A supposedly fun thing I’ll probably try again

IMG_0224After having DFW on my TBR for ages, I finally got my hands on a copy but sadly I DNF and I ask myself;WTF?

But seriously; David Foster Wallace is one of those writers that is surrounded by an aura of intellect and profoundness. People talk about reading him like it’s a conquest. Well people speak about Proust the same way, like it’s major  achievement and that those that manage it are better people. Not so; we who have read Proust know that he isn’t that difficult, in fact very funny, and as life changing as it can be it doesn’t really make us morally superior, and I will never act like it does. In fact I’ve gone on and on, here,there and everywhere, about how Proust really is a jolly good fellow who isn’t difficult to read at all; he just has a different idea of how long a sentence should be( he was French; what do you expect?). But I digress, this was supposed to be about DFW and my failure to finish.

So simply put; I don’t fear Wallace, and I still don’t, because I’m not a complete idiot and he wasn’t the most intelligent man to ever walk the earth( which is either Stephan Hawking, who doesn’t actually walk but has a wheelchair, or whoever started putting sea salt in chocolate. Genius pure and simple). Point is I should be able to make sense of DFW. And I do. I’ve concluded that I started in the wrong end however.

The problem for me with this collection of essays, of which I read about half before I needed to return it to the library, was that so many of the didn’t feel relevant here and now. I will absolutely advocate reading his essays but maybe start with something else, or buy this book and read it very slowly.

The titel essay, about taking a cruise, was fun. And an essay about consumption of popular culture felt poignant. A fair few of his essays are published online but reading “Consider the lobster” on screen when so much happens in the footnotes for which I have to scroll cirka 8 years is insufferable. He loves footnotes, I love footnotes. But they don’t translate well to the online-format (hence my over use of parenthesis,”also” and semi-colons). But again that wasn’t the story her (although it is very much in the meandering vein of Wallace.)

Another dilemma I’m faced with is the scarcity of DFW at Stockholm libraries; he is in the catalogue but noted as “missing”. His books have probably been stolen, or read to they fell apart and no new copies have been bought. In addition, and I hate to admit this, maybe this is at the outer limits of my english, also because it’s american admittedly. I attempted Pynchon in english once; failed. I get more out of it in translation.

So the moral of the story is this; Wallace ins’t an enigma of a writer wrapped in a conundrum. Well worth reading but you might consider doing so in your native tongue.

Things mentioned in this post;

DFW=David Foster Wallace

DFW essays 

DNF=did not finish

TBR= To be read

WTF= what the f&/k



7 rites of Spring

IMG_1467I’m a creature of habit when it comes to most things, and it should be noted that I take the change of the seasons very seriously. I’ve decided that it’s spring, irrespective of  the weather.

I may or may not have blogged about my spring-rituals before however I do know that I’ve brought up Rita Konig, of whom I’m a fan. I don’t know how old these tear sheets are but they are from British Vogue and they have on them a few tips from then Vogue columnist Konig about “how to spring clean your life”.  And very good advice it is; some of them I’ve integrated to my rite of spring, and then I’ve added a few of my own. This is what I did this weekend.

  1. Give the home a good going over including a washing of the windows. It doesn’t have to be the real deal; windex and an old newspaper is fine. But it makes the world of difference, especially for me as the living room has one HUGE window. I love the light it let’s through but it can be unforgiving if dirty.
  2. Change the scent of the home; out with the sweet and spicy candles, in with the fresh and floral. Predictable as I am I really love Baies from Diptyque this time of year but their Mimosa candle is also lovely.
  3. Get a new soap and handlotion for the bathroom. I have a fondness for Morrocan Tea from Other Stories; the lotion is very good and the scent is suitable for everyone.
  4. Wash all the wool sweaters; I use my cashmere all year round but try not to wash them unless they are actually dirty. A good airing will often do. A few times of year I do however make sure they are all properly hand washed and dried(rolled up in big bath towels).
  5. Get something new on the wall; rehanging paintings or just changing what is in the frames gives me something new to look at and has a bigger impact then you can imagine. I have these five old poster with a Japanese series of prints on that I plan to frame and hang; bought them at a flea market last summer. Did not have time this weekend though but soon, very soon.
  6. Clear out the bookshelves; Konig advises this but I’ve resisted. After the Kon Mari -method I feel otherwise. I’ve tried different strategies but clearing the bookshelves four times of year, making room for new books, seems the ultimate method for me.
  7. Get a new watch strap; this was a piece of advice from the Vogue article that I really took to heart and did for spring for a few years. I really loved having a colourful strap to set the tone. I had dark blue, purple for a period and also green; a racing green one year and a more minty shade another. I had completely forgotten about this since I no longer have a watch. It broke and I haven’t bought a new one. I should do that; I miss having one on my arm, and the opportunity for a dash of colour that it allows.

Things mentioned in this post;

Rita Konig

Baies from Diptyque

Moroccan tea from Other Stories

Kon Mari-method





IMG_1344On Instagram people on occasion announce their travel plans and ask for tips; if they write that they plan to visit Stockholm I do offer up my two cents on my hometown. One place that often gets a shout out is Snickarbacken 7.

Nowadays Snickarbacken 7 is mostly a café. What started out as a coffee counter has grown to take over most of the cave due to it’s popularity, one that is well-earned I might add.

I don’t know what it says about me, or Snickarbacken, that I made a little noise of pleasure and clapped my hands when they, as probably the first café in Stockholm, put “flat white” on their menu. And they do it well, in fact they are very good with coffee; that’s their main love. Cakes and food has been added over time and its been the same nice “a few things well executed” philosophy that has remained. But honestly a part of the allure is the venue.

Located a bit off the city center it’s still an easy place to visit and it’s in an old cave-like structure. Stockholm is built on hills and at some point they took dynamite to the rock to create what became a garage to service cars(I’ve also heard that it used to be a stable before that). Those days are long gone but it’s still pretty cool to walk into. The walls are painted white and loads of candle everywhere so the lack of sunlight isn’t a bother. The entrance has a very high ceiling and then it get’s more narrow. But tables are spread out all over so there is room for everyone. And they always have the nicest fresh flowers on the tables,and a stack of magazines for browsing.

Things mentioned in this post;

Snickarbacken 7




7 contemporary classics for spring

IMG_1453Spring has sprung. Well, not really but it is April 1st and while the weather is a joke my determination to live life like winter is behind us is not. I am truly running a fool’s errand.

So what will be the themes of Spring 2017? Florals can be assumed, a certain amount of pastels too(although pink coats has been THE trend up here this winter). As some of my most beloved clothes are falling apart, and I haven’t had time to sew new things of the fabrics I have I will just list a few of my most likely accessories.

  1. Augustus by John Williams; Rereading The secret history and reading S.P.Q.R by Mary Beard before that has really put me in a “Roman empire state of mind”, and this book has been on my TBR since last year. It reminds me a bit of The memoirs of Hadrian by Marguerite Yourcenar, which I love. I’m not saying books should be thought of as accessories,I’m just saying I very often have one in my hand.
  2. My little “Airmail”-wallet from &other stories; as soon as I saw this I knew I needed to have it. I love classic Airmail and I actually needed a new wallet.
  3. L’ombre dans l’eau from Diptyque; This fresh and floral scent with blackcurrant leaves and Bulgarian rose is one of my all time faves and this time of year I reach for it instinctively. I think it has a lovely greenness to it; I’ve said more then once that the smell reminds me of the front yard of the house I grew up in.
  4. Wayfarer-ish glasses; as I’ve pointed out before I don’t buy expensive sunglasses because I keep losing them. But the Wayfarer model from Ray- Ban is one that everyone recognizes and while I will never buy a pair of fake Ray-bans I have bought the H&M version. It’s a model I like but when it comes to sunglasses I do switch it up. Aviators look so good in the middle of summer.IMG_1310
  5. Luciano by Tom Ford; I do love a red lip but the exact shade of red does change from season to season. This one, which was a gift, has just enough pink in it so leaves my lips a lovely shade that feels just right (wearing it in this pic actually).
  6. A t-shirt with the words “Beauty is terror”; again, rereading The secret history had a major impact. The words “beauty is terror” is from a lecture they have in the beginning. This t-shirt has since had the sleeves chopped off. Will use it loads( a surprising number of people look at me and nod approvingly; a lot of fans out there).
  7. Stan Smiths; nothing says “springtime” like white sneakers. Smiths are my kicks of choice but to each one their own; I don’t like Converses myself but understand people’s loyalty to them.


A few things mentioned  in this post;

The Secret history


Tom Ford

The memoirs of Hadrian

Stan Smith



Monthly stats; March


Number of books read;11. I haven’t finished the Ferrante actually but it ended up in the pic anyways.

Best new read; Winterson was a delight and I loved How to be a Victorian.

Rereads; 2- The secret history and A room of one’s own.

Summary; #readwomenmarch isn’t a bad idea at all. Might do it next year.

Most used perfume; none in particular. Used up samples and the last of Grand Néroli from Atlier Cologne.

Most used accessory; as blogged my collection of evil eyes have been getting a lot of use.

Garments that went bust; too many. Will save it for a separate post. Spontaneous wardrobe combustion.

I’m very much looking forward to spring now.


Wednesday&What have I been wearing?

Bad pics,random post and currently I’m stuck in a “50 shades of grey” mode it seems. What’s going on?

Bally makes the unsexiest shoes known to man but they keep my feet warm and that is of the essence so I wear them a lot. And they are almost the only shoes I have since two pairs of my winter shoes fell apart, and high heels boots are not for every day.

I realize that part of the boring choice in clothes comes from the uninspiring weather and season. The elements need to be taken into account when getting dressed, and getting glasses, rather distinct ones, has made me re-evaluate how I dress. Oh, and the fact that my wardrobe has kind of imploded again.

The grey pinstriped skirt and matching jacket are something my dad bought on one of his travels. Except it wasn’t a skirt then but a pair of huge harem-style pants. Huge. I cut them up and made a little skirt, the jacket is pretty much the same, I just shortened the sleeves. Not the best quality of fabric but a bit of wool in it so I stay nice and toasty. I do like the look of a small skirt and a big jacket, that clash of proportions.

The grey dress is made of “fleece” that I had bought to use as backing on a blanket. In the end it got used for this but it will soon fall apart. Fleece is,again, a lovely fabric to keep warm and the softness is appealing. But what I have learned the last year is that small particles of it fall out when it’s in the washing machine, particles that end up wrecking havoc in nature. The other thing is that it’s not a very durable material. The armpits and shoulders on this thing are worn out after only like two years of use. Frequent use(and being washed by hand) but still. I hope makes it through to May.

The third is a beloved grey cashmere sweater and a skirt made of left-over fabric from when I helped a friend make some curtains. A very cool print from a Finnish company that I cannot remember the name of. I’ve loved this skirt and I’ve gotten many(many) compliments over the years. But it is worn in places and this might be the last you see of it. As it was a small thing to begin with so there really isn’t much to work with; often I’ll make old dresses into skirts etc. Not so in this case. It will probably rip and then R.I.P.

No worries though; I have like 30 skirts in my closet. All I need now is some sunshine and a nice pair of summer shoes.



On finances & friendship

IMG_1396It so happened that the other night  I went to listen to Hanya Yanagihara have a  conversation,on stage, with a Swedish journalist (Björn af Kleen to be exact).

On my way there I was reading A room of one’s own by Virgina Woolf, a reread that seemed fitting during #readwomenmarch. As I listened to the conversation on stage, in my head I kept comparing  and contrasting what was said with what I had just read(and not just because Jude in ALL is obsessed with his apartment).

Woolf,in her classic essay, points out that very little art would be achieved if there was a lack of means and that women, back then, rarely had any financial independence. Yanagihara told the story about how her editor, who she in every way loves and admires, wanted to cut 300 pages from A little life. “Which 300 pages?” she asked to which he responded “I don’t know, just cut 300 pages”. The fact that he couldn’t specify the pages or give any artistic reason made her dig in her heels for her vision. She had a “actual” job so could afford the integrity. Suffering for your art is one thing, but if your art should suffer for your life? I’m not sure that’s a good strategy.

In a passage Woolf writes that women so rarely write about men, or from the man’s perspective as opposed to men who frequently wrote female protagonists. Luckily, that has changed since 1929. A little life is the story of four men and their interconnected lives. One of the statements that Yanagihara wanted to make with the book is that friendship is gift but also a work in progress. The reason for choosing men is that was more interesting as we live in a gendered society where one half of the populations is never taught to speak about emotions despite having just as many of them; when so much must be left unsaid how do you communicate?

A writer that both Woolf and Yanagihara mentions is Jane Austen; many of us come back to her again and again. Woolf retells the story of an Austen that never traveled and lived a lonely life where nobody ever knew about her writing. A great story, but as someone how has read “Jane Austen-a life in small things”  and books with her collected letters, I must point out that it’s just a story. Which doesn’t take away from Austen’s oeuvres one bit. That she had support from her family, traveled around visting relatives, enjoyed nice dresses and the odd glass of orange wine doesn’t make her less of an artist, and her struggle was still uphill for most of the way as a female artist in that time.  Yanagihara spoke of Austen’s lovely descriptions of furniture and finery because they do say so much about a character; saying that things tell a story isn’t materialistic. I always think of it as setting the scene(and frankly I always thought Balzac the master of it). Yanagihara spends a lot of time on interior and art; things she loves and as an editor for a magazine  has seen a lot of. Write what you know is a classic piece of advice to authors,no?

But the interiors of successful and creativ New Yorkers isn’t the point with A little life, nor the part anyone ever has a problem with. It’s the darkness, the self-harming and the abuse that bothers many. I’ve always defended, or sided with, Yanigahara on that point, These things happen in the world and therefore they have a place in art. If you wanted to read something to feel better then you should have realized just a few pages in that this wasn’t gonna be it. What warmed my heart, and made me sad at the same time, was to hear about many people having gotten in touch with her and telling their own similar stories, how what happened to Jude has happened to them.  She does also give some insight into Jude’s refusal to talk about it; his secrets are his own, they are like the only family he has and as corrosive as they are he cannot let go.

What always did wonder about was how she could do so without judgement and in such detail. She did do research and her very professional attitude towards the human body, she says, comes from her father who is an oncologist. She has spent time in hospitals with him growing up and always taken an interest in his work. When you spend time close to sickness and death you feel differently about it, approach with less fear and more calmness.

And what about the length? Why didn’t she just cut those 300 pages? Well, then it wouldn’t have been size of a life, or had space to talk about the little things. We would not have stayed with Jude for all that time, just like his friends do. Those  720-ish pages are a gift and a work in progress.

Things mentioned in this post;

A room of one’s own by Virginia Woolf

A little life by  Hanya Yanagihara

Björn af Kleen

The Real Jane Austen-a life in small things by Paula Byrne

Also worth checking out;

Yanigahara’s instagram