Archive for the ‘autobiography’ Category

reading thrillers

February 9, 2007

On January 30th, this year, my favourite novel writer Sidney Sheldon passed away in his 90th year. From my childhood I was reading much. One can say that reading books is my passion. My father is a collector of old books, we have more than 1400 I guess, and also my aunt worked in a big bookshop, which had many books and most importantly all the new titles. I used to sit there on a chair for hours and reading books. So, I remember, when I was 14 year old – I read my first novel written by mr. Sheldon – Master of the Game, in that bookshop. I remember that it was so interesting that I always held my breath in suspense to see what will happen next. I never read so interesting and attention catching novel before that. Later on, I read many of his books. Perhaps most interesting one for me was his novel about Spain – The Sands of Time. His writing style is unique. And in the novel Tell me your dreams, there is most unexpected ending ever. Yesterday I was mentioning autobiographies, and last novel that mr. Sheldon wrote is actually his autobiography – The Other Side of Me, which was published in 2005.

I have never read it yet, but I am look forward to reading it. It starts with his being 17 years old and since those were the years after great depression in USA (in 1929, and then it was 1934) he was totally disappointed and wanted to commit suicide. I am so glad that he did not do it. Such talented author, his writing style always in present tense, his playing with italic font to create distinction between thinking world and objective world. I have impression that Dan Brown copied that technique from him, but in my opinion not with the same success. Sheldon used it better.

Who else writes novels that you read with your mouth open. Victor Hugo of course. Les Miserables are fantastic, I could only think what could happen if mr. Hugo was movie director – what kind of deep thrillers he would make. Few weeks ago I watched movie The Hunchback of Notre Dame with Sir Anthony Hopkins playing Quasimodo (he played the role so good, I was amazed). I fancy that the book is even more thrilling than the movie. Nobel prize winning novel Quo Vadis by Henryk Sienkiewicz is also a thriller when you are nearing end of the novel, but at the same time it is novel that embodies highest spiritual feelings and superb hedonistical style of describing Petronius (in positive way) and emperor Nero (in negative, hedonism-degrading way), and perhaps it is the best love story (Vinitius and Lygia) ever written – all in all, it is probably the deepest novel I have ever read.

In yesterdays comment Barbara recommended to me reading the autobiography of Vittorio Alfieri. I browsed project Gutenberg and found autobiography of one also interesting and famous Italian – and documentary of that autobiography I saw on Viasat History TV Channel. And we can certainly say that Giacomo Casanova led pretty interesting life. His autobiography was very famous at that time.

Somewhere I read that Victor Hugo’s dream was that Paris would be called after his name. If that had become the reality – we would have now Une Romaine a Hugo blogging instead :)

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rediscovering autobiographies

February 8, 2007

palm IIIxe

“There is properly no history; only biography”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

These days I have intense wish to read biographies and autobiographies. And I really wish to read about that golden period of history – XIX century. Impressionists were painting in France, and Henry David Thoreau went to the woods to write his diary there. Serbian inventor Michael Pupin went to USA and wrote to me very dear Pulitzer winning autobiography From Immigrant to Inventor, in which he portrays the true american spirit, and when you read that book you see how America was great country comparing to Europe then. Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote his immortal Essays, and believe me I am spending nights in reading his collected works, and I stand in awe in front of his language (I still don’t get it how could he wrote like that!) Who can write in such fiery words if not that philosopher poet from Boston, who wrote Self-Reliance – essay that became solid inspiration and foundation of my system of values. And there are poems of Emily Dickinson. And of course, we cannot avoid Nikola Tesla serbian poet-scientist who gave the world alternating currents. Many many interesting people were born in XIX century.

Now I know that books are expensive, and one is not always in mood to go to the library too. But that is why project Gutenberg is there. You can find ove 20000 free e-books there, and there is always top list of 100 books and authors if you are not sure what to read (I never paid too much attention to that top list so far, but it is nice to know it exists). Good thing is that Gutenberg library offers books in Plucker format, which is suitable for reading on your Palm device. I have prehistoric model, Palm IIIxe, with grey display and 8 MB of memory, but truth to be told, I like to read books on it. And I don’t like to read books on the computer screen (I do it only when I have to). Now I entered word biography in searchbox on Gutenberg site, and it gives me 90 results back (you can try to type memoirs too). So there will be a lot of good (and free reading) for me in next period.

If you have Palm but do not have Plucker, you can download it from here. From the list I chose autobiography of actress Sarah Bernhardt. I was reading first few chapters this morning, and I was very immersed in the story. And so far, I really enjoy reading it a lot. So I will provide link for it here:

My Double Life – The Memoirs of Sarah Bernhardt

If you know some good biography or autobiography that you have read and enjoyed it, kindly recommend it in comments please.