Books

Category archives for Books

LinCon & SweCon 2017

Ascension with its four days off is shaping up to be the geekiest time of the year. This time I had three big events to choose from: the LinCon gaming convention, the Kontur/SweCon scifi convention and the 45th anniversary of the Tolkien Society. Tolkienians do things in nines. I decided to spend two days at…

Best Reads Of 2016

Here are my best reads in English during 2016. My total was 42 books and 13 of them were e-books. Find me at Goodreads! Dear Reader, what were your best reads of the year? The Detective. (Johannes Cabal #2.) Jonathan L. Howard 2010. Sardonically funny Ruritanian detective story. Bully for Brontosaurus. Stephen Jay Gould 1991.…

Announcing My New Essay Collection

In December of last year I finished a collection of short humorous archaeological essays. It’s my sixth book, my first one in Swedish, my first one aimed at the lay reader. Since then I’ve been waiting for established Swedish publishing houses to pronounce judgement on it. Five of them have now turned it down, none…

The Lovecraftian Horror of French

I bought a used copy of Maurice Lévy’s Lovecraft ou du fantastique (Paris 1972) at the Fantastika 2016 scifi con, and now I’m picking my way through it with the aid of a dictionary. S.T. Joshi has published an English translation, Lovecraft: A Study in the Fantastic (Detroit 1988). Here’s how little of Lévy’s literary…

Skeptical Sir Richard

Yesterday I finished reading the first volume of Sir Richard Burton’s 1855 Personal Narrative of a Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah (in the public domain). Here Burton recounts his travels in the summer of 1853, when he disguised himself as a wandering Persian physician and performed the Muslim pilgrimage. At the time, if a non-Muslim…

Machen’s Impostors

Arthur Machen’s 1895 book The Three Impostors, or The Transmutations, is a delightfully strange read. It consists of a short frame narrative interspersed with six standalone stories told inside the frame. Spoilers and musings follow. First the background to the events, which the reader learns only in the sixth and last story inside the frame.…

Best Reads Of 2015

Here are my best reads in English during 2015. My total was 55 books and 16 of them were e-books. Find me at Goodreads! The Summing Up. W. Somerset Maugham 1938. An old writer and traveller looks back on his life and turns out to have settled upon pretty much the same philosophy as myself.…

This is the definitive study of English cruciform brooches. Now and then a study comes along that is so comprehensive, and so well argued, that nobody will ever be likely to even try to eclipse it. It is my firm belief that future work on English cruciform brooches will strictly be footnotes to Toby Martin.…

Poet and Spy

Reading a good book, Charles’ Nicholl’s The Reckoning. The Murder of Christopher Marlowe (1992, 2nd expanded ed. 2002), about the 16th century playwright. It’s a bit overloaded with asides and covers far more characters and factions than anyone can keep track of without extensive note-taking. But quite intriguing withal. I find it fascinating how rich…

Pickwick Afterlife

The final third of Stephen Jarvis’s upcoming novel Death and Mr Pickwick continues in the same rather kaleidoscopic fashion as before. The asides and Chinese boxes are innumerable. We never do get an important female character. The frame story is never developed much. In fact, the book only really has Robert Seymour the artist and Charles…