Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children


We cling to our fairy tales until the price for believing in them becomes too high.

Miss Peregrine's home for Peculiar children and anna sui shoes

Title: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
Author: Ransom Riggs
First Published: 2011
My Rating: 3 of 5 stars (average rating on Goodreads: 3.79)
I would recommend this book to: Anyone looking for a different fantasy novel.
The Beginning: I had just come to accept that my life would be ordinary when extraordinary things began to happen.

Peter Pan meets Alice in Wonderland. That’s how I would describe Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. An old man has told his grandson amazing stories about an island and an orphanage with peculiar children. As the grandson, Jacob, grows up, he stops believing the stories. But when the grandfather dies, Jacob realizes that maybe the stories were real, maybe his grandfather was murdered and that Jacob himself may be in danger. What else is there to do but go to the island and search for the orphanage? Down he jumps into the rabbit hole and stumbles into a twisted Neverland.

I loved the creativity of this novel. The idea of the orphanage and the strange children were fascinating and brilliantly supported by the images in the book. But still, I was left somewhat disappointed. I expected more from this idea. The novel took a long time to get to the fun part (i.e. the island), and when it finally got there, it leapt almost immediately into battle. I wanted to stay on the island, learn more about the peculiar children, and learn more about their strange existence. But instead I was thrown into a looong battle with a monster.

It wasn’t the creepy read I’d hoped it would be. I felt cheated. The cover and the photographs promised me sleepless nights, but I slept like a baby. It’s a shame, because the story had such potential. If only Ransom Riggs had paid more attention to the details and not rushed things.

Another thing that really bothered me was the love story. It was downright weird! Incestuously weird. And none of the characters had conflicting emotions about it. Weird!

The writing was fine, but it never really took me into the souls of the characters.

Miss Peregrine's home for Peculiar children

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Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?

I needed lessons in love. I still do because nothing could be simpler, nothing could be harder, than love.

Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal - beach read
Title: Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?
Author: Jeanette Winterson
First Published: 2011
My Rating: 5 of 5 stars (average rating on Goodreads: 3.89)
I would recommend this book to: Jeanette Winterson fans
The Beginning: When my mother was angry with me, which was often, she said, ‘The Devil led us to the wrong crib’.

In 1985, Jeanette Winterson published her debut; the semi-autobiographical and downright amazing Oranges are not the Only Fruit. I read it about 10 years ago for a literature class and loved it to pieces. It’s an incredible story. A little girl grows up in a Christian house with a strict matriarch and an almost invisible father. It’s a very unloving household. Books are not allowed and children are punished for sins they don’t understand. Our heroine is meant to be a Missionary. Instead she’s a book-loving lesbian. At the age of 16, she’s kicked out. Her mother has already burned all her books.

I asked my mother why we couldn’t have books and she said ‘The trouble with a book is that you never know what’s in it until it’s too late.’
I thought to myself, ‘Too late for what?’
I began to read books in secret – there was no other way – and every time I opened the pages, I wondered if this time it would be too late; a final draught (draft) that would change me forever, like Alice’s bottle, like the tremendous potion in Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

In Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? (her mother’s parting words), Jeanette Winterson re-tells the story. She compares her story to Oranges, gives us extra details, her own thoughts on what happened and why. What surprised me was that even though the novel was heart-breaking, the real story was worse (in a good way). It was lonely and brutal and so utterly without the literary magic Winterson had inflicted upon the novel. She did that on purpose: she tells that the naked truth was too painful to write about, so she wrote things up a bit.

It was an amazing read, though, and an absolute must for anyone who has read Oranges. Yes, it re-tells some parts of Oranges, but it offers so much more. Not only do we get a huge amount of details that weren’t included in Oranges, we also get to read more about what happens after the novel ends, how this horrifying beginning affects Winterson’s life.

… another presence is hard for me. I wish it were not so, because I would really like to live with someone I love.
I just don’t think I know how to do that.

I laughed and cried throughout this book. It’s one of those rare treasures that takes you be the hand and leads you through both emotions again and again. I laughed a lot. I paused a lot to ponder what I had read. I interrupted Mr. Boyfriend to tell him what I’d just read. And I cried. In public. On the plane home from Bangkok. Right when they started serving dinner. So embarrassing.

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A Bookworm’s Birthday

With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.
― William Shakespeare

vintage outfit

vintage outfit

vintage outfit

I woke up on my birthday with a crick in my neck – just in case I’d forgotten that I was a year older (I’m 35 in case you wondered). I had a nice day anyway with cookies and painkillers at work, and lasagne and red wine in the evening.

On Saturday – Valentine’s Day – Mr. Boyfriend and I celebrated my birthday again by going out to dinner at Famo. The food was OK but nothing special, and the tables were very cramped. We could hear every single word of the conversation at the table next to us. Faith would have it that we were placed next to a couple that were breaking up. The guy was practically begging the girl to take him back while she was going through all the times he’d let her down and listing what she needed in a man. To make matters worse, the poor guy got a nosebleed! Talk about a crappy Valentine’s Day! Bonus info: at one point the guy stood up next to her and bent over to kiss her. The result was that his ass was right in my face. Twice! Happy birthday to me :-D

Anyway, here’s what I wore – I couldn’t help throwing in some Valentine’s Day inspired shoes:

Top: From Topshop
Skirt: Vintage from Episode in Paris
Shoes: Lola Ramona
Bag: From Omaya Vintage in Paris

Lola ramona shoes for valentine's day

Some of my lovely presents:

birthday presents

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Læserne i Broken Wheel Anbefaler

This review is in Danish, as I read the book in Danish – I’ll be back with a post in English very soon!

Læserne i Broken Wheel Anbefaler Anmeldelse

Læserne i Broken Wheel Anbefaler Anmeldelse

Titel: Læserne i Broken Wheel Anbefaler
Forfatter: Katarina Bivald
Udgivelsesår: 2013
Min bedømmelse: 2 ud af 5 stjerner
Anmeldereksemplar

Sara er taget til en lille flække i USA for at besøge sin penneveninde, den bogelskende 75-årige Amy. Da hun når frem er Amy død, men byen tager imod hende, og Amy beslutter sig for at slå sig ned, åbne en bogbutik i Amys ånd og dermed omvende flækkens beboere til læsere.

Som en ægte bogorm er jeg altid frisk på en bog, der hylder bøger. Det er altid rart at læse om nogen, der deler ens lidenskab. Og kærligheden til bøger nærmest driver ned ad siderne i Broken Wheel. Det er faktisk lidt for meget. Det kom for mig til at virke en anelse påtaget, som et billigt trick for at få nogle bogorme på gaflen. Især fordi der ikke skrives noget nyt om kærligheden til bøger. Det er udelukkende klichéer vi har læst utallige gange før – i andre bøger om bøger og rundt omkring på diverse bogblogs. Det er den samme suppedas vi får tværet ud i hovedet endnu en gang.

Der var noget nærmest fornærmende ved en kvinde, som så åbenlyst foretrak bøger frem for andre mennesker.

Så er der selve historien, der skal binde bogelskeriet sammen. Katarina Bivald er tydeligvis en belæst dame. Derfor er det mig uforståeligt, at hun ikke har taget mere ved lære af de bøger hun har læst. Når man kender til historier af Steinbeck og Austen, hvordan kan man så skrive sådan en tynd kop te some denne? Jeg er med på, at bogen er ment som let feel-good hygge-læsning. Og den er i den grad let. Men den er også intetsigende og den første halvdel var decideret kedelig. Persongalleriet er ikke noget at skrive hjem om (bortset fra en enkelt bifigur – en kristen kvinde, der indleder en affære med en ung, biseksuel mand), og jeg brød mig absolut ikke om hovedpersonen. Åh, hvor er jeg træt af at læse om små grå bogorme, der gemmer sig bag bøger, blot for at opdage, at der er mere i livet, da de møder en muskuløs mand.

Bøgerne havde været en beskyttende mur, ja, men ikke kun det. De havde skærmet hende fra omverdenen, men også forvandlet omverdenen til en slags sløret kulisse for de virkelige eventyr i hendes liv.

Og nu til det utilgivelige: En lang række af de bøger, der nævnes får afsløret deres slutning. Uden advarsel! Utilgiveligt …

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The Beautiful and Damned

I’ve always looked on criticism as a sort of envious tribute.
– Gloria Patch

The Beautiful and damned review

Title: The Beautiful and Damned
Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald
First Published: 1922
My Rating: 5 of 5 stars (average rating on Goodreads: 3.75)
I would recommend this book to: Anyone who enjoys beautiful writing and rich bitches.

The Dandy, Anthony Patch, falls in love with the most sought-out girl: the beautiful and aloof Gloria. They marry and become the it couple everyone wants to be with. Their nights are full of champagne and parties, and the days are spent in idleness, waiting for the next party to fill the void. Anthony’s inheritance is endangered because of their wildness. What now? They can’t imagine a life without luxury. Nor is Anthony capable of holding on to a job.

The Beautiful and Damned was an incredible reading experience. Fitzgerald’s craftsmanship has always impressed me, but this time it took my breath away. The writing was so beautiful that it took me ages to read this book. I turned the pages carefully and read passages over and over again, devouring each word like a delicious piece of chocolate. Some parts demanded to be read aloud.

They were stars on this stage, each playing to an audience of two: the passion of their pretense created the actuality.

I loved Fitzgerald’s depiction of the Lost Generation. The clash between the wild nights and the empty days fascinated me. The weird characters who think luxury is a birth right but cannot degrade themselves to take a job were brilliantly described. I also wanted to slap them out of their idleness. Get a hobby, you morons! Get excited about real things in life and not just fleeting things like champagne and beauty. In other words, Grow Up!

I want to marry Anthony, because husbands are so often ‘husbands’ and I must marry a lover.

The character Gloria amazed me. The way she was introduced as an almost supernatural Goddess was so cleverly done. I’ve been curious about her ever since reading the novel about Zelda Fitzgerald who was often compared to Gloria. In Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald, we even get to see Zelda posing as Gloria, giving interviews as the character.

Marriage was created not to be a background but to need one. Mine is going to be outstanding. It can’t, shan’t be the setting – it’s going to be the performance, the live, lovely, glamorous performance, and the world shall be the scenery.

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The Miniaturist

For what am I, she wonders, but a product of my own imagination?

The Miniaturist book review

Title: The Miniaturist
Author: Jessie Burton
First Published: 2014
My Rating: 3 of 5 stars (average rating on Goodreads: 3.58)
The Beginning: The funeral is supposed to be a quiet affair, for the deceased has no friends.

Amsterdam, 1686: Nella Oortman enters a new life with a husband she hardly knows and a hostile household full of secrets. Her wedding present is a miniature version of their home. As the secrets of the household slowly unfold, Nella’s miniature home is furnished by an unknown miniaturist who somehow know all the secrets Nella is yet to unveil; secrets that society would never forgive if they came into light. It’s a story about personal freedom, about being different in a society that does not allow diversity.

This was a great idea for a novel. A classic setting with modern twists. The Miniaturist is perfect entertainment; you’re in good company throughout the novel. It’s one of those ‘forget-about-the-world-reads’ we all need to treat ourselves to. I found it refreshing that there was no love story in the novel. It surprised me, as it would seem like the type of novel that would have a love interest for the main character. I liked that as you don’t see that often. It allowed the focus to stay on the subject matter of personal freedom.

That being said, the novel has many flaws.

The idea of the miniature replica seems wasted on this story. It was an element that made the story unique and what drew my attention to the novel in the first place. But it only played a minor role in story, and that part was nothing special. In fact, it was never even properly explained. I felt a bit cheated as the title of the novel and the cover of the book suggested otherwise.

In showing me my own story, she thinks, the miniaturist has become the author of it herself. How I wish I could have it back.

The characters were to me unbelievable and their actions seemed forced – merely tools to take the plot certain places. Here I think in particular of the sister-in-law, Marin. Her hostility made absolutely no sense to me. It was her idea that the marriage took place in order to cover up their secrets, and then she resents the result. Why? Any sane person would make the new wife feel welcome to ensure that she wouldn’t spill the beans. I can’t help thinking that Jessie Burton did this to make the household more mysterious and thereby the plot more interesting. This annoyed me a bit – I don’t like it when characters act a certain way in order to enhance the story, it makes them seem less ‘real’.

This is not a conversation, it is Agnes sending out darts and watching them pierce.

Jessie Burton is no doubt talented, but she seems to me like an inexperienced writer who should have practiced more before publishing. It’s a shame, because the novel is full of great ideas and creativity. And she writes very well, though the novel should have been proofread an extra time. At one point, the character Johannes was spelled Johanne. In Danish that changes the name from male to female. That’s a bit distracting.

That being said, let me repeat that The Miniaturist is great for entertainment. But don’t expect to be blown away by the story.

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Queen Sirikit Park in Bangkok

Vintage outfit in Bangkok

Vintage outfit in Bangkok

In a city as chaotic as Bangkok, it’s amazing to discover its many parks. Queen Sirikit Park was a true oasis and a much needed break from smog and noise. Here’s what I’m wearing:

Top: An old thing from New Look
Skirt: Vintage from Episode in Paris
Shoes: Chinese slippers – you can get them in any Chinese store for next to nothing

Posted in Look of the Day | Tagged , | 4 Comments

The Strange Library

Why did something like this have to happen to me? All I did was go to the library to borrow some books.

Murakami the strange library review

The strange library

Title: The Strange Library
Author: Haruki Murakami
First Published: 2005
My Rating: 4 of 5 stars (average rating on Goodreads: 3.62)
I would recommend this book to: Readers who like strange reads.
The Beginning: The Library was even more hushed than usual.

A boy goes to the library one day after school. Instead of just borrowing books the usual way, he’s led to a special room. He feels uncomfortable, but is too polite to say no. Next thing he knows, he’s locked into a room by an old man who wants to eat his brain after feeding it books.

Why do I act like this, agreeing when I really disagree, letting people force me to do things I don’t want to do?

What a creepy read this little book turned out to be. The Strange Library is weird in a Hansel and Gretel meets Alice in Wonderland kind of way. The story is classic fairy-tale with a horrifying and claustrophobic atmosphere. My edition had the most beautiful pictures and drawings that made the reading experience quite amazing. These visual elements made a simple but weird story even more special and dreamlike.

Murakami the strange library graphic

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Thrifting in Bangkok

vintage shop in Bangkok

Bangkok will probably never be my favorite place to shop. There’s simply too much tacky plastic for my taste. It seems to be either that or tailor-made Hilary Clinton suits. I’d done my homework and managed to find some real treasures. The best surprise was (un) Fashion Vintage. I had been thrifting all day without finding anything I liked when I walked into vintage shoe heaven. This shop has an amazing collection of vintage shoes for men and women. I got three pairs of gorgeous vintage shoes:

vintage shoes

Another favorite is from Chatuchak market where I found this cool Twiggy shirt for next to nothing:

twiggy shirt

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Bookworm at the Beach

white vintage summer dress

white vintage summer dress

white vintage summer dress

white vintage summer dress

Hi there – long time no see :-) I’ve been in Thailand for the past two weeks. Going to Thailand in January was the best idea I’ve in ages. We spent a few days in Bangkok, a week on Koh Pha-Ngan and then a few days in Bangkok again. At Koh Pha-Ngan we stayed at Sabaii Bay Resort in their honeymoon suite – we didn’t get married, we just wanted the luxury ;-) It was the perfect little bungalow on the beach. I could have stayed forever! Also because they served the best pancakes for breakfast …

The dress I’m wearing is a vintage treasure I found at Karen-Copenhagen a few months ago. I love the little details with the brooch. The golden rose necklace was my grandmother’s.

white vintage summer dress

white vintage summer dress

white vintage summer dress

The hammock on our deck was my favorite reading spot:

beach read

The Beautiful and damned

læserne i broken wheel anbefaler

why be happy when you could be normal?

Posted in Look of the Day, What I've been up to | Tagged | 6 Comments