Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

This image was shot in July 1916 and it is of my grandmother on my father's side and her siblings. They were 12! My grandmother is second girl from right in the back row. The text beneath says: Youth in Togeby (Togeby is a location in Denmark), July 1916. Most likely this was shot by my great-grandfather who was a painter.
Click on image to view in large size.

For more Wordless Wednesdays, click here.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

My passion for vintage Duckburg and its inhabitants

In Denmark (in fact most of Scandinavia, I think), the most popular cartoon from Walt Disney has always been Donald Duck. I have heard that Mickey Mouse is more popular in the US, but here we always loved Donald Duck (who is called Anders And in Denmark) and all the other inhabitants of Duckburg. Each week for the past 60 years, the Anders And & Co-magazine has been on the shelf every Monday at the magazine-stands all over the country. The image to the left says: 60 years in Denmark

I remember getting the magazine each Monday, and since I was the oldest out of three siblings, I got to read it first ;o)

As an adult, I do not read the Donald Duck magazine at all, and am not interested in the new stories and all those spin-off type series (like Disney Babies and stuff like that).



Carl Barks (1901-2000). Image is from Wikipedia.

The stories that I like best and the artist I like best is without any doubt Carl Barks. Carl Barks is also in my opinion the REAL duck artist, and I truly adore the stories written and drawn by him. They are not only vintage in the cool way, they are also very the funniest and most clever stories. Don't gimme any of that secondary c*** the writers cook up now-a-days ;o)
The image above is from one of my favorite Carl Barks-stories. Donald has written a hit-song, and he has earned a lot of money. He and the nephews celebrate by going on a ski-trip to Avalanche Valley in The White Mountains. The nephews are seriously tired with Uncle Donald's hit, which he is singing to them: "Oh, lend me a grave by the ice-green sea, where only the waves will hear me cry". After reaching Avalanche Valley, strange things start to happen every time the jukebox in the hotel is playing Donald's hit.
What about you? Do you like Donald, Mickey, Uncle Scrooge, Goofy or any of the other characters from Duckburg?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Its Monday. What are you reading?

J. Kaye from J. Kaye's Book Blog hosts this fun weekly. Head over to her site to see other participants.
Last week I finished an Inspector Banks novel, Playing with Fire, by Peter Robinson. Clicking the title, you can see my thoughts on that book.

I have picked up A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole and also began another Inspector Banks novel, Strange Affair. How lovely it would be to actually finish both of them this week, so that I don't have to write the same two books next Monday!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Weekly Geeks June 21, 2009

After a lot of Bloggiesta-activties, its now time to return to the more usual "schedule". In Weekly Geeks this week, Ruth from Bookish Ruth asks:

"Reading Challenges: a help or a hurt? Do you find that the reading challenges keep you organized and goal-oriented? Or, do you find that as you near the end of a challenge that you've failed because you fell short of your original goals? As a result of some reading challenges, I've picked up books that I would have otherwise never heard of or picked up; that, frankly, I have loved. Have you experienced the same with challenges? If so, which ones? Do you have favorite reading challenges?"

I have participated in reading challenges in my online book club on MSN, back when MSN still had their groups-feature. But as a blogger I haven't done any challenges until this year, actually. So its all pretty new to me.

My reading has always been random. Sometimes I read all the time, sometimes I finish a book a month. Signing up for several challenges, I felt that I had the chance of 1) getting some of the books read that I have at home, but never got around to actually read and 2) meeting new-to-me bloggers and 3) finding great new books to read.

Before spring this year, I did manage to read a few of the books I had on my challenge-lists (you can see them all in the right sidebar, although I am still working on getting the last list online after my bloggiesta clean-up/template changing), but from March 1 to June 1, I was more or less offline, finishing an MA-thesis. And I did not have the time to read anything but what I need to write the thesis (not very fun books, LOL).

So I am not doing overly well on my challenges. I am still determined to finish them, and I also signed up for yet another one, but I also expect to get much more time to read now. Only thing is that I often get sidetracked visiting the library or a book store, and tend to loan/buy books which are not on any of my challenge-lists. Ask me this question again come Christmas and New Year, and I will have a more conclusive answer, because right now it can swing both ways.
Most of the books I have picked for my various challenges are books that I own. But there are some unknown ones among them, and I sincerely hope that I will get to them :o)

Bloggiesta! Wrap Up Post

The Bloggiesta has finished and it has been great fun! I still have many things I am going to work on over the next days, but let me have a look at what I actually managed to accomplish during the Bloggiesta.

Write back-up posts for when I am away and more or less off line for at least 10 days next month. Back up posts could be some of those background-posts on literary themes such as Southern Literature, that I have contemplated forever, my own little YA-challenge, what books I've bought lately and much more. Luckily I have a lot of ideas. RESULT: Managed to write one back up post.

Catch up on Blog Improvement Project. RESULT: I never got around to do this. Will do later.

Write posts including questions asked by other bloggers from the latest Weekly Geeks. RESULT: Accomplished.

Visit as many blogs as possible and write meaningful comments OR at least an "I was here" comment. RESULT: Accomplished

Tidying up labels-list and think about new labels to add. RESULT: Not accomplished

Adding new blogs to my blogroll. RESULT: Accomplished

Remove dead links and blogs w/o activity. RESULT: Somewhat accomplished

Asking the book-blogging community how to-questions:

Find out how to make a 3-columned blogger-blog without the system automatically deleting everything in the sidebar OR just install the darn 3-columned template and spend the time necessary to fill in the blogroll and all the other stuff that will go missing. RESULT: Accomplished, but still working on moving things around, adding new things etc.

Find out how stumble it, feedburner, technorati, etc works (and what it is!). RESULT: Somewhat accomplished, will think about usefulness of those items later

Find out how to make use of all the social networking-pages I have signed up for or deleting them. RESULT: Not accomplished

Find out how other Blogger-bloggers can actually see how many visitors they have, because I sure cannot figure out the stats I can check through my profile. RESULT: Not accomplished

I also participated in the mini-challenge hosted by Fizzy Thoughts, and while this was not a goal as such, I also got to tweet a lot and meet new tweeters! Great! I have spent a total of about 11 hours on the Bloggiesta.

Last but not least I want to say a huge thank you to Natasha for all her hard work making this Bloggiesta a fun event - and to her husband for those wonderful images!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Bloggiesta! Update # 4

Anyone visiting for the first time? Then be aware that I am in the middle of a bigger Bloggiesta-operation. I have just changed from 2 to 3 columns, with the result that most of my content on the page disappeared. I had made some back up, specially for my blog roll, so it is not as big a deal as I had expected. But since it is now 11.20PM in Denmark, I am logging off for now, and will continue tomorrow adding my missing widgets, finding new blogs for my blog roll, visiting well known blogs and have more Bloggiesta-fun!

(Hours spent on doing Bloggiesta-tasks: 7½)

Bloggiesta! Update # 3

Its 6.30PM in Denmark and its time for a break from the Bloggiesta-festivities. Since beginning early this afternoon, I have completed one mini-challenge, been to a couple of blogs on my blogroll commenting, figured out what Stumble Upon is and how it is used (that wasn't so hard, LOL, thought it was much more technical), written a review, written a post using questions from last week's Weekly Geeks and written one post to be published later. I have just spent 1½ hour more on Bloggiesta-tasks, so my total count is now 4½ hours of Bloggiestaing. Now I will take a short break, check up on dinner and fix some strawberries so that they are ready for dessert (the image is not taken today, though). I will hopefully be back later after dinner and maybe a bit of TV.



Questions from Weekly Geeks

Weekly Geeks last week was about asking other bloggers questions on their up-coming reviews. I had posted that I was reading Playing with Fire (see review below this post) by Peter Robinson, and with this post, I shall try and answer those questions asked.

Jacqueline asked: What's so great about the Inspector Banks series?

Well, I think that basically I like him. I like Inspector Banks, and I also think he is a little sexy. Usually, when I read a mystery/thriller, I do not want the main characters to have too many personal problems, because sometimes that takes over the story and the plot, and I find that annoying in mysteries. I read other genres for that kind of dilemmas. Inspector Banks is not flawless and he does have a lot of problems, but for some reason I don't find it annoying in this series. And it never takes over the main plot, but it sort of weaves in and out of the plot in a natural way. So that is one reason the series is great. Another reason is that I find it well written and a third reason is that for the most part, I like the plots. There is not a lot of forensic detail, which is something I usually like, its more classic police procedure. Inspector Banks thrillers are not cosy mysteries, but they are not extremely violent either, and I think that they are very entertaining.

Dorte H said: It will be interestering to hear what you think about Playing with Fire. It is the only Peter Robinson I have read so far. I haven´t checked my review, but as far as I remember I found the translation rather disappointing, and decided not to read him in Danish again.

Dorte, you can read my review below this post, so I will not repeat what I thought about it. I will repeat though, that it wasn't the best of the series that I've read. But I would also like to comment on being disappointed with Danish translations, because that is a pet peeve of mine. I am not by any chance a translator myself and I am not saying that I can do a better job. But I have almost given up on reading English books in Danish. Translations often suck big time. I have, once or twice, picked up a book in English which I had previously read in Danish, and realized that I really liked the book, much to my surprise because I hated it in it's Danish translation. A good translation means the world! Good books can turn horrible in the hands of the Danish translators. But let me say that I am aware that we have many great translators as well! Its just that "secondary" literature like thrillers and mysteries are often translated by amateurs or pros being in a hurry.

Julia asked: Do you like all the details about his subject matter that Robinson is known for?

I am not exactly sure that I am understanding Julia's question the right way (due to language barriers). But generally speaking, I find Robinson's writing style to be balanced - we do not get too many details and descriptions about main characters and we do not get too little. I like it that it is a series, so that we do not need to have the life-story of all characters presented in one book, crammed into the pages, taking away focus from the plot. Come to think about it, some books may be more detailed than others in this series, but I haven't been annoyed, LOL, so I guess you can say that I like it.

Gautami Tripathy asked: I am yet to read Robinson. Do you think I will like his books? What does he write about?

Robinson writes mysteries/thrillers, and after having surfed a bit around your blog, I am thinking that you have a broad taste in books and genres. Much like myself. Even though the Inspector Banks series is not a cosy-mystery series, I think you will like it, based on what I think is your reading-tastes ;o)
The image is from the flickr photostream of sixheadedgoblin.

Playing with Fire by Peter Robinson

Peter Robinson is a British author, living in Canada. He is the author of 18 Inspector Banks mysteries. See complete list here and Robinson's own page here. Although I haven't read them all and although I am reading them completely out of order, and therefore am not 100% sure, it seems that most of them takes place in and around the fictional city of Eastvale in Yorkshire. On the subject of Eastvale, Peter Robinson himself says:

"Eastvale is modelled on North Yorkshire towns such as Ripon and Richmond, with cobbled maket squares, rather than the kind with one main high street, like Northalleron or Thirsk. I had to make it much larger than those towns, of course, otherwise who would believe there could be that many murders?"

Playing with Fire is Inspector Banks book # 14. By coincidence, the previous one I read was # 13 (check review here) and I also have # 15 checked out from the library, ready to be read.

Playing with Fire opens with....a fire. A fire eating two delapidated house-boats, inhabited by squatters. Unfortunately, two of the squatters, the artist Thomas McMahon in one of the boats and the junkie Tina in the other boat, are at home when the fire breaks out, and they die. Inspector Banks, DI Annie Cabbott and the rest of the team very soon figures out that they are dealing with arson - and murder. But why would anyone want to murder Tina - a 17 year old junkie who never hurt anyone but herself? Can her parents answer that question? And what exactly did Thomas McMahon work on as a painter, and to whom was he selling his art? While working on those questions, both Banks and Cabbott try to juggle their private lives as well. Banks has a new girlfriend, but is still agonizing over his divorce, and Cabbott just began dating the good-looking and sexy art-expert Phil Keane, who comes in handy when more fires happen and their investigations lean more and more towards the world of art, painting and artists. There are a lot of twists and turns in this Inspector Banks mystery, and it was an okay read. I loved the previous one I read, but this one was a bit slow to get going and didn't really pick up until I was more than halfway through. So not one of the best in the series out of those I've read so far.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Bloggiesta! Update # 2.

I did know it before Bloggiesta. But let me say it again: What a lot of great blogs out there. What an amazing amount of posts to read, comment on and think about. And how great it is to travel around the blogospehere to meet new bloggers. I have just completed the Bloggiesta mini-challenge hosted by Fizzy Thoughts, and while it took me longer than I had anticipated, I am glad I did finish it, because I have just found ten amazing and new-to-me blogs, which I am looking very much forward to visit again very soon. So I have put them all on my blogroll and hope that I can keep up to date. You should visit those blogs yourself if you don't know them already - I did see many well known bloggers on my little tour, so chances are that it is just me who has been absent, ignorant or something. Here is the list of great new-to-me blogs, and they are in no particular order:



(One hour and a half spent on this challenge, total spent Bloggiestaing: 3 hours)

Bloggiesta! Update # 1.

I am well into the mini-challenge hosted by Fizzy Thoughts and have also begun some of my other Bloggiesta "tasks". Not really wanting to call it tasks, as I think it is fun! But after dinner, I am getting sleepier and sleepier, and now I am just plain dizzy from trying to follow all the #bloggiesta-tweets, thinking, laughing etc., and I will log off for today and relax a bit before heading to bed. As I type, the time is 10.35PM Danish time. Also, about 15 minutes ago my computer just shut down - I think it was from an overload with all the tabs and windows I had opened at the same time ;o) But that is what its like when there is a Bloggiesta ;o)

Thanks to Natasha for this great idea! I'll be back tomorrow, thinking and contemplating like Rodin's "Thinker" pictured on the image above. The photo is taken in the garden of the New Carlsberg Glyptotek here in Copenhagen.
(One hour more completed of Bloggiesta Challenge)

Bloggiesta! Its here!

The Bloggiesta, hosted by Natasha from Maw Books Blog, has begun....in fact, a lot of bloggers already have their first updates up and running, and many are tweeting about it (use #bloggiesta to search).

I am in Denmark, and local time as I type is now 7.30PM - it will be a little later when I actually post this. I have worked all day, and haven't had the chance to blog before now. I plan to spend several hours on the challenge throughout the weekend, starting now with this first post. Tonight I will be on and off the computer (mainly because I need to think about some dinner), and hopefully I can spend at least 5 hours tomorrow and 5 hours Sunday. That is my goal.

Here is what my Bloggiesta to-do-list look like so far - in no particular order:

Write back-up posts for when I am away and more or less off line for at least 10 days next month. Back up posts could be some of those background-posts on literary themes such as Southern Literature, that I have contemplated forever, my own little YA-challenge, what books I've bought lately and much more. Luckily I have a lot of ideas.

Catch up on Blog Improvement Project

Write posts including questions asked by other bloggers from the latest Weekly Geeks

Visit as many blogs as possible and write meaningful comments OR at least an "I was here" comment

Tidying up labels-list and think about new labels to add

Adding new blogs to my blogroll

Remove dead links and blogs w/o activity

Asking the book-blogging community how to-questions

Find out how to make a 3-columned blogger-blog without the system automatically deleting everything in the sidebar OR just install the darn 3-columned template and spend the time necessary to fill in the blogroll and all the other stuff that will go missing

Find out how stumble it, feedburner, technorati, etc works (and what it is!)

Find out how to make use of all the social networking-pages I have signed up for or deleting them.

Find out how other Blogger-bloggers can actually see how many visitors they have, because I sure cannot figure out the stats I can check through my profile

I am probably going to think of more as I get going on the tasks, but this is it for now. I know there were some things I thought about which I haven't mentioned, but I forgot what it was, and of course I wasn't smart enough to write it down! Now I am going to spend a few minutes tweeting, then dinner and then back to BLOGGIESTA!

(First half hour completed)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sookie Stackhouse Challenge

Beth from Beth Fish Reads is hosting a fun challenge, starting July 1 and running the rest of the year. I have only read the first book, but have the next three already waiting on my shelf. I am definitely going to join this. Why don't you check it out by clicking the link above? And don't you just love that badge? Also check out the series here.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Suggetions Young Adult

While I certainly have a major TBR with "adult" literature, a lot of challenges that I am determined to finish etc, I have thought about broadening my horizon a bit and stepping out of my comfort zone (whatever that is, since I read pretty much any genre and don't have genres I refuse to read) and read some YA-literature.

One of the reasons is, that I have noticed that it is a very, very popular genre, also with adults. I am aware that there are many parents out there who read those books in order to see what their kids are reading, but it is also my feeling, that many of you simply read this genre because you enjoy it.

Another reason is that I plan writing an article about this genre later this year or next year, and in order to do that, I think I should sort of know what I am talking about ;o)

However, what defines YA for you? The themes? The writing-style? Or somenthing else? I mean, the themes I guess are seen in YA, are more or less the same themes we read in the "adult" literature, isn't it?

Since I am in Denmark, I do not have the possibility to get those books you will hopefully recommend by the truckload from the library and need to purchase them along the way. Therefore I need to be a bit picky, because books are expensive in Denmark (and we cannot buy from Amazon.com due to tax-rules).

I have read a good deal of vampire- and fantasy books aimed at the adult reader, so I am not primarily interested in reading YA with that theme. But anything else goes. Do you have any suggestions? Also "classic" YA books are okay, although I think I have read some of them when I was a YA myself if they were among those which were translated into Danish. But fire away :-)

I look much forward to your recommandations.

The image is taken from this website.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Weekly Geeks June 14, 2009

This week it is about catching up with reviews, which also goes hand in hand with some of the blogging-events that are taking place around the blog-world the coming weeks. Check Weekly Geeks to see who else did this week's theme:

1. In your blog, list any books you’ve read but haven’t reviewed yet. If you’re all caught up on reviews, maybe you could try this with whatever book(s) you hope to finish this week. (Be sure to leave a link to this post either in the comments of this post, or in the Mister Linky below.)

2. Ask your readers to ask you questions about any of the books they want. In your comments, not in their blogs. (Most likely, people who will ask you questions will be people who have read one of the books or know something about it because they want to read it.)

3. Later, take whichever questions you like from your comments and use them in a post about each book. Link to each blogger next to that blogger’s question(s).

4. Visit other Weekly Geeks and ask them some questions!

I am not really having any books waiting to be reviewed. I am not reading a book a day and can have weeks where I do not finish even one. This is something that I would like to change, so I plan to finish a couple of books in the coming week:

1. Playing With Fire by Peter Robinson
2. Strange Affair by Peter Robinson
3. A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole (this one I have begun reading months ago, but had to put it back on the shelf because I needed to concentrate on thesis-writing).

I have read several of Peter Robinson's Inspector Banks-series, and if you want to know anything about this series, just ask! You can also click the labels and look for posts labelled Inspector Banks or Peter Robinson.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Bloggiesta - next weekend for 48 hours

Natasha from Maw Books Blog is hosting a great 48-hour bloggiesta, which I plan to participate in. You should click any of the links above to get the full text and the ideas behind the bloggiesta. I think it sounds like a great idea and am looking forward to participate. Hopefully I will get a lot of those bloggy-things done which I have neglected for almost half a year. Check it out.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Book Blips

Thanks to J.Kaye whose post I found yesterday, I have signed up for Book Blips. It looks like a great site, and I have played around with it today. I found other well known bloggers there, but if you have a profile there or want to make one now, you can find me under this name: LouiseAL. It takes a while to figure out how to add friends (you have to click on a the member's name in a blogpost on Book Blips, and before you can do that, the blogger you want to befriend has to have claimed their blog beforehand) and other stuff, but give it some time and check it out.

This amazing photo is taken by boopsie.daisy and was found on flickr. The title of the pic is Book Worm and I love it.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays are hosted by MizB at Should be Reading, where you can also check out other blogger's links to their Teaser Tuesdays-posts.

The rules are simple:

Grab your current read.
Let the book fall open to a random page.Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.

You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!

Please avoid spoilers!

Here is my teaser:

'Maybe. Look, don't worry about me', Mark said. 'I'll be all right. I'm used to taking care of myself. Can I go back to my cell now? I didn't sleep and I'm dog tired.'

The teaser is from page 51 in Playing With Fire by Peter Robinson. It is book no. 14 in his Inspector Banks-series, which I love.

Lemonade Award

Amanda of Bookwormom has awarded me with the Lemonade Award. Awesome! Thanks Amanda :-)

1) Put the Lemonade Award logo on your blog or post.
2) Nominate at least 10 blogs that show great attitude or gratitude.
3) Link to your nominees within your post.
4) Let the nominees know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
5) Share the love and link to the person from whom you received your award.

I have many blogs on my blogroll and I am trying to comment on most of them on a regular basis. But many times I just lurk and read and trust me, even if I am not commenting, I am usually getting a lot of reading ideas as well as insights into blogger's lives around the world. Which is amazing and one of the things I love about the whole book blogging community.

The blogs I have awarded are listed below in no particular order (and hopefully they haven't been awarded this yet):












Please share the love :-)

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Southern Reading Challenge: The Ponder Heart by Eudora Welty

This is the first Eudora Welty-story that I have read, and thus I don't know much about her, her other works, themes and such. Clicking her name above takes you to an easily read and interesting article about Eudora Welty, her life, and brief descriptions of her novels and stories.
Welty was born, raised and lived her life in Jackson, Mississippi, and her works are definitely in the "Southern Literature Genre". It is hot down there, it rains a lot, the community is segregated between white and black, and the world is filled with strange people.
The Ponder Heart was published in 1954 but takes place before World War II. The location is the town of Clay, Mississippi. The narrator of the story is Miss Edna Earle Ponder, who manages a hotel, Hotel Beulah, in town. She tells the story of her Uncle Daniel to a travelling salesman staying at the hotel. So, the story is about her uncle Daniel, a good man who loves to talk, loves people and loves give out presents to anyone he meets on the street. Uncle Daniel is also a sweet man, and the reader gets the impression that Uncle Daniel may also be a little weak and eccentric. In fact, he is so eccentric that his father, Edna Earle's grandpa, sends him to an asylum, so that he does not give away his whole fortune to strangers.



As the narrative continues, we learn about Uncle Daniel's weakness'es, his marriages and the events leading to his two weird marriages and the end of those marriages. It is a story filled with much humour, and much loneliness, and much Southern "weirdness". To me the writing style was a bit "old", but that is not strange, since the story is more than 50 years old. But it probably did not help that I read a Danish translation, which missed the dialects the original story supposedly had. I think I need to let this story sink in, but it was easily read and easily understood, and I want to read more by Eudora Welty and most of all I would like to be able to "dissect" a story like this a bit better than what I am able to do right now. An interesting story!

There are many internet resources available about Eudora Welty, and I found out, that she was also an avid photographer. The image is taken by her and I found it on the Mississippi Writer's Page.

The Southern Reading Challenge is hosted by Maggie from the Maggie Reads Blog.

Weekly Geeks June 7: More Summer Fun - Meeting book buddies abroad for summer

Even though the weather here in Copenhagen, Denmark, is not all that summer-ish today, there is no doubt that summer is here! Weekly Geeks this week is also about summer:

1) Make a reading list of your favorite children's (school aged) books to read over the summer.
2) Give us some fun activities to do during the summer.
3) Tell us about a favorite vacation spot. Maybe someone will want to go there too!
4) Tell us about a favorite summer memory you have of being a kid (the time you caught the big one, learning to swim, summer camp, etc).

I am going with no. 3. For many reasons. I would have liked to do no. 1, but I am afraid Danish school-age books will not hold the biggest interest here ;o) For no. 2 I feel completely blank and no. 4....well, sadly enough I can't really remember any favorite summer memories from when I was a kid. This is not exactly true, but my childhood memories seems blurred, right now I can only remember being depressed when school began again ;o) So I am going with no. 3. To keep it book-related, let me tell you a little story!

In 2002 I joined an online book-club which set up as an MSN-group. 2002 was before blogging really took off, it was before Facebook, Web 2.0, Twitter and so on. It was also before there were ANY Danish sites about books (this has changed since then, but in 2002, I could not find any Danish clubs about books), so I joined an American online book club.
And what are the odds? The founder of the club, a young woman in California, was married to a Dane! This made me feel at home immediately, and the online book club became one of the best online places to hang. Activity was huge, there was always something going on, and our community grew quite close. We did discuss books, met in chat rooms to talk about Book of the Month and so on, but we also talked about other things. It was great, great, great fun. Over the years, the club grew and became one of the most active book-club on MSN. It grew so much, that we decided to hold a "convention" during the summer of 2004. The convention was held in New Orleans. It was mega-hot and humid, but tons of fun.

Earlier that year, the founder of the club and her husband had visited me and my better half in Copenhagen as a part of a longer trip to visit his family in Denmark, and it had been great fun as well. So we decided that since I was determined to go to the convention in New Orleans, we could as well make it into a vacation and an opportunity to see more of USA. So my better half and I travelled to California where we stayed with the founder of the online club and her husband in their home. Of course we wouldn't have dared to go living with someone we didn't know, but we had hit it off when they visited us, and we felt completely at ease in their company.
Meeting some of the other members of the club in New Orleans was a great experience too. We did talk about books, but we also went on tours, played the slot machines in the casino, ate beignets at the Café du Monde and much more. I have longed to go back ever since!

But the main part of the vacation was spent on the Westcoast, in California, which neither me, nor my better half had visited before. One of the places we went was to Santa Cruz, where I have also wanted to spend more time since then. Santa Cruz is to me the essence of old time summer with the board walk, the amusement-park on the board walk, the smell of candy and hot dogs, the ocean, the kids on rollerskates etc. I really liked the ambience there. I am not usually a softy or a romantic, and to Santa Cruz natives, I may have misunderstood it all, but Santa Cruz is summer to me! I would like to go back, although the ocean was darn cold, even in the height of summer.....

I actually had the chance to go back in May 2007, where we once again held a book club convention. This time we had it in Las Vegas, and this time I also brought my sister, cousin as well as my better half. We spent 3 glorious weeks in California (staying with our friends, road tripping and having fun), Seattle and Las Vegas. On our road-trip we did stop in Santa Cruz, but only for a few hours!

Since 2007, MSN has closed their group-feature, but a core of members are still meeting online on a regular basis through Facebook etc. I am grateful for those friends, which I have met both online and in real life!

What place is the essence of summer for you?
All images are from Santa Cruz, shot in August 2004

Thursday, June 04, 2009

I need help

I have played around for some time now, trying to change my blog to a Blogger Minima (which is what it is now) with three columns instead of two. Long time ago I also found the html-code for a three columned blog, which I have used with success in a new blog I have set up. No problems there.

But whenever I try "imposing" this code on my already existing blogs (this one and the identical one in Danish) I risk deleting everything here. At least that is what the warning which comes up says.

Any of you know how to avoid this? Or is that the way its done? Meaning I can change it, but after changing, I have to start from skratch? It was the same thing which happened when I tried to add tabs.....

I really need that third column now. Can anybody help?

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Part of a sculpture named "Troll Smelling Christian Blood"
For more Wordless Wednesday, click here.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Weekly Geeks June 1: Guilty Pleasures

How great to finally have the time to participate in Weekly Geeks again - and with this week's topic it couldn't be a better way to start. Its Maree who is hosting this week's topic:

So. Weekly Geeks, we're going into the confessional this week.

What's your non-reading guilty pleasure?

Trashy TV? Trashier movies? Junk food?

Okay, one of my guilty pleasures is, like many others, to watch very trashy reality TV/docu-soaps. I do wonder why I want to see teenage moms giving birth to their 3rd child before they are 16, single's dating shows and stuff like that, but I do. I will not list the shows I watch, because they are mainly Danish. But they are trashy and good ;o)
This image is from TV Scoop

Another rather guilty pleasure is listening to hip hop. I am NOT the target-group for this certain genre, neither the age-group. LOL. I just love to go with that swinging flow, put my hands up in the air and say YO. Actually have a nice collection of CDs and have been to quite a lot of concerts as well.
And like so many others, I adore shoes. Its not that I could ever afford a 600 dollar pair of stilettoes, but one can dream, right?

Heaven's Prisoners by James Lee Burke

Heaven' Prisoners is book number two in the series about Dave Robicheaux. In this book he has resigned from the New Orleans policeforce, which he might have done already in book one, Neon Rain, which I read years ago, so I cannot remember.

Anyway, he has moved to New Iberia, about 150 miles from New Orleans and is now living with his wife Annie, with whom he own a boat-rental place. His days passes catching fish, thinking, supressing his alcoholic tendencies and his inner demons.

One day he and Annie are witnesses to a plane crashing into the Mexican Gulf, and Dave manages to dive down and save a little girl from the sinking plane. Annie and Dave take the little girl with them and plans to just get on with their lives, after reporting the crash to the relevant institutions. This plane crash is just the beginning of a case involving local small time criminals, federal government, Middle American smugglers, whores, thieves and threatening people from Haiti. Dave gets involved in the case, much to Annie's dismay, and it has fatal consequences. Now I haven't really said more than what is also on the back of the book!

The pages are almost moist with swampy Southern heat, mixed with violence, blood, alcohol and hangovers. There are some beautiful descriptions of nature and landscape in Louisiana, and when Robicheaux is hungover, the reader can feel the jackhammer behind the eyes. No doubt that James Lee Burke can write.

The plot of the book didn't really catch me. It wasn't that there were endless subplots, but the connections between one end of the plot and another was hard to follow and from time to time I just found too many weak links between a lot of characters. Considering how philosofical our main man, Robicheaux, is, I think he went pretty fast through a lot of things which I personally would have been thinking a lot about!

I liked the book and will probably read the rest, but it wasn't that great a mystery. The writing and the descriptions were fab though.