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Showing posts from July, 2014

TV-series and the books they are based on

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Outlander I just read about a new TV-series which will be aired on 8 August, called Outlander . And saw the trailer. It looks very good and something I would like to see. Reading more thoroughly I realise that it is based on a series of very popular books by Diana Gabaldon. Reading further, I am a little bit shocked that I have never heard of it, as the first book came already in 1991. There seems to be 7 books so far. I don't know how I could have missed this, because it seems to be a story that I love. It starts with a time travel (of this I am not overfond, but so far it is ok in this book) and Claire, the heroine, is transferred from 1945 Scotland to 18th century Scotland. The second world war had just finished, but now she is transferred into even more violent times. Being a fan of historical fiction, I find it fascinating. I was brave to download all the books! The price was good. Yes, I know, it is a little bit of a game, not knowing if I would like it or not. Not all of t

Sanctuary by William Faulkner

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This book popped up in Janet Flanner's articles of Paris as a book that was translated into French. It made me curious so I thought: "Hey, I have this on my TBR shelves"! So I grabbed it and finished it in a couple of days. I have never read anything by Faulkner, but seem to know that he is one of the great American writers. I must say I did not understand too much of this book. There were a lot of characters, mostly dialogue so no explanation who these people were. And new persons tended to pop up here and there. Ok, after a while you got a little bit more information on them flashbacks, but still... Short summary: Someone dates an innocent school girl, gets drunk and brings her to a bootlegger's camp for whom he is working from time to time. There are a few, criminal character's around and a woman with a child. The men drink, moving around the girl Temple Drake, and at the end of a couple of days one man is dead and she is raped. Popeye (the man who raped her

The Importance of Covers

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A while ago I read a post somewhere, about how important covers are. How important are they really? Do you choose a book due to the cover, or do you go for title/author? Personally, I think a good cover attracts your attention to a book, but I would not buy it unless it was a book that interested me. The Twilight series and their covers, which I think fits perfectly for these kind of books, has also changed the covers in other books. It seems, like in other areas, to be a trend. One popular book will be followed by covers similar to this book. The other interesting thing with the Twilight series is the interest it has given Wuthering Heights  by Emily Brontë, being the favourite book of Bella. She is identifying herself with Cathy and sees Edward as her Heathcliff. There are several references in the series to Emily's book.

Paris in July - Paris was Yesterday 1938-39

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My last post on Janet Flanner's articles on Paris in the 20s and 30s for Paris in July . We have reached the last two years and are also getting closer to the World War II. There are several articles on the situation and uncertainty at the time. They are rather long and difficult to just make a small extraction, so I leave them out. The articles posted here are just a few of what the book contains. If you are interested in Paris during these years you should read the book. Flanner has a sharp eye and ear for things and it is interesting to read. So, here we go...! 1938 Maurice Ravel (1875-1937) "With the death of Maurice Ravel, France has lost its greatest petit maitre  of modern music. He was still a prodigy pupil at the Conservatoire when he composed two of the three works for which he was most famous - the 'Pavane pour une Infante Défunte' and 'Jeux d'Eaux,' regarded as the most perfectly pianistic piece since Liszt. The hypnotic Iberian qual

A Dark-Adapted Eye by Barbara Vine

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Barbara Vine/Ruth Rendell I love Ruth Rendell's books. Some year's ago I discovered Barbara Vine and it was with great satisfaction I saw that this is a pseudonym for Ruth Rendell. She took up this pen name in 1986. The author explained to the National Post that "the two distinct bylines offered the opportunity to hone two distinct voices. The works published under her real name feature more 'excitement' and 'sensation' while the works published under the pseudonym 'don't have any sort of mystery in them, they don't have any revelations, really. They're just really about people.' She also said she used Vine to explore specific topics, like the evolution of morality." Dark adaptation: a condition of vision brought about progressively by remaining in complete darkness for a considerable period, and characterised by progressive increase in retinal sensitivity. A dark-adapted eye is an eye in which dark adaptation has taken place

Paris in July - Paris was Yesterday 1936-37

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Paris in July The ever active Janet Flanner continues her articles. We have reached the years 1936-37. Only two to go! 1936 Stein - Human Nature "If French books have evaded the political question recently, one book written in France is going to go The Relation of Human Nature to Human Life; or the Geographical History of the United States.  The new volume, Miss Stein says, will be pretty long - about two hundred pages - and will be something in the style of her little-known essay, 'Composition as Explanation,' or very clear. She explains the new book's material as follows. 'It is a discussion of the fact that huma nature isn't very interesting and that that's why politics are what they are, since they deal with human nature. The book also deals with masterpieces; what they are and why they are so few.' ..." into it. This will be Miss Gertrude Stein's new volume, entitled Considering how we see politicians an leaders today, and expec

Challenges - half year update

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End of July and I am going through my challenges for the year to see where I am. I not only promised to read at least 12 books from my TBR list, but I also promised to read around 27 books (some of the are also on my TBR list) during the summer months! Well, here I am for the moment. TBR As for Fiction I have so far read the titles in read. It is seven for seven months so there I am up to date. Five more to read before the end of the year. Den Inbjudna (L'invitée) by Simone Beauvoir (1943)  Röde Orm - Sjöfarare i västerled by Frans G. Bengtsson (1941)  Röde Orm - Hemma och i österled by Frans G. Bengtsson (1945)  Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad (1900)  Simon och ekarna by Marianne Fredriksson (1985)  Ensam drottning (Lonely Queen) - Sofia Magdalena by Gerd Ribbing (1959)  A Dark-Adapted Eye by Barbara Vine (1986)  Travels With My Aunt by Graham Greene (1969)  The Angel Avengers by Isak Dinesen (1946) Lisbeth by Ragnhild Hallén (1948) Äcklet (La Nausé) by Jean-Paul

Paris in July - Paris was Yesterday - 1935

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This is for Paris in July and we have got to year 1935 in Janet Flanner's articles on what is happening in Paris and France. Shakespeare and Company "Miss Sylvia Beach, who is Shakespeare and Company, the most famous American bookshop and young author' fireside in Europe, is shortly to sell in manuscript important modern writings which she, along with the world's other booksellers, has been selling only in print. As first publisher of James Joyce's complete Ulysses , Miss Beach has unique Joyceiana, comprising collector's items that no one else on earth has, not even Mr. Joyce. To bibliophiles, the sale's finest item will be her first edition of Ulysses , 1922, blue-morocco binding, printed on white Dutch paper, the second volume off the press in the rare edition of two hundred, and containing a poem Joyce wrote her, his inscription, and, bound in the back, his original plan of the book. ..." There is a private not of Flanner here which I wi

Lonely Queen (Ensam drottning) by Gerd Ribbing

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A lovely, paper copy version of the old style! Sophia Magdalena, Danish princess, was betrothed to the Swedish king/crown prince when she was five years old. They actually married in 1766 by proxy when she was 20, and she was crowned queen in 1772. This was a marriage of convenience, as often in those days, and its main reason was to keep a good relationship between Sweden and Denmark. The book tells her story between the years 1783 - 1813. I don't really know why it starts at this date, and why the earlier years are not included. Maybe it would have been too long? The book was written in 1959, so written in a different style than is done today. It is full of extracts from memoirs, letters and other writings at the time, which give you a good idea of the different characters and the times.

Paris in July - Paris was Yesterday 1933-34

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Paris in July - We have arrived at 1933-34 with Janet Flannery. 1933 "The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas A Paris-written book of extreme interest to both sides of the Atlantic, and, indeed, to one side of the Pacific, since both the ladies hail from California, will shortly be published in New York under the sly inscription The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas. As some young foreign painters like Picasso, Juan Gris, and Matisse, and later some struggling expatriate writers, like Joyce and Hemingway, discovered years ago, Miss Alice B. Toklas is the friend who lives on the Rue de Fleurus with Gertrude Stein. And certainly any autobiography of the one must necessarily be a biography of, it not even by, the other, plus a complete memoir of that exciting period when Cubism was being invented in paint and a new manner of writing being patented in words, an epoch when not everyone had too much to eat but everyone had lots to say, when everything we now breathe was already in

The Greatest Books of All Time, as Voted by 125 Famous Authors

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I love lists of all kinds. The problem is only, that I make a list, and then I never use or go back to it. It is just a pleasure to make the list in the first place. Maybe it gives me a sense of being in control of things? When it comes to my book lists, which I share on my blog, I tend to be more careful and go back from time to time to update. In Pinterest I found this picture which made me a little bit curious. When I clicked on it I came to Brain Pickings  where I found the article behind it. 125 writers have chosen their top ten books according to certain criteria. The writers are British and American including among others Norman Mailer, Ann Patchett, Jonathan Franzen, Claire Messud, and Joyce Carol Oates. They have been asked  “to provide a list, ranked, in order, of what [they] consider the ten greatest works of fiction of all time– novels, story collections, plays, or poems.” 544 separate titles were selected and the writers should choose according to some given definitions.

Men Without Women by Ernest Hemingway and Woman Without Men by Lisbeth Ekelof

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Here I am, inspired by the Global History of the Curry and thinking I will surprise my boys with a curry! Great. Starting it all and getting an sms from my husband that he has a reception and will be late! I am sure the he knew about it before and just forgot! OK, my son is still home. Since he has been one week in Kos in Greece with his class mates to celebrate the BAC I am happy he is home again. It will be nice eating with him and talk about everything. Well, yes...would have been nice. However, he is going off with friends to watch a tennis tournament match from one of them and then on to the cinema. What can I say?  Here I am with a wonderful curry, and all alone! See for yourself. Looks good doesn't it? I have to confess one thing though. The recipe is not from the book that I read (I promise I will try all these recipes once) but it is from JAMIE OLIVER! With him it can't really go wrong...and it didn't. It was a lovely curry that I ate with some basmati rice,

Simon och ekarna (Simon and the Oaks) by Marianne Fredriksson

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Simon is speaking with the oaks. The Oaks are speaking with him. Secrets coming down from forgotten lands, difficult for him to understand. He can't grasp the words they are saying. Until one day when he listens to a symphony of Berlioz. Then it all becomes clear. He sees what the music is telling. It is the story from the Oaks. He sees the old priest, the ancient buildings, the tragedies and the love coming down to him from centuries back. Like all - or many, I have not read them all - books by Marianne Fredriksson, not everything is what it seems to be. She manages to vow a strange net of long forgotten worlds, and worlds that only one person sees. It is so skilfully mixed into our real world that it all becomes magic, and ... true and realistic! This is a book that tells the story of two jewish boys, growing up in Sweden, just before the start of World War II. They are about 14-15 years old at this time. One came to live with his well off father who left Germany before the

Paris in July - Paris and Curry?

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This is a post for Paris in July . Paris and Curry? Surely a marriage made in heaven? I have just posted a blog about my latest, tasty (yes) book; Curry - A Global History by Colleen Taylor Sen (you can read the review  here ). The book tells about the relationship between curry and different regions and countries in the world. As we all know it is really a big dish in Britain, but it has conquered quite a lot of other places as well. In fact, the whole world. It is the most famous dish in the world. So, the big question is; what about Paris? Did she take the dish to her heart? Let's see what Taylor Sen has to say about it: It seems the French were less accepting of the food from their colonies as was the British and the Dutch. One reason could be that France's own cuisine has a long, and strong position. Today it is difficult to find any traces in French food of their long association with India, which lasted until 1954. The first Indian restaurant was not opened until

Curry - A Global History by Colleen Taylor Sen

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I am a curry fan so this was really a book for me. I found it in a museum in connection with an exhibition about India. The only problem when you read books like this is that you tend to get very hungry! It is a lovely little book on the history of curry. But, what is curry really? It means a lot of different things for different people. In the book they define it in the following way: "a curry is a spiced meat, fish or vegetable stew served with rice, bread, cornmeal or another starch. The spices may be freshly prepared as a powder or a spice paste or purchased as a ready-made mixture. A secondary definition of curry is any dish, wet or dry, flavoured with curry powder - a ready-made mixture that generally includes turmeric, cumin seed, coriander seed, chillies and fenugreek (and may or may not include curry leaf, Murraya koenigji, a fragrant leaf widely used in southern Indian cooking). This category encompasses such diverse, hybrid dished as German currywurst, Singapore no

Paris in July - Paris was Yesterday - 1931-32

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Paris in July - thank you for an interesting month with this theme. Many interesting blog posts showing Paris from all sides. I continue here with what was 'hot news' by Janet Flanner in 1931 and 1932. 1931 Chanel in Hollywood Coco Chanel "As a further ripple in the wave of bon marché that is sweeping through Paris, it was authoritatively announced by Mlle. Chanel that she is going to Hollywood to work for Mr. Goldwyn. This is the first time a couturière of such importance, or indeed any, has left the native heath. Considering what universal style-setting means to Paris for the maintenance of its financial and artistic pulse, the departure of Chanel for California must be more important than that of Van Dyck for the English Court of Charles I. But in a hundred years, the results will probably photograph less well." Georges Simenon "The Nouvelle Revue Francaise, which ordinarily expends its strength publishing rhymes by Paul Valéry, essays by Andr

Paris in July - Hemingway, The Paris Years by Michael Reynolds

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This post is for  Paris in July  challenge. Recently, I read The Paris Wife by Paula McLain, which is told from the point of view of Hadley Richardson, Hemingway’s first wife. As always when I read historical fiction on real-life people, I want to read a biography to try to find out how much is true and how the true events took place. I have bought several books on Hemingway’s life and this is the first one that I read. It is an excellent book, written in beautiful prose, and like so many of the good writers of biographies, it is more exciting and interesting as any fiction. One can of course say, that Hemingway’s life was more exciting the most, but still. Reynolds has written five books about Hemingway; The Young Hemingway, The Paris Years, The Homecoming, The 1930s, and The Final Years . This is the second part of his life. Maybe also the most important part, since these are the years that he learned the handicraft and formed his later writings. Paris at the time was full of w

Secret of Paintings - part IV

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The last painting for now, is one by Rafael, called, The School of Athens. This was painted at the same time that Michelangelo painted the ceiling in the Sixteenth Chapel. Rafael had also been appointed to do a painting in the Vatican Palace, namely the "stanza della Segnatura" which was the library of the Pope. Rafael filled it with old philosophers and called it The School of Athens. It took him three years to make the painting or fresco, which measure  5 x 7,7 meters. The motif is philosophers in classical Athens. In the middle stands Platon and Aristotle, and around them the rest of the learned men of Greece, and the great thinkers, who have left their mark on our society up until our days. The painting says something about each philosopher and their personal character through their poses and gestures. The painting is a "philosophical course for dummies".

The Kingmaker's Daughter by Philippa Gregory

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This is also a post for the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge It is sometimes difficult to come back to real life from a good book that you have read. Recently, I have been in 15th century England and a little bit in France, and I am quite surprised when I look up and see my garden outside the window and it is 2014! Isn't it wonderful when books can capture you so. It started with the search for grave of Richard III, and the historical bits of his life as well as the exciting search for his grave 500 years later.  Then I went to pre-time Richard with Anne O'Brien's The Forbidden Queen , ending with her children and heirs that took over after Richard. Now I have just returned from The Kingmaker's Daughter  by Philippa Gregory. I think a lot of you are familiar with her books about the women during the turbulent times of the War of the Roses . This time she tells the story of Anne Neville, who was the youngest daughter of Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, also call

Paris in July: Paris was Yesterday - 1930

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Paris in July - Janet Flanner's news for 1930... D.H. Lawrence (1885-1930) D.H. Lawrence The death of D.H. Lawrence cuts short the actively influential position he was beginning to assume in the estimation of France’s leading literary lights. Exiled by his malady from the fogs of hi native land, he spent the better part of his maturity in Continental towns. He was one of the first of what later became a large colony of Britons in Toarmina. He lived for a time in Florence, where his Aaron’s Rod was considered a portrait gallery of his local friends, Norman Douglas and Reginal Turner among others. He was a brilliant talker but, despite his years of living among foreigners, no exceptional linguist. Ill most of his life, he by degrees developed the erratic psychology of the brilliant invalid to whom, living among natives in out-of-the-way corners, anything was permitted. He had, among other eccentricities, a fancy for removing his clothes and climbing mulberry trees. At the

The Forbidden Queen by Anne O'Brien

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This is a review also for the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge Recently I read The King's Concubine  by the same author. Being a fan of historical fiction and loving reading such fiction about real persons, this was a very good book. It was also about Alice Perrers, of whom I did not know, and even the king, Edward III, to which she was the mistress, and the queen, Philippa of Hainault, I didn't know that much. But after such a book, it is easier to grasp history as well. It was with great happiness that I downloaded The Forbidden Queen  by the same author. She does not make you disappointed. It seems as always, well researched, and she is able to make the persons come alive. This book is about Catherine of Valois that were wed to Henry V in 1420. She was a young, naive girl, having grown up in a monastery. She fell in love with her husband. The times were turbulent so most of the time he was off fighting in the war with France. She bore a son in December 1421, the futu