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Slaughterhouse 5

The first book I read in 2011 is “Slaughterhouse 5 or The Children’s Crusade : a duty-dance with death” by Kurt Vonnegut, one of the classic science fiction novels that has been on my to-read-list for a long time. It has also been translated into Norwegian and is called “Slaktehus 5 eller Barnekorstoget : en pliktdans med døden“.

I’m not going to give you any spoilers, there’s enough of that in the other sources I’ve linked to.

I loved it!

I loved the language. The sentences are fairly short and simple and there’s no annoying euphemising. The language is as direct and brutal as it probably was among soldiers in WWII. I also loved the way the story bounced around in space and time, and I loved  how it made me smile with tears in my eyes.

There are enough people that dislike it, whether they’ve read it or not, that it gained at 46th spot on The American Library Association list of 100 most frequently challenged books : 2000-2009 (up from a 67th in the previous decade). So it goes. (to quote the most used sentence in the book)

Other people has opinions about it too. Most like it, some don’t. None of them advocate banning it:

In time and space – about books

The Hungry Ghosts by Anne Berry
Time: around 1960 to 2006
Place: Hong Kong, England and Paris
Very good book about Hong Kong, ghosts and a very dysfunctional family. I really liked it.

Other people liked it too: Ghosts of colonies past – The Globe and Mail, Reader’s Corner, The Daily Mail Online, The Independent Weekly, The Bookbag

Stolen av Lucy Christopher
Time: a few months in 200? with glimpses back in time, up to about 25 years.
Place: Bangkok airport, Great Sandy Desert in Australia and London
Gemma writes a letter to her captor Ty who kidnapped her from Bangkok Airport and brought her to The Great Sandy Desert. Good and exciting YA-book about kidnapping, obsession and confusing emotions.

This is what other people think : Wondrous Reads, So many books, so little time, Pure Imagination, Today’s Adventure, The Book Whisperer

Blackout by Connie Willis
Time: 1940-45 and 2060
Place: London, Dunkirk, Oxford and a few other places in England.

It has been 8 years since Connie Willis last published a novel, but when she finally does it’s with volume 1 of a two part story. (It was a relief to be told that volume 2, All Clear, will be published in October, so I guess I can manage a 6 month wait for the book when I could manage the whole year between every Lord of the Rings movie).

Haven’t we all sometimes wished that we could go back in time to see how some event really unfolded? I know that I have. The historians in Connie Willis’ time travel books can do precisely that. But sometimes things don’t turn out exactly as planned, the historians don’t end up precisely where and when they are supposed to, they struggle to get to the drop when they are to report home, and when they manage to get to the drop it’s either not possible to access or just doesn’t open to let them through. When you are a young historian in the middle om wartime England, this is cause to worry. Why haven’t the recovery team come to get me? What’s happening at home in 2060-Oxford? Did I do something that changed the history of the world?

I adore Connie Willis’ books. It was wonderful to meet again Colin and professor Dunworthy from Doomsday Book and To Say Nothing of the Dog, and the historians in Blackout are as likeable as Kivrin in Doomsday Book and Ned & Verity in To Say Nothing of the Dog. I think I’ll have to reread those two books while I wait for the October release of  All Clear.

I’m not the only one writing about Blackout:

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