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Showing posts from February, 2016

Bess - The Life of Lady Ralegh, Wife to Sir Walter by Anna Beer

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An interesting biography of a little known lady, although wife to the legendary Sir Walter Ralegh  (sometimes spelled Raleigh). Born Elizabeth Throckmorton, she was a Gentlewoman of the Privy Chamber to Elizabeth I, and Walter Ralegh was one of the Queens favourites. Most likely Bess and Ralegh met at court, she got pregnant and they secretly married in 1591. It so upset the Queen  when she discovered it, that she put them both under house arrest. Walter Ralegh was an important person at the time, as a favourite of Queen Elizabeth I (before he fell from grace) and was often away fighting wars or looking for gold in the new colonies in the Americas. That meant they were separated for most of their marriage life. Bess therefore had to learn how to care for their houses, family, children and just to survive on her own. Most time they spent together at the end of Ralegh’s life, when he was imprisoned in the Tower for many years. She stayed with him there, part of the time, and their las

Leap Year Book Challenge 2016

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On Brona's Books I found this 'one day every fourth year' challenge. Leap Year babies will tell you how special it is to be born on the 29th February. To celebrate a once in 4 year event - go to page 29 of the book you're reading right now and copy the first sentence onto your blog or into my comments section.  Here is the first sentence, on page 29, from The High Mountains of Portugal by Yann Martel which I am now reading:   His uncle beams, filled to the brim with pride and joy in his Gallic gewgaw.

The Classic Club; February Meme: Questions #38

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The Classic Club : Tell us about the classic book(s) you’re reading this month. For the February Brontë Reading Group ’s meeting, I have read Trilby by George du Maurier. Our meeting will be on Monday 29th so we have not yet discussed the book. I am sure it will be a lively and interesting discussion. Here are a few of my thoughts. Trilby was one of the most popular novels of its time. Like so many of the novels in those days it started as a serial in 1894 and was published in book form in 1895.  It starts out in a bohemian quarter of Paris in the 1850s, where we meet two English and one Scottish artist, Trilby, half-Irish, working as an artist’s model and laundress and Svengali, a Jewish rogue, masterful musician and hypnotist. They are all in love with the lovely Trilby. The novel, it seems, is mainly about ’milieu’, which is a description of the social context where people are dwelling. I can agree; that is really what this novel is all about, and unfortunately a story is lack

The Almost Nearly Perfect People - Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia by Michael Booth

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This book was a gift from my husband! First of all the title is very appealing, and it is also interesting to read books about your own country, analysed by foreigners living there. Michael Booth is mainly a travel and cook-book writer, married to a Danish and have lived in Denmark for some years. This is a very witty and funny book to read, as well as interesting in finding out the characteristics of the Nordic people. Although one think that we are almost the same, there are actually huge differences in our approach to life. Having read this book, I am starting to believe that the differences are even bigger than I realised! Hmm… He starts in Denmark, continues with Iceland, Norway, Finland and Sweden. I must say that I did learn a few things I did not know about each of the countries and peoples, including Sweden. It might be that I have not lived in Sweden for over 30 years, so I am not anymore a typical Swede (although my husband still think I am! Which is probably why he boug

Yann Martel in person

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Yann Mantel Yesterday evening I had the pleasure to 'meet' Yann Martel. He is touring Europe to promote his new The High Mountains of Portugal. It was a hilarious two hours of a philosophical and witty performance by Yann Martel. He told us about his most famous book The Life of Pi , how it came to be and how he was inspired. The discussion lingered mostly on his new book, which I of course had to buy and got it signed as well! novel Yann Martel has studied philosophy and opened up a lot of new ideas how to approach life. He seemed to have a very relaxed attitude to life in general and his writing especially. He considered himself very lucky to be a writer. Having grown up mostly abroad, his father was a diplomat, he considers travelling a way of grasping the sense of living. Looking forward to read his latest book, and will read this instead of The Knights Templar in Britain  in the challenge "What's in a Name", hosted by Wormhole . Mostly suitable fo

Dusklands by J.M. Coetzee

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Dusklands contains two separate stories, seen from a male point of view. In both stories there is a person called Coetzee; one tyrannic boss (at least seen from Eugene Dawns perspective) in the first story and a tyrannic land owner in South Africa in the 1760s in the latter part. The method to use the name of the writer in the stories, makes us believe that what is told has actually happened. One could say that it gives a sort of authenticity to the stories.  The prologue, in both stories, indicates that what we are about to read, has already happened. Both stories are told from first-person singular, presens. Both stories highlights and indicates, via descriptions and figuration, the times they are portraying. The Vietnam Project In the first story we meet Eugene Dawn, who works for a man named Coetzee on a project that aims to find a way to win the war via mythological ideas about the enemy. The story indicates that we are at the end of the Vietnam war. The US is desperat and se

New challenges coming my way!

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I know I said I will not accept any more challenges this year. Especially, since as soon as I promise to read certain books they seem to shy away from me! Yes, it is true. They become the last books I want to read. However, having entered into a cleaning up procedure at home with the help of Marie Kondo and her  The life-changing magic of tidying  I seem to see my TBR book cases in a new light. The books are standing there and shouting: Read me! Read me! when I look at them. Yes, it is really some kind of magic. So, today I had a very nice, relaxed day and had time to catch up with a few other blogs. And what do I find? Yes, you are right, a lot of interesting reading challenges. However, being firm in my promise (yes, I can be firm sometimes!) I entered only challenges that for the most part will reduce my TBR shelves. For an update, go to my TBR shelves .

Kondo-Marie Method continuing, podcasts and reading!

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I have just recovered from the worst stomach flu I ever had. Was totally knocked out for two days. Recovering is just like coming back to life! The good thing is that I could not do much, hardly read, so I finally started to listen to the podcasts by Simon at " Stuck in a Book " and Rachel at " Book Snob " called "Tea or Books". It is wonderful to listen to, and a lot of views on various books and writers. Very interesting indeed. I am now on podcast no 7. They can be downloaded from iTunes or podcast app of your choice. A real treat! I have finished a couple of books since last time and there will be a review next on "The Almost Nearly Perfect People - Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia by Michael Booth. I have also started a book for the challenge " What's in a Name " hosted by 'Wormhole', namely the first on the list; a title with a country in it. I will choose all the books for this challenge from my TBR shelves (my

The German Woman by Paul Griner

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I found this book on a book fair, and I remember that one of you also gave a favourable review of the book on your blog. I finished it last week, but it takes a little bit of time before you have properly digested it. The story is about Kate, an English nurse, who marries a German doctor just before World War I. The climate not being very good for Germans in England at the time, they leave and take up duty with the German army in a field hospital in Poland and Ukraine. Here is where the book starts and we follow the two of them during their travels back to Germany and the terrible times after the war. Inflation was high and every day was a fight just to find something to eat. We are in 1919. Here the story switches to London in 1944 and we meet Claus, or Charles, a German/Irish/American living in London, working as a warden and patrolling the streets at night. During the day he has a government job in a cultural unit. What he really wants to do, is to make films. He seems also to h

Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene

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Another low key spy thriller by Graham Greene. This time we meet Mr Wormold, a vacuum cleaner salesman, living in Havanna with his 17 year old daughter Milly. The wife/mother left several years ago with a lover and has not been heard of since. Mr Wormold is a very lonely man and does not let anyone into his life. He has his long time friend Dr Hasselbacher, but they only meet in bars or restaurants, and after all these years they still call each other by the surname. The other person in his life is a notorious police chief Captain Segura. One day he is contacted by an MI6 agent who wants to recruit him to work for the agency. He is supposed, in his turn, to recruit other agents to help them getting more information on what is happening in Cuba. He is out of money and considering the cost of the horse that his daughter has bought, and the fee for the riding club, he is, against his better judgement, accepting the task. He has no idea how to get about the whole business, but is happy w