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My Life in Books

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My Life in Books hosted by Annabelbooks invites us to use the books we have read for 2020 to answer a few prompts. You should not repeat a book title. These exercises are always fun, so let's see how this works out for me.   In high school I was The Prisoner of Heaven (Carlos Ruiz Zafón) People might be surprised (by) The Labyrint of Spirits (Carlos Ruiz Zafón) I will never be The Railwayman's Wife (Ashely Hay) My life in lockdown was like Days Without End (Sebastian Barry) My fantasy job is The Merchant of Venice (William Shakespeare) At the end of a long day (I look for the) Laterna Magica (Ingmar Bergman) I hate being The Andalucian Friend (Alexander Söderberg) Wish I had A Turning Wind (J.G. Harlond) My family reunions are The Book of Secrets (Tom Harper) At a party you’d find me with Mario and the Magician (Thomas Mann) I’ve never been to Ostende (Volker Weiermann) A happy day includes Vermeer's Little Street (Franz Gruzehout) Motto I live by:  Don't L

Memes 2020 - Summary

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As you see in the image above I have five different choices under this link.  The Classic Club contains the list I am following for the Spins. I think I only managed to read one or two of my choices this year. Book Beginnings on Fridays hosted by Rose City Reader and The Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice saw five posts this year. Less than usual, but probably because I read more Swedish books now that I am back in Sweden. I did non of 6 Degrees of Separation, hosted by Books Are My Favourite And Best , although I really like this meme.  Bookmark Monday hosted by Guiltless Reading  (although I think she mostly posts on Instagram) saw only one entry this year. Typical of the pandemic year when travelling and visiting places was out of the plans.  I keep the same Memes for 2021 but might change some things during the year. 

The Unread Shelf Challenge

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This is a challenge just in my taste. The Unread Shelf is hosted by Whitney Conard who guides us through how to best tackle the unread books on our shelves. Once you enrol you get a small guide to follow, as you see fit yourself. It helps and encourages you to tackle the challenge in a scientific and orderly way. I am quite confident that it will help me lower the number of unread books. Go to her website to get more information and inspiration in this Hercules task.  There are several ways how to approach the task. You can name 10 top books you really want to finish this year. There is a guide to choose a book for each month of the year, and a bonus guide to further help you choose the right books to read. For me mostly, I am aiming at the oldest books I have on my shelves.  I am looking forward to lowering the number of unread books which amounts to around 200 at the end of 2020. Let's meet again in December 2021 and see how far I have come.

Anne Tyler re-read project 2021

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  Liz Dexter at Adventures in reading, running and working from home  is inviting us for a re-read of Anne Tyler's books. I love the books I have read by her, and it was a long time since I read them.  It might be to ambitious for me to read all of her books, but I will try to catch up with the schedule as best as I can. Here are the basic rules. Go to Liz' link above for further information.  How will it all work? My plan is to read one of the books each month by the 10th of the month and review it then, and the other by the 20th and review it then. Then my review will be available for linking and commenting by the middle and end of the month respectively. I will link to my review on this page and I will try to link to anyone’s who does a review, including on Goodreads, and sends me the link. How do I join in? When you’ve read your book, you could do any of these things … Post a review in a comment on my review Write your own review by the 15th or 30th of the month respective

Book Beginnings on Fridays and The Friday 56

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  This week I have ventured back to an old classic. Maybe being influenced by the latest challenge I have joined; Back to the Classics . It is George Sand's A Winter in Mallorca. George Sand and her lover Fredrick Chopin visited Mallorca during the winter of 1838/39. They stayed in Palma and in the monastery in the picturesque village of Valldemossa. Still today you can visit the apartment they stayed in, although it is not exactly the same rooms and the same furniture. But it is a beautiful place. Unlike most people who visit Mallorca, George Sand was not over-enthusiastic about the place and the people.  Book Beginnings on Fridays hosted by Rose City Reader This quote is from the 4th paragraph of Chapter One.  "Without quite the same claims to immortality as Jean-Jacques and in search for something that I could achieve, I thought that I might perhaps become as famous as the two Englishmen in the valley of Chamounix and claim the honour of having discovered Mallorca. " T

Back to the Classics Challenge 2021

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I did say in a recent post I will not enrol in too many challenges. My main aim for 2021 is to be firm on lowering the number of unread books on my shelves. They amount to around 180 as I write this. It would be perfect to reach down to 100 at the end of next year. So, I choose only challenges that will help me in my endeavour. I did not think I have so many classics on my shelves, but checking them I found 18! Well, well, should be enough for this challenge, if I can fit them in. Anyway, I am interested in reading more Classics, so this challenge will be a suitable complement to my list from The Classic Club. For eight years now Karen at Books and Chocolate has been hosting the Back to the Classics Challenge . Here is my preliminary list (might be changed depending on the situation). Scroll down below to find the rules for the challenge. Without further ado, here are the categories for 2021:  1. A 19th-century classic: any book first published from 1800 to 1899 - The Red and the Black

2021 Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge

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  Another challenge that goes well with my aim to reduce the number of unread books on my shelves. Hosted by Escape With Dollycas Into a Good Book . The rules are simple. Details The Alphabet Soup Challenge means that by December 31, 2021 your bowls must be filled with one book for each letter of the Alphabet. Each Letter Counts As 1 Spoonful This challenge will run from January 1st, 2021 until December 31st, 2021. You can join anytime. You do not have to post a review of the book. Books can come from any genre. You do not need to link up each spoonful. Make a page or a post or a GoodReads shelf where you will keep track of your spoonfuls. I keep track of mine on my Challenge Page. Crossovers to other challenges are allowed and encouraged!  It’s an alphabet challenge!!! The challenge is to read one book that has a title starting with every letter of the alphabet. You can drop the A’s and The’s from the book titles as shown below. The First Main Word Needs To Be The Letter You Are Count

2021 Alphabet Soup - Author Edition Reading Challenge

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I said to myself that I will not join any challenges this year. Of course, when the challenges are now published for 2021, it is difficult not to be inspired. I am only following challenges which will go with my overall aim of lowering the number of books I have not yet read on my shelves. This fits perfectly into that challenge, although I am not sure I have authors enough to cover all the letters of the alphabet. Let's see. It is hosted by Dollycas at Escape With Dollycas Into a Good Book  and the rules are simple. Details Start keeping track of your authors and by December 31, 2021 your bowls must be filled by one author for each letter of the Alphabet. Be sure to include the book title too. This challenge will run from January 1st, 2021 until December 31st, 2021. You can join anytime. You do not have to post a review of the book. Books can come from any genre. You do not need to link up each spoonful. Make a page or a post or a GoodReads shelf where you will keep track of your

Nonfiction November - week 4

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  Week 4: (November 23-27) – Katie@Doing Dewey  is rounding things up with her post " New to My TBR".   As she says, it has been a month full of amazing nonfiction books. Her last question for this year's challenge is: "Which ones have made it onto your TBR?" Be sure to link back to the original blogger who posted about that book!  I have been inspired by all of you, especially for books outside my comfort zone. I have added a few books to my wishlist. I mention the books here but can't, unfortunately, not remember at which blogs I read about them. I hope you recognise your own titles. If you do, please leave a comment below.  For week 2 I asked the experts for books set in the Kingdom of Naples at the beginning of the 14th century. I had just read historical fiction The Girl Who Tempted Fortune  by Jane Ann McLachlan, and wanted to read nonfiction about the same time. Emma at Words and Peace  kindly recommended two books which are now on my wishlist.  The H

Nonfiction November - Week 3

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  Week 3: (November 16-20) – Rennie@What's Nonfiction is asking you to Be The Expert/Ask the Expert/Become the Expert: Three ways to join in this week! You can either share 3 or more books on a single topic that you have read and can recommend (be the expert), you can put the call out for good nonfiction on a specific topic that you have been dying to read (ask the expert), or you can create your own list of books on a topic that you’d like to read (become the expert).  I have decided that I want to become an expert on 17th and 18th-century history. Mostly European, but the world opens up so much during these centuries that I will definitely read up on other areas. If you have any books to recommend, I am interested.  I can't really say I am an expert on a specific subject. Possibly, the Brontës of which I have read a lot. I was also a member of the Brussels Brontë Group which was very interesting and educating. So many experts there. A big advantage being in Brussels was that

Book Beginnings on Fridays and The Friday 56

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Friday coming up! I am just wondering where the time goes? Tomorrow the sun is promised, so I hope we can go out for a walk. Very windy here in Sweden now. On the other hand, bad autumn weather is a good excuse to stay at home and read a good book. Therefore I have chosen one of my favourite authors for this week's beginning and page 56, Sebastian Barry's Days Without End. "Time was not something then we thought of as an item that possessed an ending, but something that would go on for ever, all rested and stopped in that moment. hard to say what I mean by that. You look back at all the endless years when you never had that thought. I am doing that now as I write these words in Tennessee. I am thinking of the days without end of my life. And it is not like that now ..." Book Beginnings on Fridays hosted by Rose City Reader "The method of laying out a corpse in Missouri sure took the proverbial cake. Like decking out our poor lost troopers for marriage rather tha

Classic Spin #25

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The Classic Club  has announced another Classic spin. This will take us over Christmas and New Year for the deadline of 30 January 2021. The spin will take place on Sunday 22nd November 2020 , so make sure you update your list. You should read one of these twenty books by the end of the spin period. There is a problem with Pages in Blogger so all my pages disappeared. It is said they are working on it, but so far no solution it seems. Therefore I put my updated list in this post. Hope to see you on Sunday and am looking forward to seeing what is awaiting us.  My spin list (updated 19 November 2020, for spin #25 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. The Master and Margarita by Michail Bulgakov 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 Steinb

Nonfiction November - Vermeer's Little Street by Frans Gruzenhout

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  I bought two books when I visited Delft earlier this year. All about Delft and painter Johannes Vermeer. Vermeer mostly painted interiors from his(?) house. Young ladies in different occupations around the house, working, maybe being visited by a suitor, or just having a good time. He painted three outside views of which only two are known to exist today. One is  View of Delft and one is The Little Street.  Both wonderful, as everything that he painted. "After 1696 we lose sight of The Little Street and the View of Delft for a very long time, and we have heard nothing whatsoever about the third town-scape since then. It is possible that it is lurking unrecognized as an anonymous work in a collection somewhere, or has been lost. The Little Street did not surface for more than a century, when it appeared in the estate of Gerrit Willem van Oosten de Bruyn, who died in Haarlem in 1797." Since Vermeer became popular again at the end of the 19th century, art historians interest

Nonfiction November - The Gospel of the Eels by Patrik Svensson

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We have reached week 2 of Nonfiction November, hosted by Julie@Julz Read . I  have actually been following my list of reading, which I posted in my initial post about Nonfiction November .  Patrik Svensson won the August prize (in Sweden) in 2019 for best nonfiction book with his  The Gospel of the Eels . The Eel, Anguilla Anguilla,  it seems, is one of of the most enigmatic creatures nature has created. Within the world of natural science, it is referred to as 'the eel question'. People from Aristotle to Sigmund Freud have tried to understand the eel without succeeding. Now it is threatened with extinction and scientists don't know enough of how the eel is living, reproducing and dying.   Patrik Svensson mixes his own childhood memories of eel fishing with his father, with scientific research on the life of eels. A little touch of philosophy and psychology and he has us hooked. Although scientific research has been going on for centuries, the answer to the enigma of the ee

Nonfiction November - Week 2

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  We have reached week 2 of Nonfiction November, hosted by Julie@Julz Read . Week 2: (November 9-13) – is all about Book Pairing: This week, pair up a nonfiction book with a fiction title. It can be an “If you loved this book, read this!” or just two titles that you think would go well together. Maybe it’s a historical novel and you’d like to get the real history by reading a nonfiction version of the story.  I read a lot of historical fiction, and find that I often want to read a nonfiction book just to see how well the author has followed history. I recently read The Girl Who Tempted Fortune  by Jane Ann McLachlan. It is set in the Kingdom of Naples at the beginning of the 14th century. I have read quite a lot about the time as regards the region of Tuscany and Milan, but not so much about Naples. So far I have not found a nonfiction book to read about this time. Could you recommend one?   After having visited Florence in February this year (just before the pandemic started) I got i

Book Beginnings on Fridays and the Friday 56

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It has been a while since I posted here. Maybe because, since I now live in Sweden, I read more books in Swedish. We have excellent libraries here and that means I don't have to put more books on my already over-full TBR shelves. My local library has a shelf with new books, or new translations or just themes they want to promote. There I usually find good books. They also have a shelf with themed books related to events, time of the year etc. Now they have a shelf with horror books or at least spooky books. It is not my favourite genre, but I was attracted by this particular book; Thin Air by Michelle Paver. " The higher you go the darker it gets."  "The Himalayas, 1935 Kangchuenjunga. Third-highest peak on earth. Greatest killer of them all. Five Englishmen set off from Darjeeling, determined to conquer the sacred summit. But courage can only take them so far - and the mountain is not their only foe. As mountain sickness and the horrors of extreme altitude set in,

Nonfiction November - Week 1

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  Nonfiction November has started. Leann@Shelf Aware  is guiding us through the first week. The aim is to look at what you have already have read this year, choose your favourite and recommend to others.  What was your favourite nonfiction read of the year?  I have read 23 nonfiction books so far. I think that is more than I usually read. Most of them are about history, some biographies and some reflection books. I will not mention all of them here, just a few of my favourites. The Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood by Jan Marsh about the women who surrounded the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Very interesting to see the relationships from the women's point of view, and how it affected their lives.  The Tigress of Forli (Renaissance Italy's most courageous and notorious countess, Caterina Riario Sforza de' Medici) by Elizabeth Lev. An interesting story of an extraordinary woman surviving politics, intrigues, relationships, plagues, war and much more during the end of the 15th century

Short reviews - part IV

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Museum of Broken Promises by Elizabeth Buchan   "The Museum of Broken Promises is a beautiful, evocative love-story and a heart-breaking exploration of some of the darkest moments in European history. Paris, today. The Museum of Broken Promises is a place of wonder and sadness, hope and loss. Every object in the museum has been donated - a cake tin, a wedding veil, a baby's shoe. And each represent a moment of grief or terrible betrayal. The museum is a place where people come to speak to the ghosts of the past and, sometimes, to lay them to rest. Laure, the owner and curator, has also hidden artefacts from her own painful youth amongst the objects on display. Prague, 1985. Recovering from the sudden death of her father, Laure flees to Prague. But life behind the Iron Curtain is a complex thing: drab and grey yet charged with danger. Laure cannot begin to comprehend the dark, political currents that run beneath the surface of this communist city. Until, that is, she meets a yo

Short reviews - part III

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 Three more short reviews of books I really liked. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens "For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens." At the beginning of 2019, Where the Crawdads Sing, was the top best-selling novel in the US. It has got raving reviews and it does not disappoint. It is a bittersweet story about a girl who grows up alone in the marshes. We follow how she adapts to life, learns about nature where she lives, an

Non-fiction November 2020

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  Another favourite challenge is coming up, namely Nonfiction November. Hosted by Katie@Doing Dewey , Rennie@What's Nonfiction , Julie@Julz Read and Leann@Shelf Aware . As you see below, they will host one week each. As usual, each week is filled with a challenge as regards Nonfiction. It will be exciting to exchange views on our different interests when it comes to Nonfiction.  Week 1: (November 2-6) – Leann will be kicking things off with Your Year in Nonfiction: Take a look back at your year of nonfiction and reflect on the following questions – What was your favourite nonfiction read of the year? Do you have a particular topic you’ve been attracted to more this year? What nonfiction book have you recommended the most? What are you hoping to get out of participating in Nonfiction November?   Week 2: (November 9-13) – I’ll be rocking Book Pairing: This week, pair up a nonfiction book with a fiction title. It can be an “If you loved this book, read this!” or just two titles tha

Short reviews - part II

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 Continuing with a few more short reviews on books read during the summer. 1794 - Niklas Dag och Natt His first book, 1793, was a big hit in Sweden, and according to Goodreads, it is called The Wolf and the Watchmen  in English.  It is a juicy piece of 18th century he gives us. You feel the dirt, the smell and the poverty of Stockholm at the time. It is a continuation of the first book but can be read independently.  A young mother is mourning her daughter who was brutally killed on her wedding night. Nobody wants to investigate the murder so she turns to Mickel Cardell who is working for the authorities to investigate crimes committed.  A young nobleman is arrested for a hideous crime he is accused of. And then there is Anna Stina Knapp who thought she had arranged her poor life in a good manner. But times change and she has to enter out into the crowded, rotten world of Stockholm, to save herself and her child.  The first book was very brutal, difficult to read. This one is not less

Short reviews - part I

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  I have not been in the mood to write reviews lately, even if I have read some really good books. As you might have noticed, not in the mood for any posts. Well, I thought I will make an effort and at least write a short summary of some of the books I have read in the last couple of months.  Mornings in Jenin by Susan Abulhawa "Forcibly removed from the ancient village of Ein Hod by the newly formed state of Israel in  1948, the Abulhejas are moved into the Jenin refugee camp. There, exiled from his beloved olive groves, the family patriarch languishes of a broken heart, his eldest son fathers a family and falls victim to an Israeli bullet, and his grandchildren struggle against tragedy toward freedom, peace, and home. This is the Palestinian story, told as never before, through four generations of a single family." Through Amal's eyes, we see the fragile existence of her family and friends. Her story is very touching and dramatic and highlights the ups and downs of thei