Review: Kongens hus : Alle kongeparets hjem

Kongens hus : Alle kongeparets hjem by Queen Sonja

I picked this up at the library, after I saw it exhibited at the Open Palace tour in Oslo. It is a beautiful book filled with photographs and interesting text about all the residences that the King and Queen inhabit.

The book is worth looking through for the photographs alone. How the interior is decorated, and not just the public rooms. The pictures of the private apartments are filled with the Queen’s art and the King’s sailing trophies. The pictures of Queen Sonja’s art on the walls remind me of the pictures of the art in the renovated palace in Copenhagen.

Also, pictures of the holiday residences are shared. Some of the places are rarely seen inside by the public.

In addition, if you read Norwegian – the snippets the Queen shares for each residence makes the book worth reading. There is not much new information, but it is well written and makes the book.

Her perfectionism is shown through the story of her sleeping in every bedroom in the palace prior to the renovation so she would know exactly what needed to be done. The only negative is the lack of comments on the uproar on the cost of the renovation.

Her stories are supplemented by facts from the architect Thomas Thiis-Evensen and art historian Ole Rikard Høisæther.

Well worth the read.


Review: A Year of Living Danishly: My Twelve Months Unearthing the Secrets of the World’s Happiest Country

A Year of Living Danishly: My Twelve Months Unearthing the Secrets of the World's Happiest Country
For some reason, I really seem to enjoy books where people move to another country and give their reflections on living there. In this case, British journalist from London moving to Jutland, Denmark. (Something a lot of Copenhageners I know would have had a serious problem with.)

She covers topics, month for month, as she gets used to living in Denmark and the oddities of Danes seen from a British perspective. Sometimes some of the chapters seemed overly long, but as there was a red thread binding the story together, it felt like a complete project.

In some things I could definitely recognise the first period when I moved to Denmark myself – and my first meeting with the Danish tax returns… By virtue of speaking Norwegian you’d think it would be easier, and it was, somewhat, but bureaucratic Danish language is in a linguistic family of its own, with little recognisability to Norwegians.

The stories are funny at times, and interesting at others. (Sometimes both funny and interesting.) Well worth a read.

The Year of Living Danishly: Uncovering the Secrets of the World’s Happiest Country by Helen Russell ( link)

Review: Still Reigning: Thoughts of a Queen

Still Reigning: Thoughts of a Queen
Still Reigning: Thoughts of a Queen by The Queen [of Twitter]

I loved and chuckled often at The Queen_UK on Twitter in the beginning. I have the first book, and laughed several times while reading it. In most of her tweets and analysis, I thought she was spot on. Witty.

However, with this one… I don’t find it nearly as funny. Maybe because there is so much repetition between each chapter, and sometimes “she” contradicts herself from chapter to chapter.

Plus, I get that it is a gimmick, but after hearing in chapter after chapter (not to mention in several tweets over the past couple of years) how much the Queen of Spain loves Phillip Schofield, I got a bit tired of the whole concept. There is a decided lack of imagination, beyond some jokes that gets repeated ad nauseam.

It is a fun idea when you evolve as you go along, but to me the fun of it has outlived itself.

If you haven’t read the first book, or followed the persona on Twitter, then it is worth the read. If you have… probably not. (And I feel supremely grumpy for saying that, because I really wanted to be entertained.)


Review: 10% Happier

10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works--A True StoryI can’t remember where I first saw the review for this, and when I picked it up, though I know it is recent, and I might have seen it on one of the many book blogs I skim through Feedly. (Amazon tells me I bought it 9 days ago.)

I’d like to say I picked it up because of the catchy first part of the title, but I think it might be the “reducing stress” part of the title that caught my eye first. Though I certainly wouldn’t mind being 10% happier either.

The book is 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works–A True Story by Dan Harris

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Book review: Vanished Kingdoms

Vanished Kingdoms: The History of Half-Forgotten Europe by Norman Davies is a collection of historic accounts of several of the former kingdoms of Europe. It is based on the theory that it is the winner of a conflict who get to write the history, so Davies has decided to write the history of the losing part.

He accounts for Tolosa, Alt Clud, Burgundia, Aragon, Litva, Byzantium, Borussia, Sabaudia, Galicia, Etruria, Rosenau, Tsernagoar, Rusyn, Éire and CCCP.

Considering that the under title of the Rusyn chapter is “Republic for one day,” and the CCCP chapter is about the death of the Soviet Union without any royalty included as reigning in that demise… The title of the book could well be simply Vanishing countries, in my opinion.

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Book Review: The best of FoxTrot

It seemed to be a bit of a stretch of serious books, so it was time to interject it with something less strenuous. Let’s go to the comic book section. Friday’s read is The Best of Foxtrot

If you’re unfamiliar with FoxTrot – the comics cover a regular, stereotypical family and their day-to-day life.

The mother is a stay-at-home mom, freelancing journalist and a health nut when it comes to cooking and the father works at an office, and enjoys golfing. They have three children, Peter, their oldest son, enjoys eating, watching television and is terrible at sports, Paige, their daughter, who is rather ditzy, loves shopping and boy crazy, but without any huge success,  and Jason, the youngest son, who is an extreme nerd. He enjoys pursuits such as standing in line for the latest release at the movie theatre, dressing up into the characters from such films, coding his own operative system to compete with Windows, and teasing Paige.

In vibe, it is rather like Calvin & Hobbes – if Calvin had an older sister to torment in addition to Susie.

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Book review: Mette-Marit – Prinsesse av folket

As I said in my review the other day – there have been three books released to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Haakon and Mette-Marit’s marriage.

This is the second one I’m reviewing. It is called Mette-Marit: Prinsesse av folket. En illustrert feiring av Norges kronprinspar, (Translation: Mette-Marit, Princess of the people. An illustrated celebration of the Norwegian Crown Prince Couple) with pictures by Aasta Børte and text by Monica Aafløy Hansen.

This is a an album of pictures from the ten years Mette-Marit has been in the spotlight as the Norwegian Crown Princess. But, it is not just a pictorial – in some of the chapters, the text also feels as though it is an integral part of the book and not an afterthought.

At 127 pages, the content  and quality of pictures makes it feel like a lot more pages than it actually is.

I really enjoyed reading the anecdotes from the photographer that sometimes accompanied the text, or the pictures. It gives another dimension to the book – I might have seen the pictures before, but the photographer’s description adds an extra value to the pictures.

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