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Showing posts from July, 2019

Travels in Austria, Switzerland and Italy

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Summer time, travelling time. The holiday is spent in western Austria, which means you are close to several countries in Europe. We already had tickets for the opening of the Bregenzer Festspiele, so there is where we headed first. We started with a short daily excursion to Ebenalp in Switzerland. Our son visited it some weeks ago, and the pictures were so nice, so we could not resist a visit. It is situated in a beautiful valley. You take the cable car up (unless you want to climb a steep mountain). From the top station there is a short walk to caves, where they have found traces from the Neanderthal period. Quite stunning. You walk through the caves and comes out on the side of the mountain. There is an Hermitage where monks used to live and also a small chapel, where the church room is situated in a cave. Further along the mountain wall, there is a small path. It is really like walking on the wall itself. You come around the corner and there is a guest house with restaurang stuck

Paris in July - French salons

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I mentioned in an earlier post an exhibition about  Claude Cahun , and that I bought a book in the art gallery about salons in Paris in the 1920s;  Ett magiskt rum (A Magical Room ) by Ingrid Svensson. It is an excellent and very interesting book. Unfortunately, I don't think it is translated. It was a nice surprise to read, and tells a lot about Paris at the time and the general atmosphere among the intelligentsia. She also gives and account on the background to all the expats 'overflowing' Paris at the time. "Art, literature and tolerance - not at least sexually - drew artists, writers and intellectuals to Paris." Since the Middle Ages, the Left Bank has been the centre of the intelligentsia in Paris. This is where the literary circles gathered. People lived poorly, so the cafés became a meeting point. The area was full of small book shops. Montparnasse became the centre of art. Also here the cafés were important as places for people to meet. The Salon  Ac

Paris in July - My love for French history

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When I was young I had a period where I was really obsessed with French history, especially the time of Louis XIV. I read a lot about his time, both non-fiction and fiction. I can't remember how it started, but maybe it was with the books about Angelique . Written by Serge and Anne Golon, which in the English and Swedish translations were merged to Sergeanne Golon. According to Wikipedia it was mainly Anne who wrote the books and her husband Serge who did the historical research. The books were a big success at the time. I wanted to read them and went to the local library (in a village) to ask for them. I never forget what the librarian said: "We don't keep books like that!" They were obviously not comme-il-faut enough! So what did I do? I bought them. This must have been in the beginning of the 70s, and I still have them on my shelves! From time to time I re-read some of them. I think I love them because of the historical settings. It is set during the time

Reading and highlights January - June 2019

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I cannot believe it, but we have entered the second half of the year. Time for a round-up of my reading for the first half of 2019. I have read 54 books, of which I am rather proud. Of those, 20 books come from my TBR shelves. I aimed for 48 books, so have to hurry up a little bit. I really liked most of the books I read, but here are some highlights that stick out. Two thrilling books by Nele Neuhaus, Snow White Must Die and Big Bad Wolf .  Her books are so well written and the story lines so exciting, with twists and turns. They also go deep into the characters, whether it is the police women/men, the culprit or all the people surrounding the story. Thrilling until the very end. The Third Man  by Graham Greene is a classic. I have seen the film many times, but not read the book. Greene wrote it as a script for the film, and it has then been turned into a book. I actually listened to it. It was wonderfully narrated by Martin Jarvis. The very dark and brooding atmosphere tha

Eleanor, The Secret Queen by John Ashdown-Hill

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In 2012 the skeleton of Richard III was found under a parking lot in Leicester. The event started an interest in me to know more about him and the discovery. I read two books connected to Richard III; The Search for Richard III - The King's Grave by Philippa Langley and Michael Jones and Richard III and the Princes in the Tower by A.J. Pollard. It also generated a visit to Leicester and Richard III's tomb ,  as well as a reading of Shakespeare's Richard III . There was something missing though. One question was never answered; why was there not more written about Richard III's claim that he was the legitimate heir, since Edward IV was already married to Eleanore Talbot, when he entered into matrimony with Elizabeth Woodville. There were parliamentary documents which showed that this was the case. But how are they to be interpreted? As always it is a complicated political matter. Richard III's ascent to the throne was surrounded by chock and a lot of resista

Paris in July 2019 - Claude Cahun exhibition

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Paris in July is hosted by Thyme for Tea . One of my favourite memes, to talk and read about everything Parisian and/or French. I had business in Halmstad (south west coast of Sweden) the other day. I picked up a beautiful painting that I bought. I will show it later. There were a surrealist group of painter in the beginning of the 20th century, living and working in Halmstad. They are called "The Halmstad Group". Starting out in the ordinary way, they very soon entered into surrealism. After having lived in Belgium, there is no getting away from surrealism. Although, I was not such a fan from the beginning, it grew on me, and today, I am rather fond of it. At the Mjellby Art Gallery there is a permanent exhibition with this group. But, what does it have to do with Paris in July you ask? Nothing really. BUT! At the same gallery there is an photo exhibition of a surrealist photographer, Claude Cahun. Never heard about her, or him, earlier, but it was a very interesting ac

The Composer or Wie man ein Genie tötet by Ingvar Hellsing Lundqvist

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Hans Rott is an Austrian composer of little fame. He was born in 1858 and died in 1884 in a mental hospital, at the age of 25. His life was a sad one. Music his passion, his legacy?  One Symphony and a few 'Lieders'. One evening, Ingvar Hellsing Lundqvist, heard Rott's symphony and was hooked. He had to find out more about the composer. The more he found out, the more he realised he had a book to write. It became the historical fiction,  Wie man ein Genie tötet  (How to Kill a Genius; my translation). Rott lived a life of poverty. He received a scholarship to study music. His efforts went into his symphony, which he forwarded to a competition. Sure of winning, he was devastated when being ignored by the jury. He blamed his adversary, Brahms, also part of the jury. Rott goes into a depression. He imagines he sees Brahms everywhere, and that he is there to ruin his life. While on a train, he threatens another passenger with a revolver, claiming that Brahms has filled t