Life is beautiful…

Archive for October 2011

Hi kids.
This summer I read a fantastic chick lit about… a GHOST. It was Twenties girl by Sophie Kinsella. I always wanted to blog about it but procrastination bit me in the… yeah…
Earlier this evening, I was thinking about ghost-stories that I’ve read and remembered another one, Heart-shaped Box, by Joe Hill. These two novels are as different as black and white but both of them are so very great that they deserve to be written about and recommended. So… I deceided to do a special Halloween post of these two ghost stories. Let’s start with the latter.

The heart-shaped box by Joe Hill

Heart-Shaped box by Joe Hill is the only novel that I remember to have had me really really scared – like “watching horror film” kind of scared. It is about Judas Coyne who was a singer a metal band but is getting older. He collects dark and weird things and when he gets an offer to buy a ghost online he can’t refuse. The story was dark and mysterious, the plot was well thought out and the characters were believable. I remember forcing myself to take breaks from reading because my heart was pounding. I was also starting to hear all kinds of weird sounds from around the house and my imagination was going overboard. So I wathced a Friends episode or two to cool down and than I continued reading. While I read my only concern was that the ending would let me down but mr. Hill didn’t fail on that either.

The story of why I bought this book is rather coincidental. I was visiting some relatives in Edinburgh, Scotland and I had seen this book advertised on billboards and bus stops everywhere. As I needed something to read on the flight home to Iceland I went to WHSmith. I was actually going to buy the latest Shopaholic novel (which is funny because they are written by the same author as the other novel I’m blogging about, Twenties girl) but there was a 2 for 1 offer so of course I grabbed the onther book I “knew” in the store (and also because of the Nirvana song). I didn’t read the book for 2-3 years until one dark night, when it fell out of my bookcase and landed open on the floor. When I picked it up, a note fell out of it that said “You are dead!”

… Whoops… where was I… yes the second novel (:

Twenties Girl

The other ghost novel was completely different. It was, like I said earlier, Twenties girl by Sophie Kinsella. I got that one from the library and thought it was just another chick lit. I love the author but didn’t expect a lot from this one. But I was in for a great surprise. The story is about Lara who goes to her aunt’s funeral. The aunt has some unfinished business to attend to before she leaves this world and asks Lara to help her.

The plot was extremely well executed and had I great twist that really added depth to the story. But it were the characters that really made the story for me. They were colorful and funny and so full of life that they almost jumped from the pages. Especially the ghost, although technically she was dead. Kinsella describes the ghost-aunt and her twenties appearance so beautifully that I wanted to go right away and buy a flapper dress and paint a beauty mark on my upper lip. But the best part was how funny the story was. The way that characters dealt with situations and the conversations that they had made me laugh out loud for many pages at a time. My boyfriend actually came to check what was so funny. No other book has made me laugh so hard. But it also made me tear up. It really affected me in a way I did’nt expect when I started the mindless chick lit I thought it would be.

What these ghost-stories had that made them so special to me, was that they rekindled the flame inside me that will one day become a bonfire. They inspired me to become a better writer.

Hello everyone, it’s been a while!

I took a little break from the site this summer while I was working on my M.Ed. thesis. Now it’s almost done so I can start enjoying life again:) A lot of people ask me why this blog is in English (they find it weird, especially since I teach Icelandic). Just in case you are wondering, there are two main reasons. 1: because this way I have a much larger “audience” and 2: to improve my English. This has actually already started paying off. Last May/June I went to the States (Boston and New York) with my colleagues and I was really satisfied with the way I had improved my English beforehand. So I’ll keep it up and hopefully I’ll have a lot of fun things to blog about ūüôā

That being said, this blog will not be one of those. I bought a great handbook the other day and got a free novel with it. It looked really promising but as soon as I started reading, I knew it would be a let down. And it was – in the end I had to power through it.

Paper Butterfly

The novel is called Paper Butterfly and the author is Diane Wei Liang. It says on the cover that it’s an action story from exotic world. Well, I didn’t see any action and I didn’t find the exotic part exciting.

The story is about a private detective, Mai Wang, who gets a case on her desk where a female pop star has gone missing. Mai tries to discover the story of that pop star and learns of a beautiful love affair between her and a guy when they were younger. The story spins around an historical event, the student protest in China in the year 1989. Okay, I actually liked that one, as I learned a little something while I read. The same thing applies with the framework of the novel. Another thing that was good were the descriptions in the story, the author often uses beautiful words.

Perhaps it was due to the translation but the story did not flow very easily. As a result, it took a longer time than necessary to read. It bothered me to have the Chinese words constantly in the text. Sometimes it was like I fell out of rythm in the story and it took some time to get back in again. I want to blame it on the cultural differences but the main problem with this story was that it just didn’t hook me – I wanted it to be a great novel but instead it was a great disappointment.

I recommend this book to anyone who feel like they have read everything but I can only give it 1 star.

That’s it for now…