Charming animal stories

Animal stories (drawing by POV)
When I was a little child I was given as a present a book about typical Mexican stories. The book wasn’t famous and the author wasn’t known worldwide, but it talked about animals. I’ve always liked them, so I remember myself getting all fascinated while reading the story by Martin Cortina about a wild horse that used to go around the prairies and the valleys. However the story that really took my breath away (because all the laughs I had from it) was the one about a possum that liked to go around the forest of Veracruz (Mexico) chasing the good and easy life, getting all the free food he could get. In the story the animal is called Little uncle possum, and even though he’s funny and charming, he’s often chased and cursed by the people he has taken food away, but in the end, he gets all sort out and manages to live a happy life!
When I was little I also used to love (I still do) all sort of stories about bunnies. My very first favorite bunny tale was Peter Rabbit, by Beatrix Potter. Back then I got amazed by how beautiful the bunnies were and how alived they looked. I totally loved them, and I still do it. Later on I discovered the Velveteen Rabbit, a story by Margaret Williams, with drawings by William Nicholson. What got my heart from this story was the idea of Williams about the rabbit wishing to stop being a toy and become a living rabbit, only by the love of its owner. According to the story, the more kids play with their toys, the more alive they become! I quite like it!

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Another day, another book

Another day, another book
Yes!, I’ve just finished the Rule of Four that I started a while ago, and I have to say that I’ve kept the same comforting and happy feeling that I had back then when I posted that I was surprised to see how much I was enjoying the book this time, after the dissapoinment I got years ago when I read the story for the first time. I’ve found the book really interesting and absorbing. So I’m really glad I gave the book a second chance!
And now that the story is over, and the month is brand new, I have lots of titles to choose from. Of course I’ll continue with The last Dickens. The story’s great, so I really want to spend more time reading it. I’m also the proud reader-to-be of The cementery of Prague by Umberto Eco, and the other day I got all courious about the original story of Little House on the Praire written by Laura Ingalls, so I got the whole collection of the nine books and I can’t wait to start with them. So… lots of happy readings are waiting for me!

Is Kafka’s own life reflected in his work?

While reading The Metamorphosis many passages of my visit to Prague came back to my mind. Specially those ones related to the places where Kafka used to live and work. I remember that the tourist guide told us about Kafka’s sister taking care of him while he was sick and also how unhappy he was with his job as an office worker. That made me think that Kafka was reflecting himself in his novel, showing pieces of his family life. That made me feel a bit concerned about this reflection of his life is that he must have felt terribly sophocated and stressed out as for him to depict himself as a giagiant insect.
If my appreciation is correct I also wonder, what would he think if he had the chance to see how much his work has influenced literature throughout the years…? Would he be happy?

A foreigner within his own body

A foreigner within his own bodyI recently read The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka and ever since I finished it I have been thinking about it over and over. The story begins when Gregor wakes up and discovers that he’s being transformed into an insect, which I’ve pictured in my head as a huge cockroach. While he’s still trying to understand what has happened to him and is trying to see how he can move around with his new body, his family come along to see why he hasn’t gone to work. After a little while he manages to open the door and they can’t believe what has happened to him.
As time passed by, the family go from repulsion to apparent acceptance. But as Gregor starts getting used to his new reality he tries to bother his familly as little as possible, because he realizes that for them it’s a disgusting situation.
The most amazing thing is that during all this time, despite his instect-body, Gregor keeps his own personality and his human mind. That made me think that he must have felt himself as a foreigner within his own body. That’s really sad!

Books in the times of love

Text and Photo by Nora Vasconcelos

Books in the time of love
Saint Valentine’s day is around the corner and the mood is set for romantic stories. When I’m feeling like reading something really sweet, my favorites books are P.S. I love you by Cecilia Ahern, The Choice and The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks and the Blossom street series by Debbie Macomber. All of them have taken my breath away, because they talk about that kind of love that goes beyond sickness and dead, showing how life may go on without the love ones, but the feeling toward them always remain deep inside us.
In the same romantic path, but much more oriented to everyday life, Love in the times of colera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez talks about the love of a man for a woman that remains alive through the years depite the distance between the two of them and new people coming along to their lives.
Another two romantic novels I like a lot are Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen because both of them have a good mix of suffering, reflection and happy endings.
Happy reading!

Funny thing

Some years ago, The rule of four by Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason came into my hands. Back then I had just read a couple of fast-paced suspense novels, and some how I had the feling that I wasn’t getting the same excitment from the new book. Even though I carried on with the reading.
At that time I was travelling around the UK and I took the book everywhere I went. I still picture myself going through the pages while seated on a bench at a station waiting for my connecting train.
After some weeks I finished the novel, but the feeling that I was missing something remained. Then, the unexpected happened! Ever since I put down the book vivid images of its passages kept on coming back to my mind, once and again. It was hard for me to understand why that was happening, specially because the memories kept on coming back after many years had passed.
So, last month I came across with this book again and I just couldn’t help myself, I started to read it again and I have to say that I’m quite enjoying it a lot. It’s funny, isn’t it?

Embracing books

There is in Baltimore, Maryland, a unique shelter that was opened some years ago by Russell Wattenberg with the idea of giving a loving home to hundreds of books that are not wanted any more.

The way it works is simple: People take their books to The Book Thing (http://bookthing.org) and leave them there. Then, Russell and a group of book lovers classify them and put them in shelves, so that more people can go there and take the books that they want for free.

When I first went there, about ten years ago, Russell’s place was in a small place all filled with books. I found this idea absolutely amazing!

Some time later, he moved to a bigger place and ever since I’ve had the chance to visit this unique place several times. The last one, I remember myself carrying some novels in my arms, and while looking for some more titles, I started rocking my books, just like little kids being embraced by a proud parent. It was such a tender feeling, that’s remained in my mind, wishing there were much more places like this around the world!