Tag Archives: Wallander

Simon’s Bookish Bits #5

As you can see I decided in the end that I would number my Bookish Bits, I know its nice to get a taster of what’s coming however you now have no idea and so you just have to pop by anyway, most of you preferred the numbering too. So anyway what is coming up today, well we have a bit more discussion of TV Book Clubs, we also have some criminal admissions and a give away before finishing up with something that will either make you think a) I have gone mad b) I am a big hypocrite c) you may want to disown me. So its all the usual fun and frolics for one of my Saturday posts really.

First up a huge thank you to everyone who commented on my rant post about The TV Book Club which still makes me a little bit annoyed just thinking about it. Not because of the book choices or Ms Ross (who has a job I am most envious of and credit where credit is due she is getting people to read) just the time spent by people rewarded in such an awful way still gets to me. Of course I will be tuning in tomorrow though not expecting to see any changes as they have pre-recorded it already. Part of me will be tuning in for intrigue and the other part of me will be wanting to watch so I can play Lizzy’s new weekly game which also happens to be my post of the week and you can see here. I love the idea.

From my aforementioned post I took on some advice from Mee and checked out The First Tuesday Book Club a show on in Australia that really, really works. I have popped a video clip of one of the segments I love where each member of the show shares a book they have loved in the last month which wasn’t one of the Book Group choices. Here is the host Jennifer Byrne discussing a book she loved one particular month…

I love how enthusiastic she is in fact the whole panel are, even when they don’t like a book they are enthused. I was thrilled to see on their website that they have reviewed The Little Stranger and so should you want an interesting and insightful chat about that have a look here. I have also decided I want to befriend Marieke Hardy, in every episode she makes me laugh and she doesn’t hold back too. You can also get podcasts of the show which are my podcasts of the week (though I am still addicted to Books on the Nightstand of course). 

I am planning a big book sort over the next week after I noticed that once I added all the books received this week (see below in a mo) I have a TBR list of over seven hundred books (about 780)! I know, I know. I am planing a slight cull this weekend, a mega sort through is needed. Though I do love having a big selection to browse through. I have added a new page on the blog especially called My Mighty TBR so do go have a gander, though don’t judge me for the amount of books there or what those books are ha. It is criminal really, but what can you do, it’s an addiction. Speaking of criminal this is the latest pile of books in…

All crime fiction! We have some Mankell who I read as soon as it arrived and raved about yesterday. There have been both Penguin and OUP editions of Sherlock Holmes arriving, reminding me I must arrange a ‘Sherlock Saturday’ or something along those lines. If that wasn’t enough every copy of Agatha Raisin I didn’t own has turned up leaving me over joyed. What an ace arrival of parcels.

Now as ever I like you guys to get in on the action and so I have two signed copies of the latest Agatha Raisin book ‘There Goes The Bride’ all you have to do is leave a comment on something in today’s Bookish Bits and you are in the drawer, simple! The drawer is open until midnight tomorrow winners announced in the week. Though maybe don’t comment on the picture below which may outrage some of you…

Yes that’s me with an e-reader, I cannot deny it BUT, and please hear me out, it is for work. I have constantly sworn I would never buy an e-reader and I haven’t however when I was offered on to see if it could convert me I thought “don’t be prejudiced Simon, give it a try at least then you will know if you don’t like it” and so I am. I will be reporting back in due course. I haven’t started anything yet, have been too busy with the manual (which is on the e-reader itself) so am debating if should start my e-reading travels with Jane Austen’s ‘Emma’ or Dan Brown’s ‘The Lost Symbol’ both I have wanted to read to see what the fuss is all about. Though one of course is a complete classic, the other… well, I shall say no more!  Over to you.

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Filed under Book Thoughts, Give Away, Simon's Bookish Bits

Faceless Killers – Henning Mankell

I mentioned on Saturday that I have been really enjoying the BBC series of Wallander adapted from the Henning Mankell series. I have however been leaving watching Faceless Killers as I wanted to read the book first. Well finally I have gotten round to it. Would I love the book as much as do the television series, would it be as atmospheric and gloomy yet fantastic as the TV show?

Faceless Killers is the first in the now very successful series of Wallander books by Henning Mankell. It opens with the discovery of the brutal murder Lovgren’s, an elderly couple who have been living their latter years in the Swedish countryside, by their neighbours. Inspector Wallander is called to the scene where they have discovered Maria Lovgren is still alive but not for long. Her final word being ‘foreigners’ is also the only clue as who might have killed this couple as no one can work out why they would have been murdered. It is up to Wallander and his colleagues to try and find the killer though once someone leaks the woman’s last word to the press a racial storm is whirled up causing its own shocking deadly events.

Wallander is a brilliant creation as he is incredibly flawed; in fact really both he and his life are a complete mess. His wife has left him, his daughter has barely spoken to him since she tried to kill herself and he saved her and his father is becoming senile and he is surviving on caffeine, alcohol, pain killers and little sleep. It can be difficult to make a distinct lead character in crime fiction as there are so many inspectors/detectives to choose from but Mankell has done it instantly with Wallander.

I also thought that throwing in the topic of racism in Sweden makes the book not only have another dimension to it but looks at a country changing. It’s interesting to see through the characters how they all react to this and the state of immigrants in the country fictionally; though I think Mankell is trying to also raise a current topic that’s important to be discussed. I couldn’t believe that this was originally written nearly 20 years ago as it felt very fresh and current. You could put that down to translation but I think its definitely in the main down to the author. I think first crime novels can be really difficult but Mankell makes it look easy and I cannot wait to read The Dogs of Riga.

I am really excited about the rest of the series and can completely see why people have been raving about it for so long. It was interesting though as I watched the TV version about half an hour after finishing the last page (because I didn’t want it to expire on iPlayer) and as usual the show was beautifully shot, wonderfully acted and gripping. It is also very much an ‘adaptation’ though the story is much more complex in the book and twists and turns a lot and some characters don’t exist in the book or look anything like their description if they are in it. That’s not a criticism as the show is amazing, if anything it’s a bonus as if I read the others that I have seen I know they will be quite a bit different. I do think that Branagh is a perfect Wallander and that rarely happens. So now I have double the delight.

If you haven’t tried this series be you a fan of crime or not do give it a whirl. It comes highly recommended from Savidge Reads. Who else has read this book? Does the series carry on in the same vein, does it get better? Any other Wallander thoughts?

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Filed under Books To Film, Henning Mankell, Review, Vintage Books

Simon’s Bookish Bits #4

Hello, hope you are all well? I sadly have the lurgy so this is a bit of a late bookish bits from my bed where I can have a ramble on about lots of different bookish things that have been on my mind or caught my eye this week. Things coming up are Wallander, book winners, podcasts and vlogs and some more sympathy supplies from publishers. Plus possibly a few other bits and pieces.

First up, and I am probably really behind with this subject, is Wallander. I am sure most of you have heard about this series by Henning Mankell and have also probably read most of them. I am officially late to this Swedish crime series; however as I have a spectacular lurgy this week I have been watching more catch up TV than I have been reading books. (I have devoured some more short stories and a small book plus Jasper Fforde – ok I have been reading less than normal.) One series I came across was the BBC’s version of Wallander played by Kenneth Branagh (pictured below) which you can see on iPlayer.

Wallander... cleary a man who doesn't get hayfever!

Wallander, cleary a man who doesnt get hayfever!

It is absolutely superb, I only watched The Man Who Smiled as I have Faceless Killers on the TBR and am now about to get cracking on reading it before I watch it. I am sure many of you have read it and will be able to tell me where to go after Faceless Killers which I am sure I will be discussing next week in more detail, so don’t give any plots away please.

So next up Podcasts and Vlogs. I am new to Vlog’s and know of only one blogger who does them and its one of my other favourite posts each week which is Eva of A Striped Armchair and her weekly library loot. I have to add I wish my local library was as wonderful as hers as the titles she gets are just marvellous. You must have a watch of her Vlog’s (the latest can be found here) as they are utterly charming and in watching them you get to know Eva even better. I couldn’t do a Vlog I have to say the camera does not flatter me. I would love to make podcasts though I have no idea how do any of you? Do any of you have any Podcast recommendations as I have been bereft since Radio 5 stopped doing there’s, even if I still have Mariella on a Sunday and World Book Club.

Speaking of Podcasts I have found a wonderful new Podcast this week thanks to Mee who had written about it in one of her past blog posts. It is called Books on the Nightstand and is by Michael Kindness and Ann Kingman who work for Random ‘but don’t only talk about our publishers books’. Its marvellous and its like you are overhearing a conversation of two friends over a coffee nattering away about books they have read and loved. You can (and should) download them here and read their blog they are just brilliant from the latest books to ‘challenges on blogs’ they discuss it all. Marvellous!

Now finally an update on the BBB, so far so good but then I have been in bed most of the week. One thing thats been a delight while I have been feeling vile is that I have had rather an influx of books as some lovely publishers have sent me some sympathy parcels. I have had to take a picture on the stairs as there has been rather a wonderful deluge of books here. I did try and put them in publisher order but with all the different sizes it didn’t work. So before I list them all too you a big thanks to Canongate, Orion, Random House, Headline, Penguin, Faber, OUP, Constable and Robinson and Bloomsbury for these. Here they are;

  • The Blasphemer – Nigel Farndale
  • City Boy – Edmund White
  • The Unnamed – Joshua Ferris
  • The Help – Kathryn Stockett
  • Lost – Gregory Maguire
  • Dog Boy – Eva Hornung
  • A Life Apart – Neel Mukherjee
  • Wedlock: How Georgian Britain’s Worst Husband Met His Match – Wendy Moore
  • God’s Own Country – Ross Raisin
  • Shadow – Karin Alvtegen
  • A Lion Among Men – Gregory Maguire
  • Direct Red – Gabriel Weston
  • Depths – Henning Mankell
  • The Chalk Circle Man – Fred Vargas
  • Cutting For Stone  – Abraham Verghese
  • The Complete Short Stories – Oscar Wilde
  • Consolation – James Wilson
  • The Rapture – Liz Jensen
  • A Kid For Two Farthings – Wolf Mankowitz
  • Miss Hargreaves – Frank Baker
  • Love’s Shadow – Ada Leverson
  • Mrs Tim of the Regiment – D.E. Stevenson
  • Timoleon Vieta Come Home – Dan Rhodes
  • Anthropology – Dan Rhodes
  • Little Clapping Hands – Dan Rhodes

As ever if you have read any of the books or the authors let me know your thoughts. Ooh I nearly forgot… The Istanbul competition winner is… Michelle aka Su(shu) do email me your address! If you haven’t won don’t be disheartened as I have some more giveaways related to some of the above titles coming up (I like you all to benefit too) and some I haven’t mentioned! So keep your eyes peeled.

So that’s all from my sneezy wheezy sick bed for today. Let me know your thoughts on Wallander, the latest arrivals at Savidge Towers and details of any podcasts and vlog’s I am missing out on. Oh and if you know how to make podcasts do let me know! Over to you all, I look forward to your comments to cheer me up with this horrid lurgy.

Oh and another quick question as you guys are always helpful with things like this and I can’t work out which is better. Should I title these posts like this “Simon’s Bookish Bits: Wallander, Podcasts, Vlogs and Incoming” or simply “Simon’s Bookish Bits #5”? That would be as helpful as answers to all the above!

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Filed under Dan Rhodes, Edmund White, Gregory Maguire, Henning Mankell, Joshua Ferris, Kathryn Stockett, Neel Mukherjee, Nigel Farndale, Oscar Wilde, Simon's Bookish Bits, Wolf Mankowitz