July 14, 2009

Summer reads

As the horses are enjoying themselves on summervacation (and so are we), I thought I would make a non-horsey post this time, and share some books instead.
First I though about just writing about my recent favourites. But as I assume that many of you have read the same books as I have, I decided to only write about Scandinavian authors instead. Might be new reads?
I will start with the one with a decieving title (and cover):

It is by the Norwegian author Per Petterson, and is called "Out stealing horses"
I am sorry folks, it is not about horses.
In the summer of 1948 Trond and his father is living up in the forests close to the Swedish border. Trond is 15, and what he experiences in those weeks will change his life.
More than 50 years later he is moving to a small cottage in the middle of nowhere with his dog, and something happens that brings the memories from 1948 back.
This is a lowkeyed book about a mature man, reflecting back on his youth from a self-inflicted isolation - which perhaps brings the memories even more vividly back for him.

In the summer time I like to read crime novels.
Here are two of my favourite Swedish authors: Camilla Läckberg and Liza Marklund.
They both have female leading characters.

Camilla Läckberg first.
Her first novel is called The ice princess and is taking place in the small town of Fjällbacka where the writer Erica Falck is returning after the funeral of her parents. She finds her childhood friend, Alex, with her wrists slashed, and her body frozen in an ice-cold bath. Has she has taken her own life, or is there something more behind the tragedy?
Camilla Läckberg was voted Swedish Writer of the Year for 2005, and her books have also been filmed as television series.

Next one out is Liza Marklund.
Her first book in the series of the reporter Annika Bengtzon is called The Bomber.
A bomb explodes in the recently constructed Olympic village in Stockholm just months before the Summer Games are set to begin.
Annika Bengtzon is a crime editor for the Stockholm tabloid Kvallspressen and is set to cover the incident. She is not convinced that it is a terror act, and as she digs deeper she uncovers some secrets which get her into trouble (of course!).

Then over to Stieg Larsson's Millenium Trilogy, where The girl with the dragon tattoo is the first book.
These books have become very popular not only in Scandinavia but also abroad, and are now also filmed.
The main characters are a bit out of the ordinary; a disgraced financial journalist and a socially outcast female superhacker.
It is a quick paced novel, hard to put down.
It is always a risk to get disappointed when something becomes very popular, and I have to admit that maybe my expectations were a bit too high. I liked the novel, but didn't find it extraordinary.

And from crime novels over to a book that made me laugh. Often.
Morten Ramsland is Danish, and his novel "Doghead" made me think of some of John Irving's books.
It is a story about three generations of a bizarre family, each generation with their own dysfunctions. It is a totally crazy story, and I am amazed about the imagination of the author. Get some entertainment today, and read it!

Ken Follett's Pillars of the earth has many fans.
Here you have a trilogy set in the same period, but set in Sweden/Jerusalem instead of in England: Jan Guillou's Crusades Trilogy.
The books are very popular in Scandinavia, and have also been filmed.
The main character Arn is high born, but is brought up by monks in a convent where he learns to read, ride and fight. The books tell us how he turns to a Knight Templar, fights in Jerusalem and later returns to Sweden where he plays an important role in the fight of the throne.

The last item is not a book, but a movie - and one of the better I have seen for quite a while.
Max Manus - Man of War.
It is about the resistance in Norway during WWII, and is built on the memoires of one of the most prominent heroes, Max Manus.
I believe that the movie gives a very good description on how it was.
From the somewhat naïve start with the oh-so-young-and-innocent-20-year-olds, who wanted to do something when their home country was invaded in 1940.
And how the effort and strain wore them down over the years to come.
The move is a nail biter from start to end, and all is based on what really happened.
A quality movie with good actors and stunning effects. To make a realistic impression, parts of Oslo was converted to the early 1940s - the Nazi flag was raised on top of Stortinget (Norwegian Parliament) for the first time in 60 years.
We are lucky to still have some of the main characters alive, and the movie was very well received by them, something I find both reassuring and touching.
The film set a national record for a Norwegian film on its opening weekend, and is the 2nd most seen Norwegian movie all times.


Anonymous said...

Out Stealing Horses is on my list as one of the best books I have ever read. I'm reading The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo right now - it's pretty good - I'm a big fan of Nordic mysteries - there's also a good Icelandic writer (woman) - Sigurdsdotter? whose name I'm forgetting. I'll be looking up the others - thanks for the reviews!

Grey Horse Matters said...

Thanks for the reviews. I read quite a lot of books too and am always happy to try out new ones.
I have read Out Stealing Horses and liked it very much. I'll have to check out some of the others you've listed as they look like good reads.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Wow! You must read a lot. I wish I could read more, and actually remember what I read weeks, months, years later. I recently gave some books to my mother that I had read, and when I tried to give her information on what they were about, I couldn't remember, even though I read them recently. I could only remember which one I liked best and which one I liked least.

Once Upon an Equine said...

Thank you for the book reviews. I love to read. I'm currently reading about 7 books now. And I keep buying more books. I think I need to pick one of them up and just finish it. Glad you are enjoying your summer. Does the whole equine community take a break from horses in the summer there? Is there a break from showing and training and various equine events?

Stephanie said...

I love the book 'Out Stealing Horses'. Like Kate, it is one of my all time favorites! I have been sending it around to share with different members of my family.

Thanks for the great reviews! Always looking for a new read.

Anonymous said...

I also loved Out Stealing Horses...I will actually read it again, since I missed some things in it. I wonder how many of us picked it up because of the title...I know I did. However, it did not disappoint. It is just the type of novel I really like. Complex characters...no plot, just a slice of life.

I am trying to think of a Canadian equal. Many Canadian writers would fit the bill. My best suggestion is Elizabeth and After by Matt Cohen. A very complex look at love, life and marriage from the perspective of a son looking at his mother's life.

HorseOfCourse said...

Thanks all for your comments!

NuzzMuzz - I also forget a lot. Like you say, it is easiest to remember the best and the worst!

OnceUpon - No, many here let the horses take their break in winter time, just like you do with yours. There are many shows going on in the summer period.
But if you let them take a winter break, there isn't any grass. And I also like to do something else during a couple of weeks in the summer. Just relaxing, reading, going for a bath. The rest of the year the horses take so much time. If they have a break during winter you still have the job as they are not out 24/7, so then I can just as well ride!

Anon (Alberta?) - I will try out your book, I am always looking out for a good read!