Alina Tugend “Better by mistake”


In the conclusion to this book Tugend writes how when writing it she was so into it that everything came to revolve around it. I’ve been like this reading it: everything seen through the prism of Tugend’s book. Situations at work,drama among friends and the way talk to their children overheard on my commute. Everything.

Tugend starts out with the basic paradox of our society: we are told that “you learn by making mistakes” but also that you most often get penalized for making mistakes, it is frowned upon. Everyone loves pointing out mistakes others have made but fear being the one the finger is pointed at and loath to confess of their own accord.

The book is an in-depth look at the culture of mistakes or rather a culture that doesn’t accept mistakes and how people don’t really know how to do so.

A look at medical-care and aviation, businesses where mistakes can lead to the loss of life, and how they have worked to prevent mistakes as well as create structures to deal with them if they happen, is very informative. Also her examples from her professional as well as personal life. No one is perfect but we can all be a bit better.

Well written, well researched and and a  very important subject.

A lot of food for thought with this one, I have already recommended it to every one I know ( and yes: someone I know, who doesn’t handle her mistakes at all well, said she doesn’t need it. *headdesk*). I heard about it on Swedish radio last summer and not reading it until now was a mistake…


Masha Gessen “The Tsarevna Brothers”

Over the years I have become rather disciplined: I only read one book at a time. These last few weeks however I have lapsed and have rotated several books, and oddly enough, I finished four of them in the same night. I’ll try to review all of them in the next few days.

I picked up Masha Gessens “The Tsarevna Brothers” at the library here in Stockholm. As a side-note let me express my gratitude towards the libraries in Stockholm: Thank you for being on top of the flood of books being published, always being open to suggestions and having such wonderful staff.

I have a lot of faith in the ability of journalist Masha Gessen although I don’t think I’ve read any of Gessens’ books before. My father has talked about the book about Putin so maybe that one is next on my TBR-list.

I remember the Boston-Bombings: how chocked I was at the cold-blooded nature of it: at the finish line of a marathon. All the victims were just plain citizens. But who were the bombers?

Information trickles down to Sweden but naturally it is not the first thing in the news after a while: we have problems of our own. But this book gave me some answers.

Gessen is not apologizing for them, but is convinced of their guilt. The goal of the book is to figure out how they came to carry out the attack: their thinking and their actions leading up to that faithful day. Also, by virtue of being a journalist who have both lived in the U.S and covered the war in Chechneya, Gessen places their lives in a bigger context: immigrants that do well, immigrants that decide to return to the old country and those in between. A sharp eye is also turned towards the apparatus that investigate the crimes. Many of the books I have read about terrorism since 9/11 point out that “The war on terror” as probably created more terrorists then it has hindered. Gessen writes about that: I did not know that several of the people arrested of terrorism have in fact been set up by law-enforcement. Like F.B.I actually putting them up to it and providing them with bombs.

This book is well written, nuanced and informative. I highly recommend it.

7 things I don’t do (anymore)

  1. IMG_4674.jpgLeave come without the charger to my phone: do I need to explain ?
  2. Jaywalk: Even when the street is devoid of cars I just stand there waiting at the zebra-crossing for the light to say “walk”. I use that moment to just breath deeply.
  3. Have more then one nailpolish: I understand the allure of a row of nailpolish but got tired of them “going bad”. I stick to just a bottle of basecoat, a nice polish and a fast-drying top-coat.
  4. Write more then 1o things on my “to-do”-list: I’ll be overwhelmed for sure. I’ll just write down the first ten things that pop up in my head(I have a lot of confidence in my head when it come to this) and do them. Doing something is always better then doing nothing.
  5. Keep reading books I don’t feel like: late in life did I learn to just give up on a book. Sometimes it’s timing, sometimes it’s just not a good book.
  6. Buy expensive shades: I’ll take them off to talk to someone and forget them on the table. A lesson I learned the expensive way. I just buy something from H&M nowadays.
  7. Not wear co-ordinating underwear: I have just learned to buy 2-3 pairs of knickers to every bra. And yes, I have a bit of OCD.

The folded clock-a diary by Heidi Julavits

I love browsing bookshops and the library. Often I know what I’m looking for but I always have my eye out for something unexpected.

Which is how I came to read this book. The lovely cover caught my eye and when I read the back I was sold. It’s been out for some time and many people have lauded it, and with right.

The first entry is about time and that, as mentioned yesterday, struck a chord with me:what I’m I doing with my days nowadays. I work and then what? I’ve tried keeping a journal but a blog seams like a better idea: photos and all can be integrated.

My life will be nowhere as cool as Julavits: she’s a writer,New Yorker and  wiser. I love “her voice”: I want to be friends with this women, and I mean that in a “not creepy ” way. I’m not gonna start calling her or anything. But so much of what she writes made me nod in agreement or laugh out loud: having to many coats, always being told that she looks like someone else or “gossiping hard”. In some ways it reminded me of “The Pillowbook” by Sei Shonagon which I also love.

I will buy this book for a few friends as a present and recommend it to any one; it is a great comfort and something that I think will reread many times.

Today I also had to accept that my laptop is shit: to old to blog on basically. I will see to that in the next weeks. I’ve realized many time over the last months that it is to old but I’m such a tech-phobe that I haven’t bothered.