Welcome to my Blog!
Anybody, providing he knows how to be amusing, has the right to
talk about himself. -
In 2013 I started a series of photo albums on Blurb.com, named '36Exp' (a subject adressed in 36 exposures, a reference to the exposures on most common rolls of 35 mm film: 12, 24 & 36.). The books can be ordered directly from the Blurb.com website.
THE PEARL by JOHN STEINBECK | LITERATURE
In this short book, The Pearl, the author John Steinbeck retells an old Mexican folk tale: the story of the great pearl, how it was found, its promise of wealth to its finder Kino, for a better life for him, his wife and an education for their baby boy.
It is a beautifully written book, crafted really.
The Pearl is one of six books in the deluxe Steinbeck Centennial Bookcase, which I treasure, for many decades ago while still at school it was Steinbeck who introduced me to literature when the Grapes of Wrath made such a huge impression on me.
STRANGE SHORES by ARNALDUR INDRIDASON | CRIME FICTON
Arnaldur Indriðason is an Icelandic writer of crime fiction; most of his books feature the protagonist Detective Erlendur. 'Strange Shores' is no different, but the back cover states an ominous remark: "Detective Erlendur returns - for the last time".
His first book, 'Sons of Dust' (Synir duftsins) came out in 1997, the first in the series with Detective Erlendur. The first two novels in the series have not been translated into English.
The two previous books published, revolved around Erflendur's collegues, Sigurdur Óli and Elinborg. These books referred to Erlendur as absent, gone to east of Iceland for undetermined period of time and for no given reason.
While Erlendur discovers a murder had been committed and found out who did it (he actually discovers two murders), he does not make it into official police business. What would be the point, he asks himself, which is a strange question for a policeman. For him the answer lies in another question: What is justice, is it the punishment the judge gives to you, or is it something that you give yourself?
Arnaldur Indridason interview, by Jake Kerridge, on www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/10283048/Arnaldur-Indridason-interview.html
FRANK HORVAT | PHOTOGRAPHY BOOKS
Frank Horvat's photography of the 1960s is the subject of this excellent book, which I picked up recently.
At the beginning of the 90’s, he was one of the first to experiment with Photoshop. In 1998, he replaced his professional equipment with a compact camera, which he always carries in his pocket, in order to shoot anything, at any moment that seems to him of some interest. In 2011, he put online his first iPad application (Horvatland).
A MOST WANTED MAN by JOHN le CARRÉ | BOOKS, CRIME FICTION
Maybe the recent filming of 'Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy' is what convinced me; not much of a reason to read a book, I know, but there I am.
Mr Le Carré's novels depict a bleak world where ideology, morality, patriotism, etc., are shakely defined and this book is no different. I found it hard to warm to.
Not surprisingly the main theme is the threat by muslim terrorists: in real life we suffer from overexposure of this subject, so in fiction I find it not my most desirable subject.
The story opens as a Turkish immigrant couple in Hamburg reluctantly take in a young Russian vagrant, a devout Muslim called Issa, who says he is from Chechnya.
Annabel Richter is a young and idealistic immigration lawyer who takes Issa on as a client, hoping to prevent his deportation. Tommy Brue is a banker who finds his father held a confidential account of several millions, which Issa may claim.
The characters of Annabel and Tommy I liked to follow, but with Gunther Bachmann as an intelligence agent involved in power battles with other intelligence agencies, my interest faded.
I also dislike books with the film poster on it, as if the actors (e.g. Philip Seymour Hoffman, Willem Dafoe) feature in the book. It impedes my imagination.
Hari Kunzru wrote an excellent review for the Guardian:
BLEEDING HEARTS by IAN RANKIN | BOOKS (CRIME FICTION)
'Bleeding Hearts' was originally published in Britain in 1994, under the pseudonym Jack Harvey.
Rankin has said that his Harvey novels provided “ways of playing with ideas and structural problems outside the scope of my detective series”.
I must admit that from a series of books written by Ian Rankin which I still had to read, I had left the Jack Harvey novels for last. But I needn't have worried !
Michael Weston is a hired hemophiliac (!) assassin and the story starts on a night when a job seems to go terribly wrong. Weston hits his target, but the police arrive on the scene immediately: someone must have blown the whistle on him. He narrowly escapes, but decides to retrace his steps, in spite of the risk, to find out who his employers are, why they wanted the victim killed and whether he was indeed set up.
Michael Weston stands in stark contrast to an American named Leo Hoffer, a fast-talking, coke-snorting, tough private detective who has been snapping at his heels for years. Part of Hoffer's media fame is due to his quest for the assassin, being paid handsomely by the father of one of Weston's victims.
Weston travels with the daughter of a gun supplier of his and they become romantically involved, though Weston's career prevents planning a future together.
From London the trails passes through Yorkshire, suspecting a cult behind the set up, but find the cult's headquarters reside in the USA, so Texas is next and from there to Seattle.
While I prefer Rankin's Rebus novels, this book had plenty of action and interesting characters to make for some pleasant reading.
Review by natalie Moore, www.nytimes.com/2006/11/19/books/review
LONDEN by FLORIS VAN STRAATEN | BOOKS (DUTCH)
Floris van Straaten was correspondent for the Dutch newspaper NRC in London for 5 years, 2005 - 2010. During the 1980s, at the start of his career in journalism, he had worked for Reuters in London for 18 months. He's also married to a woman of Indian origin.
While walking the London streets and travelling to townships such as Tower Hamlets, Brixton and Peckham one cannot but notice the diversity of people around. The sounds, smells and shops are indeed
In the Netherlands there is huge focus on Islam and the muslim minority; in fact, from the media one gets the feeling it isn't such a minority any more. The context is automatically linked to cultural pressure on Christians, threatening a way of Western lifestyle and even the threat of terrorism around the corner.
There is also the indifference of people here towards another, focussed on their own lifes, businesses and affairs, rather than trying to steer groups of people a certain way. In the Netherlands the politics & policies have the character of rules & regulations for everything and everybody.
Floris van Straaten also interviewed many people, from Ken Livingstone to immigrants with a legal job and stay, but also someone on an illegal stay.
A very enlightening book on the multi-cultural community in London, and thus of the town itself.
THE FALL, TV CRIME DRAMA | DVD BOXSET
The Fall is an Irish-British crime drama television series. The series stars Gillian Anderson as Stella Gibson, a senior police officer investigating a string of murders in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
When the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) are unable to close the case after 28 days, Detective Superintendent Stella Gibson, of the Metropolitan Police, is called in to review the case. Under her new leadership, the local detectives must track down and stop the serial killer, Paul Spector (a role by Jamie Dornan), who is attacking young, professional women in the city of Belfast.
I particularly enjoyed the roles played by Gillian Anderson and Jamie Dornan.
Enough to keep you spellbound for 5 episodes of 60 minutes.
DISGRACE by JUSSI ALDER OLSEN | BOOKS, CRIME FICTION
Carl Valdemar Jussi Henry Adler-Olsen (born 02Aug1950) is a Danish author, publisher, editor and entrepreneur.
Disgrace is the second book on Department Q, which is basically a cold case department consisting of one man, Detective Carl Mørck who is still under treatmant of a trauma after a shooting incident in which a collegue was killed and another put in hospital, paralyzed from the neck down.
The case starts with a gruesome murder on a brother and sister; someone has confessed to the crime and is in jail. But there is more to it, much more. other murders show the same modus operandi and some rich kids have been in the picture who have grown to successful business men. Hence the pressure from people in power to cease investigating.
Disgrace certainly falls in the category of 'page turners' and a book one will find hard to put down. I've read some less positive reviews, compared to Mercy, but I liked it very much.
CAMILLA LÄCKBERG'S FJÄLLBACKA MURDERS | DVD CRIME DRAMA
Läckberg - sometimes called the Swedish Agatha Christie - became a writer after her husband and parents enrolled her in a creative writing course as a Christmas present.
ANNIE GRIFFITHS | PHOTOGRAPHY
TACO ANEMA & OTHERS @HUIS VAN MARSEILLE | PHOTOGRAPHY
Yestrday I went to Huis van Marseille, museum for photography, in Amsterdam. Goal was the exhibition by Taco Anema named 'The Body' Politic', but found myself pleasantly surprised with another exhibition by Mr Anema, 'A Hundred Dutch Households', which I found equally of interest. Plus work by others of interest.
Other work on display was by Frank Beerens ('With the Passage of Time'), Guido Guidi ('Veramente') and Marrigje de Maar (Interiors in China). A visit much enjoyed, time well spent.
An impression of this visit can be found on my Flickr.com pages
AMSTERDAM! EXPOSITION - ED VAN DER ELSKEN PHOTOGRAPHY
Yesterday I was fortunate to attend the photo exposition AMSTERDAM! - photos by Ed van der Elsken. While I had bought the recently republished book of the same title, the exposition with photos in large size and added information (took the audio tour for a change) made it definitley worthwhile.
Ed van der Elsken was born on March 10, 1925 in Amsterdam in the Netherlands.
A photo impression of this exposition can be found on my Flickr.com pages
AMSTERDAM! Photos 1947 - 1970
DEVENTER BOOKMARKET | BOOKS
The 'Deventer Bookmarket' is a yearly event and this year it took place on Sunday August 3rd.
I came away with a satisfying array of books, as usual. There is such a variety on display that you are bound to find something of interest. Bring cash because the cash machines have long lines of people waiting to retrieve money.
This bookmarket is a national phenomenon in the Netherlands, with almost 900 bookstalls lining the boulevard this year, along the river IJssel, in side streets and on squares; books galore over a distance of some six kilometers!
Reportedly the largest secondhand books event in Europe.
This book market always takes place on the first Sunday of August, so mark your calenders!
ANDRÉ GILDEN - ARCTIC | PHOTOGRAPHY
Today I went to the library in Heemstede to view the 'Arctic'-photo exhibition by André & Anita Gilden. This excellent photography really shows you the stunning beauty of Mother Nature.
I was pleasantly surprised to see they visited Churchill,Manitoba (Canada): a place I long to visit too.
My favourites of the photos on display here were the sleeping polar bear on the ice and the stranded boat, which has the shape of its bow returning in the heap of windblown snow and ice in front of it.
A real treat here.
And the visit allowed me to add some photos dedicated to this library to my growing gallery of libraries on my Flickr.com account.
BATTLEBORN by CLAIRE VAYE WATKINS | BOOKS, AMERICAN LITERATURE
Claire Vaye Watkins's debut collection of stories in the book titled 'Battleborn' made an impression. The stories are located in the American West. The title, Battleborn, comes from the motto on Nevada's state flag referencing its entry into the Union during the Civil War.
The characters in the book lead an emotionally struggling existence, their lifes bare from luxuries and seemingly devoid from sunny expectations. The US West (Nevada) with deserts, rock hunters, heat, etc underline the often troubled existence.
The opening story, 'Ghosts, Cowboys', establishes the major themes of the book: violence, history's haunting influences on the present. The narrative stretches back to the Comstock Lode in 1859, but it also intersects with the author's own personal history as the daughter of Paul Watkins, a member of Charles Manson's 'Family'.
Claire Vaye Watkins was born in Bishop,CA in 1984; she was raised in the Mojave Desert, first in Tecopa,CA and then across the state line in Pahrump,NV.
I have read reviews where she is put in the category of acclaimed writers such as Annie Proulx and Cormac McCarthy, which may be a bit premature with only books but she definitely started out the best possible way: Battleborn won the Story Prize, the Dylan Thomas Prize, the New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award, the Rosenthal Family Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a Silver Pen Award from the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame.
RICH HALL'S CALIFORNIA STARS | BBC FOUR DOCUMENTARY
Watched Rich Hall's California Stars, a BBC Four documentary, last weekend. Brilliant!
Rich Hall is an American standup comedian whose performances I've enjoyed on BBC"s Live at the Apollo, HIGNFY and QI. I think he is one of the very best.
This documentary acquires another dimension with his commentary, brilliantly done.
JOHN BISHOP'S AUSTRALIA BIKE RIDE | BBC TRAVEL DOCUMENTARY
John Bishop is a great stand up comedy character and his charisma comes out well in this travel series where he is retracing his 1992 epic bike ride for charity.
I am even getting better at understanding his Scouse accent!
WHAT MONEY CAN'T BUY by MICHAEL J SANDEL | BOOKS, PHILOSOPHY
Recently finished this book by Michael J Sandel: 'What Money Can't Buy; the Moral Limits of Markets'.
These days everything and all seems to be 'in the market', so it seems everything has a price, no? But is it morally the right thing, where to draw the line ? And what has 'market-thinking' done with our morals over past decades?
Sandel is a deceptively clear writer, making often subtle and complex philosophical ideas so straightforward that they almost appear obvious.
ENDEAVOUR, THE MOVIE | DVD, TV CRIME DRAMA
I enjoyed the Inspector Morse series, the Inspector Lewis series and equally so the Endeavour first series. And I love Oxford, having been there many times, even before the Inspector Morse series started.
I enjoyed this movie series, and expanded introduction to Morse, the Younger, so to speak.
And I understand the shooting of the 2nd series of Endeavour commenced September last year and am very much looking forward to seeing them.
SEBASTIAN BERGMAN | CRIME DRAMA, TV SERIES
Sebastian Bergman (original title Den Fördömde, EN='The Cursed One') is a Swedish police procedural tv series, based on two novels by duo Hjorth Rosenfeldt (Michael Hjorth and Hans Rosenfeldt).
The main character is played Rolf Lassgård, as Sebastian Bergman, a criminal profiler with personal problems. It is not easy to like or identify with him as he is opiniated and a womanizer.
His personal problems concern the loss of his wife and their child during the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami; he held on to his little daughter but the water wrested her from his grip, a haunting memory.
The first series was originally broadcast on Swedish television in 2010.
A chance encounter with a former police colleague, Torkel Höglund (a role by Tomas Laustiola), results in him being taken on as a consultant to assist in a murder case.
Bergman at first gets on badly with the young female detective Vanya (Moa Silén) with whom he has to work, and is subsequently shocked to discover that she is his illegitimate daughter from a relationship he has almost forgotten. Seeing this as an opportunity to make up for the death of his daughter (for which he blames himself), he slowly begins to rebuild his career. But while he does not disclose to her that he is her biological father, he plots around her in a Machiavellian way.
When I watched two episodes recently, which translated as 'Third Case' and 'Fourth Case', I thought I had missed the first two episodes of the second series. But I found that both the first as well as the second series only had two epsiodes each.
Another compelling 'Scandi Noir' series!
Rolf Lassgård - Sebastian Bergman
Thomas Laustiola - Torkel Hoglund
Gunnel Fred - Ursula Andersson
Moa Silen - Vanja Lithner
Christopher Wagelin - Billy Rosen