22 Oct 2022

Deweys Readathon - October 2022

T-3 (11:00) It's that time of year again! The October 2022 readathon is starting in just three hours, and I'm busy getting everything ready before my partners in crime arrive. I definitely get less actual reading done, the more people we are, but it's SO much more cozy! So I'm very happy with the trade-off. Today I'll be joined by my parents, Rebekka, Michala, Rosa and Henriette! They're arriving in just over 2 hours, so time to start getting organized! The meals are in the crockpots (pulled pork and vegetarian sloppy joes), so I just need to do the last bit of tidying up and getting all the books out!

T-30 minutes (13:30) Everybody has arrived, so it's time to do our modified version of the "Getting to know you" survey!
  1. Where are you reading from today? My library, as per usual.... more specifically: Lyngby, Denmark.
  2. List a random fact about yourself: Mum: If I read through 2 books today I reach 100 books for the year! Dad: I have two hands? Maria: I "accidentally" read my readathon book last week, so now I have to find another one... oh the hardship ;-) Rosa: I have sooooo many books in my TBR-pile, but if I know myself, I'm only going to get to read one of them! Rebekka: Story of my life! I have a cold :-( Not Corona though! Henriette: I cannot read upside down (in response to Dad saying that he can - but that was his random fact last year, so he wanted to find a new one ;-) ) Michala: I'm probably going to fall asleep! I think I've taken naps at more readathons than I haven't.
  3. How many books do you have in your TBR pile for the readathon? Mum: Six Dad: Three Henriette: One and a half Maria: Eh... 10? Plus all the ones on the shelves. Rosa: Five Rebekka: Five Michala: Eight
  4. Which book are you going to start with? Mum: "Da mor var dreng" (old Danish book) Dad: Chipped Henriette: "Det tavse vidende" Maria: I haven't decided yet!!!! Rosa: Heartstopper volume 2 Rebekka: Meet me in the Margins Michala:
  5. Do you have any goals for the read-a-thon? Mum: Read two books! Dad: Not really Henriette: Nah Maria: Read more than last time Rosa: Finish "It Stars With Us" Rebekka: Read a book! Dad: What she said! Michala: Not really
  6. What snack are you most looking forward to? Mum: What did Rebekka bring? Rosa: It's a secret!!! Dad: Fazermints Henriette: Macarons Maria: The pistachios that are half gone already! Oooh! Rebekka's macarons (Rosa just went to get them!) Rosa: Macarons and chips! Rebekka: Macarons Michala: Macarons
Hour 3 (17:00): Three hours in and a lot of the snacks have been devoured. Rebekka's macarons were sooooo good!!!! She made three different flavours - black current, strawberry and passionfruit. They were all yummy, but passionfruit was by far my favourite. Yum!!! I finished my first book (and old Danish favourite from my childhood) about an hour ago, and am now about 60 pages into the second one - book 7 in the Wayward Children series by Seanan McGuire. Mixi's reading graphic novels this time around, and is close to finishing book 3!! Everybody else is still on their first book, although Rosa's getting very close!! Mini-challenge of the hour: Best (and worst) film adaptation of a book? Mum: Best: Lord of the Rings Dad: Best: Harry Potter. Worst: Disney adaptations of Jules Verne's novels - back in the 60s) Henriette: Best: Lord of the Rings Maria: Best: The Martian. Worst: either "Ender's Game" or "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy". Both amazing books and abysmal movies. Rosa: Best: Harry Potter. I don't think I have a worst. Rebekka: Best: Either Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings Michala: Best: Lord of the Rings. Worst: My Sister's Keeper - they changed the ending completely, and made it SO tacky. Books read: "Anak fra Østen" - Estrid Ott, "Where the Drowned Girls Go" - Seanan McGuire, "Two Can Keep a Secret" - Karen McManus "Dear Enemy" - Jean Webster, "Maus", "Ella Minnow Pea" - Mark Dunn Currently reading:

3 Jan 2022

My Reading Year, 2021

Total number of books: 123
# Rereads: 56 / 46%

# Physical Books on my Shelves by End of Year: 1213 (-64 ...thanks to my MAJOR declutter in August)
# TBR: 213 (+12 ...I'll DEFINITELY need to do something about that this year!)
Longest Book (not counting fanfics or omnibusses): Blue Smoke - Nora Roberts (440 pages)
Shortest Book (not counting short stories or graphic novels): Wine's Up? - Wendy Meadows (104 pages)

Average rating: 3.9

Best New Series:
For the Love of Purple by Audrey Faye. But then, I love pretty much anything she writes!
Love Lines by Cara Bastone. I've read two so far, and they were both very, very sweet.

Abandoned Books
None, but I have some on my "currently-reading" shelf that I probably ought to abandon... at least temporarily.

Worst Book(s) of the Year
* Bear, Otter and the Kid - T.J. Klune. I was so disappointed by this! I usually love everything he writes!
* The Road Trip - Beth O'Leary. Waaaay too depressing for what I thought was supposed to be a feel-good book.
* Little Lady Agency - Hester Browne. I was listening to this as an audiobook, but ended up finishing this as an e-book, as I just couldn't stomach any more of Melissa's father or her insecurity.

Worst Book That Everybody Raved About: "Under the Whispering Door" by T.J. Klune. I didn't dislike it, but just found it very average - and since everybody else seems to rave about it, that was very disappointing.

Best Book I Would Never Have Read If Somebody Online Hadn't Told Me To: "Magic Uncorked" by Annabel Chase. Unfortunately I can no longer remember who told me about this 'midlife magic' genre (Paula? I think it was probably you?), but I was instantly interested, and fortunately this, my first forey into that genre, was right up my aisle!

Book read furthest away from home (vacation reads?): I didn't really travel all that far this year, so I guess it will have to be "The Holiday Cruise" by Victoria Cooke, read in the summer house Mum and Dad rented in Jutland.

Book that took you the longest to read: "The Selected Journals of LMM, Volume 1". Granted, I read this in fits and starts, but it took me half a year to read.

Book you read on your birthday: "Oddball" by Sarah Andersen. An ARC I received of a new comic by one of my favourite authors.

Book you read in 2021 but already want to re-read: "Project Hail Mary" by Andy Weir! I basically considered turning right around and starting all over again the minute I finished it.

Most books read by one author this year:
Counting rereads: Debora Geary (21 as herself, another 5 as Audrey Faye)
Not counting rereads: A tie between Audrey Faye and T.J. Klune (4 each)

Favourite new author you discovered Mhairi McFarlane.

Biggest Tear-Jerker: "Last Night" by Mhairi McFarlane.

Epic that Completely Captured my Attention: "Project Hail Mary" by Andy Weir. Not sure that it quite counts as an epic, but at almost 500 pages, it's certainly not SHORT either!

Best Memoir: "The 52 Week Project" by Lauren Keenan. Half memoir, half happiness project. Granted, I'm definitely biased (I featured in the book on numerous occasions!), but I'd like to believe I'd have loved it anyway, as it's up my aisle, even putting aside the fact that the author's one of my best friends.

Best Travel Book: "The Little Brooklyn Bakery" by Julie Caplin. I know it's fiction - and not even high fiction at that! - but the book made me feel like I was in NYC while reading it - and that's quite a feat!

Best Paranormal for Grownups: "Magic Uncorked" by Annabel Chase. Apparently there's an entire genre of people finding magic in their 40s. This is the only one I've read so far, but I loved it and am DEFINITELY going to look out for more!

Book you said you'd come back to but still haven't picked up again: "And All the Stars" by Andrea K. Höst. I started reading this back in April, and still haven't finished. It's even a reread and I loved it the first time I read it, so I have no clue what's happening here. Wrong book at the wrong time, I guess.

Book read the quickest after receiving it: "The Beginner's Guide to Loneliness" by Laura Bambrey. I started it 10 minutes after purchasing it, and finished it in less than 24 hours. Definitely a case of right book at the right time.

Book you wish you could go back and read for the first time again: "A Modern Witch" by Debora Geary. *sigh*

Book you "pushed" the most people to read: "Project Hail Mary" by Andy Weir. I started raving about it even before I finished it, and have currently pushed it to 3 sisters, 1 niece, both parents and 3 colleagues! :-D

Book you're most excited about in 2022: "Meet Me In the Margins" by Melissa Ferguson (expected publication: Feb 15th). Granted, I've read it already, but I loved it so much that I can't wait for it to be published, so I can push it on everybody else as well. Also, I want a physical copy for my library :-D

28 Dec 2021

Top Ten Books I Read in 2021

This was a surprisingly difficult list to make, as I've reread a LOT, and I never count rereads for these lists. And unfortunately, when it comes to new reads, it's been a bit of a 'meh' reading year this year. But fortunately I did find some new reads that were absolutely outstanding, and became instant favourites.
Project Hail Mary - Andy Weir Without a doubt the best book I've read all year. It blew me away and left me book-hungover in a way I haven't experienced in AGES! Am VERY glad to have gotten a physical copy of this one for my library!
Meet Me in the Margins - Melissa Ferguson An ARC I received earlier this year (it'll be out in February sometime). Really sweet romance with definite shades of "You've Got Mail". Loved it!
Call Me Maybe - Cara Bastone An Audible origins, meaning it was free with my subscription. Would absolutely have been worth money though. Another really sweet chick-lit that worked perfectly as an audiobook (read by two narrators). (The companion novel, "Sweet Talk" is also well worth listening to :-D )
If I Never Met You - Mhairi McFarlane Somehow I'd managed to get this far without ever coming across any of Mhairi McFarlane's books! HUGE mistake, and one I have made sure to remedy since then. This is by far my favourite, and yet another book that I immediately wanted to add to my physical library.
Boyfriend Material - Alexis Hall Very cute and charming book, that had me laughing out loud more than once. Apparently I'm a huge fan of faux romances ;-)
Whiteout- Adriana Anders Not very realistic, but a good yarn, so I enjoyed it all the same.
The Little Brooklyn Bakery - Julie Caplin Mostly on this list because it was such a charming depiction of NYC that it made me completely "homesick" for it. I'll have to reread it just before our next visit, as it included some (as far as I could tell) real places, I want to go see.
Magic Uncorked - Annabel Chase Definitely a matter of the right book at the right time, but a witch who does magic through cocktails? I am so there for it! Also, I love reading about people who learn how to polish their spine.
Blue - Audrey Faye Audrey Faye's new trilogy, "For the Love of Purple", is just as charming as pretty much everything else she has written. This is the second book in the trilogy, and definitely the one I liked best... possibly because I found it easier to identify with Blue than with both Indigo and Violet.
The Rest of Us Just Live Here - Patrick Ness Until now I had been less than impressed by Patrick Ness' books, but this is definitely the exception that proves the rule. The story is brilliantly written, with a clever use of "Easter eggs" that I didn't notice until a few chapters down the line, and then had to go back and reread bits and pieces to make sure I got it all.

20 Dec 2021

Playlist 2021

So... this is an unusual year. I've actually been listening to a LOT of different music this year, so it's been a lot harder to boil it down to my usual 20'ish. However, as usual the playlist is heavily influenced by music that Lars and my colleagues have introduced me to ;-)

Hopefully the embedding will work, otherwise the link is here.

1. Truth Be Told - Matthew West feat. Carly Pearce I think this has been my 'anthem' for the year. Simon recommended it to me back at the start of the year, and it just hit all the right notes. (No pun intended). I cried the first time I heard it, but it's incredibly empowering and I love it.
I say, "I'm fine, yeah, I'm fine, oh, I'm fine, hey, I'm fine"
But I'm not, I'm broken
And when it's out of control I say it's under control
But it's not and You know it
I don't know why it's so hard to admit it
When being honest is the only way to fix it
There's no failure, no fall
There's no sin You don't already know
So let the truth be told

2. Revolutionary - Josh Wilson I believe this was a random find via Spotify, but it quickly became one of my favourites. I love both the lyrics and the beat of it. And as we're fighting the stigma of "Christians" who seem to have forgotten the golden rule, it seems very apropos.
Why does kindness seem revolutionary
When did we let hate get so ordinary
Let's turn it around, flip the script
Judge slow, love quick
God help us get revolutionary
What would Jesus do
He would love first
So we should love first

3. Steady - Natalie Layne Soooo.... I found this song on TikTok :-P And yes, I immediately went to Spotify to add it to my playlist there.

4. Quarantine Life - Matthew West .... come on, you know I had to!

5. Hindsight - Hillsong Young & Free There's always at least one song by Hillsong on these lists, and this year is no different. I love the lyrics here:
My God isn't finished yet
If He did it before He can do it again
So I'll trust Him with what comes next
For the God I know is known for faithfulness
My hindsight says I can trust Him with what's next.

6. Praying - Keiino Lars and I 'discovered' Keiino at a Eurovision song contest a few years ago, and Lars especially has been a fan of them ever since. Most of their songs I can take or leave, but this one I really like :-D

7. Over and Over - Riley Clemmons According to Spotify this was my no. 1 most played song this year! Guess that automatically earns it a spot on this list (even if it was mostly because it was one of the first songs I discovered). Also a recommendation from Simon.

8. survivin' - Bastille I always look forward to checking out Brenda's yearly playlists, because she always has some awesome songs on it. This was one of my favourites, mostly due to the lyrics. 2020 and 2021 has definitely required all of us to drawn on strengths we hadn't expected to.

9. OK Not To Be OK - Marshmello feat. Demi Lovato. Another song from Brenda. The title basically says it all, but the lyrics of the chorus ("... you feel too exhausted to pray") really spoke to me. This one and "Truth Be Told" has a lot of similarities and resonated with me for many of the same reasons.
When you're high on emotion
And you're losing your focus
And you feel too exhausted to pray
Don't get lost in the moment
Or give up when you're closest
All you need is somebody to say
It's okay not to be okay

10. Shake Yourself Loose - Vickie Winans Yes, I know that this is a blatant ripoff of "Shackles (Praise You)", but come on!!! How can you NOT dance in your seat when listening to it?!

11. Are You Lonely - Steve Aoki Lars has been listening to this as LOT this year. At first I couldn't quite decide what I thought of it, but it definitely grew on me :-)

12. Devil is a Liar - Colton Dixon Spotify is getting a LOT better at anticipating my tastes. This was on its "Weekly Spotify" list back in the summer sometime, and became an instant favourite.

13. Help Is On The Way - TobyMac I "discovered" TobyMac a few years ago, and knew I had to check out more of their music. This grabbed hold of me and wouldn't let go again.
Well I've seen my share of troubles
But the Lord ain't failed me yet
So I'm holding on to the promise y'all
That He's rolling up His sleeves again.

14. Insane - Black GryphOn I think this was another TikTok discovery? Not quite sure (I need to get better at writing these things down!), and it has NO business being as catchy as it is! I've considered removing it from the list several times, but I just can't make myself. I know nothing of the story behind it, and haven't actually watched the channel it's based on, but I can't help it - it's stuck!

15. The Power of the Cross - Casting Crowns One of the best songs of worship I've found this year.

16. Fallin' (Adrenaline) - Why Don't We Wish I could remember where I found this, because I love it. It hits many of the same notes as some of NKOTB's newer music, so appeals immensly to my inner teenager :-D

17. 10 Years - Daði Freyr The band who should have won ESC 2020 performed again this year with a new song. It wasn't quite as good as last years' (and didn't win - although it did get quite far), but I still like it. The main singer wrote the lyrics about his wife, and they are just so sweet! ... and of course, there's the same unique sound that they introduced us to last year.
We've been together for a decade now
Still everyday I'm lovin' you more
If I could do it all again
I'd probably do it all the same as before.

18. Undeniable - Josh Wilson Simon has introduced me to even more awesome songs than usual this year, and this is one of the best ones. I know I try not to have multiple songs by the same artist on these playlists (yeah, I know - I'm really failing at that!), but this is SO different from "Revolutionary" that I had to add both of them.

19. One Step Away - Casting Crowns Like I said - failing! But Casting Crowns are awesome and deserve the recognition. And where the previous song was more worshipful and meditative in style, this one is just so hopeful. Michala recommended this to me earlier this year, and I was immediately annoyed that I hadn't listened to it ages ago.

20. Heartbeat - Beckah Shae Another recommendation from Simon. Very unusual style for a Christian song, but that just makes it all that much more catchy. This is an awesome stand-up-and-fight anthem :-D

21. Thank You Lord - Christ Tomlin I know many of the songs have been kinda sad or melancholic this year, so I figured this was a suitable end to the playlist. For everything you give me, I thank you Lord.
Praise up
Eyes closed
One thing I know
I just wanna thank You Lord.

23 Oct 2021

October Readathon!

 T-2 (noon): I figured this was as good a time as any to get the Readathon progress post started. I've gotten the crockpots started (yes, two 😄 We're going to be 8 people, so I've borrowed Henriette's, and am making chicken fajitas in one and vegetarian chili in the other! ), picked out most of my books (although you KNOW I always end up changing my mind up until the very last minute) and am now trying to figure out how we're going to fit 8 people into our library! It'll be slightly more tight than usual 😉

The readathon starts at 2pm and the others will start to arrive in about an hour, so I'd better get some lunch. I'll try to remember to update regularly this time!

T-0 (almost 2pm: Everybody's here now, and it's time for the opening survey!
1. Where are you reading from today? My library, as per usual.... more specifically: Lyngby, Denmark.
2. List three random facts about yourself: We're 8 people, so that's going to take forever! We'll just do one each!
Mum: I'm a professional translator.
Dad: I can read upside down! (Maria: Yes! He used to do that when he read aloud to us!)
Maria: I can write with both hands at the same time.
Rosa: I just found a sock that I forgot here LAST readathon! Also, sometimes I pretend I can't speak English and speak Danglish instead.
Isabella: I'm allergic to cats, but that does not stop me from petting them!
Rebekka: I don't like coffee.
Henriette: Me neither!
Michala: I love coffee.
3. How many books do you have in your TBR pile for the readathon?
Mum: Six
Dad: Two
Henriette: Two
Maria: 117
Rosa: Five
Isabella: Two on the table and all the ones on the shelves!
Rebekka: Four
Michala: Two
4. Which book are you going to start with?
Mum: Pastorale or Gone-Away Lake... haven't decided yet.
Dad: Arne Dahl's Skyggezone
Henriette: "Hvor der er vilje"
Maria: Ronja Robber's Daughter
Rosa: Bernstein Bears
Isabella: Also Bernstein Bears
Rebekka: Still making up my mind!!! Either "In a Holidaze" or "Library of the Dead"
Michala: What's Up Beanie?
5. Do you have any goals for the read-a-thon?
Mum: To make time go by as slooooowly as possible.
Dad: To read?
Henriette: Same.
Maria: To read more than last time I guess?
Rosa: To read at least three books. Or finish the one I started last time.
Isabella: Decide which books to read?
Rebekka: To stay awake! (Rebekka came straight from a night shift)
Michala: That's my goal every time!

4pm: Two hours gone, and MOST of the snacks X-D We always go a bit nuts in the beginning ;-) Rosa and Isabella have both finished their Bernstein Bear chapter books, and I've just finished "Ronja Robber's Daughter" - probably my favourite Astrid Lindgren book ever! Now I need to figure out what to read next...

But first - the challenge of the hour.

Do you have any childhood comfort books that you still return to from time to time?
Michala: The Ordinary Princess by M.M. Kaye
Rosa: Bernstein Bears - the originals, not the chapter books
Isabella: Harper Hall trilogy by Ann McCaffrey (Maria: YES!!! I love that one too!)
Rebekka: Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
Dad: Perhaps not any that I read myself, but when it comes to reading aloud to others, I love Winnie the Pooh.
Mum: The Little House series
Maria: Several... Little House, Narnia, Baby-Sitter's Club, Famous Five and many others!

5pm: Mum finished "Gone-Away Lake" and is now reading "If I never Met You" which she and Dad gave me for my birthday. It's good! :-D Rosa finished her second Bernstein Bear chapter book, and asked me to go look if there were any more questions for her to answer, so here goes...

Top 10 12 things about Readathons
1. Snacks!
2. Hygge!
3. Company
4. Guilt-free reading time!
5. Mixi: No kids (This caused Rosa to glare at her, so she rephrased, "None of MY kids.")
6. Rebekka: Bringing my kid!
7. Rosa: Being the smallest one here!
8. Being in a library with tons of good books.
9. Dad: sitting in this chair!
10. Maria's crock-pot dinner!
11. Relaxation!
12. Being together without finding it awkward that we don't have anything to talk about.

9pm: I finished my second book ("End of Summer" by Rosamunde Pilcher) just before dinner. Unfortunately, it was only okay (VERY unrealistic), so now I'm returning to a reread instead - the first "Dragon Kin" book by Audrey Faye & Shay Geary.

Next challenge:
What's book outside your comfort zone did you end up loving?
- Michala: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
- Isabella: Wonder or Anna and the French Kiss
- Rosa: Vildheksen
- Maria: Feed by Mira Grant. I had NOT expected for a book about zombies to become one of my favourites!
- Dad: Laurus
- Mum: "Until the End of the World"
What is the best book you've read so far in 2021?
- Henriette: A Gentleman in Moscow (reread)
- Rosa: Baby-Sitters Club (her auntie is SO happy that she FINALLY has a niece who's reading them!
- Rebekka: Call Me Maybe
- Michala and Maria: YES!!!
- Mum: "Return to Me" - Lynn Austin
- Isabella: My Hero Academia
- Claus: Dominion - Tom Holland

10am: And I'm back 😄 People started leaving between 9:30-10:30 last night, and as I had slept poorly the night before, I actually didn't last much longer after that either, and didn't wake up until 9am!! Must have needed the sleep! I finished "Dragon Kin" this morning, and am now reading "Last Night" by Mhairi Mcfarlane which my sisters gave me for my birthday. At 400 pages, it's a tad longer than I usually prefer for readathons, but I was in the mood for a new read by a known author, so there you go 🙂 I'll probably only just finish it before the readathon ends though.

Books Read: "Ronja Robber's Daughter" - Astrid Lindgren (192), "End of Summer" - Rosamunde Pilcher (160), "Dragon Kin: Sapphire & Lotus" - Audrey Faye (247)
Currently Reading "Last Night" - Mhairi McFarlane (managed 260 pages before 2pm)

26 Apr 2021

Almost time for the April Readathon! 

  Hour 0 - Opening Survey!
1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today? Copenhagen, Denmark.

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
Rebekka: Under Currents - the only one in my stack.
Michala: I'm missing 10 minutes of my audiobook! Looking forward to seeing how it ends.
Rosa: Vildheksen! Bought specifically for today!
Dad: The same Agatha Christy I said last time, but never ended up reading!
Mum: Tre piger i en bil
Henni: The Secret Inheritance by Natasha Lester - also the only book in my stack!
Me: Come Tumbling Down by Seanan McGuire - a Christmas present I saved for today!

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?
Michala: Rebekka's macaroons!
Everybody else: SAME!!!

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!
We have an extra visitor this year - Rebekka's oldest daughter Rosa has decided to join us, and she has been looking SO much forward to it!!! She and Rebekka even arrived early because she COULD NOT WAIT any longer (according to Rebekka, she's been asking to come over since 6:30 this morning!!!)

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?
Michala: Hopefully not getting a phone call that my son has to go in quarantine...
Rosa: Not reading alone!!!
Mum: Actually being here in person rather than over skype!
Dad: Yes, same!
Rebekka: Bring my daughter along!!!
Me: Nah, I've pretty much got it sorted by now ;)
Hour 2 Mixi finished her audiobook and then promptly decided to take a nap! ;-D One hour later, dad decided to follow suit - but then he does have the best chair of us all ;-) I'm just over halfway with "Come Tumbling Down" - have had a few problems settling down and getting properly into reading, but that's definitely not the fault of the book - it's just as good as I had expected it to be.

Hour 24 Completely forgot all about updating here. I didn't get quite as much reading done as usual - actually only finished two books - but there was more talking than usual (Rosa couldn't quite keep her focus for the entire time, but she managed admirably, until she fell fast asleep at 9pm!) and unlike most readathons, I didn't pick my book back up on Sunday morning. I loved having Rosa there though, and hope she'll want to join us again another time. It was also great to have Henni back! She's a great addition to the tradition :-D

Books read: "Come Tumbling Down" - Seanan McGuire, "The Strangers" - Margaret Peterson Haddix

5 Jan 2021

Playlist for 2020

Direct link in case the embedding doesn't work

Perfect Disaster - Drew Sycamore
Lars has been listening to this a lot, and it's totally grown on me.

Already There - Casting Crowns
There as to be at least one song recommended to me by Simon on these lists, and this year is no exception. I love Casting Crowns, and the lyrics to this one just got to me. "When I'm lost in the mystery / To You, my future is a memory / 'Cause You're already there"

Courtesy Call - Thousand Foot Krutch
A Canadian Christian rock band. I'd never heard of them myself, but a friend from work played it for me because he figured I ought to know of them.

Hard to Be the Bard - Christian Borle
I found this via tumblr and was immediately hooked! I've never seen the musical it's from, but have seen Christian Borle in other things, and absolute adore him :-D

You're Welcome - Dwayne Johnson
After having watched the two new "Jumanji" movies, I've become a total Dwayne Johnson fangirl. Anybody who can make THAT much fun of himself is A-OK with me :D Then I saw him singing "You're Welcome" to his daughter, and I was sold ♥

Lions - Skillet
Terrify the Dark - Skillet
Two more recommendations from Simon. I kept waffling about which one to keep on here and could NOT make up my mind - so both it is :-D Somehow he always knows exactly what I need to listen to. Skillet is definitely not my usual fare, but they have a few songs that I love.

Good Grace - Hillsong
We started singing this in church right when the services went virtual. The start "People, come together" got me every time - not to mention "God is madly in love with you" :-)

Me Without You - TobyMac
Think I got this off the "War Room" sound track, although I'm pretty sure I've heard it before that. It's foot-tappingly good :D

Impossible - Building 429
We're never given the spirit of fear Only the power of love We'll keep on running and not grow weak His strength is more than enough
Also from the "War Room".
When we trust the God of miracles. There's no such thing as impossible.". Amen!

Break My Heart - Dua Lipa
Lars listened to this a lot at the start of the year. I was immediately hooked.

You've Always Been - Unspoken
Before my heart knows what to pray You've already made a way, Jesus You've been my Savior, Sustainer, when I'm at my end My Healer, Redeemer, again and again Everything I've needed Lord, You've always been
Another recommendation from Simon. I've reminded myself of this over and over again when life seemed bleak.

Wake Up - Julie and the Phantoms
My newest obsession - I had a really hard time picking out which song to use here (I also adore "Flying Solo"), but this was the song that made me fall in love with the show, so it had to be this one. If you haven't yet seen the Netflix series - what are you waiting for?!?!?

The Other Side - SZA & Justin Timberlake
The music from Trolls has absolutely no place being as good as it is.

Mama - Clean Bandit & Ellie Goulding
There HAS to be a Clean Bandit on this list apparently :-D It's one of the few artists who's a favourite of BOTH Lars' and mine.

Think About Things - Dadi Freyr
Iceland's entry at the did-not-happen Eurovision Song Contest. I didn't like it much at first, but it totally grew on me. Though the contest itself was cancelled, all the songs were aired in two long live streams on Youtube, so Lars and I could keep up our tradition of watching and commenting :-D

Story of My Life - Lesley Roy
Ireland's Entry to the ESC-that-wasn't and my personal favourite. I know it's a total Katy Perry rip-off, but....

Yes - Ben & Tan
Denmark's entry. I almost left this out of the list, but the more I listened to it, the more I loved it.

UNO - Little Big
Russia's entry and probably Lars' favourite. I cannot count how many times he's listened to this since! Their music videos are very much in the "I don't know how to process this!" category - this one and "Hypnodance" especially.

Banana Boat Song - Harry Belafonte
During the first lockdown, a friend from work set up a discord voice channel for a bunch of us, so we'd have a bit of company. It worked like a charm, and we got to share some of our favourite songs as well! (There's a bot that allows you to play music). This was his contribution, and I'm surprisingly fond of it.

They're Coming to Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa! - Napoleon XIV
Another friend from work introduced me to this one. It never fails to make me laugh!

31 Dec 2020

Top 10 Books of 2020

Deciding on my top 10 books was really difficult this year, as I've been rereading a LOT. Thanks to COVID I was in more need of comfort books than usual and therefore had very little patience with new books (and even less with new authors!), so I've been rereading a lot more than usual. Fortunately I still managed to find some really awesome new reads, although I'm settling for 9 this year.

Off-Script and Over-Caffeinated - Kaley & Rhonda Rhea Thank you for this recommendation! I absolutely loved it! Such a charming read :-D

Crumbled Love Notes - Jen A. Durand Chick-lit. Unexpectedly sweet.

I Temporarily Do - Ellie Cahill Faux romance FTW :-D

In a Holidaze - Christina Lauren A Christmas version of Groundhog Day. I loved it!

The Hitman's Guide to Making Friends and Finding Love - Alice Winters Delightfully funny! I laughed out loud on several occasions. Very similar to T.J. Klune's books in humor.

The House in the Cerulean Sea - T.J. Klune Very different from everything else I've read by him, but I loved it.

The Calculating Stars - Mary Robinette Kowal Slow-moving, but absolutely unputdownable.

Red, White & Royal Blue - Casey McQuiston A great mix of friendship, romance, coming-of-age and finding one's own place in the world.

The Gem Thief - Sian Ann Bessey No clue why I loved this one so much. On one hand it's nothing special - on the other, it's totally charming.

3 Jan 2020

Top Ten Books of 2019

The 10 (*cough*11*cough*) best books I've read in 2019.

In no particular order....
How to Be A Normal Person/Movie Star - T.J. Klune I can't pick one over the other. These are amazingly cute books that had me both laughing and "awww!"'ing out loud on numerous occasions.
Alpha - Audrey Faye I laughed out loud on numerous occasions. I cried on at least one. I grew to love the characters. I never wanted the book to end.
Into the Drowning Deep - Mira Grant The first book in ages where I actually thought about putting it in the freezer for awhile! I'm glad I read this in broad daylight (and on dry land!) because unlike most of her other books, this one terrified me!
Nine Perfect Strangers - Liane Moriarty I think this may be the best book I've read by Liane Moriarty yet. I loved the way it was structured, and while the ending perhaps demanded a bit suspension of disbelief, it worked within its own universe, and that's really all I ask.
Quiet Girl in a Noisy World - Debbie Tung A graphic novel about an introverted bookworm. Very charming and oh so relatable!
Portal - Fred Alvrez A sort-of sci-fi, sort of suspense, sort of post-apocalyptic novel set in New Zealand - what's not to like?
I Wish You All the Best - Mason Deaver A heartbreaking and poignant read about growing to be comfortable in your own skin and the sacrifices that might require.
The Unhoneymooners - Christine Lauren Predictable as, but so darn charming that I just didn't care :-D
The Flatshare - Beth O'Leary Possibly the best chick-lit I've ever read - and it's almost doing it a disservice to label it 'chick-lit' because it is so much more than your average romance. I laughed my way through it, and grew to truly love the characters. (Well... most of them, anyway).
Under Currents - Nora Roberts Really not a book that should be 'read' as an audiobook. I reached a huge turning point right at a point where I had to turn off my audiobook, and immediately bought the e-book, because I had to know what happened next RIGHT NOW!!!

For a full list of all books I've read this year - good and bad - you can find my 2019 Goodreads-shelf here.

23 Dec 2019

2019 Playlist

1. Sober Up - AJR, Rivers Cuomo
Inspiration from Brenda - I think I get most of my musical inspiration from her and Lars :-P There are always a few on her list that become instant favourites (so thank you, Brenda! :-D ) and this was it this year.

2. New Days - Delta Rae
This one's weird - the text's sad, but the song feels hopeful. It's a bit more 'croony' (yes, it's a word) than I usually go for, but it's up-beat enough that I don't mind it.

3. Woman - Kesha & The Dap-Kings Horns
Brenda called this her "girl-power anthem" and I TOTALLY agree! I love the laughter about one minute in :D

4. Wolves - Selena Gomez & Marshmello
This is one of those weird songs where I don't really think I like it - and then the chorus comes and I can't stop tapping along.

5. Future Me Hates Me - The Beths
An indie band from New Zealand? Sign me up! :-D

6. Warrior - Steven Curtis Chapman
So I fall on my knees and I fight like a warrior
I am a warrior on my knees

The movie "War Room" was one of my best new discoveries this year (Thank you, Nina!) and I thought it had an amazing soundtrack. This is one of my favourite songs from it - no surprise, as I've loved Steven Curtis Chapman ever since I first discovered him back in 1996.

7. So Am I - Ava Max
I have no idea why I like this as much as I do.

8. Baby - Clean Bandit feat. Marina & Luis Fonsi
It's almost a tradition by now that I have to add at least one song by Clean Bandit to my yearly playlist. Of course it also helps that I quite like Marina too.

9. Sweet but Psycho - Ava Max
Soo.... apparently I just really like Ava Max? Her music appeals to me in a way I hadn't expected.

10. Another in the Fire - Hillsong
There’s a grace when the heart is under fire
Another way when the walls are closing in
And when I look at the space between
Where I used to be and this reckoning
I know I will never be alone

No yearly playlist of mine would be complete without at least one Hillsong entry. I absolutely adore this one. "There was another in the fire, standing next to me."

11. Popular Song - Mika & Ariane Grande
Inspired by "Popular" from "Wicked". I actually had quite a few songs by Mika on my list, but in the end this is definitely my favourite.

12. Chameleon - Michaela
I can't make one of these playlists and not have at least one song from the ESC featured on it. This was Malta's entry.

13. Love is Forever - Leonara
The Danish entry to ESC. It's got an odd nostalgic feel which I just loved from the first time I heard it. Also, in this international world I'm quietly pleased that she included a few lines in Danish ;-)

14. Spirit in the Sky - Keiino
Norway's entry. A fun mix of genres with the stereotypical ESC pop interspersed with a Sami chorus. It didn't do too well with the public in general, but I loved it.

15. She Got Me - Luca Hänni
Switzerland's entry and my personal favourite. It's got SUCH a NKOTB vibe which is definitely a good thing in my books :-D

16. Completely - Ledger
From who I was, who I am, and who I'll be
I am changed, I am Yours eternally

An awesome song of worship. Once again, I can't remember how I found this - I really need to start jotting these things down! :-P

17. Rebels - Influence Music
You can find me with the sinners
The rebels and the dreamers
Those hidden in the darkness
A glimpse of light
Take me where it hurts the hardest
How dangerous Your love is
You can find me with the sinners
Where You gave Your life

Simon - a colleague of mine, who also happens to be a Christian - has taken to recommending new songs he finds to me. Some of them aren't really my style. Others - like this one - are spot on! I love it!

18. Reason - Unspoken
This year's felt like four seasons of winter
And you’d give anything you think to feel the sun
Always reaching, always climbing
Always second guessing the timing
But God has a plan, a purpose in this
You are His child and don't you forget

Really can't remember how I found this... might have been Simon again, or it might have been Spotify's "Top Christian songs" channel. Either way, it has the most amazing lyrics.

19. Beyond the Gates - For All Eternity
You were before and You are right now, You forever will be here with me.
Really slow start, but once it gets going, I love it. Especially when I stop to listen to the lyrics. Another recommendation from Simon.

20. Friends - Marshmello & Anne-Marie
Proof that you can find random likes anywhere! This song was used in a commercial (can't even remember which one any longer), and I immediately got out SoundHound to figure out what on earth the song was :-D A song about how ANNOYING we find it when others complain about being 'friendzoned'.

21. Believer - Imagine Dragons
Another totally random find... this one thanks to Lars. We'd been watching the new "Murder on the Orient Express" movie and when it was over, Lars complained that one of the songs from the trailer wasn't in the movie! (I NEVER pay attention to stuff like that, but he's really good at it). He found the trailer and both of us immediately fell for the song. It's definitely not my usual fare, but there's something about the beat that just appeals so much to me.

22. Storm - Victor Crone
This was also an ESC entry... I know, I know - I get a LOT of my musical inspiration from there. What can I say, guess I really am a pop-girl at heart ;)

23. Like It - Zena
I've come to realize that there's a certain sound that's totally different from what I'm usually drawn to, but if it's done *just* right, I absolutely love it. I'm not yet at the point where I can recognize it ahead of time, but there have definitely been a few songs with the same kind of vibe on my playlists over the years.

24. Fibs (Løgn & Latin) - KNA Connected
At the high school reunion back in August, I realized that the musical career of one of my class mates had been a LOT more successful than I'd ever realized. I knew Khalil (the 'K' of KNA) had published a few singles (some solo, some with KNA Connected), but that was as far as my knowledge went. Turns out he'd played concerts at pretty large venues and received 2 gold and 1 platin records! Anyway, some of the others put on this song at the reunion and got Khalil to sing his part. I love that I can actually recognize his laughter in it! Khalil is a great guy and this is guaranteed to make me smile whenever I hear it.

25. Joyride - Roxette
Roxette - and the Joyride Album in particular - made for the soundtrack to my tweens / early teens. I never got to see them in concert, and with the recent death of Marie Fredriksson, I've had to take that off my bucket list. But in honour of her and the memories Roxette's songs bring, I had to add one of their songs to this year's playlist.

26. Unwrap My Heart - Marie Lind
Okay, so I'm like crazily biased since Marie has been a dear friend of mine for 25 years by now, but I totally love this new Christmas song she put out last month :-D So of course I have to add it here. It's happy and foot-tappy and Christmassy as and just plain awesome!!

3 Oct 2019

40 Songs for 40 Years

Brenda did this when she turned 40, and I thought it a really interesting idea, so here's my Spotify Playlist of 40 songs that have defined my life so far - either due to the memories they evoke or because at one point I listened to them over and over and over and... (you get the picture). With a small comment next to each of course, because I'm me, and that's how I roll :-P Almost all of these are from the 90s, which I guess makes sense as they've had more time to get thoroughly ingrained into my life ;-) And I'm still more likely to turn to old favourites than check out new stuff.

1. Kim Larsen - Jutlandia Kim Larsen was the first "popular" artist I ever discovered, and this the first song of his I heard. It's not my favourite of his any longer, but it was the first I learned off by heart, and still reminds me vividly of my childhood, and of a weekend sleepover I had with two friends where we rocked out to it :-D. I don't see those friends any longer, but the memory stands. I'm so glad I got to see him live before he died last year.

2. Keith Green - You Put This Love in My Heart My uncle introduced me to Keith Green when I was in my young teens, and I fell for him, hard. For several years he was one of my favourite artists, and I even read the biography his wife wrote about him after his way too early death.

3. New Kids on the Block - Games If there's one band that's been a constant in my life, it's them. I was introduced to them in NZ in 1990 and have loved their music ever since. I missed out on going to a concert with them in 1991, so was THRILLED when they reunited and I got a second (and third!) chance in 2009 and 2012... even if I was annoyed that they'd changed out the rap in "Games" so I could no longer sing along to that part of it!!

4. Cliff Richard - Some People Where even to start with him?! My first really serious boyfriend was a huge fan, and got me hooked as well. From late 1997 to 1999 sometime I listened to his music pretty much non-stop, and I still return to him on a fairly regular basis. His songs remind me of New Zealand, of first love and of myself in my late teens. I've even gotten to see him live three or four times. Deciding on a favourite song of his is almost impossible, as I love so many of them, but in the end I decided on this one, as it was the first one Andrew played for me.

5. Roxette - Joyride I absolutely LOVED Roxette back in the early 90s! A friend of mine from school introduced me to them at a camp back in 6th grade, and I think I basically stole his walkman(!!!) that entire week to listen to them. Joyride is still both my favourite album and my favourite song. I love the energy of it, and can't not sing along to it. It's great "getting stuff done" music, so I'd often put it on when Mum told me to clean my room ;-)

6. Tori Amos - Mr. Zebra Liz introduced me to Tori Amos back in 1996. It's not the type of music I'd probably have found on my own, but I have very fond memories of sitting on the bed in her room, talking, playing cards or working on each our cross-stitch project while Tori Amos played in the background. This is by far my favourite song of hers, as I just love the absurdity of the lyrics. I'm a huge fan of the absurd as you will see again in later songs on this list.

7. Newsboys - Breakfast I've seen Newsboys in concert twice. The first time was at a Christian music festival in New Zealand back in 1997. There were many big names that year, but Newsboys was definitely the headliner. It was an awesome experience, made even better by the fact that one of the guys in the band is from New Zealand. Part of the intro to Breakfast / Take Me to Your Leader could easily dissolve into the start of the New Zealand national anthem... so during their performance of that song he did just that! Cue everybody in the audience instantly singing along and the rest of the band looking at him in mock annoyance :-D And again - there's the absurdity of the lyrics.

8. DC. Talk - Jesus Freak "I don't really care if they label me a Jesus Freak / There ain't no disguising the truth". We listened to this song pretty much NON-STOP during the New Years camp of 1996/1997. I still see myself sitting outside Rebekah's tent with the other teens whenever I hear it.

9. Beach Boys - Kokomo I've loved the Beach Boys ever since I first got to know them through "Full House". I'm so glad I got to see them live. I got a "best of" CD for Christmas 1994 and listened to it so much over the Christmas break that when I went back to boarding school after New Years just listening to it made me immediately homesick until I got used to being back at school again.

10. Amy Grant - Every Heartbeat I got this tape for Christmas back in 1993 or 1994 and immediately fell in love. Since then I've bought many of her other albums, but this was still my first and my favourite.

11. Hillsong - Shout To the Lord Well, it's no secret that I love Hillsong, and this "oldie but goodie" is my all time favourite. We even sang it at our wedding ceremony.

12. The Lads - The Cactus Song Not many people know of The Lads, as they are a small Christian band from New Zealand. But whenever I hear this, I'm back up under the attic in Benjamin's room ("He's so 11") talking Animorphs with him :-D

13. Aqua - Cartoon Heroes Back when Lars and I first got to know each other, he used some of the lyrics from "Cartoon Heroes" as his email signature. I first started suspecting I was possibly falling for him, when I found myself listening to this song at any chance I got (I didn't actually own it myself at the time, and this was waaaaay before streaming).

14. Alice DJ - Will I Ever Fall in Love Lars told me that he listened to this one quite a bit, when he first realized he'd fallen in love with me ;)

15. Melanie C - I Turn to You "Our" song. I'd originally planned to sing it at our wedding, but didn't feel I could do it justice, so I had my friend, Karen do it instead. It keeps popping up in the radio at the most random times :-D

16. Cher - Just Like Jesse James This is the song that first got me hooked on Cher. Karen and I spent an entire evening at boarding school listening to it over and over again, trying to decipher the lyrics. We never did get them 100% right, but I fell in love with the song all the same.

17. Cyrano - Hvem kommer ind? Ah, my first true obsession with a musical. I was lucky enough to see this three times on stage, listened to the music non-stop for months on end AND then got to perform in it myself! I loved every single minute of it.

18. Cats - Skimbleshanks My love for Cats came slowly... I was first introduced to "Memory" in 1990, but had no clue where it came from. Fortunately my parents had the entire soundtrack on LP, and when I tried to start it right at "Memory", I'd often miss by a few millimeters catch some of the other songs instead. Slowly I'd grow to love "Mr. Mistofelees" and "Macavity" as well, and then that expanded to even MORE songs, so when I finally saw the musical for the first time in 1994 I already knew most of the songs off by heart. "Skimbleshanks" holds a special place in my heart, though. It somehow became tradition for Dad to quote it whenever we took the night train anywhere as kids, so now whenever I listen to it, I'm right back in the rattling night carriage, traveling through Europe.

19. Thomas Helmig - Gotta Get Away From You This song got played over and over and over again doing my year at boarding school.

20. Crowded House - Not the Girl You Think You Are Liz introduced me to Crowded House and Split Enz back in 1996-1997. Apparently this song remnded her of me. I never quite got her to explain why, but of course it now means that it reminds me of her in turn :-)

21. Tom Lehrer - Poisoning Pigeons in the Park Dad introduced me to Tom Lehrer back in 1994-95 sometime. As I've already mentioned several times, I love absurd lyrics, and Tom Lehrer definitely delivers here! I can't even remember why or by which song Dad introduced me to him in the first place, but I'm so glad he did. I just wish I could have gotten to see him live.

22. Fool Garden - Lemon Tree This song was all the rage during my last year in NZ. I still remember trying to catch it on the radio so I could copy it to tape, and sitting in the kitchen listening to it, singing (loudly) along with my host-siblings.

23. Hilllsong - Not Today Hillsong has had such a huge influence on my life that I couldn't stick with just one. I love "Shout to the Lord" for nostalgic reasons - I love "Not Today" for how it speaks to me today.

24. Royal Guardsmen - Snoopy vs. the Red Baron My parents had an LP single with this which my sisters and I discovered back in the early 90s. We absolutely loved it, and quickly learned it off by heart. I still remember sitting in the living room with my sisters working on some craft or the other while it ran on repeat in the background... sorry, Mum and Dad :-P

25. Søs Fenger - Kun et kys herfra One of my friends gave me this CD for my confirmation back in 1994. I'd never heard of Søs Fenger before, but immediately fell in love. I can't even COUNT the number of times I listened to the album over the next years. I don't listen to her much any longer, but this song brings me right back ´to the summer of 1994 and the hopeless crush I had at the time X-D

26. Michael Jackson - Heal the World My first slow dance back in 6th or 7th grade :-D

27. Billie Piper - Day & Night Another song Lars and I decided was "ours" (yes, we have two songs - so sue us ;) ). Nina choreographed a dance to it which she, Rebekka and Michala danced at our wedding. Unfortunately we only caught about 30 seconds of it on video, but we loved it!

28. Michael W. Smith - Friends This song has been with me for years. I first heard this at the boarding school I attended in 1994-95, I sang it for my music assignment in New Zealand in 1997 and we played it on the stereo in my room as some of my friends came over to sit with me the last few hours before I left New Zealand. It's bittersweet, and will still bring me to tears sometimes... but I love it.

29. Casting Crowns - Who Am I? This song had been on me periphery for years, but I never really paid attention to it until I came across it (again) during a readthough of Neta Jackson's "Yada-Yada Prayer Group" and decided to check it out on YouTube. I cried my way through it the first time, and fell in love.

30. Geri Halliway - Raining Men This song IS the early 00s for me. I can't even explain why I love it so much, but I do... and actually prefer this cover to the original :-P

31. Glenn Miller - Bei Mir Bist Du Schön Farmor and Farfar took me to a "Remember Glenn Miller" concert in the late 90s sometime. I had no clue who he was ahead of time, but they knew I liked jazz, so thought I might enjoy it. I really did, and went straight out to purchase some of his albums straight after.

32. Elisabeth - Hun danser en morgen Another song that Karen introduced me to. Karen and I were best friends from age 6-15 and spent several days a week together. I can't remember the context of this song any longer, but it so clearly reminds me of her and of my childhood, so it had to be added here. Fortunately Spotify had it! I actually hadn't expected that.

33. Kaya - Traffic Jam I have no memory of how or when we stumbled over Kaya (something tells me it was Nina who first found her, but I might be mistaken), but I only have to hear the first few notes of the song, and I'm instantly back in the back seat of our car driving... somewhere... with the music up as loud as Mum and Dad would let us. Few songs take me back that vividly.

34. East 17 - House of Love I listen to this and I'm instantly 13 again... I don't know how it does it. I remember being totally gobsmacked when I started really listening to the lyrics and realized that they might actually be Christian! ("The creator created / we tore apart" here, and even more the lyrics to "Gold": "Jesus wasn't sent to set a precious stone free").

35. Gary Chapman - Sweet Jesus One of the very few songs to make me ugly-cry.

36. Jesus Christ Superstar - Heaven on Their Mind Musicals are weird, because you tend to get hooked on "your" soundtrack as being the only RIGHT one. I almost didn't add this one, as it took me ages to find the "right" one on Spotify and any other version just sounds wrong :-P Finally succeeded in finding the 1970 recording though - which is the one my parents had, and which I've listened to COUNTLESS times on LP.

37. Kylie Minogue - Wouldn't Change a Thing I'm a child of the 90s and proud of it!

38. Sophie & Magaly - Papa Pingouin I love that this is even ON Spotify!! It's a random song from ESC 1980 which Mum and Dad happened to have as a single and which my sisters and I loved to dance along to... and Frode (one of the guys from the gang) won Michala's eternal admiration when she first met him by immediately knew what we were talking about when we mentioned "Papa Penguin" in a random aside (although don't ask me about the context any longer - I have no clue!).

39. Colin Buchanan - John 14:1-4 Anne introduced me to Colin Buchanan when I visited her and her family back in 2011. His songs are awesome and ridiculously catchy (to the point where I found myself humming them to myself on my way home - after only having listened to them once!), so I knew I had a winner. And sure enough - I've been listening to them on and off ever since. They're a great way to learn Bible verses off by heart.

40. Hamilton - Alexander Hamilton The most recent addition to this list, but I doubt anybody's really surprised that it made its way on here ;)

Bonus Track: Continental Singers - Stand Up (Added here because I couldn't find it on neither Spotify NOR YouTube!!! :-o ) Various groups of Continental Singers made it to Denmark on numerous occasions in the 90s, so I've seen them in concert at least 4 times and actually both auditioned and got approved to go touring with them myself in the summer of 1995. Unfortunately that never happened, but by then the damage was done, and I'd been listening to them for hours on end for years.

26 Jan 2019

January 24in48 - Progress report

Hour 6: (noon) So officially this readathon started 6 hours ago (6am my time), and so far I have read all of ONE hour :-P That's fine though - I'd long since decided not to sweat it and aim for 24 hours this time. I want to be able to enjoy the weekend and do other things as well. So far this morning I've slept in, done a bit of knitting, tidied up the place so I'm actually able to have guests over, got the crockpot started, picked out my books for the next 24-and-a-bit hours... oh, and read some ;-) Mette and Marianne should arrive within the next hour/hour and a half, and everything is pretty much ready for them.

It's rather amusing though - this is the first time either of them have ever visited me (though I've known them for about 12 years each by now, we mostly meet up at coffee houses etc.), and we start out with as informal and unique event as the readathon? For readathons it's really important to just go ahead and feel right at home whereever it's hosted... you shouldn't feel like you have to ask to go make a cuppa, take something out of the fridge, change seats, bring in the more comfortable chair from the lounge or whatever... I hope I can convey this to them - that they shouldn't stand on ceremony, but just make themselves at home. No matter what, I am REALLY looking forward to them coming over. It'll be great to share this with them!

Hour 9: (3pm) Mette and Marianne arrived 1:30pm and got a quick tour of the house before sitting down in the library with each their book. They're both reading Danish crime novels, whereas I decided to pick up "Wyrd Sisters" by Terry Pratchett. Haven't read that one since shortly after Lars and I performed it on stage back in 2001'ish (he was Lord Felmet - I played Granny Weatherwax), so I remember very little of it. It's fun rereading it though, as bits and pieces keep popping up in my memory as I go along.

Hour 12: (6pm) Just finished "Wyrd Sisters". It was just as good as I remembered it, and I found myself sniggering more than once. Now I have to find the script from our play again, just to see how much it was changed in the adaptation. I think I'll pick up "The Martian" now, but we'll probably stop for dinner soon.

Hour 18: (midnight) We ended up taking quite a long break for dinner, as we started talking and just couldn't stop again! Always the risk at social readathons, but I wouldn't be without it for the world :-D Mette finished her first book shortly after ten, which created a natural break and they both called it a day shortly after. They were going home via public transportation though, and as the local train line was out of service due to an accident, I offered to give them a ride to the nearest hub instead. I'm glad I did, as that gave us even MORE time to talk, and I was riding a high all the way home. They're lovely people, and I'm so glad to have gotten this chance to spend time outside work with them :-D They both expressed the desire to join me again another time, so yay! :-D

And now I'm back home (obviously) and back at reading. I have another 130 pages to go of "The Martian", so I'm going to attempt to finish that before heading off to bed.

Hour 27: (9am) It took me until almost 2am, but I got stubborn and finished the book before I headed off to bed! ...which meant I didn't wake up until about half an hour ago. I wasn't really feeling any of the books I'd picked out ahead of time (so typical!) but have instead turned to an old readathon favourite - Tamora Pierce's "Lady Knight" series. We'll see how many of the books I end up getting through :-)

Hour 33: (3pm) The end for me. While the official readathon runs for another 15 hours, I decided to do the unofficial 12in24 instead (reading 12 hours out of 24 rather than twice that). While I love reading all weekend, I also like having time for other things as well ;-) I reached 12 hours at 2pm, but stuck around to finish the book I was reading. So I guess I did 13in25? :-P

But I had a great time as always, and I LOVED having Mette and Marianne join me. It was a really fun way to expand our friendship :-D

Books Read: "Wyrd Sisters" - Terry Pratchett, "The Martian" - Andy Weir, "First Test" & "Page" - Tamora Pierce
Time Spent Reading: 13 hours

1 Jan 2019

Top Ten Books of 2018

It's been a good year, reading-wise, and I had a real hard time limiting myself to just 10 books. But these are the best of the best, the books that moved me the most, and the books I'm most likely to reread and recommend to others.

A Gentleman in Moscow - Amor Towels Also wins the award for being the absolutely best book I have read all year. It took me completely by surprise, but ended up being one of the most unexpected comfort reads I think I have ever found. I highly recommend it.

The Loose-Ends List - Carrie Firestone Also wins the award for being the book that made me cry the hardest, however I wouldn't call it a depressing book - hardly even a sad book. It is YA when it's best. Poignant and REAL.

Illuminae - Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff Partly because of the plot (sci-fi), partly because of the writing style (epistolary), partly because of the awesome way the authors play with the media - using it to underline the plot and characters in pretty brilliant ways. I loved all three books in the trilogy, but the first was definitely the best.

Just One Damned Thing After Another - Jodi Taylor The sequel had too much forshadowing for me to care to continue the series, but this first book was absolutely brilliant! I'd requested book recommendations to get me out of a reading slump, and once again delivered BIG time! She hasn't steered me wrong yet! I love time-travel when done well, and here it certainly was. Absolutely awesome book!

Wolfsong - T.J. Klune A book made out of cupcakes and pine cones. Of epic and awesome. It is completely different from his "Tales From Verania" series, but every bit as awesome. He writes relationships so well!
The One - John Marrs One of the best suspense novels I've read in a long time. I couldn't put it down, forgoing sleep to read it, and it stuck with me for a long time after finishing it.

A Wish on the Stars - T.J. Klune The conclusion of the Tales From Verania quartet, and the best one since the first. I am so very grateful to Leslie and Laura for reviewing this series and have ended up falling deep in love with Sam, Gary and Tiggy... okay, and Kevin and Ryan too.

Beneath the Sugar Sky - Seanan McGuire I definitely have a weakness for surreal books, and Seanan McGuire writes surreal really, really well. Her "Discount Armageddon" came very close to earning a place on this list too, for much the same reason.

The Outsider - Stephen King A stand-alone novel in the "Finder's Keepers" universe. Stephen King is one of those authors who have most definitely improved with age and his newer books are much more to my tastes than his older ones were.

Now That You Mention It - Kristan Higgins Chick-lit with substance. It made me laugh, it made me cry and that automatelly makes me love a book.

20 Oct 2018

Dewey's 24-hour readathon - October 2018 progress report

T-2.5 I woke up early'ish this morning and hit the gym, so I'm now ready to play couch potato for the rest of the day with a clean conscience! :-) The crock-pot is slowly cooking our dinner, the books have been picked out, I just need to get lunch and pour the snacks out and then I'm all sorted and ready for my partners in crime. Mum, Dad, Rebekka and Michala will arrive somewhere between 13:00-13:30 so we're all set to start at 14:00. I've been looking forward to this for AGES! I've said it before and I'll say it again - I LOVE that the readathon has become a family tradition!!! :-)

As always I'll keep my progress report to one post so as not to spam you.

T-0.5 Everybody's here. Snacks are sorted, books are being discussed and we're getting ready to start! As per usual, the Getting To Know You survey.

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
Copenhagen, Denmark. Once again, we're reading from my library. "We" being Mum, Dad, Rebekka, Michala and your's truly.

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
Maria: I never know!!! Rereading Narnia perhaps?
Mum: I don't know... am still making up my mind.
Dad: Well... I only brought one book, so that one by default? "Leathal White" by Robert Galbraith
Rebekka: All of them? I have to check which ones I can borrow off Maria afterwards.
Michala: I have no idea! I never make up my mind until the very last minute!

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?
Mum: Rebekka's cookies.
Mixi & Dad: Yes!
Rebekka: Chocolate licorice
Maria: A bit of everything... cookies, nuts, grapes - it's all good.

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!
As usual, we're reading together as a family. This is my 16th, Mum's 9th, Rebekka's 8th, Mixi's 5th and Dad's 2nd!

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today?
Mum & Mixi: Nothing... it's become a good tradition as it is.
Maria: Nothing really. This is my 16th readathon, so it's pretty much settled.
Rebekka: Not sure... last time I said I wouldn't go as crazy with the snacks... that didn't happen.
Dad: Not read any obligation reading!

Hour 2 (15:00):
First hour done. I think Dad's the only one who's reading the book he said he would - all the rest of us found something else we were more tempted by. Mum's reading "Throne of Glass", Mixi found "Ikk' for sjov" a memoir by Danish comedian about his fight with cancer and is laughing her way through it. Rebekka is reading a book by M.M. Kaye, but I don't know the English title, and I ended up with one of Mixi's books - "Last Chance" by Sarah Dressen. I'm almost 100 pages into it already - it's a really fast read.
Mini-Challenge - Modern Classics
Which books published in the 21st century do you think will be considered a classic 100 years from now?
Mixi: Harry Potter? I know the first ones were from the 20th Century, but the latter ones count. Or Hunger Games.
Maria: "A Gentleman in Moscow" by Amor Towles
Mum & Dad: "The Hundred-Year-Old Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared" by Jonas Jonasson.

Hour 3 (16:00)
Another hour gone, another 80 pages read. I only have another 60 to go now, so should finish within the hour. I like it - it's very stereotypical YA, which means it's perfect readathon material.

Mini-Challenge - Fantasy world
Which fantasy world would you most like to go visit?
Mum: Narnia
Maria: For sure!!
Dad: No doubt.
Mum: I've wanted to visit ever since I first read them.
Michala: Then I'll say Hogwarts, just to be different!
Rebekka: Hard to pick something different from what you've already said!
Maria: Yeah, you wouldn't want to live in Wonderland or Neverland...
Rebekka: Whatever the world in "Seeds of Discovery" by Breeana Puttroff is called
Dad: Malacandra (Mars in "Out of the Silent Planet" by C.S. Lewis) could also be interesting.

Hour 4 (17:00)
I finished "Last Chance" about 15 minutes ago. Not as powerful as some of Sarah Dressen's other books, but a good, clean YA that kept me nicely entertained. I liked it. Now I've switched to my kindle and "Dragon Kin: Alonia & Thrift" by Audrey Faye.

Mini-Challenge - Teenage Angst
Which books that helped you escape the angst of your teenage years?
Mixi: "The Ordinary Princess" by M.M. Kaye
Maria: Pretty much anything by Tamora Pierce, but particularly the Alanna series.
Dad: I mostly read non-fiction at that age.
Mum: The Laura books I think.
Rebekka: I used music rather than books at that age... can't think of any.

Hour 5 (18:00)
I only managed 50 pages over the last hour. I knew I read more slowly when it's an ebook instead of a physical book, but hadn't realized HOW much more slowly. Ah well, who cares. It's a good book, and I'm enjoying it, so that's the important part. All the others are reading longer books, so they're still busy with theirs.

Hour 7 (20:15)
We've had dinner since I updated last (I love my crockpot for this event!) AND I've finished book 2 :-D Now to decide what to read next. I kinda want to read the next Dragon-Kin book, but I also want to get back to physical books again... Perhaps I'll turn to "The Ordinary Princess"? I haven't read that in years, and sort of got the urge after Mixi mentioned it as her comfort book.

Mini-Challenge - Favourite Books
What is the best book you've read so far in 2018?
Mum: Bread of Angels - Tessa Afshar
Dad: A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
Maria: Yeah, same., A Gentleman in Moscow
Michala: Either this one ("Ikk' for sjov") or "The Loose Ends List"
Rebekka: I can't remember what I read this year!!! My PH.D. assertation?

Hour 8 (21:00)
"The Ordinary Princess" it was, and as that's only 123 short pages long, I've finished it already :-D I think my next book will be "Moskitoland", as I've been wanting to read that for quite awhile, and now seems as good a time as any. Mixi'll probably be leaving soon, but the rest of us are still at it :-)

Mini-Challenge Spring-Summer-Autumn-Winter
Do you have special books that you re-read each season?
Michala & Rebekka: Other than Christmas books, not really.
Mum: But I love "12 Days of Christmas" by Trisha Ashley
Maria: Definitely! Also, somehow winter always makes me feel like rereading the Laura books. Especially "The Long Winter" - for obvious reasons. I don't really have anything for summer or spring.
Dad: Nope!

Hour 11 (00:00)
All my partners in crime have left now. Mixi left at 21:30, Mum and Dad at 22:30 and Rebekka at 23:30! I started "Moskitoland" as expected and am really enjoying it. It is very different from what I expected, but in a good way. I only have about 80 pages to go, so hope to stay awake to finish that tonight. This will probably be my last update until morning though.

Hour 20 (09:00)
I woke up an hour ago and am back at reading. I finished "Moskitoland" just before going to bed and am now reading "Beneath the Sugar Sky" by Seanan McGuire. I read the first book in the series ("Every Heart a Doorway") at a previous readathon and LOVED it, so it seemed natural to save the sequel for another one (I know I've skipped a book in the series, but that one seems more like a companion novel than a sequel, and I wanted to get back to the Wayward Children :) )

Hour 21 (10:00)
I just finished "Beneath the Sugar Sky" and loved it every bit as much as "Every Heart a Doorway". I definitely need to add that series to my physical library! This puts me just past 1000 pages, and I still have another four hours to go! Now to decide what to read next... I think it might be "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl". I've been wanting to read that for awhile, and it seems like very suitable material for a readathon. Hopefully I'm right :)

Hour 24 (13:30)
I finished "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl" with just half an hour to spare, so I'm not going to pick up anything else up for the last 30 minutes. That puts my totals at 6 books and 1376 pages, which is close to a personal record, considering that there were no graphic novels involved. Mixi and Mum finished one book each, and I have to check with Rebekka how she's fairing with hers. I was right in supposing M&E&DG would make for good readathon material, but unfortunately I didn't like it as much as I had expected to. It was a LOT more depressing than I had anticipated, and though it still ended on a positive note, it's probably not a book I'm likely to reread much. Oh well. I really liked the other books I read for the readathon (especially "Beneath the Sugar Sky" and "Dragon-Kin" and only one dud out of 5 (I'm not counting my reread here) is pretty good!

So that's it for this time! It's been fun as always, and I do love that it's a family tradition now. So much more satisfying to sit together with a group of people... even if we are just sitting and reading :-)

Books read: "Last Chance" - Sarah Dressen. (245), "Dragon Kin: Alonia & Thrift" - Audrey Faye (208), "The Ordinary Princess" - M.M. Kaye (123), "Moskitoland" - David Arnold (348), "Beneath the Sugar Sky" - Seanan McGuire, "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl" by Jesse Andrews (295)
Pages read: 1376
Currently reading: None.

19 Oct 2018

Mini-Challenge: Modern Classics

Hello, fellow readers!!! Hope you're doing well and enjoying the thrill of the readathon - making a solitary activity social :-D

My challenge for you today is this:
Which books, published in the 21st century will likely be classics 100 years from now?

Personally, I think it's hard to guess in advance what will stand the test of time, but it's always fun to try anyway! So here are some the books I think will become classics.

A Gentleman in Moscow - Amor Towles Whatever a modern classic is, this is it! A modern day Robinson Crusoe and a comfort book unlike any other I've ever read. It definitely has that undefinable something to make it pass the test of time.

Persepolis - Marjane Satrapi I know it's non-fiction, but I'm going to count it anyway. It's a brilliant and personal account of a time and place in history few of us know (enough) about.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows This has become an instant favourite with everybody I've spoken to who's read it, and like 84 Charing Cross Road before it, I have a feeling this too will be read as a different account of World War 2 for years to come.

How about you? Leave your answer or a direct link to your post with the answer in the comments, or post a photo of the books on instagram, tagging it with #deweysmodernclassics

Monday after the readathon I will use random.org to select a person to win a book from bookdepository.com of up to DKK100kr / US$15 / £10 / €13. I will notify the winner directly, but PLEASE make sure you leave me a way to get in touch with you! Otherwise I'll have to draw another winner.

Update: The winner was @readersbeadvised on Instagram who - like many others - suggested "Between Shades of Gray". I haven't read that one yet, but will definitely have to now. Congratulations @readersbeadvised, and thank you to everybody who participated!

2 Oct 2018

Dewey October 2018 sign ups

The signups for the October edition of Dewey's 24-hr readathon have just opened, and of course I'll be signing up again! Hopefully Mum, Bekka and Mixi will all join me as per usual. After all - it's tradition! :-D

October 20th - can't wait! For some reason the autumn edition always seems cozier than the spring edition. Possibly because autumn weather automatically lends itself to snuggling up with a good book. Possibly because the autumn vacation was the one I started out doing, so it's become the "original" one in my head. Either way, it's gonna be awesome, and I love that it is now a family tradition!

So I'm quietly putting books aside (only mentally so far :-P ) and figuring out what I want to read. Books currently on my "to consider" list.
-- "Flexible" and "Unbreakable" by Ruth Buchanan
-- "Moskitoland" by David Arnold
-- The next book in Nick Clausen's YA series (I read the first one for the April readathon and it was really good! Not sure why I haven't gotten around to the next one yet).
-- "Dragon-Kin 3-4" by Audrey Faye and Shae Geary

I'm considering taking a page out of the 24in48 readathon and tracking time read as well... still making up my mind on that one.

21 Jul 2018

24in48 - Progress Report

Hour 1
The official start of 24in48 was at 6:00 this morning. I decided to use the official hours, rather than push it to fit my time-zone, just to make things easier - not that it would make much difference, as I'm not going to read through the night anyway :-P. Indeed, it's currenly 7am and I've only JUST sat down to start reading. The biggest challenge will be to remember to turn on my stop-watch whenever I start reading, so I can track my reading time accurately.

Isabella is coming over at 2pm to read with me. While I'm looking forward to a low-key readathon (not that the family affairs aren't super cozy, but the structure of this encourages a more low-key approach) I'm really glad to share this with her. She's so similar to me in so many ways (how many 14 year olds do you know who'd be interested in doing nothing but sit and read for 10 hours?!) and it'll be good to have her there :)

But for now I'm going to get started reading :). I won't be posting hourly updates, but I think the hosts are posting surveys and challenges every 6 hours or so, so will probably use that as prompts for my updates as well.

Hour 7
6 hours later and I'm just about half way through my second book, having read for just about half of the readathon so far. I need to pick up my pace if I want to make it to 24 AND sleep at all tonight, but at least I'm not behind. It'll help once Isabella arrives in an hour, so I have less reason to get distracted :)

Hour 12
Another 4+ hours read since my last update, meaning that I'm now ahead of schedule! Woohoo!!! Isabella arrived at 2pm as arranged, and we've been sitting in the library reading ever since. I keep having to reassure myself that I'm neither boring nor antisocial to just leave her to read - in fact, her mother assures me she loves it - and I'm definitely enjoying the company hugely :-)

We're stopping for dinner soon, but first the challenge of hour 12:

For this challenge, share a book that has expanded your worldview or changed the way you look at something, whether it’s another culture, gender, race, a new concept, social justice issues…the possibilities are endless.

There are MANY books that fit this category. While I definitely mostly read books by and about people like me, I do branch out frequently, both in regards to culture, race, new concepts etc. However, I think the book that most expanded my worldview would have to be "Gracefully Grayson" by Ami Polonsky. This was my first real introduction to the transgender community (although not my last), and the fact that it was written for YA actually just made it even more thought provoking. I've read other books on the topic since, but this still stands out as the best one.

Hour 18
I managed another 4 hours in the last six, but now I have to call it a night. Isabella gave up about 45 minutes ago... I'm a bad influence on her ;-) She seems to have been enjoying herself though, and I've loved having her here.

Hour 26
I slept longer than expected, so can tell already now that it'll be something of a struggle to make it to 24 hours, as I have to take time out for church this morning. That doesn't mean I'm going to stop trying though! Isabella's still asleep, but I've moved back to the couch and have started my 4th book.

Hour 33
I took a bit of a break to get to church and hand Isabella over to her parents again. It had been my intention to listen to an audiobook in the car on my way back, but forgot my cell phone at home, so no dice! Ah well. I'm currently at 16.5 hrs, so it'll be a tight run - but not impossible - to make it to 24. Especially as audiobooks also count, so I don't have to stop to make dinner :)

Isabella's final time

The challenge of hour 30 is to post a photo of your favourite under-the-radar read. I'll save the photo itself for Instagram, but nobody who's read my bookposts for any length of time can have any doubt that my answer would have to be Debora Geary's "Witches on Parole". This marks the start of the WitchLight trilogy which is close to being my favourite series ever, but with less than 5000 reviews on Goodreads it is not nearly as well-known as it deserves to be. Unfortunately, as it has apparently gone out of print (though it can still be found as an audiobook on Audible), it's unlikely reach the place 'over the radar' where it belongs.

Hour 39
I only have another two hours left to go!!! It's just past 9pm here, so I can totally do it :-D. I'm currently rereading book two of the WitchLight trilogy by Debora Geary (the sequel to the "under-the-radar" book I mentioned above). That book always makes me feel like crying in a good way. I wanna live in WitchCentral someday!

The challenge of hour 36 is a charming one. What’s the oldest children’s book you have, or a book you’ve held onto since your childhood? Share it with us!. Many of the ones that immediately jump to mind (Lurituri for one) still resides at my parents' place, but I have brought a few with me for my own library.

Hour 50
At 11:15pm last night I made it to 24 hours! It turned out to be a lot tighter than I had expected ahead of time, but that's mostly because I'm old and tired and value my sleep :-P I made it through 5 and a bit books, for a total of a whooping 2,342 pages!!!

Turns out, 24in48 is a biyearly event too, same as Dewey, with the next one being scheduled for the last weekend of January. I don't know that I'll participate every time, but it'll be fun once in awhile. And I LOVED having Isabella join me for some of it :-D

Books Read: "Divas Don't Knit" - Gil McNeil, "Breaking Dawn" - Stephenie Meyer, "Witches on Parole" - Debora Geary, "The Library of the Dead" - Glenn Cooper, "Witches Under Way" - Debora Geary
Currently Reading: "All By My Selves" - Jeff Dunham (audiobook)