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Two gallons is a great deal of wine, even for two paisanos. Spiritually the jugs may be graduated thus: Just below the shoulder of the first bottle, serious and concentrated conversation. Two inches farther down, sweetly sad memory. Three inches more, thoughts of old and satisfactory loves. An inch, thoughts of bitter loves. Bottom of the first jug, general and undirected sadness. Shoulder of the second jug, black unholy despondency. Two fingers down a song of death or longing. A thumb, every other song each one knows. The graduations stop here, for the trail splits and there is no certainty. From this point on anything can happen. 

 

Steinbeck, J. Tortilla Flat.

A. Dumas wrote adventure novels and I had never read something of the sort. I’m a drama-existentialist-classic romance-book  kind of girl.

The introduction of the Dumas collection I have (Library of Essential Writers Series, Barnes and Noble) stated that Dumas was an expert in having the reader sit on the edge of the seat through each chapter and not being able to wait until the next page; he always manages to make you ask for more. The dialogues are fun and witty; characters can be mischievous and at least I found myself actually rooting for the ones that caused the whole fuss.

Each character is well outlined and has a specific agenda that is not lost during the whole novel. D’artagnan, Athos, Porthos, and Aramis represent their philosophy perfectly and blend in so well that it is not hard to believe that they are good friends and help each other out because they are Musketeers, and the famous phrase “One for all and all for one” is mentioned but only once in the roughly 400 page novel, yet  from that moment on camaraderie never leaves the four. 

I was trapped by the story and couldn’t put the book down. The ending was just perfect and precise. It was a really good book.

jane-austen-book

The Jane Austen Book Club, a movie. 

A refreshing movie in which you watch a group of women rise from personal distress while they rediscover and discuss six of Jane Austen’s books. 

I really liked it because it’s cute. Not the best movie of the word, but at the end if made me feel uplifted, which is a hard thing to do.

I say to these students who have to spend a year, two years, writing theses about one book: “There is only one way to read, which is to browse in libraries and bookshops, picking up books that attract you, reading only those, dropping them when they bore you, skipping the parts that drag-and never, never reading anything because you feel you ought, or because it is part of a trend or a movement. Remeber that the book which bores you when you are twenty or thirty will open doors for you when you are forty of fifty-and vice versa. Don’t read a book out of its right time for you. Remember that for all the books we have in print, are as many that have never reached print, have never been written down-even now, in this age of compulsive reverence for the written world, history even  social ethic, are taught by means of stories, and the people who have been conditioned into thinking only in terms of what is written-and unfortunately nearly all the products of our educational system can do no more than this-are missing what is before their eyes. For intstance, the real history of Africa is still in the custody of black storytellers and wise men, blackhistorians, medicine men; it is a verbal history, still kept safe form the white man and his predations. Everywhere, if you keep your mind open, you will find the truth in words NOT written down. So never let the printed page be your master. Above all, you should know that the fact that you have to spend one year, or two years, on one book, or one author means that you are badly taught-you should have been taught to read your way from one sympathy to another, you should be learning to follow your own intuitive feeling about what you need: that is what you should have been developing, not the way to quote from other people.

 

Excerpt from Doris Lessing’s Introduction to the Golden Notebook. 1st Perennial Classics ed.

¡Exprésense!

Libro del momento/ Book of the moment

Animanaturalis.org: Los Animales No Somos Comida
AnimaNaturalis.org: Los Animales No Somos Probetas
AnimaNaturalis.org: Los Animales No Somos Diversión
AnimaNaturalis.org: Los Animales No Somos Vestimenta

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