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Showing posts from October, 2016

The Halloween post

There was no such thing as Halloween in Iceland when I was growing up. We celebrated (and still do) in a similar manner at carnival time - i.e. on Ash Wednesday - and demolished a piñata, although the piñatas we demolished were really wooden barrels that took a lot of whacking before they broke, and there was not a prize inside but rather one was presented afterwards to the person who dealt the death blow to the barrel.
This is called "beating the cat out of the barrel" and legend has it that there once used to be an actual dead cat inside the barrel. It is actually quite a Halloween-like tradition if you think about it.

Later, when I went away to boarding school in Akureyri, I became familiar with the tradition of dressing up and going singing from door to door in the shopping district to get candy on Ash Wednesday, sort of like trick-or-treating in the USA, only with singing and no trickery.

I think, although I can't be absolutely sure, it was Hard Rock Café that in…

Weekly Monday Round-up (October 31, 2016)

To those of you who celebrate it:
Happy Halloween! 
I'm writing a Halloween post that I plan to post later today, about how it is celebrated in a country where it has only recently taken hold.

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted by Kathryn at the Book Date and is "a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week."

Visit the Book Date to see what various other book bloggers have been up to in the past week.


Books I  finished reading last week:
I only finished two books last week, but began reading two more and made some progress on a further two I began reading some time ago. I expect to finish at least one of them this week.
Both books were rereads, or rather I reread one and listened to an audio book of the other - which I had previously read - for the first time.

A Precious Jewel by Mary Balogh. This was the first Regency romance novel I read that deviated from the mildly sensuous kisses-only formula of these nove…

Last week's book haul

As I said in my Monday post, I won this book in a prize drawing, or rather, I won 12$ towards buying a book, and I chose this one.

The reason for choosing it is simple: I own a VW campervan/motorhome myself, although mine is a 2014 VW Caddy Maxi and not a classic Transporter like the cars celebrated in this book.

The classic Transporters are called "rúgbrauð" in Icelandic, which means "rye bread" and probably comes from them being shaped and proportioned like a loaf of said bread.

I haven't had a chance to read the book yet - I barely managed to leaf through it before my mother commandeered it, but what I saw looked interesting.

The other books I acquired last week were all second hand:

The Reader's Digest Book of Handicrafts or something like it exists in at least three editions I know of and I seem to recall they all have different titles but much of the content in common. I have borrowed them from various friends and relatives over the years and as a ma…

5 links on a Friday, October 28, 2016

Things found in books: 
Just Try To Look Away From This Absurdly Flat Mouse Found In A 17th-Century Book.
The biggest thing I ever found was a 1000 krona bill.

Organising your bookshelves:
10 Bookshelf Organization Tips To Add A Fresh Look To YourSpace.
Because I'm in the process of reorganising my library.
Fictional books: The books that never were.  I would love to read some of them.
Translating Arabic literature for a prejudiced audience: Translating for Bigots.  This is not something I have to deal with in technical translation, thank goodness. 
Scary books, because it's almost Halloween
The 50 Scariest Books of All Time.  Lists like this are always subjective, but some of these books are pretty damn scary. I've only rea 11 of them, so I have somehing to look forward to.




Big bookshelf clean-up and reorganising madness

The feeling has been building in me for some time of wanting to get rid of some books I previously assigned to the keeper shelves. I also want to reorganise the keeper books in order to get all the books of each genre shelved together, instead of stuffed wherever I can find room for them. I also think this could be an incentive to read or cull some of the older books on my TBR shelves, e.g. leftovers from the unfinished mystery reading challenge and other hilludraugar.

What are hilludraugar? I hear you ask. Well, it's an Icelandic word, here shown in the plural (the singular form is hilludraugur) that conveys the same meaning of uselessness as the English term "white elephant", but refers to smaller items and not necessarily expensive ones. It literally means "ghost on a self" and originally refereed to a thing that was haunting one's shelves and being useless and gathering dust but now has a wider meaning of "thing that gathers dust" literally …

Weekly Monday Round-up (October 24, 2016)

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted by Kathryn at the Book Date and is "a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week."

Visit the Book Date to see what various other book bloggers have been up to in the past week.





Books I  finished reading last week:

Berlitz Travel Guide: Rhine Valley from Cologne to Mainz, 1988/1989 edition. I love reading old travel guides, and this was no exception. It's one of those condensed mini-guides with information of the kind designed to whet one's appetite, which suits me just fine. It also proves what I have said about old travel guides: you can still use them for certain things even if they are decades out of date. This particular one was a trip back in time, as it was published while Germany was still divided and Bonn was the capital of the western part. However, the cities described in it still stand, and so do the old buildings described in it, and the nature and landscapes s…

5 links on a Friday, 21 October 2016

Charles Dickens, Ghost Buster:
Charles Dickens Was A Real Life Ghost Buster And Member Of The World's Oldest Paranormal Research Group. Arthur Conan Doyle was also a member.


I wonder if Q was involved in this?
MIT Invented a Camera That Can Read Closed Books.

The value of reading truly bad books:
The good side of bad books. Funny.

The bad books discussion continued by a blogger and various commenters: 
The good side of bad books, linked and expanded on. This is funnier. And occasionally nasty.

Fun with medieval manuscripts:
Some staff members of the Getty Museum would post a picture from a manuscript once a week and ask people to caption them, and then they would explain what was really going on in the pictures. I unfortunately only discovered this when they were winding it down, but here are all the entries for your perusal.


What‘s in a Name Reading Challenge: List of all categories from the beginning

The What‘s in a Name reading challenge has been running since 2008, but I have only participated three times. I think it's one of the best reading challenges out there because it's not too big or involved, it's fun to do and some of the categories can be interpreted creatively.
I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the categories for the years I didn‘t participate and see if I have enough TBR books to set myself a little private TBR challenge to complete all the categories ever used in the challenge.

It took a bit of searching to find the first two lists, but I managed it in the end (or at least I hope they’re the right ones). I figured this research might be of interest to others, so I‘m posting a list of the entire run of the challenge, including the lists for the years when I did participate.
There are several categories that are repeated: e.g. a color, a relative/family, a profession, a plant, and I decided I would do the repeats. Then I checked to see if I…

Wednesday night video

I haven't posted one of these in a while, but this is too perfect not to post: The Rose Main Reading Room of the New York Public Library being filled up with books after being renovated:


Weekly Monday Round-up (October 17, 2016)

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted by Kathryn at the Book Date and is "a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week."

Visit the Book Date to see what various other book bloggers have been up to in the past week.

Books I finished reading last week:
Not On the Label: What really goes into the food on your plate, by Felicity Lawrence.Appleby's End by Michael Innes. Mystery and a reread. As a matter of fact I discovered, when I was entering it into my reading "journal" (these days just an Excel file, but once I did keep a written reading journal and the name has stuck) that I first read it in October 2011, so it has been just about 5 years since the last time I read it.Ride Like Hell and You'll Get There by Paul Carter. Memoir. I read Carter's book about his life working on oil rigs, Don't Tell Mum I Work on the Rigs, She Thinks I'm a Piano Player in a Whorehouse, in 2014. This book isn&#…