Creepy Susie and 13 Other Tragic Tales for Troubled Children – Angus Oblong

The book Creepy Susie and 13 other tragic tales for troubled children by Angus Oblong is a very funny book. One of my favorites is Creepy Susie, but it is also funny that in this book electroshock therapy cures all mental issues.

There are a lot of main characters. There is: Helga from The Debbies, Betsy from Stupid Betsy, Waldo from Waldo and Bean, Scooter from Little Scooter, Sammy from Happy happy happy happy Sammy, Milo form Milo’s Disorder, Susie form Creepy Susie, Emily from Emily Ampatute, Scottie from Narcoleptic Scottie, Tommy and Patty from Sibling rivalry, Rosie from Rosie’s crazy mother, Jenny Jenny Jenny and Babette from Jenny Jenny Jenny and Babette the Siamese Quadruplets, Dick and Muffy from Dick & Muffy, Mary from Mary had a Little chainsaw.

This book is very fun but a little bit brutal so I recommend for ages 10 and up and all genders but only for those who feel like they can handle a bit of gore and murder.

Grensen – Erika Fatland

Erika Fatlands Grensen er en av tre bøker som er nominert til Bokbloggerprisen 2017 i åpen klasse. Det er en bok jeg uansett hadde lyst til å lese, men til tross for at jeg begynte på boka i mars klarte jeg ikke å bli ferdig før samlesingsmåneden juni var over. Om det sier mer om min konsentrasjonsevene eller Fatlands skrivekunster kan man jo diskutere. Jeg heller vel mot at det er mye min feil, jeg har lest ganske mye annet paralelt, men en av hovedgrunnene er uten tvil at Grensen er en stor og tykk bok, og at den derfor ikke har vært førstevalget hverken når jeg skulle ha med meg noe å lese ut av huset, eller egentlig når jeg har sittet i godstolen. Jeg foretrekker å holde boka jeg leser i hendene, Grensen er såpass tung at jeg ikke kan lese lenge i den uten å hvile den mot noe. Ebok hadde kanskje vært tingen?

For egentlig er det altså ikke noe galt med Fatlands tekst, som sådan, snarere tvert i mot. Reisen rundt Russland er ambisiøs, men boka er lettlest* og selv om jeg mistenker at jeg husker færre detaljer i etterkant enn jeg skulle ønske er de forskjellige landene og folkenes historie, og da særlig deres forhold til Russland, ryddig og engasjerende beskrevet. Mest kraft får fortellingen (ikke overraskende) når den fokuserer på enkeltskjebner, og Fatland har snakket med mange mennesker på sin vei, så det er nok å ta av.

Et interessant grep Fatland gjør er at hun har noen spørsmål som gjentas (der det passer) i samtalene med folk langs grensen. Det samme spørsmålet gir ikke alltid samme svar. For eksempel spør hun flere av de som har vært (eller er) soldater «Drepte du noen?» Minst en gang får hun til svar «Du må aldri spørre en soldat om det!» Men ikke alle er like… hårsåre? Svaret til Armeneren Set er mer rett fram:

Set så på meg som om han lurte på om jeg var riktig vel bevart.
«Selvsagt,» sa han. «Hvordan trodde du kriger foregikk?»

(Side 347.) En litt forvirrende ting med min bok er at de to seksjonene med bilder i farger som er satt inn 1/3 og 2/3 inn i boka er byttet om, så jeg får bildene som tilhører andre halvpart av boka midt i første halvpart og omvendt. Jeg vet ikke om det gjelder bare min kopi, eller om det er et generelt problem med opplaget (4. opplag). Jeg tviler i alle fall på at det er med vilje.

Selvsagt får man lyst til å reise når man leser en god reiseskildring, men jeg må nok innrømme at det er mange av landene Fatland reiser gjeenom som jeg foretrekker å oppleve som «armchair traveller» – altså gjennom bøker. Georgia står sånn halvveis på lista over land jeg kunne tenkt meg å besøke, men ellers fikk jeg mest forsterket ønsket om å få til en ny runde i Baltikum neste år. Vi var der i sommerferien i fjor og jeg angrer allerede på at vi ikke rett og slett gjentok turen i år.

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* Jeg var og hørte Fatland snakke om Grensen på Litteraturhuset i Trondheim sammen med foreldrene mine, som begge har lest Sovjetistan (det har ikke jeg, ennå). Dette var før noen av oss hadde begynt på Grensen. Vi snakket med noen andre damer som sto i kø, og mamma bemerket hvor lettlest Sovjetistan var. En av damene sa da med ettertrykk at «Denne er IKKE lettlest.» Vel, I beg to differ.

The Yeti Files: Monsters on the Run – Kevin Sherry

The book Monsters on the run from the Yeti Files series is written and Illustrated by Kevin Sherry. This book is a fiction book and I choose this book because the cover looked fun and I liked the name.
This story takes place in a fictional world with yetis, monsters and leprechauns. The story starts in their normal world and then they time travel 65 million year back in time to the age of the dinosaurs.
The main character’s are a Yeti, Nessie and a golem. They travel back in time to find a friend for Nessie that is just like her.
In the start they play a game about a battle and then they get a letter from Nessie that says that she is lonely and wants someone like her for a friend, in the middle of the book they time travel back to the dinosaurs to find a dinosaur that looks like her, and finally at the end of the book they travel back and find a friend for Nessie that is in the same time as her.
All in all I really enjoyed this book and I hope others will to. I believe this book should be for all ages above 2, even the ones who can not read because it is pretty funny and simple.

Another readathon

I don’t really follow any vloggers, I very occasionally follow a link to one and watch half a video, but it’s not a format that I enjoy much. However, that does not mean that vloggers might not have some very good ideas. Like Gintare, at Book Roast, who apparently organised a Harry Potter themed readathon in April: The OWLs Exam Readathon. I found out about it now because Liz at Travel in Retrospect is planning on resitting her exams in July. And there is a NEWT Readathon planned for August, but it would obviously not do to sit your NEWTs before having passed your OWLs.

So I’m contemplating joining. The idea is pretty straightforward: There are twelve subjects and for each a task is given that fits the theme, such as «Read a book with a symbol on the cover» for Ancient Runes. If you «read and pass» at least five OWLs you get an O for «Outstanding», and to get a pass level (A for «Acceptable») you need only pass two. That, at least, should be doable. You can peruse the full instructions yourself, but here are all the subjects and their set tasks:

Ancient Runes: Read a book with a symbol on the cover

Arithmancy: Read a book with a number on the cover or in the title: Lilla Berlin 5 by Ellen Ekman

Astronomy: Read a science fiction read

Care of Magical Creatures: Read a book that includes magical creatures OR features a magical creature on the cover: The Field Guide (Spiderwick Chronicles 1) by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black

Charms: Read a fantasy book: Mort by Terry Pratchett

Defence Against the Dark Arts: Read a book featuring/about secret societies/clubs: Sourcery by Terry Pratchett (ok, that’s stretching it a bit, but Unseen University is certainly closed and what goes on in there is a secret to those outside).

Divination: Read a book featuring prophecies

Herbology: Read a book with a nature related word in the title

History of Magic: Read a historical fiction

Muggle Studies: Read a muggle non-fiction book: Grensen by Erika Fatland.

Potions: Read a book about/with alchemy: Chasing the Dram by Rachel McCormack (distilling is alchemy, right?)

Transfiguration: Read a book that deals with transfiguration/shapeshifting or similar theme OR a book with a cat on the cover

Update at the start of August: I’ve added the relevant titles. I didn’t actually set out to read anything particular for this challenge, but I’ve managed to tick off a few subjects anyway. So that’s OWLS in Arithmancy, Care of Magical Creatures, Charms, Muggle Studies and Potions. So I juuust scraped an Outstanding. Now for the NEWTS in August. That’s going to be a lot harder… Separate post to follow when I’ve thought about my TBR.

Kong kortbukse og den onde keiseren – Andy Riley

Jeg elsker boka om Kong Kortbukse fordi jeg synes det er morsomt at et barn er konge og at kronen hans har tre kroner.

Jeg synes at neste bok skal handle om andre onde land som angriper. Onde land som har keisere som er rarere og morsommere en Keiser Fuskesen

Innbydelsene ble sendt ut med personpost. Det er når du får en person, gjerne en bonde, til å huske en beskjed, noe sånt som «Kom til Keiser Fuskesens slott på Onsdag». Så skriver du adresse på bonden, kliner et frimerke i panna hans og trøkker ham ned i en postkasse. Når bonden blir levert til riktig adresse, sier han beskjeden høyt. Det funker som en drøm.

Jeg likte dette avsnittet fordi det er litt rart og morsomt å bruke mennesker i posten. Jeg lurer også på hva som skjer med bonden etter at han har gitt beskjeden.

Sci-fi ungdomsskolen – John Martin og Scott Seegert

Nok en bok i posten fra Egmont, nok en bok i det jeg i omtalen av Kong Kortbukse valgte å kalle en sjanger: «Uhøytidelige bøker for barn med mye tegninger innblandet i teksten». Og i motsetning til Kong Kortbukse føyer vel Sci-fi ungdomsskolen seg bedre inn i rekken i den forstand at jeg er underveldet.

Kelvin er fra jorda, men foreldrene hans er fremragende forskere og har fått jobb ved Det galaktiske forskningssenteret, 56 000 lysår unna. Så Kelvin starter på Sciriustrati Fibronoculareus ungdomsskole – Sci-fi, der, altså. Å være den nye gutten er selvsagt litt skummelt, og det hjelper ikke at alle forventer at han skal være et geni, siden foreldrene hans er det. I tillegg har en (wannabe-)superskurk sneket seg ombord i romstasjonen med skumle planer om verdensherredømme, og Kelvin og klassekameratene hans må redde verden.

For meg blir det hele litt for lettvint. Jeg kjøper ikke at alle – inkludert rektor og lærere – tar det for gitt at Kelvin er et dobbeltsupergeni. Skurken er sytete og uvanlig idiotisk. Kelvins klassekamerater kunne like gjerne vært pappfigurer, de har ingen personlighet utover klisjeene de blir presentert med, det har vel forøvrig heller ingen andre i boka, inkludert Kelvin selv. Plottet er syltynt og henger bare så vidt sammen. Løse tråder etterlates overalt. Og det hele avsluttes med en smått creepy «jeg overvåker deg for ditt eget beste»-løsning (sorry, spoiler).

Så, altså, Sci-fi ungdomsskolen anbefales ikke, i alle fall ikke for voksne. Kong Kortbukse leste jeg frivillig høyt for femåringen rett etter å ha lest den for meg selv, det kommer jeg ikke til å gjøre med denne. Men den er ikke så dårlig eller problematisk at jeg ikke har tenkt å sende den videre til elleveåringen, og med tanke på hvor lite imponert jeg generelt har vært over disse bøkene som ungene elsker (Wimpy Kid, Gutta i trehuset osv) ser jeg ingen grunn til at ikke hun skal synes Sci-fi ungdomsskolen også er storveis. Vi får se.

Bingo!

Vel, ok, ikke ennå. Men jeg satser på å kunne rope det i løpet av sommeren, for jeg har tenkt å prøve å delta i Sommerbokbingoen som Ann-Sofie på Breakfast Book Club har satt opp.

Bingobrettet ser slik ut:

Det er en tilhørende Facebookgruppe også, om du har lyst til å slenge deg med.

Lords and Ladies – Terry Pratchett

It’s odd how it is, some books have to find you at the right time. Even ones that «everyone» likes. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve tried reading Terry Pratchett. I’ve read Good Omens, of course, because Neil Gaiman, and it’s brilliant, so after finishing that I definitely tried something Discworld. And prior to that I tried because Pratchett shows up in the sentence «If you like Douglas Adams you will enjoy…» And I do. Like Douglas Adams, that is. Pratchett not so much. Until now. It must be 25 years since I first tried and suddenly there I was looking at the emergency shelf we keep at the in-laws’ summer house thinking I need something fairly light-weight to read now (as Fatland’s Grensen really needed some concentration and I was getting bored with Anna’s Mr God – more on that later) and my eyes fell on Lords and Ladies and I thought «Why not?» and suddenly the nearly four hundred pages were read and I’d even laughed out loud a few times.

So, yes. I’m not going to say too much about the book itself, I’m not sure I could bring anything to the table that hasn’t been said already. My own experience, however, is, if not unique, then probably unusual, because I found myself drawn to rereading The Rivers of London series (or more specifically Foxglove Summer). Because of the murderous unicorn and the fair folk. And I see that it is almost 100 % certain that Aaronowitch has read Pratchett (something Goodreads can confirm by the way), but I also see that as for myself, though I did enjoy Pratchett this time, I prefer the Aaronowitch brand of fantasy, where the main plot is set firmly on planet earth, fantasy or no.

Let me also say, by the way, that Pratchett is nothing like Adams, except in so far as humour in sci-fi and fantasy is a sort of genre by itself.

But that being said, I now want to read more Pratchett. And the Discworld universe is… complicated. It’s been years since I first saw the (seemingly) excellent chart by Krzysztof K. Kietzman and since I started in the middle it was difficult to know where to go from there. So I asked Facebook. That is, I asked my Facebook connections, assuming I’d have at least one major fan on my friends list (I did). The advice varied, but Siri Pettersen ordered me to start from the beginning and you really don’t want to ignore orders from Siri Pettersen, so I have now reserved The Colour of Magic at the library. For good measure I reserved Equal Rites, too, as that’s the first book in the witches storyline, and having enjoyed reading about the witches already they seem a fairly safe bet. But if The Colour of Magic turns out to be readable and not a stumbling block I guess I will go with chronological order as published.

Fargeglade vampyrer – Mona Fossdal

Jeg var innom og testet meråpent bibliotek på nyåpnede Risvollan bibliotek her for noen uker siden, og femåringen ville selvsagt låne noe. Valget falt på Fargeglade vampyrer av Mona Fossdal og vi har lest den en fire-fem ganger siden.

Konseptet er forsåvidt enkelt, de tre vampyrene bor i et gammelt slott (naturligvis), et typisk oppussingsobjekt. De vil male, men har ikke bestemt seg for farge, så de tester… alle etter tur. Hovedteksten er på rim, og rim og rytme er absolutt godkjent. Av og til er ordvalget opplagt preget av rytme- eller rimbehov og en sjelden gang blir ordstillingen unaturlig («Hvem har fått maling under sin fot?»), men ikke så ofte og påfallende at det blir slitsomt å lese. Ut over det opplagte – å vise de forskjellige fargene – fungerer illustrasjonene også som en myldrebok. Hvert oppslag har eksempler på ting man skal lete etter («Ser du en ananas?») og det er nok å ta av, så den som leser høyt kan finne på egne ting å lete etter.

Settekassa er den samme på alle oppslagene, men innholdet endres.

Hovedelementene i hvert rom gjentas, men med forskjellig nips, innhold i rammer og «folk» som kikker inn vinduene, og det er morsomt å gå på oppdagelsesferd på hvert oppslag og sammen forsøke å finne ut hvordan de forskjellige tingene er assosiert med den gitte fargen.

Det er noe kjent med de to karene i det venstre vinduet…

I tillegg til å fylle boka med alskens rare saker som appellerer til målgruppa har Fossdal lurt inn referanser som man kanskje må være voksen for å forstå. Prince dukker opp i vinduet på den lilla siden, Erna Solberg holder et malingspann på den blå og Rowan Atkinson som Blackadder er på tv-skjermen på den svarte siden. For eksempel.

Nå vil biblioteket ha tilbake boka, men du skal ikke se bort fra at vi låner den igjen.

Bout of books 22 progress post

Like last time I will stick to one post for the week, updating every morning or so.

Goals for the week:

1. Finish some books. I’m in the middle of… too many. Most of which I really like, but due to the reading mojo being somewhat absent they hang around for a lot longer than they should.

2. Blog about some books. Not necessarily the same ones as in point 1, but it wouldn’t hurt.

3. Have fun.

Monday 14 May

Travelling all day in a car, so no reading. Had I planned better I could have brought an audiobook, but I didn’t.

Tante Ulrikkes vei – Zeshan Shakar: 280-288 = 8 pages

Better than nothing, but hardly impressive…

Tuesday 15 May

Need to read for work today, so should get quite a few pages done.

Tante Ulrikkes vei – Zeshan Shakar: 288-300 = 12 pages
The Data Warehouse Toolkit 2nd Ed. – Ralph Kimball and Margy Ross: 62-88 = 26 pages
Mister God, This is Anna – Fynn: 13-68 = 55 pages

Total: 93 pages. Not too shabby.

Tuesday challenge is «Year of You», to share a book that was published the year I was born. I had a look at Goodread’s «most popular books published in 1974» list and noticed a few familiar titles, but not that many I’ve actually read. I was considering Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, which I did read at some point, but then I scrolled far enough down to find Mister God, This is Anna. I can’t remember when I discovered this gem of a book, but I was completely in love with it for a while. It’s one of the books I own more than one copy of, two almost identical paperbacks, and while I can’t make a good cause for not getting rid of one of them, I can’t seem to find it in me to do so. It’s been years, probably 20 or so, since I read it, so that’s what I’m reading this evening, in defiance of my actual goals for the BoB.

Other book-related things done today: Booked airplane tickets and hotel for Bokbloggertreffet 2018. Woot!

Wednesday 16 May

Last working day of the week, really, since tomorrow is our national day (not expecting to get much reading at all done tomorrow), and we’re going away for the weekend Friday morning as the kids have time off. Though I suppose I can read work-related stuff while away (I should, I’m behind).

Tante Ulrikkes vei – Zeshan Shakar: 300-324 = 24 pages
The Data Warehouse Toolkit 2nd Ed. – Ralph Kimball and Margy Ross: 88-118 = 30 pages
Mister God, This is Anna – Fynn: 68-90 = 22 pages

Wednesday challenge: «Show me your precious»:

Thursday 17 May

Norway’s national day, which means zilch reading, at least while the kid is in a band and I am in the 17th May committee: Up at six to get the eldest into band uniform and me in decent clothes for assembly at 6:45. Marching, flag up, bus to town, follow the band until they’re where they need to be for the parade, escape for a brief while to see the other kid and watch parts of the parade (crucially the one with the eldest, I wanted to see her school, too, but missed it), pick up the kid again at the end point, stop by the school briefly (I actually missed this part, my husband to the kids and I went home to nap for an hour or so before:), assemble at the local school (which the band belongs to) to finalize the setup for the afternoon’s games and grill and café, wander around helping out where needed and trying to get to spend some time with the kids, getting the public to leave at six and tidy up everything after, home shortly after seven pm, tidy away the things that have to be put away (in the fridge/freezer, anything else can wait), fix some sort of dinner for myself, collapse. The fact that I squeezed in 4 pages is a miracle of sorts. By the end of the day I was too tired to read, so I started the rewatch of MASH that I’ve been thinking about forever.

Mister God, This is Anna – Fynn: 90-94 = 4 pages

Friday 18 May

Travelling to Hitra by boat with the kids today, some reading should actually be possible…

Today’s challenge is space-themed (I’ll start off now, but may have to think about some of them for a while):

Mercury – Favourite short story/novella: En plutselig frigjørende tanke by Kjell Askildsen
Venus – Favourite book with female protagonist:
Earth – Favourite book about nature/nature word in the title: One by Gerrald Durrel, let’s go with The Bafut Beagles.
Mars – Favourite book with a red cover:
Jupiter – Favourite tome over 500 pages:
Saturn – Favourite book with circle/ring on the cover/in the title:
Uranus – Favourite book set in winter:
Neptune – Favourite book set at sea, on a boat, or under water: All of the Aubrey/Maturin books by Patrick O’Brian
Pluto – Favourite books featuring a dog/with a dog on the cover:
Moon – Favourite book set anywhere other than Earth: Dragonsinger/Dragonsong by Anne McCaffrey
Sun – Favourite book set in summer:
Space – Favourite book set in space: The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Tante Ulrikkes vei – Zeshan Shakar: 324-430 = 106 pages
Mister God, This is Anna – Fynn: 94-140 = 46 pages
Lords and Ladies – Terry Pratchett: 1-14 = 14 pages

Saturday 19 May

Lords and Ladies – Terry Pratchett: 14-78 = 64 pages
Grensen – Erika Fatland: 192-220 = 28 pages

Sunday 20 May

Lords and Ladies – Terry Pratchett: 78-240 = 162 pages

Day six Instagram challenge completed today: Shelfie.

Wrap-up

Number of pages read: 601
Number of books finished: 2

Considering one of the books I finished was also started this week AND I started another one, too, I guess I will call that a bit of a fail on goal number 1. As for the number of pages, it’s perfectly acceptable. I read (lots) more than I do on average, and this time it was mostly pretty dense text (and partly non-fiction of the drier kind) rather than comics. So yay.

I didn’t actually blog about any books during the BoB week, but I did write most of this post about Fargeglade vampyrer which I pressed published on today (Monday 21st). But on the other hand I should have realised that getting much blogging done this week was never going to happen, so I  will declare myself satisfied with goal 2 not really being reached.

As for goal 3: But of course.

Am I ready for Bout of Books 23? You bet.

Come to think of it, I read more! I read five chapters – 39 pages – of Doktor Proktors prompepulver aloud to the five-year-old.