Sunday, 14 September 2014

Election day in Sweden

Today is election day in Sweden. There are two 'blocs' as we call them; each bloc consists of several parties that come together to form a coalition or alliance in order to govern; there is not one party strong enough to govern by itself. The two blocs are from middle to left and from middle to right. This year it is very tight so it will be a very close match.

While waiting for the result I took a walk around the city with my mother. The city is very quiet today. People are voting in the areas where they live. Here is my mother in front of the lovely, old houses that are bordering Borgmästaregatan, which is one of the big streets in the city. Made into a pedestrian walk these days, one can enjoy some food or coffee on the pavements.

So that is what we did after the walk. We took a caffe latte with a pecan nut cake with vanilla ice cream in a café that was open for the day.

The cake was lovely, but so sweet and filled with calories, that we had to continue our walk afterwards as well. 

Saturday, 13 September 2014

David Garrett a modern 'Pirate'?

Sorry for being slow with posting these last weeks. Still in Sweden, lots to do and I have hardly read anything! Terrible, I know. Hopefully things will improve in the coming week(s).

In the meantime I wanted to share with you one of my favourite film theme songs with a wonderful young violinist to go with it (from you tube). David Garrett is a pop and cross-over violinist and records and performs both classical as well as modern music. This one has really made me one of his many fans. What do you think?

I get goose skin when I hear it.

As I am sure you know, it is the wonderful theme song 'He's a Pirate' from Pirates of the Caribbean. The music is written and composed by Klaus Badelt and Hans Zimmer.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Quality time in Karlskrona

Today is Sunday and yet another wonderful, sunny day here in the south east corner of Sweden. I
decided to take a walk around the city, listening to my iPhone and taking some pictures. The centre of Karlskrona, Trossö, was once several islands, but have today merged into one.  Trossö is, in its turn, surrounded by several islands, yet visible today. To walk around the centre means, mostly, walking along the water front. On a sunny, calm day like today, Karlskrona is a beauty.

Friday, 5 September 2014

True Blood and Sookie Stackhouse and Co

Still on the road so the posts are coming quite irregular. I had time though, one evening, to watch the last episode of True Blood. I am quite happy that it is finished. The ending...well, it was sort of ok I think. SPOILER here: It was quite strange though to have followed Sookie the whole time and in the end she married someone we don't even know who it is! In the books...SPOILER again... she ended up with Sam, and I didn't like that ending either. I loved all the books in the series (13) but though the last one lacked something from the rest of them. For the series, season 1-4 were fine but then it all went 'all over the place'.

I think this is the problem with most series; they should have a decided ending and number of seasons decided before they start. If the series become popular, it seems they decide from season to season if they are to continue. Well, this can only hurt the story, which in the end is the most important thing.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Expeditionen - Min kärlekshistoria (The Expedition) by Bea Uusma

Here I am, on my odyssey in Sweden, my bag full of books. Do I read any of them? No, not so far. It is funny how interesting books tends to turn up at every turn you do. This is one of them. My aunt Maggie received it as a present. It is a thick book, but sooooo nicely designed, containing pictures from the expedition and is so very nice to read. The story is totally fascinating and I read it in one evening and one morning.

The André expedition in 1897 was aimed at travelling to the North pole by air balloon.  The three persons that was part of the expedition were scientists, but not really explorers. They were badly prepared for disaster and expected to fly to the North pole, put a flag there, collect samples of various interesting species or whatever they would find, and return by balloon to Sweden. Unfortunately, the last time they were seen alive was when they flew away. For thirty-three years nobody knew what happened to them. In the 1930s they were found on the White Island by a scientific ship.

For a hundred years researchers, journalists and doctors have tried to solve the riddle of what happened to them. Why did three men die, in spite of a lot of food, warm clothes, a lot of ammunition and three rifles?

Bea Uusma attended a boring party in the middle of the 1990s. She choose a random book from the hosts book shelf and found herself with a book about the André expedition. She left the party with the book, read it and her destiny was made. The book and the story has been part of her life ever since. She educated herself as a doctor to be able to see for herself the reasons for the death of the members of the expedition, she studied archives, old letters, other researchers, all the documents she could lay her hands on. The result we see in this very interesting and loveable book. It is like she says in the title: "My love story".

During the years there have been numerous theories on how the three persons died. After her research she came up with another one, which I personally find believable. There will probably be many more theories in the future. However, this book tells the story of three men, dedicated to the exploring of the North Pole and risking their lives. This book is a wonderful dedication to such daring people.

It is written in Swedish and I don't know whether it has been translated to English or any other language. It should be. More people should be able to read such a love story. 

Photos from the expedition itself and some pages of the book

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Books for travelling

My travel companions!
On Monday I am heading to Sweden with my son. Time for university studies for him. Time passes so quickly, I don't know where the 17 years disappeared! We are bringing his things with us, so we are taking the car. We are heading for south of Sweden so in principal you can make it in a day...long day! We are driving to Malmö to stay with friends overnight before continuing to Växjö, in the middle of the deep forests of Sweden.

Normally, when I travel these days, I bring my iPad mini for reading. Books are heavy to carry if you have to check in luggage and carry it around. The car brings some flexibility to bring a few more books. However, there are very good libraries in Sweden so you can always pop in and see what you find. These are the books and the iPad I am bringing with me:

I have three books for book clubs: Beloved by Toni Morrison, One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, New Grub Street by George Gissing (iPad). All for September.

For August I have to finalise Emma by Jane Austen for the Austen in August challenge.

Jean-Paul Satre, La Nausée is for the Classical Club spin and has to be finalised in beginning of October.

Already started books are Tolkien by Arne Zettersten and The Sleepwalkers by Christopher Clark.

The Pursuit of Glory by Tim Blanning is about five revolutions between 1648 and 1815 that made modern Europe. Should be very interesting and has got ravishing reviews.


Today we are invited for a cray fish party in the evening. Mmm, this is a Swedish tradition this time of the year. Tomorrow is bag for me (hopefully) and a few more for my son. The read bag in the middle is mine. The rest is his, plus a few things not visible in the picture...and then of course the bike, his tennis rackets/bags/ball etc and the tennis string machine...! And the two of us...

I forgot to say that he is a very good packer!

The Maze Walker by myself

After finishing The Maze Runner I took a walk in our forest. There it is like a labyrinth/maze. You can really loose yourself if you don't know the place. Taking this opportunity to try out and to learn how our camera works, in order to place some better pictures on my blog. It is really great fun. Even the small cameras, we have a Canon S100, can do a lot of amazing things when you leave the AUTO mode, which I have used so far.

On Monday Hannes, my son, and I are heading for Sweden to install him for the start of the university studies. That means that I will post when feasible, and hopefully, with some nice photos on the way. To go from Belgium by car, we cross the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark. From Germany to Denmark there is a ferry and from Denmark to Sweden we have the new, longest bridge in Europe at least. It is a wonderful, mighty bridge. The full connection is 15.9 km and consists of roads, bridge and a tunnel. There is also a railway tunnel for trains between Malmö (Sweden) and Copenhagen (Denmark) and first stop on the Danish side is the airport Kastrup. The bridge is a total of 7.845 km and 5.35 of them are on the Swedish side. You cross the border on the bridge.

Friday, 22 August 2014

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Read on my iPad mini 
I wanted to read this book before the film comes in September. I saw the trailer and thought this would be an exiting book and film. It also comes with good recommendations from other bloggers. This is a dystopian book, set in a depressing future.

Thomas wakes up in an elevator without a past memory and not knowing where the elevator will stop. It finally stops and when the doors open he looks into a valley (sort of) and a lot of boys curiously looking at him. He has arrived to the Glade, habited by young boys only, who have organised a life out of the given conditions. On his first day he is taken around the area and the leader explains what it all means. They are all sort of prisoners in the valley. The valley is surrounding by very high rock walls. Here and there are openings into the walls, leading into a maze. Every evening the doors are closing and every morning they are opened.

The small population of boys are given different tasks. One of it is to be a maze runner, meaning to investigate the maze during the day, and try to find the way out. The walls of the maze are moving every night so in order to see if there is a patterns the runners produces maps.

Normally, a new boy is coming about once a month. However, the day after the arrival of Thomas the alarm ringing for the arrival of the elevator, turns up and out stumbles a girl. This change the whole environment of the Glade and it is soon discovered that Thomas and the girl Teresa, are different then the rest of them.

Not to reveal to much of the story I will stop there. The story is not bad, at times it is very exciting and then there is the question how it all will end. What is the trick of the maze?

Being an easy read, it could nevertheless not really interest me. Maybe because I am not so interested in sci-fi or dystopian worlds or virtual worlds. Probably too old! It is all too depressing and end-of-the-world-thing for me. This is also the first in a series of four books. I will not continue with the second one. Will I have a look at the film? Probably, because I am sure that it can be made into a fantastic film. Let's see!

Friday, 15 August 2014

I did it again...!

I know I should not do it, but I can't help myself. I have a lot of books around but I still buy new ones. What is my excuse? It could be one of several reasons; it got splendid reviews; it would be suitable for a challenge of mine; I would like to read it before seeing the movie. I am sure I could come up with a lot of other reasons as well. are my newest purchases from Kobo books for my iPad mini.

Historical Fiction Challenge hosted by Historical Tapestry

Since I just skipped one book (Sacred Hearts by Sarah Dunant) which I didn't like, and I have to read 10 books from the Renaissance this year I added a book from my to read list:

A Divided Inheritance by Deborah Swift and here a short summary from Goodreads:

A family divided by fortune. A country divided by faith.
London 1609...
Elspet Leviston’s greatest ambition is to continue the success of her father Nathaniel’s lace business. But her dreams are thrown into turmoil with the arrival of her mysterious cousin Zachary Deane – who has his own designs on Leviston’s Lace.

It promises to be a trip over Europe so let's see what it will bring.

2014 Monthly Motif Challenge hosted by Bookmark to Blog

For August the book should be about an "Alternate Reality
Read a book that's set in the future, on another planet, in another dimension, or in an unknown world. A Dystopian book will count this month as well. "

That gave me the chance to read The Maze Runner by James Dashner. I saw the trailer for the movie and it looks good. Better take no chances and read the book first!

Thriller and Mystery

To be honest I can't fit this one into any of my Challenges! However, I read a review from somewhere, saying, that if you are going to read one thriller this year THIS IS THE ONE! The book is I am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes.  Let's hope!

Austen in August hosted by Lost Generation Reader

For this August challenge I am reading Emma by Jane Austen.

My Brussels Book Club

My Brussels book club will meet in mid-September and for this one I will read Beloved by Toni Morrison and One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marques.

Brussels Brontë Reading Group

This is a group reading 19th century British novels. The next one is New Grub Street by George Gissing. I have never heard either of the book or him before, so a new acquaintance.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

"The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause. 
The mark of the mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one."
Wilhelm Stekel

This is one of the books you just must read, being a classic. I have had it in my book shelves for many, many years. Now, finally, trying to decrease by TBR shelves I chose this one. I don't really know what I expected, but certainly not this one. I really had no idea what it was about, just that it was supposed to be something out of the extraordinary for the times.

I have to admit that, apart from the last 50 pages or so, I did not like this book. The book, that made Salinger's reputation, is about a generation of high school and college students, here epitomised by Caulfield.  He is 17 going on 18 and lost in this world. He has just been relegated from his school, and we get to know that this is not the first school he has been asked to leave. He skips the last days of school and goes on a voyage, to find himself or what he wants to do. The problem is he does not know.