31 Jan 2011

Review: "Wuthering Heights" - Wuthering emotions

Let me come clean straight away and admit that I read Emily Bronte's classic "Wuthering Heights" as part of Back to the Classics 2011 Challenge. I know that I should have read this before but I never got around to it so now seemed as a good time. What's more I have it in a really pretty hardback edition given to my by my wonderful Li'l Sis who is as addicted to books as I am.
This book was quite a read. The emotions run so high and I felt drained at times while reading it, constantly dreading the mental terror that was looming on the next page.

The story is a love story but not your regular man-meets-woman-and-they-end-up-happy story. This is the story of love gone wrong and of the intense relationship between love and hate. The plot is complicated though it's involves only few characters. However, I will give a very limited summary of some of the plot because I don't want to give too much away for those of you who haven't read this classic.
When Catherine and Hindley Earnshaw's father brings home an orphaned child to the family, he starts a life-long drama that will last a long way into the next generation. Earnshaw openly favours the orphan Heathcliff who is also a favourite of Catherine, they are best friends and sweethearts until the day Catherine's eyes are opened to the neighbouring family, the Lintons. Suddenly Catherine's allegiance sways and she favours Edgar Linton over Heathcliff. Heathcliff leaves the neighbourhood brokenhearted but years later he returns to revenge the pain that has been inflicted on him by jealous Hindley and flighty Catherine. Catherine is torn between her husband Edgar and her love of Heathcliff and Heathcliff is so obsessed by his hatred of Linton that he ends up concoting a scheme to take over everything that has belonged to the Earnshaw's and the Linton's, not caring who will have to pay the price for his broken heart.

Being honest, you would have to be made of stone not to be touched by this story. It is so full of raw emotions. The story takes place on the North English moors where nature rules, just as the emotions rules the space between Catherine and Heathcliff. Their love is almost an insanity and it craves large sacrifices and it was those sacrifices that touched me most and deepest.
Love seems to be a force to which all most bow and everything else must give way. And the children must pay for the folly of their parents, their punishment being almost Biblical as they become pawns in the game of Heathcliff.
It is disturbing reading but addictive and the ending took me by surprise. It is beautiful and raw and full of real emotions. Tired of washed-out paranormal teenage love? Then this is the perfect cure!

P.S. Don't miss out on this beautiful Kate Bush song Wuthering Heights

27 Jan 2011

Review: "The Corinthian" - Like a thief in the night

It must be the weather - cold, windy, frosty, dark - that makes me crave, absolutely crave comfort reads. So this winter I have been reading Georgette Heyer like never before, she weaves this magic net of enchantment that falls over and transports me to another place and another time. Namely, Regency Britain. The Corinthian (oh how I love the title) is named after its main character, the rakish 30-year old bachelor Sir Richard Wyndham. He has everything a dandy in Regency London could want for - including his freedom from wedlock. This, however, is something that his sister is very much trying to change but forcing him (with sheer female persuasion) to marry the cold and boring Melissa whose father who has the lineage but no fortune.

Sir Richard finds himself considering this to be his future when one drunken night, he sees something strange. A woman, no a girl, climbing out of a window and asking for his assistance to escape from a marriage that she does not want. And so the adventure begins as the 17-year-old Penelope Creed with naivety and optimism engages Sir Richard in her plot to escape her aunt's home and travel to Bristol. On the way they make some unfortunate friends... Such as a starcrossed couple, a thief, a fraudster, a gamester... You name it, they are there.

This is a fantastic book in the sense that it is exactly as short as it should be. This is the classic story of a journey where two unlikely allies face the world together and magic is created. It is almost like a Regency fairytale and somehow quite far from the other Heyer novels that I have read. Pen is not the strong, mature woman that Heyer often portrays. She is young and smart but has no knowledge of the world and is terribly naive and flighty. Sir Richard is more like her normal male leads - strong, clever, resourceful - but he has more of a protective and yet rebellious streak and I really warmed to him.

Summing it up: The Corinthian is short but sweet - perfect for a Sunday curled up on the sofa.

And then I began yet another book...

I need your help! Sometimes I get so happy when I get my hands on an anticipated book that I "forget" to finish the one that I was already reading. And this month it has really gotten out of hand. I have begun reading what seems like a plethora of books - and finishing none of them. So now I need your advise? Have your ever found yourself in this kind of situation (bet you have...)? And how do you handle it? All advise welcome...

Here is a list of what I am currently reading - shame on me!

Javier Marias: All Souls

Martin Amis: The Rachel Papers

Wilkie Collins: The Woman in White

Emily Bronte: Wuthering Heights

Iris Murdoch: The Unicorn

24 Jan 2011

Review: "Need" - Need not read!

"Need" by Carrie Jones - have you read it? I have. Read it just the other day after having waited in suspense for it to land in my mailbox. I have to say that you need not read it. Sorry but it just isn't worth the time if you ask me.

The plot actually is pretty cool. Zara has lost her father and sunk into a deep depression so to try and wrestle her out of her stupor, her mother has sent her to Maine to live with her cool grandmother Betty.
Zara keeps seeing a mysterious man and find speckle of gold dust where he has been. Also there is something fishy about her new friends, Nick and Ian, and suddenly she finds herself tangled in a web of paranormal mystery.

So far, so paranormal romance. What is so bad about this book is the fact that none of the characters ever come to life. The only one that even slightly intersted me and seemed real was grandma Betty - a really cool lady full of energy and life. The rest of the bunch, including Zara, never come to life. They are two-dimensional and their dialogue is unbeliable and at times even painful to read.

Now I have asked my trusted little sister - a true conneiseur of YA fiction - to read it and give me her opinion. If she disagrees with me, I will be back with more about this book.

23 Jan 2011

Music to make you misbehave!

Have you seen the movie "Easy Virtue"? An adaption of a Noël Coward play, it stars Jessica Biel, Ben Barnes and Colin Firth in a story about an English gentry family and the young American woman who marries the heir. It is a comedy with great music and I loved it. The music is amazing as well so here is a little number to make your Sunday swing:

20 Jan 2011

Review: "The Shooting Party" - On the brink of change

Just the title "The Shooting Party". And the lovely cover! I had to get my hands on this one but once I started reading it, I lost focus and put it aside but this week I finally managed to get it read on the plane from Paris. I like planes in that way, you get so much quiet time to read and relax - with absolutely no disturbances. It is perfect.

"The Shooting Party" by Isabel Colegate takes place right before the first world war breaks out and it chronicles the weekend party of a bunch of well-to-do upper class people. They are Edwardians and children of the Edwardians and their primary worries are centered on the hunt and their other pleasures. As the weekend unfolds we get insight into these people, their thoughts and dreams. At the heart of the party is Minnie, the wife of Sir Randolph Nettleby, the mother-in-law of Ida and the grandmother of the flighty, dreamy Cicely and the young Osbert, the child of the family. Then there are the guests - the ladies that lunch and gossip and the men who compete and whose sole focus is the hunt. And there are the locals, the teacher who oppose the murder of animals, the gamekeepers and servants who are the ones that make the weekend party a reality and who work behind the scenes.

It is a society at the edge of chance and as the reader, the spectator, I constantly had the ominous feeling that something dark was about to happen. You know that these people are living on borrowed time as the WWI approaches and will turn their lives upside down. That feeling of something dark approaching, an impending doom, is the strength of this novel. Colegate lets the contrasts play - the shallowness of some of the characters as opposed to the grim reality closing in on them, the murder and carnage of the hunt opposed to the so-called civility of these people, the love affairs and jealousy of the adults opposed to the uncomplicated affection that little Osbert feels for his pet duck Elfrieda Beetle. Those opposites are the heartbeat of the novel as the precise language, the perfect prose is its breath.

This is a beautiful novel and one that I will read again - and if you loved Vita Sackville-Wests "The Edwardians", you will also love this one.

15 Jan 2011

TBR Thoughts: Kafka on the Shore

My to-be-read list is long... as in really long. And it is really difficult for me to prioritise what to read next. I usually just go with whatever feels right, not really having any system. However, now I want to improve my selection process - I will write my thoughts down on some of the books on my TBR and then hopefully you wonderful people out there will comment and help me prioritise my list!

"Kafka on the Shore" by Haruki Murakami has been living the quiet life on my shelf for about a year now and I can feel that it is about time that I get around to reading it.
This is what it says on www.amazon.com:
"Joining the rich literature of runaways, Kafka On The Shore follows the solitary, self-disciplined schoolboy Kafka Tamura as he hops a bus from Tokyo to the randomly chosen town of Takamatsu, reminding himself at each step that he has to be "the world¹s toughest fifteen-year-old." He finds a secluded private library in which to spend his days--continuing his impressive self-education--and is befriended by a clerk and the mysteriously remote head librarian, Miss Saeki, whom he fantasizes may be his long-lost mother. Meanwhile, in a second, wilder narrative spiral, an elderly Tokyo man named Nakata veers from his calm routine by murdering a stranger. An unforgettable character, beautifully delineated by Murakami, Nakata can speak with cats but cannot read or write, nor explain the forces drawing him toward Takamatsu and the other characters."

I like the sound of it! So I think this is one book that I will read sooner rather than later - have you read it? And what are your thoughts on it?

13 Jan 2011

Review: "Under the Skin" - it does actually get under your skin...

I read "The Crimson Petal and the White" by Michel Faber a couple of years ago and immediately loved it. Since then it has been one of those books that I use when I need a good present for someone because it really is an amazing book.
So a couple of days ago I read "Under the Skin" by Michel Faber, hoping for the same kind of amazing reading experience. I got a reading experience but not quite the one I had bargained for... It actually left me with physical reactions.

Isserley spends her days driving through Scotland, forth and back on the A9. She knows all the good place, she knows exactly where the good spots are. Where she will find the good hitchhikers. Isserley won't pick up any random hitchhiker, she only wants men and she only wants men with large muscles, men that have broad shoulders and big biceps. The scrawny ones she leaves behind. Then she cross-examines them: do you have a wife, girlfriend? Are you expected somewhere? Does anyone know where you are? Are you employed? As she questions them, she decides their fates. All I can say is that for the hitchhikers' sakes, I hope that they are found lacking because this will be the last drive of their life.

What happens with the hitchhikers? Where does Isserley take them? And what is it actually with Isserley? Why is she so different?

This novel was nothing like I expected. Nothing. Once I began reading it, it was impossible to put down. Even though it was not exactly a pleasant read. For every page I got more and more nauseous and even just writing this review, my stomach has started to turn. This was a nasty book that raised a lot of questions in my mind about the way we live, about how we treat each other, about what the world is coming to. It is a very very creepy book. If you like dystopia, fantasy, thrillers, mystery, great quality writing from a very accomplished author, then this is something for you.
Will I read it again? I seriously doubt it... At least right now, I can't stomach it.

11 Jan 2011

Review: "The Book, the Film, the T-shirt" - The laugh

Do you have bookish guilty pleasures? I sure do, I mean I have quite a few guilty pleasures such as some of the rather less-impressive paranormal romances out there and the odd chic lit, however, my favourite guilty pleasure is "The Book, the Film, the T-shirt" by Matt Beaumont. I have read this book sooooo many times and a couple of days ago I started reading it again because I needed to read something fun and light as a cure for a nasty flu - and I knew that this one would do the trick.

What immediately hits you when you read this book is that it has several narrators, some of them only appear a couple of times, some of them appear all the time throughout the book. The action is set in the London advertisting agency Fuller Scheidt - one of those hip, happening places full of personalities and full of something else as well (try pronouncing the name a couple of times...). The creative director - the cheating, rather lazy Greg Fuller - is supervising the making of a tyre commercial with two of Hollywood's young stars, the action man Joe Shirer and his ex-girlfriend busty blonde Rebecca Richards. To help him make this commercial happen he has his loyal and clever secretary Nancy, the Liz Hurley-lookalike producer/mistress named Toddy, his exasperated, pregnant wife Carrie and a teenage runner who provides a fresh pair of eyes on a sordid industry.
Add to this the two personal assistants to the stars, a hairdresser, a smalltime drug dealer and marketing executive with no feeling for situation at all and you have the voices that tell the story of how everything that could possible go wrong in a commercial shoot went wrong.
The plot escalates from bad to worse and the situations that these people put themselves into and their reflections on them will have you in stitches. It is really really hilarious.

One of the things that I really think work in this book is the fact that these seem like real people, they all have lots and lots of faults. They also all have distinct voices which means that it is easy to spring from one person's point-of-view to another without getting lost. I think that speaks volumes about the strength of the author that he manages such a large cast without losing the narrator's individuality and I very much admire Mr. Beaumont for that.

9 Jan 2011

Review: "The Grand Sophy" - A Grand Story

Do you know that feeling when you get a book in the mailbox that you have really really looked forward to? I had that feeling when The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer landed in my mailbox. I really enjoy Heyer's book, they are like a mug of hot chocolate on a really cold, snowy day. Until reading The Grand Sophy, my favourite Heyer novel was Regency Buck but after turning the last page of Sophy yesterday that had changed.

I have to say that at first I didn't go for the title. For some reason, the grand Sophy had manifested herself in my mind as somebodys great-aunt with arthritis and a pronounced deafness. The kind who's repulsed by anything "the young people" do... I couldn't have been more wrong. At all. The grand Sophy is Sophia Lacy-Stanton, 20-years old, grown up with her widowed father Sir Horace on the continent, able shot, clever, not one to mess with.

Sophy is sent to stay with her aunt and uncle and cousins in London while her father travels to Brazil. She takes the house with storm and is soon friends with her cousin Cecilia and a favourite with her other cousins - except from her eldest cousin Charles, the man of the house, who does not like her free, wild ways. Charles's fiancee, the snobbish and cold Eugenia, does not like her ways either and she soon sees it as her job to "help" Sophy fit in to London society.
However, Sophy does things her own way. All things. She sees a lot to be corrected and changed in the house that she now calls home and she soon takes it upon herself to stir things up and change it for the better. And what Sophy wants, she gets. Or rather, she makes happen. As she says herself, she is not missish and she does not care for the ideal feminine ways of the time which prescribes that she should be mild and submissive.
Soon Sophy is meddling in the forbidden romance between Cecilia and the poet Fawnhope who lives in his own mind, she tackles cousin Hubert's gaming debts and she has heated discussions with cousin Charles. Not to mention the fact that she gets into quite some verbal fights with his fiancee.

Every page of this book was a delight. Every single one. Sophy is a joy, I wish I was like her. She is like Elizabeth Bennett but less restrained by the customs of the era. She possesses a cool, a will and a heart that makes her irresistable and has given her the nickname the grand Sophy. She is the girl that girls want to be friends with and boys propose to. She has such integrity.

I will be returning to The Grand Sophy again and again, I can predict that already. This book will go on my shelf and I will look at it as a close friend. I might even have to buy an extra one to let people borrow because I can't imagine not having The Grand Sophy ready at hand when I need a friend to spend a quiet evening with. If you like Pride and Prejudice or any Heyer novel, please please please give this one a try.

8 Jan 2011

Review: "The Radleys" - Yet another set of abstaining vamps...

Right. So are you also one of those people who are somewhat tired of sparkling, extremely handsome vampires with poetic tendencies who abstain human blood? Then please join the group, I think we are quite a number by now. "The Radleys" is another book about vampires - this time written by Matt Haig and in quite a different tone than say "Twilight".

The Radleys are a family of four abstaining vampires living in a quiet Yorkshire village trying to blend in. Which they do quite well thanks to Dad's work as a doctor (anyone say Carlisle?!), mum's watercolours and the two kids Rowan and Clara - who do not know that they are vamps. However, the facade begins to crumble when Clara decides to go vegan, which makes her very very ill and means that one day, she can no longer control the instinct for blood lurking beneath the surface. Cue the police, cue investigations, cue Uncle Will. The family's black sheep, wild Uncle Will gets called to the scene to help out the Radleys. However, instead of helping out, he turns out to make havoc of an already messy situation. Clara is taking to her new vamp identity, Rowan is not so sure but is more worried about his crush on girl-next-door Eve and mum and dad are fighting a crumbling marriage.

Summing it up: this is a book that fuses surburbia and vampires with a pinch of humour and lots of twists. I actually enjoyed this book. The chapters are very short which suit the plot very well and adds to the quality of the writing. It was a very quick read and very shallow - no room for thought there, no reflections - but it was a breath of fresh air in a genre that I often find repetitive. All in all a good read if you want something light and fun with vampires.

Ps. I am loving the book cover!! What do you think?

7 Jan 2011

Review: "Lady Audley's Secret" - The Villainess

Again this is one of those books that have been talked rather a lot about in the blogosphere. It was written by Mary Elisabeth Braddon in 1862 and it caused a bit of a stir when it came out because of its different main character - the infamous Lady Audley.

Lady Audley, formerly the governess Lucy Graham, is a doll-like creature with a mass of blonde curls who is seemingly mild, calm and naive. A bit childish many people observe. Her husband, Lord Audley, is in love and as you know love makes blind and he sees none of her faults. All he sees is the perfect woman, the woman who has awoken a feeling of love in him that he has never experienced before. Sir Audley's nephew, the male main character, Robert Audley, is at first taken with his aunt. The beautiful woman makes him as blind to her duplicity as Lord Audley that is until Robert Audley brings his friend George Talboys to visit Audley Court.
Lady Audley seems to disappear whenever Talboys is visiting and then one day George Talboys disappears leaving Robert Audley depressed and sad. The former indolent, lazy lawyer finds a purpose for his existence - he has to discover what has happened to George Talboys. Soon he realises that Lady Audley is not what she appears to be and that she has something to do with the Talboys affair. More ingredients are murder, arson and of course love...

What I liked most about this book is the fact that the men are all rather weak. Not too clever, lazy, indolent. In the end Robert Audley does rise to the occasion but in general it is the women in this tale who are the strongest, the cleverest. They are the ones that take decisions, acts coolly and carry the plot. Especially (of course) Lady Audley but also Clara Talboys and Robert Audley's cousin, a young lady with lots of energy.

I was not bowled over by this novel. I liked it but I have to admit that the plot was a bit too easy to figure out and since the mystery part by far outweighs the love part, I would have liked a bit more mystery... A lovely read though. I loved the strong women, as always and the language is beautiful, full of great descriptions.

5 Jan 2011

Review: "London Fields" - City of lies

"London Fields" is one of those books that I have had waiting for me for a loooooong time. Like a really long time. i remember seeing it on a friend's shelf about five years ago, then I bought it probably about a year ago and I finally started reading it last week. And then it went fast because I completely lost all time and priority to this book. It is cool. It was published in 1989 but apart from the odd mention of leg warmers and the political situation I never felt that. It seems like it could have been written last year, it felt somehow modern and it is cool, so cool.

The plot is really complicated and it thickens as you turn the pages. The narrator, Samson Young, is a writer with a heavy writer's block and a bad health. He is also very unreliable and keeps mixing up his own life with the story that he is trying to tell. A love story, a murder story, a mystery, a thriller. And - he tries to convince - the utter truth. It is the story of the murderee Nicola who knows that she will die on her 35th birthday and who ventures out to meet her murderer. In a smoky pub she meets Keith Talent - whose talents including small time crimes, violence, cheating on his wife and playing darts - and Guy Clinch, a rich man with a snobbish wife and a violent toddler. Samson Young gets his hands on Nicola's diaries and from then on he chronicles the action that plays out among Nicola, Keith and Guy as she entangles them in her web of lies to get them to play the parts she has laid out for them.

Capturing all of the details in this amazing book is impossible in a blog post. I had a hard time keeping track of it all as I was reading it but that was actually part of the attraction. It made me lose myself because I had to concentrate to follow the action and though none of the main characters are really likeable, they are all intriguing! Nicola has all men in her thrall, they seem unable to resist her and she uses her power, yet she is constantly somewhat sad. Keith is a crook and a thug with no regards for other people who will do anything to become a local/national dart champion - even if it means sacrificing his friends, wife and child. Guy is basically naive and lets himself get caught up in Nicola's web, he has no backbone, no resistance. Samson Young is... difficult. A man close to the end of his life who has been disappointed too many times. None of them are truthful, all of them are egoist. Combined they make a powerful cast who had me confused about the ending until the very last page.
I will definitely be reading more of Mr. Amis's novels because this was a great pleasure to read!

4 Jan 2011

How do we get kids to read?

These days the national media here in Denmark have been focusing quite a bit on the fact that Danish kids are generally not very good at reading. Something which seems to be closely related to the fact that many kids state that they do not like to read. It has also been reported that the books on the curriculum often date back to when the children's parents were children and that there is a distinct lack of new books available to the children.
We all know that to be really good at something you need to be driven by a passion or at least an interest or a liking. So how do we get kids to read more and better? In my mind it is obvious: we give them access to good books!

When I was in school - 15 years ago - I very early discovered the joys of reading. No thanks to the school though, as the encouragement primarily came from my home and from the books that parents and family gave me. The stuff we read in school was honestly fairly dull at best and utterly excruciatingly bad at worst.
So if I could advise the teachers and educators out there, here are the books that I think they should let kids read:

The Harry Potter series by :
A modern classic. The magic of HP is not only related to wands, incantations and flying broomsticks. There is a magic in the writing itself, the magical universe that unfolds itself as you read and envelopes you in another world. I know people whose joy of reading was sparked by Harry Potter - that is true magic if you ask me.

The Alanna series by Tamora Pierce:
This is the coolest fantasy-history series ever. I have read it over and over and it never fails to enthrall me. It is the story of the girl Alanna who wants to be a knight and who therefore disguises herself as a boy and enters court life. Here she makes friends with royalty and thieves and gain enemies that seek to destroy her and the people she loves. A fantastic series set in a medieval environment that will catch imaginations of girls and boys alike.

The Shamer series by Lene Kaaberbol
This is a much celebrated fantasy series about Dina who has inherited powers that she fears. She is a Shamer who can unmask the soul’s darkest secrets and crimes.
When Dina's mother disappears, Dina travels to the House of the Ravens with the stranger, Drakan, to find her mother. This is a series that will capture boys and girls alike.

Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
This book is a classic and albeit it is not a modern book, I think it will still appeal to modern children. Pippi is the original cool kid. Lives on her own with a monkey and a horse and you do not want to mess with her. She is the girl that all kids want to be friends with. And read about!

The Princess Diaries seris by Meg Cabot
Yes it has been made into two Disney movies starring Anne Hathaway and yes they are no masterpieces. The Princess Diaries series are not literary jewels but they have the ability to fascinate girls. Just imagine being princess Mia: a normal, dorky, geeky girl who turns out to be a princess and then has to struggle with princess lessons and people who want to trade on her status. Not really a politically correct choice but tween girls love it!

Otto is a Rhino by Ole Lund Kirkegaard
Not a new book but one that has stood the test of time. It is the story of a drawn rhino coming to life and creating havoc and it will definitely make childrens imaginations run wild.

What would you encourage children to read to get a passion for books?

3 Jan 2011

Review: "Poppy Shakespeare" - To be or to go crazy

How do you know if you are crazy? Now that is a good question. When I studied psychology, one of the topics that we often discussed was the difference between clients understanding their own disorders and clients who had no understanding of the fact that their experience of the world differed from the general understanding in society. A topic that I find really really interesting and which plays quite a big part in the novel "Poppy Shakespeare" by Clare Allan.

The setting is quite a dramatic one, a psychiatric hospital, Abaddon, in North London, where a bunch of day-patients spend five days a week doing as little as possible. They all have a range of diagnosis and they are all very aware of how to use these to get as much as possible out of the system. Their own common goal is to stay at status quo for as long as possible - i.e. not getting too well so that they can no longer qualify for fulltime treatment but not getting so bad that they are sectioned. A fine line between insanity and normality and one that calls for creativeness, especially around assessment time.

Then something happens to disrupt the quiet routines of the Abaddon common room. A new patient is admitted into the system - a young, pretty, cool woman in miniskirt and stiletto heels. A woman named Poppy Shakespeare who insists that she is not crazy and does not belong in the psychiatric system. The narrator, N, who has lived her whole life as a dribbler - someone dribbling the psychiatric system - is fascinated by Poppy and the two women become friends. Therefore, N cannot say no when Poppy asks for her help in getting out. However, cheating a system that is a jungle of rules and where the doctors hold the ultimate power is by no means easy. So are N and Poppy crazy or cunning enough to do just that?

This book had been laying on my shelf for a year but something told me that now the time was right for reading it. And I am glad I did because this is a really good story. I loved the idea of the novel being set in an almost dystopian psychiatric environment and I loved the narrator N. Her grip on reality and her stories are not always true, sometimes it takes a little bit to understand what is right and what is N's imagination. Her voice, however, rings clear as a bell. She speaks a rough London English where have is replaced by of - i.e. She should of had it - and reading it, you can almost hear N tell the story.

Read it if you need something different, something full of twists and turns that will keep you turning pages!

To read more about the author's own thoughts about "Poppy Shakespeare", please go to this link: http://www.clareallan.co.uk/default.asp?sec=2&sec2=1&sec3=2

2 Jan 2011

Berlin break

Sorry for the blogging breaks over Christmas and New Years - first I went to stay with my parents for the holidays and then for a break to Berlin to celebrate New Years with My Dear Boyfriend. It was my first time in the capital of Germany and as it was really cold (down to minus 14 degrees celcius), we had booked a hotel with spa facilities so that we could warm our freezing selves after long days walking in the city. If there is something I loved and find really relaxing it is spending time in spa, sauna etc. and then finishing off by laying around all wrapped up warm in towels - and READ! Of course :-)
So what did I read in Berlin? "Poppy Shakespeare" by Clare Allan which I will review this week and I got started on "London Fields" by Martin Amis as well which I am hoping to finish this week. So instead of filling this post up with words about the cool, hip city of Berlin, let me share some pictures with you:

The Berlin Wall

Café Gemelli in Kreuzberg


A view of Berlin

Delicious cake at the hotel restaurant!

So now I am looking for books - fiction - taking place in Berlin. Can you recommend anything?