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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
Text and Photo by Nora Vasconcelos
And now that I’m talking about the good Mr. Charles Dickens, I have to say that what I like about him so much it’s the way he used the words to creat complete scenes with very detailed and lively characters, placed in towns that are so well describe that the readers are almost able to wander around their streets and chat with the characters. Dickens also has what’s for me the most amazing begining for a novel, in his Tale of two cities… “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times”. I got so amazed while reading that novel that I couldn’t stop until I got to the end of it. I love too A Christmas carol, and now that’s Christmas time, it’s a wonderful time to go back to it.
Long long time since I had the chance to come back here. But I’ve come back! During this silent time I finally got to the end of Final Theory, I liked the novel a lot, although the last two chapters were kind of just ok for me, may be because they came after a very fast paced plot where it was really impossible to guess what it would happen next, and in the end everything works all right… but after I few minutes thinking about it, I came to the conclusion that it was kind of hard to end the story any other way. I’m really glad I came across this book by Mark Alpert. Now, my new literary adventure lands on The Last Dickens, by Matthew Pearl. I’m just in page 14 but this is the kind of book I just can’t put down, not only because of the way it’s written but also because I’m a big fan of Mr. Charles Dickens, and the story happens in Boston, city which I like so much. So I have this vivid images in my mind of all the streets and places that are mentioned in the story. Can’t wait to come back to it. Happy reading!