Friday, 14 June 2019

Book Beginnings on Fridays and The Friday 56

This weeks book is the much debated 12 Rules for Life, An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan B. Peterson. A recent purchase, not yet read, just to know what all the fuss is about.

Book beginnings on Fridays hosted by Rose City Reader
"This book has a short history and a long history. We'll begin with the short history."

The Friday 56 hosted by Freda´s Voice
"The original Man and Woman, existing in unbroken unity with their Creator, did not appear conscious (and certainly not self-conscious). Their eyes were not open. But, in their perfection, they were also less, not more, than their post_fall counterparts. Their goodness was something bestowed, rather than deserved or earned."

Thursday, 13 June 2019

Of Love and Shadows by Isabel Allende

Isabel Allende is a beloved and well-known author. Perhaps mostly known for The House of the Spirits, she has written numerous books. They are mostly based on her own experience and historical events. She also includes and dedicates her books to women and their stories. I have only read Island Beneath the Sea, which is slightly different from her other books, being more based on historical events during the Haitian revolution. I really loved that book. Of Love and Shadows is another book to love. From the back cover:
"Set in a country of arbitrary arrests, sudden disappearances and summary executions, Isabel Allende's magical new novel tells of the passionate affair of two people prepared to risk everything for the sake of justice and truth. Irene Beltrán, a reporter, comes from a wealthy background; Francisco Leal, a young photographer secretly engaged in undermining the military dictatorship, is strongly attracted by her beauty. It does not matter that Irene´s fiancé is an army captain: each time Francisco accompanies her on a magazine assignment, he falls more deeply in love with her."
There is the mysterious case of a young girl, Evangelina Ranquileo, who suffers from mystical fits which are said to give her healing powers. When Irene and Francisco go there to investigate, it turns out that they are at the wrong place at the wrong time. Soldiers arrive to arrest Evangelina and the situations turns sour. They take her with her, and she is never seen again. This is a scenario too well known, but they can't let it go. They set out to try to find out what happened to her and step into a situation that totally change their lives.

Isabel Allende's writing is called magical realism. She describes the happenings in all its frightening aspects. At the same time, her language is poetic and so beautiful, it seems almost impossible to use under the circumstances. Irene is a naive, young woman, a product of her upbringing. Francisco, whose parents fled from Spain during the war, is seeing more clearly what is happening in the country.
"'All you will have is the present. Waste no energy crying over yesterday or dreaming of tomorrow. Nostalgia is fatiguing and destructive. It is the vice of the expatriate. You must put down roots as if they were forever, you must have a sense of permanence,' concluded Professor Leal, and his son remembered that the elderly actress had said the same."
It is a very interesting, as well as a terrible story, but most likely quite common under dictatorship, wherever it is found. At the same time it is an exciting read, where you really don't know how the ending will be. With her characters, Allende takes us down to the nitty-gritty political world, where we engage in the cause, due to her well drawn characters. An important book to read.

Monday, 10 June 2019

A few short reviews

From reading 12 books in March the number has gone done quite a bit. April ended on 5 book, May on 4 and so far in June I have read 4 books. Probably summer and mostly a bit of travelling. The reviews have been even rarer. So here are a few shorter ones on some of the books.

Med Örnen mot polen by Svenska Sällskapet för Antropologi och Geografi (Scientific account of the Andrée expedition 1897)

An old book that stays open when you
put it on the table!
Aahh, the pleasure of an old book. I think I got this from a friend who moved. It is printed in 1930,
the same year as the Andrée expedition was found. It is put together by the Swedish Society for Anthropology and Geography. As such I did expect a little bit of dry scientific account. Far from it! There are extracts from the diaries of the expedition members, accounts on the various scientific tasks the expedition had, as well as information on equipment, clothes, food and everything daily life. Also a report from one of the journalists covering the find.

It reads like an adventure book and it is so exciting to hear, through the diaries, how life was for them. They tried to reach the pole by an air balloon, but failed to come very far. Most of their efforts turned out to be to find a way home, including carrying all the equipment in the boats they brought with them. Hardships if ever.

One of the things that struck me was the quality, or material, of the clothes they have. When one considers the beautiful materials available today, one gets really scared when you realise they were travelling with wool and cotton materials. Even the scientists evaluating the expedition, mentioned that they had the wrong kind of clothes.

Bea Uusma is a Swedish author, illustrator and doctor. She got so fascinated by this expedition that she studied to become a doctor in order to find out the truth of how they died. I read her book, Expeditionen - Min kärlekshistoria (The Expedition - My Love Story) before this one, but they do compliment each other. When real life is more exciting than any made up story.

Störst av allt (Quicksand) by Malin Persson Giolito

Malin Persson Giolito is a lawyer, turned author. This is her fourth book. They are all free standing and concerns legal aspects of society. Quicksand is about a school shooting in an upper class neighbourhood. The story follows the girl who participated in the shooting and we get the story from her point of view. It goes back and forth to the actual happening and the following trial.

Friday, 7 June 2019

Book beginnings on Fridays and The Friday 56

Back with a book beginning and a page 56 quote. This month´s book is Of Love and Shadows by Isabel Allende. A wonderful book set in ”... a country of arbitrary arrests, sudden disappearances and summary executions...” Review will follow.

Book beginnings on Fridays hosted by Rose City Reader
”The first sunny day of spring evaporated the dampness that had accumulated in the soil through the winter months, and warmed the fragile bones of the old people who now could stroll the gentle orthopaedic paths of the garden.”

The Friday 56 hosted by Freda´s Voice
”'Are you on the Blacklist?' she asked candidly, without lowering her voice. 
'Then we can talk. Wait for me outside and when I finish here I'l join you.'"

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

The A - Z on my TBR

Inspired by Brona's Books I took a look at my shelves to remind me of what I have there. To list titles from A-Z seems a good idea. You sometimes forget what is there. I could not fill all the letters, not even O! Letters X, Y and Z are more difficult to find, but obviously also O.

I aimed at only using English titles, but had to add a Spanish and Swedish to make it. I even had to ignore a couple of "The" and "An". Here we go.

A Divided Spy by Charles Cummings
Before we met by Lucy Whitehouse
Cleopatra by Lucy Hughes-Hallett
Doctor Copernicus by John Banville
Eleanor, The Secret Queen by John Ashdown Hill
Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
Gabriele d'Annunzio - Poet, Seducer and Preacher of War by Lucy Hughes-Hallett
Howard's End by E.M. Forster
(An) Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears
Jukebox by Åke Edvardsson
Kepler by John Banville
La Regenta by Leopoldo Alas Clarin
Morgon i Jenin by Susan Abulhawa
Nine Parts of Desire by Geraldine Brooks
O ...
Presumption of Death by Perri O'Shaughnessy
Q ...
Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates
Sugar by Michel Faber
Tamara, Memories of St Petersburg by Tamara Talbot Rice
(The) Untouchable by Gerald Seymour
Vågspel by Ann Rosman
Women in Love by D.H. Lawrence
X ...

Have you read any of them? Where should I start?

Monday, 3 June 2019

Print Only 2019 Reading Challenge

Tina at As Told by Tina is announcing a new challenge, quite suitable to me. I follow several challenges aimed at reducing the number of TBR books. Lately, since I came back to Sweden, I tend to borrow books at the library and thus they are not taken off my shelves. Here I can add these kind of books. The rules are simple (for full rules and sign up go to link above). Tina says:

Print Only is very simple, just read as many physical books as you can. These can be books you’ve purchased, sent, or borrowed! As long as it is a physical book, then it counts. 
Print Only Challenge Details:
  • Print Only challenge begins on January 1st – December 31st and you can sign up at anytime.
  • Every book must be a physical book. Hardback/Paperback/ Soft Board books count.
  • All Genres Count.
  • Re-Reading / Crossovers are totally encouraged.
  • If you are a blogger, I’d love for you to make a sign up posts (you can also include all the other challenges you are in, it doesn’t have to be just for this challenge) to announcing your commitment. 
Use the hash tag #PrintOnlyRC19 to share your progress!
  • I’ll have a link up every last Friday of the month so you can link up your reviews. 
Print Only Levels:
1-10 – Out Of Print
11-20 – 1st Edition
21-30 – 2nd Printing
31- 40 – Signed Edition
41+ – Collector’s Edition 
Although I only sign up today, I will add the printed books I have read as from 1 January. The printed books I have read so far are 31. I will go for Collector's Edition and read 41+ books.

  1. Den stora utställningen (The Great Exhibition) by Marie Hermansson
  2. Trains & Boats & Planes by Kille McNeill
  3. Snövit ska dö (Schneewittchen muss sterben), Snow White must die) by Nele Neuhaus
  4. Linnés skånska resa (Carl von Linné's Scania Travel) by Ove Torgny
  5. The Secret Wife by Gil Paul
  6. The Greek Treasure by Irving Stone
  7. Sängkammartjuven by Cecilia Gyllenhammar
  8. The Noise of Time by Julian Barnes
  9. Falls the Shadow by Gemma O'Connor
  10. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
  11. Till minne av en villkorslös kärlek by Jonas Gardell
  12. Flaubert's Parrot by Julian Barnes
  13. The Newton Letter by John Banville
  14. Saratoga Trunk by Edna Ferber
  15. Macbeth by Jo Nesbø
  16. Grejen med verb (The Thing With Verbs, my transl.) by Sara Lövestam
  17. Tangerine by Christine Mangan
  18. Främlingen (L'Étranger, The Stranger) by Albert Camus
  19. Grejen med substantiv (The Thing With Nones, my transl.) by Sara Lövestam
  20. Dubbla slag by Malin Persson Giolito
  21. Nattvakten (The Night Watch) by Anna Ihrén
  22. Skånes slott och borgar by C Karlsson, P Karlsson, M Christensen
  23. About Grace by Anthony Doerr
  24. Ett jävla solsken by Fatima Bremmer
  25. Five Great Short Stories by Anton Chekhov
  26. Stora Stygga Vargen (Böser Wolf/Big Bad Wolf) by Nele Neuhaus
  27. Med Örnen mot polen by Svenska Sällskapet för Antropologi och Geografi (Scientific account of the Andrée expedition 1897)
  28. Störst av allt (Quicksand) by Malin Giolito Persson
  29. Juliette - kvinnan som läste på metron (La fille qui lisait dans le metro) by Christine Féret-Fleury
  30. Geniet från Breslau by Lena Einhorn
  31. Of Love and Shadows by Isabel Allende

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

20 Books of Summer

This challenge is hosted by 746 books and I will join this year. I really need to lower by TBR books and this might be the way. The overall rules below, but more on 746 book's website:
Do you fancy getting 20 books off your TBR in three months? Think of the joys that this challenge brings: 
All that deliberating over what books to choose and how many – 10, 15 or the Full Monty? 
Crazed reading during the warmest months of the year 
Decisions over how you measure your progress – by books read per month? Or pages read by day? 
Panicked reviewing as you try to cram everything in to the time frame
I will really try to follow the list. However, I know myself and as soon as I make a list to read I tend to read something out of the list! Yep, that me. Disciplin is the word I guess. These are books I really want to read, they have been on my shelves a long time, and... maybe this is the summer it will all happen. I go for 20, but you can choose 10 or 15 as well. 

  1. Ashdown-Hill, John - Eleanor, the Secret Queen
  2. Barry, Sebastian - On Canaan's Side
  3. Boyd, William - Ordinary Thunderstorms
  4. Byatt, A.S. - The Children's Book
  5. Ferguson, Niall - The Ascent of Money
  6. Freud, Esther - Mr Mac and Me
  7. Hadley, Tessa - The Past
  8. Hughes-Hallett, Lucy - Cleopatra
  9. Jacobovici, Simcha and Wilson, Barrie - The Lost Gospel - Decoding the Ancient Text that Reveals Jesus' Marriage to Mary the Magdalene
  10. Larkin, Philip - The Whitsun Wedding (poetry)
  11. Lee, Hermione - Edith Wharton
  12. MacEwan, Helen - Winifred Gérin: Biographer of the Brontës
  13. MacKrell, Judith - Flappers
  14. McBain, Laurie - Tears of Gold
  15. Maugham, W. Somerset - A Writer's Notebook
  16. Meyer, Stephanie - The Host
  17. Nesbo, Joe - Pansarhjärta
  18. Nicholl, Charles - The Lodger, Shakespeare on Silver Street
  19. Swingler, Susan - The House of Fiction
  20. Terzani, Tiziano - A Fortune-Teller Told Me
In alphabetical order according to authors. Some I have actually started, but not got very far. I hope I will finish them this summer. You know of any of the books? Read them maybe? Please let me know.

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Weekend bliss

I visited a friend of mine at her summer house in Mellbystrand, on the west coast of Sweden, this weekend. We have a wonderful time visiting a museum, walking on the beach, eating Thai food, watching the Eurovision Song Contest and a little bit of shopping. On our way back to Malmö on Sunday, we stopped by in Höganäs, which is a beautiful place on a small peninsula. There are several outlets to enjoy. We were late so could only go to Iitala's outlet. It is a Finnish glass company. I found a present for my niece who is taking her baccalaureate in June.

To my delight, or maybe not..., I found a Book Outlet! Yes! If there is anything I don't need it is more books. I did disciplin myself to three. One cook book about Detox. Always good to eat healthy and get inspired. A book about the 100 coolest places in Skåne (Scania, the province where I am living), and last but not least a historical fiction about composer George Friedrich Händel. I just can't resist such books. It is by a Swedish author, Carl Michael Edenberg and called (in my translation) My Cruel Destiny (Mitt grymma öde).

Monday, 20 May 2019

Bookmark Monday

This meme is hosted by Guiltless Reading. This week's bookmarks come from the museum of Märta Måås-Fjetterstöm. She is an artist/designer and founded a studio for weaving carpets. They are very famous and very expensive. In the archives they have around one thousand original designs and cartoons, which dates back to 1919. There are still Artisan Weavers today who continue the production. When you come in to the museum, they display second hand carpets for sale for half the original price. I saw a very nice blue carpet. I could have it for 35.000€! Well, we have to continue looking for carpets.

I bought three bookmarks, although I am not sure they have anything to do with the lady herself. It could be from her drawings, but it is not clear from the bookmarks. It was nevertheless, a wonderful museum with beautiful carpets. Since I am totally hopeless with anything to do with sewing, weaving or similar arts, I am full of admiration for people who can create such beautiful art.

I could not help buying a dish cloth with a wise quote on it. "The future depends on the creativity of the present". How true and what a good quote to look at from time to time. Like when you are cleaning your kitchen!

Monday, 13 May 2019

Bookmark Monday

This meme is hosted by Guiltless Reading. It was a while ago since I posted one of these, actually back in November last year. I obviously have not collected any bookmarks since. This is not really a bookmark, but I like to use different sizes and forms for my bookmarks, so it is fine.

I visited the Modern Museum here in Malmö last week. There was an exhibition on Andy Warhol. I did see another exhibition with him and Pablo Picasso in a museum in Brugge, Belgium about a year ago. There were no bookmarks, only by Picasso, of which you find a sample under the link, as well as a postcard and key ring. Key rings are another obsession. I like these small souvenirs which you can also use. Sorry, lost track there!

In the exhibition which also hosted some of his designs for vinyl records (I did not know he designed these kind of things) as well as some of his famous faces. The most interesting part though, was a film on his Brillo box. We followed a family's purchase of the box, and the signature on it by Warhol. Quite interesting. Especially, since the box was sold for 2,7 million dollars not so long ago. Although, the family who originally bought it and used it as a coffee table, had sold it many years prior.

To memorise this exhibition I bought a postcard on one of his Marilyn faces and, of course, a magnet for the fridge with the famous Campbell's Tomato Soup label. The words above appeared in the program for the 1968 Andy Warhol exhibition in Stockholm. I think sometimes we are already there.

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

Weekly mix

It has been rather quiet here lately. I have been rather occupied, with nice things only, and when I was finally at home, I did not feel like sitting down in front of the computer. Well, these things happens. I would like to share some of the things I have been doing.

On April 27, I was invited to Lena for dinner. Her friend Tina was visiting from Stockholm. I have not seen here in a long time, so we had a great evening talking about old memories.  The day after we went for an evening at the concert hall Malmö Live. There was a performance of Jesus Christ Superstar. I love the music and used to know all the lyrics by heart. It was really great to see it performed live.

30 April is Walpurgis Night and a day when we celebrate the coming of spring. We do this by lighting big fires and sing to the spring. I must admit though, that most of the time the weather is very far from spring. Hail, rain and snow have shown themselves on this very night. However, this year it was quite a pleasant evening, so Lena and I walked down to the beach. In this part of the city they put a fire in the water. In some areas it was so dry so lighting a fire was forbidden, but this place was obviously perfect.

On May 2, I went to have lunch with Lena, at the Modern Museum here in Malmö. It was a wonderful lunch, a shrimp sallad with quinoa. One of the tastiest sallads I have ever eaten. Afterwords I visited an exhibition on Andy Warhol. A post on Bookmark Monday will be up on Monday 13 May, with a little bit more info.

On May 3, I drove about 20 min to Höllviken, a small town by the sea a little bit south of Malmö, to visit friends. Friends I have not seen in a long time. We met in the mid 80s, but afterwards always lived far away from each other. But you know what it is like with some friends. You have not seen each other for years, but you pick up as if you just met the week before. It was a lovely day with lots of talk and a walk in the surroundings.

Yesterday I went with two friends to Sassnitz, Germany, just for the day. It was a rather long ferry trip. Next time I will stay in the wonderful surroundings on Rügen, and visit one of my favourite cities; Stralsund. So beautiful.

Tomorrow is a lecture, Thursday is a theatre and on Friday/Saturday I will go with my husband to visit the island of Ven, situated between Denmark and Sweden. This is where Tycho Brahe lived and worked. He was a Danish nobleman, astronomer and writer. Edwin Arthur Burtt, says in his The Metaphysical Foundations of Modern Physical Science: A Historical and Critical Essay (1925), that he was "the first competent mind in modern astronomy to feel ardently the passion for exact empirical facts." He was granted the island by king Frederick II and he built his research stations Uraniborg and Stjerneborg there. I think you can still se at least the last one today. It is a very small island so we will rent bikes and stay overnight.

And what about the reading you might ask? I did manage to squeeze in a couple of books. Med Örnen mot polen, a scientific book about the Andrée expedition. Three men trying to reach the North pole by balloon in 1897. They disappeared and were found only 33 years later. More about them in a separate post.

Quicksand by Malin Persson Giolito, about a fictional school shooting. It was chosen as the best criminal story of the year in Sweden. It has been made into a series by Netflix. Since I have now finished the book, I will go on to watch the series. Anyone who has seen it?

For our book club we choose a French book this time, and rather new. I could not find an English title, so don't know if it has been translated. It is La fille qui lisait dans le metro The girl that read on the metro) by Christine Féret-Fleury. More about it in another post.

A few notes on what I have been up to. I do keep reading your blog posts and am, as always, amazed at what you are achieving and doing.

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Big Bad Wolf (Böser Wolf) by Nele Neuhaus

I was happy to find another book by Nele Neuhaus in our residence library. Still fresh in mind is my first read by her; Snow White Must Die (Schneewittchen muss sterben), which was an excellent read. This is another "non-put-downable" book. Had to read into the night to finish it, after having read almost the whole day. Yes, it is such a book.

The story is built up the same way as the previous one. At the beginning we meet a man who was convicted as a pedofile and is now out from prison, fighting with his life. We meet once again the police officers; Pia Kirchhoff and Oliver von Bodenstein and their colleagues. The story starts when the body of a young girl, badly mistreated, is found in the river. Nobody seems to know who she is and the clues are none. Then a popular TV hostess is found beaten almost to death and looked into the trunk of her car. She is working on a new series of child abuse documentaries, where the culprits can be found at the highest level of society.

As usual, Neuhaus builds up a complex story. There are several story lines, not seeming to have anything in common at all, but as the story develops they come closer and closer together. Each story is a fascinating family story in itself and very well characterised. Neuhaus writes about police work as we can imagine it is. Not so much action, although there are some here for sure, but following different clues, many of which don't take them further. It is a slow process, but so exciting. Like Agatha Christies, she gives us the clues and we can make up our own mind of what is happening and has a fair chance of guessing who the culprit is. At least easier than in an Agatha Christie mystery, where the clues are not always that clear.

A highly recommended author. I see there is another one available in Swedish; Annars skjuter jägarn dig, as well as in English; I Am Your Judge/To Catch a Killer). Original title; Die Lebenden und die Toten. Are you familiar with the author and her books? Please let me know.

Monday, 29 April 2019

Becoming Mrs. Smith by Tanya Williams

Publisher: Rippling Effects; 1 edition 
Published: October 3, 2017
Paperback - 109 pages
I received a copy of this book from the author, Tanya E Williams, for a fair & impartial review

Becoming Mrs. Smith is a bitter sweet tale of coming of age. During her teenage years, Violet is down with Scarlet fever. She recovers, but her heart is weakened.  She grows up with John and the two of them falls in love.

Both of them study and want a better life for themselves. For Violet the road is clear, for John, not so. Everything changes when John decides to enrol in the army to fight in World War II. John's vision is clear. He wants to help to make the world a better place and fight for the right thing. Violet sees it as a betrayal of their life together.

Tanya E Williams tells a story of two ordinary people, with dreams and wishes. They both have to find a way to come to terms with their choices, and ask themselves what is really important in life, and above all, in their life together. Do they have a future? How does their different experiences affect that life?

It is a wonderful tale. The peril of living in the shadow of a war is well described. The uncertainty of what will happen and how the future will look like. Well written, and Williams manages to keep the story free from sentimentality. It is a lovely story.

Friday, 26 April 2019

Professor K: The Final Quest by Gabriel Farago

Cover courtesy the Publisher
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Published: October 25, 2018
Hardcover - 538 pages
Volume 4 of the Jack Rogan Mysteries
I received a copy of this book from the author, Gabriel Farago, for a fair & impartial review

Having been introduced to Jack Rogan through the pre-quel The Kimberley Secret, and liking the hero, it was with some anticipation that I started the number 4 volume of the Jack Rogan Mysteries. The books are stand-alone and can be read in any order you like.

Extract from the publishers summary:
"A desperate plea from the Vatican. A kidnapped chef. An ambitious mob boss. One perilous game. 
When Professor Alexandra Delacroix is called in to find a cure for the dying pope, she follows clues left by her mentor and friend, the late Professor K, which lead her on a breathtaking search through historical secrets, some of them deadly. ..."

The story starts at the Topkapi Palace in Constantinople on a dark January morning in 1595. Murad III is dying, and as custom is, all his sons, except the one to inherit the throne, will die with him. Fatma Hatun, one of Murad's consorts is afraid for her own son, Osman, who will die the very same day, if she cannot prevent it. The introduction leads us into a world where forgotten art and its hidden messages might provide a cure for a dying pope 500 years later.

Jack Rogan and his friends are out to save the day in this entertaining and thrilling novel. Alexandra Delacroix, a distinguished medical professor trying to find a cure for a deadly disease; Lorenza da Baggio, top international chef; Tristan, a gifted psychic; Dr Amena Algafari a Syrian medical doctor on the run; Salvatore Gambio a mafia boss eager to gain control of his empire; Luigi Belmonte an assassin with ambitions;  Antonio Grimaldi chief prosecutor in Florence determined to stop the mafia; a sick pope and a few other characters enrich the plot.

I must admit I found the beginning, with the introduction of the many story lines and characters somewhat overwhelming. I also thought that too many of todays' international problems were used for the story. However, as the plot develops I am hooked and Farago deals very well with the complexity of the story line.

Professor K: The Final Quest is an ambitious story, with historical details mixed with present day phenomena. Jack Rogan appears mostly in the latter part of the story. It does not matter since the other characters are well crafted and makes an interesting mix. One has to admire Farago's knowledge and eye for details, whether they come with complicated medical science, his many different characters or the places.

A fascinating and complicated story. The suspense is building up through the whole novel, and keeps it up until the very end. Unexpected turns, more than once, keep you tied to the pages. While reading, I wondered how so many loose ends would come together? Not to worry. When you come to the end and think you have figured it all out, the story takes another turn...and another.

Enjoyable and thrilling!

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

The Classic Club and Spin # 20

The Classic Club - Spin #20

Time for another Classic spin. It is a favourite challenge of mine and guide me towards reading the classics. I have updated my list with five new books, since I managed to read a few classics outside the last spin. I am happy about that. Here is my updated spin list.

1. The Master and Margarita by Michail Bulgakov
2. Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Carter
3. Daisy Miller by Henry James
4. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
5. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoj
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 of Mirth by Edith Wharton
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. A Merchant in Venice by William Shakespeare
14. Jaget och det undermedvetna (Die Beziehungen zwischen dem Ich und dem Unbewußten)
by C.G. Jung
15. Tom Jones by Henry Fielding
16. Moments of being by Virginia Woolf
17. Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
18. The Divine Comedy by Dante (reading)
19. Orlando by Virginia Woolf
20. A Writer's Notebook by Somerset Maugham

My 50 classics list is here. I am nearing the end with these last 20 books, so will start a new list. Looking forward seeing which book will come up and what you are given to read.

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

The Kimberley Secret by Gabriel Farago

The Kimberley Secret is a prequel to Gabriel Farago's Jack Rogan Mysteries' series. After four books it seems his audience wanted to know the background of journalist Jack Rogan, on his quest to solve historical mysteries. Luckily, for me, it is the first book I read, receiving it as a free gift from the author via Booksweeps. However, I think you can read the books in any order.

Jack Rogan is a successful war correspondent in Afghanistan, when he receives a phone call, telling him his father is dying. He hurries home, just to get the chocking news that he was adopted as a young boy. The whole adoption process is rather mysterious, so Jack Rogan sets out to find out who his parents were, and where he comes from.

What I find so attractive with this book, is that it is an old fashion mystery of a kind we seldom meet these days. There is a mystery, a riddle to solve, and clues that lead you further and further into the story and its solving. Not necessarily a murder. Or maybe, just one, passing by in the outskirts of the story, but not to be diminished nevertheless. His trail takes him to unexpected places. They lead him back into Australia's wilderness, to forgotten history and stories and on a global trip where he finally finds an answer to his own background and who he is.

It is a charming story about a charming man. An enjoyable easygoing read, with history surrounding the story, and told very well. It has a little bit of Agatha Christie style over it, or those mysteries written earlier in the 20th century, that we love so much. Far away from the sometimes very violent detective stories we get today. I am now going to read Professor K; The Final Quest.  What better stories to read while travelling?

Monday, 1 April 2019

The Golden Hour by Beatriz Williams

Harper Collins

Publisher: Harper Collins
The book will be on sale on 9 July, 2019
Hardcover - 400 pages
I received a copy of this book (via Edelweiss) for a fair & impartial review

Sometimes you open a book, of which you only have a summary of the plot. You read the first chapter and you are lost in the story. It does not happen often, but here is one story that captivated me from the very beginning. A couple of chapters later, I never wanted it to end! Well, you do want even a good book to end, but I think you understand what I mean.

The Bahamas, 1941. Newly-widowed Leonora “Lulu” Randolph arrives in Nassau to investigate the Governor and his wife for a New York society magazine. After all, American readers have an insatiable appetite for news of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, that glamorous couple whose love affair nearly brought the British monarchy to its knees five years earlier. What more intriguing backdrop for their romance than a wartime Caribbean paradise, a colonial playground for kingpins of ill-gotten empires?
Or so Lulu imagines. But as she infiltrates the Duke and Duchess’s social circle, and the powerful cabal that controls the islands’ political and financial affairs, she uncovers evidence that beneath the glister of Wallis and Edward’s marriage lies an ugly—and even treasonous—reality. In fact, Windsor-era Nassau seethes with spies, financial swindles, and racial tension, and in the middle of it all stands Benedict Thorpe: a scientist of tremendous charm and murky national loyalties. Inevitably, the wilful and wounded Lulu falls in love.
Then Nassau’s wealthiest man is murdered in one of the most notorious cases of the century, and the resulting coverup reeks of royal privilege. Benedict Thorpe disappears without a trace, and Lulu embarks on a journey to London and beyond to unpick Thorpe’s complicated family history: a fateful love affair, a wartime tragedy, and a mother from whom all joy is stolen.
The stories of two unforgettable women thread together in this extraordinary epic of espionage, sacrifice, human love, and human courage, set against a shocking true crime . . . and the rise and fall of a legendary royal couple."
Harper Collins summary

The Golden Hour tells a story of suffering, love, spies and treason, even murder. We are presented with two stories; about Lulu and Benedict Thorpe, and a parallel story of Thorpe's parents (a German woman, Elfriede, and a Scottish man, Wilfrid) meeting in the beginning of the century. How they meet and fall in love, and how their personal circumstances make a relationship difficult. Hers is a story of suffering and complicated family history. He is a soldier. And then comes World War I. Where does love take them when their countries are fighting against each other?

The "present" story is set against the tropical scenery of the Bahamas in 1941-43. It is inhabited by a society with 'runaways', with or without money, using it as a haven during troubled times. Old aristocracy, rich businessmen and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor,  the center of society and its intrigues. Lulu Randolph arrives in order to write a society column for a New York magazine. Preferably, about the Duchess and her life. Lulu is trying to come closer to the couple, but it seems rather impossible. Until one day the Duchess is approaching her with an offer she cannot refuse.

When Lulu meets Benedict Thorpe, a friend of the Windsors, she has no idea of who he is, his complicated family history, or for that matter, his mysterious work. He might not just be the scientist he makes you believe he is. Worried times also hit the Bahamas, and under the perfect surface, something looms. A mystery, murder and spy story slowly develops. And then, after a passionate romance between Lulu and Benedict, he suddenly disappears.
"He said that's when everything looks the most beautiful, just before the sun sets. This luminous air turning everything to gold. He said it made him want to paint the whole world. And then it's gone, just like that."
There is a mixture of real time events as backdrop to this exciting story. The life of the Windsors after the abdication of the Duke in 1936. A sort of restlessness in their lives. Maybe the same restlessness that seem to possess many other persons staying in the Bahamas during the war. It seems everyone is waiting for something. But what? A wealthy businessman Harry Oakes is mysteriously murdered. The Duke of Windsor, being the governor, initiates an investigation that leads to unexpected results. Rumour has it that the investigation is poorly executed, leading to more rumours. 

For all fans of historical fiction, this is a perfect story. It is a story about two strong women, trying to find their way in the world. Both stories are as fascinating. Fighting for their loved ones, over years and continents. I love how Beatriz Williams has managed to merge her own, exciting and mysterious story, with real life events. It is well written and reflecting the times. She moves comfortably in the circles she is writing about. It is exciting, especially when you realise that the outcome is not what you expect. There are several twists at the end of the story. Amazing and fantastic. Just love it!

Beatriz Williams is the successful author of several novels of historical fiction. You can find out more about herself and her books on the link above. I am already looking for another one of her novels.

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

About Grace by Anthony Doerr

I loved his book All The Light We Cannot See, and when my book club choose this for the next read, I decided on another book by the same author. This novel is not an easy read. It took me more or less 200 pages before I felt that the story ran off with me. Usually, I don't wait that long to continue a book, but Anthony Doerr is different. His stories do engage you and the prose is so beautiful, it is a pleasure to read it, for this feature alone. From the back cover:
"Here Doerr tells, in luminous prose, the story of David Winkler, a man graced with the gift of premonition and plagued by a dream that foretells his daughter's death. He flees thousands of miles from his family and home in a desperate hope that his dream will not come true. Set in Alaska, Ohio, and the Caribbean, About Grace is a heartbreaking, radiant, and astonishingly accomplished novel about the tiny but lifesaving miracles happening around us at each moment, and about our longing for grace."
It is a very tragic story and you feel this sadness all through the novel. A man's gift of premonition can easily turn into a curse. It is easy to just take in the sadness of the story, but when you stop and think further, you do find, among all the misery, a few things, which might be the most important things in life. Winkler thinks a lot about how life is treating us, what we do, and don't do with our lives. What is time?:
"Did time move forward, through people, or did people move through it, like clouds across the sky?"
"What is time? he wrote in his pad. Must time occur in sequence - beginning to middle to end - or is this only one way to perceive it? Maybe time can spill and freeze and retreat; maybe time is like water, endlessly cycling through its states."
After his flight from his family, David Winkler ends up in St Vincent, with Felix and Soma and their children. They are refugees from Chile. He is welcomed into their family, and he creates a special bond with their daughter Naaliyah, who is the same age as Grace. He is a scientist and has a special interest in nature. In Naaliyah he finds a soulmate, and he teaches her on how nature is working. They become his new family.

When, finally, after 25 years, he decides to go back and find out whether his wife and child are still alive, his life turns into another loop. During the 25 years in the Caribbean he let life lead him wherever it took him. "The inn itself began to slump, as though it had simmered too long in a covered pot." The same could be said about himself. Finally, he takes his life in his own hands. Or, does he really? Is he not just moving into another timeframe and continue to let life take the lead?
"He marvelled at the indifference of the world, the way it kept on, despite everything."
He decides to go looking for Sandy and Grace. Like in his earlier life, he is once again pushed around by life rather than by his own decisions, maybe guided by his fears of what he will find.  "To enter a world of shadows is to leave this world for another."  Failing to find his family, he goes back to Anchorage where it all started.

"It was as if her vigil from the boat shed, decades earlier, had begun anew. In his clearer moments Winkler wondered if, sooner or later, every event recurred, if life consisted of a series of repeated patterns: the scar on his knee; now an injury to his foot. Viewed from above, maybe lives looked like matrices of color, scarves on a loom. He wondered: When I wandered out of that town, heading toward the airstrip, was I planning on coming back? Or was I trying, as I did with Nanton's rowboat, to let the world take me?"

There are a lot of layers in Winkler's story and life. Must family be blood bound, or could family be accidental. Could you be considered a family, living among friends, sharing their lives, their children, their sorrows and happiness? Being part of some kind of unity. Is life taking us on a ride, or is it possible to control it? Can we change our destiny?
"But what was family? Surely more than genes, eye color, flesh. Family was story: truth and struggle and retribution. Family was time. "
"But there was a worse feeling: the possibility that it didn't matter what he had done, that outcome was independent of choice, that action or inaction, no decision mattered, and his entire attempt at family was now dead and nobody was left to care whether he gave up or kept on."

I started saying this is a very sad and tragic story. It is. Part of the time I was irritated with Winkler and his lack of action. Why does he not speak up? Why does he not take his life in his own hands? What is he waiting for? As I said, not an easy read. Having finished the book, it did stay with me, made me face the big questions in our lives. Who are we? Are we able to control our actions, or are we bound by destiny?  What have we become? And why? And how does time affects our life? Is there any hope for Winkler in the end? I was really hoping there was, but will not spoil the end for you who intend to read it. The book is definitely worth reading, if not solely for the story itself, but also for the prose, the thought provoking comments and a look at life from another angle. The beautiful prose, which makes the novel a pleasure to read, in spite of the difficult story. Just look at the quotes here. Much more where these come from.

Monday, 18 March 2019

Saratoga Trunk by Edna Ferber

A book that has been on my shelves for a very long time. I read it for the Book Challenge by Erin, as a "book that has been made into a film". It was filmed with Ingrid Bergman and Gary Cooper, directed by Sam Wood. I have been trying to watch it, but am not able to find it anywhere (at least not for streaming).

It is a great read and has a lightness about the story. The novel starts in Saratoga where Colonel Clint Maroon and his wife Clio Dulaine attend the Saratoga season as usual. They are now in their 80s and still the most popular persons during the season. This year Clint Maroon has decided to tell the truth about himself and his wife. However, the gathered journalists do not want to hear. They just see the successful, beautiful couple, still in love with each other after all the years.

Instead, Ferber tells us the story of how Clio Dulaine, an illegitimate daughter of an aristocratic New Orleans Creol father and his beautiful mistress Rita Dulaine. When she happens to kill her lover, she, her sister and daughter have to leave New Orleans and Clio grows up with her mother, aunt, the maid Angélique Pluton and a dwarf manservant, Cupidon in Paris, France. When her mother and aunt dies she decides to go back to New Orleans. The somewhat mixed family enters, Clio moves in and renovates her mother's old house and settles down to become a nuisance to her father's family. There is a half sister ready to go out into society. Clio needs money and she knows how to get it.

She very soon meets a cowboy, Clint Maroon; tall and handsome who falls for Clio. Clio sees something special in him and they start a relationship. He lives on gambling and day by day. Clio has a more settled situation in mind. She wants to marry rich and not have to worry about anything more in her life.

Together with Maroon they plan a sejour during the Saratoga season. Clio is pretending to be a widow of a French aristocrat, Maroon is there as himself. In Saratoga the crème de la crème meets during the season, and there are not shortages of eligible, rich bachelors. Clio plays out her scheme as the full feathered actress that she is.

It is a totally charming story, intermingled with the fight for the control of the lucrative railway lines, being constructed at the times. It is exciting and as the people gathering in Saratoga, with gossips, relationships and a place at the top, they await the next move from Clio, as is the reader.

This is the first book I have read by Edna Ferber, and it makes you want more. It was published already in 1941, but the writing is easy and charming. The story grows slowly, and although you do know the end of the affair, she manages to capture your attention for the whole of the novel. It makes for more. I see some titles of her that I will try to find;  So Big (won the Pulitzer Prize), Show Boat, Cimarron, Come and Get It, Giant, Ice Palace. I think some of these titles have been made into films as well.

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Macbeth by Jo Nesbø

This is the first book I have read by Jo Nesbø, so I can't say whether it is a typical book of his. I suspect it might not be. The title itself reveals what the story is about. Nesbø has used the Shakespeare play as a base for his own story. It is not set, as the original, in 11th century Scotland, but in Norway in a near, somewhat dystopian future. I was not familiar with the plot of Macbeth and took some time off from the book to read it. It seems that Nesbø uses it almost to the point.

Instead of a fight for the throne of Scotland, we face a fight for the post as head of the police departement, or even as the mayor of the city, which is the highest post. We find all the characters and names from the original play, and it is masterly adapted to modern times.

Macbeth's role in the police is head of the Guards. They come in to clean up the mess, and uses more violent terms to do it. His Lady is the head of a luxurious casino. When the corrupt chief of police is killed a new era is to begin. Duncan, the new head is honest and wants to fight the corruption that holds the city in a grip.

Macbeth is a popular guy, maybe because he has stayed where he is. He had a complicated and difficult youth with drug abuse. Clean since several years he prefers to stay where he is. There are two big drug gangs in the city, fighting for survival. Especially one of them, called 'The Hand', is fighting to take control of the city in his own way. He knows how to manipulate people, as does Lady, and when he lets someone whisper in Macbeth's ears that he could become the next chief of police if he gets rid of the present one, Macbeth's mind starts working. With the help of Lady.

“Women understand hearts and how to speak to them. Because the heart is the woman in us. Even if the brain is bigger, talks more and believes that the husband rules the house, it’s the heart that silently makes the decisions. The speech touched your heart and the brain gladly follows.”
                                                                                                      Jo Nesbø, Macbeth

One murder leads to the next. Power corrupts they say, and this story clearly shows it. It becomes a rat race to plan the murders and then to cover them up. The more murders, the more cover ups. In the end you are stuck in a corner and there seems to be no way out.

The adaption of this story into modern times works very well. It shows us an angle that we understand. The 11th century is far away, times were different and we might not really be able to put ourselves in those times. But, when we read about our own time, the story becomes more sinister. An excellent thriller, well written and difficult to put down.

Monday, 11 March 2019

Tangerine by Christine Mangan

What a gorgeous cover!

This is Christine Mangan's debut novel. And what a debut! A psychological thriller that makes it hard to read sometimes. It is like a nightmare. Alice and Lucy are the two protagonists who became friends during their studies at Bennington College. They shared a room and they stuck to themselves. The story starts in 1956 in Tangier, where Alice and her husband John live. Every other chapter is narrated by Alice and Lucy. We get hints that something happened back there in college, which destroyed their friendship, but it is only later that we learn what it was all about.

It is difficult to tell the story without spoilers, so just a few thoughts about it. Most of the story takes place in Tanger where Alice is living with her husband. One day out of the blue Lucy shows up. Alice lives with a trauma from her parents' death, and her life is always affected by it. While Lucy takes in Tangier and its atmosphere from the beginning, Alice is spending her days at home, dreading to venture outside. Lucy manages to help Alice to regain a little bit of her confidence and they discover Tangier together.

This is a story about a friendship during the college years. However, there comes a day when it is not enough for one of them, and this is when a problem arise. It is a story that captures you. All seems fine until you realise that all is not what it seems. One have the same claustrophobic feeling as when reading Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca or is watching Gaslight with Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer. In the end you do not know who is telling the truth. Who is sane and who is not?

I found it difficult to read once I realised what it was all about. Nightmarish! Manipulation can take you a long way it seems, and it is difficult to discover if the person is very good at it. Wherever you turn, you loose!
“....I knew there was no such thing as an absolute. Everything changes, sooner or later. Time moves along, without constraints - no matter how hard one may attempt to pause, to alter, to rewrite it.....Quite simply, there is nothing to stop it, nothing at all.”                                                                                              Christine Mangan, Tangerine
A marvellous debut book by Christine Mangan. From Harper Collins Publishers' website I read that she has a PhD in English from University College Dublin. Her thesis focused on 18th-century Gothic literature, and she has an MFA in fiction writing from the University of Southern Maine. Although you can not say that Tangerine is a Gothic novel, it has some of the gothic feelings. Something which is just a feeling and not always visible. Lingering in the air, and by the time you realise what is going on, it is too late.

Thursday, 7 March 2019

2 x Julian Barnes

As always a pleasure to read Julian Barnes. His books are different but have so much to say. He writes a 'biography' which is not an ordinary biography. He mixes the biographic element with some fiction and some literary critics. It does become very fulfilling and thought worthy to read his books. Lately, I have read two of his books: The Noise of Time, a book about the Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich and Flaubert's Parrot about Gustave Flaubert.

The Noise of Time

A wonderful book about a very talented man, who, all his life, had to fight to compose his own music. Living in the Soviet Union under Stalin, everyone was controlled, dissected and judged. He had his own times of not being a favourite, although he managed to compose the 'right' kind of music in order to be able to compose his own music.

The way in which Barnes approaches his subjects gives us a close up of the person. You are there with Shostakovich, can feel his every anxiety, fear and pleasure. It becomes very personal. Barnes do make a lot of research and on top of the facts he manages to put the story of his subjects alive. In this special case it shows how small people are in the face of a totalitarian regime. In spite of everything Shostakovich's music is still alive.

Flaubert's parrot

Geoffrey Braithwaite is an amateur expert on Gustave Flaubert in this story. He follows in the author's footsteps, especially trying to find out which one of the two stuffed parrots that actually was Flaubert's. This novel is different from The Noise of Time. It tells the story of Flaubert from the outside, from a fan of his. Doing so, Barnes takes the opportunity to use a kind of literature critic on his subject. At the same time, Flauberts actions as he follows in his footsteps, coincide also with Braithwaite's.

The story is rather slow, and sometimes a little bit dull. That is to compare to The Noise of Time where the story runs like a small waterfall, unable to stop you from reading. Here, it is easier to put the book down.

However, in the end of the book there are a few chapters which lifts the whole book. A talk the expert has with Louise Colet (Flaubert's mistress) and her point of view of their relationship. The writing becomes lighter as Louise is a more positive and open personality than Flaubert. She relates to the difference between men and women:
“Women scheme when they are weak, they lie out of fear. Men scheme when they are strong, they lie out of arrogance.” 
She was a strong woman in her own accord, married at the time she had the affair with Flaubert. Her salon in Paris was well visited and she lived a rather unconventional life, but still wanted to marry Flaubert. In the background was the ghost of Madame Bovary. 
"Do you know what Nabokov said about adultery in his lecture on Madame Bovary? He said it was 'a most conventional way to rise above the conventional'.” 
Barnes uses "George Braithwaite's Lexikon" to reflect on life in general and the life of Flaubert in particular. The question is; can wet really know other people? There will always be a part that is not understood from the outside. Nevertheless, we are eager to try to understand and get to know the people we admire. Is Braithwaite, the expert, more wiser in the end? Maybe, as he can look at his own life in perspective.

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Edward Burne-Jones exhibition in London

Recently, I visited London for a weekend. Always a treat and lots of things to do and see. I had a special aim for this visit, namely, the Edward Burne-Jones exhibition in Tate Britain. Some years ago I fell in love with the Pre-Raphaelites, and Burne-Jones is one of them. Maybe more diverse in his talents than any of them.
"Edward Burne-Jones (1833-1898) was one of the key figures in Victorian art, achieving world-wide fame and recognition during his life-time. As the last major figure associated with the Pre-Raphaelites, he led the movement into new symbolist directions where the expression of a mood or idea replaced the earlier focus on providing a realistic description of the natural world. Using myths and legends from the past he created dream-worlds of unparalleled beauty, balancing clarity of observation with dramatically original composition."
Also recognised as a designer, he was one of the founding members of the design collective Morris & Co, for which he designed furniture and stained glass, but he also made designs for tapestry, embroidery, and book illustration. A man of many talents. His paintings are fantastic and cover so many different motives and themes. The exhibitions was well put together in themes and with the audio guide you enter into the world of Edward Burne-Jones. A world difficult to part from.

The Doom Fulfilled, 1888 by
Edward Burne-Jones

A visit to the museum shop, always a treat in England, is a must. I came out with a book and two post cards that I will use as bookmarks. Unfortunately, no specific bookmarks from this exhibition. The book is Penelope Fitzgerald's Edward Burne-Jones, A Life. He was married to Georgina, one of the MacDonald sisters. Four of the five of them married into the history of the Victorian cultural age. Juliet Flanders tells their story in A Circle of Sisters. It is such an interesting part of British history. I am happy I managed to see this exhibition, the very last weekend it was on.

The Wheel of Fortune, 1833 by
Edward Burne-Jones
After the exhibition I ventured up to the 1840s gallery to have a look at the other Pre-Raphaelites, and especially one of my favourite paintings; Sir John Everett Millais's Ophelia. Unfortunately, it was not there. Asking one of the guards I learned that it is on tour for an exhibition in Australia! Lucky you guys, down under! Don't miss it if you have the opportunity to see it.

Ophelia by Sir John Everett Millais
The background to this painting, where Millais used Lizzie Siddal, the girlfriend/wife of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, is quite dramatic. You can read all about it and much more in the very interesting Desperate Romantics, The Private Lives of the Pre-Raphaelies by Franny Moyle. It has also been made into a TV-series.  Further interesting reading about this group of artists and their muses are: Effie by Suzanne Fagence Cooper about Millais's wife Effie, who first married the art critic John Ruskin and was stuck in an unhappy marriage. Also made into a movie. I can also recommend a book about the model above,  Lizzie Siddal - The Tragedy of a Pre-Raphaelite Supermodel by Lucinda Hawksley.

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

The Third Man by Graham Greene

Photo from Amazon

A favourite author + a favourite film = The Third Man. A classic story that I finally got to read, or listen too. I have seen the film of course, one of my favourite.  Graham Greene seldom disappoints you, and I think that this might be one of his very best stories. I think most of us think of the film when we hear the title. Green actually wrote first a novella on which the screenplay was based.

The story is set in post-World War II Vienna. American writer Holly Martins arrives to meet his old school friend Harry Lime. Upon arrival he receives the news that Harry Lime died in a car accident a few days earlier. He attends the funeral, visited only by a few friends and what turns out to be Lime's girlfriend. Martins is contacted by the British military who ask him questions about Lime's business in Vienna. Martins, quite innocent on the behaviour of his old friend, is surprised by what he is hearing.

There is a mystery surrounding the car accident and Martins sets out to try to find out what really happened. That is how he gets to know that there was a third man present when the accident happened. In search of this man he moves around a grey and gloomy Vienna, where he cannot trust anyone. It is very atmospheric, which might be because you have the film in mind, but the novella also conveys the spooky, foggy and mysterious surroundings. Greene manages as always to characterise very well the ordinary man (it is mostly a man in his novels) falling into circumstances, quite out of the extra ordinary, often related to a world of spies. Martins does find out in the end what is wrong with Harry Lime and it comes as a chock. Has he lost his innocence in his fight to clear Harry Lime's name?

From Wikipedia I learn that "in 1999, the British Film Institute voted The Third Man the greatest British film of all time. In 2017 a poll of 150 actors, directors, writers, producers and critics for Time Out magazine saw it ranked the second best British film ever." The film is something special. Don't we all know the wonderful theme by Anton Karaswrote, the good actors and Carol Reed, directing this film noir. The audio book is very well narrated by Martin Jarvis, with a wonderful English accent à la Colin Firth.

Thursday, 28 February 2019

Book sale

Every year, in the end of February, there is a big book sale going on in Sweden. Yes, I know, I should not buy any more books before reading all the unread books I already have. But, I am weak when it comes to temptations. So, not only did I place a post order, I was lured to the actual shop buy a promotion of "buy 4 pay for 3", which led to me buying 6 books.

Here are the titles:

Ett jävla solsken (A Bloody Sunshine, my transl.) by Fatima Bremmer, about Ester Blenda Nordström, and investigating, female journalist in the beginning of the last century. She worked anonymously as a maid in order to write articles on how life for the maids were. The articles were turned into a book. From there she went to bigger expeditions, of which one was to a dangerous volcano area in Siberia. Always interesting to read about pioneer women.

Die Manns by Tilman Lahne about the family of Thomas Mann. I loved his Buddenbrooks and it should be an interesting biography.

The Muse by Jessie Burton. Just loved her book The Miniature Maker and it can't be wrong to try another of her books.

The German Girl (La nina alemana) by Armando Lucas Correa. Starting during the World War II when young Hannah Rosenthal and her best friend Leo Martin manage to get a ticket for Kuba. The overseas asylum they were promised turns out to be an illusion. Seventy five years later twelve-year-old Anna Rosen gets a strange packet from an unknown relative in Kuba. I love when stories from two different ages melts into one. This story sounds promising.

Evolutionen och jag (The Evolution and Me, my transl.) by Johan Frostegård. The evolution is always interesting to read about. This book evaluates the evolution and how it affects our own lives; moral, gender roles, religion, AI and mikro organisms. A book that might explain our society today.

This Book Will Make You Mindful by Jessamy Hibberd & Jo Usmar. Another useful book for every day life. To understand our ups and downs and help us live in the now and use time better, which will hopefully make you happier and more satisfied. Let's hope. I will keep you updated.

Vego in 30 Minutes by Ylva Bergqvist. I am not either a vegetarian or a vego person, but I like to mix my food with such meals. It does make you feel much better, is healthier and if you can fix a meal in 30 minutes it helps. It has a nice layout, just the way I like it in a cook book; Ingredients, a small text on how to do it and a picture. If I plan well, it will make my week meals much better.

Last, but not least three grammatical books by Sara Lövestam. Yes, you heard me.
Grejen med verb (The Thing With Verbs)
Grejen med substantiv (The Thing With Nones)
Grejen med ordföljd (The Thing With Wording)
Grammar is not my best subject, although (at least in Swedish) I just know how to use grammar. I do find it quite fascinating though. These books are written in a humorous way. I think they would be excellent to use in school. The author is a teacher, so hopefully she uses it in her teachings.

Ten new books to squeeze into my shelves, although I don't know where. I am very pleased though with the variety of books.