A summary of the ‘going native challenge’

As many of you know, during the summer I challenged myself to read only books written by Swedish authors. I called the challenge going native. For years I’ve only read books in English, written by English speaking authors, which made me realize that I knew more about foreign writers than Swedish ones.  I felt as if I’d lost contact with my country. Thus I created this challenge, and I recommend you do the same if you find yourself feeling this way. Here is a brief summary of what I read as a part of my going native challenge.

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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 -Vi är inte sådana som i slutet får varandra by Katarina Sandberg

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Vi är inte sådana som i slutet får varandra by Katarina Sandberg

(An attempt at translation: We are not the ones who get each other in the end)

”Jag är en enda natt. Resultatet.” (I am one single night. The result.)

Cassiopeja is 19 years old and doesn’t know what to do with her life. Escaping the small town where she grew up, she ends up studying law with classmates living on their daddy’s money in Stockholm. While everyone around her is falling in love and getting married, she finds herself rolling her eyes at love and trying not to make the same mistakes as her mother. However, deciding to take piano lessons changes everything and makes her realize the meaning of love and life.  Läs mer

Book Review – Kaninhjärta (Rabbit Heart) by Christin Ljungqvist

kaninhjartaKaninhjärta (Rabbit Heart) by Christin Ljungqvist

”Mary betyder Maria, som betyder, man vet inte riktigt, men det kan betyda upprorisk eller bitter eller motspänstig och det stämmer precis för sådan var Mary”.

(”Mary means Maria, which means, you don’t really know, but it might mean rebellious or resentful, or intractable, and that’s true because Mary was like that”)

Mary and Anne are identical twins and completely inseparable. But they’re different from others, they can contact and be contacted by the other side, by ghosts. Anne is able to see ghosts and Mary lend them her voice. Usually, the ghosts give them warnings about something that’s going to happen in the future, mostly to other but one ghost warns Anne that she and her sister has to tread lightly because one wrong decision might lead to something terrible happening. By chance, they become members of a group of mediums trying to find a missing girl. Mary gets obsessed by finding the girl while Anne tries to follow the ghost’s advice.

All I have to say is, finally, for the first time in my life, I’ve read a book that’s set in the Gothenburg area. It’s a very peculiar feeling reading a book in which I actually know exactly where the characters are. I haven’t experienced that before.  But as a whole, I really don’t know how I feel about this one. I like it, but I don’t love it, and I’d probably not read it again. What was interesting, though, was the mystery and the relationship between the sisters and how different they are from each other.

The story is told from the perspective of one of the sisters, Anne, the seemingly more rational, calm and caring one, who really goes out of her way to save her sister from herself. The sisters relationship is very complex and very true to real life in regards of how they act towards each other and people around them. It must be hard, being so young, trying to be normal, and have ghosts appear out of nowhere telling you all these things that are going to happen. The ghost element also made the story mysterious and sometimes very creepy.

However, I sometimes felt that it was a bit too much and the characters were a bit extreme. The language also made me feel really old. It’s hard to explain and I don’t know if you can relate, but, it’s like when you’re on a bus and you overhear a conversation between two fifteen-year-old girls, the way they talk and the words they use is very different from the way you speak yourself. They’re not very eloquent if you know what I mean? At the same time, it makes the story seem more real. The right age group would probably love it and find it very easy to read. All I kept thinking to myself was ‘kids these days’.

As a whole, I really enjoyed reading this book, but I didn’t love it. Yet, I’d like to read the rest of the series and see what happens.

I think those of you who enjoy mysteries and the supernatural would really enjoy this book. I haven’t read anything like it so I can’t compare it to anything.

Would you rather be able to see ghost like Anne or have them possess you to lend them your voice like Mary?

Book Haul – Gothenburg Book Fair 2015

Look at these beauties I bought at the Gothenburg Book Fair. I’m so excited to read these!

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Fire (Engelsfors #2) by Mats Strandberg, Sara Bergmark Elfgren

The Key (Engelsfors #3) by Mats Strandberg, Sara Bergmark Elfgren

These first two (Swe; Eld, Nyckeln)  are the second and third book in a trilogy series of Swedish fantasy books which essentially is about a group of adolescents who turn out to be witches and have to stop the world from ending. I now have the whole trilogy but in Swedish that is. It’s really good and I urge you to read them!

 
 
 

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Shatter Me (Shatter Me #1) (Swe; Rör mig inte) by Tahereh Mafi

Unravel Me (Shatter Me #2) (Swe; Rädda mig inte) by Tahereh Mafi

This series was recommended to me at the book fair and it sounded really interesting, but I don’t know much about it really. I anyone has read these, let me know what you think!

 
 
 

kaninhjartaKaninhjärta (Rabbit Heart) by Christin Ljungqvist

This one is also a Swedish book, a YA novel about to twins Mary and Anne. Together they make a medium where Mary lets ghost use her voice and Anne can hear them.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find an English translation of the book.

 
 
 

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Sigrid by Johanne Hildebrandt

Another Swedish book, which doesn’t have an English translation. I also don’t know much about it more than that it’s based on Sigrid Storråda’s life, which is a queen who shaped Scandinavia history. It sounded really interesting when I read the synopsis, a mixture of fantasy, reality, love and history. But I now realised that it’s the fourth book in a series and I don’t have the first three books…

 
 
 

vmstpdhsVi måste sluta ses på det här sättet by Lisa Bjärbo, Johanna Lindbäck

Yes, another Swedish YA novel which haven’t been translated into English, but the title translate into something like ”we have to stop meeting this way”.

To be honest, I bought this one for three different reasons 1, I really love the publisher; 2, the reviews; and 3, the cover. It’s beautiful! But I really don’t know much about it, I’ll let you know what I think when I’ve read it.

 
 
 

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Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

And finally I got my hand on this gem. I doubt there’s any of you out there who doesn’t know about this book, but if you don’t, let me tell you something; this is one of the most amazing books I’ve read this year (stay tuned for the review). It’s about sisterhood, first love, fanfiction and growing up.

 
 
 

That’s it, guys! I restrained myself after that. I had a lovely day and I literally wanted to buy everything but in the end, I couldn’t carry any more books.