Welcome to my latest reading update. As the year nears its end, I’m focused on completing my two main reading challenges. In addition to my Scandinavian Reading Challenge, I am doing The Book Girls’ Book Voyage: Read Around the World challenge. Instead of reading the areas in order, I am skipping around. In November, I read the next to last prompt for me, Asia – South, and in December I’m wrapping up the challenge with a selection for South America, The Air You Breathe by Frances de Pontes Peebles. When I can, I squeeze in an unread Book of the Month selection. They have a tendency to accumulate!
2022 Scandinavian Reading Challenge Update:
I’m still reading (actually mostly listening to) my 2022 Scandinavian Reading Challenge selection for the 2000s, the Norwegian Tante Ulrikkes vei (Tante Ulrikkes Way or Our Street), the debut novel by Zeshan Shakar. It’s about second generation immigrants in Oslo. It is in standard Norwegian as well as “kebabnorsk”, a spoken dialect mixing Norwegian with foreign words, mainly Arabic and other Middle Eastern languages. I did sneak in a couple of books set in the 2010s in Oslo both last month and this month so I can jump straight into the final prompt for the challenge, a book spanning decades or places, right away.
Once again, I join Modern Mrs Darcy’s Quick Lit where we share short and sweet reviews of what we’ve been reading lately. What have you been reading lately?
The Henna Artist (Jaipur Trilogy #1) by Alka Joshi 🎧
(Narrated by Sneha Mathan)
A book right up my alley! This is a historical fiction novel about a time and place I am not familiar with featuring a strong female protagonist. The setting is Jaipur, India, in the 1950s, and Lakshmi, who left an abusive marriage at the age of 17, is a respected henna artist to the upper class women and on her way to becoming a self sufficient, independent woman. Then her husband appears bringing along a sister that Lakshmi didn’t know she had and her carefully balanced and planned life is disrupted. On top of it being an inspiring story, I also learned about henna artists and a bit about India pre- and post-independence. I considered reading the next in the series right away, but I decided to wait since I have other books I “must” read before the end of the year.
- Book Voyage: Read Around the World: Southern Asia – India
- #SlothyWorldReads2022: By a writer from Central or South Asia
Nei og atter nei by Nina Lykke 🎧
(Narrated by Anne Ryg)
I knew little going into this book; I was just excited to have access to a Norwegian audiobook of a new-to-me author whom I had on my radar. (And it was short enough to fit in before I started my next book club pick.) It’s a contemporary novel about Ingrid and Jan, a married couple in their 50s (with 2 adult sons still living at home), and Hanne, a 34-year-old female work colleague of the husband. They all have issues and I didn’t like any of them (but at least they were honest with themselves). However, I really enjoyed the structure of the story in which each chapter was from a different character’s perspective and the time periods overlapped a bit. The audiobook narration was fabulous and kept me coming back to their messed up world. The ending was surprisingly satisfying.
Even though I didn’t love the story, I appreciated the writing style and structure and am keeping Nina Lykke on my to-read list. I already have another of her books on my shelf, the Brage Prize-winning novel Full spredning. It’s actually coming out in English translation by B. L. Crook in April 2023 titled Natural Causes published by Open Letter. It was first published in Norway 2019 and this will be her English language debut.
- 2022 Scandinavian Reading Challenge: 2010s in Oslo
The Creak on the Stairs (Forbidden Iceland #1) by Eva Björg Ægisdóttir 📖
(Translated from the Icelandic by Victoria Cribb)
I decided to read a Nordic Noir selection in honor of #NordicNoirNovember. This is the debut novel of a new Icelandic crime author. A typical Nordic Noir read, it features a police detective with a troubled past, a dark and cold setting, and disturbing crimes. Specifically, it’s about Elma who transfers from the police department in Reykjavik to the one back in her small hometown of Akranes after a difficult break with her boyfriend. She and her partner investigate the death of a woman found by a lighthouse and all sorts of secrets and connections between past and present come up. Iceland is a fascinating setting and I love a smart, female detective. It worked for me and I look forward to reading the next in the series.
Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley 📖
My book club selected this novel in honor of November’s National Native American Heritage Month. It couldn’t have been a better selection for the purpose. It was an engrossing pageturner that opened my eyes to so much about contemporary Native cultures and traditions. It also shed light on both historical and present day challenges faced by Native people. I loved the main character, Daunis, an 18-year old star hockey player who just graduated from high school but is postponing her university plans to be close to her fragile mother whose brother just died, a father figure in Daunis’ life. I enjoyed the romance between Daunis and the new recruit on the hockey team. More deaths and secrets come to light. It was an unexpected thriller with great substance. #unreadBOTMchallenge
What have you been reading lately?
By the way, if you’re interested in purchasing some Scandinavian ebooks at a great discount, visit my Scandinavian Ebook Deals. Some offers stay around for a long time, others only a short period. If anything looks intriguing, grab it before it’s gone.
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your posts are always interesting… I like your ‘short and sweet’ reviews!
Thank you! I’m glad you enjoy them.
Thanks for your update and recommendations Patricia. My reading was all over the place in November. I was happy to read your comments on The Firekeeper’s Daughter. I loved, loved the book. For Native American Heritage month, I TRIED to read Reservation Blues. I started it many years ago and put it down. Unfortunately I couldn’t get through it this time either, so put it down and gave it away. Instead I picked up and started reading I Am the Grand Canyon: The Story of the Havasupai People which is a book I bought there years ago. I was thrilled to hear that a hearing towards the end of November, the U.S. Board of Geographic Names voted unanimously to change the name of the Grand Canyon National Park’s Indian Garden campground to Havasupai Gardens in support and recognition of the Havasupai Tribe. I haven’t finished it yet!
The Henna Artist is also one of my all-time favorite books. I am looking forward the the sequel!
As for “Around the World” book in November, I must admit I’ve lost track. That said, I did finish The Downstairs Girl…Chinese girl living in Atlanta at the beginning of the New South (historical fiction about an issue I knew nothing about.) I recommend the book.
I finished reading The Dictionary of Lost Words (England) Dec 2, so can I claim it in November?? Another interesting historical fiction. So much to learn and enjoy while doing that!
I love reading about what you’ve been reading! The Downstairs Girl is on my radar. Thanks for the recommendation! And yes, you can claim The Dictionary of Lost Words for November. You probably did most of the reading then. 🙂 Hope you get lots of reading in this holiday season!