Sunday, July 31, 2011

The One on One More BlogHop

Once again, I'm participating on a Blog Hop! Hosted by

See for yourself:

Q. Name 3 authors that you would love to sit down and spend an hour or a meal with just talking about either their books or get advice on writing from? 

  1. William Somerset Maugham: He is the smartest man I've read books from, and all about them is so thoroughly interesting.
  2. Joanne Rowling: Because she created a whole world, a world which millions of people have lived and laughed and shed tears in.

Ta-da. Thank you for reading!

Others who participated:

Saturday, July 30, 2011

The One on Recklessness

Dear Blog Readers:

I want to present to you a quote. Because I have been having some thoughts about this quote, and maybe sharing my ideas and listening to yours would be cathargic.

“Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work.” Flaubert

About this idea by Flaubert; I have read or heard a quote somewhere about every person having a novel inside of them (and what lacks in every person is the possibility of realizing said novel.) I am of the people that dream of someday seeing their name printed on the side of a book, of flipping the pages of that is which is her work.

And not because of any other reason than because I have the desire of writing something. I don't want to be famous throughout what I write or sell the rights to my work and become rich, but I know that I have this novel inside of me and if only I had the time or perseverance to make of this ambition of a novel into reality. I have plotted and even started several stories, stories which I plan to be thousands of words long, because I feel the inspiration. And, I never finish them.

But I don't intend on writing about my lack of realization, but of something that I have realized time and again when coming to the spark of the point that all authors have, and that is the IDEA. And, I know, all authors put a bit of their life and their experience into what they write, and the characters are all in part real people, but when does this become too much? Because maybe this is what Flaubert meant; if you have dreams and ambitions, but live a calm, unfulfilled life, the life of someone normal and maybe even boring, and realize all your craziest ambitions throughout your work, then you can become a great artist. But what does this make of you as a person? Look at Gogol, or so many other geniuses that have fallen into suicidal vice or simply into suicide.

So, if one day you dream about dyeing your hair red, and going to Africa to teach children how to read, of doing something wild and way out of your league, but the next day you have had the inspiration of the story of your life, to be written down as immeadiately as possible, but this story includes a character, a hero, that dyes their hair red and goes to Africa and does something wild and out of their league, what then? 

Because, this is the problem that I have been facing as of late. I cannot create a story without creating a story that should be mine, if maybe I had the guts or the romanticisim of had been born in another situation in another family in another country.

And what if you have the talent?

Should you live a reckless life, or be reckless in your work? Because, what seems obvious to me, is that is quite impossible to do both. And this breaks my heart.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The One on Sunscreen

Because I have scarce time to post as you probably noticed in my failure at achieving the "post every day this month" idea, I leave you with this video, which is pretty typical, so if you have seen it, see it again, and if you haven't.... trust me, you'll last through the 8 minutes.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The One on A City's Death by Fire

The Fire of Cozy

Today is the last day of poetry by Derek Walcott, and I leave you with this find:

A City's Death By Fire by Derek Walcott
After that hot gospeller has levelled all but the churched sky,
I wrote the tale by tallow of a city's death by fire;
Under a candle's eye, that smoked in tears, I
Wanted to tell, in more than wax, of faiths that were snapped like wire.
All day I walked abroad among the rubbled tales,
Shocked at each wall that stood on the street like a liar;
Loud was the bird-rocked sky, and all the clouds were bales
Torn open by looting, and white, in spite of the fire.
By the smoking sea, where Christ walked, I asked, why
Should a man wax tears, when his wooden world fails?
In town, leaves were paper, but the hills were a flock of faiths;
To a boy who walked all day, each leaf was a green breath
Rebuilding a love I thought was dead as nails,
Blessing the death and the baptism by fire.

At first I was dubious about this poem, and when in doubt about poetry, always read it out loud.
And it was amazing, especially the beginning.
Kudos, Derek Walcott.
After this week, I think I discovered another poet that I really liked.

In conclusion about this Literature Nobel Laureate:

His work is not the type to speak through rhymes and rythm, but through powerful ideas which make the soul tremble and let us meek human beings peek into the greater vision of humanity, of ideas, of love, of life. A solid form of poetry, more for the heart and the mind than the ears, but more for the heart.

I think I liked him a lot.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The One on A Far Cry from Africa

A Far Cry From Africa by Derek Walcott
A wind is ruffling the tawny pelt
Of Africa, Kikuyu, quick as flies,
Batten upon the bloodstreams of the veldt.
Corpses are scattered through a paradise.
Only the worm, colonel of carrion, cries:
"Waste no compassion on these separate dead!"
Statistics justify and scholars seize
The salients of colonial policy.
What is that to the white child hacked in bed?
To savages, expendable as Jews?
Threshed out by beaters, the long rushes break
In a white dust of ibises whose cries
Have wheeled since civilizations dawn
>From the parched river or beast-teeming plain.
The violence of beast on beast is read
As natural law, but upright man
Seeks his divinity by inflicting pain.
Delirious as these worried beasts, his wars
Dance to the tightened carcass of a drum,
While he calls courage still that native dread
Of the white peace contracted by the dead.

Again brutish necessity wipes its hands
Upon the napkin of a dirty cause, again
A waste of our compassion, as with Spain,
The gorilla wrestles with the superman.
I who am poisoned with the blood of both,
Where shall I turn, divided to the vein?
I who have cursed
The drunken officer of British rule, how choose
Between this Africa and the English tongue I love?
Betray them both, or give back what they give?
How can I face such slaughter and be cool?
How can I turn from Africa and live?

What an amazingly powerful poem. So far, the best I've read by Derek Walcott.

First of all, to call a worm the "colonel of carrion" is genius, especially in the context of the poem. And there are so many other bits and pieces in there which are equally genial. 

And, it seems to me, that when I was reading this poem, the beat of drums was playing in the background, and it was not just the beat of Africa, but also the beat of a whole piece of humanity that has something to say to us.

Wait a moment, I want to read it again...

P.S. I might want to make a reading recording of this gem. Wait and see...

Friday, July 22, 2011

The One on Video

There's No Place Like Here: Brazenhead Books from Etsy on Vimeo.

I wanted to share that video, because it has some pretty sweet book shots, and the story is pretty good.

Also, to give this blog a break from the Derek Walcott poetry, which is fantastic, but a break from anything is good.

I love breaks.

Except this one. I want to return to schooooooooooool.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The One on Love After Love

Love After Love by Derek Walcott
The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other's welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

Throughout the course of a lifetime, maybe one tends to forget themselves. When you're a child, you are yourself, uncorrupted by what society tells you to be; playing your games, dressing your ways, saying what you need and want to say.
But then, life seems to move ahead of yourself, and you find wearing what other wear and saying and doing what others are saying and doing.
And maybe, in the midst of it all, you fall in love, and forget yourself, and then at the end, when left alone again, you great yourself, and you're a stranger. But the greeting is amicable, nice.

What I think of this poem is that although it does not excell in it's use of language (so far, no poem I have read by Derek Walcott has) but it's peaceful ideas that tend to bring light into some aspects of our lives, of ourselves, of our universe. I don't think he's the best poet that there was, however, I think he had a characteristic so essential yet hard to find in poets, which is, that he could put in the jar of words the essences of life.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The One on After the Storm

Okay, so, I might have (might have) chosen this poems because there's a Mumford & Sons song with this title, and it happens to be very good.


After The Storm
There are so many islands!
As many islands as the stars at night
on that branched tree from which meteors are shaken
like falling fruit around the schooner Flight.
But things must fall,and so it always was,
on one hand Venus,on the other Mars;
fall,and are one,just as this earth is one
island in archipelagoes of stars.
My first friend was the sea.Now,is my last.
I stop talking now.I work,then I read,
cotching under a lantern hooked to the mast.
I try to forget what happiness was,
and when that don't work,I study the stars.
Sometimes is just me,and the soft-scissored foam
as the deck turn white and the moon open
a cloud like a door,and the light over me
is a road in white moonlight taking me home.
Shabine sang to you from the depths of the sea.

by Derek Walcott

I'm liking the irrational similes, and the rythm.

I want to try out something, though, for the sake of the blog post. Everybody has personal interpretations to verse, what is yours on this one? Comment away!

Toodles :)

Monday, July 18, 2011

The One on Derek Walcott

This week will be a week of poetry, and not just any kind of poetry, but Jamaican poetry! (Yes, I am a fan of reggae. Fools are those who don't aprecciate it, but let me allow you unto a little secret -reggae is best in Spanish.)

Introducing Derek Walcott:

Derek Walcott is a Caribbean poet, playwright, writer and visual artist. Born in Castries, St. Lucia, he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1992 "for a poetic oeuvre of great luminosity, sustained by a historical vision, the outcome of a multicultural commitment." 

His work, which developed independently of the schools of magic realism emerging in both South America and Europe at around the time of his birth, is intensely related to the symbolism of myth and its relationship to culture. He is best known for his epic poem Omeros, a reworking of Homeric story and tradition into a journey around the Caribbean and beyond to the American West and London. 

Walcott founded the Trinidad Theatre Workshop in 1959, which has produced his plays (and others) since that time, and remains active with its Board of Directors. He also founded Boston Playwrights' Theatre at Boston University in 1981. In 2004, Walcott was awarded the Anisfield-Wolf Lifetime Achievement Award, and had retired from teaching poetry and drama in the Creative Writing Department at Boston University by 2007. He continues to give readings and lectures throughout the world. He divides his time between his home in the Caribbean and New York City.

Hmm. I don't think I'm going to try to read Omeros because only a few weeks ago I was working on an odyssey of my own, the Odyssey, if you will.

So, check back in tommorow for a bit of lirica by Derek Walcott. :)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The One on Pictures from my Beach Escapade





My cousin.


More of my cousins.

Love and chocalte chip cookies,

P.S. I think I've mentioned this before, but I'll restate it now; I think it's important to show this kind of thing on blogs, any blog, even if it's something as nerdy-ish as a book blog, because it creates a more personal relationship between the reader and the writer. What do you think? Would you prefer for me to remain solely on book-related topics or not?

Friday, July 15, 2011

The One on Book Status Updates

I am currently focusing on two novels, The Feast of the Goat and Lés Miserablés both of whom I am about halfway through. However, I think I have misplaced Lés Miserablés (not lost, never lost.) This is strange because it's such an unusually large book. 1100-something pages, and I misplaced that?


(Before I start, I want to say, that outside my window, raindrops are falling. Now, this sentence alone should make of this a happy post and guarantee a comment or two from my readers, right?)

Hmmm. I knew from previous reads that there was no way to be let down by anything that could be called Vargas Llosa's work, but this one excells. It reminds me of The Godfather, although more caribbean, more real, scarier maybe. Thoroughly entertaining, at times hard to understand, especially through the thick dominican dialect which I must applaud the author for. Because he's peruvian, and coloquial language varies a lot from South American country to South American country.

What a masterpiece. I just can't review it, can't write about it, nothing, if anything...

In simple words, up to now, it's THE best book I have ever read.

And I'm only on page 450.

The One with HARRY POTTAH!

I can't believe I haven't posted this yet.

The Harry Potter series have officially ended.

Now, I have to clear something out. I don't think I can strictly be called a die-hard fan, even though I fell in the abiss of unrequisited love with Harry and his world. This is because, being only a 15 year old, the first book came out when I was 3, and I started reading the series when I was 13. And, that is, they had all been released and I had already watched most of the movies. But it was still an amazing experience, a whirlwind of love and fear and adventure and risks, a whirlwind which gave me a bonding point with many people and hours of entertainment.

So, of course, I am very very sad to see the series come to an official end with the release of the last movie.

However, I havn't even seen it yet. Half of me wants to go really badly, and the other half never wants to walk into the cinema. I have a pretty bad cold right now, so either way, I can't go. Lawls.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The One on Internet Finds

Tommorow I will give you blog readers something more decently book-related, my progress on the two ones I'm currently working on; Lés Miserablés and The Feast of the Goat, both of whom I am about halfway through.

Today, however, is a much jollier day.

Today, I give you, my internet finds:

Beautiful poem:

Some poems are not meant for the page.
They are meant for cups and bowls.
They are meant to be poured out
onto the floor or dashed off the bedside table
by rampant elbows.
They are made for splattering,
for long rivulets dripping down the walls
like watercolors or alcohols
or to be drunk, to get drunk upon
and stumble, tipsy and blurry-eyed,
slurring out through the lips
and encouraging bad decisions.
They are poems meant to taste
like paint: pigmented and thick,
or watery and barely-staining,
but poems that recolor you
from the inside out, just the same.
They are poems like slurry and mud, meant
to hold footprints, meant to be tracked through
and ruin your mother’s just-cleaned linoleum,
poems that can be followed by

those who come in your wake.he sound of wind

rustling through the leaves
and a few voyeuristic
finches peep

by Gabriel Gadfly found hERE.

Cool quotes and prints HERE.

When you find a man
Who transforms
Every part of you
Into poetry,
Who makes each one of your hairs
Into a poem,
When you find a man,
As I am
Of bathing and adorning you
With poetry,
I will beg you
To follow him without hesitation,
It is not important
That you belong to me or him
But that you belong to poetry.
Translation by Bassam K. Frangieh
and Clementina R. Brown

Another poem HERE.

Thank you StumbleUpon!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The One on Other Book Blogs

Hi hello!
Incredibly, I almost forgot to post today. However, here I am.

Today's topic is one that might be a completely stupid move from my part, and maybe even a touch hypocritical. Because I am about to show you, my readers, other book blogs that are probably way more awesome (and book related) than mine.

Please note, though, that most of these are book Tumblrs, which are a different type of blog. However, I think that for books in many cases it works better. In fact, I've been thinking that once I finish the Nobel Project I could start up a book Tumblr. However, that's a topic for another day. :)

  • Sasha and the Silverfish has amazing book reviews. I have read and plan on reading few of the books that she has, but her reviews tend to go deeper than just what she is reviewing on, but on the genre and the deeper meaning of the genre. And that makes her blog totally worth it.
  • Seattle Books is probably my favorite book tumblr. Why? The perfect combination of perfect music, perfect pictures, perfect books, perfect reviews.
  • Better Book Titles; maybe you've heard of that one, and I think I've posted one or two of their pictures, and (final comment) I don't it even counts as a book blog, but it's funny, so I'm giving you the link of the blog that makes fun of books through their covers.
  • Out of Print; more on this one later
  • Miss Little Lime is not really a book blog but it's adorable
  • 52 Books is a hilarious and trully joyous tumblr, one of my favorites
  • Book Lovers Never Go To Bed Alone was my first book tumblr and many of the photographs you find here come from there. :)
  • Distant Heartbeats is another pretty darling one
If you have a book blog, be sure to comment and I'll check in. Who knows, maybe I'll decide to be hypocritical some other time and link back to your blog!


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The One on Quote

"People think dreams aren’t real just because they aren’t made of matter, of particles. Dreams are real. But they are made of viewpoints, of images, of memories and puns and lost hopes."
Neil Gaiman

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The One on Macchu Picchu

More photos from our family trip to Peru:









Macchu Picchu was an impressive city. You see it in pictures, you hear about it from others who have indeed visited, but you never quite picture the magistral city of rock that is the crown of the world.

Not for nothing one of the 7 Wonders of the World. Causes awe.

Have you ever visited something that left you, simply, without words?

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The One on Movies As of Late

While I have been informing a lot of reading and HowIMetYourMother-watching on this blog, I have been  also enjoying this time of convalescence (I know I'm deeply exaggerating my post-op) to watch all the movies I never have time to watch. In fact, this week I broke my record. Two movies in one week. 

A few months ago I posted on my concern for my lack of dedication to the film industry, and how I was thinking of remedying (urgh I hate inventing words) this by, ta-da, watching more movies and writing about them on my blog.

This week's movies:

I deeply enjoyed this one, however, I wouldn't know how to rate it. I recommend it, but don't applaud it. I don't know, it was a great movie, but not a masterpiece. You follow me?

(I probably wouldn't have finished it if it weren't at least a great movie.)

Although not my first time watching this nostalgic Frenchie, it brought back the same tears of bittersweet agony and happiness at the end. In short, a trully commendable movie.

That is the best I can review movies. Not a honed skill... like reviewing books. Cha-ching!

Friday, July 8, 2011

The One on A Blog Hop

To keep it nice and short, I'm contributing in a Blog Hop. I love this kind of thing, especially since I'm a newcomer to the book-blogging scene.

The question that had to be answered was what was the worst book that you ever finished. I would like to give so many school related readings answers, such as Animal Farm, and the numerous cheap literature books that we were forced to read in Junior High, and which, of course, I remember no title of.

However, these I was forced to complete and therefore apparently don't count in my head.

And, thereof, the worst book I have ever finished is The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, a famous so-called "modern classic" with what seemed to me like no literary technique, no plot, a shallow characterization, melodramatic conflicts and utterly depressing throughout. I applaud myself for having finished it, yet I wonder if it was worth the months that I gruelled through its last hundred pages.

Here are the other people who have contributed to the Blog Hop:

Thank you for reading!

The One on Reading Marathon, Post #3, Final Posting

What I look like as of yesterday. Damn you, tooth extraction.

Anyhow, I'm just swinging by to mention how my reading marathon went. Well, not as expected, because honestly, I got in far less than 12 hours. FAR. I'd say four hours, maybe five. But still, I got a bunch of reading in, and I look so ridiculous right now that I doubt I will be getting out of my house any time soon. So let the reading continue!

Here are the stats:

  • Lés Miserablés by Victor Hugo; 143 pages read
  • The Feast of the Goat by Mario Vargas Llosa; 79 pages read
  • Exodus by León Uris; 12 pages read
  • The Promise by Chaim Potok; 2 pages read (Apparently, I don't want to let go of this book.)
It's all How I Met Your Mother's fault. If it didn't exist, I probably would have FINISHED Lés Miserablés. (I am, of course kidding. I'm not even halfway through the darn book, yet close. However, I am thoroughly enjoying it.)

Love and cupcakes which I can't eat,

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The One on Reading Marathon Post #2

Photo through

"There are two motives for reading a book; one, that you enjoy it; the other, that you can boast about it." 
 Bertrand Russell

Oh, I feel that way now.

Normally, I hate quotes like that, because reading should be a pure act, but it isn't so much at time. Especially when you blog about what you read.

I've gone almost 100 pages in Lés Miserablés which is a considerable amount, but not enough... especially because I was supposed to be reading this whole time, yet I admit to have watched a movie (The Chorus, for the second time, and I cried, again), being on Facebook, spending time with my brothah and sistah, and now being on Tumblr. Hey, as long as I'm enjoying myself, right?

The One on Reading Marathon Post #1

That's the problem with titling my blog posts "The One..." (like on Friends, right?) is that they end up being a complete failure of my creativity. But it's the content that counts after all, I guess...

My nighttstand.
Obviously, I won't find trouble finding books to read today.
I'm of the type of reader that reads multiple books at once instead of focusing on just one, and this ends up with repercussions such as having about 4 books that have taken me many months to complete.

However, as of now, it's 6 AM and the reason I'm blogging at this hour of the day is due to my swollen chipmunk face. In other words, I had a tooth pulled out yesterday, and while to you, reader, that might seem like just a tooth, to me it's the end of the world, especially for vanity's sake. Although it hurts quite a bit too. Last time I had teeth pulled out I went to school but thankfully my school let out for vacations this week. Boo-yah. 

Anyhow, it wasn't like I scheduled the reading marathon today on top of nothing. I won't be able to do much today (or tommorow, by the way), so I'm aiming to get in at least 12 hours of reading.

However, a convalescent, I can't promise...

I'm kidding.

Anyways, I will mostly be focusing on Lés Miserablés and The Feast of the Goat by Vargas Llosa, however, hopefully I'll get in some Exodus and The Promise by Chaim Potok. (The Promise is neither a boring nor a bad book, however, it's taken me about two years to finish. It's my "when I have nothing else to read" book.)

BY THE WAY, yesterday I received a call that I had one a book for sumitting something to something. (I can't even remember what.) That's cool because a) I have never won anything and b)a book! And it's a poetry book so fashizzles I'm reading it.

Anyways, page numbers as of 6 AM:

  • 165 on Lés Miserablés
  • 0 on The Feast of the Goat
  • 210 on Exodus
  • 265 on The Promise
  • 93 on The Hill of Evil Counsil by Amos Oz

Check on in later today, I will hopefully post again by lunch time. ("Lunch time"=some youghurt, some Haagen Dasz.)


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The One on Augie March pt.2

The Adventures of Augie March by Saul Bellow was my first ever non-school related book for which I kept account of the quotes that I found interesting, maybe even pretty. Here are a collection of them:

"It wasn't right to think everyone else had more power of being. Why, look now, it was clear as anything that it wasn't so but merely imagination, exaggerating how you're regarded, misunderstanding how you're liked for what you're not, both from error and laziness. The way must be not to care, but in that case you must know how really to care and understand what's pleasing or displeasing in yourself. But do you think every newcomer is concerned and is watching? No. And do you care that anyone should care in return? Not by a long shot. Because nobody anyhow can show what he is without a sense of exposure and shame, and can't care while preoccupied with this but must appear better and stronger than anyone else, mad! And meantime feels no real strength in himself, cheats and gets cheated, relies on cheating but believes abnormally in the strenght of the strong. All this time nothing genuine is allowed to appear and nobody knows what's real. And that's disfigured, degenerate, dark mankind -mere humanity." p.401

"One day's ordinary falsehood if you could convert it into silt would choke the Amazon back a hundred miles over the banks. However, it never appears in this form but is distributed all over like the nitrogen in potatoes." p.375

"I wasn't convinced about the stony solemnity, that you couldn't get into the higher branches of thought without it [higher education] or had to sit down inside these old-world-imitated walls. I felt they were too idolatrous and monumental. After all, when the breeze turned south and west and blew from the stockyards with dust from the fertilizer plants through the handsome ivy some of the stages from the brute creation to the sublime mind seemed to have been bypassed, and it was too much of a detour." p. 286

"You do all you can to humanize and familiarize the world, and suddenly it becomes more strange than ever. The living are not what they were, the dead die again and afain, and at last for good." p. 285

"Profit by my imminent death to send a greeting to your loved ones in Purgatory: 50 lire." p. 285

"And here I could see what a value she set on the intelligence of men. If they didn't breathe the most difficult air of effort and nobility, then she wished for them the commponplace death in the gas cloud of settled existence, office bondage, quiest store festering, unrecognized despair of marriage without hope, or the commonnes of resentment that grows unknown boils in one's heart or bulbs of snarling flowers." p. 210

"But I don't like low opinions, and when you speak them out it commits you and you become a slave of them. Talk will lead people on until they convince their minds of things they can't feel true." p.209

"It is better to die what you are than to live a stranger forever." p.485

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The One on Announcing

Photo at
In honor of the advent of the Nobel Project, I am glad to announce that this Thursday, I will host my first ever reading marathon!

I will mostly transmit it through Twitter, however, it will include a few pretty blog posts to tell you how it went.

And that's it. :) Tune in on Thursday.

Also, I have changed the book I will be reading by Mario Vargas Llosa. Honestly, I never even started the other one. The thing is, I want to read something by him that is more popular and well-known, because I've already read one of his more obscure books, The Bad Girl, and thought it wold be nice to change. Furthermore, The War of the End of the World included religious topics, and since I'm still working on Lés Miserablés, I thought it would be best to lay off the religiousness on the new book.

The One on The Adventures of Augie March Pt. 1

Saul Bellow Polaroid

I mentioned in what was probably my first post ever that I was reading The Adventures of Augie March. Yes, it took me quite a bit of time.

Anyways, I thought of maybe cheating a little and writing down my thoughts about the book then (I finished it a few weeks before starting the Nobel Project) so that I could skip over Saul Bellow.

However, I sort of fell in love with the world he created.

It takes at least a hundred and fifty pages to get used to the verbosity of the narration, however, it becomes quite beautiful once you have.

My Goodreads review:

The Adventures of Augie MarchThe Adventures of Augie March by Saul Bellow
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As with many modern books, when the time comes to rate The Adventures of Augie March I'm afraid I could be grossly overrating it, or underrating it.

What is one to do when finding in a novel all the elements of the masterpiece, however, several annoyances to make of this a very overrated novel?

So, anyways, what Saul Bellow was trying to get through to us readers in his exaggeratedly verbose novel is that people, and eagles, will be themselves (hopefully), that editing is for losers, that good novels have soul-wrenching mind-gripping heart-accelerating moments and dreadfully useless first 100 pages, that men are promiscuos, but wait, girls too, that family is as useful as a cheap condom, that challenging readers with freakish allusions is pretty cool, that using unclear thesis is pretty cool, that using impossibletounderstand theses is pretty cool, that characterization is to be achieved magistrally, that protagonists are meant to speak only within their own head as narrators because they can't take a stand to affect their own freaking destiny, that Augies can change within time but not so much, that picaresques novels are for cool people, and that excess of information leads to lack of information, but that's cool.

Oh, that, by the way, was me imitating the Saul Bellow writing style. (However, I abused of the word cool and Mr. Bellow would neeeeever do that. I think.)

View all my reviews

Monday, July 4, 2011

The One on Reading Music

When I speak of "Reading Music" I am not referring to having the ability to differentiate a B from an E in sheet music, but rather, of the ability to concentrate on the words and ideas of the book on your lap rather than on the tunes and beat.
Because in today's modern world, where one finds time to read in places such as planes, buses and trains, where there are many distractors, one must find a way to concentrate optimally on what one is reading. (I, myself, am a horrible plane-time reader. On my last plane ride to Peru, I must have read a total of 5 or 10 pages.)

What's difficult about this is that music as well as literature affect our feelings and emotions. So it's more annoying than funny when you're reading about someone dying and hearing about what a wonderful world it is.

So I created a playlist in the website that is man's best invention, 8 tracks. Hope you like it. :)

Cheers! And although I live in a whole other hemisphere, Happy Independance Day to all my readers from the U.S. of A!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The One on Daffodils

Oh, have a most wonderful Sunday!

The One on Currently Reading

Yesterday I introduced the Nobel laureate whose work I will be reading first.

Today I introduce the work that I will be reading. The War of the End of the World by Mario Vargas Llosa.

A few months ago I read The Bad Girl and thoroughly enjoyed it, however, it was not quite a great book, but rather, an exciting light read. My father is an avid fan of Vargas Llosa, and he recommended this one to me.

I will be updating on my progress as I go. :)

P.S. Yes, I'm taking advantage of my fluency in Spanish to read the book in its natal language. Which, of course, is the ideal path. You lose so much in translation.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The One with Current Nobel Prize, Vargas Llosa

Vargas Llosa holds a special place in my heart as a Nobel Prize laureate because he's of the few latin recipients of this prize, and my whole family is latin. (In fact, my Spanish is equally as good as my English.)

And, besides this, he's a very interesting author: although highly critical, his work is very entertaining.
This is what his Goodreads "life-summary" says:

"Mario Vargas Llosa, born in Peru in 1936, is the author of some of the most significant writing to come out of South America in the past fifty years. [...] Vargas Llosa is also active outside the literary arena, and was a serious contender for the presidency of Peru in 1990 (eventually losing to the now disgraced Alberto Fujimori), an experience he documented in his memoir, A Fish in the Water. [...] On the controversial nature of some of his work he said, “The writer’s job is to write with rigor, with commitment, to defend what they believe with all the talent they have. I think that’s part of the moral obligation of a writer, which cannot be only purely artistic. I think a writer has some kind of responsibility at least to participate in the civic debate. I think literature is impoverished, if it becomes cut from the main agenda of people, of society, of life.” "

And he was awarded the Nobel Prize last year for:
"for his cartography of structures of power and his trenchant images of the individual's resistance, revolt, and defeat".

 As I am lucky enough to be fluent in Spanish, and I do indeed need to practice this skill, I will be reading his work _____ in this language. And I will be commenting on it as I go.

After reading his Nobel Prize speech, one of the parts I liked the best were:

"Reading changed dreams into life and life into dreams and placed the universe of literature within reach of the boy I once was."

"Without fictions we would be less aware of the importance of freedom for life to be livable, the hell it turns into when it is trampled underfoot by a tyrant, an ideology, or a religion. Let those who doubt that literature not only submerges us in the dream of beauty and happiness but alerts us to every kind of oppression, ask themselves why all regimes determined to control the behavior of citizens from cradle to grave fear it so much they establish systems of censorship to repress it and keep so wary an eye on independent writers."

"Good literature erects bridges between different peoples, and by having us enjoy, suffer, or feel surprise, unites us beneath the languages, beliefs, habits, customs, and prejudices that separate us."

"I carry Peru deep inside me because that is where I was born, grew up, was formed, and lived those experiences of childhood and youth that shaped my personality and forged my calling, and there I loved, hated, enjoyed, suffered, and dreamed."

"The conquest of America was cruel and violent, like all conquests, of course, and we should criticize it but not forget as we do that those who committed pillage and crimes were, for the most part, our great-grandfathers and great-great-grandfathers, the Spaniards who came to America and adopted American ways, not those who remained in their own country. Such criticism, to be just, should be self-criticism."

"Literature is a false representation of life that nevertheless helps us to understand life better, to orient ourselves in the labyrinth where we are born, pass by, and die."

I heard an aunt of mine once say that she was in love with Vargas Llosa... even though he is about 35 years older, a politician, and on her standards, not "good-looking." But she says to have fallen in love with the man reflected in what he says, and what he believes in. And I couldn't agree more. Will he ever say or write something that isn't streaked with passion and beauty?

And, after all, love wouldn't be such a complicated thing if people fell for those who speak and believe beautiful things.

Finally, might I add that it is perfect timing because only a week ago I was in Peru?

Friday, July 1, 2011

The One with The Start

Jane Eyre at 11

Would it be too cheasy to say that today is a great day for this blog?

Today is the start of the Nobel Project.
Today, I will start reading, and soon you will now what.

To celebrate the inauguration of the event, this month I will be posting every day. Also, I created a Twitter account with which to be even more annoying. I might even have a reading marathon at some point throughout the month of Julius.

Click HERE to be directed to my Twitter Account.

If you have a Twitter account, link it back in the comments, and I will immediately follow you!

I love my readers :)
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