Friction – a review

Frictions is the second book from a mini box set I was gifted of short Swedish classics, sadly, unlike the first book from the set I read this wasn’t so much of a hit.

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The premise of the story is we’re following a man who is married but has fell in love with another woman. It talks about the ostracisation of the two of them and their struggles. On its own that concept isn’t so bad, but it’s the execution that I’m not so keen on. I’m sure in it’s time this was accepted but nowadays?

Basically, this is ridiculously sexist. Strindberg attempts to make our protagonist seem like a well rounded but troubled man. Instead, in a modern climate at least, he comes off like an unhappy idiot. And a sexist one at that. Our main character demonstrates the belief that men can grow and change over time as they mature and increase their intelligence, but that women are stagnant and cannot match up to the minds of men.

Strindberg seems to be attempting to praise these women for the role they play in essentially mothering our main character, but instead all this achieves is to highlight his antiquated views of gender roles and the place of women within society.

The entire time I was just… annoyed. Annoyed and frustrated at this baby of a “man” who couldn’t seem to grasp that the world doesn’t revolve around him and that him acting as though it does is ruining the lives of the people around him.

This book was a very interesting look into Swedish classic literature and their society at this time, and that’s why I gave it 2 stars. But the poor characterisation and obvious sexism made this an unenjoyable read.

A bonny wee dog

The story of Greyfriar’s Bobby is one of loyalty and love. Eleanor Atkinson decided to write down the true tale of this wee doggy who wouldn’t leave his masters graveside in Edinburgh to share it with more people.

I bought this book many moons ago, around 9 years old, when I was on a day-trip to Edinburgh with my parents. For whatever reason, I just never picked the book up and so it has sat on my shelves until now. This also extended to me not knowing anything about the book. Until I actually started to read it I didn’t know that this was a classic, and until I went and looked up the author I never knew it was an American woman! I assumed it would be a Brit, so was quite surprised by that. But it did explain some of the issues I had with the book.

My first initial issue was with the flowery language and the over-explaining. That was obviously then understood once I found out that this book had been written in the 1800s, as that was very much the writing style at the time. Additionally I had issues with how the Scottish dialect was portrayed. The author left little footnotes to explain certain words. Some of them were from the time period, some of them specific to Edinburgh, and yet some of them seemed silly to me to have pointed out. I felt that they could have been understood through context alone (note, take this with a pinch of salt as I am half-Scottish). Finding out, however, that the author was American made this a lot more clear. I now believe that she was writing this book for the US audience who had a limited interaction with Scottish (and overall British) people and therefore wouldn’t have the cultural cues that I did to infer the meaning of different word.

Overall, I wouldn’t recommend this book to the casual reader. If you read a lot of classics and enjoy the writing style of that period then definitely, but if it’s not your thing you can easily find out about Greyfriars Bobby (which I recommend doing!) through the wonders of the internet. For me personally? I’m glad I’ve read it, and I gave it 3*

Mentally Visiting the Swiss Mountains

I’ve read this story many times before, but not in a long while. I re-read it this January as part of the Booktube ReReadathon (as I mentioned here) ran by Alex Black Reads and Abi Mack Reads. The prompt for this month was a translated work, and Heidi was originally published in German by a Swiss author, Johanna Spyri.

I loved this when I first read it as a child, it really resonated with the kind of child that I was who loved being outdoors in nature and didn’t fit in with “well behaved” society. Re-reading it again as an adult I found it incredibly sweet, and I’m glad that I first read it as a child. Despite it being from the 1880s it has, in my opinion, aged very well and I loved the feeling of being free within the Swiss countryside and in the mountains.

I can’t find faults with the aim of this book, it’s a simple read which just aims to get children to appreciate the outdoors whilst not vilifying those who stay indoors for various reasons. I will definitely encourage children in my future to pick this book up and hopefully nurture a love of the outdoors within them.

Have you read Heidi? Do/did you read classic children’s books? Honestly, I still read kids classics and regular kids books and I love them!

The Mystery of the Blue Train

Another Poirot! Yes, I always read these bad boys quickly once I get my hands on them. They just fly by!

In this story, Poirot is travelling by train from England to France when a murder occurs onboard, so of course the ever humble Poirot declares himself the only man fit to solve the case and begins to track down clues!

This case had so many twists and turns, and I actually ended up shouting at the book at one point because I had about 3 people that I thought were the murderer! One of those three guesses turned out to be pretty accurate, but the fact that I couldn’t pin the damn thing down speaks to Christie’s genius.

Have you read this book? Let me know in the comments below! I want to know if you guessed the culprit!

Worldwide Crime Syndicate + Poirot = A Damn Good Book

A worldwide crime syndicate which wants Poirot out of its way, as he keeps foiling their plans. Such a classic plot point and I loved it!

This was such a fun read, with so many intense moments and interesting twists and turns. I always feel like my reviews of Christie are too short, but there isn’t all that much to say. Most people know Poirot, they know Christie and they know these classic mysteries. I don’t need to try and sell them as they sell themselves!

So instead, I guess I’ll ask you guys. Do you read any Agatha Christie books? Do you enjoy these sorts of mystery stories? Let me know in the comments!

Dip your toe into the classic fairy tales

This “Little Black Classic” from Penguin contains 7 fairy tales from the Brothers Grimm, meaning that they are of course dark, weird and so intriguing! At only 55 pages this is another short and sweet read (see my review of Emily Bronte’s poetry published within this collection in my last post) but so so engrossing. I love these fairy tales and their grimness and gritty plotlines.

Snow White is present within this collection, which I didn’t know before reading it, but it wasn’t actually my favourite! The Master Huntsman, The Robber Bridegroom, The Devil’s Three Golden Hairs, The Six Servants, The Bremen Town Band, Snowwhite, and Lazy Harry are the collected works and I really enjoyed them all. This is such a good introductory look into the works of the Brothers Grimm and I really do recommend that you give it a shot! Their stories are ones which are known by all and this is a great taster to get you wanting more!

Now I need to go and add all their other works to my tbr!!!

Animal Farm by George Orwell

This one is a classic, and a short one at that, but I find that people (like me until recently) just don’t happen to read it unless it’s on their school curriculum. We follow farm animals who decide to rebel against their cruel masters and run their own lives. It starts out so well, but slowly descends into communism and we watch the animals be manipulated and deceived.

I have now read both Animal Farm and 1984, George Orwell’s two most well known and talked about books. I have given them both the same rating of 4 stars, although I did enjoy them both neither were new favourites. I find that there’s just something about his writing that doesn’t fully gel with me, which is a real pity.

I did really enjoy seeing the animals attempt to remember what had been promised before and also attempting to read so that they could see the written rules for themselves. It was sad to see them fail though, as this is obviously based off of real life and communist leaders. I believe this could be a good way to bring up the topic to younger people and I can see why this is taught in schools so frequently, but I also think that if the reader is too young they might not realise the connotations without prompting.

This is a classic, and one I believe you should read, but don’t worry if you feel like you aren’t getting all of the references. I definitely didn’t! But I got the overall vibe and that’s all that was really needed, the rest is just a bonus. So if you were thinking of going through it I recommend giving it a go! You might really enjoy it, and even if it isn’t your new favourite, it’s a quick read that’ll likely make you think.

Jane Eyre. Yes, she’s worth it


I finally got around to it! I read an abridged version of Jane Eyre as a child and really enjoyed the story and plotline, it’s only taken me a little while well over a decade to actually pick up the unabridged full edition and actually read it! This book can be long-winded, and rather annoying at points with that, and can feel like it’s dragging, which I feel is just something that has to be dealt with when it comes to classics from this time period. However, the actual plot of the book is amazing and something I’m very glad I’ve read in full. If you feel you can manage the old language and way of writing then you should hopefully enjoy the story within. The beginning of the book focuses on Janes young life, starting from her childhood in her Aunt’s home and moving onto the boarding school she is stationed at. I loved seeing her childhood and learning how she developed into the woman who makes many difficult decisions in the later parts of this book. There are various plot twists and turns, which I don’t want to go into so I don’t spoil anything! But they will entertain you and make you want to read until the end, and I the only real part of this book that I’m disappointed with is that we don’t get to learn more about Janes later life!! A truly lovely classic with a beautiful storyline that is worth persevering through the tough language.