Καλή Παρασκευή σε όλους!
Yes, I’m aware that isn’t Swedish. However, since I am currently in Greece and not Sweden like I’d originally planned, I thought it’d only be fair to greet you in the local language. After all, there’s still going to be plenty of Swedish in the rest of this post!
Anyway, if you’ve been around for a while, you’ll know that I’m also obsessed with Duolingo, an app that allows you to dabble in all sorts of languages for free. And since you guys seemed to really enjoy my book recommendations based on weird Duolingo sentences and I had a ton of fun writing them, I thought: Why not do this again? 🤗 Ever since I wrote that previous post, I’ve been steadily collecting even more questionable quotes. And due to me recently hitting a 500-day Duolingo streak, I’ve decided that now is the perfect time to share them with you!
In contrast to last time, though, all of today’s sentences will be Swedish ones. Which actually wasn’t planned at all! True, I’ve been investing the majority of my Duolingo time into Swedish, but I have also been dabbling in Russian, Spanish, Polish, and – most recently – Greek. Like, duh. When I learned I was coming here, I had to familiarize myself with the language at least a little! However, the only remotely weird sentence I encountered in any one of those languages was this one:
Which I couldn’t for the life of me find a book recommendation for! I mean, I guess the Percy Jackson series at least has blue food, but pink bread??? I was totally lost. So I just decided to stick to Swedish because I do have a few recs for you there!
Maybe I’m just not familiar enough with Swedish culture to realize that cheese slicers are a perfectly ordinary part of Scandinavian everyday life, but to me, it seems as though Duolingo is oddly obsessed with these devices. Like, why is “cheese slicer” one of the first food-related words the app makes you learn? How is being able to rudely demand that someone to give you a cheese slicer useful? Why would anyone own a cheese slicer in the first place, when you can just cut your cheese using a knife? Let alone multiple cheese slicers? What would you need those for? And how incompetent do you have to be to break all of them? My confusion is real, so please, if any of you Swedes out there can explain this to me, I am all ears!
Still, if there’s anyone I could see using a cheese slicer, it would be Emoni Santiago from Elizabeth Acevedo’s With the Fire on High. An aspiring chef, Emoni is constantly on the lookout for new recipes and kitchen skills, and I’m sure that proper cheese slicing is something she’d be very passionate about. And as a single mom fighting her way through high school, she’s got self-assertive bossiness down to a T. I wouldn’t put it past her to yell at her co-workers to give her a cheese slicer the moment she realized she needed one.
And So The Lion Stalked the Sleeping Lamb…
Stalker stories can be creepy enough if you read them from the perspective of the victim. Particularly if that victim sees no problem at all with the stalking and ends up falling for the man who has creepily climbed through her bedroom window to watch her sleep at night. But when you read the same story through the eyes of the stalker and get to intricately experience his lovesick plans to follow his victim home and oil her bedroom window so that he will have better access, it gets decidedly more creepy – and hilarious!
Oh my god, I never expected I’m-super-hot-and-super-old-and-sparkle-in-the-sunlight Edward Cullen to be so emo and self-aware, but the fact that he was made reading Midnight Sun in conjunction with Twilight an absolute blast. Watching this “sick, masochistic lion” fall in love with his “stupid lamb” and ogle at her while she slept, first in her own bed and then in the ridiculous golden one he bought for her, had me snorting with laughter and simultaneously deeply nostalgic 🤣 So how can I not recommend these books?
If I thought the cheese slicers were weird, it’s nothing compared to Duolingo’s fixation with eating ants. With the number of sentences about people finding ants in their food or even voluntarily devouring them, I was seriously starting to wonder whether there might be a second meaning to the word “ant” that I had hitherto not known about. Maybe ants were some kind of typical Swedish food? 🤔
But anyway – for those of you with similar tastes to Duo’s (and yes, that pun was 100% intended 😜), I’ve got the perfect book: What Does an Anteater Eat? by Ross Collins! Since this picture book is about Anteater, an anteater who has forgotten what anteaters eat and has to ask other animals for help, I think it will be right up your alley!
Speaking of animals, let’s move on to tigers. Because, let’s face it, Duo, the sentence “The Tiger thinks you look like a good person” has me at least as disturbed as “The bear likes the vegetarian”, which we already covered last time. In a similarly ambiguous manner, this statement leaves it rather open what exactly, being a “good person” entails. Is this about morality? Or are we being more sinister here and talking about eating people? Because after all those ants, I wouldn’t put it past you!
Whatever the case, Yann Martel’s Life of Pi fits perfectly here. Not entirely unambiguous itself, this is the story of a boy who gets shipwrecked with a tiger. And there’s plenty of devouring and morality, too…
Bodies, Kidnappers, and Murderers
In order to maintain my Duolingo streak, I have often had to resort to late-night language learning sessions. I mean, what am I supposed to do when I realize at 11:57 p.m. that I’ve been neglecting the app all day?
That creepy green owl might disagree with my methods, though. Whenever I procrastinate particularly badly, it seems to throw particularly disturbing sentences my way. Which I’m convinced are a form of punishment! There’s nothing quite like reading about people in lakes, being stopped from returning home, or men with knives hiding around your house in the middle of the night, right? What better way to celebrate witching hour?
So yeah, if you’re a fan of the creepy like Duo, I highly recommend checking out Chris Priestley’s Tales of Terror. This is a trilogy of short story anthologies, all three of which are filled with tales of the supernatural, grotesque, and highly disturbing. They include some of my absolute favorite ghost stories out there – so go read them if you love a bit of creepily macabre content from time to time!
Kissing Choices and Letter Mishaps
If you’re a bit picky about choosing your love interests but, despite all odds, end up with multiple potential candidates, you probably shouldn’t solve the problem by selecting several boyfriends and accidentally sending them letters they weren’t intended to have. Well, unless you’re in a polyamorous relationship and want to spice things up a little, I guess.
Otherwise, things might get embarrassing… Particularly if you don’t just accidentally send a letter to one of your crushes, but five of them. However, I suppose things worked out for To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before‘s protagonist Lara Jean Covey in the end, so maybe this tactic isn’t actually as bad as it seems at first?
Duo’s Guide to Insults
Sometimes, I really wonder how truthful Duolingo is about its mission to facilitate understanding between cultures by enabling people to learn each other’s languages… Because, let’s face it – I’m kind of skeptical whether the sentences it teaches you always facilitate understanding 😅 In every language I’ve used the app for so far, “You are ugly” is part of the basic curriculum. And I’m just not sure whether I’d be that well received if I ever used that sentence while abroad.
R. J. Palacio’s Wonder, in contrast, does wonders (nope, I am not getting rid of the terrible puns any time soon 🙃) in trying to get you to see other perspectives. A middle-grade novel following a young boy with cerebral palsy who attends public school for the first time and faces quite a bit of bullying due to his appearance, this is ultimately one of the most heart-warming and multi-facetted stories I’ve ever come across!
Strange Bed Guests
I sincerely hope I will never have to ask the question of who has slept in my bed – if anyone apart from me wants access, they need my prior approval! And I think I would probably remember giving it, unless I’d suddenly started suffering from dementia or something. Which is an even less appealing alternative to the people secretly sleeping in my bed one.
However, as far as book recommendations relating to creepy bed stealers go, I’ve got you covered. Just go read Snow White! Honestly, that girl is lucky the dwarves ended up being so forgiving because it might have taken me quite a bit longer to warm up to some gigantic stranger who mysteriously turned up in my house… And, while you’re at it, you might as well read the rest of the Grimm’s fairytales, too. There’s a whole bunch of other disturbing content in there for you to devour! 🥰
Do you need anatomy lessons, Duo? Your biology knowledge seems to be a bit off here…
Unless, of course, if we’re talking about griffins! These mythological winged cats are some of my favorite fantasy creatures ever, so obviously, I adored them playing a role in Tamora Pierce’s Protector of the Small Quartet. The third series set in the medievalesque kingdom of Tortall, these four books follow Keladry of Mindelan, the first girl to openly train to be a female knight at court. And although it can’t quite compete with the love I have for the Song of the Lioness Quartet, I’d still highly recommend it!
Nope, marrying multiple people is strictly forbidden – at least here in Europe. Like, what did you expect? It took us Germans until 2017 to legalize gay marriage! We’re definitely too conservative to authorize anything polygamous, even if all parties involved are on board with the union.
In some cases, though, being legally forced to stick to one partner might be good thing… Because if you’re a creepy old man who already has one wife locked in his attic and hasn’t told his new fiancée a thing about her competition, no marriage might be the better option. Just read Jane Eyre if you don’t believe me!
Anyway, that was already it for today! Let me know which of these sentences you found the weirdest and whether you’ve read any of the books mentioned here 🤗 Do you agree with my pairings? If not, which books would you have recommended instead? I would love to know!
(Also, sorry in advance if it takes me forever to get to your comments – Greece is simply so interesting that it’s demanding all of my attention at the moment! 🤩🇬🇷🤩)