Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger

Julia and Valentina Poole, normal American teenagers who happen to be mirror twins and have no interest in college or jobs or possibly anything outside their cozy suburban home. But everything changes when an aunt they didn’t even know existed dies and leaves them her flat in a block overlooking Highgate Cemetry in London. They feel at last their own lives can begin….but have no ideal that they’ve been summoned into a tangle of fraying lives, from the obsessive compulsive crossword setter to their aunt’s mysterious elusive lover, and even to their aunt herself, who never got over her estrangement from the twins’ mother – and who can’t even seem to quite leave her flat.

I was all ready to enjoy this book, since I loved Time Traveler's Wife ... and one of the girls at book club mentioned a twist at the end. But honestly, I didn't :( It was sort of entertaining but in the end it wasn't more than mildly surprising and there were too many bits I felt weren't explained sufficiently towards the end, which I find frustrating. There were definitely some interesting characters tho.

Always Looking Up by Michael J Fox

'At the turn from my bedroom into the hallway leading to the kitchen there is an old full-length mirror in a wooden frame. I can't help but catch a glimpse of myself as I pass, and turning myself towards the glass, I consider what I see. This reflected version of myself, wet, shaking, rumpled, slightly stooped, and pinched, would be alarming if it were not for the self-satisfied expression pasted across the face, I would ask the obvious question, 'What are you smiling about?' - but I already know the answer ...it just gets better from here.' Struck with Parkinson's - a debilitating, degenerative disease - at the height of his fame, Fox has taken what some people might consider cause for depression and turned it into a beacon of hope for millions. Now, in Always Looking Up, he writes about the personal philosophy that carried him through his darkest hours, and speaks with others who have emerged from difficult periods with optimism to spare. With the humour and wit that dazzled fans and reviewers alike in his bestselling memoir, Lucky Man, Fox shows how he became a happier, more satisfied person by recognising the gifts of everyday life.

I enjoyed this book ... it wasn't a speedy read, but it was interesting. I like Michael J Fox, I think as a kid growing up in the 80s, how could you not? It's nto really like an autobiography or anything because it just takes a portion of his life. And it was less interesting I guess because we didn't see half the stuff that went on in America, and I'm not especially aware of the American Political process (other than presidential elections). I will say tho, that I think he's doing amazing things ... and I don't know where I stand on the whole "all-out science thing", I mean in a sense I'm all for it, discover everything you can about us and the world we live in and make advances to the way we live, but in another sense I take a bit of a step back with regard to just what it means to save everyone and cure everything and have people living forever. I think science has changed the way we live quite incredibly already, hell, we live to 80 or 90 now instead of 40 or 50 (well, some of us anyway). And that all adds up to financial strain on families and over population. So yeah, I'm not thinking too much about it really.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Quick Catch-up

Okay, so I've been intending to blog for days now ... but first I was thwarted by lack of internet at home (where I usually do my posting now that it's moved to it's afternoon time slot) on Thursday & Friday afternoon. And then, well, it was the weekend and although I always think there'll be plenty of time to do it then, somehow Sunday night arrives and I couldn't be less in the mood.

So here I am on Monday morning trying to get the last few days documented before starting my 2nd last day of work for 2009.

There is plenty to tell, I have been fairly busy considering I currently see myself in the "hibernation" phase of my break-up. There is also plenty I won't be telling because as much as I'd like to vent about my break-up and my thoughts on it, I'm a) simply not ready to yet in such a public place and b) well, Varen does read the blog. Makes it kinda weird to be upfront and honest here.

Sooo, Wednesday was Angel's birthday party which was quite weird to attend alone. But I enjoyed it, although I think I was quite quiet as it was a bit of an overdose of people and having to explain the very recent upheaval in my life. On Thursday evening I stayed home alone with toast for dinner and watched series on TV (other than my dinner, it was not unlike any of my evenings while still in a relationship with Varen!), he was out for dinner with a friend of his, Koeties. Now as much as I don't especially like this friend (the feeling appears to be quite mutual) and I don't think he's a good influence on Varen at all, I know that it's good for him to be getting out there and re-kindling lost connections. It's kinda weird to me that in the last year or so I have built up a whole pile of people to spend time with, most of which I didn't even know when I started dating Varen. Whereas he just seems to be falling back to the people he knew beforehand, even if he hasn't spoken to them in 6 months or so. Oh well, people are different, at least he's getting out the house, I guess.

On Friday night I went for dinner at The Attic with DJMike and Beukes (who has recently returned from 2 years in America). Was a lovely night :)

Saturday morning started with the surprise discovery that Varen has started smoking again :P He gave up about 6 months before we started dating. I've never been keen on smokers at all and find the smell that hangs on your hair and clothes quite revolting, personally. I'll admit I was horrified and a little devastated and disgusted that he would turn his back on 3 years of not smoking. Hopefully I don't have to live around that much longer because although our agreement now is that he only smoke outside, that's where the bunnies live and they are sensitive creatures. It really made me sad.

On Saturday I went to Bokkie's sister's baby shower and then hung out at home. And watched twitter for updates on the arrival of baby Squishy :) Congrats again, Louisa!! My Saturday night was much like my Thursday night actually. See, the hibernation part of my break-up is in full swing since I actually had the opportunity to go out. Varen went to see Avatar on IMAX with (of course) his new bff (again) Koeties. I'll admit I was disappointed, I was kinda hoping we could've gone to see Avatar together on Saturday evening ... you know, if neither of us had plans. The whole situation is very weird sometimes and other times such a relief.

I ended up seeing Avatar 3D on Sunday evening with Bokkie and his sort-of girlf. That was after spending the whole day munching on pizza and watching series at home with Varen. We are better after the week apart and after a deep discussion on Saturday. We seem to be sort of back to how we were last Sunday after the break-up, still friends. Which I really need us to be, at very least, while we are still living together. It is very odd trying desperately not to care where someone is when 3 years of habit are telling you that you should know or be there too, you know? It's also weird listening to Varen's plans for the future.

Avatar 3D was quite an adventure, the movie and the attempt to watch it. We had booked tickets online at Cresta for the 17h15 show and duly arrived at 17h00. Only to find the entire cinema area closed off due to "incapacitating plumbing problems" - the fact that the cinema was flooded right up to the ticket sale area was definitely incapacitating. But it didn't leave us feeling like satisfied customers when we heard it'd been closed since much earlier in the day and the online bookings were still open! (I'd advise everyone NOT to watch movies there for a very long time, apparently all the cinema carpets also got soaked :P). We got our complimentary tickets and decided to race thru to 4ways to try make it in time for the 17h15 show there.

I'll tell you that as I sat down in my seat, the last trailer ended and the movie started. We made it by the skin of our teeth! And what an awesome movie it was :) I don't know how much the 3D experience added, generally I'm against the whole 3D thing, really. I found that bits were often out of focus and blurred when things moved very quickly and the depth was all inwards. But I still loved the (very, very long) movie and thought it was quite beautiful (although the story-line is a bit predictable really).

So this will probably be my last post for a while since I'm off to Cape Town tomorrow, I seriously can't wait!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Lovely Public Holiday

Grrr. Was busy with a post and it somehow got lost :P Now I'm in no mood to re-write the damn thing.

Last night I went to @jarredcinman's and had a lovely vegan dinner (and rather dodgy vegan dessert) and chatted the night away. It felt good.

This morning I have barely seen Varen. He went out earlier and I doubt he'll be back before I head off to Angel's party a little later. It's very weird in some ways ... like not really knowing what his plans are or being involved in them. But life is easy when he's not around, I don't get upset any more if he works late or decides not to come home at the last minute because I have no vested interest in it ... which makes me a clamer person. Things are still okay when we're home alone together too tho, which is also weird. They're okay but weird. Cause he's a lot better at flipping the "off" switch to our relationship and the closeness we had (when we were actually together), which is still hard for me to do.

Anyhooo, the gist of my previous post (the one I just lost) was about The Ice Bear Project. I've said before that I think the whole idea is fantastic and I've enjoyed watching the live webcam when possible (whether or not it loads seems to be quite erratic!) and I took some screen shots of The Copenhagen Bear (the first one they did), in case you missed it. The London Bear is melting as I type, so if you're interested, go check that one out!

The Copenhagen Bear on 09Dec around 7pm (GMT+2)

Again, two days later on 11Dec around 7pm (GMT+2)

A daylight shot on 12Dec around 4pm (GMT+2)

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Monday, December 14, 2009

The Truth Behind Yesterday's Title

So, I guess I should at least say something here, especially for those of you who don't follow twitter.

It's been a very sad two days (which you probably couldn't pick up in yesterday's post because most of it was written on Saturday afternoon). It's official, Varen and I broke up yesterday over breakfast at Doppio Zero.

Now don't worry, we're both pretty okay. We're not angry at each other, it's more a sad acceptance of the right decision.

I won't lie and say it was a complete shock, it's been brewing for a while. The only slightly shocking (with relief) part for me was that he was in the same place. I was putting it off till January, after we got back from our Cape Town holiday. To be fair, I've been putting it off a while, constantly saying to myself, see how things are after Zanzibar, after Canada, after Cape Town. After Zanzibar they got better for a while and I really did have days where I believed this could be "it" again. But after Canada, there were just too many days where there was no way I could do this for the rest of my life.

I'm sure there will be plenty of details still to come, but I don't want to write too much right now. I will say we're both partly responsible for different parts of this failing and it's a sad sad thing. For me, it honestly came to a head when my folks announced their intention to divorce, it made me really take stock of my own relationship and I have woken nearly every morning with that "This is your life" thought in my head. And I knew I couldn't go on like this.

Sadly I truly believe love and the way you feel about someone is not enough, you need to be able to live together, really live and manage real life and each other's ups and downs. But if you can't do that ... well, I guess this is what happens then.

Oddly it is *exactly* 3 years to the day since Bean and I broke up (which probably means I missed some kind of Blogging Anniversary) and means I should start packing myself off for some alone time around the 13th December if I'm ever in a serious relationship again. Apparently the 2 and a half year mark is a death trap for my relationships too.

Ps. Anyone know of a place to rent with a decent garden for the bunnies in the Rivonia area??

Pps. In case you were worried about my holiday home to Cape Town, I booked a ticket there this morning (since Varen was going to drive us down) (let's just say my upgrade to Silver on Discovery Vitality came right when I needed it 25% off Kulula flights made it still affordable!). We won't be spending it together. Still sad, but I know he's right and it's better this way. Gives us each time to recuperate with our families without going on a lovely holiday and coming home believing that maybe it could work and ending up in the same place in another few months. Gawd I hope he doesn't just stay here by himself and work thru Xmas, I'll feel awful :(

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Turning Point

Yes, my blogging is definitely suffering with this afternoon nonsense :( It's also got to do with my head space lately but well, that's not blogging fodder. Not yet at least.

So what have I been up to since I last posted ... ? Not a helluva lot. Went ot book club which was, as usual, a lovely evening. I was just feeling a little weird (compouding that head space of mine!) because now the two of the girls who are already married have just had babies and the third has just fallen pregnant. The other girl in a long-term relationship just got engaged and the others (aside from me) are all single. My point is, everyone *except me* who is not single, is a new mom, pregnant or engaged. Sheesh. No pressure :P

Thing is, if I didn't want to get married or have kids or any of that, it probably wouldn't bother me in the least. But I do and I don't seem able to make the decisions to get me there. I'm paralysed by my idea of how life is supposed to be, because it's just not that way. And I don't know when to accept the way things are and just plunge forward. It feels like there's supposed to be some sort of "knowing" that happens beforehand. I'm definitely personally ready for a child, I think. It's the other stuff that still has to come together before I'll happily throw caution into that wind.

Sigh, perhaps I will paddle into that weird head space for a little here then :P

What else? Nothing much. On Friday I finally bought the Boons a giant bale of hay. They are thrilled! I was also thrilled to finally be able to clean out the hutch (didn't want to do it till we could lay fresh hay down on the base for Rex's feet).

And then Saturday was spent on a desperate hunt for Xmas gifts. Some got checked off the list and others remains frightfully un-purchased.

I did spoil myself a little on Saturday and went for a hair cut. My hair was getting horrendously long and becoming pretty much unbearable in this heat so it was time for a 10cm or so trim. Gawd I love it when they blow-wave it straight. I wish a) it didn't take so long and b) I had my own personal blow-waver. Although I do own a hair-straightener, I'm very lazy and it doesn't get used very often when my hair is sooo long. My arms get sore!

I also bought myself two gorgeous new summer dresses ... it seems when I start shopping, stopping can be a little tricky :) And Varen spent the afternoon and evening at work. Seriously :P

On Sunday Varen & I hit Rosebank for breakfast ... finally located where Doppio Zero relocated to. I think they've made a very silly decision, unless they're only interested in the tourists. Oh well. It was a very interesting breakfast and we discussed some very important life type stuff. Seems I'm not the only one in a weird head space after all.

Then we popped off to the Rosebank Market to get me some of those gorgeous distressed wood photo frames as Xmas gifts from the folks & him (For that photo-wall I mentioned ages ago!!).

Then Varen went to spend more of his weekend at work :P But he was home in time for us to go watch 2012.

Which I thought was mostly great fun and great effects ... although felt quite long, was it? And then of course the whole theatre stared laughing at the "Drakensburg" and "Cape of Good Hope" lines :) I'm still not buying into the whole Mayan World is ending thing tho ...

And that was Sunday. I am not making any blogging promises for the rest of December, my weird head space coupled with the impending holiday to Cape Town make regular blogging unlikely. Hopefully things (on all fronts) will improve in 2010.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Dead Simple by Peter James

It was meant to be a harmless stag night prank. A few hours later four of his best friends are dead, and Michael Harrison has disappeared. With only three days to the wedding, Detective Superintendent Grace - a man haunted by the shadow of his own missing wife - is contacted by Michael's beautiful, distraught fiancee, Ashley Harper. Grace discovers that the one man who ought to know Michael Harrison's whereabouts is saying nothing. But then he has a lot to gain - more than anyone realizes. For one man's disaster is another man's fortune.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book ... and it definitely had some cringe-worthy moments a-la Dark Video. Buried alive ... not my idea of fun times, truly. And again highlights why I'm terrified of bachelor parties.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

More From Saturday

So a few things I forgot along the way ...

On Saturday morning I converted my normal Curves membership for their new Smart Membership, and today was my first full workout. Oh my gawd, I nearly killed myself! So for those of you who don't know, let me start at the beginning. I switched to Curves (from good ol' Virgin Active) at the start on May this year and although the results haven't been amazing, I have stayed pretty consistent in my weight and measurements (which is always better than going up!). Curves is a circuit of machines which you do twice and takes half an hour (there is a audio tape telling you when to change and everything). And then a stretch-routine to finish. My kind of workout, only half an hour and there's no thinking involved, I just go and do. I suck at gym because I let myself off the hook too often and don't know what I'm doing most of the time.

So anyway, that was the old. Now they've installed monitors in every machine and we insert our little tag for every one of them and it records our workout (per machine) and if our range of motion and speed is up to scratch (as per our programmed personalised settings - that's the bit I did on Saturday morning). And then you use your tag in the main machine afterwards and see an overview of your whole day's workout (and your workout history). So far I'm loving it ... okay, it has only been day one but anything that comes with progress reports and gives me up-to-date feedback as I work out (and isn't an actual Personal Trainer) is a plus in my book.

Polar Bear,ChurchillThe other thing I forgot I'd done on Saturday was that I spent a lengthy amount of time in front of my computer (and it wasn't playing Farmville on Facebook!) I was learning about batch processing in Gimp so that I could make some animated gifs from my Canada trip. Unfortunately the files are still *huge* ... 3.5Mb and up, so I don't know if I'm going to be able to load the up here, but I'm going to try :) It's "uploading ...." as I type this. Finger's crossed!

Okay so I got it uploaded only to have it not freaking animate ... and this is because all Blogger images are stored in Picasa and "the Picasa program won't show animated gifs". Grrr. Off to hunt for an alternative solution.

So I tried to sign-up for a Yahoo account and upload to Flickr. No luck there either. But I will say I was impressed at how easy deleting both accounts were :) 1 up to Yahoo (although the thought of using them actually filled me with horror ... I'm such a Google-girl!) I found some advice on trying to display it via Google Docs, but that didn't work either cause the upload size limit for Google Docs is 500 Kb :P

Finally, SUCCESS! I uploaded it to Photo Bucket and I can see it animating perfectly :)

Oh, and another thing I forgot ... I finally (almost a year to the day later) got round to updating my Nextstop.com profile with recommendations from the rest of my Spain, Portugal & Morocco trip as well as Zanzibar & Canada.

Ps. scuse the image quality in this last animation, but I tried to get the file size down as best I could and it's still huge :P

Polar Bear,Churchill

Monday, December 07, 2009

Another Awesome Weekend

Wowee, that was quite the weekend. Odd how as we wind down to holidays the weekends get crazier ... everyone trying to see each other before they all head their separate ways to spend time with family, I guess?

So the weekend started out far better than I expected. I was all set to spend a quiet Friday night at home, alone while Varen played Action Soccer. Some online time for me, a little dinner and some series. A perfect Friday evening in my opinion, you gotta spend some time winding down from the week and I find Friday evenings are best for that :)

And then at around 6pm DJMike called to ask what I was doing because he had a ticket for The Killers going to waste (a good friend of ours who landed back from 2 years in the States on Wednesday had been sick in bed since he arrived and couldn't go). Sure, who wouldn't say YES to that?

So he swung by to pick me up about an hour later and we headed thru to The Dome. As a giant thunderstorm arrived. Luckily the really dreadful rain had stopped by the time we'd parked and had to make our way across the completely open bridge (who's bright idea was that one?). Wow, were the queues to get any drinks insane (I think I have been tainted by the Avril Lavigne concert where there were too many people under age to be drinking so the queues were blissful :) ) but we stood and stood and eventually made it to the front.

By that time Zebra & Giraffe was about half way thru. Can't really say I was that interested in them, I don't really know any of their songs and I don't think a concert is the best place to hear them for the first time cause usually you can't quite hear the lyrics over the music. The tone was set for the evening.

(This is where I prepare for everyone reading to disagree with me)
I know, I know, everyone else has been raving about The Killers. But I'll warn you upfront, right now, I thought it was pretty "meh" and I'm pretty damn glad I didn't spend R400+ on a ticket for general admission. I'll partly take the blame for my opinion tho, I don't really know a single Killers song (aside from Human) since their Hot Fuss album (which I loved!). So to be fair not knowing half the songs does make for a duller-than-otherwise concert going experience. I also didn't think the lighting was that impressive. I mean it was mostly great (especially the fireworks and the ribbons or whatever they sprayed across the audience was, not really lighting tho I guess), but often the lead singer was a silhouette on the They coulda done better with that, I thought.

And, I still maintain (which was my upfront guess) that they should've encored with "I've Got Soul". Which they didn't. It was, for me, the *best* song of the night, and that was thoroughly worth it :)

> Follow The Killers on Twitter:

On Saturday we made an attempt at Christmas shopping, but really all I ended up with was a birthday present for J9. We discovered a fab new (probably not that new, but new for us) spot in Melville called Bamboo ... must definitely try there for breakfast one weekend!

And then we relaxed till some folks from work came over for a rather raucous evening of Board Games and Col'Cacchio pizza. Was fabulous and I think everyone only ended up leaving close to 2am.

On Sunday we headed off to Roots for J9's birthday lunch. I honestly think it was the best meal I've had there and I have been quite a few times! The weather was also perfect. Reminds me why I love the place :)

Thursday, December 03, 2009

The Stuffs in my Head

Yes, I'm really going to start yet another blog post with a lament about the fact that I'm writing it now, in the afternoon, when everything has fallen out of my brain. Yes, I am.

There was something I actually wanted to write about now tho, but lo behold I got home from gym and it has completely escaped me.

So what else can I tell you. I went to poker last night and thus spent the entire of the storm (except for the first few drops which arrived as I did), tucked away eating a delish dinner with friends and practicing my poker face. I didn't do too well, went out 2nd :( But I wasn't having a very good game generally ... I hate when you have to fold pretty much everything you get till suddenly it turns around and you get brilliant cards and you bet like you're Superman. Oh well, as always, it was marvelous fun ...

Tomorrow we're having a Christmas Market at work ... as I mentioned before I'm part of the office's version of event planners, referred to fondly as The Organised Glee Team, and this is another one we're putting on. Am really looking forward to it. We're even serving mince pies and champagne as people "shop" (I put it in deeltekens because we're only a company of 35 and we are putting up about 5 little stalls :) ). So yeah, that brilliant Xmas day function of lawn bowls and a picnic at Zoo Lake, that was us too. I'm having such fun with it :) We've even decided that next year people shouldn't bring cake to celebrate their birthday but instead to pick a day that is historically important or interesting to them and bring cake then ... the deal is tho that they have to send out an email explaining the relevance of the day to everyone in the office. A great way to learn something new, I think :) So .... any suggestions on what day I should pick?? I thought about picking the day the first blog was posted ... but it seems a little tricky to pin down to an exact day.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

It's the Fifth Last Wednesday of the Year

Blegh. At least when I wasn't posting all of last week it was cause I was out and just too busy to find the time. This week is the polar opposite ... although I do have Poker with the Girls tonight.

I am enjoying my quiet week tho because I know how to enjoy the peace when I get a moment of it ... and this weekend is going to be another jam-packed one :)

But instead of a long wordy post here are a multitude of cute bunny photos :) I have been neglecting the photos of them ... in fact (horror of horrors) I haven't even cracked open my fancy-ass camera since I got back from Canada! I always think I will ... but somehow I just haven't. I really wanna sit outside (when the grass in not flooded from recent rainfall) and get some awesome shots of the boons ... I wish I still had that telephoto lens ;) (I feel like I've said all this before actually). Hmmm, I wonder if I can get everyone to give me cash for xmas to put towards buying myself a lens?

(if my phone ever emails the pics thru!!) Okay, so I see they are a little heavy on Rex ... but Him & Lily are usually in the cutest poses while Cola ends up looking like a silhouette. Actually she looks quite similar in most of her pics, funny how they all have a typical pose! Hee hee, but how funny is that pic above, that's how I found them sleeping when I got home from work today. Don't even ask me how Lily could possibly be comfortable like that! But she does love being in the middle :)

Which brings me to another point, Christmas gifts. As hard as I'm finding shopping for gifts, it's just as hard thinking about what I'd like. But I guess money towards a lens or to buy photo frames with (I haven't even started my photo wall yet! Doh) ... or money towards new pots so I can plant more ... Did I mention how in love with my little garden, that I grew from seeds, I am? I should take some photos of that too ... but not now, the light is too grey.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

The Books I Didn't Finish

This autobiography offers a rare inside look at the society surrounding a sultan's palace. Its author, a real-life princess in exile, recalls her vanished world of harems, slave trading, and court intrigues. The Midwest Book Review praised this book as an engrossing memoir, offering a vivid portrait of 19th-century Arab and African life.

This one was quite interesting although had a bajillion spelling and grammar or printing mistakes. Interesting, but not captivating. I'm fascinated about how life was back then, but can't really imagine it at all ... seems quite surreal. And not only is there a different era to imagine, but an entirely different religion. I was about half way thru it when I left for Canada and just haven't got back into it ... no excuses, really. Perhaps another day.

From 1943 to 1951, 350 or so men and women from thirteen Allied nations served as the men and women of the Monuments, Fine Arts & Archives section (MFAA) of the Allied armed forces, the eyes, ears and hands of the first and most ambitious effort in history to preserve the world's cultural heritage in times of war. They were known simply as Monuments Men. But during the thick of the fighting in Europe, from D-Day to V-E Day, when Germany surrendered, there were only 65 Monuments Men in the forward operating area. Sixty-five men to cover thousands of square miles, save hundreds of damaged buildings and find millions of cultural items before the Nazis could destroy them forever. Monuments Men is the story of eight of these men in the forward operating theatre: America's top art conservator; an up-and-coming young museum curator; a sculptor; a straight-arrow architect; a gay New York cultural impresario; and, an infantry private with no prior knowledge of or appreciation for art, but first-hand experience as a victim of the Nazi regime. They built their own treasure maps from scraps and hints: the diary of a Louvre curator who secretly tracked Nazi plunder through the Paris rail yards; records recovered from bombed out cathedrals and museums; overheard conversations; and, a tip from a dentist while getting a root canal. They started off moving in different directions, but ended up heading for the same place at the same time: the Alps near the German-Austrian border in the last two weeks of the war, where the great treasure caches of the Nazis were stored: the artwork of Paris, stolen mostly from Jewish collectors and dealers; masterworks from the museums of Naples and Florence; and, the greatest prize of all, Hitler's personal hoard of masterpieces, looted from the most important art collections and museums in Europe and hidden deep within a working salt mine - a mine the Nazis had every intention of destroying before it fell into Allied hands. How does the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History end? As is often the case, history is often more extraordinary than fiction.

Now this one I was all set to really enjoy ... I guess I was naive to expect some swashbuckling Nazi story ala Inglourious Basterds. I was sorely disappointed. Although I still think this is an interesting story, man oh man, is this a tedious read. Seriously, draining.

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