Still time to head to the beach so grab your paperback and get going. You can also just take a chair and go out and sit on your urban backyard or even in the street outside. Lap up the sun rays and a heavy dose of Vitamin D and emerge yourself in the story of some made up characters, biographies or more or less fluffy self help books.
I have a tendency to read people as books and judge books by their covers, I know, I am probably being a very shallow person…or not. It happened that I hired people because they were cute and had a nice bag. Yes, that one really was a nice guy but probably not that suited to work as an photographer’s assistant. And the brand new mint green Volvo I had at that time …still remember it and my lovely assistant, who was behind the wheel, every time I drive by that one street corner where he drove into another car and smashed my darling.
ROMANCE: Petra chose ¨The House by The Sea¨ by Santa Montefiore because she wanted a light and easy holiday read, also, the writer shares the same birth year with Petra which she though could be interesting. The book is a story of love and forgiveness, set in present day Devon in England and in Tuscany during the 1960s. Two different stories, one about a girl, Floriana, who falls in love with a rich boy in Italy, the other about a struggling hotelier, Marina, in Devon. Next on Petra’s ‘must-read-list’ is the book ¨Dear Life¨ by heavy weight Nobel Prize winner Alice Munro. Got to keep the balance..
Petra Fagerholm is born in Hanko, the small and most southern town in Finland, said to have the most sun and the loveliest beaches of all places in the country. She works as Head of PR and Outreach at the European Environmental Agency in Copenhagen. Her favorite bookstore is Foyle Book Store on Tottenham Court Road in the centre of London.
FREEDOM: Jerome got his book ¨Paris est une fête¨ (A Moveable Feast) by Ernest Hemingway as a Christmas gift from his brother. The book, written in the 1920s when Ernest partied with his buddies Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald, rose to cult status in the aftermath of the terror attacks in Paris last year. The people of Paris wanted to show that they wouldn’t give in to fear and also wanted to be reminded of the optimistic spirit of the city by reading and sharing this book.
Jerome Kouao is originally from France but lives in The Hague. He works as Head of Risk Management, hiring and firing amongst other important tasks. His second choice, ¨The Four Agreements¨ by the mexican writer Don Miguel Ruiz, was given to him by his mother. It is a spiritual book, based on an old Mexican culture called Toltec, and is supposed to be a practical guide in how to be happy. Otherwise Jerome wants to think like an Alta-Man. As opposed to the Alfa-Man, the Alta-Man puts happiness and a good work-life balance before success at any cost. Maybe time to stop fiddling around with the work mails then, yes? He buys his books from Amazon or, when in London, from the over 25 years old Edwardian style Daunts bookshop on Marelybone High Street
SOCIETY:Teresa is THE Teresa on Praia Maria Luisa, the main spider in the beautiful beach web. When she is not busy connecting and organizing social gatherings you might find her dealing her friend João’s beautiful handmade jewellery on the beach. Teresa’s choice of read is Julian Fellowes’s ¨Belgravia¨, also available as digitalized series on the author’s website. Teresa picked the book because of Downton Abbey, the TV series based on the book written by the same author. She likes reading about social intrigues and amazes over the fact that nothing changes, the plots and behaviour of people in the mid 1900th century are very similar to modern patterns of behaviour, the only thing changing, according to her, is that nowadays it is possible to buy your way to social status, in the olden days a name was a name and money couldn’t change that.
Teresa Maria de Magalhães e Meneses Ruch Olsen is born in Lisbon but lives and works in Copenhagen as an Internal Communication’s Coordinator at the European Environmental Agency.
WRITING: Four books in one, written by Edward St. Aubyn, that is what Jan brought to the beach. Jan can hardly finish his dinner in the evening because he so badly wants to take his infatuation, the book, to bed as soon as possible. That good is it? The Melrose Novels, are mainly upper class England society and a family part of it, seen through the eyes of a 5 year old boy called Patrick. His father, grim and abusive and his mother neglectingly alcoholic. The story is rumoured to be autobiographical. For what I can see from the book reviews, Jan isn’t alone in raving about Edward.
Jan Kyrre Berg Olsen Friis, originally from Norway, is the Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Copenhagen. He once, about 32,5 years ago, took the train to Portugal and met his future wife on that train, twice. A love story that could not be avoided it seems like. Today Teresa and Jan often buy and read the same books, he in Norwegian or English, she in Portugese, at the same time. The last one they read together was one by the portugese author Miguel Sousa Tavares, mostly known for his book ¨Equador¨. Jan also likes reading books by writers who write about writing and how to write.
Sacha’s holiday book is called ¨An abundance of Katherines¨ by John Green an tells the story of a child prodigy named Collin who only likes girls called Katherine. It starts out with him being dumped by Katherine number 19. Although one might think otherwise this isn’t a love story. Sacha thinks you should read other books than just romantic ones since not all stories in real life is about love. This book was given to Sacha by her mum. Sacha likes to get her book shops in airport book stores.
Next on Sacha’s reading list is a book called ¨Monsieur Le Vet¨ by Sylvain Balteau, about a veterinarian in rural France.
Sacha Fagerholm just finished high school in Copenhagen. In September she will move to Oxford to go to attend an IB boarding school. She is a bit nervous about who she will share a room with and she says she will be missing her family, especially the dog.
FAMILY: Alina is reading the book ¨On beauty¨ by the English writer Zadie Smith which she found in the shelf in her Airbnb apartment. The book is the story about a 20-something boy who moves to America and lives with a family that he starts to prefer over his own back home in London. In order to attract the attention of his academic father, he gets engaged to the daughter of his ¨adopted family¨ and his father has to travel to the wedding. Alina thinks it is interesting to read about other families and explore how they compare to her own. Alina is also reading ¨Families and How to Survive Them¨ by the comedian John Cleese and psychotherapist Robin Skynner. She hopes it will help her understand her own parents and their extremely irrational behaviour.
Alina Weckström has a degree in English Literature from the Queen Mary University in London and is on her way to Stockholm this autumn to study music production and songwriting. She is also my daughter.
INDEPENDENCE: I am ¨Sweet Caress¨by William Boyd, mainly because the cover is pretty and my friend Tom told me William is a good writer. As it turned out, the book is deeper than what the cover gives away. The story of a female photographer, starting out as a society photographer, later working as a war photographer and travelling through life, from England, Berlin, New York, Paris. It is set in the time after WW1 and up until at least the 1970s. I like it because of who she is, passionate about her work, brave and for the places she visits, the people she meets. I also like it because it gives me a chance to brush up on my knowledge of History.The book is sort of a fictional autobiography, losely reminding me of the life of one of my favourite photographer Lee Miller, with blurry black and white pictures strawn in here and there, still can’t figure if they are real as in taken by the photographer in the book or not. Or if the photographer is real. Or not. Guess not.
I bought the book in Akademibokhandeln in Stockholm.
We took our books to the quite crowded but absolutely secluded and wonderfully familiar beach Praia Maria Louisa in Olhos des Aqua in Portugal.