Books of December

Not pictured, Don Quixote and Singoalla

Traitors Kiss

Erin Beaty 

This book suffers from I’m-not-like-other girls-syndrome, but other than that it is enjoyable. The main character is at times annoying, she considers herself better than other girls due to not being interested in fashion or marriage. Given that she lives in a fantasy world where matchmaking is everything this do make her odd. Beside the matchmaking part of the story it is quite an ordinary YA fantasy. That doesn’t make it bad, it was a fun read, but it is not something that I’m going to remember. Side note, I appreciate that the author fulfill basically all american stereotypes.  

Everything Everything 

Nicola Yoon

This book was fine. It wasn’t out of the ordinary good, but it wasn’t bad either. I mostly read it because I knew a lot of people did in fact like it, it was even made into a movie, I haven’t watched it. I found the whole story to be quite tragic and I felt a bit unsatisfied with the ending. I think that Maddy (the main character) deserved a better fait that the one her mother gave her and that the author could have written more about how Maddy adjusted to normal life. Also, I hate the name Oliver, especially when called Olly. That is the name of The Boy, who is perhaps the most stereotypical teenage love interest. A bit of a bad boy, always dressed in black, fit and good at some form of athletics (parkour in this case). Overall, this book is a fun and easy read, and it gets kudos for having a main character of colour (yay for inclusivity), which is sadly still a rarity everywhere.

The sun is also a star   

Nicola Yoon 

Her second book was much better that her first (Everything, Everything). This one managed to be both a good YA romance and tackle difficult subjects in a very education way. She writes about racism, both conscious and unconscious, pressure from parents, fear of the future and deportation. Deportation is and always will be an awful thing, it is not fair to uproot someone from their home. I liked how Yoon wrote short chapters from supporting characters POV, it made them more humane and easier to understand. It also added something extra to the storytelling. This book managed to be both fantastical and realistic, something that is not an easy feat. It’s fun, it’s relevant and it’s good. Definitely a worthy read. 
  

All the bright places

Jennifer Niven

I cried when reading the ending, but then I always cry when someone dies. It is a curse, never a blessing. The book takes up some more important and difficult subjects, that seems to have become an accidental theme of my YA books (I did manage read one that was so bad I won revive it, there is nothing to say). Instead of discussing racism, Niven writes about mental health, a subject that is a bit more relevant for my life. The story is sweet until it isn’t, and then it is tragic. It’s well written and probably a good read for people that have no knowledge/experience with mental difficulties. That is not me, and therefore the message of the book felt a bit irrelevant to me, I already know that mental health improves if you talk about it. Nevertheless, a good read                

Don Quixote

Miguel Cervantes 

Somehow it took me longer to read these 900 pages than the 900 pages of torture that was Ulysses. I blame November on it. The book was delightful, though I prefered part one over part two. Part one was lighthearted and fun, Don Quixote interacted with many different people with interesting characters with fun stories to tell. And while it did get a bit annoying to have all the female characters either described as the most beautiful person in the world or ugly as hell, it was still fun to read. Long as namn wrote what was at the time a rather forward thinking piece, and parts of what he wrote is still very much relevant. Due to the forward thinking it was almost comical when he casually threw in some rasisme in the text, it was very clashing. The second part of the book was a worse read. Not due to a decline in writing skill, but due to Don Quixote and Sanso Pancha being ridiculed by the nobility. Long as name probably wrote it that way in order to chritesise the upper class, the one group of people that constantly needs to be chritesised, but that does not mean that it’s fun to read about about a genuinely nice character getting mocked and humiliated.  

Singoalla 

Viktor Rydberg

I read this book for school, otherwise I wouldn’t have finished it. Actually, that is a lie, the book was so short and easy read that I probably would have finished it. Still wouldn’t have enjoyed it. The thing about this book is that I can’t pinpoint what it is that make me not like it. The concept is fine, the storytelling is okey, the characters are average, there is just something about the composition that does not work for me. Beside not enjoying the book itself I really don’t like the fact that Rydberg writes about the Romani in a discriminatory way. Rydberg portrays the Romani as thieving, uncivilized and exotic, all of that is just harmful stereotypes that should be stopped. If you want to write about a people that faces discrimination then the least you can do is to reachers and not spread future lies. Also, I would have liked it more if Erland had died in the end.                        

Write for Rights

The 13th of December, 2019

Dear Mr. Raisi, 

May I draw your attention to the urgent case of Yasaman Aryani. She was arrested on the 10th of April 2019 after a peaceful protest during the international Women’s day (Amnesty, 2019a). She was taken to an unknown location and not allowed to contact her family until five days later (Amnesty, 2019b). In total she was held in solitary confinement for nine days. During those days the security forces threatened to arrest the rest of her family, if she did not come out in public and express remorse for her actions. In the end she was sentenced to 16 years in prison and is currently incarnated in the Evin Prison (Amnesty, 2019a). The Evin Prison is notorious for keeping prisoners in solitary confinement and denying them access to their lawyers (Hislop, 2019, october). So what did she do to get this cruel treatment? She took off her headscarf. 

Aryani was detained for expressing her opinions, that the Iranian government should not be allowed to dictate what people wear. She expressed her believes in the most peaceful of ways, she took her scarf off and handed out flowers. By arresting her, the Iranian government has violated both articles 18 and 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UN, 1948). 

Article 19 states that every human has the right to express their opinions (UN, 1948). Aryani was doing that, by protesting against Iran forces women to cover their hair according to Islamic tradition. She was using that right to protest the violation of another Human Right, namely the right to freedom of religion, article 18. By arresting her, Iran has infringed on her right to opinion while she proteste the violation of religious freedom. Both religious freedom and freedom of speech encourage creativity, by stifling the rights you cripple people’s imagination. A country without creativity makes no forward steps, neither in society nor science.        

Unlike silencing someone for expressing their beliefs, arresting a person is not a violation against Human Rights, but the way they are treated in arrest can be. According to the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights everyone is entitled to a fair trial (UN, 1948), the one Yasaman Aryani had was anything but that. Being threatened and having your family threatened is not something considered fair, rather it is inhuman. Using intimidation as a way to force a confession is nothing but disgraceful. Besides it is compromising the integrity of your Rule of Law, it undermines Iran’s place in world politics. No one wants to negotiate with a country that does not endorse the legal system, it makes you seem untrustworthy and trust is the first step for a successful partnership.   

While I do understand that she broke one of your laws by removing her headscarf, the fact remains that you violate her Human Rights by making her wear one in the first place. In fact you violate the entire populations’ right to religious freedom with the Sharia laws (Globalis, 2016). They are the laws dictated by Islam, you are therefore forcing an entire population to abide by a religion that they have perhaps not chosen.

Yasaman Aryani was fortunate enough to be selected by Amnesty International’s write for right campaign. This means that she and Iran will get a lot of publicity in the following months. In Aryani’s case it is a good thing, for you Mr. Raisi, not so much. All of the negative attention can lead to a lot of stigmatization about Iran. I can already hear my classmates discussing Iran and Islam, and not in a good way. That is not how it should be, and hopefully you do not want it that way either. Iran has the potential to be a great country, you even signed the declaration in 1945, a whole year before Sweden did (UN, 1945). It is time to show everyone what a great country you can be, you just have to stop fearing changes.    

In conclusion, Yasaman Aryani was wrongly arrested and given an unfairly long sentence. The treatment she received while arrested was barbaric. Making people follow a religion they do not want too is a violation against the Human Rights. I urge you to release Yasaman Aryani immediately and unconditionally. Until the day she is a free woman I will worry for her safety, and I will continue to advocate for her release. Yasaman and her family deserves to live in freedom, without the fear of being persecuted or harassed.                            

Yours sincerely, 

Johanna Torstensson 

Here is a link for signing the petition for her release.

https://www.amnesty.org/en/get-involved/take-action/w4r-2019-iran-yasamin-aryani/

Reference list

Amnesty. (2019a). 16-years prison term for speaking up for women’s rights. Retrieved   2019-11-12 from   

http://writeathon.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Iran-Case-Card-min.pdf

Amnesty. (2019b). Iran: Release women’s rights defenders detained for peacefully protesting against forced veiling. Retrieved 2019-11-12 from  

https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2019/04/iran-release-womens-rights-defenders-detained-for-peacefully-protesting-against-forced-veiling/

Globalis. (2016). Iran. Retrieved 2019-11-12 from 

https://www.globalis.se/Laender/Iran

Hislop, M. (2019, October).Yasaman Aryani took off her headscarf & was sentenced to 16 years in prison. Women’s Agenda. Available at  

UN. (1945). Growth in United Nations membership, 1945-present. Retrieved 2019-12-09 from 

https://www.un.org/en/sections/member-states/growth-united-nations-membership-1945-present/index.html

UN. (1948). Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Retrieved 2019-11-12 from 

https://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/

I just really want to be home alone

Before we moved I used to walk home from school and then spent a couple of hours alone. After we moved that was no longer an option. It didn’t matter how early school ended, I never got any alone-time. Partly because I depend on my parents to get home and partly because at least one of them tends to work from home. It’s the same on weekends, someone is always home. Perhaps not in the house, but on the land. The house is smaller as well, so there is no way to avoid people. Before we moved, I tended to hide away in the basement, that is no longer possible.

Instead I close the door to my room and play loud music in order to not hear the rest of my family. The music has the added bonus of scaring away my mother who can’t stand loud noises. The only thing is that a closed door makes me feel even more trapped, which is the exact thing we are trying to avoid.  

When that is not enough I jump out of my window and hide away somewhere else. That is not really easy either, since there are always people around in some way. There tend to always be someone in the stable, so it’s not really an ideal place to be alone, and the only other building we have is full of crap, and generally unpleasant to be in. Then there is my neighbour who has a stable with lots of horses, and people. But not enough horses and people so you can hide away in the anonymity that is a group. The only place left is the forest, but they have just taken down a lot of it, so it’s no longer possible to sneak out there without people noticing. Also, it’s not fun to be in a forest during the winter. 

There is nowhere to go either, no public place where you can just be one in the mass. The closest place open for the public, where you can sit down and spend some time is the church. I don’t like religious tinks, and yet I have gone to church multiple times to be left alone. Often under the pretense of taking pictures, or just going biking. 

When I have felt the most trapped I have contemplated just running away to Gothenburg and telling my parents when I have already arrived. The biggest reason why I have not done this, is not for my parents sake, it’s because we life so fucking rural that there is no buses during the weekend, and the closest place to catch a bus is like 5 km away. It’s not like it’s easy to sneak all that way without anyone noticing you’re gone.

Often I just dream about going to Göteborgs Konstmuseum and staring at my favorite painting for some time. Or spontaneously visiting my best friend, the only person that I have no trouble spending all my time with. Or I want to sit in the library, blissfully lost in the mass of people. But most often I just want to walk in the city, all by myself.    

On the topic of disappearing, my record is like four hours, it was during spring/summer, and I spent one hour in the forest and then sneaked back and hid in the attic. Our attic is not a nice place. It’s cold and dirty. After those hours I felt kind of better and came forward again.    

I can count on my hand the last few times I got time for myself, it was a couple of hours on a Sunday recently, and then a little time alone during the summer. Not enough! 

Between 7 and -9 grade I felt pretty bad, most of it had to do with the school I was at, the environment wasn’t for me. But I can’t help to think that living where I do, and not having time for myself had a part of it too. Whenever I feel down today, it’s because those factors.    

It’s not like I even want the alone-time to do anything special, or bad. I just don’t want to have public when I go riding for the first time in months. I want to be alone when I finish that long project so I can evaluate if I liked it alone. I don’t want an audience when taking self timed photos of me, I feel stupid enough alone. But most of all, I just don’t want to be around people.    

Now I’m going to lie down on my floor, feel sorry for myself and possibly cry a little. But most of all, I’m going to dream about a time when I don’t have to be around my family all the time. After that I might jump out of my window again.

The history of me reading

It all started before I was born… No seriously, studies say that a child growing up with parents that like reading, are more likely to develop the interest themselves. My parents were big readers, so I picked up the habit myself. 

I, like most children learnt to read in school, and then it became my biggest passion. The first books I remember reading were these really popular books about fairies. There was always a seven part series, and the story would repeat itself over and over again, but with different kinds of fairies. 

Then came second-grade. The year was 2010, I was eight years old and every one was still talking about Harry Potter, mostly the movies. Like every child at that age, I wanted to watch the Harry Potter movies, but my dad said that I had to read the books first. Unfair, I thought, but fine. And so it began, I started reading the first one and I took it with me everywhere. I still have clear memories of dragging the fifth one with me to school everyday. That book is a thousand pages and for eight year old me, it weighed a ton. Still, thanks to my dedication it took me less than a year to finish them all. 

By then I was hooked, I was reading everything that I got my hands on. My father and I used to go to our local library every third week and fill at least one big Desigual bag with books. It didn’t take long for me to move from the children part of the library to the young adult part. Not long after, I was reading real adult novels. 

Reading wasn’t really popular in my class, it was basically me and three other kids that liked it. Only one of them read as much as me. We bonded over our shared love for literature and favorite books sometime around 2012. Together we would read and discuss all kinds of slightly inappropriate books. We were after all still just ten and reading fiction meant for adults. To this day she is still my best friend, and we still talk a lot about books, but we do now also have other connecting interest.

Around 2014 I, at one time, got really, really bored and spent too much time on the floor in our basement staring at the literal wall of books we had there, trying to find something to read. That’s when I noticed the Game of Thrones. We only had them in English, and I still couldn’t read in that language, so I had my dad buy them in Swedish for me. My father is a nice, chill guy that basically has allowed me to do whatever I want too, for as long as I have been alive. So he didn’t consider that perhaps those books was a bit to brutal for a twelve year old. Still, I liked them.

In 2015 I could finally read good enough in English to understand a book, so what did I read? I read Harry Potter fanfiction. I toned down on actual paper books and started reading online, mostly Harry Potter, but also other fandoms. And let me tell you, fanfiction can be just as good, or better, than regular fiction. 

In early 2018 I started reading actual books again, mostly thanks to my awful Swedish teacher. At least something great came out of my ninth grade Swedish class. Nowadays I read a mix of fantasy and books considered classics. I prefer reading in English, mostly because I often read things written by English authors and the original version is better than the translated one. I’m looking forward to the day that I can read in French. I’m actively avoiding French authors until I can read the original piece.        

Disclaimer: My mother is innocent in all of this, she had little knowledge of what I was reading, and Game of Thrones wasn’t popular when I started it, ergo, she had no idea it was bad. And library day was with dad. He should be blamed for it all.

What I did during the break; Or what happens when I have to much free time

Monday

This was a fun day, I had two goals and failed at both, but I succeeded in other ways. The first thing I did that day was grocery shopping with my father. I mostly joined in other to buy makeup remover and dry shampoo. The store had neither*. I got sad and bought apples instead, with the intent to bake an apple pie at a later.

 My other project of the day was to organize the three disorganized drawers/shelves in my closet. The drawers went fine, but then came the shelve from hell. Instead of taking it on I cleaned out and organized the hallway clothes hanger and the first wardrobe. No one had done that in ages, and I managed to fill a bag worth of clothes to get rid of. My favorite part was the mittens that fit a infant and the scarf my father had no idée he owned. Also the fact that I now have my very own drawer and don’t have to share with my brother. 

You would not believe how this place looked before I got my hands on it

Tuesday

Me, my father and my brother went to a museum. Our original plan was to go to the museum of the sea, Sjöfartsmuseet, but it turned out that they were renovating and it was closed. Then we thought,” let’s go to the city museum, Stadsmuseet. But it’s hell to park there so we ended up close to Maritiman and went there instead. In the end it was probably a good choice, I don’t think that my brother would have enjoyed Stadsmuseet. Also Maritiman is the best museum in the city, you get to climb around in an old warship and a submarine, they have other boats to but they aren’t as big or as much fun. 

Boats♥

In the afternoon I was planning to continue with the wardrobe clean-out but mom wouldn’t let me. I think that she was afraid to get more than one bag of clear out clothes to take care of. Instead I finally tackled my shelf from hell. The shelf turned out pretty well, but I now have a dress in my pants drawer because it doesn’t fit anywhere else, so I’m going to have to fix that.  

In the evening we went to the local galleria wear I finally could by dry shampoo and makeup remover. Also bought hair-ties and hair rollers. Then went home and tried to roll my hair, it did not go well so no pictures.                     

Wednesday 

I started watching Interior Design Masters on netflix while doing some studying. Then I realised that I was spending all of the daylight indoors and that was bad. So my plan was to take some outfit pictures with the family camera, only it was out of battery. So I texte dad to ask him wear the chargers was and he said that we apparently had some spare batteries upstairs. Afters some searching I finally found them and put them in, only for it to turn out that they too was out of energy. My dad no longer has responsibility over the batteries. In the end the pictures was taken and I got all the camera equipment in my room.

In the afternoon I watched the rest of Interior Design Masters, sadly my favorit did not win. I also finished the english homework that wasn’t actually necessary to finish and I still hadn’t started on school work that would have been good to do.

Thursday 

 Wrote some, and felt sorry for my shelf. Also played video games.

Friday 

Woke up late again. Then had an honest conversation with my mum about how vacation makes me a mess, apparently she had the same problem growing up. Felt quite nice to know that I wasn’t the only one. Also it solidify my plan to study during the summer, college courses hear I come. The we finally baked the apple pie, and it was delicious. Also wrote some.

Look at this beauty 

Saturday 

Made myself wake up early, no one else did. When the clock tournd 10.30 I started getting worried, but I had a cat in my lap and I want that worried. The family finally got up shortly after. Also, finished cleaning my room. Changed the sheets and it is now finally vacuumed. Normally it happens more often, but I thought that my father was going to do it way before I got sick and he just changed his mind and didn’t tell me. Who does that?? How was I supposed to now that? I didn’t realized it until it was too late and I was already sick.   

Sunday 

Drove our mini tractor in our paddock in  order to evening out, it took a long time but I got to listen to music at the same time so I was fine. Finally started studying, even though it wasn’t until the afternoon. Still, got a lot of studying done that day. Then, in the evening, I went to my grandmother and spent the night there. That meant that I could go up 45 minutes later and still be on time on Monday  

*In order to be fair to Citygross I feel like I ought to mention that they do in fact have makeup removing wipes but I was looking for the liquid kind.      

How to look put together when sick and forced to interact with other humans. 

The most important part is to wear clothes that you find comfortable, so start with choosing a pair of nice pants. Now, I’m a bit weird, and actually likes wearing jeans even when sick and that makes looking put together much easier but it isn’t a must. 

For the top; it’s most important to stay warm and cosey. I would wear a oversized sweatshirt. To make it look more stylde, tuck a part of the shirt in the pants. Believe me it makes a lot of a difference. Also if you’re wearing a belt then it’s nice to show it of.

The best and easiest way to look styled is to match the color of your shoe to your top/jacket. I like wearing a boot with room for a big warm knitted sock, since I can’t stand the feeling of walking in knitted socks I wear a pair of regular socks underneath. 

I have the great fortune of owning a pair of matching boots and jacket, those are my go to when feeling down. The most important thing is to choose a warm and comfortable jacket.  

Another tip is to make sure to take a shower before going out, especially to wash your hair. You won’t believe how much better you will feel after showering.            

Another great part of being sick is that I showed up so sporadically that I could were the same outfit for three weeks without feeling like I was repeating outfits. 

The don’ts of dressing while sick.

Don’t try to experiment, you are sick, take it easy.

Don’t wear materials that takes energy to be compatible with. I can wear corduroy, but it takes energy that I don’t have when sick. Always choose fabrics that you can stand to 100%. 

Don’t go out if you are way to sick, like I did. Also don’t care about these advices if you don’t want to. The most important part of getting dressed when sick is to dress in a way that makes you feel better. I feel better when looking put together, so this works great for me.   

The one outfit I wore for three school-weeks, which basically was four days, not in a row.

Why being sick sucks a lot more when you’re autistic

I just had a biology test and it didn’t go as well as I wanted, and I want to blame it all having been sick on and off for three weeks. 

Being sick isn’t good for any one, but it is extra bad if you are autistic. Being sick doesn’t just mean that I miss school, it destroys all of my routines. So beside feeling off because of having a fever I also feel off because I can’t do the things I like when I like to do them. 

For example I like sewing on Friday and Saturday nights, but when ill I can’t do that. Instead I get left with an uncomfortable feeling of incompleteness. Now take that feeling and multiply it with all the things I normally do during a day and add that to the already afulness that is having cold and you end up with what it feels like for me to be sick. 

We could also and on the stress of knowing that there is more and more schoolwork that you have to catch up on for every day that you are sick, and also knowing that you just don’t have the energy to start with it yet.

Thankfully I am now feeling a lot better, although the coughing from the bronchitis hasn’t given up. Yes, beside having a common cold I also got bronchitis, my life has been really fun the last three weeks. It was actually kind of fun the last two days when I was gone because it turns out I get really affected by coughing medicine. I have no idea what happened between 10 and 14 last Wednesday. 

The fact that I have a break next week meant that I felt comfortable writing this instead of studying, I only wish that the biology was after the break and not before it. 

Any way, there should be no reasons for me to not be posting regularly again, so my few followers, you have something to look forward to. I love being back in routine!