Thursday, August 19, 2004

TBR

More musings about books and authors

Neil Gaiman must be my all time favorite author - I can't seem to get enough of that man's writing.

Reading and re-reading with equal pleasure, although I sometimes wish I had the joy of discovering novels like Neverwhere, American Gods and Good Omens for the first time.

And Sandman was such an amazing find! I'm constantly trying to push friends and relations into reading it, and those who have tried come back for more ;)

I've branched out to read more graphic novels than ever before since starting down that path with the king of dreams. Books of Magic, Lonewolf, Usagi, Ranma 1/2, Watchmen (!) and many others have been devoured these last few years.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Musings from the couch

I'm watching the Olympic Games from Athens right now with one eye, and surfing the web with the other. Gymnastics isn't that much fun, so I decided to muse a bit instead of concentrating on the performances.

Lately I've been plowing through books at an alarming rate - so I thought I should find an outlet to share some thoughts about the various stuff I've read.

July was lovely as I got to read a lot while having time off from work: The latest Jasper Fforde called Something Rotten - with a Thursday Next on good form. Quite a favourite of humoristic/surreal alternative history stories.

Another feel-good read just because the Olympics started: Asterixs at the Olympic Games both in English and Norwegian. I plowed through another Asterix as well; the Normans trying to learn what fear is.

Picked up a cheap Danish version of Maria Lang's "Stryknin & Whisky" where Christer Wiik and Camilla Martin solve the case.

Amazon sent me my latest purchase: "Between You & I: A little book of bad English" by James Cochrane. It's filled with interesting and useful tips and advice about grammar. Another good read was "Easts, Shoots & Leaves. The Zero tolerance approach to punctuation" by Lynne Truss.

I picked up Eric Flint's alternative history "1632" in Stockholm, where it was well displayed at SF Bokhandeln. Funny that, seeing as Gustav II Adolf features in the novel (and its sequels). I might pick up the next (titled 1633) but I wasn't that impressed with the writing. Repetitive phrases and a bit awkward language, although its story was interesting, and quite possibly accurate - I need to brush up my knowledge on the Thirty Year War to be able to make definitive comments on that.

Right now I've started this autumns grand opus: Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid A metaphorical fugue on minds and machines in the spirit of Lewis Carroll. Douglas Hofstadter wrote this in the 70's, and I picked that up along with Eric Flint's novel at SF Bokhandeln. It looks like quite a good read, I'm sure I'll have a lot of comment as I keep on reading it. I've only just started it, and think I'll have to have another "light" read along with it.

Under the Tuscan Sun and Bella Tuscany by Frances Mayes went along with us to Tuscany this summer and provided lost of entertainment and feel-good-feelings as I lounged in the sun under the cypresses there. Both contained interesting recipes as well, I even managed to try a few ideas while staying at our Tuscan vineyard. (Not *ours* you understand, but the flat we rented this summer...)

The Emperor's Snuff-Box is a John Dickson Carr mystery quite intriguing and surprising. Closed room mysteries doesn't come much better.

The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency was a novel experience on the Mystery front. A. McCall Smith wrote about a Botwanan lady detective - the very first in her country - and quite a charming lady she was as well.

"Unaturlig dødsfall meldes" is Marianne Mjaaland's debut, and she writes about goings on at a local hospital when doctor in training suddenly finds herself surrounded by unnaturally dead patients.

"Master & Commander", Patrick O'Brian, the Norwegian translation was "Første kommando" and it was quite charming, although I must take the old sail vessel lingo for granted - no idea whether he's correct or not.

I reread "Nightwatch" by Terry Pratchett in a fit of nostalgia during the holidays. A lovely book, scary that he seems to write better and better as he piles up the novels.

"Watchmen" by Alan Moore is a masterpiece, and I'm happy I finally got it. Loved it.

"Rendezvouz" by Alistair MacLean/Alistair MacNeil - just another book to devour.

Borrowed "Førstebetjenten tar ferie" by Lalli & Fridtjof Knutsen from my father-in-law. Another nostalgic moment - old Norwegian mystery novel from the '50 - charming and light entertainment. Wish I could find the other novels in the same series.

"Adventures in the Dream Trade." Neil Gaiman writes the best blog on the net, and I picked up this book as a treat to myself - a collection of introductions and other things he has written in other books as well as the collected blog from the period around release of "American Gods". Hence, I had to reread this wonderful novel! It's just fantastic, and I was glad to have a Gaiman-fix this summer, as I'm eagerly waiting a new novel from this wordsmith.

Sometime collaborator of Neil Gaiman, namely the wonderful artist P. Craig Russell has made an adaptation of "The Ring of the Niebelung" as a two volume graphic novel. It's simply amazing, and quite moving - I need to read it again while listening to the whole "Ring" on CD, but so far, the words and images have done marvellously for me. It's a great story and I simply cannot understand how it was possible to do.

"Angels & Visitations" was another Gaiman-treat when I returned from vacation. I found it on the TBR-pile and jumped at the few storied I hadn't read.

"Sandman: King of Dreams" by Alisha Kwitney was a Christmas gift that I've just had time to flick through until this July - and it was great to re-visit the familiar faces and stories.

"Meanwhile back at the ranch" is Kinky Friedman in his usual form - with lots of cats.

"The Endless" - Neil Gaiman. Reread it and admired the drawing I got when Neil visited Oslo last year. A very cool drawing of Sandman himself. Happy happy!