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Showing posts from March, 2014

Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad

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A while ago I read Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. Although I enjoyed the writing I did not like the story. Living in Belgium means that the Congo pops up regularly. I read an excellent account of the times there in King Leopold's Ghost by Adam Hochschild. I must admit that Heart of Darkness  I found rather confusing. Having read Lord Jim, which I loved, I might have to re-read Heart of Darkness. I will possibly see it in another light now. The book is narrated by captain Marlow who was also the narrator and traveller to Congo in Heart of Darkness . Jim is a very conscience person and in the beginning of the book he looses his honour as a sea officer. Together with the rest of the crew, who are more or less on the downward run in life, he leaves the boat (more or less on the command of the captain) with 800 pilgrims aboard. Jim was set to try to save the people but the fear makes him paralysed. When the crew finally make it back to harbour a trial is awaiting them. All exce

Are some writers too productive for the Nobel Prize?

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I read an interesting article the other day (Göran Everdahl in 'Vi Läser' (We are Reading) on the productivity of writers. Does the literary world look down on writers that write a lot of books, being synonym with; the fewer books the better quality? It is an interesting question and could it be true? Can some writers write several books a year and still keep up the quality? The interest in their stories? Or are the real writers those who struggle to finish a book every three year? P.G. Wodehouse died in 1975 when he was 93 years old. He wrote five hours a day for the bigger part of his life. With so much writing you just can't publish three books! He was very popular among the general public but also with colleagues like Evelyn Waugh and George Orwell. I think most of us would put the two latter writers in another category of literature as Wodehouse. But does that mean that Wodehouse books are less literary? To be sure the readers probably enjoy Wodehouse's books mor

Sleepy Hollow

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In the last year I have watched a lot of TV series that I have missed the last years. I prefer to see them at one go.  Unfortunately, they tend to drag on for too many seasons and somewhere along the line you get tired of them. Here some of my favourites in later years: True Blood, The Tudors, Downtown Abbey, Bones, The Big Bang Theory, Game of Thrones, Hell on Wheels (I am always week for a good western) and many more but these are the ones that come to mind now. My son insisted I had to watch The Walking Dead and although I did not like it in the beginning it has turned out to be very good. Although to be honest I am not sure I have even seen all the parts of the first season! This time I managed to suggest one for my son. The title ' Sleepy Hollow ' turned up regularly here and there so I started to watch it. It begins really good and my son thought so too. But then he asked the 10.000 dollar question. How many seasons can they possibly make out of this? Not too many I

?Lind? - a world artist and female impersonator

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Ship ohoj, New York Sometimes you discover interesting people just by stumbling onto them. John Lindström is such a guy. It happened when I was looking into the history of Karlskrona and my mother said she had seen a TV program about a world famous female impersonator active in the end of the 19th and beginning of 20th century. He was born in 1877 and came to Karlskrona as a young boy and returned there for his retirement. Already as a young man he showed talent for the theatre, dancing and singing. By pure luck, of which he seemed to have had a lot, he got a contract with a theatre in Stockholm and that was the beginning of his world tour.  At this stage he was performing as a man and as a woman. However, with reviews saying that he was the most beautiful of the ballerinas he was advised to stick to the female performance. With another dancer, Fanny Holmgren, he went to Helsinki in Finland were they performed together and took lessons. His extraordinary talent included ballet da

Weekend bliss

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The spring is in the air! But as always when you think it is here the weather changes again. And, as usual, it seems that the best weather is during the week and when the weekend come so working people can enjoy a little bit of good weather it changes! For me, of course, it is not a problem these days when I can enjoy my walks also during the week. However, in the afternoon yesterday the rain stopped and the sun peaked out behind the clouds so my husband and I took a late afternoon walk in the forest close to us. La Foret/Zonienwood Another part of the forest The forest belonged, once upon a time, to the kings and queens of Belgium. However, these days they are common grounds. The really huge forest is now divided in four parts, more or less by a 'plus' shape of highways and the ring road. On either four sides of the 'plus' the forest is available for walking, jogging, biking, riding, having a picnic or other leisurely activities. The weekends all over the ye

The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai

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Back in Brussels and ready to bite into my still unfinished books. This review - as you who have followed me lately already know - will not be a positive one. Since I want to be positive I will start by showing you two photos from my garden with the first spring flowers! Sooo nice to see them.  I have struggled with this book. Normally, I would just have let it go, but I read it for our book club and since all the others had read it and the discussion was good, I decided to read it (little by little). Maybe this is the problem. But the whole book is so depressing so it is not that you leave everything else to continue reading.  The lives of the characters are miserable and they are stuck. The story tells us about four-five characters from a small town/village in India close to the Nepalese border. I am not really sure of the time frame apart from some part in the latter chapters which refers to 1989. However, the story goes back and forth and not always in a straight back and fort

Reading while travelling

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Sorry for lack of posts for a couple of days. I am travelling as you might have noticed so more about lovely sights and houses in particular than about books. However, I have not been totally idle on the book front. I have started on a project and am now reading history books, extracts etc to read up on the late 17th and early 18th century as regards Sweden, mainly Karlskrona (south east of Sweden) and Stralsund and Wismar (Swedish areas at the time, presently northern Germany). It is very interesting to go more into details of the different parts of society at the time. Hopefully more on this later on. That is why my reading list for the time being mostly contains books in Swedish about history especially since I have access to a wonderful public library ( see earlier post ). But, I am, in my usual fashion, reading several books at the time, however slowly it goes. Just a small update on the present books I keep close by. Still struggling with The Inheritance of Loss  by Kiran De

The Importance of Library Etiquette

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A post from The Seventeenth Century Lady takes up the problem with too noisy libraries. In the old days coming to a library meant walking into silence. If somebody wanted to say something you whispered so you wouldn't disturb the other people. As Andrea says: "Now, in the "Look at Me" culture that seems to dominate, many people disregard basic courtesy and respect for other patrons. If anyone objects to this, they are ridiculed as being hoity-toity and old-fashioned. To highlight this, I tweeted about this yesterday, only to receive abuse from precisely those who would be loud and obnoxious in libraries." Library in Karlskrona built in 1959 I couldn't agree more. A library should be a place where you are quiet and try to respect other people who come there for exactly the same reason. If you want to be social you can always go to a café or a bar. You can speak, of course, but you should speak in a quiet way. I don't often go to the library in B

The Hanseatic League - Stralsund and Wismar

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Schiffercompagnie founded in 1488 to work in mutual benefit of merchants and seafarers  As I wrote in an earlier post I have been visiting two of the cities in the Hanseatic League, Stralsund and Wismar. Beautiful cities both of them but I have a small preference for Stralsund where you were really transferred to the Medieval times and all the way up to the 19th century. It has been a little bit of a problem coming back to the 21st century! The houses are absolutely beautiful and during recent times a lot of renovation has been taking place. So what is the historical significance of these cities? Door carving beauty! These are two of the cities of the Hanseatic League or the Hansa. At the peak of their power they had as many as between 80 and 100 member cities. The League was a commercial and defensive confederation of merchant guilds and although not on governmental level one can maybe call it a forerunner to the European Union with member cities rather than member states