 2015 in Literature

I can’t believe I’ve forgotten about this book. Of course it’s been ages since I read it, but today I suddenly remembered and looked it up on Goodreads. As so often happens, there were mixed reviews. What I remember of this book was great. I loved it. Most people seemed to find it really awful. I wonder why.

I loved the time travel. The erotic content was ok, but since then I’ve read a lot of fan fiction and slash so I think if I read it again I might find it rather tame. Or not. I really need to find the book and try again.

This isn’t really a review, more a sort of brief note to myself. If I find the book I’ll definitely read it again and then I’ll probably write a proper review.

Oh and the edition I posted on Booklikes and Leafmarks is not the actual edition I read. Mine was translated into Swedish and I think it came as a freebie on the big annual book fair. When I was a kid, we got actual printed books as freebies sometimes. :)

Oct 27

Science fiction predicting future technology…

Posted on Tuesday, October 27, 2015 in Literature, Other

Hardly anyone can have missed all the articles that check off the hits and misses when it comes to predictions about technology from Back to the Future.

That started me thinking about books I’ve read and how many of those, or rather how few, that have relatively accurately predicted the time we live in today.

Since I grew up with a major sf fan I have inherited as many of dad’s old sf books as I wanted. Many of those are from the 1950’s and on.

Surprisingly many of all these books got most of today’s technology wrong.

A big exception is Arthur C Clarke who apparently has predicted so many things – not necessarily the things we use from day to day, but still, quite a bit.

I can’t say how many books supposedly set in the ‘future’, ie the 21th century, have completely missed the evolution of the personal computer, cell phones and the internet, many of them also television. Also, family structure is still stuck in the 1950’s. I found it quite funny that space ships were run by a big ship’s computer, but there was nothing else remotely ‘computerized’. There was also just one expert aboard the ship who could handle that computer – the astrogator, I think he was called. And of course it was always a ‘he’.

You’d think they would have been able to think of anything related to computers, but apparently not. There are references to ‘the cold sleep’ or ‘the long sleep’ (some kind of stasis or suspended animation), FTL-ships, all kinds of robots, clones, time travel and so on, but not computers, internet or cell phones.

However, there’s a big exception that I found really interesting. My dad had two sf books by a Russian-Swedish author named Vladimir Semitjov. He came to Sweden in 1923, so either his books were quite old when dad got his hands on them or he wrote them quite late in life – or maybe both. Anyway, they contain references to ‘video phones’ that people carry in their pockets and that is about the only time I’ve ever read anything like it in the sf classics.

I can’t say for sure if anyone has got the PC and the internet right – not out of all those older books, I think. Books written from the 1980’s and on do better, but of course that’s not all that surprising.

Sep 20

What genre is your book?

Posted on Sunday, September 20, 2015 in Fandomlinks, Literature

What is genre? Genre was originally how a bookstore shelved fiction so the readers could find the stories they preferred. Over time, each genre has grown to have its own defining characteristics, based on what its readers want and expect.

Read more here.

Sep 20

How I choose the books I read

Posted on Sunday, September 20, 2015 in Literature, My life

Since this is a book blog, I thought I’d get into how I choose the books I read. (After my writing-related blog posts, in case you’re wondering).

Originally, before I started hanging out online all the time, I would simply read the back cover blurbs. Most of the time, that worked for me because I have been reading books since I was four years old and my experience has taught me a lot about what I like and what I don’t.

Then when I went online, I found many online reviews and although I know that sometimes they are fake, I still think that if you see many positive reviews on many different sites, it has to mean something. Though frankly, it’s the bad reviews (not badly written ones of course) that help me the most. If a book get 99 % great reviews and there’s just one or two that isn’t nearly as positive, that might put me off the book, if what the review says makes sense to me.

There were already a handful of reviews for me to read, even back ‘before the internet’ but let’s face it, the few words quoted from fantasy magazines, other magazines and newspapers on the back covers or inside the book, were usually cropped so you’d only get a few vaguely positive words, that don’t really mean much. Remember?

I also got personal recommendations. Not that I personally knew many book lovers whose opinions I trusted, but you know – even one rec might make a difference. That reminds me of a time when I was probably in my late teens or early twenties. I used to come to Goteborg/Gothenburg to shop for books (before I found my favorite online bookstores) and in one of the stores there was a guy who loved fantasy books. A really nice, and quite good looking guy too, a little older than me,I think. Unfortunately, he already had a girlfriend… :/ He helped me with book recommendations and that was probably one of the first real life ones for me.

My acquaintances – because I can’t really call them friends – never seem to have enjoyed reading. What a miserable town this is. (But I won’t be here for much longer.) For instance, when I was nine, I was still being invited to birthday parties (and kept being invited for about a year or so more, before everyone decided I was too boring, or so I suspect). I was supposed to bring a present so I bought a book. What else would I have picked? The birthday girl said thank you, more politely than I would expected, looking back at how she turned out when she was older, then said: but I don’t really read books. What? At the time, I was mainly embarrassed, feeling like a fool, but looking back I’m also thinking – how on earth can someone not like reading?

Having read other book blogs, I know a bit about how other readers choose their books, but I’d still like to ask: How do you pick which books to read?

Sep 16

Bookish Q & A

Posted on Wednesday, September 16, 2015 in Fandomlinks, Literature

Apparently Nya Reads started this on Booklikes. I thought I’d do it too, here.

1. What is your favorite childhood book?

Oddly enough, I think it was The Wind on the Moon by Eric Linklater, because only a little later I would never read that book, because it was too sad. By then it was probably one of my picture books – one of Elsa Beskow’s classics or one of the international ones. I also liked Astrid Lindgren’s books and Maria Gripe’s.

2. E-books or printed books?

If I have to choose, printed books, but I do enjoy reading e-books too. The problem is, I won’t pay for them, so it’s either going to have to be a library book or one of the ‘internet freebies’. And the problem with the latter is that there are so few that are really good (though over the years I have found several that I really like).

3. What is your favorite place to read?

At home, mainly in bed.

4. Is there any genre you would never read?

Horror, vampire, werewolf and zombie stories (but I do like a good ghost story). I also don’t read anything that’s just romance, but I will read historic romances etc.

5. What’s your review rating system?

I’m not sure I have an actual system – or at least not one I’ve really thought much about. I do tend to give more 5 and 4 stars than 3 and practically never 2 and 1, simply because I don’t like giving a bad review and I also don’t specifically note when I don’t finish a book. I prefer to focus on the books I at least like and forget about the bad ones.

6. What is your favorite fictional character?

That’s a difficult question – picking just one. I have many different characters I like in different genres. I also find it hard to really say if one is a favorite or not, which may sound weird. There are definitely characters I like more than others, but rarely one that I really, really love. I suppose if I have to I can mention Faramir (from the LOTR books, not the movie) and Ged from Ursula K Le Guin’s A Wizard of Earthsea. And many others, but it’s too hard to choose so I’ll stop here.

7. What was the best film adaption of a book?

I think I’ll have to say LOTR, because what else have I seen? I don’t think the Narnia movies were as good, they differed too much from the books. Also, I have yet to see film adaptations of many of very favorite books. Outlander maybe? Though the first season of the series is a bit more gruesome than I remember from the first book. Also, the sex scenes tended to get a bit too much and I didn’t think that when I read the book. Cirkeln too, based on the Swedish book by the same name.

8. How do you chose the next book to read?

I read about them online usually. Both the ‘blurbs’ and reviews.

9. Top 3 authors?

Hm. Also a tough question. Just three?

J R R Tolkien

Agatha Christie

Janet Evanovich

Diana Wynne Jones

Ursula K LeGuin

Charles De Lint

Garth Nix

Gregory Frost

Frances Hardinge

Anthea Sharp

and many more that I found among my ‘internet freebies’

10. Is there any book release you are particularly looking forward to?

I don’t really follow new book releases like that. I have so many books on my TBR read list/online wish list, that I just try to pick my favorites first, never really managing to get round to all of them, unfortunately.

Sep 15

Writing the future: A timeline of science fiction literature

Posted on Tuesday, September 15, 2015 in Fandomlinks, Links, Literature

Journey to the center of the Earth

From Gulliver’s Travels, through Brave New World and the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, this timeline explores the evolution of the science fiction novel.

Read more here.

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