Luin alkuvuodesta kokoelman aikuisille tarkoitettuja islantilaisnovelleja, joka oli ihan pätevä johdanto islantilaiseen mielenmaisemaan ja kirjallisuuLuin alkuvuodesta kokoelman aikuisille tarkoitettuja islantilaisnovelleja, joka oli ihan pätevä johdanto islantilaiseen mielenmaisemaan ja kirjallisuuteen, mutta nämä lapsille ja nuorille suunnatut novellit eivät puhutelleet. Löytyi töksähteleviä lauseita ja latteita tarinoita, mutta onneksi pieni valonpilkahdus tuli Peikkomuori-tarinasta, jossa peikon muotoinen kallionkieleke sulautuu ikävöinniksi isoäidin perään. Melko suuri osa novelleista on muuten aika surumielistä tavaraa ja käsittelee yllättävän aikuisia aiheita, eli kovin montaa pienelle lapselle suunnattua tarinaa en usko tästä löytyvän....more
I avoid romantic comedies. Obviously I've still seen a few, and that's why I mainly cringe when I see another trailer from another film about a bunchI avoid romantic comedies. Obviously I've still seen a few, and that's why I mainly cringe when I see another trailer from another film about a bunch of asswipes. Other overly romantic stuff gives me the same reaction. If I want something light to read, I turn to children's books or horror (preferrably Stephen King). As with everything, there are exceptions (although in this case, very few). When Harry Met Sally (1989) and Notting Hill (1999) (Rhys Ifan's character!) are two examples of movies that aren't my favourites, but which I've still seen at least twice. They have a point, and it's not necessarily a saccharine one. The first Bridget Jones is another one. It's just goofy, down-to-earth, and Bridget herself is the same: ordinary, not a polished model-type with a Pepsodent smile, and has awesome friends.
I've just never read the book, and now I thought would be perfect chance when I'm trying to go through some London books. The problem was the chick lit genre, which I've always found extremely off-putting. I've only read one before this, and it was torture. I've read countless of blurbs and reviews, though, but none of them have actually made me want to try reading the actual thing. The plot lines have mostly just given me a headache. I probably wouldn't have read Bridget Jones, if I hadn't seen the movie first. So, curiosity got the best of me (or maybe the heat of summer weather).
A longer introduction than perhaps necessary, but I thought it's important to understand the background where I'm coming from. Chick lit seems to rely on relatable characters and a sense of fun. Did I relate to Bridget? Hell no. Was this light-hearted fun? Not really.
I'm not in a similar situation with Bridget and her friends. I'm single, that much is true, but I don't have a problem with it or with people in relationships. I don't feel the need to trash men in every conversation (unless there's a very cogent reason, but that applies to women as well). These women don't have an ounce of common sense. Bridget takes Daniel's flirtations at face value, believing he's practically in love with her, and then complains when he's reluctant to commit to her. He said to her face, out loud, that he only wants to have fun! We all have our problems in relationships, and we all make mistakes, but I have trouble understanding why anyone would purposely dig themselves a hole. Have some self-respect. No one likes time wasters, but if you try to explain something into something completely different, then it's on you when things go pear-shaped.
Bridget is a gullible woman, who seems unable to control herself. We all have those problems in some areas, but am I going to be entertained by a book whose main character is supposed to be an endearing disaster? There was nothing funny about Bridget and her antics. She just made me sad. A woman in her thirties, and her life is filled with weight issues and neurotic self-analyzing. A lot of people (not only women) do worry about their weight, and think their self-esteem will magically jump into high heavens if they lose some fat. Bridget's problems are therefore relatable to some (completely understandable, because no one wants to feel like they're alone in something), but what are they really signalling? It's ok to view yourself as a complete useless slob and constantly beat yourself up? Being on a perpetual diet means you can write numbers into your diary, but in reality make little effort to be healthier?
It's not only that I don't understand Bridget, but the characters are very thin. The main love interest is supposed to be a big deal, but he's a mere shadow lurking somewhere in the background, so I never got a sense of who he is. He's forgotten for most of the novel, and then suddenly he appears again like some deus ex machina to make Bridget feel better. What the hell? But it's in a diary form, you say. Yes, but that's no excuse to make an important character virtually non-existent and a mere plot tool. I still have no idea why he's the one for Bridget.
There are some good bits here, though. Someone who admires Joanna Lumley and Susan Sarandon can't be entirely hopeless, and the description of Bridget's godson's birthday was hilarious. I sincerely hope I'll never end up into a situation like that, since it actually reminded me of a nightmare I once had. I also appreciate that Fielding clearly wanted to write something that's not made of pink glitter, but the actual execution missed its mark. Bridget is sassy, that much is true, but her other qualities - oy. If you identify with some of this, cool, but if you don't... There's little else to grab onto.
Somehow I'm guessing Bridget's obsession with self-pity won't end in the other books. She can wallow in it as long as she likes, though, because I'm not listening anymore. There's being sad for a valid reason, and then there's fishing pity and trying to build your self-confidence through others' opinions. Personally, I find it exasperating when everything has to be made a bigger deal than it actually is....more
Just as fun as the first one, although for some reason it took me a while to get into the story, so I let the book rest a few days. The further I readJust as fun as the first one, although for some reason it took me a while to get into the story, so I let the book rest a few days. The further I read, the more addictive it became.
I loved the snarky exchange of words between (view spoiler)[Amelia and Emerson (hide spoiler)], and I was happy to see that their personalities hadn't changed one bit, but that they could still spar with each other despite the situation changing. People like them can seem a bit hard, though, but there were moments where their hard exteriors melted and they seemed more human. Not that they didn't seem human before, but now there were more faults visible as well, like with real human beings. It was pretty obvious, too, that Amelia wouldn't settle into tea parties. The way she appears next to the ridiculous Lady Baskerville, who's constantly fainting out of shock like your typical romance heroine, would make anyone want to escape with Amelia to the dusty digs.
The characters were more interesting this time around, especially the insane Madame Berengeria, who loved her bottle a bit too much and dressed like ancient Egyptians. Bigger bunch of people also meant there were more choices for the murderer, and although the identity wasn't a complete shock, I wasn't disappointed either. Peters handled the twists and turns with style.
There's a cat, too!
Ok, that was a bit random, but Bastet deserves a mention.
All in all, I liked the sense of adventure. I can't give four stars, because I still feel there's something missing, but for certain situations these are perfect light mysteries, and I'd love to know where Amelia ends up next.
"Bucolic peace is not my ambience, and the giving of tea parties is by no means my favorite amusement. In fact, I would prefer to be pursued across the desert by a band of savage Dervishes brandishing spears and howling for my blood. I would rather be chased up a tree by a mad dog, or face a mummy risen from its grave. I would rather be threatened by knives, pistols, poisonous snakes, and the curse of a long-dead king."["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
"A young man in one’s hotel bedroom is capable of being explained, but a corpse is always a hindrance."
Is there a better way to return to reading and"A young man in one’s hotel bedroom is capable of being explained, but a corpse is always a hindrance."
Is there a better way to return to reading and reviewing than write about a light, bubbly, vibrant, and sparkly mystery? When my studies calmed down a bit and my brain began to miss fiction, I started a ridiculously long classic, but then I noticed a book whose blurb made my heart beat a little bit faster. A detective story that is set in the roaring twenties and whose main character is a bold and unconstrained female private detective, can't be bad. Am I right?
My expectations turned out to be reasonable. Phryne is the soul of the book. Whenever you start a new series, you want to make sure that you like the main character who carries the weight of the story, so that you're interested enough to continue with the series. Phryne Fisher carries herself with style and enjoys the luxuries of life, but isn't arrogant or afraid to get her hands dirty in seedy back alleys. This unabashed and clever adventuress, who enjoys cigarettes and - quelle horreur! - sex, exists in an entirely different sphere than the rest of the characters. Especially the squeaky clean maid Dorothy seems puny next to her mistress, even though she does find courage in the end when things become dangerous.
On the other hand, the plot itself didn't have the spark I was hoping for. One important identity was easy to guess about halfway through, because Greenwood's hint is pretty heavyhanded. Not knowing Melbourne, I also couldn't pinpoint the events to Australia, because it seemed like any metropolitan city would have been the location, which of course is a shame since Australia is an interesting country. The endless descriptions of Phryne's dresses just radiated iffy chick lit vibes.
Although the fluffiness wasn't entirely my thing and occasionally style moved ahead of substance, I believe I could continue with the series if I ever need something that wouldn't require any brain activity. Based on this first installment the series might potentionally be addictive, and because of that extra that the 20s brings to the plate, things could be worse. Greenwood's writing style has the kind of perkiness and sharpness which in the end makes reading fun, and that's what you want from a cozy mystery. If, however, I don't feel like reading the whole series, there's the tv show that I'm going to check out at some point. Maybe I'll make those cucumber sandwiches and cocktails as seen on Phryne's website to get in the mood....more
Kokoelman alussa oleva katsaus tiivistää miten islantilainen kirjallisuus on historian saatossa kehittynyt. Toki ei voi sanoa, että kokonaisen maan kiKokoelman alussa oleva katsaus tiivistää miten islantilainen kirjallisuus on historian saatossa kehittynyt. Toki ei voi sanoa, että kokonaisen maan kirjallisuus olisi täysin homogeenistä, mutta vielä nykyäänkin kirjallista arvoa kantavista saagoista alkaneessa tarinaperinteessä on käsitelty muun muassa merta ja sen vaikutusta niin ihmisten luonteeseen kuin elinkeinoonkin.
On kuitenkin hyvä muistaa, ettei Islanti ole sen asuttamisen jälkeen ollut sijainnistaan huolimatta täysin eristäytynyt muusta maailmasta, joten eri kirjallisuussuuntauksetkin ovat saapuneet mantereelta saarelle ja muokanneet tarinankerronnallisia perinteitä. Uudet nykykirjailijoiden sukupolvet ovat käyttäneet muun muassa ironiaa, maagista realismia ja surrealismia uudistaessaan islantilaista kirjallisuutta. Usein kaikkea tätä ei ole aikanaan ymmärretty, vaan osa on aiheuttanut tarinoillaan pahennusta.
Halldór Laxness on yksi heistä, joka on saanut kritiikkiä yhteiskunnallisilla kannanotoillaan. Linnun laulun kaiussa (1964) eristäytynyt kuolemaisillaan oleva mies sanoutuu irti yhteiskunnan vaatimuksista. Vieraisilla olevat viranomaiset edustavat rationaalista järjen ääntä, eivätkä ymmärrä miehen ajatuksia, vaan väittävät tietävänsä mikä tälle on parasta. Knúturissa on jopa jonkinlaista mystiikkaa pitäessään loppuun asti kiinni omasta itsestään.
Ásta Sigurðardóttir edustaa joukkoa vahvoja naiskirjailijoita, jotka ottivat kantaa naisten asemaan. Tämä ei ulottunut Sigurðardóttirilla pelkästään kirjojen maailmaan, vaan opettajan tutkinnostaan huolimatta (siihen aikaan yksi islantilaisten naisten harvoista vaihtoehdoista) hän toimi alastonmallina, teki taidetta ja vietti aikaa taiteilijapiirien kanssa. Nykyään Sigurðardóttir on yksi luetuimmista islantilaisista novellisteista, vaikka kokoelmia onkin julkaistu vain yksi. Naisasialiikkeen lehdessä julkaistu Kuningasliljoja (1958) erottuu tässä 25:n novellin kokoelmassa ehdottomasti edukseen. Se sijoittuu Islannin miehityksen aikaan, jolloin islantilaisten naisten ja sotilaiden kanssakäyminen oli yleistä. Päähenkilö on sairas parakissa asuva tyttö, jota ei kukaan tunnu ymmärtävän (ystävätär ei ole hienotunteinen vaan valitsee kovan asenteen, ja mieslääkärin mielestä naimisiinmeno on ratkaisu kaikkiin ongelmiin). Pala palalta tytön tilanne paljastuu, kunnes lopussa on jälleen toivoa ja kukat tuovat kauneutta rumuuden ja epätoivon keskelle.
Jakobína Sigurðardóttirin (ei sukua edelliselle) upeassa Stella-novellissa (1964) on parakkielämää, alkoholismia, troolarilla työskentelyä ja ihmisiä, jotka puhuvat toistensa ohi. Elämä on muuttunut katkeraksi, meri pelottavaksi eikä lapsille pysty osoittamaan hellyyttä vaikka haluaisikin. Kaunis tarina sanomattomista lauseista ja siitä, kun toinen ihminen ei näytä päällisin puolin olevan enää sellainen kuin joskus.
Muita mieleen jääviä novelleja olivat Ólafur Haukur SímonarssoninJäähyväiset (1987) (kalapakastamossa työskentelevä poika kaipaa kauas pois), Þórarinn EldjárninAjopuulahtelaisen saaga (1992) (hauska saagoja hyödyntävä tarina siitä, mitä tapahtuu kun Ajopuulahteen saapuu uudisasukkaita: "Perkele, siitä sait! Senkin runojenrustaaja!"), Matthías JohannesseninPääsiäismyräkkä (1981) (hengästyttävän upeaa luontokuvausta, ja jonka mystistä tunnelmaa en pystyisi ikinä kuvailemaan), Guðbergur Bergssonin absurdi Ensimmäinen joulukertomus (1995) (partainen Jeesus-lapsi saa kerrostalon asukkaat siivoamaan rappukäytävän) sekä Andri Snær MagnasoninKalastaja ja merenneito (1996) (päähenkilö saa huomata, ettei merenneito olekaan ihan se kaikkein käytännöllisin puoliso).
Kuten useita kirjailijoita sisältävissä novellikokoelmissa usein, oli tässäkin välillä tyhjäkäyntiä, mutta sehän on täysin makuasia kuka kirjailijoista onnistuu jättämään jälkensä lukijaan. Kokonaisuudessaan kokoelma jäi kyllä hieman miinukselle, mutta katsauksena islantilaiseen kirjallisuuteen tämä oli kuitenkin lukemisen arvoinen (yksi editointikerta olisi tosin ollut vielä paikallaan, sillä kirjoitusvirheitä oli harmillisen paljon). Lopussa on myös kattava lista fiktiosta sekä islantilaista kirjallisuutta käsittelevistä tietokirjoista....more
A few days ago I was about to go to the summer cottage without electronic devices, and because I didn't feel like reading anything from the pile I alrA few days ago I was about to go to the summer cottage without electronic devices, and because I didn't feel like reading anything from the pile I already had, I went to the library to see if there were more Elizabeth Peters's Amelia Peabody adventures. Apparently, the library hasn't acquired them in order (the horror!), so I have to buy the next one if I'm planning on reading it. Then I saw something interesting next to the other Peters's novels: crime novels where a monk is doing the investigating. A monk! This has to be good, I thought, and something totally different than the tediousness that is The Name of the Rose (1980).
I was laying on the pier and eating strawberries, when the skeleton was found from the field. From there on I was instantly hooked. I couldn't have been more wrong in my guesses for the culprit, although the ending made complete sense, and was even a bit medieval in a way. Although I prefer only the final revelation instead of the characters constantly repeating the evidence gathered so far and who could be guilty, I still enjoyed following Cadfael in his efforts to find who did it.
Things were also made more interesting by Cadfael being stuck in the monastery, since he had to ask permission for errands not related to his vocation, and because of that he had Hugh the sheriff to help him in the outside world. Not that Cadfael is a master detective. He and Hugh seemed pretty equal in their brain activity, although Cadfael is naturally the one who solves the case.
Not only that the mystery is rewarding, but Peters is also a wonderful writer in general. She depicts the environment and the monastic life vividly and beautifully, and weaves thoughts about life and religion into the narrative (of which the contrast between secular and monastic life was the most interesting). Her monks are imperfect and people's behavior in general is plausible and suitable for the time period.
My brain has a minor glitch what comes to the history of the Middle Ages, so the parts where Peters explains a little about the historical background went completely over my head. I have no idea who the king was, I can't remember who were fighting and why etc. That's just a small thing, however, because they're not important in understanding the plot. Although it should be noted that Peters never went to college but was self-taught, which is incredibly impressive.
The series is suitable for reading out of order, which is always a plus for me. I will store Peters in my mind for those days when I don't feel like reading anything particularly challenging, but still something a bit more serious....more
I currently have 225 horror films under my belt. The Exorcist (1973) is not the best I've seen. It's not the worst either, but it's still only mildlyI currently have 225 horror films under my belt. The Exorcist (1973) is not the best I've seen. It's not the worst either, but it's still only mildly entertaining, if even that. The vomiting scene makes me want to eat pea soup. Pea soup, mustard, and crisp bread with cheese on top are the best combination ever - but I digress. If the film was meant to be funny, fine, but since the tone is serious throughout I highly doubt it was made as anything else than a good ol' creep show. Ravenous (1999) and Evil Dead II (1987) are hilarious gore fests (although I don't usually like overly violent horror) but The Exorcist is unintentionally so.
However, this wasn't always so. I can't remember my age, but I was certainly under ten when me and my two friends decided to secretly watch it. Obviously it was a bad idea, since it scared the shit out of me. I've never liked hospitals or anything remotely related to them, so when Regan was subjected to all kinds of tests that alone was horrifying. I don't remember the famous scenes, though, so I was probably mostly burying my face under a pillow and only listening to all the suspicious screams. Fast-forward to a couple of years later when I rewatched the whole thing: Jesus Christ, what is this now?
I think the problem is that I don't like exorcism horror. Even The Conjuring (2013), which is otherwise excellent, was in danger of falling flat during the latter half. I find nothing even remotely scary about a contorted body, a face that looks like Chucky, blasphemy, profanities etc. It's then painfully obvious what my attempt to inject a little creepy horror into the hot summer days turned out to be: a dud.
I don't require a lot from a horror novel, just that there's a some sort of looming threat or creepiness that has an effect on me. Blatty spends too much time educating the reader about possessions and psychology, and the underlying message about how God is good and evil will always lose is a bit heavy handed for my liking. There's also this awkardness in his writing, like he wanted to appear more intellectual and literary, but actually failing miserably (a sad table? really?). I did like Karras, his struggles with faith and the games he had with the demon, but the story overall works better in a visual form. The novel does however reflect (either intentionally or unintentionally) the social upheavals of the time, so that's something that would be worth exploring.
I'm trying to catch up on 1970s horror novels, since I've already seen some films from that era, but Blatty left me disappointed and underwhelmed, and the issues far outweighed the interesting aspects. I'm confident there will be better material later on (and there already has: The Other (1971) is the ultimate forgotten horror classic that is atmospheric, creepy, and heaps of fun)....more
A basic werewolf story, to which King doesn't really bring anything new, even if he always has interesting characters. Once again an American small toA basic werewolf story, to which King doesn't really bring anything new, even if he always has interesting characters. Once again an American small town works great in a horror novel, and when King sinks his teeth into the small town life, it's executed in such a way that I always keep coming back to get a fix of that certain atmosphere. Although the identity of the werewolf is easy to guess right at the beginning, this was still an entertaining snack. Even at his worst King is highly readable and fun....more