Thursday, September 30, 2010

Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott

Knights and Ladies for Children

Rating 3 out of 10

This is an action packed account about Knights and Ladies. They fight all the time, but amazingly no one get killed. It seems mostly made for children.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Redeemer by Jo Nesbø

Another Cool Scandinavian Crime Writer

Rating 6 out of 10

This is an entertaining book, but Nesbo's story also have human vitamins, it's not the typical Dan Brown junk food. Why is it that Scandinavians write so cool crime stories?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene

Why all this Christianity?

Rating 4 out of 10

It seems like Greene is trying to express his view about what a decent Christian is in this book. In that respect "The Power and the Glory" is running the same errand as Dostoyevsky's "The Idiot". Anyway both books are quite boring. Judging this book against Greenes own high standard, it's not one of Greenes best books.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Quiet Amarican by Graham Greene

Great when an author arrives before the fact!

Rating 5 out of 10

It's great when an authour arrives before the fact. This novel problematizes Western involvement with Indochina affairs, more specific American military involvement in Vietnam. This problem was to be a key issue for left wing people more than a decade later from when Greene wrote his book. In that respect "The Quiet American" is similar to Hanif Kureishis "The Black Album" which problematizes British Muslim radicalization in 1995, a decade before the 7 July 2005 London bombings. As said in the start, it's great when an authour arrives before the fact, because after the fact it's crowded with all the idiots!

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Beguiled by Don Siegel

Almost Porn!

Movie Review

Rating 4 out of 10

This movie is crazy. But of course The Clint is starring in this movie, and he is looking great, actually better with beard than shaven. This movie is so crazy that I think they should have gone the whole length and turned it in to some kind of porn movie. The Clint as porn star!

Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene

Not My Cup of Tea

Rating 4 out of 10

Well for once a Greene book didn't really appeal to me. I think this is meant to be a spy-comedy, but as usual I didn't laugh one single time! I think Greene had intended this to be a good humoured comment to a time which was very tense upon the cold war. Things like that just don't really appeal to me, sorry Greene!

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene

Sinking Down in the African Swamp!

Rating 7 out of 10

This is another masterly novel from Greene. The setting is some African country and one really gets the feeling of a swamp which the civilised people from England slowly, but surely, sinks down into. The main character of this novel seems to be the setting.

The Long Journey: The Cimbrians by Johannes V. Jensen

The Jolly Barbarians From the North

Rating 5 out of 10

The subject of this volume is the Migration Period in Europe around AD 300 to 700 when the Barbarians from the North approached the Roman Empire. Although Jensen recognize that the Northern cultures were far less developed than the Mediterranean cultures, still within their blue eyes was residing the Northern longing, which in due time would make North Europe superior to South Europe.

The Long Journey : Christopher Columbus by Johannes V. Jensen

The Culmination of the North European Strive And Longing For the Unknown

Rating 6 out of 10

This is proberly the best volume of Jensen's "The Long Journey". I think his recount of Columbus first voyage across the Atlantic is proberly among the best ever made. Especially memorable is the conflicts Columbus have with the ship's crew in the middle of the Atlantic. They think the Earth is flat and he tries to convince them that it's round. A heritical belief at the time (1492) considering Galileo Galilei's trial on suspicion of heresy in 1633, "for holding as true the false doctrine taught by some that the sun is the center of the world". Jensen does not fail to mention that Columbus had blue eyes and red hair and was tall. This fits well with his opinion of the superiority of the people from North Europe of which he sees Columbus as a descendant.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Hunger by Knut Hamsun

Maybe a Bit Overrated?

Rating 4 out of 10

So finally I came across this much praised book by Knut Hamsun. Well in my opinion it is a little bit overrated. I mean it's OK, but it's very repetitive in it's nature. It's the story about this crazy young man running around doing crazy things in Norway's capital, at that time called Christania. There is actually no development in the novel, we just witness these crazy excesses of the principal, things like saying weird things to coincidental people on the streets etc. I think Hamsun envisioned the book as a comedy depicting the craziness and idiosyncrasies of the young artist. People who liked this book should proceed with Sigurd Hoel's "Meeting at the Milestone". That's another good Norwegian book. I think you'll like it!

The Long Journey: Fire and Ice by Johannes V. Jensen

How Humanity Came About

Rating 5 out of 10

In this book Johannes V. Jensen embarks on a quite interesting quest: To describe the birth of humanity. The book starts in primeval times, with prehistoric creatures and hairy beings, which are later to evolve into more humanlike beings. Jensens tale is sometimes mythical in its nature. The initial scene is a primeval forest with vulcanos, later comes the ice age forcing human ingenuity. His tale is somewhat Scandinavia centric, and one senses that he sees the Scandinavians as the most impressive people. The blonde, blue eyed, white man's, superiority.

Manderlay by Lars von Trier

Art Cinema Justified

Movie Review

Rating 4 out of 10

It's amazing that Lars von Trier in his America triology actually have been able to rejuvenate/reinvent the movie language. In this movie we actually see images never seen before in history. In my opinion Lars von Trier's strength lies in the technique of movie making. I am not very impressed by his stories and direction. In that respect he seems ignorant and immature. But in the field of the image he is excellent. Still I really hope that he will one day go to Hollywood!

The End of the Affair by Graham Greene

Greene Was Always Forging The Unknown

Rating 4 out of 10

It's amazing that Graham Greene always wrote a book like it was his first. That is also the case in this book, Greene is venturing new territory. This book tells the story of an affair with a mentally disturbed married woman, who eventually dies.

The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins

150 Years Too Late!

Rating 2 out of 10

In this book Richard Dawkins is an advocate of evolutionary biology as opposed to creationism. The problem is that Dawkins' subject matter is hopelessly passé. I mean it's 150 years ago that Darwin published "On the Origin of Species" in 1859 and Christianity as a religion in the western world is, save for a few mentally disturbed people, pretty dead! Actually Dawkins appear to me to be a little stupid. Personally I suspect that religions are made in the image of man. And man can actually be something a bit more wonderous than Dawkins can probe with his scientific instruments. Dawkins is a hot house plant playing his own little intellectual game, quite ignorant and blind to the traits of the world developing right now.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Human Factor by Graham Greene

Even Spy Fiction Now Appeals to Me!,

Rating 5 out of 10

If there is one genre which I have had difficulties in understanding, then it's Spy Fiction! Now in the great company of Graham Greene, even this strange genre appeals to me. This is a good book. Someone on Amazon wrote in a review that Greene never wrote a bad book. Is it really true? If so, then that's nothing short of amazing! Greene is somewhat a bit underestimated in the litterary circles, perhaps because he wrote books in popular style. In reality Greene is one of the giants of century litterature.

Brighton Rock by Graham Greene

Man! Greene must have been obsessed with writing books!

Rating 7 out of 10

This is a fine book from Greene. His characters are really impressive. It's amazing to read Greenes' books, they are quite diverse. Didn't he do anything else than write books his whole life?

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Niels Arden Oplev

Doesn't match the book

Movie Review

Rating 6 out of 10

Well this movie is OK, it's well done and all the rest of it. Still the book is much better than the movie. I would have liked a movie in the class of say "Natural Born Killers", I mean that would have matched the book. This movie is just craftsmanship, nothing more.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

An Immortal Character

Rating 6 out of 10

The great beauty of this book is the immortal character of Lisbeth Salander. One gapes in astonisment. How the hell did Stieg Larsson conjure her up? It seems that Lisbeth Salander is timely, she fits perfectly this 90's new millineum zyber girl-power chick, and still she is utterly complex. It's funny with these kind of creations, like Lisbeth Salander, they take on a life of their own, far overshadowing their creator. So yes, Don Quixote, Chaplin's Tramp, James Bond, and... Lisbeth Salander!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

ASP.NET MVC 1.0 Test Driven Development by Emad Ibrahim

Claim your money back!

Rating 2 out of 10

Don't buy this book! This book is full of errors in the extreme! The first chapter dealing with code is chapter 3 starting on page 35. Already on page 56 I gave up reading the book, because I don't wanna spend my time debugging Emad Ibrahims code. In the span from page 35 to page I detected technical errors in the code on page 39, 41, 43, 44, 45, 49, 50, 51! I have submitted these errors to the errata page for the book on So I managed to read 24 pages of the part of the book descibing the code and as said I detected serious technical errors on 8 out of those 24 pages! That gives an error procentage of 33% for the pages describing the code! That's very very Harsh! I don't know too much about the legal issues, but I would guess that we as customers are entitled to have our money returned from this title, there are simply far to many errors in the code to that it is acceptable! I mean it's not that Emad Ibrahim is unknowledgeable, on the contrarary, he is very knowledgeable, but he is just like a happy beaver coding away, not caring about the mess he has left behind. It throws a very dubious light on Emad Ibrahim as a conscientious writer. But especially it throws an enormous dubious light on as a publishing company! How could they release this book? Don't they practice any kind of review on their books? Apart from the errors I have mentioned in the technical code part of the book I also detected an error in chapter 2 on page 34. Ibrahim lists the tools we need to follow along in the book. He recommends that we shall use ReSharper to run our MbUnit tests, but he forgets to tell that you also need to run MbUnit test with ReSharper. Also the source code for this book is badly organized. During the book Emad Ibrahim is constantly refactoring his code, I think it would have been appropriate if there had been a source code for each chapter so that you could easily figure out the present state of the code. Instead the source code has been left as one big chunk, then you have to yourself try to figure out what the code at the present state in the book might look like. Well after all this negativity, proberly the book is ok without all the errors. If you are very skilled you will maybe easily solved the errors and be able to have a good reading experience. But for a less skilled person this book seems to be a real trap!

Signe by Lars Johansson

A Danish-German relationship during WW2

Rating 4 out of 10

This book is a bit boring. Yet it is interesting and in some way it looks like the author is trying to do something new. It's the story about a Danish woman who falls madly in love with a German occupation soldier during the German occupation of Denmark during WW2. She travels to Germany in 1945 and lives there for some years during the fall of the Third Reich. Her German lover is imprissoned and she is raped by an American soldier and that results in a child. The story is based on a true account. In the book there is old photos of the woman, Signe, a natural blonde. She must have been a very good looking woman, but her carreer in Germany in rubbles seems a bit chaotic and unsensible. Well proberly it was quite difficult times.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Time Machine by H. G. Wells

Wells Was Far Ahead Of His Time!

Rating 6 out of 10

This is a cool book from Wells. In it he takes a giant leap into the future, more precisely year A.D. 802701! This is an action packed novel, it's really quite amazing that it was first published all the way back in 1895! Because the action level is equivalent to a Dan Brown novel. Of course Wells is far better than Dan Brown, because Wells is not only action he is also vitamin! The novel ends with the words "in the heart of man". That end is kind of a signature for Wells' work, because he was really curious, and of course the curiousity was particular related to what a human can do? What a human is? What a human can become? What there is in the heart of man?

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells

Invisibility as a Result of Science

Rating 5 out of 10

H.G. Wells was a scientific man. He wrote this book in the burgeoning scientific society (The book is published in 1897), which was to transform the entire world in the century. H.G. Wells was acutely curious about the most far reaching possiblities of science. This book actually ponders upon a scientific theory about making matter invisible. According to this theory matter is visible because it is granulated. Wells gives an example with glass: When glass is whole it is transparent and you can look through it. If you break the class and crushes it into a powder, you granulate the glass and makes it into a white powder, which is not transparent. It is the uneven surfaces of the granules which makes them non-transparent. If you can smoothen these surfaces of the granules you can make matter more transparent. Wells gives an example with paper. We can't look through paper because it is made of tiny paper fragments with uneven surfaces. But if you poor oil on the paper it has the effect of smoothening the jagged surfaces of the paper fragments making up the piece of paper, thus the paper is becoming more transparent. This is fundamentals of the theory which the scientist of the novel, Griffin, uses to make himself invisible.

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

Histoical Sentimental Trivia

Rating 4 out of 10

This novel was published in weekly installments. I think Dickens was a bit absentminded in the first two books, because the plot is quite weak and flickering. In book three the intensity grows and resembles more a normal novel. The content of this novel is the most commonplace sentimental trivia. But apparently it has met the tastes of the audience at the time. Dickens is supposed to be a great writer, right? It's quite amazing that he could pour out this kitchy sentimental romantic trivia. Was he just calculating on the limited minds and romantic dispositions of his female audience to increase his sales? Or was he, after all, not that great a writer?

Kitsch; the world of bad taste by Gillo Dorfles

Kitch in a Broader Sense

Rating 5 out of 10

This is an interesting book. It's interesting also by the fact that it was published in the late 60's. Kind of before kitch became too cool. Gillo Dorfles has the interesting view point that kitch is actually a side effect of the industrialized mass production society. The book mentions that the notion of what kitch is changes from time to time. Many of the important rituals surrounding our lives, like wedding, christening, are, according to Gillo Dorfles, actually kitch events. Interesting is it also that totalitarian regimes, like Nazism or communism, most often prefers an artistic expression which is kitch. In modern times it's almost impossible to depict the human body in sculpture without it becomming kitch. Also historic films, especially the somewhat dated history, and historic films about famous persons, almost invariably, becomes kitch. I kind of like kitch, I find it a bit hard to distinguish between "Art" and "Kitch".

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

She is ready : selected works by Kathrine Ærtebjerg

Interesting New Danish Painting

Rating 6 out of 10

Painter Kathrine Ærtebjerg is among the most interesting of the new Danish painters. This book is a collection of her works. The book is provided with essays about Kathrine Ærtebjergs paintings too. One essay is written by Barry Schwabsky, it's a bit too sophisticated for my taste. Another essay is written by Ann Lumbye Sørensen, she is a total bore! By far the best essay on Kathrine Ærtebjergs paintings is the one written by Rune Gade, he is a quite cool art historian with interesting views.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Antichrist by Lars von Trier

Slightly boring

Movie Review

Raing 5 out of 10

This movie was hailed as very controversial, but actually it's only the title which is controversial. In the film itself there is no reference to antichrist. The movie has some beautiful images sometimes, but I must admit that I found it slightly boring. I still wait for the day when Trier wakes up and starts making some see worthy movies, I think he can do it. How about an action movie? I like action movies!

Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens

Dickens' mind was falling apart

Rating 0 out of 10

This is an exceptionally lousy book from Dickens. I read it and understood the words, but I didn't understand anything. It seems like there is no coherence in the book. The numerous characters are just babbling away on their own account, and I couldn't discern any logical progression of a plot. This is the last novel completed from Dickens, I seriously believe he was growing crazy or something at this point, or maybe his mind was just decomposing and falling apart?

While Europe Slept by Bruce Bawer

Strongly Recommended If you wanna know about Europe today!

Rating 6 out of 10

It's a very truthful book Bruce Bawer has written. For me personally there was no new information, because I live in Denmark where we have a quite uncensored media. In other European contries the establishment practises more political correct sensorship upon the media I think, and have even written laws preventing people from expressing the truth. I must admit that I don't quite share Bruce Bawers belief in "The War Against Terror". For example after this so called "War Against Terror" had had it's victory in Iraq, the world witnessed a hitherto unprecedented flood of terror attacks in Iraq! No, the root of terror attacks in the West lies in the muslim immigrant population residing in the west (All Western terror attacks was carried out by Western muslim immigrants).

Thursday, July 29, 2010

ASP.NET MVC 1.0 Website Programming by Berardi, Katawasi & Bellinaso

Building a non-trivial app MVC

Rating 8 out of 10

This book is not an MVC intro book. This book is building a non-trivial app MVC! In this book Nick Beradi and Al Katawazi is transferring Marco Bellinaso's classic The Beerhouse app to MVC. And they do an okay job. You need this book if you don't know how to build a non-trivial app MVC, at the time of writing there is no other books as extensive as this, building a non-trivial app MVC, around. It is true that some parts of this book has been copied and pasted from the previous edition in a non-intelligent fashion. It's mostly the parts laying out the design of the app. For example on page 260 you get informed about the SPROCs of the app, but this app doesn't use SPROCs, that was previous edition! Anyway as said this copy and paste thing goes on in the design parts and it actually doesn't mean too much in the understanding of the book. It didn't bother me very much. The important thing is about the MVC implementation and in that respect the app and the book has been totally rewritten from scratch, and you get the info you need. One thing I was a little puzzled about is why Nick and Al didn't use the ModelState for validation, it seems to me that that would have been easier, and you can thereby put the actual validation in the objects themselves. Instead Nick and Al writes a custom validation using jQuery. But all in all a fine book. You need this book if you are a newbie and you are heading the MVC way! But pick one of the MVC intro books up before you embark on this book!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells

Steam driven extraterrestrials

Rating 5 out of 10

It's amazing to read this book from 1898 because in many respects it has scenes which seems to be taken from the countless Mars attackers movies that was made by Hollywood in the last half of the century. One almost thinks that H. G. Wells was able to tap into the collective experiences of the American film makers more than 50 years after he had written his book. In this book the metropolis is not New York, but good old London, but when the Martians attack London we see the same traffic jammed roads, when people tries to excape the monsters. One thing which puzzled me a bit reading the book was that Wells always describes the workings of the Martians machines as exhausting steam and smoke. But then I thought about it, and it's obvious. Wells was living in an age where every mechanical action was steam driven so it was impossible for him to imagine mechanical action without steam and smoke.

Excuse Me, Miss by Phillip Thomas Duck

The Infidelity Test

Rating 4 out of 10

I was quickly caught reading this account by Phillip Thomas Duck. The story is about a privat eye working in the field of checking unfaithful husbands. To do this they perform the infidelity test, where an attractive woman makes a pass on the unsuspecting husband and if he bites on this tempting hook he does not pass the test. I think the title that Phillip Thomas Duck has chosen for this novella: "Excuse Me, Miss" is not the right one. It would be better to call the novella "The Infidelity Test". Phillip Thomas Duck is a writer for women, is that guy a bit of a womanizer? Atleast he seems to be able to penetrate, and write from within female psychology. The story walks on the borderline of becoming a cliché, but I think it's all-right. Phillip Thomas Duck's lines are wellturned and natural, but his characters seems to me to be a bit lacking, very thin drawn and allmost non-existant. I should think this story could be popular with teenage girls in the lower social stratas of society. I mean teenage girls in a troubled neighborhood, they don't wanna read, give them this, and they'll read. The subject of infidelity is a subject of keen interest to all women of all time. Maybe a film also could be made? It's a great idea with an infidelity private eye. Is all art born out of some conflict of some sort? Does Phillip Thomas Duck's wife need to worry? Well yes, because obviously this account is born out of the dilemma between the one true love with the one and only girl, and then all the other nice girls walking around. This story is much about infidelity but it actually ends on the keynote of true love!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Udsatte egne - det er mig by Per Højholt

Fan of Marcel Duchamp

Rating 4 out of 10

This is Per Højholt being interviewed by Lars Johansson. Per Højholt is not boring, especially it's interesting when he talks about his respect and interest in Marcel Duchamp.

Silence in October by Jens Christian Grondahl

Plot driven humour

Rating 5 out of 10

This was my second book by Jens Christian Grondahl. I most enjoyed the part where the married man falls for the temptation of a young woman in New York, and becomes unfaithful in his otherwise happy marriage. That part showed to me that Grondahl can be fun. Basically I have detected two kinds of humour in litterature. First there is the obvious humour, the slapstick kind of humour, which is upfront and everybody can grasp it and laugh. Then there is another kind of humour, which is more subtle. The humour here is withdrawn and deep and placed in the plot. So that the humour appears in how the different events are chained together. This kind of humour not everybody detects, it's of a more sophisiticated kind than the slapstick humour. As a reader it gives me an inner smile when I read this kind of humour. Karen Blixen often uses this deep, plot driven, humour in her stories in "Winter's Tales".

Lucca by Jens Christian Grøndahl

The Relationship!

Rating 5 out of 10

Jens Christian Grøndahl is an OK writer. He is foremost a writer about the relationship. One should think he have an immense need for love and security in a relationship? The character I enjoyed most in this novel was an aged theater director called The Gypsy King or Harry Wiener. One most think that the model for Grøndahls characters is his father and mother and himself. He grew up in some creative environment?

The naked trees by Tage Skou-Hansen

Unheroic resistance people during WW2

Rating 6 out of 10

This book is about young Danish people in the resistance towards German occupation of Denmark during WW2. This group of people seem quite desperate, amateurish and confused. They blow up some railroads and things and kill some Germans and some of themselves also get killed by the Germans. The don't att all give any heroic impression! The main thread of the story is an unhappy love story. An OK read.

Nomad by Ayaan Hirsi Ali

A one in 100 millions

Rating 6 out of 10

Ayaan is an extreme exception human. She is not only a one in a million, she is a one in a 100 millions. Ayaan is a curious person, she will keep turning stones. She has outgrown her parents Islamic culture, she also quickly outgrowed the stupid and hypocritical European left wing culture she was nurtured by in the Netherlands. Although she recognizes the western culture framework as the most fascilitating for humans she will proberly also move beyond that. Ayaan is an enormous talent for writing, personally I would say that she should commit herself to becoming a writer, of fiction also. Ayaan is carrying something inside her which is larger than life. This book is not Ayaans best. "Infedel" is her best book so far. Ayaan is maybe, or could become, one of the greatest writers of the century. She could become one of the greatest female writers of all time.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Haiti - Kuppet - Faldet - Katastrofen by Jørgen Leth

Third release of the same material under a different title to make a profit on Haitian earthquake

Rating 5 out of 10

This is the publishing house Information's attempt to make a profit on the large earthquake on Haiti in early 2010. But the cover of the book is very misdirecting, because there is virtually no material about the earthquake! Around 2/3 of the material has been published before by the same publishing house under different titles. So this release of the material is the not only the 2. time, but the 3. time release of the same material under 3 different titles! Reading the first part of Jørgen's writings one senses behind "The Comedians" by Graham Greene.

Et sted ved Kysten by Leif Ahm

Bad book

Rating 1 out of 10

This is a bad book, it's written in Danish litteratures "modernistic" period in the 60's and 70's. This book is a kind of stream of consciousness, it's very repetitive in its nature, with fragments from commercials, the EU election in Denmark 1972, etc. It's a total vaste of time!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Boss of It All by Lars von Trier

Movie for the eggheads

Movie Review

Rating 3 out of 10

I think von Trier is proud of this film stylistically. But when it comes to fun, I do not find this movie very funny. It seems to be a movie for the movie wise heads. But as a normal spectator I do not find it that very entertaining. Anyway there is here and there a joke which made me laugh in the movie. It seems like Trier likes to dig beyond the surface of modern man. In this film the scene is corporate Denmark. One must hope that one day Trier will grow up and leave all that art crap, overcome his fear of air travel, and go to Hollywood!

The Ringworld Engineers by Larry Niven

Less than Ringworld

Rating 4 out of 10

Larry Niven is not a good writer, but he has a quite potent fantasy, so he is an all-right read. This book is a sequel to "Ringworld", seen in that light "The Ringworld Engineers" doesn't offer anything new. Larry Niven is a cult writer, reading his books you get this sense that you are sitting beside him at his desk, journeying with him in his brain. He rests in himself, he even invented several new words to populate his universe.

Monday, July 5, 2010

jQuery for ASP.NET Developers by Joe Brinkman

Not quite good

Rating 4 out of 10

I have learned some of the basics of jQuery reading this document. But I am not quite satisfied with the author, I think he is not using enough words to explain some of the more complex scenarios, like animation, and extending jQuery. He actually don't explain these things at all. I think he should have walked through some of the more complex code, in that way I would proberly have learned more. As for now I didn't get the point about those issues. You can see the sample app that the document is based on at Also the author forgot to tell about some of the basic jQuery idiom, for example what does "fn" mean? What does "n" mean inside a function? And what does it mean when there is written (jQuery) at the end of a function? It's also a bit stupid that the sample app is written in VB when C# is the most videly understood. Well, about the last thing, that doesn't matter so much because the internal working of the app is not so important in understanding the jQuery issues.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Comedians by Graham Greene

Best book on Haiti ever!

Rating 9 out of 10

This is a very good book. The book has numerous qualities. Greenes characters are impressive. Not only are they very well drawn, they also all retain all of them a secret of their own, so one gets an accute sense that you don't really know them, just like the people that surrounds you in your life. If this is not Greenes best book - My God!  - Then he must be an absolutely brilliant writer! We don't get too much to know about the "I" of this novel, but as the novel progresses you get the sense of this presence, this void, this vacuum, which is lurking behind the "I". At some point one of his friends interogates him
- So what do you want Brown? He says he wants to run the hotel and make some money, but the friend continues:
- Yeah but what do you really want? We don't get an answer, but there is something fishy about Brown.
At some point in the novel it also turn all metafiction like, Browns girlfriend is complaining that the people surrounding Brown don't really exist for him, they just play a part in his scheme, in his creative fantasy.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Sidste Tog by Morten Sabroe

Not too bad

Rating 3 out of 10

This book is not too bad. It tells the tale of how the author leaves his wife and child, because he is drawn to the unknown adventure. This break with normal life propels him out to outskirts of society which he would not otherwise have encountered. Because of his talent and strong will he manage to make a living as a writing author. After numerous hardships the novel ends on a positive note. I wonder if this guy will ever be able to write a really good book? Proberly not.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Largo by Christian Lemmerz

Too simple

Art Review

Rating 2 out of 10

It seems that the major inspiration for this instalation is the dark side of romanticism, that is gothic horror. Christian Lemmerz is in this instalation working on the death theme. Like a Duchamp readymade he has produced an exact copy of a coffin and a shovel. Then there is some reliefs which he calls graves and they look like black-brown earth. But is seems to me that Lemmerz is sophisticating too little, the work is too close to reality.

Flight To Arras by Antoine De Saint Exupery

War pilot having a mystic experience

Rating 6 out of 10

In this book Exupéry appears as a mystic. The state is spurred because he find himself in severe danger during the battle of France in 1940. Somehow he comes into a state because of the extreme pressure he is under. He expresses aristocratic views upon humanity, where he proclaims that he wants to live and die for "The Human" instead of a "mass of humans". Proberly he would have been sad to see how the world developed after him, where, in the name of democracy, the world was to be controlled by mass culture, continualy debasing itself. In this writing one wonders if Exupéry is actually out of his wits?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Det skal mærkes at vi lever by Benny Andersen & Johannes Møllehave

About old age, disease and losing your loved ones

Rating 2 out of 10

This book begins quite boring, with Johannes Møllehave throwing around a lot of references to, for example, Søren Kierkegaard. Johannes Møllehave is a bit of a windbag. Well anyway the good part of this book is in the end when the two men start talking about loosing their life partners (They have both recently lost their wives). In that way that part of the book can be perfect for someone who has lost the loved one. Benny Andersen is the most interesting of the two.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

Propelled by a resentment towards whites

Rating 3 out of 10

This is another quite boring book from Toni Morrison. I mean I acknowledge that Toni Morrison is a powerful individual who has a remarkable no-nonsense look at life, but most of her books just don't really appeal to me. It seems like a substantial part of Toni Morrisons authorship is propelled by a deepfelt resentment towards white people, and she directly implies that black peoples social problems are a result of white discrimination and slavery. Hm... I just made a brief search on the internet and I found this source which is backed up by statistic facts: "Blacks are an estimated 39 times more likely to commit a violent crime against a white than vice versa, and 136 times more likely to commit robbery." ( If this is true, which it appears to be, is it then any wonder that you are a bit more careful when you walk through a coloured neighborhood, than when you walk through a white neighborhood? I believe that white discrimination towards blacks is responsible for some of the problems, but I also think that the major reason for the problems is the cultural origin. Afro-Americans have part of their origin in Africa, and the cultural origin of whites is Europe. When you look at how the two continents have developed it seems obvious that there is a remarkable difference! Hopefully this difference will get smaller in the progress of time!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Gangster - Brian Sandberg by Henrik Madsen

A quite nice guy

Rating 8 out of 10

This is a highly entertaining and informative read. Brian Sandberg appears as a quite sympathic guy. Obviously the guy today is an ex-criminal. It's sad that criminals of the kind of Brian Sandberg is a higly threatened specie. In the last 20 years in Denmark we have witnessed a sheer explosion of violence and crime commited by immigrants of mostly moslem observance. So I am afraid the Hells Angels wont stand a chance against the flood of young immigrant criminals. Hells Angels criminals are like dinosaurs, they are the criminals of the old Denmark, before mass immigration. According to the police of Copenhagen 82 % of the people charged with youth crime in 2004 were immigrants or decendents of immigrants. Sandberg is a great storyteller and has a lot of interesting stories to tell. During Sandbergs carreer, he has spend 7 years in jail, he reconts his first X-mas in jail, he and his friends went to the ceremony in jail church. The priest says: "Jesus is in all our cells". Where upon one of the criminals replies "What's he busting for?". Where upon the priest becomes the laughing stock of the witty criminals. In the new millinieum Sandberg starts a highly profitable business (BS Consultancy) where he is organising security for rich people. As he says, normal security companies are not efficient, when the criminals come, they just run away and call the police. Brian Sandberg draws upon his connections to organize a very efficient security and his guards don't run away faced with the thieves. Sandberg is more expensive than a traditional security company but in return with Sandberg the customers get the "The Real Deal". Sandberg appears in the book as a diplomatic persona with extraordinary social skills, that guy is simply able to make friends with everybody. Well done Sandberg! Take care of yourself!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Frydenholm by Hans Scherfig

WW2 in Denmark from communistic POV

Rating 8 out of 10

This is a fine read. It tells the tale of the German occupation of Denmark during WW2, seen from the perspective of a young communist. The book draws a picture of the Danish population as far more colleborative and sympathetic with the nazis then was generally accepted as historical truth in 1962 when the book was first published. The last 20 years historians have painted a far more nuanced picture of the Danish role during WW2, where it is acknowledged that the a large part of the Danish population actually were supporting Germany during WW2. Thus the book must have appeared much more controversial when it was first published in 1962. A red thread running through this account is the authors indignation with fact that the Danish government actually organised an imprisonment of the Danish communists during the war. Time and time again it is pointed out that this imprisonment was illegal according to the Danish constitution. The biggest crooks in Denmark, during WW2, according to the author, is thus the Danish judges! With sarcasm the writer is recounting how nobody in the Danish society came to support the Danish communists when they were subject to this imprisonment in conflict with the Danish constitution. The Danish government on the other hand said that it imprisoned the Danish communists to protect them against imprisonment by the Germans, which would have been far worse. The Danish government gave solemn gaurantees that the communists would not be surrendered to the Germans. But this promise was broken 29. August 1943 when the Germans occupied the Danish concentration camp where the communists were being held (23 Danish people were shot by the Germans on this day!). Later the communists were sent to the German concentration camp Stutthof in Germany. Of the about 150 communists sent to Stutthof, 21 perished in Stutthof, and some more perished later as an effect of the time in Stutthof. The best part of the book is the description of the Danish internment of the communists, the time in Danish prison and especially the stay in the Danish concentration camp Horserød in Northern Zealand. The author was himself one of the detained communists.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Den spanske gæst by Morten Sabroe

Quite boring guy!

Rating 2 out of 10.

This book is quite boring. Sabroe doesn't really seem to possess the mastery of producing a coherent account. The tale simply looses it's impetus and relevance quite often. I don't know if Morten Sabroe ever will be able to write a good book. Frankly I doubt it. This guy is raised in the political correct circles around a particular Danish newspaper and between litterary people, drenched in red wine and high cultured dinners. In my opinion, if he shall be able to do something interesting, he will have to break out of this milieu. It could be interesting if he, for example, would write a really political incorrect novel about tourist prostitutes in Thailand or explore the darkness which he believes he carries inside.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Memento - Christian Lemmerz : erindring, krop, død by Ann Lumbye Sørensen

Christian Lemmerz is an interesting artist!

Rating 4 out of 10

I don't think the text of this book by Ann Lumbye Sørensen matches the quite intersting artist Christian Lemmerz. She is simply to dull. There will always be a conflict between the artist and the elitarian bourgeois milieu which receives the artist, whether this milieu be elitarian in the economic sense or elitarian in the intellectual sense. Ann Lumbye Sørensen is too political correct and too much living in the bell jar of fine culture, academia and intellectualism to really strike out and grasp Christian by the balls as he deserves. Christian Lemmerz appears to be a potent artist. Casting a view over Christians oeuvre in the 80's and 90's, Ann Lumbye Sørensen rightfully draw comparisons with other artist like Joseph Beuys and Alberto Giacometti. Some of the works of Lemmerz that I find striking is "Grete" from 1986, this work consist of a lolita dull lying on a mattress with a beer bottle between her legs and in her mouth. Also the sculpture group "Anamnesis 1 - 9", also from 1986 seems striking. The sculptures "Gestalt (todesfigur)" from 1988 also makes an impression. And "Sfinx" from 1988-93. Especially fascinating seems Lemmerz recent work, like "Mermaid" from 2005 where the inspiration seems to be the classic Christian sarcophagi. Also the sculpure "Jailbird" from 2006, placed in East Jutland state prison seems very site-specific and very relevant. And the sculptures "Holy Spirit" from 1996 are quite interesting. It's amazing to witness Christians Lemmerz mastery over the craft of stone masonry in works like "Stroke (N.O.G.) from 1999, that guy seems capable of expressing everything in stone! There seems to run through all of Christian Lemmerz work a red thread of death, violence, mutilation and crime, but also at rare times an insight into deeper existential truths and perhaps even some deliverance.

Report from the cultural elite

I was standing at the buffet at the party, getting myself some more food.
- You look incredible stupid!
Slowly it dawned upon me, was somebody speaking to me? I turned around, Christian Lemmerz was standing right next to me looking at me with his brown eyes, with a surprisingly light, expressionless, expression on his face. Was the guy speaking to me? I think next to Christian Lemmerz was standing another person, so I gathered that he was just in the middle of a conversation with this other person, and that I had just overheard a fragment of it. Anyway it continued to rummage in my head, was he speaking to me? How polite! Anyway it was not exactly a welcoming intro to a conversation, so I didn’t react to his words.
The next day I met my father and his girlfriend, the hosts of the party, I recounted my experience with Christian Lemmerz and my father exclaimed:
- That’s exactly a Christian Lemmerz! He likes to provoke.
Hm… So here I am… Looking incredible stupid! Well probably it’s right, but I can’t really help it, can I?
Christian Lemmerz was dressed in a white shirt at the party, was it from Mads Nørgaard-Copenhagen? My father said Christian Lemmerz was a friend of Mads Nørgaard, that guy is also a friend of Martin Hall, are Lemmerz and Hall connected?
Anyway the party I attended was a birthday party for my father’s girlfriend. The guests where comprised of two groups, on the one hand family, and on the other hand friends and colleagues. The party was quite divided. Christian Lemmerz seemed like a quite attractive man. Somewhat in his white shirt he had the air of some revolutionary hero, like a 2010 Che Guevara. He was quite loud, joking and getting drunk, contrary to the rest of the guests he didn’t introduce himself, he just went to his corner, where he remained for the rest of the party, but this corner was the center of the party, and people came there. Jørgen Haugen Sørensen also came to the party, he was dressed in a white cotton suit, and had the air of some Picasso, here was the Artist! He was not as attractive as Lemmerz and he quickly went to Lemmerz’ corner where the two great men had a talk. Michael Kvium should actually also have been to the party, he had said he would come, but he didn’t turn up, sending no message of his absence, how nice! I have met Jørgen Haugen Sørensen before, but he didn’t notice me, probably he have forgotten everything about me, at least he didn’t greet me. Upon his leaving I tapped him on the shoulder and said hello, I am not exactly sure he recognized me, properly he couldn’t care less. Anyway I enquired to his broken leg, and he told me that he was OK now and that it had been patched together with seven metal stitches. Jørgen Haugen Sørensen has a very bright look in his eyes, it’s like his eyes emit a light like a razor blade. Like a bulb, there is something cruel about his expression. Jørgen is enthusiastic about the human experiment, when bodies become mutilated he is curious about it and models the corpses with his rough hands. My third encounter with a culture person at the party was with Lars Johansson, he introduced himself to me when I happened to end in a chair next to him, he told me that he was a writer, I had never read any of his books, and started to recount which of Danish contemporary writers I was digging. I mentioned Benn Q. Holm, and Martin Hall. He asked me if I meant Martin Hall the musician or Martin Hall the writer? I said Martin Hall the writer. Well suddenly in the middle of the conversation Lars Johansson saw some girl he knew, and without any word of excuse he started conversing her, ignoring me all together. Apparently our conversation was ended, how nice these culture people are! So the party carried on, as the night progressed it became more and more divided, there was the calm, somewhat boring, family room, and then there was the artistic room, with all these egos, getting more and more loud, saturated with themselves and their projects, counting an insignificant little person like me for nothing!
The artist was protruding into the living room; I looked at him as he was standing there in the June sun streaming in the window. The setting, the apartment, was cultured leftwing bourgeois, with designer lamps, books, in the kitchen postcards from the third world, political correctness en masse, speaking shortly, the place where an artist would be.
Christian Lemmerz was quite animated, the tall man was obviously a leader of a cult, enigmatically he was joking around, while his presence protruding somewhat like an omen into the living room. Was this guy a Jesus? A Manson?
I looked at Lars Johansson, he was standing in a small crowd with his back towards me, there was something slightly sloppy about his appearance, like his trousers and suit was a little too crumbled and musty. He was standing central in the crowd, slightly leaning back like nothing could really shake him, taking in the scene. I was happy I was not in the crowd, here was the cultural elite at the water hole, feeding each other with interesting vital information. This was social networking. But I was terrible misplaced in this setting, compared to these people I was a third world of humanity.
Meanwhile Christian had taken his elatedness into the next level; he was virtually jumping around in an almost violent fashion. Was this guy an incarnate of some Neanderthal impulse? In a way he was misplaced in this European intellectual setting, it was obvious that he was much more akin to some Dionysian blood feast. I mean it’s obvious that European culture has lost something in its development of rationality, fact and reason. But was the answer to this loss to regress into a world of rite and sacrifice, to return to a law of blood and gorging on fresh meat? Was the answer to go to Africa and partake in some voodoo ceremony with the black people?
I didn’t think so. To me that was the easy option and it only revealed the ignorance and crudeness of the artist. What about unseen art? What about invisible art? What about human spirituality? What about the graced moments of Homer? The energy waves of Blixen? The exuding of light and clarity from Ancient Greece? Should all this just go down the drain and we all become part of some Global multi cultural urban tribal mishmash, where every day was overriding the human potential with a new definition of how debased and crude a human could be?
Like a zombie I was groping around, I was the absolute minimum of humanity, the living dead, where was I? What was I? I did not exist; I was a living memory, a pause in flesh and blood. As from far off I was perceiving my surroundings, my senses was not working properly, like in slow motion I perceived a blurred image of the surroundings, the sounds reached me with a delay of time, I was like a blind, a deaf, a numb, a dumb.
Meanwhile the party had grown in intensity, like the dark side of The Garden of Earthly Delights everybody was now devouring each other. I didn’t know what to do with myself, I was not a delicious snack, I couldn’t take anybody for a treat. Christian was now throning in his corner like a master of the ceremony. He must be attractive for women, because he was surrounded by women; there was his ex-girlfriend, who he brought with him from Holland, when he was first arriving in Denmark. But now he was kissing his new girlfriend, I gathered from the conversation that she was working on some morning TV on the telly, and just now had been promoted to the hosting duty of this show. I looked enviously at her delicious thighs, this was highlife!
I was making my way to the buffet table; to Christian’s wary eye I must have been quite outstanding in this scenery. I was the odd man out, what was this genetic flop doing in this select crowd? I was only half conscious, driven by boredom, habit and a mute animal urge to feed myself. I approached in my humble shaky way; here was a representative of a lower class, a light feast of blindness. A something which should never have been.
- You look incredible stupid.
I looked at his pale face. He was the commander-in-chief of the battle going on around us. This was the eye of the storm and it was quiet. The smoke was slowly wavering over his face. Somewhat his pale skin seemed to glow and had the air of marble slightly eroded. Like some monster emerged from deep sea he studied me with his brown felt eyes, with intelligence. Like a common black devil he had attracted me with his light. I was numb and defenseless. Deep in his eyes was a concealed pleasure, this was the bad boy of the school yard having made his first approach on a natural born victim. He had poked this incredible stupid looking creature, now how would it react? He could destroy me with his slightest yawn, should we have some fun? His face was set in the simplistic intense complexion of a carnivore watching a prey, and I was the rat, the mouse, the mosquito. Forever I was condemned to journey around and derive the little bit of humanity I could get by eating the crumbles from the grown up, the real peoples, table.
I had to decline this Mr. Kurtz, I mean what was in it for me? A feast on my shortcomings and inferiority? How charming! Was he about to make some art of my displaced features, put my blood in a plastic back, mix the gristle and sinews that I was with some excrements and urine? Properly yes. Well, I backed out. He had to proceed in his heathen ritual without me as the victim. I ignored him and turned away, shortly after I left the party, I think they were all relieved. But the sad thing was that Christian Lemmerz was absolutely right:-(
Anyway the next day my father’s girlfriend showed me this book, I looked into it, it looked interesting, I am quite keen on getting to know more about modern art, so I decided to read it, that’s why this review appear here, now.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Little Birds by Anaïs Nin

Unimaginative erotica

Rating 1 out of 10

Well this is a collection of erotic tales, a fare share of them circulate around lesbianism and impotence themes. In the books introduction Nin describes how she is commisioned to produce these writings with her friends and thus become a madam of a literary house of prostitution. Well the books daring words doesn't help to make it much interesting, on the contrary it reveals a stunning lack of imagination and talent. One really gets the sense of that the sole reason why Nin rose to intellectual fame, was her good looks. And thus she was able to arouse the interest and patronisation of lewd partners in intellectual Paris and New York.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Maigret and the Hotel Majestic by Georges Simenon

The ever wary eye upon French society

Rating 4 out of 10

Simenon is always an OK read. As time goes on, maybe one of the unforseen feats of Simenon, is that he has left a series of quite accurate images of French society as he experienced it. In this book we discover the world of Hotel Majestic in Paris, seen from the perspective of the employees. We are also a trip to Cannes and Côte d'Azur discovering the life of prostitutes there. The plot of the crime Maigret is unveiling in this book is quite sophisticated, perhaps a bit to sophisiticated?

Rebel for the Hell of It: The Life of Tupac Shakur by Armond White

A disappointed black activist

Rating 0 out of 10

Even though Armond White writes in English, somehow I don't really understand his writing, it's like he is communicating in a way I simply don't get. Anyway it seems like there is two things on Armond Whites mind, he wants to glorify black people and he sees the hardships black people experience in the US today as a result of white suppression and racism. The golden age for Armond White is the Black Panther activism of the 60's. In this book he tries to place Tupac's gangsta rap into the Black Panther tradition, but must acknowledge that it is impossible. It's quite suprising that Armond White seems to get pissed by the fact that Tupac scores a megahit with 'California Love' in the mid 90's, instead, one senses, Armond White is disappointed that Tupac doesn't take up the proud tradition of black activism, but rather indulges in violence and commercial success.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Historier fra Haiti by Jørgen Leth

A very dangerous but somehow charming mess

Rating 6 out of 10

In this book Jørgen Leth recounts from the turmoilous time in Haiti in the first half of the 1990's. At this time, in 1991, Haiti's first democratic elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, was exiled due to a military coup and later, in 1994, managed to take power again with the help of a US intervention. Leth describes the stark conflicts between the large illiterate masses of black people which comprise the great bulk of the Haiti people, and the minute, very well-to-do mulatto elite. Jørgen Leth really understand to get around and it seems like he is meeting and sensing all the different players in this Haitian drama. From the generals behind the military coup, to Aristide, to the mulatto elite, the journalists, the people in the slum, the killers, the corpses etc, etc. An OK read.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Early Years by Jacob Thuesen

In-joke for The National Film School of Denmark

Movie Review

Rating 3 out of 10

There is something absurd about this production. It describes the early years of Danish director Lars von Trier. The absurd thing, is that Lars von Trier, being a very elitarian film maker, his early years are here described in the form of popular comedy. It's amazing that this film has managed to move into production because it so utterly falls between two stools! What audience is this film supposed to cater for? The intellectual milieu which is the audience to von Triers film will be bored with the form of this folksy popular comedy. And the broad mainstream audience will fail to grasp it's art related points. It seems to me that the only audience which will appriciate the film is the people who was in the milieu around The National Film School of Denmark when Lars von Trier studied there, and thus it's just very private in-joke. The film often tries to funny, maybe I am hard to make laugh, but I must admit that I didn't laugh much.

Monday, May 31, 2010

The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki

Another clever dick from Wall Street?

Rating 4 out of 10.

This book has some intersting points. For example then it recounts an example which tells that a crowd of laymens collective assesments of the weight of an ox at a county fair is actually more accurate than the experts assesment. And thus Surowiecki means to tell that a crowd of independent people are actually more smart than an expert. The text of the book is around 270 pages, but in my opinion Surowiecki stops being interesting already around page 60. The rest of the book seems to be material he has just amassed because he had to fill out the pages of the book. Yeah actually he could have made a much thiner pamphlet to get his message across! And also the message that crowds can be intelligent, is that something new? After all a substantial part of the evolution of human culture and knowhow is a result of the wisdom of crowds - isn't it? So one get this sneaking feeling that James Surowiecki is yet another of these clever dicks from Wall Street, trying to give foolish people the impression that he has found the key to how they really can start to make money in big scale.

Den gule trøje i de høje bjerge by Jørgen Leth

Tour de France affectionardo par exellence

Rating 4 out of 10

In this book Jørgen Leth recounts all the great moment of Tour de France which he have been following all his life. A problem with the book is that Leth wants to recount all the great moments, and thereby he drowns the great moments in other great moments. It becomes tirering to again and again be told that what this and that rider did was so brave and so brilliant! The effect is of course that you stop paying attention to him. One memorable scene in the book is from Jørgens childhood in Århus, Denmark. After Jørgen has watched bike races he becomes quite obsessed. He stands in the garden at his home and reenacts the bike race inside his head. He comes in a trancelike state and afterwards he has a headache. Later he projects his enactment of the bike race outside of himself. He arranges bike races with the local kids. Jørgen lives around Vestre Ringgade in Århus. The infant Jørgen is an almost comical character, he appear as an extraordinary clumsy and awkvard character, kind of like a fool. The local bike mecanic calls him "Jørgen Tung" (Jørgen Heavy). He never wins any of the bike races he arrange himself, his mother make flower bouquets for the 1., 2. and 3. place winners in Jørgens bike races. All in all Jørgen himself seems really miserable at sports, his friend Henning Andersen from Fjordsgade school (living on Søndre Ringgade) easily beats him in table tennis 21-2. Later Henning and Jørgen starts to arrange jazz events, Henning is quite succesfull arranging main stream jazz events and becomes rich. Jørgen on the other hand is drawn to arranging events for a more select crowd. He arranges bebob events, and when he arranges avantgarde jazz events, maybe only 1 person turns up. Also when he starts producing films actually no people really goes to see them in the cinema.

Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison is like an animal

Rating 6 out of 10

This book from Toni Morrison is not too bad, it's actually OK. What I like about Toni Morrison is that she is a no-nonsense writer. She perceives the world in an animal like way. She has a total natural acceptance of the bodily processes of being human, white people often have a much more schizophrenic relation to their bodily processes, where they feel ashamed and they are not natural with their body in the same way that Toni Morrisons characters are. Reading Toni Morrisons book one gets a sense that violence is an integrated trait of Afro American culture, virtually all her characters are violent and it seems like violence is an accepted way to solve problems instead of talking about them. In Toni Morrisons universe the shadow of slavery still exists, the characters have relatives which have been killed by white people in racist attacks down south.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Det er derfor de knepper så meget i dette land by Jørgen Leth and Morten Sabroe

Not really interesting

Rating 5 out of 10

This book is made up of the email correspondance of two Danish writers: Jørgen Leth and Morten Sabroe. Jørgen Leth is definitely the best of the two. I must admit that I find Morten Sabroe's writings quite tiring at times. Apparently the guy is a part of the litterary establishment in Copenhagen, one gets an almost claustrophobic impression of this milieu where everybody knows everybody. Morten Sabroe starts the book in December 2009, this was a time when Denmark witnessed and unprecedented flood of moslem immigrant related shootings with guns, I think it was more than 100 shooting episodes in 1 year. It's quite amazing that Morten Sabroe doesn't bring this subject up in any of his emails to Jørgen Leth who is on Haiti. It could have been interesting if these two literati would have had an in depth correspondance about this quite important subject. But the book is too political correct and in that way Morten Sabroe embodies the political correctness of the Danish literary establishment. Instead the two, quite old, men talk about wine, food and women, young women! Jørgen Leth made a bit of noise with his 2005 book "Det Uperfekte Menneske" where he was decribing sex scenes with with a minor Haitian woman, this cost him his job as Danish honorary consul in Haiti and made a huge scandal in Danish media. So Morten Sabroe is inquiring into how it felt for Jørgen Leth to go through this media storm. Apparently it didn't disturb Jørgen Leth too much. Well the book fails to ever get really interesting. They two writers never really find something interesting to really get into. They play safe and stay in their writer roles, saturated with themselves.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Ringworld by Larry Niven

Vivid Imagination

Rating 5 out of 10.

Larry Niven is not that good a writer, but its anyway slightly fascinating to read about his sci-fi universe. In this book we visit the Ringworld, it's a massive artificial construction meant to support life in space. It's shaped like a massive ring around a star, this ring has got kind of the size that a planet would traverse in an orbit, so it's very big! In Niven's universe humans are just one part of the intelligent species in the universe, other species are pupeteers (a specie superior to humans in intelligence) and kzins (an animal like species, inferior to humans). The most interesting thing of the novel is that it proposes that luck is a genetic property, quite interesting.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Goddag Mælkevej by Leif Ahm

A very thin cup of tea!

Rating 1 out of 10

I had to discipline myself to read through this book, it was not exactly painful but quite boring. I am the kind of person who always finnish reading a book I have started on. I wonder why? Anyway this book is written in the early 60's. A time when the greatest curse in second half century litterature arose. That is magical realism! So the book is about a young man and wimen. The book changes between passages which are described realistically, they are just ordinary scenes from his life, like riding the train, going to an examination at the highschool, meeting a girl at a bar, etc. Interspersed in this plain reality is then magical realism scenes, for example the young man is sailing in a boat on a lake, then he jumps into the water and it turns out to be milk. His girlfriend becomes a moviestar, he meets the president of the milkyway and so on. The book is poetic in nature, it has some beauty, lightness and innocense about it. It's written in a time, 1962, when everything was breaking up in northern Europe, the youth revolt was soon to sweep the western world. So in the young litterature at the time they wanted to do something new, so it became fashion to blow out some magical realism, trying to sophisticate their stale accounts. Also the book desribes sex, masturbation and even a visit to the toilet, things which must have appeared a little chocking to the elder generation at the time. But it is not a good read, it seems like the book is lacking a spine, a plot.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

ASP.NET MVC Framework Unleashed by Stephen Walther

OK intro to ASP.NET MVC

Rating 7 out of 10.

This is an OK ASP.NET MVC book. The structure of the book is that first Stephen describes various features of the ASP.NET MVC framework with shorter code examples and then in the later 6 chapters of the book we are building a larger blog application. I think the idea of first decribing the ASP.NET MVC features in shorter code examples and then later employing them in a larger app is good. It makes it easier to understand. All the way through the book Stephen is consistently testing his code with Visual Studio Unit Testing, so it's cool that you also get an introduction to this practice. When we are building the blog app in the second part of the book, Stephen is practicing Test Driven Development. He start each chapter with some user stories (Use cases) which he wants to implement. The initial tests he then also generates from the user stories. So it's also cool to get an introduction to TDD. Stephen is an OK teacher. I think it's cool how he ties use cases, to tests to coding. The picture Stephen is painting is simple and clear. One drawback to the book is that Stephen is using some projects (RouteDebugger and MvcFakes) for test and debugging, which he don't explain the code of. It maybe falls outside the scope of the book, but I think I would have liked to understand how the codes of these projects worked. The book is a rather quick and light read. If you pick this book up to get introduced to the ASP.NET MVC framework you will be OK.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis

Undisturbed humanity

Rating 8 out of 10

This is a nice book. It decribes the adventures of the narrator (an intellectual) and Zorbas who is an utterly uneintellectual man, apparently original a Macedonian, Zorbas background is very modest, somewhat working class or peasant. Zorbas is a quite fascinating figure and becomes quite much alive. Zorbas has travelled around the Balkans living from day to day, from the hand to the mouth. He has seen many things, (and in the Balkans around the beginning of the 20th century - there was also bad things to see!) so Zorbas very well knows that life is not perfect. Yet a cardinal trait of Zorbas character is that he seems to rest in life and apparently he finds it worthwile. Zorbas seemingly is "home" in life. There execudes from the novel a Joie de vivre, it's like the characters often simply are in a state where life is ok. There is a feeling in the novel which reminded me a bit about the novel "Mister God, This Is Anna" by Fynn (Sydney Hopkins). It's this thing about that despite life is terrible imperfect then you can live in a place where you are "home" and it's ok.
Zorba the Greek also offers a substantial critique on religion, which are impersonated by various monks and church people which Zorba and the narrator encounters. Zorba breathes life. Zorba is by no means a saint, he is also quite imperfect himself and a bit of a devil sometimes.

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Bookseller of Kabul by Åsne Seierstad

Very good introduction to middleclass moslem culture in Kabul, Afghanistan

Rating 8 out of 10

It's a quite impressive book that Åsne Seierstad has managed to produce. The story behind the book is that Åsne Seierstad entered Kabul together with the Northern Alliance (Various Afghan troops and military groups who was fighting Taliban) two weeks after 9/11. In Kabul she met the bookseller and lived for some months with his family. She has transformed interviews with the family and her own experiences into the fictional account which the book is. The book is lovely political incorrect and it's my sense that it gives a quite truthful picture of middleclass moslem life in Kabul. The central character of the book is the bookseller Sultan Khan, he is an entrepreneuristic individual and runs several bookshops around Kabul. Khan is described as a quite liberal man, but still he is to a significant extend still a traditional Afghan man. For example during the account he takes a 2. wife, I think she is around 16 and he is 40 something. In his house he is the supreme lord, his word is law. Still Sultan give me a sympathetic impression, and I definitely think that a developing Afghanistan could be build upon individuals like Sultan. The book provides a whole host of insights into Afghan middleclass culture, which I before was absolutely ignorant about. A thread running through the book, one feels, is the authors resentment to the very substantial supression of women, which is cardinal trait of Afghan culture.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Tale of the Rose by Consuelo de Saint Exupéry

The marriage of two lunatics

Rating 5 out of 10

In this book Consuelo de Saint Exupéry tells the story about her stormy marriage to the famous Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. My God! What a mess! Antoine is a womanizer of the first degree, but at the same time he apparently wants to maintain his marriage to Consuelo. Antoine is a total chaotic, he all the time fly around, crashes and gets seriously wounded, move around all over the world and have innumerable affairs with other woman, especially after he becomes a global household name. But he must have been a great man because he has an electricising effect on other people. He seems like a funny mixture of something really lovingly and tender and at other times appear like a sheer psykopat. There is definitely an heroic air about Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. He is a warrior and his flights are really dangerous, atleast time after time he crashes. Consuelo and Antoine live in a circle of famous friends: Pablo Picasso, Max Ernst, Greta Garbo, Marcel Duchamp, etc. And Antoine is a celebrity. Consuelo spend much of the time waiting for Antoine who is always go somewhere else, she is always filled with her love towards him and often frustration, she seems a bit hysteric and at times she is also at a sanatorium in Switzerland. A cool thing I will remember from the book is when Consuelo wants to paint her and Antoines new apartment in Paris. Consuelo wants the color of the walls to be exactly like the color of water in a bathtub. So they invite their artist friends to come and find just the right color. And who finds the right color? Well - Marcel Duchamp of course!

My Star: Memoirs of a Holocaust Survivor by Felicja Nowak

Interesting moving story
Rating 5 out of 10

I was actually slightly pleasantly surprised by this book. It's written by a Polish/Jewish woman who spent some of the time during WW2 in the Jewish ghetto (organized by the Nazis) in the Polish town Bialystok. I am a kind of person who have always felt quite immune to having a terrified emotional response to Holocaust. But reading Felicja Nowak's account I actually felt it was too bad that she lost both her parrents on account of the Nazis killings of Jews. The best part of the novel I think is when she describes life in the ghetto, the struggle to survive. It's also liberating that she gives a more nuanced picture of the Germans. For example she works in a factory in the ghetto, and in the daytime the Germans walk around and scream at the Jews to keep them to work. But after work the Germans and the Jews are forced to also spend the time together and there they just talk together like normal people. Eventually it is actually also a German who help Felicja to flee from the ghetto! Also it was moving when Felicja describe her parting with her mother when she flee the ghetto, shortly after her mother, like her father was killed by the Nazis.

Almayer's Folly by Joseph Conrad

Disappointing start from Conrad

Rating 3 out of 10

This is Joseph Conrads first novel. It deals with the conflicts between native people (Malayans) and Dutch tradesmen in the jungle of Borneo. It has some brilliant passages, but all in all it's a quite dull read.

Hjælp! by Hjalte Tin

Ordinary and not much new

Rating 4 out of 10

In this book Hjalte Tin takes us around to three destinations in the world where Denmark sponsors humanitarian relief: Somalia, Afghanistan and Kosovo. Having read the book I am for a large part left with the feeling that I haven't really got much new information, the writer never manages to penetrate beyond the well known picture of these places and people, so it's not really a fantastic read.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Sons and Lovers by D. H. Lawrence

Rating 8 out of 10

A masterpiece!

Vauw! This is a great book! It tells the story about the gradual emergence of an artist in a rural coal miner community in England. D. H. Lawrence is all about nature and love. He depicts the coming and going of the different seasons in a simple but quite moving way. The main character Paul Morel is a romantic. He develops a very close relationship to his mother, but the relationship to his father becomes almost non existent. It's kind of scary to read that this buddening artist simply less and less find any point of reference with his coal miner father, who is just an ordinary hardworking bloke. There is a definite loneliness sorrounding Paul Morrel in his dealings with his peers. Although he spends time with them, he is always moving on and they are left alone behind. They simply don't match him. Paul Morrel has the ability to manipulate most of the people he meet, there is a touch of something cruel and human experiment about his dealings with people. He exerts a strong influence on people, but it's like he is seeing it from above. He is to some extent shaping other peoples destinies, but sometimes with no real concern for the consequences which they eventually will suffer. Sometimes his manipulations assumes a comical air, for example he starts a relationship with a married woman Clara, her husband Baxter hates Paul, but Paul latter seeks out Baxter and becomes his good friend. One gets the sense that Pauls friendship with Baxter is bound more on a kind of morbid curiosity than true affinity. Later Paul looses interest in Clara, he then manages to reunite wife and husband again and then he disappears. D. H. Lawrence's characters are skillfully modeled and very trustworthy. He has a stunning ability to x-ray his characters attitudes to each other and also their attitudes to important aspects of life, like love, death, etc. A thread during the whole novel is Paul Morrel's relationship to his mother, this relationship is a spine in Pauls life. The death of the mother in the end of the novel is a crucial turning point. It's quite moving how D. H. Lawrence desribes Paul Morrels perception of the world after the death of his mother, he experience an absolute implosion of all meaning. He sees the first snowdrops appear in early spring, but he simply don't see any point in them being there. He sees the trams run around in the city, but he can't understand why they take the trouble to move. When he talk with his friends, he is responding to their words, but in reality he is far away and their words just appear to him like strange sounds.

The Wreath by Sigrid Undset

Rating 3 out of 10

A perfect calming book if you wanna sleep!

Well this book is about a young girl coming of age in medieval christian Norway. The people still partly believe in the old hearthern beliefs. Somewhat this novel (written in 1920) is a forerunner of a genre which became very popular in the latter half of the century: The historic novel. The pace of the novel seemed a bit stale to me, but it has some beauty. The view point is seen from the main character, Kristin Lavransdatter, a daughter of a prominent nobleman.  The book is very womanish, so it's all about love, marriage, passion, children, pregnancy, fidelity - slightly boring! A problem about the novel is that it all the way through just proceeds in it's own tranquile pace, it lacks dynamics! If you are in a bathtub with hot water and just wanna read something calming, this is the perfect novel to read to fall asleep! The Kristin Lavransdatter character is quite strong and willful, she manages to oppose her father in the choise of marriage partner and also become pregnant 3 months before her marriage. I am not that well versed in medieval Norwegian history, but somewhat it seems that Undsets female character is a bit too free and selfwilled to be trustworthy in a medieval setting. One should think that women of nobility, in medieval christian Norway, was more suppressed and chaste!

The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum by Heinrich Böll

Rating 2 out of 10

I am not a fan of Heinrich Böll

This novel has the form of a police report. As usual with Heinrich Böll the subject matter is a confused mixture of religion (Catholic christianity) and left wing politics. The novel is apparently inspired by the political terrorism of the Red Army Faction in the 1970's Western Germany.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Pianoplayers by Anthony Burgess

Rating: 3 out of 10

His frankness is his best aspect

Well this is a tale about the life of Ellen Henshaw, she grows up in modest conditions with her father making his living as a pianoplayer for the silent movies in the 1920's. Already when Ellen is a minor she earns her first money as a prostitute. Later she will make a living by being a prostitute and eventually she turns a madam. Her life is in no way sad, actually it seems quite ordinary and commonplace. Somewhat it seems like the point of the story is, that following the line of her father (the pianoplayer), eventually Ellens grandson becomes a pianist. From there the title: "The Pianoplayers" - The talent of her father as a pianoplayer finally reemerges in her grandson. The story seems somewhat like a film, I don't know if Anthony Burgess was thinking of movies when he wrote it? The best thing about the book is that the fact that Ellen starts as a prostitute as a minor is in no way a sad or terrible thing, contrary it's just quite normal and ordinary. It's nice that the author don't make a fuss about something which there is maybe no reason to make a fuss about.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Quo Vadis by Henryk Sienkiewicz

Rating 5 out of 10.
This is an ok read. It tells the story about the first European christians in a setting of Nero's Rome. Still the person descriptions are a bit too simple and shallow for my taste. It was first published at the hight of the epic novel in the last part of the 19th. century, but as said the person descriptions never go beyond the kind of Victor Hugo like characterisation. The most interesting character of the account is definitely Nero himself, I am not sure that the author intended it to be this way. It rather seems like that the account was written as a praise to Christianity.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

We-Think by Charles Leadbeater

Rating 0 out of 10
This is a really lousy book. Leadbeater is musing over the fact that people are making things together on the internet, like wikipedia and open source software. But the proplem with the book is that Leadbeater is adding absolutely no interesting perspectives or insights to this subject. This book is a 100% total waste of time! It's incredible that any publisher has agreed to publish this shit.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Nybrud - dansk kunst i 1990erne by Rune Gade and Camilla Jalving

Rating 6 out of 10.
This book has been an interesting read for me. It quite extensively recounts the happenings on the Danish art scence in the 1990's up until the middle of the 0's in our century. So modern art... Well I must admit that I am a little critical, I mean to a large extent modern art of today is still running in the same groove as was established by modernism almost 100 years ago! I mean it was cool when Marcel Duchamp submitted his urinal to an exibit in 1917 or gave Mona Lisa a mustache, but how cool is it when lesser artists copycat such acts today? Not particular cool! Not that much rock'n'roll! These Danish guys are all on the payroll from the government and they just want their work accepted at the next museum. Duchamp knew that was an impossibility for him to make any money on his art so he (The Jesus Christ in modern art) made his money as a language teacher! I mean nobody supported the modernists, no government grants to them, and they made history! Anyway it seems like painting has come back in Danish art and there are some good ones, I especially like a painting by Kathrine Ærtebjerg called "Forestilling, forvandling", it's a kind of fairy-gnome like painting which is nice. Also it was interesting to see some works by Jes Brinch and Henrik Plenge Jakobsen called "Burn Out", on a main square in Copenhagen the simply turned a bus and 18 cars arround and smashed them up, and in a museum they made the scene of a burnt down kinder garden. These work were made in 1994, but it's quite amazing that it exactly looks like a scene we often see all over Europe today, young immigrants of moslem descendance putting fire to everything, cars, buses, schools, kinder gardens, vandalism at large. It's almost like the artists back in 1994 had a presentiment of what was coming. Anyway for anybody who wanna know what has happened on the Danish art scene recently this is a good book.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Silent Angel by Heinrich Böll

Rating 3 out of 10.
This is an unfinished novel from Heinrich Böll, as usual he is writing about social differences, religion and love. The thing I liked most about the novel is that it takes place in a totally destructed German city in May 1945. There is something very interesting when a war ends and, an otherwise civilized country and people, return to civilization. (In undeveloped countries this is not so interesting because the culture that exisited before and after the war is so barbaric anyway. (like Somalia or Iraq)). But the scene in Germany and Japan just after WW2 was kind of interesting because it was highly developed countries, especially nazi Germany. Anyway the book is unfinished so the plot is a little confusing.

The Clown by Heinrich Böll

Rating 3 out of 10.
This book is a little strange, Heinrich Böll seems to me to be a somewhat strange man. Anyway the book is about the nazis, the cathologic religion and love. The main character Hans seems to always be in conflict with everyone. But he is quite outspoken, for one example he is playing with some Hitler jugend in nazi Germany and then he exclaimingly call them nazi-swine! Now that's kind of bold isn't it? This book reminded me about some of the works by Georges Bataille, in it's irrational selfdestructiveness.

ASP.NET 3.5 Social Networking by Andrew Siemer

Rating 9 out of 10
I have been happy to read this book. I had approximatly ½ year ASP.NET experience when I started reading the book 2 months ago and I actually understood everything that Andrew Siemer did. Siemer has just the right way of explaining things, not wasting time on things you already should know (You need to have a basic knowledge of ASP.NET to read this book) and otherwise clear and intelligent. He very beuatifully demonstrates the MVP pattern in his architecture, if you wanna do a social network in ASP.NET, this is the book. One little problem about the book is that it is written just when ASP.NET MVC was released, Siemer himself acknowledges that in the book, but he couldn't use this new technology because it was simply too young and unproven at the time. I don't know that much about MVC, but maybe if you wanna do a MVP web application MVC supports that better? Anyway it has been a great tour with Siemers out on the praeries of ASP.NET with the MVP pattern and social networking, with high too the sky and fresh air and a super intelligent and helpful guy right next to you. Also Siemers makes use of various open source software along the way, that is also great, because apparently the Microsoft solution is not always the best one.

Arch of Triumph by Erich Maria Remarque

Rating 7 out of 10
This is a great book. Erich Maria Remarque is a great writer! This is a story about a german refugee living in Paris just before Germany declares war, that is around 1939. He is living there as an illegal refugee under the cover name Ravic. He seems deeply disillusioned about life, having partaken in WW1, he knows without much doubt that war is coming back. He is a very skilled surgeon, but he seems quite detached from life, apparently his wife was also killed in Germany before he managed to flee. Sometimes when he knows some of his patients are going to die, but he refuses to inform them about it. I must admit that I found that a little strange, it appeared to me as rude and insensitive, yeah kind of like psychopatic. Like there is no contact, maybe like there is noone. So he kind of flows through life, mostly he is friendly and tries to relieve the suffering even to his own great cost, but he can't really have any deeper relationships with anyone, maybe he is broken deep down? Ravic is a man of great resourses, in the end of the novel a remarkable indifference fills him, nothing really seems to matter to him anymore.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Meeting at the Milestone by Sigurd Hoel

Book Rating 7 out of 10
This is an interesting book. The form of the book is some unusual. It falls in parts which are quite stylistically diverse. In the initial part of the book the author is musing about why people become traitiors. (The book is written in the wake of WW2 in Norway, where the author apparently played a role in the resistance movement, thus a "Traitor" in the concept of the author is a person who became a nazi or supported the nazi occupation of Norway). This part of the book is written post WW2. Then comes a part of the book where the author is reminiscing about his early love encounters in the 1910-1920's. Here is a very beautiful chapter, the chapter "Kari", the passage describes quite moving how a young man and woman meet each other and spend the night together on midsummers night in Oslo, somewhere in the 1910-1920's. I think that this part definitely is among the must remarkable love accounts in northern litterature ever. Then comes a part part of the book which is fiction like, the storyteller is involved in some dramatic events in the late part of WW2, he is a resistance man, it turns out that the person who eventually betrays him is his own son. In his love encounter with Kari 20 years before, it turns out that she became pregnant with the authors child, without his knowing. Then Kari left him and married another man. This other man is one of the authors old friends and he later became a nazi, and the son (really the authors son) as well became a nazi. This part also plays with identity and consciousness, because when he first sees his son (the young nazi), he believes to see himself and also during the dramatic and painful events the divide between reality and dream is blurred, also he watches himself from outside, he watches the whole world from outside at a distance like in 1990 Paul Auster novel "The Music of Chance". In the end of the book we return to where we started, the author is musing about humans and destinies, he reveals the project of the novel: Why people become what they become? He reveals to the readers the story about the writing process. It is a project that he has tried to carry through on 3 different attempts, these different attempts are the diverse parts of the novel. But he acknowledges that he hasn't succeeded in the project, it has failed, it was too big a job for him, but the various parts of the novel documents the attempts. The novel has several aspects of metafiction, it's kind of surprising that it was already published in 1947 because it seems to have some stylistically relations to metafictional works like the work of Paul Auster which rose to prominence in the 1980's and 1990's.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Delta of Venus by Anaïs Nin

Book Rating 1 out of 10.
Apparently these pornographic novels was a commissioned work for an unknown book lover in Paris. Anaïs Nin seems to have an inclination towards describing sexual scenes bordering on tabu areas like violence and incest.

Break of Day by Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

Book Rating 6 out of 10.
This book describes Colettes daily life in a cottage in a rural setting on the Mediterranean cost of Provence in Southern France, in the city of Saint Tropez. Besides Colette, two other characters strikes out in the account: Viale, a young painter and Hélène Clément, an young woman. Colette, which is an older woman, has a relationship with Vial, and Hélène Clément is too in love with Vial. So this ménage à trois provides an unspoken tension which in an indirect manner fuels the account. The style of the book is in the form of a poetic diary. Colette seems to be a somewhat lonely figure which's closets relations seems to be with the cats which lives together with her in her house. Also she seems very attached to nature which she describes with sensuous sensitivity.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Train Was on Time by Heinrich Boll

Book Rating 4 out of 10
This is an ok read. It's a somewhat feverish account about a german soldier on a train going to the east front in September 1944. The troops on the train are divided in two camps, those who says that of course Hitler will win the war and those who knows that the war is lost. The I persona of the account knows that he is soon going to die. And inside he prays for himeself and others, apparently he is christian. There is also a love story he has with a prositute, which somewhat reminded me about White Nights by Dostojevskij.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sex and Tourism: Journeys of Romance, Love, and Lust by Kaye Sung Chon

Book Rating 4 out of 10.
This books is comprised of a series of essays about sex tourism, most of them accademic. It's an interesting subject. The book defines sex tourism in a more broad sense than what is generally understood. For one example in Europe it is very common for young people in north Europe to go on holiday in south Europe, where the holiday is beach, party, drinking and sex! Or in the winter, the go on skiing holiday, where afterskiing and party and sex is an essential part of the experience. Journeys like this falls within this books definition of sex tourism, because sex is a significant motivation for the tourism. Well the books essays explore the subject of sex tourism from various angels. It states that prostitution in third world countries catering men from richer countries is not only a bad thing, because it brings wealth to those countries, it advocates a decriminalization of prostitution, but warns about the high risk of contracting sexual transmitted diseasses, like HIV. Some alarming investigation has revealed that in some cases 40 % of the prostitutes in South Asian countries like Thailand and Cambodia is infected with HIV!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Songmaster by Orson Scott Card

Rating 4 out of 10.
 This is an OK read. It's the story about a very beautiful boy who sings enchanting. Somewhat the plot seems to be transferred from one of Shakespeares dramas about ancient Rome. Because this boy (a songbird) really gets the attention of various emperors living in palaces. It's a story also about love and desire, a bit sophisticated for a sci-fi in this case also about homesexual love. Anyway it's kind of an OK cool little book. As usual the computers in this sci-fi seems terrible outdated from what everybody uses everyday in todays world!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie

Rating 0 out of 10.
This is a lousy book. It's really amazing to me that the world had made such a fuss about such a mediocre writer as Salman Rushdie. The reason is properly that he is of somewhat Indian origin and that Khomeini got pissed off. Anyway Midnight's Children is a socio-political account. It revolves around some crucial times in newer Indian history, like the declaration of post colonial India on midnight August 15, 1947 and the declaration of state of emergency on June 25, 1975, the war with Pakistan, etc. Upon these historical facts Rushdie then brews an account inspired by magical realism and interspersed with personal experiences. Often Rushdie tries to be funny, but I didn't laugh one single time!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Subway Art: 25th Anniversary edition by Cooper & Chalfant

Rating 6 out of 10
This book has some quite extraordinary photos. Those can be credited Martha Cooper, she was working for the National Geographic, and National Geographic makes excellent photos! Well she started hanging out with the ethnic minorities (brave girl!) in New Yorks seedy neighborhoods in the 70's and 80's and documented the birth of modern grafitti. Quite an extraordinary example of the very right person at the right place. Apparently she just did it for the fun of it, not realizing the her photos would be worshipped by writers (Grafitti artists) all over the world forever! The drawback of this book is that it has too little text, it could be interesting if the authors also had documented the birth of grafitti in word!

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Nigger of the Narcissus by Joseph Conrad

Rating 6 out of 10
This book was titled "Children of the Sea" in the American edition. It's a quite good book, some what the form of it falls in between a novel and a shortstory. It tells the tale about the rough life at sea on a ship with sails! It's moving to hear about these sailors out on open sea, their lives depend on eachother, then they reach the destination and split up never to see eachother again. Perhaps the most memorable part of the novel is when the ship enters the dirty dark industrial city of London, after life at the merciless but fresh sea, Conrads description of London is almost Dickens like in its somber visions.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Maigret and the Killer by Georges Simenon

Rating 4 out of 10
This is my second Maigret book. Simenon seems always to be a good read. This is a man who knows his metier. In this book the social indignation of Simenon seems to surface quite explicit, since Maigret feels quite much compassion towards the murderer, seemingly more than with the victim. It's quite amazing to me how undeveloped and backwards the France of Simenon is, the man obviously felt a need for improvement of the country. One bad thing about this novel is that Maigret seems to be too familar, friendly and understanding with the murderer, it's not quite credible.

The Lover by Marguerite Duras

Rating 6 out of 10
This is an ok book, it tells the story about Duras affair as a young teenager, with an older Chinese man. During the account Duras changes between past and present tense. She also sometimes write about herself as "I" and sometimes in third person, I haven't really figured out why she makes these changes. The matarial of this book one supposes could actually be developed into a real moving novel, I don't know why Duras kept the story in this short form. Perhaps she was lazy? As it stand now it somewhat has a sketchy form, which perhaps is ok? But I think I would have prefered if she had made a longer and more elaborated novel out of the material. And those inconsistencies I mentioned in the start (about past and present tense and I account and third person) Well maybe the book would have been better without those litterary experiments?

Monday, February 15, 2010

We the Living by Ayn Rand

Book review. Rating 8 out of 10.

This is a fine book which goes on in Petrograd, in the early days of the communist state. It describes the hardship of former bourgeosie returning to live in Russia after the revolution. Ayn somewhat indirectly portays human characters greater than the common mold and describes the difficulty they find to succumb to communist ideology, which doesn't favor the existence of strong outstanding individuals.The weakness of the novel is the plot, more precisely the actions of the characters, some of their actions seems not rational to me. There is the communist Andrei who gets Kira's (the main character) boyfriend imprisoned, but then he changes his mind and get's him out of prison again and become a spokesman for Ayn's philosopy before he commits suicide. Petrograd is a moving city and Ayn has many nice descriptions of it, especially at winter time. It's also very interesting to witness an insider view of the early years of the communist state. Even during communism bribery apparently was rife.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The social network business plan : 18 strategies that will create great wealth by David A. Silver

Book Review. Rating 8 out of 10

This is a quite interesting book, about the future and business perspectives of the social media revolution which we are witnessing. The very big concept which Silver is prophesizing, is that in a very short time, 2011, we will see a massive rise of a type social networks which Silver terms as "Recommender Social Networks". This is a social network where consumers share information about goods, in the form a Rating, Reviewing and Recommending. According to Silver this type of social network will have an absolutely massive influence upon todays business model: Today the brands control the consumers via advertisement and marketing to buy the goods they produce. But in the future the recommender social network will use the collective ratings of their members to guide the consumers as to what to buy. The result of this shift will be an increased power to the consumer and a lowering of prices (because advertisement today is a considerable expense and with the rise of the recommender social network, advertisement and marketing will loose it's controlling power). In the future the recomender social network will be the place to introduce new products. As examples of recommender social networks which are already here Silver mentions and . Silver also comes with tricks about how to start a succesfull social network. The trick is to be a pain solver for a group of people, he come with some examples from the medical world, there is which allows doctors to share information, but at the same time the owner of network sell the anonymized conversations of the doctors to the medical companies. Another examples is which allows patiens to share information. There is really, really many money to be made in social networks, actually it is by large much of the money used in advertisement and marketing today which instead will flow to the social networks!

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Yellow Dog by Georges Simenon

Book Review. Rating 4 out of 10
Now this book,being from 1931, must belong somewhat to the adolescence of the detective novel genre. It's actually an ok read. The setting for this crime story is rural France, that is the fishing town Concarneau on the Bretagne coast. The dick of Georges Simenons books is called Maigret and he is actually quite cool. He is a strong self-willed character, who refuse to take any crap from his surroundings, and seems alive and kicking even today. Embedded in this book is also a social criticism. The book drew a picture for me of early 20th century France, which was somewhat surprising to me. It's evident that if you are a prominent person, rich, factory owner, or the mayor of Concarneau, then you can get away with things the small people can't get away with. In terms of bribery, camaraderie and manipulate the authorities. This is things we would expect from a developing country like Turkey, Philippines or Russia, but apparently it was also like that in France at that time. Anyway I shall not disclose the plot here, just know that Maigret cuts through all the conventions and nail the crooks! Also the book has even got a touch of the creepiness Poe.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Beloved by Toni Morrison

Book Review
Rating 2 out of 10
I must admit I was a little bored with this book. Of course it properly has some litteray qualities, which the litteraty people dig, but my god, some of the books these people like, especially the contemporary ones, I just sometimes find absolutely and utterly endless boring! Well apparently Beloved is a ghost. The setting is some black guys who are slaves in the middle of the 19th. century. What I also found boring about this book is that these black guys don't really seem to be going anywhere. Admittedly, it's properly hard to live an inspired life if you are a slave, but anyway... So in this book, this ghost Beloved appear from time to time and otherwise the book descripe the everyday life of the black people. As said they don't really appear to go anywhere, so the book is much about what they do in their daily life, like having dinner. I think it is something like 10 times during the book that their meals are described. A somewhat surprising reference coming to mind concerning this book is the Japanese writer Yasunari Kawabata. Belowed has some of the same indirectness in the language as Yasunari Kawabata employ in his book Snow Country. I think the greatest strength of Beloved is the poetic and rhythmic language. I guess the author has a musical talent, so perhaps I would have enjoyed her more if she had employed her talent in music rather than litterature.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Twitter! - massekommunikation på 140 tegn by @nfsaxberg and @webjay

Book Review
Rating 8 out of 10
This book is so far only in Danish. It's a great little book about Twitter. I like the production story about the book. The of March 2009 the Editor of the printing company woke up and got the idea to the book. Immediately he contacted the authors and they started to produce the book right away. The great message of the book is that the social media revolution has changed our world, the target group for the book is mainly companies and business people and its telling them that they better take things like Twitter and Facebook seriously. In the old times the companies would produce a website and hope to attract the costumers to it. In the social media era the companies need to come to the costumers, and where are the costumers? Well they are at the social media. So the book encourages business people to take Twitter very serious, because it's really something the businesses can benefit from, both in terms of sales and customer feedback. The book suggests that the companies should react to the customers instantly. By some searches on major Danish phone companies the authors demonstrates that the Twitter users are already discussing the companies. The book then recount some cases, where companies have reacted instantly on customer talk on Twitter. There is the glasses shop Synoptic which witness a customer complaining about the prices, which prompts Synoptic half an hour later to offer a rebate to the customer. Then there is the coffee shop CoffeeGroundz which one minut after a tweet from a customer reacts. The good thing about this kind of interaction is that perhaps you can suddenly get a lot of good PR if the news about it spread, that the event goes viral. It seems like the authors already work with business consulting, there is quite a lot talk about strategy, optimisation, innovation and all the rest of it. That particular part of the book I must admit I at times found a little tirering. But all in all a fun book. One should think that they could sell this book to other countries too. Right Now!