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Reading report for April 2014

I sit here watching the Eurovision Song Contest as a write this. The Russian twin sisters are on, singing a typical Eurovision song, not too bad but hardly memorable, but it will be interesting to see how they fare when it comes to the voting because Russia isn‘t exactly popular in Europe right now.

But now it‘s time for the books. I read 27 of them in April. I would have loved to make it 30 – a book per day – but that‘s the way it goes.

The reason I was able to read so much was a that I took 6 days of vacation time I had left over from last summer and combined them with the Easter holidays and the first day of summer (third Thursday in April and a bank holiday in Iceland). With three weekends included it made 16 days of no work which, however, just happened to coincide with bad weather. I think it rained just about every day, so I mostly stayed in and read.

The books were a mixed bag: some romance, some memoirs/biography, crime, a literary novel, travel, articles/essays, cooking, folk and fairy tales, and comics. There was an unusually large number of standouts, but the favourite was Attack of the Deranged Killer Snow Goons by Bill Watterson. This is a collection of Calvin & Hobbes comics, and I have a weakness for them.

The rest of the standouts were:
What the Dog Saw. A collection of essays about various subjects by Canadian journalist Malcolm Gladwell. Gladwell is a thoughtful writer who delves deep into his subjects and writes with insight and understanding about such various subjects as dog-training, the profiling of criminals and advertising.

Furðustrandir (Strange Shores) by Arnaldur Indriðason, an Inspector Erlendur mystery, in which he investigates an old disappearance that arouses his suspicion.

The Control of Nature by John McPhee, three essays about the attempts of humans to control nature, in the United States and in Iceland.

The Book of Sushi by Kinjiro Omae & Yuzuru Tachibana. This is a little gem of a book that covers sushi from various angles. It doesn’t cover all kinds of sushi, but does have recipes and instructions for the two most common types. (I am now reading a book about Japanese cooking).

At the Tomb of the Inflatable Pig by John Gimlette. This is a fascinating travelogue about Paraguay, with glimpses into its colourful and tumultuous history.

I also would like to mention the terribly titled Don't Tell Mum I work on the Rigs – she thinks I’m a piano-player in a whorehouse by Paul Carter, about his life working on oil rigs all over the world. It seesaws between gruesome and funny and occasionally manages to be both at the same time.

The Books:

  • Rhianne Aile: Cursed. Paranormal romance, M/M.
  • Tamara Allen: Whistling in the Dark. Historical romance, M/M.
  • Arnaldur Indriðason: Furðustrandir. Mystery.
  • Muriel Barbery: The Elegance of the Hedgehog. Literary fiction.
  • Nicki Bennett: Always a Bridesmaid. Romance, M/M.
  • Ally Blue: These Haunted Heights. Paranormal romance, M/M.
  • Ally Blue: Naked Richmond. Romance, M/M.
  • Sue Brown: Complete Faith. Romance, M/M.
  • Paul Carter: Don't Tell Mum I work on the Rigs. Memoir.
  • Einar Kárason: Mér er skemmt: Æviskáldsögur. Memoir.
  • John Gimlette: At the Tomb of the Inflatable Pig. Travelogue.
  • Malcolm Gladwell: What the Dog Saw. Essays/articles.
  • Georgette Heyer: Devil's Cub. Historical romance. Reread.
  • Amy Lane: Gambling Men. Romance, M/M.
  • John McPhee: The Control of Nature. Travelogue, essays.
  • Ólafur Davíðsson: Íslenzkar þjóðsögur IV. Folk and fairy tales.
  • Kinjiro Omae & Yuzuru Tachibana: The Book of Sushi. Food.
  • Nora Roberts: Sea Swept, Rising Tides, Inner Harbor. Contemporary romance. Rereads.
  • Alexander McCall Smith: The Girl Who Married a Lion. Folk tales.
  • Sverrir Kristjánsson & Tómas Guðmundsson: Undir hauststjörnum. Biography.
  • Ariel Tachna: Healing in His wings. Sci-fantasy romance, M/M.
  • Ariel Tachna: Fallout. Romance, M/M.
  • Janet Warren: A Feast of Scotland. Cookbook.
  • Bill Watterson: Attack of the Deranged Killer Snow Goons. Comic strips.
  • Coralie Younger: Wicked Women of the Raj. Biography/history.

And there you have it. I end this to the strains of the San Marino entry in the Eurovision song Contest. It surprised me when it made it into the finals, but on second hearing, it’s not too bad, sounds like a timeless Eurovision song that could have come from any decade of the contest. However, I hope the Netherlands entry wins. (I’ll be happy if Iceland makes it into next year’s contest).


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