Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Paris in July 2020

Tamara at Thyme for Tea is hosting another Paris in July. I am happy to participate again. One of my favourite challenge. Looking forward to seeing fellow Paris-bloggers to see what you are up to this year.  Simple rules; we talk about everything Paris and French. Ill-prepared this year, so no high-level plans for the month. Here are some ideas I might fulfil. 
Usually, I do a French dinner, but considering the times, this will be out of the question this year. I might make up a dinner menu at least. 

I still have an unfinished post from last year(!) about saloons in Paris in the 1920s, which I will finalise.

Someone recommended R.A. Scotti's Vanished Smile, about the theft of Mona Lisa at the beginning of the 20th century. I have never heard about this theft, but it sounds interesting. Especially, since I know the painting came back to the museum. Will try to find the book. 

I will go to the library and see what French they have. Maybe I will try two of my favourite French thriller writers; Michel Bussi and Fred Vargas. They never disappoint. 

I had a look on my own shelves. Unfortunately, not too much connected to France. I found three books though where I can make a French connection. 
  • Bussy-Rabutin - Histoire amoureuse des Gaules - bought it at his castle when we visited some years ago. My French is poor, but I might be able to read a few chapters.
  • Charles Mackay - Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds. "This classic catalogue of some of the more outré enthusiasms - speculative, social, religious and just plain daft - serves as a salutary reminder that the follies of mankind are not unique to the moderns world." I have found some connections to France, so let's see what follies I can find.
  • Göran Norrby - The Rise and Fall of the House of von Fersen, 1561-1879. A Swedish biography about the von Fersen family. Axel von Fersen was rumoured to be the lover of Marie Antoinette, and also tried to help them flee. Unsuccessfully. 
There are of course many interesting French writers that I may add to the list.

I will also check out some French films, TV-series and music. 

I might go back to our French travels and find a few pictures and stories.

Saturday, 6 June 2020

before we met by Lucie Whitehouse

" A whirlwind romance. A perfect marriage.
Hannah Reilly has seized her chance at happiness. Until the day her husband doesn't come home...
Can you ever really know what happened before you met?"
Hannah goes to Heathrow to meet her husband, en route from the US.  It is his usual weekend visit. However, this weekend he is not on the plane and he is not available on his phone. Hannah naturally worries that something has happened. When he finally contact her by message, she is relieved.

When she by chance is told that he is supposed to be with her in Rome, her mind moves towards the idea he is having an affair. She starts investigating and more and more mysterious details are detected.

This is a kind of 'Gaslight' story. Is Hannah just imagining things? Everybody seems convinced that she is the love of his life. The more she detects an unknown part of his life, the more the mystery is shrouded in darkness.

This is a story keeping you hooked and guessing until the very end. It is creepy and thrilling, and you don't really know whom you should believe in. Since we follow Hannah step by step, we are there with her, sharing her feelings and fears as she finds out more about her husband's life before they met. A book, difficult to put down.

Monday, 1 June 2020

Catching up

A while now since my last post. I don't know what is happening, but time seems to go very fast. We are still self-isolating, although we do venture out a little bit more. Being careful and keeping distances. It is quite comfortable to have no demands on you because there is not so much you can do in comparison to normal times. I recently asked my husband how we will be able to cope with all the things to do, once we are back to normal. These days I am only capable of concentrating on the few daily tasks that we have. I do long for normal times, misunderstand me right, and hope that the lack of energy I feel now, will come back. It is heavy to think that we might have to stay like this for another year. We are continuing our walks in the area and have discovered a lot of nice national parks and areas to walk or bike. If this situation would not have occurred, I don't think we ever would have had time for these discoveries.

I read 11 books in May. Many of them very good. So far so good for my personal challenge of reading 7 books from my shelves every month (from April). I have done well so far; 8 in April and 7 in May. My other personal challenge of reading more non-fiction books this year is not looking that good; only 4 books this year. Well, there are times to come. I find that easy-going thrillers are the best books to read during these times.

Today is a new month and new efforts. I have, as usual, several options to choose from. I have also started listening to the first book in Lucina Riley's Seven Sisters series. Fascinating from the first sentence. I will try to listen through it fastly, so I can download the e-books from the library.

I have four books on the go, which I hope to finalise this month. All from my own shelves. They are: before we met by Lucie Whitehouse, Laterna magica by Ingmar Bergman, Inheritance (The story of Knole & the Sackvilles) by Robert Sackville-West, and Nattens historia (The history of the night) by Gunnar Broberg. Three of them are non-fiction. Hopefully, they can occupy my mind for a while.

I hope that you are all safe and using the time to read and exercise.