Saturday, 23 May 2015


I read this mostly because I like vampires a bit more than I should (I blame Angela Sommer-Bodenburg's The Little Vampire), and if you like vampires enough to seek out narratives focused on them you'll run into Carmilla at some point. There are some spoilers coming your way so if you don't want them walk away now.

Carmilla starts off strongly, but if you judge by the amount of times I put it down and forgot about it, didn't stay interesting throughout, this is probably because the fact that Carmilla is a vampire (and the villain) is something you know before going in and the prose alone is not entirely enough to satisfy me as a reader. That does not mean I didn't enjoy it, but that any element of surprise is gone and it can get a bit tedious when they're all stumbling about not quite understanding what is going on (which is a thing that happen in modern vampire (or other supernatural/mythological/whatever creature) stories too, and I just want to ask them if they've never seen a movie or read a book before while throttling them).

I quite liked the setting, a lonely Schloss with a lonley girl in it, and then the surprise appearance of another guest, hurled into their lives by a mother who dares not travel on with her fragile daughter after a convenient carriage accident on the road outside the castle. The guest is the languid and beautiful Carmilla, who instantly develops a close relationship with the castle's inhabitants, the daughter, Laura, in particular.

Carmilla craves closeness and intimacy, along with the blood. Laura and Carmilla talk, laugh, walk arm in arm, hug and exchange kisses (but not on the mouth I think, you Le Fanu was a tease!). The latter making Laura a little uncomfortable, but she adores Carmilla. "I wonder if you feel as strangely drawn towards me as I do to you; I have never had a friend -- shall I find one now?" Carmilla says to Laura while telling her that she has felt that they've known each other forever, and Laura feels similarly, "but there was also something for repulsion" she explains, but the attraction and fascination were stronger, despite Carmillas weird behaviour and sleepwalking. While this is described as a friendship the romantic undertones really aren't very covert, you don't have to try very hard if that's what you are looking for here (and many have). And this relationship between a predator and it's prey is what makes this book interesting, and is probably why a lot of people read it today (in combination with an interest in the vampire's earlier literary days).

Carmilla is secretive, mysterious and beautiful, and of course, a vampire, the monster and villain of the story, but she bats her eyelashes and is, or pretends to be, exhausted and fragile and everyone loves her. She's a monster in disguise as a living doll. Carmilla and Laura mirror each other in many ways, both being (seemingly) young, lonely women. Both vampire and human crave a connection, but where Laura wants friendships, Carmilla is mostly hungry. There developes and intimacy and a friendship between them almost instantly (but not in an "instalove" fashion), because they're the only girls there. Laura has recently been deprived of a visit from another girl she had looked forward to seeing and is happy to have a replacement, and Carmilla is a delight.

The vampire is the typical one, to kill it you must stake it, chop it's head off and burn both that and the body in order to be sure it won't come back. It can vanish from sight (becomes air/mist?), and it kills its victims by draining them of blood (and life) slowly. One human = many meals. Carmilla is found in the end, sleeping in a coffin full of blood, her pulse and breathing faint, but present. It is also stated that one might become a vampire by suicide, "under certain circumstances" (whatever those are. Suicide is a sin though right? Religion is important here, because if you've attracted a vampire you don't need a doctor, but a priest), and once you have one vampire you'll have more, as it's nature is to procreate. Vampires are mostly mindless, but Carmilla is a bit of a different story and so forth. I wish some things were better explained (like the circumstances one would require to become one while killing oneself). The expert that comes to the rescue barley get to explain himself before they've found the grave containing Carmilla and beheaded her, the ending is a little rushed, but of course it could easily have been completely boring after Carmilla is found out if this wasn't the case.

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Bob13 Challenge: Your favorite BoB13 read

Today I've decided (/figured out that I'm able...) to participate in another challenge. Once Upon a Chapter has a picture challenge where you find your favorite book in this bout of books so far.

This was surprisingly hard because on one hand I'm currently reading The Lions of Al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay and I'm really enjoying it, on the other hand I really loved How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran, which is the book that comes victorious out of this simply because I know how it ends. Who knows, maybe Lions will fall apart completely in the last 150 pages? (I don't thinks so, but I don't know for sure).

my copy of how to build a girl by Caitlin Moran and a cup of green mint tea that tasted horribly and too much like toothpaste

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Katastrofekats taleathon reaults

Better late then never, right? Here are my initial tbr:

And the challenges was this
Read a graphic novel or comic.
Read something translated. 
Read something by a non-white author
Read something by a LGBTQIA author
Read a different text type/format than you normally read

As you can see, I completet them all. I read Gunnerkrigg Court by Thomas Siddell for a graphic novel, Baise Moi by Virginie Despentes for a translated book (originally in french and I read it in norwegian), Charm & Strange by Stephanie Kuehn as a book by a non-white author, Black Iris by Leah Raeder for a book by an LGBTQIA author and The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy and other stories by Tim Burton for a format I don't usually read, as I rearly read poetry.

All in all, I read these books:

Baise moi by Virginie Despentes
Charm & Strange by Stephanie Kuehn
Black Iris by Leah Raeder
The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy by Tim Burton
City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare
Gunnerkrigg Court Volume 1 by Thomas Siddell 
Blood and Guts in High School by Kathy Acker 

I manged to read seven things in all for this readathon, which I'm pretty pleased about, but I'm mostly excited about the fact that I read outisde of my usual comfort sone, which is always good to do on occation. And I read all my tbr books, which never happens!

Monday, 11 May 2015

BoB13: Bookish Survey

This is a challenge hosted by Lori at Writing My Own Fairy Tale. And since challenges are fun (and social, which is half the bout of books fun) I thought I'd join in. 

The questions in this challenge are as follows:

1. How do you organize your shelves?
I tried to organize them by genre/type and then just go alphabetically, but because I've got a three-layer thing going on in one shelf, and the other is very long under a sloping ceiling I inevitably end up re-arranging that bit by height (even though I've had it by genre/alphabet before).  Below are pictures, well, the first one is mostly just a blur, but you get the idea, that's the one with three layers! Sorry about the quality of some of these photos, it is super dark and rainy outside today and my room is not very well lit. 

My unread books are in actual piles:
 Then there's my looooong shelf, which didn't fit into one picture, so you get two. The second picture starting where the first ends:

2. What is one of your favorite book that’s not in one of your favorite genres?
I don't know. Most of what I read these days is fantasy or young adult. I think I'll have to say Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf or Goodbye to Berlin by Christopher Isherwood perhaps? This is too hard!

3. What is the last 5 star book you read?
According to Goodreads that was Råta by Siri Pettersen, which is probably true (for now). The last English-language 5 star book I read was Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz, which was super sweet and made me cry a lot. 

4. What book are you most excited to read during the read-a-thon?
All of them? While I am very exited to get through most of my currently reading list (7 books in total, 6 left at time of writing). I'm probably most exited about finishing Carmilla and How to Build a Girl because I have no idea why I haven't already (okay, so maybe I lost How to Build a Girl for a little bit, but then I found it and should have finished it, but no whatever I'd started in between was super exiting and so forth). 

5. What book do you recommend the most?
It's probably Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch becaus the Peter Grant series is my favourite! Magic, London and a great mix of the horrible with the hilarious! 
The objects in this photo has nothing to do with what is inside the book, I was just too lazy to move them. 

Tuesday, 5 May 2015


Bout of Books
The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 11th and runs through Sunday, May 17th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 13 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

Apparently one does not do one bout of books without signing up for another, and another, and another. You get the point. Next Monday (May 11.)  it's go time again, and I'm officially IN! 

My last attempt was a bit of a failure, but I'm still super happy with myself from our own Taleathon and ready for more hardcore reading! 

I'll try to be chatty and social (which I failed at last time because I was suffering from winter blah-ness), I want to participate in some challenges (because those are so fun!) too. 

Reading goals?
Empty my "currently reading" shelf/list on goodreads. As I write this there are 7 books on there, one I haven't picked up since 2013 so I think this is a great opportunity to either finish the books or capitulate and write them up as unfinished and MOVE ON!

Stats/Sum-ups per day:
Books finished: Carmilla by J. Sheridan Le Fanu
Books read in/listened to: Small Favor by Jim Butcher (audio)
I also participated in a challenge: Bookish Survey
I am very happy with the day.

Books finished: How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran
Books read in/listened to:
Am moderately pleased with today, I hoped to read more, but wasn't up for reading anything more after finishing the book I read in, but I'm very happy to have done that. I loved the book.

Books finished: Small Favour by Jim Butcher
Books read in/listened to: Run Fat Bitch Run
Today was not a good day life wise, but I did finish listening to Small Favour which is what I planned, and as I am writing this I am planning to read a little bit in a book I've not picked up since 2013 because I got so angry with it (I don't have too much left, I think...).

Books finished: Run Fat Bitch Run
Books read in/listened to: Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed and The Lions of Al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay

I finished the running book last night, but since it was after midnight I'm couting it for today. I also read about a hundred pages of The Lions of Al-Rassan and listened to three-four hours of Wild. All in all a very good day, even if I was supposed to read Lions and only that, but couldn't stay away from an audiobook, and I had started it previously, so technically it counts, even if I hadn't originally planned on finishing it. Now it seems that I will.

Books finished: None
Books read in/listened to: Wild and The Lions of Al-Rassan. I've gotten pretty far in both of those and expect to finish by the end of the weekend, if life doesn't get too much in the way (which it might because I've got plans for Saturday and Sunday is our national day. Which means that there will be less reading than the other days, but I feel relatively confident.

Books finished: None
Books read in/listened to: Wild

Books finished: Wild
Books read in/listened to: Wild and The Lions of Al-Rassan.

Grand total:
Books finished: 3
I participated in two challenges, commented on a bunch of blogs, and hung out a bit on twitter. I missed the bookchat I'd planned on, but I figured hanging out with real life people was probably something I should do (also go see a movie). I still have three books to read according to my goodreads "currently reading" and my goal was to empty it, but I finished two books I'd been reading for quite some time, and one I only recently started.

I have very little left of The Lions of Al-Rassan though, so I'll be done with that too soon, and my list of books I've started, but never finished (but want to) is going to be down to two, one of which I only very recently started. I just abandoned that one because I wanted to listen to an audiobook instead (that was Wild btw). So I'm writing this up as a successful readathon!


Monday, 4 May 2015

Kristine's Taleathon results!

I finished two books that I had started before the readathon, Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K. Hamilton, and Magic Burns by Ilona Andrews. The former was an audiobook and the latter a paperback from the library. I also read Vengeance Bound by Justina Ireland and Blue is the Warmest Colour by Julie Maroh. In addition to this I tried reading something different from what I normally read and went for some poetry, I picked 10 poems from my Norton Anthology of American Literature (because I don't own a single poetry book) and read those too.

How I did with the challenges, I've put a line through the ones I succeeded with:
Read a graphic novel or comic.
Read something translated. 
Read something by a non-white author
Read something by a LGBTQIA author
Read a different text type/format than you normally read 

Dun dun dun! 

Of the books I read I think I liked Blue is the Warmest Colour best it was quiet and loud (what do you mean contradictory?) and frustrating in the best kind of way. Magic Burns was fun too, and Guilty Pleasures was a re-read for me, and I discovered that I'd forgotten a lot of it (not surprising), but it was still fun (if not as great as I remembered, but then I was 14 when I read it first. Ten years make a difference). Vengeance Bound was not for me, I liked the concept, but not the writing or the characters. It started strong, but then fell apart for me. The poetry was poetry, I spent about two hours reading a selection of poems and some I liked, others I couldn't figure out and I really don't have the patience for thinking too long about them...