- Chicago IL/Vancouver B.C
- member since December 29, 2008
The first thing I had to do when I started Jack Kerouac's "Lonesome Traveler" was getting used to his spontanious prose style. Well, just pinning the words down as they come flowing while describing a scene is really a good idea and indeed this technique produces pictures in your mind that stay longer than those evoked by an ordinary or more common writing style. If only he'd cared to use more full stops, the sentences wouldn't go on endlessly and wouldn't cover nearly a whole page. This fact made it a rather slow going read. But it was all worth the effort since Kerouac produced pure poetry at times, invented completely new words and so wonderfully described the places he'd traveled. While Allen Ginsberg and Gregory Corso were true poets, Kerouac deserves the title as well and so Beat Poets is what they all are in the true meaning of the word.
Well, after I had read the Hopper biography in German I thought so what, let's read a book by Coelho. Since I sometimes mention him when I write about Genève and the Lac Léman because he lives there, I wanted to make myself a bit more familar with his books. "Once Minutos" I've learned plays in Genève, at least the second part of the book. When reading "The Alchimist" I only had to make the choice whether to read it in English or German and I did both. Though in the end I favoured the English translation so I read three quarters of it in English. I didn't think I would like him so much and I was surprised by the many philosophical insights the book had in stock. Probably I'm going to read more of his books, now that I broke my own rule not to read translations.
I can't believe that I'm doing it again but I'm on page 300 with the Hopper biography and I really hope they have no cameras in that bookshop. And then it's even a translation and you know, I'm normally not very fond of reading translations but it's hard to put the book down. That guy was so crazy and he really played with the nerves of many directors including Francis Ford Coppola. Did you know that Brando hated Hopper and Hopper nevertheless admired Brando? I Liked that chapter about Taos where Hopper lived for quite a while, a refuge for freaks and other artists and writers like D.H. Lawrence who had a farm there. Another book I had a look at was "The Idle Traveller" by Dan Kieran who is talking about more relaxed travel techniques whereas relaxed in his sense doesn't mean lazy but includes first of all not to fly, not to do sights because everybody does them and then taking no photos but rely on ones recollections of places instead. And be open to get to know new people. A good idea all in all only shooting no photos wouldn't be my way of travelling.
"How to be a Canadian" is one of the funniest books I've ever read. Some of the jokes are so grotesque and far fetched but always hitting the point. Best of all are the running gags, so the best ones start to occur over and over again in different chapters. Well, as far as politics are concerned, Canadians and Germans could build a coalition. The system works similar over here and changes are usually marginal. I took the test at the end of the book and it seems they don't need me over there but that's simply because I didn't fail completely. With zero points they'd have given me a big hug.
There are many more Daniel Brühl films coming than I thought. The formula one picture could be very interesting. Years ago I read in one of Lauda's biographies about the fight for the world championship in 1976 that Hunt only won when Lauda gave up the race, I think it was in Japan, because he judged the conditions in pouring rain to be too dangerous. Anyway, after the horror-crash on the Nürburgring the North-Loop of the circuit became to be known as the green hell and many drivers refused to race there. After Hunt had become world champion he got hopelessly drunk on the plane home and was constantly flirting with the flight attendants. He was sort of a playboy, the complete opposite of Lauda, who didn't take his talent for granted but was always ready to give the best performance possible. Maybe now you really want to see the film and so I won't give you any more details I know from Lauda's books.
"Ich und Kamensky" is a short novel by Daniel Kehlmann I intended to read for a long time. As far as I know it's about an interview with an artist. After "Ruhm" and "Die Vermessung der Welt" this is the third of Kehlmann's books that have been filmed.
As for Dennis Hopper, he was very popular in Germany just because he was not a block buster artist and even starred in a German film where he was called to eliminate a sniper played bei Heino Ferch. But yes, I can very well remember his performance in "True Romance" where he had the scene with Christopher Walken in the caravan.
I could recommend Eugen Ruge to you, his first book should be available in English by now. You get to learn a lot about German history in the form of a novel that spans four generations. His second book is also very good, it has some expatriate touch and reminds me of Hemingway, not the language but the setting.
Well, I haven't either read the novel nor seen any film version of John Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men" so far but I think I'm going to read the book this year. It seems to be his most popular alongside "East of Eden". Now "East of Eden" makes me think about James Dean and James Dean brings me back to Dennis Hopper again, a biography of whom I read at the bookshop at the moment. You know that habit of mine to pick a book there and then over weeks I absorb all the information I need, though in this case I would buy the book, if only it wasn't a German translation. It's really interesting and wild in many ways but some parts seem to be badly translated and one longs to have a look at the original. I've always found Hopper fascinating as an actor and painter and the part of the shooting of "Rebel Without a Cause" with James Dean and Natalie Wood is vintage Hollywood.
How I loved to read Meike Winnemuth's "Das Grosse Los". This is really travel at its best. But as with Daniel Brühl's book about Barcelona, it takes some time 'til these books get translated, at least as long as they're only available in hardcover here. A propos: there's a new film with Daniel Brühl coming soon. It's called "Seven Days in Havanna" I think, with seven episodes, directed by Emir Kusturica, Benicio del Torro and others.
I definetely like "East of Eden" better than "Cannery Row" though the two are very difficult to compare. While the one is a family saga, the other is just o short insight into the lives of Doc and the laisser-faire-gang around Mack, but again beautifully written.
Meike Winnemuth is a journalist who has written many articles for different magazines I used to read sometimes in the nineties and later. She'd also published two books before "Das Große Los" came out. She won half a million euros in the German "Wer wird Millionär"-Show and decided to spend the money on a world trip. Twelve cities around the world in one year with a stay of four weeks each, including Sidney, Buenos Aires, San Francisco, London and many more. But then she continued writing, started a travel-blog and found in the end that she didn't have to spend a single euro of the Money she'd won. The book is about her experiences in the form of twelve letters to twelve people who mean a lot to her. A very interesting and delightful read.
Finally I read Demian. I had been planning to read it for a long time and last weekend I bought the book. What can I say? The book is a turning point in Hesse's career but also marks the beginning of his second life when he emigrated to Montagnola in Switzerland. It made books like Siddhartha and Steppenwolf possible. It's not the usual coming of age story, more the opposite of it. The character Demian is as real as Tyler Durden in Fight Club and in terms of their radical thinking they have a lot in common. In both books, Hesse's Demian and Palahniuk's Fight Club, the main characters are moving towards a fictional self that acts like a person in the novel. In case you want to read Demian I say no more.
One of your favourite actors has a book out now. Daniel Brühl wrote a travel guide about Barcelona where he was born. There are plenty of interesting photos in it and his writing is pretty cool. He introduces the places he likes best and where he used to hang out in his youth. It's written in German and I don't know when or if it gets translated one day. There are a lot of pictures of the actor and of his friends. It made me wanting to see Barcelona. I think it's one of the most spectacular cities in Europe.
Damned is a real pageturner like many of Palahniuk's novels. Not everything is strictly logical but with so many twists and turns it's not always easy to come up with a plausible explanation for everything. It reminds me in part of Terry Pratchett's Disc World novels where so many unexpected things happen in a completely made up world. Palahniuk is openly making fun of American lifestyle with nearly every detail he uses to describe the hottest place in the universe as he conceives it.
So I read Fitzgerald's first novel last and indeed it is not as good as his later works but still a masterpiece though flawed a bit by too many poems and dialogue parts like in a play. One of the best scenes comes at the end of the book when Amory accidentally hitches a ride with his dead friend Jess Farrenby's father and, unaware about this connection at first, they talk about capitalism, socialism and politics in general. The socialist Amory with his ideas to reduce the power of money arouses some interest in the capitalist Ferrenby though neither would change his position in the end. Amory could be seen in a line with Siddhartha, Tonio Kröger and other young characters in novels who let their attitudes be changed by life and experience but eventually would make their way towards their own understanding of everything. I simply adore Fitzgerald.
There is a lot of misinformation and conflicting info out there. People don't know what to believe or do. I think it's a good time to be getting into the field for that reason. People need help. I think there will always be resistance as well but illness is usually the eventual outcome of an unhealthy lifestyle. For many it has to get to that point before they seek change. BUT, there is definitely more awareness so that is good thing. I think there is hope too, but yes baby steps .....
I hear what you're saying about UF. There is a LOT of bad or just plain mediocre stuff out there. While it is my favorite genre, there are actually very few I've read that I can say are really good. If you happen to look at my ratings there are not many 4 or 5 stars; mostly 3 or less. I keep searching though! I've always loved fantasy and sci fi, so I guess I'm drawn to the combination that UF brings together. What I like about it and what the feminist in me appreciates is that there is usually a pretty independent, kick-ass female protagonist. The usual gender limitations don't apply in these worlds, which is not typically the case in high/epic fantasy or sci fi. Game of Thrones comes to mind: While many of the women characters are strong, the world is such that they have to rely on their positions (thru their husbands/families!), guile, or political maneuverings. I just wish fantasy authors (mostly male) could envision worlds that do not rely on such medieval themes. It is fantasy after all; they can do whatever they want!
I totally agree with you about reading books just because they are deemed great by mysterious "others" (usually no one I know!). There are certainly classics that are must-reads, but I'll decide which ones appeal to me. Books have to first and foremost be enjoyable. Have you read anything by Kate Chopin? She immediately comes to mind. The Awakening is classic feminist fiction, banned its day. She was also just a great writer who knew how to craft a compelling story.
Yes, more people are starting to get it now ... whaddyaknow, there is actually a connection between illness and obesity and what we put into and how we treat our bodies (and minds)! I just looked at your blog - it is really great ... lot's of good info. Loved the quotes and recommendations. I see that you were in Germany recently; that must have been quite interesting.
Other than health and nutrition books, I am totally addicted to urban fantasy and the paranormal (completely over vampires though .. ha!). I admit it's my guilty pleasure and what I turn to in order to "check out". I also get in the occasional classic, chick lit, traditional fiction, and non-fiction. My favorite authors are probably Neil Gaiman and Kim Harrison for UF, Carlos Ruiz Zafón and Haruki Murakami in magical realism (not that I've read a lot - best in smaller doses ... but there's just something about their writing), Molly Harper and Jennifer Crusie for just for fun C.L., and David Sedaris and Malcolm Gladwell for non-fiction. I also like Howard Zinn, Richard Dawkins, Michio Kaku (if I can just live long enough to grasp quantum physics ), among others. Right now I'm reading a novelization of MacBeth which is terribly gripping.
Anyway, maybe that's more than you wanted know! How about you? I admire that you're making a go of 1001 books. I don't think I have in me to even try :}
Hi K.R.H. I hope you don't mind that I chose to follow you. We have tons of books in common; however, what most intrigued me is that I am also studying holistic health. I will have a masters in integral health studies over the next two semesters and then hope to get a certification in holistic nutrition after that. It is definitely my passion so it's nice to see a kindred in that area! I look forward to checking out your blog.
I held the new Palahniuk book in hands in Dortmund by the end of last year but since I was already into another book and with the Jobs biography up next I felt like stocking up on books that time and planned to buy it later. Only it never appeared on the shelves of our local bookstores when I was free to read new stuff. It can be only a question of a few weeks when the paperback edition will be out and then our bookstores will sell it too. I see you liked it very much. The teenagers-in-hell-idea is a typical Palahniuk one and I guess I will also like the book.
I'm not quite up to date with Coelho's new book but I think whenever I feel ready to read translations I would rather start with the experiences he made on his tour to Santiago de Compostela. At the moment it's quite fun to read about Wladimir Kaminer's youth in the declining Sovjet Union when he was a fun-poet and student of theater before he became the best-selling writer he now is.
I like your new picture. The sea or a lake is always a good background, it makes one feel comfortable and look relaxed. Cool.
Yes, "Lost on Planet China" was my last good read, there are not many books that find my interest at the moment. One story was quite interesting. In "The Ballad of the Sad Café" by Carson McCullers I read "Madame Zilensky and the King of Finland" which was about a pathological liar. I know that these people really believe in what they make up and how they react when you prove them wrong. So this is a very fine story though the King of Finland is so bold an invention even a pathological liar would weigh out the chances of this to go through.
I'm sorry to say that I didn't get that email you mentioned. Maybe it's this hotmail/freenet connection problem. The one you sent from here I got yesterday.
Thank you very much for your postcard from Galena. The town looks nearly a bit European and it seems they've been using the same sort of brick as in my hometown so I guess I might feel at home there, too. I found the postcard in my mailbox yesterday when all I was expecting was a list of my creditcard expenses from my bank, the usual holiday aftermath.
Lucky for you there was a summer worth pining for, ours has only been taking place beyond the Alps.
Through some diabolical glitch at Shelfari I ended up with TWO accounts and could only sign in to the newly created one. So I've had to transfer all of my books and, more or less, start from scratch. In the process I've also lost all of my "friends" and "followers". I've tried to get Shelfari to correct the situation to no avail. They keep referring me to Amazon and the Amazon "help" people claim never to have heard of Shelfari. Hope you'll continue to "follow" me at my new location. Gunter
Well, I didn't read much the last weeks, the only still unread book I found on my shelf, was a hardback about the history of the people living in my Bundesland. It was given to me for free in a bookshop when I purchased another book many years ago. It was indeed funny with all those little stories and anecdotes about the people from Westfalia, though I don't see myself as a typical Westfalian.
Since I'm still writing travel articles, I bought myself a copy of a travel-magazine just to learn about some interesting places myself. After the purchase I noticed that there was also an article about Vancouver and then it was the first one that I read. I was fascinated by Granville Island and Stanley Park. 200 km walks and 900 year old trees, that really sounds great. Gastown was also mentioned but most of the Vancouverites seem to prefer Yaletown because of its bars and restaurants. The magazine features a wonderful picture with the skyline and the mountains, a contrast that makes the town so extraordinary. Forbes Magazine voted Vancouver among the most beautiful towns in the world.
Our beautiful spring is definetely over. It rains a lot these days, the temperature is often below 20°C and a stormy wind is blowing. It's not untypical for June in this area. Unfortunately the rain was pelting so hard on our roses that most of the beautiful blooms are gone. Right now a monsoon is coming down. The rain is drumming on the roof. It sounds as if one was sitting in a cardboard box.
I hope your weather is better so you can go outside, taking your dog for a long walk or go for a jog.
You sent some postcards my way? I'll be on the watch, I'm sitting on the balcony very often these days when I don't have to work and so the postman won't escape my guard. Anyway, the dog of our neighbours would announce him loud and clear as he would announce everybody, friend, foe, thief, other dog. But since the weather is beautiful, sunny and warm now for months, everybody is outside. I can't remember when last we had such a spring.
The rivers are thinning which is going to make transport a bit difficult because ships can't be loaded the way they used to be due to the lack of suffucient water in the rivers. You can see the banks of the Rhine in Düsseldorf quite clearly where they normally used to be under water since there's growing no grass and the pillars of the bridges are visible to a dregree not usual. But the people have fun, cafés, pubs, restaurants, they were all full from the old town to the Rhine and there was a Dutch party boat with music and dance. It seemed the people were warming up for the great event next weekend, when Lena is going to defend her title in the European Song Contest she won in Oslo last year. Now the party's in Düsseldorf since it is always arranged by the winning country.
Sorry to hear about your misfortunes, but with the remote in one hand and a pile of good books in reach of the other, I think it was a problem you handled quite well. I had a lot of travel-articles to write when I came back from Montreux and I'm still editing some and writing the one or other new one. My new picture I took in Montreux directly at Lake Geneva with my cell phone. I'm going to send you some photos soon.