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Showing posts from March, 2015

Poldark series; Ross, Demelza, Jeremy and Warleggan by Winston Graham

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Addictive! This is the word to describe what happens when you start reading the first book in this series. Winston Graham has written historical fiction at its best. Cornwall in the end of the 18th century, where people are mainly depending on the tin and copper mines. The story starts when Ross, a young man from the higher classes, but without money, comes back after having fought in the American wars. Being rather disillusioned by his experience, he is on his way home. Already in the stage coach he gets news that his father has died. Deciding at the spur of the moment, not to go directly home, but visit his uncle to inquire more about the circumstances, he get his second chock when he learns that his first love, Elizabeth, is to marry his cousin Francis. With these devastating news he goes back to his house, Nampara , where he grew up. It is in an appalling state, and no money to take care of it. However, he is determined to take it back to how it once was. The other part of

New purchases!

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Yes, you read it right! I have downloaded a couple of e-books to enlighten my stay in Mallorca. I am going there tomorrow. Being alone for the first few days, I will enjoy the freedom to read most of the days. Having been busy lately with visitors, I have not been able to read as much as I would have liked. So, promise that there will be a few reviews coming up here. So, what has inspired me to buy books again? First, having started to watch the BBC drama Poldark , based on the books by Winston Graham, I had to buy the first four books. I read the first two, when I was young (many years ago now, and quite forgotten, although I remember loving them). The first four are Ross, Demelza, Jeremy and Warleggan. I also found for free from Endeavour Press , To Be a Lady: Biography of Catherine Cookson  by Cliff Goodwin. I remember reading a lot of her books as I was younger (!!don't worry, I am not going back to my childhood memories yet, although it might seem so). Also found on YouTub

Richard III and the quest to find his grave

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I have just finished my course on England in the time of Richard III  with Future Learn . Quite suitable, on the day after his reinternment in Leicester cathedral. If you did not manage to see anything - and is interested - you can watch some key videos here . It was an interesting course, very accessible, meaning, not too academic. Mixed with texts, videos and discussion forum, it covered the whole range of society, food and living habits, clothing, manuscripts, religion and in the end the whole fantastic story of how the grave of Richard III was found, in a car park in 2012. Philippa Langley was the person behind the quest, and she wrote the book  The Search for Richard III - The King's Grave  together with Michael Jones who added the historical background to his life ( review here ). I will visit England in April and will definitely put Leicester on my itinerary. The course also opened up my eyes to all the fantastic archives that are now available on-line. That will be some

On sale this week!

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In Bookreporter  newsletter of week 17-24 March I found a few books that might be interesting. The only one I have heard about, and which have got very good reviews among my book blogging friends, is  The Pocket Wife . Have any of you heard about the rest of them? HAMMER HEAD : The Making of a Carpenter by Nina MacLaughlin (Memoir) Nina MacLaughlin spent her 20s working at a Boston newspaper, sitting behind a desk and staring at a screen. Yearning for more tangible work, she applied for a job she saw on Craigslist --- Carpenter’s Assistant: Women strongly encouraged to apply --- despite being a Classics major who couldn't tell a Phillips from a flathead screwdriver. She got the job, and in HAMMER HEAD she tells the rich and entertaining story of becoming a carpenter. W. W. Norton & Company * 9780393239133 THE BULLET by Mary Louise Kelly (Thriller) In a split second, everything Caroline Cashion has known is proved to be a lie. A single bullet is found lodged at the base

Classics on my table

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I am now reading so many different books, that I never end any of them. I am quite frustrated about it, especially since I don't have so much time to read for the time being! So what do I do? I go to the public library in another errand, and come out with two books!! Grrr, especially since they are on loan for a limited time, I have to abandon the others to finish these two off. Nobody but myself to blame. They are classics and have been on my reading list for quite some time, so I felt that I had to grab the opportunity. It is To Kill a Mockingbird  by Harper Lee and Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. Looking forward reading both of them and hope to publish reviews soon. Furthermore, I am reading a book to review for Endeavour Press, Path to the Silent Country: Charlotte Brontë's years of fame  by Lynn Reid Banks. It is a continuation of The Dark Quartet: the story of the Brontës which I reviewed here . It was an excellent read, so looking forward to this one. Yes, I have started

Sunday bliss!

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Sunday again! I don't know where the days go? Maybe it went faster than usual, since my family has been visiting. My brother and his kids, Anton and Sanna left today, and my parents will stay on for another week. That means that the garden will look fabulous after the magic touch of my father, now 90 years old! Showing a few highlights of our visit today to Waterloo and Atomium! Buttes de Lion It is a long way up! Anton and Sanna were climbing the stairs faster  than me and my brother! I wonder why? Fortunately we did not see this warning before we started the climb! "Good level of fitness recommended..."  And last but not least - Atomium. Did not shine as usual due to the gloomy weather!

Synchronicity in history!

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My history course on Richard III is continuing, with a lot of interesting aspects. Week 4 is named 'Death and Commemoration'. There is a really interesting find of a middle age (middle aged as well!) skeleton, the so called 'St Bees Man'. This web-site  tells the story of Dr John Todd and his wife's search for the identity of the man, and the woman who was found in the same grave. It is more exiting than any mystery book. At the end of the page, there is an update to the status of today. In week 2, we read about peasants and farmers and their situation. I am reading, since quite some time, historian Lars-Olof Larsson's book on the Kalmar Union ( Kalmarunionens tid ). Not yet finished, but I found an intresting reference to the peasant revolt of 1381 in England that we read about in the course. The Kalmar Union, was a union between Denmark, Norway and Sweden, named after the city of Kalmar where the Treaty was signed in 1379. In those days it belonged to Denm

Sunday bliss!

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At last a sunny, rather warm day. Another bike tour this morning to villages in the neighbourhood. We stopped at a farmhouse, which has a shop and café, and enjoyed an ice cream in the sun. The place was nicely decorated with different kind of pumpkins (see picture below). Just a short break and then we continued to Ottenburg and Wavre, on the way back to Overijse. Lovely weather, and being Belgium, a lot of bikers on the way. And being Sunday, not that many cars. I was really tired in the end of the tour, especially in the legs. We have a very long, tough road uphill to come back home. I hardly made it with my turbo level of the bike. Luckily Martin is in a better condition, but even he had to walk up part of the way. He does not have an e-bike! TODAY WE MADE 30 KM! Feel really good now. With a good conscience I can now lie down and read a nice book. As usual I am on several books at the same time. I can choose between a history book about the Kalmar union in the 14th cent

New goals for a healthy life!

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My husband tells me I can not only read books. I have to do some exercise as well! Realising that he has a point there, I have - today, when we went biking for the first time in ages - set a goal for my exercises. I will bike at least 100 km a week. That should get me into shape and hopefully later on I can extend it. Just a reminder! I have an e-bike, and biking is so much more fun. Maybe not entirely due to the e-bike, but due to a new, proper bike. Here is a first proof of my good intentions. With the battery comes a screen with useful information, that tells me everything I do. No getting away from it here. Today's tour generated 23.5 km in 1h15min! We broke for lunch in between in the huge park of Tervueren. My maximal speed was 43 km! Can you imagine? However, the average was 18.8 km. Lunch plate, but no eating the bread! A terrace with a view!

Gutenberg and printing

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As we all know, or at least, thought we know, Gutenberg is the father of modern typography. Now taking a course with the University of Leicester on England in the times of Richard III,  we have reached the chapter on printing. We are now in the 15th century, when printing of manuscripts and books started. To my surprise, there seems to be 'recent events' that indicates that Gutenberg was not the first one with doing moulds in wood. Well, it seems that the 'recent events' refer to research from 2001, so nowadays, it is not so recent. An article in The New York Times   says that the mould printing acknowledge to Gutenberg, was a gradual process that went on 20 years after Gutenberg's first attempts. The mould printing made all letters the same size and you therefore had a print which looked the same. Two scientists have checked the printing of Gutenberg, and can see that there are slight discrepancies in the letters from his printing. They think that he made the mo

Spring is in the air?

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I found this in the garden yesterday! A great surprise. The crocus were stretching to try to catch the last of the sun's rays.

A day in Antwerp

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Rockox House Yesterday, Karin and I went to Antwerp to visit the Rockox house and museum. Since the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp is on repair, part of their collection is shown in this house. So who was Rockox? He lived in Antwerp from 1560-1640, born into a wealthy, bourgeois family, and studied in Leuven, Paris and Douai (a town in north eastern France (I had to look it up!). Married to Adriana Perez, who also came from an old and wealthy merchant family (of Spanish origin). During the first half of the 17th century he was an important figure in the political, artistic as well as in the social life of Antwerp. At one time he was a mayor. He gained an exceptional reputation as a patron, antiquarian, humanist and numismatist (the study or collection of currency, including coins, tokens, paper money, and related objects; had to look this up as well; thank you Wikipedia). Interested in the arts, he commissioned, and hereby supported the local artists, including Rubens. He als

A Brief History of the Celts by Peter Berresford Ellis

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A while ago I visited an excellent exhibition of 'Vikings' in Tongeren in Belgium. While checking out the museum shop I found this interesting book about the Celts. We are full of admiration for the Romans who were so ahead of things in a lot of areas. Well, to my surprise a lot of things the Romans did, came from the Celts and was adapted by the Romans. Now we know! At the start of the first millennium BC, a civilisation which had developed from its Indo-European roots around the headwaters of the Rhine, the Rhone and the Danube suddenly erupted in all directions through Europe. Their advanced use of metalwork, particularly their iron weapons, made them a powerful and irresistible force. Greek merchants, first encountering them in the sixth century BC, called them Keltoi and Galatai. Later, the Romans would echo these names in Celtae, Galatae and Galli. Today we generally identify them as Celts.

Monday morning

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Monday morning again. At least it is a sunny day and I was already out for a walk. The weather changes so quickly here, so it is better to seize the moment. The Snow Drops are getting braver! This is not from the garden, but birthday flowers from a friend! Aren't they lovely!