Henrik Madsen ROOTS again - will it ever end?

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Henrik Madsen ROOTS again - will it ever end?

Editado: Dez 29, 2020, 7:43 am

Last year was great, so I'm back full of optimism and looking forward to getting a lot of my books read, so I can pass some of them on, so I can get new books and be ready for next year! Will it ever end? Probably not. Buying books is just too much fun.

As I have done in previous years I will count everything owned as ROOTs. The really tough ones (acquired before 2014) will be labelled DROOTs (Deep roots).

Can there still be books on his shelves, bought before 2014 and unread, you may ask? Yes, there can. Oh yes. And there is. More than I dare count.

This year my goal will be 50 books. Happy ROOTing everyone!

1. Eva Tind: Ophav
2. Enki Bilal: 32. december
3. Johan Skjoldborg: Gyldholm
4. Leon Lerborg: Styringsparadigmer i den offentlige sektor
5. David Coghlan: Doing Action Research in Your Own Organization
6. Olga Tokarczuk: Kør din plov over de dødes knogler
7. Laila Launsø m.fl.: Forskning om og med mennesker
8. Erik Aalbæk Jensen: Gertrud
9. Milan Kundera: Det ubetydeliges fest
10. Hans Fallada: I mit fremmede land
11. Kurt Klaudi Klausen: Strategisk ledelse
12. Stephen Bungay: Handlingens kunst
13. Livet på og omkring Nakskov Fjord
14. Olga Tokarczuk: Rejsende
15. Erving Goffman: Hverdagslivets rollespil
16. Eskild Hansen og Bjarne E. Jensen: Lokal ledelse - lokal vækst
17. Gilgamesh
18. Charlier og Giraud: Blueberry - De samlede eventyr 2
19. Leonora Christina Skov: Den, der lever stille
20. Johan F. Krarup: Styrelsen
21. Sverri Hammer og James Høpner: Meningsskabelse, organisering og ledelse
22. Eva og John Gulløv: Opvækst i provinsen
23. Stine Pilgaard: Meter i sekundet
24. Eric Stalner: Ildens lænker
25. Anne Enright: The Green Road
26. Herluf Bidstrup: Sagtmodige suk
27. Anne-Cathrine Riebnitzsky: Forbandede yngel
28. Jean-Pierre Gibrat: Udflugter
29. Carit Etlar: Gjøngehøvdingen
30. Francois Bourgeon: Trolddom i tågeskoven
31. Kirsten Hammann: Alene hjemme
32. Miguel Angel Prado: Hverdagens vanvid
33. John Steinbeck: Perlen
34. Alistair MacLean: Bjørneøen
35. Morten Strøksnes: Havbogen
36. Tomas Espedal: Bergeners
37. Karl-Heinz Ott: Und jeden Morgen das Meer
38. Asta Olivia Nordenhof: Penge på lommen
39. Charlier og Giraud: Blueberry - de samlede eventyr 3
40. Heinrich Mann: Professor Unrat
41. Godard og Derib: Manden som troede på Californien
42. Christina Hesseholdt: Vivian
43. Kim Leine: Rød mand / sort mand
44. Naja Marie Aidt: Hvis døden har taget noget fra dig så giv det tilbage
45. Nora Krug: Heimat
46. Francoise Sagan: Forår sommer efterår
47. Berroyer og Gibrat: Frie Fornemmelser & Kærlighed og kogevask
48. Ida Jessen: Kaptajnen og Ann Barbara
49. William Shakespeare: Richard II
50. Herta Müller: Ræven var allerede dengang jægeren

1. Richard Preston: Farezone 4
2. Morten Sabroe: Rejsen til Amerika
3. Peter Adolphsen: Machine
4. Cecil Bødker: Silas og den sorte hoppe
5. Odile Poulsen: Sirenesang
6. Martin Lundkvist: Falkeblik
7. Sigrid Undset: Den trofaste hustru
8. Steen Andersen: Danmark i det tyske storrum
9. W. Somerset Maugham: The Moon and Sixpence
10. Ulrik Langen: Revolutionens skygger

Dez 30, 2019, 4:53 pm

Welcome back, Henrik!

Dez 30, 2019, 6:41 pm

Welcome back and have a great reading year! I am shocked that you still have unread books on your shelves ;) but glad you're back with us.

Dez 31, 2019, 7:36 am

Welcome back, Henrik. Those ROOTs just get deeper and more numerous every year, it seems!

Dez 31, 2019, 5:58 pm

Wishing you a happy year of ROOTing and DROOTing in 2020! :)

Jan 1, 2020, 5:26 am

Happy reading, Henrik! I like the definition of Deep Roots, and I have plenty of my own.

Jan 1, 2020, 11:33 am

Thanks for the kind words and a happy new year to all of you.

Jan 1, 2020, 12:35 pm

Happy new year and happy reading in 2020!

I like your idea of separating out the recent ROOTs from the deep ones and will do the same! :)

Jan 1, 2020, 1:51 pm

Happy New Year and welcome back- it's good to see you again, Happy reading!

Jan 2, 2020, 12:34 pm

Welcome back and happy ROOTing!

Jan 2, 2020, 4:34 pm

Thanks for dropping by. So happy to be reading with all of you again this year.

Aaaaaandd I'm off:

1. Eva Tind: Ophav (Origin - the title is hard to translate because the last part of the word also means 'sea' in Danish and diving plays an important role in the story)

Acquired: A Christmas gift from my wife - and a good one. I heard Eva Tind at a book fair in the fall and I have looked forward to reading this novel ever since.

Sui is 18 and has just decided to move in with her boyfriend. This leaves her father, Kai, in an existential crisis because being her dad had been most of his life for years, so he travels to the real city of Auroville in India, which is an experimental society founded by The Mother and built around spirituality and a huge temple. At the same time Sui becomes sick - both of her not-so-fantastic boyfriend and literally, so she visits her mother in Sweden. They haven't seen each-other for years. Miriam, the mother, is a well-known artist who left her child and the man she loved to pursue an international career.

I really liked how the novel toyed with gender roles. An older, selfish parent who leaves the family is a well-known theme in literature, but it's rarely a woman. I also liked how all three faced challenges in life, survived and evolved. It was well done and quite inspiring.

4 stars

Jan 2, 2020, 6:58 pm

>11 Henrik_Madsen: A nice review. It is only January 2nd and you are already off to a great start.

Jan 12, 2020, 12:11 pm

2. Richard Preston: Farezone 4 (Dangerzone 4 - a not totally accurate translation of The Hot Zone)

Acquired: This is one of my wife's book. It's been in the house since we moved in together and that is i quite some years ago.

Preston investigates outbreaks of Marburg and Ebola in Africa as well as a case of infected monkeys in Washington. The diseases he investigates are terrifying and he doesn't hold anything back. I have seldom read such vivid descriptions of human illness and death, but he is also succinct in his way of describing how viruses work.

Scary and interesting - but perhaps not exactly enjoyable.

4 stars

Jan 22, 2020, 3:55 pm

3. Enki Bilal: 32. december

Acquired: I have had this book 2½ years and I read it almost immediately. Only to discover that it was part two of four.... Now I have the three others on loan from the library and I'm making my way through them.

Nike, Amir and Leyla are all orphans from the civil war in Bosnia where they forged an invisible bond. Thirty years later they are trying to make their way through a future of anti-scientific terror, cybernetic technology and a general sens of dissolution.

The artwork is interesting, but the story is complicated. It is ok but I was not blown away.

3½ stars

Fev 9, 2020, 9:27 am

4. Johan Skjoldborg: Gyldholm

Acquired: I bought this one in a used book shop in Copenhagen a couple of years ago. It is an old book (originally published in 1902, this edition is from 1947) but I had read about Skjoldborg's work and wanted to take a look at it.

The story is about laborers on a Danish manor around 1900. Per Holt is working there as a young man, when his girlfriend gets pregnant. They don't mind it, get married and move into a small cottage next to the manor. It is a hard life. They work all the time but are still poor, and as the number of children increases they have to leave them alone during the day. It all goes horribly wrong as a fire breaks out and three children die despite their desperate efforts.

It is a novel but it also a literature fighting for a cause. When farmers in Denmark were freed and became relatively prosperous, common laborers were left behind. The novel depicts their hard life but also their human dignity and their growing awareness and readiness to fight for their rights. I enjoyed it both as a testimony and for its literary qualities. Skjoldborg is a skilled writer and the tragedy is moving.

3½ stars

Fev 10, 2020, 12:29 pm

5. Leon Lerborg: Styringsparadigmer i den offentlige sektor

Acquired: I bought it a couple of years ago. I heard a lecture with the author at a course for my master, and thought it was a book I had to read.

How should the public sector be managed? Through impartial bureaucracy? Through educated professionals? Through market mechanisms and new public management? Through liberating individuals from their predefined roles as employees or clients? The possible answers are many, the historical development of ideas are complex, and new ideas have affected different parts of public sector in different ways. Lerborg analyzes these trends and how the different paradigms are related to each-other. It is an in-depth analysis where ideas are assessed from many different points of view. This is a great accomplishment, even though the author-s pragmatism (picking the best from paradigms which are mutually exclusive) is a bit over the top

4 stars

Fev 15, 2020, 4:29 am

6. Morten Sabroe: Rejsen til Amerika

Acquired: This is one of the really old ones. It's been on my shelves for 25 years after I bought it at a book sale in Odense, where I lived at the time. I had read some of Sabroe's journalistic work and was intrigued by the cover - but apparently not enough to read it until now.

Arthur and Robert are 14 years old. They live a boring life with wealthy but uninterested parents, when they decide to run away from home, go to America, and work in a circus with a knife-throwing act. In Copenhagen they meet the young girl Sara, who has also run away from home, and she is so mesmerizing that they follow her for a detour to Jutland, where she plans to see her father. It becomes a fascinating trip through Denmark of the 1980s, as Robert and Arthur not only discover people living very different lives but also the true attraction of girls.

The first half of the book seemed pretty schematic and generally the writing was out of touch with how teenagers talk. The second half was better, but it is not a book I will be coming back to.

2½ stars

Fev 17, 2020, 4:05 pm

7. David Coghlan: Doing Action Research in Your Own Organization

Acquired: I'm on my final semester om my master, which means it's thesis time. That is why I bought the book a couple of months ago and why I read it now.

Coghlan is actively trying to promote action research, which is researched focusing on improving practice instead of just describing it, and he specifically offers a guide to people wanting to do it in their own organization. Researching where you work has some advantages - mainly access and knowledge, also about what goes on behind the scene - but it also entails methodical, political, and ethic dilemmas. Coghlan gives an accessible introduction to the field and offers advice to students embarking on this kind of endeavor. I wasn't blown away by lots of new knowledge but it is very well written and it definitely gave me lots of ideas for the project I'm working on.

3½ stars

Fev 18, 2020, 3:40 am

>18 Henrik_Madsen: Good luck with your thesis, Henrik.

Fev 18, 2020, 4:38 am

>18 Henrik_Madsen: Good luck from me too, Henrik.

Fev 18, 2020, 5:42 am

>19 connie53: >20 Jackie_K: Thanks! It's due in May, so I haven't hit the panic button yet. On the other hand: If you don't hear from me for a couple of months, you know why!

Fev 18, 2020, 8:00 am

>18 Henrik_Madsen: Best of luck, Henrik!

Fev 22, 2020, 3:01 pm

8. Olga Tokarczuk: Kør din plov over de dødes knogler

Acquired: Shortly after Tokarczuk was awarded the Nobel Prize my book club put together af package with a couple of her novels

Janina is a middle-agede not quite stable woman who has moved to the far-off part of Poland. She lives in beautiful hills and forests on the Czech border and gets by watching out for houses in the winter and teaching English in the local school. Janina is a enthusiastic believer in astrology and animal rights and when we meet her she is grieving because her two dogs have disappeared. One evening her neighbor is killed by eating a bone from a dear and it turns out to be the start of an epidemic. Man after man is found dead in the woods, and the police cannot figure out, what is going on.

The novel is mystery, but it is most of all a beautiful portrait of an extraordinary woman. Janina has a lot to fight with, and she is continually misunderstood by people around her. She is also interesting. Tokarczuk has written a beautiful novel about her.

4½ stars

Fev 23, 2020, 3:48 pm

9. Laila Launsø: Forskning om og med mennesker

Acquired: I picked this one up at the bookstore just before Christmas and read it for my master this week. Studying makes you read a lot - but maybe something different than you wanted to!

The book is an introduction to social sciences. It classifies different kinds of research and discusses how an analysis should be done from picking the subject to interpreting the data. The book focuses on qualitative methods which rings well with the plans for my project. It is also well written and accessible but not groundbreaking.

3½ stars

Mar 1, 2020, 6:06 am

10. Erik Aalbæk Jensen: Gertrud

Acquired: I bought this one in a used book store a couple of years ago. I had read some Aalbæk Jensen's other novels and wanted to look further in to his take on occupation.

The narrator travels to Jutland to get on with his writing. He settles in a small rural community on the west coast where he meets a young woman he hasn't seen since high school. Her father was a well known nazi and was killed by the resistance during the war. Then she disappeared an now he finds her again as the wife of the local priest. Apparantly she has moved on, but this i not the kind of trauma you can just leave behind. Others think she should still be held accountable, and moving on is not made any easier by the fact, that the man who killed his father turns out to live nearby.

It is not Aalbæk Jensens best book, but it is an interesting take on the wounds war leaves behind when it is over. Of course it matters, what side you had been on, but the violence sets its mark on everyone who had been part of it.

4 stars

Mar 1, 2020, 4:03 pm

11. Milan Kundera: Det ubetydeliges fest

Acquired: I enjoyed Tilværelsens ulidelige lethed so I decided to pick this one up at a book sale two years ago. It is a short book, so it fit my wish for a fast read.

Four friends meet in Paris where they reflect on life which isn't exactly turning out like they wanted to. Alain is preoccupied with young women's navels and the loss of his mother, Charles is constantly talking about Stalin's jokes and Caliban is an actor who only performs when he pretends to speak another language when he works as a caterer.

Still, life is good if you can see and appreciate all the small, insignificant things which make up life.

The book is well-written, but I didn't really care about the four men and their musings.

2½ stars

Mar 7, 2020, 9:56 am

12. Peter Adolphsen: Machine

Acquired: I bought a back of books at a librarysale seven-eight years ago. They have been sitting there ever since, including this one, so time to get it read.

In Austin a drop of fuel explodes in a car engine in 1973. The novel traces how everything - including the drop of oil which originally was the heart of a prehistoric horse - got to be there and what it meant. It is sort of chaos theory in literary form, and it is quite well written. Still, it came across as mostly a writing experiment and not a great story with interesting characters.

2½ stars

Mar 8, 2020, 8:00 am

13. Hans Fallada: I mit fremmede land

Acquired: A very good offer at the local supermarket, which doesn't normally sell many books. Well, actually I thought it was Every Man Dies Alone which I had read a great review about, but even mistakes can bring you good books.

In 1944 Fallada was imprisoned for threatening to kill his wife. They were getting divorced and he was drinking heavily, but he used his time to write this book among other things. It is not a diary in the normal sense, but his recollections about life in Germany from the Nazi takeover in 1933. Fallada wasn't particularly interested in politics, so he mostly ran into the nazis as petty bureaucrats who used their position to rob people like a mafia. It was a chock seeing how right and wrong stopped meaning anything and how the rule of law and other basic civil rights disappeared over night.

It was an interesting eye witness account, but if you are interested in the nazi regimes most horrible crimes on in an analysis of its development, there are better options out there.

4 stars

Mar 22, 2020, 7:45 am

14. Kurt Klaudi Klausen: Strategisk ledelse

Acquired: I bought this book a year ago when the author was hired as a consultant for at project at work. I never had time to read it, but I have now for my master thesis.

Strategy and strategic leadership have become important subjects in management literature. There has not been published that much in Danish, however, and this book compensates for that with analysis of Danish cases from both the public and the third sector. The book is also renowned for its introduction to eight strategic "arenas" or parts of reality, which can all be objects for strategi action. E.g. architechture and aesthetics which are not normally part of strategy.

It is a very good introduction to stratgic leadership and I also thought the cases did a good job of showing the theory in a practical setting.

4 stars

Abr 4, 2020, 7:00 am

15. Stephen Bungay: Handlingens kunst

Acquired: This book was provided to my by my workplace. It is the inspiration for our newest strategic leadership concept, so it had to be read of course.

Bungay has observed that it is very hard for modern firms to realize their strategy. In his opinion the problem is not the strategies themselves, but the way people work with them. It is assumed that the world is wellknown and planning is therefore possible. If things doesn't go according to plan, more control is introduced but this only leads to inaction.

Instead he is inspired by the doctrine of the prussian army of the 19th century. Helmuth von Moltke realized, that quick action was always better than no action, and since detailed plans were always spoiled by the realities of battles he devised another method. Orders should be formulated as broad goals with lots of room for initiative on the ground. It was still possible to move in the right general direction, because all were trained to think the same way which meant initiative led to the right decisions more often than not.

The introduction to Moltke is quite interesting and there are certainly lessons to be learned for leaders everywhere. Bungay is very good at translating the old ideas to modern organizations. So, overall, a very interesting and thought-provoking read.

4½ stars

Abr 4, 2020, 10:05 am

>30 Henrik_Madsen: That sounds interesting and perhaps particularly relevant for the current situation, when so much is unknown!

Hope you and your family are keeping well :)

Abr 5, 2020, 5:02 am

>31 rabbitprincess: Oh, it is absolutely relevant in the current situation. I have thought about it a lot when planning ahead, giving staff direction and mandate to get tasks done.

We are doing good working from home at keeping up with family on phone and skype, but it is weird being so restricted and it is difficult seeing a path back to normalcy.

Hope all is well with you too :-)

Editado: Abr 5, 2020, 5:10 am


Abr 5, 2020, 5:19 am

16. Livet på og omkring Nakskov Fjord (Life on and around Nakskov Fjord)

Acquired: A Christmas gift from my son about the city where we live and its surroundings.

Ten very different texts in just one hundred pages - this is a typical product of local initiative combining well-researched pieces of local history with memories and anecdotal evidence. The common theme is the Nakskov Fjord, a very rich and interesting piece of nature, which connects the city harbor with the sea, but which has also been the scene of local life and historical events for centuries.

The book tells these stories in different voices, which is actually a good thing because many of the readers, including me, will know the authors beforehand and enjoy their different styles. However, it is probably more interesting if you know a bit about the area already.

3 stars

Abr 5, 2020, 2:56 pm

>32 Henrik_Madsen: It is similarly weird here. My job can be done totally remotely, so the actual work is OK, but the not being able to see people in person is dragging me more down than I thought it would. I described this to a friend as "I don't really like people, but I like CHOOSING not to like people".

I also find that not having social outlets is overloading my brain with work -- I have a couple of great work-related books out from the library for the foreseeable future but don't have the brainpower to read them.

Abr 6, 2020, 2:56 pm

>35 rabbitprincess: I function as secretary for the task force in the municipality and we meet a couple of times each week, so I am socially priviledged compared to many others - but it is still weird. I miss being together with friends, doing leisure activities - I even miss spending time as a swim judge at the local club! - and I can see how important the casual "Goodmorning!" "How do you do!" and just seeing people at work everyday is.

Abr 11, 2020, 3:53 am

Weird here too! But I guess it's the same all over the world. I miss my grandkids and are afraid they won't recognize me when this is all over. Especially Marie who is so little and when we see each other on what's app video she looks at me with big eyes as if she is wondering who I am.
I feel really sad and down. The only one I see is Peet and our son comes by keeping his distance.

We do have Zoom-meets with my RL bookclub though. That was a bit hysteric with everybody (14 people) talking at the same time, but real fun after we established some rules.

Abr 11, 2020, 5:57 am

>37 connie53: Yes, it must be much harder with the small children. My son and daughter are practically grown up so they won't forget their grandparents. I don't think your grandchildren will either, but of course it is hard not seeing them for so long. Seeing so few people is strange, and the worst thing is, that there is no clear path back to normal living. Next week daycare and school for children up to ten years old reopens in Denmark, but it is with a lot of restrictions and still trying to keep groups apart to limit infection.

At least spring seems to be here. There is light and we get to take lots of walks. You really get to appreciate the small things in life!

Abr 11, 2020, 6:31 am

17. Olga Tokarczuk: Rejsende (In English that would be Travellers - a bit different than the title chosen in English)

Acquired: This is the second book from the "Nobel Prize" package I got last year. I read the first earlier this year, and I really enjoyed it, so I thought it was time for the second one.

This is probably the most famous of Tokarczuks books and it is easy to see why it appeared to the Nobel Prize Committee. There is not straightforward structure in the book and the use of many voices and text pieces to take on a central subject - the role of travel in human life - is right up their alley.

It IS a very good book. It is the story of travel as a fundamental part of human freedom, as a driving force behind change, and the source of both joy and despair. As an undercurrent the narrator tells stories of vivisection, extracting and preserving organs and body parts. Human existence seems to be constant battle between movement as the basis of all living and the wish to make things permanent and in their "right" place.

This is very abstract, but the story is full of well described episodes, interesting characters and enjoyable language. It is not a hard read, but I generally need more plot and structure to truly love a novel.

4 stars

Abr 11, 2020, 10:42 am

>37 connie53: I'm sure they will recognise you, Connie - both my sister and I probably only see our parents once a year each, as we all live so far away (my sister is in Germany, I'm in Scotland, our parents are in England about an hour's drive north of London) and our children definitely know them even though we see them so infrequently, and always have since they were born. I remember when A was 2 and we stayed with my sister in Germany, and mum and dad came to join us a few days later. I know my mum was really worried that A wouldn't recognise her, but as soon as she walked in the door A yelled "Nanny!" and ran towards her. We'd all like to see each other more often, but geography and other circumstances being what they are, we have to do our best without regular face to face contact. It must be so hard though, when you're used to seeing them so much more often.

Abr 12, 2020, 5:51 am

>40 Jackie_K: That's sweet! Children never stops amazing you with what they can do.

We live reasonably close to my parents (two hours transport) and a bit longer from my wife's parents, so seeing them is not an every-week experience. Also, as the children have gotten their own interests there are fewer weekends left to see them but we sometimes plan holidays together.

Abr 12, 2020, 6:03 am

18. Erving Goffman: Hverdagslivets rollespil (This captures the meaning of the English title - The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life - but it is not a literal translation)

Acquired: Another book bought earlier this year for my master. It might be part of the theoretical set-up for the analysis but probably no the most important piece. I'm more interested in strategic leadership analysis and not so much in the interaction research where Goffman is best.

I have read about Goffman before, but this was my first time actually reading his work. And what a great book it is! Seeing the world and social interaction as theater is hardly original, but Goffman uses this metaphor with so much detail and so much precision that it becomes an original and highly inspirational take on social life and everyday interaction. It can be tempting to ask if this mean everything is fake and all human life is just acting, but that is actually missing the point in my view: Goffman doesn't really say what human interaction IS but he offers a framework to understand how it WORKS.

The book draws on many and very different sources, which underscores its main point that the language of theater helps understanding all kinds of social interaction, and it is well-written. This is especially noteworthy in a book which is also a theoretical milestone in sociology. Theoretical milestones rarely have accessability as a defining quality.

5 stars

Abr 19, 2020, 3:41 pm

19. Eskild Hansen og Bjarne E. Jensen: Lokal ledelse - lokal vækst (Local leadership - local growth)

Acquired: I bought this book shortly before Christmas. It deals with local development, one of my main areas of responsibility at work, so I thought it was a good idea to read it for inspiration.

The two authors have worked with local and regional development for many years. In this book they sum up their experiences and illustrate their many interesting points with lots of examples from Danish communities. They acknowledge that digitalization and globalization means very different possibilities for different regions, but precisely for this reason it is important for all local communities to create the best environment for growth and new businesses. Sometimes the answer is a longtime strategy, sometimes it's the ability to be flexible and responsive to new possibilities, but it is always important, that the community can act collectively and create useful alliances between political and private leadership.

The book is an easy read and quite inspiring for practitioners. Knowing the Danish setting (and of course: Danish) is probably necessary for the book to be really useful since it doesn't develop new theories on its own.

4 stars

Abr 20, 2020, 3:46 am

>38 Henrik_Madsen: and >40 Jackie_K: Thanks for all the kind words and thoughts, Henrik and Jackie. I know the will recognize me when we can see each other again, but it's hard sometimes to keep positive all the time. So I do have my sad moments as will many other people all over the world. Tomorrow the Dutch government will announce the new measures as of April 28. It is believed that not much will change. Maybe for daycare and the elementary school the rules will loosen a bit.

Abr 20, 2020, 5:48 am

>44 connie53: Hopefully your government is doing a better job than ours of listening to the experts and making wise decisions. Having said that, we've been told we have another 3 weeks of lockdown (I'm sure it will be more than that) and I think that is the right thing to do for now. Part of me is hoping that the schools can go back in June, we'll only have 2 or 3 weeks to go till the summer holidays but that would be a good way to end the school year for the children - but only if it's safe, of course.

Abr 25, 2020, 11:20 am

20. Gilgamesh translated by Sophus Helle and Morten Søndergaard

Acquired: I only got one book for my birthday this year, and it was this one. (Don't feel sorry for me, though. I have indulged in heavy buying on my own, so I'm not exactly facing a lockdown book-shortage.)

Gilgamesh was composed as a complete work about 1100 years b.c. but it still seems fresh and readable in this new Danish translation. Gilgamesh may be larger than life and 2/3 god, but he is also very human. Always restless, always emotional and always looking for glory, he is rampaging around the city of Uruk, until the Gods create the wildman Enkidu to be his friend and (almost) equal. They go on many an adventure until Enkidu dies and Gilgamesh is left to mourn him much like Achilleus mourns Patrokles in the Iliad.

This story is very old, but even Gilgamesh exists in a world that is already ancient. The city of Uruk is large and established, and on his quests he learns that his world only exists because the gods destroyed another world with a flood eons ago.

I really enjoyed this book, which was both dynamic and quite easy to read even though I didn't know any of the myths or gods it refers to.

4½ stars

Abr 26, 2020, 12:07 pm

21. Charlier og Giraud: Blueberry - De samlede eventyr 2

Acquired: My wife got me this one for Christmas. Or more accurately: She gave me a cook-book, which I returned (I got two of those) and bought this one instead.

Blueberry is one of the most iconic French comic books of the last 50 years. I grew up with the albums, and since my generation is now both middle-aged and middle-class it is time to republish the albums in some luxurious volumes. It is a surefire publishing strategy, and as you can see I'm happy to oblige.

This volume contains the last parts of the long cycle on the Indian wars in the aftermath of the American civil war. Blueberry wants justice and peace, and after proving in the first volume, that the Apaches were innocent in the attack on settlers, which started the whole thing, he is now ready to get peace negotiations going. It is not easy: A mandate from the president has to be obtained, Conchise and his allies have to be located, and the opposition from the adherents of war has to be defeated.

Volume two continues the great stories of the first volume. The complete cycle on the Indian wars comprises five albums and almost 250 pages, and looking at the whole thing, it is amazing that it is so coherent all the way through. Volume 2 also introduces the lovable drunk Jim McClure who went on to be Blueberry's sidekick for the remainder of the series. I'm looking forward to the next volumes!

4 stars

Maio 2, 2020, 9:24 am

22. Cecil Bødker: Silas og den sorte hoppe (Silas and the Black Mare)

Acquired: One of my wife's books. She got it when she was a girl, and after spending some years at her parents' house it came to us. The author died a few weeks ago, so I thought it was time to re-read it.

In 1967 a bunch of books for children were published in Danish. They became instant classics and changed the course of literature for children in Denmark. Instead of seeing children from an adult point of view - children as protagonists were well-known, of course, but the frame of reference was grown up - children became actors in their own right.

Silas was one of those new characters. He has run away from his mother and the circus where he grew up. and now he meets the horse dealer Bartolin. Bartolin thinks he is a strange boy and tries to set Silas up to work for him for free. He fails, however, and Silas wins the black mare and rides away. Unfortunately the world is full of adults, who don't respect the rights of children, and he has to fight hard to keep his expensive prize to himself.

It was nice reading Silas again. No magic, just a boy meeting and interacting with the people he meet.

3½ stars

Maio 11, 2020, 4:20 am

Hi Henrik. I hope you and your family are still doing fine. Here things have not changed much. Daycare and elementary schools are partially opening up today as are libraries, hairdressers and museums.

I stay home most of the times with an occasional visit from Jeroen, my son and Lonne. Yesterday it was Mothers day and they came to bring a festive breakfast which was very lovely and delicious.

Maio 22, 2020, 10:30 am

>49 connie53: Hi Connie. Things are getting back to normal here - most young people are back in school, restaurants are opening up with restrictions and the infection numbers are dropping off - but many things are still different, of course.

Personally I have had enormous amounts of work over the past months, so I haven't been here much. Good to hear that things are alright with you. Seeing just a few people, family especially, is really good after being isolated for so long.

Maio 22, 2020, 10:43 am

23. Leonora Christina Skov: Den, der lever stille (The one who lives quietly)

Acquired: My wife got this one as a gift from her colleagues for her birthday last year. It was a novel I already wanted to read, so nice not having to buy it myself!

The novel is autobiographic. The narrator grew up in a small Danish town with parents who seemed perfect on the outside but were actually quite messed up. The mother suffers from depression, and the father ultimately chooses her over the daughter. They repeatedly make clear, the she is the reason why her mother is so sad. They also pace her recklessly in school, but this is probably more in line with the girl's own desires.

As soon as highschool is over, she moves to Copenhagen to study and create the life for herself that she has always dreamt about. She adds "Leonora" to her original name, which she never thought represented her true self, discovers feminism, aspires to become an author and gradually comes to accept that she is lesbian. Being lesbian makes the relationship with her parents even worse, and they only communicate through her grandmother for several years.

The novel is a great story of a family locked in bad patterns, but is also a compelling and inspiring book about a young woman creating the life she wants despite many obstacles. Recommended!

4½ stars

Maio 22, 2020, 10:56 am

24. Johan F. Krarup: Styrelsen (The Department)

Acquired: Another graphic novel bought last year on a trip to Copenhagen. I needed a quick read friday, and this one seemed like a good choice.

Frank Laursen works in the Foreigners Department, where he handles applications for green cards and student admittances. He doesn't think to much about the fairness of the rules, but tries to administer them correct and live a normal life.

Denmark is famously non-corrupt, so Frank doesn't see the signs early enough. He doesn't suspect foul play by his co-worker Peter and he doesn't think too much about the generousity of mr. Huan. And then, suddenly, he has signed papers and given favors and he cannot find his way back to shore. Step by step he is pulled in to the scam and sees his life come apart.

The drawings are black/white and fairly realistic and simple. They convey an office environment, which many will recognize, and they show a man gradually cracking under pressure. Styrelsen was like watching crime fiction on television friday night. Entertaining story and a look behind the scenes of a certain part of society.

3½ stars

Maio 23, 2020, 11:39 am

25. Odile Poulsen: Sirenesang

Acquired: I bought this at a book sale 10-12 years ago. I had heard about Odile Poulsen, who is an important voice on prostitution in Denmark, and wanted to read more about her life. And now I have!

The story is inspirered by the author's own life. The narrator, Ane, is admitted to a psychiatric ward after another suicide attempt, and she is kept in the system for half a year. She fights, and struggles, and is not satisfied with the treatment, but she is well aware, that she would risk death if she wasn't there. As time goes on, and as medicine and therapy get the psychosis under control, she begins telling the story of her life. It as tough one. She has never known her biological father, and her stepdad Tim was a drug addict and child abuser. When she is finally removed from the home and put in a boarding school she manages to get an education, but she keeps meeting and falling in love with the wrong men.

The story is compelling, but the writing is just too bombastic. So, a good but not great read.

3 stars

Editado: Maio 26, 2020, 3:05 pm

26. Sverri Hammer og James Høpner: Meningsskabelse, organisering og ledelse

Acquired: I bought the book three months ago for my master thesis - which is also why I read it now.

Karl Weick's theories about organizing and sensemaking are becoming increasingly important in thinking and teaching about management and leadership in a Danish context. Weick is notoriously hard to read, and his texts haven't been translated, so it is a very good idea to write an introduction to his work in Danish. After discussing Weick's focus on organizing instead of organisation and giving a useful introduction to the process and importance of sensemaking Hammer and Høpner focus on Weick's contribution to leadership theory.

The authours have written a very good book on Weick. Is is an easy read without reducing the complexity of Weick's thinking to simple bullit points. Maybe it's time to read Weick himself!

4 stars

Maio 26, 2020, 3:13 pm

27. Eva og John Gulløv: Opvækst i provinsen (Growing in the province)

Acquired: A book from work, which I got a few months ago.

Many young people move away from the countryside to get an education in one of the big cities. This pattern is well known all over the world and the authors investigate this phenemenon using the Danish municipality of Tønder as an example. It is an area with a lot of similarities to the place I live, so it was natural to look into their findings.

They show, that choosing to leave to get an education is not just a rational choice. It is also the result of a discourse and a school system that clearly favors knowledge and education whereas local and practical skills are held i much lesser regard. When young people leave, it is also because staying is stimatizing and a sign of failure.

The book is thorough and interesting, even though it doesn't really show a way out of the basic dilemma for local communities. After all, education IS important to ensure young people's succes in life.

4 stars

Jun 1, 2020, 10:09 am

28. Stine Pilgaard: Meter i sekundet (Meter per second)

Acquired: The book came out a month ago, got great reviews, and is by one of my favorite authors, so off to the book shop.

The narrator is a young woman, mother and writer who moves to the west of Jutland with her boyfriend. He is going to teach at a local school, and she has to find her own place in the community. It is hard, because she doesn't really know how to talk to the locals who are famously reluctant to use more words than necessary, and in lots of ways she seems socially inadequate. She wants to be able to talk to people like Anders Agger, a Danish TV personality who can get along with anybody, she wants to get her drivers license but is a hopeless student, and she wants to be a good mother, but don't always know how.

Pilgaard writes with lot of humour and I laughed out loud several times during reading. I'm not sure it can be translated because the humour is not really so much in what happens as in the writing itself. It is delicate and full of surprising sayings. It was a joy, and I will also be there for her next book.

5 stars

Jun 5, 2020, 7:37 am

29. Eric Stalner: Ildens lænker 1-4 (Meter per second)

Acquired: I got the series at a bargain price at the Copenhagen Comic festival last year. i didn't know the series or the artist, but it looked interesting, and you go to festivals to find new stuff, right?

The series is set in France in the middle of the 19th century. Old aristocratic structures are still battling new ideas brought on by revolution and industrialization. The young woman Mathilde is married to the baron of Villemont, and when he is murdered, she is suddenly part of all kinds of intrigues. There is fraud at the iron plant, there are unrecognized children by the noblemen, there is the mysterious - but handsome - Julien, leader at the castle, and there is a mysterious letter with huge political implications, which everyone wants to get their hands on.

The series is entertaining, and I enjoyed the detailed and realistic artwork. There were also many stereotypes, so even though I enjoyed reading the books it wasn't great.

3 stars

Jun 30, 2020, 2:57 am

Visiting your thread again, Henrik. Are books 28 and 29 part of the same series. Or did you make a mistake by mentioning meter per second twice?

Jul 4, 2020, 7:17 am

>58 connie53: Good to see you again Connie. It's finally vacation time, and I really look forvard to having some time off. Work has been hectic for the past few months.

And no, 28. and 29. is not part of the same series. I copy the codes and forgot to delete the text this time.

Jul 4, 2020, 7:23 am

30. Martin Lundkvist: Falkeblik

Acquired: At work we got a visit from a consultant some years ago. It never developed into a project but some of us got the book he had written on strategic leadership. I read part of it then, but never finished it - until now!

I didn't like the book too much. There is a model you can work with if you want to do a projekt on strategic leadership in an organisation, but it writing is nothing special and it is not as well founded theoretically as I would like.

So a bit of a disappointment - on the bright side I'm happy to let it go now, so there will be room for new purchases.

2 stars

Jul 5, 2020, 4:07 am

31. Sigrid Undset: Den trofaste hustru

Acquired: Did I mention, that I sometimes go to library sales and buy a huge amount of books? I think I did, and this one is another one bought about ten years ago at the local library.

Sigrid Undset wrote prizewinning fiction about the middle ages, but she also wrote about modern women in the first half of the 20th Century. This novel was published in 1936 and studies the life and dilemmas of women at the time. Nathalie is married to Sigurd, and after 16 years they still love each other but they have no children and in some sense they live separate lives. When it turns out that Sigurd is, in fact, less happy with this life and has had an affair with a young woman, Nathalie is certainly confronted with ACUTUALLY living on her own and facing the world as a divorced woman.

I much enjoyed the portrait of Nathalie which is both kind an full of psychological depth. It was also interesting to read a novel about the gap between believing in change (modern family law e.g.) and experiencing it yourself.

3 stars

Jul 7, 2020, 2:10 pm

32. Anne Enright: The Green Road

Acquired: I went to Ireland in 2016 to study their efforts in tourism, and of course I could not resist af couple of paperbacks in the airport. One of them by Irish author Anne Enright.

Four children grow up in western Ireland in the 1970s, are scattered in all corners of the world and return home to settle old grievances when their mother decides to sell her house. It is a touching look into a family which on the surface is happy and prosperous but which is actually quite dysfunctional. Everything revolves around their mother Rosaleen who always has to get her way.

The first part of the novel follows the children as they grow up, and the second part is about the reunion. There are also a couple of chapters told from Rosaleens point of view and which nuances the negative portrait of her.

Enright is very good at making everyday situations come to life and seem both credible and complex. I thought, I had read the same story before, but it is well done and definitely worth a read.

4 stars

Jul 9, 2020, 8:01 am

33. Herluf Bidstrup: Sagtmodige suk

Acquired: Last year my parents in law sold their house and moved to Flensburg in Germany. That meant getting rid of most of their books, and I heroically volunteered to give some of them a new home. Including this one.

Herluf Bidstrup was an artist who produced drawings and cartoons for the communist daily in Denmark from 1945 until his death in 1988. He was a devout communist and he never wavered in his support for the policy of Moscow, but he was also a humanitarian who was very good at capturing the unique looks of the people around him.

I was rather disappointed by this collection from 1974. The texts are no longer funny and some of them are very dogmatic. It is, however, a very quick read and I enjoyed watching the drawings.

2 stars

Jul 9, 2020, 5:15 pm

>63 Henrik_Madsen: That is truly heroic, giving the books a new home :) I hope some of the other books you offered to take in are more interesting than this one though.

Jul 10, 2020, 3:38 am

>63 Henrik_Madsen: Heroic, indeed. Are there any you have fond memories of or that you particular associate with your parents? I kept the novels from my father's favourite author but haven't had the heart yet to read them.

Jul 10, 2020, 4:06 am

>64 rabbitprincess: I hope so. I didn't think this one would be great, but it was a funny and non-mainstrem book, so I picked it to read something different which it was

>65 MissWatson: These books were from my wife's parents, so no childhood memories there. When I grew up my parents had a small book collection, but they never read much (except the paper, I believe my father read pretty much every syllable of the local daily) so I don't associate a particular book with them. I do, however, remember reading some of them myself (Tai-Pan by James Clavell e.g.) and I have inherited some books from my grandmother which she got when she was a young girl and has signed in her maiden name. I don't consider myself very sentimental but I still like having them.

Who was your father's favourite author, if I may ask?

Editado: Jul 10, 2020, 5:30 am

34. Anne-Cathrine Riebnitzsky: Forbandede yngel (Damned Offspring - the title is playing off Catcher in the Rye which was originally published in Danish as Forbandede ungdom / Damned Youth)

Acquired: My wife and I got this as gift when we threw a party for our 80 years birthday. (I contributed a bit more to the 80 years than she did.) It was also the oldest unread book since I started registering new acquisitions in 2014. Just af few more and I will be able to wrap up that year!

A young woman, Lisa, is travelling back from Afghanistan where she has been stationed as intelligence officer. On the flight home she tells her story to a stranger in the next seat, and it is a tough one about growing up in a dysfunctional family on a pig farm in Jutland. She and her three sieblings all suffered from their father's anger and their mother's mental issues - all of which was made worse by the real economic trouble the farm was in.

The story is compelling and well told. I could recognize many things from my own childhood, and the novel raises important ethical questions about the duty to intervene when children are not happy but also about the childrens right to revenge themselves when they grow up.

4½ stars

Jul 11, 2020, 12:10 pm

>66 Henrik_Madsen: Otto Flake. He was born in Metz when it was still German and spent all his life trying to mediate between France and Germany.

Jul 15, 2020, 4:41 pm

>68 MissWatson: Interesting. I must admit I don`t know him or any of his work.

Editado: Jul 20, 2020, 4:54 am

35. Jean-Pierre Gibrat: Udflugter (Excursions)

Acquired: Vacation time is book buying time and I while my wife was looking for clothes on sale I looked for comics in the local recycling store which also has a really good selection of books.

I have read a couple of works by Gibrat, but this collection of stories in the borderland between reality and imagination is much older. It is clearly visible in his drawings which are not bad but I like his later, more detailed style better. The stories were short and nothing special, so this volume will be on its way again shortly.

2 stars

Editado: Jul 20, 2020, 4:54 am

36. Carit Etlar: Gjøngehøvdingen

Acquired: Gøngehøvdingen is one of the most popular Danish novels ever, so I had to buy it when I found a used edition a couple of years ago in Maribo.

In 1658 Denmark was almost toppled by an invading Swedish army. The book is set as the Swedes are marching towards Copenhagen from the south of Zealand where Svend Poulsen is asked to start a resistance movement and later to transport a huge treasure to the king through enemy lines. The result is lots of action and this part of the story still works very well. Some of the characters are very oldfashioned (except for a witch which is also a traitor, the women are mostly there to be helped and adored by men) but overall an entertaining read.

3½ stars

Jul 24, 2020, 6:45 am

37. Francois Bourgeon: Trolddom i Tågeskoven

Acquired: This is another comic bought at the beginning of the holiday. I have read quite a few books by Bourgeon, but never this series. Time to check it out!

The scenen is set in France during the hundred years war. Small armies are moving through the landscape in devastating fashion, and in this context three outsiders are forced to join forces. Mariott is a young woman accused of withchery, Anicet is a young man without many redeeming qualities and the knight is physically hurt and trying to get to terms with the crimes of his past. He is also on a mission to fight "the dark force" and the two youngsters reluctantly join his quest. First they have to make through the foggy forest where elves are rumoured to roam...

The artwork is brilliant, as is mostly the case with Bourgeon, and I enjoyed the story quite a bit as well. Now looking forward to the last two installments in the series.

4 stars

Jul 26, 2020, 7:35 am

38. Steen Andersen: Danmark i det tyske storrum

Acquired: I don't remember when or where I bought this book, but it was probably at a book sale ten years ago. I had read about the book when it came out and bought it when I could get it cheap.

In 1940-41 a German vicory in the war seemed like the most likely outcome. Very few people in Denmark hoped for it, but the government still had to plan for the possibility. Traditionally the Danish economy had been very focused on Britain, but it was obvious, that a German peace would change things. Steen Andersen analyzes the Danish deliberations and whether it was smarter to wait for German proposals or to actively engage in negotiations,

The plans were never realized but it is an interesting book dealing with the dilemmas of collaboration from the perspective of politicians and administrators who didn't have the advantage og knowing how it all turned out.

4 stars

Jul 28, 2020, 10:59 am

39. Kirsten Hammann: Alene hjemme (Home alone)

Acquired: A book from my bookclub - I got it back in 2016 after it was published the year before that.

Sara is 38 and apparently close to having her dreams fulfilled - but it only appears that way. She lives with Philip who has recently divorced his wife, and he is not ready to have another child which is Sara's dream. She is also extremely insecure, every day fearing a breakup and only getting more and more frustrated as she reads about the future breakdown of society and self-help books full of irrelevant advice.

Things go from bad to worse, as the beautiful Frederikke moves in upstairs. She is also middle-aged, alone and dreaming of man, and soon she is making friendly advances on the little family. After a research trip to Bhutan, Sara is extremely sleepy and depressed every day. She can't help irritating Philip, suspecting an affair between them - and isn't there a weird taste in the cake Frederikke brings her?

Hammann has masterfully written about how women suffer under the stream of advice and idealisations in our culture. Wanting a family is not enough, life starts moving in circles and they are trapped in their own mental prisons. That critique is continued here - it's just not as good as some of her other books.

3 stars

Ago 1, 2020, 7:03 am

40. Miguel Angel Prado: Hverdagens vanvid (The craziness of everyday life)

Acquired: The last of the trio of comics I bought at the beginning of my vacation

The book is a collection of small stories. They all describe how absurd and crazy everyday situations can turn out, if everything goes wrong and everybody misunderstands each other. The stories are also very Spanish, descrinbing the relationship between mothers and sons, how (older) women like to pretend they are victims, how people can get caught in the wilderness of the Spanish bureaucracy etc.

They are alle funny and the artwork suits the stories very well. It was a cozy, satisfying read.

4 stars

Ago 8, 2020, 11:21 am

41. John Steinbeck: Perlen (The Pearl)

Acquired: Four years ago I got to copies of a book for my birthday - and exchanged one of them for the new Danish edition og The Pearl.

The book tells the simple story of the poor pearlfisher Kino who finds the biggest pearl ever seen in the small village where he lives. It is big enough to arouse dreams of prosperity and education for his son - but it is also more than big enough to awaken jealousy and murder in the hearts of the people around him.

The Pearl is a short but rivetting book about the dangers of wealth and the oppression of people who have little and should never try to rise above their class.

4 stars

Ago 13, 2020, 4:16 pm

42. W. Somerset Maugham: The Moon and Sixpence

Acquired: A paperback I bought on sale in Odense in the 1990s

Charles Strickland is apparantly a perfectly normal stockbroker - until he schockingly leaves his family to go to Paris. Worse still, he is not leaving with a mistress but to paint! The book is loosely based on the life of Paul Gauguin, but Strickland is more isolated and less recognized, and he is portrayed as genius, who has apparantly relinquished his humanity to become a great artist.

I didn't like Strickland but the story of the artist as a socially challenged, grumpy and self-absorbed genius is interesting.

4½ stars

Ago 16, 2020, 5:17 pm

43. Alistair MacLean: Bjørneøen (Bear Island)

Acquired: Another book saved from the library of my parents-in-law

Morning Rose, an old trawler, is making its way to Bear Island, a remote island in the North Atlantic. On board is a film crew, that doesn't really get along, and their doctor Christopher Marlowe. Marlowe is a doctor but he is also something else and has good reason to be on ship. It is not clear, however, if that reason has anything to do with the series of murders which suddenly strike...

MacLean is a master of plots, not character building. In this one, however, there are enough people with more than a macho attitude to make the story interesting, and the plot kept me on my toes till the end.

4 stars

Ago 16, 2020, 5:59 pm

>78 Henrik_Madsen: I'm glad you had a better time with Bear Island than I did :) For me it bore enough similarities to Ice Station Zebra, which I liked better, to make me feel like it had been done before. Have you read that one?

Ago 17, 2020, 2:57 pm

>79 rabbitprincess: Yes, I think so, but it was thirty years ago, so my recollection is beyond vague.

For me there is a portion of nostalgia to re-reading MacLean, and mostly I feel let down (Ulysses, The Golden Rendezvous, Force 10 from Navarone) because middleaged me is less impressed with his characters than adolescent me was. Bear Island has aged better, but I probably added half-a-star for old times sake.

Ago 22, 2020, 3:35 pm

44. Morten Strøknes: Havbogen (The Sea Book - the actual English title Shark Drunk i a bit dramatic)

Acquired: I got this one from my bookclub in July 2017 - and now felt like the right time to read it.

The author and his friend Hugo has decided to go shark fishing from a small boat. The reasons are a bit vague, but it seems mostly about getting close to nature and in touch with the fishing traditions of Northern Norway. Strøksnæs travels there four times over a year to fish, but the book is about much more than the fishing. Along the way he reflects on the history of fishing, the biology of the ocean and the shear magnitude of life in the sea. Following his thoughts is both interesting and thougt-provoking.

4 stars

Set 4, 2020, 9:22 am

Hi Henrik, just trying to visit some threads I did neglect in the last months. I spend most of those months in the garden reading. Since the weather was so nice I did not spend much time behind my laptop. But now the summer is gone I'm inside the house more.

I see you have almost reached your goal. Good job. How are you and the family doing? I hope you are all okay.

Set 19, 2020, 9:36 am

45. Tomas Espedal: Bergeners

Acquired: Another book bought in 2014 shortly after I started my systematic recording of acquisitions. Soon I well be able to finish off my 2014 purchases! (Maybe...)

The novel is quite short. It is part lovestory - the narrator is left by his girlfriend Janne and the book sort of revolves around this loss - part autobiography - we hear a lot about the author's life and his meetings with other famous norwegian authos - and part portrait of the city of Bergen. Espedal explicitly mentions Joyce's Dubliners as a source of inspiration.

The prose is brilliant, but I don't think I like how authors tend to hide behind the shield of fiction even though they talk about very serious things which have happened to other people. (Here the most troubling example is a night after a drinking party which may or may not have ended up in a rape.) Overall I enjoyed the book and the portrait of a city which is both different and the same as when Espedal grew up.

4 stars

Set 19, 2020, 9:41 am

46. Karl-Heinz Ott: Und jeden Morgen das Meer

Acquired: Earlier this summer we visited my parents-in-law in Flensburg - and of course I had to visit one of the local bookstores, where I found this little novel.

Sonja is 62 and her life is in ruins. She has run a hotel ned the Bodensee for thirty years, but now her husband is dead, she has lost everything, and she is now wandering about a small Welsh town. She ponders her life as she tries to get firm ground beneath her feet again.

The story is nothing special and the writing isn't revolutionary either, but I did enjoy, how Ott told the story and made a quite ordinary life interesting.

3 stars

Editado: Set 27, 2020, 12:18 pm

47. Asta Olivia Nordenhof: Penge på lommen

Acquired: This was chosen as the book for september in my nonline book club, so I bought it a month ago.

The book is the first part of a seven-volume work with the Scandinavian Star-catastrophe (more than a 150 dead after a fire on the ferry) as the common theme. It doesn't really play any role in this novel, which tells the story of Kurt and Maggie. They come from difficult backgrounds, and their relationship is hardly a healthy one, but they still love each-other and end of being better off together than apart.

The story is interesting, but the main attraction of the book is the writing which is beautiful and innovative. Nordenhof's background as a poet is clearly on display, and this makes it easy to dismiss some strange turns in the plot.

4 stars

Out 24, 2020, 10:05 am

48. Charlier og Giraud: Blueberry - samlede eventyr 3

Acquired: I bought the book this summer. I'm collecting the Blueberry series and buy the volumes as they are released.

This is one of the best western series ever. Blueberry is placed in the middle the rivalry between Union Pacific and Central Pacific, two railway companies building the connection between the American east and west in the 1870s. They are reward for each mile they build, so moving fast and/or stopping the opponent is essential. Blueberry is hired buy Union Pacific to handle the relationship with the local tribes, which is not easy. Central Pacific and their agent Steelfingers are trying to stirr up confrontations - which is easy. The native Americans don't trust the white men, and there are always white people who want to remove the threat once and for all.

The volume is packed with action and fights, but it is also a brilliant story about the expansion to the West. Fear, hatred and the lust for new land means it's almost impossible to keep the peace. Blueberry tries and it is pleasure to follow his adventures.

4½ stars

Out 25, 2020, 5:09 am

Hi Henrik. How are you doing? You and the family still okay? I do hope so.

Out 25, 2020, 10:06 am

>Hi Connie. Thanks for checking in. We are doing ok. Restrictions were just upped again this week, but when looking at the severity of the pandemic in other countries we cannot really complain. Still, there is a lot of work so I haven't been in here much the last months.

Hope you and your family is getting by as well.

Out 25, 2020, 10:18 am

49. Heinrich Mann: Professor Unrat

Acquired: A couple of years ago we went to the small North German town of Scharbeutz for the summer. It is near Lübeck where we went to buy cake and marzipan, see the city gate and other sights - and visit the Buddenbrook Haus of course. There I bought this fine novel.

Professor Raat has been a school teacher for a lifetime. He is an authoritarian, and his main aim seems to be to instill obedience in his pupils and punish them when he doesn't succeed. One day he meets Rosa Frühling, an attractive cabaret singer, and he cannot let her go. He becomes obsessed with her and soon it is the end of his career. It is not the end of the novel's criticism of German society, however, as they end up hosting parties where the local bourgeoisie can gamble and drink.

Heinrich Mann doesn't write the exquisite prose of his brother, but his satire has teeth and this study of authoritarian personalities is sadly relevant today.

4 stars

Out 26, 2020, 4:42 am

>88 Henrik_Madsen: We are doing fine, Henrik. I hope they up the restrictions here too, because that is very necessary. Young people are gathering in the woods or in other secrets places. That's the cause of more contaminations then the hospitals can handle.

Nov 11, 2020, 4:20 pm

50. Godard og Derib: Manden som troede på Californien

Acquired: I bought this album a month ago in a local shop.

The authors are deeply fascinated by the mythology of the west, and here they paint four portraits of the stuborn men who paved the way for expansion to the west. The stories are interesting and the artwork is great, but the stories a bit too short for my taste.

3 stars

Oh - and I have reached my goal!

Nov 11, 2020, 6:06 pm

>91 Henrik_Madsen: Congrats, Henrik! :D

Nov 12, 2020, 3:44 am

Nov 12, 2020, 5:10 am


Nov 15, 2020, 8:52 am

Thanks all!

51. Christina Hesseholdt: Vivian

Acquired: I have been interested in this book for some time, so when it showed up in an online sale a few months ago, I pounced on it.

It is a novel about American street photographer Vivan Maier, who never exibited during her lifetime but made hundreds of thousands of photos in the streets of major cities from the 1940s onward. The novel focuses on her growing up in New York in a migrant family and on her life in Chicago in the late 1960s where she worked as a nanny for a couple named Rice.

The book is well-written and a great portrait of an interesting woman and artist.

4 stars

Nov 15, 2020, 10:06 am

Cheers to reaching your ROOTing goal, Henrik.🎈

Nov 15, 2020, 5:31 pm

Editado: Dez 8, 2020, 4:19 pm

52. Ulrik Langen: Revolutionens skygger

Acquired: Here is how I buy a lot of books: Read a good review, put the book on my wishinglist, don't get it, buy it at a book sale a couple of years later. Maybe even get it read. That's the story about this one, which has been sitting on my shelves for at east ten years.

During the French Revolution a lot of people left the country to become emigrants. Some of them ended up in Copenhagen, and Langen is telling their story. The problem is, there were only a few so he has to maximise the ones who did leave traces in the archives. It is a good book because he manages to do make some of them come to life, but the narrative obviously focuses on the ones who stood out, because they were famous, wrote their own sourcematerial or got into conflict with the law.

4 stars

Editado: Dez 3, 2020, 4:02 am

>98 Henrik_Madsen: I think you put a wrong name and title in your post. The description sounds very interesting!

ETA: the same happens to me, all the time. I always have to tell myself to be patient, the books will go on sale sometime, there's still time to read them...

Dez 8, 2020, 4:22 pm

>99 MissWatson: Thanks - it's fixed now.

And good to hear that I'm not the only one who shops books like that. (Actually I quite enjoy it. Going through a book sale catalogue is also a way of remembering good reviews and the joyous expectation of actually reading the book.)

Dez 8, 2020, 4:31 pm

53. Kim Leine: Rød mand / sort mand (Red man / black man)

Acquired: Another book from the book club which I bought a couple of years ago.

In 1721 Hans Egede sailed for Greenland. His goal was to reform the old norse inhabitants who believed to still live their life there under the sad influence of catholicism. Instead he found the Inuit population and started christianing them. Seven years later the king decided to add an actual colony which was a full-fledged disaster as the men and women who were forced to marry and were then sent there died from malnutrition and bad planning.

Egede is the black man in the title, the local shaman Aappaluttoq is the red man. They fight for the soul of Aappaluttoq's son, who is stolen / adopted by Egede, and indeed for the soul of the whole country.

Leine has written an entertaining and epic book about a part of Danish history, we have stille not come to terms with. He has also brought a period in history to life in a fascinating way.

4 stars

Dez 13, 2020, 4:55 am

54. Naja Marie Aidt: Hvis døden har taget noget fra dig så giv det tilbage (If Death has taken Something from you Give it Back)

Acquired: Yet another book of the month, this one bought last summer

Aidt has experience the most stresseful thing that can happen to a human being. In 2015 her son died after jumping from a window in a drugsrelated psychosis. The book tells his story, the terrible hours and days following the acceident, and the author's struggle to find her way back to writing again. Suddenly literature becomes meaningless and she finds it again through reading Gilgamesh Stéphane Mallarmé and others who have read about losing a loved one.

The book is raw and hard to read. But if you are up to having your emotions rocked it is well worth your time.

4 stars

Dez 15, 2020, 3:55 pm

55. Nora Krug: Heimat (The English title is Belonging, but the Danish publisher nailed it by choosing the German title instead of making a translation into Danish.)

Acquired: Another book from the book club. I was ordering some classics on sale last year and thought this one looked interesting as well.

Nora Krug is a German author and illustrator born in 1977 in Karlsruhe, where she grew up with the memory of the war which was everywhere but stille strangely detached from her own family life. After emigrating she becomes very aware of being German but also feels a strong need to explore and confront her own family and its past. What were her grandparents actually doing during the war? As it turns out, her family were neither hardcore nazis nor heroes opposing the regime. They were there, they were part of it, which was obviously bad enough.

The book is truly a graphic novel. The text is well written and Krug illustrates the story in simple drawings but also makes collages using old photos and documents which makes the narrative compelling and authentic. The book is a deep dip into German culture and identity. I loved it.

4½ stars

Dez 20, 2020, 9:14 am

56. Francoise Sagan: Forår - sommer - efterår

Acquired: Earlier this year I went on a shopping spree in some local second hand shops. One of the things I fell for was this novel by Sagan. I read Bonjour Tristesse a couple of years ago and loved it, so why not try to see what else she could do?

Lucile and Antoine are both 30 years old. She lives with the older, rich man Charles, and he is the mistress of a wealthy, older woman. At a party they are placed next to each other, and most can probably guess what happens next.

Antointe and Lucile fall in love - but can their passion survive the dull everyday life - and can Lucile accept a life without the relaxation and easy carefree life, which Charles provided her with?

The novel is an easy read and a good portrait of Paris in the 60s and of the four people involved in the love story. It is not much more that that, but sometimes that's ok.

3 stars

Dez 21, 2020, 4:27 am

Wow, you are ROOTing a lot these days!

Dez 22, 2020, 5:12 pm

>105 MissWatson: Yes, it's been a really good year - at least in the field of rooting.

57. Berryoer og Gibrat: Frie fornemmelser & Kærlighed og kogevask

Acquired: Two more volumes picked up in one of the local second-hand shops. I knew Gibrat, who has done great work on occupation France, so I decided to take a chance in this series.

Berroyer and Gibrat made five volumes about the French teenager David Goutard but only these two - originally volume 4 & 5 - have been translated to Danish. In the first one David and his family is on vacation by the ocean. David spends his time arguing with his father, making all kinds of teenage related trouble and courting a couple of beautiful girls in one of the other tents. Amazingly he is succesful with the gorgeous Valérie. A little too succesful it turns out in the next volume. She is pregant and he has to leave school and become a mechanic in a faraway village, where they try realize a happy family life.

The art work is nice and the stories are not bad. They are just nothing special, and I never believed in David an Valérie as a couple or his transformation to a semi-responsible father.

2½ stars

Dez 25, 2020, 9:26 am

Happy Holidays from the Netherlands!

Dez 26, 2020, 2:20 am

>107 connie53: Thanks Connie. And a very merry Christmas and New Year to you, too!

Dez 28, 2020, 9:45 am

58. Ida Jessen: Kaptajnen og Ann Barbara (The Captain and Ann Barbara)

Acquired: Another book from the book club - one I was happy to see as book of the month in november, since it was already on my to-buy list.

People reading my threads will know that I'm a huge fan of Ida Jessen who is one of my favorite contemporary Danish authors. This is my 14th book by her, and I still anticiapate her next publication and love reading them.

Here she continues her new focus on historical novels. The story is set in 1750s Jutland, where Ludwig von Kahlen (The Captain in the title) is trying to cultivate the heath where there was nothing but sand, wind and wolves. This project takes both capital and extraordinarily hard work. It also means conflic with the nearby landlord Schinkel who does not want to see anybody question his authority or his property - and who is just plain evil. Along comes Ann Barbara, a young woman who has been through some not so nice things but is great at running a household. Slowly their partnership grows into a surprising and touching love story.

The novel is not a romance. Ultimately the attempt to cultivate the uninviting soil fails and the confrontation with Schinkel ends in tragedy. Still there is hope, and there is an enticing, slowly evolving story that I really enjoyed.

4½ stars

Dez 29, 2020, 8:09 am

59. William Shakespeare: Richard II

Acquired: Volume three of the complete plays by Shakespeare in a new translation was a very welcome gift for Christmas. Time to continue my ambition of reading all his plays in chronological order! (At least af far as that can be determined)

Shakespeare wrote two tetralogies (groups of four plays) on the English War of the Roses. This is first first play of the second tetralogy, which actually dealt with the first part of the conflict. The main character is Richard II who was crowned in 1377 and ruled for 22 years. The play focuses on the last years of his life. He is unable to solve a conflict between Thomas Mowbray and his own cousin Henry Bolingbroke. When he decides to banish both, he only undermines his own authority. As he seizes property and borrows money for a war in Ireland, the road to upheaval is open. Henry returns with an army from abroad, Richard is forced to resign and is finally murdered in his captivity.

The play is mainly fuelled by Richard's character - he seems to be weak and undecisive despite his many years on the throne - and the power struggle which is also a conflict within the royal family. The terrible times to come constitute the backdrop for all the action.

I enjoyed reading the play which is well-written (of course) but also has the feeling of prelude to larger dramas to come.

3½ stars

Dez 29, 2020, 10:06 am

>110 Henrik_Madsen: The Hollow Crown adaptation of this play (with Ben Whishaw as Richard) is fantastic!

Dez 30, 2020, 6:04 am

>111 rabbitprincess: Thanks - I would definitely like to watch this. Richard is obviously the main character, but I would also be very interested to see how Henry Bolingbroke is portrayed. The text is rather gentle to him - he has real grievances to complain about - but people rarely become king without actively seeking it.

Dez 30, 2020, 3:24 pm

60. Herta Müller: Ræven var allerede dengang jægeren (The Fox was Already Then The Hunter - a precise translation of the German title, the one actually chosen for the English edition is a bit easier on the tongue.)

Acquired: I got this book in december 2014 when I got two copies of Norwegian Wood for Christmas and exchanged one of them for this book. Reading it is quite a landmark for me: This was the last unread book acquired in 2014 in my library! I still have lots of unread books bought in 2013, 2015 etc. but still: One year down!

Herta Müller writes about the last years of Romania under Ceausescu. The friends Adina and Clara lives in the provincial town of Timisoara, and their lives start moving apart. Adina is a teacher who knows some people who might be outspoken against the regime, so the secret police starts following her and openly invading her home, when she is out. Clara falls in love with the police officer Pavel - and maybe also a little with the privileges he has access to. The novel culminates in december 1989, when the people finally rebels and the dictator is executed. We don't see much of this, though, as Adina and a friend is hiding in the countryside.

Müller is a greater interpreter of the communist regimes, the paranoia, and the techniques of repression. This is also on display in this novel, but the ending and the non-showing of the actual rebellion was a bit disappointing.

4 stars

And that's it for 2020. I'm quite happy with my reading and my ROOTing and look forward to next year. There are still plenty of books dwelling undisturbed on my shelves for far too long!

Dez 31, 2020, 4:55 am

Happy New Year, Henrik, for you and the family. Stay Safe!