The Girl who Saved the King of Sweden by Jonas Jonasson

girlwhosavedthekingofsweden-jonassonIn my opinion Mr. Jonasson has a knack for three things:

1) Writing characters who make the best out of the absolute worst. Take, for example, Nombeko, the heroine of this jaunty little tale. She was born in a South African slum, orphaned at ten, run over by a car, practically imprisoned for more than a decade, and then, just as she escapes, is accidentally saddled with a nuclear bomb (which is where this story really starts). And yet, she’s good with numbers, handy with a pair of scissors, smart enough to keep her eyes open and her mouth closed, crafty enough to escape alive, and lucky enough to meet the one man in all of Sweden who doesn’t give a fig about her rather dangerous luggage (and who also does not technically exist).

2) Connecting fictional story lines with factual events, no matter how unrelated, far fetched, or arbitrary they may be. For instance (and this is just one of many entertaining examples): Chinese carmaker Zhejiang Geely purchased Volvo from Sweden in 2010. Jonasson’s novel suggests that the purchase was somehow the result of the professional relationship between the fictional Nombeko and Hu Jintao, the real-life [past] President of the People’s Republic of China. (So… satire. He’s good at satire.)

3) Writing light-hearted comedy with such command of his craft that it loses nothing in translation (at least, I don’t think it does), and that even the most horrific scenes are reduced (or perhaps elevated) to hilarity. As such:

nombeko-thabo

UNCLE?!

And because Mr. Jonasson is so good at these three things, I declare this book an absolute joy to read (despite the large doses of scientific and mathematical jargon and two very frustrating characters whom I will let you discover—and loathe—on your own).

No. 19 on my challenge. Because #2.

Games with All Lit Up – Pentathlon

We don’t know about you, but the modern pentathlon seems exhausting. Like, makes us want to sit down and take a nap just thinking about it. What is the pentathlon, you ask? We had to do some research as well. The modern pentathlon is actually meant to stimulate the diverse skills a 19th century cavalry officer would require, including fencing, swimming, equestrian, running, and shooting. And all these events take place in one day (like we said, exhausting). It may not take us a full day to read the titles of today’s contenders but their titles are a mouthful, giving readers a pretty clear idea of the diverse range of topics to be found within their covers. —All Lit Up

In preparation for this post I did some soul searching. I do believe that the longest title belonging to a book I’ve read is:

Continue reading “Games with All Lit Up – Pentathlon”

The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson

The 100-Year-Old Man

Hilarious; scandalous and hopeful.

The movie is on Canadian Netflix right now. It adheres pretty closely to the book, but it is decidedly less awesome than the book. Watch it only if you want to read subtitles for 85% of the movie.