Why do you read? Are you trying to escape your world? Trying to visit a new place? Live new lives? We might have different reasons, but it is true that books take us to places where we have never been and where we want to be. Armchair travel is the best. And that is exactly what we do in our Flyaway Friday series. If you are not up to date with our travel schedule, you might want to take a look at our introductory post to the trip to Finland.
Have you got your bags packed with warm clothes? We are ready to visit the Finnish land through a handpicked collection of books set in Finland and / or by Finnish authors. So what are we waiting for let us get on with it.
1) New Finnish Grammar By Diego Marani
During the turmoil of World War II a wounded soldier with no memory or language is found near the dock Trieste, Italy. A German ship’s doctor provides him not only medical assistance but also finds the name tag ‘Sampo Karjalainen’ on him and recognizes it as of Finnish origin.
The doctor himself is from Finland takes it upon him to teach the soldier his language and helps him find who he is. When ‘Sampo’ reaches his country Finland he tries to find his lost identity once again. Did Sampo gain his memory and was he Finnish at all forms the rest of the thriller.
This book originally written in Italian has won three literary awards in Italy and took theworld by storm when it was translated into English in 2011.
What you can expect:
Learn about the Fins as Sampo does. Will make you wonder how much a man’s identity depends on his society, rather than him, as a person.
2) Troll: A Love Story by Johanna Sinisalo
The troll is a fantasy novel that is based on the Finnish folkore about troll. Mikael a gay photographer, nicknamed Angel meets a wounded troll behind the bushes takes him in on a whim. What Angel doesn’t recognize immediately is its aphrodisiac powers that the troll has over him and the people who came near them. Be prepared for the unexpected twist at the end.
What you can expect:
A short fantasy novel based on Finnish folklore that fits your LGBT card on the Reading Bingo.
3) The Core of the Sun by Johanna Sinisalo
Johanna Sinisalo is one of the bestselling as well as an awarding author that I can’t help but add another book of hers in the list. Set in the future where a sub species of docile and submissive women (called eloi) has been produced mainly for procreation and sex (like the Handmaid’s tale) and the defective set of women, ie the independent and intelligent women are assigned to do menial work.
When Vanna, an eloi who is secretly intelligent, realizes that she needs money to find her missing sister, she starts smuggling ‘Core of the sun’ a chilli pepper that the Health Authorities have banned as they are considered extremely dangerous. Will Vann find her sister or her addiction to ‘Core of the Sun’ prove more dangerous?
What you can expect:
This dystopian novel is to be added on your feminism shelf right away. Also will make you wonder about ‘Finnish weirdness’.
4) Seven Brothers by Aleksis Kivi
Considered as the national writer Aleksis Kivi, wrote out just one novel and it took him ten years – result The Seven Brothers. Set in the past when the seven Jukola brothers lived in the rural farm depending on agriculture and hunting.
The brothers are a rowdy lot and usually found bickering among themselves over binge drinking when they are not struggling to be self sufficient and be accepted by their society.
What you can expect:
While the Seven brothers is hilarious it is definitely not your average beach read. It is considered literature for a reason but it will make it worthwhile in learning about Finland and the Finns.
5) The Year of the Hare by Arto Paasilinna
Published in 1975 The Year of the Hare is a fable about series of accidents and a midlife crisis (to put it in plain). Kaarlo Vatanen, a journalist, and his photographer colleague meet with an accident and injure a hare. Vatanen wanders into the wood chasing the injured hare and returns a new man with the hare. He decides to walk off into the oblivion leaving behind his job, his wife, and his life.
What follows is an episodic tale of his adventure and outdoorsy life which he shares with the silent hare.
What you can expect:
Read about Finnish country life and the beautiful landscapes.
6) As Red as Blood by Salla Simukka
Finally a Young Adult fiction on the list. I can breath now.
Lumikki Andersson, a loner art student finds thousands of Euros washed and hung to dry in her school’s dark room. And three of her friends’ hands are covered in blood literally (hence the title). The bad guys want the money back and it is upto Lumikki and her classmates to try and make it out alive off this mess.
What you can expect:
A YA mystery trilogy set in Finland. That is pretty much it.
7) The True Deceiver by Tove Jansson
Noted as the creator of the Moomintroll fantasy novel series, Tove Jansson was one of the best selling writer and artist. The true deceiver is a thriller fleshing out the passionate battle between Anna, a gentle illustrator for comics and Katri who is a social outcast who cares only about her shy and slow brother. Determined to provide for her brother and to secure a fishing boat for him, she slowly takes over Anna an her life, only to find nothing is just simple as it seems.
What you can expect:
Prepare to be taken aback by her amazing prose and the darkness of human mind.
I hope these books from Finland and about Fins will keep you busy until my post where one of the Finnish blogger will be making a guest post. I can’t be more excited than I am to post already.
Have you read any of these books? Or do you have any other Finnish literature or beach read you wanna suggest? Which of these books interests you? Have you visited Finland? Let me know. Let’s talk more.
Have your bags packed and ready to go on a trip around the globe on our weekly feature on ‘Flyaway Friday‘? Last month we took a trip to France and we returned safely, didn’t we? As you all know I am obsessed with snow and ice these days following my trip to Georgia, so I decided to pick up a country that would help me continue to do just that. And here it is – we are traveling to Finland this month.
Finland, offically called the Republic of Finland, is one of the north European countries. I am sure you would know that, but let us learn a little bit more about Finland before we take the trip. Shall we get on with it?
Some more facts about the country to begin with:
Here are a few things you can learn right away to impress your friends and family.
Did someone say I am nerdy?
1) Finland shares the border with Russia to the east, Norway to the north and Sweden to the northwest.
Photo Credit: peabodylibrary
2) You can see the northern lights or the Aurora Borealis from the northern Finland for most part of the year.
3) Oh how could I forget to mention that the Santa Claus village is in Finland where one can see the real Santa Claus? All you have to visit Rovaniemi, the capital of Lapland, Finland. The small town receives about 300,000 annual visitors every year.
Photo Credit: visitrovaniemi
4) You can celebrate new year twice in 24 hours in Finland. Finland is two hours behind GMT and Sweden is just one hour behind GMT which means you can celebrate New Year’s Eve in Finland and then cross over the Karesuando outpost (specially marked for this purpose) to regain the lost 60 minutes and celebrate NYE again.
5) Though called the land of thousand lakes, there are about 188000 lakes in Finland which have the cleanest water in the world.
Photo Credit: spawellbeing
6) Finland just celebrated its 100th anniversary of independence on December 6, 2017. Everything that you see Finns winning in today’s world has been achieved in the past 100 years, which seems a mighty success to me.
7) James Bond’s favorite globe chair was designed in Finland by Eero Aarnio. It is just one example of the sleek, minimal and functional Finnish designs that have become a fashion statement.
Photo Credit: inspirationfeed
8) Finns are generally said to be silent and introverted people. At least that is how they are portrayed in the Finnish Nightmares and other blogs. (I am mentally filing away that question to ask our Finnish guest blogger who will be writing on one of these Fridays)
Photo Credit: http://finnishnightmares.blogspot.com
You will hear more about the country, the Finns and of course the books from Finland in the subsequent weeks.
So stay connected.
Do you know any other trivia about Finland or their culture? What else do you want to hear about the countries here. Let us know.
Hello y’all and it is time again for the part two of our France; trip in our Flyaway Friday. In our first part we discussed the books that would take us to France. And now we have someone from France to tell us more about their country and their French way of life. Let us meet Marie.
I thank Marie from Drizzles and Hurricane Books for agreeing to answer few questions about France; and their ways and means. I am huge fan of Marie’s blog and I love her discussion posts. She recently published one about Blog hopping and I could not help but nod in agreement with her throughout her post. You should definitely check it out.
For those of you who do not know Marie, here is a quick bio that she was gracious to share with us:
Marie is a twenty-something book blogger living in France;. When she’s not screaming about blogging and YA books, she is most likely working on her writing, re-watching Friends episode and / or getting lost in a sweet YA contemporary book.
So off we go to her answers.
1) What do you think is exotic about France?
It’s pretty lucky that we have different landscapes and climate in the whole country. North, South, East, West: each have their own micro-climate and landscapes. We have seas and oceans, we have small and big mountains. We have very cold winters and snow, we have very hot summers and drought, too. Basically, we got it all and it’s both a blessing and a curse, haha.
Mer de Glace
2) Will you tell us about France’s eating habits and the famous French cuisine?
Food is sort of a religion here in France. Seriously. Or maybe it’s just me, haha. We do love great food and I know French cuisine is praised everywhere in the world. I know I miss it whenever I am travelling abroad. There are many specialties, depending on the area you live in. We eat bread and cheese, we spend HOURS at the table. We eat frogs, snails, we eat mostly a savoury breakfast with croissants and jam and fruits. We also drink a lot of wine (we are not alcoholic, but having a glass of wine with dinner and during celebrations with family is… a habit).
3) Tell us more about a typical day in France.
Yes, it snows… well, it depends on where you are living in the country. I commute a lot, but that depends on where you live, too. It’s hard to depict a typical day in the country when everyone has a different rhythm. For me it’s train – work – sleep, basically. Oh and blog thrown in there.
4) Can you tell us about some of your unique French customs and practices, specific to France?
The 14th of July is a national celebration in the country, basically the equivalent of the 4th of July in the USA. Except that we celebrate maybe a bit less – we do have fireworks though. We also celebrate Labor Day on the 1st and Christmas and Easter and everything else. Christmas is quite a big deal, depending on where you live, since we have many Christmas markets around the country that are tourist-catchers.
When we first meet someone, or for a job interview or something, we often shake hands. When we are friends, family, or friends of friends, we do “la bise”, meaning that we kiss the other on both cheeks.
When invited to a house for dinner, we usually take a little present with us, such as wine, flowers or a box of chocolates.
5) Tell us about some of the stereotypes about France as depicted in the media, books / film etc that annoy you.
We always depict France and French people as very romantic people. The ones that complain a whole lot about everything. The ones going on strike all the time. The ones with an adorable and really sexy accent whenever we speak English or any other language, for that matter.
There is a bit of truth in… all of that, I’d say? It depends on which kind of person you’re meeting, though.
6) Tell us more about your national language. Teach us some very common words and few uncommon ones.
In English, there is no difference between when you meet a stranger or a friend, you will say “you”. In French, we have two pronouns: “tu”, when you address a friend, a colleague or family member, and “vous” when you are talking to your boss, a stranger, etc.
Instead of saying “bless you” when someone sneezes, we say “santé” (that means…health, basically).
As for some words you can’t translate, I am thinking of “retrouvailles”, it is the word when you meet someone again after a while without seeing them. There is also the word “dépaysement”, meaning whenever you are feeling… a bit lost, outside of your usual comfort zone, in a different environment and trying to find your bearings again.
Thank you, Marie for your time and letting us get a peek into your French life. You can contact her through her blog and social accounts.
That is all we have folks in this week’s feature of Flyaway Friday the France Edition. I will meet you next month with another country with its books, author and bloggers, in full.
What do you love about the French? Do you have any friends from France? Do you love Marie’s answers? Let me know in the comments. If you would like to do a guest post on my blog and want to talk about your country, contact me.
I love meeting new people and visiting new places. But I am also a person who would be happy to curl up in the bed with a book or watching the television. I mean why would people want to travel in real life when you can armchair travel all through the year right?
And I thought I should include you in my travels. You ask me how?
Welcome to the new bimonthly feature ‘Flyaway Friday‘.
Every month we will choose a country, and we will do what we generally do – DISCUSS BOOKS from that country. The books will either be set in that country or the characters will be from the country. And that is not all.
Every month we will have a guest blog from a blogger from that country who will tell us about their home first hand.
Are you excited? You can bet I am. And all of that starts right now. And with one of the most visited and read about country of the world.
Yes we are visiting France, this January.
I know, I know. France, the most romantic place on earth, ask any romance lover.
And it is just not only that.
I have rounded up the best books for you and guess what? They are all as French as they can be.
Let’s start with some classics
1) The Little Prince
We might have read this French book when we were kids, but this 90-page novella definitely requires a reread as an adult. The story follows the travels of a small boy who leaves his home planet to travel the universe.
2) Les Misérables
Much has been spoken and written about this masterpiece of Victor Hugo. The book takes the reader into the depths and the darkest corners of the French political scene. Les Misérables is definitely a happy book but I can promise you the joy of reading if you can get through it.
3) Madame Bovary
Published in 1856, this book by Flaubert was attacked for ‘obscenity’. The lead character Emma finds her husband bland and boring and ignores him and their child for other men. And of course, the society doesn’t take such things very lightly. I can safely say, Desperate Housewives in 19th Century France.
You can safely say I am a sucker for stories from World War II. So here are a few from that era. (Oh, it is not as old as you think)
4) Lilac Girls
This book has been on my TBR shelf from the first time I heard of it, somewhere in Nov 2017 and I am definitely reading this one as soon as I can. Three women, from New York who works at the French consulate, Poland and Germany respectively, cross paths during Holocaust in an unexpected way. As any story based on the Nuremberg trial Lilac Girls would make you weep out, especially when you learn it is partially based on a true story.
5) All the Light We Cannot See
This is one of the books am currently reading and I can assure you the author Doerr has a way with his words. All the Light We Cannot See follows the stories of a German boy and a blind French girl during the World War II. You will love this book if you liked The book thief.
6) The Nightingale
The book follows the life of two French sister, divided by years and wisdom as they fight for their freedom in their own terms in the German occupied France. The book won the Goodreads Choice Award for Historical Fiction (2015) and has been popular ever since.
7) The Paris Wife
Ever wanted to see what happens behind the screens in the lives of famous people? Catch up The Paris Wife as it follows the lives of Ernest and Hadley Hemingway as they move into the Parisian life. Warning:: there is no hard and fast rules when it comes to love and boozing.
Find some romance novels set in France to keep you awake this winter season.
8) Paris for One
In mood for some quick read set in Paris? Let Jojo Moyes take you for a spin with her new Paris for One. When Nell finds her unreliable boyfriend has abandoned her in Paris of all places, she decides to have some fun for herself. But what she was not looking for the mysterious Fabien to steal her heart away. A perfect choice for the winter nights.
9) If Only It Were True
What happens when you fall in love with ghost in your closet? Based in San Francisco, If Only It Were True written by the French novelist Marc Levy has been turned into a film staring Reese Witherspoon as well.
Still young at heart? Don’t worry we have the best of YA for you as well.
10) Anna and the French Kiss
This cult YA romance needs no introduction. Anna is less than enthused when she is shipped off to a boarding school at Paris, until she meets St Clair. This classic boy meets girl is all you need when you need a cheer up and that in France.
11) The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue
Okay this could be the next best YA read since I dunno what. Monty takes Grand tour of Europe with his sister and his best friend / crush Percy, and an yearlong escapade before he is forced to join his father’s business. You should be reading it already.
Okay technically this is not a young adult book because the Asterix; comics is pleasure to read for all ages. Asterix and his friends defend their Gaul village from the mighty Roman invasion and is quite funny despite the whole violent war scenario.
That is all I have from France this week. But there is a whole lot I have planned for the France theme. And there is a French blogger who has agreed to talk to us about France and living in France. So stay tuned and you will have more.
What countries do you want to be featured in this series? Have you been to France or do you want to? How many of these books have you read? Do you have any book set in France or having French characters that I have to reader? Let me know in the comments.