Monday, 5 December 2016

Book Festival

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 adventure: a traveling book club with Jane. In six unique, unforgettable countries, she gathered book-loving new friends - taxi drivers and teachers, poets and politicians - to read Emma, Sense and Sensibility, and Pride and Prejudice. " Well, having just read Sense and Sensibility I felt this book talking to me.

Lord John and the Hand of Devils by Diana Gabaldon

"Diana Gabaldon delivers three tales of war, intrigue and espionage featuring the unforgettable Lord John Grey. In the heart of the eighteenth century, Lord John's world is one of mystery and menace; where allies have the power to destroy him with a single blow. As he ventures into an ominous unknown, his companions are haunted soldiers, sinister family secrets and lingering memories of a fiery-haired Scot named James Fraser. " A character from her books in the Outlander series who we meet here in a separate series.

Contemplating Adultery - The Secret Life of a Victorian Woman by Lotte and Joseph Hamburger

"In the early 1830s Sarah Austin, trapped in a loveless and dutiful mariiage, falls in love with a man she has never met - a German prince, author of the bestselling book she is translating into English. Their romance by letter becomes increasingly intimate as she eagerly confides the secrets of her inner life - her disappointment in marriage and her hunger for affection." Having just read Kate Summerscale's "The Private Diary of a Victorian Lady" it seemed fine to continue with another diary from the same time.

I love the cover and was thinking that it must be from a painting by the pre-Raphaelites. And right so; It is from 'The Day Dream' (1880) by Dante Gabriel Rossettti.

The Temporary Gentleman by Sebastian Barry

"Ghana 1957: Jack McNulty, a former UN observer, sits in his lodgings contemplating his return to Ireland, and the life he has led. He has worked around the world and seen extraordinary things, yet Jack's memories are dominated by his tumultuous marriage back in Sligo in the 1920s to Mai Kirwan, a greaty beauty with a vivid mind. But Mai was elusive, mysterious and troubled, and in time she slipped from his grasp. The Temporary Gentleman is a novel about one man's attempt to free himself from the savage realities of his past." Sebastian Barry never disappoints so I think this is a rather sure bet. I have read his "A Long Long Way" about the first World War and "The Secret Scripture". Fantastic novel, hard to put down.

Left Bank by Kate Muir

"Enter the world of Olivier and Madison Malin, the glittering inhabitants of Paris's most exclusive neighbourhood, the stylish and intellectual Left Bank. The Malins' life together in their grand apartment with their adorable daughter is the stuff of dreams - and carefully selected celebrity magazines." Ever since reading about all the famous writers, art critics and their likes, like Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Maddox Ford, Stein and many more, I am a little bit hooked on the left bank. Plan to visit one day so this book could maybe add a certain flair.

My Notorious Life by Madame X

"New York 1860. Inspired by a true story, this is the testament of Axie Muldoon, midwife, female physician, distributor of 'obscene' materials and the most scandalous woman in Manhattan…" Well, this sounds like an intriguing story. Interesting to read about an independent woman in the mid 1800s.
Cathedrals of the Flesh - My Search for the Perfect Bath by Alexia Brue

"People journey to Greece for the ruins, Turkey for the Hagia Sophia, and Russia for St Basil's, but Alexia Brue began her travels with a different agenda: to visit the public baths around the World. Cathedrals of the Flesh is the story of her search for the perfect bath." I love public baths, spas, hammams and history so this is certainly a book for me.
Waiting for Sunrise by William Boyd

"Vienna 1913. Lysander Rief, a young English acdtor, sits in the waiting room of the city's preeminent psychiatrist as he anxiously ponders the particularly intimate nature of his neurosis. When the enigmatic, intensely beautiful Hettie Bull walks in, Lysander is immediately drawn to her, unaware  of how destructive the consequences of their subsequent affair will be. One year later, home in London, Lysander finds himself entangled in the dangerous web of wartime intelligence - a world of sex, scandal and spies that is slowly, steadily, permeating every corner of his life…"  The favourite author of my brother-in-law who has recommended "Brazzaville Beach" which I have downloaded but not yet read. So, in the near future, I hope to read two books by this author.

A Brief History of the Holy Grail - History, Myth, Religion by Giles Morgan

"A Brief History of the Holy Grail charts the origins of the quest from early Christian gospels through to eastern mysticism and the rise of medieval romances and Arthurian legends. The grail reappears once more in the story of the Crusades and, in particular, the rise and dramatic fall of the Knights Templar, who it is said were the guardians of the cup, newly discovered in Jerusalem." Well, aren't we all fascinated by this story, myth or fact?

The Lost Gospel - Decoding the Ancient Text that Reveals Jesus' Marriage to Mary the Magdalene by Simcha Jacobovici and Barrie Wilson

"The mystery of a newly translated "gospel" is now revealed - filled with startling revelations and fascinating detail about the life and times of Jesus - in this ground-breaking follow-up to the New York Times bestseller The Jesus Family Tomb."  The origins of the stories of the Bible, new findings and deciphering old documents. Can it be much more exciting?

Whitmaker's Almanack Quiz Book

"Thousands of  questions for quiz, competition and trivia addicts." Well, sounds like this is something for me. I also thought it could be a nice diversion during the Christmas season with a little bit of a quiz!

That was my latest purchase of books. I am quite happy with them. On top of that I bought some Soduko leaflets. Always come in handy when you are travelling or waiting somewhere. A few more things for my journaling and smash booking hobby also found its way into my basket! Now it is just to get to it.

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