Tuesday, 31 August 2010

R.I.P V Challenge: Intro Post


“It was a dark and stormy night…”

Or at least I wish it was, rather than a warm, sunshiny day. Despite the weather refusing to cooperate with my gothic mood, the calendar does not lie, ladies and gentlemen. It is indeed that time of year where two short months are dedicated to reveling in all things creepy, eerie, mysterious, gothic, horrifying, suspenseful and strange.

It is time to celebrate things that go bump in the night; that favorite detective that always gets his man, or woman, in the end; that delicious chill of a creak on the stairs, of the rogue waiting in the dark, of the full moon and the flit of bats wings (Carl V of Stainless Steel Droppings on what the R.I.P. V Challenge is)

I’m almost done all the challenges I signed up for this year so I thought I would join one (or two, stay tuned) more. One of the challenges that caught my attention last year when I was still very much a baby blogger was the R.I.P. IV challenge. I didn’t join then because I was still learning to navigate the world of book blogging. This year however, I wish to “celebrate things that go bump in the night” and therefore I am joining in the Readers Imbibing Peril V. I’ve got several books to choose from. Some of them are books that have been sitting on my TBR shelf for a while, others are ones I need to finish challenges, yet others still are books I have recently discovered. All in all, all the books are books I want to read, am eager to read.

My list of possible books:

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins. Has been sitting on my self for about a year. I WILL read it soon.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (audio). Was convinced to get this on audio by some bad bloggers on twitter :D. Started listening to it on my walk today and almost walked another lap to continue listening, delicious!

The Busman’s Honeymoon by Dorothy Sayers. The final instalment in the Harriet Vane books. As I loved Gaudy Night I am really looking forward to this.

The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe (Project Gutenberg). I first read this short story in high school, and part of me thinks that one cannot read creepy stories without reading this one.

Haunting Bombay by Shilpa Agarwal. Is one of the books I want to read for the South Asian Author Challenge, I’ve had it on my virtual TBR list all year and finally bought it earlier this week.

Bones to Ashes by Kathy Reichs. I LOVE the Bones tv series but I’ve been scared to read these books because I am worried I’ll compare the two. However, my dad has been talking up the books, and I won the first one in the Thriller and Suspense Challenge draw so I thought I would try it now.

As per always I reserve the right to add and subtract books from this list, which incidentally is encouraged by Carl V :D. I’m aiming for Peril the First, to read 4 books.


Copyright ©2010 Zee from Notes from the North. This post was originally posted by Zee from Notes from the North. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Monday, 30 August 2010

Library Envy

I have a great library, for its size. It doesn’t have a gigantic collection, but it does have dedicated librarians who are always happy to help with inter library loans. I have nothing really to complain about. I should use the library more than I do, my biggest problem is actually access. I don’t have a car and I live outside the village. This means that my mum often ends up picking up my ILLs and returning them for me. But generally I have nothing but praise for my library. However, occasionally I get a BAD case of library envy. Usually when I read about great libraries on book blogs. Libraries that seem to have the latest books in. Libraries that have scores of audiobooks for downloads (mine now does, but only in Swedish). Libraries with vast collections. I get jealous. No bones about it.

 Mike-Wazowski2 Image Credit

I am also geeky enough that when I am in a city, if it is at all possible I like to check out the town library. Yes I am THAT geeky. Libraries are my happy place. But this can also lead to bad cases of library envy. This was the case a few weeks ago when I took a day trip to Stockholm.

After wandering around Söder (the South side) for a couple of hours, my feet were tired so I hopped on a bus to the main city library. Ho boy! Green eyed monster envy here! Not only is the library gorgeous on the outside

Stockholms-stadsbibliotek-2003-04-14 Image Credit

but it also looks like this on the inside

Stockholms-stadsbibliotek-rotundan-2003-04-14 Image Credit

“Okay, okay” you say, “the library is PRETTY but a library has to be so much more than pretty! It needs to be functional!”

Well let me tell you, this library is so awesomely functional I don’t know where to begin!

Let’s start with the room in the picture: The rotunda. It doesn’t actually look quite like this anymore. The librarians desks in the middle are much smaller and have been replaced with several short time use computers and self-check out machines. Don’t get me wrong, they haven’t replaced the librarians, I saw several while I was there, but their workspace is smaller.

So to the collection in this room. This room contains mostly fiction in European languages (including Swedish and English).

Off this room (through the door in the middle for example) are smaller rooms that hold, as far as I can see, primarily non-fiction collections along with plenty of study spaces. The collections seem to be quite extensive (I browsed the teaching section and religion sections), I added several books to my virtual TBR pile and cursed the fact that this wasn’t my library so I could borrow them straight away.

There were tonnes of people studying, doing homework etc at the study places and it had a busy but not disturbing feeling to it. I could easily see myself working there on a regular basis.

Mike-Wazowski Image Credit

Off the rotunda, through a corridor, the children’s and YA library is located. I didn’t spend a great deal of time in that part of the library, but, from what I saw, it was a great space. The first room you come into had children’s books in different languages, which is great in a city like Stockholm where we quite a few recently arrived immigrants. Allowing their children to have access to books in their own language is great. The space also felt very cozy. It was warm and quiet. I really liked it. Looking at their website they also seem to have many activities in the children’s section.

I’ve visited libraries on two continents, in several countries. Libraries never fail to excite me, be they tiny or large, be they in modules, busses or grand buildings. Libraries are my cathedral. The ultimate place for this bookworm to worship. But occasionally I come across a library that seems more than others, that was the case this time. It was just a little bit more.

Clear background Mike

So my dear readers: Have you ever had a case of library envy? What caused that envy? Was it the service? The catalogue? The location? The way the library worked? What causes the green eyed monster to visit you?


Copyright ©2010 Zee from Notes from the North. This post was originally posted by Zee from Notes from the North. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

BTT: Giving Up


This weeks Booking Through Thursday asks: If you’re not enjoying a book, will you stop mid-way? Or do you push through to the end? What makes you decide to stop?

I rarely give up on books. This years DNF file contains exactly one book: The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton. In that case it was the main character that I found to annoying to continue. And this seems to be my most common reason for abandoning books. It was the reason why I gave up on Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro and Cather in the Rye by J.D. Salinger (both pre-blogging). I don’t need to be able to relate to the characters in the book but I also need to be able to not feel like I want to hit them over the head. That said I did stick with Emma by Jane Austen even though I wanted to yell at the title character.

The only other time I can see myself not finishing a book is if I see no inherent value in the book. It isn’t teaching me anything, not entertaining me or I find it offensive. Even the not teaching me thing isn’t a done deal, because to be quite honest with you, when I first read The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (some 10 years ago) I found little inherent value in it. Then we discussed it in class, and the rest is as they say, history. I now count it as one of my favourite books.

I choose my books carefully. Books is one of the things I rarely by on impulse (strangely enough). I have a tonne of books sitting in my wishlists (Amazon, BookDepository and Adlibris) and I haven’t bought them not because I don’t have the money, but rather because I want to consider them a bit longer. Because I consider books carefully, read reviews, ask people I trust on how they found the books etc. I rarely, even when trying new genres or authors, pick books I don’t like. Thus I rarely abandon books. Plus, I stubborn and often feel that I have to finish something when I have started it.


Copyright ©2010 Zee from Notes from the North. This post was originally posted by Zee from Notes from the North. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Book Review: Gaudy Night

GaudyNight Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers

Category: Classic Crime

Challenges: Women Unbound, 2010 Challenge (Bad Blogger)

Synopsis: Harriet Vane finds herself returning to Shrewsbury College, Oxford, much to her own surprise. While there she discovers a poison pen note in her gown and a disgusting drawing on the College quadrangle. When the college faculty later asks her back to deal with a spate of notes and “mischief” from the poison pen she does not hesitate. As the year goes on and she comes no closer to finding out the identity of the poison pen she asks Sir Peter Wimsey for help and the two are left to deal not just with someone trying to hurt others, but also with their feelings for each other.

My Thoughts: Oh how I loved this book! I read it because Nymeth of Things Mean A Lot, HIGHLY recommended it and I am just so incredibly glad I did! (I’m also glad I read them in order)

This book had me captured from the very first page, when it transported me to Oxford. The opening passages felt like one of those time traveller movies where you’re current location gets blurred and instead another location comes into focus. I went from being curled up in my bed, dressed in my pjs, with the wind howling and the rain smattering against the window, to the quadrangle at Shrewsbury College, Oxford, in the 1930s. Sayers wrote so vividly that I felt as if I was there.

The vivid writing was one of my favourite aspects of this book, it allowed one to really feel the fear and suspicion that was present at the college. Although the tempo of the book felt slow this contributed to the unease of the situation. One never knew when the poison pen would strike, but life still had to go on, especially if they are to catch the poison pen and all they stands for. Throughout the book I had a vaguely uncomfortable feel of being constantly on edge. Not only about when the poison pen would strike next and what they would do, but also about who they were. The strain of not knowing who the enemy was took their toll on me as well as the characters. Sayers really did a masterful job with creating the tension.

Part of the tension also came from Harriet’s feelings for Peter and her coming to terms with them, and what they meant. As well as Peter’s feelings (although to a much lesser degree) as he grappled with Harriet and her feelings. These multi-levelled tensions just had me captivated and forced to continue reading (really bad case of just one more chapter had me finishing the book in two days, at 3.30am).

A theme that was hinted on in previous books (and one that I highlighted in my reviews) was brought to the forefront in this book, and that is the role of women in society. The story takes place in the, still relatively early days, of co-education at university level, in one of the all female colleges at Oxford. The poison pen’s actions are very much directed towards those women who seek a higher education, and therefore to their* mind attempt to supplant a male field. Through the characters we meet at Oxford Sayers actually manages to make a very compelling argument for education (one of her dear to heart topics). Although we meet more men who are not serious about their education, Sayers also introduces us to women who are at the university for completely the wrong reasons. She manages to show us, the readers, that education only matters if we take it seriously, but that taking it seriously shouldn’t mean let it consume us. A balance is important. Further she argues that a well educated woman isn’t a threat to men, but rather a benefit to society, if she is allowed to use her education (an argument that is nailed down very early on in the book).

For me one of the great enjoyments of the book was seeing Harriet’s emotional growth. She had been so badly damaged in previous books that to see her grapple with her feelings for Peter was very gratifying as one could see a real growth throughout the book. And, as Nymeth mentioned, the river scene, oh my the river scene. Possibly the most perfect scene in the book (although I have another favourite in the final scene of the book). It was just packed with emotion and vividness. Like in the opening scene I felt as if I was in one of the boats on the river. I could see it all in front of me.

If I have one criticism of this book, it isn’t for Sayers writing but rather for the edition I read. It was a modern reprint with a new foreword and I would have loved a glossary at the back explaining all the academic terms. Although I myself am a graduate of one of the Ancients, my Alma Mater has been thoroughly modernised (well excepting the whacking with the Geneva Bonnet at graduation) and I had to do some googling to understand the differences in gowns and some of the academic terms. Now this might just be me and my general academic geekedness but I think that a book where much hangs on the academic world it would have been nice to explain it further to those who are not as involved in it. However, this is a VERY minor point.

Overall I agree with Nymeth on her assessment that one MUST read the books in order, otherwise one misses out on much of what makes this book great. The book also left me wanting to read the books that feature Peter Wimsey and Sayers essay “The Lost Tools of Learning” In addition I want to say that everyone should read this book, it is AWESOME!

Purchase Gaudy Night from BookDepository



Copyright ©2010 Zee from Notes from the North. This post was originally posted by Zee from Notes from the North. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Monday, 23 August 2010

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban [Audio]

harrypotter_azkaban Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

Narrated by Stephen Fry

Category: Children’s

Synopsis: Harry finds out that convicted criminal and Voldemort supporter Sirius Black has escaped Azkaban (wizarding prison) and is after him. Then he finds out that Black was his parents best friend and is his godfather.

My Thoughts: Prisoner of Azkaban has always been one of my favourite Harry Potter books. There is a great mixture of excitment, humour, and scariness. Along with it moving the story forward and introducing new characters in a good way.

I love the development of Hermione in this book. Emotionally not that much happens with Harry and Ron (which feels true to the age they are), but Hermione starts to really bloom. This book always makes me wish I had read it when I was the same age as the characters (I was in my late teens when I started reading HP). Hermione is so much like me. The obsessive need to know everything, and to show it off. Taking on more than she can chew, and then refusing to admit it before almost having a nervous breakdown. These are all me (both then and now). And I think it would have been great to have someone to whom I could relate to growing up.

I also love the relationship between Harry and Lupine. It is nice to see Harry bonding with a teacher that was also his parents friend. Someone who can connect him to his past as well as his future.

I really do love this book, but since I have read it many times it is very hard to review it :D

Narration: I’ve previously declared my love for the narrations of Mr Fry and this book is no exceptions. His voice is very soothing but not to the point where one falls asleep. He changes his voice to distinguish characters but not in a way where it seems out of character (unlike my rant regarding Dean Thomas accent in the US version). It is just, for me, the perfect narration of these books.

Purchase Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban in audio from BookDepository.


Copyright ©2010 Zee from Notes from the North. This post was originally posted by Zee from Notes from the North. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

TSS: Building a Child’s Library

The Sunday Salon.com

So as many of you know I recently became an aunt and now I need your help. My sister, being very much herself, refuses to speak English to the little girl, I, being the good aunt I am, promised my b-i-l that I would always speak English to her so that she would learn. I figure because of this it will also be my job to ensure that she has a decent library of books in English. Here is where you guy’s come in. I want your suggestions for books every child should have in their library. In return I will highlight some Swedish children’s books that have been translated into English that I think every child should have the opportunity to read. I’ve divided them into picture books and chapter books. First the picture books (links to BookDepository where possible, otherwise Powells (where I am not an affiliate))

Picture books (in no particular order)


The Children of the Forrest by Elsa Beskow

Peter in the Blueberry Land by Elsa Beskow

The Tale of the Little, Little Old Woman by Elsa Beskow

All of Elsa Beskow’s books are beautiful and sweet. I picked these three because they were firm favourites with me when I was growing up. The Tale of the Little, Little Old Woman was the first book I “read” (I had my parents read it to me so many times that I knew it by heart). The Children of the Forrest is a beautiful story about taking care of those less fortunate and about taking care of nature. It has now come out in a compact form which is perfect for little hands. Peter in the Blueberry Land is a beautiful, imaginative story. Really you can’t go wrong with anything by Beskow


A Rumpus in the Garden by Sven Nordqvist

Pancakes for Findus by Sven Nordqvist

These two books are about a man and his cat who get into all sorts of scrapes, partially because the cat is dressed in shorts and a hat and talks to the man, no one else hears him and therefore they think he is strange. They are hysterically funny for children and parents alike, if nothing else for the incredibly detailed drawings with all sorts of things going on.

Chapter books

Here I am going to recommend Astrid Lindgren. Really, ANYTHING by her is going to be awesome.


Lotta on Troublemaker Street is a good first chapter book (the heroine of the book is a 5 year old girl who wishes she was as old as her older brother and sister). And there are at least two more books about Lotta translated into English. (Read the book, understand the pig :D)


If you have boys the books about Emil (Emil and the Sneaky Rat, Emil and the Great Escape and Emil’s Clever Pig) are sure to be big hits, although, I’m a girl and I love them so pretty much everyone loves them ;) For those of you who have not met Emil before, he is a young boy (about 6 I think) who somehow manages to get into trouble even when he isn’t trying. Or, actually, he usually ends up in trouble when he is trying to do something nice because it goes wrong. When it does his father chases him (or his mother urges him with his dad running after) into the woodshed where he carves wood animals while his dad calms down.

pippi Then of course there is Pippi. I’m not sure what to say about Pippi other than the fact that she is seen here as someone who empowers children.

I do so wish that the books about Madicken had been translated into English, they would be my very first recommendation to anyone (are you listening publishers?)

Chapter Books for Older Children

Ronja Ronia the Robber’s Daughter is a wonderfully empowering story about a young girl. It covers topic such as loyalty, honesty, friendship, love (not the romantic kind really) and a growing sense of independence. It is set in a far off mystical time, so it has a certain fantasy feel to it.

There are two chapter books by Astrid Lindgren that I think all children should read, but they should probably have at least started school before you give them to them. And if they are sensitive (I am*) you might want to read them aloud so you can talk about it.

mio my son Mio, My Son is about a young boy who has to fight evil. It is recommended at adlibris.se for ages 9-12 and I always thought it was a bit scary. But also very thought provoking. (on a slightly unrelated note but I know this interest some of you ;) my brother and his girlfriend have a cat named Mio after the character in this book)




brothers lionheart The Brothers Lionheart is a story about death, love and courage. Some might want to pre-read this (or skip it entirely) depending on your families views on what happens after death. Again, as a child I found this book a bit upsetting but at the same time I loved it. (Looking up this book on BookDepository other suggested books that came up with it were the Hunger Games series for an idea of who might like it, although I wouldn’t call it dystopian, it does have certain dystopian elements, and it is certainly an adventure story).

*Growing up I couldn’t watch tv shows or movies where children or animals went missing from their families and had adventures because I would spend the entire time wailing “I want him to find his mommy, why can’t he find his mommy”. One show was so particularly bad I couldn’t even hear the theme tune before I started crying.


Copyright ©2010 Zee from Notes from the North. This post was originally posted by Zee from Notes from the North. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Weekend Cooking: Thyme Scented Tomato Pie

Weekend Cooking Weekend Cooking is hosted by Beth Fish at Beth Fish Reads and it is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page. For more information, see the welcome post.

My farmers market started up a few weeks ago and one of the stands had all these great looking tomatoes, which enabled me to try a recipe I have had in my recipe collection for years. It is called tomato and thyme pie and it looks and sounds amazing.

Summer 2010 017

Thyme Scented Tomato Pie

For 6-8 (all measurements are in metric)


2 dl white flour

1 dl whole wheat flout

150 g cold butter

2 tbsp ice cold water

1 yellow onion

1 glove garlic (I use more because we like garlic)

2 tbsp oil (I use olive oil)

5-6 medium tomatoes or 1 400g tin chopped tomatoes (I used fresh tomatoes)

1-1 1/2 dl roughly chopped basil

2 tbsp tomato paste

salt, pepper


1 kg fresh tomatoes (a mixture of shapes, sizes and colours is great)

salt to taste

2 tsp dried thyme (I used fresh because I’ve got loads of it in the garden)

1 tbsp olive oil

some fresh thyme for decoration


1. Start with the dough. Chop the flour and butter together to a grainy mixture. Add the cold water and work it into a dough. Let the dough rest for at least an hour in the fridge.

2. Peel and chop onion and garlic. Let it soften in the oil in a pan without going brown.

3. Remove the peel from the tomatoes. Cut them into four parts each and put them into the pan with the onions and garlic.

4. Add basil, tomato paste, salt and pepper to taste. Stir. Let the sauce cook on a low temperature for about 30 minutes. Taste (add more salt and pepper if you want). Let it cool off and leave in a cold place.

5. Heat the oven to 200C. Take the dough from the fridge and quickly press it into a pie dish (approximately 27cm in diameter)

6. Use a fork to prick the bottom of the dough and let it bake for about 15 minutes, it doesn’t matter if the edges fall down.

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7. Take the dough from the oven and spread the sauce on the base.

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Cut the tomatoes into smaller pieces (halve cherry tomatoes etc) and add them to the pie dish in an even layer. Sprinkle thyme, oil, salt and pepper over the tomatoes.

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8. Bake in oven for 30-45 minutes until the tomatoes have a nice colour and are bubbling.

I served it with a mixed dressed salad. It was enough for dinner for three adults and two lunch boxes.


Copyright ©2010 Zee from Notes from the North. This post was originally posted by Zee from Notes from the North. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Book Review: Have His Carcase

Have his carcase cover Have His Carcase by Dorothy L. Sayers

Category: Classic Crime

Synopsis: Harriet Vane, on vacation by the sea, finds the corpse of a young man on a deserted beach. The only footprints in the sand are those of the young man himself but the body looks like it has been dead only a few minutes. How is this possible. Lord Peter Wimsey soon arrives on the scene and the pair set about to solve this “locked room” mystery.

My Thoughts: This book had me really confused, in a good way. I didn’t work out who the killer was, or how they had managed the crime, but still it was a very enjoyable read.

I loved the banter between Harriet and Peter. It is just so very witty and somehow lovely. And also very very British which I thoroughly enjoy.

But what I loved the most about this book wasn’t actually the mystery or the banter, but rather Sayers commentary on society. I loved this quote regarding women’s fashion:

Were men really stupid enough to believe that the good old days of submissive womanhood could be brought back by milliners’ fashions? ‘Hardly,’ thought Harriet, ‘when they know perfectly well that one has only to remove the train and the bustle, get into a short skirt and walk off, with a job to do and money in ones pocket (39).

Sayers manages to say so much both about her own time, about societies silly conventions and about the relationships between men and women and the lies they tell each other in this short excerpt. Humans often try to hold on to things that have long since left us, a time or a person. But through our imagination we try and recapture it. But, as Sayers, through Harriet, points out, there is no way we can hold on to it. In this case it is the woman as submissive to man, because women had already learned that they were not.

It is interesting to note as well that Have His Carcase was first published in 1932 well before ww2 and the great influx of women into the workforce. Sayers was, without a shadow of a doubt ahead of her time when it came to views on women and their place in society.

I will admit I had two major problems with the book. Both are related to me and my rather poor memory :)

First of most of the solution to the death is contained in a cipher and I have to admit that has never been my strong suit. I am no good with logic puzzles and I found the explanation of how to solve the cipher to be more confusing than the cipher itself.

The second problem was that I am awful at remembering names, and again, the ability to remember the name of a character became quite central to solving the mystery.

That said, neither of these two aspects majorly took away from my enjoyment of the book. It was a fast and fun ride. I could see the events unfold quite clearly in front of me. The characters were all very likely (if somewhat two dimensional). And the social commentary took on just the right tone. I highly recommend this book.

Previous books in the series reviewed at Notes from the North:

Strong Poison

Purchase Have His Carcase from BookDepository.co.uk


Copyright ©2010 Zee from Notes from the North. This post was originally posted by Zee from Notes from the North. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Booking Through Thursday: Meme of Reading Questions

btt2 This weeks Booking Through Thursday is a meme. I got this from Lorette‘s blog and couldn’t resist adopting it for all of you.

1. Favorite childhood book?
Sagan om den lilla lilla gumman (The Story of the Little Old Lady) by Elsa Beskow and Kajsa Kavat by Astrid Lindgren

2. What are you reading right now?
Have His Carcase by Dorothy Sayers (almost done) and listening to Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling, narrated by Stephen Fry (last chapter).

3. What books do you have on request at the library?
Some books for school

4. Bad book habit?
I put my book down open

5. What do you currently have checked out at the library?
Nothing actually

6. Do you have an e-reader?
Nope, but I do have Kindle for PC

7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once?
Several at once

8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?
Yes, I read more new to me books

9. Least favorite book you read this year (so far?)
Emma by Jane Austen

10. Favorite book you’ve read this year?
The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop by Lewis Buzbee

11. How often do you read out of your comfort zone?
Not as often as I should

12. What is your reading comfort zone?
classics and crime fiction

13. Can you read on the bus?
Yep. Did it today

14. Favorite place to read?

15. What is your policy on book lending?
I always want to share my books

16. Do you ever dog-ear books?

17. Do you ever write in the margins of your books?

18.  Not even with text books?
See above

19. What is your favorite language to read in?

20. What makes you love a book?
The characters or the setting

21. What will inspire you to recommend a book?
Loving it

22. Favorite genre?

23. Genre you rarely read (but wish you did?)
Science non-fiction

Favorite biography?
Dalai Lama’s Freedom in Exile

25. Have you ever read a self-help book?

26. Favorite cookbook?
Anything by Jamie Oliver

27. Most inspirational book you’ve read this year (fiction or non-fiction)?
hmmm…not sure

28. Favorite reading snack?

Nuts and a cup of tea

29. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience.
Can’t think of one, but I did have issues with books assigned in school

30. How often do you agree with critics about a book?
I actually rarely read critics…shhhhh

31. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews?
It’s helpful too

32. If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you chose?
I’d like to be able to read in Latin and French

33. Most intimidating book you’ve ever read?
War and Peace by Tolstoy, oh wait I haven’t read that yet ;)

34. Most intimidating book you’re too nervous to begin?
See above

35. Favorite Poet?
Christina Rosetti and Karin Boye

36. How many books do you usually have checked out of the library at any given time?
I rarely use the library for anything other than school. Although if I move to Stockholm that would change (post to come, I have a BAD case of library envy)

37. How often have you returned book to the library unread?
See above

38. Favorite fictional character?
Eve Dallas

39. Favorite fictional villain?
Snape…although he isn’t really one is he

40. Books I’m most likely to bring on vacation?
Brain candy books

41. The longest I’ve gone without reading.
ummm…I’m always reading

42. Name a book that you could/would not finish.
For Whom The Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway but don’t tell my high school English teacher that :D

43. What distracts you easily when you’re reading?
It depends on the book

44. Favorite film adaptation of a novel?
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie with Dame Maggie Smith

45. Most disappointing film adaptation?
The Harry Potter films

46. The most money I’ve ever spent in the bookstore at one time?
Taking the fifth here

47. How often do you skim a book before reading it?
Often, but I am trying to break the habit for fiction and do it more for non-fiction

48. What would cause you to stop reading a book half-way through?
Bad writing and characters doing things out of character

49. Do you like to keep your books organized?

50. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you’ve read them?
I’m a book hoarder

51. Are there any books you’ve been avoiding?
War and Peace by Tolstoy

52. Name a book that made you angry.
I haven’t read them but the books by the Pearls make me angry just thinking they exist

53. A book you didn’t expect to like but did?
I was a bit sceptical when my mum suggested the In Death books

54. A book that you expected to like but didn’t?
Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky sadly, but I want to try and different translation

55. Favorite guilt-free, pleasure reading?
In Death series

To those of you wondering if there will ever again be a review of a book on this blog, the answer is yes. Tomorrow there will be a review. And on Monday :D I’ve just gotten a bit behind on my reading but now I’m back in full swing again.


Copyright ©2010 Zee from Notes from the North. This post was originally posted by Zee from Notes from the North. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Weekly Geeks: 2010-28 (or is it actually 2009-35: What’s The Plan?)

WG Relaxing_thumb[3]

This weeks Weekly Geeks asks us to revisit a favorite past Weekly Geek topic or one that you've haven't done before. I chose Week 2009-35 to check in on the progress of my challenges.

I entered 12 challenges this year, my first full year of blogging and so far I have done pretty well.

I have officially finished two (as in I’ve written wrap-up posts):


Childhood Favourites Challenge

Thriller and Suspense Challenge 2010

I have actually finished four more but not written wrap-ups because I either want to see if I can “level up” or because, well I just haven’t :D or because they are such great challenges that I just want to keep adding to the archives.

unbound4smaller Flashback button

woolfbutton GLBT challenge bettyboo_memoir_button

Women Unbound

Flashback Challenge

GLBT Challenge

Memorable Memoirs

I am very close to completing two challenges (I have one book left for each)


South Asian Author Challenge

Terry Pratchett Challenge

And I am nearing completion in two (5 books out of 20 in one and 3-8 out of 10-15 in the other)


2010 Challenge

POC challenge

One challenge will keep going since I didn’t sign up for a particular level, and even if it isn’t a challenge next year I will continue to read in the genre because I have amassed quite a list.

World Religion

World Religion Challenge

I have already failed one challenge and that makes me very sad.

2010 Social Justice Reading Challenge

Social Justice Challenge

I found it hard to finish books on time and I kept forgetting about the steps. I feel like a bad person. :(

Back late last year I made up a master schedule of which books to read when. At the start of the year I followed it pretty well. Then around May it all fell apart when I got a bad case of shiny book syndrome :D Despite that I am well on track to finish all my challenges. I substituted quite a few books, especially in the Thriller and Suspense Challenge and I am really glad I did, it has allowed me to discover some great new-to-me authors, Julia Spencer-Fleming and Dorothy L. Sayers primarily and to take part in both the Classic Circuit and the Spotlight Series. I think taking part in challenges has been great for my reading habits. I am normally a reader of habit. I keep reading the same authors and books over and over again. The challenges have in the main forced me to find new authors and new genres. I will definitely be taking part in several challenges next year as well.


Copyright ©2010 Zee from Notes from the North. This post was originally posted by Zee from Notes from the North. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

TSS: Home Library

The Sunday Salon.com

Boston Bibliophile started it off, then Eva of a Striped Armchair wrote a post on it and now I’m jumping on the bandwagon. Building my Home Library. Really the thoughts started on Saturday when I got a new bookcase from IKEA (BILLY, what else) and I decided to organize my books according to the Dewey Decimal system (sort off, I’ll outline the differences in another post).

I thought I would use this post to set up my goals for my home library (like the Boston Bibliophile did).

 Old classic TSS 15 08 10 Image Credit

  • Classics

I would like to grow my collection of classics. I will be teaching English and Swedish and so by extension I will in all probability be teaching at least some classics each semester. I want to be able to rotate which once I teach so I don’t get stale and repetitive. In addition I usually like classics so I want to read them for me as well.

I want to get “good” copies of my favourites and keep cheap paperback copies that I can write in for teaching. Being able to keep my notes in the margins is a good way for me to think about what I want to teach and learn.

Library of

  • Reference

I would like to grow my reference section. I would like a good Swedish-English Dictionary and a good English (or Swedish)-Latin one. I would also like a good book of quotations. A good Swedish Dictionary and a good English one. I have a few books on grammar but they are written for ESL students. I would like native speaker English grammar books (I own Strunk & White).

I would love some books on lit theory and lit history again somewhat connected to my profession but also for my own sake

I would also like a few simple gardening books and a good field guide so I can look up different species.

USA Summer 08 082

  • Children’s

I have quite a few of my old children’s books still but there are some I want to replace. Rabén & Sjögren who publishes Astrid Lindgren’s books has recently re-issued the books in hardcover in a matching set and I would LOVE to have them all.

Reference books TSS 15 08 10 Image Credit

  • Growing Non-fiction

Although I have touched on this in one of the above points I want it to have it’s own heading because the above point deals primarily with reference books and what I want to grow is my collection of popular science and biography books. When I was organising my books I realised that I have very few books in these categories, especially popular science. So I would like to grow that selection.


Copyright ©2010 Zee from Notes from the North. This post was originally posted by Zee from Notes from the North. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.