Posts

Showing posts from February, 2021

The Devil and Miss Prym by Paulo Coelho

Image
"A stranger arrives at the remote village of Viscos, carrying with him a backpack containing a notebook and eleven gold bars. He comes searching for the answer to a question that torments him: Are human beings, in essence, good or evil? In welcoming the mysterious foreigner, the whole village becomes an accomplice to his sophisticated plot, which will forever mark their lives." It is pure coincidence that I read this book just after reading Barabbas.  The two books are not alike, but they both deal with one age old question: that about good and evil. In Barabbas the protagonists  are Jesus and Barabbas. Without doubt we would see Jesus as the good and Barabbas as the evil. In The Devil and Miss Prym  the devil comes in the form of a stranger, the evil and goodness in the form of Miss Prym. As we know, some questions are not so simple to answer. The opening is grand as so worthy Paulo Coleho. "For almost fifteen years, old Berta had spent every day sitting outside her fr

Barabbas by Pär Lagerkvist

Image
Pär Lagerkvist is a well-known Swedish author. He received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1951. I have not read anything by him earlier (only a short book on words and its arts, which cannot compare to a novel). During his literary career he dealt with fundamental questions of good and evil, and these questions were dealt with through his various characters. He was a moralist and often used " religious motives and figures from the Christian tradition without following the doctrines of the church ." (Wikipedia). Barabbas is one such characters. It is a wonderful novel and I was quite taken by it. Barabbas is, according to Christian legend, the criminal who was pardoned when Jesus was sentenced to be crucified. Historians doubt whether this person actually existed, but that is for another post. He disappeared from historical sources after the event and nothin much is known about him. Lagerkvist has used Barabbas to create a tale of the times. Barabbas is astonished that he is

A Slipping Down Life by Anne Tyler

Image
  Liz Dexter at Adventures in reading, running and working from home invited those interested to dive into the authorship of Anne Tyler with The Anne Tyler re-read project 2021 . Two books are scheduled for February; A Slipping Down Life and The Clock Winder .  "Evie Decker is a shy, slightly plump teenager, lonely and silent. But her quiet life is shattered when she hears the voice of Drumstrings Casey on the radio and becomes instantly attracted to him. She manages to meet him, bursting out of her lonely shell—and into the attentive gaze of the intangible man who becomes all too real…." Anne Tyler has with Evie Decker created another bigger than life character. A girl different from others, with few friends, good at school, but without any real interests or aim in life. That is, until she gets obsessed with a local rock singer and takes fate into her own hands. Together with her only friend Violet she starts going to concerts at a local restaurant just to hear Casey sing.

Book Beginnings on Fridays and The Friday 56.

Image
  This week's book beginning and page 56 is taken from the biography The Lonely Empress, a biography of Elizabeth of Austria  by Joan Haslip.  Book Beginnings on Fridays hosted by Rose City Reader "We were eight children and each one of us had our Christmas tree." The Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice "She was even prettier than he remembered and in his enthusiasm he wrote off to his mother, 'I can never thank you enough for having laid the foundations of my happiness', adding, 'every day I love Sisi more and more and am more convinced that no one could be better suited to me'. Seen in her own environment, Elizabeth was at her most enchanting, a gay, excited little girl rather than a future Empress, proudly showing him off in front of her brothers and sisters, all of whom, including Helen, gave him a tumultuous welcome. " How little did they both know what their marriage and lives would be like?   

The Lonely Empress by Joan Haslip

Image
The Lonely Empress is a biography about Elizabeth of Austria. Known as Sisi she has mesmerised a whole world and it was with great anticipation I started to read. I think a lot of people, including myself, have a somewhat romantic image of her, but you realise rather quickly that you are wrong. She is far from a romantic princess, rather the contrary. But let's start from the beginning. She was one of a big family of siblings in the Wittelsbach family. Growing up rather freely, close to nature and away from binding court protocol, her future life came as a shock to her. Emperor Franz Joseph's mother Sophia and Sisi's mother Ludovica were sisters and planned to marry off the young emperor to the oldest Wittelsbach daughter, Helen. As it happened, Sisi was accompanying her sister to the first meeting with the crown prince, and, as they say, the rest is history. He fell madly in love with Sisi and persuaded his mother to change her mind about who should become his wife.  "

2 x Anne Tyler

Image
 Liz Dexter at Adventures in reading, running and working from home invited those interested to dive into the authorship of Anne Tyler.  I read several of her books when I was younger and always loved them. The books are chosen according to the order in which they were written. For January that meant If Morning Ever Comes (1964) and The Tin Can Tree (1965) .  Already with her two first books, she has found her way of telling a story. The characterisation is there, as well as the environment in which her characters live and work. With a few words, she brings you into the world of her characters and you are stuck.  If Morning Ever Comes "Ben Joe is the only boy in a family of six sisters, Mama and Gram. He is studying for a law degree in New York when he hears his eldest sister Joanne has left her husband and returned home with her baby girl. Out of a mixture of homesickness and duty Ben Joe returns to the home in which he has always felt like an outsider." Coming back after h

The BookTube Spin - number 15

Image
The BookTube Spin by Rick MacDonnell on Youtube took place on January 31. The set-up was to choose twenty books from your TBRs and you will have two months to read it. The list of The Content Reader. The Spin number was 15. It guided me to Orlando Figes' book  Natasha's Dance,  A Cultural History of Russia. It has been on my shelves for a few years so a good book to read.  Love the beautiful cover.