Archive for the ‘writing’ 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.

history – name for “once upon a time” future

January 22, 2007

When I was a little kid, I acted a bit strangely because I enjoyed to count numbers one, two, three and so on…everywhere, in home and outside. I remember that I managed to count till ten thousand about when turned six years old. And my father told me to write down numbers in one hardcover A4 notebook, in each new line – next number, and so I wrote about two thousand and something there. Here my father got interesting idea – he figgured that each line can represent one year in history starting from 1 AD until beyond 2000. So he explained to me that we will write down when some great scientist or artist or composer – some great person was born and when he died. And of course, we will write down if some important event happened. I liked the idea, and we started to do it. Perhaps it was my first seeing face to face with the fact that human life is transitory inside eternity, that there is time when one is born, and that there is time when one dies. I was drawing sign of little cross beside year in which someone died.

Later when I grew up enough to have history in school, to be very frank now, I was not interested in history at all. I just learned it to get good grade. And I always had best grade, I was learning like a parrot – and therefore now I know so little, I forgot it all. Is it important to learn history? What do you think? Let me hear some pros and cons in your comments.

First off, my opinion is that it is important to learn history of art. Can we allow ourselves the luxury of not knowing what was before and what after – Baroque or Rennaissance. It is our fellow humans who created that art – by learning that we will widen our horizons in certain way – we will get finer resolution of our perception. We are inheriting what generations before us created, in certain way, but we should not be attached to it – we should create now art of our time, as they created art of that time. It is very important to elaborate now on this a bit more.

So, I don’t wish to have rules from past how to create art now – save and except one – that art which I create has fulness. How can I know that? I can feel that. I am unable to judge others precisely, but myself – it is completely different story. For anything I created I know how much it fulfils me – I feel it to the slightest degree. If someone creates something because he just wants to have something new – I cannot see eye to eye with such person. Art has to be our most intimate dream. We have to give ourselves completely, and to feel that we have done so. Many times unfortunately, so called artists, are just offering confusion from their minds. No art for me – without the heart!

Frankly speaking, I am not well acquainted with history of art, no authority for it. I want to convey another message with this text – that I am ready and willing to learn. I will start there what I love most – Claude Monet’s Soleil levant (1873) and the Impressionists, and Claude Debyssy’s music, of course :)

As for general history, it is broader subject, and I will elaborate on it more in some of my next posts. And one more thing. I will start again to do what my father suggested. But this time I will write one year for one page in new book, and I will do it for the period since 1800 until now. Including music, visual art and science.

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?

how to write a novel in 100 days or less

January 17, 2007

So, you are like me – you always wanted to write novel, but never did it? Or, the same as me, you started many times, but never finished (I wrote some shorter essays though in life, usually for my friends for their birthdays). Here might be the inspiration. Free course, and you need about 3 months. According to this plan you need 2 hours each morning and 2 each evening, and one eight-hour day every weekend. OK, there is never enough time – but what the heck, perhaps we should try. We might get the Nobel Prize for the novel one day, who knows? So you can check out this writing course by clicking here.

Oh, one more thing – there is one more excellent site for enthusiastic writers – www.CritiqueCircle.com Be sure to check that one too – there are a lot of people who will be very supportive by writing constructive critiques to your stories. It is always easier when something is done together in a group, an online writing community.