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Showing posts from 2016

My One Word meme

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Thanks to Brona at Brona's Books  I have discovered the My One Word meme hosted by Sheila@Book Journey .  This meme comes at a perfect time for me. The idea is to find one word to represent your new year. Sheila means that "a word can fluctuate - take on new meaning depending on the circumstances, and come out at the end with a whole new meaning then first anticipated." She has been kind enough to link to a list with words, and I think I have found my word for 2017. ... and the word for me will be SPARKLE! I want to sparkle this year, both for myself and for my projects. I want to think of myself first, to feel good, style myself, gather energy and find a positiveness in life. If I manage that I will be able to give more to my beloveds, family and friends. 2016 was a very busy year, with good things, but it generated a lot of work, and left me rather fatigued and without energy. I hope 2017 will see me make my life and everything around me sparkle. To gather en

Read 52 books in 52 weeks - TBR challenge

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Another challenge that will help me lower my TBR shelves. It is Robin of My Two Blessings hosting this very useful challenge. Go to the link to see all of the rules and to my  Challenge page for my own reading. I hope I will be able, and should be able, to finish this challenge without a problem. After all, even when I have no time to read, I read at least a book a week!

Merry Christmas!

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I wish all of my blogging friends out there a little bit of a late Merry Christmas.  I hope the holidays were nice and peaceful. I celebrated in the south of Sweden with family from both sides and I think we all enjoyed the Christmas time, in spite of it not being too Christmas like outside. But we always have a Disney hour with various Disney figures to look at. It is a tradition since 1960, and there, in the world of fairy tales, we get a feeling for the season.  Once this tradition has been done it is time for a Christmas smorgasbord, Christmas presents and a quiet evening.

The Witch of Portobello by Paulo Coelho

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Paulo Coelho has written a wonderful, beautiful story of a modern life. It is done through a set of interviews with people who encountered Athena, a young woman who left a lasting impression on all who met her. She is born in Transylvania to an unmarried gypsy woman, and is given away for adoption. She is adopted by a Libanes couple and her first years are spent there. When the war comes, they move to London. She studies, meets a man, gets married and has a son. But something is missing in her life, so she decides to leave her marriage, take her son and search for something she does not really know what it is. By chance, as so often happens when you let go of controlling things, she comes in contact with people with special gifts. Gifts which are not always explainable. Through a special dance she finds piece and with it comes a search for something higher in life. Coelho has created a lovely character in Athena, and in her search for something to live for, he contemplates the d

Jane Austen x 2

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Sense and Sensibility Recently I have read two books by Jane Austen. It is always a pleasure…or almost. I like some books more than others. I started with Classic spin #14 which guided me to  Sense and Sensibility . It has been on my shelves for ever, and I don't know why I have not got around to read it. Well, now was the time, and I am happy to say that I did manage - for once - to finalise one of my classics in time. Surprisingly, because I was always thinking this was one of her best and most famous books, I did not like it. I thought the story rather simple. Ok, this is maybe the norm for these kind of books, but normally Jane Austen manages to capture a lot of, I would not call them actions, but happenings along the way. Here I thought it was just ono long uphill account of trivia that could not engage me. The only one really engaging me as a character was Elinor, and she is not enough to carry the whole book. The story is the usual. Two rather poor, but not desperately

Keyword Reading Challenge 2017

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Claudia at My Soul Called Life is hosting the 2017 Keyword Reading Challenge . Sounds like another great challenge so I am in. So, how does it work? Claudia has chosen six keywords associated with each month in 2017. Our task is to read one book each month whose title includes one or more of the keywords for that month. As usual I will head for my TBR shelves first. If I don't find anything there I will look for a suitable book. After all, one has to read some new books as well! Here are your 2017 Keywords JAN- Court, Fall, Of, Way, Deep, Thousand FEB- And, Rose, Promise, Every, Deception, Blazing MAR- Shall, Go, By, Silence, Her, Saga APR- From, Trigger, Tale, His, Crown, Mist MAY- Four, Wind, All, Fury, Days, Shade JUN- Without, Know, Good, Watch, One, Have JUL- Before, Final, All, Freedom, Life, Dream AUG- Sun, Infinite, Big, My, Wherever, Most SEP- Sand, From, Between, Ever, Reasons, Clash OCT- Darker, You, Ashes, Out, House, Sea NOV- Place, War, Hea

A Sea of Leaves

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Went for a walk in the forest yesterday. Since it was mid-day, there were not that many people around. Probably out making errands and preparing for Christmas. Although no sun, a lovely day and we were swimming in a Sea of Leaves!

Finalised challenge - Full House Reading Challenge for 2016

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As of 8 December, 2016, I have finalised this challenge. I am quite happy about it. Partly, because most, if not all, of the books come from my TBR shelves. I did change one title, which is allowed, and that was 'Debut novel'. I just could not find any, or did not look hard enough. You never know. I changed it to a 'Nobel Prize Winner' instead. One has to take advantage of having read one of those winners. It does not happen every day, or even every year! Great challenge! Thank you to Kathryn at Book Date for hosting. Luckily, she is also hosting for 2017, and I have already signed up! Author you wish was known better - Alex Connor - The Other Rembrandt Published in 2016 - The High Mountains of Portugal by Yann Martel Book from series you love - The Black Moon by Winston Graham Debut novel - change to Nobel Prize Winner - Nässlorna blomma (Flowering Nettle) by Harry Martinsson Thought Provoking book - The Sage of Waterloo by Leona Francombe Had lau

The Binding Chair by Kathryn Harrison

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May is only five years old when her grandmother imposes the Chinese tradition of foot binding to her. This affects her whole life, but being the strong person she is, she refuses to let it hinder her in her ambitions. Married to an older man who already have three wives, she is faced with a cruel man, his wives and a humiliating life. But May is not the person to suffer silently, so she breaks away and starts a new life as a prostitute. The aim is to find a wealthy Englishman to marry. She starts by learning English. Life does not always turns out as is expected and May stays longer in her profession as she had anticipated. But one day Arthur Cohen turns up in her room and her life changes forever. He is not there for the usual reason, but comes as a representative of the "Foot Emancipation Society". He is there to help her, but falls hopelessly in love. He proposes to May who is reluctant to venture into a marriage with Arthur, who is a somewhat confused man. However, his

Full House Reading Challenge 2017

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I love this Challenge hosted by Kathryn at Bookdate   and participated during 2016 (almost finished it, but not quite). As with most Challenges I join, I try to use them to lower the number of books on my TBR shelves. This is a perfect challenge to do that. My aim will therefore be to read as many books as possible from my own shelves.  
 You will find the rules under the link above, but in short, you have to read one book from each category below. One can be changed if you so like. Here are the categories (for easy updating I choose to list them. I am not entirely sure how to update the chart): 
 Non fiction -   The Pursuit of Glory - The Five Revolutions that made Modern Europe 1648 - 1815 by Tim Banning       On TBR for 2+ years -     Blondie by Joyce Carol Oates     More than 500 pages - Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann Page Turner - Middle Grade Book - 2017 published - Published pre 2000 - An Instant of the Finger Post by Iain Pears (1997) UK/European author

6 Degrees of Separation Meme

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6 Degrees of Separation is a monthly meme hosted by Kate @Books Are My Favourite and Best . This is my first entry with 6 Degrees of Separation . I find it interesting to follow a thread in what I read. One book leading to another, be it the same author, the same genre, the same theme or the same anything. A link is a way to discover new books, places and people. The 3 December book is Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates. I have not read this book, neither seen the movie. But I always intended to, but the future will tell. From there I would use Road as the connecting word and go on to a new purchase; All Roads Lead to Austen - A yearlong Journey with Jane by Amy Elizabeth Smith. Austen is always interesting and this seems to be a new way to approach her. Naturally the connection is Austen so I choose Northanger Abbey which I recently read and just loved. It comes out as my second favourite Austen (after Pride and Prejudice of course). The thread here is Abbey which ma

Book Festival

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The yearly Book Festival took place here in Belgium from 1-4 December. I took the car and went over to Mechelen, a town, just outside of Brussels, on the way to Antwerp, where this festival normally takes place. As usual there were a lot of books, mainly in Dutch, but also some in French and English. Furthermore, they also offer hobby material for scrap booking, journaling etc. A little bit like Christmas in advance. Although I should not buy too many new books, I just can not resist such an event. The books are cheap and you always find some classics and discover books you have never heard of before. Although I really restricted myself, I came away with eleven books! And interesting ones. Can't wait to read them. Here they are in no specific order, just the pile on my desk. All Roads Lead to Austen - A yearlong Journey with Jane by Amy Elizabeth Smith "With a suitcase full of Jane Austen novels en espanol, Amy Elizabeth Smith set off on a yearlong Latin American advent

European Reading Challenge 2017

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Rose City Reader is doing the  European Reading Challenge again for 2017. I participated in 2015, I think, and it is also a great challenge. I will go for the five star (deluxe entourage) which means to read at least five books by different European authors or books set in different European countries. Under the link above you will find the rules and link-up for this challenge. As for the other challenges I will aim at reducing my TBR shelves. Here are the five books I will read. The Go-Between by J.P. Hartley (UK) Goodbye to Berlin by Christopher Isherwood (Germany) Nåden har ingen lag by Torgny Lindgren (Sweden) Stalin, the Red Tsar by Simon Sebag Montefiore (Russia) Pansarhjärta by Joe Nesbo (Norway) I realise that I have mainly kept myself in Northern Europe. But, that is where I am from, and I take this opportunity to finish a couple of books that have been on my shelves a long time.

Classic Spin #14 - review

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Believe it or not, but for once I managed to finalise the book for the Classic Club spin , in due time as well. My number one was Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen. It has lived a quiet life on my TBR shelves for quite a few years. I love Austen, so there is really no excuse why I have shunned this one. Or is there? I always thought that it was considered one of her best books, without knowing exactly why. After having read it, it will end up as the one I like the least. I thought it was a really boring book, or as Shakespeare put it: "Much ado about nothing!" The heroine was not very likeable, that is Marianne. Elinor, her sister was much more in my taste. In short, Mrs Dashwood becomes a widow, without much money to help her take care of the family. The brother is a total *%()" (you know what I mean), under influence of his terrible wife, and, although he has the means to support them he convinces himself that he has no obligation!?!? Mrs Dashwood is offered a

A 2017 Challenge - The Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge

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Time for another challenge that popped up in my Feedly. It is the 2017 Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge hosted by Escape With Dollycas, which I have not done before. The idea is to read one book for each of the letters in the Alphabet. Go to link to see the rules. As always I try first hand to grab a book from my TBR shelves. Here is my initial list. Curious to see if I can fill up the whole list from these shelves? Since I am Swedish and we have three more letters than the English alphabet, I added them. Just for the fun of it. Hope it is ok. A - Aldermans arvinge by Gabriella Håkansson B - Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann C - Colombus, The Four Voyages by Laurence Berggren D - Darwin's Sacred Cause, Race, Slavery and the quest for Human Origins by Adrian Desmond and James Moore E - Eleanor, The Secret Queen by John Ashdown-Hill F - Freedom by Jonathan Franzen G - Gabriele d'Annunzio by Lucy Hughes-Hallett H - Historien om Lissabons belägring by Jose Saramago I -  If yo

Mrs Robinson's Disgrace (The Private Diary of a Victorian Lady) by Kate Summerscale

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Kate Summerscale is a journalist/author who specialises in books about real life events. Some years ago I read her  The Suspicions of Mr Whicher or The Murder at Road Hill House , telling the story of a little boy being murdered in the midst of his family, in the mid 1800s. It was an interesting account on the police work and probably the first time that the private lives of the Victorian family concerned, was not so private anymore. The title of this book teased me, and I was not aware of the actual theme of the book when I bought it. I figured it would be a daily account of a Victorian lady, which would give me a glimpse into her world. It was not exactly what I expected. Mrs Robinson was married to Mr Robinson (of course) in her second and not entirely happy marriage. The husband was occupying himself with his business and often left his wife on her own. She did not really have anyone to confide in, so did so to her diary. It is full of her daily life, her family, friends and

What's in a Name - challenge 2017

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We are nearing the end of the year and it is time to have a look at the results from the 2016 challenges. While doing this, I have noted that the 2017 challenges are building up, and, as usual, a lot of interesting ones. My main challenge this year was to lower my TBR shelves, and any challenge I joined would have to fit in to the various books on these shelves. It has worked out very well. So far I have read 44 books from these shelves, and I hope to be able to finish at least 50 this year. Six to go! There are still 206 minus 44 = 162 books on my shelves, but I am slowly getting there. The aim is another 50 for 2017. I love all the challenges I am participating in this year. One which is already there to sign up for in 2017 is " What's in a Name " hosted by The Worm Hole . You find the criteria and link-up on the link. For 2016 I have three more books to read, and I just picked them out from my shelves in order not to forget. They are: Light in August by William Fau

Dansa på deadline (Dancing on deadline) by Alexander Rozental and Lina Wennersten

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Dansa på deadline is a book about procrastination, written by psychologist (Alexander) and journalist (Lina). A very interesting book, especially if you are a master of procrastination! When I started the book, I was a little bit surprised. How come these people, which I do not know personally, have been writing a book about me? Everything I read could be directly related to my own life. After the first initial chock, I realised it probably means I am not the only procrastinator in the world. The book is very well written. Very pedagogical and it speaks directly to you. After each chapter there are exercises and good advice to help you in the right direction. I have not yet done the exercises, but will do those which seem most applicable to myself. Here are a few things to consider. Impulsive persons have the biggest difficulties with procrastination. They have no patience or disciplin to wait for the reward. They choose the easiest and least satisfying tasks first and the more t

Charles Dickens - Compassion and Contradiction by Karen Kenyon

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It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only. This is the opening line from one of Charles Dickens most famous books, A Tale of Two Cities . Charles Dickens is considered one of the greatest novelists during the Victorian era. Almost all of his books are famous and has created unforgettable characters, whose names are used, still today, by artists and alike. He was considered a genius already in his life time. Numerous are the

Serendipity

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Rose City Reader hosts a A Once-In-A-While Blog Event  called " What is Storyline Serendipity ? It is finding happenstance in the books you read. Serendipity seems to be a rather difficult word to translate into other languages, so let's take a look on where the word Serendipity comes from. According to Wikipedia "Serendipity means a "fortunate happenstance" or "pleasant surprise". It was coined by Horace Walpole in 1754. In a letter he wrote to a friend, Walpole explained an unexpected discovery he had made by reference to a Persian fairy tale, The Three Princes of Serendip. The princes, he told his correspondent, were "always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things which they were not in quest of". The notion of serendipity is a common occurrence throughout the history of scientific innovation such as Alexander Fleming's accidental discovery of penicillin in 1928, the invention of the microwave oven by Percy Spencer

Books read lately

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Finally got going with my reading again. It feels great! Here just a few short lines on the latest books that I have read. A Whole Life by Robert Seethaler - the book was nominated for the Man Booker prize, and rightly so. I really loved this low toned, matter of fact story of a man who does not have much going for him. In spite of that he accepts life as it comes, makes the best of it and never venture into dreams he can not fulfil. A magically, wonderful book of a life without few expectations. Although I find the book very sad, Seethaler manages to keep it on a high level and does not venture into self pity for his character. Grymhet (Cruelty) by Birgitta Lindqvist - she spent time working in China and the book contains short stories from her experience there. As the book title indicates it is often a cruel life she meets, but she manages to write magic into the stories and they leave you with a wow experience and a greater understanding of a different culture. Skrivandets s

Sunday bliss and a new reading corner

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I am, once again, in Sweden to fix a few things in our flat. Martin and me have spent the last week to fix outstanding things in the flat, mainly buying some new furniture. We are awaiting our last buys tomorrow; a TV bench and a buffet, both in the same modern style. I have also found a nice, comfortable reading chair with foot pall to go into my library, which is in the corner of the living room. The outlook from the chair is through the balcony door over the lime stone quarry ahead. A lovely view that extends into eternity! My reading chair with a sheep skin for warmth! After all the work we decided to take the weekend off. Saturday came with heavy winds and rain and we were not too eager to venture outside. However, I went to the spa area that belongs to our residence, and spent a couple of hours reading (yes actually, finally!) and dosing off in the sun that shone through the big windows. Then a tour to the hamam and a swim in the pool. Absolutely wonderful. In the evening w

Classic Spin # 14

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There has been another Classic Spin from The Classic Club . Lately, I have not had time to read any of the spins, although I am eager to reduce my classical list, which is also a TBR list. This time the spin ended on number 1. Here is my list: 

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. Karin Lavransdotter by Sigrid Undset 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. A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams 11. Richard III by William Shakespeare 12. Travels With My Aunt by Graham Green 13. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck 14. The Overcoat and Other Stories by Nikolaj Gogol 15. Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh (for 1 August)(not finished) 16. Sweet Bird of Youth by Tennessee Williams 17. The Taming of a Screw by William Sha