RIP Harper Lee!

I am just reading that Harper Lee has passed away! To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my absolute favourite books ever… Harper Lee was 89 and until last year Mockingbird was her only published book. And what a book it is!

When at the beginning of last year another book of her’s was announced to be published, about grown up Scout and her having to accept that her father Atticus is only human, I was super excited. I was a little wary of reading it, as I loved To Kill a Mockingbird so much, but I was super curious as well.

na

Go Set a Watchman ended up being on OK read, but To Kill a Mockingbird will always have a special place in my heart. To this day I recall the wonder of reading it for the very first time at age 15 while on summer holiday in Ireland. I can still see myself sitting out in the sun, reclining against a tree, reading. I have read it many times since and every time I do, it still holds it’s magic.

Rest in peace, Harper Lee! And thank you for giving us Atticus and Scout Finch!

 

What I have learned in the past 9 days

On the travel front

  • The Czech Republic is beautiful and green and hilly with lots of woods.
  • I literally can not understand a word of Czech… learning to say “thank you” (“děkuji“) properly is quite a task…
  • I remember loving Prague when I last was there 20 years ago and I now remember why: it is truly beautiful! Granted, it is overrun by tourists like me but it’s beautiful.
07-28 IMG_2767 Prague (Medium)

Prague, central square

07-28 IMG_2753 Prague (Medium)

My daughter trying to catch bubbles in Prague

07-28 IMG_2182 Prague (Medium)

Prague – Charles bridge

07-28 IMG_1900 Prague (Medium)

Memorial to 80.000 murdered Prague Jews in WWII (all their names emscribed on the walls)

07-28 IMG_2776 Prague (Medium)

Prague – Old Jewish cemetery

  • Sometimes I wish I was a man, then I wouldn’t have to miss certain sites like this one:
07-28 IMG_2350 Prague (Medium)

Men’s room in a shopping mall in Prague… DH was kind enough to document it, I think he peed in the urinal beneath the lady in red… 😉

  • We have visited many places already. Besides Prague my so far other favorite place is the town of Telč (Teltsh)
Telč

Telč

Telč

Telč

  • Yet again confirmed: my kids are so much fun and make me laugh!
Headstone for a dead bug made by my daughter.

Headstone for a dead bug made by my daughter.

My son high-fiving the Virgin Mary

My son high-fiving the Virgin Mary

On the reading front

We have also had some down time. We stuck to our campsite now and again and when the kids go off to play in the pool or with new friends on the trampoline, there is plenty of time to read. With bad internet connection I have been less glued to the laptop and have been able to finish 3 of the 9 books on my summer reading list! I have learned that:

  • GSaWHad I read “Go Set a Watchman” before “To Kill a Mockingbird” I would never have loved Atticus Finch quite as much but I do still love the way he parents. “Go Set a Watchman” is a good book about growing up and letting go of the image of a parent as a superhero, but nothing can beat Harper Lee’s first novel. And I can’t let go of Attitcus as one of my heroes…
  • Parents can screw up their kids so badly! Well, that is no news, of course, but in “Urban Grimshaw and the Shed Crew” that became so verUGatSCy painfully clear yet again. And the character of Chop in “Urban Grimshaw”: he is so far from perfect, how can he be the one to help Urban? And yet, he does. A little attention, a sense of right and wrong, a little love and some nurturing can help a young life forward and can redeem your own. In the end, even when people are more or less redeemed, humans remain fallible, that is also clear. Can’t wait to see what Richard Armitage has done in the role of Chop when the film comes out!
  • It’s amazing what the chemistry in a brain can do to wreak havok in a life… Susannah Cahalan’s story in “Brain of Fire” BoFwas a very interesting read. And her dad, I love how he and Susannah ‘found’ each other again. He has a tough facade but is gooey on the inside. A role I already look forward to seeing Richard in.

On Richard Armitage

I was able to view the first two Hannibal episodes he is in and… WOW! The show still creeps me out (I started watching and I couldn’t make myself view more than a handful of episodes) but he is amazing. The things he does with his body I have never seen him do before!

RA-FD7-21May15

The quietness and the hidden emotion and the insecurities and the creepiness.. ah, this man is good! And I really love how he is stretching his acting legs, finding roles that challenge him as I think this one did.

Finally

I hate wasps, the ones that sting and are circling around my head  right now as I try to post this blog entry with awful wifi, which means it will take ages to load. Nonetheless, I am loving my vacation. 🙂

Urban Watchman and Bridget, Jephte and Laura on the Brain for the Summer!

In a week I’ll be leaving on a 3 week holiday with DH and the kids. We’re going to the Czech Republique (among other places to Prague) for 10 days and after that will travel to Silesia in South-West Poland. We love visiting cities, towns, castles, museums, we’ll probably throw in a bit of hiking as well, maybe an amusement park for the kids if there is anything around and the kids will also want to relax at the pool or lake. I’m good with that! It means that after I dip my toes into water, I let the kids enjoy the water on their own and grab the chance to catch up on my reading. This year, more than any other year I think, I have a collection of books with me that I REALLY want to read. But: where do I start???? See for yourself:

20150715_230540

I think I really will have to start with Go Set a Watchman as I have been so eager to read that the moment publication was announced (I made sure I got my copy straight away yesterday on the date of publication)! Opinions on Watchman seem quite divided and in addition there is also the controversy of whether Harper Lee is being taken advantage of in her old age or not with the publication of this book. All this makes me a bit hesitant to start reading it. To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my favorite books evah, after all, and I don’t want anything to spoil that! But now that the book is out there, I really need to read it for myself and judge for myself… Which probably means I will have to take Mockingbird with me as well for reference….

After that it’ll have to be either Urban Grimshaw or Brain on Fire, which I may never have come across hadn’t it been for Richard Armitage, but which both sound like they’ll be really good reads. I am still planning on putting Edith Wharton’s Summer on my e-reader as well, although for some reason that book doesn’t attract me as much as the other Armitage-related two. I’ve already passed over reading that for some years now but as Richard will be playing a part in the adaptation, I have just enough curiosity to try reading it. It’s at the bottom of my list, though. Notice that I am not going to read anything Red Dragon related. I’ll watch the Red Dragon on Hannibal but I am not in the least attracted to reading it, just not my genre.

So, after the “Richard Armitage books” I want to move on to the others, though not sure in what order yet. Can Bridget Jones really be any good without Mark Darcy? The first book (and film) were better than the second, how will this third book fare? And then there’s Laura Ingalls Wilder who I grew up with and finally, after all these years, I got the idea that I’d like to know more about her apart from her Little House books. Jephte’s Daughter is a book my mother had lying about and when I leafed through it (I often look through her book shelves), she told me to take it with me on holiday. I’m so dutiful. 😉

There is a problem, however: once I get into a book that really interests me, I go into binge-reading mode and am no good to the family… not such a great thing on a family holiday… and I only have 3 weeks to read all these books!  I guess now may be a good time to learn how to juggle like Tom Hiddleston (yeah, I really like Tom Hiddleston)….