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Showing posts from May, 2014

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving

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I was checking the internet to see how many episodes there are for Sleepy Hollow, season one. Turns out to be 13, and I have just finished it. It is really a cliff hanger and both me and my son can hardly wait for the second season. They are filming and it will not be shown until September 2014! Just have to wait for the exciting continuation. While searching the internet I saw that the series and the movie is loosely (very loosely) based on the short story The Legend of Sleepy Hollow  by Washington Irving. It reminds me of the stories of Henry James. The mystery hidden somewhere, but you do not always know where. The entry into other, supernatural worlds. All taking place in the countryside, close to the forest, creeks, bridges and small paths. Fog, maybe, something hidden in the unseen! I think you get my meaning. The story is about Ichabod Crane and a Headless Horseman and how the legend came to be. Crane was a school teacher in Sleepy Hollow, which is in an area where witch-cra

Blog talk #5 – Food in the World of Books

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Since I am on a rather thick book for the moment, The Moonstone  by Wilkie Collins it will take some time before there is another review here. This is for the Brontë Reading Group which will meet in mid-June. End of June we will meet in my other book club for The Luminaries which is another thick book. This is where I concentrate on my reading for the time being. Since Ernest Hemingway keeps popping up for the moment, why not look at his connection between food and books. Since he was also living in Paris - not far from here - in the 20s, it is quite suitable. Being Hemingway it might not be a big surprise that two out of the three entries into food and books concerns drinks! The year before he died, he finally put down in writing his memories from the years in Paris in the book A Moveable Feast. Most people who met Hemingway remember him with a glass in his hand and think that he did not care too much about food. However, in A Moveable Feast ,  there are a lot of descriptions on

28 May in Literature

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This day in 1935 Steinbeck's first successful novel, Tortilla Flat was published. Steinbeck who never graduated from his writing studies at Stanford, moved to New York and became a journalist. In parallel he wrote his first two novels which did not have much success. His most famous books are Grapes of Wrath  which landed him the Pulitzer Prize in 1939. Other books to remember is Cannery Row, Of Mice and Men, Viva Zapata and East of Eden. He won the Nobel Prize in 1962 and died in New York in 1968. This is the second entry of John Steinbeck. For more info go to 6 May. I have not read that many of his novels. I recently read The Pearl  which my son had to read in school, and we have read Of Mice and Men  in our book club. Grapes of Wrath and East of Eden would be on my list to read. And why not Tortilla Flat! Do you have any experience of John Steinbeck? Anything to recommend?

Blog talk #4 – Food in the World of Books

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I have just - almost - finished two days or hard work in cleaning our garage. It is a real Hercules work. The wonderful thing with cleaning from the very basic is: - you tend to find things you have been looking for, for a while and/or - you tend to find things you forgot you have either is a positive thing, although you would think we all know what we have. Alas, this is not always the case. I have made a part of garage for some of my 'creative' things. Yes, after so many years in the corridors of bureaucracy, it has given me an urge to be creative! Not being a natural creative person I have to fight a little bit. Sometimes it comes out nice, sometimes I have to through it away. Well, that is life. I have two shelves with my cook books. Cleaning them and putting them nicely on the shelves I found and old book called "Böckernas mat" ( Food of the Books). The writer, Pernilla Tunberger, has looked at different writers and how they incorporate food in their bo

27 May in literature

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This day Dashiell Hammett was born in Maryland in 1894. Don't we all love Dashiell Hammett? If we don't read the books we certainly saw the films with Humphrey Bogart among others. The Maltese Falcon for example. I also loved the series movies with William Power and Myrna Loy as Nick and Nora Charles in his book The Thin Man . Elegant and full of humour. Hammett left school at 13 and took a lot of different jobs until he got one with the Pinkerton's detective agency. He worked as a detective for eight years and turned his experience into books. He set the tone for later writers like Raymond Chandler. His fictions became known as the "hard-boiled" style. Who better to characterise this than someone like Humphrey Bogart as his detective Sam Spade. Hammett became involved with playwright Lillian Hellman who served as a model for Nora Charles in The Thin Man. The characters of Nick and Nora Charles was made into several films. Hammett and Hellman was romantically

26 May in literature

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26 May 1897 Bram Stoker's novel Dracula  goes on sale in London. Dracula, as we all know today, is a vampire from Transylvania who comes to London. The story tells about his life there and his victims. Stoker had been publishing horror stories for around 20 years. I think that today this is the only novel that is remembered. I read it a couple of years ago and although in those day, I did not like these vampire tales, I quite liked the book. Today, we are used to vampires through all new fantasy books and television series. Stoker was born in Dublin and worked in the civil service and writing at the same time. In 1878 he became the manager of actor Sir Henry Irving, which he admired. He managed him for 27 years. Stoker died in London in 1912. Numerous films have been made about Dracula, latest might be the television series with Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Dracula.

25 May in literature

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On this day in 1911 Thomas Mann visits the Lido in Venice. The visit inspired him to write  Death in Venice. Mann was born in Germany in 1875 and worked as a clerk and studied to become a journalist. In 1898 he published his first collection of stories, followed by his first novel, and one of his most famous ones, Buddenbrooks. He married in 1905 and had six children. He published many essays about great thinkers like Freud, Goethe and Nietsche and continued to write novels, for example The Magic Mountain. In 1929 he won the Nobel Prize in Literature. Mann moved to Switzerland and then on to the U.S. in 1938. There his published Joseph and His Brothers and Doktor Faustus. Thomas Mann died in Switzerland in 1955. Buddenbrooks is on my TBR shelves, so let's see if I can overcome the thick book with small text and read it some time soon!

24 May in Literature

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24 May, 1940, Joseph Brodsky is born in St Petersburg, Russia. He was expelled in 1972 and moved to the US where he was lecturing at several universities. Early works include; Verses and Poems and A Halt in the Waste Land . In 1986 he published History of the Twentieth Century . In 1987 he won the Nobel Prize for Literature. He died on 28 January, 1996.

Den inbjudna (She came to stay) by Simone de Beauvoir

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I have had this novel for a couple of years and was always afraid to read it, mostly because I was not sure whether it would be so theoretical that it was really above me. On the contrary, it turns out, this is a fantastic book, utterly fascinating. The book is partly based on the relationship between Simone de Beauvoir and her life-long companion Jean-Paul Sartre. To understand the book I think we have to have a short resumé of their lives. Simone de Beauvoir was born in 1908, and was a French writer, intellectual, existentialist philosopher, political activist, feminist and social theorist. She wrote novels, essays, biographies, an autobiography and papers on philosophy, politics and social issues. Her best known novels are She Came to Stay, The Mandarins and The Second Sex. She was born into a wealthy family which lost most of their wealth after World War I. She started to study and  she was only the ninth woman who received an exam from the Sorbonne. Women had just recently been

A walk in the sun

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After my last rainy post I would like to share a sunny one with you. Just took these two photos from my walk in the forest this morning. Walking there, listening to the birds...ops! No birds, but 'Hey Brother' with Avicii on the iPhone, then life is rather good. But I have to give the birds a chance next time. Now I will find a nice sunny, slightly shady spot in the garden and try to finish my book She came to stay by Simone de Beauvoir. Have a nice day all of you!

Wandering in the rain!

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Helen, our guide I think that Singing in the rain  was probably more pleasant than this walk in the rain. We had booked a guided walk with Helen in Helen's Heritage Walks in Haworth, for a walk on the moors, in the foot steps of the Brontës. Unfortunately, this Friday morning saw dark clouds and heavy rain. Nevertheless, for a good cause and for something you have waited for a long time, what does a little rain matter? My husband was quite surprised that I first of all happily left the bed rather early in the morning and secondly had nothing against a walk in the rain! I sometimes blame the weather when I don't want to go for a walk. I felt that nothing could stop me from going on this tour. I had prepared with good clothes, but not all of us had. Helen was waiting for us in the lobby and we ventured out to fight the elements of nature. We passed the Parsonage and continued out on the moors, heading for the Brontë Waterfall as it is named today. The sisters used to mak

22 May in Literature

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This day in 1859, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was born. He is the creator of one of the most popular, literary sleuths, Sherlock Holmes. He was born in Scotland and studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh. There he met Dr. Joseph Bell, who was a teacher with extraordinary deductive reasoning power. He was, years later when Doyle started writing, the inspiration for Sherlock Holmes. After finishing his studies he moved to London and opened a medical practice. It was very slow, so he had time to write. His first Sherlock Holmes story, A Study in Scarlet, was published in Beeton's Christmas Annual in 1887. From 1891 his stories about the famous detective appeared in The Strand  magazine. From this year he could support himself on his writing and left his medical profession. He got tired of his hero and tried to kill him off in The Final Problem. However, by this time the demand for the stories was so great that he had to resuscitate him again. Doyle also wrote history, pursue

21 May in Literature

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21 May 1910 French author Colette published her novel The Vagabond  in serial form. At this time she was already a successful writer with a series about a girl named Claudine. From the beginning she published her novels under the name "Willy" which was the pen name of her husband, Henri Gauthier-Villars. During her marriage she grew from a provincial country girl to a sophisticated Parisienne. She took theatre lessons and began acting. The couple divorced in 1910 and the Vagabond series was partly based on the failed marriage. After the divorce, she supported herself a a music-hall actress. She continued writing and published both essays and articles. She wrote for the newspaper Le Matin  and married its editor Henry de Jouvenel, in 1912. The couple divorced in 1924 and later she married a much younger man, Maurice Goudeket. She continued writing and won many awards and honours. Her novel Gigi  (1944) was adapted for stage and screen, and, it seems, included one of her ra

Emily Brontë Her Life and Work by Muriel Spark and Derek Stanford - part II

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In his introduction to his part of this book, Derek Stanford says: Alone, perhaps, of the great English writers, Emily Brontë's fame has survived without the keen preservative of a cool discriminative criticism. Of every other kind of attention her work has received a plenary measure. She has had her biographers and topographers, editors, bibliographers, and general researchers. She has had - less popularly - her psychoanalysts; and, finally, her life and work have been blessed with a great host of professional sympathisers, writing with endless affirmation on her. As you might conclude from this, Stanford is rather critical of Emily's work. He means that it is not among the 'Brontë-lovers' to question, evaluate or reflect  on her work. Her readers form a sort of "club for internal admiration" and therefore anything that comes from her pen is considered the best and no objective criticism is put forward. Furthermore there are not that many critics that hav

Book lists - what to read?

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When I read your blogs I always stumble into books that I feel I want to read. Considering all the books I already have, I feel I have to go through some of them, before I can start buying new ones. Not to forget which books I was interested in (yes, that happens all the time!) I have made a list of books that seems interesting to read. Just today I read, at the blog "Pocketlover" (A blog in Swedish), how great the book Stoner  by John Williams is. I went to Google and found a review by Julian Barnes in The Guardian  who named it the  book of 2013. Not bad for a book published in 1965! So this seems a must. Below is a list of books I think is worth reading, with no special order, just as they have popped up.

Newly arrived books for 'Paris in July'

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Paris in July is hosted by ' A Wondering Life ' (Fashion and books), ' Dolce Bellezza ' (Perfume and give aways), 'Adria' (Life in Paris and reflections as an author) and 'Tamara' (Travel and Food). The blogging and exchange can be anything that has to do with Paris. Go to links above for more information. For this purpose, but not only, I ordered some books from Amazon which have just arrived. As you can see I am a little bit obsessed with Hemingway for the moment. It started with The Paris Wife  by Paula McLain. Paris in the 1920 seems to have had a lot of interesting, artistic people living there; apart from Hadley and Ernest Hemingway, Gertrud Stein and Alice Toklas, James Joyce, Ezra Pound, Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald, Picasso and many more. These were the people who maid the Riviera into what it is today, since they used to spend their summer there. Can't promise I will read them all for July, I do have a lot of other books to read as wel

Wondrous Words Wednesday

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On Brona's Books  I found this challenge hosted by Bermudaonion's Weblog  which I think is really interesting. For me it is of course much more of a challenge being non-English, natural speaker. There are certainly words I don't understand as such, but understand them from the content. But I fell on two words in my latest book about Emily Brontë, in part II, a critical examination of her work by Derek Stanford, and in the same paragraph(!) which I would like to share with you. nonce (plural nonces) 1. The one or single occasion; the present reason or purpose (now only in for the nonce). That will do for the nonce, but we'll need a better answer for the long term.
 2. (lexicography) A nonce word. I had thought that the term was a nonce, but it seems as if it's been picked up by other authors.
 3. (computing) A number, usually generated randomly or from the time, used once in a cryptographic protocol, to prevent replay attacks. ventriloquistic -  A person who

Emily Brontë Her Life and Work by Muriel Spark and Derek Stanford - part I

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This book I bought in a book shop with second hand books in Haworth. The other items connected to the Brontës that I bought you see below; book marks and a BBC version of Wuthering Heights from the 60s. I remember seeing the series on TV. After that, nobody portrayed Heathcliff as well as Ian McShane! Can't remember much of it to be honest and so far I have only seen part 1. So far so good. I think this is the most true account of Emily's book. My purchases I have just finished the book I bought.  The first part is about the life of Emily written by Muriel Spark and the second part a critical review of Emily's poem and Wuthering Heights written by Derek Stanford. It turns out to be a rather long post so I divide it into two. To start with the first part, there is not much there that I did not already know, but there is an interesting discussion in the end about Emily's relationships with people and the way it is interpreted through her writing. I quote Muriel Sp

Top 100 Crime Novels

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I love all kind of lists, especially those that have to do with books. I happened to stumble upon a list of the top 100 Crime Novels. There are actually two lists; one from the British based Crime Writer's Association and one from the U.S. Here are the 10 first entries (CWA to the left and US to the right): 1 Josephine Tey: The Daughter of Time (1951) 1 Arthur Conan Doyle: The Complete Sherlock Holmes (1887-1927) 2 Raymond Chandler: The Big Sleep (1939) 2 Dashiell Hammett: The Maltese Falcon (1930) 3 John le Carré: The Spy Who Came In From the Cold (1963) 3 Edgar Allan Poe: Tales of Mystery & Imagination (1852) 4 Dorothy L. Sayers: Gaudy Night (1935) 4 Josephine Tey: The Daughter of Time (1951) 5 Agatha Christie: The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (1926) 5 Scott Turow: Presumed Innocent (1987) 6 Daphne du Maurier: Rebecca (1938) 6 John le Carré: The Spy Who Came In From the Cold (1963) 7 Raymond Chandler: Farewell My Lovely (1940) 7 Wilkie Collins: The Moonstone (1868) 8 W

Tulips in May

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I just want to share this little bouquet with you. I bought the white tulips and placed them around the flowering chives from the garden. Lovely aren't they? To continue with the poem theme today, here two extracts on spring: A little Madness in the Spring Is wholesome even for the King. Emily Dickinson, No. 1333 In the spring a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love. Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Locksley Hall Hope your day is as lovely as here in Brussels. Sun is shining, but we heard the thunder some minutes ago. But it seems it went further on and let the sun stay with us.

14 May in literature

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On 14 May 1842, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, published a book named  Poems . His famous books include Ulysses,  Morte d'Arthur, In Memoriam, Idylls of the King and many more. He lived between 1809 and 1892, was a Poet Laureate of Great Britain and Ireland and is still one of the most popular British poets. "Tis better to have loved and lost Than never to have loved at all." In Memoriam “I sometimes hold it half a sin
 To put in words the grief I feel;
 For words, like Nature, half reveal 
And half conceal the Soul within.

 But, for the unquiet heart and brain,
 A use in measured language lies;
 The sad mechanic exercise,
 Like dull narcotics, numbing pain.

 In words, like weeds, I'll wrap me o'er,
 Like coarsest clothes against the cold:
 But that large grief which these enfold 
Is given in outline and no more.” In Memoriam “Once in a golden hour, 
I cast to earth a seed, 
 And up there grew a flower, 
 That others called a weed.” 
 Alfred

13 May in literature

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Daphne du Maurier is born on this day in 1907. Mostly known for romantic suspense novels. She settled in Cornwall where many of her books take place. One of the most popular is Rebecca,  which tells about a young girl who marries a man whose first wife died mysteriously. It was set in a mansion called Manderley. It was modelled after her own 70-room (!) home Menabilly  which she renovated for many years. The book was made into an Academy Award-winning picture in 1940, directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine. I still remember the scary housekeeper! The opening line is famous: Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again. Other famous books are; The Birds, Cousin Rachel, Jamaica Inn, Frenchman's Creek  and many, many more. She also wrote memoirs, histories and biographies. One of them is  The Infernal World of Branwell Brontë   (click link to see my review) .  She got interested in the Brontës and did a lot of research before starting to wr

The King's Concubine by Anne O'Brien

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This book I read for the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge   - Renaissance books. I read the summary of this book and thought it sounded interesting. It is rather early in the history of the English kings and I do not know so much about this time. I did not like this book at all for about the first quarter of the book. Maybe because it was written in first person and sometimes this makes the narrator very self-righteous and I think this was the case here. Furthermore, it was very sweet, too sweet, everyone was soooo good! Alice Perrers, the narrator and the concubine, comes by lucky(?) circumstances to be the damsel to the queen. That is Queen Philippa of Hainault, married to Edward III. They love each other very much and have 12 (I think) children together. Now she is sick and can not come to his bed - or he to hers - maybe most likely in those days - so she chooses Alice to be his concubine. Edward does not want to betray his wife and reluctantly (!!) takes Alice to his bed. It

A social history in Haworth county

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Another day with not knowing the weather. Grey skies, sunshine, rain and sunshine again. About every five minutes there is another kind of weather. We were rather lucky this morning for our outing to Keighley (from where the Brontës used to take their trains) and then on to Saltair for a little bit of English social history. The station in Haworth From Haworth to Keighly we went by an old diesel train. Quite fascinating to see the driver and other employees of the railway to go back to a time when trains and rails were handled manually. In Keighly we took a modern train three stops to Saltair. It is a Unesco world heritage since 2001. It was recognised for its international influence on town planning and an early example of a "model village".

A walk to the Bronte Waterfall

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I don't think I have ever voluntarily gone out for a walk in a weather like this morning. But, we had planned a walk with Helen (in Helen's Heritage Walks ) so there was no way back. We were a brave group of four who started the walk just behind the Parsonnage. It is a windy and rainy day and the drops felt at times like icicles in the face. It was not pleasant at all, but I was not giving up a walk on the moors, no matter what kind of weather. My husband was rather impressed since I always have an excuse not to go for a walk in the rain! Since there was no sun (only occasionally) there is not too much light in the photos.

Haworth, far from the buzzle of Europe

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We started out early this morning by car from Overijse to Charleroi to catch the flight to Manchester. From Manchester airport we took the train to the centre. There we had breakfast while waiting for Richard and Sally who joined us from London. On a tram to the old Victoria station, which must have looked the same in the Brontes time, although more run down. Luckily a restoration project is ongoing and many features from the original building will be kept. We ran to catch the train to Hebden Bridge. Two photos from Victoria station in Manchester Hebden Bridge is another old, wonderful railway station. While waiting for the bus we went in to the 'Parcel Room' which us now a small bar. There we mixed with the locals for a light lunch and some local cider. It was difficult to understand what they where saying. Sally said it was like something from the TV-series 'Last of the Summer Wine'!

11 May in literature

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11 May, 1942 is the date of the publication of William Faulkner's Go Down, Moses.  It is one os his greatest collections of short stories. They all take place in the fictional county of Yoknapatawpha, Mississippi and are based on his observations of his own native state.

10 May in literature

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On 10 May, 1749, the 10th volume of Henry Fielding's master piece Tom Jones  was printed. The novel was serialised in 10 small volumes. It is a humorous story of the illegitimate but charming Tom Jones to win his neighbour's daughter. The novel has long list of characters who are chasing each other across England. It gives a comic portrait of England in the 18th century.