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Showing posts from May, 2016

Mad Women by Jane Maas

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This is a book I found on the book festival a while ago. I love the TV series Mad Men , so it felt natural to read this book about the women who worked there. Jane Maas describes a world very different from a lot of other work places. She, herself, seems to have been very successful, but having to dedicate most of her life to work. It was not a problem for her, since she was lucky enough to be able to work in a world she loved. Having an understanding husband and children seems to have been a must. However, she managed to combine the working world with her private sphere, although the latter got the lesser attention. From what I understand from her book it was a really challenging, creative and interesting world, in which like minded people met. It seems that the TV series cover the mad world of advertising quite well, and there are only a few areas where Jane Maas does not recognise herself.  It is an interesting compliment to the TV series and it reminds me that I have to see the l

Catching up!

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As life has been very busy lately, I did not have time to write as many reviews as I would have liked. I have read a few books though and here are a short sum-up. Alkemistens dotter  (The Alchemist's Daughter) by Carl-Michael Edenborg is about Rebis Aurora Drakenstierna, born in the end of the 18th century as the last in a family of alchemists. Her mother dies young and she is brought up by her rather fanatic, alchemist father. He is teaching her everything there is about alchemy. She is born with a calling: she is the one who will destroy the universe! When her father dies she is not fully taught, and she realises rather quickly, she does not know the formula for destroying the universe. She sets out to visit the few surviving members of her family in Marstrand (Sweden), Paris and Berlin to try to find out if they know something about the matter. It turns out they don't, but meeting her relatives bring another dimension to her studies, and with her adventures, especially i

When life takes over!

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I don't know what has happened to my rather well organised life lately. All of a sudden life events have taken over and I don't seem to be able to catch up with what I normally do. We set out to have a long, relaxing weekend from 5 - 8 May in the Netherlands. I had managed to get tickets for the very last day of the Hieronymus Bosch exhibition in 's Hertogenbosch, with entry between 6-7 a.m. on Sunday 8 May! Due to the pressure on the tickets they opened the museum for night visits during the last two weeks, and it was opened from Saturday morning to Sunday evening at 1 in the night during the last weekend! Canal life in Alkmaar. Here you take the boat for a day in the town! We thought it a good idea to go already on Thursday and visit a couple of other places in the Netherlands. We started with Alkmaar and Hoorn, north of Amsterdam and the province of Holland. Arriving mid-day we tried to get a hotel room. We very quickly discovered that there was not a one availabl

The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig

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A book I picked up at the book festival recently. A historical fiction, inspired by the story of the Scarlet Pimpernel. Here we meet Eloise, an American student of history and obsessed with not only the ’Scarlet Pimpernel’, but two other spies; the ’Pink Gentian’ and the ’Pink Carnation’. What is making her excited, and is the theme for her dissertation paper, is that nobody knows who the ’Pink Carnation’ really was. The book starts from the research and some old letters relatives of the Pink Gentian provide. The aunt at least, her nephew Colin is not that keen on providing them. The interaction between Eloise and Colin runs parallell to the story of Richard, the ’Pink Gentian’ and Amy. Amy is half French, but has been living in England since she was five. Her father was executed during the French revolution and her mother died shortly afterwards. Her brother remained in France, and has now called upon her to come and reside with him. She is happy to go back to France, but her main

The Prague Cemetery by Umberto Eco

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This was for me a very difficult read to start with. I just read very small parts, which probably made it even worse. There was much confusion, and I felt nothing was real. I am interested in philosophy, although I must admit it is difficult for me to grasp. I want to have answers to my questions, and philosophy does not have answers. It has thoughts that take you along the road and continue until you are totally lost and feel somewhat mad! At least that is how it seems to me. It took me more or less 60-70 pages before I got into the story. On page 32 I read: What I felt more sure of was that the day, which I thought was Tuesday, was in fact Wednesday the 23rd March, and the Guillot did in fact come for me to draw up the Bonnefoy will. It was the 23rd and I thought it was the 22nd. So what happened on the 22nd? And who or what was Taxil? I must admit, that looking back at the beginning when I am writing this review, it is much clearer now than it was at the time! I am very glad I

The Classic Spin # 12 - Judgement day!

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Hello there!   I hardly dare to tell you that I failed again! I was so positive that I would make it for this spin. James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, not a very thick book, so I started a while ago...and that is it. I just could not continue reading this book. I think that Joyce might not be the writer for me...but I would like to read him. Hmm! Maybe one day...or not! This book contains Dubliners and   A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man! No excuse really. Brona managed to read and post about Dubliners! But, if I may say, it starts better than A portrait...  Here is the first paragraph of the book: Once upon a time and a very good time it was there was a moocow coming down along the road and this moocow that was coming down along the road met a nicens little boy named baby tuckoo... His father told him that story: his father looked at him through a glass: he had a hairy face. He was baby tuckoo. The moocow came down the road where Betty Byrne lived

Who can not be interested in Belgian History - War, language and consensus in Belgium since 1830

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This is an interesting book, and a good introduction to Belgian history. The volume is an outcome of a symposium Belgian Revealed , which was held at Trinity College in Dublin in 2005. In the foreword: ”Before a substantial audience, four prominent authors from Belgium and the Netherlands each highlighted a specific (mostly critical) vision of the origins of Belgium’s independence and of what that complex notion of ’belgitude’ is ultimately all about.” Belgium gets a bad press. A small country - the size of Wales, with a population of just ten million - it rarely attracts foreign notice; when it does, the sentiment it arouses is usually scorn, sometimes distaste. Charles Baudelaire, who lived there briefly in the 1860s, devoted considerable splenetic attention to the country. His ruminations on Belgium and its people occupy 152 pages of the Oeuvres Complètes; Belgium, he concluded, is what France might have become had it been left in the hands of the bourgeoisie. Karl Marx, writing