Imagination needs inspiration to bloom.


Seger by Viktor Jäderlund

The book is a comic book that tells the story of the long-termed struggle for deaf people’s right to their own language and to express themselves. The author Viktor Jäderlund is a young deaf comic artist who wanted to portray the deaf people's road to victory, thereby the title Victory.

The narrator is a deaf man called Peter, born in 1948. Unfortunately, the narrative is somewhat unimaginative and it’s difficult to get to know him. The text could have been more developed. Never the less, the purpose of the book, to highlight the history of deaf people, is called for. Important historical events that changed history and improved the situation for deaf people are portrayed. The author tells the story about the struggle between Abbe L’epée, who preached sign-language, and Samuel Heinicke, who was in favour of oralism, which means to teach deaf people to speak. Deaf people wanted to use sign-language, and only in 1981, the Swedish prime minister Torbjörn Fälldin stated that deaf people should have sign-language as their first language, and Swedish as their second. Sweden was the first country in the world to make this decision. The author also mentions events such as Sweden’s first school for deaf people, in 1809, the first youth organisation for deaf people, in 1966, the first text telephone and the first use of sign-language in the Eurovision Song Contest. It’s an interesting book with an important story to tell.


Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen

It is a very beautiful, tragic story about love and sacrifice. The Little Mermaid wants to have a human life and an eternal soul. I think it is an interesting fairytale, but there are many aspects that could be discussed. The story is similar to others from the same time when it comes to gender issues and religon. I might be over analyzing parts of the story, and it’s nothing spectacular, but it is interesting to trying to understand the context.

On her fifteenth birthday, the Little Mermaid is allowed to see the human world above the waves, and instantly falls in love with a prince. Is it true love, or physical attraction? Well, let's decide it's true love for now, even though she doesn't know him, as is often the case in the old fairytales.

She is the ultimate martyr. She would give up anything, sacrifice her three hundred years of life, to experience a single day with him as a human being and then go to heaven – very religous and virtuous. She wants an eternal soul, and asks why the mermaids don’t have one, which is a good question that is never really answered.

Now comes the misogyny theme. The only way for her to have an eternal soul is to win a man’s love. Someone has to fall for her. Back then, a woman had to be acknowledged and chosen by a man, and, as usual, it is the physical attractiveness that will, perhaps, earn her an eternal soul. The only way to earn it is through marriage. This indicates that a woman’s purpose was to please men, and be virtious. From the moment when the Little Mermaid discovers the prince, her whole existence is about pleasing him. She is thus initially brave and strong, but eventually becomes fragile, vulnerable and dependent. That isn’t enough. If the prince falls for someone else she will die.

Now begins the transformation process that is still happening today, but today it is a system earning some people much money. She has to change her appearance to be able to please him, and she literally cuts her fin in half. She sacrifices everything. She can never return to her family and she endures much pain. Every step feels like stepping on broken glass. She even gives up her beautiful voice that makes her special - thus, she looses her power. She becomes her appearance.

After being discovered, naked, by the prince, and later having danced for him, perhaps a seductive dance, the bastard still doesn’t want her, but allows her to sleep on a cushion on the floor outside his room. She is, after all, reminded of the fact that she is not noble, and therefor, she doesn’t even deserve a bed. What does she see in this man? Her love is, of course, based on physical attraction. He is horrible, but everyone is treated after appearance, and he is obviously stunning.

H. C. Andersen rewrote the ending, which is obvious. The message is obvious. Certainly it can be useful to encourage children to be kind, but kindness can mean so much. The Little Mermaid’s good work as a kind of angel is strange. Why do mermaids need to earn an immortal soul in such a way? Are they not as good as human beings, who are supposed to have faith and live according to the religious rules, but never do? Furthermore, isn’t the reward of an eternal soul making the good deeds selfish? The original ending was darker, but more fitting. Of course, it is consoling that the Little Mermaid is able to have an eternal soul finally, but if the story had not been so misogynistic, she would have earned it already. She sacrificed her life for the person she loved, after all.

Despite these arguments, the fairytale really captivated and affected me.

Nightingale by Hans Christian Andersen

It is a fairytale about appreciating what you have, and what is real, instead of being duped by materialism. The emperor of China hears about a nightingale in his garden, and when it later sings for him, it is trapped. Eventually, it manages to escape from its prison, and is hence exiled by the emperor.

Then, an artificial nightingale is singing in the palace, but there is a big difference between what is alive and real, and what is not. Later, the emperor needs the nightingale. Something makes him realize the worth of a living being. 
The fairytale is beautiful and have an important message. 


You by Caroline Kepnes

Caroline Kepnes book is about someone chasing someone who is chasing someone else.

The narrative perspective is interesting. Instead of following the person who is a victim of a crime, the reader gets to follow the one who commits them. Joe seems to be an ordinary young man who works in a bookstore, who likes Hannah and Her Sisters and are tired of Stephen King. He is rather intelligent. But he has no limits when it comes to getting what he wants, and what he wants is "you". The book is written in a second person perspective and "you" refers to a woman named Beck, who happens to walk into the bookstore and fascinate Joe. The book deals with thoughts, feelings and actions, which all have to do with "you". This perspective is less usual than first- or third person perspective and it takes a while to get used to, but you are drawn into the book and become Joe and Beck at the same time.

The language is vulgar occasionally, and initially it is unclear whether the relationship is about love or just physical attraction. Joe tries to respect and listen to what Beck says, but he always expects to get a physical reward, and sex seems to be the only thing on his mind. Perhaps the author tries to adapt the language of a young man's thoughts, but Joe is like a hormone fueled fifteen year old.

Joe has unreasonable expectations when it comes to Beck. He does not like botox and bronze powder. "You will accept your age and you will be beautiful, unlike Ronnie". It is the common notion that women should not try so much, but still be beautiful. Furthermore, there is a obsolete generalization of women throughout the book, which feels out-dated. It's not just Joe that is a sexist and generalizes women. There seems to be a general contempt for women. Beck is equally negative to women, and eager to distance herself from them. Perhaps it is such a woman that a man like Joe wants. The expression to be like a chick appears several times. Shopping like a chick, whining like a chick and gossiping like a chick. The misogynistic tone makes the boundless, hyper sexual Beck rise above the crowd of impossible women and appear desirable. Most women in the book actually seem to despise other women. A woman customer exclaims that she is not one of ”those girls” who buy Bukowski to be ”a girl who buys Bukowski”. What does it mean? Is it so unbelievable that a woman would want to read Bukowski that she has to justify reading it? Of course, Joe likes this comment. I don’t know what the purpose is, but it’s not very appealing.

It’s interesting that women are portrayed as irrational, while Joe makes no attempt to see his own irrational behavior. There are some contradictions. He attacks a woman, not to mention murdering people, but "would never hit a woman." What he does not like in others, often mirrors his own behavior. He thinks badly of a man who responds to Beck’s obvious emotional crisis by exploiting the situation, when he, in fact, does the same. He has no self-esteem and self-awareness, and no understanding of reality. It is rather normal to justify one’s behavior, but Joe complains constantly, despite the fact that he puts himself in the situation. Irresponsibility and lack of insight are warning signs. His selective empathy, and other psychopathic characteristics, are dangerous. Eventually, there is no limit for what he is capable of.

Facebook and twitter are a large part of Beck’s and her friends’ lives. Joe thinks Beck writes better on Twitter than in her short stories. The book portrays the constant updates as evidence of narcissism. I think it reflects today’s society, and might be good for some people, and an addiction of acknowledgement for others. The author makes it a big theme in the book, and shows the importance people give it. Joe believes that we dive into our mobile phones when we feel insecure and that too much time with it makes us less capable of reading facial expressions. Joe is a character who exaggerates whenever it fits him, but it's still an interesting approach.

The author has humour. Joe thinks that books with psychopaths, for example Stephen King's novels, are for sick readers that don’t dare to act on their thoughts. That would mean that Joe would think readers of this book to be sick, because this is such a book. At the same time, he would never realize that he is a psychopat, or something similar, and therefore wouldn’t regard this book as such a book with sick characters, but perhaps a book with a mistunderstood character. Joe sees himself as healthy, and whatever happens, he never doubt that. He thinks it obvious that it is the world that is wrong. He has a contempt for other people and turns everything to his advantage. It’s interesting to see how a really sick man reasons. Perhaps it's a survival instinct, a strategy to avoid facing himself. There is self-loathing in there, somewhere. The author digs deep into his mind and portrays different levels of thoughts.

The book is appealing, there is no doubt about it. I think that what makes the book interesting is that the reader gets close to the nightmare she has learned to fear, but is safe at the same time. In real life, it is impossible to decide who is dangerous, in advance. Usually, Joe behaves like a normal man, but his thoughts are in a dark place. It is not until he puts his thoughts into action that the public around him regard him as a psychopath, but the reader gets an exclusive insight into his psyche, and the author skillfully depicts his impression of the surroundings while he handles the surroundings impression of him.

The author uses the element of surprise in an intelligent way. Terrifying actions are uttered quite modestly in the middle of a sentence, like when Joe protests when hearing about a burglary, because he knows how it was done. It is obvious to him that he has broken into the house. He doesn’t event think about it before commenting on it.

The book differs from most books with its perspective of a murderer and the second person narrative, but it is not unique in any way. What makes it interesting is the themes such as the deep insight and levels of the train of thoughts of a sick man and the critical view of social media.


Det går av by Carl Jonas Love Almqvist

The book, published in 1839, was written by Carl Jonas Love Almqvist. Sergeant Albert goes on a boattrip from Stockholm to Lidköping, in Sweden, and meets the wonderful Sara Videbäck, a glazier’s daughter. They fall in love, but soon he discoverst that she has taken over the family business and refuses to stop working just because she has fallen in love. She talks highly of people not moving in together and demands that they will not get married. Independence is very important to her because her father mistreated her mother in their marriage. The main theme of the book is marriage as an imprisonment.

This book caused a great scandal in 1839. The author lost his job as president of Nya Elementarskolan and had to live in exile because the book views marriage as a life long institution, preventing the people married to leave each other. The character Sara’s claim that if you love someone, marriage is not needed reflects the author’s own opinion. The book has influenced Sweden and perhaps contributed to the modern view of relationships as equal and marriages as a little overrated.


Att föda ett barn by Kristina Sandberg

The novel is the first in the series about the housewife Maj, which earned Kristina Sandberg the August Prize in 2014. The book takes place in the Swedish town Örnsköldsvik in the late 30s. Maj is trying to get over an old love when she meets Tomas, and what can’t happen for a woman happens. She becomes pregnant. The only way out is to marry him. Then follows a year of an unhappy marriage, of having to spend time with her husband’s family, and with a new born child who is not wanted by anyone.

Kristina Sandberg uses a unique prose. The sentences flow together with a liberal use of commas and there are no quotation marks indicting when someone is speaking, and who. It takes time getting used to, and makes it difficult to read. But, on the other hand, it helps the reader to get into Maj's head - which is very confused sometimes - and understand her everyday life and her view of her duties such as the domestic work, which Maj sometimes uses as escapism from her thoughts and feelings. But she seldom complains about her situation, because women didn’t complain. They would only perform their duties. Maj feel constantly inept. As a reader you might want to confirm her, give her a little confidence, anything to make her rebel against her situation. Her identity is in the succesful cookies or the advanced dinner. The author has explained that people who get annoyed at Maj might forget that she is a product of her time. It's an important comment. A woman’s value was to be a good wife, mother and housekeeper. Her own dreams were often not even considered. The housekeeping became important because it was the knowledge the women had. Their sense of worth. Their lives were about serving others. The men came home from work, were served, talked with friends or read a book. They learned about the world, and how to affect it. Women's lives were often spent by meticulously polishing the facade. But ignoring those duties were not kindly looked on. The book is about the everyday life but at the same time, it is a big drama. Kristina Sandberg is talanted at depicting long term anxiety and unhappiness that lead to a depressing existence.

Tomas's family is wealthy and Maj must constantly relate to different sisters-in-law and the cold hearted mother-in-law. Is she good enough? What do other people think? Maj is afraid that others might think that she is incompetent, lazy or promiscuous for having a baby before getting married. The novel is reminiscent of Kerstin Thorvall’s authorship that takes place more than ten years earlier. The fear of believing that you are nothing and that others might discover that you only pretend to be something. The absence of her own family on her own wedding. Maj misses them tremendously.

Tomas doesn't see how much she struggles with her situation and her pregnancy, but he tries to relieve her as best as he can. He wants to make her happy, but he does not know how. For she is not saying how she wants it. She tries to accept her life, but the loveless marriage is a disaster. She thinks about her family, her ex-boyfriend, her friends and her job as a waitress. It would be fine if she was enjoying her new life, being a housewife, but she misses everything.

The book raises many thoughts about the women in the 30’s. What was it like giving birth to a child? Did they feel appreciated? How selfless can a woman be? How is a woman to constantly serve others instead of following their own dreams? The novel is fictional, but Kristina Sandberg has captured the spirit of the time and portrays the social structure from a housewife's perspective. It is a forgotten and important part of our history.


Gardet by Staffan Malmberg

Staffan Malmberg's latest book is about a vigilante group. The main character Johannes is on paternity leave and tired. He is on the edge of something, but doesn’t know what. He is tired of people who do not respect others. Something breaks in him when the sound of a motorcycle raises his daughter in a stroller, and suddenly he knows what must be done.

Many people are certainly irritated by other people's behavior, but few have gone a step further. Staffan Malmberg explores what happens when people take the law into their own hands. The characters are tired of selfishness, indifference, the rampant individualism and dogmatism gains. One of them comments on the relationship between assertiveness and decisiveness, something that is not always an advantage. Who is behaving perfectly towars other people? Who is to decide what is allowed? The novel is a terrifying example of what happens when people create their own conditions and expect everyone to follow them, live according to them. The group is growing uncontrollably. They are becoming organized and turned into a vigilante group. Johannes describes the situation that escalates into a catastrophy. "We were the reaction. It was when we became the action it went to hell.”

The book is sparse and the language is at times beautiful, almost poetic. Few words can contain very much. The desire to change. What happens when you lose control. Democracy and anarchy forces. Both in society and in the small group. For it is impossible to control people, as Johannes soon learns, despite being the founder of the group. It’s an interesting situation, and very unpleasent how fast destructiveness apper in the group that at first had good intentions.