The Girl on the Train

I miss being a mistress. I enjoyed it. I loved it, in fact. I never felt guilty. I pretended I did. I had to, with my married girlfriends.

TheGirlOnTheTrain

Title: The Girl on the Train
Author: Paula Hawkins
First Published: 2015
My Rating: 3 of 5 stars (average rating on Goodreads: 3.88)
I would recommend this book to: Readers who likes their mysteries with a twist.

The Girl on the Train is about Rachel, a woman whose life has fallen apart. Her husband left her for a new woman a few years back, and is now playing happy family in their house. Rachel has turned to drinking, lost her job and almost all her friends, stalks her ex and his new wife, and spends her days taking the train back and forth, going past her old street. On this street she watches her old neighbor, a husband and wife, and imagines what their lives are like. They become her symbol of true love and the perfect life. Then one day, she sees something shocking from the train window. A few days later it’s all over the papers: the wife has gone missing. What Rachel saw may be important, but who will believe an alcoholic stalker?

I found it very difficult to enjoy this book. The characters were either cruel or downright stupid. I wanted to slap our protagonist over and over again. She was awful! Yes, she had been through something tragic and had been let down horribly by the man that she loved. But her amount of self-pity was out of proportions. Only later do we discover that it might be something deeper, a greater tragedy. But then it’s too late, as we’ve already had hours of constant whining. I found it hard to see what she saw in her ex, a selfish man who made her feel worthless, who wasn’t there for her when she fell apart, and who treated her with cruelty.

You’re like one of those dogs, the unwanted ones that have been mistreated all their lives. You can kick them and kick them, but they’ll still come back to you, cringing and wagging their tails.

I disliked being inside Rachel’s head. I didn’t want to hear her twisted thoughts. Luckily the story was told from several POVs. But that didn’t help as much as I’d thought it would, as all characters – without exceptions – are unsympathetic and twisted. They all had something cruel and selfish about them, making happiness for themselves and others impossible.

Being the other woman is a huge turn-on, there’s no point denying it: you’re the one he can’t help but betray his wife for, even though he loves her. That’s just how irresistible you are.

The story was quite good with many twists and turns as the layers are peeled off the characters. The all have hidden pasts or personalities, all related to the mystery somehow.

Posted in Books | Leave a comment

Vintage from London and Bangkok

Bluedress1

Last night Mr. Boyfriend and I went out to dinner at Nino e Franco (we had some celebrating to do). Here’s what I wore:

Dress: Vintage from Paper Dress Vintage in London (I’m wearing the same dress here)
Shoes: Second hand Micael Kors from (un) Fashion Vintage in Bangkok

Bluedress2

MichaelKorss

Posted in Look of the Day | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Save Me the Waltz


I would like somebody to lock me up in a spiritual chastity belt.

Save Me the waltz

Title: Save Me the Waltz
Author: Zelda Fitzgerald
First Published: 1932
My Rating: 3 of 5 stars (average rating on Goodreads: 3.62)
I would recommend this book to: Anyone curious about the Fitzgeralds
The Beginning: ‘Those girls,’ people said, ‘they think they can do anything and get away with it.’

I had been looking very much forward to this one. I adore Scott Fitzgerald’s writing and was curious to read the novel written by his wife (and editor). I know it’s unfair to compare them, but it’s difficult not to. Would Zelda’s writing and story telling skills live up to Scott’s? The answer (for me) is no. I found the writing messy and unfocused, nothing like Scott’s amazing way with words. There were a few one-liners that made me smile, but nothing really impressive.

I’m much too proud to care – pride keeps me from feeling half the things I ought to feel.

The story, though, is quite amazing. Let’s face it, the Fitzgeralds are an interesting couple. But I made the huge mistake to read Zelda’s novel so soon after reading a novel about her (Z: A novel of Zelda Fitzgerald). These two books are practically the same. The same plot, the same characters, the same scenes. Only, in Zelda’s own novel, the names are changed, and the husband is a painter instead of a writer. And our heroine doesn’t end up in a mental institution like Zelda did. That was a bit disappointing to me – it would have been very interesting to get this part of the story from her own point of view.

I am only really myself when I’m somebody else whom I have endowed with these wonderful qualities from my imagination.

Posted in Books | 2 Comments

My latest Knitting Project: Cocoons

Kitted baby Cocoon

Here’s what’s kept my hands busy while listening to Dracula/watching Netflix: two cocoons for my friend’s twins (adorable baby girls). Apparently a cocoon is the latest thing for babies. You can get the pattern for free here. It’s quite easy, but I had some difficulties translating the guide to Danish, as I couldn’t figure out which yarn type to choose and how many stitches I had to add to make up for the yarn type. So I had to start over about three times (the first one I knitted was the size of a hat – i.e. a hat for babies). But I finally got it right (only to mess up the button holes on the first one).

Posted in Knitting | Leave a comment

Currently Reading #4

Currently Reading

This last few weeks, I’ve been more into audio books than physical books. I’ve been very preoccupied with knitting (I’ll show the results soon), and an audio book is my favorite knitting companion. I’m still listening to Dracula with Mr. Boyfriend, but we’ve reached a bit of a standstill. I’ve read it before and really liked the first half, but the second half dragged a bit – and I feel the same way now.

I’ve started an amazing audio book by myself, Kazuo Ishiguro‘s new novel The Buried Giant which as extremely good. The funny thing is that one of my colleagues had started to listen to it simultaneously – we discovered it when we were both about half way through 😀

Now and then I’m also reading Margaret Atwood‘s short story collection Bluebeard’s Egg I got it for Christmas in a Secret Santa game from a fellow Danish book blogger. I’m not much into short stories, but Margaret Atwood can make anything interesting.

What about you, what are you reading? And have you read any of these three books?

currently reading

Posted in Books | 4 Comments

My Week: Lola Ramona & Rainy Days

Lola Ramona

I’ve spited the rainy weather we’ve had this past week by wearing Lola Ramona shoes every single day. They can make any rainy day seem a little bit brighter. I’ve been very busy at work and have spent my evening indoors reading and knitting with a blanket and my cats. Not my usual summer activity, but there you have it. Thursday was election day here in Denmark, and Mr. Boyfriend and I went over to some friends to watch the election on TV – and to see their newborn twins. On Friday I had the evening to myself where I stayed in, ordered sushi and watched some Netflix. I got up very early on Saturday and went to Mr. Boyfriend’s cousin’s fiancée’s bachelorette party. We surprised the bride-to-be with a breakfast, played laser tag, had lunch, did a croquis section (with a male model, which of course caused a lot of giggling) and went out for dinner and karaoke. It was a lot of fun – esp. the laser tag bit, which I’ve never tried before (I discovered my inner ninja).

My female cat, Nokia, has not been impressed by the Danish summer:
cat

Wilcox, on the other hand, has decided to become a ninja:
Ninja Cat

I made smoothies with leftovers:
smoothies

Today (Sunday) I’ve been exhausted and have done nothing but read, sleep and knit. Now Mr. Boyfriend is making risotto with basil and shrimps – the smell is delicious! I hope you’ve all had a nice week!

Posted in What I've been up to | Tagged | Leave a comment

South of the Border, West of the Sun

Reading was like an addiction; I read while I ate, on the train, in bed until late at night, in school, where I’d keep the book hidden so I could read during class.

South of the border west of the sun

Title: South of the Border, West of the Sun
Author: Haruki Murakami
First Published: 1992
My Rating: 4 of 5 stars (average rating on Goodreads: 3.86)
I would recommend this book to: Just about anyone.
The Beginning: My birthday is January 4, 1951.

South of the Border, West of the Sun is about Hajime, a very unsympathetic man. He lies and cheats and never feels bad about it. He’s selfish with no respect for the people who loves him. Yet I couldn’t help feeling sorry for him. The one he hurts the most is himself. He is incapable of finding peace and being content. A part of him is missing.

As a young boy on the verge of being a teenager, he befriends a girl, Shimamoto, and falls in love with her. They lose touch as he moves away, but he never stops thinking about her. No other woman – not even his wife – can take her place.

For a long time, she held a special place in my heart. I kept this special place just for her, like a ‘Reserved’ sign on a quiet corner table in a restaurant.

Then Shimamoto reappears. Or does she? I still haven’t a clue if she actually reappears or is just a figure of Hajime’s imagination. Or if she’s ever existed – she could be a lonely child’s imaginary friend, an imaginary friend so perfect that no one else will compare.

“Sometimes when I look at you, I feel I’m gazing at a distant star,” I said. “It’s dazzling, but the light is from tens of thousands of years ago. Maybe the star doesn’t even exist any more. Yet sometimes that light seems more real to me than anything.”

But whether or not she exists, she definitely stirs things up. Hajime can no longer hide this longing from his wife, and the longing grows intensely. He becomes unable to pretend as he used to, and he has to do something: devote himself completely or run away with a fantasy.

Most of all, this story is about loneliness, about being unable to connect with other people, of finding comfort in the idea of an imaginary soul mate. Hajime is an only child just like Shimamoto, and it is suggested that this is the reason for their friendship, something they have in common that only they understand. This makes Shimamoto even more perfect in Hajime’s eyes – and it makes her a brilliant candidate to mess up his life. Even if she doesn’t exist.

Posted in Books | 2 Comments

This Time Last Year: Longing for Summer

Summerhouse1

This time last year, it was summer! Real sunny summer, not grey, cold summer like the one we’re having now. Looking back to the posts of June 2014 makes me long for lazy summer days with books and ice cream. Last June I went to a summer house with Mr. Boyfriend and my parents. We went for walks, went thrifting and spent an entire day in the garden just reading. Now that I think about it, the weather was kind of mixed, but still … the pictures look blissful!

Summerhouse2

I bought four new books last June, three of which I’ve read: Peter Pan, Pain, Parties, Work and Ghostwritten. I’ve yet to read ‘The Understudy’, but after reading a bad review of it on Paperback Castles, I’m reluctant to start it.

BooksandLooks1

Another summer memory: There was a flea market in our hood and we went with some of our friends. The weather was, of course, magnificent.

fleamarket1

Here’s my favorite outfit from June last year, a diner inspired dress that makes me think of Grease and milkshakes:

Dinerdress2

My best reading experience of June 2014 was The Forsyte Saga. Such a story! Here’s my favorite quote from it:

The more I see of people the more I am convinced that they are never good or bad – merely comic, or pathetic.

The Forsyte saga reading in a cafe

Posted in This Time Last Year | Leave a comment

The Other Boleyn Girl

I was born to be your rival,’ she said simply. ‘And you mine. We’re sisters, aren’t we?

The Other Boleyn Girl

Title: The Other Boleyn Girl (The Tudor Court #2)
Author: Philippa Gregory
First Published: 2001
My Rating: 3 of 5 stars (average rating on Goodreads: 4.02)
I would recommend this book to: Tudor Court fans

The Other Boleyn Girl is about Mary and Anne Boleyn who are both fighting for the attention and affection of King Henry VIII. One because of naïve romantic love, the other because of power. It basically goes like this:

“The king loves ME!!!”
“No the king loves me – you’re just a whore”
“It’s me the king loves and you’re totally jealous!”
“No, it’s me the king loves, because I’m clever and you’re just a boring plaything!”

I was a bit disappointed that the story was told from Mary’s point of view. To me, Anne is a lot more interesting than Mary. But this point of view allows us a different story: a story about a naïve girl who is bullied by her family into becoming a whore, to lie and deceive, and to cheat on her husband.

Anyone can attract a man. The trick is to keep him.

But I didn’t really believe the story. Mary was too naïve and stupid, and her family too outright cruel. The things they said seemed forced and overdone – like Philippa Gregory really wanted to prove her point. And throw a bit of feminism in for good meassure.

You can smile when your heart is breaking because you’re a woman.

The characters were very flat and neatly divided into good and bad. We were to root for Mary, so naturally everyone else had to pure evil – Anne in particular. I would have preferred to hear the story from Anne’s point of view – I believe it would have forced a more nuanced picture of her and the court.

As it was, the story dragged a bit to me. It was just too long with too many repetitions and not enough development. And towards the end, when it finally got interesting, it became rushed. As for the writing, I wasn’t impressed. Too repetitious (I would love a count on how many times the word ‘whore’ is used) and modern for this story. I had a few ‘Oh, come on!’ moments.

That being said, I enjoyed the book and will probably devour the next in the series during the next year or so. I listened to the audio, narrated by Susan Lyons who did a good job. She had a pleasant voice that kept me company for 23 hours, and she never overacted (I thing I despise).

By the way, if you’re interested in Anne Boleyn, you should check out my review of a modern version of her story, Anne of Hollywood.

Posted in Books | Leave a comment

You know you’re an audiobook junkie when …

Audio books

You know you’re an audiobook junkie when …

  1. You drive past your house because the end is near.
  2. You walk in to work late because the book’s end was more important.
  3. You spend much more time cleaning the house or cooking dinner than you would otherwise.
  4. People look at you strangely in the grocery store because you are laughing or crying, but no one is with you.
  5. You sit still in traffic and just loving it.
  6. You secretly hope that your significant other won’t offer to come with you while you take the dog for a walk.
  7. Your spouse knows if you’re wearing earphones, that it might be a minute before he/she can talk – they know to wait for the “hands up, 1 minute” sign. And they’re good with that.
  8. You’d rather drive a long distance alone than with a friend b/c you know you won’t be able to listen to your book if he/she’s with you.
  9. You are telling the officer that just pulled you over to hang on.
  10. You arrive in time to catch the shuttle to your office, but you decide to walk so you have more time to listen to your book.
  11. You add 10 minutes to your workout on the exercise bike just so you can finish the chapter.
  12. Taking your player to a restaurant and you are the one asking the waiter what he wants.
  13. Your two most common words are, “Sorry what?”
  14. You start laughing on the treadmill and the guy lifting weights in front of you gives you a dirty look, because he is SURE you are laughing at him.
  15. People think you have developed the Turrets syndrome
  16. Doing laundry is a treat, not a chore
  17. You and your dog are getting more and more fit
  18. You can relate to a lot of these posts and are soooo relieved that you are not the only one.

I stumbled upon this thread on Goodreads for audio book lovers on how you know you’re an audio book junkie. I found it so hilarious I had to share it with you. Change some of the details, and I can relate to no. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 13, 14, 15, 16 and 18. I guess I’m an audio book junkie 😀

Do you listen to audio books? And can you relate to this?

Posted in Books | Leave a comment