Friday, 28 October 2011

Slakteren av Øystein Wiik

Jeg leser ikke mye krim, men etter å ha hørt forfatteren selv snakke om boka, ble jeg nysgjerrig. Og når man har fått et signert eksemplar føler man litt at man burde lese boka. Jeg angret ikke, for å si det sånn! Slakteren av operasanger (?) Øystein Wiik er en morsom og annerledes krim. Det meste av handlingen foregår på den franske riviera, men også i Oslo-området og i India, og favner kunsternmiljøer og store økonomiske smutthull.

To lik dukker opp av sentrale figurer innen kunst i Oslo. Når likene oppdages er de "kunstnerisk" dandert, men uten noen synlige spor etter en mulig gjerningsmann (eller kvinne!). Samtidig i den franske riviera, dukker liket av en kvinne opp i bilen til Eddie Jones, og hans venn Tom Hartmann finner seg plutselig involvert i et mørkt nett av svarte penger, en femme fatale, og et forhistorisk udyr. Her er det penger, begjær, maktkamp, og, merkelig nok, yoga, sentralt.

Det er mange morsomme situasjoner og karakterer i boken. Den småkriminelle gjengen som klarer å rote seg opp i en pågående maktkamp på rivieraen er en svært forfriskende tilstedeværelse. Den gradvise avsløringen fra fortiden er fascinerende og holder på spenningen til siste side. Ellers er det svært mange underholdende og interessante karakterer som gjør boken ekstra god.

Jeg vil også gi et lite forbehold: boken er ikke for sarte sjeler! Her er det noen virkelig ekle scener (ikke mange, men ille nok!).

Slakteren er en knallgod krim med høyt tempo. Jeg koste meg masse med boka som både var spennende og underholdende. Anbefales!

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Ready Player One | The game in the game in the game



I finally had a chance to indulge my geek bone and read Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. I had been looking forward to reading it for some time, and when I finally had the book in my hands I literally swallowed it. It got me as hooked as proper geeks are when they play WoW (or me when I play HoMM 3)...


The novel is set in 2044, a time where most people spend large parts of their time connected to the virtual world OASIS. Escaping into this virutal reality beats the poverty and environmental crisis the world as a whole is in. OASIS' creator, James Halliday, recently died, and in his will he left all his riches to whoever manages to find the "easter egg" he has hidden somewhere inside OASIS. To find the egg, the "player" first has to find three keys that open three gates. The race has begun.


We follow Wade, or Parzival, which is his OASIS name, the teenager who finds the first key. Wade is almost like Charlie from the Roald Dahl stories, in that he is the poor kid who is introduced to the wonders of the "chocolate factory", or in this case, the OASIS universe. Wade is a proper geek who, like all the other egg hunters, have perused all the tidbits of clues and information left behind by Halliday. Halliday had an extreme nostalgia for the 80s, and so the contestants watch endless hours of shows and movies from the 80s, play all the video games, listen to the music and read all the comics. Un/fortunately I was born in the 80s, so I can't say that I remember all the references, but I still throroughly all the "geeking" about rare editions of computer games played on a RHS 80 (or something!).


But searching for the egg is not all fun and games (pun intended). One group, the sixers (or Suxorz) work for a corporation who wishes to take control of OASIS and destroy Halliday's vision of a free virtual world for everyone. The sixers will do anything to find the egg and win the competition. The other egg hunters ("gunters"), and especially our own Wade, seems to be fighting Goliath in the attempt to beat the sixers to it.


What really appealed to me about this novel was the quests and how the mysteries around the clues were solved. Often the characters have to play games within the game. Games they had played outside, but which now appeared around them again, inside OASIS. There is also a strong linke between sci-fi and fantasy brought on from the magical elements that are allowed in some parts of OASIS.


I also enjoyed some of the other characters in the book. Wade has a few OASIS friends, Art3mis and Aech, who he only knows through OASIS, and who are his closest allies in the search for the egg.


I don't want to say too much about this book. It's kind of a mash between Tron, the Matrix and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (and prolly lotsa other Sci-fi references I can't think of right now). It's primarily an experience to read, it really takes you for a pleasure ride through popular culture of the 80s. It kind of feels like watching a computer game, but there's so much in it! My only problem with it, was that there could have been a bit more violence. Hello! It's meant to be a bit like a video game! (I guess the video games of the 80s weren't all that violent to begin with).


Anywho. If u have a geek bone in your body, you just have to read this book. And watch out for the movie. which should be out in 2012 or 2013. I hope they make it R-rated, because that'd be soooo kewl!

Friday, 21 October 2011

Penguin Ink

I am always impressed with Penguin's ability to think new. I love the idea of using "inked" covers to relaunch some modern classics, and possibly reaching a new readership.











Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Saving CeeCee Honeycutt | Instant feel-good



Usually I am not a big fan of so-called feel-good novels. But I have to say, Beth Hoffman's Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, or CeeCee Honeycutts Reddende Engler as it is called in Norwegian, was exactly what I needed right now. An easily accessible novel with that made me laugh and smile while reading.


CeeCee Honeycutt is a very smart 12-year old. Unfortunately her mother has severe psychological problems, and her father have all but abandoned CeeCee in her mother's "care" (more like lack thereof). We have a classical case of the narcissistic mother who is being mothered by her child. Hence CeeCee's maturity. It sounds like the recipe for a tragedy, but as the title indicates, there is hope. CeeCee prays and prays, and suddenly her guardian angels start entering the scene. All it took was her mother's death.


CeeCee is swept away to Savannah by her mother's kind and strong aunt.- She suddenly finds herself in a mansion, surrounded by the loving care of "aunt Tootie" and her maid Oletta. The neighbourhood has some eccentric female characters that CeeCee befriends, and slowly but surely CeeCee starts to realise that she can create her own future despite the problems in her past.


There are some conflicts in the text. CeeCee goes with Oletta and two of her friends to spend a day at the beach. Suddenly they are confronted with racism and hatred so strong that there is nothing they can do about it. The encounter gives CeeCee night terrors, but Oletta manages to get her through it. In the end, the conflict is solved through no effort on the characters' part. There is also the neighbouring gossip and tramp who is the source of much ridicule among the people in the novel. Once more the conflict is "solved" without much effort. There is also the issue of CeeCee's absent father and CeeCee's conflict with herself on weather or not she should forgive him. She realises that forgiveness feels best for the one forgiving, but she is still not sure if she can simply give up her bitterness.


The novel is full of eccentric and strong women- Most of them are quite wise, which can be a little annoying at times. And CeeCee is a little too mature at times, despite knowing that she's had to grow up fast.


At the heart of the novel is friendship: friendships between women that accepts and uplifts. If you want a nice cup of instant feel-good, Saving CeeCee Honeycutt is just the ticket.

Cape Town av Tomm Kristiansen

Sør-Afrika er jo mitt andre hjem, og jeg elsker Tomm Kristiansens bøker, så det var ingen tvil om at jeg måtte lese hans nye bok Cape Town. Nå er jeg Jo'burger og litt biased i forhold til hvordan fokus man har på Cape Town vs Jo'burg, men så skriver Tomm Kristiansen så flott og nyansert om Sør-Afrika og Cape Town. Noe av det beste jeg vet med å lese Kristiansen er at jeg rett og slett kan høre stemmen hans i hodet mitt når jeg leser.

Anyway. Kristiansens kjærlighet til stedet gjennomsyrer hele teksten. Her er nydelige landskapsskildringer som gjør at du kan kjenne duftene og "the buzz" av Sør-Afrika. Han skriver om mennesker han møter, om deres daglige liv, deres "struggles" i det nye (og gamle) Cape Town. Her er det politikk, kultur, religion, mat, og selvsagt vin.

Kristiansen gjør teksten personlig. Han snakker om sine egne opplevelser av Cape Town, både gjennom sitt journalistiske virke, og som privatperson. Og det er nettopp Kristiansens evne til å kombinere dette personlige og menneskelige med det politiske/historiske som gjør tekstene hans så gode. Kristiansen har en drøm om at utopien til the Rainbow Nation skal virkeliggjøres, og denne drømmen deler jeg med ham.

For min del skulle gjerne boken vært litt lengre. Jeg savnet et kapittel om Cape Town under Fotball-VM i 2010. Og det hadde vært interessant å lese hans "take" på mordet av indisk-svenske Annie Dewani.

I det store og hele er Cape Town et must for alle (Sør-)Afrika-elskere. For andre som liker en mer nyansert reiseskildring inneholder boken rike skildringer av steder å besøke. Anbefales varmt.