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.
Finally! I’ve looked forward to this for quite some time. To be around thousands of books, talented people and feel the love of literature and reading. It’s wonderful to be among others that love books as much as I do.
(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
Since I was 13 years old I’ve mainly read English literature, and to be honest I can name more American and British authors than Swedish ones which are ridiculous considering me being Swedish and all.
Kaninhjärta (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?
Look at these beauties I bought at the Gothenburg Book Fair. I’m so excited to read these!
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!
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!
Kaninhjärta (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.
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…
Vi 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.
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.
A few weeks ago it was finally time for The Gothenburg Book Fair which I’d been looking forward to for a long time. The Gothenburg Book Fair is a, well, a book fair held for four days in September every year, and is a place where publishers, authors, illustrators, readers, educators and so on, gather to breath, talk, discuss and of course, to buy books. Thus, it’s the highlight of every September and I’d managed to get a hold of a free ticket (which wouldn’t really have mattered since I happily would’ve paid for one myself, but still) and I had the most amazingly confusing and nerve-wracking day filled with everything books.
For you non-Swedish-speakers, it says ”Books change the world” on the orange wall, and I couldn’t agree more.
As was expected, I bought a few books and got a few of them signed, which was a really traumatic experience for everyone involved (at least for me). I met Mats Strandberg and Sara Bergmark Elfgren, the authors of the Engelsfors Trilogy and Lars Wilderäng, the author of Stjärnklart (i.e starlit (?)). I was so nervous and completely starstruck, I didn’t know what to say which made it all very awkward. Hopefully, they didn’t notice, they were really nice! I also saw and listen to Paula Hawkins talk about her novel The Girl on the Train but didn’t manage to meet her.
Let me know if you’ve read any of these or if you’ve had a similar (awkward) encounter with an author or a person you idolize, it can’t just be me, right?
I’ve been thinking, trying to figure out how to relate to the fact that I’m Swedish writing a blog in English. Since I started this blog, I’ve mostly read and reviewed books by English-speaking authors because it would be more available to an English-speaking audience, which I don’t mind at all. The problem, or rather my dilemma is; whether or not I could review Swedish books too and try to adapt it to an English-speaking audience even though some of the books might not be available in English. Is that possible?
Personally, I’d love to read about books from other countries and cultures even if it might not be immediately available in Swedish or English.
I’ve been thinking about this for a while now, the reason being I’ve started reading more and more books by Swedish authors, which I haven’t done in about five years. And I really feel like reading in my mother tongue for a while. Not that I’m discarding everything that has to do with books in English (I simply can’t) but I think I just need this somehow.
Thus, to be able to continue blogging, which I love, I’d really like to know what you guys, my readers think about that. It would definitely generate more frequent posts (at least, that’s what I’m hoping).
Is it something you’d like to read about and have me discuss with you and talk to you about?