Archive for the ‘books’ Category

message in the bottle

October 30, 2007

So, did you know that Jules Verne worked on writing librettos for operettas before his novelist career? Neither did I. But what is most interesting – that genius predicted many technological breakthroughs that happened many decades later (including what happened in Apollo space mission)

When I was a little kid, my mom used to read Les Enfants du Captain Grant every night before we went to sleep. O, how I loved to hear about adventures in that book! It starts with Lord Glenarvan and Lady Helena sailing on their ship Duncan somewhere in Scotland together with their crew. And they find a message in a bottle! Message is written on three papers in three different languages English, French and German – but since salty water entered through the bottle (during its long journey) it erased some words – so they somehow managed to compile one (still incomplete) message out of those 3 that will make sense. And so they start a search for Captain Grant whose ship sank. They have the latitude but do not have geographical longitude.

Yesterday, while I was searching for some other books, I found The Children of Captain Grant and I was so excited to start reading it again since so many years passed. If you are interested too to find out what happened in their sea adventure all over the world, you can look in the online English version of the novel or in French original version.

By the way in video above there is

First-ever live performance of “Message in a Bottle” by the Police. Song had not yet been released. Filmed for a Brit TV show called “Rock Goes to College” filmed at Hatfield Polytechnic College.

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the bookfair

October 29, 2007

pete’s book
Well, today is the last day of the bookfair in my city. It always takes place in October – and it is always a great joy for me. And always the same story, I feel I never have enough money to buy everything that I would like to have…huh. When it comes to books my appetites are constantly growing – now I have less than 1.5K books in my library but I like to hear that people have more than 10 thousand books at home (I hope I will join that club somewhere in the future). To put it simply, books are like a chocolate – you can never have it enough.

This year, I am totally into reading children books. I bought two books by Pete Johnson, modern writer from Great Britain. Yesterday I read this book ‘Trust Me, I’m a Troublemaker’, and it was a lot of fun. Here is a little description from the site.

Archie is a very mature child – some would say far too mature! Having grown up with his gran, he seems to have acquired some adult ways – and the kids at his new school find them unbearable. Especially Miranda – the class troublemaker. At first she absolutely can’t stand Archie but then she starts to see him as a bit of a project- could she really make Archie into a Troublemaker Extraordinaire? Their unlikely friendship really gets going when Archie needs help to scare off his dad’s new girlfriend . . .

Corgi Children’s Books | 169-page paperback
ISBN: 044086626X

I enjoyed it so much, I was similar kid like Archie in my primary school, perhaps not so serious – but I also enjoyed to clean schoolyard :) After I read the other book, I plan to find books by Sue Townsend about Adrian Mole – I did not read them when I was younger, so I want to do it now.

Among other books I bought book about life and work of Tarkovsky, the famous Soviet movie director, and antology of humouristic poetry from the States. My sister bought book about Che Guevara, and she got autograph from Che’s daughter who was the visitor of the fair. I am so happy about that because I have very, very deep respect for Che.

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 :)

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.

the north wind and the sun

January 30, 2007

The North Wind boasted of great strength. The Sun argued that there was great power in gentleness.

“We shall have a contest,” said the Sun.

Far below, a man traveled a winding road. He was wearing a warm winter coat.

“As a test of strength,” said the Sun, “Let us see which of us can take the coat off of that man.”

“It will be quite simple for me to force him to remove his coat,” bragged the Wind.

The Wind blew so hard, the birds clung to the trees. The world was filled with dust and leaves. But the harder the wind blew down the road, the tighter the shivering man clung to his coat.

Then, the Sun came out from behind a cloud. Sun warmed the air and the frosty ground. The man on the road unbuttoned his coat.

The sun grew slowly brighter and brighter.

Soon the man felt so hot, he took off his coat and sat down in a shady spot.

“How did you do that?” said the Wind.

“It was easy,” said the Sun, “I lit the day. Through gentleness I got my way.”

taken from www.storyarts.com

so your favourite novel is?

January 18, 2007

Here in Serbia they say for some folk singers that their favourite novel writer is Tolstoyevsky. Aside from this humorous remark which says that they cannot distinguish between Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, I must admit with certain degree of shame that I haven’t read anything by them. No, I haven’t read War and Peace. Uh huh. But one philosopher friend told me that War and Peace is great, especially the ending, and I figure I will read it one day.

Also I am not fan of epic fiction, or science fiction, and oxymoronically I regret that I am not. It seems that people who were swallowing Tolkien novels while they were kids, are now also big fans of those novels. But in my case I found it somewhat difficult to read Lord of the Rings, perhaps because of that beginning, but I would like one day to read it. And there is one special science fiction novel – Contact by Carl Sagan, which is totally scientific fiction (behind the text there are many equations unseen by readers that are not physicists) and more than that it is collection of many opposed wonderful thoughts of many different thinkers from different continents and different eras. So, it is very dialectical. That is kind of novel that provokes you to think scientifically and at the same time displays beauty of science through many not so well-known science quotations. Please do not compare it to the movie, no good book can be compared to the movie.

But my favourite novels are those who can display deep meanings, and deep feelings. To qoute a few – Quo Vadis, by Henryk Sienkiewicz and Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse. Both writers are Nobel Prize winners, and they deserved it really.

And what is your favourite novel? How about favourite writer?