Friday, 15 April 2011

The Snowman ☃

Jo Nesbø has been labeled as the next Stieg Larsson. What do you think of his books?

His 'Harry Hole' series is about your typical crime investigator - a lonely, alcoholic man battling both authority and ex-girlfriend issues but Jo Nesbø does an extrodinarily good job of building such a strong character out of what can be criticised as a far from original crime fiction character setup. It tells the story of a string of murders that have terrorised the local town - a murderer who leaves behind snowmen in the gardens of his victims. With equal parts suspense and gore, it deserves the 5/5 rating that it has been given by some book reviews. Not only does Nesbø deal with the personal issues of the protagonist, engaging intelligently with the causes and effects of these but he also manages to keep up the fast-paced, page turning quality of the book, building up more suspense than is often managable along the way. 

Jo Nesbø has been compared to Stieg Larsson many times but in my opinion he is almost better. If you're looking for a novel filled with suspense, terror and plenty of bloodshed without troublesome dialogues and complex social issues then Jo Nesbø is the man for you.

I have only read The Snowman the 7th book in Nesbø's 'Harry Hole' series. It was given to me as an early christmas present and I took it with me when I travelled to Sweden where I was spending Christmas. I began reading it while I was travelling but it wasn't until we reached my boyfriend's winter cabin that I really got round to reading it properly. Curled up in an armchair by the fire, wrapped up tight in a thick, Norwegian blanket I began what I had not realised was going to be a very gory journey. Sitting on a plane, in broad daylight the novel had seemed relatively tame but sitting in a darkened cabin up in the mountains, surrounded by snow (and, following a visit from my boyfriend's little nieces, a terrifying snowman of our own smiling outside) it quickly became quite horrifying. In terms of a horror rating I wouldn't give it more than a 6 or a 7, it was the gore that got to me the most. 

Have you read The Snowman? What 'horror-rating' would you give to it?

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Thursday, 14 April 2011

Til hamingju með afmælið, Eyjafjallajökull (Happy birthday, Eyjafjallajökull)

One year ago today a volcanic eruption occurred underneath Eyjafjallajökull, sending ash clouds billowing up into the sky and causing the biggest disturbance to air transport since World War ll. Millions of people were left stranded and it was estimated that $200 million would be lost per day by the airline industry. 

Still I think that there was something kind of beautiful about it. This video was taken at the beginning of May but it is my favourite of all of the footage that was captured during the time that Eyjafjallajökull was erupting.

How were you affected by Eyjafjallajökull? My mother was unable to go away skiing and my boyfriend ended up visiting later than scheduled but we were so lucky in comparison with many other unfortunate people.

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Travelling from my desk

Writing letters to others in different countries to your own seems like an old fashioned hobby, however a couple of months ago I decided to give it a try and I have since fallen in love with this form of correspondence. When you receive a letter filled with details about somebody else's hometown, their culture, even their own travels it makes you feel as though you are taking a little trip abroad. This is especially noticeable when you receive such delights as postcards, photos, collages or stickers that someone has carefully put together in a little package for you. This morning I got a lovely surprise when I opened a letter to find some tea that had travelled to me from Germany! 

This is another reason why I have decided to start this blog. I want to share my passion for culture and language, for travel, particularly in the Nordic region. I'd like to think that there is somebody out there who likes to travel through their computer as much as I do and will enjoy reading this as much as I enjoy writing it. 

Do you correspond with someone from a different country? What is your favourite experience of doing so?

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Wednesday, 13 April 2011


To begin this blog I have chosen to write about Brennivín as a friend brought some to our house as a surprise a couple of nights ago. 

Traditionally served alongside something called Hákarl (a dish consisting of putrified shark that deserves a blog post of its own), its name translates literally to 'burning wine' and it is easy to see how it received such a name. 

The aforementioned friend told us that it is traditional to drink it to the power of three - I'm not sure whether this is true but I wasn't going to argue. The alcoholic content is 37.5% and it is often referred to as an (unofficial) national beverage of Iceland. Prohibited between the years 1915 - 1922, it is believed that Brennívin was nicknamed as 'Black Death' and it was during this time that the Icelandic government had a skull and crossbones depicted on the label. 

The best way to drink Brennivín is ice-cold, either in chilled shot glasses or poured over ice. However beware of its strong and unusual flavour - it is made from fermented potato and is flavoured with caraway seeds.  

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