Welcome to my Blog - Ruud Leeuw

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Welcome to my Blog!The lion roars!!!
I hope to share here my irrepressible thoughts on news, music, books, arts and such like. In general these will be items, events and issues which I feel have no place on my website (which focusses on aviation history and my travel photography).

The item immediately below this would be the latest posting.

Anybody, providing he knows how to be amusing, has the right to talk about himself. - Charles Baudelaire
Esse est percipi (To be is to be perceived) ¬Bishop George Berkeley

Not even I understand everything I am ¬Aurelius Augustinus of Hippo

In 2013 I started a series of photo albums on Blurb.com, named '36Exp' (a subject adressed in 36 exposures, a reference to the exposures on most common rolls of 35 mm film: 12, 24 & 36.).
The books can be ordered directly from the Blurb.com website or Amazon.




Hiroshige Utawa, postcards (Japanese edition)

Hiroshige Utawa, postcards (Japanese edition)
I could only make out the date, on the back: 1833.

Hiroshige Utawa, postcards (Japanese edition)

Hiroshige Utawa, postcards (Japanese edition)

Hiroshige Utawa, postcards (Japanese edition)

Bought recently as a souvenir, these postcards of vintage scenes of Japan. Colourful and remarkable, just as I found the country, travelling the tourist route through it for two weeks.

Publisher: Seigensha Art Publishing (May 25, 2011); 64 pages.



Robert Capa, Magnum Japan 2017 edition

Robert Capa, Magnum Japan 2017 edition

Robert Capa, Magnum Japan 2017 edition

Robert Capa, Magnum Japan 2017 edition

Robert Capa, Magnum Japan 2017 edition

It is probably not everybody's idea of a souvenir, a book in an unintelligible language namely Japanese...
But that is exactly what it is for me, one of my favourite iconic photographers captured in a Japanese edition (2017), bought in a bookstore in Tokyo recently.
The bookstore in question, though I visited several as I find it a great pleasure to browse, was the Maruzen Nihombashi bookstore. It wasn't the only book I bought here..

I noticed some photographs by Robert Capa I had not seen in the publications I have of his work. And I was excited to come across a photo of the 'Big Buddha' (Daibutsu) in the Todaiji Temple, Nara which he took in 1954 and which I visited 64 years later.

I am well pleased with this modest 10.5x15cm paperback, packing some 232 photographs (if I counted them correctly), well pleased indeed!

Robert Capa on Wikipedia



The Day is Dark by Yrsa Sigudardottir

In 2016, when I found I had read, to my immense pleasure, all (translated) books by Arnaldur Indridason I thought to try another Icelandic author: Yrsa Sigurdardottir.
In that year I read both 'The Undesired' and 'Someone To Watch Over Me', and I knew I had found myself another great author for crime novels.

As in 'Someone To Watch Over Me', the main character in 'The Day Is Dark' is lawyer Thóra Gudmundsdóttir. She is not some 'lone investigator' fighting crime against all odds, but rather a senior partner in a small and struggling law office. She does get a bit bored with her corporate law cases, but knows that those are her bread and butter while her partner has specialised in divorce cases.

When I came across this paperback in a bookshop in Tokyo I grabbed it without hesitation, as I rarely come across this author. However, I did note that I am reading the Thóra Gudmundsdóttir series in the wrong order, having now read the #5 and #4 editions (in that order).
In this book Thora has been divorced, is in a relationship with a German named Matthew and is a young grandmother for her son has landed himself and his partner with child at a very young age.

Thóra accepts an invitation to flee her domestic situation and a boring workload, to go with her partner Matthew to Greenland in order to prepare a report about a geo-survey project gone all wrong with 3 disappearances at a remote location and the remainder of the workforce refusing to go back to Greenland for work unless these disappearances are resolved.
Thóra and Matthew represent the bank that underwrote the project and will have to pay out if the project fails.

Among those accompanying the duo on this trip are a physician, a company geologist, a computer specialist and Thóra’s own secretary, the annoying and petty minded Bella.
The native population, barely subsisting by hunting and fishing in the nearest village, refuse to cooperate, as they don't trust outsiders and the drilling, we find, was done at a forbidden place. A curse was released, hence the disappearance of the employees.

This Icelandic writer likes to mix mystic native traditions with murder. And indeed, we soon find we are dealing with murders when cut up body parts are found. But also a body is found in the camp's freezer and which is found to have been dead for many years while also no explanation is found for the disappearance of a young woman, Oddný Hildur, 6 months prior to the disappearance of two drillers.

The author has come up with some interesting characters and a fascinating glimpse of a world far removed from the experiences of most Western readers.
For some reason, possibly the Arctic setting and foul weather, this book reminded me of Alistair Maclean's novel Ice Station Zebra, which I read many, many years ago.




Strip Jack by Ian Rankin

This is the no.4 Inspector Rebus novel, published in 1992 and this paperback has been sitting in my bookshelf for ages, as I couldn't stay away from Rankin's newest publications since The Complaints.
But it felt good to get reacquainted with the earlier years of police DI John Rebus.

Strip Jack, as is written in Rankin's introduction in this book, was written in France by him, as he'd moved into a rundown French farmhouse with his wife in 1990.
Being away from Edinburgh he found he applied aspects of Scottishness stronger in this book, with certain words and phrasing. Something I enjoyed.

The book starts with a woman drowned, possibly murdered and the theft of rare books. But the actual story starts when respected MP Gregor Jack is caught in a police raid on an Edinburgh brothel and his flamboyant wife Elizabeth suddenly disappears. John Rebus smells a set-up.
Rebus feels sympathy for the politician and has 'informal' talks with friends of Gregor Jack. Meanwhile he finds the disappearance of Elizabeth a growing concern.
And when Elizabeth's badly beaten body is found, Rebus is up against his superiors who find it very welcome an convenient to drop the murders of both woman on someone who came forward with a confession.
Meanwhile we see John Rebus struggling with his relationship with Patience, who wants him to make up his mind whether to move in or move out.

As Rankin writes in his introduction, this books marked the ending of his 'apprenticeship', having written about a fictitious police station in a fictitious street, from now on he would make his books as authentic as possible. And as we now know this would culminate in 'Rebus Tours' through the streets of Edinburgh in the present day!
In spite of written over 2 decades ago I found this book immensely enjoyable.





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Created: 18-OCT-2018