O Samba no pé

I don’t know you, but my daily workouts are more enjoyable when there is some sort of dance routine. Instead of counting, I focus on the steps, the music and forget that I’m actually “working out”, that sweat is dripping down my back, and that I will be probably sore tomorrow morning. Unfortunately a lot of these dance workouts instructors don’t explain very well how to do certain steps : salsa steps don’t look anything near as how I learned them from my Latino friends, Swing is some sort of cross between swing and hip hop, and the samba steps where… CONFUSING.

Until I found this guy :D

Categorias: inglês, meu pais brasileiro, musica | 2 Comentários

Cem livros e doze classicos

Here, and in all Brazil (as far as I know and have heard), public libraries are nowhere near as good as what is available in Canada or Europe. They are rare, tiny, and the books are in bad shape. It’s one of those things that I miss from Canada, though in the last years since I have children I haven’t been spending so much time in libraries as I used to.

Our local public library, right beside the one and only playground. (2013)

Thank God for my Kindle! I have been able to read a lot of ebooks since I have it. So to challenge myself even further I have put my name down over there to read at least 12 classics in 2014. Yeah I know it’s already April, but hey, since January I have already read :

Wives and Daughters, by Elizabeth Gaskell (thought it’s not on the list below, I suppose it’s a classic, no? — Highly recommended by yours truly, though it’s her unfinished novel. So sad, she died just before writing the last chapter. :( )

(And as you know, I also read the Divergent trilogy, but I don’t think its qualifies as a classic )

Some years ago I came across a list from the BBC that said something along the lines of “The best 100 books of all times”. How many have you read ? The problem is that this list contained a majority of English-speaking authors and had very little room for international literature. Since then, I have asked my friend Googly and found some other “Best 100 books” lists, my favorite so far is that one (source Wiki* fren). I also quite like the chronological presentation of the classics there (Wiki* pt) Here is the list in alphabetical order of the English title :

  1. 1984 by George Orwell, England, (1903-1950)
  2. A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen, Norway (1828-1906)
  3. A Sentimental Education (Une éducation sentimentale) by Gustave Flaubert, France, (1821-1880)
  4. Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner, United States, (1897-1962)
  5. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, United States, (1835-1910)
  6. The Aeneid by Virgil, Italy, (70-19 BC)
  7. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, Russia, (1828-1910)
  8. Beloved by Toni Morrison, United States, (b. 1931)
  9. Berlin Alexanderplatz by Alfred Doblin, Germany, (1878-1957)
  10. Blindness (Ensaio sobre a cegueira) by Jose Saramago, Portugal, (1922-2010)
  11. The Book of Disquiet (Livro do Desassossego) by Fernando Pessoa, Portugal, (1888-1935)
  12. The Book of Job, Israel. (600-400 BC)
  13. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor M Dostoyevsky, Russia, (1821-1881)
  14. Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann, Germany, (1875-1955)
  15. Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer, England, (1340-1400)
  16. The Castle by Franz Kafka, Bohemia, (1883-1924)
  17. Children of Gebelawi by Naguib Mahfouz, Egypt, (b. 1911)
  18. Collected Fictions by Jorge Luis Borges, Argentina, (1899-1986)
  19. Complete Poems by Giacomo Leopardi, Italy, (1798-1837)
  20. The Complete Stories by Franz Kafka, Bohemia, (1883-1924)
  21. The Complete Tales by Edgar Allan Poe, United States, (1809-1849)
  22. Confessions of Zeno (La coscienza di Zeno) by Italo Svevo, Italy, (1861-1928)
  23. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor M Dostoyevsky, Russia, (1821-1881)
  24. Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol, Russia, (1809-1852)
  25. The Death of Ivan Ilyich and Other Stories by Leo Tolstoy, Russia, (1828-1910)
  26. Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio, Italy, (1313-1375)
  27. The Devil to Pay in the Backlands (Grande Sertão: Veredas) by Joao Guimaraes Rosa, Brazil, (1880-1967)
  28. Diary of a Madman and Other Stories by Lu Xun, China, (1881-1936)
  29. The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri, Italy, (1265-1321)
  30. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes, Spain, (1547-1616)
  31. Essays by Michel de Montaigne, France, (1533-1592)
  32. Fairy Tales and Stories by Hans Christian Andersen, Denmark, (1805-1875)
  33. Faust by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Germany, (1749-1832)
  34. Gargantua and Pantagruel by Francois Rabelais, France, (1495-1553)
  35. Gilgamesh Mesopotamia, (c 1800 BC)
  36. The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing, England, (b.1919)
  37. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, England, (1812-1870)
  38. Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift, Ireland, (1667-1745)
  39. Gypsy Ballads by Federico Garcia Lorca, Spain, (1898-1936)
  40. Hamlet by William Shakespeare, England, (1564-1616)
  41. History by Elsa Morante, Italy, (1918-1985)
  42. Hunger by Knut Hamsun, Norway, (1859-1952)
  43. The Idiot by Fyodor M Dostoyevsky, Russia, (1821-1881)
  44. The Iliad by Homer, Greece, (c 700 BC)
  45. Independent People by Halldor K Laxness, Iceland, (1902-1998)
  46. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, United States, (1914-1994)
  47. Jacques the Fatalist and His Master (Jacques le fataliste et son maître) by Denis Diderot, France, (1713-1784)
  48. Journey to the End of the Night (Voyage au bout de la nuit) by Louis-Ferdinand Celine, France, (1894-1961)
  49. King Lear by William Shakespeare, England, (1564-1616)
  50. Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman, United States, (1819-1892)
  51. The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy by Laurence Sterne, Ireland, (1713-1768)
  52. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, Russia/United States, (1899-1977)
  53. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Colombia, (b. 1928)
  54. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert, France, (1821-1880)
  55. The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann, Germany, (1875-1955)
  56. Mahabharata, India, (c 500 BC)
  57. The Man Without Qualities by Robert Musil, Austria, (1880-1942)
  58. The Mathnawi by Jalal ad-din Rumi, Afghanistan, (1207-1273)
  59. Medea by Euripides, Greece, (c 480-406 BC)
  60. Memoirs of Hadrian (Mémoires d’Hadrien) by Marguerite Yourcenar, France, (1903-1987)
  61. Metamorphoses by Ovid, Italy, (c 43 BC)
  62. Middlemarch by George Eliot, England, (1819-1880)
  63. Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie, India/Britain, (b. 1947)
  64. Moby-Dick by Herman Melville, United States, (1819-1891)
  65. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf, England, (1882-1941)
  66. Njaals Saga, Iceland, (c 1300)
  67. Nostromo by Joseph Conrad, England,(1857-1924)
  68. The Odyssey by Homer, Greece, (c 700 BC)
  69. Oedipus the King Sophocles, Greece, (496-406 BC)
  70. Old Goriot (Le père Goriot) by Honore de Balzac, France, (1799-1850)
  71. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway, United States, (1899-1961)
  72. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Colombia, (b. 1928)
  73. The Orchard by Sheikh Musharrif ud-din Sadi, Iran, (c 1200-1292)
  74. Othello by William Shakespeare, England, (1564-1616)
  75. Pedro Paramo by Juan Rulfo Juan Rulfo, Mexico, (1918-1986)
  76. Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren, Sweden, (1907-2002)
  77. Poems by Paul Celan, Romania/France, (1920-1970)
  78. The Possessed by Fyodor M Dostoyevsky, Russia, (1821-1881)
  79. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, England, (1775-1817)
  80. The Ramayana by Valmiki, India, (c 300 BC)
  81. The Recognition of Sakuntala by Kalidasa, India, (c. 400)
  82. The Red and the Black (Le rouge et le noir) by Stendhal, France, (1783-1842)
  83. Remembrance of Things Past (À la recherche du temps perdu) by Marcel Proust, France, (1871-1922)
  84. Season of Migration to the North by Tayeb Salih, Sudan, (b. 1929)
  85. Selected Stories by Anton P Chekhov, Russia, (1860-1904)
  86. Sons and Lovers by DH Lawrence, England, (1885-1930)
  87. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner, United States, (1897-1962)
  88. The Sound of the Mountain by Yasunari Kawabata, Japan, (1899-1972)
  89. The Stranger by Albert Camus, France, (1913-1960)
  90. The Tale of Genji by Shikibu Murasaki, Japan, (c 1000)
  91. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, Nigeria, (b. 1930)
  92. Thousand and One Nights, India/Iran/Iraq/Egypt, (700-1500)
  93. The Tin Drum by Gunter Grass, Germany, (b.1927)
  94. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf, England, (1882-1941)
  95. The Trial by Franz Kafka, Bohemia, (1883-1924)
  96. Trilogy: Molloy, Malone Dies, The Unnamable by Samuel Beckett, Ireland, (1906-1989)
  97. Ulysses by James Joyce, Ireland, (1882-1941)
  98. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy, Russia, (1828-1910)
  99. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë, England, (1818-1848)
  100. Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis, Greece, (1883-1957)

I’ve put in bold what I’ve already read… As you can see that’s not much (10/100), the BBC list was more forgiving (26/100) as it mentioned more popular works such as The Chronicles of Narnia, the Harry Potter series, plus many of the Austen novels which I have all read (all except Lady Susan which I’m reading now). However I think that between one list and the other I will find enough suggestions for my 12 classics in 2014 challenge. We’ll see how that goes. I read mainly in English and French, the original language whenever possible, but I hope to take the plunge into the Portuguese and Brazilian literature soon. See how much I understand of the written Portuguese language. I’ve started to read Wuthering Heights many times but find it depressing… Does it get better ? I’m afraid it won’t and I’m not sure I’d like that (I’m still recovering from the Divergent trauma o_O ).

Categorias: inglês, leituras | 9 Comentários

Post traumatic book insomnia

It’s past 2AM and I’m still awake. I will most likely be dragging my feet all day tomorrow.

For the past week I have been living a double life. I was reading novels, a trilogy, that I couldn’t put down. I was thoroughly enjoying it, but then it went from bad to worse. Now I’m mourning the loss of a character. At least then didn’t ALL DIE in the end, I guess that’s a relief.

Since I was a kid, I’ve had those phases. The Intense Reading phases. When my life seemed boring, difficult, or sad, I used to borrow a dozen books from the public library and put my real life on hold. That’s maybe why I later fell in love with the world of theater and the opera. I identify myself so deeply with the characters of the stories in novels, play and films, that I feel like I’m someone else for a few days. Or having an excited chat with a new best friend. (That sounds a bit crazy as I read over).

My memory works in a strange way though. I live the lives of the characters intensely while I’m reading, and when the story is a good one, and well written, it stays with me. I daydream about them for a week or two after I put the book down. I try to relive the great scenes. I imagine a different ending when I didn’t like what I read… but then… I forget. Sure, I do remember the main characters, the beginning, the end, and maybe the big lines of the story, but when, months or years later, I remember that it was a good book, I can read it again and still delight in the details because they are new to me. Over and over again.

This is why I like happy endings. Because it’s one of the few pieces of the story that I will probably remember. Bad endings leave a sour taste in my mouth. I feel like I’ve been wasting my time, struggling though the pains and difficulties of the characters with no reward in the end. Real life is hard enough as it is. I like my escapes to be pleasant.

D and I have this “rule” for the story lines in books or movies. If the story is full of trials and difficulties and despair, by all means, please find a way to have a happy ending. Otherwise instead of spending a couple of days with a happy smile and pleasant memories in my mind, I will have an insomnia trying to forget the bad ending, have a headache the following day, and spend the rest of the week twisting my mind in believing that I could write an alternate version or trying very hard to forget that life is, indeed, unfair.

If you haven’t read the Divergent trilogy, I don’t want to spoil it for you. The books are “page turners” as they say. The story is fast paced. You want to become a fighter like Tris and Tobias. You remember what it’s like to be in love for the first time, the tightening of your heart when you look at the person you love. How infuriating it is that these two don’t have time to enjoy time together, but there is hope ! Their time of peace will come ! There is a light at the end of the tunnel, there has to be, right ? After all you have been reading three novels non-stop for the past seven days. Turning the pages like a maniac. Thinking about the story when you are not reading and wondering what is coming next, in the next chapter, the next book. Wondering how this will all end.

But now that I’m done, I am left with an aching heart. I’m not sure that I want to see the movies.

Unless they change the ending.

Categorias: inglês, leituras, tristeza não tem fim | 6 Comentários

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