Books Worth Reading: The Snowman by Jo Nesbø

26 April 2012 § Leave a Comment

This book was amazing. It’s the second Jo Nesbø that I’ve read (the first being the Redbreast), and I first will say: it doesn’t matter what order you read them in. They’re vaguely a series, but you won’t have any problems keeping up minus some minor details Nesbø throws in about the characters.

A quick summary… Women start disappearing in 2004, so Inspector Harry Hole, a police officer in Oslo, is put to the task of discovering a serial killer who appears to actually have first become active nearly 20 years previous. The one telltale sign it’s them is a snowman left at the scene of the crime. I won’t reveal too much more, as I don’t want to give it away.

Nesbø doesn’t dumb it down for the reader. There are many plot lines that interweave to create a complex plot (which seems fairly typical of his writing style), and it’s fast-paced, so you have to keep track of names, events, etc. But, the mental effort is completely and utterly worth it. This is a fantastic book. He keeps the hairs on your back throughout the entire novel and makes you think. There are so many plot twists… after a while it seemed like you could assume nothing about the characters (which I suppose is really the point, isn’t it?).

The other thing I really enjoyed about this (and the Redbreast as well) is how realistic the characters are. Nesbø doesn’t try to make them likeable, and they have proper human flaws. Hole is an alcoholic, continues an old flame although she’s with someone else… they’re not sugar-coated characters. These books are all the better for the stupid things humans will do.

I highly recommend reading this book, unless it’s not your thing. There is some gore that isn’t described to excess, but it’s there. It’s also a bit sick; however, don’t let that deter you unless you have a weaker stomach than I do (and trust me, I have trouble watching a lot of things that most find okay). It’s far less graphic than the Stieg Larsson trilogy. Five stars, many late nights spent flipping through pages, it was worth it all.

York!

24 April 2012 § 3 Comments

Let’s talk about shooting in cathedrals. It’s hard. I mean. REALLY hard. I can tell you I struggled and in some of my images it shows. But practise makes perfect, right?

Last week I went to York for a couple of days as a mini-break. It was entirely welcome after a ridiculously crazy semester (let’s not get started on that) and 2.5 busy weeks writing papers (that were finally turned in yesterday!). If you haven’t been to York, and you’re in the UK, head on up! It provides a nice break from the insanity that London (or any city) provides on a daily basis. Just as I’m typing this I can hear a helicopter, a set of sirens went by, and there is a large amount of road noise and I live in a fairly quiet part of Central London.

So back to cathedrals. York Minster is beautiful and peaceful. I will admit, I went at an off time (10:30 am on a Wednesday) but even if it was crazy, you are still more than welcome to sit in the seats and simply take in the view, which I certainly did. I also managed to get a few decent shots, although the number of rejects is also high.

The most amazing thing about all the buildings I go into is looking up. It seems so silly, but often the ceilings are really fantastic. This is just as you walk into the York Minster. It’s spectacular.

The other seriously hard thing about shooting at cathedrals is the windows. Getting a properly exposed image seems next to impossible. You have to compensate for the light flowing into the windows and the building at the same time?! Frustrating.

But in all honesty, I found it was just best to enjoy the views and take some shots as I felt necessary. As much as I wanted to photograph the building to death, there was so much to take in that simply cannot be conveyed in an image, no matter how much you want it to. When I relaxed a little bit, things started working better and I even ended up with one good, daring handheld HDR.

 

The moral of the story: pretend you’re a sniper and everything works!

More from my trip and I soon!
marijke

[Just as a reminder, you can also see all the photos I’m taking at my flickr.]

A little preview of York…

21 April 2012 § Leave a Comment

Hello all!

I’m back from a short break to the lovely city of York. It was nice to get out of London. There were significantly less sirens at 2am, let me tell you. I’ve got a whole slew of photos to sort through and I’m very busy doing coursework at the moment; however, here’s a little preview of what’s to come!

This is from the Great Hall at Castle Howard. It’s a bit of a drive (or bus ride) out of York, but completely worth it. If you recognise it, that’s because it’s the house featured on Brideshead Revisited.

Have a lovely weekend!
marijke

 

Food List Fridays!

6 April 2012 § Leave a Comment

My mind has been going crazy lately. After getting off of weeks of living on adrenaline I don’t think it’s known what to do with itself. I’ve been reading like a mad woman (more on that at another time) and cooking up a storm. My poor laptop has been brutally hit by both powdered sugar and balsamic vinegar just in the past couple of days. I’ve got a list of recipes I’m longing to try out below but first… CUPCAKES!

The recipe for these amazing things comes from the lovely Joy the Baker (and the Hummingbird Bakery) for the cupcake and the frosting from A Farmgirl’s Dabbles. The combination is seriously perfect for a lazy long weekend with your slightly crazy family! You can either pipe the buttercream on with a proper pastry bag or use a plastic bag and knife like I did. For the record, there’s no food colouring in that lovely pink hue, it’s allll the raspberries. I used frozen ones. No complaints at all!

Here’s some of the other delicious things on my radar for next week!

  • London has turned chilly again so it seems apt that this Ethiopian stew sounds soooo delicious.
  • The comfort of a biscuit (the American kind, aka. savoury scones over here) also is just too appealing to not make (but no, I won’t be using lard. I’m vegetarian).
  • I fried my first falafels this winter… I need to get back to frying. So… making apple doughnuts with a friend? Yes please.
  • Can you tell I’m on a savoury kick? These popovers will definitely be in the oven as well.

Have a lovely Easter weekend if you’re celebrating and if not I hope your weather is better than dreary London right now!

 

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