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 come 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.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon

Could not help it but starting the second book of the Outlander series. Not as good as the first one, and it seems to drag out a little bit. However, I am really hooked on the characters, their adventures and the 18th century history. This time Claire and Jamie spend some time in France and Paris. Much suitable having just finished Paris in July.

It is an easy read, flowing text, something happening all the time. It seemed though, that there were a lot of happenings that were not exactly necessary for the story, so it felt a little bit long here and there. However, coming close to the usual it ends with a cliffhanger and you just go into the third one! I am lucky that I am reading them now and don't have to wait one year for the continuation. By the time I have finished the present eight ones, the ninth might be out!

Monday, 11 August 2014

Classical Spin no. 7

Time for my first classical spin (see below). The number 17 came up. I am rather relieved since I intended to read this book within short anyway. So before October 6, I will read La Nausée by Jean-Paul Satre, that is Nausea in English but I will read it in my Swedish version, Äcklet.

The translation of the title in Swedish, is not a true translation of the words, and the title they use is not so nice. Hopefully the book will bring something nevertheless. I am curious about it since I recently read a book by Simone Beauvoir, his life long companion. Let's be surprised!

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Joining "The Classic Club"

I have seen a lot of references to this club, but thought I will wait a while to join. There are so many challenges and sometimes I feel I just read challenge books (which is good of course), but sometimes it is just nice to grab a book you feel like reading for the moment. I am a little bit of a mood reader and tend to go for certain books at certain moments.

Now, however, I read in Brona's Books about the Classic Club spin no. 7. Sounds interesting and a good way to read a classic book. For more info on the Classic Club go here.

The idea is to make a list of 20 classics that you want to read. On Monday 11 August, there will be a chosen number and the book on this number you should read. Fait accompli! No way back.

Choosing from what classics I have in my TBR shelves, and not having the same author twice, here is my list of classics:

1. Emma by Jane Austen
2. The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
3. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
4. The Angelic Avengers by Isak Dinesen
5. The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot
6. Light in August by William Faulkner
7. My Childhood by Maxim Gorky
8. Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann
9. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
10. Women in Love by D.H. Lawrence
11. Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift
12. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
13. Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
14. The World Around in 80 Days by Jules Verne
15. Ben Hur by Lew Wallace
16. A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams
17. La Nausé by Jean-Paul Sartre
18. Richard III by William Shakespeare
19. Travels With My Aunt by Graham Green
20. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

My TBR books

Can't wait to see which number it will turn out to be! Hopefully, not one of the very thick and difficult ones! But, if so, a challenge is a challenge and has to be take up!

For my overall reading in the Classic Club you can see which 50 books I have chosen here.
The above are included in the list.

Friday, 8 August 2014

Silence - Reading in Progress

It has been silent here for a couple of days. Doesn't mean that I have been idle. There is only one problem. When I have been reading good books, which I hardly can put down, I panic slightly to choose another one. Why, because I want to be as good, inspiring and exciting as the books I have just finished. That's why I have started on four(!) books at the same time. Starting, putting down and going for another.

Well, be as it is, at least now I have ventured into three of them a little bit more. The fourth one, which I just read a few pages on has to wait until these three are finished; the book is Äcklet/La Nausée by Jean-Paul Sartre. Some books you just don't read from cover to end, you have to read a chapter or two at a time and then read something else. This is such a book. Another book, which I find I can not read in one go is The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. I started this book and it is quite different from what I thought it would be. More easy-going and humorous. However, Holden Caulfield is a very negative guy, he does not have a lot of good things to say about anyone or anything.  I am half way through the book and I just had to take a break. I can only read a couple of chapters at the time. It is a very famous book and one of those you should read. I can relate to Caulfield in a way, especially when you think of the times he was in. If it works today, when these kind of lives are more common, I don't know.

The other rather exciting book I am reading is more of an academic book. It is from a Swedish professor in English languages. He has studied a phonetics, linguistics, dialects and so on. He worked with Tolkien in an Oxford project in the 1960-70s. His book is about his friendship with Tolkien and their work together. It is somewhat academic, but it you are interested in languages and especially the huge knowledge of Tolkien's in this area it is a wonderful book. He gives the background to how the Ring books (and the others) came to be. I do not know so much about Tolkien, except that he is the writer of the "Books of the century". This book shows that there are so much more to both the writer and his books. Very interesting. One third through this book.

Then I could not help myself! I started the second book of the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldan. This is a more easy read compare to the other two and I thought I will treat myself to this one. I really loved the first book and can't wait for the new TV series. It starts wonderfully, when Claire is back in her own time, which was a little bit surprising for me. However, we come back to the eventful 18th century rather quick. I am curious what this series will bring. There are so many books, and they are all rather thick, so many words in there. She writes very flowing and easy so the words pass you by very quickly. I will not reveal too much of this 2nd part, but I see that there are many 'excursions' in the historical vicinity which might not have too much to do with the main plot but will make extra pages. However, if you are interested in history it is great to read. I have to look up names and places that she mentions, because I like to check if what historical writers write are really true. I don't have to force myself to read this one.