Life is beautiful…

Posts Tagged ‘5 stars

Hello everyone, for the last two days I have been sick – so naturally I read. For quite some time now I’ve been subscribed to a book club called Handtöskuserían (e. handbagseries). The idea is to provide books that modern women would have in their handbags so they are new or new-ish books by non-Icelandic female authors. Isn’t it fabulous to be a part of something like that? Well, I think so…

The language of flowers

Unfortunately I don’t have a lot of time to read the books that I get so more often than not they wind up unread in the bookshelves. Last week (I think) I received the newest addition. The language of flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. Instead of putting it straight to the shelf I put it on my nightstand. So… while I waited for my body to get the best of this fever I… well I played Tetris on my computer… but when I got bored of that I grabbed the book and started reading… and I read… and I read… and I read… until I had finished the whole book. It was so charming. I can’t remember a novel that captivated me as much as this one did. I can’t wait to read it again because I know that this is one of the books I’ll see differently each time I read it.

The story is about Victoria, an orphan who just turned 18 years old so she’s being thrown out of “the system”. Every other chapter is about her new life where she tries to live on her own but in between are chapters about her childhood that slowly give the reader more information about the way Victoria functions. While she lived with one of her foster-parents, Elizabeth, she learned to speak the language of flowers. That is… she got to know flowers and the message behind them. The language of flowers was a popular  way of communication in the Victorian era, kind of like a secret code. In the future I’ll definitely keep adding to the fascinating knowledge of flowers I accumulated whilst reading the book. If I am ever unsure what a flower means – I can just look it up in the handy list on the last pages of the book.

Normally I try to point out in my posts exactly what I liked in the novel I am reviewing but it’s hard to know where to start with this one… I just loved everything about it. From the beautifully written and detailed descriptions of everything to the characters I got to understand so well. From the cover (of the Icelandic translation) and the beautiful font used for chapter numbers to the feeling I got from touching the pages of my paperback copies. From the way the book had me in tears at a certain point to the way that I got annoyed with Victoria at a certain point… but the one thing I think I liked the most was the timelessness of the story.

I know that I haven’t done the book justice and probably never could but  I want to say that it is simply beautiful so just read it, you’ll see what I mean. To end this on a reference to the book, if I had to describe it with a flower I would probably pick a Trillium (Skógarlilja) which, according to the book, means “humble beauty”. Just look at it…

Trillium

I recommend this novel for all the romantics out there and just… everyone who can read:) I give it 5 stars and I’m off… to google Vanessa Diffenbaugh and see if she has written anything else for me:)

That’s it for now…

Advertisements

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.

On December 30th I went to the theater (Þjóðleikhúsið) with two of my closest people (who also happen to be my most devoted readers). As an Icelandic teacher I was really excited to see this particular play Iceland’s Bell by Nobel winning author Halldór K. Laxness. I haven’t read quite as many of his novels as I should but this one I did read a few summers ago. Well… I almost read it all… it took a long time and I returned it to the library before I could finish but there wasn’t much left.

The story is set in the 18 century and is about the fairest Icelandic maiden and her love for a man who loves her back but they cannot be together because of the other love, or passion, in his life. He is obsessed with collecting every single old book or manuscript in Icelandic and travels around the country and the world to find them. The maiden marries a drunk and then a priest and the man marries a rich woman who can support him financially. The story of their lives weaves around an odd person, a poor farmer and a thief who these people never would have met under normal circumstances but never fails to serve as a comic relief.

Now, on to the play! It was AMAZING!!! The music was live and complemented the setting of the play perfectly. The use of the stage and props was well executed. The dialogue was relatively easy to follow but as I was sitting rather far from the stage I had to listen carefully to hear some of the actors. That was my only real criticism and I will try not to buy those seats again. Another thing though was that it was a bit long – but i’m not sure where they could have shortened it. The costumes – which are something i rarely notice – were fitting and I fell deeply in love with the costumes of the maiden. I now want a whole wardrobe based on the Icelandic national costume.

The actors did an amazing job! They were believable and in character the whole time and every single one of them added to the experience. I especially loved the performance of Ingvar E. Sigurðsson as the old farmer who spoke with an accent the entire play.

The book collector is based on a real Icelandic legend who saved many of our greatest manuscript. Some of them were lost in a fire in Copenhagen and this fire was of course also in the play. I literally had tears in my eyes in that scene thinking about what was lost in the real fire.

I was very satisfied and almost want to go see the play again! 5 stars without a doubt!

Happy New Year!

Inception

Posted on: 26.12.2010

Just finished watching Inception. I bought it but made a decision to save it when I was told that the novel I am working on had vague similarities with the idea of the film. I wanted to finish writing my own plot and drain myself of my ideas before they were influenced by another idea. A bit like the plot of the movie actually;) As it turns out the movie is nothing like my story. There are two very small similarities but the concept is very much different. So I can breathe again:)

The movie was absolutely mind-blowing! It felt like a sci-fi but there was action and some fantasy and drama. A little romance would have been a good addition I think.

It took awhile to understand and get with the plot but when you did it captured your mind and kept it throughout the film. And it did not ruin things to have at least three extremely hot male actors to look at! In my head the plot was very well explained and didn’t leave any unanswered questions, apart from the obvious one that is:)

The best movie I have seen in a long time! 5 stars 🙂