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Showing posts from August, 2015

I am thinking of Linné - He who saw everything by Karin Berglund (my translation of Swedish title)

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This book has decorated my living room for some years. And it really is a decorative book, with a format a little bit bigger than A5. It contains wonderful drawings and photos and it is a pleasure just to look through the book. However, books are there to be read, so I made it my ‘breakfast’ book. For breakfast I like to read bigger sized books that stay open by themselves. After all my hands are busy with my breakfast. This is a perfect book. It was published in 2007 for the 300th anniversary of Linné’s birth. Carl von Linné, or Carolus N. Linnaeus, as he is mostly known internationally, was born in Råshult, a small village in the province of Småland in the south of Sweden. He was supposed to be a priest, but one of his teachers managed to persuade the parents that he would be a brilliant doctor. Luckily his parents agreed and his career and life’s deed was in the making. On 12 May, 1732, he is on his way to the north of Sweden; Lappland and Finland. It is the first of several

Classic spin no 10 - the number is...5!

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The number for the Classic spin is 5. I am quite happy, since I think I will be able to read 'Lights in August' by William Faulkner, without much ado.

100 best novels written in English

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There are always lists 'hanging around' on the topic of the best books ever written. In The Guardian   Robert McCrum has put out the list of the 100 best novels written in English. Of course, as soon as you put out a list of any kind, there are always people who have opinions on such lists. This is the case also here.  To read more on these views please check here for the 'to few female writers .' Why is only one in five female writers? Why are most of the writers American? Why so few Irish? You can read all about it in the Guardian articles .' Here is the list of Robert McCrum. I am sure that each of you will come up with a different list. Nevertheless, here is the list, and I have put the books that I have read in blue.  Which means 21 out of 100. Maybe not that much, but on the other hand, maybe my list of the 100 best novels would look different. 1. The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan (1678) 2. Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe (1719) 3. Gulliver’s

History revealed

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Recently, while in Innsbruck, Austria, we went to pay a visit to the Hofkirche. Our aim was to see if we could find any traces or remembrances of the time when Queen Kristina of Sweden converted to Catholicism here.  She had abdicated her throne in 1654, travelled through Europe to Antwerp, Belgium where she began her conversion. In the autumn of 1655 she left Belgium to travel to Rome. On her way she stopped over in Innsbruck and on November 3, she officially converted to Catholicism in the Hofkirche. Inner yard of the Hofkirche The Hofkirche is now a museum and Kristina's conversion is not the most important thing here. No, it is something much more spectacular. We started with an audio show which gave us a short background to the life and deeds of Emperor Maximilian I (1459-1519). From 1508 until his death he was 'The Holy Roman Emperor'. He expanded the Habsburg influence, through war and marriage to include among other areas the Duchy of Burgundy and through the

Classic Spin No. 10

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The Classic Spin is hosted by the Classics club . I must admit, I have only managed to read one 'spinned' book so far; Nausea by Jean-Paul Satre ( review here ) in spin No 7. However, outside this challenge I have read Emma by Jane Austen ( review here ) from the initial list. I am happy about that. I have updated the list for next spin on Monday 24, and here it is: 1. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen 2.The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins 3.David Copperfield by Charles Dickens 4.The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot 5. Light in August by William Faulkner 6. My Childhood by Maxim Gorky 7. Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann 8. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce 9. Women in Love by D.H. Lawrence 10. Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift 11. Ben Hur by Lew Wallace 12. A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams 13. Richard III by William Shakespeare 14. Travels With My Aunt by Graham Green 15. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck 16. The O

Raffles: The Gentleman Thief by Richard Foreman

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This is a short novel that was given to my by Endeavour Press for reviewing. There are two things already in the title that catch my attention; ‘Raffles’ and ‘Gentleman thief’. Raffles reminds me of the Raffles hotel in Singapore, which leads to a Singapore Sling of course. I was there once and tried it out, lovely! Gentleman thief, don’t we all love them? Arsene Lupin for example. That is why I choose this one to review.  This is definitely another gentleman thief to love. Richard Foreman has written a series of six short novellas about Raffles. Raffles is initially a creation by E.W. Hornung, who wrote twenty-six short stories and a novella about the adventurer and gentleman thief Arthur J. Raffles and his accomplice Harry “Bunny” Manders between 1898 and 1909. Hornung was the brother-in-law to Arthur Conan Doyle, and he made his characters similar to Holmes and Dr Watson, Raffles being the Holmes and Bunny the Dr Watson. Arthur Conan Doyle was not over enthusiastic about the scen

Updating list of TBR books and discovering my books again

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I am quite proud that I have read quite a few books from my TBR shelves so far this year. Checking out other bloggers TBR shelves I found a nice way of displaying them on Boklysten  a Swedish blogger. So I set about to do the same. My TBR folder now contains all the books (not including e-books) in a list alphabetically by author. Once read I strikethrough the book. It makes a good overview I think. Beginning of January I will delete all read books and left is the remaining to be read. I find it interesting to do these kind of exercises from time to time. It sort of remind you of what you have on your shelves. Furthermore, some of the books you want to read right away, but they tend to be too many so you have to settle for one at a time. Although I tend to read several books at the same time! I just added the latest collection of unread books, which were some I received from a friend who where moving and needed to get rid of old books. There are some classics and some newer boo

Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald - An American Woman's Life by Linda Wagner-Martin

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Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald, the couple, is a phenomena, belonging to the roaring twenties and the jazz age. For most people, I think, they symbolise the young, beautiful, successful couple, moving in the jet-set world of the time, from one party to the next, with a glass of champagne in the hand… or, something stronger. The couple has always fascinated me, so when I was offered a review copy from Endeavour Press , I accepted. Especially, since I did not know very much about Zelda. Scott was the successful writer and she the beautiful wife supporting him. As well all know; all is not well in the fairy tale world. Linda Wagner-Martin is a professor of English at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and among her fifty edited and written books are also biographies of Sylvia Plath, Gertrude Stein, and Barbara Kingsolver. The biography of Zelda is very well written, well researched and with a lot of references to letters and other personal papers. The Fitzgerald papers , are h

Most popular blog posts?

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Most popular blogging event I started blogging in November 2012, just before I went into an early retirement. Obviously, the first feeble attempts of blogging were just feeble. With the years and inspired by the blogging community, your posts develop and varies (hopefully!). Here, let's say, three years later my my posts are more frequent and covers more than books, although books and reading are the two main ideas with this blog. A couple of days ago, I received an e-mail from Pinterest with a summary of what the audience I have, most like to check out and pin. The areas were: Travel, Healthy Snacks and DIY Crafts! Travel I have and I do have boards for Decorating ideas and Cleaning, but Healthy Snacks? Did they really check out my boards? Miramar, Archduke Ludwig Salvator's home in Majorca

Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks

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One of the praises, from the back cover of the book At a time Sebastian Faulks' name turned up everywhere around me. Obviously, I bought one of his books. It has since been decorating my TBR shelves. My first encounter with this writer just asks for more. Birdsong  is a wonderful book on all accounts. It starts out very romantically with Stephen Wraysford coming to France on behalf of his employers in 1910, to see how a factory works, from which they buy material for their clothes. He stays with the owner and his family and it is not long before he falls in love with the wife, Isabelle. This happens rather early on, so I think I don't spoil anything here. He thought of Isabelle's open, loving face; he thought of the pulse of her, that concealed rhythm of her desire that expressed her strange humanity. He remembered Lisette's flushed, flirtatious look and the way she had taken his hand and placed it on her body. That day of charged emotion seemed as unreal and biza

Verona, more than Romeo and Juliet

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We had a lovely stay in Verona. I arrived around 8.30 p.m. and it was still very warm. Martin met me, and we drove to a parking house, left the car there and walked over the 'Ponte Nuovo del Popolo' into the historical centre of the city. We were first heading to our room which Martin had booked by Airbnb (first try), so I was quite excited when he directed me to the main square, Piazza delle Erbe, and pointed up towards windows, just below the roof. Wow, an old house overlooking the piazza, not bad. It is lovely to stay on the top floor, it is just that it was five stories up and no elevator! What don't we all do for a little bit of character setting? Piazza delle Erbe, our flat; top three rooms on the left building A room with a view The piazza delle Erbe market We had the whole apartment to ourselves (the other guests had cancelled). Our room overlooked the piazza, and my first thought was,  A Room with a View  E.M. Forster's novel about Florence. Well,

Verona - a tale of love and death

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What do you think of when you hear Verona? I think most people think of Romeo and Juliet , Shakespeare's immortal drama about eternal love. Casa di Giulietta  was also the main focal point for my recent visit to Verona. There are a lot of things to see and it is a beautiful city, straddling the Adige river in Veneto in northern Italy (more in a another post). Having walked around the old town, Juliet's house was one of the last spots we visited. It is without doubt the most popular one. We were not alone in the court yard. Juliet's balcony You enter through a wide gate. On both sides are walls where people write the name of their loved ones. These two walls are filled up every day, and in the evening someone comes to paint it white, to give space for tomorrow's lovers. You pass by to enter into the court yard. On the right you have the balcony where Juliet was standing listening to Romeo's declaration of love. I managed to get a photo with an empty balcony,

A week on the road...

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A room with a view in Verona! Back home after an intensive week of travelling. On Monday 3 August I flew to Verona, Italy, where Martin met me. One evening and a day in Verona doing all the musts there. Just strolling around is like walking in a museum! On to Lake Garda for one night in Lazise and its beautiful old town. The next day driving along the Lake Garda coast up towards its northern tip, where we went over the mountains and headed for South Tirol, Bozen/Bolzano. Continued north towards Innsbruck where we stayed two night with Martin's parents, and then on back home! Imagine doing this in degrees between 30 and 40 with humidity...it was a challenge, believe me. Especially for me who can't take heat that well. But considering the cold summer, I am not complaining. Lake Garda There will be posts coming on Verona, Lake Garda, South Tirol and Innsbruck. Posts about 'Wining and Dining', literature along the way and, I hope, some nice photos to go with it

Daughters of Fire by Barbara Erskine

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This is a book in one of my ' Connected Reading ' threads. The first book was A Brief History of the Celts by Peter Berresford Ellis ( review here ). The book mentioned two of the very few Celtic queens; Cartimandua and Boudica. This book is about Cartimandua. As Peter Berresford Ellis mentions, we don't know so much about these queens, or the early Celtic tribes since there are no written sources to be found. Archeological finds, and mostly, references from the Romans are the base of what we know today. As usual in Barbara Erskine's books we travel through time. It is not, like in the Outlander series, that you stay on in the past, Here you are going back and forth during small intervalls. That is why it becomes so thrilling, because you just get a small piece of the story at a time. However, the story of the present time is also interwoven with the past. I remember reading Lady of Hay  many, many years ago and absolutely loved it. This book reminds me how much I l

Paris in July, 2015 - a summary

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Alas, the wonderful even of Paris in July  is over for this year. Many thanks to Tamara at Thyme for   Tea   for hosting the event. This is one of my favourite events, although it is only my second year. Tamara provided links to all participants which was a great way (apart from the Linky) to find out what our fellow bloggers are up to, also outside this event. I have found so many new lovely blogs that I am following, which is a real treat. Just a short summary of what I was up to this year. I did fulfil all my promises, except one; I did not have time to watch a film, however, I promise to do it before the end of the year! I said I would read three books (click the title to get to my reviews): The Age of Desire by Jennie Fields Marie Antoinette - The Journey by Antonia Fraser the book of salt by Monique Truon The historical fiction of Edith Wharton ( The Age of Desire ) generated another unexpected read, when I got fascinated by her secret lover.   Mysteries of Paris - Th