Saturday, April 1, 2017

My February Reading: Holmes, Puppies and Refugees

My February books are introduced to you by Gentle Ladybug!

  • Anu Holopainen “Viinikauppias” [Finland]
  • Sarah Andersen “Adulthood Is a Myth (Sarah's Scribbles)” [USA]
  • Arthur Conan Doyle “The Valley of Fear” (Sherlock Holmes #7) [UK]
  • Nujeen Mustafa, Christina Lamb “Nujeen: One Girl's Incredible Journey from War-torn Syria in a Wheelchair” [Syria/Germany; UK]
  • Holly Webb “Rascal's Festive Fun” (My Naughty Little Puppy #6) [UK]

“Javona on muuttanut Punatertun kylästä pienen Yvona-tyttärensä kanssa Metsälehmuksen palvojien kallioon louhittuun kaupunkiin lääkäripappi Rakhenesin vaimoksi. Arki ei suju hankaluuksitta, ja suurinta huolta aiheuttaa Yvonan selkään ilmestynyt suunnaton, punahehkuinen luomi.
Samaan aikaan syysmaalaisesta Satosalesin kaupungista tulee odottamaton avunpyyntö. Zara on nimittäin lähettänyt Adairan ja Merkinosin Satosalesiin viinikauppiaspariskunnaksi naamioituneena urkkimaan valtauskontojen voimasuhteita ja ujuttamaan mahdollisuuksien mukaan liberaaleja aatteita viinitupien, kylpylöiden ja temppeleiden takahuoneisiin. Rakhenes saapuu Adairan ja Merkinosin luo mukanaan salaperäisiä pulloja – ja seuraukset saavat koko kaupungin kuohuksiin!”

The third book in Syysmaa series. I liked how the two plot lines merged in the end, I didn't expect that! But the fact that one of the antagonists turned out to be gay left an unpleasant aftertaste. Sure, his orientation isn't presented as a bad thing, the main characters weren't homophobic about it, but other people reacted extremely negatively and, well, him being a gay villain... It's tiring. On the other hand in this volume we discover that many noble women have secret romantic and sexual relationships with each other. In their very patriarchal society they can't get much love or respect from men and of course queer women exist in all kinds of society, anyway. Also, one of main characters is in love with another woman. So, my gaydar wasn't malfunctioning in the previous two books. ;p

Adulthood Is a Myth
“Are you a special snowflake?
Do you enjoy networking to advance your career?
Is adulthood an exciting new challenge for which you feel fully prepared?
Ugh. Please go away.
This book is for the rest of us. These comics document the wasting of entire beautiful weekends on the internet, the unbearable agony of holding hands on the street with a gorgeous guy, dreaming all day of getting home and back into pajamas, and wondering when, exactly, this adulthood thing begins. In other words, the horrors and awkwardnesses of young modern life.”

This was so funny and sooo familiar! =D You can read her comics here.


The Valley of Fear
“The Valley of Fear, the last of the four Sherlock Holmes novels, ranks among Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's best work. The mystery begins with a coded warning of imminent danger, drawing the illustrious Sherlock Holmes and the faithful Dr. Watson to a secluded English country home. A trail of bewildering clues--raincoats, dumbbells, a missing wedding ring — leads to sleuthing in the finest Holmesian tradition and the gripping backstory of a cult that terrorized a valley in the American West. Crisp, realistic characterizations and a cracklingly suspenseful narrative make this novel a must-read for all lovers of mystery and detection as well as Sherlock Holmes fans.”

This novel has two parts. At first we see the investigation. Then we see the backstory. I loved the investigation part, but the backstory was not that interesting to me, I didn't care for characters and it could have been shorter.

“Nujeen Mustafa has cerebral palsy and cannot walk. This did not stop her braving inconceivable odds to travel in her wheelchair from Syria in search of a new life. Sharing her full story for the first time, Nujeen recounts the details of her childhood and disability, as well as the specifics of her harrowing journey across the Mediterranean to Greece and finally to Germany to seek an education and the medical treatment she needs.
Nujeen's story has already touched millions and in this book written with Christina Lamb, bestselling co-author of ‘I Am Malala’, she helps to put a human face on a global emergency.”

This memoir made me sad, happy, angry and sad again. So many people try to cheat refugees, promising them a passage and then disappearing with their money! So much hatred toward people who've lost everything. But there's also hope, and the book seems more optimistic than not thanks to Nujeen's bright and curious spirit.

A few quotes from Nujeen:

For a normal person, the ferry from western Turkey to Mitilini, the capital of Lesbos, costs 10 euros and takes ninety minutes. To make the same crossing as refugees had taken us twelve days to arrange and cost us each $1,500.”

The worst thing about being disabled is you can't go away and cry somewhere on your own. You have no privacy.”

The tiniest particle in the universe is a quark and that's what I feel like in this big mass of migrants. Around 5 million of my countrymen have left Syria since the war started in 2011 and 1.1 million of them made the journey like us across Europe.”

Rascal's Festive Fun
“When Ellie names her puppy Rascal, she doesn't realise how right she is! The playful little puppy is soon getting into all sorts of trouble! The Christmas holidays are here and better still, it's snowing! Ellie plans to take Rascal coral singing - in his cute Santa hat they're bound to raise loads of money for charity! But things don't go entirely to plan…”

I liked this one less than other books by the same author, I think because this book was mostly about children and the ones I read earlier were written from PoV of pets (more interesting to me).

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