Celtic Triskele

I am reading Lady Macbeth by Susan Fraser King right now and came across a mention of a "triskele". The main character, Rue, has it tatooed on her body. Since I had never heard of a triskele, I did some research today - thought I would share with you.

The triskele, or triple spiral, a symbol closely related to the triquetra, is a tripartite symbol composed of three interlocked spirals. The spiral is an ancient Celtic symbol related to the sun, afterlife and reincarnation. The example above comes from the Neolithic "tomb" at Newgrange, where it is supposed by some to be a symbol of pregnancy (the sun describes a spiral in its movements every three months; a triple spiral represents nine months), an idea reinforced by the womb like nature of the structure. The symbol also suggests reincarnation- it is drawn in one continuous line, suggesting a continuous movement of time.

Triskeles are one of the most common elements of Celtic art; they are found in a variety of styles in both ancient and modern Celtic art, especially in relation to depictions of the Mother Goddess. They also evoke the Celtic concept of the domains of material existence- earth, water, and sky, and their interrelations.

I think it would make a really good tattoo!

July Book Blowout - Mini Challenge

The Where’s your book set? meme

Here’s how it works - just answer some or all of the following questions about the book you are currently reading (or just finished if you are between books).

Here’s the questions:

1. Title and author of the book

Lady Macbeth by Susan Fraser King

2. What year is the book set in?


3. What happened on this day in that year? Go to google and type in the date i.e. 13 July 1952 and see if you can find a news item for that day

No luck with this one!

4. Where is your book set?


5. Have you visited that place before? If yes tell us something about your trip. If no, look the location up on google and tell us an interesting fact about the city/country.

  • Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland, apart from being its second largest city.
  • The Kingdom of Scotland was an independent state until 1 May 1707, when the Acts of Union led to a union with the Kingdom of England, resulting in the creation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain.
  • The official currency of Scotland is Pound Sterling.
  • English (official) and Gaelic are the main languages of Scotland.
  • Scotland comprises of approximately 790 islands, out of which around 130 are inhabited.
  • The Bank of Scotland, founded in 1695, is the oldest surviving bank in the UK. It was also the first bank in Europe to print its own banknotes
  • Television, telephone, video cassette recorder, finger printing, home of golf, tarmacadam, tyres are penicillin were all Scottish inventions.
  • Scotland boasts of over 600 square miles of freshwater lakes, known as lochs, of which the most famous one is Loch Ness.

Review: The Marsh King's Daughter

Well done! Another sensational book from Elizabeth Chadwick!! Like another reviewer of this book, I too had to stay up way past my bedtime to finish this – too hard to put down!
In my last review for The French Revolution series by Jean Plaidy I mentioned that I just didn’t feel the emotional connection with the characters, but not so with The Marsh King’s Daughter! The heroine, Miriel, is a woman after my own heart. She is a strong, intelligent and passionate woman who fights for what she wants in life. The more people try to beat her down the more she will fight back.
The love story between Nicholas and Miriel is deliciously sweet and the love scenes will leave you needing a cigarette after reading!
I love the way a good novel brings you right into the action and into the feelings and emotions of the characters. I felt a wide range of emotions during my reading experience…from pity to love to wanting to jump through the pages and rip a guy’s head off! That’s the beauty of Elizabeth Chadwick! Thanks EC!
Overall: 5/5
Won’t Back Down by Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers

Review: Four Queens

Set against the backdrop of the turbulent thirteenth century—a time of chivalry and crusades, poetry, knights, and monarchs—comes the story of the four beautiful daughters of the count of Provence, whose brilliant marriages made them the queens of France, England, Germany, and Sicily. From a cultured childhood in Provence, each sister was propelled into a world marked by shifting alliances, intrigue, and subterfuge. Marguerite, the eldest, whose resolution and spirit would be tested by the cold splendor of the Palais du Roi in Paris; Eleanor, whose soaring political aspirations would provoke her kingdom to civil war; Sanchia, the neglected wife of the richest man in England who bought himself the crown of Germany; and Beatrice, whose desire for sovereignty was so acute that she risked her life to earn her place at the royal table.
A compulsively readable narrative, Four Queens shatters the myth that women were helpless pawns in a society that celebrated physical prowess and masculine intellect.
Author: Nancy Goldstone

Four Queens: The Provencal Sisters Who Ruled Europe is about the 4 daughters of the Count and Countess of Provence who all became Queens.

They are Marguerite (married to Louis, King of France), Eleanor (married to Henry, King of England, Sanchia (married to Richard of Cornwell, later King of Germany) and Beatrice (married to King Louis’ brother Charles of Anjou, later King of Sicily).
I was worried that since this was non-fiction it would be dry and boring – a hard read, but I was pleasantly surprised. I really enjoyed the writing and layout of the book (the chapters alternate between the sisters) and the sisters gave the author plenty to write about. There are still letters written by the sisters and the author quotes them through the book, as well as, quoting a few chroniclers of the time. The drama within the family is more than adequate for a good read, but through in some wars and crusades and it becomes very interesting! Sibling rivalry at its best!
I highly recommend Four Queens and look forward to learning more about these wonderfully strong, courageous and intelligent sisters!

Interview with Nancy Goldstone on Four Queens: http://us.penguingroup.com/static/rguides/us/four_queens.html
Overall: 5/5

Interview from Sharon Kay Penman on The Devil's Brood

Loaded Questions with Kelly Hewitt has posted an interview with Sharon Kay Penman where she talks about her new book, The Devil's Brood.

Review: French Revolution Series by Jean Plaidy

The godmother of all historical fiction takes us back to the 18th century and into the life of “pleasure loving” Louis XV.

The French Revolution series by Jean Plaidy begins with Louis the Well Beloved. It opens with the death of Louis XIV, leaving a 5 year old Louis XV as king of France. The novel focuses on the women in his life – and there were many! Talk about a man whore…I think he would give Wilt Chamberlain a run for his money!

Louis XV even had a mansion called, Parc aux Cerfs, where he kept his very young mistresses, but he only liked to keep 3 at a time (because he said it was a nice number). What a super guy! He actually made me feel a little icky inside at times.

The Road to Compiegne picks up when Louis XV is 40 years old. After being insulted and ignored when riding through Paris, Louis declares that he will visit Paris for state functions only. He builds a road that skirts the city of Paris. He calls it the Road to Compiegne…the Parisians called it “Route de la Revolte”.

It amazed me how Louis XV avoided politics or the running of his kingdom in any shape or form. Completely disinterested. Kinda like a George Bush of the 18th century. On his deathbed he takes stock of the life he has lead and becomes saddened when realizes what his mismanagement or non-management of France has done to the country and its citizens. He is sorry to leave his grandson with a country teeming with poverty and civil unrest, but it is too late (as is usually the case with hind sight).

Marie Antionette and Louis XVI are the main characters in Flaunting, Extravagant Queen. Louis XV has just died and his grandson is left to try and put the pieces of his kingdom back together. Unfortunately, he is not very successful, even though he really does care about France. He often loved the people so much that it was to his detriment. I was sympathetic with Marie, but felt Louis XVI was too much of a wussy….at times you just wanted him to grow a backbone! 

All in all this was a pretty good series. One of the things I love about reading is feeling the connection with the characters, but I didn’t feel that here. I formed opinions of them, but don’t feel like I got to know them. I didn’t even cry at the end (which is unusual for me). Worth the read, but not one to really sink your teeth into.

Overall: 3/5

Tuesday Thingers

My First Tuesday Thingers!!!

Here is the Top 100 Most Popular Books on LibraryThing. Bold what you own, italicize what you've read. Star what you liked. Star multiple times what you loved!

1. Harry Potter and the sorcerer's stone by J.K. Rowling (32,484) *
2. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Book 6) by J.K. Rowling (29,939) *
3. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Book 5) by J.K. Rowling (28,728) *
4. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Book 2) by J.K. Rowling (27,926) *
5. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Book 3) by J.K. Rowling (27,643) *
6. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Book 4) by J.K. Rowling (27,641) *
7. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown (23,266) **
8. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien (21,325)
9. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Book 7) by J.K. Rowling (20,485) ***
10. 1984 by George Orwell (19,735)
11. Pride and Prejudice (Bantam Classics) by Jane Austen (19,583)

12. The catcher in the rye by J.D. Salinger (19,082)
13. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (17,586)
14. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (16,210) ***
15. The lord of the rings by J.R.R. Tolkien (15,483)
16. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (14,566)
17. Jane Eyre (Penguin Classics) by Charlotte Bronte (14,449)
18. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon (13,946)
19. Life of Pi by Yann Martel (13,272)
20. Animal Farm by George Orwell (13,091)
21. Angels & demons by Dan Brown (13,089) ***
22. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (13,005)
23. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (12,777) ***
24. One Hundred Years of Solitude (Oprah's Book Club) by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (12,634)
25. The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings, Part 1) by J.R.R. Tolkien (12,276)
26. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden (12,147)
27. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (11,976)
28. The Two Towers (The Lord of the Rings, Part 2) by J.R.R. Tolkien (11,512)
29. The Odyssey by Homer (11,483)
30. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (11,392)
31. Slaughterhouse-five by Kurt Vonnegut (11,360)
32. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (11,257)
33. The return of the king : being the third part of The lord of the rings by J.R.R. Tolkien (11,082)
34. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (10,979)
35. American Gods: A Novel by Neil Gaiman (10,823) *****
36. The chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis (10,603)
37. The hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy by Douglas Adams (10,537) 38. Lord of the Flies by William Golding (10,435)
39. The lovely bones : a novel by Alice Sebold (10,125) ****
40. Ender's Game (Ender, Book 1) by Orson Scott Card (10,092)
41. The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials, Book 1) by Philip Pullman (9,827)
42. Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Neil Gaiman (9,745)
43. Dune by Frank Herbert (9,671)
44. Emma by Jane Austen (9,610)
45. Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (9,598)
46. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Bantam Classics) by Mark Twain (9,593)

47. Anna Karenina (Oprah's Book Club) by Leo Tolstoy (9,433)
48. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke (9,413)
49. Middlesex: A Novel by Jeffrey Eugenides (9,343)
50. Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire (9,336) *****
51. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov (9,274)
52. The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien (9,246)
53. The Iliad by Homer (9,153)
54. The Stranger by Albert Camus (9,084)
55. Sense and Sensibility (Penguin Classics) by Jane Austen (9,080)
56. Great Expectations (Penguin Classics) by Charles Dickens (9,027)
57. The Handmaid's Tale: A Novel by Margaret Atwood (8,960)
58. On the Road by Jack Kerouac (8,904)
59. Freakonomics [Revised and Expanded]: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven D. Levitt (8,813)
60. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupery - (8,764)
61. The lion, the witch and the wardrobe by C. S. Lewis (8,421)
62. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle (8,417)
63. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (8,368) ****
64. The Grapes of Wrath (Centennial Edition) by John Steinbeck (8,255)
65. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (8,214) ***
66. The Name of the Rose: including Postscript to the Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco (8,191)

67. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne (8,169) ***
68. Moby Dick by Herman Melville (8,129)
69. The complete works by William Shakespeare (8,096)
70. Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond (7,843)
71. Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris (7,834)
72. The Poisonwood Bible: A Novel (Perennial Classics) by Barbara Kingsolver (7,829)
73. Hamlet (Folger Shakespeare Library) by William Shakespeare (7,808) ***
74. Of Mice and Men (Penguin Great Books of the 20th Century) by John Steinbeck (7,807)***
75. A Tale of Two Cities (Penguin Classics) by Charles Dickens (7,793)
76. The Alchemist (Plus) by Paulo Coelho (7,710)
77. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath (7,648)
78. The Picture of Dorian Gray (Barnes & Noble Classics Series) (Barnes & Noble Classics) by Oscar Wilde (7,598)
79. The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition by William Strunk (7,569)
80. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (7,557)
81. The Subtle Knife (His Dark Materials, Book 2) by Philip Pullman (7,534)
82. Atonement: A Novel by Ian McEwan (7,530)
83. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (7,512)
84. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd (7,436)
85. Dracula by Bram Stoker (7,238)
86. Heart of Darkness (Dover Thrift Editions) by Joseph Conrad (7,153)
87. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess (7,055)
88. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (7,052)
89. The amber spyglass by Philip Pullman (7,043)
90. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (Penguin Classics) by James Joyce (6,933)
91. The Unbearable Lightness of Being: A Novel (Perennial Classics) by Milan Kundera (6,901)
92. Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse (6,899)
93. Neuromancer by William Gibson (6,890)
94. The Canterbury Tales (Penguin Classics) by Geoffrey Chaucer (6,868)
95. Persuasion (Penguin Classics) by Jane Austen (6,862)
96. Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman (6,841)
97. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova (6,794) *****
98. Angela's Ashes: A Memoir by Frank McCourt (6,715)
99. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers (6,708)
100. The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli (6,697)
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