Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend “Boken2018”, an annual event for Swedish booksellers and publishers. I have no place there really but was invited, I guess, because I had been an August-prize ambassador (Swedish publishers aren’t really impressed by my IG presence I gather; foreign publishers seems to be more keen to send me books).
So for a few hours of the afternoon I got to listen to presentations about book shopping, the potential and problems of e-books and the state of book selling in Sweden. I learned a bit, have thoughts on a few things and I do wonder about the future.
What needs to be mentioned here is that I zoned out during the conversation about e-books. Audiobooks I like just fine, but having to invest in more technology to read books, and the problems that ensue is not for me (by that I refer to the idea of avoiding technology (all of it) for like an hour or two before bed. I do that as much as I can). I’m sure it was all very relevant and informed. Supposedly they are the future or something.
There was also a long presentation about how brands now are required to be more transparent and take environmental issues seriously but no one seems to question the increased consumption of goods and what all this internet shopping might do to emissions (unless we find an alternative source to fossil fuels). Will algorithms replace the good advice that staff in bookshops provide? I doubt it (but others think so). But then again, I’ve known bookshop staff give bad advice more than once, especially in bigger chains. If I look at my own shopping it is indie or online, and the latter much due to wanting books that no one seems to have heard of (and it has been like that my whole reading life). So I am not the average consumer. There was no discussion about how books are marketed. Influencers were not mentioned even though there was talk about the need for “curation”. it was suggested that bookshops should be more exciting. I don’t know about that, I think that I’,m not alone in wanting cosy bookshops. But sure, individuality is probably a good thing (John Sandoe books is #goals) and trying to have smaller stores, and then possibly a bigger warehouse or books in the basement. High rent is a problem from a budget point of view. That was a fair argument. I’ve had discussions at other times about the potential in niche bookstores, which I guess can be tied to the future of the physical bookshop now that online sales are such a big part the market here (it can be mentioned that the biggest online seller has started to open actual shops even if they have a limited selection and that one of the biggest chains also have a big online presence and has announced they will go into streaming).
I’m not gonna go in-depth about the data, although I did find it very interesting. The difference between which books sell and which books bring in money, they are not always the same. There is a discussion about pricing that is valid; very much linked to the question about how to make money in the current media climate.
I have answers to none of these questions, and I don’t work with these issues so I do not possess the same knowledge to begin with. In fact, very little of this post makes any sense. But if you have any thought about the future of books and book shops I’d love to hear it. What do you miss in the current market? What do you think is a fair price for book? What do you find most annoying with book shopping as it is?
The Chinese New Year is upon us, and we are entering the year of the dog. The color red is much connected to this holiday, and I have been taught that red supposedly wards of devils and demons. We could all use that in our lives I guess, but also? A dash of color in the grey of February is much needed. These are seven things in red that can light up your days and nights (and possibly improve quality of life/ward of demons).
- Campari. “A Negroni on Friday night will make sure that the weekend isn’t full of fright and plight” is not an old saying but maybe it should be? To be fair though I usually make my Negroni the size of a thimble unless I’m having company. If you make a Boulevardier or another drink with Campari I’m not gonna give you the evil eye.
- Tea in nice packaging (or coffee/salt/sugar). I guess red tea could be a thing but really? It isn’t read either. My point is that “Frugaluary” is over so people aren’t raving about using what they have, how much the really love chia pudding and how they feel 2018 is gonna be the year of minimalism and less stuff. Treat yourself to a few everyday luxuries in really nice packaging that can stand on the counter.
- Deathless by Cathrynne M Valente. I haven’t read this yet but it is very high on my list. And its cover is lovely and red, I’ll walk around with it as an accessory and defense against demons? And it is about the devil so it all comes together somehow. It is all about stoies anchored in Russian folklore right now.
- Red lipstick. I was always gonna included red lipstick yeah? It is something that I love and always advocate.
- A red necklace. I have to say that a red necklace is a great accessory in general. This one is not as good as my old one but I have to say that it completes many outfits, and just gives it that extra little things. Could be because I *like* red in general so it matches.
- A red top. Speaking of which. I have been reaching for this top a lot lately. Since I organized my closet, and there isn’t two items on every hanger, I see it and reach for it. With clothes it really is a case of “out of sight, out of mind” for me.
- Red tulips. I adore tulips in general, and right now I’m going for the blue-red parrot tulips. The wilt with such charm.
So it happened, all of a sudden I had Netflix access. The pearly gates of series heaven opened, or so I thought. I’ve had HBO for some time but certain things are only available on the Flix and I for one was eager to watch. So what have I looked at? In order of watching, nothing on this list will probably be a surprise as these series are much raved about (except maybe the last one, and that is for a reason).
- Fourth season of BBC Sherlock. I proclaim to love this series but truth is I haven’t seen the fourth and final season. When it comes to movies and series I have a really low threshold of how much work to get them that is too much. I was warned that I wouldn’t like it, and sure enough, some of the magic is missing.
- Choice episodes of the other seasons of Sherlock. Disillusioned after the fourth season I went back and watched fave episodes from earlier seasons. I really like “A study in scarlet”, “The blind banker” and the episode where Dr. Watson gets married.
- The Crown season one. Don’t care for monarchy much but you can pry costume dramas from my cold dead hands. Loved it. I still think it feels weird that so many of these people are still alive, to make a drama of them already?
- The Crown season two. No surprise. I went back to back with this. Binged it. Two episodes every night at least. (No, I don’t have a life).
- Fantastic beasts and where to find them. I was nursing a bit of a cold and watched this. (I may in fact have watched this before the Crown) but anyhow. None of the magic that the Harry Potter Movies have given me. I’m too old. Great outfits though, I have a thing for that sort of reimagined 20s look. I feel the need for a grey velvet double-breasted yet slouchy blazer intently.
- Mind hunter season one. OMG. The obsession is real. So many people talk about the murders though, I’m spellbound by the interaction between Tench and Ford. And Ford’s slow and slippery decline into omnipotence and narcissism. Cannot wait for season two.
- Episode 1-3 of Marco Polo. I have the Genghis Khan book in fresh memory, so a little Mongolian political scheming and a Venetian all caught up in the mix seemed like a good idea. Great costumes and interiors, interesting point but ultimately it was too macho/to the brim with male gaze to bear with. It has all of Game of Thrones flaws but none of its charm and storytelling. I ended with the third episode and then went and read a book instead.
It is the end of the month, the longest month it feels like, although it has gone a lot faster then usual. What say the stats?
Books finished? Eight at the moment of counting but I might finish Bad News by Edward St Aubyn today. I’ve returned Snobs by Julian Fellows to its rightful owner so it’s not in the photo.
Best? Winter by Ali Smith or the second Ferrante novel were the best, I cannot possibly choose. To me they were both 5 start reads but for different reasons. I’ll give you my final verdict on the Patrick Melrose novels when I have read them all.
Rereads? Zero. I might have accidentally reread some poems by Byron but that is all. I don’t know who I am any more.
Accessory of the month? Really red matte lips. I am at one with the Yves Saint Laurent lip stain I bought.
Preferred scent?I have been alternating between The knot from Bottega Veneta, Book by Commodity and Accord Oud from Byredo. I have gone for whatever suited the weather. So for the most part a little heavier and woodier with the occasional orange blossom and musk interlude.
Mindfulness game? Average. Managed 19 out of 31.
Clothes bought or made? None. Fixed up a few thing though.
Clothes taken out of rotation? None, luckily. The implosion seems to have stopped. I’m doing the slow fashion challenge this year and if I’m gonna try to shop very little my clothes need to stop falling apart.
My head is full of ideas, but also full of excuses. These are seven lists that I’ve been meaning to write but are yet to materialize.
- New modes of organization. I bought this new desk calendar and I was gonna use it to write down ideas for blog posts and to be serious about it. Well, that hasn’t happened. I was also gonna trim down my social media presence i.e. delete my Goodreads account because I have stopped using it. But then someone used the message function to keep in touch so I still have it, but I’m not keen to use it as a reading journal. I have dug out my old notebook that I have used as a reading journal since 2007 (?!) and started using that again. 2017 is missing so if someone asks me what I read last year I have no idea and will start ranting about what the covers look like because that’s what I remember. New year, same me.
- My Netflix viewing suggestions. This list is probably coming but right now I’m making my way through The Crown so that’s gonna take a while.
- All things The Crown. I don’t care much for monarchy but the clothes! The interiors! The books I’ve thought about when watching it! So many lists might be the result. Giving me plenty of inspiration.
- What I’ve been wearing. I’ve had a few posts about my outfits and my own creations on and off, and as I’m doing the slow fashion-challenge I thought it be a good idea to document what I’m wearing in a more structured fashion. But currently I’m rotating the same three outfits, and whenever I pass a mirror I’m covered in a big coat and scarf anyways, and it slips my mind. Said three outfits are a)beige ErdemxH&M trousers with black cashmere sweater b) blue wool sailor trousers and a blue sweater c) blue flared high-waisted jeans with a colorful top and a black cardigan.
- My fave 7 coats. I love coats. I have a few winter coats but I have many that are used as coats during the milder seasons, that end up being used as cardigans the rest of the time. I’m sure there is a list there somewhere.
- The winter kitchen. It is the season for food drenched in cream and with plenty of melted cheese on top. It is the only way to survive this season. A few suggestions for vegetarian eating in January would be one possible list (a lot of people are doing it), great breakfasts for this time of year another (overnight oats is my new go-to breakfast, and I have had more “bread and butter pudding” than I care to admit (I don’t understand why the British serve this as a dessert, but it is a moorish weekend breakfast) and a few hearty dishes.
- A deep dive into Swedish poets. As my reading ambition this year is to read more Swedish poets I would well like to spread the word etc. However, it is more likely that little bits of information will end up here and there in other posts.
I love a list. I can never stop writing lists, nor will I make such promises.
- Swedish poet Karin Boye. When I was an ambassador for the literary prize “Augustpriset” I got a copy of a biography about Swedish Poet Karin Boye, who wrote in the 1930s. I started on it but soon put it aside because of other obligations but also I felt that I should brush up on her works before continuing with the story of her life. So I went on a Boye-hunt and ended up with Astarte which is in my bag, whilst the 600 page biography is read at home.
- My new hangers. I put hangers in my gift guides but also on my own wish list, and got some. I will still keep my big sturdy hangers for some clothes but these slim hangers mean that I hang all my dresses side by side instead of having one on top of the other, which inevitably leads to me not noticing half my closet. This is also related to #slowfashionutmaningen that has been launched by Johanna Nilsson on her blog Slow fashion (in Swedish). I care about sustainability, and try to act and consume accordingly but I also fall for the odd fast fashion piece, or buy tights wherever I find them if I’m in a hurry. Over the year, twelve challenges will be presented, the first is “make up your mind”. In 2018 I will try to buy as little as possible and when I do, buy clothes that are genuinely sustainable; try to promote smaller brands that have made commitments and only buy things that I will love and use. Which amounts to shopping according to the principles of slow fashion, which I was doing more or less anyways. I’m just gonna try to do it 100%.
- Bron. The Swedish-Danish crime series Bron (The bridge) is back. Saga Norén FTW. I say I don’t like crime novels much but every season of this I’ve been glued to the screen every Sunday night (thesis the fourth and last season).
- Yves Saint Laurent Tatouage couture matte stain in 1. I have not forgotten my efforts to find more sustainable skin care but I fell hard for this lip stain. I love a red lip and I’ve come around on matte reds for day time. This does stay on and wears off gradually. It’s like a liquid lipstick but it is a stain. A bit drying but not nearly as bad as the one I have been using from the Victoria Beckham line.
- The fact that I am running out of notebooks. I never thought this would happen but it seems like I will soon have a legit reason to do some stationary shopping (see yesterdays post).
- Tulips. The one thing that brightens up these grey days.
- When will I stop finding needles from the Christmas tree? It’s like this every year, and every year I forget. Until March there will be no walking barefoot on these floors.
It’s a new year,but I’m still writing 2017 out of habit. That will change sometimes March but what I will hopefully continue writing is in my journal.
I’ve always wanted to keep a journal but never really managed; too much pressure to do it well or something. But it’s a form of writing that takes time to find a rhythm and style for. In many cases my notebooks and calendars form a record of my life, but I’ve wanted more. Not for the sake of prosperity knowing what I’ve done with my life but for the small reflection that it entails. I’ve spent a lot of my life living day-to-day, not wanting to make to grand a plan in fear of failure and not reflecting on what the everyday doings mean to me. Last year I got a great Christmas gift; a day to day journal, but only a few lines to write on. Just enough for me to jot down a few words. No big empty page that I had to fill with my rather mundane musings (side note; mundane musings should be the name of this blog).
However, I did it all last year. Not every day but most. A few lines, nothing lengthy. It became a habit, and one that I sort of enjoy. So I continue. This year I took one of the unused notebooks that I have,and plan to use that ( but I’m running out of unused notebooks can you believe it).
This particular notebook was bought at Liberty in London and it is no ordinary thing; the full title is “Let’s bring back -a journal. For the musings, noting and reminiscences of modern nostalgists”. That’s a mouthful for sure. Scattered among the pages are little tips and recommendation for vintage living in the modern world, all put togheter by Lesley M. M. Blume. I also have the “Let’s bring back- a vintage cocktail book” that I enjoy. But that’s for another day. Speaking of the journal, these are seven suggestions for better living that I’ve come across when browsing it, and that I like. Passing it on to you.
- Watch a black and white Fred Astaire movie.
- Paste bookplates into your favorite books. This one resonates with me. I’m gonna stick with my Chinese stamp but I should get everyone bookplates as gifts from now on.
- Throw a party and build a glistening champagne tower. Popular in the 1920s, such towers are still the prettiest monuments to decadence. I’m soooo putting this on the 2018 “to do-list”. Watch this space.
- Amaze and amuse your friends with a color-themed dinner party menu. One historical “red”supper included cherry soup, roast beef with beets, tomato salad, and raspberry sherbet with ripe strawberries. This one is actually already in the works, my friends and I just need to set a date.
- Write in this diary every day, so you’ll have record of your youthful adventures. She would write that wouldn’t she? Besides, I’m too old to have youthful adventures.
- Purchase several pairs of brightly colored elbow gloves. Smart mid-century women used them to chicly elevate even the plainest little black dresses. This sounds like excellent style advice, but where does one get gloves like that?
- Design a family crest, and put whatever you like on it-from lions and dragons to the family Labrador. I’ve talked it over with the cat and she thinks that it is no more than fair that she gets immortalized in this way.