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Showing posts from 2018

2019 European Reading Challenge

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Once again I am joining Gilion on Rose City Reader to participate in the European Reading Challenge for 2019.  Go to link above for more detailed information. There are five levels of participation. FIVE STAR (DELUXE ENTOURAGE): Read at least five books by different European authors or books set in different European countries. FOUR STAR (HONEYMOONER): Read four qualifying books. THREE STAR (BUSINESS TRAVELER): Read three qualifying books. TWO STAR (ADVENTURER): Read two qualifying books. ONE STAR (PENSIONE WEEKENDER): Read just one qualifying book. I will go for the Five Star (deluxe entourage) and read five books by different European authors or books set in different European countries.

Challenge 2019: Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks

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I am signing up for this challenge again for 2019. I did not make it with one book a week last year, but almost, missed five weeks. Ah well, a good try. It is hosted by  Robin of my two Blessings. The mini, weekly and monthly challenges are all optional, Mix them up anyway you like or follow your own path in the quest to read. • The challenge will run from January 1, 2019 through December 31, 2019. • Our book weeks will begin on Sunday • Week one will begin on Tuesday, January 1st. • Participants may join at any time. • All forms of books are acceptable including e-books, audio books, etc. • Re-reads are acceptable as long as they are read after January 1, 2019 • Books may overlap other challenges. • If you have an blog, create an entry post linking to this blog. • Sign up with Mr. Linky in the "I'm participating post" in the sidebar • You don't have a blog to participate. Post your weekly book in the comments section of each

Book Challenge by Erin 10.0

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A book challenge through a facebook group. Well, first time I join, but it sounds like a good challenge, and as always, I will try to find the books on my TBR shelves. Here are a few general rules (in short, for more info join Book Challenge by Erin on facebook): Have fun. Don't stress, read as many as you like.  The challenge will run from JANUARY 1, 2019 to APRIL 30, 2019.  Each book must be at least 200 pages long. Audio books are fine too.
 A book can only be used for one category, and each category can only be completed once.   You can read your books in any order you choose.
 Rereads can be used only once.  There will be a photo album for each category with links to books chosen. Please comment on the photo for each of your books when you finish reading them. A comment can include a review, a rating, a recommendation…other readers want to hear what you thought of your choice.  There will be 10 book categories with a possibility of earning 200 points. That’s 10 bo

The Bugatti Queen by Miranda Seymour

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I very much enjoyed Miranda Seymour's biography Robert Graves, Life on the Edge, so it was with much anticipation that I started her biography of Hélène Delangle, or as she called herself Hellé Nice. One of these women that seem to embrace life and go for it. She was born in a small French village in 1900. The 1920s saw her in Paris and its swinging life. She started out as a model for nude photos, took ballet and dance lessons and entered show business. She had numerous lovers, she really could not stay with anyone for long. Many of them within her own business, and many of them within the car racing business. That is how she became one of the best and most famous women in the car racing area. She was fearless and loved to challenge life. And, she was interesting in winning which made her a fierce competitor. "Hélène charted out her own course of victories in the ALps. Bobsleighing and skiing in the winters, she spent each summer with Kléber Balmart, one of France&#

Washington Square by Henry James

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The Classcic Club spin #19 gave me this book to read. Since spin # 19 are aimed at chunksters and I did not adapt my list, I will also read Kristin Lavransdotter by Sigrid Undset. I failed to finish it last time, and have just read a few pages. Henry James is always a pleasure to read. This is a very short novel so I have already finished it. I think we could say that this is one of the highlights of James' novels. It is his usual slow, easy going story telling. What always amaze me in James, is that nothing much happens and still you don't get bored. Or maybe this is the wrong way to put it. It seems nothing much is happening, but it does. Not so much in action as by his sharp glimpse of family relationships, society and its peculiarities. What makes it so readable, as with all of James' work is his wonderful prose. Here is the opening line: "During a portion of the first half of the present century, and more particularly during the latter part of it, there f

A modern relationship?

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A couple of years ago, I took a correspondence course on "How to write historical fiction". One of my fellow students, Magnus R Lindgren, has now published, not a historical fiction (although he tells me it will come) but two books on poetry. Far longer than I have come myself. Magnus R Lindgren can call himself writer, poet, copywriter and teacher, and he also has a diploma in creative writing. His poetry debut, "Om det inte hänt hade jag inte blivit" (If nothing had happening I would not have been) is a reflection on the changes in life and the search for oneself. In "Detta privata" ( This private ) he continues with the same theme. He uses Lydia Stille as a co-writer, but she is actually his muse (a character from The Secret Game  by Hjalmar Söderberg), an inspiration for his writing. Each chapter starts with a poem and thoughts on the difficulty to enter into a new relationship. Especially, when you are divorced and a little bit older and wiser?

Books on my to read list

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It seems that, while I am struggling to read the books on my own book shelves, the list of books I would like to read, gets longer and longer. The books ending up here are books that you have written about and sounds very interesting to me. Or, they can be from a review in a paper or elsewhere. I wanted to share the list with you. Please recommend your favourites and I might start with them. Do I have a dead-line? NO! Whenever. But, and that is the thing. They, like the books on my TBR shelves tend to get older with the years, and sometimes it is just nice to read new books. I am a member of a "borrow and read" group with my local bookshop. There, at least, I get to read new books. Here is the list, filled up as I have read about the books. Any of them on your to read list? The Weight of Blood by Laura McHugh The Country Wife by William Wycherley Time After Time (eBook) by D.P. Mendes-Kelly  The Taliban Cricket Club by Timeri Murari A Cornish Affair by Liz Fenwic

Six Degrees of Separation

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Six Degrees of Separation is hosted by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best . This month it starts with the classic Christmas story by Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol. I have not read very many books by Dickens (and I have given up to be honest), but I have read A Christmas Carol  and I liked it very much. It is a perfect story for the season. Mr Scrooge is evil and that leads me to Heathcliff in  Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë. Here Emily created a character who is the embodiment of evil and eternal love. Just finished a Swedish thriller called Solitairen (the Solitaire) by Anna Lihammer & Ted Hesselbom, which also features a very evil man, who controls all the people around him. Evil lingers on the American plains in Alma Katsu's The Hunger . Stephen King says: "Deeply, deeply disturbing, hard to put down, not recommended reading after dark."  He is right, there is something disturbing out there in the wilderness. The novel tells the story of the

Jane Austen and Charlotte Brontë

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These ladies are two of my favourite authors. I have now read everything (except the Juvenilia) they have written. It really was a fight at the end. The two novels left to read were Mansfield Park and Shirley . Have I struggled? Indeed I have. It was a heavy road uphills. They are classics, I like the authors so I really wanted to read them. In the end I had to use my method of reading a chapter a day to be able to finish them. Both novels are "much ado about nothing" as Shakespeare put it. The stories are boring, the characters are boring, ok, they are little better in Shirley than in Mansfield Park . The first book contains 572 pages and the second 330 pages. Rather long and thick in other words. They could both have been written in 100 pages if the authors had restrained themselves a little bit. There are so many stories about nothing interesting, nothing that takes the story further, descriptions of nature and for Shirley thoughts about circumstances that is probab

Book Beginnings on Fridays and the Friday 56

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It is Friday and time for some interesting book beginnings and to see what we can find on page 56. It is Rose City Reader and Freda's Voice who are hosting these challenges. This week I have just started to read the book for the Classic spin #19. It is, from a favourite author, Henry James and his Washington Square.  He is famous for his long sentences, and his beginning here does not disappoint. Isn't it just wonderful how much information he manages to put into the first sentence. Book beginnings on Friday hosted by Rose City Reader "During a portion of the first half of the present century, and more particularly during the latter part of it, there flourished and practised in the city of New York a physician who enjoyed perhaps an exceptional share of the consideration which, in the United States, has always been bestowed upon distinguished members of the medical profession."  The Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice ""My allusions are as k

My lucky spin number is...

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The number for the #19 Classic club spin is 1 . Since I just filled up my list, all of them are not chunksters, and my number 1 is the contrary. Rather thin. It is Henry James' Washington Square.  I think I have actually read it, but since I can not remember it, it will be a re-read. No problem, since James is a favourite author. Maybe I will add Kristin Lavransdottir, which I failed to read last time. That is a chunkster at least. Looking forward to see what you all will read! Good luck with your reads, especially if it is a chunkster. Thank you for your reviews on this novel; Becky  and Nish

Archeological discoveries in Sweden

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I always like to have a non-fiction, bigger format book, to read when I eat breakfast. They are easier to lay on the table in front of you, and they keep open. The latest breakfast literature is this book about archeological discoveries in Sweden, Arkeologiska upptäckter i Sverige by Anna Lihammar. I have lived abroad for 35 years, travelled extensively and read up on the local history where I was living or visiting. Sometimes you tend to forget your own country. You just take it for granted. Maybe not for those of you who live in huge countries, where history and archeology might be totally different. Although Sweden is not a huge country, it is rather long, and nature are quite different from the north to the south. It was very interested to read this book, which in an understandable way tells of important discoveries from the stone age up until modern times. It covers how our ancestors treated their dead; treasures, rituals and religions, memorial stands and how people lived

The Classic Club - Spin #19

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Time for another spin challenge from the Classic Club. The rules are simple: Go to your blog. Pick twenty CHUNKSTER books that you've got left to read from your Classics Club List. Post that list, numbered 1-20, on your blog before Tuesday 27th November . We'll announce a number from 1-20.  Read that book by 31st January 2019. I am pleased to notice that I only have 27 books to go on my 50 classics to read. After having read the 20 on my shortlist, there are only 7 to go. There are of course hundreds waiting in the line to be put on the list. One step at the time though. Here is my updated list (published and updated under Memes ). 1. Washington Square by Henry James 2. Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Carter 3. Daisy Miller by Henry James 4. Karin Lavransdotter by Sigrid Undset 5. Shirley by Charlotte Brontë (reading) 6. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce 7. Women in Love by D.H. Lawrence 8. Child Harold by Lord Byron 9. House

Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder

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This is a book that I have had since the mid-90s. It was much talked of when it was published and I don't really know why it has ended up so long on my shelves. It was due to the Classic Club's invitation to DARE reading a book that frightens you, one way or the other, that I grabbed this book. The sub title of the book is An adventure in philosophy , and I was thinking that it would somehow be 'over my head'. It is not...or is it? From the cover a short summary. "One day Sophie comes home from school to find two questions in her mailbox: Who are you? and Where does the world come from? This is the start of Sophie's adventure in philosophy - from the Greeks to Descartes, from Spinoza to Hegel, Mars and Freud - with a mysterious mento who will not reveal his identity. But this is not the only mystery in Sophie's world. Why does she keep receiving postcards addressed to someone called Hilde? Why do Hilde's possessions turn up among her own? Who is

Short reviews of latest reading

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I am a little bit behind with reviews, so here is a post with short reviews of books I have read lately. The Katharina Code by Jørn Lier Horst A famous Norwegian thriller writer, but this is the first time I read a book by him. It is the first in a series of cold cases with detective William Wisting. Twenty-four years ago Katharina Haugen disappeared from her home, never to be seen again. She left behind a small note with cryptical figures. Every year, of the day of her disappearance, Wisting is visiting her husband, Martin. With the years a special friendship has developed between the two. When visiting this year, Wisting finds the house dark and quiet and no sign of Martin. This is the starting point of this fascinating story. It is not a book of action, it rather slowly follows new leads and new interpretations. It is all very exciting and I really enjoyed the cleverness of the story, the background and the build up to finding the solution to the case. The characters are

Bookmark Monday

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This meme is hosted by  Guiltless Reading . In the beginning of September I was in London and visited one of my favourite museums; Tate Britain. Mainly to visit the Pre-Raphaelites again. This time I had an audio guide, and I am glad to have discovered two beautiful paintings of other artists. I ended up with four bookmarks. Millais' Ophelia is a favourite of mine. It is just so beautiful and seems so real. Well, maybe it should be after all the dramatical events during its production. "Millais produced Ophelia in two separate stages: He first painted the landscape, and secondly the figure of Ophelia. Having found a suitable setting for the picture, Millais remained on the banks of the Hogsmill River in Ewell...for up to 11 hours a day, six days a week, over a five-month period in 1851. This allowed him to accurately depict the natural scene before him. Millais encountered various difficulties during the painting process. He wrote in a letter to a friend, "The

Book Beginnings on Fridays and The Friday 56

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My book for this week's beginning and page 56 is from one of my favourite authors; Simon Sebag Montefiore. I have three of his non-fiction books; Catherine the Great & Potemkin , Stalin, the Court of the Red Tsar and Jerusalem, the Biography . The book about Catherine and Potemkin is absolutely fantastic, so interesting. I am reading the book about Stalin for the moment, and Jerusalem will come one of these days. When I found Sashenka, a novel of fiction by him, I just had to have it. I love his writing, so it will be interesting to see if his fictional book lives up to his non-fictional ones. As you understand, I have not read it yet. Book beginnings on Friday hosted by Rose City Reader "Part One - St Petersburg, 1916 It was only teatime but the sun had already set when three of the Tsar's gendarmes took up positions at the gates of the Smolny Institute for Noble Girls.  The Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice "She could not understand why th

The Hunger by Alma Katsu

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Sometimes I just like to read, and I find it difficult to sit down to write a review. Or maybe, I just don't have time just after reading and then you tend to forget more detailed thoughts of the book. Sometimes I do make notes, mostly on non-fiction books, but it is more useful if you take notes also on fiction books. However, that also takes away the flow of the reading. How are you doing? Do you make notes as you read along? Well, here we are with a book I read about a month ago. The author is new to me, Alma Katsu. " Deeply, deeply disturbing, hard to put down, not recommended reading after dark ." That is a short review from Stephen King. He is right, there is something disturbing out there in the wilderness. The novel tells the story of the Donner party, a group of American pioneers who travelled west to California in a wagon train in May 1846. This is a true story and the party was delayed due to mistakes in planning, bad organisation and choosing the wrong

The Diary of a Book Seller by Shaun Bythell

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I am slowly, slowly getting into audio books. They are good when you are occupied by something and can't use your hands to hold a book. I love listening while walking and driving for a longer distance. I am still to remember to put it on while cleaning or doing things in the flat. One perfect book for listening is Shaun Bythell's The Diary Of A Bookseller. Shaun bought a book shop in Wigtown, Scotland in 2001. It is simply called The Bookshop. Shaun kept a diary for one year and we follow him in his daily chores in the book business. Wigham seems to be a wonderful place, and famous for its many book shops. It is a funny and sometimes hilarious diary, and gives us an insight in how it is to run a book shop these days. The competition with on-line businesses, although that is also part of the daily life of selling books. There seems to be on-line orders almost every day, except the days the system goes down! Shaun shares his note about his life, his staff and different e

Bookmark Monday

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This meme is hosted by Guiltless Reading . For this week's bookmark I have been to Ystad. Ystad is the city of chief inspector Wallander in Henning Mankell's books. Not only Wallander is filmed here, but other productions as well, and the film museum visualises these productions. Mostly about Wallander of course. In the very small shop, I found a bookmark and some other small items that will make good Christmas presents.

Challenges for 2019

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It is the time of year when you look at what you are up to for the next year. Bev at My Reader's Block are inviting people to join her challenges. Here are the ones I will follow. Mount TBR Reading Challenge 2019 One of my favourite challenges, that helps you lower the number of books you have on your TBR shelves. It is the eighth year that Bev is hosting this challenge! Well done. Here are the main rules (please visit Bev's site above for all the rules). Challenge Levels: Pike's Peak: Read 12 books from your TBR pile/s Mount Blanc: Read 24 books from your TBR pile/s Mt. Vancouver: Read 36 books from your TBR pile/s Mt. Ararat: Read 48 books from your TBR piles/s Mt. Kilimanjaro: Read 60 books from your TBR pile/s El Toro: Read 75 books from your TBR pile/s Mt. Everest: Read 100 books from your TBR pile/s Mount Olympus (Mars): Read 150+ books from your TBR pile/s The main Rules: *Once you choose your challenge level, you are locked in for at least t

The Gothic Book Tag

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The Classic Club  continues to keep us busy, and they are doing it with bravur. While we are enjoying our scary classics for the month of October, here are 13 questions to answer about scary classics. To come in the mood, I am sitting here in my empty flat, lights out, except one at my desk. The corners are getting dark, the shadows are up and soon the autumn darkness will fall upon us. Hoooo! Since I have to go down to the cellar, I think I will do that first before answering the questions! Well, I am back and because the cellar is also the garage it is really well lit! I did not have to worry. Back to the questions. 1. Which classic book has scared you the most? Well, first of all I hardly read scary books in general, less so in classics. However, I found Uncle Silas by Sheridan Le Fanu rather scary. Mostly, because the heroine was so helpless, once she figured out the truth about her uncle. She tried to get away, but was blocked everywhere. A sense of being trapped and n

Bookmark Monday

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This meme is hosted by Guiltless Reading . This week's bookmark, I found in the local book shop. It is formed as a pencil, with an opening in the middle where you can see the line where you should start reading. It is not too long, so I hope it goes into the page, over the text! It is very cute though, so could not resist it.

Bookmark Monday

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This meme is hosted by Guiltless Reading and is all about bookmarks. Hmm, or a postcard to be used as a bookmark. This week I share with you what I found in Apsley House, the grand home of the Duke of Wellington. Having lived in Brussels and not too far from the field of the Battle of Waterloo, I found it apt to visit the Duke of Wellington's house in London. It is called Apsley House and situated very central by Hyde Park Corner. Passing by the house you almost miss it. It is a rather grey, enormous, monument that does not look like a mansion of one of the most famous men in Britain. However, opening the doors you enter into a glorious house and beautifully decorated rooms. It took about 1,5 hours to walk around the house with the audio guide. It presented the dining room, ball room and rooms containing a huge collection of his paintings, urns and other artefacts. Not to mention the fantastic silver and porcelain tableware collections which were gifted to the Duke. To be i

Book beginnings on Friday and The Friday 56

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The book beginning and the Friday 56 this week comes from a favourite author; Umberto Eco, The Island of the Day Before. It takes a little bit of time to get into his books, but once you are there, it is really great. I have had this one for many years. I picked it out of my shelves, to fit in the title in one of my challenges, Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge. You read a book starting on one of the letters in the alphabet. I might not be able to finish all letters, the tricky ones are left.  Book beginnings on Friday hosted by Rose City Reader " I take pride withal in my humiliation, and as I am to this privilege condemned, almost I find joy in an abhorrent salvation; I am, I believe, alone of all our race, the only man in human memory to have been shipwrecked and cast up upon a deserted ship. Thus, with unabashed conceits, wrote Roberto della Griva presumably in July or August of 1643." The Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice " Meanwhile the emperor

Six Degrees of Separation

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Six Degrees of Separation is hosted by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best . This month it starts with a classic teen novel, The Outsiders  by S.E. Hinton. I have not read the book, or for that matter, heard about it. When checking the net, I find it is about troubled teenagers. Reading the summary, I immediately thought about East of Eden  by John Steinbeck. I have not read it, but seen the movie. So much connected to James Dean, I think you sometimes forget that it was written by one of the great American writers. That leads me to another James Dean movie and American writer with Giant , written by Edna Ferber. From Study.com I find the following introduction to the book. " Edna Ferber is the author of Giant, the book that caused one of the greatest scandals in Texan history. You may be familiar with the book's movie adaptation because it was James Dean's last role. Regardless of the narrative's presentation, the content inside of Ferber's novel crea