Leopard VI: The Norwegian Feeling for Real by Harald Bache-Wiig, Birgit Bjerck, Jan Kjarstad

Leopard VI by Harald Bache-Wiig
 

 

Who doesn’t like the cover (excluding Scott from Utah of course); an extra star right there!

1. On An Old Farmstead in Europe by Hans Herbjörnsrud, translated by Liv Irene Myhre. A recounting of one of Norway’s oldest myths ‘Blind Margjit and the Man with the Eyes’.

2. The Dogs in Thessaloniki by Kjell Askildsen, translated by Agnes Scott Langeland. Pug-Ugly domestic scenario.

3. Ice by Roy Jacobsen, translated by Kenneth Steven. Had to read this one eyes through splayed fingers. Excellent suspense.

4. The Cock and Mr. Gopher by Jonny Halberg, translated by Don Bartlett. Culinary addiction.

5. I Could Not Tell You by Jon Fosse, translated by May-Britt Akerholdt. blergh – s.o.c. affected shite.

6. Cows by Lars Amund Vaage, translated by Nadia Christensen. Well that was a dairy farmer’s wet dream but no more entries like that, I hope.

7. The Last Beat Poets in Mid-Hordland by Ragnar Hovland, translated by James Anderson. Lovely story.

8. The Jealous Barber by Lars Saabye Christensen, translated by Kenneth Steven. A psychological thriller that was noirly amusing in its absurdity.

Just when I am mentally composing the end rant about the lack of female writers here, next up is a goodie:

9. The Pillar by Karin Fossum translated by Robert Ferguson. Bullying father reveals his fecklessness.

10. The Catalogue by Jostein Gaarder and translated by James Anderson. Superb piece of nihilism surrounding an every leap-year global publication.

11. A Good Heart by Karin Sveen and translated by Katherine Hanson. Crofting community and the question of hand-me-downs ♥♥♥

12. The Motif Herbjørg Wassmo and translated by Donna H Stockton. Not so much!

13. Dublin in the Rain by Frode Grytten and translated by Peter Cripps.

14. I’m Asleep by Tor Ulven and translated by Sverre Lyngstad. Lots of individual ideas to ponder upon here, however, does that make a good story?, I don’t think so.

This is the most ‘quotable snippets’ entry but I cannot recommend it as a whole.

15. Love by Hanne ørstavik and translated by James Anderson

A path runs into the forest, from a secret, forgotten place.
If you can only find it, your body will follow its trace.
Past trees and flowers and anthills and up to a castle so rare,
In the castle sit three damsels, fabulous, fine and fair.
For the prince they sit there waiting, naybe he’ll come one day,
They’re singing a song in the meantime, a lilting, lugubrious lay.

16. The Man Who Collected the First of September, 1973 by Tor Åge Bringsværd and translated by Oddrun Grønvik.

17. A Forgotten Petunia by Bjørg Vik and translated by Don Bartlett.

18. Deep Need – Instant Nausea by Trude Marstein and translated by Don Bartlett.

19. The Story of the Short Story by Kjartan Fløgstad and translated by Sverre Lyngstad.

20. Life of a Trapper by Gro Dahle and translated by Katherine Hanson.

21. It’s So Damned Quiet Øystein Lønn, trans by Steven T. Murray.

22. Veranda With Sun Laila Stein, Katherine Hanson

22. Homecoming Jan Kjæstad, Sverre Lyngstad

23. The Long Trip by Beate Grimsrud, translated by Angela Shury-Smith

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Edited by Harald Bache-Wiig, Birgit Bjerck and Jan Kjærstad.

Introduction by Harald Bache-Wiig.
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Now a good thing about anthologies is that you can get a taster, a little peek at an unknown writer. Having enjoyed #3 I have ordered a book by Roy Jacobsen about the northern war.

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Gretel and the Dark by Eliza Granville

bookshelves: currently-reading, vienna, victorian, gothic, e-book, net-galley, newtome-author, fantasy, anti-semitic, eugenics, historical-fiction, cults-societies-brotherhoods, austria, eye-scorcher, witches-and-wizards, superstitions, published-2014, psychology, lifestyles-deathstyles, gardening, food-glorious-food, doo-lally, cover-love, adventure, a-questing-we-shall-go, austro-hungarian-empire

Read from July 10 to 13, 2014


** spoiler alert **

**WARNING: there are spoilers galore in the reviews of this book, so don’t check down through the community book page.**

Description: Gretel and the Dark is Eliza Granville’s dazzling novel of darkness, evil – and hope. Vienna, 1899.

Josef Breuer – celebrated psychoanalyst – is about to encounter his strangest case yet. Found by the lunatic asylum, thin, head shaved, she claims to have no name, no feelings – to be, in fact, not even human. Intrigued, Breuer determines to fathom the roots of her disturbance.

Years later, in Germany, we meet Krysta. Krysta’s Papa is busy working in the infirmary with the ‘animal people’, so little Krysta plays alone, lost in the stories of Hansel and Gretel, the Pied Piper, and more. And when everything changes and the real world around her becomes as frightening as any fairy tale, Krysta finds that her imagination holds powers beyond what she could have ever guessed . . .

Eliza Granville was born in Worcestershire and currently lives in Bath. She has had a life-long fascination with the enduring quality of fairytales and their symbolism, and the idea for Gretel and the Dark was sparked when she became interested in the emphasis placed on these stories during the Third Reich. Gretel and the Dark is her first novel to be published by a major publisher.

This as change of pace from the huge and delicious dip-in/dip-out read of Der Turm: Geschichte aus einem versunkenen Land

Don’t be fooled into thinking this is a young adult read. The main narrative is from the point of view of a young girl who doesn’t quite catch the meaning of all that happens around her, yet you the reader will discern straight away just what is unfolding if you remember your history of the time and the place.

Karl Lueger: The populist and anti-Semitic politics of his Christian Social Party are sometimes viewed as a model for Hitler’s Nazism.

Turn of the century Vienna is a time of blossoming psycho-analysis, uprise in anti-semitism, a rumbling of discontent with the emperor Franz Joseph, and the poor are becoming poorer. This is the backdrop to ‘Gretel and the Dark’, where the deeds are dark, superstitions run rife and most important, the writing superb.

Lambach Abbey: In 1897/98 Adolf Hitler lived in the town of Lambach with his parents. It is often claimed that he attended the secular Volksschule at which Benedictine teachers were employed, but also that he attended the monastery school, where each day he saw swastikas among the carved stones and woodwork, which included the symbol.

Just as Oskar in The Tin Drum is one step removed from the events, so here with Krysta, and her real thoughts sometimes are only revealed when she is conversing to her doll. This is clear at the death of her father where she vocally tells everyone that papa is not dead, then she whispers a query to her doll about what are they going to do now.

Just a smidgeon short of five hitlers

An aside: on NetGALLEY(™) you get a chance to vote whether you do or don’t like the cover. I liked it!

A Rough Ride to the Future by James Lovelock

bookshelves: spring-2014, absolute-favourites, author-love, britain-england, climate, cover-love, e-book, how-to, nonfiction, published-2014, environmental-issues, net-galley

Read from March 25 to May 19, 2014


Description: In A Rough Ride to the Future, James Lovelock – the great scientific visionary of our age – presents a radical vision of humanity’s future as the thinking brain of our Earth-system James Lovelock, who has been hailed as ‘the man who conceived the first wholly new way of looking at life on earth since Charles Darwin’ (Independent) and ‘the most profound scientific thinker of our time’ (Literary Review) continues, in his 95th year, to be the great scientific visionary of our age. This book introduces two new Lovelockian ideas. The first is that three hundred years ago, when Thomas Newcomen invented the steam engine, he was unknowingly beginning what Lovelock calls ‘accelerated evolution’, a process which is bringing about change on our planet roughly a million times faster than Darwinian evolution. The second is that as part of this process, humanity has the capacity to become the intelligent part of Gaia, the self-regulating Earth system whose discovery Lovelock first announced nearly 50 years ago. In addition, Lovelock gives his reflections on how scientific advances are made, and his own remarkable life as a lone scientist. The contribution of human beings to our planet is, Lovelock contends, similar to that of the early photosynthesisers around 3.4 billion years ago, which made the Earth’s atmosphere what it was until very recently. By our domination and our invention, we are now changing the atmosphere again. There is little that can be done about this, but instead of feeling guilty about it we should recognise what is happening, prepare for change, and ensure that we survive as a species so we can contribute to – perhaps even guide – the next evolution of Gaia. The road will be rough, but if we are smart enough life will continue on Earth in some form far into the future. Elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1974, JAMES LOVELOCK is the author of more than 200 scientific papers and the originator of the Gaia Hypothesis (now Gaia Theory). His many books on the subject include Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth (1979), The Revenge of Gaia (2006), and The Vanishing Face of Gaia (2009). In 2003 he was made a Companion of Honour by Her Majesty the Queen, in 2005 Prospect magazine named him one of the world’s top 100 public intellectuals, and in 2006 he received the Wollaston Medal, the highest Award of the UK Geological Society.

Sipping this with total love on a daily basis gives rise to two burning issues:

Our National Treasure is into his 95th year and here he is with a new book – match that STGRB *cough* authors. More importantly, he is not scared to u-turn or change tack.

Does anyone here read Brain Pickings? there was a great debate about not sticking to a mind-set when interially, a thought is now untenable. **INSERT ARTICLE HERE** The Backfire Effect: The Psychology of Why We Have a Hard Time Changing Our Minds

Don’t try to save the planet in environmental terms, instead build domed, dammed cities, this is the new message in a nutshell.

WOW – how do I love thee, let me count the ways.

Of course you wouldn’t get me or mine kicking or screaming into a sealed-in space where the consumerism vulture can sit on neon light stands to pick off the unwary – we’ll take our chances thank you very much. But hey, you bods who already live in cities, would you even notice if the dome closed over your heads if the rags didn’t inform you? When was the last time anyone looked to the sky when in Picadilly Circus.

Say it was sneakily done – so long as there are shop fronts to languish over and the gossip press pumps gumph out, really, who would notice. Strikes me it wouldn’t be too much of a hardship for the majority of first-worlders; so long as young mums can demand to wear Jimmy Choo up to a nine month regardless of the safety of the unborn, who cares about the planet earth.

Did I mention I was cynical?

Did I mention that Lovelock is the bee’s fricking knees?

Okay – I’ve gushed enough and readers need some hard facts – this is repetitive: think Ouspensky’s Strange Life of Ivan Osokin tops, or Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life at base, or Groundhog Day at funniest. Seriously though, look this man up; see what he has been about. Love him.

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The Birds of Pandemonium by Michele Raffin

bookshelves: spring-2014, nonfiction, published-2014, cover-love, environmental-issues, zoology, net-galley, e-book

Recommended for: Jeanette
Read from May 12 to 15, 2014

 

Algonquin Books

16 pages of full-color photos in the book, however they were not included in this ARC.

Description: Each morning at first light, Michele Raffin steps outside to the bewitching bird music that heralds another day at Pandemonium Aviaries–a full symphony that swells from the most vocal of over three hundred avian throats representing over forty species. “It knocks me out, every day,” she admits.

Pandemonium Aviaries, the home and bird sanctuary that she shares with some of the world’s most remarkable birds, is a conservation organization dedicated to saving and breeding birds at the edge of extinction, including some of the largest populations of rare species in the world. And their behavior is even more fascinating than their glorious plumage or their songs. They fall in love, they mourn, they rejoice, they sacrifice, they have a sense of humor, they feel jealous, they invent, plot, cope, and sometimes they murder each other. As Michele says, “They teach us volumes about the interrelationships of humans and animals.”

Their amazing stories make up the heart of this book. There’s Sweetie, a tiny quail with an outsize personality; the inspiring Oscar, a disabled Lady Gouldian finch who can’t fly but finds a brilliant way to climb to the highest perches of his aviary to roost. The ecstatic reunion of sibling Victoria crowned pigeons, Wing and Coffee, is as wondrous as the silent kinship that develops between Amadeus, a one-legged Turaco, and an autistic young visitor. Michele shares with us the challenges of caring for such an extraordinary menagerie and the precarious fate of the birds themselves.

Ultimately, The Birds of Pandemonium is about one woman’s crusade to save precious lives, bird by bird, and offers a rare insight into how rescuing others, regardless of species, can lead to true happiness.

Dedication: To Ross, Jason, and Nick

Opening: Morning at Pandemonium: I rise every morning a 4:00 a.m. – gladly on most days – and pad as silently as possible across the terra-cotta-tiled floors of our home. If I make the smallest sound as I pass by the dining room, they might hear. I don’t want to set off our resident clown posse – not yet.

In the foothills of Santa Cruz range, Michell Raffin lives with her family, two donkeys, a pair of goats, a collie, a sheepdog, a cat and some birds in ‘Pandemonium Aviaries’.

Pandemonium Averies is a party house that also serves as a protected birds’ paradise.

This is a joyful book full of music and dance and birds. Who knew African grey parrots will form a conga line to the beat of hip-hop. You like birds, rare ones or not, you will love this.

“Michele Raffin has made an important contribution to saving endangered birds, and her book is a fascinating and rarely seen glimpse behind the scenes. The joy she gets from her close relationships with these amazing animals and her outsized commitment to them comes through loud and clear in this engaging and joyful book.” —Dominick Dorsa, Curator of Birds, San Francisco Zoo

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The Brothers by Asko Sahlberg

bookshelves: published-2010, shortstory-shortstories-novellas, finland, spring-2014, translation, paper-read, one-penny-wonder, historical-fiction, under-100-ratings, war, cover-love

Read from April 13 to 16, 2014

 

Description: Finland, 1809. Henrik and Erik are brothers who fought on opposite sides in the war between Sweden and Russia. With peace declared, they both return to their snowed-in farm. But who is the master? Sexual tensions, old grudges, family secrets: all come to a head in this dark and gripping saga.

Opening: I have barely caught the crunch of snow and I know who is coming. Henrik treads heavily and unhurriedly, as is his wont, grinding his feet into the earth. The brothers are so different. Erik walks fast, with light steps; he is always in a hurry and then he is gone.

It all began with a horse, a stallion, or rather, a colt: an unruly colt…

Having spent most* of the last weekend finishing up open reads that had laid on the currently reading shelf for too long I was looking for a short snappy paper read that fits into my jacket as palate cleanser and walking companion.

This fitted the bill splendidly, set at the end of the Russian, Swedish war, the brothers Henrik and Erik, who had fought on opposing sides, were united back at the ranch. Let me tell yah, things did not bode well.

* also watched films on youtube: love that films of books via ipad are available no matter where I am ♥ ♥ ♥

Asko Sahlberg (born 1964) is a Finnish novelist.

I can’t praise this series of European shorties highly enough, just look at the covers, scrumptious.

Peirene Press series:

4* The Brothers by Asko Sahlberg
4* The Murder of Halland by Pia Juul
WL Sea of Ink by Richard Weihe

A Death in the Family by Karl Ove Knausgård

bookshelves: published-2009, translation, winter-20132014, series, paper-read, norway, newtome-author, tbr-busting-2014, families, cover-love

Read from September 14, 2013 to April 13, 2014


Oslo’s National Theatre holds Knausgård play

Norway’s National Theatre has postponed its production of Karl Ove Knausgård’s novel My Struggle until next year, after the theatre’s director, Hanne Tømta, decided it needed more time.

Translation: Don Bartlett

Opening: FOR THE HEART; LIFE IS SIMPLE: it beats for as long as it can. Then it stops. Sooner or later, one day, this pounding action will cease of its own accord, and the blood will begin to run towards the body’s lowest point, where it will collect in a small pool, visible from the outside as a dark, soft patch on even whiter skin, as the temperature sinks, the limbs stiffen and the intestines drain.

Karl Ove Knausgaard: Norway’s Proust and a life laid painfully bare

This is a ramble, a sad ramble. A lengthy meander through a fictionalised slice of the author’s young life. It is belly-button mining in a big way, and that parallel with Proust we all hear about? It was posited by Knausgård himself right at the beginning. I enjoyed this as a dip in, dip out read however I won’t continue with the series unless it drops in my lap.

Arauco by John Caviglia

 

Description: Set in a land of earthquakes and towering volcanoes, weaving history with myth, Arauco tells of war, sorcery … and a love demonstrating that a man can embrace what he was seeking to destroy. When in 1540 Pedro de Valdivia headed south from Peru to conquer lands and gold, he took with him his beautiful mistress, Inés de Suárez. With him also rode his secretary, Juan de Cardeña, whose hopeless love of Inés stems from the same romances that inspired the Quixote. Having crossed the Atacama Desert, the Spanish encounter the indomitable resistance of the Mapuche people…. For the first time, Arauco recreates the Spanish invasion of Chile from the native perspective as well, so that its pages include: Lautaro, the Mapuche youth who led his people to an epic victory; Ñamku, albino shaman; his enemy, the sorcerer Kurufil … and Raytrayen, the Mapuche girl Juan de Cardeña comes to love…

Villarrica Volcano, Chile

Opening lines from the prologue: THE BEGINNING (Mapu)

The sun was dying in fucha lafken, the great sea, but Ñamku, shaman of the Mapuche, did not see it. Behind him, the sacred volcanoesof the ancestors soared into the sunrises of the past, and he did not see them. Breathing deep, he removed his mask. Opening his eyes, he spread his arms to embrace darkness. This night the pillañ – the ancestors – would speak to him.

THANKEE DON, so kind of you. I have two weeks to read this before the invitation expires; pretty sure that will be just dandy given your 5* and the epic storyline.

The story opens out in Sevilla, Andalucia 1539 with Juan de Cardeña, together with his travelling companion Pedro Gómez de San Benito, admiring the opulance of the south of Spain.

It’s all in here: coming of age, swashbuckling, comradeship, brutality, foul-mouthed and sexy, heart-breaking and chivalric. A veritable pot-pourri of adventure: Rag Tag and Bobtail doing a hop, skip and jump, and the range is so sprawly that at times I felt I was a fully paid up member of the Where The FuckRwe Tribe?

The Authors blog

olla podrida seems to be equivalent to pottage, anything and everything gets chucked in.

• “The Monocli have just one huge foot. And they jump like fleas. They are called the Umbrella Foot Tribe because in hot weather they lie on their backs and rest in the shadow of their foot.”