Wednesday, September 13, 2017

What I Read During Summer 2017

Summer is starting to be over, at least here in Oulu, Finland, where colorful leaves are already filling up my yard. A sure sign of fall is also my yearly knitting and crocheting inspiration which usually hits once the temperatures get lower and you need to start to think about things like scarves, mittens and winter hats.

Since I didn't blog much this summer (expect by posting a few reviews from my drafts), I thought rather than writing reviews for all the books I read (that would take forever!), I could just share some of the highlights with you.

The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer by Jennifer Lynch

Summer 2017 will probably forever be remembered by me as the Summer of Twin Peaks. The Twin Peaks revival inspired me to pick up this cult classic from the 90s since I wanted to know more about Laura and about Twin Peaks as a setting. I don't know what I was really expecting from this one, but oh my, this one was much darker than I expected it to be. Laura is such an interesting, flawed, fragile character. While her story introduced in the show is tragic as it is, knowing more about her childhood and her life with her parents makes her short life seem even more tragic. If you are a Twin Peaks fan I highly recommend picking this one up if you haven't already! The diary format makes it quick to read and I honestly feel like it added a lot to my general understanding of the "Twin Peaks universe". 

Kangastus 38 (The Wednesday Club) by Kjell Westö

This spring/summer has been monumental in the sense that for the first time in ten years I have started to read Finnish books and books in Finnish again. While I still find reading in English somewhat easier at times I have noticed that by extending my reading to include books in Finnish as well my selection of what to read has increased A LOT. I am in Finland, after all, and the libraries are mostly filled with books written in Finnish or translated to Finnish.

I picked up Kjell Westö's Kangastus 38 (you can find it in English by the title The Wednesday Club) one night from a bag of books my mother had put for recycling. I had never heard about it before, but the mention of pre-WW2 Helsinki and a society filled with people who consume movies, magazines, etc. caught my interest. I never expected I would enjoy a book I just randomly picked up as much as I did enjoy this one. If you are interested in familiarizing yourself with Finnish literature I highly recommend this one -- it features Helsinki, the capital city, as a setting and goes into some of the political stuff that took place in Finland the years and decades after the Civil War while focusing on an interesting set of characters and events

The Child Finder by Rene Denfeld

I read Denfeld's The Enchanted earlier this year and absolutely fell in love with the rawness and beauty of it. When I noticed Denfeld's new novel was available on Netgalley, I acted instantly and luckily got approved to read it. While The Child Finder was not as good as The Enchanted, perhaps because I find the subject matter of Denfeld's previous novel more interesting, it is a good, touching, raw and gripping novel that kept me on the edge of my seat. Denfeld writes so incredibly well and the way she develops her characters managed to, once again, take my breath away. If you like literary thrillers or thrillers in general, I highly recommend picking this one up. Also, I am not a big mystery/thriller reader, but I was unable to put this one down!

Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

I cannot believe it took me so long to get to this one. I feel like everyone had already read this one, so there is probably no need to go on for too long about this one. Bad Feminist was just as entertaining, thought-provoking, hilarious and well-researched as everyone told me it would be. As a media/film person I especially loved the essays she writes about movies/television/media culture in general. 

We Have Always Lived in a Castle by Shirley Jackson

I kind of hope I would have saved this for Halloween, but oh well... I can always reread it if I feel like it. Since I started watching BookTube years ago I have been seeing this book frequently on different kind of favorites lists. When I was looking for a short book I finally picked it up and read the whole thing on one sitting. We Have Always Lived in a Castle is extremely entertaining, dark, kind of funny, and just pleasure to read. I cannot wait to see the movie adaptation of it which stars the lovely Sebastian Stan, among others. 

Hunger by Roxane Gay

I actually read this one before picking up Bad Feminist and I can honestly say one of the main reasons for acquiring Bad Feminist this summer was the fact that I loved this one so much. Roxane Gay writes incredibly well and her approach to discussing her body and her life so honestly made me tear up several times while reading this one. 

Double Indemnity by James M. Cain

I picked this up on a whim from the library while waiting for my mother to get out of work. I have seen the movie adaption of Double Indemnity multiple times, so there were really no surprises here. Nevertheless, I thought the book was well written and entertaining, so much so that I read the whole thing during one night. If you are deciding between reading the book and watching the film I would go with the film. Maybe after that, you want to read the book too like I did. 

Please leave a comment below and tell me what were some of the best books you read during summer 2017. Also, I really want to know which books you are looking forward to reading during the fall. 

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