January and February Recap

Books read, movies watched, songs listened to and cultural happenings attended in January and February 2016. Click on the links to see the respective blog posts about the experience.

Recap

Books read:
John Steinbeck – Grapes of Wrath
James Joyce – Dubliners
Fyodor Dostoyevsky – The Double
Mary Shelley – Frankenstein

Films watched at the movies:
The Hateful Eight – Quentin Tarantino
The Revenant – Alejandro González Iñárritu
Room – Lenny Abrahamson

Plays attended:
Tenk om (If/Then)

Most listened to songs:
Blackstar – David Bowie
Lazarus – David Bowie

On the literary front, the first two months of the year turned out to be all about the classics. It wasn’t planned at all, but quite fun to see that the authors read turned out to be Steinbeck, Joyce, Dostoyevsky and Shelley. After Shelley’s Frankenstein I started reading John Irving’s Avenue of Mysteries and the popular science book Galileo’s Finger by Peter Atkins, which are both quite big, and the latter very complicated (for me at least), so they are sure to take a while. I’m also following a book challenge on Instagram for March; #tuvalusbookchallenge so if you’re looking for some Instagram inspiration I recommend that you check out the tag 🙂

I’ve watched A LOT of films these two months to prepare for the Oscars, and of course keeping up with my general “film education”. I managed to see all the Best Picture nominees, and almost all the other big categories except for Joy and Creed. There were quite a lot of strong nominees in all categories this year, and I’m really happy with most of the awards. Spotlight for best picture was well deserved, and I’m of course very glad for Leonardo DiCaprio. One of the best surprises was Ex Machina winning for visual effects and Mark Rylance for Supporting Actor. A brilliant film and a brilliant actor! It’s no secret that I quite disliked The Big Short, and would have liked to see another film take home Best Adapted Screenplay, like for instance Carol. But all in all, happy with the ceremony!

New favourites:
Frankenstein (book)
Grapes of Wrath (book)
The Revenant (film)
Spotlight (film)
Blackstar (album)

Here’s to another two good months with many good things to explore!

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What I read in 2015

East of Eden

Steinbeck’s East of Eden – A new favourite!

Okey, so.. ages since my last post. Let’s just ignore that!

2016 is here! Alright, 2016 was here 19 days ago, but it’s still January, so I feel I can justify making a “what was 2015 like”-blog post. Starting off with books read in 2015! I thought I’d also make a similar list concerning films I’ve watched the last, which will be up this week as well.

I think two authors really defined my book year of 2015: John Steinbeck and Norwegian author Jon Michelet with his currently four books in the series A Hero of the Sea (title translated freely by me, En sjøens helt in Norwegian). Michelet’s story revolves around the Norwegian war sailors, concerning both cargo and military ships. Unfortunately they have not been translated to English (yet?), so you’d have to be able to understand Norwegian to read them.

Steinbeck is, among Michelet, my most read author this year, with 4 titles. As I’ve read more of his works he has become one of my favourite writers, and I actually started 2016 by reading one of his greatest works, Grapes of Wrath. One of his works actually became the topic for one of my semester assignments; The Moon is Down from 1942. Always fun when you can write about something you like for school!

Stats:
New books read: 36
Most read author: John Steinbeck and Jon Michelet
Most disappointing
: Funny Girl – Nick Hornby and Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford.
New Favourites: The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway, East of Eden – John Steinbeck, The Short History of Nearly Everything – Bill Bryson and Apology by Plato.
Best non-fiction: The Short History of Nearly Everything – Bill Bryson and Apology – Plato.
Least memorable (but not necessarily bad): Elizabeth is Missing – Emma Healy, Mobile Library – David Whitehouse and The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
Best Children’s Book: Tonje Glimmerdal by Maria Parr.

All in all I read 36 books in 2015, not counting rereads of titles I’ve read before. The following is a list of all 36 sorted by reading date, and with the rating I gave it on Goodreads. For the works that only have a Norwegian title I’ve included my own translations.

Jon Michelet – Skogsmatrosen (The forest sea man) 5/5 stars
Nick Hornby – Funny Girl 2/5 stars
Kjell Askildsen Thomas F’s siste nedtegnelser til almenheten (Thomas F’s last records for the public – short stories) 4/5 stars
Amy Poehler – Yes Please 3/5 stars
David Whitehouse – Mobile Library 3/5 stars
Jon Michelet – Skytteren (The marksman) 4/5 stars
Hugh Howey – Wool (Silo #1) 3/5 stars
Carl Frode Tiller – Innsirkling (Circling) 4/5 stars
Author unknown – Lazarillo de Tormes 4/5 stars
Muriel Barbery – The Elegance of the Hedgehog 4/5 stars
H.G. Wells – The War of the Worlds 4/5 stars
Rainbow Rowell – Eleanor and Park 3/5 stars
J.D. Salinger – The Catcher in the Rye 4/5 stars
Jon Michelet – Gullgutten (The Golden Boy) 4/5 stars
Emma Healey – Elizabeth is Missing 3/5 stars
Gabrielle Zevin – The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry 3/5 stars
Jamie Ford – Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet 2/5 stars
Harper Lee – Go Set A Watchman 4/5 stars
Ernest Hemingway – The Old Man and the Sea 5/5 stars
John Boyne – The Boy in the Striped Pajamas 3/5 stars
John Steinbeck – East of Eden 5/5 stars
John Steinbeck – The Pearl 4/5 stars
Edgar Allan Poe – The Murders in the Rue Morgue 3/5 stars
Edgar Allan Poe – The Tell-Tale Heart 5/5 stars
Bjørn Ousland – Sydover – Kappløpet mot Sydpolen (Southbound – The Race to the South Pole) 3/5 stars
Plato – Apology 5/5 stars
Bill Bryson – A Short History of Nearly Everything 5/5 stars
Maria Parr – Tonje Glimmerdal 4/5 stars
Hanne Ørstavik – The Blue Room 4/5 stars
Jojo Moyes – After You 4/5 stars
Gunnar Tjomlid – Placebodefekten (The Placebo Defect) 4/5 stars
John Steinbeck – The Red Pony 4/5 stars
Neil Gaiman – American Gods 4/5 stars
John Steinbeck – The Moon is Down 5/5 stars
Jon Michelet – Blodige strender (Bloodstained Beaches) 4/5 stars
Caitlin Moran – How To Be A Woman 3/5 stars

Looking back it’s been quite a varied book year with a lot of highlights, but also a few disappointments. Unfortunately one of the latter was the work of one of my favourite authors; Nick Hornby. Funny Girl turned out to be boring girl.. Sorry Nick, but I’m still looking forward to your next one!