Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Book Challenge

One of my new Swedish readers (she says proudly, hardly believing how lucky she is to have suddenly been introduced to so many women who live in such a faraway land) has set me a challenge which I gladly accept.

Below is a photo of my Grandpa's little wall-desk where I like to do my work these days. Karin (I am presuming that is the right name...but I do not know any Swedish, so may have misinterpreted the blogname, in which case, I apologise) asked me to grab the closest book to me and open it to page 123.

Now. Technically speaking, all of these books are "closest to me". Which one to choose? Easy.
Only this one has more than 100 pages!

It is "The Master of Ballantrae" by Robert Louis Stevenson. Let's have a closer look at it, shall we? The cover is a plaid cloth, very smooth and cool to the touch.

When the book is opened one is overwhelmed by a strong peppery/woody fragrance. It's a very, very good book smell. Ummmmm....makes me think of my Grandpa.

Here is page 123, as Karin requested. It feels like I am following a treasure-map, and I think I'm getting very close to that exciting little "x".

So....I count 5 sentences, and post the next three:

"For instance, with all those solid qualities which I delight to recognize in you, I never knew a woman who did not prefer me - nor, I think," he continued, with the most silken deliberation, "I think - who did not continue to prefer me."
Mr. Henry laid down his cards. He rose to his feet very softly, and seemed all the while like a person in deep thought. "You coward!" he said gently, as if to himself. And then, with neither hurry nor any particular violence, he struck the Master in the mouth."

Thank you Karin!!! That book would probably have been sitting there above my computer for months, and I would not have opened it. It was there simply because I am constantly discovering more and more Robert Louis Stevenson books in my Grandpa's collection, and so until I find them all I put them here. Because I don't like to have my authors scattered around the shelves. Each author needs a home. Even if I have never read any of his books. Yet!

Below is an illustration from page 127 which hints at what happened next. Most exciting! From a quick reading of the novel's introduction, it seems that the two main characters are described as "the fraternal enemies"...ooooo....brothers who hate each other...guess what book I'm taking to bed with me tonight! I can just see the rippling muscles, the fiery eyes......
Now, here is a picture of me which I took by accident while attempting to photograph my library. You can see the ceiling is interesting. You can see me here peering into the portal which leads from my computer to Sweden, I am curiously waiting to learn more about this country. But do you see the whimsical, saddish look in my eyes? That is how I look when I ponder the difficulties involved in ever learning Swedish. Aaahhhhh......


Sömsmånen said...

I'm adding yet another British - oops, sorry, Scottish - writer to my list of authors to explore. Still waiting for Delafield to arrive with the post. Only ever read Treasure Island by Stevenson, but this does indeed sound captivating.
How pretty you are!

Badger said...

That thing with how the books smell, and how they remind you of the previous owner(s)? That is why I will NEVER switch over to electronic books. NEVER.

Anonymous said...

You're lovely! And exactly how I pictured you, right down to the bemusement.

Anonymous said...

Your accidental photograph--the detail on the ceiling and the serious but softened look on your face--is very lovely.

I like hearing how the smell of your grandfather's books remind you of him. For me, it's the smell of mothballs. Not quite the same lovely bookish-smell like yours...but when I smell them, I can see him so clearly, sitting in his study at his desk, turning to look at me, with his heavy plaid shirt on, his white hair combed and parted, and his bemused smile.

karin-odlar-sin-trädgård said...

Your entry was witty as always! Thanks to the photos it was a real treat to the book, you even added smell and texture! I really enjoy this challenge game by now. Reading your extract from Stevenson made me realise I haven't read anything by him except Treasure Island, I'll immediately put the title you picked on my list!
Your Swedish is improving I think, you guessed correctly about the text I had picked. It was from an analysis of a Swedish short-story by one of our famous old authors.
And, besides, my name is Karin, I just add the name of my blog in a way to it since there are so many Karins out there ;-) My blog's name is from Candide by Voltaire, he says in the end "il faut cultiver son jardin", you have to cultivate your garden and "odla sin trädgård" means "cultivate one's garden" and I've added in both a literal and a spiritual sense. Ooops, long entry! Bye!

Dani said...

I felt like I was there discovering the book with you. Incredible writer, you are.

And you have a sweet face. :)

Maria said...

You are funny Eleanor! First for your investigations about my book (Kicki&Lasse). I have only read half the book but I think it's boring =) So I don't know the end yet.
And also for this report about your Stevenson-book. Even I be curious about it! I must say the cover looks beautiful and sofisticated =) Sometimes I bought books because of the covers, especially books from the 50's that often have very nice pattern on the covers. You can see some of them here:


I called it "Beautiful books"

At last I my must say that maybe is this contact with you a good lesson for my english and for my confidence to use it. I think you understand even if it's not correct grammatically =)Have a nice day!

Esti said...

An interesting post. I'm glad you are coming around my blog lately and leaving so kind comments. I come around here often, but I'm speechless. You seem to have always a lot to offer. :)

Jeanette Nord said...

Now this was fun! I had to try it out immediately. A report will show up in my blog one of theese days! You are an amazing writer!Plans on writing a book yourself maybe? Please do! It would be a treat to read I`m sure!

Have a great day!