7 translations to consider

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I’ve been asked once or twice about Swedish literature. Most of the stuff I like isn’t translated into english, the stream flows the other way, but a few things have gotten through. This is not all of it but a few books in no particular order.

1. The gravity of love by Sara Stridsberg. Stridsberg has a sharp pen, she didn’t get ask to join the Swedish academy for nothing. In this she manages to tell the story of a father who never was just that, but one who spends time in a mental institution and about a child, who like all children, accepts and interprets anything as love. Heartbreaking but also warm and understanding.

2.Bret Easton Ellis and the other dog by Lina Wolff. Full disclosure: I have not read this book. I have read anther of hers and people tell me this is also good. If nothing else Bret Easton Ellis and other dogs is a smashing title.

3. Blackwater by Kerstin Ekman. This novel still brings it. It’s a crime novel that is also the story of a small village in transition. About who belongs and who doesn’t and about trust. I don’t know about the translation but the Swedish original is written in a beautiful language.

4. The Expedition by Bea Uusma. I’m so happy that this books has been translated as it is one I really love. In her twenties Uusma read a book about the Andrée expedition to try to reach the North pole, an expedition that ended in the death of all members for reasons that have never been properly explained. After many years of thinking and reading about it she decided to investigate full time and find out the truth. A book about obsession and the power of hope. This is non-fiction and award winning at that.

5. The summer book by Tove Jansson. I’ve recommended this book many times, and bought copies for friends abroad. Jansson is close to my heart because of Moomin but also this which I reread every year. As a child I didn’t see the darkness in it, at this point in life I think I see nothing but. Small scenes that together paint the picture of a summer and a life.

6. The visit of the royal physician. Elegant and intimate this historical drama from the Danish court in the 18th century  tells the story of a king that may or may not have lost his marbles, a doctor that is supposed to help him but ends up taking his job and his wife and a woman that finds love and freedom in the most unexpected place.

7. The price of water in Finisterre. The much missed, but utterly unique, voice of Malmsteen comes through loud and clear in this her first book about her life in France. One day she had had enough of Sweden and decided to up sticks and move. Her life in Bretagne didn’t end up like she expected but she wrote about it lovingly. It became a blogg and then several books that became collected musings on life,culture and getting older. This first book was more prosaic in a very good way. She did became all of Sweden’s favorite ex-pat I think. Some went on pilgrimage to where she lived.

-Suss

 

 

Midweek & more suggestions for your TBR.

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You probably have a big stack of unread books beside you. And possibly a list, mentally or on paper, about the books you want to buy in the future. Let me add to that.

I’m always on the look out for good suggestions and in the bookstagram-community we encourage and enable each other, in the best possible way of course. Here are some of the lists and round-ups I’ve seen around that you might want to look at for inspiration for further reading.

1. My own summer reading list published a while back: Not obvious choices for summer reading but good books all of them and stuff that doesn’t get much attention. I stand by it. Find the full list here.

2. Life in a cold climate’s fiction list: A few of these books I have already read, in fact I recommended one of them. In addition a someof them have gotten a vote of confidence from people who’s taste is equal to mine notably @biblibimbo and @anicegreenleaf so I will make an effort. I have zero interest in that Carver though, don’t know why. Read the full list here.

3. Life in a cold Climate’s non-fiction list: non-fiction is close to my heart so I made several notes when reading this one. I understand the arguments for not reading Sapiens, I really do,  but I will probably read it just because it is, and I’m paraphrasing, a broad strokes, bombastic macho thing that ignores everything that doesn’t agree with it. I like to make up my own mind despite having all of the confidence in Kate. And unlike Annikky and Kate I cannot apply eyeshadow at all. You can read the whole list here.

4. The booksatchel list of best reads so far in 2017: of the books mentioned in this post The bear and the nightingale is the one I’m most curious about but it will have to wait until winter because anything remotely related to Russia is better read when there is snow on the ground. You can find the list here.

5. Tea with Darcy round up of best reads: Landfalls is high on my list. This vlog-post was the final nudge I needed to start the process of getting my hands on a copy. See it here.

6. The Jen Campbell round-up of best books so far; I don’t watch a lot of booktubers and but Jen is one of them and she has a lot of good suggestions. Mostly her poetry picks intrigue me and then Girls will be girls because feminism is everything. See the video here.

7. Not an actual list; @theartfulelle posted a pic of her TBR-pile(or some of it) and everything in it seems like something I want to read, or rather I few things already are and so I made a note of the rest as our tastes often coincide. See it here.

-Suss

 

Tuesday & time to dig through the archives

The brilliant podcast In our time is on a summer break. How rude. What am I supposed to listen then? How will any housework get done?

As can be expected with my somewhat terrier like personality I have since discovering that podcast listened through a sizable share of their archives. But maybe you haven’t and so you have that joy ahead of you.

They are all worth listening to, many bring up authors or discuss certain works in depth which makes the reading of them more informed. I probably would not have enjoyed or understood Beowulf as well without listening to that episode. Obviously Melvyn Bragg and his guests have made my TBR much longer but worth it. Some scrolling might be needed to find them, the podcast as such is found where you usually find them, it’s a BBC4 production.

These are seven of my favorite episodes in no particular order.

  1. Robinson Crusoe: I remember reading this books as a child but realize now that it must have been one of those child friendly versions. It was also interesting to hear of context and influences. I am considering a reread.
  2. Queen Zenobia:  A warrior queen that challenged the Roman Empire. Why haven’t you heard that name before?  As they conclude in the show; Shakespeare didn’t immortalize her in play that’s why. Fascinating stuff.
  3. The Talmud: My knowledge of judaism was much improved after listening to this episode and the history of The Talmud is layered. The making of the sacred text over a long time is also the history of the Jewish people.
  4. Bruegel’s The fight between Carnival and Lent: It’s a joy to listen to a discussion about this painting as the context is given and the details of it explained. And there is a lot going on. Having seen a Bruegel or two in my time I now appreciate them more.
  5. The Salem Witch Trials: I’ve read and listened to a fair few things on the topic of witches in my time. Maybe Roald Dahl’s Witches is to blame? Anyways this is a very informative episode.
  6. The Egyptian book of the dead: Having heard it mentioned many times in popular culture, the TV-series Penny Dreadful comes to mind, I hadn’t really understood what the book of the dead was. Now I know. And I’m forever wanting to learn more about ancient Egypt.
  7. The battle of Lincoln 1217: In this episode there is a mention, however brief, of a swashbuckling apostate monk by the name of Eustace. Truth is stranger then fiction.

Are there any podcast that you would like to recommend? My ears are open to suggestions as I will have to clean,iron and do dishes as usual during summer and I need something to entertain me when I do.

-Suss

Blue Monday & Mirror selfies

I do not have a crew or even a measly assistant to snap pictures of me wearing my clothes, or someone else I can dress in them so that I can take the photos myself. And I forget to ask friends as I want to talk to them about things that actually matter(books, bacon and what my cat has been up to. Oh and their lives, because they actually have them).

It’s just me,myself and my iPhone, and at this point, a good knowledge of where big mirrors can be found throughout my day. This is some of the things that I have worn lately as I try to use all the clothes that I have, and that is furthermore of my own make.

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Patchwork denim skirt; I went through a big patchwork phase this winter and and at the same time my favorite jeans, a pair of bleached ACNE jeans in the model Hex, fell apart. They got a second life mixed up with other scraps of denim from here and there. I’ve been using it now either with black sandals and a simple kashmir sweater or on the weekends with my beloved Stan Smith sneakers and a white t-shirt.

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Patchwork kimonojacket; Ignore the smudge on the mirror, and possible forget my skeptical face. I made this around the same time as the skirt. This jacket however has proven to be a surprisingly good summer cover up. It looks very good like this with denim but also with a simple dress underneath for an easy evening out or with trousers and a silky top. It has reminded me that I really really need a simple navy blue evening bag.

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Tablecloth to clothes-skirt; This fabric was woven by my mother actually. She made two different settings on the loom, alternating the colours and was intending it as tablecloth. However she never used it and so I snatched it up and used it to make a skirt. It’s linen so very comfortable to wear on warm summer days. Great with this denim blouse or as with everything else I wear;a white blouse and a black cardigan. I wore this a lot last summer with gold sandals and a white silk blouse.

Wearing blue/navy during summer is about as groundbreaking as florals for spring but whatevs. It should also be noted that I do smile, just not in photos.

-Suss

Arty Farty

As I was reading The improbability of love by Hanna Rotschild I had many thoughts. I found myself trying to describe the books a retelling of The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt imagined as a feel good novel, complete with shady Russians, art work by an old master and thwarted love. But that description is very generous and should be taken more and an indication of plot more then quality.

Our protagonist Annie buys a painting in a junk shop. It turns out that it might be a valuable masterpiece. The painting has her own voice in this book which is a nice touch. Then there is a chase because everyone wants to get their hands on it. That’s The Goldfinch part(but not as good). Annie is a good cook, and wants to be a professional one. Much space is devoted to her cooking which is fun to read for a while.

I thought it enjoyable to read but in the end Rotschild tries to add a little bit of everything and the book is bursting at the seams, and she is in an awful rush to tie up all the end. I gave it a 3 of 5 on Goodreads, because in the end I did get a kick out of reading about all those laces in London that I know and having a giggle at “Barty” as I know my gossip column and have a good guess who he is based on . On the downside there is an awful lot of stereotyping going on and at some point it bored me to be honest. I started to wonder if it was supposed to be satire?

What Rotschild seem to be very serious about is art; both old masters and new. And she is on such solid ground as far as that topic is concerned that she doesn’t have a problem being a bit disrespectful. Although I do get the sense that she hopes to convey knowledge about art like little nuggets in her novel, she does make a case of art for art’s sake and does so well, in very broads strokes obviously but still.

Me? I’m already a convert to the cause. I don’t agree with her on Damien Hirst(or rather the opinions of the character in her book) but I agree with what another one says, about  hoe our tastes in art change over time, to suit our needs I think. Except Cy Twombly, he is forever in my heart.

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If you want to learn more? I have read more then one book that I could recommend.

Still Life- adventures in Taxidermy by Melissa Milgrom has a chapter about the woman who makes many of Hirst’s ideas come to life, or rather be dead in a lifelike way. A very talented taxidermist. Part of why I’m not that impressed by Hirst is probably because he works on an industrial scale, and does very little himself. An artist like Polly Morgon actually does her own taxidermy for her art works and only uses animals that have died naturally which feels better. Hirst has an army of assistants.

Seven days in the Art world by Sarah Thornton is a book I think I have recommended before. It’s got a few years on it but is a well-written,informed and entertaining look into how the world of contemporary art works.

On the other end of the spectrum are books about auction houses. I remember reading Sotheby’s: the portrait of an auction house by Frank Herrman which obviously was a very kind view, and an outdated on. It was written in the 80’s and it was famously a different art world then.

Killer stuff and tons of money by Maureen Stanton is about flea markets in America, and the search for lost gems, and even though it is not geographically relevant, it is so mentally. Just look at an episode of Antiques Roadshow( I can watch all the episodes of Antiques roadshow. It’s the best show). And yes, I have harped on about this book before.

The best thing to get in the mood for this book however, or rather savor it, is to go to a museum and have a look at some art. And bloody well leave a few coins in the donation box. All art institutions are having a hard time getting donators to pay for something as prosaic as conservation. Everyone wants to donate money for wing or a painting. No-one wants to pay to reline a canvas or figure out how to save the elephant dung that Chris Ofili used for an art piece, for posterity.

-Suss

The scents of summer

If the weather doesn’t act like it’s July, then you just have to give it some help, right? I’ve try to surround myself with summery scents that signal sunshine and energy. I’m not fooling myself, but good scents do improve my mood. I’ve also tried to ritually cleanse the flat of bad energy using sage. And by that I mean I’ve made roast chicken with sage and butter. Someone told me to burn sage and let the smoke purify my surroundings, very hippy-esque. Seemed a waste of sage, and I wanted a tasty dinner. And putting on the oven does give the place some warmth if it’s gonna be this cold. It didn’t work and I suppose the weather goods want a proper blood sacrifice. That won’t happen. A gift of incense and gold perhaps? Or rather; fancy scented candles and orange roses.

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Scented candles is an all year thing around these parts. At the NK-sale I bought a candle from Ladurée, of macaron fame, in an orange blossoms scent. It’s a perfectly adequate candle for what I paid (about €30) mostly because of the nice jar. Had I paid full retail (around €70) I would have been sorely disappointed. I won’t buy it again unless there is a sale. In future I will stick to the one from A.P.C if I can; it’s cheaper and in my mind just a bit “more” in regards to the actual orange blossom. I did buy another candle in the Ladurée sale, that actually smells like incense but I plan to give it away.

When it comes to Earl grey and cucumber from Jo Malone I will not repurchase. The scent is lovely and I was so happy for this travel size bottle that was a gift. The staying power on my skin however? About 30 seconds. It’s a cologne but still. And then there is the small thing of me being a bit of an idiot; now that Jo Malone is available here in Stockholm the brand seems to have lost part of it’s allure. I still have my eye on a Tomato leaf candle because that is one product in their range I really love.

I’m quickly running out of Grand Néroli from Atelier Cologne. I will probably buy more of this. I do love it in summer, it is sunshine in a bottle. Very uplifting, like a vitamin-c kick. As I also have this very nice leather sleeve for the travel spray I’m not throwing away the bottle. I may, possibly, buy another of their citrusy scents to transfer into this instead. They have a few that are very nice.

I do own a bottle of The knot from Bottega Veneta and I adore it, but only in winter. It may be cold but still a bit too warm for me to wear anything that contains musk.

-Suss

Weekend & what I’ve been wearing lately

I got a comment on a previous post, in regards to my bookish fashion, and I get the odd comment about it on IG as well, so let me adress the issue.

Making clothes inspired by book covers is great fun, the thing is it requires inspiration, materials and space. I’m not as inspired by the covers of what I’m reading now, I have a fair amount of material but nothing that matches any books and my closet is filled to the brim with clothes despite a bit of a spontaneous combustion in the end of 2016. In short; I’m making a few things but mostly I’m using the stuff I have. Although every now and again I end up in bookish attire.

These red and white striped trousers are made by fabric I was given by a friend. I’m enjoying them very much, and as I saw my own reflection in the mirror(having used a public mirror to reapply my lipstick) I noticed a similarity with a much loved literary character; The Moomin mum.

IMG_2925In regards to all the other clothes I’ve made(now and before) that is not necessarily bookish; Is there an interest to see those? Should I try to take pictures of myself in mirrors when I can?

-Suss