Long time, no see

Books I've read since my last update.

For school:
- Kultursociologiska texter - Pierre Bourdieu
- Markets in fashion - Patrik Aspers
- Makten över dagordningen - Maxwell McCombs
- Medier och samhäller - Klas Bruhn Jensen
+ a bunch of articles

Out of my own free will:
- Starter for ten - David Nicholls (very meh, I don't recommend it)
- Bonjour Tristesse - Francoise Sagan (Twice in 2 days. Was amazing. Instant favourite. Why have I not read this before???)

School has taken up most of my time lately, as you can see...

Going with my family to the cottage in the mountains for some skiing. Bringing along a bunch of books + a bunch of schoolwork. Looking forward to hitting the pause button for a few days, even if I have loads of things to get done while there. Anywho.

Read on!


Just read: Les Liaisons Dangereuses

I won't be lengthy, but a few words seem justified as I truly enjoyed the book. I think I have a weak spot for stories of the sort: a bit dark and twisted, with a touch of conspiracy, manipulation, and decadence. Not sure what this says about me...ha, but it made for a good read nonetheless. Notable is that the translation into English was very good, not that I've read the original version in French, but you can always tell when you're reading a bad translation...

The book is made up of letters between a number of people who all have some link to each other, and they all become entagled in the cruel and selfserving schemes of the Vicomte de Valmont and the Marquise de Merteuil (whose plots and letters make out the foundation of the story, sets off the ripple effects), who out of boredom turn those in their surroundings into their pawns in games of seduction and revenge.


“Truth to tell, the longer I live, the more I'm tempted to think that the only moderately worthwhile people in the world are you and I.”

“I've distilled every thing to one single principle: win or die.”

"I should have as much difficulty in believing him to be a good man on the strength of the single circumstance you relate, as I should in considering a man of excellent reputation on the grounds of a single fault, to be vicious. Mankind is never perfect in anything, no more so in wickedness than in virtue"

"It is not a question of using the right words: one does not arrange them in the right way. Or rather one does arrange them, and that is sufficiently damning. Read your letter again. It is so beautifully composed that every phrase betrays you."

"The secrets of love, especially, are so delicate that one cannot let them out in that way on their own. If one does sometimes allow it, one should not lose sight of them; one must somehow see them safely home. Oh, come back, then, my beloved friend: you see how necessary your return is. Forget the thousand reasons that keep you where you are, or else teach me how to live where you are not."

"...let us not deceive ourselves, the charm we think we find in others exists only in ourselves, and it is love alone that confers beauty on the beloved."

Just Read: To Kill A Mockingbird

Just finished reading To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. It has been on my 'to read'-list for a while, and I was definitely not disappointed. I am always impressed with those who manage to produce a fantastic book using a first person narrative. Many authors tend to either not do the narrating character justice, by adjusting the character's personality in order to get the plot out, or because of the narrator's subjectivity, not do the story justice. Lee, however, managed to write the whole story from the view of little Jean-Louise Finch, aka Scout (who is six at the beginning of the story, nine when it ends), staying true to the perspective of such a small girl without ever making you feel as if you're missing out on anything "grown up" when following her surroundings.

Also, it is a slow-paced story, without ever being mundane or actually feeling slow. The best kind, simply put! I love stories where the majority of the plot takes place within character development, but not for that sake being eventless or dreary in terms of the actual plot. There may be all these things going on in the world where the characters live, there may be drama and action and all of that, but somehow these things become secondary to the people. I won't lie, a well-written, well-developed character is so much more of a turn-on than than the most intricate of plots. It is especially obvious when you're nearing the end of a book, and you're able to look back, and suddenly just realize how much the characters have matured since you started, how their history has shaped them, what, how and why they think the way they do as opposed to the way everything was in the beginning. I love looking back on the first chapter after I've finished a book, especially when the first chapter actually started at the end of the story. It reflects on events that have yet to be explained to you, and then when you look back upon finishing, those last few pieces fall into place.

Another thing that I love in this book, are all the truly nuanced characters. No character is permitted to become an implausible stereotype; no character is all good, or all evil, or even unsurpassably brilliant. There is defeat and compassion in undeserved and unexpected places. An unsympathetic Aunt Alexandra isn't just written off as "a bad guy", she isn't even just a conservative and narrowminded adult bully, no, she may have her ways which make her appear extremely unlikeable to a six year old girl (and thus to you, as the reader), but as the book progresses she is a good example of a character who you begin to understand without her ever becoming a cliché.

And just to actually include something on the plot, for those of you who are not familiar with the book, it is set in the American South in the 1930's, and focuses on a series of events taking place in the small town of Maycomb. The characters which the story focuses on are the people that play a big role in the life story of Scout, even though she isn't necessarily the heroine per se of the events that make up most of the book. The book 'explores the issues of race and class', nuanced by a struggle to understand and implement justice, honour, pride, and compassion in a society still incredibly prejudiced.

On the back of my copy, it says:
"No one ever forgets this book"
And I don't believe I will.

Finally, because I am a lover of words and phrasings and quotes, see below:

"I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the
idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you
know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and
see it through no matter what."

“They're certainly entitled to think that, and they're entitled to full
respect for their opinions... but before I can live with other folks I've
got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn't abide by majority
rule is a person's conscience.”

“I think there's just one kind of folks. Folks.”

“Atticus told me to delete the adjectives and I'd have the facts.”

“When a child asks you something, answer him, for goodness sake. But
don't make a production of it. Children are children, but they can spot
an evasion faster than adults, and evasion simply muddles 'em.”

“Any writer worth his salt writes to please himself...It's a self-exploratory
operation that is endless. An exorcism of not necessarily his demon, but
of his divine discontent.”

“Neighbors bring food with death and flowers with sickness and little things
in between. Boo was our neighbor. He gave us two soap dolls, a broken
watch and chain, a pair of good-luck pennies, and our lives. But neighbors
give in return. We never put back into the tree what we took out of it: we
had given him nothing, and it made me sad.”

(I should try and digress less, I'm aware.)

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