Yowza!! It’s been too long

It’s been a long time…

Okay, according to the date on this thing I  haven’t written a  free subject blog since last summer! That’s simply distressing. Guess that means the little time I’ve had for random writing has been spent on my Ball Joint Doll stories. That’s not half scary then.  If anyone is interested you can find them on my other blog Isaac’s Dollhouse.

Picture of other blog called Isaaac's Dollhourse
You’re welcome to drop by the pink Dollhouse if that takes your fancy.

What am I up to then?

Not much waiting for new term to begin as I’m going to write another essay this time at what  in Sweden is called D-level. Which usually would make me feel very excited. Right now though I’m unusually perplexed as I have no idea and subject for it. Therefore I’m in searching mood which makes me a tiny bit unsettled. Time keeps running off so I thought let’s write something and maybe I get an idea that I can follow.

Picture of Patrik BatAAr from RISKBREAKER promotion.
My pirate heart skips a beat when it sees this picture of super talented Patrik. Picture belongs to BatAAr.

Apart from that anxiety I’m also looking forward to a trip to Gothenburg, going to check out the town and watch one of my new-found musical loves the art metal band  BatAAr in their hometown.  Looking forward to this very much! Been a while since I found such a musical lover. Why do I like them so much then? Well, they keep me guessing on what is coming next and use so many influences in their music. Guess it’s down to their very talented songwriter Patrik. Okay, so I might also have a slight crush on the vocals of Seb, I like the sort of raw kindness that lives inside his voice, both as clear and growl-like. This is when I realise I do not know the right musical terms for this sort of thing. Anyways, are you curious why don’t you check them out. BatAAr’s Facebook  Twitter  Instagram

 

A very colourful picture of Gothenburg band BatAAr.
This picture of BatAAr was taken by me with my HTC ONE at Göta Källare 16/2-2014.

 

Added to this I’m still working on my doll stories of course and taking loads of photos but I thought it better to keep all that in the other blog, instead of boring people to death with my silliness.

Summer reading

Actually this summer I’ve been bad as hell at reading. I think maybe it’s to do with the fact that I have hardly done anything else but read and write this passed academic term, us literary scholars tend to do that. Actually, you get kind of full up in the end. So when I have free time I tend to try and do other creative things. That aside I have been reading some Haruki Murakami Efter mörkrets inbrott (eng. After Dark) in Swedish this time. Not sure which translations I like the best. The Swedish ones are alright it seems but so are the English ones. I usually stay well clear of Swedish translations because they’re not very good, especially not from the Queens English. When it comes to translation from  French and Japanese they’re alright, even good at times. It’s just a lack of effort put into understanding the difference in English I think. And yes of course there are exceptions, as in any walk of life. I’ll probably write something about Murakami again later when I have finished it.

Riga

My BJD doll Isaac with Stockholm archipelago in the background.
My ball joint doll Isaac, is watching Stockholm archipelago.

I also managed to get myself a bit of vacation. I actually decided I needed a bit of a change and took the boat to Riga. Glad I did, for it was a treat. You might not think it but I’m rather curious about eastern Europe. I’ve just never done anything about it. As a bit of a vodka enthusiast this enthusiasm does not shock me. Besides it was a perfect place to test the ‘bring your Ball Joint Doll on vacation’ idea. It was great and I got some fun pictures of my Dream of Doll vampire that I need to post on the Dollhouse sight. I just hate edit work so much. Need to bribe myself first.

Picture of the Vanšu Bridge in Riga.
I fell in love with Vanšu Bridge for some reason.

So what is my first impression of the city? Well, I only went into old town so I guess I can’t say anything about the whole place but it made a great impression on me. I do like their bridges (they’ve got five of them) and as far as I went people were calm and friendly which I liked. Of course there’s a bit of rust and some buildings do speak of occupation and war. Still riverside cities seem to have a special place in my heart. I’d love to spend some more time there. I’m quite impressed with the level of English they speak which is very helpful. To me at least old town seemed to be an artists place, which is not a bad thing. I also like contrasts so the war and chaos/peace and tranquillity was intriguing. However there were lots of cars and they do driver like the French in my opinion which is not a compliment. But as soon as you’re off main roads the place become very still and warm. I managed to take a few photos of decaying houses that stood suddenly in the middle of modern buildings just decaying which is both beautiful and a tiny bit scary. Some looked as though they’d come down any minute now

 

Houses and ruins standing together.
This is one of the safer looking ruins but the contrast of the upmarket Mercedes parked (you see the back of it far left corner) beside ruins gives the impression of surreality in the midst of city life. 

I do have to share my own personal Riga giggle.

Picture of Swedbank building, Saules Akmens.
The Egg-Shard or Shard-Egg! Officially known as the Swedbank headquarters, the building is called Saules Akmens, which means something like Stone of the Sun.

“What is this? I have it! It’s a Egg-Shard” This of course comes from my intimate hate/love  relationship with modern London buildings. And if you’ve been there you might see it too. It actually is the Swedbank headquarters. Well to me it’s a definite Egg-Shard!

So there it is, a tiny update of the tapestry known to me as my life.

Until next time, be safe and remember humans need looking after too.

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Summer break is here…now what?

Well seems like I haven’t been writing much lately, well not for fun at least. I started my Gender science studies at Södertörns Högskola last winter and have up to now actually been really busy. That’s all fine and dandy except I miss being able to read and write what I want, I’m just too tired while in school. Now however the summer break is here, so I guess I’m going to try and write some more at least when the weather is bad.

So what is the current projects? To be honest they’re mostly a mess of things I like to do. As a booklover I probably will be reading a  book or two this summer. Right now I have a few choices: Murakami’s 1Q84 series, Jelinek’s Pinsessdramer (roughly translates too, Princess Dramas, couldn’t find the English titel), Connel’s Gender in World Perspective (yes I am a geek I read schoolbooks that I find interesting), P.D Martin’s Kiss of Death (lent to me by a thoughtful friend) and of course my elephant in the room John Galsworthy the magnificent author so worthy of analysis; I first and foremost would love to finish The Dark Flower, but ultimately all of his works.

This is not all I like to do this summer, I also have lots and lots of writing (mostly novels) I’d love to do but can’t find inspiration or time to do. Maybe most importantly I need to get my Ball Joint Doll’s (BJD) story viral on the web. I have promised them that for so long and as all BJD owners know they don’t take kindly to waiting. Especially not mine they seem to have very impatient moods, I only have two but they’re as lively as ever. Very inspiring to a wannabe writer like me… and annoying of course.

My Ball Joint Dolls Isaac and Nemesis, they look as smug as their personalities in this picture.
My Ball Joint Dolls Isaac and Nemesis, they look as smug as their personalities in this picture.

So that’s it for now. Guess I’ll go start on my projects… as I am procrastinating at this very moment.

Doctor Who, Quick Reads, Magic of the Angels by Jacqueline Rayner.

A very personal review. 
The cover for Magic of the angels.
The cover of Jacqueline Rayner’s Magic of the angels.

Quick Reads

So how is it I as a literature student am reading and reviewing a Quick Reads book? Well first of all I am a huge Doctor Who fan, I simply love that not making sense world of the Doctor. Second I just happened to find this book when I was on vacation in London in June. Thirdly I have no problem with Quick Reads, even I like a short and well written book. If I am honest I think anyone disregarding text because it’s easy to read is a moron. Some might argue that this is a child’s book and I am not going to go all defensive and argue the opposite, sure this book is suitable for children but it’s not meant to be only for children. The people behind Quick Reads describes their aim as: “ Quick reads are brilliantly written short new books by bestselling authors and celebrities. Whether you’re an avid reader who wants a quick fix or haven’t picked up a book since school, sit back, relax and let Quick Reads inspire you.”

In my opinion the Quick Reads do just what they say, because even as a experienced reader and scholar I did enjoy this story. It’s well written, not easy exactly, just more focused to the point of the story and it uses far less words, but it gives a lot of emotions. Just like poems it’s short as to sense of the number of words used to describe something but the emotion and action of the story is still very vibrant. The story is told with a lot of “free space” for the reader to imagine things, you don’t get force fed a view or feeling from the narrator or the characters, instead you get clues to how each of them might feel and view certain events. It’s a style of writing which I would love to master but am very far from doing. It lets the reader be involved and sets the imagination and the brain at work. You get the frames of a story but you’re not being told all of it, some things just happens inside your head. If you are like me and have a very vivid imagination, this sort of books is certainly something for you.

The story

So what about this particular story then. The first thing that appealed to me was of course the cover of the book so let’s look at that. First of all it has the picture of the 11th Doctor, who happens to be one of my favorites, beside him is his companions from the 5th och 6th series (on TV), Amy and Rory, at this point I am intrigued. Below the picture and the Doctor Who logotype we have another favorite of mine, the enemies known as the Weeping Angels. Well that’s good enough for me to spend 1.99£ (22 Sek) on a book. So what is the story then? Well shortly you might say this story is about a cheating magician who does anything to be famous. The Doctor and his companions are sightseeing in London and they happen upon the magic show of Sammy Star. After watching his famous graveyard trick the trio realizes that this trick is much more than a trick and that the old women that was sitting in the row behind them is somehow linked to this mystery. So Rory sets off being a good nurse while the Doctor walks into danger and Amy follows him, pretty much as usual.

Sounds just like the usual story? Well on the surface it might seem just a simple thing with no real substance just a bit of nonsense. Well any good Doctor Who fan would know that the most important things are the usual things and the nonsense. Underneath this seemingly simple plot there’s actually a lot of critique at our society. One example is Amy telling us that she don’t like when people speak rudely to anyone who don’t deserve it:

“The woman in the blazer stood up. ʻJust ignore them,ʼ she said to Amy. ʻMrs Hooper! Mrs Collins! Be quiet now! You’re getting on this nice young girl’s nerves.ʼ ʻOh no,ʼ Amy replied. ʻThey’re not getting on my nerves.ʼ She didn’t like to hear people being spoken to so rudely, when they’d done nothing to deserve it.” (p. 19)

This scene is in the theater with the old ladies, who turns out to hold a key to this story but this is not known only implied as yet in the story. This comment reflect the ageism that exists and it speaks well with young people as they are well aware of the feeling of not being listened to. The author has written in a bridge between ages by combining a universal feeling of not being taken seriously and at the same time established that there is some who do listen, people like Amy. It’s not criticism in your face but by no means unimportant. It gives certain morality to this story and to the character of Amy. The theme of this story also hold somewhat of a morality as it is about being famous by any means, even those you scarcely can imagine. Sammy Star is prepared to risk all and young women’s lives just to be on TV and be famous. Even though it’s a bit ironic that TV-series characters talk about the consequences of wanting to be on TV at any cost, the moral of this is beautifully written into the story.

Structure and narration

This story has an“all knowing narrator” which I usually don’t like as they have a nasty way of giving you too much guidance, but for some stories they do work. The use of this (all knowing) guiding sort of narrator is rather often associated with children’s literature and is perhaps the reason why some people dismiss such literature as childish. I rather think that sort of narrator is necessary in children’s literature because they do not have the same capability as adults to keep things objective (some people argue they lack the notion of ego). They don’t automatically think this is the view of only this person and therefore sometimes it is necessary to have a guidance (it is used in adult fiction as well). Another reason why I think this narrator is necessary is the use of multiple main characters. To narrate from the I of three people that interact with each other and other characters would be unnecessarily tricky. Sometimes however I think this way of writing gets a bit stale and impersonal, I as a reader get the feeling of only scraping the surface, from above or at least from outside. However in this story when we already know the characters through other books, the TV-series and radio it’s not a big issue. Which only goes to show that different styles of writing depends on the situation and the story. If you write about the situation/actions and not the people this is very effective style, but if you like Dickens for example want to present a character and then the story seen from this/these character(s) this style would not do.

My view

So come on what did I think of this book? It’s surprisingly interesting and challenging, not in words and actions but to the imagination. It’s actually one of the better contemporary books I have read in a while. Sure I feel like the style is a bit stale and sometimes the pace is very slow, but I feel like that very often especially with contemporary literature. I think if you buy this Quick Reads it gives you what you payed for. It’s short, entertaining and well written (good spelling and grammar is a rarity these days). I think I shall have to read some more books aimed at youths because they seem to offer more freedom and chance to imagine than any of the contemporary books for adults, where everything needs to be explained in every gory detail, it’s sickening. I sincerely enjoyed reading this, and you can not beat an Doctor Who adventure with the Weeping angels very easily. Will I read another Quick Reads Doctor Who novel? Of course I will.

For purchasing this book:

Sweden (What happened there? Are you actually waking up and smelling an interest in the Who universe?)

http://www.adlibris.com/se/product.aspx?isbn=1849902860

UK (Worldwide, or at least anywhere with access to Amazon)

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Doctor-Who-Angels-Jacqueline-Rayner/dp/1849902860/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1347033945&sr=1-3