The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald

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The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald

”Sara Lundqvist
Kornvägen 7, 1st Floor
136 38 Haninge
Sweden”

Sara has just lost her job in the city’s bookstore. To move on with her life and learn to live, decides to visit the little run-down town of Broken Wheel in Iowa to meet with her American pen pal, Amy. Sara and Amy have never met, yet she feels as though she’s always known her. When Sara arrives in Broken Wheel  nothing seems to turn out the way she expected.

This is a real feel-good novel about the power of change, love, books, and to dare to live. A perfect book to read an autumn evening in the glow of lit candles.

As the book-lover I am, I really enjoyed the fact that the love of books was so prominent. I found myself smiling in recognition several times. Katarina understands perfectly what it’s like to love books, even when no one else understands.

What made the book extra special was the outline. The story revolves around Sara, naturally, and one gets to follow her development. However, one also gets to know Sara and what her presence does to Broken Wheel and its people through the eyes of others around her.The reader is shown how their lives change because of Sara’s presence, which really underscores the ripple effect of change.  As a part of the narrative one is told about the relationship between Amy and Sara via Amy’s letters, which makes the reading experience more intimate.

I can say nothing more than that I read this novel with a smile on my face.

If you love to read books about books, and how they can change a life, you need to read this one.

Book Review – Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

FangirlFangirl by Rainbow Rowell

”There was a boy in her room”.

Cath and her identical twin sister Wren are about to start their first year of college. Wren, the more outgoing and socially comfortable sister decides that she doesn’t want her and Cath to become roommates. She wants to go off on her own and start living her life without being tied to her sister, who is the complete opposite of Wren. Cath has social anxiety and Wren has been her safety. When Wren decides to go off without her, she feels betrayed by the only person who understands her as well as incredibly afraid of everything unknown that she now has to face on her own. As a well-known fanfiction writer, she escapes into the world she created based on the characters Simon and Bas and bunker up with protein bars to not have to leave her room. Her roommate, the sarcastic and very confident Reagan, reluctantly takes her under her wings and becomes her friend. Reagan also has a boyfriend, Levi, who is the nicest and most cheerful person Cath’s ever met.  Levi’s always spending time in their dorm room which makes Cath quite uncomfortable at the start.

Roughly, one can say that Fangirl is about sisterhood, first love, fanfiction and growing up.

I really loved reading this book. It was funny, heartbreaking, nuanced and truthful. I really enjoyed reading about the relationship between the sisters and how different they really are. Cath was also, to me, an easy character to relate to. To face change and new situations are scary, as well as trusting people enough to let them get close to you. I also found it very true to how it might be to find social situations difficult to cope with as well as how it might feel like to get everything that is safe taken away from you, leaving you to fight for yourself.

I’m sorry if I make it sound like a difficult and emotional read, but it’s a very easy read.  It’s written with an enormous amount of empathy and humor even though there is a hint of seriousness to it. I also love that the act and love of writing are such a huge part of the story and who Cath is.

The only thing that I didn’t like at all was the extracts of the stories of Simon and Bas at the beginning of the majority of the chapters. They put me off and it just felt like they were thrown in there with no connection to the rest of the plot. But that’s a minor problem, it’s still one of the most amazing books I’ve read this year.

I recommend all of you to read it and especially those of you who enjoy reading books by John Green.

Book review – ‘Haroun and the Sea of Stories’ by Salman Rushdie

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‘Haroun and the Sea of Stories’ by Salman Rushdie

‘There was once, in the country of Alifbay, a sad city, the saddest of cities, a city so ruinously sad that it had forgotten its name.’

Haroun, the son of the greatest of all storytellers asks his father a question which causes him to run out of stories to tell. In a desperate try to right this wrong, Haroun flies to the Sea of Stories to cancel his father’s subscription of Story Water, which makes it possible for him to tell stories. During his time at this strange and foreign place, Haroun experiences an incredible and magical adventure.

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‘Haroun and the Sea of Stories’ is originally written as a children’s book dedicated to Rushdie’s son, however, it also contains themes aimed at adults. I must say, I loved this story. For me, it was the complete randomness and the focus on the importance of stories and storytelling, that made me love this book. I fell for it the moment I read the title, then the title of the first chapter ‘The Shah of Blah’ and was completely hooked after I’d read the first sentence. It was an amazing read full of magic, imagination, politics (one of the adult parts), friendship and love of stories. The language Rushdie use is very colourful, painting pictures before your eyes and conveys oceans full of wisdom just below the surface.

If you’re a child in heart, love stories and storytelling and believe in the freedom of speech, you’ll love ‘Haroun and the Sea of Stories’.

Finding Harry Potter

It’s amazing how we find certain books and stories that just stick and make complete sense. We can read thousands of really great books, but only a few are those special books which we want others to read or pass down to our children. For me, the Harry Potter books are a few of those special books.

In 2000, my grandfather gave me a hard and heavy present, every child’s dream. In it was a thick book with no pictures. I wasn’t the kind of child at that time, which would jump up and down cheering over a book, but I thanked him. It’s not that I didn’t like books or reading, I just think I was hoping I’d get a cool water pistol or marbles.  I put away the book on my shelf and went outside to play with my brothers. I didn’t know back then that it would turn out to be such an amazing gift. Since I wasn’t a professional reader yet, I had my mother read the book to me before I went to sleep instead, and I loved it, but my mother didn’t. The Swedish translation was bad and hard for her to read.

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Then the film came out and I watched it on our VHS with Swedish speech. I was still not a good enough reader to keep up with changing subtitles. Later I got the second book which I read myself, at least I read as far as the chapter introducing Aragog. I was too terrified to keep reading. Then a saw the second film and became even more terrified of Aragog and the Basilisk. I still can’t watch the first two films without feeling a bit uneasy (Voldemort and the unicorn scene, as well as the Aragog and Basilisk scenes, have scarred me for life, pun intended).

I continued watching the films one by one in secret and sadly, stopped reading the books. By the point the fourth film came out, I still hadn’t read past book two and the chapter about Aragog, but I still loved the story, secretly. You see, during that time, it wasn’t socially accepted amongst my peers to like either the books or the films and I just wanted to fit in and be like everybody else, just like Harry.

The years passed and finally I realised how stupid I’d been, giving up something I loved because of opinions held by others. That summer, the summer of 2009, aka ‘My summer of Harry Potter’, I went into a complete Harry Potter mode. I reread the first two books and when I finished took my bike, the ferry and the bus into town to buy the next book. The only thing I did that summer was reading Harry Potter. I got completely lost in the story and was shocked whenever someone called my name, causing me to be thrown back into the real world. When I wasn’t reading, I was thinking about reading and when I was sleeping I kept dreaming about Hogwarts.

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This was also during a time when I felt lonely, isolated and anxious about the future and who I was. The characters became my friends and Hogwarts my safe place. The Harry Potter series have taught me so much about believing in oneself, standing up for what is right, friendship, life and death, good and evil, the complexity of life and so much more it would take a whole other post to explain it all.

I’m not one of those people who fell in love with the books when they were children, sitting in a corner on recess reading Harry Potter wearing round glasses (that would’ve been cool though). I’ve always liked Harry Potter, but it wasn’t until ‘My summer of Harry Potter’ I realised just how much. I’m a proud Potterhead and Hufflepuff regardless of how my story started. The most important thing is that it did.

What’s the story of you and your favourite book(s)?

Get to know me – book tag

Since this is a newly created blog and you probably don’t know me, I thought I could do a book/reading tag and we could get to know each other better.  I’d really like to know your answers to these questions. Feel free to comment below!

 

  • What is your favourite book and why?

My favourite book… I can’t choose just one, it’s impossible! I love the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling (as if you didn’t know who the author is already) where the Prisoner of Azkaban, the Order of the Phoenix and the Deathly Hallows are my favourites. I can’t explain why really. I also love The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. I just, it’s amazing and poetic and different. Lastly, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer. It’s the saddest story but at the same time filled with so much love it makes my heart explode. Those are the once I can think of right now, but there are so many more, Simon and the Oaks by the Swedish author Marianne Fredriksson for example.

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  • What is your favourite author and why?

I’m the type of person who falls in love with a story or a book, not necessarily the author. I don’t know, I want to say J.K. Rowling but then again Astrid Lindgren is an author I idolise. She is one of the most honest and straight forward people who have walked this earth. She is a Swedish author who wrote children’s books like Brothers Lionheart and Pippi Longstocking.

 

  • What is your favourite book series?

This is an easy question; Harry Potter is my favourite, obviously!

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  • What is your favourite quote from a book?

‘It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live’, said by the wisest wizard ever lived, Professor Dumbledore aka J.k. Rowling. There are several other quotes from other books I’ve read that I really love, but this quote has stuck with me for a long time now.

 

  • What is the most recent book you read?

Do academic textbooks count, no? In that case, I have to say Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie which I have to read as part of my studies, but I really enjoyed it. I think it might be one of my favourites actually.

 

  • What book can you read over and over again and never get tired of?

Harry Potter, I mean, I have already read the series four times, one time in Swedish and three times in English. To be honest, the Swedish translation is terrible.

 

  • What is the first book you remember reading as a child?

The first book I remember reading by myself is the Mini series. It’s a series of Swedish books aimed to teach children how to read. It’s about a tiny person, Mini, who together with two children goes on adventures while he teaches them to read as well as you. Other than that, I can’t seem to be able to remember. Probably different fairy tales.

 Mini och den röda stenen           Mini och den försvunna ringen

             (The red stone)         (Mini and the missing ring)

  • Do you write in your books or do you keep them clean?

I have to confess, I do write in my books, or rather, I underline things I like, quotes and such. I only started doing that a few years ago. It hit me one day that it would make it so much easier to find the special passages but also a way for me to leave a part of myself with the book. I love finding old books with scribbles or lines in it because it gives me an insight to the previous owner’s thoughts.

 

  • Which do you prefer; bookstores or libraries?

I love libraries and walk around looking at all those books, not really knowing where to begin and the melancholy of realising that I won’t be able to read all of those books before I die. However, nothing beats the smell of new untouched books. Again, I can’t choose! But I’m usually found wandering around different bookstores in pursuit of a life changing or heartbreakingly beautiful story.

 

  • What is your most comfortable reading position?

Sitting upright for an hour and then laying on my stomach or back until it starts hurting, then I start all over again. It has to be a soft surface though, like a bed, sofa or a sea of pillows, yes!

 

  • Do you prefer reading outside or inside?

It depends on many factors. How cold or warm is it? Will anyone disturb? In summer, I usually read outside but it can be hard to concentrate with the sun in my eyes or if it’s too warm or uncomfortable. I love sitting by the ocean, listening to the waves, beneath a beautiful sunset. That, I have to say, is amazing. Reading is something you can do anywhere, anytime, wherever you find yourself.