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Showing posts from October, 2013

Tulipomania by Mike Dash - Book Beginnings on Friday Challenge

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Since we are popping over to Amsterdam for the weekend I thought it would be interesting to read something connected to Holland. Recently I found a reference to 'Tulipomania' by historian Mike Dash as a reference book for an historical novel. Tulipomania is the name for a period in the Dutch Golden Age in the beginning of the 17th century during which prices for tulip bulbs which had then recently been introduced to Europe reached extraordinarily high levels and then suddenly collapsed. Do we see here a forerunner to modern share markets?  "The Viceroy", from a 1637 Dutch catalog. Price between 3,000 and 4,150  guilders (florins)  depending on size. A skilled craftsman at the timeearned about 300 guilders a year. Just starting it and it is bound to be a fascinating book. During the years 1633-37 there was a boom in the prices of tulip bulbs than can only be compared to the frenzy of shares today. Fortunes were made and lost over night. People paid more for a tul

La liste de mes envies (My Wish List) by Grégoire Delacourt - European Reading Challenge

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In the European Reading Challenge I have said I will read five books from five different European countries. This is the first one and as you see it is a French book (although I read it in Swedish, my French is not that good). This is about Jocelyne an ordinary French woman or any woman. Her life did not exactly turned out the way she dreamed of. She is living in a small French town, married to Jocelyn and have two children (one child died at birth). She has a small haberdashery and she also has a blog about sewing, knitting and similar handicraft. Nothing much happens in her life. The prose is very calm, down to earth and you can feel the eventless life slowly pacing on. The neighbouring shop is run by her friends which are also twin sisters. They always play the lotto and convinces Jocelyne to play as well. She pays 2 euros for a lotto shine from the machine and wins 18 million euro (or 18 547 301 euro and 28 cents)! She is shocked and doesn't know what to do. She receives a ch

Charles Dickens: A Life by Claire Tomalin

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Charles Dickens has been hot the last year, mainly since 2012 was the 200 anniversary of his birth, but also because after all this time his books are still read and admired. The book about his life that I have read is a brick stone of around 500 pages written by Claire Tomalin. Claire Tomalin is a new acquaintance to me but she will become a close friend in the future. This is an excellently written biography and when you look at the list of books by the same author you have a very interesting list of biographies that she has written. Can't wait to read about Mary Wollstonecraft, Shelly, Katherine Mansfield, Jane Austen, Samuel Pepys and Thomas Hardy. Back to this book. It is a very thorough and very detailed book. It really must cover most aspects of his life. It covers his younger years, the beginning of his carrier as a journalist, his marriage to Catherine Hogart, his carrier as a writer, his travels (America, Italy, France) his friends, family and monetary problems etc etc.

Book Beginnings on Fridays - New Challenge

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I just joined this very interesting challenge. I love a good beginning of a book. The sentence(s) that capture you from page 1. Anna's website: www.annabelfrage.com/Home/ For my first 'beginning' within this challenge I start with the book I am presently reading; A Rip in the Veil by Anna Belfrage. This is about time travelling which is not really my very favourite theme of a book or movie (although I loved Back to the Future) however this book is rather fascinating. It is about Alexandra Lind who suddenly disappears without a trace. She finds herself transferred to 1658 on the deserted moors of Scotland (same place as where she disappeared in). The transfer is rather violent and she is injured but is luckily found by a nice guy Matthew Graham. Although it turns out that this guy has run away from the gaol and there are soldiers all over the place to hunt them. In parallel you follow the people she left behind. It turns out that there are more time travellers aroun

Rhett Butler's People by Donald McCaig

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I just don't understand how I could have missed this book which came out already in 2007! Me being a fan of Gone With the Wind  and all. Unlike the sequel Scarlett  by Alexandra Ripley this is not a sequel but takes place at the same time as the story in Gone With the Wind but seen from another angle; that is Rhett Butler and his people. It is an absolutely fantastic book and a MUST for fans of Gone With the Wind. Reading about the American south, in the south of Europe, with a glas of rose overlooking the Mediterranian Hmmm, not bad The book follows Rhett Butler and his family from his young years. His parents, brother and his sister who plays the biggest part. There are his childhood friends and the life in Charleston at the time. As the story evolves we also get to meet Scarlett, Melanie and Ashley Wilkes, Miss Pittypat, Mammy, Belle Watling and other old friends. He weaves a fantastic story but wholly credible around these people. The most impressive part is in the way

Hampton Court, Henry VIII and others

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Last weekend of September my husband and I went to London for the weekend. It is very convenient with Eurostar from Brussels centre to London centre. We are favourable with friends who have an apartment in London where we can stay (thanks a lot R & M). On Friday evening we enjoyed some lovely tapas in a Spanish restaurant and on Saturday we went to Barbacoa one of Jamie Oliver's restaurant. I think I don't have to mention how heavenly that meal was! Saturday we spent at Hampton Court which was absolutely fabulous. I visited it many years ago but can only remember the maze (probably because I panicked when I couldn't get out of there)! The castle has recently been renovated and the tours through the various apartments is a real treat. Furthermore, the audio guides are really great and give you exactly what you need to know to enjoy what you see. Hampton Court is forever connected to Henry VIII who never cease to fascinate us. However, part of the castle was renovated

Nobel Prize in Literature 2013 - Alice Munro

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We are heading towards the end of the year. In Sweden this is the time of the Nobel Prizes. In October when the prizes are announced and on 10 December when the prizes are delivered the eyes of most of the world is turned on Sweden. This is all due to one man, Alfred Nobel (1833-1896). He was a chemist, engineer, innovator and armaments manufacturer. He held 350 different patents of which dynamite was the most famous. In his will most of his money went into the establishment of the Nobel Prize. The receivers of the scientific prizes are mostly unknown to the general public, but we normally can engage ourselves a little bit more in the prizes for literature and peace (given out in Norway). Especially the prize in literature. Having said that, I think this is probably the most controversial one. To the general public it seems it is often given to writers you have never heard about. Ok, it is fine we are happy to try a new writer. But many of them - at least I think so - are very diffic

A wonderful bookshop

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Hello again. I have been away for ten days and believe it or not no real access to the internet. At least not in such a comfortable environment where I can write something on my blog. But, I have not been lazy, been reading a lot and also visited a wonderful antiquarian bookshop in Palma city on Mallorca. And I want to share this experience with you. Fitfh & Bond Fine Books (The English Bookshop, Calle Morey 7, Palma (just off Plaza Santa Eulalia - nottinghillbook@hotmail.com) is situated in the old city of Palma, its surrounding very fitting. You come inside and there are books absolutely everywhere. There are some small paths without books and here is where you have to carefully walk along. The whole place is like a labyrinth and where ever you turn there is a book case or books lying on the floor in piles. You come in on the top floor and work yourself downward 3-4 floors. When you are at the bottom of the shop you quietly wonder whether you will find your way up again! You