Swedish massage consists of long strokes, and they vary on speed, rhythm and the way we place our palms, hands-on patient's body and thumbs as a massage therapist.
The Star Diaries by Stanislaw Lem (another Swedish author!) came into my life due to an observant patron recognizing my Star Trek tattoo as the nerd alert that it is and recommending it to me. [Hallelujah!] The book is organized into short stories touted as the numbered voyages of Ijon Tichy. [A/N: Don't be thrown by the fact they aren't in order. Read my note at the end of this review for a better understanding.] The beginning offers an introduction which has the reader questioning the 'validity' of Tichy as a narrator and the last voyage really solidifies that doubt. [We are given to believe that these chronicles are studied by dedicated scholars and that Tichy is a great explorer.] We follow Tichy as he makes his way across the universe on a solo trip which ultimately turns into a philosophical journey about the nature of being and how he fits into the grand picture of the universe. One particular story was a standout for me (and absolutely terrifying) featuring robot monks, wild furniture, and a type of humanity that was horrifying for Tichy (and the reader) to behold. (Really dig into the underlying message here.) Lem, like most good sci-fi writers, is looking at what it means to be human by tapping into our curiosity for all things that are decidedly alien or other. Tichy is our lens into a world that is as ever changing as the various voyages that he makes. I absolutely loved it. 10/10
A/N: A note at the back of the book explained that the voyages were written out of order because Lem wrote the book over the course of 20 years and his writing style changed somewhat across the span of the stories.
What I'm Currently Reading: Inside Out: A Memoir by Demi Moore
Stephens is known for the complicated characters she writes. Well Nils and Sierra are as complicated as they come. It was hard to wrap my head around this train wreck of the heart. These former step-siblings have a lot of reasons to be bitter and even more hurt and anger to work out. He's the rebel hockey star with a chip on his shoulder and a wild streak in his heart. She's a dreamer with a lost soul and a broken heart. Dirty Swedish Player is a chaotic story of broken hearts, shattered dreams and second chances. Sierra and Nils are at their best when exposing us to their worst. The thrill is in seeing just how unpredictable this duo can be.
Doctor Proctor’s Fart Powder by Jo Nesbo (you might have seen his books for adults) is the tale of a little girl and her new neighbor (a tiny boy with a big personality). They befriend a failed scientist (suitably eccentric) with many (unsuccessful and useless) inventions to his name (all more ridiculous than the last). However, his latest invention seems to be a real winner: a powder that when ingested causes the person to fart most spectacularly and explosively. In fact, the powder is so successful that it launches the person into the sky! Can you think of anything better for a group of children? An utterly ridiculous little book this would appeal to a middle grade reader who enjoyed the Captain Underpants or Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. [A/N: This book was originally written in Swedish before being translated into English.] 5/10
Trigger warning: pretty intense bullying and a corrupt, abusive father.
What's Up Next: The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus by Jen Bryant with pictures by Melissa Sweet
What I'm Currently Reading: So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo