Friday, 23 June 2017

Long time no see!

Hello everyone! It was quite some time since I posted here. A little bit of fatigue entered my life and I have just been letting the days past. I have spent a week in Sweden which was very nice. I managed to get me some energy there, in the fresh winds from the sea. I played tennis and swam, so exercise every day. I also used the opportunity to read two books from my shelves there.

Most of my books are in English, but lately I have bought a few books in Swedish since I have spent some more time there. I do prefer to read English books in the original language, but when there is a language I don't read, like Icelandic and Portuguese in this case, I enjoy reading in Swedish.

One of my favourite authors is Arnaldur Indridason and I found his Oblivion in my book case and I read it in one day. It is difficult to stop reading when you start one of his books. What I especially like with his books is, that apart from the murder mystery, there is a very personal and interesting story of either the victim or someone close. In this case detective Erlendur looks for a cold case of a missing girl that was never found. This story runs parallell with the murder story. Exciting to the very end. Well written and descriptions of the Icelandic nature and society. Especially interesting for me since we are going to visit Iceland this summer. I also discovered that I have another to books by Indridason on my shelves, so there will be something for my next visit.

While in Sweden I was looking for a book for my mother's birthday. The book shop had an offer of 4 for 3, so I found one for her and three for me! They were Paulo Coelho's The Spy, Stefan Zweig's Amok and Karin Bojs' Min europeiska familj (My European Family) about our ancestors from the beginning of time.

I did manage to read The Spy while I was there. It has not got very good reviews from you fellow bloggers, but I must say I am really into Paulo Coelho for the moment. I can't say how much of the story that is true, but it seems he has done a lot of research and, as usual in these cases, it is the dialogue and the thoughts that are made up. I am always overwhelmed by the wisdom of Coelho and I thought there were a lot of thought worthy elements on life, how it is, and how we interpret it. I don't know a lot about Mata Hari, only the outline. However, Coelho's story shows us a woman ahead of her time, who lived the life she wanted and embraced life and its possibilities.

I was quite happy to find Stefan Zweig's Amok. So many of you have recommended him and I really look forward reading the book. He is also Austrian, like my husband, and since I have not read that many authors from there, I always enjoy finding someone good. Like Robert Seethaler's A Whole Life

That was a small catch up from me. I have four reviews that will come within short. The Temporary Gentleman by Sebastian Barry, Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann, Blood and Guts: A Short History of Medicin by Roy Porter and Self Power by Deepak Chopra. See you soon!

Monday, 12 June 2017

Bookmarks Monday

Guiltless ReadingI am joining Guiltless Reading for the Bookmarks Monday meme. A couple of weeks ago I was visiting England and Stratford upon Avon. It was a great visit and I walked around all the places connected to Shakespeare's period. The Anne Hathaway's Cottage, Nash's House, Hall's Croft and of course Shakespeare's birthplace. They were all wonderful places and I really enjoyed walking around Stratford as well.

One bookmark and one book was the outcome of my visit there. The book was Roy Porter's Blood and Gut, A Short History of Medicin. Great book and not as bloody as I expected. The bookmark is all related to Shakespeare and you see it here.









Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Life's different phases

It has been rather quiet here lately. This is partly due to a travel I did to London and Menorca. While in London I also visited Oxford and Stratford and hope to do a couple of posts on these wonderful places later.

Otherwise life has been very heavy from the beginning of the year. I am trying to cope with lack of energy and hope that I am now on the right way. Something that helps is to read your blogs which always inspire me. It feels good to see what you are all up to, what you are reading and how you cope with life.


I have a couple of book reviews waiting to be written. I read Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann. A huge book, but what a treat it was to read it. In Stratford I bought a book, Blood and Guts, A Short History of Medicin by Roy Porter. Very interesting story on the development of medicin. To help out my present state I finally read Self Power by Deepak Chopra, which has been on my shelves for some time. It contains a lot of useful tips on how to approach life and, if necessary, change your outlook and situation.

This week, while sitting by my computer, I am enjoying the French Open in tennis. A lot of interesting games, surprise wins and overall good tennis play. It is a windy day here today, so perfect to stay inside and enjoy the games.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

20 Books of Summer

I have been away for 12 days (London and Menorca) and had a wonderful time. More about that later. When I managed to go into feedly to read your blogs, I ran into this challenge. Sounds like a good idea for the summer.

It is Cathy at Cathy 746 Books who hosts this annual challenge;  20 Books of Summer. Well, since she admits the rules are a little bit slack, you can choose 10, 15 or 20 books from your TBR shelves. They should be read between 1 June 2017 and 3 September 2017. Suits me fine, since I want to read at least 50 books from my TBR shelves, if possible more.


I have the same problems like some other bloggers, that as soon as I put a book down on a list, I dread to read it. I just don't know why. I hope this list will not cause me look for other books on my shelves. However, whatever book that disappears from there is a good deed.

Here is my list:

Bowen, McAleer, Blyth - Monsoon Traders, The Maritime World of the East India Company
Bryson, Bill - Notes from a Small Island
Chopra, Deepak - Self Power - Spiritual Solutions to Life's Greatest Challenges
Gogol, Nikolaj - The Overcoat and Other Short Stories
Hannah, Kristin - Viskar ditt namn (Angel Falls)
Indridason, Arnaldur - Den som glömmer
Isherwood, Christopher - Goodbye To Berlin
Marques, Gabriel Garcia - One Hundred Years of Solitude
Morton, Kate - The Secret Keeper
Tolstoy, Leo - Anna Karenina

It is a mixture of fiction and non-fiction books. I will check in on this challenge sometimes in beginning of July to see where I am. Maybe I can add a few books.


Tuesday, 16 May 2017

The Dream of Scipio by Iain Pears

"Julien Barneuve dies at 3:28 on the afternoon of August 18, 1943."
That is the first sentence of The Dream of Scipio. It is my first book by Iain Pears. Luckily, I have another one waiting on my shelves. This book was such a wonderful surprise and I think he will be one of my favourite authors in the future. 'The Washington Post' has put it right to the core: "A thrilling journey through history, into the human heart and soul."

We follow three men and their beloved through history and it takes place in France. In the 5th century we meet Manlius Hippomanes and his beloved Sophia. In the 14th century Olivier de Noyen and his beloved Rebecca and in the 20th century Julien Barneuve and his beloved Julia. Julien is an historian and is researching the other two.  Olivier is the middle man, already having had an interest in old manuscripts in the 14th century, his researched gives Julien the story of Manlius. It is only in the very last stage of his life, that Julien realises the real consequences of the life and actions of Olivier. Here an ancient murder mystery is part of the story.
"And Julien returned to his books, turning in these years to the subject that had been in the back of his mind for so long: to describe the resilience of civilization, its enormous strength, the way that even when near death it could revive and regrow. Bringing its benefits to mankind once more."
The novel takes up the eternal story of what civilisation is. Who are the civilised people? We or the others? What actions are to be called civilised? What is morally and ethically correct? Is it ethically correct to sacrifice one person to save another? This story covers big questions on these matters and it is heartbreaking at times. It also shows that it does not matter in which century you are living.  In time of war our decisions and actions change. We go through emotions we could not even dream of and have to act in ways we could never imagine.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Bookmarks on Monday


Monday again and this week I have another bookmark for the Bookmarks on Monday meme, hosted Guiltless Reading.

I bought i recently while visiting Le Mont du Saint Michel in France. As expected it shows the lovely island on a wonderful photo.


Visiting was almost like a fairy tale experience although the thick walls were maybe more fortress like than fairy tale like. Small alleys to walk around in, or climb rather. It is rather steep inside the walls. We stayed one night, walked around, up and down and had a lovely dinner watching the tide coming in.

Friday, 12 May 2017

6 Degrees of Separation - May


May is here and neither spring or summer seem to be with us. Still chilly and unstable weather. What better than to join Books Are My Favourite And Best and another 6 Degrees of Separation. This month starts with The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas. I have never heard about either the book or the author, but reading up on Wikipedia gives me a hint. Seems like an interesting book and excellent book for a discussion, either in a book club or at a dinner.


The people in the book gather at a barbecue and brings my mind to The Dinner by Dutch author Herman Koch. Two brothers and their wives gather for dinner to discuss something that their sons have done. It is only in the end we get to know what they have really done. The deed lies underneath the thoughts and dinner conversation of the party.  A novel with many layers.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Classic spin #15

For once I did finish my book for the Classic spin. It was Sweet Bird of Youth by Tennessee Williams. It is a play and I am not really into reading plays, rather prefer to see them. However, this one was quite easy to read.

It tells the story of a gigolo, Chance Wayne, who is returning to his home town in company of a faded movie star. He has aspirations to become a movie star and hope that she will be the key to opening the right doors. A reason for coming home is also to try to get back what he lost in his youth; his girlfriend whose father made him go away years ago. However, you can never get back your youth. What has been done can not be made undone. This is a lesson he learns over a couple of days. The revenge of a small town can be hard.

It is a typical Tennessee Williams I would say. Set out in the South, young and not so young lovers, underlying feelings of heat, anger and violence. I really enjoyed it.




Monday, 1 May 2017

A Room With a View

My father says that there is only one perfect view — the view of the sky straight over our heads, and that all these views on earth are but bungled copies of it.” 

E.M. Forster, A Room with a View
THE SIGNORA HAD NO business to do it,” said Miss Bartlett, “no business at all. She promised us south rooms with a view close together, instead of which here are north rooms, looking into a court-yard, and a long way apart. Oh, Lucy" 
E.M. Forster, A Room With a View

A room with a view is always a nice thing. As E.M. Forster lets his characters wish for in his novel with the same name. We have been on a tour in Normandy, Guernsey and Jersey and were lucky to have wonderful views from our hotel rooms, most of the time. Here are a few views:

Chataeu Rozel

La Vieille Auberge in Le Mont St Michel

La Porte de Saint Pierre in St Malo

The Savoy in Jersey

Three wonderful views and one back yard. Well, you can't have it all. The Savoy was a wonderful hotel otherwise with a marvellous restaurant Montana. So good we ate there both nights.


Friday, 28 April 2017

Book Beginnings on Fridays and The Friday 56

Rose City Reader, is hosting Book beginnings on Fridays.


Please join me every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author’s name.


Freda’s voice is hosting Friday 56 and the rules are:


*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
(If you have to improvise, that's ok.)
 *Find any sentence, (or few, just don't spoil it)
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post below in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.
*It's that simple.




My book this week is One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I think it is a great beginning.


Book beginning:

"Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice."

Page 56:

"In that discomfort, breathing quicklime and tar, no one could see very well how from the bowels of the earth there was rising not only the largest house in the town, but the most hospitable and cool house that had ever existed in the region of the swamp."

Still reading this book. The pages are very dense, hardly without any space at all and it takes time. The story is sort of magical.