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Showing posts from August, 2018

A Gathering Light by Jennifer Donnelly

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The back cover of this book promised an interesting story. It reads: ”Based on a real murder at the turn of the century, this outstanding debut novel is a powerful and moving coming-of-age book. Mattie is torn between her familial responsibilities, her desire to be a writer, and the excitement of a first romance. Her dilemmas and choices are quietly reflected in the life of a young woman found drowned in a lake, a woman that Mattie only gets to know through reading her letters.” The first chapter starts with the murder, which gets you right into the story. However, then you are taken back to Matties life leading up to her being at the hotel where the murder took place. From there the story goes back and forth, with a chapter here and there on the murder perspective. In the beginning I wanted to know more about the murder, rather than the background of Matties life. It took me more or less 100 pages before I settled into the rytm of the story and realising that the maj

Camping in Austria

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Summer time, holiday time. I am presently in Austria holidaying. The weather has been fabulous so me and my husband decided to inagurate our new tent, that we bought last year. We found it on the Caravan Fair in Düsseldorf and it was delivered to us in March this year. It is a big tent, so you can easy stand inside. It is really a tent to use with you car, but can also be used independently. We started out at Achensee, a beautiful alpine lake, 9 km long with tropical, green water. It is also icing cold. This year it had a record 19,5 C, due to the goo weather. Huuh! But, when you are warm and sweaty after a walk along the mountain walls of the lake, it is still quite ok. Once your in it is wonderful. It was a great camping facitily, with new sanitary areas, worthy a very good hotel. The village offered enough of restaurants to keep you going for a while.  After a couple of days there we continued to Walchsee, where we got a spot just by the water. Totally beautiful. We

The Classic Club Spin #18 - Richard III by William Shakespeare

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Believe it or not, but I managed to finalise this month´s spin. My number 9 was Richard III by William Shakespeare. I am not good at reading Shakespeare, but this seemed easier to approach. The reason being that I have recently read quite a lot about this time, in connection with the finding of his bones in Leicester.  The drama is not a very long, I read it as an e-book and it went rather smoothly. The beginning was a little bit confusing, including a lot a characters I do not remember. Ideally, one should look them up and check up the history.  However, I am travelling and there was no time. ( Many Books Net) Time has shown us a development in the interpretation of historical events, and this is also the case here. Partly, t he drama felt a little bit out of date, but it is a drama after all.  It was written during Tudor times (during the reign of Elizabeth I) and the first Tudor, Henry VII, beat his enemy Richard III at the battle of Bosworth.  But a classic is a classic, and has t

2 x Paulo Coelho

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Looking for summer reads from my TBR shelves, I find two books by one of my favourite authors, Paulo Coelho. It is By The River Pedra I Sat Down And Wept and Adultery. They both cover relationships and their ups and downs. The first one is about a young couple who grew up together and then were separated many years, since they chose different paths in life. The second is about a woman in a happy marriage, with two children and a good economy. By The River Pedra I Sat Down And Wept she is a young woman who has learned to look at life in a rational way, studying for a profession; he is a man who follows his religious calling, travelling around the world. Eleven years after they last met in the village where they grew up, they meet again. This time he is holding a lecture on his calling, on life and how we should approach it. She travelled to Madrid just for the day to hear and meet him. Like all the rest of the audience, she is mesmerised by him and his talk. Instead of going back s

Book Beginnings on Fridays and The Friday 56

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This week's quotes come from Carlos Ruiz Zafón's book The Angel's Game. He is one of my favourite authors, never disappoints you. Book Beginnings on Friday hosted by Rose City Reader "A writer never forgets the first time he accepted a few coins or a word of praise in exchange for a story. He will never forget the sweet poison of vanity in his blood, and the belief that, if he succeeds in not letting anyone discover his lack of talent, the dream of literature will provide him with a roof over his head, a hot meal at the end of the day, and what he covets the most: his name printed on a miserable piece of paper that surely will outlive him. A writer is condemned to remember that moment, because from then on he is doomed and his soul has a price."  The Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice "My meetings with Cristina were always by chance. Sometimes I would bump into her in the Sempere & Sons bookshop, where she often went to collect books for

The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck by Mark Manson

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This is one of those popular help yourself books that seems to overflow these days. However, it defies all the good advices we have been given during the last years, that is; stay positive. Manson says: "Let's be honest; sometimes things are fucked up and we have to live with it."  Right! That is life after all. "One day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful." Sigmund Freud  With this quote in mind Manson argues that values such as "pleasure, material success, always being right, staying positive", are poor guidelines for a persons life. After all, some of the greatest moments in our lives are " not  pleasant, not successful, not known, and not positive". Which leads him to the belief, and I am bound to agree with him, that it is the individual who is responsible for everything in his/her life. We just have to act due to external circumstances. We are not always in control of all aspects of our

Six Degrees of Separation

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Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best , is hosting this interesting meme. This month we start with Ian MacEwan's  Atonement.   I am probably one of the few who have neither read the book nor watched the movie. It is a chronicle over a crime and its consequences over six decades. That leads me to my first chain which is Kate Morton's The Secret Keeper. As in Atonement  it is about a crime and how it effects the family. It is only fifty years later that everything is revealed. Another family saga and hidden secrets I found in Habitaciones cerradas by Care Santos. Violeta Lax is the grand daughter of the famous, Spanish artist Amadeo Lax. When he died he left his house and art to the Catalonian state. Violeta comes back to have a look at the house a last time before the house will be turned into a museum. Once the renovations starts a hidden room is found. The novel takes place in Barcelona and that takes me to one of my favourite author; Carlos Ruiz Zafon and The Sh

A History of Reading by Alberto Manguel

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I found this book when I visited the local library. For someone who loves reading, such a title is obligatory. Manguel himself, Argentinian, but roaming the world with his diplomatic parents, fell in love with books from an early age. It seems he has read it all and a little bit more.  The history oozes love of books and he takes us through times to find out who read books and how. It starts from the very beginning when there was no writing and people had to learn stories and tell them. A time when people read aloud for an audience. A time when being able to read and write made you a privileges person in society. And, closer to our time when a book became more common and readable in your own language, and not just something for a learned few. The next part he dedicates to the powers of the reader. From the beginning when only a few people could read, on to the people who could read the future. The symbolic reader and reading inside of walls. Stealing books. Yes, there were peopl

Betrayal by Karin Alvtegen

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I love Karin Alvtegen. She tells stories about ordinary people, or almost ordinary. There is always a twist to the story and you never know how it will end up. It is psychological and enters into the mind of the characters she is creating. In Betrayal  we meet Eva and Henrick who have a little bit of a marital problem. As the relationship unfolds everything is not what it seems to be. At the same time we meet Jonas who is guarding his girl friend, Anna, who is in a coma in the hospital. Due to circumstances Eva's and Jonas' lives are intertwined and takes a turn for the worse. For Eva life is marriage and a happy family. That is how she grew up and she can not consider anything else. When this life is threatening her and her son Axel, she goes to extraordinary circumstances to save it. But has she ventured in to the wrong way to solve the problem? ... In some way she had to defend herself against the feelings he awaked in her. Shield herself. If she allowed herself to

Book beginnings on Fridays and The Friday 56

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Another week and another book beginning and page 56. This week I choose a book I have just finished. Review will come on Monday 13 August. It is one of my favourite, Swedish writers, Karin Alvtegen. Her books are psychological with a scary undertone. It is about normal people, who turn out to be not quite that. Excellent suspense. Book beginnings on Fridays hosted by Rose City Reader : "I don't know.' Three words. Each by itself of in some other context completely harmless. Utterly without intrinsic gravity. merely a statement that he was not sure and therefore chose not to reply. I don't know. Three words.   The Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice : "She went on to the bookshelf. Where? Where would he hide something that she could never be allowed to find? Ws there any single place in this house where she never looked? Where he knew that his secret would be safe? Suddenly she heard the front door open." 

Austen in August

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Austen in August is celebrating all things Jane Austen. The logo is absolutely wonderful and so Austen. For more information on what is going on, go to The Book Rat  who is hosting.  I will be on holiday mid-August so there should be ample time to read Austen, as well as my Classic Club read. This is the first time I am joining and I will read Mansfield Park. I have read all the others, except the Juvenilia, so it is a suitable challenge. My favourite books by Austen are Pride and Prejudice and Northanger Abbey.  I am curious if Mansfield Park will be able to push them down the steps? I recently visited an exhibition with clothes from Austen movies and tv-series. It was delightful to walk around and even recognise some of the clothes. Mostly from Pride and Prejudice. 

The Classic Club - spin #18

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The Classic Club spin # 18 has taken place. This is a recurring challenge which you can join. Create a post with your list for twenty classics you want to read (before August 1 this time). On August 1 the spin took place and up came number 9. My spin list for August 2018 is: 
 1. Washington Square by Henry James 2. Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Carter 3. New Grub Street by George Gissing 4. Karin Lavransdotter by Sigrid Undset 5. Shirley by Charlotte Brontë 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. Richard III by William Shakespeare 10. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck 11. In Our Time by Ernest Hemingway 12. The Wings of the Dove by Henry James 13. The Taming of a Screw by William Shakespeare 14. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen 15. Tom Jones by Henry Fielding 16. Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain 17. Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton 18. The Divine Comedy by Dante 19. Forever A

Paris in July 2018 - Nana by Èmile Zola

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I have had a visitor all the way from Australia, so I have been quite busy the last week. Therefor not too much blogging about Paris in July lately. However, I wanted to share with you, my experience of reading Nana . The title might be a little bit misguiding, because it reads like I have actually read the book. Well, I have not. I tried to read it for last years' Paris in July and once again this year. I just can't get through it. I remember part of the plot, since I saw it as a tv-series when I was a teenager. It somehow stayed with me, especially the part (SPOILER ALERT) in the end where Nana gets smallpox and her career is over. I have recently read Thérèse Raquin  by Zola and I liked it very much, but I just don't seem to be able to get through Nana. A few thoughts about why I am not able to get through it. Zola was much into realism. In György Lukács' essay Realism in the Balance  he speaks about the objects that only live "in connection with human

Bookmark Monday

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This meme is hosted by Guiltless Reading  and it is all about bookmarks. I tend to buy bookmarks while travelling. It is perfect. You have a souvenir and they do not take up a lot of space. While cleaning out a box full of scrapbook items recently, I found three bookmarks that I had totally forgotten about. And, they are really nice ones. I bought them when visiting Oxford more than a year ago. The top one is wooden and of Oxford Castle & Prison. On it reads: A Norman motte-and-bailey castle was built by Robert d'Oilly in 1071, incorporating the Saxon St George's Tower. It saw two civil wars and, in 1142, the escape of Empress Matilda. The church on site was the birthplace of the University and legend of King Arthur. A gaol from 1531, holding some of Britain's most infamous criminals, it was reformed by Daniel Harris from 1785 and later expanded. It remained a prison until 1996. Unfortunately, we missed one of the guided tours. But there is a lot of other th

A few library books

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Being back in Sweden I can enjoy the pleasure of going to the library. We have a small, local library in the area where I live, and a bigger one down-town. I visited the local library the other day to see what they have. It is rather new, very nice and comfy. There are areas where you can use the computer, sit an read a book or a magazine. Only thing missing is coffee, but we can't have it all. As always when I linger among books I find something to buy, or in this case borrow. I came out with three books. Don't ask me why when I have around 200 at home on my shelves. I think it is just the pleasure of running into an unexpected book. Three interesting books, of which I have read two. Arvet från Bagdad  ('The Bagdad Inheritance'; my translation) by Ingmar Karlsson. He is a translator and author, specialising in books about minorities, different religions, the Middle East, China and Germany. This is a pearl of a book. There are a lot of myths about islam and th