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Showing posts from April, 2021

Book Beginnings on Fridays and The Page 56

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  This week's book I have not yet read. However, I have seen references here and there and I am really excited to start The Disappearing Spoon  by Sam Kean. Here the summary. "Why did Gandhi hate iodine (I, 53)? How did radium (Ra, 88) nearly ruin Marie Curie's reputation? And why is gallium (Ga, 31) the go-to element for laboratory pranksters? The periodic table is a crowning scientific achievement, but it's also a treasure trove of passion, adventure, betrayal, and obsession. These fascinating tales follow all the elements on the table as they play out their parts in human history, finance, mythology, conflict, the arts, medicine, and the lives of the (frequently) mad scientists who discovered them.   The Disappearing Spoon masterfully fuses science with the classic lore of invention, investigation, discovery, and alchemy, from the Big Bang through the end of time." Does it not sounds intriguing? Can hardly wait to start this book.   Book Beginnings on Fridays

Earthly Possessions by Anne Tyler

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Here another instalment in the Anne Tyler project (hosted by Liz Dexter at Adventures in reading, running and working from home ). This month's first book is Earthly Possessions , and it might be my absolute favourite so far.  "Charlotte Emory has always lived a quiet, conventional life in Clarion, Maryland. She lives as simply as possible, and one day decides to simplify everything and leave her husband. Her last trip to the bank throws Charlotte's life into an entirely different direction when a restless young man in a nylon jacket takes her hostage during the robbery--and soon the two are heading south into an unknown future, and a most unexpected fate...." Maybe you can say that being taken hostage is typical of Charlotte. People seem to be drawn to her. It was of course coincidental that the nervous young man grabbed her, but still. Charlotte being Charlotte meant that she trotted along as the robber ran away with her from the scene. As we follow Charlotte on her

Through Belgian Eyes by Helen MacEwan

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Helen MacEwan is one of the initial founders of The Brussels Brontë Group . The Group is dedicated to research the years that Charlotte and Emily spent in Brussels. Helen has written another three books connected to the Brontës in Brussels; Down the Belliard Steps (about the founding of the Group), The Brontës in Brussels (a 'guided' tour of places and history connected to the Brontës), Winifred Ghérin, Biographer of the Brontës. Through Belgian Eyes,  with the under title Charlotte Brontë's Troubled Brussels Legacy  takes a look at how the Belgians handle/d Charlotte Brontë's attitude to Brussels and the Belgians. Mainly through her two books set in Brussels, The Professor and Villette. And, why it took so long for the Belgians to acknowledge her greatness.  "Charlotte Brontë's years in Belgium (1842-43) had a huge influence both on her life and her work. It was in Brussels that she not only honed her writing skills but fell in love and lived through the exper

The Habsburgs by Andrew Wheatcroft

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  A book about the Habsburgs is certainly going to be a thick one. A family with a long history and part of the European history for over 1000 years. In spite of this, Wheatcroft has been able to give an account of the family in just under 300 pages (not including footnotes and timelines). Considering the number of Habsburgs that have passed by during this time span, it is a thorough historical account of their lives and deeds. Some gets a little bit more space and some less, and rightly so. It starts with the first Dukes of Austria, originating from, what is today, south of Switzerland, in 1020 and continues to the last emperor, Karl I who was dethroned in 1919.   I will not even try to make a summary of this interesting family and its input on the history of Europe. As with most ruling dynasties, it is a matter of wars, conquering of land, survival through intrigues, influence as well as personal lives through marriage, children and the fight for survival of the dynasty. As regards t

Classic Club Spin #26

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The Classic Club Spin #26 took place yesterday and gave us # 11. For me, that number is Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak. Since I do not have that book with me where I am now, I will take the next book on the list, which is The Wings of the Dove  by Henry James. A favourite author and a book I wanted to read for some time, so please with that. I hope you all got an interesting book as your number 11. Enjoy!

Book beginnings on Fridays and The Friday 56

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It is some time since I posted here on two of my favourite memes or challenges, but now it is time. I recently read W. Somerset Maugham's The Moon and Sixpence  which I found wonderful. These memes are hosted by Rose City Reader and Freda's Voice. Book Beginnings on Fridays hosted by Rose City Reader I confess that when First I made acquaintance with Charles Strickland I never for a moment discerned that there was in him anything out of the ordinary. The Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice I had said all I had to say on the subject that had brought me to Paris, and though I felt it din a manner treacherous to Mrs. Strickland not to pursue it, I could not struggle against his indifference. It requires the feminine temperament to repeat the same thing three times with unabated zest.   Do we discern a little bit of sexism in the last sentence? A wonderful book, my review under link above. 

Eleanor Marx by Rachel Holmes

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  I finally got to reading this book, thanks to the challenge The Unread Shelf  hosted by Whitney Conard. An excellent challenge how to lower your TBRs and how to sort out what to read. One of the ways to read from your shelves is to take a book according to the monthly theme. The theme for March was - 'A book you bought on a trip'. I bought this book on a trip to London some years ago. I then visited the beautiful Highgate Cemetery where, among others, Karl Marx is buried. I found the book in the little shop at the entrance. I did not know anything about Eleanor Marx, or much about the Marx family. Marx's ideas I think most are familiar with, even if they have been somewhat distorted through the years. Eleanor was the favourite daughter of Marx and she started helping him with research early on. She only had basic schooling, so she turned into a autodidactic. Highly intelligent she had a interest, not only in politics, but also in literature (she worked also as a translato

Classic Club Spin #26

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  The time has come for another Classic Club Spin, #26 . To join, prepare your list of 20 books before Sunday 18 April, 2021. The book with the number from the spin should be read by 31 May, 2021 . I am still on my first 50 classic book list, but the non-read books do not cover the 20 list, so I am happy to have started on my second list; 51-100, although the list is still not filled with 50 books. I let myself be inspired by your choices and add books as I find them interesting.  My 1-50 classics My 51-100 classics Here is my updated list for the spin. 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. Women in Love by D.H. Lawrence 7. Child Harold by Lord Byron 8. House of Mirth by Edith Wharton 9. The Red and the Black by Stendhal 10. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck 11. Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak 12. The Wings of the Dove by

The Moon and Sixpence by W. Somerset Maugham

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  I found this book on a flee market or second hand shop. I always wanted to read something by Maugham and I had heard a lot of good things about this one.  Based on the life of Paul Gauguin, The Moon and Sixpence is W. Somerset Maugham's ode to the powerful forces behind creative genius. Charles Strickland is a staid banker, a man of wealth and privilege. He is also a man possessed of an unquenchable desire to create art. As Strickland pursues his artistic vision, he leaves London for Paris and Tahiti, and in his quest makes sacrifices that leave the lives of those closest to him in tatters. Through Maugham's sympathetic eye, Strickland's tortured and cruel soul becomes a symbol of the blessing and the curse of transcendent artistic genius, and the cost in humans' lives it sometimes demands. This novel caught me from page one. Maybe it is the times in which it is written, or just the wonderful writing of Maugham. I have another book by him,  A Writer's Notebook  wh

Searching for Caleb by Anne Tyler

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I am a little bit late with this March read for the Anne Tyler project (hosted by Liz Dexter at Adventures in reading, running and working from home ), which I finished just the other day.  Family can be a trying thing, and that is what some of the members of the Peck family feels. They solve the problem by going away. If the other members are lucky, they will know where they are going, if not, like with Caleb, he disappears without a trace.  "Duncan Peck has a fascination for randomness and is always taking his family on the move. His wife, Justine, is a fortune teller who can't remember the past. Her grandfather, Daniel, longs to find the brother who walked out of his life in 1912, with nothing more than a fiddle in his hand. All three are taking journeys that lead back to the family's deepest roots...to a place where rebellion and acceptance have the haunting power to merge into one..." Anne Tyler is, once again, looking into the webs of family life. We meet the Pe

Förförelsen (Glahn) by Knut Faldbakken

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  I bought this in a second hand shop, and had never heard about the author. The text on the back cover caught my attention and for that I am happy. This is a gem of a novel. It is the love story between a teenage girl and a mature man. My first thoughts went to Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, but it is a totally different book. The story turns out to be a re-writing of the novel Pan by Knut Hamsun .  Thomas Glahn is a man seemingly roaming around without a goal. He meets and old friend, Mack, and his teenage daughter Edvarda. He is totally smitten by her from the first sight. Glahn is drawn into Mack's family life, with its mysterious relationships. Glahn has difficulties interpreting the relationship between Mack and his wife Eva. Although Glahn realises it is best to stay away from the family, it is like a magnet is drawing him in.  Glahn and Edvarda start a relationship which is not consummated until much later. Both are afraid to commit, and when they do, their commitments come at