Books

Category archives for Books

Historiska media is a publishing house in Lund. In recent years they have been putting out pop-sci guide books about Medieval Sweden, province by province. I’ve reviewed the volumes about Södermanland and Uppland provinces here. And now my friend and Fornvännen co-editor Elisabet Regner has written the first volume in the series that deals with…

In this well-written, painstakingly annotated and beautifully designed book, physicist Baruch Sterman (with contributor Judy Taubes Sterman) traces the history and prehistory of a certain blue pigment, along with its cultural and religious significance through the ages. It’s what the Torah and Talmud calls tekhelet, and it’s made from a gland harvested from Murex sea…

Kay Glans used to edit the literary pages of Svenska Dagbladet, Sweden’s main conservative* newspaper, and Axess Magasin, a conservative Swedish arts & social sciences mag that also has a TV channel. The latter’s standard is high, and I’ve been particularly pleased to find repeated staunch rebuttals of post-modernism there. What I don’t like much…

The Grey Mouser, along with Fafhrd the Northerner hero of Fritz Leiber’s genre-defining sword & sorcery story cycle, is the archetype of the Dungeons & Dragons thief. He began his career however, Leiber informs us, as apprentice to a “hedge-wizard” who taught him some simple magical cantrips. I never understood what a hedge-wizard was, until…

Best Reads of 2012

Here are my best reads in English during 2012. I read 50 books this year, six of which were e-books. I flirted with LibraryThing for a while, but lately I’ve found that Goodreads is more the kind of leisure reading database/community that I enjoy. Find me there. Packing for Mars. Mary Roach 2011. Delving into…

Book Review: Erotic Refugees

I’ll tell you two things up front: this book is my friend’s first published novel; and I would have read it with great enjoyment even if I had no idea who the guy was. Paddy Kelly classifies it astutely as “Dick lit / Romantic comedy”: it’s Bridget Jones or Sex and the City, only from…

Jack Parsons (1914-52) was a rocketry pioneer, a science fiction fan and a deeply committed occult follower of the aged Aleister Crowley. I recently read the 2004 edition of John Carter’s biography of the man, Sex and Rockets. The Occult World of Jack Parsons. Despite such promising material, it’s not a very engaging or well-written…

I’ve blogged before about authors who write fiction in the first person past tense but clearly have no idea of in which situation or at what point in time their narrator resides while telling the story. This is one of the problems with David Tallerman’s 2012 novel Giant Thief. But what made me quit reading…

Vacation Fun

Spent a week gloriously off-line at my mom’s glorious summer house in the archipelago. Oh the joy of reading 300 pages for fun in one day without feeling the need to check e-mail! Here are the books I read: Invented Knowledge. False history, fake science and pseudo-religions. Ronald H. Fritze 2009. One amazing essay covers…

Sweden’s traditionally divided into 25 landskap provinces. They live on in people’s minds despite having been superseded by a new län division in 1634. The boundaries of the landskap go way back into prehistory, and so they don’t respect the country’s cities much, these generally being much later in origin. Stockholm is a case in…