Category: Reading

Mar 1, 2024

Book Thoughts: Germania by Harald Gilbers

I got the book from my local library. It’s the English translation; I believe the book was written in German originally.

Berlin 1944: a serial killer stalks the bombed-out capital of the Reich, preying on women and laying their mutilated bodies in front of war memorials. All of the victims are linked to the Nazi party. But according to one eyewitness account, the perpetrator is not an opponent of Hitler’s regime, but rather a loyal Nazi.

Jewish detective Richard Oppenheimer, once a successful investigator for the Berlin police, is reactivated by the Gestapo and forced onto the case. Oppenheimer is not just concerned with catching the killer and helping others survive, but also his own survival. Worst of all, solving this case is what will certainly put him in the most jeopardy. With no other choice but to futher his investigation, he feverishly searches for answers, and a way out of this dangerous game.

This was an interesting, weird and a hard read.

Interesting because of the time and the place the events too place: Berlin in the middle of WW2, with nightly air raids by the allied forces. I’ve read a lot of books, and watched a lot of movies and tv shows – both fictional and documentary – about what life was like London, Paris and elsewhere during WW2 and all of them from the POV of Jews, US and UK soldiers and French resistance fighters. But I think I’ve only seen one thing about regular Germans living their lives in Berlin/Germany under the Nazi regime and nightly air raids by the allied forces. And I’m not even sure whether that one thing was fictional or a documentary. So it was really interesting reading about Oppenheimer’s POV and what and how the people he came across in his investigation thought about what was going on. It also touched on low level Nazi people going about their jobs while being true believers or not, and how the society worked or not between Nazi true believers and the “normal” Germans who supported Nazi ideas/the Party to just survive in the Nazi Germany or just didn’t care about any ideology at all. The historical and societal views I found really interesting! Although I realized that I’ve no idea how close to the truth all that is, because we only learned about the politics, the violence, the Holocaust and not much about how much or little in reality the German people as a whole was rah-rah Nazi rah-rah Heil Hitler rah or how much your random joe knew about the mass murders of Jews until after the war. It was presented in school as the whole nation being fanatically into Hitler’s ideology and politics, with some outliers who suffered for it.

After I finished the book, I realized that interestingly, I had no idea how old Detective Oppenheimer was supposed to be! At first I thought he’s in his mid-30s, but then it comes out that he was in the WW1, and that his wife and he had a child that had died of some illness an unmentioned number of years before (at least a year or two before, but likely several years). I got the impression that the child had been closer to 10 than not. And that Oppenheimer had been kicked out of the police by the Nazis like 5 years before the events of the book, and had been in police before that for like at least 15 years? But all that age and time stuff re: Oppenheimer’s background is vague but in the end I revised by age estimate that he’s somewhere around 45-50. But I could be wrong about all of these!

Also, I have a problem giving the character the name of Oppenheimer! That’s too well known a name, in my opinion. But the book was published in Germany a decade ago so well before the recent Oppenheimer craze.

The murder case itself – just your normal psycho murdering women stuff. Something interesting was the discussions about why the murderer would do these things – there’s now so much known psychological make-up of psychos, sociopaths etc. that the heroes can always form a theory of what is happening, why and what are likely causes to be driving the killer, based on a lot of research done on and with murderers. It was kind of weird reading a book where none of that is known! They theorized a lot, based on a few earlier murderers that had been caught. I’m not sure how natural it felt, though.

Technically, as concerns the English translation… the book was a very hard read for me! The English translation is very formal, clumsy and most of the time does not flow well at all. Physically, the book should have been an easy read: 346 pages, large hard back book, with good sized font. But it was very hard for me to read because of the translation was so clunky. It took me 4 months to finish it and it was purely because of the quality of the translation. I also thought the book was much longer than 346 pages and was stunned when I realized otherwise. If I hadn’t been so interested in the depiction of life in WW2 Berlin under nightly air raids and Nazi regime, I would have quit about half way in. I’ve never studied German so I can’t read it at all and so can’t say for sure, but while reading I felt like the original writing may be perfectly nice and flowing in its original language and that the translator failed to adapt that in their work. I really wish I could have read it in original German!

And the weird part? There was a handful of paragraphs that were so utterly British that I got a whiplash: Wait — what?! Did I missundertand?! Is this taking place in England after all?!!?

Am I glad that I persevered? Yes! It gave a new POV to WW2, and I’m glad to have spent the time on it.

Other thought:

The book got me curious about the historical truth, so maybe I’ll look up some research and info. I was taught about WW2 in mid-late 1980s so it’s been a while, and I’ve since learned that our school failed to make it clear that our country actually made a pact with Nazi Germany during WW2 – even if it was driven in part by our need to defend ourselves against Russia’s invasion, and I think there was some denial of help from UK etc so Nazi Germany was our best bet. It was a nasty surprise to learn that we had been on the side of the Nazis! It was just somehow totally glossed over in school. It was like yes, we made a pact with Nazi Germany but it was to defend our country’s independence against Russia, and Nazi Germany is EVIL!!! and we had nothing to do with Nazi Germnay! We fought against Russians!! Nothing to see here!! Move on! I actually have started to think that we as a country have not dealt with neither thing – being allies with Nazi Germany, and the war trauma from Talvisota and Jatkosota agaist Russia. Some historians and doctors say that a lot of Finnish problems can be traced back to untreated war trauma from Talvisota and Jatkosota, and that trauma has been and is still being passed on generation to next to some extent.

Jun 16, 2023

Will Trent TV Series & Books

Will Trent TV Series & Books

I finished watching the first season of the tv series Will Trent last week. I used to the read the books by Karin Slaughter the series is based on, as well as the author’s Sara Linton books several years ago – all that had been translated to Finnish at the time – and liked them a lot. I read probably about a dozen of them all in all, across the two series but then run out of them and sort of forgot about it. So when I saw a few months ago that a tv series based on the Will Trent books was coming out, I was immediately curious but not very hopeful (I have such bad experience with Kathryn Reichs’s Temperance Brennan books turned into an awful tv series).

Turns out I enjoy Will Trent the tv series very much! I love the diverse casting, especially Iantha Richardson as Faith Mitchell and Sonja Sohn (who has always been good in all the roles I’ve seen her in) as Amanda Wagner. Sonja Sohn’s portrayal of Amanda particularly matches my memory of the character from the books, but I think all three (Iantha, Sonja and Ramón Rodríguez as Will Trent) do an excellent job in their respective roles. The writers and the actors have done a really outstanding job remaining true to the spirits and personalities of these characters from the books even if their ethnicity is different in the tv show.

What baffles me is Angie Polaski (played by Erika Christensen, also doing a good job) because my memory of her is that Angie is pretty much just evil and certainly not one of the good guy. I can’t remember at all whether she’s a cop in the books too, like in the show? The tv character is messed up, but she’s trying to be and do good and is certainly one of the good guys. Her relationship with with Will seems co-dependent but nothing like the abusive, destructive relationship I remember from the books. I just wonder why she’s been changed so much when the other main characters are true in spirit to their book counterparts? I don’t mind, I like tv Angie! If they’d kept Angie as she in the books, I wouldn’t like that she has so much screen time (being one of the three main characters) because she’d be so unpleasant to watch in an unfun way.

Spurred on by the tv series, I search out a Will Trent/Sara Linton book I hadn’t read yet and last night I finished reading The Silent Wife and I was reminded how much I liked Slaughter’s writing! Surely there’s now more books in both the series that have come out, I can’t wait to find out. While I was reading, I noticed I was seeing Sonja Sohn as Amanda and Iantha as Faith so I guess their performances really impressed me! I like it. I didn’t remember that Lena Adams was so incompetent! In the “8 years ago” portions of the book, she made serious, disastrous mistakes one after another directly leading to a death of a witness, a disaster with a suspect with serious injuries to her boss and the suspect, and her boss and Lena herself and possibly other officers having to lie to get a what turnout to be a pedophile (who had been preparing to kidnap a child, as they realized in the middle of action) off the street. All that in just one book. I can’t believe she’s still a cop in the book’s present!

On the other hand, the personal problem between Will and Sara in The Silent Wife was stupid. All they had to do was to talk to each other.

I’m very much looking forward to season 2 of Will Trent, and also looking forward to reading the Will Trent and Sara Linton books that I’ve missed. I’m very glad to have re-discovered these books!

Jan 7, 2022

Look On 2021 – Reading Meme


How many books read in 2022?

37 fiction novels cover to cover. Two novels I couldn’t finish – one because I just couldn’t muster enough interest beyond the beginning, and one because I ran out of time to finish it before it needed to be returned to the library due to it having other holds on it waiting. That one I will re-borrow sometime this year.

Plus something like a 1,5-2 million words of fanfic, propably.

Plus a bunch of non-fiction books about baking, and random subjects such as iron defiency or pictorial history books about my home town.

Favorite first-time read?

Ancestral Night and Machine (White Space #1 and #2) by Elizabeth Bear.

Least favorite first-time read?

Mentalisti by Camilla Läckberg & Henrik Fexeus. Just cliche-ridden, meandering and predictable.

Fiction/Non-Fiction ratio?

Probably something like 95% fiction, 5% non-fiction. Roughly estimated.

Author gender breakdown?

4 novels by men, all the others by women as far as I can tell purely by names.

Most books read by one author this year?

8 novels by Minette Walters.

Any in translation?

My mother tongue is Finnish. Majority are Finnish translations from English, a bunch from Swedish.

In languages other than English?

My mother tongue being Finnish, the majority of them! I did read 7 novels in English, and all the fanfic was also in English.


Ruumis jääkellarissa (The Ice House) by Minette Walters was published in Finnish in 1995. That one is probably the oldest this time round.


About half of the 37 were published in 2021 and 2020, and that’s too many to list.

Longest Title?

Quickly counting the characters in the longest titles and the winner is… Vedenpaisumuksen lapset by Risto Isomäki

Shortest Title?

Pyörre by Yrsa Sigurdardottir

Longest book?

I don’t know, I don’t keep count of the page count. A lot (most?) of them were in the 400-500 page range.

And of course, many of the fics I read were well over 100,000 words.

Shortest book?

Ruutitynnyri (The Tinder Box) by Minette Walters

Format of books read?

Paper: 35
Ebook: 2


At least 5 of the Minette Walters that I know because I actually remember reading them. These are re-reads from 90s and 00s. I’m not sure of the other 3 Minette Walters – they might also be-rereads, but I can’t say for sure I remember them.

First book acquired:

Didn’t buy or get a book as a gift this year. All were library loans.

Last book acquired:

Didn’t buy or get a book as a gift this year. All were library books.

First book finished:

I’m not sure but probably Elsewhere by Dean R. Koontz, or Pyörre by Yrsa Sigurdardottir. I usually have at least two books under works at the same time, and these two are the first ones on my list of books read in 2021.

Last book finished:

Ihon alla by Tiina Raevaara

Book that most changed my perspective:

Semiosis/Inteference by Sue Burke

Favorite character:

None. More like favorite concepts. Such as the plant world in Semiosis/Inteference. So different from what I’m used to reading!

Favorite scene:


Favorite Quote:


What do you want to read in 2022?

I hope White Space #3 will come out – although I’m not even sure if there’s supposed to be #3!

I’m salivating for the last book of The Expanse series – I’m in line to get it from the library. But there are no Finnish translations of the series done, and only one copy in the original language in local libraries so it’ll take months to get it because it’s only just been published. Last I looked I was number 4 waiting in the line, so assuming everyone keeps it only for the month that is allowed and no overtime, I’ll get it some in May.. waah! I’m trying very hard to be patient, but it’s with ill grace!

Oct 28, 2021

Health & Personal Update

Picture from Pixabay, because pretty.

Still struggling with iron defiency. I’ve been taking oral iron supplements for 11 months now and my ferritin levels haven’t improved practically at all. It got from 9 to 21 to 18 and then stayed there, and then the iron supplements finally in mid-September started to make my Crohn’s Disease symptoms worse so I had to stop taking it. My ferritin should be at least 100 because of IBD to be sure that the iron levels are sufficient. Going to have to talk about this to my doctor in my yearly check-up at the end of November. Ideally I should be given an iron transfusion because the oral supplements aren’t effective and I have IBD, but doctors are extremely reluctant just generally to do them; most of them don’t even admit that ferritin has any impact on the body and a person’s well being. So it’s a continuing struggle. I have so many problems (exhaustion that never goes away, daily headache, chronic migraine, memory problems, weakness in limbs, joint pains etc.) that might be helped with getting the ferritin up properly, especially the head pain and exhaustion and I’d like to find out if an iron infusion could help my quality of life.

Otherwise I’ve been much the same as all this year – same level, lesser Crohn’s symptoms since I changed the dose and timing of Agiocur (thanks for the tip, gastroenterologist!) in last November so I’m glad about that. But still daily headache, exhaustion. On the other hand, my sleep’s been a lot better (no waking up a million times) and my insomnia is better – I can usually fall asleep now when I go to bed, for some reason – don’t ask me why – I don’t know! Still sleep about 11-14 hours a day though (without any dent in the tiredness) unless I have to set the alarm because I need to be somewhere. And a few days a month I sleep for 22 hours, only waking up to take my meds during that time. As for my day – I’m usually awake 8-12 hours. It’s been like this at least since 2010, but apparently it’s normal to be tired and sleep a lot when you have IBD, according to gastroenterologists that I’ve complained to. I just don’t get how I’m supposed to work feeling like this so it’s a good thing I’ve been unemployed ever since I got ill.

I dyed my hair red with henna about a month ago, and that’s lifted my spirits 😀

Haven’t felt much like doing site work in the last several weeks, just haven’t felt like it. Also haven’t had energy for creative endeavours since the heatwave broke, I guess recovering from it takes its time.

I’ve been reading a lot this summer and fall and I’m so happy about that! 😀 I’ve been reading Minette Walters’ thrillers, re-reading actually, some of the oldest of them such as The Sculptress and The Scorn’s Bridle (I remember seeing these as tv series!). I’ve also been reading scifi novels: Semiosis and Interference by Sue Burke and Ancient Night by Elizabeth Bear. Also read two books by Tiina Raevaara who is a Finnish novelist who has written at least two scifi leaning novels. Not sure about her earlier ones, I have them from the library but need to finish Ancient Night first. I’m on a scifi kick again, just wanting to read scifi, scifi, scifi! 😆 I felt the same way last year too for a bit. Then earlier this year I mostly read Ann Cleeves and Elly Griffiths and other thriller/detective novels. I’m only on my 30th book of the year at the moment – last year I made it to 50. But for the first time I don’t mind having more than one or two library books on my bookshelf waiting to be read, and that feels good. Back a few years ago when I couldn’t read anything new for two years, once that started to let up, for the longest time I could only have one new book waiting on the shelf – if there were more I’d panic and not be able to read any of them. I still can’t have more than say 7-8 new books waiting, or I start to panic again, but it’s better than it was two years ago. I wonder what’s that all about? Books have always been easy for me, a refuge. I used to have like 15-30 library books at any time at home, reading 3-4 at the same time before that weird two years when I couldn’t read anything new. I didn’t keep a list of books read back then, so I wonder if I used to read more more books in a year back then than I do now?

Mar 12, 2021

The Friday Five for 12 March 2021: Books

Answers for today’s The Friday Five questions. Pic from Pixabay.

1) Have you read more books, or fewer books, this past year than usual?

I only started to keep a yearly list of novels I read half way through 2019, but I’d say I’ve been reading books about the same as I usually do! Last year I read 51 complete novels, plus all the fanfic and non-fiction books on top of that.

2) What book are you reading now (or what book did you read most recently)?

The Finnish translation of Dead Water by Ann Cleeves. Having some problems getting through it because I watch the tv series version of these too, and remember just enough of the tv version of Dead Water to make it feel like I know this to well to keep reading, but not enough to remember who the murderer is or their motivation! It’s a quandary.

3) What is the best book you read in the past few years?

The whole The Expanse novel series by by James S. A. Corey, by far margin! Also enjoyed ideas in The Three-Body Problem and The Dark Forest by Liu Cixin very much, even if the writing was rather dry.

4) Do you read more than one book at a time, or just one?

Currently only one, and that’s because I currently only have books by Ann Cleeves from the library; they’re a series so I have to read them in order. But I often have at least two books under work, in different genres or different writing styles just so I can switch up if I don’t feel like reading a genre or an author that day.

5) How big is your to-be-read pile (or list)?

It’s got about 10 new-to-me authors to try out at the moment, all sci-fi. I’ve been on sort of a sci-fi kick lately when looking for new authors to read. I also got a vague mental list of new releases by the authors I usually read (such as above mentioned Ann Cleeves and James S. A. Corey) but they usually have a lot of people (like 600) queuing up for them when I put them on hold in the library, so I get them when I get them – it could take like eight months.