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!

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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!

Imaginary worlds

One of the things that amazed me the most while reading is the way some authors create whole new worlds in which life occurs at a different pace. One author who often does that is Umberto Eco. The Italian writer has the outstanding ability to use words in a way that not only construct imaginary universes within real historical times, but also transport the readers into those places. That’s the case of The name of the rose, in which the story takes place in a medieval monastery; The island of the day before, that happens in the time when conquerors sailed in search for new lands; and Baudolino, a sweet story of a boy who sees things in his own way up to a point it’s difficult, even for himself, to know what’s true and what isn’t. Now, Umberto Eco has a new novel: The cementery of Prague. It was released in Europe by the end of last year and now I’m impatiently waiting to have it in my hands to see what new adventures the author has prepared for us.

Heart, soul and mind

Taking advantage of the past holidays, I had the chance to watch the movie Eat, Love, Pray, which is based on the book with the same title. Apart from the very beautiful sceneries that are shown in the movie what I liked the most of this story taken from the memoir written by Elizabeth Gilbert, is the idea of a human being getting in touch with herself, taking time to really know herself and to experience and enjoy much more the simple things that life has to offer such a delicious food, silences and friendship. As for myself, I like the idea of eating delicious food, loving a lot, and traveling even more. I’m also delighted with the suggestion of seeing the world with our eyes wide open and taking deep breaths as a way to connect ourselves with the world.

New year, new challenges

How many wonderful books are waiting for us this year? The classic ones, the new ones, I just can’t wait to continue this wonderful trip in which books are the means that take my mind away toward new places and new memories. I’ve also started this year taking the challenge of posting once a week during the whole year. I do wish I’ll do it just fine. The ideas are out there already filling my head with words to write- Let books guide my path.

A little Christmas gift

As I said before, I totally admire Mr. Dickens work, mainly because of the way he used words, but also because he found a way to live off writing and create amazing pieces at the same time. While looking into A Christmas Carol history, to post it here, I came across this words by Dickens refering to his novel:

“I HAVE endeavoured in this Ghostly little book, to raise the Ghost of an Idea, which shall not put my readers out of humour with themselves, with each other, with the season, or with me. May it haunt their house pleasantly, and no one wish to lay it.
Their faithful Friend and Servant, C. D. December, 1843.”

It’s hard to believe it’s being this long since the novel was first written and how it’s become a tradition for the holiday season. I totally love the idea of the ghosts visiting Mt. Scrooge to make him see what’s his live has been, what’s like in the present and how it might be in the future. But what really takes my breath away’s the begining of it the story: “Marley was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that”.
I’ve read it dozens of times and I still wonder, how on earth could Dickens come up with this begining? I guess I’ll neve know, but at the same time I’ll always have the chance to imagine once and again how it could’ve been. And while I’m doing that, Merry Christmas to you all out there!