Sunday, August 26, 2018

BW35: Sigrid Unset and the Kristin Lavransdatter readalong

Sigrid Unset - Courtesy of wikipedia

Sigrid Unset, born May 20, 1882, won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1928. During the presentation speech, by the chairman of the nobel committee,  Per Hallstrom said of Unset's works:  

"Her narrative is vigorous, sweeping, and at times heavy. It rolls on like a river, ceaselessly receiving new tributaries whose course the author also describes, at the risk of overtaxing the reader’s memory. This stems in part from the very nature of the subject. In the series of generations, conflicts and destinies assume a very concentrated form; these are whole masses of clouds which collide when the lightning flashes. However, this heaviness is also a result of the author’s ardent and instant imagination, forming a scene and a dialogue of each incident in the narrative without taking the necessary backward look at the general perspective. And the vast river, whose course is difficult to embrace comprehensively, rolls its powerful waves which carry along the reader, plunged into a sort of torpor. 

But the roaring of its waters has the eternal freshness of nature. In the rapids and in the falls, the reader finds the enchantment which emanates from the power of the elements, as in the vast mirror of the lakes he notices a reflection of immensity, with the vision there of all possible greatness in human nature. Then, when the river reaches the sea, when Kristin Lavransdatter has fought to the end the battle of her life, no one complains of the length of the course which accumulated so overwhelming a depth and profundity in her destiny. In the poetry of all times, there are few scenes of comparable excellence."

Unset wrote a number of historical fiction novels including the Kristin Lavransdatter trilogy - The Wreath, The Wife, and The Cross

Which are available individually or in the complete Kristin Lavransdatter trilogy edition translated by Tina Nunnally

"In her great historical epic Kristin Lavransdatter, set in fourteenth-century Norway, Nobel laureate Sigrid Undset tells the life story of one passionate and headstrong woman. Painting a richly detailed backdrop, Undset immerses readers in the day-to-day life, social conventions, and political and religious undercurrents of the period. Now in one volume, Tina Nunnally's award-winning definitive translation brings this remarkable work to life with clarity and lyrical beauty.

As a young girl, Kristin is deeply devoted to her father, a kind and courageous man. But when as a student in a convent school she meets the charming and impetuous Erlend Nikulauss√łn, she defies her parents in pursuit of her own desires. Her saga continues through her marriage to Erlend, their tumultuous life together raising seven sons as Erlend seeks to strengthen his political influence, and finally their estrangement as the world around them tumbles into uncertainty.

With its captivating heroine and emotional potency, Kristin Lavransdatter is the masterwork of Norway's most beloved author, one of the twentieth century's most prodigious and engaged literary minds and, in Nunnally's exquisite translation, a story that continues to enthrall."

A number of Well Trained Mind 52 Books readers are taking the plunge with Unset's Kristin Lavrandatter trilogy  and we will begin  on September 2nd.  Grab your hubbies and get them reading along as well.  Tyler Blanski of the Catholic Gentleman in his enthusiasm for the story asks "Are you Lavrans, or are you Erlend?"

We're going to take it slowly with plenty of time built in to talk about the story.  Each book has three parts and vary in length from 92 to 160 pages approximately. We'll read one part a week with an extra week or two thrown in for variations in chapter length in Book three if needed, plus reading speed and discussion.  

Book One -The Wreath
Part I  – Jorungaard   Ch 1 to 7 ( 92 pages)
Part II – The Wreath      Ch 1 – 8 (92 pages)
Part III – Lavrans Bjorgulfson  Ch 1 – 8  (100 Pages)

Book two – The Wife
Part I – The Fruit of Sin  Ch 1 – 6  (114 pages)
Part II – Husaby  Ch 1-  8 (158)
Part III – Erlend Nikulausson Ch 1 – 7 (126 pages)

Book Three – The Cross
Part 1 – Honor Among Kin  Ch 1 – 6  ( 116 pages)
Part II – Debtors  Ch 1 – 8 (160 pages)
Part III – The Cross  Ch 1 – 7 (140 pages) 

Join me in reading Kristin Lavransdatter. 

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Sunday, August 19, 2018

BW34: The First Jasmines

Courtesy of Wikipedia

The First Jasmines


Ah, these jasmines, these white jasmines!
I seem to remember the first day when I filled my hands with
these jasmines, these white jasmines.
I have loved the sunlight, the sky and the green earth;
I have heard the liquid murmur of the river thorough the
darkness of midnight;
Autumn sunsets have come to me at the bend of a road in the
lonely waste, like a bride raising her veil to accept her lover.
Yet my memory is still sweet with the first white jasmines
that I held in my hands when I was a child.
Many a glad day has come in my life, and I have laughed with
merrymakers on festival nights.
On grey mornings of rain I have crooned many an idle song.
I have worn round my neck the evening wreath of bakulas woven
by the hand of love.
Yet my heart is sweet with the memory of the first fresh
jasmines that filled my hands when I was a child.


Our Brit Trip is taking us to Akemam Street and London. Our fifth leg of the journey brings us back to London again.

Rabbit trails: 48 Doughty Street – Charles Dickens, British Museum , British Library


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Sunday, August 12, 2018

BW33: Hugo Gernsback

This week, we are celebrating the anniversary of the birthday of Hugo Gernsback who was born August 16, 1884. 

Hugo Gernsbacher was born in Luxembourg and immigrated to the United States in 1904.  He was fascinated by electricity and invented a dry battery which he patented upon arriving in the United States.   He established a radio and electrical supply house called Electro Importing Company and developed a small portable radio transmitter called the Telimco Wireless Telegraph.    He went on to patent 80 inventions.

Gernsback  published a magazine for electrical experimenters called Modern Electronics which was later taken over by Popular Science.   To fill up some empty space in the magazine, he decided to write a futuristic story which ran in 12 installments. The story named Ralph 124C 41+ was later published in 1926. It was set in the 27th century and is still available today.  

He started a number of magazines including the first magazine dedicated exclusively to science fiction called  Amazing Stories in 1926.  Hugo coined the term scientifiction which later went on to be known as Science Fiction.

He unfortunately went bankrupt and lost control of Amazing Stories. He quickly bounced back and went on to publish three more magazines:  Air Wonder Stories, Science Wonder Stories and Science Wonder Quarterly.  Air Wonder and Science Wonder were merged into one magazine Wonder stories in 1930 and sold it in 1936 to Beacon Publications where it continued to be published for 20 more years.  Digital copies of Amazing Stories, Air Wonder, Science Wonder, and Wonder magazines are available to view through the Pulp Magazines Project. 

Gernsback is lauded as one of the fathers of science fiction. In 1960 he was given a special Hugo Award as The Father of Magazine Science FictionThe award were unofficially called the Hugo's until the name was officially changed beginning in 1993. 

Hugo Gernsback died in New York on August 19, 1967 at the age 83.  


Our Brit Trip is continuing in Lincolnshire. Sir Issac Newton was born and educated in Lincolnshire at Woolsthorpe Manor.  Rabbit trails: Harlaxton Manor/College


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Sunday, August 5, 2018

BW32: Blind date with a book

Happy Sunday!   This month we are going on a blind date with a book.  Your mission is to go on an adventure to the library or book store in search of a new book.    You may also use the internet by doing a google image search for  book covers.   Or play along using your home shelves if short of funds or time.

At the book store, pick a random book based on its position on the shelf.  To choose a book: decide in advance  (1) Genre, (2)  two number between 1 and 5, and (3) one number between 1 and 30. Using these numbers, find the chosen Genre in the book store or library, count over certain number of sections in the aisle, go down that number of shelves and count to the 3rd number and that's the book you'll get.  I'll be going to Barnes and Noble sometime this week and will let you know what I find.

I did a random search on google and these books attracted my attention: 

Spread your reading wings a bit and chose a genre you don't normally read. 

Our Brit Trip is taking us to Derbyshire this week: Derbyshire is primarily a rural county that boasts being the location of many pop culture references including – the home of Pemberly, the location for Georgette Heyer’s novel The Toll-Gate, and the filming location of The Princess Bride.

Have fun exploring!

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