It’s been a pleasure.

Around March I said I wanted to come back, but the timing was bad because I had so much to revise for my eight exams.

I’ve been on holiday since end of May. I’ve been playing video games and learning how to do mini mobile games. I’ve also read a few stories here and there, but definitely not as much as I used to in the last years.

The thing is this:
I don’t think I’m coming back to this blog. I’m going into my fourth and final year of university this September, and I started this blog after I had just finished high school -during my gap year!

I’ve met awesome people from awesome countries and learned that reading is not a dying habit by any means. You just need to know where to find the bookworms,haha.

I will never forget that a one point in my life this blog meant a lot to me. Every morning I would check my numbers, interact with other bloggers and decide what things to share. This whole procedure of reading something amazing (or not) and sharing it with people gave me a feeling that I can’t describe in words, though I’m sure lots of bloggers know what I’m talking about!

I’m also really glad with the 50,983 visitors and 72,998 views my blog got along the years. Who would’ve thought?

But it’s just that I’ve changed so much. I am now 23 and have grown into a different person. It’s hard for me to carry on something I’ve started five years ago, which is why I’ve opted not to renew my membership in September. I think my fonts and theme will disappear thereafter.

Lots of bloggers I started with are long gone, so I doubt many people are reading this, but I just felt I owe it to the blog.

WordPress, fellow bloggers, friends, it’s been a pleasure.

News of a Kidnapping: Garcia Marquez’s Lost Gem

Synopsis: Drug baron Pablo Escobar and his acolytes are threatened of extradition to the United States for a harsher penal sentence.Determined to push the government to a u-turn,Escobar has ten relatives of Colombian politicians abducted and held hostage in the winter of 1990.

Continue reading “News of a Kidnapping: Garcia Marquez’s Lost Gem”

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Inspiring Quotes from Books

It’s been a while since my last Top Ten Tuesday post.But,truth be told,I’ve been eyeing this particular top ten list for weeks.While I quite often share quotes from books I read or ones I stumble upon on goodreads on this blog,there are plenty which didn’t get to make the ”hall of fame”.Because the list is limited to ten quotes,I will only share quote from works I’ve read.Oh,Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme by Broke and Bookish.

1.Philip’s experience with books – Of Human Bondage

Philip had few friends. His habit of reading isolated him: it became such a need that after being in company for some time he grew tired and restless; he was vain of the wider knowledge he had acquired from the perusal of so many books, his mind was alert, and he had not the skill to hide his contempt for his companions’ stupidity.

In Somerset Maugham’s masterpiece,we follow Philip Carey’s life from childhood to adulthood,so we share his feelings in regard to various events occurring in his life .The quote above shows how he felt upon falling in love with literature.Needless to say,I saw myself in it.

2.Two old friends (Bose and the judge) discussing for the last time – The Inheritance of Loss

He now pleaded directly with the judge: “We’re friends, aren’t we?

“Aren’t we? Aren’t we friends?”

“Time passes, things change,” said the judge, feeling claustrophobia and embarrassment.

“But what is in the past remains unchanged, doesn’t it?”

“I think it does change. The present changes the past. Looking back you do not find what you left behind, Bose.”

When I first saw this quote,which was before I read the book,I couldn’t understand what was so great about it.But when I read it in context,it struck me as something very powerful and deep.So much so that I read it to my mother – when I’m in awe of something,I have to share it with somebody else.I wanted to post it on my blog,but I had already shared two quotes from Kiran Desai’s books.If you concentrate a little bit,this quote’s sheer beauty will unveil itself to you.The quotability of The Inheritance of Loss is yet another attribute that makes it one of the best books of the last decade.

3.A politician messing up – The God of Small Things

He broke the egg but burned the omelette.

Surely,you must have heard of the saying ”You can’t have an omelette without breaking eggs”? Well it is also widely used by politicians to explain how sacrificing a comrade was essential for the good development of their plans.In The God of Small Things we witness such a politician betraying a fellow comrade only to see the betrayal backfire.I was really impressed then how Arundhati Roy managed to turn around the old saying into something incredibly witty.

4.The first conversation we witness between Levin and Kitty – Anna Karenina

“Are you going to stay in town long?” Kitty questioned him.

“I don’t know,” he answered, not thinking of what he was saying.
                           ……..
“How is it you don’t know?”

“I don’t know. It depends upon you,” he said, and was immediately horror-stricken at his own words.

Whether it was that she had heard his words, or that she did not want to hear them, she made a sort of stumble, twice struck out, and hurriedly skated away from him.

I wanted to share that famous scene –  which is arguably the most beautiful scene in the book between Kitty and Levin,but I didn’t want to spoil anything.So instead you have this witty and honest passage.Note to self: use Levin’s words in the future if in same situation.

4.Milan Kundera giving us insight on our unhappiness – The Unbearable Lightness of Being

And therein lies the whole of man’s plight. Human time does not turn in a circle; it runs ahead in a straight line. That is why man cannot be happy: happiness is the longing for repetition.

This book changed my life.Milan Kundera opened my mind by showing me the different ways life and everything that ensues from it can be interpreted in.Here he tells us why,unlike dogs which will still be happy if taken for the same walk over and over for years,humans are bound to be unhappy.There are so many enlightening quotes in this book that it is a sort of guide to life – as far as you’re seeking this kind of knowledge.

5.A quote from Borges’s short story ”Funes the Memorious” – Labyrinths

I don’t know how many stars he could see in the sky.

Of course,this quote will make more sense if read in context,but I was somehow struck by its sheer beauty.There is something poetic in it.We don’t often take the time to look at stars,and even when we do,we never appreciate the number of them.I always think of stars as shining (this is technically false,as they’re long dead) little dots in the sky trying to hint at something bigger and beyond our imagination.

6.Nick Carraway reflecting on the craziness prevailing over Long Island – The Great Gatsby

‘Anything can happen now that we’ve slid over this bridge,’ I thought ‘anything at all….’ Even Gatsby could happen, without any particular wonder.

This is a hugely insightful quote.Gatsby is a dream.He is an ideal.He is,for me,what Jane Eyre is to many girls and women.This quote reminds us that Gatsby is almost ethereal,except that instead of God,a human is his creator.(I don’t wish to say more,lest I spoil something).

7.One of the many folkloric tales in Things Fall Apart.

Mosquito […] had asked Ear to marry him, whereupon Ear fell on the floor in uncontrollable laughter. “How much longer do you think you will live?” she asked. “You are already a skeleton.” Mosquito went away humiliated, and any time he passed her way he told Ear that he was still alive.

I wanted to share something more revealing of the plot at first,but I didn’t want to bring in spoilers.This quote exemplifies what you may expect from the book.The language is bright and colourful,while the proverbs are very typical of the Igbo culture.This is why I devoured the book in a couple of days.It was not only fresh and compelling,but incredibly insightful and moving as well.Stumbling upon such little tales was just the icing on the cake.

8.A sublime bit of conversation between Lord Henry and his cousin Gladys – The Picture of Dorian Gray

What of Art?
-It is a malady.
–Love?
-An Illusion.
–Religion?
-The fashionable substitute for Belief.
–You are a sceptic.
-Never! Scepticism is the beginning of Faith.
–What are you?
-To define is to limit.

I knew about Wilde before reading his novel,but seeing his legendary wittiness in context revealed his genius to me.Who else can write like that? The funny thing about this extract is that there is nothing that Lord Henry is saying that is false.Because of Wilde’s genius,I reckon that The Picture of Dorian Gray might as well be one of the most quotable classics (or even books) of all time.

9.Gregor Samsa trying to explain the changes he is undergoing – The Metamorphosis

I cannot make you understand. I cannot make anyone understand what is happening inside me. I cannot even explain it to myself.

The Metamorphosis is one of Kafka’s best works.There is more that meets the eye in it.It is filled with so much pathos,and I could easily relate to Gregor.Was he the one going through a metamorphosis,or was it his parents in regard to what happened to him? At the time I was reading this book,I couldn’t stand my father anymore nor could I bear living in his house.I felt I was being alienated,so I really could understand what Gregor felt.I was impressed with the meticulous way Kafka described Gregor’s feelings even if the story is extremely absurd.Well,that’s his trademark style anyway.

10.One of the many quotable lines in The Sense of an Ending

But time…how time first grounds us and then confounds us. We thought we were being mature when we were only being safe. We imagined we were being responsible but we were only being cowardly. What we called realism turned out to be a way of avoiding things rather than facing them. Time…give us enough time and our best-supported decisions will seem wobbly, our certainties whimsical.

Reading this particular line horrified me.This book somehow gave me a glimpse of what I can expect in the forthcoming years.Life will fall short of my expectations,but I will settle with that and keep on going.What is striking with this book,not this line alone,is how it analyses time and memory in their essence.They are more complex than we imagined,playing a much more important part in our lives than we could suspect.

Versatile Blogger Award

I have been nominated by AlexRaphael for the Versatile Blogger Award.Though I’m not versatile,I’m touched that he’s nominated me.It’s been more than 1 year since I last accepted an award,so let’s not waste this one with silly answers.If you read them all,well,thank you.

Here are 10 Facts About Me:

1.I have no idea where I’m going in life.All people chose their course in regards to what they want to do in life.I chose my course because I was pretty good at mathematics,and jobs are more easily obtained in that field.I have no idea where I’ll be in three or four years’ time.

2.I love anything related to art,from French gastronomie to literature.Throughout my life,I have always endeavoured to sharpen my appreciation of art.Currently I’m trying to better love poetry.Art is beauty;art is a glimpse of what the human body is capable of when its potential is fulfilled through sheer passion.Ars longa,vita brevis(Art is long,life is short).Art renders us immortal.

3.Today 9gag shared a quote which we’ve all come across at least once in our lives: ”Because at the end of the day,all we care about is looks;no one falls in love with your personality at first sight.” And then,a guy commented: ”It’s not sad. It’s normal. Looks attract and personality makes people stay.” That’s deep.I’m not sure I’ll ever find the perfect one.Well,maybe I will,but I’m not sure I’ll attract her.’Love’ is a difficult equation.

4.I don’t have a favourite genre of music,though I can say I don’t listen to mainstream garbage like One Direction,Ariana Grande or whatever.I’m as much a fan of Nirvana,Radiohead and Apparat as of classical music.My current favourite songs are Alt-J’s ‘Taro’ and Apparat’s ‘Goodbye’ and ‘Black Water’.My favourite pieces of classical music are Franz Lizt’s ‘Liebestraum’, Mozart’s ‘Lacrimosa’ and Profokiev’s ‘Dance of the Knights’.I also have a soft spot for Max Richter’s ‘Sarajevo’.

5.I recently watched a video of Massive Attack’s song Paradise Circus.It featured bits of an old Georgina Spelving,a former extremely well-known pornographic actress of the 60s,saying why she did all of this and what she learned from her experience in the adult industry.Coupled with Spelving’s statements was some censored footage of her performing.”I did it for the camera.”,she said.That touched me.It was really powerful,poetic and tragic.For the last two days,I couldn’t take this clip out of my head.

6.What I’ve learned after 6 months in uni is that one should not depend on anybody.I do everything by myself and never ask for help – well except from lecturers and tutors.I’m much of a loner,and reading Quiet has made me revel in being so.

7.Ever since I have watched Mustang Wanted’s videos on Youtube,I have a phobia of heights.I just have to think of heights when I’m sleeping to have a freaking panic attack.Well,not a panic attack exactly,but a mini-seizure.

8.If you tell me you’ve read Fifty Shades of Grey and liked it,I will stop taking you seriously.I think this book’s reception betrays women and feminism’s hypocrisy.They fantasize about a man who constantly humiliates his ‘girl’.I never knew some women fantasized about having sperm in their mouths and nasty toys in their anuses.The funny thing is these same women will raise their voice if a normal man makes a harmless ‘sexist’ joke. 🙂

9.I don’t believe in God at all.Extremism has taken over,and you just have to read the news to see how much blood is being shed in the name of religion.Nowadays the very fact of not belonging to a specific religion in certain countries can result in your beheading.I’m not against religion,but I sure won’t trust somebody who follows his religion blindly and cannot think for himself; he can very easily turn against you or may already be seeing you as a non-faithful.

10.Limb surgery is something I’m considering.The problem is it is very painful,so much so that I’m wondering if it is worth it.

Well,if you want to do it,feel free to do so and say I nominated you. 🙂

Recommended Books I’ll Go Through This Year

Following my immense enjoyment of The Inheritance of Loss,a book which has been suggested to me numerous times before,I’ve made my mind to read mostly recommended books for the first half of 2015.When I read reviews,I always add the books to my wishlist,but more often than not,fail to actually read them; hopefully with this new quest of mine my TBR list will diminish significantly.

Below are the books which have been recommended to me the most.Some of them haven’t been recommended,but rather,were praised as a ‘must-read’ by the blogger.Actually some of them might recognize their suggestions here. 🙂

1.Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie

It seems that everybody who’s read this book has been left mesmerized.Salman Rushdie is a giant of post-modernism literature,so much so that literary experts have coined the term ‘Post-Rushdie generation’ – a generation whereby bloomed such talents as Arundhati Roy,Pankaj Mishra,or Kiran Desai.These authors are besides often referred to as ”Midnight’s Grandchildren”.Midnight’s Children is the Booker of Bookers,has influenced two of my favourite authors,and been suggested to me countless of times,so how can I not read it? I will most probably get through it in June when I’ll be on vacation.

2.Where There’s Love,There’s Hate – Adolfo Bioy Casares & Silvina Ocampo

It was whilst looking for reviews of The Invention of Morel that I came to know about Where There’s Love,There’s Hate.Many people,though acknowledging the beauty of The Invention of Morel,preferred Casares’ other book and urged me to consider reading it.I bought the book some days ago,and it reached me today.My only qualm is that it doesn’t have great reviews on goodreads….

3.The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

I know,I know.How come I haven’t read this book yet?! It’s in some way similar to Animal Farm and To Kill a Mockingbird in the sense that everybody assumes that you’ve already read it.I have it at home,in French.It belonged to my sister who studied it at an early stage in high school.I remember,as a kid,leafing the book without for one second suspecting that it might be one of the greatest books in children’s literature.A huge,huge favourite of bloggers.

4.Tess of the d’Ubbervilles – Thomas Hardy

Does the name ‘Jhumpa Lahiri’ ring a bell in you? At any rate,it should.She’s actually one of the world’s best authors – considering how many awards she garnered.Well,one of her favourite authors is none other than Thomas Hardy,and she once even stated that it was the only novel she wished she could have written.Here’s more of what she said about the book: ‘Arguably Hardy’s masterpiece, epic in scope, virtuosic in telling, shattering in effect. An indelible study of society, of human psychology, and of place. A book I re-read at every opportunity.’ Surprisingly popular with blogging,class-loving,bookworms.

5.Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck

Bizarrely shortly after a friend recommended this book to me,praising it as one of the best books he’s ever read,I saw two bloggers lavishing similar praise on it,employing various superlatives in their bid to best describe the effect this book has had on them.I always dismissed Of Mice and Men as archaic and boring,always thinking that it’ll be about farming and deja-vu drama,but now I’m really curious as to what this little book – it has about 100 pages,if I’m not mistaken – can be well about.As is never enough said,’Do Not Judge a Book by its Cover’.

6.The Sense of an Ending – Julian Barnes

I have it in my room and have already gone through the first,say,fifteen pages.But I stopped.In fact I read it in a period of my life when I had no idea what I was doing apart from waking up and going to lectures.I read it very late at night and was half-asleep.In the end,I deemed it better to close it and read it at another time,as I was not doing the book – a Booker Prize winner – any justice.Now that I’m more settled,I’ll give it another go soon.Reviewed by quite a few bloggers here and is more or less popular.

7.All Quiet on the Western Front – Erich Maria Remarque

I saw it on the Folio Society site,but swiftly ignored it,as it revolves around the theme of war,which I thought was boring,following my experience with Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms.But I saw two favourable reviews of this book on wordpress,and it occurred to me that I might have dismissed it too quickly.Besides,it got great ratings on goodreads; 3.8 for more than 150,000 users.That being said,I’m not that optimistic about that book.But let’s wait and see.

8.Master and Margarita – Mikhail Bulgakov

A really popular classic.I saw numerous bloggers counting this Russian novel among their all-time favourites.It looks really promising and the ratings on goodreads speak for themselves: 4.3 for a little more than 95,000 users!! I will definitely be reading it in June/July.

9.The Catcher in the Rye – J.D Salinger

I know: yet another must-read classic I’m still delaying the reading of.I was supposed to read it in 2013,but had so many other novels came my way.This time I aim to read it before I go back home.Also whilst I know it is hugely popular,I’m well aware that many people didn’t see why it is praised as a must-read,deeming it overrated as a result.I honestly have no idea which group I’ll be in upon finishing it.

That’s all the books I can think of.If you know a book that you think is a must-read,be it a classic,nominee/winner of a prestigious literary competition,or just a simpleton you found somewhere,don’t forget to please tell me about it!

Birthday!

Today I turn 21.I wanted to share it here,as I did one year ago; I wonder how many birthdays I’ll have on this blog!

Having your birthday so early in the year can have its advantages as well its disadvantages.For instance,your Christmas gift is very often your birthday gift.But you are a changed person,a one-year-more-mature person,as you go into the year – the one year difference will be as crucial as you want it to be.

So yep.This year I’ll try to learn from my past mistakes and avoid committing them again.I’m also 21 and I realize I’m not that young anymore.Things are expected from me,like a job in 3 years,and I better not mess around.This year will be particularly important and I hope my previous years of existence will help keep me level-headed.It is high time to do my best to actualize those silly dreams of mine…

End of Gap Year.

Link

Tomorrow I’ll be flying off to Kent,so today somehow marks the end of my gap year which began in September 2013,when I was supposed to head to university like the others of my age.

I think that,no matter what happens in the future,this gap year will forever be the most important part of my life.For it was in its midst that I set up this blog to which I surprisingly find myself attached.What began as a project has eventually become my own space where I can write whatever I want.The blog also saw a striking improvement in my writing and appreciation of books.At school,I studied English as any other subject and was never encouraged to take liberties with it.Here I can experiment with different structures and syntaxes without having to worry about grades.Likewise I read introductions of books and other book-related articles only because I like to,not because I have to.In this light,this blog has really helped me to come out of my shell.

I’ve also come across some awesome people from countries I have only seen on miniature globes: Finland,England (although I’ve been there once),Czech Republic,and India among many others.Each person I’ve met have his/her own peculiarities and gave me a glimpse of how life is abroad.In the process they’ve rekindled my desire to leave my country which is ages behind,both in terms of mentality and infrastructures.Most importantly these individuals showed me that the world is not as hopeless as it seems.Living in a country where most people don’t know who Roal Dahl,Dostoevsky and Tolstoy are,I thought it was rare to stumble upon people with a high reading culture,but was obviously mistaken.It took some time before I found these bloggers,but,once I did,I learned a fair deal from them.

The gap year was also the one when I fell in love again with literature.There are simply too many incredible books that I’ve read to list,as each is as unforgettable as the other.Such books have also changed my outlook on life; To Kill a Mockingbird has made me more empathic than ever while Kafka’s spite for bureaucracy seems to have rubbed off on me.I will also not forget the teachings of Milan Kundera in The Unbearable Lightness of Being – ”Kitsch is the denial of shit in our life.” – or the idea that ”life is a carpet” from Of Human Bondage.I was very fortunate to discover the Folio Society,of which I’m now a member.Besides giving classics the treatment they deserve,they have introduced me to a myriad of classics and authors very often overlooked.For an art-enthusiast like me their books are an absolute delight to read,and I now own about 40 Folio books sitting on my shelves.

And how can I not mention Anna Karenina and Breaking Bad,arguably the best book of all time and the best TV show ever respectively? Reading Tolstoy’s book was a blissful experience.Each page was absolute perfection and reading it fed my aesthetic soul.Breaking Bad,so to say,is the Anna Karenina of TV.Everything was done to perfection; the actors couldn’t be better,the scenes were wonderfully shot and the writing was always ingenuous.In Walter White I saw somebody who built an ’empire’ – you’d understand the reference if you watched it – out of sheer passion and determination,and in that respect,is truly an inspiring individual.I have no qualms about saying that reading Anna Karenina and watching Breaking Bad are among the very best moments of my life.Borges is another fascinating person whose stories repeatedly blew my mind off.He showed me how to see,think and even imagine differently.

On the eve of my departure I am exactly like I planned one year ago – my lack of maturity and indecisiveness were among the many factors which prompted me to skip a year.To make the best of my university days I reckoned that I should be not only an accomplished student ready to study relentlessly,but rather an individual with the right outlook on life and values who knows exactly what to do and where to go.As I take a step towards a new phase of my life,I hope I was right to take a gap year.