Category Archives: Libros

Ett nytt land utanför mitt fönster

Boken Ett nytt land utanför mitt fönster av Theodor Kallifatides 2001, utgåva 2017, handlar om att leva och känna sig som en främling i sitt eget land. Författaren beskriver med gamla minnen hur han upplevt att vara en främling genom tiden sedan han emigrerade till Sverige 1964 och försöker göra en sammanfattning (s.127) på hans liv som främling i Sverige och utomlands. Just ordet främling förekommer ofta i olika böjningar på nästan vartenda kapitel i boken. Theodor Kallifatides är författare som har skrivit ett antal böcker i Sverige på svenska och är bosatt i Sverige sedan 1964.  Han är 79 år gammal och fortfarande verksam inom sitt yrke som författare.

Ordet främling finns i praktiskt taget vartannat blad man läser i boken som Kallifatides skrev för 17 år sedan. Det går inte att undvika dess repetition och varje gång man inträffar det får ordet ny kraft tills man förstår att främling är att vara rätt och slätt utanför samhället. Dock kan man urskilja lite svenskhet i hans skriveri då han finner sig svensk i just att vara främling i Sverige. Man blir det man bekämpar säger han (s.56). Ett exempel är att hans kultur är grekisk och utgör hans utgångspunkt för att jämföra det som gör honom en utböling i Sverige. Utifrån denna utgångspunkt använder han exempel på hur just han är inte längre grekisk i sitt nytt land. Han berättar hur andra ser på honom som icke svensk i Sverige men svensk utomlands. Han är en kallrumpa som hans landsmän kallar honom då han vill ha avstånd mellan honom och andra människor. Bästa exempel på hans anpassning till Sverige är när han hade för vana att knacka på andras dörrar unannounced som det heter på engelska eller våldgästa på svenska och hur nu är han rädd för det. Inte vet han vad är värre, att stå utanför eller att bli insläppt. Det blir det klassiska svensk beslutångest som övervinner honom.

Man blir det man bekämpar säger han. Men han kan inte låta bli att vara svensk genom hans färd runt om i landet och utomlands. Han vill inte bli igenkänd som grek och talar engelska (s.128) för att slippa se sig själv som grek men samtidigt i Sverige beklagar han att många ser honom som en grek. Just utifrån hans grekisk identitet skaffar sig han en svenskhet som i sin tur ger honom en identitet i Sverige. I boken är landskapet i Sverige hans identitets bakgrund för att utforma sin egen skog. Han må inte veta skillnaden mellan en tall och en gran och känner sig som en buske (s.139) men en buske i Sverige. Han förstår att i Sverige kärleken kan ta slut och accepterar detta som sin egen trots att han kom till Sverige impregnerad med filótimo, en slags hederskod. Han kan även inte förmå sig själv att kalla sin fru för sin, det bara går inte. Han är nu impregnerade av det allra och största svensk egenskap, individualism.

Hur är det med hans språk? Kallifatides handskas med språk hela tiden och beter sig tvetydig på just den fråga. Väl i slutet av boken förklarar han att han har åter blivit förälskad i grekiska men i början av boken beklagar han sig att hans böcker som är skrivna på svenska står i invandrar-författare avdelningen. Så vilket är hans språk? Det vi vet är att han inte ville föra vidare grekiska till sina barn och att han älskade svenska då han åt ivrigt från det svenska smörgåsbord språket tills hans hjärna svullnade (s.51).  Till slut förklarar att hans språk är samma språk som barnens, svenska.

Denna 36 år erfarenhet av att vara främling i Sverige skulle nog passa mycket bra för att diskutera anpassningar till ett nytt land i ett klassrum. Boken täcker kulturskillnader gällande hur man ser på kärlek, avståndstagande mellan människor, och hur ett land ser på invandrare och hur det nya landet ser på sina nya medborgare. Boken betonar det språkliga aspekten av at lära sig ett nytt språk och hur man hanterar sitt eget språk i det nya landet och hur berikarande den är men samtidigt hur det känns att förlora sitt eget språk.

Federico y Wilde: Readings 2017

MENIPPUS: My dear coz—for Cerberus and Cynic are surely related through the dog—I adjure you by the Styx, tell me how Socrates behaved during the descent. A God like you can doubtless articulate instead of barking, if he chooses. CERBERUS: Well, while he was some way off, he seemed quite unshaken; and I thought he was bent on letting the people outside realize the fact too. Then he passed into the opening and saw the gloom; I at the same time gave him a touch of the hemlock, and a pull by the leg, as he was rather slow. Then he squalled like a baby, whimpered about his children, and, oh, I don’t know what he didn’t do. Lucian of Samosata, Dialogues of The Dead, 4 (21)

Oscar Wilde’s De Profundis Transcribed from the 1913 Methuen & Co. edition, is a book for the living. Jesús Cotta‘s Rosas de Plomo Amistad y Muerte de Federico y Jose Antonio (February 2015) ISB: 978-84-16128-47-1 is a book of what in Spanish grammatical terms is called futuro imperfecto, An imperfect future in other Words, a book solely for speculation, a military book designed to whitewash the legacy of Franco. Succinctly put, De Profundis is about unjust laws; Rosas de Plomos a simple military apology.

The common thread between the books is quite a simple humane universal understanding of suffering and how two people describe this emotion which affected two literary stars of yore who became baptized as Christians on their own volition but only after undergoing personal distress. Or so it seems for the likes of me at this year and time. From afar It is easy to judge two giants. Oscar Wilde and Federico García Lorca. Wilde describes his ordeal in Jail in a semi-biographical form and García Lorca has Cotta to draw us the pain and suffering García had had to be subjected to as he went through the ordeal of persecution by two ideological fronts in the Spanish civil war.

Jesús Cotta’s book was a bit more of a drag because I kept questioning the speculative nature of the narrative, mind you, his speculative narrative is a well done study in the events that led to the arrest and persecution of García Lorca. His portrayal of García Lorca left loads to be desired and him speaking for him was just a drag. No pun intended. Cotta’s discussion of García Lorca’s homosexuality is rather grandiloquence. It created confusion in me since I assume, like everybody else does, that he was homosexual. But his grandiloquence knows no limit. Especially when he digs into his jail time and how his Christian credentials come into play as he is being charged by the Franco regime for being this and that. Jail time is quite a personal experience and I have no doubt García Lorca underwent a rather strenuous time as he traversed his personal calvary. The psychological roller coaster does indeed put one through a series of emotional states which all lead to a reaffirmation of the bible.

Oscar Wilde’s De profundis was more rather interesting as it was. Mind you, the book I read is in the public domain and as I scoured about the net for info on the ISBN I came across information which detailed that my read version is incomplete. It does though present the gist. The notes weren’t supposed to be released before 1960. I am guessing rather against Oscar Wilde’s wishes. My reading of the letter was more in relation to the mental suffering Oscar Wilde went through while in prison. I was particularly struck by the many biblical references and comparisons used to describe the mental agony of the prison stay. The suffering was ameliorated by using the bible and the Christ as a source of comfort and lastly to reaffirm faith in the Christ. This use of the bible to come close to one’s God in order to seek relief from the daily strain of prison life is rather interesting because it manipulates the brain to better understand the world around us. Although Oscar Wilde prefers the term humbling I suppose. It humbles one’s position in the world to better adjust us to the present realities, in this case for him, his imprisonment.

It sort of bothers me to see this in two great writers being exposed to a redemption which was not true to the nature of redemption. Would they have continued their lifestyle had they not endured the cruelties of political establishments that condone behaviors and threats the way they do? In Oscar WIlde’s time, the Victorian period and their decency laws and in García Lorca’s period, the Franco regime during the white terror purge? Does it require to be in prison or endure distress in order to come close to God? It is easy to question from a position such as mine since I don’t endure that but the mind is inquisitive as well as curious. As I read both books, I often wondered if García Lorca ever read De Profundis. It seems he did, according to Ángel Sahuquillo in Federico García Lorca y la cultura de la homosexualidad (2007) ISBN-13: 978-0-7864-2897-7 pages 34 and 35 (thanks Google!).

As much as my reading these days, I rushed the reading somewhat and only fund out much more about the books as I wrote this. I missed alot and hopefully, I will be better prepared for the next book I have recently read as well.

 

The Fifth Impossibility


When I bought this book I was in serious depression mode. I felt I belonged so in glee I pressed ok, buy. I live in a so called ‘foreign’ land and I ache for my ‘motherland’. The attraction was mutual. Then. Time passed.

I was vulnerable. So I forked the bucks through my Kindle tablet. Do I regret it? Sort of kinda of, not really. I really liked it. It’s juicy in details which makes my mouth water for stuff such as this. I understand the longing, the constant battle of identities because of the languages, I get it. The exasperation of the Cold War stuff as well. In my younger years there was nothing to consume but intricacies of the Cold War and the ‘Liberation’ of the nations from the yoke of the USSR. I wasn’t there with them but I saw in it on the tv and read it in the Californian papers like the very lightweight San Jose Mercury News which seemed a baby compared to the San Francisco Chronicle and a few others like the NYT or WSJ. I lived it through the lenses of the many white men who spoke on those behalfs back then, Foreign Affairs whatnot. Not to say its the same.

Although seeing live on the tv news of the fall of the Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu and the drama that ensued his downfall, as we in America felt a glorious feeling of liberation that we helped the world rid itself of the commie scums, well, one can’t help but not remember their ill fate as they faced the firing squad as we felt pitty for his wife, Elena Ceausescu. It isn’t until these last years that we get a slight glimpse of those last seconds of the Socialist Republic of Romania. Paratrooper Ionel Boeru, the couple’s executioner, has come out to tell us those last seconds of that republic.

Boeru says it was the 29 bullets from his AK-47 rifle that killed the evil president and his ruthless wife Elena when they were lined up against a courtyard wall and executed by firing squad. Then an army captain, Boeru remembers how the 71-year-old tyrant was smartly dressed and smelled heavily of aftershave.

“Ceausescu’s last words were, ‘Long Live the Socialist Republic of Romania, ­independent and free’,” says Boeru. In contrast Elena Ceausescu smelled badly of body odour. And her last words were far from statesmanlike. “She yelled at a soldier, ‘You motherf****er’,” he says. Boeru, now 56, rarely talks about what happened on Christmas Day 1989.

We were told by Cold War propaganda what occurred there but not through Jewish eyes. They seem to somehow be in the wrong side of history on this side of the planet, that is, Europe. No matter where or how, place of time, it ails the Jewish lot. So to hear their voices of those persecuted by communism and the Soviet aftermath tell it, well it offers a window into the many hows which otherwise remain locked up in the silence or the few circles which roam said stories.

Where does the mesh occur indeed. Where does memory begin and where does makeup land start worst yet where does the nostalgia begin which if not careful can turn into romanticism? I do not know. But I understand their plight. Their moves. America though in its infancy is yet to suffer the lot of Europe. Not that America as a continent hasn’t suffered persecution for ideas or thinking or mass deportation, ethnic cleansing whatnot. One ought to be thankful for it not becoming a preferable habit of sorts as in much of European history would indicate it. We Americans long for Europe because it was the hell of the many.

We long to bathe in its past yet the shore is long away. Still, when we wet our feet we question the father. I, for example, wonder why does the European lot need to compare their linguistic achievements to us? We are not the same there. We are a lot that abhors the language imposed upon us. There, the European Jew has lost touch or sensibility. It, does not know, our lot. We did not ask for English, nor Spanish, nor Portuguese. We had our own languages. We still have our own languages by the miracle of persistent and rebellious attitudes towards the imposer who punishes us by infringing our rights to think and develop in those languages. And if money is poured unto said languages it is only to ‘rescue’ them from extinction though they be only left 5 old speakers whose fate and moribund souls must suffer the hell of reviving their languages through he insistence of the speech recorders. I was particularly peeved  by Ephemeridae.

Borrowed Time: An AIDS memoir

I first read Borrowed Time, with that jacket, yes, in the late summer of 1996. My first and only term at SDSU which is to this day, I feel, my true Alma mater. Such was the impact of it that one April the 8th of a 2015 I decided to buy it again in digital form far fetched notion indeed from the days I curled up to the book in paper format in the corridors of SDSU that 96. The memories it brings, yes, they last. So I bought it again. Only to finish it again in February 2016. The math says 22 months to read. So I took my time. Loads more than what it took in 1996. Why? What happened? There is a pain so deep which transpires time as the very breath I take now, it feels here and now. Though I fail to recollect my exact emotions when I first read the book I can recollect being taken by it in a way palpable today as then. Suffice to say, Mr. Monette weaved a tale that drew on the past as well as the now and the future which entangles one to this day. So am repetitive, only because I went against the grain towards my own myself, I do not reread for the most part. Yet I did for this volume. It is not easy to describe the aforementioned. What is it that makes a person reread a book? Take good old Virgina Woolf. She suggested to read a book ‘several’ times. But for the sake of memory? To relive? So I did it. I feel like when I got off the metro Piazza del Popolo in Rome, confronted with a past only I know because I knew where I was since I had been there before and I could imagine its world anew. A past I built on bits and pieces; facts and sheer fantasy. So I walked it alone. Admiring its beauty. Although I was more critical of Monette this time. The emotional fluctuations of the passage of time as he went through the pangs of pain and love for his dear Roger.

A reading of Monette is a delight because this is a good wordsmith. Not to mention that he weaves a series of interrelated events with the emotional load which tends to obligue one to side with the narrator on the injustices suffered by those who ended up guinea pigs for the conservative agenda of the Reagen years which linger on to this very day like a bad fart. Again, the second reading made me see a different Monette though, perhaps because so much time has passed by and am more cynical than when I was younger and more prone to the references to Greek and Roman history alluded in the text, stretched out like a thin silk line to the present, ah, yes, what imagination doesn’t fall for that? Yet the emotional decrying seems so exaggerated at times, viewed from what we now know with what we knew then, it is easy to lay blame on Paul.

Over and out.

Church of Spies The Pope’s Secret War Against Hitler

I ought to add a category for books read on my Kindle Amazon owns though I pay for it almost everyday. So I read Church of Spies – The Pope’s Secret War Against Hitler. By a dude named Mark Riebling. A lad with a many credentials. He is not your neighborhood comadre so his research seems to be legit. Regardless, the e-book read on a Kindle Amazon, was done over a period of time. Purchased the 2nd of Oct. 2015 and done with it January 2017 suffice to say, no ordinary read. 15 months. It took its time which presented a sort of reading contrary and against the flow of the day or thinking which encourages to read much and fast. I loved this method. Not that I never wanted to rip off the tonsils of my nagging little voice making me feel all guilty about letting the read sink in as the days turned into weeks and week into months. That thing has a life of its own and it ain’t little for wielding such power might I add.

Suffice to say it was a good read because I had the time to think about it as I perused the digital text at leisure. There is something about getting back to an unfinished book that allows for deeper reflection and this certainly did it. AS the reviews say it better than I do it tends to offer quite an intriguing recount of how Germans wanted to rid themselves of Hitler with the sanction and approval of the Holy See. Catholic Germans off course. Am sure a lot of the stuff that is retold in told in the book with the utmost enthralling details are fairly well researched but I imagine the sources had to be carefully authenticated. I mean, The Holy See in the WWII is not free of sin. No matter how well intentioned the characters portrayed in the book are explained with their actions and deeds to do away with Hitler. Although it is interesting to read somebody tried to do something to stop the Nazi crimes despite the hinders that that society presented at the time of the horrible episode of Germany. Just as interesting was to read how average people communicated with the Holy See as well as to get a glimpse of the mechanics of power during Nazi occupation of Rome.

All in all, the book was a juicy one for its intricate details of the cat and mouse entrapment that espionage is all about though this is no ordinary espionage since it was wartime. Good work.

Two Years, Eight Months and Twenty‑Eight Nights by Salman Rushdie

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/de/I_dream_of_jeanne_eden_hagman.JPGRead on Amazon Kindle Voyage device with firmware 5.8.1

Great Britain by Jonathan Cape an Imprint av Vintage Publishing (2015) Penguin Random house

Epub ISBN: 9781473523289 Version 1.0

As is customary, the sellers want to sell. Such is the case with Salman Rushdie. This author’s prominence resides in an era all to itself, he is the poster child of the Terrorism Era we currently live.  He is a pre & a post poster child of Islam and how Islam is viewed in the West. For good or worst, he is a hated object by Islamic fanatics. Have you ever read the Satanic Verses? Well, if you’re lucky, you’ve at least heard of them. A parteaguas as one would say in Spanish, the Satanic Verses rose to fame because it offended a reader who could wield power and as such layed a bounty on the offense it arose and the author of the offense as well. Thus the Rushdie saga begins. He became a western darling because a regime who diametrically positioned itself against the West found the above-mentioned book a terrible sacrilege to the religion of the aforementioned power wielder. I ran to the newsstand to see the fuzz about the book, the hoopla always gets one, but the masses got there first. But I never read said book. Tedious, one thought, yet, the powers to be delighted in the idea that said book caused an ire in an alien society in a new world. Hence Salman’s prominence, he pissed off the wrong people by writing a book. Fair enough.

I too was swept by said charm the western darling suddenly found, albeit, one hopes, unwillingly and yet I have to this day finished but the one book due to a suggestion my girlfriend proposed. Mutual ideas what not. Lest the reader is amiss I am not a fan of SR. I find his pedestal out of place. He is yet to gain a place in my bookshelf. I’ve read some of his works and I find his books obtuse. Two Years, Eight Months and Twenty‑Eight Nights is no different.

Allow us to expound:

To begin, the reception wasn’t that hot. At the Guardian they treat him like a God, a demigod wouldn’t deserve the detail in the review. SR belongs to a literature elite whose position in the end serves only the present and its interests thereby. He is where he is because it serves a purpose in this synchronic time of ours. He is exulted beyond the pale solely because he has rep.

Having said that, the language does have merit. I for one am impressed by the heavy use of nouns which bear the brunt of the story. Nouns carry a history because they are all male. The names and the phony names whose last names redirect to Indian artists or other historical figures can pass by unnoticed to the untrained eye. The lot of Asian Minor and Persia appear and reappear in a host of vessels as well as a cameo appearance to SR father enters the frey in which the verbose magic-realism lit appears. The fact that SR allows for the proper nouns to carry the story brought upon a host of questions which lead me to Perry Link, the Sino linguistic writer of An anatomy of Chinese. Link makes the case that Western languages are heavily nominalized, that is, noun heavy as nouns direct path. As opposed to a language which relies on verbs to direct path. Such is the case in this book. Nouns are carriers. Miss one and you are lost.

As to the tale. First of all, is it any good? The lit elite jests in the newspapers they pay to push the story to entice the reader, they praise it as a chip of the ol’ block, that is, they love it! But does it cut mustard with the average joe? Its disadvantages are its verbosity. SR rambles on and on sparing no coma, period or semicolon as if colons or hyphens were munitions to use at will. For the love of God, show that man a little Hemingway. show me a short sentence please! Not here, they are the tales of some nights if I remember right.

One can’t shake the feeling that SR wants to get back to the Mullahs of Iran. After all, the book is about pre-Islamic forces loose upon our earth. An anathema to the Persian republic which rejects its past as an offense to Allah. Are there the any good bits to salvage from the reading? Plenty, but one has to dig deep for it and therein lies its fault.

 

 

Secundo interregnum: de libros a medias y otras nimiedades de lo similitudinario

moreno1De la estación llamada Copilco en el sistema del Metro de la ciudad de México, a la biblioteca Central de la UNAM, hay de por lo menos kilómetro y medio de por medio o más quizá. El primer día de mi estancia tuve que hacer el peregrinaje a la susodicha biblioteca cuya fachada me deja de a seis everytime. Carlos Martínez Moreno fue el impulso. Es la segunda vez que lo visito. O por lo menos el libro. El sistema Dewey que utilizan ahí lleva la cifra decimal de PQ8519 M36 B42 con la barra de código del 213973. (Tredje Dagen: 070627)

Así escribí sobre un libro al que visito en el DF (#CDMX these days) cada vez que paro ahí. O sea, cada dos años u algo por así. La esposa de Sergio Infante, a quién me los encontré de pura chiripada en el Zócalo defeño, le pareció “romántico” eso. No le veo nada de eso en ello, para ser francos, y una vez que me obligué a hacerlo me dio gusto que estuviesen reparando la biblioteca porque no tenía ganas de leerlo. Eso el 2014. El área donde estaba el libro estaba en renovación, no había acceso y los mexicanos, notorios por su sistema burocrático, siempre me hacen revolver el estómago con sus pinches retenes a diestra y siniestra. Salí del inmueble medio alegre y medio decepcionado; atrávese los largos pastos de La Isla de la UNAM y sus rocas volcánicas con incertidumbre de lo que estaba por pasar en las Bebidas Azules.

Todo esto me viene a mente porque he notado que tengo muchos libros a medias. En el mundo del lector, esto aparte de ser un sacrilegio, constituye una buena oportunidad de obtener la posición de tornarse el octavo pecado mortal. Para ser francos y sinceros con el uno y el otro, he de confesarte, estimado lector, que mis sentimientos de culpabilidad, por lo menos así conjuran demonios y demás infiernos dantescos  por la susodicha osadía de no acabar lo que uno empieza.

The WSJ on its June 5th 2013 edition had this to say : In the age of the e-reader, dropping a book has never been easier: It doesn’t even require getting up to grab another off the shelf. But choosing to terminate a relationship with a book prematurely remains strangely agonizing, a decision fraught with guilt.

En el ámbito hispano dejar libros a medias conlleva ir al psicólogo, veamos:

Y es que, según algunos, todo depende de la personalidad. Es el caso del Doctor Wilhelm, un psicólogo clínico que aseguró (para un reportaje de The Wall Street Journal). que las personas tipo A, competitivas e impacientes, son más dadas a abandonar los libros si no hay un mecanismo de castigo o recompensa (¿si no hay consecuencias negativas por qué continuar?), mientras que las de tipo B, más tranquilas, tratarían directamente de no comenzar ningún libro que no sepan que van a acabar. En ambos casos, el factor motivador más potente sería la presión social.

Creo que eso de dejar libros medias es más bien un hábito que mal, ya sea por miles de razones que en este espacio ni habría esfuerzo ni ganas para entrar en detalle en ello. Así que me puse a pensar en todos los libros que he dejado a medias y de los cuales el remordimiento me persigue el alma hasta el cansancio y que no me deja olvidarlos por ningún motivo. No debí hacerlo, porque a pesar de que estoy seguro de que he olvidado alguno son bastantitos los que son y están a medias. Uno cabría bien en preguntarse porqué dejo libros a medias y podría dar miles de explicaciones pero soy un simple y vil Castor de Castores. así que solo hablaré de los que trabajo al hoy por hoy y esos son los que tengo a medias regados por bibliotecas y los que actualmente estoy haciendo el esfuerzo de leer ya sea físicamente o en mi kindle.

Were to start? I suppose I would like to start with a book entitled The Book-Lovers Anthology ed. by R.M. Leonard 1911 Henry Frowde Oxford University Press. I read it first during a sojourn in Rome in late December 2013. I fell in love with it at first sight and perused the sucker to no end. I got hooked and by my next sojourn a year later AD 2014 I was drawn to it again. By the bye’s, it’s a volume I would love to own. Y de seguro retornaré a él de nuevo si es que se me concede por la gracias de todas las deidades terrestres retornar a Roma. No es que lo haya dejado a medias, pero vale decir que entre Roman Osipovitj Jacobson y ese, eso es decir demasiado ya; el anterior me robó el corazón que no el cerebro.

En Estocolmo igual y dejé a Benedetti a medias a pesar de que su libro El ejercicio del criterio : [obra crítica 1950-1994] / Mario Benedetti me impacto tantó que no he podido olvidarme de él hasta en fecha. Ahora, ese libro no marcó espectacularmente más allá de introducirme a la crítica en español y dejarme la frase en particular de dejar la comarca, sería quizá lo indeleble de ese libro que algún día, revisitaré de nuevo.

Del pueblo de aquí (Nässjö) y su biblioteca tengo dos libros en español de los cuales frecuento porque así es el negocio del lector a medias que como abejita de flor en flor va repsando; el uno es El Sonido de la Noche de Xavier B. Fernández (2010) cuyo personaje principal no se me va de la mente porque es un afroamericano en una Barcelona en 1959 que huye de la mafia y nunca he podido dejar de pensar cómo estará y pues darle su repasada al susodicho libro. El otro no me lo he podido tragar agusto pero el escritor italiano, Alessandro Baricco, tiene una buena prosa y las imágenes de los primeros carros en Italia nunca han desaparecido de mi alma gracias a él y retorno más por la importancia de Alessandro que la lectura misma del libro cuyo nombre en castellano es Esta Historia (Questa Storia 2005). Leer a Alessandro también me produjo ansias cuando lo leí en al inglés pero la traducción fue buena y ese libro si lo acabé, City.

En mi Kindle tengo varios libros a medias, aunque la mayoría ya los he leído anteriormente, se puede decir que los tengo a medias porque decidí leerlos de nuevo por mera nostalgia, no sé, hay libros que se releen solo porque le recuerda a uno mucho los pasajes o las memorias que ahí existen. Aunque por igual tengo nuevas lecturas a medias

A continuación, los libros que estoy leyendo en formato Kindle:

  • 2 years, 8 months & 28 nights by Salman Rushdie though it deserves a mention only because that is where am at: 50%
  • Borrowed Time: An Aids Memoir by Paul Monette ( reread)
  • Church of Spies: The Pope’s secret War Against Hitler by Mark Riebling
  • The Fifth Impossibility: Essays on Exile & Language  by Norman Manea
  • Sidetracks by Richard Holmes (reread)
  • The Lunatic: Poems by Charles Simic

So called hardbooks are the following:

  • Sua Santità: Le Carte Segrete Di Benedetto XVI by Gianluigi Nuzzi
  • Space Between Words: The Origins of Silent Reading by Paul Saenger
  • Min kamp Første bok by Karl Ove Knausgård
  • Limónov by Emmanuel Carrère
  • Diccionario jázaro: Novela léxico de Milorad Pavic

16 in total but surely there is more than meet the eye

 

 

 

 

 

Questa mattina

I’d decided to do something I set out to do right about forever ago.

I wanted to rummage in a room where some of my fellow tenants have dumped their unwanted books. These fellows where old Norwegian souls. One dead of a heart attack and the other decided to move back to Norway. Gray and old with book jackets and blurbs of the 1960’s, they appeal my curiosity as they exude and oldness and an era rapidly turning into faded memories of old new tech and marketing props no longer in use and if so only to wake nostalgia in a time that can only allow manipulation for personal gain. The unwanted books with their technicolor drawings of drama gather dust this morning of late May 2015 as one more day finds them in a room seldom visited. Amongst Agatha Christie‘s detective penguin books, Arthur Conan Doyle and other hits of long ago, I went over some strange Norwegian titles, even more dusty cook books and a whole bunch of Danielle Steel books. Not surprising Giovanni Boccaccio’s Decamaron was to be found. Books about impending issues of what to do with time and other assorted books of whatnots. A whole lifespan flashed before me. Because I remember these people, in their old age, one alone, gray, wrinkled, reading Danielle Steel, knowing not what to do with the incessant call of the flesh and how to satisfy it; the other I imagined, most probably decided to fill the bookshelves with books just to spite the wife in an attempt to reclaim some sort of space for himself. So it crossed my mind, is this what life boils down to? When everything begins to unravel, do we resort to pleasure the brain with texts about pleasures we no longer are going to experience; the testament of what was read or was meant to be read or what interested the subjects, left in  a room waiting to let go of their visual content to a chance someone like me might come and see what someone can rummage and rescue?

I found a Bukowski and a Nietzche.

I came back to my place and washed my hands. I saw the dust run with the water and the soap to make a greyish muck of sorts run down the drain of my sink. Two more books in my house of the many of which I don’t know I will ever read. But they make an interesting lot. One has already landed in my bathroom. Bukowski, where I understand, ought to be.

Pikadon

Never would Kazuo forget the flash of piercing light, which might of have been reflected from the flat of some enormous, polished, naked sword, nor the dull reverberation far away, Dodoo … which as it drew close was transformed into a sharp, painful, and finally screeching Juinn that seemed to pierce through his eardrums, and which culminiated in a sound like a thousand thunderclaps, Gwann!, that hurled him into a bottomless abyss. From this derives the Japanese word Pikadon, for pika means lightning  and don thunder.” Robert Jungk, Strahlen aus der Asche, (Children of the Ashes: The People of Hiroshima)) 1959. (p.16)

There are several reasons why I chose to read this book which I found down in the basement of my condominium. The basement serves as a dumping ground for unwanted items that the members of the condominium “donate” to the condo and this book fell there after the sudden death of a dear member who had served the condo board rather well. I was surprised to find English written books in a Swedish dominated rack of unwanted books. I picked several but the topic drew my attention. The idea of reading about Hiroshima close to the period time when Little Boy was unleashed certainly proved to also add to pique my curiosity and when I read that the author, Robert Jungk, was Jewish and one imprisoned by the Nazis well, that was just the cherry on top. I suppose the idea of a former nazi war prisoner of Jewish descent writing a book about Hiroshima victims was the final incitement which totally grasped my curiosity. The reading proved to be most delightful, intriguing, full of gold nuggets of important information and a few eye openers regarding the Japanese culture.

I also enjoyed the reading because as the blurb on the Penguin Book example I have says, Robert Jungk is a jounalist historian. He writes with a certain amount of academese format that I enjoy since the eye is moved about between footnotes, asterisks signaling separate explanations in minute subscript and language explanations in italics that just add a delicious tang to it all. There’s an epilogue, a little map of Hiroshima detailing the impact of the bomb, journals read, I mean, the list goes on.

Well into the reading I also discovered a few interesting facts of Japanese immigration to Perú. I had always been intrigued about Japanese immigration to Latin  America since I read in the New York Times, that Japanese of Brazilian descent were considered raucous by real Japanese people. But certainly the subject matter at hand was also very enlightening since the very reason the book appeard in my life was the ever thin veil of threat of eminent destruction by superpowers ready to use the button to get people to do as they will. So I read with interest the lives affected by the Pikadon. I was mostly intrigued by professor Shogo Nagaoka. The geologist’s behavior intent on documenting the effects of the pikadon on the ground and rocks was most interesting to read. Other stories of supreme interest of course, how war creates despair and how war despite its cruelty barely scathed the morals and norms of the people nearly sent to the stoneage by the atomic bomb The Enola Grey dropped on them. Institutions and orders were scrambled yet merely dispersed so that order was delegated to the lower forms of organization in society.

There are many ways to read Children of the Ashes: The People of Hiroshima. One from an institutional perspective as well. There is how the US government went about its control of information of the pikadon in Japan after they dropped the bomb on them as well as how japanese institutions began rising from the aftermath and the surrender to US forces.

I suppose that reading books as old as Robert Jungk’s is nowadays rare, so it would seem. This document whether it has readers this day or not is a powerful document that should withstand the test of time and should be required reading.

 


Children of the Ashes: The People of Hiroshima by Robert Jungk. Original title: Strahlen aus der Asche 1959. Translated by Constantine Fitzgibbon. Published in Pelican Books 1963.

August Strindberg: Från Fjärdingen och Svartbäcken

August Strindberg: Från Fjärdingen och Svartbäcken- Studier vid Akademien. 1ra publicación: 1877. Ubicación geográfica de las novelas: Uppsala.
Libro que leí. Vårt Hems Förlag Stockholm 1930 Åhlén & Holms Boktryckeri.

Habrá que notar que Fjärdingen y Svartbäcken som dos partes urbanas de Uppsala.

Este es el segundo libro de August Strinberg que leo en sueco. Hay personas que aprenden un idioma solo para poder leer a los autores en su idioma original, tal como Miguel de Unamuno quien se dice que aprendió danés para poder leer bien a Sören Kierkegaard o bien Sigmund Freud quien aprendió español solo para poder leer a Don Quixote en el original. Yo no, solo aprendí sueco por necesidad y pues así, el trabajo y los años me han hecho un poco más mejor en su manejo pero igual sigo cometiendo atrocidades en le lenguaje que deberían de mandarme a la Haag por crimenes contra el lenguaje sueco. Aunque como todo idioma, se logra comprender más con un poquitín de esfuerzo aunque la verdad sea dicha esto de vivir en Suecia le deja uno suficientes llagas como para poder comprender las matices que el sueco tiene para poder comprender a Strindberg ya que mucho de lo que escribe tiene relación con el angst y la pena ajena. Y es justo eso en el lenguaje lo que más me encanta de Strindberg. Su idioma es uno que no se usa ya en Suecia ya que Suecia, aparte de haber reformado la ortografía su idioma también alteró la fonética de ella lo que hace de ello una interesante lectura.

Lo que más resalta del libro en cuanto a las historias son los personajes que al parecer siempre andan down in their luck como se dice en inglés. Y como yo soy uno de esos que siempre echan porras al underdog pues eso me gana en la lectura. Y claro, aparte del répertoire de su vocabulario. Es bueno para describir miserias urbanas y según las múltiples wikipedias por ahí se debe mucho al pasado del mismo Strindberg. Y es algo que se nota mucho en las lecturas de él ya que de repente los personajes que andan rosando los campos fértiles de la miseria humana de repente tienen acceso a las cómodas áreas de las élites de la sociedad sueca del siglo XIX describiendo esto como si fuese dado acontecer por cuestiones del azar. Y otra vez, Strindberg asombra con el uso del lenguaje al usar el lenguaje de las sociedad alta para describir ese ambiente y sus órbitas inalcanzables para la mayoría de nosotros.

Me tomó todo el 2014 para poder acabar de leerlo pero venga, ni quién se fije cuanto tiempo me tomó en leerlo. Tengo una entrada en el blog del diciembre del 2013 en que menciono el libro así que más de año.