Book Four 2013, El Viaje del Elefante

This is the sixth novel I have read of the nobel prize winning author José Saramago and as always he doesn’t disappoint.

 

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It happens to occur that King João III of Portugal decides to give Archduke Maximilian a very unusual wedding gift, an elephant named Solomon.

Based on an actual historical event, Saramago spins a fantastical tale of the journey from Lisbon to Vienna. Throught various countries you witness the strong bond between the elephant and his caretaker subhro and how the presence of this majestic creature touches everyone who comes in contact with.

It’s not best novel I have read of this extremely talented author but is quite interesting, it touches deeply in how some people, including myself, perceive animals as more that simple beasts and how they can change our lifes.

So that’s 4,604 pages down, 45,138 pages to go.

Total Pages 116,184 pages

Book Three 2013, The Colour of Magic

To tell you the true reading this book was a long thing coming. The first edition I bought consisted of a hardcover edition that contain this book and three more, well it vanish without a trace and mind you it was not a small book . The second edition I bought was the trade-paperback, well one day it was raining really hard and the roof started to leak, exactly over the book. So they say that third time’s the charm, so I decided to read it as an e-book.

 I was afraid that maybe my nook will caught fire , but I had to risk it. 

This is the first novel of the long running series of  Discworld which now has more that 39 books. Written by Terry Pratchett, gentleman and knight of the british empire, it mixes humour and satire with epic fantasy.

It follows the adventure of the incompetent wizard named Rincewind and how involuntarily becomes a turist guide, a new term for the inhabitats of the city Ankh-Morpork, of Twoflower a rich visitor from the Agatean Empire. 

Without know it they become part of a board game played by the gods themselves, this journey takes them across the Discworld. Facing soul-eating demigods, dragons that live in an upside-down mountain, hydrophobic wizards and almost being cast-out of this flat world in order to know the sex of the turtle that’s carrying it.

In all is an amazingly written and funny book. It was worth the time it took to actually read it.

So that’s 4,334 pages down, 45,408 pages to go

Total Pages 115,914 pages

Book Two 2013, The Sound and the Fury

P1020572I’m going to start by saying that this is the most difficult book I have ever read. It is a true challenge trying to keep up with the narrative and at sometimes even with the time period.

That being said, I found the novel to be breathtaking.

Not following a linear story  you find yourself submerged in the inner thoughts of whomsoever is the narrator of that particular part.

In which you witness the downfall of the Compsons, an upper-class southern family.

The book consist of four parts. Each part, with the exception of the last one, is narrated by one of the Compson boys.The first, and in my opinion the most confusing, is looked through the eyes of Benjy, the youngest and who has diminished mental capacity. The Second part is narrated by the brilliant and tormented Quentin. The Third part is narrated by the money hungry Jason. The last part follows Dilsey, the black servant of the Compsons.

The story revolves around the same episodes, but each is explored from different points of view. This make it almost impossible to make a coherent synopsis of the story. Also, the narrators are not very reliable because they see things different.

Some motivated by rage and false ideals.

Some trapped in their very limited world.

So, if you’re going to read this novel, thread carefully, or you might get lost in the halls of the Old Compson Place.

So that’s 4,160 pages down, 45,582 pages to go.

Total Pages 115,740 pages

José Clemente Orozco and the craft beer (background music included)

During down time I had the opportunity to travel to the second largest city of Mexico, Guadalajara.

For most of the time things were relax and slow.

I mostly dedicated time to reading, eating and drinking.

One thing I really enjoy was some craft beers that, by accident, I stumble upon. Most of them were mexican and the rest british.

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From Left to Right: Newcastle Brown Ale, Hobgoblin, Calavera Dubbel de Abadía, Cucapá Clásica, Calavera American Pale Ale, Hidalgo Stout, Poe Brown Ale and Calavera Tripel de Abadía

As you can see in the picture above they were a few, but as my philosophy goes somebody had to drink them. The ones I enjoy the most were the Newcastle Brown Ale, Hobgoblin, Poe Brown Ale and Calavera American Pale Ale.

The other thing that required me getting out of  bed was going to visit the house/studio of the famous mexican muralist José Clemente Orozco and believe me it was worth it.  The house/studio only has one of his mural, it was originally made for a restaurant. When it closed the family bought it back.

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There was also a temporary exhibition from another artist.

As I walk the house the caretaker told me that to really enjoy his work I should visit “Hospicio Cabañas” where he painted a massive mural in the former chapel of what used to be a shelter for orphan children.

The mural is an impressive work, and experts say that is the culmination of the artist themes . There are no words to describe it, so better judge by the pictures

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It leaves you simply breathless to witness such raw power and execution. I’m not going even to attempt to describe it, words won’t do it justice.

On christmas eve I receive a very pleasant gift. My beautiful wife bought me some old vinyl records.

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So I see a weekend full of music, excessive caffeine intake and of course lots of reading.

For now back to reading books No.2 and No.3

Book Shelfs, Part Two

I made a little progress in unpacking some of my books, that’s the good news.

Now I came to realize that I have a lot and that’s not the bad news, you can never have too many books.

What you can have is too little shelf room, that’s really the bad news.

So I had to improvise a little.

As you can see the space in the book case filled up rapidly, so I had to convert some cardboard boxes into temporary shelf.

I hope to finish this week so my reading space can get back to normal.

For now I will keep using the dinner table as my reading spot

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Book One 2013, Suttree

I started this year of reading on the right track.

It’s only the second day of the year and I have already finish the first book on the list.

The first book on the list was Suttree by Cormac McCarthy, he is one of my favorite, it is a bit difficult to read but his style is truly a thing of beauty.

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You visually, through the eyes of Cornelius Suttree, a ever-moving river fill with

 life,death, humor and a cast of outcast trying to survive in the banks of the Tennessee River near Knoxville. Mr. Suttree has forsaken a life of privilege for a never peaceful life in a rundown houseboat. There he is witness to the harsh reality of living in the margins of society.

As always Mr. McCarthy style,deep and rich vocabulary takes you on a journey you will not easily forget.  I can understand without a doubt why he is considered a genius. I highly recommend this book, it’s not easy reading a novel by Cormac McCarthy but it is something you should never pass the opportunity to do.

Now on to the next book, The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner.

So that’s 3809 pages down, 45,933 pages to go.

Total Pages 115,389 pages

2013: the 50 book year

Like every new year I pledge to read a bit more that the year before.

It doesn’t always work-out

For this year my goal is to read the astounding sum of 50 books, that is roughly one book per week.

But to make things more interesting I’m picking some heavy reads

After much deliveration I came to a list and it goes as follow:

  1. Suttree by Cormac McCarhy
  2. The Sounds and the Fury by William Faulkner
  3. The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett
  4. El viaje del elefante by José Saramago
  5. El Mago by Michael Scott
  6. Casi un objeto by José Saramago
  7. Manual de pintura y caligrafía by José Saramago
  8. Todos los nombres by José Saramago
  9. Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh
  10. Rayuela by Julio Cortazar
  11. No Country for Old Man by Cormac McCarthy
  12. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  13. Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk
  14. Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami
  15. The Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
  16. Paradise Lost by John Milton
  17. On the Road by Jack Kerouac
  18. Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman
  19. Las Arenas de Amón by Valerio Massimo Manfredi
  20. Los Pilares de la Tierra by Ken Follett
  21. The October Country by Ray Bradbury
  22. Dark Carnival by Ray Bradbury
  23. Farewell Summer by Ray Bradbury
  24. Claraboya by José Saramago
  25. La silla del aguila by Carlos Fuentes
  26. Federico en su balcón by Carlos Fuentes
  27. Infancia by J.M. Coetzee
  28. Tropico de Cancer by Henry Miller
  29. The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett
  30. Verguenza by Salman Rushdie
  31. La ciudad y los perros by Mario Vargas Llosa
  32. La cabeza del Hidra by Carlos Fuentes
  33. Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
  34. The Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson
  35. Gracias por el fuego by Mario Benedetti
  36. The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
  37. El Color de fuera del Espacio by H.P. Lovecraft
  38. 1984 by George Orwell
  39. El poder de las tinieblas by John Connolly
  40. Frankenstein: Prodigal Son by Dean Knootz
  41. Salem Lot by Stephen King
  42. Seeing Redd by Frank Beddor
  43. Mythago Wood by Robert Holdstock
  44. El Viejo y el Mar by Ernest Hemingway
  45. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
  46. El Llano en Llamas by Juan Rulfo
  47. Ulyses by James Joyce
  48. The Call of the Wild by Jack London
  49. Soy Leyenda by Richard Matheson
  50. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

That is the particular order I’m going to read them, some I have in print, others as e-book, but to say that is going to be a challenge is a bit of an understatement.

Jonathan Strange,the 3,000 pages and a very long post

After a much deserved break is good to be back.

As you can imagine I have quite a few things to report.

First and foremost I finally finish reading one of my mountain book, “Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell” by Susanna Clarke.

The definition, in my view anyway, of a mountain book is simple, because they are difficult but rewarding reads, just like a hard climb, you may struggle to reach the top but when you get there the view is amazing.

Getting back to the book, it is an amazing fantasy story that intertwines the lifes and magic of two gentleman, Gilbert Norrell and Jonathan Strange, both destined to revive English magic all of this in the ever present shadow of the Raven King, the greatest magician of all time. It uses elements of that period of  history, 19th century England around the Napoleonic Wars, and merges them with an expectional cast of characters, from mad magician to treacherous fairies.

This is one of the best fantasy book I have ever read, it will always hold a place next to The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings.

I also finish reading another book, ” The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel: The Alchemyst” is the first of an six book series. It follows the story of twin brothers and how their paths came across the famous alchemyst. They are suddenly thrown into a world of petty magician and dangerous ancient gods. The most impressive parts are when the goddess Morrigan makes her appearance and the stunning presence of Yggdrasill-the world tree-.

In sum both of this books put me over 3,000 pages in Year Five of Lost in a Million Pages.

So that’s 3,338 pages down, 46,404 pages to go.

Total Pages 114,918 pages.

 

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