Showing posts from March, 2016

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

The first book I read by Wilkie Collins was The Moonstone , considered to be one of the first detective stories in the English language. It was written in 1868. I really loved it; the way it was written and the story. To my surprise, The Woman in White was written earlier, already in 1859. By this time Collins had become friends with Charles Dickens and this novel, as most of his other novels, were serialised before they were printed. That is, of course, why it is such a long book. By the time I had read about one third, I could not possibly imagine what was going to take place in the next two thirds of the book. Well, I was about to see. The more I got into the book, the more difficult it was to put down. I really loved it. The story absolutely fascinated me, and although it is one of those ’slow’ books where nothing much seem to happen, there is a continuous development of the story, in its own slow pace. 
 It is built up by extracts of most, but not all, of the persons i

The Little Things we do in between Reading!

I am finally reading The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins. So far it is really great and a real page turner. However, it seems to be very, very long! I am only one third through the book and I don't know what will happen with the rest of the book. It is really a good, old fashion mystery where we only get a little information at the time. Wonderful book so far. In between reading I watched  The Danish Girl. Interesting film with fantastic actors. I found the film somewhat slow at times, but when I had finished it, it lingered with me for a long time. I think the sufferings of Lili came out really well and also the impact the situation had on the people around him/her. My latest craze and discovery is Podcasts. I just love them. I happily listen to fellow bloggers Simon at Stuck in a Book and Rachel at Book snob   and their Tea or Books   podcasts. Today while out walking I was listening to The Guardian's podcasts on books. One interview with Bill Bryson and one

Amsterdam - A History of the World’s Most Liberal City by Russell Shorto

The main reason for me reading this book, was to get a historical background to the Dutch 'Golden Age' in the 17th century, for a project I am doing. However, it is such an excellent and interesting read, covering the history of this fantastic city, up to our days, so I highly recommend it for anyone interested in history. The Dutch are well known for their liberal views, and this book tells it all. Shorto is covering the whole history of the city, and it is as exciting as any adventure book. He knows what he is talking about. He lived in Amsterdam for six years from 2007 to 2013, and is not only an author, but also a historian and journalist, and the book is very well researched. This is evident in all the details of people living in the city, within all areas of the society. The freedom of speech and the possibilities to pursue your ideas, created a very talented population, in a time where restrictions were put on people by governments and royals. He has found the storie

The Lady and the Unicorn by Tracy Chevalier

This book found its way into my TBR shelves some years ago. Mainly because I loved The Girl with the Pearl Earring  so much. The last story was woven around a painting by Johannes Vermeer with the same name, and considered to be one of his master pieces. This book is about another painting by Domenico Ghirlandaio, Portrait of a Girl.  Not much is known about the painting, but it is thought to have been done around 1490. Inspired by this painting Tracy Chevalier has written a tale of a painter, a young girl from the upper classes, her mother and the weavers of tapestries in Brussels. The painter, Nicolas des Innocents,  gets a commission to make paintings which will be transfered into tapestries. He falls in love with the daughter of the noble man, and it seems, in most women that come his way. Once the paintings are ready he leaves for Brussels where the real weaving masters work. Here he gets involved with the family of the weaving master, who is taking on the challenge of his life

The High Mountains of Portugal by Yann Martel

This book is part of the challenge What’s in a Name hosted by Wormhole , the first entry being a country in the title. It is also part of the challenge Full House Reading Challenge 2016 hosted by Book Date , relating to a book published in 2016.  A couple of weeks ago I went to Passa Porta here in Brussels to meet up with Yann Martel . He was here to promote his new novel The High Mountains of Portugal. I wrote about the very interesting interview in an earlier post (see link under name).  I have now finished his new book. I was not overenthusiastic about his Life of Pi , even if I might see it differently now, after hearing him talk about his writing, his thoughts and his way of seeing the world. Maybe I would have read and interpreted his new book differently if I had not heard his ideas behind the stories. Nevertheless, I loved his new book. The novel is divided into three parts, taking place in 1904, 1939 and 1989. They are about three persons, in different times, w

Shadow on the Highway by Deborah Swift

A while ago I read Deborah Swift’s historical novel A Divided Inheritance   which is an historical fiction novel set in early 17th century, starting in London and moving on to Seville in Spain. This book is set somewhat later in England, during the turbulent times of the English Civil War, in the middle of the 17th century. It is about the life and legend of Lady Katherine Fanshawe, rumoured to have been acting as a highway woman and also known as  The Wicked Lady . There are few facts known about Katherine Fanshawe but Deborah Swift has used what there is to create a touching story of her life. The story is told from Abigail Chaplin’s point of view. She is a deaf poor girl, who is employed as a maid in the castle. Nobody pays her any attention, since she is deaf, but she can read lips and gets hold of more information than she should. Katherine Fanshawe is living a troubled life in her castle, controlled by her step-father and his nephew whom she was forced to marry. Her only fri

The Classics Club Lucky SPIN number!

This months Spin number with the Classic Club is - #8. Looking at my list I find A portrait of the Artist as a Young Man  by James Joyce! Just to get going. I think at least I am slightly better off than Brona at Brona's Books  who has to tackle Dubliners ! Or do I mistake this title with 'Ulysses'? I certainly do. Just checking my James Joyce book which contains both Dubliners and   A portrait of the Artist as a Young Man they are about 200 pages each. I think I might be able to finish this one until May.

The Classic Spin #12

The Classics Club is hosting another spin on March 7.  I will try to be more disciplined, because it seems I have only read one book on my list so far. Some of the books on the list are also part of other challenges I participate in. To hit two birds with one stone will be good for my TBR shelves.  Here is my updated 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 Waughn 16. Sweet Bird of Youth by Ten