tiistai 30. elokuuta 2016

Emilia Kukkala ja Pontus Purokuru: Luokkavallan vahtikoirat - miten suomalaiset toimittajat auttavat eliittiä pysymään eliittinä

Emilia Kukkala ja Pontus Purokuru ottavat kantaa suomalaisen journalismin (alennus)tilaan: Luokkavallan vahtikoirat - miten suomalaiset toimittajat auttavat eliittiä pysymään eliittinä (Into, 2016; ISBN 978-952-264-557-9).

En voi olla miettimättä, olisiko Emilia Kukkalan ja Pontus Purokurun journalismia käsittelevä kirja erilainen, jos sen kirjoittaminen olisi tapahtunut Britannian EU-kansanäänestyksen tuloksen selvittyä. No, samalla tavalla kuin Britanniassa löytyy Suomestakin populistisia poliitikkoja jotka valtaa tavoitellessaan valehtelevat minkä ehtivät, häpeämättä edes valheiden paljastuttua.

Mutta se kieltämättä on oireellista, että journalismi, jota joskus syystäkin on pidetty yhteiskunnallisten epäkohtien paljastamiseen kykenevänä valtiomahtina, ei sellaista roolia enää itselleen ota, eikä tunnu tällaista roolia edes kaipaavan. Vallankäyttäjien taskuissa on mukava piileskellä, ja muutama kolikkokin saattaa näppeihin tarttua kun pelaa pelinsä oikein.

Media todella on "vallan vahtikoira". Se vahtii, ettei kukaan pääse horjuttamaan valtaa. Kuten muutkin työntekijät, myös toimittajat pelkäävät työpaikkojensa ja asuntolainojensa puolesta. He päästävät mediassa ääneen poliitikot ja niin sanotut asiantuntijat, mutta esimerkiksi työttömät, siirtolaiset ja seksityöläiset esitetään huolestuneen keskustelun ja kurinpidon kohteina. Lähiöitä ja "syrjäseutuja" kauhistellaan, mutta samalla keskiluokkaiset toimittajat hakevat näiltä pahamaineisiksi leimaamiltaan alueilta "rosoisuutta" ja väriä.

Miten media käyttää luokkavaltaa? Kenen näkemykset nostetaan mediassa esiin ja millä tavalla? Miten yhteiskunnan hierarkiat määrittävät julkista keskustelua? Mitkä ovat journalismin sokeat pisteet?

maanantai 29. elokuuta 2016

Kerry Greenwood: Flying too high

Kerry Greenwood kirjoittaa Australiaan sijoitettuja historiallisia seikkailuromaaneja, joissa Phryne Fisher selvittelee rikostapauksia ja seikkailee reipasotteisesti: Flying too high (Poisoned Pen Press, 2007; ISBN 978-1-59058-395-1).

Kirjasarjan toinen osa on lyhyt, 156 sivua, mutta tapahtumia riittää suorastaan hengästyttävästi, ja on suoranainen ihme että kirja pysyy jotenkuten kasassa. Tarina veti mukanaan, eikä lukemisessa kulunut kuin tovi. Ilmiselvästi kirjasarjan parissa pitää jatkaa eteenpäin.

Walking the wings of a Tiger Moth biplane in flight is excitement-enough for most people, but not Phryne Fisher, aviatrix, socialite, and private investigator. Whether she's seducing beautiful young men, foiling nefarious kidnappers, or simply deciding what to wear to dinner, Phryne handles everything with inimitable panache and flair.

In this, the second Phryne Fisher mystery, Australia's most glamorous detective flies even higher, handling murder, a kidnapping and the usual array of beaus—all before adjourning to the Queenscliff Hotel for breakfast.

sunnuntai 28. elokuuta 2016

Mary Balogh: The suitor jne.

Mary Balogh on urakoinut uskomattoman määrän historiallisia viihderomaaneja, ja niitä löytyy kirjastosta melkoinen pino. Lainasin toistakymmentä kirjaa, ja luin niitä läpi, hyppien yli kiusallisimmat kohdat.

Balogh osaa kirjoittaa, mutta toisaalta hän toistaa kirjasta toiseen suunnilleen samaa reseptiä, toisiinsa vetoa kokevasta pariskunnasta joiden onnen tiellä on kasa väärinkäsityksiä ja muita esteitä. Toisaalta kirjoissa on paikka paikoin uskottavan oloista historiallista ajankuvaa, eikä teksti kovin pahasti takkua, paljon kömpelömmälläkin tekstillä on bestseller-listojen kärkeen ylletty.

Moneen kirjaan liittyy todellisia historiallisia tapahtumia, jotka alkoivat siinä määrin kiinnostaa että Wikipediaa tuli selattua lukemisen ohessa romaanien taustojen selvittämiseksi.

The suitor (Random House Publishing Group, 2013; ISBN 978-0-345-54532-9)

If circumstances were different, Philippa Dean would be happy to fall in love with Viscount Darleigh. He is certainly the perfect gentleman and everything her parents want: titled, handsome, respectable. His blindness only reinforces his quiet power and strength. But Philippa does not love him. Her heart is already taken and there is only one thing she can do: Thwart the matchmaking plans. Julian Crabbe is desperate to rescue the woman he fell in love with two years ago. Then, he was a reckless cub, justly earning Philippa's parents' scorn. Now, he is every inch a respectable suitor and determined to prove it before it is too late. Intrude on the viscount's house party? Gladly. Interrupt the match of the season? Happily. For nothing can stop the power of a love that will not be denied.

Simply unforgettable (Piatkus, 2005; ISBN 978-0-7499-3688-4)

They meet in a ferocious snowstorm. She is a young teacher with a secret past. He is the cool, black-caped stranger who unexpectedly comes to her rescue. Between these two unlikely strangers, desire is instantaneous…and utterly impossible to resist. Stranded together in a rustic country inn, Lucius Marshall, who is the Viscount Sinclair, and Frances Allard share a night of glorious, unforgettable passion. But Frances knows her place–and it is far from the privileged world of the sensual aristocrat. Due to begin her teaching position at Miss Martin’s School in Bath, Frances must try to forget that one extraordinary night–and the man who touched her with such exquisite tenderness and abandon.

But Frances cannot hide forever. And when fate once again throws them together, Lucius refuses to take no for an answer. If Frances will not be his wife, he will make her his mistress. So begins an odyssey fraught with intrigue, one that defies propriety and shocks the straitlaced ton. For Lucius’s passionate, single-minded pursuit is about to force Frances to give up all her secrets–except one–to win the heart of the man she already loves.

Once again this incomparable storyteller captures a time and a place like no other. And in Lucius and Frances, Mary Balogh gives us her most unlikely lovers yet–a nobleman in search of the perfect wife and an unconventional woman willing to risk everything for an unforgettable love.

Simply love (Piatkus, 2009; ISBN 978-0-7499-3744-7)

New York Times bestselling author Mary Balogh returns to the elegance and sensuality of Regency England as she continues the enthralling story of four remarkable women–friends and teachers at Miss Martin’s School for Girls. At the center of this spellbinding novel is Anne Jewell, a teacher haunted by a scandalous past…until she meets a man who teaches her the most important lesson of all: nothing is simple when it comes to love.

She spies him in the deepening dusk of a Wales evening–a lone figure of breathtaking strength and masculinity, his handsome face branded by a secret pain. For single mother and teacher Anne Jewell, newly arrived with her son at a sprawling estate in Wales on the invitation of an influential friend, Sydnam Butler is a man whose sorrows–and passions–run deeper than she could have ever imagined.

As steward of a remote seaside manor, Sydnam lives a reclusive existence far from the pity and disdain of others. Yet almost from the moment Anne first appears on the cliffs, he senses in this lovely stranger a kindred soul, and between these two wary hearts, desire stirs. Unable to resist the passion that has rescued them both from loneliness, Anne and Sydnam share an afternoon of exquisite lovemaking. Now the unwed single mother and war-scarred veteran must make a decision that could forever alter their lives. For Sydnam, it is a chance to heal the pain of the past. For Anne, it is the glorious promise of a future with the man who will dare her to reveal her deepest secrets…before she can give him all her heart.

The ideal wife (Bantam Dell, 2008; ISBN 978-0-440-24462-2)

When Abigail Gardiner knocks at the door of Miles Ripley, Earl of Severn, the last thing she expects is a marriage proposal. Desperate, she’d come to this charismatic stranger’s home to plead for her future. Instead she shocks them both by saying yes. Her impulsive decision will have consequences neither she nor her new husband can foresee. For Miles has his own reasons for marrying her. And Abigail is harboring a secret of her own. As distrust gives way to desire . . . as, together, they give in to the pleasures of the marriage bed, a devastating scandal threatens their future. Now these two wary hearts will risk ruin and disgrace for a love that has changed them both forever—the kind all seek, but few ever find.

Only beloved (Piatkus, 2016; ISBN 978-0-349-41361-7)

For the first time since the death of his wife, the Duke of Stanbrook is considering remarrying and finally embracing happiness for himself. With that thought comes the treasured image of a woman he met briefly a year ago and never saw again.

Dora Debbins relinquished all hope to marry when a family scandal left her in charge of her younger sister. Earning a modest living as a music teacher, she’s left with only an unfulfilled dream. Then one afternoon, an unexpected visitor makes it come true.

For both George and Dora that brief first encounter was as fleeting as it was unforgettable. Now is the time for a second chance. And while even true love comes with a risk, who are two dreamers to argue with destiny?

Heartless (Signet Eclipse, 2015; ISBN 978-0-451-46973-1)

Life has taught Lucas Kendrick, Duke of Harndon, that a heart is a decided liability. Betrayed by his elder brother, rejected by his fiancée, banished by his father, and shunned by his mother, Luke fled to Paris, where he became the most sought-after bachelor in fashionable society.

Ten years later, fate has brought him back home to England as head of the family who rejected him. Unwilling as he is to be involved with them, he must assume responsibility for his younger siblings, the family estate he once loved—and the succession. He faces the prospect of marrying with the greatest reluctance—until he sees beguiling Lady Anna Marlowe across a ballroom one night.

Anna, far from being the bright-eyed innocent Luke takes her for, is no more a stranger to the shadows of a painful past than he is. But for her, marriage cannot so easily solve what is wrong in her life—not when a tormentor stalks her to the very doors of Bowden Abbey, where Luke and Anna must learn to trust in each other or risk any chance they may have for a happy future.

Silent melody (Signet Eclipse, 2015; ISBN 978-0-451-46971-7)

Lady Emily Marlowe is beautiful, independent, and unspoiled. Deaf since childhood, she appreciates her family’s efforts to nurture her spirit, but the man they’ve chosen for her betrothal can never fulfill her. The only one Emily has ever desired is bold and reckless Lord Ashley Kendrick. Her childhood amour inspired her fantasies and vowed never to forget her—even as he left her for a new life in India and a new love.

Seven years and countless dreams later, Ashley has returned a desolate widower to Bowden Abbey and, true to his promise, to Emily. Yet his heedless proposal of marriage has left her unexpectedly conflicted. Though the heat of passion still burns, Emily fears that it’s only a sense of duty—not love—that has brought him to bended knee. And what is she to make of those seven lost years clouded in secrets too dark for Ashley to share?

For Emily, her greatest and only love now becomes one worth fighting for, one of startling revelations and second chances, and one, like a melody, too beautiful for words.

Dark angel + Lord Carew's bride (Dell, 2009; ISBN 978-0-440-24544-5)

Jennifer Winwood has been engaged for five years to a man she hardly knows but believes to be honorable and good: Lord Lionel Kersey. Suddenly, she becomes the quarry of London’s most notorious womanizer, Gabriel Fisher, the Earl of Thornhill. Jennifer has no idea that she is just a pawn in the long-simmering feud between these two headstrong, irresistible men—or that she will become a prize more valuable than revenge.

Jennifer’s cousin Samantha Newman is smarting after she too is toyed with by Lord Kersey. In the midst of her heartbreak, she seeks solace from her new friend, the disabled gardener Hartley Wade. If only she knew that Hartley is secretly Lord Carew, and that he hides more than extraordinary wealth: a passionate secret held deep in his heart that only her love can reveal.

More than a mistress (Dell Books, 2010; ISBN 978-0-440-22601-7)

She races onto the green, desperate to stop a duel. In the melée, Jocelyn Dudley, Duke of Tresham, is shot. To his astonishment, Tresham finds himself hiring the servant as his nurse. Jane Ingleby is far too bold for her own good. Her blue eyes are the sort a man could drown in—were it not for her impudence. She questions his every move, breaches his secrets, touches his soul. When he offers to set her up in his London town house, love is the last thing on his mind.

Jane tries to pretend it’s strictly business, an arrangement she’s been forced to accept in order to conceal a dangerous secret. Surely there is nothing more perilous than being the lover of such a man. Yet as she gets past his devilish façade and sees the noble heart within, she knows the greatest jeopardy of all, a passion that drives her to risk everything on one perfect month with the improper gentleman who thinks that love is for fools.

Beyond the sunrise (Signet Eclipse, 2015; ISBN 978-0-451-46969-4)

Even at fifteen, Jeanne, the privileged daughter of a royalist émigré, knew what she liked: Englishman Robert Blake, bastard son of a marquess. Yet his questionable birth rendered him forbidden. Forced to part, they were still young enough to believe in tomorrow. But as time passed, that brief ephemeral flirtation at Haddington Hall faded into memory.

Eleven years later in Portugal, during the Peninsular Wars, they meet again, both of them spies, and destined to be working on opposing sides. He is now a captain with the British army. She is the widowed Marquesa das Minas—sometimes going by the name Joana da Fonte. However for only one of them does the flicker of recognition still burn.

Amid the fury of war and in the shadow of secrets, passion flares once again. But for Joana and Robert, each entrusted to a dangerous mission that demands deception, falling in love could be the most dangerous risk of all.

Longing (Signet Eclipse, 2015; ISBN 978-0-451-46975-5)

The illegitimate daughter of an English lord, Sian Jones abandoned her heritage to live in a stalwart coal mining community in South Wales. Empowered by their cause, she’s engaged to be married to the leader of a revolutionary movement that is bracing itself against the tyranny of English mine owners. But Sian’s principles are unexpectedly shaken when she accepts a job as governess under Alexander Hyatt, the mysterious Marquess of Craille, the oppressive symbol of everything she has come to resist.

She never expected Alexander to upend all her expectations. He is sympathetic to her cause. He is a loving father. A man of wealth and position, he is fatally attractive. And he is offering his heart to the independent woman who has illuminated his life. Now, caught between two worlds, and between the promises and desires of two men, Sian must make a choice that will define her future—one that can only be made in the name of love.

lauantai 27. elokuuta 2016

Terri Meeker: Not quite Darcy

Terri Meekerin romaanissa matkustetaan nykyajasta 1870-luvun Englantiin, ja yritetään ymmärtää tuon ajan yhteiskunnan kummallisia sääntöjä ja ajatusmalleja: Not quite Darcy (Samhain Publishing, 2015; ISBN 978-1-61922-454-4).

Ajassa matkustamisella leikitteleviä historiallisia romaaneja on melkoinen pino, eikä tämä ole vakavasti otettavaa lajia. Toisaalta teoksessa on mukavasti arkipäivän kommelluksista kumpuavaa huumoria, vaikka aika ajoin tuntuukin siltä että ajassa matkustavan Eliza Pepperin tyhjäpäisyys on kertakaikkisen raivostuttavaa.

Romance novel junkie Eliza Pepper always thought she was born too late, but now she really is stuck in the wrong time. Tasked with mending a tear in the timeline, she's trying desperately to fit into 1873 London. But dang it, mucking out a fireplace while looking like the lunch lady from hell is hard.

If she can just keep from setting the floor on fire and somehow resist her growing attraction to the master of the house, she'll be fine. All she has to do is repeat her mantra: "He's nothing like Darcy. He's nothing like Darcy."

William Brown has always taken pride in his mastery of English decorum, but his new maid is a complete disaster, has thrown his household into chaos...and he finds her utterly captivating.

Though he's willing to endure extreme physical discomfort to keep their relationship in proper perspective, her arrival has brought out a side of him he never knew existed. And Eliza has an innocently erotic knack for coaxing that decidedly ungentlemanly facet of himself out to play.

perjantai 26. elokuuta 2016

Julie McElwain: A Murder in Time

Julie McElwainin historiallisessa romaanissa FBI:n tutkija matkustaa ajassa 200 vuotta taaksepäin, ja joutuu sopeutumaan palvelusväen elämään tuon ajan Englannissa: A Murder in Time (Pegasus Books, 2016; ISBN 9781681771151).

Nykyajan osaaminen kuolemansyyntutkinnassa on luonnollisesti hyödyksi, kun aikamatkustaja saa ratkottavakseen sarjan väkivallantekoja. Mutta elämä piian roolissa ei oikein ota onnistuakseen, kun luokkayhteiskunnan pelisäännöt eivät ole tuttuja.

Saman kaltaista aikamatkailun teemaa on hyödynnetty historiallisissa romaaneissa jopa kiusallisen usein, mutta jotenkuten romaani kuitenkin pysyy kasassa. Tosin aika monessa kohdin nykyajan tietämys ja puheenparret menevät kiusallisesti ristiin sen kanssa, mitä tuon ajan ihmiset ajattelivat tai ymmärsivät maailmasta. Näppärästi kirjoitettu romaani tämä kuitenkin on, kelvollinen luettavaksi.

Beautiful and brilliant, Kendra Donovan is a rising star at the FBI. Yet her path to professional success hits a speed bump during a disastrous raid where half her team is murdered, a mole in the FBI is uncovered and she herself is severely wounded. As soon as she recovers, she goes rogue and travels to England to assassinate the man responsible for the deaths of her teammates.

While fleeing from an unexpected assassin herself, Kendra escapes into a stairwell that promises sanctuary but when she stumbles out again, she is in the same place - Aldrich Castle - but in a different time: 1815, to be exact.

Mistaken for a lady's maid hired to help with weekend guests, Kendra is forced to quickly adapt to the time period until she can figure out how she got there; and, more importantly, how to get back home. However, after the body of a young girl is found on the extensive grounds of the county estate, she starts to feel there's some purpose to her bizarre circumstances. Stripped of her twenty-first century tools, Kendra must use her wits alone in order to unmask a cunning madman.