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Showing posts from 2021

Nordic FINDS - first challenge in the new year

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The first challenge of the year is hosted by  AnnaBookBel  and is Nordic FINDS. FINDS stands for Finland, Iceland, Norway, Denmark and Sweden. The idea is to read one book from each country during a week (head over to her website for more information). My choices to read during this challenge are:  January 3-9 – DENMARK  – The Last Good Man by A.J. Kazinski January 10-16 – NORWAY  – Blå (The End of the Ocean) by Maja Lunde January 17-23 – SWEDEN  – Spegeln i rummet utanför (The Mirror in the Room Outside; my transl. book not translated as far as I know) by Stina Nilsson Bassell  January 24-30 – FINLAND  – The American Girl by Monika Fagerholm January 31- February 6 – ICELAND  - Salka Valka by Haldor Laxness  ************ Under label Challenges 2022 above, you will find more details about these challenges, briefly mentioned here.  My own Challenge - aiming at diverse reading  The Unread Shelf - aiming at lowering my TBRs The Classic Club - aiming at reading more classics Anne Tyler Pro

My favourite books this year

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I have so far read  87 books this year. Here are ten of my very favourite ones, without any special order, except the first one with is my absolute favourite.   Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami "In Killing Commendatore, a thirty-something portrait painter in Tokyo is abandoned by his wife and finds himself holed up in the mountain home of a famous artist, Tomohiko Amada. When he discovers a previously unseen painting in the attic, he unintentionally opens a circle of mysterious circumstances. To close it, he must complete a journey that involves a mysterious ringing bell, a two-foot-high physical manifestation of an Idea, a dapper businessman who lives across the valley, a precocious thirteen-year-old girl, a Nazi assassination attempt during World War II in Vienna, a pit in the woods behind the artist’s home, and an underworld haunted by Double Metaphors. A tour de force of love and loneliness, war and art—as well as a loving homage to The Great Gatsby—Killing Commendatore

2 x Lucy Foley

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I have read two books by Lucy Foley. I am sure I found some reviews from you, and it therefore ended up on my to read list. Luckily, I found two of her books in the library and read them very fast. Totally absorbed about the way the stories are built up. I did read The Guest List first which comes after  The Hunting Party, but it does not really matter. I see she has written a couple of other books, which stories seem to be different from these two: The Book of Lost and Found, The Invitation, Last Letter from Istanbul and The Paris Apartment. Something to look forward to.  The Guest List "On an island off the coast of Ireland, guests gather to celebrate two people joining their lives together as one. The groom: handsome and charming, a rising television star. The bride: smart and ambitious, a magazine publisher. It’s a wedding for a magazine, or for a celebrity: the designer dress, the remote location, the luxe party favors, the boutique whiskey. The cell phone service may be spo

End of year; short reviews

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I did read quite a few books in December, but have not had time to write a proper review. So, I decided to do a couple of short ones instead. I am very pleased with the books I read in December and many of them were very good. Should be, since most of them have been recommended by you. I borrowed several from our library, and being newer than those on my shelves, it was a pleasure to read.     The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner "A female apothecary secretly dispenses poisons to liberate women from the men who have wronged them - setting three lives across centuries on a dangerous collision course. Rule #1: The poison must never be used to harm another woman. Rule #2: The names of the murderer and her victim must be recorded in the apothecary’s register. One cold February evening in 1791, at the back of a dark London alley in a hidden apothecary shop, Nella awaits her newest customer. Once a respected healer, Nella now uses her knowledge for a darker purpose - selling well-disguis

Life According to Literature 2021

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I discovered this meme at Annabookbel  and it seems it goes back many years to various hosts. The idea is to answer questions with a book title you have read during the year, preferable not to repeat it. Here is my effort of finding answers through literature.  Describe yourself:   The Lonely Empress (Joan Haslip) How do you feel:   The Draining Lake (Arnaldur Indridason) I will never be: The Son of the Thunder God (Arti Paasilinna) You Fear: Bad Intensions (Karin Fossum) Describe Where you currently live: The Edge of the World (Michael Pye) If you could go anywhere, where would you go:   The House of Fiction (Susan Swingler) Your favourite form of transportation: On the Way to the Wedding (Julia Quinn) What’s the weather like:   Black Sky (Arnaldur Indridason) Your best friend is: The New Countess (Fay Weldon) You and your friends are:  The Seven Sisters (Lucinda Riley) My family reunions are : In Our Time (Ernest Hemingway) A t a party you’d find me with: The Prophet (Gibran Ka

MERRY CHRISTMAS

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Just a few lines on 24 December. This is the big Christmas day in Sweden and, this year,  we are celebrating quietly. Due to corona my family are not able to come. At least our son, Hannes, is home for Christmas which is nice. A friend of us will come over and celebrate with us. Swedes have a lot of food traditions for Christmas and we prepare a smorgasbord, but this year I have prepared a smaller buffé than usual.  I wish you all, fellow bloggers, happy holidays. I so much enjoy interacting with you, reading your blog posts and sometimes commenting. I do read them though, even if I don't always comment. I am looking forward to see what you are up to for 2022. See you then!

The Death Mask Murders by Gabriel Farago

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Book number 7,  The Death Mask Murders , in Gabriel Farago's series about journalist, author and international adventurer Jack Rogan is out, and it is an exciting journey he takes us on.  "Seven brutal murders. A cursed Inca burial mask. A lost treasure. One deadly game. Drawn into a web of hidden clues pointing to an ancient mystery, celebrated author Jack Rogan decides to investigate. When convicted killer Maurice Landru reaches out from a Paris prison and asks for help to prove his innocence, Jack cannot resist. Joining forces with Francesca Bartolli, a glamorous criminal profiler, Mademoiselle Darrieux, an eccentric Paris socialite, and Claude Dupree, a retired French police officer, Jack enters a dangerous world of depraved cyber-gambling where the stakes are high, and the players will stop at nothing to satisfy their dark desires. Following his ‘breadcrumbs of destiny’, Jack soon comes up against an evil genius who terminates his enemies without mercy and is prepared to

Katherine's Wish by Linda Lappin

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A while ago I read Linda Lappin's historical fiction of Jeanne Hébuterne in  Loving Modigliani: The Afterlife of Jeanne Hébuterne .  I really loved how Linda Lappin makes historical persons come alive. I was happy to receive a copy of an earlier book by Lappin  Katherine's Wish , about the life of Katherine Mansfield.  It is a wonderfully written account on the latter part of Mansfield's life. For many years she was ill with tuberculosis and spent her time, restlessly travelling in Europe to find a climate suitable for her disease. France, Italy and Switzerland where the places where she stayed to escape the damp, English winter.  Although most of the novel covers Katherine's more intimate relationships, we meet some of the most famous writers of the day. Katherine had a close relationship with D.H. Lawrence and his wife, until Lawrence sends her a shocking letter. Her relationship with Virginia Woolf is also fragile, although they seem to go on well together, and admir

Book Beginnings on Fridays and The Friday 56

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  This week's book is a very interesting nonfiction account on Susan Swingler's quest to find out why her father left her (and her mother) when she was four. A fascinating account of family drama and the search for a father's love. The House of Fiction by Susan Swingler "Susan Swingler is the step-daughter of one of Australia's most revered writers - the English-born Elizabeth Jolley. But behind that simple statement is a lifetime of family lies and deceptions that started when Susan's father, Leonard Jolley, left his marriage and four-year-old Susan to make a new life with Elizabeth in Australia. Susan had no inkling of what had happened until she came across perplexing revelations at the age of 21. The House of Fiction tells the story of Susan's quest to discover the truth about her father. As she traces clues to a better understanding of Leonard, she inadvertently unravels a intricate fiction created by Elizabeth to deceive Leonard's family back in E

3 x Nonfiction

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Three nonfiction books that I have read lately, all of them outside Nonfiction November.   Tree of Salvation, Yggdrasil and the Cross inte the North by G. Ronald Murphy, S.J., The Edge of the World, How the North Sea Made Us Who We Are by Michael Pye, and Evolutionen och jag (Evolution and I) by Johan Frostegård. Two of them are histories of Northern Europe and one is a history of the world, showing the evolution of man and the various theories attached to it.  Tree of Salvation, Yggdrasil and the Cross inte the North by G. Ronald Murphy, S.J. "At the heart of the mythology of the Anglo-Scandinavian-Germanic North is the evergreen Yggdrasil, the tree of life that holds up the skies and unites and separates three worlds: Asgard, high in the tree, where the gods dwell in their great halls; Middlegard, where human beings live; and the dark underground world of Hel, home to the monstrous goddess of death. With the advent of Christianity in the North in the early Middle Ages, Yggdrasi

The House of Fiction by Susan Swingler

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If I had read this book during Nonfiction November I would have mentioned it under week 4 - Stranger than fiction.  This is a true story of a woman's search for her father and the question why he left her and her mother and broke off all communications.  "Susan Swingler is the step-daughter of one of Australia's most revered writers - the English-born Elizabeth Jolley. But behind that simple statement is a lifetime of family lies and deceptions that started when Susan's father, Leonard Jolley, left his marriage and four-year-old Susan to make a new life with Elizabeth in Australia. Susan had no inkling of what had happened until she came across perplexing revelations at the age of 21. The House of Fiction tells the story of Susan's quest to discover the truth about her father. As she traces clues to a better understanding of Leonard, she inadvertently unravels a intricate fiction created by Elizabeth to deceive Leonard's family back in England." Susan'

The Survivors by Jane Harper

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Jane Harper's new novel does not disappoint. She is the master of suspense. Her stories start with what does not look like a crime, but turns out to be. There is an underlying fear of something you can not pinpoint. Kieran and his wife Mia are visiting their childhood village by the sea. Kieran is traumatised by what happened to his brother and his friend all those years ago, dying while trying to rescue him from the sea.  " A body on a beach. Secrets that have been waiting to be uncovered for twelve years. And a family torn apart by guilt and trauma..." Kieran's father suffers from dementia and he has come home to help his parents. The relationships has been strained ever since the death of his brother, who was the favourite son. He is enjoying seeing his old friends again.  When all seem to be well, the village is once again exposed to a sudden death. A young girl, Bronte, temporarily working at the local pub is found dead on the beach. They are all shocked, and the

The Universe in 3/4 Time by Leona Francombe

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Is this not the most beautiful cover? Designed by Leona's son Nicholas Maxson-Francombe Some years ago I read Leona Francombe's first book The Sage of Waterloo . As the title hints it is a story about the Battle of Waterloo. Not the usual tale though, but from the views of a rabbit. A wonderful book that has so much to say, not only about rabbits, but also about the minds of people. When Leona asked if I wanted to read her new book, I did not hesitate. This time the story starts with an abandon piano in the street.  "When a mysterious World War II piano appears on a Brussels street one winter’s night, no one could have imagined the events it would set in motion—least of all Audrey Nightingale, the pianist who comes across it. The instrument, of finest rosewood, bears the name of an obscure Czech manufacturer, and inside it, someone has carved a Pythagorean symbol. Audrey convinces two musician friends to help her make sense of this portentous discovery. At the heart of the

A few more purchases

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Once I start there is no stopping me. My only excuse this time is that I bought the books from a second hand charity shop. They really have a lot of interesting books, so I did constrain myself with 8 books (one was for a Christmas present).  One of the first TV-series I can remember is The Forsyte Saga. Well, to be honest the first one must be Bonanza, how I loved that western. I though have the saga of a wealthy family in London in my memory. As I now am an avid reader, I think I should read the books as well. I found the five books in the series and could not resist. They are now in my book case, and TBR pile.  I also found two other interesting books. One from one of my favourite authors Tara French, and a nonfiction by Laurence Gardner. The Secret Place by Tana French - "A year ago a boy was found murdered at a girlsʼ boarding school, and the case was never solved. Detective Stephen Moran has been waiting for his chance to join Dublin’s Murder Squad when sixteen-year-old Hol

Spell the Month in Books

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I found this easygoing meme on Marianne's Let's Read . I have seen it a couple of times, and wanted to jump on the bandwagon, but somehow never did. Ok, now is the time. It seems it first appeared on Reviews from the Stack . The goal is to spell the name of the current month by using the first letter of book titles (skipping articles like A, An, and The).  I will try to gather books I have read this year. If that is not enough I go for my TBR stacks. Let's see where I end up.  After a first glance just adding the titles, I see a lot of favourites; Paulo Coelho and Anne Tyler. Maybe not so strange after all since I have read quite a few books this year by these authors. Adding two classic tales Barabbas and Riding the Iron Rooster feels good, and then of course, these days we have to have a book about a strong woman. Here Eleanor Marx comes in as a remarkable woman who achieved a lot. I add my reviews (if one) under the links and a short summary of the book in question (fr

Book Beginnings on Fridays and The Friday 56

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Friday again! The weeks go so fast nowadays, and Friday has already passed when I realise I did not participate in this memes, hosted by Rose City Reader and Freda's Voice . Therefore, I am writing this on a Tuesday. This week I will choose the book I am currently reading; The Survivors  by Jane Harper. A favourite author and this is her latest. I am only just in the beginning, but it is promising. "A body on a beach.  Secrets that have been waiting to be uncovered for twelve years. And a family torn apart by guilt and trauma." Rose City Reader hosting Book Beginnings on Fridays "Prologue She could - almost - have been one of The Survivors." "Chapter 1 Kieran hoped the numbness would set in soon. The ocean's icy burn usually mellowed into something more neutral, but as the minutes ticked by he still felt cold. He braced himself as a fresh wave. broke against his skin." Freda's Voice hosting The Friday 56 "Kieran could see Lyn trying very

Obscuritas by David Lagercrantz

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  David Lagercrantz is probably best known, so far, for writing the sequel trilogy to the Millennium trilogy. He has declined to continue the Millennium franchise and is embarking on a new venture, of which the first instalment has been published in Sweden. I am sure the English version will follow soon, and it seems it is already translated into Dutch and Portuguese. The genre is detective/thriller and he has created an interesting duo in Hans Rekke and Micaela Vargas. "Summer of 2003, and Iraq has just been invaded by the US. In Stockholm, a football referee with Afghan roots is found beaten to death. Hot-tempered Giuseppe Costa, also the dad of one of the players, is arrested for the murder in what looks to be an open-and-shut case. But Costa insists that he is innocent and the Chief of Police decides to consult Professor Hans Rekke, a world renowned expert on interrogational techniques. If there is anyone that can crack Costa, it is him. But nothing turns out as the police exp