Life is beautiful…

Posts Tagged ‘romance

Hello everyone, for the last two days I have been sick – so naturally I read. For quite some time now I’ve been subscribed to a book club called Handtöskuserían (e. handbagseries). The idea is to provide books that modern women would have in their handbags so they are new or new-ish books by non-Icelandic female authors. Isn’t it fabulous to be a part of something like that? Well, I think so…

The language of flowers

Unfortunately I don’t have a lot of time to read the books that I get so more often than not they wind up unread in the bookshelves. Last week (I think) I received the newest addition. The language of flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. Instead of putting it straight to the shelf I put it on my nightstand. So… while I waited for my body to get the best of this fever I… well I played Tetris on my computer… but when I got bored of that I grabbed the book and started reading… and I read… and I read… and I read… until I had finished the whole book. It was so charming. I can’t remember a novel that captivated me as much as this one did. I can’t wait to read it again because I know that this is one of the books I’ll see differently each time I read it.

The story is about Victoria, an orphan who just turned 18 years old so she’s being thrown out of “the system”. Every other chapter is about her new life where she tries to live on her own but in between are chapters about her childhood that slowly give the reader more information about the way Victoria functions. While she lived with one of her foster-parents, Elizabeth, she learned to speak the language of flowers. That is… she got to know flowers and the message behind them. The language of flowers was a popular  way of communication in the Victorian era, kind of like a secret code. In the future I’ll definitely keep adding to the fascinating knowledge of flowers I accumulated whilst reading the book. If I am ever unsure what a flower means – I can just look it up in the handy list on the last pages of the book.

Normally I try to point out in my posts exactly what I liked in the novel I am reviewing but it’s hard to know where to start with this one… I just loved everything about it. From the beautifully written and detailed descriptions of everything to the characters I got to understand so well. From the cover (of the Icelandic translation) and the beautiful font used for chapter numbers to the feeling I got from touching the pages of my paperback copies. From the way the book had me in tears at a certain point to the way that I got annoyed with Victoria at a certain point… but the one thing I think I liked the most was the timelessness of the story.

I know that I haven’t done the book justice and probably never could but  I want to say that it is simply beautiful so just read it, you’ll see what I mean. To end this on a reference to the book, if I had to describe it with a flower I would probably pick a Trillium (Skógarlilja) which, according to the book, means “humble beauty”. Just look at it…

Trillium

I recommend this novel for all the romantics out there and just… everyone who can read:) I give it 5 stars and I’m off… to google Vanessa Diffenbaugh and see if she has written anything else for me:)

That’s it for now…

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The Cherry Orchard

As you can see in my previous posts I just love going to the theatre. A theatrical experience almost never fails to thrill me. Last season I went to see 14 plays! But this year, my boyfriend pointed out that I didn’t have time for as many so I only have 5 shows planned for this season. I find it likely that I’ll be able to squeeze some more in my tight schedule… fingers crossed.

A few weeks ago I saw the first play of the season. The play was The Cherry Orchard in Borgarleikhúsið theatre. The play is written by Anton Chekhov, a Russian playwright. The play is really a tragedy but it is performed in a comical way. I know that might sound confusing but there really is no better way of putting it – the plot is tragic while there is a lot of life in the play. The story is about a family that is losing its estate and the old and beautiful cherry orchard that is on it, due to debt and squandering of money. It starts with the return of Madame Lyubov to her home, but she has been abroad for several years. Lyubov is a sad woman that has survived a great loss in her life. Although she is about to lose her home she thinks of herself as rich and loves spending money on beautiful things for herself and her daughters, expensive wine and she also gives money (she doesn’t have) to those in need. Time and time again, mr. Lopakhin tries to help her help herself but she doesn’t listen to him. She is not a bad person, she just doesn’t realize how bad things are or realizes but doesn’t care. Other memorable main characters are her daughters Varya and Anya who have subplotted love-affairs or lack of love affairs. Also the old, and slightly crazy, servant of Madame Lyubov’s brother and the disaster prone clerk, who is never far away. I read somewhere that the characters are all symbolization of different forces in the rise of the middle-class in Europe and while that is an interesting view, I know nothing about the situation in Russia in the beginning of the 20th century so I just enjoyed the story as it was presented for me.

So, what made this experience great? The music in the show played a big part for me. There were three musicians that appeared on stage, the characters did not hear them but in at least one scene they could sence them. The musicians carried their instruments around, accordians, drums and even large bass instruments. The music was kind of… well Russian I guess… and really added a lot to the play. I loved the way the cherry orchard itself sounded when the “wind” blew through them. I did not particularly notice the lighting inside the house but outside it had a pink/purple glow that underlined the beuty of the orchard. The setting and props were beautiful, I especially liked the use of the hall. One thing I found weird was that the room where a most part of the play took part was the old nursery… they even held parties in there… so that’s a bit odd. One thing that I have to mention was the curtains. Instead of the normal velvety curtains of the theatre there were beautiful purple chiffon ones with different sorts of white crocheted lace doilies. They must have taken hours to finish and I heard that the producers asked women to make them and get tickets instead. That is awesome!

Overall a fun show that leaves you with something to think about – I can’t imagine that a single soul left the theatre untouched by the final scene… tsk tsk….  I’d recommend The Cherry Orchard for all adults who are not afraid to try something else than comedy in the theatre. I give it 4 stars.

Thank you for reading this post! I’m currently reading a great novel in which I learn a lot of life and flowers… stay tuned:)

 

What a disappointment! 600+pages of NOTHING. Then something happens and you start to get excited but oh wait… there is more NOTHING… AND what little that does happen is semi creepy… in a bad way! The plot… or lack there of… is really thin. And sometimes I was grossed out even by some images the plot presents. I really had to force myself to keep reading. The one thing I liked was how Stephenie Meyer wrote from other perspectives. It’s like the first book all over again, nothing happens. But at least in Twilight it was acceptable up to a point because the fantasy world had to be properly introduced. This is just sad… I am really not looking forward to seeing the film, I lost all interest. (But I probably will see it – it can’t be as bad as the book)

I am too annoyed to review this more. I’ve started reading the next book on my list “The book of lost things” and I can already see that it’s review will be a lot more positive one! 1 star

On December 30th I went to the theater (Þjóðleikhúsið) with two of my closest people (who also happen to be my most devoted readers). As an Icelandic teacher I was really excited to see this particular play Iceland’s Bell by Nobel winning author Halldór K. Laxness. I haven’t read quite as many of his novels as I should but this one I did read a few summers ago. Well… I almost read it all… it took a long time and I returned it to the library before I could finish but there wasn’t much left.

The story is set in the 18 century and is about the fairest Icelandic maiden and her love for a man who loves her back but they cannot be together because of the other love, or passion, in his life. He is obsessed with collecting every single old book or manuscript in Icelandic and travels around the country and the world to find them. The maiden marries a drunk and then a priest and the man marries a rich woman who can support him financially. The story of their lives weaves around an odd person, a poor farmer and a thief who these people never would have met under normal circumstances but never fails to serve as a comic relief.

Now, on to the play! It was AMAZING!!! The music was live and complemented the setting of the play perfectly. The use of the stage and props was well executed. The dialogue was relatively easy to follow but as I was sitting rather far from the stage I had to listen carefully to hear some of the actors. That was my only real criticism and I will try not to buy those seats again. Another thing though was that it was a bit long – but i’m not sure where they could have shortened it. The costumes – which are something i rarely notice – were fitting and I fell deeply in love with the costumes of the maiden. I now want a whole wardrobe based on the Icelandic national costume.

The actors did an amazing job! They were believable and in character the whole time and every single one of them added to the experience. I especially loved the performance of Ingvar E. Sigurðsson as the old farmer who spoke with an accent the entire play.

The book collector is based on a real Icelandic legend who saved many of our greatest manuscript. Some of them were lost in a fire in Copenhagen and this fire was of course also in the play. I literally had tears in my eyes in that scene thinking about what was lost in the real fire.

I was very satisfied and almost want to go see the play again! 5 stars without a doubt!

Happy New Year!

At last! These past couple of months I have literally been in another world. I’m writing a fantasy novel that takes place in another world and I was really (too much) into it. In November I took part in a writing challenge called NaNoWriMo and wrote a novel of 50.000 words and in December I have been finishing the last chapters of that novel. It’s been a great experience but I have to apologize to everybody around me as I know that I have not been the most easiest person to live with lately. Kind of zombie-like:)

Well, tonight I finally made time to go and see part one of the Harry Potter finale. Me and my brother went together and we had fun even though everything went wrong that could possibly go wrong e.g. due to our lateness we got the last two tickets and had to sit in the front row.  The movie was overall good and did the book justice. There wasn’t really much that happened in this part though, it’s main purpose is to build up excitement. For me the cast did great and I was happy to see Bill Nighy join the group as the minister of magic. I also really loved watching the love story develop.

The downside in my opinion was Daniel Radcliffe’s performance. I’ve never really thought he was believable in his role as the main character. In each film there is at least one awkward moment, i think it’s connected with the fact that he has to cry so often in the films. Another thing that I missed in this movie was the music, the sound effects were great and I know that there are ‘dark times’ but I missed the jingles and the theme song playing over and over during the movie. I’ll make it up to me by listening to it now:)

Nevertheless the movie left me wanting more so it gets 4,5 stars. I can’t wait until July to see the last part! Until then I just have to listen to the band Ministry of magic. Here is a link to my favorite song with them – Accio love

I excitedly continued to read the Twilight saga as I got my hands on the next book in the series. This time i read it in English and although the Icelandic translation is really good, I noticed the difference in the language. The characters as well as the conversations were much more real – or maybe everything just sounds better in English;)

I wasn’t as happy with Eclipse as the first two books in the series. Like the author has talked about, this third novel gave her an opportunity to go deeper into the history of some of the characters. As the reader I really felt like these background stories affected the progress of the story. Some were long and I started to lose interest. But it came back when the stories were over and I guess they were important to the story.

As with all my readings this one got to me though it had it’s good and bad sides and I finished the last 300 pages (in English) in one sitting so I guess I liked the book after all:) I watched the movie straight after I finished reading!

This time around i felt that the book was so much better than the movie. As for the first two movies they followed the books to an acceptable degree and left little out. But I can’t imagine how viewers that haven’t read the Eclipse were supposed to follow the movie. In the book, so much is said through descriptions of eyes, speech and such that didn’t come through at all in the movie. I don’t know if it is due to poor acting (which is my first guess and then mainly for Bella because the story is told through her eyes), poor directing or if the script just didn’t have room for this perspective. It’s sad because in my opinion the text of the book is written rather beautifully.

I am still looking forward to reading Breaking dawn though i guess there is a rather long time until the movie is released. I will probably review those separately. I recommend this book as usual for teenagers and adults with healthy imagination. Where is the fun in reading fantasy-novels and not being able to imagine that what happens could actually happen in real life. I give Eclipse a total of 3.5 stars

I have been wanting to read the “The legend of the ice people” series for about ten years now and finally finished my first book – Spellbound.  The writer, Margit Sandemo, comes from Norway and has published several other series but The legend of the ice people is her best known one (at least here in Iceland). My B.A. thesis in Icelandic was about how literature and popular culture influence name-giving and it is obvious that the influence of the series is great here in Iceland. In the English translation they change the names though.

The series was written in the years 1982-1988 and have been published time and time again in many countries and languages. Spellbound sets place in the 16th century in and after the plage. The protagonist, the 17 year old Silja finds two children who have been abandoned and takes them in. Then she meets and falls in love with Þengill, who has supernatural powers and is the descendant of Þengill the evil. So the story is a historic romance and a fantasy.

There are 47 books in the series and as the matter of fact I’m quite afraid that I made a huge mistake by reading Spellbound…. because I LOVED IT! I am so looking forward to reading the second book in the series: Witch-hunt but if it, and the remaining 45 books, prove to be as good as the first one – I’m in big trouble! (But also in heaven!)

There is a long time since I’ve been so captured by the first page of a book. It’s easy to read and follow, fun to read through and sexy as hell! But it also leaves a lot of unanswered questions, it’s almost as if the writer didn’t start out with a clear plot in mind. I suspect that many of these questions will be answered in the following books.

I recommend this book for teenagers and adults, both male and female and i give it 4,5 stars.

That’s it for now – I’m off to continue reading Eclipse;)