Reading Survey!!!!

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What are you reading right now? Just finishing off Visitation Street by Ivy Pochoda, the first book to be published on Dennis Lehane's new imprint. Incidentally - accidentally, I should think not... - it is rather reminiscent of Mystic River, although in a more ethnically diverse Brooklyn setting. Gritty, real, and beautifully written with a terrific sense of place.

What will you be reading next? Night Film by Marisha Pessl, finally!

Visitation Street by Ivy Pochoda Mystic River by Dennis Lehane Night Film by Marisha Pessl

A book you've been saving for a special occasion? I'm off to Spain on holiday in a few weeks time, and have deliberately put the latest Linwood Barclay, A Tap on the Window, on hold. Should be the perfect holiday read. Also saving Julia Heaberlin's Lie Still for the same trip.

Linwood Barclay, A Tap on the Window Julia Heaberlin - Lie Still Carol Goodman, The Water Witch

The last book you gave up on? The latest instalment of Carol Goodman's Fairwick Chronicles, The Water Witch. Truth be told, I only managed thirty odd pages. I absolutely adore Goodman's previous literary thrillers, though, and hope that she will pick those up again once she's done with the series.

The first book you read in English? Elizabeth's First Kiss by Francine Pascal, a true Sweet Valley classic.

And the last book you read in Swedish? A novel from 1956 by Swedish cosy crime queen Maria Lang, Mörkögda augustinatt. Her books are like security blankets for me, and this is one of her best, with a more menacing feel than her other novels. At least two of Lang's books (A Wreath for the Bride and No More Murders, both recently filmed) are actually published in English and rather fun reads in a very 1950's, Agatha Christie sort of way. Bizarrely enough, many of the names have been changed so as to become more English language appropriate: Einar, for instance, is called Edwin and Detective Chief Inspector Christer Wijk's last name has been changed into Wick. Kronors become shillings and so on... I suppose Swedish crime didn't have as much appeal back then as it has now, hence the apparent need to adjust everything to the English market. (Maria Lang is out print since long, but do check with our BookFinder service.)

Maria Lang - A Wreath for the Bride Francine Pascal -  Sweet Valley

Can you recite any poems? It is mainly pop songs that I tend to memorise, particularly ones by Belle and Sebastian or Morrissey. I do have several poems that I know more or less by heart, though, including William Carlos Williams' "This Is Just to Say" (in all fairness, it is a very short poem), Sylvia Plath's "Lady Lazarus" (okay, the last lines...) and, of course, several of Shakespeare's sonetts. One day, I would love to be able to recite all of "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock". As it is, I can recite parts of it and often, when I find myself misinterpreted and/or misunderstood, I will think "That is not what I meant at all. That is not it, at all." One of the main characters of a novel I recently finished, The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer, does the same thing.

The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer Morrissey, Mozipedia, The Smiths Shakespeare -  Sonetts

How do you find the time to read so much? Honestly? I don't, at least not as much as I'd like. Juggling two kids, work, blogging, and reading isn't easy, but since reading is the number one thing that makes me relax and - does this sound pretentious? - grow as a person, I try to make it a top priority in my everyday life. I read on the bus to work, in the bathtub after I've put my daughters to bed, in queues, on my lunch break, during Bolibompa, that famous everyday void for Swedish parents... There's a great quote from Stephen King that goes "Books are the perfect entertainment: no commercials, hours of enjoyment for each dollar spent. What I wonder is why everybody doesn't carry around a book for those inevitable dead spots in life". I suppose that is what I do: carry around a book for those inevitable dead spots in life. Above all, though, I crave and seek those long, uninterrupted hours of non-stop reading until the real world fades and you ARE the novel you're currently reading, the edges between fiction and reality blissfully blurred.

Which new releases are you most excited about this autumn? Is that even a question? Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch, of course! Only about a month to go now! I'm also eager to read Wally Lamb's new novel We Are Water, which will be published on the same day as The Goldfinch (October 22). And I must admit that I'm a bit excited about Helen Fielding's new Bridget Jones novel, also due out in October. Okay, perhaps more than a bit.

Donna Tartt - The Goldfinch Wally Lamb - We Are Water Helen Fielding - Mad About the Boy , Bridget Jones #3

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