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Proverbial Friday –

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Proverbs and sayings often provide us with wise words from all corners of the world.  Best savoured a little at a time, these sayings are passed down from generation to generation. Each Friday, I post a saying, or proverb and a quote that I find thought-provoking. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Each Friday, I post a Proverb or Saying and a Quote that I find thought-provoking. 

I hope you think so too.

Hearts on waterfeature (Small)

 

Continuing our theme of love this week, a wonderful quote from a very inspirational speaker says much in its words: –

 

“I have decided to stick with Love.
Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

~ Martin Luther King Jr

 

When we hate others we are really saying to ourselves that we are okay and others are not and we allow ourselves to blame others. It is your fault! Either way hating someone else makes us feel lousy and the following proverb alludes to this:

 

Do not wrong or hate your neighbor for it is not he that you wrong but yourself –

Native American Proverb (Pima)

 

 

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A sobering thought this Thursday at Something To Ponder About

 

 

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Three Seconds – To the Dark Side

It is a strange feeling when you start to feel support for a villain, even if it is just a fictional character. If  on reading this post, you’re thinking that sounds a tad like the so-called, ‘Stockholm Syndrome,’ you’d be right, – because I have just finished reading Three Seconds, a Swedish crime novel, set in Stockholm, an offering from writers Anders Roslund and Borge Hellstrom.

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Stockholm in Winter

Being set in Sweden, with vignettes in Denmark and Poland, was enough to pique my interest in the story, but that increased tenfold when I began reading about Ewert Grens, the ageing Swedish detective. He is the kind who stubbornly refuses to give up on unsolved cases, and the plot contrasts him with another character, Piet Hoffman, a man with a secret life, who risks everything he loves every single day. As I read on, I thought, ‘Could these men ever be free of the choices they’d made?’

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The book makes you think and such is the skill of the authors that the reader might even find him/herself, as I did, admiring the villain, who is known to you from the start. No matter how murky his world becomes, no matter how much deception or corruption this character engages in, the reader is, surreptitiously, drawn to the ‘wrong’ side of the moral and legal fence, rather than championing the side of the police hero, who solves the crime.

I began to admire the criminal’s intellect, his fortitude and his cunning, to the point that I even began to secretly wish for him to ‘to come out on top,’  to be free, to beat the odds, yet knowing that he couldn’t possibly ever win. It was then that I thought, “How could I be siding with criminality?”

On reflection, I think, it is because the villain in this story is so human. He is just like any of us, a man faulted with good and bad feelings, a man with mixed emotions. A man who shows tenderness, and hardened self-control, but also one that faced some tough choices in navigating a duplicitous existence in the criminal underworld. Yes, that is why he has my sympathy.

Freedom is a package deal – with it comes responsibilities and consequences” – Anonymous

And so the plot continues until the final reveal and ‘twist,’ that arrives almost in the very last sentence! You are on the edge of your seat until the last. Wow… my kind of writing!!!

The inclusion of a final appendix of ‘notes,’ felt as if the authors wanted to answer the questions I already had spinning around in my head. That’s a unique and welcome surprise in a crime novel, especially considering the plot is not completely fictional! Knowing that gave me so much more to Ponder About.

Winner of the Swedish Crime Novel of the Year for 2009, Three Seconds dominated the Swedish best Sellers list for 18 months and was translated into English, in 2010.

Highly Recommended.  Forestwood’s Rating: 9/10

Stockholm, Sweden
Stockholm, Sweden

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Shadow – Book by Karin Altvegen

Very Lord of the RingsNowadays people talk a lot about chasing happiness. There are a multitude of books courses about being happy. Feeling happy has become something that we constantly desire convinced that when we have found the secret to being happy, everything will fall into place perfectly. Not being happy has come to be equated with failure. Is it possible to be happy each waking day, year in year out? Is it something worth striving for? Karin Altvegen explores this in her novel, “Shadow.”

Prior to reading this book, I had only read one other book by this author. Shame which had been described as:

“An existential thriller about the power of fear and the brains capability to repress things that is to painful to remember. About the fatal consequences of an atypical childhood.  And about the biggest shame of all: The feeling of not having been loved by one’s parents.”

It seems this theme and moral stand is continued in Karin’s novel, Shadow; So it was with trepidation and a pre-conceived idea that I read this book. And it certainly was about not facing one’s fears and loneliness! The shadows of the past can be forgotten, but their imprint might be indelibly fixed.

This is the story of a son trying to emulate his father: a psychological thriller about relationships and how the past can influence the future – how actions live on after they are long forgotten – what starts from a lack of good parenting, is then compounded by a serious lack of communication, ends with characters who take drastic and monumentally tragic couses of action.

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Featuring the writers Alice and Axel Ragnerfelt who hold a dark secret, ‘Shadow’ is a family history marked by what seems almost to be a generational pattern of despair. communication.

“She remembered how at first she was so proud to bear the Ragnerfeldt name. Her friends would get a dreamy look in their eyes whenever he was mentioned, and they wanted to hear all about what he was like. But when they noticed her ambivalence and lack of enthusiasm, she was met with suspicion, as if her words had sprung from envy. No one wanted to hear anything negative about Axel, the national treasure. She stopped saying what she felt and joined his crowd of admirers, at least outwardly. It was easier that way.”

One protagonist ponders the moment at which a personal calamity begins?

“When does the first flake fall that will form the snowball? At what stage does the movement start? Was it the day when he secretly chose the linguistic path, …. By now everything had been in motion for a long time. There was only one hour left until what they thought was theirs would be lost for ever.”

“But even a bell’s invisible crack is revealed by a dull peal. Had the evil always been inside him? Or had it taken over when everything was stolen from him. When all that remained to him was the ability to shatter in order to retaliate.  Too late he realized that he had directed his revenge at himself. That what he had shown himself to be capable of had chained him to a shame too heavy to bear.

So how does he handle it?

Gratefully he felt it (the alcohol) take over. The feeling of liberation when the brain when numb. When he was no longer capable of comprehending the depth of his pain. Why weren’t human beings born this way? With their blood spiked from the start with a small percentage of alcohol? With the defense mechanism disconnected and the soul in a state of peace. Was survival really so important that it outweighed all suffering?

Sometimes I think that today we have trouble finding happiness because of our deep fear of suffering. Is happiness a type of contentment?
Contentment is a feeling of having obtained or achieved what can reasonable be desired. And this novel discusses individuals who struggle with contentment…..the courage to settle down and dare to be satisfied with what they have.Very Lord of the Rings

But then on page 154 Altvegen writes, “Someone who puts caution first stifles the life he’s trying to save.”  and the writer’s astute observations made me ponder more about happiness and life, but in a different way.  A tale of murder and family secrets is not for everyone, yet I wondered why this novel was left sitting on my TBR shelf, for so long. It is seriously good.

Shadow is a novel  by Karin Altvegen from 2007 that has been translated into English.

Rating: 8/10

The good: Skillful and suspenseful convoluted plot that switches back and forth with  surprising twists and turns. The depth and layers of this book gives me somethings to ponder about.

 

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Enjoy Scandinavia without the long flight!

A while ago, I was invited to write a post about Scandinavian books and have reproduced some sections and updated others here:

Have you ever dreamt of visiting Scandinavia: the lands that gave us Ikea, Santa Claus, and Hans Christian Andersen? Perhaps you have thought of getting close and personal with a Viking in the fjords of Norway, or the unique landscape of Iceland, but have found neither the time nor the funds?

You can still experience the arctic world without leaving the comfort of your own home through the literary works of Scandinavians. Gaining popularity here not just because they write good crime mysteries, but also because they focus more on story and descriptive plot, giving the reader an impression of, “being there.”

So select your destination and read on:

Denmark

Visit the fairy tale land of Denmark through the eyes of writer Elsebeth Egholm, an excellent crime fiction writer, (Title: Next of Kin), set in the author’s hometown of Århus. Or you could get a feeling for Greenland and snow with Peter Høeg’s thriller “Smilla’s Feeling for Snow”, or even watch the 1997 movie version of the same name, starring Julia Ormond. But if historical fiction is more your thing, Per Olov Enquist will transport you to the Danish royal court of King Christian VII of Denmark and the 1700’s – the time of ‘enlightenment,’ with a tale of romance, lust, treachery and intrigue.

Sweden

A short train ride from Copenhagen, takes one to Sweden, across the Bridge over the Oresund, which is a central theme on the TV series, “The Bridge” (available on DVD). The first season was so popular a second one is set to come. Most people are familiar with Henning Mankell’s ‘Wallander’ books and film, but there are many other Swedish authors whose writings bring Sweden into your own home. Camilla Lackberg is an author who writes about Fjallbacka, a small town on the Swedish Bohuslan coast, with journalist turned home-maker Erica Falck, helping out her policeman husband solve puzzling murder mysteries such as The Ice Princess, which is first in the series.

No one can dispute Stieg Larson’s, ‘Millenium Trilogy’ has brought Swedish crime fiction to Hollywood, and the world, but not everyone likes crime fiction, even if it is Scandinavian. ‘Hanna’s daughters,’ (a story of three generations of woman and their journeys through life’s stages), together with  ‘Inge and Mira’, and ‘Simon and the Oaks’, are three fiction novels of human drama, peppered with a little history, and a central theme of  “friendship,” which the author believes, is more important than family.

Karin Altvegen’s describes marginal life in Sweden’s suburban fringes, in the psychological thriller, ‘Shame” whilst John Ajvide Lindqvist’s “Let the right one in”- is a horror fiction story about vampires, but don’t let that put you off. I would never read a story on vampires, yet this one is a more intimate account of childhood bullying than vampires themselves and, furthermore, was made into a successful movie, then remade by Hollywood. Very atmospheric and highly recommended!

Finally, Lars Kepler is selling out in bookstores as his atypical but brilliant Finnish detective solves even the most brutal and complicated crimes in a most unusual way. I would suggest The Hynoptist and The Fire Witness.

Hungry? Time for a coffee break? Enhance the full Scandinavian experience with an authentic Norwegian Waffle with Swedish Cloudberry Jam and cream?   Recipe found here

Norway

Waffles are delicious while reading works by Norwegian writers: Jo Nesbø with the infamous Harry Hole, Karin Fossum, whose character exist on the fringes of society, or Anne Holt, former Norwegian Justice Minister turned crime writer, with her detective Hanne Wilhelmsen series.Recently, I read “Finse 1222”, set at one of the highest points along the Oslo-Bergen train line, wherein Holt’s descriptions of a winter snowstorm are so real, that when you read it, you will be shovelling snow in your dreams. Again, if you prefer something that does not have dead bodies, I recommend Per Pettersen, (To Siberia, Out Stealing Horses) or Jostein Gaarder (Sophie’s World – a Fiction story that introduces you to philosophy in a fascinating way).

Iceland

Finally, your Scandinavian tour is complete when you get a taste for Icelandic landscapes and culture in Arnaldur Indridason’s police procedurals: Jar City, Arctic Chill, and Hypothermia. (my favourite detective stories), or a depiction of Icelandic rural life, is found in Halldor Laxness’, “Iceland’s Bell.”

Travel fiction of note:

Andrew Stevensen – Non- Fiction; “Summer light”; A Walk across Norway. Not a Scandinavian writer, but nevertheless a great travel account.

True North – Gavin Francis: Travels in the Arctic, following the travels of ancient Nordic explorers.

I recommend checking out Euro crime for seeking details of other Scandinavian authors and further listings of individual Scandinavian titles to ponder about. Bon Voyage!!

 

Something Scandinavian to Ponder About

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Proverbial Thursday – Global Proverbs and Sayings

I find there to be profound wisdom in proverbs, sayings and quotes and I marvel at the way they are so succinct in communicating messages to the reader. Mostly anonymous, they come to us from past generations and from across cultures. They speak of the experiences of lives lived and lessons learned. Quotes, like proverbs, make us think more deeply about something. Each Thursday, I post a Proverb or Saying and a Quote that I find thought-provoking.  I hope you will too.

This week, I have an Afrikaans proverb to share with you from a lovely blogger, in my community. The delightful Sonel, from Sonel’s World  has contributed the following proverb that relates to the notion of Trust and a discussion on this issue that stemmed from a post in the 31 days of Free Writing Challenge.

“We always say in Afrikaans:

‘Kyk die kat uit die boom’ (Check the cat out in the tree).”Source: Sonel

One good friend is worth many acquaintances – Source: Unknown

Proverbial thursdfly sml 3932Something to Ponder About

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Proverbial Thursday – Proverbs and Sayings from around the World

I find there to be profound wisdom in proverbs, sayings and quotes and I marvel at the way they are so succinct in communicating messages to the reader. Mostly anonymous, they come to us from past generations and from across cultures. They speak of the experiences of lives, lived and lessons, learned. Quotes, like proverbs, make us think more deeply about something. Each Thursday, I post a Proverb or Saying and a Quote, that I find thought-provoking.  I hope you will too.

Proverbial sml

“A brave man seldom is hurt in the back.”

Bosnian Proverb  

“If we are ready to tear down the walls that confine us, break the cage that imprisons us, we will discover what our wings are for.”

– Michael Meegan

I hope Proverbial Thursday gives you something to ponder about

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Proverbial Thursday – Proverbs and Sayings from around the World

I find there to be profound wisdom in proverbs, sayings and quotes and I marvel at the way they are so succinct in communicating messages to the reader. Mostly anonymous, they come to us from past generations and from across cultures.

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They speak of the experiences of lives lived and lessons learned. Quotes, like proverbs, make us think more deeply about something. Each Thursday, I post a Proverb or Saying and a Quote that I find thought-provoking.  I hope you will too.

“A child is a bridge to heaven.” Persian Proverb

During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” – George Orwell

Proverbial sml

Something to Ponder About

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Proverbial Thursday – Proverbs and Sayings from around the World

I find there to be profound wisdom in proverbs, sayings and quotes and I marvel at the way they are so succinct in communicating messages to the reader. Mostly anonymous, they come to us from past generations and from across cultures. They speak of the experiences of lives lived and lessons learned. Quotes, like proverbs, make us think more deeply about something. Each Thursday, I post a Proverb or Saying and a Quote that I find thought-provoking.  I hope you will too.

“A chattering bird builds no nest.” – Cameroonian ProverbProverbial thursdfly sml 3932

“Though no one can go back and make a new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new end.” – Carl Bard

Something proverbial to ponder about today

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Proverbial Thursday – Proverbs and Sayings from around the World

Proverbial smlI find there to be profound wisdom in proverbs, sayings and quotes and I marvel at the way they are so succinct in communicating messages to the reader. Mostly anonymous, they come to us from past generations and from across cultures. They speak of the experiences of lives lived and lessons learned. Quotes, like proverbs, make us think more deeply about something.

Each Thursday, I post a Proverb or Saying and a Quote that I find thought-provoking.  I hope you will too.

Idleness breeds lust – Chinese proverb

[From Tidious Ted ..    http://retrorambling.wordpress.com ]

 

Mired in self-doubt, he was embarrassed by the praise he received but was gladdened to see his labor of love make a lasting imprint on culture. Hamblyn captures the root of this ambivalence:

“Most pioneers are at the mercy of doubt at the beginning, whether of their worth, of their theories, or of the whole enigmatic field in which they labour.”

http://www.brainpickings.org/2015/07/07/the-invention-of-clouds-luke-howard-hamblyn/

Something proverbial to ponder about

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Proverbial Thursday – Proverbs Quotes and Sayings from Around the World

Proverbial thursdfly sml 3932I find there to be profound wisdom in proverbs, sayings and quotes and I marvel at the way they are so succinct in communicating messages to the reader. Mostly anonymous, they come to us from past generations and from across cultures.

They speak of the experiences of lives lived and lessons learned. Quotes, like proverbs, make us think more deeply about something. Each Thursday, I post a Proverb or Saying and a Quote that I find thought-provoking.  I hope you will too.

If you want to go quickly go alone, if you want to go far go together.
African proverb

Janet from This that and the other thing  posted a wonderful quote which she has given me permission to reproduce this week:

The pale stars were sliding into their places. The whispering of the leaves was almost hushed. All about them it was still and shadowy and sweet. It was that wonderful moment when, for lack of a visible horizon, the not yet darkened world seems infinitely greater—a moment when anything can happen, anything be believed in Olivia Howard Dunbar, The Shell of Sense

Something to Ponder About

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WOW – Word of the Week Capricious

” In 1914, we often had to pacify and placate the irrational demands of a cruel and capricious dictator.”wordaweekspray

Capricious weather patterns often cause difficulties for meteorologists.”

 capricious:  adjective:

given to sudden and unaccountable changes of mood or behaviour.

“a capricious and often brutal administration”

 changing according to no discernible rules; unpredictable.

  • “a capricious climate”

 Synonyms:  fickle, inconstant, changeable, variable, unstable, mercurial, volatile, erratic, vacillating, irregular, inconsistent, fitful, arbitrary

impulsive, temperamental, wild, ungovernable;

whimsical, fanciful, flighty, wayward, quirky, faddish, freakish;

unpredictable, random, chance, haphazard

“the capricious workings of fate”

Antonyms:  stable, consistent

 

Thanks to Millie at for leading the way to Heena’s weekly meme

Word of the Week is Something to Ponder About

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30 Day Book Challenge – A Book You are Embarrassed to Say You Liked

DAY 24.  – A Girl Most LikelyRebecca Sparrow

2004 runner up One Book, One Brisbane ( an annual award based on a fiction book set in Brisbane) Why would I be embarrassed? Read on…..

This is a great teen and young adult comedy  based on a girl growing up, not only in my hometown, but also in my home suburb, so it was a bit of a nostalgic read, albeit like a weird conduit back to my growing years.

I read this book in  just a few hours. It is not in any way a stretch for the brain, but the local references of my home town made up for that.

Here is the blurb:

 On leaving school Rachel Hill was nominated as “The Girl Most Likely,” but now she’s turning 27 and facing a bleak future. Unemployed and living back at home, with a secret marriage turning into a secret divorce, Rachel confronts the future – a future complicated by her unknowing mother’s enrolment of Rachel in a beauty Pageant, a love affair with her ’talent’ coach, a sexual harassment case for ‘hotslicing’ the local priest and the interventions of an erotic-porn writing lesbian. Rachel is set to ride a vicious pendulum of success and set-back. Is there a way out of her quarter-life crisis? Can Rachel come to terms with who she really is before she’s exposed? And what is a hotslice?

Rachel Sparrow is entertaining as a speaker and writer.  There was moves to make this into a feature film, again I imagine, would be aimed at young adults, but it seems this didn’t happen.

  • This book does not pretend to be an esoteric study of a young woman’s life in the ‘burbs’ but is peppered with humour, and if you up for a light fun read, pick it up.
    After all, it won’t hurt you. That’s a good thing about books.
    Something to Ponder About

DAY 27. – Book that has been on your “to read” list the longest.
DAY 28. – Favorite quote from a book.
DAY 29. – A book you hated.
DAY 30. – Book you couldn’t put down.

 

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30 day Book Challenge – Favourite Childhood Book

Day 20 – Winnie The Pooh Series by A. A. Milne

It’s a tad embarrassing but yes, it’s Winnie The Pooh!!!!

The challenge did ask for  the favourite childhood book, as opposed to favourite children’s book. That’s my childhood, right?

All things considered, A.A. Milne had a captive market with me, and his Winnie The Pooh  series. As a child growing up in the sixties, in a lower-middle class family from the “burbs”,  we were far away from being poverty stricken, yet even so, I only had five or six books to my name, (and A.A. Milne was the author of four of them). This was due mainly to my spendthrift father who ensured we utilized the city council library, with its many literary resources,  (costing him next to nothing), as opposed to him buying books, which he clearly considered an extravagance to a child in my era. Geez, we were lucky to get a new t-shirt or pair or socks for our birthdays, let alone something as non-essential as a BOOK!

Thus, I read and re-read those Pooh books over and over, to the point where I could easily recite parts of the ‘hundred aker wood’ dialogue some 40 years later. Eeyore’s depressive comments, Owl’s wise lyricisms, (but incredibly bad spelling), the dopey but lovably loyal Pooh Bear, the neurotic Piglet and the blubbering Tigger were such a delight. I could never forget Rabbit’s attempt to ‘unbounce’ Tigger, or the discovery of the ‘North Pole’ in the flooded river when Pooh was rescuing Roo, nor Pooh getting ‘stuck’ in his quest for ‘hunny’.’

Such was the mind of the 7 year old me that it was a several years before I realized Christopher Robin was in fact, a boy. After all, the book’s illustrations had him wearing some pretty girlish attire to say nothing of his long unruly hair! Every boy I knew sported a #2 crew cut and bat wing ears, so this ‘Robin’ must therefore be a girl!

To say it was my favourite childhood book is a slight exaggeration, as I didn’t really have many other book to compare it too, only discovering classics like Enid Blyton’s ‘Famous Five’ when a friend introduced me to that series, years later. (By then, it was too late, I was hooked on the hunt for the ‘heffalump’ and the rest of Pooh corner).

When my own children came along, (being the bookworm that I am), I was determined to create a mini-library in their bedrooms, but the world had significantly changed and Pooh Bear had long been supplanted by the likes of Mem Fox, (who writes the best-ever-carefully crafted, children stories), Spot and his various escapades, Postman Pat, Thomas the Tank,  (modern editions) and several individual stories that are memorable more for their iambic pentameter and illustrations than for their author’s names.

Piglet and Eeyore didn’t endear themselves to my kids, nor did the map of the 100 Aker Wood tantalize their imagination as it did mine for theirs was the world where books were made with high tech “lift-the-flaps” adaptations. In my day, children read the words  in books and illustrations were few, and far between,  forcing imagination to create the visuals, not Disney.

Perhaps one day, I will get to see the real Pooh Corner and the 100 Aker wood in Ashdown Forest, Sussex, England and compare my memory to that which inspired A.A. Milne.

That is something like Pooh, I will spend some time pondering about.

DAY 21. – Book you tell people you’ve read, but haven’t (or haven’t
actually finished).