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10 months ago I read, with great difficult & a lot of help from Val, a short Swedish picture-book called Nasse hittar en stol ("Nasse finds a chair", where "Nasse" means "piglet" but is in this case the name of a bear. I clearly picked a completely straightforward starting point...). In it, Nasse finds a chair and tries to work out what it is and what to do with it. Hilarity ensues.

Over the last week I read Resa med lätt bagage by Tove Jansson ("Travelling Light" is the offical English title; it's just been released in English, possibly for the first time, if I remember right.), which is a fairly slim book of short stories but one definitely aimed at adults. I'd read a couple of stories from this volume before in English - the title story, and another called "Correspondence" - and thoroughly enjoyed them; I enjoyed quite a bit of the rest of the book as well, and one story randomly tripped me over into some kind of panic, and some stories I should probably read again to get more of the nuance. Tove is writing here about freedom and responsibility; being away and being at home and being in between places; things we carry with us. Enjoyed, though I'd still give people Sommarboken/The Summer Book & Rent spel/Fair Play to read for preference. Though several of Tove Jansson's books for adults do take the form of short stories - all three mentioned here qualify - The Summer Book and Fair Play are also single coherent works which focus on one pair of characters each, and I think of them more as novels than as short stories, whereas Travelling Light has a much looser theme. The stories aren't connected together in the same way, so I would talk about loving individual stories from it rather than loving it as a whole book.


Which was a rather long-winded way of reminding myself that I've come some way.

LibraryThing is providing some kind of map of my progress through the Swedish language (though I've a sneaking suspicion I've left one or two things off; notably, I've been reading quite a bit of manga in Swedish and for some reason I've never put manga on my librarything account - not sure why).



(& note to self, while I'm still on books: following a conversation a while ago on [personal profile] cimorene's journal and a Tiger Beatdown post which felt like it had missed the mark by several thousand miles for me I am pretty sure I'll be reading the Millennium Trilogy in Swedish soon, for compare-and-contrast fun. Since I hear there are meant to be problems with the English translation and am now wondering exactly which bits don't match up. Curiosity. I has it.)



Lately I've been having this odd feeling that I've hit some kind of a block with Swedish. No-one else seems to feel like this is true, & I'm told I'm using a lot of new words all the time and that my grammar is improving constantly as well. I'm trying to work out where, then, the feeling is coming from. I think my best theory is that all the new stuff I'm saying I've been able to understand for a while already, so being able to say it is a kind of progress that hardly registers; it just feels like something I "should" have been able to do already. Which is ridiculous; the gap between what one can understand and what one can use can be huge, and making progress in that respect is really important. I suppose it's harder for me to measure myself, though.

Also, the more you know the more you are aware of how much you get wrong. *g* I think that I have a reasonable understanding of grammar in principal now, but relatively poor practical application. So there's that; I can hear myself speaking incorrectly. It takes other people pointing out how I can do x now when I couldn't before for me to go "Oh! I see! Cool!"

Positive self-awareness has never been my strongest point, though I'm pretty good at awareness of my failings. (Stop laughing.)
marshtide: (Default)
First! Tomorrow is election day back home; I can't vote, which is a long story of bureaucratic horrors; I'm furious about it. Let's not talk about that. If you're a UK citizen, though, please just vote. (Me, terrified of Tory government? Why would I be... oh wait! Yes! Because they're biggoted bastards! Now I remember.)


Now for something... still kind of about Sweden, actually. I was going to talk about Virginia Woolf but that topic has too high a brain-requirement for this week. I'm going to talk about Stieg Larsson instead.


Stieg Larsson's Millennium trilogy (about sexism, murder, financial scandals, government corruption, right-wing extremism and investigative journalism, if you can imagine), is far from perfect. I do mean far. It's pretty heavy-handed in its message and the pacing is way off and the shopping-lists littered throughout need shooting. Much of the plot is utterly ridiculous, although in certain subsets of detective/thriller stories that might be considered a plus. It feels very journalistic sometimes, which is because it was written by a journalist, though whether this is a plus or a minus is entirely down to taste. But here is what I do like about it:

Possibly triggering contents, particularly relating to sexual assault. Err, and there are probably some spoilers too. )

But overall these books are a really fine balance for me. I really enjoy them, though they're ridiculous, but I can see how a fairly small shift in how they were put together would have rendered them unreadable and fury-inducing.

I'm not sure the Swedish film managed to get that right, entirely, and I don't even know what to expect from a hollywood remake, but I'm sort of quietly suspicious. Maybe they'll pull off something really interesting. Maybe! But uh...

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