Review – Autumn by Karl Ove Knausgård

Hello,

When I got a proof copy of Karl Ove Knausgård’s new book Autumn, I had no idea what to expect. Non-fiction, especially encyclopedias, can be quite strenuous to read sometimes, but I just took the plunge and wasn’t disappointed.

Autumn
Image provided by Harvill Secker¹

Autumn is the first of four books that form the Seasons quartet. In this encyclopedia, written for his unborn daughter and for himself, Knausgård takes up ordinary topics that everyone might encounter in life and describes them in short, personal pieces.

The encyclopedia entries make us aware of the things we take for granted and teach us to take a closer look at the world around us. One of my favorite chapters is the chapter on vomit. It is just wonderful to see how Knausgård can find beauty in something that many find revolting and that he is able to persuade you to see that beauty as well.

Not everyone might share Knausgård’s sense of humor, but some of his pieces are simply hilarious and laughing-out-loud funny, while others make you cringe like the chapters on adders or frogs. This emotional rollercoaster and the inclusion of personal experiences make Autumn an entertaining read.

4 Star Rating: Recommended

¹https://www.penguin.co.uk/books/1110893/autumn/9781910701638/
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

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Second Blogiversary – Two Years of Magic

Hi There,

I’ve been a little quiet over the past few weeks because writing my thesis is taking up quite some time and energy. I might have to make temporary changes to my review format to be able to publish book reviews on a regular basis up until my graduation. I’ve not stopped reading books, and I won’t stop writing this blog. So please bear with me 🙂

And now on to the fun part 😉

Blogoversary

It’s All That Magic‘s Second Blogiversary today! Two years of reading, writing, cooking, eating, crafting (in secret [I’ve just sewn a book cover]), taking bad pictures, going to book fairs and making new friends. I wouldn’t want to miss any of that.

Last year was particularly exciting. I got to be part of a cooperation between bloggers and a local bookstore (Rupertus Buchhandlung) and made new friends this way. I went to Frankfurt Book Fair for the second time, met old friends and got acquainted with new ones. I also won 10 Penguin Random House books in a reading challenge for reading 49 English-language books in 2014.

Which brings me to the last part of my blogiversary monologue: I’d like to thank everyone who has supported me so far. The publishers who kindly supply me with review copies, among them Canongate Books and Penguin Random House UK, Rupertus Buchhandlung for the great time I had in the past months, the authors who spend months writing books for us, and I’d like to thank You for stopping by and for reading what I have to say!

P.S.: Like last year, I will run a book giveaway on World Book Day, April 23rd.

Review – Funny Girl by Nick Hornby

Hello,

A couple of weeks ago, I read Nick Hornby‘s latest novel Funny Girl. I was excited because I really liked High Fidelity when I was a teenager and hadn’t read any of his other novels since then. So I’d like to thank Penguin Random House UK for providing me with this book in exchange for an honest review.

Funny Girl
Image provided by Viking¹

In the 1960s, Barbara, a young woman from a seaside town in Northern England decides to move to London to become an actress. Unlike many other women, she’s lucky and is cast for a sitcom that will change her life.

Our main character Barbara, or Sophie as she calls herself later on, doesn’t have more personality than any of the other characters. Her storyline isn’t nearly as engaging as Tony’s, who is one of the scriptwriters struggling to find his true self. But whenever Tony’s plot line becomes interesting it is dropped just like it happens with other plot lines that might become too engaging.

Funny Girl has no climax to speak of, the plot is just slowly flowing along. It seems like Hornby hoped for the story to develop through the process of writing, but, unfortunately, that didn’t work out. All through the book I was waiting for something to happen and it didn’t.

Don’t get me wrong, Funny Girl does address topics like homosexuality and self-discovery and it gives a good overall impression of the British society and television in the 1960s, yet somehow this novel and I aren’t made for each other. So I’d recommend it to die-hard Nick Hornby fans or British-sitcom aficionados, but if you are none of those, I think you’d better pick up High Fidelity.

2.5 Star Rating: Recommended(2.5 magic beans)

¹ http://www.penguin.co.uk/books/funny-girl/9780670922802/