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.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

The Borden Murders - Lizzie Borden & the Trial of the Century by Sarah Miller

Lizzie Borden took an ax,
Gave her mother forty whacks.
When she saw what she had done,
She gave her father forty-one.

This is a song that was created around this famous murder case and it seems that it is quite well known in the US. However, it does not give us the whole extent of this extraordinary murder mystery. Behind it, is a real life murder mystery, to which there is no answer to 'who dunnit'!

Sarah Miller has done a thorough research into these gruesome murders which took place on 4 Augusti, 1892 in Fall River, Mass. The police was called to the house on 92 Second Street and found Mr and Mrs Borden murdered in the house. Mrs Borden upstairs in her bedroom and Mr Borden on the sofa in the living room.

The only persons in the house was the youngest daughter Lizzie and the maid Bridget. The police did not do a very good first investigation of the murder scene and this was later an obstacle in the trial. However, after a few days the police decided to arrest the daughter Lizzie Borden for murdering her parents.

Sarah Miller takes us through the events of the day of both the women, checking the house and the barn for evidence and not finding very much. There was quite a lot of blood from the bodies, but no blood was found on either of the women or anywhere else. The murder weapon was not found. A reason for the killing was not found, although it was said that Lizzie did not get along with her step mother, and, it seems, had no problem with her father. It is a complete mystery. Lizzie insisted all through this ordeal that she was not guilty. However, some of her initial remarks on what she was doing that day, left more questions than answers.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Bookmark Monday

I am joining Guiltless Reading for the Bookmark Monday meme.

I was recently travelling around Normandie and in the castle in Falaise, the birthplace of William the Conquerer, I found these lovely bookmarks. They really fit the Norman times.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Read lately

I have a pile of five books that I read lately and have not yet reviewed. Here are mini reviews of the books, although some of them really deserves a 'real' review.

The Last Girls by Lee Smith

A wonderful book about a group of young girls who, while in college, decides to go in the footsteps of Huckleberry Finn, and go down the Mississippi on a raft. Thirty-five years later four of them meets to make a different trip down the Mississippi. "Baby", who was the 'wild one' during their college years, has died and her husband has asked her friends to take her ashes down the river to commemorate their earlier trip.

Harriet, a teacher, unmarried, careful, not taking any risks. Courtney, married rich and have to deal with her husbands infidelity and her mother-in-law's dominance. Anna, comes från poor circumstances, got a scholarship to college and is now a successful bestseller author. Catherine, the southern beauty who went against her upbringing to become a sculptor and are in her third marriage.

They all remember Margaret "Baby" Ballou, beautiful, wild, rebellious, deceitful, promiscuous at college. She has died in a car accident and the friends suspects suicide.

The group has had not contact during the thirty-five years and they have to get to know each other again. They all think everybody else are more happy than themselves. During the trip they talk and get to know each other again. Looking back on their youth, their lives, what they made of it and where they ended up. After the trip they are all changed and realise that there is still time to live their lives.

A wonderfully written account of youth, life and where it takes us. In the background is the ever flowing Mississippi.

The Go-Between by L.P. Hartley

"The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there."

The famous opening of this wonderful account of a young man's experiences during a hot summer holiday. Leo is invited to spend the summer with his upper class school friend Marcus. He is asked to act as a messenger between Marcus' sister Marian and the farmer Ted. He is deeper and deeper drawn into their relationship of deceit and desire. One day he wakes up to make a shocking and premature revelation which ends in disaster. 
"He had made me realize something of what Marian and he meant to each other, and though I did not understand the force that drew them together, any more than I understood the force that drew the steel to the magnet, I recognized its strength."
It is a beautifully written story. A pure pleasure to read. Although the story is slow you never notice and the story slowly, slowly takes you towards the inevitable. When we reach the end, in Leo's old age, we are once again drawn into the go-between. 
"Perhaps this was unfair to Marian and Lord Trimingham, who had both treated me with signal kindness. To to them, I knew, I was a go-between, they thought of me in terms of another person. When Lord Trimingham wanted Marian, when Marian wanted Ted, they turned to me. The confidences that Marian had made me had been forced out of her. With Ted it was different. He felt he owed me something - me, Leo: the tribute of one nature to another. 

Thursday, 20 April 2017

New purchases

Long time no see! I have been on a trip to Normandie, Guernsey and Jersey. It was a nine day trip on the road from morning to evening, so I had not so much time to blog. There will be some reports from our trip which was very nice and interesting, as well as a few short reviews of books read lately.

During the trip I was exhausted in the evenings and I just read a few very easygoing historical fiction books. Now at home again I will go back to One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. It is a little bit more demanding to read.

Today I went to a "Book Festival" and though I was very restricted and disciplined (at least I thought so myself!) I came back with 16 books! Yes, I know. As if I don't have several TBR shelves already full of books. But when the books cost 2-5 € each, it is difficult to resist.

Of the 16 books I have divided them into four piles; five books with favourite authors, six books with authors I wanted to read, three with biographical content and two thrillers.

Favourite authors

Diana Gabaldon, The Scottish Prisoner - a 'side' book out of her Outlander series. I love historical fiction and Diana Gabaldon writes very well.

Philip Kerr, Prague Fatale - I read his book The Quiet Flame and loved it. Therefor I grabbed this one and I am sure I will not be disappointed.

Tracy Chevalier, Burning Bright - historical fiction at its best. London at the end of the 18th century.

Catherine Cookson, Kate Hannigan's Girl. Read several books by her when I was young, but that was a long time ago. I recently read a biography about her To be a lady: Story of Catherine Cookson by Cliff Goodwin and, after that interesting account of her life, I wanted to read something else by her.

Paulo Coelho, Adultery. I think Coelho does not need a lot of introduction. I recent read his The Witch of Portobello and loved it. This should be an interesting read.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Mount TBR Reading Challenge 2017 - checkpoint #1

Bev at My Reader's Block is hosting the Mount My TBR challenge. She has called for the first check point and here is mine. As of 31 March I have read 15 books from my TBR pile and that has taken me to the top of Pike's Peak (4.302 m or 14,155 ft or 12 books) and 1.202 m or 3,943 ft or 3 books) up the Mont Blanc. I am steady on my way. 9 more books to reach the peak on 4.808 m (15,774 ft). I hope to read at least 100 books this year, but all of them will not be from my TBR pile, so the end of the year will tell which mountain I will climb.

Here are a few things Bev asks us to consider.

Monday, 3 April 2017

Six Degrees of Separation

April and we are to consider another book chain in the meme 6 Degrees of Separation, hosted  Books Are My Favourite And Best . This month we start with the book Room by Emma Donoghue. I have not read the book, but heard about it, or at least the movie, which I have not seen either.

I make it easy for myself and start with Emma, which leads me into the book Emma by Jane Austen.
A book I tried to read for ages and just could not get into it. Finally, I decided "just to read it" and, although it is not my favourite Austen read by far, (I just can't stand Emma) it does improve after about half the book. The latter part is a relatively pleasant read.

From Austen I go to Austen! Or almost at least. Recently I read All Roads Lead to Austen by Amy Elizabeth Smith, about her trip to six South American countries in a quest to find out how Austen is interpreted by modern South Americans. A pleasant read.

Friday, 31 March 2017

"Book beginnings on Friday" and "The Friday 56"

Rose City Reader

Rose City Reader, is hosting Book beginnings on Friday. She says:

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
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 The Go-Between by L.P. Hartley

This absolutely fantastic book has one of the most famous book beginnings ever.

The Content Reader


"The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there."

Page 56

"I decided it would be impossible to like him, and immediately liked him better. He was nothing to be afraid of, even without the handicap of his ambiguous social position, which I judged to be below that of a gentleman but above that of, well, such a person as Ted Burgess. "

A lovely, lovely book, a review will come soon. Hope you enjoyed the quotes.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

A Circle of Sisters by Judith Flanders

"Four women connect four men by a slender but steely thread. One man is an earl, and three times prime ministers; the second a Nobel prizewinner who turned down a knighthood, the Poet Laureateship and the Order of Merit; the third is a baronet, who has been both director of the National Gallery and president of the Royal Academy. The thread is the Macdonald sisters - four women who were the mothers of Stanley Baldwin and Rudyard Kipling and the wives of Edward Burne-Jones and Edward Poynter. "
Alice, Georgiana, Agnes, Louisa and Edith Macdonald, five sisters of which four of them married into  the history of the Victorian cultural age.

The Macdonald sisters came from the lower middle classes without any great prospects of social advancement. However, they made their name, as wives and mothers, to some of the most famous men (yes, they were all men) of their times. The sisters received an education and through their one surviving brother, Frederic, who studied at University, they came into contact with people from the higher, social classes. The father was a Methodist preacher and they moved frequently during their childhood. Their mother had the sole responsibility to raise the children and take care of the household, which she did with a firm hand. It was only when they moved to London, where the future artists and writers gathered, that their life took a turn. With their charms they met the men they came to love, and whom they supported in their future careers. Not all of them were happy, but they created a big family and kept tight all through their lives. The youngest sister, Edith, did not marry and lived with her sisters all her life, as well as helped them with their families. Not all of them were very organised and their lives were at times rather chaotic.

Monday, 27 March 2017

Bookmark Monday

Joining Guiltless Reading for Bookmark Monday. Today I have two bookmarks from Argentina! Yay! My husband, Martin,  was there last week for a business trip, and I asked him to go to Corrientes to check out this street with all the book shops. If you read my review of All Roads Lead to Austen, you know what I mean. I don't think he found that actual book shop, but he found a lot of others and came back with beautiful photos of one, which seemed to have been adapted from a theatre, Grand Splendid El Ateneo. 

He also bought me a couple of bookmarks. One with the, maybe, most famous thing about Argentina, the TANGO and one magnetic one with wise words from Einstein.

"Life is lika riding a bicycle. To keep your
balance you must keep moving."

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Mrs Jordan's Profession by Claire Tomalin

I have read another excellent biography by Claire Tomalin. The first one was about Charles Dickens and this is about Mrs Jordan, one of the best known actresses of her time. Claire Tomalin creates a fascinating and vivid portrait of a remarkable woman.
Dorothea Bland was born on 22 November 1761, as one of six siblings. It is not clear whether her parents Francis Bland and Grace Phillips were married. Her mother was an actress and that is the career that Dorothea, or as she was commonly known, Dora, entered into. She was very talented, worked her way up towards the stages of London. But it started on the darker side.
She was raped by a friend of the family, became pregnant and gave birth to her first daughter Frances, or Fanny, when she was hardly more than a child herself. After some years touring the countryside she came to London and success was almost immediate. She met Richard Ford, a police magistrate and lawyer, moved in with him and got three daughters. She left him several years later because he did not want to marry her. By this time she was very famous and made good money, so could afford to move into a house of her own.
It is at this point that she meets Prince William, the Duke of Clarenden, and he gets infatuated by her. His is the third son of King George III, a little bit of a fallout who does not really find a purpose in life. When the public found out about their relationship, they were given a hard time.  For a long time the papers were full of caricatures of the couple. However, they seemed to have been very happy together.
"An her effect on him was tonic. Not only was her dedication to her work exemplary, she also provided a centre and order to his life. She gave him good advice. Under her tactful guidance he largely gave up drinking - the exception being when he visited the Prince of Wales, which meant being on what Dora called 'hard duty' in that department. She teased him and even quarrelled with him, but she was loyal and constant."

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Books in marble

Last weekend we took the car and drove over to Namur. There is an old Citadel which casts its shadow over the city. The old city is small and quite nice, and we took a stroll through the narrow streets. Passing by the church of Saint-Loup we ventured inside for a look. A beautiful church with a row of confession boots on each side along the church, beautifully carved and art pieces in themselves. Furthermore, there was an exhibition of a Russian artist, Aidan Salakhova.

In the information sheet I read: "Her sculptures in the Église Saint-Loup continue the overarching theme of "Vices and Virtues", questioning how religions take account of the flesh or whether they deny it. How the female body is stigmatised as a symbol of temptation or modesty and how it can be protected. Her work addresses the taboos of our society, particularly those relating to desire and sexuality."

What attracted me specifically were the marble books she had created:
"Another dialogue is established between the eight confessionals and the white marble books placed on the platform. Like the enclosed surroundings of a confessional, a private space is created for each individual, whether through the acts of reading and gaining knowledge or of revealing their inner life.

The book's pages bring to mind both the folds in a veil and a ploughed field: the parchment of life. Her works are open books on a range of symbolism: white and black, dag and night, darkness and light, a cosmic well, the cubic form of the Kaaba or Malevitch's Black Square and symmetry breaking."

Books, in whatever disguise, holds a spell on me!

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Miscellaneous reading

I have read a variety of books lately, but not really had time to write about them. Here are three books that I finished recently, and that I enjoyed.

The Holy Grail, History, Myth, Religion by Giles Morgan is an interesting summary of the Holy Grail and how it has appeared through history. From the very first pre-Christian sources on a magical vessel to the Cup of Christ. Continuing we enter into the magic world of King Arthur and the Holy Grail, where we also meet Merlin, Excalibur as well as Lancelot and Lady Guinevere, Camelot and visits the Isle of Avalon.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

I wanted to read Virginia Woolf for a long time, but somehow did not get around to do it. One day recently, I grabbed To the Lighthouse which I have had in my bookcase for quite some time. If this is something typically of her, I am a new fan. A wonderfully written book, with mesmerising characters.

While reading I was thinking of the Bloomsbury group and her own family. How people gathered in the summers to be creative, social or anti-social, meeting friends and enjoying themselves. I read that this novel is partly autobiographical and it was a great strain for her to write it.

The novel is divided into three parts; in the first part we meet Mrs and Mr Ramsay, their family of eight children and invited friends and colleagues. The story starts when their son James wants to go to the Lighthouse and Mrs Ramsay promises to take him there tomorrow, should the weather be fine. Mr Ramsay spoils it by saying that the weather will not be fine.

Monday, 13 March 2017

Bookmark Monday

Joining Guiltless Reading for Bookmark Monday. Visiting the Sterling bookshop here in Brussels, I found a lot of bookmarks available for customers. They were all designed by people working in the shop. I think this is a very good idea. Here are some of the ones I choose.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

The Empress of South America by Nigel Cawthorne

Opening this book was like opening Pandora's box. All the evils came out, not to be spread through the world, but over Paraguay.

The title of this book tickled my curiosity when I was offered a review copy from Endeavour press. The Empress of South America? Who could that be? It sounded impressive, but I had never heard about such a title or empress.

It all started with Elisa Alicia Lynch, born in Ireland in 1833. Ten years later the family emigrated to Paris due to the Great Famine in Ireland. That was the beginning of a life that was to be anything but normal. She married at seventeen, separated from her husband three years later, and entered into the world of the courtesans. Through connections she managed to move into the highest circle; the one surrounding Princess Mathilde Bonaparte. It was in this circle that she met her fate; the Paraguayan general Francisco Solano Lopez.

But, let's start where the book starts. In Paris, one night in May 1961, when a Paraguayan of Lebanese descent, Teófilo Chammas, scaled the walls of the famous Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris, to steel the bones of Eliza Lynch. When he finally finds the mausoleum where she is buried, he reads the plaque, saying in Spanish:

"Monument erected
Enrique, Federico and Carlos Solano López. 
To the illustrious memory 
of their always beloved and unforgettable mother
 Dona Elisa Alicia Lynch-López. 
Died 25 July 1886."
"Reading this, students of Latin American history would instantly recall the bloodiest war in the history of the Americas, a war which left more dead than the United States' bitter Civil War and all but destroyed a wealthy nation, through the weakness of a man and the ambition of a woman. It was this woman, Elisa Alicia Lynch - López - better know as Eliza Lynch - that Chammas had come for."

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

6 Degrees of Separation

March is upon us and there is another book chain to consider.  Host, Books Are My Favourite And Best, starts with Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby. I am not familiar with the book, but it is about football in general and the author's relationship with Arsenal Football Club in particular. It is Hornby's first book, published in 1992, and is said to be an autobiographical essay.

The first word coming into mind is of course 'sport'. I don't really like reading about sports, and don't know about any books about sports either. However, I did read I am Zlatan by David Lagercrantz, which is a biography about one of our greatest football players ever, Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

That takes me to 'David Lagercrantz' who wrote the sequel to the Millenium book by Stieg Larsson. It is called The Girl in the Spider's Web. I have not read it, and am not sure I will, although I read the first three ones.

The word girl, or girls, takes me to Lee Smith's The Last Girls, which I finished recently. A group of girls went on a raft down the Mississippi, in the foot steps of Huckleberry Finn, during their college years. Thirty five years later, four of them meet up again, to take a boat down the river, in honouring their friend who died. A really good story, where nothing is as it seems to be. Review will follow.

The word to go from here will be 'voyage', and I settle for Fatal Voyage by Kathy Reichs. Our favourite forensic anthropologist, Temperance Brennan  is in action again. Don't we just love her?

'Forensic' takes us to any murder mystery, and I settle for one book on my shelves, not yet read. That is Playing With Fire by Peter Robinson. I have read one book by him and liked it.

'Fire' takes me to Sweden and the second part of a fantasy trilogy by Mats Strandberg and Sara Bergmark, Eld or Fire. I have read the first one, The Circle which is very good. Looking forward to his one.

There I went very quickly from football, to girls, to fire and a few travels in between.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Classic Spin #15

Time for Classic Spin #15 with the Classic Club. What is the spin? Here is what they say over at the Club.

"It's easy. At your blog, before next Friday, March 10th, create a post to list your choice of any twenty books that remain "to be read" on your Classics Club list.

This is your Spin List. You have to read one of these twenty books in March & April. (Details follow.) Try to challenge yourself. For example, you could list five Classics Club books you are dreading/hesitant to read, five you can’t WAIT to read, five you are neutral about, and five free choice (favourite author, re-reads, ancients — whatever you choose.)

On Friday, we'll post a number from 1 through 20. The challenge is to read whatever book falls under that number on your Spin List, by May 1, 2017. We'll check in here in May to see who made it the whole way and finished their spin book!

Here is my spin list, but it is also available under Challenges 2017.

  1. Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
  2. The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot
  3. Goodby to Berlin by Christopher Isherwood
  4. Karin Lavransdotter by Sigrid Undset
  5. Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann
  6. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
  7. Women in Love by D.H. Lawrence
  8. A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams
  9. Richard III by William Shakespeare
10. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
11. The Overcoat and Other Stories by Nikolaj Gogol
12. Sweet Bird of Youth by Tennessee Williams
13. The Taming of a Screw by William Shakespeare
14. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
15. Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
16. Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
17. Tom Jones by Henry Fielding
18. The Divine Comedy by Dante
19. The Go-Between by J.P. Hartley
20. Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder

Are there some I am dreading? Yes! For example; The Mill on the Floss and possibly The Divine Comedy. The plays; yes, I find it difficult to read plays. Much nicer to see the actual play in the theatre. Otherwise most of them are classics that I look forward reading.

Monday, 6 March 2017

Bookmark Monday

Time for another Bookmark Monday, hosted by Guiltless Reading. Last week I visited the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Brussels. After having had a look at the old Masters, where Breughel, senior and junior, stands out, I once again had a look at the René Magritte collection. I did not like the surrealists from the beginning, but have noticed that the more I look at their work, the more I like it.

After the tour I ended up in the museum and could have bought quite a few items there. I did limit myself though to a poster, some postcards and three bookmarks.

The Masterpiece or the Mysteries of the Horizon (Private Collection),
 The Castle in the Pyrenees
(The Israel Museum, Jerusalem)
 and Oil on Canvas (National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Book sale continued!

There are still a couple of books that I bought on the book sale.  Unfortunately, I had to leave most of them in Sweden since I only had hand luggage going back. But, it means something nice will await me next time I go.

I bought three cook books. I love reading cook books and of course also trying the recipes. About one and a half year ago, I change my way of eating. I am now doing the LCHF, low carb, high fat regime. It works very well with me. I have lost 10 kg, my problematic stomach is better than ever, and it all makes we very happy. It keeps you stomach full, you are seldom hungry and you get to eat a lot of great recipes. Most of the time they are very easy to cook and it cooks fast.  For me? A win-win situation.

LCHF 2.0 is by Åse Falkman Fredrikson and Anna Hallén Buitenhuis which looks great. I follow Åse on her life stile blog 56 kilo. She also provides a lot of great recipes on-line, and I often use them for dinner.

Annikas Paleokök by Annika Sjöö. Paleo food is that kind of food we ate when we still lived in caves. It looks interesting and contains yummie recipes. Eager to try! It also goes well with LCHF.

I have decided to go into to yoga, so what would be better than to buy a book about Yoga food? Can't go wrong there I think. I also bought All About Yoga by Kerstin Linnartz which I started reading. Seems interesting with a guide to yoga itself and exercises to go with it. Unfortunately, I forgot it in Sweden, so here I am, no yoga. Maybe, I can find something on youtube in the meantime.

The last four books are for the well-being of the mind. Längtan visar vägen (Yearning Shows the Way, my translationby Patricia Tudor-Sandahl are reflections on life and can hopefully show you which way to go. Omgiven av idioter (Surrounded by idiots, my translation) by Thomas Eriksson seems to be a humorous book on how we interpret what people around us are saying. 365 days by Anders Bergman and Emilie Perland contains diary entries from various people from all over the world. I seems like a good idea to see what people did on this day, 200 years ago. Entries are from various times. Breakfast reading?

I am very happy for the variety of the books that I found. Something there for any day and any mood!

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Book Sale!

This is a very dangerous word for me. It means that I really cannot restrain from buying a few books. In Sweden we have a big book sale in the end of February every year. Luckily, or unluckily, I happened to be in Sweden when it opened this year. I ventured out in the cold, sunny morning, took the bus to the shopping center and went a little bit crazy. I bought 17 books! I know, it was crazy, and I was just hoping I would not find anything interesting. Alas! It was a little bit heavy to carry them all back, that is for sure.

I started looking at the fictional books, but only bought two. Mostly because I prefer to read the books in English. However, none of them are book written in English, so Swedish is fine. Most other books were thrillers. I found a book by one of my favourite writers, the Icelandic, Arnaldur Indidrason and his book Den som glömmer (Kamp Knox) (Oblivion and in the US Into Oblivion). He usually have a very tragic and touching story as background to his crimes. The other one was a book by Haruki Harakami, and that is thanks to all of you out there who have made me curious about his writing. This book is called Män utan kvinnor (Men Without Women). Seems to be short stories. Unfortunately, both books have to wait to be read until I am next time in Sweden.

Monday, 20 February 2017

Book Beginnings on Fridays and Friday 56

Better late than never! Here is my contribution for last Friday!

Rose City Reader, is hosting Book beginnings on Friday. She says:

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:

I had never heard of this gruesome couple from the 19th century Paraguay. She is Eliza Lynch of Irish origin and he is Francisco Solano López, Paraguayan. Together they managed to kill almost a whole country due to their paranoia and greed. A terrifyingly interesting story. Review will follow.

"One night in May 1961, a Paraguayan of Lebanese descent named Teófilo Chammas scaled the walls of Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris. The gates were locket but the high walls were not topped with barbed wire as they are today. Nor was the cemetery patrolled at night. Then, as now, young lovers climbed into the graveyard to lose themselves in the darkness there."
Page 56
"Francisco's infidelity clearly did not unduly concern Eliza: 'Although he was unfaithful to her, with any woman who took his fancy for the time,' wrote Cunninghame Graham, 'she knew he never would forsake her, for he relied upon her knowledge of the world to deal with consuls, ministers, and in general with the outside world, a world of which, brought up as he had been, he was quite ignorant.'"

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Book Beginnings on Fridays and The Friday 56

Rose City Reader, is hosting Book beginnings on Friday. She says:
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.

Just bought today Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman. I wanted to read something by him for a long time. You all write so well about him. So here I am, and here is the first paragraph of the Introduction.

"It's as hard to have a favourite sequence of myths as it is to have a favourite style of cooking (some nights you might want Thai food, some nights sushi, other nights you crave the plain home cooking you grew up on). But if I had to declare a favorite, it would probably be for the Norse myths"

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) in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.

On page 56 I found the following:

"Loki kep smiling, but he scowled on the inside. The day had started out so well. Still, he simply had to ensure that Eitri and Brokk lost the contest; the gods would still get six wonderful things from the dwarfs, and Sif would get her golden hair. He could do that. He was Loki.
"Or course," he said. "My head. No problem."" 
 The beginning is good, so I am sure I will love this book. I will be back with a review once it is read.

Friday, 10 February 2017

6 Degress of Separation - February 2017

New month and time for another chain of books. This month, host Books Are My Favourite And Best starts with Fates and Furies by Laureen Groff. I must admit I have never heard of it, although I see that it was one of the most popular books in 2015. Just shows how stuck I am with my TBR shelves! Never to late to change. Seems like a fascinating book.

Reading the synopsis on Wikipedia, my attention was drawn to the line "is essentially about how the different people in a relationship can have disparate views on the relationship". That is certainly true, and it immediately made me think of The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, where Rachel has a totally different view on the relationship with her ex-husband, and we could say people she sees from her train window.

From there my connecting word would be train and I am thinking of a book I have had on my shelves for many years; Riding the Iron Rooster by Paul Theroux. It is a travel book about his travels through China in the 1980s, and his aim was to disprove the Chinese maxim "you can always fool a foreigner". I am looking forward reading this one.

Here the connection continues with travels and I come to think of Tiziano Terzani's book A Fortune-Teller Told Me. It describes his travels across Asia by land and see following the advice and warning from a fortune teller in Hong Kong that he must avoid airplanes for the whole year of 1993.

That leads me to Asia and an interesting book called Monsoon Traders, The Maritime World of the East India Company by Bowen, McAleer and Blyth. The East India Company was one of the most powerful commercial endeavours the world has ever seen. An interesting story of the development of world trade, although depressing in its treatment of people and countries to achieve commercial success.

The chain word here is ships and leads me to Kapare och Pirater i Nordeuropa under 800 år (Privateers and Pirates in North Europe During 800 Years). When we hear pirates we normally think of the Caribbean area, although they were common in all areas where sea travel was frequent. I know there were some Swedish pirates, but was not aware of the whole picture. Interesting book covering the Baltic and North Sea areas.

A big force and influence in this area was the Hanseatic League, which takes me to Thomas Mann and Buddenbrooks. His family saga of the decline of a wealthy north German merchant family through four generations. Here he portrays the life and manners of the Hanseatic bourgeoisie in the mid-19th century. It is based on his own family who lived in Lübeck, one of the Hanseatic cities.

That was my chain of six books. Hope you enjoyed this chain which took me almost all over the world.