My Dirty Little Book Of Stolen Time

bookshelves: published-2006, paper-read, under-500-ratings, spring-2014, one-penny-wonder, fantasy, time-slip, love, too-sexy-for-maiden-aunts, denmark, copenhagen, amusing, next

Read from March 08 to 11, 2014

Description: In fin-de-siecle Copenhagen, part-time prostitute Charlotte and her lumpen sidekick, Fru Schleswig, have taken on jobs as cleaning ladies of dubious talent to tide them over the harsh winter of 1897. But the home of their neurotic new employer, the widow Krak, soon reveals itself to be riddled with dark secrets – including the existence of a demonic machine rumoured to swallow people alive. Rudely catapulted into twenty-first-century London, the hapless duo discover a whole new world of glass, labour-saving devices and hectic, impossible romance.

Many blurbs for this book, however this one is on the cover…

‘Unashamedley gleeful: a kind of topsy-turvy Jane Eyre with added time travel… Sit back, suspend your disbelief and enjoy’ Daily Mail

Dedication: For Matti, Raphaël and Laura

Opening: Last night I deamed I went to Østerbro again, flying towards my little quadrant of Copenhagen streets just as a fairy might, or a homing bird.

The beginning opens out in 1897 and our narrator is a street girl totally broke because her two main clients have abandoned her. The one to jail for fraud, and the other a bad oyster rendered him a metre under.

Too slapstick for my taste, although I am amazed at the scope that Liz Jemsen picks to wrie about.

4* The Rapture
4* The Uninvited
TR Ark Baby
2* My Dirty Little Book of Stolen Time
5* The Ninth Life of Louis Drax

Trivia: Liz Jensen is married to author Carsten Jensen:

5* We, The Drowned
3* I Have Seen the World Begin

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The Murder of Halland by Pia Juul, Martin Aitken (Translator)

bookshelves: mystery-thriller, one-penny-wonder, paper-read, denmark, impac-longlist, series, translation, newtome-author, shortstory-shortstories-novellas, dodgy-narrator, lit-richer, lifestyles-deathstyles, spring-2014

Read from February 27 to March 10, 2014

Translated from the Danish by Martin Aitken.

Dedication: With thanks to Herman and Gustav

Opening quote:

May they come together,
happy in heart forever,
who long to be as one!
SWEDISH BALLAD (trad)

Opening: The night before, we sat in the living room. I had coffee; he drank a beer. We watched a police drama. ‘I wouldn’t mind looking like her,’ I said, referring to the detective, Danish TV’s only mature heroine. ‘You don’t, though, do you?’ I looked over at him. Women’s faces shrivel; men acquire substance. ‘You’ve acquired substance,’ I said. ‘Where?’ he asked, worried. ‘Ha ha ha,’ I laughed, mockingly.

This is number eight in a series and I ordered it not because it is a series I have been following, but because some flisters have returned positive reviews and high star ratings. 3* and up is a good result, isn’t it. This is also a book that qualifies for IMPAC 2014.

Books in this Peirene Press collection where the strapline is fab: ‘Two-hour books to be devoured in a single sitting: Literary cinema for those fatigued by film.’

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The Almost Nearly Perfect People

bookshelves: radio-4, winter-20132014, lifestyles-deathstyles, history, nonfiction, emperor-s-new-clothes, fradio, published-2014, sweden, norway, iceland, finland, denmark

Read from February 07 to 14, 2014
BOTWBBC description: Journalist, Michael Booth’s timely new book sees the author embark on a revealing and humorous journey through all five of the Nordic countries to discover the secrets of their success.

Across the week, five post-cards from each of the countries which challenge the often rose-tinted view of this part of the world offered up by the Western media. Along the way, a more nuanced, often darker picture emerges of the region – it isn’t always easy being Nordic.

First up the Danes – consistently rated as the happiest people on earth and yet they pay the highest taxes.

Reader: Gunnar Cauthery
Abridged by Richard Hamilton
Produced by Gemma Jenkins.

1. Denmark: The Danes are consistently rated as the happiest people on earth but pay the highest taxes. In the year that sees a major new exhibition on Vikings at the British Museum our fascination with all things Scandinavian shows no sign of abating.

2. Iceland and the part the Viking spirit played in the country’s response to the 2008 financial crash.

3. Norway – a country taking stock post-Breivik and the impact of the nation’s colossal oil wealth on the Nordic psyche.

4. Enigmatic Finland – a visit to what lies at the heart of the country’s social and political life – the sauna.

5. Sweden – a country held up as a beacon of perfection by the Western world and yet disliked by its neighbours.

The format is pure ACME Hack Methodical Xenophobia
1. some snigger
2. some stats that can be made to mean anything you want
3. some history
4. some smug swagger

This has all been done before in the Xenophobes Guide series. And really, this could be seen as a skit on Mrs. Mortimer’s Bad-Tempered Guide to the Victorian World where the title should be: The Clumsiest People in Scandinavia: Mr Booth’s Bad Tempered Guide to the Perfect-ish World.

The Local runs these cheap country comparisons and national psyche prods as column fillers as a matter of daily routine.

Michael Booth has whipped up interest in the book in following manner: ‘The grim truth behind the Scandinavian miracle’ – the nations respond

So move along, nothing to see here – go spend your hard-earned book money on something worthwhile.