Monday, January 16, 2012

One of the best books you'll ever read

The Fault in Our Stars
by John Green
Rating: 5+++/5

“Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.”

“My thoughts are stars I cannot fathom into constellations.”

“That's the thing about demands to be felt.”

I've been waiting for this book for so long, just like a lot of other people. When I found it in my mailbox after school this wednesday, I instantly started it, and the next few hours had me on an emotional roller-coaster. I laughed, I got really happy, I got irritated and angry and I cried like crazy. I knew that the book was going to be sad, but honestly I thought that I would cry in an a-few-tears-rolling-down-the-cheek way, not loud sobbing, throat hurting, nose running, crying. No other book has had such a big impact on me. It was horrible.

But this is one of the best books I've read in my whole life.

I've read books about cancer before. I've read books about dying teenagers, teenagers who fall in love, teenagers who have a big dream. Although John writes about common topics, he does it in an extraordinary way. He has the most amazing writing, he gets you to see different perspectives on things, he makes you really care and he makes you feel all the things.

A John Green book can't be a John Green book without a great set of characters. They are always so alive, have the weirdest hobbies and passions. They (Augustus) are people I would just love to have as (boy)friends in real life. The conversations feel natural and not forced at all, and Hazel and Augustus really fits perfectly together.

The only good way I can describe John's writing is everyday-ish, but wonderfully different. He doesn't use some poetic language, it is more like "he did this and she did that". But his brilliant vocabulary, remarks on deep questions and just different comments on usual things make it something so different from other books. It has this kind of philosophical feel without getting too dry or heavy to read. It feels like every page has at least one good quote that I just want to write down somewhere.

The Fault in Our Stars is a book that is going to be in my mind for a very long time. This is one of those few books that I really want to keep in my bookshelf forever, one of the books I would keep if I in some point in my life have to life with a limited number of books. 

Just read it, you'll understand what I'm talking about.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Goals for 2012

I've read a lot of these kind of posts, but never thought I would write one myself. Why? Well, I think giving new years resolutions is just a way for people to postpone trying to improve themselves. Why not just start exercising / reading more / take care of school work etc etc in the middle of a year? You don't have to wait until new year's eve to improve. Also, everyone are expecting you to not keep up with your resolutions, so you probably won't make it. It sounds harsh, but that's the truth.

So why am I still doing this? Well .. Eh, I'm not really sure. I like keeping track of how many books I read during a year. So maybe I can throw in some goals for this year's reading?

  • Read 100 books. Yes, I'm trying to do this. It's going to be hard, I'm in my last year of secondary school and will begin upper secondary school this fall, so school will be a bigger part of my life that it has been before. But I can do this, right?
  • Read more books in Finnish. I've spoken Finnish for as long as I've spoken Swedish (so, my whole life) but don't really read anything in Finnish. I don't really know much about Finnish books (I prefer reading books in their original language) and read slower in Finnish than in Swedish and English, but I want to change that.
  • Write a review (or at least a draft of it) within a few hours of finishing a book. Otherwise I'll just not do it for many weeks, and maybe never write a review.
  • Read more classics. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Essential books for Potter nerds

Quidditch Through the Ages and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
by J.K. Rowling

Goodreads QuidditchGoodreads Beasts ⎪ Author Website

In these sort of non fiction books you get to read about all the very real beasts and quidditch related things from the Harry Potter universe. They are the same books that the characters read in school with a short foreword by no other than Albus Dumbledore, which he wrote since these books were going to be released for muggles.

I liked getting a little insight to the worlds and learn more about the things we hear about in the series. It is something you enjoy a lot when you love a series as much as I love the Harry Potter books. You just want to learn everything there is to learn and feel like a part of the world.

The books were nice and short and gave you some information. Some of it was already told in the Harry Potter books, but most of it was new things that you've never hear of. It was pretty straight forwards with the facts, which made the books pretty short. I would have enjoyed longer books with more illustrations and maybe some funnier texts.

I especially liked the Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them book, because throughout the whole book Harry and Ron had written small notes and comments to the texts. It makes it a lot more fun to read than a book which just throws a bunch of facts onto you.

These were two nice little short books, that every Potterhead probably would enjoy a lot. And let's cross our fingers and hope that J.K. Rowling soon releases a huge Hogwarts: A History. A book we hear a lot about in the Harry Potter series and I think would have Potter fan around the world excited as hell.

Monday, January 2, 2012

A lovely love story

The Gargoyle
by Andrew Davidson 
Rating: 5 / 5

“You are mine, I am yours; you may be sure of this. You've been locked inside my heart, the key has been thrown away; within it, you must always stay. ”

Before I started reading this book, I had no idea what it was about. The back of the book only gives us a vague explanation of what it is about, and after some research I only knew that it was either fantasy, contemporary or historical fiction. When I'd finished the book, I understood that it was a brilliant mix of them all.

It tells the story about a man, who hasn't had the best life. He gets really bad burn injuries in a car accident, and has to stay in the hospital for months. There he meets the mysterious Marianne Engel, who tells him that they were lovers in the 14th century, and that she has been waiting to meet him again for 700 years.

The plot was very original. We follow the unnamed main character as he recovers from his injuries, but we get to hear many fantastic stories along the way. Marianne has many tales to tell about her friends from different time periods. Including the story about her and the main character in their first life together. I really liked reading these beautiful love stories, and loved Marianne as a character. You really have to decide for yourself whether you think she really tells the truth about her long life or if she's just some psychotic woman with schizophrenia.

The Gargoyle isn't a book for everyone though. It was more of a very slow paced feel-good love story than an action filled fantasy. Some people might not like it, and will only find it weird and boring. But I loved it, and felt like the pace, the stories and the characters made it a interesting, and almost magical, read.