Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Wrapping up October

It is hard to believe we are already at the end of October. Somehow this month raced past me, and I can almost not believe we only have two more month in 2017.
But here are a few things from this month!

What did I read?
I read a lot of good books this month. I will not list all of them here, just a few to give an impression. I read two very good Italian novels. One by Paolo Cognetti and one by Sandro Veronesi. Both books have not been translated into English. But the book by Paolo Cognetti had a great cover in the Dutch version. I love a book with a good cover.
Italian title and Dutch title: The eight mountains
I also read a book with the letters of the artist Camille Claudel. She was the apprentice and later lover of the sculpture Rodin. She had a very sad life and her letters reflect that. Very powerful.

As you know I read the new novel by John Boyne in one day. Really good. I reviewd it last week: HERE
And on holiday I read a thriller by Robert Goddard which was alright and good fun, but which also turned out to be the first of a trilogy, and I am not sure I liked it enough to read part two and three as well.

The last book I reads this month was Before the fall by Noah Hawley and I liked it very much. Perhaps I will write a review here, but if that happens it will be next week.

What did I see?
I discovered the series Penny Dreadful on Netflix and loved it so much, I decided to buy the DVD set, so I can watch it whenever I want to. The series falls into the horror genre, and usually this is not my cup of tea. But in this case I loved the strong acting, the way the different horrorstories were mixed together very cleverly and I really enjoyed how it is not about guts and gore, but abour character development. It is probably not a series for everyone, but if you can get past the horrorlabel, there is much to enjoy here. With Eva Green, Timothy Dalton and Josh Hartnett and many others.
Josh Hartnett and Eva Green in Penny Dreadful
What did I do?
Completely unexpectedly I was asked to join a schooltrip to Paris, as an extra teacher. I loved being in Paris again, although I was exhausted with the care of 72 students on just a few hours of sleep each night. But still, it all went well and that is always a good thing.
Paris (oktober 2017)
And just a week later, I travelled again. I went on a holiday to Nice, in the south of France. I had never been there before and I was curious to see how I would like it. It turned out, I loved it!! Nice had lovely sunny weather (I could walk outside without my coat), it was not too busy and it was the perfect mix of France and Italy, with a strong Russian connection.
I wish I lived in the 19th century and was rich enough to spend an entire Winter there!
But I had a lovely couple of days and it won't be the last time I visited.
Nice (oktober 2017)
Looking forward to in November
November will prove to be a good month as well, I hope. I have some amazing books lined up. I am still reading The years by Virginia Woolf (somehow I never manage to read a Woolf book very fast!).
My Dutch version
I am also reading Notes from an exhibition by Patrick Gale. I became a fan after I read A place called Winter, and this book is just as engaging. I also love the blues on the cover of this book.

I have a few exhibitions I would like to visit this month. I had planned to visit at least two in October, but somehow there was no time for that. Coming Saturday I will be in Rotterdam to see an exhibition that is devoted to the role of the cat in the arts! (yes, I know, wonderful).

For the dark winter evenings I have the DVD with the new series of Maigret. I must admit I never really cared for the old series of Maigret, but somehow this new version with Rowan Atkinson as the Parisian police inspector Maigret ticks all the boxes for me. So I will be enjoying this I think!
Rowan Atkinson as Maigret

Friday, 27 October 2017

October impressions in Paris

Last week I was lucky enough to visit Paris again. This was completely unexpected, but due to circumstances, I was asked to come as an extra teacher on the schooltrip for the third form (14-15 yo). Imagine running around Paris for four days with 72 students and five other colleagues. It all went well, but I must admit I was exhausted when I came home.

I usually do not have a lot of time to make photographs when I am on a schooltrip (too busy watching those kids), but I did manage to snap a few! Not always the most typical sights of Paris, but these things caught my eye.


Sacré Coeur

Along the Champs Elysées

In Versailles

Palace Royale

Signs of autumn

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

The heart's invisible furies, John Boyne

Last Sunday I read this book, and I could not put it down, so I read all 600 pages in one day. But it really is that good.

It is the story of Cyril Avery, who was handed to his adoptive parents by a nun. His biological mother was 16 and not married, a huge scandal in Ireland in 1945. The priest called her a whore in front of everybody, and her parents threw her out.

Cyril had a strange upbringing, his adoptive father Charles tells him all the time he is not a real Avery, and his adoptive mother Maude is a writer who despises her readers (popularity is vulgar).

It all changes when Cyril meets Julian, and from that moment a life-long bond is formed. Julian is outgoing and charming and will grow up chasing every skirt in Dublin. He is everything Cyril is not, and soon Cyril realizes that he feels more for Julian than just friendship. But he also knows he can never tell somebody about these feelings.

Being gay in Ireland in the fifties, sixties of seventies was not easy. It was seen by most people as unnatural and shameful and for most people it was also a crime. As one doctor tells Cyril; 'You cannot be a homosexual, since this does not exist in Ireland'.

He finally moves to Amsterdam where he meets the love of his life and together they move to New York during the eighties, when the AIDS epidemic was at its height.

When Cyril finally comes back to Ireland, he must face the consequenses of the choices he made and he must try to get some peace with himself.

The heart's invisible furies is an amazing book. It condems the hypocrisy of institutes like Church and Politics, but also celebrates how ordinary people can who mercy and love and understanding. And fortunately for Cyril he meets a lot of these people. He has his share of misery and heartbreak, but there is happiness and more family for him than he could ever have hoped for.

I love how this book made me laugh outloud with the sometimes absurd dialogues, but also made me cry at some points. Despite the subject it is not a difficult or depressing book. It is heartwarming, funny and almost epic. I loved it.

Published in 2017

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Dutch masters coming home

Flora by Rembrandt
The Russian tsars loved the Dutch artists of the 17the century. They bought paintings by Rembrandt, Van Hals, Potter and many more. These works form an imporant part of the permanent exhibition in the Hermitage in Sint Petersburg

Since October 7th some of these paintings have come home to the Netherlands, for a special exhibition in The Hermitage museum in Amsterdam.

Over sixty paintings can now be seen in Amsterdam, seven of them by Rembrandt. This one, Flora, is one of them.
Many of these Dutch paintings have come home after more than 300 years in Russia, and they will stay in Amsterdam for eight months.

Monday, 9 October 2017

Cookbooks by Tessa Kiros

I love to read cookbooks. Of course, I use them for recepies as well, but I like a book that is more than just a list of ingredients and cookingtimes etc. I like a story, atmosphere and loads of photographs. Both of the food and other photographs thay convey the mood of thcookbook.

I have quite a few amazing cookbooks, but I feel I am very fortunate to own three cookbooks by Tessa Kiros. 

What sets these cookbooks apart from most others, is how absolutely beautiful they look. Two of these are gorgeous hardovers with absolutely amazing photographs.

On my shelves I already had Venezia, Limoncello and Linen water but recently I bought a third one, Provence to Pondicherry.

Venezia: Food and Dreams (2008)
This books is all about the magical city of Venice. I have visited Venice twice and I love the atmosphere. This book oozes that atmosphere. It has beautiful photographs of Venice so you feel like you are actually back there, but also of the ingredients and the dishes.

Venice is a city of water, so there are a lot of recipies with fish, but also recepies for risotto, pasta and desserts. Some typical Venecian dishes are in this book, like the spaghetti al nero di sepia, the black spaghetti with squid-ink.

Limoncello and linen water (2012)
This amazing book is more general Italian. I already wrote about it earlier (HERE), and I still love it very much. It is a book I often pick up to read, especially if I am feeling blue! It really lifts your spirits.

Provence to Pondicherry (2016)
This book is not about the Italian kitchen, but the French kitchen. And what I really like is how it goes from the South of France and Normandy to other parts of the world that once used to be a part of the French colonial empire. The kitchens in Vietnam, Guadeloupe, Réunion and Pondicherry all took something from the French kitchen, but also added their flavours into the richness that is the French world-kitchen.

Again, a beautiful book with amazing photographs, and mouthwatering recepies.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Knocking on the door

Some doors I saw during my city-trips in the past years.
Bologna, May 2017

Groningen, 2017
Rome, summer 2015

Venice, Summer 2016

Berlin, 2015 (not a doorknocker, I know, but still beautiful)
Paris, August 2017

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