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Showing posts from February, 2018

Varied reading

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February so far has been a fabulous reading month for me, and I managed 12 books so far. Reading faster than I could review, so here comes a few smaller reviews. Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks I listened to this book of short stories, narrated by Tom Hanks himself. What a treat! The stories mostly take place in the past and some I liked more than others. I awaited a twist in the end of the stories, but either there was none or I did not understand them. I thoroughly enjoyed the story with the very active, healthy and enthusiastic girl friend who tried to introduce her rather tired boy friend to the world of adventure. A story about an actor who gets to kiss the heroine and is envied by all the men in the world. It sounds very romantic, but the hard work shooting a movie which takes place all over the world is something different, as we learn. The story of a rich man who pays to travel back in time, meets a young girl and falls in love. He constantly goes back to the same time, try t

Book Beginnings on Fridays and The Friday 56

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Sorry, again a little bit late with my Friday book quotes. This time I have chosen a book, just finished. I read a reviews from my blogging friends and thought, yes, this book I have to read. It is really great and I will download her first book. It is Jane Harper's Nature of Force.   It is a book you just cannot put down, so therefor it is read in one or two days. Book Beginnings on Fridays hosted by Rose City Reader "Later, the four remaining women could fully agree on only two things. One: No one saw the bushland swallow up Alice Russell. And two: Alice had a mean streak so sharp it could cut you." The Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice "Falk could smell the decay of winter roses in the air and hear the distant rush of traffic. And on the second floor of Alice Russell's home, through a streak-free window overlooking the road, he could see a five-pointed white star of fingertips pressed against the windowpane, a flash of blond hair, and the gap

The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James

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Dolce Belezza is hosting a read along of The Portrait of a Lady, and has written a short summary of the plot here . As always with the novels of Henry James, the ending holds more questions than answers (compare The Turn of the Screw) . Belezza has two questions: why did Isabel Archer marry Gilbert Osmond? Why did she plan to return to him on the very last page? Two relevant questions and I am looking forward seeing what the other read alongs will answer. Here are some of my thoughts. Why did she marry? Although she, unknowingly, was manipulated into the marriage, it is not the whole answer. She already had two offers of marriage and friends and relatives were much for both of them. However, she refused. She had clearly stated that she did not want to marry, but travel around the world. She wanted to have an independent life, settle down somewhere nice and live her life as she chooses. It was definitely easier after she came into the money, and would have been difficult without

More classics

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Of my recent reads there were three classic novels that I really loved. Still fresh and interesting today. The first one is Candide (or Optimism) by Voltaire. One of his most famous books, and one of the great books of the Enlightenment. An ironic outlook on the surrounding world. The characters, the happenings and trips are written in a hilarious, witty way. With irony it is both tragedy and comic. Candide is living a sheltered life until one day he happens to kiss the daughter of the house. He is ousted by the angry father and life takes him around the world. His philosophical teacher Pangloss, taught him "we live in the best of worlds" and with this motto he looks on the world around him. In the end? He realises that it is not true and replies to Pangloss: "Let us cultivate our garden".  “Optimism," said Cacambo, "What is that?" "Alas!" replied Candide, "It is the obstinacy of maintaining that everything is best when it is wo

Book Beginnings on Fridays and The Friday 56

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This week (sorry being late) my book beginning and page 56 come from The Secret Scripture from one of my favourite authors, Sebastian Barry. From the back cover: "Roseanne McNulty is nearing her hundredth birthday in the mental hospital where she was committed as a young woman. Finishing up his case notes before the hospital is closed, psychiatrist Dr Grene finds himself intrigued by the story of his elderly patient. While Dr Grene investigates, Roseanne looks back on the tragedies and passions she has locked away in her secret journal, from her turbulent rural childhood to the marriage she believed would bring her happiness. But when Dr Grene finally uncovers the circumstances of her arrival at the hospital, it leads to a shocking secret."  Book beginning hosted by Rose City Reader "The world begins anew with every birth, my father used to say. he forgot to say, with every death it ends. Or did not think he needed to. Because for a goodly part of his l

Coffin Road by Peter May

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Serendipity happens sometimes. I recently read a review on Beth Fish Reads  about Peter May's book Coffin Road.   Just days after, I visited a friend who handed me the very same book and asked if I wanted to read it. YES, indeed I will. I have read a couple of Peter May's books some years ago and remember loving them. This is another thrilling book from this very productive writer. It is about a man who is watched up on a deserted beach on the island of Harris, in the Hybrides. He realises that he has escaped death, of which he is happy. He is less happy when he realises that he has lost his memory. He has a hinge that something terrible has happen, but he does not know what. It is interesting how he slowly gets to know more and more about his life, from neighbours and friends. It does not really makes sense to him though. That he is not an ordinary man, with an ordinary life is quite clear from the beginning. It is a very thrilling book and I could not put it down. R

Reading the Classics

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Lately, I have read quite a few classics due to my studies. It has been a very good experience and an introduction to a genre which I found difficult to venture into. That has now changed, when I find that the some of the classic literature, really is great literature. Not all of them are maybe enjoyable to read today, but surprisingly many are. Here some that I enjoyed. Oedipus Rex by Sofokles - about the man whose prophecy was to kill his father and marry his mother. It made him run away from home to avoid this terrible deed. On his way he killed a man. He continued to the next village and married a widowed queen. He had no idea he was adopted by his family and running away he did end up killing his father and marrying his mother. Just shows you can't get away from your destiny. At least not in the old Greek world. The play is well worth to read. "Fear? What has a man to do with fear? Chance rules our lives, and the future is all unknown. Best live as we may, from

Mythos by Stephen Fry

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Trying to start a new, healthier life. To this end I have decided to take a walk before breakfast every day, at least week days. I am now in Sweden, and there is a lime stone quarry just outside our flat, which make for a 45 minute brisk walk. It was lovely, although windy, as always here by the sea. I felt quite refreshed. The good thing about walking is that you can listen to an audio book. I started a new one today; Mythos by Stephen Fry. The pleasure is that he is also narrating the story. It is a slightly different approach to the Greek myths and he is doing it in a very entertaining way. The chapters are rather short, the stories different, so you can stop whenever. Perfect for a walk. On the other side of the quarry you see our house. We have a view over the quarry from the other side. It is quite a magic place, a nature reserve and some "lost" species are making this quarry their home. For those interested in geology also has a good time walking through th

Sunday Bliss

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A cold an windy day here in Karlskrona in the south east corner of Sweden. Took a nice and fresh walk around the historic center, along the seaside. 

Book Beginnings on Fridays and The Friday 56

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This week my book beginning and page 56 come from The Edge of the World, How the North Sea Made Us Who We Are by Michael Pye. From the blurb: "This is a story of saints and spies, fishermen and pirates, traders and marunders - and of how their wild and daring journeys across the North Sea built the world we know." Seems suitable for someone from Scandinavia. A thorough history and background to developments in this area. Will be interesting to read. Book beginning hosted by Rose City Reader "Cecil Warburton went to the seaside in the summer of 1700: two weeks at Scarborough on the east coast of England, north of Hull and south of Newcastle. He was not at all impressed." The Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice "The whole Christian year was shaped by the date of Easter; but the Church's own rules for fixing it meant Easter fell on a different Sunday each year, a floating feast."

Diminishing TBR Shelves

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As you see on the image above, the number of books on my TBR shelves are diminishing. How I wish it was true! This is just what is left on my selves here in Brussels. The rest of the around 170 books are in Sweden or on their way there, plus all the other books I have read. It looks really empty here now, and as Marcus Tullius Cicero said:   "A room without books is like a body without a soul." True enough. The choice of choosing a book to read is also diminishing. I am a mood reader. When I look for a book, I go through the books I have not yet read to get a feeling for what I want to read. As soon as I decide that I have to read a book for a challenge, a list, a book club etc, it tends to be so hard. Spur of the moment feeling is good. I managed to read five books from my TBR shelves in January, which was a good achievement. It went so fast to read, and I exchanged one book for another. Now, it seems I am stuck with reading four to five books at the same time and I

NYT Survey on Reading Habits

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Jeanie at The Marmelade Gypsy has answered the New York Times, Sunday book section's questionnaire concerning reading habits. I thought I will go along and look into my own habits. Here we go. 
 What are you reading right now? As always I read several books at the time, changing them according to my mood. Here are some of them: A Portrait of a Lady  by Henry James. It is a read along with Dolce Belezza for February. A Room of One's Own  by Virginia Woolf. This is also a read along for February with Alex at The Sleepless Reader. Restless  by William Boyd. A new favourite author. The Empty Family  by Colm Toíbin. Favourite author. What is the last great book you read? Coffin Road  by Peter May. Could not put it down and read it in a day. I love his books. Candide  by Voltaire. A surprisingly fresh classic, enjoyable also today. What do you read for solace? For escape? For sheer pleasure? For solace and escape I would read anything taking me away from reality. His

Mount TBR Reading Challenge 2018 - Reviews

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Bev at My Reader's Block  has linked up for our first reviews of the year. I read nine books in January, of which five came from my TBR shelves. Of these I have so far written reviews on four. Here they are. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (review will come). It took me quite a while to finish this magical realism and I have still not made up my mind what I really think about it. Hunting Season by Andrea Camilleri. Another magical realism and a murder mystery at the same time. It takes place in Sicily in 1880 and is wonderfully written. The Mysteries of Beethoven's Hair by Russell Martin and Lydia Nibley. A historical mystery following a lock of Beethoven's hair through history. Exciting. Finding Your Element by Ken Robinson. A guide how to find your passions in life. Love in a Blue Time  by Hanif Kureishi. My first book by him, but maybe not his best. I had difficulties engaging in these short stories. I still have seven books to

6 Degrees of Separation

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Six Degrees of Separation , is a monthly link-up hosted by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best . Each month a book is chosen as a starting point and linked to six other books to form a chain. A book doesn’t need to be connected to all the other books on the list, only to the one next to it in the chain. This month start with  Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders. It won the Man Booker Prize in 2017. I have not read it. It is about Abraham Lincoln's son William who died at a young age, and deals with loss. "Bardo" seems to mean an intermediate space between life and rebirth. That thought leads me to One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. It has a magical realism, and it seems to take place in a, not entirely, human world. It follows a family through a hundred years, a family with a supernatural aura around it. It is a real world, but still not. I imagine that Lincoln in the Bardo, could be something similar. Staying on in a world

Book beginnings on Friday and The Friday 56

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This week my book beginning and page 56 come from Mr Mac and Me by Esther Freud. It is a historical fiction about Charles Rennie Mackintosh seen through the 11 year old Thomas Maggs.  Here is a short blurb. "In this tender and compelling story of an unlikely friendship, Esther Freud paints a vivid portrait of a home front community during the First World War, and of a man who was one of the most brilliant and misunderstood artists of his generation. It is her most beautiful and masterful work." Book beginning hosted by Rose City Reader "I was born upstairs in the small bedroom, not in the smallest room with the outshot window, where I sleep now, or the main room that is kept for guests - summer visitors who write and let us know that they are coming and how long they plan to stay." The Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice "'The  rabbit house?' And I flush because it may be only me who calls it that, although there can't be anyone