Friday, February 27, 2009

Welcome to Norway

Just to set the stage for Out Stealing Horses, I’ll share a little about Norway with you. Part of the appeal of this book was the fact that I’m half Norwegian. In fact, the Queen of Norway is my (now deceased) father’s 5th cousin. She may or may not have the family book on her bookshelf.

In 1971 after graduating from college, a friend and I backpacked through Europe. We rode a bus into the middle of nowhere to find my Norwegian relatives, who were strawberry farmers in Telemark. Our inability to communicate without the help of the local school teacher who spoke English fueled my desire to learn Norwegian.

Back home I exchanged friendship for language lessons with lonely embassy employees and gradually learned enough Norwegian to be able to accompany my parents on their one and only trip out of the country two years later. I will never forget the thrill at seeing the place for which our family was named and learning the stories of what had happened to those who had stayed behind.

Norway is a wild and beautiful country, a rugged place where only 4 percent of the land is arable. That might explain why so many people decided to leave the country in the mid-1800's, as they searched for land to call their own.

It’s water everywhere that connects remote places, often forming the only way in and out. That was true very recently of my grandmother’s families home on the Sogn Fjord, where it was not until 1973 that a road was built.

The pictures I’m including were taken when my family visited Norway in 2003 to attend a family reunion on that very farm. I gave a short speech in my primitive Norwegian and they all cheered for America. It was quite a touching homecoming.

You will come to have your own appreciation of the waterways that figure into our March book. And you will definitely get a sense of the remoteness of the place. That’s a big part of the appeal of the book.

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

Unfortunately I don't have any bookplates to share with you, but I thought I would share instead, by way of testing the waters of this blog, a book I have just read.

It had been on my shelf for some time- one of those books you have to wait until you are in the mood to read.

It is one of last year's 'Richard and Judy' book club reads- they are talk show hosts- I suppose the American equivalent would be a recommendation from Oprah Winfrey.

I just wanted something light and fluffy- a mousse (salmon mousse?) of a book!

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. It is partly a spoof on British politics, so some of the irony may be lost if you are not conversant with some of the recent British political figures. One of the speeches made in the House of Commons by a politician character in the book made me laugh out loud! It is quite a while since a book made me do that!

It is written as a collection of notes from meetings, emails, letters, newspaper reports and memoranda. It's quite clever the way the plot builds from these. A rich sheikh has fallen in love with fishing, most particularly salmon fishing, and hatches a plan to introduce salmon into the wadi of Yemen. He engages a British Fisheries Scientist to engineer this madcap project, and the British Government try to use the scheme to gain kudos. It is also the story of a failing marriage and of developing friendships. I thought the most enigmatic and likeable character was the Sheikh himself, whose gentleness, calmness, wisdom and faith are presented in sharp contrast to the follies of politics.

An entertaining light read!

I was also wondering if anyone is averse to reading 'Mr Pip' by Lloyd Jones in May- or maybe some of you have read it already? or 'Disgrace' by J.M Coetzee? Why not post your suggestions here?

Monday, February 23, 2009

book plates

Here's mine from childhood. Why not edit and add your own?

Here's a home-made one I found in an old Dorothy Dixon book. This also seemed to be a popular thing to do. A bit more personal, if you will. This one is from around 1933 and was the quickest one from the pile, to scan in. More later. I'll have to do some digging. I had to enhance this, due to the faded pencil lines.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Flea Market Finds...

Thought I'd start off by sharing my latest finds, at the local Flea Market. I just picked these up, this morning. And for only a buck each!! The first is from 1870; a book of verse/poems by H.H. I have no idea who this is, so any help in I.D.-ing would be appreciated. I skimmed through it( like I do all my books, ere I buy them ). Some wonderful poems in here. Another is Vol. I of Audubon and His Journals, as written John, himself and edited by his daughter Maria, in 1897. This is a Dover Publication issue from 1960. Alas icould not locate any other volumes. The last is a kid's story by Catherine Sefton( who also writes adult fiction ). I thought it fit in here. The girl in the story is a major bookworm, who gets sent to visit her Aunt & Uncle in Ireland. Unfortunately her books she'd packed for the journey are lost. To make matters worse, there are no book stores or libraries, in the town. NO BOOKS!!! HORRORS!! Apparently she is befriended by a ghost, who leaves her a different book to read, each day ( I think ). I've not yet read it in full( of course not ). But it looks like a cool, spooky, fun story. I just wanted to get this posted, as I have to get some down-time, ere I go to work.

Saturday, February 21, 2009


So, here's what I've got so far.

The blog url, laeticiaknollys, was chosen a while ago when I created this blog for possible future use.

I have always had a soft spot for Lettice Knollys, who married Dudley right in Elizabeth I's teeth and lived to tell the tale. And flaunt her style about the court, what's more. Not many ladies got away with that!

The red color is to remind us of the brains behind the outfit, Avid Reader. Seemed appropriate.

I am not sure yet of all the participants, but in this case, expanding a bit on what we've got at Theme Thursday, everyone will have the ability to author a post.

That way, when it comes down to discussion time, you can add your own piece at your own pace.

In fact, I'm inclined to go even further, and give us all the go-ahead to post here at any time in between discussions. Our own recommendation page, as it were. Good finds that you come across, old favorites, the odd essay that may have been percolating in your brain. Just a thought?

At present, this blog is restricted to the authors and cannot be viewed or commented on by anyone else. We can certainly change that if we want to, but just at the beginning, I for one am inclined to keep the circle closed, except of course for those who want in on the discussion!

Happy Reading!