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Showing posts from 2017

Advent Calendar, box no. 24 - Merry Christmas

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Yesterday was a busy day and we celebrated Christmas with the family in this south east part of Sweden. Unfortunately, no snow, rather rainy and grey. We get all the Christmas feeling by watching the Disney parade that is run every Christmas even at 3 p.m. in Sweden. Our own Christmas tree filled with parcels under it, and the special food we eat. A quite and peaceful evening. I got three books this Christmas. Aktiedrottning  by Isabella Löwengrip + two other authors, My Name is Lucy Barton by Elisabeth Strout and  My Grandmother Asked Me to Say She's Sorry  by Fredrik Backman. I am also finishing, hopefully today, last year's Christmas book, Duktiga flickors revansch  by Birgitta Ohlsson. I wish you all a MERRY CHRISTMAS and a good end to the reading year!

Advent Calendar, box no.23 - Best books of the year

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In the end of the year we always look back on the year that has been. Not only when it comes to books, but life in general. I am preparing my statistics for the year, but I thought I will reveal, on this day before Christmas, the books I like best during the year. I have enjoyed most of the books I have read, but for the really best, I have limited the number to three. All of them new authors to me. All of them have been on my TBR shelves for some years. I just wonder why? J.P. Hartley - The Go-Between - a wonderful book about a young boys experience in his teens. Being the messenger for a couple in love and all the consequences it led to. Iain Pears - The Dream of Scipio - a great book which has parallel stories and how history never changes. Thomas Mann - The Buddenbrooks - his masterpiece and a fantastic family saga written in unforgettable prose. You are right there with the family. Wishing you a peaceful Christmas! Tomorrow we travel to my parents and the real Chri

Advent Calendar, box no. 22 - Book beginnings on Fridays and the Friday 56

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Christmas is coming closer and closer. A lot of people in the shops today, doing their last Christmas shopping. We went to Lund to see Hannes (our son) play and informal match of padel. Tomorrow, PDL, hosts a private tournament, so we will probably pass by and have a look. Since we are being guests this year, we don't have to prepare more than presents, and it feels very luxurious. Time for another book beginning and page 56 quotations. This week I chose one of my favourite books; The Shadow of the Wind  by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. An absolutely wonderful and thrilling story. He is a master writer and I love all his books. Rose City Reader, is hosting Book beginnings on Friday . Share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author’s name. Freda’s voice is hosting Friday 56 . Grab a book,

Advent Calendar, box no. 21 - Wish list books

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I have a wish list of two books for Christmas. One is called 'Aktiedrottning' (Share Queen) and is written by Isabella Löwengrip, Pingis Hadenius and Linda Newnham. It should explain what to think of when it comes to buying and selling shares. I think it could be useful to know a little bit in this field. The other one is 'My Name is Lucy Barton' by Elizabeth Strout. I have heard a lot of good things about this book from you and it has been on my 'to read' list for a while. Let's see what Santa Claus will bring. Of course, any book is fine! Today the sun shone on us a few hours. We went for a walk in the area. Beautiful, fresh air when you are by the sea. Now its time to do a little bit of cleaning and ironing. While ironing I will try to finish listening to 'The End of the Affair' by Graham Greene, and then relax with a good paper book in the afternoon. Enjoy your day.

Advent Calendar, box no 20 - A very grey day

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Today was really a very, grey day here in Sweden. We did go out for a walk on the beach in the SW of Sweden. However, there was a constant drizzle and in the end we were rather wet (not having the perfect clothes for this weather) so turned around. It felt good though, even if we were a little bit cold afterwords. That was all taken care of by going to the spa for a swim, jacuzzi and various saunas. Lovely, and you feel really relaxed afterwords. My husband (who hardly ever cooks) has been inspired of all the fish and sea food available here in Malmö, and have produced a dinner with crab and arctic char and today lobster! Well, it almost sounds like Christmas in another part of the world! I am still reading the "Duktiga flickors revansch" by Birgitta Ohlsson and it is really good. A lot of things to think about how women have to compete in a male world. Review will come. Wish you a wonderful Wednesday evening and talk to you tomorrow!

Advent Calendar, box no. 19 - The Odd Women by George Gissing

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So, how are you doing with your Christmas preparations? I am lucky to say that we are ready to go, and take it quite easy this week. It is rather grey, but cold here in the south of Sweden. Lacking snow though. At least I like a typical Disney winter land. Recently, in the Brontë Reading Group we read an author, new to me,  George Gissing. I missed out when we read his New Grub Street,  which everybody seemed to like. This time we read and talked about The Odd Women. The 'odd' for the women refers to women who were not married and had to support themselves by working (we are talking 19th century here). The novel seems very modern in its way of thinking as regards the independency of women. We meet a set of different women. Some who traditionally marries, some who help young women to educate themselves for a job (other than being a governess), and one who even considers living together with the man she loves. It is a set of very different people and through their rel

Advent Calendar, box no. 18 - European Reading Challenge 2018

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Hello again. Today was a very relaxing day. Yesterday was tough since I had a problem with a blocked back of the neck. I could hardly move and the pain went down into the arm. A little bit of rest and medication took care of that; so today I managed to swim for half an hour, ten minutes in the jacuzzi, 10 minutes in the hamam, and ten minutes in the aroma sauna. After that reading from the book I got for Christmas present last year; Duktiga kvinnors revansch by Birgitta Ohlsson (Good Women's Revenge). I was written before the #Metoo campaign, and it makes it even more actual today. Review will follow next year. I am on for another of my favourite challenges next year. Hosted by Rose at the Rose City Reader .  "The idea is to read books by European authors or books set in European countries (no matter where the author comes from). The books can be anything – novels, short stories, memoirs, travel guides, cookbooks, biography, poetry, or any other genre. You can particip

Advent Calendar, box no 17 - The Brontës again!

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Just another week until Christmas. The shops are full of people buying their Christmas presents. Today is my son's birthday and we remember this day 21 years ago. It was snowy and very cold. This year it is rather cold but no snow. Recently my friend Helen MacEwan the founder of the Brussels Brontë Group had a book launch for her fourth book about the Brontës. It is called Through Belgian Eyes, Charlotte Brontë's Troubled Brussels Legacy . We are all aware of Charlotte's view on Belgium and Brussels, but here we get to know what others thought about her, and specifically about her two books based on her Brussels experience; The Professor and Villette . Very interesting indeed and Helen has done thorough research and the book is illustrated with 60 pictures, which also depicts life in Brussels. On 9 December there was the annual Brontë group lunch, with a small theatre play and a quiz on Brontë characters. Very enjoyable as usual and great fun to meet people wi

Advent Calendar, box no. 16 - Christmas Holiday

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Our Christmas holiday has started and we are now in Sweden.  Martin has taken some time off and we hope to have a relaxing time before Christmas. We will celebrate Christmas with my parents in Sweden and New Year with Martin's parents in Austria. Hopefully, the weather will be fine and the roads clear, because we are driving. One never know this time of the year. I have brought a few books, although I have enough books to read in Sweden. I am on my Classic spin book, Kristin Lavransdotter by Sigrid Undset. I do not think I will be able to finish it. My version contains the three books in the trilogy, and maybe I can finish the first one?

Advent Calendar, box no. 15 - Book beginnings on Fridays

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I post this a little bit early, since I am busy the whole day tomorrow! It is Friday and two favourite memes; Book beginnings on Fridays and The Friday 56. Here we go! Rose City Reader, is hosting Book beginnings on Friday. Share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author’s name. Freda’s voice is hosting Friday 56. Grab a book, any book. Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader (If you have to improvise, that's ok.) Find any sentence, (or few, just don't spoil it My book this week I have not read yet, but is from a favourite author. It is On Canaan's Side by Sebastian Barry. Bookbeginning "Bill is gone." Page 56 "In this way, Bill and I, on very separate occasions, received the same book, in different editions and translations, as a gift. &#

Advent Calendar, box no. 14 - Full House Reading Challenge 2018

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The Full House Reading Challenge is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date  and it is high time to sign up for the 2018 challenge.  I managed to fulfil the challenge in 2017 and I really loved choosing the books for the criteria in the grid. Here are a few guidelines, for more visit her web-site: It will run from January to December 2018; publish a post with your intentions and link it to the web-site; add your reviews if you have any, not obligatory. Here is the grid. Looking forward trying to combine this challenge with my TBR challenge. Well, the future will tell.

Advent Calendar, box no. 13 - Sankta Lucia

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To blog and talk about Sankta Lucia, or Saint Lucy's Day as it is called in English, today is almost compulsory in Sweden.  It is mostly celebrated in Scandinavia and in Sweden it is an old, important tradition. The story is that Lucia was a 3rd century martyr who according to legend brought "food and aid to Christians hiding in the catacombs". Since her hands were busy carrying things she lighted her way by putting a candle-lit wreath on her head. This is how it is done today, although she does not bring food, but maybe our special Christmas treats, 'saffransbullar och pepparkakor' and, of course, the special songs. I guess we enjoy it still today, because it is a light in this dark time of the year. Here is a short video from the Zorn house in Mora, which shows the tradition (from Youtube). Hope you enjoy it.

Advent Calendar, box no. 12 - More new purchases

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Another day of snowing, but the temperatures are still too warm to keep it. I love snow though and remember my childhood winters. It always seemed to be snow and cold. Just like you want it. That is to enjoy skiing, skating and sledging. Well, the climate has changed and this is no more. Instead enjoying my new purchases. Apart from the six new books I showed you on December 7, here comes another seven books, of which three are from favourite authors and the other four are new authors to me. Sebastian Barry , On Canaan's Side - a favourite author of mine and this books sounds as intriguing as his others. "At once epic and intimate, On Canaan's Side is a novel of memory, war, family ties and love." William Boyd , Restless and Ordinary Thunderstorms - two more book by this new favourite author. On to the new acquaintances. Andrea Camilleri , Hunting Season - "Both a delightful murder mystery and a comic novel of huge brio, fired by love and o

Advent Calendar, box no. 11 - 2018 Cloak and Dagger Challenge

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Today it is snowing here. I better enjoy it why it lasts, because here in Belgium it usually does not last very long! At least it makes it all a little bit Christmas like. Now it is only two weeks to Christmas and so much to do for us bloggers. Making a year end summary and sign up for new challenges. I came into this challenge from Stormi and Kathy at Books Movies Reviews Oh My . I have not heard about it before, but it seems a perfect one for me. I do not read a lot of detective stories, but more mystery, suspense and thrillers. Here you get it all. Challenge Rules: • You can read any book that is from the mystery/suspense/thriller/crime genres. Any sub-genres are welcome as long as they incorporate one of these genres. • You don’t need a blog to participate but you do need a place to post your reviews to link up. (blog, goodreads, booklikes, shelfari, etc.) • Make a goal post and link it back here with your goal for this challenge. • Books need to be novellas o

Advent Calendar, box no. 10 - Alfred Bernhard Nobel by Kenne Fant

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Today is December 10 and in Sweden it is called" The Nobel Day". Alfred Nobel, chemist, inventor, entrepreneur and philanthropist died this day in 1896 in San Remo, Italy, 63 years old. What he had feared most happened: he died alone, only surrounded by servants. After reading Kenne Fant's depiction of Nobel's life, perhaps that is the most striking thing; he was a lonely and solitary person throughout his life. He was what we today call a workaholic, and his work was at the same time his hobby and greatest interest. Alfred Nobel was one of eight children, of whom four reached adulthood, the brothers Robert, Ludvig and Emil. The father was also an inventor, although during Alfred's first years, the times were hard for the family due to the father’s bankruptcy.  They moved to St. Petersburg where the father started a new company, which the other brothers eventually took over and developed. The family became successful in Russia, and involved in the oil busine

Advent Calendar, box no. 9 - A finalised challenge

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Today I am proud to announce that I have finalised one of my challenges. There will probably not be that many that I have managed to follow up thoroughly, so very proud of this achievement. The challenge is the Full House Reading Challenge 2017 hosted by Kathryn at Book Date . Here is the list Non fiction - Kapare och Pirater/Privateers and Pirates by Lars Ericson Wolke On TBR for 2+ years - The Dream of Scipio by Iain Pears More than 500 pages - Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann Page Turner - Effie by Suzanne Fagence Cooper Middle Grade Book - Lisbeth by Ragnhild Hallén 2017 published - Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman Published pre 2000 - Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson (1995) UK/European author - The Temporary Gentleman by Sebastian Barry (Ireland) Back List book from fav. author - Eden Close by Anita Shreve Book from a list - Kim by Ridyard Kipling Award Winner - Brazzaville Beach by William Boyd Book about books - All Roads Lead to Austen - A Yearlong

Advent Calendar, box no. 8 - Book beginnings on Friday & Friday 56

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Friday, 8 December and time flies. I have to start preparations for Christmas. Luckily, we will be with my parents, so I can just come in an help out. It is a little bit of luxury. Friday is time for book beginnings and here is one for you. Rose City Reader , is hosting Book beginnings on Friday . She says: Please join me every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author’s name. Freda’s voice is hosting Friday 56 and the rules are: *Grab a book, any book. *Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader (If you have to improvise, that's ok.)  *Find any sentence, (or few, just don't spoil it) *Post it. *Add your (url) post below in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url. *It's that simple. My book this week is one I am reading for the moment The La

Advent Calendar, box no. 7 - New purchases, part 1

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It is this time of the year, when the Dutch Boekfestijn (Book festival), just in time for Christmas visits our neighbourhood. As usual I set out on the first day to see what they had to offer this time. It takes place in an exhibition area and apart from books there are also some scrapbooking items, plays, puzzles and much more. I managed to find 16 books! Yes, I know, too much for my already overfull shelves. Three of them went for Christmas present so that leaves me with 13 books. Today I present six of them, under the genres history non-fiction and biographies. I start with two books of one of the greatest writers all time. William Shakespeare Shakespeare and the Countess by Chris Laoutaris  -  " In November 1596 William Shakespeare was engulfed by a catastrophe. The force which stormed inot his life and shook it to the core was a woman named Elizabeth Russell. This is the true story of the woman whose battle with Chakespeare and his associates in the Blackfriars o

Advent Calendar, box no. 6 - Byron in Love by Edna O'Brien

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Love is a theme of Christmas, and I thought it would be suitable to read a book about love. Maybe this is not the right book about love since Lord Byron's attitude towards love is somewhat different from most peoples. However, there are a few people in the world like Lord Byron. He has gone down in history with an everlasting fascination for later generations. Lord Byron was worshipped, by both men and women, already during his life time. A life that has fascinated people ever since. Edna O'Brien's biography is a vivid account of his life, in beautifully written prose. She has been concentrating on his countless love affairs, but we have enough of background information to give us an idea of his rather nomadic life. Fascinating is to say the least. From a rather unhappy childhood, wild years of university studies and into adulthood and poetry, there was no stopping him. At the age of ten he inherited the Barony of Byron on Rochdale, and from then on used the name of Lo

Advent Calendar, box no. 5 - 6 Degrees of Separation

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This, the fifth day of December it is time to visit another favourite meme. Books Are My Favourite And Best  is hosting 6 Degrees of Separation and starts December with Stephen King's It . I have not read it. Actually, the only book I read by Stephen King is Christine , so this is my first link. I am not fond of horror stories, seldom read them, but I really liked this book. I read it many years ago when I was young, so can't say what I will think today. But memories are good. That takes me to another book called Christine by Helle Stangerup. It is about the Danish princess, daughter to King Christian II of Denmark and Norway and Isabella of Austria. She lived 1521-1590. She became duchess-consort of Milan and Lorraine, and served as a regent 1545-52 during her son's minority. After a long and adventurous life she became the sovereign Lady of Tortona in 1578-84. A strong, female character who managed to survive in a man's world. Definitely, because she refused t

Advent Calendar box no. 4 - Bookmarks on Monday

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Today I am joining Guiltless Reading for Bookmarks Monday meme. I love bookmarks so one of my favourite memes.  Wherever I am, I try to find a bookmark. Very good as a souvenir and it does not take a lot of space. Recently, I visited the Artmuseum here in Brussels. They have a lovely museum shop and I came out with a few items. Among them bookmarks and three postcards. I think postcards are very useful as well to mark where you are reading. Lately, I have got a fling for Gustav Klimt's (1862-1918) paintings. I find them really lovely and colourful. Wikipedia has this to say about Klimt. "He was an Austrian symbolist painter and one of the most prominent members of the Vienna Secession movement. Klimt is noted for his paintings, murals, sketches, and other objets d'art. Klimt's primary subject was the female body, and his works are marked by a frank eroticism". There are twelve bookmarks with different paintings and a calendar for each month. Maybe

Advent Calendar box no. 3 - First of Advent

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How time flies. Today is the first of Advent, the time in the Christian faith when we are waiting for the birth of Jesus. A lot of traditions has grown up around this time, one is the advent calendar and another is the advent candle stick with four candles, one for each Sunday in Advent. It is also a time for preparations for Christmas. Those of you who celebrate St Nicholas day on 6 December, are busy with preparations I can imagine. Here in Belgium it is a big celebration, as in my husbands native Austria. I remember, years ago when our son was a child, and our neighbours invited us to celebrate with them. Our  son made big eyes when he saw St Nicholas. It is the perfect time to check out what you have read during the year and where you are with your challenges. One is so eager and enthusiastic in the beginning of the year and when there are fewer and fewer days to read, a little bit of stress creeps up. That is ok and it is enjoyable to exchange status with fellow bloggers and

Advent Calendar, box no. 2 - Audio books

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Are you into audio books? I am really not, although I am trying. I have used them a couple of times driving to Sweden and it has been good company. But somehow, I cannot concentrate on the book so good when I am driving. However, one should not give up too easy. I have noticed that it is quite good to use when you are doing your household chores. So, I looked around to find a suitable app to use and found Audible (not sponsored post). You get one free credit a month and for the moment it is more than enough for me. I don't go through one audiobook a month for the time being, so there are a few waiting for me. I started out with The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure, but could not continue. I don't know if it was that I did not like the narrator, but the story did not engage me. The second try is much better. I am now listening to The End of the Affair by Graham Greene. Can you guess who is narrating? Colin Firth! You just can't dislike anything he narrates I think

Bookbeginnings on Friday

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Rose City Reader , is hosting Book beginnings on Friday . She says: Please join me every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author’s name. Freda’s voice is hosting Friday 56 and the rules are:       http://www.fredasvoice.com/ *Grab a book, any book. *Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader (If you have to improvise, that's ok.) *Find any sentence, (or few, just don't spoil it) *Post it. *Add your (url) post below in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url. *It's that simple. My book this week is "Byron in Love" by Edna O'Brien Book beginnings on Friday "Lord George Gordon Byron was five feet eight and a half inches in height, had a malformed right foot, chestnut hair, a haunting pallor, temples of alabaster, teeth like pear

Advent Calendar, box no. 1 - December is here

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The 1 December is here and we are counting down to Christmas. This year I will make an Advent Calendar. Did we not all love them when we were kids? This one will be about books and preparations for Christmas. Do comment and let me know what you are up to. Here in Europe it is a dark season and especially in Sweden. I think that is why we Swedes love our lights and candles to make the darkness a little bit less dark. Personally, I love Christmas, the decorations, meeting the family and enjoy some special food. Just in time for 1st Advent on Sunday we did get some snow here in Belgium. I am afraid though that it will be gone by tomorrow. I have to look at the photo and remember. I have bought a new blog calendar for 2018, The Reading Woman . There I will keep track of my books and my posts. This will hopefully lead to a more regular posting for 2018! My aim for next year is to read a few more new books. I have concentrated so much on Classics and my TBR shelves, that I feel