Monday, 10 June 2019

A few short reviews

From reading 12 books in March the number has gone done quite a bit. April ended on 5 book, May on 4 and so far in June I have read 4 books. Probably summer and mostly a bit of travelling. The reviews have been even rarer. So here are a few shorter ones on some of the books.

Med Örnen mot polen by Svenska Sällskapet för Antropologi och Geografi (Scientific account of the Andrée expedition 1897)

An old book that stays open when you
put it on the table!
Aahh, the pleasure of an old book. I think I got this from a friend who moved. It is printed in 1930,
the same year as the Andrée expedition was found. It is put together by the Swedish Society for Anthropology and Geography. As such I did expect a little bit of dry scientific account. Far from it! There are extracts from the diaries of the expedition members, accounts on the various scientific tasks the expedition had, as well as information on equipment, clothes, food and everything daily life. Also a report from one of the journalists covering the find.

It reads like an adventure book and it is so exciting to hear, through the diaries, how life was for them. They tried to reach the pole by an air balloon, but failed to come very far. Most of their efforts turned out to be to find a way home, including carrying all the equipment in the boats they brought with them. Hardships if ever.

One of the things that struck me was the quality, or material, of the clothes they have. When one considers the beautiful materials available today, one gets really scared when you realise they were travelling with wool and cotton materials. Even the scientists evaluating the expedition, mentioned that they had the wrong kind of clothes.

Bea Uusma is a Swedish author, illustrator and doctor. She got so fascinated by this expedition that she studied to become a doctor in order to find out the truth of how they died. I read her book, Expeditionen - Min kärlekshistoria (The Expedition - My Love Story) before this one, but they do compliment each other. When real life is more exciting than any made up story.

Störst av allt (Quicksand) by Malin Persson Giolito

Malin Persson Giolito is a lawyer, turned author. This is her fourth book. They are all free standing and concerns legal aspects of society. Quicksand is about a school shooting in an upper class neighbourhood. The story follows the girl who participated in the shooting and we get the story from her point of view. It goes back and forth to the actual happening and the following trial.

Persson Giolito is a skilled writer. The words flow easily and you are quickly inside the heads of the young people. The various family situations are well described. Rich parents with their own problems and letting money replace love. It is a scaring account on how lost young people can be, leading them into the wrong way.

It has been adapted into a TV series by Netflix, with mixed review. I have only seen the first episode. Having just read it, I did not feel I have to see the series. Maybe later on. This might be the kind of story you either read or watch.

Juliette - kvinnan som läste på metron (La fille qui lisait dans le metro) by Christine Féret-Fleury

A new French book about Juliette who reads on the metro on her way to work. She watches the other passengers to see what they read. One of lady is a collector of first editions; the student of Mathematics; the young woman who always starts crying when she reaches page 247. She imagines their life from the books they read, and it helps her cope with her own bleak life.

One day she decides to go off on an earlier station. Dwindling her way towards her work, she finds a peculiar book shop and from now her life is not the same. It is a little bit of a peculiar book and you have to find the real purpose between the lines. Can books help you change a routine life? Can they inspire you to find a new path in life? Or can they just help you find a few lights in the life you have? I think that is some of the questions that Christine Féret-Fleury is asking.

Geniet från Breslau (The Genius from Breslau) by Lena Einhorn

Lena Einhorn has written yet another great biographical fiction. This time about the German Chemist and Nobel Prize winner Fritz Haber and his beloved Clara Immerwahr. He wanted to be the world's greatest chemist and she wanted to have an education closed to women. Both had to fight against bureaucracy, education system, university system before becoming something.

Einhorn is skilled when it comes to portray actual people. She is very well researched and you feel that she loves the people she writes about. It does not mean that their bad sides do not show. It is an exciting story in a time of big changes. Fritz Haber was born in 1868 and died in 1934, and Clara Immerwahr was born in 1870 and died in 1915 when she committed suicide.

Clara Immerwahr was the first woman to be awarded a doctorate in chemistry in Germany. She was a pacifist and a women's right activist. The couple met when they were very young, but it took until 1901 before they married. Clara had her work which she loved and did not want to get married. As with Mileva, the first wife of Albert Einstein, Clara found herself trapped in marriage and the traditional role of women at the time.

I am a fan of Lena Einhorn and eagerly jump on each new book by her. I have earlier read Siri, a novel about Siri von Essen, the first wife of August Strindberg, as well as Blekingegatan 32, about Greta Garbo. Awaiting her next book.


  1. Jag älskar gamla, läderinbundna böcker. Lukten av dem när man läser förhöjer läsningen!
    Kram Kim :-D

    1. Ja, de är helt fantastiska. Man får en helt annan upplevelse genom att läsa äldre böcker. De ligger också öppna utan att man måste hålla i dom!